Tag: Bendigo Pioneers

Draft Central Player of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 7

BENDIGO Pioneers’ bottom-ager Sam Conforti has become the first Country player to win the nomination for Draft Central Player of the Week for the NAB League Boys in Round 7. Conforti won the Facebook poll against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ Jay Rantall to also become the first bottom-age player to be nominated this season. It broke the dominance of Oakleigh Chargers and Eastern Ranges who held five of the first six nominations.

Despite the Pioneers losing via a kick after the siren, Conforti continued his great form with 30 disposals, kicking a 66.7 efficiency and with a 34.5 per cent contested rate, while taking eight marks, two clearances, four inside 50s, six rebounds and helping himself to two goals in a low-scoring contest. Conforti led Vic Country in the National Under 16 Championships and was named Country’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), a great indicator of high potential. With no school football commitments, Conforti will lead the Pioneers midfield this season, and is a crucial player in the line-up.


ROUND 1: Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers)
ROUND 2: Mitch Mellis (Eastern Ranges)
ROUND 3: Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers)
ROUND 4: Tom Green (GWS GIANTS Academy)
ROUND 5: Zakery Pretty Eastern Ranges)
ROUND 6: Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers)

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 2

THERE were plenty of massive individual performances in an historic weekend of NAB League football, and we had reporters at all nine games to take in the action. Key players and talent touted by each club’s talent manager are included, with scouting notes the opinion of each individual writer.

Sydney Swans 7.14 (56) defeated Tasmania Devils 6.6 (42)
By: Matthew Cocks

Sydney Swans Academy:

#3 Luke Parks
The AFL Academy listed player showed glimpses of what he is capable of in defence for the Swans Academy. Parks displayed great commitment to the contest and applied defensive pressure on the ball carrier. A great reader of the ball, Parks positioned himself well and used the ball well.

#7 Braeden Campbell
The 17-year old displayed one of his greatest assets on the weekend. Using his thumping left foot, Campbell was able to put the Swans into great positions to set up attack on more than one occasion. Gathering 16 disposals, Campbell also demonstrated great tackling pressure, laying an equal team high eight tackles.

#23 Errol Gulden
The bottom-ager’s performance was hard to fault. Gulden found a way to create his own time and space playing predominantly on the wing and through the midfield. Collecting plenty of the ball (33 disposals in total), Gulden was a key cog in setting the Swans up to attack. His two goals in the first half capped off an impressive best-on-ground performance.

Tasmania Devils:

#1 Mitchell O’Neill
A solid performance despite being well held for most of the match. O’Neill worked hard throughout the game, showing great composure with ball in hand and often used his 21 disposals to create opportunities for the Devils. Despite being under pressure himself, O’Neill applied plenty of pressure, laying nine tackles throughout the match.

#7 Matt McGuiness
Playing predominantly in defence, McGuinness displayed great skill execution. The lightly built 19-year-old showed poise and class in his 27 touches and seven rebounds. He demonstrated an instinct to take the game on and was one of the best in a losing side.

#13 Sam Collins
The 17-year old looked composed in defence often under attack on the weekend. A terrific user of the ball, Collins collected 23 disposals and nine rebound 50s. He demonstrated an ability to make great decisions under pressure in trying to repel the attack of the Swans Academy throughout the match.


GWS Giants 10.10 (70) defeated by Brisbane Lions 14.12 (96)
By: Matthew Cocks

GWS Giants Academy:

#25 Thomas Green
The contested ball magnet collected 28 disposals throughout the match. Green used the ball superbly, providing a strong presence across the ground for the Giants Academy, whether it was setting play up out of defence with four rebound 50s or putting the Giants into attack racking up seven inside 50s.

#26 Liam Delahunty
Featuring prominently in the first half, Delahunty kicked three goals, including one after the half-time siren to put the Giants back in front by three points at the major change. A good set of hands, he was sighted pushing up the ground, ending up with 13 disposals and seven marks for the match.

#28 Matthew McGrory
Displayed his athletic qualities running through the midfield for the Giants. McGrory showed potential, providing us with a glimpse of his closing speed on opponents. Applying five tackles and picking up 18 touches, McGrory also had an impact up forward with four inside 50s and two scoring attempts that went through as minor scores.

Brisbane Lions Academy:

#11 Will Martyn
A composed Martyn demonstrated great decision making abilities. Collecting 30 disposals, he was one of Brisbane’s most consistent players across the four-quarters. In addition to his great decision-making, his brilliant ball use often put the ball in positions of advantage for the Lions Academy, keeping his side in the game during the first-half and setting it up for victory in the second.

#18 Bruce Reville
Reville showed plenty of potential and an appetite for the contest. His pressure on the ball carrier stood out, laying six tackles – an equal game-high along with teammate Noah Cumberland. His endeavour and eagerness to find the footy also stood out as strong qualities, constantly hunting the footy and using his solid kick to hit a target.

#38 Tom Wischnat
Wishnat kicked four second half goals and could have had five had he not got too close to the man on the mark. After spending time higher up the ground, he looked comfortable inside 50. Taking six marks for the match, Wischnat demonstrated his potential as a target up forward for Brisbane.


Gold Coast 12.10 (82) defeated Northern Territory Thunder 5.8 (38)
By: Matthew Cocks

Gold Coast Suns:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea
An exciting prospect, Paul Oea looked electric with ball in hand. His pace and endeavour were among the qualities that stood out as he gathered 15 touches and took nine marks. A prominent sight forward of centre, Paul Oea sent the Suns Academy inside attacking 50 six times and also kicked a major.

#5 Connor Budarick
The Suns Academy captain had a strong influence on the match, whether it be collecting the contested ball in the midfield or straightening up his side as the attacked in blustery conditions. Budarick’s class and natural footy instinct were on display across his 22 disposals. He consistently bobbed up all over the ground, with five inside 50s and three rebound 50s for the match.

#13 Joshua Gore
The only multiple goal-kicker on the ground, Gore showed why he is building a reputation as a goal sneak. The busy small forward kicked three goals from five scoring attempts and applied plenty of forward pressure, laying seven tackles across the match.

Northern Territory:

#19 Ben Jungfer
Could not fault the endeavour of Jungfer who was consistent in a Thunder side under constant pressure. Spending most of the match in the midfield, he gathered 31 disposals and six rebounds. Jungfer showed an appetite for the contest, either with his head over the footy or applying pressure on the opposition. He would finish the match with six tackles and one of the Northern Territory’s best.

#29 Wade Derksen
Played a solid role across half-forward for the Thunder. Derksen displayed strong marking qualities, taking an equal game high six marks. A highlight for Derksen came from his only goal from two scoring attempts. With the man on the mark standing about 40 metres out Derksen kicked his only goal after judging the blustery Blacktown wind beautifully from a set-shot on a 45-degree angle.

#35 Stephen Cumming
Cumming was the dominant big-man on the ground, amassing 35 hitouts. He proved to be dynamic in the ruck, gathering 22 possessions – the second highest for the Thunder behind Jungfer. The 19-year old also had an impact up forward, sending the ball inside 50 three times and kicking a goal during the third-quarter.

Gippsland Power 9.11 (65) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 10.11 (71)
By: Craig Byrnes

Gippsland Power:

#2 Caleb Serong
The Geelong Grammar scholar returned to the Gippsland fold for the first time in 2019 after school cricket commitments took priority the week before. He started in the centre square and was in the action straight away, with his clean hands and sharp skills helping him excel in the miserable conditions. He got particularly busy in the third term with some influential touches around the stoppages and looked the most likely to win the ball in tight during these periods. He got called out of an aerial contest late in the game which he would usually instinctively fly for, but he will impact those situations once the cobwebs are blown out. A really solid first outing back.

#4 Sam Flanders
Another of the highly rated Power top agers, Flanders has started the season in excellent fashion and looks particularly sharp. Starting at the centre bounces, the explosive midfielder/forward was involved in everything in the first half. He impacted the stoppages, was physical in the slippery conditions and looked capable of turning the match singlehandedly. He pushed forward and kicked a really smart goal, snapping the ball high to get over the fingers of the approaching defenders. He was not quite as prolific in the second half, but still produced vital moments including a brilliant kick inside 50 to Maslen in the final term. Collected 23 touches and was comfortably Gippsland’s best in my opinion.

#11 Kyle Dunkley
After the disappointment of not getting drafted last year, the brother of Josh has switched from Oakleigh to Gippsland during the offseason and could not have started the season in much better form. He joined Serong and Flanders at the first centre bounce and inserted his physical presence immediately with great attack at the footy. Based purely on his conditioning and ripped stature, Dunkley looks to have worked extremely hard over the off season and his running appears to have benefitted as he constantly pushes from arc to arc. He also spent time forward and finished with another good haul of 23 disposals.

#12 Brock Smith
The no frills Gippsland skipper played behind the ball and did his job as we have come to expect on a week to week basis. He rarely gets beaten one on one, whether on the ground or aerially and looks to impact contests in his area whenever possible. He does not win mountains of the ball in this role, but still has a say on the result with his competitive attitude and focus on team values. He has shown over the last 12 months that he has the attributes to play in defence at the next level, so it would be great to see his offensive skills showcased through the midfield and forward as the year goes on to showcase his underrated flexibility.

#15 Ryan Sparkes
The midfielder or defender has developed into a ball magnet in his top-age year, with his ability to read the play helping him get to excellent link up positions and win 28 touches against the Rays. With the return of Serong, Sparkes spent greater minutes in the defensive arc and more often than not took the kick outs. Despite the occasional turn over on Saturday, he is trusted by his teammates with ball in hand and targeted when the ball is moving forward. Without the footy, he puts his body on the line as demonstrated when he courageously backed into traffic with the flight of the ball in a desperate attempt to kill a contest during the tense fourth term.

#17 Charlie Comben
The real smoky of the Gippsland top agers and one I feel is going to impress many as the year goes on. He moves superbly for a 199cm forward or ruckman, possessing good hands and excellent ground skills. The conditions certainly did not suit a player his height on Saturday, but he produced a super clean pick up during the first quarter on the move that would have even been highly regarded if completed by a player standing 175cm. He looks a smart footballer too, getting in great marking positions which helped him drag in a strong contested chest mark, while he looks to go inside at any opportunity. Exciting prospect.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hayden Young
The Dandenong captain did his number one selection prospects no harm, looking a class above behind the ball as he took control of the game at times. His best moments were so much better in the conditions than anyone else, whether carrying the ball through the corridor and hitting the likes of Weightman lace out or getting in the hole to take contested intercept marks like it was a sunny day. Although it was in the final term when he truly lifted his output to put his team on his back like any great leader should. He won the ball at vital moments and executed perfectly on most occasions, got in the way of dangerous forays forward and produced a smother that may have been match defining. Young’s 20 disposals on the stats sheet did not justify his true influence on the result.

#11 Ned Cahill
The speedy Mt Eliza junior started forward and spent time up the ground on occasions. He had an impact early with a nicely crumbed goal which he curled around the corner with skill. He was in and out of the contest for the remaining three quarters, but he still managed to show his elite decision making and ball use throughout his 12 disposals. Cahill missed a couple of opportunities that could have seen him finish the day as a big contributor, but still played a role with and without the ball to end with 12 touches and five tackles.

#18 Mitch Riordan
The inside midfielder would have been bitterly disappointed to not get drafted after injury ended his Championships in 2018, but he gets another chance to impress for Dandenong as a 19 year old and he was consistent as usual on Saturday. He started at the stoppages and won a team high 21 disposals, but was a tad rushed by foot on occasions. We all know he can win the ball, but his next challenge is to be defensively relevant again. He is more than capable having laid nine tackles in the Grand Final last year, but it is a part of his game that must be replicated every game with such a large focus at the next level.

#20 Sam De Koning
The brother of Carlton’s Tom had the tough task of manning Gippsland’s hulking full forward Josh Smith and even though the rain was always going to suit tall defenders, he did a good job. Winning possessions was not a high priority for De Koning (five disposals), but he still managed to have plenty of aerial wins, many of which were by fist. He did however take an excellent intercept mark in the third term when the conditions were particularly difficult. It will be one of the few times Smith is held goalless this season, so it was an important performance, especially considering the final margin.

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

On a day when a 196cm forward could have been forgiven for feeling a little sorry for himself, the St Kilda NGA prospect found a way to get in the game and ultimately had a defining impact. Bigoa kept getting his hands on the ball and had he converted his very gettable three behinds, it could have been a huge day from a scoreboard perspective. Although it was a very good day nonetheless, as he took a vital contested mark in the goal square during the final term to kick a goal that had a large say on the result.

#44 Cody Weightman

This kid can play. He only stands 177cm but has a genuine presence leading out to the ball carrier and remarkably sticky hands when considering the slippery ball. He caught the eye early with a one grab overhead mark at speed on the flank before turning and sending a bullet to Bigoa inside 50. He has genuine tricks in the front half, goal sense and that rare X-factor that you really can’t teach. He finished the game with two goals, 14 disposals, five marks and genuine claims of being the most important player on the ground. Place him on your “keep an eye on” list.


Murray Bushrangers 9.10 (64) defeated by Bendigo Pioneers 9.14 (68)
By: Scott Dougan


#5 Cameron Wild
Wild was close to being the best player on the ground, amassing a game-high 30 disposals, along with seven marks and seven tackles. His work-rate is what stood out the most. He worked tirelessly to reach every stoppage around the ground and continually sprinted to space to try to make himself a viable option for his teammates when exiting the defensive 50. He also displayed a good combination of uncontested and contested ball-winning ability.

#6 Will Chandler
Chandler didn’t find much of the ball but when he did, he used it well. He showed class and composure by foot, especially under pressure. His kicking technique is fantastic, and he generally makes smart decisions with ball in hand. Chandler had a good outside game but still needs to work on his inside craft.

#12 Lachlan Ash
Ash won plenty of the ball in the back half of the ground and was the Bushrangers go-to man when delivering the ball out of the defensive 50. In difficult conditions, Ash’s foot skills stood out. He consistently made smart decisions and was able to hit plenty of targets. Ash was very clean at ground level and also showcased his ability in the air when he took a strong one-on-one mark in the second quarter. Ash had 26 disposals, with 18 of them by foot.

#14 Jye Chalcraft
I thought Chalcraft was one of the Bushrangers most influential and important players on the day. He was very good around stoppages and his in and under work was eye-catching. Chalcraft used the ball well and even drifted forward to boot two goals, one of them to put the Bushrangers back in front in the third term.

#19 Jimmy Boyer
Boyer spent the majority of the game playing in the midfield. He accumulated plenty of disposals and his ball use was really good. He is very damaging by foot, especially when he has plenty of time and space. His second half wasn’t quite as good as his first, but he was still a solid contributor.

#20 Elijah Hollands
Hollands was consistent over four quarters and never seemed to fade out of the contest. He was a solid target up forward for the Bushrangers, specifically in the final term when he had a couple of shots on goal that only failed to register a score because of the tough weather conditions. Hollands also displayed his athletic ability, footy smarts, and foot skills throughout the game.


#4 Thomson Dow
Dow was one of the better players on the day, winning plenty of the footy on the inside and outside of the contest. He was very influential around stoppages, especially when he used his burst of speed to escape congestion. Dow finished with a team-high 22 disposals and one goal.

#8 Brodie Kemp
Kemp finished with 17 disposals and a goal playing predominantly in the forward half. Although his influence on the game could have been greater, his clearance work and ball use was still very good, and he kicked the Pioneers’ winning goal, standing up at a crunch time.

#11 Aaron Gundry
The 200cm Pioneers ruckman competed strongly all day and was one of the Pioneers main contributors to their history-making win. Even though he was coming up against a 15kg heavier Ben Kelly, Gundry stood his ground firmly and won some very handy hit-outs to advantage. Most importantly, Gundry presented strongly on the lead and even won his fair share of possessions, finishing with 16 (13 in the first half).


Sandringham Dragons 12.10 (82) defeated Northern Knights 5.9 (39)
By: Ed Pascoe


#1 Jack Mahony
Mahony was very busy around the ball and up forward making things happen whenever he was around the ball. Mahony looked desperate in the first quarter hitting the contests hard and trying to eat in and under to win the contested ball, he would latter do some nice things outside the contest with a overly pass inside 50 followed by a nice set shot goal from a mark in the 2nd quarter and later in the quarter missed a running snap on the boundary. More of the same came in the 2nd half with a beautiful crumb of a contest he would then run and deliver a nice pass inside 50, he also had a similar bit of play in the last quarter with a nice pickup and kick inside 50. He finished with 17 disposals, seven tackles and six inside 50s.

#4 Finn Maginess
Maginess was solid without being a standout today, he did most things right with ball in hand and was often clean around the contest and moved well in traffic. He copped a hard knock in the first quarter but he managed to get back up to find the ball in his lap where he would quickly kick the ball away, the trainers came to look at him but he shrugged them away to try and get to the next contests despite obviously hurting showing his tenacity. He had a quiet second half but he still managed to bob up and do some nice things throughout the game, he finished the game with 14 disposals, six tackles and four inside 50s.

#5 Ryan Byrnes
Byrnes had a fantastic first half he was everywhere through he midfield winning here contested ball and distributing well, he had one fantastic kick on his opposite foot inside 50 in the first quarter to teammate Angus Hanrahan which lead to a goal. Byrnes showed good composure through the midfield with one occasion spinning out of rouble and delivering a nice pass again with his opposite foot. Byrnes had a quieter second half and was visibly exhausted which was understandable with some of his multiple hard efforts, every time he got the ball he was on the move and working hard to avoid tacklers to either get a kick out or distribute by hand and he would often use is speed and would spread well from stoppages. Byrnes finished the game with 24 disposals and 4 tackles

#11 Hugo Ralphsmith
Ralphsmith had a solid game providing good run and link up throughout the day, he started the game well with a nice contested mark and quick kick and his kicking throughout the day was very good. He would latter show his courageous side in the second quarter copping a hard knock before getting back up to chase hard and tackle. Ralph-Smith was very clean with his hands and used the ball well but what also impressed where the one pet enters laying a nice block in the third quarter. Ralph-Smith finished with 17 classy disposals.

#12 Charlie Dean
Dean was the standout big man on the ground kicking four goals in a great display, he was a handful in the first quarter kicking a nice running goal and a little dribble goal as well showing good touch outside of being a big marking forward but he also looked strong on the lead providing a hard lead late in the first quarter and then quickly pumping the ball inside 50. Dean would kick his third goal in the third quarter after a nice lead up mark and classy set shot and would repeat that again on the boundary in the last quarter slotting a nice goal, his work rate to give his teammates an option was fantastic and he often used the ball well and quickly in general play. Dean finished the game flicking 4.3 with 15 disposals and eight marks.

#29 Fischer McAsey
McAsey had a quiet start to the game with his first half not as strong as his second. In the third quarter McAsey took a very strong contested intercept mark and then delivering a fantastic pass to teammates Miles Bergman at centre half-forward. This was a common theme for the last quarter as well taking strong intercept marks and using the ball well by foot to set up the play from defence. McAsey finished the game with 11 disposals and four strong marks.

#30 Andrew Courtney
Courtney has a shaky start early in the game with his disposal but it was his one preventers that made up for those early errors, in the third quarter he did a really smart tap on and then follow up with a block and later that quarter would redeem his kicking earlier in the game with a strong contested mark and quick and accurate pass inboard to a teammate. Courtney had a solid game through the ruck with 13 disposals and 23 hitouts.

#31 Josh Worrell
Worrell again spent time on the wing, his intercept marking was on show early and he often used the ball quickly and cleanly. He made a beautiful pass inside 50 to teammates Angus Hanrahan in the second quarter quickly lowering the eyes and disposing well, Worrell would get a rare shot at goal in the third quarter cutting off the opposition but missing the running shot at goal. Worrell did it hard in the last quarter getting more involved down back with a nice tackle and smother he would also drop an easy mark which was uncharacteristic but he made up for it showing some nice movement and kicking skills down back and he finished the game with 17 disposals and seven marks.


#7 Ryan Gardner
Gardner stood out with his run and clean hands throughout the day and was one of Northern’s better performers especially when all was lost late in the game. Gardner was busy early he was clean by hand and despite a poor kick he quickly made up for it getting the ball out and dishing off a creative handball, Gardner is a light player but that didn’t stop him from going in hard for the ball and he had a nice bit of play in the 2nd quarter working hard in defence and putting on pressure. Gardner mostly played on the wings but made the most of a rare stoppage when he use his clean hands to win the ball and then stay composed and dish off a nice handball. Gardner showed off his speed in the last quarter with one bit of play where he went for a run and showing his agility to get around multiple opponents and he would stay composed the whole time despite a lack of help and targets to kick to, he also had a lovely pickup at full speed then going for another run and dishing off a good handball. Gardner finished the game with 19 disposals and 5 inside 50s.

#8 Adam Carafa
Carafa was a consistent performer throughout the day constantly in the thick of the action I the midfield winning plenty of the ball while also tackling hard. Carafa had an interesting game where he was very clean at stoppages and he went in hard but his disposal at times let him down with some rushed kicks rarely taking the time to spot up a target he was lucky with one stoppage where he attacked it hard and cleanly before quickly snapping and hitting teammate Josh D’Intinosante inside 50. Carafa had no issue finding the ball at the coal face and was clean with his hands in tight but taking the time to make good decisions with his disposal will go a long way to making him a more dangerous player. Carafa really did work hard and he finished the game with 28 disposals and 11 tackles.

#11 Ryan Sturgess
Sturgess was a general in defence, the Northern captain set the standard for desperation and intent to make an impact whenever he went for the ball. He was shaky in the second quarter with a floating switch kick and he was also run down with some poor awareness but after that he switched into gear and went on to be Northern’s strongest performer in the 2nd half. His desperation was a standout trait with one but of play in the third quarter where he picked up the ball nicely before falling down with a player hot on his heels he quickly got back up and dished off a nice handball. Sturgess was fantastic on the rebound he did not take many marks but took a very good intercept mark in the last quarter and also laid a strong tackle. Sturgess finished the game with 22 disposals and eight rebounds.

#13 Sam Philp
Philp was impressive in the midfield, playing as an inside midfielder Philp used his clean hands and strong body to his advantage at stoppages and he distributed well by hand to his running players. Philp stop out early in the game with one passage of play where he picked up cleanly of the deck and showed great movement in traffic, this continued in the second quarter with Ismaili passages of play showing his clean hands in tight he also took a nice lead up mark sowing he he was more than just a stoppage player. Philp had a strong last quarter in one passage of play spinning out of trouble and followed that up with a nice handball and again at a stoppage winning the contested ball and standing up in the tackle to dish off effectively. Philp even crumbed a marking contest in a similar vein to his stoppage work and again disposing well by hand, Philp finished the game with 18 disposals and eight tackles.


Western Jets 5.4 (34) defeated Eastern Ranges 13.19 (97)
By: Ed Pascoe

Western Jets:

#18 Emerson Jeka
Jeka had a quiet day at the office as did most of his teammates up forward. Jeka struggled early losing a one on one marking contest with his direct opponent although he would do much better in the second quarter taking a nice lead up mark on the back flank and later on showing great movement for a player of his size and showing class by hand to set up his team’s first goal. The third quarter was more of the same he was quick and clean by hand and he took showed his work at ground level with a lovely pickup in the wet. Jeka would finally hit the scoreboard in the last quarter from a lead up mark and set shot goal from the boundary. Jeka finished the game with six disposals and one goal.

#20 Darcy Cassar
Cassar was made to work hard in defence and he played his role well often taking the kick outs and using he ball well by hand and foot. Cassar showed nice movement early in the game often weaving out of trouble to distribute by hand coming out of defence. He found plenty of the ball over the 4 quarters and he worked hard to keep linking up the ground from defence, his last quarter was very good setting up a goal to teammates Emerson Jeka with a nice pass inside 50 and he showed good attack on the ball late in the game which was promising considering the game was lost. Cassar finished the game with 31 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and nine rebounds to be the clear best player for the Jets.

#24 Josh Honey
Honey struggled in the midfield, usually reliant on the bigger inside mids to release him the ball to use his excellent skills he wasn’t given the space to be his normal damaging self by the Eastern Ranges midfielders. Honey did try hard he showed good desperation in the first quarter and laid a strong tackle and when he went for the ball at stoppages he was mostly clean with his hands. The second quarter he showed hoe dangerous he can be with a good run and kick to CHF and another bit of play showing nice composure and hit a nice kick down the line. Honey would finish with game with 10 disposals and a goal which came in the second quarter with a classy dribble goal from the boundary on the run.

Eastern Ranges:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton
Stapleton was a force through the midfield often found on the bottom of packs trying to get the ball out and win first possession. He started the game well going forward any way he could with some nice bits of play, he had a running shot at goal that just missed in the first quarter but it was his constant barrage inside 50 that set up his teammates. Stapleton was a four quarter performer never letting up with his attack on the ball and constant drive forward, he finished the game with 33 disposals eight tackles and 10 inside 50s in a tough and effective display.

#11 Mitch Mellis
Mitch Mellis was huge for his team often a constant threat through the midfield and up forward. Mellis kicked 3 goals with his first coming in the 2nd quarter after taking a nice mark and slotting the easy set shot goal, h was extremely busy around the ground showing his clean hands and constant movement in traffic. Mellis’s second goal came with a classy running snap goal and that quarter he also set up others with a nice kick to teammate Jamieson Rossiter, he was everywhere in the last quarter getting a lot of the ball and using it effectively and he would then kick his third goal from a. Lead up mark and set shot goal 25m out directly in front. Mellis finished the game with 35 disposals and 3 goals in a best on ground display.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter
Rossiter again had a quiet game by his standards but a slightly improved game on last week. Rossiter lead hard early working his way up the ground to take. A nice diving chest mark and then he quickly kicked inboard to great effect an he would finish the first quarter well despite missing a snap shot at goal he would later take a nice contested mark and slot the set shot. He showed great work at ground even with a lovely pickup and kick inside 50 to teammate Cody Hirst. He would not kick any more goals for the day missing a running shot at goal from the boundary in the second quarter, in the third quarter he would take a lead up mark and then surprised the crowd with a big barrel inside 50. Rossiter finished the game with 12 disposals, five tackles and one goal.

#17 Cody Hirst
You would think in the wet weather a 178cm and 67kg wingman would struggle but Hirst looked sensational in the wet conditions pickup up the ball like it was dry and going in just as hard as anyone. Hirst set the standard early with an incredibly courageous mark running back with the flight inside 50, his set shot became an errant pass to the opposition but the mark on its own certainly caught the eye, Hirst again showed his aerial skills with a nice intercept mark in the second quarter and then quickly played on with a nice kick inboard. Hirst hit a fantastic short pass in the third quarter to centre half-forward and an eye catching one handed pickup in the wet conditions and then hit a switch kick to teammate Mitch Mellis using his great vision and he would finish the quarter with a bullant tackle refusing to let go. Hirst was everywhere in the last quarter with more of the same, a fantastic kick inside 50 again to teammate Mitch Mellis completed a well rounded game where he finished with 29 disposals, eight marks and four tackles.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels 8.16 (64) defeated Geelong Falcons 9.9 (63)
By: Michael Alvaro


#4 Jed Hill

You cannot fault the over-ager’s attack on the ball, and Hill’s intensity was important in tough conditions. While his pressure and intent was important, Hill found it a little harder to have as profound an impact with ball in hand – and started shakily with a hospital pass to a teammate early on. Still, the best feature of Hill’s game shone through and he hunted the ball well at stoppages when playing midfield, while also putting in a good double effort to tackle and smother in the fourth quarter. Just needs to find the ball more and polish up in his time through the middle.

#7 Mitch Martin

Like Hill, looked a little off early on with his decision making and execution, turning the ball over by foot. While he also featured in the midfield, Martin did not quite rack up his usual numbers but had a couple of nice moments. His shrug of an opponent to get a kick off inside 50 in the second term was good, but Martin’s highlight was converting a clutch goal in the closing stages after winning a free kick one-on-one.

#8 James Cleaver

Popped up with two important goals for the Rebels, with his effort on the run in the last quarter crucial to the comeback win. Goals aside, Cleaver chased the loose balls hard in the opening stages and looked slick when picking the ball up off his toes at times. A good mover, Cleaver’s damage going forward proved a big difference on the day.

#13 Jay Rantall

Was the Rebels’ leading possession winner with 24, often hacking the ball long out of contested situations to move his side forward. Rantall had a nice pick up, weave and inside 50 in the first term, as well as an intercept mark to create another inside 50 in the second. Winning the ball well at both ends, Rantall also tackled hard and his effort showed as he looked to have come off proppy late on, clutching at his hamstring.


#8 Charlie Lazzaro

In a similar fashion to his Round 1 performance, Lazzaro found his way into the game slowly and was a key extractor for the Falcons. He burrows in well and is often at the bottom of packs or disposing of the ball quickly, so his impact sometimes goes unnoticed. Still, he featured heavily at the stoppages and worked hard all day.

#36 Charlie Sprague

The over-ager continues to show glimpses of his talent, and put in another impressive display. Employed in the centre bounce to begin proceedings, Sprague was often a target for the Falcons rucks, and uses his body well in traffic. When moving up the ground, Sprague spread hard and was a good link into forward 50 with his marking on the lead. He had a hand in Geelong’s second goal early on, but missed the chance to settle his side in the fourth term with a set shot. Was still a good target and someone his teammates obviously trust to do the job inside 50.

#40 Jesse Clark

Clark was a calming influence down back as per usual, and seemed to get to a lot of contests in defensive 50. While he was always thereabouts, Clark sometimes found himself around the back of the contest rather than in it, but found a way to move the ball out and rebound well – nine rebound 50s would suggest as much.

#41 Cooper Stephens

A key man for the Falcons, Stephens was uncharacteristically fumbly in the first term, and had a couple of ineffective handballs to start off. He then built into the game well, featuring as an extractor and provider to runners – an important role for any side. Strong over the ball, the Geelong co-captain showed as much during the second term with a clean pick up under duress and trying conditions, flicking the ball out to a teammate beautifully. He took a solid mark with close attention to end the third quarter, and slotted a goal on the siren to set his side up for the win. That was not to be, but he had a good hand in the dying stages in trying to rescue the points for Geelong.


Calder Cannons 7.4 (46) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 10.9 (69)
By: Michael Alvaro


#1 Daniel Mott
Was a frustrating day for the Calder star, spending most of his time throughout the game on the inside. While he managed to win some flash clearances, Mott was often rushed by his Oakleigh counterparts and hardly found the chance to show off his high-level decision making or running game. A quieter than usual outing, but Mott has the class to bounce back.

#8 Sam Ramsay
Ramsay provided some good run and rebound on the outside for Calder, using the ball effectively by foot to cause damage in patches. He was composed on the ball for the most part and had a couple of clever improvised kicks going forward. As many good wingmen do, Ramsay also ran forward well and kicked a really nice goal on the half time siren in wet conditions.

#26 Mason Fletcher
The potential Bombers father-son has not strung together a whole heap of games over the past year on the back of injuries, so understandably took some time to find his feet. As his name would suggest, Fletcher does the defensive basics well and intercepted high balls with timely spoils. Calm in possession, Fletcher was also entrusted with the kick-out duties at times and even pitched in with five rebound-50s. Took an outstanding one-on-one mark deep in defence during the second quarter to showcase his outstanding reading of the play and ball in flight.

#30 Josh Kemp
One of the stars of the day, Kemp almost single-handedly dragged Calder back into the contest. Playing one-out deep inside forward 50, the over-ager looked dangerous as the ball came in long, using his leap and strong hands to ensure he was a reliable target. Booted two of Calder’s five second-quarter goals in an absolute hot streak, but his highlight for the day was his third goal – a clinical snap from the pocket leading two opponents back towards goal.

#38 Brodie Newman
The skipper was a calming influence in defence, and was often seen barking orders to his troops throughout the game. Newman’s intercept marking and ability to move the ball cleanly out of defensive 50 were both important, and gave the Cannons a chance to stay in the game. Finds a good amount of the ball for a key position player, too, and was flexible enough to cover the enigmatic Dylan Williams for some of the game.


#3 Joe Ayton-Delaney
While he did not win as much of the ball as he did last week, Ayton-Delaney’s run from stoppages caught the eye, and he is not afraid to take opponents on. That breaking speed was often the best feature of his game, but the 19-year-old was also clean below his knees and smart by foot going forward.

#8 Noah Anderson
Backing up his Round 1 Draft Central Player of the Week performance, Anderson tore it up again in the midfield with a monster 44 disposals and two goals. While he did not seem as typically damaging with his kicking game forward of centre, he was a constant presence at stoppages, had repeated inside 50s, and bobbed up as expected to find the goals. Firming as an early favourite to go first off the board come draft time, Anderson’s repeat efforts, tenacity at the ball, and willingness to run hard to follow up his kicks were all outstanding. With the ability to tear a game apart, it was also pleasing to see Anderson rise as the game was up for grabs in the second half.

#11 Matt Rowell
Rowell is a complete midfield package, and showed again that he can do just about everything well. Hard to miss with his red hair and tucked shirt, Rowell was one of the few players who broke away well from stoppages to provide real drive and a good number of effective clearances. His first five steps often set him apart, and Rowell’s polish with ball in hand was also a constant highlight. Damaging on the offensive end, Rowell also showed a willingness to tackle, and got his hands dirty in the back half with smothers and a great effort going back with the flight of the ball to effect a spoil.

#23 Dylan Williams
While he was kept relatively quiet for large parts of the game, Williams still managed to stand up when required and found the goals in tough conditions for deep-lying forwards. The Oakleigh skipper’s hands overhead and at ground level were also exceptional in the wet, and his haul of three last-quarter goals dragged the Chargers over the line. Has undeniable talent, and in the end, was not to be denied.

#29 Finlay Macrae
The bottom-ager was a dangerous part of Oakleigh’s forward line finishing with 21 disposals and 1.2, Macrae created scoring opportunities for others on top of his lone goal, finding space well and hunting his opponents going the other way. Macrae’s holding the ball tackle which led to a teammate’s goal was outstanding, and he stayed in the game well throughout.

NAB League Boys Analysis: Bendigo Pioneers six-goal first term

IT was a quarter that certainly opened eyes across the league, with Bendigo Pioneers completely dominating the Geelong Falcons in 25 minutes of impressive football. The Pioneers, who won two matches and finished on the bottom of the table last year, showed that their bottom-agers were up for the fight in season 2019, racing to a 6.1 (37) to 0.1 (1) quarter time lead. After that, the Pioneers still won the scoring battle, seven goals to six, but it was much closer and the start was something to behold. We take a look at what made the Pioneers so impressive in that first term. To take a look at how the Pioneers piled on six goals, we look at the way each major came about and the time in the quarter the goal occured.


1:53 Riley Ironside – A quick handball out of the pack straight to the running Ironside who opened the Pioneers’ account in the opening two minutes.
7:31 Max Johnson – Free kick from a forward 50 stoppage. Johnson converted the set shot from just insdie 50.
8:35 Riley Wilson – Another handball out of traffic to Wilson who snapped truly on his right and bent it through.
11:35 Jeremy Rodi – Sharked a hitout and snapped a goal off a step from a forward stoppage and it bounced once before bouncing the right way through the goals.
17:19 Caleb Fisher – A series of handballs by the Pioneers finished with Fisher who kicked truly after straightening up inside 50.
22:35 Will Shaw – Put on the afterburners and burnt off opponents to deliver late in the term with a running goal just inside 50.

So of the six goals, three goals came from handballs inside 50 from inside congestion out to the running player on the outside, one came from a set shot, one directly from a stoppage clearance and one from taking the game on and goaling on the run.

Looking ahead to the top disposal winners in the first term, Bendigo Pioneers trio, Thomson Dow, James Schischka and Logan Fitzgerald finished the term with nine touches each. A number of the handballs out of stoppages were from Dow, while Schischka positioned himself for the intercept mark out of the Falcons defence, and Fitzgerald was productive around the stoppages. Other Pioneers who found the footy were Riley Wilson, Brodie Kemp and Riley Ironside – two of whom kicked goals, while Kemp played an important role in midfield. For the Falcons, Cooper Stephens had a team-high nine disposals, while Jesse Clark and Archie Hildebrandt had eight, and Charlie Harris finished the quarter with seven.


Thomson Dow (BP) 9
James Schischka (BP) 9
Logan Fitzgerald (BP) 9
Cooper Stephens (GF) 9
Jesse Clark (GF) 8
Archie Hildebrandt (GF) 8
Charlie Harris (GF) 7
Riley Wilson (BP) 6
Brodie Kemp (BP) 6
Riley Ironside (BP) 6

Now looking to the team statistics, we see a clear discrepancy across all areas aside from rebounds, with the Pioneers taking 16 marks to eight, and having 27 more disposals. More importantly, Bendigo restricted Geelong to just 28 kicks in the quarter, compared to the second half where the Falcons were able to record 107 kicks. After quarter time, Geelong was able to find more space to kick the ball, and its kick to handball ratio reduced. The Pioneers used the running handball game to their advantage, and backed their speed which saw them set up several plays forward.

A big factor in the first term was in the forward 50 tackles. Bendigo Pioneers served up eight forward 50 tackles from 14 inside 50s, while the Falcons did not record one from seven. The effective clearances stood at five to one in the Pioneers’ favour, with the Falcons’ first clearances and inside 50 coming at the 9:26 minute mark. By that stage, the score was 3.1 (19) to 0.0 (0). Geelong had three attempts on goal – Max Annadale recording a behind on the run, with two other attempts going out on the full – both from set shots.


Stat: BP-GF
Handballs: 51-41
Disposals: 96-69
Marks: 16-8
Clearances: 5-1
Inside 50s: 14-7
Tackles I50: 8-0
Rebounds: 7-8

Bendigo Pioneers went on to record a memorable 43-point win, and while the game was tight after quarter time, Bendigo finished off strongly as well, booting two goals to zero after Geelong cut the deficit to 31 points at the final break. Dow recorded the most disposals for the Pioneers with 28, as well as eight marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while capping off the performance with two goals. Schischka and Fitzgerald both went on to have 24 disposals, as well as a combined 10 rebounds and 11 marks. Wilson was named best on for the Pioneers, racking up 23 disposals, three marks, four clearances, four inside 50s, three tackles and two rebounds as well as his goal. The Pioneers now travel to Deakin Reserve, Shepparton to take on Murray Bushrangers who are coming off a narrow loss to Gippsland Power in what hopes to be a thrilling contest.

Team Selection: NAB League Girls – Round 2

TEAMS have brought in a number of talented players for Round 2 of the NAB League Girls competition as sides strive to either back up strong performances from Round 1, or hope to bounce back from losses in the opening round. Georgia Patrikios (Calder Cannons) has been named on the bench having missed the first round, while Millie Brown (Murray Bushrangers) and Molly McDonald (Dandenong Stingrays) are also back into their respective sides, certain to boost the team’s chances of victory.

After two triple headers in Round 1, the six games are spread across six different venues, from Bendigo to Ballarat, Geelong to Yarrawonga, Moorabbin to Bundoora in a chance for spectators across the state to take in some terrific football action. Below are how the 12 teams have been named for the weekend’s action.


Round 2 – 16/03/2019
Epsom Huntly Reserve – Bendigo


B: 25. K. Hazlett, 36. K. Douglass, 24. S. Oliver
HB: 28. E. Gretgrix, 40. T. Slender, 46. K. Mitchell
C: 3. E. Snell, 33. B. Heiden, 1. M. Tupper
HF: 14. A. Strahan, 30. H. Stewart, 20. D. Villiva
F: 50. M. Barton, 44. J. Jolliffe, 9. T. Miaoudis
R: 37. G. Sladden, 19. J. Finning, 4. B. Hards
Int: 34. E. Cooper, 48. D. Kelly-Guthrie, 26. C. Mitchell, 41. E. Peacock


B: 17. M. Kendall, 51. S. Zappia, 54. E. Odria
HB: 11. M. Edwards, 49. C. Wilsmore, 1. C. Smith
C: 29. M. Di Cosmo, 39. L. McClelland, 20. J. Richardson
HF: 26. T. Brown, 41. T. Merrett, 48. I. Khoury
F: 31. S. Collard, 46. S. Gibbs, 12. M. Taverna
R: 25. J. Grace, 33. T. Flintoff, 21. O. Meagher
Int: 44. S. Bowden, 23. M. Church, 35. L. Hilton, 16. E. Horne


Round 2 – 16/03/2019
Mars Stadium – Ballarat


B: 2. Z. Denahy, 16. L. Sykes, 11. L. Donegan
HB: 5. N. Butler, 27. G. Pidgeon, 12. V. Jewell
C: 13. B. Thompson, 24. S. Molan, 3. A. Trigg
HF: 29. P. Metcalfe, 34. K. Harris, 28. I. Robson
F: 6. M. Ciavarella, 23. I. Rustman, 9. R. Saulitis
R: 35. M. Caris, 10. E. Wood, 15. C. Leonard
Int: 1. L. Condon, 20. E. Friend, 21. A. Stevens, 4. K. Tomkins


B: 24. K. Delia, 6. K. Reid, 36. Z. Penno
HB: 32. T. Fry, 35. I. Young, 41. G. Prespakis
C: 8. Z. Friswell, 31. K. Petrevski, 3. E. Yassir
HF: 46. G. Elarmaly, 18. T. Gillard, 34. Z. Hardiman
F: 22. M. Muller, 44. I. McNeill-Wren, 2. F. Theodore
R: 49. T. Crook, 11. A. Barba, 38. L. Cocomello
Int: 1. H. Cooke, 43. C. Leahy, 25. A. Magri, 21. G. Patrikios


Round 2 – 17/03/2019
La Trobe University – Bundoora


B: 32. A. Snow, 2. S. Fell, 34. M. Uwland
HB: 10. P. Chisholm, 18. S. Sansonetti, 17. C. Fitzgerald
C: 6. A. Bannan, 21. E. McKenzie, 9. M. Chaplin
HF: 7. A. Bennett, 23. G. Newton, 29. T. Pulcino
F: 20. C. Linssen, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 25. T. Mills
R: 1. J. Nelson, 14. J. Fitzgerald, 22. B. Gutknecht
Int: 11. M. Appleby, 16. Z. Flanigan, 30. M. Plunkett, 36. T. Smart
Emg: 8. G. Ceravolo, 24. J. Nursey, 26. M. Papachristos, 35. J. Simpson


B: 2. M. Hill, 26. A. Micallef, 29. C. Rowbottom
HB: 33. E. Chamberlain, 12. A. Peck, 18. C. O’Malley
C: 34. G. Larkey, 17. N. Xenos, 22. J. Lin
HF: 1. G. Lagioia, 10. T. Cowan, 5. A. van Oosterwijck
F: 11. M. Bertuna, 15. C. Russell, 4. E. Harley
R: 3. K. Kearns, 8. A. Porter, 32. E. James
Int: 14. G. Byrne, 9. E. Jackson, 38. D. Lloyd, 31. S. Morley, 13. T. Morton, 21. S. Reid


Round 2 – 17/03/2019
Deakin University – Geelong


B: 7. M. Holdsworth, 21. A. Chapman, 44. J. Robinson
HB: 16. E. Mahoney, 32. K. Haustorfer , 11. D. Smith
C: 12. L. Gardiner, 23. L. Lesosky-Hay, 28. A. Sanderson
HF: 24. M. Skinner, 8. P. Sheppard, 1. E. Vella
F: 34. S. Milsome, 39. R. Tierney, 25. L. Ryan
R: 20. S. Hovey, 38. L. McEvoy, 18. D. Moloney
Int: 14. Z. Garth, 37. A. Lee, 46. A. McKee, 4. P. Schaap
Emg: 36. M. Featherston , 6. T. Hassett, 45. T. Lewis


B: 19. H. Booth, 47. E. Williams, 7. L. Raymond
HB: 26. G. McRae, 45. M. Van Berkel, 9. M. Shaw
C: 13. H. Andrews, 8. C. Abrahams , 30. A. Rippon
HF: 2. S. Beaton, 27. N. Webber, 40. C. Robinson
F: 3. M. Gilmour, 50. G. Matser, 11. S. Walker
R: 49. G. Radford, 12. M. Fitzsimon, 17. S. Trewin
Int: 15. C. Bailey, 20. J. Chila, 16. A. Hardwick, 21. C. Prestidge
Emg: 1. S. Brisbane, 24. N. Williams


Round 2 – 17/03/2019
J.C. Lowe Oval – Yarrawonga


B: 24. H. Doohan, 44. M. Quade, 6. C. Hargreaves
HB: 14. C. Boschetti, 43. A. Williams, 10. S. Locke
C: 7. K. Adams, 19. M. Brown, 8. A. Favell
HF: 31. M. Trethowan, 45. O. Barber, 37. T. Verhoeven
F: 18. Z. Spencer, 34. E. McPherson, 40. K. Whitehead
R: 39. A. Morphett, 22. A. Richardson, 11. T. Brett
Int: 2. O. Antonello, 33. E. Mifka, 21. C. Styan , 27. J. Ward
Emg: 16. M. Jones, 20. S. Lang, 41. L. Sharp


B: 19. A. Anthony, 11. K. O’Keefe, 20. T. Kolevski
HB: 1. M. Huta, 23. I. Pritchard, 15. N. Wright
C: 13. I. Grant, 9. R. Tripodi, 16. H. Herring
HF: 6. E. Kiely, 25. C. Saxon-Jones, 8. O. Millar
F: 5. I. Cavka, 26. C. Weston-Sirett, 14. L. Wright
R: 22. C. Singleton, 12. E. Quinn, 17. E. Georgostathis
Int: 10. T. Evans, 30. T. Kotoski, 24. J. Mwaka, 21. E. Robinson


Round 2 – 17/03/2019
RSEA Park – Moorabbin


B: 57. C. Bowen, 24. N. Borg, 44. D. Walker
HB: 38. G. Strangio, 25. S. Hartwig, 7. R. Woods
C: 42. M. Purcell, 17. B. Arnold, 26. C. Saultry
HF: 33. I. Eddey, 2. S. Rothfield, 40. A. Moloney
F: 65. E. Angelopoulos, 1. M. Denahy Maloney, 29. I. Stutt
R: 13. T. Grasso, 22. E. McNamara, 28. A. Burke
Int: 15. C. Cody, 30. W. Laing, 21. E. Turner , 58. T. Tysoe
Emg: 47. K. Lynch, 3. C. Murphy, 50. P. Staltari


B: 14. L. Grocock, 51. Z. Hill, 17. M. Layfield
HB: 32. J. Radford, 50. A. Nagtzaam, 31. B. Vernon
C: 21. G. Hodder, 28. T. Smith, 10. A. Jordan
HF: 48. A. Carroll, 24. A. Liddle, 20. P. Wilson-Macdonald
F: 2. S. Stratton, 49. K. McKenzie, 55. H. Thomas
R: 58. G. Howes, 12. M. McDonald, 26. I. Shannon
Int: 40. R. Clancy – Dillon, 23. D. Fennell, 4. J. Guy-Toogood, 53. O. Mauerhofer, 34. A. Richards

NAB League season preview: Bendigo Pioneers

AN ADDITIONAL training base, renewed optimism and fresh opportunities headline a successful off-season for the Bendigo Pioneers. The club with the largest land mass in the competition is ready and raring to go in season 2019, after a number of top-agers impressed as bottom-agers last season. Talent Manager Stephen Sharp said he was optimistic about the year ahead.

“We had a reasonably strong 17-year-old group last year who are obviously now top-age,” he said. “We think we’ve got some good prospects, and getting access to all our kids together would be a dream for us, to be able to have them all train together and play together because we think that would be able to help our performances. “Not mentioning wins because it’s not the focus of the program. “We’re pretty excited, but we do get access to most of them.”

While some of the Pioneers top prospects, Brodie Kemp and Thomson Dow will board at Geelong Grammar, Bendigo will have access to them in the first few rounds and late in the season. It will boost the Pioneers, who Sharp said have a number of raw potential draft prospects for the 2019 season.

“(Kemp) would be one of the top prospects,” Sharp said. “There’s himself, there’s Thomson Dow, there’s Flynn Perez who’s out with an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) for the year, he’s had an ACL reconstruction so he won’t play any footy, but he’ll get himself ready for the combine. “He’s a real leader. “There’s James Schischka, there’s Aaron Gundry who’s about 200cm. “We’ve got Matt Hird who’s a developing tall who’s had a bit of injury interruption, he’s 203cm, he ran in the state trials of 800, 1500m for his school in NSW, he lives in Barham. “We’ve got some raw talent up there. “Braydon Vaz is another key forward/defender, hybrid sort of player. “Cooper Vick, we’ve got some good talent at the top end. We think we’ve got a handful, whether that be five, it could be one.”

Sharp said the 2019 draft crop had the potential to emulate that of the 2017 crop which saw Paddy Dow, Lochie O’Brien, Angus Schumacher (all Carlton), Jarrod Brander (West Coast), Brent Daniels (GWS GIANTS) and Kane Farrell (Port Adelaide) all land at AFL clubs.

“We think there’s good prospects this year, not too dissimilar to 2017,” he said. “We were a bit lean last year, we thought we might get two. “We thought Jacob Atley might have gone, and he was pretty close, I think Essendon were keen to take him. “He’s been contracted to their VFL. “Obviously Jye Caldwell went to GWS at 11. “But we think there could be three or four.

“We’re happy with the way the program is progressing. “We’ve had 14 players drafted in the past four years, just under four a year. “If you can get another four this year, that keeps that consistency up there which is really good. That sends a good message to the kids in our region, if you come into our region you can get drafted.”

With the Bendigo region stretching up to both the New South Wales and South Australian borders, the Pioneers network stretches across the north west of the state. While the region is large, it provides its own challenges with travel a staple of Pioneers players routines. Sharp was excited to announce a fourth training base to reduce travel over the off-season.

“I think it’s ticking along well,” Sharp said. “We’ve got some really good staff, we’ve opened up a Moama training base this year so we’ve got four regional centres, so we’ve got Bendigo, Moama, Swan Hill and Mildura who train from November through to nearly the end of February. “Purely because of the size of the region we can’t get everyone together. “In saying that we do have our testing down here in Bendigo at the end of December and had some trial games in early February, which is always good to get the kids together when we can.”

In 2019, the new-look NAB League features interstate sides once again, and brings back memories for Sharp, who recalls a time when non-Victorian sides were a regular fixture on the then-TAC Cup calendar. Sharp said Tasmania being a full-time side was particularly exciting for the competition and the Pioneers program.

“It’s exciting for us because I was involved many years ago with the NSW/ACT Rams when we were in Canberra,” he said. “The (Tasmania) Mariners and the Rams were a part of the normal fixturing back in that 96 (1996) through to the early 2000s. “So we’re excited by that prospect because we played Tassie in Tassie in 2015 in May, and we play them twice this year.”

Sharp said the club was excited to both travel down to Tasmania in July, and welcome the Devils to Queen Elizabeth Oval in May.

“It’s a good opportunity for the kids to get away and stay overnight, so we’re looking forward to playing Tassie,” he said. “Particularly with them coming here adds a bit more profile to our program with an interstate team coming here.”

With an exciting batch of raw talents in 2019, Sharp said spectators could expect the Pioneers to play an exciting brand of football to give themselves the best chance of being drafted, while maintaining accountability.

“I think that’s a philosopy of our program,” he said. “We’ve got to showcase the kids’ talents; defensive mindset and accountability when need be, but you’ve got to get the footy and take the game on and showcase what you’ve got because it is that sort of program, so Rick’s got a really simple game style. “We’re working his coaching principles around teaching the fundamentals, your clean ground ball, your kicking skills, your handballing, your marking, your decision making, all that simple stuff is a real strong focus of his coaching. Whether he’s coaching groups or throughout our region, you can get caught up in structures of the game, gameplans and setups and all that, but if you can’t execute it… you could have the best gameplan in the world couldn’t you? We thought we’d keep it pretty simple.”

The Bendigo Pioneers begin their season on Sunday, March 24 against Geelong Falcons at Central Reserve, Colac.

U18 Girls season preview: Bendigo Pioneers

AFTER a strong start to the 2018 TAC Cup Girls season by defeating the Western Jets in Round 1, Bendigo Pioneers were unable to capitalise for the rest of the season as they failed to register another win. However there were still positives to take from the season, with Pioneers’ Talent Manger Steve Sharp highlighting the fact they were able to get games into bottom-agers and 16 year olds.

“That was a good positive start to the season, it’s hard yards if you don’t get any positive stuff until later in the season, you’re sort of dragging the chain because you lose interest so the engagement levels were up,” he said. “It’s all learning for the girls and particularly with the infancy of the competition it’s just getting their teeth into it and starting to get some development through.”

There were no Pioneers players drafted in 2018, though Sharp notes that coming from a smaller area means the talent pool is not necessarily comparable to the metropolitan areas where talent is in abundance.

“We’re still a bit depleted as far as our depth goes and our numbers across the board, we’re probably similar to Gippsland where we both don’t have a huge talent pool compared to metropolitan areas where they have a lot of girls to pick from,” he said.

Despite the lack of players drafted to the AFLW, Sharp says Pioneers 2018 top agers, Kody Jacques and Megan Williamson, who played in the Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) competition, gained valuable experience that could give them further opportunities to break into AFLW in 2019.

“ I think Kody might be doing it (VFLW) at Richmond,” he said. “I think Megan will stay at Williamstown, she was happy there and she played really well there. “Though I suppose Williamstown aren’t going to have an AFLW side, but Richmond are in 2020, so I would say she would be on the radar there I would think. “Kody certainly is a beautiful kick of the footy, so she just needs to understand that she needs to get into that environment where she is living it and breathing it. I think she’ll put herself in a good position.”

The Pioneers took on the Murray Bushrangers in a practice match in Shepparton in the weeks prior to the season, beating the Bushrangers in a ten goals to five game.

“The practice match on the weekend – if that’s any indication we think we improved a bit… It was a ten goals to five game, so that’s a positive indicator, but that was one game,” he said. “You just don’t know where the girls will be at.”

Looking ahead to the 2019 season, Sharp says that player development is key, with a lot to look forward to. An increased number on the playing list is a change from 2018, while development of the playing list has been adapted to cater for what the AFLW may need in coming years to make the players as draftable as possible.

“We’re pretty happy, we think there has been a bit of development with some of these girls over the summer,” he said. “We haven’t had to do a lot of cuts to our list this year and even similarly last year we had an even smaller list of about 40 so we’ve increased it to about 50 this year just to make sure that we have enough numbers for our futures games. “We didn’t have a lot of top end, top age girls last year, we sort of concentrated and we’ve developed our list based on talent irrespective of their age.

“We can sit and go through all the theories, you speculate on how the individuals might develop and where they might be placed from a drafting point of view, then you’ve got to pull the whole team together to play a team game, but we’re hopeful. “It changes every day in the women’s space, particularly with the different styles of body composition. “I suppose they’re looking for more of that athletic running profile toward more of what the AFLW was like in the first year, so I think there is going to be a lot more emergence of these young girls coming through.”

Sharp said the Pioneers have some good young talent coming through, with versatility and skill off the boot key features of the squad in 2019.

“We just recently nominated some girls for the initial clubs for Vic Country, so for the powers at be to have a look at,” he said. Kate Douglass would be one of those girls, she’s 18 this year and is a key defender but can play forward, she’s a beautiful kick of the footy, left footer, so we’re looking for some good things from her this year. “We did push her forward, you want it in her hands from within 40, no one else. So you’ve got to play people in positions while we don’t have the depth to play two of them.

“We have a younger girl that will probably play half-back this year and probably go forward, Tara Slender. “She’ll be 17 in November, key forward or key back, pretty smart player and is a beautiful kick of the footy, good intercept mark and quite tall. “Tara is a really good player and Kate is just a really beautiful kick of the footy. “We see some further opportunities for Kate and I think we have a bit more depth this year, so Kate won’t necessarily have to shoulder all a lot of that, she’s a year older too, so she might be more mature to do that. She’s a good kid, she’s got a bit of a cricket background, regional sort of cricket person, so she’d certainly be one.

“We’ve got Jemma (Finning) – she’s a good young midfielder or half-back player, she turned 17 in March, she’s a really good kid. “We’ve got a girl by the name of Brooke Hards, she’s a 17-year-old in February, she’s a midfielder – a real hard-running player, she’d be the best performed athlete in our program we think. “She’d be under eight minutes or low sevens in regards to her 2km stuff so she’d show up some of the boys, so we’re looking for some exciting things from her. “There’s another young girl, hardly played any footy – Annabel Strahan, been a netballer or basketballer but she’s got some really raw talent and she’d played really well against Murray last week, that’s the first real opportunity I’ve gotten to see her play and she was really excellent. Then Elizabeth Snell, she’s another March birthday, good running midfield or half-forward but she’s got some real plusses in her game, she’s got some real attributes so we think she’ll be a good player for us.”

When it comes to the Pioneers, it is hard to ignore the distances these girls travel to give themselves opportunities in football.

“They’ve got no choice, our girls,” Sharp said. “I think we’ll have possibly six that are on the list that come from Sunraysia, Mildura and it’s four-and-a-half hours here, then you’ve got another two hours to Melbourne so they’ve really got no choice. “I think they’re conditioned to the travel earlier than just the playing footy bit because they’ve always had to travel to go to Melbourne to do things so we don’t have the privilege to just come in three nights a week and train from half an hour or forty minutes away. “These kids aren’t getting home until half past ten at night from training and have to go to school the next morning, it’s just the way it is – they’re a bit more resilient I think.

Maddie Baldwin, a girl from Cohuna, played Vic Country U16 and played really well. “She’s coming back from a bit of an injury, she had a meniscus issue with her knee. “So she’s not quite there yet, but maybe in the latter part of the season, so we hope that she will show some and get an opportunity to play free and show her ability,” he said. “There’s another girl, Hannah Stewart. Hannah’s a girl from Hay sort of up on the Murrumbidgi River about 3 hours from here (Bendigo), so that’s where she lives with about 3000 people. She set the standard in the Swan Hill training base because she comes across from Hay – she’s going to battle to get to training a bit, she might do her own training and get down every two or three weeks to train. she might play NSW, I don’t know what their spots and squads look like but she played on the weekend and was really impressive, beautiful kick of the footy, good mark, played centre half forward for us. She’s good athletically, ran an 8 minute or under 2km time trial on Monday which is pretty good. But she’s a pretty exciting prospect.”

Jordyn (Jollis) is coming back, but we’re watching her slowly. “She was All-Australian Under 16 so she’s got a bit of talent, but again, she’s on the Murrumbidgi River in Balranald and that’s probably still three hours away. “She’s a 19-year-old, she’s been approved because she was part of the GWS Academy – she’s certainly not match-fit at the moment because she’s had a back issue but she’s in pretty good nick, she plays netball and that now and she’s been doing conditioning to get her fitter, she’s got to get through that next stage. But we’re hopeful, we’ll probably play her deep forward early to build her up a bit to play in other spots.

“The girls need to understand that you do have to play a defensive role when the opposition have got the footy, but it is a development program and we want to showcase their skills so it’s about if you want to take the game on and you want to try run-and-bouncing, we’re going to encourage that. Take the game on and show us what you got, really. “There’s an accountability to your opponents that the girls have to learn, but we think we’ve got some girls there that we think will showcase a bit. “Show your skills and take the game on and don’t worry about making any mistakes, let’s just try and develop your game.”

The Bendigo Pioneers will take on the Eastern Ranges in Round 1 of the Under 18 Girls Competition at RAMS Arena in Craigieburn on March 2.

The run home: Bendigo Pioneers

BENDIGO Pioneers sit at the bottom of the TAC Cup table despite some competitive efforts, claiming two victories thus far this season. One came against the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels in Round 1, before shocking the Gippsland Power at Windy Hill later in the year. It was their best performance of the year, and a reward for effort after a narrow loss to Western Jets at Williamstown. To finish off the season they have fellow bottom four side GWV Rebels up at Mars Stadium, before finishing off the regular season against Western Jets at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Wins: 2
Losses: 12
Draws: 0
Position: 12th
Points For: 648 (12th)
Points Against: 1152 (12th)
Percentage: 56
Points: 8


R15: vs. GWV Rebels – MARS Stadium
R16: vs. Western Jets – Queen Elizabeth Oval

National Combine Invitations: [1] Jye Caldwell

State Combine Invitations: [2] Jacob Atley, Zane Keighran

The Bendigo Pioneers will face one of Murray Bushrangers, Oakleigh Chargers or Western Jets in the Wildcard Round in three weeks, entrenched in the bottom two. A win in the final fortnight would see them overtake Eastern Ranges into eleventh which should hand them a slightly better chance at upsetting a challenger in the Wildcard Round. They have a star midfielder in Jye Caldwell, while the likes of Jacob Atley, Zane Keighran, Noah Wheeler, Hunter Lawrence, Flynn Perez and Brodie Kemp form a solid nucleus around the ground.

Top Fives:


1 – Noah Wheeler – 292 (8th overall)
2 – Liam Marciano – 250
2 – Hunter Lawrence 250
4 – Flynn Perez – 199
5 – Jacob Atley – 190


1 – Jacob Atley – 59 (19th overall)
2 – Noah Wheeler – 50
2 – Flynn Perez – 50
4 – Hunter Lawrence – 49
5 – Liam Marciano – 48

Contested Possessions:

1 – Noah Wheeler – 133 (11th overall)
2 – Liam Marciano – 104
3 – Hunter Lawrence – 89
4 – Zane Keighran – 76
5 – Jacob Atley – 66
5 – Flynn Perez – 66


1 – Hunter Lawrence – 69 (eq. 10th overall)
2 – Noah Wheeler – 60
3 – Jack McHale – 34
3 – Callum McCarty – 34
5 – Flynn Perez – 32
5 – Daniel Keating – 32
5 – Riley Ironside – 32


1 – Daniel Keating – 190 (5th overall)
2 – Mitchell Christensen – 47
3 – Daine Grace – 41
4 – Max Johnson – 25
5 – Matt Hird – 23


1 – Noah Wheeler – 57 (eq. 6th overall)
2 – Liam Marciano – 34
3 – Hunter Lawrence – 24
4 – Zane Keighran – 21
5 – Bailey Henderson – 18

Inside 50s:

1 – Noah Wheeler – 62 (eq. 1st overall)
2 – Hunter Lawrence – 44
3 – Bailey Henderson – 31
4 – Flynn Perez – 30
5 – Liam Marciano – 21


1 – Hunter Lawrence – 42 (6th overall)
2 – Noah Wheeler – 34
2 – Jackson Williams – 34
4 – Flynn Perez – 30
5 – Jacob Atley – 29


1 – Will Holt – 10 (eq. 34th overall)
2 – Noah Wheeler – 7
3 – Hunter Lawrence – 6
4 – Zane Keighran – 5
5 – Braydon Vaz/Brodie Kemp/Oscar Perez, Lucas Caccaviello/Riley Clarke – 4

Team Selection: VFLW – Round 6

ROUND six sees many AFLW stars line up for rival clubs in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s, as many teams look to record wins after the bye. Two ladder leaders in Geelong and Darebin will go head-to-head while the Bulldogs will hope to secure their first win against the Seagulls.


Round 6 – Saturday, June 16, 12pm
RAMS Arena

After last week’s bye round, Carlton and NT Thunder will be raring to kick off round six. The Blues have made four important changes to their line-up, welcoming back AFLW players Reni Hicks and Shae Audley alongside Sarah Last and Oakleigh Charger, Isabella Geitzmann. They will take the place of Bridie Kennedy and Sarah Hosking as well as Kate Shierlaw and Madeline Keryk, who have both taken up opportunities at other clubs.

The undefeated Thunder will introduce six new faces to RAMS Arena on Saturday as part of ten changes for its round six side. One of these debutants is Amy Chittick, a four-time Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) premiership player for Waratah. PINT junior, Katie Streader and Wanderers junior, Lauren Motlop are also exciting new inclusions.

The last two newcomers to don the Thunder guernsey this week are Adelaide Crows 2017 AFLW premiership players, Courtney Cramey and Jenna McCormick. Their knowledge and experience is sure to bring class to the Thunder’s game. Joining them will be Sarah Allan, Sophie Armitstead, Chelsea Randall and Emma Swanson.


B: 40. K. Harvey, 12. S. Last, 24. R. Hicks
HB: 34. A. Chuot, 44. D. Pedersen, 56. C. Williams
C: 17. T.  Lucas-Rodd, 37. B.  Schultz, 90. B.  Walker
HF: 20. C. Bromage, 50. J. Borg, 38. L. McCarthy
F: 27. K. Cox, 42. C. Hardeman, 41. K. Cunico
R: 16. B. Moody, 35. S. Li, 26. S. Audley
Int: 82. N. Burns, 55. C. Dalton, 11. J. Hosking, 45. R. King
Emg: 33. G. Green, 10. S. Hosking, 66. T. Plowman, 63. O. Vesely
23P: 15. I. Gietzmann
In: G. Green, O. Vesely, I. Gietzmann, S. Audley, R. Hicks, S. Last, A. Chuot
Out: M. Keryk,  K. Shierlaw,  B. Kennedy,  K. Harrington

NT Thunder

B: 8. S. Riley, 7. L. O’Shea, 6. L. Motlop
HB: 14. C. Cramey, 37. S. Allan, 22. J. McCormick
C: 24. G.  Bevan, 26. C.  Randall, 32. K.  Streader
HF: 5. M. Roberts, 31. J. Sedunary, 17. E. Swanson
F: 16. S. Armitstead, 4. S. Nalder, 43. K. Duggan
R: 30. R. Metcalfe, 3. A. Foley, 28. R. Forth
Int: 10. S. Barnett, 41. A. Chittick, 21. K. Irvine, 23. S. Mauboy
Emg: 44. M. Johnston
23P: 49. M. Gault

In: L. Motlop, M. Johnston, C. Cramey, A. Chittick, S. Armitstead, K. Streader, R. Metcalfe, E. Swanson, C. Randall, S. Allan, K. Irvine, J. McCormick
Out: A. Hatchard, J. Hickey, D. Varnhagen, J. Mules, J. Hewett, R. Wallace, M. Rajcic, T. Thorn, E. Jones, L. Roberts, J. Anderson



Round 6 – Saturday, June 16, 1pm
Henry Turner Memorial Reserve

In their clash with Williamstown this week, the Western Bulldogs have made some key changes to ensure their best chance at victory. They will welcome back Bulldogs AFLW premiership players, Kim Rennie and Hayley Wildes as well as Melbourne listed AFLW player, Alyssa Mifsud, who comes in for her first game with the Dogs. This brings their tally to eight AFLW listed players for the round, hopefully giving them the edge they need to secure their first win of the season.

Williamstown have named six changes for their round six side. The Seagulls will be glad to welcome back their captain, Sarah Chapman this week now that she has recovered from injury. Isabelle Porter has also been recalled to the field after returning from injury. Williamstown have named Bendigo Pioneers captain, Megan Williamson as the 23rd player. Emma Ludolff, Kaitlin Smith and Anna Saxton have been sidelined.

Western Bulldogs

B: 9. T. Dinuccio, 30. A. Tessari, 21. B. Hunt
HB: 13. L. Bailey, 18. E. Birch, 26. T. Morgan
C: 15. R.  Ashley, 36. A.  Gogos , 34. E.  Mackay
HF: 1. B. Lochland, 12. J. Francke, 6. K. McLeod
F: 10. S. Jolly, 32. A. Mifsud, 41. A. Scott
R: 24. K. Rennie, 16. N. Ferres, 17. H. Wildes
Int: 5. R. Martinuzzo, 43. N. McMahon, 38. C. O’Brien, 52. K. Rebuffo
Emg: 31. A. Gunn, 28. T. Hamilton, 48. A. Rooth
23P: 27. E. Muller

In: K. Rennie, A. Mifsud, H. Wildes, K. Rebuffo, A. Rooth
Out: A. Guest,  E. Gamble



B: 8. C. Portelli, 10. B. Hateley, 32. B. Stevens
HB: 19. E. Meade, 26. J. Heard, 34. J. Reid
C: 22. M.  Lowe, 17. S.  Chapman, 44. I.  Porter
HF: 12. G. Harris, 25. J. Garner, 4. E. Paterno
F: 35. J. Bruton, 6. S. Cross, 16. A. Cameron
R: 9. R. Achampong, 2. J. Duffin, 13. N. Wallace
Int: 1. R. Dardengo, 3. S. Murphy-Burke, 20. S. Seabrook, 27. L. Suleiman
Emg: 14. C. Balshaw, 21. S. Dixon, 30. A. Melnikas, 7. K. Raymundo
23P: 36. M. Williamson

In: I. Porter, A. Melnikas, M. Williamson, C. Balshaw, S. Dixon, S. Chapman
Out: E. Ludolff, K. Smith, A. Saxton



Round 6 – Saturday, June 16, 2:45pm
GMHBA Stadium

Geelong is currently sitting at the top of the VFLW ladder with a few teams hot on its toes, including this week’s competitor, Darebin, who will be looking to secure its fourth win for the season. The Cats will be going into the match without their 2017 leading goalkicker, Kate Darby as well as influential players in Renee Garing, Evelyn Dhamarrandji, Sachi DeGiacomi, Krista Woodroffe and Bianca Cheever.

In their place Geelong have named six ins to take on Darebin including the likes of AFLW player and former elite netballer, Erin Hoare. Fellow AFLW talent, Anna Teague will also join the side this week alongside Georgia Watson and Emma Oliver. Madeline Keryk will take the field in the blue and white for the first time after moving from Carlton. North Geelong junior, Ruby Benham has been named as the 23rd player.

Darebin will be excited to welcome Kate Shierlaw to their side this week following her move from Carlton. She will take to the field alongside Western Bulldogs premiership player, Aasta O’Connor, Tamara Olcorn and Cherelle Byrne. AFLW players, Nicole Callinan and Lauren Pearce will miss the round six clash.

Geelong Cats

B: 25. E. Coventry, 44. R. Goring, 16. L. Williams
HB: 34. A. McDonald, 40. A. Teague, 26. R. Pearce
C: 4. C.  Blakeway, 45. M.  Keryk, 3. H.  Burchell
HF: 13. M. Fogas, 2. D. Orr, 17. H. Mangan
F: 28. M. Fedele, 24. M. McMahon, 21. E. Oliver
R: 46. E. Hoare, 7. M. Clifford, 30. R. Cranston
Int: 20. L. Brancatisano, 18. M. Maguire, 10. L. Taylor, 31. G. Watson
Emg: 32. A. Habib, 15. M. Janssen, 11. M. Klingbeil , 19. E. Ramsay
23P: 27. R. Benham

In: E. Hoare, A. Teague, E. Ramsay, G. Watson, A. Habib, M. Klingbeil , E. Oliver, M. Keryk, R. Benham, M. Janssen
Out: E. Dhamarrandji,  S. DeGiacomi,  K. Darby,  R. Garing,  K. Woodroffe,  B. Cheever



B: 32. G. Colvin, 27. S. Hogan, 35. L. Skipper
HB: 48. L. Jacobs, 14. M. McDonald, 21. K. Roe
C: 15. A.  Lister, 12. J.  Dal pos, 26. T.  Olcorn
HF: 31. E. Gardner, 20. M. Guerin, 11. K. Tyndall
F: 7. L. Mithen, 43. H. Mouncey, 17. S. Simpson
R: 41. A. O’Connor, 9. M. Eastman, 8. N. Exon
Int: 36. C. Byrne, 44. S. Fairchild, 1. E. Honybun, 13. K. Shierlaw
Emg: 22. G. Hammond, 49. R. Hibbert, 30. E. O’Dea, 2. N. Callinan
23P: 56. M. Wilson

In: E. O’Dea, A. O’Connor, K. Shierlaw, T. Olcorn, C. Byrne
Out: L. Pearce, N. Callinan



Round 6 – Sunday, June 17, 11:30am
Box Hill City Oval

Hawthorn will take on the Southern Saints this Sunday with five team changes. The impactful AFLW player, Melissa Kuys will be an important inclusion to the Hawks line-up and will be called into the round six clash with Julia Crockett-Grills, Sarah McNamara, Ellie MacDonald and Samara David. They will take the places of Tahni Nestor, Lauren Costello, Kara Henderson and Sarah Yule.

The Southern Saints will go into round six with an exciting addition to their team with the experienced Lauren Arnell pulling on the red, white and black guernsey for the first time. The former Blues captain ans newly listed Brisbane player will make the move to the Saints and is sure to bring poise and leadership to the side. Eastern Ranges player, Ashleigh Allsopp has been named as the 23rd player.


B: 5. C. Perera, 31. J. Sibley, 21. P. Randall
HB: 13. E. Nixon, 16. C. Papadopoulos, 36. J. Van Dyk
C: 4. S.  Carroll, 9. M.  Kuys, 17. S.  David
HF: 8. R. Beeson, 14. O. Flanagan, 33. E. Gilder
F: 22. T. Luke, 39. S. McNamara, 28. S. Perkins
R: 19. L. Wotton, 1. E. Mackie, 25. M. Hutchins
Int: 6. J. Crockett-Grills, 32. K. Ebb, 40. E. Macdonald, 35. C. O’Donnell
Emg: 37. J. Barnden, 24. R. Dillon, 34. A. Dowler, 18. J. Foster
23P: 48. Y. Price

In: J. Crockett-Grills, S. McNamara, E. Macdonald, S. David, M. Kuys, R. Dillon, J. Barnden
Out: L. Costello,  K. Henderson,  S. Yule,  T. Nestor


Southern Saints

B: 17. L. Olsen, 14. I. Quintal, 26. A. Ryan
HB: 10. L. Arnell, 38. S. Karlson, 31. G. Walker
C: 52. T.  Gordon, 2. A.  Brown, 22. D.  Smith
HF: 21. D. Lawrence, 15. T. Bohanna, 24. K. Ripari
F: 12. J. Hull, 13. C. Munn, 27. K. Macqueen
R: 28. R. Watt, 8. A. Drennan, 32. S. Johnson
Int: 29. M. Macdonald, 40. M. Maitland, 19. A. Silver, 16. K. Thompson
Emg: 11. T. Annear, 36. S. Bolding, 9. S. Long, 23. J. Rolland
23P: 49. A. Allsopp



Round 6 – Sunday, June 17, 2:30pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval

Richmond and Melbourne Uni will meet in Bendigo this weekend with the Tigers making two changes to their line-up. New Greater Western Sydney (GWS) forward, Christina Bernardi will be a welcome addition to the team as well as Kate Dempsey. Richmond have yet to name who will take to the sidelines.

In search of their second win, Melbourne Uni will employ the likes of Kaitlyn Ashmore and Danielle Hardiman, who are both recent signings to North Melbourne’s exciting 2019 AFLW list. They will be joined by fellow Kangaroos recruits, Jamie Stanton and Jasmine Grierson. Prudence Cordes and Millie Shone have also been named to take to the field, while Stephanie De Bortoli and Nicole Bresnehan have been named out.


B: 84. L. Bieniara, 63. J. Graham, 69. E. Burry
HB: 88. P. Monahan, 73. L. Davie, 71. L. Stephenson
C: 60. K.  Dempsey, 66. A.  Barden, 75. B.  Lynch
HF: 78. C. Bernardi, 61. J. Colwell, 55. C. Wakefield
F: 83. J. Gardner, 79. L. Tesoriero, 57. E. King
R: 68. A. Edmonds, 59. A. Woodward, 52. J. Kennedy
Int: 53. K. Dixon, 70. E. Findlay, 77. J. Hocking, 76. E. Ross
Emg: 82. G. Bibby, 74. G. Fisher, 81. E. George, 64. E. Gunn
23P: 89. G. Egan

In: K. Dempsey, G. Fisher, E. George, C. Bernardi


Melbourne Uni

B: 41. K. Gillespie-Jones, 29. K. Klatt, 50. J. Stanton
HB: 53. J. Grierson, 31. D. Hardiman, 24. S. Wilson
C: 19. L.  Ahrens, 15. E.  Kearney, 6. E.  Keaney
HF: 10. K. Ashmore, 9. K. Price, 12. M. Cantwell
F: 1. S. Abbatangelo, 27. J. Anderson, 38. K. Angelis
R: 28. A. Dalley, 2. H. Ibrahim, 7. A. Riddell
Int: 20. L. Belza, 11. P. Cordes, 44. A. Runnalls, 18. A. Tupper
Emg: 33. C. Adams, 45. M. McDonald, 43. L. Munday, 16. T. Watson
23P: 35. M. Shone

In: J. Stanton, P. Cordes, K. Ashmore, D. Hardiman, M. Shone, J. Grierson
Out: N. Bresnehan, S. De Bortoli

Victorian Under 16s Girls prepare for National Championships

VICTORIA’S top Under 16s footballers from the TAC Cup Girls competition will converge on country venues this weekend in a couple of matches to test themselves against the best from other states. Vic Metro takes on South Australia in Horsham on Sunday, while Vic Country heads to the border to face NSW/ACT in Albury. The following week, Vic Metro will face off against Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium in a curtain raiser to the Under 18 Girls’ sides. For those wondering, the Under 16s are made up of players born in 2002 and are not eligible to be drafted until 2020.

Vic Metro squad:

No Name Ht DOB TAC Region
1 Olivia Meagher 151 10/12/02 Eastern Ranges
2 Mietta Kendall 154 3/9/02 Eastern Ranges
3 Taylah Morton 157 23/7/02 Oakleigh Chargers
4 Leah Spargo 157 28/1/02 Western Jets
5 Mary Daw 159 11/3/02 Western Jets
6 Abigail Bennett 160 18/10/02 Northern Knights
7 Jessica Fitzgerald 161 8/3/02 Northern Knights
8 Bella Eddey 163 11/2/02 Sandringham Dragons
9 Winnie Laing 164 25/5/02 Sandringham Dragons
10 Ashleigh Snow 156 23/10/02 Northern Knights
11 Eliza McNamara 166 19/4/02 Sandringham Dragons
12 Tarni Brown 166 26/3/02 Eastern Ranges
13 Alice Burke 168 3/10/02 Sandringham Dragons
15 Mimi Hill 167 4/10/02 Oakleigh Chargers
16 Alice O’Loughlin 169 8/7/02 Oakleigh Chargers
17 Alisa Magri 170 19/3/02 Calder Cannons
18 Amber Micallef 170 21/2/02 Oakleigh Chargers
19 Sarah Hartwig 173 12/4/02 Sandringham Dragons
20 Ellie McKenzie 174 17/10/02 Northern Knights
21 Tamsin Crook 176 3/10/02 Calder Cannons
22 Isabelle Pritchard 176 8/3/02 Western Jets
23 Jess Grace 176 25/12/02 Eastern Ranges
24 Alyssa Bannan 177 13/4/02 Northern Knights
25 Isabel Young 179 13/7/02 Calder Cannons

Some names to watch:

Isabelle Pritchard
Key Position Defender | 176cm | Western Jets

Strong overhead, great leader and rarely beaten one-on-one. Her game knowledge and awareness is ahead of her years. A standout performer this season for the Jets.

Ellie McKenzie
Tall Utility | 174cm | Northern Knights

Unbelievable impact so far this season, named in the best every game she played. Can play forward, midfield or back, and is strong in the air. Sister of Vic Metro boys’ representative, Tom. Strong in the air, can kick goals at will, shown by her huge day out against Bendigo Pioneers.

Alyssa Bannan
Key Position Forward | 175cm | Northern Knights

Lit up Beaconsfield earlier in the year with three goals in three minutes and provides a good target up forward. Mobile tall who can kick goals and very few players her height are quicker once she gets goal side.

Sarah Hartwig
Key Position Defender | 173cm | Sandringham Dragons

Good one-on-one defender, quick on the lead to spoil and provides good rebounds out of the back half. Will create a strong 1-2 partnership with Pritchard in the back half.

Alice Burke
General Defender | 168cm | Sandringham Dragons

A good user of the footy, can play up the ground but is really settled in the back half. Daughter of St Kilda champion, Nathan. Crossed over from soccer and has been a revelation at the Dragons.

Abigail Bennett
Small Forward | 160cm | Northern Knights

Another Knights player who has had some impressive moments at half-forward. Can push into the midfield as well.

Tarni Brown
General Forward | 166cm | Eastern Ranges

Very raw, but clearly talented. Has a very nice sidestep and can create something out of nothing. Daughter of Gavin and sister to Callum and Tyler.

Olivia Meagher
Small Forward/Midfielder | 151cm | Eastern Ranges

Seemed to get better as the season went on, plays a link-up role at half-forward, and can kick goals or win the footy through the midfield.

Mimi Hill
Outside Midfielder | 167cm | Oakleigh Chargers

Winger who provides good run in transition and played some impressive games throughout the season, especially in the absence of the Chargers top-age midfielders.

Jess Fitzgerald
Small Utility | 161cm | Northern Knights

Tends to play forward, but can play through midfield as well. A creative player who can kick goals from tight angles.

Winnie Laing
Inside Midfielder | 164cm | Sandringham Dragons

As tough as they come on the inside, loves the contest and does not take a backwards step.

Bella Eddey
General Forward | 163cm | Sandringham Dragons

Another creative forward who is good in the air or at ground level and just got better as the season went on.

Alice O’Loughlin
General Forward | 169cm | Oakleigh Chargers

Starred late in the season at half-forward and can push up the ground as well. Creative and a good user of the football going inside 50.

Ashleigh Snow
Small Defender | 156cm | Northern Knights

Was one of the Knights’ best in the grand final and plays taller than her 156cm. Good overhead and creates some great drive out of defence.

Alisa Magri
Tall Forward | 170cm | Calder Cannons

Was a mainstay of the Cannons forward line this season and managed to get on the end of a few goals throughout. Another tall target inside 50 for Metro.

Eliza McNamara
Inside Midfielder | 166cm | Sandringham Dragons

Had a blistering start to the season and had the ball on a string early. A crucial part of the inside midfield at the Dragons, she showed good strength and an ability to move out of traffic.

Vic Country squad:

No Name DOB Ht TAC Region
1 Jerusha Devarakonda 3/3/02 158 Geelong Falcons
2 Leila Raymond 9/3/02 158 Gippsland Power
3 Holly Andrews 15/8/02 160 Gippsland Power
4 Elizabeth Snell 14/3/02 161 Bendigo Pioneers
5 Megan Fitzsimon 10/8/02 162 Gippsland Power
6 Renee Saulitis 14/8/02 163 GWV Rebels
7 Jemma Finning 19/3/02 165 Bendigo Pioneers
8 Kate Adams 15/3/02 165 Murray Bushrangers
9 Emily Nicholson 19/3/02 165 Murray Bushrangers
10 Abbey Jordan 8/9/02 165 Dandenong Stingrays
11 Brooke Hards 19/7/02 166 Bendigo Pioneers
12 Tyanna Smith 29/10/02 166 Dandenong Stingrays
13 Chloe Leonard 1/2/02 167 GWV Rebels
15 Chandra Abrahams 24/3/02 169 Gippsland Power
16 Sharmaine Reilly 8/11/02 170 Bendigo Pioneers
17 Sophie Milsome 23/4/02 172 Geelong Falcons
18 Zoe Hill 13/5/02 173 Dandenong Stingrays
19 Matilda Van Berkel 6/9/02 174 Gippsland Power
20 Stephanie Glover 11/11/02 176 GWV Rebels
21 Isabella Robson 26/4/02 176 GWV Rebels
22 Renee Tierney 23/5/02 168 Geelong Falcons
23 Isabella Simmons 19/4/02 181 GWV Rebels
24 Olivia Barber 14/7/02 184 Murray Bushrangers
25 Maggie Caris 21/12/02 188 GWV Rebels

Renee Tierney
Tall Forward | 168cm | Geelong Falcons

Has had a really consistent season for the Falcons. Good overhead, booted a bag of goals against Oakleigh at Warrawee Park earlier in the season.

Jemma Finning
Balanced Midfielder | 165cm | Bendigo Pioneers

After the two top-age girls in Megan Williamson and Kodi Jacques, Finning was one of the more consistent midfielders at the Pioneers, regularly named in the best.

Brooke Hards
General Defender | 166cm | Bendigo Pioneers

A rebounding defender who can play forward, Hards is good in the air and reads the play well.

Renee Saulitis
Small Forward | 163cm | GWV Rebels

Talented small forward who can kick some great goals from tight angles. Very quick and can pounce on a spillage from a marking contest.

Isabella Simmons
Key Position Forward | 181cm | GWV Rebels

Tall target up forward who pushes up the ground and provides a contest. Raw but has shown some good signs.

Zoe Hill
Key Position Defender | 173cm | Dandenong Stingrays

One of the more consistent 15-16 year-old defenders in the league. Worked well with Lucy Cripps to ensure the Stingrays had good defensive strength in the air.

Olivia Barber
Ruck/Key Position Forward | 184cm | Murray Bushrangers

Rotated between ruck and key forward and was named in the Bushrangers best a number of times. Could rotate with Maggie Caris through the ruck or up forward.

Chandra Abrahams
Tall Utility | 169cm | Gippsland Power

Has played a mixture of forward and back, and while the consistency is still building, she has tricks that not many players have, such as a penetrating kick from 50m on the run from a couple of steps.

Kate Adams
General Forward | 165cm | Murray Bushrangers

Buzzes around the forward line and can push up into the midfield. Fairly clean and clearly talented, will be a player to watch at the Bushies over the next couple of years.

Maggie Caris
Ruck | 188cm | GWV Rebels

With her sister Rene in the AFLW Academy, Maggie followed her into the Rebels program and looked good in the final game of the season against Oakleigh. Already 188cm, Caris will likely play ruck, but could be tried in key position positions as well.

Tyanna Smith
Balanced Midfielder | 166cm | Dandenong Stingrays

Another player who seemed to get better as the season went on, Smith played through the midfield and won her own ball as well as created run in transition.

Jerusha Devarakonda
Small Defender | 158cm | Geelong Falcons

Raw, but talented defender who pushed up to the wing for the Falcons. Got involved a number of times in the grand final and has plenty of scope for the future. Quick and fierce.

Stephanie Glover
Key Position Utility | 176cm | GWV Rebels

Impressed down back, but also showed she could go forward and kick a goal for the Rebels. Good overhead and nimble, she provides plenty of rebound out of the back half.

Holly Andrews
Outside Midfielder/Small Forward | 160cm | Gippsland Power

Played all nine games this season and was named among the best a couple of times for the Power. Had some nice moments within games.

Chloe Leonard
General Forward | 167cm | GWV Rebels

Booted four goals in eight games, including two against Calder Cannons. Was named in the Rebels’ best a number of times and provided a target inside 50.

Emily Nicholson
General Defender | 165cm | Murray Bushrangers

Played every game this season for the Bushrangers and became a regular in the back six. She was named among the best on a couple of occasions.

U16 Fixtures:

June 10 – Vic Metro vs. South Australia in Horsham & Vic Country vs. NSW/ACT in Albury
June 16 – Vic Country vs Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

Backwards journey proves successful for Kodi Jacques

BENDIGO Pioneers midfielder, Kodi Jacques’ football journey did not begin with a stint at her local football club.

Instead, the talented 17 year-old went straight to a talent search day, and caught the eye of one of the most knowledgeable females in football.

“I went to this talent search day and Chyloe Kurdas came up to me and approached me,” Jacques recalled. “The first ever training session I went to was a Vic Country one and she got me to Pioneers. Then the rest is history.”

Jacques did not make the Vic Country squad in that year, but she will feature in this year’s tournament after being one of the leading players for the Pioneers this season. Although Bendigo only recorded one win in 2018, Jacques said that her teammates have been really supportive of each other.

“Our team is really connected and there’s a lot of younger girls,” she said. “The girls are really good, they listen, and I’ve made a couple of friends, which is good.”

The teenager has also made friends at her local football club, the Bendigo Thunder. At the Thunder, Jacques got to play in a range of different positions on the field, which enabled her to realise her football potential.

“I played women’s last year for Bendigo Thunder and I felt like that matured me and matured my game style as well coming into this year,” she said. “I’m a different player to what I was last year.”

Jacques came second in the Bendigo Thunder’s best and fairest in the Northern Football Netball League in 2017, and has continued to play quality football in 2018. She was also featured in Bendigo Pioneers’ best players on six occasions in the nine-round TAC Cup Girls season.

Jacques draws inspiration from Collingwood AFLW midfielder, Jaimee Lambert and Melbourne AFLW captain, Daisy Pearce. The Pioneers midfielder admits that she would love to emulate Pearce’s skills and class in particular.

“I kind of like the way Lambert her footy and just the forwards and midfielders like Daisy Pearce,” Jacques said. “I don’t play like her but I would love to take some of her game and try to put it in mine.”

Outside of footy, Jacques helps out her mum with their family business. But her schedule is about to amp up, as she will be training with Vic Country and with Richmond’s Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side, giving her an opportunity to showcase her skills on the bigger stages.