Leagues: SANFL Under 18s, Under 18s Championships
SNAPSHOT: “An athletic forward who is strong in the air and capable of playing through the ruck.”
Phoenix Foster was somewhat of a surprise packet for South Australia at the National Championships. With lead ruck Harry Barnett a late withdrawal from game one due to COVID, Foster took the opportunity with both hands and was named one of South Australia’s best players in the Croweaters’ win against the Allies. So impressive was his performance, that he retained his position in the side throughout the Championships, playing in all bar one game.
A strong aerial athlete who competes well in the air, Foster always finds a way to hold onto the mark or bring the ball to ground. His vertical leap allows him to be competitive in the ruck and he has shown he can present as a lead-up option around the ground.
Foster managed a goal in every one of his appearances for Norwood in the SANFL Under 18 competition this year, finishing with 26 majors from just 11 games. His average of 2.18 contested marks per game was good for third highest in the league, trailing only state teammates Ashton Moir and Tom Scully.
An invite to the National Draft Combine tops off a strong year for Foster, whose impressive rise has solidified him as a genuine chance to be selected in late November.
+ Aerial ability
+ Contested marking
+ Scoreboard impact
- Ruck craft
- Follow-up work
The development of Foster into a genuine draft prospect was one of only a few positives for South Australia during the 2022 National Championships. His ability to compete in the ruck for significant parts of the game was critical for the Croweaters in the absence of first choice, Harry Barnett. The two formed a handy duo upon Barnett's return to the side and it gave Foster the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to play both as a forward and a ruck.
Foster has great key position size, standing at 197cm, and although he's fractionally undersized for a lead ruck, his vertical leap allows him to compete to win each hitout. With his athletic profile, Foster could further develop his follow-up ability and with more reps as a ruckman, he'll likely come to understand the nuances of the ruck contest, reducing the number of free kicks awarded against him.
Foster's contested marking is his standout trait, which he uses to great effect both as a deep forward and as an option further up the ground. His size and athleticism make him a tough cover on the lead and he demonstrated an ability to consistently hit the scoreboard throughout his season in the SANFL Under 18 season.
There remains an element of rawness to Foster, suggesting there's a fair bit more growth to come in his game. Potential aside, the perceived lack of key position talent in this year's draft may work in his favour, presenting a big opportunity for him to land on an AFL list.
DRAFT RANGE: 40+
Foster grabbed the opportunity presented to him at the National Championships and thrust his name into draft calculations. The Norwood prospect projects as a key forward that can play second ruck at the next level, with his rawness suggesting there’s still some untapped potential in him. Clubs looking for a developable tall could do much worse than take a shot on Foster, whose upside is clear to see.
SANFL Under 18s
Under 18s Championships