ANOTHER victory, another good week for the Murray Bushrangers, with four nominees making the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 5. Murray lead all teams this week with the four nominees, just ahead of Geelong Falcons with three. Other winners, Gippsland Power, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets all had two nominees in the team of the week, as did the Calder Cannons. The five remaining losers – Bendigo Pioneers, Dandenong Stingrays, Eastern Ranges, GWV Rebels and Sandringham Dragons had just the one nominee in the team this week, with most due to the even spread of contributors despite a few close losses amongst the bunch.
After three nominees last week, Murray went one better this week, with Hudson Garoni‘s five goals and Ely Smith‘s best on ground performance enough to see them make it in for a second consecutive week, joined by Lachlan Ash for the third time, and over-ager Jordon Butts for his impressive drive off half-back. Meanwhile Geelong mid/forwards Oscar Brownless and Brayden Ham both hit the scoreboard and earned places on the half forward flanks, with Blake Schlensog also making it onto the bench, pipping highly fancied teammate Sam Walsh who was unlucky to just miss out this week.
Gippsland Power book-ends Kyle Reid and Noah Gown made the side, with Gown often standing beside Reid in defence. This week however, he lines up at full-forward after a four-goal performance against the Eastern Ranges, while Reid backs up his Team of the Week effort from the previous round. Alongside him in defence is AFL Academy member Isaac Quaynor, who slots into the back pocket, while teammate Lachlan Harry took the ruck spot for his match-winning goal and top team performance. Next to Gown in attack is creative bottom-age forward Josh D’Intinosante, who made the team along with consistent defender Ryan Gardner.
Western Jets captain Xavier O’Halloran and versatile forward Zak Butters also made the Team of the Week after the Jets bounced back with a good victory over the Sandringham Dragons. Opposing captain Bailey Smith snuck onto the wing after a big performance in defeat, while Calder co-captain Jack Bytel made it a captain’s centre line with his spot on the wing, named in the side with defender Jack Evans.
The remaining four spots were headlined by AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Player of the Week Joel Burleigh, who had 40 disposals in a massive game for Eastern Ranges in their loss to Gippsland Power. Others that filled out the side were GWV Rebels’ tough nut Thomas Berry, Dandenong Stingrays’ Lachlan McDonnell, and Bendigo Pioneers’ Hunter Lawrence. Others considered for Team of the Week included Western Jets’ Jaden Rice and Connor Thar, Dandenong forward Corey Ellison, Eastern midfielder Mitch Mellis, GWV Rebels midfielder/forward Charlie Wilson and Gippsland pair Xavier Duursma and Josh Smith. With plenty of close games, it was tough to pick a lot of the side given the even contribution across teams such as Oakleigh, Dandenong, GWV Rebels and Bendigo.