Tag: AFL Draft

Tasmania weekly wrap: Garland leads Dees to first win, AFL Draft headed south?

THIS WEEK in Tasmanian football has seen rumours emerge of the state hosting one of the AFL’s premier events, while two of the Tasmanian State League’s (TSL) club presidents met with the AFL Steering Committee in Melbourne, and a former AFL player guided a TSL side to their first win of the season.

Tasmania potential host for 2018 AFL Draft:

In what could be a major coup for the state, it was revealed on Wednesday that Tasmania has been considered as a potential host for the 2018 AFL National Draft.

While it is not yet known at which end of the state the draft would be held should Tasmania be chosen, AFL.com.au reported that league officials have named the Apple Isle as a possible destination.

With a number of Tasmanian products expected to be picked up in this year’s draft, including potential top-10 pick Tarryn Thomas, it would not come as a surprise should Tasmania get the nod.

AFL Steering Committee Update

As the June 30 deadline approaches for the decision on the future of Tasmanian football, two of the Tasmanian State League’s (TSL) presidents flew to Melbourne on Wednesday upon invitation of Gil McLaughlin. North Launceston president Thane Brady and Tigers president Paul Gadomski sat in on the latest Steering Committee meeting and Gadomski revealed to WIN News’s Brent Costello the following:

– Both presented for a combined 1.5 hours
– The pair both spoke to Gillion one-on-one, post meeting.
– Some of the info tabled the committee wasn’t previously aware of.
– If more money is required to get young players ready to be drafted, then the AFL will provide additional funding and;
– All seven TSL presidents will meet with Gil on the state’s North-West Coast next Thursday.

Garland guides Demons to first win of season.

In the season’s biggest shock to date, North Hobart registered their first victory of the season this past Sunday when they defeated rivals Kingston Tigers in Round 8.

With former AFL player Colin Garland lining up for his first game for the club in over ten years, the Demons raced out of the blocks and while challenged throughout the second-half by the Tigers, were able to hold firm and walk away with their first victory in a low scoring affair – 7.8 (50) to 5.12 (42). Garland played the game predominately forward and finished with two goals along with setting up two others, and his footy smarts and experience were evident across the day for a side fielding ten teenagers.

In other Round 8 action, North Launceston again smashed their cross-town rivals Launceston by 53 points with midfield duo Brad Cox-Goodyear (four) and Tom Couch (five) combining for nine goals while Launceston ball-magnet Jobi Harper was named best afield for the Blues in his first senior game of the season.

Clarence were also victorious in round 8 with a hard fought 14-point win over traditional rivals Lauderdale. The Bombers controlled the majority of the last quarter yet it was some individual magic from Clarence forward Jake Cox that got the Roos across the line and saw them finish the round as equal second on the ladder.

This week sees Glenorchy travel to Lauderdale to take on the Bombers while North Hobart will look to back up last week’s performance when they face a rebounding Launceston at North Hobart Oval and in the weekend’s final game, the Tigers will travel to Utas Stadium to face the rampaging North Launceston. All games kick off at 2:00pm on Saturday.

Player of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 5

EASTERN Ranges might not have recorded a win this season, but midfielder Joel Burleigh had a massive day out on Saturday, producing one of the best midfield performances of the season in the Ranges’ loss to Gippsland Power to earn him the title of AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Player of the Week for Round 5.

Burleigh had a mind-boggling 40 disposals, seven marks, six clearances, three inside 50s, four rebounds and booted three goals to be the clear best on ground throughout the day. Defensively he laid a game-high 12 tackles, taking over the mantle as the most fierce tackler in the team in the absence of Lachlan Stapleton. He won almost half of his possessions in a contest, yet ran at an elite 85 per cent disposal efficiency. For those into fantasy football, his performance would have netted you 190 Dream Team points.

The performance was by far the best of Burleigh’s TAC Cup career, with the Eastern midfielder coming into the game averaging just 16 disposals from four matches so far in 2018. Eastern will be hoping the game is the start of something special, with the Ranges searching to kick-start their season and build some momentum.


AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Week:

Round One: Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Two: Max King (Sandringham Dragons) 

Round Five: Joel Burleigh (Eastern Ranges)

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 3

GIPPSLAND Power’s fantastic win over Bendigo Pioneers has seen them top the table for AFL Draft Central Team of the Week nominees, with three players named in our Round 3 side. They were the only side with three nominees, with seven other sides contributed two players, while Calder Cannons, GWV Rebels and Northern Knights all had one nominee.

Sam Flanders was the AFL Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 3 and it was no surprise to see him slot into the forward pocket for his strong effort up front in the Power’s big win. Teammates Matthew McGannon (back pocket) and Rylan Henkel (ruck) were also named in the Team of the Week. Alongside Flanders up front is Bendigo Pioneers goalkicker Will Holt who makes it for the second time this season, he is joined in the 22 by half-back Bailey Henderson.

The Eastern Ranges might not have won against the Western Jets, but they had a couple of good defensive efforts in the clash, with Xavier Fry and Jacob Gilbee making the cut for the Round 3 team. Filling out the running backs, Murray Bushrangers’ defender Lachlan Ash made the team for the second time this season, as did teammate Laitham Vandermeer for his efforts on the weekend. Geelong key defender Cooper Cartledge holds down the fort at full-back, with mid/forward Brayden Ham‘s superb effort on Saturday earning him a place in the team on the half-forward flank.

There is a distinct Oakleigh feel in the midfield with Noah Anderson and James Rowbottom filling two of the midfield positions, along with Mitch Podhajski (Calder Cannons) and Tom McKenzie (Northern Knights) who were their club’s respective sole nominees in the team. The final midfield place went to Dandenong captain Campbell Hustwaite, who is joined in the team by Zac Foot, fresh off a four-goal performance against the GWV Rebels. Speaking of the Rebels, Lochie Dawson‘s tireless work in the heavy defeat saw him earn a place in the side.

Moving to the half-forward line, Zak Butters made the team once again for the Western Jets, this time joined in the 22 by midfield dynamo Connor Thar. Alongside Butters is Sandringham Dragons tall James Rendell, who booted four goals to spur his side on to a big second half against the Calder Cannons. Fellow Dragon, Liam Stocker, rounds out the 22 with a place on the interchange.

As with any side there always bound to be unlucky omissions and in this case, Oakleigh Chargers forward Daniel Scala was the next cab off the rank for a spot in the 22, while taller forward Ben Silvagni was also unlucky. In defence, Ajak Dang and Lachlan Potter both came close for their respective sides in the Murray Bushrangers and Northern Knights, while Dandenong Stingrays ruck/forward Bailey Schmidt was very unlucky to be just beaten to the ruck position by Henkel.


Team Building 101: From Tiger Turmoil to Tiger Time

REIGNING premier Richmond has historically been poor at team-building and drafting. From the mid-2000s until the mid-2010s, Richmond’s record of drafting players was horrific. Richmond supporters who are “twenty-something” or older, will remember the constant “trolling” by opposition supporters through this period.

The most infamous draft decision, being the selection of Richard Tambling at pick three, in front of the future Hall of Famer Lance Franklin. The forward from Western Australia, turned into the greatest athlete the game has seen, and was selected pick four by Hawthorn, one selection after the now-delisted Tambling. This however, was one of many errors that Richmond made at the time. They simply could not get anything right at the list management level. But now that has changed.


As soon as the cup is held aloft on the podium of the Grand Final, all other football departments immediately turn their attention to the winning clubs’ list. These football departments run the microscope over the winning clubs’ list to see what lessons they can learn, so that they can be on that stage as soon as possible. 

But this was Richmond. The club who are terrible at drafting! Or were they?

The fact is that Richmond’s football department absolutely nailed every draftee and trade over the past three seasons. Richmond had their fair share of first round draft selections, however this premiership was won on the back of being aggressive at the trade table and finding talent outside the first round of the draft. 

Here is a breakdown of Richmond’s premiership winning side, using the draft pick cost in selecting them or trading for them as the key.


Jack Riewoldt (Pick 13 – 2006), Trent Cotchin (Pick 2 – 2007), Alex Rance (Pick 18 – 2007), Dustin Martin (Pick 3 – 2009), Brandon Ellis (Pick 15 – 2011), Nick Vlasutin (Pick 9 – 2012), Daniel Rioli (Pick 15, 2015), Dion Prestia (2016 – Traded In for Pick 6).

Richmond drafted their “Big 4”, Riewoldt/Cotchin/Rance/Martin, across three drafts (2006, 2007 and 2009). The “Big 4” were undeniably crucial in the Premiership winning side. Dustin Martin, the Norm Smith Medallist and Brownlow Medallist in 2017 was selected at pick three, and the Demons who had picks one and two in the draft (Tom Scully and Jack Trengove) would be heartbroken as neither of their draftees are still at the club. Richmond’s ability to draft well in the first round in the past 10 years set up the spine for their Premiership, and for success in the years to come.


Shane Edwards (2006 – Pick 26), Kamdyn McIntosh (2012 – Pick 31), Josh Caddy (2016 – Traded In for Pick 20).

Only three of Richmond’s premiership players cost Richmond a second round draft pick. Shane Edwards, a 200-gamer and one of the games best handballers, has had a terrific career. A fan favourite and widely loved by his teammates, Edwards is one of the games most underrated footballers. He is a terrific decision maker, and although he is not a prolific ball winner, he is a beautiful kick of the ball. Caddy, a first round draft pick in 2007, was traded to Richmond after never finding his feet at Geelong. Caddy was traded in the same year his best mate, Dion Prestia was traded to the Tigers for their first round pick. 

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH (Rounds 3 onwards or Rookie selections).

David Astbury (2009 – Pick 35), Dylan Grimes (2009 – Rookie Draft), Bachar Houli (2010 – Rookie Draft), Kane Lambert (2014 – Rookie Draft), Dan Butler (2014 – Pick 67), Nathan Broad (2015 – Pick 67), Jacob Townsend (2015 – Traded In for Pick 70), Toby Nankervis (2016 – Traded In for Pick 46), Jack Graham (2016 – Pick 53)

Nine of Richmond’s 22 premiership players cost the Tigers a third round draft pick or less. That’s an incredible 41 per cent of their Grand Final side. The players listed above were not just making up the numbers either. Astbury and Grimes form the pillars of Richmond’s defence that allow Rance to play off his opponent. Houli and Lambert both had huge final series, with the former unlucky not to win the Norm Smith Medal. Nankervis had an incredible year that placed him in the top five ruckman in the league, while Graham and Townsend had remarkable rises to stardom in a short period of time. Graham kicked three goals in the AFL Grand Final while Townsend kicked 11 goals in two weeks at the end of the Home and Away season before taking that form into the finals where he kicked another five goals over three matches. 


Richmond’s list managers nailed the 2015 and 2016 drafts. They selected Broad in the fourth round, and traded their fifth pick to GWS for Townsend who had a remarkable end to the year. However, it was their bold moves in 2016  that was the difference between winning the Grand Final and being stuck in relative mediocrity. 

At the end of the season, Richmond had picks 6, 42, 60, 78 to work with. The media believed that Richmond were going backwards and that they needed to trade their star players out for more picks to start a rebuild. Deledio, Rance and Riewoldt all would apparently not be a part of Richmond’s next premiership, and that Richmond should trade them while they had value. Richmond had other ideas. They traded Deledio, whose body had been wrecked by injury, for future draft picks, and lost Restricted Free Agent (RFA) Tyrone Vickery, for which they received a pick at the end of the first round.

Richmond had in essence lost Deledio and Vickery and had gained Dion Prestia, Shai Bolton, Josh Caddy, Toby Nankervis and Jack Graham. Remarkably, four of those five were premiership players within 12 months time. 


Richmond have proven that huge rebuilds are not required if you have elite top end talent. It is crucial however, that elite talent must be there. As good as Richmond’s drafting and trading was over the past two years, they knew they had four elite players under the age of 30, that they could build their team around. Other clubs at the conclusion of 2016 who had elite talent but poor depth, such as Essendon, Port Adelaide and Melbourne, have copied Richmond’s aggressive trading model and are primed for their shot at the premiership in the coming seasons.

Melbourne looked to free agency to solidify their defence poaching promising defender, Jake Lever, from the Crows. However, I worry that Melbourne’s elite talent isn’t quite at the level of other clubs. Melbourne do have a terrific young midfield and one of the games best young forwards in Jesse Hogan and will rely heavily on them performing if they are to contend this season. 

Essendon used their selections to bring in pace and a bit of “X-Factor” in Adam Saad, Devon Smith and Jake Stringer while holding onto their early draft selections. Essendon now are extremely damaging on the counter attack, and have a terrific mix of young talent and experienced leaders. Essendon’s forward line of Joe Daniher, Stringer and Smith will put opposition defences under pressure and set them up for a big season.

Port Adelaide rolled the dice, losing some of their experienced depth players to bring in three mercurial players in Steven Motlop, Tom Rockliff and Jack Watts. Port Adelaide’s best 22 on paper is terrific, but must remain healthy. Their depth is now poor, but as Richmond showed last year, that depth can stand up if there is competition for places and the chance at a premiership.

On the other hand, sides like Carlton are in a different phase of the premiership rebuild. They lost their best midfielder in Bryce Gibbs but went to the draft with three picks inside the top 30 to add to their current bank of young stars in Patrick Cripps and Charlie Curnow. Carlton are in the process of building that platform of elite blue-chip players like Richmond were in the late 2000’s. Although a “ten year plan” would sound like a nightmare for many Blues fans, Cripps has the potential to be as damaging as Dustin Martin, but not for another five years. As good as Cripps is, it takes a long time for players to reach their full potential. Carlton has a rich history of success and could be tempted to sell the farm prematurely to have a shot at the premiership. However, I think Carlton have learned valuable lessons from their mistakes over the last decade and are committed to a proper rebuild this time. Carlton fans should be excited but patient and trust the job that Stephen Silvagni is doing.  A premiership is surely worth it.


5 Brandon Ellis

2011 – Round 1

Pick 15

18 Alex Rance

2007 – Round 1

Pick 18

2 Dylan Grimes


Rookie Draftee


14 Bachar Houli


Rookie Draftee (Essendon)

12 David Astbury

2009 – Round 3

Pick 35

1 Nick Vlastuin

2012 – Round 1

Pick 9


33 Kamdyn McIntosh

2012 – Round 2

Pick 31

9 Trent Cotchin

2007 – Round 1

Pick 2

21 Jacob Townsend

2015 – TRADE 

Pick 70


23 Kane Lambert


Rookie Draftee

4 Dustin Martin

2009 – Round 1

Pick 3

22 Josh Caddy

2016 – TRADE

Pick 20


40 Dan Butler

2014 – Round 4

Pick 67

8 Jack Riewoldt

2006 – Round 1

Pick 13

17 Daniel Rioli

2015 – Round 1

Pick 15


25 Toby Nankervis

2016 – TRADE

Pick 46

3 Dion Prestia

2016 – TRADE

Pick 6

6 Shaun Grigg

2010 – TRADE

Andrew Collins 


10 Shane Edwards

2006 – Round 2

Pick 26

34 Jack Graham

2016 – Round 3

Pick 53

35 Nathan Broad

2015 – Round 5

Pick 67


46 Jason Castagna


Rookie Draftee



GOLD – Round 1

GREY – Round 2

BLUE – Round 3,4,5 or PS

TAC Cup previews: Round 3

AFTER some sensational round two clashes, the TAC Cup sides are set to lose some of their biggest names to the AFL Academy match tomorrow, and spectators will see which team’s depth will stand up in the face of these omissions.


Round 3 – Saturday, April 7, 10am Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the opening game of the round, Bendigo Pioneers take on Gippsland Power in a game which could well be decided by who wins the clearances. Against Murray in round two, Bendigo Pioneers dominated the clearances (39-23) over Murray with 18 players registering at least one clearance. Of those in the centre circle, Noah Wheeler (three), Daniel Keating (two) and Jye Caldwell (two) were the big movers, however the latter will miss this game due to the AFL Academy match. A player who could step up is Zane Keighran who has averaged 3.5 clearances and done well in the back half, with eight rebounds. Another Pioneer who could hold the key to success is Bailey Henderson, who had had 10 inside 50s and seven rebounds, covering the ground well. Similarly, Gippsland have broken even in the clearances against Murray and Dandenong, with the Power’s ability to get the ball inside 50 the key. they dominated the Bushrangers in round one with 16 more inside 50s, culminating in a 44-point victory. But in round two it was a different story,  conceding 59 inside 50s, while registering 31 themselves. If the Power can get plenty of delivery to their forwards, it will be a crucial step towards victory. Captain Xavier Duursma and bottom-age midfielder Sam Flanders combined for nine inside 50s against Dandenong – almost one third of the team’s total. In round one, it was a shared effort with just three players not registering an inside 50 against the Bushrangers. An area the Pioneers must try and match the Power on is tackling, with Gippsland’s 83 tackles a key reason why they stuck with the Stingrays so long in their clash despite conceding almost 60 inside 50s. The Pioneers broke even with Murray in tackles, but had 18 less – just 43 – against the Rebels in round one. For Gippsland, the biggest focal point is their kicking, with their effectiveness by foot at a high 68 per cent in round one against Murray, but that dropped to 54 per cent in their loss to Dandenong. The pressure placed upon the Gippsland defenders in round two was evident, with the Power’s top ball user from round one – Matthew McGannon – dropping efficiency from 81 per cent to 60 per cent. Bendigo’s ball use was at just 52 per cent against Murray on the weekend, an area for improvement for the Power. If Bendigo can bring the heat to Gippsland, then the Pioneers could be a huge chance, but if Gippsland have time and space, they will cut up most teams with their pace and good ball use. Equally as important, Gippsland must match it with the Pioneers at the stoppages, and continue to bring the fierce tackling pressure they have shown in the opening two rounds.


Round 3 – Saturday, April 7, 12.30pm Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the second game at Queen Elizabeth Oval, the unbeaten Dandenong Stingrays take on GWV Rebels. The Stingrays have been hard to fault so far with a 53-point belting of Geelong Falcons, before getting past a hard working Gippsland Power by four goals. The Stingrays have kicked multiple goals in seven of the eight quarters played this season, but key outs in Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman, as well as the injured Aaron Darling will cause Dandenong to move some magnets around on the weekend. The trio have kicked nine of the team’s 26 goals this season, with Jai Nanscawen (six goals) dominant on the weekend. But the biggest dominance the Stingrays have had is in their inside 50 count, with a whopping 109-59 so far this season – 50 more inside 50s compared to their opponents. In the same time, the Rebels have conceded 81, while sitting narrowly ahead of their opponents on 84. What the Rebels have done well might not reflect on a score sheet, with their fast ball movement and ability to score from streaming down the field a clear indicator of their success against Geelong Falcons on the weekend. Dandenong has had the lowest number of rebounds in the competition with just 55 rebounds, given its opponents have gone inside 50 a combined 59 times. The likes of Charlie Wilson (eight inside 50s in round one), Lochie Dawson (seven inside 50s total), Josh Chatfield (seven) and Jed Henderson (seven) can all pump the ball long inside 50. For Dandenong, Hayden Young has had a whopping nine rebounds in his two games – 16 per cent of his team’s total – and will be crucial in defence. In terms of ball use, the Stingrays have used the ball at just 55 and 51 per cent respectively in their two games. This is largely to the highly contested game they play (+53), while the Rebels are just plus one in contested ball, they went at an impressive 65 per cent by foot against the Falcons – an improvement of eight per cent from their loss to Bendigo. Forward Mitch Martin could be the key to ball use forward of centre, having 12 kicks against the Falcons, nine of which were effective, to go with his six marks, three clearances, three tackles and three goals. In round one, he kicked at just 33 per cent, and booted 1.4 instead of 3.1 meaning he could be the key to the Rebels’ success. For Dandenong to win, they must use their contested game to turn the match into a hard fought contest. They just will the ball forward and get countless inside 50s. James Hickey (10), Mitch Riordan (nine), Finlay Bayne (nine), Campbell Hustwaite (eight) and Lachlan McDonnell (eight) are among the top players getting the ball forward. For the Rebels, they have the pace and foot skills on their day to hurt the Stingrays, but will need to be on their game to face the bigger bodied Stingrays inside.


Round 3 – Saturday, April 7, 2.00pm Williamstown Football Ground

In the televised game, Western Jets are hosting Eastern Ranges at Williamstown. The Jets had a round one win against Calder Cannons, before going down in a close one to Northern Knights. Eastern has not had an ideal start to the season, dropping its opening two matches to Oakleigh Chargers and Calder respectively. The most noticeable aspect about the two teams is neither is a high possession team. They have had just one player pick up more than 23 disposals – Adrian Kalcovski (28) – and neither has cracked 300 disposals as of yet. In the torrential rain, Eastern managed just 200 disposals and 12 marks, improving that to 298 and 48 respectively against Calder. For the Jets, they have had 282 and 266 disposals in their two games, 50 less than their opponents. A strength for Eastern is certainly its rebounding, with the likes of Ben Cardamone (10) and James Blanck (nine) leading the way. Along with its rebounding, Eastern leads the way in tackles, with a whopping 181 tackles in its two games. Lachlan Stapleton is a competition leader with 23 tackles – five more than the next highest player. Jonte Duffy (16), Cody Hirst (13) and Kye Quirk (12) are also high up on the tackle count leaderboard. For Western, they have managed 53 tackles, but have been much better by foot with 62 and 59 per cent in their respective games. Both sides have done well in the clearances, so it could well be a battle of which side can control the inside of the contest as to who gets the points in the contest. Western has had no trouble getting the ball inside 50 so far this season, with a plus 18 in that stat, while Eastern sits at minus 18. This is the area in which Western could take advantage if it can make the most of it’s inside 50s. Captain Xavier O’Halloran is five clear of the next highest player in terms of inside 50s, racking up 16 in his opening two games, ahead of Daly Andrews (nine) and Steven Kyriazis (eight). O’Halloran has been huge in the opening could of rounds, but was restricted more outside ball against Northern, however he still had an influence in close. Based on the opening two games, it will come down to the Jets’ end of the ground with Western strong going forward, and Eastern strong rebounders of the football. Neither side is a high possession team, but they are willing to crack in and win contested football. They have not always capitalised on their inside 50s, but if Eastern can move the ball freely and pinpoint teammates on the rebound, it will be important, while the Jets need to hit-up targets and capitalise on the large number of inside 50s they have been getting, particularly with such good rebounders in the opposition.


Round 3 – Saturday, April 7, 3.00pm Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the final game of the Bendigo Triple Header, Murray Bushrangers take on Geelong Falcons. The Falcons find themselves in an unfamiliar position on the bottom of the ladder after two losses to Dandenong Stingrays and GWV Rebels. For Murray, they bounced back from a loss to Gippsland Power in round one, to register a win in round two. Unfortunately the AFL Academy match means the teams will be without some of their classiest ball users. Geelong will miss the drive and influence of Sam Walsh and Ed McHenry, while the Bushrangers will miss the injured Zane Barzen, as well as Matthew Walker and talented key position player, Hudson Garoni. Walsh and McHenry have had 26 clearances from their 109 disposals in the opening two rounds, so Geelong will need to find a way to cover their losses. The match against GWV Rebels despite the scoreline, showed the Falcons were heading in the right direction, winning the inside 50s and clearances, after losing both in the opening round.  The likes of Charlie Sprague has been vital up forward, booting four goals, but also having 38 disposals. Bailey Scott came into the tam in round two and was one of the most effective ball users, while Connor Idun‘s switch up forward worked wonders with two majors. The Bushrangers have proven to be strong rebounders so far this season, with the likes of Lachlan Ash (11), Thomas Boyd (nine) and Kyle Clarke (eight) among the top rebounders in the league. The two games the Bushrangers have played so far have been largely uncontested, breaking even in the contested ball but losing out slightly in the uncontested game. Geelong have no troubles when it comes to finding space and working the ball to the outside and this might be an aim for the Falcons, particularly with the loss of their two best extractors. For Murray, they will want to continue to play the tough brand of football expected of them, and follow on from a sensational second half last week when they booted eight goals to one against the Pioneers, including six in the final term. The win is vital for Geelong to get its season off and running, with the likes of Ethan Floyd, Oscar Brownless and Baxter Mensch expected to step up in the absence of Walsh and McHenry. For Murray, their strength is in their rebounding and clearances, something they could take advantage of to get the ball forward and apply some early scoreboard pressure to the Falcons.


Round 3 – Sunday, April 8, 10.45am Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

In the early game on Sunday, Sandringham Dragons will be looking to make it three from three after two victories in the opening two rounds against Northern Knights and Oakleigh Chargers. They will be without the likes of Max King, Ben King and the injured Bailey Smith, but their key position omissions will be offset by Calder losing its midfield as Rhylee West, Curtis Taylor and Jack Bytel‘s absence is sure to cause a few headaches in the Cannons coaching box. No doubt Max King was the difference for Sandringham last week, with 8.5 from 19 disposals and nine marks (six contested) in a show of strength up forward. Ben King has been ultra consistent in defence, while West was best on ground in his team’s victory over Eastern Ranges last week, following the Cannons’ narrow loss to the Western Jets in round one. Sandringham has not done too much wrong, with their dominant performance over Northern meaning they are ahead in nearly every statistic except rebounds, and tackles, with Oakleigh registering 15 more than the Dragons. Sandringham have shown they are very strong in contested ball despite being able to play a smart passing game around the ground, and it makes them just as damaging on the inside as they are on the outside. Without their star trio, the Dragons will look to the likes of Angus Hanrahan, who on debut had 29 disposals, nine marks and four rebounds coming out of defence, while Alastair Richards was sensational with 26 disposals, 11 marks and seven inside 50s. Both players create run and carry, while Liam Stocker (10 clearances) and Dawit McNeish (seven) are the ones leading the way at the stoppages. For Calder, the match will no doubt be a challenge without their midfield stars, with the Cannons welcoming back Dylan Landt as an over-ager to join co-captain Mitch Podhajski as crucial big bodies at the stoppages. Tye Browning and Nathan Croft can also float through midfield, and were impressive in the Cannons’ win last weekend. Calder notched up 54 inside 50s for 28 scoring shots, but an accuracy of 39 per cent hurt them. They will need to be more efficient against the Dragons in round three, with Sam Forbes (eight rebounds) and Harry Houlahan (six) likely to create some headaches for the visitors. Calder are a high possession and kick-mark team, where they look to hit targets by foot, taking 176 marks in their opening two rounds, a whopping 34 more than their opponents. Sandringham (117) were equally as dominant in this area however. Looking at both sides, foot skills could well make or break the game, with Sandringham operating at 67 per cent efficiency in round two, compared to Calder’s 56 per cent. The teams traded efficiency by foot, but the difference was Sandringham played in the pouring rain. A factor not spoken about is the difference between playing under lights and during the day, with Calder to play its first day game for the season. The Dragons will head in strong favourites due to their depth, but the Cannons could be more unpredictable without its stars in there. NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 

Round 3 – Sunday, April 8, 2.00pm Preston City Oval, Preston

In the final game of round three, Northern Knights will be looking to make it two consecutive wins, while the Oakleigh Chargers hope to bounce back from their loss to Sandringham Dragons to make it two wins from three games. Undoubtedly Oakleigh’s superior depth – not just in this match but in the competition – will test Northern, who were impressive in their defeat of the Western Jets last round. Tom McKenzie and Braedyn Gillard are two midfielders the Knights rely upon to win the football, combining for 87 disposals and 24 clearances in the opening two rounds. The pair will need to be at their best when they face a deep Oakleigh midfield who have had nine players already collect at least 20 disposals in a match this season. Northern have conceded too many inside 50s this season, with opponents going inside their forward line 102 times to the Knights’ 63. To Northern’s credit, they had 23 scoring shots from 39 entries in round two, an efficiency rate of 59 per cent. They have been dominant rebounding it out of the back half, a key reason why their opposition’s inside 50s have not hurt them as much as they could have. Ryan Gardner has already notched up 14 rebounds, while Lachlan Potter has also been an important player in defence. Up forward, bottom-ager Josh D’Intinosante has been a revelation, booting three goals on the weekend from 19 disposals, six marks, eight tackles and five inside 50s. If he can create some havoc through the midfield and up forward, he could hurt the Chargers. For Oakleigh it is hard to know where to begin, with a well-balanced game across most statistical areas. They have been strong in the clearances, and on the outside, while also using the ball at 62 per cent on the weekend, the same amount as Northern did in its victory. Xavier O’Neill has been a pillar of consistency for the Chargers, already amassing 45 disposals and laying nine tackles. Bottom-agers Trent Bianco, Dylan Williams, Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson look every bit as experienced as top-agers out there and will form a dangerous core group over the next 18 months. The loss of Isaac Quaynor to the AFL Academy match will hurt the Chargers, but they have plenty of players willing to step in to his shoes in defence. The loss against Sandringham is unlikely to have lost any admirers for Oakleigh, with the Chargers beaten by a couple of top five picks who had outstanding performances. The Chargers will be keen to make amends here, and if they can keep up their foot skills and win the clearances, capitalising on their inside 50s, they will be hard to stop. Northern needs to be at its best, with smart rebounds and using their kick-mark game style to keep it out of Oakleigh’s clutches.

Player focus: Max King

THE Sandringham Dragons came from behind to defeat the Oakleigh Chargers on a bright day at RAMS Arena last Saturday. 

Matt Balmer looks in-depth at one of their top draft prospects.

There were two words being mutted by recruiters and spectators waiting at the RAMS Arena canteen on Saturday and it was not “super draft”… it was Max King

The 201cm tall prospect has been long touted as a top draftee, and for those lucky enough to see King play in past seasons, they will long know that he is destined for AFL. Max’s twin Ben is not one to be forgotten either, with the pair a commentators nightmare – given the tall duo are almost identical in stature and looks, with both players set to be picked inside the Top 10 at the 2018 National Draft. 

After being a late withdrawal from the opening game of the TAC Cup season due to an issue with his toe, Max King made his presence felt to all watching on – with the recruiters packing the grassed hills in Craigeburn. King’s eight-goal haul was one of the best individual performances in recent memory, marking the ball at will and had he packed his kicking boots, AFL Victoria would’ve been trawling through the record books looking for the highest goal kicker in a game.

What separates King from other talls is his athletic nature, he moves as well as some of the best midfielders in the draft pool, has clean hands, is good when the ball hits the ground and he knows where the goals are. His leap at the ball makes it almost impossible for opposition opponents to take the ball off him in the air. 

The King twins are names you are going to hear about a lot over the next decade. 

Quarter by quarter: 

Max King’s presence was felt early in the contest, demanding the ball on the lead in the second minute of the contest – but put down the chance on the lead. His run down tackle inside 50 a few minutes later was truly outstanding, but his shot on goal was the first of many misses for the day, with this shot going out on the full. Later at speed, he picked up the ball on the wing and used his quick hands to get it to a teammate. As a forward he mostly stayed deep inside 50, with other talls taking the ruck duties when it was inside 50 – but King did venture down to half back for one sole passage marking the ball near the scoreboard and immediately passing it off to a teammate. He finished the quarter with two goals, three behinds and four marks. 

It was more of the same for King in the second term, awarded two free kicks with the Chargers defenders panicking – which gifted King a goal right on the half-time siren. A snap goal on the run from 25 metres out was the highlight, showing off his athletic traits. King had 5.4 and five marks at half-time – the only goal kicker for the Dragons who trailed Oakleigh by 10 points.

The third term was a quieter quarter for Max King, with just three disposals – but that allowed for a further two goals and a behind. He marked right on the goal line but missed from a tough angle after electing to snap around the body off his non-preferred left boot. A very strong lead and leap meant that there was no chance for his Chargers opponent and King kicked truly from the set shot about 35 metres out. 

With 7.5 coming into the final term, you would not have looked out of place to suggest double figures were on the cards, but it was a sole goal from a set shot (thanks to a fine kick from twin brother Ben) that allowed him to finish the day with eight goals. A score assist was impressive, where he collected the ball and handballed inside to Jack Denborough who snagged the goal. With 19 disposals, nine marks and eight goals – it is fair to say King is a monty to get the three votes from the umpires in the 2018 Morrish Medal count. 

Max King’s disposals plotted out. (KL = Kick Long, KS = Kick Short, MRK = Mark, HB = Handball, GL = Goal, PT = Point, FF = Free Kick)

Final stats:

19 disposals (13 contested)
15 kicks
4 handballs
9 marks (6 contested)
8 goals 
5 behinds

With Jack Lukosius in pole position for the number one draft pick, Max King is right behind the South Australian tall and as we have seen time and time again – the player in clubs eyes as the number one selection in April, is not always the number one pick come November. Expect many more bags of goals from King as the season continues and it will be good to see how he progresses against stronger and better opponents in the National AFL Under 18 Championships in a couple of months.

Keeping tabs: Standout draftees from Round 1

ROUND one of the AFL kicked-off and with it came some familiar faces making the step up from the TAC Cup and National Under 18 Championships up into the big time. Fans got the opportunity to see how some of the new boys picked up during the off season fit in with their beloved clubs. There were some outstanding performances by the debutantes. These players adjusted well to the elite level and we got the chance to see how they might fair for the rest of the season. In what will become a weekly feature, Keeping tabs will track the progress of draftees and name the top performers from the weekend.

Bayley Fritsch

Fritsch opened Melbourne’s scoring with his first goal. It started the Demons off toward a fierce forward attack, and in the end, they came close to taking the win. The 21 year-old did not have much of the football after Geelong got tighter on the ball but he laid five important tackles and earned himself four contested possessions. His efficiency was a little under par but with some time he should see some improvements and develop some consistency.

Cam Rayner
The number one pick for the 2017 National Draft pulled on the boots for Brisbane on Saturday as they took on St Kilda at Etihad Stadium. He spent most of his time in the forward line, earning himself four contested possessions and a brilliantly crumbed goal. Running around in Jonathan Brown’s old jumper, Rayner did not shy away from the ball and attacked every play with ruthless intensity. He crashed the packs and demonstrated his potential as a key forward player. With some adjusting, Rayner should only become more damaging as a player as the season progresses.

Jaidyn Stephenson
Stephenson played some outstanding footy against Hawthorn on Saturday night. Looking comfortable at the elite level, Stephenson finished the game with 16 disposals and five contested possessions. His passing was clean and he did not shy away from taking on his man. He laid an impressive tackle along his forward 50 and smothered the ball off the kick after it spilled out. He was a highlight for Collingwood and was unfortunate not to top it off with a win.

Hunter Clark
Clark marched out with the Saints to take on the Lions in his first ever AFL match. He began the game a little shy around the ball, but was smooth enough with it when it found his hands. He positioned himself well around plays and demonstrated a few effective hand-passes to get the Saints out of congestion. With sharp kicking, Hunter was consistent in hitting his man, and even picked himself up his first goal for his career. He had a total of 12 disposals with a 75 percent efficiency. In time, Clark could see himself developing his slick brand of footy with the Saints and cement his spot in their best 22.

Darcy Fogarty
Fogarty came out the gate galloping with Crows in his first three appearances. He kicked one goal in his first JLT game against the Dockers, and three in his second against Port. He kept this intensity alive going into Round One against Essendon, kicking two goals in his first  AFL match. With only the six disposals, Fogarty managed to inflict some damage on the Bombers. He went hard at the ball and put pressure on his opposition. Fogarty is a forward in the making, and if he keeps up this level of football, could see himself take home the serious awards during his AFL career.

Lachie Fogarty
Fogarty’s effort may have been a bit overshadowed by the return of Gary Ablett, but Geelong’s young guns produced some enormous efforts. Fogarty capped his game off with 20 disposals and 10 contested possessions. He had a 70 per cent disposal efficiency, four intercept possessions and kicked a goal. At pick 22 in the 2017 AFL National Draft, Fogarty played a far more damaging role for his side than other clubs may have anticipated. He was a decent utility throughout the game for Geelong and has the potential to go far in his career if he uses the Cats’ current midfield group as the standard he needs to reach.

Tim Kelly
Another first gamer for Geelong, Kelly smashed expectations with his first game. The South Australian applied some good pressure, hit his man, kicked his first goal and ended the game with a brilliant 27 disposals. He was a star for Geelong as seen through his 70 per cent efficiency. He adapted well to match their elite level of football and earned himself an outstanding 13 contested possessions, only second to Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver. This young man was outstanding overall, and played like a seasoned AFL player.

Andrew Brayshaw
The number two draft selection had a solid outing in his debut game, racking up 12 disposals for Fremantle in the Dockers’ heavy loss to Port Adelaide. Brayshaw had four kicks and eight handballs, along with two clearances, running at 75 per cent disposal efficiency. Throw in three marks and two tackles from 66 per cent time on ground, Brayshaw made the most of his time on the big stage.

Player focus: Isaac Quaynor

THE Oakleigh Chargers kick started season 2018 with a huge 50-point thumping of the Eastern Ranges in the wet at Skybus Stadium on Saturday.  

Matt Balmer looks in depth at one of their possible draftees.

Isaac Quaynor is an athletic 180cm rebounding defender who showed great improvement in the latter half of the 2017 TAC Cup season, and was named in Chargers’ best players on seven occasions from his 17 games.

The Chargers player averaged 12 disposals and three marks, kicking at over 75 per cent by foot. His moments of X-factor shone through during the latter half of the season, which was a large reason behind his late inclusion to the NAB AFL Academy’s Level Two intake. Quaynor also showed some of his future potential with 11 disposals, four marks and four rebound 50s in the NAB AFL Under 17 All-Stars contest on Grand Final weekend in 2017. 

Luckily for Collingwood fans, they will have an opportunity to have first crack at Quaynor should he nominate for the draft, under the recently developed NGA (Next Generation Academy) system, where similar to father-son players – the Pies will have to match a bid for Quaynor should they want him. The Collingwood supporter falls into the multicultural academy, with his father hailing from Ghana. 

He is an attacking defender who possesses good speed and a decent leap, skills which have come from previous years hopping between football and basketball commitments, which are noticeable in helping him get two hands on the ball in the air.  He also tackles well and is an offensive defender than needs to be watched carefully by opposition forwards when there is a turnover in defence. 

Quarter by quarter: 

In terrible conditions, with water patches all over the ground and constant rain – like majority of his teammates, Quaynor had a few scrubbing kicks early in the contest, including a smothered kick on the wing. A nice dash across the half back flank allowed him to pick up the ball and find a target long on the wing. Quaynor laid some strong crunching tackles early on his Ranges opponent. 

Quaynor worked into the game in the second quarter and it was probably his best for the contest, where he was able to have two early kicks getting the ball into the attacking half of the ground for the Chargers. On one occasion he elected to spoil when he had the opportunity to mark the ball alone, 25 metres out from the Ranges goal. A nice mark on the wing allowed Quaynor to hit a target on the switch off his right foot. When defending one-on-one, at times he trailed his man but his pressure and tackling presence meant that it didn’t hurt the Chargers in the defensive 50. What was impressive was his second efforts. Late in the quarter when he dropped a mark, he immediately got back up and went to tackle his opponent who had picked up the ball and managed to stop them scoring from the contest. 

After half-time, Quaynor made a nice spoil to start the third quarter and again it was his multiple efforts that were impressive. In the wet despite a few fumbles, he was always attempting to get the ball forward to help out his teammates. A huge kick from half-back to half-forward was one of his longest kicks of the day.

The last quarter saw Quaynor collect seven disposals (his highest quarter for the match), but unfortunately was let down by a dropped mark, that despite the very wet conditions should have been taken. Overall, it was a positive day for the Chargers defender finishing the day with 19 disposals and two marks in the conditions that weren’t ideal for players looking to mark the ball overhead. 

Isaac Quaynor’s disposals plotted out. (KL = Kick Long, KS = Kick Short, MRK = Mark, HB = Handball)

Final stats:

19 disposals (nine contested)
15 kicks
4 handballs
2 marks
6 tackles
3 clearances

Posessing a good upside, Quaynor is a name to keep track of throughout the year – one player who could very well find a home inside the Top 30 come November’s 2018 draft. With his strong attributes and another full year in the football (TAC Cup/Vic Metro) system, there is plenty of development left in the Chargers rebounding defender. 

South Australia weekly wrap: Lukosius and Rankine to be unleashed in League trials

THIS week has seen preparation for the 2018 season ramp up at both the AFL and SANFL levels, with a bunch of South Australian talent on show. 2018 draft hopefuls will be looking to make an early statement on their season in trial games, while the AFL boys will be playing for bragging rights in the upcoming preseason Showdown. Meanwhile, the SANFLW competition hits the halfway mark.

SANFL News – Draft hopefuls set to light up trial games

THIS weekend, SANFL clubs will be put through their paces with all levels participating in trial games. In last week’s shortened SANFL trial games (15 min quarters) between North Adelaide and reigning premiers Sturt, some of this year’s draft potential were on show.

In the reserves, North got up by eight points, Boyd Woodcock was lively around the ball whilst James Langley presented well as a tall forward with limited opportunities, while also pinch-hitting in the ruck. It’s also worth noting that 2017 under 16 state ruckman Dyson Hilder, who is a 2019 prospect, also played at full-back for the first time in his career and had some rebounding plays. For Sturt, powerhouse midfielder Tom Lewis was amongst the possessions with many clearance handballs and was strong in and on the tackle. In the league game Sturt comfortably beat North, with AFL Academy prospect Hugo Munn playing up forward and crashing the contest a number of times. Coming off a BOG for the State U18 trial game, Mihail Lochwiak looked extremely comfortable at this level and showed poise and dash off half back.

From this weekend’s round of trial games there’s no doubt that most eyes will be on Eagles youngster Jack Lukosius, who has been selected in the Eagles’ League squad to take on Port Adelaide Magpies. The potential top 10 draft pick will draw attention in a strong Eagles side, as will West Adelaide’s Izak Rankine in the Bloods clash with the Crows. The full schedule of trial games can be found here

SANFL Womens – Halfway mark of the season The SANFLW season is now at the half way point, with South Adelaide and North Adelaide’s womens teams setting the pace. North Adelaide look to be the favourite at this stage and have some stand out performers in Katelyn Rozenweig – leading all comers with 10 goals for the season – and Jess Edwards and Becchera Palmer having impressive seasons. South Adelaide will be looking to hold onto top spot with Nikki Gore and Jaslynne Smith both showing their class to date.  For Norwood, Ebony O’Dea and Leah Cutting have impressed in all games. West Adelaide’s Rachelle Martin has been in a class of her own for the Bloods, and Abbey Holmes continues to push for Crows selection. Sturt have a very young side full of local talent, and Shae Gundlach has clearly been their best so far. Glenelg have recently removed their SANFLW coach and hope for improved results with a young squad, and youngster Ellie Kellock looks a future AFLW talent.

AFL News – JLT Community Series

The recent round of JLT games continued to showcase a batch of South Australian talent looking to stake their claims for round one selection for their respective AFL teams. Ex-Glenelg youngster Bailey Williams looks ready for a berth in the the Western Bulldogs’ 22 after impressing in their win over Hawthorn, and Ryan Burton from Hawthorn no doubt will be one of their keys this year.  Former Centrals player Nick Holman was amongst the best for Gold Coast and has slotted back into the AFL environment well. It was fantastic to see Gold Coast Sun Sam Day and Geelong Cat Cory Gregson, both getting through their first games unscathed after hideous runs with injury in the past year. Both SA lads are prodigious talents and it will be exciting to see what they bring this season.

For the Adelaide based teams, the clash between Power and Crows at Alberton will no doubt be a fierce contest and it will be interesting to see team selections, especially whether youngster Darcy Fogarty can force his way into the Crows line-up, while Power recruit Tom Rockliff will have to wait for round one due to injury.

Swapping the wicket keeping gloves for an AFL dream

CRICKET in the summer, footy in the winter. It’s pretty simple isn’t it?

For talented 17-year-old Nathan Murphy, it was a realistic experience with one having to give way in his final year of schooling.

This time last year, Murphy was gearing up for the wicket-keeping job in the Vic Metro Under 19 team at December’s National Under 19 Championships.

The right hand batsman and Brighton Grammar cricket captain clunked seven catches in the tournament, after months earlier scoring a fine 84 not out against Western Australia in the quarter-finals of the Under 17 carnival.

Twelve months on and the dual-sport athlete looms as a likely first round selection at Friday’s AFL Draft, appealing to clubs after a superb APS school football season for Brighton Grammar and in the latter part of the year for TAC Cup side Sandringham Dragons.

AFL has been a back thought in the 188cm Murphy, with various representative cricket programs taking centre stage.

Murphy even got to wear the coveted green and gold for the Australian Under 16 team – scoring three consecutive half-centuries at the top of the order in 2015.

“I got presented with the baggy green from Ryan Harris, it was probably one of my biggest honours to date,” Murphy said.

The busy journey through the representative programs kept Murphy on his toes, with sleep being one of the few sacrificies for the Year 12 student.

“I was in Monday and Wednesday’s mornings in at 6.30am at the ‘G, going to the gym, then staying back and having a hit,” he said.

A close bond with Will Sutherland has been shared throughout their cricketing journey, with Sutherland picking cricket over football – a battle which played out in front of the media throughout the middle of the year.

“Doing the gym sessions we were talking about it, I guess everyone was asking us but when we did see each other we wanted to get our minds off it,” Murphy said.

“I was pretty lucky that I flew under the radar but his decision was a bit forced. The message for us was that it was up to us and that we can’t let others decide for us,

“I can’t complain about what Cricket Victoria offered me, the coaches Greg Shipperd, Joffa (Jarrad Loughman), all of them have been amazing for me, it was pretty full on. Even this year I was training in June/July with the Victoria 2nd XI future squad.“


Murphy, 17, last year was part of Brighton Grammar’s ‘three-peat’ of APS premierships, juggling his cricket and football commitments throughout the year.

From spending mornings in at the MCG, afternoons in the classroom, before further football training after school, time management was a key skill drilled into Murphy.

“People say it must be hard to juggle both sports, but when you love them both so much, it’s pretty easy to do both and find time for them,” he said.

“It was an awesome challenge and I was able to be taught a few lessons in time management and stuff like that.”

Brighton’s coach former Adelaide & Fitzroy coach Robert Shaw has been a big influence on the talented teenager.

“He’s been awesome for me, him (Shaw) and probably manager Pickers (Liam Pickering) & Pitch (James Pitcher) also as well,” Murphy said.

“Both Pickers and Shawry have had experience with cricket and football and their main motto was to keep doing both sports for as long as possible because I’m passionate about both, so they definitely didn’t make me chose and no program made me chose – it was up to me, as at the end of the game you want to do the sport that you love the most. “

It was however one sunny day in May down at Geelong Grammar which changed everything. Returning from concussion sustained in Brighton’s round 2 clash with eventual premiers Haileybury, Murphy booted a season-high seven goals, matched up on fellow first round draft candidate Jarrod Brander at times.

“I started at centre half back during the start of year and then Shawry chucked me up forward. I kind of had no real expectation forward because I probably had never played a full on game forward, I didn’t have a lot to expect and I just went out there to play football,” Murphy said.

“That day just changed it all, you get bit of interest from AFL clubs after that game. But you know you don’t take it too serious because a lot of kids get a bit of interest from AFL clubs, but I guess it kind of got a bit serious when you get these calls in mid June and July.”

Collingwood were once such club to show interest, visiting Murphy’s Highett home in July.

“Collingwood were the first one so you don’t know what to expect, so you crap yourself a bit I guess, Matty Rendell rocks up and he’s up to the roof bringing in the camera and you don’t know what you’re in for,” Murphy said.

“It was just exciting and an honour that they wanted to come around to my house and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity.”

Nathan Murphy in action for Brighton Grammar, with Collingwood recruiters Adam Shepard and Matthew Rendell watching on. (Photo: Supplied)

Averaging 16 disposals and four marks for the season, there is healthy debate as to where the medium tall will end up at the next level, having been utilised at both ends in every team in 2017.

“I’m still trying to work it out myself… it was the first season where I went forward, but I played all my career as a junior in the midfield, but Shawry moved me into the backline last year,” Murphy said.

“I feel most comfortable down there and feel like I have more control of the game, but I’ve got a lot to learn up forward and would like to get that continued exposure to the midfield.

“Endurance is one of my strengths and I think I’d be able to play anywhere.”