Tag: Christian Farchione

Scouting notes: APS v AGSV schoolboy match

The APS made it seven-in-a-row with 38-point victory over the AGSV out at Carey Grammar on Saturday.

The annual Victorian school boys representative game has seen players such as Jayden Hunt (2013), Brayden Sier (2015) and Oliver Hanrahan (2016) push their names into consideration to be drafted – with Hunt and Hanrahan bypassing the Under 18 TAC Cup competition in their draft year.

The APS’ second team also took on Sports Association of Tasmanian Independent Schools (SATIS) rep football team, winning 106 to 50.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:


#3 Noah Croes – The rebounding half back flanker has been a solid performer for Scotch over the last few years in the APS competition. Whilst he didn’t find a lot of the ball, his usage on his right foot was reasonable and he did provide some dash & booted a long goal in the opening quarter.

#5 Seb Williams – Was arguably the best player on the ground. The Brighton Grammar & Sandringham Dragons midfielder played well on the outside booting four goals for the game. While he missed a few of his kicks early, he did get better as the game went on and found plenty of the ball going forward. One of his better performances.

#7 Angus Styles – Was a strong performer in Caulfield’s come from behind victory last week against Wesley and he continued his ball winning ability at Carey, finding plenty of the ball. He played mostly on the wing, but was able to win the ball in the contest. When he possess the ball, he was willing to stop and look for the best target.

#14 Ed Richards – Rebounded the ball out of defence with speed and his usage on his left foot was very good. Took most of the kick outs throughout the contest and his quick hands are elite.

#26 Max King – Was a class above in the forward half with four first-half goals. He was able to get space between him and his opponent, leaping high and plucking the ball out from the clouds. Finished the day with five goals as the most dominating tall for the day, alongside twin brother Ben who played in defence. Would be Pick 1 in this year’s draft if he was eligible.

#27 Nathan Murphy – Booted two goals up forward – but most of the APS inside 50s were targeted towards the taller Max King. Murphy kept his feet and was very clean from ground level. Was challenged in the final quarter with the APS coach throwing him into the ruck, competing reasonably well and showing a decent leap.


#4 Lachlan Wilson – The Marcellin midfielder is a very good school footballer and booted two goals from the midfield. Has smarts at the stoppages and wins the ball around the ground.

#9 Curtis Taylor – Showed enough to suggest he’ll be a high pick in 2018 after playing a decent game for the AGSV. Took a superb mark in the final quarter and booted the goal. Has smarts around goal and is a smooth mover.

#12 Ed Newman – The AGSV captain hardly missed a target on his left foot throughout the day. Starting at the centre bounce and winning the opening clearance, Newman also played across half back and found the football with ease. Was agile enough to move past his opponents and was one of the AGSV’s best players.

#14 Joel Amartey – Leaped well in the ruck winning plenty of hitouts throughout the day. Had a very good battle with Nick Phillips – another player who has grown up playing basketball. Up forward, his positioning could’ve been better but he shows promise with each game he plays.

#15 Christian Farchione – Another nice left footer in the AGSV team and despite his size, he is willing to crack in at the contest. Very rarely misses a short target by foot.

#37 Tom Freeman – The Dandenong Stingrays medium tall is off to the State Combine and he did show a few glimpses during the day. In bright yellow boots, Freeman moved well around the ground and had a few nice passages using the ball on his right foot. Had a very good effective switch where he used his vision to find a long target.

APS v SATIS (Tasmania) 


#7 Rhylee West – The son of Scott (and 2018 Western Bulldogs father-son prospect) was one of the leading disposal winners throughout the game. He covered the ground well and had a very good pinpoint pass off his right foot in the opening few minutes of the game.

#13 Jackson Hille – Was willing to mark the ball and look to get the ball moving as quickly as possible. On one occasion he marked 80m from goal, turned and immediately found an easy target alone inside 50 without hesitating. Possesses a good leap and has some nice athletic traits.

#14 Sam Cameron – The Sandringham Dragons squad member possesses good hands in close and his recent form has seen him score a State Combine invite. Played in a few positions throughout the contest and did some nice things.

#26 Joe Griffiths – Was one of the more exciting players on the ground clunking three contested marks in the opening quarter alone. His leap in the ruck was good and despite being ‘under the weather’ he was the shining light in the game. His agility & step was very good, including one step 25m out from goal which saw him bang home his second goal. Finished with six marks for the day. One to keep an eye on as the Geelong Grammar boarder has a State Combine invite.

#28 Will Clark – Has been an impressive player in every game I’ve seen Scotch play this season. Clark’s ruck work was good yet again, but he separates himself from others with his work around the ground and his decent kick off his right foot. Kicked a goal in the first quarter and it was a good battle in the ruck against Tim Auckland.


#4 Elijah Reardon – Agile half forward flanker who had a few flashes. Used it reasonably well on his right foot going inside 50.

#11 Connor Dixon – The Tasmanian Under 20 Mens basketballer is a nice medium size and has a frame that could translate to AFL if he adds some size. Possessed great agility and had a clean right foot kick. Also went in as an inside midfielder and had a nice clearance in the final quarter.

#12 Oliver Burrows-Cheng – The half forward flanker has blistering speed & agility and had some smarts inside 50. Kicked a nice goal from outside 40m in the opening quarter.

#15 Declan Waddington – SATIS were well drilled in defensive 50 and Waddington controlled the play nicely, rebounding the ball well off his right foot.

#22 Tim Auckland – The Tasmanian Under 18 ruckman had a very good battle in the ruck against Clark and Griffiths. Clunked a very good contested mark in the second term. Didn’t find a whole lot of the ball around the ground, but his strength at the ruck contests was notable.

Scouting notes: AGSV Grand Final

MARCELLIN College made it three premierships in a row with a 26-point victory over Ivanhoe Grammar in front of about 5,000 spectators at Marcellin on Friday afternoon.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:


#2 Bailey Griffiths – The high level basketballer used his body well in the ruck contests winning majority of the hitouts for the day. At some stages he went for the double handed tap down to his teammates at the throw ins around the ground. Has a decent leap and his footy brain will improve with more games of AFL.

#8 Alex Federico – Was another solid contributor for Marcellin in the midfield, also pushing forward and booting a goal. Had great vision inside 50 in the second quarter to spot a target closer to goal despite being under pressure. Also clunked a very good mark in the final quarter.

#12 Christian Farchione – The classy left footer probably didn’t have it on as many occasions as some of his teammates, but his usage was very good rarely missing a target. Got up and down the ground and was willing to ‘gut run’ when he needed to defend.

#24 Tyler Brown – Had a quiet first half but sprung into the game with a very good second half showing. His smarts around the ground are good. Had a nice passage in the final quarter where he bolted from the centre circle with the ball in hand and used his vision to spot a short target directly in front of goal rather than pumping it long to a contest.

#30 Ben Wiggins – Played another strong game down back after being arguably Marcellin’s best in their win against PEGS. Has a good leap and was willing to intercept mark on multiple occasions. Is comfortable kicking the ball on either foot. Had a long run from half back to half forward early in the game and is someone that has caught my eye in recent weeks having played some footy up forward.

#32 Trent Bianco – Rebounded the ball well and often took the kick outs for the Eagles. Used it well on either side of his body and his defensive work was pretty good.


#4 Max Dreher – Dominated the opening quarter and looked on track for nearly 40 disposals at one point. Possesses good agility and was able to win the ball in the contested and uncontested situations. Reads the play well across half back and attended multiple centre bounces. Hands is close are strong.

#6 Patrick Naish – Has a great spring when he needs to fly for the mark and pulled down a few throughout the contest. Booted three goals and when he moved forward Ivanhoe looked dangerous. An intercept mark in the second quarter set up an easy inside 50 and he nailed a great goal from the set shot in the third quarter using the breeze to his advantage. Did play at half back and through the midfield – but makes things happen when he’s inside 50.

#12 Tom McKenzie – The Northern Knights bottom-ager showed some good signs throughout the afternoon and took a nice intercept mark early in the game. Reads the play well and is one to keep an eye on.

#22 Oscar McIntyre – Rucked at stages throughout the day for Ivanhoe and was good around the ground. He won a bit of the ball and was willing to take his opponents on, running hard forward. Has a decent leap.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 12

ROUND Twelve of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend, with TAC Cup ‘Futures Rounds’ continuing. We had scouts watching two of the games – read their notes below.

GWV Rebels vs. Eastern Ranges (Jack Carter)

GWV Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin – Played a solid game on the wing for the Rebels. He wasn’t afraid to go in hard and win the contested ball.

#4 Aiden Domic – Was one of the Rebels players who held his own throughout the contest. He laid multiple strong tackles and tried hard all day to get his team going.

#9 Flynn Appleby – Was yet again solid in defence for the Rebels. With multiple entries from the Ranges midfielders, he was able to apply himself well using it efficiently by foot.

Eastern Ranges:

#4 Riley Clausen – Provided very good run and kicked it well. He tackled hard right throughout the day and had a strong presence in the midfield. His running patterns were very good and he knew where to move

#22 Jackson Ross – Has a great set shot kick and booted five goals straight. Once he adds some size he will have the perfect body size for an AFL football. Spent time in the midfield as well as up forward, knowing where to go at the stoppages and was hard at the ball. Was one of the best players on the ground.

#34 Adrian Kalcovski – Took advantage of some poor kicks in the entries inside 50 from the GWV Rebels midfielders allowing him to drop off and win the ball. Was able to create run for the Ranges and possesses a strong mark.

#61 Mackenzie Dorelan – Ran hard all day and his decision making & kicking at full tilt was outstanding. Is a strong player for a player of his size and he controlled the play from half back for the Ranges.

Northern Knights vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Michael Alvaro)

Northern Knights:

#2 Mitchell Andrews – Found the ball in all parts of the ground, playing mainly out of defence. Has worked on his kicking and defensive work rate, lending a good hand to the likes of Dreher and Lentini in bringing moving Knights forward.

#4 Max Dreher – Fresh from a couple of weeks off after his Vic Metro stint, Dreher looked to be getting back to the form that had him held in high esteem early in the year. Was important for the Knights in the second half as the game came down to the wire, and shouldered most of the kick-in duties. Looks to have improved his contested ball-winning ability, and threw himself at the ball on numerous occasions.

#5 Marcus Lentini – Was utilised through the midfield with Dreher back in defence to sure things up. Played on the wing when he didn’t attend centre bounces, but wasn’t able to have his usual impact. He looked to be conscious of not blazing away, opting for a lot of short, sideways, and backwards kicks which took away the forward penetration he usually brings. Still delivered in terms of effort and accumulating possessions.

#19 Christian Farchione – Was punishing in bursts throughout the game, but was just short of really taking the game by the scruff of its neck. Gave a timely reminder of his devastating left foot with some great passes going forward and inside-50 entries, and has matched that up now with better decision making. He’s a natural footballer, but still very raw and slight in frame. Booted an incredible goal from the pocket.

#30 Oliver Wilson – By no means is a high-possession getter but stands out with his defensive pressure and effort. Does all the hard stuff and dug in well for the Knights after half time, setting a good example with his physicality. Hit Laine Fitzgerald with a huge bump at the start of the third term to set the tone.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#7 Matt Harvey – The 19-year old was effective all day, streaming seamlessly between the midfield & forward line and putting in a few noticeable efforts in the third term with the game on the line. Racked up the possessions and was a key contributor.

#9 Laine Fitzgerald – He didn’t have his best game, but the GWS Academy product showed his class today and sent repeatedly sent his side into attack. Looked to be frustrated after being cleaned up early in the third term and gave away an unnecessary free kick for his troubles. Has a hard edge to him and it shows in his contested ball winning, but he also spreads well and found himself involved in some good handball chains.

#15 Darby Henderson – Sets up really well of half back and has a knack for finding space, which is odd since his yellow boots stand out so much. Lifted his side in the second and third quarters, breaking the lines and looking dangerous with ball in hand. He doesn’t tend to kick the ball as much as he could, though, which would make him even more threatening going forward. Has a good mix of outside and inside traits, which he showed with his combined pace, pressure, and a clever snap goal.

#16 Jacob Atley – A really rangy outside player, Atley didn’t find much of the ball but made an impact when he did. His highlight for the day was a two-bounce dash down the Mary St wing which eventually sent the ball deep inside the Pioneers 50. One to watch for 2018 purely for his pace and the x-factor it brings.

#19 Mitchell Kemp – There’s not much of him, but Kemp isn’t afraid to throw himself at the ball in the air. He’s not particularly quick, but has a decent leap and finds himself in the right places to intercept opposition balls into the 50. Controlled the back half today and provided some good rebound

Victorian school football update June edition

WE ARE at the midterm break into the APS and AGSV school boy Victorian football competitions and Matt Balmer delves deeper into which prospects have performed well in the school season.

The old saying that “If you’re good enough, recruiters will find you, no matter where you play” rings true in the Victoria school football competition where players such as Jayden Hunt (Melbourne) and Oliver Hanrahan (Hawthorn) have been plucked out of the school boy competition without playing TAC Cup. As Hunt’s 31-game career has shown, it is not the be all and end all if players aren’t selected in the pathways as we once knew it.


Haileybury College has all but wrapped up the APS premiership – barring losses to both St Kevins and Geelong Grammar in their final two games. Possible number one pick Luke Davies-Uniacke has been the star through the midfield. His ability to clear the ball by hand and foot when being tackled is phenomenal and he has been able to beat any tagger sent to him. Against Scotch, he showed he could use the ball off either feet with a pinpoint left foot kick into the corridor, while against Geelong College he had 44 disposals. Davies-Uniacke had a tough day in the ‘Grand Final’ against Carey, tagged and getting bumped around the ground by the Carey players who did all they could to stop him. It did result in some shaky footwork but he was still able to find more than 25 disposals. Max King has returned from injury with 10 goals in the last three games, as one of their standouts in Saturday’s game doing his 2018 no.1 pick chances no harm. Twin brother Ben too has remained up forward slotting a bag of six against Caulfield Grammar and whilst he gets better each game up forward – he should hold down a key position defender slot in his draft year.

Charlie Constable had more than 30 disposals against Carey and played his best football as a general defender with stints in the midfield, while captain Andrew Brayshaw has nursed a quad injury but should put his hand up for Vic Metro selection soon. Jackson Ross continues to play a nice role on the wing and across half forward, while it has been Jack McHale who has caught the eye of a few clubs in defence. Oscar Clavarino has been solid often intercepting off half-back, but Scotch’s Will Sutherland clunked a beautiful mark over him in their clash. One name that bobbed up from the weekend was Adam Schache who did some nice things – but Aiden Bonar might just be one of the best of the lot and should excite when he returns from a long term injury soon.

(We’ll have a full report on the Carey vs. Haileybury game online later this week) 

Carey Grammar’s undefeated run came to an end on Saturday – but they put up a fight against Haileybury College. Year 10 Matthew Rowell is a star and is highly touted for the 2019 draft. Rowell wins the ball through the midfield and has been named as Vic Metro U16 captain. Cooper Leon was one of Carey’s best against Scotch and Caulfield, finding the football right around the ground and using it well on his right foot. Captain Charlie Thompson wins the football in the midfield and was a big reason Carey got back into the game against Scotch, while Ed Richards has been impressive with his run and carry a highlight before using it on his long left foot. Oliver Simpson impressed in the game on Saturday and is a playing to watch for next year.

At the ‘Snakepit,’ St Kevin’s have had to fight hard with star midfielders Lachlan Fogarty and Rhylee West nursing injuries. It has meant that youngsters James Rowbottom and Jack Mahony have had to step up in the midfield, with under 16 Mahony tipped to be a star of the future. Kane O’Halloran has been their most important forward kicking some strong goals, while Cam Hodges is putting together some solid form this season and would be in consideration for the APS team of the season.

Scotch’s Will Sutherland continues to get the plaudits playing superb football as a key target up forward and spending time in the midfield, with one recruiter drawring comparisons to Marcus Bontempelli. He has been named in the Vic Metro squad and expect him to line up this weekend in their clash against Vic Country. Against Carey, he clunked nine marks (five contested) and booted three goals as the clear best on ground in the first half. Against Haileybury, some of his marks were outstanding and spent more time in the midfield than he did against Carey. Noah Croes made a few recruiters jot some notes down, with a nice mark in defensive 50 catching the eye against Haileybury. Croes is another good cricketer who won their best and fairest as a Year 11 and is playing good football across half back using his smarts. Vic Metro Under 16 Finn Maginness has missed games through injury, while Joel Garner has predominantly played across half forward – not attending a single centre bounce against Carey and Haileybury. Garner has a defining moment against Scotch, winning a two-on-one inside 50 and banging home the goal on his left foot. Ruckman Will Clark was one of their best in a close loss to Carey, clunking marks around the ground.

Brighton Grammar and Melbourne Grammar took part in the first ‘Pride match’ at Todd Road in May. Brighton midfielders Seb Williams and Alfie Jarnestrom played strong games in the midfield. Williams has been a big ball winner in the APS competition using his speed and agility to get around opponents with ease – racking up more than 40 disposals in two of his games. Victorian Under 19 cricketer Nathan Murphy has caught the eye and there has been plenty of interest at club land. The 188cm medium utility has looked at home in his new role up forward, clunking marks finishing with five goals against Wesley, with nearly all clubs having a scout in attendance. Murphy has a long kick and has been a late addition to the Sandringham Dragons squad. North Melbourne 2018 father-son prospect Joel Crocker has been outstanding coming out of defensive 50 possessing great agility.

Out at Flack Park, Melbourne Grammar led the ‘Pride match’ in front of a strong crowd with guest speaker Jason Ball speaking to the crowd before the contest. On the results front, it was not a great day for Melbourne going down to Brighton by 14 points. Charlie Spargo was well held with a quiet day – but did fight hard in the last quarter with some good lateral movement willing his teammates to try and turn around their three-quarter time margin. Up forward, Oscar Dowd has been one of their best – while Kyle Dunkley and Harry Bede are two others who have put together a strong month.

Caulfield Grammar has some draftable players with Vic Metro midfielders Dylan Moore and Trent Mynott, pushing themselves into draftable conversations after superb seasons at all levels. Captain Lachlan Harris played his best game of the season with 41 disposals against Geelong Grammar, tall forward Isaac Morrisby has fired into form with bags of five and four against St Kevin’s and Geelong Grammar respectively. Jackson Hille returned from an early season injury at the Dragons and has worked his way into the year with a good game finding 25 disposals on Saturday. Year 9 boy Will Phillips starred with 31 disposals and a goal vs. Geelong Grammar & will be a name to keep an eye on.

Geelong Grammar has disappointed results wise, but have some elite talent in Year 11 and Year 12. Jarrod Brander missed their clash with Caulfield due to Allies commitments, but up forward he was the difference in their victory over arch-rivals Geelong College. Brander turned the game on its head with a superb third quarter, with his marking and kicking under pressure a class above kicking five goals for the game. Bottom-ager Jye Caldwell has been impressive, with one draft watcher on declaring the star could contend for a top five pick in 2018. Paddy Dow has shown off his speed from the stoppages pushing himself into top ten calculations, giving his heart and soul through the midfield crashing in, getting it forward and hitting the scoreboard. The 184cm midfielder booted a bag of seven against Wesley College in Round 5. Lochie O’Brien has been tagged out of a few games with a rough start to the year – but expect him to show his class at the Under 18 Championships and the Bendigo Pioneers when he returns from injury. Jarrod Walters has also been another players well lately.

Geelong College went down in the local derby, but fought hard in a close loss to Melbourne Grammar on the weekend. Ed McHenry was outstanding for Vic Country and has been one of their best, with the lively player showing his tricks in the midfield. Jack Henderson has won plenty of football in the midfield and no doubt is leading their best and fairest. Henderson also clunked ‘APS Mark of the Year’ in the derby (See tweet below). Geelong 2018 father-son Oscar Brownless has worked his way into the season putting together some solid form.

Xavier’s Anthony Zimmerman is using his elite speed and goal smarts to good use, hitting the scoreboard. Bailey Smith was solid in the Vic Metro U17 Futures game and has been a strong performer in the midfield and rebounding across half back. Laitham Vandermeer is another who has been great for Xavier and would be a contender for their best player of the season. Changkuoth Jiath (CJ) has been exciting and his moments of flashes are simply eyecatching, often using his good athletic leap to clunk marks.  Australia Under 19 cricket speed demon Zak “Cherry” Evans has been a standout for Xavier – and could easily follow the football pathway should he wish. Evans booted two goals in the opening quarter on Saturday and is playing well. Charlie Whitehead, Jack Hewitt and Jeremy Lucas have been other good contributors for the Xavs.

Adam Cerra has nursed a shoulder injury at times for Wesley – but was a star in Vic Metro’s opening win of the National Under 18 Championships. Cerra spent most of the game against Brighton playing forward with his shoulder heavily strapped, and could’ve easily booted three goals in the opening quarter had he taken his chances. He used his speed to get distance between himself and opponents, taking a few good marks overhead. Charlie Dean impressed as a tall for Vic Metro Under 16 and has been good for Wesley. Oscar Bennett has been a strong APS player over recent years and has been solid playing mostly in defence. Adam Collinson has been another who has shown draftable traits through the midfield competiting well in the stoppages. While Bo James‘ impressive games left a one veteran recruiter scrambling to find out his date of birth for draft eligibility.

Over the in AGSV competition, Marcellin sit undefeated on top and have locked down the minor premiership spot.

Alex Federico is Marcellin’s best draft prospect and has been great through the midfield and dropping back to help the defence. His composure with ball in hand is good. Patrick Della Rocca is too powerful and strong for most opponents, with broad shoulder and a strong build helping the bottom-ager inside 50. Josh Posar impressed around the ground, finding plenty of the ball and marking uncontested on multiple occassions. It was however Riley Loton’s first half that would’ve had his name circled, using his nice left foot on the wing to power the ball forward. Christian Farchione used it well at times on his left foot, while Ben Wiggins provided a contest inside 50 as a marking target.

Mentone fought hard in their loss to Marcellin, unable to stay with them for long enough. Ed Newman looms as the most draftable player, playing across half back and through the midfield. The Victorian Under 19 cricketer will have a tough decision on his hands – recently added to the Sandringham Dragons squad, but if he picks the football path I have no doubt a club would strongly consider him. Newman booted a good running goal in the third quarter on his left foot. Kai Owens impressed on the wing, finding plenty of the ball and is okay on his right foot. Joel Amartey was played out of position, with most of the game inside 50 as their tall target rather than in the ruck. The first bounce saw the ex-basketballer leap over his Marcellin opponent and win the tap, but up forward didn’t read the flight of the ball great. Devlin Brereton is fast on his feet, with good agility and caused trouble at times for Marcellin defenders. Year 10 Jai Florent bagged a good goal in the third quarter, while Tom Yorgey and Lewis Diggins are willing to crack in hard and fly the flag for their teammates.

PEGS have the top prospect from the AGSV with Cameron Rayner a strong performer in Vic Metro’s win on Sunday. Rayner has been solid without starring for PEGS, but returned to form with an outstanding game against Mentone with over 30 disposals and multiple strong contested marks showing off what many saw him do as Year 11 for school. Curtis Taylor has come back from injury and been another great performer, seeing him earn selection in the Vic Metro side. PEGS did miss the ‘dynamic duo’ on Saturday, with Peninsula pulling off a great win at home.

Patrick Naish is playing good football for Ivanhoe, booting a few goals against a weak Trinity team and a strong Mentone team. Naish had some extra attention from the Mentone midfielders, but still was okay. Seems to relish playing out at Chelmsworth Park (Ivanhoe’s home ground) where he has played some brilliant games over the last few years. Max Dreher missed the game against Mentone – but has been another solid performer on the inside and across defence.

Peninsula pulled off an unexpected win against PEGS, but won’t qualify for AGSV finals. They have got a good crop of young Dandenong Stingrays and as I eluded to in the previous update, Jai Taylor and Will Antonie are the two worth keeping an eye on.

Ryley Stoddart is Yarra Valley’s best player and starred with a big bag of goals against the winless Camberwell. Stoddart is a clean ball user on his left foot and was good for Vic Metro on the weekend. For Assumption, Shane Skidmore has been impressive and put in a solid performance for Vic Metro in the Under 17 Futures clash. Trinity and Camberwell have struggled so far this season and both hold the clear bottom two positions – despite Trinity pushing Ivanhoe for a draw earlier in the season.

Weekend That Was – Round 7

A DROUGHT-BREAKING win to Calder Cannons on the weekend has ensured every TAC Cup club will have sung the song at least once by the midway point of the season.

Calder won 18.9 (117) to Gippsland’s 12.13 (85), with bottom-age talent Jack Bytel racking up 34 disposals (17 contested) at 73.5 per cent efficiency, to go with 10 clearances, five marks, three inside 50s and a goal. Mitch Podhajski became a defender-cum-forward booting six goals from 23 disposals and 10 marks, while Brad Bernacki had 20 disposals, five clearances, six inside 50s and four rebounds in a strong all-round game.

For Gippsland, Aidan Quigley put in another strong performance with 20 disposals, five inside 50s and three goals, while Callum Porter had 18 disposals (88.9 per cent efficiency), six clearances, six tackles and booted a goal.

Meanwhile at the other end of the ladder, there was no drought broken for the impressive Geelong Falcons who continued on their merry way with a 65-point win over Northern Knights. The Falcons moved to 7-0 to start the season and rarely looked like losing after a seven goals to one second term. Northern fought back in the third to the Knights’ credit, but Geelong ran out too strong in the last with six goals to one in a 16.16 (112) to 7.5 (47) win.

Cassidy Parish’s sensational form continued with 33 disposals (72.7 per cent efficiency with 18 contested possessions), 12 clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal with his season likely to have him high, if not leading the Morrish Medal at this stage. Others that impressed were Lachie Noble who had 28 disposals, eight marks, five clearances and five inside 50s, while Bayley Cockerill and Matthew Ling were again prominent in the midfield. Ethan Floyd played further up the ground and had 24 disposals, five inside 50s and two goals.

For Northern, speedster Jack Petruccelle had 27 disposals (12 contested), five marks, nine inside 50s and three clearances in a pivotal link-up role, while Sam Binion and Christian Farchione both amassed good numbers with nine clearances, six inside 50s and two goals between them.

Murray Bushrangers locked in second spot with a commanding 23-point victory over Sandringham Dragons. Level at quarter time, it was the Bushrangers’ second term of four goals to zero which set up the victory, running out 13.11 (89) to 9.12 (66) winners.

Ben Paton continued to stake his claim as a potential over-age draftee notching up 26 disposals, two marks, two tackles, four inside 50s and a goal. Will Donaghey and Angus Hicks were once again busy, with the latter having 20 disposals (65 per cent efficiency), nine tackles, five inside 50s and two rebounds.

Speaking of impressive over-agers, Hamish Brayshaw could not have done much more in a losing team on the weekend. The Sandringham Dragons inside midfielder notched up 32 disposals, 11 marks, eight clearances, eight tackles, five inside 50s, two rebounds and two goals. Quintin Montanaro had 22 disposals, while Max Lohan’s 10 rebounds from 20 disposals and Aaron Trusler’s two goals from 18 disposals were also among the better Dragons’ efforts.

Eastern Ranges moved back into the top eight with another victory, this time a 29-point win over Bendigo Pioneers. The Ranges jumped the Pioneers at Box Hill in the first term with a six goals to two quarter. From there it was relatively even with the Ranges only winning the next three quarters by five points in a 14.13 (97) to 11.2 (68) win.

Thomas North earned the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Player of the Week with 43 disposals (74.4 per cent efficiency), six marks, 12 clearances, two inside 50s, four rebounds and three goals for the Ranges. Kye Quirk was also ultra impressive with 31 disposals and nine marks, while Jaidyn Stephenson had a season-high seven clearances to go with his 22 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s and four tackles.

It must have been a game for big numbers with Pio Darby Henderson also suffering leather poisoning courtesy of 41 disposals, six marks, two clearances and nine rebounds in his best game in the TAC Cup. Along with Henderson, Laine Fitzgerald and Matt Harvey both recorded 27 disposals, with Harvey also booting two goals.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels survived a third quarter scare from the Western Jets to post an eight-point win over their opponents in the first game at the newly developed Eureka Stadium on the weekend. The Rebels led in a close game up until the third term when Western booted three goals to one to take a 10-point lead into the final break. The Rebels hit back with a four goals to one final term and finish the game off 11.5 (71) to 9.9 (63) win.

Aiden Domic was silk once again, as he amassed 19 disposals at 84.2 per cent efficiency, eight marks, seven tackles, six inside 50s and a goal. Others that were solid included Trent Reed with 21 disposals, nine tackles and five clearances and Lloyd Meek who provided more of a forward target in the match with 15 disposals, four marks, nine hitouts and a goal. Dale Cox had his best game of the year with 12 disposals, five marks and nine tackles.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round Seven

For Western, it was another promising game from Nicholas Stuhldreier who had 34 disposals (76.5 per cent efficiency), four marks, six clearances, three inside 50s, three rebounds and 11 tackles. Others that stood out included Connor Thar with a season-high 28 disposals, four marks and five clearances, as well as Jaden Rice (24 disposals eight clearances, eight tackles).

In the televised game of the round, Oakleigh Chargers enjoyed a huge 88-point thumping win over Dandenong Stingrays in their retro strips. Wearing the purple and gold, Oakleigh stormed to an early lead and did not take the foot off from there, booting at least four goals in each quarter to run away with a 20.8 (128) to 5.10 (40) victory.

Matt King stood up for Oakleigh off half-back with 28 disposals, 10 rebounds, seven clearances, four marks and four tackles, while Sam Harte had 28 disposals, eight inside 50s, five marks, five clearances and a goal as the key transition player into the forward line. Others that would battle for the best votes were Jack Higgins and Toby Wooller who both hit the scoreboard with four goals, with Higgins having 90 per cent efficiency in a game where he found more time and space to work his magic.

For the “Redlegs” Hunter Clark was busy once again with 27 disposals (although just 43 per cent by foot), five marks, eight clearances, six tackles and two rebounds. Mitch Cotter continued his work in an under with 27 disposals (19 contested), five tackles, nine clearances and four inside 50s. Bottom-age ruck/forward Bailey Williams looked the best of the lot early, booting Dandenong’s first three goals and finishing with four from 10 disposals, six marks (four contested) and 36 hitouts.

After seven rounds, Geelong is clearly the team to beat with seven wins and a superior percentage of 208. Murray six four points clear in second ahead of Oakleigh, followed by Sandringham and Northern with four wins apiece. The Rebels, Eastern and Dandenong round out the top eight with last year’s four sides that missed finals – Gippsland, Bendigo, Western and Calder at the tail-end of the ladder.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 2

ROUND Two of the TAC Cup continued over the weekend and we had scouts at three of the games over the weekend. Read their scouting notes below:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Gippsland Power (Matt Balmer)

Murray Bushrangers:

#2 Jordan Butts – Begun the day at full back, but floated forward later in the game. Moves well for a player over 190cm and looks at his best when he isn’t locking down as a key defender. Took a great mark on the lead in the fourth goal, which resulted in a behind. One to keep an eye on, as he has a very late December birthday.

#10 David Smith – The Richmond next generation academy member showed great speed playing through the midfield. He won the football on both the outside and the inside and got better as the game went on. Has a nice right foot kick – but at times needed to lower the eyes and look for shorter options.

#53 Joe Richards – The 176cm pocket-rocket was one of the Bushrangers best players against the Power. In fluro green boots, Richards showed off his good skills in traffic using the ball well by hand. Richards is also very agile and has good speed and had a great moment in the third quarter when he picked the ball up and shot at goal off his right boot that just scrapped the post in what would’ve been one of the goals of the day.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Nick Hogan – Hogan played well through the midfield and up forward, winning the ball at ease. His solid build in his thighs allow for him to have the strength to move around opponents easily. Hogan plays aggressively and he’s someone that despite his size has presence about him when he plays. Had a quiet finish to the day, but was one of the Power’s best throughout the second and third quarters.

#4 Changkuoth Jiath – An ok game from Jiath playing in the attacking half of the ground. He has a good wingspan which allows for him to play taller than he is (185cm) allowing him to mark the ball overhead inside 50. What was lacking was his momentum in his run up and at times he looks lethargic when kicking for goal, disappointingly resulting in him not making the distance from 35m out when taking a set shot. He missed a few chances on goal throughout the day which he needs to make. Despite this, the ball does spin really well off either foot.

#24 Sean Masterson – Masterson was one I had on my radar late last year and I’m pleased he’s come back as a 19-year-old. He spent more time forward on Saturday, bagging two goals. He has a light frame, but was able to reach above the Murray defenders to clunk marks at ease.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Eastern Ranges (Matt Balmer)

Oakleigh Chargers:

#7 Charlie Thompson – Another solid game through the midfield for Thompson. He found the ball well on the outside and uses the ball well. Missed a chunk of football in 2016 through injury but is one to certainly note down.

#8 Toby Wooller – Booted four goals for the game, including three in the first half as he was far too good for Harrison Nolan. He marked the ball well all day and was clean when he collected the ball at ground level. It was good to see him push up through the midfield as the game got on, working hard at the stoppages adding another string to his bow.

#12 Noah Answerth – Took an outstanding mark dropping off his opponent running back in front of a Rangers forward in the first quarter, Was moved onto the dangerous Stephenson and was on top until a knee to the back saw him stretchered off after he was in severe pain. Fingers crossed it isn’t too bad as he has been impressive the last two weeks.

#28 Adam Collinson – Came into the team this week and was one of the first players to stand out during the day. With his long socks, he played mostly on the “broadcast” wing finding plenty of the ball. His ball use was impressive, but at times did look a touch slow when covering the ground. One that hopefully improves as the season progresses.

#35 Jack Higgins – A quieter day after collecting 30 disposals last week. Higgins was used in different roles, across half back in the second quarter – before spending more time forward in the third and then the final quarter. Kicked two goals, but disappointingly missed his “Stevie J curve” snap in the final term when the game was on the line. His hands in close at the contest were very good.

Eastern Ranges:

#1 Adam Cerra – Performed well last week, but surprisingly started up forward against the Chargers and was quieter. He continued to tackle hard when he went through the midfield and took a good mark in the third quarter. Hopefully more midfield minutes in the weeks to come, as when he went through there he looked his best.

#6 Ryley Stoddart – Jumped out at me last week and backed up the good signs I saw last week. The left footer used the ball well and found it in the contest. His work rebounding the ball from half back to half forward was good, as was his ability to find targets up field. One to watch.

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – Kicked four goals for the game and looked dangerous all bar the periods for when Answerth was lined up on him. A really big wingspan allows for him to almost just pluck the ball from above opposition defenders even without a leap in the air. His marks is a strength, but I do question whether he can play deep forward in the years to come. Hoping for more midfield minutes and time up the ground throughout this season.

#21 Joel Garner – Was one of the best players on the ground, having the ball on a string at times. He was good on the inside & outside and used the ball well off his left foot. His handballing in close was exceptional and continued to hit his targets on the run streaming inside 50. Making a case to be a very high draft selection.

#22 Jackson Ross – A quieter day from the raw Ross, but he did have some good moments of the wing that will appeal to clubs. At times he marked the ball well down the line and kicked it well inside 50, but other times he looked a touch out of place unsure where to run. Is only going to get better the more games he plays.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Northern Knights (Peter Bonadio)

Sandringham Dragons:

#4 Ari Sakeson – Was solid in defence in more of a running defender role rather than a lock-down defender role which he played last year. He took some good defensive marks and worked hard offensively to create opportunities for his team mates. Does need to improve his kicking at times, as he can turn the ball over.

#5 Seb Williams – Does all the right things, kicking three goals (including the first two of the game) and assisted a few more. Williams is a good small forward who has good speed and agility inside 50. He also applies a good amount of forward pressure which at times did make the Knights defenders fumble. Did miss one late that he should’ve kicked which would’ve given him four for the afternoon.

#11 Hamish Brayshaw – First game back for the season after missing last week through soreness. The 19-year-old has quick hands in the contest and has a good footy IQ. He uses his voice well around the ground and is a great team player and a natural leader.

#15 Alfie Jarnestrom – One of the Dragons’ best for the day. Has great quick hands in the contest. His vision is very good and it allows for him to use his efficient left foot well. Jarnestrom is a smart player and spreads well from the contest. For someone his size, he tackled well throughout the day.

#28 Isaac Morrisby – Kicked an early goal for the Dragons, but a relatively quiet day. At times he looked moved slow and did take some time to get the ball from his hands to his boot. Morrisby did mark the ball well when the ball came his way.

Northern Knights:

#5 Marcus Lentini – Was arguably Northern’s best for the day. Kicked a great goal late in the final quarter, Lentini is an efficient user of the ball who finds the football at ease. Through the midfield he hunts the ball well and is willing to tackle hard to win it back.

#6 Patrick Naish – His goal on the verge of half time and three-quarter time is what kept Northern in the contest for most of the day. He moves well through the midfield and found a lot of the ball. At times he can turn the ball over and kicking is one area that does need to get more consistent. His pressure was very good but did fade in & out at certain moments.

#7 Jack Petruccelle – Was hardly sighted in the first half, but his bounces down the wing in the third got him going. He has a good tank and is quiet raw – but does lack in his skills at times, where he can be ineffective by both hand and foot.

#8 Nicholas Coffield – Another solid game from Coffield after finishing last week with a bang. Kicked a good goal in the third term but is another that missed a few kicks that he should’ve made.

#19 Christian Farchione – A quiet game from the Marcellin College student. The left footer used the ball well around the ground, but made a mess of a running shot on goal. Sometimes his decision making can be off, but he showed in 2016 he can be a damaging player.

2017 TAC Cup season preview: Metro teams

AS the start of the 2017 TAC Cup season draws near, AFL Draft Central’s Matt Balmer will look at the six metro sides and investigate which ones are contenders, and which ones are pretenders this year. To check out Peter Williams‘ country previews, click here.

Calder Cannons

Calder Cannons only had a single player drafted in the AFL National Draft last season, but showed off their ability to win games when they needed to and finished in eighth place in the TAC Cup.

Their 2017 season will be relient on Noah Balta, who some predict the tall could easily find himself as a top 10 pick by November. The tall has played through the ruck and up forward and covers the ground well for a player at 194cm.

Their bottom age group is full of future stars including Rhylee West (son of Western Bulldogs great Scott), Curtis Taylor and Jack Bytel and they will be hoping to get plenty of opportunity in 2017.

Brad Bernacki showed some good form last season and has been named captain of the Cannons group. Bernacki finished third in the Cannons’ best and fairest last year and will be looking to take another step forward to lead his team.

I think overall it will be a similar season to 2016 for the Cannons, but if their top talent can gel together they will be able to take some scalps across the season and fight their way into the top eight.

Finishing position: 8th-10th

Eastern Ranges

2016 saw the Sandringham Dragons have five players drafted in the top 20 – well Eastern may equal that with some top talent that is sure to mark them as premierships favourite before the ball is even bounced on the season.

AFL Academy members Joel Garner, Sam Hayes and Jaidyn Stephenson were strong performers in 2016, with Hayes named as an All-Australian after a steller Under 18 championships with Vic Metro.

Hayes was good in the ruck, as well as showing off his skills inside 50 taking marks and kicking goals.

The smooth moving Garner might just be the best Metro player, with the Scotch College student using his speed and agility to take the ball inside 50 on his left boot.

Adam Cerra and Jackson Ross are two others who have not got the plaudits of the other three and may be two others who could be first round talents come November.

With Eastern the best team from Metro, it should be enough to see them reach the TAC Cup Grand Final – but with a different finals system in 2017 anything can happen.

Finishing position: 1st-2nd

Northern Knights

The Northern Knights had a coaching change over the summer with Justin Wenke appointed to take over from Andrew Shakespeare.

The Knights had some strong bottom agers last season who will progress into their top-age year nicely and should hopefully push them into finals.

Patrick Naish (son of former Richmond player Chris) headlines their draft prospects and will likely play more of a role in attack, after spending 2016 playing off the half back flank.

Jack Petruccelle will provide much needed speed through their midfield and is a player that should be noted down to keep an eye on this season. Ethan Penrith is another who showed speed from defensive 50 in 2016 and will look to take a bigger role this season.

Christian Farchione and Max Dreher are two who impressive in school football last year and when available the Knights have some strong talent from the AGSV schools.

After missing out on finals in 2016, they have a list that is capable of contending for the top eight and they have some real talent that could find themselves on AFL lists in 2018.

Finishing position: 6th-10th

Oakleigh Chargers

It’s hard to tell how the Chargers will go in 2017. With a large contingent of APS and AGSV school boys they are always going to be strong when they aren’t playing – but what type of performances will they dish up when they lose half of their best players?

Having Jack Higgins available all year will be a big plus for their midfielder, as Higgins can win the football on the inside and then push forward and hit the scoreboard.

Toby Wooller impressed up forward for Scotch and the Chargers last year and having finished school will head up their forward line looking for a 30+ goals season.

Louis Cunningham was one of the closest players to being drafted last year using his steller left boot coming out of defence, but the Chargers will look to push him up the ground this season which hopefully should help his draft chances.

Charlie Thompson has had injuries in the past but some of his performances in 2016 showed that he could be the surprise packet in the Chargers list.

2016 captain Jack Roughsedge continues on the road to recover after an injury riddled season and it will be good to see him back out on the field later in the season.

Overall you know what you’re going to get with Oakleigh, they have a strong enough team to make the finals and if it all clicks come September anything is possible.

Finishing position: 3rd-7th

Sandringham Dragons

After a record breaking 2016 draftee numbers and a TAC Cup premiership, Sandringham will look to continue their superb work in 2017.

Andrew Brayshaw, Hayden McLean and Isaac Morrisby were all a part of the Grand Final and their experience will hopefully drive the 2017 Dragons to another finals appearance.

Like Oakleigh, they have a truckload of talent when school football isn’t on – but they will look towards others to step up in their absence.

McLean has been named captain of the Dragons and his strong form inside 50 saw him gain a stop in the AFL Academy for 2017. He marks well overhead and hit the scoreboard at will last season.

Charlie Constable has been a strong performer in the preseason after missing most of 2016 with injury, whilst twins Max and Ben King will be two talls at either ends who will standout as likely top 10 players for the 2018 draft.

Father-Sons Devlin Brereton (son of Dermott) and Joel Crocker (son of Darren) are two that may get opportunity throughout the season.

While winning back-to-back premierships will be tough, they will be at team that will make finals and have the depth in their squad to know they have what it takes to get to the Grand Final.

Finishing position: 3rd-6th

Western Jets

The Jets have some high top age talent that should be able to help them jump into finals in 2017.

Midfielders Lachlan Fogarty and Cameron Rayner are the pair that will make the Jets hard to beat in the centre contest. Fogarty is a smart player around the contest, while Rayner bashes in hard and can push forward to take a contested mark overhead.

Tall Tristan Xerri impressed last season as 23rd man and is one that may bolt if he can help the Jets to a finals berth.

Smart defender Thomas Yorgey joins the Jets in 2017 and his mature football brain will help them remain composed coming from defence.

Judah Dundon was very close to being selected in the 2016 draft and will be out to impress clubs in what is hopefully an injury free season.

The Jets have a balanced squad and they are expected to win a lot of the contested ball which should hold them in good stead to hit the scoreboard.

Finishing position: 7th-11th

Scouting notes: AGSV v APS schoolboy match

The two teams shake hands at the conclusion of the match. (Photo: APS Sport Twitter)
The two teams shake hands at the conclusion of the match. (Photo: APS Sport Twitter)

The APS made it six-in-a-row with a come from behind victory over the AGSV out at Marcellin College on Saturday.

Both sides were missing a raft of players, where you could almost put together a 22 between the two schools of the notable absentees.

The APS themselves even had a very late out, with Haileybury’s Jack Scrimshaw pulling out just 24 hours before the clash.

Whilst the skill level wasn’t superb between the two schools, a few players put their hand up in front of the scouts and recruiters from multiple clubs.

AGSV v APS teamd
AGSV v APS teams

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:


#2 Lachlan Murphy– I really like Murphy. Uses the ball effectively off his left foot, where the ball spins perfectly off the boot. Kicked two goals in the first quarter, but did his best work around the contest. Looks most at home off half back, but has the ability to play wherever he is needed. Also took a few strong overhead marks, which isn’t associated with players standing at 173cm.

#11 Luke Bunker– A quiet game for the AGSV captain. Played mostly inside midfielder, but looked a touch off pace. Wonder whether he carried over a niggle from the Knights game the week before. His clearance work in the contest is good, but can be a bit one paced at stages. Has the ability to lay strong crunching tackles.

#12 Matthew Signorello– There is just something about Signorello. At his best, he can look outstanding with a flash of speed and agility to get past his opponent. At his worst, he’ll butcher the ball and miss the simplest of handballs. Needs to work on his consistency, but he has the ability to create a very good highlights reel. Did both against APS, but would’ve been one of the bigger disposal winners.

#23 Max Williams– Williams’ form at TAC Cup level has been ok for Sandringham. Playing as a key defender, he was solid one-on-one, but butchered the ball at stages coming from defence with a few clangers.

#43 Nick Larkey– Kicked two of the first three goals of the contest and looked like he could really break the game open up forward. APS moved Brander onto him and Larkey was kept quiet for majority of the contest. Larkey did bob up again in the last quarter, but was well held by Brander. Had a few opportunities to clunk on balls which he really should’ve marked.

Honourable mentions to Mitchell Lewis who showed some promise up forward, while Christian Farchione used his left foot well around the ground.


#5 Callum Searle– One of the few Vic Metro representatives playing for either side. Searle played mostly deep in defence in the back pocket and was reasonably quiet. An honest kick off his right boot, but he has the ability to drive the ball out of the backline with some run and carry.

#14 Oliver Hanrahan– One to watch. Was impressive for St Kevin’s College the previous weekend against Brighton Grammar, before booting four goals against the AGSV. Plays across half forward and pushes into the midfield and can run & carry the ball well going forward. Also has a reasonable set of speed off the mark.

#18 Jarrod Brander– Coming into the game, I’d been expecting Brander to line up at full forward. The GWS Giants academy member booted a large number of goals as Year 10 for GGS, but was thrust back to play on Nick Larkey five minutes into the contest. Brander won the battle superbly, keeping him well out of the game finishing with 27 disposals and seven marks. Off his right foot, Brander hit targets out of the backline and was prepared to back himself in one-on-one. Was pleased to see him play a different role as a defender and was one of the only standouts from the contest for either side. Likely to be an early selection in 2017.

#22 Sean Darcy– Spent more time forward than he did in the ruck and AGSV had no suitable match up for him. Darcy kicked four goals but I still question whether he’ll make it at AFL level. He copped a National Combine invite, so clubs will be looking to see how he tests. At one stage, he was 35m from goal and took an eternaty to turn onto his left foot- a kick which was eventually smothered. On a few occasions, he struggled on his set shot making the distance from 40m. Keep an eye on him over the next few months.

#25 Toby Wooller– A handful of goals for Wooller up forward and was the most dangerous forward from either side. At the moment, he’s 192cm- But I’d expect him to grow a few centimetres and add some weight on him for next year. Kicked bags for Scotch College most weeks, so he knows where the goals are. Also takes the ball at its highest point.

Honourable mentions to Blake Hayes (four goals), Ned Reeves in the ruck and Lachlan Fogarty in the midfield. Western Bulldogs Father/Son prospect Michael Romero had 22 disposals and nine clearances.


QT: AGSV 6.3 (39) to APS 2.2 (14)

HT: APS 7.3 (45) to AGSV 6.5 (41)

3QT: APS 13.4 (82) to AGSV 10.8 (68)

FT: APS 18.9 (117) defeated AGSV 12.12 (84) by 33-points.