2016 SA Junior Champs - Reserve Boys Preview
Ok so we're finally here. For those bothering to read this, welcome to the first of the posts you've been waiting for. Here's our Preview of the Reserve Grades for this year's SA Junior Championships
Under 12 Boys Reserve
Summer Premiers: North Adelaide, Runners-up: Norwood
Dark Horse: Central Districts
Current In Form Team: Southern
As can happen with the younger groups this one is wide open. Early in Summer Norwood led the way but were overrun by North after Christmas. Southern are currently the hot team this Winter season.
Pool A: Norwood, North 1, Southern, South, Woodville, Sturt 2
A very tough group given Norwood, North and Southern all have good results on the board at some point so far this year. South too can challenge having beat Norwood once already. Not likely either Woodville or Sturt 2 unlike previous years will be in a position to challenge for a finals spot.
1. North, 2. Norwood, 3. Southern, 4. South, 5. Woodville, 6. Sturt 2
Pool B: Centrals, Forestville, Sturt 1, West, Eastern, North 2
An open group although Centrals would be expected to comfortably make its way through to the Top 4. Forestville have struggled so far in winter, Sturt haven't been able to put a good run together all year and both will also be challenged by West for the 2nd position in the Pool. North 2 have had an impressive run in Division 3 and may even push for a Semi Final spot, while Eastern will compete hard they just don't have the size and polish of the others in Pool B.
1. Centrals, 2. West, 3. Sturt, 4. North 2, 5. Forestville, 6. Eastern
Final Placing: 1. North, 2. Norwood, 3. Centrals, 4. West
Under 14 Boys Reserve
Summer Premiers: Norwood, Runners-up: South Adelaide
Dark Horse: Sturt
Current In Form Team: Norwood
2014 U12R Champions: Norwood
A pretty smooth run so far for the favourites Norwood, undefeated locally since October. Two years ago this group lead from the front to win the U12 Reserve crown and look on track to back that up in 2016. That said, there would be a few teams still in the hunt for this one, including Summer runners-up South who have won the past two U14 Reserve titles, perennial champions Sturt and the improving North.
13 teams pushes this grade out to 4 pools and the impact of Quarter Finals may make things a little harder for the favourites at the end of the weekend.
Pool A: Norwood 1, Forestville, Southern
Wouldn't expect much challenge for Norwood 1 in their pool despite some glimpses from Forestville including a shock win over South. Southern will be a bit behind the other two teams here.
1. Norwood (1), 2. Forestville, 3. Southern
Pool B: South, West, Woodville
Despite a less then convincing start to Winter, we expect South to comfortably win this pool. Woodville also should safely take second having beaten West already this season. West's struggles in 14 boys of late seem certain to continue.
1. South, 2. Woodville, 3. West
Pool C: North 1, Centrals, Sturt (2)
The 3rd of our Pool clear favourites, North 1 will have little trouble going through undefeated to the Quarter Finals. Centrals have had a tough start to winter and will find both teams it faces in Pool C will put up a challenge. Sturt 2 haven't had overwhelming success in Div 3 but could push Centrals for a QF spot.
1. North (1), 2. Centrals, 3. Sturt (2)
Pool D: Sturt 1, Eastern, Norwood (2), North (2)
While Sturt 1 would be expected to get through safely we can see them dropping a game here. Eastern look off the mark and will certainly be challenged by two of the best Division 3 sides. Meanwhile North (2) probably have as good a chance as any Division 3 team to make Finals, and even Norwood (2) will push for a spot in the final 8.
1. Sturt (1), 2. North (2), 3. Norwood (2), Eastern
Final Placing: 1. Norwood (1), 2. North (1), 3. Sturt (1), 4. South
Under 16 Boys Reserve
Summer Premiers: Central Districts, Runners-up: North Adelaide
Dark Horse: Woodville
Current In Form Team: Forestville
2014 U14R Champions: South Adelaide
Another 13 team, 4 Pool competition putting more pressure on the end of the weekend and past history tells us more likely for some upsets along the way. A pretty open grade so far this year with a large pack in the middle who will all challenge for a Semi Final spot. We're expecting a few upsets meaning QF matches will throw up some interesting scenarios for Semis.
Pool A: Centrals, Sturt 1, Eastern
Despite a hiccup to start the Winter Season, Centrals have established themselves as one of the teams to beat in this grade. Just one loss throughout Summer on their way to a comfortable Grand Final win and so far 2-1 in Winter makes us feel like they should make it comfortably to Quarters. Will Centrals make it as top seed or can Sturt put their best on the court for one weekend and push Centrals. They certainly have the talent to beat the Lions but like a lot of this grade have been a little inconsistent game to game so far. Eastern will struggle to compete with just two other teams, both who will be aiming for the GF on Sunday afternoon.
1. Centrals, 2. Sturt (1), 3. Eastern
Pool B: North, Forestville, West
At the end of summer we would have said this was a one horse race but Winter has seen a big change in form. The Summer Grand Finalist will certainly make it through to the Top 8 but will have a tough time of keeping the number 1 spot from Pool B. Forestville's 3-10 record over Summer is a distant memory and so far in winter at 2-1 they've shown a lot more toughness and better decision making which led to the 'upset' wins over the inconsistent Sturt and sliding South. A 4 point loss to North just a few weeks ago could be reversed by Tournament time. A struggling West team will be looking to Consolation Finals to post a win.
1. Forestville, 2. North, 3. West
Pool C: South, Woodville, Norwood 2
A strong 2015 gave South the #3 seed in a pretty even 3 - 8 pack but since the Christmas break changes have seen the side slip from their early summer form. Woodville on the other hand have remained consistent and a round 1 win over the summer season premiers have given them the confidence that they can beat anyone. Norwood 2's inclusion is an interesting one given their lack of success across the year so far and we wouldn't expect them to challenge either South or Woodville.
1. Woodville, 2. South, 3. Norwood (2)
Pool D: Norwood (1), Southern, Centrals (2), Sturt (2)
Norwood (1) will have no problem going through their larger pool undefeated, despite a less then convincing start to the winter season. Southern's soft start to the season has put them in the pack but they probably don't have the depth to go with Norwood. The confusing quirk of this tournament sees both Division 3 Grand Finalist in Pool D to ensure the two Norwood teams aren't placed in the same pool. Both Sturt (summer Div 3 premiers) and Centrals have started winter 3-0 and we expect one or both get a win here and Sturt to make it through to the Top 8 alongside their fellow club mates from Pool A.
Final Placing: 1. Centrals, 2. Forestville, 3. Norwood (1), 4. Sturt (2)
Under 18 Boys Reserve
Summer Premiers: South Adelaide, Runners-up: Southern
Dark Horse: Forestville
Current In Form Team: Sturt
2014 U16R Champions: Forestville
U18 Boys Reserve is always a grade which generates interest. Last year the Grand Final was a Sturt fest, and while the Sabres are certainly in the mix to defend their 2015 & 2014 title they'll face plenty of opposition this year. 12 teams means Two Pools and lots of tough pool games to secure a Semi Final spot.
Pool A: Forestville, Southern, North, Norwood (1), West, Sturt (2)
It's unfair to label Forestville the dark horse while also coming into the tournament with the #1 seed. That said the 13 week summer season gave us two different teams at the top battling for the title. Despite a loss to Sturt in Round 1, the Eagles have continued to show they're up to defending their 2014 U16BR Championship and have wins against other contenders in winter to prove it. Southern went into the Summer GF as favourites and the strength of these two sides will set up an interesting meeting to avoid the #1 Pool B side. Both North and Norwood (1), despite their tough starts to this winter season will also present challenges for the Eagles and Tigers. West will stay competitive with those teams above them but will also be challenged by Sturt (2) who have had a successful winter season so far.
1. Forestville, 2. Southern, 3. Norwood (1), 4. North, 5. Sturt (2), 6. West
Pool B: South, Sturt (1), Centrals, Eastern, Woodville, Norwood (2)
There probably was three teams here fighting for the 2 available spots in the Semis but one has been disappointing of late. South are coming off a summer premiership and despite a heavy loss to Forestville have wins against Centrals and Norwood as well. Sturt's undefeated start to winter includes a comfortable win against the struggling Lions as well as Pool A #1 seed Forestville. Central's form slide since summer has been telling and without some key personnel they've struggled to score as prolifically. A loss to Woodville doesn't fill us with confidence they can push for a top 2 finish in this pool. Eastern and Woodville will battle Centrals for third which will be an interesting contest while Norwood (2) haven't been the same 12-0 side they were in Division 3 over Summer since their GF loss to Sturt and seem unlikely to challenge.
1. Sturt (1), 2. South, 3. Eastern, 4. Woodville, 5. Centrals, 6. Norwood (2)
Final Placing: 1. Sturt (1), 2. South, 3. Forestville, 4. Southern