Preview | Draft prospects set to shine with finals in full swing

THE NAB League and SANFL grades are set to decide their grand finalists this weekend, while the WAFL enters its postseason after 20 regular season rounds in a big few days for budding draft prospects around the nation.

With just three games left to play in the NAB League, all four teams in contention will fancy themselves a chance at claiming premiership glory. A double-header at ETU Stadium means each potential grand finalist gets the chance to view their opposition up close before the big dance.

The action starts at 11am on Saturday, as Tasmania takes on Dandenong. As the second and third ranked sides respectively, both have hit their stride with solid form at the back end of the season. The Devils have won five-straight, but their last loss was to the tune of 80 points, against the Stingrays.

Jaxon Binns’s running capacity will be key to Dandenong’s cause | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

Both teams are set to look much different from that game, with Dandenong regaining the likes of Mitch Szybkowski and Jaxon Binns, but missing Morrish Medal winner Taj Campbell-Farrell and Henry Hustwaite in midfield. Luke Bailey steps in once again, while Haileybury College mate Harrison Jones spearheads the attack.

Tasmania will now boast Allies guns Lachlan Cowan and Tom McCallum down back, as well as Colby McKercher in midfield and crafty pair Seth Campbell and Brandon Leary up forward. The quintet was key to their side’s win last time out, but face a fearsome opposition in hot form this time around.

The day’s second game sees minor premier, Gippsland lock horns with the star studded Sandringham side. In a big boost to the Power’s midfield, Mitchell Moschetti returns from VFL duties with Carlton, joining skipper Bailey Humphrey on-ball. Having scraped over the line against Northern last week, they face a tough as in combating the likes of Will Ashcroft, Cameron Mackenzie, and Olli Hotton.

There are also a bunch of exciting forwards to keep an eye on in this match, with both midfields good enough to keep them well fed. Zane Duursma and Jacob Konstanty combined well last week for Gippy, while Harry Sheezel will look to bounce back from a quiet outing, with the in-form Levi Ashcroft beside him.

Jakob Ryan will look to control the game from Glenelg’s backline | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

Norwood and Glenelg will go head-to-head in the SANFL Under 18 preliminary final, to determine who goes on to battle North Adelaide for the flag. The Redlegs took out an unlikely minor premiership but lost in last week’s qualifying final, while Glenelg was good enough to knock out Sturt by just two points.

Playing an attractive brand of football, the Bays will be glad Jakob Ryan is back to organise them from behind the ball. State Under 18 teammate Archie Lovelock is another to watch in the yellow and black, having racked up 31 disposals in last week’s tight win.

The Redlegs are a solid bunch with players capable of stepping up on the big stage. One is big man Phoenix Foster, who will support Alex Van Wyk in the ruck while looking to add to his 24 goals up forward. Supplying him a bunch will be Tyson Walls, another state Under 18 representative with high class.

Up in the Reserves, a few West Adelaide prospects are set to help the Bloods’ push for a grand final berth. Tom Scully and Harry Lemmey have been named in the key position posts, with Kobe Ryan starting on-ball in what is a Westies team brimming with young talent. They take on Sturt for the chance to face North Adelaide in the grand final.

Jed Hagan has been part of East Fremantle’s League setup | Image Credit: Pixell Photography

Out West, all three WAFL men’s grades enter the postseason with week one of finals. West Perth took out each minor premiership, meaning the Falcons can put their feet up and assess the competition this weekend.

There is set to be some young talent featuring in the top flight, with East Fremantle’s Jed Hagan and Jack Cleaver enjoying extended runs at League level. They take on Claremont come Saturday, while Steely Green is likely to feature in South Fremantle’s meeting with Peel Thunder on Sunday.

Swan Districts’ Reserves side could be blessed with a trio of State Under 18 stars for the Swans’ clash with Subiaco. With the League side out missing out, Elijah Hewett may return to the grade, joining dashers Darcy Jones and Riley Hardeman in the predicted squad.

Meanwhile at Colts level, a chance presents for Reuben Ginbey to prove he’s the state’s top talent. His East Perth team locks horns with South Fremantle on Sunday, and the explosive midfielder will look to build on his 19 disposals and two goals last week.

Peel Thunder and Subiaco go head-to-head a day earlier, with the potential for plenty of prospects to shine. Koltyn Tholstrup is the Lions’ wildcard, along with Tyrell Dewar, while Peel boasts tall duo Jackson Broadbent and Mitchell Edwards through the ruck in a promising lineup.

Rookie Me Central will have all of the above covered with Scouting Notes on all the top prospects, interviews with some stars of the show, and plenty more content breaking down the action around the nation. Stay tuned.

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