Tag: Harvey Gallagher

Pioneers poised well amid “rollercoaster” season

THE 2021 NAB League season has been “a little bit of a rollercoaster” for the Bendigo Pioneers, according to head coach Danny O’Bree, but the country region is buoyant about the opportunities being afforded to its brightest prospects. Whether it be at local level, in the VFL, or Vic Country squads, the Pios have been well represented this season.

“We’ve been very excited about a lot of opportunities out kids have been getting,” O’Bree said. “We’ve had good representation across all areas and even blooded a lot of young debutants, so we’ve had a look at quite a few players.”

Currently boasting a 6-5 record, Bendigo is the second-ranked country team and has shown some real promise despite battling for consistency. O’Bree says the program is working hard on his group engaged, while a core group of draft-eligible squad members help transfer learnings to their developing bottom-age teammates.

“Generally we’ve been competitive and obviously when the group’s together a lot more is when we’ve been more consistent,” he said. “It’s been when we’ve added a few to that core group where we’ve probably struggled with that consistency. We’re working really hard to engage those people that can’t be with our core group in training and whatever else, so we’re still looking for ways that we can be more consistent.

“Looking at the younger crew, those guys with a bit of x-factor are the ones we’re actually looking to when the whips are cracking. It’s pretty exciting that our 19-year-olds are doing a wonderful job at developing our younger crew and it’s been a bit of a focus for us from the start of the year – what can those older boys do for our younger ones to make them better?

“There’s (Under 19s) like Sam Conforti and Jack Hickman being VFL-listed, they’ve contributed not only at our level but also in the VFL. Then you’ve got the likes of Jack Evans, Cobi Maxted, Ryan O’Keefe, Aiden Hare, Cooper SmithHarvey Gallagher, and Xavier Mitchell, so that’s pretty exciting for those guys.”

“I think we’ve got some really good draftable players. They’ve shown not only great versatility but they’ve got those draftable qualities and also those AFL qualities that they can go on with and contribute significantly to an AFL list.”

Cooper Hamilton in action for Vic Country

While the Bendigo catchment area stretches far and wide as the largest in the competition, the Pioneers have managed to avoid state-based lockdown casualties in their Under 19 group. Instead, there have been a few absentees among those who attend private schools in Melbourne, including twins Cooper and Hugh Hamilton.

In an odd quirk, Hugh returned to action last week while Cooper remained in lockdown having stayed back for a few more days, but will enjoy his first session back with the group on Thursday and is set to be available for selection on Saturday.

Having notched up wins against Murray, Geelong, Gippsland and Northern thus far, the Pioneers take on arguably their toughest test to date this weekend. Top ranked country side, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) awaits in Ballarat, a challenge which O’Bree “can’t wait” to tackle.

“I think they’ve been the number one country team all year, you look through their list and what a sensational list it is,” he said. “We certainly can’t wait to get over there and take on the best. The more times we take on the best, we can learn from them to see what it takes to be the best.

“We can’t wait for the opportunity, we’re really pumped for that chance to see how we come up against them… with the majority of the group available, this is where we want to test ourselves and not only see where we are as a team, but also individually.

“We’ll make some really critical match-ups, they’ve got some potential high draftees so we want to base some of these kids against them to give them an opportunity to be noticed as well.”

The league’s remaining schedule is still a week-by-week operation, but the opportunity to compete against the best may translate to a rare finals appearance this year for Bendigo – reward for effort, and fitting for such an evenly balanced group with emerging talent.

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 16

THE NAB League made its latest return on Sunday, with two games pitting four country regions agains each other. The Geelong Falcons and Gippsland Power picked up wins against higher-ranked adversaries, with rising prospects of all different age-groups impressive. We take a look at some of the top performers from each side in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS: Round 16 snapshot

BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.16 (28) def. by GEELONG FALCONS 9.12 (66)

By: Michael Alvaro

Bendigo Pioneers:

#1 Sam Conforti

Once again starting among Bendigo’s back six, Conforti constantly looked to generate some spark on the rebound and set his side on the front foot. Tasked with the kick-in duties, the top-ager also got to work by foot in general play with a sharp short-range game and crafty smarts in possession. He had no trouble finding the ball with a team-high 25 disposals in midfield and defence, but also got his hands dirty with 11 tackles as one of the Pioneers’ more consistent and prominent four-quarter performers.

#4 Jack Hickman

Another of Bendigo’s nippy small midfielders, Hickman returned another promising outing with his evasive work around the contest. His spurts of speed and agility meant making space at stoppages was a key feature, with the top-ager able to get to the outer and generate a bit of forward momentum from the middle. One of his highlights was a four-bounce run from defence to the wing which sparked a coast-to-coast passage for Bendigo. He had a chance to hit the scoreboard in term four, but missed his shot from range on the run.

#56 Harley Reid

Get used to reading plenty about Reid for years to come, as the 2023-eligible prospect was again impressive for Bendigo. Having been utilised on a wing and more prominently up forward, Reid was given an extended run in midfield this time out to good effect. He showcased terrific speed coming away from congestion, cleanly bursting to the outside and pumping the ball forward by foot. His explosiveness also served well defensively, as Reid laid some ferocious tackles and dug in for repeat efforts around the ball. He couldn’t quite find the goals this time out from a couple of tough chances, but impacted with each act.

Geelong Falcons:

#3 Euriah Hollard

Hollard returned to the fold and made a splash in his usual small forward role, snaring a game-high three goals from 11 disposals and five scoring shots. The 178cm livewire made things happen when the ball entered his area, attacking it with intent and causing headaches for opposition defenders with his pressure. He could easily have finished with five goals, but finished his three nicely through differing methods; a crumb and snap, a steady drop punt on the run, and a punchy set shot. His scoreboard contribution helped Geelong really put the foot down.

#8 Jhye Clark

With his level of performance thus far in the NAB League, it’s easy to forget that Clark is a bottom-ager. He registered 25 disposals, 10 marks and six inside 50s on the back of outstanding work-rate both at and away from the contest, providing great balance in midfield. In possession, Clark provided opportunities for his forwards and used the ball well on both sides, while also displaying clean overhead marking skills around the ground. He booted a goal in term four with a quick finish on his left foot, proving good reward for effort.

#11 Cooper Whyte

Offering speed and a hard edge in midfield, Whyte again showed flashes of style for the Falcons in a solid outing. The 18-year-old consistently attacked the ball with vigour and looked to get his legs pumping in possession, allowing for swift stoppage exits. He kicked his side inside 50 on seven occasions with that potent left foot and even managed a couple of shots on goal – albeit registering two behinds. His second attempt came after a terrific mark at full stretch, displaying notable courage with contact imminent.

#26 Olivier Northam

While his numbers (nine disposals, four marks, one goal) may not jump off the page, Northam had some memorable moments on Sunday. The bottom-aged ruck spent a good amount of time forward with primary bigman Toby Conway returning, which allowed him to showcase his strong lead presentation and clean marking ability. With a knack for flying high, Northam almost pulled down a speccy in term three and booted a goal in the same period, beating his direct opponent one-out in the goalsquare. He also competed well at ground level, making for a well-rounded effort.

#28 Mitch Knevitt

The most outstanding player across both NAB League games on Sunday, Knevitt continues to boost his stocks after yet another ominous outing in midfield. At 193cm, his contested work was again strong and the 18-year-old dominated in that sense, proving difficult to bring down. Arguably even more impressive was his sustained impact around the ground and up forward, with Knevitt’s work-rate and pack marking leading to a statline boasting 36 disposals and 10 marks. His handling was so clean with one-grab takes in every context, and one of his contested marks lead directly to a third term major. He’s a prospect on the rise.

#56 Oscar Morrison

Another player whose stats (16 disposals, three marks, two rebound 50s) may not tell the full story, Morrison produced some of the game’s most exciting passages from defence. His intercept marking ability was again observed on a couple of occasions, but it was the 18-year-old’s daring dash which really caught the eye. The 193cm bolter backed his pace to burn opponents through the corridor, before delivering spearing balls inside 50 to leading targets. In a flash, Geelong had gone coast-to-coast. While he had some quiet patches, Morrison’s best was really damaging and he seems to have gained a good deal of confidence this season.

#60 Toby Conway

The 204cm bigman returned to action for the Falcons and played his usual game through the ruck, also rotating forward. Conway positioned relatively well around the ground and while he only clunked two marks, competed for many more and had a few ‘almost moments’. In the ruck, he won 23 hit-outs and looked to assert his size by prizing clearances, though 12 of his 14 touches came by hand. It was a solid overall effort from the Vic Country representative.

>> Player Focus: Mitch Knevitt

GIPPSLAND POWER 8.7 (55) def. GWV REBELS 6.12 (48)

By: Declan Reeve

Gippsland Power:

#1 Jacob Konstanty

The Under 17s Vic Country representative was a livewire around the ground throughout the contest, putting up an impressive game for a smaller forward. Konstanty kicked two goals; the first coming from a ground ball pick up in the forward 50, with a little burst away and a neat snap from the pocket, and the second coming when he hit arrived front and centre in the goalsquare with speed, snatching the ball and slamming it through. Not just kicking goals himself, Konstanty worked hard to create scoring opportunities for his side, with his competitiveness at ground level allowing him to win the ball and flick it out via hand inside 50. It was good to see Konstanty pushing up the ground and involving himself in the game even when Gippsland wasn’t getting it inside 50, with his pressure work resulting in stoppages and interrupting GWV’s momentum.

#4 Nathan Noblett

Despite being 183cm, Noblett was the most common target going inside 50 early on for Gippsland, getting himself three first half goals with an excellent display of work-rate inside 50. His most impressive goal came as he won the ball at ground level, quickly balanced himself and slotted it from right on the boundary. Noblett was often able to get separation from his direct opponent when making leads, but wasn’t always able to get free from GWV’s defensive structure.

#17 Luis D’Angelo

Arguably the biggest driver going forward for Gippsland, D’Angelo had periods where it felt like he was the only player on the ground as he won clearances and kicked long. At times beating Ben Hobbs around stoppages, GWV had to adapt to try and negate D’Angelo’s clearance winning. He did well below his knees to win the majority of ground balls he was around, often mopping up after GWV had rushed a kick out of defence.

#29 Bailey Humphrey

Humphrey really stepped up in the last quarter when the game was on the line, digging in and really powering through to win a couple of clearances in a row. His quick hands in close released his teammates well when he opted for that method, otherwise aiming for distance with his kicks from stoppages. He showed some good bursts of speed in close as well, to get separation from opponents quickly.

GWV Rebels:

#1 Sam Butler

After being eased into the midfield in prior games, Butler enjoyed a lot more time on-ball against the Power and showed exactly why he was given the opportunity with an impressive display. Butler added a touch of class to the midfield, complimenting the in-and-under nature of his teammates with composure and ball use. This didn’t stop Butler from showing off some grunt of his own, at times winning contested ball, then showing off his impressive acceleration to power away from opponents. The balanced nature of his game meant he was always a chance to be involved in a piece of play – whether that was winning the ball himself, receiving the releasing handball, or working hard to be an option further afield. A theme across Butler’s game was his work ethic; willing to run both ways, making efforts, and then following up and going again if he wasn’t used or rewarded.

#2 Ben Hobbs

Hobbs was yet again a reliable and hard-at-it player for the Rebels, never conceding a contest without giving it everything he had. Hobbs’ work in-and-under was unsurprisingly elite, fighting hard for front position around stoppages and hunting the ball, running through opponents to win it before firing out a handball to a teammate on the outside, or kicking for distance from congestion. It was impressive to see Hobbs stand up in as many tackles as he did, holding his balance well as opponents tried all they could to pull him down, dishing off a handball to keep the play going. 

#3 Charlie Molan

Lining up in the forward half, Molan’s two-way running was a highlight of his game, pushing back to assist the backline when GWV was under siege, and getting involved as a link-up player or tackler. When GWV had momentum, Molan was used as a marking target in the forward 50 a few times as he worked hard to get separation on opponents and take marks uncontested. He used the ball well, placing his kicks in front of teammates to run onto, or handballing quickly as they ran past to keep play moving. Molan was one that didn’t neglect his defensive duties in the forward 50 either, rushing at opponents to pressure them into a rushed disposal or applying the tackle for a stoppage.

#8 Josh Gibcus

A mixed bag from the key defender saw a relatively quiet first half, as he stuck to his opponent well enough that Gippsland rarely looked to use that option. This lead to a change-up in his approach to the game, as Gibcus started to drift away from his opponent more and more. He impacted contests inside 50, utilising his speed and leap to spoil the ball, while pushing forward to intercept higher up the ground as the game went on. Perhaps most impressive from Gibcus was the high level of his disposal, hitting some difficult handballs in open play and utilising the distance of his kick a bit more than usual, but more often than not going for a shorter switch option around the defensive 50.

#16 Kai Lohmann

Lohmann was electric in the forward half for the Rebels, with his ball use and work below his knees giving GWV some good opportunities in attack. His athletic advantage over most opponents ultimately led to his two goals for the game. The first came after he had picked the ball up of a bounce, sold candy to get around one opponent and then side-stepped another, before snapping the ball from the pocket. The second came as GWV burst away with the ball from a stoppage and Lohmann broke away from his opponent, taking a mark on the lead, then playing on and kicking the goal.

>> Player Focus: Charlie Molan

Featured Image: Geelong Falcons defender Oscar Morrison runs with the ball | Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

PREVIEW | NAB League goes country in latest return

THE 2021 NAB League season returns once more on Sunday afternoon, with eased lockdown restrictions seeing a quartet of the competition’s Country regions take centre stage. Two games remain for the four teams in action on Sunday, with the added potential for make-up fixtures and a Wildcard Round before finals. Meanwhile, Metro-based programs hope to return to the fold next weekend along with the Dandenong Stingrays and Murray Bushrangers.

Bendigo Pioneers lock horns with Geelong Falcons for the third time this season when they meet at Queen Elizabeth Oval at 1:00pm, with the ledger currently at an even 1-1. While Bendigo got the chocolates all the way back in Round 4, the Falcons hit back in Round 8 to square things up and set up an intriguing tiebreaker.

The 6-4 Pioneers sit second in the Country pool and are set to welcome back some strong talent. While AFL Academy member Cooper Hamilton remains out, twin brother Hugh returns to the fold and looks poised to join Harvey Gallagher and Jack Hickman in a strong midfield trio. Utility Cobi Maxted is also back after turning out for Collingwood’s VFL side last month, while the likes of Sam Conforti and Oskar Faulkhead offer sound rotation through midfield from either end of the ground.

Toby Conway is among the Geelong Falcons’ inclusions

Geelong boasts some handy inclusions of its own, headlined by 204cm ruck Toby Conway. The influential bigman comes in alongside fellow Vic Country representative Noah Gribble, who last made his VFL debut with Werribee. He shifts out to his familiar wing position with the likes of Mitch Knevitt, Cooper Whyte, and bottom-ager Jhye Clark taking spots on the inside. Top-ager Gennaro Bove remains and small forward Euriah Hollard is back, but the Falcons look set to go in without Noah Gadsby.

Sunday’s second fixture sees first battle last in the Country pool, as the 7-2 Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels travel to take on Gippsland Power (2-7) in Morwell. Despite their perfectly opposite records and current ladder positions, Gippsland picked up the more recent win after toppling Oakleigh Chargers last time out, while GWV went down to Sandringham Dragons. The Rebels easily accounted for their weekend opponents in Round 8 though, to the tune of 79 points on home turf.

The hosts welcome back top-age defender Jess McGrath after his two-game stint in the Richmond VFL set-up, slotting straight back in at centre half-back. Up the other end, Jai Serong has been named at full forward but will likely be thrown around in numerous roles, while bottom-agers Jacob Konstanty (forward) and Cooper Vickery (wing) are a couple to watch. In midfield, Mitchell Moschetti is in fine form and will look to add some polish alongside Luis D’Angelo as the Power move forward.

Ben Hobbs in action for Vic Country

GWV has again named a stacked side, with all nine of its Vic Country representatives available. A midfield squeeze is on the cards with top 10 talent Ben Hobbs named in there alongside Sam Butler and Sam Breuer, seeing the likes of Fraser Marris and Marcus Herbert squeezed out to flanks. Skipper Josh Rentsch may be set for more time in the ruck, and defender Josh Gibcus promises to catch the eye as always. On the interchange, tough midfielder Nick Hodgson is a handy inclusion for the Rebels.

Stay tuned to Draft Central next week, as we wrap up all the results and big performances with our weekly NAB League snapshot, Scouting Notes, Player of the Week, and more.

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 15

THE NAB League returned for Round 15 over the weekend, with a set of six fixtures kicked off under Friday night lights in Werribee. While school football competitions also resumed and injuries continue to hit, there was still plenty of top-end talent on show this time around. We take a look at some of the top performers from each side in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> Round 15 snapshot | Round 15 POTW | Round 15 TOTW | August Power Rankings

WESTERN JETS 7.7 (49) def. by GEELONG FALCONS 11.13 (79)

By: Michael Alvaro

Western Jets:

#28 Massimo D’Ambrosio

Having been utilised in a few different roles this year, D’Ambrosio dropped back to defence to good effect in this outing. The 18-year-old moves well and provided plenty of drive out of defence for the Jets as he took the game on with ball-in-hand. D’Ambrosio had plenty do to after half time as he carried the ball on the rebound and looked to be damaging by foot with either inboard options or penetrating balls down the line. He finished with a clear season-high 31 disposals to go with eight marks and 10 rebound 50s.

#32 Paul Curtis

While he started the game off in midfield, it wouldn’t take long for Curtis to switch to his usual forward post and get to work. The crafty small snared Western’s first goal of the night after marking deep on the behind line, and was a constant threat inside 50. While he used his smarts within the arc, Curtis also looked really polished when working further afield where he hardly fumbled and brought others into the play with sharp disposal. He missed a couple of set shots which would have cemented an even better game, but he was productive nonetheless with 21 disposals, four marks and five tackles.

#35 Liam Conway

A key figure in Western’s midfield, Conway again won a mountain of ball to end with a game-high 35 disposals, five marks and five inside 50s. He used his strength over the ball at each contest and was also a solid marking option around the ground, accumulating his touches at a good tick throughout the game. He also spent some in the forward half after the main break, but found the goals in term one with a monster 50m set shot.

Geelong Falcons:

#8 Jhye Clark

A standout at Under 17 level, Clark has transitioned well into the Falcons’ Under 19 program and had another solid outing here. The midfielder isn’t afraid to get stuck in and boasts a pretty well-rounded game; able to go up for overhead marks, win his own ball and tackle at the contest, while also coming away from it with class. Clark finished with 18 disposals and six tackles.

#18 Blake Reid

Having been thrown into midfield at a greater rate this season, Reid was again part of that rotation before being sent back to play a role on Western’s Paul Curtis. He started out with some good early intent at the contest and looked to kick Geelong forward with well-directed passes. Much of his influence after quarter time came in the back half, as he took on the kick-in duties to finish with 23 disposals, seven tackles, and six inside 50s.

#26 Olivier Northam

The bottom-aged ruckman brought plenty of heat to the contest with his intensity and willingness to provide a bit of physicality around the ball. As quite a mobile and competitive tall, he was able to prize his own clearances while also showing a handy leap around the ground to crash aerial balls. He also did the latter when resting forward and found the goals with a set shot in term three. Northam set the tone well for the Falcons as they ran away with the contest during the final quarter.

#28 Mitch Knevitt

Knevitt was the Falcons’ most prolific ball winner on the night with 28 disposals, providing his usual strength to the midfield battle in offensive and defensive settings. The 193cm prospect proved difficult to bring down, constantly able to stand up in tackles and wait to dish off the ideal release handball to his runners. He also made Western feel the hurt with his own tackling and used his burst of speed well to shut the Jets down with solid pressure. As per usual, he also spent some time resting forward but couldn’t snare a goal this time out.

#32 Noah Gadsby

It could have been a huge game for Gadsby if not for some goalkicking inaccuracy, with the athletic forward managing 2.4 from his 22 disposals and four marks. He showed a strong running capacity with his work up the ground, presenting all the way up past the wing to help link Geelong in transition. Gadsby was also lively inside 50 with his various shots on goal and always looked like making something happen, despite his lack of a finished product.

#56 Oscar Morrison

While not his most prolific game, Morrison showed some really promising glimpses in the first half as a dynamic rebounding influence down back. The 17-year-old looked composed for the ball and backed his speed at 193cm to burn opponents or break tackles. He was often in good position to intercept or mop up before taking metres and kicking Geelong into attack.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 9.10 (64) def. by EASTERN RANGES 13.13 (91)

By: Eli Duxson

Dandenong Stingrays:

#8 Bayleigh Welsh

While it was far from his strongest game statistically (33 disposals vs. Gold Coast), Welsh brought a lot of grunt and hustle in his defensive post providing efforts that would not have showed up on the stat sheet. He hit his first contest hard and continued to scrap the disputed ball which set the tone for the way he would go about his day. Defensively he knows how to take the body well without giving away free kicks and can maintain balance over the ball to extract out of congestion (eight handballs). Welsh looked to attack off half back and provided good run and generally tidy skills but was a little overzealous at times in trying to create options moving forward.

#14 Will Bravo

Probably Dandenong’s best player on the day as he accumulated 28 disposals, five inside 50’s, and a goal in the final quarter to top off his day. Showed strong poise and composure over the ball in traffic rarely going to ground while also being active around stoppages to hunt the footy. He showed a high work rate running both ways and found the ball in every single third of the ground. His disposal was generally reliable with pinpoint short passes as he lowered his eyes on many occasions moving forward. One of the inside midfielder’s most well-rounded games for the season.

#22 Mac Andrew

Had a busy first half playing primarily in the ruck as he did for most of the day while resting forward, but his output slowed down as Eastern gained the ascendency. His athleticism was on full display from the get-go with his leap highlighted at the first centre bounce, and his mobility around the ground almost turning him into a fourth midfielder once the ball is in open play. His ground ball gathers were clean and his positioning behind the ball allowed him to mark overhead well. His ruckwork around the game showed his lack of strength will impact his ability to muscle bigger opponents as he opted for a wider starting position to run and jump at the ball unhindered but was often out positioned due to unfavourable throw ins. He finished with 17 disposals, 16 hit outs, and four marks.

Eastern Ranges:

#4 Josh Clarke

Eastern’s skipper had another high disposal effort in his third NAB League appearance for the season playing predominantly out of half back, maximising his penetrating kick moving forward. He managed a whopping 11 inside 50’s from his 21 kicks (seven handballs) as his left boot worked off half back to find multiple targets forward of centre with a couple of goal assists. He ran most of the wing on one occasion taking a few bounces and typified the role of an attacking half back, even accumulating possessions in a Daniel Rich type role taking 11 marks with few being intercept.

#35 Max Hall

Perhaps Eastern’s most impactful player through the midfield amassing a goal, 25 disposals, eight marks, and seven inside 50’s as he continues his string of good form at the back end of the season. Hall’s pace spreading from stoppages was impressive, as was his ability to get to good spots to find and receive the footy. His ball use was stable and was highlighted with a good step and well-weighted hit to a teammate streaming forward who did not have to break stride. His outside work was good, but it was balanced with some inside grunt work showing strength to handball out of tackles, as well as earning himself a free kick for the holding the ball.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 6.3 (39) def. by CALDER CANNONS 7.7 (49)

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers:

#2 Charlie Byrne

Capable of playing on either side of midfield, Byrne was employed on the inside this time around as a fixture at the centre bounces for Murray. The top-ager got busy around the ball and found plenty of it with 27 disposals, but arguably looked more dangerous when operating in space. On the end of handball receives, Byrne was able to generate some run in transition and make better use of his kicking skills, but was still solid in a slightly different role.

#5 Oliver Hollands

One of the competition’s standout bottom-agers and a familiar name to many, Hollands warmed to the contest well after a couple of shaky moments early on. He tended to do the basics well, showing clean hands and quick disposal in midfield while also working hard to cover plenty of ground up and back. That work-rate and constant pressure around the ball may have hindered his kicking somewhat, but Hollands was typically sharp by hand and always able to dish off in traffic.

#13 Tom Brown

A real riser since returning from injury, Brown wasn’t quite at his best on Sunday but still showed glimpses of his exciting traits. Once again stationed in defence, the Vic Country representative had a couple of rusty-looking moments early but soon sharpened up to look more assured in possession. Brown’s ability to read the play and intercept was evident, as he was never afraid to fly high for his marks despite not always reeling them in cleanly. Having made strong strides of late, there were some handy points to take from his 12-disposal showing.

#52 Tom Bracher

Bracher has taken on an important role for Murray since Paddy Parnell was picked up in the mid-season draft, proving a consistent and reliable small defender who shows great composure on the last line. He accumulated 28 disposals and 13 marks in the back half, rising well for a player of his 177cm stature while using his agility at ground level to get out of tight spots. In a pretty scrappy contest, he proved quite effective.

Calder Cannons:

#4 Sam Clohesy

It was a slightly indifferent day for Clohesy, who looked strong in some areas of his game and less so in others. The top-ager showed great aerial ability with his overhead marking around the ground, rising to take the ball cleanly under pressure. He often beat opponents in one-on-one contests, but tended to hack the ball forward with a preference for meterage over precision. He couldn’t quite steer his quick snaps on target, but had an impact with 16 disposals, seven marks and four inside 50s.

#5 Zac Taylor

Taylor has been in incredible form recently and after another short break, hardly missed a beat on Sunday. The crafty small midfielder was busy around the ball, finding less space at the contest but adjusting well to display sound handballing skills. His vision and awareness in traffic were terrific, as he looked to release others into space before pumping his legs a touch more in the second half. He accumulated less around the ground but was mega at the stoppages, accumulating 37 disposals, four marks, and four inside 50s.

#25 Josh Goater

It’s well known that Goater boasts incredible athletic traits, and he is really beginning to show them more consistently with a move to half-back. The top 25 candidate has wickedly clean hands and reads the ball so well, which makes intercept marking look easy when combined with his spring-heeled leap. Goater rose well to cut off numerous Murray attacks among his 11 marks, while also kicking Calder into gear on the rebound. He generally used the ball well and began to back his speed in the final term with a couple of daring one-two passages in transition. With 28 disposals and eight rebound 50s, he showed plenty of quality and should rise on the back of his form.

#30 Sam Paea

Paea worked really hard to provide some presence and spark for Calder inside 50, contributing both in the air and at ground level with limited service. He’s difficult to beat with a clean run at the ball and proved as much with his lone goal – converted after a pack mark from two or three players deep. The top-ager had a few bites of the cherry on most of his six marks, but proved strong in that department while being mobile enough to also impact the ground ball.

GIPPSLAND POWER 12.9 (81) def. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 9.5 (59)

By: Peter Williams

Gippsland Power:

#2 Cooper Alger

Whilst nine disposals and two marks might not look like a lot, Alger caught the eye a couple of times with his work rate across the ground. A couple of times in the first half, he won the ball at half-back and under pressure was able to spot a target and execute the pass cleanly. He was one of the most prominent Power players in the first half for his spread and defensive pressure – not always rewarded with tackles, but team efforts – and despite fading in a bit in the second half, had his moments.

#6 Mitchell Moschetti

Moschetti was Gippsland’s most consistent across the four quarters and continually won the ball and tried to drive it forward to give his teammates scoring opportunities. He led by example with the most disposals (28), tackles (nine) and second most inside 50s (six), which indicated his influence on the game. Battling away even when the chips were down, Moschetti was able to keep accumulating the ball and putting pressure on the Chargers’ defence with his repeat entries inside 50 and defensive pressure around the ground.

#23 Jai Serong

The draft-eligible talent was thrown everywhere during the match, starting midfield, then going forward, then on the wing to start the second half, before playing forward again in the last term. After a quiet start to the match, Serong got more involved as the game went on, with the fourth term being his most lively. He started well at high half-forward reading the ball well in fight to take a good mark going back with the flight, then pulled down a terrific contested mark flying in from the side 30m from goal to nail the set shot and put Gippsland in front for the first term. He then set up a scoring chance for a teammate late in the piece and looked lively by hand and moving well, a lot more actively involved around the play.

#24 Jonti Schuback

Played out of defence and the bottom-age talent was reliable more often than not, showing quick hands off half-back and then tasked with the kickout duties at times. He provided some good run during the game, and mostly drew opponents before executing the handball, or shuffling out the ball quickly to open up transitional opportunities for his side

#37 Max Walton

A mixed bag of a day for Walton who certainly found his fair share of the football. He had some terrific offensive moments driving it out of the back 50, but also made a few mistakes along the way. His long kicking down the ground enabled his side to clear the ball from danger, and he was also strong in the air. He was constantly looking to run and carry, and that enabled his team to be always on the move and play an attacking brand of football. In the third term he had a moment to forget where he fumbled in the back pocket but under pressure managed to clean it up. Overall one of the better Power players on the day.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Youseph Dib

Had a huge start to the game where he racked up a ton of the ball and seemed to be involved in every play. His quick hands and size enabled him to win a fair amount of free kicks for over the shoulder, and he was able to set up a couple of scoring opportunities, including a first quarter goal to Luke Kelvie. Laying more tackles than anyone else on the field (10), Dib’s pressure remained consistent throughout the match, even when he faded in the second half. He still had plenty of inside 50s early in the piece, and was able to worry the opposition with his mix of offensive and defensive traits.

#4 Sam Tucker

The standout player on the ground, and certainly from the Chargers perspective, Tucker was unbeatable in the air with his strong hands around the ground. Playing deep forward then working hard up the ground, he showed off his work rate by often leading out and doubling back to goal. He pulled down a contested mark in the goalsquare in the opening minute of the game, and then kicked a second goal in the third term from a similar contested mark, clunking it one-grab in a pack. His short kicking was reliable looking good going forward, and on occasion tried to open up the forward line by winning the ball on the wing and thumping it inside 50 for his quicker teammates to run onto. He had a couple more chances on goal in the second and third terms but missed those chances out on the full, and falling short. Overall a strong performance from the top-age key forward.

#12 Lochlan Jenkins

The other top-age performer who put together a consistent, four quarter performance, Jenkins buzzed around the ground and was particularly influential in the first half when the game was on the line. He had a chance on goal early which missed to the right, but kept pushing hard to drive it forward. At times he would rush his disposal under pressure, but he found plenty of it, and was a key contributor in generating scoring opportunities for the Chargers. When the team was dropping off late in the game, Jenkins was still working hard to arrest the tide.

#27 Karl Worner

Started forward then played off a wing and pushing defensively to assist off half-back, Worner slotted into multiple roles on gameday. He started with a set shot which despite its power, went out on the full, then missed the chance at goal from 15m out when he rushed the kick on the outside of the boot. After the first quarter, Worner played further up the ground and won the ball, having a hit and miss game in terms of his disposal, but providing the Chargers with plenty of run in transition. He spread and always offered up being an option in space, looking to find the loose ball and take grass down the field.

#56 Yu Ashwin

After a quieter start to the game, Ashwin kicked three of his side’s last four goals to firstly keep his side on top, and then be the only one to put through a major late in the game. Ashwin’s first goal after getting forward on the end of a scoring chain occurred in the third term, then took a good mark inside 50 and slotted his second goal from a set shot. Gippsland had all the momentum in the last, but Ashwin found his way into an open goal later in the term and slotted his third to make it three goals from nine touches in an efficient performance.

GWV REBELS 6.10 (46) def. by SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 10.10 (70)

By: Tom Wyman

GWV Rebels:

#1 Sam Butler

Sam Butler played a solid game up forward for the GWV Rebels. The brother of St.Kilda’s Dan, Butler showed flashes of similarities to the Tigers premiership star, such as his quickness off the mark and cleanness at ground level. He pounced on a loose ball to kick an easy goal in the second term after narrowly missing a flying attempt earlier on. Butler pushed up into the midfield on a couple of occasions but looked most dangerous closer to goal.

#2 Ben Hobbs

The hard-nosed inside midfielder produced another strong performance for the Rebels in their defeat to Sandringham. Renowned for his attack on the ball and tough tackling, Hobbs featured prominently around the stoppages, reading the ruck-taps well and positioning himself well. Hobbs’ vision and ball use by hand were also noteworthy strengths of his performance, however his distribution by foot was inconsistent, with some of his kicks missing their targets but others nicely weighted. The highlight of his game was a long-range set-shot from outside-50m which sailed through for arguably the Rebels best goal of the match.

#3 Charlie Molan

Although the Rebels would ultimately succumb to their metro-based counterparts, wingman Charlie Molan produced an excellent performance for the home side. The reliable teenager produced a dominant second term, where he seemed to be in everything going forward for Greater Western Victoria. Arguably the Rebels best on ground, Molan also did some of his best work along the half-back flank, where he used the ball well by foot and linked up well between the arcs.

#8 Josh Gibcus

The key position defender had a decent day down back, without starring. Touted as one of the best key position defenders in the draft pool, Gibcus’ athleticism was clearly evident despite not winning much of the ball. He fought well in one-on-one contests and looked cool and calm with ball in-hand when placed under pressure deep in defence.

#13 Sam Breuer

Midfielder Sam Breuer was prolific all-day long for the Rebels. Attacking each contest hard, Breuer combined well in the middle with the likes of Ben Hobbs and Charlie Molan. He showed a nice turn of pace and looked assured with ball in-hand for the most part, which complemented the hard-nosed, highly-contested approach of Hobbs and the calm skills of Molan. Having spent some time down back this season, it was pleasing to see him find plenty of the ball through the middle against Sandringham.

#16 Kai Lohmann

Lohmann produced an eye-catching performance which is sure to have captured the attention of recruiting staff. Playing across half-forward, Lohmann’s aerial brilliance was stunning at-times, using his impressive leap to fly above packs and haul in a number of contested marks. But not only was Lohmann impressive in the air, once the ball hit the deck, he used his speed and dash to provide some important run and carry on the outside. He tackled well and booted the Rebels lone opening term goal. Lohmann is certainly one to watch in the back-half of the season as he looks to rise up draft boards across the country.

Sandringham Dragons:

#5 Lachlan Benton

Lachlan Benton spent the game going head-to-head with the likes of Hobbs, Breuer and Molan in the midfield, and got better as the game wore on. His work at the stoppages was particularly impressive in his sides win. Benton showed a high level of footy smarts in regards to his positioning and ability to read the taps, then complimented smarts with breakaway acceleration to evade traffic. Benton continued to rack up the touches into the fourth quarter as his side put the foot down, displaying a good work ethic throughout.

#6 Blake Howes

Blake Howes possesses the ability to play a variety of roles across the field, and it was his work on the outside of the contest which stood out on Sunday afternoon. The athletic prospect worked hard around the ground and showed some real class and skill by foot to nail a couple of handy goals. Howes was good above his head and classy on the outside but, crucially, wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty on the inside in a strong display from the Victoria Metro prospect.

#32 Dante Visentini

Visentini was arguably the most dominant key position player on the ground for Sandringham. He shared the ruck role with over-ager Felix Flockart but looked at his best when operating out of the forward-50. For a tall player, Visentini’s attack on the ball at ground level impressed and complimented his aerial ability. He booted back-to-back goals in the middle of the game – the first being a terrific snap after taking the ball out of the ruck and the second being a well-taken set-shot to extend the Dragons lead at Ballarat. Overall, it was an impressive showing from the big man, who worked hard around the ground.

#42 Luke Cleary

It was a typical-Luke Cleary performance from Sandringham’s half-back. He read the game beautifully, getting himself into position quickly and taking a couple of important intercept marks. Cleary was clean below his knees and generated some meaningful drive from defence, hitting almost all of his targets by foot. His efficient ball-use went a long way to the Dragons ability to transition from the backline into the forward-50.

#52 Luke Nankervis

Nankervis has filled a number of roles this season, including across a half-forward flank and on the wing, but spent more time in the midfield against the Rebels. His willingness to take the game on really benefitted the Dragons forwards, who thrived upon the quick ball movement. An athletic mover who looks to have plenty of upside and room for development left in him, Nankervis was impressive one-on-one and had some nice moments in congestion, where his quick hands initiated some meaningful drive from the stoppages.

#53 Eren Soylemez

Small forward Eren Soylemez was a real livewire up forward for the Dragons. His forward craft was immediately evident as he worked his way into some very damaging positions. He had a couple of early attempts on goal, which were gettable by his high standards. However he found his form as the game worn on. In the final term he booted a classy left-foot snap goal to remind everyone of his prowess from just about anywhere inside the forward-50. A real source of energy for the Dragons, Soylemez also pushed up the ground at-times and looked to inject some creativity into the game. Despite a couple of blemishes in-front of goal, Soylemez looked ominous whenever the ball was in his area.

#59 Mitch Owens

St.Kilda’s next generation prospect entered the clash against Greater Western Victoria in strong form, and continued where he left off. Owens spent the game on the wing but also had a couple of important touched in the back half, where he positioned himself well to take a couple of intercept marks, one of which displayed plenty of courage. Liked some of his work around the stoppages as well. A versatile prospect, Owens appears to have plenty of likeable traits which would appeal to recruiters.

#66 Charlie McKay

Carlton fans will have been pleased with the performance of their father/son prospect. His aggression and seemingly relentless attack on the football stood out, as McKay refused to be beaten time and time again at ground level. A real midfield fighter, his battle with Rebel star Ben Hobbs was an enjoyable one, with the duo cracking in hard and winning an abundance of contested ball for the duration of the match. He used the ball slightly better than Hobbs and took a very courageous mark in heavy traffic, which would have pleased onlookers.

#74 Felix Flockart

Felix Flockart showed some very promising signs for the Dragons in their top-of-the-table victory. Although he is a couple of years older than most of the competition, the developing tall looked strong through the ruck and up forward. When given a run on-ball, his tap-work often provided the Dragons on-ballers with first-use. His positioning in the ruck contest was solid and he also looked threatening when moved up forward. He worked well in-tandem with Dante Visentini, with the pair causing some headaches for the Rebels defence.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.8 (56) def. by BENDIGO PIONEERS 12.7 (79)

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights:

#9 Darcy Wilmot

There was plenty of voice coming from Northern’s number nine and while he has plenty of vocal presence, Wilmot also lets his football do the talking. He set up well behind the ball and was able to play slightly above his size when intercepting, not afraid to go up at contest for strong marks. Wilmot began to get more expansive with his run-and-carry after half time, working hard into more advanced areas and even getting a run in midfield, where his speed was again prominent on the attack.

#10 Ben De Bolfo

Bendigo was quite efficient in its forward half which made De Bolfo’s job all the more tough, but he proved a calm head behind the ball for Northern. The top-ager positioned well to intercept and looked to distribute cleanly by foot, making for a pretty well-rounded defensive game. He began to hold a slightly higher line in the second half, but the Knights couldn’t get their final kick forward to work on the back of his solid set-up.

#19 Joel Trudgeon

The Knights skipper was unsurprisingly prolific and near-unbeatable at the contest, racking up 34 disposals, seven marks, and seven tackles. Trudgeon’s mature frame and willingness to get in-and-under meant he earned most of those touches, but was often made to go to ground or lock the ball up as he scrapped to win it. He still managed to stand up in tackles and distribute cleanly by hand, with a few of slips-catch style marks also a feature of his game. Trudgeon rotated forward and kicked a team-lifting goal before quarter time, but missed a couple of later attempts.

#26 Dominic Akuei

For a player with such outstanding and raw athleticism, Akuei has also shown solid defensive fundamentals in recent weeks. The Carlton NGA prospect took on his usual role in the back half and also rotated through the ruck, where his monster vertical leap was on show. Akuei leant on that athleticism to time his spoils and intercepts well in the first half, before taking on more minutes in the ruck after the main break. He looks to still be working on his craft there, and could provide some exciting moments with better directed hits, as he usually taps with momentum and follows up from there.

#28 Joel Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald was thrown around in a few different roles on Sunday, starting out in the midfield-forward rotation before eventually being swung back to his more comfortable defensive post. He put a couple of tough chances wide in the opening term and got amongst the contest, but arguably looked more lively in defence after half time. Fitzgerald read the ball well and rose for repeat intercept grabs, helping Northern break up the play.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Harvey Gallagher

He’s had more prolific games, but Gallagher still managed to wreak some havoc with his 14 disposals and seven inside 50s. The speedy midfielder also booted two goals; the first coming out of nowhere as he burst away and launched home from 50m, while the second was a set shot won from a smart slip of the shoulders and high free kick. Gallagher was a productive driver of the ball and hit a couple of sharp passes going inside 50, making full use of his touches.

#4 Jack Hickman

Another Bendigo midfielder who didn’t win bucketloads of ball but looked stylish in possession, Hickman showcased his turn of speed coming away from the contest and looked busy around the ball – particularly early on. The top-ager back his pace and was able to bring the ball to the outer that way, but struggled a touch at times with his end product. He finished with 14 disposals and seven tackles, also rotating forward.

#7 Ryan O’Keefe

The raw key forward continues to show promising glimpses and did so again on Sunday, contributing 10 disposals, five marks, and two goals. He spent time in all parts of the ground but looked most likely up forward, where he used his leap to mark the ball at its highest point. O’Keefe’s first major came via that exact method, as he got up to mark in front and slotted home from 20m. He clunked another nice overhead grab in the fourth term and snapped home a sealing goal, bookending his day well with those two passages.

#17 Oskar Faulkhead

Usually a smooth moving defender, Faulkhead has spent more time rotating through midfield of late and did so once again on Sunday. He caught the eye when released coming away from the contest, positioning well on the outer while using his speed and agility to break into clear space. He made some good decisions by foot too, looking inboard or hitting targets down the line to end up with 14 disposals, five tackles, and three inside 50s.

#56 Harley Reid

The youngest player afield and the only won born in 2005, Reid again showed just why he is one to keep a keen eye on for the future. Stationed up forward, the under-ager snared three goals for the day – two in the second term and one team-lifter in the last. He proved willing to use his explosive athleticism in the air, attacking the ball hard in marking attempts and almost coming down with some ripper grabs. Reid also nailed a couple of hard tackles and while he may pop up in patches at this stage, is so exciting given his age and upside.

2021 NAB League Boys snapshot: Round 15

THE NAB League returned for Round 15 this past weekend and while there were no crowds, a bunch of Victoria’s brightest draft prospects put on a show after another season interruption. The action kicked off on Friday night, before five fixtures were played on a super Sunday of junior pathway football. We run you through all the results and big performances in the Round 15 snapshot, stay tuned for Scouting Notes to follow tomorrow evening.

WESTERN JETS 7.7 (49) def. by GEELONG FALCONS 11.13 (79)

IN A SENTENCE:

A four-goal to nil final term saw the Geelong Falcons break a tense deadlock with Western Jets under Friday night lights, coming away 30-point victors.

TEAM STATS:

  • Western Jets won the rebound 50s (49-18) and tackles (72-59)
  • Geelong Falcons won the inside 50s (60-27) and scoring shots (24-14)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Liam Conway (Western Jets) 35 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Massimo D’Ambrosio (Western Jets) 31 disposals, 8 marks, 5 tackles, 10 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Paul Curtis (Western Jets) 21 disposals, 4 marks, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons) 28 disposals, 3 marks, 6 tackles, 6 inside 50s
  • Blake Reid (Geelong Falcons) 23 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Noah Gadsby (Geelong Falcons) 22 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 2 goals, 4 behinds

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons)
4 – Massimo D’Ambrosio (Western Jets)
3 – Noah Gadsby (Geelong Falcons)
2 – Paul Curtis (Western Jets)
1 – Olivier Northam (Geelong Falcons)

NEXT UP:

Western Jets vs. Murray Bushrangers | Sunday August 8, 1:00pm @ Deakin Reserve
Geelong Falcons vs. Dandenong Stingrays | Sunday August 8m 11:00am @ Shepley Oval

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 9.10 (64) def. by EASTERN RANGES 13.13 (91)

IN A SENTENCE:

After a slow start, Eastern Ranges powered past the Dandenong Stingrays with seven goals in term two and superior ball use proving the difference in a 27-point victory.

TEAM STATS:

  • Dandenong Stingrays won the handballs (159-109) and rebound 50s (38-29)
  • Eastern Ranges won the kicks (190-150), marks (87-67), and inside 50s (53-38)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays) 28 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Miller Bergman (Dandenong Stingrays) 23 disposals, 5 marks, 1 tackle, 4 rebound 50s, 2 goals
  • James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays) 21 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s, 3 behinds
  • Josh Clarke (Eastern Ranges) 28 disposals, 11 marks, 2 tackles, 11 rebound 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Jake Soligo (Eastern Ranges) 25 disposals, 10 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Max Hall (Eastern Ranges) 25 disposals, 8 marks, 4 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Josh Clarke (Eastern Ranges)
4 – Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays)
3 – Jake Soligo (Eastern Ranges)
2 – Miller Bergman (Dandenong Stingrays)
1 – Max Hall (Eastern Ranges)

NEXT UP:

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Geelong Falcons | Sunday August 8, 11:00am @ Shepley Oval
Eastern Ranges vs. GWV Rebels | Sunday August 8, 2:00pm @ Box Hill City Oval

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 6.3 (39) def. by CALDER CANNONS 7.7 (49)

IN A SENTENCE:

The Calder Cannons were made to earn a 10-point away win against a plucky Murray Bushrangers outfit, coming out on top in a low-scoring affair.

TEAM STATS:

  • Murray Bushrangers won the inside 50s (38-35) and hit-outs (40-18)
  • Calder Cannons won the marks (123-98) and tackles (63-41)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Ethan Warburton (Murray Bushrangers) 34 disposals, 14 marks, 2 tackles, 8 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Tom Bracher (Murray Bushrangers) 28 disposals, 13 marks, 4 tackles, 4 rebound 50s
  • Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers) 27 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles, 2 rebound 50s
  • Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons) 37 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 4 inside 50s
  • Flynn Gentile (Calder Cannons) 31 disposals, 8 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Josh Goater (Calder Cannons) 28 disposals, 11 marks, 8 rebound 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons)
4 – Ethan Warburton (Murray Bushrangers)
3 – Josh Goater (Calder Cannons)
2 – Tom Bracher (Murray Bushrangers)
1 – Sam Paea (Calder Cannons)

NEXT UP:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Western Jets | Sunday August 8, 1:00pm @ Deakin Reserve
Calder Cannons vs. Tasmania Devils | Saturday August 7, 10:30am @ RAMS Arena

GIPPSLAND POWER 12.9 (81) def. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 9.5 (59)

IN A SENTENCE:

A string of seven final term goals saw Gippsland Power cause a massive boilover on home turf, coming from behind to defeat the Oakleigh Chargers by 22 points.

TEAM STATS:

  • Gippsland Power won the disposals (353-271) and marks (77-57)
  • Oakleigh Chargers won the rebound 50s (40-34) and tackles (67-64)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power) 28 disposals, 3 marks, 9 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Luis D’Angelo (Gippsland Power) 26 disposals, 3 marks, 6 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Chance Doultree (Gippsland Power) 22 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 8 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 2 goals
  • Lochlan Jenkins (Oakleigh Chargers) 25 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Youseph Dib (Oakleigh Chargers) 20 disposals, 1 mark, 10 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Sam Tucker (Oakleigh Chargers) 17 disposals, 9 marks, 1 tackle, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Sam Tucker (Oakleigh Chargers)
4 – Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power)
3 – Max Walton (Gippsland Power)
2 – Lochlan Jenkins (Oakleigh Chargers)
1 – Paddy Cross (Gippsland Power)

NEXT UP:

Gippsland Power vs. Sandringham Dragons | Saturday August 7, 2:00pm @ RSEA Park
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Northern Knights | Saturday August 7, 2:00pm @ Preston City Oval

GWV REBELS 6.10 (46) def. by SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 10.10 (70)

IN A SENTENCE:

The Sandringham Dragons took charge in a top-of-the-table clash against Greater Western Victoria, leading at every break before solidifying a 24-point win.

TEAM STATS:

  • GWV Rebels won the disposals (324-303) and marks (59-57)
  • Sandringham Dragons won the kicks (179-168) and tackles (70-47)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels) 35 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 1 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s
  • Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels) 34 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels) 24 disposals, 5 marks, 1 tackle, 4 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Luke Cleary (Sandringham Dragons) 26 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s
  • Lachlan Benton (Sandringham Dragons) 26 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Blake Howes (Sandringham Dragons) 20 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 2 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Luke Cleary (Sandringham Dragons)
4 – Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)
3 – Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels)
2 – Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels)
1 – Lachlan Benton (Sandringham Dragons)

NEXT UP:

GWV Rebels vs. Eastern Ranges | Sunday August 8, 2:00pm @ Box Hill City Oval
Sandringham Dragons vs. Gippsland Power | Saturday August 7, 2:00pm @ RSEA Park

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.8 (56) def. by BENDIGO PIONEERS 12.7 (79)

IN A SENTENCE:

Bendigo Pioneers had all the answers against the Northern Knights, skipping ahead via five-straight goals in the opening term and leading throughout a 23-point victory.

TEAM STATS:

  • Northern Knights won the marks (55-47)
  • Bendigo Pioneers won the tackles (82-61)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights) 34 disposals, 7 marks, 7 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Joel Fitzgerald (Northern Knights) 28 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 2 behinds
  • Josh Watson (Northern Knights) 23 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Aiden Hare (Bendigo Pioneers) 20 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles, 1 inside 50, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) 14 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers) 12 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Aiden Hare (Bendigo Pioneers)
4 – Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights)
3 – Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers)
2 – Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers)
1 – Darcy Wilmot (Northern Knights)

NEXT UP:

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers | Saturday August 7, 2:00pm @ Preston City Oval
Bendigo Pioneers – Bye.

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 12

WITH Victoria’s most highly touted top-agers recouping on the back of representative action, it was time for bottom-aged prospects to shine in the NAB League. A raft of fresh faces shot on the scene for their respective regions across the six-game weekend, supporting a wealth of usual suspects who continue to perform well. We take a look at some of the top performers from each side in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS | NAB League Round 12 snapshot

CALDER CANNONS 2.2 (14) def. by SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 11.12 (78)

By: Eli Duxson

Calder Cannons:

#8 Paul Pascu

It was the 16-year-old’s third game of the season and arguably his best in the heavy defeat he and his side suffered. Pascu found the footy mostly exiting defensive 50 in which Sandringham provided plenty of opportunities for recording three rebound 50’s. His follow up work was impressive as he continued to try and assist with the link between the arcs, but was missed on multiple occasions when he was free in the corridor with poor kicks. When found, he looked composed with ball in hand and even managed three inside 50s on the day. He worked hard defensively laying eight tackles and looked comfortable in contested situations despite playing against more mature frames.

#26 Matthew Gook

A tough assignment coming up against AFL-listed Max Heath in the ruck, but he provided a contest all day and showed promising signs in open play. At 201cm he looked quite mobile and long which assisted with a couple of nice pick ups below the knees, as well as a nice mark in the second quarter. His decision making was a little on the slow side but there were some positives. In the ruck he got out-bodied by the stronger frames, but he did not stop competing.

Sandringham Dragons:

#1 Harry Sheezel

The Vic Metro Under 17s squad member showed genuine class and composure all game playing mostly out of the forwardline, where he kicked 3.3 from 21 disposals to go with six marks. His first goal came on the run from 40 metres taking advantage from a free kick with the result never in doubt, while his second came from a well-judged mark in the goal square. His third was after earning a free kick for holding the ball where he drilled the set shot. He looked dangerous running back at goal with or without the ball, managing five inside 50s, while his pressure made him look even more so, laying six tackles for the game.

#5 Lachlan Benton

Dominated around the stoppages all game, looking very comfortable in traffic as he accumulated 28 disposals and five inside 50s. He has had a strong season to date, but this performance has typified a solid three-week stretch for Benton as he looks to increase his standard and consistency. Benton’s clearance work was impressive, showing good acceleration into space as well as positional awareness with the dominating ruckmen. He moved well around the ground getting back into defence, as well as hitting contests forward of centre to crumb. An intercept mark and hit inside 50 early in the game set the tone for his day.

#13 Luca Macnab

The dashing rebounding defender was amongst it all game but slowly moved his positioning forward as the game wore on with his side’s ascendency on the play. He and his lovely left boot were streaming off half back early where he showed a good balance of composure and aggression, notably hitting a short target to slow down a frantic play in the second quarter while also penetrating further out of defensive 50 on another occasion. A pair of beautiful hits inside 50 highlighted his ability to deliver forward as his team maintained territory for much of the game. Macnab finished with 25 disposals (season-high), six marks, and six inside 50s.

#52 Luke Nankervis

Playing as a high half-forward for much of the day, Nankervis was often the link player for the Dragons between the arcs using his 189cm frame and his athleticism to provide a threat both in the air and on the ground. He also spent time at stoppages but looked his best in open space in one-on-one situations. He took six marks for the game and his 18 disposals were mostly efficient, showing a propensity for either side of his body. His pressure game as a forward and around stoppages was just as good, laying a whopping 12 tackles despite his side’s control of the game.

#53 Eren Soylemez

Vibrancy for the whole game from Soylemez who maintained his consistency in front of goals with 3.1 from 14 disposals and seven marks. He kicked the first goal of the game marking inside 50 and drilling the set shot. He looked to lead at the ball carrier and often a kick outside the forward 50, using his trusty left boot to deliver inside 50 which he did on three occasions. His second goal came from a contested mark on the behind line which he snapped through truly, while his third was another snap but this time out of nothing, showing a brilliant goal sense. His ground ball gathers were clean and he moved smoothly with ball in hand all game.

#61 Max Heath

It was a super Saturday for St Kilda fans as they watched their side beat AFL premiership contenders Brisbane, while their newly drafted ruckman had a day out and showed why the Saints were eager to secure his services. His ruckwork was dominant as he often held a strong position to direct taps to teammates cleanly, while then also getting after it when the ball hit the deck. His work rate and tank allowed him to get back defensively and mark on multiple occasions. Heath had 21 disposals and 26 hitouts, but it was his two goals and eight marks as a forward that was most exciting. He was able to create space on the lead and marked cleanly overhead at pace.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 12.8 (80) def. by TASMANIA DEVILS 12.9 (81)

By: Eli Duxson

Murray Bushrangers:

#3 Toby Murray

The mobile ruckman showed his versatility in all thirds after a strong second half almost helped propel his side to a memorable comeback win. Probably tied the ruck battle with Tasmania’s Tony Aganas but looked much more likely when play continued showing good speed and agility for his 198cm body. He started the second half with a couple of inside 50s before getting on the end of one of those kicks himself, and kicking a long set shot from 50 metres. Fitting the evolving mould of the mobile and capable ball-using ruckmen, Murray showed all the hallmarks of being a two-way runner and player finishing with 11 disposals, four marks, and 17 hitouts.

#8 Zavier Maher

A competitive beast who went hard at the contest all game, showing a strong ability to tackle effectively while also keeping his balance over the ball through contact. While being threatening without the ball, he was composed in tight and showed a good step. Maher also seemed intent on finding it in open space as well often spreading hard out of stoppages to either get to the fall of the next contest or be an option in the link. He finished with 17 disposals, seven tackles, and three inside 50s.

#51 Brayden George

The Under 17s Vic Country squad member led all comers with goals on the day booting four straight as he did his best to keep the Bushrangers in the contest. His first came from a free kick, drilling the 35-metre set shot, while his next two came back-to-back to start the second half and drag his side back in the game. He is a one-touch player who marks cleanly on hard leads and looks solid underneath the ball. His final goal came over the top in the goal square as he finished with 11 disposals and four marks.

Tasmania Devils:

#7 Will Splann

The focal point of the Devils forward line looked likely all day using his 195cm frame to mark reliably overhead, leading to him kicking a season-high three goals. Two of his goals came after marking on the lead and drilling the set shots, while his third came from a free kick in a marking contest. He is not a high-disposal forward as so few you are in the key position, but he showed he does not need many touches to be effective in front of goal. He took six marks in what was perhaps his most involved game this season.

#12 Jye Menzie

Menzie is also not a high possession winner but is damaging when he does find the ball as a half forward operator. His speed allows him to lose his opponent, especially when his side regains possession and he drifts into space, but his ball use is equally impressive. He lowers his eyes and makes good decisions, favouring to kick more than handball (nine kicks, two handballs). From his 11 disposals he had three shots on goal scoring 2.1 with his first being a lovely snap from the boundary.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.7 (55) def. GEELONG FALCONS 6.11 (47)

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights:

#17 Jackson Bowne

Bowne provided plenty of spark from midfield for the Knights, utilising his speed to exit the contest and bring a rather scrappy game to the outer. He could be seen zipping out of traffic in all areas of the ground, penetrating the arcs a combined 10 times and taking nine marks as he worked to become an easy outlet. The top-ager also booted a goal in the second term and could have had a couple more with more polished finishing, but was quite productive nonetheless.

#19 Joel Trudgeon

Clearly the best player afield, Trudgeon dominated as the biggest and strongest body at each stoppage. He was in the thick of things throughout and brought a hard physical presence, getting his hands dirty to win 35 disposals and lay 15 tackles. The imposing Knights skipper led from the front in a ball winning sense and was able to generate some scores with his disposal on the attack. He contributed at least three direct goal assists with kicks to teammates inside 50, while also adding a major of his own by converting a 50m set shot in the opening term. Trudgeon also rested forward and sought to find more green ball on the weekend, but looked most impactful with his work on the inside.

#23 Anthony Caminiti

The mobile tall forward returned another promising performance in Knights colours, showcasing his class as a leading target. Caminiti did his best work when let off the least further afield, where he would lead as high as the wing and help link Northern into attack. His reach was made more effective by generally clean hands and handy spurts of mobility with ball in hand, while that same pattern of movement allowed for ample separation on the lead. Caminiti couldn’t quite put through a couple of tough set shot chances, but snared a snap goal in the third quarter after marking deep on the behind line.

#28 Joel Fitzgerald

A mainstay in the Knights’ defence, Fitzgerald was relentless in his pursuit to rebound out of the back half with run and a sound kicking game. His actions proved repetitive, but largely effective, as Fitzgerald hit short targets forward of the ball and constantly looked to move the play on quickly. He racked up 27 disposals (20 kicks) and six rebound 50s, while also displaying a solid marking game as he floated across to clunk a couple of intercepts among his eight overall grabs. With plenty of work to do, the 17-year-old stood tall.

Geelong Falcons:

#1 Will Baker

The crafty bottom-aged forward displayed some of his best traits on Saturday, popping up with little bursts of brilliance in the front half. While quite small at 176cm, Baker proved his toughness and won a bit of his own ball, either spinning out of trouble or leaning on his speed and agility to come away from congestion cleanly. He was able to roam further afield as the game wore on, finishing with 13 disposals to go with his second term goal.

#4 Gennaro Bove

Leading from the front, Bove took his extended midfield opportunity with both hands and was arguably Geelong’s best player on the day. He finished with a team-high 23 disposals along with five marks and six tackles, with three wayward behinds the only thing stopping his very good game from being a massive one. Starting on-ball, he showed typically clean hands and skills in-tight, before finding more possessions in space around the ground. He seemed to lift in the final term when Geelong needed a spark, but his valiant efforts at the source fell just short.

#11 Cooper Whyte

While it was a relatively quiet day by Whyte’s recent standards, he still managed to be a positive forward mover from midfield for the Falcons. Among his 13 disposals, the 18-year-old pumped forward seven inside 50s and looked his best when breaking into attack with speed – particularly in the first half. Whyte also showed good courage on a few seperate occasions; leaping up in the face of oncoming contact to spoil and mark in the corridor, allowing the Falcons to turn the ball over and manufacture bonus chances on goal.

WESTERN JETS 14.11 (95) def. BENDIGO PIONEERS 10.7 (67)

By: Michael Alvaro

Western Jets:

#6 Matthew Payne

The diminutive Western forward was really lively in exciting bursts, bringing his pace to the fore on the ball. He snared a nice goal in the opening term after attacking an aerial ball, before recovering first and snapping home the six points. He added two more in the second half, again showing good smarts and quick reactions to take his chances. Payne also broke the game open with a couple of chaining passages, burning forward and looking to get the ball back after dishing off.

#18 Nash Reynolds

A constant presence in midfield for Western, Reynolds looked to push his side forward with intent. He showed a nice step in traffic but was not afraid to cop contact when required, helping set the tone for his side at the source. Reynolds did not quite find the goals himself but provided that opportunity for others, including in the fourth term when he side-stepped the man on the mark and kicked long for Payne to crumb and finish.

#35 Liam Conway

Conway was mega for Western once again, seemingly popping up everywhere at times and boasting the statline to match that notion with 32 disposals, nine marks, and nine inside 50s. When he wasn’t bustling the ball forward at stoppages, Conway positioned well to mark around the ground and was quite clean in his handling. The top-ager’s ball winning ability is proven, with this his third 30-plus disposal effort for the season.

#50 Paul Tsapatolis

This was potentially Tsapatolis’ best outing yet, with the Geelong-listed ruckman able to showcase his ruck craft and improving work on the follow-up. At the centre bounces, he looked to tap to advantage instead of just hitting the ball, finding his rovers with some deft touches early on. He also fared well with a couple of strong grabs around the ground, while also getting low to make an impact at ground level and bombing forward a few clearances. He also managed a snap goal among his 21 disposals, and won 41 hitouts.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Harvey Gallagher

Usually a productive line-breaker rotating forward from midfield, Gallagher was made to step up and become a more permanent fixture of Bendigo’s engine room. The pacey Pioneer ended the day as his side’s most prolific ball winner, notching 27 disposals and penetrating either arc a combined nine times. In a different style than usual, Gallagher won more ball in-close – rather than being released on the outer himself where his speed shines. He was still effective in those instances, using the ball well by foot heading inside 50.

#11 Cobi Maxted

In a monster effort, Maxted showcased every bit of his versatility on Sunday in a dynamic display. The Pioneers utility started at the centre bounces, but tended to shift forward in general play and got busy in both departments to finish with 25 disposals, nine marks and four goals. The top-ager used his big frame around the ball to stand up in and break tackles before disposing, but he looked arguably more damaging on hard forward spreads. Maxted snuck inside 50 for two goals during the first half, and provided a more permanent marking option there after the main break. His clean hands and strong presentation were key features during that time, and Maxted capped his day with another couple of majors in the fourth quarter.

#17 Oskar Faulkhead

The smooth-moving defender had a few quiet patches, but looked like opening up the game with his run-and-carry out of the backline at times. He looked stylish in possession and timed his runs well to be released on the outer, sending Bendigo forward in transition with his foot skills and willingness to take on opponents. Faulkhead also got a run in midfield during the fourth quarter.

#29 Cooper Smith

Smith was another of Bendigo’s positive forward movers, as he constantly looked to weaponise his kicks and carry the ball towards goal with intent. The top-ager broke tackles, made repeat running efforts and hit targets in the front half, operating nicely on the outer and pushing into advanced areas. He dropped back a touch more in the second half, helping distribute out of defence and doing some of the tough stuff when called upon.

GIPPSLAND POWER 7.6 (48) def. by EASTERN RANGES 11.12 (78)

By: Michael Alvaro

Gippsland Power:

#6 Mitchell Moschetti

Gippsland’s best player on the day, Moschetti again looked his side’s most polished player in possession. The classy left-footer showed good poise on the ball and worked it into space before delivering sharp kicks forward. As the game wore on, he began to manufacture more time and space, linking play on the outer and generating valuable momentum as Gippsland attacked. Moschetti ended with a game-high 30 disposals and five marks from midfield, including a couple of handy goal assists.

#9 Will Papley

In his usual midfield-forward rotation, Papley was a productive and versatile member of the Gippsland set-up. He started at the centre bounces and used his burst of speed to break forward, often getting to the front of the stoppage and streaming inside forward 50. When stationed forward, he initially presented as a lead-up kind of option in a role which defied his size, before getting busy closer to goal with that typical mix of speed and smarts. Papley got on the board early, smothering on the mark before finishing beautifully from range, while adding a second major in the third term with a snap from the pocket.

#28 Zane Duursma

The 2005-born prospect already looks comfortable alongside players as many as four years his senior, and proved as much with some time in the midfield on Sunday. Duursma started brightly but missed a 45m set shot in the opening term, before getting back into the game with some handy work in term three. He displayed good courage to protect the drop zone under a high ball and mark inside 50, before converting a classy snap goal and going on to show sharp skills when running through midfield.

Eastern Ranges:

#3 Jake Arundell

Arundell was at his crafty best on Sunday, stationed forward and contributing plenty both inside 50 and up the ground. He consistently showed high level smarts and evasion, while a zippy turn of speed saw him gain considerable separation on the lead time and time again. The diminutive top-ager worked beautifully in tandem with under-ager Nick Watson, as the two found each other inside 50 on multiple occasions. Arundell snared three goals from five scoring shots, while also twice turning provider in a balanced effort, where he brought others into the game and was a constant threat in the front half. No Gippsland defender could go with him.

#8 Nick Watson

The other half of Eastern’s dangerous small forward pairing, Watson also went about getting busy both up the ground and closer to goal. After missing a couple of chances in the first term, Watson straightened up to convert two majors in the following period and all three of his goals for the day came via set shots. The 2005-born talent defied his size as a viable leading option, leaning on his high footy IQ to also get to handy spots when the ball hit the deck. Watson fulfilled his usual small forward duties with smothering pressure acts and tackling efforts, making for a well-rounded performance.

#35 Max Hall

With some of Eastern’s prime midfield movers unavailable in recent weeks, Hall has consistently stood up as a reliable inside ball winner. He had no trouble finding the ball at the coalface, digging in and proving strong over the ground ball before looking to bullock his way out of tackles. While he tended to bomb kick out of the contest, Hall showed he could lower his eyes when afforded more time and even put through a well-hit set shot in the first quarter. Away from the stoppages, the top-ager worked hard around the ground and his final statline of 29 disposals, nine marks, and nine inside 50s was exemplary of that.

#58 Kai Windsor

Windsor showed plenty during his stint in the Vic Metro Under 17 squad, and carried his form back into the NAB League on Sunday. Playing mostly in the forward half before shifting into the midfield, Windsor was an apt carrier of the ball forward and seemed to enjoy operating in time and space. The bottom-ager was also able to show his skills at time, including on one instance in the second quarter where he provided a goal assist for Arundell as he streamed forward.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 8.8 (56) def. by OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 15.7 (97)

By: Declan Reeve

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Josiah Kyle

The St Kilda NGA prospect yet again displayed some eye-catching athletic traits throughout the contest, where he was, at times, played as the deepest forward target for the Stingrays. He looked at his most dangerous when he was able to run onto a free ball, with his pace and clean pick ups from ground level giving him the tools to make the most of those opportunities and keep the ball going quickly, with one moment in the first quarter highlighting this best when he got free, side stepped an opponent and pinpointed a kick inside 50 where his teammate didn’t have to move to hold onto the mark. Ended the day with one goal, where he ran onto a kick over the top of his head and snapped the goal whilst being brought to ground. Despite what the stat sheet may say, he created plenty of scoring opportunities for Dandenong with his plays in the forward half causing headaches for the Chargers defence.

#4 Jaxon Binns

The Under 17 Vic Country representative demonstrated exactly why he was selected in that side in his NAB League debut, looking like Dandenong’s best player early on, showing off high work rate and running capacity on the wing. Was far more inclined to kick than handball when he was disposing of the ball, where he regularly got good penetration and showed good technique with his kicking but sometimes lacked the accuracy to make it truly damaging. Positioned well to get the releasing handball from inside winners, able to beat most opponents in one-on-ones foot races. Kicked an impressive goal in the first, winning the ball off the ground in the forward pocket and snapping it through in the first. Unfortunately had his day cut short after suffering a suspected knee injury. 

#35 Finn Jakstas

Looking composed with ball in and well positioned in the defensive half, Jakstas did some underrated one-percenter acts throughout the game that either stopped certain Oakleigh goals or got Dandenong the upper hand in moving the footy. Whether it was tapping the ball in front of a running teammate, laying a smother in the middle of the ground or spoiling a ball in a two-on-one, he was able to impact plays well to win them for Dandenong. Looked strong overhead as well in the defensive 50, following up with clean ball use to teammates. 

#42 James Cahill

Playing essentially exclusively as a rover for the game, Cahill looked particularly good when collecting the ball off the ground, looking clean even when under pressure. Fed well to receivers via hand when the option was there, never just throwing the ball onto his hand or foot if there wasn’t a teammate ready to get it. Worked hard to follow up and get the ball back as well when he could, with one moment in the first quarter demonstrating this best, inside defensive 50 where he handballed to a teammate, got it back, handed it off again, then got it back and kicked long to a leading teammate. He was composed through most of the game, having moments where he just picked out an option through congestion that not many would’ve found, or had the confidence to try and take. His ability to spread from a contest or stoppage was also a highlight, able to burst away from these situations and spot up teammates to get Dandenong moving forward. 

 #47 Henry Hustwaite

Another Under 17s Vic Country representative, Hustwaite was stationed mostly on the wing, where he showed composure with ball in hand, even when caught in congested spots under pressure. His quick hands in close were on full display, keeping his hands free and firing them out to release runners from behind, or pinpointing a handball through traffic to teammate closer to the forward 50. Didn’t kick often but was composed and kicked with purpose when he chose to, finding targets laterally who were able to take space. 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#7 Blake Drury 

In his first outing for Oakleigh at Under 19s level, Drury took no time at all to get involved and show why he was selected for the Vic Metro U17s side, winning plenty of ball around the midfield and forward half, using it well by hand to get the ball to teammates in better spots. Showed plenty of confidence with his movement with ball in hand, never biting off more than he could chew, but always willing to run the ball forward and get around opponents before getting rid of the ball. What was particularly impressive to see from his Under 17s Metro performances, was how much better his kicking looked at this level, regularly putting it in front of teammates inside 50 to run onto, and taking wider options when nothing presented up the line.

#17 Braden Andrews

The AFL Academy member was thrown about positionally again, spending time in all thirds of the ground and showing promise in each spot. In the first three quarters he split his time down back and through the midfield mostly, with his work around stoppages the highlight, picking up the ball from below his knees cleanly and firing out quick hands on the up as teammates moved for him. He looked composed with his kicking when given time in space to compose himself. When moved into the forwardline he got himself two goals in the final quarter, the first of which came from smart positioning in a marking contest, able to run onto the ball as it went over the top and kicking it straight through from the goal square. His second came after receiving a handball from a teammate he was running alongside going into 50 and slotting it from about 25 out. He paid this back later, after giving off a shot on goal despite being in range.

#33 Patrick Voss 

Continuing his impressive run of form in the backline, Voss looked more convincing, providing run from behind than he previously has, not afraid to take opponents on coming out of the defensive 50. This was highlighted best when he went for a run from the back 50 mark, taking two bounces along the way, as well as a give and go, then stiff arming an opponent and kicking the ball inside 50 to finish it off. That stiff arm wasn’t his only show of physicality, continuing his strong tackling that often rattled opponents whilst still being fair. He got himself a lot of marks by being a switch option in the back line, with Oakleigh looking to switch when it was on, but also got a couple of intercept marks showing his strength to push opponents out of the contest, with one being a good sign of courage, running 20 meters to mark a ball that was hacked out of a centre stoppage, with incoming front on pressure. Kicking was good with time to compose himself, but is a general area of improvement.

#57 George Wardlaw

With arguably the highest profile of any of the debutants from this game, the Under 17s Vic Metro representative was dominant from beginning to end with his inside game a clear standout across both sides. Regularly getting first possession around stoppages, Wardlaw commanded more and more attention around stoppages as the game went on to negate his effect from the midfield, where if given the slightest amount of space he’d get a handball away, having a few moments where he fired a pinpoint pass through congestion and past two or three opponents to release a runner on the other side of the contest. Managed to get good spread from stoppages when he was right in the thick of it, able to stay balanced and on his feet when copping contact, still managing to get the ball to a teammate. Wardlaw drew in some free kicks for high contact with how low he gets when picking the ball up and how fast he tries to straighten up. 

#79 Jack O’Sullivan

O’Sullivan was yet another Oakleigh debutant, and a Vic Country Under 17s representative over the past two weeks. He showed himself to be a damaging pressure forward. Collected ground balls at speed well, following up with damaging ball use even if he didn’t have clear vision, putting the ball in danger spots in front of goal if he was under pressure. Looked dangerous with his leading, not always sticking marks but getting his hands to the ball. Ended the game with two goals and two behinds, although he set up a couple of goals that he could have easily gotten, showing a sense of selfless in his game and want to get teammates involved.

Image Credit: Cameron Grimes/AFL Photos

2021 NAB League Boys snapshot: Round 12

WITH many of Victoria’s best top-agers running out for Vic Country and Vic Metro during last week’s Under 19 National Championships fixture, Round 12 of the NAB League provided bottom-agers the chance to shine, with many coming off their own representative honours. There were a couple of close games among the weekend’s offering, including a one-point thriller, but some dominant second half showings saw most margins exceed the five-goal mark. We run you through all the results and big performances in the Round 12 snapshot, stay tuned for Scouting Notes to follow tomorrow evening.

CALDER CANNONS 2.2 (14) def. by SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 11.12 (78)

IN A SENTENCE:

A stingy Sandringham Dragons outfit kept the Calder Cannons to just two goals, both after half time, while managing 11 of their own to win by 64 points at RAMS Arena.

TEAM STATS:

  • Calder Cannons won the rebound 50s (39-21)
  • Sandringham Dragons won the disposals (341-271), marks (78-48), inside 50s (51-24), and hitouts (44-16)
  • The tackles were even at 68-apiece

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Flynn Gentile (Calder Cannons) 28 disposals, 1 mark, 2 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Paul Pascu (Calder Cannons) 20 disposals, 3 marks, 8 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Flynn Lakey (Calder Cannons) 20 disposals, 2 marks, 7 tackles, 1 inside 50, 3 rebound 50s
  • Charlie McKay (Sandringham Dragons) 26 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Max Heath (Sandringham Dragons) 21 disposals, 8 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 26 hitouts, 2 goals
  • Harry Sheezel (Sandringham Dragons) 21 disposals, 6 marks, 6 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Max Heath (Sandringham Dragons)
4 – Harry Sheezel (Sandringham Dragons)
3 – Charlie McKay (Sandringham Dragons)
2 – Lachlan Benton (Sandringham Dragons)
1 – Paul Pascu (Calder Cannons)

NEXT UP:

Calder Cannons vs. Eastern Ranges | Saturday July 17, 11:00am @ RAMS Arena
Sandringham Dragons vs. Northern Knights | Saturday July 17, 2:00pm @ Preston City Oval

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 12.8 (80) def. by TASMANIA DEVILS 12.9 (81)

IN A SENTENCE:

A four-goal flurry in the final 10 minutes was not enough to see Murray Bushrangers pull off a miracle comeback against Tasmania, with the Devils holding firm to win by a single point on neutral territory.

TEAM STATS:

  • Murray Bushrangers won the kicks (196-190), rebound 50s (30-26), and marks (92-91)
  • Tasmania Devils won the handballs (125-116), inside 50s (42-38), and tackles (66-42)
  • The hitouts were even at 29-apiece

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Tom Bracher (Murray Bushrangers) 31 disposals, 7 marks, 2 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s
  • Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers) 17 disposals, 4 marks, 7 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Brayden George (Murray Bushrangers) 11 disposals, 4 marks, 1 tackle, 4 goals
  • Baynen Lowe (Tasmania Devils) 29 disposals, 8 marks, 2 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Tyler McGinnis (Tasmania Devils) 24 disposals, 7 marks, 3 tackles, 1 inside 50, 4 rebound 50s
  • Sam Banks (Tasmania Devils) 17 disposals, 3 marks, 1 tackle, 1 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Tyler McGinnis (Tasmania Devils)
4 – Zach Morris (Tasmania Devils)
3 – Tom Bracher (Murray Bushrangers)
2 – Brayden George (Murray Bushrangers)
1 – Sam Banks (Tasmania Devils)

NEXT UP:

Murray Bushrangers – Bye
Tasmania Devils vs. Geelong Falcons | Sunday July 18, 1:30pm @ Avalon Airport Oval

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.7 (55) def. GEELONG FALCONS 6.11 (47)

IN A SENTENCE:

Northern Knights wrestled momentum in the second half with four goals to one, helping defeat the Geelong Falcons by eight points in a scrappy affair at Preston City Oval.

TEAM STATS:

  • Northern Knights won the disposals (296-257), rebound 50s (28-26), marks (73-62), and tackles (71-66)
  • Geelong Falcons won the inside 50s (36-34) and scoring shots (17-15)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights) 35 disposals, 6 marks, 15 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Joel Fitzgerald (Northern Knights) 27 disposals, 8 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 6 rebound 50s
  • Jackson Bowne (Northern Knights) 21 disposals, 9 marks, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Gennaro Bove (Geelong Falcons) 23 disposals, 5 marks, 6 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s, 3 behinds
  • Cooper Whyte (Geelong Falcons) 13 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 7 inside 50s
  • Tom Gillett (Geelong Falcons) 12 disposals, 5 marks, 1 inside 50, 1 goal, 3 behinds

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights)
4 – Jackson Bowne (Northern Knights)
3 – Gennaro Bove (Geelong Falcons)
2 – Joel Fitzgerald (Northern Knights)
1 – Tom Gillett (Geelong Falcons)

NEXT UP:

Northern Knights vs. Sandringham Dragons | Saturday July 17, 2:00pm @ Preston City Oval
Geelong Falcons vs. Tasmania Devils | Sunday July 18, 1:30pm @ Avalon Airport Oval

WESTERN JETS 14.11 (95) def. BENDIGO PIONEERS 10.7 (67)

IN A SENTENCE:

A six-goal to nil third term was the difference as Western Jets overcame a half time deficit to beat Bendigo Pioneers by 28 points, overrunning the country region in style.

TEAM STATS:

  • Western Jets won the kicks (191-159), inside 50s (53-45), marks (64-55), and hitouts (49-17)
  • Bendigo Pioneers won the rebound 50s (38-34)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Liam Conway (Western Jets) 32 disposals, 9 marks, 5 tackles, 9 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Paul Tsapatolis (Western Jets) 21 disposals, 4 marks, 1 tackle, 4 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 41 hitouts, 1 goal
  • Nash Reynolds (Western Jets) 21 disposals, 2 marks, 8 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Cobi Maxted (Bendigo Pioneers) 25 disposals, 9 marks, 5 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 4 goals
  • Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) 27 disposals, 2 marks, 6 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s
  • Cooper Smith (Bendigo Pioneers) 6 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Cobi Maxted (Bendigo Pioneers)
4 – Liam Conway (Western Jets)
3 – Nash Reynolds (Western Jets)
2 – Paul Tsapatolis (Western Jets)
1 – Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers)

NEXT UP:

Western Jets vs. Oakleigh Chargers | Saturday July 17, 12:00pm @ Warrawee Park
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power | Saturday July 17, 2:00pm @ Shepley Oval

GIPPSLAND POWER 7.6 (48) def. by EASTERN RANGES 11.12 (78)

IN A SENTENCE:

Eastern Ranges made it three-straight wins on Saturday, leading at every break and kicking away late to beat a competitive Gippsland Power side by 30 points on the road.

TEAM STATS:

  • Gippsland Power won the handballs (151-125) and rebound 50s (33-23)
  • Eastern Ranges won the kicks (193-145), inside 50s (50-30), and marks (93-71)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power) 30 disposals, 5 marks, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Cooper Alger (Gippsland Power) 21 disposals, 4 marks, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50
  • Will Papley (Gippsland Power) 13 disposals, 5 marks, 2 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Max Hall (Eastern Ranges) 29 disposals, 9 marks, 6 tackles, 9 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Jake Arundell (Eastern Ranges) 23 disposals, 9 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 3 goals
  • Nick Watson (Eastern Ranges) 15 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Max Hall (Eastern Ranges)
4 – Jake Arundell (Eastern Ranges)
3 – Nick Watson (Eastern Ranges)
2 – Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power)
1 – Will Papley (Gippsland Power)

NEXT UP:

Gippsland Power vs. Bendigo Pioneers | Saturday July 17, 2:00pm @ Shepley Oval
Eastern Ranges vs. Calder Cannons | Saturday July 17, 11:00am @ RAMS Arena

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 8.8 (56) def. by OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 15.7 (97)

IN A SENTENCE:

An injection of gun bottom-agers helped Oakleigh overturn a narrow half time deficit, piling on 10 goals thereafter to defeat the Dandenong Stingrays by 41 points.

TEAM STATS:

  • Dandenong Stingrays won the rebound 50s (27-23)
  • Oakleigh Chargers won the kicks (183-163), inside 50s (43-33), marks (64-59), and hitouts (42-24)
  • The handballs (121-apiece) and tackles (60-apiece) were even

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Declan Cole (Dandenong Stingrays) 25 disposals, 3 marks, 9 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays) 23 disposals, 5 marks, 2 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Henry Berenger (Dandenong Stingrays) 14 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 5 rebound 50s
  • Henry Brown (Oakleigh Chargers) 26 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s
  • Blake Drury (Oakleigh Chargers) 21 disposals, 5 marks, 1 tackle, 6 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • George Wardlaw (Oakleigh Chargers) 19 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – George Wardlaw (Oakleigh Chargers)
4 – Blake Drury (Oakleigh Chargers)
3 – James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays)
2 – Jack O’Sullivan (Oakleigh Chargers)
1 – Henry Brown (Oakleigh Chargers)

NEXT UP:

Dandenong Stingrays vs. GWV Rebels | Saturday July 17, 11:30am @ Shepley Oval
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets | Saturday July 17, 12:00pm @ Warrawee Park

Image Credit: Cameron Grimes/AFL Photos

Scouting Notes | 2021 Victorian Under 19 trials

IT was Vic Country’s day on Sunday, taking out both Under 19 trial games against their Metro counterparts at Avalon Airport Oval in Werribee. But the results mattered little, with fans, recruiters and pundits alike keen to see which players would put their hands up for further representative honours at the upcoming Under 19 National Championships. We outline some of the best performers from all four squads, with each set of Scouting Notes the opinion of the individual author.

GAME ONE | VIC COUNTRY 10.11 (71) def. VIC METRO 8.11 (59)

VIC COUNTRY:

By: Michael Alvaro

#1 Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers)
173cm/74kg | 15/03/2002 | Midfielder/Small Forward

The Bendigo Pioneers top-ager did his usual job rotating between the midfield and forwardline, finding a decent amount of ball and looking to be creative with his run and foot skills. Conforti started in attack and booted the game’s first goal from a 45m set shot, but was far busier after half time with his move to midfield. He used his run positively to help Country stream forward, like in one instance during the fourth term where he took on the man on the mark, backing his pace and delivering inside 50 through the corridor.

#2 Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)
183cm/80kg | 16/09/2003 | Inside Midfielder/Forward

Arguably the best player afield in game one, Hobbs proved his top 10 credentials with another superb outing. His return from injury has been seamless, cracking in and running hard to find plenty of the ball over the last fortnight. Hobbs started in midfield and got to work straight away, though some of his ball use was rushed under the early pressure. He still got good penetration on his kicks and brought good intensity to the contest with his tackling. Having moved forward after half time, Hobbs still managed to find the ball through sheer work rate and finished the game with two goals, one of which was a clean snap in term three.

#4 Josh Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
180cm/78kg | 11/04/2003 | Forward

From what we saw on Sunday, Country is set to use Rachele as a pretty permanent forward fixture. The mercurial Murray Bushrangers talent looked switched on early, presenting well up at the forward 50 arc with good separation on the lead. He notched an early score via that method, then speared a pass to Conforti for the game’s first goal having been hit further out. Rachele grew a touch quieter after his early glimpses, but still provided an option at half-forward and slotted his first goal in the third term, before adding another from a goalmouth scramble in the following period.

#6 Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels)
181cm/81kg | 13/08/2002 | Midfielder/Forward

The smooth-moving Rebels midfielder was a centre bounce starter for Country, before being shifted forward in the second half. In his primary post, Herbert got busy around the ball and showed nice agility on a few occasions to wheel into space before delivering a kick. He was one of the many Rebels to end up in attack, booting two goals after half time with one from a 40m set shot and the other out the back in open play.

#8 Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers)
179cm/75kg | 26/09/2003 | Midfielder/Forward

Gallagher was another to feature in the midfield-forward rotation, starting in attack before spending more time among the engine room. In his time up forward, the Bendigo Pioneers product worked hard up the ground and looked to run the ball back towards goal, showing positive intent when in possession and releasing kicks at full tilt. He also worked hard in that sense without the ball, burning his opponent with his work rate on fast breaks to get to the next contest inside 50.

#11 Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers)
184cm/82kg | 5/05/2002 | Inside Midfielder

As one of Country’s centre bounce staples, Maher produced a big performance from the engine room. He set his side on the front foot, winning a heap of ball at the coalface with his mature frame and turn of speed allowing for regular extraction. He was often the player to get first hands on the ball and looked a lot cleaner than in previous outings, while also getting good penetration on his clearing kicks out of congestion. Maher’s explosiveness also allowed him to get to the outside, where he lowered his eyes a touch more but still showed room for improvement in that department.

#13 Sam Breuer (GWV Rebels)
183cm/80kg | 26/06/2003 | Defender/Midfielder

The story of Breuer’s season could be observed through the journey of his four quarters on Sunday, as he started steadily in defence before coming to life through midfield. Once he entered the centre bounce mix, Breuer was able to find much more of the ball and have an impact moving forward, using his turn of speed and penetrating kick coming to the fore. His intent and pressure acts were also up, making for a well-rounded midfield game.

#14 Jamieson Ballantyne (GWV Rebels)
183cm/79kg | 16/04/2003 | Wing

In what was one of his best performances to date, Ballantyne made the wing his own and was a crucial cog to Country’s success between the arcs. He battled really well to split and win a bunch of contests on the outer, before helping his side progress its transition with his run and carry. The Rebels prospects also snuck forward and hit the scoreboard, converting well via set shots.

#16 Kai Lohmann (GWV Rebels)
6/05/2003 | 185cm/76kg | Forward

A player with plenty of flair and eye-catching athletic traits, Lohmann always promises to provide some exciting moments. That was again the case on Sunday, though he just lacked that finishing touch at times to cap off his good work. The dynamic forward did well to impact further afield and link Country into attacking 50, while also becoming a threat closer to goal. He missed a couple of chances on goal during the third term, with a set shot falling short and a snap put just off target.

#21 Josh Gibcus (GWV Rebels)
195cm/84kg | 4/04/2003 | Tall Defender/Forward

Utilised at either end of the ground, Gibcus was again able to showcase his strong aerial prowess and athleticism. The standout GWV Rebels prospect started in his usual defensive post and timed his leaps well, rising for typically assured intercept marks and spoils. His distribution by foot was also noticeably more clean than in previous weeks, shown as he took the kick-ins. Gibcus was then swung forward, where he continued to compete in the air and despite not clunking too many marks, he managed to bring the ball to ground and allow others to enter the play inside 50.

#30 Toby Conway (Geelong Falcons)
204cm/90kg | 24/04/2003 | Ruck

Conway was one who had a nice moment in each term, plying his trade in the ruck and eventually spending some time up forward. The Geelong Falcons bigman used his size and reach on a couple of occasions to clunk strong marks down the line, with his pack grab on the wing during the first quarter particularly strong. He is also building his follow-up work and did well to win a centre clearance in term two, but had one effort by foot he would want back in the following period. Conway’s forward stint was not as productive, but he was solid as usual in the ruck with his craft.

VIC METRO:

By: Declan Reeve

#3 Jake Soligo (Eastern Ranges)
179cm/80kg | 25/01/2003 | Midfielder

Has somewhat been overshadowed at times by Eastern teammate Tyler Sonsie, but with Sonsie missing in this clash, Soligo took the opportunity to put his name up as arguably the best Metro player on ground for the game. He was at his usual best with his inside ball winning, throwing himself into everything in an attempt to win the hard balls and handball out to runners. He took some good marks throughout the game, with an early one being full stretch overhead under direct pressure off an opposition inside 50. He was always happy to do the hard work, with his pressure and tackling top notch once again, putting on so much pressure it forced an out on the full kick from an opponent at one stage in the game. Early on in the game when goals weren’t flowing, Soligo was the one to break through for Metro with two early goals; the first of which was a kick on the run from 50 out, and the second of which less than two minutes later, converting a set shot from about 45 meters out.

#4 Corey Preston (Eastern Ranges)
181cm/76kg | 18/12/2002 | Defender/Forward

Lining up across the half-back line, Preston was one of Metro’s best with some exceptional ball use coming out of the defensive half, in a game where clean kicks to marks were few and far between. Positioning well behind the play to rack up intercept possessions, Preston’s tendency was to push up and impact contests in the middle of the ground, before turning on the jets and kicking well when he got the ball, causing headaches for Vic Country. He was an aerial threat at times, taking an impressive overhead contested mark in the second quarter to highlight what he can do in that regard. There were times when he found himself one-on-one with Country’s Josh Rachele, able to match his exceptional athleticism to spoil a few of his marking attempts.

#6 Josh Ward (Northern Knights)
181cm/79kg | 15/08/2003 | Midfielder/Forward

Forming a good dynamic with Soligo, Ward played his usual balanced role around the midfield, able to crack in and win it in tight, but just as capable of holding out to receive a releasing handball. What was impressive was Ward’s confidence in his speed and elusiveness, which he doesn’t always show off, going for a few runs with ball in hand that led to dangerous Metro plays. One such instance came in the first quarter where he went just the 10 meters with speed, then delivered the ball to a leading target inside 50. That same kind of burst was shown when he scored the first goal of the second quarter as well, getting onto the end of a kick in transition, taking a run from the centre square with two bounces en route to kicking the goal from a slight angle. 

#8 Marcus Windhager (Sandringham Dragons)
183cm/82kg | 16/05/2003 | Defender/Midfielder

The St Kilda Next Generation Academy (NGA) member had arguably his best display for the year playing in the defensive 50 and midfield, where his power in his acceleration and leap caught the eye. His leaping was most obvious in the backline, where he often got first hands to the ball in the air. Even if he didn’t always hold onto the ball, he could stop opponents winning it cleanly. His acceleration was obvious around stoppages, where he would get in at the contest and burst out to handball to runners.

#12 Finn Callaghan (Sandringham Dragons)
189cm/82kg | 26/04/2003 | Balanaced Midfielder

Being pushed back out to the wing as he had done earlier in the NAB League season, it took Callaghan some time to work into the game and start impacting like he’s proven he can. Apart from taking the advantage from a teammate’s free kick and missing a shot on goal from 25 out early on, it was another typical Callaghan display that we’ve become slowly accustomed to. He held his space well when positioned on the wing, taking some good overhead grabs but also proving crafty when having to pick the ball up off the ground, getting separation on opponents when he had the ball to give himself space to deliver via foot, usually to a central target. He moved into a rover spot in the second half where he really put his foot down and started stamping some more authority on the game, able to accelerate away from the opposition as he got handball receives from the stoppage winners. Callaghan also looked particularly classy when bringing the ball out of the defensive half, side stepping opponents and delivering in front of leading targets.

#13 Luke Cleary (Sandringham Dragons)
189cm/80kg | 5/03/2002 | Defender

A pretty standard day at the office for Cleary, where he showed some superb positioning in the defensive half that led to him racking up intercept possessions. Cleary used this positioning to get in front of opponents or be an extra number to other contests and take marks in the defensive half, using his penetrative and accurate kick to hit some game opening passes going forward. He took the kick-ins at stages where he ran the ball out and kicked long, often to the top of the centre square.

#14 Luke Nankervis (Sandringham Dragons)
189cm/76kg | 25/05/2003 | Wing/Forward

Splitting his game time between the wing and the half-forward role as he does in the NAB League, Nankervis had some nice moments throughout the game, bringing his usual strengths with his leap, speed and marking particularly impressive. It’s been noted before that his ability to keep his hands free in tackles and contests is outstanding. It led to him getting some free kicks as the game went on, as opponents tried to get the ball out of his hands, pushing him in the back or getting him high in the process. He was the first link in a fourth quarter chain of play that led to a Metro goal, taking a high-leaping contested mark and then kicking it in front of a teammate to run onto. He showed defensive accountability as well throughout the game, running hard for tackles and spoils even when it wasn’t in his area.

#18 Blake Howes (Sandringham Dragons)
190cm/79kg | 7/04/2003 | Wing/Forward

Playing a bit everywhere, Howes showed he has the versatility to impact around the ground really well regardless of the position his magnet is in. He managed to consistently get good separation on his leads, making it easy for him to take marks on his chest or out in front. He was good in contested marking situations as well, even out-marking highly touted Vic Country product Josh Gibcus when he ran back with the flight in defensive 50 and held it well. Howes was a strong tackler when in close, especially around stoppages, making it hard for Country to run it out cleanly when he was around. He would follow up from his marks and free kicks with clean ball use, trying to get it into the corridor with most of his disposals.

#19 Mitch Owens (Sandringham Dragons)
190cm/85kg | 24/09/2003 | Forward

Another St Kilda NGA prospect for Metro, Owens impressed with his work inside 50. Standing up in tackles was one of his biggest strengths and led to a moment in the second quarter where he won the ball off the ground, kept his feet with the contact and handed it off to a teammate in the goal square for an easy goal. His work aerially was also really strong, taking some good one grab marks around the ground – one of which in the fourth quarter came deep inside 50, taking an intercept mark from an intended switch kick, and put himself on the scoreboard. 

#23 Cody Raak (Western Jets)
193cm/80kg | 8/10/2002 | Defender

The Western Bulldogs NGA member has been one of the strongest defenders in the NAB League this season, and continued that in the trial game for Metro. Looking most impressive in the first half, Raak was doing a lot of the same things he’s become renowned for, taking marks as a kick behind the play defender, spreading the opposition with his switch kicks and stopping opposition attacks with his tackling and defensive work. What was good to see, was how proactive he was in initiating offensive plays with his kicking, rather than always looking for safe options.

#26 Anthony Caminiti (Northern Knights)
Key Forward

A late call-up to the trials, Caminiti has previously impressed in APS footy with bags of goals. Whilst the scoreboard alluded him to a degree in this contest, he still managed to look good as a lead up forward option, getting separation from his opponents well and sticking most marks. He looked surprisingly elusive for a big man as well, having a few moments where he was composed in traffic to give hands off to a runner in a good spot. Whilst he might have liked a more complete performance, he certainly showed some really good glimpses.

GAME TWO | VIC COUNTRY 14.5 (89) def. VIC METRO 12.15 (87)

VIC COUNTRY:

By: Michael Alvaro

#3 Max Walton (Gippsland Power)
180cm/73kg | 6/11/2003 | Small Defender

Walton brought his best traits to the fore on Sunday, reverting back to his usual running defender role and providing plenty of offensive drive for Country. The Gippsland Power product took some of the early kick-ins and did not hesitate to get on his bike straight away, carrying the ball out of defensive 50 and utilising his long kick. His positive rebounding and ability to chain one-two plays down the line made for some smooth transitions, traits which are also applicable to the wing, where Walton may also end up.

#6 Connor Macdonald (Dandenong Stingrays)
184cm/77kg | 13/01/2003 | Midfielder/Forward

Macdonald provided a good bit of spark to the centre bounces for Country, with his clean bursts away from congestion proving a real weapon in the opening stages. The Dandenong Stingrays midfielder was able to win a bunch of centre clearances, either breaking into space with speed or kicking long under immediate pressure. He snuck forward in the second quarter and struck a handy 45m set shot goal, before being shifted forward more often after half time, but missing another chance to add to Country’s tally.

#7 Judson Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays)
179cm/69kg | 17/10/2003 | Small Forward/Midfielder

While his five-goal performance was somewhat overshadowed by the exploits of Metro’s Sam Darcy, Clarke emerged as a genuine top 25 prospect with his team-best performance on Sunday. The zippy midfielder-forward started brightly, slamming home the game’s first goal from a set shot and sharking a sharp nice later in the opening term. He added majors in each of the next three quarters, including one on the three quarter time siren and a lovely conversion from range which capped off his outing nicely. Clarke’s pace, clean hands and spearing left-foot kicking were real highlights on the day, especially on the attack.

#9 Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons)
193cm/77kg | 8/01/2003 | Inside Midfielder/Forward

Knevitt continues to show a few different sides to his game, with the big-bodied midfielder showing glimpses of his high potential. He played almost exclusively in midfield for the first three quarters and was typically strong around the ball, winning clearances and standing up in tackles to flick out handballs over his shoulder – one of his best traits at stoppages. Knevitt also did well to compete aerially and was eventually moved forward, hitting the post with a snap and unfortunately putting a set shot well wide in the fourth term.

#12 Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays)
181cm/77kg | 6/05/2002 | Midfielder/Forward

While he only stands at 181cm, Bravo brings real physicality and hardness to the contest each time he plays. The top-ager’s speed is also a useful trait in midfield, and he leant on it while breaking forward and looking to chain possessions with repeat running efforts. He also used his pace to impact defensively and applied some absolutely crunching tackles in an attempt to set the tone after half time. Bravo moved forward in the final term, but looked much more impactful further afield.

#13 Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons)
180cm/79kg | 8/07/2002 | Wing

It is no secret that Gribble knows how to find the ball. That was no different on Sunday, as the Geelong Falcons running man found plenty of it through sheer work rate and smarts. He was everywhere early, dropping back to the defensive 50 to help shift the ball forward, while doing his usual bit between the arcs and accumulating possessions. Gribble also snuck forward and was gifted a goal in the second term, converting well with a snap right on the behind post. The top-ager didn’t try and do too much in possession either, meaning Country could link cleanly.

#14 James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays)
183cm/80kg | 10/01/2003 | Forward/Wing

In his usual half-forward to wing rotation, Cahill was a busy type as he worked up the ground and looked to use his skills going into attack. He started inside attacking 50 and finished with aplomb for the game’s second goal, before providing useful dash in transition as a link into Country’s forward arc. He was a touch quieter after half time with his move to the wing, but popped up with some nice moments.

#17 Bryce Milford (Dandenong Stingrays)
195cm/82kg | 8/07/2002 | Tall Utility

Milford was involved in almost everything Country produced going forward in the first half, as he presented with separation on the lead time and time again to good effect. A mobile type at 195cm, the Dandenong Stingrays utility also gave a chop-out in the ruck, but looked most dangerous with his marking in the front half. His lone goal of the game came in the opening quarter, via a clean set shot, and Milford could have finished with a couple more if not for inaccuracy. His first half was a good measure of his potential, though he faded a touch after the main break.

#24 Oscar Morrison (Geelong Falcons)
193cm/86kg | 21/08/2003 | Defender

While Morrison’s game would not have been one to yield enormous numbers, the aerially adept defender played a couple of key roles and held firm across Country’s backline. The Geelong Falcons prospect, donning his usual headband, was easy to spot out there and also caught the eye with his play. He was typically assured in the air and read the play well to intercept, while also distributing the ball quite reliably. He even spent some time on Darcy during the second half, engaging the key forward in battles of strength inside 50 to help combat the 11cm height difference.

#25 Justin Davies (Dandenong Stingrays)
192cm/92kg | 29/04/2003 | Defender

Another Country defender with sharp skills and versatility, Davies played both tall and small on Sunday. He matched up on bigger opponents at times but held his own, before looking productive when let off the leash and allowed to intercept more freely. The Dandenong Stingrays talent showed good smarts to meet the ball on the intercept both in the air and at ground level, taking it cleanly and keeping the play moving with his quick decision making on the rebound.

#29 Max Annandale (Geelong Falcons)
192cm/86kg | 30/01/2002 | Forward

Country’s hero in game two having booted the winning goal, Annandale did most of his work inside attacking 50 and proved a viable marking target. His hands were strong overhead, as the Geelong Falcons forward took advantage of quick and long delivery to his area for two of his three major scores. The top-ager was also gifted one in the second term, cutting off a kick across goal and converting without fuss. Overall he was a solid option deep in attack, and an important one in the end.

VIC METRO:

By: Declan Reeve

#3 Youseph Dib (Oakleigh Chargers)
174cm/76kg | 25/02/2003 | Midfielder/Small Utility

Playing almost exclusively in the midfield for the game, Dib showed cleanliness below his knees and a seemingly fearless approach to winning contested footy. Whilst this change meant he wasn’t getting as much time to compose himself before getting rid of the ball, he still managed to show glimpses of smart ball use, with his natural tendency to use both sides of his body meaning he could always get rid of the ball quickly under pressure. He needs to find a way to add more penetration consistently, but overall it was a good outing.

#6 Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons)
180cm/74kg | 31/01/2003 | Midfielder/Forward

Playing through the midfield for most of the contest, Taylor had a quiet start to the game, but really came into it from the second quarter onwards. He became a regular danger around stoppages and provided clean ball use when given the slightest bit of space, often running to be the receiver if he wasn’t the initial ball winner. He was however, still finding himself as that initial ball winner from clearances pretty often, with a really good purple patch for centre clearances in the second quarter where he won three in a row and followed up with clean ball use when the options were there. He was smart and realistic in his own ability with the footy, often being in a spot where he could try and pull off a miracle disposal, but would go for a shorter handball or kick – never as flashy as the other option but infinitely better. This was best highlighted in the third quarter, where he collected a ground ball, had enough room to snap around the body on goal but opted to handpass to Sam Darcy who was running into goal.

#7 Lachlan Rankin (Oakleigh Chargers)
182cm/68kg | 5/02/2003 | Defender/Forward

Splitting his time between the forwardline and backline, Rankin added a touch of class to both lines and demonstrated composure with the ball. He kicked Metro’s opening goal for the game, getting the handball from a pack and kicking it off a step from 45 meters out. His switch into the defensive half worked wonders for Metro, as he set up well for intercept possessions behind the play, where he’d run on with the ball and use it well by hand and foot alike, often spotting up the inside 45 options well and darting his kicks low and hard. Had a great display of workrate in the final quarter, where he tripped up as an opponent side-stepped him on the half-forward line, but ran hard to chase the same opponent and lay a tackle about 25 meters out from goal. 

#8 Darcy Wilmot (Northern Knights)
183cm/75kg | 31/12/2003 | Defender

Whilst not necessarily winning as much ball as he has done in the NAB League of late, he brought his same eye catching and daring dash out of the defensive 50 and kick-ins, causing headaches for Country as they were unable to consistently structure against it. He used the ball well by foot as he didn’t try to blaze away with his top line speed, rather composing himself prior to kicking the ball to make sure it was effective. Wilmot even took time to get it onto the opposite foot when going forward and being pressured on his favoured right side. He looked strong in the air as well, taking some impressive quick reflex intercept marks in the defensive 50.

#10 Paul Curtis (Western Jets)
183cm/73kg | 4/03/2003 | Forward

As a smaller marking target in the forwardline, Curtis was a dangerous option up forward even if overshadowed by Darcy. With his ability to get separation from opponents and take marks, but also his cleanliness below his knees, he’s rather versatile in his approach to getting the ball. His kicking for goal left a bit to be desired at times, but the way he managed to win the ball inside 50 meant through sheer quantity of shots he ended the day with three goals, where he could’ve had four or five more had it not been for inaccuracy. With some polishing of that kicking for goal, there’s no doubt Curtis could be a very serious threat at the next level.

#16 Karl Worner (Oakleigh Chargers)
188cm/78kg | 16/06/2002 | Wing

In arguably his best display for the year, Worner was consistently impactful around the ground, making the wing his own but often getting down deep into defence to assist with his strong marking. That marking was often a headache for Country, consistently strong above his head even in packs and seemingly never being spoiled through the game which gave Metro a level of certainty when kicking the ball to him. He also showed good follow up ball use with penetrative kicking to the advantage of his teammates when moving it forward or laterally, and was happy to take on opponents with his run and carry when applicable.

#19 Braden Andrews (Oakleigh Chargers)
189cm/83kg | 21/02/2003 | Defender/Midfielder

With an injury affected start to the year for the AFL Academy member, Andrews took the trials as an opportunity to remind those that may have forgotten of his skill and strengths. Splitting his game time between the defensive 50 and the midfield, Andrews was impressive in patches across both roles. In the backline, he looked good with his positioning behind the ball, taking some impressive marks above his head and following up with good use by foot, mostly hitting his targets but getting smothered off the boot a couple of times. When getting his runs through the midfield he was a strong body around stoppages, able to win the ball and move through traffic, then handball to release runners going forward.

#21 Josh Goater (Calder Cannons)
190cm/79kg | 2/06/2003 | Inside Midfielder

One of the best performing Metro players across the day, at least in the midfield, Goater pushed his draft credentials higher with some stellar midfield play, especially around stoppages. He did pretty much everything well, demonstrating cleanliness below his knees, even when under pressure, with multiple one hand pick ups on the run and pinpoint handballs to runners in the same motion. He kicked well, balancing how he kicked for the situation, hitting short 45s and switching the ball when it was the best option, but also demonstrating some real dangerous kicking in transition – with one in particular being a 50 meter pass from the wing to the forward pocket. His stoppage work was at its usual high level, able to read the ball off the rucks’ hands better than most opponents and weave through heavy traffic in a way he has little right to, then using those quick hands or kicking to get Metro forward.

#27 Sam Darcy (Oakleigh Chargers)
204cm/73kg | 19/07/2003 | Tall Utility/Ruck

Arguably the highest profile prospect playing across either game, the Western Bulldogs father-son prospect well and truly put himself into pick one conversations, slotting six goals and missing some fairly gettable late shots to prove that he gets enough of the ball when he’s being targeted by his teammates. Darcy’s marking was strong throughout the game, with his reach and overall height meaning he was able to take marks relatively easily, even without getting much separation from his opponents. He made up for the difficulty in getting separation on certain opponents with solid leading patterns, switching direction and turning opponents around with his constant movement which was particularly helpful in transition, as Metro’s damaging ball users moved it quickly. There was a switch of opposition in the last quarter, and with a slower opponent Darcy was able to get separation with more ease, meaning he was able to just lead straight at the ball carrier rather than get carried away with complicating his leads. As mentioned, his marking was superb, but one particular one late in the game, where he got tripped up but still managed to take the mark when falling down perfectly demonstrated just how strong his marking was. A good set shot and able to snap the ball straight through the big sticks when on an angle, it was a great showing from Darcy, and one that’ll get Dogs fans extremely excited.  

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 8

THE 2021 NAB League season rolled over the weekend, with two Northern Academies and Tasmania returning while four of Victoria’s country regions also battled it out. Plenty of draft prospects for 2021 and beyond impressed in Round 8, as the competition draws closer to full resumption. Check out the top performers from all four of Saturday’s fixtures in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS: Round 8 snapshot

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 13.6 (84) def. by TASMANIA DEVILS 14.4 (88)

By: Michael Alvaro

Swans Academy:

#3 Felix Rogers

The busy Swans midfielder proved just that in another outing where his ball winning ability came to the fore. He was all-action at stoppages, getting on the move and finding first touch off the taps despite there being little room to operate. Rogers constantly seemed to be at the drop of the ball, while showing good anticipation with his spread to impact away from the contest. Not only did the midfielder kick two goals, but he also set up multiple scores for his teammates with good ball use on the move. His major in the final term put the Swans ahead, but they were unable to hang on.

#7 Pierce Roseby

Another of the Swans’ productive small midfielders, Roseby showcased his typical ability to get in-and-under, while also running hard to accumulate around the ground. Tasmania’s pressure around the ball made it difficult to cleanly extract and break away, but Roseby did his best to gather on the move and bustle out of traffic. While it was tough going at the contest, the top-ager found the ball in a touch more space when working back or spreading forward. He missed his chance to hit the scoreboard in term two after winning a free kick close to goal, ending with one behind from 25 disposals.

#20 Marco Rossmann

Rossmann was finally able to put forward the potential he previously showcased in what was arguably his best academy outing for the year. With a more permanent run in midfield, the top-ager was able to find plenty of the ball with a game-high 31 disposals and still impacted inside 50 with two goals. He looked classy in possession, using a strong five-step burst to break into space and look to use the ball positively, often pumping the ball long by foot. His two majors came during the second term, with the first a gift via the umpire’s whistle, and the second a really classy snap as Rossmann quickly wheeled onto his left side.

Tasmania Devils:

#1 Baynen Lowe

After missing Tasmania’s last NAB League game through illness, Lowe returned with the Devils and picked up right where he left off. The midfielder was terrific with his pressure and intent around the ball, remaining relevant going both ways and finding plenty of footy. The ground level contest was hot, and Lowe managed to snatch good meterage for Tasmania with his long kicks out of congestion, notching eight inside 50s from his team-high 28 touches. He cracked in hard but also showed clean hands on the inside, while also producing a couple of nice repeat run efforts in transition on the outside.

#4 Sam Foley

Foley was a reliable sweeper across the back half for the Devils, able to read the play and get into positions to force the turnover. He made a few handy intercepts, pressing aggressively and competing either in the air or at ground level to strongly win possession for his side. He pushed up hard between the arcs to then distribute on the rebound, using his run and usually clean short kicking to hit targets further afield. He bombed a touch under pressure, but so too did many others on the day. Foley finished with 22 disposals and three inside 50s in a solid outing.

#12 Jye Menzie

On his NAB League return, Menzie took up his usual forward post and started brightly by kicking the game’s opening goal. Much of his play suited the high half-forward role, with the top-ager able to work up the ground and use his sticky hands on the lead, while also getting back towards goal. He was a key link-up player down the line with such presentation and showed good intent with ball in hand to get it moving quickly, putting Sydney’s defence under more immediate pressure. Menzie also snared the first goal of the final term, drawing the Devils back to within a goal and setting the tone for their last-ditch push towards victory.

GEELONG FALCONS 9.10 (64) def. BENDIGO PIONEERS 7.12 (54)

By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong Falcons:

#11 Cooper Whyte

Again one of Geelong’s most prominent stoppage players, Whyte ended up providing some terrific drive from the engine room. He contributed a lot of his early work from the clinches, dishing out short handballs and getting stuck in at the coalface. Come the second term and beyond, and Whyte began to get going a touch more on the outer and looked to get Geelong on the front foot with driving run and long kicks. He also got his hands dirty in a tackling sense, making for another well rounded midfield performance.

#12 Noah Gribble

Having enjoyed a stint in midfield last time out, Gribble moved into the centre bounces permanently on Saturday and racked up an equal game-high 28 disposals. Credit to his enormous running power and work rate, Gribble seemed to pop up everywhere and won the ball in all areas of the ground. He also did the basics well at the contest, distributing more often by hand and allowing others to be the outside runners. The top-ager came a little unstuck when he tried to bite off a bit more by foot, but looked effective when quickly disposing to those on the move. He almost capped his game with a goal, as his 45m set shot in the final term rocketed into the post.

#28 Mitch Knevitt

The big-bodied midfielder was well and truly in the thick of things early on, as arguably the best player afield during the first half. Knevitt’s tackling and physicality were real features, as he proved combative at the contest and used his size to win plenty of hard balls. He also showed a good turn of speed on the exit at times, while competing aerially to display a couple handy points of difference. He kept his hands free under tackling pressure and flicked handballs out, before spending more time forward after half time and booting a set shot goal in term three.

#60 Toby Conway

The 204cm AFL Academy representative made his NAB League return on Saturday, and showed just why he is considered one of the better Under 19 ruck prospects going around. Conway was simply too big and strong in the ruck, winning a whopping 37 hitouts and dominating that realm. He protected the drop zone with strength and was able to palm down to his rovers’ advantage, before eventually gaining the confidence to snatch out of the ruck on a couple of occasions. In a tick to his work rate and game awareness, Conway worked back onto the defensive goal line when Bendigo took long-range set shots, earning him a contested mark and a couple of rushed behinds. He also marked well when stationed a kick behind the play, which is a good area of development for Conway.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#1 Sam Conforti

Starting in midfield and rotating forward, Conforti was a productive forward mover for Bendigo in his NAB League return. The top-ager did well to stay on the move and collect the ball cleanly in motion, contributing some handy work at ground level. He was forced to work well up the ground to find the ball as a forward, linking his side back towards the attacking arc as he received and ran in transition. Conforti had multiple chances to hit the scoreboard too, with a couple of quick snaps going wide and a second term set shot missing to the near side.

#2 Harvey Gallagher

Gallagher has shown some really nice form for the Pioneers of late, starting up forward in this game before getting to work through midfield. He was a strong contributor at the contest, able to use his speed and strength in tackles to break away and set Bendigo on the front foot. He backed said pace when blazing through the corridor, but also showed some finesse with nice vision and execution by hand in tight spots. Gallagher snared two goals via free kicks after half time, with his second putting Bendigo in front momentarily. His intent and effort were solid in the closing stages, as he looked to make things happen when the game was up for grabs.

#56 Harley Reid

One for the future, Reid is a 2005-born player who has shown some serious talent across his first two NAB League appearances. He is set to feature in the Vic Country Under 17 side this year and has already made an impact at Under 19 level with his explosive traits and goal sense. The 16-year-old started the game magnificently, booting two goals within as many minutes during the opening term. The first was a terrific running snap which showed his eye for goal, and the second came from a pack mark in the goalsquare where he simply read the ball better than anyone else. Reid also showed a knack for the spectacular with his spekky attempt in the same quarter, before bouncing straight to his feet and winning the spill. He went on to snare a third goal after half time, again judging the ball well in flight to mark in a two-on-two situation in the goalsquare. One who doesn’t need many touches to make an impact, Reid promises to catch the eye for years to come if he can keep up such form.

GWV REBELS 16.20 (116) def. GIPPSLAND POWER 6.1 (37)

By: Ed Pascoe

GWV Rebels:

#1 Sam Butler

Butler has been playing some excellent footy this year and this might have been his best outing yet, with the crafty forward/midfielder the most impactful player on the ground. His first quarter really set the tone, kicking two great goals; with the first coming from a nice show of courage going back with the flight before nailing the set shot, and the second showing his forward nous by quickly getting boot to ball in general play. Butler was a handful forward but once the game was won he was moved into the midfield in the second half and despite the impending result, Butler still showed plenty of intent with a lovey chase down tackle in the midfield which was rewarded. Overall, Butler has shown a great mix of flashy brilliance and the ability to do the hard yards and win his own ball. He finished with 27 disposals, seven tackles, six marks, six inside 50s and two goals in a best on ground performance as he continues to build a very strong year.

#3 Charlie Molan

One of the hardest workers in the NAB League, Molan put together a very complete performance this time around, not only showing plenty defensively but also proving to be dangerous with ball in hand as well. Molan has made the wing position his own, using his fantastic work rate and size at stoppages to his advantage. Molan’s ability to get involved multiple times in transition was a key feature of his game, often getting the ball at half-back and finding himself on the end of chains inside attacking 50. He also showed his ability to kick long and accurately with a nice goal from a handball receive at 50m. Although he isn’t the flashiest, his work rate and selfless plays should endear him to his coaches and scouts, and he finished a very strong game winning 26 disposals, eight inside 50s and one goal.

#5 Josh Rentsch

Although he didn’t capitalise on the scoreboard, Rentsch provided a great target for the Rebels going inside 50. He was a constant feature, leading up to cause havoc for the Gippsland defenders who couldn’t go with him due to his size and power – not just on the lead but also at ground level. Rentsch kicked 1.6 with his only goal coming from a nice finish in general play, powering out of congestion. He had many set shots but didn’t miss any by a long way, and his set shot kicking despite the result shouldn’t be a massive concern for clubs. Rentsch was certainly the most dangerous looking tall forward and he also remains one of the prime key forwards in Victoria in general. He finished the game with 14 disposals and six marks, with his marks all very impressive.

#8 Josh Gibcus

The talented defender has had a quieter last two weeks by his standards, but still managed to show why he is rated so highly with his impressive leap and marking ability. Gibcus had a good battle with Jai Serong for parts of the first half but certainly got off the leash once Serong was moved behind the ball. Something for Gibcus to tidy up is his kicking, which has fallen away slightly in the last two weeks and while it’s good that he wants to move the play on quickly, he needs to take more care to execute the kicks to help maximise his rebound ability, as he has no trouble at all intercepting the ball – even marking the return kicks he originally turned over. Gibcus finished the game with 12 disposals, seven marks and four tackles.

#13 Sam Breuer

A change of position worked wonders for Breuer, who has been stationed as a defender all year but transitioned seamlessly into a midfield role against Gippsland. Breuer was a great four-quarter performer and although not the flashiest, he did what was required with efficiency and toughness. Despite not spending much time in the midfield this year, he looked a natural with his ability to read taps and show poise with ball in hand at stoppages, often handballing well and finding targets by foot when in transition. Breuer kicked a nice goal on the siren with a steady set shot on half time and would set up a goal in the third quarter, with his second efforts from a stoppage and tough tackle creating a chance inside 50. This was a promising performance from Breuer and another good back up performance in the midfield could really improve his draft stocks, as he has now shown to be a very versatile and committed player. Breuer finished the game with 30 disposals, seven tackles and 1.2.

#16 Kai Lohmann

The athletic half-forward has looked better and better as the year has gone on and although he hasn’t been able to put results on the scoreboard, his natural traits just make him so exciting to watch, with his dominance in the air and speed at ground level real difference makers. Lohmann was a marking machine, if he jumped at the ball he was a sure bet to take the mark no matter the competition in the air. With his clean hands and natural leap, he might yet take the mark of the year in the NAB League. Although he could be making a play for mark of the year at some point, he almost kicked goal of the year with a stunning piece of play, running and carrying the ball tight on the boundary, taking a bounce and almost snapping the goal. It was a great showcase of his natural athleticism and willingness to take the game on. Lohmann finished the game with a season-high 23 disposals, eight marks and five inside 50s and although he didn’t kick a goal, it seems a matter of time before he starts to really hurt the opposition on the scoreboard.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Cooper Alger

One of the better users of the ball for Gippsland in what was a a dirty day for the team, Alger could hold his head high as he provided plenty of skill and drive from half-back, running hard both ways. Alger’s work rate was rewarded in the second quarter when he would get a mark working into the forwardline, and then slotted the set shot with ease on his trusty left foot. Although not the most prolific for Gippsland with only 13 disposals, he made all of his possessions count with his skill and poise.

#23 Jai Serong

The talented tall, who has spent plenty of time as a forward and midfielder so far this year for Gippsland, would find himself spending time down back later in the game and applying himself surprisingly well in a new role. Serong started the match promisingly up forward with fellow talented tall Josh Gibcus manning up on him in a few contests, with Serong taking a strong contested grab against him in the second quarter. Serong was dangerous up forward, kicking a goal from a holding the ball decision in the first quarter and a classy major in the second, getting boot to ball quickly under pressure in one of the goals of the day. Serong was later moved to defence where he offered plenty of rebound and good skills from half-back. At over 190cm, Serong has shown some great versatility so far this year which could only enhance his draft stocks, and he finished the game with a team-high 18 disposals, seven marks and two goals.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 15.14 (104) def. NT THUNDER ACADEMY 3.8 (26)

By: Declan Reeve

GIANTS Academy:

#5 Angus Curry

The bottom-aged midfielder was a touch too classy for anyone else afield, as he looked convincingly the best ball user when he had ball in hand. He pin-pointed his kicks going forward and hit his handballs well with precision, at times not even turning his head to see his teammate, but putting it to the voice. Was in the right spots around stoppages from the second quarter onwards, where he’d win first possession consistently but sometimes failed to find a way out of the traffic and got caught for another ball up. Showing his game sense however, he adjusted how he approached stoppages as the game went on to start getting the ball out in a bit more space. Tackled well for a player of his size, where he caught a few off guard with his pace.

#7 Matthew Hamblin

The standout inside midfielder for the game, Hamblin was everywhere early on in the game when others were still trying to find their feet a bit, leading to him having the ball on a string. Was prolific around stoppages for a good chunk of the first half, just able to note subtle cues from the opposition ruck to start winning clearances off NT hitouts. Around the ground he was handy, working hard to pressure opponents and force turnovers, able to get the ball off the deck and dispose of it quickly, where without pressure his kicking was reliable, and under pressure he preferred to fire off quick and sharp handballs.

#14 Luke Lawrence

The bottom-aged forward target was the go-to man in the attacking half for GWS, with his leading patterns at a high level, he was often well placed inside 50 to follow up with a shot on goal when he held onto the marks – but did have some trouble with holding onto them at times. He worked hard without the ball as well, laying an impressive tackle in the third quarter where he ran 25 metres to lay it, rightfully being rewarded with the free kick. When he had the ball he generally used it well, not looking to do anything flashy, but always what was right for the team.

#19 Maximus Monaghan

After a quieter first half than you’d expect from the ball winner, Monaghan started to get into the game really well in the second half, with aggression on the ball around the ground that was hard to deal with for NT. Playing similarly to Hamblin, they formed a strong inside partnership, with Monaghan looking faster and more confident using the ball under pressure. What really stood out with Monaghan was how hard it was to move him for the opposition, he took bumps and heavy contact in his stride to hold his feet, not even being knocked off balance.

#24 Sam Frost

In a game that had relatively little defensive half pressure for the Giants, Frost was always switched on, often stopping NT attacks from transition with his aggressive attack in the air and even at ground level, where he wasn’t afraid to back his size and strength to get through packs of players without being brought down, often following up with a long bomb forward. Frost was consistently able to launch his kicks 60 metres, from kick-ins and from outside forward 50 in attempts to score, where distance wasn’t an issue but accuracy needed some polishing. 

NT Thunder:

#2 Andy Moniz-Wakefield

Battled hard all day to be a player constantly with the ball for NT. Often used as a link-up man from defence, he did well to break away from opponents and create separation on the lead to take marks without much hassle. He used that same speed, mixed with his agility, to get around players in tighter situations and follow up with good ball use forward, which unfortunately often went unrewarded.

#27 Tadhj Evans

On what was a hard day for the NT forwards, Evans managed to stand out as a head above the rest with his leap and strong hands as the main forward target, consistently able to hold contested marks or knock the ball in front of teammates to run onto. He used his body well in marking contests, able to nudge opponents under the ball to allow it to go over the back for either himself or a teammate. He looked good and agile at ground level as well, best displayed in the final term where he gathered a ground ball under pressure from two opponents, spun out of their arms and handed it off to a teammate without breaking stride.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

2021 NAB League Boys snapshot: Round 8

THE 2021 NAB League season is slowly returning to normalcy, with four games played across a pair of double-headers on Saturday. Geelong and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) picked up points in all-country showdowns, while Tasmania returned to the fold with a win over the Sydney Swans Academy, and the Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Academy trumped Northern Territory Thunder. Check out the key figures and stats in our weekend snapshot, with Scouting Notes to follow tomorrow evening.

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 13.6 (84) def. by TASMANIA DEVILS 14.4 (88)

IN A SENTENCE:

Tasmania Devils marked a captivating return to the NAB League, winning by four points via a Will Splann goal with six minutes left to play having trailed at the first three breaks.

TEAM STATS:

  • Swans Academy won the handballs (161-133) and tackles (61-55)
  • Tasmania Devils won the kicks (162-146) and marks (62-34)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Marco Rossmann (Swans Academy) 31 disposals, 5 marks, 7 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Felix Rogers (Swans Academy) 26 disposals, 3 marks, 5 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Pierce Roseby (Swans Academy) 25 disposals, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Baynen Lowe (Tasmania Devils) 28 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 8 inside 50s
  • Sam Tilley (Tasmania Devils) 22 disposals, 4 tackles, 2 rebound 50s
  • Jye Menzie (Tasmania Devils) 22 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 2 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Marco Rossmann (Swans Academy)
4 – Baynen Lowe (Tasmania Devils)
3 – Felix Rogers (Swans Academy)
2 – Jye Menzie (Tasmania Devils)
1 – Sam Tilley (Tasmania Devils)

NEXT UP:

TBC.

GEELONG FALCONS 9.10 (64) def. BENDIGO PIONEERS 7.12 (54)

IN A SENTENCE:

Geelong Falcons toppled higher-ranked opposition for the second week running, edging the Bendigo Pioneers by 10 points after giving up the lead in term four.

TEAM STATS:

  • Geelong Falcons won the handballs (121-110), inside 50s (47-41) and hitouts (55-21)
  • Bendigo Pioneers won the kicks (179-157) and rebound 50s (36-33)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons) 28 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons) 28 disposals, 9 marks, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Cooper Whyte (Geelong Falcons) 22 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 6 inside 60s
  • Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) 24 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers) 24 disposals, 5 marks, 8 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 behinds
  • Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers) 6 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons)
4 – Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons)
3 – Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers)
2 – Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers)
1 – Cooper Whyte (Geelong Falcons)

NEXT UP:

TBC.

GWV REBELS 16.20 (116) def. GIPPSLAND POWER 6.1 (37)

IN A SENTENCE:

The GWV Rebels overwhelmed Gippsland Power with 36 scoring shots to seven, returning to the winners list via a 79-point thumping on home turf.

TEAM STATS:

  • GWV Rebels won the disposals (398-245), inside 50s (65-26), and marks (93-55)
  • Gippsland Power won the rebound 50s (49-20), tackles (68-65) and hitouts (43-20)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Sam Breuer (GWV Rebels) 30 disposals, 3 marks, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Sam Butler (GWV Rebels) 27 disposals, 6 marks, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Fraser Marris (GWV Rebels) 38 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Jai Serong (Gippsland Power) 18 disposals, 7 marks, 4 tackles, 5 rebound 50s, 2 goals
  • Max Walton (Gippsland Power) 17 disposals, 7 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power) 16 disposals, 12 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Sam Butler (GWV Rebels)
4 – Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels)
3 – Sam Breuer (GWV Rebels)
2 – Kai Lohmann (GWV Rebels)
1 – Vincent Huf (GWV Rebels)

NEXT UP:

TBC.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 15.14 (104) def. NT THUNDER ACADEMY 3.8 (26)

IN A SENTENCE:

The GIANTS Academy proved far too strong for their Northern Territory counterparts, piling on scoreboard pressure after quarter time and running out comfortable 78-point victors in Blacktown.

TEAM STATS:

  • GIANTS Academy won the disposals (285-198), inside 50s (50-25), and marks (70-63)
  • NT Thunder won the rebound 50s (34-22)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Sam Frost (GIANTS Academy) 28 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 6 rebound 50s
  • Matthew Hamblin (GIANTS Academy) 24 disposals, 7 marks, 1 tackle, 3 rebound 50s
  • Maximus Monaghan (GIANTS Academy) 19 disposals, 2 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s
  • Andy Moniz-Wakefield (NT Thunder) 24 disposals, 7 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 6 rebound 50s, 1.3
  • Lloyd Johnston (NT Thunder) 21 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 1 inside 50, 7 rebound 50s
  • Ronald Fejo Jnr (NT Thunder) 19 disposals, 7 marks, 5 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Matthew Hamblin (GIANTS Academy)
4 – Angus Curry (GIANTS Academy)
3 – Luke Lawrence (GIANTS Academy)
2 – Maximus Monaghan (GIANTS Academy)
1 – Andy Moniz Wakefield (NT Thunder)

NEXT UP:

TBC.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos