Tag: alex rance

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Northern Knights vs. Swan Districts

OUR next All-Star Team battle is the final one of the Round of 16 between a Victorian club and a West Australian club, in the Northern Knights and Swan Districts. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were AFL games record holder, Brent Harvey (Northern Knights) and Richmond full-back, Alex Rance (Swan Districts).

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded fifth (Northern Knights) and 12th (Swan Districts) respectively, forming another Round of 16 clash in our draw. The winner will qualify for the quarter finals, set to face the Murray Bushrangers/Oakleigh Chargers.

STRENGTHS:

The Knights have a really underrated squad when it comes to this series simply because there are not too many weaknesses. The Knights’ spine is A-grade quality from the key defenders in Simon Prestigiacomo and Michael Hurley, to the key forwards in Anthony Rocca and Lance Whitnall. Though that is not to take anything away from the midfield with Marcus Bontempelli, Trent Cotchin and Adam Simpson a really well balanced core with different strengths.

For the Swans, they have an elite starting midfield. Nic Naitanui in the ruck, with Stephen Coniglio, Michael Walters and Andrew Embley at the stoppages, you would back them in to win the midfield battle. Up forward, the likes of Charlie Cameron and Jeff Garlett would create havoc at the feet of their key forwards, while Lewis Jetta‘s elite kicking and Rance’s intercepting ability means they have some strong players across the field.

WEAKNESSES:

There are not really any weaknesses with the Knights. If you had to be picky you could argue the lack of wingers, given Leigh Montagna and Paul Licuria are more inside ball winners, and while both Blake Caracella and David Zaharakis could play on the wing, it leaves the forward line a little short. Overall though, the depth is pretty sound.

For the Swans, it is that depth and little pockets in different parts of the field where they just fall short. They could match it with the Knights in the midfield, but outside of that, they would be stretched in different areas of the field.

SUMMARY:

The Knights would be favoured in this one for a bit more balance across the ground. Swan Districts has an elite midfield, and some star talent around the ground, but the depth of the Knights would be a bit too much.

Who would you pick?
Northern Knights
Swan Districts
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Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: WWT Eagles vs. Swan Districts

OUR next All-Star Team battle is one between a South Australian club and a West Australian club in Woodville-West Torrens (WWT) Eagles and Swan Districts. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Matthew Pavlich (WWT Eagles) and Alex Rance and Nic Naitanui (Swan Districts).

TEAMS:

Swan Districts are the 12th seeds in our draw, with WWT Eagles not far behind, ranked 21st overall in the mid-table logjam where not much separates the sides.

STRENGTHS:

The aspect that sticks out for WWT Eagles is the fact they have great depth. Not many sides can look at their bench and see players who would slot into most other sides’ starting outfits, but they do, with an abundance of quality rucks (Matt Rendell, Sam Jacobs and Rhett Biglands), as well as good inside midfield depth with Luke Dunstan and Robert Shirley on the bench, as well as winger, Jared Polec. Speaking of wingers, their wingers in Steven Stretch and Michael Long are superb, whilst the key position depth, led by Pavlich is sublime, with Brian Lake, Nathan Bock and Jay Schulz some seriously strong contested marks.

For the Swans, they have an elite starting midfield. Naitanui in the ruck, with Stephen Coniglio, Michael Walters and Andrew Embley at the stoppages, you would back them in to win the midfield battle. Up forward, the likes of Charlie Cameron and Jeff Garlett would create havoc at the feet of their key forwards, while Lewis Jetta‘s elite kicking and Rance’s intercepting ability means they have some strong players across the field.

WEAKNESSES:

They have one elite player in Pavlich, and then some incredibly talented players bordering on elite in Long, Camporeale and Lake, but as a whole, the Eagles are just a really even squad. After the top couple of players, there is not much to separate them which is good, but also difficult against teams with a bit more class and talent overall.

For the Swans, it is that depth and little pockets in different parts of the field where they just fall short. In many ways, the Swans are the opposite to the Eagles, in the fact they have a number of elite players, but just fall away in the second half of the squad.

SUMMARY

This could be one of the more tough matches to pick. Some might think the midfield battle won by the Swans would be enough to see them get home, whilst the Eagles depth could see them make it through too, and it makes for an interesting vote.

Which All-Star Team do you pick?
WWT Eagles
Swan Districts
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Tasmanian Player of the AFL Draft Era: Vote for yours on our Instagram channel

TASMANIA is up next in our Player of the AFL Era series which will be run through our Instagram channel starting at 12.30pm today. The Swan Districts All-Star voting was completed yesterday with Nic Naitanui and Alex Rance announced as dual winners and co-captains of the Swans’ All-Star side.

Tasmania has had development teams on and off over the years, from the Mariners to the Devils, as well as a few players who have gone on to be drafted outside of the Apple Isle at other clubs. For the purpose of this, we have included the likes of Ben Brown who was drafted out of the VFL, but hailed from Tasmania, as well as those like Matthew Richardson who came from the Tasmanian State League (TSL) rather than a development program. The top few seeds in the draw include Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt and former Melbourne star, Brad Green.

The voting will run over the next four days starting today, with the winner to be decided by Wednesday night (unless extra time and the full 24 hours is needed in the final vote). The next club involved in the voting process is West Adelaide Bloods starting on Thursday. All eligible players were selected thanks to the Draft Guru site.

Draft Central All-Star Team: Swan Districts

SWAN DISTRICTS’ All-Star Team of the AFL Draft era is another impressive one overall, with plenty of talent across the board, and a side that fans would love to see running around on the park. From contested marking talls, to athletic smalls and speedy midfielders, the Swans’ outfit is certainly one to marvel.

THE TEAM:

Swan Districts has a nice balance of talent in each of the thirds, with enough defensively-minded players to match their high level of offensively-minded ones. With Nic Naitanui dominating the ruck, and a lot of both past and present speedsters around the ground and bursting out of the stoppage, the Swans will creates headaches for any defence.

DEFENCE:

Starting in the back six, recently retired star Alex Rance holds down full-back with five All-Australians and a best and fairest to his name in 200 games of AFL football. He is paired with Stephen O’Reilly back there, winning a best and fairest himself in 146 games across three clubs. The other versatile tall is Adam Hunter who could play a multitude of roles, and we have named him in defence given the forward 50 strength.

Moving onto the other three medium to smalls, Dennis Armfield could lock down on a dangerous opposition small forward, while Nathan Broad and Neville Jetta would provide the dash and dare off half-back to set up an attacking move in transition. Coming off the bench, the Swans have Sam Taylor who might only have 30-odd games to his name, but is becoming a consistent key defender, as well as Clancee Pearce who could play a role there, as could All-Australian defender, Craig Holden.

MIDFIELD:

Through the midfield, Naitanui is the star factor and point of difference in the ruck, but his midfield is equally as elite when it comes to speed and skills. Stephen Coniglio and Michael Walters are at the peak of their powers currently, and still have plenty of years left to continue their terrific form. Andrew Embley is another who has been named onball, and he is Swan Districts’ AFL games record holder, notching up 250 games to go with his Norm Smith Medal and premiership.

On the wings are Lewis Jetta and Chris Yarran who add the touch of speed and class to the outside, with Jetta’s footskills in particular renowned throughout the competition. Connor Blakely is on the bench ready to come on and rotate through the midfield, while the ruck depth at the club is quite impressive with Beau McDonald and Rory Lobb also waiting in the wings on the interchange.

FORWARD:

The forward 50 is very exciting, as modern day small forwards Charlie Cameron and Jeff Garlett would be a nightmare at the feet of Scott Cummings and Jason Ball. While the latter two key position players were not the quickest players going around, they do not need to be in this team with the crumbers at their feet. Cummings won a Coleman and booted 349 goals in 128 games, while Ball played 193 games and kicked 159 goals, also playing through the ruck.

Speaking of playing through the ruck, Lobb on the bench would start inside 50 and likely have the freedom to remain a key forward, though if injuries struck, could also jump into the middle. Michael Richardson (171 games, 174 goals and an All-Australian nod) and Craig Callaghan (124 games, 94 goals) are the other two players who earn a spot in the side and provide some more goalkicking power up there.

DEPTH:

Of the players not in the side, the ones with the most games are Jamie Bennell (87 games), Steven Handley (73), Brett Johnson (70) and David Ellard (63). In terms of modern day players, Marcus Adams and Griffin Logue would both be pushing for a spot in coming years.

Swan Districts Player of the AFL Draft Era: Vote for yours on our Instagram channel

SWAN DISTRICTS is up next in our Player of the AFL Era series which will be run through our Instagram channel starting at 12.30pm today. The Subiaco All-Star voting was completed yesterday with Matt Priddis announced as the winner and captain of the Lions’ All-Star side.

Swan Districts has a number of elite talents that would make the side one to watch every single week. With Alex Rance at full-back, Nic Naitanui in the ruck, and the likes of Michael Walters and Charlie Cameron running around, the Swans are a super exciting side.

The voting will run over the next four days starting today, with the winner to be decided by Saturday night (unless extra time and the full 24 hours is needed in the final vote). The next club involved in the voting process is Tasmania Mariners/Devils starting on Sunday. All eligible players were selected thanks to the Draft Guru site.

Picture: ABC

Fantastic Five – Memorable moments from the weekend

WITH finals spots sealed across all levels of footy, young stars stood out and one team spoiled another’s top-four aspirations. Meanwhile, an old dark navy blue favourite had a day out in what is always an exciting week of football – the one before September.

 

Walsh pushes for the #1 spot

Geelong Falcons’ Sam Walsh rarely has a bad game, and regular players rarely have a game like Sam Walsh did on the weekend. In one of the performances of the season, Walsh was everywhere in collecting 37 disposals, 10 marks, eight inside-50s, six rebounds and five clearances in Geelong’s 15 point win over Calder. The midfield gun also put three behinds on the scoreboard, while assisting another three times – adding to what was an already stunning all-round performance. With Wildcard Round and the Morrish Medal coming up this weekend, it could be a huge couple of weeks for Walsh, and reward for what has been a fantastic season for the number one pick contender.

 

Knights crash Murray’s top-four party

Northern were set to face Greater Western Victoria in Wildcard Round no matter the result, but that didn’t stop them from completing a huge win against more fancied Murray side away from home. With skipper Braedyn Gillard back in the fold, the Knights have fielded arguably their strongest sides over the last two weeks, and it showed as they came from being behind for the entire game to pip the Bushies in the final term. Flying wingman Justin McInerney was named their best with his 24 disposals, 12 marks and goal, while Adam Carafa was again instrumental through the midfield with 24 touches of his own alongside Josh D’Intinosante (18 disposals, five marks, one goal). Murray now face Bendigo after their fifth-place finish, while Northern face the Rebels on Saturday.

 

Vescio has a day out

Carlton fan-favourite Darcy Vescio absolutely beat up on bottom-placed Essendon to narrowly miss out on what would have been a famed bag of ten goals. The forward maestro both flew high and dominated at ground level to boot the first four goals of the game, while adding the only four majors of the second term. Despite also kicking the opening goal after the main break, Vescio couldn’t quite add a tenth in the second half, contributing 9.2 to her side’s 14.8 in an astonishing effort. Her 18 disposals, seven marks and two tackles rounded out the show, with Carlton finishing the VFLW season in seventh after winning four of their last six games.

 

AFL top eight finalised

With fans frantically going through all the possibilities and calculations, the AFL’s top eight has finally been sealed after what has been one of the most open seasons in recent memory. The only certainty coming into the round was Richmond’s top spot, with West Coast earning second comfortably, while Collingwood and Hawthorn rounded out the top four – separated by just 0.3 per cent. Melbourne are in top form and clinched fifth, pitting them against Geelong, who could breathe a sigh of relief after Port’s loss sealed their spot in the eight. Sydney and GWS are set to clash for the second time in three weeks, with the Giants hoping to reverse the previous result.

 

All-Australian squad revealed

Every year, fans make it known how ‘stiff’ their club’s star players are to miss out on being named in the All-Australian squad, and while there were a few surprise inclusions and omissions, the core of the final 22 will be hard to knock. Locks for the side include ruck stars Brodie Grundy and Max Gawn, with the likes of Tom Mitchell, Patrick Cripps and Clayton Oliver set to make up the midfield. Coleman Medallist Jack Riewoldt is set to be named, with Ben Brown not far behind in the goal-kicking stakes. Down back, Alex Rance seems a mainstay, while West Coast interceptors Jeremy McGovern and Shannon Hurn look likely to feature. All will be revealed tonight, in what is a great night in honouring the fantastic years that these players have produced.

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.

A NEW ERA OF DRAFTING

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.

FIRST ROUND PICKS.

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.

SECOND ROUND PICKS.

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. 

STRONG AND BOLD

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. 

MODEL OF SUCCESS

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.

B:

5 Brandon Ellis

2011 – Round 1

Pick 15

18 Alex Rance

2007 – Round 1

Pick 18

2 Dylan Grimes

2009 – PRESEASON

Rookie Draftee

HB:

14 Bachar Houli

PRESEASON 

Rookie Draftee (Essendon)

12 David Astbury

2009 – Round 3

Pick 35

1 Nick Vlastuin

2012 – Round 1

Pick 9

C:

33 Kamdyn McIntosh

2012 – Round 2

Pick 31

9 Trent Cotchin

2007 – Round 1

Pick 2

21 Jacob Townsend

2015 – TRADE 

Pick 70

HF:

23 Kane Lambert

2014 – PRESEASON

Rookie Draftee

4 Dustin Martin

2009 – Round 1

Pick 3

22 Josh Caddy

2016 – TRADE

Pick 20

F:

40 Dan Butler

2014 – Round 4

Pick 67

8 Jack Riewoldt

2006 – Round 1

Pick 13

17 Daniel Rioli

2015 – Round 1

Pick 15

Foll:

25 Toby Nankervis

2016 – TRADE

Pick 46

3 Dion Prestia

2016 – TRADE

Pick 6

6 Shaun Grigg

2010 – TRADE

Andrew Collins 

Int:

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

2014 – PRESEASON

Rookie Draftee

 

Key:

GOLD – Round 1

GREY – Round 2

BLUE – Round 3,4,5 or PS