Up the Grades: Top prospect makes VFL return

TOP five AFL Draft prospect Zane Duursma was among the top-age talent to hit state league level over the weekend, as he turned out for his second game with the Casey Demons. The All Australian midfielder-forward notched 10 touches and three marks in a 42-point win over Coburg.

A natural inside attacking 50, Duursma was named in the same forward line as axed Melbourne ruck Brodie Grundy, who managed 12 touches and 1.3 as he continues to press for a senior recall. Duursma will likely return to the Talent League on Saturday for Gippsland Power’s clash with Northern.

Elsewhere, Harvey Johnston traded the Dragons of Sandringham to turn out for the Zebras in his VFL debut. The crafty and evasive midfielder-forward was credited with eight disposals and four marks in a loss to Collingwood, and could not quite split the big sticks with his single score.

His Dragons teammate Luke Lloyd also broke through for a state league berth, only with Frankston. Playing alongside brother Joe, the marking forward clunked five grabs among his six disposals in a defeat to the second-placed Werribee.

A few Giants Academy products also got a runaround with the reserves side. Key position Allies representative Dayne Posthuma was steady for his eight touches – a haul matched by Daniel Gauci, albeit all handballs – while over-ager Taine Moraschi had it 10 times against a rampant Suns outfit.

Over in South Australia, another bottom-aged state representative broke through for a League debut. This time it was Eagles midfielder Kade Herbert, who compiled 11 disposals, five marks, and five tackles in a loss to Adelaide. He was presented his jumper by former Crows ruck and Eagles junior, Sam Jacobs.

South Adelaide’s Sid Draper also featured in the senior grade. The recently crowned state MVP matched Herbert’s effort of 11 disposals and claimed four marks in his third outing, as the Panthers lost their third game in a row – this time to Central District.

Meanwhile, the Reserves grade was littered with returning state representatives. North Adelaide midfielder Kane McAuliffe was among the best performed prospects, notching up 17 disposals, eight tackles, seven clearances and six inside 50s in a strong stat line.

In the same game, defender Logan Evans was subdued with five touches, while state ruck Alex Van Wyk had a monster day out. The over-ager put together 20 disposals, eight marks, six clearances and 34 hitouts as the Redlegs were pipped by two points.

Glenelg’s Ashton Moir showed some positive signs as he looks to redirect his draft stocks on the incline, taking four marks among his 15 disposals against West Adelaide. For the Bloods, Oscar Talbot debuted with five marks, while defender Alex Holt was quiet in Sturt’s big win over Woodville-West Torrens.

Koltyn Tholstrup and his Subiaco teammates listen on | Image Credit: Subiaco FC

The likes of Clay Hall and Koltyn Tholstrup continued their strong form in the West Australian top flight. Peel’s Hall snared two goals from 21 touches in a loss to East Perth, while Tholstrup could only manage 1.3 from 14 disposals in Subiaco’s win over Perth. Big man Luker Kentfield also turned out for the Lions.

Peel Thunder also had junior talent playing in the reserves, with ruck Mitchell Edwards (11 disposals, 16 hitouts) and midfielder-forward Reece Torrent (13 disposals, eight tackles) among the solid performers in a win over the Royals – going one better than Hall and the seniors.

A bunch of Tasmanian talent also returned to the TSL with the Devils having a week off. Jack Callinan and Jack Dolliver (three goals) had a win for Clarence against Lauderdale, with the former also named among his side’s best players.

The game to watch from a talent perspective saw Launceston take on rival, North Launceston. Colby McKercher was named best afield for the Blues as he ran out alongside fellow Devils and Allies representatives Arie Schoenmaker, Tom Beaumont, and James Leake. For the victorious Bombers, over-ager Heath Ollington was among the best.

Heath Ollington (left) and Colby McKercher turned rivals in the TSL | Image Credit: Graham Denholm/AFL Photos

Northern Academy members who missed out on VFL call-ups were sighted across the QAFL, AFL Sydney and AFL Canberra premier grades. One of the better Sydney games saw Caiden Cleary claim bragging rights over fellow Swans Lachlan Cabor and Tye Gander as Sydney Uni beat St George.

A few more Swans Academy players were also afield as the UNSW-ES Bulldogs went down to North Shore Bombers. Father-son prospect Indhi Kirk was named among the Bulldogs’ best, while Max Rider snagged two goals in the defeat.

Up in Queensland, fellow Allies Patrick Snell, Leonardo Lombard, and Nick Williams helped their sides claim QAFL wins. Snell’s Wilston Grange toppled Maroochydore, who fielded Lions Academy captain Bradley McDonald. The latter recently debuted for the Lions’ VFL team.

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