TALENTED Vic Metro teenagers have pressed their case for the number one pick in the fourth round of the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.
Vic Metro’s seven-goal opening quarter was sheer dominance, running out winners by 67-points against South Australia at Etihad Stadium on Friday.
Possible no.1 picks Will Sutherland and Cameron Rayner were damaging in the attacking half of the ground, with Sutherland’s clean pick ups from ground level impressive, booting two goals from his 13 disposals. Rayner showed his power, clunking multiple contested marks completing an impressive outing with 16 disposals, seven marks and five goals.
Eastern Rangers forward Jaidyn Stephenson had his best game of the carnival with 28 disposals and five goals, showing off his good burst of speed.
Metro’s 190cm players Nicholas Coffield and Charlie Constable both looked first round selections and will no doubt be in recruiters minds as possible top ten selections.
Coffield’s composure in the defensive half of the ground was impressive and his poise with ball in hand was impressive to collect 19 disposals. Constable backed up his best-on-ground performance from last week with 23 disposals, seven marks and a goal, again showing his cleanness through the midfield.
Metro captain Joel Garner (eight disposals) cracked in hard when he needed to go, but suffered an ankle issue in the second term – that left him on the bench for the entire last quarter.
In his first game back from a quad injury, Sandringham Dragon Andrew Brayshaw showed good signs with 20 disposals and five inside 50s attending multiple centre bounces.
In what was a disappointing day for South Australia, bottom-ager Izak Rankine was their best gathering 22 disposals. Rankine showed off an elite side step and booted a goal from the pocket in the tightest of angles.
Tall Defender Harrison Petty was one who may’ve increased his draft stocks, marking well in defence and distributing the ball well on his right foot. Petty finished the day with 18 disposals, seven marks and six rebound 50s.
South Adelaide tall Nathan Kreuger showed promise in his opening game of the Under 18 Championships, booting a goal in the second quarter, providing a marking option up forward for South Australia. Kreuger finished the day with 16 disposals, eight marks and five inside 50s.
Possible top ten draftee Darcy Fogarty was unable to get into the contest, recording just four disposals and three tackles.
Both sides will converge on Simonds Stadium on Wednesday, with Vic Metro playing the Allies at 2.10pm, while South Australia will face Vic Country at 4.40pm.
VIC METRO 7.3 11.3 15.5 18.7 (115)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 1.1 4.2 4.5 6.12 (48)
VIC METRO: Stephenson 5, Rayner 5, Sutherland 2, Constable, Petruccelle, L.Fogarty, Podhajski, Hayes, Xerri
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Crowden, Kreuger, Lukosius, Rankine, Denton, Hewson
VIC METRO: Constable, Rayner, Stephenson, Higgins, Coffield, Mynott
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Rankine, Petty, Kreuger, Edwards, Crowden, Martini
Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:
#3 Ethan Penrith – Was a tackling machine in the defensive 50 laying a game-high nine tackles. He was cleaner than the game at Punt Road, not fumbling as often. Has played mostly as a small defender, but his one appearance up forward for Northern might be worth continuing after the carnival as he can turn the ball over at stages rebounding out of defence. His tackling and pressure would make him appealing as a small forward in the mould of the Richmond AFL forwards at the moment.
#19 Cameron Rayner – Again got the job done up forward and through the midfield. Has been isolated at times by the Metro coaches as the deepest forward where he can clunk marks with ease. There were a few occassions when the ball went up in the air and he was the only player who just wanted to get the ball. 16 disposals, seven marks and five goals – A stellar day that enhanced his no.1 pick chances.
#23 Jaidyn Stephenson – Played his best game of the season and bounced back after a disappointing carnival to date. Collected 28 disposals playing on the wing and across half forward. His field kicking can be a off at stages and he did miss a few targets throughout the game. Overall though, he managed to boot five goals and his game showed that he is more than just a forward. Possesses a good burst of speed which he applied well at certain stages.
#24 Charlie Constable – Another super performance that has stamped his paper as a first round selection – if not a top ten. Constable was again clean around the ground and super at the stoppages, where he was able to use his good hands to clear the ball to teammates. Another strength was his tackling and very rarely when he tackles does the ball come loose, resulting in a few free kicks for holding the ball. Laid seven tackles to go with his 23 disposals.
#25 Nicholas Coffield – Again was the general in defence and dominated his match-up with Darcy Fogarty. In traffic he doesn’t seem rushed and finds targets by hand and foot with ease. His efficiency numbers are some of the best in this draft pool and like Constable shapes as another 190cm player who can play through the midfield. Should feature in a similar draft range to Constable.
#31 Will Sutherland – Took another step forward after last week and was superb in the opening quarter. Picks the ball up from ground level better than anyone and shovels out quick handballs to teammates. Booted two goals from his 13 disposals and did have a run around in the midfield as the game went on. For a bloke coming off a limited football preseason and being his first year in the ‘rep footy’ pathway, there has been plenty of promising signs.
#2 Izak Rankine – Arguably leading the race for the South Australian MVP. Is lively on the outside and his work forward of centre is very good. Was SAs leading disposal winner with 22 and booted a goal. His flashy moments are very good and certainly catches the eye. The bottom-ager has been super and would be a high selection if he was eligible for this year’s draft.
#13 Jackson Edwards – The Adelaide father-son selection again was solid without starring. Found 21 disposals and laid five tackles. Used it well on his left foot and looks most comfortable on the outside.
#16 Mitch Crowden – Strong lad who cracks in hard at every opportunity. Laid seven tackles and was superb in the midfield for SA. Mostly chose to dispose of it by hand coming out of heavy traffic, but was able to weave his way through the stoppages.
#38 Harrison Petty – One of South Australia’s best – playing as a tall defender, before switching forward late in the contest. Intercepted the ball well and defended well when he needed to. Rebounded it well off his right foot and is a player who no doubt would’ve caught the eye of those watching at home.
#40 Darcy Fogarty – A disappointing day with just four disposals and three tackles. At times he picked and choosed when he wanted to defend, mostly spending the game forward. It would’ve been nice to see him thrown back as he has played some good games there at stages. Will be interesting to see how he bounces back on Wednesday.
#41 Nathan Kreuger – Was one of the shining lights up forward and does lead to the question as to why he hadn’t played a game earlier for South Australia. Took eight marks and had five inside 50s, often turning onto his left foot and finding a target with ease. Very athletic player who can do some things that other forwards can’t. One I hope who can do it again on Wednesday, justifying his place inside my top 30 all season.