SturtSturtMedium Defender


Malachy Carruthers

height: 185cm

weight: 72kg

D.O.B: 07-11-2020

Leagues: SANFL Under 18s

Image Credit: Brenton Edwards/The Messenger

OSITION: Medium Defender

DRAFT ANALYSIS: “Carruthers is a skilful half-back with penetrative kicking and a high endurance base.” – Tom Wyman

Sturt's Malachy Carruthers missed out on selection into the 2020 AFL Academy Hub squad, but after a strong Under 18 season with the Double Blues, the attacking defender could find his way onto an AFL list come December. A product of St. Peters College and the Payneham junior football club in Adelaide's north-eastern suburbs, Carruthers made the half-back flank his own this year and in doing so, played a pivotal role in Sturt's run to the Under 18 Grand Final. Carruthers earned himself an invite to the national combine where his strong aerobic capacity and handy agility stood out. Recruiters may not have been considering Carruthers prior to the season, however several clubs have expressed interest in the defender since, undoubtedly keen to see if his promising blend of athleticism and skills can translate to the highest level.


  • Foot skills
  • Intercept marking
  • Endurance
  • Rebounding
  • Penetration


  • Strength/Rawness
  • Exposure at a higher level

Carruthers could be described as an offensive defender - one who generates plenty of rebound from the backline and is able to set up the play with his terrific foot skills. His ability to pick apart opposition zones with a diverse range of kicks could see him compared to Richmond triple-premiership winner Bachar HouliCarruthers consistently hits his targets by foot over short and long distances. He has a sweet and fluent kicking style and is able to pick off targets in positions few would be bold enough to attempt. Carruthers has a long right-foot and was able to use this to damaging effect as part of the Double Blues' game plan. He was also able to push up onto the wing at times this season, where he was again able to use his speed and skills in an attacking manner.

However, although his foot skills and rebounding abilities are arguably his standout attributes, Carruthers is also a capable intercept marker, who reads the flight of the ball well and has safe hands overhead. Despite being several centimetres smaller than many of his opponents, his natural athleticism and courage ensures he remains competitive in the air. Carruthers showed off his high endurance at the national combine, completing the 2km time trial in six minutes and 30 seconds, placing second in SA and eclipsed only by West Adelaide's Jye Sinderberry. He also impressed in the agility test, finishing with a time of 8.40 seconds. Carruthers' on-field speed probably wasn't appropriately reflected in his 20 metre sprint time of 3.124 seconds. Despite not placing among the top performers in the sprint, he was able to utilise his quick turn of speed to dash away from opponents at various times throughout the season.

The obvious area for improvement for Carruthers is his strength. At 67kg during preseason and now 72kg, he is still quite lean and will likely require a couple of pre-seasons in the gym to build up his strength. In a professional environment and with an appropriate strength and conditioning program, this will be easily improved upon. Although its possible Carruthers will always play as that slim running type, Hawthorn recruit and fellow South Australian Will Day proved that if you're talented enough, you're quite often strong enough to match-it against bigger bodies. Carruthers is still very much a raw prospect, who only had limited exposure in the SANFL Under 18s and SA school football competitions, but has shown enough promise to warrant selection in December.

DRAFT PROJECTION: Third round-rookie

Carruthers is certainly a developing prospect who has caught the eyes of several recruiters for his performances at half-back and along the wing. He isn't the type to make an immediate impact at AFL level, but with a few pre-seasons in the gym, Carruthers boasts the kicking skills, overhead marking capability, and athletic profile to forge a successful career in the big league. A bolter who jumped into the draft conversation as the year wore on, Carruthers will appeal to clubs seeking a highly developable and skilful talent with plenty of upside and room to grow. With the right amount of patience and persistence, Carruthers could turn into a valuable defensive asset.


SA Draft Combine:
Agility - 8.40 seconds
Endurance (2km) - 6:30


Podcast: Offence from defence
Scouting Notes: SANFL U18 Grand Final

SANFL Under 18s

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