Tag: Geelong Falcons

2021 Draft Central NAB League Girls Player of the Week: Round 4

GEELONG Falcons’ Annie Lee has been one of the most consistent performers this season, and was rewarded with the Draft Central NAB League Girls Player of the Week Award for Round 4 for another outstanding effort in defence. Lee was voted in as the Player of the Week over Northern Knights’ Megan Girolami who was equally as impressive up the opposite end of the field in her game, with six goals. Lee becomes the first draft-eligible player to win the Player of the Week Award this season, after 2004-born talents Charlotte Baskaran and Emily Shepherd won the first two weeks.

Lee picked up a game-high 22 disposals in Geelong’s hard-fought win over Eastern Ranges in what was an even team effort. However it was her 10 rebounds – her side only finished with 27 total and the opposition 20 – that really stood out in the victory. Of her 22 disposals, Lee had 19 kicks, as well as clunking eight marks and two tackles. What makes her such an impressive performer is the fact that she is so well balanced and is equally as dangerous in the air as she is at ground level, particularly the fact she can compete against opponents taller than her 169cm height.

In her three games this season, Lee has averaged 18.3 disposals, 6.3 marks, 4.3 tackles and 6.3 rebounds, with a consistent kicking efficiency and four-quarter effort. Often being that extra player in defence, Lee can just as easily be the third person at a contest, or go one-on-one and bring the ball to ground, and is a teammate that Falcons look to get the ball in the hands of when transitioning from defence to offence.

The Geelong Falcons are undefeated at present, having won their three games thus far in season 2021. Whilst they fought past Eastern Ranges on the weekend, they also collected the scalps of Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Bendigo Pioneers in the opening couple of rounds that were played.

NAB League Girls Player of the Week:

Round 1: Charlotte Baskaran (Western Jets)
Round 3: Emily Shepherd (Dandenong Stingrays)
Round 4: Annie Lee (Geelong Falcons)

 

>> Geelong Falcons 2021 season preview

>> Annie Lee player page

 

GEELONG FALCONS AT THE COMBINE INTERVIEWS:

2021 VFLW season preview: Geelong

GEELONG is not overcomplicating things when it comes to attacking the 2021 VFLW season, according to new head coach, Andrew Bruce. Taking the reigns after being appointed as assistant in 2020, Bruce says his side has worked hard to keep in shape and will try to bring an attacking brand of football to the upcoming campaign.

“We’ve had a really good preseason,” Bruce said. “Obviously most of the girls had most of the year off last year but came back in really good shape and they’ve worked really hard through the preseason. Our skill level has certainly jumped up from the start to where we are now, so we’re really comfortable with where they are.”

“We want to be nice and hard at the football and use it as best we can. It’s very much an attacking style of play where we give ourselves the best opportunity to score. We’re not overcomplicating it at all, we want the players to continue to develop in what they’re doing but also to attack the game as much as they can and try and get some good pressure on the opposition.”

“It’s a good brand of footy where the girls are really confident in what they’re doing and we’re defending really well, so we’ve kind of got both aspects of the game going okay at the moment.”

Having effectively lost a year of competitive football in 2020, the Cats are no different to many other teams in that they will enter this season with a fresh-looking list, “significantly” so in the words of Bruce. He says Geelong will field a group of mixed ages and experience levels throughout the season, with aligned AFLW and NAB League players also set to roll through the squad.

“There’s been a significant change in personnel in the playing list,” he said. “There’s still probably half-a-dozen players who have been around for a bit of time and are quite experienced.”

“Michelle Fedele, who has been with the VFLW group pretty much since it started at Geelong, she’s missed a couple of years with an ankle injury but she’s come back fully fit and is going really well, so it’s exciting to see her play.

“Jamie Woollett has also stayed around and with her experience will be really important for us – Rebecca Pearce is the same. Then we’ve got some newer players; Claudia Gunjaca, who’s originally from Geelong but the last few years has been studying up in New South Wales and played in their state league. She’s come back this year and has been absolutely fantastic for the group – can play at both ends of the ground, is a really strong mark and her leadership is fantastic.”

“We’ve got a couple of younger girls as well. Tamara Smith, who was originally out of the Murray Bushrangers and Paige Sheppard, who was going to have the year off last year anyway, but has come back to footy and has done really well. We’ve got a player who’s crossed from Germany, she was playing in the AFLW Europe League. She’s come across to try her luck here, has settled in really well with the girls and is a very good player.”

“We’ve had a few (NAB League) girls come train with us through preseason. Renee Tierney and Ava McKeegan from Geelong, Chloe Leonard from Greater Western Victoria (GWV), she’s their captain this year. We expect them to play with us at various times through the year and probably a couple of other girls as well like Tess Craven or Annie Lee from Geelong.”

“It’s really exciting for those girls, obviously playing at that high standard in their age group through the NAB League and then also getting the opportunity at different times to play in the VFLW will be fantastic for their development.”

Along with the perks of strong talent pathways, the Cats will also benefit from a green AFLW side in the same region. Brimming with young talent, five to six players from the Geelong AFLW squad will play in the state league each week should they miss out on senior selection. Bruce says the alignment has been “great” for both parties.

“Obviously with COVID restrictions there were restrictions on how many train-on players they could have from the VFLW into AFLW, however a few of the girls did get to do that for a few weeks and they came back saying how great it was, the inclusiveness of it,” he said.

“Without doubt, their training standards picked up from that point, obviously being around some more experienced players and seeing how they go about their business has really had a positive impact on the way our players do that. With the alignment, we have five to six AFLW players (depending on injuries) come back to our games.”

“Again, it’s fantastic for those players to play footy rather than having to sit out when they’re not selected, but also just to assist with the development of our players throughout the matches with direction and different advice that they can give. Both groups are a fantastic bunch of girls and they all get along really well.”

Another area which has gone relatively smoothly thus far is the injury front. Pearce (hip) and a couple of players rehabbing ACL tears are just about the only injury concerns for Geelong ahead of Round 1, with the fitness of the players also up to scratch. The Cats will face off against Collingwood on Saturday afternoon and while Bruce expects stiff opposition, he says it will be difficult to gauge how each side stacks up until competition commences.

The Cats will announce their leadership group at tomorrow night’s jumper presentation, and promise to be raring to go after showing marked improvement in their second practice game, against Hawthorn. Bruce says his troops are simply “excited to have footy back.”

“Everyone’s missed out on so much over the past 12 months,” he said. “To get some positivity through sport is fantastic for everyone; whether it be the players, staff or their supporters. It’s all really good and we’re all just very excited to get back amongst it.”

Image Credit: Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens

Familiar faces set to lead versatile Falcons

VERSATILITY is set to be a key feature of the Geelong Falcons girls squad in 2021, according to new coach Paul Corrigan. He leads somewhat of a homecoming among the Falcons’ staffing ranks, returning to the region alongside incoming talent operations lead, Tom Lonergan – formerly of the Calder Cannons.

Corrigan is also set to coach the Vic Country squad and oversee the Falcons’ boys program as part of his new full-time role, one which he is “thoroughly enjoying”. He says returning home to Geelong has suited him, and having familiar faces has made for a great working relationship thus far.

“Obviously I knew Tommy beforehand so when I found out that he was going for that role and obviously he was really keen to get back to Geelong as well, it fitted nicely,” Corrigan said.

“We work really well together, we have a great relationship and I think it just helps too with being back in the region with the people we’ve known over a number of years and the relationships that we’ve got just makes it a little bit easier from that perspective too. “We’ve got a good grasp on the region and the leagues within (it) as well across both boys and girls, so we’re just really looking forward to it.”

The former Geelong Cats player and Essendon development coach says the Falcons girls have really “impressed” him since returning from an extended break, with their fitness base and skill level seeing them “firing and ready to go” ahead of Round 1 this weekend.

“I was really impressed with the amount of talent through the group,” he said. “When they first came back pre-Christmas I was really impressed with how good their skills were, how clean they were with ball in hand as well. “It almost suggested they had done a little bit (of work) through that Covid period when we had the break from footy.

“They’ve prepared themselves really well. “They came back looking like they hadn’t missed a beat and I think they’re just really eager and energised to play a game of footy this weekend which will be great.”

Corrigan’s assessment of the Falcons’ age profile suggests there remains a strong core of draft eligible leaders, along with some exciting younger talent which will continue to supply the elite level for years to come. The coach’s philosophies also came to the fore when discussing Geelong’s squad; with versatility, a team mentality, and strength-based coaching at the fore.

“I think we’ve been pretty blessed with the way our list has panned out,” he said. “We’ve got a good bracket of girls that are the ’04 births, then we’ve got another good bracket of the ’03s and then we’ve got girls who’ll be turning 19 this year, so we’ve got a really good mix of really good youth within the side with that core group in the middle. “There’s some real experience so from that blend I think it’ll work really well across the ground.

“My philosophy with the girls has been that I’m really keen to make them quite versatile in the way they play, and not just one-positional players. “We’ve had some good conversations around being a bit multi-functional with where they play and not just pigeonholing one position, but generating a couple of positions for these girls because if they are fortunate enough to go onto the next level… they can get selected on the basis that they can play numerous positions as well.

“I’m not a big one on individualising the standouts. “I’ve said to the girls, there’s no point in coming into a program like this and just looking at your room for improvements all the time. “You’ve got to this level because your strengths have shown in your football at local or school level. “Obviously we’ll set a template on how we want to play, but I’ve just encouraged the girls to showcase those strengths when they play and I think we’ve seen that across the board.

“We’ll probably get a gauge on who are the ones who’ll play good consistent football once we get into the season. It’s really hard to predict at the moment because we’ve missed so much footy, but I think Rounds 1, 2, and 3 we’ll start to see where our strengths lie and who’ll become the really consistent performers in our side.”

Another key trait of the side is leadership quality, which extends beyond the captain, Lucy Were, and vice-captain, Poppy Schapp. Corrigan says the side is “blessed” with leaders throughout, with the pair in charge driving key values of the region.

“The players voted on their leaders, so we’ve just named a captain and vice-captain and they just did that based on our values at the Falcons,” he said.

“Our captains are going to be Lucy Were this year and our vice-captain’s going to be Poppy Schapp. “They’re two fantastic leaders who have shown great leadership amongst the group throughout preseason, and also just driving the values within training.

“Even outside of training as well, I’ve been really impressed with how tight-knit the group is through preseason and I see a number of leaders within that side, I don’t just see them two as the main two, “I think we’re pretty blessed with the type and quality of girls in our side that possess leadership qualities.”

With no significant injuries throughout preseason and just about a full squad to choose from in Round 1, the Falcons are in good shape to swoop on the 2021 season. They take on the Greater Western Victoria Rebels on home turf this Sunday, hoping to once again start their campaign on a winning note.

2020 AFL Draft Preview: Geelong Cats

WITH the 2020 trade period done and dusted, it is now time for clubs and fans alike to turn their attention to the draft. Between now and draft day (December 9), clubs will have the opportunity to exchange picks until the final order is formed a couple of days out. While the chaos ensues, Draft Central takes a look at how each club may approach the upcoming intake opportunities with the hand they formed at the close of trade period. Obviously they are subject to heavy change, so perhaps we can predict some of that movement here.

Next under the microscope is Geelong, a team which has prioritised the recruitment of established talent during trade period as it looks to remain in the premiership window. While Gary Ablett Jnr and Harry Taylor have called time on their sparkling careers, the likes of Jeremy Cameron, Shaun Higgins, and Isaac Smith all come in to not only cover some losses, but arguably boost the side to new heights. With a bunch of ageing superstars hungry for premiership success, the time is now for Geelong. That means the Cats are left with a relatively lacklustre draft hand, but a decent 2021 pick haul could bring them into play. As it stands, Geelong has the second-lowest total draft points value ahead of its 2020 intake, but recruiting and list manager Stephen Wells is well renowned for unearthing draft gems.

>> Power Rankings: November Update

CURRENT PICKS*: 51, 96

2021 PICKS*: GEE Rd 1 | GEE Rd 2, ESS Rd 2, GWS Rd 2 | GEE Rd 3, MEL Rd 3

* – denotes as of November 25

>> Podcast: The current best AFL Draft hands

ELIGIBLE ACADEMY/FATHER-SON PICKS:

Nil.

>> Podcast: The best academy/father-son hauls

LIST NEEDS:

Long-term key position/ruck depth

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:
(Pick 51)

As it stands, the Cats will not enter this year’s fray until round three, boasting the pick 51 traded to them from Carlton as part of the Lachie Fogarty deal. It leaves them with relatively limited options, though Cats fans should have a good deal of faith in their recruiting staffs’ ability to extract extraordinary value at the draft table. Further to the optimism, if there is any year in which draft bargains will come aplenty, this is it.

Geelong is well known to favour its local talent and with no father-son or academy prospects to commit to, this could be the perfect year to take advantage of the regions’ rich talent stocks. Eight Geelong Falcons products were invited to test at this year’s draft combines, an equal-high haul among the talent programs nationwide. With that being the case, there could be some high-upside local talent to slide into the Cats’ third round range.

While more established rucks or key position players would prove ideal coups, the Cats have an opportunity to stock up on a couple of developable long-term prospects this year. The likes of Charlie Ham and Blake Reid are high-upside local options who may fit the bill, both as athletic smalls with plenty of promise. Henry Walsh, the 203cm brother of Sam could fill the Cats’ ruck depth in future and Cameron Fleeton would be a shrewd choice as key defensive cover. Though in this kind of range, it is ultimately a guessing game for phantom drafters. There should be a few rucks left on the board, but it seems that list need requires more pressing action than what long-term prospects could provide, so Geelong may look elsewhere. Expect the unexpected with this pick.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

Given the Cats currently hold the second-lowest draft points total, there is not much flex to be had with this year’s haul at the trade table. If Geelong is perhaps keen to pounce on a sliding talent, its 2021 picks may come into play to get into this year’s order before that pick 51. The Cats are said to be looking at bringing in two players with their 2020 intake, so adding to their current hand will obviously be necessary given they only hold pick 96 and a few triple-figure selections otherwise. With 50-60 picks expected to be taken overall, there may be some action required.

THE KEY QUESTIONS:

Will Geelong use its future picks to enter this year’s draft?

Will Geelong opt to go local?

Can Geelong uncover another draft gem?

Featured Image: Geelong Cats defender Jack Henry with his brother Oliver, an AFL Draft hopeful | Credit: Alan Barber/Geelong Advertiser

Remmos hoping to follow Conti’s lead as a dual elite-level sportstar

CARLY Remmos has come a long way in a short season, going from basketball convert to AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitee off the back of just of a couple of games. The Geelong Supercats National Basketball League (NBL)1 player averaged 15 disposals, five tackles and kicked a goal from her two games in the 2020 NAB League Girls season after deciding to “give it a crack”.

“I was trying something different because basketball has just basically been what I’ve been doing my whole life nearly, and then nearly a bunch of my friends were like ‘why don’t we play school footy?’ and I was like ‘oh yeah I’d be down’ and went and played and I guess I just loved the contact in it,” Remmos said. “It was a lot more contact than basketball so that was enjoyable. “But it was mainly just to have a bit of fun with schoolmates and that was about it, but I enjoyed it, so thought I’d give it a crack in the long run.”

Both her NAB League Girls and NBL1 seasons were cancelled due to COVID-19, but Remmos was hoping to juggle both for as long as she could, if she could. While she admitted it would depend on both codes and the clubs she played for, Remmos’ hope was to follow in the footsteps of Tiger Monique Conti.

“I’m not really sure (what I’ll do), it just depends who footy takes it if I was lucky enough to get drafted,” Remmos said. “It really depends on their (team that drafts me) take on the whole basketball thing. “If I have to, I’d probably just stick in the footy path, but basically it depends on what the clubs are comfortable with, both basketball and footy, and then just really go from there to be honest.”

“Monique Conti’s one that I have always been like, she does both. WNBL and AFLW so it is possible to do both, it just depends,” Remmos said. “It’s different for every person, but I’d definitely like to go down that path.”

While her football journey is a relatively new one, Remmos is no stranger to the basketball court.

“I started basketball when I was about six,” the Geelong Falcons midfielder said. “I’ve been playing ever since and gone through the Vic Country pathway and gone to Nationals for basketball and all of that sort of stuff. “Then last year I played school footy and I had a go at that and found that so much fun, I found it awesome.”

“Then I went down to Falcons, did preseason and then it was more just a bit ‘oh I’ll have a bit of fun, if it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t’. “It took off and then played the first two games then obviously COVID. “That’s about it. I only started footy in the last year.”

While she does not have a great body of work to go off, Remmos said she felt like her attack on the ball – being a taller player – and her tackling were amongst her strengths. She has no fear in winning the ball and getting it out to her teammates, whilst it is just that polish when in space by foot that she is looking to develop.

“I am very new to the game so I have been working on my kicking a fair bit,” Remmos said. “That’s still got a bit of improvement, but I’ve definitely improved in that area, but just my general skills. “My handballs are pretty good and my groundballs, so it’s mostly just working on my kicking a bit more to get that a bit more on point on both feet.”

Crossing from basketball, Remmos soon found her place training with the midfielders after not knowing if she would even make the final cut. Having the fitness from basketball to match it with her experienced teammates, she was thrown into the midfield. Whilst it was partially because of her fitness, Remmos also joked that the coaching staff could not trust her to hold a line up either end.

“Before the season I knew I was going to be in the midfield,” Remmos said. “I’ll be honest, the structure of forward and back, I don’t think they (coaching staff) were prepared to put me in there yet because it was a bit more complicated than midfield, where you just run around a bit more, see ball, get ball type of thing.”

Remmos’ favourite football memory was her first official game, where she enjoyed a win against Gippsland Power and kicked her first-ever goal.

“I think just my first official game of footy and kicking my first goal, that was pretty cool,” she said. “More just being around the girls for our first game and our win, that was pretty good. “Being new to the environment and sussing it all out and getting to know the girls in a big group is a lot different. “There’s a lot more support and it’s a lot bigger, so there’s a lot more fun in it I think.”

While Remmos was not expecting to develop to the point of receiving a combine invite – she was surprised by the interest – she had a feeling it was coming once she received contact from an AFL Women’s club.

“I was quite surprised,” Remmos said. “Even when I got an email a club wanted to contact me, I was like ‘what’s going on there? that’s very surprising’. “But the combine wasn’t a huge shock, I wasn’t expecting that because I was so new, but it was really good to get the invite.”

Now she is a chance to make it to the elite level in the AFL Women’s. If she hears her name called out on draft night next Tuesday, Remmos said it would be “absolutely awesome”.

“At the start of the year … my eyes weren’t set on getting drafted because I was so new and I didn’t think I had much of a shot,” Remmos said. “But once it got towards the business end as you could call it I guess, I think being in elite sport when I was playing at Nationals, I just thrived in that environment, it was so fun. “Getting drafted would be awesome, just being able in that elite environment with a big bunch of girls. “It would mean a lot, just hard work paid off if I was to get drafted.”

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Geelong Falcons vs. Port Adelaide Magpies

IT is getting serious now. The final four in the Draft Central All-Star Team matchup are the top four seeds which means it is only the best of the best. The four sides are evenly matched with two Victorian teams, as well as one from South Australia and one from Western Australia. In our first semi-final today, we look at Geelong Falcons up against Port Adelaide Magpies.

TEAM COMPARISON

Geelong Falcons have had the most players of any club reach the AFL, with 153 having made it to the elite level (including those yet to make their debut). The Port Adelaide Magpies are lower down the list with 92, but with an average of 82.5 games between them, the Magpies are ranked second – behind our top seeds East Fremantle (83.1). Even more remarkably, Port Adelaide has had one third (34 per cent) of the players who have passed through the club to go on to reach 100 games, agains second of the top sides with this feat.

The Falcons are still great with 25 per cent, but it is the Brownlow votes and premierships where Geelong comes to play. They sit third of the teams with 50 players or more in the system, averaging 11.2 Brownlow votes per person, third overall behind Port and East Fremantle. They have had 18 premiership players, three more than the Magpies, and only 24 per cent of their graduates fail to play a game at AFL level (28 per cent Port).

Overall both these sides are clearly in the top three overall for top-end quality.

CAPTAINS

The two captains are legends of the game in Geelong superstar Gary Ablett Jnr (Geelong Falcons), and one of Collingwood’s best of all-time and current coach, Nathan Buckley (Port Adelaide Magpies). Ablett has won two Brownlow Medals, eight All-Australians, five Most Valuable Players (MVPs), six best and fairests, three AFL Coaches Association Awards, and two premierships. Buckley has won one Brownlow Medal, one Rising Star Award, seven All-Australians, six best and fairests, one Norm Smith Medal and one AFL Coaches Association award.

GEELONG DEFENCE vs. PORT ATTACK

We begin breaking down this match up by looking at the Falcons’ defence going head-to-head with Port Adelaide’s attack. Full-back Matthew Scarlett will likely play a sweeper role opposed to Clive Waterhouse, but could go up and match-up with Warren Tredrea if he starts to get out of hand. Will Schofield might find himself without a pure matchup, but realistically, he could be the one to go to Waterhouse, Scarlett to Tredrea, and allow Tom Stewart to be the intercepting force.

With Nick Maxwell there to come across as third man up, expect Maxwell to take the least dangerous forward, which in fairness is arguably Brett Ebert. Steven Baker would likely lockdown on Alan Didak, with Luke Hodge going head-to-head with Lindsay Thomas, knowing the former Hawks skipper could run off his opponent whilst doing enough defensively to remain accountable. Tredrea’s ability to take contested marks would be dependent on his teammates’ abilities to remain accountable on their direct opponents. Peter Burgoyne could be the damaging option at half-forward to try and make Stewart more accountable as well and the Port midfield would look to hit him up going forward.

GEELONG ATTACK vs. PORT DEFENCE

Geelong’s forward 50 is ridiculous filled with talent, and could be an All-Australian forward line – right down to the midfielders named on flanks. Having the luxury to play elite midfielders in Ablett and Patrick Dangerfield there is amazing, while Shaun Higgins would be free given he would have less attention than usual with the stars at half-forward. Luke Dahlhaus is the other pocket who is always damaging around goal, and would love roving at the feet of one of the greatest centre half-forwards in Jonathan Brown, as well as champion Bomber, Scott Lucas.

The key for Port Adelaide here is the matchups, because they have so many elite kicks and composed decision makers, that they can also put the Falcons on the back foot if Geelong goes ball-watching in attack. Andrew McLeod, Corey Enright and Gavin Wanganeen coming out of the back 50 – keeping in mind Buckley could roll back there as well – and any loose ball could be picked up and hitting a target back up the field. The counter attack by the Magpies would be sublime. Graham Johncock himself is more than capable too, but he will likely play a more defensive role to keep Higgins or Dahlhaus under wraps.

The key defensive posts in the Wakelin brothers – Shane and Darryl – would have big jobs, but expect Enright to come across as that third option to mark in front of Brown or Lucas. The fact we could see McLeod on Dangerfield would simply be mouth watering, and whichever one of Enright, Wanganeen and McLeod is not taking Ablett or Dangerfield would be the designated user from defence.

MIDFIELD BATTLE

Much like everywhere else, this is a beauty. You would hand the points to Matthew Primus over Scott Lycett in the battle of the big men, but an onball group of Buckley, Craig Bradley and Scott Thompson is great, but then you compare them to Jimmy Bartel, Travis Boak and Cameron Ling. One would expect Ling would go to Buckley to tag as the best user of Port’s trio, whilst the speed of Shaun Burgoyne on the wing would be great against Jack Steven of the Falcons. On the other wing, Jordan Lewis and Byron Pickett will go head-to-head and everyone knows neither player will back down.

Of that midfield group, you would hand the points to Geelong because of the depth – keeping in mind Ablett and Dangerfield could role through there – despite Port having the elite talents at the top-end in Buckley and Bradley.

DEPTH

Again Geelong have the edge in terms of midfield depth with the likes of Ben Cunnington and Taylor Adams just sitting on the pine. Lachlan Henderson is also there and capable of taking a Tredrea or Waterhouse to free up one of the rebounding defenders, whilst Maguire is another option. They do not have as many forward options as the Power, so would rely on the midfielders to hit the scoreboard.

On the other bench, Port have plenty of forward options with Scott Hodges kicking 100 goals in 38 games, as well as Brad Ebert a known goal kicker as a mid-forward. Che Cockatoo-Collins kicked more than 200 goals in his career, whilst further up the field, Darren Mead, Michael Wilson and Greg Anderson would assist the Magpies with depth.

OVERALL

This is as tough as it gets. As a general rule of thumb it looks like skill against hardness but that is not to say the opposite teams do not have plenty of the other. Port Adelaide is the most skilful side through this series, whilst Geelong has arguably the greatest top-end talent and balance across the ground. The Falcons are second seed to the Magpies’ third, but you can easily make a case for either side getting up in this one.

Which All-Star Team are you picking?
Geelong Falcons
Port Adelaide Magpies
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Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Geelong Falcons vs. South Fremantle

OUR next All-Star Team battle makes for another intriguing quarter final clash, set to play out between a powerhouse Victorian region and West Australian club, in the Geelong Falcons and South Fremantle Bulldogs, respectively. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were ‘the little master’ Gary Ablett Jnr (Geelong Falcons) and West Coast great Peter Matera (South Fremantle).

These clubs are seeded second (Geelong Falcons) and 10th (South Fremantle) respectively, meaning the Bulldogs will be made to pull off another upset in order to advance. Our proposed Falcons squad outvoted the Greater Western Victoria Rebels after a first-round bye, while South’s path to this stage came through Claremont and the Bendigo Pioneers. The winner will qualify for the semi finals, set to face the Port Adelaide Magpies/Dandenong Stingrays.

>> SCROLL TO VIEW THE FULL TEAMS

TALKING POINTS

THE STINGY DEFENCES:

While there lies plenty more glitz and glamour further afield, a solid starting point is the stingy defences of either side. Geelong’s is one of the best of the lot, boasting premiership skippers Luke Hodge and Nick Maxwell at half-back, while Geelong pair Matthew Scarlett and Tom Stewart take up the key position posts, and Steven Baker takes up the opposite pocket of Will Schofield. If you’re left wanting more, the versatile Lachlan Henderson and Matt McGuire await rotation from the bench, potentially adding a touch more height to deal with monster key forwards. The marking power is evident, as is the pure defensive nous, and leadership in spades. Baker’s addition also adds a much-needed small option, able to lockdown the liveliest of opposition forwards.

We feared there would be no match for the Geelong defence, but alas, South Fremantle’s back six comes in strong. The Bulldogs lay claim to a premiership captain of their own, in outgoing Essendon coach and Eagles champion John Worsfold, who slots in alongside fellow West Coast great Glen Jakovich at half-back. With the ever-reliable Darren Gaspar and James Clement behind them, it would take something special to penetrate South Freo’s last line. Let’s not forget Paul Duffield in the pocket, along with ‘Miracle on Grass’ hero Ash McGrath at half-back, who add a different dimension to the back six.

On paper, these defences are difficult to split. Balance is a key aspect to the equation, slightly favouring South, but versatility looks to clearly be in Geelong’s favour, with the bench depth allowing for a good range of possible lineups. The players themselves, namely Hodge, Maxwell, and Stewart can play a variety of roles down back both below and above their heights, but the key position strength remains. We’re sticking with the Falcons here, just.

THE MIDFIELD BATTLE:

Two contrasting midfields also do battle when these sides line up, with the Geelong side boasting a rich vein of ball winners, while South Fremantle’s prime movers are most significantly based on the outer. Local Cats premiership players Cameron Ling and Jimmy Bartel feature at the heart of Geelong’s engine room alongside Travis Boak, making for a durable trio which balances both sides of the game well. South also lays claim to a tagging centreman in Clinton Jones, who is joined by Fremantle stalwart Peter Bell and current Eagles star, Tim Kelly. In terms of credentials at the centre bounce, Geelong takes the chocolates. That’s without touching on the ruck battle, which looks to also favour Geelong as Matthew Primus opposes Jaymie Graham.

But on the outside is where it gets interesting, with Matera and Nicky Winmar making for one hell of a fine wing pairing. Jordan Lewis and Jack Steven are no slouches, but would have their hands well and truly full with those two for opposition. Steven’s prime running power would serve him well, as would Lewis’ hardness and ball use, but we feel the Bulldogs have their counterparts found out in this area.

Then there is the question of depth, which will also spawn a later talking point. Geelong could well make up three or four centre bounce combinations to rival that of every club, but see many of their midfield options squeezed out to flanks or the bench. While South Fremantle’s proposed engine room is the cream of its crop, Geelong has the like of Patrick Dangerfield, Ablett Jnr, and Shaun Higgins up forward, while Taylor Adams, Ben Cunnington, and Devon Smith remain benched. That kind of depth is scary, and proves another tick for the stacked Falcons side.

THE FORWARD BALANCE:

As alluded to, the weight of Geelong’s midfield depth somewhat hinders its balance on other lines, namely up forward. While the likes of Dangerfield and Ablett Jnr are both no strangers to the forward 50, their work as midfielders is what they are primarily known for. Add Higgins into the mix, and that’s three of the four flanks/pockets filled up by improvised forwards. Luckily, they may not be needed much at ground level with Scott Lucas and Jonathan Brown in the key position posts.

But we feel the balance of South Fremantle’s front six looks much better. Peter Sumich is a terrific spearhead, aided aerially and in strength by Brad Hardie and Allen Jakovich, while true smalls in Phillip Matera and Jeff Farmer are joined by Mark Williams, who made the ‘shotgun’ celebration famous (or, infamous). Add Andrew Krakouer and Ashley Sampi to the mix off the bench, and you have a truly dynamic forward set-up, laden with x-factor and match winners. It gives the Bulldogs a good edge over Geelong, despite its overspill of talent.

SUMMARY:

While South Fremantle lays claim to some important points of difference over the second-ranked Geelong side, it is difficult to look past the Falcons’ weight of elite talent. Geelong’s midfield and defence come up trumps, and there is plenty of firepower up forward despite a lesser structure when compared to South’s. We’re taking the Falcons.

Which All-Star Team do you think would win?
Geelong Falcons
South Fremantle
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AFL Draft Watch: Cameron Fleeton (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

IN the midst of football’s long-awaited return, Draft Central takes a look at some of this year’s brightest names who have already represented their state in some capacity leading into 2020, or are bolting into draft contention. While plenty has changed 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 prospect Cameron Fleeton, a fast-rising defender who put his name in lights towards the back-end of last year’s NAB League season. Across his nine outings for the largely inexperienced Falcons side, Fleeton quickly proved his worth at the level with outstanding showings of intercept marking, leadership, and composure among an under-siege defence. The 18-year-old was so impressive, that his form warranted selection as one of Geelong’s 2020 co-captains, while also earning him an invite to this year’s National Combine. Having been forced to play a lockdown role in 2019, Fleeton was looking forward to being let off the leash as a top-ager, allowing more attacking traits to come to the fore.

PLAYER PAGE:

Cameron Fleeton
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country

DOB: June 17, 2002

Height: 191cm
Weight: 80kg

Position: General Defender

Strengths: Intercept marking, reading the play, composure, defensive versatility, leadership
Improvements: In-between size

2019 NAB League averages: 9 games | 15.8 disposals | 3.4 marks | 2.0 tackles | 1.4 clearances | 4.7 rebound 50s

>> Q&A: Cameron Fleeton
>> Marquee Matchup: Fleeton vs. Callow

PRESEASON TESTING RESULTS:

Standing Vertical Jump: 58cm
Running Vertical Jump (R/L): 71cm/62cm
Speed (20m): 3.08 seconds
Agility: 8.22 seconds
Endurance (Yo-yo): 20.6

>> Full Testing Results:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

2019 SCOUTING NOTES:

NAB League Wildcard Round vs. Sandringham Dragons

By: Michael Alvaro

Was quite possibly Geelong’s best player given the heat he took on in a key defensive post. Fleeton was as sure as anyone by foot, switching confidently across defensive 50 to try and set the Falcons on the right foot coming out of defence. Two of his three marks were fantastic too, intercepting strongly in the first term and sticking a one-hander going back in the second to show some courage and athleticism. The bottom-ager was also incredibly composed on the ball, not afraid to take on opponents on the last line and burning one in the second quarter with a good piece of agility after gathering over the back. Also contributed some second efforts with the result beyond doubt, showing heart on a rough day.

NAB League Round 16 vs. Tasmania Devils

By: Michael Alvaro

Another exciting Falcons bottom-ager, Fleeton played a massive role in what was arguably the contest of the day against Devils forward Jackson Callow. Despite conceding some size, Fleeton trimmed the difference with his leap and combativeness, following Callow’s every step and managing to get a hand in at the opportune moment. He improved his positioning as the game went on after getting caught behind and too far under the ball on separate occasions early, while making his opponent work the other way with some run on the rebound. Can sharpen up his use by foot at times, but has played every game since his Round 8 debut and is coming on in leaps and bounds.

NAB League Round 14 vs. GWV Rebels

By: Michael Alvaro

Fleeton is another bottom-ager the Falcons staff are high on, and he continues to put his hand up in an intercepting role across half-back. His early work included a few repelling kicks as GWV made a quick start, before eventually getting his aerial game going. Fleeton positioned well on the wing to intercept a long Rebels ball forward in the second term, repeating the act with a terrific pack mark to show his clean hands and reading of the ball in flight. Looks to have been a good find in the middle-part of the year.

Featured Image: Cameron Fleeton flies for a mark | Credit: David Crosling/Geelong Advertiser

>> 2020 AFL National Draft Combine List
>> 2020 Vic Country U18s Squad Prediction

>> August 2020 Power Rankings
>> July 2020 Power Rankings
>> September 2020 Power Rankings

>> CATCH UP ON OUR DRAFT WATCH SERIES

Allies:
Tahj Abberley
Charlie Byrne
Jackson Callow
Blake Coleman
Braeden Campbell
Alex Davies
Oliver Davis
Errol Gulden
Joel Jeffrey
Maurice Rioli Jnr
Patrick Walker

South Australia:
Kaine Baldwin
Bailey Chamberlain
Brayden Cook
Zac Dumesny
Corey Durdin
Luke Edwards
Lachlan Jones
Tariek Newchurch
Caleb Poulter
Tom Powell
Taj Schofield
Henry Smith
Riley Thilthorpe

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

Vic Metro:
Jake Bowey
Jackson Cardillo
Nikolas Cox
Connor Downie
Eddie Ford
Max Heath
Bailey Laurie
Finlay Macrae
Reef McInnes
Archie Perkins
Will Phillips

Western Australia:
Jack Carroll
Heath Chapman
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Zane Trew
Brandon Walker
Joel Western
Isiah Winder

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Geelong Falcons vs. GWV Rebels

OUR next All-Star Team battle is between two Victorian regions in the Geelong Falcons and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels – formerly known as North Ballarat. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Gary Ablett Jnr (Geelong) and Adam Goodes (GWV).

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded second (Geelong) and 15th (GWV) respectively, forming another Round of 16 clash in our draw. Geelong was one of two teams to enjoy a bye in the Round of 32. The winner will qualify for the quarter finals, set to face the victor of the Claremont vs. South Fremantle tie.

STRENGTHS:

Both sides are absolutely stacked. There are Brownlow medalists, premiership players, and All Australians scattered across either lineup, which is to be expected come this stage of the tournament. There is some serious depth at play here.

Geelong is particularly adept in each area, boasting a formidable spine and a midfield which has pushed the likes of Ablett, Patrick Dangerfield, and Shaun Higgins out into the forwardline. Not many goals would be conceded against a back six which includes Matthew Scarlett, Nick Maxwell, and Luke Hodge, but plenty of majors are to be scored up the other end via Jonathan Brown and Scott Lucas. Add the class and grunt of Jimmy Bartel, Cameron Ling, and Travis Boak through the middle, and you have one hell of a team.

The Rebels lay claim to an even squad too, with a versatile defensive mix and a two-punch key forward combination of Drew Petrie and Jeremy Cameron. The midfield mix is another highlight, with Matt and Brad Crouch among the engine room alongside Brad Sewell, while the extremely versatile Sydney Swans legend, Goodes skippers the side as its starting ruck.

WEAKNESSES:

There is not much in the way of true weaknesses, per se across either lineup, but perhaps more structural tweaks to be made. Geelong’s back six is a touch tall, with four players over 192cm and able to play in key position posts, while Hodge can also contribute aerially and Matt McGuire remains on the bench. In saying that, there is not much in the way of ruck depth, meaning Matthew Primus takes the reins solo.

The one small area of concern for GWV could prove its lack of a true small forward, with Tom McDonald making it three key position forwards in the front six mix, while Shaun Grigg, Liam Picken, and Tim Notting fill out the line as players who arguably all plied their best trade further afield.

SUMMARY:

It is hard to look past Geelong in any clash, and this one is no different. The Falcons have produced a multitude of AFL stars and have them scattered across each line in this team. They will go deep in this tournament. The Rebels are one of the most prolific regions too, but just boast a touch less depth against the second-seeded side.

Which All-Star Team are you picking?
Geelong Falcons
GWV Rebels
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All-Star Team of the AFL Draft Era: Which club is the best of the best?

EVERY year, a new crop of AFL Draft talents rise up and make waves at AFL level. Some clubs such as Calder Cannons and Geelong Falcons are referred to as ‘footy factories’. Others are less well known, but nonetheless vital in providing players with their start to the AFL.

Over the past couple of months, Draft Central has gone through all of the NAB League, SANFL and WAFL clubs and tried to determine the best 24-player squad for their respective clubs. The captains and vice-captains were determined by the public through Instagram voting. Now, it is up to the public to decide which All-Star Team is the greatest of the lot. That’s right, the 30 teams from Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia are going head to head in a knockout draw.

Which teams are competing?

NAB League [12]: Bendigo Pioneers, Calder Cannons, Dandenong Stingrays, Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power, GWV Rebels, Murray Bushrangers, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers, Sandringham Dragons, Western Jets
SANFL [9]: Central District, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Norwood, Port Adelaide, South Adelaide, Sturt, West Adelaide, Woodville-West Torrens
WAFL [9]: Claremont, East Fremantle, East Perth, South Fremantle, Peel Thunder, Perth, Subiaco, Swan Districts, West Perth

How will it work?

Each day at 10am, we will publish the two All-Star Teams of the AFL Draft era, and the public will be able to vote through the article, Facebook and Twitter, with the overall winner moving through to the next round.

Given there are 30 teams, two sides who we have picked out as the top two seeds – East Fremantle and Geelong Falcons – will have the bye in the opening round, with the other 28 teams seeded appropriately similar to the All-Star Player voting (3rd against 28th, 4th against 27th etc.).

Who is up first?

The first All-Star Team battle is between a couple of metropolitan sides who we have seeded 16th and 17th in the draw. They both have some absolute elite stars, but Calder Cannons and Western Jets will begin the voting on Monday. They will be followed by the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Eastern Ranges on Tuesday, before a cross-state clash sees third seed Port Adelaide Magpies tackle Peel Thunder.