SANFL U18s Player Focus: Kade Herbert (Eagles)

AFTER nearly 10 months away from the SANFL Under 18s competition, Woodville-West Torrens midfielder Kade Herbert made his return over the weekend. He last played for the Eagles’ juniors back in June of last year, made unavailable by senior berths and representative commitments.

With no League action due to the State Game, Herbert filled his boots in a 56-point Under 18 win over Norwood on Sunday. Now, the 18-year-old Yorke Peninsula native is primed to attack his top-age campaign with vigour and is the subject of our Round 3 SANFL Player Focus.

>> Feature: Herbert primed to give footy “100 per cent” in 2024

Kade Herbert

Height: 184cm

Weight: -

DOB: 03-04-2006


2024 SANFL Under 18s: Round 3
Woodville-West Torrens 15.12 (102) def. Norwood 6.10 (46)

#24 Kade Herbert (Woodville-West Torrens)
Stats: 25 disposals, 10 marks, 2 tackles, 4 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals


Arguably the leading prospect afield, Herbert was thrown straight into the centre bounces and attended four of five overall in the first quarter. He took little time to get his hands on the ball too, spreading forward and sending a bullet pass inside 50 to assist the Eagles’ opening goal.

While not overly quick, Herbert’s smart and hard running helped his side move from end to end with fluency. He boosted his GPS numbers between the arcs and looked to generate spurts of transitional run, otherwise using the ball neatly with short and high-percentage kicks.


Herbert’s rotation saw him shift away from the centre bounces in term two, only sighted at two of seven as he also spent time up forward. There, he continued to showcase his work rate by venturing high up the ground before running hard on the way back – often losing his opponent.

Having leapt under a couple of high balls and delivered as many kicks a touch short, Herbert began to blow out the cobwebs with cleaner work. One such moment saw him fly for a strong overhead mark 15 metres from goal, which he clunked before converting the subsequent set shot.

His clean hands continued to be a feature having taken a solid intercept mark at half-forward and sharked the ball at a defensive stoppage. Herbert would end the hand with 11 disposals and a goal, slowly finding his groove at a different game pace to what he’s used to at senior level.


Herbert was thrust back into the starting midfield mix after the main break. Despite attending all four centre bounces in term three, his impact was arguably felt more around the ground where he found pockets of space to receive the ball and try to make good use of it.

Among Herbert’s best moments for the quarter was a huge mark on the outer wing, though his crash landing meant he swiftly handed the ball off. He also produced a nice bit of skill in executing a checkside pass inside defensive 50. Late in the term, his game sense came into play when running down the clock.


Much like in the second term, Herbert was hardly sighted at the restarts but enjoyed plenty of time up forward and had little trouble finding the pill. He capped off a solid performance by kicking the final goal of the match, shifting nicely onto his right foot and slotting the ball home.

In one of his more prolific quarters, Herbert continued to make his overhead marking a feature and even went for a dash along the wing. He showed good core strength to stand up and shrug off tackles at stoppages, feeding teammates with quickfire and efficient disposals.


In a draft littered with talented and unique midfielders, it is difficult to know exactly where Herbert fits. Playing senior football is among his advantages, and having graduated from school last year he is well poised to put everything into ending up on an AFL list.

Filling his boots back at Under 18s level would have felt nice after a relatively steady start to his senior campaign, and should put him in good stead confidence-wise. A strong next few weeks will now be the key to attacking the National Championships head-on come May 26.

In terms of his value, Herbert has natural footballing traits – clean hands, good decision making, and a hard edge in midfield. He lags behind a few others in the way of athleticism and that may hold him back in direct comparisons, but he can work harder and smarter than most.

Continuing to showcase his versatility and neat fundamental skills will be key to Herbert strengthening his standing amongst a strong crop of midfielders. Senior football is one thing, but the ultimate test in that regard will be coming up against them in state colours.

>> Throwback: Kade Herbert Player Focus (2023)

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