Scouting Notes: Western Australia U18s vs. Swan Districts
WESTERN Australia tuned up for the Under 18 National Championships with one final practice match, downing a plucky Swan Districts reserves outfit by 40 points at Steel Blue Oval on Sunday afternoon.
The Sandgropers were the cleaner side throughout the contest, with their speed and outside run telling in securing the 12.9 (81) to 6.5 (41) result.
The team will head into its National Championships opener against the Allies on July 11 with plenty of confidence having won both their practice matches, and they look well placed to challenge the other sides with their key-position talent and pace.
In what was a well-rounded effort with few individual standouts, here are some of the players who caught the eye.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA U18s:
#2 Aiden O’Driscoll (Perth)
22/07/2005 | 175cm | 69kg | Wing
The speedy Perth product had some good moments, using his run and carry to be a dangerous player across the four quarters. The Western Australian ball movement often looked at its best when it went through O’Driscoll’s hands, with the 17-year-old acting as an effective link man and getting involved in several scoring chains while also hitting the scoreboard himself with a nice finish on the run in the final term. While it might not have been the most prolific game in terms of numbers, O’Driscoll showed through his pace, run and ball use that he has all the tools to be an effective player for the Sandgropers on the national stage.
#12 Kai Dehavilland (Claremont)
12/02/2005 | 181cm | 78kg | Midfielder
The Claremont product did his chances of starting in the WA midfield next week no harm as he backed up his strong game last week with another excellent performance, looking the side’s most dynamic midfielder and impressing with some of his power and agility at stoppage. On a couple of occasions, he was able to break free out the front of a stoppage, including one play where he burst from a centre clearance and lowered his eyes to lace out a leading forward. He also hit the scoreboard, launching a long-range set shot in the third term to further add to what was an impressive performance from the 18-year-old.
#28 Sam van Rooyen (Claremont)
24/02/2005 | 192cm | 84kg | Tall Forward
After a modest outing in the first practice match, Van Rooyen looked back to his best, producing a dominant first half which saw him kick three early goals. The 18-year-old was outstanding early, using good body work to take a couple of contested marks and converting his work with some nice set shots. What was particularly impressive about Van Rooyen’s game was his ability to be in the eyeline of the kicker and present as an option through timing his leads nicely. While he faded out of the game after the long break, it was a performance that should give Van Rooyen confidence ahead of a big month of footy.
Across the half-back line, Riley Hardeman, Presley Campbell, and Oscar Hine-Baston provided plenty of rebound, with the trio all looking to turn defence into attack and link up through run and carry whenever they had the ball.
Bottom-ager Bo Allan also had some good moments down back, producing a couple of important defensive efforts. Ashton Ferreira found plenty of the ball from a wing while Reece Torrent and Luke Kelly worked hard at the coalface, benefitting from the ruck work of Mitchell Edwards, who was solid if not outstanding.
Up forward, Lance Collard was largely well held for most of the afternoon but had a couple of moments that showcased his freakish talent, including an opportunistic mid-air volley to find the goals. Fellow Subiaco product Koltyn Tholstrup had his influence curtailed after copping an early bump which saw him speaking to the physios, but he played out the game.