Category: NAB League

NAB League Boys Round 14 preview: U16 talent hits the big time

AFTER a week off for all but two of the NAB League Boys sides, the competition recommences full-time action with a double-header at Box Hill City Oval in Saturday’s lone fixtures. A top-four clash between Eastern and Oakleigh firms as the game of the round, with the Geelong and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) clash set to have an impact down the other end of the ladder. Watch for the debuts of some of the nation’s best Under 16s too, fresh off their National Championship campaigns.

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. TASMANIA DEVILS
Saturday July 20, 11:45am
Box Hill City Oval

A near full-strength Gippsland Power unit will look to pile the pain on Tasmania when they do battle at Box Hill City Oval to kick off Round 14. Both sides are coming off losses, but the Devils have faced a few more challenges over the last four weeks in a string of losses. Results aside, their usual competitiveness has risen in the last fortnight, but Gippsland’s ins make the Power a tough proposition for even a side in the best of form. A massive seven Country representatives return to the side, with the likes of Brock Smith, Sam Flanders, Charlie Comben, and Josh Smith re-forming that strong spine. On the other hand, Tasmania will be without both Mitch O’Neill and competition leading goal kicker Jackson Callow in a big blow to their chances. O’Neill’s class through the midfield will likely be covered by the likes of Under-16 Division 2 MVP Sam Banks and bottom-aged Allies representatives Oliver Davis and Sam Collins, meaning Callow’s goals could prove the most difficult void to fill. The game will be the Devils’ last in Victoria for the regular season, with their remaining two fixtures set to be played at home, while Gippsland will finish off with a couple of country fixtures.

EASTERN RANGES vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday July 20, 2:15pm
Box Hill City Oval

In what looms as the game of the round, Oakleigh will look to derail Eastern’s charge atop the NAB League ladder when the sides meet to round out Saturday’s action. The Ranges are on a tear, simply finding a way to win in each of their six-consecutive victories dating back to Round 7. Having twice gotten the better of fellow top-four hopefuls Sandringham in that run, they should come into this fixture against a rampant Oakleigh outfit with the confidence to stand tall despite the Chargers’ form. Oakleigh’s attempt to make it seven wins from their last eight outings will be dented slightly by the loss of promising bottom-agers Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Sam Tucker, and Reef McInnes, but gain some midfield depth as Jeromy Lucas and Fraser Elliot make the 23. Eastern’s key position strength will be tested as skipper James Ross joins Jamieson Rossiter and Joel Nathan as outs, but we should be treated to a glimpse into the future as Metro U16 stars Tyler Sonsie and Tyreece Leiu have been named to make their debuts. Both could feature through midfield, with Metro MVP Sonsie also able to move forward well. It adds another layer to what already shapes as an interesting battle, with the Ranges hoping to maintain their two-game buffer in first place.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS vs. DANDENONG STINGRAYS
Sunday July 21, 9:30am
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

A chance to snap losing streaks is up for grabs for Sandringham and Dandenong at Trevor Barker Beach Oval, with both sides sliding out of the top four in recent weeks. The Dragons have been on a three-game slide while Dandenong has lost its last four, and Sandringham could well jump back into the top four should results go their way. The Stingrays’ six changes seems significant, but it pales in comparison to Sandringham’s 13 with a raft of top-end talent going both ways in either starting 23. Dandenong’s ins read well, with All Australians Hayden Young and Sam De Koning slotting back in alongside Country teammates Ned Cahill, Blake Kuipers, and Bigoa Nyuon. On the other hand, the home side regains Fischer McAsey and Miles Bergman alongside over-agers Riley Bowman and Angus Hanrahan, but lose stars on each line in the form of Finn Maginness, Hugo Ralphsmith, Josh Worrell, Louis Butler, and Charlie Dean. The Dragons’ strength of depth has shone through thus far, and should carry them through well in this bout despite Dandenong’s sizeable inclusions. If the Eastern and Oakleigh game is the best of the round, this looks to be a close second with clear finals ramifications in play.

BENDIGO PIONEERS vs. CALDER CANNONS
Sunday July 21, 1:00pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval

The Calder Cannons could shoot into the top four with a win and favourable results elsewhere, but Bendigo Pioneers stand in their way in a meeting set for Queen Elizabeth Oval. The Cannons have enjoyed a good stretch of form, winning in four of their last five outings, with some key talent in the form of Daniel Mott, Harrison Jones, and Brodie Newman set to add a bit of class to the side which is sailing along smoothly. Bendigo has fared a touch differently, but the Pioneers found form well in the last three rounds with two wins and a 10-point loss added to their record. The competition in this game is a little stiffer, but the inclusions of Brady Rowles and Logan Fitzgerald should bode well for their chances of a fifth win. Big man Josh Treacy also returns, named up forward alongside usual full back Will Wallace as the Pioneers shuffle their key position magnets – and they could well be tested in that area given Calder’s ins. Bendigo should make a game of it on home turf, with both sides refreshed after a week off and keen to gain as much ladder position as possible with just three regular season rounds remaining.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Sunday July 21, 1:00pm
Deakin Reserve

The battle for top eight spots heats up as ninth place Murray hosts eighth place Northern with just four points separating the two sides. Both have enjoyed good bursts of form of late, with Northern on a three-game winning run and Murray’s own streak of three only just broken last round by ladder-leaders, Eastern. Either sides’ true credentials will be revealed as they go close to hitting full strength, while also welcoming some Under 16 talent to their respective line-ups. Kevin Sheehan medallist Josh Rachele is one of those talented 16-year-olds named to play, while Northern boast Darcy Wilmot and Jack Rossimel. In the top-age stakes, Murray look to have replenished well with co-skipper Lachlan Ash returning alongside Cam Wild, while fellow Country representative Elijah Hollands also slots in. For Northern, key midfield cog Adam Carafa goes out alongside Metro teammate Nikolas Cox in a blow to their depth, but the versatility of the side should see the Knights cover their losses. With the top eight make-up truly taking shape in the closing three rounds, this game will prove to be a key one in deciding Wildcard Round fixtures.

GEELONG FALCONS vs. GWV REBELS
Sunday July 21, 1:30pm
GMHBA Stadium

Bottom two sides Geelong and GWV clash at GMHBA Stadium to see out Round 14, with just four wins between the teams heading into the final few fixtures. If history is anything to go by, this is set to be a close one, as the Rebels managed to snatch a one-point win over the Falcons all the way back in Round 2 in a thriller. The stakes are arguably higher in this clash with pride on the line and some notable under-age talent breaking into either starting 23. GWV welcomes Country Under 16 representatives Ben Hobbs and Josh Rentsch, with top-age stars Jay Rantall, Mitch Martin, Toby Mahony also set to really bolster the line-up. Meanwhile, the Falcons are finally set to again field one of their two original co-captains with Jesse Clarke back into the defensive unit, with the likes of over-agers Lochlan Hocking and Sam Christensen getting another crack in the starting team. With limited opportunities to bolster up their win tallies, both sides should give this game a red hot crack on the hallowed Kardinia Park turf.

Team Selection: NAB League Boys – Round 14

NAB League Boys sides have loaded up heading into the final few rounds of action as Vic Metro and Vic Country players return to their respective sides. Whilst the likes of Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons still have to grapple with school football commitments, there is still plenty of talent out on the park for both sides, as there is across the competition. The match of the round could well be the top four clash between Eastern Ranges and the Chargers at Box Hill as part of a double header following Gippsland Power taking on Tasmania Devils. Sunday sees Sandringham host an early game before the top Under 18s head to country areas with matches in Geelong, Shepparton and Bendigo. Just as exciting as the players returning from Under-18 National Championships, a number of Under-16 stars make their debuts after the conclusion of their championships. Among those names are Eastern Ranges’ Tyler Sonsie, Murray Bushrangers’ Josh Rachele and Tasmania’s Sam Banks – the latter has already tasted NAB League action – after winning MVPs at the championships.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. TASMANIA DEVILS

Round 14 – 20/07/2019
11:45am
Box Hill City Oval

GIPPSLAND POWER

B: 10. L. Connolly, 14. T. Hourigan, 22. Z. Reid
HB: 8. B. McAuliffe, 12. B. Smith, 29. T. Rees
C: 1. R. Angwin, 6. R. Baldi, 15. R. Sparkes
HF: 21. M. McGarrity, 13. T. Fitzpatrick, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 37. H. Pepper, 16. J. Smith, 19. F. Phillips
R: 17. C. Comben, 35. J. van der Pligt, 4. S. Flanders
Int: 30. T. Baldi, 36. M. Bentvelzen , 39. M. Hawkins, 24. B. Maslen
Emg: 33. N. Prowd, 5. F. Shields, 32. L. Williams
23P: 44. K. Robinson

In: H. Pepper, R. Sparkes, B. Smith, C. Comben, M. Bentvelzen , K. Robinson, J. Smith, R. Baldi, S. Flanders
Out: T. Mann, C. Doultree, D. McRae, S. Berry, Z. Skinner, J. Hume

TASMANIA DEVILS

B: 21. L. Gadomski, 8. J. Steele, 38. O. Shaw
HB: 6. S. Banks, 39. S. Green, 17. P. Walker
C: 37. L. Deegan, 35. L. Viney, 50. C. Riethoff
HF: 4. W. Peppin, 23. H. Ireland, 26. O. Sanders
F: 2. O. Burrows-Cheng, 9. J. Chaplin, 27. R. Mansell
R: 56. J. Lane, 7. M. McGuinness, 3. O. Davis
Int: 58. Z. Adams, 33. L. Borsboom, 13. S. Collins, 20. W. Harper, 31. J. Menzie, 34. J. Rand, 41. C. Stephenson
23P: 60. J. Barwick

In: S. Banks, O. Sanders, C. Riethoff, H. Ireland, J. Rand, C. Stephenson, Z. Adams
Out: I. Chugg, J. Callow, B. Simpson, M. O’Neill

EASTERN RANGES v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 14 – 20/07/2019
2:15pm
Box Hill City Oval

EASTERN RANGES

B: 12. J. Gilbee, 45. M. Zalac, 40. J. Hourihan
HB: 8. R. Bailey, 18. B. McCormack, 19. W. Parker
C: 4. J. Clarke, 7. L. Stapleton, 20. C. Downie
HF: 9. J. Duffy, 36. B. Hickleton, 11. M. Mellis
F: 10. C. Black, 53. J. Tilly, 27. J. Jaworski
R: 48. S. Woodward, 23. Z. Pretty, 30. T. Edwards
Int: 6. M. Brown, 24. T. Hardstaff, 1. K. Hubber, 58. N. Riddle, 52. T. Sonsie, 3. C. Tilyard, 28. T. Weir
23P: 46. T. Leiu

In: T. Leiu, C. Tilyard, S. Woodward, M. Brown, R. Bailey, J. Tilly, K. Hubber, T. Sonsie, T. Hardstaff, N. Riddle
Out: J. Nathan, I. Mccormick, J. Ross, H. Keeling, A. Begg, J. Rossiter

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

B: 1. L. Westwood, 36. R. Valentine, 34. V. Zagari
HB: 15. K. Schreiber, 67. H. Mundy, 57. S. Seach
C: 5. T. Bianco, 12. L. Jenkins, 27. J. May
HF: 22. T. Graham, 65. T. Lovell, 75. A. Tassell
F: 77. N. Stathopoulos, 73. C. Sharman, 23. D. Williams
R: 63. J. Woodfull, 6. J. Lucas, 9. W. Phillips
Int: 18. F. Elliot, 53. F. Maguire, 78. J. Nelson, 20. M. Tighello, 17. G. Varagiannis, W. Bainbridge, F. Robertson
23P: 2. B. Laurie

In: J. Woodfull, H. Mundy, J. Lucas, A. Tassell, F. Maguire, M. Tighello, S. Seach, F. Elliot, W. Bainbridge, J. Nelson, F. Robertson
Out: T. Furphy, S. Tucker, R. McInnes, J. Ugle-Hagan, C. Stone, L. Johnson, H. Mastras, J. Ayton-Delaney

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 14 – 21/07/2019
9:30am
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

B: 17. T. Milne, 33. C. Watts, 62. R. Pietsch
HB: 74. H. Loughnan, 18. J. Lloyd, 7. J. Voss
C: 3. G. Grey, 5. R. Byrnes, 15. A. Hanrahan
HF: 43. J. Bowey, 28. R. Bowman, 40. R. Virtue
F: 21. T. Murray, 29. F. McAsey, 39. B. O’Leary
R: 32. J. Bell, 6. M. Bergman, 8. T. Deane-Johns
Int: 20. C. Blitsas, 22. J. Cowden, 38. B. Krongold, 60. J. Nowell, 71. T. Sheezel, 53. E. Soylemez, 14. K. Yorke
23P: 49. L. Carrigan

In: R. Pietsch, T. Sheezel, J. Cowden, F. McAsey, R. Bowman, G. Grey, E. Soylemez, C. Blitsas, J. Lloyd, M. Bergman, H. Loughnan, T. Murray, J. Nowell, A. Hanrahan, R. Virtue, B. Krongold
Out: H. Ralphsmith, J. Mifsud, F. Maginness, O. Lewis, O. Lord, N. Burke, L. Riley, J. Worrell, L. Butler, C. Dean, J. Castan, A. Courtney, J. Le Grice

DANDENONG STINGRAYS

B: 31. J. Mounter, 20. S. De Koning, 14. D. Smith
HB: 39. J. Toner, 32. B. Kuipers, 2. H. Young
C: 47. W. Bravo, 45. L. Goonan, 50. L. Williams
HF: 11. E. Cahill, 17. B. Milford, 37. B. Welsh
F: 10. C. Gay, 24. B. Nyuon, 51. A. Williamson
R: 28. B. Schmidt, 34. R. Orchard, 38. M. Gregory
Int: 1. H. Berenger, 8. B. Cliffe, 12. M. Haywood, 13. N. Heath, 40. S. Merrick, 23. J. Neal, 48. J. Stuart
23P: 3. M. Bergman

In: L. Goonan, E. Cahill, B. Schmidt, H. Young, J. Stuart, S. De Koning, B. Kuipers, B. Welsh, B. Nyuon
Out: D. Gould, J. Andrews, W. Howe, P. Gerdan, C. Battams, J. Roysmith

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 14 – 21/07/2019
1:00pm
Deakin Reserve – Shepparton

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

B: 42. H. Beasley, 18. C. Crisp, 44. J. Hillary
HB: 6. W. Chandler, 49. C. McLeod, 26. S. Durham
C: 2. C. Byrne, 53. C. Wilson, 5. C. Wild
HF: 12. L. Ash, 13. H. Kaak, 9. K. Chalcraft
F: 19. J. Boyer, 22. E. Baxter, 14. J. Chalcraft
R: 58. W. Garner, 20. E. Hollands, 8. Z. Maher
Int: 38. D. Clarke, 39. M. Holt, 23. E. Keogh, 51. S. Thompson
Emg: 32. W. Bowden, 48. M. Hallows, 4. A. Shepherd
23P: 31. J. Rachele

In: E. Hollands, A. Shepherd, C. Wild, L. Ash, W. Bowden, W. Garner, J. Rachele, S. Thompson, E. Keogh, C. McLeod, D. Clarke
Out: D. Bedendo, W. Christie, R. Bouker, T. Matthes, B. Ashley-Cooper, L. Fiore, Z. Barzen, D. Everett

NORTHERN KNIGHTS

B: 27. E. Macpherson, 24. B. Major, 42. J. Potter
HB: 4. J. Davies, 45. A. Taylor, 31. H. Ramshaw
C: 12. C. Barbera, 18. S. Brazier, 41. N. Kitchell
HF: 5. J. D’Intinosante, 1. L. Potter, 43. T. McMahon
F: 40. L. Mcmahon, 34. Z. Costello, 11. R. Sturgess
R: 49. Z. Reichert, 10. J. Lucente, 13. S. Philp
Int: 17. J. Bowne, 37. K. Brandt, 54. A. O’Sullivan, 56. J. Rossimel, 36. R. Seakins, 47. M. Sindrivanis, 44. L. Waldron

23P: 55. D. Wilmot

In: C. Barbera, D. Wilmot, R. Seakins, Z. Reichert, A. O’Sullivan, L. Mcmahon, J. Rossimel, L. Waldron, M. Sindrivanis, K. Brandt, J. Bowne
Out: O. Simpson, C. Simonsen, N. Long, J. Watson, A. Carafa, N. Howard, N. Cox, B. Nikolovski

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 14 – 21/07/2019
1:00pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval – Bendigo

BENDIGO PIONEERS

B: 59. R. Clarke, 44. S. O’Farrell, 31. R. Ironside
HB: 38. B. Rowles, 20. J. Schischka, 19. B. Worme
C: 1. S. Conforti, 21. R. Wilson, 40. J. Evans
HF: 29. J. Ginnivan, 34. W. Wallace, 9. E. Roberts
F: 32. K. Attwell, 22. J. Treacy, 51. S. Mitchell
R: 11. A. Gundry, 26. N. Walsh, 6. J. Rodi
Int: 12. A. Cole, 17. L. Fitzgerald, 47. L. Latch, 14. M. Lias, 25. W. Shaw, 27. C. Smith
23P: 50. F. Ellis Castle

In: W. Shaw, E. Roberts, J. Treacy, B. Rowles, L. Fitzgerald, S. O’Farrell
Out: C. Maxted, J. Hickman, J. Dick-O’Flaherty, B. Vaz

CALDER CANNONS

B: 39. B. Overman, 23. C. Brand, 31. G. Thomas
HB: 5. C. Brown, 38. B. Newman, 32. M. Simpson
C: 49. M. Allison, 10. H. Minton-Connell, 43. L. Gollant
HF: 12. J. O’Sullivan, 21. H. Jones, 2. J. Sutton
F: 44. H. Andronaco, 26. M. Fletcher, 27. N. Gentile
R: 61. J. Hotchkin, 1. D. Mott, 8. S. Ramsay
Int: 37. B. Bozinovski, 3. J. Cardillo, 29. C. Edwardes, 41. J. Eyre, 60. S. Paea, 34. O. Sasalu
23P: 46. C. Wrigglesworth

In: B. Bozinovski, J. Eyre, D. Mott, H. Jones, H. Andronaco, C. Wrigglesworth, B. Newman
Out: N. Stewart, J. Misiti, J. Keeping, R. Mason, F. Gentile

GEELONG FALCONS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 14 – 21/07/2019
1:30pm
GMHBA Stadium – Geelong

GEELONG FALCONS

B: 27. C. Brauer, 52. S. Christensen, 53. C. Fleeton
HB: 35. O. Barrow, 55. M. Langan, 40. J. Clark
C: 12. N. Gribble, 11. C. Karpala, 21. L. Smith
HF: 6. A. Hildebrandt, 29. B. Miller, 25. J. Sarcevic
F: 37. O. Henry, 36. C. Sprague, 24. C. Seymour
R: 46. H. Walsh, 3. K. Rayner, 13. H. Whyte
Int: 33. J. Fleeton, 16. C. Ham, 17. S. Ham, 28. L. Hocking, 9. B. Jepson, 20. W. Kilpatrick, 2. J. Lange
23P: 10. L. Hood

In: S. Christensen, A. Hildebrandt, J. Sarcevic, C. Ham, B. Jepson, S. Ham, J. Clark, J. Lange, W. Kilpatrick, L. Hocking, B. Miller, L. Hood, J. Fleeton
Out: S. Witherden, M. Lord, J. Paterson, N. Gadsby, C. Lazzaro, N. Lever, C. Harris, J. Mullen, C. Page, K. Skene

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

B: 22. M. Burgess, 18. J. Wright, 6. J. Tillig
HB: 4. J. Hill, 11. J. Dwyer, 12. R. Polkinghorne
C: 14. L. Herbert, 13. J. Rantall, 32. H. Sharp
HF: 2. I. Grant, 19. N. Caris, 7. M. Martin
F: 44. B. Hobbs, 5. M. Jorgensen, 41. F. Marris
R: 29. P. Glanford, 3. T. Mahony, 1. C. Craig-Peters
Int: 27. M. Herbert, 26. N. Nash, 33. R. O’Keefe, 45. J. Rentsch
Emg: 17. E. Ajang, 38. T. Jennings, 40. F. Macdonald
23P: 15. G. Wright

Team of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 12

IN a Draft Central first, the Round 12 NAB League Boys Team of the Week featured two players from the 12 sides across the competition in the 24-player squad. The Round which was split over two weekends – was completed on the weekend with Eastern Ranges defeating Tasmania Devils. The other five games were played the weekend prior to Round 13 last weekend, with no one scoring more than 60 points in a rain-affected round.

In the standalone game on the weekend, Eastern Ranges’ Mitch Mellis continued his terrific season with a spot in the team, joined by ruck Billy McCormack who can spend time up forward. Also in the forward line is Tasmania’s Jackson Callow and up the other end, his teammate Matt McGuinness, both of whom make the team once again. Speaking of regulars in the Team of the Week, Western Jets’ captain Lucas Rocci has become a lock in the back pocket over the past couple of months, making the side with Josh Kellett. Their opponents Calder Cannons had Sam Ramsay make the team on the wing, whilst Ben Overman was impressive in the back half.

The double header at Shepley Oval resulted in eight players making the side, with Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels duo Mitch Martin and Mitchell Burgess making the side up either end on flanks, while Clayton Gay and Max Gregory worked hard in the Dandenong Stingrays’ loss and made the side. In the ohter game, Sam Berry was sensational with 18 tackles from 20 touches and three goals for Gippsland Power, joined in the side by teammate Tye Hourigan. Their opponents Geelong Falcons had ruck Henry Walsh, and tireless midfielder Charlie Lazzaro make the side – the latter was the only player to pick up more than four touches in the final term (eight) when they were overran by the Power.

In the other two games, Murray Bushrangers’ Jye Chalcraft slotted into the team after he earned the Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 12, joined by overager Zane Barzen in the side. Their opponents were Bendigo Pioneers, as James Schischka was named on half-back and Ben Worme on a wing. In the all-metropolitan battle, Oakleigh Chargers’ Jamarra Ugle-Hagan booted three goals and fits into the forward line, with Reef McInnes also making the team. Sandringham Dragons’ Hugo Ralphsmith and Will Mackay round out the Team of the Week for Round 12.

Scouting notes/wrap: NAB League Boys – Tasmania vs. Eastern

IN the weekend’s sole fixture, Tasmania and Eastern finally brought Round 12 of the NAB League Boys competition to an end, jerking the curtain at UTAS Stadium for the Hawthorn-Fremantle AFL clash. Given it was a standalone game, we combined the match report and scouting notes into one for your convenience.

TASMANIA DEVILS 5.1 | 6.3 | 7.6 | 8.7 (55)
EASTERN RANGES 4.0 | 6.4 | 7.9 | 11.11 (77)

GOALS:
Tasmania: J. Callow 4, J. Menzie, W. Harper, W. Peppin, R. Mansell.
Eastern: J. Rossiter 2, B. Hickleton 2, C. Downie, T. Edwards, T. Weir, B. McCormack, Z. Pretty, H. Keeling, M. Mellis.

BEST:
Tasmania: R. Mansell, J. Callow, M. McGuinness, O. Davis, I. Chugg, J. Lane
Eastern: M. Mellis, W. Parker, B. McCormack, J. Nathan, C. Black, J. Duffy

The Eastern Ranges extended their lead atop the NAB League standings to eight points, becoming the first side in 2019 to hit 10 wins with a 22-point victory over Tasmania on the Apple Isle.

It did not come easy though, with the hosts enjoying a great start on the back of a dominant three-goal opening term from bottom-age forward Jackson Callow. The Devils’ attacking approach saw them get the better of their more fancied opponents to the first break, opening a seven-point gap on the back of a free-flowing period of play. As expected, the Ranges hit back in the second term to edge in front at half time by a single point, but it proved a costly quarter for both sides as Tasmania lost Mitch O’Neill to an innocuous knee injury, while Eastern skipper James Ross was helped from the ground after copping the full force of a late bump. The game continued to tighten up in the third term as the sides shared a goal each to set up a tense finish, with Eastern’s tactical shift in the back half ensuring Callow was kept much quieter. Taking some good momentum into the final term, Eastern would go on to run away with the win with four goals to one, very much proving to be the team to beat.

The instinctual combination between Eastern’s midfield trio of Mitch Mellis, Lachlan Stapleton, and Zak Pretty proved telling, especially after Tasmania lost O’Neill with Mellis named best afield. Joel Nathan‘s role on Callow in the second half with Ross out of the game was crucial, despite the Tasmanian finishing with four goals and edging in front of Eastern’s Ben Hickleton to lead the NAB League goal kicking charts. For Tasmania, Matt McGuinness continued his good form across half back, taking on a greater role with Sam Collins shifting further afield at times. Oliver Davis was again instrumental through midfield, with Will Peppin busy around the ground and Rhyan Mansell dangerous up forward.

Both teams are set to line up in Round 14’s double-header at Box Hill City Oval, with Tasmania opening proceedings against Gippsland and Eastern readying for a top four clash with Oakleigh.

SCOUTING NOTES

Tasmania:

#1 Mitchell O’Neill

Unfortunately had his return game for the Devils cut short by what looked like a pretty innocuous knee injury in the second term. He had started the same term off the ground after limping off earlier, getting stuck straight back into the action. Can hopefully get a better run at it toward the back-end of the year, and looked a positive addition to Tasmania’s midfield in the early stages.

#3 Oliver Davis

The bottom-ager continues to excel in the engine room, putting in a typical shift with inside ball winning and hard tackling. He won the first clearance of the first and second terms to mark his intent and enjoyed a good battle against Eastern’s Lachie Stapleton, catching him holding the ball on two occasions with great technique. While Davis sometimes blazes away in possession, his presence in midfield is invaluable and he plays his role well.

#4 Will Peppin

The National Academy member looks to have regained some good form and was busy throughout this outing. Peppin loves to take off with ball in hand, doing so with agile moves through traffic in the first term to send his side forward. The zippy mover added tackling pressure to his game as it went on, while also running hard off the line at centre bounces and impacting the play further afield in general play. Peppin earned at front-on contact free kick in the first quarter to kick his sole goal for the game, with a later shot from 50 falling short.

#7 Matt McGuinness

Another who contributed a game now expected of him, McGuinness has been an important cog in the Tasmanian back six. He positioned well in the hole to intercept overhead on many an occasion, but was mostly sighted bringing the ball out of defensive 50 by foot on the move. While his range was a little off at times, McGuinness got some handy distance on his kicks and is finding solid consistency.

#13 Sam Collins

Was by no means a huge game from Collins, but he looked strong around the ball as he enjoyed some time in the midfield. When starting on the outside, he pushed hard off the line to impact stoppages and get involved in the play. The bottom-ager also got his usual kicking game going well, delivering a pin-point ball into the corridor in the first term and backing it up with an even better pass from half-back into the middle in the final quarter. Had a bit of a rough patch to open the third term as he gave away a couple of free kicks, but was otherwise effective when in possession.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow looked like having a huge game after he booted three goals within the first half-hour, but was clamped well after the main break with Eastern ensuring he would compete against two or three markers in the air. He started off by winning a ground ball against his direct opponent deep inside 50 before snapping the first goal of the game, following up with a huge pack mark and set shot goal to highlight a scintillating opening. He also created Will Peppin’s goal after booting his third, marking deep in the pocket and kicking well inboard. His physicality ensured that direct opponents were more occupied with holding him that getting to the ball, and Callow’s work off the deck was scarily good for a player of his size. He would go on to show as much by turning his opponent twice in the third term but missing the shot, eventually being restricted well.

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

The natural ball winner did a lot of unheralded work around the contest, handing out well and combining almost telepathically with his Eastern midfield mates to buzz forward from congestion. His low centre of gravity and reading of taps ensured he often got to the ball first before dishing off quickly. Stapleton had a good moment in the final term where he ran forward hard from the stoppage to receive a handball of the attacking side, before delivering beautifully on the run inside 50 to honour Ben Hickleton’s lead.

#11 Mitch Mellis

Arguably the best afield, Mellis was aggressive in both his forward running and defensive efforts. His gut-busting runs after disposing of the ball to get on the end of a second handball broke the play open, with Mellis using his speed to burst away from trouble. He worked fantastically well in the small Eastern midfield to chain possessions together at stoppages rather than blazing away, and did as much around the ground as he got busy from the get-go. Mellis was alight early, booting a goal after finding space to get the hand-off inside 50 and snapping truly, going on to accumulate around the ground in an influential display.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

Rossiter makes his possessions count, getting in dangerous areas within the forward half and impacting the scoreboard. He worked well up to half forward in the first half, throwing his weight around and taking a strong mark from behind on the attacking arc. He found space in the third term to get a shot on goal but fell short, before thumping home a goal from nothing as he threw the ball onto his boot 60 metres from home and saw it bounce through over the back. Rossiter added another in the final term, mopping up an errand handball to snap truly on his left boot.

#20 Connor Downie

The bottom-aged Metro representative was again influential on the outside, finding the ball on the flanks at both ends and using his damaging left boot to good effect. Downie had an early score involvement as he roosted long towards goal to find Harrison Keeling in the square, before getting another hand-off at the arc in the second term and slamming the ball home himself. He finds space well and always looks for the shorter option inboard, kicking long down the line when in doubt to ensure his plays are high-percentage.

#21 James Ross

Was unfortunately the other big injury casualty to come out of the game, being taken off the field by trainers in the second term after receiving a heavy late bump shortly after disposing of the ball. He did not return to the game, but had started solidly in his key back post and got up the ground well. Hopefully he gets another chance to prove his worth this year.

#23 Zak Pretty

Was in the thick of it early on with some linking handballs at the centre bounces and a nice goal on the run from the pocket to get Eastern on the board. He combined his usual inside work with some good movement forward, putting in another solid shift and finding his usual numbers around the contest.

NAB League Boys weekend preview: Tasmania vs. Eastern

A standalone fixture this week sees Tasmania Devils host the Eastern Ranges in a bout originally scheduled for Round 12, as the rest of the competition enjoys a week off before Round 14 recommences the season on Saturday, July 20.

TASMANIA DEVILS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 12 – 13/06/2019

10:45am

UTAS Stadium – Launceston

 

While it seemed long odds at the beginning of the season, Eastern has been far and away the most consistent and best side in 2019, sitting pretty atop the NAB League ladder at 9-2 coming into its clash with Tasmania. The Devils have been competitive for the most part, battling to 4-7 in their inaugural full-time NAB League season to sit eleventh. The two sides are yet to meet this season, taking history out of the equation and allowing both sides to work from a clean slate. With the national carnival run and done, both sides will slowly return to full strength in the coming weeks, starting on Saturday for Tasmania as it regains leading prospect Mitch O’Neill for the tough battle ahead. The core of the Devils’ side is in place, with Round 13 Draft Central Player of the Week Matt McGuinness remaining in the heart of defence, O’Neill back through the middle, and Jackson Callow set to dominate from centre half-forward. Allies representative Jake Steele also returns and may be freed up from his usual ruck duties, named on the wing. For Eastern, a bit of forward line depth slots into the selected 23 as Jordan Jaworski and Joshua Tilley find themselves named alongside diminutive ball winner, Jonte Duffy. It means Eastern possesses threats all around the ground, with a midfield capable of winning high amounts of ball, a forward line with plenty of goals in it from tall and small options, and a solid defence with rebounding quality. The Ranges could look to really get on top in their forward half though, with Tasmania’s strength most significantly lying in the engine room. Needless to say, it will be an uphill climb for the Devils in their persuit to overcome the Ranges, but they should give it a red-hot crack in front of their adoring home fans.

 

TEAMS:

 

TASMANIA DEVILS

B: 60. J. Barwick, 38. O. Shaw, 21. L. Gadomski

HB: 12. I. Chugg, 7. M. McGuinness, 17. P. Walker

C: 39. S.  Green, 3. O.  Davis, 8. J.  Steele

HF: 20. W. Harper, 9. J. Chaplin, 4. W. Peppin

F: 33. L. Borsboom, 25. J. Callow, 27. R. Mansell

R: 56. J. Lane, 13. S. Collins, 1. M. O’Neill

Int: 2. O. Burrows-Cheng, 37. L. Deegan, 23. H. Ireland, 31. J. Menzie, 50. C. Riethoff, 26. O. Sanders, 14. B. Simpson, 35. L. Viney

 

In: L. Deegan, J. Steele, W. Harper, L. Borsboom, O. Sanders, C. Riethoff, S. Green, M. O’Neill

Out: N. Baker,  T. Reeves,  E. Jackson,  C. Stephenson,  Z. Adams

 

EASTERN RANGES

B: 12. J. Gilbee, 39. J. Nathan, 40. J. Hourihan

HB: 4. J. Clarke, 21. J. Ross, 19. W. Parker

C: 20. C.  Downie, 7. L.  Stapleton, 30. T.  Edwards

HF: 9. J. Duffy, 28. T. Weir, 13. J. Rossiter

F: 10. C. Black, 36. B. Hickleton, 27. J. Jaworski

R: 18. B. McCormack, 23. Z. Pretty, 11. M. Mellis

Int: 42. A. Begg, 44. H. Keeling, 32. I. Mccormick, 45. M. Zalac

Emg: 24. T. Hardstaff, 53. J. Tilly, 3. C. Tilyard

 

In: J. Duffy, J. Jaworski, J. Tilly, A. Begg

Out: T. Garner, J. Diedrich

 

Team of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 13

BENDIGO Pioneers and Oakleigh Chargers have received the most nominations for the Draft Central Team of the Week for Round 13 in the NAB League Boys. All other sides have two players each in an even spread, with Dandenong Stingrays and Geelong Falcons the two exceptions (one player each) after heavy losses.

Bendigo’s forward duo of Seamus Mitchell and Jack Ginnivan both made the side along with ruck Aaron Gundry. Oakleigh’s trio of nominations occur in the forward half, with Dylan Williams and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan booting nine goals between them, while Reef McInnes also hit the scoreboard from the midfield. Their opponents Geelong had a sole representative in Charlie Lazzaro with the midfielder working hard defensively to pick up five rebounds and was named on the half-back flank. On the other half-back flank is Matt McGuinness who played in Tasmania Devils’ loss to Bendigo, named in the side with teammate Jackson Callow at the other end.

Other winners with two nominees include Calder Cannons who had Sam Ramsay and Jackson Cardillo both make the side, as did Eastern Ranges’ Mitch Mellis and forward Ben Hickleton. Northern Knights’ captain Jackson Davies and inside midfielder, Adam Carafa both made the team, as did Western Jets’ captain Lucas Rocci and overager Will Kennedy. The other side with just one sole nominee was Dandenong Stingrays, seeing Jack Toner‘s performance in his side’s loss earn him a spot in the 24-player team.

Gippsland Power defender Tye Hourigan and midfielder Sam Berry squeeze into the team once again, while Murray Bushrangers’ Jye Chalcraft backed up his Player of the Week nomination last round with another strong performance in Round 13. He and Will Christie are the two Bushrangers’ representatives with Christie rotating between defence and ruck. Sandringham Dragons welcomed back a number of Vic Metro representatives to the team over the weekend with two Metro players in Hugo Ralphsmith and captain Ryan Byrnes making the side.

Draft Central Player of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 13

TASMANIA Devils over-ager Matt McGuinness has taken out the NAB League Boys Round 13 Draft Central Player of the Week award, winning 76 per cent of votes in our Facebook poll against Oakleigh’s Reef McInnes. He becomes the first Tasmanian to claim player of the week honours after initially being the first to be nominated, and has been a constantly important part of Tassie’s back six – averaging 17.6 disposals, 5.1 marks, and four rebound 50s across eight NAB League outings this year.

The intercept defender had game-highs in disposals (34), kicks (29) and rebounds (11) in an effort that typified the best of his overall game, also clunking eight marks along the way. Of course, McGuinness’ effort is even more impressive given it came in a losing effort, with Tasmania going down by 29 points to Bendigo Pioneers on home turf.

DRAFT CENTRAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

ROUND 1: Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers)
ROUND 2: Mitch Mellis (Eastern Ranges)
ROUND 3: Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers)
ROUND 4: Tom Green (GWS GIANTS Academy)
ROUND 5: Zakery Pretty Eastern Ranges)
ROUND 6: Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers)
ROUND 7: Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers)
ROUND 8: Darcy Cassar (Western Jets)
ROUND 9: Lucas Rocci (Western Jets)
ROUND 10: Jordan Jaworski (Eastern Ranges)
ROUND 11: Darcy Chirgwin (Sandringham Dragons)
ROUND 12: Jye Chalcraft (Murray Bushrangers)
ROUND 13: MATT MCGUINNESS (TASMANIA DEVILS)

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 13

IN Round 13 of the NAB League Boys competition there were plenty of individual standouts as Vic Metro players made their way back into their respective squads. Our writers took a look at a number of Victorian and Allies-based squad members, as well as some impressive bottom-agers. All notes are opinion-based of the individual writers.

Western Jets vs. Sandringham Dragons
By: Ed Pascoe

Sandringham:

#4 Finn Maginness

Maginness was a class act through the midfield moving well through congestion and showing great composure with ball in hand. Maginness was a consistent player throughout the day and even managed to hit the scoreboard with a goal in the second quarter from a set shot and almost kicked a second in the last quarter from another set shot. Maginness hardly put a foot wrong all day finishing the game with 24 disposals and eight tackles.

#5 Ryan Byrnes

The Sandringham captain lead from the front with a strong performance through the midfield winning plenty of clearances and showing his breakaway speed from stoppages. Byrnes had a stronger first half than second but was still a consistently good player in and around the contest going in hard to extract the ball time and time again. He managed to hit the scoreboard in the last quarter with a nice goal on the run to complete his game finishing with 28 disposals and five tackles.

#11 Hugo Ralphsmith

Ralphsmith showed his usual craftiness when forward kicking two goals. He put out another solid game but was unable to have an impact for a full four quarters. Ralphsmith impressed with his defensive side of the game with some good chases. His two goals both came from set shots with the best one coming after a nice intercept mark in the forward 50. Ralphsmith was a big part of the late attempted comeback providing a lot of run with a great dash on the wing and kick inside 50 that really caught the eye and he took a courageous intercept mark as well. He was quick to play on to give his side the best chance of making a comeback finishing the game with 16 disposals and six inside 50s.

#12 Charlie Dean

Dean was the focal point up forward but his impact up forward still has not reached the heights of his early season form and that trend continued against the Jets but his last quarter showed that it may soon click for him again. Dean kicked both of his goals in the last quarter one from a strong contested mark and the other a set shot after a 50m penalty. He had another shot at goal with a snap that bounced over the boundary. He was lined up on talented Jets player Emerson Jeka which was a great one on one battle in the last quarter. Dean finished the game with 10 disposals half resulting in scores finishing with 2.3.

#13 Louis Butler

Butler showcased his usual dash from defence but was moved onto a wing in the third quarter where he looked more dangerous and natural. Butler was his usual self rebounding from defence in the first half and was the leading disposal winner in the first quarter with nine. He only had the three in the third quarter playing on the wing but he looked dangerous just missing a snap on goal and also spinning out of trouble nicely in a contest showing his nous under pressure. He was moved back to defence in the last quarter and saved a certain goal with a good chase down tackle, Butler finished the game with 23 disposals and five rebounds.

Western

#3 Eddie Ford

Ford was again his usual self in the forward line showing his dynamic and smart play style. Ford was busiest in the first half with two consistent quarters getting involved and using the ball well, he showed his defensive work with a good punch to the boundary. Ford finished the game with 12 disposals.

#18 Emerson Jeka

Jeka was tried in a new role in defence for the Jets and despite a few errors it looks like a move worth persisting with both for Jeka and the Jets. Jeka looked composed early on using the ball well in defence. He took a nice contested mark and a good intercept mark although what would follow the intercept was a stray kick that went out on the full. He had a quiet third quarter but finished the game nicely with a strong contested mark against Charlie Dean, Jeka finished with 12 disposals and six marks.

#24 Josh Honey

Honey had a quiet start to the game but worked into the game and played an important part in the Jets getting the jump on Sandringham in the second and third quarters. Honey also looked dangerous again in the last quarter especially up forward showing his explosiveness and evasiveness to take the tacklers on and proved hard to stop when up and running. Honey finished the game with 18 disposals and five marks to be one of the Jets better and more dangerous players.

Gippsland Power vs. Northern Knights
By: Craig Byrnes

Gippsland:

#7 Sam Berry

A typically tough, in and under day for the bottom age midfielder. Starting at the centre bounces, Berry got involved inside 50 during the first term with a nice goal assist to Tom Fitzpatrick by hand. He got busier through the midfield in the second quarter, somehow stealing a clearance seemingly straight out of the hands of an opponent before sending the ball forward. His possessions were heavy, which occasionally lead to him rushing the ball forward and producing some messy disposals. He fought hard though and was one of Gippsland better players, collecting 21 disposals and laying five tackles.

#10 Leo Connolly

Connolly played a more outside orientated game this week, generally starting on the wing and getting involved in multiple link up plays to have some high metre gained moments. He still attacked the hard ball when it was his turn though, winning a clean clearance in the first term with fast hands. Connolly often found himself in a position to feed the ball inside 50 and he hit some brilliant targets. One play in particular stood out during the third term, producing a pin point pass on his left foot inside 50 before he continued on running to provide a target about 30 metres out. He got the ball back, but just tried to do too much by playing on and rushing the shot. He had a solid day, finishing with 18 disposals.

#19 Fraser Phillips

It was a bit of an “almost moments” day for Phillips, who returned to Power this week after missing selection for Vic Country’s final game at Marvel Stadium. There were times when he looked on the brink of putting his mark on the game, but the ball didn’t quite fall his way. He still had some nice moments, including an unselfish goal assist in the first term and some class hits inside 50. In one play he side stepped and turned to create enough room, before producing a lovely weighted ball to the advantage of Baldi inside 50 for a goal assist. Only the second time he has been held goalless at NAB League level this season, but he’ll bounce back.

Northern:

#1 Lachie Potter

In his first game back from Vic Metro duties, the electrifying wingman had a huge impact on the outcome of the game. He was especially prolific early, winning nine possessions in the first term where he had multiple fast moments with ball in hand. Potter just goes at 100% at every opportunity, which at times can produce a turnover, but he had far more good than bad moments on Saturday. A brilliant bouncing run through the middle of the ground in the third term got the ball inside 50 so quickly that the Gippsland defence was almost caught stagnant as he hit a teammate in space. He appeared from nowhere at the top of the goal square after accelerating while the ball was in the air to kick an easy goal. Apart from giving away an off the ball free kick at one stage, it was an exciting performance by the speedster to finish with 23 disposals.

#4 Jackson Davies

Davies was the most influential player on the ground for mine. The Knights skipper was completely in control behind the play, making composed decisions, using the ball brilliantly and intercepting seemingly everything. He read the play better than anyone else on the ground, highlighted by a superb flying one handed intercept “specky” in the defensive 50 earlier in the game. Even ground balls he mopped up with ease and his offensive running packed a punch. He also took the kick outs and looked to create a scoring chain on most occasions. First time I’ve seen him live and I must admit he exceeded my expectations with 23 eye catching touches.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

D’Intinosante was another one of the Knight’s stars to have a large impact on this game, kicking four really smart goals in a near flawless display up forward. I loved his first goal, giving a look-away handball to Potter, before running hard inside 50 space to receive the ball for a set shot goal. He then exploded back into the game during the second quarter, kicking two goals in a minute from brilliantly read crumbs off the pack and finished both with excellent snaps. He kicked a fourth goal in the third while under a fair bit of heat, finding just enough space to connect a nicely executed drop punt through the sticks. He didn’t win mountains of the footy and was pretty well held after his fourth goal, but ensured every touch counted.

#8 Adam Carafa

Does not play too many bad games this fellow, and Saturday was no exception for the Vic Metro midfielder. He started the game hot, getting his hands on the footy first at the stoppages and winning 11 first term possessions. If the ball was in dispute, he just came out of the contest with it in his hands, highlighted by a pressure gather and release deep in defensive 50 early in the game. Carafa then found himself at the offensive end of the ground, striking a lovely goal from approximately the 50 metre line. He was consistently involved throughout the day, creating space or on the odd occasion he couldn’t, holding strong in a tackle and releasing calmly to a nearby teammate. It was a good outing, finishing with 28 no fuss touches.

#11 Ryan Sturgess

Another Vic Metro representative to return to the Knights fold, but in a position that is a little less familiar to the behind the play roles we’ve seen in recent times. Sturgess basically played as a lead up full forward type and did so successfully too. While he didn’t win heaps of the footy, particularly in the first three quarters, he had a genuine presence when leading up to the ball. He took seven marks, the best coming deep inside 50 during the second term where he extended the arms to take a strong contested overhead effort. He got more involved in the final term, executing lovely passes to Cox and Brazier. More importantly, he consistently hit the scoreboard throughout the afternoon to kick a respectable three goals, two behinds.

#23 Nikolas Cox

This kid has some exciting attributes. It was no surprise to see the 197cm bottom ager play for Vic Metro at the Championships, the talent is there for all to see. He is almost freakishly clean for his size at ground and possesses a left foot that any 180cm footballer would be proud of. He fights at ground level, winning a holding the ball free kick in the second quarter before hitting Brazier lace out inside 50. Then there is the aerial stuff, where he took a fantastic flying mark on the wing in the fourth term. Then there was evidence of work rate, running hard inside 50 to get the ball back on the lead only moments later. From a tight angle he hit the post, but it was a fluent and really well struck kick that was unlucky to miss. He moves with a bit style and is a player that everyone should be keeping tabs on over the next 18 months.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Eastern Ranges
By: Peter Williams

Murray:

#1 Will Christie

The big man impressed throughout the ruck, but it was his work around the ground that was arguably the best of the year for him. His second efforts, tackling and presenting as an option in all thirds of the ground was a highlight. He spent time in defence early taking a number of grabs floating across the pack, and then had a nice piece of play in the second term, scooping the ball up at ground level, turning and firing off a quick handball to the appropriate teammate free on the outside. He showed good intent throughout the four quarters, even if he did give away a couple of free kicks. He had superb run-down tackle on Lachlan Stapleton in the third term at half-back when he blindsided him, and got the ball moving for a scoring opportunity. Christie had a number of inside 50s in the final term but could not quite find a target, but overall had an impressive game.

#6 Will Chandler

Played at both ends during the game, taking a good mark in the first term flying in from the side, then converting the set shot from 40m out. He was sent back to defence where he did not win as much of the ball, but he produced a nice spoil in the third term to punch it out of bounds. His hard running in the final quarter saw him receive the handball and run inside 50 but his kick was spoiled on the line by defenders. Chandler finished the game with a terrific tackle at half-forward to lock the ball in deep in the final term.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Had another big game backing up last week and most of the season, winning a heap of it in the opening few minutes. He consistently used quick hands to try and clear it from congestion, with it working most of the time, but it did force some turnovers. He managed to get higher than his opponents and fire out handballs over the top of the stoppage to the area of where his teammates would run to try and open up play. Chalcraft had a couple of burst moments to break up the game, and won a couple of free kicks for going in hard, whilst also giving the odd one away. In the third term he found Hudson Kaak after dancing one way and then another to an opponent inside 50. In the final term he won an important contest at half-forward, wrestling the ball out, winning a free but his teammates chose to play on, kick quickly and Eastern won the football back.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Again played up forward in a different role to his running half-back/wing that he might be accustomed to, and it only took 25 seconds to look like a move of genius. Boyer read the ball off the marking contest from the first clearance, pounced and kicked a goal for the first of the game. In the second term he marked right on the line, nearly played on and slipped over but was given benefit of the doubt and he went back, snapped around his body and kicked truly. His third game early in the third term when he pounced on a ball which spilled out of a stoppage via a Jye Chalcraft handball and kicked a goal. In the final term he came close to being the difference by presenting, but a number of inside 50s went just out of his reach. He had a nice turning circle at one stage to kick to a dangerous area, and a late set shot just went across the face.

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

Played a really underrated role in the midfield and was often the one picking up the loose ball and firing out a handball to his fellow midfielders. Stapleton worked really well in tandem with Mitch Mellis and Zak Pretty in midfield, and laid some fierce tackles as we have become accustomed to him doing. Showed great hands under pressure at half-forward to give off to a teammate in the third term enabling him to kick inside 50, and then timed a handball perfectly to Mellis in the last quarter to deliver an important ball inside 50. His tackling was the standout area for the game.

#11 Mitch Mellis

The most prominent Ranges player on the ground, Mellis had a typical ball-winning performance and kept running for four quarters. He started the game with a strong mark under duress at half-back and booted a superb running goal in the opening term when he ran hard, did not receive it at first and kept running, got the quick handball off Jamieson Rossiter and ran inside 50 not breaking stride for a goal. At one stage in the second term he got knocked over on the wing, bounced straight back up and got into a bit of argy bargy with Jye Chalcraft and won a free for the exchange. Mellis kicked his second goal late in the second quarter with a dribbler inside 50 that got a kind bounce and went through capping off a massive first half of about 15 touches and two goals. He kept buzzing around in the second half and produced a nice delivery to a teammate inside 50 at full speed in the final term and then broke the lines through a one-two handball and then kick following a mark from a kick out.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

Worked hard up the ground in the win and kept presenting all day. He showed great hands and smarts to give a lightning quick handball to Mitch Mellis to set up his first goal, then won a huge contested ball, ripping it from an opponent and hand balling to a teammate, then winning it back and kicking to a dangerous position to set up another major. He marked well under pressure as well as pushing up to the wing on long leads. He positioned himself appropriately in marking contests, and was unlucky not to mark at the top of the square when it was not paid in the second term.

#23 Zak Pretty

Won most of his possessions at the coal face and was often diving into the pack to knock the ball clear or handball out to a teammate in space. He has very quick hands and is not afraid to tackle bigger bodied players, which he did on a number of occasions. Pretty applies pressure on the ball carrier which worked well in the third term to force a dropped mark at half-forward, and also took a nice intercept mark around the same area. Did not rack up the big numbers he has at times this season, but was prominent in other ways throughout the game.

Calder Cannons vs. Dandenong Stingrays
By: Michael Alvaro

Calder:

#3 Jackson Cardillo

The bottom-ager was persistent when running through midfield, while also proving lively when resting forward. Had an indifferent start with a turnover by hand, but warmed to the contest by standing up in tackles and busting his way through congestion. Cardillo’s ability to constantly find the ball at stoppages was promising, and he was hardly caught as he shovelled it out quickly (17 handballs/27 disposals) or broke the first tackle. His reading of the taps almost ended in a goal from a forward stoppage, but he unfortunately sprayed it out on the full. Cardillo eventually found that finish product with a goal in the second term, and a neat pass to find Jeremy O’Sullivan inside 50 later on.

#5 Curtis Brown

It was a typical game from Brown, who used his piercing left boot to penetrate off half back. He combined his easy-out via foot with some good moments in the air – drifting in inside defensive 50 and backing back to impact high balls. Brown took the risky option on many occasions in looking to switch the play and when it came off, it showed he can truly be a weapon in his position. His metres-gained kind of play often starts from the kick-ins too, with Brown pushing hard to find space and become the next option.

#8 Sam Ramsay

Ramsay is really growing into the midfield craft, attending the majority of centre bounces and collecting a game-high 32 disposals. Coming off an outside base, Ramsay is accustomed to staying on the move and he did so well to wheel around when he found the ball at stoppages. When he wasn’t slamming the ball forward by foot, Ramsay flicked out quick handballs to mixed effect, showing he still has areas to sharpen up. His best traits are easily seen in time and space, with pace to burn and the dare to move past opponents – as he did in the third and final terms. May move back onto the outside when Daniel Mott slots back in, but has shown his ability in both areas.

#26 Mason Fletcher

It seems as if Fletcher is starting to put the pieces together, and he looked ominous up forward in this game with four goals. Donning the long sleeves, Fletcher timed his leads really smartly from deep inside the 50 but didn’t always get reward for his efforts. He proved his ability to read the ball in flight down back, and did the same up forward here to mark over the back of an opponent who had committed in the third term. Fletcher also took a big pack mark in the following quarter and converted his third goal from the resultant kick, adding a fourth soon after. Hopefully he can get some consistency going.

#29 Campbell Edwardes

The bottom-ager is by no means a high accumulator, but just seemed to ooze class with every touch. He is that in-between kind of size and tends to play above his height across half back, but is so good at ground level as well. He started with a clean gather and kick on his left to clear the danger on defensive wing, and continued to sweep it up at speed throughout the game in impressive fashion. His ground work also translated into a pressure game, preventing two Ashton Williamson shots on goal with strength in the first and third terms. Edwardes also went on to show his prowess in the air, positioning well one-on-one and clunking a big mark in defensive 50 late on. One to watch.

#60 Samuel Paea

Paea was a surprise packet, quiet early but popping up in spurts. He had a good one on one win in the air against Clayton Gay, then backed it up with another in the second term, and continued to clunk them around the ground with clean hands. Is so strong in that area, but looked a little more iffy at ground level. Managed to hit the scoreboard with two goals in the final term with a neat snap and set shot conversion during Calder’s onslaught.

Dandenong:

#10 Clayton Gay

Not a massive game from Gay, who was employed at both ends of the ground. Starting down back, the bottom-ager looked to move the ball on quickly when in possession and even took on a couple of kick-ins. Gay almost made an immediate impact when thrust forward after half time, smashing a shot into the post from close range. He had another indifferent moment when shepherding a Lachlan Williams shot on the line, but bounced back with a mark up into the corridor and one down low inside 50. The resultant shot led to a Will Howe goal, and Gay constantly looked to move the ball on up forward.

#50 Lachlan Williams

The Country representative was one of Dandenong’s better players on the day, starting brightly down back with some dash. He did not have a heap of the ball early but showed glimpses with darting runs and clean delivery by foot. Once he was moved up the ground and into the midfield, Williams had a chance on goal that was touched in the goalsquare. While he couldn’t always get his usual running game going, the top-ager would be a scary proposition bursting from the centre bounce stoppages. Williams’ pressure without the ball was also handy, but he looked most effective when kicking inboard or through the corridor. Williams’ overhead marking was another solid part of his game, snapping up a couple of strong grabs in the third term to show off some versatility.

#51 Ashton Williamson

The bottom-age forward booted three of his side’s five majors, proving efficient inside 50. He made himself busy inside 50, zipping around and finding space to become an option. His first goal was also the Stingray’s opener, and he followed it up with a second in the next quarter as his set shot just scraped through. Williamson’s third goal was much of the same, and his simple game was highly effective.

Tasmania Devils vs. Bendigo Pioneers
By: Scott Dougan

Tasmania:

#3 Ollie Davis

Davis was always applying pressure around the contest, especially in tight where he would lay some strong tackles in the opening quarter. He was prolific on the inside when he was on his hands and knees doing his best to collect the contested ground ball. Davis was able to fill the hole a number of times down back where he took some intercept marks. His positive performance was nearly topped off with a running shot on goal from 50 metres that fell just short in the third quarter. Davis had 19 disposals, six inside 50s and five tackles.

#4 Will Peppin

Peppin was involved in the first scoring play of the day for the Devils, delivering a ball deep inside 50 that resulted in a mark and goal to teammate Jordan Lane. One of his best passages of play came in the third term when tucked the ball under his arm and sprinted away from his opponent, running at least a further 20-25 metres before finding a target in the middle of the ground by foot. Peppin nearly kicked a ripper of goal from the forward pocket after using his speed to break away from his opponent in the fourth quarter but his shot was pushed wide.

#7 Matt McGuinness

McGuinness had the ball on a string all day. He found plenty of space, was composed with ball in hand and made sure he took his time before making a decision by foot. He took some really nice intercept possessions that caught the eye. McGuinness has fantastic reach and was able to take plenty of marks at the highest point. He was able to provide his team with plenty of drive out of the back half and even showcased his defensive spoiling at times. A very good performance, which was capped off with 34 disposals and eight marks.

#13 Sam Collins

Collins would take plenty of intercept marks in the defence on the day, positioning himself perfectly in front of his opponents. He worked hard into space to make himself an option for his teammates when trying to provide some run out of the defensive 50. At times, he was the last man in defence and didn’t crack under pressure, applying some defensive spoils that resulted in only minor or no score for the Pioneers. A rock down back with eight rebound 50s.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow competed fiercely in the air in the first quarter but was unable to get his hands on the ball. He came to life late in the second term when he took a mark on the goal line and easily booted it through the big sticks for his first major. Callow got more involved as the game went on and in the third term, he took a couple of contested marks, along with some marks on the lead in the forward 50. He kicked his second goal in the final minute of the third term after clunking a tough grab on the lead. Callow ended up having a pretty imposing game after finding it difficult to get involved early on. He finished with two goals and 18 disposals.

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

Conforti was clean at ground level, gathering the loose ball and disposing of it by hand to a teammate on the outside. He laid a very impressive tackle in the third quarter and was given a free-kick. The passage of play didn’t result in a score for his team, but it was great to see his defensive efforts were rewarded. His fourth quarter was probably his best for the day, catching the eye when he drove the ball deep inside 50 to teammate Jack Ginnivan who goaled, putting the Pioneers up by five goals. He finished with 24 disposals and three tackles.

#19 Ben Worme

Worme found a bit of the ball across half-back and the wing. He was effective by hand and did the little things well, such as shepherding. He rarely fumbled and that was evident in the third term when he collected a front and centre crumb after the ball fell to ground from a marking contest down back. Occasionally, Worme was able to use his speed to weave through traffic before disposing of the ball successfully.

#20 James Schischka

Schischka was pretty dependable with ball in hand. He always found plenty of space, which gave him time to make the correct decisions. He spent the majority of the game playing across half-back, putting his raking right foot to good use. Schischka had a mammoth third term, gathering plenty of uncontested disposals around the ground and was one of the reasons for the Pioneers’ dominance. He accumulated 24 disposals (15 kicks) and six marks.

Geelong Falcons vs. Oakleigh Chargers
By: Joe Lee

Oakleigh:

#23 Dylan Williams

The medium forward played a starring role, slotting five majors from nine disposals. His first goal came within the first minute of the game, snagging a classy goal on his trusty left boot from a tight angle. Was a consistent threat and is tough to match up on given his awkward size. Is very mobile and smart around goals, Williams positions himself very well. Slotted two goals in the first and two in the last and was a consistent presence up forward.

#25 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

The Oakleigh big man continued his recent form with a bag of four goals in another impressive athletic display. Finished with 10 touches to go with his haul of four, Ugle-Hagan was outstanding for the Chargers. Also had six marks and is piecing together a couple of fine weeks in attack for Oakleigh. Did miss a very gettable set shot early that would’ve given him five for the day but slotted a goal a minute later from the exact same spot to make up for it. Played a starring last quarter, bagging two goals and threatening to bring the margin out to triple figures.

#39 Reef McInnes

McInnes was dominant for the Chargers, highlighted by his two goals, 29 disposals, five tackles and five inside 50s. The impressive display was a testimony to McInnes improved recent form and he was the best midfielder on the ground. With his draft stocks rising after outings such as the weekend, McInnes is one to keep an eye on for next year.

#73 Cooper Sharman

The tall forward slotted two goals from eight touches that included five marks. Took a nice contested grab early in the second, going back and converting the simple set shot with his sound shot for goal technique. Is a tantalising prospect given his size and athletic traits and did his draft chances so harm with his performance. Could win more of the ball around the ground but has only played two NAB League games this year. Nailed a crucial set shot from 45 metres out when Geelong was lifting, highlighting his class, poise and polish.

Geelong Falcons:

#36 Charlie Sprague

The Geelong over-ager played a lone hand up forward in trying conditions, slotting three goals from 12 possessions. Played as a key forward and used his strong frame to great effect. Was a reasonably quiet in the first half but came to life in the second, bagging most of his goals and providing a few headaches for Oakleigh defenders. Took a strong one on one contested mark in the second quarter and slotted the shot on goal.

#37 Oscar Henry

The athletic forward worked hard but was largely ineffectual in a tough day for Geelong forwards. Had to work up the ground for his kicks, finishing with a goal, nine touches and six marks. Did take some nice marks on the lead but was often on the wing or half-back line rather than his usual dangerous self inside 50. Had a really strong first quarter but drifted out of the game. Could’ve had two goals but was run down in the goal square after taking a courageous mark back with the flight.

#46 Henry Walsh

The Geelong ruckman was serviceable for his side, winning 26 hit outs and 11 disposals, showcasing his improved ability and impact around the ground. Walsh won a number of taps to advantage and was able to out-body and outmuscle Tom Graham due to his taller figure. Had a moment to forget in the second, handballing it to a teammate in trouble after a free kick which did show he has to work on his decision making and footy smarts.

NAB League Boys Round 13 wash-up: Cannons and Chargers go big

A TRULY mixed bag of results in Round 13 of the NAB League Boys competition saw a couple of close contests and a couple of blowouts, with returning representative stars once again stamping their mark. While ladder-leaders Eastern still sit pretty at the top, Western put a dent in Sandringham’s top four hopes with an upset win – seeing the two trade places. Arguably the biggest surprise win belonged to Northern though, going clear in eighth with a win over second places Gippsland. All that, and more in this week’s wash-up.

 

WESTERN JETS 3.2 | 4.4 | 12.5 | 12.7 (79)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 3.2 | 5.6 | 6.7 | 10.10 (70)

GOALS:

Western: A. Clarke 3, L. Failli 3, A. Manton 2, H. White, W. Kennedy, L. Green, J. Horo.
Sandringham: C. Dean 2, H. Ralphsmith 2, B. O’Leary 2, R. Byrnes, F. Maginness, K. Yorke, J. Worrell.

BEST:

Western: W. Kennedy, C. Raak, J. Honey, J. Horo, B. Ryan, A. Clarke
Sandringham: H. Ralphsmith, L. Carrigan, J. Voss, N. Burke, B. O’Leary, C. Dean

Returning stars and a final term flurry were not enough to see Sandringham over the line as the Western Jets held on to win by nine points and send the Dragons out of the top four. Before the visitors roared home, a stalemate ensued in the first term as either side mustered 3.2 apiece, with Sandringham going on to break the cycle and skip out to an eight-point half time lead. The Dragons’ purple patch did not last for long though, as the Jets flew out of the blocks after the main break to pile on a whopping eight goals as the wind picked up. Undeterred, Sandringham hit back in the last but to no avail – relinquishing their top four position to the Jets but maintaining a formidable percentage. The Dragons’ representative guns stood up despite the loss, with Ryan Byrnes (28 disposals, five tackles, one goal), Finn Maginness (24, eight, one), and Louis Butler (23, five rebound 50s) leading all-comers in the ball winning stakes. The firepower of Charlie Dean, Hugo Ralphsmith and Blake O’Leary (all two goals) was not quite enough to outgun the eight goals between Western’s Aaron Clarke, Archi Manton, and bottom-ager Lucas Failli, as the Jets benefitted from some added efficiency in front of goal. Bailey Ryan (19 disposals, seven tackles) and Josh Honey (18, five marks) were the key ball-winners for Western, with ruckman Will Kennedy claiming best-afield honours against his former side for his 15 disposals, six marks, 33 hit-outs and one goal. Flying high, the Jets will get to enjoy a two-week break with back-to-back byes, while Sandringham will look to hit back against Dandenong in Round 14.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 3.2 | 7.2 | 8.6 | 8.8 (56)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.4 | 7.4 | 11.6 | 15.9 (99)

GOALS:

Gippsland: T. Fitzpatrick 2, J. van der Pligt 2, Z. Skinner, T. Baldi, M. McGarrity, J. Hume.
Northern: J. D’Intinosante 4, S. Brazier 3, R. Sturgess 3, L. Potter, B. Nikolovski, N. Long, A. Carafa, S. Philp.

BEST:

Gippsland: T. Hourigan, S. Berry, M. Hawkins, M. McGarrity, J. van der Pligt, T. Rees
Northern: J. Davies, A. Carafa, L. Potter, R. Sturgess, J. D’Intinosante, C. Simonsen

The upset of the round came as Northern trumped the Gippsland Power by 43 points in enemy territory to go a game clear in eighth place. The Knights’ strength and flexibility across the ground proved the difference, with the likes of Josh D’Intinosante (four goals), Ryan Sturgess (three) and Sunny Brazier (three) all able to impact the game forward of centre with only around a dozen disposals each. After a very even first half that saw Northern lead by two points at the first two breaks, the Knights tightened the screws in defence to only concede the one goal after half time, while booting eight of their own to seal a big win. Adam Carafa and Sam Philp resumed their strong partnership in midfield to have 52 disposals between them, while Lachie Potter (23 disposals, one goal) was great on the outside and skipper Jackson Davies (23 disposals, eight rebounds) a rock down back. For Gippsland, Sam Berry continues to rack up possessions with another 21, followed closely by Tye Hourigan‘s 20. Jake van der Plight was also impactful with 19 disposals and two goals, with Tom Fitzpatrick Gippsland’s only other multiple goal kicker. Despite the loss, Gippsland remains second and will look to rebound against Tasmania on neutral territory next round. Meanwhile, the Knights will look to halt Murray’s top eight aspirations when they meet next time out.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 3.0 | 5.3 | 9.6 | 11.9 (75)
EASTERN RANGES 5.5 | 9.7 | 11.7 | 12.7 (79)

GOALS:

Murray: H. Kaak 3, J. Boyer 3, K. Chalcraft, E. Baxter, M. Holt, Z. Maher, W. Chandler.
Eastern: B. Hickleton 4, M. Mellis 2, C. Downie, H. Keeling, T. Edwards, C. Black, T. Hardstaff, M. Zalac.

BEST:

Murray: W. Christie, J. Chalcraft, Z. Barzen, S. Durham, Z. Maher, K. Chalcraft
Eastern: J. Nathan, B. Hickleton, B. McCormack, M. Mellis, C. Black, T. Garner

The Murray Bushrangers fell four points short of a remarkable second half comeback, going down to the ladder-leading Eastern Ranges in a tightly contested game. It was beginning to look elementary for Eastern early on as the Ranges put on 17 scoring shots to Murray’s eight to break to a 27-point half-time buffer. But the third term proved a breakthrough one for the Bushrangers, booting four goals to Eastern’s two to close within striking distance at just 13 points adrift. Another two goals to one was not enough to snatch the win though, with Eastern holding on for its ninth win from eleven games. While Joel Nathan was named best for the winners, Ben Hickleton (eight disposals, four goals) was efficient up the other end alongside Mitch Mellis (22 disposals, seven inside 50s, two goals) to make a profound impact. Zak Pretty matched Mellis’ disposal haul to lead the Ranges in that area, but was beaten out by Murray’s Jye Chalcraft – who led all-comers with 29. Ruckman Will Christie also stood tall with 19 disposals, eight marks, and 25 hit-outs, while Zane Barzen continues to mark everything (nine) and Zavier Maher (15 disposals, one goal) was also serviceable. The Bushrangers, who should cause some headaches for sides above them in the back end of the season, face Northern next for a chance to sneak into the eight, while Eastern hosts Oakleigh in a top four showdown.

 

CALDER CANNONS 4.2 | 9.3 | 10.4 | 17.5 (107)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.0 | 2.0 | 5.5 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS:

Calder: M. Fletcher 4, J. Sutton 2, H. Minton-Connell 2, J. O”Sullivan 2, N. Gentile 2, S. Paea 2, J. Cardillo, C. Brown, N. Stewart.
Dandenong: A. Williamson 3, W. Howe, J. Toner.

BEST:

Calder: J. Cardillo, S. Ramsay, M. Simpson, J. Sutton, C. Brown, N. Gentile
Dandenong: J. Toner, L. Williams, W. Bravo, P. Gerdan, R. Orchard, M. Gregory

Twelve goals at one end helped Calder to a comprehensive 68-point win over reigning premiers Dandenong at RAMS Arena, moving the Cannons above the Stingrays in the top eight. Seven final-quarter goals to nil really compounded the difference as the Cannons entered party mode late on, enjoying the wind advantage after Dandenong had managed three goals to one in the previous term. There simply was not enough firepower for the Stingrays, with bottom-ager Ashton Williamson claiming three of their five goals for the game and the effects of a stripped core showing as players were forced to perform out of position. Jack Toner stood up with 28 disposals and eight marks, while Lachlan Williams (23 disposals, five inside 50s) was good through defence and midfield, and Will Bravo (16 disposals, four marks) was also solid. For the winners, Mason Fletcher was outstanding up forward with his four majors and lead-up marking, while five other Cannons also managed to bag multiple goals. Sam Ramsay was prolific in the engine room with 32 disposals alongside Jackson Cardillo (27, nine tackles), while Curtis Brown (22 disposals, one goal) was effective off half-back and Ned Gentile (23, two) continues to be consistent. Calder will look to climb further up the table in its next fixture against Bendigo, while Dandenong will need to lift if it is to compete with Sandringham next round as both sides welcome back representative players.

 

TASMANIA DEVILS 2.0 | 4.3 | 5.6 | 5.7 (37)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.4 | 3.7 | 6.10 | 9.12 (66)

GOALS:

Tasmania: J. Lane 2, J. Callow 2, R. Mansell.
Bendigo: J. Ginnivan 3, S. Mitchell 3, J. Dick-O’Flaherty 2, J. Rodi.

BEST:

Tasmania: M. McGuinness, J. Callow, O. Davis, O. Shaw, J. Barwick, S. Collins
Bendigo: A. Gundry, S. Mitchell, N. Walsh, J. Ginnivan, W. Wallace, R. Clarke

The Bendigo Pioneers got one back on the Tasmania Devils after a narrow Round 7 loss, this time running out 29-point winners on home turf. It was no easy task for the Pio’s, who overcame a slender half time deficit to run home strong. That came on the back of six goals to one after the main break, with Bendigo well and truly clicking into gear when it mattered most. Bottom-agers Jack Ginnivan and Seamus Mitchell each booted three goals to contribute two thirds of their side’s score, while Jake Dick-O’Flaherty claimed two to round out Bendigo’s multiple goal kickers. Sam Conforti found some good form to collect 24 disposals, while the Pioneer’s fourth goal kicker, Jeremy Rodi, had 23 touches and the James Schischka and Ben Worme again combined for over 45 disposals. Aaron Gundry was named best though for his 17 disposals and 24 hit-outs, while Matt McGuinness claimed the same honour for Tasmania – collecting a game-high 34 disposals, eight marks, and 11 rebounds. Bottom-agers Ollie Davis and Sam Collins were the next best with 19 touches each, while Jackson Callow dominated the air with 18 disposals, eight marks and two goals. With the two sides swapping ladder spots, Bendigo is set to face a firing Calder Cannons side, while Tasmania opens Round 14 against Gippsland.

 

GEELONG FALCONS 2.3 | 3.3 | 5.4 | 6.6 (42)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 5.4 | 10.6 | 14.8 | 20.9 (129)

GOALS:

Geelong: C. Sprague 3, M. Lord, C. Karpala, O. Henry.
Oakleigh: D. Williams 5, J. Ugle-Hagan 4, T. Bianco 2, B. Laurie 2, R. McInnes 2, C. Sharman 2, T. Graham, J. Ayton-Delaney, T. Lovell.

BEST:

Geelong: C. Lazzaro, N. Gribble, C. Fleeton, C. Sprague, H. Whyte, O. Henry
Oakleigh: R. McInnes, D. Williams, J. Ugle-Hagan, T. Bianco, T. Graham, V. Zagari

All of Oakleigh’s top-end guns fired as the Chargers easily accounted for a depleted Geelong Falcons side by 87 points to see out the round. Returning co-captains Dylan Williams (five goals) and Trent Bianco (24 disposals, two goals) were fantastic, with a raft of bottom and top-age talents helping Oakleigh to their big win. Bottom-agers Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (four goals) and Reef McInnes (29 disposals, two goals) did their best to live up to the standard set by Williams and Bianco, with over-ager Thomas Graham (24 disposals, 23 hitouts, one goal) monstrous in the ruck and Kaden Schreiber handball-happy with 25 among his 29 disposals. For Geelong, Charlie Sprague‘s three goals were a shining light, while bottom-agers Charlie Lazzaro (23 disposals, four rebound 50s), Noah Gribble (20 disposals, five marks), Cameron Fleeton (19 disposals, seven marks) and Henry Walsh (11 disposals, 26 hitouts) gave a glimpse of the future. Desperate for form, a meeting with GWV Rebels is next for Geelong, while Oakleigh will be red hot heading into its top four clash with table-toppers, Eastern.

NAB League Boys Round 13 preview: Representative guns return to action

WITH the national carnival come and gone, top-end NAB League regulars are starting to filter back into action, starting with Round 13. Sandringham’s inclusions will put the Dragons in good stead for a top four clash against Western, while Oakleigh and Northern also look well replenished coming into their respective fixtures.


WESTERN JETS vs. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
Saturday July 6, 11:00am
Downer Oval

A well-stocked Sandringham Dragons line-up will be looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats when it faces fellow top-four side, the Western Jets to open Round 13. The Dragons are set to welcome back Vic Metro representatives Ryan Byrnes, Finn Maginness, Oscar Lewis, Josh Worrell, Louis Butler, and Jack Bell, as well as over-ager Angus Hanrahan in one of the more star studded inclusion lines of any team this season. They join the likes of Hugo Ralphsmith, Charlie Dean, and Andrew Courtney from last week’s team, meaning over half of the Dragons’ Metro squad members will suit up for them as they gear towards full strength. Meanwhile, Western is also set to benefit from the conclusion of the national carnival, welcoming Emerson Jeka back into the side. He joins fellow inclusion and big man Aaron Clarke, meaning Will Kennedy is likely set to revert back to his usual ruck duties against his old side. While they gain good tall stocks, the Jets will be without Darcy Cassar for this clash, but should be able to cover their losses down back with Josh Kellett and Lucas Rocci in good form, while Eddie Ford and Josh Honey hold equal class up the other end. This will be a tough ask for Western given Sandringham’s regained midfield and defensive depth, on top of coming off a pretty dour defeat to Calder last time out. Expect the Dragons boys to come out hot after a down couple of weeks, as well as a heartbreaking loss for those who donned Metro colours against the Allies. Plenty to prove.


GIPPSLAND POWER vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Saturday July 6, 1:00pm
Morwell Recreational Reserve

Northern Knights will look to test an undermanned Gippsland Power unit, with a near-full strength squad named to travel up to Morwell. Metro back six regulars Ryan Sturgess and Lachie Potter bolster the Knights line-up – albeit starting on different lines – with Adam Carafa‘s inclusion set to see Josh D’Intinosante spend more time forward, while Nikolas Cox provides some versatility. Ben Major could spend some time down back with over-ager Sunny Brazier named at full forward, while 16-year-old Ned Long slots in as 23rd man. For Gippsland, Fraser Phillips is the only Country representative set to suit up this week, meaning the likes of Leo Connolly, Trent Baldi, and Jake van der Plight will have to continue to stand up alongside bottom-age gem Sam Berry as the Power’s major ball-finders. The home side will look to take full advantage of Northern’s extended break, with a trip to Morwell a tough ask coming off the bye, but a chance to refresh equally plays into Northern’s hands. The Power only just snuck home against a vastly inexperienced Geelong side last week, so will have to show some noted improvement across the four quarters to get the better of a relatively strong and more flexible Knights side. If conditions allow for it, this game could be an under-the-radar belter.


MURRAY BUSHRANGERS vs. EASTERN RANGES
Saturday July 6, 2:00pm
Norm Minns Oval

Wins streaks are set to be broken as the Murray Bushrangers host ladder-leaders, Eastern Ranges on Saturday afternoon. The Bushies are slowly but surely making amends for a disappointing start to their season, winning their last three games to sit just outside of the top eight on percentage. On the other hand, Eastern have surpassed all pre-season expectations to sit first, boasting two wins over third-place Sandringham and their last loss coming against the second-ranked side, Gippsland in Round 6. The Ranges have the added advantage of fielding five Vic Metro representatives given they had the bye during Wednesday’s carnival action. Skipper James Ross, Lachlan Stapleton, Mitch Mellis, Jamieson Rossiter, and bottom-ager Connor Downie have all been named, making the Ranges look a pretty formidable opponent. Their pressure game across the ground will be key to victory here, with Murray coming off a 3.22 performance – albeit in wet and windy conditions. The Bushrangers will have to wait another week to regain their Country squad members, but the likes of Jye Chalcraft, Jimmy Boyer, and Charlie Byrne have all shown solid form over the past few weeks. The dynamism of over-ager Zane Barzen will also be crucial as he again slots in at centre half-back, with Eastern’s tall strength up forward posing a big threat. They visitors look stronger across the board, but face Murray at a bad time as the Bushrangers are finally clicking into gear as the season hots up.


CALDER CANNONS vs. DANDENONG STINGRAYS
Saturday July 6, 2:15pm
RAMS Arena

Fresh off a win over top-four hopefuls, Western, the Calder Cannons will be looking to consign the Dandenong Stingrays to a fourth-straight defeat when they meet at RAMS Arena. The two sides had largely differing starts to the season, with Calder improving greatly through the middle-sector while the Stingrays are faltering after going undefeated until Round 10. The comparatively inexperienced Dandenong side features a couple of Vic Country Under 16 trial squad members with Patrick Gerdan and Miller Bergman again named, while Clayton Gay will again have to stand up in the absence of many key top and over-agers. Lachlan Williams is one Dandenong top-age gun to feature after his Country duties, named in the centre as opposed to his typical wing position given how depleted the squad is. For Calder, Sam Ramsay, Ned Gentile and Harrison Minton-Connell will look to lead the ball-winning brigade and take advantage of a weakened Dandenong engine room, with Mason Fletcher showing enough form up forward to be named there once again. Bottom-ager Campbell Edwardes slots into the back six next to Curtis Brown, with the magnets able to be shuffled around if need be. While the hosts are at a high point, they have met a lot of sides at ideal times – and this clash is no different. Dandenong have the talent to bounce back though, and should have a back end of the year we are more accustomed to.


TASMANIA DEVILS vs. BENDIGO PIONEERS
Sunday July 7, 10:30am
Kingston Twin Ovals

Another tight tussle between the Tasmania and Bendigo is set to go down at Kingston’s Twin Ovals, with the Pioneers looking to make good on their after-the-siren loss to the Devils last time out. Both sides remain relatively steady coming off the national carnival, with only the usual suspects missing and making the ledger pretty even in that sense. Matt McGuinness is a key inclusion for Tasmania, named at centre-half back and set to join Allies representative Sam Collins as aerial dominators. Collins’ fellow Allies squad member Ollie Davis also remains in the heart of the side, with Jackson Callow making it a trio of dangerous bottom-agers for the Devils. For Bendigo, James Schischka and Ben Worme will look to mirror the efforts of McGuinness and Collins in their own defensive half, while Sam Conforti will look to show his own prowess as a bottom-ager. The Pioneers’ tall stocks take a hit with Josh Treacy out, meaning Braydon Vaz will have to play above his height and Aaron Gundry could spend some time forward. However the sides line-up, this looks a very even contest on paper and if the sides’ previous contest is anything to go by, this should be an very tight slog from start to finish, with Tasmania’s host status the only clear advantage to be had.


GEELONG FALCONS vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Sunday July 7, 11:30am
Avalon Airport Oval

Geelong Falcons will be looking for leaders to rise when they play host to the Oakleigh Chargers, with the Falcons fresh off yet another heartbreaking defeat. It will be a tall order though, as some big ins all of a sudden have Oakleigh looking quite formidable after losing a raft of top-end talent to national carnival duties. Co-captains Trent Bianco and Dylan Williams slot in at either end, with bottom-ager Will Phillips joining over-agers Joe Ayton-Delaney and Cooper Sharman on the bench. Phillips’ fellow bottom-agers Sam Tucker, Lochlan Jenkins, and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan have been in fine form as Oakleigh’s makeshift spine, and should be a huge threat again in this game. The Falcons have some bottom-age talent of their own though, with Henry Walsh and Oliver Henry finding form alongside midfielders Gennaro Bove and Charlie Lazzaro. Charlie Sprague is the key inclusion, set to resume his forward partnership with Henry and add some much-needed experience and strength. The Chargers look to be taking no prisoners in their top-four tilt though, and have gone all-out in looking to break through this weekend. A win would not be enough to scrape Geelong off the bottom of the ladder, but would go a long way towards a confidence boost.