In a big round of TAC Cup footy there was plenty of action to soak up with key players starring across the ground for all the teams. However, it proved to be a big round for the forwards with the likes of Eastern Ranges forward, Jamieson Rossiter impressing with a bag of six and Bushrangers forward, Hudson Garoni slotting seven goals.
Calder Cannons v. Northern Knights
By: Michael Alvaro
#5 Curtis Taylor
Taylor was undoubtedly the Cannons’ best throughout the day, spending most of his minutes in the midfield despite starting forward. He almost dragged his side back to level pegging with a sensational second half, and his second goal which came from a sharp shark at an inside-50 stoppage had the Cannons up and about. That goal, and much of his good work in congestion came about on account of his vice-like grip and lightning hands, which he used to full effect. Taylor pin-balled around the stoppages all day and ran hard through the ball, showing a good work rate to follow up his clearances by moving forward with them. With his constant threat and influence in key areas, it was a really good showing from the Cannons’ number five.
#8 Lachlan Sholl
While he was subdued well in the first half by Northern’s Braedyn Gillard, Sholl forced his way into the game late when it was in the balance. Assuming his usual position at half-back, he continued to use the ball well by foot when given time in a hotly contested match. With the ball lodged in the Cannons’ attacking half for long periods of time during the second and third quarters, Sholl did not have many opportunities to show off his trademark dash and damaging kick, but found a bit of the ball higher up the ground late on and had an impact.
#27 Tye Browning
Starting deep forward, Browning looked dangerous as Calder’s primary target early in the first term. He showed off his good lateral movement and clean hands with some smart crumbing, as well as some solid lead-up marking. He was moved higher up the ground during the second quarter to have more of an impact around the ball, and it worked, with Browning tackling hard and winning plenty of possession. While he did not often have much room to move, Browning was composed with ball in hand and delivered some deft short passes by foot.
#33 Jack Evans
It was a quiet day for Evans, who battled it out in the midfield for most of the game. Attending a high number of centre bounces, Evans had good support around him and used his frame to advantage in creating space for them at the drop of the ball. He was often the link in the chain as the Cannons went forward, but could not quite get himself in the position to use his disposal in more damaging ways. Still, he was efficient when given the chance.
#3 Braedyn Gillard
Arguably the best afield, the Knights skipper contributed in more ways than one to his side’s win. Playing most of the game as a half-forward, Gillard took on the responsibility of keeping Calder livewire Lachlan Sholl accountable, and kept him relatively quiet for three quarters while managing to snare two goals. His impressive work rate allowed him to play the position effectively, working high up the ground to win the ball and running back hard to create goal opportunities. With the Cannons coming back hard, Gillard was thrown into the centre bounce at the start of the last quarter, lining up next to the dangerous Curtis Taylor. He made an immediate impact – collecting the ball momentarily from the tap and laying a crunching tackle moments later to set the tone for the quarter. He was busy throughout, and continues to be a pillar of consistency for the Knights.
#7 Harrison Grace
Like his skipper, Grace spent most of the game forward and provided a good presence as Northern tried to lock the ball in their half. He had a couple of highlights in the second quarter while working up the ground – contesting the ball where he was outnumbered at least two-to-one on two separate occasions, bringing it to ground and giving his teammates a chance to mop it up. Not only is he a pest with his constant niggle, but he looked dangerous with the ball in close around the forward 50, which was highlighted as he flicked out an assist to Braedyn Gillard in the third term. He also took a good contested overhead mark in the final quarter to cap off his day.
#16 Tom Hallebone
The rangy Knights ruckman has been in a good vein of form lately, improving as the weeks go by. While he had a slight size and reach advantage over the two Calder ruckmen, Hallebone showed he was no one-trick pony and used his body well at the stoppages. His taps to advantage always impress when they come off, and he had the chance to really get on top in the fourth quarter as Daniel Hanna and Mitch Podhajski were forced to cover for the injured Cannons rucks. Still, he played well within his limits throughout the game – especially with ball in hand as he often handed it off to Northern’s runners instead of kicking the ball himself.
Murray Bushrangers v. Dandenong Stingrays
By: Brandon Hutchinson
#3 Jamie Plumridge
Plumridge kept himself busy throughout the midfield, getting plenty of the hard ball and involving himself in a good deal of the linkups. He had a handful of successful second efforts that caused important stoppages and brought quick hands to earn interceptions. Composed but aggressive, Plumridge puts his head over the play and rips the pill from congestion, assisting in driving the attack. An outstanding work rate and competitive spirit were all on display Saturday afternoon.
#29 Bailey Williams
Easily the most dynamic tall in the competition, Williams put on a clinic for spectators at RAMS Arena. His work rate in the one on ones was outmatched, taking big, contested grabs as a forward, crumbing the spills and providing immense pressure to the Murray backline when trying to rebound. He was involved in most of the link plays, assisted through a great footy sense, and was dangerous up high and on the loose ball. He dominated in the ruck contest against Ben Kelly and bagged himself a few centre clearances. Williams’ work was summed up well when he won a centre tap, smothered a kick and then proceeded to pin the ball carrier. Besides bagging one himself, the high pressure tall was involved in much of the scoring, assisting a few directly. Williams’ display was not only best on ground but one of the best individual performances I have witnessed in the TAC Cup to date.
#4 Laitham Vandermeer
The Bushrangers played much of their transition football through Vandermeer. He was smooth out of congestion with the ball tucked under his arm and had no trouble finding space and picking the right pass. He showed off clean skills and explosive runs, adding class to the Murray link ups. A dangerous presence along the wings, he picked hit spots well to break Dandenong lines, and in the final term, he scooped and booted from 40 out and put home a well-deserved goal.
#18 Hudson Garoni
With a significant difference in scoring shots going Dandenong’s way, it was Garoni’s efficiency in front of the sticks which kept his team from a shutout first half. In the beginning of the second he kicked two off the back of careful leads, and a third on the run to bring back his side. He had four at the main break and went onto kick three more before full-time. Despite a larger opponent, Garoni’s footy sense, explosive leads and strong hands made it impossible to rip the ball from him. His style of footy is clean and solid, showcasing a key forward in the purest form.
#28 Kyle Clarke
The biggest point from Clarke’s game is that he is an exciting footballer to watch. On the wing, Clarke was crafty and slick, breaking lines and throwing off his opponents with stutters, fakes, spins and quick passes. His agility is great in close and his skill work polished, but his highlights don’t appear as much as we’d like. A unique talent, Clarke showed off his prowess by somehow caressing an around the body goal off a step, under pressure, while falling forward. There might have been a sprinkle of luck in there, but it all looked quite natural.
Greater Western Victoria Rebels v. Gippsland Power
By: Brandon Hutchinson
#9 Lochie Dawson
Dawson was easily one of Rebels’ hardest workers across the four terms. His efforts across the ground contributed to a good deal of link ups, exhibiting a smart read on the flow of play. The hard ball was no stranger to Dawson, fighting hard against the grain and causing some serious transition through outstanding clearance work. Clean and effective, Dawson was a sure standout for the struggling Rebels.
#14 Jed Hill
Hill’s workrate was standout and consistent for the Rebels on Saturday. With intense pressure around stoppages and attack on the ball carrier, Hill forced a number of turnovers. Good off hands, he ran with great pace along the wings, cleverly linking up the ball to break defensive lines. His transition work was smooth and quick around congestion, and his second and third efforts resulted in a few wins for the Rebels. Quieter in the second half, Hill’s first half highlighted his potential and work rate when the ball gets within his grasp.
#4 Sam Flanders
Flanders kicked four goals for the game, often resulting in the final stop in a midfield link. Leading his team to a comfortable victory in the fourth, Flanders put away two goals, to consolidate their win. His efforts in gaining the loose ball shone bright in a contest against two GWV players that ended in a stalemate. Positioning well, Flanders performed under the incoming ball and kicked true from set shots, finishing the game with 4.2.
#5 Xavier Duursma
A hard worker from start to finish, Duursma left nothing behind on the field. Fierce on the ground and confident in the air, he positioned well around the ground to provide a clear passage forward. In the third, Duursma kicked his two goals, one on the run and the second from a set shot. He worked hard to earn the football and ran hard with ball in hand, burning his man. Poised and dominant, Duursma’s presence was clear in the Power’s transition.
#23 Noah Gown
Gown’s read under the ball put GWV backman on the wrong foot in the contest. With sharp vision and strong form, Gown was too hard to beat in a contest. His overhead marks plucked the pill out of the air and gave him opportunities to capitalise in front of goal. Unfortunately, Gown’s kicking was subpar, hitting one of his three shots. Despite this, he earned his opportunities and assisted his fellow forwards in hitting the scoreboard proving his worth all the same.
#25 Kyle Reid
Reid was an eligible pick for best on ground, as his work in the backline was important in keeping the Rebels at bay. Putting pressure on the forwards and cutting off the opposition ball, Reid boomeranged much of the incoming transition into a Power counter attack. He cleared the ball plenty of times and guided much of the movement from the back half of the ground. The last line of defence and a pillar for his team, it was Reid’s footy IQ most on display, presenting keen decision-making under pressure and an accurate read on the crumb.
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets
By: James Goller
#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins
Collier- Dawkins when given the opportunity is not afraid to take the game on. When in congestion he showed the ability to have clean hands. The midfielder ran back well defensively in one passage where he spoilt the Jets play and rebounded strongly from it.
#5 Xavier O’Neill
O’Neill played in the midfield for majority of the day in tough wet conditions. He used his speed to break the game open at times and won plenty of the footy in and around at stoppages. In the last quarter, he moved down to the back flank and rebounded strongly taking a intercept mark as well to cap off a solid performance.
#23 Isaac Quaynor
He started the game well showcasing his ability to run off the back flank strongly. Quaynor is renowned for his run and carry type of play and usually makes solid decisions. His impact was limited in the second half but still ended up with 13 touches and five tackles for the game.
#79 Bailey Griffiths
Griffiths was in the ruck for majority of the day and used his height advantage well to win the footy. He competed hard all day for the Chargers but in difficult conditions dropped a simple mark in the defensive 50.
#11 Zak Butters
Butters had a really good game showcasing his elite use of the footy and good awareness with ball in hand. He was able to put on a fair amount of pressure to his opponents laying five tackles for the match. When in congestion he was able and willing to compete hard to win the ball and used his clean hands to open up opportunities for his teammates.
#31 Emerson Jeka
Jeka was one of the best on ground for the Jets and was especially good early in the match. He took a heap of great contested marks and slotted a couple of clutch goals. He could have kicked more today if he had his kicking his kicking boots on but still impressed up forward for Western.
#33 Xavier O’Halloran
O’Halloran was in the midfield for majority of the day and contested hard for the footy. He Imposed himself around the ground laying some strong tackles and applied plenty of pressure throughout the game. O’Halloran gained a number of clearances during the four quarters and also showcased his footy smarts a number of times. He kicked a great goal from 50-55 meters out after the siren in the third quarter which lifted the Jets. He was not afraid to break through packs and take the game on.
#38 Buku Khamis
Khamis was the intercept marking king for the match with at least five of his 12 grabs intercepts for the Jets. His ability to read the play allowed him to leave his player and take strong marks. Not only that but Khamis used the ball effectively and efficiently. Sometimes his decision making can be questioned however today he was outstanding and racked up plenty of the footy.
#45 Aaron Clarke
Clarke was another Western Jet that had a good day at the office. He showed some real promise up forward kicking two goals. The 194cm player also pinched hit in the ruck and showed great agility across the ground.
Eastern Ranges vs. Bendigo Pioneers
By: Liam Connop
#13 Jamieson Rossiter
Rossiter played as a key forward and kicked an impressive six goals given the wet conditions. Though he is only a medium-size for a key position player, he demonstrated a great ability to kick a long-range goal, with his lovely left-foot kicking style allowing him to kick a few of his majors from 40 meters or more out on a set shot. Rossiter was also great in one-on-one contests, using his strength to push off his opponent and take contested marks. He was arguably the difference in this game.
#17 Cody Hirst
Hirst was a welcome addition back into the side after a month layoff. Playing at half-forward, Hirst was lively early setting up a scoring opportunity and almost kicking one himself. However, his day was cut short early into the second quarter, where he appeared to hurt his knee on the wing and was helped off the ground by trainers.
#24 Kye Quirk
Quirk played as an onballer for the duration of the game, and was able to utilise the domination of his ruckman to win the ball at the stoppages and help to propel the Ranges forward. Quirk covered the ground well and, whilst not being as prolific as he can be, was a prominent factor in his side’s comfortable win.
#9 Zane Keighran
Keighran started slowly in the first quarter. However, an incident in the second quarter seemed to spark him into the match, where he was pushed into the fence before quickly retaliating in a healthy show of aggression. Shortly after, Keighran booted two goals in a row to keep his side in the contest in the first half, and continued to demonstrate pressure around the packs, with some strong tackling and good defensive efforts.
#20 James Schischka
Schischka is a medium-sized midfielder who moves well and reads the play well in the stoppages. He was not as prolific in winning the ball as in previous weeks, but showed his class at times in a tough day for the Pioneers. Schischka showed signs he could develop into a nice-moving midfielder.
Sandringham Dragons vs. Geelong Falcons
By: Owen Leonard:
#28 James Rendell
Predominantly locked into an intriguing battle with Geelong’s Dane Hollenkamp, Rendell consistently created contests providing opportunity for the Dragons’ small forwards, albeit went goalless for the day. In addition, though, the key position prospect spent time in the ruck where he was more than serviceable, winning 18 hit-outs.
#32 Joe Griffiths
The ruckman was impressive at Trevor Barker Oval on Sunday, winning the majority of hit-outs. However, the mobility of Griffiths was more notable, who seemed to almost turn into another midfielder at ground level. A complete ruck performance, with 20 hit-outs well complemented by two goals.
#30 Oscar Brownless
It was a relatively quiet first half for the Geelong Cats father-son prospect, and frustration showed giving away a downfield free kick early in the third term – one of five frees against. However, the midfielder managed to get himself into the game as it progressed and finished with a respectable 20 disposals along with an equal game-high 12 tackles in a losing side.
#39 Connor Idun
Playing a traditional centre half-forward role, Idun was a constant target up the ground. Contributed with six marks, 13 disposals and three tackles.
#41 Cooper Stephens
In a healthy return, the versatile Geelong player went forward and was effective in his ball use, with 11 efficient disposals for the day. Consistently presenting as a strong forward option, Stephens concluded the match with five marks and a goal.
#48 Blake Schlensog
The Falcon exhibited notable intercept marking ability in the first half, and set-up play from defence. Schlensog also went forward and kicked an impressive goal to put the Falcons 29 points clear in the second quarter. He finished with two goals for the day.
#49 Dane Hollenkamp
Hollenkamp was assigned the task of matching-up on James Rendell which he passed with flying colours, ultimately restricting the Dragon to just one behind. He seemed to be the general down in defence and was one of the Falcons’ best.