Scouting Notes: 2023 Talent League – Round 12

WITH representative football in full flow, opportunities were aplenty in the Coates Talent League for those wishing to prove a point of their quality. We noted some of the top performers and prospects in all six of Round 12’s games.

  • Team
  • Tasmania Devils
  • Northern Knights

By: Liam Badkin


#4 Geordie Payne

Payne looked to take the game on once again in Tassie’s tough loss to the Knights, giving each contest his all no matter the circumstances. Although he occasionally put his teammates under pressure with his decision making, the defender’s willingness to attack the contest and create some drive out of the backline was a key element to the Devils’ success over the course of the game. He also competed well aerially, saving a goal in the first quarter with a well-timed spoil and bringing the ball to ground on several occasions.

#10 Tom Beaumont

Almost dragged Tasmania over the line at North Hobart Oval with an inspirational performance, and arguably claimed best on ground honours despite the loss. After a solid first half that had more defensive elements standing out, Beaumont exploded in the third term, sitting as the deepest forward in an attempt to give Tassie some more scoring power. He booted four majors in the premiership quarter alone, including a nice snap tucked up against the boundary. Beaumont finished the game with five goals from 18 disposals to go with a whopping 12 tackles.

#28 Oscar Van Dam

The half-back brought plenty of dash and flair to the game with his willingness to take proceedings on. He looked clean below his knees, even when under pressure by the opposition, and made sure to be closely checking his opponent when the Knights looked dangerous inside their forward 50. Despite getting the ball at near top speed, Van Dam kept his composure more often than not, putting the ball out in front of his teammates and giving them the best chance at taking possession. He finished with 15 disposals for the match.


#1 Jesse Dattoli

Dattoli was typically hard at the contest in the tight win over Tasmania, attacking every contest with ferocity and often getting first to the ball. After being caught in possession early in the match, the midfielder did not let it shake his mindset, burrowing in at every possible opportunity, and was rewarded with a free kick on multiple occasions. Had a couple of opportunities to add a major or two next to his name, but both were wayward set shots. He finished the match with 16 disposals and three tackles in a gutsy effort given the amount of tackles he wore.

#16 Flynn Riley

It was a massive day at the office for the ruckman, who won his individual battle with Tassie’s talls and played a crucial role in getting the Knights over the line in dramatic fashion. Riley recorded a whopping 49 hitouts, and his placement was simply terrific, allowing the Northern midfielders to take the ball on the run and get it forward as fast as possible. His work around the ground was just as impressive, slotting a pair of goals including a clutch major via snap to put the Knights within a point with just minutes remaining. Riley was a central figure for the Knights getting over the line, and stamped his authority on the contest across all four quarters.

#19 Charlie Naish

The hard-working Naish was at his impactful best again at North Hobart Oval, finding his fair share of the ball all over the ground and stepping up in some big moments. He finished the match with 25 disposals (20 kicks), and popped up everywhere for the Knights. His long kicking put Tasmania under the pump on a fair few occasions, while he popped up at a vital moment in the fourth quarter with an important clearance to get the ball forward and keep the Knights’ momentum rolling towards the match-winning lead.

#26 Zak Johnson

Johnson was a presence for the Knights ahead of the ball, using his strong hands and clever positioning to make life difficult for Tasmania’s backline. He could’ve had a much bigger day at the office if not for a bout of inaccuracy in front of the big sticks, finishing with 1.3 next to his name. However, the one major he recorded was vital, coming against all of the Devils’ momentum and ensuring the match did not get away from the Knights. Johnson recorded 18 disposals in an eye-catching display.

  • Team
  • Sandringham Dragons
  • Calder Cannons

By: Michael Alvaro


#37 Taj Hotton

One of the many talented bottom-agers in Vic Metro’s Under 18 squad, Hotton is by no means the most prolific but has plenty of upside. He posted 13 disposals and three marks on Saturday playing mostly as a forward, while also enjoying stints in midfield. His clean hands and springy leap are akin to older brother Olli, which are great traits if he can begin to put it all together consistently.

#58 Murphy Reid

Our Player of the Week for Round 12, Reid put in an outstanding performance with 30 disposals, eight tackles, and three goals. He was tidy at the coalface and difficult to lay a hand on, often clearing with good penetration off a step or wheeling away into space on his preferred side. Reid also finished guilt-edge chances with aplomb, needing only a split second to split the big sticks. His third major was effectively the sealer and another classy finish on the snap.

#64 Luke Trainor

Another gun bottom-ager in the Sandringham squad, Trainor racked up strong numbers in defence with 25 disposals, eight marks, and seven rebound 50s. He got into great spots to intercept and while he could have held onto a few more grabs, was most impactful when looking to set up play from the back. Enjoying the responsibility of having ball in hand, Trainor directed traffic ahead of him and distributed terrific kicks over long and short ranges.

#70 Archer May

May has been in terrific form of late but in wet conditions, did not have it all his own way on Saturday. He still had a say in the result, shifting into the ruck after a quiet first half and eventually hitting the scoreboard with two late goals to bring his total to three. The over-ager had an immediate impact at the centre bounces with clearances, and got his marking game going late on with a big pack clunk for his final score.


#2 Isaac Kako

Kako finished with a relatively modest stat line of 12 disposals and two goals, but had his opponents on strings at times and was damaging with most touches. The bottom-ager seemed to always have separation and was consistently first to mop up loose balls at half-forward, before backing his pace when powering towards goal. He was also typically dangerous when cutting inside by foot and brought others into the game with his creativity.

#3 Jayden Nguyen

By no means a massive accumulator, Nguyen was another bottom-ager who produced memorable moments. His best was a goal in the opening quarter, where he hit the ball at speed, gathered and converted all in one fluent motion. Elsewhere, the wingman was busy between the arcs and used his pace to drive Calder forward at every opportunity.

#11 Ryan Eyre

Eyre has hardly wavered in his output after the community break and continued on his way with 24 disposals, and six rebound 50s on Saturday. The top-aged Essendon NGA prospect Would often double up on each possession, finding a short option from the last line and streaming past to get the ball back. His overlap run helped Calder move the ball swiftly from defence, and Eyre used his agility shrewdly to bide a fraction more time on the ball.

#14 Hugo Garcia

Though he is more commonly seen working hard up and down the wing or as a high half-forward, Garcia was Calder’s top ball winner on the inside against Sandringham, notching 27 disposals and laying 14 tackles. He was clean at the coalface and composed in the face of fire, often unleashing clearances with his long left-foot kicking. Garcia even rested forward and hit the scoreboard, sneaking over the back in term three.

  • Team
  • Murray Bushrangers
  • Bendigo Pioneers

By: Michael Alvaro


#2 Nick Newton

It was no surprise to see Newton finish as one of Murray’s top ball winners, registering 24 disposals and five inside 50s from midfield. The over-ager did well to get first hands on the ball at centre bounces and utilised his deceptively good step to shift onto the outside. When that didn’t work, he used his strength to break clear and had no trouble taking on the tackles. Newton capped off his game nicely with a running goal in the final quarter, where he steadied while running at full tilt.

#14 Joeve Cooper

Cooper has found a home on the wing this season and again looked lively for his 16 disposals on Saturday. He looked to take off with ball in hand, carving a way forward with his speed and agility, while also using the ball sharply on a few occasions. The top-ager was another who hit the scoreboard with a classy finish, slotting the ball through under heavy pressure on the boundary.

#20 Jack Whitlock

Whitlock was Murray’s rotating ruck but arguably had a greater impact in his primary forward post, notching nine touches and eight hitouts. While his numbers don’t jump off the page, the bottom-ager had great upside at 199cm with his mobility and ability to get involved in general play. He booted the game’s first goal from a set shot and could have had another in the fourth after running down an opponent inside 50.

#24 Matt Whitlock

Playing at the other end of the ground to twin brother Jack, Matt Whitlock showed similar dexterity in his key position post. He had a tough matchup for most of the day and could have been a bit more impactful aerially, but was arguably more impressive with his ability to get involved on the spread and in attacking phases. He finished with 11 disposals and four marks.


#3 Tobie Travaglia

Reprising his usual role on the wing, Travaglia was reliable as ever as he racked up a personal-best hauls of 26 disposals and seven marks. The bottom-ager showed glimpses of his turn of speed, blending that kind of flair with more prominent toughness. He owned his space and rose for a strong contested mark in the second quarter, which yielded his lone goal of the game.

#11 Oskar Smartt

Having been overlooked for Vic Country’s second championship game, Smartt made his presence felt back at Talent League level with 15 disposals, eight marks, and three goals. The powerful midfielder-forward could have shown more finesse at times, but made unconventional techniques work when shooting on goal and used his explosiveness to penetrate the Bushrangers’ defence in a variety of ways.

#17 Jobe Shanahan

Having seen first hand what dynamic talls can do when matched up on Nate Caddy last week, Shanahan took on a similar role against Murray. The 192cm bottom-ager started in midfield and had stints up forward, claiming a season-high 17 disposals and five marks. His aerial game was still most impressive, but Shanahan won some ball around the contest and often sent it forward off a step. There are some nice traits to work with ahead of next year.

#21 Mitch Doddos

Pegged as an over-ager to watch coming into the year, Doddos had arguably his best game yet on Saturday with 16 disposals, seven marks, and a goal playing ruck-forward. When inside 50, he often read the ball better than his opponent and worked into good spots to mark unimpeded, but just lacked the finishing touch which would have seen him have an even bigger day out. Doddos also won eight hitouts when rucking and has shown a willingness to develop in a variety of roles.

  • Team
  • Dandenong Stingrays
  • Gippsland Power

By: Declan Reeve


#8 Sam Frangalas

The joint highest ball winner for the game with 35 disposals, Frangalas consistently won the footy at the coalface and attempted to power through packs to kick forward, looking to create drive every time he won the footy. Frangalas balanced his disposal fairly well too, still opting to move the ball to space by hand when he wasn’t in a good position to get out of congestion himself.

#17 Harvey Langford

The bottom-aged midfielder continued his fine form at Talent League level with a handy 27 disposals, largely between the arcs. Langford demonstrated a good work rate in the defensive phase of the game as he regularly got back into the defensive 50 to assist in recovering the ball, or holding width to be an exit option once his teammates won it back.

#40 Cooper Hynes

It is not uncommon for bottom-agers to thrive in some more important roles at Talent League Level while representative football is on, but Hynes took it to another level with his performance. In the absence of the majority of the Stingrays’ state stars, Hynes stepped up to slot a game-high five goals from 22 disposals. Hynes is already quite strong and used his size and strength to dominate in contested situations, typically delivering the ball well by hand to runners. Hynes worked hard on the outside as well, evidenced by his goal tally, getting to his teammates vision and occasionally having to make the best a poor disposal, to take all his chances. 


#3 Xavier Lindsay

Similar to some of his Dandenong opposition, Lindsay was afforded more time through the midfield and continued to do all the things that he’s done well for the season. Lindsay was confident on the inside, approaching the ball with good technique and quickly firing it out by hand to teammates running past, but looking just as comfortable trying to get out himself to kick it. Lindsay was solid defensively, registering eight tackles, happy to gut run into the defensive 50 when his side needed him to. 

#11 Tom Hanily

Very much an ‘almost’ day for Hanily, who registered an equal game-high six scoring shots, but only managed a return of 1.5. The lively small provided plenty of zip in the forward half of the ground, looking particularly dangerous in transition where he’d get himself free into to space, and run the ball forward with pace no one else could match. Hanily didn’t neglect his defensive duties either, chasing opponents manically when they won possession, laying eight tackles.

  • Team
  • Western Jets
  • Oakleigh Chargers

By: Michael Alvaro


#1 Massimo Raso

Raso continued his strong run of form with another tidy outing on Sunday, collecting an equal team-high 22 disposals to go with four inside 50s and a goal. The bottom-ager was clean at the contest and did his best work by hand, but also showed good touch by kicking off both feet. An exceptional crumbing goal in the first quarter was his highlight of the day.

#3 Lucca Grego

Continuing to post good numbers down back, Grego was one of three Jets who amassed 22 touches, including 16 kicks and five rebound 50s. He did a lot of his work inside defensive 50, padding his numbers with the kick-ins and chaining together short possessions when moving the ball forward. He expanded his game after half time and was not afraid to lay hits when defending, combining his toughness with smarts and clean hands to shark a few Oakleigh handballs.


#2 Ollie Badr

Resembling a bee in a bottle with his movement, Badr kept busy throughout four quarters for 18 disposals and four inside 50s. The diminutive prospect enjoyed his time in midfield, swooping on ground balls and looking to step his way to the outside. His kicking looked noticeably better on Sunday, even at full tilt, and Badr was willing to use either foot to make the right pass.

#7 Jagga Smith

Rested from Vic Metro duties after an impressive opening outing, Smith looked two levels above his Talent League opposition this week. The bottom-ager racked up a sublime 37 disposals, spending plenty of early minutes up forward before being unleashed in midfield. His ability to pick passes on the outside was brilliant to watch, with Smith’s evasiveness allowing him to remove pressure from his disposals and execute on his good decisions. He’s a real accumulator who has the Nick Daicos-type quality of chaining possessions and running all day, while being deceptively tough.

#12 Billy Hicks

The standout goal kicker on Sunday, Hicks bagged five goals from 10 disposals in an opportunistic outing inside 50. He was most effective when camped close to goal, Proving difficult to beat one-on-one and reading the ball well when it came in long. The top-ager owned his space, was clever, and made good on nearly all of his opportunities within 30m of the big sticks.

#32 Boston Dowling

Dowling had a 10cm advantage on Western’s ruck and took advantage of it to produce his best game of the season. The 203cm tall talent notched 17 disposals and 26 hitouts, but was arguably most impressive with his ability to grab the ball out of the ruck and prize his own clearances. Dowling was quite clean with ball in hand and played the basics well when getting involved in open play.

  • Team
  • Eastern Ranges
  • Geelong Falcons

By: Declan Reeve


#9 Christian Moraes

The bottom-aged midfielder put up his best disposal numbers to date with increased time through the midfield, finishing with 29 as well as a game-high 11 inside 50s. Moraes did a well to balance his game between inside and outside of the contest, reading the queues of his teammates and taps from rucks to act quickly in either winning the ball himself and handing off to space, or making a run to receive on the outside at speed.

#13 Riley Weatherill

Overlooked for Vic Metro’s clash against the Allies, Weatherill did his chances of selection for this coming Sunday no harm slotting two goals from 12 touches, and putting in a stint in the defensive 50 to hint at a possible position switch if needed. Weatherill was strong in the air and on the lead, never beaten when one-on-one with footy coming at him.

#15 Joshua Tovey

Another Ranges tall who was strong aerially, Tovey led the game for marks with 10, demonstrating his strength in defence and ability to damage on the rebound as he roamed up the ground with his side in possession, putting the ball inside 50 5 times despite plying his trade in the defensive half. 

#26 Josh Smillie

Surprisingly being rested from Metro duties despite his dominance in game one, Smillie looked to force his way back into the side against the Falcons. Leading the game for disposals, the bottom-ager was nearly unstoppable around stoppages, using his strong frame to his advantage to outmuscle opponents for the ball and hand it off to runners. Despite the size and strength advantage, Smillie didn’t rely on it solely as he won plenty of the ball outside the contest, able to gain separation on his opponents and use the ball well going forward.


#10 Patrick Hughes

An ever consistent inside ball winner, it was business as usual for Hughes despite tough opposition from the Ranges midfield brigade. Hughes was uncompromising on his way to 25 touches, never backing away from a contest regardless of oncoming contact or number of opponents around the footy. He didn’t make it easy for his opposition around stoppages either, looking to lay a tackle or apply heavy pressure when he hadn’t won first possession himself.

#32 Reef Page

The 190cm forward had his most productive game to date, registering three goals and as many behinds from his 12 touches, ending the day as the Falcons’ only multiple goal kicker. Although he did benefit from some ill-discipline from his Ranges opposition, Page was lively throughout with some clean work below his knees and good leads to register each shot on goal.

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