NAB League returned with a bang this weekend, and despite a few stars missing through school football and rotation, had plenty of others show their worth over three days and nine games. Here are our opinion-based scouting notes from each game on players highlighted by club talent managers or who those who made the Vic Metro/Vic Country extended squad.
Bendigo Pioneers 7.7 (49) defeated by Northern Knights 8.6 (54)
By: Peter Williams
#1 Sam Conforti
The nuggety bottom-age midfielder showed off his strength in a number of ways during the narrow loss. He was able to stand his ground in mark contests and also get the ball free while being tackled. In the opening term he won the ball uncontested on the wing and kicked long inside 50 which set up a goal to Kobe Brown. He kept finding space and working hard into it, winning plenty of the ball and trying to get it forward whenever he could. He has great special awareness and does not panic with ball-in-hand, able to shift his centre of gravity before disposing of the ball. Had a great run-down tackle in the third term as the Knights were attacking.
#11 Aaron Gundry
Spent most of his time through the ruck when on and showed off his good vertical leap. He competed at the stoppages and had clean hitouts, and also won a free kick deep in defence and was able to clear the ball long. Ball use by hand or foot was hit and miss but his athleticism was good.
#19 Ben Worme
Some nice highlights from Worme, providing some run and carry both through the midfield and off half-back. He had a great passage of play in the opening term, lowering his eyes after bursting away from the wing and hit up a teammate. He showed good vision under pressure to give out a handball to a teammate in space. Made a few mistakes by foot at times, but stood up when required.
#20 James Schischka
Hardly puts a foot wrong and was really strong in defence. He used the ball fairly well apart from the odd occasion, and was often the general in defence just keeping the opposition at bay and mopping up back there. He draws opponents to him when carrying the ball and then releases the disposal at the right time to a teammate. One of the Pioneers’ best on the night.
#21 Riley Wilson
Impressive game from the inside midfielder, playing well through the stoppages and being the prominent clearance midfielder on the night. He has a great technique when it comes to tackling, and he reads the taps well from the ruckmen. When in time and space he can use the ball well, the next step is just settling down his kicking when under pressure as a few times he chucked it on the boot. In the second term he fended off an opponent and then when a second opponent tackled him, stood tall and handballed clear to a teammate. Wilson had a number of good moments bursting out of a stoppage, and never stopped trying. Certainly one of Bendigo’s four quarter performers.
#38 Brady Rowles
Not a huge ball winner, but he had memorable moments, with a juggling intercept mark in defence, and a great spoil at half-back when out of position. He had a chance to kick a goal in the second term but it drifted to the left and fell short, then had a terrific run off half-back, bursting from defensive 50 straight past opponents and set up a goal with a long kick inside 50. In the third term he produced a terrific run-down tackle midway through the term when an opponent was streaming down the middle and his actions forced a turnover.
#1 Lachlan Potter
Had one of his better games in terms of ball winning capabilities, just needs to tidy up his ball use a little by foot. He suffered leather poisoning in the first quarter, winning absolutely everything off half-back and pushing up to the wing, even winning an intercept mark at half-forward. When using the ball by hand he seemed to do it effectively as he drew opponents given his well renowned speed. When he has space no-one can catch him easily, and he uses that to his advantage. When he goes to take the game on, Potter looks very damaging, it is just trying to lower the eyes at times or put it to a teammates’ advantage. In terms of his run-and-carry and metres gained, it was a huge tick, and he took a number of intercept marks as well.
#5 Josh D’Intinosante
The best Knights player for mine, just continues to have an impact throughout the four quarters. He is not the quickest player out there, but he plays to his strengths and they are his physical strength and low centre of gravity, football nous and competitiveness. Time and time again D’Intinosante will crack in hard and win the clearances or lay a smother or crunch an opponent in a tackle. What he does well is have a good balance between offence and defence – tackling and using the ball forward of centre. He wins a lot of his possessions at the coal face, and is standing up well as an inside midfielder. At times his kicking can be hit and miss, but he hits the scoreboard, and while the stats will say he kicked one major, there were three other opportunities where if he had a bit more kicking penetration, he could have headed home with four. A really promising performance and strong game from D’Intinosante and is enjoying a great season so far.
#11 Ryan Sturgess
Just a reliable player in defence, able to use the ball well and just control things from the back half. He took quite a few intercept marks in defence and was able to switch the ball across the back 50 or down the wing well. He was tasked with the kick-out duties and cleared the defensive 50 strongly, and looked comfortable in the air, taking a contested mark in the second term with an opponent coming front on.
Sydney Swans Academy 13.10 (88) defeated Murray Bushrangers 9.10 (64)
By: Scott Dougan
#2 Hamish Ellem
Ellem lined up on Bushranger Ben Kelly and was able to hit the scoreboard within the first 10-minutes of the game. He continued his goal-kicking form into the second and third quarters, booting two more goals – one of them from the boundary line on his left foot. A good game.
#3 Luke Parks
Parks played across half-back and was competitive all game. He took some very good contested marks throughout the match, putting his height, good leap and strong hands to good use.
#9 Sam Thorne
Thorne’s first quarter was brilliant, with the tough midfielder a major contributor to his team’s quick start. He tackled with intent and was damaging with all of his possessions. Thorne was strong in contested situations, where he won a lot of his disposals. He also showed that he can play on the outside of the contest too, with his acceleration coming in handy. Thorne had a game-high 10 tackles.
#10 Jackson Barling
Barling was prominent around stoppages, where he continually released the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. His inside grunt work caught the eye, along with his defensive pressure. He also spent some time forward and booted his one and only goal of the match in the third term after reading the flight of an incoming ball better than his opponent.
#1 Will Christie
Christie showcased his strong leap and athletic attributes throughout the game, especially during the second half. He started in the ruck in the third term and immediately won the first hit-out that he guided down his team-mates throat. He stayed involved around the ground and continued his good tap-work in the ruck. Christie had 30 hitouts and 11 disposals in an encouraging performance.
#3 Ben Kelly
Kelly played as a key defender on Swans forward Hamish Ellem. Ellem booted three goals on him but I thought his defensive positioning and spoiling was pretty good. Even though he’s over 200cm, he also played as a rebounding defender, putting his speed and ball use to good use when exiting the defensive 50.
#5 Cameron Wild
Wild was one of his team’s best midfielders and players on the day. His inside work was noticeable, winning a lot of contested ball. His ball use by foot and hand was clean and his work-rate remained high all game. He was able to hit the scoreboard after collecting a loose ground-ball get deep inside the forward 50. Moments later, he demonstrated his composure and vision, with an intelligent kick to his teammate Cameron Wilson, resulting in a set-shot on goal. Wild finished with 26 disposals, 7 marks, and 1 goal.
#7 Zane Barzen
The 19-year-old played mainly across half-forward, where he used his clean skills to deliver the ball to his teammates in the forward half. He took a while to get into the game, but his second half was promising. Barzen took some nice marks on the day, finishing with a team-high 8.
#10 Will Quirk
Quirk played in the defensive half for his team and was able to provide some run and carry out of the back half. He took some nice marks in the second term and was able to show off his athletic attributes on the day. Quirk had a good second half, finishing the match with 21 disposals and five rebound 50s.
#14 Jye Chalcraft
Chalcraft was exceptionally clean at ground level and his ball use by foot and hand was superb. He was able to use his speed and agility to escape and break his opponents’ tackles. He kicked a beautiful opposite foot snap goal in the third term, which kept his team within striking distance of the Swans. He is very hard at the contest for his size and I thought he was one of his team’s best players.
#19 Jimmy Boyer
Boyer remained involved in the contest and always found a way to find the ball. His ball use by foot was as usual, noticeable. He played as a link-up player across half-back and through the midfield, where he provided some run and carry for his team moving forward.
Dandenong Stingrays 19.10 (124) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 8.6 (54)
By: Peter Williams
#11 Ned Cahill
One of Dandenong’s most outstanding performers across three quarters. Cahill has that touch of class about him and most importantly he gets forward and hits the scoreboard as well. He kicked three goals and handed off a fourth in the win, but also had some good defensive moments too. He spoiled a ball across the line on the wing coming across third up, and put pressure on opponents when they tried to kick forward. He had a great one-on-one in the second term for a goal to work his opponent under the footy then run onto the loose ball at the back.
#18 Mitch Riordan
A high work rate and competitive effort is what you get with Riordan each and every week and this week was no different. He is a clearance expert and just racks up the ball from a stoppage going in hard. He also has some good footy IQ to be able to tap to a teammate in space rather than take possession when under pressure. Not a huge ball winner, but plays such an important role on the inside.
#20 Sam De Koning
Spent the day in defence and had a nice balance between offence and defence. He stood tall on his opponent and provided some offensive rebound at the same time. De Koning pulled down a terrific intercept mark in defence flying high, and showed great vision to handball clear to a teammate while being slung around in a tackle.
#24 Bigoa Nyuon
Stepped up rotating between ruck and forward and you just never know what you are going to get. He can create the unbelievable and then do the unthinkable, which is what makes him quite an entertaining prospect. He was able to hit the scoreboard after picking up a loose ball in attack following good pressure on an opponent, then was able to set up teammates inside 50 for goals as well. He did try and do too much at times like backing himself in from the pocket – which is good to see but he was out of position – rather than handballing into Ned Cahill who was 10 metres closer to goal in space, and then there was a 30m kick straight up in the air when up the other end. However his athleticism and ability to leap above others is without question and there is some serious talent there, it is just piecing it together.
#42 Jai Nanscawen
Known for his goal kicking but Nanscawen played a higher role at times on the weekend, being a playmaker at half-forward or through the midfield, then drifting deeper and providing a target. His defensive work was what stood out, laying a smother on Dylan Williams, then scooping it up with one hand and kicking it forward. He did it again by intercepting a handball in the air and took possession showing high football IQ. He capped off his day with a great mark and set shot goal with a snap in the final term.
#50 Lachlan Williams
Played on a wing but pushed forward and helped himself to three goals and enjoyed every one of them. Williams just finds space and is a damaging prospect from anywhere within 50m, launching his first goal in the second term off a step from outside the arc and it went straight through the middle. Not long after he launched another shot on the run from 45m with just six seconds left in the half and it never looked like missing. IN the final term he showed his smarts by standing on the mark and anticipating his opponent would handball laterally and Williams stuck out his hand, picked it up and snapped around his body for his third. A clean user by foot and while not a huge possession winner, made his touches count.
#5 Trent Bianco
The co-captain played as many would have expected him to – with a touch of class and high work rate. Bianco played off half-back and pushed up to the midfield at times, using the ball well and settling the at-times under-siege defence. He impacted a contest on the last line in the second term to clear the ball out of trouble and then used his composure at half-back to provide an option for him to be able to propel the ball forward.
#23 Dylan Williams
Played a little bit everywhere, between forward, back and midfield with the Chargers’ co-captain having some great moments and other patches where he was not as involved. His clearance work to burst out of the middle was really good and he applied some defensive pressure with some fierce tackles, but he was not having the best time with delivery, often the ball sent to his feet when leading out, or being double-teamed with defenders blocking his run. He gave away a free kick for head-high contact and the frustration was clear. He settled and had an impact later in the game, setting up a goal in the third term and then had a number of solid inside 50s despite being held at stoppages.
#27 Josh May
The defender played both a key position and smaller role, doing well one-on-one and creating some run off half-back. May was able to use the ball by foot relatively well despite having more of an awkward short kicking action, but it seemed to be effective. He showed good defensive pressure and second efforts to lay strong tackles on his opponents and just played his role throughout the match.
Sandringham Dragons 19.18 (132) defeated Brisbane Lions Academy 5.5 (35)
By: Michael Alvaro
#5 Ryan Byrnes
A complete game from Byrnes in the absence of his usual midfield partners, with the hard-working Dragon continuing his consistent season to date. Byrnes was instrumental in Sandringham’s first-half onslaught, driving his side forward well with a wealth of centre-bounce clearances and inside 50 entries. Despite a couple of neat finds going forward and looking comfortable on both sides, Byrnes looks to still be improving his kicking game and overcooked a couple of balls at speed. His reading of taps, forward running and damage in this game were as effective as I’ve seen from him though, so Byrnes looks to be building nicely.
#6 Miles Bergman
The dynamic Bergman has enormous potential, but can work on consistently putting the pieces of his game together. Employed off half-forward and up to the wing, Bergman showed as clean a set of hands as anyone out there – both overhead and at ground level. A slight downside of Bergman’s game at times was his kicking, with a couple a turnovers in the defensive half and others falling short despite finding targets. Still, has plenty to work with and is so smooth on the ball.
#7 Jackson Voss
The potential Saints father-son had one of his better games, catching the eye with a couple of highlight-reel moments. Took an absolute screamer early on while following up with another later, and definitely has that side of his game down pat with seven of his 12 disposals coming from marks. Topped his game off with a goal and showed nice signs.
#13 Louis Butler
A damaging rebounder, Butler has made the half-back flank his own of late. The leading ball-winner on the ground was effective on the outside and shot Sandringham forward as a key link between the arcs. A couple of handy intercept marks on defensive wing were impressive, with Butler proving to be as clean by hand as he was by foot. Missed a set shot attempt which would have capped off his game nicely, but was otherwise highly impressive with his run and carry.
#15 Angus Hanrahan
The over-ager was a beneficiary of Sandringham’s strong start, claiming two first-quarter goals via set shot conversions. Led up well for one of them and is clever when finding space forward of centre, but was not as effective when positioned one-out. Wins a lot of outside ball and worked up the ground on occasion to do just that.
#28 Riley Bowman
Tried in just about every position possible, Bowman took to each role well across the day. Starting in the ruck, Bowman led the hitout count and out-bodied his opponents well around the ground. Manufactured a nice find inside 50, while also taking a strong intercept mark up the other end against Samson Ryan. Did not hit the scoreboard while employed forward, but assisted one of Jack Bell’s third-quarter goals and perhaps looked most impressive when thrown down back to finish off the game.
#36 Oscar Lewis
Lewis was a solid feature in the Sandringham defence all day, winning the loose balls well and rebounding via foot. Is a good size and proved competitive, making himself a likely type who can play effectively on both the inside and outside.
#11 Will Martyn
Led the way once again for the Lions, burrowing in at stoppages and finding the ball at both ends of the ground to end with a game-high 33 disposals. Played almost a lone hand in the first half, winning his fair share of ball in the midfield and sending the Lions forward, only for the ball to be sent straight back into his area. The same went in the third quarter as Martyn tried to help push the ball out of Brisbane’s defensive half, where to took a lot of his 10 marks. Missed a chance to cap off his game with a goal on the back of Brisbane’s best passage of play, but did most things right across the day with strong tackling and overhead marking a highlight.
#12 Saxon Crozier
Was not Crozier’s most prolific or impactful outing, but a solid one nonetheless. Started well with a nice intercept possession to break up one of Sandringham’s many transitions and found space well around the arcs. While he is normally a high accumulator of marks and good user on the back of them, some of Crozier’s kicks under pressure were a little off. Still, continued to take the game on late and laid a crunching tackle on Jackson Voss in the final term.
#15 Tahj Abberley
The bottom-ager looked most lively inside 50 during the second half, and was instrumental in Brisbane’s best few minutes of the game. Started up the field on a wing and took a nice overhead mark in the second quarter, backing it up with a courageous effort after half time. Laid a fantastic tackle on the much bigger Corey Watts which went unrewarded, but managed to snare a goal with a calm dribbled finish out the back.
#21 Noah Cumberland
The combative forward tried hard for the Lions and while he did not find a heap of the ball or the goals, showed good character. Was forced to search for the ball up-field early, but looked more comfortable amongst the stoppages inside Brisbane’s forward half where he stood up in tackles and muscled his way out. He also tackled hard, but showed good finesse with an assist to Tom Wischnat and spearing ball inside 50 to Saxon Crozier.
Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy 9.7 (61) defeated by Gippsland Power 10.10 (70)
By: Ed Pascoe
#17 Jeromy Lucas
Lucas has had a strong start to the year for the Giants and his form continued with a strong performance through the midfield winning the contested ball and looking composed with ball in hand. Lucas had a nice bit of play in the first quarter attacking the ball hard on the wing and then kicking nicely inboard to a teammate, in the 2nd quarter he took a mark and hit a nice long pass to teammate James Peatling. Lucas showed he could impact outside the contest flying up for a huge grab on the wing in the last quarter although he didn’t stick the mark it was a courageous attempt showing his athleticism, Lucas finished the game with 24 disposal and 3 tackles and he rarely wasted a handball which he had 18 off.
#26 Liam Delahunty
Delahunty was a good target for the giants with good attack on the ball and crashing packs to give his smaller players a chance to crumb. Delahunty kicked 2 goals with his first coming from a nice snap dribble goal on his opposite foot in the 2nd quarter with his last goal coming off a Gippsland turnover close to goal in the 3rd quarter quickly gathering a loose ball and kicking the goal. Delahunty looked most dangerous in the 3rd quarter taking two very nice contested marks but would let himself down kicking a behind and then one out on the full from 50 metres. Delahunty finished the game with 8 disposals, 2 marks and 2 goals.
#6 Riley Baldi
Baldi was the most dangerous player early on from Gippsland, in his first game of the year he was unstoppable in the first quarter through the midfield and up forward. Baldi despite his size took a good contested mark 15 metres out from goal and would kick the set shot and later in the first quarter would spin around and snap a nice goal, in the second quarter he was also hard to stop taking a nice intercept mark and quickly play on with a good handball and he would have another shot at goal on the run on the boundary but would just miss. Baldi was smart with his ball use with a nice kick to the hot spot in the second quarter followed by a nice opposite foot kick to teammate Kyle Dunkley. Baldi was hard to stop both in the air and at ground level where he would attack the ball hard and would always look to move the play on, Baldi finished with 22 disposals, 8 inside 50s and 2 goals.
#11 Kyle Dunkley
Dunkley was a tough customer through the midfield attacking he ball hard and tackled like a man possessed. His only goal would come from a mark and set shot in the 2nd quarter but his hard work set up plenty of others, he showed good vision under pressure to hit a nice switch kick in the 3rd quarter and later that quarter would lay a bone crunching tackle. Dunkley would finish the game with 18 disposals, 6 marks, 11 tackles and 1 goal.
#12 Brock Smith
Smith was the main playmaker for Gippsland down back setting up the play and setting the standard for attack on the ball and body contact on the man, his first quarter had some good and bad moments with the good coming from a lovely long kick inside 50 to teammate Riley Baldi and showing good composure with link up play from defence, the bad was a Clanger kick on a kickout. Smith loved the push and shove and was happy to let the Giants forward know he was there and it was hard not to notice him both defending his man and also linking up with good composure in defence showing why he is the captain. Smith finished the game with 24 disposals and 7 rebound 50s.
#19 Fraser Phillips
Phillips had another game with nice flashes but the consistency over 4 quarters to impact the game is still not at a level he would like. Phillips would take till the second quarter to hit the scoreboard with a nice quick snap and goal, he was more involved in the 3rd quarter taking a nice mark on the wing and quickly playing on inboard with a nice kick and he showed he could also do the team things with a good hard tackle to lock the ball in. Phillips has a fantastic left foot kick and it was on show with a laser pass to teammate Riley Baldi in the last quarter, Phillips finished the game with 5 disposals, 3 tackles and 1 goal.
#37 Harrison Pepper
Pepper was one of Gippsland’s busiest players throw out the day and was particularly noticeable in the 2nd half where he stood up when the Giants where making their comeback. In the 2nd quarter he would take a nice contested mark deep in the pocket and showed his team thinking with a pass inboard to a teammate in better position, in the 3rd quarter he would show his quick thinking with a quick play on and nice low kick which was a feature of his game opening up the play with his kicking. His last quarter was sensational taking a good intercept mark and playing smart football in the last quarter running down the clock and finally having a sealer mark and goal on the siren running towards goal which was a nice mark on its own. Pepper finished the game with 26 disposals, 7 marks, 4 inside 50s and 1 goal.
Eastern Ranges 11.11 (77) defeated Gold Coast Suns Academy 2.6 (18)
By: Michael Alvaro
#4 Joshua Clarke
Was one of Eastern’s best, providing exciting dash and forward penetration off half-back. Showcased a clean set of hands with overhead intercepts and gathers at ground level early on, while also rebounding well with long kicks. Was entrusted with kick-outs at times, and his use proved effective forward of centre too with a nice assist to Bailey White in the third term. Laid a goal-saving tackle in the same quarter, and followed up a fumbled ball with another to show his defensive capabilities on top of his attacking traits. One of the more promising bottom-agers.
#7 Lachlan Stapleton
Provided good forward run with four inside 50s on top of six clearances from his 27 disposals. Started well by hitting up Ben Hickleton inside 50 at speed and was largely effective by foot early, but finished with a couple of clangers. Won a heap of contested ball, which proved vital to the Ranges.
#11 Mitch Mellis
Another of Eastern’s small midfield brigade to win a high amount of ball, Mellis was electric early with 10 first-quarter disposals. Positioned mostly on the outside, Mellis worked hard to find possessions in a range of areas, while also winning six clearances – a lot of which came at speed. Mellis has a great first five steps and agility, which helped him to break away from congestion well. Had a quiet second half but showed plenty earlier on.
#13 Jamieson Rossiter
By no means dominated, but managed to consistently produce goal scoring opportunities and took half of his chances with 3.3. Rossiter’s hands were strong throughout, with a contested pack mark from the side his undoubted highlight for the day. Managed another nice clunk one-out to convert his second of three set shot goals earlier in the piece, and could have had a finished with four or five goals had he converted better in blustery conditions.
#17 Cody Hirst
The athletic small buzzed around the ground well, finding most of his ball between the arcs despite moving forward later on. Showed a good leap and laid a fantastic holding the ball tackle after a solid hit on Connor Budarick. While his pressure game is hard to fault, Hirst’s kicking left a little to be desired at times and he was ineffective with eight of his 11 attempts. Still, found Josh Tilly well inside 50 and kicked a nice goal on the run in the third term.
#21 James Ross
The skipper did not have too much to do as the second-deepest defender, but did his part when the ball came his way. Ross started with a handy intercept mark overhead, and keeps his hands up well in traffic to dish the ball off and keep the play alive. Showed a good willingness to provide rebound with a nice handball chain and was largely calm on the ball despite a couple of missed targets.
#23 Zak Pretty
Far and away the highest ball-winner on the ground with 37 disposals, which was enough to earn him a Draft Central Player of the Week nomination. Was as influential as anyone going forward with eight clearances and seven inside 50s across the day, as well as a goal in the third term. Showed a willingness to work as well with five tackles to add to his attacking drive, and was simply in everything through the middle. A top game from a player who seems to be rising well.
#1 Hewago Paul Oea
It was a hard slog for ‘Ace’, who struggled to find his way into the game with just one handball apiece in the first and third quarters. While possessions were hard to come by, Oea was unlucky as he continued to run to good areas to no avail in a low-scoring Suns effort. Came into the game in the second quarter with a nice intercept mark and holding the ball tackle, with a move into the midfield to finish the game allowing him to show off his clean hands and zip around traffic.
#5 Connor Budarick
Tried all day for the Suns with a team-high 27 disposals and 16 tackles ensuring he stood out on a down day for his side. Followed up an early turnover with a crunching tackle, and trusted his speed well to escape the grasps of opponents. Was busy all day but particularly effective in the first half with clearances finding their way inside 50. Missed a shot on the run which would have been handy, and found more of the ball in the back half with Gold Coast under pressure in the second half.
#15 Corey Joyce
The diminutive defender was a key runner out of the back 50 all day with five rebound 50s from 22 disposals. Acted as a sweeper at ground level and looked most effective when disposing by hand, while finding most of his kicks short to settle the Suns defence. Under pressure for most of the day, Joyce stood up as one who competed well amidst the onslaught.
#28 Ashton Crossley
Was another Sun who started relatively strongly but faded late, with 16 of his 22 disposals coming in the first half. A contested beast, Crossley was down on his clearance output but resorted to his handball game well to clear congestion. Can still work on his kicking as he often blazed away quickly under pressure or from congestion, and had a turnover in the corridor early. Took an impressive contested chest mark underneath a high ball in the first term, and was a solid contributor.
Calder Cannons 8.11 (59) defeated Geelong Falcons 8.4 (52)
By: Shyam Bali
#1 Daniel Mott
Mott started the game well with a big clearance and a long kick out of the centre to kick off Calder’s first attack, which set the tone for his day. He had lots of ball around the centre and half forward flank and could be found on the bottom of packs most of the afternoon either dishing out to team mates or laying big tackles. His highlight for the day was a good solo effort in the forward pocket where he showed some magic soccering the ball up to himself perfectly before finding a team mate in space. He finished the day on a high running out the last quarter well and being involved in a 1-2 that helped set up Browning’s score which gave the Cannons the lead late in the fourth. Mott finished with a very productive 29 touches and 8 tackles.
#8 Sam Ramsay
Ramsay was busy all day and showed great zip and energy whenever he had the ball. In the second quarter he was a big reason Calder got back into the game, backing himself to take on players with his run and drive the ball long into the attacking 50. He showed some of his tricks also launching for a big grab in the 3rd quarter, which he dropped unfortunately, but showed great competitive spirit diving back to make a tackle and force a ball up. Ramsay was good all day and worked well all around the ground. He ended up with slightly inflated numbers after getting a few possessions chipping around the backline in the last five minutes, but ended up with 27 disposals, seven marks, three tackles.
#38 Brodie Newman
Newman was an absolute star repelling attacks and setting up his team off the half back flank in a best on ground performance. He took several big marks in the defensive 50 and showed both courage when running back into a pack to take a big mark in the third and leadership when he took three intercept marks in a passage of about five minutes to stop Geelong taking the lead in the third quarter. His leadership was also on display several times as he instructed team mates in defence, and often directed traffic through the backline. Newman’s display for a KPD was one of the most dominant displays of the year and he finished with a whopping 36 disposals including 29 kicks, 17 marks (many of which were intercept) and three tackles.
#36 Charlie Sprague
Sprague started the day in everything running hard between the arcs and providing a lead up option to his team mates. He had 9 disposals in the first quarter and provided an option when ever his team was looking to move the ball out of defense or into the attacking half. He quietened down after that but did offer more closer to goal kicking a great goal from 50m out in the third and getting the Falcons back to within a point when he goaled in the last quarter. Although he finished with quite a serviceable game with 18 touches and 2 goals, as an overeager he went missing for too long when his team were in trouble and I felt like he could’ve done a bit more to help them especially in the second quarter.
#40 Jesse Clark
Clark played his customary half-back role, repelling attacks and rebounding with speed. He intercepted the ball three times in the first quarter and seemed to be able to read play and the windy conditions better than his Calder opponents in the first quarter. In the second quarter he rebounded well and showed some class with a long kick off HB which hit a team mate on the 50 lace out. Clark also wasn’t scared getting his hands dirty laying four strong tackles throughout the day. He finished with 22 disposals, 6 marks and tried hard to help the Falcons get over the line.
Tasmania Devils 3.8 (26) defeated by Western Jets 10.13 (73)
By: Michael Alvaro
#2 Oliver Burrows-Cheng
The zippy ball-winner showed good agility around the stoppages early to evade traffic and drive Tasmania forward with long kicks. Burrowing in, half of Burrows-Cheng’s 22 disposals were handballs, and he was influential in the Devils’ combative start. He laid a goal-saving tackle in the first term, but missed a shot on goal running inside 50 which would have finished his game off well.
#4 Will Peppin
The National Academy member was composed on the ball and often delivered by hand to outside runners. While he did not look particularly quick, Peppin stayed out of trouble though traffic, which was helped by his clean hands. An intercept chest mark in the first term was a highlight, and it was a solid outing overall.
#7 Matthew McGuiness
Over-ager McGuiness was a feature down back for the Devils, often positioned in a sort of quarterback role. When Tasmania gained position past defensive wing, they would often go back or across to McGuiness, who would set up his side’s forward movement with long kicks. His best efforts came with balls into the centre square, but they became less prominent as Western tightened the clamps. He managed a nice intercept mark deep in defence, and had a couple of forward forays to deliver inside 50.
#12 Isaac Chugg
The debutant was impressive early, and looks like having some nice traits to work on as a bottom ager. Coming from an athletics background, Chugg was electric in the first term with high marking forward of centre and good pace in his defensive efforts. Kicked the first goal of the game from long range, and almost snared another in a similar fashion.
#3 Eddie Ford
Ford seldom fails to catch the eye with his strong overhead marking, stylish use of the ball, and explosiveness. While he was quiet early on, Ford came into the game well after half time and had a purple patch in the third term where he kicked two goals. The first was a set shot conversion from 45 metres on the back of a strong one-on-one mark, and the second was a clever snap from the boundary, while he missed another chance in the final quarter on the run.
#7 Daly Andrews
The over-ager looked good throughout the day, and was most effective when kicking long down the line to give the Jets forward penetration. He found the ball early around defensive 50 when Tasmania was pouring on the pressure, and used his speed to find space well. Andrews was also nifty in traffic and would end the day with 23 disposals.
#20 Darcy Cassar
Looked Western’s best at times throughout the game, employed as a sort of defensive sweeper. Cassar would collect ground balls and intercept at will, while directing the play once he had disposed of the ball. He showed good burst when taking the game on with shrugs of his opponents and a bit of dash to drive the Jets forward. A designated kicker down back, Cassar was a little more erratic when on the ball forward of centre and lacked his usual finish product both around goal and going inside 50. He continues to rack up disposals though, with 31 touches and 13 marks a fine effort.
#24 Josh Honey
Honey bounced back into some good form in this game, finding plenty of the ball and hitting the scoreboard as he so often does. He pushed up the ground well to find the footy around defensive wing, and spread well to claim uncontested marks around the ground all day. Honey was fantastic when moving through traffic, and make a couple of opponents look silly as he got on his bike and zipped around them with ease. His first goal came from a neat collect of the loose ball going forward to allow him to finish from just inside the arc, while the second was a smart snap around the corner to cap off a good outing.
Greater Western Victoria Rebels 17.10 (112) defeated Northern Territory Thunder 8.9 (57)
By: Peter Williams
#3 Toby Mahony
The midfielder just has a touch of class about him. Not a huge accumulator, but he seemed to have control of the ball despite the conditions, and had a great moment when he evaded a tackler diving for him and then kicked lace out to Riley Polkinghorne in the first term. He then added a goal of his own with a lovely kick off the left from a few steps, able to straighten up, steady and kick it up the other end. Had a piercing kick from half-back to the wing, a low bullet that he used off a few steps after marking at half-back. Next contest he stood up in a tackle and got his hands free to be able to give the ball off to a teammate. Earned a free kick for a push in the back, then got back-to-back 50m penalties to kick the goal from the goalsquare.
#7 Mitch Martin
Applied some good defensive pressure and able to get the ball out to teammates, just has not had as much space as he has in previous games, playing more time inside. Won a free kick midway through the third term and roosted it long but was plucked off by Joel Jeffrey. Great vision to handball to a teammate on the wing and open up space. Had a huge highlight in the final term, being able to win the ball then pause and seemingly stop time as an opponent went for him and he kicked neatly down the field. Laid a good tackle on Stephen Cumming in the middle to win a free. Capped off his day with a goal after running hard into space to mark and then complete the set shot.
#9 Isaac Wareham
Taking the game on which was eye-catching. Backed himself in and would move the ball quickly along the wing, winning a crucial one-on-one against Malcolm Rosas Jnr in the first term and earned a free kick for a trip. He arched his back and was able to evade tacklers, although did get caught once in the second term, but was able to get his hands free and handball before he hit the ground.
#13 Jay Rantall
One of the Rebels standout players once again and seems to be getting better. His skills are still a little shaky, but his goal sense and ability to hit the scoreboard is terrific. Kicked two first half goals, one from a set shot straight in front and one from the boundary with a snap. Both were free kicks with opponents clumsy around him. He won his fair share of ball in the contest, firing out quick handballs to teammates. Erred on the side of caution to his detriment in the first term, kicking to a teammate leading out when he had a set shot straight in front, but will learn from it. He seems to break the game open with quick handballs to teammates running by, able to extract it out of the contest and handball long to a teammate on the outside.
#8 Malcolm Rosas Jnr
Just so silky and a terrific leader as well. He is a clean player who is able to dish off the handballs to teammate in space. He has a quick burst that creates separation between himself and his opponent and would work hard up the ground to win the ball. Not a huge ball winner, but has some eye-catching traits. Blindsided his opponent in the third term with a great run-down tackle at half-back but turned the ball over. Laid a big tackle in the final term but was penalised for a sling tackle – rather unluckily.
#19 Ben Jungfer
A strong inside midfielder who has a crack. Jungfer laid some fierce tackles and kept diving in for the contested ball. To start the third term Jungfer had a quick few steps to burrow in, win the contested ball and handball out to a teammate in space. Shows good hands in close and is strong to shrug off would-be tacklers. Kept fighting throughout the four quarters and won some important clearances late to help the Thunder kick some consolation goals.
#24 Joel Jeffery
Definitely an eye-catching player at half-back. His kicking was hit or miss at times, with his vision and decision making good, his execution just a bit iffy. His vertical leap one-on-one was outstanding and he is a terrific intercept mark. He does not panic when under pressure and seems to shrug off opponents with ease. A long kick of the football and someone who found plenty of it coming out of defence. Jeffrey reads the ball in flight well and has a nice marking action. Took a huge intercept mark in the third term rising above all others to cleanly grab it in the third term, and then saved a goal with a great running mark back with the flight. Overall a super game in a defence that was under siege for the most part.
#27 Beau O’Connell
A clever mid/forward who looks ever-dangerous in the forward half. He zipped around contests and seemed to win the ball a lot in the early stages, earning some free kicks and having a few shots on goal. He did rush a kick or two at times when he did not realise he had more time such as in the second term when a shot went out on the full, but when on the wing with space in front of him, he was able to size up his options well. To start the third term, O’Connell took a good mark under pressure then kicked it to a dangerous position to set up Tyson Woods for the goal on the line, then went inside and won the next clearance. O’Connell found plenty of it in all thirds of the ground and was one the Thunder’s standout players. Had a great dribble goal midway through the third term as the Thunder piled on the pressure. Kicked a second goal midway through the final term.