By ZAC MILBANK
West Adelaide coach Gavin Colville has declared exciting forward Riley Thilthorpe’s dedication has been ”first-class” as he prepares to shine in the Statewide Super League this season.
Thilthorpe – touted to be an early selection at this year’s AFL Draft – has had his athletic traits well documented after making his League debut for the Bloods in 2019.
But it is the gifted 17-year-old’s application during the Covid-19 shutdown which has impressed Colville, to the point the 199cm teenager almost has to be held back in terms of his training loads.
Speaking on SANFL Radio, Colville said while Thilthorpe will spend the majority of his time inside 50m, he will also pinch-hit in the ruck as he did against Norwood premiership bigman Sam Baulderstone in a trial match earlier this year.
Former Adelaide development player Jordon Boyle has been the standout on the training track since his arrival at Hisense Stadium, with an attacking wing role earmarked for the 23-year-old.
Patrick Fairlie, Keelan Laube and Sam May will all look to continue their progression by nailing down a spot in the Round 1 team to face North Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Sunday June 28.
Emerging defender Tom Rundle is another to keep an eye on as a key backman while 18-year-old former GWS Academy member Lachie Squire (18, 183cm and 87kg) is eyeing off a League berth after signing with the Bloods last week.
West captain Tom Keough is looming as a consistent marking target to work alongside Thilthorpe this year while forgotten midfielder Josh Schiller is looming as a virtual recruit for Colville after missing the majority of last year with a shoulder reconstruction.
With Covid-19 restrictions being eased further this week, West will play an internal trial match this weekend ahead of the Round 1 match against the Roosters and a Round 2 encounter against Central on Sunday July 5.
Sign up to see all the news from around the SANFL each week – directly in your inbox!