Scouting Notes: 2022 WAFL Colts – Grand Final
PEEL Thunder have won their first WAFL Colts premiership in 17 years, holding off a late comeback to down minor premiers West Perth in a hard fought decider at Leederville Oval. Victorious ruck Jackson Broadbent took out best afield honours, and is among the prospects we cast a scope over in the latest edition of Scouting Notes.
#9 Kane Bevan
The West Perth captain had no problem finding the football, ending the game as the leading ball-winner with 33 disposals, although his impact on the contest was not as prominent as his disposal count may suggest. Bevan was typically influential around the ball, getting first possession at a number of the clearances but struggled to do a huge amount of damage with his possessions and was let down at stages by his ball use. Nonetheless, Bevan’s work rate and ability in and around the contest was still first class, and he should take solace from a season which saw him crowned the Jack Clarke medalist as the league’s fairest and best player.
#7 Luke Michael
The mid-sized defender was one of the Falcons’ best contributors across the afternoon, finishing with 18 disposals, eight marks and seven tackles in a well-rounded effort. The 18-year-old threatened to slice up the Thunder early, with himself and teammate Daniel Gathercole cutting through the Peel defensive zone with some precise kicking down the corridor and excellent run and carry. As the game progressed and the Thunder midfield began to inch on top, the dare in Michael’s ball use decreased a touch but he still defended stoutly, highlighted by a superb intercept mark he took going back with the flight in the third term. In the final quarter, with the Falcons needing a goal, Michael drifted forward to convert a set shot into a difficult breeze to cap off what was another excellent game from one of the league’s most consistent players this year.
#8 Byron Sherwood
The big-bodied midfielder was excellent for the Falcons, using his solid frame to exert a strong physical presence around the contest. He won the game’s first two clearances playing in the sweeper role, which resulted directly in two Falcons goals and he continued to have a say around the contest, throwing his body around and laying a number of strong tackles. With his side lacking avenues to goal, he also proved an unlikely scoring source, kicking a beautiful long-range goal from 55 out before bobbing up again in the game’s final minutes to cut the margin to within a kick. Sherwood ended the game with 23 disposals, 10 tackles and two goals to be one of his side’s best.
#42 Noah Farrow
The key forward threatened to be the game-winner early in the match, kicking two goals in as many minutes from almost identical circumstances, leading up from full forward and marking on the chest. After his blistering start, the 18-year-old was starved of supply inside 50, but still worked hard up the ground to provide an option for his side. He returned to hit the scoreboard again in the final term, kicking two more majors to help the Falcons close to within a goal. He finished with 17 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and four goals in a terrific all-round display where he was his team’s only true threat in the front half.
#3 Taj Wyburd
The Secret Harbour product played a critical role in the Thunder’s victory, using his speed and penetrating kick to be an effective line-breaking player, finishing with 19 disposals, seven inside 50s and a goal. Peel played at their best when they had speed on the ball and Wyburd was one of the players who embodied this approach, as he often played on, used run and carry and looked into the corridor with ball in hand. He also kicked the game’s sealing goal, breaking free from a forward stoppage in the final term to put the margin out to beyond three goals and just beyond reach of a West Perth comeback.
#7 Byron Finch
The dynamic small forward had a quiet finals series by his standards, but he really lifted on the big stage to have an impact on the game. After having a couple of nervy fumbles early, Finch put the Thunder on the board with a textbook small forward’s goal over the back before injecting himself into the midfield and becoming a lively presence at the contest. He could have finished with a couple more goals if not for spraying a few chances, but he always looked likely whenever he was around the ball in an enterprising display. He finished with 17 disposals, five inside 50s and one goal.
#21 Clay Hall
The classy midfielder found a plethora of the football early, with his power running ability allowing him to work hard on the spread and find plenty of uncontested ball in the warm conditions. Hall’s usually neat ball use was at times a little scrappy early in the game when the pressure was at its hottest but he found his radar the longer the game went on and illustrated why he is one of the best exponents of the ‘money kick’ in the competition, as he laced out the leading forward on a few occasions. Given he, alongside teammates Mitch Edwards and Ethan Logan, sacrificed the chance to play in last weeks Under 17 Futures game on AFL Grand Final day to help the Thunder win a flag, the premiership was just rewards for the selfless approach from the Harvey-Brunswick product and his teammates.
#31 Reece Torrent
The bottom-ager was very unlucky not to take out best on ground honours after superb game, backing up his excellent performance in the preliminary final with another 24 disposals and two goals in the Grand Final. The 17-year-old struck a perfect balance of being an inside-outside player, as he was able to hold his own in the contested situation, laying some excellent tackles, but did maximum damage whenever he had the football in space. Torrent has a lovely, lucid kicking action and it was on full show, as he executed a number of accurate kicks under pressure to a forward. He also managed to hit the scoreboard himself, kicking truly from a set shot in the first term before reading the ball well to run into an open goal for his second. He could have had even more scoreboard impact, if not for just a couple of close misses, with another shot just grazing the post. It was a statement performance from the 2023 draft prospect and one that should put him firmly on the radar of clubs heading into next season.
The resting ruckman took home the Mel Whinnen medal for best afield after a strong game that showcased some of his outstanding foot skills for a player of his size. Starting up forward, Broadbent always looked a dangerous option around goal, with his sheer size troubling the Falcons defence alongside Cory Tregenza-Cashell. However, the 201cm prospect did his best work around the ball, where he gave his midfield first use in the ruck and got involved around the ground. He illustrated his adept skills for a ruckman in a piece of play where he ran through the centre of the ground before lacing out a leading forward.