Scouting Notes: 2023 Talent League – Round 3

SOME feasted on chocolate, while others feasted on seven Coates Talent League fixtures over the Easter weekend. With most winners cashing in throughout Round 3, there were plenty of big performances and prospects to highlight in the latest edition of Scouting Notes.

>> Round 3 recap: Snapshot | Team of the Week | Player of the Week

  • Team
  • Murray Bushrangers
  • GIANTS Academy

By: Michael Alvaro


#4 Darcy Wilson

One of the classiest draft prospects going around, Wilson wheeled out his usual smooth moving style in a performance which had many highlights. Ending up with 23 disposals and three goals, two of the top-ager’s majors came immediately after using his opponents as stepladders, while the third saw him turn another inside out before steadying and snapping truly. He looked typically dangerous when carrying the ball and was arguably most effective up forward having also rotated through midfield.

#6 Coby James

Reprising his role as a small and energetic midfielder, James was another Bushranger who finished with 23 disposals. The top-ager also sent the ball inside 50 seven times and laid as many tackles, working hard in a well-rounded effort. He did his best work once released on the outside where he used his speed in attacking phases, though could have been more tidy with his kicking at full flight. Generally, he’s quite neat in the short-range.

#8 Connor O’Sullivan

A key position utility who has proven his versatility across three games this year, O’Sullivan was primarily employed down back on Thursday. The top-age National Academy member made a great start and showed great anticipation to peel off his man and intercept inside defensive 50, racking up seven rebound 50s in the process. While O’Sullivan’s hands were usually clean overhead, he dropped a gimme on the last line which proved costly. Still, his aerial range was on show in combination with terrific mobility for a 198cm prospect.

#33 Joshua Murphy

An inclusion in the Murray squad this week, Murphy matched Wilson’s scoring output of 3.2 in an impressive first up outing. The 190cm bottom-ager played taller than his listing would suggest, proving aerially apt en route to clunking 11 marks. He leapt at the ball with fluency and read it well in flight, often taking one-grab marks in dangerous positions. The latter factor translated to five scoring shots, including majors in each of the first three quarters.


#19 Jacob Jones

The Giants Academy had a heap of triers across the field, and Jones was one of them at the heart of the midfield. He scrapped his way to 25 disposals, doing some hard work on the inside and providing good presence at stoppage. He breached either 50-metre arc five times apiece and laid seven tackles, displaying his work rate in a team which was well beaten. It was an important dig with key on-ball personnel missing.

#26 Jack Glanvill

Glanvill was another Giant who had no trouble finding the ball in midfield, notching up 26 disposals and eight marks in the losing effort. The 186cm top-ager assumed plenty of responsibility in midfield and took it on with aplomb, providing a nice point of difference around the ball with his willingness to carry and chain possessions in short spurts. He has consistently been one of GWS’ best across all three outings.

  • Team
  • GWV Rebels
  • Geelong Falcons

By: Michael Alvaro


#2 Lachlan Charleson

The small and zippy Charleson ended up being Greater Western Victoria’s most prolific midfielder, claiming 21 disposals in the wet. He showed a sharp turn of speed at the contest and cleared the ball quickly, often playing the conditions with long kicks around the corner. A couple of goals capped his game nicely, including a smart dribble finish within 30 seconds of the opening bounce. His second major came at the end of term three.

#6 Luamon Lual

There’s plenty to like about Lual and amid less than ideal conditions, it seemed as if he were playing with a dry ball at times. He drove low to mop up several ground balls across the defensive half and did clever things each time the ball was in dispute. He looked typically lively when using his speed on the counter, even chaining a nice handball passage through the corridor in term two. All up, it was a promising 17-disposal effort which featured four marks and as many rebound 50s.

#7 Joel Freijah

The 191cm wingman again had his moments for GWV, collecting 19 disposals and even hitting the scoreboard with 1.2 That contribution could easily have been three goals, though Freijah’s finishing boots weren’t quite adjusted to the wet ball. Nonetheless, the top-ager did his usual thing in finding ways forward and out of traffic, with his lone major a classy finish which dribbled home out of a forward 50 scramble.

#23 George Stevens

Stevens has racked up strong numbers across the first three rounds and again led all comers on Thursday night with 29 touches and six rebound 50s. The hulking 189cm defender consistently worked into the right spots behind the ball and impacted at ground level with his bucket-like hands – scooping up the ball cleanly before dishing off without fuss. He also took on some of the kick-in duties and generally suited the wet conditions with his size.


#5 Tom Anastasopoulos

The always lively Anastasopoulos continued his strong start to the season, again finding the goals with two majors from 16 disposals. His craft as a small forward is clear, able to draw free kicks and use his pace to wreak havoc at ground level, while also possessing the expected amount of goal sense. His first major saw him chase a ball over the back and pull up in an instant, perhaps boasting the long stops, before snapping from close range. He snared another snap in the fourth quarter and almost made it two in a row, but to no avail.

#14 Malachi White

A relative mainstay in the Falcons’ midfield, White won the game’s first centre clearance to spark what was a busy opening term. The top-ager laid a lunging holding-the-ball tackle, then won another free kick and converted his lone goal of the game. He continued to get amongst the clearances en route to 16 disposals and five inside 50s, holding up well in a tough contest.

#19 Angus Hastie

Hastie is a smooth mover out of defence and like GWV’s Stevens, again topped the disposal charts for his side with 25. He pressed typically high up the ground and often returned the ball from whence it came, looking to take the game on and using his agility to manufacture pockets of space. While his style sometimes invites pressure, Hastie hardly wavered in another solid outing.

#65 Joe Pike

Pike may have had a 10cm height advantage over GWV’s primary ruck, but he made sure to take toll en route to winning 32 hitouts. Perhaps more impressively, he followed up well at the fall of the ball to notch 13 disposals and lay four tackles. With the ability to pick his targets in the ruck, Pike guided the ball to his rovers for a few hits to advantage and took a nice overhead mark late in the piece – his only one for the night.

  • Team
  • Northern Knights
  • Eastern Ranges

By: Michael Alvaro


#1 Jesse Dattoli

Wreaking havoc in the forward half as usual, Dattoli mustered 1.3 from his 12 disposals but produced typically crafty bits of play along the way. The bottom-ager knows how to draw free kicks, can fend off opponents, and loves snapping towards the big sticks – all of which were seen on Friday. His goal came in the third term and Dattoli even got to enjoy a bit of midfield time in the final quarter.

#2 Nate Caddy

The conditions were not exactly conducive to Caddy’s high-marking style, but the 192cm forward still took four grabs and even more importantly, hit the scoreboard with three goals. His pair of majors in the first half momentarily helped keep Northern within striking distance, though by the time he had three the game was all but over. The top-ager seemed down on a bit of confidence and was matched well both in the air and on the lead by Cooper Trembath, so he’ll likely take his three-goal haul and run with it.

#32 Christian Mardini

A leader of the group, Mardini was in the wars on Friday but battled hard and came out the other end with strong numbers of 19 disposals and six marks. He was primarily used down back and proved solid in his station, competing and showcasing his neat left-foot kicking. The 197cm utility was then swung forward in the final term where he first presented up the ground, but later took a nice mark over the back and converted his first goal at the level.


#1 Caleb Windsor

Friday marked the first time this season that Windsor cracked the 20-disposal mark, notching up 23 to go with his five marks and five inside 50s. Stationed out on the wing as usual, the top-ager used his pace to break the lines and become dangerous in attacking phases, even unleashing a couple of attempts on goal – albeit, both behinds. Still, it was a promising showing from the athletic outside runner.

#5 Nick Watson

Watson took out Player of the Week honours in Round 3 and it was just about a no-brainer. The 170cm wizard racked up a game-high 34 disposals, took six marks and registered eight inside 50s, splitting his time between the forward and back halves. He started in attack and snared two goals from five scoring shots, looking typically lively around goal but also working outside the attacking arc. He took his creativity to defence after half time, taking the kick-ins and having little trouble getting his hands on the ball. Still, he looks much more natural in his original post.

#7 Cody Anderson

Another Eastern midfielder to have posted season-best numbers on Friday, the powerful Anderson thrived amid each downpour and was largely able to play his natural game. Clean and tough at stoppage, the bottom-ager handled the greasy ball well and was essentially his side’s most prolific inside asset – winning 26 touches and laying 10 tackles. He does the tough stuff and can penetrate by foot – as proven by his long-range goal in the first quarter.

#9 Christian Moraes

It was unfortunate that Moraes’ day ended in the second quarter via a crunching Parker Heatley tackle, but the bottom-ager produced plenty of bright moments with 15 disposals and four marks to that point. He brought a great deal of energy to the play, accumulating possessions with polish and moving it forward with intent. He featured a bit in midfield but looks most suited to the outside or a half-forward flank.

#13 Riley Weatherill

Weatherill continues to get the job done inside 50, even on a day which was tough for most talls. The 195cm prospect has a knack for getting into scoring positions and could have kicked a bag with better finishing. He ended up with 2.2, including a terrific set shot strike from 50 metres after marking on the lead in term four. He struck at the same end in term two.

#28 Clay Tucker

The mid-season draft is typically one where talls are targeted, and Tucker is an over-ager who fits the criteria. At 204cm, the Eastern bigman has made good strides in 2023 after being overlooked last year, and bagged two goals from 11 touches on Friday. He popped up with four impressive marks in each third of the ground and made good on his two set shot opportunities, while also winning a game-high 20 hitouts opposed to National Academy ruck Will Green.

  • Team
  • Gippsland Power
  • Dandenong Stingrays

By: Michael Alvaro


#9 Zane Duursma

As advertised during preseason, Duursma took on a role primarily in midfield before pinch-hitting up forward, providing a much needed point of difference in Gippsland’s midfield. The highly touted 189cm prospect was super clean at stoppage and used his speed to break clear on the outside, spreading forward with intent. He tended to dump handballs out under pressure in those instances, but looked much more effective when launching purely-hit kicks inside 50. He got on the board immediately from midfield with a lovely snap goal and could have added another when starting forward in term three, where he marked typically well overhead but sent his set shot short.

#11 Tom Hanily

Hanily was a fantastic inclusion for Gippsland after impressing in the back-end of 2022, and he got to work as one of a few sub-180cm Power midfielders. The top-ager showcased his evasive technique and found exits with composure, making good decisions and using the ball particularly well by hand – of his 24 disposals, 15 were handballs. Hanily tended to go when his name was called and jagged a goal with that approach, taking the loose ball cleanly inside 50 before shrugging off an opponent and converting.

#42 Lachlan Smith

Gippsland has had a knack for producing developable talls, and in the absence of Archer Reid, Smith had his moments among the ruck-forward rotation. The 202cm top-ager is a man mountain, but moves relatively well and doesn’t mind getting in on the play. In his first game for the year, he snared a terrific snap goal in the second term and could have finished with a couple more. Often times he disposed of the ball with opponents hanging off him, such is his strength at the level.


#1 Ziggy Toledo

No one kicked more goals in Round 3 than Toledo, who booted six as the Stingrays’ spearhead. The 192cm over-ager has been trialled in a couple of different roles this season but reverted back to a familiar deep forward post on Friday, which simply seemed to be his day. Toledo hit up on the lead, converted over the mark, snapped from every which angle, and even stayed down to collect crumbs as he put together a massive game headlined by seven marks and eight scoring shots.

#3 Cooper Simpson

After a steady opening outing in Round 2, Simpson got well and truly back to his best on Friday with 28 disposals and seven inside 50s. The Dandenong co-captain was his classy self in midfield, lacing out passes to his forwards and working hard to advance the ball into dangerous areas. He booted a terrific goal as the Stingrays countered early on, marking at the top of 50 and pumping the ball home, before Jacob Grant nicked an almost identical attempt in term three. It took little shine away from a promising game.

#8 Sam Frangalas

The always explosive Frangalas again went to work in his typical midfield-forward role, breaking into attack at pace while also using his speed to close in on opponents. A goal evaded him on Friday, though not for a lack of trying as the top-ager hit the post from a long-range set shot on the less-favoured boundary for a right footer. He used his power to hit Gippsland hard and attempted to be neater by foot, albeit if not always pinpoint.

#11 Billy Wilson

Wilson has put together an impressive few weeks off half-back and showed his wares with 21 disposals, five marks, and five rebound 50s in Friday’s win. The top-ager provided his usual overlap run and distributed several searing kicks in transition, using the ball beautifully by foot. His hands were also clean overhead, making him a dual-threat down back with that intercept-rebound quality.

  • Team
  • Calder Cannons
  • Western Jets

By: Michael Alvaro


#14 Hugo Garcia

Garcia has complied a pretty handy highlight reel across the first three rounds and had his best day yet in front of goal with three majors on Friday. The top-ager has a serious eye for goal and finished in style on his favoured left foot against Western, popping up to split the big sticks in three different quarters. His last two goals were beauties; snapping one home from long-range in term two, and wheeling around from 50 in the fourth quarter to help sink the resilient Jets. He offers spark close to goal and up the ground.

#16 Mahmoud Taha

Returning a game-high 32 disposals and two first half goals, Taha put in a massive shift for Calder on Friday. The hard working top-age midfielder scrapped away at stoppages, digging in with repeat efforts and consistently finding ways to turn ground balls into Calder clearances. He could have done with a touch more polish by both hand and foot, but was effective enough in front of goal with a nice snap in the first term, and a wobbler which he willed home in the second.

#17 Nash King

He may not have topped the disposal charts, but King was arguably Calder’s most lively and productive midfielder. The bottom-ager still racked up 28 disposals and nine inside 50s, numbers indicative of his ability to find the ball in good spots and drive it forward long by foot. His deadly change of direction made for good watching on several occasions, as King put together his most prolific performance to date in 2023.

#41 Jordan Croft

It could well have been a huge day for Croft if not for poor finishing, with the Western Bulldogs father-son prospect registering four behinds from 11 disposals and two marks. He started up forward and was gifted multiple free kicks off the ball inside 50 by Western defenders who were clearly worried by him. Still, the breeze seemed to catch his kicks and lowered his confidence in conversion, but not his willingness to fly for marks. On another day, the 200cm talent would have made a real impact on the scoreboard – particularly in the first half.


#5 Jake Smith

The only Western player to surpass the 20-disposal mark, Smith ended up with 27 to go with six marks and nine tackles in a losing effort. He won the opening centre clearance and leant on his penetrative left-foot kicking to break the lines, but also dropped back to accumulate a bit of uncontested ball throughout the match. The big-bodied ball winner wore contact well and stood strong under tackling pressure, proving a point of difference in the Jets’ engine room.

#6 Darcy Weeks

Entering the fray for his first game of season 2023, Weeks started relatively well with 19 disposals (16 kicks) and seven rebound 50s. He started in defence and provided nice overlap run to get Western going in transition, while also taking on some of the kick-in duties. He shared a similar rotation to skipper Diesel Moloney and was eventually utilised on-ball.

#25 Jovan Petric

The first four weeks of the season are largely about showcasing draft-age talent, and Petric is an 19th-year candidate who continues to find the goals. Western has a few handy targets in attack and in a slightly deeper role, Petric produced a couple of early scoring opportunities. He eventually split the big sticks with a set shot in term three and put the Jets in front in the fourth quarter with a quick hack kick, making the most of those guilt-edge chances.

  • Team
  • Sandringham Dragons
  • Oakleigh Chargers

By: Declan Reeve


#3 Levi Ashcroft

Despite being two years difference in age, there is a remarkable similarity in how Levi and his brother Will play, with their work rate and comfort in the contest being major reason they’re able to impact the game so heavily. Ashcroft worked hard all game through the midfield, looking to get hands to outside runners as often as possible. His defensive work was admirable as well, with a game-high nine tackles showing his enthusiasm in this regard.

#4 Will Brown

The Dragons captain has had an impressive start to the season through the midfield, showing again on Saturday his confidence in taking the game on, using his size to his advantage around stoppages and in marking contests. At 194cm, Brown is just about key position height, and got to display that aspect of his game a bit by sneaking up forward a couple of times, kicking three goals as reward for effort. Brown was quite reliable with his ball use, at times getting sucked in to bombing the ball long from congestion, but mostly spotting targets well around the ground.

#9 Archie Roberts

Seemingly growing into his 2022 confidence level more and more with each game, Roberts was often spotted pushing higher up the ground to amass 30 disposals, although that number is somewhat inflated due to his kick-in duties. Despite that, Roberts’ ball use was damaging throughout the game, often looking to follow up and get the ball back by hand when he hit his targets. 

#15 Ryley Sanders

The highest ball winner on the day, Sanders was the definition of a playmaker for the game. Mixing his inside and outside game well, Sanders was strong in the contest, managing to weave his way out of traffic and find good options by hand out in space, or leading targets forward of the ball. A notable improvement from Sanders 2022 general game was his intent to get the ball moving forward, showing off his damaging kick when the opportunity presented, never giving opponents a chance to intercept the ball.

#26 Miles Enders

The impressive forward continued his strong start to the season with two early goals when the game was tight. Enders athleticism and reading of the game made him a difficult match up for the Chargers’ defence, with very few able to match him for speed, leap and courage in the air, with his courage in running back with the flight impressive. 

#29 Harvey Johnston

Despite returning his smallest disposal count to date, Johnston was still an influential contributor to the Dragons win. With little impact up forward, Johnston impressed with his work in the midfield, comfortably winning contested ball and smart with his use by hand in close, as well as his defensive application and willingness to run for tackles.


#5 Finn O’Sullivan

Yet another strong performance from the Under 16s MVP, O’Sullivan was impressive around stoppages with his strength over the ball and quick decision making, spotting targets on the outside and executing clean disposal despite pressure. Another impressive layer to O’Sullivan’s decision making is his ability to quickly adjust his initial decision under pressure, reading when opponents were moving to his original option and quickly changing to another teammate in space. Despite being younger than most on field, O’Sullivan wasn’t timid when it came to contact, keeping his focus on winning the ball regardless of opponents around him.

#7 Jagga Smith

Another bottom-aged midfielder in Oakleigh’s best, Smith was unfairly smooth through congestion and clean with his disposal, displaying composure well beyond his years. Similarly to O’Sullivan, Smith didn’t let his lack of size or age hinder his ball winning, happy to go against opponents to win the footy, following up with clean use by hand when he was unable to get out traffic himself. Smith applied himself well defensively, laying five tackles and intercepting a few attempted handballs and switch kicks around the ground.

#9 Tom Gross

It’s easy to understand why Gross is so highly rated within the Charger’s program, with his competitiveness and fearless approach to the game shining through across the game. Whilst he wasn’t as consistently involved as O’Sullivan and Smith, Gross gave the Chargers an edge whenever he was around the ball, throwing himself onto the ball to make sure it went the Chargers way. His intent to tackle was impressive, with one in the second quarter where he ran from the middle of the forward 50 to the edge of the centre square to get a holding the ball free kick highlighting this best.

#11 Will Lorenz

After missing the previous fixture against the Falcons, Lorenz took no time to get himself involved in the game. Lorenz’s work on the inside was clean and composed, not shirking any contests and more often than not coming out of 50/50s as the winner of the ball, he was clean with his hands to runners on the outside, giving himself the best chance to find them by keeping his arms up through congestion. Lorenz displayed clean kicking on the outside as well, hitting some impressive switch kicks heading forward to open up the 50 for Oakleigh. He was strong in the air throughout, and worked hard to lay tackles where he was close to an opponent with the ball.

  • Team
  • Bendigo Pioneers
  • Tasmania Devils

By: Declan Reeve


#3 Tobie Travaglia

Playing like a far more experienced player, the bottom-aged defender was a constant hassle for the Tasmanian forwards, creating contests inside defensive 50 whenever it entered in. Although he didn’t hold all the marks he attempted, finishing the game with three, it didn’t deter him and he continued to be in the right spots to attempt an intercept grab. He was mostly clean with his ball use exiting the backline, and used the same efficiency when going forward.

#5 Harley Reid

The current Pick 1 favourite enjoyed another strong display, seemingly doing as he pleased, making it look almost too easy at times. There’s a lot of strings to Reid’s bow already, and he managed to show them all off in a four quarter performance; contested game, stoppage craft, burst from congestion, clean hands and contested marking. Reid split his time between the midfield and the forward line, proving to be a force around stoppages in the midfield, easily getting by opponents and shrugging them off before delivering the ball to a teammate, and an equally troubling forward with his one-on-one work, highlighted by his six marks and two goals.

#36 Archer Day-Wicks

Another bottom-aged Pioneer to impress on the day, Day-Wicks had an impressive two goals and 21 disposals. The youngster started the game primarily up forward, where he constantly threw himself at marks from good positions and led hard, with six marks to show for it. It was arguably his work in the centre square that impressed most, with his proactive movement around stoppages, and defensive work ethic, helping the Pioneers consistently win clearances around the ground. The defensive work rate translated around the ground as well, chasing opponents hard around the ground and reacting quickly in tight to intercept a couple of Tasmanian attempted handballs.

#45 Hugh Byrne

Although only listed at 191 cm, Byrne played with the presence of a seven-footer with how he took control of the forward 50, acting as a regular target for the Pioneers heading forward, Byrne always managed to make a contest in the air, getting it to ground in the path of a teammate if he couldn’t hold the mark. His constant efforts were rewarded with three goals on the day, which could’ve been a bag of six had he been a little luckier in front of the sticks.


#3 Jack Callinan

As one of the more exciting forward prospects in the class, it’s no surprise that Callinan was influential for the Devils whenever the ball got inside 50. Despite being a sub 180cm talent, Callinan is as much an aerial threat as he is at ground level, with good strength to him, he was able to nudge opponents out of the contests to hold marks, or beat them with his speed and smarts on the lead. Callinan’s understanding of the modern small forward role was obvious, positioning himself at the front of marking contests to get ready for a front and centre, as well as working hard to apply pressure to opposition carrying the ball.

#5 Beau Nash

A classic hard working inside midfielder, Nash was in the face of the Pioneers players all day, ending the day with a game-high nine tackles, mostly coming on first possession winners from stoppages. It wasn’t just the defensive stuff from Nash, winning his fair share of clearances himself, often looking for teammates in space by hand.

#14 Tom Beaumont

Whilst not as prolific as last week, Beaumont put in an admirable performance, leading from the front as the Devils only multiple goalkicker. Using his strength to his advantage, Beaumont was unmatched one-on-one, knocking opponents away when going for ground balls, and man handling them in marking contests. Whilst he wasn’t the most accurate in front of the sticks, he showed visible frustration when he missed, looking to improve as the match went on.

#27 Colby McKercher

Proving to be consistent in his first two games for the season, McKercher once again finished the day with 31 disposals, all of which were damaging. Balancing his inside and outside game, McKercher won his fair share of contested ball, showing his elusiveness through congestion and quick hands under pressure, as well as his electric speed and lethal left foot on the outside. He was Tasmania’s primary ball mover heading forward, hitting up targets well inside 50 but having the confidence to go for goal himself, showing this best with a hard run from a centre stoppage to slot one from 50 out.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments