Tag: harrison andronaco

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 2

AFTER the cobwebs were dusted off in Round 1 last week, Victoria’s hottest AFL Draft prospects were scattered throughout all six fixtures which included a triple-header at Queen Elizabeth Oval, and a double-header at Preston City Oval for Round 2. Our scouts were on hand to run you through the top performers from each game, in their opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RECAP: NAB League Round 2 snapshot

NORTHERN KNIGHTS vs. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

By: Declan Reeve

Sandringham Dragons:

#4 Josh Sinn

Just super classy even in the poor conditions, with his speed and agility big weapons for his style of play, where his confidence to take on opponents resulted in some solid drive around the ground. Looked good in his midfield stints, as well with his game sense leading to some really strong runs around the stoppages. His disposal was at its usual high standard, although he sometimes asked too much of his teammates with kicks placed just too far out of their leading range or leaping ability, although this happened less later in the game when he had gotten a better feel for the conditions.

#6 Blake Howes

Showed glimpses of his high athletic base throughout, with his bursts of speed when put into the midfield super impressive, even if they did not result in clearances or disposals for him. Drawing the opposition midfielders to him helped Sandy get it going forward. He also applied some excellent pressure and tackles through the midfield which were vital in keeping Northern from entering their 50. Took some opportunistic marks inside forward 50 that were either passed off or kicked out on the full, which really was not reward enough for the effort and skill he had shown throughout. 

#7 Campbell Chesser

Had a good day despite the scrappy conditions. Stationed mostly as a wing, he had a lot of action on his side of the ground, where he was able to show his willingness and ability to win his own ball and get out of the contest cleanly. It was really impressive to see that even with less than favourable conditions he was not afraid to take risks with his disposal, even having the confidence to attempt bounces throughout the game. When he was the offside wing, he made smart leads into dangerous spots, with one leading to him getting a goal in the third quarter. Dropped off a little bit the longer the game went on, after sustaining a heavy knock on the inside of his knee.

#13 Luca Macnab

Put himself under a lot of high balls that entered the defensive 50 and held on to a couple pretty well. The courage to sit under those kicks and create a contest was a big point of difference for the Dragons. Used it daringly out of defence, often kicking a bullet like kick into a central area, like the top of the defensive 50, to give Sandringham a really wide range of options in transition.

#17 Finn Callaghan

Has a nice bit of speed to go well with his ability to hold space, making him particularly dangerous in transition. To go with this, he does not mind taking a bounce and taking on opponents to get a good 50 to 60 metres gained for a few of his touches, really nailing that link up player role on the wing, and playing a vital role in same strong Sandringham counter attacks. Whilst this allows him to enjoy a lot of time without pressure, on the occasion he does find himself in a pack, he works around really well or draws in the opponent to give a teammate running past the ball and space. Going forward his kicking was well suited to the conditions, placing it lightly in front of teammates to move into.

#18 Darby Hipwell

The conditions suited his style very well as a hard-at-it inside midfielder. What was most impressive was his marking around the ground, on the chest and over head, where his courage meant he often beat bigger opponents. He placed and weighted his kicks well, finding teammates that did not have an opponent and placing it in front of them.

#42 Luke Cleary

Got himself involved in a lot of play within the Sandringham defence, seemingly among everything down there in one way or another. His ball use was consistently reliable, helping move the ball laterally to give Sandringham some time to push forward without pressure. Competed well in aerial contests, and the times he was caught behind his opponent he would always manage to get the fist in without giving away a free kick, keeping his opponents accountable and relatively unrewarded. During the latter stages of the game he got involved in a bit more up the ground, coming to meet the ball more often.

#70 Jacob Edwards

Had some extra attention on him after an outstanding Round 1 performance, and did not disappoint any recruiters watching, playing a really complete game as a ruck that rested forward. What was impressive to see was how he never counted himself out of it, taking some really impressive grabs in the wet, some contested, but also following up at ground level on the rare occasion he did not quite hold a mark. Continued to show good signs in ruck contests as well, albeit against much shorter opposition without the strength he has.

Northern Knights:

#2 Ned Long

Appearing to play as Northern’s main target, Long was good as a marking option around the ground in slow play situations, but had a hard time of it when attempting to mark whilst at pace. Used the ball well when he had it, with well-weighted kicks down the line a common sight coming from him. When running through the midfield, being a bigger body he hunted relentlessly, running through opponents to win the ball and then hand off or kick long. 

#3 Josh Ward

Tackled hard through the midfield and was a presence throughout the day as a stronger contested midfielder, with his ball winning being strong and the pressure he applied rushing Sandringham into hack kicks forward. Was clean in the second half when he had it, adding an element of composure for Northern coming out of stoppages, where he would go against the trend of blazing away and bombing long forward, instead opting for some shorter or lateral options to allow Northern to control the tempo. Had some moments where his quickness to switch from an inside hunter to outside receiver were really vital for Northern, with one particular instance in the fourth quarter leading to a really dangerous inside 50 that was unlucky not to result in a goal.

#7 Ewan Macpherson

Used his strength and size to beat opponents around stoppages and even throw his weight about in foot races to knock opponents off balance and collect. Not only able to impact as a stronger body in the centre, he found himself up either end at times as well, with his work up forward, not a regular position for him, was solid, with his marking proficiency on display with a really strong contested mark leading to a good kick to a teammate. He had really clean ball use throughout the game as well, with those shorter inside kicks being his preferred type.

#9 Darcy Wilmot

Not afraid to take on the play and come to meet a loose ball out of the Northern defence, taking on opponents with his speed and evasiveness being highlighted. Even if he did occasionally run himself into trouble, he was more likely to be able to get boot to ball and get it long than to concede a free kick. Clean below his knees as well, with the sight of him picking up a ball with one clean grab even when it was pelting down with rain being a common occurrence. 

TASMANIA DEVILS vs. CALDER CANNONS

By: Hamish Spence

Tasmania Devils:

#3 Oliver Davis

The Matthew Richardson Medallist from last year (the rising star award for the TSL’s best young player) played at the standard he has set over the last 12 months. He is a prototypical inside midfielder, who knows how to win the ball at the coalface and make an impact in the middle. This was on full display on Saturday, with Davies standing out around stoppages with his clearance work and the way he burst through packs. After being overlooked in his draft year, the 19-year-old made a good start to his NAB League campaign, finishing with 28 disposals, seven tackles and six inside 50s.

#5 Oliver Sanders

Sanders was one of Tasmania’s primary movers through the midfield, finishing the game as the leading disposal getter with 29 disposals, five tackles and 10 inside 50s. While his touches did not always possess the biggest impact, his ability to just accumulate the ball was crucial to the Devils’ chances. His natural ball-winning ability and competitiveness around the contest suggests that he should be one of the teams’ most important players going forward.

#6 Sam Banks

The Devils’ captain and a member of the AFL Academy squad, Banks was prolific off half-back. Despite being rested last week in the TSL, he showed no signs of rust with his clean skills and decision making. He could potentially move up the ground a bit more at times to impact the contest further, but he is such an asset for Tasmania down back, setting up the side with his kick-outs and rebounds coming out off the backline. He led from the front in defeat, finishing with 28 disposals, five marks, four tackles and 10 rebound 50s.

#7 Will Splann

Splann was the pick of Tasmania’s defenders, playing with heart and continually standing up whenever Calder went forward. While the team arguably came in with an oversized backline given the conditions, he flew for every contest and crashed packs. He had a couple of big moments at the start of the third quarter, he took a big relieving contested mark down the line and then intercepted the ball two times in a row a couple of minutes later. He ultimately finished with 14 disposals, five marks, two tackles and two rebound 50s, but the stats do not show some of his once percenters or defensive efforts at crucial times during the game. He was swung forward in the last to give the Devils’ another option up forward, but he did not hit the scoreboard.

#12 Jye Menzie

Menzie looked like the deadliest player on the ground at times, but his inaccuracy prevented his game from going to another level. He presented strongly on leads and looked dangerous whenever he had the ball in his hands or was around goal. He did not convert all of his opportunities with three behinds (which was a theme for both sides throughout the day), but showed his resolve by kicking the goal that brought Tasmania within a kick late in the final quarter. He also pressed up the ground to get involved in the contest, finishing with 19 disposals, eight marks and four inside 50s, to go along with his goal. Saturday’s effort, combined with his form for North Hobart last season, shows that Menzie should be a handful for any opposing backmen in the future.

#29 Dominic White

White played a typical wingman’s game, working hard to cover the whole ground and providing an option for his teammates on the outside. He was often an outlet or part of the chain of play whenever Tasmania exited its backline, finishing with 26 disposals and seven marks for the game. He won a crucial one-on-one ball at the top defensive 50 late in the game, which ended up leading to the Devils’ only goal of the last quarter.

Calder Cannons:

#1 Harrison Andronaco

Saturday’s contest against Tasmania was probably one of Andronaco’s most impactful games to date. While the top-ager usually plays primarily as a small forward, he showed his ability to roll through the midfield and play further up the ground, finishing with 23 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s. The main element of his game that stood out was his inside work, winning several key contests in the middle. He still looked like a threat whenever he was around goal, though he only had the one behind to show for it.

#3 Jackson Cardillo

Cardillo spent more time up forward than in the midfield on Saturday, something which he did to great effect. He was the Cannons’ most likely and dangerous forward with his four scoring shots, though unfortunately only one of them was a goal (though he did give off a goal to Joey Dimasi). He won several one-on-one contests against his direct opponent, hauling in some strong contested marks. Playing at half-forward, he still impacted the game further up the ground with his 15 disposals, four marks and three inside 50s. Adding and improving on his forward craft should hopefully hold Cardillo in good stead going forward, after not getting drafted last year.

#6 Flynn Lakey

A tough nut around stoppages, Lakey’s fiery red hair matched the heat he brought all day. He was Calder’s most prolific player, gathering a team-high 25 disposals, while forcing his way through contests to make sure he got his hands on the ball first. He seemed to thrive in the wet conditions when the heavens opened up in the second quarter, taking his already impressive performance to another level. He put in a full four-quarter effort, finishing with six tackles, five marks and six inside 50s, in addition to his 25 disposals.

#21 Riley Mason

Mason was the Cannons’ main mover out of the backline, enjoying an influential performance off half-back. He read the ball well, using his tall and lanky frame to intercept and cut off the Devils’ attacks several times. He gathered plenty of touches, finishing with 17 disposals, five marks and six rebound 50s. His level-headedness with ball in hand ultimately helped Calder get over the line by one point.

#25 Josh Goater

Goater continued his strong start to the year with another good game against the Devils. He stood up around stoppages, as his tall frame was suited to the congested nature of the match. He was probably the best player on the ground in the first quarter; he was a point of difference in the midfield, weaved through stoppages and kicked a booming goal from outside 50. While the rest of his day did not match his performance in the first term, he still finished with 20 disposals, five inside 50s and three tackles.

#41 Liam Podhajski

Despite the conditions being adverse for a big man at times, it did not stop Podhajski from having a day out. He was strong in the ruck contest; he won a massive 40 hit outs and some of his taps put the ball on a platter for his on-ballers. But it was the work he put in around the ground and his follow up efforts that arguably made him best on. He was like an extra midfielder at times and also filled a hole up forward. It was a complete ruckman’s game, finishing with 21 disposals, six tackles, four inside 50s, three rebound 50s and one goal, to go along with his 40 hitouts.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS vs. EASTERN RANGES

By: Declan Reeve

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Youseph Dib

The crafty small was vital in Oakleigh’s break away on the scoreboard in the second half, where he was thrown into the midfield and used his agility and speed to break away from the contest with ball in hand. He just has a remarkable ability to get himself out of tricky situations, with a strength of his being his handballing, able to hit difficult targets and then run to support or get the ball back. He pulled off some good kicks as well, although there were a couple of awkward ones where the ball came off flat and wobbly, which is an area he could look to sure up.

#3 Nick Daicos

Following up from his thrilling NAB League debut against Sandringham Dragons, Daicos put in another best on ground performance in a dominant display through the midfield and forward line. His footy IQ is at an obviously high level, this was highlighted with dominance around stoppages, able to win it at will, even head-to-head with top prospect Tyler Sonsie he had the advantage, able to read the ruck tap exceptionally well. His skills were also clean in some unfavourable conditions, hitting some really good kicks into dangerous spots, able to show his composure by hitting them under pressure as well.

#13 Dylan Thomas

Had a really good day playing a hybrid role up forward, sometimes acting as the main target but also able to play as a crumber at the feet of bigger teammates, with that versatility in his approach leading to a massive four-goal haul. He was unselfish in his approach despite the big haul, giving off some good opportunities, and regularly lowering the eyes going forward.

#14 Sam Darcy

One of the tallest, and one of the lightest players on-field, for a 200 centimetre odd player Darcy moved remarkably well around the contests, backing his speed a few times to take on smaller opponents in foot races. Looked good in the back half, taking some commanding grabs and using the ball well by foot, also filling in as a relieving ruck and using smart body positioning to get the advantage and control the taps.

#18 Jed Rule

Positions well behind the play, getting into positions where he can intercept mark and then use his speed and kicking efficiency to move the ball back forward through dangerous areas in transition. I was also impressed by his ability to close in on opponents and force them to dispose of the ball backwards, giving time for Oakleigh to set up behind him or for a pressed up forward to win a free kick.

#36 Scott Beilby

Similar game to Rule which served as a difficult combination for Eastern to get past, just positioned well behind the play and took some good intercept marks in the defensive 50, controlling the tempo f the game from those marks well to get Oakleigh out in good positions. Offered a lot with his run from behind as well, able to kick with momentum to get the ball deep for Oakleigh.

Eastern Ranges:

#1 Tyler Sonsie

The kid is classy, and seemed to win just about all of the clearances that Eastern did, where he could then break free with his speed and dart a kick to a leading forward. His follow up work to support team mates he handballed was impressive as well, he would just work hard to get there and support, often getting the ball back to utilise his elite kicking even under pressure. He just had a game full of highlight type moments, pulling off some ridiculous kicks, or finding ways out of really difficult situations. Came into the game more as it went on, slowly making the midfield his own in the second half.

#5 Jake Soligo

Relentless attack on the ball, whether it be loose or in an opponent’s hand. After the first half he started positioning himself on Nick Daicos around stoppages and nullified his impact well at times, and whilst he was not the beneficiary of this work directly, it got Eastern a lot more opportunities to win those clearances, with the likes of Sonsie stepping up during that period in the midfield. Found himself playing as a bit of a sweeper like player, a kick behind stoppages, afterwards, where he positioned himself well to always make a contest.

#16 Aiden Begg

Gave up a bit of height in the ruck contests but still competed well, possibly even winning the bout against two really solid opponents. Has a really nice leap and ruck craft that make him a genuine chance no matter whereabouts he is positioned heading into the contest. Good around the ground as well following up strongly, using it well and setting up behind play and taking some good grabs in that role, suggesting he could play as a key defender at the next level.

#21 Corey Preston

Did not quite reach the lofty heights he set in his Round 1 game, but still had some really nice moments throughout the game, with his goal, that was preceded by a shrug off of an opponent, a highlight for his day. He spent some time in the midfield where he looked dangerous at times, with his speed being a big weapon around the ground, and his agility being at a good level where he regularly stepped around opponents with ease.

#31 Tyreece Lieu

As a taller midfielder he attracted a lot of attention around the stoppages, but he took that attention in his stride, able to run through and still win his clearances or be in spots where those winning clearances could get the ball to him easily. Had a difficult day up forward with the Chargers defence being really strong aerially, but he still found ways to create contests and win the ball at ground level, handing off to teammates to take shots at goal.

BENDIGO PIONEERS vs. GIPPSLAND POWER

By: Ed Pascoe

Bendigo Pioneers:

#4 Jack Hickman

After a solid game against Murray Bushrangers last week, the nippy midfielder did so again this week with a great outing, winning some important touches and using his elite speed and endurance across the ground. A handy goal kicker in one of Essendon’s intraclub hitout, Hickman has taken that belief into the NAB League as the speedy 19-year-old kicked a nice long set shot goal from 50 metres in the second quarter, and almost kicked a sensational goal on the run with a banana, swiftly evading his opponents in the third quarter. Hickman provided a lot of good ground coverage, using his endurance to run hard defensively as well as offensively. Despite his small stature, he has some traits clubs will like. Hickman finished the game with 17 disposals, four tackles and kicked 1.1.

#5 Cooper Hamilton

Despite a slow start Hamilton worked his way into the he game, showing some eye-catching movements – especially in the last quarter. Although not a prolific first half, he had some nice movements with good aggression, and used his stronger body to shrug tackles and hand off releasing handballs to teammates. The second half was more prolific once he was moved into the midfield and even given some time forward, which he made the most of with a nice snap goal in the third quarter, he showed plenty of skill on the wing with a nice weighted kick to his teammate’s advantage and his skills in general were solid all day. Hamilton isn’t fancy with his tough tackling and ability to bring teammates into the game, but he is effective when he does get his hands on the ball as he finished with 12 disposals, seven tackles and one goal.

#8 Hugh Hamilton

The tough inside midfielder was a clearance king, using his strong body and his ability to hit those clearances at pace. He was in the action forward of centre early on, kicking a nice snap goal on the run and later missing a set shot. He has certainly showed an ability to get forward and impact which he would do again in the third quarter with perhaps the goal of the day, coming from a great dribble attempt on the boundary under pressure. Hamilton was as tough as they come in the middle and despite not being the greatest athlete, has certainly proven to be one of the more damaging midfielders so far in the NAB League with his ability to win clearances at will and also go forward to hit the scoreboard. Hamilton finished the game with a team-high 22 disposals along with eight inside 50s and kicking 2.2.

#10 Bode Stevens

The crafty midfielder/forward certainly has a bag of tricks and likes using them, with his nice movement in traffic and strong leap seen plenty during the game. Stevens had some nice movements through the midfield but it was his work around goals that impressed, kicking a nice goal in open play during the second quarter and an even better goal in the third, threading the needle. The athletic traits to go with his ability to potentially play multiple roles at the next level make Stevens an interesting prospect. He finished with 17 disposals, four tackles and two goals.

#24 Caleb Ernst

A great focal point for Bendigo going forward, Ernst was arguably the best key forward on the ground, leading up well and looking equally adept at ground level with some great gathers and handballs to smalls running past. Ernst was lively early and presented strongly as a marking option, but a strong tackle that created a goal also showed his hard work at ground level. He continued to be a great target for the first half and would finally get reward for effort with a mark close to goal, which he would then convert with a simple set shot. After winning selection for the Essendon VFL squad, Bendigo might not have Ernst up forward all year but the more games he can spend with Bendigo, the more likely they will keep their winning streak going. Ernst finished the game with 16 disposals, seven marks and one goal.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Cooper Alger

Alger was smooth across half-back with the classy left footer offering plenty of good rebound while also doing the defensive things nicely. Alger was tasked with kick-outs and did well, using his long left foot to clear the ball long but also find some targets short with good vision. A classy kick of the ball, he also showed good class by hand with nice vision and a long handball forward under pressure in the second quarter. Alger also had some nice movements defensively with a strong mark near the goal line and some desperate spoils near the line as well. Alger finished the match with a game-high 25 disposals, six marks and eight rebound 50s.

#5 Chance Doultree

A tough customer and hard to miss with the mullet, Doultree was one of his team’s better contributors all across the ground, showing good aptitude for the contest and providing run on the outside as well. Doultree has a great moment in the second quarter, burning off an opponent at half-back and then following up his work to win a free kick inside 50. Although the set shot would fall short, his teammate took the mark anyway. A strong four-quarter performer, Doultree finished the game with 22 disposals, six tackles and four inside 50s.

#17 Luis D’Angelo

A superb game in the midfield for D’Angelo, who is slick and tough at stoppages and proved it again after a strong game last week. D’Angelo was clean at stoppages, rarely wasting a possession and winning clearances at will. Although he could work on his outside game more, his inside game has been honed and it is hard to argue for many better inside players in the NAB League so far this year. D’Angelo finished the game with 21 disposals and six tackles.

#23 Jai Serong

The younger brother of AFL Rising Star Caleb, Jai is a bit different height-wise, looking more like a key position player. He certainly shares some traits with his older brother, with some strong tackling form despite his light frame and clean hands at ground level also rare for a player of Jai’s height. Although not consistent overhead, he would take a nice contested mark in the last quarter which was a strong quarter all-round for Serong, who took some marks around the ground but also did some nice things as a taller midfielder. Serong is an interesting prospect who, with his athleticism, height and light frame, could be anything. Serong finished the game with 19 disposals, six marks and nine tackles.

GWV REBELS vs. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

By: Michael Alvaro

GWV Rebels:

#1 Sam Butler

Essentially playing exclusively up forward, Butler was ultra-impressive each time the ball entered his area. The brother of St Kilda’s Dan, Sam holds some similar traits but is becoming a very good player in his own right. The GWV prospect was evasive in traffic, attacking the ball at speed and looking to weave his way free across the half-forward line. Though not exactly tall, Butler was also a useful marking target on the lead with impressively strong hands at full tilt, allowing him to grasp bullet-like or wobbly kicks forward with aplomb. He proved very difficult to beat when positioned in front, but marked well over the back in the final term, stretching overhead and then converting an easy set shot.

#3 Charlie Molan

One of the best competitors across the NAB League, Molan proved exactly that with a strong showing in defence. His ability to read the play and get into positions to intercept was terrific, seeing him force turnovers time and time again before delivering well-hit kicks on the rebound. Molan’s second efforts and repeat runs were also noticeable, as he dug in at ground level and laid some really strong tackles inside defensive 50. He would also look to chain together passages with that run, not stopping after his initial act and disposal. Another pleasing part of Molan’s game was his ability to win one-on-one balls against quality opposition, with two outstanding plays in term three. The first was a tussle with Clayton Gay close to goal, and the second was a desperate ground ball split against Judson Clarke further afield. Overall, a solid day from the 18th-year talent.

#5 Josh Rentsch

While blanketed relatively well in the first half after a strong start to the season in Round 1, Rentsch still managed to showcase his talent in small samples. He had a couple of chances to hit the scoreboard in the third term off the back of some good attempts to win the ball, but missed both set shots from different ranges. His strength came to the fore with a contested mark at forward wing, and he used that same physicality to follow up well at ground level. While seemingly unintentional, Rentsch laid another clumsy bump on his opponent having escaped punishment for a similar act last week, so may look to sharpen his work in that area. He looked good in the ruck during the final term, again providing nice bodywork to go with well-placed hitouts.

#6 Marcus Herbert

A smooth midfield mover, Herbert was one of GWV’s mainstays in the engine room and made some eye-catching plays at the stoppages. The top-ager’s agility and ability to break free from congestion in style proved a key feature of his game once again, with nice showings of composure and spacial awareness where others would likely panic. He finished as one of the Rebels’ more prolific ball winners on 21 disposals, and has a promising bag of tricks in that competitive GWV midfield.

#8 Joshua Gibcus

It was no real surprise to see Gibcus added to the AFL Academy squad after a hot start to the season, and the 18th-year defender again put his best traits on show during this outing. His style of play can be observed in his stats, with five marks and seven rebound 50s among his 16 overall disposals. An exciting athlete, Gibcus showcased his unique aerial ability with terrific intercept marking, while also sweeping up with composure at ground level to set GWV on the rebound. His speed also came to the fore in those instances, as well as a few tricks as he sold candy to his opponents to find a greater amount of space on the last line. As Dandenong closed in during the final term, Gibcus lifted to take a couple of clutch intercept marks and was a cool head down back.

#10 Blake Scott

The exciting Western Bulldogs NGA prospect was a lively figure forward of centre for GWV, often using his pace to break the play open and generate good energy inside attacking 50. He built into the game well, with his sole goal coming in the second term. Scott broke into acres of space and eventually latched onto a long kick over the top before slotting his dribbled shot. He has a good nose for goal and with such electric speed and agility, is able to create well with ball in hand.

#16 Kai Lohmann

Clubs will likely have enjoyed the raw athleticism and ability of Lohmann, who caught the eye with acts both aerially and across the ground. Lohmann’s zip off the mark and willingness to hit the ball at speed was complimented well by his clean hands, which resulted in some solid marking play. The GWV talent had a few chances to hit the scoreboard and made good on one during the second term with a lovely set shot. He missed a shot deep in the pocket during term four, but had shown good nous to mark a high ball and was not afraid to fly for audacious specky attempts.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#3 Miller Bergman

A player who really rose in stock this week, Bergman bookended his game brilliantly with work at both ends of the ground. He first came to prominence in the opening quarter, starting down back and showcasing his clean overhead marking ability. He read the play well to intercept, but also became a threat on the rebound with his penetrative and direct kicking. Having swung forward, Bergman again came to life in the final term to cap his game with three classy goals from set shots. He earned each chance by staying active forward of the ball, darting around before making clever leads and marking strongly. While he often gained good separation, Bergman was also clean under opposition pressure. One to keep an eye on.

#6 Connor Macdonald

The Draft Central Player of the Week, Macdonald had an absolutely epic game with 33 disposals, 10 marks, 10 inside 50s, and 12 tackles. He was a consistent figure in midfield throughout the match and seemed to be everywhere at times, working up and back to accumulate in all areas while also getting his hands on contested ball at the stoppages. Macdonald’s speed was on show with nice bursts away from congestion, complimented by the work-rate to either follow up his initial possessions, or work back hard if the ball did not fall Dandenong’s way. His cleanliness both to gather and dispose of the ball efficiently was another superb string to his bow, making for good viewing in such a complete performance. Most importantly, Macdonald lifted in the final quarter when his side was pushing hard to sneak ahead, adding gutsy aerial work and hard transitional running to his play. He has made a top start to the season, and will likely have risen up draft boards after another strong outing.

#10 Clayton Gay

A top-ager who was perhaps unlucky to be overlooked last year, Gay has returned in promising form. He started the day off in style with an awesome one-handed grab deep inside 50, before kicking the game’s first goal from a straightforward set shot. His clean hands were also shown at ground level, with one-touch grabs off the deck and quick reflexes to flick the ball back up to teammates. Gay took another strong overhead mark in the second term but had his set shot come up short, before moving up to the wing after half time and finding a good amount of possessions.

#14 Will Bravo

Another of Dandenong’s 19th-year prospects, Bravo came in for his first game of the season and returned some solid numbers. Mixing his time on the inside and out on the wing, Bravo showed good speed and intent moving forward, while also providing some unheralded work at stoppages. One of his more pleasing plays was one which did not earn him a stat, as he chased hard into defensive 50 to apply pressure on an opponent streaming into goal, but to no avail. Still, it was exemplary of Bravo’s character and work ethic.

#22 Mac Andrew

Melbourne fans may want to tune in and watch Andrew throughout 2021, as the NGA prospect looks to be a very exciting type. While still quite raw, there is no questioning Andrew’s athleticism and aerial nous, which came to the fore with some very handy ruckwork and impressive marking at both ends of the ground. He was clearly the dominant ruck on the day and positioned cleverly behind the ball after his work was done at the contest, which saw him take some clean intercept grabs in defence. Andrew also marked well when playing forward in the fourth quarter, but just lacked the finishing touch in front of goal. His follow-up play was also promising, as he disposed cleanly within his limits and did what was required with ball in hand at the stoppages.

#42 James Cahill

The brother of Essendon’s Ned, Cahill is a player not dissimilar to his elder sibling. The 183cm prospect was super productive in this outing, showing clean hands and outstanding smarts forward of centre. He lead hard up at the ball and was lively when working back towards goal, proving a slippery customer in congestion and one who could improvise in a flash to keep the Stingrays’ momentum moving. He had a direct hand in a couple of goals and booted one himself in the first term with a well finished snap.

#46 Justin Davies

One who played an underrated, but important role for Dandenong was Davies. He matched up on physical GWV forward Josh Rentsch and did a superb job to keep him under wraps for much of the first three terms. Davies competed well aerially and looked to move quite well for his size, with decent disposal to boot. He was freed up a touch in the final quarter as Rentsch moved into the ruck, showing good composure on the last line and a bit of game awareness as he pumped a kick-in long up the middle during the dying stages.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS vs. GEELONG FALCONS

By: Declan Reeve

Murray Bushrangers:

#2 Charlie Byrne

Following up from a really impressive Round 1 showing, Byrne continues to push his case as a possible mid-season draft selection, looking super impressive as a defender and midfielder for the day. His midfield game looked much improved in just the space of a week, finding himself in good spots around stoppages to win first possession and get it long forward, or out by hand. One particular instance of this was in the fourth quarter, where he won it at the rucks feet, and then fired a handball out between two opponents in less than a second, to an outside receiver. He also continued to do what he does well off of half-back, running at the ball and contesting well with anyone there, hitting them hard if they beat him to it.

#3 Toby Murray

Competed really well in the ruck against one of the premier rucks of the competition in Toby Conway, and whilst he may not have won as many hitouts, he definitely won around the ground, able to cover it easier than his opponent, and impact at ground level whilst in the role. When he rested up forward he impressed with his marking above head, taking some nice grabs in contested situations and getting himself on the scoreboard twice, but assisting in a couple of other goals to put in a nice team orientated performance.

#4/#54 Josh Rachele

Played more as a permanent forward rather than splitting his time in the midfield and to great effect, finishing the game with 4 goals, and having a few other opportunities that either fell short or went just wide of the mark, so realistically could’ve had two or three more. Talk about a highlight reel player, his second goal was an impressive effort, in a foot race with his opponent along the boundary, he took 3 bounces and then snapped it straight through the middle, highlighting his class and athleticism in one fantastic play. Not only kicking the goal himself, his position in contests that allowed him to out-mark much bigger opponents, led to him delivering some bullet-like kicks to teammates inside 50, giving Murray scoreboard dominance all game. He suffered some friendly fire in the third quarter which led to a jumper switch for the final quarter.

#13 Tom Brown

Played a much more settled game in the backline than the week prior where he was thrown about. Was again a presence aerially where he flew for a lot of marks even if they did not all stick he had a fair amount of impact in those contests. Provided as a running option as well out of the back half, where he looked assured in taking on opponents and then delivering well forward.

#17 Benjamin Ashley-Cooper

A really solid outing saw him winning plenty of the ball all around the ground, with his workrate being at an exceptional level, able to out work his opponents all day which made it seem like he had it on a string. Was involved in some eye catching team plays from Murray, where he would be involved in the chain with the ball in hand, and then supporting teammates when he gave it off with a shepherd. 

#29 Noah Bradshaw

Showed that he is able to win his own ball in the midfield when he’s in a good position to do so and not competing with teammates to be the first possession winner. He was clean with the ball as well, looking for shorter and safer options to allow Murray to maintain possession rather than bomb it long forward hoping for the best outcome.

#30 Achuang Agog

Was vital for the Bushrangers in the final two terms when Geelong were really determined to get their first goal by bombing it in long to contests. He would stick his arms up and take some commanding grabs above opponents or even in packs, take the ball back and use his full-time more often than not, then look to switch the ball out to a boundary. Had some moments where he got himself into trouble with some daring runs, but that is something that will be ironed out with more experience.

Geelong Falcons:

#3 Euriah Hollard

Got involved a lot in the forward half for Geelong, so naturally seemed to get better as the game went on. Despite being on the shorter side, I was impressed with how Hollard presented aerially, taking marks out in front or leading to be a switch kick option, then using his own skills to get it into the forward line. Applied a lot of pressure as well, forcing a lot of rushed disposals for Murray and causing a few turnovers from his hard work.

#7 Flynn Young

Has a nice bit of zip to him which makes him extremely dangerous on the lead and at ground level, where his tendency to get separation being a big part of his presence up forward, strong mark as well, even at a full paced lead he was sticking them well. Also offered a lot on the pressure side of things, especially with Murrays kick ins, where he’d close down the gap between the mark and the player moving out of the square really quickly. 

#12 Noah Gribble

Really good agility and footy IQ that makes him difficult to close down, as he has got tricks to get out of most scenarios. One particular instance was in the second quarter where he was surrounded by Murray players, drew in two opponents and used that space to spot a teammate with a kick close to the boundary. Good presence as a marking option around the ground to control tempo as well.

#60 Toby Conway

Really dominant in the ruck out bodying opponents without much issue, good with his positioning around the ground being the play taking some easy uncontested grabs, but also sticking a few contested marks as an option down the line for Geelong. Not a stereotypical ruck with his disposal, with the weighting of his kicks impressive, put in good spots for teammates to run into.

Stat Leaders: 2021 NAB League – Round 1

THE 2021 NAB League season commenced across a five-day stretch from Thursday to Monday, with players blowing out the cobwebs and getting stuck back into competitive action. There were a number of outstanding individual performances across the six fixtures, with top five draft candidates and some fresh faces topping a range of categories. We take a look at this week’s stat leaders.

It was no surprise to see Eastern Ranges jet Tyler Sonsie soar straight to the top of the disposal charts, racking up a round-high 34 touches in his side’s win over the Calder Cannons. A classy midfielder who can roll forward, Sonsie also notched up six inside 50s and booted two goals in his best afield display. The 18-year-old’s performance only solidified his standing as a top five draft candidate this year.

Gippsland prospect Max Walton was not far behind his metro counterpart in the Power’s loss to Dandenong, kept busy in the back half with 32 disposals. A remarkable 30 of them were kicks, making him a clear leader in that category as well as in the rebound 50s count (10).

Both players had teammates feature elsewhere, with Gippsland skipper Luis D’Angelo notching a high of 15 handballs to be equal with Geelong top-ager Archie Hildebrandt, and Thomas Crole booting four goals for Gippy as Corey Preston managed the same feat for Eastern. Preston’s teammate Jake Arundell also recorded the most inside 50s (eight) alongside Calder’s Harrison Andronaco and Dandenong’s James Cahill.

Flying Calder wingman Flynn Gentile has found plenty of the ball in his two games thus far, and that was no different on Friday as he worked hard for 15 marks. Speaking of, Oakleigh’s Julian Gangi got his hands dirty with nine tackles in one of the most high-quality games of Under 19s football ever, against Sandringham. Geelong tall Toby Conway was the round’s other chart-topper, winning a monster 33 hitouts on Thursday evening.

It is worth noting, a trio of Western Jets talents also achieved would-be highs in their standalone season opener against Calder. The players in question were Liam Conway (eight inside 50s), Cody Raak (11 rebound 50s), and Adam Azzopardi (nine tackles).

Find the full list of Round 1’s stat leaders below.

ROUND 1 STAT LEADERS

Disposals:
Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges) – 34

Kicks:
Max Walton (Gippsland Power) – 30

Handballs:
Luis D’Angelo (Gippsland Power) – 15
Archie Hildebrandt (Geelong Falcons) – 15

Marks:
Flynn Gentile (Calder Cannons) – 15

Tackles:
Julian Gangi (Oakleigh Chargers) – 9

Inside 50s:
Harrison Andronaco (Calder Cannons) – 8
Jake Arundell (Eastern Ranges) – 8
James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays) – 8

Rebound 50s:
Max Walton (Gippsland Power) – 10

Hitouts:
Toby Conway (Geelong Falcons) – 33

Goals:
Thomas Crole (Gippsland Power) – 4
Corey Preston (Eastern Ranges) – 4

2021 NAB League team preview: Calder Cannons

CALDER Cannons come into the 2021 NAB League season having faced some challenges over the past year, but boast an exciting list with plenty of pace and a highly-touted draft eligible crop which finally gets the chance to shine.

Head coach Ross Smith, who will also overlook the Vic Metro squad on top of Calder’s boys and girls programs this year, was optimistic despite the “unknown” ahead of Saturday’s season opening game against Western Jets.

As the league’s top age rises to 19, Smith says Calder will continue to give opportunities to players in said age group after they missed out on the opportunity to prove themselves in 2020. In terms of the Cannons’ chances against Western, that is where the unknown comes in.

“We don’t know anything about the Jets and they probably don’t know anything about us,” Smith said at the NAB League season launch. “In the season opener that’s probably not a bad way to be.

“We’re going to give most of our 19-year-olds the opportunity, obviously because in the past we’ve probably had four or five of them on our list so we’re going to play most of our available 19-year-olds, certainly in the first part of the year.

“There’s a few of those; Sam Paea and Sam Clohesy in particular, those two are going really well. We’ve also got five guys over 200cm at the moment so our ruck stocks are really good. We’ve got a young kid called Liam Podhajski coming through, Mitch his brother played at the Cannons in the past and he’s really blossomed over the break.”

The NAB League has undergone a structural change ahead of season proper, with a revamped fixture set to be released in full ahead of Round 1. Greater opportunities for draft eligible prospects to train and play at state league level will also present, allowing players an insight into elite level professionalism.

“(VFL opportunities) bring players into a professional environment I suppose,” Smith said. “The Essendon facilities are a bit better than at Highgate (Recreation Reserve) down in Craigieburn, but it also puts them in with some really professional staff and I think it gives them a real snapshot going forward of what it might be like going forward if they get the opportunity to get drafted.”

With a large chunk of Victorian talents about to return to competitive action after around 18 months away, maintaining touch and fitness levels have proven some of the many challenges NAB League regions have overcome in a short time. Despite missing out last year, Smith says some players may even be “better for it”.

“Obviously they’ve missed some footy so it’s going to be a little more challenging kicking off compared to what South Australia and Western Australia have gone through,” he said. “I think that gap will close really quickly, we’ve had them for a period of time now and the break that they’ve had, they’ve come out of nearly over the top in some ways. They might actually be better for it initially. It’ll maybe take a week or two but I don’t think it’ll be too long before they hit their straps.”

While Smith mentioned a few players to watch in 2021, there are plenty of others set to take toll for the Cannons in hopes of being drafted. Below is a brief list of the standouts, who are all draft eligible.

Jackson Cardillo – An explosive midfielder-forward who was unlucky to miss being drafted in 2020. His key strength is his speed, but he is looking to improve on the endurance side of things and enhancing his goal sense. Cardillo will also ply his trade with Essendon’s VFL side throughout the year.

Josh Goater – Another explosive type who stands out in terms of foot speed, Goater also has clean skills by foot and has been working hard on hitting new levels in his endurance. He will likely roam half-back and the wing while attempting to crack Calder’s midfield.

Zac Taylor – The exciting small kept himself busy doing sessions with mates at Oak Park during 2020, and should have little trouble catching the eye with his skills this time around. He is a zippy type but has a solid endurance base to match, which should hold him in good stead to play midfield.

Harrison Andronaco – One of the many top-agers to have already played NAB League football, Andronaco is looking to showcase his dynamism and wow-factor as a small forward who can also relieve in midfield. His speed is a strength, but Andronaco is still refining that area, with pressure and scoreboard impact among the other traits he is hoping to present.

Jack Newitt – A dynamic type who has often played slightly above his size, Newitt is set to take up a key defensive post for Calder in 2021. Coming from a basketball background, his clean hands overhead and athleticism stand out, but it is the improvement areas which Newitt hopes to showcase this year.

Josh Misiti – An Essendon father-son prospect (son of Joe), Misiti did a lot of work with mates to keep on track during 2020. He is a massive Bombers fan and has some nice athletic attributes which will come in handy as he looks to transition into midfield. He would be a solid body in there, but has also played a lot of junior footy in defence.

Cairan Wrigglesworth – One who is yet to debut for Calder, Wrigglesworth has overcome previous injury issues and could be a real surprise packet this season. His speed and marking are key strengths, which should come to the fore running off half-back or through midfield.

Classic Contests: Fletcher, Cannons come up clutch

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 9 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Calder Cannons. In this edition, we wind back the clock just one year to when the sides played out a thriller in late-2019.

2019 NAB League, Round 15
Sunday July 28, 1:00pm
Mars Stadium

GWV REBELS 3.3 | 5.6 | 7.11 | 8.13 (61)
CALDER CANNONS
2.1 | 4.3 | 6.7 | 9.11 (65)

Draftees in action:

GWV – Jay Rantall (Collingwood)
Calder – Sam Ramsay (Carlton)

There was not much on the line when the Calder Cannons and GWV Rebels faced off late in the 2019 NAB League season, but it would not stop the sides from giving it their all in search of a win. The finals-bound Cannons came in riding high off an undefeated month of action, sitting sixth at 8-5 and level on points with fourth. The Rebels were on a decent run too, winning two of their last three games to improve their record to 4-8, good enough for 14th spot at the time.

Both regions named relatively unexperienced sides for the bout in Ballarat, with all three age brackets represented across the two lineups. Of course, either side still managed to squeeze in a future draftee each, with Collingwood slider Jay Rantall at the heart of GWV’s midfield, while Sam Ramsay played the same role for Calder. Ramsay would be one of four Cannons drafted in 2019, but the only one afield in this clash.

With pride on the line, the hosts looked as if they had a point to prove after what had been a lacklustre season to date, and took the lead at 10 minutes into the first term. Although Calder managed to remain just over a goal adrift at every break, GWV did not relinquish its lead until the final term, while pushing the margin out to 21 points in the second term and 23 in the third.

Inaccuracy would end up costing the Rebels, with their 21 scoring shots to Calder’s 20 still not enough to prize the four points. The Cannon’s late third quarter momentum carried on into the fourth, as Mason Fletcher found the big sticks with just over a minute played, and put his side in front shortly after. Nick Caris snatched the lead back for GWV in quick time, but that advantage would again prove short-lived as Ned Gentile booted the deciding goal with over 10 minutes left to play.

Both sides spurned opportunities to score in the late stages, with the typically windy conditions making life hard for a would-be hero. It meant the Cannons came up trumps at the ideal time, holding on to win by four points and remain in the hunt for an unlikely top three berth.

Former Essendon father-son prospect Fletcher booted 3.3, including two majors in the final term to play a key role, with his goalscoring feat match by teammate, Gentile. The Rebels laid claim to three multiple goalkickers, with Caris, Harry Sharp, and Matty Lloyd all finding the big sticks in a valiant losing effort.

Unsurprisingly, the two eventual draftees led all comers for disposals, with Rantall racking up a game-high 35 touches, while Ramsay trailed closely to notch 33 of his own – along with three behinds. The Rebels had plenty of the ball, with seven players racking up over 20 disposals, including the returning Liam Herbert (23). Among the Cannons youngsters to impress were Jackson Cardillo (18 disposals) and Harrison Andronaco (17, one goal).

Calder would go on to mount a decent finals run, advancing through Wildcard Round and the first week of finals before losing comfortably to Sandringham in the semis – all after narrowly missing out on the top three. GWV improved its position slightly to finish 10th at 6-9, before being bundled out of Wildcard Round by Western.

Rantall was the sole Rebel drafted from the class of 2020, though he could be joined by some teammates on the day in future. Calder’s impressive haul of four included Ramsay, Harrison Jones, and bolters Lachlan Gollant and Francis Evans.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 15

IT may have been a shortened round of five games, but there was no such shortage of talent on show in Round 15 of the NAB League. There was a diverse range of standouts this weekend, so here are out notes highlighting representative squad members, under-agers, and a few standouts from each game. Each note is the opinion of the individual writer.

Tasmania Devils vs. Sandringham Dragons
By: Peter Williams

Tasmania:

#3 Oliver Davis

Worked hard through the midfield and like many of the Devils’ midfielders, pushed back into defence where possible. He was able to intercept the ball by being in the right place at the right time early in the game, and then did so again later on at half-forward where he set up a target with a neat kick inside 50. He offered himself as an option in the chain moving the ball forward, was able to provide quick hands in close throughout the game, and was one of Tasmania’s best.

#7 Matt McGuinness

Another workmanlike performance from the tall defender who was more often than not composed with ball in hands in the back 50. At times his disposal could go array, such as a turnover in the third term straight to a Dragons’ opponent, but his launching left foot kick-outs broke open the game with some efforts almost reaching the centre circle. Patrolled the defence and took a number of intercept marks propelling the home side forward.

#13 Sam Collins

So strong one-on-one, he stands up in tackles and was a presence around the stoppages. He moved well through the midfield sharing his disposal-winning ability between both the inside and outside. His hands in close were a highlight of his game, and was productive throughout.

#25 Jackson Callow

Had a tough day at the office but not through lack of want or trying because he was one of Tasmania’s best once again. Instead, it was more the case of often he was double-teamed inside 50 with the Devils looking to him as a target the majority of the time and the Dragons defenders identified that and at most marking contests sat someone in front of him or came across as a third-man to spoil. Regardless, Callow booted the one goal – Tasmania’s first of the game and one of his few one-on-one contests – after great body positioning. He had a massive first term working up teh ground, winning the ball in each of the thirds, and then kept presenting throughout, but most of his marks had to come up the ground given the body pressure on him inside 50. He almost had a second with a quick snap in the third term but it fell short, and tried to set up a goal to Rhyan Mansell early in the fourth with a quick handball but the snap missed. One of the top key position options next year.

Sandringham:

#2 Darcy Chirgwin

Returned from injury at the AFL Under-18 Championships with a strong first half before being managed in the second half. After a big impact in the middle, he also went forward and provided a presence, setting up Angus Hanrahan inside 50 for a goal in the third term. He was able to fire out quick handballs from stoppages and was strong overhead, able to not only hold his ground in marking contests, but also stand up in tackles. Possesses a nice kick and good decision making to hit up a target from half-back to half-forward straight down the middle in the second term.

#5 Ryan Byrnes

One of Sandringham’s best on the day, leading from the front. The biggest differential between Byrnes and a lot of midfielders is is ability to use either foot when coming out of stoppages. He just uses the foot from which side he has been forced to lean onto in order to get his clearances away – and he had a truckload. The most dominant midfielder on the ground, Byrnes set up that many teammates for scoring opportunities, he was like a playmaker in the attacking half – they included goals to Riley Bowman in the first term and Jake Bowey in the fourth term, and an unlucky miss to Miles Bergman in the last term as well who probably should have rewarded the effort with the straight forward set shot. He kicked a goal of his own late in the second term after marking, being called to play on and snapping around his body truly. Worked cohesively with Riley Bowman and Jack Bell at ruck stoppages.

#6 Miles Bergman

Had a solid game throughout the four quarters and just kept popping up with some nice moments, but should have had a bigger day with some set shot misses he will no doubt want to take again. He kicked a terrific goal in the third term with a snap from a forward stoppage showing all class, but missed the two easier shots – one in each of the bookend quarters – both within 30m out straight in front or on a slight angle. His field kicking was good and he kept presenting high up the ground, opening the game up at one stage in the fourth term with a delightful kick into the middle on that 45-degree angle to hit-up Jack Bell.

#15 Angus Hanrahan

Clearly the best on ground once again and just seemed to do it all. Played off half-back, pushed up to the wing and then went forward in the second half to finish off with three goals. His highlight-real moment came late in the fourth term with a clean pick-up, gather and nice checkside snap near the behind post to kick his third major of the day. His other two goals came from set shots just inside 50, the second of which he won for a free kick after holding his ground in the marking contest and earning a chopping the arms free. He zipped around the ground racking up the touches off half-back and running into space, and whilst most of his disposals were won in uncontested situations, he used his composure and skill to hit-up teammates down the field. He provided run and carry and made good decisions going forward, even showing off some candy late in the game to hit-up Darcy Chirgwin inside 50.

#28 Riley Bowman

Shared the ruckload with Jack Bell and importantly got forward to kick a couple of goals. He took a terrific towering grab in the first term to grab it cleanly in the air and slot the set shot from 40m out, then kicked his second major midway through the second term with a snap around his body in general play. His best work was done in the ruck however, time and time again winning the hitouts and double-tapping it to the path of a running midfielder – usually Ryan Byrnes – and worked hard to also take some intercept marks and win his fair share of the ball around the ground. He and Bell proved a handfull for the Devils.

#32 Jack Bell

Teamed well with Riley Bowman and set up the first goal with a terrific hitout at the first centre bounce to get it to Ryan Byrnes who delivered inside 50. For a big man he showed composure with clean hands under pressure, and positioned himself well in marking contests. Missed a set shot early in the game after taking a good mark going back with the flight, but then capitalised in the final term with a good chest mark by protecting the drop zone, and kicking an easy goal straight in front. Ruckwork was impressive and kept moving as a target through the middle.

#43 Jake Bowey

An exciting bottom-age prospect who looks dangerous when he has the ball-in-hand because of his zip. He played mostly on a wing where he was able to win some early touches and showed clean hands in the wet to hit-up Ryan Byrnes for a goal late in the second term with a great kick and nice vision. Sometimes he can miss his targets by foot, but the kick is still well placed to their advantage, and he does try and take that high risk-high reward kick when going inboard. Bowey uses his body well and showed off his composure in the third term with a clean pick-up late in the third term, stepping around an opponent and snapping over his shoulder for a goal. Set up Jack Bell in the fourth term with a kick to his advantage at the top of the goalsquare. Has time and space in the midfield and weighs up where to put the ball to best advantage his team.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Gippsland Power

Dandenong:
By: Craig Byrnes

#2 Hayden Young

We have seen on numerous occasions what the likely top five draft prospect can do behind the play, but Young showed on Saturday that his stoppage attributes could be a tad undersold. Starting on the wing, he had some nice moments on the outside before spending more time inside where he came to life. He won some brilliantly clean clearances in the second term that started dangerous forays forward for Dandenong, highlighted by a one touch collect at pace and superb hit inside 50. He used his aerial nous at half forward when the opportunity presented, reading and intercepting the high Gippsland defensive 50 exits when in his area. He attempted to take on Ryan Angwin in the fourth term and got caught holding the ball, but got straight up to chase down Ryan Sparkes and executed a spectacular diving smother. He finished the day with 26 disposals and a goal in a near best on ground display.

#11 Ned Cahill

After missing a risky kick in the defensive arc early in the game, Cahill was back to his busy and efficient self spending a majority of his time in the midfield. He was smart and clean in tight, extracting the ball with minimal fuss and working hard on the spread. He probably didn’t win the ball in his usual damaging positions, but was creative enough to ensure his 23 disposals were beneficial to his side’s cause. Coming up against a quality midfield that packs plenty of depth, Cahill more than held his own and ensured the likes of Sam Flanders and Riley Baldi were accountable by laying seven tackles.

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

It was an interesting day for ‘Biggy’, who had plenty of holes to fill after the unexpected early exodus of Dandenong talls. The late exclusion of Sam De Koning saw Nyuon start in defence on Charlie Comben and he provided some eye catching moments early running off the rapidly improving Power tall. An injury to Bailey Schmidt threw another spanner in the works and Nyuon quickly found himself in the ruck. He dug deep and made the seemingly unexpected move an advantage, consistently getting first hand in the ruck and having an impact at ground level. He ended the day with 14 disposals and 22 hit outs to be one of Dandenong’s best.

#32 Blake Kuipers

It was always going to be a tough day for the Dandenong KPDs having to counter the talented Gippsland talls, but Kuipers more than held up his part of the job. While he played some minutes on the hulking Josh Smith, a majority of his day was spent standing the in-form Charlie Comben. Kuipers didn’t win much of the footy himself, but he managed to keep the Vic Country tall goalless and have minimal impact despite plenty of Gippsland entrances. His aerial decision making was excellent, spoiling when required and taking a couple of great intercept marks when in best position. His kicking was scrappy to say the least with a few poor turn overs, but it’s an area of scope. He looks comfortable in the back half.

#50 Lachlan Williams

Starting mostly on the wing, Williams was influential in collecting 21 disposals and kicking two goals. He got to dangerous positions on the outside and was often involved in long metres gained chains. He worked hard to get out the back of the pack to kick the first goal of the day and took a nice little specky inside 50 during the second quarter, striking a lovely set shot from the arc for his second goal. While he had some excellent moments, Williams had a bit of a mixed day by foot. He shanked and turned some balls over, but the evidence over the year suggests this is an exception to the rule.

Gippsland:
By: Ed Pascoe

#4 Sam Flanders

Flanders played the game with great intent and in terms of attack on the footy he was right up there but was often let down with disposal, with his overall impact being low for his standards. Flanders had some chances to do some damage, with a set shot in the first quarter that did not quite make the distance and a snap at goal in the second quarter that registered a behind. Flanders’ attack on the ball and clean hands were very notable with plenty of players fumbling on the day and not committing, he made a great chase in the last quarter and certainly performed well in that last quarter in terms of attack and intent, even showing a nice spin move out of trouble. Flanders finished the game with 19 disposals and four inside 50s.

#6 Riley Baldi

Baldi had a solid outing playing through the midfield with his attack on the ball and willingness to take the game on a real feature. Like many teammates in the first quarter he had a chance to hit the scoreboard with a set shot just holding up from long range. He had some nice bits of play in the second half with a nice shark from a stoppage and a nice long clearing kick inside 50, another great bit of play was a lovely pass inside 50 lowering his eyes to hit up the leading player. Baldi finished the game with 20 disposals, six marks and four inside 50s.

#12 Brock Smith

Smith has been in a purple patch as of late and that continued against the Stingrays with an impressive showing playing as an undersized key defender. Having some talls go down early didn’t help the Stingrays but regardless Smith held strong down back and provided great counterattack on the rebound, Smith’s work overhead was strong and his body work too good for any smaller player he came up against and at this stage is proving to be Gippsland’s most valuable player. Smith’s disposal at times let him down but more often than not hit his targets and picked good options. Smith finished the game with 21 disposals, eight marks and nine rebound 50s.

#17 Charlie Comben

Comben had a rough day at the office in a game where Dandenong lost their best key defender before the game and their ruck early on. It seemed everything aligned for Comben to have a big game but it just didn’t quite click for him. Comben was one of many players in the first quarter to have a shot at goal that didn’t make the distance but that came off a very nice lead up mark. Comben showed his aerial skills with his overhead marking a feature but what really impressed was his clean hands at ground level for a tall player with a magnificent gather under pressure in the forward 50 in the second quarter and hand-balling to the running player’s advantage. Comben finished the game with eight disposals, three marks and one behind and he will look to get back into goal kicking form in his next game.

#19 Fraser Phillips

Phillips had a solid game and showed his exciting traits that make him a highly sought after talent. Phillips did not do a lot wrong throughout the game with ball in hand and he also impressed without it with a good tackle that was rewarded in the second quarter to lead to his first goal. His second goal came in the last quarter with a quality gather on the run and classy snap goal showing his speed, class and cleanliness inside 50. His kicking was again a great feature with his laser left foot and I was impressed with one but of play in the third quarter where he took a nice lead up mark on the wing and worked hard to get into forward 50 to be another option. Phillips finished the game with 12 disposals, five marks and two goals.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Western Jets
By: Peter Williams

Murray:

#1 Will Christie

Provided a good presence around the ground as a strong ruck effort in the midfield. He showed clean taps and also backed up his efforts by winning the ball at ground level. He pushed his direct opponent by getting forward and being a target, taking a strong intercept mark at half-forward, and then marking 30m out straight in front, but unfortunately missing the set shot. Was a fierce tackler on the day, not afraid to get down and stop opponents in their tracks.

#2 Charlie Byrne

Liked the look of the bottom-ager off half-back, playing the Lachie Ash role to allow Ash to play midfield and forward. He is so clean with his ball use, and positions himself well behind the play. He took a number of great intercept marks, and his left foot was a treat to watch. Whilst he did spend the majority of his time in defence, Byrne kicked a nice goal on the run in the opening term.

#5 Cam Wild

Played a mixture between half-forward and midfield, and had a big impact after a quieter first term, getting his hands on the ball more and ran rampant in the second half. He kicked a lovely running goal in the second term, timing his kick well at full speed to get on the board, then set up a goal to Will Chandler in the third, with a kick that might have been a shot on goal that fell short, but nonetheless it goes in the book as a goal assist. He balanced his disposals well between handballs to open the game up and kicks forward, and burst out of the middle in the third term for a shot on goal but it went to the right.

#6 Will Chandler

Had a couple of highlight runs down the field, taking a run down the middle in the first term but his flying shot on goal went to the left, then had another run off half-back to the wing. He had another flying shot on goal tight on the boundary but missed to the right, then finally got on the board in the third term with a running mark just inside the line and then a snap from a set shot goal. He dribbled home his second goal to bring up the 100 for Murray late in the third term. In the last he took a good intercept mark in the middle midway through the quarter, but then bit off more than he could chew playing on, fending off an opponent but was pinged for throwing the ball. Laid a good tackle in the forward 50 late in the game to lock it up and prevent a rebound.

#12 Lachlan Ash

Had the luxury of mixing between midfield and forward and had an impact in both areas of the ground. He still got back to help out the defence early, running on of defence and using his elite decision making and foot skills to hit up teammates down the ground. Gave off a goal assist to Kade Chalcraft with a wobbly kick that was effective, and after having a big first half in the middle, spent considerable time forward in the second half, kicking a goal after a strong lead and vertical leap to convert from 40m out straight in front. He missed a short just earlier from a tighter angle just inside 50, and tried to squeeze through another later in the term but the kick just lacked the distance and was intercepted in the goalsquare. Ash’s hands at ground level off the deck were lightning to give it to co-captain Cam Wilson to run in for a shot on goal. Prominent as usual.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Productive throughout the game, Chalcraft ran hard for four quarters picking up plenty of touches and being a staple in the midfield that had plenty of rotations. He would have had good metres gained given his ability to win the pill and take off, or zip around the ground and win a number of possessions in a chain to get it forward. He took a nice mark leading out inside 50 later in the game but his set shot missed, though showed off his work rate not long after, getting into defence and running the ball out with a neat kick. He did kick a goal in the second term by getting creative to kick the ball around his body mid-air and went straight through the middle to answer Western’s second goal late in the term.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Named as Murray’s best and was one of a number of players who could have bestowed the honour after an impressive game. Just kept running hard and kicked three first half goals when the game was hot. Boyer kicked his first after winning the ball in the goalsquare following hard running, turned his opponent inside out and snapped around his body from a few metres out. He kicked his second from the pocket late in the first term with a terrific kick, then his third from a quick play on and goal from 30m out in the second term. Just prior to that he set up Nicholas Irvine with the easiest of goals, winning the loose ball in the pocket and handballing over the top of an opponent to Irvine to run into the goalsquare and kick truly. Boyer had some risky touches in defence such as one in the third term, but his work rate saw him mop it up and help out his teammate after his kick dropped short. Spreads well around the ground and played further up the ground in the second half.

#31 Josh Rachele

Astonishing to think that this kid has two more years left at NAB League level, and it is easy to see how he took home the Kevin Sheehan Medal at the Under-16 National Championships. Rachele is as composed as anyone on the ground and his hands at ground level are like velcro-mits that just scoop the ball up cleanly and fire off handballs to running teammates. Aside from his clean hands, his ability to turn on a dime makes him so damaging because of his agility and then burst speed that burns off opponents, such as he did in the first term with his set shot just missing. Prior to that though he kicked a goal from 30m out straight in front having an impact from the start and setting the tone for his game. He has a damaging left foot that he used to not only capitalise himself, but set up others. He set up a goal to Jimmy Boyer in the second term with a clean handball out of a pack, and could have done the same for Cam Wilson in the third quarter but his shot on goal missed. Rachele booted his second major after kicking the ball into space inside 50 then working harder than his opponent, got forward and marked, before nailing the set shot from straight in front, His third came late in the game off a quick step with just a few minutes remaining in the game. He could have had a couple more as well, with one bouncing into the behind post from a dribble and consistently putting it deep inside 50 to the damaging positions. Had a nice mark in the second term leaping high.

Western:

#7 Daly Andrews

Tirelessly worked throughout the game despite the overwhelming run that Murray provided. He was a steady head in the midfield and won possessions in each third of the ground, having a quick snap on goal at one stage but it missed to the right. Finished with the couple of behinds but the Jets’ equal highest ball winner through midfield. He had a no-frills approach to his footy, getting the ball both on the inside and outside and pushing hard into defence, then getting it in midfield and putting it inside 50 for his forwards.

#18 Emerson Jeka

Had a big first term, taking a number of intercept marks in defence, including a huge pack mark early, though he did miskick off the boot deep in defence, but was cleaned up. He used the ball well kicking long, and provided a presence around the ground taking numerous marks. He was moved forward in the second half and helped set up a goal to Jono Horo in the third term with a neat kick in-board opening up the game for another teammate. In the final term he used good bodywork one-on-one close to goal midway through the quarter, but could not take the mark, though managed to get a handball away. Won a free kick on the wing late in the game and used a nice weighted kick to a teammate at half-forward.

#24 Josh Honey

The most dangerous forward for the Jets, Honey booted three goals, including his side’s two first half goals. he booted Western’s first with hard running onto a loose ball in front of him to boot it from the goalsquare, then converted late in the second term after winning a free kick 45m out straight in front. He kicked a third, and a consolation goal midway through the last, but he kept trying to take the game on, with a bounce late in the match and a long 60m kick, though an opponent spoiled it away from his teammate. He had a couple of chances for more goals earlier in the game but could not quite put it through the big sticks with limited time and rushed snaps.

#26 Cody Raak

The best on ground for Western with clean work out of defence to rack up rebounds on a string in a defence under siege. With the likes of Lucas Rocci, Darcy Cassar and Josh Kellett out of the team, much of the run and carry out of defence was left to Raak and in a game where the Jets were heavily beaten, Raak could hold his head high as a player who played four quarters and kept repelling opposition attacks. A prospect for next year, Raak is a good size and had his best game of the year with eight more touches than his next best, finishing with 24 disposals and 11 rebounds.

#47 Will Kennedy

The overager used all of his strength and ruck nous to dominate the hitouts with another 50-plus hitouts around the ground. Murray did dominate the midfield, and opponent Will Christie was good at ground level, but Kennedy still provided a target around the ground for his teammates. He won plenty of the ball in close and spread to the outside when needed, but was able to set up a scoring opportunity in the second term with a long kick inside 50.

Northern Knights vs. Bendigo Pioneers
By: Michael Alvaro

Northern:

#4 Jackson Davies

It is hard to ignore the month of footy that Davies has put together, and he once again proved a standout for Northern. The Knights’ skipper featured consistently throughout with his unmatched reading of the play and sticky hands overhead, while also showing improvement in his use by foot. His first bit of play was a typically strong intercept mark in the first term, and it proved a theme for Davies’ game as he plucked them one-on-one, in packs, and from both in front and behind. His setting up behind the play is what allowed him to do so at such a rate, snapping up everything that came his way backwards of defensive wing. Davies also had a nice moment with ball in hand in the third term, handballing over his shoulder with opponents circling to intelligently find a teammate in space.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

Was a bit of a quieter game from the small forward/midfielder when compared to his six-goal effort last time out, but he continues to provide value to the Knights line-up. Starting at half-forward once again, D’Intinosante got up the ground well to find the ball early on, but his most effective plays came when charging off the line at centre bounces. His pressure and intent in the tackle was phenomenal, hitting his opponents fairly, but hard. Kicked the one-straight goal, coming from a classy dribbled finish over the back and also had a couple of brave efforts in the air.

#7 Ryan Gardner

It was a steady return from injury for Gardner, who spent a lot of time playing up at half-forward. He started up on a wing though, finding most of his ball on the outer and providing clean use. With his move forward, Gardner led well and showed deceptively strong ability overhead despite not always pulling down the mark. He had most of his touches around the arc, drawing opponents well to flick out handballs and getting involved off the centre bounce.

#23 Nikolas Cox

The bottom-ager has proven a marvel at ground level considering his size, but used all of his height in a more forward-oriented role in this outing. It was a shrewd move, with Cox a nightmare matchup as he marked the ball at its highest point and got good separation on the lead from full forward. He kicked his first of four goals in the first term after a nice clunk close to goal, following up with another set shot conversion on the half-time siren to keep the Knights in touch. After more time up the ground in the third term, Cox returned forward and got on that lead again to find a third goal. Cox’s fourth came differently, showing his athleticism to win a ground ball and snap home a late consolation goal. Plenty to like.

Bendigo:

#2 Jack Hickman

The speedy bottom-ager provided some real spark when running through the midfield, taking the ball at pace and breaking away from congestion. Moving forward, Hickman was a threat with those line-breaking capabilities and got the Pioneers going effectively. Capped a solid day with a goal in the second term as Bendigo broke away to a handy lead, and just does some eye-catching things with his speed and agility.

#11 Aaron Gundry

Had a solid day in the ruck but impressed more with his work at ground level, covering the turf well and getting involved at the drop of the ball. While he didn’t have a massive effect with his marking or crashing of packs, Gundry also looked likely when playing forward and got on the board with a really handy goal in the first term. He read the flight of the ball well, laid a heavy bump on his direct opponent to get him out of the road, gathered the ball and coolly dribbled home into the open goal.

#19 Ben Worme

It was another workmanlike outing from Worme, who was handball-happy in the middle of the ground. He would so often get the ball on the outer of the stoppage, wheel away out the back and dish off to a runner to good effect. The Vic Country representative was also part of the midfield-forward rotation, having a hand in Cooper Smith’s first term goal and getting involved as a half-forward. Worme missed a good chance on goal at the start of the third term as he streamed into the 50 off the back of a handball chain, but made amends in the same term with a lovely long-range snap. Just always manages to find the ball, and is adding strings to his bow.

#22 Josh Treacy

Was again used in a range of roles; starting forward, pinch-hitting in the ruck, and being thrown into a few centre bounces to help combat Northern’s bigger bodies. He still looks most at home up forward though, leading up strongly to centre half-forward and providing a reliable target. Leading from closer to goal in the third term, Treacy took another strong grab inside 50 but was unable to convert the set shot, instead putting through his second chance in the following quarter from a downfield free kick. The versatile big man was also again not afraid to through his weight around, laying hits that bordered on late and tackling hard at the drop of the ball.

#29 Jack Ginnivan

Another lively bottom-ager, Ginnivan racked up the possessions in the forward half, providing dangerous run out the back and linking well into Bendigo’s attacking 50. He worked really hard to work back towards goal after getting up the ground and was not afraid to take the game on. Found the goals for the third-straight occasion, booting just the one set shot in the first term but having a hand in a range of Pios attacks.

GWV Rebels vs. Calder Cannons
By: Michael Alvaro

GWV:

#3 Toby Mahony

Seldom does he win mountains of the ball, but Mahony often stands out with his clean hands in the contest. He got on the end of a couple of nice chains early on in what was a steady start to his game, going on to find a couple of nice touches inside 50 in the second term. Mahony took a strong mark from behind inside the arc but sprayed the kick, and found space shortly after but again put the kick out on the full. He continued to find the ball in-close and got his hands up smartly in tackles while trying to burst through, doing so to good effect a heap of times in the second half.

#7 Mitch Martin

The classy midfield mover was particularly deft in his use by hand, flicking out a couple of eye-catching look-aways to teammates in acres of space after drawing an opponent. His agility and smarts on the ball also shone through, getting boot to ball quickly at the stoppages to clear, while also zipping through traffic and kicking neatly after gathering on the half volley. He capitalised one one of two chances in the second term to hit the scoreboard, first missing a set shot after a 50m penalty but rectifying it with a fantastic crumb and quickfire shot from close range. Capped his game with a fantastic pass inside 50 to Nick Caris from near-on the centre circle.

#13 Jay Rantall

Was back to his ball-winning best in this outing, leading all comers in a dominant display from midfield. Rantall’s initial work was done at the stoppages, chaining handballs and getting some forward run going, while working hard around the ground in general play to find the ball just about everywhere between the arcs on the back of his enormous endurance base. While he did not always have that typical damage and drive in his disposals, Rantall was a class above with his vision from the contest and direction of play in the back half. Rightly earned a National Combine invite and should show off his quality athletic traits.

#14 Liam Herbert

Assumed his usual role of accumulating on the outside and delivered neatly by foot on a few occasions. He missed a couple of early chances to find the goals; first getting on the end of a bad Calder turnover to mark inside 50 but missing the shot, and then intercepting again but missing the lot with his quick snap opportunity. Herbert went on to work hard to find space up either end and provide a key link along the outer, and would be buoyed by his forward impact.

#32 Harry Sharp

The bottom-ager popped up very early on very an electric goal to get the Rebels going, and went on to provide plenty of spark from the wing. Sharp gathered the ball over the back inside 50 and put the foot down to burn an opponent behind him, round one in front of him and snap home an eye-catching goal. He looked dangerous when breaking forward, undeterred by a couple of fumbles when attempting to take the game on. Sharp added to his goal tally with a clever steal and snap through two or three opponents, finishing into the open goal.

#41 Fraser Marris

Marris was another bottom-ager to stand up for the Rebels, showing a happy knack for finding the ball both up the ground and closer to home from his forward starting position. He just so often found separation on the lead working up to the wing, presenting well and using the ball well by foot to link forward. He couldn’t quite take a couple of chances on goal afforded to him, missing a set shot from a downfield free kick in the first term and later missing a snap in the third term. Still had a good impact, especially in the opening stages, and works hard.

#45 Josh Rentsch

The Vic Country U16 representative is impressively mobile for a tall, showing off his best traits in both the ruck and up forward. Undeterred by the more mature bodies of his opponents, Rentsch did well to grab the ball out of the ruck on a few separate occasions and boot forward, while standing up well in the contest. Rentsch worked to get to contests around the ground and presented up from the forward 50. Made a nice pass inside 50 to Liam Herbert on his left foot in the second term, doing things that not many big-men can. Wasn’t quite able to hit the scoreboard, spraying a set shot out on the full but getting in good positions to score.

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

Again played more of an extractor role from midfield, handing out to his runners at the stoppages and not being afforded the time and space to get going. He competed well despite being a little quiet to start off, eventually clicking into gear and clearing a few balls by foot from traffic to go inside 50. Mott also showed a willingness to tackle, doing so well at a defensive 50 stoppage in the third term and showing a different side to his game.

#3 Jackson Cardillo

He might only be a bottom-ager, but Cardillo keeps on providing good grunt in the engine room, battling hard to break tackles and applying his own with force throughout the day. He was a little down on some of his recent numbers but still popped up with a few nice touches around the ground – marking strongly on forward wing in the fourth quarter and later faking a set shot to find Sam Ramsay a little further inside attacking 50.

#8 Sam Ramsay

It was another best-on display from Ramsay, who is pretty easy on the eye in full flight. Time and again he found space breaking away from the stoppage, reading the play well to either break forward and receive over the top, or scoot out the back and wheel around onto his left side. Ramsay is hard to stop when he gets on his bike, ending his quick bursts with long raking kicks. While he did so often enough to have an effect, Ramsay could perhaps benefit from mixing up his ball use, with some of his long kicks either cut off or to no one in particular. It is still an effective way to put the opposition defenders under pressure, and Ramsay was simply a magnet to the ball. Has put together a fantastic last month after missing Metro selection, and is doing all the right things.

#38 Brodie Newman

Started to get back to his best in this outing, putting in a more attacking effort in his time down back and proving effective when thrown forward. He started with a daring kick into the corridor in the first quarter and provided a solid kick-in target across the opening half. After the main break, Newman swung forward and got involved straight away with a lead-up mark from a centre bounce clearance. Leading up once more, Newman wheeled around in the centre square, took a bounce and launched long to assist Samuel Paea’s goal in the third term in a great bit of play. He continued to present well and proved too strong for many of his opponents, combining it with good movement at the drop of the ball.

#44 Harrison Andronaco

Kept his spot after a decent showing on debut last time out, and worked into the game well this time around. The 16-year-old did not lay many tackles but made them count, locking the ball in well and earning a holding-the-ball free kick in the third term. His carving forward runs looked dangerous, using subtle signals to fake-out opponents and afford himself that bit of time and space. Ended with 1.2; missing his first shot with a quick snap from congestion and another in the final term, but slotting home late in the third quarter after a clever stop and prop inside 50.

#45 Flynn Gentile

Has been a decent contributor in his three games thus far and just seems to find the ball with ease. Most of Gentile’s work was done on the outside, drawing opponents well when handing off and getting busy in general play with some forward drive. While his kicking wasn’t always sharp, Gentile made a couple of neat passes throughout – including one to find Brodie Newman inside 50 late on. One of a few Cannons 16-year-olds to keep an eye on.

NAB League Boys Round 15 wash-up: Cannons steal points as Murray and Bendigo grab important wins

WHILE two top-tier teams ran away to comfortable wins in Round 15 of the NAB League, a couple of upsets are sure to shake up the standings heading into Wildcard Round. With Murray (ninth) and Bendigo (tenth) getting the better of higher-ranked opponents, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels almost followed suit in Sunday’s sole fixture, just falling short of Calder in an exciting end to the round.

TASMANIA DEVILS 1.0 | 2.1 | 3.3 | 4.4 (28)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 3.3 | 6.8 | 11.10 | 13.15 (93)

GOALS
Tasmania: O. Sanders, L. Gadomski, J. Chaplin, J. Callow
Sandringham: A. Hanrahan 3, K. Yorke 2, R. Bowman 2, R. Byrnes, J. Bowey, J. Bell, B. O’Leary, J. Mifsud, M. Bergman

BEST
Tasmania: L. Viney, J. Callow, O. Davis, S. Collins, R. Mansell, M. McGuinness
Sandringham: A. Hanrahan, R. Bowman, J. Bell, R. Byrnes, D. Chirgwin, M. Bergman

Sandringham Dragons have come home from Tasmania with a comprehensive victory over the Devils, running out 65-point winners in Launceston. The Dragons looked ominous early, booting three goals to one in the first term, and had six goals from 14 scoring shots on the board by the main break to Tasmania’s two from three. Angus Hanrahan got involved in the second half with three goals to help the Dragons pile on five majors to one in the third term as they put any doubt of a Devils comeback aside, eventually comfortably getting home, 13.15 (93) to 4.4 (28). Hanrahan was a clear best on ground in the venue next to where older brother Ollie ran out for Hawthorn, with the versatile utility picking up 33 disposals, seven marks, five inside 50s, three rebounds, two tackles and converting three goals. Along with Hanrahan, Ryan Byrnes caused headaches around the stoppages on his way to 28 disposals, nine inside 50s and a goal, while Darcy Chirgwin, Jackson Voss and Jake Bowey were all busy throughout the game. Riley Bowman and Jack Bell dominated the hitouts against smaller opponents and gave their midfields first opportunity. For the losers, Liam Viney impressed in defence alongside Matt McGuinness, whilst Sam Collins and Oliver Davis pushed hard in midfield and Jackson Callow kept presenting up forward.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.3 | 3.4 | 4.13 | 6.15 (51)
GIPPSLAND POWER 3.2 | 8.7 | 8.10 | 12.13 (85)

GOALS
Dandenong: W. Bravo 2, L. Williams 2, H. Young, B. Milford
Gippsland: H. Neocleous 3, K. Robinson 2, F. Phillips 2, M. McGarrity 2, J. Smith 2, S. Berry

BEST
Dandenong: H. Young, B. Nyuon, H. Berenger, W. Bravo, N. Heath, E. Cahill
Gippsland: S. Flanders, R. Sparkes, B. Smith, H. Neocleous, Z. Reid, R. Angwin

Gippsland Power strengthened its chances of holding onto a top three spot with an impressive 34-point win over Dandenong in enemy territory. The Power took the lead after nine minutes in the first term and never looked back, extending their 11-point quarter time lead with five goals to two in the second stanza to get well on top. After a quiet patch after the main break where Dandenong managed the sole third-quarter goal, Gippsland kicked away again to cruise to victory. An impressive five of the Power’s six goal kickers found multiples, led by Harvey Neocleous‘ three majors, but it was the Vic Country representative trio of Sam Flanders (19 disposals), Ryan Sparkes (21 disposals, 10 inside 50s), and Brock Smith (21 disposals, eight marks, nine rebound 50s) who did most of the damage in general play. For an improving Dandenong, Hayden Young showed off his prowess around the ball with a game-high 26 disposals and one goal alongside Ned Cahill (23 disposals, seven tackles, six inside 50s). Meanwhile, Bigoa Nyuon covered the late omission of Sam De Koning and an injury to Bailey Schmidt to have 14 disposals and 22 hitouts from the ruck, with Lachlan Williams (21 disposals, two goals) good on the outside. The Stingrays have at least one game in hand against every other side, and will look to climb back up the ranks in their final two fixtures. A tough assignment against ladder leaders Eastern is up next, while Gippsland travels to face Bendigo next after a bye.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 4.2 | 9.3 | 16.9 | 18.13 (121)
WESTERN JETS 1.1 | 2.5 | 3.6 | 7.7 (49)

GOALS
Murray: J. Rachele 3, J. Boyer 3, W. Chandler 2, T. Panuccio 2, C. Wild, L. Ash, K. Chalcraft, N. Pendergast, C. Byrne, J. Chalcraft, N. Irvine, D. Bedendo
Western: J. Honey 3, J. Horo, A. Manton, B. Ryan, D. Grmusa

BEST
Murray: J. Boyer, D. Clarke, J. Rachele, L. Ash, J. Chalcraft, C. Byrne
Western: C. Raak, L. Conway, J. Honey, A. Manton, D. Andrews , E. Jeka

In the Bushrangers’ clear best performance for the year, Murray completely dominated its game with Western Jets up in Wangaratta, putting the top four hopefuls to the sword in a massive 72-point win. The 12-goal win arguably could have been more, with the game done and dusted by the final break with the margin out to 81 points and as much as 87 early in the final term, though to the Jets’ credit they kept fighting and booted four of the last five goals of the game to cut the final deficit to 72. Jimmy Boyer booted three goals from 26 disposals and seven marks, while Cam Wild (29 disposals, one goal), Jye Chalcraft (26 disposals, one goal) and Dylan Clarke (24 disposals, one goal) all hit the scoreboard as well. Charlie Byrne was impressive in defence for the winners, while up forward, Under 16s mid-forward Josh Rachele was super with three goals from 21 touches and setting up multiple scoring opportunities for his teammates. For Western, Cody Raak (24 disposals, 11 rebounds) stood up in the absence of key teammates to continue his good form, whilst overagers Daly Andrews (24 disposals) and Will Kennedy (19 disposals, 52 hitouts) worked hard throughout the midfield, and Josh Honey (16 disposals, 3.2) was the most damaging forward for the Jets in an otherwise disappointing performance.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.3 | 4.4 | 5.7 | 7.8 (50)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 3.1 | 6.4 | 9.7 | 13.9 (87)

GOALS
Northern: N. Cox 4, C. Barbera, J. D’Intinosante, L. McMahon
Bendigo: J. Evans 2, J. Ginnivan, C. Smith, A. Gundry, W. Wallace, E. Roberts, J. Hickman, J. Rodi, B. Worme, J. Treacy, R. Wilson, K. Atwell

BEST
Northern: J. Davies, J. Potter, N. Cox, S. Brazier, S. Philp, R. Gardner
Bendigo: J. Rodi, J. Ginnivan, R. Ironside, J. Hickman, K. Attwell, A. Gundry

Bendigo Pioneers delivered arguably the upset of the round, trumping the Northern Knights by 37 points at Preston City Oval in Saturday’s final fixture. The travelling side edged ahead early on after a tight start and really threatened to take the game away from Northern with three goals to nil in the first twenty minutes of the second term, but late goals to Josh D’Intinosante and Nikolas Cox kept the Knights in with a sniff. The Pioneers delivered an ideal response, again starting well after the main break and grabbing a definitive four-goal buffer heading into the last turn, before adding four goals to two in the final quarter to run away with an impressive win. An impressive tally of 11 individual goal kickers was led by two from Jack Evans, who thoroughly enjoyed celebrating each, with Jack Ginnivan (22 disposals, seven marks, one goal) another to impress in the forward half. Further afield, Jeremy Rodi and Jack Hickman provided great burst from the stoppages, with solid service coming from Aaron Gundry in the ruck. Despite the disappointing loss there were a few standouts for Northern too, with mobile bottom-age utility Cox booting four goals, while Jackson Davies (24 disposals, 10 marks) was again terrific down back and Sunny Brazier (24 disposals, seven tackles) joined Sam Philp (22 disposals) in doing a heap of dirty-work amongst the mud pit of Preston City Oval’s centre square. While the Knights can enjoy a week off before facing Western in their final fixture, Bendigo is set to do battle with GWV in Round 16.

GWV REBELS 3.3 | 5.6 | 7.11 | 8.13 (61)
CALDER CANNONS 2.1 | 4.3 | 6.7 | 9.11 (65)

GOALS
GWV: N. Caris 2, M. Lloyd 2, H. Sharp 2, I. Grant, M. Martin
Calder: M. Fletcher 3, N. Gentile 3, H. Andronaco, S. Paea, J. O’Sullivan

BEST
GWV: I. Grant, J. Rantall, J. Hill, C. Craig-Peters, J. Dwyer, H. Sharp
Calder: S. Ramsay, J. Cardillo, F. Gentile, J. Eyre, J. Hotchkin, H. Andronaco

The GWV Rebels fell agonisingly short of what would have been a deserving upset win on home turf, fading out late to go down by four points to an inexperienced Calder Cannons side in Sunday’s only game. Despite building a steady buffer in each term and leading at every change, the Rebels just failed to hang on in the last as Calder found a second wind to boot 3.4 to their 1.2 and snatch victory. Sam Ramsay continued his outstanding form of late to collect 33 disposals and lay 12 tackles as arguably the best player afield, with only GWV ball magnet Jay Rantall (35 disposals, eight marks) topping his disposal haul. Ned Gentile was another to stand up with 21 disposals and three goals, with bottom-ager Jackson Cardillo (18 disposals) and 16-year-olds Flynn Gentile (21 disposals, six tackles) and Harrison Andronaco (17 disposals, 1.2) giving a promising glimpse into the future. For the Rebels, Izaac Grant had his best game of the year with 20 disposals and a goal, with Jed Hill handy off half-back, Cooper Craig-Peters (27 disposals, 10 tackles) busy through midfield and Mitch Martin (21 disposals, one goal) adding his usual class. GWV now faces a couple of all-country fixtures to see out its regular season, while the Cannons are booked to clash with Eastern in Round 17 after a bye.