Scouting Notes: 2023 SANFL U18s – Finals Week One

SOUTH Adelaide booked its Grand Final ticket and Sturt progressed to week two as the 2023 SANFL Under 18s postseason got underway over the weekend. We took note of some of the top prospects from both games, focussing in on the draft combine invitees, state representatives, and bottom-aged talent.

>> Up the Grades: Eagles unleash future stars in Reserves final

  • Team
  • Woodville-West Torrens
  • Sturt

Woodville-West Torrens 12.5 (77) def. by Sturt 13.9 (87)


#19 Rome Burgoyne

Rome is the third Burgoyne brother, and son of Peter, looking to pave his path to the elite level and will feature on Port Adelaide’s radar as a father-son prospect for next year. The smooth moving, composed defender notched 17 disposals, including a team-high 15 kicks which was indicative of his overall approach. Burgoyne seldom shifted gears, but proved his ability to generate overlap run and was effective when given the time and space to pick out pin-point kicks.

#25 Tom Luck

Reprising his role as the Eagles’ primary ruck, Luck led the way with 15 hitouts to go with 10 disposals, four marks and four clearances. He leapt high at the centre bounces and followed up with typically clean work at the fall of the ball, while also proving effective as a rotating forward. He presented on the lead and held front position well to end up with a third term goal.

#26 Tyler Welsh

It was a massively economical game from Welsh, who booted six goals from his seven kicks. Even the non-scoring disposal was a shot at goal, as Welsh competed hard inside 50 and owned his space. The 2024 Adelaide father-son prospect was far too strong one-on-one, holding his ground close to goal when he wasn’t leading up at the kicker full-chested. His conversion over the mark was sound, although Welsh’s highlight for the day was a miracle snap finish from the pocket. The Eagles would have been pleased by his defensive intent, too.


#25 Loch Rawlinson

Having come up clutch with the goal which saw Sturt seal a finals spot last week, Rawlinson produced the goods when his side needed it once again. The energetic small forward launched two terrific six-pointers from 50 metres which proved reward for effort in a 12-disposal, five-mark game. Though perhaps hungry for scores at times, Rawlinson worked hard in the high half-forward role and was able to use his pace on the way back to goal.

#30 Luca Slade

Slade was another Blue who proved instrumental in his side’s final quarter fightback, setting the tone through midfield and showing the kind of intent required. He got his legs pumping and drove Sturt forward through the corridor, but was also able to accumulate possessions through work rate around the ground. He carried momentum well and even showcased solid overhead marking ability, finishing with 23 disposals, four clearances and a crucial final quarter goal for the lead.

#39 Henry Maerschel

Though his direct opponent, Welsh booted six goals, Maerschel showed some nice signs down back – particularly when moving forward. The 189cm state combine invitee gathered 15 disposals, four marks and four rebound 50s, leaning on his speed-endurance capabilities to chain possessions in transition. In one play, he carried the ball with three bounces and sent Sturt end-to-end, looking most lively in that phase of the game. Maerschel also intercepted with a couple of well timed overhead marks, but was largely beaten in one-on-one tussles.

  • Team
  • South Adelaide
  • Central District

South Adelaide 10.12 (72) def. Central District 9.9 (63)


#3 Sid Draper

One of the nation’s most talented bottom-agers, Draper has slotted back into South’s Under 18 side nicely after his League stint. The nippy midfielder-forward started in attack and ended up with consecutive second quarter goals, using his turn of speed to break out the back and step past opponents. Draper showed that same acceleration with his work at the contest and was hard to lay a glove on, taking the ball cleanly before setting off and opening up the play with real energy.

#5 Clay Shadforth

Speaking of energy, Shadforth brought plenty of it in an eye-catching 10 disposal display. The Northern Territory native took the game on at every opportunity, taking off with ball in hand and stiff-arming opponents en route to goal. He also utilised his pace to worry Centrals on the defensive end and was often first to recover the ball at ground level, landing like a cat once he had competed aerially. Shadforth’s third quarter goal was a real highlight and a glimpse of his potential.

#10 Jack Delean

Utilised almost exclusively inside attacking 50, Delean delved into his bag of tricks and got dangerous around goal. He ended up with 3.3 from nine touches and three marks, showcasing his craft by knowing when to stay down, where to stay down, and how to crumb the ball once it came down. He was far too good one-on-one and finished best on the snap, taking a mile when given an inch. His third major at the start of term four put South 29 points ahead and out of reach.

#12 Phoenix Hargrave

There was some concern for Hargrave as he appeared to injure himself at the very last stoppage of the game, but not before compiling a productive 25 disposals and four clearances. The industrious bottom-ager put his body on the line and drew free kicks as a result, collecting possessions in all thirds of the ground. He was generally patient with ball in hand and perhaps could have moved it on a little quicker through the corridor.

#23 Tom Wheaton

Wheaton put in an outstanding shift for South, leading all comers with 26 disposals, five clearances and two goals as a midfielder-forward. The big bodied ball winner stood up strongly in tackles and even shrugged one off for his first goal, handling the ball cleanly and bringing others into the game. His second goal came in the third quarter with a quick finish on the run, proving Wheaton’s ability to impact when rotating or resting in attack. Though, his strengths lie at the contest.

#40 Taylor Goad

It is no secret that Goad will likely be a slow burn as a draft prospect, though he again showed glimpses of promise with eight disposals, two marks and a game-high 19 hitouts. He had a clear advantage with his sizeable leap at the centre bounces, but also followed up nicely to dish off clean and quick clearing touches. Goad falls into the mobile, developable tall category and despite a relatively quiet game, has already gone a long way to proving his potential this year.


#7 Trent Tattoli

Having spent much of the year stationed out on the wing and even trying his hand up forward, Tattoli was thrust back into Central Districts’ midfield on Saturday. The hard running top-ager collected 17 disposals in usual fashion, working over opponents and getting into good spots on the spread. Tattoli bagged two goals, with the second most impressive as he collected the ball in his stride over the back and slotted it home with aplomb.

#33 Charlie Nicholls

The Bulldogs started out with an interesting three-pronged tall attack, but it was only when the trio became a duo that Nicholls began to shine. After a quiet first half, the bottom-ager became a more viable target and ended up with two goals from 10 touches and four marks. With a second chance awaiting in the prelim, perhaps Centrals have found their ideal forward mix.

#38 Will McCabe

Making his return from injury, McCabe was part of a dynamic tall trio up forward. The Hawthorn father-son candidate leapt at the aerial ball with his usual vigour, but arguably looked more comfortable when given the opportunity to intercept, and was duly shifted to defence in the second half. At 197cm, McCabe’s ability to take the ball in motion and carry his momentum is phenomenal, with his pure speed and athleticism breaking the game open. He was just as aggressive in his positioning behind the ball, holding a high line and joining in on the Bulldogs’ attacks.

#39 Liam Fawcett

Along with Nicholls and McCabe, Fawcett was one of three talls situated in Centrals’ forward line. He was arguably the most prominent of the lot when they were all together, and ended up with 18 disposals, nine marks, and three goals. Despite the strong numbers on paper, his terrific presence as a marking target and nimble touches, Fawcett fell short when it came to finishing. Two shots sailed out on the full and a couple more registered minor scores to rob him of a major goal haul.

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