By ZAC MILBANK
South Australia will have as many as 20 players tested at this year’s NAB AFL Combine to be held in Adelaide.
The list of Croweaters invited for the screening session on Wednesday September 30 has been released, with a further four SANFLW stars to be put through their paces on the same day at the NAB AFLW Combine.
Due to Covid-19, the regular format of having the National boys and girls Combines held in Melbourne has been put on hold with each State to host their own day of testing in the lead up to the AFL Draft in December and AFLW Draft on October 6.
High-profile SA prospects such as West’s Riley Thilthorpe, Eagle Lachlan Jones and Central’s Corey Durdin headline this year’s list to be scrutinised by AFL scouts.
But there are a couple of mature-age success stories in the mix as well, with medium-sized defenders Tom Highmore and Mitch Duval attracting interest.
Canberra recruit Highmore had been a revelation for South Adelaide in his opening seven games before suffering an ankle injury which he is close to returning from in the Statewide Super League.
The 22-year-old had been named in the Panthers’ best on five occasions while also polling strongly in the Shearman Medal as voted by the SANFL coaches.
While Highmore boasted 61 games of senior NEAFL experience before his arrival, Duval was coming from even further back considering he had most recently played in Division 2 of the Adelaide Footy League with the Unley Mercedes Jets.
The 23-year-old has been a steady presence for West Adelaide across half-back, taking several intercept marks and stemming the tide much like Highmore has done for the Panthers.
Next Generation Academy prospect Jones and potential father-son Taj Schofield are those tied to Port Adelaide while Crows father-son Luke Edwards, Sturt defender James Borlase and North goalsneak Tariek Newchurch are aligned to Adelaide under the NGA rules.
Prolific U18 Torrens University Cup midfielders Tom Powell and Caleb Poulter have thoroughly deserved their recognition while South forward Brayden Cook is gaining traction as one of the ”bolters” of this year’s AFL Draft selection pool.
Glenelg key forward Kaine Baldwin will be looking to put his best foot forward as he nears the end of his recovery period, following his latest knee surgery after a partial tear to his ACL in June.
Dominant Statewide Super Women’s League clubs North Adelaide and South Adelaide have two players each invited, with premiership Rooster Ashleigh Woodland making a bid for her second chance at AFLW level.
Having previously lined up with Melbourne, the versatile Woodland will be joined by North key defender Amber Ward, who was selected at centre-half back of The Advertiser SANFLW Team of the Year.
Exciting Panther pair Teah Charlton and Indy Tahau are not only gifted athletically but have excellent versatility in being able to perform multiple roles through the midfield and in attack.
|Caleb Poulter||Woodville-West Torrens|
|Henry Smith||Woodville-West Torrens|
|Lachlan Jones||Woodville-West Torrens|
|Taj Schofield||Woodville-West Torrens|