ROUND Ten of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend and we had scouts watching four of the games. Round 10 is the start of the three week TAC Cup ‘Futures Rounds’ which will see teams play a minimum of 11 bottom-aged players. Read their scouting notes below:
Eastern Ranges vs. Western Jets (Matt Balmer)
#2 Thomas North – One of the unlucky players to miss out on Vic Metro selection for the opening game, but North did all he could do to bang down the door for a spot in their round three team. North’s hands in close were super and he worked the ball out of the stoppage with ease. His usage on his left foot was good and he hit most of his targets. Would’ve been one of the leading disposal winners on the ground, often looking to play on at all costs.
#7 Jordan Lynch – Stop the game at quarter time and the over-ager would’ve been clear best on ground. Lynch controlled the centre of the ground for most of the day and while he faded out a bit as the game went on with some extra attention from the Jets – he was a great player for them. His strong body at the stoppages helped him win the clearances and he used his agility and burst to move the ball forward at speed. Has presence.
#17 Cody Hirst – Laid an outstanding rundown tackle on O’Halloran in the opening quarter on the 50m arch. Took a nice mark on the lead in the second quarter and used the ball well on his left foot throughout the game. Had a kickable shot on goal in the third quarter 20m out on the run, but was impressive on the outside.
#20 Ben Cardamone – First time I’d noticed Cardamone and he wasn’t a player I had jotted down to watch coming into the clash – but I was impressed by the bottom-ager. Spent time at either end and was lively around the ball – willing to crack in hard and lay tackles. Reckon he’s a player to track over the next 18 months.
#24 Kye Quirk – Played in defensive 50 and the bottom ager was solid without starring. Has a long kick and has good vision with ball in hand. Took a nice mark at ground level in the opening quarter. Was winded in a Buku Khamis tackle in the third quarter nursing a sore head, but played out the game without too much discomfort.
#1 Jake Hazik – Has an enormous supply of energy and the bottom-ager is as lively as they come. Possess great speed & agility and is fast footed. Booted a nice goal on his left foot close to goal in the opening quarter but his best goal was around the corner in the second quarter of the game over his shoulder. Did miss a kickable shot on the run in the first quarter but he’s someone who certainly will catch the eye.
#11 Zak Butters – Was a big ball winner in the U17 Futures game for Vic Metro last week and provides plenty of run and carry for the Jets team. Is a zippy midfield and while his kicking can be hot and cold, he was pretty good on Saturday. Picks the ball up cleanly from ground level and loves to tackle.
#12 Connor Thar – Roved his first goal from the ruck contest 15m out and was solid right throughout the game. Ball use was good on his right foot and took a nice mark in the last quarter.
#33 Xavier O’Halloran – Was a slow starter but his work in the centre of the ground was outstanding. Is a clearance machine and possesses a long kick. When tackled he lifts his arms up and is able to get them free to dish off a handball. Laid some crunching tackles and was superb in the second quarter.
#38 Buku Khamis – Haven’t seen a lot of Khamis up forward but he bagged two goals on his long left foot from outside 50 which were outstanding. He keeps his feet at the contest and has a very good leap. At times he misjudged the flight of the ball and didn’t take as many marks as he could’ve – but I thought it was one of the better games I’ve seen him play. Not a huge ball winner, but his last quarter was special despite missing an easy shot on goal from 15m out.
Gippsland Power vs. Greater Western Victoria Rebels (Peter Williams)
#5 Xavier Duursma – Played a solid role on the outside, moving the ball really well in transition and his ability to get his hands free when tackled is a big plus. Did not win as much of it as others, but seemed to get better as the game went on and kicked a really good goal from a standing start. Almost had a second courtesy of a high leap but just missed.
#7 Will Stephenson – The acting captain for the Power just relishes the big moments. With the game on the line and the Rebels starting to get hold of the match, Stephenson booted three second half goals to turn the game back in Gippsland’s favour. He was in the votes for mine, just behind teammate Cal Porter with the pair booting six majors between them and proving a handful for the opposition.
#15 Cody Henness – A steady hand in defence. He would chop off opposition passes and just hold up the play to regain momentum for Gippsland. He would then size up his options and pass laterally or go long, playing percentage football. A rock back there for Gippsland.
#18 Matthew McGannon – The Power player switched between midfield and defence at times and seemed to judge his kick really well. He had a good pass in the second term where he used his peripheral vision to kick laterally, hit-up a target and allow the Power to run clear of the defensive 50. One of the better Power players on the day and was solid throughout the four quarters.
#19 Callum Porter – Another best on ground performance for mine. Just so strong in the air, wins clearances and kicks goals. His reading of the tap in the last quarter, bursting away, taking a couple of bounces and slotted it from outside 50. Finished with two goals, a large number of contested possessions, contested marks and clearances, he just continues to get the job done and another all-round performance for the inside midfielder.
#20 Kim Drew – Another underrated midfielder at the Power who caught my eye a number of times. He sometimes was let down by his execution, but his decision making was very good. In otherwords, he would kick it to the right areas, and he has that penetrating kick, but it wouldn’t always hit the target lace out. He also had good vision on the outside and was a key mover on the wing.
#24 Sean Masterson – Can play at either end but settled in defence. Started on Jordan Johnston but moved around a fair bit. Took a couple of really neat hangers to show off his aerial ability. Got a bit of the ball and is athletic for his size, so another promising performance for the over-ager.
#25 Kyle Reid – Finished the match with four goals and for mine that’s a good day in any key forward’s book. Proved too strong for his opponents at times, he leads at the football and makes the most of his opportunities. Might have had one or two more but he had a few shots from tight angles. One goal he kicked tight up on the boundary line was his best. A prominent target inside 50.
Greater Western Victoria Rebels:
#3 Scott Carlin – The player to go to in the defensive half, Carlin isn’t rushed with his disposal and will hit up targets over short and medium ranges. Tasked with the kick-in duties, he did not let his side down and often would look for the 1-2 pass coming out of defence. Definetely a defensive playmarker and will be good to watch him develop into a midfielder over the next 18 months given his accurate passing.
#4 Aiden Domic – A very impressive performance from the Rebels midfielder. I’ve always thought he had the talent, but on the weekend he added the hard running to the max and got a tick from me. In one instant he had the ball at half-back, kicked long to a teammate and ran hard enough to receive the pass from that teammate inside 50. Kicked a goal against the flow late and used his pinpoint passing to effect throughout the game. Was very pleased with what he produced.
#9 Flynn Appleby – I took notice of both his offensive and defensive traits from the game. He laid a really good smother early in the third term, and also has that ability to break zones with his long kicking. He showed good hands under pressure and just kept bobbing up throughout the game and could hold his head high from that performance.
#10 Jordan Johnston – Looked to be going for the marks record early on, was hauling them in from everywhere including a high flying grab in the goal square for the first goal of the game. Finished with just the two majors, but played further up the ground as the game went on and hit up targets inside 50 on numerous occassions. A fine performance from the Vic Country squad member.
#15 Trent Reed – Had a truck load of the ball, but his kicking let him down at times. Seemed to rush his disposal a little bit but continually worked hard throughout the match. Copped a knock early and played it out and despite some of the missed kicks would have been one of the Rebels’ best. He covers the ground really well and just continually puts his body on the line and does the team thing with no regard for his own safety.
#23 Lloyd Meek – The standout ruck in the game, he’s just so strong and manhandled his opponents. In the past he’s had the ruckwork ability but this season he’s come in leaps and bounds in terms of using his body to ragdoll opponents. Took several contested marks including a few in defence and just played everywhere on the ground. A presence in the air and so clever around the stoppages.
Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Michael Alvaro)
#5 Marcus Lentini – Has returned from a wrist injury well over the last few weeks, settling the Knights across half-back and earning high numbers in disposals. Uncharacteristically shirked a contest in the third term, but worked hard afterwards to rectify it and really dug in for his side going forward. While he was great at setting his side up, his efforts going the other way weren’t as prominent, and he’ll need to work on that as he gains more time in the midfield. That, and blazing away under pressure are probably the things keeping him out of the final Vic Metro squad.
#10 Brody Bell –Utilised on the wing for most of the game, the bottom-ager stood out with his one-on-one prowess and hunger for the contest. Isn’t a high accumulator, but tackles well and already has a decent build, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him thrown into the centre bounces in the future. The Knights have a good history of doing that and it certainly wouldn’t hurt his development.
#13 Ollie Stapleton – Looks much-improved this year and provided some needed dash for the Knights with starts Jack Petruccelle and Patrick Naish on Vic Metro representative duty this weekend. Prone to a clanger or two, but has a lot of upside with his gut-running and knack around goals.
#18 Jamison Shea – The Old-Paradian has enjoyed a decent few weeks as 23rd man for Footscray in the VFL and as a star-man for the Knights. Was played through the middle to capitalise on his improved ball-winning ability, and floated around the ground nicely to win the ball in important areas at both ends. Has really excelled this year with the Knights having more key position outlets, allowing him to play a role more suited to his slight 190cm frame.
#4 Ned Reeves – The Knights tried three different rucks but couldn’t get the better of Oakleigh’s man mountain. Dominated the centre bounces, giving his classy midfielders first use and even chimed in with a goal late in the game.
#6 Matthew Day – Big bodied midfielder with a ton of class. Has terrific hands which he often uses to release teammates on the run, and compliments it well with a booming left foot. Provided a couple of decent highlights throughout the day with a huge run-down tackle and a neat side-step which lead to his first of two goals. Was also rested forward in the second half after hurting his ankle in that tackle and looked dangerous.
#10 Riley Jones – Has an exciting mix of athleticism and courage – showcasing his outstanding leap and strong hands with either a ridiculous mark or attempt in each term. Backed it up with three goals and was menacing throughout the game, latching onto high balls into the 50 that would often go to ground.
#13 Daniel Stanford – The 19-year-old excelled up forward, dominating his side’s 50 for the whole contest. Proved a handful with his work rate and ability to find space, teaming up well with Riley Jones to provide reliable targets. Finished with deserved return of four goals.
#16 Lachlan Bugeja – There isn’t much of this bottom-ager, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the way he wins his contested ball. Provided a combination of grunt and class in the second and third terms which set the sides apart and saw Oakleigh gain an unassailable lead. Attended most of the centre bounces and used the ball well out of them.
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Murray Bushrangers (Brandon Hutchinson)
#29 Bailey Williams – Showed consistent success in his centre hitouts throughout this weekend’s match. The leap and timing of him was not easy to match from the Bushrangers. While not every hitout was correctly capitalised on, his midfield presence in the centre made him a strong target for his team. With an excellence composure, this young man remained a pillar for his team throughout a tough four quarters of football.
#38 Mitch Cotter – The ferocity shown by Cotter is powerful and unmatched. Has no problem throwing his head over the ball. Always in the right place at the right time, and he works hard to eject the football toward his 50 and has no issue playing both offensively and defensively. He is excellent along the ground, snatching up the football whenever he’s near it. This kid is someone to keep an eye on.
#50 Riley D’Arcy – His physical presence did not go unnoticed in the Stingray’s forward 50. In the air he is unparalleled, with firm marking and sharp kicking that launched his team out of the gate in the second quarter. D’Arcy had a strong first half, kicking four assuming an assisting role in the later half of the game. His movement of the ball helped cease midfield scramble, creating smooth movement through the passage toward goal. When he is hit up in front of goal, more often than not is he going to mark and put a score on the board. D’Arcy ended the game with five goals.
#55 Ali Zijai – Has excellent midfield presence and hits the scoreboard. Zijai’s slick running along the wing is a sight to behold. In a game with plenty of stoppages and fumbling, this young fella held the ball tight and put it where it needed to be. On the ground and in the air, Zijai holds his composure under insurmountable opposition pressure. Sharp kicking and excellent run & carry saw this young man set up plenty of goals out of the midfield, as well as kicking three of his own.
#1 Daniel Johnston – Had a realatively quiet game but launched out of the gate as soon as the Bushies got a whiff of victory. He kicked Murray’s first goal for the game and their final goal to put them within two points. His fight came through hard in the final quarter, kicking two to give the Bushrangers a chance. His willingness to attack the ball was quite prevalent in the nail biter, and the hanger he took in the closing minutes was nothing short of incredible.
#18 Hudson Garoni – Was a man on a mission. He opened up Murray’s game launching through two important goals in the first quarter. Was their leading goal kicker for the day, showing no issue dropping them in from any angle. As a smaller forward, this kid has a future and showed it without doubt against the Stingrays.
#21 Doulton Langlands – This man’s work in the backline was a huge reason behind the close finish. His decision-making and running was a key factor behind his teams movement along the wing. When this kid grabbed the ball he was off. It could be easily argued that he was the biggest problem for Stingray’s forward line, being way too quick for any of their players. Langlands has a lot of potential, showing he can do at all if he’s needed to. If you ask me, he definitely has a future in this game.