Tag: Hayden Young

Dragons dominate revamped state-based AFL Academy

SIXTY-two of the most promising young stars in the TAC Cup will have the chance to undertake high performance coaching and training camps thanks to the revamped AFL Academy program. Previously, the program was limited in number to include players from across the country. Now the AFL Academy will focus on state-based academies instead, to widen the talent pool and provide access to more players across the TAC Cup competition.

Thirty players from both Vic Country and Vic Metro, as well as an additional two from New South Wales – Charlie Byrne and Will Chandler tied to the Murray Bushrangers in the competition – have made the squads, that were published on the TAC Cup website today.

Sandringham Dragons have a whopping 11 players making the 62-player academy – including Country-based Darcey Chirgwin – three ahead of Gippsland Power, who have one more than Oakleigh Chargers. Bendigo Pioneers have six players included in the academy,  while Geelong Falcons, Murray Bushrangers and Northern Knights have five players each. Reigning premiers, Dandenong Stingrays have four, as do the Western Jets, while the Calder Cannons and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels have three – including Rebels’ forward, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan who is boarding at Scotch College.  Eastern Ranges have the one player in Jamieson Rossiter.

According to the TAC Cup website, Vic Country will come together for its first camp from December 9-14 under its new academy coach Leigh Brown (former Gippsland Power head coach), while Vic Metro will first meet for a November 19-December 3 camp under its new coach Brett Allison (former AFL Victoria Talent Pathways Manager – Metro).

VIC COUNTRY

NAME DOB HT WT TAC CUP REGION LOCAL CLUB SCHOOL
Aaron Gundry 17-Feb-01 199 78 Bendigo Pioneers South Bendigo Catholic College Bendigo
Brodie Kemp 01-May-01 193 76 Bendigo Pioneers Echuca Geelong Grammar School
James Schischka 24-Feb-01 190 79 Bendigo Pioneers Strathfieldsaye Bendigo Senior SC
Flynn Perez 25-Aug-01 183 71 Bendigo Pioneers Sandhurst Catholic College Bendigo
Thomson Dow 16-Oct-01 182 71 Bendigo Pioneers Swan Hill Geelong Grammar School
Sam Conforti 15-Mar-02 171 65 Bendigo Pioneers Sandhurst Catholic College Bendigo
Sam De Koning 26-Feb-01 196 78 Dandenong Stingrays Mornington Junior FC Padua College
Bigoa Nyuon 18-May-01 195 84 Dandenong Stingrays Rowville Junior FC Rowville SC
Hayden Young 11-Apr-01 186 79 Dandenong Stingrays Somerville Junior FC Mornington SC
Ned Cahill 11-Jan-01 177 77 Dandenong Stingrays Mt Eliza Senior FC Padua College
Henry Walsh 27-Jun-02 199 77 Geelong Falcons St Joseph’s St Joseph’s College
Cooper Stephens 17-Jan-01 187 70 Geelong Falcons Colac Trinity College
Jesse Clark 23-Feb-01 187 76 Geelong Falcons St Joseph’s St Joseph’s College
Noah Gadsby 12-Mar-02 180 70 Geelong Falcons Torquay Geelong Grammar School
Tanner Bruhn 27-May-02 180 71 Geelong Falcons Newtown & Chilwell Geelong Grammar School
Darcey Chirgwin 25-Jul-01 190 78 Geelong/Sandringham St Mary’s FC Melbourne Grammar
Zach Reid 02-Mar-02 196 68 Gippsland Power Leongatha Wonthaggi SC
Marcus Toussaint 14-Jun-01 199 84 Gippsland Power Inverloch-Kongwak Wonthaggi SC
Brock Smith 13-Mar-01 188 78 Gippsland Power Moe Lowanna SC
Fraser Phillips 15-May-01 184 66 Gippsland Power Warragul St Paul’s Anglican Grammar
Sam Flanders 24-Jul-01 183 81 Gippsland Power Moe Lowanna SC
Leo Connolly 07-Aug-01 180 70 Gippsland Power Moe Lowanna SC
Caleb Serong 09-Feb-01 179 82 Gippsland Power Warragul Geelong Grammar School
Riley Baldi 20-Feb-01 178 75 Gippsland Power Moe Lowanna SC
Nick Stevens 23-Mar-02 190 76 GWV Rebels East Point Geelong Grammar School
Isaac Wareham 24-Dec-01 185 76 GWV Rebels Terang-Mortlake St Patrick’s College
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan 04-Apr-02 193 80 GWV/Oakleigh South Warrnambool Scotch College
Ethan Baxter 31-Jan-02 192 77 Murray Bushrangers Shepparton Notre Notre Dame College
Elijah Hollands 25-Apr-02 187 71 Murray Bushrangers Wodonga Bulldogs Caulfield Grammar
Lachlan Ash 21-Jun-01 186 77 Murray Bushrangers Shepparton Bears Notre Dame College

 

VIC METRO

NAME DOB HT WT TAC CUP REGION LOCAL CLUB SCHOOL
Campbell Edwardes 07-Oct-02 193 77 Calder Cannons Keilor PEGS
Brodie Newman 14-Jan-01 191 88 Calder Cannons Aberfeldie St Bernard’s Grammar
Daniel Mott 01-May-01 182 73 Calder Cannons Brunswick Maribyrnong SC
Jamieson Rossiter 17-Nov-01 190 77 Eastern Ranges Rowville FC Rowville Sports Academy
Ben Major 11-Oct-02 192 87 Northern Knights Diamond Creek JFC Parade College
Ryan Sturgess 16-Nov-01 187 78 Northern Knights St Mary’s JFC Loyola College
Ryan Gardner 22-Mar-01 184 72 Northern Knights Montmorency JFC Montmorency SC
Lachlan Potter 26-Jan-01 184 70 Northern Knights South Morang JFC Mill Park SC
Adam Carafa 22-Feb-01 181 76 Northern Knights Banyule JFC Marcellin College
Samuel Tucker 07-Jan-02 196 84 Oakleigh Chargers Kew Rovers St Kevin’s College
Noah Anderson 17-Feb-01 188 86 Oakleigh Chargers Booroondara Hawks FC Carey Grammar
Dylan Williams 01-Jul-01 185 79 Oakleigh Chargers Whitefriars Old Boys Whitefriars Grammar
Will Phillips 22-May-02 181 76 Oakleigh Chargers Beverley Hills Caulfield Grammar
Finlay Macrae 13-Mar-02 181 64 Oakleigh Chargers Kew Rovers Xavier College
Trent Bianco 20-Jan-01 178 70 Oakleigh Chargers Doncaster Marcellin College
Matthew Rowell 01-Jul-01 178 74 Oakleigh Chargers Booroondara Hawks Carey Grammar
Jack Bell 26-Jan-01 200 73 Sandringham Dragons Old Haileybury FC Haileybury College
Andrew Courtney 06-Jun-01 199 81 Sandringham Dragons Beaumaris FC St Bede’s College
Fischer McAsey 08-Mar-01 195 86 Sandringham Dragons East Brighton FC Caulfield Grammar
Joshua Worrell 11-Apr-01 195 74 Sandringham Dragons Bentleigh FC Haileybury College
Charlie Dean 19-Jun-01 194 86 Sandringham Dragons Collegians FC Wesley College
Hugo Ralphsmith 09-Nov-01 186 70 Sandringham Dragons East Brighton FC Haileybury College
Miles Bergman 18-Oct-01 186 75 Sandringham Dragons Hampton Rovers FC St Bede’s College
Roman Anastasios 09-Jun-02 185 70 Sandringham Dragons Caulfield Grammar Caulfield Grammar
Jack Mahony 12-Nov-01 176 70 Sandringham Dragons St Kevin’s FC St Kevin’s College
Jake Bowey 12-Sep-02 175 60 Sandringham Dragons Cheltenham SC Cheltenham SC
Emerson Jeka 18-Sep-01 197 87 Western Jets Altona Maribyrnong SC
Eddie Ford 21-Jun-02 184 73 Western Jets Yarraville-Seddon Maribyrnong SC
Josh Honey 17-Oct-01 184 79 Western Jets Keilor Maribyrnong SC
Darcy Cassar 31-Jul-01 183 75 Western Jets Keilor Essendon Keilor College

 

ALLIES

NAME TAC CUP REGION LOCAL CLUB
Charlie Byrne Murray Bushrangers Albury
Will Chandler Murray Bushrangers Corowa-Rutherglen

Scouting notes: 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final

WE witnessed one of the all-time great Grand Finals on the weekend, with Dandenong Stingrays holding on by a goal against the Oakleigh Chargers at Ikon Park.

Dandenong Stingrays:

By: Peter Bonadio and Peter Williams

#1 Sam Fletcher

Ball magnet during the grand final always finds a way to get the footy in his hands. Pretty good by foot in his sides win, having a massive 11 disposals in the opening term, and 18 by half-time. Won more than half of his touches on the inside, and just worked hard all day long. Finished the day with a sore shoulder and blood down his face and jumper – his second jumper of the day, having to change from the number one, to the number 61 in the second half.

#2 Hayden Young

Solid defender who reads the play well when the ball comes into defence. Great vision to sense where his teammates are and has the ability by foot to get the footy to them. Has distance by foot to switch play effectively as well. Used the ball very well and won the majority of the ball in close, can play inside or outside and will be a top pick next year. All class.

#3 Jamie Plumridge

Good hands to get the ball out of congestion and find open teammates on the outside. He showed good composure and did well when under pressure. Plumridge finished the game with 17 touches four marks, three inside 50s and three tackles.

#7 Jai Taylor

A quieter game for Taylor, but he did try and break the game open at times. Has that electrifying speed when he gets going though and had a couple of eye-catching moments. Finished with the 10 disposals and two inside 50s.

#9 Zac Foot

Two goals in a grand final, Foot has a great goal sense. He was very lively when up forward and applies a lot of pressure on his opponents. Not only was he good overhead in contests, but something good always seems to happen when he is involved in the passage of play. His best finals game with 15 disposals, three marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and the two majors.

#13 Riley Bowman

One of, if not his best game for the season. Bowman was terrific across four quarters and made the most of his height advantage over the smaller Oakleigh ruckmen. He was dominant at the stoppages and got first hands to it on most occasions, but also did the defensive things right, laying tackles, and putting pressure on the ball carrier. He kicked the opening goal of the game and got the crowd up and about early. He did occasionally rush a few kicks to go for distance rather than accuracy, but overall it was a strong game, and he made his presence felt with some good contested marks.

#15 Toby Bedford

He set the tone early with a great tackle inside 50 and just seemed to find space around the ground winning the ball. At times he danced around opponents and tried to set up plays, and while he was not as effective as his past two finals, still had a few eye-catching moments. He kicked an important goal in the second term to keep Dandenong’s momentum high, he just did not have the four quarter consistency on the day, picking up nine of his 10 touches in the middle two quarters.

#16 Jake Frawley

If there is one image that will stick with Dandenong Stingrays fans from the 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final, it is Frawley charging off the interchange bench to crunch Will Phillips in a bone-crunching tackle that exemplified Dandenong’s intent on the day. Unfortunately he had a mis-kick with the free he won, and his kicking was a bit hit and miss at times, but his defensive pressure and hands in close was good.

#18 Mitch Riordan

He has built some really solid form since returning from injury, and did a few nice things when the heat was on in the game. Early on he took a good intercept mark at half-back, and just used the ball really cleanly both on the inside and out. He does not win a heap of it, but he gets involved around the stoppages and provided good support along with his other midfielders.

#27 Lachlan McDonnell

The stats sheet does not do McDonnell justice for the game he played. While he was quiet early, his long kick off half-back set up a scoring chain to lead to Bailey Williams’ first goal early in the second term. With the game on the line, McDonnell’s second and third terms were very good, creating run and carry, trying to drive the ball forward. His kicking was a treat to watch, and it was his running goal from 50m in the final term that sealed the game – or so everyone thought at the time. Really strong out of defence and would have high metres gained.

#29 Bailey Williams

Had a quiet first term and was beaten on-on-one by Will Kelly, but then started to get going after that. His one kick in the first term set up a goal with a good, deep inside 50. Williams had a chance in the second term and it looked a bit of a mongrel off the boot but it floated through for his first to get the team up and about. He kicked another important goal in the third term, and missed another chance, when Oakleigh were coming at them. He did not have a massive contribution compared to some weeks, but he did kick two goals at important stages.

#58 Will Hamill

Played a really important role in the back half. He took a crucial intercept mark in the dying minutes when he read the play perfectly, floated in front of an Oakleigh forward, snatched the ball from them and kept running to kick it out of the danger zone. His decision to come off his opponent and chop off the inboard kick could have saved a goal, and potentially the match. He won a number of crucial one-on-ones throughout the match, and even coach, Craig Black praised him post-match for his consistency back there under siege. He just has that touch of class, and is a kick-first type player.

#59 Sam Sturt

The draft bolter looked lively early, and actually beat Isaac Quaynor a couple of times on the lead, forcing Oakleigh to switch Quaynor with Charlie Beasley. Sturt not only provided a presence on the lead, but his effectiveness when kicking inside 50 was a treat. He set up a goal for Zac Foot in the first term when he handballed off the deck to the waiting Foot. In the second half he hit the scoreboard, booting two goals, while finding plenty of the football for a leading forward, taking six marks and firing the ball inside 50 on five occasions.

 

Oakleigh Chargers:

By: Craig Byrnes

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins

The tall midfielder was enjoyable to watch, producing an influential first half in particular that garnered 13 disposals. He was strong and clean in congestion, often getting his arms high to release or accelerating with eye catching flair into the forward half. He kicked a great goal in the first term, turning into the arc to finish brilliantly from 45 metres out. He is good overhead too, which is a pretty handy trait for a mid at 193cm, taking two strong marks from opposition kicks. He even spent some time in the ruck late, winning a couple of hit outs to advantage to the surprise of many. The first round prospect fought hard all day for his 19 disposals.

#3 Joe Ayton-Delaney

The exciting half back won his fair share of the ball, rebounding from the defensive arc with flair and vigour as we have become accustomed to. While he is encouraged to take the game on, he uncharacteristically got caught with the ball on occasions. He lost his feet and fumbled at crucial times in dangerous positions, but a lot of that can be applauded to Dandenong’s brilliant defensive pressure. He still had a good offensive outing though, giving his team drive and carry with the occasional evasive trick during the Charger’s final term comeback to end with 18 disposals.

#4 Will Kelly

Started the game in defence as one of Oakleigh’s KPDs, manning the dangerous and athletic Bailey Williams and began in fine fashion. He killed a couple of difficult entrances to the favour of Williams in the first term and consistently read the flight of the ball well. He won plenty of leather in the first half too with 13 disposals, but this is where he sometimes let himself down. Despite possessing a technically correct and attractive kicking action for his size, he often over hit his kicks which led to turnovers, including one that directly became a Dandenong goal. Spent more time up the ground in the second half, including stints in the ruck where he won eight hit outs. He finished with 19 disposals and is a great looking prospect for Collingwood as a father-son selection.

#5 Xavier O’Neill

The smart midfielder had his moments throughout the afternoon, spending time at the stoppages and finding the ball on the offensive side of the contests. He generally used the ball well, but had times when he could have made better decisions going forward. He did create some fast links though, including a long handball through the corridor in the third quarter and a brilliantly won ground clearance in the final term when Oakleigh were fighting back into contention. He finished with 17 disposals and five tackles in what was a solid outing for the Chargers.

#9 James Rowbottom

The usually prolific midfielder was in and around the ball, but struggled to have his usual influence at the stoppages. While he often finds a way to make time slow down in congestion, that relaxed manner saw him holding the ball for too long against the Stingray’s ferocious pressure in the first term and he was chased down. His intensity lifted after that, as he started accumulating ball and taking the first option to create faster link ups for his side. He released some really creative handballs during the final term in particular, nearly all of which ended as Oakleigh scores. Certainly did not disgrace himself, winning 18 disposals in a consistent performance.

#11 Matt Rowell

If you did not know much about the Charger’s bottom-aged star, you should be all over him now as he again proved to be a high priority selection for clubs at the 2019 Draft by being a rare best on ground recipient in a losing team. He is an elite decision maker with ball in hand, a player that creates comfort for his teammates and coaches. While his 31 possessions provided many excellent moments, his clear highlight was a brilliant kick to Dylan Williams inside 50 under extreme pressure. He took the game on in the corridor to get his side back in the game and while that led to some uncharacteristic errors, he was hugely influential in getting Oakleigh close. This kid is a genuine star and a worthy medallist.

#12 Noah Answerth

I really enjoyed the game of the Charger’s skipper, a competitor that was never going to let Dandenong have anything easy in any circumstance. He started at the first centre bounce and often went back to help his defence by sitting in the hole or directing traffic. He produced a big moment in the second term, chasing down the dangerous Toby Bedford deep in defence who looked like snapping a simple goal. He was effective at the stoppages too, using his body to advantage, spinning out of trouble and quickly releasing at one point in the second quarter. He was not far off Rowell and Collier-Dawkins as Oakleigh’s best, collecting 26 disposals, four clearances and six rebound 50s.

#13 Atu Bosenavualagi

The Collingwood Next Generation Academy prospect is giving clubs plenty to think about. He is one of the big improvers in the competition and his AFL attributes are becoming more obvious by the week. He set the early pressure intensity for Oakleigh, making himself known without the ball and being physical towards his opponents. Although it is his attacking play that has really come on in recent weeks. A subtle side step out of traffic to create a goal for Williams gave Oakleigh an early lead late in the first term, while he took a clever mark from behind his opponent later in the first half. In the third term he burned off an opponent to give his side a genuine spark by kicking a bounce and carry goal. He is lively and if he wins 17 disposals like he did on Saturday, he will more than likely have an impact.

#22 Dylan Williams

Another bottom-aged star that had a relevant influence on the close result. Williams continued his outstanding purple patch of goal kicking form to finish with four goals from full-forward. While he only had nine disposals in an underrated one on one battle with Daniel Frampton, he created problems for the Dandenong defender whenever the ball entered his zone. Three of his goals came from left foot snaps or “J-curve” set shots, a skill he already appears to have mastered. His best came from a freakish, almost half-volley pick up from which he swung onto his left again with absolute class. He also smartly went around the corner to set up a goal for Robertson in the opening term and took an excellent contested mark against three opponents in the goal square for his first goal. This latest haul means he has kicked a total of 14 goals for the finals series, a very early indication that this kid has the tools to be a big game player at the top level.

#23 Isaac Quaynor

Probably one of the higher rated players that Oakleigh would have liked to get more out of. Quaynor started the game on Dandenong’s dangerous hybrid forward Sam Sturt, who exposed the Collingwood Next Generation Academy prospect on the lead early. It led to Quaynor being moved off him before the end of the first quarter and he immediately looked more comfortable as the extra defender. With ball in hand he was calm and made good decisions behind the ball, before being moved to the midfield later in the game. He did not get a great opportunity to settle, but we already know what he offers and the Pies will be more than happy to match a bid come November.

#31 Will Golds

The predominantly outside midfielder or wingman consistently found himself with ball in hand, winning it 25 times in a very productive outing. He is a player who loves to be on the move when in possession, whether it is darting through traffic or running to space to create a link up option. He is smart and releases it quickly, often with the next play up the field in mind. He gets in good positions and knows where to find a handball receive, while his kicking was creative despite a missed short pass in the middle that became a turnover during the third term. He did present Collier-Dawkins with a lovely long weighted pass inside 50 in the first quarter that helped earn his teammate a free kick and regularly hit up targets on the run.

#32 Jack Ross

The thick set inside midfielder has been generating a bit of interest in recent times and again produced some good moments in the Grand Final. He impressed when he went back with the flight and then laid an aggressive tackle, gathered the loose ball cleanly and quickly released to start the chain for an important Dylan Williams goal in the first term. He also won an excellent ground ball in the third term that set up Atu’s memorable running goal, again at a vital period to keep Oakleigh within reach. He then got on the end of one to kick a goal that got his side within two goals in the final term. He is a good player and most importantly rose when his team needed it most in an underrated outing to finish with 19 disposals.

#64 James Jordan

The draft bolter of Oakleigh’s midfield started the game on fire, winning 10 first quarter possessions to be one of the best players on the ground early in the contest. He won two extremely clean ground balls during that period, releasing both to the advantage of his teammates. He was having a genuine influence, but certainly quietened as the match went on. He earned a free kick in the final term after putting his head over the ball, but was rarely sighted otherwise after the first break. He ended the game with a respectable 17 disposals and it will be interesting to see where clubs rate him, as there is certainly some talent.

 

Non-Combine invitees who stood out:

#23 Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong) – 19 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s, three rebounds and four clearances – huge contributor in the midfield by the co-captain.

#41 Lachlan Stenning (Dandenong) – 21 disposals, two marks, four clearances, four inside 50s, six rebounds – clean out of defence and stood out throughout with some important rebounds.

#10 Charlie Whitehead (Oakleigh) – 17 disposals, four marks, three tackles, three inside 50s – put pressure in that forward 50 as he always does and could hold his head high.

Comprehensive 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final Preview

IT is the equivalent of Christmas Day for the TAC Cup competition, with the two best teams for the year facing off in a decider. We have the clear benchmark all season, in the Dandenong Stingrays, taking on the red-hot Oakleigh Chargers, who have been in sensational form since all their school kids returned to the team. We take a look at the big game from multiple angles in our Ultimate Preview of the 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final.

 

2018 SEASON REVIEW

1. Dandenong Stingrays – 15 wins, 1 loss, 211%, 60 points
3. Oakleigh Chargers – 10 wins, 5 losses, 1 draw, 151%, 42 points

HEAD TO HEAD

R5: Oakleigh Chargers 11.6 (72) defeated Dandenong Stingrays 9.12 (66) at Warrawee Park
R9: Dandenong Stingrays 13.17 (95) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 6.4 (40) at Shepley Oval

CHANGES SINCE ROUND 5 THRILLER*

*Including extended benches

Dandenong:
IN: Sam Fletcher, Hayden Young, Toby Bedford, Finlay Bayne, Mitch Riordan, Daniel Frampton, Stephen Cumming, Luca Goonan, Matthew Cumming, Sam Sturt
OUT: Jake Carosella, James Hickey, Jarrod Smith, William Geurts, Sam De Koning, Bailey Angwin

Oakleigh:
IN: Will Kelly, Noah Anderson, James Rowbottom, Matthew Rowell, Kyle Dunkley, Lucas Westwood, Trent Bianco, Bailey Wraith, Will Golds, Jack Ross, Matt Warren, James Jordan
OUT: Sam Harte, Lachlan Bugeja, Xavier Fry, Matthew Fewings, Ben Silvagni, Kyle Viccars, Josh May, Daniel Scala, Lachlan Harry, Sam Elliot

 

WHO HAS COMBINE INVITES?

National:

Dandenong Stingrays [6]: Toby Bedford, Riley Bowman, Zac Foot, Will Hamill, Sam Sturt, Bailey Williams
Oakleigh Chargers [7]: Noah Answerth, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Will Golds, Will Kelly, Xavier O’Neill, Isaac Quaynor, James Rowbottom

State/Rookie Me:

Dandenong Stingrays [10]: Stephen Cumming, Sam Fletcher, Jake Frawley, Matthew Gahan, Lachlan McDonnell, Jamie Plumridge, Mitch Riordan, Bailey Schmidt, Jai Taylor, Lachlan Young
Oakleigh Chargers [6]: Joe Ayton Delaney, Atu Bosenavulagi, Kyle Dunkley, Jake Gasper, James Jordon, Jack Ross

Note: Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh) and Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong) have combine invitations but are unavailable due to injury.

PLAYERS

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS:

#1 Sam FLETCHER

Just keeps winning the football every week and puts in a consistent effort. He will join Hustwaite on the inside and look to fire out a number of handballs to teammates in space, and will often look to win that one-on-one duel when given the chance. Does not get to the outside as much as other midfielders, but does all the damage at the coal face, expect him to be prominent in there again.

#2 Hayden YOUNG

The potential number one pick next year looked sore throughout the preliminary final last week and got moved from the back pocket to the extended interchange, so it appeared to be a waiting game on whether he would play. Unbelievable talent with and a hardness at the ball, can play anywhere on the field, but he has been used off half-back with that smooth running and deadly foot skills a highlight.

#3 Jamie PLUMRIDGE

Tipped by TAC Cup Radio’s Matthew Cocks for the Best on Ground, Plumridge has been a consistent performer this year. Plumridge is an outside midfielder who often wins it on the wing and pumps it inside 50 to the tall targets.

#7 Jai TAYLOR

An electrifying speedster, Taylor is one of the fastest players in the competition, and with Toby Bedford, has the capability of breaking the lines and causing disruption amongst the opposition zone. While he does not always do it, he can tuck the ball under the arm and take the game on.

#9 Zac FOOT

Burst onto the scene early in the season to make Vic Country after never having made a previous Stingrays’ squad. He played throughout the National Under 18 Championships, and while he did not star, he still had some impressive moments. Adds a different element to the team because he can win it inside or out, play back, forward or through the midfield and has a high impact per possession when he is on.

#10 Lachlan YOUNG

A defender who loves to rebound and use the ball well, he does not find a lot of it – averaging just 12.5 disposals per game. But almost 25 per cent of his possessions are rebounds, with Young ensuring the ball can clear the defensive zone.

#11 Ned CAHILL

Named as the 23rd player, Cahill showed in last week’s preliminary final just how damaging he could be booting two goals and passed off another couple. Still a bottom-age player, Cahill has emerged as a genuine goal sneak at 177cm. Has to be respected because he just gets to the right positions.

#12 Matthew GAHAN

Has enjoyed a really solid season off half-back earning himself a State Combine invitation. Gahan is a strong ball user and a player who his teammates like getting the ball into the hands of. With Oakleigh’s strong forward line, Gahan will need to be used both offensively and defensively in order to still create drive while restricting one of the many dangerous Chargers’ defenders.

#13 Riley BOWMAN

Is suited to the number one ruck role, but can play forward which is where he is expected to play. Often the Stingrays rotate Bowman, Stephen Cumming and Bailey Williams through the ruck such is their luxury. Bowman’s pure ruckwork is arguably the best of the lot, because he gets his hands to most throw-ins or ball-ups and can palm down to his midfielders. Big men seem to be out of fashion lately, so a big game would be huge to determine where he slots in.

#15 Toby BEDFORD

One of the most in-form Stingrays of late, Bedford has a great mix of offensive and defensive skills, providing line-breaking ability as well as tackling pressure in the forward half. He can kick multiple goals in a game, and pinch-hit in the midfield to break up the game. He offers a different element to the Dandenong midfield, and the Melbourne Next Generation Academy player is one who Demons fans will enjoy watching over the years, with the assumption they match the bid that comes in.

#16 Jake FRAWLEY

A strong midfielder who can play out of full-forward such is his strength one-on-one or in the air. Booted six goals against against Bendigo Pioneers at Shepley Oval playing almost exclusively as a forward. He adds some depth to the midfield and his versatility is important when the big day rolls around.

#17 Finlay BAYNE

Another dangerous small forward who can play through the midfield. Due to the depth in the Stingrays onball brigade, Bayne has found a nice spot in the forward 50 and is good for a couple of goals a game. He is a good mover with good goal sense.

#18 Mitch RIORDAN

Highly rated at the start of the season, Riordan had injury concerns and missed the bulk of the National Under 18 Championships, and has only recently returned in the past month. He can use the ball well, and while he does not win much of it, he can often be found coming out of a stoppage and kicking forward. Athletically he is very good, testing well in the 20m sprint, agility test and yo-yo test, so it is just getting game time into him.

#23 Campbell HUSTWAITE

The Stingrays captain is another player who has been in fine form the past couple of months and seems made for the big stage. He has lead from the front in the TAC Cup finals series and does everything expected of him. Against a strong Oakleigh midfield, his desire and competitiveness will be called upon to match it with the likes of Jack Ross and James Rowbottom. Hustwaite could be a best on ground chance given you know exactly what you will get from him each week.

#27 Lachlan MCDONNELL

Played at half-forward for the start of the season and has progressed onto the wing. Of all the Dandenong midfielders, McDonnell is one of the Stingrays’ most damaging kicks in transition. He is predominantly outside compared to the others, but he finds space and pumps it long inside 50.

#28 Bailey SCHMIDT

The big man has been unlucky not to play more games because he is a damaging presence up forward with great athleticism. He has just landed at a club in a year with ridiculous amounts of talent in the ruck/forward position. Still earned a State Combine invite, and while he has been named on the extended bench, is still one who has been able to show his wares throughout the 2018 season.

#29 Bailey WILLIAMS

The big key forward/ruck looms as the player Oakleigh must stop if the Chargers are to win their fifth TAC Cup premiership. Williams is an athletic monster forward who has a massive vertical leap and can cause plenty of headaches for any opposition defender. His goal kicking has been an issue for two thirds of the season, so he will need to be on target in the game. Expect him to have a bearing on the game, and if he can get an early major and build confidence – watch out.

#32 Daniel FRAMPTON

Has held down centre half-back at times despite standing at just 188cm. Can intercept the ball and averages 3.5 marks per game. The smaller Oakleigh forward line will suit Frampton as it means he does not have to battle against a 200cm monster.

#36 Stephen CUMMING

Starting in the ruck and even though he came off a little sore early last week, Cumming still played out the game and looks set to start in the centre square tomorrow. The big man will rotate with Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams in the ruck and no doubt try and wear down the undersized Bailey Wraith.

#41 Lachlan STENNING

The defender is likely to take a defensive approach on a forward whether it be Dylan Williams, Jake Gasper or Atu Bosenavulagi and try and limit their influence on the game. He is a low-possession player but one who can play above his height of 178cm.

#45 Luca GOONAN

Still a bottom-ager, Goonan was added to the side for the Grand Final on an extended bench. It is hard to push out the strong top-age presence, but he has had some impressive signs this season. He is readymade at 83kg already, and one to keep an eye on for next year.

#49 Matthew COTTRELL

A genuine honest midfielder who you know what you are going to get. Suited to the inside, but has played outside, he just attacks the ball and tries to clear it forward. Has had some impressive games this season and will likely need to beat his opponent this weekend against a strong Chargers’ midfield.

#52 Corey ELLISON

At 191cm and 88kg, Ellison is that medium size who can play tall or small up forward, and actually averages 2.7 goals per game from seven matches. Has been in and out of the team at times because of the strength up forward, if given the chance he knows how to hit the scoreboard.

#56 Matthew CUMMING

Cumming has played predominantly key position defence this season and just tried to beat his opponent one-on-one. Like his brother, he moves well for a 198cm player, but not sure what match-up he has in this match. With Oakleigh adopting a smaller forward line, he will likely play on a player close to 10cm smaller than him, so he must prepare for that.

#57 Reid NANSCAWEN

Named as the sole emergency for the side, he looks to be the one to come in if injury strikes. He has played a bit of everywhere, and held up the midfield during the National Under 18 Championships when Dandenong had absences galore. Is the type that can come in and play his role and will no doubt be waiting in the wings if the opportunity arises.

#58 Will HAMILL

An underrated player in the Stingrays defensive half. Hamill can play through the midfield, but his class and composure off half-back has been a standout of his game. He glides around the field, and while he is not a huge accumulator, he can hurt opposition with nice delivery forward. Will be held accountable with one of many dangerous Chargers small forwards who just find the goals on a regular basis.

#59 Sam STURT

The late developer has burst onto the scene of late after some impressive performances for Peninsula Grammar. He was boosted from a State Combine invitation to a National Combine invitation, and has already showed why he is in hot demand since playing for the Stingrays. He has electric skills, great smarts and knows where the goals are – so damaging.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS:

#1 Riley COLLIER-DAWKINS

A potential first round prospect, Collier-Dawkins has that blistering first few steps that can burn off an opponent out of a stoppage. He has been trialled up forward, but he is his most dominant on the inside, as he showed last week in the preliminary final. If he can use his strength, acceleration and penetrating kick to effect, then the Chargers will have plenty of hurt factor roaming through the midfield in transition.

#3 Joe AYTON-DELANEY

The running defender was unlucky not to get a National Draft Combine invitation after some impressive performances early in the season. He is one that will be in high demand with a good Grand Final and just finds the ball. Uses it well coming out of the backline and has shiny red boots that stand out. A player Oakleigh looks to get the ball in the hands of, along with Isaac Quaynor, in the backline.

#4 Will KELLY

He will have his work cut out for him, regardless if he takes Bailey Williams or Riley Bowman. He often enjoys running off an opponent and providing rebound, but he will need to be tight with the athletic talls. He can also go forward and provide a target if Oakleigh wants to throw a spanner in the works midway through the game. A Collingwood father-son prospect who will be watched closely by any Collingwood contingent that make the trip to Ikon Park.

#5 Xavier O’NEILL

Did not make the final Vic Metro squad, but showed enough throughout the 2018 TAC Cup season to suggest to recruiters he was in their top 50, earning a National Draft Combine invitation. He just does his job each week and is a really solid contributor. He covers the ground well and wins the ball in all thirds of the ground.

#6 Matthew DAY

The former basketballer was unlucky not be thrown a lifeline late last year, and has continued on as a really solid forward prospect as an overager for the Chargers this season. Keeps kicking goals and is strong overhead. A good size for development and one that the Stingrays cannot afford to let off the chain.

#7 Jay ROBERTSON

Did not make the cut at Eastern Ranges hailing from South Belgrave, came across and has been a valuable contributor up forward for Oakleigh. He is a medium tall who just keeps hitting the scoreboard and can fly under the radar with so much talent up that end.

#8 Noah ANDERSON

Another potential number one pick, Anderson is that prototype size for a midfielder, who due to the amazing depth of the Oakleigh midfield, has had the ability to almost play exclusively up forward. He pumps the ball long, can win it inside or out, and knows how to hit the scoreboard – as he did for Vic Metro against Western Australia.

#9 James ROWBOTTOM

The most pure of the inside midfielders, he gives his team a four quarter effort and wins a truckload of the ball on the inside. He is a clearance machine and just finds the ball anywhere on the ground. Dandenong are known for their hardness at the contest, and Rowbottom will be a key contributor for Oakleigh in trying to nullify some of the opposition midfielders.

#10 Charlie WHITEHEAD

A fierce small forward who loves to pressure opponents and just gets to the right positions. He has the capability of kicking multiple goals if given space and has a great goal sense. A pure small forward in every sense, he can push up the ground if the Chargers isolate another forward.

#11 Matthew ROWELL

Another Vic Metro representative in his bottom-age year, Rowell leads by example on the field. He has an uncompromising attack on the ball and is crucial around stoppages, but has had the luxury of playing on the outside, predominantly off a wing. He can play forward and kick goals, as he has the past two finals – kicking the first goal in both games.

#12 Noah ANSWERTH

The over-age captain does not do a lot wrong and can play anywhere on the field. His brother, Kade was best on ground in the TAC Cup Grand Final during Oakleigh Chargers’ last premiership over Eastern Ranges, and Answerth will be keen to put in an equally impressive performance. He made the Vic Metro squad and performed strongly and will leave no stone unturned in getting the most out of himself.

#13 Atu BOSENAVULAGI

Has bolted up into draft consideration after a quieter start to the season. His second half of the TAC Cup competition has been superb, and he is starting to regularly hit the scoreboard, while still applying the defensive pressure he was known for. Has made opposition clubs consider a National Draft bid, with Collingwood able to match if they like him.

#14 Kyle DUNKLEY

Has been on the fringe of getting into the team after spending time with Sydney Swans’ Reserves. With Oakleigh winning its past three games by an average of 101 points, it is a hard team to break into, but the forward will be ready if he gets his chance.

#16 Lucas WESTWOOD

A really reliable defender. With most of the other Oakleigh defenders being offensive players, Westwood adds that defensive hardness and ability to shut down a key opposition forward. He could well be given any number of smalls from the Stingrays who can kick multiple majors.

#17 Trent BIANCO

A skilful player who provides plenty of run and carry off half-back and through the midfield. Expect him to play more on-ball next season, but he has high-end talent and adds to what is a very strong bottom-age core at the Chargers.

#22 Dylan WILLIAMS

The bottom-age small forward is in ripping form, and just keeps kicking goals week-in, week-out. He shared them last week after six snags against Western Jets in the elimination final. He does very little wrong, and after spending time in defence early in the season, Williams’ strength overhead and great goal sense has him as a key player inside 50 for the Chargers. One Dandenong defender will have their work cut out for them.

#23 Isaac QUAYNOR

The running defender takes the game on and has some eye-catching moments. He might have to use his one-on-one ability more than he has had to in the past weeks, because Dandenong’s forward line will make sure he is made accountable. If he can get out and break the lines, using his speed and skill to create run-and-carry, then it will go a long way to Oakleigh winning the match. A Collingwood Next Generation Academy member to watch.

#26 Jake GASPER

The TAC Cup Leading Goalkicker and taking into account post-season goals he is the standalone leader, Gasper has been the most consistent forward in the competition. He has booted goals in every game he has played and his set shot routine is perfect. The Dandenong defence will focus on not letting him get too much air time because he is so smart in that forward 50.

#30 Bailey WRAITH

You have to applaud Wraith, who started as a key defender, but has stood up as an undersized ruck. He is measured at 191cm (though many believe he might be a few centimetres taller), and he has matched up against much taller opponents in the ruck. He will have to play his best game of the season against the Dandenong brigade however, with practically three 200cm rucks with big vertical leaps awaiting him.

#31 Will GOLDS

The most pure outside midfielder for the Chargers, Golds will be the one spreading to the outside and carrying the ball forward when given time and space. He could well match up against Lachlan McDonnell and the pair goes their separate ways, or they run alongside each other. Likes to set up plays forward of centre and has had a really solid finals series.

#32 Jack ROSS

The underrated midfielder from the Chargers has been building consistency very nicely over the past month since returning from school football. He loves the appetite of the contest, but can also spread to the outside and provide long kicks forward. He knows how to find a goal from a stoppage inside 50, and is one of many Oakleigh midfielders who looms as a key player on the weekend and one the Stingrays will put work into.

#33 Matt WARREN

Started the year as a key defender and can play up either end. Had the tough job of manning Max King in the top five pick’s only TAC Cup game and King booted eight goals in that game. At 189cm he has had to play on much taller opponents at times, but continues to battle above his height and weight range. A versatile option if a tall drops out of the Grand Final after being added to the interchange bench.

#36 Charlie BEASLEY

Rated really highly internally, Beasley will have to play taller than his 192cm against Bailey Williams or Riley Bowman. The coach, Leigh Clarke backs him in and he rarely lets him down. Regardless of opponent, Beasley is the type of defender who will stick to the task for four quarters.

#38 Zac HART

Oakleigh’s forward line is harder to break into than Fort Knox, so for the potential Adelaide father-son it has not been easy to find a spot. Hart has been added to the side on the extended interchange bench, and he is a smart forward with good goal sense, but with Oakleigh’s firepower on show the last month, it will probably take an injury for Hart to squeeze in.

#44 Will PHILLIPS

The Under 16s Vic Metro representative has managed to retain his place in the Oakleigh line-up despite it being as strong as it is, playing as the 23rd player. Great skills, good spread and does not seem phased against the bigger bodies, Phillips looks a player for the 2020 National Draft.

#64 James JORDON

Played a couple of games earlier in the season and returned after school football, Jordon has provided good run and carry on the outside. Like Golds, Jordon predominantly is used as a ball carrier with slick skills to take the game on and delivery well inside 50.

 

FATHER/SON AND ACADEMY PROSPECTS

Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays) – Melbourne Next Generation Academy

Atu Bosenavulagi, Isaac Quaynor, Bailey Wraith (Oakleigh Chargers) – Collingwood Next Generation Academy

Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers) – Collingwood father/son

Kyle Dunkley* (Oakleigh Chargers) – Sydney father/son

Zac Hart* (Oakleigh Chargers) – Adelaide father/son

*Extended interchange

 

STATISTICS

Dandenong defence vs. Oakleigh attack

The key in this third of the ground, is whether or not Dandenong’s slick foot skills out of defence and springboard rebound can be used against the massive forward pressure of the Chargers. Atu Bosenavulagi (4.5 tackles), Jake Gasper (4.1) and Charlie Whitehead (3.2) provide the tackling heat, while Dylan Williams (62.8 per cent kicking efficiency), Jay Robertson (60.4 per cent) and Noah Anderson (56.6 per cent) provide the skills going inside 50. Gasper has been the dominant goal kicker this season, sharing the overall competition tally and post-finals has the most goals of any player in the league.

For Dandenong, they have some very nice ball users in the back half, lead by Will Hamill and Lachlan Stenning, while five of their six defenders average more than two marks a game. Lachlan Young (3.1 rebounds), Matthew Gahan (2.9) and Daniel Frampton (2.3) are that wall at half-back, while Matthew Cumming is the athletic key position defender who can share ruck duties. The big question mark will be match-ups as Oakleigh have a small forward line, while Cumming will no doubt be matched up on a smaller player.

Dandenong midfield vs. Oakleigh midfield

Two highly talented midfields will go head-to-head with so many crucial head-to-heads. Dandenong generally loves a contested brand of football, whereas Oakleigh love using their outside foot skills to advantage. In saying that, both sides can still play the other’s game. Stingrays captain, Campbell Hustwaite, Sam Fletcher and Mitch Riordan will provide the inside support, whereas Matthew Cottrell can play inside or out. Lachlan McDonnell is the most outside because he has the best skills of the five onballers, and has provided a crucial link between midfield and half-forward.

Will Golds provides just that for Oakleigh, whereas both Matthew Rowell and Jack Ross are equally as impressive inside as they are outside, and can get forward and kick goals as well. Noah Answerth can also play off half-back or half-forward and hit the scoreboard for the Chargers, while Bailey Wraith has been getting the job done in the ruck despite being undersized. If he can get forward and kick a goal, it adds an extra challenge for the Stingrays. He will have his work cut out for him against the best ruck division in the league.

Dandenong attack vs. Oakleigh defence

Dandenong’s attack is likely to cause a lot more headaches for Oakleigh’s defence than other sides have in past weeks. With Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman both athletic talls, it means Charlie Beasley and Will Kelly will have to be prepared to jump as both Dandenong keys are highly athletic – particularly Williams who is second to none with vertical leap. Jai Taylor and Toby Bedford are two of the quickest players going around, while Sam Sturt and Zac Foot consistently hit the scoreboard.

The great strength with Oakleigh’s defence is its ball use out of the back 50, with Isaac Quaynor, Joe Ayton-Delaney and Trent Bianco all wonderful kicks of the football. Often teams can have at least one liability back in their defence, but there is no player in the back 50 who the Chargers would not feel comfortable with kicking the ball out of the back 50. The challenge for the Chargers defence is they have to expect Dandenong to bring the heat. Forward pressure from the Stingrays is a must, and Oakleigh must be up for that challenge.

Extended interchange of both sides:

The depth on both these benches, particularly Oakleigh’s, is madness. Riley Collier Dawkins could be a first round pick but he sits on the pine, while James Jordon and Xavier O’Neill are crucial cogs in Oakleigh’s midfield. Matthew Day has been a really valuable forward for the Chargers this season, while Vic Metro Under 16s talent, Will Phillips has been very slick with his ball use on the outside and shapes as an impressive talent for the 2020 AFL National Draft. With father-son prospects and sneaky small forwards Kyle Dunkley and Zac Hart waiting in the wings, and the versatile Matt Warren also brought in to the extended team, Oakleigh has plenty of options to head into game day.

For Dandenong, Finlay Bayne and Ned Cahill both provide depth in the forward line and showed they can kick multiple goals, as they did against Sandringham Dragons last week. Corey Ellison has been unlucky this season given the strength of talls for the Stingrays, while Hayden Young could be pick one next season, but came off sore last week and whether he makes the final team is yet to be seen. Bailey Schmidt is another athletic tall who could come in to really stretch the Oakleigh defence, while Jake Frawley kicked a bag of six earlier in the season. Jamie Plumridge has been good on  the outside for Dandenong this season, while Luca Goonan is a prospect to watch for next year. Reid Nanscawen has been named as the only emergency in the team.

WHY WILL THEY WIN?

Dandenong Stingrays: They have been the best team all year and attack the footy with numbers. A fierce intent on the ball carrier, any opposition know that the heat will come and it will depend on how they deal with it. The Stingrays are not a high possession team, and opt for sharing the ball around, but still using the ball long and effective. They have the tall timber up forward to put in the air and allow them to mark it, because no-one is spoiling Bailey Williams if he gets a run at it.

Oakleigh Chargers: They are the most skilful team in the competition who are happy to use short possessions rather than take risks with long kicks, but know when to flick the switch. Often they will use a series of short kicks until a player breaks free and then they use run-and-carry to run down the wings and pick a target out inside 50. Without the height in there, the Oakleigh midfielder put low balls out in front of their teammates to run onto with their speed off the mark, key.

 

WHAT DO THEY NEED TO STOP?

Dandenong Stingrays: They absolutely must bring the heat on the weekend. Oakleigh dominate games when they are allowed to over-possess the ball and just wait until options free up. Dandenong need to ensure that firstly, Oakleigh cannot have free numbers wandering into open space, and secondly, that there is a defensive midfielder who is happy to drop back and fill the hole in front of the Oakleigh forwards. Unlike Dandenong where a 200cm athlete will crash into your back, Oakleigh’s passes inside 50 will be low darts, so the Stingrays need to restrict the free space inside 50 and force them wide.

Oakleigh Chargers: They have to be wary of positioning themselves well inside the defensive 50. They will be playing against much taller opponents who can fly high, and some of their usually offensively-minded defenders might have to do more one-on-one defending. Isaac Quaynor is arguably the best small defender in the league one-on-one and he might be the man to go to Sam Sturt, as Quaynor can play taller and is equally as smart. Bailey Wraith will also have his work cut out for him in the ruck, and while he has been fantastic, when you’re going up against high flying rucks that are towering over you, the goal is to nullify as much as possible.

 

GRAND FINAL HISTORY

The two teams have never met in a TAC Cup Grand Final before, but have been involved in 10 between them. Dandenong has heartbreakingly lost all five of their encounters, two of which exceeded 80 points. For Oakleigh, they have won four out of a possible five attempts, including a goal point to Jack Macrae in 2012 getting them over the line against Gippsland Power.

Dandenong Stingrays:

1997: lost to North Ballarat Rebels by 35 points
2005: lost to Gippsland Power by 15 points
2008: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 81 points
2009: lost to Calder Cannons by 14 points
2013: lost to Eastern Ranges by 112 points

Oakleigh Chargers:

2006: defeated Calder Cannons by 27 points
2011: lost to Sandringham Dragons by eight points
2012: defeated Gippsland Power by one point
2014: defeated Calder Cannons by 47 points
2015: defeated Eastern Ranges by 12 points

 

AFL Draft Central tips

 

Peter Williams

Dandenong Stingrays
BOG: Toby Bedford

Michael Alvaro

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Dylan Williams

Craig Byrnes

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Jack Ross

Scott Dougan

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Jake Gasper

Ed Pascoe

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Dylan Williams

Cameron Ross

Dandenong Stingrays
BOG: Toby Bedford

 

Total Tips:

Dandenong Stingrays 2
Oakleigh Chargers 4

Best on Ground:

Toby Bedford 2
Dylan Williams 2
Jack Ross 1
Jake Gasper 1

Dragons dominate Under 17 All Stars squads

AN eight-player contingent from Sandringham Dragons headlines the Under 17 All Stars match on AFL Grand Final day, which looks at the top young 2019-eligible draftees from across the country. The players are split into two sides – Team Riewoldt and Team Bartel – in an exhibition match on the MCG which will be broadcast from 10am on Grand Final day.

The Dragons have double the amount of players from any other side, with Oakleigh Chargers the next highest with four. Gippsland Power (three) is the most prominent country side, while Bendigo Pioneers, Dandenong Stingrays, Murray Bushrangers, Northern Knights and Western Jets all have two players each. Geelong Falcons had one player selected each, while Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels will not have a representative on the day.

For the other states, Western Australia has the most representatives with eight, while South Australia has six. Queensland and New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) have the most of the Division 2 states with three apiece, while Northern Territory and Tasmania have one representative respectively.

AFL Academy coach Luke Power will lead Team Riewoldt, while South Australian National Under 18 Championships title winning coach, Tony Bamford will call the shots for Team Bartel. Among the number one pick contenders are Victorians Noah Anderson and Hayden Young, South Australian Cameron Taheny and Western Australian Luke Jackson.

Under 17 Futures All-Stars match:

Victoria:

Bendigo Pioneers [2]: Brodie Kemp, Flynn Perez
Calder Cannons [0]: Nil.
Dandenong Stingrays [2]: Bigoa Nyuon, Hayden Young
Eastern Ranges [0]: Nil.
Geelong Falcons [1]: Cooper Stephens
Gippsland Power [3]: Sam Flanders, Caleb Serong, Brock Smith
GWV Rebels [0]: Nil.
Murray Bushrangers [2]: Will Chandler, Lachlan Ash
Oakleigh Chargers [4]: Noah Anderson, Trent Bianco, Matthew Rowell, Dylan Williams
Northern Knights [2]: Ryan Gardner, Lachlan Potter
Sandringham Dragons [8]: Jack Bell, Darcey Chirgwin, Andrew Courtney, Charlie Dean, Jack Mahony, Fischer McAsey, Hugo Ralphsmith, Joshua Worrell
Western Jets [2]: Darcy Cassar, Emerson Jeka

INTERSTATE:

Western Australia [8]: Jack Buller, Rhai Arn Cox, Mitchell Georgiades, Luke Jackson, Trent Rivers, Deven Robertson, Jeremy Sharp, Elijah Taylor
South Australia [6]: Karl Finlay, Will Gould, Jackson Mead, Kysaiah Pickett, Dylan Stephens, Cameron Taheny
Queensland [3]: Connor Budarick, Will Martin, Hewago Paul Oea
NSW/ACT [3]: Liam Delahunty, Tom Green, Josh Rayner
NT [1]: Malcolm Rosas
Tasmania [1]: Mitch O’Neill

Team Riewoldt:

#1 Kysaiah Pickett (Woodville West Torrens) 
#2 Rhai Arn Cox (East Perth) 
#3 Malcolm Rosas (Darwin) 
#4 Connor Budarick (Gold Coast Academy) 
#5 Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons) 
#6 Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers) 
#7 Dylan Stephens (Norwood) 
#8 Mitch O’Neill (North Hobart) 
#16 Jackson Mead (Woodville-West Torrens) 
#17 Deven Robertson (Perth) 
#18 Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power) 
#19 Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers) 
#20 Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers) 
#21 Brock Smith (Gippsland Power) 
#22 Tom Green (Marist) 
#24 Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers) 
#25 Darcy Chirgwin (Geelong Falcons) 
#26 Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers) 
#31 Liam Delahunty (Giants Academy) 
#32 Joshua Rayner (Swans Academy) 
#33 Joshua Worrell (Sandringham Dragons) 
#34 Charlie Dean (Sandringham Dragons) 
#35 Luke Jackson (East Fremantle) 
#36 Andrew Courtney (Sandringham Dragons)

Team Bartel:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea (Gold Coast Academy) 
#2 Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power) 
#3 Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers) 
#4 Will Chandler (Murray Bushrangers) 
#5 Flynn Perez (Bendigo Pioneers) 
#6 Will Martyn (Brisbane Academy) 
#7 Ryan Gardner (Northern Knights) 
#8 Cameron Taheny (Norwood) 
#9 Darcy Cassar (Western Jets) 
#16 Lachlan Potter (Northern Knights) 
#17 Elijah Taylor (Perth) 
#18 Jeremy Sharp (East Fremantle) 
#19 Hugo Ralphsmith (Sandringham Dragons) 
#20 Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays) 
#21 Trent Rivers (East Fremantle) 
#22 Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons) 
#23 Mitchell Georgiades (Subiaco) 
#24 Karl Finlay (North Adelaide) 
#31 Will Gould (Glenelg) 
#32 Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons) 
#33 Bigoa Nyuon (Dandenong Stingrays) 
#34 Jack Buller (Claremont) 
#35 Emerson Jeka (Western Jets) 
#36 Jack Bell (Sandringham Dragons)

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 15 Country

WE braved the chilly weather at Ballarat to take notes on some of the top performers in the Country Triple Header, while tomorrow we will post those top performers from today’s Metro Triple Header. The players were focused on either have received a state combine invitation, represented Vic Country or played in the Under 17 Futures game.

Gippsland Power vs. Murray Bushrangers

Gippsland:

By: Michael Alvaro

#5 Xavier Duursma

By his own accord, Duursma took time finding his feet in this game, but had a real impact on proceedings in the second half. He started off in typical fashion, on the move at stoppages and looking to push the ball forward quickly with his burst and clearance nous, while finding more ball on the outside in the second term. Some of his best moments came through his sheer presence around the ball, with a good bit of harassment in the third quarter leading to an Austin Hodge goal, and another repeat effort almost gifting Noah Gown one. He was clean in tricky conditions and showed his mix of class and toughness with a Worpel-esque hard ball get, shortly after he had evaded an opponent and dribbled through the sealing goal. A good testament to his character was that he told TAC Cup Radio he had to finish shaking hands with the opposition before giving a post-game interview – the kid is a ripper.

#6 Riley Baldi

Fresh off a great showing in the Under 17 Futures game for Vic Country, Baldi continued his impressive form through the midfield. He’s a master extractor, always busy at the stoppages and ever-present at the centre bounces in his long sleeves. He started off well with good attack on the footy, and his courageous marking attempt in the first term almost led to a Luke Williams goal. Baldi also showed he is a good judge of the ball in flight, with numerous marks taken as the ball came from high over his shoulder – one of which led to his highlight for the game in a clever snap from the boundary. He missed a couple more chances to hit the scoreboard, but his work rate to create those opportunities was fantastic to see, with one coming from an intercepted kick-out. It was a consistent showing throughout the day from the bottom-ager, one to keep an eye on for next year.

#9 Irving Mosquito

The Hawthorn Next Generation Academy product was a little quiet throughout the game, but only needs a few touches to have an impact. He showed his typical flashes of brilliance though, handing off to Fraser Phillips for the first goal of the game, flicking out another to Josh Smith before he missed the shot, and taking the ball at speed in the midfield. He spent a good amount of time at the centre bounces, and was close to bursting away for some highlight reel clearances, but couldn’t quite break away.

#11 Austin Hodge

While Hodge didn’t rack up his usual amount of possessions, he managed to have an impact in a slightly different role. The over-ager started off finding a good amount of the footy between the arcs, but looked most damaging later on in a more advanced position. He kicked a nice goal on the run from just inside the 50 in the third term, but he would be disappointed not to have converted the two or three other chances he had in the second half.

#12 Brock Smith

Smith was part of Gippsland’s solid defensive unit, breaking down Murray’s attack and swiftly moving the ball out of danger. His rebounding was good in the first half as he often chose to kick long down the line, despite coughing the ball back up on occasion. While Smith made him earn it, he struggled during the third term to keep Zane Barzen quiet as Murray made a late push, but overall racked up a good amount of footy and did a good job of mopping up.

#16 Josh Smith

Smith was solid in the ruck with plenty of numbers around the stoppages and hitting his targets with his taps. He also worked well around the ground and found the ball in good areas inside 50, but couldn’t hit the scoreboard with two snaps falling short. He still managed to claim an assist for Riley Baldi’s goal with a long bomb into the pocket.

#19 Fraser Phillips

Another Gippsland product that starred in the Under 17s game, Phillips had an influential first half. Sporting two different coloured boots, Phillips booted the first goal of the game with a nice snap. He was front and centre at a heap of stoppages and pushed up the ground from half-forward to win more of the ball. His twists, turns and handball-fakes confused opponents and gave him time to deliver the ball on his left foot. Phillips had a particularly smooth turn in the second quarter which led to an inside 50, but unfortunately looked to have limped off later on.

#23 Noah Gown

Arguably the in-form key forward of the competition, Gown continued his tremendous second half of the season with another three goals. He looked strong one-on-one with solid contested marks and led up hard at the footy all day. Perhaps the most impressive part of Gown’s game was his work rate and physical presence, with a hard-earned holding the ball tackle in the first term followed by an intercept mark from a kick-out, a shepherd which allowed Harrison Pepper to run into an open goal, and repeat digs at the ball to almost claim an overhead kick goal. The unsurpassable highlight of Gown’s day however was his sensational goal from the boundary from about 40 metres out, with a long hoof somehow bouncing its way through the middle.

#25 Kyle Reid

While Reid didn’t have much to do at times, he led the Gippsland defence well and was solid as ever. He did a good job on the dangerous Hudson Garoni in keeping him goalless, while also calmly rebounding out of defence by foot.

Murray:

By: Scott Dougan

#7 Zane Barzen

Barzen started off quietly but was able to work himself into the match after quarter time. He kicked the Bushrangers first goal of the match in the second quarter after taking a strong mark on the lead, showing off his sticky fingers. His leading patterns were superb all day, along with his ability to mark the ball at the highest point, which made it extremely difficult for the Power defenders to stop. Barzen was unstoppable in the third quarter, booting two impressive goals to keep the Bushrangers within striking distance. He was the most dangerous forward on the ground, along with Gippsland Power’s, Noah Gown. Overall, Barzen was outstanding for the Bushrangers, kicking three goals. His versatility and athleticism is what makes him such an exciting prospect.

#12 Lachlan Ash

Ash was involved in a heavy collision halfway through the first and appeared to be sore for the remainder of the quarter. He started to get more involved in the second term when he was awarded a free kick for a brilliant tackle in the defensive 50 on livewire, Irving Mosquito. Due to windy conditions on the day, his kicking wasn’t at his usual high standards, but he was still able to find plenty of the ball, especially in the second half. Ash’s final quarter was his best for the day. He was able to find plenty of space throughout the middle of the ground, putting his speed and agility to good use. He did his best to provide some effective run and carry, which was important for the Bushrangers moving forward. Ash has spent a lot of time across half-back this season but he was able to play the majority of his minutes as an outside midfielder today. Definitely one to keep a close eye on next year.

#18 Hudson Garoni

It was a difficult day for Garoni, with the powerful forward lining up on the in-form defender, Kyle Reid. The lack of inside 50s for the Bushrangers in the first quarter made it near impossible for Garoni to get involved. He worked himself into the match during the second quarter, setting up the first score of the day for the Bushrangers. Garoni displayed good vision with ball in hand and he was able to lower his eyes on multiple occasions to deliver the ball to his teammates on the lead. Garoni competed hard all day, but in the end, had his coloured lowered by Reid.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Dandenong Stingrays

Geelong:

By: Scott Dougan

#8 Ned McHenry

The fiery midfielder was important for the Falcons with his consistent efforts on the contest and his defensive running. He wasn’t one of the biggest ball-winners on the ground but when he won the ball, he did his best to provide some run and carry for his team. McHenry’s pace and agility proved beneficial when it came to escaping congestion and breaking tackles. He finished with 18 disposals and five tackles.

#20 Brayden Ham

Ham was terrific playing across the half-back line for the Falcons and occasionally contributed through the midfield. He found the ball in all areas of the ground and he was exceptionally clean, especially in the wet conditions. Ham demonstrated that he is capable of playing in any position. This season, he has spent time in the forward line, backline and through the midfield, signifying his versatility. His marking was one of the highlights of his game, along with his clean and quick hands in tight.

#22 Sam Walsh

Walsh did what Walsh does best – accumulate plenty of possessions and run hard. Walsh was consistent throughout four quarters, but I thought he was not extremely damaging with ball in hand. In the first term, Walsh kicked an impressive goal on the run in the first term after impacting a marking contest that resulted in a turnover. He played mainly as an outside midfielder but he was able to win the contested ball when needed. Walsh knows how and where to win the ball, in all areas of the ground, which is what makes him such a damaging player. He was able to boot his second goal of the day in the final term, with an impressive snapshot from 35 metres out, keeping the Falcons within striking distance. The possible number one pick finished two goals and 25 disposals, leading all-comers on the ground.

#30 Oscar Brownless

The father-son midfielder was good but still needs to work on his consistency. He worked hard all day to get from contest to contest and showcased his offensive attributes with an exciting running goal in the second term. His defensive efforts were was also a highlight, laying a match-high 10 tackles.

#39 Connor Idun

It was a tough day at the office for the defender, especially in the difficult conditions. Idun played as a forward and with the strong winds and rain, was unable to get heavily involved. Idun is a natural defender and playing him as a forward had an impact on his output. As he develops, Idun will work on his forward craft and will hopefully become extremely dangerous at both ends of the ground.

#41 Cooper Stephens

The bottom-ager was outstanding in close and he continuously released the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. Stephens was not afraid to put his head over the ball and he worked exceptionally hard to apply as much defensive pressure as possible. His tackling was relentless and effective, laying eight for the match. An exciting prospect to watch next year.

#44 Sam Conway

The weather did not suit the big man but he worked tirelessly in the ruck all match. His first quarter was his best of the day, gathering plenty of possessions in all areas of the ground while providing his midfielders first use around stoppages. As conditions worsened after half-time, Conway’s impact was limited but he showed positive signs early on.

#48 Blake Schlensog

The imposing 198cm forward was fantastic in the first term. He had two shots on goal within 30 seconds, with the second shot converted successfully. Schlensog’s presence on the ground and in the air, was clear, taking plenty of strong marks and winning plenty of the ball in contested situations. He shared ruck duties with Sam Conway throughout the day and handed himself terrifically. His influence was limited in the second half but his inspiring first half did not go unnoticed.

#49 Dane Hollenkamp

Hollenkamp spent plenty of time on the highly-rated Stingray, Bailey Williams. Hollenkamp competed well and tried hard defensively, laying plenty of tackles and spoils when required. The highlight of his game came in the second quarter when he laid an important smother on William’s attempted shot on goal. Hollenkamp is still lacking in strength and size and will need to build on his frame before he can have an impact at a higher level. However, his defensive positioning, spoiling and efforts are encouraging.

 

Dandenong:

By: Michael Alvaro

#2 Hayden Young

The bottom-ager didn’t have his most damaging game, but showed glimpses of why he is already so highly touted for the 2019 draft. Young was clean in the contest and ran hard to make as many as he could, with one particular effort in the second term seeing him follow up to meet a long kick he had put forward. His best quarter was the fourth, where he almost managed to snare a goal from congestion with a snap, while finding the ball more and clearing pressure for his side.

#7 Jai Taylor

The wingman was again one of the more calm and effective users for his side, most often by foot. Taylor’s pressure and tackling was also handy, as he came hard off the line to have an impact on the centre bounces. He had a good passage of play in the second term with repeat efforts ending in a shot on goal which missed, but it was a decent measure of his effort throughout the game.

#9 Zac Foot

Based on the opposite wing to Taylor, Foot struggled at time to get his typical running game going. He had an opportunity in the first quarter to make a good start with a running shot on goal but sprayed it at speed, but made up for it in the third with a major after narrowly missing another snapshot at goal. Still, his bursts of speed out of defence were effective, and he gains so much ground when ending them with long kicks.

#10 Lachlan Young

Young made his presence felt in defence with manic attacks on both the football and his opponents – fairly, of course. He is a real competitor, and showed his hard edge with tackles early to set the tone, while carrying on with courageous marking attempts and efforts at ground level. His aggression almost hit a boiling point with a strong sling tackle in the third term, but it was otherwise a solid defensive display from the over-ager.

#12 Matthew Gahan

Gahan was part of the Dandenong’s robust defensive unit, providing a touch of class bringing the ball out of the danger-zones. He was cool in traffic, bursting through it on one occasion in the opening term, and delivered the ball forward via foot on many occasions. He had a good moment in the third quarter with a handy intercept mark and long kick forward which put his side on the front foot.

#15 Toby Bedford

Bite-sized Bedford was industrious from the midfield with plenty of one-percenters fronting his impact. He is deceptively strong and laid a huge tackle in the second term, while working hard to impact as many contests as he could and buzzing around the stoppages. Bedford provided a great releasing handball to Zac Foot for his goal in the third term, and stood up for his teammates when things got a bit heated – he loves a chat.

#27 Lachlan McDonnell

McDonnell started well forward of centre with a holding the ball tackle in the first term to set the tone for his game. He missed out on hitting the scoreboard after a desperate sliding intercept mark in the second quarter, and was then thrown back into defence. It was in the back half that McDonnell showed clean hands in congestion and mopped up really well at ground level. The best example of that was his one-on-one contest with Brayden Ham near his defensive 50 arc, where he brought the ball to ground and battled to get it over the boundary line.

#28 Bailey Schmidt

Schmidt was again solid in his rucking role, providing a good match-up for Blake Schlensog. He made a heap of contests around the ground, both intercepting and providing a target for Dandenong’s next kick up the line. Schmidt also chipped in with a couple of clearances and attacked it hard at ground level.

#29 Bailey Williams

It was an unusually tough day at the office for Williams, who battled hard all game nonetheless. His leap was outstanding, as would be expected, and he took a nice mark on the lead in the opening quarter. Williams also clunked a good contested mark in the following term, playing on immediately and indulging in a bounce, only to have his shot smothered. His repeat efforts and shows of agility were also typically great, but conversion has been a big thorn in Williams’ side and today was no different as he didn’t manage to trouble to scorers.

#58 William Hamill

Hamill was effective coming out of defence by both hand and foot, but it was his assist to Lachie Williams for Dandenong’s first goal that proved his best contribution early on. He also narrowly missed what would have been a memorable goal on the wrong side for a left footer after snatching an intercept mark deep in the 50. Hamill’s work rate was good and he found the ball in all areas, putting in a solid shift.

#59 Sam Sturt

Sturt provided one of the most impressive second games in recent memory with three important second half goals proving to be the difference between the two sides. He could have had more, hitting the post after intercepting a kick-out directed at Sam Walsh in the first term, and giving an opportunity off to Luca Goonan later on. Two of his goals came in the dying minutes, with his snap breaking free from congestion proving to be the sealer, and his goal from deep immediately after putting the icing on the cake. Certainly one to watch come finals and draft time, also loves a celebration.

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels vs. Bendigo Pioneers

By: Ed Pascoe

GWV Rebels:

#6 Charlie Wilson

Wilson was a ball magnet playing through the midfield in the first quarter (26 disposals total) but it was his work forward of centre that he is known for and he showed his outstanding forward craft on multiple occasions. In the midfield Wilson showed good vision by hand at stoppages and often attacked the contest hard. Wilson played predominantly forward after quarter time and kicked two terrific snap goals on either foot which now has him in the lead for the TAC goal kicking. It wasn’t just his goal kicking but his vision and ability to hit targets by foot inside 50 that impressed, hitting up Mitch Martin with a lovely pass in the third term.  

#7 Mitch Martin

Martin was another solid performer for Vic Country in the Under 17 Futures game and he brought that form against Bendigo providing a dangerous option when forward while also going through the midfield and attacking the contest hard ending the game with 21 disposals. Martin managed to kick three goals when resting forward with two set shot goals in the third quarter and a lovely opposite foot snap goal where he spun out of trouble. Martin along with Wilson was very influential and a major reason for the Rebels running away with the game. 

#14 Jed Hill

Hill was a hard worker throughout the day playing through the midfield and going forward on occasion. Hill finished with 19 disposals and six inside 50s showing his ability to drive he ball forward from the midfield. He attacked the contest hard through the middle and laid some heavy tackles. Hill wasn’t accurate around the goals kicking one goal and three behinds for the match. 

Bendigo:

#8 Brodie Kemp

AFL Academy member and bottom ager Kemp was one of Bendigo’s strongest performers playing as a big bodied midfielder while also going forward on occasion he finished with 26 disposals. Kemp played his role well, often getting his hands dirty at stoppages winning the ball at the coalface and cleanly dishing off on many occasions. Kemp’s hands where important at stoppages but also overhead where he took many intercept marks behind the ball while also taking some marks up forward with his goal in the second quarter coming from a nice contested mark. 

#17 Riley Ironside

Coming off a solid performance in the Under 17 Futures game for Vic Country, Ironside was a hard worker through the midfield going in hard at stoppages while also working hard to win the ball in transition.  He finished with 18 disposals for the match. Despite his good work rate, he was let down because of his poor disposals with a lot of rushed kicks at times. It was nice to see him trying to create play across the ground, and consistently go in hard to win the footy. 

#25 Flynn Perez

Also coming off a very good game for Vic Country in the Under 17 Futures last week, Perez was all class often running through the wings and half forward where he showed his great agility and composure with ball in hand with his skills a real standout on either side. Perez is the sort of player that can be real damaging when his teammates can look for him and give him time and space to work his magic. He is certainly one to watch for the 2019 draft racking up another 18 disposals and four inside 50s for the match. 

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 14

ROUND 14 was split across two days on the weekend, and we have included notes from four games we attended, while also looking at some of the draftable players from the remaining two games and how they performed.

Eastern Ranges vs. Sandringham Dragons

By Scott Dougan

Eastern:

#11 Mitch Mellis

The classy bottom-age midfielder started terrifically, finding plenty of the ball on the inside and outside of the contest. Mellis was involved in plenty of promising passages of play when moving the ball forward, especially in the first term when he set up the Ranges’ first goal of the day. He was able to use his speed and agility to escape congestion and his ball use was exceptional. Mellis was consistent throughout four quarters and was one of the best players on the ground, gathering 29 disposals and laying six tackles.

#23 Xavier Fry

Fry was among the leading ball winners on the ground, accumulating 28 disposals, five marks and five tackles. He played in multiple positions on the day but was at his most dominant on the wing and when rebounding out of the defensive 50. Fry’s speed is one of his best attributes and he was never afraid to take the game on. He won most of his possessions on the outside of the contest and due to his high work-rate and speed, he was able to create plenty of space around the ground to make himself an attractive option for his teammates.

#24 Kye Quirk

Quirk has been one of the Ranges most reliable players this season, and Saturday was no different. He played predominately around the contest in the middle of the ground but also drifted across the half-back line throughout the match. Quirk always seems to find himself unmanned around stoppages and is able to receive the ball from his inside midfielders constantly. Quirk can win both the contested and uncontested ball but seems to lack the impact and effectiveness with his disposal at times. Another solid performance from Quirk, amassing 31 disposals, seven marks, six rebounds and three tackles.

#31 James Blanck

The key defender was faced with a difficult task early on, lining up on the Dragons versatile forward and ruckman, James Rendell. Blanck was able to read the play well and his intercept marking caught the eye. His defensive efforts were evident and he was able to spoil the ball strongly when required. He lost an important one-on-one contest in the defensive 50 in the final seconds of the first term but was not punished, with Tom Long unable to capitalise. He drifted forward occasionally and was able to make up for his error in the first term, booting a crucial goal early on in the final quarter. Blanck is an exciting key position prospect and will be one to keep an eye on when he develops physically.

Sandringham:

#6 Harry Houlahan

Houlahan was at his best in contested situations, winning the ball on the inside and feeding it out by hand to the outside runners. Houlahan was clean at ground level, laid some solid tackles and accumulated some very impressive one-touch possessions early on in the second term. He seemed to have injured his lower leg shortly after his good start in the second and was forced to position himself in the Dragons forward line after half-time. He wasn’t able to have the same impact up forward, with the scrappy contest being battled out mainly in the middle of the ground. He had 13 disposals and two tackles.

 #28 James Rendell

Rendell had a massive impact in the first term playing predominately as a ruckman but was also dangerous when moved forward. He had several effective hit-outs across the ground that gave his midfielders first use and he was able to amass plenty of possessions himself. I had queries on his fitness, with the ruckman looking spent late in the first term but he continued to work hard and was able to kick an important goal in the dying minutes. Rendell read the play well and took some strong intercept marks throughout the match – two of his best attributes. He booted the sealer for the Dragons in the final three minutes of the match, capping off a brilliant day for the big man.

#69 Corey Watts

The bottom-age key defender stands at massive 195cm and showed plenty of promising signs down back throughout the match. He was extremely important for the Dragons, reading the play well and taking plenty of intercept marks. Visually, Watts still looks like he’d be more of lockdown defender due to his body frame and size but that’s not the case. He’s extremely athletic, covers plenty of ground and his ball use is regularly reliable. One to watch for in next year’s draft.

 

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Gippsland Power

By: Craig Byrnes

Oakleigh:

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins

The big bodied midfielder did not win huge numbers from the midfield, but it was impossible to miss the impact he had between the centre and forward arc. When he won a centre bounce clearance, he generally exploded from the contest with eye catching acceleration and bombed it deep to dangerous scoring positions. He spent time forward and almost kicked an outstanding long goal from the arc, which just went to the right. He has been having an impact since returning from the championships, but will be looking to finish the season with some higher possession games.

#5 Xavier O’Neill

After earning a draft combine invite last month, there were plenty of eyes on the Oakleigh midfielder and he produced a solid performance, if not prolific. He makes offensive movements happen at a stoppage and is slippery in a tackle, meaning he often finds himself with the ball goal-side of the contest where he can start scoring chains. He is always moving which makes him a good link up option and he runs to get in those positions. O’Neill has some improvement defensively, but could become a value midfield option come November.

#12 Noah Answerth

Running mainly through the midfield, Answerth played a fairly defensive role at the stoppages. He protected the goal-side of his opponents, which restricted Gippsland’s chances of a fast clearance from congestion. It resulted in Answerth absorbing plenty of body contact and he laid a game high 12 tackles because of it. When with the ball he was unflustered and made calm decisions to the benefit of his team. He is an unselfish player who you can truly trust with a specific role.

#13 Atu Bosenavualagi

The Collingwood Next Generation Academy prospect was in and out of the game, but always provided ground defensive pressure when the ball was in his area. He tackles with intent and wants to make his presence known without the footy. He has strong hands, but has some room for improvement with his kicking and decision making.

#17 Trent Bianco

If he wasn’t the best player on the ground, Bianco was certainly Oakleigh’s best. The ball constantly ended up in his hands from half back, where he was able to control the play and utilise his excellent skills. He began or was involved in countless scoring chains and got the ball moving with carry or just great decisions. He was able to get up the ground on occasions too, and have an influence using the ball forward of centre. There isn’t much of him at 178cm and 70 kg, but he counters that with his smarts and class. He finished the game with 40 disposals and had an enormous say on Oakleigh almost getting across the line.

#22 Dylan Williams

Started forward on Reid and took a strong overhead mark in the first term. Had a poor set shot later on, but spent time in the midfield and used the ball well going inside 50. Not a huge impact on the game, ending with 10 disposals and two behinds.

#23 Isaac Quaynor

The highly rated Collingwood NGA prospect has already made a name for himself in the back half and was given an opportunity to show his wares through the midfield on Saturday. He went to the first stoppage and struggled to get his hands on the ball through the first term, eventually giving away a poor free kick to Flanders. Although while in the midfield he was able to still produce one of his great back half strengths, brilliantly reading an opposition kick in the corridor to intercept and quickly move the ball in the opposite direction. He was returned to defence shortly after and immediately looked more comfortable, highlighted by a contested intercept mark in the third term.

#26 Jake Gasper

Gasper is a really interesting prospect after a prolific season on the scoreboard for Oakleigh. He is so dangerous inside 50 with his ability to get in the correct positions, as he showed in the third term with a clean crumb and quality snapped finish. He spent minutes in the midfield and proved to possess nous at the stoppages, winning a clearance and hitting a teammate lace out inside 50 during Oakleigh’s dominant patch. Is not blessed electrifying pace, but makes up for it with sharp touch and hands. He finished a productive day with 18 disposals, four clearances, five inside 50s and two goals.

Gippsland:

#4 Sam Flanders

Despite only winning 13 disposals for the day, Flanders had a big influence on the game through the midfield and especially forward in the final term as Gippsland fought back. He was prominent in contested situations at the stoppages both offensively and defensively, using his explosive athletic traits to charge forward or quickly wrap up an opponent. While his field kicking was occasionally scrappy, the ones he did hit were superb as displayed when finding Gown on the lead before quarter time. Two final quarter goals again proved his match winning ability, including a brilliant set shot drop punt from a tight angle.

#5 Xavier Duursma

The Power skipper was good again, this time in playing a more outside role where he found dangerous space throughout the contest. His kicking and decision making was first rate, especially when entering the forward arc and getting the ball inboard. In the third term he won a difficult ball ground ball on the boundary line before quickly turning to the corridor and finding a teammate lace out like it was second nature. It appeared he was involved in every dangerous scoring chain, ending the day with 29 disposals and eight inside 50s.

#9 Irving Mosquito

‘Mozzie’ is one of those types that doesn’t need a whole heap of the ball to have a huge influence and Saturday’s game was the perfect example. Every time he won the pill, something exciting happened and was generally to the advantage of Gippsland. In the first term he stole a ball from seemingly nowhere out of an opponent’s hands, swung onto his left foot and landed the on the chest of Gown 50 metres away inside 50. Later in the game he produced a brilliant blind turn at a stoppage to create space and superbly find Pepper inside 50 for a vital goal assist. He could have finished off a spectacularly eye catching outing with a long three bounce run goal but just missed to the left. No goals and just 10 disposals, but huge impact.

#16 Josh Smith

The big bodied, bottom aged key position player was offered some relief with the return of Rylan Henkel last week, starting the game in his natural forward role. In saying that, he spent plenty of time in the ruck, won the most hit outs for his side and competed with aggression as we’ve become accustomed to. Did not win much of the ball, but produced one of the game’s best highlights with a towering pack mark on the wing.

#18 Matt McGannon

After receiving a second consecutive draft combine invite, McGannon continued his extremely consistent ball winning form with another 21 touches. Starting generally on the wing, he ran up and down the ground and was used offensively by his teammates whenever the opportunity presented. Lost a ground ball in defensive 50 that turned into an Oakleigh goal in the third term, but made up for it with some determined defensive efforts without the ball, including an important tackle late in the game that earned a vital holding the ball.

#19 Fraser Phillips

The lightly-built bottom-ager is really starting to develop nicely and produced arguably his best game for Gippsland to date. Having produced a couple of impressive games for his local senior side Warragul in recent weeks, that experience against quality senior opposition looks to have yielded further improvement. He started the game on fire, firstly taking a strong mark on the lead before winning numerous possessions in the forward half and using his silky skills to advantage. He finished a brilliant first term with a classy running goal on his preferred left boot. While he had quiet periods for the rest of the game, he popped up again late with a beautifully weighted kick to Flanders deep inside 50.

#22 Rylan Henkel

In his second game back for Gippsland, Henkel is building his form again and was solid against Oakleigh. While he had a tough task aerially against the 102kg Lachlan Harry, he competed at every contest and was especially determined at ground level. His second efforts were noticeable, laying five tackles, winning three clearances and throwing himself at the ball. He took a leaping contested mark and is going to be a vital cog for the Power’s premiership push.

#23 Noah Gown

After kicking consecutive five goal bags, Gown was again prominent in the forward half and is clearly glowing with confidence. His leading patterns are improving with every outing and he has a presence that you can’t teach. He was strong on the lead overhead and can stick a contested mark even when out of position. He’s also developing a knack of being involved when the game is on the line, taking a huge contested pack mark that earned a 50 metre penalty. He missed the set shot that would have given Gippsland the lead, but didn’t miss his second chance. Taking a strong intercept mark on the forward flank, he was fortunate to get a second 50 metre penalty and kicked truly for the match winner. In a purple real patch!

#25 Kyle Reid

Starting the game against the smaller Dylan Williams deep in defensive 50, Reid was solid as always defensively and got to many aerial contests. While he would have liked to have stuck a few more attempted intercepts, he still managed to have a defensive impact and ran to space on the flanks to create another option when Gippsland had possession.

#29 Boadie Motton

The ultra-consistent Motton did not win as much of the ball as he usually does from the wing, but had a heavier contested workload and impact. He collected an equal game high four clearances and really fought hard in tight, but backed that defensively with a team high 10 tackles. While he could not create the space to utilise his elite releasing skills frequently, it was good to see him influence the contest in a slightly different manner.

 

Northern Knights vs. Dandenong Stingrays

By Michael Alvaro

Northern:

#1 Ryan Gardner

The bottom-ager regained some of his early-season form with good doses of dash from the back half. Assuming a starting position on the wing, Gardner worked hard to help out his defence and try to provide some run around the outside of the stoppages in the absence of speedster Lachlan Potter. He commanded the area in the second term under a heap of pressure, and still looked to take the game on despite being pinged for running too far. Perhaps the most impressive part of Gardner’s game was his lateral kicking, as he found a couple of clever options with nice showings of vision.

#16 Tom Hallebone

The raw and rangy tall had a hell of a task set for him, given he was to compete against three Dandenong phonemes is the ruck. While he has improved in the area since the start of the year, he struggled at times against the physicality of Bailey Schmidt and Riley Bowman, and against the athleticism of Bailey Williams. Still, he worked hard alongside Nicholas Barro to thwart their influence, and set up well behind the ball with long clearances coming out of the attacking or defensive 50s.

#30 Justin McInerney

While he has not had an enormous amount of exposure at TAC Cup level due to school footy commitments, McInerney has impressed in each outing with the Knights. This game was no exception, and despite not gathering  a massive amount of the ball, the Marcellin product stood out when he was near it. His speed from the wing is notable, and he showed a good knack for getting back and winning key aerial balls at half-back. With ball in hand, McInerney was calm and delivered some precise passes to keep Northern ticking when on the front foot.

#51 Jaden Collins

While he was not a key feature for Vic Metro at the Under 16 National Championships, Collins looked comfortable in his second TAC Cup outing for the Knights. Along with fellow 16 year-olds Ben Major and Ewan Macpherson, Collins took to the top level with good deal of confidence and calmly booted the second goal of the game with a sound set shot action.  As AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan watched on with interest, Collins produced a solid game playing key forward and showed enough signs to warrant remembering the name.

Dandenong:

#1 Sam Fletcher

It was by no means Fletcher’s best outing, but the Vic Country midfielder still showed glimpses of the form that warranted his call-up. Fletcher’s combination of burst and toughness in congestion allowed him to break clear and push the Stingrays forward. He was also good below his knees and snared a goal in the third term out of nothing with a sharp snap deep in the 50. The only area Fletcher seemed to struggle with at times was his awareness in more open spaces, as he was caught holding the ball and miss-hit a couple of kicks under pressure.

#2 Hayden Young

Young was one who caught the eye in patches with good bits of play throughout the game. The bottom-ager spent a lot of time in the back half where he most notably took a set of two strong overhead marks in the second term. He was another to show good form below his knees as the ball pinged around and was composed under pressure. The one blemish on Young’s game was a costly turnover in the final term with his kick-out nailing Northern’s Joel Naylor, who duly converted the opportunity.

#3 Jamie Plumridge

Probably stiff not to be mentioned among Dandenong’s best, Plumridge went about his business accumulating plenty of the ball in all areas of the ground. Plumridge’s work rate is impressive from the wing, and he was largely effective with ball in hand. While he seemed to be everywhere in the first half especially, ‘Plum’ lacked a damaging edge at times, failing to convert a long-range Jayden Short-esque hand off early on and acting more so as a link between the arcs. Plumridge’s composure and ability to keep his hands up in tackles was also good to see.

#7 Jai Taylor

The cool left-footer was another who played a more patchy game, but was effective when given the opportunity. Taylor’s repeat efforts were commendable, and he did well to flick out releasing handballs when under the pump. Taylor did well to run both ways, with some good pressure acts in the second half.

#9 Zac Foot

Foot’s speed was prevalent as per usual, and he was clean at top speed. The Vic Country stand-out found the ball both bursting from and into congestion, while delivering some smart passes inside 50 to really have an impact on proceedings. At full flight, Foot is hard to stop as he keeps running forward, and is one of the more damaging players in the draft pool

#17 Finlay Bayne 

Bayne was one of Dandenong’s two multiple goalkickers on the day, with both of his majors coming in the third term and helping the Stingrays to pull out to a game-winning lead. Sporting a headband, Bayne could have snared a couple more goals if it weren’t for inaccuracy from set shots in the first half, as he found the ball in dangerous areas. He broke through with an impressive effort from the boundary early in the third quarter, and converted from an impressive overhead mark soon after to cap off a solid day at half-forward.

#23 Campbell Hustwaite 

The co-captain was a key ball winner for the ‘Rays, working hard in-tight to set the tone for his side. Hustwaite’s competitiveness and work rate kept Dandenong in the contest, as he collected the ball well and was quick to his feet when burrowing down. He also managed to find a good amount of the ball forward of centre, marking inside 50 and finding targets of his own. It was an overall solid display, and his hard-earned holding the ball tackle on Northern’s Ryan Sturgess in the final term summed up his efforts.

#28 Bailey Schmidt 

Schmidt is an absolute man-mountain, and used his size well to dominate the ruck contests he attended. The hulking ruck also stood up in the packs and under high balls, while also showing good strength one-on-one when playing forward. He managed to clunk a couple of nice overhead marks, while also showing good form around the ground with clearances and a particularly hard tackle on Stefan Uzelac in the second term.

#29 Bailey Williams 

Williams was at his dynamic best up forward, and had a fair impact on the result with his two third-quarter goals. The mobile big-man roved well and showed good pace when chasing back towards goal, but it is always his marking that makes Williams stand out. His efforts at ground level were really impressive though, with gathers while spinning around opponents and a handy assist in the final term showing his exceptional talent.

 

Western Jets vs GWV Rebels

By: Ed Pascoe

Western:

#17 Daly Andrews

Andrews was the best midfielder on the day making the wing his own in the windy conditions. Andrews was one of the only players throughout the day who would try and move the ball along with speed and dare. A few times Andrews tried to bite off more than he could chew ducking and weaving around opponents, his agility is something to behold but I would like to see him not try and do too much and make quicker decisions. Andrews was a workhorse topping the possession count for the game with 27 disposals which included 10 inside 50s and four rebounds showing his ability to work both ways.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran

O’Halloran had his quietest performance of the year finishing with a lowly 11 disposals although he was not helped with the high amount of boundary throw ins which were near impossible to predict off the tap with the hellish wind. O’Halloran kicked two behinds which did not miss by much but would have certainly rounded out his game a bit better if they had gone through. O’Halloran when he did go for the ball attacked it hard and rarely fumbled.

#38 Buku Khamis

Khamis was impressive across half-back showing of his impressive leap and composure many times throughout the day. Khamis was a spoiling machine in the windy conditions often using his impressive leap to come over packs and kill the ball across the boundary. With ball in hand Khamis was cool, clean and composed with his vision and speed by hand a feature. It certainly was not a good game to showcase his impressive marking and intercept ability but I thought he played the conditions well defending first and foremost and then being creative once he did get the ball.

#39 Stefan Radovanovic

Stiff to not get a invite to the National AFL Draft Combine, Radovanovic reminded everyone of his impressive size and power often steaming through multiple opposition with brute power. Radovanovic showcased his running power with an impressive running goal in the third quarter and an explosive clearance also in the third quarter, when he is up and running he is a hard player to stop. He played mostly in defence before getting some more midfield time later in the game, he finished with 15 disposals for the game .

GWV:

#3 Scott Carlin

Carlin had a shaky start in the windy conditions with a few errant kicks, but bounced back well to be on of the Rebels most composed and skilled players with ball in hand in the windy conditions. Carlin was among the Rebels better ball winners with 21 disposals playing the half-back role, in the second half most players on the ground just blazed away trying to get boot to ball but Carlin took the time to stay composed and pick the right options.

 

Other game notes:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Calder Cannons

Murray:

#5 Ely Smith – The rugged inside midfielder continued his superb form this season with another 32-disposal game, which featured five clearances, eight inside 50s, five tackles and two rebounds.With the recent National Draft Combine invite, it is showing he is coming into serious draft calculations.

#7 Zane Barzen – The exciting forward again hit the scoreboard, booting 2.2 for the game off 15 disposals and seven marks and is building a nice block of form mid-season ahead of the TAC Cup finals series. Another who received a National Draft Combine invitation.

#18 Hudson Garoni – One of his biggest games in terms of possessions, raking in 23 touches to go with 10 marks, four inside 50s and two goals, two behinds. Often seen as more of a mark-kick-goal player, it would be great to see him add that extra string to his bow.

Calder:

#5 Curtis Taylor – After a quiet game the week before, Taylor had a bigger influence on the game against Murray, winning more of the football up the ground, taking in 21 disposals, four marks, five clearances and working hard defensively to record three rebounds to go with his one goal.

#8 Lachlan Sholl – A huge game in the back half, Sholl had the ball on a string, racking up 31 disposals, 11 marks and four clearances to go with his five rebounds and four tackles. Seems an underrated option at the Cannons after a good national carnival with Vic Metro.

#30 Mitch Podhajski – Surely has to be getting some interest now after another huge best-on-ground performance in the midfield. A massive 35 disposals, 10 marks, seven inside 50s and four goals, Podhajski does not do a lot wrong and is right up the top of the over-agers list playing in the TAC Cup.

 

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Geelong Falcons

Bendigo:

#16 Jacob Atley – A typical performance from Atley who was clean in the back half. He finished with 14 disposals, three marks, three tackles in three rebounds in Bendigo’s heavy loss to Geelong.

Geelong:

#20 Brayden Ham – The over-ager put in another terrific performance, nailing five goals from 20 disposals and 12 marks. While he was winning the ball in space, he used his elite endurance to work over his opponents and have a strong game once again. One to keep watching over the next month.

#22 Sam Walsh – Another big game from Sam Walsh, racking up 33 disposals, six marks, four inside 50s, four rebounds and two tackles to be named best on ground. Just keeps doing the right things and is one of the key reasons you can never count Geelong out of the contest.

#30 Oscar Brownless – Won plenty of the ball in one of his higher accumulation games, picking up 27 disposals, four marks, seven clearances, eight inside 50s and five rebounds.

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Round 13

ALL twelve teams return to TAC Cup action this round after a split round 12 saw teams divided up over two weekends.

EASTERN RANGES v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 12pm
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

In the first game of the round, the Eastern Ranges host Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels with both sides having named extended benches. Mihaele Zalac, Thomas Lockman, Xavier Fry and Harvey Chinn are among eight inclusions, while ruck Steven Kapahnke, Chayce Black and Lachlan Kruger are named among the five omissions. GWV have made just two confirmed changes with Connor Giddings and Ben Dodd out, while five players have come in, including forwards Tylar Watts and Josh Chatfield to provide height up front.

Eastern Ranges

B: 38. M. Briggs, 47. T. Hallett-Tauali’i, 20. B. Cardamone
HB: 23. X. Fry, 31. J. Blanck, 57. C. Leon
C: 8. J.  Burleigh, 7. L.  Stapleton, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 25. L. Vassis, 45. M. Zalac, 46. B. White
F: 59. J. Nathan, 18. B. McCormack, 32. F. Smith
R: 58. R. Smith, 24. K. Quirk, 26. C. Norris
Int: 3. H. Chinn, 30. T. Edwards, 5. R. Einsporn, 12. J. Gilbee, 2. A. Kalcovski, 42. T. Lockman, 22. C. Quirk
23P: 64. Z. Pretty

In: M. Zalac, J. Nathan, H. Chinn, F. Smith, C. Leon, T. Lockman, X. Fry, Z. Pretty
Out: C. Tilyard,  L. Munro,  S. Kapahnke,  L. Kruger,  C. Black

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 10. J. Lohmann, 48. J. Cleaver, 44. R. Polkinghorne
HB: 3. S. Carlin, 18. B. Helyar, 24. M. Lloyd
C: 5. H.  Jennings, 27. E.  Lamb, 30. I.  Wareham
HF: 21. I. Grant, 11. J. Chatfield, 6. C. Wilson
F: 14. J. Hill, 20. T. Watts, 2. M. Schnerring
R: 29. P. Glanford, 9. L. Dawson, 1. C. Craig-Peters
Int: 4. B. Annett, 12. A. Gove, 16. E. Harvey, 47. T. Mahony, 7. M. Martin, 26. R. Ranieri, 40. I. Thomas
23P: 42. E. Ajang

In: T. Watts, J. Chatfield, R. Ranieri, A. Gove, B. Annett
Out: C. Giddings, B. Dodd

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 1pm
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

Up the highway, Murray Bushrangers take on Western Jets in the match of the day. The Bushrangers have brought in creative forward, Mathew Walker, as well as midfielder, Dylan Clarke, but Jake Bradshaw and James Butts are among four outs in the team. For the Jets, Jaden Rice and Malwal Maguang are the only two confirmed outs, while David Pantalleresco and Tristan Rudic are two of five ins to an extended bench.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 34. T. Boyd, 59. L. Fiore, 19. J. Boyer
HB: 12. L. Ash, 8. J. Koschitzke, 16. N. Murray
C: 26. R.  Bice, 5. E.  Smith, 13. B.  Frauenfelder
HF: 2. J. Butts, 18. H. Garoni, 10. P. Warner
F: 14. J. Chalcraft, 7. Z. Barzen, 9. M. Walker
R: 35. F. Bollinghaus, 28. K. Clarke, 38. D. Clarke
Int: 6. W. Chandler, 23. M. Marriott, 55. R. Paradzayi, 53. C. Wilson
23P: 51. T. Matthes

In: R. Paradzayi, T. Matthes, M. Walker, D. Clarke
Out: J. Butts,  J. Bradshaw,  L. Whyte,  J. Sanford

Western Jets

B: 48. A. Britten, 37. H. Murphy, 15. M. Hearne
HB: 25. S. Johnson, 38. B. Khamis, 39. S. Radovanovic
C: 17. D.  Andrews , 7. J.  Watkins, 24. J.  Honey
HF: 20. D. Cassar, 31. E. Jeka, 2. T. Rudic
F: 1. J. Hazik, 45. A. Clarke, 49. D. Pantalleresco
R: 47. D. Walters, 12. C. Thar, 33. X. O’Halloran
Int: 18. B. Colley, 8. J. Kellett, 10. S. Kyriazis, 22. O. Manton, 6. L. Rocci, 41. L. Rzanovski, 26. W. Smyth
23P: 44. N. Shaw

In: B. Colley, N. Shaw, D. Pantalleresco, T. Rudic, W. Smyth
Out: M. Maguang, J. Rice

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 2pm
Preston City Oval, Preston

Both Northern Knights and Gippsland Power have welcomed back some important players for their clash at Preston City Oval. The Knights have lost a number of players to school football, with the outs made up of Vic Metro ruck Tom Hallebone, as well as Justin McInerney, Patrik Della Rocca, Adam Carafa and Kye Yodgee. Ryan Sturgess, Harrison Grace, Ryan Gardner and Joel Naylor are among eight inclusions on an extended bench. For the Power, ruck Ryan Henkel comes into the team, as does Tyrone Hayes, while Marcus Toussaint is the only confirmed out at this stage.

Northern Knights

B: 11. R. Sturgess, 33. J. Randall, 22. M. Wild
HB: 4. T. McKenzie, 28. S. Uzelac, 5. L. Potter
C: 25. J.  Davies, 10. B.  Bell, 1. R.  Gardner
HF: 7. H. Grace, 18. S. Brazier, 40. N. Mayne
F: 24. R. Bowkett, 9. C. Simonsen, 27. J. Lucente
R: 19. N. Howard, 13. S. Philp, 17. J. D’Intinosante
Int: 35. K. Agosta, 37. K. Brandt, 51. J. Collins, 12. J. Naylor, 32. I. Rossi, 15. O. White, 44. C. Wild
23P: 52. J. Trudgeon

In: R. Sturgess, H. Grace, R. Gardner, N. Mayne, K. Agosta, J. Collins, J. Naylor, K. Brandt
Out: K. Yodgee,  T. Hallebone,  P. Della Rocca,  J. McInerney,  A. Carafa

Gippsland Power

B: 7. B. Patterson, 25. K. Reid, 15. R. Sparkes
HB: 1. T. Hayes, 14. T. Hourigan, 12. B. Smith
C: 18. M.  McGannon, 28. H.  Hood, 29. B.  Motton
HF: 36. M. Bentvelzen , 33. B. Thorson, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 8. B. Beck, 23. N. Gown, 9. I. Mosquito
R: 16. J. Smith, 11. A. Hodge, 5. X. Duursma
Int: 4. S. Flanders, 22. R. Henkel, 40. Z. Hurley, 19. F. Phillips, 35. J. van der Pligt, 32. L. Williams, 45. A. Young
23P: 34. J. Hume

In: R. Henkel, T. Hayes, F. Phillips, J. Hume
Out: M. Toussaint

 

CALDER CANNONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 11.30am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Moving onto the Sunday games, both Calder Cannons and Dandenong Stingrays have named extended benches for their clash. Calder has brought in AFL Academy member, Curtis Taylor and the likes of Ben Rigoni, Anthony Righele and Mohammed Abou-Eid among 12 inclusions. Fellow AFL Academy member Jack Bytel is out with injury, with forward Josh Kemp, Sam Graham and Harrison Minton-Connell among nine outs. For the ladder-leading Stingrays, Bailey Schmidt and Daniel Frampton replace Matthew Cumming and Corey Ellison up either end in the side, while Finlay Bayne and Hayden Young are big inclusions for the visitors.

Calder Cannons

B: 9. C. Barton, 38. B. Newman, 43. L. Cavallaro
HB: 48. S. Ramsay, 23. D. Hanna, 8. L. Sholl
C: 27. T.  Browning, 30. M.  Podhajski, 3. I.  Moussa
HF: 44. N. Gentile, 12. J. O’Sullivan, 19. B. Rigoni
F: 42. N. Croft, 5. C. Taylor, 32. M. Simpson
R: 59. J. Middleton, 1. D. Mott, 53. M. Abou-Eid
Int: 51. W. Jury, 52. B. Reddick, 29. J. Riccardi, 55. A. Righele, 39. L. Sultana, 37. D. Torcia, 13. N. Walsh
23P: 18. S. Shorten

In: M. Simpson, D. Torcia, J. Middleton, B. Reddick, S. Shorten, M. Abou-Eid, N. Walsh, N. Gentile, L. Sultana, C. Taylor, B. Rigoni, A. Righele
Out: P. Mahoney,  J. Taylor,  H. Jones,  H. Minton-Connell,  L. Johnson,  J. Bytel,  J. Martin,  J. Kemp,  S. Graham

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 12. M. Gahan, 32. D. Frampton, 41. L. Stenning
HB: 2. H. Young, 5. A. Paterson, 10. L. Young
C: 9. Z.  Foot, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 7. J.  Taylor
HF: 49. M. Cottrell, 29. B. Williams, 3. J. Plumridge
F: 17. F. Bayne, 28. B. Schmidt, 16. J. Frawley
R: 13. R. Bowman, 1. S. Fletcher, 58. W. Hamill
Int: 6. J. Barker, 36. S. Cumming, 45. L. Goonan, 27. L. McDonnell, 57. R. Nanscawen, 25. J. Triep
23P: 48. J. Stuart

In: L. Goonan, B. Schmidt, H. Young, D. Frampton, L. Young, J. Stuart, F. Bayne
Out: E. Cahill, B. Angwin, M. Cumming, L. Williams, C. Ellison

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 1pm
Central Reserve, Colac

Geelong Falcons return to Colac this weekend and are hosting Oakleigh Chargers, with both sides taking a very different approach to team selection. AFL Academy member, Ed McHenry is the only out for the Falcons, while Jack Grigsby and Keidan Rayner are the two confirmed ins. Oakleigh have unsurprisingly been hit hard by the return of school football with Vic Metro players James Rowbottom, Will Kelly and Joe Ayton-Delaney among a whopping 11 confirmed outs. There is some good news for the Chargers, with AFL Academy defender, Isaac Quaynor returning to the team and has been named on a wing. The likes of Bailey Wraith and Daniel Scala are also among the 14 inclusions.

Geelong Falcons

B: 31. C. Cartledge, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 21. L. Smith
HB: 40. J. Clark, 39. C. Idun, 20. B. Ham
C: 7. C.  Harris, 6. D.  Madigan, 2. S.  Torpy
HF: 10. B. Mensch, 42. H. Spiller, 22. S. Walsh
F: 1. J. Dahlhaus, 48. B. Schlensog, 13. H. Whyte
R: 44. S. Conway, 30. O. Brownless, 41. C. Stephens
Int: 9. B. Morton, 32. F. Parish, 3. K. Rayner, 25. L. Taylor
23P: 29. B. Miller

In: J. Grigsby, K. Rayner
Out: E. McHenry

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 56. M. Fewings, 30. B. Wraith, 76. H. Leonard
HB: 35. X. Fry, 80. T. Graham, 27. J. May
C: 23. I.  Quaynor, 1. R.  Collier-Dawkins, 11. M.  Rowell
HF: 13. A. Bosenavulagi, 7. J. Robertson, 26. J. Gasper
F: 8. N. Anderson, 22. D. Williams, 6 . M. Day
R: 65. L. Harry, 5. X. O’Neill, 12. N. Answerth
Int: 43. P. Bohan, 2. L. Bugeja, 66. N. Dempsey, 20. F. Elliot, 25. D. Scala, 28. O. Simpson, 42. K. Viccars
23P: 40. B. Jepson

In: T. Graham, N. Dempsey, L. Harry, I. Quaynor, P. Bohan, B. Wraith, M. Day, M. Fewings, D. Scala, B. Jepson, H. Leonard, J. May, K. Viccars, F. Elliot
Out: J. Rowbottom, N. Bryan, K. Dunkley, W. Golds, T. Bianco, W. Kelly, C. Whitehead, J. Ross, H. Mastras, C. Beasley, J. Ayton-Delaney

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 2.30pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons have just made the casual 17 changes for the Dragons’ clash with Bendigo Pioneers. A massive 20 players have been included in a side which is almost a completely different side to the one that fronted up against Geelong Falcons in Round 12. With school football returning, the likes of Alastair Richards, Angus Hanrahan, Will Kennedy, Joe Griffiths, Harry Houlahan and Anthony Seaton will be missing from the side. In their place, George Grey, Ryan O’Meara, Andrew Courtney, Jai Florent, Tyson Milne and Corey Watts are among the long list of inclusions. For the Pioneers, James Schischka headlines five inclusions, while Braydon Vaz and Jeremy Rodi are among four confirmed outs for the Pioneers.

Sandringham Dragons

B: 14. R. O’Meara, 56. J. Hannah, 16. J. Paul
HB: 55. J. Cowden, 22. C. Millar, 69. C. Watts
C: 50. T.  Deane-Johns, 10. S. Sofronidis, 25. O. McMaster
HF: 3. T. Fogarty, 58. K. Yorke, 11. N. Stamatis
F: 39. J. Florent, 28. J. Rendell, 1. T. Long
R: 59. A. Courtney, 7. L. Stocker, 13. T. Brimble
Int: 36. M. Bergman, 67. J. Brazionis, 66. R. Byrnes, 24. H. Ferdinand, 47. T. Milne, 42. T. Murray, 40. M. Scott
23P: 35. G. Grey

In: M. Scott, T. Long, J. Cowden, H. Ferdinand, G. Grey, J. Paul, R. O’Meara, C. Millar, J. Hannah, A. Courtney, J. Florent, T. Milne, T. Deane-Johns, O. McMaster, M. Bergman, T. Murray, J. Brazionis, K. Yorke, C. Watts, T. Fogarty
Out: H. Ralphsmith,  F. McAsey,  J. Griffiths,  J. Mahony,  W. Kennedy,  L. Witts,  J. Bell,  A. Seaton,  A. Richards,  J. Denborough,  S. Forbes,  N. Burke,  J. Worrell,  C. Dean,  H. Houlahan,  A. Hanrahan,  J. Le Grice 

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 26. C. O’Shea, 24. N. McHugh, 2. J. Williams
HB: 16. J. Atley, 32. W. Wallace, 20. J. Schischka
C: 3. L.  Marciano, 43. H.  Lawrence, 51. B.  Waasdorp
HF: 17. R. Ironside, 46. L. Tenace, 49. O. Perez
F: 15. L. Caccaviello, 34. R. Clarke, 27. M. Lias
R: 54. M. Christensen, 5. N. Wheeler, 25. F. Perez
Int: 53. W. Allen, 39. D. Clohesy, 37. C. McCarty, 33. J. McHale, 28. C. Vick
23P: 50. N. Kay

In: D. Clohesy, C. McCarty, N. Kay, W. Wallace, J. Schischka
Out: E. Roberts, K. Brown, J. Rodi, B. Vaz

Weekend previews: National U18 Championships – Round 4

IN what will be a big five days for the most talented Under 18s in the country, the National AFL Championships continue tomorrow in the first of two double headers in Victoria. Tomorrow, teams clash at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong before reconvening next Wednesday at Etihad Stadium. Vic Metro has the bye tomorrow, while Vic Country plays its final game of the series in Geelong.

ALLIES VS. SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Friday, June 29, 2.10pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

The Allies come into this clash after a good performance against Vic Metro where they narrowly fell short in the dying minutes. Jacob Koschitzke was one of the most impressive, restricting potential number one pick Ben King to just one goal – unfortunately it was the match winner. His job does not get any easier this week, with a potential match-up on likely number on pick Jack Lukosius. He will look to work in tandem with Dirk Koenen – who also played well in the last match – likely to take fellow tall Hugo MunnFraser Turner was the Allies’ best in the last game and he could line-up on AFL Academy member and potential first round pick Connor Rozee, while on the inside, Connor McFadyen joins Tarryn Thomas and Chayce Jones against the A-grade midfield of Izak RankineLuke Valente and Tom Lewis, with Jackson Hately rotating between midfield and forward. Kieren Briggs and bottom-agers Thomas Green and Mitchell O’Neill are others who have impressed in the championships thus far.

In defence, Riley Grundy and Will Gould have been impressive and will likely be given the jobs on Caleb Graham and Nick Blakey, while Mathew Walker provides a medium-tall option in attack, with plenty of smalls creating havoc at ground level. Jez McLennan has looked good this carnival in defence, while Hayden Sampson has shown promising signs in attack and through the midfield. The attacking end for South Australia is unbelievable, with Lukosius and Munn joined by high-flying overager Oscar Chapman who returns to the team, while clearance machine Boyd Woodcock makes his debut for the Croweaters. Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy member Kai Pudney leads the strong depth on the bench with Ben Jarvis and Kade Chandler – others who have impressed at times this carnival.

South Australia head into the game as deserving favourites, but given the Allies were able to push Vic Metro all the way and South Australia was largely challenged by Vic Country, anything is possible in this game. A win to South Australia sets up a tantalising match with Vic Metro next week in what would decide the 2018 National Under 18 Championships title.

 

VIC COUNTRY VS. WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Friday, June 29, 4.40pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

In the second game of the double header, the two sides without a win do battle to open their account in the National Under 18 Championships. Vic County has lost all three of its games thus far and will want to end the carnival on a high, while Western Australia can finish off with two wins if it can topple Country and then the Allies next Wednesday. After losing to South Australia by 89 points in the opening round, Western Australia were much improved at home against Vic Metro. In this game, the exciting Jason Carter returns to provide some speed on the wing, joining a talented Black Swans outfit that will be without Jarrod Fazioli who booted three goals against Country in last year’s National Championships. The midfield of Luke FoleyDeven Robertson and Luke English is a consistent base, while Ian Hill and Rylie Morgan are always dangerous up the forward end. In defence, Jake Pasini and Louis Miller come into the team, while Regan Spooner and Damon Greaves will be hoping to continue their form.

For Vic Country, Murray Bushrangers midfielder Ely Smith receives the call-up to replace the injured Mitch Riordan, and will be hoping to back-up his 37-disposal game in the TAC Cup last weekend. Smith is joined in an extended side by teammates Zane Barzen and Hudson Garoni, while Gippsland bottom-agers swap spots with Brock Smith coming in and Caleb Serong heading out. Connor Idun and Kyle Reid have been consistent in defence and will want to finish the carnival with a positive note taking on the likes of Dillion O’Reilly and Tyson PowellTom Berry will have a strong challenge against Hill, while Laitham Vandermeer and Hayden Young will look to create run out of defence. Ely Smith joins Sam Walsh and Sam Fletcher in the midfield, while the forward set-up of Oscar BrownlessNed McHenry and Xavier Duursma seemed to provide opportunities last week, with Brodie Kemp coming into the mix for his first game.

Scouting notes: Vic Country vs. Vic Metro

VIC Metro triumphed over Vic Country in their third round clash of the National Under 18 Championships. We had six people taking notes on the game, with Craig Byrnes, Scott Dougan and Peter Williams covering Vic Country, and Cameron Ross, Ed Pascoe and Michael Alvaro taking a look at Vic Metro. Here are their opinion-based scouting notes.

Vic Country:

#1 Will Hamill (Dandenong Stingrays)

Hamill started the game in defence and was unfortunate to give away a one-on-one free kick to Smith in the goal square early. He provided a couple of efficient releases from traffic, but was relatively quiet in the first half. Took a nice intercept mark in the third quarter and got it out to Duursma with a stylish left foot. He played further up the ground as the game went on and won an outstanding ground ball on the half forward flank, diving to the contest and gaining possession.

#2 Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons)

The number one pick contender continued his outstanding championships to arguably be best on field in a losing side. He started the game on fire, winning 10 first quarter possessions which were highlighted by a classy goal from 45 metres. He really is a true all-round midfielder, winning the ball inside before spreading and creating an option in space. In traffic he finds gaps that others don’t, often wrong footing opponents and creating room for his teammates. He is good overhead too, taking a strong intercept mark in the third term before hitting Flanders lace out inside 50. He fought to the end and lead by example all day, finishing with 29 disposals and five clearances. He is a star.

#3 Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays)

Starting the game inside 50 as a small forward, Bedford showed some fancy footwork on occasions but struggled to get into the game in the first half. Although late in the third quarter he was moved up the ground to the stoppages and created a real spark. He won a couple of hard balls in traffic and released each to advantage, before his defensive efforts were rewarded with a holding the ball free kick. He broke from a centre bounce in the final term and almost set up a goal with a long kick inside 50.

#5 Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power)

The Gippsland Power skipper played an excellent game behind the ball against South Australia last week, but was given an opportunity in the midfield against Vic Metro and flourished. He started in the centre, won the first clearance and did not look back for the rest of the day. He creates offensive space from the stoppage and often kicks long inside 50 to the hot spot with speed. While he missed two corridor kicks in the second term, Duursma takes the game on with educated risks. He could have kicked one of the goals of the day after winning the ball in the centre, kicking it on his non-preferred left boot inside 50 to Williams and followed it up to get the ball back, but couldn’t finish off his good work. Duursma finished with 19 disposals in an eye catching display.

#6 Laitham Vandermeer (Murray Bushrangers)

Started the game on the wing and was involved in stoppage rotations throughout the game. Had an uncharacteristic turnover early on, but was lively throughout the day and ran hard in both directions. He showed great acceleration by burning off Sholl on the wing and broke away from a centre clearance too. While his offensive traits standout, he is desperate defensively and will throw his small frame into any situation. Unlucky not to end up on a list last year.

#8 Ned McHenry (Geelong Falcons)

Starting the game as a high half-forward, it took McHenry 15-20 minutes to get into the contest, but by quarter time was one of the most influential players on the ground. An opportunistic snap goal got him going, before running down Radovanovic inside 50 to set up his second goal of the quarter. His defensive pressure was elite and tackling genuinely vicious at times, it was a role you could see him mastering at the next level. He created opportunities for his teammates too, being the provider for Brownless’ freak banana goal. Unfortunately he did miss a crucial set shot in the fourth quarter, which could have kept the Vic Country pulse beating.

#10 Zac Foot (Dandenong Stingrays)

Foot did not quite begin the match as he would have liked, missing a target inside 50 and grasping a difficult mark that ended up being a running goal to Smith. He got better as the game went on, getting in ball winning positions, but struggled to find the space to utilise his outside strengths. A disappointing set shot in the third term and a missed dribbled goal late finished a day for the talented Stingray that could have been more fruitful if not for missed opportunities.

#11 Zane Keighran (Bendigo Pioneers)

The talented cricketer was part of the midfield rotations and had to do some heavy work when at the stoppages. He pushed forward in the second quarter to take a strong overhead mark, but could not convert the gettable chance. He made up for that miss to nail a critical set shot when the game was heating up in the third term. He was in and out of the contest, but made his defensive presence known when required.

#12 Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power)

Serong spent the majority of the game playing on the half-forward flank and occasionally drifted through the midfield. He imposed himself on the contest and was not afraid to put his head over the ball. He always found a way to get involved, even though he was not having the biggest influence. Serong was kept quiet in the second and third quarters and spent some time on Ayton-Delaney, who limited Serong’s impact. He found more of the ball in the last quarter, putting his kicking skills to good use by hitting multiple targets with both feet. Serong is not eligible for the draft until next year. 

#13 Thomas Berry (GWV Rebels)

Berry started in the defensive 50, where he matched up on the creative Curtis Taylor. Taylor ended up with three goals for Metro, but two of them came when Berry was not his direct opponent. Berry’s repeated efforts and competitiveness were one of the highlights for Country. He never gave up on the contest and worked tirelessly to lay several solid tackles. His defensive work was superb, constantly spoiling the ball away in one-on-one contests, where he was rarely beaten. But Taylor’s footy smarts and continuous leads in the forward half proved difficult for Berry to stop.

#14 Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power)

The 16 year-old from Gippsland Power provided some real X-Factor for Country inside the forward 50, booting two goals. Flanders was Country’s most dangerous forward and proved to be a difficult matchup for Metro defenders. His leading patterns were unstoppable, beating his opponent on multiple occasions. When the ball hit the deck, he showcased his clean skills, agility and speed. Flanders also spent some time throughout the midfield, winning the ball on the inside and outside. He is an extremely powerful player who works just as hard defensively as he does offensively. Something good always seems to happen when Flanders gets the ball.

#16 Jake Frawley (Dandenong Stingrays)

Frawley played predominately as an inside midfielder and was not able to have much impact on the game. He spent time on Smith and Bytel at stoppages and displayed the potential to win his own ball in tight situations. Just like most inside midfielders, Frawley will need to work on his foot skills. He had the chance to kick a running goal late in the last quarter, but was unable to capitalise, shanking the kick out of bounds.

#17 Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

The bottom-ager from the Dandenong Stingrays impressed me with his composure, sticky hands and outside run. He got off to a ripping start, accumulating plenty of disposals and taking some noticeable intercept marks. His accurate left foot was one of his best assets, and he rarely turned the ball over. The most eye-catching passage of play came when Young competed in a one-on-one contest on the wing during the second quarter. He lost the battle, but quickly won the ball back with a huge diving smother. Young was much quieter in the second half after plenty of positive signs early on. 

#18 Mitch Riordan (Dandenong Stingrays)

Riordan began the match on the half-back flank, where he gathered some early disposals and rebounded effectively. He took a quality intercept mark in the second quarter but turned it over with a poor kick moments later. He was involved in a marking contest with Curtis Taylor inside 50 where his lack of defensive positioning was exposed. Unfortunately, Riordan suffered a hamstring injury during the third quarter and did not return to the ground.

#19 Sam Fletcher (Dandenong Stingrays)

The inside midfielder went head to head with Collier-Dawkins at times and battled hard all day. He continually threw himself at the contest, winning the ball in tight situations, and releasing it by hand to his teammates. His impact on the game was limited however.

#20 Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons)

Stephens started in the defensive 50 where he made a couple of nice spoils. He was unable to amass many possessions, which resulted in Stephens being moved up forward and through the midfield in the second half. His third and fourth quarters were his best of the day and he became more involved and influential as the game progressed. Stephens is another player who is not eligible until next year’s draft.

#25 Kyle Reid (Gippsland Power)

Opposed to Rendell early and a multitude of smaller options throughout the game, Reid was strong throughout the four quarters. He showed a good penetrating kick out of the back 50 and applied shepherds both in the defensive half and on the wing. He laid a strong tackle on Collier-Dawkins in the second term tight against the boundary to force a throw-in, and then had a great run down the wing in the third quarter, taking a couple of bounces, drawing an opponent and releasing the handball well. He won plenty of the ball off half-back while keeping a close eye on his opposition. The smaller but quicker opponents such as Collier-Dawkins and O’Halloran got him on the lead, but he was solid otherwise, and provided equal offensive and defensive pressure.

#29 Bailey Williams (Dandenong Stingrays)

A very quiet game by his lofty standards. Williams rotated between the ruck and up forward and continually contested in the air. He did not manage to bring down a mark, which is rare for Williams, but he brought the ball to ground for crumbers. He had a number of clean hitouts on the wing, but his marking and the delivery inside 50 to him was not working as well as it could.

#30 Oscar Brownless (Geelong Falcons)

Had the highlight of the day with a fantastic banana in the pocket late in the third term. Brownless gathered the ball, and instinctively snapped it off a step and it sailed home, keeping Vic Country in the contest. Otherwise most of his work was done in close up the forward end, providing good body work around the stoppages and was able to use his strength to stand up in a tackle and handball clear in the middle of the ground.

#34 Scott Carlin (GWV Rebels)

Just the eight touches for Carlin who had a quiet outing, but is another player who can hurt you with very few touches. Two possessions in particular were superb, pin-point passes in between opponents to hit-up a teammate over a short distance in the middle. Had a couple of inside 50s as well, roaming through the middle.

#36 Riley Bowman (Dandenong Stingrays)

One of the most impressive Country players, and probably the standout tall on the ground. He started at full-forward and rotated with Williams in the ruck. He dropped back into defence in the second term and put good body pressure on King and Rendell to cause a spill, and not long after ran hard to mark inside 50 and slot the goal from long range. He got better as the game went on, offering up good second efforts and laying a great tackle. His disposal over short distances was good too, with a great pass to Foot inside 50, as well as quick hands through congestion in the middle.

#38 Blake Schlensog (Geelong Falcons)

Had some good glimpses, but overall had a quiet game. Just the five touches for the big man who played forward and showed good hands. He went for a number of marks, but did get pushed off a bit by the stronger bodies. Schlensog also drifted into defence and took a strong mark deep in the square.

#39 Connor Idun (Geelong Falcons)

Played a really strong role on King in defence, often not giving him an inch. He was good one-on-one and matched him in athleticism, keeping him to just the two goals – both of which were marks on the lead. He had no trouble thumping a high ball clear in a pack situation in the second term, and wore King like a glove. He spread well in the final term to mark at full-back and switch play, pushing up the ground and creating drive where possible, working well with Reid in defence.

 

Vic Metro:

#2 Joe Ayton-Delaney (Oakleigh Chargers)

Had a good second half where he clearly lifted. His aggression and willingness to take the game on stood out. Ayton-Delaney won more of the football and spread well taking good marks and covering the ground from defence to attack.

#3 Zak Butters (Western Jets)

Outstanding game from Butters who had a huge impact from the start to finish. Had a great first quarter. One standout piece of play was when he “crumbed” the pack and had an opportunity to score himself, yet he didn’t blaze away, instead hand-balling it to a teammate for an easy goal. Other pieces of play that stood out was a terrific decision to look inside and hit Collier-Dawkins with a perfect kick, a desperate attempt to win the footy where he crashed the contest head first; and an outstanding decision to turn on a dime and look inside, then switched the ball across the wing, and “opened up” the Country side that ended up in a shot on goal for Taylor. Butters brought fantastic energy to his side, especially when Country were making their run.

#4 Rhylee West (Calder Cannons)

One of the best players on the ground. The game didn’t start well for West, giving away a 50 metre penalty in the first 5 minutes, but from that moment on, he was fantastic. West had a brilliant piece of play at a centre bounce, where he read and roved the tap, and broke free from the contest, taking a bounce before kicking it long into the forward line. He shrugged off a couple of tackles, which assisted him in winning two clearances, before he got caught holding the ball attempting it a third time. Made an interesting decision not to attempt a set shot from 45 metres out. Attempted the fake set shot give off (made famous by Jack Riewoldt) to Bytel, that didn’t pay off and ended up out of bounds. He made up for this by using his peripheral vision to hit Gardner with a handball and shot on goal while being slung to the ground. West’s ability to absorb the tackle and still distribute with his hands was terrific. West would have Western Bulldogs fans extremely excited and for good reason. He looks as though he will fit in well into the AFL.

#6 Curtis Taylor (Calder Cannons)

A really mixed bag for Curtis Taylor today. After pulling a kick poorly in the first quarter, he kicked his first in the second quarter. This kick was quite lucky to go through after a poor ball drop, but luckily for Taylor, the ball swung favourably through the goals. A moment in the second quarter he would have liked to have taken back was when he took his eyes off the ball when he should have marked it easily. However, on his very next opportunity, Taylor made up for it, taking a strong mark going backing back into a pack knowing that he was going to be hit. Taylor was one of the most dangerous forwards all day, and his three goals were important on a day when King was relatively quiet.

#7 Angus Hanrahan (Sandringham Dragons)

Had a quiet first three quarters but was arguably the best player on the field in the final term. The Sandy Dragons forward played higher up the ground and was able to show off his superb foot skills.  Hanrahan delivered a beautiful low pass to hit Rowbottom at half-forward, and the decision resulted in a Taylor goal. His amazing last quarter was capped off when his perfect kick resulted in King’s set shot goal from 55 metres out.

#8 James Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers)

Had a typical performance expected of the big ball-winning midfielder. Worked really hard on the inside and complemented the work of Smith, Answerth and West, recording four clearances and also pumping the ball inside 50 on four occasions. Importantly he laid countless tackles and ensured the opposition always knew he was there, creating a presence at the coal face.

#10 Xavier Fry (Eastern Ranges)

A quiet game, Fry had the six touches and limited impact. He still has the speed and ability to do damage, and does not need many touches to hurt the opposiion.

#11 Ryan Gardner (Northern Knights)

Gardner’s manic attack on the footy was fantastic. In the second quarter he went in head-first in heavy traffic to win a ball in dispute for his team. Showed guts to stand under the footy before getting crunched and clung onto the mark. Gardner knew it was coming and knew it would hurt but did not back down. Tough player who proved to be clean and calm under pressure.

#12 Tom McKenzie (Northern Knights)

McKenzie was instrumental in Metro’s win where he topped their disposal count (23) playing a sweeping role at half-back. McKenzie was a constant feature over the four quarters taking intercept marks and breaking through the Country defence with some nice long kicking and his quick hands under pressure were also a feature. McKenzie also did well to push up the ground where he hit multiple kicks inside 50, rarely making a mistake with his disposal and he really showed good football smarts on several occasions.

#13 Lachlan Sholl (Calder Cannons)

Sholl spent most of his time on the wing where he provided a good link-up especially forward of centre where he was able to kick inside 50 several times with his best kick inside 50 coming in the second quarter. His disposal was sloppy at times in the last quarter, but he worked hard on the wing to take some nice marks and he tried to move the ball forward and he worked hard for his 13 disposals.

#15 Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons)

Smith was instrumental in the first quarter kicking two goals. His first came from attacking the contest and having a run to the 50m arc and kicking a lovely long running goal. The second came from a free kick close to goal where he kicked truly. Smith did not have big numbers in the first half but he certainly lifted after the main break to finish with 20 disposals. His last quarter was exceptional where he attacked the ball hard at stoppages and released well by hand. His third goal came from a ripping tackle where he would earn a free kick and then a handy 50m penalty to put him within scoring range. His second efforts were also impressive, especially in one passage of play in the last quarter which showed his tenacity at the contest.

#16 Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers)

The 19-year-old has mostly played as a defender for Metro over the championships, but he found himself up forward a few times, kicking two goals. His first goal came in the first quarter with a nice lead and set shot goal and his second came from a holding the ball free kick where he would kick a nice long set shot goal from 50m. Answerth would continue to work hard in the second half, finishing the game with 21 disposals which was the second most for Metro. He had a good mix of winning the contested ball while also working hard to link up with handballs.

#18 Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets)

The Metro captain O’Halloran made the most of his opportunities playing as a forward, kicking two nice goals. The first goal was also the team’s first which was a classy running shot at goal. His second came from a fantastic contested mark in the last quarter which was his best quarter where he was able to work into the midfield and show his tenacity and attack on the ball which he is mostly known for this season.  It was not just his attack at the contest, but also his smarts around the ground that were telling, including a smart tap at half-forward leading to a forward entry for Metro.

#19 Jack Bytel (Calder Cannons)

Bytel worked hard in the midfield laying seven tackles and winning 11 disposals, it may seem like a low number but he injured his elbow very early in the last quarter. Bytel had some nice moments winning some good clearances in the third quarter where he also earned himself a shot at goal with a nice tackle, although he would miss the set shot. His handballs at stoppages were good as usual, but with his kicking often a criticism of his game, he hit a nice left foot pass in the first quarter.

#20 Alastair Richards (Sandringham Dragons)

Richards did not get a lot of the ball (7 disposals) but he still showed plenty of exciting signs in defence with his run and carry. In his first game for Metro he was looking to impress early with a nice run and dash at half-back although he would not hit the target he wanted with the kick. Richards showed a willingness to work hard with a nice kick-in from defence where he would quickly run hard to try and receive the ball. His run and carry again stood out in the third quarter with a nice running bounce and long kick from defensive 50.

#23 Buku Khamis (Western Jets)

Khamis backed up last weeks solid game with another good performance showing the same standout traits as last week. His first quarter was sensational with his clean hands and slick disposal catching everyones eye. He did everything you want from a defender with a good mix of defensive efforts and effective rebounding, he made a great chase on the wing in the first quarter and he laid a great tackle in the second quarter. His second half was not as prolific, but he still used the ball well and played his role to finish with 18 disposals.

#25 Stefan Radovanovic (Western Jets)

The Western Jets skipper assumed his usual role down back and looked comfortable alongside TAC Cup teammate Khamis in a well oiled Metro defence. While he was caught holding the ball by McHenry to gift the Country gun his first goal, Radovanovic started well with a couple of good defensive marks deep in the 50. He found himself as the last man in defence on occasions and used his solid frame well in one on one situations, while also looking to take the game on when he could. Radovanovic accumulated at a slower rate than usual on the day, but was a reliable contributor to Metro’s solid back six when called upon.

#26 Riley Collier-Dawkins (Oakleigh Chargers)

Collier-Dawkins started in the centre bounce and played a good amount of the game in the midfield, but by no means dominated the clearance stakes as the Metro coaches would have intended. A prototype modern day midfielder, the Oakleigh Chargers prospect also spent long periods playing deep forward, but it was his drive from the midfield that provided the more effective scoring threat. While he did not trouble the scorers in the first quarter, Collier-Dawkins proved the catalyst for a couple of early goals with some good run and a clever kick inboard to set Metro on the right path. He took an impressive contested grab in the second term and slotted his only goal for the game from the resultant set shot. While he was quiet in the third term, ‘Dawk’ bounced back in the last with some good work below his knees and a centre clearance we’re sure to see more of.

#27 Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers)

The Collingwood father-son prospect provided a cool head in defence for Metro, chiming in with some vital intercept marks, spoils, and rebounds. Somewhat unlike his father Craig, Kelly is quite athletic for his size and looked sharp both below his knees and in the air. The Charger also has a good tank, which allowed him to add counter attacking to his game and he looked smooth in transition, using the ball well moving forward. He looks to be more comfortable with each passing week, which will no doubt excite Collingwood fans leading up to the draft.

#29 James Blanck (Eastern Ranges)

Blanck was rock solid on debut at full-back, doing all the right things as Metro’s last line of defence. He had a few shakey moments early on with some clangers by foot but recovered well to finish as arguably Metro’s most effective defender. Blanck did not necessarily have one or two clear highlights, but more so a package of important plays with an array of composed overhead marks and last ditch spoils saving the day for his side. The epitome of his day was a desperate tackle on Zac Foot in the final term to cap off a solid National Championships introduction.

#34 James Rendell (Sandringham Dragons)

It was not the biggest day for Metro’s key forwards, and Rendell had his work cut out for him as he acted as a foil for both Ben King up forward and Joe Griffiths in the ruck. While his Country opponents ultimately had decent games, Rendell played his role for the winning team and showed an impressive work rate to both find the ball and get to contests over many parts of the ground.

#36 Ben King (Sandringham Dragons)

Coming off an excellent outing in Metro’s Championship opener, King was a little more quiet this time around by way of a shutdown role from Country’s Connor Idun. Operating deep forward for most of the game, King looked at his best when leading up the ground and finding space from the Geelong Falcons skipper. His two goals came from beautiful looking long set shots in the first half, and he also managed to create an assist for Noah Answerth along the way. Known for his overhead marking, King took until the third quarter to land his first real clunck of the day in tough, swirly MCG conditions.

#37 Joe Griffiths (Sandringham Dragons)

Griffiths was forced to put his full athletic ability to use against the formidable Country ruck duo of Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman, and he held his own in an honest display. The overager was good at ground level and showed impressive hands when flicking the ball out in-close. While the leap of Williams gives most ruckman trouble, Griffiths used his body well around the ground to effect the ruck contest. His only real blunder for the day was a comical throw in an uncontested ruck contest, which lead to a shot on goal for Country.   

Metro surge on despite Country challenge

VIC Metro has kept its unbeaten streak at the 2018 National AFL Under 18 Championships alive after surviving a late scare to overcome rivals Vic Country by 26 points at the MCG yesterday. Vic Metro booted the first three goals of the game, including two to Sandringham Dragons captain Bailey Smith, before Geelong Falcons duo Sam Walsh and Ed McHenry combined for Country’s three goals in the opening term.

A five goals to one second term looked ominous with Vic Metro seemingly running away with the contest, holding a 27-point lead at half-time. Country refused to give in however, booting four of the next five goals to draw within a kick in the final term, before Metro kicked away again, booting the final four goals of the game to run away with the 13.6 (84) to 8.10 (58).

Smith finished the game with three majors, as did Curtis Taylor who looked the most damaging forward on the ground. He slammed the door shut with a set shot midway through the final term and showed plenty of X-factor throughout the match. Overager Noah Answerth, potential number one pick Ben King, and Metro captain Xavier O’Halloran each booted two goals.

For Country, McHenry missed a few gettable shots after his opening two majors in the first term, while Sam Flanders was the other multiple goal kicker with two majors, but the Goal of the Day belonged to Oscar Brownless who snapped a perfect banana from the tightest of angles in the third term off a step. Bendigo Pioneers’ mid/forward Zane Keighran also scored a goal on debut after narrowly missing one earlier in the game.

Both Smith (20 disposals, four clearances, five tackles and three inside 50s) and Rhylee West (20 disposals, five clearances, two tackles and three inside 50s) were crucial in the midfield, working hard with Tom McKenzie (23 disposals, 12 marks and six rebounds) and Answerth (21 disposals, four marks and six tackles) finding plenty of the football and getting it forward. West in particular was important in close, while Smith provided great run down the field. Taylor (13 disposals and eight marks) was the beneficiary of the strong Metro midfield, while James Rowbottom (20 disposals, eight marks, four clearances and four inside 50s) was also solid, as was Eastern Ranges’ defender James Blanck (11 disposals, six marks and five rebounds) in the back 50.

Walsh (29 disposals, three marks, four tackles, five clearances, and six inside 50s) was clearly the standout player on the day, dominating from start to finish and stamping his authority as the best midfielder in the 2018 draft crop. He was ably assisted by McHenry (17 disposals, three marks and 10 tackles) and Gippsland Power captain Xavier Duursma (19 disposals, six marks, five tackles, five clearances and seven inside 50s) – of whom the latter narrowly missed two shots running into goal. Flanders (13 disposals and four marks) and Hayden Young (13 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s) would have caused a number of recruiters to take note for next year, while ruck Riley Bowman (10 disposals, three marks and 20 hitouts) and key defender Connor Idun (restricted King) were also impressive in their respective roles.

Both sides had wounded players from the clash, with Mitch Riordan injured again – he injured himself in the opening game of the carnival – while Jack Bytel also left the field and looks set to spend time on the sidelines.

Vic Metro now get a week’s rest from the National Under 18 Championships, while Vic Country face Western Australia on Friday when they meet at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong. Metro then play the final game of the tournament against South Australia on Wednesday, July 4 – in what will likely decide the overall title – while Country have the bye in the final round.

VIC METRO        4.1    9.1    9.5    13.6 (84)
VIC COUNTRY    3.1    4.4    7.6    8.10 (58)   

GOALS
Vic Metro: Smith 3, Taylor 3, Answerth 2, King 2, O’Halloran 2, Collier-Dawkins
Vic Country: McHenry 2, Flanders 2, Walsh, Bowman, Brownless, Keighran

BEST 
Vic Metro: Smith, West, Taylor, McKenzie, Answerth, Rowbottom
Vic Country: Walsh, Duursma, McHenry, Flanders, Bowman