Tag: Gippsland Power

Draft Central Rising Star: NAB League Girls – Round 7

IT was a memorable weekend for Gippsland Power, recording their first victory of the year in a tight six-point win over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels at Shepley Oval. The best player on the field was middle-ager Grace McRae who has been in terrific form over the past two rounds, earning the nod for our Rising Star for NAB League Girls in Round 7.

McRae amassed 24 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s, five rebounds and laid an impressive seven tackles in the Power’s win, while also scoring two behinds. The inside midfielder has booted three goals this season, averaging 14.0 disposals, 1.7 marks, 1.3 inside 50s, 1.8 rebounds and 4.2 tackles. Her 24-disposal game was her fourth match with 19 or more disposals thus far this season in her first year with the Power. McRae joins Elizabeth Snell as the second bottom-ager to earn our Rising Star for the week, with two bottom-agers and three top-agers making up the seven rounds thus far this season.

Rising Star of the Week:

Round 1 – Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons)
Round 2 – Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
Round 3 – Gabby Newton (Northern Knights)
Round 4 – Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
Round 5 – Elizabeth Snell (Bendigo Pioneers)
Round 6 – Tess Flintoff (Eastern Ranges)

Final Siren Podcast: Episode 4

In a huge episode of Final Siren Podcast, host Matthew Cocks and Draft Central’s Peter Williams and Sophie Taylor chat all things NAB League and this week’s podcast includes:

* Sandringham Dragons team focus from their 109-point win (14.15)
* Murray Bushrangers Lachie Ash Player Focus (17.20)
* Gippsland Power Football Club’ Caleb Serong interview (19.40)
* Dandenong Stingrays’ Hayden Young interview (24.50)

Both interviews were taken at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day at Maribyrnong College, thanks to Rookie Me.

Other features:

* Preview of some of the potential top Victorian players
* Preview Tasmania Devils and the Academy teams
* All the reviews and previews from the NAB League Boys and NAB League Girls

Listen to the full podcast below:

Team Selection: NAB League Girls – Round 2

TEAMS have brought in a number of talented players for Round 2 of the NAB League Girls competition as sides strive to either back up strong performances from Round 1, or hope to bounce back from losses in the opening round. Georgia Patrikios (Calder Cannons) has been named on the bench having missed the first round, while Millie Brown (Murray Bushrangers) and Molly McDonald (Dandenong Stingrays) are also back into their respective sides, certain to boost the team’s chances of victory.

After two triple headers in Round 1, the six games are spread across six different venues, from Bendigo to Ballarat, Geelong to Yarrawonga, Moorabbin to Bundoora in a chance for spectators across the state to take in some terrific football action. Below are how the 12 teams have been named for the weekend’s action.


Round 2 – 16/03/2019
Epsom Huntly Reserve – Bendigo


B: 25. K. Hazlett, 36. K. Douglass, 24. S. Oliver
HB: 28. E. Gretgrix, 40. T. Slender, 46. K. Mitchell
C: 3. E. Snell, 33. B. Heiden, 1. M. Tupper
HF: 14. A. Strahan, 30. H. Stewart, 20. D. Villiva
F: 50. M. Barton, 44. J. Jolliffe, 9. T. Miaoudis
R: 37. G. Sladden, 19. J. Finning, 4. B. Hards
Int: 34. E. Cooper, 48. D. Kelly-Guthrie, 26. C. Mitchell, 41. E. Peacock


B: 17. M. Kendall, 51. S. Zappia, 54. E. Odria
HB: 11. M. Edwards, 49. C. Wilsmore, 1. C. Smith
C: 29. M. Di Cosmo, 39. L. McClelland, 20. J. Richardson
HF: 26. T. Brown, 41. T. Merrett, 48. I. Khoury
F: 31. S. Collard, 46. S. Gibbs, 12. M. Taverna
R: 25. J. Grace, 33. T. Flintoff, 21. O. Meagher
Int: 44. S. Bowden, 23. M. Church, 35. L. Hilton, 16. E. Horne


Round 2 – 16/03/2019
Mars Stadium – Ballarat


B: 2. Z. Denahy, 16. L. Sykes, 11. L. Donegan
HB: 5. N. Butler, 27. G. Pidgeon, 12. V. Jewell
C: 13. B. Thompson, 24. S. Molan, 3. A. Trigg
HF: 29. P. Metcalfe, 34. K. Harris, 28. I. Robson
F: 6. M. Ciavarella, 23. I. Rustman, 9. R. Saulitis
R: 35. M. Caris, 10. E. Wood, 15. C. Leonard
Int: 1. L. Condon, 20. E. Friend, 21. A. Stevens, 4. K. Tomkins


B: 24. K. Delia, 6. K. Reid, 36. Z. Penno
HB: 32. T. Fry, 35. I. Young, 41. G. Prespakis
C: 8. Z. Friswell, 31. K. Petrevski, 3. E. Yassir
HF: 46. G. Elarmaly, 18. T. Gillard, 34. Z. Hardiman
F: 22. M. Muller, 44. I. McNeill-Wren, 2. F. Theodore
R: 49. T. Crook, 11. A. Barba, 38. L. Cocomello
Int: 1. H. Cooke, 43. C. Leahy, 25. A. Magri, 21. G. Patrikios


Round 2 – 17/03/2019
La Trobe University – Bundoora


B: 32. A. Snow, 2. S. Fell, 34. M. Uwland
HB: 10. P. Chisholm, 18. S. Sansonetti, 17. C. Fitzgerald
C: 6. A. Bannan, 21. E. McKenzie, 9. M. Chaplin
HF: 7. A. Bennett, 23. G. Newton, 29. T. Pulcino
F: 20. C. Linssen, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 25. T. Mills
R: 1. J. Nelson, 14. J. Fitzgerald, 22. B. Gutknecht
Int: 11. M. Appleby, 16. Z. Flanigan, 30. M. Plunkett, 36. T. Smart
Emg: 8. G. Ceravolo, 24. J. Nursey, 26. M. Papachristos, 35. J. Simpson


B: 2. M. Hill, 26. A. Micallef, 29. C. Rowbottom
HB: 33. E. Chamberlain, 12. A. Peck, 18. C. O’Malley
C: 34. G. Larkey, 17. N. Xenos, 22. J. Lin
HF: 1. G. Lagioia, 10. T. Cowan, 5. A. van Oosterwijck
F: 11. M. Bertuna, 15. C. Russell, 4. E. Harley
R: 3. K. Kearns, 8. A. Porter, 32. E. James
Int: 14. G. Byrne, 9. E. Jackson, 38. D. Lloyd, 31. S. Morley, 13. T. Morton, 21. S. Reid


Round 2 – 17/03/2019
Deakin University – Geelong


B: 7. M. Holdsworth, 21. A. Chapman, 44. J. Robinson
HB: 16. E. Mahoney, 32. K. Haustorfer , 11. D. Smith
C: 12. L. Gardiner, 23. L. Lesosky-Hay, 28. A. Sanderson
HF: 24. M. Skinner, 8. P. Sheppard, 1. E. Vella
F: 34. S. Milsome, 39. R. Tierney, 25. L. Ryan
R: 20. S. Hovey, 38. L. McEvoy, 18. D. Moloney
Int: 14. Z. Garth, 37. A. Lee, 46. A. McKee, 4. P. Schaap
Emg: 36. M. Featherston , 6. T. Hassett, 45. T. Lewis


B: 19. H. Booth, 47. E. Williams, 7. L. Raymond
HB: 26. G. McRae, 45. M. Van Berkel, 9. M. Shaw
C: 13. H. Andrews, 8. C. Abrahams , 30. A. Rippon
HF: 2. S. Beaton, 27. N. Webber, 40. C. Robinson
F: 3. M. Gilmour, 50. G. Matser, 11. S. Walker
R: 49. G. Radford, 12. M. Fitzsimon, 17. S. Trewin
Int: 15. C. Bailey, 20. J. Chila, 16. A. Hardwick, 21. C. Prestidge
Emg: 1. S. Brisbane, 24. N. Williams


Round 2 – 17/03/2019
J.C. Lowe Oval – Yarrawonga


B: 24. H. Doohan, 44. M. Quade, 6. C. Hargreaves
HB: 14. C. Boschetti, 43. A. Williams, 10. S. Locke
C: 7. K. Adams, 19. M. Brown, 8. A. Favell
HF: 31. M. Trethowan, 45. O. Barber, 37. T. Verhoeven
F: 18. Z. Spencer, 34. E. McPherson, 40. K. Whitehead
R: 39. A. Morphett, 22. A. Richardson, 11. T. Brett
Int: 2. O. Antonello, 33. E. Mifka, 21. C. Styan , 27. J. Ward
Emg: 16. M. Jones, 20. S. Lang, 41. L. Sharp


B: 19. A. Anthony, 11. K. O’Keefe, 20. T. Kolevski
HB: 1. M. Huta, 23. I. Pritchard, 15. N. Wright
C: 13. I. Grant, 9. R. Tripodi, 16. H. Herring
HF: 6. E. Kiely, 25. C. Saxon-Jones, 8. O. Millar
F: 5. I. Cavka, 26. C. Weston-Sirett, 14. L. Wright
R: 22. C. Singleton, 12. E. Quinn, 17. E. Georgostathis
Int: 10. T. Evans, 30. T. Kotoski, 24. J. Mwaka, 21. E. Robinson


Round 2 – 17/03/2019
RSEA Park – Moorabbin


B: 57. C. Bowen, 24. N. Borg, 44. D. Walker
HB: 38. G. Strangio, 25. S. Hartwig, 7. R. Woods
C: 42. M. Purcell, 17. B. Arnold, 26. C. Saultry
HF: 33. I. Eddey, 2. S. Rothfield, 40. A. Moloney
F: 65. E. Angelopoulos, 1. M. Denahy Maloney, 29. I. Stutt
R: 13. T. Grasso, 22. E. McNamara, 28. A. Burke
Int: 15. C. Cody, 30. W. Laing, 21. E. Turner , 58. T. Tysoe
Emg: 47. K. Lynch, 3. C. Murphy, 50. P. Staltari


B: 14. L. Grocock, 51. Z. Hill, 17. M. Layfield
HB: 32. J. Radford, 50. A. Nagtzaam, 31. B. Vernon
C: 21. G. Hodder, 28. T. Smith, 10. A. Jordan
HF: 48. A. Carroll, 24. A. Liddle, 20. P. Wilson-Macdonald
F: 2. S. Stratton, 49. K. McKenzie, 55. H. Thomas
R: 58. G. Howes, 12. M. McDonald, 26. I. Shannon
Int: 40. R. Clancy – Dillon, 23. D. Fennell, 4. J. Guy-Toogood, 53. O. Mauerhofer, 34. A. Richards

U18 Girls season preview: Gippsland Power

AFTER not registering a win in season 2017, Gippsland Power showed marked improvement in 2018, winning three games and drawing another – against a previously unbeaten side – while remaining incredibly competitive throughout the season. Female Talent Manager, Chelsea Caple and head coach Scott Armour are teaming up again in season 2019, after what was a really promising year last year.

“I think we definitely saw improvement in the team from season 2017 to season 2018,” Caple said. “Obviously, we saw a new coaching panel from Scotty McDougal to Scotty Armour and I think Scott brought with him that idea of developing the girls as individuals, developing them as a team and really focusing on those little wins. “So not necessarily those scoreboard wins, but tackling pressure and just the girls putting in 100 per cent and I think that really showed and our progress throughout the year with the wins and the draws that we had was definitely an improvement. “Obviously being a development competition, we don’t necessarily look at the scoreboard, but we know that winning teams and successful teams breed draftable players which is what we try and get achieved as well. “We were really happy with the season, especially coming from the back of 2017, having a little more of a challenging year. “This year will be just as interesting.”

There were some nervous times early in the season, with the Power opting not to play a pre-season practice match, and then getting belted by Oakleigh in the opening game. But any nerves about how the second season might go down, lasted just a round, as the Power turned it around to defeat the Western Jets, then draw with Murray Bushrangers the following round.

“We took some learnings (from last year),” Caple said. “So in 2017 we played a practice match against another side, and it probably from our perspective gave the girls a bit of a reality check so they were ready to hit Round 1 running. However, in 2018 we had five girls make our first side that hadn’t played a game of football competitively against other people.” “… and six other debutants,” Armour added. “So we had 11 playing their first TAC game. “I think we underestimated the nerves and how that could impact, because we saw how their football could develop from that first round, and change.” “Absolutely,” Caple agreed. “You could just tell in that first quarter that our really talented players from other sports were just like ‘oh my goodness this is the pace’ and it probably took them that whole game to adjust. They were learning the game as well, but they learning the pace, learning the intensity, but by Round 2 they knew what to expect.”

Armour said dual sport athlete, Jasmine Ferguson was a perfect example of someone who took time to adjust, but when she did, she flourished.

“I think Jaz Ferguson is a good example,” he said. “She came only playing school football, and only four games of school football, and struggled a bit in Round 1. “Then she had a really consistent season and ended up playing VFL football with Collingwood. “I think it was that first game, and we’ve got a practice match this weekend (earlier in February) and hopefully we can get some of those nerves out of the newer girls. :So we can be a bit more match ready this year.”

One constant in the Gippsland Power program who will no longer run out with the girls is last year’s co-captain, Tyla Hanks who has followed on from her top-age year with some impressive performances in the AFL Women’s competition for Melbourne. Both Caple and Armour praised the impact Hanks had on the group throughout her time at the Power.

“I think Tyla’s really calm under pressure and I think her season with us and her season with Carlton in the VFLW prepared her really well for AFLW,” Caple said. She’s playing against those bigger bodies, she’s got used to the pace. “Obviously AFLW is another step, but we never had any doubts that she wouldn’t be able to do it.”

“No she, boy or girl she’s one of the best young footballers I’ve seen and I think in a few years’ time you’ll see just how good she is at AFLW level,” Armour said. “She’s a young leader, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the leadership group or in some leadership role in the next few years.”

So how will Hanks’ departure affect the Power? Caple admitted while the saying goes ‘everyone is replaceable’, she conceded Hanks was hard to replace. Armour said the team was not looking to replace Hanks directly, but instead look for a range of players to step up in her absence.

Tyla Hanks and Maddy Prespakis, those types, I think they’re hard to come by and I think you really value them when they do come through,” Armour said. “But we’ve got some really talented girls and we’re happy with how they’re progressing. “Not saying that they’re going to be a Tyla Hanks. “They’re all unique and different in their own way. “Nikia Webber had a pretty good Round 1 to 5 last year I think she’d kicked nearly 10 goals. “She started off really well and I think she’s got the potential to really impact this year and getting some consistency will be what we aim for her. “She’s a very good mark, she’s very good one-on-one and she’s one of the best kicks in the league. “Already people, VFL and AFL are looking at her kicking because it’s excellent. “So we do have some strengths coming through even though we’ve lost Tyla. “Just different players.”

Caple said the amount of players who had shown more voice at training and over the pre-season compared to the year before was noticeable.

“It’s also an opportunity for other players to step up. With Tyla filling such a role – she was a vice-captain in her bottom-age year and a captain in her top-age year, we’ve seen some of the girls through pre-season really stepping up and seeing that that gap needing to be filled,” she said. “We played an intraclub … and to see the voice from some of the girls that we didn’t see last year and even the direction and the leadership on the field. “Tyla was for us, and still is, a leader on the field and a leader by example. “To really notice that those girls are stepping up, understanding what Scotty wants from them in terms of structure and being able to guide that, where previously they probably did rely on Tyla.”

Armour said the reliance on Hanks at times also worked the other way, with Hanks having an ability to create opportunities for her teammates.

“I think it works both ways too,” he said. “There might be the mindset of ‘well Tyla will do it’, but also Tyla was one of those players that would bring others into the game and help with their confidence and they can get better because of it. “That was what we tried and the angle we used with Tyla, that she can build others up. “For the other girls, Tyla will be there to support them and the girls will be there to support Tyla and hopefully they weren’t just thinking Tyla will do it all. “We knew that she would get close attention. “Not saying that she got anything illegal, but close attention which she should because she’s an awesome player, so we needed other people to step up.”

With a lot of bottom-age players now moving into their top-age year, Gippsland Power has no shortage of leaders ready to take the next step, as well as some with limited football experience.

“So we’ve already spoken about Nikia (Webber), but Maddi Shaw (is one to watch),” Armour said. “We think Maddi can have a big impact this year. “She was really consistent for us last year. “She played through the midfield and off half-back. “She reads the ball well, she learns stoppages, she holds her feet well, (is) quick, tries to break the lines when she gets the ball. “Very aggressive when tackling. “We’re hopeful she’ll take that next step up this year. “Also, we’ve got another top-ager in Shanara Notman, now she didn’t play last year but she played V/Line the year before. “Now she’s come from elite basketball background and think she will be one to watch athletically. She’s quite tall, she’d be about 183cm. “She can play forward, back, ruck, onball, wing. “She can play anywhere. “Trying to decide I guess where the best fit is for the team will be important. She reads the ball really well, she is a competitor. “I remember years ago when we played V/Line, against Lucy Cripps‘ group (Peninsula Stingrays) and Lucy Cripps was doing really well so we put Shanara down there. “Now I think Lucy still won the day but Shanara made her really earn her possessions. And then she’s had a year off footy and come back to it. “We hope she will step up and from what she’s shown with her skill progression and her kicking been really good. “We’re excited for what the year can hold for her.”

Armour is excited to watch versatile bottom-ager, Chandra Abrahams continue to develop her game and build consistency in 2019 after glimpses of some highlight-worthy moments last season.

Chandra Abrahams has a really huge upside,” Armour said. “I think when she’s firing, the team is firing. “If she’s on, she can pull down some marks that not many others in the comp can. She’s a power athlete. She comes from an athletics background when she was young, she was an athletics champion at state level at shorter distance. She’s really powerful. “For her, when she’s forward she can lead with speed and have a lot of power in her lead when she goes up for the ball. She’s also really good up around the football, she’s really strong and she’s good at clearances. So I guess for us we’d like to see her going through the midfield and down forward, but that being said we played her down back at times last year and she did quite well last year, but probably forward and midfield for Chandra this year.”

Caple said the V/Line Cup squad has a number of players coming up who would be eligible for either the Under 18s or Futures games this season. Lily-Rose Williamson might only be turning 15 this year, but already the tough midfielder is eyeing off a spot in the Futures games mid-season.

“She’s 2004 born so we’ve been able to apply to have her potentially play in some of our futures games,” Caple said. “Last year she still played with the boys and the girls so she’d swap. “She’d play under 14s one week with dad and then play with the girls with mum. “Allegedly she was the best on the field with the under 14 boys and very, very, very hard tackler and held her own. “She’ll be an interesting one to see coming up for the Futures games.”

Overall, Armour has been pleased with the Power pre-season and looks forward to hitting the season running this weekend.

“I’ve been really happy with the way it’s been going and the way they’re developing,” the coach said. “We spent a lot of time in November doing a lot of fundamental skill work and trying to get some fitness into them. “We’ve been really happy with how it’s been going and it’s just been the last few weeks because of weather and things outside our control. “Things have been thrown upside down but we can only control what we can control, so we focus on that and try and move forward as best we can.”

As for a mantra throughout season 2019, it does not change with the Gippsland sides always keen for competitiveness and 100 per cent effort.

“As a team we’d like to be, one of the values of Power is that we’re hard to play against, that we’re really competitive and we’d love every team to come away thinking ‘gee that was tough’ whether they’ve lost or won, that that was a tough game,” Armour said. “That’s ideal. “I kept saying to the girls last year I want you to walk off the ground with your head held high, and the only way you can do that is knowing within yourself that you gave 100 per cent effort so for me, it’s a lot about them just giving absolutely everything they can. “If everyone gives 100 per cent we can’t ask for more than that. “They can’t do more than that, because some days you’re going to get beaten by teams that are better than you. “But the most important thing is we give 100 per cent and that’s coaching staff as well and that we are switched on and give our absolute best all the time.”

Gippsland Power starts its 2019 campaign on Sunday, March 3 against Oakleigh Chargers at Skybus Stadium Frankston, with the Power keen to make amends for last year’s Round 1 loss.

Noah Gown finds his place in TAC Cup

GIPPSLAND Power product, Noah Gown has shown he is a real force to be reckoned with and has a bright future at AFL level, if given the opportunity. After spending time playing both basketball and football Gown decided to make the big decision to focus solely on footy in the 2018 season.

“It was more about the opportunity, the opportunity of having a crack at and making it at the top level,” Gown said. “For example, rather than going overseas and playing college it’s more having a crack at playing professional football.”

His decision proved to be the right one, finding his feet with the Power and cementing a spot in the squads’ line- up and being included in AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Team of the Year. Gown also received a State Draft Combine invite credit to his footballing prowess and with the upcoming draft approaching he could quite possibly find himself a new home at an AFL club.

“I’m pretty excited and pretty nervous I don’t really know where or if I’ll go,” he said.

The 18 year-old made the switch from defence to forward which paid dividends, racking up 31 goals from 14 games. Gown proved that he has natural talent and can play anywhere on the ground and still deliver the goods.

“It doesn’t really bother me, it was a bit tough starting off just playing football in general,” he said. “But once I started to find my feet, it didn’t really matter where I played.”

With his leading patterns and strong hands a key element of his game, Gown excelled down forward causing havoc for opposition teams on multiple occasions. The avid Blues supporter drew inspiration from Carlton young gun Charlie Curnow, becoming a dominant force in front of goals for Gippsland. In round 13, Gown finished with a bag of five to only back up his impressive performance again in the next round with another five majors.

“I go for the Blues, so I like to take bits and pieces from Charlie Curnow’s game,” he said. “(We have) similar body position and similar position on the ground, he’s been pretty big for me.”

After only returning to footy this year Gown met with former Collingwood premiership player Leigh Brown as coach, which proved to be revolutionary. After trialling Gown down back, the move forward was one of the most beneficial changes for the team as the 193cm forward owned the forward 50.

“Browny just decided to move me around and see I guess, where I best fit within the team and then we ended up putting me down forward and I had an alright game and then I pretty much just stayed there for the rest of the year,” he said.

The Gippsland coach had a huge influence on Gown and the rest of the players at the club, credit to his experience and football knowledge at both the elite and junior levels.

“It was great, he was probably one of the only coaches I had over my football career,” Gown said. “He’s great the way he mentors all the kids throughout the squad, really great leader.”

Living out in the country many players Gowns’ age are accustomed to the hefty drive to games and training.

“It’s definitely pretty challenging overall but I was used to it travelling around for basketball all over the state,” he said. “It gets pretty hard with recovery and stuff like that, with driving home an hour or more after a game rather than recovery, gets a bit difficult at times.”

All challenges aside, Gown has plenty of upside and could prove to be a valuable get for any club during the draft period.

Weekend Previews: TAC Cup – Preliminary finals

WE are down to the final four TAC Cup sides for season 2018, with Dandenong Stingrays taking on Sandringham Dragons, and Gippsland Power facing Oakleigh Chargers to determine the two, 2018 Grand Finalists.


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

Last week:

In the first of two preliminary finals, we take a look at the minor premiers, Dandenong Stingrays, taking on the fourth placed Sandringham Dragons. Last weekend, the Stingrays were on another level compared to the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, thumping them by 110 points, while the Dragons proved too good for the Murray Bushrangers in a 43-point win.

Last time:

Sandringham Dragons 6.10 (46) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 14.9 (93)

In the final round of the TAC Cup season, Dandenong Stingrays ensured the Dragons had a nervous wait across the weekend, with a top four spot on the line. Sandringham luckily witnessed Northern Knights upsetting Murray Bushrangers to earn a weekend off. On the day, Sam Sturt and Finlay Bayne both booted three goals, while Matthew Cottrell claimed best on ground for the Stingrays. For the Dragons, Angus Hanrahan was the only multiple goal kicker with two majors, while James Rendell and Liam Stocker were impressive – Stocker picking up the three votes in the match despite the 47-point loss.



The big key in the game is which side can win the ball at the coal face and get the ball down to their key forwards and crumbers. Both sides have good firepower inside 50, and the clearances will be an area to watch with the teams having strong contested ball winners. Looking at the starting midfields, there is not much to split them with clearances and contested possessions practically even. Dandenong’s starting three midfielders lay more tackles, with Toby Bedford also spending time up forward and adding pressure up there.


Liam Stocker 12.5 contested possessions, 5.6 clearances, 4.5 tackles
Harry Reynolds 10.0 contested possessions, 3.3 clearances, 2.3 tackles
Kai Owens 8.7 contested possessions, 3.8 clearances, 6.2 tackles

= 31.2 contested possessions, 12.7 clearances, 13 tackles



Sam Fletcher 13.4 contested possessions, 5.2 clearances, 7.7 tackles
Campbell Hustwaite 11.0 contested possessions, 5.0 clearances, 6.1 tackles
Toby Bedford 8.0 contested possessions, 2.3 clearances, 5.7 tackles

= 32.4 contested possessions, 12.5 clearances, 19.5 tackles



Dandenong: The best team all year, depth that is envious of any other side and equal to that of fellow challenger, Oakleigh. They seem to have winners across all thirds of the ground and just made the Rebels look silly last week. A last round win against the Dragons will have the Stingrays’ confidence high to repeat the effort again. The Stingrays love a scrap and will be keen to beat the Dragons at the contest and use their bigger bodies to extract the ball and pump it long.

Sandringham: Any side with Ben King inside 50 is a threat, and the Stingrays will not only look to nullify him, but just cut off the delivery to him, full stop. But if the Dragons midfielders can get on top on the inside, then the Stingrays defence could be under siege. They also possess the ball really well and will look to play the ball on their terms with slick, short ball use.



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

Last week:

Gippsland Power managed to get over the highly dangerous Geelong Falcons with a 35-point victory at Ikon Park. They took four quarters to do it – leading by just eight points at the final break before a five-goal final term saw the second placed Power storm away with the game. The Chargers had a much easier game against Western Jets, shaking off an early challenge by the Jets to post a massive 120-point victory to earn a place in the preliminary final.

Last time:

Oakleigh Chargers 8.7 (55) defeated by Gippsland Power 9.6 (60)

Not much can be read into it given Oakleigh was missing the majority of its best 22, but Gippsland got the job done in a thriller at Warrawee Park with a Noah Gown goal in the dying seconds sealing a great comeback win. Noah Answerth bombed through a goal on the siren, but not release the ball until a second too late. The result left Oakleigh’s top four hopes in the lurch, but an impressive win over Sandringham Dragons and a 15-goal rout of the GWV Rebels put any threat of missing the week off to bed pretty soon. Daniel Scala booted four goals for the Chargers, while Trent Bianco and Sam Harte were named Oakleigh’s best in the loss. For Gippsland, Gown, Harrison Pepper and Sam Flanders all booted two goals, while Gown and Boadie Motton were named in the Power’s best.



Both Gippsland and Oakleigh head into the clash as sides that have dynamic forward lines. Gippsland has more structure to it, with two traditional talls in Gown and Josh Smith, while Oakleigh relies on a number of medium-talls and smalls rather than a key position monster. Last week, Dylan Williams booted six goals, while Atu Bosenavulagi, Jake Gasper, Charlie Whitehead and Jay Robertson all contributed multiple goals, while Gippsland had 10 individual goal kickers, with their club leading scorer Gown, contributing just the one.

As you will see from the below total, the top six goal kickers playing in the match provide plenty of options for midfielders to kick to, with some of the forwards spending time through the middle. Oakleigh’s six will largely form the six-man forward line against the Power, while Gippsland’s will see a number of their players begin in the midfield and rest forward.

Gippsland firepower:

Noah Gown – 30.18
Josh Smith – 20.7
Sam Flanders – 19.18
Austin Hodge – 14.13
Irving Mosquito – 14.4
Xavier Duursma – 13.5

Top 6: 110.65 (725)

Oakleigh firepower:

Jake Gasper – 38.15
Matthew Day – 20.10
Dylan Williams – 18.12
Jay Robertson – 15.8
Charlie Whitehead – 14.10
Atu Bosenavulagi – 13.9

Top 6: 118.64 (772)



Gippsland: The Power play an exciting brand of football that blends both speed and pressure which is really eye-catching, and will look to match Oakleigh at its own game of doing the same. The Power must simply bring the heat to the contest, because letting Oakleigh have too much time and space results in undesirable results for the team doing so.

Oakleigh: You cannot read into the season of the Chargers despite still finishing third. They are right up there with Dandenong in terms of premiership favourites and have stamped their authority with 90 and 120-point wins in their past two outings. They have ridiculous amounts of midfield depth and big bodies to control the inside while using their runners on the outside.

Player Focus: Xavier Duursma

GIPPSLAND Power launched their finals campaign by knocking off a resilient Geelong Falcons by 35 points on Saturday at Ikon Park.

Xavier Duursma had some important eyes on him for his first 2018 finals appearance. Coming up against arguably the league’s best in Sam Walsh, the Gippsland Power captain may have served himself in holding his ground against the possible number one pick.

Duursma was one of four Gippsland players to earn a National Combine invitation. Thought to be a future first rounder, Duursma’s season and form have been hard to fault. His performance in August continued to be impactful, racking up 29, 26 and 21 disposals in his three games. He finished high in the Morrish Medal tally and showed consistently throughout the season that he can play both on the inside and the outside, as well as impact the scoreboard.

He led his team well in their victory over the Geelong Falcons as he has all season, featuring among their best for the day and continuing to put his hand up for a possible top 15 pick. Duursma also earned his selection in the TAC Cup Team of The Year, placed on the half-back flank for his ability to gain metres with the ball in hand and being able fly with the best of them despite his much lighter frame. Weighing only 71 kilograms, nothing has stopped the versatile commodity from getting more involved on the inside for the Power in the second half of the season and doing it well above all else.

Quarter by quarter:

Duursma laid the first tackle for the game on Cooper Stevens following the initial centre bounce and caused an immediate stoppage. After the second bounce he almost snatched it off the deck but copped a hit and lost his feet. He went on to intercept a kick from Walsh heading inside Gippsland’s defensive 50 but began to show unprecedented form, following up with a kick out on the full. Though in everything for the first five minutes, Duursma disappeared midway through and only appeared again late in the quarter. He helped create a chain heading inside 50 early in the game and remained present around stoppages, but it was his dropped hanger late in the quarter where he gathered most of the attention.

Similar to the first, Duursma had an immediate impact from the first centre bounce of the second term, resulting in a stoppage. He applied some good pressure around the ground, laying a tackle to dispossess a player in the Gippsland attacking half. The pressure continued as he maintained a close distance to his opponent and worked hard on the chase. He took a couple marks from defensive kick-ins and delivered well by foot. Again, he was unlucky not to have the ball fly his way, but when it did he made effective use of it. He demonstrated this well when he popped up to take a mark in front of goal from a kick out of congestion. Duursma struck it well and landed his first and only goal for the day.

His first dig at it in the third quarter came from a hurried clanger out of congestion. He struggled with his efficiency at certain points, putting another out on the full and uncharacteristically missing his targets. Despite struggling with his disposals, Duursma marked strongly overhead in front of goal midway through, but missed his set shot from 40 metres out. He intercepted a kick down the passage, reading it better than the rest and later lost a good marking contest against Oscar Brownless. While losing that battle, Duursma continued to pluck the ball from the air, taking two more intercept marks to reset momentum for Power, and earning a free for positioning himself better under the ball. Late in the quarter, he took the ball cleanly in his defensive 50 and created some run out of half back.

Continuing his efforts down back, Duursma began the final quarter with a strong clearance out of the backline. Soon after, he followed up by chasing down Walsh through the midfield bringing him to ground off a diving tackle but failed to hold or dispossess him. The effectiveness of his kicks lifted plenty this quarter, doing well to clear congestion. A big kick from the defensive half resulted in a run on goal, and another launched deep inside 50 to help setup his forwards. He managed to lose his opponents on Gippsland’s defensive 50, taking a crucial mark from a kick-in, and later followed up with a mark inside 50 which he used to set up Bailey Beck. By the second half, Duursma had figured out how he was going to best impact this game, maintaining his superb aerial ability and outstanding kicking.


Final Stats:

25 disposals (12 contested)

21 kicks

11 marks

4 clearances

3 inside 50s

3 rebounds

1 goal


Xavier Duursma is currently pegged as the fourteenth best prospect in Australia in our AFL Draft Central Power Rankings, so we are confident he will get taken early in the draft. Gippsland have made it deep into finals, so Gippsland’s captain could still have a couple games left before a final opinion is cemented. As the contest lifts, Duursma will respond and deliver. I have no doubt that his finals campaign has a lot more to show us.

Webber rises to success against the odds

AS a youngster who loved to watch her brother play football, Nikia Webber asked her dad if she could do the same.

He was against the idea because he perceived football as a masculine sport at the time. But after persistence from a young Webber, she got the opportunity to kick a footy around in a local team.

“Dad wouldn’t let me play because I was a girl,” she said. “Then I sort of just kept asking and asking and he sort of just gave in so then I played my first game in under 12s and then from there on, I just loved the game.”

Webber concedes that her father was not happy with the idea of his little princess playing football, but came around to it eventually.

“Because I’m his little princess, obviously he was pretty upset when I said I wanted to play footy, it wasn’t a girls sport at the time,” she said. “But now that he’s seen how far I’ve gone, he sort of agrees with what I’m doing now so that’s probably a positive out of that one.”

Her Dad also now takes time out of his weekend, along with her Mum, to take her wherever she needs to be, helping her to achieve her dream of playing AFL Women’s. Webber said that representing Vic Country at this year’s AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships made her want to seriously chase this dream and make it a reality.

“That experience made me want to pursue my dream and play AFLW,” the 17 year-old said. “It was a really good confidence-builder.”

She also admits that the experience was surreal, as she got to play with and against some of the most talented female footballers in the country.

“It was overwhelming up there” the Gippsland forward said. “It didn’t feel real until I was actually up there playing in those colours against all the other teams. “It was a really good experience because I’m such a young age so it was really good.”

Despite being a young age, Webber found herself stepping up as a leader in the Gippsland Power side. Although it was a big step-up, she benefited from being able to pass on her knowledge to the young, up-and-coming players.

“This year was a big step-up,” she said. “Obviously I was one of the older ones so all the new girls that we had come into the program, I sort of got to show them around, (show them) what I did and where I started from. “It gave them an opportunity and gave them an open mindset to be who I am.”

She realised she had leadership capabilities thanks to a stellar year in the forward line where she kicked 12 goals in eight games.

“In previous years, I was sort of quiet and now this year, I sort of realised that I can be one of those players who stands up and obviously kick a few goals and be a team leader, even though I wasn’t in the leadership group,” the 17 year-old said.

Webber has certainly come a long way since her first year in the Power program as a 14 year-old. She admits that it was pretty daunting to start playing for an elite side, but is thankful that she had an older player, who was her mentor, to show her the ropes.

“In that environment with the older girls, I didn’t know what to do or what I was in for,” the Vic Country representative said. “It was pretty weird. “I had a mentor so one of the older girls took me under their wing and sort of showed me around, what to do, what not to do. “It was really good. “If I didn’t have the mentor, I would be lost. “I was so nervous going in through those doors, seeing all those high-skilled girls and they were all older than me, so yeah I was pretty nervous.”

Before receiving this opportunity, Webber was a dedicated basketballer, venturing off to the sport after her Dad said she couldn’t take up football. She says her training was intense, and after getting sick of the high-pressure environment, she decided to pursue a career in football instead.

“I was training for that (basketball) non-stop,” Webber said. “I had a personal trainer, I went into all the basketball camps and then decided that I didn’t want to play basketball anymore so that’s when I took on footy.”

She has not looked back since then, and has had a breakout year in 2018. After being the Power’s leading goal kicker during the TAC Cup Girls season, she went on to represent Vic Country up on the Gold Coast to cap off a wonderful football season. 

Power play drives Hanks to pass on lessons learnt

WORK ethic and team cohesion was the cornerstone of Gippsland Power’s season, and for co-captain Tyla Hanks, the unbelievable improvement in season 2018 compared to last year was clear. Hanks said the growth of women’s football was exciting for everyone involved.

“I think everyone’s excited,” she said. “But to see myself, and what it felt like to play with Gippy last year, it’s still an amazing experience, but to see girls come back better and us be competitive in the league was, it was first hand you see how people are growing and how much the game is growing so you pass on that knowledge and teach the others has been really incredible. “I think it’s awesome to see where we’ve come from considering last year we lost quite a lot of game, we lost all our games, but by big margins and we weren’t really as competitive as we liked and then to come into this season and get a few wins and the ones we lost we were close as well, so it was really good.”

Gippsland indeed went from a winless season to one where they not only had three wins and a draw – against the previously undefeated Murray Bushrangers – but they were competitive in every match outside of the Round 1 heavy defeat to Oakleigh Chargers. Once they found their rhythm, they really got going, and for Hanks, like many of the other passionate footballers, it was about taking lessons from their TAC Cup Girls experience and using it to promote the game locally.

“I think with the TAC season being so short, it’s really important whatever the girls have learnt here,” Hanks said. “To keep growing the game we go back to our local clubs where we came from and we spread that knowledge. “As we have with the younger girls at Gippy, they now go back and they start teaching the younger girls at their clubs so trying to just improve the training and all of that.”

For Hanks, the season provided plenty of promise for the players, and the improvement internally drove the playing group to high standards throughout the year. The Power midfielder said the players could be proud of what they produced and it is something to take away from the year.

“Probably just that effort (we can take away),” Hanks said. “We had pressure and I think we were competitive with teams, we just gave it our all. “We weren’t the most talented, we didn’t have amazing players like some of the other teams do, but we all really tried hard and we put in all we could so if they could take that back to their local clubs, that’s really good.”

It all started with the drought-breaking win at Casey Fields, where the two previously winless sides faced off and it was the Power that felt the sense of relief wash over them by the final siren.

“Probably Western Jets win (was my favourite moment),” Hanks said. “That was our first win. “We kicked a couple of goals against the wind at Casey, we were in a good position but we held on and that was the first time we’ve ever sung the song, so not many of us knew it, but that was a really special experience.”

It has been a while since Hanks’ football journey started, and it was not always on the horizon as a future pathway, but with the rise of AFL Women’s, Hanks has had the luxury of focusing on the one sport since choosing Australian Rules over basketball.

“I started Auskick in Prep, so I was five,” Hanks said. “Then I played footy and basketball for a couple of years. “Then I stopped at under 13s because I obviously couldn’t play with the boys anymore and then I chose basketball for one or two years. “When the AFL got announced I thought I’m not really enjoying basketball anymore so I changed over and kept playing in Beaccy (Beaconsfield) Youth Girls.”

Now studying at university, Hanks makes the trip home between her games, and while the season is over for her, the season was a memorable one. She earned All Australian honours, was named vice-captain in that side, and was also named in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year.

“I’m in Melbourne at ACU,” Hanks said. “I’m still living at home, it was a little harder, but I chose to stay at home because I was going back to Morwell. “So I’ll probably still drive into the city, but financially I’m still happy to stay at home, it’s only 45 to an hour so it’s not too bad, and a lot of the other girls do the same thing, so I don’t work full-time, so I’ve got a bit more time on my hands. “Travel’s not too big of a deal for me now, but depending on what happens in the next few years, that will probably dictate more of where I’m living.”

The run home: Gippsland Power

GIPPSLAND Power have been the surprise packet in 2018, sitting second on the TAC Cup table with two rounds to go. The Power always had a strong core of bottom-age players coming through, but the ability for the top-agers to provide strength and leadership, and the bottom-agers to provide not only depth, but equal talent to the top-agers has helped the Power to the position they are in. Arguably they should be even more distanced in second, with draws against the Northern Knights and Calder Cannons, and a shock loss to Bendigo Pioneers one of only two losses for the season – the other was to Dandenong Stingrays.

Wins: 10
Losses: 2
Draws: 2
Position: 2nd
Points For: 1192 (2nd)
Points Against: 779 (2nd)
Percentage: 153
Points: 44


R15: vs. Murray Bushrangers – MARS Stadium
R16: vs. Eastern Ranges – Morwell Recreation Reserve

National Combine Invitations: [4] Xavier Duursma, Matthew McGannon, Irving Mosquito, Kyle Reid

State Combine Invitations: [2] Noah Gown, Austin Hodge

Gippsland take on Murray Bushrangers in the opening game of the Triple Header at MARS Stadium on Saturday, before finishing its season with a home game against Eastern Ranges. The Power just need one win to lock up second spot given their percentage is far superior to that of Sandringham Dragons. Even two losses might be enough given Sandringham plays Dandenong Stingrays and Oakleigh Chargers, but regardless, they have their fate in their own hands. With a bye over the Wildcard Round, Gippsland is set to play either the Western Jets, Calder Cannons, Northern Knights or Geelong Falcons depending on results, with a potential preliminary final against Sandringham Dragons. Captain Xavier Duursma has lead from the front this season and firms as a potential first round pick, while Irving Mosquito‘s ceiling ensures Hawthorn will have to pay a pretty penny for him. Matthew McGannon has reignited recruiters interest in him by earning a National Combine invitation, while Kyle Reid and Noah Gown have been consistent bookends this season. The likes of Riley Baldi, Fraser Phillips and Josh Smith have added to the remarkable bottom-age talent at the Power which features Caleb Serong, Sam Flanders and Brock Smith in what quite frankly can only be described as a “scary good” team in 2019.

Top Fives:


1 – Riley Baldi – 255 (17th overall)
2 – Bailey Beck – 251
3 – Boadie Motton – 250
4 – Austin Hodge – 225
5 – Bailey Patterson – 209


1 – Noah Gown – 76 (eq. 3rd overall)
2 – Bailey Beck – 68
3 – Matthew McGannon – 65
4 – Kyle Reid – 62
5 – Riley Baldi – 51
5 – Ryan Sparkes – 51

Contested Possessions:

1 – Austin Hodge – 128 (14th overall)
2 – Riley Baldi – 127
3 – Boadie Motton – 119
4 – Xavier Duursma – 102
5 – Irving Mosquito – 85


1 – Bailey Beck – 67 (eq. 14th overall)
2 – Jake Van Der Pligt – 62
3 – Austin Hodge – 55
4 – Boadie Motton – 53
5 – Ryan Sparkes – 50


1 – Rylan Henkel – 152 (11th overall)
2 – Josh Smith – 97
3 – Marcus Toussaint – 40
4 – Noah Gown – 31
5 – Josh Wykes – 30


1 – Riley Baldi – 57 (eq. 6th overall)
2 – Austin Hodge – 36
3 – Boadie Motton – 33
4 – Irving Mosquito – 28
5 – Xavier Duursma – 26

Inside 50s:

1 – Irving Mosquito – 45 (eq. 14th overall)
2 – Riley Baldi – 43
3 – Xavier Duursma – 41
3 – Noah Gown – 41
5 – Josh Smith – 40
5 – Bailey Beck – 40


1 – Kyle Reid – 35 (eq. 19th overall)
2 – Ryan Sparkes – 34
3 – Bailey Patterson – 32
4 – Matthew McGannon – 30
4 – Tye Hourigan – 30


1 – Noah Gown – 22 (4th overall)
2 – Sam Flanders – 18 (eq. 7th overall)
2 – Josh Smith – 18 (eq. 7th overall)
4 – Austin Hodge – 13
4 – Irving Mosquito – 13