Tag: ashton crossley

2019 Draft Central Academy Team of the Series

SYDNEY Swans Academy has dominated our 2019 Draft Central Academy Team of the Series, with eight players inside the 24-man squad – one third of the side. While the Swans did not win the overall Division 2 Under 18 Championships, they did show off their depth, and had eight players who made our Team of the Week three or more times. The squad is comprised of 22 players who made our Team of the Week’s at least three times, with two players – Samson Ryan and Corey Joyce – making it twice, but were the top performers of those players with two nominations. Those who also had two nominations and narrowly missed out were Northern Territory’s Beau O’Connell, GWS GIANTS’ Hamish Grant, Brisbane Lions Academy’s Tom Wischnat and Gold Coast SUNS’ Jack Johnston and Hewago Paul Oea, while overage twins Matthew and Stephen Cumming also received two nominations.

Sydney’s representation sees the Swans have three players in defence, with Max Geddes, Jacob Dol and Luke Parks making up the back six, while Sam Thorne slots into midfield, forwards Hamish Ellem and Braeden Campbell sit inside 50, and Errol Gulden – who missed a couple of games – and Aidan Watling – are also in the team. Thorne and Dol were the top representatives for the Swans with four of a possible five nominations.

Gold Coast SUNS Academy won the title, and had four players make the side, with the even spread of players making it difficult to select just a few. Connor Budarick, Ashton Crossley and Josh Gore all easily qualify for the side with four nominations, while Joyce was one of three Suns to receive two, and was named on the bench.

Brisbane Lions Academy had the equal second most nominations of all sides with five, as Tom Griffiths and Will Martyn receiving four nominations, and Noah Cumberland and Bruce Reville having the three. Ryan’s work in the ruck throughout the series, along with his two nominations, was enough to see him fill the starting ruck position. He got the nod ahead of the two Cumming’s whose teammates, Ben Jungfer and Joel Jeffrey both made the side, while O’Connell was the unluckiest not to squeeze into the team.

Jungfer was one of just two players to be nominated every single week, joining GWS GIANTS’ Jeromy Lucas as five-time nominees and thus the pair are co-captains in the hypothetical team. Also in the team are GIANTS’ Thomas Green and Nick Murray who received four nominations apiece, while Liam Delahunty and James Peatling made it in for their three nominations each.

Allies announce 50-player squad for national championships

THE Allies have today announced the 50-player squad to take to the National Under 18 Championships following the conclusion of the NAB League Boys competition which gave the Allies teams a chance to test themselves against Victorian opponents ahead of the championships next month. Of the sides, Sydney Swans Academy had the most representatives with 10, while the two Queensland Academies had eight apiece as did Tasmania Devils. GWS GIANTS Academy and the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) region – comprised of Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers – had six each, while Northern Territory had the four.

Among the names to watch are potential first round picks, Connor Budarick (Gold Coast), Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania) and Tom Green (GWS GIANTS), while the likes of Malcolm Rosas Jr (Northern Territory) and Hewago Paul Oea (Gold Coast) will provide excitement inside 50. The team will have some serious talent in the key position posts, with Liam Delahunty (GWS GIANTS), Jackson Callow (Tasmania) and Hamish Ellem (Sydney) among those talls vying for the spot, while Kobe Tozer has been named in the squad and will aim to return after some bad luck with injury. Both Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers have three players in the side, with the first game to commence in Launceston on June 9.

Brisbane Lions Academy: [8]
Tom Griffiths (Maroochydore)
Will Martyn (Aspley)
Bruce Reville (Western Magpies/Maryborough)
Saxon Crozier (Wests)
Samson Ryan (Toowoomba)
Kobe Tozer (Aspley/Bribie Island)
Noah Cumberland (Maroochydore)
Nikolas Haberer (Sandgate/Caloundra)

Gold Coast SUNS Academy: [8]
Hewago Paul Oea (PNG/Broadbeach)
Connor Buderick (Labrador)
Ashton Crossley (Burleigh/Palm Beach Currumbin)
Alex Davies (Cairns Hawks)
Jack Johnston (Palm Beach Currumbin)
Matt Conroy (Hermit Park Townsville/Broadbeach)
Joshua Gore (Southport/Broadbeach)
Dirk Koenan (Palm Beach Currumbin)

GWS GIANTS Academy: [6]
Liam Delahunty (Coolamon)
Tom Green (Marist)
Jeromy Lucas (Northern Jets)
Matt McGrory (Gungahlin)
Nicholas Murray (Wangaratta Rovers)
James Peatling (Pennant Hills)

NSW/ACT: [6]
Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers)
Will Chandler (Murray Bushrangers)
Jake Dick-O’Flaherty (Bendigo Pioneers)
Logan Fitzgerald (Bendigo Pioneers)
Ben Kelly (Murray Bushrangers)
Will Shaw (Bendigo Pioneers)

Northern Territory Academy: [4]
Malcolm Rosas Jnr (Darwin)
Ben Jungfer (Waratah)
Joel Jeffrey (Wanderers)
Beau O’Connell (Wanderers)

Sydney Swans Academy: [10]
Jackson Barling (Willoughby Mosman)
Braeden Campbell (Westbrook)
Hamish Ellem (Manly Warringah)
Samuel Gaden (Easts Bulldogs)
Max Geddes (Easts Bulldogs)
Errol Gulden (Maroubra)
Ky McGrath (Warners Bay)
Luke Parks (North Shore)
Josh Rayner (North Shore)
Sam Thorne (Figtree Kangaroos)

Tasmania Devils: [8]
Hamish Allan (North Hobart)
Jackson Callow (North Launceston)
Sam Collins (North Hobart)
Jared Dakin (Launceston)
Oliver Davis (Clarence)
Mitch O’Neill (North Hobart)
Matt McGuinness (Lauderdale)
Will Peppin (North Hobart)

Allies Under 18 Championships fixture:

vs. Vic Country – Launceston, June 9
vs. Western Australia – Alberton Oval, June 22
vs. Vic Metro – GMHBA Stadium, June 28
vs. South Australia – Marvel Stadium, July 3

Team of the Week: Academy Series – Round 6

GWS GIANTS Academy and Gold Coast Suns Academy had a couple of impressive wins on the weekend, and the pair was rewarded by having a combined 11 players in the Draft Central Academy Series Team of the Week for Round 6. The GIANTS had six players in the team and the SUNS had five, the same amount as narrow losers, Sydney Swans Academy. Brisbane Lions were overwhelmed by Dandenong Stingrays, while Northern Territory went down to Northern Knights, and both sides had four players in our Team of the Week.

The GIANTS had plenty of contributors in their win over Murray Bushrangers, with midfielders, Tom Green and Jeromy Lucas making the starting side, as did forwards, Liam Delahunty and Harry Grant. Lucas Conlan and Ed Perryman also made the side after impressive efforts and made their way onto the four-player bench. The SUNS’ nominees are spread across the ground as well, with Team of the Week regulars, Connor Budarick and Ashton Crossley named through half-back and the middle, while Hewago Paul Oea makes the team again for his work up forward. Speaking of forwards, Josh Gore and Max Pescud also made the team for their efforts around the big sticks.

Despite a loss, Sydney still had plenty of contributors, three of which came in the back half as Max Geddes, Jacob Dol and Luke Parks all slotted into the defensive structure of our team. Errol Gulden found his place on the wing again, while Aidan Watling also made the 24-player squad. Brisbane Lions’ heavy loss to Dandenong did not stop them having four representatives in the team, with defender Tom Griffiths, forward Noah Cumberland, ruck Samson Ryan and midfielder Will Martyn squeezing into the team. Northern Territory also had four players in the team, with Ben Jungfer and Joel Jeffrey made it once again, while Malcolm Rosas Jr was superb alongside Shawn Foster in the front half of the ground.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 6

ROUND 6 was the last chance for many to get a close look at Northern Academy products, as all five academies this week bowed out of NAB League action. With eight games to cast eyes on, here are our scouting notes on players from Victoria Metro and Country squad lists, as well as those pointed out by respective talent managers. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

 

TASMANIA DEVILS 8.7 (55) defeated by OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 8.8 (56)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Tasmania:

#2 Oliver Burrows-Cheng

Burrows-Cheng remained one of the hard hitters for the day. Continually went to Trent Bianco at the contest and minimised where he could, often affecting the stoppage. In the second, he laid an important tackle on Bianco as he moved inside 50, forcing a turnover and counter-attack which should have resulted in a goal. His presence on the ball was subdued but he tackled with intent (nine) and brought continual pressure to the ball carrier.

#4 Will Peppin

Peppin impressed at the hard ball and brought strength to the stoppages, bullying his way to the footy and keeping his feet at the ground ball. He remained clean by hand and dominated the clinch, fending and breaking tackles, keeping hands free and holding his feet. His work rate and courage were standouts across four quarters, as was his work going inside 50.

#7 Matthew McGuiness

McGuiness was pivotal at both ends, reading the flight of the footy better than most. He kicked the Devils’ first with an impressive left-foot punt and affected more with vision and elite movement. He was dropped back in the third to bolster Tasmania’s fractured defence, out-reading and reacting before his opponents.

#13 Sam Collins

Providing excellent coverage in the back half, Collins intercepted well and rebounded effectively out of defence (nine rebounds). His marking was a feature, clunking nine and prevailing in the contest. Collins continually beat his opponents, attacked the footy and accelerated well out the backline. On the day he did not record a handball but had 18 kicks, proving quick and effective in clearing danger. In all, an athletic and reliable footballer with a good attitude for the game.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow proved damaging in the forward half across four quarters. He led hard at the footy and out-bodied his opponents in marking contests. He brought speed to the ground ball and proved deceptively nimble for his size. He kicked one goal for the day and affected many more, bringing outstanding goal sense to his forward outfit.

 

Oakleigh:

#1 Lucas Westwood

In his first game for the year, Westwood impressed with a classy four-quarter performance. He kicked his first following a high tackle free with an unusually low kick at goal. He continuously exploded with the footy, tackled hard and maintained involvement on both ends of the ground, measuring his kicks effectively and creating space.

#5 Trent Bianco

The captain was prolific for four quarters, leading his side with outstanding accumulation (42 disposals) and great running. He excelled in the stoppage despite the occasional tag, was the priority target for the tap down, and injected class and agility moving through traffic. His attitude was standout, demanding the ball as he led the kicker and breaking lines through well-measured passes and hard running. He caused plenty of trouble with flair through congestion and excelled with presence and elite awareness, wrapping up opponents (nine tackles) when the ball strayed from his path.

#27 Josh May

May’s composure with the pill was standout. The tall continually took the footy out the back and swept the midfield with pinpoint kicking – an action which likely won Oakleigh the game in the final minutes. He hands off well under pressure and glides from traffic which assists his exceptional ball use. In the third, his efforts converted a goal when he brought an exiting kick to ground, followed up and chipped to the lead despite fierce pressure. An important defensive unit and incredibly mobile with good size, May remained in everything and was second only to Bianco.

#47 Nick Balderanos

A good mover through traffic and present through stoppage work. Balderanos’ hands were consistently clean and his vision freeing the footy, elite. He earned two free kicks for his work rate and got very involved in forward chains. Seemed to play his role well.

#65 Thomas Lovell

Lovell demonstrated outstanding forward craft for four quarters. He showed strength in the marking contest and brought clean hands to the ball. Leading the board, Lovell kicked four goals despite the low scoring, including a beauty off the deck which stole a win from the home side. He also proved athletic in the ruck (six hit-outs).

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 11.11 (77) defeated by GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 12.16 (88)
By: Scott Dougan

 

Murray:

#5 Cam Wild

Wild was one of his teams’ best midfielders, with the hard-running midfielder finding plenty of the pill. He always found a way to stay involved in the contest and he did his best to have an impact defensively. His effective clearance work and ball use was noticeable throughout the match. Wild had 27 disposals and four tackles.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Chalcraft was quiet early but it was not long before he got more involved, with the fierce competitor setting up teammate Lachlan Ash for the Bushrangers’ first goal of the second term. Even though he didn’t have the biggest game stat-wise, he was always dangerous when he was around the ball because of his defensive pressure. Chalcraft finished with 14 disposals and two goals.

#12 Lachlan Ash

Ash provided some speed and run and carry across half-back and on the wing for his team. His ball use was extremely useful and effective. Ash was the perfect player to deliver the ball inside 50, which he did successfully on numerous occasions. He drifted forward at stages throughout the match and even kicked a goal of his own in the first half. He finished with a team-high 27 disposals, a really good game.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Boyer spent plenty of minutes up forward and was very lively when he was around the ball. He was one of his team’s most dangerous players, hitting the scoreboard plenty of times in the match. His class, speed, and ball use stood out as usual. Boyer booted three goals and had 22 disposals.

 

GWS:

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Lucas played through the Giants midfield and stood out with his composure with ball in hand. He always took his time before making a decision and at most times, he made the correct one. He won a lot of his possessions on the outside of the contest, where he was able to have the biggest impact. Lucas kicked a brilliant, long goal in the third term which put his team four goals in front.

#25 Thomas Green

Green was prolific around stoppages and in contested situations. He won first possession constantly and always disposed of the ball effectively. He found space in congestion and was able to use his acceleration to escape his opponents. What stood out most was Green’s ability to lower his eyes after bursting out of a stoppage. Most players would just bang the ball forward as far as possible, but Green took the time to find a teammate in space or on the lead. Green finished the match with a whopping 37 disposals, five tackles, and one goal.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Delahunty was able to create some separation from his opponent, Ethan Baxter throughout the first half. He was very good on the lead and he marked the ball strongly. He kicked his first major of the day in the second term when he kicked an eye-catching snap from 30 metres out. Delahunty had a very good game, finishing with 21 disposals, seven marks, and one goal.

#28 Matt McGrory

McGrory stayed involved throughout all four quarters and played pretty well. His rebounding out of the defensive 50 was superb and he consistently did his best to provide as much run and carry as possible for his team. In the second term, McGrory caught the eye when he won two vital one-on-one contests against highly rated Bushranger, Lachlan Ash.

 

CALDER CANNONS 7.10 (52) defeated BENDIGO PIONEERS 5.6 (36)
By: Taylah Melki

 

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

Always around the contest and working hard to win the ball, won a good clearance and used the ball well given the conditions. Kicked a good goal in the opening term and had good clean hands to move the ball forward multiple times throughout the game. Quick use of the ball, clever with ball in hand and constantly looking to attack the ball. Clever use of the body to try and out position his opponent and was a real ball magnet as the game went on. He ran hard and really made his presence felt around the ground. Mott used his good spatial awareness to hit up teammates on the lead by hand.  

#38 Brodie Newman

Newman was a commanding presence across the ground, taking a good mark in the opening term and had strong hands given the wet weather. He consistently contested hard in the air to punch or mark the ball and used his body well to try and gain better position. He provided good voice on the field to offer advice and applied strong defensive pressure in the back half. He got in good position and often out bodied his opponent to win the ball or take a mark. He was equally as strong up forward with his marking ability but missed a shot in front of goal in the fourth but his efforts throughout the game were impressive.  

 

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

Worked hard to try and win the ball for his side and good hands under pressure. He used clever running patterns to create space and was solid in the contest not afraid to get involved and apply strong physical pressure. He laid a couple of crucial tackles to hold the game up and really lifted in the third term. Conforti almost took a huge mark getting high and juggling the ball but just dropped it coming down but his effort was impressive. He positioned well across the ground to judge the play, had good general footy smarts and used his quick hands and good spatial awareness to know where the pressure is coming from.

#11 Aaron Gundry

Good lead up at the footy, and strong hands but missed a goal in the opening term on a tricky angle. Gundry worked hard in the ruck and tried use his read of the flight of the ball to his advantage. He was often out bodied by his bigger framed opponent but still played his role and won a few hit outs to his side’s advantage.

#20 James Schischka 

Laid some really good strong tackles throughout the game to stop and hold up the play of the Cannons. Schischka displayed his ability to read the play getting a deflection and then do the follow up his work at ground level. Good careful kicking action to dish off to a teammate leading up at him and had clean hands out of congestion. He laid a good smother in the third term and tracked the ball well at ground level to pick the ball up. His ability to read his opponent and get into the right positions was impressive racking up three marks in the third term alone showing his strength and control of the ball.

#21 Riley Wilson 

Good read of the footy and was involved early at the contest to dish out a handball to a teammate passing by. He had relatively clean hands and played on quickly to propel the ball forward. Wilson showcased his good vision and intent to keep the ball moving but had a rush of blood and missed a running shot at goal in the second quarter. his defensive work was solid with a really impressive smother mid jump in the third term.

 

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 14.11 (95) defeated GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 12.9 (81)
By: Sophie Taylor

 

Gold Coast Suns:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

Had some solid moments, creating entries inside 50 but not forcing the footy. A great mover in traffic, Oea showcased his ability to weave in and out of players and good vision of where the ball was in order to play to his advantage. Oea’s smooth movement led to a great chase, tackle and entry inside 50, while also contributing two goals; the first a great snap on goal in the middle of a scrap, while the second helped keep the Suns on track after an intercept mark in the final quarter. Finished with 19 touches, five inside 50s, three marks and three tackles for a solid day out

#5 Connor Budarick

Some great work off the ball and pressure on the play saw Budarick have a solid match, doing his bit to settle the play and carry the ball forward. Took some solid marks to send the ball back forward, finishing the match with 23 disposals, eight marks and seven inside 50s.

#22 Alex Davies

Davies used his height to his advantage, providing a good option in pack scenarios and showing some good movement in space and shepherd around stoppages. Put pressure on ground ball and crumbers, credit to his clever use of space and ability to barrel through a pack. Had only the 12 touches, three marks and two tackles, but his bodywork off the ball was solid.

#28 Ashton Crossley

Crossley put his two-way running on show, highlighting his solid run and carry. Good thinking to open up space and ability to take the ball and run with it, playing to his own advantage. Put in the hard yards at the centre bounce, creating some great clearances through the midfield. With 19 disposals to his name along with two marks and two tackles, Crossley had a good hitout overall.

#31 Jack Johnston

Johnston showcased some of his speed and ability to separate from his opposition, creating options and putting himself in a good defensive position to receive the footy and clear it out to options further up the field. Johnston was another player who didn’t have too much of the footy, however was still able to put pressure on the ball.

 

GWV Rebels:

#3 Toby Mahony

Solid clean hands, good ability to clear ball into space and picking up four marks for his efforts downfield. Showed some smart ball placement inside 50 – had the right idea but not always executed the way he would have liked given at times there were no clean options forward to receive the footy and mark for an opportunity on goal. Mahony was a solid option inside 50, as well as providing a great shepherd to give teammates a clear opportunity to receive the footy and run the ball through the midfield.

#7 Mitch Martin

Martin had a good game, picking up 15 touches and showing his strong marking ability with five. Had some good composure at key moments to clear the ball out and even got an opportunity forward to kick a goal, slotting one through midway through the second. Also showed some good game smarts when going for the ball, knowing where to place self to intercept mark and feed back through the midfield.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Great pressure on ball, created some turnovers credit to his intensity on the ball receiver. Had a really great moment in the final quarter when he showcased his closing speed as he ran down Gold Coast speedster, Oea. Kicked two goals to keep the Rebels in the fight while also picking up five marks.

#13 Jay Rantall

Some good movement and moments across the field but had some rough patches unaware of player movement around him and was tackled on a few occasions. Great movement off the ball to keep footy in play. Was held well by his opposition, finishing with only the 14 touches and five inside 50s, while also rendered to his first match of the season without a score on the board.

 

GEELONG FALCONS 12.12 (84) defeated SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 7.11 (53)
By: Joe Lee

 

Geelong:

#37 Oliver Henry

The classy and smooth moving forward was dangerous all day and provided an omnipotent headache for Swans defenders. Played out of the goal square, Henry was often outnumbered in marking contests but managed to at least halve them or win them on multiple occasions. Had 13 touches, five marks and 4.2, the only knock on Henry’s game was missing a couple of easy opportunities earlier on in the piece. Plays taller than his size and was outstanding for Geelong, particularly in the second half which saw him score three of his four goals.

#40 Jesse Clark

Was Geelong’s best player along with Oliver Henry, integral in intercepting Sydney’s forward forays whilst also setting up offensive strikes with his effective disposal. Playing on Harry McGuire for most of the day, Clark beat his opponent one on one through his superior body-work, positioning and overall reading of the play. Had 10 rebound 50’s, seven marks and 24 disposals, Clark was consistently reliable throughout the whole game and his leadership in setting up the Geelong defensive structure should not be underplayed. Hardly missed a target by foot all day and was almost best on ground.

#46 Henry Walsh
The Geelong ruckman and brother of Carlton young gun Sam, had a quiet day, recording just five disposals. Whilst his work around the ground needs improvement, Geelong won the hitout count 48 to 37, with Walsh recording 24 of them. Was played behind the ball at times but struggled to make an impact on the game outside of his ruck-work.

 

Sydney:

#2 Hamish Ellem

The Swans spearhead struggled for most of the game, recording only seven disposals and a goal. Missed a couple of easy shots, including one that was 20m out directly in-front after he worked hard leading up to the ball carrier. Only had two touches in the first half when the game was particularly tight, and had three free kicks against. Does follow up his work well and possesses athletic traits, as displayed early in the third quarter when he collected the ball on the wing and ran to within range but missed the shot.

#3 Luke Parks

The close-checking intercept defender was solid for the Swans, intercepting a couple of Geelong’s entries and was rarely beaten one on one. Recorded 17 touches, four rebounds and four marks, Parks needed to be more attacking with his disposal, often just kicking it long to a contest. Athletic and moves well, Parks has good closing speed and was reliable for the Swans.

#7 Braeden Campbell

The tough and evasive midfielder-forward was Sydney’s best player all day. Consistently lifted when the Swans needed to and was part of the reason the Swans came close in the third quarter. Played predominantly midfield and on the wing all day, Campbell recorded eight tackles and nine inside 50s, showing he has both offensive and defensive traits in his well-rounded game. Has a damaging and raking left boot and could’ve had a day out if not for wayward goalkicking. Had 24 touches, 1.2 and three rebound 50’s, workin around the ground tirelessly in an outstanding all-round game.

#23 Errol Gulden

The small midfielder was serviceable for the Swans but was down on his usual numbers, recording just 22 touches and a goal for the day. Still had seven inside 50s and two rebound 50s but was not as noticeable as he normally is. Was instrumental in Sydney’s fightback in the third quarter, being more damaging and clean with his kicking but was overall well held for most of the game by the Geelong midfielders.

#39 Josh Rayner

The key position swingman was reasonably quiet this week, particularly in the second half, having just four disposals. Worked hard defensively with six tackles but gave away a few undisciplined frees, including one 50m penalty for not giving the ball back on the full, resulting in a Geelong goal right on three-quarter time. Held Max Annandale to four touches and won most one-on-ones but also had some poor moments. Overall, Rayner had 14 touches and five marks and was swung forward later in the piece but had little influence on the game.

 

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 3.11 (29) defeated by DANDENONG STINGRAYS 14.16 (100)
By: Shyam Raj Bali

 

Brisbane:

#11 Will Martyn

Martyn again led the Lions and tried hard all day. He offered plenty of end to end run for his team and was a big reason Brisbane stayed in the game for as long as they did. Martyn had lots of possessions rebounding out of the defensive 50 and sending his team into attack. His highlight for the day was a really classy moment in the third where he gathered a contested ball, spun and had a shot from 50 but unfortunately couldn’t get it on target. Had a game high 32 disposals to go with four marks and five tackles to be the lions best.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Bottom-ager Crozier battled well throughout the day. He had a few flashes of brilliance (only 16 until November) across half-back where he took the game on and provided some spark. His best five minutes came at the start of the second quarter where he was involved in about four passages of play in the opening minutes of the quarter both rebounding and laying a good tackle. Unfortunately his kicking let him down a little late in the game. Crozier finished with 15 disposals, four marks and three tackles.

#18 Bruce Reville

Reville’s eye catching run and smooth moving was on display early as he had several positions through the middle and HF sending his team into attack. The way he covers the ground and almost effortlessly catches up to/get away from opponents is very impressive. As like other games in the year he was quieter in the second half, finishing with 19 classy touches.

#19 Tom Griffiths

Griffiths was serviceable playing through the midfield and half-back. His best passage of play was in the second quarter, he took on a few players and seemed to run himself into trouble before managing to slip a tackle, lower his eyes and hit a target. He took a few kick outs in the second half also, playing on and hitting team mates across the defensive 50. Finished with 16 disposals but did not see as many midfield minutes as normal.

 

Dandenong:

#2 Hayden Young

Young’s run of big numbers continued, posting 28 disposals. Most of his work was done at the bottom of packs or around the defensive 50 as he often found space and repelled Brisbane attacks. Although he had the equal most possessions for Dandenong, he did not have a huge lot of highlights and was unassuming, gathering his possessions without fuss.

#11 Ned Cahill

Cahill had a really consistent game playing well for all four quarters and finishing with 21 disposals, nine marks and four tackles. He always did the team thing setting up team mates in better positions and lowering his eyes to hit targets inside 50. His individual highlight came in the third, where he was outnumbered two to one and forced a turnover, gathered the loose ball and goaled form 45.

#20 Sam De Koning

De Koning was a rock in defence, although it must be said that he had a relatively easy day after half time. He started well taking contested marks (three in the first quarter) and rebounding strongly to help start Dandenong attacks. Finished with 17 touches and seven marks.

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

Nyuon was well beaten early by Samson Ryan in the ruck as he struggled to find his timing for jumping at the taps. He also struggled around the ground with his light frame as Ryan managed to out position and out body him at most contests. In the second half he seemed to improve this a fair bit and ended up fixing his timing, and using his great leap to effect. When he played in defence he also had a few good instances of leaving his man to come up to the ball and cut off Brisbane attacking plays. He finished with 14 hitouts and 12 touches.

#44 Cody Weightman

Cody played well and showed his smarts around goal kicking 3.2 for the day. He could’ve had a big day out, but often did the team thing setting up team mates or putting team mates into better positions. Was always a threat when he was near the ball and he always made it feel like something would happen. He ended the game well kicking 2.2 in the last quarter to go with his one from earlier in the game.

#50 Lachlan Williams

Williams had a serviceable day playing most of his game across half back. He intercepted well and also hit targets throughout the day both coming out of the defensive 50 and moving the ball into the forward 50. Finished with a serviceable 16 disposals (14 kicks) and six marks.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 12.9 (81) defeated EASTERN RANGES 11.5 (71)
By: Michael Alvaro

 

Gippsland:

#4 Sam Flanders

Starting in the midfield, Flanders built into the game nicely. The powerful utility showed a good knack for being able to collect the ball at speed, using his clean hands to gather and move the ball on in no-time. While some of his handballs early on hit no one in particular and simply cleared opponents, Flanders usually distributed well when he opted not to boot forward a clearance himself. Rotating forward, Flanders converted a set shot goal after marking on the lead with his first look inside 50, and later on proved instrumental in the Power win while playing deep. Intercepted a kick-in and booted a clutch second goal to cap off his solid outing.

#6 Riley Baldi

Baldi continued his eye-catching form after a return from injury, accumulating at a good rate throughout the day. An ever-present at centre bounces, Baldi acted as the anchor at stoppages and won his fair share of clearances. He worked hard around the ground to dish out a few neat kicks, but sometimes lacked effectiveness when going forward by foot. Baldi was terrific nonetheless and showed outstanding composure on the ball – particularly in a passage of three possessions during the opening term which he ended by shrugging an opponent with ease and booting laterally.

#12 Brock Smith

In one of his better games, period, Smith did enough to earn a Draft Central player of the week nomination. The Gippsland skipper was his solid self in defence, but stood out with a range of intercept marks and effective rebounding kicks. Calm in possession, Smith was entrusted with kick-in duties and pushed up into the middle of the ground to provide real drive forward. His aerial prowess under long and high balls also showed in other ways, as Smith surprisingly contested some a few ruck contests in defensive 50.

#15 Ryan Sparkes

An effective outside user, Sparkes continues to find the ball with ease and provide a good link forward. Often receiving from Smith, Sparkes utilised his skipper’s silver service to become a threat in space, while also proving calm in traffic when the ball was in dispute. Building a nice season.

#19 Fraser Phillips

In perhaps his best game to date, Phillips was able to show off all the traits that make him a promising talent. He was clean and effective inside forward 50, using the ball neatly on his left peg and proving efficient in front of goal. While he looks awkward in style at times, it all just seems to work for Phillips, and his long reach helped him to reel in the ball impressively. His best moment came in the first quarter after being caught holding the ball, where Phillips in-turn wrapped up his opponent as he tried to step around him on the mark to earn an easy set shot chance. Putting two other goals on the board, Phillips provided some crucial spark to Gippsland’s forward set-up.

#37 Harrison Pepper

Pepper loves the contest, and looked strong in contested situations once again. While he started shakily with a loose handball to hand Eastern the ball, he built into the game nicely. Rotating between the forward line and midfield with Flanders, Pepper provided the same extractor-type role with quick hands out while standing up in tackles. Took a nice contested mark while protecting the drop of the ball in the second term which caught the eye.

 

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

Stapleton took up his usual role as one of Eastern’s better midfield accumulators, extracting from the stoppages and then buzzing around the ground to find the ball. He mops up well at ground level, quickly disposing of the ball and sending the Ranges forward. Really came into the game in the second term with his service around the ground, and put up his usually high numbers.

#11 Mitch Mellis

While he had his fair share of the ball, Mellis did not look as damaging as he usually is. He swept the ball up well on the outside despite some fumbles, and was typically good in tight spaces – always finding a way out of trouble when hemmed in. Usually tackles well, but copped a huge fend-off early on, however showed he was not deterred when he took in a nice mark looking over his shoulder shortly after.

#18 Billy McCormack

Played a monster role in the ruck, slowly building in confidence after converting an early set shot and going out of his way to throw his body around. McCormack used that same physicality in the ruck around the ground, and really crashed into his opponent at the centre bounces. A low disposal game, but played an important role and managed to find the goals a second time.

#21 James Ross

Ross once again showed his leadership skills, standing up for his troops and taking on the responsibility of being the designated kicker out of defence. Took a nice one-on-one intercept mark on defensive 50 in the second quarter and looked to move the ball straight on – like he often does. Did the little things well in a lower-output game, and is proving to be consistent.

#22 Bailey White

White is one who is starting to catch the eye, backing up a four-goal performance in his first game with another three here. He looks a natural forward, always aware of where the goals are, ever the opportunist, and clinical when given the chance. Not a big winner of the ball, but could have had it a lot more if he hung on to some of his overhead attempts. He read the flight well to mark deep inside 50 for his second goal, and could be one to watch.

#23 Zak Pretty

Pretty has been in terrific form and was once again right in the thick of it early. Laid a nice holding the ball tackle in the opening exchange, and while he wins a lot of ball at the coal face, was most noticeable when retrieving it on hard lateral spreads. Missed a couple of kicks going forward on the run, but otherwise provided good drive from midfield.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 15.8 (98) defeated NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER ACADEMY 9.6 (60)
By: Scott Dougan

 

Northern:

#1 Lachlan Potter

Potter seemed to have no direct opponent all day, and he took full advantage of that. He won plenty of the ball and he did not waste a possession. His electric speed and agility was obvious, with the hard running midfielder burning many of the Thunder players on the day. He played across half-back and was able to create many effective passages of play. His kicking had plenty of penetration behind it, which helped him boot the ball effectively over a long distance. He had 24 disposals for the match.

#4 Jackson Davies

Davies had a massive second term, booting two very important goals for his team. His ball use was exceptional and his decision making when he had the ball was really good. He was also very composed with ball in hand and made sure he took his time before making decisions. Impressive.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

D’Intinosante came to life in the second half and had a really big impact on the game. In the third term, D’Intinosante would bring the ball to the ground in a one-on-one contest, gather the ball cleanly and then blind turn his opponent, before running into an open goal. He was very unselfish on the day and could’ve ended up with more goals, but he always put his team first and made sure he made the correct and smartest decisions. He finished with a game-high two goals and 11 marks.

#7 Ryan Gardner

Gardner was ultra-impressive through the Knights midfield. He had plenty of disposals and used the ball well on both feet. He played predominately on the outside but was able to win the contested ball when needed. Gardner was a key player in the Knights victory, collecting 22 disposals (16 kicks).

#11 Ryan Sturgess

Sturgess was rock-solid down back for the Knights, making it very difficult for the Thunder to score. He read the play well and was able to take a handful of intercept marks – showing off his sticky hands. He would also provide some run-and-carry out of the backline, putting his efficient ball skills to good use. Sturgess had 21 disposals (19 kicks) and 8 marks.

 

Northern Territory:

#8 Malcolm Rosas Jr

Rosas spent plenty of minutes up forward and through the midfield. He worked tirelessly and was always involved, especially in the third term when he gathered plenty of possessions. His burst of speed and agility was on full display, with the classy midfielder able to escape his opponents’ attempted tackles. One of his best passages of play came in the third term when he made up a lot of ground to lay a ripping tackle on Josh D’Intinosante. Rosas knew where the big sticks were, hitting the scoreboard multiple times.

#19 Ben Jungfer

Jungfer’s work rate and clearance work was a real standout for the Thunder. He was able to win first possession around stoppages many times and he disposed of the ball effectively to his teammates on the outside. Jungfer used the ball well most times, moving the ball forward as often as he could. He finished with 22 disposals and six tackles.

#24 Joel Jeffery

Jeffery played in the defensive half and his rebounding definitely caught the eye. He turned the ball over a couple of times, but I liked that he wanted to take risks with ball in hand, rather than playing it safe. He read the play well and took some nice intercept marks in the second half. He finished with eight rebound 50s – a game-high.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 5

NAB League returned with a bang this weekend, and despite a few stars missing through school football and rotation, had plenty of others show their worth over three days and nine games. Here are our opinion-based scouting notes from each game on players highlighted by club talent managers or who those who made the Vic Metro/Vic Country extended squad.

Bendigo Pioneers 7.7 (49) defeated by Northern Knights 8.6 (54)

By: Peter Williams

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

The nuggety bottom-age midfielder showed off his strength in a number of ways during the narrow loss. He was able to stand his ground in mark contests and also get the ball free while being tackled. In the opening term he won the ball uncontested on the wing and kicked long inside 50 which set up a goal to Kobe Brown. He kept finding space and working hard into it, winning plenty of the ball and trying to get it forward whenever he could. He has great special awareness and does not panic with ball-in-hand, able to shift his centre of gravity before disposing of the ball. Had a great run-down tackle in the third term as the Knights were attacking.

#11 Aaron Gundry

Spent most of his time through the ruck when on and showed off his good vertical leap. He competed at the stoppages and had clean hitouts, and also won a free kick deep in defence and was able to clear the ball long. Ball use by hand or foot was hit and miss but his athleticism was good.

#19 Ben Worme

Some nice highlights from Worme, providing some run and carry both through the midfield and off half-back. He had a great passage of play in the opening term, lowering his eyes after bursting away from the wing and hit up a teammate. He showed good vision under pressure to give out a handball to a teammate in space. Made a few mistakes by foot at times, but stood up when required.

#20 James Schischka

Hardly puts a foot wrong and was really strong in defence. He used the ball fairly well apart from the odd occasion, and was often the general in defence just keeping the opposition at bay and mopping up back there. He draws opponents to him when carrying the ball and then releases the disposal at the right time to a teammate. One of the Pioneers’ best on the night.

#21 Riley Wilson

Impressive game from the inside midfielder, playing well through the stoppages and being the prominent clearance midfielder on the night. He has a great technique when it comes to tackling, and he reads the taps well from the ruckmen. When in time and space he can use the ball well, the next step is just settling down his kicking when under pressure as a few times he chucked it on the boot. In the second term he fended off an opponent and then when a second opponent tackled him, stood tall and handballed clear to a teammate. Wilson had a number of good moments bursting out of a stoppage, and never stopped trying. Certainly one of Bendigo’s four quarter performers.

#38 Brady Rowles

Not a huge ball winner, but he had memorable moments, with a juggling intercept mark in defence, and a great spoil at half-back when out of position. He had a chance to kick a goal in the second term but it drifted to the left and fell short, then had a terrific run off half-back, bursting from defensive 50 straight past opponents and set up a goal with a long kick inside 50. In the third term he produced a terrific run-down tackle midway through the term when an opponent was streaming down the middle and his actions forced a turnover.

Northern:

#1 Lachlan Potter

Had one of his better games in terms of ball winning capabilities, just needs to tidy up his ball use a little by foot. He suffered leather poisoning in the first quarter, winning absolutely everything off half-back and pushing up to the wing, even winning an intercept mark at half-forward. When using the ball by hand he seemed to do it effectively as he drew opponents given his well renowned speed. When he has space no-one can catch him easily, and he uses that to his advantage. When he goes to take the game on, Potter looks very damaging, it is just trying to lower the eyes at times or put it to a teammates’ advantage. In terms of his run-and-carry and metres gained, it was a huge tick, and he took a number of intercept marks as well.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

The best Knights player for mine, just continues to have an impact throughout the four quarters. He is not the quickest player out there, but he plays to his strengths and they are his physical strength and low centre of gravity, football nous and competitiveness. Time and time again D’Intinosante will crack in hard and win the clearances or lay a smother or crunch an opponent in a tackle. What he does well is have a good balance between offence and defence – tackling and using the ball forward of centre. He wins a lot of his possessions at the coal face, and is standing up well as an inside midfielder. At times his kicking can be hit and miss, but he hits the scoreboard, and while the stats will say he kicked one major, there were three other opportunities where if he had a bit more kicking penetration, he could have headed home with four. A really promising performance and strong game from D’Intinosante and is enjoying a great season so far.

#11 Ryan Sturgess

Just a reliable player in defence, able to use the ball well and just control things from the back half. He took quite a few intercept marks in defence and was able to switch the ball across the back 50 or down the wing well. He was tasked with the kick-out duties and cleared the defensive 50 strongly, and looked comfortable in the air, taking a contested mark in the second term with an opponent coming front on.

Sydney Swans Academy 13.10 (88) defeated Murray Bushrangers 9.10 (64)

By: Scott Dougan

Sydney:

#2 Hamish Ellem

Ellem lined up on Bushranger Ben Kelly and was able to hit the scoreboard within the first 10-minutes of the game. He continued his goal-kicking form into the second and third quarters, booting two more goals – one of them from the boundary line on his left foot. A good game.

#3 Luke Parks

Parks played across half-back and was competitive all game. He took some very good contested marks throughout the match, putting his height, good leap and strong hands to good use.

#9 Sam Thorne

Thorne’s first quarter was brilliant, with the tough midfielder a major contributor to his team’s quick start. He tackled with intent and was damaging with all of his possessions. Thorne was strong in contested situations, where he won a lot of his disposals. He also showed that he can play on the outside of the contest too, with his acceleration coming in handy. Thorne had a game-high 10 tackles.

#10 Jackson Barling

Barling was prominent around stoppages, where he continually released the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. His inside grunt work caught the eye, along with his defensive pressure. He also spent some time forward and booted his one and only goal of the match in the third term after reading the flight of an incoming ball better than his opponent.

Murray:

#1 Will Christie

Christie showcased his strong leap and athletic attributes throughout the game, especially during the second half. He started in the ruck in the third term and immediately won the first hit-out that he guided down his team-mates throat. He stayed involved around the ground and continued his good tap-work in the ruck. Christie had 30 hitouts and 11 disposals in an encouraging performance.

#3 Ben Kelly

Kelly played as a key defender on Swans forward Hamish Ellem. Ellem booted three goals on him but I thought his defensive positioning and spoiling was pretty good. Even though he’s over 200cm, he also played as a rebounding defender, putting his speed and ball use to good use when exiting the defensive 50.

#5 Cameron Wild

Wild was one of his team’s best midfielders and players on the day. His inside work was noticeable, winning a lot of contested ball. His ball use by foot and hand was clean and his work-rate remained high all game. He was able to hit the scoreboard after collecting a loose ground-ball get deep inside the forward 50. Moments later, he demonstrated his composure and vision, with an intelligent kick to his teammate Cameron Wilson, resulting in a set-shot on goal. Wild finished with 26 disposals, 7 marks, and 1 goal.

#7 Zane Barzen

The 19-year-old played mainly across half-forward, where he used his clean skills to deliver the ball to his teammates in the forward half. He took a while to get into the game, but his second half was promising. Barzen took some nice marks on the day, finishing with a team-high 8.

#10 Will Quirk

Quirk played in the defensive half for his team and was able to provide some run and carry out of the back half. He took some nice marks in the second term and was able to show off his athletic attributes on the day. Quirk had a good second half, finishing the match with 21 disposals and five rebound 50s.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Chalcraft was exceptionally clean at ground level and his ball use by foot and hand was superb. He was able to use his speed and agility to escape and break his opponents’ tackles. He kicked a beautiful opposite foot snap goal in the third term, which kept his team within striking distance of the Swans. He is very hard at the contest for his size and I thought he was one of his team’s best players.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Boyer remained involved in the contest and always found a way to find the ball. His ball use by foot was as usual, noticeable. He played as a link-up player across half-back and through the midfield, where he provided some run and carry for his team moving forward.

Dandenong Stingrays 19.10 (124) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 8.6 (54)

By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#11 Ned Cahill

One of Dandenong’s most outstanding performers across three quarters. Cahill has that touch of class about him and most importantly he gets forward and hits the scoreboard as well. He kicked three goals and handed off a fourth in the win, but also had some good defensive moments too. He spoiled a ball across the line on the wing coming across third up, and put pressure on opponents when they tried to kick forward. He had a great one-on-one in the second term for a goal to work his opponent under the footy then run onto the loose ball at the back.

#18 Mitch Riordan

A high work rate and competitive effort is what you get with Riordan each and every week and this week was no different. He is a clearance expert and just racks up the ball from a stoppage going in hard. He also has some good footy IQ to be able to tap to a teammate in space rather than take possession when under pressure. Not a huge ball winner, but plays such an important role on the inside.

#20 Sam De Koning

Spent the day in defence and had a nice balance between offence and defence. He stood tall on his opponent and provided some offensive rebound at the same time. De Koning pulled down a terrific intercept mark in defence flying high, and showed great vision to handball clear to a teammate while being slung around in a tackle.

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

Stepped up rotating between ruck and forward and you just never know what you are going to get. He can create the unbelievable and then do the unthinkable, which is what makes him quite an entertaining prospect. He was able to hit the scoreboard after picking up a loose ball in attack following good pressure on an opponent, then was able to set up teammates inside 50 for goals as well. He did try and do too much at times like backing himself in from the pocket – which is good to see but he was out of position – rather than handballing into Ned Cahill who was 10 metres closer to goal in space, and then there was a 30m kick straight up in the air when up the other end. However his athleticism and ability to leap above others is without question and there is some serious talent there, it is just piecing it together.

#42 Jai Nanscawen

Known for his goal kicking but Nanscawen played a higher role at times on the weekend, being a playmaker at half-forward or through the midfield, then drifting deeper and providing a target. His defensive work was what stood out, laying a smother on Dylan Williams, then scooping it up with one hand and kicking it forward. He did it again by intercepting a handball in the air and took possession showing high football IQ. He capped off his day with a great mark and set shot goal with a snap in the final term.

#50 Lachlan Williams

Played on a wing but pushed forward and helped himself to three goals and enjoyed every one of them. Williams just finds space and is a damaging prospect from anywhere within 50m, launching his first goal in the second term off a step from outside the arc and it went straight through the middle. Not long after he launched another shot on the run from 45m with just six seconds left in the half and it never looked like missing. IN the final term he showed his smarts by standing on the mark and anticipating his opponent would handball laterally and Williams stuck out his hand, picked it up and snapped around his body for his third. A clean user by foot and while not a huge possession winner, made his touches count.

Oakleigh:

#5 Trent Bianco

The co-captain played as many would have expected him to – with a touch of class and high work rate. Bianco played off half-back and pushed up to the midfield at times, using the ball well and settling the at-times under-siege defence. He impacted a contest on the last line in the second term to clear the ball out of trouble and then used his composure at half-back to provide an option for him to be able to propel the ball forward.

#23 Dylan Williams

Played a little bit everywhere, between forward, back and midfield with the Chargers’ co-captain having some great moments and other patches where he was not as involved. His clearance work to burst out of the middle was really good and he applied some defensive pressure with some fierce tackles, but he was not having the best time with delivery, often the ball sent to his feet when leading out, or being double-teamed with defenders blocking his run. He gave away a free kick for head-high contact and the frustration was clear. He settled and had an impact later in the game, setting up a goal in the third term and then had a number of solid inside 50s despite being held at stoppages.

#27 Josh May

The defender played both a key position and smaller role, doing well one-on-one and creating some run off half-back. May was able to use the ball by foot relatively well despite having more of an awkward short kicking action, but it seemed to be effective. He showed good defensive pressure and second efforts to lay strong tackles on his opponents and just played his role throughout the match.

Sandringham Dragons 19.18 (132) defeated Brisbane Lions Academy 5.5 (35)

By: Michael Alvaro

Sandringham:

#5 Ryan Byrnes

A complete game from Byrnes in the absence of his usual midfield partners, with the hard-working Dragon continuing his consistent season to date. Byrnes was instrumental in Sandringham’s first-half onslaught, driving his side forward well with a wealth of centre-bounce clearances and inside 50 entries. Despite a couple of neat finds going forward and looking comfortable on both sides, Byrnes looks to still be improving his kicking game and overcooked a couple of balls at speed. His reading of taps, forward running and damage in this game were as effective as I’ve seen from him though, so Byrnes looks to be building nicely.

#6 Miles Bergman

The dynamic Bergman has enormous potential, but can work on consistently putting the pieces of his game together. Employed off half-forward and up to the wing, Bergman showed as clean a set of hands as anyone out there – both overhead and at ground level. A slight downside of Bergman’s game at times was his kicking, with a couple a turnovers in the defensive half and others falling short despite finding targets. Still, has plenty to work with and is so smooth on the ball.

#7 Jackson Voss

The potential Saints father-son had one of his better games, catching the eye with a couple of highlight-reel moments. Took an absolute screamer early on while following up with another later, and definitely has that side of his game down pat with seven of his 12 disposals coming from marks. Topped his game off with a goal and showed nice signs.

#13 Louis Butler

A damaging rebounder, Butler has made the half-back flank his own of late. The leading ball-winner on the ground was effective on the outside and shot Sandringham forward as a key link between the arcs. A couple of handy intercept marks on defensive wing were impressive, with Butler proving to be as clean by hand as he was by foot. Missed a set shot attempt which would have capped off his game nicely, but was otherwise highly impressive with his run and carry.

#15 Angus Hanrahan

The over-ager was a beneficiary of Sandringham’s strong start, claiming two first-quarter goals via set shot conversions. Led up well for one of them and is clever when finding space forward of centre, but was not as effective when positioned one-out. Wins a lot of outside ball and worked up the ground on occasion to do just that.

#28 Riley Bowman

Tried in just about every position possible, Bowman took to each role well across the day. Starting in the ruck, Bowman led the hitout count and out-bodied his opponents well around the ground. Manufactured a nice find inside 50, while also taking a strong intercept mark up the other end against Samson Ryan. Did not hit the scoreboard while employed forward, but assisted one of Jack Bell’s third-quarter goals and perhaps looked most impressive when thrown down back to finish off the game.

#36 Oscar Lewis

Lewis was a solid feature in the Sandringham defence all day, winning the loose balls well and rebounding via foot. Is a good size and proved competitive, making himself a likely type who can play effectively on both the inside and outside.

Brisbane:

#11 Will Martyn

Led the way once again for the Lions, burrowing in at stoppages and finding the ball at both ends of the ground to end with a game-high 33 disposals. Played almost a lone hand in the first half, winning his fair share of ball in the midfield and sending the Lions forward, only for the ball to be sent straight back into his area. The same went in the third quarter as Martyn tried to help push the ball out of Brisbane’s defensive half, where to took a lot of his 10 marks. Missed a chance to cap off his game with a goal on the back of Brisbane’s best passage of play, but did most things right across the day with strong tackling and overhead marking a highlight.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Was not Crozier’s most prolific or impactful outing, but a solid one nonetheless. Started well with a nice intercept possession to break up one of Sandringham’s many transitions and found space well around the arcs. While he is normally a high accumulator of marks and good user on the back of them, some of Crozier’s kicks under pressure were a little off. Still, continued to take the game on late and laid a crunching tackle on Jackson Voss in the final term.

#15 Tahj Abberley

The bottom-ager looked most lively inside 50 during the second half, and was instrumental in Brisbane’s best few minutes of the game. Started up the field on a wing and took a nice overhead mark in the second quarter, backing it up with a courageous effort after half time. Laid a fantastic tackle on the much bigger Corey Watts which went unrewarded, but managed to snare a goal with a calm dribbled finish out the back.

#21 Noah Cumberland

The combative forward tried hard for the Lions and while he did not find a heap of the ball or the goals, showed good character. Was forced to search for the ball up-field early, but looked more comfortable amongst the stoppages inside Brisbane’s forward half where he stood up in tackles and muscled his way out. He also tackled hard, but showed good finesse with an assist to Tom Wischnat and spearing ball inside 50 to Saxon Crozier.

Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy 9.7 (61) defeated by Gippsland Power 10.10 (70)

By: Ed Pascoe

GWS:

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Lucas has had a strong start to the year for the Giants and his form continued with a strong performance through the midfield winning the contested ball and looking composed with ball in hand. Lucas had a nice bit of play in the first quarter attacking the ball hard on the wing and then kicking nicely inboard to a teammate, in the 2nd quarter he took a mark and hit a nice long pass to teammate James Peatling. Lucas showed he could impact outside the contest flying up for a huge grab on the wing in the last quarter although he didn’t stick the mark it was a courageous attempt showing his athleticism, Lucas finished the game with 24 disposal and 3 tackles and he rarely wasted a handball which he had 18 off.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Delahunty was a good target for the giants with good attack on the ball and crashing packs to give his smaller players a chance to crumb. Delahunty kicked 2 goals with his first coming from a nice snap dribble goal on his opposite foot in the 2nd quarter with his last goal coming off a Gippsland turnover close to goal in the 3rd quarter quickly gathering a loose ball and kicking the goal. Delahunty looked most dangerous in the 3rd quarter taking two very nice contested marks but would let himself down kicking a behind and then one out on the full from 50 metres. Delahunty finished the game with 8 disposals, 2 marks and 2 goals.

Gippsland:

#6 Riley Baldi

Baldi was the most dangerous player early on from Gippsland, in his first game of the year he was unstoppable in the first quarter through the midfield and up forward. Baldi despite his size took a good contested mark 15 metres out from goal and would kick the set shot and later in the first quarter would spin around and snap a nice goal, in the second quarter he was also hard to stop taking a nice intercept mark and quickly play on with a good handball and he would have another shot at goal on the run on the boundary but would just miss. Baldi was smart with his ball use with a nice kick to the hot spot in the second quarter followed by a nice opposite foot kick to teammate Kyle Dunkley. Baldi was hard to stop both in the air and at ground level where he would attack the ball hard and would always look to move the play on, Baldi finished with 22 disposals, 8 inside 50s and 2 goals.

#11 Kyle Dunkley

Dunkley was a tough customer through the midfield attacking he ball hard and tackled like a man possessed. His only goal would come from a mark and set shot in the 2nd quarter but his hard work set up plenty of others, he showed good vision under pressure to hit a nice switch kick in the 3rd quarter and later that quarter would lay a bone crunching tackle. Dunkley would finish the game with 18 disposals, 6 marks, 11 tackles and 1 goal.

#12 Brock Smith

Smith was the main playmaker for Gippsland down back setting up the play and setting the standard for attack on the ball and body contact on the man, his first quarter had some good and bad moments with the good coming from a lovely long kick inside 50 to teammate Riley Baldi and showing good composure with link up play from defence, the bad was a Clanger kick on a kickout. Smith loved the push and shove and was happy to let the Giants forward know he was there and it was hard not to notice him both defending his man and also linking up with good composure in defence showing why he is the captain. Smith finished the game with 24 disposals and 7 rebound 50s.

#19 Fraser Phillips

Phillips had another game with nice flashes but the consistency over 4 quarters to impact the game is still not at a level he would like. Phillips would take till the second quarter to hit the scoreboard with a nice quick snap and goal, he was more involved in the 3rd quarter taking a nice mark on the wing and quickly playing on inboard with a nice kick and he showed he could also do the team things with a good hard tackle to lock the ball in. Phillips has a fantastic left foot kick and it was on show with a laser pass to teammate Riley Baldi in the last quarter, Phillips finished the game with 5 disposals, 3 tackles and 1 goal.

#37 Harrison Pepper

Pepper was one of Gippsland’s busiest players throw out the day and was particularly noticeable in the 2nd half where he stood up when the Giants where making their comeback. In the 2nd quarter he would take a nice contested mark deep in the pocket and showed his team thinking with a pass inboard to a teammate in better position, in the 3rd quarter he would show his quick thinking with a quick play on and nice low kick which was a feature of his game opening up the play with his kicking. His last quarter was sensational taking a good intercept mark and playing smart football in the last quarter running down the clock and finally having a sealer mark and goal on the siren running towards goal which was a nice mark on its own. Pepper finished the game with 26 disposals, 7 marks, 4 inside 50s and 1 goal.

Eastern Ranges 11.11 (77) defeated Gold Coast Suns Academy 2.6 (18)

By: Michael Alvaro

Eastern:

#4 Joshua Clarke

Was one of Eastern’s best, providing exciting dash and forward penetration off half-back. Showcased a clean set of hands with overhead intercepts and gathers at ground level early on, while also rebounding well with long kicks. Was entrusted with kick-outs at times, and his use proved effective forward of centre too with a nice assist to Bailey White in the third term. Laid a goal-saving tackle in the same quarter, and followed up a fumbled ball with another to show his defensive capabilities on top of his attacking traits. One of the more promising bottom-agers.

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

Provided good forward run with four inside 50s on top of six clearances from his 27 disposals. Started well by hitting up Ben Hickleton inside 50 at speed and was largely effective by foot early, but finished with a couple of clangers. Won a heap of contested ball, which proved vital to the Ranges.

#11 Mitch Mellis

Another of Eastern’s small midfield brigade to win a high amount of ball, Mellis was electric early with 10 first-quarter disposals. Positioned mostly on the outside, Mellis worked hard to find possessions in a range of areas, while also winning six clearances – a lot of which came at speed. Mellis has a great first five steps and agility, which helped him to break away from congestion well. Had a quiet second half but showed plenty earlier on.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

By no means dominated, but managed to consistently produce goal scoring opportunities and took half of his chances with 3.3. Rossiter’s hands were strong throughout, with a contested pack mark from the side his undoubted highlight for the day. Managed another nice clunk one-out to convert his second of three set shot goals earlier in the piece, and could have had a finished with four or five goals had he converted better in blustery conditions.

#17 Cody Hirst

The athletic small buzzed around the ground well, finding most of his ball between the arcs despite moving forward later on. Showed a good leap and laid a fantastic holding the ball tackle after a solid hit on Connor Budarick. While his pressure game is hard to fault, Hirst’s kicking left a little to be desired at times and he was ineffective with eight of his 11 attempts. Still, found Josh Tilly well inside 50 and kicked a nice goal on the run in the third term.

#21 James Ross

The skipper did not have too much to do as the second-deepest defender, but did his part when the ball came his way. Ross started with a handy intercept mark overhead, and keeps his hands up well in traffic to dish the ball off and keep the play alive. Showed a good willingness to provide rebound with a nice handball chain and was largely calm on the ball despite a couple of missed targets.

#23 Zak Pretty

Far and away the highest ball-winner on the ground with 37 disposals, which was enough to earn him a Draft Central Player of the Week nomination. Was as influential as anyone going forward with eight clearances and seven inside 50s across the day, as well as a goal in the third term. Showed a willingness to work as well with five tackles to add to his attacking drive, and was simply in everything through the middle. A top game from a player who seems to be rising well.

Gold Coast:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

It was a hard slog for ‘Ace’, who struggled to find his way into the game with just one handball apiece in the first and third quarters. While possessions were hard to come by, Oea was unlucky as he continued to run to good areas to no avail in a low-scoring Suns effort. Came into the game in the second quarter with a nice intercept mark and holding the ball tackle, with a move into the midfield to finish the game allowing him to show off his clean hands and zip around traffic.

#5 Connor Budarick

Tried all day for the Suns with a team-high 27 disposals and 16 tackles ensuring he stood out on a down day for his side. Followed up an early turnover with a crunching tackle, and trusted his speed well to escape the grasps of opponents. Was busy all day but particularly effective in the first half with clearances finding their way inside 50. Missed a shot on the run which would have been handy, and found more of the ball in the back half with Gold Coast under pressure in the second half.

#15 Corey Joyce

The diminutive defender was a key runner out of the back 50 all day with five rebound 50s from 22 disposals. Acted as a sweeper at ground level and looked most effective when disposing by hand, while finding most of his kicks short to settle the Suns defence. Under pressure for most of the day, Joyce stood up as one who competed well amidst the onslaught.

#28 Ashton Crossley

Was another Sun who started relatively strongly but faded late, with 16 of his 22 disposals coming in the first half. A contested beast, Crossley was down on his clearance output but resorted to his handball game well to clear congestion. Can still work on his kicking as he often blazed away quickly under pressure or from congestion, and had a turnover in the corridor early. Took an impressive contested chest mark underneath a high ball in the first term, and was a solid contributor.

Calder Cannons 8.11 (59) defeated Geelong Falcons 8.4 (52)

By: Shyam Bali

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

Mott started the game well with a big clearance and a long kick out of the centre to kick off Calder’s first attack, which set the tone for his day. He had lots of ball around the centre and half forward flank and could be found on the bottom of packs most of the afternoon either dishing out to team mates or laying big tackles. His highlight for the day was a good solo effort in the forward pocket where he showed some magic soccering the ball up to himself perfectly before finding a team mate in space. He finished the day on a high running out the last quarter well and being involved in a 1-2 that helped set up Browning’s score which gave the Cannons the lead late in the fourth. Mott finished with a very productive 29 touches and 8 tackles.

#8 Sam Ramsay

Ramsay was busy all day and showed great zip and energy whenever he had the ball. In the second quarter he was a big reason Calder got back into the game, backing himself to take on players with his run and drive the ball long into the attacking 50. He showed some of his tricks also launching for a big grab in the 3rd quarter, which he dropped unfortunately, but showed great competitive spirit diving back to make a tackle and force a ball up. Ramsay was good all day and worked well all around the ground. He ended up with slightly inflated numbers after getting a few possessions chipping around the backline in the last five minutes, but ended up with 27 disposals, seven marks, three tackles.

#38 Brodie Newman

Newman was an absolute star repelling attacks and setting up his team off the half back flank in a best on ground performance. He took several big marks in the defensive 50 and showed both courage when running back into a pack to take a big mark in the third and leadership when he took three intercept marks in a passage of about five minutes to stop Geelong taking the lead in the third quarter. His leadership was also on display several times as he instructed team mates in defence, and often directed traffic through the backline. Newman’s display for a KPD was one of the most dominant displays of the year and he finished with a whopping 36 disposals including 29 kicks, 17 marks (many of which were intercept) and three tackles.

Geelong:

#36 Charlie Sprague

Sprague started the day in everything running hard between the arcs and providing a lead up option to his team mates. He had 9 disposals in the first quarter and provided an option when ever his team was looking to move the ball out of defense or into the attacking half. He quietened down after that but did offer more closer to goal kicking a great goal from 50m out in the third and getting the Falcons back to within a point when he goaled in the last quarter. Although he finished with quite a serviceable game with 18 touches and 2 goals, as an overeager he went missing for too long when his team were in trouble and I felt like he could’ve done a bit more to help them especially in the second quarter.

#40 Jesse Clark

Clark played his customary half-back role, repelling attacks and rebounding with speed. He intercepted the ball three times in the first quarter and seemed to be able to read play and the windy conditions better than his Calder opponents in the first quarter. In the second quarter he rebounded well and showed some class with a long kick off HB which hit a team mate on the 50 lace out. Clark also wasn’t scared getting his hands dirty laying four strong tackles throughout the day. He finished with 22 disposals, 6 marks and tried hard to help the Falcons get over the line.

Tasmania Devils 3.8 (26) defeated by Western Jets 10.13 (73)

By: Michael Alvaro

Tasmania:

#2 Oliver Burrows-Cheng

The zippy ball-winner showed good agility around the stoppages early to evade traffic and drive Tasmania forward with long kicks. Burrowing in, half of Burrows-Cheng’s 22 disposals were handballs, and he was influential in the Devils’ combative start. He laid a goal-saving tackle in the first term, but missed a shot on goal running inside 50 which would have finished his game off well.

#4 Will Peppin

The National Academy member was composed on the ball and often delivered by hand to outside runners. While he did not look particularly quick, Peppin stayed out of trouble though traffic, which was helped by his clean hands. An intercept chest mark in the first term was a highlight, and it was a solid outing overall.

#7 Matthew McGuiness

Over-ager McGuiness was a feature down back for the Devils, often positioned in a sort of quarterback role. When Tasmania gained position past defensive wing, they would often go back or across to McGuiness, who would set up his side’s forward movement with long kicks. His best efforts came with balls into the centre square, but they became less prominent as Western tightened the clamps. He managed a nice intercept mark deep in defence, and had a couple of forward forays to deliver inside 50.

#12 Isaac Chugg

The debutant was impressive early, and looks like having some nice traits to work on as a bottom ager. Coming from an athletics background, Chugg was electric in the first term with high marking forward of centre and good pace in his defensive efforts. Kicked the first goal of the game from long range, and almost snared another in a similar fashion.

Western:

#3 Eddie Ford

Ford seldom fails to catch the eye with his strong overhead marking, stylish use of the ball, and explosiveness. While he was quiet early on, Ford came into the game well after half time and had a purple patch in the third term where he kicked two goals. The first was a set shot conversion from 45 metres on the back of a strong one-on-one mark, and the second was a clever snap from the boundary, while he missed another chance in the final quarter on the run.

#7 Daly Andrews

The over-ager looked good throughout the day, and was most effective when kicking long down the line to give the Jets forward penetration. He found the ball early around defensive 50 when Tasmania was pouring on the pressure, and used his speed to find space well. Andrews was also nifty in traffic and would end the day with 23 disposals.

#20 Darcy Cassar

Looked Western’s best at times throughout the game, employed as a sort of defensive sweeper. Cassar would collect ground balls and intercept at will, while directing the play once he had disposed of the ball. He showed good burst when taking the game on with shrugs of his opponents and a bit of dash to drive the Jets forward. A designated kicker down back, Cassar was a little more erratic when on the ball forward of centre and lacked his usual finish product both around goal and going inside 50. He continues to rack up disposals though, with 31 touches and 13 marks a fine effort.

#24 Josh Honey

Honey bounced back into some good form in this game, finding plenty of the ball and hitting the scoreboard as he so often does. He pushed up the ground well to find the footy around defensive wing, and spread well to claim uncontested marks around the ground all day. Honey was fantastic when moving through traffic, and make a couple of opponents look silly as he got on his bike and zipped around them with ease. His first goal came from a neat collect of the loose ball going forward to allow him to finish from just inside the arc, while the second was a smart snap around the corner to cap off a good outing.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels 17.10 (112) defeated Northern Territory Thunder 8.9 (57)

By: Peter Williams

GWV Rebels:

#3 Toby Mahony

The midfielder just has a touch of class about him. Not a huge accumulator, but he seemed to have control of the ball despite the conditions, and had a great moment when he evaded a tackler diving for him and then kicked lace out to Riley Polkinghorne in the first term. He then added a goal of his own with a lovely kick off the left from a few steps, able to straighten up, steady and kick it up the other end. Had a piercing kick from half-back to the wing, a low bullet that he used off a few steps after marking at half-back. Next contest he stood up in a tackle and got his hands free to be able to give the ball off to a teammate. Earned a free kick for a push in the back, then got back-to-back 50m penalties to kick the goal from the goalsquare.

#7 Mitch Martin

Applied some good defensive pressure and able to get the ball out to teammates, just has not had as much space as he has in previous games, playing more time inside. Won a free kick midway through the third term and roosted it long but was plucked off by Joel Jeffrey. Great vision to handball to a teammate on the wing and open up space. Had a huge highlight in the final term, being able to win the ball then pause and seemingly stop time as an opponent went for him and he kicked neatly down the field. Laid a good tackle on Stephen Cumming in the middle to win a free. Capped off his day with a goal after running hard into space to mark and then complete the set shot.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Taking the game on which was eye-catching. Backed himself in and would move the ball quickly along the wing, winning a crucial one-on-one against Malcolm Rosas Jnr in the first term and earned a free kick for a trip. He arched his back and was able to evade tacklers, although did get caught once in the second term, but was able to get his hands free and handball before he hit the ground.

#13 Jay Rantall

One of the Rebels standout players once again and seems to be getting better. His skills are still a little shaky, but his goal sense and ability to hit the scoreboard is terrific. Kicked two first half goals, one from a set shot straight in front and one from the boundary with a snap. Both were free kicks with opponents clumsy around him. He won his fair share of ball in the contest, firing out quick handballs to teammates. Erred on the side of caution to his detriment in the first term, kicking to a teammate leading out when he had a set shot straight in front, but will learn from it. He seems to break the game open with quick handballs to teammates running by, able to extract it out of the contest and handball long to a teammate on the outside.

NT:

#8 Malcolm Rosas Jnr

Just so silky and a terrific leader as well. He is a clean player who is able to dish off the handballs to teammate in space. He has a quick burst that creates separation between himself and his opponent and would work hard up the ground to win the ball. Not a huge ball winner, but has some eye-catching traits. Blindsided his opponent in the third term with a great run-down tackle at half-back but turned the ball over. Laid a big tackle in the final term but was penalised for a sling tackle – rather unluckily.

#19 Ben Jungfer

A strong inside midfielder who has a crack. Jungfer laid some fierce tackles and kept diving in for the contested ball. To start the third term Jungfer had a quick few steps to burrow in, win the contested ball and handball out to a teammate in space. Shows good hands in close and is strong to shrug off would-be tacklers. Kept fighting throughout the four quarters and won some important clearances late to help the Thunder kick some consolation goals.

#24 Joel Jeffery

Definitely an eye-catching player at half-back. His kicking was hit or miss at times, with his vision and decision making good, his execution just a bit iffy. His vertical leap one-on-one was outstanding and he is a terrific intercept mark. He does not panic when under pressure and seems to shrug off opponents with ease. A long kick of the football and someone who found plenty of it coming out of defence. Jeffrey reads the ball in flight well and has a nice marking action. Took a huge intercept mark in the third term rising above all others to cleanly grab it in the third term, and then saved a goal with a great running mark back with the flight. Overall a super game in a defence that was under siege for the most part.

#27 Beau O’Connell

A clever mid/forward who looks ever-dangerous in the forward half. He zipped around contests and seemed to win the ball a lot in the early stages, earning some free kicks and having a few shots on goal. He did rush a kick or two at times when he did not realise he had more time such as in the second term when a shot went out on the full, but when on the wing with space in front of him, he was able to size up his options well. To start the third term, O’Connell took a good mark under pressure then kicked it to a dangerous position to set up Tyson Woods for the goal on the line, then went inside and won the next clearance. O’Connell found plenty of it in all thirds of the ground and was one the Thunder’s standout players. Had a great dribble goal midway through the third term as the Thunder piled on the pressure. Kicked a second goal midway through the final term.

Number Crunching: NAB League Boys – Stars shine amid representative commitments

DESPITE representative trials, an academy hit-out, and byes interrupting the season thus far, usual suspects have dominated the first month of NAB League action. In this edition of Number Crunching, we take a look at who leads the key stats, with Northern Academy prospects well and truly making their mark.

While the consistent performances of Matt Rowell have him poised as arguably this crop’s top player thus far, Oakleigh teammate Noah Anderson has done his chances of going first off the board no harm with an incredible early-season stat-line.

The damaging midfielder started the year with 26 disposals and four goals against Eastern, backing that up with a monster 44 disposals against Calder and another 26 against Sandringham. Anderson’s impressive disposal tallies see him top the averages with 32 and overall total with 96, while also posting the best goal return of any pure midfielder with eight – and at least two in each game.

Tom Green is his closest ball-winning competitor, with the GWS Giants Academy product having just one less disposal for an average of 31.7 over his three games – highlighted by his 38-disposal effort against Northern. Sydney Academy bottom-ager Errol Gulden would have been right up there with Green and Anderson had he not missed his side’s second outing, putting together two spectacular displays for the Swans to average 30 touches of the ball as third-best.

Green leads the contested ball stakes with his haul of 60 contested possessions making up almost two-thirds of his overall tally. Northern’s Sam Philp is his nearest contender, with the two duking it out in their most recent outing. Philp, who is also equal-third for total possessions (92), has been a beacon of hope for the Knights, and leads the league for handballs (51) from Green (50). Tackling is also a strong point for Philp, with the Knight laying a league-best 32, with Rowell the only other to have 30 to his name. Giants bull Green is stamping his authority as the leading inside midfielder overall though, with a competition-high 30 clearances to be eight better than Philp, Rowell, Ashton Crossley, and Daly Andrews.

On the flip-side, Oakleigh over-ager Joe Ayton-Delaney sits second for uncontested possessions in his third-best overall tally (92) with 59, trailing fellow returnee Angus Hanrahan, who has 64. While Hanrahan boasts the greatest total with 16 over his four games, the best averages belong to Brisbane Academy skipper Will Martyn (17.6), Anderson (16.6) and Calder’s Daniel Mott (16.3).

While the likes of Hanrahan and Ayton-Delaney are fantastic forward movers, academy guns are the ones who dominate the inside 50 ranks. Gold Coast’s Hewago Paul Oea leads all-comers with 22 thus far while teammate Connor Budarick has 16 and Sydney’s Gulden separates them with 18.

At the other end of the ground, Western Jet Josh Kellett has racked up an impressive 31 rebound 50s, followed by Geelong co-captain and half-back mainstay, Jesse Clark on 24 in one less game. Lion Saxon Crozier is one who covers the ground well to boast stats at either end, and it shows in his equal-second marks tally of 23. With key-forward Jet Aaron Clarke on top with his 26 over four games, Martyn and Murray’s Lachlan Ash are the best midfielders in this area with equal averages of 7.3 over three games.

On top in the marking charts, Clarke is second in the goal kicking stakes – his tally of 10 goals is equal with Tasmanian Jackson Callow, and one less than Charlie Dean‘s 11. Meanwhile, Anderson is the highest-scoring midfielder with eight goals – with half coming in his opening game. Dean shares the best individual goal haul of five with Geelong bottom-ager Oliver Henry – the brother of Cats defender, Jack.

While many stars of the draft crop are standing out at this point, expect the stat lines to even out as the season goes on with Northern academy prospects heading back home, school commitments coming into play, and the National Championships also to be played. As is often the case, diamonds appear from the rough during these periods, and they may well appear in the next addition of Stats Central.

Team of the Week: Academy Series – Round 4

SYDNEY Swans and Gold Coast Academies had the most individual efforts across the weekend after impressive wins, as three of the five academies saluted in Round 4 of the NAB League Boys competition against their Victorian counterparts.

Sydney Swans overcame the previously undefeated Sandringham Dragons by 22 points, and have earned six players in the Draft Central Team of the Week. Luke Parks and Jacob Dol have made the defence, with Errol Gulden returning to the Swans and the Team of the Week in midfield, while Hamish Ellem and Braeden Campbell slot into attack, and Sam Thorne on the bench.

Gold Coast SUNS Academy defeated Oakleigh Chargers and also had six players in the Team of the Week, with Corey Joyce and Dirk Koenen in defence, Connor Budarick in midfield and Hewago Paul Oea in attack. Josh Gore and Ashton Crossley make their third consecutive Team of the Week by being added to the interchange bench.

Brisbane Lions had a number of impressive efforts in a narrow loss to Eastern Ranges, as Cody Stackelberg sits at half-back for the first time given the squeeze of midfielders into the team, while teammate Will Martyn slots onto a wing after a 37-disposal game. Tom Wischnat straightens the team up down forward, while Samson Ryan was the top performing ruck from the five academies, and Noah Cumberland returns to the team after a solid outing with three goals up forward.

GWS GIANTS Academy also have five players in the Team of the Week after defeating the Northern Knights, with Draft Central Player of the Week, Tom Green having a massive 38-disposal game, while Nick Murray holds down the fort in defence once again. Jeromy Lucas was very impressive in attack, while James Peatling and Liam Delahunty have also made the side for Round 4.

Northern Territory were comprehensively beaten by Western Jets, with Ben Jungfer making the side for a third consecutive week, while pocket rocket Tyson Woods booted three goals and looked lively inside 50.

NAB League Boys Round 4 wash-up: SUNS shine in NAB League Boys

THE NAB League ladder has a new leader after all the action from Round 4, as three Northern Academy sides got the better of their Victorian Metropolitan counterparts. With Tasmania also picking up a win, it was a good weekend to be an interstater, albeit with the Victorian sides depleted on the back of trial games.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.2 | 5.4 | 5.6 | 7.9 (51)
GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 3.3 | 4.5 | 8.13 | 10.17 (77)

By: Cameron Ross

GOALS:
Northern:
C. Barbera, L. Mcmahon, S. Brazier, L. Waldron, J. Boyd, N. Howard, O. Simpson
GWS: L. Delahunty 3, L. Conlan 2, J. Lucas 2, M. Hamblin, J. Peatling, S. Driscoll

BEST
Northern:
N. Howard, S. Philp, C. Barbera, A. Taylor, E. Macpherson, S. Brazier
GWS: M. McGrory, J. Lucas, J. Peatling, L. Delahunty, S. Driscoll, H. Grant

GWS Giants Academy travelled to Melbourne this weekend to take on the Northern Knights at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. This first quarter was hotly contested. The Giants shot out of the blocks in the first two minutes, when James Peating won a holding the ball decision directly in front and goaled. The Knights fought back and after Sunny Brazier goaled from a snap shot, they started to gain some momentum. Ruckman Nathan Howard was dominant in the first quarter, giving the Knights first use, yet he was equally impressive around the ground. A serious knee injury to Lucas Perry caused a significant delay, as the young Knight writhed in pain. Both teams were visibly shaken as the midfielder was stretchered off the field. The Giants kicked two late goals – Lucas Conlan from a tight angle and then Liam Delahunty who goaled with only a minute remaining to give the Giants a seven-point advantage into the first break. The second quarter was owned by the Knights – they had most of the possession, and took advantage of it. Ruckman Howard continued on from his fine first quarter by kicking a late goal. GWS’s Tom Green was outstanding for the Giants. The big bodied midfielder kept his side in the match, winning clearances and contested possessions, and at half time GWS were only down by five points.

The Giants flew out of the blocks in the second half. Green started where he left off, winning four possessions, two centre clearances and a goal assist in the first two minutes. The final five minutes of the third quarter changed the match. Knights could barely get their hands on the footy, as Green and Peatling took over. Jeromy Lucas kicked two goals in the final minute, and the Giants had put the game to bed. The Knights who had been in this game up until midway through the third were nearly broken. The Knights started the fourth quarter well after an early Ollie Simpson goal, but they still needed to find four more in under 20 minutes of play. Sure enough, only a minute later, Lorne Waldron took a contested mark directly in front but missed what would have been a momentous goal. The Knights continued to find opportunities to win the game but missed a further two convertible chances in the next two minutes. A terrible turnover from GWS across goal gave Cooper Barbera another opportunity, but when he missed also, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be the Knights day. The Knights had most of the possession in the final quarter, but the Giants kicked two late goals to finish off the game as 26-point victors. Green was the best player on the field with 31 possessions, while Howard did everything he could for the Knights. GWS play the Gippsland Power at Blacktown in Round 5, while the Knights head to the QEO in Bendigo to take on the Pioneers.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 2.3 | 5.5 | 7.9 | 12.11 (83)
SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 5.1 | 10.4 | 14.6 | 16.9 (105)

By: Alex Gibson

GOALS:
Sandringham:
K. Yorke 3, A. Hanrahan 2, J. Florent 2, A. Perkins 2, H. Loughnan, L. Garnaut, R. Bowman
Sydney: B. Campbell 4, H. Maguire 3, T. Tyson 2, S. Thorne 2, H. Ellem 2, E. Gulden, K. McGrath, A. Watling

BEST:
Sandringham:
N. Burke, R. Bowman, J. Le Grice , J. Castan, A. Perkins, K. Yorke
Sydney: H. Ellem, N. Brewer, B. Campbell, L. Parks, A. Watling, S. Thorne

With the ongoing Vic trials, 14 changes were made for the Sandringham side which faced a classy Swans Academy outfit. Sydney’s pressure from the outset was immense, led by Samuel Thorne (21 disposals, two goals) and Harrison Parker (seven tackles) allowing the Swans to get the early jump on the ladder leaders. Sandringham from there on had to play catch up footy and on ball duo Angus Hanrahan (29 disposals, two goals) and Bill Mackay (21 disposals) did their best for the Dragons, however it was no match for the Swans who laid 22 more tackles for the match. The new look Sandringham forward line consisted of youth and rawness which consequently lacked a strong solid target in Charlie Dean’s absence, which hurt the Dragons all day. In contrast, the Swans big forwards dominated the second term thanks to Josh Maguire (three goals) and Hamish Ellem (two goals) who were able to control the forward 50 as the Swans lead extended to 29 points heading into the main break. It was a better second half for the Dragons as ruckman Riley Bowman (40 hitouts) was able to get on top, however bottom-ager Errol Gulden (26 disposals, two goals) took the game away from the Dragons with his classy left boot. In a game that tested Sandringham’s depth, they were able to remain competitive all day with their youth showing good signs but they were outplayed by the Swans big bodies which eventuated in a 22-point victory for Sydney who remain undefeated.

GOLD COAST ACADEMY 1.3 | 6.4 | 10.8 | 14.11 (95)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.4 | 3.6 (24)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Gold Coast:
P. Murtagh 2, E. Dawson 2, M. Selsby 2, J. Gore 2, M. Conroy, C. Budarick, H. Oea, A. Davies, E. Semaan, R. Nicholls
Oakleigh: M. Steiner 2, J. Robertson

BEST:
Gold Coast:
C. Budarick, C. Joyce, A. Davies, H. Oea, J. Gore, D. Koenen
Oakleigh: J. Woodfull, K. Schreiber, J. Ayton-Delaney, H. Mastras, B. Jepson, R. McInnes

Gold Coast SUNS Academy became the third non-Victorian side to pick up four points on the weekend, opening Sunday’s Queensland double-header with a 71-point win over Oakleigh. The Chargers came in heavily depleted like most of their fellow metro sides, but it didn’t show early as they battled well in an even first term. It was all Gold Coast from thereon though, as the Suns pulled away to a 26-point half time lead. With eight goals to one, it was more of the same in a dominant second half from the home side as they pushed to claim top spot at round’s end. Connor Budarick again had a day out, leading the Suns with 28 disposals, eight marks, eight tackles and a goal, while Corey Joyce and Ashton Crossley won the ball well with 22 possessions apiece. Josh Gore could have had a huge game, claiming 2.5 from his 20 disposals as one of four Suns multiple goal kickers, with Mark Steiner booting two of Oakleigh’s three goals for the match. Chargers over-ager and 2018 Vic Metro representative Joe Ayton-Delaney (26 disposals) was influential through midfield alongside Kaden Schreiber (24, seven marks, five clearances), but both were beaten to being named best by ruckman Jacob Woodfull who managed five clearances from 15 disposals. With two losses on the trot, Oakleigh will look to bounce back after the break against Dandenong, while Gold Coast is set to face another metro side in Eastern as its NAB League stint edges over the half-way mark.

TASMANIA DEVILS 0.1 | 5.1 | 8.1 | 10.3 (63)
CALDER CANNONS 0.1 | 1.4 | 3.6 | 7.9 (51)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Tasmania:
J. Callow 4, J. Hennessy 2, J. Menzie, W. Peppin, P. Walker, R. Mansell
Calder: C. Brand 3, M. Fletcher 2, H. Minton-Connell, J. Sutton

BEST:
Tasmania:
J. Callow, O. Shaw, J. Chaplin, R. Ashlin, L. Gadomski, J. Steele
Calder: H. Minton-Connell, N. Gentile, J. Martin, M. Simpson, K. Baker, S. Callander

Tasmania Devils ground out its second win on the trot, prevailing 10.3 (63) to 7.9 (51) against Calder in its first NAB League appearance on home turf. After a slow burn in the first term with the sides only managing a behind each, the Devils kicked away in the next stanza with five goals to one to set up a game-winning lead, slowly extending it to 25 points at the final change. While Calder stood up to win the fourth quarter, it was all too little, too late as the hosts held on to a two-goal final margin. Jackson Callow was the standout Devil with another bag of goals to amass almost half of his side’s total, while Oscar Shaw spread well to reel in 12 uncontested marks from 17 disposals. Patrick Walker and Nicholas Baker were the key ball-winners with 24 disposals apiece, while usual suspect Mitch O’Neill was a little quieter than usual with 16. For Calder, Cody Brand booted all three of his season goals at once, while Mason Fletcher joined him as a multiple goal kicker as he was thrown forward. Harrison Minton-Connell was the visitors’ best with a game-high 26 disposals and eight clearances, and could have had a bigger game had he made better of his 1.3. Crashing back down to earth after last week’s win, the Cannons face a winless Geelong side next time out, while Tasmania will hope to continue its winning run as it does battle with Western.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 3.0 | 5.1 | 11.1 | 12.3 (75)
EASTERN RANGES 4.4 | 6.7 | 8.7 | 13.8 (86)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Brisbane:
B. Coleman 4, T. Wischnat 3, N. Cumberland 3, D. Marsh, T. Abberley
Eastern: B. Hickleton 3, S. Mason 2, C. Black 2, S. Feagaimalii 2, J. Tilly, J. Clarke, C. Weightman, J. Jaworski

BEST:
Brisbane:
T. Jeffrey, W. Martyn, C. Michael, C. Stackelberg, B. Coleman
Eastern: S. Feagaimalii, J. Clarke, J. Duffy, B. Hickleton, J. Gilbee

An fighting final term turnaround saw Eastern Ranges earn its third-consecutive win, overcoming the Brisbane Lions academy by 11 points in Southport. Having broken to a 12-point half-time lead, the Ranges were reigned in quickly thereafter as the hosts booted six goals to two to steer clear heading into the final break, but the Ranges turned the two-goal deficit almost completely around as the heavens opened to snatch an unlikely victory. Eastern bottom-ager Salele Feagaimalii had an blinder, taking full advantage of playing full-time midfield to rack up 28 disposals, seven clearances and two clutch final-quarter goals as his side’s best. Fellow 17-year old Joshua Clarke also stood up when it mattered, slotting the goal of the day on the run from 50 as part of his 21 disposals, while Chayce Black was dangerous early up forward, ending with 2.3 behind Ben Hickleton‘s 3.0. For the Lions, Blake Coleman claimed a game-high four goals from his nine disposals, with Tom Wischnat (19 disposals, 3.2) to thank for two of them, while Noah Cumberland also claimed three majors. Skipper Will Martyn lifted from last week’s performance to rack up an impressive 37 disposals and 12 marks, while former-captain Cody Stackleberg was influential with 26 touches and seven inside 50s. With Eastern locked into the top four, a game against another Queensland academy awaits, while Brisbane will look for a second win in its away clash against Sandringham.

WESTERN JETS 3.8 | 9.14 | 12.19 | 18.24 (132)
NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER 4.3 | 5.4 | 8.7 | 9.7 (61)

GOALS:
Western:
A. Clarke 4, S. El-Hawli 3, C. White 3, C. Mackenzie-George 2, A. Manton 2, L. Failli, S. Clifford, L. Conway, J. Horo
Northern Territory: T. Woods 3, B. Ah Mat 3, W. Derksen, S. Cumming, B. O’Connell

BEST:
Western:
J. Horo, A. Clarke, D. Bolkas, C. White, D. Andrews , W. Kennedy
Northern Territory: M. McGregor, T. Woods, B. Ah Mat, B. Jungfer, S. Cumming, J. Stevens

The Western Jets picked up their second win for the NAB League season, closing out the round with a thumping 71-point win over Northern Territory Thunder. After the travelling side broke to a narrow quarter-time lead, the Jets flicked a switch and piled on 15 goals from 31 scoring shots for the remainder of the game to come out as dominant winners. Jets spearhead Aaron Clarke was again amongst the goals, leading group of five multiple goal kickers with 4.6 in what could have been a huge outing. Fellow tall Will Kennedy was also dominant, leading his side’s disposal count alongside Daly Andrews with 25, while also having 28 hitouts and five clearances. For NT, Tyson Woods and Braxton Ahmat each booted three goals, with Marly McGregor (17 disposals, five clearances) named their best despite Brandon Rusca‘s 25-disposal effort. The winless NT academy will again play in Melbourne, facing the GWV Rebels at Windy Hill, with Western travelling to Tasmania to face the Devils after the Easter break.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 4

WITH the Country sides afforded a bye and Victorian trials played this weekend, the remaining Metropolitan NAB League sides faced an uphill battle against interstate rivals with depleted lineups. Still, there was a good amount of talent on show, so here are our opinion-based notes on players identified by talent managers as ones to watch, as well as strong performers on the day. The focus was primarily on the Academy sides ahead of the National Under 18 Championships.

Northern Knights 7.9 (51) defeated by GWS GIANTS Academy 10.17 (77)
Sandringham Dragons 12.11 (83) defeated by Sydney Swans Academy 16.9 (105)
Gold Coast SUNS Academy 14.11 (95) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 3.6 (24)
Tasmania Devils 10.3 (63) defeated Calder Cannons 7.9 (51)
Brisbane Lions Academy 12.3 (75) defeated Eastern Ranges 13.8 (86)
Western Jets 18.24 (132) defeated Northern Territory Thunder 9.7 (61)

Academies:

GWS:

By: Cam Ross

#10 James Peatling

Clean and quick. Played well forward and in the midfield.

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Seems to be a natural footballer, with an ability to read the play better than others. Delightful use of his body in the third quarter created an impressive goal. Ended up with 28 possessions and 2 goals in a terrific all-round performance.

#25 Tom Green

Dominant performance from Green who was the best player on the field. He’s the prototypical modern-day midfielder. Built like an undersized ruckman, but wins contested possessions and can run all day. Green’s back to back clearances in the third resulted in goals and he “sold some candy” early in the fourth quarter, making his opponents crash into each other. Finished the game with 31 possessions, most of which were contested and numerous clearances. This was even more impressive considering he spent a lot of the game up forward.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Strong forward who kicked three goals. His marking and contesting up forward was important and gave the GWS boys a target for the entire game. Delahunty’s produced some pieces of play that weren’t rewarded on the stat sheet, such as in the third quarter, when he flew from 3-4 men deep to crash the pack and bring the ball to ground. This resulted in a goal for his side in an important stage of the match. He’s also a very nice kick of the ball as he a has a beautiful technique. One to watch for the future.

#28 Matt McGrory

Good performance from the wingman. Smart piece of play in the second quarter. McGrory was outnumbered on the Knights counter attack. Instead of the overcommitting to the ball carrier, he read that the Knights player would handball over the top, and intercepted, preventing a counter attack and a potential goal.

 

Sydney Swans:

By: Alex Gibson

#7 Braeden Campbell

Didn’t have a massive day on the stat sheet but was very noticeable when he had the ball. Playing as the ‘link up man’, Campbell was very exciting to watch and the Dragons could hardly lay a hand on the half forward. The bottom-ager finished with three goals and his craftiness was a serious problem for the Sandringham defence.

#9 Samuel Thorne

Thorne was consistent all day and looks to be a very natural footballer. He was clean by hand and made smart decisions finishing with two goals and 21 touches. The midfielder worked hard in and under the stoppage and even when Thorne didn’t have the ball was still pressuring the Sandringham midfielders with his four tackles.

#23 Errol Gulden

One to watch for 2020. Sandringham had no response to the silky bottom ager who collected 26 disposals in a best on ground performance. Kicking 2 goals from the wing, Gulden’s left foot was seriously damaging and was often the man trusted with kicking the ball inside 50 due to his ability to hit a target. Sydney may just have themselves another Heeney or Mills here.

#39 Josh Rayner

Was a rock in the Swans defence all day and the Dragons could not get it past him. The 193cm prospect’s ability to not only read the play, but to also take intercept marks was brilliant. Playing a crucial role in the Swans victory, the defender finished with six rebounds and his presence in the defensive 50 was immense.

 

Gold Coast:

By: Ed Pascoe

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

Hewago looked lively at half forward early in the game and then really hit his straps in the second quarter getting to go through the midfield and show off his clean ball use and speed, he had a nice bit of play late in the second quarter with a lovely pass inside 50 on his opposite foot to teammate Murtagh. Hewago had some scintillating passages of play where he showed of his speed and agility to get around opponents with ease and he kicked a very good opportunistic goal early in the third quarter. Hewago was always clean at ground level never fumbling and he has another great big of play dancing around some opponents and kicking a lovely pass inside 50 to a teammate.

#5 Connor Budarick

Budarick was a tough customer in the midfield often laying crunching tackles and winning the hard ball, he showed he wasn’t just a bull with a lovely kick inside 50 to teammate Gore and he himself kicked a lovely set shot goal in the first quarter. He once again hit Gore with a beautiful pass inside 50 in the third quarter where he was again a strong performer with his tackling and workrate. Budarick has claims as the best player on the ground winning plenty of the ball, tackling hard and also hitting the scoreboard for a very well rounded game.

#28 Ashton Crossley

Crossley was a consistent player through the midfield who was clean at the stoppages and used his solid frame to win the contested ball, he had a nice bit of play where he showed good hands at a stoppage handballing to a teammate who would fumble but Crossley would recover and lay a hard tackle on his opponent. Crossley worked tirelessly through the midfield both at the contest and on the outside willing to link up and be an option.

 

Brisbane:

By: Michael Alvaro

#11 Will Martyn

The Brisbane skipper really lifted from his output last week, racking up a monster 37 disposals and 12 marks. Trading time through the midfield and forward line, Martyn worked hard to find the ball around half back in the first half when the Lions were under the pump, and looked more composed in possession. Martyn made better decisions by foot and while a little shaky early on, executed a lot more cleanly to find options up the field. He found Darcy Marsh well inside 50 to gift him a goal after finding space, and is mixing well between his inside and outside game.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Crozier was again busy between the arcs, particularly in the back half. While he was a touch fumbly with the ball in dispute, Crozier is clever with ball in hand and usually receives it in space with marks. A key link in the chain going forward, Crozier finished with a handy 24 disposals.

#13 Blake Coleman

The crafty forward had a phenomenal third term where he booted three of his four-straight majors. His first goal came in the opening quarter with a good collect below his knees and quick snap to find the big sticks, and he almost found a second later on as his dribbled shot fell short. He kicked his second and third goals on the run with tidy finishes from Wischnat assists, but his highlight of the game came with a big pack mark from the back deep inside forward 50, which he played on from to kick his fourth goal. An excitement machine and classy finisher, Coleman is certainly a natural footballer.

#19 Tom Griffiths

Griffiths had a couple of nervy moments early, flying for the same ball as a teammate inside defensive 50, but built into the game well. Used mainly off half-back, Griffiths rebounded well and used clever kicks in tight spaces to manipulate the ball into good areas for his teammates. Made a particularly good find in the third term with a kick inboard, and ended with four rebound 50s from his 21 disposals.

#21 Noah Cumberland

Cumberland’s tussle with his headband was just about the most trouble he found himself in all day, as he put in a solid 15 disposal and three-goal shift up forward. He made a good read from a forward 50 stoppage to snap the Lions’ first goal in the opening term, while also setting one up for Wischnat not long after. Read the ball well again for his second goal out the back in the next quarter, and booted his third with an unreal torpedo in traffic to ensure he had a goal in each of the first three terms. Has good pace and applies pressure well when pushing up the ground.

#38 Tom Wischnat

One of the Lions’ best throughout the day, Wischnat was a real presence through the midfield and particularly up forward. The academy prospect used his big frame well on so many instances to set up goal scoring opportunities, with two coming in the third quarter to release Coleman into space for back-to-back goals. He found the goals himself with a 40-metre set shot conversion early on and 35-metre one in the final quarter, but his best goal came in the third term as he slipped a would-be tackler with strength and snapped truly. He has an unconventional kicking action and sometimes rushes when going forward, which may have hampered his two missed attempts on goal in the final term – one of which came after an impressive 1v2 mark in the goalsquare, which was costly.

 

Tasmania:

By: Scott Dougan

#1 Mitch O’Neill

O’Neill had a very quiet opening term but was able to redeem himself in the second term. He won some important centre clearances for his team and was dangerous around stoppages. He also displayed his ability to win the ball on both the inside and outside of the contest.

#4 Will Peppin

Peppin did not have a massive game stat-wise, but when he was around the ball, he was able to make something happen. He was lively up forward, especially in the second term when he was able to kick Tasmania’s fourth goal of the quarter in the twentieth minute. He showcased a variety of handy attributes on the day, such as speed, athleticism, and cleanliness at ground level.

#7 Matt McGuinness

McGuinness was fantastic across half-back. He gathered plenty of disposals and used the ball extremely well on both feet. Throughout the match, McGuinness showed that he was can read the play to perfection, with the athletic utility accumulating plenty of intercept possessions and marks.

#22 Nicholas Baker

Along with plenty of his teammates in defence, Baker was rock-solid. He was able to apply some defensive spoils, but also provided some run and carry out of the defensive 50 when needed. I was also impressed with his attack on the ball, along with his defensive pressure and tackling. Baker had 22 disposals and five marks. A very solid outing.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow was kept fairly quiet in the first term but was able to bounce back in the second. He took some nice marks on the lead in the forward half and due to his sticky hands, he was able to hold the majority of them. Callow’s third term was just unbelievable, with the bottom-aged big man taking four contested marks and booting three goals. In the end, Callow was the difference between the two sides and is definitely a very exciting prospect to keep a close eye on in his draft year.

 

Northern Territory:

By: Brandon Hutchinson

#2 Tyson Woods

Woods is class personified. The electrifying small forward seemed impossible to contain at the goal face, zipping in and out of defenders and never losing sight of the sticks. He found his first from an intercept mark off a Western kick-in, putting it through on a tight angle. For the day he finished with 12 disposals, 10 kicks, three goals and five marks.

#7 Brandon Rusca

A pillar in defense, Rusca continued to show improving form with another big performance. He brought reliable hands to the penetrating footy and rebounded well from the backline. He led as Northern Territory’s highest accumulator and delivered effectively by foot. He finished up with 24 disposals, 18 kicks, five marks and four rebounds.

#32 Marly McGregor

Improved substantially from last week, spreading his influence well. He moved well and got involved in a lot of ball movement, delivering the ball inside 50 and cleaning up messes down in the backline. He finished with 17 disposals, 12 kicks, two marks, one tackle, three rebounds and three inside 50s.

#35 Stephen Cumming

Dominant in the ruck with strength and good position, Cumming took a few with both hands and kept his feet to get the ball away. He found the goals in the first from a set shot directly in front, but missed his second under similar conditions, clipping the post. Not shying away from the hard ball, Cumming continually got low and stood up in the tackles with clean hands. Cumming iced many of his direct opponents in seemingly fifty-fifty contests, providing clear passage through opposition. He finished with 18 disposals, one goal, three marks and 33 hit-outs.

#39 Braxton Ahmat

Along with Woods, Ahmat was the most important players in front of the sticks, kicking three in his first game this season. He put away his first following a well-timed lead in the first quarter and followed up with two more in the third. He accompanied his three goals with seven disposals, five kicks, three marks, two tackles and one inside 50.

 

Victorian sides:

 

Daly Andrews (Western)

Daly bounced back hard after one of his weaker performances in Round 3, accumulating the most disposals for Western. He worked hard on the inside and involved himself in a lot of the linking plays through the ground. He returned to his Round 2 (6) form with five marks, after not taking any in Rounds 1 and 3, and sped through congestion with the footy. He earned himself four inside 50s and helped mop up in defense, earning two rebounds.

Joe Ayton Delaney (Oakleigh)

Ayton-Delaney was smooth through the midfield and especially early was one of his teams better midfielders and decision makers with ball in hand. His last quarter was superb with his attack on the ball and willingness to take the game on and attack despite the wide margin, he was by far the standout for Oakleigh in a solid 4 quarter display through the midfield.

Chayce Black (Eastern)

While his finishing touch left a little to be desired, Black was a key man for the Ranges inside forward 50. Black created chance after chance in the first term, but only managed to take advantage of one – with his set shot goal the first of the game after a nice one-on-one mark deep inside 50. He involved himself well by applying pressure and working up the ground to find the ball, and is clearly a hard worker. Black’s second goal was an important one in the final term, again coming from a set shot, but he could really have had a day to remember if he finished a touch better.

Nick Burke (Sandringham)

The kid does not stop running. The stand-in Sandringham skipper worked tirelessly all day and collected 18 disposals playing on the wing and half forward. Burke’s running patterns allowed him to get to the right positions at the right time and despite a somewhat smaller frame still remained composed in a contested situation. When the skipper had the ball Sandringham looked at their most dangerous.

Aaron Clarke (Western)

Clarke played his best game this season with complete poise and control in Western’s forward line. He brought great hands to the overhead footy, keeping his eyes on the ball. He burned his opponent off the lead and, at many times, marked the ball at its highest point. He had his fair share of behinds to accompany his goal tally, but fought hard to earn his opportunities, looking a class above his opponents. For the day he finished with four goals (six behinds), 17 disposals, 15 kicks, 10 marks, two inside 50s and three free kicks.

Joshua Clarke (Eastern)

The bottom-ager was super impressive off half-back with his run and willingness to take the game on. He looks exciting with ball in hand and proved to be a key catalyst in the Ranges’ forward movement. A 1-2 handball passage through the corridor in the second term resulted in Clarke booting inside 50, only to turn the ball over. Undeterred, he intercepted the following kick but missed the resultant shot on goal. After copping a knock in the third quarter, Clarke was crucial in the last, sparking Eastern to life with a sensational running goal from 50-out on the boundary and a courageous effort in the air against 204cm ruckman, Samson Ryan.

Salele Feagaimalii (Eastern)

The solidly-built midfielder had his best game for the year, standing up as Eastern’s best with 28 disposals, seven clearances and two clutch goals. Anchoring the centre bounces, Feagaimalii burst away from the stoppages time after time and drove the Ranges forward well throughout the day. While his handballing at times showed the touch of a raw product, the bottom-ager found his teammates well with some tidy kicks on the back of his bursts. Kicked a set shot goal early in the final term to level the scores with a hacked snap, and made a seven-point play later on to cap off a stand-out performance.

Mason Fletcher (Calder)

Fletcher had a fairly quiet match but got better and more involved as the match went on. His effective defensive spoiling and positioning were evident in the first two quarters. One of his best passages of play came in the third term when he took a good contested mark deep in defence. In the fourth term, Fletcher showed that he can play both ends of the ground, with the 200cm key position player booting two goals.

Angus Hanrahan (Sandringham)

The smooth mover was the Dragons best for the day collecting a game high 29 disposals also hurting the Swans on the scoreboard with 2.4. Hanrahan’s game had a nice balance of dashing speed and poised composure knowing when to lower his eyes. Hanrahan also showed his versatility in the third quarter where he was used as the deepest forward in order to facilitate Sandringham’s forward troubles.

Nathan Howard (Northern)

The returning ruckman made an immediate impact and tried his best to give his depleted midfield first use with a monster 51 hitouts, while winning seven clearances of his own. Howard’s work around the ground was just as good as his ruck craft as he steadily accumilated 18 possessions, including three rebound and inside 50s, and a goal to boot. Will no doubt play a key role in a potential Knights turnaround as the season progresses. 

William Kennedy (Western)
Kennedy was one of many players exceeding standards in Sunday’s win, holding his own against Northern Territory’s big man, Stephen Cumming. Despite losing in hit-outs 29 to 33, Kennedy was far from defeated, finishing the game with the second most disposals and winning five free kicks due to careful positioning in the contest. He delivered well inside 50 (5) and took the footy strong overhead. He finished the game with 23 disposals, 15 kicks and three inside 50s.

Bill Mackay (Sandringham)

With an undermanned Sandringham midfield, Mackay really flourished in taking his opportunity. Noticeably more powerful and stronger then his opponents, Mackay’s one-on-one work certainly impressed throughout the day showing real grunt in the stoppages. Along with his ability to win the contested ball, the big-bodied on baller caught the eye of spectators with a few exciting centre bounce clearances where his impressive foot skills going inside 50 allowed the dragons to have numerous set shots on goal.

Sam Philp (Northern)

Philp continued his consistent start to the season, and was a key part of the effort to counter GWS midfield star Tom Green. In a largely contested game, Philp thrived with seven clearances and six tackles among his team-high 26 disposals in what was a tough day for the Knights. Should continue to grow as some of the Knights midfield brigade returns from Metro trials, and stands out with his composure on the ball through traffic.

NAB League Boys Round 4 preview: Changes galore as NAB League goes national

ROUND 4 of the NAB League Boys sees established Victorian Metropolitan sides both play host and traveler as five clubs steel themselves for clashes against the Northern Academies, while the Country clubs each have a bye. A Saturday double-header sees both Sydney academies hit Sandringham, while the Queensland academies are set to host a game each at Southport on Sunday, and Calder becomes the first side for the year to cross Bass Strait and battle Tasmania.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GWS GIANTS ACADEMY
Saturday April 13, 10:45am
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

Northern Knights and GWS GIANTS Academy open Round 4 as sides still searching for their first win in season 2019. This bout acts as the Giants’ first experience in playing against established NAB League Boys opposition after losses to the Sydney and Brisbane academies in Rounds 2 and 3. For Northern, while the chance to showcase talent that would otherwise miss out during the year will be the number one priority, wins are at a premium and a 0-4 start would not be ideal. With the core ripped out of their side due to Vic Metro trial game commitments, the Knights have plenty of players who will be looking to consolidate a spot in the underperforming starting lineup. 19-year old Northern Blues listed Sunny Brazier is one of them, and should form a handy midfield trio alongside Sam Philp and Lucas Perry. Speaking of, the Giants have a few in-form ball winners of their own – with star Tom Green leading the way from Jeromy Lucas and Matt McGrory. An inexperienced and largely bottom-aged Knights defence will also have its hands full with dynamic Liam Delahunty, who has been in good goal-scoring form. With one side depleted and the other looking to prove themselves, this should prove to be a close encounter.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY
Saturday April 13, 1:15pm
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

Sandringham will be looking to maintain its perfect start to season 2019 as it hosts the Sydney Swans academy to close out Saturday’s proceedings. Like many of the metro sides, the Dragons have a raft of key outs as trial games roll into town, with at least 14 changes from last week’s side that beat Oakleigh. With their typical midfield core out, the likes of Jackson Voss and Angus Hanrahan will get the opportunity to run through the middle, while Riley Bowman is sure to take up more rucking responsibility. AFL family connections Jai Florent and Jeremy Goddard also slot in at either end as noticeable ins, but Sydney has arguably the most important inclusion of the round. Errol Gulden is set to suit up for his second game of the year, looking to have the likes of Braeden Campbell and Jackson Barling bounce off the electricity he brings. A change of structure looks imminent with Josh Rayner named at half-back, while the promising Ky McGrath will slot in as 23rd man. With the Dragons’ depth set to be tested on this rare occasion, look for the Swans to come out firing, with some serious talent running around on each line.

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Sunday April 14, 10:45am
Southport Oval

Best placed Academy side Gold Coast SUNS welcome NAB League Boys premiership fancies Oakleigh Chargers to the Sunshine State, looking to maintain its winning record. While the Suns downed NT and Brisbane in their first two games, Oakleigh suffered its first loss for the year against Sandringham last time out and will hope to rectify it this week. With perfect conditions forecasted, it is as good a chance as any for the Chargers to showcase their brand of football. The Suns have proven their worth though, and the likes of top-end midfield duo Connor Budarick and Ashton Crossley will have a big say on proceedings. The clinical Josh Gore is also in good form, and is sure to cause headaches for the Oakleigh depth alongside Hewago Paul Oea. Chargers over-ager Joe Ayton Delaney is one who remains amid the 11 changes, and should have a good battle with Budarick as another zippy midfield type. While many of the big names are missing, Oakleigh’s second-string is arguably as strong as some sides’ starting line-up, so they will stand every chance of jumping on the plane home with a win.

TASMANIA DEVILS v. CALDER CANNONS
Sunday April 14, 11:30am
Penguin Oval – Tasmania

Tasmania is set to play on home turf for the first time this season, hosting Calder Cannons at Penguin Oval. The Devils are the best placed side with one win, sitting pretty in ninth after toppling NT in Round 3, while Calder also got on the board last week with a win over Western. While six changes is nothing to scoff at for the Cannons, they will remain relatively steady coming into this game, travel aside, with a solid bunch of 19-year olds looking to contribute. Josh Kemp leads the pack alongside Mason Fletcher, with Tye Browning showing glimpses of why he was picked to return thus far, and top-ager Harrison Minton-Connell another likely type in midfield. The hosts will feel they have answers on each line though, with Jackson Callow one who may well keep Fletcher busy, while Matt McGuinness and Sam Collins have been good across half-back, Jye Menzie and Will Harper likewise up the other end, and Mitch O’Neill leading all-comers in midfield. With the whole state behind them, Tasmania will look to take full advantage of a good hand and streak to a second-straight win, but it will not be easy against the Cannons.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY v. EASTERN RANGES
Sunday April 14, 1:15pm
Southport Oval

Eastern Ranges will be hoping to make it three-straight NAB League Boys wins as it travels north to face the Brisbane Lions Academy in the second game of Sunday’s double-header. The Lions went down in last week’s Q-Clash, but hold a Round 2 win over their GWS counterparts, while Eastern has soundly beaten Western and Northern to shape as one of the surprise packets so far. With nine outs named, the Ranges will be stretched thin in combating their weekend travel, but will have solid contributors across the park. 19-year old James Blanck comes in to stake his claim, with forward pocket duo Chayce Black and Joshua Tilly showing good form thus far. The Lions have some eye-catchers, with Bruce Reville a clear standout last week, while Will Martyn will look to lift and join Tom Griffiths in finding a wealth of possessions. Good conditions should greet the sides, which should make for decent viewing on stream for those watching at home. A couple should really catch the eye, so look for those smooth movers in the hosts’ lineup.

WESTERN JETS v. NORTHERN TERRITORY
Sunday April 14, 2:30pm
Downer Oval – Williamstown

A clash between Western Jets and Northern Territory Thunder is set to close the round out, with the travelling Thunder still looking to get on the board in their NAB League Boys stint. After Western snatched a win in Round 1 over Northern, both sides have lost over the last two weeks with a crushing defeat handed to them each. The Jets remain the most steady of the Victorian sides coming into this weekend with only four outs, but they are all key players at that. Still, the likes of Aaron Clarke and Archi Manton have found the goals well, and over-ager Daly Andrews should catch the eye through midfield. For NT, Stephen Cumming looks to be coming along nicely after teasing for Dandenong last year, while the likes of Joel Jeffrey and Maurice Rioli Jr have provided moments of magic. Joel Budarick and Ben Jungfer are ball-winners also sure to catch the eye, though the conditions at Downer Oval may prove difficult for all. A good opportunity rises for the Thunder, but the Jets proved in Round 1 that they will not go down without a fight.