Tag: Geelong Falcons

Classic Contests: Porter inspires Power to hand Falcons first loss

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in our series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at another clash between the NAB League rivals to complete our full series, and today’s battle is between the Geelong Falcons and Gippsland Power. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2017, when an inspired performance helped Gippsland hand the Falcons their first loss for the season.

2017 TAC Cup, Round 9
Saturday June 3, 12:00pm
Central Reserve, Colac

GEELONG FALCONS 2.0 | 3.2 | 5.4 | 10.5 (65)
GIPPSLAND POWER 3.3 | 6.8 | 8.11 | 9.16 (70)


Geelong: A. Garner 6, M. Chafer, F. O’Gorman, L. Noble, B. Cockerill
C. Porter 4, B. Beck, X. Duursma, I. Mosquito, K. Reid, T. Fleming


Geelong: C. Idun, S. Walsh, L. Noble, A. Garner, H. Benson, T. McCartin
C. Porter, X. Duursma, A. Quigley, W. Stephenson, T. Fleming, M. McGannon

Draftees in action:

Geelong: Tom McCartin, Brayden Ham, Sam Walsh, Connor Idun
Gippsland: Callum Porter, Xavier Duursma, Irving Mosquito

Seldom did Sam Walsh find himself outdone in a midfield battle throughout his decorated junior career, but on an early-June afternoon in Colac, the improbable occurred. A bottom-ager in the 2017 season, Walsh was still highly regarded and already well known for his ability to rack up huge numbers. He did just that against the Gippsland Power in Round 9 of the TAC Cup with 30 disposals and 10 marks, but he and his Falcons were eclipsed by a mammoth 36-disposal and four-goal effort from Power midfielder, Cal Porter.

To that point in the season, the Falcons had hardly put a foot wrong. Their 8-0 record had them sitting pretty atop the ladder, with an average winning margin of over 55 points across the first seven rounds. Conversely, the Power’s finals hopes looked to be dwindling as they slumped to 2-6 on the back of three-consecutive losses, only good enough for 10th place.

But with plenty of time left to resurrect its campaign, the Morwell-based talent program only needed a spark to light up the back-end of its season. It seemed Gippsland was up for the fight too, creating a greater number of scoring chances in the opening exchanges, but being kept within touch by the more accurate Falcons side.

A nine-point advantage was extended to 24 at the main break, and made 25 by three quarter time as Gippsland looked like cruising to what should have been an unlikely win. As good sides often do, Geelong made it tough in the end, pouring on 5.1 to Gippsland’s 1.5 in the final term. But just as the Power’s inaccuracy looked like catching up with them, they managed to hold on for a memorable five-point win on the road.

While the day will always be remembered for Porter’s breakout performance, a number of others also showed their class. Aside from Walsh’s 30 disposals for the Falcons, Adam Garner spearheaded his side’s late charge to finish with six goals, as future draftees Connor Idun (11 disposals, two marks, three tackles) and Tom McCartin (11 disposals, four marks, six tackles) were also named among the best. Bayley Cockerill (31 disposals, one goal) and Harry Benson (27 and one) were others to find plenty of the ball.

For Gippsland, a bottom-aged Xavier Duursma showed his class with 22 disposals and a goal, while fellow draftee Irving Mosquito also hit the scoreboard. Diminutive ball winner Will Stephenson was also productive with 25 touches and 9 marks. alongside Aiden Quigley (21 disposals, four marks, five tackles).

The Power would go on to drastically improve their early-season form, finishing the home-and-away allotment in seventh at 8-10, before Geelong exacted its revenge in week one of finals by way of an 85-point thrashing. The Falcons finished equal-top in the regular season but had to settle for second on percentage. They won through to a famous grand final against Sandringham, which they won by two points as Joel Amartey‘s post-siren shot went wide for the Dragons.

Classic Contests: Stacked Chargers edge Falcons in four-point thriller

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in our series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 18 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Oakleigh Chargers and Geelong Falcons. In this edition we wind back the clock to 2012, when the Falcons pushed a talent-rich Chargers lineup all the way at Warrawee Park.

2012 TAC Cup, Round 13
Saturday July 14, 2:00pm
Warrawee Park

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.4 | 2.8 | 6.10 | 8.11 (59)
GEELONG FALCONS 0.2 | 3.3 | 6.4 | 8.6 (54)


Oakleigh: J. Billings 2, J. Collopy 2, K. Jaksch 2, J. Kennedy-Harris, L. McDonald
T. Batarilo 2, L. Taylor 2, T. Gribble, M. Wood, A. Christensen, D. Bond


Oakleigh: W. Maginness, R. Exon, K. Jaksch, L. McDonald, J. Curran, K. Nolan
Geelong: D. Fort, C. Williams, N. Bourke, L. Taylor, A. Hickey, J. Tsitsas

Draftees in action:

Oakleigh: Marc Pittonet, Jack Macrae, Jack Billings, Sam Collins, Luke McDonald, Tom Cutler, Jay Kennedy-Harris, Kristian Jaksch, Jason Ashby, Will Maginness,
Geelong: Lewis Taylor, Darcy Fort, Mason Wood, Darcy Lang, Josh Saunders, Nick Bourke

16 future AFL draftees took the field as Oakleigh and Geelong battled in Round 13 of the 2012 TAC Cup, with a stacked Chargers lineup looking to gain redemption on home turf. The Falcons had comfortably triumphed in the Round 5 reverse fixture, coming away 42-point winners at Kardinia Park.

That result was part of their even 6-6 record to that point, good enough for eighth spot. Oakleigh was faring slightly better despite the upset, sitting fifth at 7-5. Both sides came in on winning streaks, with Geelong getting home in three-straight close encounters, while Oakleigh took out its previous two outings.

While there was plenty of quality on each line, both teams got off to slow starts and failed to truly get a hold on the scoreboard. The Chargers in particular had failed to capitalise on their weight of early chances, booting 1.4 in each of the opening two terms. On the other hand, Geelong’s three second quarter majors ensured the Falcons would take a lead into half time, albeit by the narrowest of margins.

The game opened up slightly after the main break as Oakleigh’s guns seemed to recover their kicking boots, fixing up in front of goal to reclaim the ascendancy with four goals in term three. The Falcons were sticking right by them though, booting three goals of their own to remain just a goal adrift. That buffer would prove just enough for Oakleigh, who managed to hold on as the two sides sunk a couple of goals each to round out the game.

West Coast draftee Will Maginness was named best afield for the winners, with Kristian Jaksch and Luke McDonald also among the best half-dozen Chargers. Jack Billings (two goals) and Jay Kennedy-Harris also hit the scoreboard. Bigman Darcy Fort was named Geelong’s best, alongside the likes of Lewis Taylor and James Tsistas. Taylor booted two goals, while Mason Wood and Tom Gribble also found the big sticks once each.

The Falcons would stay true to form and go on to finish the regular season in eight with an 8-8-1 record. Sandringham was the team to bundle them out of contention at the semi finals stage. Oakleigh famously went on to win the TAC Cup premiership from sixth that year, accelerating through finals on the back of a 10-7 record to pip Gippsland via Jack Macrae‘s golden point in the decider.

AFLW U18s Ones to Watch: Laura Gardiner (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

IN a new series focusing on the up and coming AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, we take a look at some names who would be among their respective states’ top draft prospects for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft. Next under the microscope is Geelong Falcons’ midfielder Laura Gardiner, one of the most prolific ball winners of this year’s cohort.

Laura Gardiner (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

Height: 165cm
Position: Midfielder
Strengths: Contested ball, accumulation, tackling, consistency

2020 NAB League stats: 2 games | 34.5 disposals | 2.0 marks | 11.5 tackles | 5.0 inside 50s | 3.0 rebound 50s | 0.5 goals (1)

2019 NAB League stats: 10 games | 13.1 disposals | 1.0 marks | 5.3 tackles | 1.7 inside 50s | 0.3 rebound 50s | 0.1 goals (1)

2019 Under 18 National Championships stats: 3 games | 11.7 disposals | 0.3 marks | 5.3 tackles | 2.0 clearances | 2.3 inside 50s | 0.3 rebound 50s

Like many prospects heading into their top-age seasons, Gardiner has thrived upon being unleashed in a more primary role for her NAB League side. After being utilised out on a wing and rotating through the engine room across 10 outings in 2019, Gardiner has blossomed into a bona fide elite inside ball winner – albeit from what a two-game sample size suggests.

Her form last year was enough to earn a berth in the Under 18 Vic Country squad, where she ran out thrice for the ‘Big V’ alongside a raft of fellow Falcons, averaging of over 11 disposals and five tackles per game. Again, with the likes of Lucy McEvoy almost permanently running through the middle of the park, Gardiner was made to find form in other positions.

In 2020, she and Darcy Moloney found their groove as the prime movers in Geelong’s side, returning dominant individual performances against good opposition. Gardiner’s two-way work rate was evident, able to dig in and extract her own ball, while ensuring the opposition would have little time in possession with her tackling pressure.

Against Gippsland in Round 1, the 165cm prospect racked up a round-high 38 disposals and laid 14 tackles, with a goal serving as the cherry on top as the Falcons got up by 33 points. The monster performance earned Gardiner the first Draft Central Player of the Week nod for 2020, and she backed it up with 31 touches against reigning premier, Northern in Round 3.

That kind of ball winning consistency is rare, especially within 15-minute quarters. While her ability to extract and release from the stoppages is terrific, Gardiner’s value does not just stop there, with a sound work rate and added dimension of outside accumulation making her a well-rounded midfield prospect.

Should the NAB League Girls get back on the park in 2020, expect Gardiner to be at the forefront of Geelong’s forward drive once again, picking up right from where she left off.

>> NAB League Girls Rd 1 POTW: Laura Gardiner

Classic Contests: Devils take Falcons down to the wire

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back our series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 16 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Tasmania Devils and Geelong Falcons. In this edition, we wind the clock back almost a year to August 2019, when the two sides produced a thriller on the Apple Isle.

2019 NAB League, Round 16
Saturday August 3, 11:30am
North Hobart Oval

TASMANIA DEVILS 2.4 | 2.5 | 4.11 | 6.13 (49)
GEELONG FALCONS 3.1 | 5.4 | 5.6 | 8.8 (56)


Tasmania: J. Lane 2, J. Rand, P. Walker, J. Callow, J. Menzie.
C. Sprague 3, M. Annandale 2, C. Seymour, J. Clark, J. Dahlhaus.


Tasmania: O. Davis, J. Rand, S. Banks, O. Shaw, J. Lane
O. Henry, C. Sprague, C. Fleeton, J. Clark, N. Gribble, H. Whyte

Draftees in action:

Tasmania: Matt McGuinness 

The NAB League’s bottom two full-time sides – Tasmania and Geelong – went to battle in Round 16 last year, looking to restore some pride before the regular season drew to a close. Both were on significant losing streaks, with the Devils slumping to 4-10 on the back of six-straight losses, only to be trumped in that department by the young Falcons, who had lost in eight consecutive outings to sit at 1-11-1 in the wooden spoon position.

While neither region produced, or fielded much in the way of eventual draftees in late-2019, the bottom-age talent was there for all to see. The likes of Oliver Henry and Cameron Fleeton headlined Geelong’s talented 2021-eligible fleet, while Tasmania’s academy guns included the likes of Oliver Davis and Jackson Callow, with recently crowned Under 16 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Sam Banks also slotting into the line-up at North Hobart Oval.


Keen to make their trip across Bass Strait a fruitful one, Geelong clawed its way back after conceding the first two goals of the game to earn a five-point quarter time lead. In impressive form, the Falcons extended the buffer to 17 points at the main break on the back of two unanswered goals, taking full advantage of the slightly advantageous scoring end.

It took a string of four behinds after half-time for the Devils to post their first major in over 45 minutes of play, with the home side threatening to break back at Geelong. But despite Jordan Lane slotting home a second major for the term, Tasmania could not quite take full toll on the scoreboard, still trailing by a solitary point heading into the final period, despite keeping Geelong goalless.

The Falcons had made a bad habit of letting winnable games slip late, and another fadeaway loomed when Jack Rand put the Devils ahead with six minutes on the clock. With the scores tied up for a third time in the fourth quarter via Max Annandale‘s boot, it was left to Chris Seymour to put through the decisive goal and ensure Geelong would head back to Victoria with the four points.

Having swung into defence, Henry led all-comers with 24 disposals and 11 marks, partnering well with Fleeton (21 disposals) as skipper Jesse Clark (21 disposals, one goal) made the move further afield. Up forward, Charlie Sprague sunk three majors to play a big role, while Jay Dahlhaus also found the big sticks in his return from a long-term injury. Davis was best afield for Tasmania with a team-high 23 touches, followed closely by future North Melbourne rookie, Matt McGuinness. Lane was the lone Devil to boot multiple goals (two).

Tasmania would go on to finish just two points clear of Geelong with a 4-11 record, before going down narrowly to Calder in Wildcard Round. Mitch O’Neill joined McGuinness as the two Tasmanian products to find a home at AFL level in 2019. Geelong added to its second win in the ultimate round to finish 3-11-1, but were thumped by Sandringham in Wildcard Round to end a disappointing season. Co-captain Cooper Stephens was the sole Falcon to be drafted.

AFL Draft Watch: Tanner Bruhn (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

IN the build up to football eventually returning, Draft Central takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state at Under 17 or Under 18s level in 2019. While plenty can change between now and then, we will provide a bit of an insight into players, how they performed at pre-season testing, and some of our scouting notes on them from last year.

Next under the microscope in our AFL Draft watch is Geelong Falcons’ Tanner Bruhn, a classy midfielder who remains a first round prospect despite recurring injury bouts. After earning Under 16 All Australian honours as Vic Country’s MVP in 2018, Bruhn broke through for four outings with the Falcons and was primed for a big bottom-age year. A preseason knee injury would momentarily halt his journey, before making a successful return to action in the last two NAB League rounds.

Bruhn may well be a benefactor of the extended lay-off in 2020 given preseason knee surgery would have had him in doubt for the early rounds, and there are plenty who are keen to see him in action. While he remains more of an inside type, Bruhn does not simply rely on strength at the contest, with his agility, smarts, and expert extraction allowing him to rack up big numbers and prove a match winner from the engine room. With an extended run, the Falcons star could well push for top five contention come season’s end given his immense ability.


Tanner Bruhn
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country

DOB: May 27, 2002

Height: 182cm
Weight: 73kg

Position: Inside Midfielder

Strengths: Contested work, tackling, class, scoreboard impact
Improvements: Durability, size/strength

NAB League stats: 2 games | 17.0 disposals | 1.5 marks | 4.0 tackles | 5.0 clearances | 4.5 inside 50s | 1.5 rebound 50s | 1.5 goals (3)

>> Q&A: Tanner Bruhn


Did not test.

>> Full Testing Results:
20m Sprint


Under 17 Futures All Stars

By: Peter Williams

Quiet game in realistically what was his third elite level game since a long-term injury. He showed good strength early to get a handball away whilst being tackled in the middle, and had a shot on goal in the opening term but was run down inside 50 by Sam Collins before he could.

NAB League Wildcard Round vs. Sandringham

By: Michael Alvaro

One of Geelong’s only forms of resistance through a midfield that was soundly beaten, Bruhn continues to show no signs of wear from his long-term injury layoff. The bottom-ager had some promising moments at stoppages, winning the first clear disposals at the opening centre bounces of the first and second terms. His clearance work is already sound and he looked unfazed by Sandringham’s bigger bodies, digging in where he could and zipping away with his first few steps. He also provided good drive forward by foot and chipped in with a goal in the third term from close range. Has a wealth of potential and should lead Geelong’s strong bottom-age core into next year.

NAB League Round 17 vs. Dandenong

By: Peter Williams

Returning from a long-term injury, Bruhn showed all of his class in the forward half, booting a couple of goals and could have had another one early in the game with the set shot that swung to the right from 35 metres out. He snapped a goal off a step in the last minute of the opening term, then kicked an unbelievable goal in the third term, taking a step of two and snapping under pressure from 40m out to put it straight through the middle. He had nice composure and poise with his disposals around the ground. A top-end talent for next year and hopefully can stay injury free.


>> 2020 Vic Country U18s Squad Prediction
>> July 2020 Power Rankings


Tahj Abberley
Jackson Callow
Braeden Campbell
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Taj Schofield
Riley Thilthorpe

Vic Country:
Sam Berry
Jack Ginnivan
Elijah Hollands
Zach Reid
Nick Stevens
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Vic Metro:
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Finlay Macrae
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins
Will Phillips

Western Australia:
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Brandon Walker
Joel Western

AFLW U18s Ones to Watch: Darcy Moloney (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

IN a new series focusing on the up and coming AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, we take a look at some names who would be among their respective states’ top draft prospects for the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft.

Next under the microscope is Geelong Falcons’ midfielder Darcy Moloney who is a talented ball winner and progressed strongly through her middle-age and start of top-age footballing pathway.

Darcy Moloney (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

Height: 165cm
Position: Midfielder
Strengths: Accumulation, footy smarts, vision, skills

2020 NAB League stats: 2 games | 26.5 disposals | 1.0 marks | 3.5 tackles | 2.0 inside 50s | 1.0 rebounds

2019 NAB League stats: 10 games | 16.1 disposals | 1.8 marks | 3.6 tackles | 1.9 inside 50s | 4 goals

2019 Under 18 National Championships stats: 3 games | 13.7 disposals | 0.7 marks | 3.3 tackles | 3.3 inside 50s | 1 goal

A player who really came into her own as a middle-ager last season in the absence of the recently drafted Nina Morrison and Olivia Purcell. Moloney stepped up into the midfield, helping out captain Lucy McEvoy and teaming up with fellow bottom-ager Laura Gardiner, whilst providing a bit of dash and touch of class on a wing and half-forward. She booted the four goals, but it was her link-up work between midfield and forward – where she could hit up targets across her body and finding gaps inside 50 that really stood out.

Stepping up to represent Vic Country, Moloney was able to play all three games across the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, averaging almost 14 touches, as well as three tackles and three inside 50s per game. Her ability to get into space and run, and have an impact going inside 50 are among some of her top attributes. She only played the two games earlier this year, but brought her own football to the game, racking up a whopping 26.5 touches and still laying 3.5 tackles per game. She has an innate ability to provide an option and then look to get-and-go or switch up on the transition play to open up scoring opportunities for her teammates.

Whilst there is still plenty of unknowns about the remainder of the year, Moloney will undoubtedly be a key player in the Falcons last handful of games over the next couple of months, and be an important cog in the Country midfield should the championships go ahead as expected. She might be smaller than some other midfielders, but runs hard, finds the ball and uses it well, which sets her aside from a lot of her peers. She also has the capability of playing both inside and outside midfield, whilst resting at half-forward. She does not need a lot of touches to influence the contest, but she has no problems finding the ball.

Marquee Matchups: Eddie Ford vs. Oliver Henry

DESPITE remaining in the unknown of football’s temporary absence, Draft Central is set to ramp up its draft analysis with another new prospect-focussed series, Marquee Matchups. We take a look at some of the high-end head-to-head battles which look likely to take place should the class of 2020 take the field, comparing pairs of draft hopefuls to help preview who may come out on top.

The pair next under the microscope – Western Jets’ Eddie Ford and Geelong Falcons’ Oliver Henry – are two high-flying prospects who have already lined up on opposing sides at NAB League level, as well as in last year’s Under 17 Futures All Star showcase fixture. While neither player was able to break through for a representative Under 18 berth in 2019, both ran out for Under 17 digs in the ‘Big V’ after also representing their regions in the 2018 Under 16 National Championships.

Western’s Ford is a forward/midfielder with plenty of x-factor, able to break games open with his scoreboard impact and knack for taking big marks. Henry is similarly gifted in the air, but is more of a swingman having rotated from end-to-end for the Falcons last year. He is likely to spend a touch more time up forward in 2020, and will be a key part of Geelong’s talented squad after 15 NAB League outings last year. Ford managed one more appearance for the Jets as a bottom-ager, and will be a focal point as he looks to develop his midfield craft.

Without further ado, get up to speed with how the two match up in terms of their form to date, strengths, improvements, and what has already been said about their performances in our scouting notes.


Eddie Ford
Western Jets/Vic Metro

DOB: June 21, 2002

Height: 188cm
Weight: 79kg

Position: General forward/midfielder

Oliver Henry
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country

DOB: June 29, 2002

Height: 187cm
Weight: 77kg

Position: General forward/defender


There is no recent testing data to feed off from either player due to precautionary preseason management; with Ford sitting out testing on account of a persistent knee niggle, while Henry took the safe route with his tight left hamstring.

However, it only really takes a couple of glimpses of both prospects on-field to recognise their athletic values. Both possess terrific vertical leaps, helping Henry to play above his size up either end, and allowing Ford to take eye-catching hangers in full flight. Ford is perhaps a touch quicker off the mark, and both players are quite agile in general play given their relatively lean builds. Endurance is an area which remains to be seen on either side, especially given their interrupted preseasons and the extended break.


20m Sprint
Agility Test
Yo-yo Test




16 games
14.1 disposals
3.7 marks
1.4 tackles
1.5 clearances
1.9 inside 50s
0.4 goals (7)


15 games
10.0 disposals
4.4 marks
1.1 tackles
1.5 inside 50s
0.8 rebound 50s
1.2 goals (18)

The closeness in this pair’s 2019 statistics is quite satisfying, each running out for a virtually identical amount of games and returning very similar numbers. The small differences can also be attributed to their respective roles; as Ford was able to run through midfield and pump forward some clearances while adding to those inside 50 numbers, while Henry penetrated both arcs in his swingman duties and provided slightly better marking numbers due to his intercept marking ability in defence. His role as somewhat of a third leading tall up forward also contributed to that, allowing the Geelong product to hit the scoreboard more often with over a goal per game. Ford booted goals in six seperate games, including two with multiples, while Henry managed multiples in five of his seven scoring games.



2019 NAB League Round 7 vs. Dandenong

20 disposals
10 marks
1 tackle
2 clearances
1 inside 50
2 goals


2019 NAB League Round 3 vs. Dandenong

11 disposals (10 kicks)
7 marks
1 inside 50
5 goals
3 behinds

Our selections make it seem as if Dandenong were whipping boys in 2019, but it is purely a coincidence that both players performed well against the Stingrays. Ford found the ideal balance between his midfield and forward craft, shifting through the engine room at times while spreading well around the ground and making his impact felt when forward of centre. His efforts were in vein given Western’s big loss, as were Henry’s in Geelong’s draw with the Stingrays. The Falcon’s seven marks as a forward target showcased that ability to play above his size, with eight of his 11 disposals also ending in scores. Henry did have higher disposal games, primarily in the backline, but we feel this performance better exemplifies the role he can play at the next level.


2019 NAB League Round 8
Western Jets 7.8 (50) def. Geelong Falcons 2.10 (22)


12 disposals
4 marks
1 tackle
2 clearances
1 inside 50


8 disposals (7 kicks)
6 marks
3 tackles
2 inside 50s

In what was hardly a memorable early-season clash between Geelong and Western, these two bottom-aged guns were kept relatively quiet. Still, they were able to show flashes of their best form, with Ford nearing his overall disposal average and finding space on the outer, while Henry was a viable marking option for the Falcons. Neither player was able to find the big sticks, and it is quiet understandable as Geelong managed just two majors to Western’s seven.



Vertical leap
Clean hands
Overhead marking


Marking on the lead
Vertical leap

If you weren’t already aware, both of these players are terrific markers of the ball. While vertical leap is a listed strength on either side, Ford and Henry use it in slightly different ways. While Ford can pull off those explosive pack marks, Henry uses his leap to intercept while sitting in the defensive hole, or to get extension on the lead as a forward. Henry’s dual-purpose marking ability makes him an ultimate utility, which is exactly why versatility is also listed as one of his assets. Ford’s knack for hauling in those mercurial grabs gives him a touch of x-factor, which is also seen in his ability to impact the scoreboard and break games open in quick time. Another string to Henry’s bow is his composure, usually a sure disposer by foot who fared well while the Falcons were under enormous pressure in 2019. Both players only need a few touches to truly damage the opposition, with their combination of athleticism and freakish skills setting them apart.





Playing to size

Pin-pointing improvements for such high-level players is often an exercise in splitting hairs, but we continue to give it a crack. Neither of the listed areas are necessarily knocks on the players, but more so little adjustments which could be made along the path to becoming more complete prospects.

With Ford eying off more time in the midfield, he will need to up his accumulative value and become a more consistent figure in games. While stats aren’t everything and his ability to tear games apart in small bursts works up forward, imagine what impact he could have with more of the ball.

For Henry, while quashing his versatility would be silly, having him lock down or show greater strength in one specific role sometimes makes a prospect easier to recruit, as you know exactly what kind of player to mould at the next level. Given he can play like a key position outlet at just 187cm among juniors, he can perhaps work on better playing to his size in harnessing that ground ball game to excel in the AFL system.



2019 Under 17 Futures All Stars

By: Peter Williams

Started the game with a bang, picking up eight touches and booting two goals in an eye-opening first term. He had his hands on it early leading outside 50, then kick a great running goal on the right from 40m out. His second goal came when Ford read the tap perfectly, pushed off his opponent in Errol Gulden and chucked it on his boot for it to sail through.

It showed his high-level footy IQ and goal sense all in one play. He was still very busy throughout the game with some nice touches, though his first term was his standout. Had a shot from 45m on the run in the third term but it sprayed to the left. His best is very good.


2019 Under 17 Futures All Stars

By: Ed Pascoe

The talented Geelong Falcon who is the younger brother of rising Cats’ defender Jack Henry showed plenty of his talent in what was a hard day for the Team Dal Santo forwards. He was still able to catch the eye; he hit the scoreboard in the last quarter with a quality intercept mark in the goal square showing his speed and quick decision making.

Henry was strong overhead and clean at ground level but he also did the what was required defensively as well with some good tackles and smothers, he looks to be one of the most dangerous forward prospects in the 2020 draft.

Q&A: Henry Walsh (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last few weeks, we head back to the pre-season where we sat down with a number of athletes across the country. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Michael Alvaro chatted with Geelong Falcons’ Henry Walsh at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day hosted by Rookie Me.

The brother of Carlton midfielder and 2018 number one draft pick, Sam, cuts a much different figure to his elder sibling as a loping 202cm ruckman, and remains quite raw in terms of his development. While he thrives in his ruck craft having averaged 27.3 hitouts across 13 NAB League games as a bottom-ager, Walsh is constantly working on his impact around the ground as he expands his endurance base. The St Joseph’s junior represented Vic Country at Under 16 level and already cracked the Under 18 side in 2019, capping off his year with an appearance in the Under 17 All Star clash on AFL Grand Final day.

He is quite the unique character and is seldom shy to have a crack. Read up on what Walsh had to say during preseason about his development, opportunities afforded to him through the AFL Academy, and the year ahead with the Falcons.



MA: Henry, how has the day been for you?

HW: “Today’s been pretty good.”


Which of the tests are you looking to excel in or improve on at the moment?

“The vertical jump for sure, love that.”


Pretty important in the ruck?



How has the preseason been so far?

“It’s been real good, thank you.”


On-field, how do you think your game’s coming along?

“It’s developing each game which is real good.”


Obviously he plays a much different role, but has your brother (Sam) helped that at all over the past few years?

“Yeah, especially through my running and positioning around the ground. It’s been real good.”


I’m sure you tapped a few down to him at preseason training with Carlton as well, it must’ve been good to get down there?

“It was. It was real good, a great experience.”


How has being part of the Vic Country hub been for you?

“It’s been real good, seeing how all the other boys from different areas for Vic Country have been.”


You’re part of a talented group at the Falcons too, you’ve played a lot together already. Are you looking to bounce back after a bit of a down year?

“Oh yeah bloody oath. Hopefully (we) get a few more wins.”

Classic Contests: Stacked Knights pip Falcons at home

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 9 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2013 to relive the closest match between the sides in a decade.

2013 TAC Cup, Round 14
Saturday July 27, 2:00pm
Preston City Oval

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 4.3 | 5.4 | 12.7 | 13.10 (88)
GEELONG FALCONS 1.4 | 4.10 | 8.12 | 11.15 (81)


Northern: J. Castagna 2, J. Short 2, M. Bontempelli 2, B. Lennon, K. Malone, S. Switkowski, K. Langford, L. Hunt, J. Turner, G. McDonagh
Geelong: B. Beardsell 2, J. Tsitas 2, K. Spokes, M. Buchanan, M. Boag, N. Bourke, M. Thompson, A. Moloney, A. Hickey


Northern: J. Turner, B. Lennon, J. Kalanj, M. Bontempelli, G. McDonagh, J. Iacobaccio
Geelong: J. Tsitas, B. Beardsell, J. Maishman, F. Fort, J. Nelson, J. Sharp

Draftees in action:

Northern: Ben Lennon, Marcus Bontempelli, Jayden Short*, Jason Castagna*, Sam Switkowski*, Kyle Langford*
Geelong: Lewis Taylor, Nick Bourke, Darcy Gardiner, Sam Russell, Jackson Nelson*, Zaine Cordy*, Teia Miles*

* – denotes bottom-aged

Back in 2013, TAC Cup outings became somewhat of a foregone conclusion for the Geelong Falcons. They sat atop the ladder at 12-1 after 13 rounds, six games clear of the eighth-place Northern Knights who they would meet next. The previous clash between the two sides that year was a one-sided one which saw Geelong salute to the tune of 96 points at Kardinia Park, only consolidating its status as the team to beat at that point.

But things would turn out a little differently in the pair’s next outing, with Northern able to match the Falcons for draftable talent on the day and sneak home by seven points. The Knights boasted their two top-aged draftees for the year in Marcus Bontempelli, while also fielding a bottom-aged group which included premiership Tigers Jayden Short and Jason Castagna. Lewis Taylor was Geelong’s leading top-age prospect as one of seven eventual draftees over the next two years to grace the Falcons’ lineup.

After a first term assault which saw the home side boot four goals to one, the Falcons stormed back hard to level the ledger at the main break. They could have fared much better though, with an effort of 4.10 in front of goal laying bare Northern’s superior handling of the conditions. It was game on and effectively a clean slate heading into the second half with the result hanging in the balance.

While the Falcons would sure up in their forward half with 4.2, Northern showed off some attacking flair with 7.3 as the game began to open up. Taking full advantage of the scoring end, the Knights set up what turned out to be an unassailable three-goal cushion at the final break. It was just enough to hold off the Falcons’ fourth quarter charge, shutting up shop quickly and strongly enough to ensure the four points remained in Preston.

Joshua Turner was named best afield for the winners with 29 disposals, 10 marks and a goal, with Lennon (24, 11, one) and Bontempelli (21, seven, two) not far behind. Bottom-aged Parade College pair Garrett McDonagh and Josh Iacobaccio were also named among the best half-dozen. Richmond duo Short and Castagna each booted two goals, while Fremantle mature-ager Sam Switkowski and Essendon draftee Kyle Langford managed hit the scoreboard, too.

For Geelong, NTFL premiership player James Tsitas was recognised as best for his mammoth 42-disposal and two-goal effort, while Billy Beardsell booted 2.5 and West Coast’s Jackson Nelson (18 disposals, five marks, five tackles) was the sole draftee among the best six. Taylor somehow missed out despite having 38 disposals and eight marks, while the remainder of the Falcons’ draftees were kept relatively quiet.

After claiming the minor premiership with a 14-3 record, the Falcons would only make it as far as the preliminary finals. They were eliminated by eventual premier, Eastern, a fate which Northern suffered at the semi-final stage after accumulating a 9-7-1 record good enough for sixth spot.

Draft Central All-Star Teams: Geelong Falcons

GEELONG FALCONS’ All-Star side is up there with the very best in the country. With stars across every line, the starting 22 features 15 players of whom have at least won a best and fairest or made the All-Australian team. In fact, only three players in the entire team do not have a personal accolade to their name, instead providing some height and depth for the squad.


The team itself is star-studded and it is hard to know where to begin. The fact the Falcons have such a strong onball group that the likes of captain Gary Ablett Jnr and Patrick Dangerfield can slide to half-forward flanks – and dominate – is saying something. They have some of the best bookends of the 21st century, and a variety of intercept players and dangerous goal sneaks. In summary, good luck beating this team.


The defence will be held down by one of, if not the greatest full-back of the past two decades in Matthew Scarlett. The Geelong legend earned six All-Australians and a best and fairest during his time to go with his three premierships. Holding down the other tall options are Tom Stewart and Will Schofield, who can both be very impressive offensively and defensively respectively.

Providing some defensive attributes and niggle is Steven Baker in the back pocket. He will be able to take over the negating of an opposition small forward, while Collingwood premiership captain and one-time All-Australian Nick Maxwell provides the loose intercept option. He will team up with another legend in the back six, with Luke Hodge also in the starting six thanks to a CV that includes three All-Australians, two best and fairests, two Norm Smiths and four premierships.

On the bench is Lachie Henderson and Matt Maguire, of whom both could play roles in defence, or Henderson could slot up forward as well.


There are elite midfields, and then there is this mind-boggling combination. We already mentioned the rotation of Ablett and Dangerfield off half-forward, and the fact Ben Cunnington, Chris Heffernan and Taylor Adams sit on the pine waiting for their chance says enough about the top-end quality this midfield produces.

On-back, Jimmy Bartel, Travis Boak and Cameron Ling are roving to Port Adelaide two-time All-Australian and one-time best and fairest, Matthew Primus. Bartel finished his career with a Brownlow, two All-Australians and a Norm Smith, while Ling had an All-Australian and best and fairest. Both players tasted success in the 2007, 2009 and 2011 premierships. Boak earned the spot in the midfield with 264 games, 171 goals, 118 Brownlow votes, two All-Australians and two best and fairests, nudging out Cunnington for the starting spot.

On the wings, Jordan Lewis had a 319-game career, and while his accolades are not as high as others, he finished with an All-Australian and best and fairest, playing some of his best years during Hawthorn’s three-peat as part of winning four premierships. Accompanying him on the other wing is former St Kilda now Geelong talent, Jack Steven. While the 183-gamer has battled with injury of late, he has still won four best and fairests and was named in the All-Australian 40-man squad twice.


The half-forward line is hands down the best half-forward line across the board in these All-Star teams. While you might argue both Ablett and Dangerfield deserve to be playing midfield, it gives the team a better balance that two stars can sit at half-forward and potentially kick bags of goals whilst influencing the game. Between them they have 15 All-Australians, six MVPs, 10 best and fairests and three Brownlows – not half bad.

Then of course there’s Jonathan Brown at centre half-forward. The Brisbane three-time premiership players earned two All-Australians, three best and fairests and a Coleman Medal in his time, slotting 594 goals in 256 games. He teams up with Scott Lucas who managed 471 goals in 270 games, winning a couple of best and fairests and one premiership in his career.

Both Shaun Higgins and Luke Dahlhaus provide some serious X-factor inside 50, with Higgins now up to 220 games and 220 goals, with two best and fairests and an All-Australian. Dahlhaus has 124 goals in 178 games, with a premiership and an All-Australian 40 nomination. On the bench, Devon Smith can come on in bursts and provide that physical pressure inside 50, winning a best and fairest with the Bombers in his debut season with the club.


With the exception in Stewart, we looked to those with more than 100 games to their names, and the likes of current players, Ed Curnow, Jasper Pittard, Allen Christensen, Gary Rohan, Lewis Taylor and Darcy Gardiner are all still on lists. From past players, Brent Moloney (166 games) has the most with Nathan Foley (154), Leigh Harding (141) and Amon Buchanan (134) the other two with more than 110 games. Looking much further ahead, James Worpel won a best and fairest in his second season with Hawthorn, so in a few years, expect him to be pushing into the side.