TAC Cup wrap: Round 12

Calder Cannons 10.11 (71) defeated Dandenong Stingrays 6.6 (42)

Calder: J.Foster 3, X.Dimasi 2, H.Kerbatieh 2, C.Kilbane, R.O’Brien , Z.Wunhym
Dandenong: J.Wheeler 2, D.Moloney , T.Joyce , B.Rice , B.Dale

Calder: R.O’Brien, Z.Wunhym, T.Nilsson, M.Conn, R.Smith, N.O’Kearney
Dandenong: A.Harnett, T.Glen, J.Wilson, J.Rouse, T.Joyce, R.Fischer

With an array of the Calder Cannons’ first-choice players on Vic Metro duty, the depth of the their list was prominent against Dandenong in what now must be considered the TAC Cup’s strongest side with two bottom-age prospects each chalking up a whopping 41 disposals each in a hard-fought win on Saturday.

Horrible conditions greeted the boys at the newly-named Rams Arena. Craigieburn was windy and wet as the temperatures dropped to 10 degrees on Saturday afternoon. With the Cannons utilising their home game to raise funds for breast cancer research, the home side donned bright pink socks, with a pink ball used to mark the game’s importance.

It was a scrap for the majority of the first half, with the first goal of the game coming just moments out from the quarter time siren. It was a credit to the Stingrays who were able to bottle up the Cannons defensively, given the Cannons had what was a five-goal breeze to their end.

Alex Harnett was a standout for the Stingrays, picking up 23 disposals before injury minimised his impact in the second half. Harnett had nine first-quarter disposals, and was everywhere for Dandenong in trying conditions.

During the second quarter, Dandenong made the most of the wind kicking two goals, however a goal to Jayden Foster, which was arguably the goal of the day against the wind, meant that Calder went into the main break with a four-point buffer.

It was all downhill from there, with the Cannons capitalising on the wind with five goals to nothing third quarter with the game effectively iced by three-quarter time. Despite the Stingrays threatening to pull off a miraculous victory with four goals in the final term, Calder were able to slot three against the tide and take home a 29-point win at Rams Arena.

Western Bulldogs father-son prospect Foster continued his dominance at TAC Cup level, booting four goals for the afternoon. He has kicked a total of 14 goals in his past four matches since taking on the responsibility of leading the team’s forward line in the absence of potential number one pick Peter Wright. He also laid three tackles and took four marks for the afternoon.

But it was Reilly O’Brien, overlooked in last year’s National Draft, whose form is perhaps the most pleasing. The big ruckman was handed a task pre-match to hold down centre half back and shut down in-form Dandenong forward Taylor Joyce, nullifying his impact throughout the afternoon.

Energiser Zak Wunhym was terrific, collecting a mammoth 41 disposals at 69 per cent disposal efficiency, including a huge 20 handball receives. The pacey and elusive small midfielder also kicked a goal, but importantly offered plenty of drive in a bogged down game due to the torrential conditions.

Fellow bottom-age star, Nick O’Kearney had arguably his best game for the club, finishing with 41 disposals in what was a terrific display. O’Kearney, who stands at 180 centimetres, collected 17 handball receives, mirroring Wunhym’s efforts while his seven marks and seven tackles meant his break-out game was credited with best-afield honours.

The Cannons had winners everywhere with another bottom-age gun, Mitch Conn, finishing with 25 disposals and six tackles, whilst World Team MVP and Bachar Houli Academy captain Hisham Kerbatieh exemplified team-first attitude, setting up plenty of goals and leading score involvements for Calder. Kerbatieh was ultra clean with the ball, finishing with 21 disposals at an elite 95 per cent disposal efficiency. His efforts to move into space and link up to provide an avenue to goal were first class for a bottom-age prospect who has worked hard to improve his tank to offer a midfield rotation. He also finished with two goals, and is yet another standout youngster on Calder’s books.

Of the Stingrays, Bailey Rice, son of St Kilda and Carlton’s Dean, was smooth and impressive in the wet, while Rourke Fisher was Dandenong’s best. Tom Glen was terrific in close with 23 disposals and seven marks.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal Votes

5 – Nick O’Kearney (Calder Cannons)
4 – Zak Wunhym (Calder Cannons)
3 – Hisham Kerbatieh (Calder Cannons)
2 – Reilly O’Brien (Calder Cannons)
1 – Mitch Conn (Calder Cannons)

Sandringham Dragons 9.13 (67) defeated Geelong Falcons 4.3 (27)


Geelong: Curnow 2, Bright, Beardsell

Sandringham: Wilkinson 3, Fordham 2, Clayton, Bazzani, Huntington, Grace


Geelong: Beardsell, Kol, Augerinos, Sheahan

Sandringham: Fordham, Wilkinson, Clayton, Grace

The Sandringham Dragons outclassed the Geelong Falcons at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday to win an important match that sees them stay in finals contention.

The Dragons were dominant from start to finish, with their quick overlap play and defensive structures proving too much of a hurdle for the Falcons to handle.

The Falcons looked promising early, slotting two majors through key forward Charles Curnow, whilst Billy Beardsell’s clean skills and precise kicking stood out in a team that struggled to produce efficient forward thrusts in the first term.

In contrast, the Dragons looked dangerous on the counter attack, running in packs and moving the ball quickly through handballs and long kicks down the line to one on one contests.

The gut running from William Fordham and Josh Clayton allowed Sandringham to rove off the contests and create goal scoring opportunities, with Fordham’s class and goal awareness seeing him snap two goals before the quarter time break.

The Falcons adjusted their game plan in the second quarter, getting numbers back to prevent Sandringham’s damaging forward 50 entries. Harry Kol worked his way into the game while Beardsell continued to provide the spark to keep the Falcons in the contest.

Despite throttling Sandringham’s ball movement, confounding the Falcons problems was Tom Wilkinson, who produced some outstanding football in the second term. The speed machine pushed forward to take two high flying pack marks deep forward to extend the lead to 18 points at half time.

The third quarter saw Sandringham break the game open, as they dominated contested position and out pressured the Falcons in 50-50 contests all over the ground.

Clayton continued his dominant performance, taking an intercept mark at half forward to set up a goal for Jim Bazzani to set the tone early after half time. Moving into the midfield, Clayton dominated the clearances in what had been previously an evenly contested battle.

Fordham’s class was on display, moving from half back to deep forward. His ability to use the ball cleanly and link up in traffic was a standout. Taylor Grace and Lachlan Ritchie found plenty of the ball as Sandringham controlled possession and nailed three more goals.

As the game wore on the Falcons dropped more numbers back into defence to stifle their opponents, but their foot skills and awareness were lacking as they struggled to switch the ball effectively or react quickly to shift the Dragons’ press.

The ball continued to rebound back into the Dragons’ forward half, as the game was played predominantly on their terms. As a result, the lead had blown out to 39 points by three quarter time.

Wilkinson continued to shine in the final quarter and use his speed to get forward of centre to create opportunities for the Dragons. Beardsell toiled hard and was the best on field for the Falcons in what proved to be a difficult day out on the park.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal Votes
5 – William Fordham (Sandringham Dragons)
4 – Tom Wilkinson (Sandringham Dragons)
3 – Josh Clayton (Sandringham Dragons)
2 – Taylor Grace (Sandringham Dragons)
1 – Billy Beardsell (Geelong Falcons)

Bendigo Pioneers 1.2 (8) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 22.18 (150)


Bendigo: A.Kirby.

Oakleigh: A.Urban 4, J.Halsall 3, K.Answerth 3, J.Allen 2, D.Houston 2, L.Waddell 2, T.McLean 2, J.Sinclair 2, M.Rivett, C.Lane.


Bendigo: B.Poyser, L.Barrett, J.Chisari, J.Mangan.

Oakleigh: A.Urban, K.Answerth, B.Gowers, H.Beasley, T.McLean, J.Halsall, M.Rivett.

The Oakleigh Chargers maintained their position at the top of the TAC Cup ladder following a 142-point hammering of the Bendigo Pioneers at the very wet Epsom Huntly Reserve on Saturday. It was clear from the beginning the atrocious conditions suited the ladder leaders over a heavily undermanned Bendigo outfit without stars Billy Evans, Thomas Cole, Danny Jones and their inspirational captain Jake Maher.

Kicking just two goals and a disappointing six straight behinds in the opening quarter, the Chargers failed to make the most of their opportunities before early second quarter goals from Alex Urban and Kade Answerth steadied the ship. Resolute defending from Hugh Beasley and Jack Whitehead ensured that the inexperienced Bendigo forwards could not get possession of the footy inside forward 50, leaving the Pioneers scoreless as Oakleigh took a 54-point Half Time lead.

Bendigo’s misery would only continue in the second half as the Charger’s midfield began to dominate the clearances. After racing out to an early 70-point advantage, Bendigo finally hit the scoreboard through behinds to Jonty Marciano and Jacob Chisari but were unable to produce a major score until Arnold Kirby slotted calmly early in the final term.

Half back Blake Poyser was the shinning light on an otherwise dark and gloomy day for the Pioneers, running the ball out of defense all day but unfortunately for the Pioneers, Oakleigh continued in top gear booting the last nine goals of the match to set up an outstanding percentage boosting victory.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal Votes:

5 – Alex Urban (Oakleigh Chargers)
4 – Bill Gowers (Oakleigh Chargers)
3 – Hugh Beasley (Oakleigh Chargers)
2 – Kade Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers)
1 – Toby McLean (Oakleigh Chargers)

Murray Bushrangers 6.10 (46) defeated Northern Knights 4.10 (34)


Murray: J.Schache 2, B.Webster 2, N.Trotter , T.Nihill

Northern: M.Ercolano , R.McKenzie , J.Short , C.Conlon


Murray: T.Holman, D.Mennen, M.Waite, S.Mannagh, M.Brennan, C.Brown

Northern: J.Gresham, J.Short, Z.Ballard, B.Jordan, B.Fiorini, L.Hunt

Wet conditions greeted the players at Norm Minns Oval in Wangaratta as the Bushrangers and Knights battled to stay in contention for a finals berth. The match also marked the return of Cameron Conlon, the highly-touted junior who was one of the top prospects last year before injuries cruelled his shot at the AFL. Conlon kicked an early goal, sending the Knights in to the quarter time break with a one-point deficit after an early Brody Webster goal for the Bushies.

David Mennen was everywhere in the second quarter for the Bushrangers, with his clean skills making it look like it was a dry day. Tom Holman created plenty of drive off half back for Murray but it was the battle between Jackson Clarke and Reece McKenzie that was the most intriguing. Clarke was given the task of keeping the massive McKenzie quiet, and was doing a great job, as well as doing a good job of getting involved in rebounding off half back. However McKenzie got off the chain late in the second quarter, taking two marks, one on the lead from a precise Zac Ballard kick and another from a strong mark in the hotspot. McKenzie would go on to miss both goals, letting the Bushies off the hook and sending both teams into the long break tied at 3.6 24.

The Bushrangers rotations were heavily affected early in the third quarter when Jay O’Donoghue joined Julius Battista on the bench with concussion, while Liam Hunt sent scares through the Knights camp when he limped to the bench, however he later returned.

The third term was another arm wrestle, with both teams only scoring one goal each. Reece McKenzie took a fantastic mark deep in the pocket, outmarking two Bushrangers and kicking truly, and Tom Nihill replied for the Bushrangers after earning a free kick. Connor Brown continued to get involved across half back for the Bushrangers, while Zac Ballard really lifted his work rate, picking up a number of contested possessions and clearances.

The Knights went into the last quarter with a one point advantage, largely through the work of Ballard and Jade Gresham. They had a number of opportunities to break away early in the last term, but despite all of their hard work they only managed two behinds. Meanwhile Dion Metzner began to take over across half forward for Murray, taking numerous marks and giving Josh Schache a handful of chances. Schache was having a tough battle opposed to Bailey Jordan who wasn’t giving the talented youngster an inch, punching the ball away  each time, however Schache was able to kick a goal and then take a great grab and deliver to Brody Webster on the goal  line who sealed the game on the siren.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal Votes:

5 – David Mennen (Murray Bushrangers)
4 – Tom Holman (Murray Bushrangers)
3 – Jade Gresham (Northern Knights)
2 – Jackson Clarke (Murray Bushrangers)
1 – Zac Ballard (Northern Knights)

North Ballarat Rebels 7.10 (52) defeated Western Jets 5.4 (34)


North Ballarat: O.McDonald 3, M.Johnston , J.Palmer , J.Wheelahan , T.Templeton

Western: R.Stuhldreier 2, B.Coletta , P.Manivong , B.Monk


North Ballarat: T.Ludeman, O.McDonald, E.Guthrie, J.O”Beirne, B.Simpson, K.Mason

Western: B.Monk, M.Palma, B.Myers, R.Stuhldreier, M.Orr, T.Johnstone

North Ballarat had plenty to gain when they took on Western Jets in a scrappy match at Eureka Stadium. A win could send the Rebels to third on the ladder, with their Vic Country representatives still to come back into the team so they were looking to continue their hot form and add to their six match winning streak, while the Jets were looking to hold onto third spot.

The Jets came out hungrier and went into the first break with a 12-point advantage. However in the second quarter, the Rebels warmed up and played the conditions better, as goals to Oscar McDonald, Tom Templeton and Matt Johnston brought the margin back to just three points at half time.

The match continued in pouring rain, and the Rebels continued their run in the third quarter, kicking a further two goals through spearhead Jess Palmer and Jacob Wheelahan while the Jets could only manage two behinds.

With the game in the balance going into the last quarter, it was the Rebels who emerged as the victors, keeping the Jets scoreless in the last and limiting them to just two behinds in the second half while McDonald added a third goal to his tally. The Rebels were wasteful in the last quarter, kicking four behinds but they were deserved winners, thanks to the work of McDonald who had 18 possessions and three goals, and Jacob O’Beirne who had 22 touches.

Billy Myers and Brayden Monk performed admirably for the Jets, collecting 26 and 23 possessions respectively while Mark Orr amassed a huge 53 hitouts in the ruck.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal Votes:

5 – Oscar McDonald (North Ballarat Rebels)
4 – Tom Ludeman (North Ballarat Rebels)
3 – Billy Myers (Western Jets)
2 – Jacob O’Beirne (North Ballarat Rebels)
1 – Mark Orr (Western Jets)

Gippsland Power 8.6 (54) defeated Eastern Ranges 1.3 (9)


Gippsland: T.Papley 3, E.Park , A.Carr , A.Ferreira , N.Argento , B.Olsson

Eastern: L.Jeffs


Gippsland: N.Holmes, A.Carr, T.Papley, C.Ambler, D.Keilty, A.Ferreira

Eastern: A.Cotte, L.Hannon, J.Parsons, N.Evans, M.Burt, P.Klep

Gippsland made it two wins in a row as they smashed Eastern by 45 points in wet conditions in Traralgon. With both teams missing players through representative selection, and Eastern needing to win to stay clear of the fight for eighth spot it promised to be a good match, however Gippsland were too good on the day.

The Power broke away early, with only their poor kicking for goal keeping Eastern from being blown away. Gippsland had 2.4 to quarter time, while their stingy defence, led by Christian Buykx-Smith and Mitch Stanlake kept the Ranges scoreless.

This continued in the second quarter, as Gippsland extended their lead with a further two goals and keeping Eastern scoreless once again. Nash Holmes and Alex Carr were dominating in the middle for Gippsland while captain Luke Hannon was doing his best to keep his Eastern side in the contest.

Eastern finally scored in the third quarter, as Liam Jeffs kicked truly but Gippsland continued their dominance, slotting a further three goals to lead by 38 points at the final change.

The last quarter was a dour affair, as the result seemed a foregone conclusion. Gippsland kicked just the one goal for the quarter while Eastern were once again kept scoreless as the returning Buykx-Smith kept the chances to a minimum.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal Votes :

5 – Nash Holmes (Gippsland Power)
4 – Alex Carr (Gippsland Power)
3 – Tom Papley (Gippsland Power)
2 – Luke Hannon (Eastern Ranges)
1 – Christian Buykx-Smith (Gippsland Power)

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