SANFL Player Focus: Noah Howes (South Adelaide)

SOUTH Adelaide key forward Noah Howes has emerged as a mid-season draft candidate since making his SANFL League debut in Round 1. The 18-year-old kicked three goals against Adelaide on that day, and matched his effort in a 27-point loss to Glenelg on Sunday.

The 196cm talent was overlooked in his draft year but suffered his fair share of injury setbacks, including stress fractures and a collarbone break. Having booted three goals in the Panthers’ Under 18 Grand Final win last year, he is now thriving with a clean run at senior level.

Howes has some clear upside in the way of his marking ability and scoreboard impact, which saw him come onto the radar early this year and into South Australia’s Under 18 squad. We placed the South Adelaide youngster under our Player Focus microscope for Round 5.

>> 2024 South Australia Under 18 squad

South Adelaide-logoSouth AdelaideKey Forward

Noah Howes

Height: 196cm

Weight: -

DOB: 28-10-2005

2024 SANFL League: Round 5
South Adelaide 6.7 (43) def. by Glenelg 9.16 (70)

#9 Noah Howes (South Adelaide)

2024 averages: 5 games | 7.8 disposals, 4.4 marks, 2.0 tackles, 1.6 goals (8)
Round 5 stats: 11 disposals (7 kicks, 4 handballs), 7 marks, 3 tackles, 3 goals


Taking up his starting spot at centre half-forward, Howes looked to be active by working up to the wing as an outlet option down the line. That kind of link-up play was hard to come by though, as he moved somewhat laconically between the wing and half-forward.

He seemed a little easy to shift off the line of the ball and was shut down well by Oscar Adams and Max Proud, struggling to engage with any real intent in contested situations or under high balls. Still, he would end up having his moments and looked good when they presented.

Howes’ first real involvement was a terrific mark up on defensive wing, taking the ball cleanly with his arms extended out in front. He also made the most of a chance inside 50, slipping out the back of Proud who peeled off to contest third-up, and marking uncontested in the pocket before slotting his first goal.

The youngster showcased a deliberate set shot routine and struck the ball nicely, slotting it home from the wrong side for a right-footer. Overall, he could have been a little quicker to move in transition or follow up once the ball hit the deck, but played to his strengths as a tall forward.


It was much of the same for Howes in term two, as he again hit the scoreboard with an accomplished finish but lacked a bit of presence in the air. Nonetheless, he clunked another great overhead mark on the lead and was quite neat in the way of ball use by hand and foot.

By far Howes’ best moment for the half was his snap goal late in term two. He reacted well to gather the ball off hands at the back of a contest in the pocket, before displaying great dexterity to quickly turn and snap the ball over his shoulder. It was a pure show of goal sense and craft.


The third quarter was arguably Howes’ quietest, yielding only one handball and a tackle. He reeled in the bouncing ball cleanly and dished it off with slick hands for that one touch, while wrapping up Austin Kitschke to force a forward 50 stoppage.

Overall, he provided a little more frontal pressure in term three and continued to play to instruction with his ventures up the ground. Only late in the term did he build enough confidence to crash a pack or offer genuine physical presence, albeit proving unable to hold the mark inside 50.


Howes ran out the game strongly, adding five disposals, four marks and a goal to his tally in a productive quarter – despite Glenelg kicking away to victory. His best moment was a flying mark and set shot conversion to break a run of five straight majors to the Bays, giving his side a sniff.

The big man also had more success as a marking target up the ground, working his opponent over to find the ball uncontested between the arcs. When he wasn’t launching it long to the next contest, he continued to dish off deft handballs to runners with clean handling on the bounce.

Howes also laid another lock-up tackle inside 50 to add another element to this game, and all credit due, he got more competitive as the game wore on. Laying claim to half of his side’s goals for the day, the emerging forward could hold his head high as the Panther remain winless at 0-5.

Noah Howes kicks at goal | Image Credit: Nick Hook Photography


Given how interrupted his draft year was, Howes can essentially be treated as a top-ager as he goes about showing his wares this year. In that sense, he is doing well to not only stay on the park, but produce positive signs at senior level in a side which is yet to win a game.

At 196cm, Howes is an aerial threat with strong hands and great extension at the ball. He looks best when afforded a clean run and jump, and while he ranks equal-first in the league for contested marks, could be a little more aggressive in his approach to crash packs and engage his opponent one-on-one.

As he continues to develop and find his feet, being able to follow up on his initial actions or when marking opportunities dissipate will help keep him involved in the play. He’ll need to elevate his production level, averaging just under eight touches per games with over half of them coming from marks.

Though, Howes’ strengths are obvious and he has great upside as a natural goalkicker. If he can continue to post personal-best tallies and round out his game, he could well be in line for higher honours. There is still plenty of improvement left to make in the meantime.

The AFL mid-season draft is typically tailored towards tall recruits, so that works in Howes’ favour. His emergence in arguably the country’s strongest state league is promising and if clubs instead choose to monitor him with an extended run at it, he could well pop up again in consideration for the National Draft.

>> Under 18s MOTR: South Adelaide vs. Glenelg

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