Murray Bushrangers: 1.4 4.6 7.10 9.14 68
Sandringham Dragons 2.2 6.6 9.8 12.13 85
Murray Goals: Richards 2; Marshall 2; McMullan 2; Tiziani; Pinnuck; Sproule;
Sandringham Goals: H.Brayshaw 2; Krakauer 2; Maloney 2; Florent; Lyons; McLean; Lok; Scrimshaw; Trew
Murray Best: Garthwaite, Brodie, Spargo, Cousins, Carroll, Richards
Sandringham Best: McGrath, Scrimshaw, Taranto, Burt, Lyons, Florent
The Sandringham Dragons have claimed their third TAC Cup premiership, with a tense 17-point win over Murray Bushrangers at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Sandringham led at all main-breaks, but the game continued to sea-saw right throughout the day.
The game stepped up a notch when the Bushrangers hit the front in the final quarter and they held the lead with 12 minutes remaining.
Jack Scrimshaw picked the ball up and goaled from a scrap giving the Dragons the lead.
Tom Maloney continued his strong form from the finals, nailing the winning goal for the Dragons, before Josh Trew put the extra icing on the cake with two minutes to go.
Vic Metro Under 18 MVP Andrew McGrath was enormous in the second half and was a vital cog in the Dragons’ win.
McGrath wasn’t allowed space in the first half, kept to just ten disposals before a match-winning move saw McGrath moved to half back, which allowed him to run and create for the Dragons.
McGrath finished the contest with 38 disposals (21 contested) and eight clearances, as the worthy winner of the TAC Medal for Best on Ground.
“It was a good win. I think I’m making a habit of starting slow, every final I’ve started a bit poorly but worked my way into the game,” McGrath said post-game.
“It’s all about the team today. Yeah it’s an honour to receive the medal, but everything we did today was for the team, we come in here as a team, we’re going to leave as a team and celebrate as a team,”
“The next month is pretty interesting…Everything starts to heat up, the All Stars game next week, the combine after that, exams… It’s a busy time and you’ve just got to take it week by week and just know your priorities.”
— Matt Balmer (@MattBalmer7) September 25, 2016
Midfielders Tim Taranto (31 disposals, seven marks and 11 tackles), Oliver Florent (24 disposals) and Corey Lyons (24 disposals) played an important role as the Dragons won 90 more disposals than their opponents.
The Bushrangers won the midfield battle early in the contest and had countless inside 50s, but it was Scrimshaw’s strong work across half back that stopped them in their tracks.
Scrimshaw used his pinpoint left foot on multiple occasions and it was his work repelling the Bushies attacks that kept the Dragons on top.
After half time, Scrimshaw was surprisingly moved forward, a role which he has done in the past, booting the goal to put Dragons in front deep in the final quarter.
Will Brodie came off sore early after colliding with an umpire, resulting in him leaving the ground with a blood nose.
Brodie’s work at the stoppages was good throughout the day finishing with 22 disposals (12 contested), six tackles and seven clearances.
Brodie’s work on the inside was assisted by 179cm bottom-aged midfielder Charlie Spargo who had 24 disposals (11 contested) in one of his best games of the season.
Spargo’s father Paul played 81 games for North Melbourne, narrowly missing the 100 game mark to have Charlie eligible to join the Roos as a Father Son prospect. However, Spargo is part of the GWS academy and will be eligible for them in 2017.
Up forward Todd Marshall was kept off the pace, with Dragons tall Ari Sakeson doing a stellar job keeping him to three disposals and two goals.
Ari Sakeson was an unsung hero of the Sandi dragons win. Kept Marshall quiet and was influential on the rebound. Bit of a smoky #AFLdraft
— Matthew Grundy (@grundog49) September 25, 2016
Zach Sproule was another who couldn’t get into the game down back and moved forward booting 1.2, but was another quiet Bushranger.
Ryan Garthwaite was the Bushies best with 24 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and six rebound 50s.
A strong one-on-one defender, Garthwaite was able to win plenty of the ball and take it forward. Despite an akward kicking style with a double handed ball drop, he hit the target on 14 out of 17 occasions.
The Dragons now keep their undefeated streak at TAC Cup Grand Finals alive, with three premierships from three occasions.
The players’ attention now turns to Friday afternoon at Punt Road, where the best Under 18 prospects will have the chance to push their name up clubs’ draft boards.