As we hit the halfway mark of the 2021 VFL season, the VFL SUNS currently sit with a 3-4 record after seven games, with wins in back-to-back games.
SUNS Media have sat down with Head Coach Tate Kaesler to review the performances of the listed players hoping to break into the AFL side.
Rory had an interrupted pre-season and we’re now starting to see some glimpses of the AFL attributes he has. The challenge for Rory as an experienced player is to bring that consistency and strong performances in the VFL each week to push for senior selection.
Jarrod has been really solid down back for us and has shown some great leadership to help our young defenders on gameday. He’s in really good form himself so is ready to go at AFL level if needed.
Will has been pretty consistent throughout the whole year with his contest work. The thing that has really improved for him over the last stretch is his kicking and drive out of the contest which is the area he’s continually working on.
Brayden has been in super form in the VFL and has seen him rewarded on the weekend with his first AFL game for the year. He’s really improved two or three critical parts of his game which has allowed him to improve his overall performances. He’s been ready to go at AFL level for a little while but just needed an opportunity which he now has.
Benny has had a really good last fortnight in the VFL and played with great speed and power. His work-rate from contest to contest has been really good and he’s hit the scoreboard as a small forward so he’s definitely putting himself up for AFL selection again.
Josh has missed a bit of footy after being medical sub last week and travelling to Perth two weeks ago. He had his first game on the weekend in three weeks and showed how dangerous he can be as a forward on the lead, kicking five goals. It was a really strong performance with his contest work a real highlight.
Jack has been super consistent down back and has been unbelievable for our young defensive group in terms of his leadership and set-up positioning. He’s just a really reliable defender who takes a pretty big load every week so he’s been great for the group.
Jacob missed a few weeks earlier in the year with a facial fracture but since coming back has been building and his last three weeks have been very good. His strength in the contest has been exceptional and his endeavour and effort to pressure the opposition has been a real highlight of his game. We’re really pleased that he’s really starting to play some solid football.
Alex has had a really solid year playing mainly as an inside midfielder. He’s improving regularly and we’re giving him different tasks each week which is adding to his development. We shifted him forward a little bit more on the weekend to allow him to understand multiple roles and gain some flexibility and he was able to hit the scoreboard which was pleasing. We think that Alex is heading in the right direction, his footy and game knowledge is really growing and we’re really excited with his progression.
Unfortunately Jordan did his calf on the weekend which will sideline him for a while. But he’s been one we’ve been able to use in multiple roles due to his flexibility. Whether it’s mid, wing, back or forward he’s able to play his role every week and we trust him to do that.
Aiden has been working really hard on his consistency in terms of the physicality of the game. That’s the big one for him, we’re giving him some tough tasks as a defender to further his development and he’s adapting reasonably well to them. He’s continually working out his style and what best suits him against different opponents both tall and small.
It was great to see Elijah back out there for his first game for the club on the weekend. We obviously minimised his game-time and will look to build him up over the next couple of weeks into full minutes. He’s playing as a forward at the moment but over time we see him integrating more into the midfield and we view him as a long-term mid/forward. His time in the forward line will help him develop his forward craft more.
Jeremy has been really impressive in the VFL. His running capabilities are at AFL standard and he’s really starting to understand the role and how to play the wing. His knowledge is improving week-in-week-out and we’ve even exposed him to some inside midfield time in recent weeks. His ability to be able to work and find the footy is exceptional and he’s another who is pushing for AFL selection. He’s one of the guys who has improved the most this year.
Unfortunately Rhys is going to be out for an extended period with a stress fracture in his back. Before that though he started to really develop as a half-back in terms of his defensive craft. He’s still understanding and learning the physical capabilities to continually compete at this level but some of the signs we saw were really encouraging.
Joel has really come on as a forward in the last month. His offensive patterns are probably the area that has taken him to the next level in terms of identifying the space and where to lead. Some of his talent that we’ve seen is exceptional with his work in the air to take marks inside 50 and his kicking skills. He’s put in a lot of extra work off the field which is really paying off and is a lesson for all players.
Malcolm Rosas Jnr:
Mally earnt his chance at AFL level this year off the back of his ability to take the game on and impact as a small forward. His strengths are his leg speed and his pressure on the opposition so while he’s back with us in the VFL they’re the main areas that we’ll keep working on. We want to give him the confidence to back in his creativity when he wins the footy because that’s the exciting part of what he brings to our playing group.
Patty started the year reasonably well but then had a couple of niggles and has probably only just started to get back to the level he’s capable of. It’s been an interesting year for Patty, he started off the season continuing to develop in the key forward role but after injuries to our ruck stocks he’s taken on more responsibility in that area recently. It’s been a good experience for Patty to develop both positions and be able to play either as a forward or back-up ruck.
Jez has found some good form recently and has had a pretty solid month. In terms of his craft, the big one Jez is working on is still his defensive craft but also his ability to impact offensively when we win the footy.
Darcy has come back with a great attitude and is a real competitior. When his ability to keep getting at the opposition is on around his pressure, his game goes to another level. He’s been able to hit the scoreboard in recent weeks as a midfield/forward option. He’s in great form and is another who is playing at AFL level consistently.
Luke missed a fair bit of footy with a foot injury earlier this year and has only played the last two games. His game knowledge is really improving which he worked on during the time he was injured. Now it’s about putting that into action on gameday and working hard on his defensive craft and pressure first, then using his speed to attack.
Ace missed four weeks with a hamstring injury but before that he was in super form and was pushing his name up for senior selection. Now that he’s back from injury, for Ace it’s about consistency in his game and using his strength which is his speed to get to good spots offensively and hit the scoreboard.
Ned played his first game for us on the weekend and was really competitive in the ruck. He reads the play really well around the ground and while we managed his time on ground in his first hit-out we’ll look for him to continually build over the next couple of weeks.
Jy has played a fair bit of AFL footy this year which has been great for him. He’s come back to the VFL this week and one thing for him to continually work on is defensive craft and being hard to play on. His attack comes off the back of his defence; he’s got some really good speed and attributes in that phase of his game so it’s about encouraging him to continually look to use that as well.