Marquee Matchups: Mattaes Phillipou vs. Harry Sheezel

THIS year’s National Championships have been the first full instalment since 2019, meaning the nation’s best Under 18 draft hopefuls have finally been able to test their mettle against each other once again. With that comes a number of mouthwatering contests between players vying for similar spots on draft boards, as their top-age campaigns turns for home.

In the return of our Marquee Matchups series, we highlight a pair of prospects who in one way or another, will continue to compete in 2022; comparing their vitals, stats, strengths, and improvement areas. Next up is a battle between two match-winning types, midfielder-forwards Mattaes Phillipou and Harry Sheezel.

>> TOP 25 RANKED: August Power Rankings update


Woodville-West Torrens-logoWoodville-West TorrensMidfielder, Forward

Mattaes Phillipou

Height: 190cm

Weight: 89kg

DOB: 27-12-2004

Medium Forward

Harry Sheezel

Height: 185cm

Weight: 80kg

DOB: 13-10-2004



June: #13 | July: #12 | August: #10


June: #6 | July: #4 | August: #3


2022 SANFL U18s

8 games | 28.0 disposals | 15.5 kicks | 10.5 handballs | 6.6 marks | 5.1 tackles | 7.0 inside 50s | 1.5 goals (12 total)

>> Player Focus: Mattaes Phillipou

Phillipou in action for South Australia | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

2022 NAB League

10 games | 22.3 disposals | 13.7 kicks | 8.6 handballs | 4.0 marks | 3.8 tackles | 3.2 inside 50s | 2.6 goals (26 total)

>> NAB League POTW: Harry Sheezel

Harry Sheezel donning the Big V of Vic Metro | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central



SANFL U18s Round 8 vs. West Adelaide
Stats – 33 disposals, 10 marks, 5 tackles, 6 clearances, 6 inside 50s, 3 goals

Phillipou has arguably performed amid higher stakes than a Round 8 SANFL Under 18s fixture, but his effort against West Adelaide produced his best game for the year – at least numbers wise. Westies were missing a bunch of prime movers and Phillipou took toll, racking up 33 touches and six clearances, while also threatening around the ground with 10 marks and three goals. His all-round game was on display during this game, which was one of four consecutive Under 18 outings with over 30 disposals. It was his first Eagles Under 18 win for the year, too, and his second-last at the level.


NAB League Round 4 vs. Tasmania Devils
Stats – 28 disposals, 5 marks, 5 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 6 goals

This is the performance Sheezel labelled as the best he’s ever played, so we’ll take his word for it. A stacked Sandringham side dominated Tasmania, and Sheezel was at the forefront with a stack of disposals to go with his usual bag of goals. At the time, it seemed like the breakout game which would solidify his top five credentials, and it remains his highest goal haul for the season. Sheezel went on to beat his disposal tally in consecutive midfield outings from Rounds 9-10, notching 37 and 33 disposals in a couple more prolific efforts. Given Tasmania ended up second on the NAB League ladder, this one holds up well.


2022 AFL U18 National Championships
Vic Metro 16.15 (111) def. South Australia 5.8 (38)

The pair would finally meet as South Australia took on Vic Metro in dour conditions at GMHBA Stadium, a game which the Vics took out in emphatic fashion. A key factor in that was the condition of Phillipou, who played out the game with soreness for his 14 disposals. He started the game strongly on-ball but was forced to spend the large part of three quarters up forward, where he booted a sensational goal on the run. Meanwhile, it was an uncharacteristically quiet game for Sheezel, who was kept goalless in a side which poured on 16 majors. It seemed the wet would suit his style and smarts, but that was not quite to be. This game aside, his championships were exemplary, and the same can be said for Phillipou.



+ Athleticism
+ Aerial ability
+ Clean hands
+ Versatility
+ Upside

Phillipou fits the mould of a new-age type of footballer. He’s athletic, and uses it on-field, while also possessing the footballing nous to have a proficient impact on games. A lot of his weapons come from that athletic base, with his overhead marking prowess aided by a spring-heeled vertical leap, and his smooth coverage of the ground making for eye-catching moments. He can move from inside to out with a quick turn of speed, and much of that is thanks to his high-level basketball ability – a cliché, we know. Another of Phillipou’s greatest assets is his versatility. Early in his career, he could feature out on a wing or up forward, before earning more permanent midfield minutes while maintaining that flexibility. Somewhat of an intangible trait is Phillipou’s mindset, which he says sets him apart.


+ Decision making
+ Goal sense
+ Footy IQ
+ Agility
+ X-factor

Sheezel is just a clever, clever footballer with a bit of dazzle. He is such a natural forward, possessing one of the best eyes for goal at his level and incredible instincts inside attacking 50. Not only does he make good decisions, but is able to execute with his combination of skill and athleticism. Sheezel’s agility is his best athletic weapon, which gets him out of tight spots and en route to goal, but he also has a good enough leap to be a factor on the lead. More than capable aerially, he presents a dual threat to go with his dangerous ground level game. Though not listed, his versatility could potentially become an asset in time, as he continues to work on his midfield craft. He has the work ethic to do so, but ultimately has a home up forward. He likens himself to Toby Greene in terms of on-field ability, but looks to Scott Pendlebury for his leadership quality.



– Kicking composure
– Contested game

Picking out improvement areas in such high-level prospects is usually somewhat of a chore, but everyone has something to work on. While poised, clever and clean at the coalface, the 191cm Phillipou could look to make his size a real weapon in contested situations, and become that primary ball winner. At the moment, he looks best in moments when he’s released to run, or when he can utilise his athleticism around the ground. On the latter factor, when Phillipou is delivering the ball inside 50, he could do with a touch of the same composure he shows at stoppage. Lowering the eyes and executing his skills under pressure will make him all the more damaging, though his left-foot is certainly a weapon from long range when eyeing up the goals.


– Contested game
– Midfield craft

The man himself said contested craft is something he is looking to work on, and that goes hand-in-hand with what is required of medium forwards. During his time at the Dragons, Sheezel has focussed on the defensive side of his game, especially in a forward pressure sense. That competitiveness will serve him well when pinch-hitting in midfield, and makes him a threat outside of his obvious ability in possession. With such natural skill and composure, his offensive traits are game-winning, but that defensive aspect is just as important. Moving forward, and while he has proven it at NAB League level, Sheezel could look to further expand his midfield craft should he look to spend more time on-ball. Although he has the endurance base (21.7 yo-yo test score) and work ethic to do so, it seems he will always be best suited to the forward line.


At the crux of their craft, both players are genuine game-winners. The key difference is that Phillipou is a midfielder who can roll forward, while Sheezel is a forward who can pinch-hit in midfield. Either way, that versatility is a valuable asset to them both. In an overall sense, Sheezel is arguably more skilled and smart, but Phillipou has the height and athletic base which point to high upside. The latter trait is an exciting one, and Sheezel is athletic in his own right too, with both players proving apt aerial threats. At the moment, Sheezel is arguably the surer bet, but both will certainly be in the mix for top five selection.

>> LISTEN | Mattaes Phillipou on the Final Siren Podcast

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