Scouting Notes: 2023 AFL U18s – South Australia vs. Vic Metro

VIC METRO kicked off its 2023 AFL Under 18 National Championships campaign with a 68-point drubbing of South Australia in Adelaide on Sunday. We highlight some of the top performers and AFL Draft prospects from either side in the latest instalment of Scouting Notes.

>> Match Report: Metro forwards feast in big win over SA

  • Team
  • South Australia
  • Vic Metro


#2 Sid Draper (South Adelaide)
Midfielder | 05/07/2006 | 180cm | 72kg

Arguably South Australia’s most effective midfielder and certainly their leading ball winner across the first two games, Draper was the only Croweater to notch up over 20 touches on Sunday. The bottom-ager posted 27 disposals, six marks and five clearances in another top outing, showcasing his ability to find exits at stoppage. Much like elder brother Arlo, his speed and agility are exciting athletic traits which benefit his game and help him catch the eye as a ball winner who can quickly shift from inside, to the outer.

#8 Ashton Moir (Glenelg)
Forward | 15/04/2005 | 188cm | 84kg

It was an indifferent kind of game for Moir, much like the last few weeks, but he managed to display glimpses of his high-end talent in a couple of roles. He started in his usual post up forward and worked high up the ground, searching for marks in the face of poor and limited delivery. His aerial intent and follow-up efforts improved as the game wore on, and he was shifted to defence after half time. The move saw him yield 16 disposals and four marks overall.

#13 Luca Slade (Sturt)
Midfielder | 11/03/2005 | 181cm | 72kg

One of the few Croweaters who had a genuine crack throughout the contest, Slade was hard at it for his 19 disposals, five tackles and five inside 50s. His intent and consistency of effort were particularly impressive, as he started out on the wing before earning extended minutes at the centre bounces. Slade’s size was a factor and he made sure his Metro opponents were made to earn their possessions, capping off his own game nicely with a goal in the final quarter.

#26 Kane McAuliffe (North Adelaide)
Midfielder | 01/03/2005 | 187cm | 90kg

South Australia was beaten by a classy Metro on-ball group, though McAuliffe was one Croweater who attempted to wrestle back momentum after half time. He signalled his intent at the contest with some strong ball winning efforts, attempting to set the tone for his side in what ended up being a heavy loss. The deputy vice-captain made his presence felt with 18 disposals, nine tackles and five clearances, but the going was tough.

>> Rising Stocks: Bottom-agers steal the show

Nick Watson (left) drew close attention from Alex Holt | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central


#3 Nick Watson (Eastern Ranges)
Small Forward | 24/02/2005 | 170cm | 67kg

The most effective forward afield with a game-high four goals, Watson shook off heavy attention from not only Alex Holt, but most of South Australia’s backline. He thrived in the heat of the battle, constantly riling up his opponents and celebrating each score with gusto. Watson was stationed almost exclusively inside 50 where his speed off the mark proved troublesome, only needing an inch of separation to take a mile on the lead. He also drew free kicks in expect fashion and converted his chances over the mark with as much aplomb.

#6 Jagga Smith (Oakleigh Chargers)
Midfielder | 28/01/2006 | 181cm | 68kg

Slick as ever, Smith went about his usual business en route to compiling 26 disposals, four clearances and five inside 50s. The whippet-like midfielder showcased his array of skills with plenty of centre bounce opportunities, proving clean at the fall of the ball and near-impossible to lay a hand on. Smith’s smarts and agility saw him shift from inside to outside in a flash, thriving as a primary receiver as Metro soundly won the possession battle.

#10 Levi Ashcroft (Sandringham Dragons)
Midfielder | 18/12/2006 | 179cm | 75kg

Much like his elder brother, Ashcroft is developing into a hard working and smart accumulator who can consistently post big numbers. He racked up a game high 32 disposals on Sunday, including 19 handballs and 26 uncontested possessions as he dictated play between the arcs. Often times, Metro’s transitions through the corridor passed by Ashcroft’s hands as he linked play with efficiency and good decision making. He just knows where to find the footy.

#28 Josh Smillie (Eastern Ranges)
Midfielder | 17/05/2006 | 194cm | 92kg

The third member of Vic Metro’s bottom-age midfield brigade, Smillie matched Smith’s haul of 26 disposals to go with five tackles and eight inside 50s. At 194cm, he has the capacity to bully opponents at stoppage and dish the ball out to others when not clearing the ball himself. He did so on Sunday with typically clean skills and got into good positions to launch inside 50.

#33 Jordan Croft (Calder Cannons)
Key Forward | 12/05/2005 | 200cm | 80kg

Along with Watson, Croft took over in the second quarter with two of his three goals and plenty of productive work inside 50. The 200cm Western Bulldogs father-son prospect is certainly raw and prone to some clumsy plays, but proved his first round potential with strong aerial presence and sound set shot conversion. He ended up with 10 disposals and 3.2, with his three marks not entirely indicative of the amount of times he flew hard at the ball.

>> Top 20: AFL Draft Power Rankings

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