Tag: grand final

Fantastic Five: Memorable moments from the weekend

WITH a new TAC Cup Girls premier and the future of the AFLW on show, it was a weekend to sit back and enjoy what looks to be an enjoyable few years as women’s football continues to go from strength to strength.

Geelong Falcons win inaugural Grand Final

Nothing is more memorable than a premiership and Geelong Falcons’ grand final win over a spirited Northern Knights side was one to remember. They had their work cut out for them, but a few positional changes and the belief within the group to fight back from a two-goal half-time deficit saw them etch their names into history. The likes of Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell, Tarryn Love and Nina Morrison led the way, while captain Lucy McEvoy was everywhere.

AFLW future talent on show

Following on from the memorable moment of a premiership, it is impossible not to sit back and enjoy what will be the future of AFL Women’s in the next three years. Aside from the clear top-end talent to come out of this year’s draft at the end of the season, bottom agers Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht, Nell Morris-Dalton, Ciara FitzgeraldSarah Sansonetti, Lucy McEvoy, Abbey Chapman and Luka Lesosky Hay were all impressive. Throw in some of the best 15/16 year-olds in the competition in Ellie McKenzie, Alyssa Bannan, Abigail Bennett, Ashleigh Snow, Jess Fitzgerald, Laura Gardiner, Renee Tierney and Jerusha Devarakonda and the 2020 draft crop is already at an advanced level compared to their predecessors.

Brisbane Lions’ maiden win

It was a long time coming, but the Brisbane Lions cubs finally recorded their first win, coming from behind in the opening term to storm home and claim a memorable victory over Hawthorn. It was extra special for veteran Luke Hodge against his old side, while Matt Eagles and Charlie Cameron celebrated their first AFL and Brisbane Lions’ wins respectively. After a few lean years, the Lions are providing supporters with some serious hope going forward.

Big bags are back in fashion

There is nothing quite like a dominant key position forward in a game where athleticism and scoreboard pressure from smalls has been placed at a premium. On the weekend we saw not one, not two, but three key position forwards booting bags of goals. Murray Bushrangers’ Hudson Garoni continued his sensational form with seven majors, while Corey Ellison (Dandenong Stingrays) and Jordan Rossiter (Eastern Ranges) booted six each. Harry Bede who is no shrimp himself, booting four in the Sandringham Dragons’ win.

Teenagers step up to the big time

We are already seeing a number of talented TAC Cup Girls make the transition through to the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition. With a number of players suiting up for different VFL Women’s sides, and not having the National Under 18 Championships on the horizon, Oakleigh Chargers’ Isabella Gietzmann and Eastern Ranges’ Ashleigh Allsopp donned the Carlton and Southern Saints’ jumpers respectively.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup Girls – Grand Final

THE big day has finally arrived. The Geelong Falcons and the Northern Knights have been the two in-form teams of the TAC Cup Girls competition and will play out the first ever TAC Cup Girls Grand Final. We decided to take an in-depth look at both of the teams ahead of the historic day set to take place at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.



2018 TAC Cup Girls Grand Final – Saturday, May 19, 12.30pm

Avalon Airport Oval, Werribee

Form line

Geelong Falcons:

Ladder position: 1st
Wins: 9
Losses: 0
Percentage: 294%

Northern Knights:

Ladder position: 2nd
Wins: 8
Losses: 1
Percentage: 243%


Last time they met

Geelong Falcons 4.7 (31) defeated Northern Knights 3.5 (23)

The Geelong Falcons made it eight from eight against fellow undefeated team, Northern Knights with an eight-point win. The Falcons came out of the blocks with a three goal to none first half, then the Knights fought back with a three goal to one second half.

AFLW Academy members, Lucy McEvoy, Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell and Nina Morrison were some of the best players on the ground yet again. McEvoy and Taylor held down the fort well in defence while Purcell and Morrison chased and tackled in the midfield. They were complemented by Zoe Inei in the ruck, who delivered some nice taps towards her gut-runners. In the forward line, it was Sachi DeGiacomi who put in all the hard yards to keep her side’s undefeated streak alive.

For Northern, midfielder, Marnie Jarvis found herself up forward on a couple of occasions, slotting through two of the Knights’ three majors. Gabrielle Newton was a star, this time in defence, proving she can play just about anywhere on the field. Young gun, Ellie McKenzie had another standout performance for the Knights, as did Nell Morris-Dalton. Other solid contributors included Paije Kearney and Ashleigh Snow.


Geelong Falcons: S. DeGiacomi, S. Walmsley, R. Tierney, P. Sheppard

Northern Knights: M. Jarvis 2, A. Bannan


Geelong Falcons: L. McEvoy, D. Taylor, O. Purcell, S. DeGiacomi, Z. Inei, N. Morrison

Northern Knights: G. Newton, E. McKenzie, P. Kearney, N. Morris-Dalton, A. Snow, M. Jarvis


Players to watch

Geelong Falcons:

#18 Nina Morrison

Times in Best: 6

Morrison is one of the most hard-working midfielders in the competition. She has electric speed and is a brilliant ball-user. She often gets the ball on the outside and clears it into space, but can also find the ball in the heart of the contest.

#42 Sachi DeGiacomi

Times in Best: 5

DeGiacomi has been pivotal for the Falcons at centre half-forward. She has kicked 13 goals from nine games and if stats were taken for TAC Cup Girls, they would say that she has also had plenty of assists. She is an unselfish player that knows how to find the goals when needed, and she also has a fantastic set of hands.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

Times in Best: 5

The Geelong captain has been remarkable this season. McEvoy does her best work in defence, but can also play a role as a tall midfielder when required. She is a versatile player that has a booming kick, and always goes in hard at the contest.

#7 Olivia Purcell

Times in Best: 4

Olivia Purcell is one of the toughest inside midfielders in the competition. She is an aggressive tackler and a good clearance player, thanks to her innate ability to find space. Her acceleration is a huge asset for the Falcons and will serve her in good stead on Saturday.

Northern Knights:

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Times in Best: 6

Ellie McKenzie is the most exciting 15 year-old in the competition. She has been amongst Northern’s best players in every game she has played, and has kicked 10 goals to go along with it. McKenzie is a vital forward for the Knights and can work some magic with the ball in hand.

#23 Gabrielle Newton

Times in Best: 5

Newton has been a star in the ruck, up forward, in defence, or basically wherever she is needed. She plays any role that she is asked to play and does it with class. Newton is a wonderful ball-user and knows how to find the right option.

#5 Madeline Brancatisano

Times in Best: 4

The Knights captain has been outstanding in the midfield this season. What stands out about Brancatisano is her defensive efforts, as she lays some strong tackles and can also play a shutdown role on the opposition when needed. She has displayed quick hands throughout the season and is an unselfish player.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Times in Best: 4

Sarah Sansonetti has been a key player in defence for Northern this season. She often finds the ball at the heart of the contest and can clear the ball out of defensive 50 with ease. Sansonetti is an agile player who can move off her opponent well to create a contest.



The two most-deserving teams will face off in the inaugural TAC Cup Girls Grand Final on Saturday. The teams last met in round eight, where only eight points separated the sides.

Geelong Falcons coach, Jason Armistead is all too aware of the Knights’ fire-power and knows that his side must combat their high-scoring if they are to win the historic game.

“They’re the highest-scoring team in the competition and their ability to score quickly has been a strength,” Armistead said. “We need to be mindful of stopping their momentum if they get on a roll.”

Their high-scoring has come in the form of some big last quarters, where the Knights have piled on the goals to ensure a big percentage-boosting win. In fourth quarters alone, Northern has outscored its opposition 159-46. The 46 points is the combined total of each of the nine teams that the Knights have played, which is a remarkable feat.

Northern coach, Marcus Abney-Hastings has been really impressed with his host of players this season, who have worked together to achieve some big wins.

“Our captain Maddy Brancatisano has had a really good year and really led from the front,” Abney-Hastings said. “Gabby Newton has been playing in a range of positions and is also a good leader on the field. “Neve O’Connor will be really important in the ruck; she gives our midfielders first use of the ball. Marnie Jarvis has been really important with her run and carry on a wing and Britney Gutknecht has also been important for us going forward.”

But Geelong’s defence has been a highlight for them this season, with the trio of Denby Taylor, Lucy McEvoy and Abbey Chapman playing some fantastic footy in the defensive half. Their depth, like Northern’s, is also phenomenal, with players such as Mia Sheppard, Tarryn Love and Sophie Walmsley stepping up on various occasions.

Expect a high level of skill, talent and class on display at Avalon Airport Oval, as the best of the best in this magnificent competition battle it out for ultimate glory.




Podcast: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 10

A NEW year marks all-new content and in 2018, AFL Draft Central will be producing a weekly podcast through the TAC Cup Girls season. Hosted by women’s football editor, Julia Montesano, the podcast will be posted each Wednesday night and will review the previous round’s games and look ahead to the following weekend. For the tenth episode, Julia is joined by AFL Draft Central chief editor Peter Williams to review the final round of TAC Cup action, as well as discuss some of the key issues raised over the weekend and preview the 2018 TAC Cup Girls Grand Final!

Episode 10 now embedded here:



Episode run down:

  • Key issues
    • Northern Knights join Geelong Falcons in Grand Final
    • Calder Cannons finish on a high
    • Reviewing the longer season
  • Round 9 review
  • Grand Final preview

Keep an eye out each Friday for the next podcast, with Julia and Peter back next week for all things TAC Cup Girls.

TAC Cup Grand Final preview: Geelong Falcons vs. Sandringham Dragons

AFTER 18 rounds and two weeks of finals, the two top TAC Cup sides have emerged with reigning premier Sandringham Dragons taking on top four regular Geelong Falcons. The Dragons finished fourth overall and defeated Murray Bushrangers in the elimination final before toppling Oakleigh Chargers in the preliminary final. Geelong defeated Gippsland Power in the elimination final before an impressive victory over Dandenong Stingrays last week.

The Falcons head into the grand final with few injuries, at close to full-strength as possible. The Dragons on the other hand, have a number of question marks, with Ed Newman (suspended) out, and both Nathan Murphy (ankle) and Charlie Constable (tightness) under injury clouds.

This game sees the best outside midfield taking on the best inside midfield, with the Dragons content on using their slick skills and short passing to frustrate opponents, while the Falcons often win the contest through sheer strength, winning the ball at the coal face and booting it inside 50. The winner will be the one that can play the game on their own terms.

Check out the player stat comparisons for the starting 18 here.


Andrew Brayshaw – The Geelong Falcons strong inside midfield will have an advantage at the stoppages and it will be up to the Brayshaw brothers, Andrew and Hamish, to turn the game in the Dragons’ favour. The potential first round draftee wins the ball inside and out, as well as 5.4 clearances per game.

Gryan Miers – The dangerous small forward has booted 37 goals in the TAC Cup this season and looms as the key to a Falcons’ victory. He rarely lacks opportunities and if he can have his kicking boots on, he has been prone to booting bags, including a six-goal haul earlier this season.


1 Coal face battle – The midfield of James Worpel, Cassidy Parish and Sam Walsh average 16.5 clearances between them, while Andrew Brayshaw, Hamish Brayshaw and Will Walker average 15.5, not too far behind. Add in the fact Walker spends time down forward and it is evenly balanced. Parish and Hamish Brayshaw are the two best extractors in the TAC Cup so going head-to-head will be enthralling.

2 Oh Miers – I briefly mentioned above, but Gryan Miers is one of a number of talented goal sneaks who can really hurt the opposition given the chance. I expect Nathan Murphy – if fit – to take Miers as he is equally strong in the air, or perhaps Bailey Smith or Howie Persson are others potentially seen as match-ups for Miers.

3 Goal sneak battleLachie Noble and Aaron Trusler love to pounce on opportunistic goals and whilst they will be up opposite ends of the ground, the one who impacts the match more could be the difference in what is expected to be a tight game.

4 Key KingsMax King and Ben King are top 10 prospects next year and have already shown impressive glimpses in their bottom-age year. Max has been playing forward, while Ben has taken up a key position post in defence and they will be expected to play a big role in the Dragons’ success this year and next. Ben will likely line-up on Falcons’ key forward Adam Garner, while Max will likely see Josh Jaska stand beside him at the first bounce.

5 Top-end talent – Sandringham had a host of first round draft picks last year and they look set to have a new bunch this year including Charlie Constable, Andrew Brayshaw and Nathan Murphy, leading a huge 19 National and State Combine invitations. For the Falcons, Matt Ling looks set to be the first Falcon taken this year, with James Worpel, Ethan Floyd, Cassidy Parish, David Handley and Gryan Miers among the others that will no doubt be on a number of recruiters lists.


Sandringham Dragons 9.12 (66) defeated Geelong Falcons 2.5 (17)

Sandringham goals: Lachlan Harris (2), Isaac Morrisby (2), Will Walker, Kai Owens, Anthony Seaton, William Kennedy.
Geelong goals: Hayden Elliot, Bayley Cockerill.
Sandringham disposals: Geordie Nagle (38), Bailey Smith (34), Angus Styles (33), Seb Williams (32), Will Walker (28), Nathan Murphy (28)
Geelong disposals: Harry Benson (25), Jack Henderson (22), Brayden Ham (20), Cooper Stephens (19), Bayley Cockerill (17), Ethan Floyd (17)


Geelong ins: Josh Jaska, Jarrod Walters, Oscar Brownless, Matt Ling, James Worpel, Sam Walsh, Ed McHenry, Gryan Miers, Tom McCartin, Dane Hollenkamp, Cassidy Parish, David Handley, Mitch Chafer, Sam Conway
Sandringham ins: Charlie Constable, Ben King, Alfie Jarnestrom, Hayden McLean, Max King, Andrew Brayshaw, Hamish Brayshaw, Lucas Barrett*, Sam Cameron*, Josh Gorman*, Aaron Trusler*, Alastair Richards


Geelong Falcons:
B: 17. Cooper Stephens – 43. Josh Jaska – 26. Jarrod Walters
HB: 30. Oscar Brownless – 39. Connor Idun – 19. Matt Ling
C: 13. Ethan Floyd – 38. James Worpel – 22. Sam Walsh
HF: 7. Harry Benson – 46. Adam Garner – 8. Ed McHenry
F: 4. Gryan Miers – 41. Tom McCartin – 1. Lachie Noble
R: 49. Dane Hollenkamp – 42. Cassidy Parish – 16. David Handley
INT: 11. Mitch Chafer – 44. Sam Conway – 40. Hayden Elliot – 5. Jack Henderson
23rd: 36. Charlie Sprague

Sandringham Dragons:
B: 2. Geordie Nagle – 33. Howie Persson – 37. Bailey Smith
HB: 6. Charlie Constable – 70. Ben King – 74. Nathan Murphy
C: 22. Quintin Montanaro – 8. Will Walker – 10. Angus Styles
HF: 15. Alfie Jarnestrom – 30. Hayden McLean – 5. Seb Williams
F: 1. Lachie Harris – 61. Max King – 20. Kai Owens
R: 29. Joel Amartey – 9. Andrew Brayshaw – 11. Hamish Brayshaw
INT: 3. Lucas Barrett – 24. Sam Cameron – 13. Josh Gorman – 12. Jackson Hille – 25. Max Lohan – 28. Isaac Morrisby – 7. Aaron Trusler (Three to be omitted)
23rd: 58. Alastair Richards


On form, fitness and consistency throughout the year, it is hard to look past the Geelong Falcons. Sandringham Dragons leave their best until last and it would not surprise me whatsoever if they got up in this game, but with the Falcons in top-form, cruising along nicely and no injury question marks, I will tip the Falcons by 25 points. I tip Gryan Miers to be named best on ground.

Scouting notes: Herald Sun Shield Grand Final

ST BERNARD’S College have won the Herald Sun Shield, with a 16-point victory over St Patrick’s College at Simonds Stadium on Wednesday.

In appalling first half conditions, both teams could only muster a goal each – with the wet conditions making for a sloppy first half.

The sun came out in the second half and St Pats held a narrow one-point lead at three-quarter-time but St Bernard’s captain Jake Riccardi lifted his team with two final quarter goals to help them to the victory.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:

St Patrick’s College:

#6 Jordan Johnston – Begun the day as the deepest forward for St Pats, playing majority of the game inside 50. Took a mark early before it rained and on occasion when he did play as an inside midfielder he just banged it forward. Overall, wasn’t a great day for the forward – not helped by poor delivery in the wet conditions.

#8 Scott Carlin – Was one of the candidates for the best player for St Pats, with a stellar first half in the midfield. He was willing to get dirty and win the ball, as one of the cleaner players throughout the day on his right foot.

#16 Nicholas Stuhldreier – The St Pats captain played as an inside midfielder, but often rested up forward. He copped a knock early from Noah Balta, but was able to recover and find plenty of the ball in the midfield.

#25 Tom Scott – Won best-on-ground honours for St Pats with his rebounding work in defensive 50 a highlight. In his green boots, he often repelled many of the St Bernard’s attacks. Was a real rock in the backline throughout the game.

#29 Dale Cox – Didn’t see a lot of it in the opening half, but he had a flash of brilliance in the third term in front of the fans in the stands. A run down the wing and a step around an opponent right on the boundary lines was outstanding and the play resulted in a goal 30 seconds later. Had a good run down tackle later in the contest and did have some moments that were outstanding.

#30 Aiden Domic – Played most of the game across half forward or on the wing but didn’t find as much of the ball as he has in some of the GWV Rebels games this season. Snapped a point late in the contest, but was smart at times in the last quarter knowing that he needed to take the game on when they trailed on the scoreboard.

St Bernard’s College:

#1 Lachlan Sholl – Starred on the wing in the opening half and was a close contender for their best player. Used the ball well on his left foot early and made a nice pass to hit Jake Riccardi in the first quarter. Covered the ground well and was willing to drop into defensive 50 and take multiple intercept marks. Was in the best players and hardly missed a target all day.

#2 Will Jury – Another player who played a strong game and could’ve been considered for the best-on-ground honours. Found the ball through the midfield and was able to get the ball moving forward. Hit most of his targets during the game.

#22 Xavier O’Halloran – The Western Jets bottom-ager started slowly, but his work in the contest especially in the second half was game changing. He just wanted to win the contested ball in the centre. His centre clearance in the final quarter was simply elite, that led to a Jake Riccardi goal. Also had a very nice one handed pick up in the last quarter and simply wanted it more than his opponents.

#26 Daniel Hanna – Brought the ball to ground level in the wet early, allowing some of the St Bernard’s smalls to get it going forward. Took a nice mark in the second quarter. Had a few nice clean pick-ups from ground level throughout the day that were very good for a player of his size. Won a free kick in the last quarter and continued to present all day.

#30 Jake Riccardi – Booted three goals for the day in what was a low scoring affair. He took a few very good contested marks during the contest and his follow up at ground level was good. Has strength to be able to stand up when being tackled and in one passage he was able to get a kick inside 50 that led to a score assist. His snap goal in the fourth quarter got the St Bernard’s boys going and the captain had a very good game.

#31 Noah Balta – Begun the day in the ruck and that’s where he played most of the game. He was far too tall to start with against his St Pats opponent and leaped over him & often just thumped the ball forward. Didn’t go too much inside 50 as he mostly stayed inside the arcs controlling the play. Took a very good contested mark in the third quarter and another mark late in the final quarter all but iced the game. He did miss a snap on goal on his left foot, but mostly went long 50 metres + on his right boot.

2015 TAC Cup GF Player Ratings

Eastern vs. Calder-1

The Oakleigh Chargers went back to back yesterday, but there were only a few standout players. We’ve rated every single player’s performance. 

2. Jack Whitehead (3)
He didn’t have much of an influence and ended up with eight disposals.

3. Kade Answerth (9)
Answerth had 21 disposals and nine clearances to half-time, but cooled down and finished with 30 disposals and 10 clearances to end the game. His work on the inside was phenomenal, and he clearly beat Ryan Clarke in the middle.

4. Patrick Phillips (8)
Patty Phillips could have been the clear best on ground, but he finished with 2.6. He had 21 disposals and looked extremely dangerous around the goals. Even his misses were exciting, as he did his draft chances no harm.

5. Fraser Pearce (6)
It was not his most dominant display, but he used the ball well between the arcs. Pearce finished with 16 disposals, six inside 50’s and five tackles in a solid effort.

6. Campbell Lane (4)
Lane took six marks and scored two behinds. Despite having 12 disposals, he was relatively anonymous for most of the day.

8. Alex Morgan (6)
Morgan had a very quiet start to the day and couldn’t find the ball in the backline. When the game was in the balance, he headed forward and looked really dangerous in the last quarter. He took a couple of great marks and kicked a goal in the last quarter.

9. Ben Crocker (5)
Crocker was really well held for the first half by Jordan Gallucci and Dylan Clarke. Crocker kicked a goal on the half-time siren and really started to present well in the last quarter. He finished with 11 disposals, six marks and four tackles.

10. Tom Phillips (7)
Started off like a house on fire, kicking two terrific first quarter goals. He showed a lot of X-factor and stood up really well while the captain Crocker was nullified. Ended up with 18 disposals and did a bit of everything.

12. David Cunningham (7)
20 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50’s and three clearances for the speedster. He wasn’t dominant, but he was clean with ball and seemed to be pretty solid across all four quarters.

14. Michael Wenn (7)
The ruckman finished with 35 hitouts and nine disposals. He didn’t have much of an impact around the ground, but he gave Answerth first use early on which was very important.

15. Sam McLarty (4)
A very quiet day for the big man, with just the 10 disposals. Eastern went with a small line up, so he ended up heading forward in the third quarter but couldn’t really make an impact. He took a very strong mark in a pack in the opening minutes but was barely sighted after that.

16. Harvey Hooper (6)
Hooper was okay, with 13 disposals and four tackles. He generally used the ball well in between the arcs, and kept presenting as a link up target all day.

21. Lachlan Walker (8)
A great display from one of Oakleigh’s unsung heroes. He finished with 20 disposals, a goal and four inside 50’s. His best work was in tight, with his five clearances being very effective, as well as five tackles.

24. Jack Firns (4)
Firns didn’t have an obvious match up, like McLarty and Whitehead. Firns was generally solid, with nine disposals and three tackles.

25. Daniel Beddison (3)
A pretty poor day from Beddison. The medium sized Eastern forwards in Blake Hardwick and Jayden Stephenson had the better of the Beddison when he played on them.

27. Jack Roughsedge (6)
He didn’t win a heap of the football, with 12 disposals, but he made up for it with six tackles and four clearances.

28. Patrick Kerr (2)
Despite kicking a goal and a behind early on, Kerr was very quiet. He finished with four disposals.

31. Taylin Duman (6)
A promising day for the 17 year-old, finishing with 17 disposals, four inside 50’s and three rebound 50’s. He worked really well in tandem with Fraser Pearce as link up players.

40 – Lachlan Sullivan (7)
A good day for Sullivan, with 20 disposals, five tackles and four clearances. He was excellent early on when Oakleigh got on top.

48 – Harry Thompson (6)
He was fairly quiet around the ground, but he had a good purple patch where he kicked two goals in a few minutes. He gave Wenn a decent chop out in the ruck and applied pressure, finishing with four tackles.

57. Dion Johnstone (4)
Johnstone did a little bit almost everywhere, but couldn’t find it as much as he would have liked, finishing with nine disposals.

66. Lachlan Bryne-Jones (7)
The little guy continued his excellent finals form, with 15 disposals, six marks and a handful of rebounds. He was really good with the ball in hand.

1. Jayden Cyster (6)
His running was excellent, as he burst through the middle to overlap on several plays. His kicking wasn’t as good as he would have liked, but he was the one player to create some movement when the play became stagnant.

6. Tom Jacotine (3)
Was a non-factor for most of the game. He did a bit of rebounding off half back, but he didn’t have a lot of hurt factor from seven disposals.

7. Jordan Gallucci (6)
Gallucci tried to do a bit too much with it and got caught out a few times. He only had the eight touches, but he was excellent in nullifying Ben Crocker, and his defensive game was excellent.

11. Bryce Batty (5)
Batty missed most of the second half with a dislocated wrist, but before that he was very productive. He finished with 11 disposals and was excellent on the inside as usual.

12. Dylan Clarke (7)
Clarke rotated with Gallucci on Ben Crocker, and for the most part, Clarke won the battle. He had a few nice spoils, and found enough of it himself, finishing with 14 disposals and a few tackles too.

14. Anthony Brolic (7)
I thought he was one of the best for the Ranges, finishing with 18 disposals and six rebounds.

15. Liam Jeffs (4)
A very quiet game from Jeffs, finishing with 11 disposals. He got smashed on the inside and couldn’t hurt Oakleigh when he did find the football.

18. Aaron Cotte (8)
Cotte was probably Eastern’s best, as he played a big role in their third-quarter come back. He finished with 20 disposals and a nice goal, and his work on the inside and outside was excellent. He’s just a really hard worker.

19. Josh Hannon (2)
Really looked out of sorts today. He looked unsure where to lead, and was a non-factor up forward. He looked a bit better in the ruck, but he fumbled quite a bit. A dark day for a promising player.

20. Ryan Clarke (5)
Despite having 18 disposals and six tackles, Clarke was convincingly beaten in the middle. His run was taken away, he was bumped every time he had the ball and in the end he had to head forward.

21. Darcy Crocker (8)
Crocker worked tirelessly all day, with his eight tackles being a game high. He finished with 19 disposals and five clearances.

22. Ryan Harvey (4)
It was not a great day for the skipper, finishing with just nine disposals. He tried hard, winning a few clearances and he pushed hard between the arcs, but he went missing.

24. Jack Maibaum (4)
The full back didn’t have his best day, but he battled hard. Maibaum provided a bit of a chop out in the ruck, and applied plenty of pressure against a quicker and smaller forward line.

26. Blake Hardwick (7)
It was a pretty good day for Hardwick, as he worked hard around the clearances. His best work was in the third quarter where he kicked some really important goals. He finished the day with 3.2 and 16 disposals.

27. Beau Mitchener (7)
Mitchener actually played quite well after being beaten in the first quarter. Ended up with 33 hitouts, but he was also pretty good around the ground, with 14 disposals and four inside 50’s.

33. Kane Keppel (3)
It was not a great day for the usually solid Keppel. He didn’t keep his feet twice when he needed to, and that ended up in scoring opportunities.

37. Callum Brown (4)
Gavin’s son was lively in bursts, kicking an excellent goal and helping out on the inside. But he was quiet for most of the day with just seven disposals.

51. Haydn Stanley (5)
Stanley did a solid job off half back with six rebounds and 13 disposals, but his ball use was pretty average.

54. Joel Garner (3)
Garner had just seven disposals and no real influence on the game.

56. Jayden Stephenson (7) was the best forward target for the Ranges, as he took contested marks and provided a real goal scoring threat. Finished the day with three goals and six marks from eight disposals. Another terrific game from the 16 year-old.

Oakleigh charges home to win back-to-back flags

Eastern vs. Calder-1
Photo courtesy of Ashleigh Wong of Bound For Glory News

Eastern Ranges 9.7 (61)
Oakleigh Chargers 10.13 (73)

Eastern goals: J.Stephenson 3, B.Hardwick 3, C.Brown, R.Clarke, A.Cotte.
Oakleigh goals: T.Phillips 2, H.Thompson 2, P.Phillips 2, P.Kerr , L.Walker, B.Crocker, A.Morgan.
Eastern best: A.Cotte, D.Crocker, J.Stephenson, R.Clarke, A.Brolic, B.Hardwick
Oakleigh best: K.Answerth, P.Phillips, T.Phillips, D.Cunningham, L.Sullivan, L.Walker

The Oakleigh Chargers made it back-to-back premierships and two flags in three years on Sunday, clinging on for a narrow 12-point victory against the Eastern Ranges at Etihad Stadium.

Despite trailing by 30 points at half time, the Ranges were able to get themselves back into the contest with a five goal to none third quarter. The final quarter saw only three goals, with the Ranges never able to hit the lead.

Chargers 19-year-old midfielder Kade Answerth was adjudged best on ground after collecting 30 disposals. Answerth missed out on being drafted last year and dominated the midfield collecting 10 clearances to help the Chargers clear the ball from the stoppages.

Eastern Ranges midfielder Ryan Clarke who had stood out this finals series, was kept to 18 disposals. The Chargers made an important stance with Clarke, bumping and knocking him off the ball in an attempt to wear him out. Clarke can be pleased with his season, averaging 31 disposals in the TAC Cup this year.

Earlier the Chargers got out to an early lead with the Phillips duo (Patrick & Tom) kicking three goals between them in the first quarter. Chargers bottom age forward Pat Kerr kicked the first goal of the match while U16 Vic Metro representative Jaiden Stephenson kicked the first goal for the Rangers.

The Chargers kicked four goals to one in the second term, allowing for the margin to slip away from the Ranges, with Oakleigh leading by 30 points going into the half time break.

After half time the Ranges made the bold move of starting midfielder Ryan Clarke forward. Clarke immediately made an influence kicking the first of the quarter. The Rangers continued to control the play and were able to kick five goals to none to bring the margin back to two points with a quarter to play.

The third quarter had seen Stephenson and TAC Cup leading goal kicker Blake Hardwick both kick two goals, providing targets inside 50. Hardwick’s goal after the siren gave the Ranges momentum going into the third quarter.

With the margin close, the pressure and intensity of the game went up. This resulted in only three goals being kicked. Charger Alex Morgan ran forward and converted the first chance for the quarter, allowing for some breathing space between the teams.

Despite kicking six behinds for the game, Pat Phillips was able to nail his final shot on goal near the final siren, all but confirming Oakleigh’s status as the best team in 2015.

Pat Kerr’s shot after the siren was not required, as Oakleigh continued their dominance of winning three of the last four premierships by defeating Eastern by 12 points.

Oakleigh celebrate second premiership in three years


Photo courtesy of Eve Johnson.

A complete performance from the Oakleigh Chargers has seen them take out their second TAC Cup in three years against a gallant Calder Cannons, winning by 47 points, 17.15 (117) to 11.4 (70).

With the roof closed at Etihad Stadium, some of the best under 18 talent on show took to the ground for the final game of the year on Saturday morning.

Both teams came into the game full of confidence after comprehensive victories against their preliminary final opponents, with a 53-point victory to Calder over Dandenong and a 74-point win to Oakleigh over Sandringham last week.

Calder Cannons were rocked by the late omissions of star forward and top five pick Peter Wright, and dynamic midfielder/forward Damien Cavka before the first bounce of the game.

The much anticipated final stanza between two teams who finished at the top of the table at the end of the season started with a bang, with Oakleigh nailing their first goal of the game within moments of the opening bounce through Lachlan Waddell.

Despite Calder dominating the clearances early, Oakleigh were able to gain possession, rebound and generate repeated forward 50 entries to put Calder under the pump early on in the game.

Joshua Halsall was lively in the first quarter, taking two shots on goal as he converted Oakleigh’s second, then ran hard defensively to give the Oakleigh defence a chop out.

But the tide began to turn midway through the first term with Oakleigh unable to make the post of their opportunities. Leading TAC Cup 2014 goalkicker Jayden Foster nailed two majors, whilst a brilliant Hisham Kerbatieh tackle saw him convert one of Calder’s five goals for the term to take a 17-point lead into the first break.

The second term however proved to be the key quarter of the match as Oakleigh came out firing, nailing seven goals to Calder’s one to take control of the game.

Liam Kinsella was in the thick of it up forward as the momentum swung back in Calder’s favour, contributing to three goal assists in the second term with Toby McLean on the end of one, and Mackenzie Rivett on the end of another to give Oakleigh back the lead.

Oakleigh continued to surge, with Marc Pittonet beginning to get on top of his ruck dual with Mark Kovacevic and producing some quality ruckwork which saw him palm the ball off to the advantage of a rampaging midfield brigade of McLean, Rivett, Jack Sinclair and Daniel McKenzie.

Rourke Smith and Ben Allan fought gallantly to stem the flow for Calder, with a brilliant piece of roving off a contest at half forward that saw Allan find Hisham Kerbatieh 30 metres out from goal to hit back to Oakleigh’s onslaught.

But when Jordan De Goey slotted his second for the quarter and Dan Houston out positioned the gallant James Latham in defence to slam home a 50 metre goal on the siren, Oakleigh had all the ascendency going in with a 19-point lead at the main break.

The first goal after the half time break went the way of Calder, with Miller intercepting a ball from the Oakleigh kick in to bring his team back within 13 points.

But that’s as close as Calder got for the rest of the game, as Oakleigh consolidated their lead with their ability to get more numbers to the contests allowing them to continue to dominate possession and forward 50 entries.

Darcy Moore who had looked dangerous all day finally got his opportunity to hit the scoreboard, converting two goals which included an amazing high flying contested grab that saw him athletically outleap the Calder defence.

The pressure applied by Oakleigh proved just too much for Calder to handle, as Oakleigh relentlessly kept up toe to toe with their opposition and refused to give them any space to create opportunities and link up as Calder had successfully done all season.

Paul Ahern was one of few who was able to cope with the heat of the contest generated by Oakleigh, using his skill and awareness to link up with some outside runners, but Calder needed more of it.

Going into the final quarter six goals behind, Calder coach Andrew Jago sent Touk Miller forward to generate some forward potency. It proved to be a great move, as Miller’s ability to lose his opponent at ground level generated two early final term goals to give Calder a glimmer of hope.

When Ahern brilliantly shrugged an Alexander Urban tackle and unloaded a long bomb from outside 50, the Cannons had their tails up.

But McLean continued to cause headaches for Calder, as he and Sinclair provided opportunities on goal to Kinsella and Dan Houston. Houston nailed two impressive goals from tight angles, which shut out Calder and guided Oakleigh home to seal the 2014 TAC Premiership, winning my a solid 47 points at the final siren.

Toby McLean capped off an amazing performance, being awarded with the best on ground in his team’s grand final win.

Final Score

Oakleigh Chargers 2.2 9.5 13.10 17.15 (117)

Calder Cannons 5.1 6.4 8.4 11.4 (70)


Oakleigh Chargers: De Goey 3, Houston 3, Rivett 2, Waddell 2, McLean 2, Moore 2, Halsall, Jackson, Kinsella.

Calder Cannons: Miller 3, Kerbatieh 2, Foster 2, Smith, Goodyear, O’Kearney, Ahern.


Oakleigh Chargers: McLean, Kinsella, Pittonet, De Goey, Rivett

Calder Cannons: Ahern, Latham, Smith, Miller, Kerbatieh

5 – Toby McLean
4 – Liam Kinsella
3 – Marc Pittonet
2 – Paul Ahern
1 – Jordan De Goey

TAC Cup Grand Final preview: Calder Cannons vs Oakleigh Chargers

Oakleigh Chargers

It is rather fitting the two remaining teams left in the TAC Cup competition are the top two teams from the home and away season. In a finals series that mirrored the AFL one, both third and fourth placed sides bombed out in straight sets, but their two conquerors couldn’t make it three wins in a row.

On Sunday, the Calder Cannons will face the Oakleigh Chargers in a battle that ought to have plenty of interested onlookers at Etihad Stadium.

After disposing of the Rebels by 100 points, the Cannons knocked off the Stingrays after a strong first quarter then cruised home with some bruise free footy to be cherry ripe for the big dance.

The Oakleigh Chargers had a slightly tougher run to the Grand Final, miraculously overcoming a determined Falcons outfit to kick the last two goals of the game and steal victory from the jaws of defeat. The Chargers then followed up with a strong performance against the Sandringham Dragons to have some pundits believing they could knock off the Cannons.

It’s hard to sugarcoat it, the job the Chargers have ahead of them is massive – the Cannons are clearly the best side and have very few weaknesses across the field.

Darcy Moore’s form last week, including a giant hanger, was promising. Alex Urban and Jordan De Goey were also impressive while Jack Sinclair and the pint-sized Liam Kinsella were also dangerous around goal.

Hugh Beasley is able to organize the troops down back and not only locks down his opponent, but provides critical run from half back.

Arguably the most impressive aspect of the preliminary final win was the form of Lachlan Waddell and Marc Pittonet who rotated between ruck and forward and played as a foil for Moore.

Moore has played at both ends of the ground this season, but for the Chargers to win, he must play forward.

The Calder Cannons have an enormous amount of talent with their forward line containing some mammoth men in Peter Wright and Jayden Foster as well as the rotating ruck.

Through the midfield they have the likes of bottom-ager Nick O’Kearney, Touk Miller and Matthew Goodyear. Throw in Paul Ahern and Zac Wunhym and the midfield/forward line stretches incredibly deep.

Reilly O’Brien has been transformed from a ruck into a key defender while Mark Kovacevic remarkably plays at both ends of the field.

The fact alone that Calder’s sixth forward is arguably Callum Moore is scary enough for opposition clubs, throwing in the dangerous Josh Cauchi and the potent Damien Cavka.

Oakleigh Chargers have the potential to nullify a number of Calder’s stars, but it’s hard to see them getting up in the Grand Final. Calder’s worst enemy is arguably themselves with complacency and reading into the hype the only likely causes of not taking home the cup.

It’s not incomprehensible to imagine Oakleigh stealing a flag, but most avid TAC Cup watchers would agree it’s going to take a mammoth effort, and Calder may also need to be off its game.

In terms of man of the match, names such as Nick O’Kearney, Damien Cavka, Paul Ahern and Zac Wunhym would be amongst the favourites while for Oakleigh, Alex Urban, Jordan De Goey, Hugh Beasley and Darcy Moore would be the top contenders.

Oakleigh will stay with Calder for three quarters, but the Calder legs and ability to pressure the opposition all over the ground is unbelievable and would give some VFL sides a real shake.

Tip: Calder by 34 points

BOG: Damien Cavka (Calder Cannons)

Ben Cavarra: An underrated champion

Premiership captain. TAC Cup medal winner for best-on-ground in a grand final. Vic Metro representative. Tied Morrish Medal winner for the TAC Cup’s Best and Fairest. Likely Eastern Ranges Best and Fairest winner.

Usually, winning all of these accolades in a season would point to the player in question having high draft prospects, and being regarded as one of the best young players in the TAC Cup system. Usually, such a player would be named in the top 20 possible draft picks of the coming year. Usually. But this is not a usual situation.

All these accolades belong to Ben Cavarra, the pint-sized Eastern Ranges midfielder and captain, who, despite a superb TAC Cup season, was not invited to the AFL’s Draft Combine in October. He heads a list of young players who have had good seasons who missed out on an invitation, a list which includes Gippsland Power forward Josh Scott, the league’s leading goal kicker for the season. Ironically, Scott also tied with Cavarra, Geelong’s George Cameron and Bendigo’s Jacob Chisari for the TAC Cup medal.

There are several knocks on Cavarra’s game that are likely the reason behind his omission from Combine testing. One is his height – at 173 centimetres, Cavarra is diminutive by today’s modern standards, in which midfielders are generally between 180-188 centimetres. The second is his kicking efficiency – often, Cavarra bursts out of packs at such speed and with such intensity that his kicking is almost a secondary thought, such is his desire to put the ball to advantage. Precise and effective kicking has become an art form in the AFL, and Cavarra’s deficiency in this area may have let him down. Finally, the fact that Cavarra is surrounded by highly rated prospects Tom Boyd, Michael Apeness, and Mitch Honeychurch

However, the positives of Cavarra’s game far outweigh the disadvantages. He is the engine room for the Ranges, constantly plucking the ball out of packs and getting into the hands of his team’s running midfielders and half forwards. He burrows into packs, winning more clearances and contested possessions than most other players. He has great vision and football awareness, and even when his kicks miss the target, he is able to put them to advantage. His second efforts are second-to-none, often backing up two or three times in his sheer desperation to get the ball. Perhaps most importantly, however, he is a fantastic leader on the field, always encouraging and supporting his teammates, and issuing instructions.

His game in the grand final victory on Sunday was just another example of typical Cavarra worth ethic and determination. He amassed 30 disposals, and seemed to have a role in every contest. His gut running and ability to win the contested ball helped Eastern to an insurmountable 62 to 13 lead at half time, a lead that they built on in the third and fourth quarters. In the third quarter, when it seemed that Dandenong were beginning to win the contested ball and more one-on-one contests, Cavarra stepped in to ensure his team still won their fair share of contests.

All these attributes are things AFL clubs love, and which are difficult to teach. With Cavarra, any club will have a great on-field leader who gives an honest performance each week. Which makes his omission from the Draft Combine all the more startling.

Cavarra plays like a player who has had to work hard to get the most out of himself as a footballer, who has not been able to take anything for granted. He plays every game like his life depends on it, never shirking from a contest. The accolades he has won this year are a testament to his work ethic. If he does not get drafted, it will surely not be through lack of trying.