Tag: Atu Bosenavulagi

AFL Draft review: Collingwood

THERE were no big surprises come draft night for the Magpies, getting both Isaac Quaynor and Will Kelly who had been touted to join the club. Many were nervous about whether or not the club would have enough draft points to secure both players but credit to Collingwood they held strong and landed both defenders with no major issues.

National Draft:

 

Isaac Quaynor – General Defender

Quaynor will be a great fit for the Pies with his speed and daring nation to take the game on. The Oakleigh Chargers product, oozes skill and impresses with his ability to read the game and intercept mark. His ability to peel off players and impact the contest is second to none. It is not often that Quaynor is beaten in a one-on-one credit to his football smarts and ability to cover the ground and match his opponents for speed and athleticism. Through development and more time on the training track Quaynor has plenty of potential to play through the midfield and become a real impact player who can burst through the centre of the ground. The talented defender has high endurance levels, is good by foot and is an all-round classy player that will slot right into the mix at Collingwood.

Will Kelly – Key Position Defender

The father/son pick will find himself at home in the black and white and will be a valuable asset to the club. Paired with former Oakleigh Chargers teammate, Isaac Quaynor, the two could become a formidable duo down back with Quaynor’s speed and Kelly’s lockdown ability. Kelly can play the traditional key position defenders role of nullifying his opponent but also has the skill to be a rebounding defender who can play loose and take intercept marks which will be a handy feature for the Pies. Standing at 193cm Kelly has shown that he can also play up forward, making his versatility a key feature of his game. Son of premiership great, Craig Kelly, Will has plenty to offer to the club with his strong hands and technical kicking action.

Atu Bosenavulagi – Small Forward

Another Oakleigh Chargers player, Bosenavulagi has plenty of X-factor about him. The exciting small forward will add an extra level of dynamism around the goals credit to his ability to hit the scoreboard. His speed is a great asset for his game and with a big pre-season with the Pies he will aim to increase his endurance to ensure that he can perform on the big stage and increase his moments of magic for longer to make him a real force to be reckoned with in the future.

 

Rookie Draft:

Tim Broomhead – Midfielder/Forward

After severely breaking his leg against GWS the luckless Pie has been re-rookied by the club. Broomhead offers great commitment and is not afraid to put his body on the line as we have seen across his career. His dedication to rehab speaks volume to his character and willingness to play footy. The medium sized midfielder is classy across the ground and can impact the contest. He has also shown plenty of versatility to play down back, up forward and in the middle of the ground.

Sam Murray – General Defender

Collingwood have given troubled defender Sam Murray a lifeline and re-rookied him after a shaky season off the track. The running defender provides great dash off half-back and has showed plenty of promise on the field with his dare and desire to take the game on. The potential for Murray is high with his ability to win the ball and propel it forward, he just needs to hone in his effectiveness around the ground.

 

Summary:

Collingwood really went after speed this draft season recruiting players such as Quaynor and Bosenavulagi who offer plenty of dash. They also aimed to bolster their defensive line up with the likes of Kelly who can lockdown key players and change up his game plan to attack the ball in the air with his intercept marking. There is plenty to look forward to with the young draftees which will provide Collingwood fans with excitement after seeing the development of former round one pick, Jaidyn Stephenson shine on the AFL stage. With readymade players such as Broomhead and Murray also on the books, Collingwood’s defensive end looks relatively sound.

2018 National AFL Draft selections

THE 2018 National AFL Draft selections and club by club selections as they happen today will appear here:

Round 1:

1 – Carlton – Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
2 – Gold Coast – Jack Lukosius – (WWT Torrens/South Australia)
3 – Gold Coast – Izak Rankine (West Adelaide/South Australia)
4 – St Kilda – Max King (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
5 – Port Adelaide – Connor Rozee (North Adelaide/South Australia)
6 – Gold Coast – Ben King (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
7 – Western Bulldogs – Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
8 – North Melbourne – Tarryn Thomas (North Launceston/Tasmania)
9 – Adelaide – Chayce Jones (Launceston/Tasmania)
10 – Sydney – Nick Blakey (Sydney Swans Academy/NSW-ACT)
11 – GWS GIANTS – Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
12 – Port Adelaide – Zak Butters (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
13 – Collingwood – Isaac Quaynor (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
14 – GWS GIANTS – Jackson Hately (Central District/South Australia)
15 – Geelong – Jordan Clark (Claremont/Western Australia)
16 – Adelaide – Ned McHenry (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
17 – Fremantle – Sam Sturt (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
18 – Port Adelaide – Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
19 – Carlton – Liam Stocker (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
20 – Richmond – Riley Collier-Dawkins (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
21 – Brisbane – Ely Smith (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
22 – GWS GIANTS – Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

End of Round 1:

23 – Gold Coast –  Jez McLennan (Central District/South Australia)

Round 2:

24 – GWS – Ian Hill (Perth/Western Australia)
25 – Sydney – James Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
26 – Western Bulldogs – Rhylee West (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
27 – Melbourne – Tom Sparrow (South Adelaide/South Australia)
28 – West Coast – Xavier O’Neill (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
29 – Collingwood – Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
30 – Adelaide – Will Hamill (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
31 – West Coast – Luke Foley (Subiaco/Western Australia)
32 – Fremantle – Luke Valente (Norwood/Western Australia)
33 – Melbourne – James Jordon (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
34 – GWS GIANTS – Kieren Briggs (GWS GIANTS Academy/NSW-ACT)
35 – West Coast – Bailey Williams (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
36 – Brisbane – Thomas Berry (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
37 – Western Bulldogs – Laitham Vandermeer (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
38 – Essendon – Irving Mosquito (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
39 – West Coast – Jarrod Cameron (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
40 – Brisbane – Tom Joyce (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
41 – St Kilda – Jack Bytel (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
42 – Brisbane – Connor McFadyen (Brisbane Lions Academy/Queensland)
43 – Richmond – Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Round 3:

44 – Sydney –  Justin McInerney (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
45 – Western Bulldogs – Ben Cavarra (Williamstown VFL)
46 – North Melbourne – Curtis Taylor (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
47 – St Kilda –  Matthew Parker (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
48 – Geelong – Ben Jarvis (Norwood/South Australia)
49 – North Melbourne – Bailey Scott (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Queensland)
50 – Geelong – Jacob Kennerley (Norwood/South Australia)
51 – Sydney – Zac Foot (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
52 – Hawthorn – Jacob Koschitzke (Murray Bushangers/Allies)
53 – Melbourne – Aaron Nietschke (Central District/South Australia)
54 – St Kilda –  Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
55 – Brisbane – Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Round 4:

56 – Melbourne – Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
57 – Fremantle – Lachlan Schulz (Williamstown VFL)
58 – Richmond – Fraser Turner (Clarence/Tasmania)
59 – Fremantle – Brett Bewley (Williamstown VFL)
60 – Essendon – Noah Gown (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
61 – GWS GIANTS – Connor Idun (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
62 – Richmond – Luke English (Perth/Western Australia)
63 – Hawthorn – Matthew Walker (Murray Bushrangers/Allies)
64 – Adelaide – Lachlan Sholl (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
65 – Geelong – Darcy Fort (Central District/South Australia)
66 – Carlton – Finbar O’Dwyer (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
67 – St Kilda – Robert Young (North Adelaide/South Australia)
68 – Geelong – Jake Tarca (South Adelaide/South Australia)
69 – North Melbourne – Joel Crocker (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

Round 5 onwards:

70 – Carlton – Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
71 – Gold Coast – Caleb Graham (Gold Coast Academy/Queensland)
72 – Essendon – Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
73 – Port Adelaide – Riley Grundy (Sturt/South Australia)
74 – Geelong – Oscar Brownless (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
75 – Melbourne – Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
76 – Port Adelaide – Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide/South Australia)
77 – Collingwood – Atu Bosenavulagi (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
78 – Western Bulldogs – Will Hayes (Footscray VFL)

*Clubs matched bids to secure father-son or academy prospect

Club by Club Players:

Adelaide: Chayce Jones, Ned McHenry, Will Hamill, Lachlan Sholl
Brisbane: Ely Smith, Thomas Berry, Tom Joyce, Connor McFadyen, Noah Answerth
Carlton: Sam Walsh, Liam Stocker, Finbar O’Dwyer, Ben Silvagni
Collingwood: Isaac Quaynor, Will Kelly, Atu Bosenavulagi
Essendon: Irving Mosquito, Noah Gown, Brayden Ham
Fremantle: Sam Sturt, Luke Valente, Lachlan Schulz, Brett Bewley
Geelong: Jordan Clark, Ben Jarvis, Jacob Kennerley, Darcy Fort, Jake Tarca, Oscar Brownless
Gold Coast: Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine, Ben King, Jez McLennan, Caleb Graham
GWS GIANTS: Jye Caldwell, Jackson Hately, Xavier O’Halloran, Ian Hill, Kieren Briggs, Connor Idun
Hawthorn: Jacob Koschitzke, Mathew Walker
Melbourne: Tom Sparrow, James Jordon, Aaron Nietschke, Marty Hore, Toby Bedford
North Melbourne: Tarryn Thomas, Curtis Taylor, Bailey Scott, Joel Crocker
Port Adelaide: Connor Rozee, Zak Butters, Xavier Duursma, Riley Grundy, Boyd Woodcock
Richmond: Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Ross, Fraser Turner, Luke English
St Kilda: Max King, Jack Bytel, Mathew Parker, Nick Hind, Robert Young
Sydney: Nick Blakey, James Rowbottom, Justin McInerney, Zac Foot
West Coast: Xavier O’Neill, Luke Foley, Bailey Williams, Jarrod Cameron
Western Bulldogs: Bailey Smith, Rhylee West, Laitham Vandermeer, Ben Cavarra, Will Hayes

AFL Draft preview: Collingwood

WITH draft season approaching all hands are on deck to secure the young up and coming stars of the future and if all things go to plan Collingwood could land themselves two very handy players that would provide plenty of run and carry off the back half.

List needs:

  • Key position defender
  • General defender
  • Key position forward

Draft selections: 41, 44, 57, 59, 60, 93.

In a clever trade with Geelong the Magpies secured more draft points to boost their chances of claiming their intended targets. Collingwood have a host of later round picks given their acquisition of gun midfielder Dayne Beams who has made his much awaited return to the black and white. Given the Pies fire power in the midfield the club will be looking to stock up their defensive end and inject some more speed into the line-up and who better than likely prospects, Isaac Quaynor and Will Kelly.

Quaynor has had an impressive year with the Oakleigh Chargers with his athletic ability proving to be a focal point of his game. His leap and ability to get hands to ball impressed throughout the season and would be a great acquisition for the Pies in the back half.  The rebounding defender is a real force to be reckoned with, as he can punish the opposition with his offensive ability and tackling strength. Collingwood are in need of some help in defence to help bolster their stocks and provide some dash out of the backline. However, if Collingwood want to get the 182cm defender they must match whatever offer he receives from other clubs.

On the other hand, possible father son recruit Kelly, will be a great get for the Pies as he offers good defensive pressure. A real feature of Kelly’s game is his ability to read the play and get into the right spot at the right time. With his strong hands and timing Kelly could play a key role down back for the Pies. He has also been known to float forward on occasions which could be a real asset for the Pies who often rotate small forwards and midfielders through their attacking half.

As a late pick or even a rookie Atu Bosenavulagi could be a valuable addition to the black and white. Bosenavulagi has shown his ability to hit the scoreboard while also applying plenty of defensive pressure to trap the ball. If Collingwood end up with another selection, they will likely upgrade a rookie, or potentially pick up a developing tall, perhaps a Hudson Garoni or Dillon O’Reilly.

Comprehensive 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final Preview

IT is the equivalent of Christmas Day for the TAC Cup competition, with the two best teams for the year facing off in a decider. We have the clear benchmark all season, in the Dandenong Stingrays, taking on the red-hot Oakleigh Chargers, who have been in sensational form since all their school kids returned to the team. We take a look at the big game from multiple angles in our Ultimate Preview of the 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final.

 

2018 SEASON REVIEW

1. Dandenong Stingrays – 15 wins, 1 loss, 211%, 60 points
3. Oakleigh Chargers – 10 wins, 5 losses, 1 draw, 151%, 42 points

HEAD TO HEAD

R5: Oakleigh Chargers 11.6 (72) defeated Dandenong Stingrays 9.12 (66) at Warrawee Park
R9: Dandenong Stingrays 13.17 (95) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 6.4 (40) at Shepley Oval

CHANGES SINCE ROUND 5 THRILLER*

*Including extended benches

Dandenong:
IN: Sam Fletcher, Hayden Young, Toby Bedford, Finlay Bayne, Mitch Riordan, Daniel Frampton, Stephen Cumming, Luca Goonan, Matthew Cumming, Sam Sturt
OUT: Jake Carosella, James Hickey, Jarrod Smith, William Geurts, Sam De Koning, Bailey Angwin

Oakleigh:
IN: Will Kelly, Noah Anderson, James Rowbottom, Matthew Rowell, Kyle Dunkley, Lucas Westwood, Trent Bianco, Bailey Wraith, Will Golds, Jack Ross, Matt Warren, James Jordan
OUT: Sam Harte, Lachlan Bugeja, Xavier Fry, Matthew Fewings, Ben Silvagni, Kyle Viccars, Josh May, Daniel Scala, Lachlan Harry, Sam Elliot

 

WHO HAS COMBINE INVITES?

National:

Dandenong Stingrays [6]: Toby Bedford, Riley Bowman, Zac Foot, Will Hamill, Sam Sturt, Bailey Williams
Oakleigh Chargers [7]: Noah Answerth, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Will Golds, Will Kelly, Xavier O’Neill, Isaac Quaynor, James Rowbottom

State/Rookie Me:

Dandenong Stingrays [10]: Stephen Cumming, Sam Fletcher, Jake Frawley, Matthew Gahan, Lachlan McDonnell, Jamie Plumridge, Mitch Riordan, Bailey Schmidt, Jai Taylor, Lachlan Young
Oakleigh Chargers [6]: Joe Ayton Delaney, Atu Bosenavulagi, Kyle Dunkley, Jake Gasper, James Jordon, Jack Ross

Note: Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh) and Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong) have combine invitations but are unavailable due to injury.

PLAYERS

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS:

#1 Sam FLETCHER

Just keeps winning the football every week and puts in a consistent effort. He will join Hustwaite on the inside and look to fire out a number of handballs to teammates in space, and will often look to win that one-on-one duel when given the chance. Does not get to the outside as much as other midfielders, but does all the damage at the coal face, expect him to be prominent in there again.

#2 Hayden YOUNG

The potential number one pick next year looked sore throughout the preliminary final last week and got moved from the back pocket to the extended interchange, so it appeared to be a waiting game on whether he would play. Unbelievable talent with and a hardness at the ball, can play anywhere on the field, but he has been used off half-back with that smooth running and deadly foot skills a highlight.

#3 Jamie PLUMRIDGE

Tipped by TAC Cup Radio’s Matthew Cocks for the Best on Ground, Plumridge has been a consistent performer this year. Plumridge is an outside midfielder who often wins it on the wing and pumps it inside 50 to the tall targets.

#7 Jai TAYLOR

An electrifying speedster, Taylor is one of the fastest players in the competition, and with Toby Bedford, has the capability of breaking the lines and causing disruption amongst the opposition zone. While he does not always do it, he can tuck the ball under the arm and take the game on.

#9 Zac FOOT

Burst onto the scene early in the season to make Vic Country after never having made a previous Stingrays’ squad. He played throughout the National Under 18 Championships, and while he did not star, he still had some impressive moments. Adds a different element to the team because he can win it inside or out, play back, forward or through the midfield and has a high impact per possession when he is on.

#10 Lachlan YOUNG

A defender who loves to rebound and use the ball well, he does not find a lot of it – averaging just 12.5 disposals per game. But almost 25 per cent of his possessions are rebounds, with Young ensuring the ball can clear the defensive zone.

#11 Ned CAHILL

Named as the 23rd player, Cahill showed in last week’s preliminary final just how damaging he could be booting two goals and passed off another couple. Still a bottom-age player, Cahill has emerged as a genuine goal sneak at 177cm. Has to be respected because he just gets to the right positions.

#12 Matthew GAHAN

Has enjoyed a really solid season off half-back earning himself a State Combine invitation. Gahan is a strong ball user and a player who his teammates like getting the ball into the hands of. With Oakleigh’s strong forward line, Gahan will need to be used both offensively and defensively in order to still create drive while restricting one of the many dangerous Chargers’ defenders.

#13 Riley BOWMAN

Is suited to the number one ruck role, but can play forward which is where he is expected to play. Often the Stingrays rotate Bowman, Stephen Cumming and Bailey Williams through the ruck such is their luxury. Bowman’s pure ruckwork is arguably the best of the lot, because he gets his hands to most throw-ins or ball-ups and can palm down to his midfielders. Big men seem to be out of fashion lately, so a big game would be huge to determine where he slots in.

#15 Toby BEDFORD

One of the most in-form Stingrays of late, Bedford has a great mix of offensive and defensive skills, providing line-breaking ability as well as tackling pressure in the forward half. He can kick multiple goals in a game, and pinch-hit in the midfield to break up the game. He offers a different element to the Dandenong midfield, and the Melbourne Next Generation Academy player is one who Demons fans will enjoy watching over the years, with the assumption they match the bid that comes in.

#16 Jake FRAWLEY

A strong midfielder who can play out of full-forward such is his strength one-on-one or in the air. Booted six goals against against Bendigo Pioneers at Shepley Oval playing almost exclusively as a forward. He adds some depth to the midfield and his versatility is important when the big day rolls around.

#17 Finlay BAYNE

Another dangerous small forward who can play through the midfield. Due to the depth in the Stingrays onball brigade, Bayne has found a nice spot in the forward 50 and is good for a couple of goals a game. He is a good mover with good goal sense.

#18 Mitch RIORDAN

Highly rated at the start of the season, Riordan had injury concerns and missed the bulk of the National Under 18 Championships, and has only recently returned in the past month. He can use the ball well, and while he does not win much of it, he can often be found coming out of a stoppage and kicking forward. Athletically he is very good, testing well in the 20m sprint, agility test and yo-yo test, so it is just getting game time into him.

#23 Campbell HUSTWAITE

The Stingrays captain is another player who has been in fine form the past couple of months and seems made for the big stage. He has lead from the front in the TAC Cup finals series and does everything expected of him. Against a strong Oakleigh midfield, his desire and competitiveness will be called upon to match it with the likes of Jack Ross and James Rowbottom. Hustwaite could be a best on ground chance given you know exactly what you will get from him each week.

#27 Lachlan MCDONNELL

Played at half-forward for the start of the season and has progressed onto the wing. Of all the Dandenong midfielders, McDonnell is one of the Stingrays’ most damaging kicks in transition. He is predominantly outside compared to the others, but he finds space and pumps it long inside 50.

#28 Bailey SCHMIDT

The big man has been unlucky not to play more games because he is a damaging presence up forward with great athleticism. He has just landed at a club in a year with ridiculous amounts of talent in the ruck/forward position. Still earned a State Combine invite, and while he has been named on the extended bench, is still one who has been able to show his wares throughout the 2018 season.

#29 Bailey WILLIAMS

The big key forward/ruck looms as the player Oakleigh must stop if the Chargers are to win their fifth TAC Cup premiership. Williams is an athletic monster forward who has a massive vertical leap and can cause plenty of headaches for any opposition defender. His goal kicking has been an issue for two thirds of the season, so he will need to be on target in the game. Expect him to have a bearing on the game, and if he can get an early major and build confidence – watch out.

#32 Daniel FRAMPTON

Has held down centre half-back at times despite standing at just 188cm. Can intercept the ball and averages 3.5 marks per game. The smaller Oakleigh forward line will suit Frampton as it means he does not have to battle against a 200cm monster.

#36 Stephen CUMMING

Starting in the ruck and even though he came off a little sore early last week, Cumming still played out the game and looks set to start in the centre square tomorrow. The big man will rotate with Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams in the ruck and no doubt try and wear down the undersized Bailey Wraith.

#41 Lachlan STENNING

The defender is likely to take a defensive approach on a forward whether it be Dylan Williams, Jake Gasper or Atu Bosenavulagi and try and limit their influence on the game. He is a low-possession player but one who can play above his height of 178cm.

#45 Luca GOONAN

Still a bottom-ager, Goonan was added to the side for the Grand Final on an extended bench. It is hard to push out the strong top-age presence, but he has had some impressive signs this season. He is readymade at 83kg already, and one to keep an eye on for next year.

#49 Matthew COTTRELL

A genuine honest midfielder who you know what you are going to get. Suited to the inside, but has played outside, he just attacks the ball and tries to clear it forward. Has had some impressive games this season and will likely need to beat his opponent this weekend against a strong Chargers’ midfield.

#52 Corey ELLISON

At 191cm and 88kg, Ellison is that medium size who can play tall or small up forward, and actually averages 2.7 goals per game from seven matches. Has been in and out of the team at times because of the strength up forward, if given the chance he knows how to hit the scoreboard.

#56 Matthew CUMMING

Cumming has played predominantly key position defence this season and just tried to beat his opponent one-on-one. Like his brother, he moves well for a 198cm player, but not sure what match-up he has in this match. With Oakleigh adopting a smaller forward line, he will likely play on a player close to 10cm smaller than him, so he must prepare for that.

#57 Reid NANSCAWEN

Named as the sole emergency for the side, he looks to be the one to come in if injury strikes. He has played a bit of everywhere, and held up the midfield during the National Under 18 Championships when Dandenong had absences galore. Is the type that can come in and play his role and will no doubt be waiting in the wings if the opportunity arises.

#58 Will HAMILL

An underrated player in the Stingrays defensive half. Hamill can play through the midfield, but his class and composure off half-back has been a standout of his game. He glides around the field, and while he is not a huge accumulator, he can hurt opposition with nice delivery forward. Will be held accountable with one of many dangerous Chargers small forwards who just find the goals on a regular basis.

#59 Sam STURT

The late developer has burst onto the scene of late after some impressive performances for Peninsula Grammar. He was boosted from a State Combine invitation to a National Combine invitation, and has already showed why he is in hot demand since playing for the Stingrays. He has electric skills, great smarts and knows where the goals are – so damaging.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS:

#1 Riley COLLIER-DAWKINS

A potential first round prospect, Collier-Dawkins has that blistering first few steps that can burn off an opponent out of a stoppage. He has been trialled up forward, but he is his most dominant on the inside, as he showed last week in the preliminary final. If he can use his strength, acceleration and penetrating kick to effect, then the Chargers will have plenty of hurt factor roaming through the midfield in transition.

#3 Joe AYTON-DELANEY

The running defender was unlucky not to get a National Draft Combine invitation after some impressive performances early in the season. He is one that will be in high demand with a good Grand Final and just finds the ball. Uses it well coming out of the backline and has shiny red boots that stand out. A player Oakleigh looks to get the ball in the hands of, along with Isaac Quaynor, in the backline.

#4 Will KELLY

He will have his work cut out for him, regardless if he takes Bailey Williams or Riley Bowman. He often enjoys running off an opponent and providing rebound, but he will need to be tight with the athletic talls. He can also go forward and provide a target if Oakleigh wants to throw a spanner in the works midway through the game. A Collingwood father-son prospect who will be watched closely by any Collingwood contingent that make the trip to Ikon Park.

#5 Xavier O’NEILL

Did not make the final Vic Metro squad, but showed enough throughout the 2018 TAC Cup season to suggest to recruiters he was in their top 50, earning a National Draft Combine invitation. He just does his job each week and is a really solid contributor. He covers the ground well and wins the ball in all thirds of the ground.

#6 Matthew DAY

The former basketballer was unlucky not be thrown a lifeline late last year, and has continued on as a really solid forward prospect as an overager for the Chargers this season. Keeps kicking goals and is strong overhead. A good size for development and one that the Stingrays cannot afford to let off the chain.

#7 Jay ROBERTSON

Did not make the cut at Eastern Ranges hailing from South Belgrave, came across and has been a valuable contributor up forward for Oakleigh. He is a medium tall who just keeps hitting the scoreboard and can fly under the radar with so much talent up that end.

#8 Noah ANDERSON

Another potential number one pick, Anderson is that prototype size for a midfielder, who due to the amazing depth of the Oakleigh midfield, has had the ability to almost play exclusively up forward. He pumps the ball long, can win it inside or out, and knows how to hit the scoreboard – as he did for Vic Metro against Western Australia.

#9 James ROWBOTTOM

The most pure of the inside midfielders, he gives his team a four quarter effort and wins a truckload of the ball on the inside. He is a clearance machine and just finds the ball anywhere on the ground. Dandenong are known for their hardness at the contest, and Rowbottom will be a key contributor for Oakleigh in trying to nullify some of the opposition midfielders.

#10 Charlie WHITEHEAD

A fierce small forward who loves to pressure opponents and just gets to the right positions. He has the capability of kicking multiple goals if given space and has a great goal sense. A pure small forward in every sense, he can push up the ground if the Chargers isolate another forward.

#11 Matthew ROWELL

Another Vic Metro representative in his bottom-age year, Rowell leads by example on the field. He has an uncompromising attack on the ball and is crucial around stoppages, but has had the luxury of playing on the outside, predominantly off a wing. He can play forward and kick goals, as he has the past two finals – kicking the first goal in both games.

#12 Noah ANSWERTH

The over-age captain does not do a lot wrong and can play anywhere on the field. His brother, Kade was best on ground in the TAC Cup Grand Final during Oakleigh Chargers’ last premiership over Eastern Ranges, and Answerth will be keen to put in an equally impressive performance. He made the Vic Metro squad and performed strongly and will leave no stone unturned in getting the most out of himself.

#13 Atu BOSENAVULAGI

Has bolted up into draft consideration after a quieter start to the season. His second half of the TAC Cup competition has been superb, and he is starting to regularly hit the scoreboard, while still applying the defensive pressure he was known for. Has made opposition clubs consider a National Draft bid, with Collingwood able to match if they like him.

#14 Kyle DUNKLEY

Has been on the fringe of getting into the team after spending time with Sydney Swans’ Reserves. With Oakleigh winning its past three games by an average of 101 points, it is a hard team to break into, but the forward will be ready if he gets his chance.

#16 Lucas WESTWOOD

A really reliable defender. With most of the other Oakleigh defenders being offensive players, Westwood adds that defensive hardness and ability to shut down a key opposition forward. He could well be given any number of smalls from the Stingrays who can kick multiple majors.

#17 Trent BIANCO

A skilful player who provides plenty of run and carry off half-back and through the midfield. Expect him to play more on-ball next season, but he has high-end talent and adds to what is a very strong bottom-age core at the Chargers.

#22 Dylan WILLIAMS

The bottom-age small forward is in ripping form, and just keeps kicking goals week-in, week-out. He shared them last week after six snags against Western Jets in the elimination final. He does very little wrong, and after spending time in defence early in the season, Williams’ strength overhead and great goal sense has him as a key player inside 50 for the Chargers. One Dandenong defender will have their work cut out for them.

#23 Isaac QUAYNOR

The running defender takes the game on and has some eye-catching moments. He might have to use his one-on-one ability more than he has had to in the past weeks, because Dandenong’s forward line will make sure he is made accountable. If he can get out and break the lines, using his speed and skill to create run-and-carry, then it will go a long way to Oakleigh winning the match. A Collingwood Next Generation Academy member to watch.

#26 Jake GASPER

The TAC Cup Leading Goalkicker and taking into account post-season goals he is the standalone leader, Gasper has been the most consistent forward in the competition. He has booted goals in every game he has played and his set shot routine is perfect. The Dandenong defence will focus on not letting him get too much air time because he is so smart in that forward 50.

#30 Bailey WRAITH

You have to applaud Wraith, who started as a key defender, but has stood up as an undersized ruck. He is measured at 191cm (though many believe he might be a few centimetres taller), and he has matched up against much taller opponents in the ruck. He will have to play his best game of the season against the Dandenong brigade however, with practically three 200cm rucks with big vertical leaps awaiting him.

#31 Will GOLDS

The most pure outside midfielder for the Chargers, Golds will be the one spreading to the outside and carrying the ball forward when given time and space. He could well match up against Lachlan McDonnell and the pair goes their separate ways, or they run alongside each other. Likes to set up plays forward of centre and has had a really solid finals series.

#32 Jack ROSS

The underrated midfielder from the Chargers has been building consistency very nicely over the past month since returning from school football. He loves the appetite of the contest, but can also spread to the outside and provide long kicks forward. He knows how to find a goal from a stoppage inside 50, and is one of many Oakleigh midfielders who looms as a key player on the weekend and one the Stingrays will put work into.

#33 Matt WARREN

Started the year as a key defender and can play up either end. Had the tough job of manning Max King in the top five pick’s only TAC Cup game and King booted eight goals in that game. At 189cm he has had to play on much taller opponents at times, but continues to battle above his height and weight range. A versatile option if a tall drops out of the Grand Final after being added to the interchange bench.

#36 Charlie BEASLEY

Rated really highly internally, Beasley will have to play taller than his 192cm against Bailey Williams or Riley Bowman. The coach, Leigh Clarke backs him in and he rarely lets him down. Regardless of opponent, Beasley is the type of defender who will stick to the task for four quarters.

#38 Zac HART

Oakleigh’s forward line is harder to break into than Fort Knox, so for the potential Adelaide father-son it has not been easy to find a spot. Hart has been added to the side on the extended interchange bench, and he is a smart forward with good goal sense, but with Oakleigh’s firepower on show the last month, it will probably take an injury for Hart to squeeze in.

#44 Will PHILLIPS

The Under 16s Vic Metro representative has managed to retain his place in the Oakleigh line-up despite it being as strong as it is, playing as the 23rd player. Great skills, good spread and does not seem phased against the bigger bodies, Phillips looks a player for the 2020 National Draft.

#64 James JORDON

Played a couple of games earlier in the season and returned after school football, Jordon has provided good run and carry on the outside. Like Golds, Jordon predominantly is used as a ball carrier with slick skills to take the game on and delivery well inside 50.

 

FATHER/SON AND ACADEMY PROSPECTS

Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays) – Melbourne Next Generation Academy

Atu Bosenavulagi, Isaac Quaynor, Bailey Wraith (Oakleigh Chargers) – Collingwood Next Generation Academy

Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers) – Collingwood father/son

Kyle Dunkley* (Oakleigh Chargers) – Sydney father/son

Zac Hart* (Oakleigh Chargers) – Adelaide father/son

*Extended interchange

 

STATISTICS

Dandenong defence vs. Oakleigh attack

The key in this third of the ground, is whether or not Dandenong’s slick foot skills out of defence and springboard rebound can be used against the massive forward pressure of the Chargers. Atu Bosenavulagi (4.5 tackles), Jake Gasper (4.1) and Charlie Whitehead (3.2) provide the tackling heat, while Dylan Williams (62.8 per cent kicking efficiency), Jay Robertson (60.4 per cent) and Noah Anderson (56.6 per cent) provide the skills going inside 50. Gasper has been the dominant goal kicker this season, sharing the overall competition tally and post-finals has the most goals of any player in the league.

For Dandenong, they have some very nice ball users in the back half, lead by Will Hamill and Lachlan Stenning, while five of their six defenders average more than two marks a game. Lachlan Young (3.1 rebounds), Matthew Gahan (2.9) and Daniel Frampton (2.3) are that wall at half-back, while Matthew Cumming is the athletic key position defender who can share ruck duties. The big question mark will be match-ups as Oakleigh have a small forward line, while Cumming will no doubt be matched up on a smaller player.

Dandenong midfield vs. Oakleigh midfield

Two highly talented midfields will go head-to-head with so many crucial head-to-heads. Dandenong generally loves a contested brand of football, whereas Oakleigh love using their outside foot skills to advantage. In saying that, both sides can still play the other’s game. Stingrays captain, Campbell Hustwaite, Sam Fletcher and Mitch Riordan will provide the inside support, whereas Matthew Cottrell can play inside or out. Lachlan McDonnell is the most outside because he has the best skills of the five onballers, and has provided a crucial link between midfield and half-forward.

Will Golds provides just that for Oakleigh, whereas both Matthew Rowell and Jack Ross are equally as impressive inside as they are outside, and can get forward and kick goals as well. Noah Answerth can also play off half-back or half-forward and hit the scoreboard for the Chargers, while Bailey Wraith has been getting the job done in the ruck despite being undersized. If he can get forward and kick a goal, it adds an extra challenge for the Stingrays. He will have his work cut out for him against the best ruck division in the league.

Dandenong attack vs. Oakleigh defence

Dandenong’s attack is likely to cause a lot more headaches for Oakleigh’s defence than other sides have in past weeks. With Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman both athletic talls, it means Charlie Beasley and Will Kelly will have to be prepared to jump as both Dandenong keys are highly athletic – particularly Williams who is second to none with vertical leap. Jai Taylor and Toby Bedford are two of the quickest players going around, while Sam Sturt and Zac Foot consistently hit the scoreboard.

The great strength with Oakleigh’s defence is its ball use out of the back 50, with Isaac Quaynor, Joe Ayton-Delaney and Trent Bianco all wonderful kicks of the football. Often teams can have at least one liability back in their defence, but there is no player in the back 50 who the Chargers would not feel comfortable with kicking the ball out of the back 50. The challenge for the Chargers defence is they have to expect Dandenong to bring the heat. Forward pressure from the Stingrays is a must, and Oakleigh must be up for that challenge.

Extended interchange of both sides:

The depth on both these benches, particularly Oakleigh’s, is madness. Riley Collier Dawkins could be a first round pick but he sits on the pine, while James Jordon and Xavier O’Neill are crucial cogs in Oakleigh’s midfield. Matthew Day has been a really valuable forward for the Chargers this season, while Vic Metro Under 16s talent, Will Phillips has been very slick with his ball use on the outside and shapes as an impressive talent for the 2020 AFL National Draft. With father-son prospects and sneaky small forwards Kyle Dunkley and Zac Hart waiting in the wings, and the versatile Matt Warren also brought in to the extended team, Oakleigh has plenty of options to head into game day.

For Dandenong, Finlay Bayne and Ned Cahill both provide depth in the forward line and showed they can kick multiple goals, as they did against Sandringham Dragons last week. Corey Ellison has been unlucky this season given the strength of talls for the Stingrays, while Hayden Young could be pick one next season, but came off sore last week and whether he makes the final team is yet to be seen. Bailey Schmidt is another athletic tall who could come in to really stretch the Oakleigh defence, while Jake Frawley kicked a bag of six earlier in the season. Jamie Plumridge has been good on  the outside for Dandenong this season, while Luca Goonan is a prospect to watch for next year. Reid Nanscawen has been named as the only emergency in the team.

WHY WILL THEY WIN?

Dandenong Stingrays: They have been the best team all year and attack the footy with numbers. A fierce intent on the ball carrier, any opposition know that the heat will come and it will depend on how they deal with it. The Stingrays are not a high possession team, and opt for sharing the ball around, but still using the ball long and effective. They have the tall timber up forward to put in the air and allow them to mark it, because no-one is spoiling Bailey Williams if he gets a run at it.

Oakleigh Chargers: They are the most skilful team in the competition who are happy to use short possessions rather than take risks with long kicks, but know when to flick the switch. Often they will use a series of short kicks until a player breaks free and then they use run-and-carry to run down the wings and pick a target out inside 50. Without the height in there, the Oakleigh midfielder put low balls out in front of their teammates to run onto with their speed off the mark, key.

 

WHAT DO THEY NEED TO STOP?

Dandenong Stingrays: They absolutely must bring the heat on the weekend. Oakleigh dominate games when they are allowed to over-possess the ball and just wait until options free up. Dandenong need to ensure that firstly, Oakleigh cannot have free numbers wandering into open space, and secondly, that there is a defensive midfielder who is happy to drop back and fill the hole in front of the Oakleigh forwards. Unlike Dandenong where a 200cm athlete will crash into your back, Oakleigh’s passes inside 50 will be low darts, so the Stingrays need to restrict the free space inside 50 and force them wide.

Oakleigh Chargers: They have to be wary of positioning themselves well inside the defensive 50. They will be playing against much taller opponents who can fly high, and some of their usually offensively-minded defenders might have to do more one-on-one defending. Isaac Quaynor is arguably the best small defender in the league one-on-one and he might be the man to go to Sam Sturt, as Quaynor can play taller and is equally as smart. Bailey Wraith will also have his work cut out for him in the ruck, and while he has been fantastic, when you’re going up against high flying rucks that are towering over you, the goal is to nullify as much as possible.

 

GRAND FINAL HISTORY

The two teams have never met in a TAC Cup Grand Final before, but have been involved in 10 between them. Dandenong has heartbreakingly lost all five of their encounters, two of which exceeded 80 points. For Oakleigh, they have won four out of a possible five attempts, including a goal point to Jack Macrae in 2012 getting them over the line against Gippsland Power.

Dandenong Stingrays:

1997: lost to North Ballarat Rebels by 35 points
2005: lost to Gippsland Power by 15 points
2008: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 81 points
2009: lost to Calder Cannons by 14 points
2013: lost to Eastern Ranges by 112 points

Oakleigh Chargers:

2006: defeated Calder Cannons by 27 points
2011: lost to Sandringham Dragons by eight points
2012: defeated Gippsland Power by one point
2014: defeated Calder Cannons by 47 points
2015: defeated Eastern Ranges by 12 points

 

AFL Draft Central tips

 

Peter Williams

Dandenong Stingrays
BOG: Toby Bedford

Michael Alvaro

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Dylan Williams

Craig Byrnes

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Jack Ross

Scott Dougan

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Jake Gasper

Ed Pascoe

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Dylan Williams

Cameron Ross

Dandenong Stingrays
BOG: Toby Bedford

 

Total Tips:

Dandenong Stingrays 2
Oakleigh Chargers 4

Best on Ground:

Toby Bedford 2
Dylan Williams 2
Jack Ross 1
Jake Gasper 1

Black hopes sixth time’s a charm for Stingrays

DANDENONG Stingrays coach, Craig Black is hoping for a fairytale finish to his stint at the club as head coach, before joining Collingwood in a development role. Speaking at the TAC Cup Grand Final press conference, Black said he hoped the Stingrays could win their first flag upon their sixth attempt in the competition, but would treat the game just like any other game.

“I don’t think you can probably hide from it (the 0-5 record in grand finals),” he said. “Everyone seems to bring it up, but some of these boys like Campbell (Hustwaite, co-captain) weren’t even born when they had the first Grand Finals losses. “I think you’d have those stories with everyone, but yeah we talk about it, but it’s even better when these boys get the opportunity to come out and maybe be the first person that can do it.”

Being his last game in charge of the Shepley Oval club, Black said he had mixed emotions, but was looking forward to finishing on a high for the players.

“It’s no different really, it is when you’re looking back, you’ve been there a long time, I think I’ve been back nine years, you know every bump along the road, so I definitely will miss it, I’ve got some good memories,” he said. “But I just want to get the right result so the players, the 60 players on our list, can get some success.” On the weekend we will have probably 20 players, 21 players who it will be their last game, so hopefully they can go out with a win.”

Dandenong Stingrays head into Saturday’s decider with just one loss to their name – a six-point defeat – to their grand final opponents, Oakleigh Chargers. Black said the season had been a strong one for the club, but it would not amount to much in the long-term if they dropped the final game on the weekend.

“Obviously we got some reward for our effort, the way we played throughout the year, but as you know the TAC Cup changes every year with school kids out, nationals and academy boys missing games,” he said. “We’ve been really fortunate this year, we’ve won a couple of close ones earlier in the year and we kept rolling on, but as you know with footy once you’ve sort of won one game you just move onto the next. “We’ve been lucky that we’ve won a few, but doesn’t mean much now does it when there’s one game up for grabs?”

Asked about whether the Stingrays were nervous facing the only team that had managed to stop them singing the song after the game, Black said it was indeed the opposite view that the players and staff held.

“I look at it completely different,” he said. “I think hopefully people are probably saying the two best teams have made the grand final this year. “I know our players, and I won’t speak for Clarkey, but I’m sure he’s probably the same. “Young kids just love coming out and playing against the best talent and give themselves every opportunity to fulfil their dreams and win games of footy and hopefully end up on an AFL list. “I think the TAC Cup will get that opportunity this week and supporters will come and see the two best teams play off and that’s unbelievable for us.”

One interesting factor looking ahead to the 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final is the different styles that the two clubs take with their football. While Oakleigh rely on medium-tall and small options to kick their goals, Dandenong have some tall timber up forward, as well as a number of medium talls and midfielders who float through to kick winning scores. The Stingrays mentor said he would just focus on his side’s strengths rather than just looking to nullify the strengths of the Chargers.

“I think you go into the game, both teams are into awesome form, coming into the last 8-10 weeks of footy,” Black said. “If either team can get the play on their terms it will go a long way. “I know with us, you just deal with what you’ve got. “This year is a bit of an abnormal year, we’ve got some tall players and next year we mightn’t, so pre-season you get them, you keep developing them and hopefully you get the right team.”

Another aspect that comes into play which is unique for this game is the fact that Oakleigh will field four top-age players who are eligible to be recruited by Collingwood under the father-son and Next Generation Academy. Black, who will try and nullify their impact this weekend, will help develop those players, if selected by the Magpies, when he heads to the Holden Centre at the conclusion of the season. Black said he looked forward to the role, but for now, the likes of Isaac Quaynor, Atu Bosenavulagi, Bailey Wraith and Will Kelly were all opposition players.

“I think looking at the last sort of eight weeks and stuff, we’re really still leaving them in the TAC,” Black said. “The TAC Cup is a wonderful breeding ground for developing young players and obviously Oakleigh have a terrific track record of doing that over 25 years and even the last few years so really while the young NGA players are still in their TAC Cup, you sort of watch them from afar and let them develop in their own program and once the season finishes we’ll start doing a lot more with them.”

Black has his own Next Generation Academy player at the Stingrays – the exciting Toby Bedford who has been in strong form of late, and Melbourne will have first choice to select him once a bid comes in at November’s National AFL Draft.

“Yeah Tobes has been great,” Black said. “I think Clarkey (Leigh Clarke) mentioned before about how he had Vic Country, and then he was away at Melbourne Grammar for the school footy, so it’s that challenge when he gets back. “He boards at Melbourne Grammar so when he gets to training, one thing we know is with Tobes is his effort  and his intensity, he’s always up and about. “The players love it when he’s around, he’s a cheeky little thing and he plays on the edge at times and we love him for it.”

Other players who have shot into draft contention from “left field” include a newcomer to the Stingrays program, and one who had only played school footy prior to a month ago.

“We’ve probably got the one who stands out at the moment is Sam Sturt, you know who’s been playing at Peninsula and has come played four games of TAC Cup footy,” Black said. “Everyone’s watched him about as many times as I have. “It’s just people like that, and that’s what this competition gives, you know if someone is playing good football from left field, these sort of programs can give them the chance of fulfilling their talent as well. “People like Zac Foot who has come in, who wasn’t fortunate enough to play in our 17s or 16s or 15s program, come through as an 18 year-old and play as Vic Country. “Just the opportunities and everyone, I think if players weren’t improving we wouldn’t be in the position we are, and that’s lead by our captain and our leaders who are really driving high standards individually and as a team each week.”

Black thanked the support staff and development coaches around him who were always on hand to assist, and help develop these players from the start of the season until the end. Black himself has come through the program, captaining Dandenong to the 1997 TAC Cup Grand Final, returning to the club and having lead the Stingrays for the past five seasons.

“We’re lucky enough to be the head coaches of the TAC but I know we’ve got wonderful assistants and support staff around us that help out and you know, if you’re running late or can’t make it a night, they’re more than happy to step in, so it’s wonderful,” Black said. “I think it’s only going to get bigger and bigger with the the TAC Cup programs and getting chances at AFL, working with these wonderful young men that are getting opportunities, it’s great I think.”

After narrowly missing out on making the 2017 decider, going down to eventual premiers Geelong Falcons in the preliminary final at GMHBA Stadium 12 months ago, Black admitted he was nervous heading into the clash with Sandringham Dragons last weekend.

“I was really nervous going into last week’s game because you want your players to have the opportunity to experience Grand Final week, I mean they don’t do press conferences for prelims and that sort of stuff,” Black said. “So when we won this week is just all about enjoying it. “We said to our players after the game, ‘enjoy it, you might never play in a Grand Final again’ so we’re really thankful, and excited.”

It is not often a team that finishes top of the table with just one loss for the season heads into the TAC Cup Grand Final as potential underdogs. But with Oakleigh Chargers having won their past three games by an average of 101 points, including a 93-point demolition of the second placed Gippsland Power last weekend, the Chargers seem to be the in-form side, if that is even possible against a side that has won 13 on the trot. Black laughed off the matter of favouritism, because all that mattered was what happened from the first bounce to the final siren.

“I’ve been asked this question a few times and I know we’re going into the game that we can win the game of footy so I don’t know if favourites and that really matter like, it doesn’t bother me one little bit,” Black said. “Two really good teams in really good form are going to get a crack at winning a Grand Final and I’m sure I’ll speak for the Stingrays but I know we’ll go in with a lot of confidence. “Yeah we’ve got to take our chances when we get them, because I think both teams are going to get some really good chances and probably control the ball for periods of time. “Whoever makes the most of their opportunities (will likely win), but I think it’s going to be a fantastic game of footy, or I hope it is. “We’re just really excited about giving 23 players from our area an opportunity to play on Grand Final day and on Foxtel and on the big stage.”

Dandenong Stingrays take on Oakleigh Chargers at Ikon Park from 12.05pm on Saturday for the 2018 TAC Cup premiership.

Oakleigh charges into Grand Final with 93-point victory over Gippsland

OAKLEIGH Chargers have won their third consecutive game by 15 goals or more with a 93-point thrashing of second-placed Gippsland Power. The Chargers were all over the Power from start to finish and never realistically looked like losing. Their ball use in the wet was superb

It was a sense of deja vu for the crowd from the week before, as Oakleigh’s Matt Rowell put the ball through the big sticks and got the first major on the board with a running shot – slightly different to his set shot against Western the week before, but nonetheless, he was the first key scorer. Gippsland was sanding strong with a couple of important inside 50s, with a couple of opportunities but could not convert, and it was six-goal hero from last week, Dylan Williams who made it two for the Chargers with a great goal off a couple of steps.

A piece of class from Atu Bosenavulagi saw him centre into the middle to hit-up Noah Answerth on the 50m line. The subsequent 60m roost from Answerth sailed through and got the Chargers up and about. Then when Jake Gasper kicked one through the middle, the danger signs were there for the Power, as Oakleigh moved 25 points up. The third member of Oakleigh’s version of the Holy Trinity – Noah Anderson – used some terrific soccer skills to boot the ball off the ground in the wet to sail one home for the Chargers’ fifth.

Rowell almost had a second goal on the run but it just missed to the left. Oakleigh’s passing in horrible conditions was a treat, with a superb pass from Trent Bianco off half-back to Gasper in midfield one of the top kicks of the day. The play from end-to-end lead to a shot on goal to Charlie Whitehead after a strong tackle, but his set shot also drifted to the left.

Gippsland came out with a better intensity early, with Austin Hodge having a set shot but just missing early. Noah Gown took a huge one-on-one mark on the lead against Will Kelly, clunking a big grab despite Kelly’s pressure. His shot just missed to the left, with Gippsland ruing a few missed opportunities. Sam Flanders laid a big tackle at half-back to earn a free in a second term derived of highlights. Gippsland had stemmed the flow, but neither side could hit the scoreboard.

Then, just as it looked like they were struggling to find a way to press on, Williams went bang, bang and booted two majors in the space of a minute. First he got goal side of his opponent and ran into an easy major, then outmarked his opponent and snapped it round to give the Chargers two quick replies and extend the margin out to 45. Williams piled on some more pain as Oakleigh ran the length of the ground from half-back and the small forward made it four with three consecutive goals, receiving the handball on the line, turning around and kicked it from point blank to push it past 50. A minute later, Gasper conquered up an amazing snap from the pocket bouncing its way through and making it a whopping 57 points.

While a few positional changes from the Power hoped to bring on some better news in the second half, it was a perfect kick from Will Golds to the leading Matthew Day, adding his name to the goal kickers chart. If there was a goal to beat Gasper’s second term effort for goal of the day, it belonged to Oakleigh midfielder, Jack Ross who snapped around his body and it sailed through, showing great smarts. Ross was one of the best on the ground, winning a truckload of the ball and really having an influence on the game.

Gippsland had a nice passage of play from half-back leading to a strong mark inside 50 to Flanders, who had been one of the Power’s top players. He went back and had a shot from a tight angle, but it drifted to the right in the wind and just missed. Gasper’s prowess in front of the big sticks continued with the goal sneak nailed another set shot from just inside 50 and the game was well and truly done. Caleb Serong, Boadie Motton and Gown were trying hard along with Duursma and Flanders, but the overwhelming Oakleigh numbers were proving too much for the Power players.

Riley Collier-Dawkins showed off his strength and acceleration in two instances, first breaking the tackle of Irving Mosquito and kicking long, then moving forward, receiving the handball and bursting away to snap a great goal. A couple of minutes later, James Rowbottom snapped around his body courtesy of a Gasper handball and put it through and all of a sudden it was 90 points the margin and much like the weather, Gippsland’s day went from bad to worse.

It took until the first minute of the final term for Gippsland to break through for their first goal, but a quick dribbler from Caleb Serong put them on the board to ensure they did not go goalless for the match. Then Serong had another chance running into goal but sprayed it to the left. He was pushed in the back and awarded a free, but in a weird decision, the behind counted and Serong took the free kick from 15m out, putting it through for two in as many minutes.

Oakleigh missed a chance through Gasper, and the game had lost its intensity. Gown kicked a dribbler to add his name on the board and make it three consecutive goals for the Power. The frustration of the result for the Power was boiling over as Josh Smith was reported for a clash with Charlie Beasley. Oakleigh moved the ball into attack where Charlie Whitehead had a crack on goal but it was touched en-route to goal and registered just one behind.

Collier-Dawkin  (26 disposals, four marks, five clearances and five inside 50s) was arguably Oakleigh’s best player in the win, while he missed a late chance, scoring a behind from a set shot, he was strong throughout the match. While the game was over, Atu Bosenavulagi and Matthew Day both kicked late goals to put the Chargers beyond 100. Then Bailey Wraith put one through to ensure Oakleigh won all four quarters in a thumping 93-point win.

Others who stood out for Oakleigh were Ross (29 disposals, six marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and one goal), Joe Ayton Delaney (32 disposals, five inside 50s and three rebounds), and Answerth (23 touches, three marks, five tackles, five clearances and one goal) were others who found plenty of the football. Duursma (18 disposals, seven tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s) stood tall for his team, while Serong had a big last term, finishing the game with 13 disposals, two inside 50s and two goals).

GIPPSLAND 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.3 | 3.4 (22)
OAKLEIGH 5.4 | 9.5 | 14.10 | 17.13 (115)

GOALS:

Gippsland: Caleb Serong 2, Noah Gown
Oakleigh: Dylan Williams 4, Jake Gasper 3, Matthew Day 2, Matt Rowell, Noah Answerth, Noah Anderson, Jack Ross, Riley Collier-Dawkins, James Rowbottom, Atu Bosenavulagi, Bailey Wraith.

BEST:

Gippsland: Xavier Duursma, Caleb Serong, Sam Flanders, Boadie Motton, Ryan Sparkes.
Oakleigh: Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Ross, Jake Gasper, Dylan Williams, Noah Answerth, Joe Ayton-Delaney, Will Golds.

Weekend Previews: TAC Cup – Preliminary finals

WE are down to the final four TAC Cup sides for season 2018, with Dandenong Stingrays taking on Sandringham Dragons, and Gippsland Power facing Oakleigh Chargers to determine the two, 2018 Grand Finalists.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Preliminary Finals  – Saturday, September 15, 11.30am
Ikon Park, Carlton North

Last week:

In the first of two preliminary finals, we take a look at the minor premiers, Dandenong Stingrays, taking on the fourth placed Sandringham Dragons. Last weekend, the Stingrays were on another level compared to the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, thumping them by 110 points, while the Dragons proved too good for the Murray Bushrangers in a 43-point win.

Last time:

Sandringham Dragons 6.10 (46) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 14.9 (93)

In the final round of the TAC Cup season, Dandenong Stingrays ensured the Dragons had a nervous wait across the weekend, with a top four spot on the line. Sandringham luckily witnessed Northern Knights upsetting Murray Bushrangers to earn a weekend off. On the day, Sam Sturt and Finlay Bayne both booted three goals, while Matthew Cottrell claimed best on ground for the Stingrays. For the Dragons, Angus Hanrahan was the only multiple goal kicker with two majors, while James Rendell and Liam Stocker were impressive – Stocker picking up the three votes in the match despite the 47-point loss.

 

THE KEY – INSIDE MIDFIELD

The big key in the game is which side can win the ball at the coal face and get the ball down to their key forwards and crumbers. Both sides have good firepower inside 50, and the clearances will be an area to watch with the teams having strong contested ball winners. Looking at the starting midfields, there is not much to split them with clearances and contested possessions practically even. Dandenong’s starting three midfielders lay more tackles, with Toby Bedford also spending time up forward and adding pressure up there.

Sandringham:

Liam Stocker 12.5 contested possessions, 5.6 clearances, 4.5 tackles
Harry Reynolds 10.0 contested possessions, 3.3 clearances, 2.3 tackles
Kai Owens 8.7 contested possessions, 3.8 clearances, 6.2 tackles

= 31.2 contested possessions, 12.7 clearances, 13 tackles

vs.

Dandenong:

Sam Fletcher 13.4 contested possessions, 5.2 clearances, 7.7 tackles
Campbell Hustwaite 11.0 contested possessions, 5.0 clearances, 6.1 tackles
Toby Bedford 8.0 contested possessions, 2.3 clearances, 5.7 tackles

= 32.4 contested possessions, 12.5 clearances, 19.5 tackles

 

WHY THE TEAMS WILL WIN?

Dandenong: The best team all year, depth that is envious of any other side and equal to that of fellow challenger, Oakleigh. They seem to have winners across all thirds of the ground and just made the Rebels look silly last week. A last round win against the Dragons will have the Stingrays’ confidence high to repeat the effort again. The Stingrays love a scrap and will be keen to beat the Dragons at the contest and use their bigger bodies to extract the ball and pump it long.

Sandringham: Any side with Ben King inside 50 is a threat, and the Stingrays will not only look to nullify him, but just cut off the delivery to him, full stop. But if the Dragons midfielders can get on top on the inside, then the Stingrays defence could be under siege. They also possess the ball really well and will look to play the ball on their terms with slick, short ball use.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Preliminary Finals  – Saturday, September 15, 2pm
Ikon Park, Carlton North

Last week:

Gippsland Power managed to get over the highly dangerous Geelong Falcons with a 35-point victory at Ikon Park. They took four quarters to do it – leading by just eight points at the final break before a five-goal final term saw the second placed Power storm away with the game. The Chargers had a much easier game against Western Jets, shaking off an early challenge by the Jets to post a massive 120-point victory to earn a place in the preliminary final.

Last time:

Oakleigh Chargers 8.7 (55) defeated by Gippsland Power 9.6 (60)

Not much can be read into it given Oakleigh was missing the majority of its best 22, but Gippsland got the job done in a thriller at Warrawee Park with a Noah Gown goal in the dying seconds sealing a great comeback win. Noah Answerth bombed through a goal on the siren, but not release the ball until a second too late. The result left Oakleigh’s top four hopes in the lurch, but an impressive win over Sandringham Dragons and a 15-goal rout of the GWV Rebels put any threat of missing the week off to bed pretty soon. Daniel Scala booted four goals for the Chargers, while Trent Bianco and Sam Harte were named Oakleigh’s best in the loss. For Gippsland, Gown, Harrison Pepper and Sam Flanders all booted two goals, while Gown and Boadie Motton were named in the Power’s best.

 

THE KEY – FIREPOWER FORWARDS

Both Gippsland and Oakleigh head into the clash as sides that have dynamic forward lines. Gippsland has more structure to it, with two traditional talls in Gown and Josh Smith, while Oakleigh relies on a number of medium-talls and smalls rather than a key position monster. Last week, Dylan Williams booted six goals, while Atu Bosenavulagi, Jake Gasper, Charlie Whitehead and Jay Robertson all contributed multiple goals, while Gippsland had 10 individual goal kickers, with their club leading scorer Gown, contributing just the one.

As you will see from the below total, the top six goal kickers playing in the match provide plenty of options for midfielders to kick to, with some of the forwards spending time through the middle. Oakleigh’s six will largely form the six-man forward line against the Power, while Gippsland’s will see a number of their players begin in the midfield and rest forward.

Gippsland firepower:

Noah Gown – 30.18
Josh Smith – 20.7
Sam Flanders – 19.18
Austin Hodge – 14.13
Irving Mosquito – 14.4
Xavier Duursma – 13.5

Top 6: 110.65 (725)

Oakleigh firepower:

Jake Gasper – 38.15
Matthew Day – 20.10
Dylan Williams – 18.12
Jay Robertson – 15.8
Charlie Whitehead – 14.10
Atu Bosenavulagi – 13.9

Top 6: 118.64 (772)

 

WHY THE TEAMS WILL WIN?

Gippsland: The Power play an exciting brand of football that blends both speed and pressure which is really eye-catching, and will look to match Oakleigh at its own game of doing the same. The Power must simply bring the heat to the contest, because letting Oakleigh have too much time and space results in undesirable results for the team doing so.

Oakleigh: You cannot read into the season of the Chargers despite still finishing third. They are right up there with Dandenong in terms of premiership favourites and have stamped their authority with 90 and 120-point wins in their past two outings. They have ridiculous amounts of midfield depth and big bodies to control the inside while using their runners on the outside.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Elimination finals

AFTER publishing our notes from Saturday’s elimination finals yesterday, we took a look at some of the combine invitees and future stars from Sunday’s two elimination finals.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets

Oakleigh:

By: Scott Dougan

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins

Collier-Dawkins started on the bench but quickly found himself heavily involved when he came onto the ground. He was able to accumulate plenty of possessions and he hit the scoreboard early after he pushed forward to take a mark inside 50. His clearance work was superb and he was able to put his acceleration to good use when trying to escape congestion. Collier-Dawkins seemed to have more time than he actually had and due to his size, he was able to break numerous amount of tackles.

#3 Joe Ayton-Delaney

The classy rebounding defender provided some much-needed run and carry for the Chargers early on in the match. He demonstrated clean ball use by using both feet to hit a number of targets. He was able to find plenty of space and moped up everything that came in his direction. His defensive efforts were also handy, spoiling the ball when required. Ayton-Delaney tallied a game-high 24 disposals.

#4 Will Kelly

Kelly played on dangerous forward Emerson Jeka and played really well. Kelly impressed with his ability to provide some effective run out of the defensive 50. He was able to run off his opponent with ease, collecting the ball from his teammates on the outside of the contest. His ball use was superb by hand and foot and he rarely missed a target. Kelly can effectively lock down an opponent and play well as an intercepting rebounding defender at the same time, making him very valuable.

#9 James Rowbottom

Rowbottom’s clearance work was first-class, winning plenty of first possession around the contest. He matched up on Western Jets inside midfielder Xavier O’Halloran, with both of them winning a fair of the ball. His kicking was respectable and he was able to deliver the ball inside 50 to the advantage of his teammates. Rowbottom was fierce at the contest and his defensive pressure and tackling was consistent. He ended the day with 23 touches and 10 tackles showcasing his physical presence.

#11 Matthew Rowell

The bottom-age midfielder worked tirelessly all day, running from contest to contest. He was the first player to hit the scoreboard for the day, booting an impressive goal from 40 metres out. Rowell continuously put his head over the ball and he was not afraid to attack the contest at full pace. He accumulated 22 possessions for the day and won them predominantly on the outside of the contest. His decision-making was also really good.

#13 Atu Bosenavulagi

Bosenavulagi came to life in the third and fourth quarters, booting four second-half goals. He was dangerous inside the forward 50, finding plenty of space. His best passage of play came in the third term when he sprinted away from Jets defender Buku Khamis and ran inside 50 to an open goal.

#22 Dylan Williams

The 185cm bottom-age forward was outstanding over four quarters. His leading patterns were effective and he was able to take plenty of marks on the lead, with many resulting in shots on goal. He used his body exceptionally well for his size, winning a plethora of one-on-one contests. His goal sense and footy smarts made him a difficult match-up deep inside the forward 50. He finished the day with a game-high six goals.

#23 Isaac Quaynor

Quaynor did his best to provide run and carry for his team in the first half but was not heavily involved, with the ball rarely finding its way into the Chargers backline due to their dominance. He was more involved in the second half, especially when he moved further up the ground. Quaynor moved forward in the final term and even had a shot on goal, but he pushed his kick out on the full.

 

Western:

By: Ed Pascoe

#17 Daly Andrews

Andrews had another quiet game with some strong quarters mixed with some quiet ones. In this case it was his first and fourth quarters that stood out. He kicked a lovely set shot goal outside 50 in the first quarter and in the last quarter he took a nice intercept mark and showed off his trademark smooth movement through traffic. Andrews finished with 12 disposals, three inside 50s and one goal. 

#33 Xavier O’Halloran

O’Halloran was the clear best player for Western Jets. He played a consistent four quarter game and just continued to hunt the ball and move the footy forward. O’Halloran won plenty of clearances in the first quarter and was instrumental in keeping his side relatively close going into quarter time. He showed he could make an impact away from the stoppages as well with a lovely contested mark in the second quarter. O’Halloran also kicked a long goal from 55m with a set shot from a free kick. He was also fantastic in this quarter with his desperate efforts where he continued to tap the ball on before being outnumbered and then laying a lunging tackle. O’Halloran finished with 17 disposals, seven tackles, eight inside 50s and one goal and he couldn’t have done anymore as captain of the Jets. 

 #38 Buku Khamis

Khamis played a brave game down back with the Oakleigh charge making sure Khamis was always under pressure with the ball coming in with precision and speed. Khamis took a couple of nice intercept marks in the first quarter and he used the ball well on his trusty left foot. He did not stop trying all day, continuing to intercept and get in the right spots to try and help repel Oakleigh’s attack. Khamis did not make many mistakes by hand or foot throughout the match finishing with 15 disposals, six marks and four rebound 50s. 

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Murray Bushrangers

Sandringham:

By: Scott Dougan

#7 Liam Stocker

Stocker won the first clearance of the day, delivering the ball inside 50 to teammate, Ben King. His work rate was noticeable throughout the first term, winning the footy in the back half of the ground then applying a strong tackle in the forward 50 shortly after. His stoppage work was again, a standout. He amassed 19 possessions and was able to kick an eye-catching goal on the run, after receiving a handball from Jack Mahony. Stocker’s day was finished early, with the midfield icing his shoulder on the bench late in the final term.

#23 Angus Hanrahan

Hanrahan did his best to provide some run and carry on the outside of the contest. He displayed good vision with ball in hand when he delivered a risky kick to a teammate in the middle of the ground, that paid off. He hit the scoreboard late in the fourth with a running goal from 50 metres out, contributing to the Dragons dominant last quarter.

#27 Jack Mahony

Mahony was influential throughout the four quarters, with the majority of his game time shared between the midfield and forward line. His class and composure with ball in hand was handy for the Dragons, with the bottom-age midfielder lowering the eyes to hit shorter targets with ease. He was dangerous inside the 50, booting one goal and setting up a handful of others. He was the equal highest ball-winner on the ground with 25 touches.

#28 James Rendell

Rendell shared ruck duties with fellow big man, Will Kennedy. He competed hard all day and he was able to win some important hit-outs to advantage. His third quarter was his best, winning plenty of centre clearances, along with kicking a crucial goal that gave his team a healthy three-goal lead late in the term. Rendell ended the match with 20 disposals and 19 hitouts.

#29 Ben King

King was involved in the first passage of play of the day, with the athletic forward immediately finding himself on the scoresheet, after taking a contested mark from a Liam Stocker pass. King had many opponents throughout the day and he proved to be very difficult to stop. His sticky hands and ability to mark the ball at its highest point was a highlight. King ended up with five goals for the day but could have nailed more if he had of kicked straight.

#74 Harry Reynolds

Reynolds started across the half-back line and occasionally through the midfield, impressing with his composure with ball in hand. He found plenty of the footy and used it very well. He rebounded effectively out of the defensive 50, providing some run and carry for his team. Reynolds coped a head knock after a powerful sling tackle from an opposition player but he appeared to be fine, getting to his feet moments later.  He finished with 18 disposals.

 

Murray:

By: Ed Pascoe

#5 Ely Smith

Ely Smith was a workhorse in the midfield for Murray, winning plenty of contested ball and bursting from clearances. Smith worked tirelessly throughout the day not just in the contest but so too on the outside. He ran hard to be an option and was often burnt by his teammates, but yet he still worked continuously hard to make space. His attack on the ball was a highlight with one play in the first quarter where he showcased his physical presence at the contest and kicking long to teammate Hudson Garoni inside 50. Smith’s hands at the stoppages where clean, often bursting away and firing off a handball to running teammates. Smith finished with 20 disposals, six marks and six inside 50s. 

#7 Zane Barzen

Barzen had a quiet game starting forward and working hard to be a lead up option. He took a nice mark at half back showing his work rate to get up the ground and he displayed his good foot skills with a nice quick pass down the line. He was moved to defence in the third quarter moping up a few loose balls. Barzen finished with 13 disposals. 

 #9 Mathew Walker 

Walker was a workhorse through the midfield often going in hard. He had a good clearance in the first quarter which included a great fend off. He had a few chances to convert goals but sprayed a few. One a running shot in the first quarter, in the third quarter he had a good intercept mark before quickly playing on and blazing away at goal and missing. Walker’s kicking was at its best when he lowered his eyes with nice short passes but he often blazed away going inside 50. Walker finished with 14 disposals, six inside 50s and three behinds. 

 #18 Hudson Garoni

Garoni was the main avenue to goal for Murray, he finished the game with a team high three goals. With two coming from set shots and one over the top in the last quarter. Garoni took some nice marks early in the game showcasing his strong hands and ability to read the flight of the ball. He took a nice lead up mark where he kicked a goal from 50m and another strong mark in that first quarter which would only lead to a behind.  Garoni finished with 13 disposals, six marks and three goals. 

Oakleigh makes statement with commanding win

OAKLEIGH Chargers have made one almighty statement with a huge 120-point win over the Western Jets at Ikon Park yesterday. In a half of football the Chargers booted 14 goals to five and looked every bit a premiership threat, never taking the foot off the pedal. The second half was just as impressive piling on 11 goals to one, to storm to a 20-goal victory in what seemed like a challenge back at Dandenong Stingrays.

Just 24 hours earlier, Dandenong put the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels to the sword with a 110-point thumping, and in what was a reminder of what they were equally capable of, the Chargers showed off their versatility up forward with a mammoth 25.13 (163) to 6.7 (43) victory. Much like the Stingrays, the Chargers had no shortage of winners on the day, with nearly every player contributing to the cause. So much so, the lowest disposal winner – and only player under 10 touches – was defender Charlie Beasley, who still had seven, and two rebounds. On the other end of the scale, 10 players had 20 or more disposals, as the Chargers monopolised the ball, not only winning a whopping 187 more disposals, but taking 46 more marks and had 21 more inside 50s.

It was the Chargers’ highest score of the season, and the second highest winning margin of the year, but it did not look like being a blowout early. A pinpoint perfect pass from Trent Bianco to Matthew Rowell inside 50 saw the bottom-ager convert the set shot and get the Chargers on the board, but then back-to-back goals to the Western Jets through Daly Andrews and Jack Watkins proved the sixth placed side was up for the fight. Xavier O’Neill and Matthew Day got to the right positions and gave Oakleigh back the lead, before potential Carlton father-son prospect, Oskar Manton delivered a timely blow with a perfect set shot from long range.

Jake Gasper pounced as he so often has before, on a loose ball inside 50 and converted, while Charlie Whitehead looked equally as dangerous around goals and got his first for the afternoon. When Daniel Pantalleresco found space close to goal and got one back for the Jets, the margin was just eight points with four minutes remaining in the first term. Unfortunately for the Jets, two late goals to Riley Collier-Dawkins (an impressive 50m bomb no less) and bottom-ager Dylan Williams pushed the margin out to 20 at the first change. Remarkably despite the impressive seven-goal quarter, Oakleigh talent manager Craig Notman told TAC Cup Radio they were not happy with the clearances, forward entries and work around the ground.

By half-time it would be hard not to be impressed with the Chargers’ work as they effectively ended the game with 25 minutes of unbelievable football. Jay Robertson got the ball rolling early in the term, and Williams booted another two majors either side of a Steven Kyriazis set shot. It would be the only Jets goal for the term, as Whitehead headed into the rooms with three goals to his name like Williams, while Gasper had two by the main break, and even Bailey Wraith – who was dominating in the ruck – went forward and kicked a strong set shot goal. In the blink of an eye, the margin was 59 points, and as Western Jets coach Torin Baker told TAC Cup Radio at the final break, the coaching staff knew the result from half-time, but still wanted to get something out of the second half.

Admitting so few winners across the board, the Jets skipper, Xavier O’Halloran was terrific in fighting against the tide, marking on the 50m arc and rather than passing off, took the responsibility upon himself, launching a massive set shot from 55m out and not making the umpire do any work, putting it straight through the middle. It was a little too late for the Jets however, as Atu Bosenavulagi kicked the first of his three majors, while Matthew Day joined the multiple goal kickers list with a second. Williams looked unstoppable up forward, booting another two majors to take his total to five by the final break, while Bosenavulagi and Gasper added to their goal tallies for the day with Oakleigh pushing the margin out to 91 points by the final break. The scary thing is, Oakleigh missed a number of gettable chances that could have pushed the margin beyond three figures.

It took just 75 seconds for that to happen, as Bosenavulagi converted one of the quickest goals from the first bounce with just 22 seconds passing, before less than a minute later, Williams had his sixth. Bosenavulagi kicked his fourth in the ninth minute to put the margin at 114 points, and a score of 154. With the record score for the season at 167 and record margin of 126 points – Dandenong Stingrays against Western Jets at Shepley Oval – on the line, they pushed right until the end, with the crowd wondering just how far they could go.

The last 15 minutes was a combination of missed opportunities for the Chargers, and some great defensive efforts from the Jets, who as a proud group would not have been pleased with the result. If there was anything to take out of the result, it was restricting Oakleigh to just 1.3 in that final 15-minute period. Day had a chance to break the season highest score with a shot after the siren, but pulled his set shot, meaning the Chargers had to settle for the 120-point win, and the 25 goals in the bank.

Picking the best for both sides was a difficult task with Oakleigh genuinely having 15 or more players who could force their way into the bests, while for Western, there were only a handful who stood up in disappointing day which saw one of the premiership contenders put in an eye-opening performance. By the final siren, Williams was the best on ground with six goals from 15 touches and eight marks (two contested), while fellow bottom-agers Noah Anderson (23 disposals, five marks and six inside 50s) and Rowell (22 disposals and seven marks) just kept winning the football.

Joe Ayton-Delaney was superb in defence with 24 disposals, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while James Jordon played an underrated role through the midfield that is not represented on the stats sheet with 20 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s. Bosenavulagi’s four goals from 17 disposals and four marks was the best performance of his season, and any Collingwood fans hoping to snare him cheaply would be cursing under their breath with a terrific performance, including a dazzling run through midfield putting on the jets to burn off Buku Khamis. Collier-Dawkins stepped up as well, with 20 disposals, four marks, three clearances and three inside 50s, while Jack Ross had a team-high seven clearances from 24 disposals. Wraith’s ruckwork to beat opposing man mountain Darren Walters despite giving away massive centimetres and kilograms was superb, having 35 hitouts from 11 touches. Whitehead and Gasper’s three goals each were other highlights, but the list could go on in what was arguably the performance of the season.

For the Jets, O’Halloran never stopped trying and constantly put his body on the line for 17 disposals, two marks, six clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal in what was a clear best on for the Jets. Khamis could also hold his head high in defence with four rebounds from 15 disposals and six marks (one contested), while Watkins (21 disposals, three marks, four clearances, four inside 50s and a goal), Connor Thar (18 disposals, five marks, five clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds) and Manton (11 disposals, two marks and one goal) also kept trying. But with only four players amassing more than 12 touches and half the side not reaching double figures, it was a day to forget in a season which had plenty of highlights.

With Oakleigh to meet Gippsland Power next weekend, there is little doubt that Power coach, Leigh Brown will have plenty of work to do in the lead-up to the big clash.

OAKLEIGH 7.2 | 14.6 | 20.10 | 25.13 (163)
WESTERN 4.0 | 5.1 | 6.3 | 6.7 (43)

GOALS:

Oakleigh: Dylan Williams 6, Atu Bosenavulagi 4, Jake Gasper 3, Charlie Whitehead 3, Jay Robertson 2, Matthew Rowell, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Xavier O’Neill, Bailey Wraith.
Western: Jack Watkins, Xavier O’Halloran, Daly Andrews, Oskar Manton, Steven Kyriazis, Daniel Pantalleresco.

ADC BEST:

Oakleigh: Dylan Williams, Atu Bosenavulagi, James Jordon, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Joe Ayton-Delaney, Noah Anderson.
Western: Xavier O’Halloran, Buku Khamis, Jack Watkins, Connor Thar, Oskar Manton, Jack Papachatzakis.

Liam Stocker takes out Morrish Medal in close vote count

WHEN Liam Stocker came from the field with a broken jaw in Sandringham Dragons’ clash with Gippsland Power at Morwell, it meant the talented midfielder’s hopes and dreams of representing Vic Metro were dashed. Instead of worrying about the uncontrollable factors, Stocker went head first into his recovery, shortening it from eight weeks to six and getting out on the park the first chance he got. From then on the inside midfielder went from strength to strength, earning the admiration of not only his teammates and coaches, but the umpires as well.

Stocker out last night’s 2018 Morrish Medal, the accolade awarded to the player judged as the best and fairest in the TAC Cup competition, joining the likes of Brisbane’s Hugh McCluggage and Richmond’s Jack Higgins as winners of the award. Stocker finished the vote count with 18 votes, two ahead of Western Jets midfielder Connor Thar.

The inside ball winner has been uncompromising in his approach to his football this season, overcoming that broken jaw to play 12 games for the season. Stocker averaged 22.8 disposals, 2.8 marks, 4.8 tackles, 5.7 clearances, 5.2 inside 50s and 2.1 rebounds. He has won 55.6 per cent of his possessions at the coal face.

Speaking of the moment his season would change, Stocker recalls how it was just a concoction of bad luck.

“Basically I got an errant handball, and stuck my jaw out where it was meant to be hit and copped a shoulder across the face,” Stocker said. “I sort of woke up in a daze – I think I was out for a minute and a half or so. “It was more the concussion that got me in strife, but went in and had surgery at the end of that week and I knew I had a pretty long road ahead.”

Stocker’s injury dealt him a heavy blow when he missed opportunities to play with Vic Metro – including running out on AFL venues, the MCG and Optus Stadium. He turned the disappointment into motivation and, coupled with a huge preseason, believed they were the factors instrumental for his strong back end of the season.

With a big shift in perception following his injury, Stocker sought to reestablish himself as a real competitor in the TAC Cup before season’s end. According to the Morrish Medal winner, much of this success came off the back of his new mindset instilled by Sandringham Dragons’ Senior Coach, Jeremy Barnard

“I sort of thought ‘you know what you can go and be a mediocre player for the rest of the year and not care about your performance, or you can take some attention to detail and knuckle down,” Stocker said.

Knuckle down, he did. So much so he finished the season as the best player in the competition in the umpires eyes. When asked about his success, Stocker believes he was lucky with the team he had behind him. He said the medal is more a testament to the talent of Sandringham’s midfield group and their continued support, claiming it as more as a collective reward than his own.

“I had a couple games around the season where having the support of my teammates probably helped me a lot more than anything else, so I kind of view this less as a personal award and more as, you know, the midfield group behind me with Bailey (Smith), Ryan Byrnes, Kai Owens behind me,” Stocker said. “They kind of got to me the situation I’m in now, rather than just a huge personal effort.”

The Sandringham Dragons have selection challenges throughout the year with so much of their list playing school football, but luckily for Stocker, the midfielder knows how to adapt. He has a unique backstory having spent a portion of his childhood in Hong Kong, remembering how tough it was playing against bigger bodies as a child.

“The only access we really had to footy was Grand Final day where all the Australians in Hong Kong would go and watch the Grand Final together,” he said. “Beyond that, I went to Auskick in the summer, but you have 16 year olds over there thinking they can make the AFL from Hong Kong Auskick. “It wasn’t much fun there, I was sort of getting poleaxed 24/7 as an eight year-old.”

He has not had to worry about that much lately, with the strong midfielder able to use his bigger frame to win the contested ball. The potential first round pick will be hoping to do plenty of that as he leads the Dragons onball brigade in September, starting with the Murray Bushrangers in the elimination final this weekend.

Morrish Medal Leaderboard:

1 Liam Stocker – Sandringham Dragons (18)
2 Connor Thar – Western Jets (16)
3 Atu Bosenavulagi – Oakleigh Chargers (14)
3 Campbell Hustwaite – Dandenong Stingrays (14)
3 Sam Walsh – Geelong Falcons (14)