North AdelaideNorth AdelaideMidfielder


Kane McAuliffe

height: 187cm

weight: 86kg

D.O.B: 01-03-2005

Leagues: AFL U18 Championships

  • Snapshot
  • Analysis
  • Summary

SNAPSHOT: “An enforcer on the inside, Kane McAuliffe does plenty of grunt work through midfield and has a deceptively powerful athletic profile.”

Coming into his top-age year as one of South Australia’s most highly touted prospects, Kane McAuliffe proved an integral part of the state’s Under 18 side. The Port Augusta product came through the ranks at North Adelaide and progressed nicely since opting to board at Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, taking out the James Goss Medal for his school football dominance in 2021. He went on to have success with the Roosters and played in the losing 2022 SANFL Under 18 Grand Final, before being selected in the annual Under 17 Futures showcase.

This year, McAuliffe turned out six times in the junior grade and also broke through for a senior berth at Reserves level, playing seven games for North who fell short of finals in each competition. Some of his best form was observed at the Under 18 National Championships, where McAuliffe brought bull-like intensity to the midfield battle and set a consistent tone in what was otherwise a struggling side. He capped off his campaign by tearing up the National Draft Combine, achieving top five results in three of the five testing events to demonstrate his explosive streak.



+ Contested game
+ Kick penetration
+ Leadership
+ Tackling
+ Power
+ Size


- Hurt factor
- Outside game

Much of McAuliffe's best work this year was completed at the coalface, where he well and truly got his hands dirty. The big-bodied ball winner put up strong contested possession and clearance numbers at SANFL Under 18s level, averaging 13.8 and 5.5 in the respective categories. While able to win the ball himself, he also prevented opposition mids from breaking clear of stoppage in a canter, laying heavy tackles full of intent. McAuliffe averaged 8.5 during the National Championships and was often the two-way enforcer in South Australia's midfield.

There were few opponents who could escape McAuliffe's wrath, as he bullocked through contests and sat down a number of players along the way. Much of his contested proficiency is down to his size and power, with the 18-year-old very strongly built at 187cm and 86kg. He's an explosive athlete, perhaps deceptively so, as demonstrated at the National Draft Combine. McAuliffe finished fifth in the 20m sprint (2.930 seconds) and standing vertical jump (77cm), while rising for the equal-third best running vertical jump (95cm). Considering his build and play style, they are excellent numbers.

Given his presence and proficiency on the inside, there remains some room for development in McAuliffe's outside game. On paper, his kick-to-handball ratio and contested-to-uncontested numbers are quite even, but McAuliffe clearly thrives at the contest. He could perhaps better utilise his turn of speed to drive his legs to the outside, or lean on his strong running capacity to have a greater say away from stoppage. Once he gets into space, his kicking is penetrative and much more likely to hit up leading targets as he has been shown to do. At stoppage, he may be more inclined to dump clearances forward with less measure or effectiveness.

Having spent time down back, McAuliffe is no stranger to having to distribute the ball and playing a less urgent style. He's capable of spreading the play and using his long leg to change angles, but simply needs to do it more often as a midfielder. That kind of expansive play will help enhance his hurt factor. Another area McAuliffe could lift in is his scoreboard impact - which again ties into impacting outside of stoppages. It's hardly a case of him not having those strings to his bow, but more so implementing them at a greater frequency.

As an overall package, McAuliffe has plenty of the common attributes of any good inside midfielder, with strong potential to improve other facets of his game. He has shown glimpses of that, and has the capacity to be a Patrick Dangerfield type of midfielder down the line. Luke Hodge is another player he draws inspiration from, and it's no wonder both of the aforementioned AFL stars are also great captains. That's another trait of McAuliffe's which clubs will appreciate, given he has held leadership positions across many levels in his junior career.



There hasn’t been much love for South Australian prospects this year, and McAuliffe is one who could not have done too much more to press his case. A tough inside ball winner, keen tackler and explosive athlete, the 18-year-old has some handy traits which will hold up at the next level. With the ability to play in defence and after a strong showing at the National Draft Combine, clubs may see a little more upside than what his exposed on-field form may let on. In any case, expect him to either feature towards the end of the second round or late in the National Draft intake.

Contested game
Kicking penetration
Hurt factor
Outside game

AFL U18 Championships

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