A CRUCIAL win over fellow top four hopefuls, Gippsland Power sees five Sandringham Dragons make the Round 9 Draft Central NAB League Boys Team of the Week. The biggest winners of the round, Oakleigh Chargers have an equal second best contribution of three players, with Tasmania Devils also having three nominees. Despite a 40-point difference on the scoreboard, Eastern Ranges and Geelong Falcons both had two players get the nod, along with two apiece from Calder Cannons and the losing Bendigo Pioneers side. The remaining sides – Western Jets, Murray Bushrangers, Gippsland Power, Greater Western Victoria Rebels and Northern Knights each have a sole representative, with many Jets players particularly stiff to miss out after their 42-point win.
A dynamic back line sees Tasmania’s Matt McGuinness (25 disposals, eight marks, 10 rebound 50s) and Gippsland’s Tye Hourigan (17 disposals, five marks, three rebound 50s) take up key posts as the pair play well above their height, and both found a good amount of ball while providing effective rebound. Western standout Lucas Rocci (34 disposals, 12 marks, 12 rebound 50s) was a lock in the back pocket, while St Kilda father-son prospect Tyson Milne played well in defence with 25 disposals, eight marks, six tackles, seven rebounds. Murray’s Jimmy Boyer and Geelong’s Sam Bourke were both named best afield for their respective sides, so also find their way onto each back flank.
There are plenty of goals up the other end in a forward line with a distinct Metro feel. Three players – Oakleigh’s Connor Stone and Nicholas Staphopoulos, and Sandringham’s Kyle Yorke – each claimed hauls of five to fill out the full forward line, while the sole non-Victorian – Tasmania’s Jackson Callow – booted four. Northern’s best-afield Ayce Taylor (22 disposals, seven marks, four inside 50s) and diminutive Dragon Lachlan Lamble (27 disposals, 11 marks, 5 inside 50s) fill out the flanks, with the likes of Calder’s Jeremy O’Sullivan, and talls Aaron Clarke (Western) and Billy McCormack (Eastern) unlucky not to find a spot on the back of solid performances.
The midfield features an even split of Metro and Country players, with Eastern’s Mitch Mellis and GWV’s Riley Polkinghorne the standouts on the back of round-high 39-disposal outings. Bendigo ruck Aaron Gundry (19 disposals, 28 hitouts, one goal) made the side, while consistent Calder mid Ned Gentile (21 disposals, six clearances, five inside 50s, three rebound 50s) fills out the opposite wing to Mellis, with star Oakleigh bottom ager Lochlan Jenkins (24 disposals, eight clearances, six inside 50s, 2.1) and Devils ball magnet Oliver Davis (25 disposals, seven tackles, nine inside 50s) filling out the rover roles.
Another St Kilda father-son in Jackson Voss (27 disposals, seven marks, seven tackles, five clearances) was unlucky not to have made the starting line-up, as was Bendigo Pioneers’ Logan Fitzgerald (29 disposals, six marks, six tackles, five clearances and two inside 50s) but both make the interchange bench. Calder’s Max Simpson (27 disposals, 12 marks, five inside 50s, six rebound 50s, one goal) had an outstanding all-round game and simply had to be named, with Zak Pretty (28 disposals, six tackles, five clearances), Blake O’Leary (27 disposals, six marks, eight clearances), and Chas Karpala (24 disposals, nine tackles, six rebound 50s) also hard to ignore – rounding out the side.