Tag: dylan riley

State leagues preview: VFL returns, WAFL top spot on the line

WITH lockdown over in Victoria, the VFL is back into full swing with 10 matches this weekend to complement the continuation of all the action across the WAFL, QAFL and TSL. The SANFL will not go ahead this weekend in line with current South Australian restrictions.

Western Australia (WAFL):

Round 17 WAFL action is headlined by ladder leaders Subiaco taking on the in form West Perth at Leederville Oval. The clash could go down to the wire with the two sides almost inseparable when Subiaco won their Round 3 meeting 14.10 (94) to 14.7 (91). An unkind weather forecast threatens to ruin what could be a shootout between three of the top five leaders in the Bernie Naylor Medal. Tyler Keitel and Keegan Knott have both been prolific this season for Subiaco, while Ben Sokol will be looking to add more goals to his tally as the Falcons search for their seventh consecutive win which could draw them level on points with the Lions.

Elsewhere, Claremont will face the eighth placed East Perth, with the chance to move into outright first on the ladder if West Perth are to defeat Subiaco. Jye Bolton is averaging 31.6 disposals per game for the Tigers and will be looking to lead his side to a third straight win. South Fremantle and Swan Districts have the chance to put a big gap between the top and bottom five when they face sixth and seventh placed Peel Thunder and East Fremantle respectively. The two bottom sides will go head-to-head when Perth host West Coast at Mineral Resources Park.

Tasmania (TSL):

This weekend’s matches get underway with the Tigers hosting Glenorchy with both teams hungry for a win after the Tigers went down by two points to Lauderdale last week, while the Magpies suffered a 25-point loss to Clarence. A win for the Tigers can reduce the gap to just four points between them and the third placed Roos, and Glenorchy will be looking to jump Lauderdale who took their spot after the conclusion of Round 17. The Bombers will face a tough contest against North Launceston at UTAS Stadium, while things could turn ugly when top of the ladder Launceston, fresh off a bye, face the wooden spooners North Hobart. Dylan Riley has kicked 18 goals in two matches against the Demons this season and will be eyeing another big haul this weekend. Clarence have the bye in Round 18.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

The VFL will return to action this weekend following the news of Victoria’s lockdown being lifted with all but two teams in action as Geelong and GWS will have a bye this round. The third-placed Demons will host the 9-0 Bulldogs in the most anticipated clash of the round. The Demons will be eager to win the contest to reduce the current eight-point gap between the two teams – with Casey having played one less game – while the Dogs will be fighting to regain top spot taken by Southport. The Sharks will face the Suns this week, after both sides took part in the three games last weekend. While Gold Coast went down to a makeshift GWS side by 40 points, Southport was at its dominant best against the Lions coming out victorious by 109 points. The Sharks will look to continue their form and keep the pressure on the Dogs.

In another intriguing battle Box Hill will travel to the Holden Centre to take on Collingwood. The Hawks have won their last five games and a win can see them leapfrog the Cats into fourth position. As for the Pies, who sit in eighth, a win is required to hold off Williamstown who are just two points behind in ninth position. The Seagulls face Coburg, who have recorded just three wins for the season, and they will fancy their chances to move into the eight if the Pies or even the Dolphins are unsuccessful this weekend. The Tigers will meet the Dolphins on Sunday, and they will also be desperate for a win after losing their last three in a row.

Elsewhere, Essendon will remain in the Sunshine State to take on Aspley, with Brisbane also hosting the Swans up north. The Roos will welcome Port Melbourne to Arden Street with the home side enjoying some good form as of late, recording their three wins for the season consecutively, before they just went down to the Bulldogs by 11 points in their last match. Sandringham and Carlton will do battle on Saturday, with the Zebras having won four of their last five to keep them in the finals mix, as the Northern Bullants take on Werribee at Preston City Oval.

Queensland (QAFL):

Fifth-placed Maroochydore will do battle with third-placed Redland-Victoria Point giving the Roos a chance to go level with the Sharks on the ladder. Fans can expect a close game with plenty of goals like their round 7 meeting when the Sharks won 15.12 (108) to 13.8 (86). On that day, Jacob Murphy and Mitchell Scholard went goal for goal, both booting five majors each. Labrador will look to hold their position, a game clear on top of the ladder, when they take on Palm Beach Currumbin as second-placed Broadbeach host the winless Noosa giving them a great chance to keep the pressure on the ladder leaders.

In other matches, Mt Gravatt and Morningside will meet at the Southside Toyota Oval, while Sherwood Distrcits will be looking to keep themselves in the finals mix with a win over second-last Wilston Grange.

State leagues preview: Covid chaos again for VFL

ANOTHER round and yet another COVID-19 curveball has been thrown at the VFL with situations in NSW and now Victoria forcing changes to be made. Elsewhere, state leagues will play out as per normal under minimal restrictions.

South Australia (SANFL):

A couple of big clashes to look forward to this weekend with the undefeated Glenelg looking to extend their winning run to 14 when third-placed South Adelaide come to town. The two teams last met in round seven at the Flinders University Stadium where Glenelg was too strong coming away with a 40-point win. Expect Tiger Liam McBean, who leads the league for most goals, to add to his tally, while Bryce Gibbs (South Adelaide) and Luke Partington (Glenelg) could have a nice duel in the centre as the second and third leading ball-winners across the comp.

Fourth-placed Norwood will take on second-placed Woodville-West Torrens at Coopers Stadium with a chance for the home side to draw level on points with the Eagles if they are to win. Both teams come in off a win last week against bottom five teams, but it will be the Redlegs who will need to come out firing after they lost to the Eagles back in Round 8 by 47 points.

In other matches, Adelaide will be looking to close the game between the top five and bottom five with an away victory over the fifth placed Roosters who have won three games on the trot. A key aspect for Adelaide will be trying to stop the likes of Lewis Hender, Dyson Hilder and even Lachie Wilsdon who kicked eight straight last week playing his first minutes up forward for the year.

Port Adelaide will be hoping Adelaide win, which would give them a chance to enter the top five provided they get the victory against bottom side West Adelaide, and ninth placed Central Districts will host seventh placed Sturt on Saturday.

Western Australia (WAFL):

With Round 15 getting underway and the top five separating themselves from the bottom five, it’s a big game for the likes of Peel Thunder and East Fremantle if they both want to narrow the points differential. Peel is hosting second placed Claremont on Sunday, and with the two teams matching up just over a month ago Peel will be confident of putting up a strong fight, having just lost the last game by seven points in Round 10.

East Fremantle meanwhile will take on fourth-placed West Perth who are looking to continue their four-game winning streak at home. Swan Districts and South Fremantle will do battle at Steel Blue Oval with both teams looking to hunt down the top two positions on the ladder. The Swans and the Bulldogs are both looking to make it a hat-trick of victories and this one could go down to the wire. Top of the table Subiaco will take on the struggling West Coast who have only won two games for the season, and a close game could be in the works with Perth and East Perth sitting eighth and ninth respectively facing off at Mineral Resources Park.

Tasmania (TSL):

Round 16 action features the top four teams all coming up against one another. The 12-1 league leaders Launceston will take on the Tigers on their home patch. Goal kicking spearhead Dylan Riley has kicked nine goals in two games this season against the Tigers and will be hunting another bag this weekend.

Clarence will be looking to replicate their round three result against North Launceston where they came away with a 11-point victory, before losing by 34-points when they played at UTAS stadium in Round 10. The Bombers sit one spot above Clarence on the ladder with two games separating them, so a win for the Roos is much needed.

Fifth and sixth placed teams Lauderdale and Glenorchy are playing each other at Lauderdale Oval on Saturday and it’s the home side who desperately need a win to try and make up an eight-point difference between the two teams.

 

Picture credit: Adam McFarlane

State Leagues wrap: Full-time action resumes

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

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

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

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

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

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

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

South Australia (SANFL):

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

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

Tasmania (TSL):

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

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

Western Australia (WAFL):

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

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

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

Image Credit: Jonathan Di Maggio/AFL Photos

State Leagues wrap: Finals spots shaken up

THERE were some key changes to finals calculations across the state league this weekend, with ladder leaders soaring as the following packs jostle for position. Victorian sides still await their return, but it was business as usual in South Australia and Tasmania, while West Australian fans had two fixtures to take in on Saturday and Sunday. We run you through all the results and outstanding performances in this week’s state league wrap.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

Teams from everywhere but Victoria carried the Victorian Football League through another round of action, with three AFL reserves sides taking the field across a pair on Saturday afternoon fixtures. The first saw Gold Coast complete a dramatic turnaround against Sydney Swans, with first year utility Joel Jeffrey putting the SUNS ahead in the dying stages having trailed by as much as 38 points in term two. An eight-goal third quarter blitz set up the 17.5 (107) to 16.8 (104) victory, with Jeffrey among four SUNS to boot three goals. Brayden Fiorini racked up a game-high 45 disposals upon returning to the grade, as Sydney bigman Hayden McLean claimed four majors.

In the day’s second fixture, over at Blacktown International Sportspark, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) stormed home with seven final term goals to topple Aspley by 49 points. Having been trialled in numerous roles, GIANTS youngster Jake Riccardi returned to his familiar forward post and bagged eight goal to spearhead his side’s victory. Up the other end, competition leading goalkicker Matthew Hammelmann snared six of the Hornets’ nine major scores, as teammate Matthew Payne led all comers for disposals (32). Young GIANTS Tanner Bruhn (25 disposals, two goals) and Kieren Briggs (23 disposals, 28 hitouts, one goal) were also outstanding.

With Victorian teams back in training as of last week, a return normal programming should be just around the corner. Southport currently tops the ladder at 6-1 having played twice more than most other teams, while Casey Demons and Footscray remain undefeated at 5-0 to sit second and third respectively.

South Australia (SANFL):

Woodville-West Torrens moved up to second spot with a comprehensive 68-point drubbing of Port Adelaide, seeing the Magpies drop to fifth. The Eagles broke away with 10 goals to one after half time, with Jack Hayes (28 disposals, three goals) and James Tsitas (41 disposals, eight clearances) among the prominent figures. Jarrod Lienert was kept busy for Port, registering 14 rebound 50s among his 26 disposals as first year forward Ollie Lord showed some promise with two goals and three contested marks.

The Eagles overtook South Adelaide in second, as the Panthers went down to Norwood by nine points. Mitch Grigg continued his return to form for the Redlegs, racking up 34 touches and booting three goals in the win while Matthew Nunn (29 disposals) and Richard Douglas (19, one goal) also played key hands. Former AFL veterans Matthew Broadbent (25 disposals) and Bryce Gibbs (24, 11 clearances and one goal) stood up for the Panthers, as 200-gamer Joel Cross also hit the scoreboard and top draft prospect Jason Horne booted a goal from his 19 touches.

Ladder leader Glenelg moved to an ominous 10-0, defeating North Adelaide by 23 points as Liam McBean (five goals) and Matthew Snook (34 disposals) took hold. Meanwhile, Adelaide jumped Sturt after its 10-point win over the Double Blues, which saw senior-listed players Jackson Hately (31 disposals, seven clearances and one goal) and Billy Frampton (three goals) knock on the door for a call-up.

Tasmania (TSL):

Round 11 of the Tasmanian State League (TSL) went largely as expected, with ladder position telling the story of all three results. The round of action opened on Friday night as Tigers stormed KGV to come away 22-point victors over Glenorchy, seeing the visitors stretch the gap to their weekend opponents to three wins. Max Collidge booted three goals for Tigers, while Riley Oakley snared two for the Magpies as Edward Cole and Nathan Blowfield were named best afield for their respective sides.

North Launceston maintained its chase for top spot on Saturday, doubling Lauderdale’s score to win by 35 points in enemy territory. 14 of the combined 15 goals scored were kicked at one end of the ground, with the Northern Bombers dealing more damaging blows in the first and third terms. Jay Foon booted a game-high three goals and was named the victors’ best player, while Phillip Bellchambers snared two for Lauderdale as Rhys Sutton earned the coaches votes.

Competition leading goalkicker Dylan Riley enjoyed another day out, booting eight majors in Launceston’s 103-point thumping of North Hobart. Riley has bullied the Demons this season, kicking 18 goals in two meetings – including a season-high bag of 10. Alec Wright also featured prominently for the table topping Blues, while Callum Fitzpatrick was named the best for North Hobart after a tough outing.

Western Australia (WAFL):

Claremont rose to the top of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) ladder in Round 10, coming from behind to beat Peel Thunder by seven points on Saturday. The Tigers trailed at each of the first three breaks, before piling on five goals in the final term to sneak ahead at the clutch. Jye Bolton continued his dominance with another 35 disposals and nine inside 50s for Claremont, as youngster Jack Buller booted four goals in the win. Fremantle-listed midfielder Luke Valente was Peel’s biggest ball winner (26 disposals), as the Thunder again yielded a heavy amount of rotations.

The round’s sole other fixture came on Sunday, with East Perth causing a boilover to beat reigning premier South Fremantle by five points. The Royals were ahead at each break and while South remained within striking distance, they were unable to turn the tables and snatch victory. The Bulldogs still sit pretty comfortably in third though, with the Royals’ second win sees them remain ninth. The likes of Angus Scott (26 disposals), Angus Schumacher and Shayne Hill were terrific for East Perth, as Chad Pearson (29 disposals) led all comers and Brandon Donaldson (four goals) proved potent going forward for South Freo.

Image Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

State Leagues wrap: Ladder leaders flex muscle

A PAIR of fixtures saw the Victorian Football League (VFL) return on Saturday amid Victoria’s lockdown, while it was business as usual for state leagues around the nation. The West and South Australian leagues both rolled on into their ninth round of action, while the 10th set of fixtures were played in Queensland and Tasmania. We take you through the most eye-catching results and efforts across the state leagues this past weekend.

Queensland (QAFL):

Broadbeach extended its undefeated streak with a 51-point thumping of Palm Beach Currumbin (PBC), headlining the five games played on Saturday afternoon. Jordan Moncrieff snared a bag of six goals in the Cats’ big win, with Lucas Jellyman-Turner named best afield and Gold Coast Academy member Bodhi Uwland also prominent.

Mitchell Scholard was another to boot a bag, claiming five majors in Maroochydore’s 41-point win over Surfers Paradise. Top-age SUNS Academy standout Max Pescud finished as the Demons’ sole multiple goalkicker (two) as Daniel Charlesworth earned top votes in the loss. The Roos hopped up to second, with help from Labrador’s bye and Sherwood Districts’ upset win over Morningside. Thomas Baulch slammed home six goals for the Magpies, who now sit seventh behind Surfers Paradise, but have a sizeable percentage to make up.

Elsewhere, Redland-Victoria Point moved clear in fifth after feasting on the winless Noosa, with Peter Yagmoor snagging an equal round-high six majors, while Wilston Grange drew level on points with Mt Gravatt after beating the Vultures by 19 points.

South Australia (SANFL):

Glenelg clawed its way back from a 48-point half time deficit against Norwood to keep its perfect record (9-0) intact and remain clear atop the SANFL ladder. The Bays booted the last eight goals of the game, with that streak starting and ending via the boot of Toby Pink. Matthew Snook played a key hand in his side’s miraculous turnaround with 27 disposals and 11 tackles, while the returning Matthew Nunn (29 disposals, 2.4) was instrumental for the Redlegs.

On the same Sunday, second-ranked South Adelaide survived a scare of its own against West Adelaide, holding on to win by three points at Hisense Stadium. Connor Fairlie nearly proved the hero for Westies, booting two of his three goals in the final term but missed a tough chance to put his side ahead late in the piece. He and Thomas Keough snared three majors apiece, while Kaine Stevens racked up a game-high 35 disposals for the Bloods. Joseph Haines had it 31 times for South, while Bryce Gibbs notched 28 touches as his side had a spread of 10 individual goalkickers.

On Saturday, Woodville-West Torrens and North Adelaide notched more comfortable wins against bottom three opposition, with the Eagles beating Central District by 29 points, while the Roosters came away 40 points to the good against Adelaide.

Tasmania (TSL):

Competition frontrunners Launceston and North Launceston came up trumps in dual top four battles, as the Blues accounted for the fourth-placed Tigers to the tune of 26 points, while the Northern Bombers breezed past third-ranked Clarence by 34 points. The results see Launceston remain top with a game in hand to North Launceston, with the top four ultimately unchanged.

Dylan Riley booted five goals for the Blues in their win, while Liam Jones provided a couple of highlights on debut. In the round’s other fixture, Glenorchy moved clear in fifth spot with its 19-point win over Lauderdale. North Hobart had the bye in Round 9, but will return against Launceston on Sunday afternoon.

Victoria (VFL):

New-South Wales and Queensland carried the load of the Victorian-branded competition in Round 8, with a game played in each state on Saturday. In the morning at Tramway Oval, Southport moved clear atop the table with a 15-point comeback win over the Sydney Swans, thanks to a six-goal final quarter. The Sharks doubled their goal tally in said term, as Jacob Dawson finished with dominant figures of 41 disposals and two goals. He now leads the league for disposals and handballs. Lewis Taylor and Marc Sheather booted three majors each for the Swans, while Ryan Clarke racked up 34 touches.

The afternoon hitout at Graham Road Oval between Aspley and Brisbane Lions ended in dramatic fashion, as Hornets spearhead Matthew Hammelmann marked and kicked a goal just after the final siren, but thought he had won his side the game. The score did not count, and Brisbane came away one-point winners. Hammelmann, the competition’s leading goalkicker, snared five majors this time out, while former-Lion Ryan Bastinac racked up 37 disposals. Current Brisbane barometer Rhys Mathieson led all comers with 39 touches, as Connor Ballenden clunked 10 marks and Connor McFadyen was one of three Lions to boot three goals.

With Round 7 fixtures postponed last week due to the Victorian lockdown, the competition is set to return this week but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

Western Australia (WAFL):

WAFL fixtures were spread from Thursday night to Monday afternoon in Round 9, with frontrunners Subiaco and Claremont both picking up wins and moving to 7-1 records. The Lions thumped Perth by 98 points on Thursday, as Ben Sokol feasted on six majors and Gregory Clark notched a game-high 42 touches. Subi tall Lachlan Delahunty (30 disposals, 24 hitouts, one goal) was also dominant, while Simon Hayward finished with Perth’s lone goal of the game.

State league standout Jye Bolton ran riot in Claremont’s 27-point victory over West Coast, collecting a monster 49 disposals, 12 marks and a goal. Four other Tigers ticked over 30 touches, while five of their nine individual goalkickers booted multiples. Eagles mid-season draftee Connor West made an immediate impact in his new colours, finishing on a team-high 29 disposals and snaring a goal.

In the second Saturday fixture, Swan Districts moved clear in the top five with an eight-point win over the inaccurate Peel Thunder, who slide to seventh. West Perth kicked off proceedings on Monday with a 43-point win over East Perth, highlighted by eight goals to spearhead Tyler Keitel. South Fremantle bettered East Fremantle by 16 points to see out the round, seeing the reigning premiers sit comfortably in third, just one win adrift from the top two.

Image Credit: David Mariuz/SANFL

State leagues preview: Pressure on undefeated sides

AS the weekend approaches, state leagues around the country prepare for another big round of footy. With high stakes across the board, don’t be surprised to see some thrilling contests.

Victoria:

The VFL will be holding less games this week, with eight teams set to have a bye this weekend as the competition breaks up the matches with the added interstate teams. However, this does not mean there will be a shortage of exciting matchups.

The Casey Demons were hoping to maintain their spot on top of the ladder with a win over the Sydney Swans at Casey Fields on Sunday morning, however that encounter has been delayed due to COVID-19 related issues. The Demons find themselves in first place after starting the season 3-0 with a handy percentage and their big win over North Melbourne last round will give them plenty of confidence despite not being able to head into a clash with the struggling Swans side. Sydney have started the season with just one win from their three games, with their heartbreak from last week’s three-point loss a driving factor for the Swans players.

Sunday afternoon will also see the Carlton Blue travelling to Whitten Oval to take on the undefeated Footscray Bulldogs in a tantalising matchup. Carlton have been no slumps this season, winning two out of their first three matches, and dominating Essendon by 49 points in round three. They will fancy themselves against the Dogs here, but it will be a tough task to slow down their opponents. Footscray soundly defeated the Northern Bullants to the tune of 43 points last week, marking their third win by over seven goals. Prized Bulldog Jamarra Ugle-Hagan continues to find his feet at this level, so expect him to have a big presence in the forward line. Carlton’s Will Setterfield will be looking to perform at the level that has seen him collect over 25 disposals in each of the last two games.

South Australia:

The SANFL season is flying as South Australia’s premier league heads into their sixth round of action. The most intriguing matchup of the round comes first as the Woodville-West Torrens host the South Adelaide Panthers in a clash that will prove vital for each of the two sides. The Panthers have lost just the one match from their first five games, good enough for second place on the ladder. Their chances will be bolstered by the return of Matthew Broadbent and Liam Fitt, while 17-year-old Matty Roberts will make his debut after a strong performance in the U18’s last round. The Eagles sit just behind their opponents in third place, having won one less game, but will be driven by last round’s loss to Port Adelaide. The inclusion of star forward Jack Hayes will give them a huge confidence boost heading into a crucial game on Saturday afternoon.

The Central District Bulldogs will be looking for their second win for the season as they prepare for this round’s match against Norwood at X Convenience Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs have had a less than ideal start to the season, finding themselves on the bottom of the ladder after six rounds, and have decided to change things up at selection. Key forward Connor McLean has been named in the forward pocket, in an attempt to stretch Norwood’s defence. Norwood could be recalling Mitch Grigg, who is named on the extended bench after his shocking relegation to the reserves in recent weeks. Grigg collected 20 touches in last week’s match, so don’t be surprised to see him line up for the senior side this week.

The SANFL showdown always delivers a buzz around Adelaide, with this year proving no exception, as the Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows prepare to go to war on Saturday afternoon at Adelaide Oval as a curtain raiser to the AFL match between the two sides. The Power find themselves just inside the top five based on percentage, but last week’s ten-goal win over the Eagles will see them enter this match with their tails up. Experienced defender Tyson Goldsack will debut for the side having overcome a knee injury, while potential draftee Jase Burgoyne will line up for the Power in his debut as a part of his work in the Power’s Next Generation academy. The Crows sit on the same amount of wins as their fifth-placed opponents, but find themselves down the pecking order in eighth place. They will unleash Tasmanian development player Oliver Davis on the wing, after being recruited from Clarence for the rest of the season.

Kicking off the Sunday football action, the North Adelaide Roosters will host the West Adelaide Bloods at Prospect Oval on Sunday afternoon, with both sides keen to take home a very important win. The Roosters have started the season with just the one win from five games, so a triumph in this match would be vital for reigniting their 2021 season. They will welcome back utility Sam McInerney, who will play his first match since 2019, following a series of back injuries, while former Hawk Billy Hartung has been named on a wing in his first game of the year. The West Adelaide Bloods will be hoping to ride the momentum of last week’s win over Central District into this week, as they look to enter the top five with a victory on Sunday. They will be welcoming mature-age recruit Nick Steele, who will be lining up at centre-half-forward for his first SANFL match.

Sturt face a tough task this round, as they face off against the top of the table Glenelg at ACH Group Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the round. Sturt have started the season with two wins and three losses from five games, with their round five triumph over the Crows coming by just one point. They have not confirmed their changes yet, with all inclusions named on the extended bench, and one of these inclusions is former Power player Riley Grundy, who could debut to boost his side’s backline. Glenelg have started the season like a house on fire, winning all five of their matches to date, and will be looking to keep their unbeaten streak rolling. As a result of their hot start, they will likely enter the clash unchanged.

Western Australia:

The sixth round of WAFL action kicks off with an absolute blockbuster, as Claremont travel to Leederville Oval to face off against a fired-up Subiaco side on Saturday afternoon. Claremont have not put a foot wrong in their start to the season, ending round five with a 4-0 record as the dominant team of the competition. Forward Jack Butler kicked five goals from nine scoring shots, so expect Subiaco to send their best defender to keep an eye on him all day. Subiaco started the season 3-0, but were handed their first loss of the season by South Fremantle in round five, so look for them to come out eager to make amends. Ruckman Lachlan Delahunty will play a crucial role in his side’s success, and if he can back up last week’s 21 disposal and 29 hitout effort, Subiaco’s midfield should gain ascendancy.

Perth will be hoping to move up the ladder with a second consecutive win as they prepare to take on a Peel Thunder side in a similar situation. Both sides sit at 2-2 on the season and a third win could see the victor move into the top four after this high-stake game. Perth broke a two-game losing streak with a five-goal win over East Fremantle last round in a promising display and would love to back it up this round. Brady Grey played his best game of the season last week, with 29 disposals, 11 marks and nine tackles, and was crucial in the win, and should prove important again this week. Peel Thunder dominated West Coast last week, crushing their opponents by 79 points, so they will be confident in their ability heading into this clash. Blair Bell is fresh off a six-goal haul against the Eagles, so keep an eye on his presence around goal.

Swan Districts will be looking to edge closer to top spot on the ladder with a win over a faulting West Perth team at Provident Financial Oval on Saturday afternoon. Swan Districts are on a three-game winning streak to see them currently sit with a 3-1 record in second place and will be heavy favourites this week. Midfielder Samuel Fisher is averaging 34.5 disposals on the season in a blistering start and should rack up plenty of the ball in this clash. West Perth have only managed the one win in the 2021 season, and look unlikely to snatch one here, but if they do, it could kickstart a promising campaign.

East Perth will have the opportunity to grab their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon, as they travel to Fremantle Community Bank Oval to take on South Fremantle. East Perth have started the season with a disappointing 0-4 record and sit second last on the ladder. Last week’s performance was promising as they pushed second placed Swan Districts right to the final siren, only falling two goals short of a massive upset. If they can bring a similar effort this week, they may finally sing the song. Edward Simpson booted five snags in the loss and should once again give defenders a headache. South Fremantle have won two games in a row to finally build some momentum as the season progresses. A win here could push them into the top three, so they will be eager to walk away victors. Haiden Schloithe has displayed his talents as a goalkicking midfielder all year so expect Saturday to prove no different.

The final match of round six will see East Fremantle host a West Coast side that is yet to compete all year, as the sides go head-to-head at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. East Fremantle are making a strong push for the top four, but last round’s loss to Perth made that slightly harder. They will be looking to grab this game with both hands early on, with Cameron Eardley likely to prove influential through the midfield. West Coast have simply looked off the pace all year, yet to register their first win and have been soundly beaten by plenty of sides. A bright spot for the season has been Hamish Brayshaw, who will look to find plenty of the ball around the ground.

Queensland:

QAFL action begins at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon, as Surfers Paradise host Noosa at Sir Bruce Small Park, as both sides look to recover from shaky starts. Surfers Paradise have won just the one game so far this year, and a loss here could see them fall right down in the race for the flag. Luckily for them, they face an out of form side, and a win would likely pump some life into their season. Look for Alby Jones to back up last week’s strong outing. Noosa are yet to win a game after four games and will be desperate to change that with a win this round. They were competitive against Sherwood Districts, but missed an opportunity to defeat a side that was also searching for their first win. Ryley Buntain has delivered two fantastic performances in losing sides, so he will be eager to walk off a winner.

Labrador will be thrilled with the opportunity to jump up the ladder as they head into Saturday afternoon’s clash with Mt Gravatt at Cooke-Murphy Oval. Labrador sit fourth on the ladder with three wins and one loss from their matches this year, and a win could see them reach second depending on results around the league. Heading into the match as favourites, their motivation will be high to continue to set themselves up as the season progresses. Former AFL gun Pearce Hanley has been on fire in the last two weeks, so if he is once again allowed to roam free, Labrador will be hard to stop. Mt Gravatt have won only the solitary game this year but have had two byes in five weeks. Nevertheless, a second win is crucial, and Saturday provides a perfectly good opportunity. Gavin Grose’s start to the year has been eye catching and should continue in this match.

A fresh Morningside team will be hosting Redland-Victoria Point at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday afternoon in an exciting matchup. Fresh off the bye, Morningside will be ready for the challenge from a strong Redland-Victoria Point side, as both sides look to climb the ladder with an important win on Saturday. Redland-Victoria Point’s Harrison Kerr has booted 11 goals in his past three games and will need to be held accountable if Morningside are to slow down the scoring of their opponent.

Sherwood Districts will be looking to cause an upset as they prepare to host an impressive Maroochydore at Sherwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Sherwood Districts have only won a single game this season, while their opponents have won three, so a boilover here looks unlikely, but stranger things have happened. Maroochydore sit second on the ladder, and if ladder leaders Broadbeach are beaten this round, a big win in this match could see them move to the top of the table. Keep an eye on Maroochydore’s Jacob Simpson, who has performed strongly all year. Sherwood Districts’ William Fletcher has been equally impressive and has also put his hand up as one to watch.

Wilston Grange face the tough task of slowing down the ladder leaders, as they host the undefeated Broadbeach at Hickey Park on Saturday afternoon. Wilston Grange have a 1-3 record after four games in an underwhelming start to the year, but a win here would truly send a message to the rest of the competition. They have the ability to kick a winning score, highlighted by Will McKenzie’s seven goals in his last two games. Broadbeach will be a tough beast to tame though. 4-0 on the season, they simply know how to get the job. With the top spot comes the pressure, and they will be eager to show they can more than handle it. Liam Nelson has been strong in the last three games and will be hoping to maintain this.

Tasmania:

The sixth round of TSL football kicks off with a bang as Clarence host competition powerhouse Launceston at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon. Launceston have looked unstoppable but face arguably their toughest challenger this week on their home deck. Clarence have looked fantastic this year, especially since returning to Blundstone Arena, and will fancy themselves a strong chance to knock off the reigning premiers on Saturday. The inclusion of experienced forward Josh Green should make them more dangerous forward of the ball. Launceston will be regaining stand-in captain Jake Hinds after serving his suspension, while Dylan Riley will be eager to continue the run of form that has seen him boot 19 goals in the last two matches.

Another key clash this weekend comes in the form of North Hobart taking on Glenorchy at North Hobart Oval on Saturday afternoon. Both sides sit with a 1-3 record and changing that to 2-3 is crucial for the season moving forward. North Hobart will bring in ruckman Logan Elphinstone to establish some midfield dominance. Glenorchy will be regaining the services of experienced midfielder Sam Rundle who should prove a crucial inclusion to the side.

The Tigers and North Launceston will clash at UTAS Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the final match of the round. The Tigers have a 3-2 record and had their colours lowered by a firing Clarence side last weekend, so they will be desperate to get back on the winners list. Star Elijah Reardon was kept reasonably quiet last round so he should be keen to bounce back in this game. North Launceston sit at 2-2 having played one less game than their opponent, but will regain the services of Bradley Cox-Goodyer, setting up a thrilling clash.

Picture credit: The Examiner

State Leagues Wrap: Weekend of thrillers

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

Victoria:

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

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

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

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

South Australia:

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

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

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

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

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

Western Australia:

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

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

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

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

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

Queensland:

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

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

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

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

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

Tasmania:

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

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

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

State Leagues Wrap: Plenty of big scores as teams find mojo

THE Aussie Rules state league action resumed this weekend around most parts of the country with plenty of enthralling contests. While most states went about their normal business, the WAFL was unfortunately cancelled due to the recently acquired COVID-19 cases and ensuing lockdown.

Victoria

The Western Bulldogs delivered a dominant performance, defeating the GWS Giants 21.9 (135) to 10.3 (63) on Thursday night’s VFL opener. In a star-studded contest, the Dogs proved too good, kicking eight goals to two in the third to essentially seal the result. Potentially the most watched player in the VFL so far this year, last year’s number one pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan once again impressed with a five-goal haul. With an injury to Bulldogs AFL tall Tim English, this could be the perfect opportunity for the 18-year-old to make his much-anticipated debut. Patrick Lipinski also impressed with 35 disposals and a goal in a strong claim to earn a debut to the AFL side. Giants recruit Jesse Hogan kicked four goals as he looks towards an AFL debut for GWS.

Gold Coast continue to adjust to life in Victoria as they defeated fellow interstate side Sydney Swans by 14 points in an exciting clash on Saturday morning. The Suns held off a fast-finishing Swans side to claim their first win of the season. Will Brodie was the Suns’ best with a massive 31 disposal, two goal performance through the midfield. Swan Dylan Stephens responded to his omission from the AFL side with 32 disposals in an eye-catching performance.

Carlton booted the biggest score of the round, triumphing over the Lions in a 24.10 (154) to 13.7 (85) win. Former Pie and Crow Ben Crocker booted seven goals in the victory, while AFL listed duo Will Setterfield (25 disposals, 10 tackles) and Paddy Dow (20 disposals, six tackles) both put their name in contention for a recall over the coming weeks. Omitted Lion Tom Fullarton was the best for his team on the day, stuffing the stat sheet with 34 disposals, 18 hitouts and a goal in a performance that should catch the eye of coaches.

It was a battle of two inaccurate sides as Essendon took down Collingwood with a 12.13 (85) to 6.14 (50) victory. Both sides wasted plenty of opportunities in front of goal, but ultimately the Bombers overwhelmed their opponents to walk away win. Essendon’s Tom Cutler put in a best on ground performance for the winning side, booting three snags to go with 27 disposals. Alec Waterman was reflective of his side, kicking 2.4 in what could’ve been a massive outing. Magpie Mason Cox fought hard in conditions not suited to big men, but will be facing a stint on the sidelines after finding himself reported.

South Australia

ANZAC round in the SANFL began with a victory to North Adelaide over their Norwood opponents by three goals at Hisense Stadium. The game began in close fashion, with only two points separating the sides at quarter time. North Adelaide began to kick away in the second and third quarters, before Norwood began a last quarter comeback that couldn’t be completed. Jordan Boyle was instrumental for North Adelaide, racking up 33 disposals and seven inside 50’s, while teammate Edward Allen was fantastic through the middle, with 24 disposals, nine tackles and five clearances. Norwood’s best was Jacob Kennerly with 22 disposals and 10 clearances.

Adelaide’s Billy Frampton was outstanding in his side’s 23-point win over the Central Districts at X Convenience Oval. Frampton booted seven goals to go with 19 disposals and 12 marks (nine contested) in a match winning performance. Frampton will surely be in contention for a recall at AFL level after Saturday’s match. Ruckman Kieran Strachan continued his good performance with 38 hitouts, while David Mackay found plenty of the ball with 24 touches. Central Districts were well served in the loss by Luke Habel (31 disposals) and Aiden Grace (5 goals).

South Adelaide continued their undefeated season with a strong 39-point win over a struggling Sturt side at Flinders University Stadium. A close contest for the first three quarters, Sturt trailed by only a goal at the final break. South Adelaide absolutely blew the game wide open in the last quarter, kicking five goals to none in the final term to seal the game. Former AFL star Bryce Gibbs was exceptional for South Adelaide, finishing with 35 disposals, seven tackles and seven clearances in a best on ground display. Joel Cross was also strong for the victors, kicking three goals from his 24 disposals. Sturt defender Casey Voss was valiant in defeat, finishing with 26 touches and 13 rebound 50’s.

Glenelg have held off a determined Port Adelaide, to leave ACH Group Stadium with a narrow 10-point win. Inaccuracy cost the Power, as they finished with the same amount of scoring shots as their opponents, but lacked the ability to convert in key stages. For Glenelg, Lachie Hosie booted five goals, including two in the last quarter that proved crucial in the game’s result. Michael Virgin was also influential in the winning side, finding the ball 27 times to go with 16 marks. For the Power, Sam Powell-Pepper impressed with 34 disposals, eight tackles and eight clearances.

In a nail biting clash, Woodville-West Torrens defeated North Adelaide by three points in the final game of the ANZAC round. Eagle Joseph Sinor was the hero of the match, kicking the goal to give his side the lead deep into the last quarter, and North Adelaide couldn’t conjure a game-winning response in time. Former Crow Riley Knight was terrific for the winners with 27 disposals and a goal, while ruckman Jack Hayes was also strong with 21 disposals and 21 hitouts. For North Adelaide, Jarred Allmond and Alexander Spina combined for 62 disposals.

Tasmania

It was a tale of blowouts in the TSL with two games decided by over 90 points. In the first game of the round, North Launceston responded from last week’s loss in the perfect manner, belting Lauderdale by 93 points at Lauderdale Oval on Saturday. The game was over by the main break, with North Launceston kicking 13 goals to nil in the first half. For the winners, Jay Foon was his side’s best while Brandon Leary and Thomas Bennett combined for eight goals. For Lauderdale, Nat Franklin battled hard all day.

The remaining two games were played on ANZAC day, in a fantastic day for local football. Starting at Kingston Twin Oval, the Tigers cruised away with a 24-point victory over Glenorchy on Sunday afternoon. The first three quarters belonged to the Tigers, as they took a 46-point lead into the last quarter, before a late Glenorchy comeback stemmed the bleeding. Tiger Elijah Reardon continued his strong form, claiming best on ground honours, while Glenorchy’s Harrison Gunther kicked three goals to be his side’s best.

The final game of the round saw Launceston demolish North Hobart on their own home deck, running away with a 125-point triumph in a ruthless display. The match was tense for the first two quarters, with only eight points separating the two sides at half time. Launceston then produced one of the best quarters of the season, kicking 13 goals to none in the third quarter, and this was compounded by a six goal to none final term. Launceston’s Dylan Riley was magnificent, kicking nine goals in the second half to finish with 10 for the match. Jay Blackberry was also excellent, kicking two goals from 31 disposals. For North Hobart, Nicholas Jackson worked hard all day.

Queensland

Redland-Victoria Point have walked away with a textbook win over Palm Beach Currumbin, claiming a 60-point win at Totally Workwear Park on Saturday afternoon. A strong first half from the Sharks set up the win, with their opponents struggling to recover from the half time margin. For the winners, Jamie Ivers kicked five goals in a day out, while William Johnson was also a strong contributor. For Palm Beach Currumbin, Mitchell Johnson resumed his great start to the year, backing up last week’s four goals with five goals on Saturday.

Broadbeach have sent a message to the rest of the competition, smashing Sherwood Districts by 102 points at Sherwood Oval. It was a four-quarter performance from the visitors, kicking at least five goals in every quarter and never giving the opposition a chance. Broadbeach’s Sam Jasper kicked a stunning eight goals and was easily his side’s best on the day but had strong support from teammates Ryan Pickering and Samuel Weddell. For Sherwood Districts, Billy Hawkes was his side’s best on a dark day for the club.

A close contest all day, Labrador did enough to hold off Surfers Paradise as they escaped with an eight-point victory at Sir Bruce Small Park. No team led by more than seven points at any break, and the game looked to go either way, but Surfers Paradise fell just short of snatching the win. Former Lion and Sun Pearce Hanley was instrumental in the win, and was Labrador’s best performer, while Max Johnson was also damaging. For Surfers Paradise, Max Green and Brody Haberfield were among the best.

A final quarter burst sealed the win for Morningside as they stormed away from a Wilston Grange side that hung around for the first three quarters, before falling by 40 points. Morningside turned a three-point deficit at half time into an 11-point lead at the final change, before piling on five goals to none in the final term to claim a handy victory. For Morningside, Nathan Colenso delivered his second bag of five goals in three games as he continues to prove a threat up forward, while Darcy Cameron-Reeves was also one of his side’s best. For Wilston Grange, Will Mckenzie’s four goal performance kept them competitive.

Maroochydore were too good for Noosa as they triumphed by 70 points at Maroochydore Multisports Complex in Saturday’s final match. From the first quarter to the last, Maroochydore tormented their opponents with their dominant play, and a victory never looked in doubt. For Maroochydore, Mitchell Scholard booted four goals, taking his season tally to 16, while Joshua Filo was fantastic. For Noosa Ryley Buntain and Ben Guthrie never gave up.

State Leagues Wrap: Teams rising after three rounds of action

THE 2021 season resumed around the national leagues on the weekend with plenty of blowouts and close contests. With three rounds of football in the bank, the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pretenders.

South Australia

In the SANFL, North Adelaide claimed the biggest winning margin of the round as they defeated Norwood 16.15 (111) to 2.7 (19). North Adelaide forward Lewis Hender led the way for his side with six majors from 14 disposals and seven marks, constantly getting the better of his opponents, and tripling the number of goals scored by the opposition side. Teammate Mitchell Harvey chimed in with three goals of his own, while Lee Minervini added a couple of goals to the tally as well. Nick Pedro and Declan Hamilton fought hard for Norwood despite the disappointing deficit.

An inaccurate Sturt side was able to secure its first win of the year, taking down West Adelaide 12.21 (93) to 6.7 (43) on Saturday afternoon. With 20 more scoring shots than their opponents, the margin could have been a lot bigger had Sturt converted more of its shots on goal. Casey Voss (32 disposals, 11 marks and a goal) and James Battersby (33 disposals and eight clearances) found plenty of the ball for the winners while Joshua Patullo kicked a game-high three goals. Tom Lewis could have had a day out, but much like his side, his inaccuracy prevented this. He finished with 20 touches, 10 tackles and 0.5 on the scoreboard. For West Adelaide, Kaine Stevens fought his way to 25 disposals while Isaac Johnson kicked a couple of goals.

Glenelg did not let wayward goalkicking hinder its performance too much, defeating Central District 10.16 (76) to 5.12 (42). Forward Lachie Hosie kicked 3.3 in a typically dangerous performance while ruckman Jack Hannath performed strongly on his way to 16 disposals, six marks and 31 hitouts. For Central District, Ethan East and Justin Hoskin kicked two goals apiece while Harry Grant (25 touches and seven marks) performed admirably through the midfield.

South Adelaide’s strong final quarter helped them get over the line to remain undefeated after three rounds. The 12.9 (81) to 10.12 (72) win over Port Adelaide keeps them at the top of the ladder while Port slip to 1-2 for the season. Former AFL duo Bryce Gibbs (25 disposals and a goal) and Matthew Broadbent (28 disposals) led by example, hurting the opposition with their ability to consistently find the footy, while Liam Fitt and Sam Skinner both kicked three goals for the winning side. Port Adelaide skipper Cam Sutcliffe was as inspirational as ever with 29 disposals and three goals, while Tom Rockliff had 41 touches.

Woodville-West Torrens bounced back from last week’s loss in perfect fashion as they belted Adelaide 24.11 (155) to 11.6 (72). It was a clinical performance from a side that had no passengers. Tyson Stengle and Zane Williams each booted four goals, while ruckman Jack Hayes (33 disposals, ten marks and three goals) and Riley Knight (34 disposals, two goals and 10 clearances) were strong through the midfield. Adelaide ruckman Kieran Strachan had 51 hitouts and was a standout in a disappointing side.

Tasmania

In the TSL, Glenorchy broke away from a brave Lauderdale side in the second half, as they ran away with the win 10.7 (67) to 5.11 (41) at KGV Oval. Glenorchy forward Callen Daly kicked four crucial goals for the victors while midfielder John Geard delivered a best on ground performance in the win. For Lauderdale, full-back Oscar Shaw was influential, keeping his opponent to one goal, while Billy Rolfe kicked two goals from the midfield.

Blundstone Arena hosted its first match since 2019, as home side Clarence held off a comeback from North Launceston to walk away winners 12.1 (73) to 9.8 (62). Clarence kicked remarkably straight as they thrived being back on their home deck for the first time in nearly two years. Oliver Preshaw backed up last week’s three goals with four this week in an impressive display. Baxter Norton and Jack Preshaw were influential through the midfield for all four quarters. For North Launceston, Jack Rushton was excellent in a losing side while Bradley Cox-Goodyer had another three-goal performance.

In the final game of the round, reigning premiers Launceston put the Tigers to the sword in a convincing win of 17.9 (111) to 5.12 (42). Jake Hinds had a best on ground performance through the midfield, kicking three goals while winning plenty of clearances, while Jay Blackberry also kicked three goal while finding a lot of the ball. Up forward Dylan Riley kicked four goals, while Alec Wright was excellent down back. For the Tigers, Micah Reynolds impressed in the backline while Tom Wright kicked two goals.

Queensland

Up in the north of the country, the grounds saw plenty of football action. Palm Beach Currumbin got the job done against Noosa, winning 14.11 (95) to 10.8 (68). Palm Beach defender Matthew Gahan was his side’s best on the day, while Mitchell Johnson kicked four goals for the winners. At the time of publication, Noosa’s stats had not been released.

In a high scoring affair, Labrador did enough to get the win against Redland-Victoria Point, defeating their opponents 16.12 (108) to 12.15 (87). Kicking 6.6 in the first quarter, Labrador set up their win early and never gave the opposition a sniff. Matthew Warren backed up last week’s strong performance with a best on ground effort this week for Labrador. For the visitors, Blair Rubock kicked four goals while ruckman Andy Hollis was his team’s best again this week.

An impressive final quarter from Maroochydore saw them take down Mt Gravatt at home 11.19 (85) to 9.10 (64) as they remain on top of the ladder after the third round of action. Just a four-point game at three quarter time, the home side kicked the final two goals of the game to seal the win. Daniel Fleming and Benjamin Sloan were strong for the victors while Jake Warren was influential up forward, kicking two goals. For Mt Gravatt, Jonah Licht’s four goal haul kept his side in the game and backman Gavin Grose marshalled the troops in defence all day.

Broadbeach were simply too good for Morningside as they turned a two-goal deficit at quarter time into a 13.8 (86) to 4.9 (33) win. The next three quarters saw Broadbeach kick 13 goals to two in what ended up being a one sided affair. Broadbeach wingman Bradley Lowe kicked four goals in a best afield performance while Liam Nelson had another strong performance. For Morningside, ruckman Bradley Hodge battled hard all game.

A clinical performance from Surfers Paradise resulted in a nice percentage boost as they defeated Sherwood Districts 19.14 (128) to 5.10 (40). On top from the opening quarter, Surfers Paradise were unable to be stopped as they kicked their way to the top four. For the winners, Nicholas Hay was once again one of his side’s best performers from centre half back, while up forward Daniel Van De Werken was strong with four goals. For Sherwood Districts, Jack Austin put his all into bringing his side back into the contest.

Western Australia

Over in the west, round three of the 2021 season saw plenty of great football action around the state, starting at New Choice Homes Park, where East Fremantle got the handy win over East Perth 13.10 (88) to 9.9 (63). East Fremantle kicked eight goals in the third term to essentially put the game to bed, and a late East Perth fightback couldn’t get them over the line. Hugh Dixon kicked two for the winning side and was named his team’s best performer. He had plenty of help in teammate Milan Murdock who had 27 disposals and eight marks. Matthew Young fought admirably in a losing side.

Moving to Revo Fitness Stadium, Claremont hosted Perth, and used the home ground to their advantage as they snagged the 16.14 (110) to 12.6 (78) win. Six goals to two in the third term separated the two sides as Claremont’s victory ended up more comfortable than first thought. Jye Bolton’s 33 disposals and eight marks were impressive for the victors, while teammate Harrison Mccracken kicked four goals up forward. For Perth, Brady Grey (31 disposals and seven tackles) can hold his head high despite the result on the scoreboard.

Peel Thunder fell short of a miraculous comeback, defeated by an impressive South Fremantle 11.11 (77) to 14.11 (95). A six goal to two final quarter gave Peel Thunder some hope, but time ultimately beat them. South Fremantle’s Haiden Schloithe was a clear best on ground, kicking three goals to go with his 33 disposals in a dominant display. Playing for Peel Thunder, Connor Blakely will be close to an AFL recall for Fremantle after a 25-disposal performance on Saturday.

Swan Districts proved too good for West Coast, who simply couldn’t get their hands on the ball with 74 less disposals. The Districts dominated play and ran out winners 13.16 (94) to 8.7 (55). Swan Districts’ Matt Riggio was a force with 32 disposals, 15 marks, nine inside 50’s and a goal to clearly find himself best on. Jesse Palmer kicked 4.4 and was looking dangerously close to a day out. For West Coast, AFL listed Brayden Ainsworth’s 32 disposals should keep him in contention for selection at the next level.

The final game of the round delivered an absolute thriller, with Subiaco dragging themselves over the line against West Perth to win 14.10 (94) to 14.7 (91). In the closest game this weekend, West Perth kicked five final quarter goals, but just couldn’t make the last step to snatch the win. Subiaco’s Gregory Clark was immense with 37 disposals, eight tackles and a goal to lead his side to the narrowest of victories. Ben Sokol and Jordan Faraone each walked away with a bag of four. For West Perth, Tyler Keitel’s four goals nearly proved to be the match winner.

State Leagues Preview: Action continues as Round 3 kicks off

WITH football season in full flight as teams hit the deck for Round 3, competitions across Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia prepare for a big weekend of action. Meanwhile, the revamped Victorian Football League (VFL) begins.

South Australia

The round will kick off on Friday night, as Norwood attempt to keep their undefeated streak going against a North Adelaide side searching for its first win. Fresh off a convincing 19-point win against Sturt, Norwood will only find themselves boosted by the return of star Richard Douglas, who missed the Round 2 clash for personal reasons. Keep an eye on experienced midfielder Matthew Nunn as he will look to continue his blistering start to the year, averaging 31 disposals and nine tackles over his first two games. North Adelaide have flagged a potential debutant, naming Kaine Mercovich on the extended bench. The former Port Fairy midfielder has been highly touted since making the move to the Roosters, and with an injury to Frank Szekely, crisis creates opportunity.

Another undefeated side in South Adelaide will be clashing with Port Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday. After smashing the Crows in Round 1 and taking care of North Adelaide last week, the Panthers are looking hard to stop, but the Power have proved themselves capable. Ex-Richmond Tiger Fraser Turner has once again been named on the extended bench for a debut. The 20-year-old Tasmanian utility was named in the same position last week but couldn’t crack into the side. A team with hot form, don’t be surprised if the Panthers go in unchanged. Port will regain midfield duo Sam Powell-Pepper and Tom Rockliff, who returns from concussion. Talented ruck Sam Hayes will be one to watch, as he continues to press for selection at higher level.

With both sides looking for their first win of the year, expect a tense clash between Sturt and West Adelaide on Saturday afternoon. Tasmanian talent Jared Dakin and highly touted ruckman Hamish Allan have been named as possible debutants for Sturt. The 205cm Allan has been named in the ruck which is a promising sign for the 20-year-old, while Dakin is found on the interchange. West Adelaide’s chances will be boosted by the return of star midfielder Kaine Stevens, who returns from injury to play his first game of the season. Young gun Bailey Chamberlain has also been named as a potential inclusion.

Central District will attempt to prevent Glenelg from starting the season 3-0 in this round’s clash. Central could unleash a number of debutants, with local talent Rhys Cannizzaro and mature ager Billy Iles both named on the extended bench. Last week’s inclusions Brett Kennedy and Ben Nason were named in the reserves. For Glenelg, a young trio of Will Chandler (19-years-old), Brady Searle (19) and Brodie Newman (20) have been named on the extended bench, but expect Glenelg to go in unchanged.

With both teams sitting on 1-1 after two rounds, the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles and the Adelaide Crows will both be desperate to get a win and move up the ladder. A former Tiger and Crow at AFL level, goalsneak Tyson Stengle has been named for the Eagles for the first time since he was drafted. He will replace Troy Menzel who misses with concussion. Pick 25 in last year’s AFL draft, Brayden Cook will debut for Adelaide in this week’s match against the Eagles. The medium forward/wingman has overcome his shoulder issues and should put on a show in his SANFL debut.

 

Tasmania

Glenorchy will be looking to bounce back after a defeat at the hands of Clarence, and Lauderdale will be the perfect target. Lauderdale were taken down by the Tigers last weekend and will be looking to recover with a win as well, so some good footy is on the cards. Glenorchy welcome back Daniel Joseph into the lineup, as the backman replaces Bayley Bester. Fresh off a five goal haul, expect Ben Kamaric to receive some close attention from the opposition. Lauderdale will be without star recruit Allen Christensen who tore his hamstring in last week’s match. Lincoln Arnold has been named to replace him, fresh off a best afield performance in the development league last week.

Clarence return to Blundstone Arena for the first time since 2019 to take on last year’s runners up North Launceston. The ground had shut its doors for the entirety of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Roos forced to host their games at Richmond. Clarence have made two changes, with defender James Holmes and Jason Bailey replacing Keegan Wylie and the injured Colin Garland. Dangerous forward Oliver Preshaw should again cause opposition defenders headaches. North Launceston will be without utility Thomas Donnelly who has been selected to play in North Melbourne’s VFL side this weekend but expect a close game regardless with both teams stacked with talent.

The best match of the round might be saved until last, as last year’s premiers Launceston host the currently undefeated Tigers at Windsor Park. Launceston will be refreshed after having the bye in Round 2, while the Tigers will be eager to ride their momentum forward and take home a third consecutive win. Both sides will head into the clash undefeated, with coaches satisfied with their talent all over the ground. Jake Hinds and Miller Hodge helped the Blues gain midfield dominance in the first round, while Dylan Riley is expected to hurt the opposition once again on the scoreboard. But can the Blues stop Tigers gun Elijah Reardon? Named on the half back flank, Reardon has started the season in blistering form and will be hard to contain.

 

Western Australia

The Easts go to war as East Fremantle and East Perth clash at New Choice Homes Park for Round 3. East Fremantle fell to the in-form Subiaco last weekend, and East Perth were embarrassed, losing to Peel Thunder by 105 points. Both teams are desperate for a bounce-back of some sort and it will come for one side on Saturday afternoon. East Fremantle could go in unchanged, with all four ins named on the extended interchange. Keep an eye on Luke Strnadica, the Sharks ruckman had an unbelievable match last week, finishing with 23 disposals and 48 hitouts despite the loss. East Perth have also named their inclusions on the extended bench, but with six ins to replace two outs, expect at least two changes. Jackson Ramsey will miss this week’s matchup after gathering 28 disposals last week, as will Corey Watts.

Claremont are sitting pretty in second place at 2-0 and will host Perth this weekend as they continue the hunt for top of the ladder. Perth’s Round 1 win was soon forgotten as they were smashed by Swan Districts the following week, and they face a tough task against Claremont on Saturday. Following 27 disposals in the reserves last weekend, teenager Anthony Davis slots straight into the lineup at centre half-forward for Claremont, replacing Oliver Eastland. Anton Hamp is the only other out for Claremont, as the remaining ins are yet to be determined. Ruckman Christian Eyres returns for Perth, as the magnets are moved following the disappointing loss.

South Fremantle and Peel Thunder will do battle, with only one side able to emerge with their second win of the year. Inaccuracy cost South Fremantle last round, as they were defeated by Claremont, while Peel Thunder are on a high following their 105-point demolition of East Perth. Ruckman Hamish Free is the only confirmed change for East Fremantle, replacing the massive gap left by Brock Higgins, who has been confirmed to miss. Jason Maskos will join him on the sidelines. Key forward Mason Shaw will look to back up his five-goal effort last weekend. At the time of publication, Peel Thunder had not listed its side.

West Coast have started the season 0-2 and will be desperate to improve that record against a Swan Districts side fresh off a 50-point victory against Perth. West Coast have a huge seven confirmed ins to try and achieve this goal. AFL regulars Mark Hutchings and Brendon Ah Chee are sure to contribute, but they lose plenty of talent too – the two biggest being Zac Langdon and Alex Witherden, who have earned an AFL recall. Swan Districts’ high profile recruit Lewis Jetta will miss this weekend’s clash, as will Jesse Turner, who had 27 disposals last round. Sam Fisher had 41 disposals last weekend and is sure to find plenty of the ball again.

West Perth have arguably the toughest task in the competition this week, as they find themselves tasked with slowing down the Subiaco juggernaut that is currently smashing through teams. Subiaco sit on top of the ladder with a massive 28 per cent leg up on second place. West Perth could be the team to bring them back down to earth, riding the momentum of last week’s 78-point win against West Coast. They may enter this weekend’s huge clash with no changes, as none have been confirmed yet. Tyler Keitel’s six goal game last weekend has seen him named at full forward, while Aaron Black has been named on the wing, fresh off a 43-disposal outing. For Subiaco, Jordan Lockyer returns to line up at centre half back, having missed last week’s game. Apart from that, expect a relatively unchanged Subiaco side.

 

Queensland

Noosa will resume their season following the bye last weekend, while Palm Beach Currumbin will be keen to improve on last week’s disappointing loss to Morningside. Named his side’s best in last week’s loss, the Lions’ Corey Joyce has been once again named on ball and will be one to watch this week. The same can be said for Ben Mcinneny, who performed admirably last week. For Noosa, forward Aaron Wilson will be hoping to replicate his bag of four goals in Round 1, while Cory Lobb, who was named best afield for Noosa in their first match, will be looking to marshal his fellow backmen.

Redland-Victoria Point began their season in style with a 58-point win, while Labrador could not keep up with Broadbeach, and were eventually defeated by 32 points. Labrador have plenty of talent such as Andy Hollis and Thomas Reeves, so don’t count them out yet. Redland-Victoria Point are in form though, and with stars such as ruckman Matthew Waters and Joshua Brown, it will be a hard task to slow them down.

Maroochydore’s 100-point win over Wilston Grange has found them on top of the ladder heading into this round. It was a clinical display, dominating their opponents all over the ground. This round, they take on Mt Gravatt, who were able to do just enough to take down Sherwood Districts and record their first win of the year. Will they be able to contain Mitchell Scholard, who kicked an astonishing 11 goals last round? Mt Gravatt ruckman Craig Malone will be looking to produce another best afield performance like his previous outing.

Broadbeach were able to take care of business in last round’s action, defeating Labrador by 32 points to grab their first win. Their opponents for this week, Morningside, stormed home against Palm Beach Currumbin to win by 43 points. Both sides will be eager to prove themselves and start the season 2-0. Nick Colenso will bring the scoreboard presence for Broadbeach after a five-goal game last round, while Sam Godfrey will be hoping for plenty of space out on the wing to run and carry. For Mornington, Jordan Moncrieff kicked five goals in last week’s win and will be looking to do something similar against Broadbeach.

Surfers Paradise fell to a rampant Redland-Victoria Point last round, despite putting up 96 points themselves. They will host Sherwood Districts this Saturday, who will also be looking to bounce back after failing to withstand a Mt Gravatt second half surge. Sherwood will be well led in the midfield by Luca Winton, who was everywhere last weekend, and will have plenty of options up forward in Kobe Tozer and Alexander Mitchell. Surfers Paradise won’t be short of talent themselves, with Jack Prestegar providing the dash off half back and Jack Yelland fighting for the ball in the middle.

 

Victoria

The revamped Victorian Football League (VFL) kicks off on the weekend, with plenty on the line as players put their best foot forward and vie for a senior list position. With the league now encompassing all clubs across the east coast of Australia, 22 teams will ply their trade this season across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Friday sees Richmond host Sandringham in the season opener as two standalone clubs in Frankston and Coburg go head-to-head in the evening, with six matches played on Saturday including the first few cross-border encounters with Footscray and Gold Coast Suns, Aspley and Port Melbourne, and Brisbane Lions and Essendon taking the field. Three matches complete the opening round on Sunday, with a couple of Melbourne bigmen looking to prove they’ve shaken off injury concerns and are capable of stepping up to AFL duties.