TAC Cup: Round 15 review

As the third last round of the TAC Cup completed, several teams staked their case for top four and top eight claims. Western Jets all but ended Oakleigh’s chance of making finals while Geelong and Dandenong did enough enough the bottom two sides in Bendigo and North Ballarat to win. Eastern Ranges had an inaccurate but important win over the Murray Bushrangers to secure its top four spot while the Calder Cannons and Northern Knights celebrated with big wins over the Sandringham Dragons and Gippsland Power.

TAC Cup: Round 15

Oakleigh Chargers 4.10 (34)
Western Jets 1.0.9 (69)

Chargers goals: Donoghue (2), Hogan, Indovino
Jets goals: MacDonald (2), Ferrari (2), Duggan, Iaccarino, O’Leary, Sullivan, Bewley, Elkasovic
Chargers best: Borland, Morgan, Kennedy-Harris, Ledder, Prowse, Toohey
Jets best: Sicily, O’Leary, Duggan, Bewley, Ferrari, Robinson

The Western Jets have secured an important top eight spot after a solid 35 point win over the Oakleigh Chargers. It was a great team effort with Daniel O’Leary, James Sicily, Liam Duggan and Brett Bewley all doing damange around the ground. For the Oakleigh Chargers, Jay Kennedy-Harris was one of the few to hold their heads high while Mitch Donoghue was the only multiple goal scorer for the Chargers. Oakleigh face an inform Eastern Ranges up next while the Western Jets travel to Bendigo to take on the Pioneers.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:
5- Daniel O’Leary (Western Jets)
4- James Sicily (Western Jets)
3- Liam Duggan (Western Jets)
2- Brett Bewley (Western Jets)
1- Jay Kennedy-Harris (Oakleigh Chargers)

Bendigo Pioneers 13.6 (84)
Geelong Falcons 13.10 (88)

Pioneers goals: Heavyside (4), Paterson (2), Spurr (2), Edwards, Chisari, Barrett, Mangan, McGrath
Falcons goals: McCartin (7), Fort (3), Beardsell (2), Flanders
Pioneers best: Heavyside, Cole, Miller, Mangan, Chisari, Sheahan
Falcons best: Hickey, McCartin, Fort, Flanders, Bearsell, N. Dixon

The Bendigo Pioneers entered the clash with the top of the table Geelong Falcons with plenty of confidence following a narrow nine point loss the last time these teams met in Craigieburn earlier this year. With the weather conditions resembling a cold winter’s day in Geelong, the visiting team also fancied their chances against a struggling Bendigo outfit. The First quarter was a low scoring affair with each side managing just two goals as the rain tumbled down for the majority of the term, Bendigo’s Isaiah Miller was dominant early helping the Pioneers to a one point lead at the first change.

Geelong’s power forward Patrick McCartin began the second term on fire booting quick goals on his way to kicking seven majors for the match thanks to excellent delivery from Midfield duo Alex Hickey and James Tsitas. His team just couldn’t break away from the Pioneers as a tight first half ended with Bendigo holding on 6.3.39 to Geelong 6.2.38.

As the weather dried up Geelong managed to put the foot down as they booted 4 unanswered goals midway through the premiership quarter to set up a 5 goal lead. A late goal to Sam Heavyside managed to cut the margin back to 28 at three quarter time with Bendigo holding on to some momentum leading into the final term. An unlikely upset was on the cards when Bendigo’s Daniel Paterson kicked one of his two goals to start the Pioneers’ late charge. With Geelong only managing one goal for the quarter, Bendigo were able to cut the margin back to under a goal late in the term with Sam Heavyside gathering a game high 31 disposals and booting four goals giving them a sniff to pull off one of the season’s biggest upsets. However the final siren came too quickly for the fast finishing Pioneers who fell four points short of pinching a famous victory.

Round 16 sees the 11th placed Pioneers return to the Epsom/Huntly Reserve at 1pm to face the top four fancied Western Jets while Geelong will be looking to cement themselves in top spot when they meet the seventh placed Calder Cannons at Simmonds Stadium from 2pm on the 17th of August.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:
5- Sam Heavyside (Bendigo Pioneers)
4- Patrick McCartin (Geelong Falcons)
3- Alex Hickey (Geelong Falcons)
2- Isaiah Miller (Bendigo Pioneers)
1- James Tsitas (Geelong Falcons)

North Ballarat Rebels 1.4 (10)
Dandenong Stingrays 8.10 (58)

Rebels goals: Bennett
Stingrays goals: Gawley (2), Lonie (2), Gardiner (2), Batten, Egan
Rebels best: Crouch, Willsmore, Bowman, Bennett, Hendy, Brennan
Stingrays best: Gawley, Foote, McCartney, Bastinac, Soroczynski, Mullane

The Dandenong Stingrays came and did what they had to do – win at all costs against the lowly Rebels. It wasn’t pretty or impressive but the Stingrays can now still aim for a top four spot following an eight goal win over the cellar dwellers. Dandenong showed some fantastic team spirit with Nathan Doote, Jordan Bastinac, Zac Jones and Dale Gawley all getting in the voters but the day belonged to one man. Rebels captain and first round draft hopeful Matt Crouch had 42 disposals (30 effective), 15 handball receives and six tackles in typical Crouch-like effort. He was everywhere and fantastic for four quarters, putting his hand up as a legitimate top ten pick in the draft this year. N0rth Ballarat Rebels face the Northern Knights at Eureka Stadium up next while the Dandenong Stingrays will play the Gippsland Power in a battle for a top four spot.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:
5- Matt Crouch (North Ballarat Rebels)
4- Nathan Foote (Dandenong Stingrays)
3- Jordan Bastinac (Dandenong Stingrays)
2- Zac Jones (Dandenong Stingrays)
1- Dale Gawley (Dandenong Stingrays)

Eastern Ranges 12.23 (95)
Murray Bushranges 8.8 (56)

Eastern Ranges goals: Honeychurch (3), Evans (2), Apeness (2), Staples, Petracca, McStay, Roth, Traynor
Bushrangers goals: King (2), Peni, Turner, Pritchard, T. Holman, Schache, Squire
Eastern Ranges best: Honeychurch, Apeness, Cavarra, McStay, Belo, Evans
Bushrangers best: Sharp, Turner, Cleeland, Norris, T. Holman, Peni

Eastern Ranges have secured a top four spot after an important, yet inaccurate victory over the Murray Bushrangers. In a clear best on ground performance, Mitch Honeychurch was every where for Eastern Ranges. He wasn’t the only one however, with Nick Evans and Ben Cavarra busy around the ground and Michael Apeness with Daniel McStay also keys up forward. It was in terrible conditions but after being 5.10 at the first change, it looked like it was heading to three figures. Luckily for the Bushrangers, they could score when required and would have been humbled by the margin.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:
5- Mitch Honeychurch (Eastern Ranges)
4- Michael Apeness (Eastern Rangees)
3- Daniel McStay (Eastern Ranges)
2- Nick Evans (Eastern Ranges)
1- Ben Cavarra (Eastern Ranges)

Sandringham Dragons 6.9 (45)
Calder Cannons 15.10 (100)

Dragons goals: Wilson (3), Rechtman, Lovejoy, Cathcart
Cannons goals: Owen (4), Wright (3), Ahern (2), Thompson (2), Clothier, Cavanagh, Bonello, Christensen
Dragons best: Hodges, Heatherley, Daidone, Maynard, Rechtman, Hurst
Cannons best: Lever, Merlo, Owen, Jensen, Carboni, Clothier

The Calder Cannons kept their top four aspirations alive with a strong finishing 55-point win over the Sandringham Dragons at Preston City Oval.

A competitive first half saw Sandringham match it with the Cannons, with the likes of Hodges and Whitehead getting their hands on the ball enough to keep the dominance of Calder’s Lever and Merlo under control. However the second half proved a much different story, and after trailing by only 6 midway through the third term, Sandringham fell away significantly as Calder’s class and ball winning prowess proved irrepressible. The margin stretched out to 20 by the three quarter time break, with the final term materialising as a goal fest for Calder. The combination of Calder’s Owen and Wright up forward for seven goals was a key factor in 55 point blowout, capitalising on the midfields ball winning ability. The big man Wright looked imperious slotting goals, hitting targets lace out and even baulking opponents on his way to a very impressive performance. Lacking key personnel, the Dragons had little structure going forward and ultimately could not deal with Calder’s weight of forward 50 entries. In a fortnight Calder face the mighty Geelong Falcons in Geelong while Sandringham host the Murray Bushrangers at Victoria Park.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:
5- Jay Lever (Calder Cannons)
4- Matt Merlo (Calder Cannons)
3- Peter Wright (Calder Cannons)
2- Jake Owen (Calder Cannons)
1- Jedd Clothier (Calder Cannons)

Northern Knights 16.16 (112)
Gippsland Power 11.11 (77)

Knights goals: Castagna (3), Bromley (3), Kalanj (2), Malone (2), Lennon, Porter, Short, Tardio, Haynes, Bontempelli
Power goals: Rees (2), Carr (2), Kearns (2), Morris, Pattison, Wallace, Thomas, Channing
Knights best: Bontempelli, Hunt, Lennon, Tardio, Haynes, Castagna
Power best: Morris, Rees, Leslie, Mustoe, Muir, Buykx-Smith

Gippsland looked to recover from their 10 point loss to Eastern Ranges on the weekend but it wasn’t to be, as they travelled to Preston to take on the talented Northern Knights. Throughout the game, the Knights were to strong in many areas, with Marcus Bontempelli showing why he is a projected top 20 draft pick collecting 29 possessions playing through the midfield in a best on ground performance. With no Josh Scott and Nathaniel Paredes, the Power’s structure was broken down and Ben Lennon took full advantage gathering much of the footy to complement Bontempelli. For the Power, Jack Leslie continued his good form as did Ed Morris who laid a massive 12 tackles to go with his 24 possessions. Aaron Heppell also played well switching from the back line into the middle in the absence of Paredes. Both the Knights and the Power have this coming weekend off to rest up for the run to the finals with Gippsland taking on Dandenong in a fortnight while Northern meet the Rebels at Eureka Stadium.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:
5. Marcus Bontempelli (Northern Knights)
4. Ben Lennon (Northern Knights)
3. Jack Leslie (Gippsland Power)
2. Ed Morris (Gippsland Power)
1. Aaron Heppell (Gippsland Power)


TAC Cup: Round 16

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Western Jets (Saturday 17th August, 12:00pm at Epsom Huntly Reserve)
Geelong Falcons vs. Calder Cannons (Saturday 17th August, 2:00pm at Simonds Stadium)
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Gippsland Power (Saturday 17th August, 1:30pm at Shepley Oval)
North Ballarat Rebels vs. Northern Knights (Saturday 17th August, 1:00pm at Eureka Stadium)
Eastern Ranges vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Sunday 18th August, 11:00am at Box Hill City Oval)
Sandringham Dragons vs. Murray Bushrangers (Sunday 18th August, 2:00pm at Victoria Park)

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