Up the Grades: Top prospects unleashed

A PAIR of top AFL Draft prospects were unleashed into the VFL this past weekend, with pick one fancy Harley Reid (Carlton) and first round talent Zane Duursma (Casey) both making their state league debuts.

Reid was the subject of this week’s Player Focus, entrusted by the Blues’ coaching staff to make an impact in midfield and starting at the opening centre bounce. He won the very first clearance to kick off his VFL stint in style, before also being used behind the ball.

The Bendigo Pioneers utility finished with 13 disposals as his side went down by five points to Footscray, while Duursma managed 12 touches as his Demons notched an even five-goal win over Box Hill on Sunday.

>> VFL Player Focus: Harley Reid

A couple more Talent League stars made the VFL grade this week. Oakleigh Chargers defender Nathan Philactides joined Luke Teal in Richmond’s defence, compiling 13 disposals (10 handballs) in the Tigers’ 73-point loss to Gold Coast. Teal had it 11 times and laid five tackles in his third VFL outing.

Over in Coburg, George Stevens turned out for Geelong as the Cats chalked up a scrappy road win. The strongly built defender collected 16 disposals and three marks on debut and if any junior is physically ready for senior footy, it’s him.

Meanwhile, the SANFL rolled on into Round 4 and the usual two suspects were employed at League level. Norwood half-back Logan Evans had 12 touches and eight tackles in a loss to Glenelg, while Patrick Weckert‘s Eagles also suffered a loss to North Adelaide.

In the Reserves grade, Sturt’s Alex Holt put up another strong batch of numbers with 19 disposals and seven marks in the Double Blues’ two-point win over Central District. Top 10 prospect Ashton Moir snared a goal from six touches as Glenelg snuck home by the same margin.

>> 2023 South Australia U20 squad

Out West, Subiaco again fielded a trio of young guns in the top flight and also defeated reigning premier. First round fancy Koltyn Tholstrup had 11 disposals, while big key forward Luker Kentfield had seven and booted his maiden League goal. Midseason draft prospect Robert Hansen Jr also impressed with six inside 50s from his 11 possessions.

Peel Thunder midfielder Clay Hall was a touch quieter this week, but still helped his side hand East Perth its first loss of the season. Over-ager Roan O’Hehir also turned out for South Fremantle, claiming 14 disposals in a loss to Swan Districts.

>> Around the Grounds: WAFL Round 4

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