Leagues: SANFL Reserves, SANFL Under 18s, Under 18s Championships
SNAPSHOT: “Arguably Adelaide’s most promising father-son prospect to-date, Max Michalanney is an athletic defender capable of shutting down tall and small opponents and providing rebound from half-back.”
Max Michalanney’s progress has been closely followed by Crows fans for a number of years now. Michalanney is eligible to join Adelaide under the father-son rule given his father Jim played 200 SANFL matches with Norwood. A four-time premiership player and life member of the Redlegs, the Michalanney name returned to the Norwood senior side this season, with Max playing three games including two finals as the red and blue’s claimed their 31st league premiership.
Michalanney was the hard-luck story of Norwood’s flag, having been dropped for the Grand Final clash with North Adelaide, but looked comfortable at the level and played his role well despite not recording huge numbers. The Rostrevor College product was also impressive for South Australia throughout the Under 18s National Championships, in particular against the Allies in game one, providing rebound off half-back and shutting down his opponent. He was rewarded for his efforts by being selected on the interchange of the Under 18s All-Australian team as one of three South Australian representatives.
- Aerial ability
- Defensive versatility
- Reading the play
- Intercept marking
Max Michalanney played across four levels of competition this year, piecing together a couple of strong games in the SANFL Under 18s before being moved to the Reserves side, where he averaged 14.1 disposals, 4.6 marks and 2.7 tackles in seven matches. He made his league debut in round nine, gathering four touches and laying three tackles, then returned to the side for the semi-final win over Glenelg. Michalanney was clearly among South Australia's best performers at the national carnival, where he was able to use his athleticism to break lines from the defensive arc.
Some junior players will jump off the stats sheet, but the numbers do not do Michalanney justice. He is not a big ball winner, but rather a defensively sound backman who can be relied upon to shut down his opponent week after week. A task-orientated player who thrives on doing the basics well, Michalanney was an integral component of every team he played with. The fact Norwood premiership coach Jade Rawlings trusted him to perform a role down back in two finals at Adelaide Oval speaks volumes to Michalanney's discipline and defensive skillset.
Importantly, Michalanney knows when to zone off his direct opponent and drift in to intercept. As all good defenders do, he reads the play well and has clean hands overhead. He boasts a well-rounded athletic profile, with the speed to match opponents on the lead and agility to keep in-touch with them once the ball hits the deck. He showed a quick turn of pace for SA and was able to damage the opposition with run and carry going the other way.
Michalanney's defensive competency could allow him to play senior football next season, should he be drafted as anticipated. However he will need to add some size to his frame in order to match-it with the hardened bodies at AFL level. If required to play on taller key forwards, Michalanney would also be required to improve on his physicality in the contest. However this will more than likely come with added strength.
DRAFT RANGE: 30-60
Max Michalanney shapes as being a mid-to-late selection in the National Draft, with the Crows able to match any bids which may come for him. Set to be a third-tall defender at the next level, clubs will be impressed with Michalanney’s defensive skillset and discipline. Michalanney’s natural athleticism allows him to play on opponents taller and smaller than his 190cm frame, and he will look to build strength in the off-season. He will appeal to clubs looking to bolster their defensive depth with a versatile backman, but Michalanney appears odds-on at this stage to remain in South Australia as a Crow.
SANFL Under 18s
Under 18s Championships