Tag: cannons

Life of a footballer: Red hot pressure

Brett Henderson, coach of the Bendigo Pioneers speaks to his players during the 2015 TAC Cup. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media)
Brett Henderson, coach of the Bendigo Pioneers speaks to his players during the 2015 TAC Cup. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media)

Life of a footballer: by Jamieson Sheahan

Life of a footballer is a personal insight by Bendigo Pioneers football operations manager and midfielder Jamieson Sheahan. Jamieson has kindly allowed us to have a unique piece that looks at the inside workings of a TAC Cup club so everyone can get an understanding of what these young men do to become the best Australian Rules footballers they can. For the rest of the season, Jamieson will provide updates on how not only his season, but his teammates season and the club’s season is going, and what the club is doing behind closed doors in the lead-up to matches.

It has been a big two weeks since part one of the life of a footballer series for the Bendigo Pioneers boys.

In Round 12 the team hit the road and travelled to Swan Hill on Sunday July 3 for our ‘home game away from home’ against the Calder Cannons. It was a chance for a handful of our players to play a game in their local area. As our region is so big, many of our players come from the Swan Hill region so for them to get to play a TAC Cup game in their region was a great moment in their TAC Cup year.

A great crowd turned out to watch us at the Tyntynder Football Oval and although we had the youngest team in TAC Cup history with 16 of our starting 23 players being bottom age players (17 years or under) we played a great game and only just lost to the Cannons by 19 points.

We were down by 44 points midway through the third quarter and the message from Brett Henderson at three quarter time was to take the game on, be risky and that is what we did. We brought the margin back to within three goals late in the game and had some chances in the last quarter to make it even closer but unfortunately we could not take them.

It was a great effort to hold on to a very strong Calder Cannons outfit but bitterly disappointing to come so close to winning in front of a fantastic local crowd. Young local talent Paddy Dow was best afield in front of his home town in a strong ball winning display from the bottom age gun.

The message throughout that next week leading into our clash with the Geelong Falcons at Queen Elizabeth Oval (QEO) on Sunday July 10 was to continue our second half form from the Calder Cannons and take the pressure to the Falcons in what was predicted to be a wet and tough day for footy.

The group prepared well during the week for the Falcons with Tuesday’s training being a lighter night as a result of playing on the Sunday and then Thursday night focusing on ways to match up against the Falcons and how to beat them.

We did this by training some structures we wanted to implement during the game and also by watching video footage of the way they like to setup/play their game. The boys knew what we had to do to beat the Falcons and we took a strong mentality into the game.

Sunday arrived and the boys were at QEO ready to go against the top-of-the-table Geelong Falcons. The main message from coach Brett Henderson before the game was to ‘front up’ for the challenge before us and bring a strong intensity to the game by putting the pressure on the opposition and being harder in the contest for longer. The conditions were difficult with rain and strong winds so simplicity of our game was also asked of us.

The boys started well and we were in the contest at half-time only being down by nine points. The message again at half-time was simplicity, to play the percentages in the conditions and gain yardage with the ball.

The boys came out in the second half with great pressure on the Falcons and kicked a string of goals to hold a five-point lead in the third quarter. Unfortunately a few lapses and some poor decision making let us down in the final term as the Falcons kicked away and got on top late in the game. It was our structures that fell down which allowed the Falcons back in the game.

The boys were disappointed with the result in what was a winnable situation for the team but it was not for lack of effort: The team laid a record 162 tackles for the day with Isaac Miller and Josh Formosa laying 18 tackles each (1 shy of the AFL record).

It was a team effort though with seven players laying more than 10 tackles for the day. It was a really pleasing feature of the day that we were able to continue to bring that pressure for four quarters and try and shut down Geelong’s time and space.

The development weekend is this weekend and the boys will return to their local clubs for a game before coming back next Tuesday in preparation for the game against the Oakleigh Chargers at Warrawee Park in which the team will look to bring that same tackle pressure that was seen against the Falcons.

Weekend That Was – Round 3


ROUND 3 started off with a shock result, as Oakleigh Chargers knocked off the previously unbeaten Eastern Ranges in a grand final rematch.

Despite going in as favourites, Eastern went down by 16 points after leading by a point at half-time.

Oakleigh’s Lachlan Walker continued his fantastic early season form with 31 disposals, three marks, eight tackles and a goal, while Campbell Lane had a day out with 33 disposals, two marks and seven tackles.

Debutant James Sziller booted three goals, but with only two multiple goal kickers, Oakleigh showed it had plenty of avenues to goal, especially considering it has missed a number of players who are out with APS commitments.

Northern Knights were unable to get their first win of the season, losing to division two side Queensland by 15 points.

In the round preview, AFL Draft Central told watchers to keep an eye on Curtis Marsden, and he did not disappoint, racking up 39 disposals, five marks and four tackles, while Daniel Charlesworth collected 33 disposals, four marks and nine tackles.

For the Knights, the top ball winners were Matt Perry with 30 disposals, five marks and eight tackles, while Corey McKay finished on 32 disposals, accompanied by four marks, five tackles and a goal.

Western Jets continued their fall from grace after a superb round one performance, going down to Sandringham by 10 points.

The Jets were only a goal down at the main break, but lost the third quarter by 27 points.

Western stormed back into the contest in the last, but ultimately fell short.

Inside midfielder Goy Lock continued his good form for the Dragons, collecting 26 disposals, six marks and six tackles, while Oliver Florent continues to make draft watchers take notice with another 26 disposal, six mark, eight tackle and one goal game.

For the Jets, Connor Griffiths found plenty of the ball with 27 disposals, two marks and seven tackles, while Brodie Romensky had 25 disposals, three marks and a game-high nine tackles.

In one of the more entertaining games of the round, Calder Cannons almost snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, going down by six points to NSW/ACT Rams.

The Cannons trailed by 40 points at the last change, but stormed home in the final quarter to get within a kick, but it was a case of too little, too late.

Harry Perrryman was prolific for the Rams, while GWS Academy product Connor Owen-Auburn had 25 disposals, seven marks and two tackles.

For the Cannons, James Peters was the star for the Cannons, almost singlehandedly getting them up with four goals to go with his 21 disposals, five marks and six tackles.

There was never any sign of a comeback in the next game, when Geelong Falcons blitzed Gippsland Power at Simonds Stadium.

The Falcons led by 46 points at the half-time break and 72 points by the last change.

Had Gippsland not kicked the last two goals of the game, the 93-point final margin would have been more than three figures.

Geelong’s talls stood above the rest in the game, with Brett Blair booting five goals to go with his 25 disposals, 10 marks and three tackles, while Zachary Zdybel stood above all others with 24 disposals, six marks, 16 hitouts, six tackles and two goals in a strong all-round performance.

It was a dismal day for the Power with no-one collecting more than 18 disposals, however defender Tyrone Hayes showed a bit of dash with his 15 disposals and three marks, which included a running goal outside 50.

Dandenong Stingrays flexed their muscles against Bendigo Pioneers with a 61-point win at Shepley Oval.

Thomas Glen stood up with 22 disposals, six marks and six tackles, while first round prospect Myles Poholke had 17 disposals and seven marks, as Dan Allsop booted five goals.

For the Pioneers, once again it was hard to look past Bendigo’s leaders with Kobe Mutch collecting 35 disposals, nine marks and a tackle, while Joe Atley had 30 disposals, one mark and six tackles.

In the final match of the round, North Ballarat Rebels took it right up to the unbeaten Murray Bushrangers but fell 13 points short.

Both sides were inaccurate, booting 12.33 between them for the match.

For Murray, James Cousins had 27 disposals, six marks and six tackles, while Ryan Garthwaite found the ball 22 times from his 11 marks and laid nine tackles.

Rebels’ midfielder Hugh McCluggage had 25 disposals, five marks, one tackle and one goal in the loss, while academy prospect Jarrod Berry had 21 disposals, five marks and four tackles.

Match pages:

Eastern Ranges vs. Oakleigh Chargers

Northern Knights vs. Queensland

Western Jets vs Sandringham Dragons

Calder Cannons vs. NSW/ACT Rams

Geelong Falcons vs. Gippsland Power

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Bendigo Pioneers

Murray Bushrangers vs. North Ballarat Rebels

2014 Draft Profile: Matthew Goodyear

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Matthew Goodyear (Calder Cannons)

Height: 185 cm
77 kg
Ball Winning, Endurance, Speed, Tackling, Consistency
Composure, Disposal

Matthew Goodyear is a hand working medium sized midfielder from the Calder Cannons, who performed consistently throughout the 2014 TAC CAP campaign. Goodyear played eight games for Calder in 2013 due to a foot injury, but was able to notch up 15 games this season, including three games for Vic Metro in the NAB AFL Under 18’s Championships.

After spending most of his 2013 year as a quick outside runner, Goodyear spent much of 2014 with Cannons coach Andrew Jago developing a balance to his overall game, enhancing his ability to play as an inside midfielder. Playing in the shadow of teammate Touk Miller for most of 2013, opportunities arose for Goodyear to be a mainstay at the feet of ruckmen Mark Kovacevic and Peter Wright this year. His added responsibility in the midfield saw him average 21.3 disposals per game from his 15 appearances, including featuring in the bests 10 times, as he did much of the grunt and clearance work in the centre of the ground.

One of the main feature’s about Goodyear’s game is his consistency. He could be described as the silent achiever and is type of player that continues to chip away, rack up the possessions and get the job done week in, week out for his team. He’s most comfortable in the clinches using his elite hands to link up, find his way out of trouble and create run and carry from the contest.

Goodyear was rewarded with the opportunity to represent Vic Metro in 2014 and he didn’t disappoint in his first game, racking up 23 disposals, nine contested possessions, seven inside 50’s, and five clearances in his first outing against Vic Country, second only in output behind the highly rated Angus Brayshaw. An injury meant he suffered limited game time in his following two outings for Metro, resulting in an average of 12.3 possessions over his three overall appearances.

Going into 2014, there were three main areas that Goodyear sought to focus on in his game. One of those was to balance his inside and outside game, which he has done so successfully. The second was to work on developing his fitness and speed, with his results at the AFL combine seeing him now feature in the top 10 in the repeat sprint test for 2014. Lastly, his third goal was to develop his kicking and composure, which is at this stage his main area of weakness.

Of his 170 kicks in the TAC Cup this season, Goodyear ran at just 47 per cent efficiency by foot. This is in stark contrast to his elite handballing ability, where his quick, slick hands allowed him to run at 80 per cent efficiency from his 150 handballs in Cannons colours this year. This kink in his armoury of skills saw him perform at 57 per cent, 50 per cent and 63 per cent efficiency in his three games for Vic Metro respectively.

What you’ll get with Goodyear is a versatile, elite handballing, ball winning midfielder with the ability to play both inside and outside, and with the ability to provide bursts of speed for four quarters of football. While he may have limitations in terms of his overall disposal by foot, his ability to work on his deficiencies and strengthen the weak areas of his game like he has in 2014 will have AFL recruiters interested in this talented midfielder from the Calder Cannons.

Calder assert dominance after disappointing first quarter


After witnessing one of the best TAC Cup matches of all time, many fans at Visy Park hoped that the next qualifying final could be just as exciting. It was, for about a half.

The Calder Cannons have been the dominant team all season, finishing minor premiers after leap-frogging the Oakleigh Chargers. They have a strong midfield, a dangerous forward line and receive good rebound from half back. They are also incredibly tall which gives them a bonus.

The North Ballarat Rebels jumped into fourth after a good final round, but many didn’t think they’d be able to get near the Cannons given the superiority the tall forwards would provide the minor premiers. Within 15 minutes, the crowd was left speechless as Jesse Palmer and the Rebels hung the Cannons out to dry in an impressive spell of football.

The score read 5.0.30 to 0.1.1 and nobody in the stands, arguably not even the Rebels staff and players, had expected to race away to that kind of lead. Jesse Palmer had four goals in 15 minutes and looked like he was going to break all sorts of records, as well the Rebels. Unfortunately for them, they kicked just four more goals for the rest of the match and just one more after half time.

Calder coach Andrew Jago was furious with his chargers after the first quarter and gave them a spray that had immediate effects. They returned the six-goal-to-two opening quarter with one of their own to lead by four points at the half time break. The scoreboard had forgotten to include a behind for the Rebels, which made the third quarter even worse because the 4th-placed country side didn’t score. In fact, the next goal the Rebels scored after half time was a late consolation goal to Jesse Palmer for his sixth late in the final quarter.

In that time, the Cannons piled on 17 goals and looked like they were raffling it to see who could kick the most goals. Jayden Foster won the door prize with six goals, Damien Cavka kicked five, three of which were in the last quarter, Josh Cauchi kicked four and Paul Ahern kicked three.

If those statistics didn’t make the domination clear, five players outscored the Rebels in the second half. The margin was made worse by the fact that the Cannons couldn’t seem to miss, kicking 10.0.60 in the final quarter and once they’d tasted blood, they didn’t stop.

Unfortunately for the Rebels, it was completely disheartening. Many before the game expected them to put up a fight till half time and simply be out classed. If this was deemed as a class difference, then it would be akin to the Queen challenging Geoff Shaw to an equestrian match.

Once it became abundantly clear the match was one-sided, everyone pleaded for the siren except the Calder timekeepers who arguably might have shed a tear when they had to finally put the game out of its misery.

Damien Cavka won the Bound For Glory News Man of the Match with his casual 30 disposals (22 effective), 13 marks, six tackles and five goals with Jayden Foster, Matthew Goodyear, Josh Cauchi and Mark Kovacevic all amongst the best. For the Rebels, there was Jesse Palmer and Oscar McDonald. Apparently there were over 20 other players, but they seemed to go home at half time.

Jesse Palmer should be recognised for his 16 disposals, eight marks and six goals in what was a tough day in the office for anyone in the forward half for the Rebels. Oscar McDonald kept Peter Wright to just 8 disposals which considering the amount of ball that entered the forward 50, McDonald should be nominated for Australian of the Year.

In the end it was an ugly 99-point margin with the Cannons earning a week off to face the winner of the Falcons and Stingrays while the Rebels must address a number of issues this week before taking on the Dragons next week.

2014 Draft Profile: Paul Ahern


Paul Ahern (Calder Cannons)

Height: 181 cm
77 kg
Vision, composure, x-factor, anticipation, balance, acceleration, creativity, influence
Strength, tackling
Player comparison:
Steele Sidebottom

Paul Ahern is a composed and damaging midfielder with the ability to create opportunities in pressure situations and congestion and hit the scoreboard consistently.

Ahern has been a strong performer for Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup this season, averaging 17.4 disposals at 64.9 per cent efficiency, 3.5 marks, and 1.9 tackles in his 11 appearances thus far. While his statistics don’t jump out on paper, it’s his ability to use his poise and vision in traffic that has draft watchers talking. Additionally, Ahern is a pure goal kicking midfielder, having hit the scoreboard in nine out of his 11 TAC cup appearances this year with 12 goals to his name overall.

Ahern is naturally an outside player and in 2013 he played mostly as a wingman, but in 2014 he has taken his game to a new level and developed to enable him to win the contested ball. This has been a prominent feature of his NAB under 18’s Carnival where he amassed 39 contested possessions in five outings for Vic Metro. This roundness to his game, in addition to his poise and influence to dispose with the ball under pressure, has Ahern positioned to be selected in the first round of the 2014 draft.

Overall Ahern starred for Vic Metro this year, averaging 17 possessions at 73 per cent efficiency and nailing seven goals in five games. As such he was awarded with a selection in the 2014 Under-18 All Australian team.

What Ahern will provide an AFL club is the flexibility to play as either an inside ball getter or as an outside runner. On the outside, he has the pace, skills, polish and finishing skills to be damaging forward of centre. He’s the sort of player who consistently lowers his eyes and waits for the opportune moment to accurately hit up a teammate inside the forward 50.

He’s also a player that can provide some x-factor and has the ability with his one-touch skills to pull off the spectacular. Whether it is taking a high flying contested mark and bombing a goal from outside 50 against the top-of-the-table Oakleigh Chargers, or putting the ball onto the outside of his boot under pressure on the boundary to slot a goal against Western Australia, Ahern has the tools in his bag to keep his opponent on their toes.

When you hear people talk about footballers who appear to have more time than others when they are in possession of the ball; that is the type of talent and skill that Ahern exudes in spades. Ultimately, it’s his classy finishing skills and AFL ready ability to anticipate the play and open his vision to spot up and hit targets that will have all AFL clubs interested in this dynamic and polished midfielder from the Calder Cannons.

Calder Cannons: Mid-year review


Calder Cannons don’t sit as equal leaders of the TAC Cup for no reason. They have plenty of solid depth that is helping them to a top-four finish. They have used 39 players at least twice with a good mix of bottom-age, top-age and over-age players. After a preliminary final last year, they’ll be hoping to go a step better and make the TAC Cup Grand Final.

Nicholas O’Kearney is often underrated when discussing Cannons’ players, yet statistically he is the leading player at the club. An impressive 26.14 disposals, 5.7 marks and 3.9 tackles indicates he has seen plenty of action in his seven games. To go with this, he’s averaged 103.7 DT points and just under 100 SC points with a disposal efficiency of 64.48 per cent.

Touk Miller is the name that plenty may have heard of, but if anything, he’s the guy who’s taken his game to another level in 2014. A very neat 24.71 disposals a game to go with 3.4 marks and 6.2 tackles shows he applies plenty of defensive pressure, while kicking goals – averaging just under a goal per game. For those out there that prefer SuperCoach over Dream Team, Miller is one to watch, with a clean skill set and the highest base SC average of all Calder players.

Damien Cavka has only played the five games, but his 21 disposals, 4.2 tackles and team high 7.4 marks per game has seen him excel in the TAC Cup. He’s only 184 centimetres but can take a strong grab and use the ball well by foot. He is incredibly dangerous because he not only leads the club in marks, but also in disposal efficiency of those players with three games or more at 70.8 per cent. Fantasy-wise, he holds a DT average of 101.6 and a SC median of 99.3 points.

Peter Wright is by far the most known Cannon – and with good reason. He’s a big chance to potentially go pick one, and won’t last beyond the top ten. For a ruck/forward he still holds a disposal efficiency of 68.4 per cent from his 12.7 disposals a game. In his six games, he’s booted 20 goals and averaged 9.5 hit-outs while pinch-hitting there. If you’re keen to find out what he’s worth in the fantasy world, his averages are 87.17 for Dream Team and a median SC average of 102.

The Top Ten:

1. Nicholas O’Kearney (7 games, 2 goals, 26.1 disposals, 5.7 marks, 3.9 tackles)
2. Touk Miller (7 games, 6 goals, 24.7 disposals, 3.4 marks, 6.3 tackles)
3. Damien Cavka (5 games, 6 goals, 21. disposals, 7.4 marks, 4.2 tackles)
4. Peter Wright (6 games, 20 goals, 12.7 disposals, 6.3 marks, 9.5 hit-outs)
5. Hisham Kerbatieh (5 games, 7 goals, 19.6 disposals, 3.6 marks, 4.2 tackles)
6. Zak Wunhym (6 games, 5 goals, 21 disposals, 3.7 marks, 3.7 tackles)
7. Matthew Goodyear (7 games, 3 goals, 24.57 disposals, 2 marks, 3.4 tackles)
8. Aaron Christensen (6 games, 4 goals, 19.2 disposals, 6.2 marks, 2.8 tackles)
9. Mark Kovacevic (8 games, 7 goals, 11 disposals, 3.6 marks, 24.38 hit-outs)
10. Paul Ahern (8 games, 9 goals, 17.63 disposals, 4.9 marks, 1.4 tackles)

Remaining Fixtures:

Round 10 – NSW/ACT Rams (A)
Round 12 – Dandenong Stingrays (H)
Round 13 – Western Jets (A)
Round 14 – Sandringham Dragons (H)
Round 15 – Oakleigh Chargers (H)
Round 16 – Murray Bushrangers (A)
Round 17 – North Ballarat Rebels (A)
Round 18 – Northern Knights (A)

It’s hard to not see Calder Cannons finish top two. They are three wins clear – albeit with an extra game compared to country teams – and they have a relatively easy run home. Western Jets and Oakleigh Chargers will provide them with their hardest challenges, while the jury is still out on the Stingrays and Dragons. Hard to see them going down to the Rebels or Knights (though the latter defeated them in round two) even with a spike in form. They simply won’t lose to the Rams.

Prediction: 1st

TAC Cup review: Round two


Northern Knights 18.8 (116) defeated Calder Cannons 15.12 (102)

Northern goals: K. Langford 5, R. McKenzie 3, L. Hunt 3, K. Malone 2, M. Perry 2, J. Castagna, S. Peet, J. Perry

Calder goals: P. Wright 5, A. Christensen 2, J. Cauchi 2, T. Miller 2, J. Foster, L. Cavanagh, X. Dimasi, Z. Wunhym

Northern best: S. Switkowski, L. Hunt, J. Perry, R. McKenzie, K. Langford, R. Tester

Calder best: A. Christensen, M. Goodyear, T. Miller, P. Wright, T. Davies, M. Kovacevic

The Northern Knights rose from the dead to overrun the Calder Cannons by 14 points at Highgate Recreation Reserve. The game seemed almost out of reach with all the momentum in Calder’s favour heading into the final quarter, but an impressive burst of goals saw the Knights run away with the win. Kyle Langford booted five goals, three of which came in the last quarter while Liam Hunt while also important in moving the ball in transition. For the Cannons, Aaron Christensen had his most impressive game since early last year, while Peter Wright was simply dominant at full forward and Touk Miller was also hard at it throughout the match. The result means both sides move to one win and one loss and fall behind the Dragons and Chargers on two wins each. Next week the Northern Knights host Sandringham Dragons, while the Calder Cannons travel to meet the Eastern Ranges.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5 – Aaron Christensen (Calder Cannons)
4 – Kyle Langford (Northern Knights)
3 – Peter Wright (Calder Cannons)
2 – Touk Miller (Calder Cannons)
1 – Liam Hunt (Northern Knights)


Sandringham Dragons 15.12 (102) defeated Western Jets 8.8 (56)

Sandringham goals: A. Brayshaw 2, N. Peterson 2, T. Wilkinson 2, T. Grace 2, S. McLaren, T. Roos, W. Barker, H. Whitehead, J. Clayton, M. Manteit, W. Fordham.

Western goals: J. Laverde 2, B. Payne 2, H. Bray , B. Myers , L. Duggan , B. Coletta

Sandringham best: T. Wilkinson, T. Grace, M. Manteit, L. Gogis, A. Brayshaw, E. Vickers-Willis

Western best: C. Menadue, H. Armstrong-Weston, D. Viojo, C. Ellis, B. Myers, B. Payne

The Sandringham Dragons have continued their fantastic early season form with an impressive 46-point win over the Western Jets. Despite the Jets getting within nine points early in the last quarter, the Dragons booted the last five goals to run away with the match. Tom Wilkinson was best afield and seemed to be everywhere for the Dragons while Connor Menadue was really solid rebounding off the half back flank and cutting off opposition forward thrusts. There weren’t too many highlights in the match, however a huge hanger from Jayden Laverde in the goal square caused the crowd to erupt. The win means the Dragons are undefeated while the Jets are yet to secure a win. Next week Sandringham travel to play the Northern Knights, while the Jets face off against another undefeated side in Oakleigh.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5 – Tom Wilkinson (Sandringham Dragons)
4 – Connor Menadue (Western Jets)
3 – Taylor Grace (Sandringham Dragons)
2 – Dillon Viojo (Western Jets)
1 – Angus Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons)

Dandenong Stingrays  12.7 (79) defeated Gippsland Power 10.18 (78)
Dandenong Goals: T. Lamb 6, J. Wheeler 2, A. Wilson , A. Harnett , B. Mullane , J. Bennett
Gippsland Goals: M. Jacobsen 3, T. Marsh , C. Ambler , C. Buykx-Smith , J. Dunkley , R. Hearn , N. Dennison , S. Skinner

Dandenong Best: T. Lamb, A. Harnett, J. Holden, E. Hunt, M. White, B. Mullane
Gippsland Best: T. Marsh, M. Jacobsen, J. Cunico, J. Dunkley, N. Argento, B. Olsson

It was a tale of two halves at Morwell Football Ground on a sunny and humid Saturday afternoon, where the Dandenong Stingrays overcame a 47-point deficit to win by a point in a thrilling finish to one of TAC Cup’s biggest rivalries.

The Gippsland Power flew out of the gates to a 22-point lead at quarter time, driven by a relentless midfield that dominated the clearances and stoppages early in the game.

Bottom-aged prodigy Tate Marsh, who has drawn comparisons to Dale Thomas was a highlight from the onset and throughout for the Power, cracking into packs whilst offering a perfect blend of speed and composure to set up a couple of goals and kick one himself.

Jordan Cunico was a force, propelling multiple attacks from the backline, and getting off the leash further afield to use the ball going inside 50, whilst Tom Papley drew praise for his courage and commitment to the cause.

But when the whips started cracking, it was Dandenong’s better players who stood up.

After a quarter-time spray from coach Craig Black, Tom Lamb responded the only way players of his ilk do, and that was hit the scoreboard. After a first quarter he’d prefer to forget, he kicked three second-quarter goals as the Stingrays kicked the opening four goals of the quarter.

His doppelgänger Alex Harnett was lively all afternoon, showing a serious turn of speed and a willingness to chase and always do something creative with the ball, including goal-of-the-day midway through the third quarter.

After a 10-goal combined second quarter between both sides, the Power still managed to hold steady, leading by 33 points going into the long beak.

It was again another high-scoring affair, as the Stingrays went berserk in the third quarter, kicking five goals, whilst limiting their wasteful opponents to just the one goal and bringing the margin to just one point at three-quarter time which set up a thrilling final quarter.

Lamb was again unstoppable, and his sixth goal for the afternoon put the Stingrays in front for the first time.

Although the lead chopped and changed, the Power threw away their opportunities, missing seven shots on goal and kicking just one final quarter goal, which ultimately proved costly. After kicking eight goals in the opening half, Dandenong’s cream rose to the top, kicking seven second-half goals and registering their first win of the season.

Gippsland will face another stern test next week at Highgate, facing off against the Murray Bushrangers whilst Dandenong travel up the highway to face the Falcons at Simonds Stadium.

BFGN Rising Star Medal

5: Tom Lamb (Dandenong Stingrays)
4: Alex Harnett (Dandenong Stingrays)
3: Tate Marsh (Gippsland Power)
2: Ryan Hearn (Gippsland Power)
1: Jack Holden (Dandenong Stingrays)

Oakleigh Chargers 15.12 (102) defeated Eastern Ranges 7.16 (58)

Oakleigh Goals: Waddell 3, Houston 3, McLean 2, Oppy 2, Answerth 2, Carter-Taylor , Jackson , Beasley

Eastern Goals: Hardwick 2, Parsons , Weideman , Cotte , Gatwech-Chuol , Traynor

Oakleigh Best: Halsall, Waddell, McLean, Answerth, Beasley, Urban

Eastern Best: Cotte, Batty, Hardwick, Evans, Kidd, Nielson

A nine goal second half propelled Oakleigh to a 42-point win over Eastern in Craigieburn on Sunday. Both teams had their moments in the first half, but it was the Chargers who ultimately stepped up and kicked away after half time. Eastern could only manage 1.9 in the second half, as their inaccurate kicking cost them the chance to get back into the game after trailing by only 14 points at three-quarter time. Both teams went goal for goal throughout the first half, with the score level at half time at 43 each.

Blake Hardwick had a dominant second quarter for Eastern, taking a few strong contested marks as well as kicking two goals, and was their shining light up forward.

The third quarter however belonged to Oakleigh big man Lachlan Waddell. Waddell kicked two goals in the quarter as well as setting up another, and gave Oakleigh that breathing space that they needed to control the game. Unfortunately for Eastern they couldn’t mount a comeback in the final term as the Chargers booted five goals to zero to put the result well beyond doubt. Next week Oakleigh host a Jets side looking for their first win of the season, while Eastern host a Calder outfit who will be looking to bounce back after their tough loss on Sunday.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5: Lachlan Waddell (Oakleigh Chargers)
4: Blake Hardwick (Eastern Ranges)
3: Josh Halsall (Oakleigh Chargers)
2: Liam Kidd (Eastern Ranges)
1: Kade Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers)


Murray Bushrangers 15.11 (101) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 13.15 (93)

Murray Goals: M. Mahady 4, D. Howard 2, E. Wales 2, B. Webster , D. McDonald , B. Pritchard , H. Peni , T. Holman , N. Mellington , J. Schache

Bendigo Goals: L. Ryan 2, B. Edwards 2, J. Mc Grath 2, A. Kirby 2, J. Maher 2, L. Barrett , B. Evans , L. McGlashan

Murray Best: B. Webster, I. Muller, D. Howe, M. Mahady, K. Ellis, B. Pritchard.

Bendigo Best: J. Maher, B. Evans, B. Edwards, C. Barrett, B. Poyser.

Murray Bushrangers overcame a fast finishing Bendigo Pioneers at Deakin Reserve on Saturday afternoon to register their first win of the season.

Both sides were sloppy early on; particularly the Bushrangers who were dominate in the opening stages but were unsuccessful in hitting targets when heading inside the arc.

After a counter attacking effort from the Pioneers,Bailey Edwards registered the games first goal in style snapping on the run from 35 meters out. Although it was Mitch Mahady who stole the show, kicking three consecutive goals in ‘junk time’ to establish an 18 point lead for Darren Ogier’s men at quarter time.

The Bushrangers were the dominant side in the second quarter kicking five goals to three to extend their quarter time lead to as much as 30 points at half time. Poor discipline cost the Pioneers as Nick Mellington benefited from a 50-metre penalty given away by Liam Barrett to goal from just 10 meters out. Along with Mellington, Kieran Ellis and Brody Webster featured prominently in the second often assisting the footy inside their forward 50.

The second half was a tale of missed opportunities as Bendigo began to run over the Bushrangers after the main break. Although being outscored again in the third quarter it felt as if Bendigo were unlucky going forward, missing some easy opportunities. Pioneer’s Jake Maher featured a lot more through the middle as the quarter wore on.

The Bushrangers led by 41 points at three quarter time and it seemed as if the boys thought they had already had the game won.

Although Bendigo had come out firing in the last outscoring the Bushies 6.5 to 1.2 in the final quarter, sending a fright through the Bushies camp. Maher was inspirational kicking two goals in the Pioneers fight back but they fell just short. Bendigo were never able to get within one goal during the final term.

Next week the Bushrangers travel to face Gippsland Power, while Bendigo host North Ballarat at home.


BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5: Jake Marshall (Murray Bushrangers)
4: Mitchell Mahady (Murray Bushrangers)
3: Jake Maher (Bendigo Pioneers)
2: Brody Webster (Murray Bushrangers)
1: Kieran Ellis (Murray Bushrangers)

Geelong Falcons 15.6 (96) defeated North Ballarat Rebels 10.8 (68)

Geelong Goals: A. Christensen 4, P. McCartin 4, H. Goddard 3, R. Mathieson, M. Augerinos, L. Wagener, J. Hudson

North Ballarat Goals: A. Martin 3, D. Butler 2, D. Tucker, T. Templeton, S. Glover, J. Palmer, O. McDonald 

Geelong Best:  A. Christensen, C. Curnow, M. Randone, D. Parish, Z. Cordy, L. Melican

North Ballarat Best:  J. Webster, O. McDonald, J. Hopper, D. Tucker, J. O”Beirne, A. Martin


Geelong Falcons got their 2014 campaign off to a good start with a 28 point victory over the North Ballarat Rebels. The Rebels showed they wouldn’t be push overs like last season, going into the half time break just nine points behind, but the Falcons flexed their muscles and kicked clear to a 27-point three-quarter time lead after a five goals to two quarter. Aaron Christensen was the difference between the two sides, kicking four goals in a best on ground performance while Josh Webster was North Ballarat’s best player on the day. The Rebels travel to Bendigo to take on the Pioneers next week while Geelong play Dandenong on Simonds Stadium next Saturday.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5: Aaron Christensen (Geelong Falcons)
4: Charles Curnow (Geelong Falcons)
3: Josh Webster (North Ballarat Rebels)
2: Michael Randone (Geelong Falcons)
1: Zaine Cordy (Geelong Falcons)

TAC Cup: Metro round one review

Sandringham Dragons 14.8 (92) defeated Eastern Ranges  11.11 (77)

Sandringham Dragons: Dear 3, Spencer 3, Vicker0s-Willis, Brayshaw, Barker, Clayton, Maynard, Langdon, Grace, Gogis.
Eastern Ranges: Traynor 4, Petracca 3, Wilson 2, Sheridan-Ferrie, Weideman.

Sandringham Dragons: Brayshaw, Wilkinson, Barker, Spencer, Vickers-Willis, Dear
Eastern Ranges: Petracca, Kift, Nielson, Sheridan-Ferrie, Traynor, Wilson

Sandringham overcame a slow start and fought back throughout the second half to defeat Eastern by 15 points at Visy Park on Sunday. Eastern were by far the better side up until half time as their forward pressure was too much for Sandringham, which forced the Dragons into making numerous mistakes. Christian Petracca had a big first half, booting three goals and taking multiple strong contested marks. The third quarter was all Sandringham as they kicked the last five goals of the quarter to trail Eastern by only threepoints at the final change. Angus Brayshaw starred in the midfield for the Dargons throughout the entire game, along with tall forwards Harry Dear and Alex Spencer. Sandringham ran over the top of Eastern in the final quarter to come away with the close victory. Sandringham look to build on this win when they take on Western Jets next weekend, while Eastern face an Oakleigh Chargers side looking to secure back-to-back wins to start the season.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5: Angus Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons)
4: Christian Petracca (Eastern Ranges)
3: Alex Spencer (Sandringham Dragons)
2: Harry Dear (Sandringham Dragons)
1: Matthew Traynor (Eastern Ranges)


Oakleigh Chargers 15.15.99 defeated Northern Knights 10.5.65


Oakleigh Chargers: D.Moore 3, T.McLean 2, A.Oppy 2, K.Answerth 2, D.Houston 2, M.Pittonet, M.Jackson, H.Thompson
Northern Knights: R.McKenzie 2, G.McDonagh 2, D.Aujla, D.Macpherson, W.Murphy, J.Castagna, K.Malone, K.Langford

Oakleigh Chargers: Answerth, J.Sinclair, D.Moore, M.Pittonet, T.McLean, B.Crocker.
Northern Knights: L.Hunt, J.Perry, B.Jordan, R.Tester, K.Langford, S.Switkowski

The Oakleigh Chargers opened their account for 2014 with a superb victory, but it didn’t come easy with the Knights kicking away to a 20-point lead at the end of the first quarter off the back of superior ball movement and accuracy in front of goal.

Lively midfielder Garrett McDonagh provided a first quarter highlight, marking on the lead 45 metres out on a slight angle, and slotting the goal from outside the arc, sending the ball far back into the Royal Parade end, whilst the bullocking Reece McKenzie, the son of Carlton premiership player Warren was a threat in the air and around goal level, not afraid to throw his 196 centimetre, 100 kilogram frame around.

The returning Liam Hunt controlled play for most of the quarter in the middle, whilst Connor Langford propelled many attacks, setting up across half back. Collingwood eligible father/son, Darcy Moore was stationed across half back, and had it not been for his courage in the air and team-first attitude, the score line at the first break would’ve been greater.

Coming into the second quarter, towering Oakleigh ruckman Mark Pittonet dominated the ruck duels, getting his hand first to ball which saw Oakleigh’s midfielders first use of the Sherrin. The Chargers responded to a poor opening quarter, kicking the first four goals of the quarter, thanks largely to their midfielders.

Oakleigh’s defence was effective, with Moore taking goal-saving marks and making important spoils. His aggression was noted, so too was Langford’s sweeping role across half back, as well as Kade Answeth who provided swift ball movement and run from half back on the counter attack.

Despite Oakleigh’s strong start to the second quarter, it was Knights captain Josh Iacobaccio who continued to chip away at the stoppages, and Sammy Switkowski who thrust the ball forward at every opportunity for his side. Ryan Tester stood firm at full back whilst Bailey Jordan off a forward flank was lively.

At the main break, the Knights still maintained the lead by 13 points, after a cheeky, yet creative goal from Billy Murphy and Darcy MacPherson, the son of Western Bulldogs star Steven.

Coming into the third quarter, Oakleigh threw captain Darcy Moore forward, with immediate impact. Moore kicked off what would be a total onslaught in the third quarter and was unstoppable in the air and at ground level, kicking two goals in as many minutes in a display of sheer dominance and talent. His marking abilities and smooth technique saw him slot a goal 45 metres out hard up on the boundary line, sending the ball goal-post high and into the Legends Stand.

His third goal was perhaps his best, roving a ball off Pittonet’s supreme ruck work, before dodging, weaving, and finding space where there was none, and snapping on his left foot, kicking a remarkable goal that put the game out of Northern’s reach.

After going goalless in the third term, the Knights were found wanting, kicking just five goals in the second half, as their counterparts set up the win from a six-goal third term, and outscored them with a 10-goal to five second half, setting up a terrific come-from-behind victory.

The Chargers take on reigning premiers Eastern Ranges in the first game of Highgate’s triple header next Sunday, whilst the Knights take on Calder in the final game of the round.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5: Darcy Moore (Oakleigh Chargers)
4: Samuel Switkowski (Northern Knights)
3: Kade Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers)
2: Marc Pittonet (Oakleigh Chargers)
1: Kyle Langford (Northern Knights)


Calder Cannons 14.11 (95) defeated Western Jets 8.7 (55)

Calder Cannons: Cavanagh 3, Cauchi 3, Ahern 2, Kovacevic 2, Goodyear, Foster, Wunhym, Dimasi
Western Jets:Payne 3, Norton 2, Manivong, Bray, Daw


Calder Cannons: Kovacevic, Petryshyn, Ahern, Christensen, Cauchi, Miller
Western Jets: Payne, Norton, Johnstone, Manivong, Laverde, McMahon

A dominant Calder Cannons have made an impressive start to the TAC Cup season, out muscling the Western Jets by a convincing 40 points at Highgate Recreation Reserve on Saturday morning.

Calder were dominant from the opening bounce, with their run and carry being complimented by the strength of tall marking targets all over the ground. The Jets slotted the first goal of the game in the opening minute but Calder took control thereafter, lead by some strong leads from their forwards and precision kicking to hit up targets as they ended the first term with a 23 point lead.

The Jets had no answers to Calder’s big men as Calder were led from the front by their ruckman, Mark Kovacevic. Dominating the hit outs to advantage, linking up around the ground, and slipping forward to slot to two majors, Kovacevic was easily the most influential player on the ground.

A scrappy second term saw plenty of turnovers from both teams, but that was followed by a scintillating third term by Calder. Arthur Petryshyn’s efforts were notable, showing energy around the packs, racking up the ball and constantly surging Calder forward. For the Jets, Mitch Norton toiled hard to stem the flow and Brenton Payne showed promise up forward. However it just wasn’t enough to prevent Calder from taking a 43 point lead into the final break.

The Jets sparked up early in the fourth term. Mark Orr was beaten early in the game by star Calder forward Peter Wright, but his efforts to blanket the Calder big man for the rest of the game were commendable. Pele Mavinong’s lively efforts also brought some interest back into the contest, slotting two goals and taking an intercept mark to give the Jets a glimmer of hope but that was quickly snuffed out as Paul Ahern slotted his third in the final quarter to bring Calder home.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal

5: Mark Kovacevic (Calder Cannons)
4: Arthur Petryshyn (Calder Cannons)
3: Paul Ahern (Calder Cannons)
2: Aaron Christensen (Calder Cannons)
1: Brenton Payne (Western Jets)

Mid-year reviews: Eastern Ranges, Northern Knights, Calder Cannons – Friday

Eastern Ranges
Ladder position: 3rd
Win-Loss ratio: 9-4

Season so far:
Four weeks ago the Ranges did what no team had been able to do before them. They defeated the ladder leaders and best team in the TAC Cup, the Geelong Falcons. But they didn’t just beat them; they thumped them to the tune of 108 points without two of their best players in Tom Boyd and Ben Cavarra. Since that infamous victory the Ranges have struggled. They just pipped middle of the road Dandenong Stingrays by ten points and copped a 105 point hiding from the Western Jets. Eastern Ranges has been a side that have impressed this season but since Tom Boyd’s injury and loss of players to Vic Metro duties, they have struggled against similar strength sides. While they have maintained a top four position, they have been vulnerable at times. With Boyd coming back over the next fortnight, Eastern Ranges should expect to finish top two and secure a home final and double chance

Top prospect: Tom Boyd
Tom Boyd has been the dominant key forward this season and has kicked 23 goals from only five games. Boyd is incredibly mobile for a 199cm key forward and is a terrific striker of the footy when kicking for goal. He is a strong mark on the lead who has amassed an impressive 41 marks at an average of just over eight a game this season. He kicked six goals in game one of the Under 18 Champs for Vic Metro. Boyd is likely to go number one in the draft this year, and won’t slide past pick three at the latest.

Dark horse: Mitchell Honeychurch
After being selected in the Vic Metro side Honeychurch has taken his game to another level. He averages only around 15 disposals in the TAC Cup but collected 33 disposals against West Australia, 23 disposals against Vic Country and was among Vic Metro’s best against Queensland. He is a hard running midfielder who kicks goals and would suit any AFL club needing  a Dale Thomas type player.

Prediction for the rest of the season:
The Ranges need to find that form the saw them dismantle the Falcons without their best players, to stay in the top four. Crunch matches against currently second placed Gippsland Power and the third placed Murray Bushrangers soon follow which will give a good indication as to where the Ranges are at.

Ladder prediction: 4th


Northern Knights
Ladder position: 6th
Win-Loss ratio: 6-6-1

Season so far:
The Knights have been competitive each week apart from a smashing at the hand of the Falcons, a scenario most teams are familiar with. They currently sit in eighth position on the ladder and that’s a fair reflection on their season which has seen them win the matches they have been expected to.  Their six and a half wins recorded this season is already a considerable improvement on their paltry three wins last season.

Top prospect: Ben Lennon
Since collecting 20 touches and kicking two goals in his one game with the Knights, Lennon has gone from strength to strength. The versatile Lennon kicked four goals in Vic Metro’s win over WA and presented and marked well in Metro’s other games. A safe bet for any side that drafts him.

Dark horse: Jake Kalanj
Kalanj has been solid for the Knights and has averaged a good number of possessions throughout the season. Although it’s his tackling and marking abilities that will likely attract the interest of AFL clubs. BFGN Reporter Jourdan Canil likened Kalanj playing style to Jimmy Bartel‘s in his profile on him. Thus Kalanj will likely develop into a team and fan favourite.

Prediction for the rest of the season:
The Knights may play finals but very few teams above them would be fearful of playing them until they take a significant scalp.  The Knights have a tough upcoming month which sees them play three of the current top four sides in the Falcons, Power and Bushrangers. Beat one of those sides and teams may have to start taking notice of the Knights.

Ladder predictions: 9th


Calder Cannons
Ladder position: 9th
Win-Loss ratio: 6-7

Season so far:
The Cannons sit ninth on the ladder and don’t look to have improved much from last year. They sit two games outside the top four and their season hasn’t hit any great heights; as they haven’t defeated any of the top teams; nor has it hit any particular lows as they haven’t been heavily beaten thus far. Their greatest losing margin this season is only 51 points which is noteworthy as many teams, even good teams, have suffered three figure loses.

Top prospect: Matthew Merlo
18 year old Matthew Merlo has averaged 26 possessions in his seven games this season. The hard working midfielder averages just fewer than five marks a game. Though he was overlooked for the Under 18 Championships his possession numbers can’t be ignored.

Dark horse: Aaron Christensen
Although Christensen averages fewer than 14 touches a game he can still do some damage and turn a game. This was evident In the Cannon’s win last week against the Chargers where he kicked two goals and helped the Cannons control the game. He has good tackle numbers for the season but needs to find more of the ball if he wants to find an AFL club.

Prediction for the rest of the season:
This week the Cannons play the fourth placed Bushrangers in a must win game if they want to stay in the eight and feature in the finals. A win could see them jump to fifth if results fall their way and with the fourth best precentage in the competition a top four finish isn’t out of the question. Although they have a tough second half of season with matches against the current top  sides the Bushies, Jets, Power, Falcons and Ranges and Dragons who are all top eight teams at this stage.

Ladder prediction: 8th