By ZAC MILBANK
The U18 and U16 Torrens University Cup competitions are set to kick off this Saturday and Sunday in what promises to be an exciting showcase of South Australia’s most talented footballers.
For the first time, the Torrens University U16 Cup will be a full-length competition, expanding from its usual seven-week minor round, plus finals, format.
The Torrens University U18 Cup will be laced with potential AFL Draft prospects as well as future SANFL League stars as Woodville-West Torrens prepares to defend its crown won in 2021.
As a result, SANFL Media asked the eight Torrens University Cup U18 coaches to reveal two of their ”Ones to Watch” in 2022.
They may be AFL Draft material, a chance to play in the SANFL League competition this year or next or perhaps even a predicted improved player on last year. Check them out below.
Development Manager Scott Stevens
191cm and 90kg
Captain of Central’s U18 team, Brodie can play both ends of the ground and pitch-hit in the ruck if need be.
He will play mainly forward as he covers the ground well and can take a contested mark.
191cm and 78kg
Tyson is a tall, left-foot defender, who has the ability to play either end of the ground.
He can play in the ruck if required as his workrate around the ground is fantastic.
Tyson has been dogged with injuries the last two years so we hope he can have a clean run at it this year to show what he can do.
U18 Coach Jared Millington
189cm and 75kg
Jakob is an athletic, tall defender suited to a half back/wing role who can also have an impact when forward of the play as he did in 2021.
Combining with his long-running capabilities, Jakob has fantastic disposal efficiency and decision-making with the ball in hand.
Jakob is a great overhead mark for his size and below his knees he is a one-grab player who shows good composure.
Jakob has played two trials for the Glenelg Reserves in 2022 and his performances have been that of someone who is quite capable at that level.
Jake certainly fits in to the “One to Watch” category. Jake is a strongly-built Mt Gambier lad who has overcome injuries in 2021 which limited him to only one U18 game last year.
Jake has a powerful kick and a strong physical presence in the contested area. Jake is clean with his ball take, well-balanced, and breaks well with power from the contest.
Jake will be a player who will continue to improve with consistency of games in 2022. He can also play both forward and back and we see him as a dangerous option forward this year when he is not in the middle of the ground.
U18 Coach Craig Brooks
198cm and 88kg
Isaac is an athletic tall forward/ruck prospect in the Paddy Ryder mould.
He is currently a member of the Crows Next Generation Academy and originally hails from Port Augusta.
For a lad of 198cm, his athleticism and speed will certainly catch the eye.
Isaac loves to take a big mark but he is equally adept at handling the ball below his knees.
172cm and 57kg
Kelsey is a quick half-forward/midfield type player who has progressed significantly over the past two years.
The improvement in his game is a credit to Kelsey, who has worked hard in the gym and on his aerobic capacity to assist his football development.
Kelsey will certainly not leave any stone unturned to continue his football improvement in 2022.
U18 Coach Michael Knoll
171cm and 72kg
Tyson Walls is a player with a great football IQ.
Playing predominantly through the midfield, Tyson has great strength around the stoppage and elite speed to break away from his opponents.
He is a standout leader amongst his teammates not just through directional voice but through constantly performing a high level on the field.
Tyson’s elite two way running and desire for the footy will make him one to watch this year.
190cm and 75kg
Max Michalanney, who plays in defence, has gone from strength-to-strength this preseason.
As well as being part of the SANFL state program, Max had the opportunity to train with the Adelaide Crows once a week through the preseason.
This exposure to the elite level has allowed Max to improve at an extremely high rate which has been noticed by Norwood’s senior program, giving him the opportunity to play all three trial matches with Norwood’s reserves.
Max’s football IQ, athleticism and ability to compete in the air and at ground level are all strengths of his game.
Being one of the best defenders in the U18 age bracket, Max will definitely be one to watch this year.
U18 Coach Mark Clayton
198cm and 79kg
Kyle is a tall running defender; he has good speed and mobility for his size and uses the ball well. Kyle was in the SANFL under 18 Hub over the off season and has progressed well. I’m expecting Kyle to have a good season.
185cm and 75kg
Charlie is a running midfielder who is a good kick and makes good decisions.
Charlie can play forward and kick goals. Playing only seven games last year in his bottom age, Charlie has worked hard over the preseason and set himself up to have a good season.
I think Charlie will surprise some people this year.
U18 Coach Michael Higgs
194cm and 82kg
Will is tall and athletic key position player who will spend most of his time forward but will get the opportunity to show his intercept marking at times during the season.
Will has worked hard on his running to allow him to work over his opponent aerobically and get to more marking contests.
Will has a good field kick which will be a weapon when he wins some footy between the arcs.
188cm and 89kg
Jackson attends Scotch College so will split his time during the season between Sturt and Scotch.
Whilst playing at Sturt he will play as a key forward and second ruck.
Jackson ranked in the top 10 in the state for both his right and left foot vertical jump and uses this up forward with his strong pack marks and in the ruck to get over the top of the opposition.
U18 Coach Paul Streatfield
202cm and 93kg
Harry will play mostly in the ruck with some time spent forward.
One of the best big men in the competition. Harry’s ability to control the air and then compete at ground level is unique for his size.
Harry has recently completed a senior preseason and is ready to take his game to the next level in the U18 competition.
Kobe can play multiple roles on the oval, but will play predominantly on-ball in our starting side.
He’s completed a senior preseason and shown he has the attributes to play against men.
Kobe’s speed and movement in traffic places him as one of the hardest players to match up on in the competition.
U18 Coach Shane Reardon
191cm and 83kg
Mattaes is a very strong runner and a great size for a midfielder, who can also play forward.
He can take a strong mark and has a powerful left foot.
Mattaes has been training with the seniors throughout the summer and has played a League trial match.
186cm and 86kg
Adam is a strong-bodied midfielder who is clean in close and is a good user of the footy.
He does some great work at stoppages and in the contest whilst also being able to play forward.
Like Mattaes, Adam has also been training with the seniors throughout the summer and has played a League trial match.