Scouting Notes: 2023 AFL Under 17 Futures
THE AFL’s annual Under 17 Futures showcase was decided by just three points on Saturday, with Team Naitanui holding on to defeat Team Selwood at the MCG. A slew of the best draft prospects for 2024 stepped out on the big stage, and made note on how every player afield fared.
>> PROFILED: 2023 AFL Under 17 Futures squad
TEAM SELWOOD 3.2 | 5.6 | 6.10 | 10.11 (71)
TEAM NAITANUI 2.5 | 4.9 | 8.10 | 10.14 (74)
Selwood: I. Kako 2, J. Faull 2, J. Murphy 2, C. Moraes, L. Ashcroft, T. Welsh, P. Hargrave
Naitanui: T. Gross 2, J. Cochran 2, J. Smith, R. Mentha, N. King, C. Shadforth, S. Marshall, Z. Johnson
Selwood: X. Lindsay, I. Kako, C. Moraes, M Reid, F. O’Sullivan, F. Penry
Naitanui: B. Camporeale, J. Smith, T. Gross, J. Smillie, S. Marshall, L. Lombard
BOG Medal: Ben Camporeale (Team Naitanui)
#1-13 – By: Declan Reeve
#1 Levi Ashcroft (Sandringham Dragons)
Midfielder/Forward | 179cm | 18/12/2006
It’s no surprise that the Brisbane father-son prospect was his side’s leading ball winner given his performances over the past 12 months. One of the few players to participate in the game that’s still only 16, Ashcroft wasn’t quite as dominant around stoppages as he has typically been, with the majority of his work was done in open play. There, his decision making with ball in hand and work rate to get involved in offensive chains multiple times allowed him to accumulate as he pleased – not too dissimilar his older brother Will. Ashcroft rotated forward more often than he typically does, slotting an impressive goal on the run after getting onto the end of a handball chain from his side, after missing a relatively straightforward set shot a little earlier.
#2 Lucas Camporeale (Glenelg)
Wing/Forward | 183cm | 21/07/2006
A player who was rotated through all thirds of the ground, Camporeale demonstrated his high level of work rate through the four quarters with some particularly good defensive actions leading to promising transitional play for his side. Camporeale looked most impactful when playing higher up the ground off a wing, holding his space well to be a handball release option from congestion, or remaining wide when playing on the off side wing to be a switch option. The Carlton father-son prospect was composed through traffic with his ball use by hand, often moving it quickly forward to options already at full speed. He had some shaky moments when kicking under pressure, sometimes opting just to go long without a teammate there, but was mostly clinical when heading forward.
#3 Phoenix Hargrave (South Adelaide)
Midfielder/Forward | 181cm | 15/09/2006
The recipient of this year’s SANFL Under 18s MVP award took some time to build into the game, playing a significant chunk of the first half in a forward role, where he worked hard to be an option around the ground and delivered well from the spot heading forward. It was when Hargrave was given the opportunity on-ball that he stood up, with his spread and cleanliness around stoppages proving strong assets. Hargrave covered the ground well to present as an outside option when the time called for it, but arguably looked most comfortable in the thick of congestion, remaining composed and clean with the ball regardless of numbers surrounding him, and demonstrating his ability to power out of the traffic.
#4 Joe Harrison (Swans Academy)
Midfielder | 179cm | 20/07/2006
Another player who was utilised in all thirds of the ground, Harrison’s contested game and general competitiveness were on show across all roles he was deployed in. He cracked in consistently hard to win the footy or stop opposition players from moving freely with ball in hand, while also Harrison proving proficient when moving the ball by hand himself with quick passes to release outside runners.
#6 Isaac Kako (Calder Cannons)
Small Forward | 175cm | 07/03/2006
One of three multiple goal kickers for his side, Kako slotted both his majors in the first term; one a nice dribbler up against the boundary line in the left pocket, and the other a calm set shot conversion from about 50m out. Kako was the target most of the time Team Selwood sent the ball inside 50, such was his presence, with his cleanliness below his knees and ability to create opportunities for his teammates standing out. He’d often looking to get his teammates on the scoreboard, even from positions he could’ve had a shot at it himself. Kako did most of his work inside 50, showing some defensive intent he hasn’t quite shown before, but started to move up the ground in an effort to act as a link up player in the final quarter to good effect.
#7 Xavier Lindsay (Gippsland Power)
Defender | 182cm | 03/08/2006
Arguably the best of the defenders for both sides across the game, Lindsay managed to display his balance between his defensive and offensive duties exceptionally well, rarely beaten in the defensive half of the ground – even against bigger opposition. Lindsay showed a bit of everything through the four quarters; a few good intercept marks and ground ball gathers, safe ball use out of the defensive 50, daring kicks to kick start offensive chains, overlap run, and an ability to impact further up the ground. The Gippsland Power product was great in his repeat efforts, never letting opposition get the ball out when he wrapped them up.
#8 Christian Moraes (Eastern Ranges)
Midfielder/Forward | 182cm | 08/11/2006
One of the mainstays in Team Selwood’s centre square rotation, Moraes was his typical self when stationed in the midfield, often winning first possession from the rucks’ hands and looking to distribute quickly to runners. Moraes was involved around the ground through pure gut running, working equally hard to get involved in offensive chains of play as he did to lay tackles in the contest. Moraes’ competitiveness and cleanliness at ground level transferred from his midfield game to time up forward, along with his ability to impact in the air. Demonstrating his unwavering attack on the footy and cleanliness off the deck, Moraes’ goal came as he collected a ground ball with oncoming pressure, stood up, shook off a tackle and cooly snapped through the major.
#9 Murphy Reid (Sandringham Dragons)
Forward/Wing | 181cm | 30/07/2006
Work rate has become a standout feature of Reid’s game this year and his Futures game was no different. He ran hard to be an option around the ground, getting into the defensive 50 as a relief kick option, even when playing as a forward. With composure and ball use as two more strengths, Reid was impactful with nearly every touch, and the few he didn’t use overly well he always followed up with pressure on an opponent or a genuine fight to win it in a contest himself, not letting the few mistakes stop him from continuing to try and create with difficult disposal options. Reid was another creative user in the forward half of the ground, often looking to move the ball into the corridor heading inside 50 to give his teammates the best chance to convert. He didn’t manage to nab himself a goal, with a two difficult shots on opposite boundary sides only resulting in one minor score.
#10 Tobie Travaglia (Bendigo Pioneers)
Defender | 187cm | 26/10/2006
Doing much of his best work early on in the game, Travaglia played in a manner that defied his 187cm stature with some of his aerial work in the defensive 50, proving too strong for many opposition forwards and looking to take the game on when he held the footy. Travaglia’s ball use was mostly good, particularly in the short range, but he did at times misjudge the distance required for longer options.
#11 Malakai Champion (Subiaco)
Small Forward | 176cm | 17/05/2006
Champion provided genuine X-factor every time he was around the ball, with his cleanliness and ability to evade tackles consistently providing headaches for opponents as he worked his way up the ground to be a link up player for Team Selwood. Champion was classy with ball in hand, rarely wasting a disposal, with his work by hand particularly impressive as he often gave off, worked hard to gain separation from his opponent, and then got it back by hand to deliver forward.
#12 Kade Herbert (Woodville-West Torrens)
Wing | 183cm | 03/04/2006
A mainstay on the wing across four quarters, Herbert worked into both arcs to provide an option and apply pressure, seemingly never running out of puff. Herbert’s best work with the ball was done by hand for most of the game, always taking options that were in a better position to move the ball at speed than he was. He positioned well throughout the entirety of the contest and always seemed to be in the right spots in transition to impact a contest or receive the ball and run it forward, comfortably kicking off both feet allowing him to get the ball to teammates regardless of where he was on field. There were times when Herbert was under pressure that ground ball and kicking execution didn’t quite hold up, but still with 12 months from the 2024 draft there’s a lot to work with.
#13 Austin van der Struyf (Claremont)
Defender | 176cm | 17/03/2006
Although not a massive accumulator for the game, van der Struyf certainly made the most of his possessions, showing some truly incredible kicking even when under pressure. His positioning around the ground saw him intercept higher up the field, with his delivery heading inside 50 extremely damaging when he got to show it off. Although he has a slim frame currently, van der Struyf still applied himself well to contested situations at ground level, throwing his body in to ensure he forced a stoppage or allowed a teammate to get the ball out. Although, he would have benefitted from committing a bit more to aerial contests on a few occasions
#14-30 – By: Peter Williams
#14 Sam Lalor (GWV Rebels)
Midfielder | 187cm | 30/08/2006
The hard-nosed GWV Rebels midfielder had some moments throughout the game, particularly when in close. Quick by hand or foot, he was usually found shovelling the ball out under pressure and generally was effective. In the fourth term, Lalor produced a terrific run-down tackle, which was symbolic of his defensive pressure.
#15 Harvey Langford (Dandenong Stingrays)
Midfielder | 188cm | 15/03/2006
Langford had a crack across four quarters and shared his ball-winning between the inside and the outside. While able to get his hands dirty, his spread really caught the eye, winning it off half-back and on a wing. He reads the flight of the ball well taking a strong mark 15m out from goal in the third term but produced a bad miss. Overall he used his trusty left foot pretty well across the course of the game.
#16 Noah Mraz (Dandenong Stingrays)
Tall Defender | 197cm | 20/02/2006
Had a tough job in defence and worked hard all game. At times he could have been cleaner, particularly at ground level, but Mraz provided a contest. A strong spoil to force the ball over the line in the defensive 50 during the second term was a highlight.
#17 Joshua Murphy (Murray Bushrangers)
Forward | 190cm | 28/11/2006
Though not a massive accumulator, when Murphy won it he used it really well. Each touch resulted in an effective play, starting by winning it between the arcs and able to hit up targets, albeit reasonably safe options. In the fourth term, Murphy almost became a match winner, kicking back-to-back goals from set shots inside 50.
#18 Finn O’Sullivan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Midfielder | 181cm | 30/05/2006
The pick one contender had a prominent game across four quarters, remaining involved through the midfield. With time and space, O’Sullivan can weight his kicks perfectly, be it in any third of the ground. He makes good decisions with ball-in-hand, and though he went to ground a little more than he would like, and did soccer off the deck a few times when he could have picked it up, he still had a substantial influence. His ball use and evasion really stands out wherever he plays.
#19 Oliver Warburton (Murray Bushrangers)
Defender | 184cm | 13/06/2006
Providing some rebound from defence, Warburton was tasked with a balanced role of trying to shut down an opponent, while adding some offensive flair. He can tend to rush his kicks coming out of defence, but gets into the right spots and has some nice athleticism.
#20 Jonty Faull (GWV Rebels)
Tall Forward | 194cm | 01/02/2006
Kicking a couple of first half goals, Faull continued his late season Talent League form with a handy performance inside 50. He tried to take a juggling mark, and though he could not pull it in, composed himself one-on-one and slotted it running in on a tight angle. His second game from a great mark in the goalsquare where he immediately turned and slotted it through. Kept presenting but found the going a little tougher after half-time. He did attempt a snap from a ruck stoppage in the third term but missed to the right.
#27 Oliver Dean (Tasmania Devils)
Ruck | 199cm | 16/08/2006
It was a tough day for the Tasmanian ruck who instead had to share the duties with a couple of other Team Selwood teammates. He competed when in there, but will be better for the experience going forward.
#28 Flynn Penry (GWV Rebels)
Ruck | 200cm | 20/04/2006
The most impressive of the rucks, Penry looked clean for a tall, and good below his knees. He gets involved in transition which is ultra-important, and he can be a presence in the air. Far too good for his opposition, particularly when going against an undersized ruck, Penry worked hard around the ground and asserted his influence to be one of the best on Team Selwood.
#29 Tyler Welsh (Woodville-West Torrens)
Tall Forward | 190cm | 15/08/2006
Looking ominous early, Welsh had a number of chances in the opening term, missing a set shot from 40m six minutes in. He took another mark not long after to put it inside 50, and then completed his term with a 50m set shot goal midway through the quarter. It was far more challenging for him after that though, without having too much influence on the match.
#30 Tom Luck (Woodville-West Torrens)
Tall Defender/Forward | 194cm | 06/04/2006
Though he did not have a huge influence on the match, got to play in a couple of roles, finding himself as far forward as deep in attack, and then also behind the ball at stages too, having the last kick of the day. He had a tough day against a variety of opponents, but showed he has the versatility to fill out any role required of him.
By: Michael Alvaro
#1 Ben Camporeale (Glenelg)
Midfielder | 184cm | 21/07/2006
Starting alongside a stacked cast in midfield, Camporeale gave Carlton fans even more to be excited about next year, with the father-son prospect taking out best afield honours. The son of Scott showcased a high-level running capacity and the ability to accumulate just like his old man, amassing 30 disposals, eight marks, and eight rebound 50s in a four-quarter performance. His hands were clean on the inside and he worked hard to spark transitional play as an outlet away from defensive 50, covering plenty of ground as a balanced ball winner. He was also shifted out to the wing, hardly waning in his output throughout the day.
#2 Sid Draper (South Adelaide)
Midfielder | 180cm | 05/07/2006
Arguably South Australia’s best prospect for next year, Draper was captain of the winning team and a strong contributor on either side of midfield. Team Naitanui’s direct style suited Draper perfectly, as he sparked plenty of running forays and aggressive chains of handballs through the middle of the MCG. He waxed with teammates nicely and used his speed to break to the outside of stoppages, looking most lively when generating attacking phases.
#3 Mitchell Woods (Swans Academy)
Midfielder/Forward | 179cm | 15/05/2006
Woods is a player who got better as the game wore on, initially getting involved with his defensive pressure before eventually finding his share of possession. The talented dual-sport athlete was energetic with ball in hand, driving his legs and stepping opponents in short spurts to help drive Team Naitanui forward. He started up forward, but also got a run at the centre bounces and spent time on the wing.
#4 Clay Shadforth (Palmerston/South Adelaide)
Wing/Forward | 179cm | 11/04/2006
Fresh off playing a hand in South Adelaide’s Under 18 premiership, Shadforth was tested with a start on the wing but eventually found his feet up forward. He had to work to get involved in the game and used his speed to shut down opponents on a couple of occasions, but by far his best moment was a booming set shot goal in the third quarter.
#5 Bo Allan (Peel Thunder)
Defender | 188cm | 16/02/2006
Featuring in a dynamic Team Naitanui defence, Allan defied his 188cm standing to be one of his side’s premier intercept markers. The West Australian read the ball superbly and leant on his athleticism to soar into action, taking a series of clean grabs across the back line. While not fundamentally poor, Allan was found out a couple of times when distributing the ball by foot, like when he turned the ball over for a Team Selwood goal in term four. Otherwise, he only further proved his terrific upside.
#6 Taj Hotton (Sandringham Dragons)
Forward/Wing | 180cm | 17/06/2006
Hotton started like a house on fire, posting 10 disposals to quarter time and 13 at the half, mostly as a high half-forward. Given his impact in that role, roaming outside the attacking arc, Hotton was also shifted up to the wing but had his rhythm disrupted and slowed in output after the main break. He had a couple of shots at goal in the opening term and was a terrific link player for Team Naitanui, moving the ball on with clean and quick hands. It was clear the brother of St Kilda’s Olli was keen to impress having missed out on Sandringham Dragons’ premiership team.
#7 Archer Day-Wicks (Bendigo Pioneers)
Forward | 185cm | 13/05/2006
Having not played too much pathway footy of late, aside from Wildcard Round with Bendigo Pioneers, Day-Wicks was stationed exclusively up forward. He took little time to get involved, albeit with signs of rustiness, dropping a mark over the back and hitting the post from the goalsquare after just a couple of minutes. Nonetheless, his overhead marking ability was impressive and made him a viable option inside 50 before shifting up to the wing in term four.
#8 Lucca Grego (Western Jets)
Defender | 183cm | 15/09/2006
A relatively no frills kind of player, Grego reprised the defensive role he played for Vic Metro and at times for Western Jets. Clean hands were the feature of his game, taking a solid intercept mark on the three-quarter time siren and distributing efficient handballs. His team-first approach was also evident in the way of shepherds and smothers, and he even took on a few kick-ins.
#9 Zak Johnson (Northern Knights)
Forward/Wing | 185cm | 24/12/2006
Johnson was a productive member of Team Naitanui, part of the extensive list of players who were utilised up forward and on the wing. In attack, he worked high up the ground and used his run on the way back to goal, connecting his side between the arcs with efficient ball use in transition. One of Johnson’s best plays happened in term four, where he got on the end of a quick break through the corridor and slammed home a goal on the run.
#10 Leonardo Lombard (Suns Academy)
Midfielder | 178cm | 05/10/2006
Coming into the game after becoming one of the youngest VFL premiership players in history, Lombard’s whirlwind month continued with a terrific Futures display. The Suns Academy standout played the first half on the wing and supported his on-ballers well before shifting inside, but also provided plenty of outside run and seemed to constantly work into acres of space. There, he drove Team Naitanui inside 50 and was hardly rushed in possession, making use of his work rate on the spread to do damage over the back. He’s yet another star in the making out of Queensland.
#11 Samuel Marshall (Lions Academy/Sandringham Dragons)
Midfielder | 185cm | 19/01/2006
Marshall may well be another Queensland native to feature in first round contention next year, having impressed for a range of sides as a bottom-ager. He produced more of the same impressive output on Saturday, plying his trade on the inside before a shift to the wing. The Melbourne Grammar boarder was clean and tough at the contest, but also worked hard to accumulate around the ground and was just about everywhere at times – albeit without the frills and flair of others. Nonetheless, he capped off his game with a nice running goal in term four.
#12 Ricky Mentha (Gippsland Power)
Small Forward | 179cm | 04/09/2006
A low-possession, high-impact kind of player when stationed up forward, Mentha found it hard to get repeat looks inside 50 but tried to make things happen. His two most substantial moments were shots on goal, with one being a superbly struck set shot conversion from the boundary in term two, before falling short from a similar position in the last.
#13 Jagga Smith (Oakleigh Chargers)
Midfielder/Forward | 181cm | 28/01/2006
Smith was all class on Saturday, starting in the middle and claiming the opening centre clearance. He was one of the top accumulators afield in the first half before going on to spend plenty of time up forward, where his vision and foot skills came to the fore. Smith was just about untouchable and proved unselfish with ball in hand, spotting up teammates in better positions to score and finding the target with some sharp passes as he got involved up the ground.
#14 Joel Cochran (Swans Academy)
Forward | 195cm | 28/03/2006
It wasn’t an overly prolific day for Cochran, though he took his moments to hit the scoreboard with two goals. Having played a key role in the Swans Academy’s Under 16 championships as a defender/ruck, the tall utility plied his trade as a forward on Saturday and made it work. His first goal came via a recovery and snap in term two, before he earned a free kick in term three and slotted the set shot.
#15 Tom Gross (Oakleigh Chargers)
Forward/Midfielder | 180cm | 15/09/2006
Gross was all action in an exceptional first quarter where he was just about best afield. Boasting explosive speed, the Oakleigh Chargers gun snapped an unreal goal to start off, and made it two back-to-back with a lovely snap finish. He almost had three before quarter time and was incredibly lively in attack up to the main break, before getting a run in midfield. One of Gross’ best plays in the second half saw him burst through the corridor on a quick break, ending in a goal assist for Zak Johnson.
#16 Nash King (Calder Cannons)
Defender/Midfielder | 181cm | 15/03/2006
King took on a slightly different role than what he would have been used to for Calder Cannons, starting in the Team Naitanui defence. He showed good strength back there to bustle through tackles and break away on the counter, getting his hands on the ball before being swung into midfield after half time. He slammed home a 45m set shot in term three to cap off his statline.
#17 Harry O’Farrell (Calder Cannons)
Tall Defender | 196cm | 03/05/2006
Arguably the lone genuine key position defender at Team Naitanui’s disposal, O’Farrell demonstrated his aerial ability with some terrific intercept efforts. The Calder Cannons tall caught the eye in that department and was nimble in closing in on the contest, before moving the ball on quickly once he had gained possession. He was a handy fold on the last line too, saving a couple of likely scores in the defensive goalsquare.
#18 Jobe Shanahan (Bendigo Pioneers)
Forward/Ruck | 192cm | 02/08/2006
Despite only being listed at 192cm, Shanahan was made to rotate through the ruck from his primary post up forward. His athleticism and aerial prowess are well known by now, though he struggled to get stuck in when rucking against a deeper mix Team Selwood talls. Nonetheless, after not quite holding a few marks in the opening term, he clunked a nice one to finish off in the fourth, but put the set shot wide.
#19 Josh Smillie (Eastern Ranges)
Defender/Midfielder | 194cm | 17/05/2006
Smillie is already a difficult player to contain on account of his pure size, and he played up to it down back. While arguably more versed as a midfielder, the Eastern Ranges prospect has experience at either end of the ground and leant on it as one of Team Naitanui’s playmakers. He took on the kick-in duties and distributed with great efficiency, never rushed in possession and proving hard to lay a hand on. He was eventually thrown into the centre bounces after half time where his poise and pure field kicking continued to shine.
#20 Luke Trainor (Sandringham Dragons)
Defender | 193cm | 10/04/2006
Trainor was a dynamic part of Team Naitanui’s back line, playing the role of interceptor and taking up aggressive positions further afield. He looked to impact contests aerially and dished out the ball with style, though perhaps could have played the percentages more often after a couple of costly turnovers. Still, his best proved he could hurt the opposition, and he even overlapped for a couple of shots on goal in the second half. His athleticism was impressive in all phases of the game.
#21 Rome Burgoyne (Woodville-West Torrens)
Defender | 181cm | 29/08/2006
A late inclusion to the game with state teammate Louie Montgomery absent, Burgoyne made it a straight swap of Port Adelaide father-sons. The son of Peter had a couple of tricky matchups against lively Team Selwood smalls, but looked relatively comfortable with ball in hand and showed the class typical of his family name. Burgoyne’s kicking was neat, and he chimed in with a handy spoil on the lively Isaac Kako during term three.
#28 Tom Gillett (Lions Academy)
Ruck/Forward | 201cm | 09/01/2006
With Tom Luck making a late switch to Team Selwood, Gillett was left as the sole frontline ruck option on Team Naitanui. Things looked dicey when he went down innocuously in the second quarter, but the Lions Academy prospect recovered to run out a full game. Aside from his ruck work against pretty stiff opposition, Gillett worked well around the ground to compete aerially and even chime in with a couple of intercept marks. While raw, he fits the bill of modern day mobile rucks and can further develop his craft at either end.