West Wonder

Ando’s Weekly Banter by Matthew Anderson

Riley Thilthorphe remember that name. He may well be one of the best debutants in many years.

There is always a lot of hype and expectation of young players taken high in the end of season AFL Draft. There is a high percentage of top 2 draft picks that make it to playing afl and over 90% of them will play on average will play more than 100 games.

The Adelaide crows in 2020 used their first draft pick, number 2 pick of the draft to secure the young 18 year old Riley Thilthorphe from West Adelaide. Riley at 202cm tall is a highly versatile player having played 12 games for West Adelaide in ruck, on the wing and as a key forward. He is very quick and agile for his size and also has great speed making him a asset to any team.

It is always a big risk to talk about a player after just a debut game. They can be very nervous not perform at their best or have an off day and go onto be a Great of the game. The opposite is also true they can go out have a brilliant first game and never get close to a repeat performance for the rest of their playing career.

Riley debuted on the weekend against Hawthorn in Launceston. Expectations were high and his first quarter performance was average at best. However it was not long into the second quarter and everyone new the name Thilthorpe as he kicked three goals in quick succession showing great athletic skill in both the air and on the ground.

He ended the game with an Adelaide Crow club record of 5 goals on the debut. Five goals on debut is obviously impressive, but well short of the most ever goals on debut which was also against the Hawthorn Football Club in 1949 when John Coleman kicked an incredible 12 goals.

The 5 goal haul obviously has drawn attention but the way he moved around the ground and his marking ability were the major standouts I think of his performance. There was the obvious question before the game how he would fit into the team being a ruck/forward player with O’Brien in the team in the ruck position and winning the club best and fairest award at the end for 2020. However Thilthorpe is still a young maturing player and probably not suited at this stage until he develops further to ruck duties and playing him in the forward line for now at least appears to be the perfect fit.

After one match there is still a long way to go to see if he will live up to expectations of the number 2 draft pick but he is definitely on his way with what he has shown so far. One mark he took in front of goals was like a mark of another full forward who also played for West Adelaide he debuted for the Crows in 2012 had only 5 disposals and kicked 1 goal 3. His name was Tony Modra.

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