Scouting Notes: 2023 WAFL Colts – Semi Finals
CLAREMONT advanced to this year’s decider, while East Fremantle knocked off Subiaco in week two of the WAFL Colts finals series. The pair of semi-finals were split on Saturday and Sunday, and we noted some of the top performers from each game.
By: Hayden Narducci
#26 Kobe Austin
Stats: 16 disposals, 13 kicks, 5 marks
A big presence down back for the Sharks both literally and figuratively, Austin’s aerial presence and desire to rebound as offensively as possible were imperative to East Fremantle’s win. His reliability in shutting down the big men opposed to him throughout this game led Subiaco scrambling to find different approaches to transition the ball inside 50. He notched a few score involvements with his aggressive approach to rebounding, rarely misfiring a kick.
#30 Zac Petersen
Stats: 20 disposals, 4 marks, 4 inside 50s
Playing across each third, Petersen was not just flexible, but dominant in every position he found himself in. His best work in this game was as a high half forward, fearlessly hunting the ball on the deck to create opportunities for his teammates to get the ball inside 50. He displayed great goal sense with his sole goal of the game, receiving the ball with his back to the goals and slotting it under immense pressure off just one step.
#35 Jack Cocking
Stats: 10 disposals, 6 marks, 4 goals
The most dominant figure on the park in this game, every touch of the footy from Cocking led to a shot on goal. He was kept quiet in the first quarter, but that did not last as he became unbeatable one-on-one and was clinical in front of goal. Though his four majors could fool you, Cocking was very selfless throughout this game, looking for teammates in good positions when he could have gone for goal himself.
#2 Tyler Senge
Stats: 20 disposals, 7 marks, 4 inside 50s
A reliable presence on the wing for Subiaco this season, Senge did not disappoint under the pressure of finals footy. Though he may not provide the flash of some of Subiaco’s other top performers in this game, Senge is a coach’s dream as played his role on the outside coolly and intelligently. He found space and used his speed and agility where possible to grab an uncontested mark and move the ball forward. His decision making moving the ball inside 50 wasn’t always perfect, but his second and third efforts after he or a teammate made a mistake continuously provided extra opportunities for he and his teammates.
Stats: 8 disposals, 3 tackles, 5 goals
Never have eight disposals looked so dangerous in a game, with Collard making the absolute most of the few opportunities he received. Finishing with five goals and a behind, Collard was near impossible to touch when he got the ball with so much as an inch of space from his man. His burst of pace off the mark and sharp agility kept his defenders guessing and allowed him the space to slot his bag. To both his gain and his detriment, Collard was properly fired up in this game, leading to a few silly free kicks against as he laid unnecessary contact off the ball.
#10 Malakai Champion
Stats: 17 disposals, 7 tackles, 2 goals
The star of the first half, it was Champion by name and nature for the bottom-ager. Fortunately for Subiaco he showed more creativity than the previous sentence, as he played the pinnacle game for a half-forward. He weaved in and out of traffic with the ball in hand, applied immense pressure with some ferocious rundown tackles, and impacted the game at stoppages by crumbing the big men. His sharp change of direction left East Fremantle unable to lay a tackle on him, using this space to set up teammates and slot two goals of his own. His game quietened down after copping a big hit from behind in the third quarter, though his pressure and persistence remained until the final siren.
By: Charlie McCormack
Stats: 15 disposals, 5 marks, 1 goal
Playing across half-forward, O’Driscoll had an ‘almost’ game, threatening to be a matchwinner for the Demons at stages. The Wesley College prospect looked dangerous whenever the ball was at ground level, looking to make something happen with his lightning pace around goal. He hit the scoreboard with a nice major on the run at the start of the third term, but missed a couple of half-chances to do further damage. Although he did not always execute his plays, it was a performance that bodes well for the rest of O’Driscoll’s finals series, particularly if he can get some better supply.
#18 Kalib Dempster-Park
Stats: 17 disposals, 6 tackles, 6 inside 50s
The hard-working midfielder did a power of work for the Demons at the coalface, leading the way with his pressure and appetite for the contest. While not always the cleanest distributor of the ball, Dempster-Park’s intensity at ground level was invaluable, as he often paved the way for a teammate to collect the ball or forced a repeat stoppage with his good defensive pressure. He finished with 17 disposals and six tackles in a typically dogged display.
Stats: 20 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles
With his side struggling to generate fluent ball movement, Hine-Baston looked to create whenever he gained possession across half-back. The 18-year-old was proactive with ball in hand, often instinctively playing and looking to drive the ball long by foot or create through overlap handball. He finished with 20 disposals and five marks.
#12 Sam van Rooyen
Stats: 13 disposals, 5 marks, 3 goals
van Rooyen played a pivotal role in helping Claremont book its spot in the Grand Final, booting three goals and playing with a strong presence in attack. The 18-year-old looked likely whenever the ball was in his vicinity, competing well aerially and taking a combination of marks in a contested situation and on the lead. He also showed good kicking penetration, converting one of his majors from outside 50 while narrowly missing another attempt from beyond the arc.
#15 Riley Disisto
Stats: 23 disposals, 3 tackles, 8 inside 50s
One of Claremont’s most reliable performers across the campaign, Disisto was among the best players on the ground, gathering 23 disposals and eight inside 50s. The 18-year-old’s strength and cleanliness around the contest saw him win several clearances as a big-bodied midfielder. He also managed to get productive forward of centre, finding plenty of ball in the front half which saw him involved in several of Claremont’s scoring chains.
#18 Joe Fonti
Stats: 22 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles
Stationed across half-back, Fonti was superb at repelling several Perth forward entries and turning defence into attack for his side. Often lauded for his silky movements with ball in hand, it was Fonti’s defensive game that was most impressive in this outing, as he showed good strength overhead and positioning behind the ball to be an effective interceptor. He finished with 22 disposals and six marks, with several of them being contested.
#21 Zane Zakostelsky
Stats: 16 disposals, 5 marks, 18 hitouts.
Zakostelsky produced one of his best performances of the season, showcasing his supreme athleticism and astute ground level play in the ruck. Against a quality opponent in Jack Clarke Medal winner Coen Livingstone, the top-ager got the better of his State 18s counterpart, troubling him with his vertical leap and ability to grab the ball from the ruck to win clearances. He illustrated his raw talent with a superb momentum changing passage of play, where he gathered a loose ball in his defensive 50 before spinning out of a tackle and launching a booming drop punt to set up a goal on the counter.