Scouting Notes: 2023 Vic Country vs. Vic Metro U16 trials

VICTORIA’S top Under 16 prospects battled it out at Trevor Barker Oval today in a pair of trial games, with Vic Metro downing their Country counterparts in both fixtures. The trials will play a major role in deciding either side’s final squads for the AFL National Development Championships, starting in June.

In what was essentially a showcase of the state’s next generation of talent, there were familiar names and a few standouts among the mix. We noted some of the top performers from both games in the latest edition of Scouting Notes.

  • Team
  • Vic Country
  • Vic Metro

GAME 1: Vic Country 5.9 (39) def. by Vic Metro 10.17 (77)

Vic Country:

#6 Tyson Anic (Dandenong Stingrays)

A player on the short list of non-Gippsland Power products to have impressed for Vic Country in game one, Anic proved a real scrapper. He started in midfield but arguably did his best work in defence after half time, taking on some of the kick-in duties and generating a bit of rebound run. He began to accumulate possessions in the third term and did more of the same in the fourth, showing good intent in much of his play down back. 

#8 Jobe Scapin (Gippsland Power)

Much like Anic, Scapin impressed both with and without the ball in game one, but mostly with his defensive efforts. On several occasions, he wrapped up opposition ball winners to force a stoppage, but even laid a goal-saving tackle on the last line of defence, and one in forward 50 to boot Country’s first goal. He could have done so earlier if not for a set shot miss nearing quarter time, but was overall a strong contributor in the losing effort.

#12 Brodie Atkins (Gippsland Power)

Another of Vic Country’s midfield mainstays in the first half, Atkins did most of his best work at stoppage. There, the 182cm ball winner burrowed in and looked to force a way out, asking questions of Metro’s mids with intent. He went on to hit the scoreboard in term four after marking deep inside forward 50, snapping truly from the pocket.

#23 Willem Duursma (Gippsland Power)

Willem is the fourth in line in the Duursma family and will be hoping to garner as much success as his elder siblings already have in the footballing pathway. He’s also the tallest of the lot at 191cm and looms as a dynamic prospect. Duursma had some nice moments starting behind the ball before shifting into midfield, showcasing clean hands and good aerial range. He also had the chance to nab a goal in term three, but put the set shot wide after a 50-metre penalty.

#24 Finn O’Brien (Gippsland Power)

One who was trialled at both ends of the ground, O’Brien had plenty of the ball for a taller (192cm) player. He took front position up forward and clunked a couple of nice marks in the first half, even slotting a goal after the half time siren. He then swung back and looked assured in possession, positioning well across the defensive arc in a solid all-round performance.

Willem Duursma on the ball for Vic Country | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

Vic Metro:

#5 Lachy Dovaston (Eastern Ranges)

Potentially the best player afield, Dovaston led a brigade of Eastern Ranges talent which impressed in game one. Running through the mid-forward rotation, he showcased a nice turn of speed and good power going both ways; either finding exits through traffic, or hunting the opposition with smothers and tackles. He was busy throughout the match but really took over in terms two and three, the latter of which he capped off with a goal.

#7 Sam Grij (Oakleigh Chargers)

Sporting a tucked-in Metro shirt, Grij was among his side’s wingers before being sighted behind the ball. Though he had some nice moments on the outer, the lean 178cm talent wasn’t afraid to engage in contact to win the loose balls. He rode the hits well and recovered to win his own ball in combination with his uncontested possessions.

#9 Jeremy Newsome (Eastern Ranges)

Easy to spot with a flowing mop of hair, Newsome came to life at the start of the second term. He took on the kick-ins, provided great overlap run, and positioned well to intercept – proving somewhat of a triple threat in defence. He was later utilised on the wing and continued to carry the ball in transition, working hard to be a prominent force on the outside.

#14 Jamie Gilchrist (Eastern Ranges)

Gilchrist was one who built into the game nicely, rotating through midfield but also proving to be one of Metro’s busier forwards. He snared two goals in the first half; one via a set shot and the other over the back on an end-to-end passage, helping set up Metro’s ascendancy. He also chained well by hand through the middle and directed traffic when necessary.

#15 Charlie Sammartino (Oakleigh Chargers)

Bookending his day with the first and last goals of the game, Sammartino got to work straight away with a mark off the first centre clearance. Having been busy in attack, he spent the second and third quarters down back and continued to do some nice things aerially at 188cm, reading the ball well in flight. He then snuck forward again for his fourth quarter goal.

#17 Oliver Greeves (Eastern Ranges)

Greeves spent a half up forward before being unleashed in midfield, with the 190cm prospect booting goals in the first and second terms. He wasn’t afraid to absorb contact with ball in hand and remained composed in tight spots, also proving clean in his handling. He looks well developed and used his size at stoppage, while also kicking the ball with power, similar to how fellow Eastern product Josh Smillie operates.

Charlie Sammartino booted two goals in game one | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

  • Team
  • Vic Country
  • Vic Metro

GAME 2: Vic Country 7.4 (46) def. by Vic Metro 14.17 (101)

Vic Country:

#2 Josh Lindsay (Geelong Falcons)

Lindsay looked on track for a huge day and despite a quieter second half, still ended up being one of Vic Country’s best. The Geelong Falcons prospect was a starting midfielder in the first half and began to take over in term two, where he popped up everywhere to rack up possessions. He looked clean and balanced with the ball during said period, before popping up with a nice snap goal in the third quarter.

#4 Giuseppe Posterino (Geelong Falcons)

Sporting what looked like a fairly fresh trim in the mould of Dustin Martin, Posterino also wore the number four and provided a bit of power up forward. His kicks were punchy and he drove his legs in attacking phases, albeit proving a touch overzealous at times. The Falcons talent later enjoyed some midfield minutes in the second half as both sides shuffled the magnets.

#22 Riley Onley (Murray Bushrangers)

Booting two goals playing mostly in midfield, Onley displayed a few nice traits at 191cm. He put his stamp on the game during term two and used his range well throughout the match, even converting his two set shots with aplomb. Onley competed hard and looked to make things happen with ball in hand, albeit if he ran into a bit of trouble on occasion. 

#29 Charlie McKinnon (GWV Rebels)

The 192cm swingman was arguably the most influential tall afield, first having an impact in defence before shifting forward. He showed some serious aerial nous with clean intercept marks and strong spoils in the first three quarters, toweling up his direct opponent on long entries. He was then thrown forward in term four and hit the scoreboard straight away, clunking two more marks and converting consecutive goals.

Giuseppe Posterino was lively in game two | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

Vic Metro:

#1 Ricky Theodoropoulas (Sandringham Dragons)

It was a busy day for Theodoropoulas, who was the smallest player named across both matched. It hardly deterred him and he used his traits to advantage, showing a sharp turn of speed and great smarts in the forward half. The diminutive talent couldn’t quite find the goals but was pushed up to the wing after half time, where he benefitted from Metro’s clean stoppage exits.

#2 Tyson Gresham (Northern Knights)

The brother of St Kilda gun Jade, Gresham is similar in size and class to his elder sibling. It took him a little while to built into the game but he finished strongly, benefitting from a move into midfield. He started forward and also spent time on a wing, proving evasive and nifty as any 169cm talent should. There is ample room for improvement but the signs of class are there.

#3 Freddie Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons)

Another lively small in Metro’s game two side, Brayshaw was one of the game’s brightest starters. The Sandringham Dragons talent featured on a wing but got busy forward of centre, even putting home a tidy goal on the run in term one. He had the ball on a string in the early stages and owned Metro’s left forward flank, showing great smarts to cut off opposition kicks and coming to life with ball in hand. He was quieter as the game wore on, and was eventually sighted down back in the second half.

#8 Oliver Watt (Calder Cannons)

One of Metro’s rotating midfielders, Watt also had a say inside attacking 50 with goals in the third and fourth quarters. He combined well with teammates to navigate the stoppages, doing much of his best work by hand. Up forward, he scored from the opening clearance of the second half and capped his day nicely by recovering first from an aerial contest to boot another major out the back.

#10 Jack Dalton (Sandringham Dragons)

Dalton wasn’t among Metro’s starting midfield mix but had his best moments there, chaining possessions by hand and also getting to the outside himself. He produced a few fluent forward 50 entries and wasn’t afraid to carry the ball, proving productive at the source. A set shot miss and poor advantage take saw Dalton register two behinds, but he made up for them with a set shot goal in term three.

#11 Isaac Dugdale (Northern Knights)

Hardly short of dominant in his primary position off half-back, Dugdale racked up possessions from behind the ball before being thrown into the centre bounces. He provided great run and drive, intercepted nicely, and finished much of his work with sharp left-foot kicks. Dugdale’s output didn’t slow once moved into midfield, where he continued to find the ball and surge it forward on the outside.

#18 Xavier Bamert (Sandringham Dragons)

Bamert was one of the more impactful players afield, mixing time between the midfield and forward line. He booted the first goal of the game and took an absolute screamer in the opening half, before nabbing another major from a couple of chances in the fourth quarter. At 184cm, he used his size on the inside and made his presence felt when the ball came his way.

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