Liam Henry Has A Touch Of Magic

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 11:43 AM

By Ken Casellas

Slightly-built and curly-haired, teenage schoolboy Liam Henry lit up Claremont Oval on a dull, wet and wintry morning with a sparkling exhibition in a forward pocket in an intraclub scratch match last Saturday.

The effervescent 17-year-old befuddled his rivals with his magical skills and delighted the sparse band of hearty supporters with three wonderful goals in the opening quarter.

A shot just off line for a point early in the second term broke the spell before Henry revealed the other side of his game with three skilful short passes that were marked by his teammates. The recipient of the first two of these deft kicks was Ian Richardson before Anthony Treacy marked the next pass and celebrated with a goal.

Henry reads the play and makes position superbly and his evasive skills are quite remarkable.

A student at Christ Church Grammar School, Henry made two appearances in the Claremont colts side last year --- in round 14 against South Fremantle and in round 21 against Swan Districts. He has been a stand-out since he started with Claremont in the 14’s development squad. His professionalism, dedication and leadership qualities have been of the highest order.

Originally from Tammin before moving to Derby, Henry was involved in pre-season training with the Fremantle Dockers in December as part of the AFL’s Next Generation Academy program which focuses on indigenous talent from the Kimberley region.

Though still eligible for colts football with Claremont this season, Henry revealed in striking fashion in Saturday’s scratch match that he has the balance, poise, ability and attitude to make his mark in league ranks this year.

He was one of several splendid performers in attack for the Team White side, the others including Richardson and Jack Bradshaw (back at Claremont after a year off in 2018).

Richardson and Bradshaw lined up mainly in the forward pockets and were in dynamic touch. Each attacked the football with a fierce desire, with Richardson kicking two goals and Bradshaw finishing with four, including three in the final quarter, the second of which came after he had cleverly adopted the front and square position to pounce on the crumbs before snapping truly. That was followed shortly afterwards by a long-range set-shot major.

Team White carried too many guns for Team Blue and recorded a runaway victory, 17.13 to 7.5.  Some 55 players were on show in a most encouraging display.

Sandover medallists Kane Mitchell and Jye Bolton began in devastating style for Team Blue, with Mitchell having three kicks in the opening 62 seconds of the contest and finishing with nine kicks and two strong tackles in the opening term in which Bolton had seven kicks and made one effective handpass.

Mitchell and centre-half-back Jesse Laurie (who was under notice with some dashing bursts out of defence) did not reappear after half-time, while Bolton was rested for the final quarter after taking six marks, having 18 kicks and making three effective handpasses.

Half-forward Nick Allan gave further proof of his wonderful potential when he came on to the field for the second half and was immediately under notice with a couple of goals for Team White in the third quarter.

Alec Waterman also impressed with a wholehearted performance on the ball, a six-mark, 16-kick and four handpass effort which included two first-half goals for Team White, which also received great drive from talented midfielder Dec Mountford and fellow onballer Bailey Bennett.

Tom Lee and Matt Palfrey each booted two goals for Team Blue, which received good service from experienced wingmen Tom Ledger and Nick Winmar. And the side also was boosted by a powerful display in the ruck from Jeremy Goddard.


Team White 17.13 (115) beat Team Blue 7.5 (47)

Scorers---TEAM WHITE: J. Bradshaw 4.1; L. Henry 3.1; I. Richardson 2.3; N. Allan 2.1; A. Waterman 2.0; K. Gilbert, J. Hardisty 1.1; A. Treacy, I. Wallace 1.0; B. Bennett, O. Eastland, R. Murphy, B. Rushforth, E. Simpson 0.1. TEAM BLUE: T. Lee, M. Palfrey 2.0; L. Offenburg 1.1; J. Bolton, A. Wilkins 1.0; J. Anderson, H. McMorran, N. Winmar 0.1; 1pt forced.