Scouting Notes: 2023 Coates Talent League – Wildcard Round

WITH finals on the line, plenty of top Coates Talent League prospects showed out to earn a spot in this week’s Scouting Notes. We highlighted a bunch of the top performers from each game, with a narrow focus on combine invitees, state representatives, and bottom-aged talent.

  • Team
  • Calder Cannons
  • Eastern Ranges

By: Michael Alvaro


#14 Hugo Garcia

On a day where his side was soundly beaten, Garcia formed somewhat of a fight with 16 disposals and 12 tackles. His best quarter was the second, which included a thumping set shot goal to give his side an early lead, and plenty of competitive stoppage work. There, Garcia showcased his tidy skills and clean hands with the ball while also getting his hands dirty defensively.

#16 Mahmoud Taha

Though he could only muster his second-lowest disposal tally of the season (14), Taha was another Cannon whose clean contested work gave his side a sniff before Eastern’s onslaught. The stoppage specialist won the ball cleanly off taps and distributed it typically well by hand, while also competing with strong tackles and smothers at the coalface. He had a couple of poor moments in term three though, including a defensive 50 turnover which led directly to a Ranges goal.


#1 Caleb Windsor

Windsor’s speed is something to behold and he used all of it to terrorise Calder on Saturday. Stationed out on the wing, no one could lay a glove on him as he blazed trails into attack with absolute ease, carving up the opposition when receiving in an inch of space on the outside. Windsor also closed in on his opponents with that patented pace, with many a rundown effort making the Cannons sweat every time he approached.

#5 Nick Watson

Having spent plenty of time on the wing since returning to the Talent League, Watson was utilised much more as a forward and even got a late run in midfield. He was lively as ever inside 50, showcasing his deceptive strength one-on-one, smarts to lead to the right spots, and wicked evasive technique. Though both of his goals were finished with aplomb, and he tended to score in bunches, Watson missed out on a couple of chances which he would normally have snaffled up.

#9 Christian Moraes

It was a typically industrious day for Moraes who collected a game-high 27 disposals. The bottom-aged midfielder is relatively light but fared well on the inside, feeding others with clean extraction and well-timed releases. He also got busy in attacking phases, running hard to chain possessions as Eastern forayed forward and making use of his time inside 50 with two goals.

#13 Riley Weatherill

Weatherill was largely the beneficiary of Eastern’s overall dominance, cashing in with four goals from 10 disposals and five marks. Half of his touches ended in scoring shots, as the 195cm forward read the incoming ball beautifully and clunked it cleanly. He was perhaps afforded too much space inside 50, but made full use of it to bring his season goal tally to 28 in 12 games.

  • Team
  • Sandringham Dragons
  • Western Jets

By: Michael Alvaro


#3 Levi Ashcroft

There was no beating Ashcroft on Saturday as he set the tone for Sandringham’s win with a dominant stoppage display in the first half. The star bottom-ager was tidy when the game was at its hottest and contributed incredibly neat work by hand, with 23 of his 34 disposals being handballs. Two of his 11 kicks were terrific finishes on goal too, as Ashcroft guided the ball home with both sides of his boot to add touches of class to his early grunt work.

#4 Will Brown

Brown has somewhat reverted back to the role which he played in Sandringham’s premiership side last year, spending plenty of time up forward. There, the skipper made great leading patterns to the top of attacking 50 and was unselfish when possessing the ball on the limits of his range. Though prone to clumsy skill errors, the 194cm top-ager snared three goals – two in term four – and still has the contested nous of an inside midfielder.

#9 Archie Roberts

Having spent time up on the wing in recent weeks, Roberts has gone back to his roots as an attacking defender, though he still managed to win plenty of ball in advanced areas of the ground. His accurate left-foot kicking was a particular asset as he sent his side inside 50, picking out targets with great touch and vision. He made things happen in the attacking phase and was able to claim 17 disposals without that number being dominated by kick-outs.

#15 Ryley Sanders

It was a case of getting better as the game wore on for Sanders, though he had little trouble getting his hands on the ball throughout with a game-high 38 disposals. Of them, 27 were handballs and the Tasmanian was guilty of dumping a few off under early pressure. His effectiveness evolved, though, as he began to step to the outside and find better chemistry with teammates as Sandringham attacked out of the middle.

#16 Luke Lloyd

A real bolter among Sandringham’s sea of talent, Lloyd produced his best scoring haul for the season with 4.2 from 15 disposals and seven marks. The national combine invitee is aerially apt at 193cm and clunked the ball typically well inside 50, before leaning on his finishing ability to convert chances into scoreboard impact across the first three quarters.

#17 Tarkyn O’Leary

O’Leary mustered 16 disposals out on the wing and while that number may not jump off the page compared to some prolific teammates, he showed some of the best traits of anyone afield. The hard running top-ager was rewarded for his efforts, getting involved multiple times in the same passage as Sandringham worked the ball forward from stoppage. His energy and speed were terrific in those instances, and O’Leary was also prepared to compete hard as an outside midfielder.

#28 Charlie Edwards

Edwards was largely the beneficiary of Ashcroft and Sanders’ inside work, but still had to get into the right positions and win his own ball for a haul of 26 touches and six inside 50s. The 190cm midfielder spread the play well by foot and got good length on his kicks, doing so most effectively when overlapping or receiving through the corridor.

#54 Ollie Murphy

Tasked with manning Western’s most dangerous tall forward in Logan Morris, Murphy didn’t let an early slip up hamper his day. The pair battled well and Murphy got on top when able to use his aerial range at 200cm, plucking three quality intercept marks. He was tested when forced to engage in one-on-one duels, but otherwise held up well despite his man bagging three goals.

#58 Murphy Reid

Reid has had no issue shifting to a role at half-forward in this stacked Sandringham side, still finding plenty of the ball as his 27 disposals and eight marks would attest to. The classy bottom-ager was an extra man at stoppages, but otherwise got on the end of clearances and linked the Dragons into attack. A few of his marks were gutsy overhead efforts and he capped another solid day with two goals from relatively straightforward chances at the same end of the ground.


#1 Massimo Raso

While he was made to punch above his weight against a raft of bigger and elder Sandringham midfielders, Raso held his own to collect 21 disposals and six inside 50s. The 171cm bottom-ager was typically polished at stoppage and began to showcase his evasiveness as the game unfolded, stepping out of traffic and into space. Needless to say, he was resilient enough to hang in there against stiff opposition and only got better with each passing contest.

#3 Lucca Grego

There was plenty for Grego to do in Western’s defence and he was one of the few Jets who looked to take the attack back to Sandringham. He shouldered much of the kick-in duties and launched attacks with long kicks, otherwise going short and streaming past for a secondary possession. The bottom-ager also worked into good spots to intercept and was willing to compete for the ball, even as high up as half-forward where he launched inside 50 to assist a Jovan Petric goal in term three.

#24 Logan Morris

Having missed out on the regular season goal kicking award with four behinds last week, Morris would have taken great confidence in slotting a set shot after just three minutes at the same venue. His day wouldn’t get any easier though, matched up against Vic Metro teammate and MVP Ollie Murphy. The pair enjoyed a tight tussle with respective wins throughout the day, with Morris faring best when able to use his strength one-on-one against a taller opponent with better range. He ended up with 3.2 from 19 disposals and four marks.

#54 Thomas Burton

Making his Talent League debut alongside fellow 2007-born prospect Thomas McGuane, Burton was thrown right into the cut and thrust of midfield. He held up well, notching 15 disposals and laying seven tackles against some of the top on-ballers in the competition. Burton’s best moments came when receiving on the outside of stoppages, where he used his speed to carry the ball through the corridor. One such instance saw him launch a goal from outside 50 in the final quarter and his teammates were implored to get around him. Rightly so.

  • Team
  • Gippsland Power
  • Dandenong Stingrays

By: Michael Alvaro


#9 Zane Duursma

Duursma was at his dynamic best on Sunday, with the league’s leading goal kicker snaring another three to go with 16 disposals, six marks and five inside 50s. He most often operated in a high half-forward role, but also got a run in midfield and showed plenty of class in his ventures up the ground. Having assisted younger brother Willem for a goal in term one, Duursma’s flying efforts were rewarded with his own score in the second, though arguably his highlight of the day was a major in the third. He has only strengthened his top five standing.

#15 Tew Jiath

Gippsland’s fastest rising prospect, Jiath racked up a season-high 29 disposals and 13 rebound 50s to continue his charge into second round calculations. The athletic 187cm defender set up play for his side from the kick-ins and was composed on the last line, often using his kicking to get out of trouble. Jiath was also impressive in the air, only claiming three marks but extending beautifully at the ball and plucking some clean intercepts at full stretch.

#22 Archer Reid

While it was a third-straight goalless game for Reid, things could have been different with better finishing as he put three behinds on the board. The 203cm ruck-forward was most prominent in the first half, competing enthusiastically and using his mobility to test bottom-aged opponent Noah Mraz. He also won many of his 18 hitouts in term two, before popping up again in the final quarter with a couple of set shot chances. The signs and effort are there.

#38 Willem Duursma

The youngest Duursma sibling has produced a heck of a debut campaign, which rolled on with 11 disposals and a goal on Sunday. His elite composure and decision making came to the fore down back, where he held his own one-on-one and helped navigate out of tight spots. Duursma also snuck forward for three scoring shots, with his first quarter major assisted by big brother, Zane.

#42 Lachlan Smith

An ominous figure at 202cm, Smith made his mark on the contest with 20 disposals, 25 hitouts and six inside 50s. He started out as Gippsland’s primary ruck and contributed his usually strong contest work, before spending time both up forward and in defence during the second and third quarters. Still, he looked most at home enforcing himself at the centre bounces.


#3 Cooper Simpson

To his credit, Simpson has done his best in the variety of roles asked of him since returning from injury, and worked hard for 20 disposals, seven marks and two goals in his final game for the year. The Stingrays’ co-captain started on the wing and showcased his sharp skills in a promising opening quarter, proving evasive, quick by hand, and even slotting a goal. His disposal wasn’t as effective as the game wore on, but Simpson prized more chances during time up forward and was eventually rewarded with centre bounce attendances.

#11 Billy Wilson

Plying his trade in midfield, Wilson was one of Dandenong’s prime movers and had a licence to bite off more than others certainly would. He did his best work with the game in front of him, stepping past opponents and attacking the corridor with his usually precise kicking. That kind of creativity and dare made him a threat with ball in hand, launching eight inside 50s from 23 disposals.

#14 Kobe Shipp

Not only was Shipp tasked with manning Zane Duursma, but he also had the job of setting up Dandenong’s transitional play out of defence. He gained some confidence with an early intercept mark and went on to snatch plenty of meterage off the last line, backing his speed and continually taking the game on. Shipp ended up with a team-high 25 disposals and eight rebound 50s.

#16 Harry DeMattia

It was somewhat of an indifferent day for DeMattia, who was part of Dandenong’s starting midfield group. While capable of doing the grunt work himself, the Stingrays’ co-captain often played receiver at stoppages and looked to penetrate with his booming left-foot kick. The end product wasn’t quite there for DeMattia despite the drive he created before being rotated forward.

#23 Noah Mraz

Mraz has taken on many a challenge in his bottom-age campaign and had his hands full on Sunday with the job on Archer Reid. He provided apt aerial support for others while also splitting his own one-on-one duels and looking comfortable in possession during open play. Mraz was also given a run in the ruck during the final quarter and only took two tries to win a centre clearance.

#29 Jacob Grant

In another sign of growth, Grant strung together his second straight 17-disposal game – making for personal best numbers two weeks in a row. The 191cm lead-up forward got on his bike and showcased his strong hands overhead, clunking six marks before driving his side inside 50 an equal amount of times. Grant’s booming kick saw him launch a goal from beyond the 50m arc and he had a similar distance covered from a set shot, which went wide.

  • Team
  • GWV Rebels
  • Murray Bushrangers

By: Peter Williams


#2 Lachlan Charleson

It was another big day for Charleson who continued his red-hot goalkicking form with four majors, including three in the first half. All three from the first half were on the run and he had another couple of chances that also missed, so the small could have had a bigger day out. His best major was his fourth of the day during the third term, where, tucked up against the boundary, he cleanly scooped it up with opponents around him and threaded the needle on the run. Spending time in the midfield in the fourth term, Charleson was certainly influential in the win.

#4 Sam Lalor

It was another promising performance from the bottom-ager who this week, who seemed to have more impact when forward. He kicked a couple of goals – including clunking a great contested mark in the third term – and set up a number of others, having rotated between midfield and forward. He has the smarts and strength around the stoppages, and his hands really stood out, but when forward he got into the right spots and had plenty of offensive impact for his side.

#8 Jonty Faull

Competing with Charleson at a time with his own haul of four goals and three behinds, Faull used his speed on the lead to get the better of O’Sullivan, but he also took a number of contested marks. Realistically, Faull should have converted a couple more of his chances from set shots, but also bringing the defensive tackle – which included a big run-down tackle on Oscar Ryan – Faull had another performance to remember. His hands and forward craft shone in the huge win.

#23 George Stevens

The GWV Rebels skipper was enormous through the middle early, and then went to full-forward in the final term. He took control at the coalface winning plenty of contested ball and feeding it out to his teammates or bombing it long, while kicking a goal in the first quarter. That major came from a forward stoppage where he fended off an opponent and snapped around his body truly, and though he did not add to that tally when forward later in the game, provided a presence.

#37 Flynn Penry

Providing a mobile target around the ground, Penry got involved and won his fair share of touches, particularly between the arcs. With a high roosting kick, Penry often looked to put it into dangerous zones and also got his hands dirty at ground level. His ability to get into positions to be a target for his teammates, and be involved in transition, caught the eye.


#4 Darcy Wilson

Easily Murray’s best on the day by a fair margin, Wilson was simply superb across four quarters. He tried to will the team to score early with multiple bursting runs off half-back and going forward, then found the ball between the arcs as well. Wilson had a brilliant run-down tackle on Joel Freijah in the second term, and showed great second efforts. His four team saw Wilson kicking three consolation goals with a couple of those incredible long-range shots under pressure to finish with 21 disposals, four marks, three rebound 50s and 3.1.

#8 Connor O’Sullivan

The Allies MVP had a tough day out often opposed to Faull who kicked four goals, albeit not all on him. However when in defence, O’Sullivan looked to peel off and start offensive runs usually being the switch option or just looking to clear the ball from danger. In the final quarter, O’Sullivan moved into the midfield and looked strong there, winning a number of touches, showing off his good hands in close.

  • Team
  • Northern Knights
  • Oakleigh Chargers

By: Michael Alvaro


#10 William Green

In a competitive ruck duel with Boston Dowling, Green was highly effective at the centre bounces and won a game-high 31 hitouts. He rose high to win clear taps at restarts, but was challenged more around the ground and dropped back down to eight disposals after consecutive weeks of 15. The 204cm talent still showed good intent with some terrific tackles and had a nice moment with his centre clearance in the final quarter.

#11 Lucas McInerney

Finishing level on 21 disposals with fellow bottom-ager Zak Johnson, McInerney continues to show why he’ll be a prominent prospect for the Knights next year. The classy wingman produced his usual drive on the outside and penetrated well by foot, but also lowered his eyes going inside 50 when necessary. Despite thriving on the outside in opposition to Will Lorenz, McInerney took a strong overhead mark in the second quarter and absorbed a good amount of contact in the loss.

#13 Kristian Ferronato

Ferronato started like a house on fire, booting Northern’s first two goals of the game and proving somewhat of a barometer for his side. The hard-nosed midfielder gathered a team-high 27 disposals and worked typically hard to drive the ball forward. That meant he strung together some early outside possessions, before getting more involved on the inside and looking to fend or bustle his way out of congestion through sheer physicality.


#1 Nathan Philactides

While his side dominated kicking to one end of the ground, Philactides was still able to produce some productive passages in defence. The speedster hit the ball in full stride and was always on the go, mopping up for 15 disposals in his usual half-back role. He looked to spark attacks and after assisting Kynan Brown for a second quarter goal, split the big sticks himself with a 55m launch through the corridor in the final term.

#3 Kynan Brown

There have been few more consistent and hard working players throughout the season than Brown, who got his flowers on Sunday with 25 disposals and five goals. The Melbourne father-son prospect got involved multiple times in single passages of play, proving productive in attacking phases and hurting the opposition rolling forward from midfield. That’s a weapon Brown has worked on, adding class to his work rate with a combination of clever and tidy finishes around goal.

#5 Finn O’Sullivan

Arguably the leading prospect for next year’s draft at this early stage, O’Sullivan racked up 24 disposals and launched 11 inside 50s in another well rounded midfield performance. He was strong and clean on the inside, but athletic enough to step to the outside and powerful when booting the ball long. O’Sullivan’s decision making was excellent and he balanced his attacking prowess with nine tackles, before spending time on the wing in term four.

#7 Jagga Smith

There are few more natural accumulators competition-wide than Smith, who led all comers with 28 disposals in his usual midfield-forward role. The smooth moving bottom-ager started inside 50 and snapped the first goal of the game, but did his best work up the ground with deft feints and shifts to work into space. He was also afforded far too much time in possession and would often make Northern pay with his outstanding combination of skill and decision making.

#11 Will Lorenz

Operating off a wing as he has done with great frequency of late, Lorenz worked into the game to finish with 19 disposals, five marks and eight tackles. Though not a noted line-breaker through speed, the top-ager worked hard to accumulate outside possessions and gained meterage with his kicking. A couple of his best moments by foot came in term two, where he seared a long kick inside 50, and later slotted a goal from just inside the arc.

#26 Harvey Thomas

As Talent League regions should, it seemed like Oakleigh actively shuffled Thomas’ magnet to afford him maximum exposure throughout the game. He started relatively steadily up forward so was thrown into midfield and snared a classy running goal in term two. The 177cm talent then showcased a combination of smarts and toughness once moved to defence in term three, and eventually ended up at the centre bounces again. Some of his left-foot passing was sublime.

#32 Boston Dowling

Competing against a high level opponent in Will Green, Dowling equalled his personal best disposal haul for the season with 17 to go with 12 hitouts as Oakleigh’s primary ruck. The 203cm state combine invitee got after it and applied himself around the ground, moving well for his size and displaying a clean set of hands to get involved in general play. His bodywork in ruck duels was solid, though Dowling was arguably beaten for spring at the centre bounces.

  • Team
  • Geelong Falcons
  • Bendigo Pioneers

By: Peter Williams:


#19 Angus Hastie

The defender was a standout for the Falcons, with his intercepting ability and composure getting his side out of trouble on a number of occasions. Though his aerial ability was naturally on show – he clunked seven marks – he also laid a number of important tackles as well. Hastie did concede a couple of one-on-one losses in the first half, but made up for it with his ball use on the move, and then came across to clunk a number of vital intercept marks with the game on the line and the Pioneers coming late.

#25 Michael Rudd

The key forward presented well not just inside 50 but further afield, and though ultimately his 12 disposals, two marks and one goal do not jump off the page, he still stepped up during the crunch moments in the second half. He soccered a goal off the deck late in the first term and set up another major in the same quarter. His last mark of the day at half-back late in the game settled the team down and produced a lovely kick down the ground.

#29 Joe Pike

Pike was pretty impressive across the ground and seemed to improve his aerial physicality with five marks – including a couple if intercept grabs – and a dominant 34 hitouts. He was far and away the best ruck on the ground, and controlled the stoppages with his tap work, and outsized his opponents around the ground. At times he might be a tough slow at reacting, but when able to put the hands up and clunk the big mark, he relieves pressure on the rest of his team.


#3 Tobie Travaglia

Building up some nice form of late, Travaglia had 22 disposals in the game, but was mostly release handballs between the arcs. He took a fantastic intercept mark after a huge leap in defence in the second term to provided a highlight, and when he did kick it seemed to use it effectively. Unfortunately a costly no-look handball in the fourth term inside defensive 50 to space coughed up a goal to the Falcons, but aside from that moment, had a handy game that also featured eight tackles in a promising defensive performance.

#5 Harley Reid

There is not much left to say that has not already been said. Reid almost single-handedly lifted his side into another finals series despite often having an opponent or two hanging off him or trying to nullify his impact. It did not work, as Reid did his best work through the midfield, producing some remarkable, penetrating kicks forward, while getting back in defence to help out as well. He won a brilliant one-on-one against Geelong defender Ethan Borys showing Reid’s forward craft to kick an important goal, and also had a number of fend-offs, and getting involved even with Tom Bartlett sent to him outside the midfield to try and shut him down. A game-high 27 disposals, as well as five marks and five tackles later, it is fair to say Reid still got the job done even though his team could not get across the line.

#11 Oskar Smartt

Smartt had some moments in the game, popping up at different times and using his quick burst to get out of trouble. Often thumping it on the boot to clear the danger that was there in the first term, he showed his outstanding aerial prowess in the match. At times, Smartt could run himself into trouble by doing a bit too much, but still had his eye-catching moments, and had more marks and inside 50s than any other Pioneers player, running hard all game.

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