Tag: Bailey Frauenfelder

King’s high five sees Dragons through to prelim

A FIVE-goal haul from potential top five pick, Ben King has handed Sandringham Dragons the final golden ticket into the preliminary finals after a regulatory 43-point win over Murray Bushrangers at Ikon Park yesterday afternoon. The Dragons looked ominous from the first bounce with a bullet pass from Morrish Medallist Liam Stocker right down the throat of King to deliver the opening goal of the game. King marked again, but this time kicked it out on the full, then kicked a behind with a third mark.

Up the other end, Murray Bushrangers’ and TAC Cup leading goal kicker, Hudson Garoni added his first off a strong mark and long bomb with the breeze. After two straight goals, it started a series of eight behinds which was polar opposite to the first game, which had 13 scoring shots for 11 goals in the first term, whereas this match had three goals from 11 scoring shots by the time the clever Lachlan Ash put through a major. He had created something out of nothing, and handed the Bushrangers a six-point lead at quarter time.

King’s second term was even more imposing than his first, taking four marks from seven disposals and booting 2.2. Both Ash and Garoni had chances to double up on their opening term goals, but missed, while King converted his first opportunity. Bottom-agers Finn Maginness and Jack Mahony worked their forward magic to help Sandringham to the lead midway through the second term, and when King nailed his second goal in the nineteenth minute, the Dragons held a three-goal lead. Will Kennedy missed a chance late, but the Dragons headed into the break with a handy 19-point lead at the ascendancy. Josh Worrell had a terrific second term, racking up 10 disposals and five marks coming out of defence and along the wing.

The third term was a lot closer, as Garoni, and the clever forward in Elijah Hollands both kicked goals and brought the margin back to seven points. Just as it looked like Murray would storm back into the lead, King stepped up again with another goal, as did big man, James Rendell who took a strong mark and kicked a long goal. Hollands responded to join Garoni on two goals each for the Bushrangers, but then it was the magic man once again who came to the party when required. King took a couple of marks from almost identical positions, the first of which he missed, then the second he had worked out the breeze and put it straight through the middle for his fifth.

A terrific Liam Stocker goal from long range had the crowd up and about, breaking the Bushranger hearts late in the term. For all the gallant work Murray had put in, the Dragons now led by 26 points and would have the breeze in the final term. Tom Boyd had been terrific down back with 22 disposals and nine marks to three quarter time, stemming the flow from the Dragons onslaught inside 50. Sandringham had plenty of chances, but Murray’s defence was holding up despite the deficit.

Murray needed an early goal to give them a sniff in the final quarter, but it was Maginness who got on the board first after six minutes of play. Garoni stood tall to answer for the Bushrangers a few minutes later and cut the deficit back to 27 points, but it was all Sandringham from then on. Angus Hanrahan decided he did not need the lead of King inside 50, going it alone from the arc and pumping home one of the goal’s of the day, with a huge kick that sailed through half post-high. If that did not seal the game, then Darcey Chirgwin put the final nail in the Bushrangers’ coffin with a 50m penalty kick from the goal square. His work up forward had been impressive, and he got reward for his effort with the major.

After three straight behinds to Sandringham in a game which had lost it’s intensity, Bailey Frauenfelder got a consolation goal for the Bushrangers after a strong lead, mark and set shot. But an after-the-siren goal to George Grey with his only kick for the match, put the cream on top of an ultimately sweet cake for the Dragons, in what was a solid effort ahead of the massive challenge that is, the Dandenong Stingrays next week.

The Dragons had plenty of contributors, with King finishing the day with five goals from 11 shots, including five behinds and one out on the full, as well as 19 disposals and a massive 11 marks (six contested), Stocker had 19 touches, two marks, five clearances, six inside 50s and one goal, while fellow midfielder, Mahony finished with 25 touches (15 contested), five clearances, five inside 50s and 1.2. Rendell was impressive through the ruck with 19 hitouts and two clearances, to go with 20 disposals, six marks (two contested), six inside 50s and one goal. Fellow tall, Corey Watts stood up in defence with eight marks (three contested) and five rebounds from 15 disposals. Worrell was busy cross the match with 20 disposals, six marks and five inside 50s, while Kai Owens returned to record a big game with 25 disposals, three marks, four clearances and four inside 50s.

For the Bushrangers, Garoni tried hard up forward with six grabs (one contested) and 13 disposals and 3.2, while Boyd was equally as strong up the other end with 24 disposals, 11 marks and 11 rebounds. Ash’s terrific bottom-age year finished on a high with 24 disposals, eight marks (one contested), two clearances, three inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal. Ely Smith‘s work around the stoppages was not to be understated, having three clearances, six inside 50s and 20 disposals. Others who impressed with Jimmy Boyer (18 touches, six marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and three rebounds), Nicholas Irvine (18 disposals, 10 marks and three rebounds) and Ed Adams (16 disposals, five marks and five rebounds), while Hollands kicked the two goals from 14 disposals and six marks.

SANDRINGHAM 1.4 | 5.8 | 9.10 | 13.16 (94)
MURRAY 2.4 | 2.7 | 5.8 | 7.9 (51)

GOALS:

Sandringham: Ben King 5, Finn Maginness 2, Jack Mahony, James Rendell, Liam Stocker, Darcey Chirgwin, Angus Hanrahan, George Grey.
Murray: Hudson Garoni 3, Elijah Hollands 2, Lachlan Ash, Bailey Frauenfelder.

ADC BEST:

Sandringham: Ben King, Liam Stocker, Jack Mahony, James Rendell, Josh Worrell, Corey Watts.
Murray: Lachlan Ash, Ely Smith, Tom Boyd, Jimmy Boyer, Ed Adams, Elijah Hollands

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 13

TAC Cup action returns this weekend with all 12 teams back at it. While some are understrength due to school football, the ladder is taking shape as just four rounds remain in the competition ahead of the new addition of a wildcard round after Round 16.

EASTERN RANGES v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 12pm
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

The opening game of the round pits two bottom four sides against each other, with the Rebels able to draw within four points of the eighth placed Northern Knights if they can win, while Eastern can draw level with Geelong Falcons and within two points of the Rebels if they can take home the four points. Eastern’s midfield has been relatively settled this year, with Joel Burleigh, Kye Quirk, Adrian Kalcovski and Mitch Mellis all busy through the middle, while Ben Cardamone and Xavier Fry have proved important in the back half. James Blanck‘s return to the side in the past week has settled the defence down, while in attack, the return of Thomas Lockman combining with Billy McCormack should provide some targets up front. For the Rebels, they have beefed up their attack, bringing in Tylar Watts and Josh Chatfield, making for an even more damaging forward line with the likes of Jed Hill, Charlie Wilson and Izaac Grant set to cause headaches for Eastern’s defence. While the half-back line of Scott Carlin and Matty Lloyd provides good rebound. It’s a 50/50 game with Eastern having the home ground advantage.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 1pm
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

In arguably the match of the round, Murray Bushrangers hosts Western Jets up in Wangaratta where two of the top inside midfielders will go head-to-head in Ely Smith and Xavier O’Halloran. There are fantastic one-on-ones across the field with the likes of Jacob Koschitzke taking Emerson Jeka, Buku Khamis potentially lining up on Hudson Garoni, and Hamish Murphy going head-to-head with Zane Barzen. Both sides pride themselves on contested ball and speed from half-back, so it is likely to be an entertaining contest of end-to-end football. Jaden Rice is a crucial loss for the Jets on this road trip, but they have plenty of depth through the midfield, and potency up forward with Darcy Cassar, Aaron Clarke and Steven Kyriazis being sources of scoreboard pressure. Murray arguably have the best forward line in the league with Jordon Butts joining Barzen and Garoni, while Jye Chalcraft and Bailey Frauenfelder are always damaging. If the Bushrangers win they will retain third spot, while the Jets could leap frog both Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers with favourable results in other games if they take home the points.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 2pm
Preston City Oval, Preston

Another important top eight clash tomorrow is that between the Northern Knights and Gippsland Power. The Knights sit eighth with an eight-point buffer, but will be keen to have another win and upset the Power. The Power sit in second spot, but Murray Bushrangers are hot on their heels and with the finals approaching, a top four spot is at a premium. Last time these two sides played it was a draw at Morwell Recreation Reserve after Irving Mosquito kicked a goal in the dying seconds. Mosquito is in the team again to cause some serious headaches, while Tyrone Hayes also returns to provide some speed around the ground. Noah Gown is fresh off a five-goal haul and will be keen to impress once again at full-forward, while Sam Flanders and Austin Hodge know how to hit the scoreboard. For the Knights, they have Josh D’Intinosante and Sunny Brazier who consistently find goals, while Harrison Grace is an important inclusion at half-forward, with he and James Lucente capable of creating opportunities in the front half. Tom McKenzie and Lachlan Potter will provide plenty of run off half-back, while Matthew McGannon will look to continue his strong form from last week to carry over into this important game. Gippsland will head in as favourites, but the Knights have the speed and talent to cause an upset at home.

 

CALDER CANNONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 11.30am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

An early Sunday game at RAMS Arena is set to provide a treat with an almost full-strength Dandenong side taking on a Calder team with Curtis Taylor back in the side. Dandenong seem to be the clear benchmark this season and will go in as strong favourites, but Calder have matched it with most sides this year and have caused a number of upsets. Opposing captains Campbell Hustwaite and Mitch Podhajski could go head-to-head in the middle, both capable of running both ways and working hard to help their team gain momentum. The speed of the Stingrays might trouble the Cannons, with Zac Foot and Jai Taylor providing plenty of outside run, while Will Hamill and Sam Fletcher provide the inside hands. Bailey Williams is a monster in the air, and Riley Bowman and the returning Bailey Schmidt will push the Cannons for height. Daniel Hanna could be handed the job on Williams, while Lucas Cavallaro and Lachlan Sholl will look to be the ones rebounding from defence. Taylor is a hard match-up for any opposition up forward, and could go head-to-head with potential number one pick in 2019, Hayden Young. The Stingrays seem almost assured of the minor premiership this season, but the wind at RAMS Arena always throws up a few surprises, while the Cannons can go outright seventh with breathing space if the Power defeat the Knights.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 1pm
Central Reserve, Colac

Out in the south west, Geelong Falcons will look to take advantage of mass changes for Oakleigh to snatch a win in the Falcons’ home away from home in Colac. While Ned McHenry is a big loss for the Falcons, the Chargers will have to overcome wholesale changes with players heading back to school football. Sam Walsh, Oscar Brownless and Cooper Stephens will still have a fascinating battle in midfield, with Riley Collier-Dawkins, Xavier O’Neill and Noah Answerth, while Oakleigh’s dominant forward line still has serious threats with bottom-agers Noah Anderson and Dylan Williams down there, as well as over-ager Matthew Day and top-ager Jake Gasper who have both booted bags of goals this season – Gasper last week. The strength in attack means Oakleigh will be a danger if they can control the midfield, while Geelong can control play if they win the contested ball. Connor Idun and Dane Hollenkamp will look to contain the forwards, while Brayden Ham is back at half-back where he will try and provide both offensive and defensive pressure on the opposition. Up forward, Blake Schlensog provides a target, while Baxter Mensch and Jay Dahlhaus are others who can find the ball and keep it moving forward. Despite the changes and the home ground advantage, Oakleigh would be rightfully favourites in this game, but Geelong pushed Sandringham Dragons all the way last round and will be hoping for a repeat effort this week.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 2.30pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons will take on Bendigo Pioneers in what should be a close game on paper. The Dragons will rightfully head in as favourites, but any time a team makes 17 changes is always going to present challenges. The Pioneers have remained relatively stable and welcomed James Schischka back into the side. While the Dragons have plenty of depth and still some serious talent around the field, they will look to their next tier of players to step up in front of a home crowd. Liam Stocker will look to build on his great form of late since returning from injury, while James Rendell is back in the team to provide a tall target up front. Jai Florent and Tyson Milne are small forwards who create opportunities at ground level, while Corey Watts and Ryan Byrnes are others who have shown good signs throughout the season. For the Pioneers, Jacob Atley provides good speed and effort out of defence, and will combine well with Schischka back there. Noah Wheeler, Hunter Lawrence and Liam Marciano are always involved, while Oscar and Flynn Perez provide some excitement up forward and on the outside. A win to Sandringham could see them move past Murray into third spot, while a loss could see them drop back as far as sixth. The Pioneers can get off the bottom of the TAC Cup table with a win here.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 12b

WITH three games to cast an eye over this weekend, we look at some of the key players in each game and a number of crucial match-ups that could decide the contest.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 12 – Saturday, July 21, 1pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

In the first game of the round, top-of-the-table Dandenong Stingrays take on the last placed Bendigo Pioneers at home in what on face value appears to be a one-sided contest. Given the Stingrays’ big inclusions such as Bailey Williams, Zac Foot and Jake Frawley among others, it will be a tough ask for the smaller Pioneers, who have lost talented bottom-age tall Brodie Kemp to school football. However, Josh Grace will be a welcome inclusion against Williams and Stephen Cumming who are likely to cause the defence all sorts of headaches. In the midfield, both teams pride themselves on contested ball and Noah Wheeler and Hunter Lawrence will go head-to-head with the likes of Sam Fletcher and Campbell Hustwaite on the inside. Jacob Atley and Liam Marciano provide good run and carry out of the Pioneers defence, while Zac Foot and Jai Taylor provide the same for the Stingrays. Dandenong will deservedly head in as very strong favourites, but with nothing to lose, the Pioneers should throw everything at the ladder leaders and test themselves against the benchmark team.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 12 – Sunday, July 22, 1pm
Deakin Reserve, Shepparton

In the first of two Sunday games occurring at the same time, the fourth placed Murray Bushrangers take on the eleventh placed Eastern Ranges at Shepparton. Murray will also be strong favourites in this clash with Jacob Koschitzke returning to the defence after a huge last couple of months for the GWS GIANTS and Allies. But it is Murray’s attack which is unbelievably diverse given it contains competition leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, the X-factor in Zane Barzen, as well as talented bottom-agers Lachlan Ash and Jye Chalcraft while Jordon Butts has shown he can kick a bag, and Bailey Frauenfelder often chips in with scoreboard pressure. The midfield duo of Ely Smith and Kyle Clarke will go head-to-head with Kye Quirk and Lachlan Stapleton, while Eastern will look to release Joel Burleigh and Mitch Mellis on the wings. James Blanck will be the man Eastern turns to in order to restrict Garoni, while Ben Cardamone and Adrian Kalcovski will look to continue their good form. Murray will be keen to take back third spot with victory here, while Eastern can gain some breathing space from Bendigo should they get up.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. WESTERN JETS

Round 12 – Sunday, July 22, 1pm
Morwell Football Ground, Morwell

Over at Morwell, the Gippsland Power and Western Jets do battle in what is expected to be the clear match of the weekend. The Power sits second and could pull away from its closest rivals with a win, while a victory to Western would see them regain a top four spot, and be one of three sides potentially on 32 points – with Oakleigh two points behind. A win to the Jets would also mean the Stingrays would be a massive 12 points clear on top if they defeat Bendigo. Both respective captains in Xavier Duursma and Xavier O’Halloran return to their sides, along with a host of talented inclusions such as Sam Flanders and Matthew McGannon (Gippsland) and Emerson Jeka and Buku Khamis (Western). Kyle Reid is another big inclusion for the Power and will settle the defence along with McGannon. The midfield battle will be intriguing with O’Halloran, Connor Thar and Jack Watkins taking on Duursma, Flanders and Harold Hood. Stefan Radovanovic and Daly Andrews will break open the game with their pace, while the Power will look to Tyrone Hayes and Irving Mosquito to do the same at either end. This game is hard to pick, with the home ground advantage going to Gippsland, but Western have been very good with their best side on the park. Expect it to be a thriller.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 11

WITH the Under 18 National Championships done and dusted, some important fixtures in the back end of the TAC Cup season will come to the fore as the race to the finals heats up. Over the coming weeks, a number of Vic Country, Vic Metro and Allies representatives will slot back into their respective sides as they near full strength once again.

CALDER CANNONS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 10:45am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The first game of the round pits Calder, looking to hold on to its spot in the top eight, against Western Jets, hoping to maintain its position in the top four. Both sides came into the year with a good raft of top end talent to propel their respective teams into finals contention. Having done so, they will each welcome back a Vic Metro representative in the form of Calder’s Lachlan Sholl, and Western’s skipper Stefan Radovanovic with the National Championships wrapped up. There’s an interesting quirk that will play a deciding part in the fixture, as both sides having the exactly same tally in points for (676) and against (674) – with both defences sured up at the selection table, it will be worth seeing which team can kick a winning score in blustery RAMS conditions. The Cannons will be looking to co-captain Mitch Podhajski to add some goal threat from midfield after a stint with Coburg in the VFL, while the Jets should get a good amount of potency from 2019 prospect Darcy Cassar.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 11:30am

Trevor Barker Oval, Sandringham

Despite sitting pretty in fifth, the depth of the Sandrignham Dragons squad has been tested at times this season, and the eighth placed Knights will be looking to have that same effect when they meet on Saturday. While the Dragons scraped home against Oakleigh in an important win last time out, Northern suffered a loss that sees them clinging on to their finals spot, and another defeat could see the teams below cut the gap to within four points. To help allay those threats, bottom-aged Vic Metro rep Ryan Gardner comes back into the team alongside mobile over-age tall Joel Naylor, who could pose a goal threat alongside fellow inclusion James Lucente should he be thrown up the ground. Sandringham will look to gain an edge in the midfield, with guns Liam Stocker, Alistair Richards and Harry Houlahan making up a dangerous centre bounce line-up. The likes of Patrik Della Rocca and Josh D’Intinosante have both mixed midfield time with their forward duties, and may have to put their hands up if the Knights are to stand a chance.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 2:00pm
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

With both sides coming off tight losses to top eight competition, the Chargers and Ranges will be looking to get back on the winners list. Oakleigh are poised a game clear within the finals spots in sixth, while Eastern have notched just the two wins in 2018 to sit in eleventh place. The Ranges possess a consistent group of midfield performers, and will welcome the likes of Lachlan Stapleton back into that mix to go with skipper Joel Burleigh, Kye Quirk and Mitch Mellis. Half-backs Xavier Fry and Ben Cardamone will have their work cut out for them with the inclusion of bottom-aged Vic Metro star Dylan Williams for Oakleigh, who may even spend some time through the middle alongside fellow ins Lachlan Bugeja and Xavier O’Neill. Oakleigh are one of the more free-scoring teams, while Eastern have struggled in that department this year, so the onus will be on that midfield group to win the ball early and put pressure on the Chargers defence while protecting their own.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 2:00pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Ladder leaders Dandenong will be looking to continue their winning ways when they host Geelong in Saturday’s second afternoon game. The Stingrays have some vital breathing space on top of the table, and more importantly, add some serious talent back into the line-up. The team that is rolling on throughout the season adds Riley Bowman, Will Hamill and Toby Bedford after their Vic Country stints, and team that with the Cumming twins – Stephen and Matthew – and Sam De Koning and there’s some impressive talls and great crumbers. Jai Taylor provides the speed, while Campbell Hustwaite and Jamie Plumridge can find the football on the inside. For the Falcons, they also welcome back a few key players after a disastrous game last round where they failed to kick a goal. Connor Idun and Dane Hollenkamp add important strength to the back 50, while Blake Schlensog will be a target up front. With no Sam Walsh or Ned McHenry in this game, the Falcons will need it’s next tier to stand up against a star-studded Stingrays midfield.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 11 – Sunday, July 8, 12:00pm
Morwell Football Ground, Morwell

On the early game on Sunday, we have the match of the round with two top four sides going head-to-head. The Power are coming off a draw to Calder Cannons and a shock loss to the Bendigo Pioneers, while the Bushrangers have regained form after a rare loss to Oakleigh Chargers, to smash Geelong Falcons last week. The winner will take second spot on the table, while the loser might slip to fourth if the Western Jets get up. Murray’s forward line is arguably the best in the comp with the leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, crashing packs and causing all sorts headaches for opposition defenders. Jye Chalcraft and Bailey Frauenfelder have been impressive in attack, while Jordon Butts has also kicked a bag of goals in the past month. The most in-form TAC Cup player in Ely Smith returns after a huge game for Vic Country, and he will face off against Caleb Serong, Riley Baldi and Austin Hodge in the midfield. Both sides have promising bottom-agers including Lachlan Ash and Brock Smith who have been in strong form throughout the season, and it is billed as an exciting clash for those who can make it to the game.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 11 – Sunday, July 8, 1:00pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the final game of the round, two sides pretty keen for a win face-off with both sides managing the two so far this season. For Bendigo Pioneers, they had a fantastic win over Gippsland Power last week and will want to go back-to-back with victory over the GWV Rebels here. The Rebels will remember the round one loss against the Pioneers where they had control of the game until Tom Berry came off with concussion and the Pioneers swarmed home to win by a point. With Berry and Scott Carlin returning to the side, joining Matty Lloyd as some crucial players in that team, the Rebels will fancy their chances. But Brodie Kemp was impressive for Vic Country, while Bailey Henderson returns, and Noah Wheeler is coming off a season-best game. It spells an even contest and one which will result in a well-deserved victor.

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 9

MURRAY Bushrangers have bounced back into the top four and now sit just two points behind second after favourable results. The Bushrangers defeated the Bendigo Pioneers, while losses to the Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets ensured the Bushrangers stay outside the top four was just a short one. Meanwhile Calder Cannons and Gippsland Power played out a draw, and the Northern Knights came from behind to defeat GWV Rebels away.

Western Jets vs. Geelong Falcons

By: Brandon Hutchinson

In poor conditions at Avalon Airport Oval, the Falcons and Jets were locked in a tight contest ending in a low a low scoring affair. By the end of the first, Falcons led by a goal, and by halftime that dropped to just a point. The game was scrappy and accuracy was less than subpar, but by the third the Falcons took control taking a 10-point lead and holding it until the end of the game.

Brayden Ham (18 disposals and six inside 50s) was pivotal in the Falcons win, having kicked four goals for the game. Cooper Cartledge stepped up to captain his side and dominated in the final quarter, taking plenty of intercept marks and finishing the game with 18 disposals, seven marks and five rebounds. Titit Nyak (15 disposals, three marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds) Baxter Mensch (34 disposals, seven marks, five clearances and seven inside 50s and one goal) Sheldon Ham (11 disposals and three inside 50s) also impressed with great composure and ball sense.

Hamish Murphy played strong out of the backline, keeping centred and in control of the ball. Darcy Cassar and Lucas Rocci fought hard through the Jets’ midfield to earn the contested ball and Steven Kyriazis played supreme overhead. The boys fought hard but were unfortunate in their fight back during the second half.

 

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Oakleigh Chargers

By: Liam Connop

On a breezy day at Shepley Oval, top-side Dandenong were too strong for a gallant Oakleigh. The Stingrays were noticeably taller than their opposition over the ground, which would be influential as the game went on. Though the game was tight early, Dandenong broke the shackles in the second term, piling on five goals to one to lead by 42 points at half-time. Despite this, the Chargers fought hard until the final siren, eventually succumbing to a 55-point loss and losing a place in the top four.

Campbell Hustwaite (22 possessions, 11 tackles) was great in-and-under all day in the midfield for the Stingrays, while Reid Nanscawen (26 touches, six marks and five tackles) had an outstanding game in the midfield. Effective ball-use was provided off half-back by Will Hamill (16 possessions, three marks) and Hayden Young (12 possessions, three marks) to help set-up many attacking plays for the Stingrays.

For the Chargers, Jake Gasper (13 possessions, four tackles, two goals) presented to the midfielders all day while teammates Xavier O’Neill (22 possessions) and Fraser Elliott (21 possessions) were prominent in the midfield. Daniel Scala (13 possessions, seven tackles) also tried hard all day, competing well to win the footy.

 

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Murray Bushrangers

By: Peter Williams

Murray Bushrangers have bounced back from a rare loss to Oakleigh Chargers last week, to record a 40-point win over Bendigo Pioneers at Queen Elizabeth Oval on Sunday. Murray booted the only two goals of the first quarter, and led by 20 points at the main break. Much like the first term, Murray came out firing in the third quarter, booting the only three goals of the term to stretch their lead to 39 points at the final break. A spirited Pioneers outfit only lost the final quarter by a point, but still suffered their eighth consecutive loss.

Jimmy Boyer and Ely Smith were busy for the Bushrangers, racking up 28 disposals each. Boyer took seven marks and laid five tackles, while Smith was instrumental on the inside with nine clearances and nine tackles. Kyle Clarke had a massive 24 kicks from his 25 disposals, also notching up five marks, six clearances, four rebounds and eight tackles. Up forward Jordon Butts was the main man in Hudson Garoni‘s absence, slotting six goals, while Bailey Frauenfelder had plenty of chances with five scoring shots from 19 disposals, but finished the game with 1.4. Bottom-ager Jye Chalcraft was one of the best on the ground, with his agility and forward prowess resulting in him collecting 24 disposals, four marks, four tackles and booting a goal.

Liam Marciano was once again impressive for the Pioneers, racking up 25 disposals, seven marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and seven rebounds. Jacob Atley was equally as busy with 25 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and two rebounds. The Perez brothers continued their good form from the week before with Oscar booting two goals from 21 disposals and six marks, while Flynn racked up 20 disposals, three marks, three tackles and four inside 50s. Zane Keighran got on the scoreboard with two majors, while Noah Wheeler had an equal team-high four clearances to go with his 18 disposals.

 

Gippsland Power vs. Calder Cannons

By: Peter Williams

Jake Riccardi-inspired Calder Cannons outfit has stunned an in-form Gippsland Power at Morwell on Sunday. The Power went into the game as strong favourites, having brought back a number of talented players into the line-up, although they were still missing some stars due to Vic Country. The Cannons were well and truly picked apart thanks to the high level of Vic Metro representation, meaning their next tier of players had to stand up, and they certainly did that. When Gippsland held a 16-point lead at half-time, things looked good for the home side, but the determined Cannons fired plenty of shots in the second half, to hit the front at the final break by a single kick. Gippsland refused to give in and threw everything at the Cannons, but it was the over-ager Riccardi who single-handedly dominated the scoreboard, booting four goals in the final term, including the last goal of the game, to tie the scores and split the points. It was Gippsland’s second draw of the season after splitting the points with Northern Knights earlier in the year at the same venue.

Riccardi was the star of the show, booting 5.2 for the game off 10 disposals (eight kicks) making the most of his opportunities, while also taking six marks and laying two tackles. Sam Graham topped the disposal count for Calder with 20 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and four rebounds, while also laying nine tackles. Ismail Moussa had 19 disposals and five rebounds, while Lucas Cavallaro was a rock in defence, notching up a game-high eight rebounds – three more than any other player. Sam Ramsay (19 disposals and four marks) and Daniel Hanna (18 disposals and six marks) were also among the high possession winners.

For Gippsland, Riley Baldi had a good day out with 29 disposals, nine tackles, four clearances and four inside 50s, while overager Austin Hodge was consistent again with 24 disposals, five marks, four tackles and four inside 50s, while also nailing two goals. Bottom-ager Brock Smith had 19 disposals, six clearances and booted two goals in his return to the team from Vic Country, while Josh Smith booted three goals from 14 disposals, while sharing the ruck load with 10 hitouts. Jake Van Der Pligt had another promising game in defence with a team-high five rebounds from 19 disposals and seven marks. Bailey Beck (20 disposals, five inside 50s and three rebounds) and Rylan Henkel (26 hitouts) were others that impressed.

 

GWV Rebels vs. Northern Knights

By: Cameron Ross

Ugly conditions made it difficult, but the Northern Knights overpowered the GWV Rebels for a big win at MARS Stadium in Ballarat on Sunday. It was a game of inches with both teams having their opportunities to claim the four points and with the south-westerly breeze favouring the Midland Highway end, they needed to take their chances kicking to this end if they were to win. Both teams struggled in the first quarter but seemed to settle as the game progressed.

From early in the first quarter, Izaac Grant looked superb. The Rebels forward kicked his sides only two goals in the first term, the second being a delightful piece of play. The Knights kicked a very important goal against the run of play and into the wind in the last five minutes of the quarter, signalling their intent to win.

Both teams started to adjust to the conditions in the second quarter, and the Rebels began to clean up their disposal, and use their running players and when Grant kicked his third at the fourth minute mark, it looked as though it was going to be a good day for his side. However, this kicked the Knights into gear, and after Patrik Della Rocca responded moments later, the Knights all of a sudden were all over the Rebels. But the Knights struggled to capitalise on this momentum, kicking their set shots poorly, and not allowing for the wind anywhere near enough. The Knights missed three or four crucial goals, holding an eight-point lead at half-time.

The third term was the Grant show. He was outstanding kicking another three goals, bringing his overall tally to six up until three quarter time. The final quarter was tense and tight, but with the Rebels holding a slender lead for the majority. However, once again, the Rebels began to falter in the last 10 minutes of the final quarter, and you could see the Knights players running over the top of them. The Knights were first to the footy, and pressuring the Rebels players into uncharacteristic mistakes. However, the Rebels did have a chance to win it. In the final two minutes of the game, the Rebels owned the ball inside their forward 50. Despite it being chaotic, Charlie Wilson attempted a quick kick out of the pack which dribbled into the point post. This was as close as the Rebels got, as the resulting throw in was cleared as the Knights clung on for the victory.

Unfortunately for the Rebels, this game was like so many others for them this year. They have had so many opportunities to win games, and have not been able to get the job done. Instead of being 2-6-1, the Rebels could easily be 5-4, as the Bendigo, Oakleigh and now the Knights games were there to be won. The Knights deserved this win however. Della Rocca was impressive up forward, Josh D’Intosante was superb in the middle and the Knights engine room was outstanding and outworked the Rebels all day. Knights key defender Stefan Uzelac was their best player on the day. He stood up in big moments, and intercepted numerous inside 50 attempts. Grant was the best player for the Rebels, kicking seven goals in a losing side. Many of his goals came from 15-20 out, but this did not mean they weren’t deserved. He worked hard to get himself in the right positions and earned his big bag.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Eastern Ranges

By: Peter Williams

Sandringham Dragons have made it two wins on the trot, defeating Eastern Ranges in a scrappy affair at Trevor Barker Beach Oval, claiming a 22-point win. The Dragons held their opponents scoreless in the opening term and a wasteful second quarter saw Eastern boot one goal from eight scoring shots as the home side lead by seven points at the main break. A four goals to zero third quarter blew the low-scoring game open to hand the Dragons a 31-point lead, before Eastern used the breeze to boot three majors in the final term and draw within 14, before a Dawit McNeish goal in the dying moments pushed it out to 22 by the final siren.

Liam Stocker was best on ground for the second consecutive week, notching up 30 disposals, five marks, four tackles, 10 clearances, six inside 50s and two rebounds, while Jackson Voss – son of Brett – had another promising effort between midfield and defence with 24 disposals, five marks, five clearances, two inside 50s and three rebounds. Will Kennedy also backed up his form with 23 disposals, six marks and three rebounds playing in defence, while Harry Houlahan and Alastair Richards both had 20 touches and assisted through the midfield with a combined six clearances.

For Eastern, Kye Quirk racked up 30 disposals, two marks, five clearances, three inside 50s, three rebounds and laid eight tackles, while Joel Burleigh was also strong defensively with nine tackles from 29 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s. Mitch Mellis (26 disposals, three marks, five tackles and two clearances), Adrian Kalcovski (24 disposals, three marks, four tackles and two inside 50s) and Xavier Fry (21 disposals, two marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds) were other prominent ball winners.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 9

THERE are five games this weekend in the TAC Cup, with Sandringham Dragons and Eastern Ranges having a weekend off ahead of their standalone clash on June 30 – during the school holidays. The five games throw up some interesting possibilities given ladder positions as we pass the halfway mark of the 2018 TAC Cup season.

GEELONG FALCONS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 9 – Saturday, June 16, 11am Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

Both sides head into this Round 9 clash relatively understrength with all of Western’s Vic Metro representatives out of the side, while Geelong just has the returning Dane Hollenkamp, and Blake Schlensog (who has been named as a Vic Country emergency) in the team. A win for the Jets is crucial given a loss could mean they drop outside the top four, while victory would potentially see them move to second on the TAC Cup table with a Gippsland loss. For Geelong, a big win could see them jag eighth spot off the Cannons, but a loss could see them slip one spot to eleventh on the table. Western has a relatively stable clearance midfield with Jaden Rice, Connor Thar and Jack Watkins all able to extract the ball from a stoppage. They will likely take advantage of a Geelong side without its first choice midfield, however Baxter Mensch has been a big ball winner and clearance player this season, while Charlie Harris on the wing and Brayden Ham at half-forward can also win the footy and impact up the ground. It is great to see Titit Nyak back in the team after a long absence through injury, with Geelong’s defence remaining relatively untouched given the 1-2 combination of Hollenkamp and Cooper Cartledge has been solid for the Falcons. Without Emerson Jeka, the Jets will look to Aaron Clarke and the 190cm Tom Warner to provide the tall timber. Steven Kyriazis and last week’s best on ground Darcy Cassar are set to do the ground level work. Given the outs it is hard to predict a winner in this one, with the Jets likely to prevail in the midfield battle, but Geelong has had a lot of continuity this season with its top-end talent at either school football or out for AFL Academy duties.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 9 – Saturday, June 16, 2.15pm Shepley Oval, Dandenong

If we are talking about top-end talent missing, then you need not go further than this game with the most representatives from both of the Victorian sides – Dandenong for Country and Oakleigh for Metro – having a big impact on the team selection. Both teams will be relying on their bottom-agers and non-school football players, in a game that resulted in Oakleigh getting up in Round 5. This time around the Chargers are digging deep into their list, and it will take a mighty challenge to up-end the in-form Stingrays, who welcome back potential number one pick next year Hayden Young, as well as Will Hamill and Bailey Schmidt – the latter having played for Vic Country last week. For Oakleigh, Bailey Griffiths will hope to take advantage in the ruck in what will be a fantastic battle with Schmidt, as the Chargers have Xavier O’Neill, Lachlan Bugeja and Sam Harte among others through the midfield who can win plenty of the football. They will go up against Dandenong skipper Campbell Hustwaite, Hamill, and Lachlan McDonnell who has been in good form. Angus Patterson will line-up at full-forward as Matthew Cumming and Sam De Koning hold down the key defensive posts. The likes of Matthew Gahan and Jamie Plumridge will look to create some run out of the back half. For the Chargers, they have a number of defensive forwards who can kick goals including Atu Bosenavulagi and Daniel Scala, while over-ager Tom Hogan has the unique opportunity to face his teammates from last year, crossing from the Stingrays in the off-season after missing out on being drafted last year.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 9 – Sunday, June 17, 12pm Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

The TAC Cup Radio team head up to Bendigo for the clash between the Pioneers and Murray Bushrangers. The Pioneers had a really competitive effort last week against the Western Jets, levelling with just a few minutes left on the clock, before going down by seven points. The Bushrangers had a disappointing loss to a strengthened Oakleigh side, feeling the brunt of missing many players for Vic Country and Allies duty. It does not get any easier for the Bushrangers, losing one of last week’s best in Mathew Walker to Allies duty, and a couple of consistent defenders in Nick Murray and Ajak Dang to injury. Mark Marriott was impressive in his first game back from injury and will look to press for Vic Country claims with a good performance here, taking on another in-form ruck in Daniel Keating. With Ben Kelly and Jordon Butts lining up in the forward line, the Bushrangers will look to stretch the Pioneers defence, especially given Bendigo has lost full-back Josh Grace for this match. The 191cm William Wallace will have his hands full with the 202cm Kelly and 197cm Butts, and given the strength in the Bushrangers midfield, Bendigo defence will need to be on its game. Arguably the most important players for the Pioneers are Noah Wheeler, Zane Keighran and Hunter Lawrence, who will rotate through that midfield and just simply have to win the clearances. The Perez brothers – Oscar, an overager and Flynn, a bottom-ager – were impressive last week and will hope to continue that form. James Schischka is a Vic Country player who will be keen to impress for a call-up, while Liam Marciano has been consistent out of defence. For the Bushrangers, Ely Smith continues to tick boxes week-in, week-out, Dylan and Kyle Clarke are always busy, and the forward line that contains Bailey Frauenfelder and Jye Chalcraft is always going to be dangerous. The Bushrangers will be looking to bounce back after a big loss last week, but at home in Bendigo, and after a really promising performance last week, you cannot rule out the Pioneers, either.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 9 – Sunday, June 17, 1pm Morwell Football Ground, Morwell

Over in Morwell, the Gippsland Power take on the Calder Cannons. Gippsland were missing most of its top-end talent through resting for Vic Country representation last round, but it mattered little as they stormed past the Geelong Falcons, and now welcome back hard nosed defender/midfielder Brock Smith and livewire forward Irving Mosquito – the latter of whom has returned from injury. While the likes of Xavier Duursma, Sam Flanders, Caleb Serong, Matt McGannon and Kyle Reid will be in Adelaide for Vic Country’s clash with South Australia, the Power are in a very good position. They sit second and could well be top-of-the-table by round’s end if Oakleigh can upset first placed Dandenong on Saturday. For Calder, they are eighth, but have the GWV Rebels, Geelong Falcons and Eastern Ranges chomping at their heels. They also lose a truckload of top-end talent for this game, with AFL Academy members Jack Bytel and Curtis Taylor, co-captain Mitch Podhajski, and Vic Metro representatives Lachlan Sholl and Jack Evans all out. Consistent key position player Daniel Hanna returns, as do a number of solid bottom-agers, but there is no doubting Calder will be looking for something special from its next tier of players to come away with the win. John Roumeliotis made a successful return from injury, and he and Jake Riccardi might pose some problems for the Gippsland defence with their strength, while Tye Browning and Sam Graham are always players that can get their hands on the ball. For Gippsland though, they have a relatively stable team despite some of the big outs. They will be looking to capitalise with Rylan Henkel rucking to Smith along with Mosquito and Riley Baldi looking like an ominous prospect, as is the forward line with Noah Gown and Josh Smith who have been known to hit the scoreboard. Couple that with the fact Jake Van der Pligt and Ryan Sparkes have been in good form rebounding out of defence, and Gippsland look to be clear favourites in this one. The Cannons changes do bring an air of unpredictability about them however, with backs against the wall, anything can happen.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 9 – Sunday, June 17, 1pm MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the final game of the round, the GWV Rebels host the Northern Knights. The Rebels are coming off a great away win over Calder Cannons and will be keen to make it two on the trot and three for the season. The Knights on the other hand, will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing loss at home to the Eastern Ranges, and get a win in what is expected to be a typical Ballarat day – wild and windy. The Rebels lose Tom Berry and Matty Lloyd to Vic Country duties which will hurt given their influence on the contest. But Scott Carlin remains in the side despite being named as an emergency for Vic Country, and one would expect he might be an omission from the next round for the All-Victorian battle at the MCG. Carlin and Harris Jennings will look to provide run out of defence, while the returns of Josh Chatfield and Izaac Grant will give the home side another dimension. Given Charlie Wilson rotates forward, a forward combination with Chatfield, Grant, Wilson, Jed Hill and Tylar Watts suddenly looks a lot more dangerous and capable of kicking a winning score. It does not help with Northern losing its two in-form rebounding defenders, bottom-agers Ryan Gardner and Lachlan Potter for the match, however Stefan Uzelac was best on for the Knights last week, while Mitch and Cameron Wild will be keen to stand up in the absence of their teammates. Northern also have a damaging forward line, with Sunny Brazier continuing to kick goals, Josh D’Intinosante ever-dangerous and Harrison Grace the smooth mover from midfield through to half-forward. Ryan Sturgess and Kobe Brandt are others who have shown signs throughout the season what they are capable of, and will test themselves against Matt Schnerring, Ben Annett and the in-form Elliot Lamb. While both sides are more than capable of a win here, I am leaning towards the Rebels at home, with some key forward inclusions and some big losses for the Knights in defence. But it honestly is a fairly 50/50 contest.

Team Selection: Murray Bushrangers vs. Oakleigh Chargers

WHILE many eyes will be on the National Under 18s Championships this weekend, anyone keen to head to the country for some TAC Cup action can witness a standalone game between the Murray Bushrangers and Oakleigh Chargers. With no school football on, Oakleigh receives the bulk of its non-Vic Metro representatives back into the side, meaning they will give the Bushrangers a real challenge on the weekend.

In terms of team selection, Murray have lost five of their most consistent players to National Championships duties, with Hudson Garoni, Laitham Vandermeer and Zane Barzen all out to play for Vic Country, while Jacob Koschitzke will represent the Allies against his Bushrangers teammates. Kai Davies is the other omission to the team, while Mark Marriott and Will Chandler are among six inclusions to the team.

Oakleigh have made wholesale changes with 13 players coming into the side for an extended interchange, but they lose a number of players to Vic Metro duties. Isaac Quaynor, Riley Collier-Dawkins and Noah Answerth all depart the Chargers outfit, but with Matt Rowell, Zac Hart, Jack Ross and Bailey Wraith among the inclusions, there are some positives at the selection table with quality heading out of the team.

The result of this game is simple in terms of ladder position – if Murray wins, they move into third ahead of the Western Jets, whereas if Oakleigh triumphs, they take Murray’s place inside the top four. As the only game on this weekend for the TAC Cup, expect there to be plenty of interested onlookers keeping an eye on the match.

Murray still has its starting midfield in this game , with Ely Smith, Dylan Clarke and Kyle Clarke in the centre, while Bailey Frauenfelder, Jye Chalcraft and Mathew Walker provide good support up forward. Jordon Butts has been thrown forward in the absence of Garoni, while Ajak Dang will be asked to take a key position down back to cover Butts. Jake Bradshaw and Jimmy Boyer will provide run off half-back, while Ben Kelly and Marriott are the tall timber for the Bushrangers.

For the Chargers, Matt Rowell and Dylan Williams lead a number of talented players for next year’s draft, while Xavier O’Neill, Jack Ross and Lachlan Bugeja will be key ball winners in the midfield. Atu Bosenavulagi and Daniel Scala provide the crumbs up forward, while Wraith and Matt Warren will hold down the key position posts in defence. Bailey Griffiths, Trent Bianco and Hart are among others who could influence the game with strong performances.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 8 – Saturday, June 9, 1pm Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

Murray Bushrangers

B: 34. T. Boyd, 22. A. Dang, 15. R. Quinn
HB: 19. J. Boyer, 16. N. Murray, 20. J. Bradshaw
C: 13. B.  Frauenfelder, 28. K.  Clarke, 55. R.  Paradzayi
HF: 6. W. Chandler, 2. J. Butts, 9. M. Walker
F: 14. J. Chalcraft, 3. B. Kelly, 10. P. Warner
R: 23. M. Marriott, 38. D. Clarke, 5. E. Smith
Int: 11. E. Adams, 17. N. Amery, 26. R. Bice, 48. R. Goodley 23P: 52. J. Sanford

In: R. Quinn, R. Goodley, J. Sanford, W. Chandler, R. Paradzayi, M. Marriott
Out: H. Garoni,  L. Ash,  K. Davies,  L. Vandermeer,  Z. Barzen,  J. Koschitzke

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 36. C. Beasley, 33. M. Warren, 35. X. Fry
HB: 15. K. Schreiber, 30. B. Wraith, 16. L. Westwood
C: 31. W.  Golds, 2. L.  Bugeja, 11. M.  Rowell
HF: 26. J. Gasper, 7. J. Robertson, 22. D. Williams
F: 13. A. Bosenavulagi, 6. M. Day, 25. D. Scala
R: 79. B. Griffiths31, 5. X. O’Neill, 32. J. Ross
Int: 17. T. Bianco, 43. P. Bohan, 38. Z. Hart, 24. S. Harte, 34. C. Leon, 19. D. Romero, 21. H. Shugg
23P: 29. F. Elliot

In: L. Westwood, P. Bohan, B. Wraith, H. Shugg, D. Romero, W. Golds, C. Leon, M. Warren, J. Ross, C. Beasley, K. Schreiber, M. Rowell, Z. Hart
Out: I. Quaynor, U. Chol, M. Fewings, S. Elliott, S. Fernandez, R. Collier-Dawkins, N. Answerth , H. Leonard, J. May, K. Viccars

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 6

IT was a good week for the Country teams as every Metro side met a Country counterpart, with a 3-2 advantage in favour of the latter. Western Jets and Calder Cannons got the job done over Geelong Falcons and Bendigo Pioneers respectively, but Murray Bushrangers, Dandenong Stingrays and Gippsland Power all had good wins, as Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels split the points with Oakleigh Chargers.

 

Western Jets 9.13 (67) defeated Geelong Falcons 7.1 (43)

The Western Jets made it back-to-back wins with a solid four-goal victory over an accurate Geelong Falcons on the weekend. After succumbing to a disappointing 126-point humiliation at the hands of Dandenong Stingrays, the Jets have strung together two good victories and are back on track showing their depth and talent. The wind-affected Williamstown Football Ground resulted in 13 of the game’s 16 goals kicked up one end, Darcy Cassar (three goals) and Aaron Clarke (two) the main beneficiaries on the day.

Zak Butters notched up 28 disposals, seven marks, seven inside 50s and three tackles, while Connor Thar was also impressive with 24 disposals, five tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s and a goal. Stefan Radovanovic provided great run through the middle with 23 disposals, six clearances, five inside 50s and two rebounds, while Xavier O’Halloran put in another captain’s performance with a team-high seven clearances to go with his 18 disposals, five inside 50s and three rebounds.

For Geelong, Sam Walsh topped the disposal winners with 33 touches, three marks and seven tackles, while Ed McHenry was a tackling machine, laying 11 tackles and gathering 22 disposals, five clearances and seven rebounds when dropping into defence to help out. Ben Morton went one better than McHenry with 12 tackles, while also having 21 disposals and a team-high eight clearances. Baxter Mensch (20 disposals) and Oscar Brownless (19) were the other two Falcons to win more than 15 disposals in the loss.

 

Northern Knights 8.11 (59) defeated by Murray Bushrangers 13.16 (94)

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers ran out comfortable 35-point winners against a brave Northern Knights outfit at Preston City Oval. In tough, blustery conditions, the game was often played between both 50 arcs, but still provided forwards the chance to prove their worth as clear-cut chances were sparse. With the scores level at the first break, the Bushies went on to boot nine of the next twelve goals during the second and third terms to set up a handy buffer. While they were valiant for most of the day and ended up winning the last-quarter battle, the Knights lost the war, but will take some solice out of hanging on to their top eight spot.

Murray’s willingness to take the game on at all costs proved to be a real game-changer, and it allowed their potent forward line to do work their magic from a range of positions. Each player who rotated through the forward 50 looked dangerous, with the likes of Riley Bice, Bailey Frauenfelder, Zane Barzen and Hudson Garoni all bagging multiple goals. Midfielder Kyle Clarke was also impressive as he mixed his minutes between the centre bounces and forward 50.

For Northern, skipper Braedyn Gillard led from the front and was aided well by Harrison Grace in the midfield, while ruckman Tom Hallebone had one of his best games for the year. With their defence under constant pressure, rebounding bottomager Ryan Gardner stood up, while Stefan Uzelac impressed with his contested marking.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 13.13 (91) defeated Eastern Ranges 6.3 (39)

Dandenong Stingrays bounced back from their first loss of the season to shake off a determined Eastern Ranges outfit at Shepley Oval. The Stingrays went in as heavy favourites against the winless Ranges, but had a competitive match with the Ranges taking it up to them in the first term to trail by just two points. The Stingrays kicked away in the second quarter with a four goals to one term to open up a 22-point advantage at the main break, before extending that to an even five goals by three quarter time. A three goal to zero final quarter saw the final margin blow out to 52 points, which was arguably not indicative of the closeness between the teams.

AFL Academy member Sam Fletcher came back into the side for his first game of 2018 and went handball crazy, picking up 21 handballs as part of his 24-possession, six-tackle and four-clearance game. Talented Stingrays bottom-ager Hayden Young stood up with 20 disposals, four marks, six inside 50s and three rebounds, capping off his all-round game with a goal. Usual ball winners Campbell Hustwaite and Jamie Plumridge had just 12 disposals each, but in their place the likes of James Hickey and Reid Nanscawen (both 17 disposals) stood up, as did AFL Academy member Bailey Williams with 25 hitouts and a goal, while Corey Ellison slotted three majors.

For Eastern, Tyler Edwards was the highest disposal winner, notching up 24 disposals, four tackles, five clearances and five rebounds, while last week’s AFL Draft Central Player of the Week, Joel Burleigh, had a modest 18 disposals compared to his 40 in round five, but laid 13 tackles in a good defensive effort. Kye Quirk had 20 disposals and six rebounds off half-back, while Billy McCormack had 19 disposals, seven hitouts and four rebounds.

 

Calder Cannons 10.8 (68) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 4.5 (29)

A six goals to one third term helped Calder Cannons secure their third win of the season over a plucky Bendigo Pioneers in a rain-affected game at RAMS Arena. Playing in the evening, the Cannons and Pioneers had to endure some heavy showers early on, with a dour first half producing just three goals. A spirited third term saw the Cannons all but put the game to bed, piling on six goals to one to open up a 43-point advantage at the final break. Bendigo booted two of the final three goals to outscore the home side in the final term, but were unable to bridge the deficit as the Cannons celebrated a 39-point victory at home.

Mitch Podhajski was the star of the show in his return to the Cannons side, with the Calder co-captain amassing 27 disposals, seven marks, laying 15 tackles and booting three goals in a best on ground performance in the victory. After a quiet first half, Lachlan Sholl turned it on with a 26-disposal second half to bring his night’s total to 35, to go with his eight marks and six rebounds. Daniel Hanna was important taking five marks from his 26 disposals and a major, while Ismail Moussa was important in the first half, finishing with 23 disposals, five marks and three rebounds, and Jack Evans (22 disposals, four clearances and six inside 50s) was used more up the field than in previous weeks to be an important link in the chain.

For Bendigo, Noah Wheeler racked up 21 kicks in his 25 disposals, four clearances, five inside 50s and four tackles, while Daniel Keating was good around the ground in the ruck with 16 disposals, five marks, 22 hitouts four clearances and a goal. Hunter Lawrence had 18 disposals, six tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds, while bottom-ager James Schischka (18 disposals, three marks and three rebounds) was also important for the losing side.

 

Gippsland Power 20.18 (138) defeated Sandringham Dragons 4.5 (29)

Gippsland Power put Sandringham Dragons to the sword on Sunday with a thumping 109-point victory at Morwell Recreation Reserve. The Power put their top four credentials on the table with 10 goals in each half, restricting the Dragons to just one goal after the main break, and held the visitors scoreless in the final term. The highlight was a seven goal to one third term, with Gippsland piling on 13 goals up one end in a dominant display. For the Dragons, it was their third consecutive loss as they continue to shuffle the magnets around in the absence of their top players with the APS football season forcing them to experiment which will hopefully see them record a win soon. 

Gippsland had 11 individual goal kickers in the victory, led by Sam Flanders (four goals), Austin Hodge (four) and Harvey Neocleous (three). Boadie Motton topped the disposal count with 30 touches, while also taking four marks, racking up four clearances and booting a goal. Riley Baldi lead the team clearances again with five, to go with his 27 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s, while Matthew McGannon (25 disposals, five marks and four tackles), Bailey Beck (24 disposals, seven marks and five inside 50s) and Bailey Patterson (23 disposals, three marks and three rebounds) all booted a goal. Captain Xavier Duursma continued his consistent season with 23 disposals, four marks, five tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s.

For the Dragons, Harry Bede was Sandringham’s best, collecting 25 disposals, eight marks, six rebounds and booting a goal, while Dawit McNeish returned to the side with positive numbers including 19 disposals, six tackles and two clearances. Beaten in the clearances, Thomas Deane-Johns was a shining light for the Dragons, picking up four clearances in a team-high performance. Ethan Casey (24 hitouts), Corey Watts (13 disposals and five rebounds) and Ryan Byrnes (16 disposals, three clearances and four inside 50s) were the other busy players.

 

GWV Rebels 9.10 (64) drew with Oakleigh Chargers 9.10 (64)

By: Cameron Ross

A determined Oakleigh Chargers shared the points with the desperate GWV Rebels in miserable conditions on Sunday. In somewhat typical Ballarat fashion, a freezing south-westerly made for a two goal advantage to the Midlands Highway end of the field and the Chargers took advantage early. Atu Bosenavulagi started the game in fine fashion, kicking the two early goals for the visitors and asserting himself physically at the contest. The Rebels struggled to get the ball past halfway before Scott Carlin set the blueprint for the remainder of the game, with run and carry being the best method to advance the ball into the wind.

The Rebels clung on with the Chargers dominating the game early, as solid defence from Jacob Lohmann and Harrison Butler, kept the visitors within three goals at quarter time. The second quarter played out remarkably similar to the first quarter, with the Rebels taking over the game instead. Jed Hill got his hands on the footy and kicked an early goal from long range but it was Ben Annett who led the way for the Rebels with his ferocious attack on the footy sparking his teammates into action. Annett kicked two goals in the second term to bring the Rebels within a point at the long break.

The third quarter was once again dominated by the team with the wind, and Lachlan Bugeja had a huge say. Bugeja not only kicked back to back goals but his work rate through the midfield was outstanding. Bugeja was winning clearances, free kicks, and setting up goals and it felt like every stoppage the Chargers “number 2” was having an impact. This impact was felt on the scoreboard with the Chargers leading by two goals at the final change. Rebels coach Marc Greig urged his side for one more big quarter, and when Charlie Wilson goaled for the Rebels early, it looked as though he may have his wish. Yet within moments the exciting Collier-Dawkins snapped the quick reply and it was game on.

A strange umpiring decision for a “deliberate” rushed behind gave Jed Hill the easiest goal of the season, and moments later, Hill nailed another, this time an unbelievably skilful goal on his non-preferred left that tied the game. The final ten minutes were extremely tense with skill errors from both sides giving their opponents the chance to win. In the final seconds, Collier Dawkins had a chance to win the game for his side, but slightly pushed his kick across goal. The siren blew before the Rebels had a chance to take the kick in and both teams had to settle for a draw. The game wasn’t one that will be remembered by many, but both sides played extremely well in difficult conditions.

Weekend Wash-Up: TAC Cup – Round 4

ROUND four of the TAC Cup provided some huge beltings and a draw, with Dandenong Stingrays remaining the only undefeated team, while Eastern Ranges will head into round five still searching for their first win. In other results, Oakleigh Chargers, Calder Cannons, Geelong Falcons and Murray Bushrangers got the wins, while Northern Knights and Gippsland Power split the points in Morwell.

Bendigo Pioneers 4.6 (30) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 15.10 (100)

Oakleigh Chargers proved far too good for Bendigo Pioneers under lights on Friday night, running away with a 70-point win. The Chargers led from start to finish and had piled on 14 goals to two in the opening three quarters to open up a 74-point lead at the final break. To Bendigo’s credit, the Pioneers booted two goals to one in the final term to stem the flow and reduce the final deficit by four points.

Riley Collier-Dawkins had 28 disposals, four clearances, five inside 50s and laid four tackles in the big win, leading a well-rounded midfield that included James Rowbottom (25 disposals, eight tackles, eight clearances, seven inside 50s) and Xavier O’Neill (26 disposals, six marks, six inside 50s and four rebounds). Matthew Fewings and Kyle Viccars were others impressive in the win, while Lachlan Bugeja found plenty of the football with 27 disposals and 11 marks.

For Bendigo, Hunter Lawrence saw plenty of the football in defence with 26 disposals, five marks and eight rebounds, while Noah Wheeler was prominent in the midfield with 22 disposals, five clearances, five inside 50s and five tackles. Bailey Henderson was consistent as always with eight inside 50s and a goal from 18 disposals, while Josh Schischka booted two goals – the only multiple goal kicker for the Pioneers.

Geelong Falcons 16.11 (107) defeated Eastern Ranges 9.8 (62)

Geelong Falcons flew out of the gates to put the game to bed and record their first win with a 12 goals to three first half against the Eastern Ranges. With both sides yet to trouble the ‘win’ column in season 2018, Geelong showed great intent, piling on five goals in the first quarter and seven in the second to hold a massive 56-point advantage at the main break. A four goals to two third term in favour of the visitors meant Eastern was not going to throw in the towel, eventually going down by 45 points at Avalon Airport Oval.

Sam Walsh had the ball on a string once again with 38 disposals (31 kicks), six marks, six inside 50s, five rebounds, four clearances, nine tackles and a goal, while Baxter Mensch racked up 14 clearances from 34 disposals in a huge game through the midfield. Charlie Harris found plenty of it in defence with eight rebounds from 25 disposals and four marks, while Connor Idun proved a target up forward, booting two goals from 20 disposals. Oscar Brownless continued his solid form with 24 touches and five clearances.

For Eastern, Kye Quirk was the highest disposal winner, notching up 25 disposals, four marks, five clearances, four inside 50s and booting a goal, while Chayce Black was equally impressive with 24 disposals, five tackles and three clearances. Lachlan Stapleton‘s reputation as a tackling machine continued, with the tough onballer notching up double figures again, laying 12 tackles. Others that impressed were Mitch Mellis (17 disposals, four inside 50s and three clearances) and James Blanck (11 disposals and six rebounds.

Murray Bushrangers 22.6 (138) defeated Sandringham Dragons 11.7 (73)

An eight-goal haul to AFL Academy key position player Hudson Garoni led the Murray Bushrangers to a barnstorming 65-point victory over the previously undefeated Sandringham Dragons. With the start of APS football kicking off, the Dragons made 16 changes to their line-up and despite starting strongly with five goals to two, they were smashed after quarter time. The Bushrangers piled on 20 goals to six in some serious one way traffic.

Garoni led all comers with eight goals from 20 disposals and nine marks (five contested), while Bailey Frauenfelder (four goals from 19 disposals) ably assisted in the front half. Ely Smith dominated through the midfield with 27 disposals, seven clearances and six inside 50s, while Lachlan Ash was solid once again in defence with 24 disposals, eight marks and six rebounds. Others who impressed were Jye Chalcraft (17 disposals, five marks and three inside 50s) and Laitham Vandermeer (22 disposals, four clearances and three inside 50s).

For the Dragons, Angus Hanrahan was one of the few who could hold his head high with three goals from 18 disposals and three marks. Others who stood up were bottom-ager Jackson Hannah (three goals), Alastair Richards (23 disposals, 10 inside 50s and five clearances) and Liam Stocker (18 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s and three clearances).

Gippsland Power 10.6 (66) drew with Northern Knights 10.6 (66)

A last-second Irving Mosquito snap has helped Gippsland Power steal a couple of vital premiership points from its round four clash with Northern Knights. The Knights led the entire way, right up until the dying seconds, when Mosquito marked the ball inside 50, accidentally stepped off his line with 10 seconds remaining, snapped and luckily the ball sailed through. For most of the match, the Knights had held the Power at bay, but a second half of eight goals to five was the catalyst for the revival after Northern had booted five goals to two in the first half.

Mosquito was named best for his side with his 15 disposals, nine inside 50s and four goals, while Jake Van Der Pligt found plenty of the ball with 27 disposals, seven marks and a game-high 11 tackles. Riley Baldi continued his good form with 24 disposals, five marks and a goal, while Kyle Reid was strong in defence, taking nine marks from 20 disposals and seven rebounds. Overager Tyrone Hayes returned for his first game in more than 12 months, picking up 14 disposals, taking five marks and booting a goal, while Brock Smith was also good with 14 disposals, nine tackles and four clearances.

For the Knights, captain Braedyn Gillard racked up 25 disposals, five marks, eight clearances, four inside 50s and booted the first goal of the game to be a big influence on the contest, while partner-in-crime Harrison Grace stood up in the absence of Tom McKenzie, picking up 21 disposals and five marks. Ryan Sturgess was good in defence with four rebounds from 28 disposals and 10 marks, alongside Stefan Uzelac who had an equal game-high seven rebounds from 19 disposals and eight marks.

Dandenong Stingrays 26.11 (167) defeated Western Jets 6.5 (41)

Just when we thought Dandenong’s performance against the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels was as complete as it could be, the Stingrays raised the bar with a 126-point belting of the Western Jets. it was a performance to remember for the home side, with Bailey Williams slamming home seven goals from 17 disposals and eight marks, as Dandenong booted 15 goals after half-time to build on the already impressive 57-point lead they held at the main break. An eight goals to zero final term was completely one way traffic.

Along with Williams, fellow AFL Academy member Riley Bowman had 13 hitouts from 17 disposals, six marks and three goals, while Zac Foot also added three goals from 16 disposals, seven marks and five inside 50s. Others who impressed were Bailey Schmidt with two goals and 22 hitouts between ruck and forward, Lachlan McDonnell with 17 disposals, six marks and two goals, as well as Will Hamill with 21 disposals, five rebounds and four tackles.

For Western, it was a tough day at the office, but Xavier O’Halloran never stopped trying, notching up 18 disposals (15 kicks), four marks, six clearances, nine inside 50s and laying six tackles. Josh Honey provided some scoring power up front with three goals from 15 disposals and seven marks, while Steven Kyriazis booted two majors. Connor Thar (31 disposals, eight tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s) won plenty of the football, as did Jaden Rice (28 disposals, 10 clearances, four inside 50s).

GWV Rebels 9.11 (65) defeated by Calder Cannons 12.11 (83)

Calder Cannons notched up their second win of the season to get back on an even keel with a come-from-behind 18-point win over the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The Cannons led at quarter and half-time, building a 16-point advantage at the main break. But the Rebels hit the front by the final break courtesy of a five goals to one third term to lead by two goals heading into the last quarter. But the Cannons piled on six goals to one in the last to run away with the match and record a memorable victory.

Co-captain Jack Bytel suffered leather poisoning with 37 disposals, nine tackles, eight clearances, five inside 50s, two rebounds and a goal, while Lachlan Sholl was solid through the midfield and defence with 24 touches, seven marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds. AFL Academy members Curtis Taylor (19 disposals and two goals) and Rhylee West (22 disposals and six inside 50s) were also impressive for the victors , while Jake Riccardi booted two goals from 17 disposals and 10 marks. Lucas Cavallaro and Jack Evans continued their consistent form in defence.

For the GWV Rebels, Jacob Lohmann had 21 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and two rebounds, while Tom Berry returned from concussion booting 2.4 from 19 disposals, four marks, four tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s.  Jed Hill was named the Rebels best for his 3.3 from 14 disposals, nine marks and inside 50s, while Charlie Wilson also booted 3.3, from 19 disposals, four marks, four clearances and six tackles. Tylar Watts returned to the ruck and had 20 hitouts from nine disposals, while James Cleaver had eight rebounds.

TAC Cup previews: Round 4

SO many changes at the selection table and ahead of round four we investigate which players will need to stand out, and those who will need to continue their form in order to get their team across the line in round four of the TAC Cup competition.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 

Round 4 – Friday, April 20, 7pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

Bendigo Pioneers host Oakleigh Chargers under lights tonight at Queen Elizabeth Oval and it becomes a game which is almost impossible to predict how it is going to go. Bendigo has made at least six changes, something that pales in comparison with Oakleigh’s team selection as 13 players return to school football or other commitments. Noah Anderson will be a key out, second overall in clearances for the Chargers, but Bendigo will still need to watch James Rowbottom, who has notched up 17 clearances (eight centre clearances) and is influential at the stoppages.

Bendigo’s 1-2 counter punch at the stoppages are Noah Wheeler and Zane Keighran with the latter named at half-back for the match. They have 21 clearances between them in season 2018, but Wheeler has also been crucial for 12 inside 50s. Bailey Henderson has been named up forward after being Mr Consistent at half-back, and he will line-up alongside Will Holt who is leading the goal kicking in the competition with Max King. The injury to Daniel Keating will be felt, with the in-form ruck having played some great football to date, and the Pioneers will look to Matt Hird in his first game this year to provide the midfielders with the first possession.

For Oakleigh, they will need their depth to step up in the absence of Anderson, Trent Bianco, Matt Rowell, Jack Ross and Charlie Whitehead in the middle, while Ben Silvagni has been the most influential forward in terms of scoreboard influence this year. In his place comes Sam Elliott who moves to full-forward with Daniel Scala the key small down there. With Anderson, Silvagni, Whitehead and Zac Hart gone, the Chargers lose four of their top five players involved in scoring chains this year. Instead of having eight of the top 10 in this match-up, it is more even 6-4 split. Oakleigh still has the depth to win the game, but Bendigo will be hoping to take advantage of the mass changes and its strong inside brigade make the most of its experience at the stoppages.

GEELONG FALCONS v. EASTERN RANGES 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.15am
Avalon Airport Oval, Werribee

In a game where both sides are still looking for their first win, last year’s reigning premiers and the team with the most players drafted in 2017, find themselves in a vastly different situation six months on. Geelong will welcome back Sam Walsh who is a crucial cog in the Falcons midfield, especially against an Eastern Ranges outfit which will be without the likes of Xavier Fry and Cody Hirst who both rotate through there.

Geelong will miss Charlie Sprague who has been arguably the most consistent Falcons player who has played all three games, as Sprague heads back to play school football, as will Cooper Stephens and a host of others among seven changes for Geelong. Eastern have also made six changes, with Hirst’s a forced one through injury. One area in which Eastern can try and take control is in the midfield with a strong inside brigade. With no Ed McHenry, the Ranges have four of the top five clearance players in the game, with Joel Burleigh, Jonte Duffy, Adrian Kalcovski and Lachlan Stapleton all providing good extraction from the stoppages. Oscar Brownless, Baxter Mensch, Brayden Ham and of course Walsh will look to go head-to-head with the Eastern onballers in what could decide the match.

The big question for these teams is scoring, with the Falcons missing Sprague (who would have the highest scoreboard impact in this match-up) and relying on Blake Schlensog who has had nine score involvements, three more than any other player on the field this season. Based on the season so far, both teams will look to share the load in terms of scoring, with Billy McCormack and Thomas Lockman named as the key position posts for Eastern, while Finlay Parish comes in for his first game and will line-up at centre-half forward in between Ham and Walsh. Throwing Connor Idun forward continues to offer a different look for the Falcons, and with a marked improvement in round three compared to the prior two rounds, the Falcons will be confident going into this one.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.30am
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

In the other early game on Saturday, Murray Bushrangers will look to win their third consecutive match, while Sandringham Dragons head into the game unbeaten. With the start of the APS and AGVS seasons, the Dragons are hit harder than any other team and lose almost all of their best 22 – they made 16 changes. It will be a great test to see if they can overcome the Bushrangers with their next tier of players, and see some stand up in the absence of others.

Players who have been in form for the Dragons include Alastair Richards, Liam Stocker and Kai Owen, the three highest extractors for the Dragons this season who have been named in the line-up. Without Dawit McNeish and Bailey Smith, the Dragons will need to win the clearances against a Bushrangers midfield which includes Ely Smith and Dylan Clarke, with Mark Marriott dominant in the ruck more often than not. Losing the King twins always hurts, but the Dragons got the job done against Calder without them, and they will look to James Rendell to continue his good form – booting four goals in the second half against the Cannons – to have an impact on the contest. Up the other end, the Bushrangers have no shortage of contributors, with Patrick Warner (six goals), Bailey Frauenfelder (five), Riley Bice (four) and Jacob Koschitkze (three) all having an impact. Sandringham will be vastly unknown quantity up forward, with Liam Stocker (two) the highest season goal kicker behind Rendell, with Angus Hanrahan thrown forward for this match.

Last year the Dragons knocked off Dandenong Stingrays at Frankston Oval after making 17 changes to its side at the start of the APS season. It was a remarkable win, and they will be looking to do the same here. The trick will be trying to limit the influence of Murray’s midfield and working as a team to ensure they don’t concede too many early goals as they try and gel which is always difficult with wholesale changes. Murray does not rely on one goal kicker to kick a high score, something Sandringham will look for this round as the teams aim to share the goals around and provide a great contest in Wangaratta.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 12.45pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell

In what is shaping to be a great contest, Gippsland Power takes on Northern Knights at Morwell, a ground where the Power pushed Dandenong Stingrays all the way a few weeks back. The Knights have also improved since a round one capitulation against the Sandringham Dragons, and are starting to find their groove – so naturally both sides have been scattered with the start of the school football system with Gippsland’s four omissions among their four most important players – Xavier Duursma, Sam Flanders, Austin Hodge and Caleb Serong. Northern has also lost their most consistent ball winner in Tom McKenzie, as well as the likes of Justin McInerney, Oscar White and Joel Naylor among at least seven changes.

Gippsland will look to rely on Matthew McGannon for plenty of drive out of the back half, with the overager leading the competition in disposals (84) and marks (30). Through the midfield, Riley Baldi’s role as a clearance gem will become more important given the loss of partner in crime Hodge, and the fact the Knights will be without the only player with more clearances than Baldi this season in McKenzie. Gippsland will look to the likes of Nick Lowden, Brett Thorson and Boadie Motton to stand up through the middle and around the ground who have been that next tier of players behind the four omissions. Brock Smith is a talented bottom-ager who provides great drive, while Ryan Sparkes is another one who has impressed so far this season. Gippsland’s forward line is vastly untouched outside of Flanders, with Irving Mosquito and Josh Smith – two of the three highest Power goal kickers – both in the side.

For Northern, Josh D’Intinosante and Braedyn Gillard shape as the two most important players. D’Intinosante is a bottom-ager who has a good all-round game providing forward pressure and scoreboard impact. He also gets up the ground and sets up his teammates, as does Gillard through the middle with his work at stoppages. Without McKenzie, Gillard will look to Harrison Grace and Ryan Gardner among others to try and win the midfield battle – an area which is weakened for the Power by their omissions. Lachlan Potter provides a good link down back, while Patrik Della Rocca and Mark Baker will be a couple of targets who can hit the scoreboard if given the opportunity. The battle between Rylan Henkel and Thomas Hallebone in the ruck will be fascinating with both players selected in the extended Vic Country and Vic Metro squads respectively.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. WESTERN JETS 

Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 12.30pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Dandenong Stingrays face Western Jets in the first game on Sunday, with the Stingrays losing a number of key players to school football and Under 18 Academy Series commitments. The Stingrays are yet to lose in season 2018, but their depth will be put to the test with the likes of Stephen and Matthew Cumming, Hayden Young, Mitch Riordan, Toby Bedford, Jai Nanscawen and Heath Briggs out of the side. Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams return from the AFL Academy game among a host of fresh faces including familiar Stingrays name Sam De Koning who lines up at centre-half back. For the Jets, Emerson Jeka is a big loss down forward, while Lucas Rocci is another out; but the return of AFL Academy member Buku Khamis will buoy the Jets coaching staff.

Western might have the upper hand if they can control Williams and Bowman in their defensive 50, with Aaron Clarke, Steven Kyriazis and Zak Butters three of the most damaging forwards in the game, all adding a different element inside 50 for the Jets. Bailey Schmidt, captain Campbell Hustwaite, and Finlay Bayne have the three highest score involvements of the remaining Dragons, although expect both Williams and Bowman to have a say in the team’s fortune down forward. Zac Foot booted four goals in the last outing against the GWV Rebels, so is another who could be damaging, but the Jets also have a strong defence to rely upon.

The likes of Khamis and Hamish Murphy hold down the key defensive posts, while Stefan Radovanovic and Jack Papachatzakis provide good run and defensive pressure. Xavier O’Halloran has been Mr Consistent through midfield, while Connor Thar provides a strong presence at the stoppages and is a known ball winner. Daly Andrews and Darcy Cassar are others who have shown some good signs throughout the season. For Dandenong, Jamie Plumridge and Will Hamill provide a good trio with Hustwaite, while Angus Paterson has been a rock in defence.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. CALDER CANNONS 

Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 1.30pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The final game of the round sees GWV Rebels return to MARS Stadium where they take on the Calder Cannons with both sides at a crucial junction in the early part of the season, sitting 1-2 after three rounds. The Rebels will look to turnaround from the heavy defeat at the hands of Dandenong Stingrays up in Bendigo, while Calder will look to build on the performance against Sandringham Dragons without their AFL Academy members, and bring the same level of intensity into this clash. Unlike many other teams, both sides have got stronger at the top end, with the Rebels welcoming back midfielder Tom Berry, while the Cannons have their AFL Academy trio in, of Jack Bytel, Curtis Taylor and Rhylee West. They do lose Mitch Podhajski and Mason Fletcher who have been consistent all season, but will be bolstered by the important returns.

Without a second thought, the clearances are going to be an entertaining battle with Lochie Dawson and Scott Carlin leading the way in this game, while Taylor, Bytel and Curtis will add some serious grunt in the middle. Neither side has a dominant key forward, and instead looks to share the goals around between talls and smalls, with Jed Hill (five), Mitch Martin (four) and Josh Chatfield (three) the top Rebels goal kickers; and Taylor (four) and Jack O’Sullivan (three) the top Cannons in the absence of Podhajski. Tylar Watts returns to the ruck against Devereux Pretty who is back into the side this week, with the ruck battle a crucial one-on-one in the overall scheme of things.

Calder has a consistent defence with Jack Evans, Lucas Cavallaro and Lachlan Sholl back there, while Kyle Baker adds composure and speed. Dylan Landt and Tye Browning are other consistent mid/forwards, while the Rebels have a mosquito fleet in attack. Matt Schnerring and Toby Mahony joining Hill, Chatfield and Martin as dangerous forwards, while Jed Henderson will look to provide a target as well. Harris Jennings and Charlie Wilson are other players to watch, while Angus Gove links well between midfield and attack.