Category: NAB League

Tasmania proves too strong for Queensland in Under 17s triumph

THE team from Australia’s southernmost state flexed its muscle on their most northern counterparts, with a commanding 37-point victory over Queensland earlier today. On a lovely morning in Yeronga, the two sides faced off, with the best Under 17 talents of both states ready to impress spectators. In the end, Tasmania’s midfield was too dominant, constantly winning both centre and stoppage clearances around the ground that drove them to their triumph. The Queensland defence was frequently under pressure, due to both repeated entries by Tasmania, but also the immediate forward pressure that was created. Queensland was able to deliver patches of promise, but it was far too strong an outing for Tasmania to create a close contest.

In a contest that was months in the making, the first quarter saw a slight scoring deadlock, with the drought broken by Tasmanian backman Lachlan Cowan, who delivered a powerful set shot from range after earning a free kick. In the opening minutes of the game, it was evident that Tasmania were on top in the midfield, winning nearly all of the clearances.

It was also clear that the most dominant player on the ground during this time was Tasmanian ruckman Cameron Owen, who was giving his side clearance ascendancy and also setting up his team’s next two goals. It was a brilliant tap from Owen deep in his side’s forward line that led to a clever major from Declan Lee, but Queensland hit back through an intercepted switch kick in their forward line, and Izak Gejas had no problem converting. A major to Riley McMillan saw Queensland close the margin, and the game looked tense for a period of time.

Tasmania soon began to get the upper hand, starting with a Connor Leeflang major that was set up by an excellent handball from Owens. Two goals in a row to Tassie’s Seth Campbell and a major to Bryce Alomes saw Queensland begin to lose control of the score, with Tasmania taking a strong lead into the main break. Queensland found themselves constantly on the back foot, with immense forward pressure from Tasmania leading to mistakes in the Queensland backline. A hallmark of Tasmanian football over recent years has been slick ball use and they were living up to this reputation in the first half, with plenty of work for Queensland ahead.

The third quarter saw Queensland start to regain control of the game at stages, booting three of the next four goals to reduce the margin to a more manageable number. McMillan was starting to exert his influence on the contest, as was teammate Levi Fyffe, who generated plenty of much-needed run for his side. Queensland had admirably chipped away at the deficit, but it was not long before Tasmania were able to put their foot down and put the game away, dominating most of the final quarter and a half to run away with a convincing victory.

For the victors, Owens was outstanding in the first half, giving his side first use with a towering performance in the ruck, while teammates Colby McKercher and Liam Jones impressed for all four quarters, and Campbell finished the day with four majors. For Queensland, Fyffe and McMillan gave it their all, and were a class above others for large periods of the game.

QUEENSLAND 2.0 | 3.2 | 6.3 | 9.5 (59)
TASMANIA 4.3 | 6.5 | 9.10 | 14.12 (96)

GOALS:

Queensland: C. Langan 2, K. Baines 2, I. Gezas, R. McMillan, L. Fyffe, J. Young, T. Ryschka.
Tasmania: S. Campbell 4, J. Callinan 3, L. Cowan, D. Lee, C. Leeflang, B. Alomes, T. Beaumont, T. McCallum, H. Ollington.

DC BEST:

Queensland: R. McMillan, B. McCarthy, B. Tome, K. Reynoldson, L. Fyffe, L. Hude
Tasmania: R. Sanders, C. Owen, C. McKercher, L. Cowan, S. Campbell, T. Beaumont

Photo: Tasmania Devils Facebook

PREVIEW | Country clashes continue in NAB League

THE 2021 NAB League home-and-away rounds draw to a close on Saturday, with another two all-country clashes making up the extent of this weekend’s fixtures. A recent shake-up in the competition’s finals structure sees the 13 full-time teams split into conferences, and the country placings will now be finalised ahead of a three-week post-season.

Dandenong Stingrays and Tasmania Devils have been tagged onto the metro standings, leaving five country competitors. With that the case, Gippsland Power has the bye this round as Murray Bushrangers host Geelong Falcons in Wangaratta, while Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels welcome Bendigo Pioneers to Ballarat.

Murray returns to the fold after missing out on last week’s action, but cannot improve its current ladder position (fourth), while Geelong will look for a sizeable percentage boost and heavy Bendigo loss to stand any hope of snatching second spot. The Falcons should come in full of confidence after an impressive win last time out, but have the lingering mental note of their 57-point loss to Murray all the way back in Round 3 (April).

While standout prospect Josh Rachele looks like being a key absentee along with Allies squad members Cameron McLeod, Charlie Byrne, and Toby Murray, the Bushrangers have a handy combination upon shuffling the magnets. Bottom-ager Oliver Hollands will start in midfield alongside Brisbane father-son candidate Noah Bradshaw and top-ager Kade Chalcraft, with Ryan Eyers looking to show his versatility as the starting ruck.

Vic Country representative Tom Brown has been named for his sixth outing and is one to watch off half-back, with his athleticism boding well for eye-catching intercept marks and plenty of dash on the rebound. There will be a couple of debutants in the mix too, as Max Beattie (forward pocket) and Tom Cappellari (wing) come into the starting line-up.

Bottom-age Geelong Falcons midfielder Jhye Clark is one to watch

The Falcons look quite settled and rightly so after three wins in four games. They will again be without in-form forward Noah Gadsby, but boast a strong engine room. Mitch Knevitt leads the way in there and is a rising prospect, while bottom-ager Jhye Clark and speedy left-footer Cooper Whyte add some class and flair to the mix.

204cm ruck Toby Conway was a handy addition last week and worked well in tandem with Olivier Northam, who has shown plenty of promise post his Under 17 Vic Country outings. Up the other end, Oscar Morrison caught the eye last week and there should be plenty of outside run as Jai McGough returns and Noah Gribble remains. While there are plenty of draft eligible prospect to watch, the Hollands-Clark midfield battle should be an exciting one here.

Over at Mars Stadium, the GWV Rebels will hope for a swift return to the winners list as they host Bendigo in a meeting between the first and second ranked country sides. Both teams suffered losses last week but have shown terrific form at their best, with an even spread in each line-up and some emerging talent to monitor. In a rare instance for country regions this season, these two are yet to play each other in 2021.

GWV Rebels ball magnet Nick Hodgson

The Rebels’ embarrassment of riches in midfield this time sees Sam Butler start on the bench as Nick Hodgson starts alongside mainstays Ben Hobbs and Sam Breuer. Smooth-moving top-ager Marcus Herbert is stationed on the wing, meaning Charlie Molan will likely continue his forward foray along with Fraser Marris. All nine of GWV’s Under 19 Vic Country representatives are available, including skipper Josh Rentsch (ruck). Elsewhere, Blake Scott is a handy addition this week.

Bendigo will be buoyed by the return of Cooper Hamilton, who pushes twin brother Hugh to the bench this week having snared a starting midfield spot. The agility and class of Oskar Faulkhead and Jack Hickman promises to compliment the pair’s grunt at centre bounces.

Having enjoyed a stint down back, top-ager Sam Conforti has this time been named forward alongside usual wingman Cooper Smith, with versatile talents Cobi Maxted, Ryan O’Keefe, and Caleb Ernst bringing plenty of heigh to the front six. A potential match-up to note is between a couple of 2005-born prospects in GWV defender George Stevens and Bendigo forward Harley Reid, who were under-age Vic Country Under 17 teammates this year.

Stay tuned to Draft Central next week, as we wrap up all the results and big performances with our weekly NAB League snapshot, Scouting Notes, Player of the Week, and more.

FIXTURES:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Geelong Falcons | Saturday August 21, 1:00pm @ WJ Findlay Oval
GWV Rebels vs. Bendigo Pioneers | Saturday August 21, 1:30pm @ Mars Stadium

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 16

THE NAB League made its latest return on Sunday, with two games pitting four country regions agains each other. The Geelong Falcons and Gippsland Power picked up wins against higher-ranked adversaries, with rising prospects of all different age-groups impressive. We take a look at some of the top performers from each side in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS: Round 16 snapshot

BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.16 (28) def. by GEELONG FALCONS 9.12 (66)

By: Michael Alvaro

Bendigo Pioneers:

#1 Sam Conforti

Once again starting among Bendigo’s back six, Conforti constantly looked to generate some spark on the rebound and set his side on the front foot. Tasked with the kick-in duties, the top-ager also got to work by foot in general play with a sharp short-range game and crafty smarts in possession. He had no trouble finding the ball with a team-high 25 disposals in midfield and defence, but also got his hands dirty with 11 tackles as one of the Pioneers’ more consistent and prominent four-quarter performers.

#4 Jack Hickman

Another of Bendigo’s nippy small midfielders, Hickman returned another promising outing with his evasive work around the contest. His spurts of speed and agility meant making space at stoppages was a key feature, with the top-ager able to get to the outer and generate a bit of forward momentum from the middle. One of his highlights was a four-bounce run from defence to the wing which sparked a coast-to-coast passage for Bendigo. He had a chance to hit the scoreboard in term four, but missed his shot from range on the run.

#56 Harley Reid

Get used to reading plenty about Reid for years to come, as the 2023-eligible prospect was again impressive for Bendigo. Having been utilised on a wing and more prominently up forward, Reid was given an extended run in midfield this time out to good effect. He showcased terrific speed coming away from congestion, cleanly bursting to the outside and pumping the ball forward by foot. His explosiveness also served well defensively, as Reid laid some ferocious tackles and dug in for repeat efforts around the ball. He couldn’t quite find the goals this time out from a couple of tough chances, but impacted with each act.

Geelong Falcons:

#3 Euriah Hollard

Hollard returned to the fold and made a splash in his usual small forward role, snaring a game-high three goals from 11 disposals and five scoring shots. The 178cm livewire made things happen when the ball entered his area, attacking it with intent and causing headaches for opposition defenders with his pressure. He could easily have finished with five goals, but finished his three nicely through differing methods; a crumb and snap, a steady drop punt on the run, and a punchy set shot. His scoreboard contribution helped Geelong really put the foot down.

#8 Jhye Clark

With his level of performance thus far in the NAB League, it’s easy to forget that Clark is a bottom-ager. He registered 25 disposals, 10 marks and six inside 50s on the back of outstanding work-rate both at and away from the contest, providing great balance in midfield. In possession, Clark provided opportunities for his forwards and used the ball well on both sides, while also displaying clean overhead marking skills around the ground. He booted a goal in term four with a quick finish on his left foot, proving good reward for effort.

#11 Cooper Whyte

Offering speed and a hard edge in midfield, Whyte again showed flashes of style for the Falcons in a solid outing. The 18-year-old consistently attacked the ball with vigour and looked to get his legs pumping in possession, allowing for swift stoppage exits. He kicked his side inside 50 on seven occasions with that potent left foot and even managed a couple of shots on goal – albeit registering two behinds. His second attempt came after a terrific mark at full stretch, displaying notable courage with contact imminent.

#26 Olivier Northam

While his numbers (nine disposals, four marks, one goal) may not jump off the page, Northam had some memorable moments on Sunday. The bottom-aged ruck spent a good amount of time forward with primary bigman Toby Conway returning, which allowed him to showcase his strong lead presentation and clean marking ability. With a knack for flying high, Northam almost pulled down a speccy in term three and booted a goal in the same period, beating his direct opponent one-out in the goalsquare. He also competed well at ground level, making for a well-rounded effort.

#28 Mitch Knevitt

The most outstanding player across both NAB League games on Sunday, Knevitt continues to boost his stocks after yet another ominous outing in midfield. At 193cm, his contested work was again strong and the 18-year-old dominated in that sense, proving difficult to bring down. Arguably even more impressive was his sustained impact around the ground and up forward, with Knevitt’s work-rate and pack marking leading to a statline boasting 36 disposals and 10 marks. His handling was so clean with one-grab takes in every context, and one of his contested marks lead directly to a third term major. He’s a prospect on the rise.

#56 Oscar Morrison

Another player whose stats (16 disposals, three marks, two rebound 50s) may not tell the full story, Morrison produced some of the game’s most exciting passages from defence. His intercept marking ability was again observed on a couple of occasions, but it was the 18-year-old’s daring dash which really caught the eye. The 193cm bolter backed his pace to burn opponents through the corridor, before delivering spearing balls inside 50 to leading targets. In a flash, Geelong had gone coast-to-coast. While he had some quiet patches, Morrison’s best was really damaging and he seems to have gained a good deal of confidence this season.

#60 Toby Conway

The 204cm bigman returned to action for the Falcons and played his usual game through the ruck, also rotating forward. Conway positioned relatively well around the ground and while he only clunked two marks, competed for many more and had a few ‘almost moments’. In the ruck, he won 23 hit-outs and looked to assert his size by prizing clearances, though 12 of his 14 touches came by hand. It was a solid overall effort from the Vic Country representative.

>> Player Focus: Mitch Knevitt

GIPPSLAND POWER 8.7 (55) def. GWV REBELS 6.12 (48)

By: Declan Reeve

Gippsland Power:

#1 Jacob Konstanty

The Under 17s Vic Country representative was a livewire around the ground throughout the contest, putting up an impressive game for a smaller forward. Konstanty kicked two goals; the first coming from a ground ball pick up in the forward 50, with a little burst away and a neat snap from the pocket, and the second coming when he hit arrived front and centre in the goalsquare with speed, snatching the ball and slamming it through. Not just kicking goals himself, Konstanty worked hard to create scoring opportunities for his side, with his competitiveness at ground level allowing him to win the ball and flick it out via hand inside 50. It was good to see Konstanty pushing up the ground and involving himself in the game even when Gippsland wasn’t getting it inside 50, with his pressure work resulting in stoppages and interrupting GWV’s momentum.

#4 Nathan Noblett

Despite being 183cm, Noblett was the most common target going inside 50 early on for Gippsland, getting himself three first half goals with an excellent display of work-rate inside 50. His most impressive goal came as he won the ball at ground level, quickly balanced himself and slotted it from right on the boundary. Noblett was often able to get separation from his direct opponent when making leads, but wasn’t always able to get free from GWV’s defensive structure.

#17 Luis D’Angelo

Arguably the biggest driver going forward for Gippsland, D’Angelo had periods where it felt like he was the only player on the ground as he won clearances and kicked long. At times beating Ben Hobbs around stoppages, GWV had to adapt to try and negate D’Angelo’s clearance winning. He did well below his knees to win the majority of ground balls he was around, often mopping up after GWV had rushed a kick out of defence.

#29 Bailey Humphrey

Humphrey really stepped up in the last quarter when the game was on the line, digging in and really powering through to win a couple of clearances in a row. His quick hands in close released his teammates well when he opted for that method, otherwise aiming for distance with his kicks from stoppages. He showed some good bursts of speed in close as well, to get separation from opponents quickly.

GWV Rebels:

#1 Sam Butler

After being eased into the midfield in prior games, Butler enjoyed a lot more time on-ball against the Power and showed exactly why he was given the opportunity with an impressive display. Butler added a touch of class to the midfield, complimenting the in-and-under nature of his teammates with composure and ball use. This didn’t stop Butler from showing off some grunt of his own, at times winning contested ball, then showing off his impressive acceleration to power away from opponents. The balanced nature of his game meant he was always a chance to be involved in a piece of play – whether that was winning the ball himself, receiving the releasing handball, or working hard to be an option further afield. A theme across Butler’s game was his work ethic; willing to run both ways, making efforts, and then following up and going again if he wasn’t used or rewarded.

#2 Ben Hobbs

Hobbs was yet again a reliable and hard-at-it player for the Rebels, never conceding a contest without giving it everything he had. Hobbs’ work in-and-under was unsurprisingly elite, fighting hard for front position around stoppages and hunting the ball, running through opponents to win it before firing out a handball to a teammate on the outside, or kicking for distance from congestion. It was impressive to see Hobbs stand up in as many tackles as he did, holding his balance well as opponents tried all they could to pull him down, dishing off a handball to keep the play going. 

#3 Charlie Molan

Lining up in the forward half, Molan’s two-way running was a highlight of his game, pushing back to assist the backline when GWV was under siege, and getting involved as a link-up player or tackler. When GWV had momentum, Molan was used as a marking target in the forward 50 a few times as he worked hard to get separation on opponents and take marks uncontested. He used the ball well, placing his kicks in front of teammates to run onto, or handballing quickly as they ran past to keep play moving. Molan was one that didn’t neglect his defensive duties in the forward 50 either, rushing at opponents to pressure them into a rushed disposal or applying the tackle for a stoppage.

#8 Josh Gibcus

A mixed bag from the key defender saw a relatively quiet first half, as he stuck to his opponent well enough that Gippsland rarely looked to use that option. This lead to a change-up in his approach to the game, as Gibcus started to drift away from his opponent more and more. He impacted contests inside 50, utilising his speed and leap to spoil the ball, while pushing forward to intercept higher up the ground as the game went on. Perhaps most impressive from Gibcus was the high level of his disposal, hitting some difficult handballs in open play and utilising the distance of his kick a bit more than usual, but more often than not going for a shorter switch option around the defensive 50.

#16 Kai Lohmann

Lohmann was electric in the forward half for the Rebels, with his ball use and work below his knees giving GWV some good opportunities in attack. His athletic advantage over most opponents ultimately led to his two goals for the game. The first came after he had picked the ball up of a bounce, sold candy to get around one opponent and then side-stepped another, before snapping the ball from the pocket. The second came as GWV burst away with the ball from a stoppage and Lohmann broke away from his opponent, taking a mark on the lead, then playing on and kicking the goal.

>> Player Focus: Charlie Molan

Featured Image: Geelong Falcons defender Oscar Morrison runs with the ball | Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

2021 NAB League Boys Player of the Week: Round 16

GEELONG Falcons midfielder Mitch Knevitt is the Draft Central NAB League Player of the Week for Round 16. The 18-year-old midfielder amassed 36 disposals, 10 marks, three tackles, eight inside 50s and a goal in his side’s impressive 38-point road win against Bendigo Pioneers on Sunday.

>> Round 16 Player Focus: Mitch Knevitt

With the competition returning from another period of lockdown, Knevitt proved he hadn’t missed a beat and continued his ominous form. The big-bodied ball winner has been building into top 25 calculations; averaging 30 disposals, six marks, seven tackles, and six inside 50s across his last three NAB League outings, while also turning out for Vic Country last month.

He boasts a desirable set of skills at 193cm, with formidable size and contested ball winning ability to go with eye-catching athletic traits and a knack for taking strong overhead marks. Identified by his Falcons teammates as one to watch during pre-season, with another big performance he is truly living up to the billing.

Knevitt becomes the eighth 2003-born talent to earn Player of the Week honours in 2021, joining fellow Vic Country representatives Connor Macdonald, Ben Hobbs, and Josh Rachele on the list. He is the first Geelong Falcons prospect to feature this season, and should have plenty more opportunities to shine should fixtures remain undisrupted.

Mitch Knevitt representing Vic Country

2021 DRAFT CENTRAL NAB LEAGUE BOYS PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

Round 1: Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges)
Round 2: Connor Macdonald (Dandenong Stingrays)
Round 3: Nick Daicos (Oakleigh Chargers)
Round 4: Fraser Marris (GWV Rebels)
Round 9: Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)
Round 10: Baynen Lowe (Tasmania Devils)
Round 11: Josh Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
Round 12: Cobi Maxted (Bendigo Pioneers)
Round 15: Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons)
Round 16: MITCH KNEVITT (Geelong Falcons)

2021 NAB League Boys snapshot: Round 16

THE 2021 NAB League season made its latest return on Sunday, with a quartet of Victorian regions getting on the park for a couple of all-country clashes. Geelong Falcons and Gippsland Power both earned victories over higher-ranked sides, with shaking up the ladder with finals fast-approaching. We run you through all the results and big performances in the Round 16 snapshot, stay tuned for Scouting Notes to follow tomorrow evening.

>> Round 16 POTW: Mitch Knevitt

BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.16 (28) def. by GEELONG FALCONS 9.12 (66)

IN A SENTENCE:

The Geelong Falcons kept and inaccurate Bendigo Pioneers side goalless in the first and fourth quarters, running out impressive 38-point winners in ideal conditions at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

TEAM STATS:

  • Bendigo Pioneers won the handballs (128-124) and rebound 50s (43-33)
  • Geelong Falcons won the kicks (218-168), marks (95-56), and inside 50s (52-39)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers) 25 disposals, 2 marks, 11 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 6 rebound 50s
  • Jack Hickman (Bendigo Pioneers) 17 disposals, 1 mark, 5 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers) 16 disposals, 2 marks, 8 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s
  • Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons) 36 disposals, 10 marks, 3 tackles, 8 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Jhye Clark (Geelong Falcons) 25 disposals, 10 marks, 5 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Cooper Whyte (Geelong Falcons) 21 disposals, 9 marks, 6 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons)
4 – Jhye Clark (Geelong Falcons)
3 – Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers)
2 – Olivier Northam (Geelong Falcons)
1 – Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers)

NEXT UP:

To be confirmed.

GIPPSLAND POWER 8.7 (55) def. GWV REBELS 6.12 (48)

IN A SENTENCE: 

The Gippsland Power pulled off another massive boilover on home turf, leading the highly-touted GWV Rebels at every break and holding on to win by seven points in Morwell.

TEAM STATS:

  • Gippsland Power won the rebound 50s (44-26) and hit-outs (32-20)
  • GWV Rebels won the disposals (338-287), inside 50s (52-35), and tackles (71-52)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Luis D’Angelo (Gippsland Power) 28 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power) 25 disposals, 3 marks, 7 tackles, 9 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s
  • Jess McGrath (Gippsland Power) 16 disposals, 5 marks, 8 rebound 50s
  • Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels) 32 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Nick Hodgson (GWV Rebels) 32 disposals, 2 marks, 8 tackles, 6 inside 50s
  • Sam Butler (GWV Rebels) 27 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)
4 – Sam Butler (GWV Rebels)
3 – Luis D’Angelo (Gippsland Power)
2 – Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels)
1 – Bailey Humphrey (Gippsland Power)

NEXT UP:

To be confirmed.

PREVIEW | NAB League goes country in latest return

THE 2021 NAB League season returns once more on Sunday afternoon, with eased lockdown restrictions seeing a quartet of the competition’s Country regions take centre stage. Two games remain for the four teams in action on Sunday, with the added potential for make-up fixtures and a Wildcard Round before finals. Meanwhile, Metro-based programs hope to return to the fold next weekend along with the Dandenong Stingrays and Murray Bushrangers.

Bendigo Pioneers lock horns with Geelong Falcons for the third time this season when they meet at Queen Elizabeth Oval at 1:00pm, with the ledger currently at an even 1-1. While Bendigo got the chocolates all the way back in Round 4, the Falcons hit back in Round 8 to square things up and set up an intriguing tiebreaker.

The 6-4 Pioneers sit second in the Country pool and are set to welcome back some strong talent. While AFL Academy member Cooper Hamilton remains out, twin brother Hugh returns to the fold and looks poised to join Harvey Gallagher and Jack Hickman in a strong midfield trio. Utility Cobi Maxted is also back after turning out for Collingwood’s VFL side last month, while the likes of Sam Conforti and Oskar Faulkhead offer sound rotation through midfield from either end of the ground.

Toby Conway is among the Geelong Falcons’ inclusions

Geelong boasts some handy inclusions of its own, headlined by 204cm ruck Toby Conway. The influential bigman comes in alongside fellow Vic Country representative Noah Gribble, who last made his VFL debut with Werribee. He shifts out to his familiar wing position with the likes of Mitch Knevitt, Cooper Whyte, and bottom-ager Jhye Clark taking spots on the inside. Top-ager Gennaro Bove remains and small forward Euriah Hollard is back, but the Falcons look set to go in without Noah Gadsby.

Sunday’s second fixture sees first battle last in the Country pool, as the 7-2 Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels travel to take on Gippsland Power (2-7) in Morwell. Despite their perfectly opposite records and current ladder positions, Gippsland picked up the more recent win after toppling Oakleigh Chargers last time out, while GWV went down to Sandringham Dragons. The Rebels easily accounted for their weekend opponents in Round 8 though, to the tune of 79 points on home turf.

The hosts welcome back top-age defender Jess McGrath after his two-game stint in the Richmond VFL set-up, slotting straight back in at centre half-back. Up the other end, Jai Serong has been named at full forward but will likely be thrown around in numerous roles, while bottom-agers Jacob Konstanty (forward) and Cooper Vickery (wing) are a couple to watch. In midfield, Mitchell Moschetti is in fine form and will look to add some polish alongside Luis D’Angelo as the Power move forward.

Ben Hobbs in action for Vic Country

GWV has again named a stacked side, with all nine of its Vic Country representatives available. A midfield squeeze is on the cards with top 10 talent Ben Hobbs named in there alongside Sam Butler and Sam Breuer, seeing the likes of Fraser Marris and Marcus Herbert squeezed out to flanks. Skipper Josh Rentsch may be set for more time in the ruck, and defender Josh Gibcus promises to catch the eye as always. On the interchange, tough midfielder Nick Hodgson is a handy inclusion for the Rebels.

Stay tuned to Draft Central next week, as we wrap up all the results and big performances with our weekly NAB League snapshot, Scouting Notes, Player of the Week, and more.

NAB League Player Focus: Mac Andrew (Dandenong Stingrays)

DANDENONG Stingrays ruck Mac Andrew has proven one of fastest risers in this year’s AFL Draft conversation, boasting eye-catching athleticism, handy versatility, and a knack for stepping up to the big occasions. While he is tied to Melbourne as a Next Generation Academy product, Andrew is unlikely to land at the Demons with a bid almost certain to come within the top 20.

The 200cm prospect impressed while representing Vic Country last month and upon the NAB League’s return, continued his promising form in the Stingrays’ loss to Eastern Ranges on Sunday. We put his latest performance under the Player Focus microscope, covering his every move quarter-by-quarter.

>> Top 25: August Power Rankings

Mac Andrew
Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country

DOB: 12/04/2003
Height/Weight: 200cm/70kg
Position: Ruck/Key Forward

Strengths:
Vertical leap
Versatility
Mobility

2021 Averages

NAB League: 6 games | 12.7 disposals | 2.7 marks | 1.7 tackles | 1.5 inside 50s | 12.7 hitouts | 0.3 goals (2 total)

NAB League Round 15 | Dandenong Stingrays 9.10 (64) def. by Eastern Ranges 13.13 (91)

Player Focus: #22 Mac Andrew (Dandenong Stingrays)
Stats: 17 disposals (8 kicks, 9 handballs), 4 marks, 2 inside 50s, 16 hitouts

Quarter-by-quarter:

Q1

Starting in the ruck, Andrew had an immediate impact at the centre bounces with taps to advantage for the first two clearances of the game. He showcased his leap against fellow 200cm ruck Jack Diedrich, rising high and turning his body well to tap over his shoulder at hit rovers on both occasions.

At stoppages around the ground, Andrew looked to use his mobility to move into front position, rather than be flat footed and forced to engage in a wrestle. His reach also came in handy in those situations, able to get first touch on the ball from obscure positions in the ruck contest.

The Dandenong prospect was also rotated forward but was not afforded great delivery where he could get a proper run and jump at the ball. The clear highlight of his opening term was a strong contested mark from the back of a half-forward pack, taking the ball cleanly before delivering a pin-point pass inside 50 to Bryce Milford.

Q2

The second term saw Andrew rack up more of the ball, competing well on the follow-up with his clean hands but also showing his rawness and room for development. He again started at the centre bounce and got his hands to the first spillage, going to ground but managing to fire out a handball.

Andrew then managed to prove his smarts by sharking an opposition tap and booting forward a clearance, but he tended to play within a typical ruck’s limits. The bigman dished off quickly to runners when under pressure at the contest, and even in fast breaks through the corridor.

He crashed a couple of packs but could not quite hold onto his marks, though he still managed to flick a disposal out as he hit the deck on multiple occasions.

Q3

The third was arguably Andrew’s quietest, despite boasting a massive size advantage in the ruck. He featured at the first centre bounce and made use of his height, but again hit the deck on some of his follow-up attempts. Still, he was willing to get down and compete at ground level as somewhat of a fourth midfielder.

Andrew’s couple of clear moments on the ball were nice; first showing good awareness to turn quickly through two opponents when receiving in a tight spot, and next booting a kick across the defensive half to help Dandenong stretch its transition.

He had a long forward rotation and with limited looks, again did not quite have the strength to clunk each mark but stood up under high balls and managed to compete.

Q4

Andrew rounded out his game strongly by covering a good amount of ground, showing good ruck craft, and popping up for another couple of marks. He continued to move the ball on quickly and did the basics well, proving quite an efficient user for his size.

With his overhead pluck from the side at half-forward, Andrew displayed more of his athleticism and potential, before dishing off to a runner who sent the Stingrays inside 50. In his ground coverage, Andrew managed to get up and back and while he got into the defensive 50 hole, he saw a lot of the ball go right over his head.

Still, Andrew showed more of the really promising traits which have him poised so highly on draft boards at the moment, despite that evident rawness.

In closing…

Somewhat of a big game player, Andrew did not quite hit the heights of some of his previous performances but still showcased the athleticism and upside which have him rising into top 10, and even top five calculations. At his best, he displayed wonderfully clean hands when directing hits, following up at stoppages, and taking big overhead marks. He also covered the ground well and had the right idea to plug a hole in defensive 50, while also dragging his opponent forward when Dandenong attacked. Once Andrew fills out, he will be able to provide an even greater focal point up forward to make full use of his reach and leap, but uses those more effectively as a ruck at this stage. Look away Demons fans, the chances of a bid coming past pick 20 are incredibly slim.

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 15

THE NAB League returned for Round 15 over the weekend, with a set of six fixtures kicked off under Friday night lights in Werribee. While school football competitions also resumed and injuries continue to hit, there was still plenty of top-end talent on show this time around. We take a look at some of the top performers from each side in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> Round 15 snapshot | Round 15 POTW | Round 15 TOTW | August Power Rankings

WESTERN JETS 7.7 (49) def. by GEELONG FALCONS 11.13 (79)

By: Michael Alvaro

Western Jets:

#28 Massimo D’Ambrosio

Having been utilised in a few different roles this year, D’Ambrosio dropped back to defence to good effect in this outing. The 18-year-old moves well and provided plenty of drive out of defence for the Jets as he took the game on with ball-in-hand. D’Ambrosio had plenty do to after half time as he carried the ball on the rebound and looked to be damaging by foot with either inboard options or penetrating balls down the line. He finished with a clear season-high 31 disposals to go with eight marks and 10 rebound 50s.

#32 Paul Curtis

While he started the game off in midfield, it wouldn’t take long for Curtis to switch to his usual forward post and get to work. The crafty small snared Western’s first goal of the night after marking deep on the behind line, and was a constant threat inside 50. While he used his smarts within the arc, Curtis also looked really polished when working further afield where he hardly fumbled and brought others into the play with sharp disposal. He missed a couple of set shots which would have cemented an even better game, but he was productive nonetheless with 21 disposals, four marks and five tackles.

#35 Liam Conway

A key figure in Western’s midfield, Conway again won a mountain of ball to end with a game-high 35 disposals, five marks and five inside 50s. He used his strength over the ball at each contest and was also a solid marking option around the ground, accumulating his touches at a good tick throughout the game. He also spent some in the forward half after the main break, but found the goals in term one with a monster 50m set shot.

Geelong Falcons:

#8 Jhye Clark

A standout at Under 17 level, Clark has transitioned well into the Falcons’ Under 19 program and had another solid outing here. The midfielder isn’t afraid to get stuck in and boasts a pretty well-rounded game; able to go up for overhead marks, win his own ball and tackle at the contest, while also coming away from it with class. Clark finished with 18 disposals and six tackles.

#18 Blake Reid

Having been thrown into midfield at a greater rate this season, Reid was again part of that rotation before being sent back to play a role on Western’s Paul Curtis. He started out with some good early intent at the contest and looked to kick Geelong forward with well-directed passes. Much of his influence after quarter time came in the back half, as he took on the kick-in duties to finish with 23 disposals, seven tackles, and six inside 50s.

#26 Olivier Northam

The bottom-aged ruckman brought plenty of heat to the contest with his intensity and willingness to provide a bit of physicality around the ball. As quite a mobile and competitive tall, he was able to prize his own clearances while also showing a handy leap around the ground to crash aerial balls. He also did the latter when resting forward and found the goals with a set shot in term three. Northam set the tone well for the Falcons as they ran away with the contest during the final quarter.

#28 Mitch Knevitt

Knevitt was the Falcons’ most prolific ball winner on the night with 28 disposals, providing his usual strength to the midfield battle in offensive and defensive settings. The 193cm prospect proved difficult to bring down, constantly able to stand up in tackles and wait to dish off the ideal release handball to his runners. He also made Western feel the hurt with his own tackling and used his burst of speed well to shut the Jets down with solid pressure. As per usual, he also spent some time resting forward but couldn’t snare a goal this time out.

#32 Noah Gadsby

It could have been a huge game for Gadsby if not for some goalkicking inaccuracy, with the athletic forward managing 2.4 from his 22 disposals and four marks. He showed a strong running capacity with his work up the ground, presenting all the way up past the wing to help link Geelong in transition. Gadsby was also lively inside 50 with his various shots on goal and always looked like making something happen, despite his lack of a finished product.

#56 Oscar Morrison

While not his most prolific game, Morrison showed some really promising glimpses in the first half as a dynamic rebounding influence down back. The 17-year-old looked composed for the ball and backed his speed at 193cm to burn opponents or break tackles. He was often in good position to intercept or mop up before taking metres and kicking Geelong into attack.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 9.10 (64) def. by EASTERN RANGES 13.13 (91)

By: Eli Duxson

Dandenong Stingrays:

#8 Bayleigh Welsh

While it was far from his strongest game statistically (33 disposals vs. Gold Coast), Welsh brought a lot of grunt and hustle in his defensive post providing efforts that would not have showed up on the stat sheet. He hit his first contest hard and continued to scrap the disputed ball which set the tone for the way he would go about his day. Defensively he knows how to take the body well without giving away free kicks and can maintain balance over the ball to extract out of congestion (eight handballs). Welsh looked to attack off half back and provided good run and generally tidy skills but was a little overzealous at times in trying to create options moving forward.

#14 Will Bravo

Probably Dandenong’s best player on the day as he accumulated 28 disposals, five inside 50’s, and a goal in the final quarter to top off his day. Showed strong poise and composure over the ball in traffic rarely going to ground while also being active around stoppages to hunt the footy. He showed a high work rate running both ways and found the ball in every single third of the ground. His disposal was generally reliable with pinpoint short passes as he lowered his eyes on many occasions moving forward. One of the inside midfielder’s most well-rounded games for the season.

#22 Mac Andrew

Had a busy first half playing primarily in the ruck as he did for most of the day while resting forward, but his output slowed down as Eastern gained the ascendency. His athleticism was on full display from the get-go with his leap highlighted at the first centre bounce, and his mobility around the ground almost turning him into a fourth midfielder once the ball is in open play. His ground ball gathers were clean and his positioning behind the ball allowed him to mark overhead well. His ruckwork around the game showed his lack of strength will impact his ability to muscle bigger opponents as he opted for a wider starting position to run and jump at the ball unhindered but was often out positioned due to unfavourable throw ins. He finished with 17 disposals, 16 hit outs, and four marks.

Eastern Ranges:

#4 Josh Clarke

Eastern’s skipper had another high disposal effort in his third NAB League appearance for the season playing predominantly out of half back, maximising his penetrating kick moving forward. He managed a whopping 11 inside 50’s from his 21 kicks (seven handballs) as his left boot worked off half back to find multiple targets forward of centre with a couple of goal assists. He ran most of the wing on one occasion taking a few bounces and typified the role of an attacking half back, even accumulating possessions in a Daniel Rich type role taking 11 marks with few being intercept.

#35 Max Hall

Perhaps Eastern’s most impactful player through the midfield amassing a goal, 25 disposals, eight marks, and seven inside 50’s as he continues his string of good form at the back end of the season. Hall’s pace spreading from stoppages was impressive, as was his ability to get to good spots to find and receive the footy. His ball use was stable and was highlighted with a good step and well-weighted hit to a teammate streaming forward who did not have to break stride. His outside work was good, but it was balanced with some inside grunt work showing strength to handball out of tackles, as well as earning himself a free kick for the holding the ball.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 6.3 (39) def. by CALDER CANNONS 7.7 (49)

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers:

#2 Charlie Byrne

Capable of playing on either side of midfield, Byrne was employed on the inside this time around as a fixture at the centre bounces for Murray. The top-ager got busy around the ball and found plenty of it with 27 disposals, but arguably looked more dangerous when operating in space. On the end of handball receives, Byrne was able to generate some run in transition and make better use of his kicking skills, but was still solid in a slightly different role.

#5 Oliver Hollands

One of the competition’s standout bottom-agers and a familiar name to many, Hollands warmed to the contest well after a couple of shaky moments early on. He tended to do the basics well, showing clean hands and quick disposal in midfield while also working hard to cover plenty of ground up and back. That work-rate and constant pressure around the ball may have hindered his kicking somewhat, but Hollands was typically sharp by hand and always able to dish off in traffic.

#13 Tom Brown

A real riser since returning from injury, Brown wasn’t quite at his best on Sunday but still showed glimpses of his exciting traits. Once again stationed in defence, the Vic Country representative had a couple of rusty-looking moments early but soon sharpened up to look more assured in possession. Brown’s ability to read the play and intercept was evident, as he was never afraid to fly high for his marks despite not always reeling them in cleanly. Having made strong strides of late, there were some handy points to take from his 12-disposal showing.

#52 Tom Bracher

Bracher has taken on an important role for Murray since Paddy Parnell was picked up in the mid-season draft, proving a consistent and reliable small defender who shows great composure on the last line. He accumulated 28 disposals and 13 marks in the back half, rising well for a player of his 177cm stature while using his agility at ground level to get out of tight spots. In a pretty scrappy contest, he proved quite effective.

Calder Cannons:

#4 Sam Clohesy

It was a slightly indifferent day for Clohesy, who looked strong in some areas of his game and less so in others. The top-ager showed great aerial ability with his overhead marking around the ground, rising to take the ball cleanly under pressure. He often beat opponents in one-on-one contests, but tended to hack the ball forward with a preference for meterage over precision. He couldn’t quite steer his quick snaps on target, but had an impact with 16 disposals, seven marks and four inside 50s.

#5 Zac Taylor

Taylor has been in incredible form recently and after another short break, hardly missed a beat on Sunday. The crafty small midfielder was busy around the ball, finding less space at the contest but adjusting well to display sound handballing skills. His vision and awareness in traffic were terrific, as he looked to release others into space before pumping his legs a touch more in the second half. He accumulated less around the ground but was mega at the stoppages, accumulating 37 disposals, four marks, and four inside 50s.

#25 Josh Goater

It’s well known that Goater boasts incredible athletic traits, and he is really beginning to show them more consistently with a move to half-back. The top 25 candidate has wickedly clean hands and reads the ball so well, which makes intercept marking look easy when combined with his spring-heeled leap. Goater rose well to cut off numerous Murray attacks among his 11 marks, while also kicking Calder into gear on the rebound. He generally used the ball well and began to back his speed in the final term with a couple of daring one-two passages in transition. With 28 disposals and eight rebound 50s, he showed plenty of quality and should rise on the back of his form.

#30 Sam Paea

Paea worked really hard to provide some presence and spark for Calder inside 50, contributing both in the air and at ground level with limited service. He’s difficult to beat with a clean run at the ball and proved as much with his lone goal – converted after a pack mark from two or three players deep. The top-ager had a few bites of the cherry on most of his six marks, but proved strong in that department while being mobile enough to also impact the ground ball.

GIPPSLAND POWER 12.9 (81) def. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 9.5 (59)

By: Peter Williams

Gippsland Power:

#2 Cooper Alger

Whilst nine disposals and two marks might not look like a lot, Alger caught the eye a couple of times with his work rate across the ground. A couple of times in the first half, he won the ball at half-back and under pressure was able to spot a target and execute the pass cleanly. He was one of the most prominent Power players in the first half for his spread and defensive pressure – not always rewarded with tackles, but team efforts – and despite fading in a bit in the second half, had his moments.

#6 Mitchell Moschetti

Moschetti was Gippsland’s most consistent across the four quarters and continually won the ball and tried to drive it forward to give his teammates scoring opportunities. He led by example with the most disposals (28), tackles (nine) and second most inside 50s (six), which indicated his influence on the game. Battling away even when the chips were down, Moschetti was able to keep accumulating the ball and putting pressure on the Chargers’ defence with his repeat entries inside 50 and defensive pressure around the ground.

#23 Jai Serong

The draft-eligible talent was thrown everywhere during the match, starting midfield, then going forward, then on the wing to start the second half, before playing forward again in the last term. After a quiet start to the match, Serong got more involved as the game went on, with the fourth term being his most lively. He started well at high half-forward reading the ball well in fight to take a good mark going back with the flight, then pulled down a terrific contested mark flying in from the side 30m from goal to nail the set shot and put Gippsland in front for the first term. He then set up a scoring chance for a teammate late in the piece and looked lively by hand and moving well, a lot more actively involved around the play.

#24 Jonti Schuback

Played out of defence and the bottom-age talent was reliable more often than not, showing quick hands off half-back and then tasked with the kickout duties at times. He provided some good run during the game, and mostly drew opponents before executing the handball, or shuffling out the ball quickly to open up transitional opportunities for his side

#37 Max Walton

A mixed bag of a day for Walton who certainly found his fair share of the football. He had some terrific offensive moments driving it out of the back 50, but also made a few mistakes along the way. His long kicking down the ground enabled his side to clear the ball from danger, and he was also strong in the air. He was constantly looking to run and carry, and that enabled his team to be always on the move and play an attacking brand of football. In the third term he had a moment to forget where he fumbled in the back pocket but under pressure managed to clean it up. Overall one of the better Power players on the day.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Youseph Dib

Had a huge start to the game where he racked up a ton of the ball and seemed to be involved in every play. His quick hands and size enabled him to win a fair amount of free kicks for over the shoulder, and he was able to set up a couple of scoring opportunities, including a first quarter goal to Luke Kelvie. Laying more tackles than anyone else on the field (10), Dib’s pressure remained consistent throughout the match, even when he faded in the second half. He still had plenty of inside 50s early in the piece, and was able to worry the opposition with his mix of offensive and defensive traits.

#4 Sam Tucker

The standout player on the ground, and certainly from the Chargers perspective, Tucker was unbeatable in the air with his strong hands around the ground. Playing deep forward then working hard up the ground, he showed off his work rate by often leading out and doubling back to goal. He pulled down a contested mark in the goalsquare in the opening minute of the game, and then kicked a second goal in the third term from a similar contested mark, clunking it one-grab in a pack. His short kicking was reliable looking good going forward, and on occasion tried to open up the forward line by winning the ball on the wing and thumping it inside 50 for his quicker teammates to run onto. He had a couple more chances on goal in the second and third terms but missed those chances out on the full, and falling short. Overall a strong performance from the top-age key forward.

#12 Lochlan Jenkins

The other top-age performer who put together a consistent, four quarter performance, Jenkins buzzed around the ground and was particularly influential in the first half when the game was on the line. He had a chance on goal early which missed to the right, but kept pushing hard to drive it forward. At times he would rush his disposal under pressure, but he found plenty of it, and was a key contributor in generating scoring opportunities for the Chargers. When the team was dropping off late in the game, Jenkins was still working hard to arrest the tide.

#27 Karl Worner

Started forward then played off a wing and pushing defensively to assist off half-back, Worner slotted into multiple roles on gameday. He started with a set shot which despite its power, went out on the full, then missed the chance at goal from 15m out when he rushed the kick on the outside of the boot. After the first quarter, Worner played further up the ground and won the ball, having a hit and miss game in terms of his disposal, but providing the Chargers with plenty of run in transition. He spread and always offered up being an option in space, looking to find the loose ball and take grass down the field.

#56 Yu Ashwin

After a quieter start to the game, Ashwin kicked three of his side’s last four goals to firstly keep his side on top, and then be the only one to put through a major late in the game. Ashwin’s first goal after getting forward on the end of a scoring chain occurred in the third term, then took a good mark inside 50 and slotted his second goal from a set shot. Gippsland had all the momentum in the last, but Ashwin found his way into an open goal later in the term and slotted his third to make it three goals from nine touches in an efficient performance.

GWV REBELS 6.10 (46) def. by SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 10.10 (70)

By: Tom Wyman

GWV Rebels:

#1 Sam Butler

Sam Butler played a solid game up forward for the GWV Rebels. The brother of St.Kilda’s Dan, Butler showed flashes of similarities to the Tigers premiership star, such as his quickness off the mark and cleanness at ground level. He pounced on a loose ball to kick an easy goal in the second term after narrowly missing a flying attempt earlier on. Butler pushed up into the midfield on a couple of occasions but looked most dangerous closer to goal.

#2 Ben Hobbs

The hard-nosed inside midfielder produced another strong performance for the Rebels in their defeat to Sandringham. Renowned for his attack on the ball and tough tackling, Hobbs featured prominently around the stoppages, reading the ruck-taps well and positioning himself well. Hobbs’ vision and ball use by hand were also noteworthy strengths of his performance, however his distribution by foot was inconsistent, with some of his kicks missing their targets but others nicely weighted. The highlight of his game was a long-range set-shot from outside-50m which sailed through for arguably the Rebels best goal of the match.

#3 Charlie Molan

Although the Rebels would ultimately succumb to their metro-based counterparts, wingman Charlie Molan produced an excellent performance for the home side. The reliable teenager produced a dominant second term, where he seemed to be in everything going forward for Greater Western Victoria. Arguably the Rebels best on ground, Molan also did some of his best work along the half-back flank, where he used the ball well by foot and linked up well between the arcs.

#8 Josh Gibcus

The key position defender had a decent day down back, without starring. Touted as one of the best key position defenders in the draft pool, Gibcus’ athleticism was clearly evident despite not winning much of the ball. He fought well in one-on-one contests and looked cool and calm with ball in-hand when placed under pressure deep in defence.

#13 Sam Breuer

Midfielder Sam Breuer was prolific all-day long for the Rebels. Attacking each contest hard, Breuer combined well in the middle with the likes of Ben Hobbs and Charlie Molan. He showed a nice turn of pace and looked assured with ball in-hand for the most part, which complemented the hard-nosed, highly-contested approach of Hobbs and the calm skills of Molan. Having spent some time down back this season, it was pleasing to see him find plenty of the ball through the middle against Sandringham.

#16 Kai Lohmann

Lohmann produced an eye-catching performance which is sure to have captured the attention of recruiting staff. Playing across half-forward, Lohmann’s aerial brilliance was stunning at-times, using his impressive leap to fly above packs and haul in a number of contested marks. But not only was Lohmann impressive in the air, once the ball hit the deck, he used his speed and dash to provide some important run and carry on the outside. He tackled well and booted the Rebels lone opening term goal. Lohmann is certainly one to watch in the back-half of the season as he looks to rise up draft boards across the country.

Sandringham Dragons:

#5 Lachlan Benton

Lachlan Benton spent the game going head-to-head with the likes of Hobbs, Breuer and Molan in the midfield, and got better as the game wore on. His work at the stoppages was particularly impressive in his sides win. Benton showed a high level of footy smarts in regards to his positioning and ability to read the taps, then complimented smarts with breakaway acceleration to evade traffic. Benton continued to rack up the touches into the fourth quarter as his side put the foot down, displaying a good work ethic throughout.

#6 Blake Howes

Blake Howes possesses the ability to play a variety of roles across the field, and it was his work on the outside of the contest which stood out on Sunday afternoon. The athletic prospect worked hard around the ground and showed some real class and skill by foot to nail a couple of handy goals. Howes was good above his head and classy on the outside but, crucially, wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty on the inside in a strong display from the Victoria Metro prospect.

#32 Dante Visentini

Visentini was arguably the most dominant key position player on the ground for Sandringham. He shared the ruck role with over-ager Felix Flockart but looked at his best when operating out of the forward-50. For a tall player, Visentini’s attack on the ball at ground level impressed and complimented his aerial ability. He booted back-to-back goals in the middle of the game – the first being a terrific snap after taking the ball out of the ruck and the second being a well-taken set-shot to extend the Dragons lead at Ballarat. Overall, it was an impressive showing from the big man, who worked hard around the ground.

#42 Luke Cleary

It was a typical-Luke Cleary performance from Sandringham’s half-back. He read the game beautifully, getting himself into position quickly and taking a couple of important intercept marks. Cleary was clean below his knees and generated some meaningful drive from defence, hitting almost all of his targets by foot. His efficient ball-use went a long way to the Dragons ability to transition from the backline into the forward-50.

#52 Luke Nankervis

Nankervis has filled a number of roles this season, including across a half-forward flank and on the wing, but spent more time in the midfield against the Rebels. His willingness to take the game on really benefitted the Dragons forwards, who thrived upon the quick ball movement. An athletic mover who looks to have plenty of upside and room for development left in him, Nankervis was impressive one-on-one and had some nice moments in congestion, where his quick hands initiated some meaningful drive from the stoppages.

#53 Eren Soylemez

Small forward Eren Soylemez was a real livewire up forward for the Dragons. His forward craft was immediately evident as he worked his way into some very damaging positions. He had a couple of early attempts on goal, which were gettable by his high standards. However he found his form as the game worn on. In the final term he booted a classy left-foot snap goal to remind everyone of his prowess from just about anywhere inside the forward-50. A real source of energy for the Dragons, Soylemez also pushed up the ground at-times and looked to inject some creativity into the game. Despite a couple of blemishes in-front of goal, Soylemez looked ominous whenever the ball was in his area.

#59 Mitch Owens

St.Kilda’s next generation prospect entered the clash against Greater Western Victoria in strong form, and continued where he left off. Owens spent the game on the wing but also had a couple of important touched in the back half, where he positioned himself well to take a couple of intercept marks, one of which displayed plenty of courage. Liked some of his work around the stoppages as well. A versatile prospect, Owens appears to have plenty of likeable traits which would appeal to recruiters.

#66 Charlie McKay

Carlton fans will have been pleased with the performance of their father/son prospect. His aggression and seemingly relentless attack on the football stood out, as McKay refused to be beaten time and time again at ground level. A real midfield fighter, his battle with Rebel star Ben Hobbs was an enjoyable one, with the duo cracking in hard and winning an abundance of contested ball for the duration of the match. He used the ball slightly better than Hobbs and took a very courageous mark in heavy traffic, which would have pleased onlookers.

#74 Felix Flockart

Felix Flockart showed some very promising signs for the Dragons in their top-of-the-table victory. Although he is a couple of years older than most of the competition, the developing tall looked strong through the ruck and up forward. When given a run on-ball, his tap-work often provided the Dragons on-ballers with first-use. His positioning in the ruck contest was solid and he also looked threatening when moved up forward. He worked well in-tandem with Dante Visentini, with the pair causing some headaches for the Rebels defence.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.8 (56) def. by BENDIGO PIONEERS 12.7 (79)

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights:

#9 Darcy Wilmot

There was plenty of voice coming from Northern’s number nine and while he has plenty of vocal presence, Wilmot also lets his football do the talking. He set up well behind the ball and was able to play slightly above his size when intercepting, not afraid to go up at contest for strong marks. Wilmot began to get more expansive with his run-and-carry after half time, working hard into more advanced areas and even getting a run in midfield, where his speed was again prominent on the attack.

#10 Ben De Bolfo

Bendigo was quite efficient in its forward half which made De Bolfo’s job all the more tough, but he proved a calm head behind the ball for Northern. The top-ager positioned well to intercept and looked to distribute cleanly by foot, making for a pretty well-rounded defensive game. He began to hold a slightly higher line in the second half, but the Knights couldn’t get their final kick forward to work on the back of his solid set-up.

#19 Joel Trudgeon

The Knights skipper was unsurprisingly prolific and near-unbeatable at the contest, racking up 34 disposals, seven marks, and seven tackles. Trudgeon’s mature frame and willingness to get in-and-under meant he earned most of those touches, but was often made to go to ground or lock the ball up as he scrapped to win it. He still managed to stand up in tackles and distribute cleanly by hand, with a few of slips-catch style marks also a feature of his game. Trudgeon rotated forward and kicked a team-lifting goal before quarter time, but missed a couple of later attempts.

#26 Dominic Akuei

For a player with such outstanding and raw athleticism, Akuei has also shown solid defensive fundamentals in recent weeks. The Carlton NGA prospect took on his usual role in the back half and also rotated through the ruck, where his monster vertical leap was on show. Akuei leant on that athleticism to time his spoils and intercepts well in the first half, before taking on more minutes in the ruck after the main break. He looks to still be working on his craft there, and could provide some exciting moments with better directed hits, as he usually taps with momentum and follows up from there.

#28 Joel Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald was thrown around in a few different roles on Sunday, starting out in the midfield-forward rotation before eventually being swung back to his more comfortable defensive post. He put a couple of tough chances wide in the opening term and got amongst the contest, but arguably looked more lively in defence after half time. Fitzgerald read the ball well and rose for repeat intercept grabs, helping Northern break up the play.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Harvey Gallagher

He’s had more prolific games, but Gallagher still managed to wreak some havoc with his 14 disposals and seven inside 50s. The speedy midfielder also booted two goals; the first coming out of nowhere as he burst away and launched home from 50m, while the second was a set shot won from a smart slip of the shoulders and high free kick. Gallagher was a productive driver of the ball and hit a couple of sharp passes going inside 50, making full use of his touches.

#4 Jack Hickman

Another Bendigo midfielder who didn’t win bucketloads of ball but looked stylish in possession, Hickman showcased his turn of speed coming away from the contest and looked busy around the ball – particularly early on. The top-ager back his pace and was able to bring the ball to the outer that way, but struggled a touch at times with his end product. He finished with 14 disposals and seven tackles, also rotating forward.

#7 Ryan O’Keefe

The raw key forward continues to show promising glimpses and did so again on Sunday, contributing 10 disposals, five marks, and two goals. He spent time in all parts of the ground but looked most likely up forward, where he used his leap to mark the ball at its highest point. O’Keefe’s first major came via that exact method, as he got up to mark in front and slotted home from 20m. He clunked another nice overhead grab in the fourth term and snapped home a sealing goal, bookending his day well with those two passages.

#17 Oskar Faulkhead

Usually a smooth moving defender, Faulkhead has spent more time rotating through midfield of late and did so once again on Sunday. He caught the eye when released coming away from the contest, positioning well on the outer while using his speed and agility to break into clear space. He made some good decisions by foot too, looking inboard or hitting targets down the line to end up with 14 disposals, five tackles, and three inside 50s.

#56 Harley Reid

The youngest player afield and the only won born in 2005, Reid again showed just why he is one to keep a keen eye on for the future. Stationed up forward, the under-ager snared three goals for the day – two in the second term and one team-lifter in the last. He proved willing to use his explosive athleticism in the air, attacking the ball hard in marking attempts and almost coming down with some ripper grabs. Reid also nailed a couple of hard tackles and while he may pop up in patches at this stage, is so exciting given his age and upside.

2021 Draft Central NAB League Boys TOTW: Round 15

THE Draft Central NAB League Round 15 Team of the Week (TOTW) has dropped, with 24 of the weekend’s best performed-players featuring in a competitive lineup. Player of the Week nominees Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons) and Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels) take out leadership honours in the 24-man squad, headlining a very even spread of prospects from around the league.

After their fighting Friday night win over Western Jets, the Geelong Falcons boast a round-high four representatives in this side. They fill out most of the spine too, with Oscar Morrison (full back), Olivier Northam (ruck), and Mitch Knevitt (centre) listed in prime positions, while Noah Gadsby comes in at half-forward.

There were plenty of midfielders unlucky to miss out on starting positions too, with the co-captains locks in the follower slots, as Will Bravo, Max Hall, Mitchell Moschetti, and Joel Trudgeon had to settle for spots on the six-man interchange. They couldn’t sneak in on the wings either, with Ethan Warburton and Mitch Owens locking them down.

There’s plenty of rebound on offer in defence, with the starting six not overly tall but combining for 32 rebound 50s in Round 15. Their marking power was also observed, as was the case with Sam Tucker and Sam Paea as the key pillars up forward. In the pocket, 2005-born Bendigo Pioneers product Harley Reid is the lone under-ager to feature this time around, having snared three goals.

Check out the full team below, including three emergencies.

Draft Central NAB League Team of the Week: Round 15

B: Tom Bracher (MB) – Oscar Morrison (GF) – Massimo D’Ambrosio (WJ)
HB: Josh Clarke (ER) – Luke Cleary (SD) – Josh Goater (CC)
C: Ethan Warburton (MB) – Mitch Knevitt (GF) – Mitch Owens (SD)
HF: Noah Gadsby (GF) – Sam Tucker (OC) – Lachlan Benton (SD)
F: Harley Reid (BP) – Sam Paea (CC) – Paul Curtis (WJ)
FOL: Olivier Northam (GF) – Zac Taylor (CC, c) – Marcus Herbert (GWV, vc)

INT: Miller Bergman (DS), Will Bravo (DS), Max Hall (ER), Aiden Hare (BP), Mitchell Moschetti (GP), Joel Trudgeon (NK)

EMG: Jake Arundell (ER), Ben Hobbs (GWV), Lochlan Jenkins (OC)

2021 NAB League Boys snapshot: Round 15

THE NAB League returned for Round 15 this past weekend and while there were no crowds, a bunch of Victoria’s brightest draft prospects put on a show after another season interruption. The action kicked off on Friday night, before five fixtures were played on a super Sunday of junior pathway football. We run you through all the results and big performances in the Round 15 snapshot, stay tuned for Scouting Notes to follow tomorrow evening.

WESTERN JETS 7.7 (49) def. by GEELONG FALCONS 11.13 (79)

IN A SENTENCE:

A four-goal to nil final term saw the Geelong Falcons break a tense deadlock with Western Jets under Friday night lights, coming away 30-point victors.

TEAM STATS:

  • Western Jets won the rebound 50s (49-18) and tackles (72-59)
  • Geelong Falcons won the inside 50s (60-27) and scoring shots (24-14)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Liam Conway (Western Jets) 35 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Massimo D’Ambrosio (Western Jets) 31 disposals, 8 marks, 5 tackles, 10 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Paul Curtis (Western Jets) 21 disposals, 4 marks, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons) 28 disposals, 3 marks, 6 tackles, 6 inside 50s
  • Blake Reid (Geelong Falcons) 23 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Noah Gadsby (Geelong Falcons) 22 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 2 goals, 4 behinds

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons)
4 – Massimo D’Ambrosio (Western Jets)
3 – Noah Gadsby (Geelong Falcons)
2 – Paul Curtis (Western Jets)
1 – Olivier Northam (Geelong Falcons)

NEXT UP:

Western Jets vs. Murray Bushrangers | Sunday August 8, 1:00pm @ Deakin Reserve
Geelong Falcons vs. Dandenong Stingrays | Sunday August 8m 11:00am @ Shepley Oval

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 9.10 (64) def. by EASTERN RANGES 13.13 (91)

IN A SENTENCE:

After a slow start, Eastern Ranges powered past the Dandenong Stingrays with seven goals in term two and superior ball use proving the difference in a 27-point victory.

TEAM STATS:

  • Dandenong Stingrays won the handballs (159-109) and rebound 50s (38-29)
  • Eastern Ranges won the kicks (190-150), marks (87-67), and inside 50s (53-38)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays) 28 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Miller Bergman (Dandenong Stingrays) 23 disposals, 5 marks, 1 tackle, 4 rebound 50s, 2 goals
  • James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays) 21 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s, 3 behinds
  • Josh Clarke (Eastern Ranges) 28 disposals, 11 marks, 2 tackles, 11 rebound 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Jake Soligo (Eastern Ranges) 25 disposals, 10 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Max Hall (Eastern Ranges) 25 disposals, 8 marks, 4 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Josh Clarke (Eastern Ranges)
4 – Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays)
3 – Jake Soligo (Eastern Ranges)
2 – Miller Bergman (Dandenong Stingrays)
1 – Max Hall (Eastern Ranges)

NEXT UP:

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Geelong Falcons | Sunday August 8, 11:00am @ Shepley Oval
Eastern Ranges vs. GWV Rebels | Sunday August 8, 2:00pm @ Box Hill City Oval

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 6.3 (39) def. by CALDER CANNONS 7.7 (49)

IN A SENTENCE:

The Calder Cannons were made to earn a 10-point away win against a plucky Murray Bushrangers outfit, coming out on top in a low-scoring affair.

TEAM STATS:

  • Murray Bushrangers won the inside 50s (38-35) and hit-outs (40-18)
  • Calder Cannons won the marks (123-98) and tackles (63-41)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Ethan Warburton (Murray Bushrangers) 34 disposals, 14 marks, 2 tackles, 8 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Tom Bracher (Murray Bushrangers) 28 disposals, 13 marks, 4 tackles, 4 rebound 50s
  • Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers) 27 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles, 2 rebound 50s
  • Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons) 37 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 4 inside 50s
  • Flynn Gentile (Calder Cannons) 31 disposals, 8 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Josh Goater (Calder Cannons) 28 disposals, 11 marks, 8 rebound 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons)
4 – Ethan Warburton (Murray Bushrangers)
3 – Josh Goater (Calder Cannons)
2 – Tom Bracher (Murray Bushrangers)
1 – Sam Paea (Calder Cannons)

NEXT UP:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Western Jets | Sunday August 8, 1:00pm @ Deakin Reserve
Calder Cannons vs. Tasmania Devils | Saturday August 7, 10:30am @ RAMS Arena

GIPPSLAND POWER 12.9 (81) def. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 9.5 (59)

IN A SENTENCE:

A string of seven final term goals saw Gippsland Power cause a massive boilover on home turf, coming from behind to defeat the Oakleigh Chargers by 22 points.

TEAM STATS:

  • Gippsland Power won the disposals (353-271) and marks (77-57)
  • Oakleigh Chargers won the rebound 50s (40-34) and tackles (67-64)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power) 28 disposals, 3 marks, 9 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Luis D’Angelo (Gippsland Power) 26 disposals, 3 marks, 6 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Chance Doultree (Gippsland Power) 22 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 8 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 2 goals
  • Lochlan Jenkins (Oakleigh Chargers) 25 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Youseph Dib (Oakleigh Chargers) 20 disposals, 1 mark, 10 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Sam Tucker (Oakleigh Chargers) 17 disposals, 9 marks, 1 tackle, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Sam Tucker (Oakleigh Chargers)
4 – Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power)
3 – Max Walton (Gippsland Power)
2 – Lochlan Jenkins (Oakleigh Chargers)
1 – Paddy Cross (Gippsland Power)

NEXT UP:

Gippsland Power vs. Sandringham Dragons | Saturday August 7, 2:00pm @ RSEA Park
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Northern Knights | Saturday August 7, 2:00pm @ Preston City Oval

GWV REBELS 6.10 (46) def. by SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 10.10 (70)

IN A SENTENCE:

The Sandringham Dragons took charge in a top-of-the-table clash against Greater Western Victoria, leading at every break before solidifying a 24-point win.

TEAM STATS:

  • GWV Rebels won the disposals (324-303) and marks (59-57)
  • Sandringham Dragons won the kicks (179-168) and tackles (70-47)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels) 35 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 1 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s
  • Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels) 34 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels) 24 disposals, 5 marks, 1 tackle, 4 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Luke Cleary (Sandringham Dragons) 26 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s
  • Lachlan Benton (Sandringham Dragons) 26 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Blake Howes (Sandringham Dragons) 20 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 2 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Luke Cleary (Sandringham Dragons)
4 – Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)
3 – Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels)
2 – Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels)
1 – Lachlan Benton (Sandringham Dragons)

NEXT UP:

GWV Rebels vs. Eastern Ranges | Sunday August 8, 2:00pm @ Box Hill City Oval
Sandringham Dragons vs. Gippsland Power | Saturday August 7, 2:00pm @ RSEA Park

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.8 (56) def. by BENDIGO PIONEERS 12.7 (79)

IN A SENTENCE:

Bendigo Pioneers had all the answers against the Northern Knights, skipping ahead via five-straight goals in the opening term and leading throughout a 23-point victory.

TEAM STATS:

  • Northern Knights won the marks (55-47)
  • Bendigo Pioneers won the tackles (82-61)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights) 34 disposals, 7 marks, 7 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Joel Fitzgerald (Northern Knights) 28 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 2 behinds
  • Josh Watson (Northern Knights) 23 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Aiden Hare (Bendigo Pioneers) 20 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles, 1 inside 50, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) 14 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers) 12 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Aiden Hare (Bendigo Pioneers)
4 – Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights)
3 – Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers)
2 – Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers)
1 – Darcy Wilmot (Northern Knights)

NEXT UP:

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers | Saturday August 7, 2:00pm @ Preston City Oval
Bendigo Pioneers – Bye.