Under 18 SANFL Players To Watch

Updated: April 7, 2017

With the SANFL 2017 Under 18 Torrens University Cup beginning tomorrow, here are some names to look out for this season and in to 2018.

The Stars

Callum Coleman-Jones/Sturt

Dominating the SANFL U18’s for Sturt, with nearly 40 hit outs per game, Callum Coleman-Jones one of, if not the best ruckman in the 2017 Draft. If Coleman-Jones is not taking control of the ruck contest, he is just as threatening when inside 50, with his strength overhead in the marking contest. Such is his strength overhead, Coleman-Jones is used as a link in the chain out of congestion and turning a defensive disposal in to attack.

Darcy Fogarty/Glenelg

While playing predominantly as a key forward in his underage year, Fogarty has made a move to the midfield, where his size and strength have him touted as the best South Australian talent in 2017.  Fogarty looks set to play more time as a pure midfielder in 2017, but has the flexibility and game sense to play anywhere on the ground. Rarely beaten in the air, his strength in a contested mark situation creates a strong target for team mates and is  on par with some key position talls. While having strength on the inside of the contest, this is complimented with his speed away from the contest where he creates space between him and his opponent and using the ball efficiently.

Jackson Edwards/Glenelg F/S Adelaide Crows

Son of Premiership winning Crow, Tyson Edwards, Jackson certainly follows in his fathers footsteps to be a major contributor for the Crows. When Edwards has the ball, you know something is going to happen, such is the quality of disposal he possesses. While predominantly an outside midfielder, Edwards has the ability to win his own ball when it’s his turn. The clear strength in Edwards’ game is his line breaking left foot, and more often than not, a team mate will be on the end of his disposal. Along with this, his game sense and ability to bring team mates in to the game is a real key to his game. While not a game breaking type of player, Edwards does a lot of things right and will be a welcomed addition to all Adelaide Crows supporters.

Thomas Scmusch/Woodvile-West Torrens

Arguably one of the best tall defenders in the 2017 draft, Schmusch is one that isn’t daunted by a challenge, which is shown by him taking the oppositions best forward. A player that has a calm nature and isn’t over awed by the contest, Schmusch plays within his limits and this shows with his disposal out of defence. At this time only playing as a Key Defender, Schmusch was played forward in SA’s Academy trial where he presented strongly and kicked two goals.

Andrew McPherson/Woodville-West Torrens

Representing SA at Under 16’s in 2016, McPherson has gone from strength to strength, being selected in the 2017 NAB Academy squad. Managing to be exposed to senior football in 2016, McPherson is an elite runner and features heavily in metres gained off half back. While speed and composure sometimes aren’t a good mix, McPherson has found the balance between taking off from  the contest to disposing of the ball with a team mate usually on the end of it.

Nathan Kreuger/South Adelaide

Playing as a 3rd tall, Kreuger has shown the ability to play at both ends of the ground, and when playing forward he has proven to be a strong option along with kicking multiple bags of goals. A raw prospect, Kreuger’s agility and movement in general play contradicts his 194cm, 84kg frame. He is not short of attack on the ball and has a see ball, get ball mentality. After a very strong showing in the 2016 Championships, expect Kreuger to be high on the lists of recruiters if he continues on his current developmental path. Likely to play as a defender, the Panthers a prospect that will put in 100% of what is asked from him.

Jordan Houlahan/Sturt

Houlahan is one that knows how how to hit the scoreboard, and outside of this, he is a busy forward who can create opportunities where there isn’t the option to do so. A strong mark overhead, who offers team mates the confidence that if he does not take the mark, his athleticism and strength at ground level will keep the play moving forward. Houlahan has an elite vertical jump (80cm at the March testing) to go with his 2.93s 20m sprint, which could see him move up the ground, spending more time as a midfielder in 2017.

The Surprise Packets

Stefan Giro/Norwood

Stefan Giro is a ball winning, speed machine with endurance to match and is one that will be at the top of many of the endurance/speed testings across the Draft testing. Along with his speed, Giro offers consistency which was the key to him winning the Maccas Cup MVP for the 2016 Under 18 SANFL competition. He received his nomination after an enormous 44 disposal, nine marks, 13 clearances and four goal outing. To go with his outstanding showing, he managed to play eight reserves game with Norwood. A pleasing thing for recruiters will be the efficiency of which Giro uses the ball, going at 78% with his 35 disposals average per game.

Alex Martini/Glenelg

The talented Glenelg midfielder is set for a big 2017, as he makes his mark in his draft year. Already proving himself as a big game player, Giro found his way in to the 2016 SANFL U18’s premiership, to go along with a best on ground performance in the Qualifying Final. Giro is a strong running midfielder which compliments his inside contested ball winning abilities.

Isaac Hewson/Norwood

Hewson is a strong inside midfielder who has shown both at underage and senior level he can consistently win his own ball. Breaking the thought process that inside midfielders provide the grunt, not the ball use, Hewson has claim on the best disposer of the ball by foot in the 2017 Draft. A name that isn’t has highly spoken about at this time of the year, Hewson will be one that will rocket in to conversations in the lead up to the Draft.

Mitch Crowden/Sturt

A pure ball winning midfielder who provides gut running to ensure he finds himself in the best position to continually be involved in the play. Crowden’s ability to assess situations in play on the fly is a real strength, which is where his clean ball use is aided, consistently hitting a team mate with his disposal by foot. Crowden’s game style is based on contested football and clean ball use on the outside, which was all on show with his Maccas Cup MVP nomination where he had 41 disposals, 14 contested possessions, five marks, six clearances, eight tackles, six inside 50’s and a goal.

Sam Davis/Glenelg

Sam Davis is one to watch in a year where there is no shortage of talls in 2017. Davis is a forward who knows how to hit the scoreboard, managing 6 goals from his two finals appearances for Glenelg in 2017. The key to Davis’ game is his natural game sense and IQ across the ground, which consistently sees him in the right areas of the ground to receive the ball. An area of his game which benefits most from this is his strength in the air. With his first few steps on the lead, once he gets separation from his defender, he is extremely tough to stop.

Up and Comers

Ruben Flinn/Glenelg

A monster of a player who has the mobility of a midfielder. Flinn is not one to shy away from a contest and uses his large frame to have an impact of every contest he is a part of. Will take a little longer to reach his potential, but already having the ability to rest forward and provide a contest and bring the small forwards in to the game if he is to not take the mark himself.

Luke Valente/Norwood

Valente is an outside midfielder who consistently hits the score board, and is a classy user with his general field kicking. While predominantly an outside midfielder, Valente’s ability to move through traffic and have the composure to hit a target is well advanced for his age. Already having senior football exposure with Norwood, Valente is one to watch.

Izak Rankine/West Adelaide

Once he is out in space, there is next to no chance of catching him, and to go with the speed, Rankine has the composure to finish of the play with a team mate on the end of the disposal. Rankine has the game awareness to put himself in the right positions to be as damaging as possible, and has the x-factor to make something happen where it shouldn’t. His draft stocks are only going to continue to rise leading in to his 2018 draft year.

Connor Rozee/North Adelaide

Rozee possesses match winning abilities already and this is shown with him winning the Kevin Sheehan medal at the U16 National Championships. Rozee can play multiple positions across the ground, but he looks most comfortable playing as a pure midfielder. A well rounded player with great game sense and very solid skills who looks set to have a big 2017.

Written By: Corey Wade (@OTLSCorey)
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*The opinions expressed in this article are that of the writer and not Over The Line Sports or AFL Draft Hub

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