Author: Staff Writers

NAB League Boys Round 4 wash-up: SUNS shine in NAB League Boys

THE NAB League ladder has a new leader after all the action from Round 4, as three Northern Academy sides got the better of their Victorian Metropolitan counterparts. With Tasmania also picking up a win, it was a good weekend to be an interstater, albeit with the Victorian sides depleted on the back of trial games.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.2 | 5.4 | 5.6 | 7.9 (51)
GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 3.3 | 4.5 | 8.13 | 10.17 (77)

By: Cameron Ross

GOALS:
Northern:
C. Barbera, L. Mcmahon, S. Brazier, L. Waldron, J. Boyd, N. Howard, O. Simpson
GWS: L. Delahunty 3, L. Conlan 2, J. Lucas 2, M. Hamblin, J. Peatling, S. Driscoll

BEST
Northern:
N. Howard, S. Philp, C. Barbera, A. Taylor, E. Macpherson, S. Brazier
GWS: M. McGrory, J. Lucas, J. Peatling, L. Delahunty, S. Driscoll, H. Grant

GWS Giants Academy travelled to Melbourne this weekend to take on the Northern Knights at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. This first quarter was hotly contested. The Giants shot out of the blocks in the first two minutes, when James Peating won a holding the ball decision directly in front and goaled. The Knights fought back and after Sunny Brazier goaled from a snap shot, they started to gain some momentum. Ruckman Nathan Howard was dominant in the first quarter, giving the Knights first use, yet he was equally impressive around the ground. A serious knee injury to Lucas Perry caused a significant delay, as the young Knight writhed in pain. Both teams were visibly shaken as the midfielder was stretchered off the field. The Giants kicked two late goals – Lucas Conlan from a tight angle and then Liam Delahunty who goaled with only a minute remaining to give the Giants a seven-point advantage into the first break. The second quarter was owned by the Knights – they had most of the possession, and took advantage of it. Ruckman Howard continued on from his fine first quarter by kicking a late goal. GWS’s Tom Green was outstanding for the Giants. The big bodied midfielder kept his side in the match, winning clearances and contested possessions, and at half time GWS were only down by five points.

The Giants flew out of the blocks in the second half. Green started where he left off, winning four possessions, two centre clearances and a goal assist in the first two minutes. The final five minutes of the third quarter changed the match. Knights could barely get their hands on the footy, as Green and Peatling took over. Jeromy Lucas kicked two goals in the final minute, and the Giants had put the game to bed. The Knights who had been in this game up until midway through the third were nearly broken. The Knights started the fourth quarter well after an early Ollie Simpson goal, but they still needed to find four more in under 20 minutes of play. Sure enough, only a minute later, Lorne Waldron took a contested mark directly in front but missed what would have been a momentous goal. The Knights continued to find opportunities to win the game but missed a further two convertible chances in the next two minutes. A terrible turnover from GWS across goal gave Cooper Barbera another opportunity, but when he missed also, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be the Knights day. The Knights had most of the possession in the final quarter, but the Giants kicked two late goals to finish off the game as 26-point victors. Green was the best player on the field with 31 possessions, while Howard did everything he could for the Knights. GWS play the Gippsland Power at Blacktown in Round 5, while the Knights head to the QEO in Bendigo to take on the Pioneers.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 2.3 | 5.5 | 7.9 | 12.11 (83)
SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 5.1 | 10.4 | 14.6 | 16.9 (105)

By: Alex Gibson

GOALS:
Sandringham:
K. Yorke 3, A. Hanrahan 2, J. Florent 2, A. Perkins 2, H. Loughnan, L. Garnaut, R. Bowman
Sydney: B. Campbell 4, H. Maguire 3, T. Tyson 2, S. Thorne 2, H. Ellem 2, E. Gulden, K. McGrath, A. Watling

BEST:
Sandringham:
N. Burke, R. Bowman, J. Le Grice , J. Castan, A. Perkins, K. Yorke
Sydney: H. Ellem, N. Brewer, B. Campbell, L. Parks, A. Watling, S. Thorne

With the ongoing Vic trials, 14 changes were made for the Sandringham side which faced a classy Swans Academy outfit. Sydney’s pressure from the outset was immense, led by Samuel Thorne (21 disposals, two goals) and Harrison Parker (seven tackles) allowing the Swans to get the early jump on the ladder leaders. Sandringham from there on had to play catch up footy and on ball duo Angus Hanrahan (29 disposals, two goals) and Bill Mackay (21 disposals) did their best for the Dragons, however it was no match for the Swans who laid 22 more tackles for the match. The new look Sandringham forward line consisted of youth and rawness which consequently lacked a strong solid target in Charlie Dean’s absence, which hurt the Dragons all day. In contrast, the Swans big forwards dominated the second term thanks to Josh Maguire (three goals) and Hamish Ellem (two goals) who were able to control the forward 50 as the Swans lead extended to 29 points heading into the main break. It was a better second half for the Dragons as ruckman Riley Bowman (40 hitouts) was able to get on top, however bottom-ager Errol Gulden (26 disposals, two goals) took the game away from the Dragons with his classy left boot. In a game that tested Sandringham’s depth, they were able to remain competitive all day with their youth showing good signs but they were outplayed by the Swans big bodies which eventuated in a 22-point victory for Sydney who remain undefeated.

GOLD COAST ACADEMY 1.3 | 6.4 | 10.8 | 14.11 (95)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.4 | 3.6 (24)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Gold Coast:
P. Murtagh 2, E. Dawson 2, M. Selsby 2, J. Gore 2, M. Conroy, C. Budarick, H. Oea, A. Davies, E. Semaan, R. Nicholls
Oakleigh: M. Steiner 2, J. Robertson

BEST:
Gold Coast:
C. Budarick, C. Joyce, A. Davies, H. Oea, J. Gore, D. Koenen
Oakleigh: J. Woodfull, K. Schreiber, J. Ayton-Delaney, H. Mastras, B. Jepson, R. McInnes

Gold Coast SUNS Academy became the third non-Victorian side to pick up four points on the weekend, opening Sunday’s Queensland double-header with a 71-point win over Oakleigh. The Chargers came in heavily depleted like most of their fellow metro sides, but it didn’t show early as they battled well in an even first term. It was all Gold Coast from thereon though, as the Suns pulled away to a 26-point half time lead. With eight goals to one, it was more of the same in a dominant second half from the home side as they pushed to claim top spot at round’s end. Connor Budarick again had a day out, leading the Suns with 28 disposals, eight marks, eight tackles and a goal, while Corey Joyce and Ashton Crossley won the ball well with 22 possessions apiece. Josh Gore could have had a huge game, claiming 2.5 from his 20 disposals as one of four Suns multiple goal kickers, with Mark Steiner booting two of Oakleigh’s three goals for the match. Chargers over-ager and 2018 Vic Metro representative Joe Ayton-Delaney (26 disposals) was influential through midfield alongside Kaden Schreiber (24, seven marks, five clearances), but both were beaten to being named best by ruckman Jacob Woodfull who managed five clearances from 15 disposals. With two losses on the trot, Oakleigh will look to bounce back after the break against Dandenong, while Gold Coast is set to face another metro side in Eastern as its NAB League stint edges over the half-way mark.

TASMANIA DEVILS 0.1 | 5.1 | 8.1 | 10.3 (63)
CALDER CANNONS 0.1 | 1.4 | 3.6 | 7.9 (51)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Tasmania:
J. Callow 4, J. Hennessy 2, J. Menzie, W. Peppin, P. Walker, R. Mansell
Calder: C. Brand 3, M. Fletcher 2, H. Minton-Connell, J. Sutton

BEST:
Tasmania:
J. Callow, O. Shaw, J. Chaplin, R. Ashlin, L. Gadomski, J. Steele
Calder: H. Minton-Connell, N. Gentile, J. Martin, M. Simpson, K. Baker, S. Callander

Tasmania Devils ground out its second win on the trot, prevailing 10.3 (63) to 7.9 (51) against Calder in its first NAB League appearance on home turf. After a slow burn in the first term with the sides only managing a behind each, the Devils kicked away in the next stanza with five goals to one to set up a game-winning lead, slowly extending it to 25 points at the final change. While Calder stood up to win the fourth quarter, it was all too little, too late as the hosts held on to a two-goal final margin. Jackson Callow was the standout Devil with another bag of goals to amass almost half of his side’s total, while Oscar Shaw spread well to reel in 12 uncontested marks from 17 disposals. Patrick Walker and Nicholas Baker were the key ball-winners with 24 disposals apiece, while usual suspect Mitch O’Neill was a little quieter than usual with 16. For Calder, Cody Brand booted all three of his season goals at once, while Mason Fletcher joined him as a multiple goal kicker as he was thrown forward. Harrison Minton-Connell was the visitors’ best with a game-high 26 disposals and eight clearances, and could have had a bigger game had he made better of his 1.3. Crashing back down to earth after last week’s win, the Cannons face a winless Geelong side next time out, while Tasmania will hope to continue its winning run as it does battle with Western.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 3.0 | 5.1 | 11.1 | 12.3 (75)
EASTERN RANGES 4.4 | 6.7 | 8.7 | 13.8 (86)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Brisbane:
B. Coleman 4, T. Wischnat 3, N. Cumberland 3, D. Marsh, T. Abberley
Eastern: B. Hickleton 3, S. Mason 2, C. Black 2, S. Feagaimalii 2, J. Tilly, J. Clarke, C. Weightman, J. Jaworski

BEST:
Brisbane:
T. Jeffrey, W. Martyn, C. Michael, C. Stackelberg, B. Coleman
Eastern: S. Feagaimalii, J. Clarke, J. Duffy, B. Hickleton, J. Gilbee

An fighting final term turnaround saw Eastern Ranges earn its third-consecutive win, overcoming the Brisbane Lions academy by 11 points in Southport. Having broken to a 12-point half-time lead, the Ranges were reigned in quickly thereafter as the hosts booted six goals to two to steer clear heading into the final break, but the Ranges turned the two-goal deficit almost completely around as the heavens opened to snatch an unlikely victory. Eastern bottom-ager Salele Feagaimalii had an blinder, taking full advantage of playing full-time midfield to rack up 28 disposals, seven clearances and two clutch final-quarter goals as his side’s best. Fellow 17-year old Joshua Clarke also stood up when it mattered, slotting the goal of the day on the run from 50 as part of his 21 disposals, while Chayce Black was dangerous early up forward, ending with 2.3 behind Ben Hickleton‘s 3.0. For the Lions, Blake Coleman claimed a game-high four goals from his nine disposals, with Tom Wischnat (19 disposals, 3.2) to thank for two of them, while Noah Cumberland also claimed three majors. Skipper Will Martyn lifted from last week’s performance to rack up an impressive 37 disposals and 12 marks, while former-captain Cody Stackleberg was influential with 26 touches and seven inside 50s. With Eastern locked into the top four, a game against another Queensland academy awaits, while Brisbane will look for a second win in its away clash against Sandringham.

WESTERN JETS 3.8 | 9.14 | 12.19 | 18.24 (132)
NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER 4.3 | 5.4 | 8.7 | 9.7 (61)

GOALS:
Western:
A. Clarke 4, S. El-Hawli 3, C. White 3, C. Mackenzie-George 2, A. Manton 2, L. Failli, S. Clifford, L. Conway, J. Horo
Northern Territory: T. Woods 3, B. Ah Mat 3, W. Derksen, S. Cumming, B. O’Connell

BEST:
Western:
J. Horo, A. Clarke, D. Bolkas, C. White, D. Andrews , W. Kennedy
Northern Territory: M. McGregor, T. Woods, B. Ah Mat, B. Jungfer, S. Cumming, J. Stevens

The Western Jets picked up their second win for the NAB League season, closing out the round with a thumping 71-point win over Northern Territory Thunder. After the travelling side broke to a narrow quarter-time lead, the Jets flicked a switch and piled on 15 goals from 31 scoring shots for the remainder of the game to come out as dominant winners. Jets spearhead Aaron Clarke was again amongst the goals, leading group of five multiple goal kickers with 4.6 in what could have been a huge outing. Fellow tall Will Kennedy was also dominant, leading his side’s disposal count alongside Daly Andrews with 25, while also having 28 hitouts and five clearances. For NT, Tyson Woods and Braxton Ahmat each booted three goals, with Marly McGregor (17 disposals, five clearances) named their best despite Brandon Rusca‘s 25-disposal effort. The winless NT academy will again play in Melbourne, facing the GWV Rebels at Windy Hill, with Western travelling to Tasmania to face the Devils after the Easter break.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 4

WITH the Country sides afforded a bye and Victorian trials played this weekend, the remaining Metropolitan NAB League sides faced an uphill battle against interstate rivals with depleted lineups. Still, there was a good amount of talent on show, so here are our opinion-based notes on players identified by talent managers as ones to watch, as well as strong performers on the day. The focus was primarily on the Academy sides ahead of the National Under 18 Championships.

Northern Knights 7.9 (51) defeated by GWS GIANTS Academy 10.17 (77)
Sandringham Dragons 12.11 (83) defeated by Sydney Swans Academy 16.9 (105)
Gold Coast SUNS Academy 14.11 (95) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 3.6 (24)
Tasmania Devils 10.3 (63) defeated Calder Cannons 7.9 (51)
Brisbane Lions Academy 12.3 (75) defeated Eastern Ranges 13.8 (86)
Western Jets 18.24 (132) defeated Northern Territory Thunder 9.7 (61)

Academies:

GWS:

By: Cam Ross

#10 James Peatling

Clean and quick. Played well forward and in the midfield.

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Seems to be a natural footballer, with an ability to read the play better than others. Delightful use of his body in the third quarter created an impressive goal. Ended up with 28 possessions and 2 goals in a terrific all-round performance.

#25 Tom Green

Dominant performance from Green who was the best player on the field. He’s the prototypical modern-day midfielder. Built like an undersized ruckman, but wins contested possessions and can run all day. Green’s back to back clearances in the third resulted in goals and he “sold some candy” early in the fourth quarter, making his opponents crash into each other. Finished the game with 31 possessions, most of which were contested and numerous clearances. This was even more impressive considering he spent a lot of the game up forward.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Strong forward who kicked three goals. His marking and contesting up forward was important and gave the GWS boys a target for the entire game. Delahunty’s produced some pieces of play that weren’t rewarded on the stat sheet, such as in the third quarter, when he flew from 3-4 men deep to crash the pack and bring the ball to ground. This resulted in a goal for his side in an important stage of the match. He’s also a very nice kick of the ball as he a has a beautiful technique. One to watch for the future.

#28 Matt McGrory

Good performance from the wingman. Smart piece of play in the second quarter. McGrory was outnumbered on the Knights counter attack. Instead of the overcommitting to the ball carrier, he read that the Knights player would handball over the top, and intercepted, preventing a counter attack and a potential goal.

 

Sydney Swans:

By: Alex Gibson

#7 Braeden Campbell

Didn’t have a massive day on the stat sheet but was very noticeable when he had the ball. Playing as the ‘link up man’, Campbell was very exciting to watch and the Dragons could hardly lay a hand on the half forward. The bottom-ager finished with three goals and his craftiness was a serious problem for the Sandringham defence.

#9 Samuel Thorne

Thorne was consistent all day and looks to be a very natural footballer. He was clean by hand and made smart decisions finishing with two goals and 21 touches. The midfielder worked hard in and under the stoppage and even when Thorne didn’t have the ball was still pressuring the Sandringham midfielders with his four tackles.

#23 Errol Gulden

One to watch for 2020. Sandringham had no response to the silky bottom ager who collected 26 disposals in a best on ground performance. Kicking 2 goals from the wing, Gulden’s left foot was seriously damaging and was often the man trusted with kicking the ball inside 50 due to his ability to hit a target. Sydney may just have themselves another Heeney or Mills here.

#39 Josh Rayner

Was a rock in the Swans defence all day and the Dragons could not get it past him. The 193cm prospect’s ability to not only read the play, but to also take intercept marks was brilliant. Playing a crucial role in the Swans victory, the defender finished with six rebounds and his presence in the defensive 50 was immense.

 

Gold Coast:

By: Ed Pascoe

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

Hewago looked lively at half forward early in the game and then really hit his straps in the second quarter getting to go through the midfield and show off his clean ball use and speed, he had a nice bit of play late in the second quarter with a lovely pass inside 50 on his opposite foot to teammate Murtagh. Hewago had some scintillating passages of play where he showed of his speed and agility to get around opponents with ease and he kicked a very good opportunistic goal early in the third quarter. Hewago was always clean at ground level never fumbling and he has another great big of play dancing around some opponents and kicking a lovely pass inside 50 to a teammate.

#5 Connor Budarick

Budarick was a tough customer in the midfield often laying crunching tackles and winning the hard ball, he showed he wasn’t just a bull with a lovely kick inside 50 to teammate Gore and he himself kicked a lovely set shot goal in the first quarter. He once again hit Gore with a beautiful pass inside 50 in the third quarter where he was again a strong performer with his tackling and workrate. Budarick has claims as the best player on the ground winning plenty of the ball, tackling hard and also hitting the scoreboard for a very well rounded game.

#28 Ashton Crossley

Crossley was a consistent player through the midfield who was clean at the stoppages and used his solid frame to win the contested ball, he had a nice bit of play where he showed good hands at a stoppage handballing to a teammate who would fumble but Crossley would recover and lay a hard tackle on his opponent. Crossley worked tirelessly through the midfield both at the contest and on the outside willing to link up and be an option.

 

Brisbane:

By: Michael Alvaro

#11 Will Martyn

The Brisbane skipper really lifted from his output last week, racking up a monster 37 disposals and 12 marks. Trading time through the midfield and forward line, Martyn worked hard to find the ball around half back in the first half when the Lions were under the pump, and looked more composed in possession. Martyn made better decisions by foot and while a little shaky early on, executed a lot more cleanly to find options up the field. He found Darcy Marsh well inside 50 to gift him a goal after finding space, and is mixing well between his inside and outside game.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Crozier was again busy between the arcs, particularly in the back half. While he was a touch fumbly with the ball in dispute, Crozier is clever with ball in hand and usually receives it in space with marks. A key link in the chain going forward, Crozier finished with a handy 24 disposals.

#13 Blake Coleman

The crafty forward had a phenomenal third term where he booted three of his four-straight majors. His first goal came in the opening quarter with a good collect below his knees and quick snap to find the big sticks, and he almost found a second later on as his dribbled shot fell short. He kicked his second and third goals on the run with tidy finishes from Wischnat assists, but his highlight of the game came with a big pack mark from the back deep inside forward 50, which he played on from to kick his fourth goal. An excitement machine and classy finisher, Coleman is certainly a natural footballer.

#19 Tom Griffiths

Griffiths had a couple of nervy moments early, flying for the same ball as a teammate inside defensive 50, but built into the game well. Used mainly off half-back, Griffiths rebounded well and used clever kicks in tight spaces to manipulate the ball into good areas for his teammates. Made a particularly good find in the third term with a kick inboard, and ended with four rebound 50s from his 21 disposals.

#21 Noah Cumberland

Cumberland’s tussle with his headband was just about the most trouble he found himself in all day, as he put in a solid 15 disposal and three-goal shift up forward. He made a good read from a forward 50 stoppage to snap the Lions’ first goal in the opening term, while also setting one up for Wischnat not long after. Read the ball well again for his second goal out the back in the next quarter, and booted his third with an unreal torpedo in traffic to ensure he had a goal in each of the first three terms. Has good pace and applies pressure well when pushing up the ground.

#38 Tom Wischnat

One of the Lions’ best throughout the day, Wischnat was a real presence through the midfield and particularly up forward. The academy prospect used his big frame well on so many instances to set up goal scoring opportunities, with two coming in the third quarter to release Coleman into space for back-to-back goals. He found the goals himself with a 40-metre set shot conversion early on and 35-metre one in the final quarter, but his best goal came in the third term as he slipped a would-be tackler with strength and snapped truly. He has an unconventional kicking action and sometimes rushes when going forward, which may have hampered his two missed attempts on goal in the final term – one of which came after an impressive 1v2 mark in the goalsquare, which was costly.

 

Tasmania:

By: Scott Dougan

#1 Mitch O’Neill

O’Neill had a very quiet opening term but was able to redeem himself in the second term. He won some important centre clearances for his team and was dangerous around stoppages. He also displayed his ability to win the ball on both the inside and outside of the contest.

#4 Will Peppin

Peppin did not have a massive game stat-wise, but when he was around the ball, he was able to make something happen. He was lively up forward, especially in the second term when he was able to kick Tasmania’s fourth goal of the quarter in the twentieth minute. He showcased a variety of handy attributes on the day, such as speed, athleticism, and cleanliness at ground level.

#7 Matt McGuinness

McGuinness was fantastic across half-back. He gathered plenty of disposals and used the ball extremely well on both feet. Throughout the match, McGuinness showed that he was can read the play to perfection, with the athletic utility accumulating plenty of intercept possessions and marks.

#22 Nicholas Baker

Along with plenty of his teammates in defence, Baker was rock-solid. He was able to apply some defensive spoils, but also provided some run and carry out of the defensive 50 when needed. I was also impressed with his attack on the ball, along with his defensive pressure and tackling. Baker had 22 disposals and five marks. A very solid outing.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow was kept fairly quiet in the first term but was able to bounce back in the second. He took some nice marks on the lead in the forward half and due to his sticky hands, he was able to hold the majority of them. Callow’s third term was just unbelievable, with the bottom-aged big man taking four contested marks and booting three goals. In the end, Callow was the difference between the two sides and is definitely a very exciting prospect to keep a close eye on in his draft year.

 

Northern Territory:

By: Brandon Hutchinson

#2 Tyson Woods

Woods is class personified. The electrifying small forward seemed impossible to contain at the goal face, zipping in and out of defenders and never losing sight of the sticks. He found his first from an intercept mark off a Western kick-in, putting it through on a tight angle. For the day he finished with 12 disposals, 10 kicks, three goals and five marks.

#7 Brandon Rusca

A pillar in defense, Rusca continued to show improving form with another big performance. He brought reliable hands to the penetrating footy and rebounded well from the backline. He led as Northern Territory’s highest accumulator and delivered effectively by foot. He finished up with 24 disposals, 18 kicks, five marks and four rebounds.

#32 Marly McGregor

Improved substantially from last week, spreading his influence well. He moved well and got involved in a lot of ball movement, delivering the ball inside 50 and cleaning up messes down in the backline. He finished with 17 disposals, 12 kicks, two marks, one tackle, three rebounds and three inside 50s.

#35 Stephen Cumming

Dominant in the ruck with strength and good position, Cumming took a few with both hands and kept his feet to get the ball away. He found the goals in the first from a set shot directly in front, but missed his second under similar conditions, clipping the post. Not shying away from the hard ball, Cumming continually got low and stood up in the tackles with clean hands. Cumming iced many of his direct opponents in seemingly fifty-fifty contests, providing clear passage through opposition. He finished with 18 disposals, one goal, three marks and 33 hit-outs.

#39 Braxton Ahmat

Along with Woods, Ahmat was the most important players in front of the sticks, kicking three in his first game this season. He put away his first following a well-timed lead in the first quarter and followed up with two more in the third. He accompanied his three goals with seven disposals, five kicks, three marks, two tackles and one inside 50.

 

Victorian sides:

 

Daly Andrews (Western)

Daly bounced back hard after one of his weaker performances in Round 3, accumulating the most disposals for Western. He worked hard on the inside and involved himself in a lot of the linking plays through the ground. He returned to his Round 2 (6) form with five marks, after not taking any in Rounds 1 and 3, and sped through congestion with the footy. He earned himself four inside 50s and helped mop up in defense, earning two rebounds.

Joe Ayton Delaney (Oakleigh)

Ayton-Delaney was smooth through the midfield and especially early was one of his teams better midfielders and decision makers with ball in hand. His last quarter was superb with his attack on the ball and willingness to take the game on and attack despite the wide margin, he was by far the standout for Oakleigh in a solid 4 quarter display through the midfield.

Chayce Black (Eastern)

While his finishing touch left a little to be desired, Black was a key man for the Ranges inside forward 50. Black created chance after chance in the first term, but only managed to take advantage of one – with his set shot goal the first of the game after a nice one-on-one mark deep inside 50. He involved himself well by applying pressure and working up the ground to find the ball, and is clearly a hard worker. Black’s second goal was an important one in the final term, again coming from a set shot, but he could really have had a day to remember if he finished a touch better.

Nick Burke (Sandringham)

The kid does not stop running. The stand-in Sandringham skipper worked tirelessly all day and collected 18 disposals playing on the wing and half forward. Burke’s running patterns allowed him to get to the right positions at the right time and despite a somewhat smaller frame still remained composed in a contested situation. When the skipper had the ball Sandringham looked at their most dangerous.

Aaron Clarke (Western)

Clarke played his best game this season with complete poise and control in Western’s forward line. He brought great hands to the overhead footy, keeping his eyes on the ball. He burned his opponent off the lead and, at many times, marked the ball at its highest point. He had his fair share of behinds to accompany his goal tally, but fought hard to earn his opportunities, looking a class above his opponents. For the day he finished with four goals (six behinds), 17 disposals, 15 kicks, 10 marks, two inside 50s and three free kicks.

Joshua Clarke (Eastern)

The bottom-ager was super impressive off half-back with his run and willingness to take the game on. He looks exciting with ball in hand and proved to be a key catalyst in the Ranges’ forward movement. A 1-2 handball passage through the corridor in the second term resulted in Clarke booting inside 50, only to turn the ball over. Undeterred, he intercepted the following kick but missed the resultant shot on goal. After copping a knock in the third quarter, Clarke was crucial in the last, sparking Eastern to life with a sensational running goal from 50-out on the boundary and a courageous effort in the air against 204cm ruckman, Samson Ryan.

Salele Feagaimalii (Eastern)

The solidly-built midfielder had his best game for the year, standing up as Eastern’s best with 28 disposals, seven clearances and two clutch goals. Anchoring the centre bounces, Feagaimalii burst away from the stoppages time after time and drove the Ranges forward well throughout the day. While his handballing at times showed the touch of a raw product, the bottom-ager found his teammates well with some tidy kicks on the back of his bursts. Kicked a set shot goal early in the final term to level the scores with a hacked snap, and made a seven-point play later on to cap off a stand-out performance.

Mason Fletcher (Calder)

Fletcher had a fairly quiet match but got better and more involved as the match went on. His effective defensive spoiling and positioning were evident in the first two quarters. One of his best passages of play came in the third term when he took a good contested mark deep in defence. In the fourth term, Fletcher showed that he can play both ends of the ground, with the 200cm key position player booting two goals.

Angus Hanrahan (Sandringham)

The smooth mover was the Dragons best for the day collecting a game high 29 disposals also hurting the Swans on the scoreboard with 2.4. Hanrahan’s game had a nice balance of dashing speed and poised composure knowing when to lower his eyes. Hanrahan also showed his versatility in the third quarter where he was used as the deepest forward in order to facilitate Sandringham’s forward troubles.

Nathan Howard (Northern)

The returning ruckman made an immediate impact and tried his best to give his depleted midfield first use with a monster 51 hitouts, while winning seven clearances of his own. Howard’s work around the ground was just as good as his ruck craft as he steadily accumilated 18 possessions, including three rebound and inside 50s, and a goal to boot. Will no doubt play a key role in a potential Knights turnaround as the season progresses. 

William Kennedy (Western)
Kennedy was one of many players exceeding standards in Sunday’s win, holding his own against Northern Territory’s big man, Stephen Cumming. Despite losing in hit-outs 29 to 33, Kennedy was far from defeated, finishing the game with the second most disposals and winning five free kicks due to careful positioning in the contest. He delivered well inside 50 (5) and took the footy strong overhead. He finished the game with 23 disposals, 15 kicks and three inside 50s.

Bill Mackay (Sandringham)

With an undermanned Sandringham midfield, Mackay really flourished in taking his opportunity. Noticeably more powerful and stronger then his opponents, Mackay’s one-on-one work certainly impressed throughout the day showing real grunt in the stoppages. Along with his ability to win the contested ball, the big-bodied on baller caught the eye of spectators with a few exciting centre bounce clearances where his impressive foot skills going inside 50 allowed the dragons to have numerous set shots on goal.

Sam Philp (Northern)

Philp continued his consistent start to the season, and was a key part of the effort to counter GWS midfield star Tom Green. In a largely contested game, Philp thrived with seven clearances and six tackles among his team-high 26 disposals in what was a tough day for the Knights. Should continue to grow as some of the Knights midfield brigade returns from Metro trials, and stands out with his composure on the ball through traffic.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 3

ANOTHER blockbuster weekend of NAB League footy saw the best of the best stake their claims as the next big things, with one particular game showcasing some enormous talent to come. With scouts eyeing all nine games across the round, these are our individual, opinion-based thoughts on the players identified as standouts by respective talent managers.

Northern Knights 3.3 (21) defeated by Eastern Ranges 13.18 (96)
By: Shyam Bali

Northern:

#1 Lachie Potter

In his first game back, Potter showed good run and dash. He took several kick ins and played on for about four of them, often taking on the man on the mark and showing a bit of flair. He showed a great passage in the second half where he broke away inside the defensive 50, and ran 30 metres before delivering the ball long inside 50 in an attacking 80-metre plus play. Potter also tackled well throughout the day laying lots of hard tackles showing his competitiveness. Ended the day with 15 disposals and five tackles.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

‘JD’ started forward and had a quiet first term with a highlight coming in the second quarter being a strong mark and goal. He was moved onto ball in the second half and was much more prolific there. He had several touches through the middle trying to will the Knights back in to the game, and had a magnificent solo effort on the half forward flank where he took on a few players and got the ball forward but unfortunately his kick let him down. He also had several big tackles in the second half resulting in a couple of holding the ball frees. D’Intinosante finished with 21 touches, five marks, nine tackles and a goal – with an extremely productive second half.

#7 Ryan Gardner

Gardner played predominantly across half back, gathering lots of the ball in the second quarter when the ball was stuck down there. His decision making at times was sometimes questionable and he would turn it over in close proximity, needing a few follow up possessions to fix the mistake. In the second half he continued to rack up the ball and seemed to use it more effectively. He set up a few shots on goal in the second half, but unfortunately his team mates could not capitalise. He ended with over 23 touches, nine marks and six tackles, patrolling the back half and along the wing.

#8 Adam Carafa

Carafa was good all day and tried hard in a tough day out for his team. He fumbled a little early in the game but his touch got better as the match wore on. He had a few passages of play that showed his class including a spearing kick to a teammate inside 50, a centring kick under pressure that hit his team mate in full stride and a few good clearances in the second half. His decision making let him down on occasion seeming in two minds, this was evident when he played on, ran himself into trouble and handballed straight into the man on the mark at the end of the first half. Overall he was a good contributor on the day and one of the best for the Knights.

#11 Ryan Sturgess

A quieter day for the reliable defender who did not get a lot of the ball in the first half whilst playing down back. This prompted a move to the wing where he found a few possessions but struggled to get involved as the Ranges ran over the top of the Knights from the second quarter onward. Showed off his versatility by spending time in attack as well. Took a few kick outs and showed good penetration in his kicks earlier in the day.

#13 Sam Philp

Philp was big all day, gathering lots of the ball across half-back and often reading the play well and being the first to the ball. He also peeled off his opponent and laid a lot of tackles to hold up the Ranges in the first half. Philp had many highlights including a free kick and 50m penalty, resulting in a goal. In the second half, Philp rebounded and took the ball down the wing well often finding team mates. Philp showed great work rate running out the game strongly and giving strong repeat efforts late into the game and making lots of stoppages all over the ground. Philp finished the game with a team high 26 disposals to go along with nine tackles, five marks and a goal.

#23 Nikolas Cox

Cox started in the backline but was moved all over the ground. He took a great mark in the first quarter but did not see much of the ball before half-time. In the second half he played a mixture of half-back/half-forawrd and got a bit more involved, laying a strong tackle and taking a good mark. Ended up being a pretty quiet day for Cox with seven touches, three marks and two tackles.

Eastern:

#11 Mitch Mellis

Mellis picked up where he left off last week, showing great zip, energy and attack on the ball in the first half. Had a great centre clearance where he pumped the ball deep inside 50 resulting in a score for his team. He also cut off a kick reading the play well before going back and goaling in the second quarter. His hard chasing and tackling was evident and he showed great two-way running ability. In the second half he seemed to elevate his game further, involved in several scoring plays and setting up his team mates. He showed a great solo effort wrapping up a player 45 metres out and getting a holding the ball decision before going back and slotting the goal which was his second in a row in the last quarter. Mellis was the standout performer on the day with 29 disposals, six marks, six tackles and three goals to cap off a great day.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

Rossiter started the day in a lot of contests, but let himself down with a few fumbles. He showed great competitiveness and intent though, following up his mistakes and laying some big tackles. He worked forward in the second half and kicked a good goal. Rossiter’s tackling was his standout for the day laying lots of big tackles and wrapping up Knights opponents. His stats finished with 14 disposals (four kicks), 10 tackles, three marks and a goal in a serviceable outing.

#17 Cody Hirst

Hirst started the game with two great defensive efforts, one locking up the ball and the second chasing an opponent down from 30 metres behind him to force a turnover. He was always on the move and showed great energy whenever the ball was around him, promising to excite. In the second half he brought it all together roving the ball and using great vision to set up team mates on a few occasions. His pace and run lit up the team in the second half as he had multiple passages where he took on opponents – or chased them down when he wasn’t close to the contest. Hirst was rewarded for his hard running with a great snap goal in the last quarter. He finished the day with 19 disposals and a goal but the standout was his defensive pressure, laying nine quality tackles.

#18 Billy McCormack

McCormack started forward and had a few shots on goal but was not accurate in the first quarter, booting a couple of behinds. He also had stints in the ruck, amassing 14 hitouts. Ended up doing a few good things around the ground, but his inaccuracy (three behinds) in front of goal stopped it from being a really strong game.

 

GWS GIANTS Academy 7.9 (51) defeated by Sydney Swans Academy 16.14 (110)
By: Scott Dougan

GWS:

#10 James Peatling

Peatling had a very dominant second term, with the midfielder/forward hitting the scoreboard after winning a free-kick for a strong tackle on his opponent. His ball use when entering the forward 50 was reliable and consistent. Peatling was one of the best players on the day, finishing with two goals and over twenty possessions.

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Lucas started in the midfield and played predominately on the outside where he received the ball from his teammates. He found plenty of it early on in the first term and even though his possessions weren’t extremely damaging, he was one of the reasons for the Giants’ fantastic opening quarter, where he repeatedly drove the ball into the Giants’ forward half. Lucas’ work rate also stood out, with the midfielder making plenty of contests throughout the day.

#25 Thomas Green

Green was involved early on, winning the second centre clearance of the game for his team, along with booting a first-quarter goal fifteen minutes later. He accumulated plenty of the footy and was prolific in contested situations. For his size, Green is exceptionally clean at ground level, which makes him a very damaging player around stoppages. His ball use and composure also caught the eye on the day.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Delahunty’s forward craft was a standout. He was able to take a few marks inside the forward 50 just because he was playing in front of his opponent, rather than from behind. He took a very nice mark on the lead in the second term but was unable to convert his set-shot attempt.

#28 Matt McGrory

McGrory won a 50-metre penalty in the defensive half that resulted in him delivering the ball deep inside the forward line for the Giants’ first major of the day. His athleticism stood out in the second term when he took an impressive intercept mark just outside his team’s forward half. McGrory also demonstrated his ball-winning capabilities and his clean ball use by foot during the match.

Sydney:

#7 Braeden Campbell

Campbell won plenty of the ball on the inside and he tackled strongly. One of his best passages of play came early on in the second term when he kicked an important, thumping goal from 50 metres out, keeping his team in the game. Campbell finished with a game-high three goals.

#9 Sam Thorne

Thorne was clean by hand and made smart decisions. He competed hard all day and continued to drive the ball forward on all occasions. His inside work was evident, along with his defensive pressure around the contest. Thorne had a game-high six tackles.

#10 Jackson Barling

Barling was good in both contested and uncontested situations. He continually put his head over the ball and always did his best to make himself an option around the ground for his teammates. He won many one-on-one contests around the ground, signifying his strength and smart body use. He was the Swans’ top ball-winner for the match.

 

Brisbane Lions Academy 5.12 (42) defeated by Gold Coast SUNS Academy 10.10 (70)
By: Michael Alvaro

Brisbane:

#11 Will Martyn

Martyn is a really nice mover in the midfield, and showed his impressive agility around the stoppages here. He looks to be on the move for the majority of time, zipping in and out of tight situations to send his side forward. While his numbers were down (12 disposals) and his kicking left a little to be desired on occasion, Martyn worked hard and seems to always find the ball in good areas. Can become a damaging midfielder with surer kicking, but has enormous potential.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Typically a damaging forward runner, Crozier’s output looked to be limited to action between the arc in this game, and he missed an opportunity to hit the scoreboard as he so often does. Still put in a good shift with 19 disposals and was a good link on the wing, working hard for nine marks to help Brisbane play the short build-up game.

#18 Bruce Reville

Reville really catches the eye and was on form early, playing most of the game through the midfield. He is such a smooth mover and looks a natural footballer, often receiving from the extractors at stoppages and bursting forward seamlessly. His decision making and effective use were features in the first half, with Reville showing great awareness to know when to lower his eyes going forward, or prop and deliver the ball laterally. While he did not quite go at 100 per cent efficiency, Reville’s clever delivery by foot made him stand out and ensured he was a damaging forward mover. Reville faded out slightly as the Suns got on top late, but ended with a team-high 25 disposals to go with a clever soccered goal in the second term.

#19 Tom Griffiths

Equalled Reville’s output in terms of possessions with 25, but played a more selfless role as the extractor in midfield. Winning a good amount of contested ball, Griffiths was effective by hand and released his outside runners, while also spreading well to win the ball in all areas of the ground. A hard worker, and one you may miss if you do not watch closely.

Gold Coast:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

Oea is an excitement machine, lurking dangerously in and around the forward 50 arc all day. He is a smart user by foot and created opportunities for his teammates with good use going forward. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of that is his ability to use the ball well at speed, and his gather, turn and kick to Ethan Dawson in the goalsquare was an example of that. Oea looked like doing something great whenever he was goalside of his opponent, and his eye-catching goal on the run in the third term showcased that to a t. Definitely one to watch, and is hard to miss when at full flight.

#5 Connor Budarick

The zippy midfielder-forward was a mainstay at the centre bounces, but I thought his possessions in the forward half showed where his best football will be played at the next level. He sweeps up the loose ball at ground level and hits it at speed, using smart hands to extract when he opts not to break away from stoppages. Would have had a pretty complete game had he put away two goal opportunities he created with impressive gathers at pace, but was damaging nonetheless. A pleasing part of his game was his direction of play after disposing of the ball, and he seems a clever type. 26 disposals for the Allies representative marked a solid day.

#13 Josh Gore

Gore looks a polished player, and was nothing short of clinical up forward. He certainly knows where the goals are, but did not get the chance to show off his outstanding awareness inside 50 as he instead booted his three goals from set shots at varying angles. Gore does not need much of the ball to have an impact, and definitely caught the eye with his evasiveness with ball in hand. Worked hard to find space with seven marks, and has a nice left-foot kick.

#28 Ashton Crossley

A contested ball machine, Crossley continued his good start to the Sun’s NAB League cameo with 28 disposals. I was not surprised to find that 20 of them were handballs, but that is simply his game and he was hardly beaten as the number one stoppage player on the ground. While his releasing handballs were effective for the most part, Crossley often hacked the ball out by foot, so still has some areas to work on as most inside midfielders do. Worked tirelessly in tandem with Budarick in a team-oriented role and won an impressive 10 clearances.

 

Sandringham Dragons 9.11 (65) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 8.7 (55)
By: Ed Pascoe

Sandringham:

#1 Jack Mahony

Mahony was very busy through the midfield wining plenty of the ball and using it well by hand and foot and he was one of his teams better performers in the first half. He was everywhere in the third quarter and he had a nice bit of play taking a nice mark inside 50 and a quick wide kick to teammate Angus Hanrahan lead to a goal. Mahony showed he was one of the most skilled players on the ground and he finished the game with 25 disposals and five tackles.

#4 Finn Maginess

Maginess showed a lot of class through the midfield with his clean hands and strength at stoppages, he had a strong start to the game and was even better in the second quarter taking a nice contested mark and did some nice repeat efforts at the contest with clean ball use at the same time. Maginess would hit the scoreboard in the third quarter cutting off an opposition player and ran in to kick the goal. Maginess was a strong player around the contest and he finished the game with 24 disposals, six inside 50s and a goal.

#5 Ryan Byrnes

Byrnes was very busy through the midfield early in the game but his disposal seemed rushed and he was not as damaging early as he was in recent weeks and it was more of the same during the whole game. His third quarter was quiet but his best bit of play came in the last quarter with a nice kick inside 50 to teammate Charlie Dean, he would finish the game with 21 disposals and six inside 50s.

#11 Hugo Ralphsmith

Ralphsmith had another good game mostly as a link up player on the wing using his dash and clean disposal. His first goal came in the 2nd quarter running into open goal, he would have a good movement in this quarter burning off an opponent with pure speed and then turning on a dime and hitting a nice short pass under pressure. He would continue to show of his dash in the third quarter with a nice run from the wing into the forward half and he would have another solid quarter, he would kick his second goal from a strong mark in the last quarter and converting the set shot. He would finish the game with 15 disposals, four marks and two goals.

#12 Charlie Dean

Dean continues to lead the NAB League for goals and that has came from his great leading patterns which he again showed early, taking a strong contested mark and kick a set shot goal 15 minutes into the first quarter. The second goal came in the second quarter from a nice mark and set shot finish, he would continue to provide a good target taking a nice lead up mark in the third quarter and delivering a nice short kick inside 50. Dean was a great target all day and he finished the game with 16 disposals, six marks and two goals.

#29 Fischer McAsey

McAsey had a similar game to last week starting slowly before becoming more involved as the game went on, he started the second quarter well with a good chase down tackle and was solid overall for that quarter down back and would improve again in the third showing his neat skills by hand and foot. McAsey had a neat game down back finishing with 12 disposals and three rebound 50s.

#31 Josh Worrell

Worrell was physical early hitting contests hard and tackling with intent, his skills by hand and foot early where very solid, he was very important repelling a lot of the oppositions attacks in the first half. His disposal dropped in the second half but his positioning in defence was fantastic and he was still having an influence. Worrell was his teams standout defender with 23 disposals, four marks and five rebounds.

Oakleigh:

#4 Nick Bryan

Another solid game for Bryan who competed well in the ruck especially early on working in tandem with gun midfielder Matthew Rowell. His second quarter was the most impressive with some lovely tap work in the ruck and even showing his skill with ball in hand with a nice kick inside 50. His tap work was the standout but he showed even more tricks with a great tackle on Sandringham speedster Hugo Ralphsmith in the last quarter. Bryan finished the game with 11 disposals, three tackles and 33 hitouts.

#5 Trent Bianco

Bianco was all class for four quarters and was a big reason for his side coming close to knocking off premiership favourites Sandringham. His first half was strong using the ball well down back and in the third quarter he showed why he is considered one of the better skilled players at Oakleigh with a fantastic opposite foot switch kick to teammate Matthew Rowell. Bianco was huge in the last quarter starting to be an influence up the ground, some standout moments came with a lovely kick to the advantage of teammate Dylan Williams inside 50 and he would latter look after Williams again with a fantastic pickup and quick clean and long handball over the top for Williams to run into open goal. Bianco finished the game with 26 disposals, four inside 50s and five rebound 50s.

#8 Noah Anderson

The in-form player in the Nab League so far again had a solid outing he was his usual impactful self working hard through the middle early and linking up well in transition. Anderson was quieter in the second and third quarter but would kick his first goal from straight in front close to goal in the third quarter. Anderson’s second goal came in the last quarter through a free kick and he was also a solid contributor through the midfield in the last quarter and would finish the game with 26 disposals, six tackles and two goals.

#11 Matthew Rowell

Rowell was the standout player on the day especially early having a big say on the game through the midfield, not only was he tackling with intent but he also went in hard to win the ball and was classy with his ball use. He didn’t let up in the second quarter either, continuing to be a force through the midfield and in the third quarter he showed his skill with a classy opposite foot kick inside 50. Rowell excelled at stoppages but he also had an impact in general play especially in the last quarter taking a strong intercept mark and quickly kicking inboard to teammate Trent Bianco which started a great chain for Oakleigh. Rowell finished the game strong with 31 disposals, seven marks and eleven tackles.

#23 Dylan Williams

Williams had a rough start to the game he struggled to get involved in the play early but he started to have an influence in the second quarter taking a nice lead up mark and delivering a nice kick inside 50 which was unfortunately dropped by is teammate but later in the quarter he would kick his first goal which was a nice goal on the run. Williams got a chance through the midfield where he showed some good signs with his movement in traffic, he had one nice bit of play showing clean hands under pressure standing up in a tackle and finding a difficult handpass. Williams looked set to take the game by the scruff of the neck in the last quarter taking a strong mark early and converting a set shot goal he would almost kick another goal from a similar situation that was touched on the line. His final goal came running into open goal to finish his game on a high despite the loss. He finished the game with nine disposals, four marks and three goals.

 

Calder Cannons 10.14 (74) defeated Western Jets 9.8 (62)
By: Ed Pascoe

Calder:
#1 Daniel Mott

Mott had an impact early kicking the first goal of the game which was a lovely opposite foot goal in general play 40 metres out and the second goal also in the same quarter which was an easy goal running into open goal. Most was one of his teams more classy players with ball in hand especially by foot which he had some good movements in the last quarter with a lovely opposite foot kick to teammate Josh Kemp and another long kick inside 50 to the advantage of his teammate which was impossible for a defender to stop. In the last quarter he even showed a good burst of speed to get away from his opponent to get a kick away inside 50. Mott finished the game with 32 disposals, seven marks and two goals in a good four-quarter performance through the midfield.

#8 Sam Ramsay

Ramsay was fantastic in the first quarter showing his class and work ethic laying a strong tackle and showing great composure and movement with ball in hand and he would latter kick a fantastic running goal from 50 metres. Ramsay left the game early and was a big loss for his side as he had started the game extremely well showing his speed and class. He finished the game with eight disposals and one goal.

#30 Josh Kemp

Kemp looked dangerous early he would set up a goal with a nice bit of play in the pocket working hard to win the ball and then a creative handball to set it up, and he would again have a similar bit of play although not leading to a goal but he would almost kick a goal showing lovely hands and movement and then snapping only to be touched on the line and again would come close with a great lead and diving mark but the set shot was changed to a kick to the hot spot. He looked good again in the second quarter showing his leap with a great contested overhead mark but the set shot dropped short and another chance from a nice lead up mark but again not kicking the goal. Kemp would have a quieter second half but showed his kicking skills with a nice pass inboard with a bit of composure in the last quarter, Kemp finished the game with nine disposals and four marks.

#38 Brodie Newman

Newman had a very quiet game, especially for his standards, he defended first and he still showed his game awareness with a nice bit of play in the second quarter positioning himself well having a run and clearing a long kick outside defensive 50. Newman did not have many standout moments in the second half and he finished the game with four disposals and three tackles.

Western:

#18 Emerson Jeka

Jeka showed good presence early taking some nice lead up marks and proving a difficult matchup for the Calder side but he could not quite put it on the scoreboard with a set shot behind and one not making the distance from long range. He would show his class with ball in hand taking a nice mark on the wing and quickly kicking inboard twice one on his preferred and one on his non preferred. He had a good highlight in the third quarter taking a mini specky getting the knee in the middle of his opponents back but again failing to kick the set shot, he would finish the game with nine disposals, six tackles and two behinds.

#20 Darcy Cassar

Cassar started the game well hitting a lovely pass under pressure and showing good movement and speed from a stoppage deep in defence, he was classy down back in the first half showing his speed on many occasions and cool head under pressure. Cassar was a good four-quarter performer and a major reason for the Jets staying in the game and he finished with 24 disposals and eight rebound 50s.

#24 Josh Honey

Honey has had a tough start to the year and again didn’t start the game well although showing good movement trying to take the game on early, he was taken down in a good tackle. Honey would show his class in the second quarter with a great contested mark on the last line and converting the easy set shot he also had a strong tackle in the third quarter and should have been rewarded with a free kick. Honey tried hard but he will be looking to have bigger impacts on the game which he is more than capable of, he finished the game with 14 disposals, six tackles and a goal.

 

Bendigo Pioneers 8.10 (58) defeated by Gippsland Power 12.10 (82)
By: Peter Williams

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

I was impressed with the way he went about it and was one of Bendigo’s most consistent across the four quarters. The bottom-age midfield has a neat left foot kick and is not afraid to take the game on. He had a terrific spearing pass into Brodie Kemp early in the game and showed great core strength throughout to stand up in tackles and get his hands free. Conforti has high football smarts and can find space whilst in traffic, it is just sharpening up the kicking when at top speed. Gets around the ground comfortably.

#4 Thomson Dow

Not as prolific as past games, finishing with just the nine touches and one effective kick but still managed to hit the scoreboard courtesy of a free kick inside 50 in the second term. He showed good vision to give off a long handball to a teammate in space in the same quarter, and had a chance for another goal from a set shot in the third quarter but missed to the left.

#8 Brodie Kemp

Impressive across the four quarters, he kicked the Pioneers’ opening goal of the game with a ripping shot to bend the ball back through the big sticks in the right forward pocket. He took a great mark at half-forward then kicked low in favour of Caleb Fisher in the pocket. With time and space he can be real damaging, and it is just tightening up the kicking when under pressure at speed. Kept winning it and has a knack of spinning out of trouble. Good hands in traffic too.

#20 James Schischka

Had a solid game throughout playing his usual role in the defensive half and pushing up the ground to take a number of intercept marks. He has a long, direct kick which he uses effectively to put into dangerous positions, but will often size up his options and pick a shorter option. Has strength, applying a fend-off to an opponent and still being able to dispose of the ball.

Gippsland:

#2 Caleb Serong

Does not play a bad game and on this occasion, Serong was one of Gippsland’s best across the four quarters, rotating between midfield and forward. He has great skills and is able to weight kicks well, while also having terrific strength for a small player. Serong just has the ability to get his hands free whilst being tackled, and force opponents to commit to the tackle before giving the ball off to a teammate in space. He had a mind blank in the third term where he gave away a downfield free for a slightly late bump on an opponent, but got forward and booted two goals using strong hands.

#4 Sam Flanders

The forward-turned-midfielder had another impressive game throughout the four quarters, tending to win the ball at the stoppage and get the hands free to find a teammate running past. He would then spread to the outside and win the footy in space and have an impact on the outside.

#11 Kyle Dunkley

Providing strong support on the inside for Gippsland and laid a number of big tackles on opponents throughout the match. His kicking can be hit or miss at times, with his long, penetrating kick more effective than trying to find targets at short range. Dunkley unloaded a long-bomb from well outside 50m and put it straight through the middle, and when inside 50 provides leads and is good in the air or ground level.

#12 Brock Smith

A solid game from the AFL Academy defender who played well one-on-one and is composed with ball-in-hand in the back half. He had a great punch in the second term to put it across the line at half-back and took a good intercept mark on the wing not long after. Continued to apply great defensive pressure and played his role.

#15 Ryan Sparkes

The defender-midfielder just finds the ball wherever he goes and had a nice clearance straight out of the middle to start the game and his ability to win the ball in transition and get it forward was a feature of his match. Has a neat kick, often opting for shorter options, then pushing forward to offer as a target in space. A valuable, underrated midfielder in the side.

#16 Josh Smith

Not a huge game by any means, but played his role inside 50 with his bodywork and finished off with a goal and a couple of score assists. Had a great kick inside 50 to Harrison Pepper leading out, and laid a great tackle in the first term to cause a spillage in defence.

#19 Fraser Phillips

The best game of the season so far for Phillips who has an impact despite not having high disposal numbers. Finishing with just the 12 touches, Phillips roamed around the forward 50 and up to the wing, booting 3.2 in the game and showed high footy IQ and a great goal sense to kick a couple of goals out of nothing. He also showed good defensive pressure, laying a number of tackles inside 50. Effectively nailed the coffin shut in the final term with back-to-back goals including a snap off a few steps and converting a set shot.

#22 Zac Reid

The key defender was another who played his role with little fuss, taking a few marks and just using the ball well across the ground. Reid did not miss a target and played well one-on-one, but his moment of the match was a massive goal-saving tackle in the final term as an opponent ran into an open goal, stopping him in his tracks.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 12.11 (83) drew to Geelong Falcons 12.11 (83)
By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#2 Hayden Young

The potential top five selection showed a good aerial ability and strong penetration kick throughout the four quarters as he played his best game for the season. Often winning the ball at half-back or along the wing, Young was ably to double back into the defensive 50, then get up the ground to send the ball into his team’s own attacking 50. Mopped up well throughout the game, though did make one clanger in the third term when kicking out of the back half which was intercepted and led to an opposition goal. Could not fault Young too much throughout, almost kicking a massive goal from the wing in the final term.

#11 Ned Cahill

After a delayed start to the season due to injury, Cahill was really impressive through the midfield, winning both contested and uncontested possessions and most importantly, getting the ball forward to provide scoring possibilities. He has such clean hands and does not fumble much, able to use his footy smarts to keep moving without being caught. Used the ball well more often than not and certainly had a big hand in Dandenong’s drawing the match.

#18 Mitch Riordan

The premiership co-captain provides the stronger body on the inside and experience to the young Stingrays’ midfielders with another solid game. He finds space and is able to kick long to dangerous areas. Riordan is clever at reading ruck taps, and provides good defensive pressure with a number of fierce tackles to stop opponents in their tracks.

#20 Sam De Koning

Started in defence and went forward in the final term, booting two goals and missing a couple which were also gettable. He had to judge the wind which was swirling around, but managed to lift for the Stingrays in that charge home. Would like his time again when trying to kick in the goal square under pressure, but his strong marking and leading looked good, and he was very settled in attack.

#44 Cody Weightman

An exciting prospect who continues to turn heads because of his ability to look dangerous whenever he goes near it. He has a nice kicking technique and great acceleration, which makes him a damaging prospect in the forward half of the ground. Weightman has clean hands and despite copping a head knock in the final term, was fine and a key player in Dandenong’s win.

Geelong:

#4 Gennaro Bove

Showed some nice signs as a bottom-ager and while he did not win a lot of the ball, used it really well and had a touch of class about him. He took a strong mark opposed to Hayden Young on the wing and showed no fear, and has a penetrating kick that he put in the path of Charlie Sprague during the third term. Courageous with good vision and composure, he is one to watch over the next 18 months.

#8 Charlie Lazzaro

Another bottom-ager who stood out in the draw was Lazzaro who stepped up in the absence of the injured Cooper Stephens. Continually cracking in and laying some big tackles, shovelling out the contested ball and winning the clearance, Lazzaro was quite impressive with his kicking action and getting it forawrd.

#17 Sheldon Ham

Just showed a few nice signs on the weekend in the forward half as a creative type who can win the footy. Kicked a great goal in the third term and just seems to move well and get himself out of trouble. Won a lot of his possessions under pressure and held himself up well, sharing the ball around to teammates in the forward 50.

#36 Charlie Sprague

A serviceable game for the overager who would have liked to have made more of his forward chances. Had some nice passes of play such as a good leading mark diving forward, but then kicked it out on the full. Set up a couple of teammates going forward and pushing up to the wing, won the ball and used his body well to fire a quick handball to a teammate running past in the opposite direction.

#40 Jesse Clark

Stationed at half-back, Clark showed good body pressure on his opponents at ground level or in the air and repelled a lot of Dandenong attacks. He was outsized late in the game against Sam De Koning, but aside from that, had a really promising game with strong kicking and a couple of good intercept marks in defence under immense pressure. Just consistent throughout the match.

 

Northern Territory Thunder Academy 6.8 (44) defeated by Tasmania Devils 13.14 (92)
By: Alex Gibson

Northern Territory:

#17 Maurice Rioli

The way this bottom-ager plays it is no surprise he is a Rioli. His presence of silky skill was complimented beautifully by his dashing speed. Although he did not have huge numbers his possessions were damaging thanks to his precise vision and ability to lower his eyes. A run-down tackle at the start of the third quarter got the crowd up on their feet.

#19 Ben Jungfer

In what was a frustrating day for the Thunder star, Jungfer’s efforts can not be questioned. The Devils seemed to have put a lot of time into the midfielder following last weeks performance and he wasn’t given much space throughout the game. Finding it hard to get his hands on the ball in the first half, Jungfer’s second half showed promising signs and he worked hard to finish with 17 disposals and five tackles.

#24 Joel Jeffery

The 17-year-old swingman was immense for the NT boys. Playing as the key forward at only 189cm, his athleticism contributed to him being a serious aerial threat and the devils defenders were cautious of his raw talent. When the Devils began to get on top, a smart coaching move saw Jeffery go back, where his marking ability alongside a deadly long kick saw him gather 20 disposals including seven rebounds out of the defensive 50 to go with his earlier goal.

#27 Beau O’Connell

O’Connell was the Thunder’s best by far. He had a big first term where his gut running and damaging kick gave him the opportunity to kick back-to-back goals and allowed his team to get on top early. Rotating through half forward and the midfield, when O’Connell had the ball the Thunder looked at their most dangerous. He gathered 16 touches and finished with three goals.

#35 Stephen Cumming

In what was a disappointing day for the Thunder, the 199cm monster dominated in the ruck. Finishing with 40 hitouts, the next best hit out count on the day between both teams was six. The big man also exploited the new ruck rule where he on numerous occasions took the ball straight out of the stoppage giving first use to his midfielders. His football smarts largely contributed to his 17 handball and 22 disposal day.

Tasmania:

#1 Mitch O’Neill

The Thunder had no response to O’Neill’s dominance throughout the whole day, he was unstoppable. The dashing on baller amassed a massive 35 disposal performance including 21 kicks and nine inside 50’s. Not only did he hurt the Thunder by foot going inside 50, but his quick hands in and under the stoppage allowed the Devils to have a huge second quarter and control the game from there on. Was clearly the best on ground.

#2 Oliver Burrows-Cheng

The big bodied midfielder showed a display of pure strength. Despite having a clear defensive role in which he got on top of his opponent, Burrows-Cheng was still the first player to get his hands on the football at the stoppage and was impressive all day. Working tirelessly all game he laid seven tackles and defensively was brilliant.

#7 Matt McGuiness

The game seemed to slow down when McGuiness had the ball. The half back had elite composure out the the defensive 50 which stood out along with him hitting targets using both sides of his body. McGuiness also was very solid defensively where his ability to read the ball allowed him to get the upper hand on his opponents.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow could have had a really, really big day. He dominated the Thunder’s defence all game and finished with five goals however if he kicked straight could’ve easily had seven or eight to his name. Callow did not once get out-marked and either took the grab himself or brought the ball to ground to which his small forwards appreciated. Callow was the go-to man for the Devils and the well built key forward’s work rate was impressive – often providing a target well up the ground.

 

Murray Bushrangers 9.15 (69) defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels 9.8 (62)
By: Peter Williams

Murray:
#3 Ben Kelly

The 19-year-old ruck/defender has made a strong start to his overage year and while he had less impact on the weekend, still showed enough signs to suggest this year could be a big one for him. He moves well for a taller player and does not panic when potentially quicker players are in pursuit. He has a nice sidestep and even attempted to go for a run in the first term, taking a bounce before opting for a handball. He patrolled the backline and switches the play when required, taking a good intercept mark in the final term and backed himself to move around a player and take off down the field.

#5 Cam Wild

An accumulator who plays his role for the team with minimal fuss and just wins the ball every week. Wild is a player who does his best work around stoppages, often firing out handballs or kicking clear of danger. Found a fair bit of it in space on the wing and pumped it long inside 50.

#7 Zane Barzen

Another overage player at the Bushrangers, Barzen had some nice moments inside 50, kicking a couple of goals and assisting in some others. Still looking to find consistency across four quarters, Barzen had a quieter second half, but still acquitted himself in the forward arc. Had a late chance for a third goal with a snap under immense pressure but missed.

#12 Lachlan Ash

If there is a player in the NAB League competition that catches the eye, then it is most certainly Lachlan Ash. Hardly putting a foot wrong, Ash’s ball use is elite and some of the kicks he produces are bordering on perfection. Ash will almost always pick the right option and does not just play safe, going for the deeper, penetrating kicks forawrd to set up attacking plays, even if the kick comes attached with risk. He set up a number of goals, including one in the first term to Will Chandler, and the winning goal to Jay Hillary in the final quarter. The amazing thing about Ash is the fact that he firstly takes the game on, but secondly brings teammates into play by drawing opponents and giving the ball off, or providing shepherds to allow teammates to kick cleanly up the ground like he did in the final term. Ash is terrific overhead and really does it all.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Had an influential first term in the midfield, and played a solid game throughout the four quarters as one of the Bushrangers’ best. Still finding consistency throughout the match, Chalcraft’s ability to sidestep opponents with ease and just pump the ball forward makes him a damaging player wherever he is playing. Chalcraft has good core strength and stands up in tackles, also having a nice kick under pressure in the opening term to hit a target at half-forward. He spreads around the ground and a good work rate, and finds the ball when in midfield. Does not make a heap of errors with his disposal, and more often than not is able to put the ball to a teammates’ advantage.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Floated around the ground providing an option in space, taking a number of marks and keeping the ball moving in transition. Boyer’s worked hard to spread to the wings and flanks and is able to use the ball well under pressure. A nice kick of the football, his lateral movement and good vision make him a handy prospect. One of the better Bushrangers on the day and just keeps winning the football and providing an option to his teammates.

#20 Elijah Hollands

A classy forward who just has that knack of finding the goals, he was disappointed in himself missing a few early chances, before kicking two for the game, including a natural instinct shot off the left to win the game for the Bushrangers. Hollands also shows good second efforts, giving off a quick handball before following up with a tackle immediately after.

GWV:

#4 Jed Hill

Worked hard throughout the match and played a solid game to continually find space rotating through the midfield and half-forward. Still needs to fine tune some consistency having a quiet second half, but was prominent early in the game with 10 touches and five marks to half-time. Finished with the 13 disposals, but did a lot of things that were outside the stat sheet. Hill ran hard and kicked a goal into the breeze in the second term after a “typical” Hill goal from a tight angle in the pocket in the first term.

#7 Mitch Martin

A classy performance and as clean as they come at ground level. Used the ball well throughout and showed neat kicking across the ground. In the third term, Martin showed his composure by nullifying a ball in the forward pocket despite being chased by two opponents. Kept getting busy around the ground and offered himself as an option with 10 marks, rotating between midfield and half-forward. Also laid a number of good tackles, but the standout feature was his one-touch ability at ground level.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Made some uncharacteristic errors by foot in the game, kicking at just 50 per cent, but his pressure was still high. While the normally classy Wareham had some nice disposals at times, it was his hunting of the ball and ball carrier which stood out. He is not a huge disposal winner, but always goes for a smother or tackle whenever possible and plays a great team role.

#13 Jay Rantall

Shot onto my draft board after the match on the weekend and will be one to watch. The former basketballer is still very raw, and does make mistakes by foot at times, but some of the natural things he does are very eye-catching. Rantall has an eye for the goals and was able to kick a couple of majors, one off a step from long range, timing the kick perfectly, then had another snap around the body from a stoppage in the third term. His energy levels and second efforts are very impressive and his overall athletic capabilities are off the charts. By far the moment that caught everyone’s eye was the final centre stoppage where he read the tap to perfection, burst away and hit a pass onto the chest of a leading forward.

#14 Liam Herbert

Had a few nice plays around the ground and weight his kicks, but also made some errors by foot. He worked hard to push back into defence at times and also got forward, moving around the ground well. Had an important fist under pressure in the defensive 50 in the final term.

SANFL weekly wrap: Norwood wins in thriller as Tigers tame Crows

FOLLOWING Round 2 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition, our writers Jamie Morgan, David Chapman, Tom Wyman and Damon Mattiazzo recap some of the impressive performances across the weekend.

Glenelg v Adelaide

League: Glenelg 18.7 (115) defeated Adelaide 9.8 (62)

Glenelg collected their first premiership points of the new season by defeating a young Adelaide side under Friday night lights at the bay. Former Richmond Tiger, Liam McBean was the hero for the home side, bagging nine majors from full-forward. He was well-supported by a half-backline comprising of skipper Chris Curran, who amassed 31 disposals and 17 marks, and former-Carlton player Aaron Joseph (24 disposals and six marks). Potential high draft pick Will Gould was solid in defence, collecting 19 touches and seven marks, whilst 2018 state-representative Finn Betterman managed eight disposals in just his second league appearance. For the Crows, Myles Poholke slotted three majors to stake his claim for a call-up and Cam Ellis-Yolmen continued to find the ball, racking up 36 disposals and 7 marks. Recent draftees, Lachlan Sholl (34 disposals, six marks and eight rebounds), Jordon Butts (19 disposals) and Ned McHenry (15 disposals, five marks and five tackles) were also impressive. Expect Hugh Greenwood (19 disposals and 10 clearances) and Jordan Gallucci (16 disposals) to return to the Crows senior onball rotation within weeks.

Central District vs. Norwood

League: Central District 12.14 (86) defeated by Norwood 13.11 (89)
Reserves: Central District 10.8 (68) defeated Norwood 10.7 (67)
Under 18s: Norwoood 13.14 (92) defeated Central District 5.5 (35)

Two of the three clashes between the Bulldogs and Redlegs were absolute thrillers, as the Redlegs claimed victory in the League clash by just three points, before Central District scored the points in a one-point victory over Norwood in the Reserves. All eyes were on potential first round pick, Dylan Stephens who cracked his way into a strong Norwood League side and looked the part, collecting 18 disposals, four marks, three tackles and booting a goal on debut. Lewis Johnston continued his ripping form with 38 disposals, four clearances and seven marks, while for the winners, Jarrod Schiller had 28 touches, eight marks, seven clearances and a goal. In the Reserves, Isaac Saywell had a team-high 29 touches as well as four marks and four clearances for Norwood, while Cameron Taheny was lively up forward, booting three goals from 14 disposals and nine marks (three contested). For Central District, Steve Burton recorded 34 disposals and 13 clearances in a midfield masterclass. At Under 18s level, Henry Nelligan was impressive for Norwood, racking up 28 disposals, 10 clearances, five marks, six tackles and booting two goals in the win, while Xavier Tranfa finished with 26 touches, three marks, four clearances and seven tackles. For the Bulldogs, Rhys Cannizzaro was the one to watch, racking up nine clearances and laying 10 tackles from 27 disposals and five marks.

North Adelaide vs West Adelaide

League: North Adelaide 14.11 (95) defeated West Adelaide 9.12 (66)
Reserves: North Adelaide 6.9 (45) defeated by West Adelaide 13.11 (89)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 7.6 (48) defeated by North Adelaide 14.7 (91)

In the Reserves match, North big man Dyson Hilder started off in a midfield role and after half-time switched to key defender on the dangerous Westies forward. In the Under 18s, North got the win against Westies, led by Harrison Magor with 33 disposals including six clearances, while Charlie Dowling kicked four goals from his 18 possessions and eight marks. For Westies, Bailey Chamberlain had 28 possession and 13 marks to be in his side’s best. In the League clash, North Adelaide ran out 29-point winners as Aidan Tropiano racked up 32 disposals, two marks, six tackles and nine clearances, while Max Thring booted three goals from 30 touches and four marks. For West Adelaide, Christopher Schmidt had a team-high 31 disposals and eight clearances, while John Noble booted three goals from 27 touches and Kaine Stevens finished with 30 disposals and a goal.

South Adelaide v Port Adelaide

League: Port Adelaide 8.10 (58) defeated by South Adelaide 14.10 (94)

South Adelaide continued its fine start to the season with a dominant 36 point win against Port at Alberton Oval. South were led by co-captain Joel Cross who contributed 24 disposals and two goals, while former Eagle Tom Whittlesea made a big impact with five goals for his side. For Port Adelaide, Jack Trengove backed up his 44-disposal game from the opening round with another 42 touches for his side and could be rewarded with a call-up to the AFL side. Matthew Broadbent had 28 touches as he continues to stake his claim for a recall, while Category B rookie Kai Pudney continues to find plenty of the ball with 30 disposals coming from the wing. New Mapgies captain Cam Sutcliffe, and Aidyn Johnson both missed majority of the game with hamstring and concussion problems respectively.

South Adelaide vs. Glenelg

Reserves: Glenelg 10.9 (69) defeated by South Adelaide 14.9 (93)
Under 18s: Glenelg 8.12 (60) defeated South Adelaide 8.7 (55)

South took on Glenelg in Under 18s and went down in a five-point game. Glenelg’s Clayton Symonds (son of Tony) finished with a game high three goals while Sam Liambis led possession count with 24 disposals and nine tackles. Big man Riley Holder backed up another solid game in the ruck. South’s talented Zac Dumesny showed he is in for a big year in a strong performance for the Panthers. In the Reserves, South Adelaide claimed a big win, but it was Glenelg’s Darcy Bailey dominating with 39 disposals, 10 marks, seven clearances, three tackles and a goal, while teammate Declan Carmody is a name to watch, racking up 24 disposals, six marks, four tackles and booting a goal. Key forward Daniel Sladojevic was strong for the Panthers, booting a goal from 15 disposals and five marks (one contested), while Cameron McGree had 28 hitouts from 17 disposals and booted two goals.

Woodville-West Torrens vs Sturt

League: Sturt 12.12 (84) defeated Woodville-West Torrens 11.11 (77)
Reserves: Sturt 7.9 (51) defeated by Woodville-West Torrens 8.9 (57)
Under 18s: Woodville-West Torrens 17.5 (107) defeated Sturt 10.7 (67)

The Under 18s talent at the Eagles disposed of Sturt easily by 40 points and that was with some players up into the Eagles Reserves side. Forward Josh Morris finished with six goals, and Harry Shoenberg played well again. The Eagles Reserves side hung on in a close tussle with young talent, Jackson Mead (son of Darren) again playing well finishing with two goals and 16 possessions, while young Ruckman Sam Michael showed he is up to the challenge against bigger bodies. Teammate Jamie Coff also impressed up forward snagging three goals. Sturt’s Jed McEntee found his feet along with Anzac Lochowiak who looked at ease against the strong Eagles side. Sturt were victorious despite a late charge from the Eagles in the league game. Kysaiah Pickett kicked a goal in his League debut for the Eagles and Jordan Foote was a beast again in the midfield. Ex-Docker Danyle Pearce was also good for the Double Blues.

NAB League Boys Round 3 wash-up: Academy derbies headline action-packed weekend

AN ACADEMY derby double led an exciting round of NAB League action, with a Saturday Metro double-header and Sunday Country triple-header producing some ripping contests between the established sides – including a high-scoring draw and top-of-the-table clash.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 3.1 | 3.3 | 3.3 (21)
EASTERN RANGES 3.4 | 6.9 | 8.14 | 13.18 (96)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Northern:
S. Philp, J. D’Intinosante, L. McMahon
Eastern: M. Mellis 3, J. Tilly 2, C. Hirst, B. Hickleton, L. Vassis, J. Rossiter, J. Duffy, L. Gawel, C. Black, C. Downie

BEST:
Northern:
J. D’Intinosante, S. Philp, J. Davies, A. Taylor
Eastern: Z. Pretty, J. Ross, M. Mellis, C. Downie, R. Smith, M. Zalac

Eastern Ranges notched up its second-consecutive NAB League win, opening Round 3 with a 75-point drubbing of the Northern Knights. Despite a steady start, Eastern accelerated after half-time – keeping their opponents goalless while pouring on seven majors to finish up comprehensive winners. While Sam Philp, Josh D’Intinosante, and Liam McMahon were the only Knights to hit the scoreboard with first-half goals, the Ranges had an impressive 10 individual goal kickers in the dominant performance. Fresh off his Draft Central player of the week outing, Mitch Mellis again had a day out, collecting 29 disposals and a bag of three goals, with Joshua Tilly the only other multiple goal kicker and Cody Hirst lively for his 19 disposals and lone goal. Skipper James Ross was the leading ball-winner with 30 touches, while Philp (26 disposals, nine tackles, one goal) led the way for Northern on a dirty day from Ryan Gardner (23 disposals, nine marks, six tackles) and D’Intinosante (21 disposals, nine tackles, seven inside 50s, one goal). Yet to claim a win, the Knights host the GWS GIANTS academy next time out in hopes of rectifying that, while Eastern is set for a trip north to face Brisbane Lions Academy on Sunday.

 

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 4.3 | 5.7 | 7.7 | 7.9 (51)
SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 2.1 | 4.5 | 11.6 | 16.14 (110)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
GWS:
L. Delahunty 2, J. Peatling 2, T. Green, M. McGrory, C. Edwards
Sydney: H. Parker 3, B. Campbell 3, M. Sheather 2, H. Ellem 2, K. McKellar 2, S. Gaden, H. Maguire, L. Swaney, A. Watling

BEST:
GWS:
N. Murray, T. Green, J. Peatling, J. Lucas, L. Delahunty, J. Reed
Sydney: M. Geddes, A. Watling, B. Campbell, H. Parker, S. Gaden, H. Ellem

Sydney Swans Academy won the NAB League’s ‘battle of the bridge’ on Saturday, blitzing their western rivals in an awesome second half to come out 59-point winners. Trailing at the main break, the Swans came out firing in the third term to put through a sensational seven goals to the Giants’ two – turning an eight-point deficit into a 23-point lead heading into the final turn. It was more of the same from Sydney to see the game out, keeping the GWS academy goalless while they poured on another five goals to consolidate the big win. Braeden Campbell was super with an equal game-high three goals from his 13 disposals, with Harrison Parker also slotting three of his own among nine individual goal kickers. Jackson Barling was the Swans’ major ball winner with 20 disposals, leading from Samuel Thorne (18, six tackles), but beaten out by GWS stars Tom Green (25 disposals, six marks, one goal) and Jackson Peatling (24 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s, five tackles, two goals). Liam Delahunty also chimed in with two majors to join Peatling as a multiple goal scorer in an otherwise hard day for the Giants. Moving on to established NAB League opponents, GWS travels to Melbourne to face Northern Knights next week, with Sydney facing Sandringham Dragons on the same day in a double-header.

 

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 1.4 | 4.5 | 5.9 | 5.12 (42)
GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 2.4 | 4.6 | 5.7 | 10.10 (70)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Brisbane:
W. Tasker, B. Reville, C. Aston, B. Coleman, N. Haberer
Gold Coast: J. Gore 3, M. Conroy 2, M. Selsby, E. Dawson, P. Murtagh, H. Rowles, H. Oea

BEST:
Brisbane:
T. Griffiths, E. Hunt, B. Reville, W. Tasker, N. Haberer
Gold Coast: A. Crossley, J. Johnston, C. Budarick, J. Gore, M. Fraser, A. Davies

In the second northern academy derby, Gold Coast blew Brisbane away in a dominant final term to come out 28-point winners. An otherwise even contest, the Suns found themselves two points down heading into the last break, but turned it on when it mattered to slam home five goals and seal a handy win. The midfield duo of Ashton Crossley (31 disposals) and Connor Budarick (26, five tackles, five inside 50s) worked wonders for Gold Coast, with Hewago Paul Oea electric for his 17 disposals, eight inside 50s and 1.2. Josh Gore was also clinical up forward, slotting all three of his set shot attempts and taking seven marks. The Lions did not have any multiple goal kickers, but Bruce Reville was excellent with 25 disposals, eight marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and one goal from midfield. He was matched for disposal output by Tom Griffiths, while Saxon Crozier had 19 touches and nine marks in a mix of inside and outside work between the arcs. With the Under 18 Q-clash come and gone, both sides are set to play host to Victorian NAB League sides in Labrador next week, with Brisbane facing Eastern Ranges and Gold Coast set to do battle with Oakleigh Chargers in the Sunshine State.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 2.3 | 5.5 | 7.9 | 9.11 (65)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.0 | 3.1 | 4.5 | 8.7 (55)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Sandringham:
H. Ralphsmith 2, C. Dean 2, A. Hanrahan 2, O. Lewis, F. Maginness, J. Bowey
Oakleigh: D. Williams 3, N. Anderson 2, N. Dempsey, G. Varagiannis, J. Ugle-Hagan

BEST:
Sandringham:
F. Maginness, J. Mahony, C. Dean, J. Worrell, H. Ralphsmith, J. Le Grice
Oakleigh: M. Rowell, H. Mastras, W. Phillips, N. Bryan, K. Schreiber, N. Anderson

Hosts Sandringham got the better of the Round 3 top-of-the-table clash, downing the Oakleigh Chargers by 10 points to remain undefeated atop of the ladder. The Dragons were in control for most of the contest in perfect conditions to showcase the raft of draftable talent on display, and held on in the face of a late Oakleigh charge. Charlie Dean started strongly up forward, clunking big marks and putting two majors on the board to remain the competition’s leading goal scorer. Hugo Ralphsmith was the only other Dragon to slot two goals, and was dangerous in each of his forward forays – much like Oakleigh’s Noah Anderson, who booted two goals from 26 disposals. Along with Anderson’s efforts, Oakleigh’s midfield force was led by Matt Rowell (31 disposals, 11 tackles, seven marks) and co-captain Trent Bianco (26 disposals, five rebound 50s, four inside 50s), but was ultimately outdone by the Dragons’ depth. The centre bounce trio of Jack Mahony (25 disposals), Finn Maginness (24, six inside 50s, one goal), and Ryan Byrnes (21, six inside 50s) worked tirelessly to win a wealth of possessions and send Sandringham forward, with Josh Worrell a force off half-back. With the amount of talent on show, the game fully delivered on expectations with respects to getting a good glimpse of the game’s future stars, and the two sides would surely provide another corker should they meet in the post-season. Both teams now go on to face academies in Round 4, with Sandringham hosting Sydney, while Oakleigh travels to Brisbane to take on the Suns.

 

CALDER CANNONS 5.4 | 7.7 | 8.10 | 10.14 (74)
WESTERN JETS 2.3 | 5.4 | 8.7 | 9.8 (62)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Calder:
J. Cardillo 2, D. Mott 2, J. Keeping, S. Ramsay, H. Minton-Connell, N. Gentile, T. Browning, C. Edwardes
Western: A. Clarke 3, A. Manton 2, S. Clifford, L. Failli, K. Borg, J. Honey

BEST:
Calder:
D. Mott, F. Lakey, H. Minton-Connell, N. Gentile, S. Bell-Bartels, J. Cardillo
Western: A. Clarke, J. Horo, L. Failli, Z. Christofi, E. Ford, S. Johnson

Calder Cannons got on the board for season 2019 at the third time of asking, ousting the Western Jets by an even two-goal margin at RAMS Arena. Leading for the majority of the clash, Calder were put soundly under the pump during the second half as Western closed to within three points at three-quarter time, but the Jets ran out of fuel late to ensure the Cannons would pick up four points. Daniel Mott returned to form with a bang, collecting a classy 32 disposals, seven marks, five inside 50s and two goals, with midfield mate Harrison Minton-Connell having 30 and one goal. Meanwhile, Darcy Cassar was the Jets key ball winner with 24 disposals, with Aaron Clarke again bagging three goals and Archi Manton claiming two. With wins crucial for both teams at this stage of the season, the Cannons will be happy to have picked one up. Round 4 sees them head south to Tasmania to face the Devils, while Western hosts Northern Territory on the same day.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS 3.4 | 4.5 | 7.10 | 8.10 (58)
GIPPSLAND POWER 2.0 | 5.3 | 8.5 | 12.10 (82)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:
Bendigo:
C. Fisher 3, B. Kemp, E. Roberts, T. Dow, R. Clarke, A. Cole
Gippsland: F. Phillips 3, H. Pepper 2, C. Serong 2, H. Neocleous, J. Smith, W. Papley, C. Doultree, K. Dunkley

BEST:
Bendigo:
J. Rodi, B. Kemp, J. Schischka, R. Clarke, L. Fitzgerald, R. Wilson
Gippsland: C. Serong, S. Flanders, R. Sparkes, F. Phillips, B. Smith, Z. Skinner

Gippsland Power ended Bendigo Pioneers’ two-game winning streak with a fast-finishing 25-point win over the Pioneers in the opening game at Queen Elizabeth Oval yesterday. The Pioneers stuck with one of the league favourites for most of the match before a few late goals put the result beyond doubt. The Power booted the last three goals of the game, including two to Fraser Phillips to seal the match in a 12.11 (83) to 8.10 (58) win. Phillips was impressive up forward with 12 disposals, four marks and 3.2, joined at times by the talented Caleb Serong who slotted two goals from 23 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds. Serong’s partner in crime in the midfield, Sam Flanders was once again prolific with 20 touches, two marks, five clearances and four inside 50s, while Ryan Sparkes (21 disposals, six inside 50s) and Sam Berry (20 disposals, six clearances) were others who stood out. For the Pioneers, bottom-ager Sam Conforti was a standout with 22 disposals, four marks, four clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds. Brodie Kemp (21 disposals, four marks, six clearances, five inside 50s and the opening goal) was impressive throughout the match, while Jeremy Rodi (19 disposals, four marks, three clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds) and Brady Rowles (13 disposals, five rebounds) were also prominent.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.0 | 7.4 | 7.5 | 12.11 (83)
GEELONG FALCONS 5.5 | 6.6 | 11.11 | 12.11 (83)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:
Dandenong:
C. Ellison 3, S. De Koning 2, L. Goonan 2, N. Heath 2, A. Bradtke, R. Orchard, C. Weightman
Geelong: O. Henry 5, M. Annandale 2, C. Harris, M. Langan, S. Ham, G. Bove, N. Gribble

BEST:
Dandenong:
H. Young, M. Riordan, C. Weightman, M. Gregory, E. Cahill, S. De Koning
Geelong: O. Henry, J. Clark, N. Gribble, C. Karpala, K. Rayner, H. Stubbings

Dandenong Stingrays escaped with two points after stealing a draw on the siren, successfully mowing down Geelong Falcons with the breeze in a thrilling final term. The Stingrays always had the upperhand with the strong breeze blowing towards the Bendigo city end, but the Falcons had a five-goal lead at the final break. An inspirational decision was moving Sam De Koning forward in the final term as he booted two goals from set shots – and could have had a couple more, while Nathan Heath‘s mark just before the siren had everyone on edge. Trailing by six points, Heath calmly slotted the goal to level the scores and the Stingrays headed home from Queen Elizabeth Oval with two points in the bag. For the Falcons, it was not all bad considering they had also collected two points after a heartbreaking one-point defeat last week, but again could have had back-to-back wins. Ned Cahill was terrific for the Stingrays with 24 touches, four marks, four clearances and eight inside 50s, while Hayden Young was strong off half-back and through the middle with 22 disposals, five marks, three clearances, five inside 50s and five rebounds. Cody Weightman continued his good form up forward with 20 disposals, three marks and pushing up the ground for seven inside 50s, while De Koning also had 17 touches and three marks (two contested). Corey Ellison booted three goals, while Mitch Riordan had four clearances and 16 disposals. For the Falcons, Jesse Clark had a team-high 26 disposals and 11 rebounds out of defence, while Charlie Harris (24 disposals, five rebounds) and Noah Gribble (22 disposals, five inside 50s) were busy at either end. Meanwhile, Oliver Henry had a huge game up forward with five goals from 11 disposals and seven marks (two contested).

 

NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER 3.2 | 3.3 | 4.5 | 6.8 (44)
TASMANIA DEVILS 1.4 | 5.7 | 9.11 | 13.14 (92)

By: Alex Gibson

GOALS:
Northern Territory:
B. O’Connell 3, W. Derksen 2, D. Forbes
Tasmania: J. Callow 5, M. McGuinness 2, W. Peppin 2, J. Chaplin, J. Hennessy, R. Mansell, J. Menzie

BEST:
Northern Territory:
B. Jungfer, B. Lake, I. Seden-Kurnoth, B. O’Connell, M. Rioli Jnr, S. Cumming
Tasmania: M. O’Neill, J. Callow, L. Viney, R. Mansell, J. Steele, O. Burrows-Cheng

Despite a promising start from the Northern Territory (NT) Thunder, it was the boys from down south that ran away with a 48-point victory and their first win of the season. The Thunder came out all guns blazing at the Holden Centre and kicked the first three of four goals largely thanks to Beau O’Connell who showed off his elite kicking, capitalising with back-to-back majors in the first 15 minutes of play. However, from there on it was all about the Devils who put on an elite running game which proved too strong for the Thunder’s defence. Midfielders Mitch O’Neill (35 disposals, 21 kicks) and Rhyan Mansell (24 disposals, one goal) ran rings around the Thunder on-ballers and dominated through the middle despite a dominant ruck performance from NT’s Stephen Cumming (40 hitouts). The elite work from the Tasmanian on-ballers set the scene for bottom aged key forward Jackson Callow whose frame could not be tamed by the Thunder’s defence and the big forward finished with 5.2 including eight marks in a dominant display. The Thunder boys were not shy of highlights throughout the game with exciting run from behind tackles from bottom-agers Maurice Rioli Jr and Micheal Cooper whose elite speed was often too much to handle for Tasmania. NT showed promising signs throughout the game however the entries into the forward line needed improvement if they were going to hit the scoreboard more often. Despite a slow start it was hard to critique the Devils who at each line had a player who really impacted on the game and their second and third quarter dominance eventuated in an historic first win.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.3 | 4.9 | 6.12 | 9.15 (69)
GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 4.1 | 6.2 | 8.6 | 9.8 (62)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:
Murray:
W. Chandler 3, E. Hollands 2, J. Hillary 2, Z. Barzen 2
GWV: J. Hill 2, J. Rantall 2, M. Martin 2, M. Jorgensen, R. O”Keefe, N. Caris

BEST:
Murray:
L. Ash, S. Durham, B. Kelly, J. Boyer, Z. Barzen, J. Chalcraft
GWV: J. Rantall, J. Dwyer, J. Wright, I. Wareham, M. Martin, J. Hill

Coming into this game both these teams had experienced thrilling finishes in their respective opening first two rounds. The Bushrangers have been unlucky, losing both Round 1 and 2 matches by a straight kick, while the Rebels bounced back from a six-point loss to Dandenong Stingrays in Round 1, to knock off Geelong Falcons by a points. In a see-sawing contest, Murray dominated the inside 50 count, 61-36, but could not seemingly make use of their forward half dominance as the Rebels stood tall with a massive 52 rebounds, forcing the Bushrangers to get creative. Trailing at each break, the Bushrangers had one last effort in the final term, and it took until an Elijah Hollands goal in the final minutes of the game to seal the match by seven points. Lachlan Ash was terrific with 28 disposals, six marks (four contested), seven inside 50s, seven rebounds, three score assists and ran at a sizzling 89 per cent disposal efficiency. Along with Ash, Jye Chalcraft backed up his good Round 2 form with another strong performance, finishing with 22 touches, five marks, three clearances, five inside 50s, six tackles and three score assists. Jimmy Boyer (22 disposals, nine marks) and Cam Wild (20 disposals, seven inside 50s) were also impressive, while Hollands booted 2.3 from 13 touches and four marks. For the Rebels, Jay Rantall was as eye-catching as he could be, finishing with 31 disposals, three marks, five clearances, four inside 50s, two rebounds and two goals. Others who impressed included Mitch Martin whose class shone through with 22 touches, 10 marks, six inside 50s, five clearances and two goals, while Emmanuel Ajang, James Cleaver and Jayden Wright mopped up everything in defence.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 5

OVER the weekend we managed to get to all of the NAB League Girls games and took some notes on some of the players to watch highlighted by respective Talent Managers. All views are the opinion of the individual writer.

 

Calder Cannons 9.7 (61) defeated Murray Bushrangers 5.4 (34)
By: Taylah Melki

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

She applied good defensive pressure and worked hard to trap the ball throughout the game in her attacking half. Theodore showed good speed, tracked the ball well at ground level and consistently ran hard to win the footy. Really good read of the play and used her footy smarts and speed to break away from her opponent and kick to a teammate. She was clever around the stoppages to position well and read the tap to get into an attacking spot and set up a forward thrust for Calder. 

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Patrikios led the way for the Cannons with her good hands out of congestion and impressive spatial awareness to clear the mess. She took a few strong marks and displayed her ability to read the play well. Patrikios backed herself in at the contest and used her clean hands at the stoppages to dish off to teammates. She had a beautiful passage of play in the second picking the ball up off the deck fending off a player and then kicking to a teammate. Patrikios showcased her good evasive side step to shake off an opponent and really built into the game come second quarter. She read the flight of the ball well, provided some repeat forward 50 entries and offered a good lead in the forward 50 to glove the mark and then slot a goal. She showcased her speed going for a run through the middle and bombing the ball long into the forward 50 and provided plenty of good link up play through the middle.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

Good one on one contests and made her opponent work for it throughout the game. She contested everything that came her way and laid a strong tackle in the second quarter. Prespakis worked her way into the game more in the second quarter and moved forward in the second half slotting a goal in the opening minutes of the third term. She showcased her clean slick hands around the stoppages and read the play well to impact the contest. Credit to her footy smarts she stayed down and got a good crumbing goal in the third breaking away from the pack and slotting it through the middle for her second for the quarter. Her quick hands helped to set up a shot at goal for her teammate by tapping the ball to her teammate running into the open goal. She presented up at the footy continuously throughout the game and ran hard to create space in the forward 50. She impressed with one passage of play running down the wing taking a couple of bounces burning off opponents and dishing off a handball to a teammate.

Murray:

#8 Abby Favell

She was in everything and was a real bull around the contest for Murray. She laid a couple of strong tackles and applied good pressure. Favell led up at the kicker, contested well in the air and constantly worked hard around the stoppages. She bodied up on her opponents proving she was not afraid to put her body on the line. Favell showcased her good booming kick and took an impressive intercept mark coming out of Murray’s attacking 50. She was quick in transition and went for a run but just could not get enough on the kick to score a goal. She showed great courage to take a big mark in the third quarter and worked hard both in attack and defence for the Bushrangers.

#10 Sophie Locke

Locke applied heaps of defensive pressure on the ball carrier laying some strong tackles across the ground. She was not afraid to put her body on the line and worked tirelessly to try and win the contest or extract the ball at stoppages. She impressed with her ability to read the flight of the ball and impact the contest when the ball came her way.

#19 Millie Brown

Brown showed her good evasive skills to break through the middle of the ground and kick long to her attacking 50. She was composed under pressure and used her long booming kick to push the ball forward for the Bushrangers. She had good spatial awareness and worked hard throughout the game tracking the ball well at ground level. Brown offered some good leads into space to help open up at the game for the Bushrangers.

 

Sandringham Dragons 5.7 (37) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 5.1 (31)
By: Michael Alvaro

Sandringham:

#25 Sarah Hartwig

The middle-age prospect was instrumental in her key defensive post once again, dominating the air and cutting off many of Oakleigh’s forward forays. Hartwig’s intercept and overhead marking is outstanding for a player who is not yet top-age, and she was so composed in possession when rebounding. While her hands overhead are strong, Hartwig slid for a few marks in the second half which did not quite stick, but still highlighted her superior reading of the game from behind the ball. Hartwig already looks like a complete and dynamic defender, and it will be interesting to see if she can transfer her marking ability when tried up forward.

#28 Alice Burke

Burke was again the Dragons’ key player through the midfield, showing her trademark tenacity to pry the ball clear and tackle hard in the clinches. Her crunching early tackle on the stronger Emily Harley was an example of that, as was her constant pushing forward of the ball from stoppages. Burke’s steady mark under a high ball to send the Dragons inside 50 was another good moment, and it just seemed that she played a key part in setting the tone for her side.

#30 Winnie Laing

Working in tandem with Burke and following her lead well, Laing won a good amount of ball with second efforts by following up her possessions. Another to push the ball forward from congestion, Laing had a nice clearance in the third term to enter Sandringham’s forward 50, while also taking a sharp mark in attack to set up a set shot deep when the game was in the balance.

#42 Margie Purcell

Purcell was in the mix early with some nice possessions to start the game, but somewhat faded in the second half. Positioned on her customary wing, Purcell provided a good amount of outside run and was influential between the arcs. A good overhead mark in the second term and a composed read of a high ball in the same stanza showed Purcell’s versatility, and it would be good to see her display those flashes more often.

Oakleigh:

#2 Mimi Hill

Oakleigh’s best ball winner on the day, Hill contributed a wealth of work throughout the game. She seemed to be involved in everything, taking the game on and accumulating well with clean touches around stoppages. Her hands overhead early on were impressive, as was her efficiency by foot with short kicks to teammates in space. A bursting clearance in the second term caught the eye, and Hill was unlucky overall not to have helped her team to the win.

#4 Emily Harley

The strong utility was tried in the midfield, and did well to make her presence felt in tight spaces. While she could not quite collect the ball with one touch and burst away, Harley won a good amount of contested possessions and was not deterred by being caught holding the ball in the second term. Harley looked to be learning as the game went on and did the basics well as her midfield time wore on, but was thrown into defence in the final term to add solidity to the back six. A mark in defensive 50 late on looked to be a crucial contribution, but a Sandringham goal not long after denied the Chargers a draw.

#8 Alana Porter

Porter was Oakleigh’s only multiple goalkicker, and boy were both of them impressive. Her first came in the second quarter, using her electric speed to take on and burn an opponent and finish into an open goal. Porter’s second goal was from long range, coming out of seemingly nowhere as she booted the ball from the arc and bounced it home. The speedster was dangerous around the ball, competing well and attacking it hard whenever given the opportunity. Porter also attended a heap of centre bounces in the second half, and looks a versatile type who is damaging in strong bursts.

#12 Amelia Peck

Spending a fair amount of time in the ruck, Peck won her share of hitouts and followed up well to win the ball at ground level. While she looks raw at this stage, Peck showed glimpses of her potential with a nice sliding mark in the third term and a neat kicking action to send the Chargers inside 50.

 

Bendigo Pioneers 8.15 (63) defeated Gippsland Power 0.1 (1)
By: Peter Williams

Bendigo:

#3 Elizabeth Snell

The star of the show up forward, booting 5.2 and looking dangerous whenever the ball went near her. She had a couple more chances to add to her tally, but could not quite convert, though with the blustery conditions, goals were difficult to come by as shown in the 8.15 scoreline. Snell has a great goal sense to be able to turn opponents inside out and snap the ball through the big sticks with very little time. Great composure from her inside 50.

#4 Brooke Hards

Along with Annabel Strahan, was the key playmaker behind getting the ball inside 50 to create opportunities for Snell and the other forwards. She was often winning the contested ball and extracting it out of a stoppage via handballs to teammates. She laid tackle after tackle, applying terrific defensive pressure to her opponents, and set up the first goal to Snell through a fend off and great kick to her at half-forward. Hards’ first steps out of a stoppage can burn off an opponent and she has a great first touch. Had a chance on goal herself in the second term but just missed.

#14 Annabel Strahan

Backed up last week’s impressive game with another good effort. Working with Hards in midfield, Strahan was able to keep the ball going forward and is able to sum up a situation quickly and get boot to ball under pressure. She set up a goal to Snell in the second term with a quick kick, and would often win the ball on the outside or receive the handball and pump it long inside 50. In the fourth term she had a long-range shot on goal from outside 50 but the breeze just went to the left and it bounced into the post.

#19 Jemma Finning

Did a few nice things around the ground, missing a set shot early in the game but continually went in to find the ball. She showed good core strength in the second term to handball while being tackle, and was able to kick well on the left to a leading forward. She had another good play in the final term by kicking around the body into midfield, repelling a Gippsland Power attack.

#40 Tara Slender

Did not always see much of it such was the Pioneers’ dominance early, but when required, Slender peeled off her opponent and would fill the hole in defence. She has really clean hands at ground level and was able to pick-up off the deck and kick long along the wing. Her body position one-on-one and vision to kick to a free teammate was noticeable. Considering she is a bottom-ager, she already has the game smarts of a more experience player and knows when to keep the ball live without taking possession. She is also quick to get boot to ball under pressure.

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams

One of Gippsland’s more impressive players through the midfield, she just refused to give up, constantly attacking the ball and the ball carrier. She showed good smarts to cleverly tap the ball along the ground in the first term and was unlucky not to be paid a mark in the final term when she flew for a specky. Her long kicking was a help in the swirly conditions and even with the game out of reach, Abrahams continued to crack in hard and win the ball.

#9 Maddison Shaw

Tried hard throughout the day and her powerful kicking was on show when she was able to win the footy. Not a huge possession winner in the loss, she provided great defensive pressure and tried to kick long at every opportunity.

#12 Megan Fitzsimon

Battled hard through the midfield and half-back, attacking the ball and using quick hands under pressure. One of the better Power players on the day, she laid a number of big tackles and was mostly right at the coalface trying to get the ball out.

#13 Holly Andrews

Her defensive efforts were noticeable in a game that was highly contested at times. She had a quick gather at half-back and able to kick out of trouble in the first term, and then led up at the football along the wing in the second term, unfortunately just slipping from her grasp. Andrews was another Power player who showed a fierce attack on the ball carrier and had good second efforts, taking a good intercept mark late in the game and kicking long.

#27 Nikia Webber

It was a tough day to be a forward in these conditions, especially with how impressive the Bendigo midfield was in this match. Webber did get to show off her versatility after quarter time, playing through the midfield and even full-back.

 

Western Jets 6.7 (43) defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels 3.3 (21)
By: Sophie Taylor

Western:

#13 Isabella Grant

Grant put her clean hands on show, worked well with Isabelle Pritchard down back to create scoring opportunities for the Jets. Grant also caused great difficulty for the Rebels with her ability to apply constant pressure on the ball and ball carrier and some well-executed tackles through the midfield.

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Georgostathis was great among the action, and seemed to be everywhere on the field. Put on her best performance in the final quarter when she showed off her two-way running ability to be constantly around the ground ball and creating opportunities up forward. Some fancy footwork and speed led to a brilliant forward 50 entry and goal assist in the final term, putting the ball in the perfect position for a strong mark in front of goal. Had a snap on goal with five minutes left in the match but registered a behind, but showed off some footy smarts in the way she wheeled around and got the ball off the boot under pressure.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

Pritchard was one of the most influential players on the field, and was a constant buffer off half back with her readiness for every contest and ability to mark under pressure. Some great marks taken by Pritchard in the second half helped to keep the ball trapped forward to create scoring opportunities, while also demonstrating a good understanding of ball placement when running back for a goal-saving mark. Worked well with teammates to put constant pressure around stoppages off half back, and also kept the likes of Isabella Simmons from having too much on an influence on the match.

GWV:

#9 Renee Saulitis

Saulitis showed off her ability to run both ways in this match but was unfortunately unable to convert for the Rebels after a beautiful kick over the top saw her given an opportunity for a running goal in the goal square early in the first term, but hit the post for a behind. Did not have much of an opportunity to receive the ball inside 50 after the first quarter and at times was double teamed to prevent her access to the ball at stoppages.

#10 Ella Wood

Wood put her running and stamina on show with some great movement around the ground. Showed some good footy smarts with a clever punch to the advantage of a teammate at a stoppage on the wing, instinctively getting the ball out of a pocket of Jets players. Had a good understanding of where teammates were when under pressure to scoop up the ground ball and handball out of the pack, while also working well with Sophie Molan to move the ball to advantage.

#24 Sophie Molan

Molan had some really good moments early, put a great deal of pressure on the air ball and going for the mark, and really exerting some influence on the field. Spoiled some opportunities for the Jets, showing some good instincts in a pack scenario, but missed a few marks early under pressure. In the second half she showed her commitment to the footy, putting her body on the line to spoil a kick that was almost certainly an inside 50 opportunity for the Jets.

#30 Nyakoat Dojiok

Dojiok was dominant in the first half on return, showcasing her clean hands and presence around the ball off half back and causing the Jets to rethink their movement into their forward 50. Dropped a big mark inside 50 in the second quarter, but took on the ground ball with a second try at the footy, earning a ball up for her efforts and causing chaos for the Jets. Dojiok showcased her ability to read the play well defensively but needs some work moving back into attack. Some iffy decisions when it came to kicking off half-back into the forward line saw her not always kick to the advantage of teammates, meaning some forward opportunities for the Rebels turned to grappling for the ground ball. Did not take part in a chunk of the second half after limping off midway through the third term and did not take the field to start the final quarter, but eventually came back on at full forward.

 

Northern Knights 7.8 (50) defeated Eastern Ranges 4.2 (26)
By: Michael Alvaro

Northern:

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Morris-Dalton just always seems to find the goals and this game was no different as the forward contributed two majors. Her vision and execution by foot up the ground was pleasing to see, but Morris-Dalton’s best traits come out inside 50 as her anticipation, positioning and goal sense all helped her snare her goals. An opportunist, Morris-Dalton’s clever dribble goal through a bit of traffic in the fourth term was the better of the two.

#14 Jess Fitzgerald

Positioned mostly on the wing, Fitzgerald comes in and out of the game with exciting passages of play, hitting the ball at speed and delivering it inside 50. Her break and pass to Ellie McKenzie in the second term was impressive, and Fitzgerald is one of the better movers in a stacked Northern side. She shows glimpses, but Fitzgerald can sharpen up her finish product in front of goal to make her a more complete and damaging outside player.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie is such a classy player, and showed her best traits when it mattered for Northern. While she was caught holding the ball early on, McKenzie bounced back well in her customary deep forward position, snapping a classy goal on her stronger left foot and taking an impressive one-on-one overhead mark to slot another goal in the second term. McKenzie’s evasiveness while looking for options up the field was great to watch, as she summed up all the options ahead of her and used the ball cleverly going forward. Her kick to Britney Gutknecht deep inside 50 was a prime example of that, but McKenzie arguably works best as the deepest forward – highlighted by how she worked her opponent under the ball in the final term and almost snared her third. A reliable target, McKenzie looks to be converting her skills well to playing further up the ground.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Tried again in the midfield, Gutknecht was clean early on but showed the most when she lifted after quarter time. She looked to get on the move more at stoppages, winning a clearance which led to goals from Nell Morris-Dalton and Mia Papachristos. She chimed in with a goal in the third term while resting deep forward, but was thrown back into the midfield with the game in the balance and really stood up alongside Northern’s prime movers to seal the win. While her possessions are damaging, Gutknecht also hurt Eastern with her second efforts and tackling, with a key one on Ranges star Tarni Brown capping off a good day.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton is an out-and-out star, and seemed to be everywhere for Northern. She started well with the first clearance of the game, following up well to accumulate over the first term. A mark overhead from the kickout in the same quarter was impressive, as was her ability to keep her hands up and flick out handballs around stoppages. Perhaps the most impressive of Newton’s traits proved to be her leadership, with the Knights skipper standing up well in the second half to help her side get over the line. Spending time in the ruck, Newton palmed down well to find Britney Gutknecht on one occasion and has an unbelievable leap, but also looked more like a fourth midfielder at the centre bounces which was invaluable. A crazy good prospect, Newton’s versatility and skill makes her a close to complete player.

#32 Ash Snow

While she is not as consistent a ball-winner, Snow was a terrific competitor throughout the day and fought hard from defence. While Snow looked to have bitten of more than she could chew as she was caught by Tarni Brown early on after an attempted ‘don’t argue’, she continued to take the game on and drive the Knights forward. Snow’s burst and second efforts were important to the team’s cause, with her competitiveness an attack on the ball making her a valuable team player.

Eastern:

#21 Olivia Meagher

Meagher is a zippy type in the midfield and did well to find space around the ground. Buzzing around her opponents with good speed, Meagher is hard to miss under her helmet and her opponents clearly looked for her in open areas. Meagher often picked up the scraps well and found the ball inside 50 having spent some time in attack in the third term.

#26 Tarni Brown

Brown was one of Eastern’s best as its second-highest possession earner. A smooth mover through midfield, Brown looked every bit the natural footballer as her pedigree would suggest, while also showing smarts in her positioning. Brown’s tenacity and willingness to work hard for her disposals was good to see, but was still secondary to her class on the ball. Brown’s awareness in traffic and evasion really aided her clearance game on the weekend, and she should get Collingwood supporters excited as a potential father-daughter selection.

#39 Laura McClelland

McClelland did not win huge amounts of the ball, but was dangerous when she found it. Spending the bulk of her time up forward, McClelland was a good presence around the forward 50 arc and was one who really attracted the ball as it came in long. While she seemed to fade out of the game late, the Ranges co-captain has something about her and catches the eye when around the goals.

#46 Serena Gibbs

A prolific netballer, Gibbs was tried as a key forward and in the ruck – showing glimpses of skill conversion throughout the day. She took a nice overhead mark and looked to have judged the ball well when sitting under high kicks. As Gibbs grew into the game, she won a handy clearance from the ruck late on, and could have snared a goal with her set shot in the third term.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 4.7 (31) defeated by Geelong Falcons 7.5 (47)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Dandenong:

#12 Molly McDonald

Remained prolific in the loss, delivering the ball effectively inside 50 and rebounding well down back. Her impact dwindled slightly from previous weeks, but she made good use of the footy and continued to utilise her supreme kicking ability. For the day she had 13 disposals, 11 kicks, four marks, four tackles, two rebounds and five inside 50s.

#26 Isabella Shannon

Shannon was arguably Dandenong’s most impactful player, zoning off well in defence and charging clean at the loose ball. She was remarkably effective at gathering the ground ball given her height and approaches her opponents with confidence, rewarded for two strong tackles in defence and ripping the ball from an opponent’s hands inside 50. Her ability to gather off Dandenong’s backline created opportunities going forward and caught plenty Geelong Falcons midfielders out of position. She finished with 13 disposals, 11 kicks, two marks, six tackles and two inside 50s.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Smith brought a real fighting spirit to the Dandenong midfield when the game started slipping from their grasp. She gathered well out of the stoppage and found space in congestion. As with last week (seven inside 50s), Smith remained pivotal in the centre, repeatedly sending the ball inside 50. In the third she was awarded a free kick after following up her smothered kick with a tackle, taking back some momentum for her side. She finished with 17 disposals, four tackles and four inside 50s.

#31 Brooke Vernon

Stood up well defensively despite a three-quarter onslaught from the Falcons. Exited well up the guts and picked her targets well. Proved reliable by foot, finishing with 11 disposals, eight kicks and two rebound 50s.

Geelong:

#8 Paige Sheppard

Alongside Tierney, Sheppard completely tore up the midfield, attacking the hard ball and breaking free from congestion. She kicked the first goal of the fourth to further their lead and led the game in inside 50s (seven). She earned two free kicks for her efforts and tied with Tierney for a game-high 22 disposals. She also accumulated two marks, seven tackles and two rebounds.

#18 Darcy Moloney

Moloney remained a tough utility for the Falcons, standing up in the win. Brought repeat efforts to the contest and cleared well from the stoppage. She was dropped in a hard tackle midway through the fourth but returned for a third effort following the head knock, assisting the footy clear. Works hard on the inside and looks comfortable in front of goals. Moloney finished with Falcon’s first goal, 18 disposals, three marks and two inside 50s.

#24 Mia Skinner

Fought hard for the contest and worked her opponent on the ball. Found a lot of the footy and was one of Geelong’s better users for the day. She kicked a goal to open the third, putting her team within five points and delivered the ball well to her forwards. She had 11 disposals on the day, nine kicks, three marks, five tackles and five inside 50s.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

A good worker on the inside, McEvoy finds the contested ball well and delivers well by hand and foot. She worked the ball carrier well and had her efforts rewarded with six strong tackles and finished among the top three for disposals (20). She also finished with three marks and four inside 50s.

#39 Renee Tierney

A powerhouse with the football, Tierney finished one of the most impactful players across both sides. Strong overhead and a good mover with the ball. She delivered well by foot and kicked the goal which put them in front for the first time in the third quarter, seeming impossible to contain once their lead increased. She also had a game-high 22 disposals with 16 kicks, seven marks, three tackles and three inside 50s.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 4

IT was a big Round 4 of NAB League Girls action with some of the key players really dominating across the ground. We managed to get to three games across the weekend with notes taken on some of the players outlined by respective Female Talent Managers in the pre-season. All notes are opinions based on the writer.

Northern Knights 5.6 (36) defeated Sandringham Dragons 2.3 (15)
By: Michael Alvaro

Sandringham:
#25 Sarah Hartwig

Employed at both ends of the ground, Hartwig showed strong hands overhead in either role, but fell a little short by foot up forward in the tough conditions. A promising prospect, Hartwig has plenty of time to work on that, as well as her strengths. With two intercept marks in the third term in defence, marking is clearly one of them.

#28 Alice Burke
Burke was one of Sandringham’s key ball winners, digging the ball out from stoppages all day. While breaking away proved tough for most at the stoppages, the Dragons midfielder improvised well at times with kicks off the ground to move forward and won a couple of nice clearances – the most notable coming in the second term.

#30 Winnie Laing
Arguably the Dragons’ best, Laing was combative against stiff competition in the Knights’ midfield and showed a willingness for repeat efforts. Snaring the ball at ground level, Laing often threw the ball onto her boot and pushed her side inside 50 of a couple of occasions on the back of breaking tackles. A mainstay in the midfield, Laing can hold her head up despite a tough loss.

#42 Margie Purcell
Positioned on the outside, Purcell took time to get her running game going but was effective late on as the Dragons scrapped to keep the margin tight. A missed chance in the first quarter could have otherwise provided a nice start to the game, but Purcell was not deterred and tried taking the game on with twists and turns through traffic.

Northern:
#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

A constant up forward, Morris-Dalton built into the game slowly. She read the ball better than three Sandringham defenders to run onto a dropped high ball and slot her first major from the goalsquare, while later claiming one over the back in the third term to finish with two goals in a strong performance.

#6 Alyssa Bannan
Employed on the outside and moving forward well, Bannan continues to be a key Knights ball carrier. A nice pick up and shrug of her opponent was a particular highlight, but she missed the resultant shot on goal in the first term.

#7 Abigail Bennett
Bennett was another good forward mover alongside Bannan, providing a key link between the wing and forward 50. Her clean hands were a particular feature throughout the day, with her running game proving damaging as she found space at will. Bennett’s mark under a high defensive clearance in the second term was most impressive, as was her clean break and kick to Ellie McKenzie inside 50.

#14 Jessica Fitzgerald
Another good runner from midfield, Fitzgerald drove the Knights forward as one of the only players who effectively broke away from traffic. She kept her hands up and flicked the ball out well in tackles when caught, and bar two misses from gettable chances on the run in the first half, put in a solid shift as part of the Northern engine room rotation.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti
While she did not have too much to do in her key post down back, Sansonetti was a solid part of the sturdy Knights defence. Entrusted with kick-outs, she made good decisions with and without ball in hand – including a calm spoil for a rushed behind when one-on-one deep in defence during the third term.

#21 Ellie McKenzie
The versatile middle-ager was again terrific, looking dangerous inside forward 50 throughout the game. While she found limited opportunities early on while playing out of the goalsquare, McKenzie was competitive at the forward stoppages and came into the game that way. Her highlights included moving cleanly around an opponent to then provide Jess Fitzgerald with a shot at goal, as well as her clean hands and a holding the ball tackle in the final term to give Britney Gutknecht a chance inside 50.

#22 Britney Gutknecht
Another who can trade forward duties for the midfield, Gutknecht hunted the ball well through the middle and was often the best reader of taps. Breaking away was a tougher task, but her tackling and intent around the stoppages gave her a real presence. Moving deep forward in the second half, Gutknecht slotted a set shot goal in the third term and was unlucky not to add to it later on as she looked lively inside 50.

#23 Gabby Newton
Newton again lead the way for the Knights, finding a good amount of the ball through midfield and showing her undeniable class. While the damage on her disposal was not as obvious as usual in tough conditions, Newton’s superior vision and reading of the game was a feature. She took advantage of a 50 metre penalty to gift Gutknecht a goal in the third term, and took a nice intercept mark in defence early on.

Western Jets 0.3 (3) defeated by Eastern Ranges 7.4 (46)
By: Taylah Melki

Eastern 
#21 Olivia Meagher:
Meagher proved that she was a real hard nut throughout the course of the game. She was not afraid to get in and under at the contest and bodied up well against her opponent consistently. She showcased her clean hands with a good pick up in the opening term and used her long booming kick to bomb into the forward 50. She won plenty of the ball in the first term, working hard at the stoppages. Meagher displayed her ability to run both ways working hard in both offense and defence. Out of the centre she was really clean dishing off clever handballs to passing teammates. She worked tirelessly at the stoppages to win the ball and run through the middle of the ground and kick it forward. Meagher kicked a good crumbing goal in the dying seconds of the last quarter to well and truly seal the deal for the Ranges.

#26 Tarni Brown:
She had a relatively quiet game by her standards but when she won the ball she used it well and made her presence felt across the ground. She impressed in one passage of play with a beautiful pick up off the ground in the first quarter and vision to use the ball well. She showcased her clean hands in close and highlighter her good turn of speed to break away from the pack and push the ball forward for Eastern. She applied good pressure in the middle of the ground to worry her opponents out of the ball and laid a good strong tackle in the third term. Brown worked hard in transition across the ground and showed a good burst through the centre going for a bounce and opening up the forward 50 but got wrapped up in a good tackle before she could dispose of the ball.  

#39 Laura McClelland:
McClelland ran hard across the ground with good follow up work and helped her teammates out providing support play numerous times throughout the game. She had good hands under pressure taking a strong contested mark. She applied a good strong attack on the footy and impressed with a clean pick up given the soggy conditions. McClelland was not afraid to put her body on the line to win the footy, impacting the contest and working hard to try and bring the ball to ground. To go with her handy touches around the ground she impressed in front of the big sticks kicking two majors.

#46 Serena Gibbs:
Gibbs was strong in the ruck, reading the flight of the ball well and getting hands to ball with ease. She was able to win the taps and knock it to her teammates advantage creating space across the ground. She consistently impacted the contest and if she could not take the mark worked hard to bring the call to ground and provide a scrumming opportunity for her teammates. She proved to be handy in front of goals as well nailing two majors

Western
#13 Isabella Grant:
Grant was clean at the stoppages and got into some strong positions across the ground to provide some link up play. Laid a really strong smother in the second quarter but was unable to finish off the play. She did well to keep the arms free in the tackle and dish off a handball to teammates and showcased her ability to read the flight of the ball and took a strong mark throughout the course of the game. Grant applied plenty of physical pressure with some big tackles to bring down her opponents, leading the way for her side.

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis: 
Down on her average output Georgostathis was still solid when she did win the ball. She was strong around the contest going in hard to win the ground ball and ran hard to make space. She was clever with ball in hand, showed good spatial awareness and worked hard to try and set up attacking play for the Jets. Displayed good run and bounce through the middle of the ground in the second quarter then used her strong kick to set up an attacking thrust for the Jets. She managed to keep her arms free and get boot to ball when tackled and laid a strong tackle that got her a holding the ball call proving her hunt for the ball. She sent a scare through the camp coming off in the last quarter with a possible arm injury.

#25 Cleo Saxon-Jones:
She read the flight of the ball well, was good under pressure and attacked the footy hard. Saxon-Jones used her strong hands to take a few contested marks and worked hard around the contest to try and extract the ball. She made her presence felt with a few good strong bumps, good quick hands but seemed to hurt her shoulder in the last quarter coming from the ground.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels 0.5 (5) defeated by Geelong Falcons 4.17 (41)
By: Cameron Ross

GWV:
#9 Renee Saultis
Quiet game from Saultis, but was more effective than her stats suggest. Played in a forward line that saw only 1-2 inside 50s in a half of football, which needs to be taken into account.

#24 Sophie Molan
Another game from Molan where she tried desperately hard to get her side over the line. Highlight of the day was her chase down tackle in the final quarter when the game was all but won. Sums her up as a player, ultra competitive, willing to do the team thing, and a terrific leader.

#32 Isabella Simmons
Simmons is extremely raw. You can see the underlying talent and athleticism, but her game awareness still has question marks. Can’t wait to see her break open a game one day, but will need more footy experience to do so. She did some nice things against the Falcons without being outstanding.

Ella Wood
Missed this game with a thumb injury, and her absence was sorely felt. Wood might be just about my favourite player in the NAB League Girls, due to her ferocity at the ball, and ability to win contested possessions on her own. Coach Rhys Cahir said “Ella was 50-50 this week, but the physios thought it best she sits out this one”. Let’s hope for the Rebels sake she’s back next week!

Geelong:
#8 Paige Sheppard
Dangerous and intelligent forward. Really liked her playing as a high half forward, as she is a beautiful kick, and was able to get into some space for a shot at goal. Great awareness, not a lot of players at this level have the vision to bring the ball back inside, and at a huge ground like City Oval, you can’t continually kick down the wings. The option was there, she took it, and broke the Rebels open.

#18 Darcy Moloney
Not quite sure where she was playing. I thought she was playing as a second forward, as she was up forward and got herself a goal, but then I saw her dashing off half back rebounding the ball a couple of times too! Either way, she’s versatile and proved that she can play at both ends.

#38 Lucy McEvoy
Had the ball on a string and was absolutely dominant. She was too strong, too physical and her aggressiveness was really important in the tough Ballarat conditions. McEvoy vs Molan was always going to be interesting, as they are both quite similar players, but McEvoy took the points on this occasion.

#39 Renee Tierney
Tackle machine. Played a really good in an under game at half forward. Unlucky not too kick a couple of goals, and in better conditions she just might have. Great four quarter performance.

In other games, here’s how some of the top performers stood tall:

Murray Bushrangers 1.3 (9) defeated by Bendigo Pioneers 3.5 (23)

Murray:

#7 Kate Adams – 15 disposals, three marks, five tackles, one inside 50, one rebound
#8 Abby Favell – 22 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, three inside 50s, two rebounds
#10 Sophie Locke – 12 disposals, three marks, six tackles, one rebound
#19 Millie Brown – 27 disposals, two marks, one tackle, one inside 50, six rebounds

Bendigo:

#4 Brooke Hards – 17 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s, three rebounds, 11 tackles
#14 Annabel Strahan – 20 disposals, seven tackles, five inside 50s, two rebounds, one goal
#19 Jemma Finning – 15 disposals, one mark, three tackles, one inside 50, one rebound
#44 Jordyn Jolliffe – 13 disposals, one mark, three tackles, 1.3

Gippsland Power 4.2 (26) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 6.12 (48)

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams – 16 disposals, one mark, five tackles, six inside 50s, one rebound
#9 Maddison Shaw – 17 disposals, one mark, four tackles, one inside 50, six rebounds
#12 Megan Fitzsimon – 26 disposals, five marks, four tackles, six inside 50s, five rebounds

Dandenong:

#10 Abbey Jordan – 12 disposals, two tackles, four inside 50s, two rebounds,
#12 Molly McDonald – 11 disposals, one mark, two tackles, two inside 50s, one rebound, 0.3
#26 Isabella Shannon – 17 disposals, one mark, two tackles, four inside 50s, one rebound, 0.2
#28 Tyanna Smith – 15 disposals, two marks, one tackle, seven inside 50s, one goal
#31 Brooke Vernon – 13 disposals, one tackle, two inside 50s, two rebounds

Calder Cannons 5.4 (34) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 7.2 (44)

Calder:

#11 Alana Barba – 12 disposals, one mark, two tackles, three inside 50s, one rebound
#21 Georgia Patrikios – 13 disposals, three marks, five tackles, four inside 50s, two rebounds, 0.1
#31 Krstel Petrevski – Six disposals, three tackles, one goal

Oakleigh:

#1 Gemma Lagioia – 21 disposals, two marks, one inside 50, one rebound, one goal
#2 Mimi Hill – 17 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three inside 50s, one rebound
#4 Emily Harley – 14 disposals, five marks, two tackles, one inside 50, two rebounds
#8 Alana Porter – Nine disposals, one mark, five tackles, two inside 50s, one rebound

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 2

THERE were plenty of massive individual performances in an historic weekend of NAB League football, and we had reporters at all nine games to take in the action. Key players and talent touted by each club’s talent manager are included, with scouting notes the opinion of each individual writer.

Sydney Swans 7.14 (56) defeated Tasmania Devils 6.6 (42)
By: Matthew Cocks

Sydney Swans Academy:

#3 Luke Parks
The AFL Academy listed player showed glimpses of what he is capable of in defence for the Swans Academy. Parks displayed great commitment to the contest and applied defensive pressure on the ball carrier. A great reader of the ball, Parks positioned himself well and used the ball well.

#7 Braeden Campbell
The 17-year old displayed one of his greatest assets on the weekend. Using his thumping left foot, Campbell was able to put the Swans into great positions to set up attack on more than one occasion. Gathering 16 disposals, Campbell also demonstrated great tackling pressure, laying an equal team high eight tackles.

#23 Errol Gulden
The bottom-ager’s performance was hard to fault. Gulden found a way to create his own time and space playing predominantly on the wing and through the midfield. Collecting plenty of the ball (33 disposals in total), Gulden was a key cog in setting the Swans up to attack. His two goals in the first half capped off an impressive best-on-ground performance.

Tasmania Devils:

#1 Mitchell O’Neill
A solid performance despite being well held for most of the match. O’Neill worked hard throughout the game, showing great composure with ball in hand and often used his 21 disposals to create opportunities for the Devils. Despite being under pressure himself, O’Neill applied plenty of pressure, laying nine tackles throughout the match.

#7 Matt McGuiness
Playing predominantly in defence, McGuinness displayed great skill execution. The lightly built 19-year-old showed poise and class in his 27 touches and seven rebounds. He demonstrated an instinct to take the game on and was one of the best in a losing side.

#13 Sam Collins
The 17-year old looked composed in defence often under attack on the weekend. A terrific user of the ball, Collins collected 23 disposals and nine rebound 50s. He demonstrated an ability to make great decisions under pressure in trying to repel the attack of the Swans Academy throughout the match.

 

GWS Giants 10.10 (70) defeated by Brisbane Lions 14.12 (96)
By: Matthew Cocks

GWS Giants Academy:

#25 Thomas Green
The contested ball magnet collected 28 disposals throughout the match. Green used the ball superbly, providing a strong presence across the ground for the Giants Academy, whether it was setting play up out of defence with four rebound 50s or putting the Giants into attack racking up seven inside 50s.

#26 Liam Delahunty
Featuring prominently in the first half, Delahunty kicked three goals, including one after the half-time siren to put the Giants back in front by three points at the major change. A good set of hands, he was sighted pushing up the ground, ending up with 13 disposals and seven marks for the match.

#28 Matthew McGrory
Displayed his athletic qualities running through the midfield for the Giants. McGrory showed potential, providing us with a glimpse of his closing speed on opponents. Applying five tackles and picking up 18 touches, McGrory also had an impact up forward with four inside 50s and two scoring attempts that went through as minor scores.

Brisbane Lions Academy:

#11 Will Martyn
A composed Martyn demonstrated great decision making abilities. Collecting 30 disposals, he was one of Brisbane’s most consistent players across the four-quarters. In addition to his great decision-making, his brilliant ball use often put the ball in positions of advantage for the Lions Academy, keeping his side in the game during the first-half and setting it up for victory in the second.

#18 Bruce Reville
Reville showed plenty of potential and an appetite for the contest. His pressure on the ball carrier stood out, laying six tackles – an equal game-high along with teammate Noah Cumberland. His endeavour and eagerness to find the footy also stood out as strong qualities, constantly hunting the footy and using his solid kick to hit a target.

#38 Tom Wischnat
Wishnat kicked four second half goals and could have had five had he not got too close to the man on the mark. After spending time higher up the ground, he looked comfortable inside 50. Taking six marks for the match, Wischnat demonstrated his potential as a target up forward for Brisbane.

 

Gold Coast 12.10 (82) defeated Northern Territory Thunder 5.8 (38)
By: Matthew Cocks

Gold Coast Suns:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea
An exciting prospect, Paul Oea looked electric with ball in hand. His pace and endeavour were among the qualities that stood out as he gathered 15 touches and took nine marks. A prominent sight forward of centre, Paul Oea sent the Suns Academy inside attacking 50 six times and also kicked a major.

#5 Connor Budarick
The Suns Academy captain had a strong influence on the match, whether it be collecting the contested ball in the midfield or straightening up his side as the attacked in blustery conditions. Budarick’s class and natural footy instinct were on display across his 22 disposals. He consistently bobbed up all over the ground, with five inside 50s and three rebound 50s for the match.

#13 Joshua Gore
The only multiple goal-kicker on the ground, Gore showed why he is building a reputation as a goal sneak. The busy small forward kicked three goals from five scoring attempts and applied plenty of forward pressure, laying seven tackles across the match.

Northern Territory:

#19 Ben Jungfer
Could not fault the endeavour of Jungfer who was consistent in a Thunder side under constant pressure. Spending most of the match in the midfield, he gathered 31 disposals and six rebounds. Jungfer showed an appetite for the contest, either with his head over the footy or applying pressure on the opposition. He would finish the match with six tackles and one of the Northern Territory’s best.

#29 Wade Derksen
Played a solid role across half-forward for the Thunder. Derksen displayed strong marking qualities, taking an equal game high six marks. A highlight for Derksen came from his only goal from two scoring attempts. With the man on the mark standing about 40 metres out Derksen kicked his only goal after judging the blustery Blacktown wind beautifully from a set-shot on a 45-degree angle.

#35 Stephen Cumming
Cumming was the dominant big-man on the ground, amassing 35 hitouts. He proved to be dynamic in the ruck, gathering 22 possessions – the second highest for the Thunder behind Jungfer. The 19-year old also had an impact up forward, sending the ball inside 50 three times and kicking a goal during the third-quarter.

Gippsland Power 9.11 (65) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 10.11 (71)
By: Craig Byrnes

Gippsland Power:

#2 Caleb Serong
The Geelong Grammar scholar returned to the Gippsland fold for the first time in 2019 after school cricket commitments took priority the week before. He started in the centre square and was in the action straight away, with his clean hands and sharp skills helping him excel in the miserable conditions. He got particularly busy in the third term with some influential touches around the stoppages and looked the most likely to win the ball in tight during these periods. He got called out of an aerial contest late in the game which he would usually instinctively fly for, but he will impact those situations once the cobwebs are blown out. A really solid first outing back.

#4 Sam Flanders
Another of the highly rated Power top agers, Flanders has started the season in excellent fashion and looks particularly sharp. Starting at the centre bounces, the explosive midfielder/forward was involved in everything in the first half. He impacted the stoppages, was physical in the slippery conditions and looked capable of turning the match singlehandedly. He pushed forward and kicked a really smart goal, snapping the ball high to get over the fingers of the approaching defenders. He was not quite as prolific in the second half, but still produced vital moments including a brilliant kick inside 50 to Maslen in the final term. Collected 23 touches and was comfortably Gippsland’s best in my opinion.

#11 Kyle Dunkley
After the disappointment of not getting drafted last year, the brother of Josh has switched from Oakleigh to Gippsland during the offseason and could not have started the season in much better form. He joined Serong and Flanders at the first centre bounce and inserted his physical presence immediately with great attack at the footy. Based purely on his conditioning and ripped stature, Dunkley looks to have worked extremely hard over the off season and his running appears to have benefitted as he constantly pushes from arc to arc. He also spent time forward and finished with another good haul of 23 disposals.

#12 Brock Smith
The no frills Gippsland skipper played behind the ball and did his job as we have come to expect on a week to week basis. He rarely gets beaten one on one, whether on the ground or aerially and looks to impact contests in his area whenever possible. He does not win mountains of the ball in this role, but still has a say on the result with his competitive attitude and focus on team values. He has shown over the last 12 months that he has the attributes to play in defence at the next level, so it would be great to see his offensive skills showcased through the midfield and forward as the year goes on to showcase his underrated flexibility.

#15 Ryan Sparkes
The midfielder or defender has developed into a ball magnet in his top-age year, with his ability to read the play helping him get to excellent link up positions and win 28 touches against the Rays. With the return of Serong, Sparkes spent greater minutes in the defensive arc and more often than not took the kick outs. Despite the occasional turn over on Saturday, he is trusted by his teammates with ball in hand and targeted when the ball is moving forward. Without the footy, he puts his body on the line as demonstrated when he courageously backed into traffic with the flight of the ball in a desperate attempt to kill a contest during the tense fourth term.

#17 Charlie Comben
The real smoky of the Gippsland top agers and one I feel is going to impress many as the year goes on. He moves superbly for a 199cm forward or ruckman, possessing good hands and excellent ground skills. The conditions certainly did not suit a player his height on Saturday, but he produced a super clean pick up during the first quarter on the move that would have even been highly regarded if completed by a player standing 175cm. He looks a smart footballer too, getting in great marking positions which helped him drag in a strong contested chest mark, while he looks to go inside at any opportunity. Exciting prospect.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hayden Young
The Dandenong captain did his number one selection prospects no harm, looking a class above behind the ball as he took control of the game at times. His best moments were so much better in the conditions than anyone else, whether carrying the ball through the corridor and hitting the likes of Weightman lace out or getting in the hole to take contested intercept marks like it was a sunny day. Although it was in the final term when he truly lifted his output to put his team on his back like any great leader should. He won the ball at vital moments and executed perfectly on most occasions, got in the way of dangerous forays forward and produced a smother that may have been match defining. Young’s 20 disposals on the stats sheet did not justify his true influence on the result.

#11 Ned Cahill
The speedy Mt Eliza junior started forward and spent time up the ground on occasions. He had an impact early with a nicely crumbed goal which he curled around the corner with skill. He was in and out of the contest for the remaining three quarters, but he still managed to show his elite decision making and ball use throughout his 12 disposals. Cahill missed a couple of opportunities that could have seen him finish the day as a big contributor, but still played a role with and without the ball to end with 12 touches and five tackles.

#18 Mitch Riordan
The inside midfielder would have been bitterly disappointed to not get drafted after injury ended his Championships in 2018, but he gets another chance to impress for Dandenong as a 19 year old and he was consistent as usual on Saturday. He started at the stoppages and won a team high 21 disposals, but was a tad rushed by foot on occasions. We all know he can win the ball, but his next challenge is to be defensively relevant again. He is more than capable having laid nine tackles in the Grand Final last year, but it is a part of his game that must be replicated every game with such a large focus at the next level.

#20 Sam De Koning
The brother of Carlton’s Tom had the tough task of manning Gippsland’s hulking full forward Josh Smith and even though the rain was always going to suit tall defenders, he did a good job. Winning possessions was not a high priority for De Koning (five disposals), but he still managed to have plenty of aerial wins, many of which were by fist. He did however take an excellent intercept mark in the third term when the conditions were particularly difficult. It will be one of the few times Smith is held goalless this season, so it was an important performance, especially considering the final margin.

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

On a day when a 196cm forward could have been forgiven for feeling a little sorry for himself, the St Kilda NGA prospect found a way to get in the game and ultimately had a defining impact. Bigoa kept getting his hands on the ball and had he converted his very gettable three behinds, it could have been a huge day from a scoreboard perspective. Although it was a very good day nonetheless, as he took a vital contested mark in the goal square during the final term to kick a goal that had a large say on the result.

#44 Cody Weightman

This kid can play. He only stands 177cm but has a genuine presence leading out to the ball carrier and remarkably sticky hands when considering the slippery ball. He caught the eye early with a one grab overhead mark at speed on the flank before turning and sending a bullet to Bigoa inside 50. He has genuine tricks in the front half, goal sense and that rare X-factor that you really can’t teach. He finished the game with two goals, 14 disposals, five marks and genuine claims of being the most important player on the ground. Place him on your “keep an eye on” list.

 

Murray Bushrangers 9.10 (64) defeated by Bendigo Pioneers 9.14 (68)
By: Scott Dougan

Murray:

#5 Cameron Wild
Wild was close to being the best player on the ground, amassing a game-high 30 disposals, along with seven marks and seven tackles. His work-rate is what stood out the most. He worked tirelessly to reach every stoppage around the ground and continually sprinted to space to try to make himself a viable option for his teammates when exiting the defensive 50. He also displayed a good combination of uncontested and contested ball-winning ability.

#6 Will Chandler
Chandler didn’t find much of the ball but when he did, he used it well. He showed class and composure by foot, especially under pressure. His kicking technique is fantastic, and he generally makes smart decisions with ball in hand. Chandler had a good outside game but still needs to work on his inside craft.

#12 Lachlan Ash
Ash won plenty of the ball in the back half of the ground and was the Bushrangers go-to man when delivering the ball out of the defensive 50. In difficult conditions, Ash’s foot skills stood out. He consistently made smart decisions and was able to hit plenty of targets. Ash was very clean at ground level and also showcased his ability in the air when he took a strong one-on-one mark in the second quarter. Ash had 26 disposals, with 18 of them by foot.

#14 Jye Chalcraft
I thought Chalcraft was one of the Bushrangers most influential and important players on the day. He was very good around stoppages and his in and under work was eye-catching. Chalcraft used the ball well and even drifted forward to boot two goals, one of them to put the Bushrangers back in front in the third term.

#19 Jimmy Boyer
Boyer spent the majority of the game playing in the midfield. He accumulated plenty of disposals and his ball use was really good. He is very damaging by foot, especially when he has plenty of time and space. His second half wasn’t quite as good as his first, but he was still a solid contributor.

#20 Elijah Hollands
Hollands was consistent over four quarters and never seemed to fade out of the contest. He was a solid target up forward for the Bushrangers, specifically in the final term when he had a couple of shots on goal that only failed to register a score because of the tough weather conditions. Hollands also displayed his athletic ability, footy smarts, and foot skills throughout the game.

Bendigo:

#4 Thomson Dow
Dow was one of the better players on the day, winning plenty of the footy on the inside and outside of the contest. He was very influential around stoppages, especially when he used his burst of speed to escape congestion. Dow finished with a team-high 22 disposals and one goal.

#8 Brodie Kemp
Kemp finished with 17 disposals and a goal playing predominantly in the forward half. Although his influence on the game could have been greater, his clearance work and ball use was still very good, and he kicked the Pioneers’ winning goal, standing up at a crunch time.

#11 Aaron Gundry
The 200cm Pioneers ruckman competed strongly all day and was one of the Pioneers main contributors to their history-making win. Even though he was coming up against a 15kg heavier Ben Kelly, Gundry stood his ground firmly and won some very handy hit-outs to advantage. Most importantly, Gundry presented strongly on the lead and even won his fair share of possessions, finishing with 16 (13 in the first half).

 

Sandringham Dragons 12.10 (82) defeated Northern Knights 5.9 (39)
By: Ed Pascoe

Sandringham:

#1 Jack Mahony
Mahony was very busy around the ball and up forward making things happen whenever he was around the ball. Mahony looked desperate in the first quarter hitting the contests hard and trying to eat in and under to win the contested ball, he would latter do some nice things outside the contest with a overly pass inside 50 followed by a nice set shot goal from a mark in the 2nd quarter and later in the quarter missed a running snap on the boundary. More of the same came in the 2nd half with a beautiful crumb of a contest he would then run and deliver a nice pass inside 50, he also had a similar bit of play in the last quarter with a nice pickup and kick inside 50. He finished with 17 disposals, seven tackles and six inside 50s.

#4 Finn Maginess
Maginess was solid without being a standout today, he did most things right with ball in hand and was often clean around the contest and moved well in traffic. He copped a hard knock in the first quarter but he managed to get back up to find the ball in his lap where he would quickly kick the ball away, the trainers came to look at him but he shrugged them away to try and get to the next contests despite obviously hurting showing his tenacity. He had a quiet second half but he still managed to bob up and do some nice things throughout the game, he finished the game with 14 disposals, six tackles and four inside 50s.

#5 Ryan Byrnes
Byrnes had a fantastic first half he was everywhere through he midfield winning here contested ball and distributing well, he had one fantastic kick on his opposite foot inside 50 in the first quarter to teammate Angus Hanrahan which lead to a goal. Byrnes showed good composure through the midfield with one occasion spinning out of rouble and delivering a nice pass again with his opposite foot. Byrnes had a quieter second half and was visibly exhausted which was understandable with some of his multiple hard efforts, every time he got the ball he was on the move and working hard to avoid tacklers to either get a kick out or distribute by hand and he would often use is speed and would spread well from stoppages. Byrnes finished the game with 24 disposals and 4 tackles

#11 Hugo Ralphsmith
Ralphsmith had a solid game providing good run and link up throughout the day, he started the game well with a nice contested mark and quick kick and his kicking throughout the day was very good. He would latter show his courageous side in the second quarter copping a hard knock before getting back up to chase hard and tackle. Ralph-Smith was very clean with his hands and used the ball well but what also impressed where the one pet enters laying a nice block in the third quarter. Ralph-Smith finished with 17 classy disposals.

#12 Charlie Dean
Dean was the standout big man on the ground kicking four goals in a great display, he was a handful in the first quarter kicking a nice running goal and a little dribble goal as well showing good touch outside of being a big marking forward but he also looked strong on the lead providing a hard lead late in the first quarter and then quickly pumping the ball inside 50. Dean would kick his third goal in the third quarter after a nice lead up mark and classy set shot and would repeat that again on the boundary in the last quarter slotting a nice goal, his work rate to give his teammates an option was fantastic and he often used the ball well and quickly in general play. Dean finished the game flicking 4.3 with 15 disposals and eight marks.

#29 Fischer McAsey
McAsey had a quiet start to the game with his first half not as strong as his second. In the third quarter McAsey took a very strong contested intercept mark and then delivering a fantastic pass to teammates Miles Bergman at centre half-forward. This was a common theme for the last quarter as well taking strong intercept marks and using the ball well by foot to set up the play from defence. McAsey finished the game with 11 disposals and four strong marks.

#30 Andrew Courtney
Courtney has a shaky start early in the game with his disposal but it was his one preventers that made up for those early errors, in the third quarter he did a really smart tap on and then follow up with a block and later that quarter would redeem his kicking earlier in the game with a strong contested mark and quick and accurate pass inboard to a teammate. Courtney had a solid game through the ruck with 13 disposals and 23 hitouts.

#31 Josh Worrell
Worrell again spent time on the wing, his intercept marking was on show early and he often used the ball quickly and cleanly. He made a beautiful pass inside 50 to teammates Angus Hanrahan in the second quarter quickly lowering the eyes and disposing well, Worrell would get a rare shot at goal in the third quarter cutting off the opposition but missing the running shot at goal. Worrell did it hard in the last quarter getting more involved down back with a nice tackle and smother he would also drop an easy mark which was uncharacteristic but he made up for it showing some nice movement and kicking skills down back and he finished the game with 17 disposals and seven marks.

Northern:

#7 Ryan Gardner
Gardner stood out with his run and clean hands throughout the day and was one of Northern’s better performers especially when all was lost late in the game. Gardner was busy early he was clean by hand and despite a poor kick he quickly made up for it getting the ball out and dishing off a creative handball, Gardner is a light player but that didn’t stop him from going in hard for the ball and he had a nice bit of play in the 2nd quarter working hard in defence and putting on pressure. Gardner mostly played on the wings but made the most of a rare stoppage when he use his clean hands to win the ball and then stay composed and dish off a nice handball. Gardner showed off his speed in the last quarter with one bit of play where he went for a run and showing his agility to get around multiple opponents and he would stay composed the whole time despite a lack of help and targets to kick to, he also had a lovely pickup at full speed then going for another run and dishing off a good handball. Gardner finished the game with 19 disposals and 5 inside 50s.

#8 Adam Carafa
Carafa was a consistent performer throughout the day constantly in the thick of the action I the midfield winning plenty of the ball while also tackling hard. Carafa had an interesting game where he was very clean at stoppages and he went in hard but his disposal at times let him down with some rushed kicks rarely taking the time to spot up a target he was lucky with one stoppage where he attacked it hard and cleanly before quickly snapping and hitting teammate Josh D’Intinosante inside 50. Carafa had no issue finding the ball at the coal face and was clean with his hands in tight but taking the time to make good decisions with his disposal will go a long way to making him a more dangerous player. Carafa really did work hard and he finished the game with 28 disposals and 11 tackles.

#11 Ryan Sturgess
Sturgess was a general in defence, the Northern captain set the standard for desperation and intent to make an impact whenever he went for the ball. He was shaky in the second quarter with a floating switch kick and he was also run down with some poor awareness but after that he switched into gear and went on to be Northern’s strongest performer in the 2nd half. His desperation was a standout trait with one but of play in the third quarter where he picked up the ball nicely before falling down with a player hot on his heels he quickly got back up and dished off a nice handball. Sturgess was fantastic on the rebound he did not take many marks but took a very good intercept mark in the last quarter and also laid a strong tackle. Sturgess finished the game with 22 disposals and eight rebounds.

#13 Sam Philp
Philp was impressive in the midfield, playing as an inside midfielder Philp used his clean hands and strong body to his advantage at stoppages and he distributed well by hand to his running players. Philp stop out early in the game with one passage of play where he picked up cleanly of the deck and showed great movement in traffic, this continued in the second quarter with Ismaili passages of play showing his clean hands in tight he also took a nice lead up mark sowing he he was more than just a stoppage player. Philp had a strong last quarter in one passage of play spinning out of trouble and followed that up with a nice handball and again at a stoppage winning the contested ball and standing up in the tackle to dish off effectively. Philp even crumbed a marking contest in a similar vein to his stoppage work and again disposing well by hand, Philp finished the game with 18 disposals and eight tackles.

 

Western Jets 5.4 (34) defeated Eastern Ranges 13.19 (97)
By: Ed Pascoe

Western Jets:

#18 Emerson Jeka
Jeka had a quiet day at the office as did most of his teammates up forward. Jeka struggled early losing a one on one marking contest with his direct opponent although he would do much better in the second quarter taking a nice lead up mark on the back flank and later on showing great movement for a player of his size and showing class by hand to set up his team’s first goal. The third quarter was more of the same he was quick and clean by hand and he took showed his work at ground level with a lovely pickup in the wet. Jeka would finally hit the scoreboard in the last quarter from a lead up mark and set shot goal from the boundary. Jeka finished the game with six disposals and one goal.

#20 Darcy Cassar
Cassar was made to work hard in defence and he played his role well often taking the kick outs and using he ball well by hand and foot. Cassar showed nice movement early in the game often weaving out of trouble to distribute by hand coming out of defence. He found plenty of the ball over the 4 quarters and he worked hard to keep linking up the ground from defence, his last quarter was very good setting up a goal to teammates Emerson Jeka with a nice pass inside 50 and he showed good attack on the ball late in the game which was promising considering the game was lost. Cassar finished the game with 31 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and nine rebounds to be the clear best player for the Jets.

#24 Josh Honey
Honey struggled in the midfield, usually reliant on the bigger inside mids to release him the ball to use his excellent skills he wasn’t given the space to be his normal damaging self by the Eastern Ranges midfielders. Honey did try hard he showed good desperation in the first quarter and laid a strong tackle and when he went for the ball at stoppages he was mostly clean with his hands. The second quarter he showed hoe dangerous he can be with a good run and kick to CHF and another bit of play showing nice composure and hit a nice kick down the line. Honey would finish with game with 10 disposals and a goal which came in the second quarter with a classy dribble goal from the boundary on the run.

Eastern Ranges:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton
Stapleton was a force through the midfield often found on the bottom of packs trying to get the ball out and win first possession. He started the game well going forward any way he could with some nice bits of play, he had a running shot at goal that just missed in the first quarter but it was his constant barrage inside 50 that set up his teammates. Stapleton was a four quarter performer never letting up with his attack on the ball and constant drive forward, he finished the game with 33 disposals eight tackles and 10 inside 50s in a tough and effective display.

#11 Mitch Mellis
Mitch Mellis was huge for his team often a constant threat through the midfield and up forward. Mellis kicked 3 goals with his first coming in the 2nd quarter after taking a nice mark and slotting the easy set shot goal, h was extremely busy around the ground showing his clean hands and constant movement in traffic. Mellis’s second goal came with a classy running snap goal and that quarter he also set up others with a nice kick to teammate Jamieson Rossiter, he was everywhere in the last quarter getting a lot of the ball and using it effectively and he would then kick his third goal from a. Lead up mark and set shot goal 25m out directly in front. Mellis finished the game with 35 disposals and 3 goals in a best on ground display.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter
Rossiter again had a quiet game by his standards but a slightly improved game on last week. Rossiter lead hard early working his way up the ground to take. A nice diving chest mark and then he quickly kicked inboard to great effect an he would finish the first quarter well despite missing a snap shot at goal he would later take a nice contested mark and slot the set shot. He showed great work at ground even with a lovely pickup and kick inside 50 to teammate Cody Hirst. He would not kick any more goals for the day missing a running shot at goal from the boundary in the second quarter, in the third quarter he would take a lead up mark and then surprised the crowd with a big barrel inside 50. Rossiter finished the game with 12 disposals, five tackles and one goal.

#17 Cody Hirst
You would think in the wet weather a 178cm and 67kg wingman would struggle but Hirst looked sensational in the wet conditions pickup up the ball like it was dry and going in just as hard as anyone. Hirst set the standard early with an incredibly courageous mark running back with the flight inside 50, his set shot became an errant pass to the opposition but the mark on its own certainly caught the eye, Hirst again showed his aerial skills with a nice intercept mark in the second quarter and then quickly played on with a nice kick inboard. Hirst hit a fantastic short pass in the third quarter to centre half-forward and an eye catching one handed pickup in the wet conditions and then hit a switch kick to teammate Mitch Mellis using his great vision and he would finish the quarter with a bullant tackle refusing to let go. Hirst was everywhere in the last quarter with more of the same, a fantastic kick inside 50 again to teammate Mitch Mellis completed a well rounded game where he finished with 29 disposals, eight marks and four tackles.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels 8.16 (64) defeated Geelong Falcons 9.9 (63)
By: Michael Alvaro

GWV:

#4 Jed Hill

You cannot fault the over-ager’s attack on the ball, and Hill’s intensity was important in tough conditions. While his pressure and intent was important, Hill found it a little harder to have as profound an impact with ball in hand – and started shakily with a hospital pass to a teammate early on. Still, the best feature of Hill’s game shone through and he hunted the ball well at stoppages when playing midfield, while also putting in a good double effort to tackle and smother in the fourth quarter. Just needs to find the ball more and polish up in his time through the middle.

#7 Mitch Martin

Like Hill, looked a little off early on with his decision making and execution, turning the ball over by foot. While he also featured in the midfield, Martin did not quite rack up his usual numbers but had a couple of nice moments. His shrug of an opponent to get a kick off inside 50 in the second term was good, but Martin’s highlight was converting a clutch goal in the closing stages after winning a free kick one-on-one.

#8 James Cleaver

Popped up with two important goals for the Rebels, with his effort on the run in the last quarter crucial to the comeback win. Goals aside, Cleaver chased the loose balls hard in the opening stages and looked slick when picking the ball up off his toes at times. A good mover, Cleaver’s damage going forward proved a big difference on the day.

#13 Jay Rantall

Was the Rebels’ leading possession winner with 24, often hacking the ball long out of contested situations to move his side forward. Rantall had a nice pick up, weave and inside 50 in the first term, as well as an intercept mark to create another inside 50 in the second. Winning the ball well at both ends, Rantall also tackled hard and his effort showed as he looked to have come off proppy late on, clutching at his hamstring.

Geelong:

#8 Charlie Lazzaro

In a similar fashion to his Round 1 performance, Lazzaro found his way into the game slowly and was a key extractor for the Falcons. He burrows in well and is often at the bottom of packs or disposing of the ball quickly, so his impact sometimes goes unnoticed. Still, he featured heavily at the stoppages and worked hard all day.

#36 Charlie Sprague

The over-ager continues to show glimpses of his talent, and put in another impressive display. Employed in the centre bounce to begin proceedings, Sprague was often a target for the Falcons rucks, and uses his body well in traffic. When moving up the ground, Sprague spread hard and was a good link into forward 50 with his marking on the lead. He had a hand in Geelong’s second goal early on, but missed the chance to settle his side in the fourth term with a set shot. Was still a good target and someone his teammates obviously trust to do the job inside 50.

#40 Jesse Clark

Clark was a calming influence down back as per usual, and seemed to get to a lot of contests in defensive 50. While he was always thereabouts, Clark sometimes found himself around the back of the contest rather than in it, but found a way to move the ball out and rebound well – nine rebound 50s would suggest as much.

#41 Cooper Stephens

A key man for the Falcons, Stephens was uncharacteristically fumbly in the first term, and had a couple of ineffective handballs to start off. He then built into the game well, featuring as an extractor and provider to runners – an important role for any side. Strong over the ball, the Geelong co-captain showed as much during the second term with a clean pick up under duress and trying conditions, flicking the ball out to a teammate beautifully. He took a solid mark with close attention to end the third quarter, and slotted a goal on the siren to set his side up for the win. That was not to be, but he had a good hand in the dying stages in trying to rescue the points for Geelong.

 

Calder Cannons 7.4 (46) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 10.9 (69)
By: Michael Alvaro

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott
Was a frustrating day for the Calder star, spending most of his time throughout the game on the inside. While he managed to win some flash clearances, Mott was often rushed by his Oakleigh counterparts and hardly found the chance to show off his high-level decision making or running game. A quieter than usual outing, but Mott has the class to bounce back.

#8 Sam Ramsay
Ramsay provided some good run and rebound on the outside for Calder, using the ball effectively by foot to cause damage in patches. He was composed on the ball for the most part and had a couple of clever improvised kicks going forward. As many good wingmen do, Ramsay also ran forward well and kicked a really nice goal on the half time siren in wet conditions.

#26 Mason Fletcher
The potential Bombers father-son has not strung together a whole heap of games over the past year on the back of injuries, so understandably took some time to find his feet. As his name would suggest, Fletcher does the defensive basics well and intercepted high balls with timely spoils. Calm in possession, Fletcher was also entrusted with the kick-out duties at times and even pitched in with five rebound-50s. Took an outstanding one-on-one mark deep in defence during the second quarter to showcase his outstanding reading of the play and ball in flight.

#30 Josh Kemp
One of the stars of the day, Kemp almost single-handedly dragged Calder back into the contest. Playing one-out deep inside forward 50, the over-ager looked dangerous as the ball came in long, using his leap and strong hands to ensure he was a reliable target. Booted two of Calder’s five second-quarter goals in an absolute hot streak, but his highlight for the day was his third goal – a clinical snap from the pocket leading two opponents back towards goal.

#38 Brodie Newman
The skipper was a calming influence in defence, and was often seen barking orders to his troops throughout the game. Newman’s intercept marking and ability to move the ball cleanly out of defensive 50 were both important, and gave the Cannons a chance to stay in the game. Finds a good amount of the ball for a key position player, too, and was flexible enough to cover the enigmatic Dylan Williams for some of the game.

Oakleigh:

#3 Joe Ayton-Delaney
While he did not win as much of the ball as he did last week, Ayton-Delaney’s run from stoppages caught the eye, and he is not afraid to take opponents on. That breaking speed was often the best feature of his game, but the 19-year-old was also clean below his knees and smart by foot going forward.

#8 Noah Anderson
Backing up his Round 1 Draft Central Player of the Week performance, Anderson tore it up again in the midfield with a monster 44 disposals and two goals. While he did not seem as typically damaging with his kicking game forward of centre, he was a constant presence at stoppages, had repeated inside 50s, and bobbed up as expected to find the goals. Firming as an early favourite to go first off the board come draft time, Anderson’s repeat efforts, tenacity at the ball, and willingness to run hard to follow up his kicks were all outstanding. With the ability to tear a game apart, it was also pleasing to see Anderson rise as the game was up for grabs in the second half.

#11 Matt Rowell
Rowell is a complete midfield package, and showed again that he can do just about everything well. Hard to miss with his red hair and tucked shirt, Rowell was one of the few players who broke away well from stoppages to provide real drive and a good number of effective clearances. His first five steps often set him apart, and Rowell’s polish with ball in hand was also a constant highlight. Damaging on the offensive end, Rowell also showed a willingness to tackle, and got his hands dirty in the back half with smothers and a great effort going back with the flight of the ball to effect a spoil.

#23 Dylan Williams
While he was kept relatively quiet for large parts of the game, Williams still managed to stand up when required and found the goals in tough conditions for deep-lying forwards. The Oakleigh skipper’s hands overhead and at ground level were also exceptional in the wet, and his haul of three last-quarter goals dragged the Chargers over the line. Has undeniable talent, and in the end, was not to be denied.

#29 Finlay Macrae
The bottom-ager was a dangerous part of Oakleigh’s forward line finishing with 21 disposals and 1.2, Macrae created scoring opportunities for others on top of his lone goal, finding space well and hunting his opponents going the other way. Macrae’s holding the ball tackle which led to a teammate’s goal was outstanding, and he stayed in the game well throughout.

Season preview: SANFL 2019

AFTER a successful off-season that saw many South Australian National Football League (SANFL) players reach the highest level, the 10 clubs again begin the journey towards the 2019 premiership. Our South Australian writers take a look at how each side is shaping up in the pre-season.

Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

The Adelaide Crows SANFL team will be headlined this season by former AFL-listed forward Matthew Wright who will captain the team into the 2019 season. Wright will also take on a role as a part-time development coach with the club after announcing his retirement from the AFL after three years at Carlton. The club did not draft any players from South Australia and picked up Allies star midfielder Chayce Jones, who played Round 1 in the AFL. Will Hamill and Lachlan Sholl will be intriguing prospects for the Crows, as Ned McHenry should be on the fringes for an AFL debut sometime throughout the season. The Crows also gained Shane McAdam from Carlton through trade after he was selected in the mature-aged pre-draft after a stellar season for Sturt. Out of the Crows SANFL contracted players, Jordon Boyle from Salisbury North impressed the most last season, but Michael McMahon and 2018 Dean Bailey award winner Corey Davey should be their best contributors. With Tom Doedee suffering a season ending ACL injury in Round 1 against Hawthorn, the Crows may potentially consider taking a player at the first AFL mid-season draft to bolster their defensive stocks.

Centrals:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

Central District will be hoping for a swift return to finals football after a rare finals absence in 2018. Former Crow Troy Menzel headlines the new recruits returning after five years in the AFL with Carlton, Adelaide and a dominant premiership stint in the SAAFL with Tea Tree Gully in 2018. The Dogs have also recruited a trio of Neagle’s- Jydon, Matthew, and Jaxon– from Wodonga and will be looking to make the most of the opportunity at the Ponderosa. Tim Auckland– 2018 Adelaide Crows SANFL contracted player- impressed enough to earn himself a contract at the Dogs and will be the one envisaged to replace the outgoing Darcy Fort. Central were one of the club’s to be hit most by AFL Draft, with Jackson Hately (GWS), Jez McLennan (Gold Coast), Aaron Nietschke (Melbourne) and Fort (Geelong) all recruited. 2018 leading goal kicker John Butcher and former Docker Jack Hannath have also both moved onto new opportunities outside of the game.

Glenelg

By: Jamie Morgan

Things have been very busy in the offseason at Brighton Road with some big names to the club. Ex-West Coast midfielder Luke Partington will look to have an immediate impact on the side slotting straight into the middle. Added as well is Ex-Geelong forward and local Glenelg boy, Cory Gregson. Despite his injury troubles whilst in the AFL system, the best of Gregson will compliment a strong Glenelg side. With key experienced players Liam McBean and Brad Agnew back to the Bay, this looks like the strongest Glenelg squad for some years. Despite losing Tobin Cox to Port Power, and some other players moving, the talent coming is excellent. Coach Mark Stone has young talent to work with, with 2019 Top 10 draft hopeful Will Gould showing he is ready for league footy in the pre-season and has been rewarded with a Round 1 berth. Gould is a versatile player with a strong body who will be looking to thrive in his draft year. 2018 SA U18 team member Finn Betterman has impressed also over the pre-season and will be making his debut in Round 1 as well. The Glenelg leaders of Max Proud and Chris Curran will be looking to guide this team to finals and break a long drought for the Tigers. At Reserves and Under 18 level there is plenty of talent keen to impress with SA U18 members Cooper Hornsell and Brady Searle developing nicely.

North Adelaide:

By: David Chapman

The reigning premiers have an uphill start, being docked two wins prior to the start of the season for the 19th man incident in the 2018 Preliminary finals. They have also lost five premiership players to the AFL in the form of Best and Fairest Callum Wilkie, wing/forward Robbie Young, ruckman Jordon Sweet, utility Connor Rozee and small forward Boyd Woodcock. Coming into the mix to replace those will be; back from the AFL, small forward Jake Neade (Power), and mid/forward Ben Jarman (Crows). Also out of country footy and returning to the Roosters with three Mail Medals is former SA U18 captain and midfielder Campbell Coombe and key defender from Keith, Bill Laurie. Rugby convert Jack Blair from NSW also takes up the ruck space. In the trial games, we have also seen some exciting play from small forwards Keanu Miller and Frankie Szekely and winger Mason Neagle. Some of the key youngsters in the mix for the Roosters this year include tall Dyson Hilder, at around 196cm he has played in the SANFL league trials in the midfield, up forward and down back and will be a key cog in the SA U18 champs this year. Also one to watch is key position player, Karl Findlay, picked in the U18 Academy as well, this smooth and calm defender will have a his mix of school, state and SANFL commitments this year. With the Reserves also winning the flag last year there is some depth, but a number of those experienced players have left the club to play some local and country footy. This year North cannot really afford to go on a 1-6 late season run like they did last year. The nucleus of the North success has been their core of hard midfielders, and while the key positions remain unchanged, the impact of losing Wilkie could be the key. However, North will still be a real threat in 2019.

Norwood:

By: Jamie Morgan

Norwood look to again be in the mix for finals after another solid offseason adding ex Port (and Glenelg) Dom Barry and former South Adelaide player Cody Szust to an already strong list. Magarey medalist Mitch Grigg again looks like he will be able to control games from the middle alongside Matthew Panos. Norwood had four of their talented youngsters drafted at the end of 2018 in Luke Valente, Jacob Kennerley, Ben Jarvis, and Kade Chandler, but their core group is experienced and tough and Coach Jarrod Cotton will be looking to go further than 2018. Ex PAC student Cole Gerloff is an emerging talent and should be a consistent member of the league side this year. The Under 18 talent at the Redlegs is again top notch and SA squad members Cameron Taheny and Dylan Stephens are real standouts who will no doubt get a taste at the next level. Both will be keys for SA’s Under 18 title defence and will be watched closely for the Redlegs.

Port Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

For the first time since Port Magpies re-assignment in the SANFL they will not be led by club stalwart Steven Summerton. Taking over the captaincy and marquee spot is former Fremantle utility Cameron Sutcliffe who surprisingly knocked back his original SANFL club Woodville-West Torrens. Sutcliffe has also taken on a role as a development mentor which will aid the draftees’ development and integration into the Magpies setup. Bar Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma, Port drafted exclusively from South Australia and already have Boyd Woodcock and Connor Rozee who played in a North Adelaide premiership in the previous season. Kai Pudney dominated in U18’s level last season and will look to take the next step in the seniors, as will Martin Frederick – who impressed at the U18 South Australia championship win – and will be looking to further his development with senior football. Out of the Magpies SANFL contracted players, ex-Central District forward Dallas Hill will be one to watch, as is Matt Appleton, who played 15 league matches for North Adelaide in 2018 will be an interesting prospect. With the Magpies’ Reserves side disbanded for 2019, all SANFL contracted players that don’t feature in the league side will play for their community clubs when not required. Second year Western Australian player Jake Patmore suffered an ACL injury in a SANFL trail match against South Adelaide and will miss the season, much like ruckman Sam Hayes who suffered the same injury last season but will be looking return to the SANFL side in the near future.

South Adelaide:

By: Jamie Morgan

It has been an interesting off season for the Panthers with some great talent snapped up with losing players Nathan Krueger to Geelong, Keegan Brooksby back into the AFL system at West coast as well as youngsters Tom Sparrow to Melbourne and Jake Tarca to Geelong. Bringing in Malcom Karpany from West Coast will be a handy addition as well as South favourite Emmanuel Irra returning from Port Adelaide, but it is the class of ball magnet Nick Liddle and Joel Cross which always makes South hard to beat. Players ready to break out include Liam Fitt who impressed with every game and Jaiden Kappler is another talent on the rise. South has some quality young talent emerging with big men Damon Freitag and Daniel Sladojevic likely to get an opportunity at the highest level.

Sturt:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

After losing dual premiership coach Marty Mattner as an assistant coach to the Adelaide Crows, the new Sturt era will be under the tutelage of former North Melbourne and Central District premiership player Nathan Grima. Grima was recruited from Essendon Football League side Strathmore and has brought Victorian pair Tom Condon from his former side and 6ft 5in giant Josh Patullo from Footscray’s VFL team from across the border. But their season will be headlined by the return of Sturt product Danyle Pearce, returning after 258 AFL games for Fremantle and Port Adelaide and a 2006 Rising Star award to his name. The Double Blues lost star player Shane McAdam to the AFL as a Mature-age draft pick and Riley Grundy to Port Adelaide late in last year’s draft. Sturt will also miss promising midfielder Tom Lewis – a key asset in South Australia’s successful U18 carnival- to an ACL injury suffered in an early season trial match and will miss the entire 2019 season.

West Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

West Adelaide will hope 2019 can be the season the Bloods can rise back up into finals contention, with coach Gavin Colville into his second term. West welcome back Jack Oatey medallist and the captain of their 2015 premiership Chris Schmidt, partnering the return of Will Snelling back from three seasons with Port Adelaide. Snelling- a hard luck story to be delisted by Port- will be keen to build on his 2018 best-and-fairest SANFL Port season and make a big impact back at his original club. The Bloods have also recruited Dallas Willsmore from Hawthorn after he was delisted at the end of the 2018 season after two AFL games in four seasons with the Hawks. Willsmore will provide more depth in West’s engine room, as West rounded out their acquisitions with Werribee swingman Jade Cleeland and ex-Norwood defender Pat Levicki. The recruits should replenish the loss of star players Chris Burgess and Izak Rankine, who were picked by the Gold Coast Suns, and veterans Aaron Fielke, Daniel Webb, and Shannon Green.

Woodville-West Torrens:

By: Jamie Morgan

There has been some strong ex-AFL talent added to the Eagles side this year, with Jimmy Toumpas (Port), Jesse Lonergan (Gold Coast) and Jordan Foote (Sydney Swans) providing even more class to a finals hardened outfit. With long-time coach Michael Godden departing to take up an Assistant role at Adelaide Crows, the Eagles secured Sam Lonergan as head coach in the off-season. Lonergan brings AFL and SANFL playing and Tasmanian coaching experience to the group and will be looking to have a clean slate after the difficult end to 2018 and the 19th man saga. This side looks ready for finals, and with exciting youngsters in their draft year Kysiah Pickett and Jackson Mead, the mix of experience and youth is spread well. No doubt the Round 1 clash vs 2018 Premiers North Adelaide will have an extra bite to it, with Lonergan’s team wanting to make its mark on the competition early. Midfielder accumulator James Boyd will be important, as will the class of Luke Thompson in defence.

Weekend Wash-up: NAB League Boys – Round 1

THE first round of the NAB League Boys saw a number of impressive performances both individual and team across the weekend, with Sandringham Dragons storming to a triple-figure win, while Bendigo Pioneers got off to a great start with a win over Geelong Falcons. Other winners included reigning grand finalists, Dandenong Stingrays and Oakleigh Chargers, Western Jets and Gippsland Power.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 1.4 | 2.8 | 6.9 | 11.14 (80)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 5.2 | 7.6 | 10.8 | 13.8 (86)

By: Cameron Ross

GOALS:

GWV: M. Lloyd 3, J. Wright 2, M. Jorgensen 2, I. Thomas, M. Martin, T. Mahony, C. Craig-Peters
Dandenong: E. Cahill 2, B. Nyuon 2, C. Gay 2, H. Sullivan, L. Goonan, J. Toner, K. George, H. Berenger, C. Weightman, J. Nanscawen

BEST:

GWV: C. Craig-Peters, M. Martin, L. Herbert, J. Hill, M. Lloyd, R. Polkinghorne
Dandenong: L. Williams, J. Toner, C. Gay, J. Nanscawen, D. Popa, B. Schmidt

The Dandenong Stingrays held off a spirited GWV Rebels comeback to hold on by six points at MARS Stadium on Saturday. The Rebels could not handle the immense pressure from the Stingrays in the first quarter. Every time a Rebel got a metre of space they were closed down and hit hard by a Stingray. This gave the Dandenong boys a huge lift, and they shot out of the blocks. Jai Nanscawen and Bigoa Nyoun had huge starts to the game kicking early goals. Mitch Martin, playing unusually as a midfielder, and Cooper Craig-Peters were good for the Rebels but were unable to stop the Stingrays taking a four-goal lead into the first break. In the second quarter, the Rebels had plenty of opportunities to get themselves back into the game but simply could not convert. Dandenong kicked clear, and looked to be extremely comfortable and good for their lead at half time. However, in the third quarter, Matty Lloyd sparked the Rebels’ revival. He had an outstanding second half, winning a lot of the ball and converting opportunities. The second half saw Jed Hill also come into the game after a move into the midfield. The Stingray’s steadied the ship with a few late third quarter goals, but you got the sense that this was a different GWV Rebels. In 2018, the Rebels were notorious for their poor second halves. It was obvious in the final term, that this was ancient history. The Rebels continued to claw their way back into the game, and before you knew it, they were only a goal down. Hill had a huge opportunity to bring the Rebels back within a point with under a minute remaining, but the talented forward/midfielder pushed his kick and the Stingrays clung on for a six-point victory. Nanscawen was the best player on the field, he racked up 15 possessions and 1.3. Nyuon and Ned Cahill also played well for the Stingrays. Craig-Peters was terrific onball for the Rebels, and had a complete four-quarter game. Lloyd, as stated earlier, was also terrific in the second half and played an important role in his side’s comeback. The Rebels are at home again this week, taking on the Falcons at Mars, while the Stingrays play the Gippsland Power in Morwell.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 5.4 | 8.7 | 13.10 | 19.13 (127)
CALDER CANNONS 0.1 | 0.4 | 1.8 | 1.12 (18)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Sandringham: C. Dean 5, R. Bowman 3, J. Mifsud 2, J. Bell 2, R. Byrnes, A. Hanrahan, F. Maginness, J. Mahony, N. Burke, A. Courtney, B. O’Leary.
Calder: S. Ramsay.

BEST:

Sandringham: R. Byrnes, R. Bowman, C. Dean, O. Lewis, F. Maginness, C. Watts
Calder: B. Newman, C. Brown, T. Browning, S. Callander, N. Gentile, S. Ramsay

In the first commentary streamed game of the new NAB League Boys competition, Sandringham Dragons stormed past Calder Cannons at RSEA Park. The Dragons never looked like losing in the 19.13 (127) to 1.12 (18) victory, booting five goals to zero in the first term, and by half-time had 55 points on the board. It only got worse after half-time for the Cannons, and while Sam Ramsay managed to kick a classy goal from the boundary line, Sandringham piled on another 11 goals to run away with the match by 109 points and stamp their authority on the competition. The Dragons had 32 scoring shots to 13, with the Cannons managing just one major for the contest. Charlie Dean booted five majors, while former Stingray, Riley Bowman added three goals. Jacquin Mifsud and Jack Bell booted two goals apiece, with Bowman and Dean named among the best with Dragons captain, Ryan Byrnes. For the Cannons, Calder captain Brodie Newman tried his best to stem the flow across half-back, while Curtis Brown and Tye Browning were also among the best in the heavy defeat.

 

EASTERN RANGES 3.0 | 4.1 | 5.3 | 7.5 (47)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.3 | 6.9 | 10.13 | 12.16 (88)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Eastern: L. Gawel 2, J. Tilly, J. Rossiter, T. Garner, L. Stapleton, B. McCormack.
Oakleigh: N. Anderson 4, T. Graham, J. May, C. Oglethorpe, H. Mundy, N. Dempsey, D. Williams, M. Rowell, S. Tucker

BEST:

Eastern: L. Stapleton, C. Hirst, Z. Pretty, C. Downie, J. Gilbee, M. Zalac
Oakleigh: N. Anderson, N. Guiney, W. Phillips, N. Bryan, T. Bianco, K. Schreiber

In the second game of the double header at RAMS Arena, Eastern Ranges put up a fight before eventually going down to one of the premiership favourites in Oakleigh Chargers. The Ranges booted three goals in the opening term to lead by three points at the first break, before the Chargers hit back in the second term with four goals to one, albeit with inaccuracy plaguing them. They booted 6.9 in the first half, and then 6.7 in the second half, finishing the game strongly and holding the Ranges to just three goals in the last half. Noah Anderson was the clear best on ground with four goals from 26 disposals, while Lachlan Gawel booted two goals for the Ranges. Nick Guiney, Will Phillips and Nick Bryan were named among the best for the Chargers, while Lachlan Stapleton and Cody Hirst were impressive for the Ranges. While the loss would be disappointing, the fact Eastern was able to match it with one of the top teams will give them plenty of confidence going forward.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.4 | 6.6 | 9.9 | 9.12 (66)
GIPPSLAND POWER 2.1 | 6.3 | 9.4 | 10.9 (69)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Murray: C. Wilson 3, W. Christie 2, K. Chalcraft, C. Byrne, J. Hillary, E. Hollands.
Gippsland: K. Dunkley 3, H. Pepper 2, J. Smith 2, M. McGannon, F. Phillips, S. Berry.

BEST:

Murray: C. Wilson, B. Kelly, D. Clarke, L. Ash, S. Durham, E. Hollands
Gippsland: K. Dunkley, S. Berry, R. Sparkes, B. Maslen, S. Flanders, T. Hourigan

Gippsland Power survived a scare from a plucky Murray Bushrangers in a thrilling contest at RAMS Arena on Sunday. The Bushrangers led at every break but never looked entirely comfortable, with the largest margin at the break standing at just five points. Digging deep in the final term with a blustery gale behind them, the Power found a way through to boot the winning goal amidst five behinds, while the Bushrangers could only manage three behinds for the term. The game was an exciting first round game, as Bushrangers’ co-captain Cam Wilson and former Oakleigh Charger and Sydney Swans father-son prospect, Kyle Dunkley both booting three goals for their respective sides. Wilson was named the best for the Bushrangers, while Ben Kelly and Lachlan Ash‘s work in defence was superb. For the Power, Sam Berry stood up throughout the contest, while Ryan Sparkes was crucial in the back half, as was Sam Flanders in the front half. Josh Smith and Harrison Pepper benefited with two goals each inside 50, while Will Christie managed two up the other end. Both sides had plenty to take out of the contest ahead of Round 2 clashes this weekend.

 

GEELONG FALCONS 0.1 | 4.2 | 6.4 | 6.7 (43)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 6.1 | 9.5 | 11.5 | 13.8 (86)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:

Geelong: H. Stubbings 2, C. Sprague, M. Annandale, C. Page, N. Gribble
Bendigo: C. Vick 2, M. Johnson 2, T. Dow 2, W. Shaw, J. Dick-O”Flaherty, R. Ironside, R. Wilson, J. Rodi, C. Fisher, E. Roberts

BEST:

Geelong: J. Clark, C. Lazzaro, J. Dahlhaus, S. Christensen, S. Bourke
Bendigo: R. Wilson, J. Schischka, W. Wallace, T. Dow, J. Rodi, B. Kemp

Bendigo Pioneers made a perfect start to its NAB League season, toppling the Geelong Falcons by 43 points in Colac on Sunday. Signs were ominous early as the travelling side were nothing short of clinical in front of goal, piling on six majors while keeping a shell-shocked Falcons goalless. The home side duly responded after the first break with four goals to bridge the gap, but it was almost all undone as Bendigo again clicked into gear with three of their own. As the third term marked a deadlock with two goals apiece, the Pioneers finished off the job with two goals to nil in the final stanza to double their opponent’s total. Thomson Dow was outstanding for the winners with 28 disposals and two goals, forming a formidable midfield duo with Brodie Kemp (22 disposals, five clearances). Cooper Vick and Max Johnson each joined Dow as multiple goal kickers, while Harry Stubbings was Geelong’s only player to do so. Co-captains Cooper Stephens (22 disposals, four clearances) and Jesse Clark (24 disposals, seven marks) were the best Falcons, with 19-year-old Charlie Sprague also showing signs of his talent with 20 touches and a goal. Both sided face another all-country clash next round, with Bendigo travelling to face Murray, and Geelong heading to Ballarat to face Greater Western Victoria.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 1.2 | 5.3 | 9.5 | 11.7 (73)
WESTERN JETS 3.3 | 5.3 | 6.5 | 12.8 (80)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Northern: R. Sturgess 2, J. D’Intinosante 2, L. Mcmahon 2, S. Brazier, S. Philp, Z. Costello, B. Nikolovski, A. Carafa
Western: A. Manton 3, A. Clarke 2, L. Failli 2, E. Jeka, K. Borg, J. Honey, S. El-Hawli, E. Ford

BEST:

Northern: R. Sturgess, N. Cox, B. Nikolovski, J. Davies, S. Philp, R. Gardner
Western: J. Kellett, A. Manton, E. Acevski, B. Ryan, J. Honey, K. Borg

In what was a close encounter it was the Western Jets that came away with a seven-point victory against the Northern Knights. The Jets skipped out to a handy lead in the first half of the game but the Knights fought back to take control in the second but were unable to finish it off, falling narrowly in the dying minutes of the game. Ryan Sturgess led the way for the Knights with his two goals and impact in and around the stoppages, while his Western Jets counterpart Josh Kellett accumulated plenty of touches. Archie Manton made his presence felt on the scoreboard with his three majors for the Jets, leading up at the footy and clunking some big marks. Josh D’Intinsonate played his part for the Knights chipping in with his two goals, while Adam Carafa was handy around the contest and slotted a major to keep the Knights in the game.