Category: News

Draft Central’s 2019 NAB League predictions

THREE sides appear to be the standout teams in the 2019 NAB League competition, with eight members of the Draft Central team making predictions for the season ahead. In the predictions, we have a guess at Premiers, Runner-up, Top 4, which team will be the biggest improver, as well as Morrish Medal and Leading Goalkicker predictions.

Oakleigh Chargers (five), Sandringham Dragons (two) and Gippsland Power (one) are the three sides who can take out the premiership this year according to the eight writers, with Oakleigh and Sandringham voted by all eight to make the top four, with Gippsland nominated by seven of the eight writers. It is an even spread to predict the fourth placed team, with Murray Bushrangers (three) ahead of fellow country sides and regular finalists, Geelong Falcons and Dandenong Stingrays (two), followed by metro counterparts, Northern Knights and Western Jets (one). The big improver from the competition is expected to be Northern Knights (three votes), while Calder Cannons and Geelong Falcons (two) are another contender to rise above their 2018 performance, with Western Jets also earning a vote.

In terms of the individual awards, it is an even spread, with Murray Bushrangers’ Lachlan Ash earning two votes, ahead of six different players. The Leading Goalkicker award has two candidates out front, with Oakleigh Chargers’ Dylan Williams (three votes) and Gippsland Power’s Josh Smith (two votes).

Peter Williams

Premiers: Oakleigh Chargers
Runner-Up: Gippsland Power
Top 4: Oakleigh, Gippsland, Sandringham, Murray
Big Improver: Northern Knights

Morrish Medal: Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers)
Leading Goalkicker: Josh Smith (Gippsland Power)


Taylah Melki

Premiers: Oakleigh Chargers
Runner-Up: Sandringham Dragons
Top 4: Oakleigh, Sandringham, Gippsland, Dandenong
Big Improver: Geelong Falcons

Morrish Medal: Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays)
Leading Goalkicker: Charlie Sprague (Geelong Falcons)


Michael Alvaro

Premiers: Oakleigh Chargers
Runner-Up: Gippsland Power
Top 4: Gippsland, Oakleigh, Sandringham, Dandenong
Big Improver: Geelong Falcons

Morrish Medal: Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons)
Leading Goalkicker: Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers)


Sophie Taylor

Premiers: Sandringham Dragons
Runner-Up: Oakleigh Chargers
Top 4: Sandringham, Oakleigh, Gippsland, Western
Big Improver: Western Jets

Morrish Medal: Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons)
Leading Goalkicker: Emerson Jeka (Western Jets)


Ed Pascoe

Premiers: Sandringham Dragons
Runner-Up: Gippsland Power
Top 4: Sandringham, Gippsland, Oakleigh, Northern
Big Improver: Northern Knights

Morrish Medal: Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons)
Leading Goalkicker: Riley Bowman (Sandringham Dragons)


Alex Gibson

Premiers: Oakleigh Chargers
Runner-Up: Sandringham Dragons
Top 4: Oakleigh, Sandringham, Geelong, Murray
Big Improver: Calder Cannons

Morrish Medal: Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers)
Leading Goalkicker: Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers)


Scott Dougan

Premiers: Oakleigh Chargers
Runner-Up: Gippsland Power
Top 4: Oakleigh, Gippsland, Sandringham, Murray
Big Improver: Northern Knights

Morrish Medal: Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers)
Leading Goalkicker: Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers)


Craig Byrnes

Premiers: Gippsland Power
Runner-Up: Oakleigh Chargers
Top 4: Gippsland, Oakleigh, Sandringham, Geelong
Big Improver: Calder Cannons

Morrish Medal: Cody Hirst (Eastern Ranges)
Leading Goalkicker: Josh Smith (Gippsland Power)




Oakleigh Chargers 5
Sandringham Dragons 2
Gippsland Power 1

Top 4:

Oakleigh Chargers, Sandringham Dragons – 8
Gippsland Power – 7
Murray Bushrangers – 3
Dandenong Stingrays, Geelong Falcons – 2
Northern Knights, Western Jets – 1

Most Improved:

Northern Knights – 3
Calder Cannons – 2
Geelong Falcons – 2
Western Jets – 1

Morrish Medal:

Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers) – 2
Hayden Young (DS), Cooper Stephens (GF), Ryan Byrnes (SD), Daniel Mott (CC), Trent Bianco (OC), Cody Hirst (ER)

Leading Goalkicker:

Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers) – 3
Josh Smith (Gippsland Power) – 2
Riley Bowman (SD), Charlie Sprague (GF), Emerson Jeka (WJ) – 1

Weekend preview: NAB League Boys – Round 1

TOMORROW marks the start of a new era in Victorian Under 18 Boys football, with the brand new NAB League Boys competition kicking off. A standalone game at MARS Stadium begins the first round, before a spread of matches across Victoria on Sunday will provide plenty of highlights for the 2019 draft crop.



Round 1 – 23/03/2019
Mars Stadium – Ballarat

The standalone game on Saturday afternoon pits the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels against reigning premiers, Dandenong Stingrays. The game marks the second consecutive match the Rebels have played against the Stingrays, having been on the receiving end of a belting in last year’s elimination final. The Stingrays have made some changes with a new coach and talent manager coming into the fold, while also losing a fair chunk of their premiership side. They will now rely on a lot of bottom-agers as well as some talented top-agers who featured in parts throughout the 2018 season. Led by top prospect, Hayden Young, the Stingrays have a solid team across the board with last year’s co-catain Mitch Riordan slotting into the centre for this match, and the likes of overager Jai Nanscawen and Luca Goonan also named there, while Sam Merrick – who tested well at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day on a wing. It will largely be a new-look side both on an off the field for the Stingrays, while for the Rebels, they have a large among of players who tasted plenty of football last year. The midfield contains overager, Matty Lloyd who is looking at a new inside role, as well as some silky top-agers in Mitch Martin and Isaac Wareham, the inside ability of Cooper Craig-Peters and bottom-age talent, Nick Stevens. Fellow overagers, James Cleaver and Jed Hill provide some good run up either end, while the ruck duel between Patrick Glanford and Bailey Schmidt will be one to watch. The Stingrays deserve to be favourites, having the wood over the Rebels the past few years, but with so much change, it is as good a time as any for the home team to grab much needed points in the opening round.



Round 1 – 24/03/2019
RSEA Park – Moorabbin

The next day at RSEA Park, Sandringham Dragons face Calder Cannons in the first of a Metro double header at the ground. The Dragons are stacked with talent across the board and will be one of the teams to beat this season. The Dragons’ spine of Corey Watts, Fischer McAsey, Jack Mahony, Charlie Dean and Riley Bowman looks ominous, while a midfield containing Ryan Byrnes, Finn Magginness and Josh Worrell will match it with the best. For the Cannons, captain Brodie Newman holds down half-back with overager Tye Browning, while the athletic Thomas Cartwright has been named at full-back. The Cannons midfield is a strength with Daniel Mott, Sam Graham and Harrison Minton-Connell named in the middle. Josh Kemp is an exciting prospect who while overage, is still only in his second year in the system. There is no doubt the Cannons have a massive challenge on their hands here against a full-strength Dragons outfit. Winning the midfield battle is crucial and backing themselves to match Sandringham’s run is the challenge, while the Dragons will be keen to win in the first game at their new home in Moorabbin.



Round 1 – 24/03/2019
RSEA Park – Moorabbin

In the second match of the double header, Eastern Ranges take on a full-strength Oakleigh Chargers which is a huge challenge for the Ranges. A year more experienced with the likes of Mitch Mellis, Lachlan Stapleton and Chayce Black in the middle, captain James Ross, Todd Garner and Jarrod Gilbee in defence, and Billy McCormack and Jamieson Rossiter in attack, Eastern has a solid side on paper. Overagers, Cody Hirst and James Blanck will play key roles in the side, but they will all need to be at their best to topple the might of the Chargers. Nick Bryan heads up the ruck and will look to get first hands to Noah Anderson, Matt Rowell and Joe Ayton-Delaney who moves into a more contested role this year. Dylan Williams and former Rebel, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan provide excitement up forward, while Trent Bianco and Will Phillips use the ball well coming down the ground. The top-end talent and depth is clearly there for the Chargers and is a key reason why they are arguably the team to beat this season along with Sandringham and Gippsland, of whom all three are well represented in the AFL Academy.



Round 1 – 24/03/2019
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

The second all-country clash of the weekend occurs at RAMS Arena in Craigieburn where Murray Bushrangers meet Gippsland Power. The Power are one of the contenders this season and look to be the top country team for season 2019. Coming off a preliminary final, albeit with a disappointing exit in the end, the large proportion of bottom-agers who steered the team to such a successful season are now top-agers and have the extra year of experience. For the Bushrangers, they also have their fair share of talented bottom-agers and should be the country side most likely to give Gippsland a run for its money. For Muray, its dynamic forward line will cause headaches, which in the past has been dominated by talls, but is more likely to be the hybrid-medium-smalls who create some issues for opposition defenders. Jye ChalcraftCam Wilson and Elijah Hollands can be damaging at ground level while Will Chandler provides some height up forward, and the match-ups with Jake van der Pligt, Brock Smith, Ryan Sparkes and Tye Hourigan will be the ones to watch. Leo Connolly, Fraser Phillips and Sam Flanders going head-to-head with the likes of Jimmy Boyer, Dylan Clarke and Cam Wild will be another interesting battle, while Josh Smith and Ben Kelly could go head-to-head in the Power forwad line. While Gippsland are missing key midfielder Caleb Serong, expect them to get the job done in what could be a thrilling contest to open the season.



Round 1 – 24/03/2019
Colac Football Ground – Colac

A couple of teams with unknowns about them face-off in Colac, as Geelong Falcons host Bendigo Pioneers. The Falcons have a lot of new players in their side, while the Pioneers are always a young team. With many of the names getting games last year, the Pioneers should feel some line-up consistency for round 1. High-flyers, Braydon Vaz and Will Wallace hold down the key defensive posts for the Pioneers, while Brodie Kemp, Thomson Dow and Riley Ironside all fill out the midfield. They will have to battle top talent, Cooper Stephens, as well as overage forward-turned-midfielder, Charlie Sprague and Charlie Harris. Jesse Clark will look to provide some run and carry out of a new-look defence in 2019, while the likes of Jay Dahlhaus and Charlie Lazzaro are ever-dangerous inside 50. The Falcons given their record and form late last year, including from some of their bottom-agers in 2018, will have them heading in as favourites, but Bendigo could well take home the points given the majority of their line-up – minus Flynn Perez who is out with an ACL and a couple of others like Matt Hird – is able to play.



Round 1 – 24/03/2019
Ikon Park – Carlton

The final game of the round heads to Ikon Park where the Knights and Jets go head-to-head in what could be a battle of the two most improved sides heading into this year. Last year the Jets made the finals but were bundled out in the elimination final, while the Knights had a disapponting loss to GWV Rebels the week before in the Wild Card round. Both teams are capable of creating scoring opportunities, as Josh D’Intinosante and Darcy Cassar were a couple of the more dangerous half-forwards last season. Emerson Jeka will start at centre half-forward and no doubt be the main target inside 50, while Eddie Ford and Josh Honey know where the goals are. Daly Andrews is a handy overager to return to the side, while Spencer Johnson and Josh Kellett will come out of defence. The Knights’ bottom-agers were among the top players last season, and Nathan Howard will take up the ruck duties, while Adam Crafa, Sam Philp and Sunny Brazier will use their bigger bodies to try and outmuscle the Jets midfield. Ryan Gardner, Lachlan Potter and Ryan Sturgess will move the ball in transition, while former Sandringham Dragon, Will Kennedy and Aaron Clarke are two Jets who will look to stretch the Knights when forward.

NAB League Girls weekend preview: Round 3

ROUND 3 of the NAB League Under 18 Girls competition has arrived, and with it comes another weekend of intense footy across the board. In such a short season every win matters, so every game is on the line once again as teams settle into their lists and leaders emerge.


Round 3 – 23/03/19
Trevor Barker Oval

Sandringham is in for another tough week as they take on the Calder Cannons, who are sitting in second on the ladder after two convincing wins in as many weeks. Calder will look to star bottom-ager, Georgie Prespakis again this week, after she picked up 22 disposals and kicked seven goals last week against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. Sandringham’s Alice Burke had a solid game through the midfield in Round 2, racking up 20 disposals and 11 tackles in the Dragons’ loss to Dandenong, making her the perfect candidate to lead the charge against the Cannons’ dominant midfield. Burke was matched by fellow mid, Eliza McNamara in her disposal tally, winning plenty of contested ball and creating clearances, while Marguerite Purcell along the wing proved her effectiveness in the first half last round, before a quieter second half lowered her influence on the match. The trio will have to watch out for Cannons midfielder, Georgia Patrikios (21 disposals, seven inside 50s), who who performed well as she returned to the side last week, while Gloria Elarmaly (nine tackles, 14 disposals) and Alana Barba (six tackles, two rebounds) both showed some good signs through the midfield and will certainly make it difficult for the Dragons to penetrate the forward 50.


Round 3 – 23/03/19
Mars Stadium, Ballarat

Round 3 will see a battle for control of the middle of the ladder as both GWV Rebels and Dandenong come into this match sitting on a win and a loss apiece. Only percentage separates the sides, so it will be a big match to determine ladder positions in such a short season. Sophie Molan worked tirelessly through the middle, racking up 24 touches for her efforts extracting the ball to create clearances, while Ella Wood was impressive throughout against the Cannons. Dandenong showed the depth of their forward line last round, with five individual goalkickers making their mark on the match, while defender, Zoe Hill will be key down back to reduce the impact of the Rebels up forward. Isabella Shannon was a tackling machine through the midfield, racking up 12 tackles to go with her team high 18 disposals. Reducing the wealth of the Stingrays’ goalkicking options will be key for the Rebels’ success, while the midfield battle is sure to be one to watch.


Round 3 – 23/03/19
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Last year’s grand finalists, Northern will come into Round 3 off the back of a draw to Oakleigh, so are sure to be raring to go against their Western counterparts, likely to pull out all the stops against the Jets, who are sitting winless in tenth. The Knights will hope for big games again from Ellie McKenzie and Alyssa Bannan, who had mirrored efforts in Round 2 with five inside 50s and kicked two goals apiece, while a shared tackling effort around the ground saw Jess Fitzgerald rack up nine, with six other Knights picking up five or more tackles each. With strengths across the field, Northern will be hard to stop once they get going, and have the ability to run over their opposition. Despite difficulty taking advantage of opportunities in the forward 50 last round against Murray, the Jets had some standout players in Elisabeth Georgostathis (28 disposals, seven rebound 50s) and Isabella Grant (19 disposals, six marks), both players who have the ability to run amok if given the opportunity.


Round 3 – 24/03/19
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Sunday’s opening match will be a lower ladder brawl, seeing ninth placed Murray Bushrangers host bottom of the ladder, Gippsland Power. Murray had three players hit 20 disposals in Round 2, with Abby Favell the main culprit with 21 disposals and five marks. Zali Spencer and Millie Brown were also pivotal through the midfield, while Sophie Locke and Mikaela Trethowan dominated the tackles with eight apiece. Gippsland will need to outplay the Bushrangers’ midfield to ensure a second win on the trot, a role that will see players the likes of Nikia Webber and Chandra Abrahams put to the task. Webber racked up eight tackles and 15 disposals last round while Abrahams had a quieter match compared to her impressive Round 1 performance, but the pair are likely to put forward a strong performance against a relatively even midfield counterpart in the Bushrangers.


Round 3 – 24/03/19
Healesville Football Ground

The Eastern Ranges will host Oakleigh Chargers at midday in a match that will see ball magnets combine for an intense and relentless pressure filled contest. Eastern endured a loss in a low scoring affair against the Bendigo Pioneers last round while Oakleigh suffered a draw against Northern, so both sides will be raring for a hard and tough contest to get the four points. Tess Flintoff flexed her muscles last round, dominating the midfield with 23 touches, 11 marks and nine inside 50s, however didn’t have many opportunities or options forward to capitalise on her efforts. Tarni Brown paired well, laying a game-high eight tackles to go with her 17 disposals and four inside 50s. Flintoff and Brown will want to back up their strong performance against the Chargers, but the strength of Oakleigh’s composure with the footy is likely to get them over the line this week. Mimi Hill’s ability to clear the ball out from stoppages on her way to 17 disposals was key in last week’s match against Northern, while Amelia Van Oosterwijck’s ability to layer intensity and pressure on ball movers allowed her to notch up 10 tackles, topping her nine touches. Meanwhile, Emily Harley will want to keep her successful start to the season going, with seven goals over the first two rounds proving her strength in front of goal, meaning Eastern will have to ensure their defence is top notch.


Round 3 – 24/03/19
Deakin University, Geelong

Geelong is back in top spot this week after a convincing Round 2 win over Eastern, settling back comfortably into where they sat for majority of season 2018. Lucy McEvoy’s fine 2018 form has continued into this season, racking up 26 disposals, six marks, six tackles and a goal, while Darcy Moloney and Paige Sheppard combined for 41 disposals and 14 inside 50s. The Falcons’ ball movers are backed up by two players who kicked a bag of goals apiece, the likes of Mia Skinner (three goals and eight tackles) and Renee Tierney (four goals, 15 disposals), while four other individual goalkickers last round just goes to show the extent of Geelong’s strength forward. A team effort across the board got the Pioneers the four points last week, with a smattering of players contributing through the midfield to create opportunities forward. Brooke Hards (17 disposals, five tackers) and key defender, Tara Slender (16 disposals, seven rebounds) combined well, with Slender currently top of the leaderboard for rebounds and likely to line-up on Geelong’s Skinner to try and reduce her impact forward. Fellow defender, Kate Douglass is likely to line up against Tierney. Bendigo will need to be at its best, but have shown some terrific competitiveness and will look to match the benchmark in the competition.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 5

FOUR rounds down and the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition ladder is starting to take shape. Norwood remains the only undefeated team and takes on West Adelaide in what should be a terrific clash, while Central District and North Adelaide looms as another tight encounter.

Saturday, March 23, 12pm
Coopers Stadium

In the first game of a triple header at Coopers Stadium, the winless Sturt takes on Glenelg, a side seething from its first loss of the season last week. The Tigers will be keen to bounce back from the defeat at the hands of West Adelaide and regain ascendancy in the mid-table logjam. The Tigers have brought in four players to the side with ruck, Lauren Bungey and key defender, Olivia Walker-Obushak among those returning to the fold. The Double Blues have been forced to make some changes with Izzy Kuiper out due to injury, Jessie Keech out to play softball and Alexandra Ballard also omitted from the side. Into the team comes full-forward, Caroline Burgess in a bid to try and create more scoring power, and defender Brooke-Lee Chaplin. Glenelg will be the favourites in this game to bounce back from a rare los and hand Sturt its fifth consecutive defeat, however the Double Blues have been competitive across the board this season and would be edging towards a victory sooner rather than later.

Saturday, March 23, 1.45pm
Coopers Stadium

In the Game of the Week, top-of-the-table Norwood takes on fourth placed West Adelaide in a vital game for shaping the top four early in the season. The Bloods are one of three teams with a 3-1 win-loss record and victory would be crucial in getting an upperhand on their rivals. The undefeated Redlegs have made three confirmed changes, with Elisha Gallagher and Rhiannon Busch key outs as they have army duties, while Zoe Greer will miss through injury. Into the side comes forward, Tara Robertson, GWS GIANTS defender, Ebony O’Dea and Crows’ onballer Sally Riley. For the Bloods, They have brought in four players to an extended team, including full-back Jacalyn Pickering and defender Emma Smith. Norwood deservedly head in as favourites and are expected to continue their undefeated run, but the Bloods knocked off Glenelg last week in a low-scoring contest, so could have the defensive ability to restrict the Redlegs. Riley, Monique Hollick and Najwa Allen is a formidable midfield, while O’Dea and Sophie Armitstead provide good rebound out of attack. For the Westies, Abbie Ballard has been a shining light in the midfield, while Maddie Newman and Chelsea Biddell have been others to watch this season.

Saturday, March 23, 3.30pm
Coopers Stadium

In the final game of the double header at Coopers Stadium, the in-form Central District faces North Adelaide. The Bulldogs have won back-to-back games against the Eagles and Double Blues and will look to make it three on the trot against North Adelaide. The Roosters have had a tough draw to start the season and are unlucky to have just one win from four games. Victory would see North Adelaide have a chance of overtaking the Bulldogs, while also keeping the bottom two at arms-length. With more of a favourable draw coming up in the future, the Roosters could get on a roll. For the Round 5 match, just the combined two changes have been made with Alex Fittridge and Elysha Willis coming into the Roosters’ line-up, while four players have been added to an extended bench for Central District. This could be the game of the round if both teams play at their best, with firepower and consistent players across the field. Katelyn Rosenzweig has been a lively point at full-forward this season, while Jessica Sedunary has serious abiloty. Abbey Scheer and Demi Sonneman have been consistent so far this season, while Jayme-Lee Sonneman has stood tall in the ruck. For North Adelaide, Amber Ward has been a rebounding machine in defence, Kelly Barltrop has been a target up forward, while Leah Tynan, Nadia Von Bertouch and Rheanne Lugg have made a formidable midfield trio. North Adelaide could be considered favourites given their experience, but the Bulldogs have the confidence after stringing two wins together and the scoring power to make it three.

Saturday, March 23, 4.15pm
Flinders University Stadium

The final game of the round has reigning premiers South Adelaide coming up against a Woodville-West Torrens side that has been forced into making changes. The Panthers head into the game with a loss to Norwood the only blemish this season, having not put a foot wrong since then. The Eagles are still searching for their first win this season and team selection has not helped them. Sarah Perkins and key midfielder, Jaimi Tabb are unavailable, while Chloe Forby was suspended and Natalie Subelli forced out due to concussion. Add in the omissions of Taylor Hand and Amie Blanden and the Eagles head into the match with at least six different players to last round. Cassandra Glover will look to replace Perkins up forward, Georgia Taylor returns to the side to help out the defence as will Colbie Frankland. South Adelaide also lose a crucial player with Nikki Gore out due to AFL Women’s duties with Adelaide’s preliminary final against Geelong, while Alana Browne will miss due to a hamstring. The Panthers have brought four players into the mix, with Tonia Fielke slotting on a wing to replace Gore. The Panthers midfield might be missing Gore, but with Hannah Munyard, Czenya Cavouras, Elyse Haussen and Nicole Campbell in the team, it will make life difficult for the Eagles. Rachel Dunstan and Natasha Farrier are potential match-winners, while Kiana Lee will shoulder the load up forward and has plenty of talent. Stephanie Walker‘s work in defence is also important in this game as they look to cause an upset. Woodville-West Torrens will need to bring the heat for four quarters as the Panthers are an impressive outfit, but anything can happen on the right day.

NAB League season preview: Sandringham Dragons

FRESH off a premiership with Dandenong Stingrays, new Sandringham Dragons Talent Manager Mark Wheeler has hit the ground running at his new club. While his Stingrays ended the premiership dream of the Dragons last year, Wheeler is now engrossed in the Dragons program and the numbers training with the club when he arrived was a stark contrast.

“Preseason has gone really well, having bigger numbers was probably the main (difference) – having over 100 boys on the track when I rocked up in November was such a difference to deal with. “(The list is) very very deep and I know there’s some names that have been thrown around as potential players for 2019 and 2020 and I reckon there’s a lot more that will pop up during the year and throughout the year so I’m really happy with the program. “For myself, it’s business as usual, you get to learn everyone’s names, you get to learn your staff and then you just roll over and start doing what you were doing previously.”

Wheeler said the Dragons would use their speed and skill to be very dangerous when in transition, describing the style of play as “a little bit like Madball”. Like with change at any organisation, Wheeler said it was important to be clear with communication and make sure everyone at the club is on the same page.

“You always want to get your hands on some very talented programs and very talented young men,” he said. “Everyone knows the hype about this group so there’s some really good top-end talent so you love that, you love that you can have some influence on that, the difference that I’ve found with it is just purely the boys, learning their names first to start to get hold of it. I have my own reputation so I’ve got to really deal with these boys here that they’ve gotta learn to hear what I’m saying, that they’ve got to trust me, and the same with the coach so we’re both coming through, and I think the players – what you’ll see is a very fast brand of football where it’s a little bit like Madball, we’re gonna take the game on.”

Sandringham Dragons have a massive nine top-age players in the AFL Academy for 2019 – Jack Bell, Miles Bergman, Darcy Chirgwin, Andrew Courtney, Charlie Dean, Jack Mahony, Fischer McAsey, Hugo Ralphsmith and Josh Worrell. Wheeler said those players, along with a handful of others would lead an enviable draft crop for 2019. He anticipated as many as 20 players could put their names on the draft radar by year’s end, form permitting.

“The nine draftable boys that are in the Academy program wouldn’t be in that program if they didn’t think they were draftable prospects, but outside that Ryan Byrnes and (Louis) Butler, they’ve been standouts as well,” he said. “Byrnes has been given our captaincy and that’s player voted so he’s highly regarded. “Finn Magginness has probably been our standout poster boy and there’s been a little bit written about that; he’s just done everything right, he took the knocks, he was really disappointed he wasn’t in the Academy program, and then we keep going down the list, you go to Corey Watts, and he was our best and fairest winner as a 17-year-old and locked down on some big key position players last year, played a little bit undersize. “I think those three are some standouts along with some 19-year-olds, we have three. and I believe all three of them are draftable prospects, so we’re expecting the year they need to have as well, we’ll be up to 20 players.”

Despite the hype and expectation, Wheeler said it was important to keep all the players level headed with plenty that can change between season’s start and end. He said regardless of past form, those players had to have good years to ensure they remained front and centre for AFL clubs.

“I just say to the boys, you’re only as good as your next game, it’s your reputation from your last game … so just managing that with this group is probably going to be difficult,” Wheeler said. “There’s a lot of boys out there who have got a lot of expectations within themselves, they all want to get to the next level so we’re pretty happy with the group we’ve got, we think we’re pretty grounded, but yeah there’s really good standout individual talent that next season we’re going to see a lot of boys get their opportunities and all of a sudden we might be talking about their names as well.”

While Wheeler is in a unique position crossing from the premiers to another side over the off-season, he would have seen a familiar face at training, with Stingrays’ ruck Riley Bowman also making the move to Sandringham after missing out on being drafted last year. The Dragons lose a large chunk of players to school football and eventually, representative football, so when asked if Bowman would provide some security as a consistent tall around the ground, Wheeler said it was one of a number of reasons for approaching the former AFL Academy prospect.

“That was one of the factors, its all about the new system as well, the NAB League is really about getting these boys drafted if we possibly can or get them ready for their next level at VFL or potentially a draft in a few years time like we saw last year with that seven to 10 VFL players get picked up,” Wheeler said. “Bowman as nearly a 200cm bloke getting all the game time – we’ve got three of those, we’ve got (Jack) Bell and (Andrew) Courtney as well; both of those boys were gonna get most of the year. “Bell’s finished from year 12 at Haileybury last year, so definitely, it should make a difference for us.”

After a long off-season, Wheeler said he and the club were ready to play for premiership points against Calder Cannons on Sunday at RSEA Safety Park, Moorabbin.

“(We’re) definitely (excited),” he said. “We’re at RSEA Safety Park so our number one spot is RSEA. Running out on our own deck, it suits our game style, we’ve had four months of training on that ground, so super excited probably just as much as the players, we just want round 1 to start so we can get into the real season.”

AFLW Team Selection: Preliminary Finals

WITH the preliminary finals set to commence this weekend all four sides have pulled out the big guns in the hope to secure a ticket to the grand final.

Shock waves were sent through the Dockers camp last week after Dana Hooker went down against North Melbourne but many will be happy to see her take the field after being cleared of any injury. Teammate Sabreena Duffy has been named in the team but under a big injury cloud after also going down last week.

There were also injury concerns around Adelaide co-captain, Chelsea Randall but the hard-nosed defender is set to pull on the jersey on Sunday, making her a big in for the Crows. Adelaide will be pleased to welcome back deadly forward, Jess Sedunary and defender, Nikki Gore who offer great value to the side.

After a controversial few days off the field, star Carlton forward, Tayla Harris will be set to make her mark on the competition and forge her side into AFLW history, while only one change was made with Jess Edwards named in the squad.

Unfortunately, the Cats will be without damaging forward, Phoebe McWilliams who is set to have surgery on her hand, but they will welcome back the likes of Anna Teague, Rebecca Webster and Georgia Clarke for their inaugural finals push.

Prelim final: Ikon Park, 2.45pm AEDT
Saturday, March 23

B: J.Van Dyk 36 K.Harrington 9 N.Stevens 21
HB: C.Dalton 15 C.Wilson 20 G.Pound 6
C: B.Davey 1
HF: L.Brazzale 12 B.Moody 16 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
F: D.Vescio 3 T.Harris 7 B.Walker 14
Foll: A.Downie 30 M.Prespakis 4 S.Hosking 10
I/C: G.Gee 19 J.Edwards 25 K.Loynes 2 A.Mullane 8 J.Hosking 11
Emerg: N.Plane 32 R.Hicks 24

In: J.Edwards
Out: A.McKay (Omitted)

B: P.Laurie 11 T.Bresland 5 A.Stannett 24
HB: K.Donnellan – C 15 E.Gooch 8 P.Seth 18
C: K.Bowers 2
HF: A.Atkins 37 E.Antonio 12 H.Miller 19
F: K.Gibson 21 G.Houghton 27 A.Sharp 1
Foll: A.Janz 30 D.Hooker 17 S.Cain 20
I/C: L.Mascall 14 S.Duffy 6 G.O’Sullivan 22 M.Sergeant 23 M.Caulfield 10 
Emerg: L.Pugh 32 K.Grieve 13

In: –
Out: –

Preliminary Final: Adelaide Oval, 12.40pm
ACDT Sunday, March 24

B: D.Cox 31 S.Allan 39 C.Cramey 22
HB: D.Varnhagen 9 C.Randall 26 A.Foley 3
C: E.Phillips 13
HF: J.Mules 23 M.Rajcic 32 D.Ponter 15
F: E.Jones 2 C.Scheer 4 S.Thompson 14
Foll: J.Foley 24 E.Marinoff 10 A.Hatchard 33
I/C: J.McCormick 5 A.Considine 16 J.Sedunary 17 S.Li 19 R.Forth 27 H.Martin 6 N.Gore 7

In: J.Sedunary, N.Gore
Out: –

B: A.Teague 40 R.Goring 44 M.McMahon 24
HB:M.Hickey – C 18 M.McDonald 11 D.Taylor 28
C: R.Cranston 30
HF: S.Van De Heuvel 27 M.Boyd 26 J.Crockett-Grills 6
F: J.Ivey 5 K.Darby 8 A.O’Connor 14
Foll: E.Hoare 46 R.Garing 12 O.Purcell 16
I/C: D.Orr 2 M.Clifford 7 H.Burchell 3 R.Webster 21 C.Blakeway 4 M.Keryk 45 G.Clarke 17

In: A.Teague, R.Webster, G.Clarke
Out: P.McWilliams (Injured)

Team Selection: NAB League Boys – Round 1

AFTER a long off-season, the Victorian Under 18s Boys competition is back under a new name with the NAB League Boys kicking off from 3pm Saturday afternoon at Mars Stadium. In the standalone game on Saturday, the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels will be looking to exact revenge on reigning premiers, Dandenong Stingrays with the Stingrays bundling them out of last year’s finals series. In an all-Metro double header to start Sunday, Sandringham Dragons host Calder Cannons, before Eastern Ranges tackle Oakleigh Chargers, both at RSEA Park in Moorabbin.

Up north, Murray Bushrangers and Gippsland Power meet in the middle at Craigieburn’s RAMS Arena from 1pm, with Northern Knights and Western Jets going head-to-head in the other Metro clash at Ikon Park. The final game is out in the state’s west with Geelong Falcons and Bendigo Pioneers beginning their NAB League seasons at Central Reserve in Colac.


Round 1 – 23/03/2019
Mars Stadium – Ballarat


B: 26. N. Nash, 28. I. Ewing, 6. J. Tillig
HB: 8. J. Cleaver, 20. C. Giddings, 11. J. Dwyer
C: 21. N. Stevens, 7. M. Martin, 9. I. Wareham
HF: 14. L. Herbert, 43. J. Wright, 4. J. Hill
F: 47. T. Mahony, 5. M. Jorgensen, 30. I. Thomas
R: 29. P. Glanford, 10. M. Lloyd, 1. C. Craig-Peters
Int: 22. M. Burgess, 19. N. Caris, 35. C. Hinkley, 23. D. McEldrew, 12. R. Polkinghorne, 24. J. Quick, 13. J. Rantall, 32. H. Sharp


B: 10. C. Gay, 46. D. Popa, 50. L. Williams
HB: 38. M. Gregory, 20. S. De Koning, 2. H. Young
C: 13. N. Heath, 18. M. Riordan, 40. S. Merrick
HF: 39. J. Toner, 1. H. Berenger, 44. C. Weightman
F: 27. K. George, 24. B. Nyuon, 37. B. Welsh
R: 28. B. Schmidt, 45. L. Goonan, 42. J. Nanscawen
Int: 47. W. Bravo, 11. E. Cahill, 52. C. Ellison, 14. D. Smith, 25. J. Stuart, 33. H. Sullivan, 30. J. Thomas
Emg: 12. M. Haywood, 23. J. Neal



Round 1 – 24/03/2019
RSEA Park – Moorabbin


B: 10. J. Le Grice , 33. C. Watts, 37. W. Mackay
HB: 13. L. Butler, 29. F. McAsey, 7. J. Voss
C: 36. O. Lewis, 1. J. Mahony, 31. J. Worrell
HF: 9. N. Burke, 12. C. Dean, 11. H. Ralphsmith
F: 15. A. Hanrahan, 28. R. Bowman, 39. B. O’Leary
R: 32. J. Bell, 5. R. Byrnes, 4. F. Maginness
Int: 6. M. Bergman, 43. J. Bowey, 42. L. Cleary, 30. A. Courtney, 19. J. Goddard, 47. N. Grech, 51. D. Hipwell, 16. J. Mifsud, 44. L. Riley


B: 23. C. Brand, 24. T. Cartwright, 16. J. Keeping
HB: 5. C. Brown, 38. B. Newman, 33. T. Browning
C: 8. S. Ramsay, 10. H. Minton-Connell, 32. M. Simpson
HF: 27. N. Gentile, 21. H. Jones, 30. J. Kemp
F: 3. J. Cardillo, 46. S. Callander, 2. J. Sutton
R: 12. J. O’Sullivan, 35. S. Graham, 1. D. Mott
Int: 49. M. Allison, 14. S. Bell-Bartels, 13. J. Flanigan, 36. P. Luckins, 25. J. Martin, 20. B. Morgan, 39. B. Overman, 55. A. Righele, 19. B. Rigoni



Round 1 – 24/03/2019
RSEA Park – Moorabbin


B: 12. J. Gilbee, 31. J. Blanck, 40. J. Hourihan
HB: 20. C. Downie, 21. J. Ross, 16. T. Garner
C: 11. M. Mellis, 7. L. Stapleton, 45. M. Zalac
HF: 17. C. Hirst, 18. B. McCormack, 13. J. Rossiter
F: 9. J. Duffy, 36. B. Hickleton, 14. L. Gawel
R: 49. R. Smith, 15. S. Feagaimalii, 10. C. Black
Int: 6. M. Brown, 4. J. Clarke, 1. K. Hubber, 23. Z. Pretty, 2. M. Silvaggi, 53. J. Tilly, 61. C. Tilyard, 25. L. Vassis, 48. S. Woodward


B: 49. H. Mastras, 52. N. Guiney, 14. C. Oglethorpe
HB: 5. T. Bianco, 7. J. Robertson, 39. R. McInnes
C: 27. J. May, 3. J. Ayton-Delaney, 9. W. Phillips
HF: 28. L. Johnson, 30. S. Tucker, 23. D. Williams
F: 67. H. Mundy, 22. T. Graham, 25. J. Ugle-Hagan
R: 4. N. Bryan, 8. N. Anderson, 11. M. Rowell
Int: 33. N. Dempsey, 18. F. Elliot, 12. L. Jenkins, 29. F. Macrae, 19. D. Romero, 15. K. Schreiber, 63. J. Woodfull, 34. V. Zagari, 10. Z. Hart



Round 1 – 24/03/2019
Rams Arena – Craigieburn


B: 28. J. O’Dwyer, 35. T. Matthes, 29. K. Williamson
HB: 12. L. Ash, 3. B. Kelly, 42. H. Beasley
C: 17. B. Ashley-Cooper, 19. J. Boyer, 26. S. Durham
HF: 9. J. Chalcraft, 23. E. Keogh, 20. E. Hollands
F: 6. W. Chandler, 1. W. Christie, 53. C. Wilson
R: 25. L. Fiore, 38. D. Clarke, 5. C. Wild
Int: 2. C. Byrne, 14. K. Chalcraft, 34. K. Davies, 44. J. Hillary, 27. A. Martin, 10. W. Quirk
Emg: 22. E. Baxter, 15. P. Parnell, 4. A. Shepherd


B: 14. T. Hourigan, 22. Z. Reid, 35. J. van der Pligt
HB: 29. T. Rees, 12. B. Smith, 15. R. Sparkes
C: 10. L. Connolly, 7. S. Berry, 19. F. Phillips
HF: 30. T. Baldi, 17. C. Comben, 37. H. Pepper
F: 11. K. Dunkley, 16. J. Smith, 13. T. Fitzpatrick
R: 43. Z. Skinner, 4. S. Flanders, 32. L. Williams
Int: 31. B. Macfarlane, 24. B. Maslen, 3. M. McGannon, 21. M. McGarrity, 25. J. McGrath, 20. H. Neocleous, 9. W. Papley, 5. F. Shields, 23. Z. Soutar


Round 1 – 24/03/2019
Colac Football Ground – Colac


B: 40. J. Clark, 52. S. Christensen, 20. W. Kilpatrick
HB: 3. K. Rayner, 47. L. Peck, 21. L. Smith
C: 5. W. Batson, 41. C. Stephens, 42. O. Lewis
HF: 1. J. Dahlhaus, 51. N. Conway, 30. H. Stubbings
F: 8. C. Lazzaro, 49. M. Annandale, 29. B. Miller
R: 54. O. Balderas, 36. C. Sprague, 7. C. Harris
Int: 38. S. Bourke, 12. N. Gribble, 17. S. Ham, 37. O. Henry, 6. A. Hildebrandt, 11. C. Karpala, 43. J. Paatsch, 34. C. Page, 46. H. Walsh


B: 14. M. Lias, 34. W. Wallace, 41. Z. Shelton
HB: 1. S. Conforti, 10. B. Vaz, 20. J. Schischka
C: 38. B. Rowles, 8. B. Kemp, 25. W. Shaw
HF: 9. E. Roberts, 22. J. Treacy, 49. C. Vick
F: 35. C. Fisher, 24. M. Johnson, 11. A. Gundry
R: 12. A. Cole, 31. R. Ironside, 4. T. Dow
Int: 52. J. Atley, 59. R. Clarke, 30. J. Dick-O’Flaherty, 17. L. Fitzgerald, 6. J. Rodi, 21. R. Wilson, 19. B. Worme



Round 1 – 24/03/2019
Ikon Park – Carlton


B: 29. J. Collins, 51. R. Uwandu, 11. R. Sturgess
HB: 4. J. Davies, 23. N. Cox, 1. L. Potter
C: 7. R. Gardner, 18. S. Brazier, 41. N. Kitchell
HF: 9. C. Simonsen, 40. L. Mcmahon, 16. O. Simpson
F: 5. J. D’Intinosante, 34. Z. Costello, 3. B. Nikolovski
R: 15. N. Howard, 8. A. Carafa, 13. S. Philp
Int: 26. D. Akuei, 28. K. Brandt, 30. B. Leonard, 10. J. Lucente, 27. E. Macpherson, 52. J. Mazzarella, 6. X. Naish, 2. L. Perry, 19. J. Trudgeon


B: 34. E. Bentley, 42. E. Acevski, 8. J. Kellett
HB: 37. L. Conway, 28. K. Crimmins, 25. S. Johnson
C: 17. N. Reynolds, 29. B. Ryan, 2. H. White
HF: 20. D. Cassar, 18. E. Jeka, 3. E. Ford
F: 5. K. Borg, 44. A. Manton, 31. S. Clifford
R: 47. W. Kennedy, 24. J. Honey, 7. D. Andrews
Int: 13. D. Bolkas, 45. A. Clarke, 33. S. El-Hawli, 1. L. Failli, 38. L. Heaney, 19. J. Horo, 36. C. Mackenzie-George, 41. L. Rzanovski

Team Selection: NAB League Girls – Round 3

TWO rounds down and for some teams wins are becoming important in a nine-game season, with the ladder already starting to take some shape. Just Geelong Falcons and Calder Cannons remain undefeated in season 2019, while Northern Knights and Oakleigh Chargers have collected six of a possible eight points so far this year. For Sandringham Dragons, Gippsland Power and Western Jets, it is an opportunity to grab their first points of the year. Some teams have made multiple changes with Futures Games occuring either side of their respective Under 18s games, meaning those future stars are able to play in either team, with some only eligible for the Futures sides.

Among the big inclusions for the NAB League Girls Under 18s are Western Jets’ key defender Isabelle Pritchard who returns to centre-half back, GWV Rebels’ Nyakoat Dojiok and Isabella Simmons who impressed up either end and running through the midfield in Round 1. The round kicks off bright and early with Sandringham Dragons and Calder Cannons going head-to-head at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.


Round 3 – 23/03/2019
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham


B: 38. G. Strangio, 24. N. Borg, 44. D. Walker
HB: 30. W. Laing, 25. S. Hartwig, 2. S. Rothfield
C: 42. M. Purcell, 28. A. Burke, 26. C. Saultry
HF: 65. E. Angelopoulos, 15. C. Cody, 40. A. Moloney
F: 39. C. Ryan, 3. C. Murphy, 29. I. Stutt
R: 13. T. Grasso, 22. E. McNamara, 17. B. Arnold
Int: 57. C. Bowen, 47. K. Lynch, 45. E. Stuber, 7. R. Woods
Emg: 55. L. Enders, 23. S. Peacock, 8. S. Trim

In: C. Ryan
Out: T. Tysoe, P. Staltari, E. Turner


B: 32. T. Fry, 6. K. Reid, 4. K. Lennox
HB: 31. K. Petrevski, 35. I. Young, 41. G. Prespakis
C: 8. Z. Friswell, 24. K. Delia, 21. G. Patrikios
HF: 46. G. Elarmaly, 43. C. Leahy, 3. E. Yassir
F: 22. M. Muller, 42. T. Crook, 2. F. Theodore
R: 17. G. Sampson, 11. A. Barba, 38. L. Cocomello
Int: 1. H. Cooke, 5. N. Crowley, 34. Z. Hardiman, 25. A. Magri, 15. M. McLeod, 44. I. McNeill-Wren, 36. Z. Penno

In: G. Sampson, K. Lennox, N. Crowley, M. McLeod
Out: T. Gillard



Round 3 – 23/03/2019
Mars Stadium – Ballarat


B: 16. L. Sykes, 27. G. Pidgeon, 4. K. Tomkins
HB: 5. N. Butler, 30. N. Dojiok, 2. Z. Denahy
C: 32. I. Simmons, 24. S. Molan, 13. B. Thompson
HF: 20. E. Friend, 29. P. Metcalfe, 15. C. Leonard
F: 28. I. Robson, 34. K. Harris, 9. R. Saulitis
R: 23. I. Rustman, 12. V. Jewell, 10. E. Wood
Int: 6. M. Ciavarella, 18. K. Hawker, 19. C. Summers, 7. C. Willis
Emg: 17. L. Fitzgibbon, 26. L. Pfitzner

In: K. Hawker, N. Dojiok, C. Willis, L. Fitzgibbon, I. Simmons, C. Summers
Out: A. Stevens, L. Condon, G. Henderson, L. Donegan, M. Caris


B: 14. L. Grocock, 51. Z. Hill, 17. M. Layfield
HB: 32. J. Radford, 50. A. Nagtzaam, 31. B. Vernon
C: 21. G. Hodder, 28. T. Smith, 10. A. Jordan
HF: 48. A. Carroll, 55. H. Thomas, 20. P. Wilson-Macdonald
F: 9. C. Bell, 24. A. Liddle, 2. S. Stratton
R: 58. G. Howes, 12. M. McDonald, 26. I. Shannon
Int: 23. D. Fennell, 4. J. Guy-Toogood, 16. S. Hosking, 53. O. Mauerhofer, 46. K. McKenzie, 34. A. Richards

In: C. Bell, S. Hosking
Out: R. Clancy-Dillon



Round 3 – 23/03/2019
Rams Arena – Craigieburn


B: 8. G. Ceravolo, 2. S. Fell, 34. M. Uwland
HB: 14. J. Fitzgerald, 21. E. McKenzie, 32. A. Snow
C: 17. C. Fitzgerald, 23. G. Newton, 16. Z. Flanigan
HF: 6. A. Bannan, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 7. A. Bennett
F: 11. M. Appleby, 18. S. Sansonetti, 29. T. Pulcino
R: 1. J. Nelson, 10. P. Chisholm, 22. B. Gutknecht
Int: 9. M. Chaplin, 30. M. Plunkett, 31. M. Ramsay, 36. T. Smart
Emg: 26. M. Papachristos, 38. L. Picioane, 35. J. Simpson

In: M. Ramsay, M. Chaplin, M. Papachristos, L. Picioane
Out: C. Linssen


B: 16. H. Herring, 19. A. Anthony, 11. K. O’Keefe
HB: 17. E. Georgostathis, 23. I. Pritchard, 22. C. Singleton
C: 1. M. Huta, 13. I. Grant, 8. O. Millar
HF: 47. C. Sargent, 25. C. Saxon-Jones, 15. N. Wright
F: 40. T. Hooper, 29. J. Goodman, 14. L. Wright
R: 20. T. Kolevski, 12. E. Quinn, 9. R. Tripodi
Int: 6. E. Kiely, 30. T. Kotoski, 48. T. Skenderis
Emg: 32. S. Asciak, 36. K. Bays, 45. T. Meiers

In: T. Hooper, I. Pritchard, K. Bays, J. Goodman, C. Sargent, T. Skenderis, S. Asciak
Out: I. Cavka, J. Mwaka, T. Evans, C. Weston-Sirett, E. Robinson



Round 3 – 24/03/2019
Rams Arena – Craigieburn


B: 14. C. Boschetti, 43. A. Williams, 24. H. Doohan
HB: 6. C. Hargreaves, 44. M. Quade, 10. S. Locke
C: 7. K. Adams, 19. M. Brown, 8. A. Favell
HF: 2. O. Antonello, 21. C. Styan , 37. T. Verhoeven
F: 45. O. Barber, 34. E. McPherson, 26. E. Nicholson
R: 39. A. Morphett, 31. M. Trethowan, 11. T. Brett
Int: 33. E. Mifka, 22. A. Richardson, 41. L. Sharp, 18. Z. Spencer
Emg: 28. C. Dorrity, 27. J. Ward

In: L. Sharp, E. Nicholson
Out: K. Whitehead


B: 2. S. Beaton, 47. E. Williams, 16. A. Hardwick
HB: 9. M. Shaw, 45. M. Van Berkel, 17. S. Trewin
C: 19. H. Booth, 8. C. Abrahams , 30. A. Rippon
HF: 13. H. Andrews, 40. C. Robinson, 11. S. Walker
F: 22. T. Angwin, 27. N. Webber, 3. M. Gilmour
R: 49. G. Radford, 26. G. McRae, 12. M. Fitzsimon
Int: 15. C. Bailey, 1. S. Brisbane, 20. J. Chila, 50. G. Matser
Emg: 21. C. Prestidge, 24. N. Williams

In: S. Brisbane, T. Angwin
Out: L. Raymond


Round 3 – 24/03/2019
Healesville Football Ground – Healesville


B: 43. B. Deed, 51. S. Zappia, 17. M. Kendall
HB: 11. M. Edwards, 41. T. Merrett, 1. C. Smith
C: 29. M. Di Cosmo, 21. O. Meagher, 35. L. Hilton
HF: 48. I. Khoury, 49. C. Wilsmore, 39. L. McClelland
F: 8. R. Hall, 25. J. Grace, 16. E. Horne
R: 46. S. Gibbs, 26. T. Brown, 33. T. Flintoff
Int: 23. M. Church, 36. R. O’Dwyer, 54. E. Odria, 20. J. Richardson

In: R. Hall, R. O’Dwyer, B. Deed
Out: S. Collard, M. Taverna, S. Bowden


B: 2. M. Hill, 26. A. Micallef, 21. S. Reid
HB: 33. E. Chamberlain, 29. C. Rowbottom, 9. E. Jackson
C: 34. G. Larkey, 17. N. Xenos, 22. J. Lin
HF: 7. J. D’Amato, 10. T. Cowan, 5. A. van Oosterwijck
F: 11. M. Bertuna, 3. K. Kearns, 4. E. Harley
R: 12. A. Peck, 1. G. Lagioia, 8. A. Porter
Int: 20. B. Fox, 38. D. Lloyd, 23. A. Mayne, 31. S. Morley, 13. T. Morton, 18. C. O’Malley, 15. C. Russell

In: B. Fox, S. Reid, D. Lloyd, J. D’Amato, A. Mayne
Out: E. James, G. Byrne



Round 3 – 24/03/2019
Deakin University – Geelong


B: 35. G. Featherston , 21. A. Chapman, 7. M. Holdsworth
HB: 49. E. Dowling, 32. K. Haustorfer , 11. D. Smith
C: 12. L. Gardiner, 23. L. Lesosky-Hay, 16. E. Mahoney
HF: 18. D. Moloney, 46. A. McKee, 1. E. Vella
F: 14. Z. Garth, 39. R. Tierney, 24. M. Skinner
R: 20. S. Hovey, 38. L. McEvoy, 8. P. Sheppard
Int: 6. T. Hassett, 34. S. Milsome, 25. L. Ryan, 4. P. Schaap
Emg: 5. J. Dover, 17. I. Long, 31. B. O’Brien

In: I. Long, E. Dowling, G. Featherston , T. Hassett, J. Dover, B. O’Brien
Out: J. Robinson, A. Lee, A. Sanderson


B: 22. G. Barton, 36. K. Douglass, 24. S. Oliver
HB: 25. K. Hazlett, 40. T. Slender, 46. K. Mitchell
C: 3. E. Snell, 28. E. Gretgrix, 1. M. Tupper
HF: 44. J. Jolliffe, 30. H. Stewart, 14. A. Strahan
F: 12. E. Bell, 50. M. Barton, 26. C. Mitchell
R: 37. G. Sladden, 20. D. Villiva, 4. B. Hards
Int: 8. T. Coad, 34. E. Cooper, 38. M. Marks , 7. M. Ward

In: E. Bell, T. Coad, G. Barton, M. Ward, M. Marks
Out: E. Peacock, B. Heiden, T. Miaoudis, D. Kelly-Guthrie, J. Finning

NAB League season preview: Western Jets

HAVING arrived in the past few weeks, it has been a busy time for Western Jets Talent Manager Luke Williams. The new Talent Manager has taken over from Ryan O’Connor who stepped down over the off-season, and while the prospect of arriving at a club so close to the season start might be daunting, Williams said the staff had been terrific in welcoming him. Williams said the club was keen to keep as consistent on and off the field as possible with so much change this year, including a new coach in former Sydney Swans star, Ryan O’Keefe at the helm.

“I think we’d like to be known for consistency,” Williams said. “Whether that be consistency with the performances on the field, and also the way in which our players conduct themselves at the club and away from the club, that’s the same with our staff, we have some great staff who have been working at the club for quite some time and know what it’s all about, so consistency of performance is something we want to be known for.”

While Williams had not witnessed the full pre-season, speaking to others at the club, he was pleased with the feedback regarding how the players had trained since returning to the club ahead of the 2019 season.

“The players have trained really hard,” Williams said. “We’ve got our squad down to our final 49 now and there’s a really strong cohesion in the group, so the preseason has gone through unscathed. “We’ve managed to play one preseason game against Gippsland last week which we got a lot of positives out of and the players are ready to go.”

Last year three players were drafted into the AFL, with Zak Butters (Port Adelaide) and Xavier O’Halloran (GWS GIANTS) drafted in the first round, and Buku Khamis heading to the Kennel under the Next Generation Academy (NGA). This year there are another handful of prospects already standing out, which he hoped would increase as the year went on with development the key aim rather than onfield success, although the latter would be an added bonus.

“The program focus is developing all the players, so we want to see significant improvement in the players on field and off field, you play football to try one another, the camaraderie, and ultimately share wins together so, we’re hopeful of having enough wins this year to play in the finals, that would be a worthy objective,” he said. “Three standout players for us, to watch this year are Josh Honey – Josh is an explosive midfielder. “Another player to watch is Darcy Cassar, Darcy played most of last season as a bottom-ager across half-forward but hopefully he can move through the midfield, and the last player is Emerson Jeka. “Emerson is a key position player with great skill and balance. “All three of those players are in the Metro program, they’ve had great preseasons and they’ve been in the program for a few years so they’re ready to go.”

Williams said while the above trio had stood out, the depth across the entire squad was healthy and he looked forward to seeing how many players could take another step forward in their development in 2019.

“We’ve got a pretty even group to be honest, in that respect, I can’t say there’s been too many standouts,” he said. “Having said that, there’s been a lot of improvement from a lot of players, so the games will have a lot to do with those players stepping up. “We’ve nominated co-captains in Lucas Rocci and Spencer Johnson, so we’re expecting good performances from them, they continued to improve on their form last year so they could be players to watch throughout the season.”

In readiness for Round 1 and the season ahead, Williams was keen to uphold the pride at the Jets and see the entire playing group and staff work together. Williams said he hoped more consistency could come this season and could not wait for Sunday’s game.

“We’re a proud region,” he said. “We do pride ourselves on getting the best out of one another and working together so hopefully that comes through in our consistency and performance this year.”

Western Jets open their season against Northern Knights at Ikon Park on Sunday.

Number crunching: AFLW – Round 7

IN the Round 7 edition of number crunching we reveal who fared best in each stat, including a nod to regular game breakers, Jenna Bruton and Erin Phillips, and a number of other players who managed to dominate multiple areas.

Jenna Bruton tried her heart out for North Melbourne in a losing effort in their do or die clash on the weekend against Fremantle. Bruton was outstanding for the Kangaroos, collecting a round high effort of 19 kicks from 26 disposals. Teammate, Emma Kearney was not far off the mark as she amassed a whopping 17-contested possessions, the most of any player. Given both players took the field for the losing side, this is a testament to how well Fremantle played on the weekend to earn a finals spot.

At the conclusion of the home and away season Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers heads the tackle count with 83, sitting 21 clear of next on the table. Bowers is likely to continue her good tackling form in finals and is sure to push to maintain her strong lead.

Collingwood forward, Sarah D’Arcy convincingly beat the Brisbane defence and was a constant threat in the air in Round 7. Four of her 11 marks were contested, both the highest tally in the round by some margin.

Carlton’s Brooke Walker was a surprise package in the last round of the season, kicking a career high three goals to be the highest individual goalkicker this round. Hopefully she can continue this good form heading into Carlton’s inaugural AFLW finals run this week. At the conclusion of the 2019 AFLW home and away season, Adelaide’s Stevie-Lee Thompson has kicked the most goals, with 13 majors from seven games and finals footy on the way.

North Melbourne’s Emma King showed her versatility, moving back into the ruck after spending time up forward in recent weeks. She had the most hitouts on the weekend with 32, well up from her average of 17.

Collingwood’s Ash Brazill was instrumental from half-back and incredibly composed in her sides first win for 2019 over Brisbane, managing 14 effective kicks of 19, from 23 disposals, setting a new AFLW record.