Tag: Atu Bosenavulagi

Q&A: Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last few weeks, we head back to the pre-season where we sat down with a number of athletes across the country. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Michael Alvaro chatted with Oakleigh Chargers’ Reef McInnes at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me.

The well-built inside midfielder/forward is also part of Collingwood’s Next Generation Academy (NGA), setting him up well to follow in the footsteps of graduates Isaac Quaynor and Atu Bosenavulagi as examples of the programs’ success, and the connection between Oakleigh and Collingwood.

While he was forced forward in 2019 due to the Chargers’ stacked midfield options, McInnes is primed to use all of his 192cm frame back among the engine room this season should he get on the park. A stress reaction in his back was the only blight on his pre-season, with the youngster raring to go should football make a return.

Having stepped out on Grand Final day for the Under-17 Futures All-Star showcase, and played a part in Oakleigh’s premiership side, McInnes is already well versed in performing when it counts and looks likely to be a key figure for each side he suits up for in 2020.

Q&A:

MA: Reef, it looks like you’re sitting out the testing today, what have you picked up?

RM: “Yeah, unfortunately I’m not testing today, obviously it’s still just my back issue. “I’m fully healed now which is good to see but just not really risking it today with Round 1 coming up. It’s unfortunate.”

Other than the stress reaction, have you come up pretty well in the pre-season?

“Yeah. I got diagnosed with the stress fracture a couple of months ago but now since being put through the rehab it’s healed and (feels) a lot better which is beneficial for me so I’m looking forward to it.”

You were really impressive in your bottom-age season, what kind of a base has that given you now for your top-age year?

“I really enjoyed my bottom-age year. “Just being around some of the big names who got drafted last year. It’s just been a good experience being able to have that opportunity, and going through different programs like Vic Metro. “I’m just excited to see how the year goes and what’s ahead for me.”

With the stacked engine room last year, you got pushed out to the flanks – are you looking forward to getting back into a midfield role?

“I’d love to. “Midfield I think is my best position but honestly, wherever the team needs me I guess, I’m happy to play there. “But obviously midfield, I’d love that.”

It must be great to have some mentors like Isaac Quaynor at the Collingwood Next Generation Academy?

“It’s been awesome. “Just being able to associate with a couple of the coaches there, to have that experience to train with the AFL club and all that has been awesome. “Especially Isaac, knowing him personally as a mate of mine, he’s been able to guide me through and it’s been really beneficial. “Same with people like Will Kelly, those sort of boys it’s been really helpful for me just being around them.”

Does it help you set up some goals now being around those guys at the next level?

“Yeah, it’s been awesome. “Just to see my mates get to where their goals have taken them, hopefully one day that’s me but obviously I’ve got to keep working.”

What are some of those goals you’re setting up now?

“Obviously I’d love to play in the (national) carnival, to have a good shot at that would be awesome. “But obviously AFL’s the goal in the end for most of us boys who are here so if that happens, that’s awesome. “But if not, then I’ll keep working.”

Classic Contests: Last-placed Jets shock ladder-leading Chargers

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 2 clashes in the NAB League this year between Western Jets and Oakleigh Chargers. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2017, when a top-of-the-table Oakleigh Chargers outfit was expected to make light work of last placed Western Jets heading across the West Gate Bridge to play at Burbank Oval. Except nobody told future pick one, Cameron Rayner.

WESTERN JETS 3.4 | 4.11 | 5.12 | 8.15 (63)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.2 | 5.2 | 7.7 | 8.9 (57)

Round 15 | Saturday, August 5, 2017
Burbank Oval, 10.30am

The Round 15 clash took place at Western Jets’ home ground down at Williamstown. When first takes on last, not too many expect a surprise result, especially when the opposition is littered with potential AFL stars. That was to take nothing away from Western who had a couple of guns of their own in highly touted AFL Academy members, Rayner and Lachlan Fogarty, and the smooth moving Buku Khamis, as well as a couple of talented bottom-agers in Xavier O’Halloran and Zak Butters. It was more Oakleigh’s roll call was ultra impressive as Jack Higgins, Xavier O’Neill, James Rowbottom and Riley Collier-Dawkins would go on to be drafted a couple of months later, with Isaac Quaynor and Atu Bosenavulagi joining them in the AFL a year later, and even a 16-year-old Dylan Williams was strutting his stuff and showing his future potential for the Chargers. The round marked the return of the school footballers, with Western having gone down to Sandringham Dragons by five goals the week before, while Oakleigh had triumphed over Calder Cannons by 33 points.

Straight out of the blocks it was clear the Jets were firing with the return of their stars, Rayner and Fogarty. In fact it was the latter who got on the board early, and while his major was countered by the clever Higgins, Western added a couple more majors before the first quarter break to lead by 14 points. It had taken Oakleigh more than 10 minutes to score, but considering the blustery conditions, it would be hardly panic stations just yet. Soon, it was the Chargers that decided enough was enough, with Higgins snagging is second, and then Lucas Westwood and Daniel Scala piling on the next three goals to regain the lead for the visiting team by less than a kick. Up stepped Rayner who booted a crucial major late in the quarter for his side to head into the main break with a three-point advantage still.

Former basketballer, Matthew Day showed why he was highly rated with a clever goal four minutes into the third term to hand his side back the lead, something that would change regularly from this point on. O’Halloran kicked truly for his side and the home fans were up and about again, before future Eagle, O’Neill kicked his first to hand his side the lead – a seven-point buffer going into what would be a highly anticipated last quarter. When called upon, Rayner stepped up again to kick a crucial major and draw within two points, though no sooner had he done that and Scala had his third and the Chargers had some breathing space. Blake Graham kept the game on edge with a goal in the ninth minute mark, and for the next 10 minutes, a Jets behind was the only score, and the close was ticking down with two points separating the sides. Neither team was giving an inch until Toby Kopa popped up with a massive match-winning goal with eight minutes remaining as the Jets were able to trap the ball in their forward half for the most part, and despite inaccuracy, hold on for a memorable six-point win.

The soon-to-be number one pick in Rayner had a day out with 23 disposals, two marks (one contested), 11 tackles and 2.4 in a prominent effort through the middle of the ground and resting forward. Fogarty (17 disposals, three marks, nine tackles and 1.3) and Khamis (17 disposals, five marks – three contested) were also named among the best, while O’Halloran finished with 18 disposals, three marks, two tackles and a goal. Butters was a highly touted prospect but still very light, picking up the six disposals and one tackle in the challenging conditions.

For the Chargers, the always unlucky in terms of injury, Jack Roughsedge racked up 28 disposals and seven tackles, while Williams was named second best with 16 disposals, one mark and one tackle. Higgins had his lion-share of the ball with 27 disposals, two marks, six tackles and a goal, while Scala was the dominant goalkicker with three majors from 10 touches, one mark and three tackles. Collier-Dawkins (six disposals) and Quaynor (five disposals) were quiet, while Rowbottom (16 disposals), O’Neill (15 disposals, seven tackles and one goal) and Bosenavulagi (eight disposals and one goal) were solid.

Oakleigh would still finish as minor premiers for the 2017 season, but due to the straight elimination finals series – after smashing Northern Knights at Victoria Park – would bow out to Sandringham Dragons in the preliminary finals. Despite Western Jets picking up three wins in the last four games of the season – thanks to the inclusions of Rayner and Fogarty – they would fall short of finals, finishing 10th and six points outside the top eight. It was reasons like this that ultimately saw AFL Victoria change the finals series to include Wildcard Round.

Classic Contests: Performance fit for a King helps Dragons roar

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest it is a clash between sides who would have played last Sunday week ago if the NAB League Boys competition was on, and we travel back in time to the day Max King not only underlined his future scope, but wrote it in full capitals with multiple exclamation marks. While King’s performance was the most talked about aspect of Sandringham Dragons’ win over Oakleigh Chargers in Round 2, 2018, the two teams were littered with future AFL draftees.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 2.6 | 5.6 | 10.7 | 13.11 (89)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 4.3 | 7.4 | 8.6 | 9.12 (66)

Round 2 | Saturday, March 31, 2018
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn, 1.30pm

Two heavyweights of the TAC Cup competition, Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers were once again considered premiership contenders with a host of future AFL talents on their lists. Coming into the Round 2 clash that promised to be a beauty, both teams had won their first round encounters, keeping their opponents to low scores. Sandringham booted an inaccurate 9.18 (72), but still defeated Northern Knights by 45 points in wet and windy conditions. In the earlier game, Oakleigh Chargers added 8.13 (61) to Eastern Ranges’ 1.5 (11) to get the chocolates there too. To give an idea of the talent on display in the Round 2 clash between the sides, a total of 21 players would go on to be drafted over the next two years, 14 from Oakleigh and seven from Sandringham, but the Dragons certainly had a ton of top-end, top-age talents.

Early on it looked as if Oakleigh was going to get up, making more of its opportunities in front of goal, booting 4.3 to 2.6 in the opening term to lead by nine points, which extended to 10 by the main break. The only thing keeping the Dragons in the contest was Max King, with the unbeatable forward just simply sensational in the air or at ground level. He booted two goals in the first term and three in the second to take his total to five by half-time. He had booted the entire Dragons team’s goals in a half of football, as a few famous names were sharing it up the other end. Will Kelly (son of Craig, Collingwood), Zac Hart (son of Ben, Adelaide) and Ben Silvagni (son of Stephen, Carlton) booted five of the Chargers’ seven goals to the main break.

Four consecutive goals straight out of the gates in the second half to the Dragons turned the game on its head, with King booting his sixth, and then eventually seventh at the end, while a couple of bottom-agers in Jack Mahony (two goals) and Finn Maginness (one) chipped in with majors. Hart booted his third goal of the contest later in the third term, while another father-son prospect, Kyle Dunkley (son of Andrew, Sydney) got on the board early in the fourth to cut the deficit to seven points. That would be the Chargers’ last goal though, with Ben King going forward and taking a major away from his brother, while Max would boot his eighth later in the term, leading Sandringham to a memorable win. Whilst many were involved in that second half, had it not been for King’s work inside 50 in that first half, the Chargers could have been six goals up and almost home and hosed on a windy day.

Max King finished the game as the obvious choice for best on ground, slamming home eight majors – and should have gone into double figures – with five behinds to boot. He clunked a massive six contested marks from nine completed grabs, and the opposition defence was simply hopeless to stop him. It was one of the most complete individual performances by a key forward at the level, and no doubt would have scarred some opposition defenders into the future. Ben King was just as dominant starting up the other end and going forward, taking nine grabs himself – four contested – to go with 20 touches, six inside 50s and that last quarter goal. The top ball winner on the day was Angus Hanrahan (29 disposals, nine marks, four rebounds), while Alastair Richards (26 disposals, 11 marks and seven inside 50s) also feasted on the ball. From other future draftees, Hugo Ralphsmith (16 disposals, five rebounds), Maginness (15 disposals, four inside 50s and four tackles), Josh Worrell (14 disposals, four marks), Liam Stocker (13 disposals, four marks, five clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds), and Mahony (12 disposals, six marks, five tackles and two goals) all held their own.

Of Oakleigh’s famed side, Trent Bianco was impressive with 26 disposals, four marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds, teaming up well with other future AFL talents in James Rowbottom (23 disposals, three marks, three tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds) and Xavier O’Neill (22 disposals, eight marks, six tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds). A trio of bottom agers in Dylan Williams, Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell all picked up 20 touches, while Isaac Quaynor (19 disposals, five marks and five rebounds) was prolific out of defence, as Riley Collier-Dawkins and Jack Ross added to the ridiculous depth of that midfield. The other two who played in the game yet to be mentioned and made their way onto AFL lists were Noah Answerth and Atu Bosenavulagi (both 15 disposals).

As history would show, Max King unfortunately went down with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in school footy a few weeks later, and would miss the remainder of the season. Sandringham Dragons reached the Preliminary Finals where they were bundled out by eventual premiers, Dandenong Stingrays who won in a thriller against the Chargers a week later.

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.