SEVEN rounds down in the TAC Cup and during the week off, we at AFL Draft Central have come up with our TAC Cup Mid-Season Team of the Year, comprised of those players with the most nominations from AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week‘s so far this season.
Looking at the nominations, there were a total of 18 players across the competition who received three or more nominations from the seven rounds, and a further 20 players who received two nominations. In our Mid-Season Team of the Year, we selected the remaining six players from those 20, with the tiebreaker decided by bests in their respective team matches.
The TAC Cup clubs with the most nominations in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Mid-Season Team of the Year are the Dandenong Stingrays, Gippsland Power, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets – no surprise considering they are the top four sides. Leading the way is our Mid-Season Team of the Year captain and Western Jets’ leader Xavier O’Halloran, who is the obvious choice considering he is the only player with four Team of the Week nominations, and he slots in nicely to the centre position. He is joined in the side by teammates Zak Butters up forward and Stefan Radovanovic down back.
Ladder leaders, Dandenong Stingrays, have two talls and a small in the side, with first round prospects and AFL Academy members Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman making the side, joined in the team by speedster Zac Foot who has enjoyed some great form this season. Gippsland Power has covered all thirds of the ground, with full-back Kyle Reid, forward Sam Flanders, and captain and midfielder Xavier Duursma all making the final 24. The Murray Bushrangers’ trio that have made the cut are bottom-ager defender Lachlan Ash, centre-half forward and TAC Cup leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, and inside midfielder Ely Smith.
Of the remaining sides, four teams have two nominees in the team, while the remaining four – Bendigo Pioneers, GWV Rebels, Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons – have the one nominee for varying reasons. Calder Cannons’ co-captain Mitch Podhajski has showed some great form this season to make it onto a wing, joined in the team by Lucas Cavallaro who just got the nod ahead of teammates co-captain Jack Bytel, Jack Evans and Curtis Taylor who were also both on two nominations. Eastern Ranges defenders Ben Cardamone and Jarrod Gilbee make the side with the former receiving back-to-back Team of he Week nominations to open the season, and having three at the midway point, whilst Gilbee’s consistency over seven rounds saw him just make it ahead of Geelong Falcons’ full-back Dane Hollenkamp and Sandringham Dragons’ Ben King (the latter of whom starred in his games for two nominations, but has been playing APS football since).
Speaking of Geelong Falcons, co-captain Sam Walsh and half-forward Brayden Ham both make the side after strong starts to the season. It is no surprise to see the top five pick Walsh there, however Ham has been a revelation early in the season with three Team of the Week nominations. Meanwhile the Northern Knights midfield duo of Braedyn Gillard and Tom McKenzie make the side – the latter of which received three nominations from his three games, a remarkable feat.
Of the sides with one nomination, Bendigo Pioneers’ ruck Daniel Keating, GWV Rebels’ half-forward Charlie Wilson, Oakleigh Chargers’ AFL Academy member Isaac Quaynor, and Sandringham Dragons’ forward Harry Bede made the final 24. Both the Pioneers and Rebels are in the bottom four sides this season, but for Oakleigh and Sandringham, it was a case of personnel changes through APS football that meant the nominations have been shared around this season. Bede made it into the team given his past month, getting the accolade ahead of star teammates Ben King and Bailey Smith who also received two nominations but have not played since. For Oakleigh, it was more bizarre with Quaynor the only player receiving multiple nominations. The Chargers’ depth has been on show this season with a massive 10 players receiving Team of the Week nominations, but nine of them received a sole nomination.
Other players with two nominations that were in consideration were Bendigo’s Will Holt, Dandenong’s Campbell Hustwaite, Geelong’s Charlie Sprague, Gippsland’s Matthew McGannon, GWV’s Lochie Dawson, Murray’s Jordon Butts and Laitham Vandermeer, and Northern’s Josh D’Intinosante.