Up the Grades: Stevens bares claws in Cats return

TALENT pathway prospects were littered across the state leagues over the weekend, headlined by George Stevens‘ return to Geelong’s VFL side. The GWV Rebels product won a team-high 29 touches in the Cats’ heavy loss to Collingwood, thriving in wet conditions with his contested nous.

Stevens has been a standout in the Talent League of late, averaging 38 disposals, seven tackles, and seven inside 50s across his last three games. He also had a superb National Championships with Vic Country and was last seen in the VFL for his Round 6 debut.

Meanwhile, the Sydney-Gold Coast clash was littered with Northern Academy members. Swans Caiden Cleary (22 disposals) and Indhi Kirk (21) were prolific, but their side was thoroughly outclassed at the SCG by the ladder leading Suns.

All Australian ruck Ethan Read (12 disposals, five marks, four behinds) made his debut for the victors, accompanied by the likes of Will Graham, Nick Williams, and Jake Rogers. The likes of Lachlan Cabor, Tye Gander, and Max Rider were also fielded for the Swans.

Ethan Read made his VFL debut with the Suns | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

The trend continued in GWS’ big win over Northern Bullants. Key forward Charlie McCormack was handed a debut, joining fellow Giants Academy members Harvey Thomas (14 disposals, two goals), Daniel Gauci (16 disposals, seven tackles, one goal), and Dayne Posthuma in the side.

Frankston got up over Coburg in a clash of two standalone clubs. The Dolphins were boosted by two debutants in Eastern key defender Cooper Trembath (11 disposals, five marks) and Sandringham Dragons captain Will Brown (five disposals, one goal) in the 36-point win.

Elsewhere, top-age Oakleigh Chargers pair Nathan Philactides and Kynan Brown turned out for Richmond and Casey respectively. The latter, a father-son candidate for Melbourne, snared his second goal in as many games at the level as the Demons were felled by Carlton.

Over in Western Australia, a pair of state squad teammates made their maiden senior outings. Perth’s Oscar Hine-Baston cracked the grade in a 28-point loss to Swan Districts, but Ashton Ferreira had a much better time of it with 26 touches, eight marks and seven inside 50s, albeit also in a defeat.

Arguably the main event out West saw state MVP Daniel Curtin lock horns with Clay Hall, whose Peel Thunder outfit beat Claremont by 32 points. Both players notched up 20 disposals, with Curtin also taking six marks in his second League game.

Subiaco tall Luker Kentfield was another state representative to feature in the top flight, stringing together one of his better games to date with seven disposals, three marks, four tackles and two goals in a monster win over West Coast.

Peel also had a couple of juniors running around in the Reserves. Ruck Mitchell Edwards (13 hitouts) had AFL-listed teammates to contend with in the same role, while smooth mover Reece Torrent managed 15 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s in a loss to Claremont.

Jack Delean kicked two goals for South Adelaide | Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography

South Australian livewire Jack Delean continued his senior SANFL run with two goals as South Adelaide held on to beat Norwood by two points. Eagles bottom-ager Kade Herbert also featured in the top grade, collecting a personal best 16 touches as his side went down to North Adelaide.

There was some star power in the Reserves this week, too. Ashton Moir (one goal) was subdued in Glenelg’s win over Westies, but the likes of Logan Evans (15 disposals, four marks), Patrick Weckert (12 disposals, five marks), and Kane McAuliffe (19 disposals) all had positive outings around the grounds.

With no Talent League game once again, Tassie Devils players again filtered through the TSL. Among them were Allies squad members Heath Ollington (two goals), Tom Beaumont and Arie Schoenmaker, as well as Connor Ling who was again named Glenorchy’s best in a defeat to Clarence.

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