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AFLX Thursday wrap: How each club fared

Historic night of AFLX Main moments from Adelaide with Matt Thompson and Ashley Browne

THE CROWS couldn't have asked for anything more from the inaugural AFLX tournament. Not only did they rest their big guns, their depth players rose to the occasion and went unbeaten in their three games.

Crows trump Cats to claim early AFLX glory

Every club will be pleased they didn't report any injuries, while it was a chance to get a closer look at draftees and players who are on the fringe of senior selection.

The likes of Curtly Hampton, Tim Kelly, Andrew Brayshaw, Riley Bonner, Jack Petruccelle and Jaidyn Stephenson all showed some impressive qualities that will excite their clubs going forward.

The umpire tosses the ball up at Hindmarsh Stadium in AFLX's opening night. Picture: AFL Photos

Game 1: Adelaide 2.7.3 (65) def Collingwood 1.3.9 (37)
Game 2: Adelaide 3.3.5 (53) def West Coast 0.7.4 (46)
Grand Final: Adelaide 3.3.7 (55) def Geelong 2.4.3 (47)

The night couldn't have gone any better for the Crows. Defender Jake Kelly looks to have taken his game to another level and hit the scoreboard with a few 'Zooper goals'. But the biggest positives were the performances of Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Curtly Hampton and Kyle Cheney. All three experienced players missed large chunks of last season with injury, especially Ellis-Yolmen, who was coming off a torn ACL this time last year. Hampton's pace and ability to break the lines will be vital through the midfield, but also off half-back. Tom Doedee's intercept marking was a highlight as he pushes his case to take over the Jake Lever role in the Crows' backline. Rookie-listed players Patrick Wilson and Lachlan Murphy played important roles at various times. 

Game 1: Adelaide 2.7.3 (65) def Collingwood 1.3.9 (37)
Game 2: Collingwood 3.3.4 (52) def West Coast 0.5.7 (37)

After a disappointing first-up performance against Adelaide, the Magpies showed more resolve in their second encounter, beating the Eagles by 15 points. James Aish looked good with 10 disposals, two goals (one a 'Zooper goal') and three score assists against the Crows. Jaidyn Stephenson – the No.6 overall draft pick last year – had some nice moments in his first game for the Pies. Josh Thomas was effective across half-back and was best on ground in the win over the Eagles. Thomas had 11 disposals and booted three goals, including a 10-pointer. Former US college basketballer Josh Madgen – a Category B rookie - was strong in contested situations and will get better the more games he plays.

Blog RECAP: AFLX as it happened

New Pie Jaidyn Stephenson in action during Collingwood's AFLX clach with Adelaide. Picture: AFL Photos

 

Game 1: Geelong 4.2.5 (57) def Fremantle 3.1.4 (40)
Game 2: Fremantle 1.6.8 (54) def Port Adelaide 2.2.5 (37)

The Dockers won't be too disappointed with their AFLX tournament, winning one of their two games. They went for a younger squad in their first game before giving their more experienced players a run in their second. Norwood product Stefan Giro was the standout in their 17-point loss to Geelong in their first game, gathering 13 disposals to go with a 'Zooper goal' and a six-pointer. Fellow draftee Mitch Crowden – another South Australian - had some nice touches. Reigning best and fairest Brad Hill and Michael Walters were rested from game one, but exploded in the second. Hill booted three goals, while he combined with Walters in the midfield several times. No.2 overall draft pick Andrew Brayshaw showed some nice signs with seven touches and a 'Zooper goal' against the Power. Luke Ryan's foot skills transitioning the ball out of defence were excellent.

Stefan Giro keeping a close eye on the sliver Sherrin. Picture: AFL Photo

Game 1: Geelong 3.6.6 (72) def Port Adelaide 5.1.4 (60)
Game 2: Geelong 4.2.5 (57) def Fremantle 3.1.4 (40)
Grand Final: Adelaide 3.3.7 (55) def Geelong 2.4.3 (47)

Two reasonably comfortable wins followed by a loss in the Grand Final spells a successful night for the Cats. But it was more about getting a look at Tim Kelly, last year's Sandover Medal runner-up who didn't look at out of place at the elite level. Kelly's pace and foot skills were superb. Small forward Gryan Miers – who kicked seven goals in last year's TAC Cup final – was dangerous when inside the 40m arc. The experienced heads were great. Elite runner Mark Blicavs covered plenty of ground up and down the wing, making the most of the extra space. Mitch Duncan, Sam Menegola and Tom Hawkins will have benefited from the run ahead of the JLT Community Series.

Game 1: Geelong 3.6.6 (72) def Port Adelaide 5.1.4 (60)
Game 2: Fremantle 1.6.8 (54) def Port Adelaide 2.2.5 (37)

The Power were always going to be up against it once superstar forward Robbie Gray along with senior players Jasper Pittard, Tom Clurey, Todd Marshall and Trent McKenzie were removed from their squad. While they lost both games, the Power would've been pleased with young defender Riley Bonner, who impressed with his speed and long kicking, including booting the first 'Zooper goal' in AFLX. Dom Barry slotted back into the speed and pace of the elite level after a couple years away. His pace and ability to cover the ground, along with being able to finish from long range, was on show for all to see. Captain Jack Watts looked comfortable in his new colours after coming across from Melbourne at the end of last year.

Game 1: Adelaide 3.3.5 (53) def West Coast 0.7.4 (46)
Game 2: Collingwood 3.3.4 (52) def West Coast 0.5.7 (37)

The results were never going to be the priority for the Eagles after bringing the most inexperienced squad to the tournament. It was about exposing their stack of young players to the elite level. Jack Petruccelle – the 38th pick in last year's draft - showed a clean pair of heels and looks one to watch. As does Hamish Brayshaw, who had nine disposals and three inside 40s in the game against Collingwood. After missing most of last year with hamstring issues, goalsneak Willie Rioli gave a glimpse of his immense talent with a classy finish in front of goal. Tom Cole hit some nice targets by foot, and Brayden Ainsworth found plenty of the footy.

Willie Rioli was clever in front of goal for West Coast. Picture: AFL Photos