Tag: Alfie Jarnestrom

TAC Cup Grand Final preview: Geelong Falcons vs. Sandringham Dragons

AFTER 18 rounds and two weeks of finals, the two top TAC Cup sides have emerged with reigning premier Sandringham Dragons taking on top four regular Geelong Falcons. The Dragons finished fourth overall and defeated Murray Bushrangers in the elimination final before toppling Oakleigh Chargers in the preliminary final. Geelong defeated Gippsland Power in the elimination final before an impressive victory over Dandenong Stingrays last week.

The Falcons head into the grand final with few injuries, at close to full-strength as possible. The Dragons on the other hand, have a number of question marks, with Ed Newman (suspended) out, and both Nathan Murphy (ankle) and Charlie Constable (tightness) under injury clouds.

This game sees the best outside midfield taking on the best inside midfield, with the Dragons content on using their slick skills and short passing to frustrate opponents, while the Falcons often win the contest through sheer strength, winning the ball at the coal face and booting it inside 50. The winner will be the one that can play the game on their own terms.

Check out the player stat comparisons for the starting 18 here.


Andrew Brayshaw – The Geelong Falcons strong inside midfield will have an advantage at the stoppages and it will be up to the Brayshaw brothers, Andrew and Hamish, to turn the game in the Dragons’ favour. The potential first round draftee wins the ball inside and out, as well as 5.4 clearances per game.

Gryan Miers – The dangerous small forward has booted 37 goals in the TAC Cup this season and looms as the key to a Falcons’ victory. He rarely lacks opportunities and if he can have his kicking boots on, he has been prone to booting bags, including a six-goal haul earlier this season.


1 Coal face battle – The midfield of James Worpel, Cassidy Parish and Sam Walsh average 16.5 clearances between them, while Andrew Brayshaw, Hamish Brayshaw and Will Walker average 15.5, not too far behind. Add in the fact Walker spends time down forward and it is evenly balanced. Parish and Hamish Brayshaw are the two best extractors in the TAC Cup so going head-to-head will be enthralling.

2 Oh Miers – I briefly mentioned above, but Gryan Miers is one of a number of talented goal sneaks who can really hurt the opposition given the chance. I expect Nathan Murphy – if fit – to take Miers as he is equally strong in the air, or perhaps Bailey Smith or Howie Persson are others potentially seen as match-ups for Miers.

3 Goal sneak battleLachie Noble and Aaron Trusler love to pounce on opportunistic goals and whilst they will be up opposite ends of the ground, the one who impacts the match more could be the difference in what is expected to be a tight game.

4 Key KingsMax King and Ben King are top 10 prospects next year and have already shown impressive glimpses in their bottom-age year. Max has been playing forward, while Ben has taken up a key position post in defence and they will be expected to play a big role in the Dragons’ success this year and next. Ben will likely line-up on Falcons’ key forward Adam Garner, while Max will likely see Josh Jaska stand beside him at the first bounce.

5 Top-end talent – Sandringham had a host of first round draft picks last year and they look set to have a new bunch this year including Charlie Constable, Andrew Brayshaw and Nathan Murphy, leading a huge 19 National and State Combine invitations. For the Falcons, Matt Ling looks set to be the first Falcon taken this year, with James Worpel, Ethan Floyd, Cassidy Parish, David Handley and Gryan Miers among the others that will no doubt be on a number of recruiters lists.


Sandringham Dragons 9.12 (66) defeated Geelong Falcons 2.5 (17)

Sandringham goals: Lachlan Harris (2), Isaac Morrisby (2), Will Walker, Kai Owens, Anthony Seaton, William Kennedy.
Geelong goals: Hayden Elliot, Bayley Cockerill.
Sandringham disposals: Geordie Nagle (38), Bailey Smith (34), Angus Styles (33), Seb Williams (32), Will Walker (28), Nathan Murphy (28)
Geelong disposals: Harry Benson (25), Jack Henderson (22), Brayden Ham (20), Cooper Stephens (19), Bayley Cockerill (17), Ethan Floyd (17)


Geelong ins: Josh Jaska, Jarrod Walters, Oscar Brownless, Matt Ling, James Worpel, Sam Walsh, Ed McHenry, Gryan Miers, Tom McCartin, Dane Hollenkamp, Cassidy Parish, David Handley, Mitch Chafer, Sam Conway
Sandringham ins: Charlie Constable, Ben King, Alfie Jarnestrom, Hayden McLean, Max King, Andrew Brayshaw, Hamish Brayshaw, Lucas Barrett*, Sam Cameron*, Josh Gorman*, Aaron Trusler*, Alastair Richards


Geelong Falcons:
B: 17. Cooper Stephens – 43. Josh Jaska – 26. Jarrod Walters
HB: 30. Oscar Brownless – 39. Connor Idun – 19. Matt Ling
C: 13. Ethan Floyd – 38. James Worpel – 22. Sam Walsh
HF: 7. Harry Benson – 46. Adam Garner – 8. Ed McHenry
F: 4. Gryan Miers – 41. Tom McCartin – 1. Lachie Noble
R: 49. Dane Hollenkamp – 42. Cassidy Parish – 16. David Handley
INT: 11. Mitch Chafer – 44. Sam Conway – 40. Hayden Elliot – 5. Jack Henderson
23rd: 36. Charlie Sprague

Sandringham Dragons:
B: 2. Geordie Nagle – 33. Howie Persson – 37. Bailey Smith
HB: 6. Charlie Constable – 70. Ben King – 74. Nathan Murphy
C: 22. Quintin Montanaro – 8. Will Walker – 10. Angus Styles
HF: 15. Alfie Jarnestrom – 30. Hayden McLean – 5. Seb Williams
F: 1. Lachie Harris – 61. Max King – 20. Kai Owens
R: 29. Joel Amartey – 9. Andrew Brayshaw – 11. Hamish Brayshaw
INT: 3. Lucas Barrett – 24. Sam Cameron – 13. Josh Gorman – 12. Jackson Hille – 25. Max Lohan – 28. Isaac Morrisby – 7. Aaron Trusler (Three to be omitted)
23rd: 58. Alastair Richards


On form, fitness and consistency throughout the year, it is hard to look past the Geelong Falcons. Sandringham Dragons leave their best until last and it would not surprise me whatsoever if they got up in this game, but with the Falcons in top-form, cruising along nicely and no injury question marks, I will tip the Falcons by 25 points. I tip Gryan Miers to be named best on ground.

Player focus: Ed Richards

AFTER an injury led to him missing out on Vic Metro selection, the grandson of Collingwood great Ron Richards (whose brother was premiership skipper Lou), has impressed in the last month with his eye-catching runs and his impressive disposal – pushing his name into first round calculations. On the weekend, Peter Williams analysed the lightning red head and watched how he moved and what he did to get a better understanding of the type of player he was, when his side the Oakleigh Chargers went down to Sandringham Dragons on Sunday in the preliminary final.

First quarter:

Ed Richards started on Alfie Jarnestrom at half-back but with Oakleigh looking strong early, Richards was pushed up to the wing. With no much to report in the opening few minutes, Richards hung back from a stoppage in the Chargers’ forward 50 region. His opponent went into the contest and Richards cleverly stayed out, receiving the handball and then arching his back before piercing an effective kick inside 50 to Jack Higgins who marked and goaled.

It would be Richards’ only kick of the quarter, but his burst and effectiveness to hit a target on the run was really impressive. At the next piece of play, Richards was kicking out after a Chargers’ behind and he managed to find his target in Luke Stacker in the back pocket. Richards ran past but looked a bit surprised to receive the ball back and under pressure he had to handball to Riley Jones before the pressure from the Dragons forced the ball out for a throw-in.

The next moment Richards came into contact with the play was in the ninth minute where he pressured Aaron Trusler, forcing him to not take possession cleanly, before Richards was benched for the first time in the game at about the eleventh minute mark. He returned at the 15.30 minute mark and went to half-back to play on Josh Gorman. As he had at the start of the quarter, he pushed up but once he got to the half-forward flank, word came from the bench loud and clear “Ed, stay out” and he moved back in line with three other Chargers’ to zone across the middle of the ground.

At the 17-minute mark, Sandringham kicked inside 50 to Jarnestrom who set sail for home unbeknown that Richards was closing down and the speedster managed to get a hand to him and knock him off balance forcing Jarnestrom’s shot on goal to fall short. He continued to oppose Jarnestrom at half-back for the next few minutes, holding a strong line. At the 19.30 mark, he won a one-on-one contest with Jarnestrom deep in defence and manage to spoil it to a teammate who cleared the football.

At the 20-minute mark, Richards picked up Trusler again but Sandringham had spotted a hole in the Oakleigh defence with Will Walker slipping free. Richards realised at the last moment, darted back to cover Walker but the small midfielder/forward took the mark. Luckily for the Chargers’ defence, their loss in focus only cost them a behind as Walker’s shot hit the inside of the post.

Richards then assumed a role on Walker at the next play and managed to nullify a Dragons’ ball that went deep, and for his last piece of play for the quarter, Richards produced a long, bullet pass outside 50, perfectly hitting his target with rare precision.

Quarter 1 stats: 2 Disposals (1 Kick, 1 Handball), 1 Inside 50

Second Quarter:

Ed Richards again started the quarter at half-back assigned to Jarnestrom although within the first 90 seconds he had pushed up into the stoppage with his opponent. In the third minute, Richards received a handball on the wing, handballed back to Stacker before his teammate was dispossessed and Sandringham kicked the ball forward. A shot on goal from the Dragons resulted in a behind, with Richards taking the kick-out. He kicked long to about the 55m metre mark to hit-up big ruckman Ned Reeves, but he was well spoiled by Joel Amartey.

Sandringham mopped up and kicked long inside 50 where Walker led at the ball, but Richards was up to the task producing a strong spoil and the Chargers cleared the ball from danger. A few minutes later Ed Richards was opposed to Andrew Brayshaw, spoiling his attempted mark and following him into the middle. While on Brayshaw, Jarnestrom had snuck free of Richards close checking and enjoyed the freedom by taking an uncontested mark inside 50 and kicking the goal.

Richards returned to the defensive 50 after the goal to match up on Trusler, and it was not long before a long ball headed in their direction with Richards once again showing his closing speed and strength one-on-one, spoiling Trusler on the lead. As he pushed up to the wing with the press, Richards won the ball under pressure and tried to kick inside 50 but his kick was a scrubber and ineffective.

In the eighth minute, Jarnestrom won the first one-on-one contest anyone had against Richards that day, with very little the speedster could do. The ball was a pinpoint low pass for Jarnestrom to take on his chest and left Richards little chance to spoil. A minute later he took a good mark just outside defensive 50 with a good leap in front of Jarnestrom and produced an effective short kick into the corridor to Lachlan Bugeja.

With the ball up the other end for the next few minutes, Richards was not involved in the play until another one-on-one with Trusler, which Richards won, but he could not quite gather it cleanly and it was forced into a stoppage. He moved into the middle to face Lucas Barrett and moments later Sandringham kicked inside 50 and goaled. At the fifteenth minute mark, Richards was sent to the bench for the second time in the game.

He returned four minutes later to stand beside Andrew Brayshaw at half-back, and Brayshaw marked in front of the defender when Richards was zoning off. A couple of minutes later, Richards received a handball on the wing, then tucked the ball under his arm, took a bounce and kicked inside 50, but unfortunately it landed straight in the arms of Ben King. He returned to the defence where he picked up Walker inside 50 and then moved into the midfield in the last minute of the quarter, standing Geordie Nagle. Sandringham won the clearance with Trusler marking and subsequently goaling just on the siren.

Quarter 2 stats: 5 Disposals (4 Kicks, 1 Handball), 1 Mark, 1 Inside 50, 1 Rebound
Total stats: 7 Disposals (5 Kicks, 2 Handballs), 1 Mark, 2 Inside 50s, 1 Rebound

Third Quarter:

Ed Richards returned from the half-time break and started inside at the centre bounce. He opposed Jarnestrom there and won the first clearance of the second half, albeit a shorter one to the 60m mark. A minute later the most damning piece of play occured for Richards which might not have been noticed for anyone not directly watching him.

There was a throw-in on the wing and Richards was shoulder-to-shoulder with Walker (1:12:18 on the livestream). After Sandringham won possession, Walker darted forward at full speed while Richards jogged behind. The ball was bombed long to the square by Amartey where Walker had continued running and took an uncontested mark about 15m clear of Richards and did not break stride as he ran into an open goal. The piece of play indicated to me that Richards looked to have been caught ball-watching and Walker had taken the opportunity to run forward backing his teammates to win the football and kick it to the dangerous area.

After that, Richards stood in space about 60m out from his defensive 50, helping zone for the Chargers, before resuming his contest with Jarnestrom. He pushed up to help the press inside 50 and was lucky not to be pinged for holding the ball on the wing at the five minute mark when he dove on it and could not get it out. A minute and a half later, Richards pushed forward and took a good mark overhead. He chipped to Charlie Thompson but the pair was not on the same wave length, with the chip designed for Thompson to run onto, but instead Richards’ teammate had stopped running and the ball went past him and Sandringham cleared the defence.

In the eighth minute, Richards went in hard and received a free kick for his efforts, about 25m out on a 45 degree angle. His set shot was weighted to pop through and he registered a goal to his name (1:19:30 on the livestream). A minute later he punched the ball from a stoppage knowing he did not have time to take possession and instead got it clear to the running Sam Harte, before Richards was called to the bench for a break at the nine and a half minute mark.

He returned two and a half minutes later and went back to the half-back flank opposed to Josh Gorman. Immediately he had a clean, one-hand pickup but his kick was rushed. It proved effective however and started the chain of possessions that led to an Oakleigh goal as the Chargers hit the Dragons hard in the third term. Richards was only on the ground a few minutes before being benched again in the fifteenth minute as he had in the second quarter.

Richards returned to the field at the 17-minute mark and opposed Andrew Brayshaw inside defensive 50. He produced a couple of statless pressure acts there without winning a possession and spent another five minutes on the ground before another stint on the bench at the 22 and a half minute mark. His interchange time was about 90 seconds before heading to half-back where he won the football and effectively handballed to Isaac Quaynor. In the dying moments he was at half-forward on Gorman before filling a hole in defensive 50 before the final break. Richards’ third quarter was by far his most productive, making the most of his increased midfield minutes which was reflected in his stats.

Quarter 3 stats: 7 Disposals (5 Kicks, 2 Handballs), 1 Mark, 2 Clearances, 1 Inside 50, 1 Goal
Total stats: 12 Disposals (9 Kicks, 3 Handballs), 2 Marks, 2 Clearances, 3 Inside 50s, 1 Rebound, 1 Goal

Fourth Quarter:

The fourth quarter was a bit of a let-down for Richards, being mostly in the middle but not greatly impacting the contest. He started inside opposed to Andrew Brayshaw and drifted back to be loose on the defensive 50 line. At the two and a half minute mark, he produced a fantastic chase down tackles on Quintin Montanaro on the wing (1:50:27 on the livestream), indicating Richards’ closing speed. A minute later Richards was benched.

He had a long stint on the interchange, spending about five minutes resting before returning in the eighth minute. He burst onto the scene, winning the football and took advantage of a free kick with a quick handball and it lead to a kick inside 50. He returned to the inside against Brayshaw at the tenth minute and and stood his ground well in a marking contest against Brayshaw with his opponent slipping over. Richards took possession cleanly, handballed it off, received it back was tackled but managed to produce an effective handball nonetheless.

He returned to the centre square opposing Brayshaw, but was there for another minute before he was called to the bench once again, this time spending seven minutes on the pine which was a little surprising. Of the first 20 minutes in the last quarter, Richards spent about 12 minutes on the bench which probably points to endurance and the fact he has had little match practice this season due to injury.

Richards returned at the 20-minute mark and went forward for a few minutes but Sandringham was mostly controlling the play at that stage. A couple of minutes later he moved into the midfield to oppose Nagle again, and then Brayshaw at a half-forward throw-in, but without registering another disposal. The siren sounded and Richards had produced a few highlights, he had eventually tired in the final term and unfortunately his team had been eliminated as Sandringham celebrated a terrific win.

Quarter 4 stats: 4 Disposals (0 Kicks, 4 Handballs), 2 Tackles
Total stats: 16 Disposals (9 Kicks, 7 Handballs), 2 Marks, 2 Tackles, 2 Clearances, 3 Inside 50s, 1 Rebound, 1 Goal

Victorian school football update August edition

WE ARE at the end of the season in the APS and AGSV Victorian school boy football competition and Matt Balmer delves deeper into which prospects have stood out in the last few rounds after the school holidays.

The annual APS v AGSV game was held on Saturday, with the APS running out 38-point winners. You can find the stats from the game at the bottom of this page.


The old saying that “If you’re good enough, recruiters will find you, no matter where you play” rings true in the Victoria school football competition where players such as Jayden Hunt (Melbourne) and Oliver Hanrahan (Hawthorn) have been plucked out of the school boy competition without playing TAC Cup. As Hunt’s 39-game career has shown, it is not the be all and end all if players aren’t selected in the pathways as we once knew it.




Haileybury College completed a perfect season as the clear best team in the APS, with a record of 10-0. Coming back from two ACL injuries, Aiden Bonar returned through the seconds at Haileybury but made an impact in his first game back against St Kevin’s. In their final clash at Geelong Grammar, Charlie Constable (46 disposals) and Andrew Brayshaw (42 disposals) were the two stars dominating through the midfield, using the ball well. Unfortunately after representing Dandenong Stingrays through the holidays, Jack McHale suffered a serious knee injury against St Kevin’s. Jackson Ross continued his fine form throughout the season booting six goals in their big win over Geelong Grammar, taking his tally to 29 goals for the season. Both bottom age twins Max and Ben King were far too good for the opposition defenders up forward.

Carey Grammar finished as runners-up, winning nine games for the season. Ed Richards was yet again impressive against St Kevin’s at the Snakepit, rebounding the ball well and using his clean quick hands in close. Richards was also a dominant player in the APS v AGS game on Saturday, finding 33 disposals. Under 16 Vic Metro guns Matthew Rowell and Noah Anderson used their smarts in the midfield and despite being younger than many of their opponents, continued to crack in and win the contested ball. Charlie Thompson won plenty of the ball and showed his skills going forward and booting six goals against Geelong Grammar. Carey bottom-ager Sam Elliott (son of Australian cricketer Matthew) has a good leap on him, playing in the ruck and up forward and will be a name to keep an eye on for next year.

Caulfield Grammar were well led by Vic Metro midfielder Dylan Moore who has been one of the premium midfielders in the APS competition. Moore booted six goals (five in the second half) against Melbourne Grammar in shocking conditions at Todd Rd. Moore found the ball at ease and was damaging going forward. Against Brighton, Moore was well held for most of the game but a damaging patch in the third quarter saw him collect a dozen possessions and boot three goals. His last quarter was pivotal in their come from behind win over Wesley in Round 11. Trent Mynott was another strong player against Melbourne, but suffered an ankle injury against Brighton in Round 10. Jackson Hille’s pinch hitting in the ruck was important and he showed some good signs in the second half of the season and was able to push himself onto the State Combine list. On the inside, Brisbane Lions father-son prospect and Caulfield captain Lachlan Harris continued to find plenty of the ball in the contest. Angus Styles’ ball winning was important against Wesley in the final game of the season.

One of Xavier College’s possible draft prospects CJ (Changkuoth Jiath) missed the last few games through injury, but there was plenty of other Xavier players to step up. Zak “Cherry” Evans has shown his strength up forward, booting four goals against Geelong College. Laitham Vandermeer however, might be their best draft hopeful with the rebounding defender using his pinpoint kick to effectiveness throughout the season. Jack Hewitt was their clear best against Wesley College, booting three goals and finding the ball through the midfield.

Brighton Grammar finished the year with a 6-4 record and have been able to unearth another AFL draft prospect in Nathan Murphy. The medium forward has been their prime target up forward and brought his goal kicking boots to Caulfield Grammar, where he kicked 6.0 setting up their win. The talented cricketer has plenty of suitors and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him move up into the first round, after showing his clean skills at ground level. Alfie Jarnestrom made it back-to-back best and fairest wins, after tieing with Andrew McGrath last year. Jarnestrom has moved to more of a role across half back and has used his tidy left foot to effectiveness, still finding the ball when playing through the midfield. Seb Williams was consistent throughout the year, finding 40 disposals as Brighton’s best against Geelong College in Round nine. Williams has speed and a good endurance base, and the midfielder has been invited to test at the State Combine. Year 11 Ruckman Nick Phillips has improved dramatically and his selection in the APS rep team showed how far he has come after a quiet 1st XVIII season as a Yr 10 last season. North Melbourne 2018 father-son prospect Joel Crocker was Brighton’s most improved, looking at home as a hybrid defender, rebounding the ball well, showing good signs for next season.

St Kevin’s College had a solid year, with Lachlan Fogarty performing well in the midfield. Down in defence Ethan Phillips held his own as one of the better key backs in the competition. Cam Hodges was impressive throughout the season, thoroughly deserving his APS rep team spot collecting 17 disposals vs the AGSV. Angus Hanrahan (brother of Hawthorn’s Oliver) was another that put together a good string of form throughout the season. Rhylee West booted three goals in their loss to Haileybury, while Year 10 Jack Mahony continues to find the football and impress.

Melbourne Grammar had their best draft hope Charlie Spargo ruled out with a shoulder injury, but players such as Sam Cameron and Oscar Dowd were able to step up and impress. Cameron moves well around the ground and has some speed that has interested clubs enough to see him collect a State Combine invite. Dowd won Melbourne’s best and fairest where he was able to hit the scoreboard and find plenty of the ball. Another name to watch is bottom-ager Toby Bedford who had some eye catching performances in the second half of the year, impressing in their Cordner-Egglestone Cup loss to Scotch.

Scotch College finished with three wins for the season, but it was displays up forward by Will Sutherland that was important. Scotch isolated Sutherland at times and against Melbourne Grammar he was far too big and strong for his opponent, booting four goals. His game against Geelong Grammar where he kicked five goals was also impressive. Bottom-age ruckman Will Clark’s work in the ruck hasn’t been missed, showing signs that he could push himself into draft calculations for 2018. Clark’s battle with Brighton’s Nick Phillips was impressive in the final game for the season, and Clark’s main strengths are that he can use the ball well and find it around the ground unlike other ruckman in the competition. Vic Metro captain Joel Garner controlled the play across half back and was able to use his long left foot to effectiveness. Noah Croes was another who caught the eye, finding the ball and using it well on his right foot breaking lines. Sam Townsend marked well overhead and provided to be another good tall in defence.

Geelong Grammar had a disappointing season results wise, despite boasting a handful of draftable prospects. AFL clubs uncovered Joe Griffiths, who has since received a State Combine invite. The 204cm ruckman is boarding at Grammar and has a good leap. Griffiths’ marking was impressive in the APS v SATIS game on the weekend, clunking three contested marks in the opening quarter. It’s no surprise that midfielder Paddy Dow is in contention for the number one selection, with his clean hands and clearance work impressive. Dow was Geelong’s best against the star-studded Haileybury College team in the final round and has shown speed coming out of the stoppages. Jarrod Brander played as a true swingman in the last few games, playing at the end where the wind was going. Brander controlled the play in defence against Carey, intercepting well. Against Haileybury he was able to push forward and clunked a nice mark over Vic Country tall defender Oscar Clavarino. The classy outside midfielder Lochie O’Brien’s ball usage has been outstanding and his breakaway speed is a trademark and he is someone who should have a fine AFL career. O’Brien has been the large focal point for opposition school taggers – and it’s no surprise such his class – but he has been able to break away from the extra attention and was in Geelong’s best players in all of the last three games. Brent Daniels showed his speed and smarts around goal, booting four against Scotch and pushed into Geelong’s VFL team on the weekend.

Geelong College compiled a very nice win against Wesley College in Round 10, with bottom-age Geelong Falcons players Ned McHenry and Oscar Brownless impressing. McHenry continued his strong Vic Country form into the APS, displaying his tricks and talent in the midfield as he gathered 30 disposals against Brighton, and 31 disposals, seven tackles and three goals against Wesley. Geelong 2018 father-son prospect Oscar Brownless has got better as the season went on, with an impressive 33 disposal game against Brighton. He laid 10 tackles in their loss against Xavier, while his ball winning was on show with 28 disposals in their win against Wesley. In the midfielder Jack Henderson was College’s best, winning their best and fairest. Henderson was well held against Brighton, but was unable to be stopped by Wesley, collecting 32 disposals and five tackles in a best-on-ground performance. He was similarly impressive against Xavier, with 32 disposals, nine tackles and eight marks. Charlie Sprague has been a revelation, finding himself as a late addition to the Vic Country U17 team. His work rate around the ground has been good and has been a reliable target up forward. In the final two games he had six contested marks and is one to keep an eye on for next year.  Sam Conway’s tall presence around the ground and in the ruck has allowed the first use to the midfielders at stoppages. Tom Page has also been a pivotal part of the College’s midfield settling into tagging roles during the year whilst also finding plenty of the ball when in attack. James Edmonds continued to be lively around the forward line booting (5 goals) against Wesley.

Wesley College lost their best player Adam Cerra to shoulder surgery late in the season, but their off-field efforts with the ‘spit’ going in the final round was a recruiters delight. They led for majority of the game against Caulfield, but were overrun in the final quarter. Vic Metro Under 16 tall Charlie Dean was good up forward, booting two goals and providing a good target inside 50 against the ‘Fields. Oscar Bennett was a consistent performer, while Adam Collinson had some eye catching runs in his bright red boots through the midfield.


Marcellin College completed an undefeated season, making it three premierships in a row – defeating Ivanhoe in the Grand Final. Up forward, Matthew Cecchin was a dead eye not missing many shots and creating chances inside 50. Alex Federico controlled the play through the midfield and was able to set up multiple chances. In the ruck, high level Basketballer Bailey Griffiths has thrown himself into AFL Draft calcuations with strong form throughout the finals. Griffiths has great pedigree with mum Michelle having played for the Opals, as well as being the nephew of 193-gamer Dean Brogan. Possible Collingwood father-son player Tyler Brown showed his smarts across half forward and has been a big improver in 2017. Ben Wiggins was the eye-catcher in finals, intercepting exceptionally well in defensive 50. He has a good leap and was comfortable kicking the ball on either foot.


Ivanhoe Grammar played some strong football under the guidance of the ever passionate Roger Gill throughout the season. Richmond father-son Patrick Naish booted three goals in the Grand Final and despite copping plenty of the huge Marcellin crowd, was able to push his team throughout the contest. Bottom-ager Tom McKenzie was impressive, showing good signs for next year with some good intercept marks. Max Dreher started on fire against Marcellin in the Grand Final, playing through the midfield and across half back, using his strong hands to his advantage.

Mentone Grammar had a good season, with midfielder Ed Newman finding plenty of the ball and using it effectively on his pinpoint left foot in his long white and blue sleeves. Lewis Diggins used his big frame to play a role winning the contested ball, but they were helped with one of the best ruckman in the state Joel Amartey, feeding the ball down to the midfielders, with his eye catching leap on display. On the outside, Kai Owens found the ball and has been another who has improved throughout the year despite battling a few injury niggles in the post holiday’s period. Tom Yorgey’s aggression across half back was notable, while Dev Brereton showed his smarts inside 50 at times.

PEGS were outclassed by Marcellin in the final, but boast one of the best players in the country in Cameron Rayner. Rayner flew for some eye catching marks in the opening quarter in the semi final at Marcellin – clunking a very good one close to goal. While he didn’t have as big of an impact as he has in some games, he has carried a few injury niggles – now including a thumb injury, but he will play out the remainder of the season at this stage with a cast. Son of Dustin, Mason Fletcher played in multiple positions, lining up in the ruck in the Semi-Final at times. Curtis Taylor has also been important, marking well inside 50 and showing his agility & X-Factor through the midfield. Taylor was one of PEGS’ best in their semi-final loss to Marcellin.

Peninsula finished in fifth position, narrowly missing out on finals. Medium tall Tom Freeman has earned a spot at the State Combine and marks well overhead. His tackling and defensive efforts were noticeable for the AGSV on the weekend. Dandenong Stingrays bottom-ager Jai Taylor performed well all season and was in the best for Vic Country Under 17s on Saturday. Taylor collected 18 disposals, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s in a strong performance on the outside and the 186cm midfielder can play in multiple roles and is one to watch.

Ryley Stoddart has been a classy performer for Yarra Valley Grammar and had a role moving the magnets for the AGSV on Saturday. Stoddart missed their final game against Mentone with an injury niggle, but his form against Eastern Ranges against Sandringham Dragons a fortnight ago was super impressive. Mackenzie Doreian showed some craft as a small forward and isn’t a bad little player. Doreian collected 18 disposals and laid seven tackles in the APS v AGSV game on Saturday.

Trinity Grammar were represented by Charlie Beasley and Bailey Evans in the APS v AGSV rep game. Evans’ ball winning skills through the midfield was very good, while Beasley was able to mark the ball and rebound it out of defensive 50.

Liam Middleton was a good performer for Assumption College Kilmore and he did some good things in the APS v AGSV rep game on Saturday, finding 16 disposals and three inside 50s. Outside midfielder Ned Lanyon was another who performed well for Assumption.

David McColl is a name to keep an eye on out of Camberwell Grammar, with the Year 11 boy finishing second in their best and fairest last year as a Year 10. In their clash against PEGS earlier in the season, McColl had a very good one-on-one battle with Cameron Rayner throughout the game. McColl has some speed and was named as an emergency in the AGSV team.

APS v AGSV Stats: 

K H D M CP UP T HO C I50 R50 G B
AGSV 202 163 365 92 136 233 60 26 30 37 35 12 10
APS 213 215 428 107 145 291 51 40 34 53 25 18 12
14 Ed RICHARDS 17 16 33 4 8 23 5 6
18 Andrew BRAYSHAW 14 17 31 5 12 19 8 6 4 1 1 1
12 Charlie THOMPSON 11 19 30 8 14 18 1 2 5 1 1
2 Lachlan HARRIS 12 17 29 6 8 22 3 2 1 1 1
4 Jack HENDERSON 14 14 28 2 14 14 6 5 4 1 1
6 Alfie JARNESTROM 15 12 27 8 10 19 2 3 2
11 Laitham VANDERMEER 12 15 27 6 7 20 1 1 3 2
7 Angus STYLES 13 12 25 6 6 19 1 3 2
5 Seb WILLIAMS 16 8 24 4 6 19 1 2 8 1 4 1
1 Jack ALEXANDER 6 13 19 4 8 12 1 3 4 1
10 Cameron HODGES 9 8 17 5 8 9 2 3 5
15 Oscar BROWNLESS 8 9 17 7 4 13 4 1 1
26 Max KING 11 5 16 10 8 8 1 5 5 2
3 Noah CROES 10 5 15 6 4 13 1 2 2 1
9 Oliver DICKSON 8 7 15 3 2 13 1 1 1 1 1
24 Nick PHILLIPS 6 9 15 5 6 10 1 24 1 2
27 Nathan MURPHY 7 6 13 3 7 6 2 8 2 2 2 1
28 Ben KING 10 3 13 4 8 5 1 1 3 1
23 Ethan PHILLIPS 2 10 12 4 1 11 4 1
8 Tom JEPSON 8 3 11 5 2 9 2 1 1
25 Hugh LONGBOTTOM 4 7 11 2 2 9 3 5 1 2 1
20 Bailey WRAITH 1 3
1 Matthew CECCHIN 15 14 29 7 9 19 3 2 4 2 2
13 Bailey EVANS 14 12 26 7 8 18 1 2 1
12 Ed NEWMAN 15 10 25 6 6 20 4 1 2 7 1
4 Lachlan WILSON 15 9 24 3 11 14 6 2 6 1 2 1
30 Lewis DIGGINS 14 10 24 6 6 17 2 2 1 1
24 Alex FEDERICO 17 6 23 5 12 12 3 5 2 4 1 1
9 Curtis TAYLOR 14 9 23 5 10 12 2 1 2 1
2 Mackenzie DOREIAN 10 8 18 6 10 9 7 3 3 1 2
7 Liam MIDDLETON 8 8 16 4 7 9 3 3 1
32 Luke MINAHAN 3 13 16 1 9 7 1 1
28 Tom YORGEY 12 3 15 4 3 12 1 1
15 Christian FARCHIONE 7 8 15 4 2 13 2 2 1
8 Max DREHER 6 9 15 4 6 9 1 2 1
37 Tom FREEMAN 7 8 15 5 10 5 7 2 2 1
23 Ned LANYON 5 9 14 3 13 5 1 2 1
10 Charlie BEASLEY 6 7 13 6 3 10 1 3
27 Stefan NADALIN 6 5 11 6 3 8 2 4
3 Harrison FRY 7 3 10 4 2 8 2 1 2 1
31 Mason FLETCHER 7 3 10 3 2 8 1 3
42 Oscar McINTYRE 3 5 8 1 4 5 3 11 2 1 1
14 Joel AMARTEY 6 1 7 2 4 3 2 13 2 1 1
34 Patrik DELLA ROCCA 5 2 7 2 6 1 2 2 1 2 2

Victorian school football update June edition

WE ARE at the midterm break into the APS and AGSV school boy Victorian football competitions and Matt Balmer delves deeper into which prospects have performed well in the school season.

The old saying that “If you’re good enough, recruiters will find you, no matter where you play” rings true in the Victoria school football competition where players such as Jayden Hunt (Melbourne) and Oliver Hanrahan (Hawthorn) have been plucked out of the school boy competition without playing TAC Cup. As Hunt’s 31-game career has shown, it is not the be all and end all if players aren’t selected in the pathways as we once knew it.


Haileybury College has all but wrapped up the APS premiership – barring losses to both St Kevins and Geelong Grammar in their final two games. Possible number one pick Luke Davies-Uniacke has been the star through the midfield. His ability to clear the ball by hand and foot when being tackled is phenomenal and he has been able to beat any tagger sent to him. Against Scotch, he showed he could use the ball off either feet with a pinpoint left foot kick into the corridor, while against Geelong College he had 44 disposals. Davies-Uniacke had a tough day in the ‘Grand Final’ against Carey, tagged and getting bumped around the ground by the Carey players who did all they could to stop him. It did result in some shaky footwork but he was still able to find more than 25 disposals. Max King has returned from injury with 10 goals in the last three games, as one of their standouts in Saturday’s game doing his 2018 no.1 pick chances no harm. Twin brother Ben too has remained up forward slotting a bag of six against Caulfield Grammar and whilst he gets better each game up forward – he should hold down a key position defender slot in his draft year.

Charlie Constable had more than 30 disposals against Carey and played his best football as a general defender with stints in the midfield, while captain Andrew Brayshaw has nursed a quad injury but should put his hand up for Vic Metro selection soon. Jackson Ross continues to play a nice role on the wing and across half forward, while it has been Jack McHale who has caught the eye of a few clubs in defence. Oscar Clavarino has been solid often intercepting off half-back, but Scotch’s Will Sutherland clunked a beautiful mark over him in their clash. One name that bobbed up from the weekend was Adam Schache who did some nice things – but Aiden Bonar might just be one of the best of the lot and should excite when he returns from a long term injury soon.

(We’ll have a full report on the Carey vs. Haileybury game online later this week) 

Carey Grammar’s undefeated run came to an end on Saturday – but they put up a fight against Haileybury College. Year 10 Matthew Rowell is a star and is highly touted for the 2019 draft. Rowell wins the ball through the midfield and has been named as Vic Metro U16 captain. Cooper Leon was one of Carey’s best against Scotch and Caulfield, finding the football right around the ground and using it well on his right foot. Captain Charlie Thompson wins the football in the midfield and was a big reason Carey got back into the game against Scotch, while Ed Richards has been impressive with his run and carry a highlight before using it on his long left foot. Oliver Simpson impressed in the game on Saturday and is a playing to watch for next year.

At the ‘Snakepit,’ St Kevin’s have had to fight hard with star midfielders Lachlan Fogarty and Rhylee West nursing injuries. It has meant that youngsters James Rowbottom and Jack Mahony have had to step up in the midfield, with under 16 Mahony tipped to be a star of the future. Kane O’Halloran has been their most important forward kicking some strong goals, while Cam Hodges is putting together some solid form this season and would be in consideration for the APS team of the season.

Scotch’s Will Sutherland continues to get the plaudits playing superb football as a key target up forward and spending time in the midfield, with one recruiter drawring comparisons to Marcus Bontempelli. He has been named in the Vic Metro squad and expect him to line up this weekend in their clash against Vic Country. Against Carey, he clunked nine marks (five contested) and booted three goals as the clear best on ground in the first half. Against Haileybury, some of his marks were outstanding and spent more time in the midfield than he did against Carey. Noah Croes made a few recruiters jot some notes down, with a nice mark in defensive 50 catching the eye against Haileybury. Croes is another good cricketer who won their best and fairest as a Year 11 and is playing good football across half back using his smarts. Vic Metro Under 16 Finn Maginness has missed games through injury, while Joel Garner has predominantly played across half forward – not attending a single centre bounce against Carey and Haileybury. Garner has a defining moment against Scotch, winning a two-on-one inside 50 and banging home the goal on his left foot. Ruckman Will Clark was one of their best in a close loss to Carey, clunking marks around the ground.

Brighton Grammar and Melbourne Grammar took part in the first ‘Pride match’ at Todd Road in May. Brighton midfielders Seb Williams and Alfie Jarnestrom played strong games in the midfield. Williams has been a big ball winner in the APS competition using his speed and agility to get around opponents with ease – racking up more than 40 disposals in two of his games. Victorian Under 19 cricketer Nathan Murphy has caught the eye and there has been plenty of interest at club land. The 188cm medium utility has looked at home in his new role up forward, clunking marks finishing with five goals against Wesley, with nearly all clubs having a scout in attendance. Murphy has a long kick and has been a late addition to the Sandringham Dragons squad. North Melbourne 2018 father-son prospect Joel Crocker has been outstanding coming out of defensive 50 possessing great agility.

Out at Flack Park, Melbourne Grammar led the ‘Pride match’ in front of a strong crowd with guest speaker Jason Ball speaking to the crowd before the contest. On the results front, it was not a great day for Melbourne going down to Brighton by 14 points. Charlie Spargo was well held with a quiet day – but did fight hard in the last quarter with some good lateral movement willing his teammates to try and turn around their three-quarter time margin. Up forward, Oscar Dowd has been one of their best – while Kyle Dunkley and Harry Bede are two others who have put together a strong month.

Caulfield Grammar has some draftable players with Vic Metro midfielders Dylan Moore and Trent Mynott, pushing themselves into draftable conversations after superb seasons at all levels. Captain Lachlan Harris played his best game of the season with 41 disposals against Geelong Grammar, tall forward Isaac Morrisby has fired into form with bags of five and four against St Kevin’s and Geelong Grammar respectively. Jackson Hille returned from an early season injury at the Dragons and has worked his way into the year with a good game finding 25 disposals on Saturday. Year 9 boy Will Phillips starred with 31 disposals and a goal vs. Geelong Grammar & will be a name to keep an eye on.

Geelong Grammar has disappointed results wise, but have some elite talent in Year 11 and Year 12. Jarrod Brander missed their clash with Caulfield due to Allies commitments, but up forward he was the difference in their victory over arch-rivals Geelong College. Brander turned the game on its head with a superb third quarter, with his marking and kicking under pressure a class above kicking five goals for the game. Bottom-ager Jye Caldwell has been impressive, with one draft watcher on declaring the star could contend for a top five pick in 2018. Paddy Dow has shown off his speed from the stoppages pushing himself into top ten calculations, giving his heart and soul through the midfield crashing in, getting it forward and hitting the scoreboard. The 184cm midfielder booted a bag of seven against Wesley College in Round 5. Lochie O’Brien has been tagged out of a few games with a rough start to the year – but expect him to show his class at the Under 18 Championships and the Bendigo Pioneers when he returns from injury. Jarrod Walters has also been another players well lately.

Geelong College went down in the local derby, but fought hard in a close loss to Melbourne Grammar on the weekend. Ed McHenry was outstanding for Vic Country and has been one of their best, with the lively player showing his tricks in the midfield. Jack Henderson has won plenty of football in the midfield and no doubt is leading their best and fairest. Henderson also clunked ‘APS Mark of the Year’ in the derby (See tweet below). Geelong 2018 father-son Oscar Brownless has worked his way into the season putting together some solid form.

Xavier’s Anthony Zimmerman is using his elite speed and goal smarts to good use, hitting the scoreboard. Bailey Smith was solid in the Vic Metro U17 Futures game and has been a strong performer in the midfield and rebounding across half back. Laitham Vandermeer is another who has been great for Xavier and would be a contender for their best player of the season. Changkuoth Jiath (CJ) has been exciting and his moments of flashes are simply eyecatching, often using his good athletic leap to clunk marks.  Australia Under 19 cricket speed demon Zak “Cherry” Evans has been a standout for Xavier – and could easily follow the football pathway should he wish. Evans booted two goals in the opening quarter on Saturday and is playing well. Charlie Whitehead, Jack Hewitt and Jeremy Lucas have been other good contributors for the Xavs.

Adam Cerra has nursed a shoulder injury at times for Wesley – but was a star in Vic Metro’s opening win of the National Under 18 Championships. Cerra spent most of the game against Brighton playing forward with his shoulder heavily strapped, and could’ve easily booted three goals in the opening quarter had he taken his chances. He used his speed to get distance between himself and opponents, taking a few good marks overhead. Charlie Dean impressed as a tall for Vic Metro Under 16 and has been good for Wesley. Oscar Bennett has been a strong APS player over recent years and has been solid playing mostly in defence. Adam Collinson has been another who has shown draftable traits through the midfield competiting well in the stoppages. While Bo James‘ impressive games left a one veteran recruiter scrambling to find out his date of birth for draft eligibility.

Over the in AGSV competition, Marcellin sit undefeated on top and have locked down the minor premiership spot.

Alex Federico is Marcellin’s best draft prospect and has been great through the midfield and dropping back to help the defence. His composure with ball in hand is good. Patrick Della Rocca is too powerful and strong for most opponents, with broad shoulder and a strong build helping the bottom-ager inside 50. Josh Posar impressed around the ground, finding plenty of the ball and marking uncontested on multiple occassions. It was however Riley Loton’s first half that would’ve had his name circled, using his nice left foot on the wing to power the ball forward. Christian Farchione used it well at times on his left foot, while Ben Wiggins provided a contest inside 50 as a marking target.

Mentone fought hard in their loss to Marcellin, unable to stay with them for long enough. Ed Newman looms as the most draftable player, playing across half back and through the midfield. The Victorian Under 19 cricketer will have a tough decision on his hands – recently added to the Sandringham Dragons squad, but if he picks the football path I have no doubt a club would strongly consider him. Newman booted a good running goal in the third quarter on his left foot. Kai Owens impressed on the wing, finding plenty of the ball and is okay on his right foot. Joel Amartey was played out of position, with most of the game inside 50 as their tall target rather than in the ruck. The first bounce saw the ex-basketballer leap over his Marcellin opponent and win the tap, but up forward didn’t read the flight of the ball great. Devlin Brereton is fast on his feet, with good agility and caused trouble at times for Marcellin defenders. Year 10 Jai Florent bagged a good goal in the third quarter, while Tom Yorgey and Lewis Diggins are willing to crack in hard and fly the flag for their teammates.

PEGS have the top prospect from the AGSV with Cameron Rayner a strong performer in Vic Metro’s win on Sunday. Rayner has been solid without starring for PEGS, but returned to form with an outstanding game against Mentone with over 30 disposals and multiple strong contested marks showing off what many saw him do as Year 11 for school. Curtis Taylor has come back from injury and been another great performer, seeing him earn selection in the Vic Metro side. PEGS did miss the ‘dynamic duo’ on Saturday, with Peninsula pulling off a great win at home.

Patrick Naish is playing good football for Ivanhoe, booting a few goals against a weak Trinity team and a strong Mentone team. Naish had some extra attention from the Mentone midfielders, but still was okay. Seems to relish playing out at Chelmsworth Park (Ivanhoe’s home ground) where he has played some brilliant games over the last few years. Max Dreher missed the game against Mentone – but has been another solid performer on the inside and across defence.

Peninsula pulled off an unexpected win against PEGS, but won’t qualify for AGSV finals. They have got a good crop of young Dandenong Stingrays and as I eluded to in the previous update, Jai Taylor and Will Antonie are the two worth keeping an eye on.

Ryley Stoddart is Yarra Valley’s best player and starred with a big bag of goals against the winless Camberwell. Stoddart is a clean ball user on his left foot and was good for Vic Metro on the weekend. For Assumption, Shane Skidmore has been impressive and put in a solid performance for Vic Metro in the Under 17 Futures clash. Trinity and Camberwell have struggled so far this season and both hold the clear bottom two positions – despite Trinity pushing Ivanhoe for a draw earlier in the season.

U18 trial Vic Country/Vic Metro/Allies scouting notes

It was a cold and wet finish to a mostly sunny day at Ikon Park today – hosting Vic Country v Allies and Vic Metro v Allies final trial games in the lead up to the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Both Victorian teams were severely understrengthed with a majority of their ‘best 22’ being left out of the contest, playing school football or were managed – while the Allies split their squad in half to help select their final squad.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:

Game 1:
VIC COUNTRY    3.5    5.8     7.13     11.14 (80)
ALLIES                2.1    4.3      4.3          6.5 (41)

VIC COUNTRY: Meek 2, Johnston 2, Garoni 2, Floyd, McHenry, Miers, Butts, Jones
ALLIES: Sambono 2, Burke, Scott, Bailey, Richards

Vic Country:

#4 Gryan Miers – Attended a large number of centre bounces, using his quick, clean hands to get the ball out of the stoppages. He’s a smart footballer and his good agility helps him weave through the packs. Kicked a nice goal in the third term but has a strange kicking action that might need some work.

#13 Ethan Floyd – Could’ve easily kicked three goals in the opening term, with kickable shots on the run at goal missed. Very left foot orientated – he kicks it long and stands out in his bright boots. His speed & dash is superb on the outside and is a weapon when he wants to attack.

#19 Matthew Ling – Had a long run with three bounces down the broadcast wing – but shanked the kick on the run when streaming inside 50. His second efforts were good and he has really good vision when he has the ball in hand. Very composed player and is versatile to play in multiple positions. Finished his morning early icing his calf up – but it didn’t appear to be too serious.

#22 Jordon Butts – Initially expected him to play at CHB – but played up forward. Took multiple marks – including one which saw him end up nearly snapping the goalpost. Did struggle to make the distance from 40m out with one set shot, but moments later made the distance from 50m at the same end. Kicked his only goal for the day in the third quarter, but his ‘dukes’ were very impressive overhead.

#26 Angus Schumacher – Slow starter but once he got going he was very impressive. Another who possesses a really clean left foot kick. Weaves well through traffic and is willing to take the game on. Also a solid mark overhead. Like him best across half back.

#30 Jordan Johnston – One of the few players with X-Factor in the Country teams. He nearly plucked a few marks metres from goal, jumping over the taller opposition defenders who were attempting to spoil the ball through. Played through the middle at times and booted a goal in the last quarter. Think the Rebels’ best prospect is worth a spot in the Country team.

#32 Cassidy Parish – Parish’s clearance work and contested numbers are some of the best in the 2017 draft pool – but he is a poor kick on his right foot. At one stage instead of handballing to a player 5 metres away, he attempted a rugby-style chip kick which he managed to nearly mark like some of the best rugby players looking to score a try. What was impressive was a left foot pinpoint pass inside 50 that hit Butts, but he mostly rushed a few of his kicks under pressure. There’s a lot to like about Parish – but he needs to clean up his kicking and stop the ‘dinky’ kicks around the ground.


#4 Jacob Dawson – Possesses really good hands in close at the stoppages. Kicking does need some work as at times he just banged it forward. Some of his other kicks around the ground did hang in the air, rather than being pinpoint and resulted in a few being spoiled. Inside work is good and wins clearances.

#5 Zac Bailey – One of the clear standouts and the player I was most impressed with through the whole day. Was willing to take the game on, using his speed & agility to move forward. Worked hard all day on the inside at the stoppages and kicked it well on his right foot. Snapped a very good goal in the second quarter.

#6 Bailey Scott – Made some good decisions with ball in hand and provided some run in the middle of the ground. Marks well overhead.

#7 Adam Sambono – Used his speed to chase and lay a great tackle. Is a player that catches the eye and screams X-Factor! Snaps the ball well on either foot and booted two goals – one of which saw him calmly think through a snap, not rushing the chance and putting it through. Is a player that doesn’t need to have too much of the ball to impact a game inside 50.

#8 Jake Brown – One of the leading disposal winners for the Allies, but his ball use was poor. Had multiple clangers and was another at times who just bombed it forward. His voice was good around the ground, barking instructions as an older player in the team and at the stoppages.

#27 Rodney Baird – Very raw footballer who is still learning the game. His decision making is a work-in-progress and was slow in possessing the ball & then disposing of it.

#32 Daniel Johnston – Played up forward and was largely influential. Was beaten in the forward ruck contests and has poor agilty. Didn’t find much of the ball through the day. Finished the game well with some solid marks in the last quarter.

#33 Jack Payne – Showed some good signs in defence. Lead up to one play, but overran it attempting to intercept and dropped the mark. He did go to ground too many times early, but his overhead marking got better as the game went on. He was always looking for a switch with ball in hand and I’m looking forward to seeing him play for the Allies in the Under 18 Championships.

#34 Nathan Richards – Shared the ruck duties with Tony Olango. Another who looked a touch off the pace at times and struggled around the ground to win the football. Had a few touches late and won most of the hitouts in the final term. Took an outstanding mark over Patterson in the last quarter.


Game 2:

VIC METRO        2.0    4.0     5.0          6.1 (37)
ALLIES                4.1    6.2     9.4        11.7 (73)

VIC METRO: Jones 2, Grace, Petruccelle, Harman, Penrith
ALLIES: Hardman 2, Bell 2, Crossley 2, Fitzgerald, Powell, Dixon, Thomas, Clayton

Vic Metro:

#2 Ryley Stoddart – Worked hard on the wing and across half back. Is composed with ball in hand and one of the better ball users off his left foot, kicking long or short. Also marks well overhead and was consistent all day.

#4 Thomas North – Started in at the centre bounces and set up smartly 50m away from play when the ball was deep inside their forward 50. He was good at the stoppages and around the ground. Another Ranges player who is in great form.

#5 Quintin Montanaro – A quiet day for Montanaro who had a slow game last week with a toe injury. The game didn’t suit him when the rain came, and he wasn’t able to find his outside ball. Expect him to bounce back next week for Sandringham Dragons.

#11 Alfie Jarnestrom – Had a superb second quarter, starting in at the centre bounces and winning multiple clearances. His hands in close are good and he took a few marks around the ground.

#27 Jack Petruccelle – Showed glimpses of his pace but looked a bit out of place on the forward flank. Looks his best on the inside through the midfield and I’m hoping he gets the opportunity to play there in the Under 18 Championships. His kicking needs attention though and this is what is stopping his breaking into the top ten at this stage – as multiple kicks missed their targets and was mostly ineffective by foot all day. As always provided a highlight in the middle of the ground when he ‘nearly’ took a screamer.

#31 Nicholas Coffield – Has so much time in the contest and is composed with ball in hand. Around the ground his vision is good and seems to find the best target short or long. Found plenty of the ball and reminds me a bit of Hugh McCluggage from last year in the contest.

#34 Noah Balta – Was happy to see him line up as a key defender – as one of the few AFL Academy players who played today. Provided good run up the ground and looked to play off his man. His leap helps him when he needs to defend one-on-one and showed enough signs to suggest he might play there again in the future.


#5 Jack Powell – Goes under the radar and just gets the job done. Has a strongly built body and is strong in at the contest. Showed great composure in the opening quarter when he snapped from 40m on an acute angle, taking his time and putting it through when there was no obvious option to pass it off to.

#7 James Bell – One of the Allies’ best in Game 2. Showed some tricks and I really liked his game better than some of his Under 18 Academy Series games. Looked his best across half forward, where he was able to impact the scoreboard booting two goals, getting involved with the contests inside forward 50. Looked lively and one to keep an eye on if he gets a chance.

#8 Jack Clayton – The Brisbane Lions Academy member possesses a nice left foot and his first quarter was one of the better ones I’ve seen him play in a while. Hit a pinpoint pass inside 50 to a teammate and worked hard right around the ground.

#22 Doulton Langlands – Best game I’ve seen him play this year. Was able to impact the game on the outside. Runs well from half back to half forward, and his run down the ground in the second quarter was superb. Spent more time at the stoppages later in the game and is very agile.

#25 Tarryn Thomas – North Melbourne will get a gem next year. Thomas showed some speed playing most of the game inside forward 50. Running down close to the boundary line, he was able to use his vision and hit Hardman in the goal square for a goal assist. Liked his game.

#34 Brayden Crossley – Won most of his one-on-one contestes up forward and in the ruck against weaker opponents – but I’m not convinced this will be able to translate at AFL level and will need to work on his endurance. Took some big contested marks, but had a few ugly kicks inside 50.

#35 Connor Ballenden – If you left at three quarter time like some watches on did you would’ve said Ballenden was poor – but he finished the game respectively well. Struggled further away from goal, but looked his best the closer he was towards goal. At one stage he collected the ball, weaved a few players, ran 20 metres and banged home a goal from just inside 50. Is a good contested mark overhead and I’m hoping he will be at his best in the Under 18 Championships.


Victorian school football update May edition

WE ARE a month into the APS and AGSV school boy Victorian football competitions and Matt Balmer delves deeper into which prospects have started well in the school season.

The old saying that “If you’re good enough, recruiters will find you, no matter where you play” rings true in the Victoria school football competition where players such as Jayden Hunt (Melbourne) and Oliver Hanrahan (Hawthorn) have been plucked out of the school boy competition without playing TAC Cup. As Hunt’s 27-game career has shown, it is not the be all & end all if players aren’t selected in the pathways as we once knew it.

Down at Brighton, their APS ‘four-peat’ premiership tilt appears over after a few losses to start the season with coach Robert Shaw fielding a much younger squad than previous years. They do have one for the future – with state Under 15 and Year 9 boy Darby Hipwell a standout early in the season. Sandringham Dragons midfielder Alfie Jarnestrom tied for their best and fairest alongside Andrew McGrath in 2016 and has again taken it up another notch, with 36 disposals in their loss against Haileybury using the ball well on his left foot. 2018 North Melbourne father-son prospect Joel Crocker has been utilised at both ends, showing glimpses in his bottom-age year. On the weekend against Geelong Grammar, the grandson of Don Williams (Melbourne Hall of Famer), Seb Williams returned from concussion with 40 plus disposals in one of the better performances from a Brighton Grammar School captain, against a midfield with likely first round selections Paddy Dow and Lochie O’Brien. Victorian Under 19 cricketer Nathan Murphy had recruiters working the phones over the weekend, leaving them stunned with a seven-goal haul at centre half forward and he may be another with a tough decision on his hands.

Scotch’s Will Sutherland has been the leading ‘icon’ of the multi-talented sportsplayers this season, with the tall starring up forward throughout the start of the APS season. It does look more and more likely that football may be the destination for the Australian Under 19 cricketer at the end of the season, with AFL Victoria keen to push him into the Vic Metro squad for the Under 18 Championships. Noah Croes is another good cricketer who won Scotch’s best and fairest as a Year 11 and has caught the eye with his good ball use and run & carry. Joel Garner has used his clean hands well at the contest and continues to put his hand up as a possible first round selection. Hawthorn fans have a name to keep an eye on with Under 16 Vic Metro’s Finn Maginness in the number 33 as one of their best to start the season as a Year 10 – hitting the scoreboard up forward.

Carey Grammar have been the surprise packet starting the season without a loss. They are playing their big ground well out at Bulleen, with Ed Richards the leader of their run from defence. Richards has often taken the kick outs, speeding off past his opponents and working down one of the wings. Charlie Thompson‘s ball winning has been important, ensuring that Carey are getting first hands on the ball despite coming up against stronger midfielders. Recruiters took note of Tom Jepson‘s tagging job of Wesley’s Adam Cerra in Round two, rendering him largely influential for the entire day.

Despite his quiet game against Carey, Cerra has been one of Wesley’s best and shown why he is capable of contending for the number one selection with his good ball use on his right foot ringing true. He wins the ball at the centre bounces and is smart at the stoppages – making him a tough tagging candidate as he was able to get off the chain against Haileybury as Wesley’s clear best. Adam Collinson impressed for the Oakleigh Chargers and has carried that into the APS season through the midfield. 188cm medium tall Charlie Dean is a name for the future, selected in the Vic Metro Under 16 preliminary squad.

At the ‘Snakepit,’ St Kevin’s continue to show consistency in their teams from year to year. Lachlan Fogarty goes about his job in the midfield, despite missing the game against Melbourne Grammar with concussion. Fogarty was one of their best in the win against Brighton, winning the ball in the contest. Western Bulldogs father-son prospect Rhylee West continues to crack in hard, while Year 10 boy Jack Mahony has been the surprise packet with the Vic Metro Under 16 player a star in their Round one win over Geelong Grammar. Ethan Phillips has been defending well, using his athletic ability to shut down the oppositions best tall.

Out at Keysborough, Haileybury on paper has one of the strongest APS teams in a long time, with names such as Luke Davies-Uniacke, Oscar Clavarino and the King twins – they are the clear favourites for the premiership. Andrew Brayshaw continues to play a strong role in the midfield, winning plenty of the football while Charlie Constable uses his smarts rotating through the midfield from across half back.

Davies-Uniacke has only dropped below 30 disposals once for the ‘Bloods’, with his 32 disposal and six-goal performance against Brighton simply amazing. Clavarino has been able to intercept mark the ball with ease in the defensive 50, dropping off his man and his ball use by foot has been solid. Despite brother Max being out with a knee injury – Ben King looks better with each game he plays up forward, booting seven goals against Xavier on Saturday. His contested marking was on show and his move forward has shown his versatility for the natural defender. Liam Stocker has looked good across half back, while athletic Jackson Ross continues to put his hand up as a draft smokey with glimpses of outstanding play as a centre half forward and on the wing.

Despite Clavarino’s strong start to the season, Carlton 2018 father-son prospect Ben Silvagni was able to get on top of him booting three goals for Xavier in their clash Saturday. Charlie Whitehead has started the season well and put in a gutsy tagging effort on Davies-Uniacke, while Anthony Zimmerman is using his goal smarts and speed up forward. Changkuoth Jiath (CJ) has been exciting through the midfield and up forward and is playing some great football.

Caulfield are another school undefeated, with Vic Metro midfielders Dylan Moore (30 disposals, three goals against Scotch) and Trent Mynott dominating at the start of the season putting their hand up for possible draft calculations. The pair tackle hard and win the ball in at the clearances. Angus Styles is showing his poise, with 30 disposals in their big win against Scotch – while captain Lachlan Harris had a huge third quarter effort for the ‘Fields’. Will Kennedy is giving their midfielders first use of the ball winning the ruck, with Isaac Morrisby providing a big target up forward.

Out at Flack Park, Charlie Spargo has got the ball on a string for Melbourne. His performance against St Kevin’s College will go down as one of the best individual games many have seen – kicking three goals and having a big amount of the ball. Hybrid defender Harry Bede is marking well overhead and is another name to keep an eye on, with a similar pedigree to Hawthorn 2016 draftee Oliver Hanrahan from a cricket background. Sam Cameron has also played some impressive football as one of their better starters to the season. MGS also possess a younger Dunkley and Goddard amongst their ranks.

Down the highway, Geelong College have had a quiet start to the season. Ed McHenry impressed in the Vic Country trials and has been one of their best, showing his elite endurance running hard all game. Jack Henderson has won plenty of football in the midfield and was best on ground in their loss to Caulfield.

Arch-rivals Geelong Grammar are the surprise packet – with few tipping them to contend for the premiership. Their lack of depth has affected them, but they boast likely draftees Jarrod Brander, Brent Daniels, Paddy Dow and Lochie O’Brien. Brander returned from a knee injury on Saturday – that he suffered in round one to boot a bag of goals up forward. Daniels goes in hard for a small, while Dow has used his burst from the midfield to hit the scoreboard with five goals against St Kevin’s. O’Brien was tagged out of the game on Saturday, but is a classy ball user on the wing.

Over the in AGSV competition, Marcellin and Mentone sit undefeated on top. While neither school boasts a likely high draftee – their depth is very good.

Alex Federico is Marcellin’s best draft prospect and was very good against PEGS. Federico is composed with ball in hand and plays his best football across half back. Patrik Della Rocca is a bottom-age forward who impressed last year for Marcellin and has continued that into this year – including booting three goals on Saturday for the Northern Knights.

Mentone ruckman Joel Amartey is continuing to get better with each game he plays and was good in the first half against Assumption. Tom Yorgey and Ed Newman are using the ball well across half back, setting up the play. Victorian Under 19 cricketer Newman may be another to forge to the football pathway, should clubs come calling. Kai Owens is finding the ball through the midfield, while Hawthorn father-son prospect Devlin Brereton is showing good signs.

Mitch Lewis was drafted out of Assumption last year to the Hawks and they boast eight players on TAC Cup lists this year. Their most talented tall Joel Naylor can play at either end, while Shane Skidmore was super impressive at last year’s Under 16 Championships for Vic Metro.

Anthony Larkey is one of Trinity’s best – but they have struggled so far this season, as have Camberwell – while Peninsula have a good crop of Dandenong Stingrays players on their list with Jai Taylor and Will Antonie two names to keep an eye on.

Ryley Stoddart fought hard for Yarra Valley in their big loss to Ivanhoe. Stoddart is a classy ball user across the wing or half back and took an outstanding contested mark in the opening quarter before slotting the goal. He was moved onto the damaging Patrick Naish in the second half, keeping him to just two goals in a vallient effort as one of their clear best players. Stoddart did come off late with cramp in his calf, but should be commended for his strong efforts on Naish.

Patrick Naish’s seven-goal haul was simply outstanding for Ivanhoe and had Richmond recruiters watching on with a grin on their face. He booted three in the opening quarter, turning the game on it’s head. He attended a good chunk of centre bounces, before resting deep out of the goal square and was a marking target with his great leap on show – keeping the big crowd entertained despite “Roo” being another target up forward. Max Dreher was another who played a strong game for Ivanhoe in the midfield and through defence, winning the contests and disposing of the ball well. Xavier Naish is another father-son prospect for Richmond in 2019 – playing on the wing and kicking two goals on Friday.

PEGS have the top prospect from the AGSV with Cameron Rayner showing off his contested marking and power in the midfield. Whilst he was quieter against Marcellin, winning a lot more unconstesed possessions than normal – he makes a meal of the poor teams in the competition. He doesn’t have a huge tank, but he can do some special things in short bursts that can change the game. Curtis Taylor has been injured, but was a star last season as Year 11 boy up forward.

Vic Metro 46-man U18 training squad announced

VIC Metro will be aiming to win back-to-back titles after naming a strong Under 18 training squad for the upcoming NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

The squad will be coached by Martin Allison, who is taking over the reigns from David Flood. Allison is the new AFL Victoria Metro Talent Pathways Manager and previously coached the Vic Metro Academy back in 2013.

He will be joined by former Western Bulldogs player Steve Wallis and current Director of Coaching at Eastern Michael Rizio – who were part of last year’s assistant coaching set up, while Carlton AFL Women’s and Sandringham Dragons forward coach Jackson Kornberg and Uni Blues (VAFA) senior coach Quinton Gleeson will join as Metro assistants.

Vic Metro’s midfield will be led by talented Eastern Ranges duo Adam Cerra and Joel Garner, while Jack Petruccelle (Northern Knights) and Cameron Rayner (Western Jets) will provide some much needed X-Factor in the side.




TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 2

ROUND Two of the TAC Cup continued over the weekend and we had scouts at three of the games over the weekend. Read their scouting notes below:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Gippsland Power (Matt Balmer)

Murray Bushrangers:

#2 Jordan Butts – Begun the day at full back, but floated forward later in the game. Moves well for a player over 190cm and looks at his best when he isn’t locking down as a key defender. Took a great mark on the lead in the fourth goal, which resulted in a behind. One to keep an eye on, as he has a very late December birthday.

#10 David Smith – The Richmond next generation academy member showed great speed playing through the midfield. He won the football on both the outside and the inside and got better as the game went on. Has a nice right foot kick – but at times needed to lower the eyes and look for shorter options.

#53 Joe Richards – The 176cm pocket-rocket was one of the Bushrangers best players against the Power. In fluro green boots, Richards showed off his good skills in traffic using the ball well by hand. Richards is also very agile and has good speed and had a great moment in the third quarter when he picked the ball up and shot at goal off his right boot that just scrapped the post in what would’ve been one of the goals of the day.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Nick Hogan – Hogan played well through the midfield and up forward, winning the ball at ease. His solid build in his thighs allow for him to have the strength to move around opponents easily. Hogan plays aggressively and he’s someone that despite his size has presence about him when he plays. Had a quiet finish to the day, but was one of the Power’s best throughout the second and third quarters.

#4 Changkuoth Jiath – An ok game from Jiath playing in the attacking half of the ground. He has a good wingspan which allows for him to play taller than he is (185cm) allowing him to mark the ball overhead inside 50. What was lacking was his momentum in his run up and at times he looks lethargic when kicking for goal, disappointingly resulting in him not making the distance from 35m out when taking a set shot. He missed a few chances on goal throughout the day which he needs to make. Despite this, the ball does spin really well off either foot.

#24 Sean Masterson – Masterson was one I had on my radar late last year and I’m pleased he’s come back as a 19-year-old. He spent more time forward on Saturday, bagging two goals. He has a light frame, but was able to reach above the Murray defenders to clunk marks at ease.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Eastern Ranges (Matt Balmer)

Oakleigh Chargers:

#7 Charlie Thompson – Another solid game through the midfield for Thompson. He found the ball well on the outside and uses the ball well. Missed a chunk of football in 2016 through injury but is one to certainly note down.

#8 Toby Wooller – Booted four goals for the game, including three in the first half as he was far too good for Harrison Nolan. He marked the ball well all day and was clean when he collected the ball at ground level. It was good to see him push up through the midfield as the game got on, working hard at the stoppages adding another string to his bow.

#12 Noah Answerth – Took an outstanding mark dropping off his opponent running back in front of a Rangers forward in the first quarter, Was moved onto the dangerous Stephenson and was on top until a knee to the back saw him stretchered off after he was in severe pain. Fingers crossed it isn’t too bad as he has been impressive the last two weeks.

#28 Adam Collinson – Came into the team this week and was one of the first players to stand out during the day. With his long socks, he played mostly on the “broadcast” wing finding plenty of the ball. His ball use was impressive, but at times did look a touch slow when covering the ground. One that hopefully improves as the season progresses.

#35 Jack Higgins – A quieter day after collecting 30 disposals last week. Higgins was used in different roles, across half back in the second quarter – before spending more time forward in the third and then the final quarter. Kicked two goals, but disappointingly missed his “Stevie J curve” snap in the final term when the game was on the line. His hands in close at the contest were very good.

Eastern Ranges:

#1 Adam Cerra – Performed well last week, but surprisingly started up forward against the Chargers and was quieter. He continued to tackle hard when he went through the midfield and took a good mark in the third quarter. Hopefully more midfield minutes in the weeks to come, as when he went through there he looked his best.

#6 Ryley Stoddart – Jumped out at me last week and backed up the good signs I saw last week. The left footer used the ball well and found it in the contest. His work rebounding the ball from half back to half forward was good, as was his ability to find targets up field. One to watch.

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – Kicked four goals for the game and looked dangerous all bar the periods for when Answerth was lined up on him. A really big wingspan allows for him to almost just pluck the ball from above opposition defenders even without a leap in the air. His marks is a strength, but I do question whether he can play deep forward in the years to come. Hoping for more midfield minutes and time up the ground throughout this season.

#21 Joel Garner – Was one of the best players on the ground, having the ball on a string at times. He was good on the inside & outside and used the ball well off his left foot. His handballing in close was exceptional and continued to hit his targets on the run streaming inside 50. Making a case to be a very high draft selection.

#22 Jackson Ross – A quieter day from the raw Ross, but he did have some good moments of the wing that will appeal to clubs. At times he marked the ball well down the line and kicked it well inside 50, but other times he looked a touch out of place unsure where to run. Is only going to get better the more games he plays.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Northern Knights (Peter Bonadio)

Sandringham Dragons:

#4 Ari Sakeson – Was solid in defence in more of a running defender role rather than a lock-down defender role which he played last year. He took some good defensive marks and worked hard offensively to create opportunities for his team mates. Does need to improve his kicking at times, as he can turn the ball over.

#5 Seb Williams – Does all the right things, kicking three goals (including the first two of the game) and assisted a few more. Williams is a good small forward who has good speed and agility inside 50. He also applies a good amount of forward pressure which at times did make the Knights defenders fumble. Did miss one late that he should’ve kicked which would’ve given him four for the afternoon.

#11 Hamish Brayshaw – First game back for the season after missing last week through soreness. The 19-year-old has quick hands in the contest and has a good footy IQ. He uses his voice well around the ground and is a great team player and a natural leader.

#15 Alfie Jarnestrom – One of the Dragons’ best for the day. Has great quick hands in the contest. His vision is very good and it allows for him to use his efficient left foot well. Jarnestrom is a smart player and spreads well from the contest. For someone his size, he tackled well throughout the day.

#28 Isaac Morrisby – Kicked an early goal for the Dragons, but a relatively quiet day. At times he looked moved slow and did take some time to get the ball from his hands to his boot. Morrisby did mark the ball well when the ball came his way.

Northern Knights:

#5 Marcus Lentini – Was arguably Northern’s best for the day. Kicked a great goal late in the final quarter, Lentini is an efficient user of the ball who finds the football at ease. Through the midfield he hunts the ball well and is willing to tackle hard to win it back.

#6 Patrick Naish – His goal on the verge of half time and three-quarter time is what kept Northern in the contest for most of the day. He moves well through the midfield and found a lot of the ball. At times he can turn the ball over and kicking is one area that does need to get more consistent. His pressure was very good but did fade in & out at certain moments.

#7 Jack Petruccelle – Was hardly sighted in the first half, but his bounces down the wing in the third got him going. He has a good tank and is quiet raw – but does lack in his skills at times, where he can be ineffective by both hand and foot.

#8 Nicholas Coffield – Another solid game from Coffield after finishing last week with a bang. Kicked a good goal in the third term but is another that missed a few kicks that he should’ve made.

#19 Christian Farchione – A quiet game from the Marcellin College student. The left footer used the ball well around the ground, but made a mess of a running shot on goal. Sometimes his decision making can be off, but he showed in 2016 he can be a damaging player.