SANFL U18s MOTR: Round 1 – South Adelaide vs. Norwood
NORWOOD took out a thriller at Flinders University Stadium on Sunday, holding on to defeat South Adelaide by the barest of margins. The Panthers star players, namely Jack Delean and Sid Draper stood up when the game was on the line late, but their mercurial efforts were not enough to drag the home side over the line. We noted some of the standout performers, before taking a look around the grounds.
#3 Sid Draper
A relative mainstay in midfield, Draper got stuck in with 18 disposals and eight tackles, but looked most dangerous when breaking forward in attacking phases. His wicked side-step and smooth coverage of the ground made for eye-catching passages, complimenting his polished inside work at stoppages. The bottom-ager very nearly inspired his side to a late comeback too, after timing a sensational volley in the goalsquare to bring the margin back to a single point.
#6 Benny Barrett
Barrett formed an lively small forward partnership with Clay Shadforth, but also got a run through midfield and showed moments of class. His mix of speed and polish made for flashy early passages, and Barrett’s class with ball in hand shone in the early stages. His speed and willingness to maintain momentum in each play proved damaging, albeit in a patchy 11-disposal outing.
#10 Jack Delean
A game winner in every sense of the phrase, Delean very nearly proved as much with a couple of mercurial efforts in the closing 10 minutes. The greasy conditions tested his class, but the top-age forward popped up to convert a speccy, and soon after assisted Draper’s volley to give South Adelaide every chance at winning. In patches throughout the game, his elite speed and smarts lit up the Panthers’ forward 50.
#12 Phoenix Hargrave
The solidly built midfielder worked hard all day for South Adelaide, ending up as his side’s most prolific midfielder with 19 disposals and seven clearances. He also swept back to support his defence and rested forward, using his frame to win one-on-one contests but falling short of hitting the scoreboard. He may also face a nervous wait after being booked for a sling tackle in term two.
#7 Kade Maddigan
A clever and crafty small forward, Maddigan drew a whopping seven free kicks on Sunday and crucially, did so in dangerous areas of the ground. All three of his goals were earned via the umpire’s whistle, though Maddigan did well to convert his chances and get into the right positions. After a busy start in attack, he also got to showcase his speed and long left boot through midfield.
#11 Orlando Turner
One of two National Academy members afield alongside Delean, Turner was Norwood’s answer in the specialist small forward role. Though the conditions made things tricky, Turner had some great moments with defensive pressure acts, high marking attempts and chances on goal. His smarts shone through deep inside 50, and the Territorian ended up with 1.1 from just nine touches but could have had more. Watch out for his creativity and pace in 2023.
#12 Jacob Newton
Newton was the leading ball winner on the day with 26 disposals, and he played the conditions well with bursts of speed and penetrative left-foot kicking. The small bottom-aged midfielder showed great intent with ball in hand, looking to drive forward quickly and accumulating seven inside 50s for his efforts. His hardness and strong frame also proved handy at the contest, which Norwood dominated.
#14 Will Rowlands
Another clever small whose best traits suited the wet pill, Rowlands showcased clean hands and nice smarts at the fall of the ball. He rotated through midfield from the forward line and was clean at stoppage, but could perhaps have looked for more exits rather than dumping kicks away. Still, he looked dangerous forward of centre and snagged a goal in the third term to go with his 17 touches.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
Central District caused a stirring early upset, downing reigning premier Glenelg by an even two goals in the season opener at X Convenience Oval. The Bulldogs were jumped at the start but hit the lead by three-quarter time and never looked back.
Sebastian Wauer (30 disposals, two goals) and Trent Tattoli (25 disposals, nine marks, one goal) put up impressive numbers for the victors, while Hawthorn father-son candidate Will McCabe snared two goals.
Tallan Rosenzweig bagged four, matching the effort of Glenelg star Ashton Moir. The top draft contender made a good start to his top-age campaign alongside Ben Ridgway (23 disposals), as twins Ben and Lucas Camporeale performed well in the bottom-age category.
Saturday’s second game was not nearly as tightly contested, as Woodville-West Torrens ran out 78-point victors over West Adelaide at Hisense Stadium. Westies went goalless in the first half as the Eagles piled on nine majors before coasting to an emphatic win.
Among 12 individual goalkickers, five Eagles snared multiples, lead by Sebastian Menta’s three. Rome Burgoyne, the third son of Port Adelaide premiership player Peter, lead all comers with 27 disposals while Jack Oates (25 disposals, seven rebound 50s) was busy for the Bloods.
Sturt kicked off the action on Sunday with a 39-point win over 2022 grand finalist North Adelaide. The Double Blues kicked away with six goals to one in the second term, which essentially proved the difference at Thebarton Oval.
National Academy member Kane McAuliffe starred in a losing effort with 28 disposals through midfield. Henry Wicks (22 disposals, two goals) also impressed for the Roosters, as did familiar names Tom Tasker, Oliver Francou, and Louie Montgomery.
>> PLAYER FOCUS: Kane McAuliffe (North Adelaide)
On the winning side, state academy member Alex Holt led the way with 26 touches and 12 rebound 50s, while Kobe McEntee was lively for his 24 touches, while Ben Spehr (three), Declan Gladigau and Wil Thomas (both two) booted multiple goals.