Tag: Charlie Constable

State Leagues Wrap: Weekend of thrillers

AS the weekend came to an end, so did a round of exciting football around the country. State leagues saw plenty of contests that came down to the wire, while other teams flexed their muscles with big wins.

Victoria:

VFL action kicked off on Thursday night with the Casey Demons’ big win over North Melbourne as VFL finally returned to Marvel Stadium. The Demons kicked a whopping 19 goals and finished the game as 107-point winners in a game that would not have impressed North Melbourne fans. Sam Weideman kicked four goals as he continues his ripping form that is sure to earn him an AFL recall in the near future. Unfortunately for him, Casey’s AFL affiliate Melbourne is absolutely flying at the moment, but if the key forward keeps up these performances, he will be hard to ignore come selection time. For the Roos, ruckman Tristian Xerri fought hard, and won the duel with Casey’s rucks, collecting 16 disposals to go with his 35 hitouts.

Collingwood stole a victory at the death as they snuck away with a three-point win against the Gold Coast Suns at Olympic Park Oval on Friday afternoon. With his 20th disposal, Magpie Reef McInnes kicked a goal at the 26-minute mark of the final term to put his side in front, and the rest is history. Young Pie Oliver Henry’s three goal haul would have impressed coaches, while Sun Will Brodie dominated in the midfield, collecting 41 touches and laying 11 tackles.

Geelong held off a fast-finishing Sydney side to claim a tense four-point win at Tramway Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Swans led by three points heading into the final term but Logan McDonald’s three goal effort was not enough to get the Swans home. Charlie Constable found the ball 28 times in a promising display, while Josh Jenkins booted two goals. For the Swans, Lewis Taylor and Robbie Fox combined for 59 disposals and looked dangerous whenever the ball was in dispute.

Essendon’s fast start couldn’t be maintained, eventually falling to Carlton by 49 points at Windy Hill on Sunday afternoon. The Bombers led by 14 points at the first break, but a five goal to nil second term got the Blues in front, and they never looked back. Out of favour Blue Will Setterfield continued his strong VFL form with a 26 disposal effort as he continues to push for a recall, while Nic Newman returned from a serious knee injury sustained last year to gather 23 disposals in a promising outing for Blues fans. First game Don Nick O’Kearney gathered 36 disposals in an eye-catching performance.

South Australia:

Round 5 of the SANFL began with an upset, as Norwood took down the previously undefeated South Adelaide Panthers at Coopers Stadium on Friday night. The Redlegs kicked a whopping five goals to one in the second goal to give themselves a 26-point lead at half time, and the Panthers simply couldn’t get the comeback done in time. Norwood midfielders Matthew Nunn and Jacob Kennerley combined for a whopping 29 tackles with 16 and 13 respectively, while former Crow Richard Douglas racked up 30 disposals. Joseph Haines was the Panthers’ best with 28 touches.

Glenelg remain the best team in the competition after their 31-point triumph over the North Adelaide Roosters on Saturday afternoon at Prospect Oval. A four-goal lead at quarter time was a sign of things to come, as Glenelg rode the first quarter effort until the final siren. Former Tiger Liam McBean kicked a bag of five of Glenelg, while midfielder Luke Partington had 35 disposals and seven clearances. Thomas Schwarz kicked three goals for the Roosters.

A strong final term saw West Adelaide claim their second win of the season, taking down Central Districts by four goals at Hisense Stadium on Saturday afternoon. There were only four points separating the two sides at three quarter time, but West Adelaide were able to extend that lead after kicking four goals to none in the final term. Edward Allan was strong in the midfield for North Adelaide, finishing with 22 disposals, five clearances and 11 tackles, while teammate Thomas Keough kicked four snags. For Central Districts, Justin Hoskin’s 26 disposals and two goals were excellent.

Over at Unley Oval, Sturt were able to pull off a heist, stealing a one-point win from the Crows on Sunday afternoon. Sturt’s Ashley Johnson kicked his fourth goal 26 minutes into the final quarter to give his side a one-point lead that proved to be enough. He was well aided by teammate Albania Davis who had 33 disposals, 11 marks and a goal. Crows skipper Matthew Wright kicked three goals in what could have been a match-winning performance.

Port Adelaide’s ten goal win over the West-Woodville Torrens was set up by a clinical second quarter performance at Alberton Oval on Sunday afternoon. The Power kicked seven goals in the second quarter to take a 47-point lead into half time, which they only improved on in the second half. Port’s skipper Cam Sutcliffe was marvellous rotating through the midfield and forward line, finishing with 25 disposals and three goals, while Tom Rockliff had 34 touches and eight clearances. Eagles mid James Tsitas had a whopping 39 disposals for the losing side.

Western Australia:

In the WAFL, Round 5 kicked off with Swan Districts surviving a massive scare from an East Perth side who are still searching for their first win. The inaccuracy of East Perth really hurt their chances, kicking 7.13, while Swan Districts kicked 10.8 to run out 13-point victors for their third win of the season. Swan Districts midfielder Samuel Fisher had the ball on a string as he worked his way to 37 disposals and a goal, while teammate Frank Anderson had 35 touches of his own. Edward Simpson was nearly the hero for East Perth, booting five goals in a near match-winning performance.

Perth were able to cruise to their second win of the season with a triumph over East Fremantle by five goals at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. A six-goal opening term set up the win, with the home side unable to close the gap in the next three quarters. Brady Grey was the star for the victors, with 29 disposals and a huge 10 inside 50’s for the match, while Doultan Langlands kicked three goals. For East Fremantle, Cameron Eardley led the way with 32 touches.

Despite a slow start, Claremont were able to find their rhythm in the second quarter, steamrolling their way to a 52-point win over West Perth at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Claremont trailed by two goals at quarter time, before kicking six goals in the second term to get the game back in their control. Claremont’s Lachlan Martinis racked up a whopping 42 disposals and nine marks in a dominant display, while Jack Buller kicked five goals for the victors. For West Perth, Shane Nelson had 39 disposals in an impressive display.

South Fremantle caused a major upset with their 18-point win over Subiaco, handing them their first loss of the year at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco were at the top of the table heading into this game, while South Fremantle had only won the two games, but they turned the table in this dominant display, set up by their seven goal second term. Haiden Schloithe put in a star turn for the winners, ending the match with 39 disposals and two goals in a clear best on ground performance. For Subiaco, Gregory Clark led with 30 touches.

West Coast’s struggles continued on Sunday morning after being convincingly beaten by Peel Thunder to the tune of 79 points at David Grays Arena. The Eagles trailed by seven goals at half time, and could not get themselves back in the game against a dominant Thunder side. Blair Bell kicked six goals for Peel, while teammate Josh Treacy kicked five of his own. West Coast’s Hamish Brayshaw performed admirably with 29 disposals.

Queensland:

QAFL’s fifth round of action kicked off with a blockbuster as Labrador upset Maroochydore by 12 points at Maroochydore Multisports Complex on Saturday afternoon. Labrador had one less win than the home side heading into this clash, but a strong third term saw the visitors take a lead that they would end up holding for the remainder of the game. Labrador’s Pearce Hanley once again claimed best on ground honours, running riot through the midfield as he continues to show that age will not slow him down. For Maroochydore, Jacob Simpson fought hard all day to be his side’s best.

Redland-Victoria Point cruised their way to their third win for the year against Mt Gravatt on Saturday afternoon at Southside Toyota Oval. Redland-Victoria Point jumped to an early lead in the first quarter and then only extended their control from there, waltzing to a crucial win that keeps them well in the hunt for top spot on the ladder. Redland-Victoria Point full back Mitchell Stallard was named his side’s best after a dominant display in defence. Gavin Grose was Mt Gravatt’s best for the second week in a row.

Sherwood Districts have finally found their first win for the season, defeating bottom-placed Noosa by 22 points at Rococo Oval on Saturday afternoon. Noosa remain winless, but Sherwood Districts will be hoping this is the triumph that kick starts their season. For the winners, Joshua Coombes led the way with three goals up forward, but it was truly a team effort that delivered the win. For Noosa, Ryley Buntain was his side’s best for the second consecutive week.

A bag of seven goals from forward John Anthony has led Palm Beach Currumbin to an important win over Wilston Grange at Salk Oval on Saturday afternoon. Anthony’s bag of seven was inspiring and proved crucial to Palm Beach Currumbin securing their second win of the season, shooting them up the ladder. Anthony was his side’s best, but had plenty of help from teammate Matthew Gahan. For Wilston Grange, Isaac Corvo was a clear standout.

Broadbeach kept their unbeaten streak rolling with their fourth win of the year, defeating a brave Surfers Paradise side by 10 points at Subaru Oval on Sunday afternoon. A close game all day, Broadbeach kicked three final quarter goals to seal the game to hold off the upset. For the winners, Liam Nelson was the star, leading his side all day in a best afield display, while Alby Jones was the bright spark for Surfers Paradise.

Tasmania:

TSL action resumed this weekend, as Clarence continued their hot streak, knocking off the Tigers at Kingston Twin Ovals on Saturday afternoon. The victors led all afternoon, and never looked like giving up the lead on their way to recording their third win of the season. For Clarence, Oliver Davis was best on ground for the second week in a row. For the Tigers, Blake McCulloch stood out through the backline to end the day as his side’s best.

North Hobart have recorded their first win for the 2021 season, kicking away in the last quarter to defeat Lauderdale by 18 points at Lauderdale Oval on Saturday afternoon. There was two points separating the sides heading into the last quarter, but North Hobart were too strong, kicking four final quarter goals on their way to a maiden win for the year. For the victors, Thomas Liefhebber was outstanding all day, while Jye Menzie kicked four goals. For Lauderdale, Alex Hevey never gave up and performed admirably.

Launceston continue to uphold their status as league powerhouse, demolishing Glenorchy by 148 points at Windsor Park on Saturday Oval. Launceston hit the 100-point mark by half time, and Glenorchy never stood a chance against this well-oiled machine. Launceston star forward Dylan Riley backed up his 10-goal haul last week with a nine-goal effort this round, putting emphasis on the importance of shutting him down. For Glenorchy, Nick Reibelt impressed despite the loss.

Cats too strong and structured for AFL Academy as Daicos furthers his case for top selection

THE NAB AFL Academy suffered a heavy loss to the Geelong VFL side going down 149-19 in what was a one-sided contest from the start. There was no expectation of a win for the Australian side going against AFL-listed players and bigger bodies who have trained and played together for much longer than the few days the Academy players spent together.

Geelong scored the first two goals of the game through Luke Smith and Jordan Johnston who would both remain prolific all game with four and three goals, respectively. The Cats dominated play and possession early, but Australia was able to settle the game a bit and work the ball forward. Nick Daicos eventually found East Fremantle’s Jack Williams inside 50 who kicked truly on a tight angle.

The game would remain between the arcs as Australia wrestled back some momentum, but the likes of Charlie Constable and Quinton Narkle showed why they are in contention for senior selection dominating possession and pushing their side to a 21-point quarter time lead.

The second quarter would only be the start of the significant bleeding for Australia, as Geelong’s pressure around the ball intensified, and their already clean ball movement became cleaner. They would dominate the play, but they could not reflect it on the scoreboard as their inaccurate kicking flattered Australia at half-time.

The Australian defence was working overtime as Smith kicked his second, and Max Holmes and Darcy Fort also hit the scoreboard. While they did well to place pressure on some shots to force five behinds for the quarter, Australia’s foot skills out of defensive 50 were inconsistent as they would either turn the ball over or put it back into dispute.

Subiaco’s Neil Erasmus was lively in the second quarter as was Oakleigh’s Ned Moyle in the ruck, but it was Giants Academy member Josh Fahey (15 disposals) and Daicos (13 disposals) leading the way. Constable managed 17 first-half disposals for the Cats while Narkle (15 disposals, one goal) and Smith (13 disposals, two goals) helped extend the lead to 42 points at the main break.

Geelong showed no remorse for the promising youngsters as Smith’s third goal would propel them to winning the quarter 52-8. Their superior physicality and team cohesion rose to prominence as they were much more composed with ball in hand, moving it forward with ease and cleanliness.

The value of the AFL-listed players remaining in the elite training environments really came to the fore as they just overran the Australian side with spread and pressure. They were plus 58 in disposals for the quarter and never allowed Australia to link with handballs and run and carry. Former Murray Bushranger Jye Chalcraft capitalised on the dominance with a nine-disposal quarter. Current Murray Bushranger Josh Rachele kicked Australia’s second and last goal for the game with a bomb from outside 50.

Geelong ran out the game and kicked away to a commanding 22.17 (149) to 2.7 (19) victory. It was always going to be tough for the Academy players. Brisbane Lions recruitment consultant Leon Harris stressed that it is “more what they take out of it than how well they play”.

Geelong won the disposal count 367-214 and placed enough pressure on Australia to force them into kicking 68 more times than they handballed. They controlled possession and won the mark count 96-59, while the ruck contest was relatively even.

Fahey was named best on ground for the Australian side with 23 disposals, while Daicos continued his NAB League form finding the footy 26 times. Chargers’ teammate Moyle was also serviceable with 11 disposals and 13 hitouts, while South Adelaide’s Jason Horne (12 disposals, six tackles) maintained his effort all game.

For Geelong, Smith managed four goals in the end to go with his 22 disposals and seven marks as Johnston also booted four majors from his 20 disposals. AFL-listed Constable (29 disposals), Narkle, (22 disposals, two goals), and Holmes (23 disposals, three goals) did no harm to their AFL recalls.

No doubt a learning curve for the NAB AFL Academy members as recruiters look forward to their return to their respective state league competitions and of course the national championships where they will hope they implement some learnings from this game. The players will meet with clubs in Melbourne tomorrow as recruiters continue to profile the draft hopefuls.

Picture credit: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos

2021 VFL Round 1 review: Queensland teams make their mark

A NEW era and a new competition full of surprises saw a number of clubs from New South Wales and Queensland join the still rather oddly-named Victorian Football League (VFL), and the majority came away with the points. The four AFL-aligned clubs in the two northern states on the east coast joined the competition, with standalone teams, Aspley Hornets and Southport Sharks also joining the fold, as did the Northern Bullants who returned to the competition. With 11 games played every weekend in the new 22-team competition, the competitiveness to finish inside the top eight has never been greater.

The match of the round was easily Southport’s come-from-behind win over Carlton at Ikon Park on Saturday. The Blues raced out of the blocks to pile on six goals to two in the opening term and lead by 26 points at quarter time. The Sharks began to claw their way back in the second, kicking five goals to four to draw to within 19 points at the main break, but the Blues seemed to keep them at arms-length. Carlton kicked 4.6 to 4.0 in the premiership quarter to again extend out to 25 points with a quarter to play, but the visitors were not done with just yet. Connor Nutting kicked two goals in the opening six minutes, and by the time Jacob Dawson had converted a major, the deficit was back in the single digits midway through the term, Lukas Webb brought it back to two points a few minutes later, and after Dawson levelled the score with a behind in the 20th minute, many thought it could be the competition’s first draw.

AFL-listed youngster Lochie O’Brien had other ideas, converting a goal in the 25th minute, and when Matt Shannon kicked a major at 26:38 on the clock, it appeared the Sharks had fought gallantly, but would not be able to comeback from a 12-point deficit, The last eight minutes of the term saw the Sharks relentlessly attacking, and forcing a rushed behind, which would prove ultimately important in the end result. Fraser Thurlow kicked a major in red time, and then it was just five points in it. The former AFL-contingent at the Queensland club had stepped up throughout the game, and indeed it would be Webb who would be the man of the moment, kicking a match-winning major in the last minute to seal the game. At one point, the deficit had got out to as much as 31 points, but the visitors had kept believing, and stunned the home side, 17.7 (109) to 16.12 (108).

Whilst he might not have kicked one in the final term, ex-Bulldog Billy Gowers had a day out with five goals from seven scoring shots, 15 disposals and six marks. Thurlow absolutely dominated the ruck for the Sharks, notching up 49 hitouts, but then going forward to slot three goals and take eight marks from 12 touches. Nutting, a former Gold Coast Academy talent kicked the three goals from 11 touches, while Webb’s two goals in the final term added to his 24 touches, five marks and four tackles. Andrew Boston (27 disposals, 11 tackles), Dawson (26 disposals, seven tackles and one goal), Jesse Joyce (23 disposals, four marks, three tackles and a goal) and Michael Manteit (21 disposals, five marks, two tackles and a goal) were among the other top ball winners.

Despite the loss, Liam Stocker practically kicked down the door for AFL selection with a whopping 38-disposal and 13-mark game, as David Cuningham (28 disposals, four marks, four tackles and a goal), Sam Ramsay (22 disposals, seven marks and five tackles) and O’Brien (21 disposals, six marks and a goal) also found plenty of the footy. Matthew Owies kicked a straight four goals from 12 touches, six marks and four tackles, while ex-Pie and Crow Ben Crocker slotted 2.3 from 11 touches and five marks up forward. Another ex-AFL listed talent in Toby Wooller returned to Victoria from Queensland to kick 1.2 from 16 disposals, six marks, eight tackles and have six hitouts tor the Blues.

Fellow standalone Queensland side Aspley Hornets also sent a message to the rest of the competition with an absolute belting of one of Victoria’s proudest clubs Port Melbourne. The Hornets blew the Borough away in the opening term with a 10 goal to two first quarter, and whilst the visitors managed to get back to within 43 points at the final break with six goals to two over the next two quarters, the damage was done and the Hornets booted six last quarter goals to win 20.13 (133) to 12.8 (80). Ryan Bastinac was ridiculous with 39 touches, four marks, six tackles and three goals, with Matthew Payne (28 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and two goals), Corey Lyons (27 disposals, five marks and one goal) and Matthew Hammelmann (11 disposals, eight marks and 4.4) among the dominant players for the Hornets. Harvey Hooper (27 disposals, four marks and two tackles) tried hard for the Borough, while Anthony Anastasio and Matthew Signorello both slotted three goals apiece.

Also in the Sunshine State, Brisbane Lions reserves knocked off Essendon’s reserves in a 66-point belting at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex. Rhys Mathieson did his chances of a recall no harm thanks to a lazy 34 touches, eight marks and two goals, while Connor Ballenden (31 disposals, 15 marks and one goal) and Keidean Coleman (29 disposals, nine marks, three tackles and two goals) were also up there with the best for the Lions. First-year player Carter Michael showed he has the capacity to match it at senior level, amassing an impressive 25 touches on debut. Ex-Lion Tom Cutler had a team-high 29 disposals and 10 marks for the Bombers, while Nick Bryan racked up 34 hitouts, five marks and three tackles to show off his around-the-ground work with 27 touches.

The only Queensland team to suffer defeat in the opening round of the VFL was Gold Coast Suns, going down by 67 points to a red-hot Western Bulldogs outfit. The Bulldogs kicked 10 goals to three in the opening half to set up the win, restricting the Suns to just 12 scoring shots as the home team won, 16.13 (109) to 6.6 (42). The potent tall forward combination of Josh Schache (19 disposals, 12 marks and 5.4) and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (12 disposals, 2.1) was the issue for the Suns, though father-son talent Ryley West was one of nine individual scorers, picking up 22 disposals, five marks and four disposals in the process. Will Hayes (29 disposals, 11 marks), Riley Garcia (24 disposals, three marks and nine tackles), Lin Jong (24 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and a goal) and Buku Khamis (21 disposals, 11 marks) were other AFL-listed Dogs impressing. For the Suns, Brayden Fiorini (31 disposals, 11 marks and six tackles) and Will Brodie (30 disposals, 10 marks and six tackles) had days out, while talented AFL Academy member Austin Harris kicked two goals from six touches, two marks and three tackles.

In the all-New South Wales battle, Sydney Swans emerged victorious of the GWS GIANTS, booting 12 goals to seven after quarter time to record a 15.6 (96) to 10.10 (70) victory. Colin O’Riordan had 32 disposals and 14 marks, as other Swans-listed talents in Lewis Taylor (32 disposals, eight marks and one goal) and Ryan Clarke (31 disposals, eight marks and four tackles) both racked up the ball with ease. Hayden McLean and Harry Morrison slotted three majors apiece, whilst Paddy McCartin returned to the field to have 19 disposals and nine marks in a promising return. Teenage talents, Sam Thorne (13 disposals, six marks and a goal) and Marc Sheather (10 disposals, three tackles and a goal) also gained some important experience. For the GIANTS, Alex Smout racked up 33 disposals, as Tanner Bruhn showed his AFL debut cannot be too far away with 27 touches and two goals. Josh Green, brother of GIANTS’ Tom stepped up to have 21 touches, as AFL Academy member Josh Fahey had the nine disposals, three marks and three tackles in the loss.

In a couple of the more memorable matches for the VFL, two all-standalone Victorian clashes saw Frankston Dolphins and Williamstown Seagulls win easily against Coburg Lions and Northern Bullants respectively. The Dolphins, led by ex-Bomber Josh Begley (six goals), and ex-Pie and Saint Nathan Freeman (40 disposals), proved too strong for the Lions. Coburg’s Marcus Lentini suffered leather poisoning himself, matching Freeman with a whopping 40 disposals and slotting a goal. Josh D’Intinosante and Mitch Podhajski both slotted three goals in defeat. For the Seagulls, they booted seven goals to one in the first half to set up the victory against the Bullants, as Jake Greiser (29 disposals, eight marks and one goals), Mitch Hibberd (29 disposals, five marks and one goal) and Liam Hunt (29 disposals, one goal) ran rampant. Joel Ottavi slotted four goals from eight scoring shots, while ex-Crow Jordan Gallucci slammed home three goals from 21 touches and six marks. For the Bullants, Tom Wilson had the most touches with 25 and six marks, while ex-GIANT and Roo Paul Ahern had 23 disposals, four marks, four tackles and kicked a goal.

Pies fans had something to smile about over the weekend, with a hard-fought seven-point win over Werribee, 10.9 (69) to 9.8 (62). Second year talent Jay Rantall put his hand up to return to an injury-depleted AFL lineup with 28 disposals, five marks and six tackles, while Tyler Brown (22 disposals), Caleb Poulter (18 disposals, seven marks and a goal) and Ollie Henry (11 disposals, seven marks and two goals) were among the young Pies to make an impact. Ex-Cat Wylie Buzza slotted four goals from 10 touches and four marks, as Tom Gribble (30 disposals, nine marks and five tackles) and Matthew Hanson (28 disposals, four marks and three tackles) did their thing. It was a much more one-sided contest for Richmond’s 40-point win over Sandringham Zebras, as the Tigers piled on 10 goals to three in the first three quarters to lead by 47 points at the final break, before the Zebras cut the deficit back rallying in the final term. Samson Ryan kicked three goals up forward, as Callum Coleman-Jones (22 disposals, six marks, 13 hitouts, four tackles and two goals) found plenty of the football. Jack Ross (34 disposals), Pat Naish (33) and Riley Collier-Dawkins (31) all easily dominated proceedings, whilst for the Zebras, Shaun McKernan was outstanding with 23 disposals, 10 marks, 11 hitouts, four goals and four tackles, while Ryan Byrnes (22 disposals, eight marks and a goal) and Oscar Clavarino (20 disposals, 14 marks) were among the St Kilda-listed talents to impress.

The two Sunday clashes between AFL-aligned clubs resulted in the Casey Demons getting a comfortable 41-point victory over Hawthorn at Box Hill, while Geelong posted a whopping 79-point thrashing over North Melbourne to sit at the top of the VFL ladder. Kade Chandler (25 disposals, 10 marks and a goal), Neville Jetta (25 disposals, 10 marks) and Aaron Vandenberg (25 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and a goal) were busy around the ground, whilst Ben Brown‘s debut in the red and blue (18 disposals, six marks and three goals) was overshadowed by a monstrous performance from Sam Weideman (16 disposals, seven marks and 7.2). Developing Hawk tall Emerson Jeka was one of three in the brown and gold to slot three majors in the loss, while Lachlan Bramble (20 disposals, eight tackles) and Michael Hartley (20 disposals) were among the Hawthorn-listed players to impress. For the Cats, Zach Guthrie had a day out with 27 disposals and 11 marks, as Charlie Constable (26 touches) and Oscar Brownless (24) pressed their cases for a call-up. Josh Jenkins and Ben Jarvis both slotted four goals apiece in the massive win, as two of eight individual goalkickers. Former Bushranger and Hawk’ Mat Walker had three goals from six scoring shots, as well as 16 touches and 10 marks in a dirty day for the Roos, while Dom Tyson (29 touches), Harry Jones (23) and Will Walker (20) tried hard.

VFL ROUND 1 RESULTS:

Richmond 13.17 (95) defeated Sandringham 7.13 (55)
Frankston 20.6 (126) defeated Coburg 14.12 (96)
Western Bulldogs 16.13 (109) defeated Gold Coast Suns 6.6 (42)
Brisbane Lions 15.14 (104) defeated Essendon 5.8 (38)
Sydney Swans 15.6 (96) defeated GWS GIANTS 10.10 (70)
Aspley 20.13 (133) defeated Port Melbourne 12.8 (80)
Carlton 16.12 (108) lost to Southport 17.7 (109)
Werribee 9.8 (62) lost to Collingwood 10.9 (69)
Hawthorn 10.7 (67) lost to Casey Demons 17.16 (118)
Geelong 18.15 (123) defeated North Melbourne 6.8 (44)
Northern Bullants 6.11 (47) lost to Williamstown 14.15 (99)

Picture credit: Southport Sharks Twitter

Classic Contests: Stephenson, Hayes help Ranges find a way to down Dragons

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back our series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 17 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Eastern Ranges and Sandringham Dragons. In this edition, we wind the clock back to 2017 when the two sides played out one of the many thrillers among their battles over the past decade.

2017 TAC Cup, Round 9
Saturday June 3, 10:30pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 2.3 | 5.4 | 6.9 | 7.11 (53)
EASTERN RANGES 3.0 | 4.4 | 5.4 | 8.6 (54)

GOALS:

Sandringham: H. McLean 2, T. Long, W. Walker, J. Gorman, J. Gibbins, R. Macdermid.
Eastern:
J. Duncan 3, S. Milner, L. Woodward, P. Bruzzese, S. Hayes, J. Stephenson.

BEST:

Sandringham: Q. Montanaro, G. Nagle, H. McLean, W. Walker, S. Sofronidis, D. McNeish
Eastern:
L. Woodward, H. Nolan, S. Hayes, C. Hirst, B. Cardamone, J. Stephenson

Draftees in action:

Sandringham: Hayden McLean, Will Walker
Eastern: 
Jaidyn Stephenson, Sam Hayes, Tom North, Cody Hirst

Teams are often depleted during the mid-season rush and while that was the case in Round 9 of 2017, it didn’t stop Eastern and Sandringham from producing a TAC Cup classic. Despite holding a 5-3 record to sit fourth, the Dragons were starting to feel the pinch of school football, dropping three games in a row having won their first four. A win against Greater Western Victoria steadied the ship, but the same cannot be said for Eastern (ninth, 3-5), who had just lost to Dandenong after working to halt an early-season skid.

While six eventual draftees took to the field, there was a bunch of top-end talent missing in action for either side. Sandringham would have to go to war without the likes of Andrew Brayshaw and Charlie Constable, while Eastern would miss the presence of Joel Garner, Adam Cerra, and Tyler Brown among others.

Keen to inflict an upset, the Ranges got the better of the early goings with the first three goals of the game within 10 minutes. A late lapse in concentration would see the Dragons hit back twice though, and they carried the momentum into the second stanza to make it five-consecutive goals. A Josiah Duncan major before half time reigned the margin back to a single straight kick at the main break, with the contest beginning to close up.

The third term proved an armwrestle, with neither side properly able to snatch the ascendancy and Sandringham spurning some solid opportunities. Still, the Dragons’ 1.5 to Eastern’s 1.0 had them up by 11 points heading into the final break, with the game remaining in the balance. That was when the cream began to rise to the top; with Jaidyn Stephenson sparking the turnaround, and Sam Hayes completing the job with a late goal to snatch a one-point win.

Both were named among the best players for Eastern alongside Cody Hirst, with Lucas Woodward and Harry Nolan topping that list, and Duncan booting a game-high three goals. Quintin Montanaro claimed that honour for Sandringham, in front of the likes of Hayden McLean and Will Walker – the sole drafted Dragons afield on the day.

The Dragons would finish the regular season in the same spot at 11-7, but thrived in the back-end of the year to incite a finals run that was only spoiled at the final hurdle by Geelong in a famous Grand Final. Seven Dragons went on to be drafted in 2017, a number shaded by Eastern’s 10 AFL recruits, plus Hirst in 2019. The Ranges improved to finish sixth at 9-9, but were dumped out by a remarkable Dandenong comeback in week one of the finals.

Classic Contests: Stingrays hold off Dragons in top four battle

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 5 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Dandenong Stingrays and Sandringham Dragons. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2017 for what was a top four clash between the Country and Metro powerhouses, with plenty of future AFL draftees in action and a hotly-contested finish.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.4 | 3.9 | 9.11 | 10.12 (72)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 2.5 | 8.8 | 10.9 | 11.15 (81)

TAC Cup Round 17 | Saturday August 26, 2017
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, 10:30am

Draftees in action:

Sandringham – Joel Amartey, Nathan Murphy, Charlie Constable, Hayden McLean, Andrew Brayshaw, Angus Styles, Bailey Smith, Ben King, Joel Crocker
Dandenong – Oscar Clavarino, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Hunter Clark, Bailey Williams, Aiden Bonar, Will Hamill, Mitch Riordan, Lachlan Young, Tom Murphy

The scene was set at Trevor Barker Beach Oval in August, 2017 for a belting contest between two top four hopefuls stacked with high-end draft talent. Late-season contests often see sides return to full strength at the completion of the school football season and national carnival, and there was no shortage of future draftees among the two sides on this day. Both clubs would produce nine AFL recruits each from their respective matchday squads alone, spilling into the double digits overall across the next two drafts.

Taking the field in this match were also three first round draftees on either side in the form of Andrew Brayshaw, Bailey Smith, and Ben King for Sandringham, and Luke Davies-Uniacke, Hunter Clark, and Aiden Bonar for Dandenong.

Given the even spread of talent, neutrals, draft analysts, and recruiters alike came in anticipating a close contest to go with the showcase of elite players. But the Stingrays had other ideas as they build on a seven-point quarter time lead to move just short of five goals clear at the main break. A string of seven unanswered goals had the visitors sitting pretty at 44 points to the good and boasting an astonishing eight individual goalkickers within the first two terms. The likes of Davies-Uniacke, Clark, and Bonar had all managed to find the big sticks, with Sandringham desperately needing to arrest the momentum.

Up stepped Aaron Trusler at the end of the second stanza with two consecutive goals to keep the margin at a manageable distance, with his third at the start of the next term a catalyst for the Dragons’ storming comeback. Trusler’s three majors would mark the beginning of his side’s six-goal run, which extended to eight of the next ten majors as the three quarter time siren sounded. From 44 points down, Sandringham had even snuck ahead through Brayshaw, but it was cancelled out late-on by a much-needed goal to Jai Nanscawen for Dandenong.

With the ledger all-but even heading into the final term, a grandstand finish was on the cards. In a tense closing period of play, the sides managed a goal apiece to break the big runs of goals, with Dandenong unable to quite put the Dragons away but still notching the four points.

Trusler’s three-goal effort proved key in turning the tide despite his side being unable to complete the comeback job, with former Sydney rookie Angus Styles named the best in a losing effort for his 18 disposals and one goal at 100 per cent efficiency on the outside. Fremantle midfielder Brayshaw also had his say with 27 disposals and a goal, while Magpie Nathan Murphy and Swan Joel Amartey were also named among the best.

As far as other draftees go, Bulldog gun Smith collected 25 touches as a bottom-ager, Joel Crocker had it 24 times, Charlie Constable booted a goal from 15 touches, Hayden McLean shared ruck duties with Amartey while up forward, and King only managed three marks among nine disposals.

For Dandenong, it was a case of the cream rising to the top as Clark was named best afield for his 29 disposals and two goals, while Davies-Uniacke managed 21 and one goal, and future Saint Oscar Clavarino was also named among the best from defence. Among the other draftees, bottom-ager Bailey Williams managed 1.3 and 16 hitouts, while Bonar, Will Hamill, and Mitch Riordan all also managed to find the goals in games which provided a glimpse of their talent. Meanwhile, Lachlan Young booted three points from 12 disposals, Tom Murphy found it 14 times, and the VFL-listed Mason De Wit had a decent day out with 21 disposals and eight marks.

The Stingrays would go on to finish third after the 2017 regular season, one spot above the Dragons but could not manage the same finals success. After famously overcoming Eastern in what was a monumental come-from-behind win, Dandenong fell to Geelong in the preliminary final stage. The Falcons also proved a thorn in the side of Sandringham, going on to beat the Dragons in a thrilling decider made famous by Gryan Miers’ seven goals, and Amartey’s after-the-siren miss.

VFL weekly wrap: Bombers move into second with big percentage boost

ESSENDON defeated Port Melbourne by 69 points to move into second place on the Victorian Football League (VFL) ladder, closing the gap on Richmond, while reigning premiers Box Hill returned to the winners list with a big win over Sandringham.

Geelong 19.13 (127) defeated Frankston 5.8 (38)

The Cats brought Frankston back down to earth after their first win of the season last week with a thumping 89-point win. Geelong set the tone early, kicking eight goals to two in the opening term and never allowing the Dolphins free use of the footy. Wylie Buzza, Jamaine Jones and Aaron Black kicked 3 goals each for the home side while Alex Harnett slotted 2 for Frankston. Charlie Constable and Nathan Freeman split most disposals with 33 each as Scott Selwood collected 32. Geelong take on the Northern Blues at Ikon Park this week while Frankston host Coburg.

Box Hill 12.11 (83) defeated Sandringham 6.10 (46)

Box Hill are back in the top eight following a 37-point win over Sandringham. The Zebras held the lead early in the first term before the former Mustangs kicked in the second quarter and eased to victory. James Cousins had 30 disposals for the Hawks and Darragh Joyce with 21 for Sandy, while Oliver Hanrahan kicked four goals. Box Hill travel to Casey Fields to take on the Demons as Sandringham host top-of-the-table Richmond this Saturday.

Footscray 8.10 (58) defeated by Collingwood 12.9 (81)

Collingwood recorded just their third win of the season with a come-from-behind 23-point victory at the Whitten Oval. The momentum swings in the match were obvious, with the Bulldogs holding a one-point lead at the final break. The Magpies then kicked away with a five goals to one final term ensuring they picked up the four points. Andrew Gallucci slotted three goals for the away side as Alex Woodward collected 38 disposals. Former number 6 draft pick Matthew Scharenberg pushed his case for an AFL call-up with 33 touches. Collingwood host North Melbourne at Victoria Park on Saturday while Footscray face Port Melbourne away.

Coburg 8.2 (50) defeated by Casey 9.11 (65)

A week of upheaval at Casey has ended positively, with a 15-point win over Coburg. New coach Sam Radford engineered a victory, although the Demons might feel they should’ve won by a lot more. Coburg had a two-point lead at quarter-time before Casey took charge, holding the home side scoreless while kicking 4 goals of their own. From then on the two sides traded goals, with the margin remaining between 20-30 points right up until the trend was broken and Coburg kicked the final goal of the match. Jordan Lewis dominated with 39 disposals while Marcus Lentini continued his good form with 37. Steven Stroobants and Peter McEvoy kicked three goals each while Casey had all individual goalkickers. The Demons host Box Hill on Saturday while Coburg travel to Frankston on Sunday.

Werribee 14.11 (95) defeated by Williamstown 16.7 (103)

The Tigers almost came from behind to steal victory from the Seagulls at Avalon Airport Oval. Williamstown dominated the game from the first bounce with a lead as large as 37 points midway through the third term, but allowed Werribee to creep back into the contest in the final term, only for the Tigers to fall short by eight points after coming within two points. Matthew Munro booted five goals for the Tigers while Michael Barlow had another 37 disposals and one-goal game. Mitchell Hibberd was best for the away side with 29 touches. Werribee take on Essendon at home on Sunday while Williamstown have the bye.

Port Melbourne 9.5 (59) defeated by Essendon 18.20 (128)

A huge third-quarter cemented the Bombers as one of the teams to beat in the VFL this season as they easily overcame a highly-fancied Port Melbourne at North Port Oval. Essendon booted eight goals to three in that third term and eventually ran away 69-point victors. Will Snelling was best afield for the Dons with three goals and 28 disposals while Port’s Shannen Lange kicked two and had 34 touches. Aaron Francis booted four goals for the Bombers. Essendon face Werribee this Sunday while Port take on Footscray on Saturday.

Bye – North Melbourne, Northern Blues, Richmond

Picture: VFL.com.au

VFL weekly wrap: Magpies suffer again as Seagulls soar

COLLINGWOOD suffered another heavy loss in Round 10 of the Victorian Football League (VFL) falling to Casey, while Williamstown took advantage of the bye for Essendon and moved to second place on the ladder.

Richmond 13.8 (86) defeated Geelong 9.9 (63)

The Tigers returned to the winners list with a 23-point victory over the Cats at Punt Rd. Eager to prove last week was merely an anomaly, Richmond took the lead nearing quarter time and didn’t let go of it. Geelong only trailed by five points at the final break but couldn’t make up the difference in the last quarter, with Richmond finishing strong. Luke Nelson kicked four goals for the Tigers while Nathan Kreuger slotted three for Geelong. Charlie Constable and Fraser Turner each kicked a goal and had 26 disposals while Shai Bolton finished with 25 touches. Richmond face Coburg this weekend while Geelong have the bye.

Williamstown 19.9 (123) defeated North Melbourne 10.10 (70)

North Melbourne couldn’t continue the form from their win over the Tigers as they were trounced by the Seagulls away from home. It was Williamstown’s eight goal to four second term that set the tone, and they eventually went on to win by 53 points. Nick Rodda booted four goals while Joel Ottavi snagged three and new Roo Lachie Hosie kicked two for his side. Mitch Hibberd was best afield with 29 disposals and two goals. Williamstown take on Port Melbourne in the classic rivalry this Sunday while North Melbourne travel to Frankston.

Northern Blues 14.15 (99) defeated Coburg 13.4 (82)

A spirited fightback from the Lions was not enough to take home the four points against the Norther Blues. Wearing the traditional Preston red and white, the Blues had a lead as big as 52 points in the final term before Coburg put some good footy together to narrow it to just 17 by the final siren. The two sides were separated by just four points at the main break before the Blues switched on and kicked four goals to one in the third term. Marcus Lentini had a mammoth 42 disposals for the Lions, with Carlton’s Matthew Kennedy the next best on 30. Hedley Smith kicked five goals on debut while Andrew Phillips slotted three. The Blues return to Ikon Park to play Footscray on Saturday while Coburg take on Richmond in Beaconsfield.

Frankston 5.13 (43) defeated by Port Melbourne 17.14 (116)

It was another long Sunday for Frankston supporters as their side fell to Port Melbourne by 73 points. Again, it was a tale of two halves for the Dolphins, as they enjoyed an impressive second term, even taking the lead at one stage. From then on they seemed to fall off a cliff as the Borough romped home, restricting Frankston to just one second half goal. Tom O’Sullivan and Ethan Phillips each kicked three goals. Josh Newman, Nathan Freeman and Will Fordham kept Frankston afloat with 32, 31, and 29 disposals respectively while Eli Templeton had 31 touches for Port. Frankston take on North Melbourne at home while Port host Williamstown this weekend.

Casey 15.12 (102) defeated Collingwood 6.3 (39)

Matthew Scharenberg getting through the match uninjured was one of the few highlights for Collingwood as they never looked in the contest at Casey Fields. The Demons lead comfortably at every break, eventually winning by 63 points. Alex Woodward collected his usual 32 disposals while Jordan Lewis had 30 touches as he attempts to force his way back into the Melbourne lineup. Kyle Dunkley and Mitch White each kicked three goals for the home side. Both sides have the bye this weekend.

Bye – Werribee, Essendon, Footscray, Sandringham, Box Hill

Pic: NMFC.com.au

VFL weekly wrap: Dolphins come close

ROUND 5 of the Victorian Football League (VFL) saw Essendon and Richmond remain the only two undefeated sides in the competition, with the Bombers occupying top spot on a mammoth percentage.

Northern Blues 12.17 (89) defeated North Melbourne 7.10 (52)

North Melbourne started off the better of the two sides and looked on track to record their first win of the season, before the Blues reeled them back in and put on a final quarter to remember, winning by 37 points. The Kangaroos led for the majority of the first half, only slipping up just before the main break. They wrestled the lead back at three-quarter time, however from that point on it was all the Blues as they kicked 6 goals to none. Sam Fisher and Dan Robinson had the most touches on the ground with 27, while Curtis Taylor and Noah Wheeler kicked three goals each.

Essendon 13.16 (94) defeated Geelong 7.10 (52)

The curtain raiser to the Country Match at the MCG was anticlimactic as the Bombers boosted their percentage with a 42-point victory. Essendon took the lead midway through the first term and never looked back. Trent Mynott kicked three goals for the red and black. Charlie Constable won 25 disposals while Ryan Abbott dominated in the ruck following Sam Draper‘s unfortunate ACL injury, kicking two goals from 19 disposals and notching up 37 hitouts.

Coburg 12.7 (79) defeated by Port Melbourne 12.13 (85)

With a score worm that looks like the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Borough recorded an almighty comeback win at Piranha Park. Trailing by 37 points at half-time, Gary Ayres’ men fought back to win by six points. It was Campbell Walker‘s goal that gave Port the lead, and they would hold on in a tense last five minutes to claim the four points. Steven Stroobants had kicked one of his four goals a minute earlier to give the Lions back the lead. Tom O’Sullivan had 30 disposals while Shannen Lange had 28 and kicked a goal. Liam Dickson was best afield for the home side with 25 disposals, closely followed by Marcus Lentini with 24.

Casey 8.11 (59) defeated by Footscray 11.10 (76)

Casey seemed to drop dead at half time, barely putting up a fight as they relinquished their lead and the four points to the Bulldogs. The Demons trailed by 25 points early in the first term but fought back to lead by 2 points at the main break. Footscray then booted four goals to none in the third term to set up the victory. Bailey Williams recorded 29 disposals, while Tom Boyd booted three goals as he continues his return to football. Sam Weideman responded to his AFL non-selection with two goals and 21 disposals in a solid outing for Casey.

Williamstown 4.10 (34) defeated by Richmond 12.13 (85)

The Tigers led from the first bounce to the final siren, securing a big win away from home against the Seagulls. Richmond restricted Williamstown to just one goal at the three-quarter time break as they romped to a 51-point win. Dan Butler and Jake Aarts kicked three goals each while Maibor Chol added two. Mitch Hibberd had 27 touches for the Seagulls as Sam Dunell and Patty Naish each recorded 23 disposals.

Sandringham 11.12 (78) defeated Frankston 12.4 (76)

Football returned to Moorabbin for the first time in over a decade as the Zebras turned around a half-time deficit to deny the Dolphins their first victory of the season. Frankston led by as much as 16 points early in the third term after Sandy led by as much at quarter time. It was the Zebras’ six goal third quarter that gave them the win, despite the Dolphins holding them scoreless in the final term. Luke Dunstan was best afield with 32 disposals and a goal, while David Armitage also kicked a goal to go along with his 25 touches. Dolphins captain, Josh Newman led from the front with 26 disposals. Frankston’s forward line showed glimpses of what’s to come as Yilber Zijai kicked four goals from four kicks, while Shem Tatupu slotted home three.

Bye – Box Hill, Werribee, Collingwood

Picture: VFL.com.au

Pic: Basketball Australia

Demons in pole position for Category B prospect Bradtke

THE SON of Mark and Nicole Bradtke is not far away from making a decision on his future after setting his sights on forging an AFL career.

Austin Bradtke, 17, will decide which club he will join as a Category B rookie over the next month. 

The 205cm tall last year was part of Vic Metro’s basketball Under 18 National Championships victory and is eligible for being a Category B Rookie, having not been registered to play football in the past three years.

AFLDraftCentral.com.au understands that Melbourne are currently the club in the box seat to secure Bradtke’s services, having met with a number of Victorian clubs in recent times. 

The Haileybury College student played junior football at East Sandringham Junior Football Club alongside likely top-10 candidates, and fellow school mates, Max and Ben King.

While the agile tall is yet to decide on his decision, Melbourne are the front runners with Geelong certainly in play for the talented teenager. Geelong’s 2017 draftee Charlie Constable was a former Haileybury College student and should Bradtke elect to move to Geelong, the sight of a familiar face in Constable may make the transition smoother to AFL life. It had been believed in the past that a link to Stephen Silvagni and Carlton may be fruitful for Bradtke. 

Austin Bradtke (far left) alongside King twins Max & Ben in their junior playing days for East Sandringham. (Photo: Facebook)

With a talented family pedigree, after Australian Hall of Famer Father Mark was a three-time NBL Champion, 2002 NBL MVP and former NBA playerand& mother Nicole was a dual grand slam mixed double champion in 1992, clubs will be lining up for the service of Austin – who can choose any club he would like to join in the AFL.

Current Adelaide player Hugh Greenwood is one of the most recent converts from basketball to AFL, joining the Crows as a Category B player in 2015 – where he has since played 18 games, including last year’s AFL Grand Final. 

Check out Austin’s basketball highlights here.

Sandringham Dragons 2017 review

With the off-season now officially here for TAC Cup clubs, AFL Draft Central will go back and review what 2017 was like for each of the 12 clubs. We kick off the series with Bendigo Pioneers and will end with the Western Jets.

Sandringham Dragons

Finished: 2nd
Wins: 13
Losses: 8
Draws: 0
Percentage:
 123
Points: 44 (eliminated in grand final)

Players Drafted: (7)

  • Andrew Brayshaw (Fremantle)
  • Will Walker (North Melbourne)
  • Charlie Constable (Geelong)
  • Nathan Murphy (Collingwood)
  • Hamish Brayshaw (West Coast)
  • Angus Styles (Sydney)
  • Joel Amartey (Sydney)

2017 Review:

In 2016, Sandringham Dragons were the talk of the AFL Draft world with an abundance of draftees in the first round to complement their premiership. In 2017, they had an impressive seven players drafted, including the Brayshaw brothers – Andrew and Hamish – heading to Perth, Will Walker picked by North Melbourne, Charlie Constable heading down the highway to the Cattery and Nathan Murphy donning the black and white stripes for season 2018. Meanwhile in the rookie draft, Angus Styles and Joel Amartey were reunited within a round of each other as the pair was selected by Sydney.

On the field in 2017, Sandringham had another impressive season, finishing top four and then making its way to the grand final after defeating Oakleigh Chargers in the preliminary final. At half-time in the grand final against the Geelong Falcons it looked like the Dragons would win back-to-back flags, but a dismal third quarter turned the game on its head. In a remarkable turnaround, the Dragons stormed home and almost stole the flag back with Amartey marking just before the siren, but his kick missed and the Falcons breathed a sigh of relief. Nonetheless, the Dragons had yet another strong season.

In 2018, the Dragons are the envy of the competition with the best 1-2 tall combo in twins Max and Ben King. Along with them, there are quite a few talented players who will divide their TAC Cup time with their school football. Another big year is predicted for Sandringham.

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2018 Preview:

Sandringham Dragons have the much talked about twin-towers in Max and Ben King who can play either end or through the ruck. In 2017, Max played up forward and pinch hit in the ruck, while Ben primarily stayed down back, occasionally reliving the ruckman when in the defensive 50. Bailey Smith is another player who could push into the top 10 come draft night, with the outside midfielder spending the majority of his time in defence this season and showing he has no issues finding the ball.

Max King (Sandringham Dragons) 201cm | 81kg | Key Position Forward/Ruck
2017 TAC Cup: (7) 7.7 disposals | 3.4 marks | 7.7 hitouts | 1.4 goals | 57% KE | 65% DE | 63% CP

Max primarily played the ruck/forward role at TAC Cup level and was impressive in the air and in front of goal. He covered the ground well and showed off his versatility having had an ultra-impressive year for Haileybury in the APS competition. He is one of a number of players likely to command a top five pick in next year’s draft.

Ben King (Sandringham Dragons) 201cm | 79kg | Key Position Defender/Ruck
2017 TAC Cup: (9) 13.7 disposals | 4.8 marks | 0.8 tackles | 2.2 rebounds | 69% KE | 77% DE | 42% CP

Ben played down back for the Dragons and was strong overhead and used also as a rebounding defender. He has a long effective kick and also played forward during the school season with Haileybury teammate Oscar Clavarino holding down the fort in defence. He reads the play well and could well go top five with his brother.

Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons) 183cm | 74kg | Medium Defender/Outside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (12) 24.3 disposals | 4.1 marks | 2.3 clearances | 2.5 inside 50s | 3.9 rebounds | 73% KE | 77% DE | 38% CP

A huge ball winner in the TAC Cup last season, Smith showed he was capable of playing midfield mid-season when his teammates were unavailable during the National Under 18s Championships, then was dominant in defence often tasked with the kick-out duties. He is a deadly kick of the football and averaged almost four rebounds per game, so expect him to settle into the midfield and see what he is capable of with a full-time role in there.

Others to keep an eye on:

Joel Crocker (Sandringham Dragons) 188cm | 69kg | Outside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (5) 16.4 disposals | 4.4 marks | 1.4 tackles | 2.6 inside 50s | 56% KE | 65% DE | 28% CP

Nicholas Stamatis (Sandringham Dragons) 175cm | 70kg | Small Utility
2017 TAC Cup: (10) 13.5 disposals | 2.2 marks | 4.4 tackles | 2.1 inside 50s | 65% KE | 76% DE | 32% CP

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Summary:

Sandringham Dragons have been the most successful team of the past two years and with their twin towers and multiple other talents already emerging, it is clear 2018 is another year likely to keep smiles on the faces of the Dragons faithful. They had the seven players drafted in 2017, following on from a remarkable 2016 draft period. They will be up there with the best at the end of the 2018 season so do not be surprised to see them playing deep into September.