Tag: corey ellison

NAB League Boys Round 11 preview: Top four set for a shake up in Futures Round

AFTER a week off, the NAB League Boys top four set-up is set for a shake-up this weekend. A top of the table clash headlines the action, while the Gippsland Power face a tough task in holding onto fourth as Western and Oakleigh hunt their spot. A Mars Stadium double-header leads the five Country-based Saturday games, with Eastern hosting Sunday’s only fixture at Box Hill. This weekend also marks the first Futures Round, where teams are required to field at least 11 sixteen-seventeen year olds and squads are expanded to 24 players.

 

TASMANIA DEVILS vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Saturday June 22, 11:00am
Twin Oval, Kingston

The slightly replenished Tasmania Devils are set to host a Northern Knights side without all of their Vic Metro squad members, as both look to crack into the top eight with a win. The tenth-place, 4-5 Devils have been ultra competitive in their first full-time NAB League season, but struggled last time out against Murray with a host of stars instead suiting up for the Allies in their first outing for the year. This game is the first of five home games for Tasmania over the last six rounds, and with Northern missing as host of big names, could act as a chance to get on a roll. The inclusions of bottom-age Allies representatives Oliver Davis and Sam Collins should inject some class into the middle and off half-back respectively, but the in-form Matt McGuinness and his fellow over-ager Lachlan Gadomski come out of the side to accomodate the Futures requirements. Meanwhile, the Knights will once again be without Adam Carafa as he slots back into the Metro side, joined by rangy bottom-age utility Nikolas Cox as key outs. A host of bottom-agers also replace the likes of Nathan Howard, Bailey Leonard and Ben Nikolovski, who have been key figures in the team this year. It will be a tough test for the Knights as they look to build on their Round 10 win, with the top-age talent of Sam Philp, Jackson Davies and Josh D’Intinosante on each line crucial to their chances. Expect a slog down on the Apple Isle to open the round.

 

GWV REBELS vs. WESTERN JETS
Saturday June 22, 11:30am
Mars Stadium

A top four spot could be on the horizon for Western Jets should they get over the GWV Rebels in enemy territory and have results go their way. They travel to Ballarat with high hopes of claiming a fourth consecutive victory, as their weekend opponents are coming off a goalless trumping at the hands of Eastern. Still, the Rebels should be buoyed by the inclusions of a couple of in-form Country representatives as they search for just their third win of the year, and their first at Mars Stadium. Over-ager Matty Lloyd comes out of the side, but Mitch Martin and Toby Mahony should cover the gap left in the midfield/forward rotation two-fold after promising national carnival outings. Meanwhile, the in-form Jets lose some tall timber in the form of Metro inclusion Emerson Jeka and Aaron Clarke, but gain some midfield depth as Josh Honey and Daly Andrews make their NAB League returns. The likes of Lucas Rocci down back and over-age tall Will Kennedy have shown form of late for the Jets, while Jack Tillig and Riley Polkinghorne have stood tall in a depleted Rebels line-up. Form may show otherwise, but the home side will be looking to really test the Jets, but Western have a lot to play for as they hope to keep pace with the top four.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS vs. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Saturday June 22, 1:30pm
Shepley Oval

The Dandenong Stingrays will be looking to get right back onto the winners list as they host Murray Bushrangers at Shepley Oval on Saturday afternoon. A loss could remarkably see the Stingrays dislodged from the top four – barring a draw in the Gippsland-Oakleigh clash – after going undefeated across their first seven games. The raft of changes finally caught up with them last time out, and they are set to face a few more in the lead up to this game. Country representatives Sam De Koning and Lachlan Williams are welcome additions, but the depth of Luca Goonan, Corey Ellison, and Jai Nanscawen that had helped to keep the Stingrays in the hunt with their stars out are all exclusions in this week’s 24. On the other hand, Murray is set to benefit greatly from Country’s bye, regaining skipper Lachlan Ash alongside versatile midfielder Cam Wild and Allies representative, Will Chandler. Ash should add a ton of class to the back six, working in tandem with the in-form Jimmy Boyer and perhaps even freeing up Jye Chalcraft to go forward should he be moved into the middle. A disappointing start to the year is something the Bushrangers look to be putting behind them after their last outing, with the top eight still well within reach at just four points away. Beating Dandenong has proved a difficult job over the last two seasons though, and the reigning premiers should be keen to bounce back after a rare loss.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday June 22, 2:00pm
Morwell Football Ground

Oakleigh Chargers can throw a spanner in the top four works and snatch Gippsland Power’s spot in one fell swoop with a win as the two do battle in Morwell on Saturday. The Chargers look to be back to their usual selves on the back of four-straight wins, with their last two coming by a combined 126 points. Their depth has been well and truly tested during the middle part of the season and just as they look to be adapting well, they are set to contend with at least another 14 changes from their Round 10 side. Representative action calls for Jeromy Lucas and Will Phillips, while Futures round sees over-ager Joe Ayton-Delaney out and school football sees last round’s five-goal hero, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan also out of the side. On the other hand, the Power should benefit greatly from a Vic Country bye – regaining the likes of Harrison Pepper, Ryan Sparkes, Brock Smith, Fraser Phillips, and Charlie Comben to add enormous strength and class to each line. Gippsland will look to overpower an Oakleigh midfield led by usual wingman Josh May and bottom-age gun Lochlan Jenkins, and should have some capable aerial cover in defence with Smith back. You can never rule Oakleigh out – especially given recent form – but Gippsland looks a formidable opponent for any side this week.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS vs. GEELONG FALCONS
Saturday June 22, 2:00pm
Mars Stadium

Two sides desperate for a win are set to clash in Saturday’s final fixture, as Bendigo looks to do the season double over Geelong at Mars Stadium. The Pioneers are reeling on the back of six-straight losses, but impressively beat the Falcons in Round 1 in their first of two wins to open the season. On the other hand, Geelong has been massively unlucky to find themselves at 1-7-1, fading out late in a number of games to surrender winning positions and remain the lowest-ranked Victorian side. The largely inexperienced Falcons side has shown promise though, and Futures round should provide the perfect platform for their younger talent to shine through once again. Noah Gribble, Charlie Brauer, and Henry Walsh are three notable bottom-age ins, with holes left by Charlie Sprague, Charlie Lazzaro, and Noah Gadsby. The Bendigo team looks near full strength barring the absence of their two top-end stars, with the likes of top-agers Ben Worme, Brady Rowles, and James Schischka all important figures with plenty of ball winning ability. This should be a cracking contest as two Country sides in varying bouts of form put it all on the line, and the prevalence of Bendigo’s top-agers could prove a key factor in deciding the outcome.

 

EASTERN RANGES vs. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
Sunday June 23, 1:00pm
Box Hill City Oval

A top-of-the-table clash closes Round 11 in Sunday’s only fixture, as Eastern Ranges and Sandringham Dragons go head to head for the second time this year. In their first meeting, current ladder leaders Eastern got the better of the Dragons away from home in a low-scoring tussle, and may even come in as favourites for this bout. The Dragons will be impacted once again by at least 15 changes, but have a couple of more than handy ins. Ryan Byrnes and Darcy Chirgwin will slot straight back into the midfield in their returns from injury, adding strength and class to the engine room mix with Angus Hanrahan and Jake Bowey going the other way. They should have an interesting time combating ball-winning Eastern pair Lachlan Stapleton and Zak Pretty in what will be a hotly contested midfield duel. Both sides lose stocks in the ruck department as Riley Smith is set to miss for the Ranges, while Riley Bowman and Andrew Courtney also come out of the Sandringham side. A swap of Metro representative talls from either end is also a feature of Eastern’s changed, with James Ross a handy addition as Jack Bell comes in for the Dragons. With big contests set to take place on each line, expect a high-quality contest as both sides throw everything at a result and the chance to claim top spot.

NAB League Boys Round 10 wash-up: Knights end Stingrays’ undefeated run, Ranges snatch top spot

PLENTY happened in Round 10 of the NAB League Boys competition, with a new league-leader romping to a 100+ point win, while a final-minute thriller saw Sandringham claw onto second. Meanwhile, the likes of Oakleigh and Western are eying off a top four spot on the back of big wins. All that, and more in this week’s wash-up.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.1 | 5.2 | 5.4 | 6.5 (41)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 4.5 | 6.8 | 10.11 | 16.12 (108)

GOALS:
Dandenong: A. Williamson 2, B. Kuipers, C. Gay, J. Toner, W. Howe
Northern: B. Major 3, S. Philp 2, J. D’Intinosante 2, C. Barbera, J. Boyd, A. Taylor, O. Simpson, J. Watson, A. Carafa, N. Cox, J. Trudgeon, B. Nikolovski

BEST:
Dandenong: C. Ellison, R. Orchard, L. Goonan, W. Bravo, B. Milford, F. Hynes
Northern: S. Philp, A. Carafa, N. Howard, J. Davies, O. Simpson, E. Macpherson

By: Brandon Hutchinson

The Northern Knights took it to the Dandenong Stingrays this weekend with a 67-point thrashing at Shepley Oval, ending the reigning premiers’ undefeated start to the season. The match opened in the Knights’ favour, as they closed out the first quarter 29 to 7. Dandenong bounced back in the second, bringing the margin down to 12 heading into the main break. Despite the fight-back, the game was still very much Northern’s. The Knights went on to keep the Stingrays goalless in the third, adding four of their own. Dandenong managed one in the final term, but again, the Knights added four more, closing out the game 108 to 41. Key forward, Ben Major, was immense for the Knights with three goals from four disposals. Josh D’Intinosante also kicked multiple goals with two to accompany his 14 disposals, three marks and nine tackles, alongside Sam Philp who kicked two with 19 disposals and six tackles. Adam Carafa (24 disposals, five marks and four tackles) maintained his dominance through the centre, while Ewan Macpherson (21 disposals, three marks and five tackles) proved a pillar down back. For Dandenong, Ashton Williamson was the only multiple goal-scorer, kicking two with 15 disposals, four marks and two tackles. Jack Toner (18 disposals, five marks, five tackles and four rebounds), Corey Ellison (18 disposals, four marks and three tackles) and Jai Nanscawen (16 disposals and three tackles) all shared plenty of the pill and fought hard in the loss. Blake Kuipers also stood strong in the ruck with 24 hit-outs. After copping two consecutive losses, a win against the top side bodes well for the Northern Knights. Dandenong will look to bounce back against the bottom of the table, Murray Bushrangers, as they take them on next fortnight at home. Northern will face the Tasmania Devils across Bass Strait at the Kingston Twin Ovals in Round 11 in a hit-out for eight spot.

 

GEELONG FALCONS 3.1 | 6.3 | 7.9 | 8.10 (58)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 0.3 | 1.7 | 4.8 | 7.18 (60)

GOALS:
Geelong: C. Sprague 3, O. Henry 2, K. Rayner, G. Bove, C. Lazzaro
Sandringham: G. Grey, L. Lamble, K. Yorke, J. Florent, O. Lord, J. Voss, R. Bowman

BEST:
Geelong: L. Smith, G. Bove, C. Harris, C. Fleeton, J. Paterson, O. Barrow
Sandringham: J. Bowey, J. Castan, J. Lloyd, W. Mackay, N. Burke, A. Perkins

A game of two halves told the story as Sandringham Dragons ran over the top of the Geelong Falcons to edge them in a two-point thriller at Mars Stadium. The Falcons looked poised to set up just their second win of the year with a six goal to one opening half and control of general play. The Dragons remained a chance, though, with a dismal 1.7 in the first half meaning they still had only one less scoring shot despite the 25-point gap. Surer kicking in the third term meant they remained in the hunt heading into the last turn at 19 points down, but it looked as if the Dragons would be their own worst enemy as they missed a series of gettable chances early in the fourth quarter. Their 3.10 proved just enough though, with bottom-agers Archie Perkins and Jake Bowey putting the two winning points on the board in the final minute of the game. Despite coming up clutch with their scores, 23rd man Perkins and Bowey were a couple of the main culprits for inaccuracy in front of goal with 0.5 and 0.3 respectively, but both were amongst Sandringham’s best. Further afield, Angus Hanrahan and William Mackay were the Dragons’ leading ball winners, with Jackson Voss also influential through the middle and Jai Florent dangerous forward of centre. For Geelong, the dynamic forward pairing of Oliver Henry (2.1) and Charlie Sprague (3.1) combined for over half of their score, while Charlie Harris was their leading ball winner with some good work around the stoppages. Lachlan Smith was named the Falcons’ best for some exciting plays in the forward half, with bottom-ager Gennaro Bove also lively through the middle and Cameron Fleeton taking on responsibility in defensive 50. A second loss by under a goal sees Geelong remain the lowest-ranked Victorian side, and a meeting with Bendigo is next on the agenda. For second place Sandringham, another top-four clash against Eastern awaits in Round 11 – a chance to redeem its Round 7 loss to the Ranges.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 2.0 | 2.1 | 6.3 | 7.5 (47)
WESTERN JETS 4.3 | 6.6 | 7.7 | 9.11 (65)

GOALS:
Gippsland: H. Neocleous 4, J. van der Pligt, R. Angwin, L. Connolly
Western: E. Jeka 2, A. Manton, J. Horo, E. Ford, A. Clarke, S. Clifford, D. Pantalleresco, W. Kennedy

BEST:
Gippsland: H. Neocleous, J. van der Pligt, T. Hourigan, B. Maslen, L. Connolly, D. McRae
Western: J. Horo, D. Grmusa, L. Phillips, L. Rocci, J. Kellett, W. Kennedy

The effects of Vic Country duties caught up with Gippsland Power for a second week running, as the Western Jets soared to an 18-point victory in Morwell. The visitors started strongest and never looked back, with a six goal to two opening half proving more than a definitive margin for the match. The Power hit back with a four-goal surge in the third quarter to set up a tense finish, heading into the final break just 10 points down. A comeback win was not to be though as Western held on for its sixth win of the season. Jonah Horo was named best for the winners for his all-round performance, with Lucas Rocci again their leading ball winner and the inclusion of tall pair Emerson Jeka and Will Kennedy proving more than handy. Josh Kellett joined Rocci as a key influencer in the back half, while bottom-ager Eddie Ford was lively up the other end. For Gippsland, Harvey Neocleous was named best as he booted over half of his side’s goals (four of seven), while Jake van der Plight and Leo Connolly won a heap of ball to join him as goal kickers to also be named among the best. With his brother, Riley staking his claim in Country colours, Trent Baldi was another to win his fair share of possessions in the loss. The third consecutive Jets win puts them level on points with fourth place Gippsland, and a meeting with 2-7 GWV awaits. Meanwhile, a third straight loss in Round 11 could see the Power relinquish their top four spot, as opponents Oakleigh join Western in the hunt for it.

 

GWV REBELS 0.3 | 0.3 | 0.5 | 0.5 (5)
EASTERN RANGES 3.1 | 9.4 | 12.6 | 18.8 (116)

GOALS:
GWV: Nil
Eastern: J. Jaworski 7, C. Downie 3, J. Rossiter 3, B. Hickleton 2, C. Tilyard, L. Gawel, B. White

BEST:
GWV: J. Tillig, J. Dwyer, F. Marris, C. Craig-Peters, M. Burgess, J. Wright
Eastern: J. Jaworski, W. Parker, C. Downie, T. Edwards, Z. Pretty, R. Smith

New ladder-leaders Eastern Ranges consigned the Greater Western Victoria Rebels to the season’s first goalless score, trouncing them by 111 points at Mars Stadium. The Ranges piled on six goals in the second and fourth quarters while also keeping the home side scoreless in both to set up the big win, with the percentage boost putting them top of the NAB League ladder. While both sides had some key outs coming into the game on the back of Under 18 championship duties, Eastern simply had too much remaining firepower across the board. Jordan Jaworski was the main beneficiary, booting 7.1 in a break-out game for him, while Metro representative Connor Downie put his hand up for re-selection on the back of three goals, and fellow squad member Jamieson Rossiter matched his tally to return to the side with a bang. Zak Pretty again won a mountain of ball to lead the possession stakes, with Tyler Edwards and Wil Parker not far behind to also be named among Eastern’s best. On a tough day for the Rebels, bottom-ager Jack Tillig stood up with 31 disposals as his side’s best, while fellow ’02 birth Fraser Marris was the next best alongside Round 9 player of the week nominee, Riley Polkinghorne. The Rebels will have to wait a week until they can redeem their performance, with a tough encounter against Western up next, while Eastern has the chance to go 2-0 against fellow top four hopefuls, Sandringham in what will be a top of the table clash in Round 11.

 

CALDER CANNONS 2.3 | 2.4 | 3.5 | 4.6 (30)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 3.1 | 6.6 | 11.6 | 15.9 (99)

GOALS:
Calder: J. O’Sullivan 2, J. Kemp, S. Graham
Oakleigh: J. Ugle-Hagan 5, A. Tassell 2, F. Maguire 2, R. McInnes 2, J. Lucas 2, F. Elliot, N. Stathopoulos

BEST:
Calder: B. Overman, N. Gentile, J. O’Sullivan, S. Ramsay, J. Keeping, G. Thomas
Oakleigh: J. Ugle-Hagan, L. Jenkins, V. Zagari, F. Elliot, W. Phillips, B. Jepson

Oakleigh continues its charge up the ladder an into form, accounting for the Calder Cannons by 69 points in the sides’ second meeting at RAMS Arena for 2019. While they won ugly in Rounds 6 and 8, the sixth place Chargers are now on par with the top four sides after wins by a combined 126 points in Rounds 9 and 10. While a 26-point half time buffer was more than handy, Oakleigh well and truly pulled away in the second half with nine goals to two in a more typical Chargers display. The inclusion of bottom-age stars Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Will Phillips on the back of school football breaks proved telling, with the former booting five goals and the latter leading the possession count. Fellow bottom-agers Lochlan Jenkins and Fraser Elliot were not far behind Phillips in those stakes to continue their good form, while GWS Academy member Jeromy Lucas played a good hand with two goals. For the Cannons, who had previously won four of their last five, Ben Overman was named best, with Ned Gentile again among the votes alongside the likes of Jeremy O’Sullivan (two goals) and Sam Ramsay. Unable to rectify their Round 2 loss to the Chargers on the same ground, the Cannons now slip below their weekend opponents to seventh with a bye on the horizon. Meanwhile, Oakleigh will look to continue its hot form and break into the top four with a win against Gippsland in Round 11.

 

TASMANIA DEVILS 1.1 | 1.3 | 2.5 | 4.12 (36)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 5.5 | 7.9 | 9.11 | 10.14 (74)

GOALS:
Tasmania: L. Borsboom, J. Menzie, W. Peppin, O. Sanders
Murray: R. Bouker 2, Z. Barzen 2, H. Kaak, B. Kelly, D. Bedendo, C. Wilson, T. Panuccio, D. Clarke

BEST:
Tasmania: J. Callow, L. Viney, P. Walker, W. Peppin, O. Burrows-Cheng
Murray: D. Clarke, C. Wilson, B. Kelly, K. Chalcraft, S. Durham, J. Boyer

The Murray Bushrangers put a down fortnight behind them to claim their third win of the season, comfortably beating the Tasmania Devils by 38 points at UTAS Stadium. The game acted as a curtain raiser for the fixture that has seen much of the core of both sides stripped, with the Allies doing battle with Vic Country shortly after. Murray adjusted much better after a week without a raft of its stars, storming out of the blocks with a seven goal to one opening half. While the Devils tightened the screws to win the remaining two quarters by four points, the damage was already done and Murray cruised home to what may well be a breakthrough victory. Dylan Clarke was named best for the winners, with the likes of Cameron Wilson and Ben Kelly others the find the goals and also be named among the best. Kelly’s fellow over-ager Zane Barzen chimed in with two goals, joined by Ryley Bouker as the game’s only multiple goal kickers. While Tasmania’s Jackson Callow (0.4) did not find the goals, he was effective throughout, with ball winners Oliver Burrows-Cheng, Patrick Walker, and Will Peppin also thereabouts on a tough day for the home side. The Devils will look to bounce back in a consecutive home game against the Knights in Round 11, while Murray faces a tough ask in backing up against Dandenong after its first loss for the season.

NAB League Boys Round 6 wash-up: Academies bow out as Dandy go top

NORTHERN Academies played out their final NAB League games in Round 6 as a new leader emerged and the Geelong Falcons grabbed their first win for the season. The Falcons’ victory saw Gold Coast Suns jump Sydney Swans to claim the Academy Division 2 title on percentage, as both teams finished with 4-1 records. All that, and more in this weekend’s wash-up.

TASMANIA DEVILS 3.0 | 5.2 | 6.5 | 8.7 (55)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 3.4 | 3.5 | 6.6 | 8.8 (56)

GOALS:
Tasmania:
R. Mansell 2, W. Harper 2, M. McGuinness, S. Banks, B. Gordon, J. Callow
Oakleigh: T. Lovell 4, T. Graham, L. Westwood, H. Mundy, A. Tassell

BEST:
Tasmania:
H. Ireland, R. Mansell, O. Davis, P. Walker, L. Viney, I. Chugg
Oakleigh: T. Bianco, J. Woodfull, J. May, H. Mastras, L. Westwood, S. Seach

By: Michael Alvaro

Oakleigh Chargers held on for a hard-fought win by the narrowest of margins over Tasmania at North Hobart Oval, helping them climb back into the NAB League top eight. After breaking to a slim quarter-time lead, the Chargers gave up a nine-point half time lead after going goalless in the second term. With their backs against the wall, Oakleigh stood up to reclaim the lead, and hold on until the final siren as both sides contributed 1.2 in the fourth quarter. Oakleigh’s Thomas Lovell was efficient in front of goal with half of his eight touches ending in six points, but it was co-captain Trent Bianco who was his side’s best with 42 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, nine tackles and eight inside 50s. Josh May was also instrumental with 28 disposals and five clearances, while ruckman Jacob Woodfull was handy with 16 disposals and 27 hitouts. Harrison Ireland was named the Devils’ best for his role as an undersized ruck, while Ollie Davis was their leading ball winner with 21 touches and five clearances. Fellow bottom-age star Sam Collins was not far behind, matching AFL Academy member Will Peppin‘s effort of 18 disposals, while Will Harper and Rhyan Mansell each booted two goals. While Oakleigh can enjoy a bye in Round 7, Tasmania faces a trip to Bendigo to face the Pioneers, who are also 2-3.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.4 | 5.7 | 7.7 | 11.11 (77)
GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 4.5 | 6.8 | 8.11 | 12.16 (88)

GOALS:
Murray:
J. Boyer 3, H. Kaak 2, J. Chalcraft 2, L. Sykes, C. Wilson, L. Ash, M. Holt
GWS: H. Grant 3, J. Green 2, L. Conlan 2, M. Hamblin 2, J. Lucas, L. Delahunty, T. Green

BEST:
Murray:
D. Clarke, S. Durham, L. Ash, J. Chalcraft, J. Boyer, W. Bowden
GWS: H. Grant, E. Perryman, L. Delahunty, J. Green, L. Conlan

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers slump to 1-4 as the worst-placed Victorian NAB League side after going down by 11 points to GWS Giants Academy. The Bushrangers are unlucky to find themselves in that position given three of their four losses have come by a collective margin of 18 points, with their other loss (24 points) coming against the Swans Academy last week. The Giants, meanwhile, picked up their second win with star midfielder Tom Green (37 disposals, 11 clearances) back in the side, seeing them finish third of the five academies. While Green was at the centre of everything for the Giants, Jeromy Lucas (33 disposals, seven marks) was also instrumental alongside over-ager Ed Perryman (31 disposals, nine marks) in his first game for the year, while Harry Grant 23 disposals, three goals) and Liam Delahunty (21 disposals, seven inside 50s) were effective forward of centre. Dylan Clarke was Murray’s best and equal-leading disposal getter with 27, matched by returning skipper Lachlan Ash (six marks, six tackles, one goal). Jimmy Boyer found the goals well with three majors, joined as a multiple goal kicker by Jye Chalcraft and Hudson Kaak (both two goals). While the GWS products bow out of NAB League commitments and ready themselves for possible Allies selection, Murray faces Geelong in hopes of snaring a second win and a run of form.

CALDER CANNONS 4.3 | 6.5 | 7.6 | 7.10 (52)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 1.0 | 2.1 | 4.3 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS:
Calder:
M. Fletcher 2, B. Rigoni, N. Gentile, J. O’Sullivan, D. Mott, M. Allison
Bendigo: E. Roberts, R. Ironside, J. Ginnivan, Z. Murley, C. Fisher

BEST:
Calder:
J. Martin, D. Mott, J. Hotchkin, T. Browning, N. Gentile, B. Newman
Bendigo: J. Treacy, R. Ironside, S. Conforti, J. Schischka, B. Vaz, W. Wallace

By: Taylah Melki

The Cannons came out firing in the first term and really took control of the game placing them in a strong position for the rest of the game opening a four goal to one first term. In tricky wet and slippery conditions both sides battled hard to win possession with forge the ball forward but it was the Cannons who prevailed against the Pioneers who could not capitalise in front of goal. Jacob Martin led the way for the Cannons winning a heap of the ball with 36 touches, four inside 50s and five tackles for his efforts, while teammate Daniel Mott was impressive. Mott worked hard across the ground and racked up 36 touches to go with his first quarter goal making him a key player for Calder. Brodie Newman also had a solid performance with a game 12 marks testament to his strong hands and clever placement to get into the right position and take big grabs. Mason Fletcher made his presence felt on the scoreboard nailing two majors while Ned Gentile scored 1.2 for the afternoon. After a quiet start James Schischka worked his way into the game and amassed 20 touches along with eight tackles for the Pios. He was closely followed by teammates, Riley Wilson (18 touches) and Brady Rowles (17) while Joshua Treacy did a wealth of work in attack with five inside 50s. Riley Ironside also had a big second half going in hard at the contest and doing the little things well to try and influence the play. He finished with a major, 17 possessions and five marks.

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 3.6 | 6.9 | 9.10 | 14.11 (95)
GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 2.0 | 5.3 | 8.7 | 12.9 (81)

GOALS:
Gold Coast:
M. Pescud 4, C. Beaman 3, H. Oea 2, J. Gore 2, M. Conroy, M. Selsby, E. Hunt
GWV: N. Caris 4, I. Wareham 2, L. O’Brien 2, L. Herbert, J. Wright, I. Grant, M. Martin

BEST:
Gold Coast:
H. Oea, C. Budarick, A. Crossley, M. Conroy, M. Pescud , J. Gore
GWV: I. Wareham, C. Craig-Peters, N. Caris, J. Rantall, T. Mahony, J. Tillig

By: Michael Alvaro

Gold Coast Suns snatched the Division 2 title with a fighting 14-point win over the Greater Western Victoria Rebels in front of their home crowd. Leading at every break, the Suns bounced back well from a heavy loss last week with a spread of four multiple goal kickers heading a solid team performance. While Connor Budarick again led all comers for disposals (23), Max Pescud booted an equal game-high four goals and Hewago Paul Oea was named best for his 19 disposals, seven clearances and two goals. In what was a low-disposal game, the Rebels’ top five ball-winners had between 15 and 16 disposals each, with Riley Polkinghorne and Isaac Thomas leading the way. Nick Caris claimed four goals, with Cooper Craig-Peters and Liam O’Brien bagging two each as the other GWV multiple goal kickers. While the Suns’ NAB League commitments are over, GWV plays Northern on home turf as their season rolls on.

GEELONG FALCONS 2.2 | 6.5 | 8.8 | 12.12 (84)
SYDNEY SWANS 1.3 | 3.4 | 6.9 | 7.11 (53)

GOALS:
Geelong:
O. Henry 4, W. Batson 2, C. Brauer 2, S. Ham, W. Kilpatrick, C. Seymour, J. Makuey
Sydney: K. McGrath 2, E. Gulden, L. Swaney, B. Campbell, H. Ellem, S. Gaden

BEST:
Geelong:
J. Clark, C. Harris, C. Karpala, L. Smith, S. Bourke, O. Henry
Sydney: A. Watling, E. Gulden, R. van Huisstede, M. Geddes, L. Parks, B. Campbell

By: Joe Lee

An electric Geelong provided a big upset, leading at every change to record a 31-point victory over the Sydney Swans Academy. In a tough and uncompromising contest in near perfect conditions at Trevor Barker Oval, the Falcons were too good offensively for a wasteful Sydney outfit. Geelong’s multitude of quick and evasive small midfielder-forwards were too much for the Swans to handle, both on the inside and outside of the contest. Geelong’s slick and accurate ball movement overwhelmed the Sydney defence, with Jesse Clark being instrumental in setting up play with his damaging right boot, whilst Oliver Henry’s draft stocks continue to rise, backing up his five-goal effort in Round 3 with a four-goal haul this week. For the Swans, Braeden Campbell worked tirelessly all day, attacking the contest with vigour and was a clear standout in a team lacking a bit of intensity.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 1.1 | 2.5 | 2.8 | 3.11 (29)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 2.6 | 4.8 | 9.12 | 14.16 (100)

GOALS:
Brisbane:
C. Michael, W. Tasker, J. Quint
Dandenong: C. Weightman 3, J. Roysmith 2, C. Gay 2, C. Ellison 2, J. Johnson, E. Cahill, J. Toner, W. Bravo, R. Orchard

BEST:
Brisbane:
J. Currie, N. Cumberland, T. Griffiths, S. Ryan, W. Martyn, T. Jeffrey
Dandenong: C. Gay, C. Ellison, H. Berenger, B. Welsh, H. Young

By: Michael Alvaro

Reigning premiers Dandenong Stingrays climbed atop the NAB League ladder for the first time this season, trouncing the Brisbane Lions Academy by 71 points in Queensland. With only a draw hindering their otherwise unblemished record, the Stingrays hit top gear after half time with ten goals to one in a dominant display. The result rounds off a disappointing end to Brisbane’s NAB League cameo, with the Lions losing four-straight after their Round 2 win over GWS. Will Martyn has been far from disappointing though, and contributed 32 disposals to lead all comers, but was beaten out by Justin Currie (16 disposals, five marks) as Brisbane’s best. Noah Cumberland (26 disposals, nine clearances) was also thereabouts with Tom Matthews matching his disposal output, while Samson Ryan (14 disposals, 32 hit-outs) had a good day in the ruck. Hayden Young was touted as a key inclusion for Dandenong, and was amongst the best with his team-high 28 disposals and six clearances. Bottom-ager Clayton Gay was adjudged to be his side’s best though, with 21 disposals and 2.2, while over-ager Corey Ellison also claimed two majors in the win. The new ladder leaders travel again next time out to face Western, while Brisbane’s brightest will prepare themselves for potential Allies selection.

GIPPSLAND POWER 4.1 | 8.2 | 9.7 | 12.9 (81)
EASTERN RANGES 5.1 | 7.2 | 9.3 | 11.5 (71)

GOALS:
Gippsland:
F. Phillips 3, S. Flanders 2, M. McGarrity 2, R. Baldi, W. Papley, C. Comben, T. Fitzpatrick, H. Neocleous
Eastern: B. Hickleton 3, B. White 3, B. McCormack 2, C. Tilyard, J. Rossiter, C. Black

BEST:
Gippsland:
B. Smith, F. Phillips, M. McGarrity, R. Baldi, Z. Reid, C. Comben
Eastern: L. Stapleton, Z. Pretty, B. McCormack, B. Hickleton, B. White, J. Duffy

By: Michael Alvaro

Gippsland Power ground out a 10-point win over Eastern Ranges to see them continue their gradual climb towards the top of the NAB League ladder, while Eastern remains lodged in the top four despite the narrow defeat. The Ranges got the better of a high-scoring opening term, but Gippsland reversed the six-point margin heading into the main break. With both sides performing well in front of goal and the margin cut back to within four points in the final quarter, a grandstand finish was on the horizon. After Eastern reclaimed the lead with two quick goals, Gippsland powered home with the last three to seal victory. Zak Pretty and Lachlan Stapleton again won a heap of the ball to lead all comers with 28 disposals each for Eastern, with opportunistic forwards Ben Hickleton and Bailey White bagging hauls of three goals. Power captain Brock Smith collected 27 disposals and nine rebound 50s to earn a Draft Central player of the week nomination, with Riley Baldi (27 disposals, seven marks) continuing his solid return to be named amongst the best. Sam Flanders (26 disposals, nine clearances, two goals) was instrumental in helping Gippsland get over the line, with Fraser Phillips (20 disposals, three goals) also finding the ball and big sticks. The Power host Calder next week with an eye on Eastern’s top four spot, as the Ranges set to face Sandringham in their biggest test yet.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.2 | 6.6 | 12.7 | 15.8 (98)
NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER ACADEMY 1.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS:
Northern:
J. Lucente 3, L. Mcmahon 2, C. Barbera 2, J. Davies 2, J. Bowne 2, J. D’Intinosante 2, J. Mazzarella, M. Sindrivanis
NT: S. Foster 2, M. Rosas 2, M. Cumming 2, R. Fejo, J. Tipiloura

BEST:
Northern:
L. Potter, J. D’Intinosante, R. Sturgess, R. Gardner, J. Davies, E. Macpherson
NT: S. Foster, J. Jeffrey, B. Ah Mat, B. Jungfer, M. Rosas, B. Lake

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights claimed its second-straight victory after a winless first four games, comfortably accounting for the Northern Territory Thunder Academy by 38 points at Ikon Park. The loss sees NT bow out of the NAB League without a win, but having shown plenty of promise. Confident on the back of last week’s breakthrough performance, the Knights were simply too strong and put at least three goals on the board in each quarter. Josh D’Intinosante continues to do all the right things, collecting a game-high 25 disposals, 11 marks and two goals, but was beaten out to best-on honours by Lachie Potter (24 disposals, seven rebound 50s). Ryan Sturgess (21 disposals, eight marks) and the returning Ryan Gardner (22 disposals, four clearances) also chimed in well, with James Lucente (three goals) leading a brigade of six Northern multiple goal kickers. Top NT prospect Malcolm Rosas Jr was one of three Thunder players to boot two goals, with Shawn Foster‘s game enough to see him named best. Joel Jeffrey had another impressive outing in the back half with 21 disposals, seven marks and eight rebound 50s, while Ben Jungfer was his side’s leading ball winner with 22 touches and five clearances.

NAB League Boys Round 3 wash-up: Academy derbies headline action-packed weekend

AN ACADEMY derby double led an exciting round of NAB League action, with a Saturday Metro double-header and Sunday Country triple-header producing some ripping contests between the established sides – including a high-scoring draw and top-of-the-table clash.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 3.1 | 3.3 | 3.3 (21)
EASTERN RANGES 3.4 | 6.9 | 8.14 | 13.18 (96)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Northern:
S. Philp, J. D’Intinosante, L. McMahon
Eastern: M. Mellis 3, J. Tilly 2, C. Hirst, B. Hickleton, L. Vassis, J. Rossiter, J. Duffy, L. Gawel, C. Black, C. Downie

BEST:
Northern:
J. D’Intinosante, S. Philp, J. Davies, A. Taylor
Eastern: Z. Pretty, J. Ross, M. Mellis, C. Downie, R. Smith, M. Zalac

Eastern Ranges notched up its second-consecutive NAB League win, opening Round 3 with a 75-point drubbing of the Northern Knights. Despite a steady start, Eastern accelerated after half-time – keeping their opponents goalless while pouring on seven majors to finish up comprehensive winners. While Sam Philp, Josh D’Intinosante, and Liam McMahon were the only Knights to hit the scoreboard with first-half goals, the Ranges had an impressive 10 individual goal kickers in the dominant performance. Fresh off his Draft Central player of the week outing, Mitch Mellis again had a day out, collecting 29 disposals and a bag of three goals, with Joshua Tilly the only other multiple goal kicker and Cody Hirst lively for his 19 disposals and lone goal. Skipper James Ross was the leading ball-winner with 30 touches, while Philp (26 disposals, nine tackles, one goal) led the way for Northern on a dirty day from Ryan Gardner (23 disposals, nine marks, six tackles) and D’Intinosante (21 disposals, nine tackles, seven inside 50s, one goal). Yet to claim a win, the Knights host the GWS GIANTS academy next time out in hopes of rectifying that, while Eastern is set for a trip north to face Brisbane Lions Academy on Sunday.

 

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 4.3 | 5.7 | 7.7 | 7.9 (51)
SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 2.1 | 4.5 | 11.6 | 16.14 (110)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
GWS:
L. Delahunty 2, J. Peatling 2, T. Green, M. McGrory, C. Edwards
Sydney: H. Parker 3, B. Campbell 3, M. Sheather 2, H. Ellem 2, K. McKellar 2, S. Gaden, H. Maguire, L. Swaney, A. Watling

BEST:
GWS:
N. Murray, T. Green, J. Peatling, J. Lucas, L. Delahunty, J. Reed
Sydney: M. Geddes, A. Watling, B. Campbell, H. Parker, S. Gaden, H. Ellem

Sydney Swans Academy won the NAB League’s ‘battle of the bridge’ on Saturday, blitzing their western rivals in an awesome second half to come out 59-point winners. Trailing at the main break, the Swans came out firing in the third term to put through a sensational seven goals to the Giants’ two – turning an eight-point deficit into a 23-point lead heading into the final turn. It was more of the same from Sydney to see the game out, keeping the GWS academy goalless while they poured on another five goals to consolidate the big win. Braeden Campbell was super with an equal game-high three goals from his 13 disposals, with Harrison Parker also slotting three of his own among nine individual goal kickers. Jackson Barling was the Swans’ major ball winner with 20 disposals, leading from Samuel Thorne (18, six tackles), but beaten out by GWS stars Tom Green (25 disposals, six marks, one goal) and Jackson Peatling (24 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s, five tackles, two goals). Liam Delahunty also chimed in with two majors to join Peatling as a multiple goal scorer in an otherwise hard day for the Giants. Moving on to established NAB League opponents, GWS travels to Melbourne to face Northern Knights next week, with Sydney facing Sandringham Dragons on the same day in a double-header.

 

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 1.4 | 4.5 | 5.9 | 5.12 (42)
GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 2.4 | 4.6 | 5.7 | 10.10 (70)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Brisbane:
W. Tasker, B. Reville, C. Aston, B. Coleman, N. Haberer
Gold Coast: J. Gore 3, M. Conroy 2, M. Selsby, E. Dawson, P. Murtagh, H. Rowles, H. Oea

BEST:
Brisbane:
T. Griffiths, E. Hunt, B. Reville, W. Tasker, N. Haberer
Gold Coast: A. Crossley, J. Johnston, C. Budarick, J. Gore, M. Fraser, A. Davies

In the second northern academy derby, Gold Coast blew Brisbane away in a dominant final term to come out 28-point winners. An otherwise even contest, the Suns found themselves two points down heading into the last break, but turned it on when it mattered to slam home five goals and seal a handy win. The midfield duo of Ashton Crossley (31 disposals) and Connor Budarick (26, five tackles, five inside 50s) worked wonders for Gold Coast, with Hewago Paul Oea electric for his 17 disposals, eight inside 50s and 1.2. Josh Gore was also clinical up forward, slotting all three of his set shot attempts and taking seven marks. The Lions did not have any multiple goal kickers, but Bruce Reville was excellent with 25 disposals, eight marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and one goal from midfield. He was matched for disposal output by Tom Griffiths, while Saxon Crozier had 19 touches and nine marks in a mix of inside and outside work between the arcs. With the Under 18 Q-clash come and gone, both sides are set to play host to Victorian NAB League sides in Labrador next week, with Brisbane facing Eastern Ranges and Gold Coast set to do battle with Oakleigh Chargers in the Sunshine State.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 2.3 | 5.5 | 7.9 | 9.11 (65)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.0 | 3.1 | 4.5 | 8.7 (55)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Sandringham:
H. Ralphsmith 2, C. Dean 2, A. Hanrahan 2, O. Lewis, F. Maginness, J. Bowey
Oakleigh: D. Williams 3, N. Anderson 2, N. Dempsey, G. Varagiannis, J. Ugle-Hagan

BEST:
Sandringham:
F. Maginness, J. Mahony, C. Dean, J. Worrell, H. Ralphsmith, J. Le Grice
Oakleigh: M. Rowell, H. Mastras, W. Phillips, N. Bryan, K. Schreiber, N. Anderson

Hosts Sandringham got the better of the Round 3 top-of-the-table clash, downing the Oakleigh Chargers by 10 points to remain undefeated atop of the ladder. The Dragons were in control for most of the contest in perfect conditions to showcase the raft of draftable talent on display, and held on in the face of a late Oakleigh charge. Charlie Dean started strongly up forward, clunking big marks and putting two majors on the board to remain the competition’s leading goal scorer. Hugo Ralphsmith was the only other Dragon to slot two goals, and was dangerous in each of his forward forays – much like Oakleigh’s Noah Anderson, who booted two goals from 26 disposals. Along with Anderson’s efforts, Oakleigh’s midfield force was led by Matt Rowell (31 disposals, 11 tackles, seven marks) and co-captain Trent Bianco (26 disposals, five rebound 50s, four inside 50s), but was ultimately outdone by the Dragons’ depth. The centre bounce trio of Jack Mahony (25 disposals), Finn Maginness (24, six inside 50s, one goal), and Ryan Byrnes (21, six inside 50s) worked tirelessly to win a wealth of possessions and send Sandringham forward, with Josh Worrell a force off half-back. With the amount of talent on show, the game fully delivered on expectations with respects to getting a good glimpse of the game’s future stars, and the two sides would surely provide another corker should they meet in the post-season. Both teams now go on to face academies in Round 4, with Sandringham hosting Sydney, while Oakleigh travels to Brisbane to take on the Suns.

 

CALDER CANNONS 5.4 | 7.7 | 8.10 | 10.14 (74)
WESTERN JETS 2.3 | 5.4 | 8.7 | 9.8 (62)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Calder:
J. Cardillo 2, D. Mott 2, J. Keeping, S. Ramsay, H. Minton-Connell, N. Gentile, T. Browning, C. Edwardes
Western: A. Clarke 3, A. Manton 2, S. Clifford, L. Failli, K. Borg, J. Honey

BEST:
Calder:
D. Mott, F. Lakey, H. Minton-Connell, N. Gentile, S. Bell-Bartels, J. Cardillo
Western: A. Clarke, J. Horo, L. Failli, Z. Christofi, E. Ford, S. Johnson

Calder Cannons got on the board for season 2019 at the third time of asking, ousting the Western Jets by an even two-goal margin at RAMS Arena. Leading for the majority of the clash, Calder were put soundly under the pump during the second half as Western closed to within three points at three-quarter time, but the Jets ran out of fuel late to ensure the Cannons would pick up four points. Daniel Mott returned to form with a bang, collecting a classy 32 disposals, seven marks, five inside 50s and two goals, with midfield mate Harrison Minton-Connell having 30 and one goal. Meanwhile, Darcy Cassar was the Jets key ball winner with 24 disposals, with Aaron Clarke again bagging three goals and Archi Manton claiming two. With wins crucial for both teams at this stage of the season, the Cannons will be happy to have picked one up. Round 4 sees them head south to Tasmania to face the Devils, while Western hosts Northern Territory on the same day.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS 3.4 | 4.5 | 7.10 | 8.10 (58)
GIPPSLAND POWER 2.0 | 5.3 | 8.5 | 12.10 (82)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:
Bendigo:
C. Fisher 3, B. Kemp, E. Roberts, T. Dow, R. Clarke, A. Cole
Gippsland: F. Phillips 3, H. Pepper 2, C. Serong 2, H. Neocleous, J. Smith, W. Papley, C. Doultree, K. Dunkley

BEST:
Bendigo:
J. Rodi, B. Kemp, J. Schischka, R. Clarke, L. Fitzgerald, R. Wilson
Gippsland: C. Serong, S. Flanders, R. Sparkes, F. Phillips, B. Smith, Z. Skinner

Gippsland Power ended Bendigo Pioneers’ two-game winning streak with a fast-finishing 25-point win over the Pioneers in the opening game at Queen Elizabeth Oval yesterday. The Pioneers stuck with one of the league favourites for most of the match before a few late goals put the result beyond doubt. The Power booted the last three goals of the game, including two to Fraser Phillips to seal the match in a 12.11 (83) to 8.10 (58) win. Phillips was impressive up forward with 12 disposals, four marks and 3.2, joined at times by the talented Caleb Serong who slotted two goals from 23 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds. Serong’s partner in crime in the midfield, Sam Flanders was once again prolific with 20 touches, two marks, five clearances and four inside 50s, while Ryan Sparkes (21 disposals, six inside 50s) and Sam Berry (20 disposals, six clearances) were others who stood out. For the Pioneers, bottom-ager Sam Conforti was a standout with 22 disposals, four marks, four clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds. Brodie Kemp (21 disposals, four marks, six clearances, five inside 50s and the opening goal) was impressive throughout the match, while Jeremy Rodi (19 disposals, four marks, three clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds) and Brady Rowles (13 disposals, five rebounds) were also prominent.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.0 | 7.4 | 7.5 | 12.11 (83)
GEELONG FALCONS 5.5 | 6.6 | 11.11 | 12.11 (83)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:
Dandenong:
C. Ellison 3, S. De Koning 2, L. Goonan 2, N. Heath 2, A. Bradtke, R. Orchard, C. Weightman
Geelong: O. Henry 5, M. Annandale 2, C. Harris, M. Langan, S. Ham, G. Bove, N. Gribble

BEST:
Dandenong:
H. Young, M. Riordan, C. Weightman, M. Gregory, E. Cahill, S. De Koning
Geelong: O. Henry, J. Clark, N. Gribble, C. Karpala, K. Rayner, H. Stubbings

Dandenong Stingrays escaped with two points after stealing a draw on the siren, successfully mowing down Geelong Falcons with the breeze in a thrilling final term. The Stingrays always had the upperhand with the strong breeze blowing towards the Bendigo city end, but the Falcons had a five-goal lead at the final break. An inspirational decision was moving Sam De Koning forward in the final term as he booted two goals from set shots – and could have had a couple more, while Nathan Heath‘s mark just before the siren had everyone on edge. Trailing by six points, Heath calmly slotted the goal to level the scores and the Stingrays headed home from Queen Elizabeth Oval with two points in the bag. For the Falcons, it was not all bad considering they had also collected two points after a heartbreaking one-point defeat last week, but again could have had back-to-back wins. Ned Cahill was terrific for the Stingrays with 24 touches, four marks, four clearances and eight inside 50s, while Hayden Young was strong off half-back and through the middle with 22 disposals, five marks, three clearances, five inside 50s and five rebounds. Cody Weightman continued his good form up forward with 20 disposals, three marks and pushing up the ground for seven inside 50s, while De Koning also had 17 touches and three marks (two contested). Corey Ellison booted three goals, while Mitch Riordan had four clearances and 16 disposals. For the Falcons, Jesse Clark had a team-high 26 disposals and 11 rebounds out of defence, while Charlie Harris (24 disposals, five rebounds) and Noah Gribble (22 disposals, five inside 50s) were busy at either end. Meanwhile, Oliver Henry had a huge game up forward with five goals from 11 disposals and seven marks (two contested).

 

NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER 3.2 | 3.3 | 4.5 | 6.8 (44)
TASMANIA DEVILS 1.4 | 5.7 | 9.11 | 13.14 (92)

By: Alex Gibson

GOALS:
Northern Territory:
B. O’Connell 3, W. Derksen 2, D. Forbes
Tasmania: J. Callow 5, M. McGuinness 2, W. Peppin 2, J. Chaplin, J. Hennessy, R. Mansell, J. Menzie

BEST:
Northern Territory:
B. Jungfer, B. Lake, I. Seden-Kurnoth, B. O’Connell, M. Rioli Jnr, S. Cumming
Tasmania: M. O’Neill, J. Callow, L. Viney, R. Mansell, J. Steele, O. Burrows-Cheng

Despite a promising start from the Northern Territory (NT) Thunder, it was the boys from down south that ran away with a 48-point victory and their first win of the season. The Thunder came out all guns blazing at the Holden Centre and kicked the first three of four goals largely thanks to Beau O’Connell who showed off his elite kicking, capitalising with back-to-back majors in the first 15 minutes of play. However, from there on it was all about the Devils who put on an elite running game which proved too strong for the Thunder’s defence. Midfielders Mitch O’Neill (35 disposals, 21 kicks) and Rhyan Mansell (24 disposals, one goal) ran rings around the Thunder on-ballers and dominated through the middle despite a dominant ruck performance from NT’s Stephen Cumming (40 hitouts). The elite work from the Tasmanian on-ballers set the scene for bottom aged key forward Jackson Callow whose frame could not be tamed by the Thunder’s defence and the big forward finished with 5.2 including eight marks in a dominant display. The Thunder boys were not shy of highlights throughout the game with exciting run from behind tackles from bottom-agers Maurice Rioli Jr and Micheal Cooper whose elite speed was often too much to handle for Tasmania. NT showed promising signs throughout the game however the entries into the forward line needed improvement if they were going to hit the scoreboard more often. Despite a slow start it was hard to critique the Devils who at each line had a player who really impacted on the game and their second and third quarter dominance eventuated in an historic first win.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.3 | 4.9 | 6.12 | 9.15 (69)
GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 4.1 | 6.2 | 8.6 | 9.8 (62)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:
Murray:
W. Chandler 3, E. Hollands 2, J. Hillary 2, Z. Barzen 2
GWV: J. Hill 2, J. Rantall 2, M. Martin 2, M. Jorgensen, R. O”Keefe, N. Caris

BEST:
Murray:
L. Ash, S. Durham, B. Kelly, J. Boyer, Z. Barzen, J. Chalcraft
GWV: J. Rantall, J. Dwyer, J. Wright, I. Wareham, M. Martin, J. Hill

Coming into this game both these teams had experienced thrilling finishes in their respective opening first two rounds. The Bushrangers have been unlucky, losing both Round 1 and 2 matches by a straight kick, while the Rebels bounced back from a six-point loss to Dandenong Stingrays in Round 1, to knock off Geelong Falcons by a points. In a see-sawing contest, Murray dominated the inside 50 count, 61-36, but could not seemingly make use of their forward half dominance as the Rebels stood tall with a massive 52 rebounds, forcing the Bushrangers to get creative. Trailing at each break, the Bushrangers had one last effort in the final term, and it took until an Elijah Hollands goal in the final minutes of the game to seal the match by seven points. Lachlan Ash was terrific with 28 disposals, six marks (four contested), seven inside 50s, seven rebounds, three score assists and ran at a sizzling 89 per cent disposal efficiency. Along with Ash, Jye Chalcraft backed up his good Round 2 form with another strong performance, finishing with 22 touches, five marks, three clearances, five inside 50s, six tackles and three score assists. Jimmy Boyer (22 disposals, nine marks) and Cam Wild (20 disposals, seven inside 50s) were also impressive, while Hollands booted 2.3 from 13 touches and four marks. For the Rebels, Jay Rantall was as eye-catching as he could be, finishing with 31 disposals, three marks, five clearances, four inside 50s, two rebounds and two goals. Others who impressed included Mitch Martin whose class shone through with 22 touches, 10 marks, six inside 50s, five clearances and two goals, while Emmanuel Ajang, James Cleaver and Jayden Wright mopped up everything in defence.

NAB League season preview: Dandenong Stingrays

REIGNING premiers, Dandenong Stingrays are one of a number of sides with a fresh face in the Talent Manager role, as Darren Flanigan returned to the club for the 2019 season. The Stingrays claimed the ultimate TAC Cup glory last year in the club’s sixth attempt, and now under the new NAB League banner, will be keen to build on that momentum.

Flanigan said while he did not arrive until after the pre-season had started – in late November – he had liked what he had seen from the group.

“I missed the start of it (preseason), but I’ve been really impressed with the level of intensity of the group,” he said. “We’ve got some really nice athletes and we’ve got some good size, skills are always a work in progress of course, but the attitude and application of the players has been fantastic.”

The premiership had been a boost to the entire club and described it as “good promotion for the area”. While many of those premiership players have left now, a number of bottom-agers from that memorable day remain. One of them is Hayden Young, the Stingrays’ top prospect and club captain.

“Hayden’s our captain, he sets a really good example, he’s dong a really good job of driving the group and he sets really high standards on himself and his game,” Flanigan said. “I think he’s probably a little bit disappointed in his first practice match, but that was the first bit of competitiveness all preseason so we just know with the kid with his level of professionalism that’ll be just the springboard to a better season.”

One player who played in the premiership last year but spent considerable time on the sidelines due to injury, was co-captain Mitch Riordan. He has returned as a 19-year-old this season and will provide invaluable experience to the midfield group.

“Mitch had a great game last week, coming back as a 19-year-old he’ll do a little bit of work with mentoring the leadership group because he was in the leadership group last year,” Flanigan said. “So that’ll add another string to his bow. “Ned Cahill is our vice captain, he’s also learning from the front, so he and Hayden are setting really high standards.”

Speaking of Cahill, he is currently overcoming some tendonitis in his ankle, held back from testing at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day by Rookie Me.

“We could’ve tested him today but, what does that achieve?” Flanigan said. “He’s got a really long year in front of him with Nationals and we assume he’ll be playing a lot of footy with us, so it’s just a little bit of precaution with him.”

Along with Riordan, the Stingrays have brought back small forward Jai Nanscawen, forward-ruck Bailey Schmidt and medium forward Corey Ellison as the overagers this season. The other 19-year-old prospect this season is described by Flanigan as a “bit of a smoky” in John Roysmith.

“He’s been a boarder at Melbourne Grammar for the last couple years so hasn’t been in the system, but we were alerted to him, and he’s tested really well,” Flanigan said. “He’s top 10 athletically in the club, still got a little bit to learn about the speed of the game, he’s come from playing school footy which is a lot slower than what we play here, so the speed of the game is something he’s got to learn, absorbing all the knowledge he can. “We think he’s a really good prospect, especially for the second half of the year.”

As for expectations, Flanigan said there was good depth across the field in multiple positions and the side would look to make finals in 2019.

“You don’t know with such a raw list, with so few games coming back, we really don’t know how we’ll go, but some of our talls are really talented,” he said. “In this comp you need a good, deep midfield, and I think we’ve got some nice strong bodies around the footy, got a bit of speed around the outside so we think as far as team balance goes, we’ll be okay.”

Dandenong Stingrays’ season begins on Saturday, March 23 at MARS Stadium when they face the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels.

Comprehensive 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final Preview

IT is the equivalent of Christmas Day for the TAC Cup competition, with the two best teams for the year facing off in a decider. We have the clear benchmark all season, in the Dandenong Stingrays, taking on the red-hot Oakleigh Chargers, who have been in sensational form since all their school kids returned to the team. We take a look at the big game from multiple angles in our Ultimate Preview of the 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final.

 

2018 SEASON REVIEW

1. Dandenong Stingrays – 15 wins, 1 loss, 211%, 60 points
3. Oakleigh Chargers – 10 wins, 5 losses, 1 draw, 151%, 42 points

HEAD TO HEAD

R5: Oakleigh Chargers 11.6 (72) defeated Dandenong Stingrays 9.12 (66) at Warrawee Park
R9: Dandenong Stingrays 13.17 (95) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 6.4 (40) at Shepley Oval

CHANGES SINCE ROUND 5 THRILLER*

*Including extended benches

Dandenong:
IN: Sam Fletcher, Hayden Young, Toby Bedford, Finlay Bayne, Mitch Riordan, Daniel Frampton, Stephen Cumming, Luca Goonan, Matthew Cumming, Sam Sturt
OUT: Jake Carosella, James Hickey, Jarrod Smith, William Geurts, Sam De Koning, Bailey Angwin

Oakleigh:
IN: Will Kelly, Noah Anderson, James Rowbottom, Matthew Rowell, Kyle Dunkley, Lucas Westwood, Trent Bianco, Bailey Wraith, Will Golds, Jack Ross, Matt Warren, James Jordan
OUT: Sam Harte, Lachlan Bugeja, Xavier Fry, Matthew Fewings, Ben Silvagni, Kyle Viccars, Josh May, Daniel Scala, Lachlan Harry, Sam Elliot

 

WHO HAS COMBINE INVITES?

National:

Dandenong Stingrays [6]: Toby Bedford, Riley Bowman, Zac Foot, Will Hamill, Sam Sturt, Bailey Williams
Oakleigh Chargers [7]: Noah Answerth, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Will Golds, Will Kelly, Xavier O’Neill, Isaac Quaynor, James Rowbottom

State/Rookie Me:

Dandenong Stingrays [10]: Stephen Cumming, Sam Fletcher, Jake Frawley, Matthew Gahan, Lachlan McDonnell, Jamie Plumridge, Mitch Riordan, Bailey Schmidt, Jai Taylor, Lachlan Young
Oakleigh Chargers [6]: Joe Ayton Delaney, Atu Bosenavulagi, Kyle Dunkley, Jake Gasper, James Jordon, Jack Ross

Note: Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh) and Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong) have combine invitations but are unavailable due to injury.

PLAYERS

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS:

#1 Sam FLETCHER

Just keeps winning the football every week and puts in a consistent effort. He will join Hustwaite on the inside and look to fire out a number of handballs to teammates in space, and will often look to win that one-on-one duel when given the chance. Does not get to the outside as much as other midfielders, but does all the damage at the coal face, expect him to be prominent in there again.

#2 Hayden YOUNG

The potential number one pick next year looked sore throughout the preliminary final last week and got moved from the back pocket to the extended interchange, so it appeared to be a waiting game on whether he would play. Unbelievable talent with and a hardness at the ball, can play anywhere on the field, but he has been used off half-back with that smooth running and deadly foot skills a highlight.

#3 Jamie PLUMRIDGE

Tipped by TAC Cup Radio’s Matthew Cocks for the Best on Ground, Plumridge has been a consistent performer this year. Plumridge is an outside midfielder who often wins it on the wing and pumps it inside 50 to the tall targets.

#7 Jai TAYLOR

An electrifying speedster, Taylor is one of the fastest players in the competition, and with Toby Bedford, has the capability of breaking the lines and causing disruption amongst the opposition zone. While he does not always do it, he can tuck the ball under the arm and take the game on.

#9 Zac FOOT

Burst onto the scene early in the season to make Vic Country after never having made a previous Stingrays’ squad. He played throughout the National Under 18 Championships, and while he did not star, he still had some impressive moments. Adds a different element to the team because he can win it inside or out, play back, forward or through the midfield and has a high impact per possession when he is on.

#10 Lachlan YOUNG

A defender who loves to rebound and use the ball well, he does not find a lot of it – averaging just 12.5 disposals per game. But almost 25 per cent of his possessions are rebounds, with Young ensuring the ball can clear the defensive zone.

#11 Ned CAHILL

Named as the 23rd player, Cahill showed in last week’s preliminary final just how damaging he could be booting two goals and passed off another couple. Still a bottom-age player, Cahill has emerged as a genuine goal sneak at 177cm. Has to be respected because he just gets to the right positions.

#12 Matthew GAHAN

Has enjoyed a really solid season off half-back earning himself a State Combine invitation. Gahan is a strong ball user and a player who his teammates like getting the ball into the hands of. With Oakleigh’s strong forward line, Gahan will need to be used both offensively and defensively in order to still create drive while restricting one of the many dangerous Chargers’ defenders.

#13 Riley BOWMAN

Is suited to the number one ruck role, but can play forward which is where he is expected to play. Often the Stingrays rotate Bowman, Stephen Cumming and Bailey Williams through the ruck such is their luxury. Bowman’s pure ruckwork is arguably the best of the lot, because he gets his hands to most throw-ins or ball-ups and can palm down to his midfielders. Big men seem to be out of fashion lately, so a big game would be huge to determine where he slots in.

#15 Toby BEDFORD

One of the most in-form Stingrays of late, Bedford has a great mix of offensive and defensive skills, providing line-breaking ability as well as tackling pressure in the forward half. He can kick multiple goals in a game, and pinch-hit in the midfield to break up the game. He offers a different element to the Dandenong midfield, and the Melbourne Next Generation Academy player is one who Demons fans will enjoy watching over the years, with the assumption they match the bid that comes in.

#16 Jake FRAWLEY

A strong midfielder who can play out of full-forward such is his strength one-on-one or in the air. Booted six goals against against Bendigo Pioneers at Shepley Oval playing almost exclusively as a forward. He adds some depth to the midfield and his versatility is important when the big day rolls around.

#17 Finlay BAYNE

Another dangerous small forward who can play through the midfield. Due to the depth in the Stingrays onball brigade, Bayne has found a nice spot in the forward 50 and is good for a couple of goals a game. He is a good mover with good goal sense.

#18 Mitch RIORDAN

Highly rated at the start of the season, Riordan had injury concerns and missed the bulk of the National Under 18 Championships, and has only recently returned in the past month. He can use the ball well, and while he does not win much of it, he can often be found coming out of a stoppage and kicking forward. Athletically he is very good, testing well in the 20m sprint, agility test and yo-yo test, so it is just getting game time into him.

#23 Campbell HUSTWAITE

The Stingrays captain is another player who has been in fine form the past couple of months and seems made for the big stage. He has lead from the front in the TAC Cup finals series and does everything expected of him. Against a strong Oakleigh midfield, his desire and competitiveness will be called upon to match it with the likes of Jack Ross and James Rowbottom. Hustwaite could be a best on ground chance given you know exactly what you will get from him each week.

#27 Lachlan MCDONNELL

Played at half-forward for the start of the season and has progressed onto the wing. Of all the Dandenong midfielders, McDonnell is one of the Stingrays’ most damaging kicks in transition. He is predominantly outside compared to the others, but he finds space and pumps it long inside 50.

#28 Bailey SCHMIDT

The big man has been unlucky not to play more games because he is a damaging presence up forward with great athleticism. He has just landed at a club in a year with ridiculous amounts of talent in the ruck/forward position. Still earned a State Combine invite, and while he has been named on the extended bench, is still one who has been able to show his wares throughout the 2018 season.

#29 Bailey WILLIAMS

The big key forward/ruck looms as the player Oakleigh must stop if the Chargers are to win their fifth TAC Cup premiership. Williams is an athletic monster forward who has a massive vertical leap and can cause plenty of headaches for any opposition defender. His goal kicking has been an issue for two thirds of the season, so he will need to be on target in the game. Expect him to have a bearing on the game, and if he can get an early major and build confidence – watch out.

#32 Daniel FRAMPTON

Has held down centre half-back at times despite standing at just 188cm. Can intercept the ball and averages 3.5 marks per game. The smaller Oakleigh forward line will suit Frampton as it means he does not have to battle against a 200cm monster.

#36 Stephen CUMMING

Starting in the ruck and even though he came off a little sore early last week, Cumming still played out the game and looks set to start in the centre square tomorrow. The big man will rotate with Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams in the ruck and no doubt try and wear down the undersized Bailey Wraith.

#41 Lachlan STENNING

The defender is likely to take a defensive approach on a forward whether it be Dylan Williams, Jake Gasper or Atu Bosenavulagi and try and limit their influence on the game. He is a low-possession player but one who can play above his height of 178cm.

#45 Luca GOONAN

Still a bottom-ager, Goonan was added to the side for the Grand Final on an extended bench. It is hard to push out the strong top-age presence, but he has had some impressive signs this season. He is readymade at 83kg already, and one to keep an eye on for next year.

#49 Matthew COTTRELL

A genuine honest midfielder who you know what you are going to get. Suited to the inside, but has played outside, he just attacks the ball and tries to clear it forward. Has had some impressive games this season and will likely need to beat his opponent this weekend against a strong Chargers’ midfield.

#52 Corey ELLISON

At 191cm and 88kg, Ellison is that medium size who can play tall or small up forward, and actually averages 2.7 goals per game from seven matches. Has been in and out of the team at times because of the strength up forward, if given the chance he knows how to hit the scoreboard.

#56 Matthew CUMMING

Cumming has played predominantly key position defence this season and just tried to beat his opponent one-on-one. Like his brother, he moves well for a 198cm player, but not sure what match-up he has in this match. With Oakleigh adopting a smaller forward line, he will likely play on a player close to 10cm smaller than him, so he must prepare for that.

#57 Reid NANSCAWEN

Named as the sole emergency for the side, he looks to be the one to come in if injury strikes. He has played a bit of everywhere, and held up the midfield during the National Under 18 Championships when Dandenong had absences galore. Is the type that can come in and play his role and will no doubt be waiting in the wings if the opportunity arises.

#58 Will HAMILL

An underrated player in the Stingrays defensive half. Hamill can play through the midfield, but his class and composure off half-back has been a standout of his game. He glides around the field, and while he is not a huge accumulator, he can hurt opposition with nice delivery forward. Will be held accountable with one of many dangerous Chargers small forwards who just find the goals on a regular basis.

#59 Sam STURT

The late developer has burst onto the scene of late after some impressive performances for Peninsula Grammar. He was boosted from a State Combine invitation to a National Combine invitation, and has already showed why he is in hot demand since playing for the Stingrays. He has electric skills, great smarts and knows where the goals are – so damaging.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS:

#1 Riley COLLIER-DAWKINS

A potential first round prospect, Collier-Dawkins has that blistering first few steps that can burn off an opponent out of a stoppage. He has been trialled up forward, but he is his most dominant on the inside, as he showed last week in the preliminary final. If he can use his strength, acceleration and penetrating kick to effect, then the Chargers will have plenty of hurt factor roaming through the midfield in transition.

#3 Joe AYTON-DELANEY

The running defender was unlucky not to get a National Draft Combine invitation after some impressive performances early in the season. He is one that will be in high demand with a good Grand Final and just finds the ball. Uses it well coming out of the backline and has shiny red boots that stand out. A player Oakleigh looks to get the ball in the hands of, along with Isaac Quaynor, in the backline.

#4 Will KELLY

He will have his work cut out for him, regardless if he takes Bailey Williams or Riley Bowman. He often enjoys running off an opponent and providing rebound, but he will need to be tight with the athletic talls. He can also go forward and provide a target if Oakleigh wants to throw a spanner in the works midway through the game. A Collingwood father-son prospect who will be watched closely by any Collingwood contingent that make the trip to Ikon Park.

#5 Xavier O’NEILL

Did not make the final Vic Metro squad, but showed enough throughout the 2018 TAC Cup season to suggest to recruiters he was in their top 50, earning a National Draft Combine invitation. He just does his job each week and is a really solid contributor. He covers the ground well and wins the ball in all thirds of the ground.

#6 Matthew DAY

The former basketballer was unlucky not be thrown a lifeline late last year, and has continued on as a really solid forward prospect as an overager for the Chargers this season. Keeps kicking goals and is strong overhead. A good size for development and one that the Stingrays cannot afford to let off the chain.

#7 Jay ROBERTSON

Did not make the cut at Eastern Ranges hailing from South Belgrave, came across and has been a valuable contributor up forward for Oakleigh. He is a medium tall who just keeps hitting the scoreboard and can fly under the radar with so much talent up that end.

#8 Noah ANDERSON

Another potential number one pick, Anderson is that prototype size for a midfielder, who due to the amazing depth of the Oakleigh midfield, has had the ability to almost play exclusively up forward. He pumps the ball long, can win it inside or out, and knows how to hit the scoreboard – as he did for Vic Metro against Western Australia.

#9 James ROWBOTTOM

The most pure of the inside midfielders, he gives his team a four quarter effort and wins a truckload of the ball on the inside. He is a clearance machine and just finds the ball anywhere on the ground. Dandenong are known for their hardness at the contest, and Rowbottom will be a key contributor for Oakleigh in trying to nullify some of the opposition midfielders.

#10 Charlie WHITEHEAD

A fierce small forward who loves to pressure opponents and just gets to the right positions. He has the capability of kicking multiple goals if given space and has a great goal sense. A pure small forward in every sense, he can push up the ground if the Chargers isolate another forward.

#11 Matthew ROWELL

Another Vic Metro representative in his bottom-age year, Rowell leads by example on the field. He has an uncompromising attack on the ball and is crucial around stoppages, but has had the luxury of playing on the outside, predominantly off a wing. He can play forward and kick goals, as he has the past two finals – kicking the first goal in both games.

#12 Noah ANSWERTH

The over-age captain does not do a lot wrong and can play anywhere on the field. His brother, Kade was best on ground in the TAC Cup Grand Final during Oakleigh Chargers’ last premiership over Eastern Ranges, and Answerth will be keen to put in an equally impressive performance. He made the Vic Metro squad and performed strongly and will leave no stone unturned in getting the most out of himself.

#13 Atu BOSENAVULAGI

Has bolted up into draft consideration after a quieter start to the season. His second half of the TAC Cup competition has been superb, and he is starting to regularly hit the scoreboard, while still applying the defensive pressure he was known for. Has made opposition clubs consider a National Draft bid, with Collingwood able to match if they like him.

#14 Kyle DUNKLEY

Has been on the fringe of getting into the team after spending time with Sydney Swans’ Reserves. With Oakleigh winning its past three games by an average of 101 points, it is a hard team to break into, but the forward will be ready if he gets his chance.

#16 Lucas WESTWOOD

A really reliable defender. With most of the other Oakleigh defenders being offensive players, Westwood adds that defensive hardness and ability to shut down a key opposition forward. He could well be given any number of smalls from the Stingrays who can kick multiple majors.

#17 Trent BIANCO

A skilful player who provides plenty of run and carry off half-back and through the midfield. Expect him to play more on-ball next season, but he has high-end talent and adds to what is a very strong bottom-age core at the Chargers.

#22 Dylan WILLIAMS

The bottom-age small forward is in ripping form, and just keeps kicking goals week-in, week-out. He shared them last week after six snags against Western Jets in the elimination final. He does very little wrong, and after spending time in defence early in the season, Williams’ strength overhead and great goal sense has him as a key player inside 50 for the Chargers. One Dandenong defender will have their work cut out for them.

#23 Isaac QUAYNOR

The running defender takes the game on and has some eye-catching moments. He might have to use his one-on-one ability more than he has had to in the past weeks, because Dandenong’s forward line will make sure he is made accountable. If he can get out and break the lines, using his speed and skill to create run-and-carry, then it will go a long way to Oakleigh winning the match. A Collingwood Next Generation Academy member to watch.

#26 Jake GASPER

The TAC Cup Leading Goalkicker and taking into account post-season goals he is the standalone leader, Gasper has been the most consistent forward in the competition. He has booted goals in every game he has played and his set shot routine is perfect. The Dandenong defence will focus on not letting him get too much air time because he is so smart in that forward 50.

#30 Bailey WRAITH

You have to applaud Wraith, who started as a key defender, but has stood up as an undersized ruck. He is measured at 191cm (though many believe he might be a few centimetres taller), and he has matched up against much taller opponents in the ruck. He will have to play his best game of the season against the Dandenong brigade however, with practically three 200cm rucks with big vertical leaps awaiting him.

#31 Will GOLDS

The most pure outside midfielder for the Chargers, Golds will be the one spreading to the outside and carrying the ball forward when given time and space. He could well match up against Lachlan McDonnell and the pair goes their separate ways, or they run alongside each other. Likes to set up plays forward of centre and has had a really solid finals series.

#32 Jack ROSS

The underrated midfielder from the Chargers has been building consistency very nicely over the past month since returning from school football. He loves the appetite of the contest, but can also spread to the outside and provide long kicks forward. He knows how to find a goal from a stoppage inside 50, and is one of many Oakleigh midfielders who looms as a key player on the weekend and one the Stingrays will put work into.

#33 Matt WARREN

Started the year as a key defender and can play up either end. Had the tough job of manning Max King in the top five pick’s only TAC Cup game and King booted eight goals in that game. At 189cm he has had to play on much taller opponents at times, but continues to battle above his height and weight range. A versatile option if a tall drops out of the Grand Final after being added to the interchange bench.

#36 Charlie BEASLEY

Rated really highly internally, Beasley will have to play taller than his 192cm against Bailey Williams or Riley Bowman. The coach, Leigh Clarke backs him in and he rarely lets him down. Regardless of opponent, Beasley is the type of defender who will stick to the task for four quarters.

#38 Zac HART

Oakleigh’s forward line is harder to break into than Fort Knox, so for the potential Adelaide father-son it has not been easy to find a spot. Hart has been added to the side on the extended interchange bench, and he is a smart forward with good goal sense, but with Oakleigh’s firepower on show the last month, it will probably take an injury for Hart to squeeze in.

#44 Will PHILLIPS

The Under 16s Vic Metro representative has managed to retain his place in the Oakleigh line-up despite it being as strong as it is, playing as the 23rd player. Great skills, good spread and does not seem phased against the bigger bodies, Phillips looks a player for the 2020 National Draft.

#64 James JORDON

Played a couple of games earlier in the season and returned after school football, Jordon has provided good run and carry on the outside. Like Golds, Jordon predominantly is used as a ball carrier with slick skills to take the game on and delivery well inside 50.

 

FATHER/SON AND ACADEMY PROSPECTS

Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays) – Melbourne Next Generation Academy

Atu Bosenavulagi, Isaac Quaynor, Bailey Wraith (Oakleigh Chargers) – Collingwood Next Generation Academy

Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers) – Collingwood father/son

Kyle Dunkley* (Oakleigh Chargers) – Sydney father/son

Zac Hart* (Oakleigh Chargers) – Adelaide father/son

*Extended interchange

 

STATISTICS

Dandenong defence vs. Oakleigh attack

The key in this third of the ground, is whether or not Dandenong’s slick foot skills out of defence and springboard rebound can be used against the massive forward pressure of the Chargers. Atu Bosenavulagi (4.5 tackles), Jake Gasper (4.1) and Charlie Whitehead (3.2) provide the tackling heat, while Dylan Williams (62.8 per cent kicking efficiency), Jay Robertson (60.4 per cent) and Noah Anderson (56.6 per cent) provide the skills going inside 50. Gasper has been the dominant goal kicker this season, sharing the overall competition tally and post-finals has the most goals of any player in the league.

For Dandenong, they have some very nice ball users in the back half, lead by Will Hamill and Lachlan Stenning, while five of their six defenders average more than two marks a game. Lachlan Young (3.1 rebounds), Matthew Gahan (2.9) and Daniel Frampton (2.3) are that wall at half-back, while Matthew Cumming is the athletic key position defender who can share ruck duties. The big question mark will be match-ups as Oakleigh have a small forward line, while Cumming will no doubt be matched up on a smaller player.

Dandenong midfield vs. Oakleigh midfield

Two highly talented midfields will go head-to-head with so many crucial head-to-heads. Dandenong generally loves a contested brand of football, whereas Oakleigh love using their outside foot skills to advantage. In saying that, both sides can still play the other’s game. Stingrays captain, Campbell Hustwaite, Sam Fletcher and Mitch Riordan will provide the inside support, whereas Matthew Cottrell can play inside or out. Lachlan McDonnell is the most outside because he has the best skills of the five onballers, and has provided a crucial link between midfield and half-forward.

Will Golds provides just that for Oakleigh, whereas both Matthew Rowell and Jack Ross are equally as impressive inside as they are outside, and can get forward and kick goals as well. Noah Answerth can also play off half-back or half-forward and hit the scoreboard for the Chargers, while Bailey Wraith has been getting the job done in the ruck despite being undersized. If he can get forward and kick a goal, it adds an extra challenge for the Stingrays. He will have his work cut out for him against the best ruck division in the league.

Dandenong attack vs. Oakleigh defence

Dandenong’s attack is likely to cause a lot more headaches for Oakleigh’s defence than other sides have in past weeks. With Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman both athletic talls, it means Charlie Beasley and Will Kelly will have to be prepared to jump as both Dandenong keys are highly athletic – particularly Williams who is second to none with vertical leap. Jai Taylor and Toby Bedford are two of the quickest players going around, while Sam Sturt and Zac Foot consistently hit the scoreboard.

The great strength with Oakleigh’s defence is its ball use out of the back 50, with Isaac Quaynor, Joe Ayton-Delaney and Trent Bianco all wonderful kicks of the football. Often teams can have at least one liability back in their defence, but there is no player in the back 50 who the Chargers would not feel comfortable with kicking the ball out of the back 50. The challenge for the Chargers defence is they have to expect Dandenong to bring the heat. Forward pressure from the Stingrays is a must, and Oakleigh must be up for that challenge.

Extended interchange of both sides:

The depth on both these benches, particularly Oakleigh’s, is madness. Riley Collier Dawkins could be a first round pick but he sits on the pine, while James Jordon and Xavier O’Neill are crucial cogs in Oakleigh’s midfield. Matthew Day has been a really valuable forward for the Chargers this season, while Vic Metro Under 16s talent, Will Phillips has been very slick with his ball use on the outside and shapes as an impressive talent for the 2020 AFL National Draft. With father-son prospects and sneaky small forwards Kyle Dunkley and Zac Hart waiting in the wings, and the versatile Matt Warren also brought in to the extended team, Oakleigh has plenty of options to head into game day.

For Dandenong, Finlay Bayne and Ned Cahill both provide depth in the forward line and showed they can kick multiple goals, as they did against Sandringham Dragons last week. Corey Ellison has been unlucky this season given the strength of talls for the Stingrays, while Hayden Young could be pick one next season, but came off sore last week and whether he makes the final team is yet to be seen. Bailey Schmidt is another athletic tall who could come in to really stretch the Oakleigh defence, while Jake Frawley kicked a bag of six earlier in the season. Jamie Plumridge has been good on  the outside for Dandenong this season, while Luca Goonan is a prospect to watch for next year. Reid Nanscawen has been named as the only emergency in the team.

WHY WILL THEY WIN?

Dandenong Stingrays: They have been the best team all year and attack the footy with numbers. A fierce intent on the ball carrier, any opposition know that the heat will come and it will depend on how they deal with it. The Stingrays are not a high possession team, and opt for sharing the ball around, but still using the ball long and effective. They have the tall timber up forward to put in the air and allow them to mark it, because no-one is spoiling Bailey Williams if he gets a run at it.

Oakleigh Chargers: They are the most skilful team in the competition who are happy to use short possessions rather than take risks with long kicks, but know when to flick the switch. Often they will use a series of short kicks until a player breaks free and then they use run-and-carry to run down the wings and pick a target out inside 50. Without the height in there, the Oakleigh midfielder put low balls out in front of their teammates to run onto with their speed off the mark, key.

 

WHAT DO THEY NEED TO STOP?

Dandenong Stingrays: They absolutely must bring the heat on the weekend. Oakleigh dominate games when they are allowed to over-possess the ball and just wait until options free up. Dandenong need to ensure that firstly, Oakleigh cannot have free numbers wandering into open space, and secondly, that there is a defensive midfielder who is happy to drop back and fill the hole in front of the Oakleigh forwards. Unlike Dandenong where a 200cm athlete will crash into your back, Oakleigh’s passes inside 50 will be low darts, so the Stingrays need to restrict the free space inside 50 and force them wide.

Oakleigh Chargers: They have to be wary of positioning themselves well inside the defensive 50. They will be playing against much taller opponents who can fly high, and some of their usually offensively-minded defenders might have to do more one-on-one defending. Isaac Quaynor is arguably the best small defender in the league one-on-one and he might be the man to go to Sam Sturt, as Quaynor can play taller and is equally as smart. Bailey Wraith will also have his work cut out for him in the ruck, and while he has been fantastic, when you’re going up against high flying rucks that are towering over you, the goal is to nullify as much as possible.

 

GRAND FINAL HISTORY

The two teams have never met in a TAC Cup Grand Final before, but have been involved in 10 between them. Dandenong has heartbreakingly lost all five of their encounters, two of which exceeded 80 points. For Oakleigh, they have won four out of a possible five attempts, including a goal point to Jack Macrae in 2012 getting them over the line against Gippsland Power.

Dandenong Stingrays:

1997: lost to North Ballarat Rebels by 35 points
2005: lost to Gippsland Power by 15 points
2008: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 81 points
2009: lost to Calder Cannons by 14 points
2013: lost to Eastern Ranges by 112 points

Oakleigh Chargers:

2006: defeated Calder Cannons by 27 points
2011: lost to Sandringham Dragons by eight points
2012: defeated Gippsland Power by one point
2014: defeated Calder Cannons by 47 points
2015: defeated Eastern Ranges by 12 points

 

AFL Draft Central tips

 

Peter Williams

Dandenong Stingrays
BOG: Toby Bedford

Michael Alvaro

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Dylan Williams

Craig Byrnes

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Jack Ross

Scott Dougan

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Jake Gasper

Ed Pascoe

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Dylan Williams

Cameron Ross

Dandenong Stingrays
BOG: Toby Bedford

 

Total Tips:

Dandenong Stingrays 2
Oakleigh Chargers 4

Best on Ground:

Toby Bedford 2
Dylan Williams 2
Jack Ross 1
Jake Gasper 1

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Grand Final

BOTH 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final sides have remained coy about their team selection this week, opting for extended benches before finalising their sides ahead of Saturday’s decider. Dandenong have brought in Luca Goonan, Bailey Schmidt and Corey Ellison, while Reid Nanscawen has been named as the sole emergency for the Stingrays. Meanwhile the Chargers have brought in the three players they included on the extended bench the week before in Matt Warren, Kyle Dunkley and Zac Hart. Both Dunkley (Sydney) and Hart (Adelaide) are potential father-son prospects.

Dandenong Stingrays:

B: 58. Will Hamill – 56. Matthew Cumming – 41. Lachlan Stenning
HB: 12. Matthew Gahan – 32. Daniel Frampton – 10. Lachlan Young
C: 49. Matthew Cottrell – 23. Campbell Hustwaite – 27. Lachlan McDonnell
HF: 9. Zac Foot – 13. Riley Bowman – 7. Jai Taylor
F: 15. Toby Bedford – 29. Bailey Williams – 59. Sam Sturt
R: 36. Stephen Cumming – 1. Sam Fletcher – 18. Mitch Riordan
INT: 17. Finlay Bayne – 52. Corey Ellison – 16. Jake Frawley – 45. Luca Goonan – 3. Jamie Plumridge – 28. Bailey Schmidt – 2. Hayden Young
23P: 11. Ned Cahill
EMG: 57. Reid Nanscawen

In: L. Goonan, B. Schmidt, R. Nanscawen, C. Ellison

Oakleigh Chargers:

B: 3. Joe Ayton-Delaney – 36. Charlie Beasley – 16. Lucas Westwood
HB: 17. Trent Bianco – 4. Will Kelly – 23. Isaac Quaynor
C: 31. Will Golds – 32. Jack Ross – 11. Matthew Rowell
HF: 26. Jake Gasper – 7. Jay Robertson – 10. Charlie Whitehead
F: 8. Noah Anderson – 22. Dylan Williams – 13. Atu Bosenavulagi
R: 30. Bailey Wraith – 9. James Rowbottom – 12. Noah Answerth
INT: 1. Riley Collier-Dawkins – 6. Matthew Day – 14. Kyle Dunkley – 38. Zac Hart – 64. James Jordon – 5. Xavier O’Neill – 33. Matt Warren
23P: 44. Will Phillips

In: M. Warren, K. Dunkley, Z. Hart

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Preliminary Finals

OUR final four TAC Cup teams remaining in the hunt for the 2018 premiership have made a combined three changes, with Gippsland the only side to confirm any players out at this stage. The winners of both clashes advance to the TAC Cup decider the week after at Ikon Park, with three of the four teams reaching this stage last year.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Preliminary Finals  – Saturday, September 15, 11.30am
Ikon Park, Carlton North

Coming off a 110-point thrashing of the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels side, the Dandenong Stingrays have brought back four players, including Mitch Riordan and Bailey Schmidt who have both earned State Combine invitations. Teammates, Reid Nanscawen and Corey Ellison are also into the side having impressed throughout the year for the Stingrays. The Dragons will be looking to cause an upset against the minor premiers with three players returning, in bottom-age tall Fischer McAsey, Louis Butler and Josh Le Grice.

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 58. W. Hamill, 56. M. Cumming, 2. H. Young
HB: 12. M. Gahan, 32. D. Frampton, 10. L. Young
C: 49. M.  Cottrell, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 27. L.  McDonnell
HF: 9. Z. Foot, 29. B. Williams, 7. J. Taylor
F: 17. F. Bayne, 13. R. Bowman, 59. S. Sturt
R: 36. S. Cumming, 1. S. Fletcher, 15. T. Bedford
Int: 52. C. Ellison, 16. J. Frawley, 45. L. Goonan, 3. J. Plumridge, 18. M. Riordan, 28. B. Schmidt, 41. L. Stenning
Emg: 57. R. Nanscawen
23P: 11. E. Cahill

In: M. Riordan, B. Schmidt, R. Nanscawen, C. Ellison

Sandringham Dragons

B: 18. A. Seaton, 69. C. Watts, 48. J. Worrell
HB: 53. H. Ralphsmith, 52. C. Dean, 2. A. Richards
C: 19. S.  Forbes, 8. K.  Owens, 12. C.  Jones
HF: 66. R. Byrnes, 29. B. King, 23. A. Hanrahan
F: 72. D. Chirgwin, 33. W. Kennedy, 27. J. Mahony
R: 28. J. Rendell, 74. H. Reynolds, 7. L. Stocker
Int: 51. N. Burke, 64. L. Butler, 17. J. Denborough, 38. J. Le Grice , 26. F. Maginness, 61. F. McAsey, 11. N. Stamatis
23P: 35. G. Grey

In: F. McAsey, L. Butler, J. Le Grice

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Preliminary Finals  – Saturday, September 15, 2pm
Ikon Park, Carlton North

In the second game of the day at Ikon Park, Gippsland Power will have to overcome the loss of Vic Country defender Kyle Reid, who is out of he side along with Jake Van Der Pligt and Mitch Bentvelzen. They have named six players to come into the side, with their extended team to be reduced by three. Zac Hurley, Brett Thorson, Luke Williams, Burkeley Macfarlane, Jack Hume and Mason McGannon are the six players into the side. Oakleigh has added tall, Matthew Warren, and father-son forward prospects Kyle Dunkley and Zac Hart to their extended side.

Gippsland Power

B: 40. Z. Hurley, 14. T. Hourigan, 15. R. Sparkes
HB: 18. M. McGannon, 12. B. Smith, 7. B. Patterson
C: 8. B.  Beck, 6. R.  Baldi, 29. B.  Motton
HF: 9. I. Mosquito, 23. N. Gown, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 4. S. Flanders, 16. J. Smith, 2. C. Serong
R: 22. R. Henkel, 11. A. Hodge, 5. X. Duursma
Int: 10. L. Connolly, 13. N. Lowden, 31. B. Macfarlane, 3. M. McGannon, 37. H. Pepper, 33. B. Thorson, 32. L. Williams
23P: 34. J. Hume

In: Z. Hurley, B. Thorson, L. Williams, B. Macfarlane, J. Hume, M. McGannon
Out: K. Reid,  J. van der Pligt,  M. Bentvelzen

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 3. J. Ayton-Delaney, 36. C. Beasley, 16. L. Westwood
HB: 17. T. Bianco, 4. W. Kelly, 23. I. Quaynor
C: 31. W.  Golds, 32. J.  Ross, 11. M.  Rowell
HF: 26. J. Gasper, 7. J. Robertson, 10. C. Whitehead
F: 8. N. Anderson, 22. D. Williams, 13. A. Bosenavulagi
R: 30. B. Wraith, 9. J. Rowbottom, 12. N. Answerth
Int: 1. R. Collier-Dawkins, 6. M. Day, 14. K. Dunkley, 38. Z. Hart, 64. J. Jordon, 5. X. O’Neill, 33. M. Warren
23P: 44. W. Phillips

In: M. Warren, K. Dunkley, Z. Hart

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Elimination finals

THERE is no turning back now for the eight remaining TAC Cup sides as regular season form is thrown out the window in the first week of finals. The eight teams have made minimal changes to their sides, with no more than three confirmed outs from sides heading into the elimination finals.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Elimination Finals  – Saturday, September 8, 12pm IKON Park, Carlton North

Dandenong has a luxury of talls at its disposal and have recalled Riley Bowman to the side, who will slot into full-forward replacing Bailey Schmidt for the first elimination final. Also recalled to an extended bench are Reid Nanscawen, Corey Ellison, Luca Goonan and Ned Cahill, while Jack Toner is the other out from the Stingrays side. For the eighth placed GWV Rebels, they also have an extended bench with Elliott Lamb, Tynan Shannon, Joel O’Connell, Mitchell Burgess and Lochie Dawson named in the side. Harrison Butler and Ben Dodd are the two confirmed outs for the Rebels.

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 12. M. Gahan, 56. M. Cumming, 41. L. Stenning HB: 58. W. Hamill, 32. D. Frampton, 10. L. Young C: 49. M.  Cottrell, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 9. Z.  Foot HF: 27. L. McDonnell, 29. B. Williams, 7. J. Taylor F: 15. T. Bedford, 13. R. Bowman, 59. S. Sturt R: 36. S. Cumming, 1. S. Fletcher, 17. F. Bayne Int: 52. C. Ellison, 16. J. Frawley, 45. L. Goonan, 57. R. Nanscawen, 3. J. Plumridge, 18. M. Riordan, 2. H. Young 23P: 11. E. Cahill

In: L. Goonan, E. Cahill, R. Nanscawen, C. Ellison, R. Bowman Out: B. Schmidt,  J. Toner

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 10. J. Lohmann, 43. J. Wright, 26. R. Ranieri HB: 48. J. Cleaver, 18. B. Helyar, 5. H. Jennings C: 24. M.  Lloyd, 3. S.  Carlin, 30. I.  Wareham HF: 1. C. Craig-Peters, 20. T. Watts, 14. J. Hill F: 21. I. Grant, 6. C. Wilson, 7. M. Martin R: 29. P. Glanford, 27. E. Lamb, 2. M. Schnerring Int: 32. M. Burgess, 9. L. Dawson, 47. T. Mahony, 45. D. McEldrew, 34. J. O’Connell, 44. R. Polkinghorne, 25. T. Shannon 23P: 50. J. Ugle-Hagan

In: E. Lamb, T. Shannon, J. O’Connell, M. Burgess, L. Dawson Out: H. Butler, B. Dodd

GIPPSLAND POWER v. GEELONG FALCONS

Elimination Finals  – Saturday, September 8, 2.30pm IKON Park, Carlton North

In the second all-Country elimination final, Gippsland has made at least three changes to the team that defeated Eastern Ranges a fortnight ago. Matt Ryan, Ben Maslen and Wade Anderson have been confirmed as out, while Harrison Pepper, Boadie Motton, Austin Hodge, Josh Wykes, Aaron Young and Luke Williams are all back into the side. For the Falcons, they have gone in unchanged showing faith in the side that got the job done in the Wild Card Round against the Cannons. Geelong have added Brady Campi, Baxter Mensch and Harrison Whyte to an extended bench.

Gippsland Power

B: 12. B. Smith, 14. T. Hourigan, 15. R. Sparkes HB: 18. M. McGannon, 25. K. Reid, 7. B. Patterson C: 8. B.  Beck, 5. X.  Duursma, 29. B.  Motton HF: 9. I. Mosquito, 23. N. Gown, 20. H. Neocleous F: 4. S. Flanders, 16. J. Smith, 11. A. Hodge R: 22. R. Henkel, 6. R. Baldi, 2. C. Serong Int: 10. L. Connolly, 13. N. Lowden, 37. H. Pepper, 35. J. van der Pligt, 32. L. Williams, 38. J. Wykes, 45. A. Young 23P: 36. M. Bentvelzen

In: H. Pepper, B. Motton, A. Hodge, J. Wykes, A. Young, L. Williams Out: M. Ryan,  B. Maslen,  W. Anderson

Geelong Falcons

B: 40. J. Clark, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 7. C. Harris HB: 20. B. Ham, 31. C. Cartledge, 21. L. Smith C: 8. E.  McHenry, 6. D.  Madigan, 22. S.  Walsh HF: 1. J. Dahlhaus, 39. C. Idun, 9. B. Morton F: 36. C. Sprague, 48. B. Schlensog, 2. S. Torpy R: 44. S. Conway, 30. O. Brownless, 41. C. Stephens Int: 37. B. Campi, 10. B. Mensch, 34. C. Page, 32. F. Parish, 3. K. Rayner, 42. H. Spiller, 13. H. Whyte 23P: 15. T. Bruhn

In: B. Campi, B. Mensch, H. Whyte

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. WESTERN JETS

Elimination Finals  – Sunday, September, 9, 11am IKON Park, Carlton North

On Sunday, Oakleigh Chargers have made just the two confirmed changes from the side that belted the GWV Rebels by 15 goals in the final round. Will James and Daniel Scala are out, while overager Noah Answerth, Xavier O’Neill, Charlie Beasley, Matthew Day and Will Golds are back into the side to beef up the Chargers’ best 22. For the Jets, they have not made a change to their winning formula against Eastern Ranges last week, as Blake Colley, Jake Hazik and David Fruscalzo were named in an extended team.

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 3. J. Ayton-Delaney, 4. W. Kelly, 16. L. Westwood HB: 17. T. Bianco, 36. C. Beasley, 23. I. Quaynor C: 31. W.  Golds, 9. J.  Rowbottom, 11. M.  Rowell HF: 26. J. Gasper, 7. J. Robertson, 10. C. Whitehead F: 8. N. Anderson, 22. D. Williams, 13. A. Bosenavulagi R: 30. B. Wraith, 32. J. Ross, 12. N. Answerth Int: 1. R. Collier-Dawkins, 6. M. Day, 20. F. Elliot, 38. Z. Hart, 64. J. Jordon, 5. X. O’Neill, 33. M. Warren 23P: 44. W. Phillips

In: N. Answerth , X. O’Neill, C. Beasley, M. Day, W. Golds Out: W. James,  D. Scala

Western Jets

B: 48. A. Britten, 37. H. Murphy, 15. M. Hearne HB: 25. S. Johnson, 38. B. Khamis, 39. S. Radovanovic C: 17. D.  Andrews , 7. J.  Watkins, 20. D.  Cassar HF: 3. L. Failli, 31. E. Jeka, 24. J. Honey F: 10. S. Kyriazis, 45. A. Clarke, 49. D. Pantalleresco R: 47. D. Walters, 12. C. Thar, 33. X. O’Halloran Int: 18. B. Colley, 29. D. Fruscalzo, 1. J. Hazik, 22. O. Manton, 28. J. Papachatzakis, 6. L. Rocci, 2. T. Rudic 23P: 16. C. White

In: B. Colley, J. Hazik, D. Fruscalzo

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Elimination Finals  – Sunday, September 9, 1.30pm IKON Park, Carlton North

In the last elimination final of the weekend, both Sandringham Dragons and Murray Bushrangers have made at least three changes for Sunday’s match. Callum Jones, Nicholas Burke, Troy Brimble, Finn Maginness, Kai Owens and Jack Mahony have all been included in the extended side, while Jack Bell, Jeremy Goddard and Oscar McMaster are the three confirmed outs. For the Bushrangers, they are the only side to have named just 23 players this weekend, with Robert Paradzayi, Ben Kelly and Kai Davies all into the side for Rory Quinn, Cameron Wilson and Will Christie.

Sandringham Dragons

B: 18. A. Seaton, 69. C. Watts, 48. J. Worrell HB: 53. H. Ralphsmith, 52. C. Dean, 2. A. Richards C: 19. S.  Forbes, 8. K.  Owens, 12. C.  Jones HF: 66. R. Byrnes, 29. B. King, 23. A. Hanrahan F: 72. D. Chirgwin, 33. W. Kennedy, 27. J. Mahony R: 28. J. Rendell, 7. L. Stocker, 74. H. Reynolds Int: 13. T. Brimble, 51. N. Burke, 17. J. Denborough, 38. J. Le Grice , 26. F. Maginness, 61. F. McAsey, 11. N. Stamatis 23P: 35. G. Grey

In: C. Jones, N. Burke, T. Brimble, F. Maginness, K. Owens, J. Mahony Out: J. Bell,  J. Goddard,  O. McMaster

Murray Bushrangers

B: 11. E. Adams, 59. L. Fiore, 55. R. Paradzayi HB: 34. T. Boyd, 16. N. Murray, 19. J. Boyer C: 26. R.  Bice, 5. E.  Smith, 10. P.  Warner HF: 7. Z. Barzen, 2. J. Butts, 6. W. Chandler F: 12. L. Ash, 18. H. Garoni, 13. B. Frauenfelder R: 35. F. Bollinghaus, 9. M. Walker, 38. D. Clarke Int: 20. J. Bradshaw, 58. E. Hollands, 40. N. Irvine, 3. B. Kelly 23P: 50. K. Davies

In: R. Paradzayi, B. Kelly, K. Davies Out: R. Quinn, C. Wilson, W. Christie

Walsh favourite in open field for Morrish Medal

GEELONG Falcons dynamo Sam Walsh is predicted to be the front runner in Sunday’s Morrish Medal count, despite playing just the 10 games in the TAC Cup competition if the AFL Draft Central predictions are anything to go by. The number one pick contender is likely to poll votes in as many as eight games, including his last five since returning from the National Under 18 Championships. He is not alone in the stakes for the medal, with AFL Draft Central predicting a number of other contenders hot on his heels, with nine of the top 10 placegetters in our count from different TAC Cup clubs.

Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons)

The Falcons midfielder has enjoyed a terrific season in 2018, firing on all cylinders since returning from the championships, and expect him to power home like Hugh McCluggage did in 2016 with a huge run home. It is almost hard to ignore him in most games, and we have him polling in eight of a possible 10 matches, and usually with the three or two votes. Some heavy losses to Geelong at times will not help, but he missed quite a few of the mid-year games where the Falcons had trouble.

Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power)

The biggest challenger to Walsh is fellow captain, Gippsland Power midfielder, Xavier Duursma. He also missed games due to National Under 18 Championships, and also missed a game due to injury, but when he has played, he has been ultra-consistent. He will have plenty of teammates threatening to take votes off him such as Noah Gown, Kyle Reid or Riley Baldi among others, but if the umpires saw him as the key in many of the Power’s wins, Duursma is in with a huge chance of causing an upset.

Liam Stocker (Sandringham Dragons)

Prior to returning in Round 9 following injury, we predicted Liam Stocker to be sitting on just four votes. Over four of the next five games we predicted Stocker would pick up 10 votes, before collecting another three on the weekend for a big weekend in the umpires eyes. He is one who could poll even better if the umpires vote him ahead of the Kings or Bailey Smith, but when they played they dominated.

Charlie Wilson (GWV Rebels)

The GWV Rebels forward is a bit of an unknown come Morrish Medal night because he is one who could poll regularly, or be the one that gets left behind being a forward instead of a midfielder. But his consistency through the mid-season and on the back straight is not to be underestimated, having at least three best on grounds in the run home.

Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons)

You get the feeling he could be pushing Walsh if Geelong had won more games, but expect Ham and Walsh to combine for the top two votegetters on a few occasions. He has that eye-catching ability that is likely to poll him quite a few votes, but like Wilson, it just depends if they opt for that powerful forward who can play up the ground – and in defence at times – or if they opt for pure midfielders with the votes.

Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets)

The Jets captain is likely to run out to an early lead in the count with a strong season pre-Under 18 Championships. Aside from a couple of quiet games in the first month, we predict O’Halloran to be on 11 votes after seven rounds. From there though others have stood out more with the votes shared around late in the season, but is sure to poll well early. It will be interesting to see how the votes are divided up between himself and Connor Thar, in particular.

Mitch Podhajski (Calder Cannons)

It is a bit hard to read how the Cannons co-captain will poll because he spent time in the Victorian Football League (VFL) throughout the season, and will have to fight the likes of Rhylee West and Jack Bytel for votes at either end of the season. His purple patch from Rounds 12 to 14 could see him rack up quite a few votes with at least two best on grounds, and be another top 10 certainty one would think.

Ely Smith (Murray Bushrangers)

A slow start to the season, but once he got going, he really got going. Had the luxury of playing the majority of games, and had no trouble finding the ball. The fact he caught the eye of Vic Country coaches to be a late-call up, one would think he would catch the eye of the umpires as well.

Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong Stingrays)

Dandenong is the toughest team to read how votes will go. They won 15 of a possible 16 votes which means the most votes of any side. The problem? The votes are likely to be split by as many as 12 players who could float in and out as the top vote getters. Captain Campbell Hustwaite is likely to poll the most for the Stingrays, but we also have Bailey Williams, Riley Bowman, Sam Fletcher, Corey Ellison, Matthew Cottrell and Zac Foot all polling in multiple games.

Jake Gasper (Oakleigh Chargers)

In the same boat as Wilson and Ham, comes Oakleigh Chargers’ Jake Gasper. Like Dandenong, Oakleigh is hard to predict where votes will go given the high volume of top performances. Jack Ross, Trent Bianco, James Rowbottom, Isaac Quaynor and Noah Anderson are among those who we have predicted will poll solidly.

 

In terms of club leading vote getters of the three remaining clubs, Bendigo’s Noah Wheeler seems the clear choice for the Pioneers and will likely attract votes in the games where Bendigo got close, or won. Eastern Ranges’ bottom-ager Mitch Mellis is one of a number of players who could poll the most from the other bottom two side, while Northern has a number of contenders fighting over votes, but we have thought Josh D’Intinosante might be the top pick of the bunch. Others just outside the top 10 elsewhere are Stingrays duo Williams and Bowman, Murray trio Lachlan Ash, Hudson Garoni and Laitham Vandermeer, and Oakleigh trio Ross, Bianco and Rowbottom.

 

AFL Draft Central Predicted Leaderboard:

Sam Walsh (Geelong) 21 votes
Xavier Duursma (Gippsland) 20
Liam Stocker (Sandringham) 17
Charlie Wilson (GWV) 15
Brayden Ham (Geelong) 14
Xavier O’Halloran (Western) 14
Ely Smith (Murray) 14
Mitch Podhajski (Calder) 13
Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong) 12
Jake Gasper (Oakleigh) 12

Top by club not mentioned above:

Bendigo: Noah Wheeler (8)
Eastern: Mitch Mellis (7)
Northern: Josh D’Intinosante (10)

Votes by Club:

Dandenong Stingrays (75)
Gippsland Power (68)
Oakleigh Chargers (67)
Murray Bushrangers (58)
Sandringham Dragons (52)
Calder Cannons (47)
Geelong Falcons (46)
Western Jets (45)
Northern Knights (41)
GWV Rebels (36)
Eastern Ranges (24)
Bendigo Pioneers (17)