Tag: Charlie Constable

State Leagues wrap: Youngsters press claims for senior call-ups

A BUNCH of up-and-coming talents pressed their claims for senior selection across the state leagues this past weekend, with finals time drawing closer in the top tier. The West Australian Football League (WAFL) made its return after a week away due to lockdown, while it was business as usual around the nation with just over a month of home-and-away action left to play out. We run you through all the results from around the nation and what they mean moving forward in this week’s state leagues wrap.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

The Battle of Bell Street headlined Round 13’s action in the VFL, with the Northern Bullants holding on to win by a single point against traditional local rival, Coburg. Players did justice to the resumption of this long-standing rivalry, though the Lions’ last ditch surge was not enough to snatch victory at Piranha Park. Bullants big man Daniel Hughes took home the inaugural Harold Martin Medal as best afield, having finished with 18 disposals and 35 hitouts.

While the Bullants picked up their third-consecutive win, Footscray avoided a major boilover to remain undefeated in 2021, defeating Sydney by seven points on the back of a six-goal final term. The Bulldogs twice trailed by as many as six goals throughout the contest, but did enough to power past the plucky Swans outfit. Patrick Lipinski‘s claims for a recall remain strong after 36 disposals and a goal, while tall Sydney pair Logan McDonald (14 marks, four goals) and Patrick McCartin (27 disposals, 11 marks) dominated the airways.

Collingwood and Geelong remain fixed in the top eight after earning their own closely contested victories, downing 2019 grand finalists Richmond and Williamstown respectively. The Cats lead at every break in their 12-point triumph, while senior-listed midfielder Charlie Constable (30 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) continuing his ominous form, while young forwards Jack Ginnivan (four goals) and Noah Cumberland (five) were sensational in the Magpies’ five-point salute on enemy territory.

While Port Melbourne was thumped by 95 points in Frankston on Friday, the Borough’s home deck was used on Saturday to field the clash between Greater Western Sydney (GWS) and Gold Coast. The Giants, who had a handy mix of AFL-listed players and academy products, ran out 40-point winners with Zach Sproule (five goals), Matt De Boer (35 disposals, three goals), and senior skipper Stephen Coniglio (36 disposals, eight tackles) proving a class above.

Casey and Sandringham were the other Victorian sides to register premiership points in Round 13, while Southport returned to the fray with a resounding 109-point romping of Brisbane. The result sees the Sharks sit a win clear in second, still an equal amount of points away from current frontrunner Footscray. The Round 14 fixture has also been announced, with both Sydney teams having the bye while Queensland travel is set to resume for a trio of Victorian clubs.

South Australia (SANFL):

Ladder position counted for plenty in Round 14 of the SANFL, as all of the top five sides registered wins against their bottom five counterparts. The handful of fixtures took part on a super Saturday of state league action, which did little to really shake up the order of things ranking-wise.

Reigning premier Woodville-West Torrens opened proceedings with a 19-point win over the bottom-placed West Adelaide, despite managing just nine goals from 30 scoring shots. Westies tidied up the margin with three final term consolation goals, but the Eagles’ scoring power was all too much in the end. Jack Hayes had a day to remember for the victors, clunking 20 marks (seven contested) and booting two goals, while prolific small forward Tyson Stengle managed 3.4 from eight touches.

Competition frontrunner Glenelg pushed its undefeated streak out to 13 games with a 30-point win over Sturt, kicking away in a five-goal to one third term. Bays spearhead Liam McBean booted six goals in a commanding display, as Lachie Wilsdon snared eight in North Adelaide’s 48-point salute over Central District. The likes of Harrison Wigg (42 disposals, nine clearances), Samuel McInerney (24 disposals, five goals), and Campbell Combe (29 disposals, two goals) were among the Roosters’ other outstanding individual performers.

North’s win opened up a gap to Port Adelaide in sixth, after the Magpies went down to Norwood by 36 points. The usual suspects were amongst it for the Redlegs, with Mitch Grigg (31 disposals, seven clearances, one goal), Richard Douglas (30 disposals, eight clearances), and Brad McKenzie (24 disposals, two goals) all in the thick of things. South Adelaide was the weekend’s other winner, with pick one contender Jason Horne (19 disposals, one goal) again catching plenty of eyes as his Panthers got the better of Adelaide.

Tasmania (TSL):

Launceston took out a crucial TSL top-of-the-table clash on Saturday, downing North Launceston by 53 points to strength its spot as the league leader. The Blues now boast a two-game gap to their closest rival, and consolidated their latest victory with five goals to nil in the final quarter. Brayden Pitcher booted six majors to spearhead the Blues’ win, Jake Hinds and competition stalwart Jay Blackberry took out votes as the best two players afield.

Fellow top four sides Tigers and Clarence also picked up wins against the bottom two teams, in North Hobart and Lauderdale respectively. The Tigers accelerated during a five-goal second term to end up 40-point victors on the road, while Colin Garland snared another bag of six goals as his Roos wrapped up a 49-point win on home turf. Both sides remain locked on 32 points, with Clarence ahead in third by 0.23 per cent.

Western Australia (WAFL):

The WAFL returned after last week’s lockdown with crowds enjoying five fixtures across a stacked Saturday of state league football. The home sides won out in four of those games, while Subiaco shot back to the top of the table as the race for minor premiership honours heats up.

Claremont’s one-point loss to South Fremantle opened the door for Subiaco to reclaim top spot on percentage, though all three teams now sit level on eight wins with a two-pronged chasing pack ready to pounce at just one game adrift. The top five looks relatively set, with a three-game gap now opened up between Swan Districts in fifth and Peel Thunder in sixth.

Swans scraped past the ever-improving West Coast by two points to remain in the hunt with West Perth, as the Falcons had a much easier time defeating East Perth by 30 points. Geelong champion Harry Taylor returned to East Fremantle and booted four goals as Corey Warner, the brother of Chad made his League debut, but their efforts were not enough to help overcome the Thunder in a 26-point loss.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

State Leagues wrap: Finals-bound sides make moves

THERE is a new leader in the Victorian Football League (VFL) and some rising challengers in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) after full rounds of highly entertaining action over the weekend. The top of the tree looks settled down in the Tasmanian State League (TSL), while West Australian fans will have to wait another week for more West Australian Football League (WAFL) action after a lockdown-enforced bye.

We run you through all the results from around the nation and what they mean moving forward in this week’s state leagues wrap.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

A mixed bag of results saw margins stretched from one to 75 points in Round 12 of the VFL, with eight games played across Friday evening to Sunday night. Geelong opened proceedings with a comprehensive win over Essendon, thumping the Bombers by that round-high margin on home turf. The Cats kicked away early with 11 goals to two in the first half, as Charlie Constable again helped himself to over 40 disposals and Darcy Lang booted five majors. They are finding their groove.

Box Hill was another big winner in Round 12, and got things started on Saturday by feasting on a Gold Coast side littered with top-ups. Six goals to Fergus Greene meant he outgunned the five-goal Suns all on his own, as his Hawks saluted to the tune of 72 points at Box Hill City Oval. They move ahead of Casey in third after the Demons suffered a shock loss to GWS Giants – another team filled with top-ups and academy talent. Giants skipper Stephen Coniglio made his return via the reserves, while Matt de Boer responded well to his axing to claim 25 disposals, and Demon Sam Weideman booted three goals in his claim for a senior recall.

Standalone sides Coburg and Northern Bullants both secured wins over aligned opponents on Saturday afternoon, marking successful hitouts at their respective home venues. The Lions toppled Carlton by 37 points on the back of a seven-goal final term, as Marcus Lentini (39 disposals) and Sam Lowson (four goals) starred, while the Bullants held off Richmond to win by 13 points, with skipper Tom Wilson (31 disposals) leading the way.

Footscray became the new ladder leader on Sunday, ending North Melbourne’s winning run with an 11-point victory at Whitten Oval. The Bulldogs kicked six of their 10 goals in the second term to stream ahead after trailing at quarter time, and never looked back. Frankston and Collingwood also secured wins to retain their spots in the top eight by percentage alone. Jack Ginnivan could soon be in for a debut after booting four goals in the Magpies’ win over Sandringham, while Nathan Freeman (45 disposals) got back to his usual output as the Dolphins downed Sydney.

Six sides enjoyed bye rounds this past weekend, including all three Queensland teams – Aspley, Brisbane Lions, and Southport. Port Melbourne, Werribee, and Williamstown were the Victorian clubs able to put their feet up in Round 12, recharging for the weekend ahead.

South Australia (SANFL):

Woodville-West Torrens proved the big winner in Round 13 of the SANFL, moving clear of South Adelaide in second spot with a 36-point win on Saturday. The Eagles put through six goals to one after half time in a clinical effort, with former AFL-listed pair Tyson Stengle (five) and Troy Menzel (four) combining for nine majors. The top five could soon be in for a shake-up too, with Sturt and Port Adelaide knocking on the door after respective Round 12 wins.

The Double Blues beat fourth-placed Norwood in a low-scoring slog on Friday night, putting them within a game of the finals places. Port remains level on points with fifth after snapping its three-game losing run to get past Central District, with senior-listed youngster Zak Butters (21 disposals, two goals) making a positive return to action through the reserves side.

It was business as usual for the undefeated Glenelg, who picked up a 12th victory on the back of its eight-goal final term blitz. The Bays trailed at every break but flicked the switch when it mattered most, soaring past Adelaide to win by 15 points. North Adelaide was also victorious on Saturday, proving 44 points better than West Adelaide to maintain its top five standing. The Roosters were served by some big performers, namely Campbell Combe, Harrison Wigg (both 39 disposals) and Keenan Ramsey (five goals).

Tasmania (TSL):

North Launceston showed no signs of letting up in its quest to reign back ladder leader, Launceston, after thumping Glenorchy by 105 points to open Round 14 of the TSL. The Northern Bombers overwhelmed their opponents in the front half with 33 total scoring shots to 13, headlined by their 12-goal to one second half. Zach Burt and Brandon Leary both snared four majors in the win as two of their side’s 10 individual goalkickers.

Despite the result, Launceston remains clear out in front after 14 rounds, having accounted for Lauderdale to the tune of 38 points. The contest was effectively over by three quarter time, as the Blues led by 75 points with just one major score in the Bombers’ account. With that in mind, Launceston’s foot came off the gas and Lauderdale poured on eight goals in the final term to restore some respectability to the scoreboard. Leading the charge was Josh McGuinness, who booted seven of his side’s nine goals, while Cody Thorpe snared three for the Blues to be named best afield.

Clarence rounded out the weekend’s action with a 55-point win over North Hobart, feasting on the cellar dweller to move level on points with third-placed Tigers, who had the bye. Colin Garland spearheaded the Roos’ victory with six goals, as his side kicked away strongly to add seven majors in the final term. Tigers return next week against the Demons, while Glenorchy gets a rest in Round 15.

Western Australia (WAFL):

Western Australia’s lockdown enforced a bye round this week in the WAFL, even cancelling out the women’s grand final – which has since been rescheduled for Sunday. All WAFL and WAFLW clubs were allowed to resume training as of July 3 with restrictions still in place and set to be eased today. All three men’s grades are scheduled to resume this coming weekend for Round 14, with five games fixed on Saturday July 10.

Image Credit: Cory Sutton/SANFL

Stat Leaders: 2021 VFL – Round 11

THE 2021 Victorian Football League (VFL) season rolled on into its 11th round over the weekend, with 10 fixtures spread from Friday morning to Sunday evening. There were a number of outstanding individual performances among the Round 11 action, as AFL-listed talent and state league guns alike topped a range of key categories. We take a look at this week’s stat leaders, as well as the season tallies to this point.

>> RESULTS | State leagues wrap

Geelong Cats midfielder Charlie Constable set an ominous tone in the round’s opening game, racking up 44 disposals in his side’s thumping win over Brisbane. The competition’s ball magnets followed suit, with Aspley’s Matthew Payne (32 kicks) and Coburg’s Marcus Lentini (26 handballs) topping the charts in respective categories despite both playing in losses.

Senior-listed Richmond ball winner Jack Ross also worked hard to notch 15 marks as his Tigers went down to Sandringham, and Sydney’s Ryan Clarke dominated the stoppage situations with 12 clearances as the Swans took out Sunday’s Sydney derby. In the same game, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) youngster Xavier O’Halloran managed a high of 11 inside 50s as his side was beaten by 38 points.

North Melbourne had a couple of players feature on this week’s leaderboard, starting with Kade Answerth for his monster 16-tackle effort. Bigman Tom Campbell also returned a big performance in the ruck with 49 hitouts, while fellow AFL-listed tall Ben Brown bagged five majors for Casey Demons to top the Round 11 goalkicking charts, continuing his press for a call-up.

Southport may have had its bout with Gold Coast cancelled, but Jacob Dawson still leads the league for disposals and handballs, while Payne has the most kicks at an average of 20.9 and teammate Matthew Hammelmann is head and shoulders above the rest with 39 goals. Werribee pair Dom Brew (tackles) and Matthew Lobbe (hitouts) also feature on the leaderboards, as Brisbane tall Connor Ballenden is the sole AFL-listed player to lead a category, having clunked the most marks thus far.

Find the full list of Round 11, and 2021 season stat leaders below.

ROUND 11 STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Charlie Constable* (Geelong) – 44

Kicks:
Matthew Payne (Aspley) – 32

Handballs:
Marcus Lentini (Coburg) – 26

Marks:
Jack Ross* (Richmond) – 15

Tackles:
Kade Answerth (North Melbourne) – 16

Clearances:
Ryan Clarke* (Sydney) – 12

Inside 50s:
Xavier O’Halloran* (GWS) – 11

Hitouts:
Tom Campbell* (North Melbourne) – 49

Goals:
Ben Brown* (Casey Demons) – 5

* – denotes AFL-listed

2021 SEASON STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 282 total / 35.3 average

Kicks:
Matthew Payne (Aspley) – 198 / 22.0

Handballs:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 167 / 20.9

Marks:
Connor Ballenden* (Brisbane) – 72 / 9.0

Tackles:
Dom Brew (Werribee) – 71 / 10.1

Hitouts:
Matthew Lobbe (Werribee) – 225 / 32.1

Goals:
Matthew Hammelmann (Aspley) – 39 / 4.3

* – denotes AFL-listed

Image Credit: Jonathan Di Maggio/AFL Photos

State Leagues wrap: Full-time action resumes

FULL-TIME fixtures were back in the South and West Australian state leagues, where a raft of upsets shook up proceedings, while Victorian fans were treated to nine games and it was business as usual down in Tasmania. We run you through all the results from around the nation and what they mean in this week’s state leagues wrap.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

One fixture was cancelled, but the show rolled on in the VFL as Round 11 came around. Geelong emphatically returned to the winners list on Friday night, opening proceedings with a 118-point trouncing of the Brisbane Lions in the Sunshine State. Three of the Cats’ 12 individual goalkickers booted four goals as their AFL-listed brigade took full toll, including Charlie Constable (44 disposals, nine marks, one goal) in the engine room.

All of the round’s remaining fixtures took place in Victoria amid interstate Covid chaos, with a new ladder leader crowned. The undefeated Footscray Bulldogs are that side after easing past Coburg by 32 points, with Patrick Lipinski (29 disposals) among those pushing for a senior call-up. Bulldogs father-son prospect Ewan Macpherson booted two goals from 11 touches after being overlooked for Under 19 Vic Metro honours, while another Northern Knights product in Marcus Lentini racked up 43 disposals for Coburg.

North Melbourne’s positive run of form continued as the Roos knocked off Werribee by under a goal, with the top eight squeeze getting ever-tighter. Collingwood snuck in with a win over Frankston, pushing the Dolphins out in the process, while Box Hill solidified its spot after blitzing Aspley after half time, and Sandringham compounded the hurt of a poor weekend for Richmond fans, getting up by five goals over the Tigers.

A memorable quartet of Sunday games was kicked off at Casey Fields, as the home side improved to 6-0 after beating Essendon to the tune of 48 points. Familiar faces in Ben Brown (five goals) and Nathan Jones (36 disposals) staked their claims for senior action, with the Demons flying at both levels in 2021. The Northern Bullants’ journey came full circle as they defeated Carlton by 32 points at Preston City Oval, making for a fitting first win on the season at their traditional home.

A heated derby clash between Williamstown and Port Melbourne resulted in the Seagulls claiming a 37-point win, with plenty of fines to be handed out after an all-in brawl at quarter time. The round was seen out by another derby, of the Sydney variety, as Greater Western Sydney defeated the Swans by 38 points. The game was played in Melbourne and a host of top-up players were fielded across either side, allowing a bunch of NAB Leaguers to gain some valuable state league experience.

South Australia (SANFL):

Full competition resumed in the SANFL for Round 12, with the weekend’s proceedings extended back out to five fixtures after last week’s two-game set. North Adelaide opened the show on Saturday by dislodging Port Adelaide from the top five, taking the Magpies’ spot with a 76-point beating. Harrison Wigg was excellent for the victors, claiming 30 disposals and two goals, while former Port midfielders Aaron Young and Andrew Moore combined for 49 disposals and 15 clearances. Keenan Ramsey was also key in establishing the Roosters’ ascendancy, finishing with 3.2 from 15 touches and 12 marks.

Norwood solidified its spot in the top five with a five-goal win over Central District, helping the Redlegs draw level on points with the two other sides chasing Glenelg. South Adelaide is one of those teams, but the Panthers faltered on Saturday in an upset loss to Sturt. Inaccuracy cost the top five side dearly, though it meant the Double Blues would send off premiership player Mark Evans off on the right note. In Sunday’s lone fixture, Glenelg stretched its unbeaten run to 11 games, downing reigning premier Woodville-West Torrens by 19 points to only further their flag credentials.

Tasmania (TSL):

TSL frontrunner Launceston flexed its muscle on Saturday, thumping fourth-placed Clarence by 69 points on home turf to stay clear in top spot. The Blues were again spearheaded by competition leading goalkicker Dylan Riley, who booted six majors, while games record holder Jay Blackberry was named best afield. Colin Garland got the votes for Clarence, who still sit two games clear in fourth.

Fresh off a bye, North Launceston kept touch with the Blues after beating Tigers by an even six goals, setting up a two-game buffer to their weekend rivals in the process. A three-goal haul from Northern Bombers player-coach Bradley Cox-Goodyer saw him earn best afield honours. Glenorchy chalked up a fourth win in the round’s other game, beating last-placed North Hobart by 25 points as five-goal hauls to Harrison Gunther and Nathan Hardy headlined either sides’ efforts.

Western Australia (WAFL):

South Fremantle was the only team to beat a side below it on the ladder in Round 12 of the WAFL, amid a weekend littered with upsets. The Bulldogs accounted for Perth with a 34-point win, proving too strong and drawing within a game of top spot. Competition frontrunners Claremont remain clear in first despite a 14-point loss to West Perth, as the Falcons were led by usual suspects Aaron Black (34 disposals, 12 tackles) and Tyler Keitel (12 disposals, five marks, 3.2)

Swan Districts knocked off the other top two side, Subiaco, holding off the Lions despite some goalkicking inaccuracy. Jesse Palmer was a key culprit with one goal and six behinds, though it mattered little as his side got the job done to keep its two-game buffer inside the top five. Looking to close on Swans is East Fremantle, though the Sharks went down by 51 points to West Coast, in the Eagles’ second win on the season.

West Coast remains in bottom spot despite the result, after East Perth also notched its second-straight victory by shaking down the Peel Thunder. The Royals trailed at the first three breaks but enacted a terrific comeback effort after half time, ending up seven points to the good and drawing level on premiership points with their weekend adversaries.

Image Credit: Jonathan Di Maggio/AFL Photos

Queensland Academy Watch | Lions learn, Suns caught in COVID chaos

DESPITE losing in Thursday night footy in the seniors to the Brisbane Lions, Geelong’s reserves have given their club some consolation with a cracking 118-point away win on Friday.

As was to be expected in a contest between mostly AFL listed players, the early going was willing and scores remained close into the second quarter, but Geelong’s exceptional midfield began to exert its dominance and booted the final four goals to go into half time with a lead that would extend through the second half, as they went on an 18-goal rampage until the Lions fought to retain some respectability in junk time.

For the Lions, Academy player Tom Triffett topped the tackle count with 11 and added a goal to his 14 disposals, while James Langbourne again got forward to hit the scoreboard and mid-season draftee Kalin Lane backed up his debut with a goal and 11 hit-outs.

Brisbane again fielded 10 top-up players, with the late decision to cancel the Allies camp due to Sydney’s worsening COVID crisis, so Saxon Crozier, Tahj Abberley, Jack Briskey and Triffett were drafted into the VFL side at the last minute, against a Geelong outfit with mature-bodied ex-AFL players included, and the result showed the imbalance.

2019 second round draft pick Francis Evans kicked 4.2 for the victors, while 2020 second round tall Shannon Neale kicked 4.1, but it was Charlie Constable with 44 disposals who starred with the big-bodied inside midfielder putting in a great audition in a contract year.

Spare a thought for Gold Coast Suns Academy players in the Allies squad, who after their camp was cancelled were selected to play VFL, only for the Southport vs. Suns fixture to be postponed as well. Will Bella, Max Pescud, Bailey Reeves, Jack Johnston and Bodhi Uwland subsequently missed out on playing football altogether.

However, Finn Brown turned in a best on ground performance for Broadbeach for the third game straight as he and Austin Harris ran through the midfield in the Cats’ loss to Sherwood. Meanwhile, Jed Foggo and Brinn Little turned out for Palm Beach Currumbin in their loss to Maroochydore, as top-age ruck Thomas Hofert joined junior club Labrador for their thumping win over Noosa.

Gold Coast prospect Jye Lockett played his fourth senior game for North Ballarat, bagging a couple of goals to bring his tally to a total of seven for the season in the Ballarat League.

Image Credit: RF Photography

State leagues wrap: Teams kicking big scores as season rolls on

WITH no SANFL or WAFL action over the weekend, the state league action was slightly quieter over the weekend. However, there was no shortage of entertainment as plenty of sides went head-to-head in thrilling contests.

VFL:

The VFL kicked off on Thursday night, with the Lions travelling to Metricon Stadium to deliver a 10-goal belting to the Gold Coast Suns. The Lions kicked 11 goals in the second half in a dominant display in the first Q-Clash to take place in Victoria. Big-bodied midfielder Cam Ellis-Yolman was outstanding in his first VFL game for the year, competing hard through the midfield to finish the match with 39 disposals, seven marks and seven tackles as he pushes for an AFL recall for the Lions. Teammate Will Tasker booted five goals from 21 disposals in a fantastic outing to continue his strong form. For the Suns, Brayden Fiorini continues to adjust to his new role off half-back, ending the contest with a team-high 32 disposals, eight marks and a goal, while Will Brodie had 27 touches through the midfield.

The closest match of the round was played out on Saturday afternoon, as the Casey Demons escaped with a one-point win over the Geelong Cats at Casey Fields. The Demons’ inaccuracy nearly cost them, finishing the game with 22 scoring shots to Geelong’s 16, but the footy gods rewarded those who wait, as they regained the lead 13 minutes into the final term and were able to hold on to remain undefeated. Demon Mitch Brown kicked four snags from seven scoring shots in an important performance which would likely impress the AFL selection panel, while Tom Sparrow continues to find the ball, ending the game with 32 touches and six tackles. Cat Charlie Constable was outstanding through the middle, finding the ball 32 times and booting a goal, while Josh Jenkins followed up his seven goals last round with a three-goal haul on Saturday.

Richmond put on a clinical performance on Saturday afternoon, as they dominated GWS by a whopping 97 points at Swinburne Centre. The Giants were held scoreless in the first term, and the Tigers continued to put them to the sword for the remaining three quarters. Richmond big man Callum Coleman-Jones stuffed the stat sheet with 19 disposals, seven marks, 17 hitouts and five goals in a powerful performance. Teammates Josh Caddy (32 disposals, eight tackles and two goals) and Will Martyn (32 disposals, seven tackles and seven marks) were strong through the midfield. Nick Shipley was the standout for the Giants, finishing with 28 touches in a day where the Giants struggled to get their hands on the footy.

Moving up to the SCG, the Swans defended their home deck to take down the Pies by 33 points on Saturday afternoon. The Swans struggled to capitalise on the scoreboard in the first quarter as they dominated play but booted only 1.5 in the first term. This would improve as the game went on as they would run out winners with a four goal to none final quarter. Swan Ryan Clarke delivered one of the best individual performances of the round, ending the contest with 41 disposals, 11 marks and three goals to be the clear best on ground. He was well assisted by teammate Dylan Stephens, who had 37 touches of his own. For the Pies, Finlay Macrae was promising through the midfield with 25 touches and five tackles.

Hawthorn were able to run rampant as they belted North Melbourne by 108 points at Box Hill City Oval on Sunday afternoon. The game was one-sided for all four quarters, but the second half was where the Hawks really got on a roll. Booting 16 goals in the final two quarters, the floodgates opened as North Melbourne were helpless as the Hawks constantly pumped the ball forward, and Kangaroos players simply waited for the final siren. Hawk Josh Morris booted five goals in a performance that would excite Hawthorn fans, while Daniel Howe responded to his AFL omission with 37 disposals, nine tackles and two goals from the midfield. The Kangaroos did have a positive in the form of Bailey Scott, who contributed 28 disposals in a promising outing.

Queensland:

There were plenty of big scores in round seven of the QAFL, starting at Subaru Oval, where Broadbeach hammered Mt Gravatt to the tune of 85 points on Saturday afternoon. It was a four-quarter performance from the home side, who were simply too strong for their opponents, and deserved the monstrous win. Broadbeach key forward Jordan Moncrieff somehow bested his Round 6 bag of nine goals by kicking a bag of 10 against Mt Gravatt. In a remarkable display, he booted five goals in a row in the final quarter alone, when the game was busted wide open. Seemingly a master of his craft, he will prove difficult to contain in upcoming weeks. For Mt Gravatt, wingman Daine Macdonald competed all day in trying circumstances.

A strong second half from Morningside denied Noosa a chance at their first win as they eventually fell by 28 points at Rococo Oval on Saturday afternoon. Noosa remained competitive for the first quarter and a half, before a purple patch for Morningside gave them a comfortable lead that was never surrendered. For the second week in a row, Noosa showed promising signs but could not string together four quarters, but their first victory does not seem too far away. For the victors, ruckman Bradley Hodge was fantastic, giving his midfielders first use, and even floating forward to boot two goals of his own. For Noosa, centre half-forward Sebastian Rogers competed well to boot two goals and challenge in the air.

Labrador stamped their premiership credentials for the 2021 season with a 70-point triumph over Palm Beach Currumbin at Salk Oval on Saturday afternoon. Despite trailing at quarter time, Labrador dominated for the next three quarters as they gain some serious momentum heading into the next round. Labrador forward Bryce Retzlaff was the star, kicking seven goals in a monstrous performance that he had threatening to deliver in the previous weeks. For Palm Beach Currumbin, ruckman Jonathan Croad put in a valiant performance despite the loss.

Heading over to Totally Workwear Park, Redland-Victoria Point walked away with a crucial win over Maroochydore to the tune of 16 points on Saturday afternoon. It was a battle of the half-forward flanks, as Redland-Victoria Point’s Jacob Murphy and Maroochydore’s Mitchell Scholard each booting five goals in an entertaining shootout. Ultimately it was Murphy who finished the game with the chocolates with his side claiming the victory. The win keeps Redland-Victoria Point in the hunt for top spot as they close the gap on those above them.

The final contest of the round saw Wilston Grange fall nine points short of Sherwood Districts on Saturday afternoon at Hickey Park. Sherwood Districts had strong first and third quarters, but Wilston Grange still found ways to close the gap and keep themselves well within reach of their second win of the season, but Sherwood Districts were too good. For the winners, midfielder William Fletcher booted two goals from the engine room and was outstanding all day, while Hugh Fidler was Wilston Grange’s best for the second week in a row.

Tasmania:

The TSL had some big scores throughout their seventh round of action, kicking off with North Launceston’s 85-point demolition of Glenorchy at KGV on Saturday afternoon. The win sees North Launceston continue their outstanding form, and if cross-town rivals Launceston lose a game, they will be eager to try and grab top spot on the ladder. North Launceston ruckman Alexander Lee was voted the strongest performer of the day as he consistently gave his midfielders first use. Glenorchy half-back Daniel Joseph fought all day despite being under constant duress.

Blundstone Arena nearly saw the upset of the round with North Hobart falling just one point short of Clarence in Saturday afternoon. North Hobart are sitting in last place with just the one win, while Clarence are notoriously strong on their home deck at Blundstone, so a boilover here would have sent shockwaves throughout the league. For Clarence, Tyler Penwright impressed across half-forward in the win, while North Hobart’s Jack Mcculloch was strong in the ruck throughout the day.

Launceston survived their biggest scare, but displayed their class on their way to a 48-point triumph over a brave Lauderdale side at Windsor Park on Saturday afternoon. Lauderdale faced the toughest task in the league, and performed admirably against the reigning premiers, but Launceston are simply on a roll, and its hard to see anyone putting a stop to this anytime soon. Launceston superstar Jake Hinds continued his exceptional season, claiming best afield honours once again to maintain his strong reputation. For Lauderdale, backman Tom Ratcliffe was a clear standout with his defensive work.

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.