Leagues: SANFL Reserves, SANFL League, SANFL Under 18s, AFL U18 Championships
SNAPSHOT: “An onballer with an exciting blend of speed and skill, Sturt’s Nick Sadler is a noted leader who has performed well at a variety of levels this season.”
Nick Sadler may not be one of the more well-known South Australian draft prospects, but his traits on and off the field could very well see him end up on an AFL list come draft night. Sadler’s top-aged season got off to a terrific start when he made his SANFL League debut in the Double Blues Round 1 clash with West Adelaide, after impressing with the senior squad throughout the pre-season. He booted a goal and managed seven disposals as the Double Blues enjoyed a comfortable first-up win. Sadler would go on to play another league match alongside two reserves games, and was one of driving forces behind Sturt’s comeback season in the Under 18s, making the finals after claiming the wooden spoon last year. Named vice-captain of the team, Sadler missed South Australia’s opening match of the national carnival due to COVID protocols, but returned to feature in the remaining three matches.
+ Foot skills
+ Clean hands
+ Scoreboard impact
- Contested ball
This season Sadler proved a class above the Under 18s competition, averaging a well-rounded 24.1 disposals, 4.6 marks, 3.7 tackles, 4.1 clearances and a goal in 10 matches. He showed an ability to accumulate plenty of the ball, averaging over 29 possessions in a five-game span throughout the middle of the year. Sadler is capable of winning his own ball in the contest as an inside midfielder, but can also find it on the outside. A standout trait of his is the speed at which he attacks the ball, then uses to break away from the congestion. He is agile and clean below his knees.
Foot skills are always high on the agenda of recruiting staff, and Sadler possesses one of the most penetrating kicks in the class. He is an efficient ball user, which should allow him to play on the inside or outside at the next level. He divided his time between the first ruck and wing for Tony Bamford's state side. Another attractive strength of Sadler's is his scoreboard impact, which has been a staple of his game throughout his junior career. Sadler kicked three goals against Central District in Round 3 and booted 11 for the season. His ability to score also gives Sadler the flexibility to play off a half-forward flank at senior level.
Sadler has been named vice-captain for several state representative sides over the past couple of years in a testament to his leadership. His noted leadership capabilities saw him named captain of the 2022 Rookie Me SANFL Team of the Year, announced in September. Standing at 179cm, Sadler's smaller stature is certainly unlikely to be the reason he is not drafted, however a few extra centimetres would generally be preferred as an onballer and would likely help him win more contested ball.
DRAFT RANGE: 40+
Nick Sadler has a blend of highly attractive strengths which could entice clubs into picking him earlier than expected. The combination of speed and skill generally makes for an exciting prospect, and Sadler has both. Although he is not super tall, Sadler can hit the scoreboard, is clean at ground level and got a taste of senior football early in the year. Capable of playing as an inside or outside midfielder as well as a half-forward, Sadler is a noted leader who could join an AFL club in November either late in the National Draft or as a rookie.
AFL U18 Championships
SANFL Under 18s