Up the Grades: Torrent Thunders into League debut

PEEL Thunder prospect Reece Torrent became the latest draft combine invitee to make their senior debut over the weekend. The midfielder had shown strong form across four Reserves games and booted his first League goal on Saturday as the Thunder locked up third place.

Torrent was part of Western Australia’s state side this year and was a standout on Colts Grand Final day in 2022, playing his part in the Thunder’s flag. He has somewhat flown under the radar as a prospect, but is a composed and classy mover on either side of midfield or up forward.

Teammate Clay Hall also turned out for the victorious Thunder, registering 13 disposals. Ruck Mitchell Edwards featured in the Reserves for 16 touches and 20 hitouts, but has likely played his final game for the year with Peel only making finals in the top flight.

State MVP Daniel Curtin continued his run up the grades with 16 disposals as Claremont cruised past Perth to the tune of 49 points. He’ll hope to contribute to the Tigers’ League finals campaign, but could also slot back into the very strong Colts side which finished second.

Meanwhile, South Fremantle’s Ashton Ferreira put up another bunch of strong numbers as the Bulldogs thrashed West Coast. He posted 26 disposals and 11 marks, but is another prospect who has likely played his final game for the year as South failed to qualify for finals in any grade.

Koltyn Tholstrup returned from injury | Image Credit: Will Russell/AFL Photos

There was some positive news in the Reserves grade as Subiaco’s Koltyn Tholstrup returned from a groin injury via the Reserves. He has been part of the Lions’ League side for much of the year and will hope to crack the second-placed side once again after claiming 10 touches and a goal.

Elsewhere in the Reserves, Luke Kelly racked up 24 disposals, eight tackles and a goal as Swan Districts beat Edwards’ Peel Thunder, while fellow Colt Lewis Zolnier-Owens bagged five goals. The result saw the Swans finish second and set up a week one finals matchup with Subiaco.

South Australian bottom-ager Kade Herbert continues to shine in the SANFL top flight, rounding out his five-game senior stint in style over the weekend. The midfielder collected 20 disposals, nine marks and a goal as his Eagles were beaten by West Adelaide after the siren.

Kade Herbert has shown promising signs | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

A smooth mover with clean skills and good composure, Herbert made his League debut in Round 14 and kept his spot in the side ever since. Unfortunately, Woodville-West Torrens missed out on a finals berth, but Herbert may yet feature in the Under 18s postseason which begins this weekend.

Lively South Adelaide forward Jack Delean also made his return to the level on Saturday as the Panthers went down by 60 points to minor premier, Glenelg. Delean bagged two goals from eight touches and four marks, and also now has the opportunity to play in the Under 18s finals series.

In the Reserves grade, Sturt defender Alex Holt fared well in his return to the level. He claimed 21 disposals and eight marks as the Double Blues dealt with North Adelaide, who blooded Holt’s state teammate Jed Dignan (12 disposals, five clearances).

Alex Holt (middle) earned a Reserves recall | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

Another half-back in Logan Evans also took positive strides for Norwood, notching 15 disposals, four marks and four tackles in a loss to Central District. Meanwhile, midfielder Ben Ridgway amassed 19 disposals, nine marks and a goal in Glenelg’s 100-plus point win over South Adelaide.

Elsewhere, Woodville-West Torrens again littered its Reserves side with young talent in a one-point loss to West Adelaide. Among the standouts were tall forward Patrick Weckert (seven marks, four goals) and Callum Fairall (14 disposals).

Spots were limited in the high-stakes VFL Wildcard Round, but a bunch of prospects should feature come finals proper with Gold Coast and Brisbane laying claim to their academy talent. For many others in the draft frame, though, their attention turns to the upcoming combines.

>> All 61 players: National Combine invitees

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