Leagues: SANFL Under 18s, Under 18s Championships
SNAPSHOT: “An aerially apt key forward whose early-season goalkicking feats planted him firmly on the AFL Draft radar.”
You’d be hard pressed to find a richer run of form than what Tom Scully produced through Rounds 1-7 of the 2022 SANFL Under 18 season. The raw and rangy tall forward booted a remarkable 37 goals in said period en route to 50 overall, including three bags of seven.
His goalkicking prowess saw him earn a call-up to the AFL Academy, before being selected in South Australia’s Under 18 squad – albeit for a single National Championships game – and rounding out his campaign at Reserves level where West Adelaide reached the preliminary finals.
It’s fair to say Scully has come a long way in a short space of time, developing quickly over the last two seasons having converted from soccer, and spending more time in attack this year after cutting his teeth as a ruck. He looms as one of the more intriguing tall prospects in the pool.
+ Aerial ability
+ Scoreboard impact
- Contested work
- Footy IQ
At 202cm, it is easy to see why and how Scully produced such remarkable numbers at the start of the season. He dominated the Under 18s level, having little trouble taking toll with his reach and range to rule the airways and finish his work in front of goal.
The true test would come when poised against defenders of either greater ilk or size, with Scully's footy IQ and contested work challenged at an increasing rate as the season wore on.
Though undeniably incredible, his numbers this year prove a touch deceptive. Scoring at 70 per cent accuracy, his scoreboard impact could have been even more profound if not for the odd stray, out-on-the-full set shot. He also averaged 2.8 contested marks per game, but tended to juggle them under opposition pressure or go to ground.
With a bit more meat on his bones and a touch of mongrel, reeling in those marks one-touch will become easier. Against his peers, Scully is good enough on the lead with handy mobility for a player his size, but has often leant on his reach advantage to compound his aerial impact, and thus scoring opportunities.
Having showcased a sound rate of development over the last two years, Scully's leading patterns inside 50 and sense of presence will inevitably improve should he earn a shot at the top level. He's a highly developable tall whose goalkicking exploits are hard to deny, along with a handy bit of senior experience.
DRAFT RANGE: 40-60
Though he has fallen away from the lofty heights set for him early in the year, Scully remains a decent chance to be picked up given his potential and rate of development. The West Adelaide prospect ticks some nice boxes as a 202cm player, and has the potential to pinch hit in the ruck as a bonus addition to his forward craft. He will only improve, and clubs will have to put some time into him to unlock his potential should he be snapped up, most likely in the later stages of the intake. The fact he earned a National Combine invite, and that recruiters were unimpressed by his non-selection in the first three National Championships games are positive signs.
SANFL Under 18s
Under 18s Championships