Tag: Isaac Wareham

NAB League Boys team review: GWV Rebels

AS the NAB League season finals approach, we take a look at the sides that are no longer in contention for the title, checking out their draft prospects, Best and Fairest (BnF) chances, 2020 Draft Crop and a final word on their season. The next side we look at is the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels.

Position: 10th
Wins: 9
Losses: 9
Draws: 0

Points For: 950 (Ranked #9)
Points Against: 1078 (Ranked eq. #11)
Percentage: 88
Points: 24

Top draft prospects:

Jay Rantall

A late bloomer to the sport after focusing on basketball where he made it to international level, Rantall showed he has made the right choice with some of the performances he put out on the park this year. The athletic midfielder has an endurance base that rivals Sam Walsh, and ticks nearly every athletic box there is to tick. On the field, he showed he can wear down opponents and hit the scoreboard regularly, bursting out of stoppages and kicking goals from little time or space. He is still raw compared to other players, but on excitement factor alone he is rated in the first half of the draft, and would make a case for a top 30 selection.

Isaac Wareham

A long-term prospect, Wareham missed the last month due to injury, but showcased what he could do for the Rebels and Vic Country. He is not a huge ball winner, but he has lovely kicking skills and makes the right decisions. He still has areas to work on and his consistency is a big factor that will need developing, but receiving a National Draft Combine invitation is a massive boost in his draft chances. Expect him to be in the late-to-rookie stakes, though players with his skillsets in the past have been known to be plucked out earlier than expected. Has good upside for the future.

Other in the mix:

The two other Rebels who deserve consideration are midfielder-forwards Mitch Martin and Toby Mahony. Both are very different players despite playing similar roles, Martin is that X-factor forward who can win a game off his own boot, while Mahony has a long raking kick that can pinpoint teammates like very few can. Both have had inconsistencies throughout the season and are more long-term prospects, but both have earned draft combine invites and therefore are on the radar.

BnF chances:

While Martin and Mahony will poll well, expect it to be either Cooper Craig-Peters or Riley Polkinghorne who take it out, with both regularly among the best and consistently putting up solid numbers, but also team-orientated performances. Jayden Wright, Jack Tillig and James Cleaver are other players who were regularly standing up – more often than not in the defensive 50 – and will earn plaudits from their coaches.

2020 Draft Crop:

Harry Sharp and Tillig are the two players who are making waves for 2020 in a year that will be better known for its bottom-agers at the Rebels next year. After being a young side in 2018, the Rebels were older in 2019 and will again look to the bottom-agers in 2020. Midfielders Ben Hobbs and Charlie Molan, and key forward Josh Rentsch loom as a 16-year-old trio that will be regularly monitored by the opposition with the first two hoping to hand the latter some opportunities on a silver platter inside 50.

Final word:

The Rebels had an up-and-down year, with their best right up there with the top sides, and their worst among some forgettable performances. They missed out to winning through to the finals this year after a loss last weekend, but they showed some promising signs at times this year and barring a triple-figure loss to Eastern Ranges mid-season, were able to be competitive and not drop as many games with disappointing last quarters which was a step forward.

Victoria leads way with National Combine invitees

VICTORIA has dominated this year’s NAB AFL Draft Combine List, with 44 of the 79 invites hailing from the state, including a remarkable 11 players from Sandringham Dragons. Vic Metro led the way despite finishing on the bottom of the table at the National Under-18 Championships, with 23 players making the list, followed by title runners-up Vic Country (21), while overall winners Western Australia (16), and South Australia (13) both reached double-figure invites. Of the Allied states, Queensland had three nominees, followed by New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) with two, as Northern Territory and Tasmania both had the sole nomination each. Players must have been invited by at least four clubs to receive an invite to the national combine, which will be held from Tuesday, October 1-Friday October 4. The state combine lists are usually released over the next few months.

Among the list are five Northern Academy-aligned players with GWS Academy’s Tom Green and Liam Delahunty, Brisbane Lions’ Noah Cumberland and Will Martyn, and Gold Coast’s Connor Budarick. Also receiving invites are father-son prospects Jackson Mead (Port Adelaide) and Finn Maginness (Hawthorn), and the Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) member Liam Henry.

Sandringham’s haul of 11 players includes Darcy Chirgwin (Vic Country) as well as double-digit Vic Metro representatives, Jack Bell, Miles Bergman, Louis Butler, Ryan Byrnes, Oscar Lewis, Maginness, Jack Mahony, Fischer McAsey, Hugo Ralphsmith and Josh Worrell. Oakleigh Chargers and Gippsland Power was the next most with six apiece, Dandenong Stingrays with five and Bendigo Pioneers with four.

In Western Australia, East Fremantle dominated the 16 nominees, picking up six as Jai Jackson, Luke Jackson, Trent Rivers, Trey Ruscoe, Jeremy Sharp and Chad Warner all named. In South Australia, Woodville-West Torrens had four representatives with Mead, Josh Morris, Kysaiah Pickett and Harry Schoenberg all receiving an invite. Just seven players came from the Allies squad, with Green and Tasmania’s Mitch O’Neill the top prospects.

A couple of players proving that missing out on representative selection is not the end of the AFL Draft dream are Northern Knights’ Sam Philp and Oakleigh Chargers’ Cooper Sharman. Philp has been in great form in the NAB League Boys competition, whilst Sharman has been plucked from under former AFL coach Rodney Eade’s nose to bolt up into draft calculations.

2019 NAB AFL Draft Combine list
NSW/ACT

Liam Delahunty (GWS Academy)
Tom Green (GWS Academy)

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Malcolm Rosas (NT Thunder)

QUEENSLAND

Connor Budarick (Gold Coast Academy)
Noah Cumberland (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Will Martyn (Brisbane Lions Academy)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Will Day (West Adelaide)
Karl Finlay (North Adelaide)
Will Gould (Glenelg)
Dyson Hilder (North Adelaide)
Jackson Mead (Woodville-West Torrens)
Josh Morris (Woodville-West Torrens)
Callum Park (Glenelg)
Kysaiah Pickett (Woodville-West Torrens)
Harry Schoenberg (Woodville-West Torrens)
Josh Shute (Sturt)
Dylan Stephens (Norwood)
Cameron Taheny (Norwood)

TASMANIA

Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania Devils)

VIC COUNTRY

Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers)
Riley Baldi (Gippsland Power)
Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays)
Darcy Chirgwin (Sandringham Dragons)
Jesse Clark (Geelong Falcons)
Charlie Comben (Gippsland Power)
Sam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays)
Thomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers)
Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power)
Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers)
Flynn Perez (Bendigo Pioneers)
Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power)
Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels)
Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers)
Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power)
Brock Smith (Gippsland Power)
Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons)
Isaac Wareham (GWV Rebels)
Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays)
Lachlan Williams (Dandenong Stingrays)
Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

VIC METRO

Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers)
Jack Bell (Sandringham Dragons)
Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons)
Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers)
Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Louis Butler (Sandringham Dragons)
Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons)
Darcy Cassar (Western Jets)
Josh Honey (Western Jets)
Emerson Jeka (Western Jets)
Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons)
Oscar Lewis (Sandringham Dragons)
Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons)
Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons)
Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons)
Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons)
Sam Philp (Northern Knights)
Hugo Ralphsmith (Sandringham Dragons)
Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers)
Cooper Sharman (Oakleigh Chargers)
Ryan Sturgess (Northern Knights)
Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers)
Josh Worrell (Sandringham Dragons)

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Riley Garcia (Swan Districts)
Mitch Georgiades (Subiaco)
Liam Henry (Claremont)
Jai Jackson (East Fremantle)
Luke Jackson (East Fremantle)
Callum Jamieson (Claremont)
Ben Johnson (West Perth)
Ronin O’Connor (Claremont)
Jake Pasini (Swan Districts)
Jaxon Prior (West Perth)
Trent Rivers (East Fremantle)
Deven Robertson (Perth)
Trey Ruscoe (East Fremantle)
Jeremy Sharp (East Fremantle)
Elijah Taylor (Perth)
Chad Warner (East Fremantle)

Scouting notes: AFL U18 Championships – Vic Country vs. Western Australia

WESTERN Australia took out the AFL Under-18 National Championships title with a narrow victory over Vic Country thanks to a goal after the siren. We were on hand to note down some of the prominent players, with all notes opinion-based of the individual writer.

Vic Country:

By: Peter Williams

#2 Caleb Serong

Had one of the more quiet halves he has had on the big stage with just four touches in the first half against Western Australia. Visibly frustrated as he came to the bench at one point in the second term, Serong came out with intent in the second half to pick up 12 touches and finish with 16 by the final siren. Only the one effective kick, but buried himself under the packs and won 10 contested possessions and four hardball gets. Not the best game overall, but he was able to inspire his team more in the second half and it was a key reason Country got back in the contest. His overall carnival was superb and he throughly deserved his Country Most Valuable Player (MVP) award and All Australian honours.

#4 Sam Flanders

Was one of the more dominant Vic Country players early, but let himself down by foot in the first half, with four clangers by half-time. He was winning the ball in tight and able to get it out to his teammates and keep it moving, but found himself under pressure when at defensive stoppages and had to throw in on the boot. After half-time he was sharper by foot and ended up with a team-high 24 touches and seven clearances as the dominant inside midfielder on the Country side. He almost had a quarter of his team’s clearances and continued what was a marvellous carnival with an All Australian jumper.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Underrated performance by the GWV Rebels’ midfielder who while he made some mistakes, kept trying to take the game on and would have been high up there with metres gained. He almost created a highlight-reel burst out of the middle at one point but just slipped with a bounce and had to rush to get it out, and on another occasion was sold into trouble by a teammate. As a whole, he was one of the better Country players and he has good vision that sets up teammates laterally and opens up scoring opportunities. He looked most comfortable on the wing and was able to execute the kick inside the corridor, and also provide some opportunities for teammates going forward.

#12 Lachlan Ash

Like many of his teammates, he seemed a tad off in the first half with a couple of clangers – something that no-one associates Ash with given his elite kicking skills. He shook that off in the third term, as he burst off half-back, won a one-on-one against Liam Henry, took on the opposition and then with a dart inside 50 hit-up Brodie Kemp for a goal reminiscent of last week’s match winner against South Australia. His foot skills in the second half were back to what we have come to know from the exciting runner, and he and Hayden Young’s slicing kicks were forcing Western Australia onto the back foot. Finished with a team-high eight rebounds, five more than his next highest teammate.

#13 Jay Rantall

Just kept buzzing around the stoppages and running all day, using quick hands in close and when in space to open up opportunities for teammates. Knowing his own strengths, Rantall executed under pressure handballs to good effect and went in hard to win a team-high amount of hardball gets. He also was able to win a number of important clearances around the ground and had a flying shot on the goal to create something out of nothing, but missed.

#16 Brodie Kemp

Another standout game for Country and continues his ascent up draft boards with some crucial marks inside 50. He booted two goals from four scoring shots, and always threatened to be a danger in the air. One of the few consistent Country performers across the game, Kemp spent a lot of time on the inside and then went forward, winning 11 contested possessions and taking two contested marks. His strength in the air or at ground level was clear, and he was able to pump the ball inside 50 on numerous occasions. While he still made some mistakes by foot, Kemp was another player who took risks and was willing to put it on the line to try and win the championships for Country. A deserving All Australian member.

#17 Hayden Young

When Young hit-up a Western Australian opponent 40m out with a short kick from deep in defence under limited pressure, it was clear Vic County were not on their game early. Similar to Ash, Young and clanger kicks do not belong in the same sentence, and he fixed that in the second half with some terrific long bombs to find teammates in difficult positions but made it look easy with his ability. One kick that exemplified what Young is capable of came in the final term when under pressure he kicked 40m across his body inboard, over a few West Australian opponents to land in the lap of the running Isaac Wareham who did not need to break stride. Also collected an All Australian jumper for his carnival.

#36 Sam De Koning

The tall defender was Country’s best player if you take into account all four quarters. When very few were standing up, he was repelling attacks in the back 50 with strong intercept marks and rebounds out of defence. He came in with timely spoils on the lead and was able to nullify his opponents one-on-one. He also settled down the defence and kicked long out of the back half, though did make mistakes by foot. De Koning was at his best when able to drop back and take a settling mark then set up plays from defence to attack.

Western Australia:

By: Lenny Fogliani

#4 Riley Garcia

Until he injured his knee midway through the first quarter, Garcia was arguably Western Australia’s best player. He provided a heap of energy and zip around the contest and proved to be a damaging link-up player. His final statistics were seven possessions, three clearances and two tackles.

#5 Liam Henry

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy member increased his draft stocks with another exquisite performance. Against the ‘Big V’, Henry racked up 25 possessions, took six marks, recorded five rebounds, laid five tackles and produced four inside 50s. His mercurial ability to weave his way around opposition pressure, before composing himself and finding a team-mate in space, is extraordinary for someone his age.

#7 Nathan O’Driscoll

Another bottom-age prospect, O’Driscoll was brilliant on the half-back line for the Sandgropers. He finished with 21 possessions, six tackles, four marks, four inside 50s and two rebounds, providing good zip on the outside and damaging run forward.

#10 Deven Robertson

The WA Under 18 captain continued his magnificent campaign that saw him win the Larke Medal and the WA U18 MVP. Against Vic Country, he accumulated a game-high 28 possessions, laid eight tackles, won six clearances and recorded six inside 50s to be WA’s best player. His contested possessions and clearance work were outstanding and pivotal for WA’s victory.

#12 Regan Clarke

The match winner – Clarke will go down in WA history after he kicked the winning goal with five seconds to go in the final quarter. After taking the mark, Clarke was able to duly convert his set shot to give WA its first Championships triumph since 2009. But he was also fantastic throughout the game, finishing with 14 possessions, seven marks, three inside 50s and two tackles.

#14 Chad Warner

The Willetton product was busy in the midfield for the Sandgropers, often throwing himself into stoppages to win the contested possession for his team. He finished with 22 possessions, six inside 50s, five tackles, four clearances, and three marks. Warner shares similar traits to West Coast star Jack Redden – both are clearance machines and get the ball going forward for their respective teams.

#17 Jeremy Sharp

The reigning All-Australian put forward his best game for the WA at this year’s Championships. Against Vic Country he finished with 20 possessions, 11 marks, and a goal. His penetrating kicking, line-breaking ability and composure with ball in hand were all on display.

#21 Jake Pasini

The no-nonsense defender produced another solid performance for the Sandgropers. Lined up on Josh Smith, Pasini only gathered seven possessions and took two marks, but restricted Smith to five possessions and no goals.

#32 Luke Jackson

The runner-up in this year’s Larke Medal, Jackson showed why he is considered to be the best ruckman in this year’s draft pool. He accumulated 19 possessions, won 37 hitouts, five clearances, recorded five inside 50s, took three marks and laid two tackles to be one of the most influential players for Western Australia. His follow-up work and ability to cover the ground are elite for a ruckman his age.

#36 Denver Grainger-Barras

The bottom-ager was excellent in defence for the Sandgropers, often thwarting many of Vic Country’s attacking forays. Stationed at centre half-back and opposed to Elijah Hollands, Grainger-Barras accumulated 13 possessions and took eight marks, while Hollands gathered 14 possessions but failed to kick a goal.

Deja vu as Western Australia clinch national title

IT was a case of déjà vu for Western Australia as the same group that beat Country to the National Championship title at Under-16 level with the last kick of the game did exactly the same two years later, winning a thriller by five points.

A Regan Clarke set shot just before the siren cancelled out Ned Cahill’s soccer goal to pinch the lead, with absolute scenes ensuing at Marvel Stadium after what was a rather slow first three quarters.

The visitors started brightly, bossing general play with the ball locked into their forward half and Country unable to create any form of rebound. Arguably the standout of the opening term, Jeremy Sharp started the scoring as he held onto a neat Elijah Taylor pass across the arc and kicked truly, with Callum Jamieson snaring WA’s second as he snatched the ball from Isaac Wareham and dribbled home, while Jai Jackson compounded a dominant first 15 minutes with his own set shot conversion. An injury to Riley Garcia as he fell awkwardly in a marking contest soured the look of the scoreboard, with the Sandgropers breaking to an even three-goal lead. Cahill missed a cut-edge opportunity late in the piece with time added on, opting for a shot with teammates screaming for it inside 50.

The second term started with much of the same, but WA’s Jamieson and Nathan O’Driscoll, and Sharp all missed set shot chances in the first seven minutes. The visitors just seemed to have greater numbers around the ball, with the likes of Liam Henry spreading best to get them moving forward. Meanwhile, Country lacked fluency in all areas as they struggled again to get the ball moving out of defence – as even the likes of Hayden Young and Lachlan Ash found themselves turning the ball over by foot. Logan McDonald snapped the streak of behinds at the fourth and fifth time of asking for WA, slotting a set shot and soccering off the ground to compile the misery for Country. Ned Cahill finally broke through for the home side’s first goal, earning a free kick at the bottom of the pack and making amends for his earlier miss. The struggle continued for them though as they got forward to no avail, with WA’s spare behind the ball proving more than handy as they led by 25 points at the main break.

A typically shrewd Cody Weightman snap early in the third term made it unlikely back-to-back goals for Country for the first time in the game. Their small momentum shift was quelled relatively quickly though as Tyrone Thorne dribble home a nice goal, with deadlock again setting in shortly after. Ash comprehensively burst that bubble with a highlight reel run through the middle and booming kick inside 50 to Brodie Kemp, who duly sent another through the big sticks, and the big-bodied Pioneer backed it up with another mark and goal to cut the margin to 11 points heading into the final break.

A Nicholas Martin overhead grab backing back in the forward pocket was the first highlight of the fourth term, and he cut inboard to find Sharp in worlds of space. The East Fremantle would go on to miss the resultant shot, but Riley Baldi could not quite him pay up the other end – missing from close-range after a 50-metre penalty and Country forward-half possession. Another 50-metre penalty gave Charlie Comben the opportunity to cut the margin to just five points after he marked well in front of Luke Jackson, and he delivered with 10 minutes remaining. Caleb Serong almost put his side in front but saw his shot touched on the line, but Kemp again looked to be the saviour with a big clunk deep in the pocket – only to hit the post with the shot. Henry popped back up with two chances to stick the dagger in Country’s heart but missed both with just five minutes on the clock, but Ned Cahill had no such worries with an opportunistic soccer-goal from the goalsquare to momentarily pinch the lead. A lunging Serong tackle looked a game-winner as WA almost got a shot off, but Clarke’s mark and goal just before the siren ended up being just that in a memorable finish.

After the game, Deven Robertson was announced as Western Australia’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), while Serong was named Vic Country’s top prospect for the carnival.

FINAL SCORES:
VC: 0.3 | 1.4 | 4.6 | 6.10 (46)
WA: 3.3 | 5.5 | 6.5 | 7.9 (51)

GOALS:
VC: N. Cahill 2, B. Kemp 2, C. Weightman, C. Comben
WA: L. McDonald 2, J. Sharp, C. Jamieson, J. Jackson, T. Thorne, R. Clarke

ADC BEST:

VC: S. Flanders, B. Kemp, H. Young, S. De Koning, L. Ash, C. Serong
WA: L. Henry, J. Sharp, D. Robertson, N. O’Driscoll, D. Grainger-Baras, L. Jackson

Scouting notes: AFL U18 Championships – Vic Country vs. South Australia

VIC Country kept its perfect 2019 National Championships record in tact with a heart-stopping one-point win over South Australia at on Sunday. We were on hand at GMHBA Stadium to note the standouts from either side – and there were plenty – with the opinion-based notes that of each individual writer.

Vic Country:
By: Michael Alvaro

#2 Caleb Serong

Again led from the front for Country, posting fantastic numbers as a constant in the midfield. Serong showcased his inside qualities, making up for a lack of height with his clear strength and intensity around the ball to prize out 10 clearances in all areas of the ground. Given over half of his possessions were contested, Serong’s kicking was compensated at times with some clearing balls skidding along the turf and others ending in turnovers or throw-ins. Still has obvious class though and looks neat with more high percentage kicks, but had a bit of a down day in that area. That still doesn’t take away from his outstanding performance, and he could have ended up with a couple of goals to cap off the display had quick snaps had he put away some his quick chances. Just works so hard and looks tireless, making him a reliable commodity with good versatility.

#3 Cody Weightman

The livewire Stingrays small forward was electric once again for Country, posting his second four-goal haul of the carnival. He is just so dynamic inside 50, hunting the ball and his opponents at ground level, while also flying hight to compound the threats he presented. Weightman’s desperation showed, as he was simply more hungry for the ball in an aerial duel against three opponents in the first term, bringing it to ground. His first goal came with a straightforward mark on the lead and set shot conversion, backing it up with a more typical finish over the back just before the quarter time siren to have two early on. While he looked most likely inside 50, Weightman did well to also find the ball up the ground as the game progressed, but ran forward hard to get free once again. He snared a third goal in the second term with a clever steal in the goalsquare, and added a fourth after half time with a left-footed snap, while also almost producing another highlight as he smothered and hit the post with the ball he won in the final term. Really rising among the small forward stocks.

#4 Sam Flanders

Was brilliant again through the midfield alongside partner-in-crime, Caleb Serong. Has real athleticism and burst at the stoppages to go with his clean hands, allowing him to provide real drive going forward – as shown in his 10 inside 50 entries. Spent some time forward where he looked just as comfortable, using his sizeable leap to mark well overhead and get to a number of contests. A finished product was the only thing lacking for Flanders in those stints, but he did find the goals in the final term with a neat checkside conversion from his holding the ball free kick. Has really adapted well to his midfield minutes and it looks a primary role for him now, with so many weapons to turn to athletically and skill-wise.

#6 Riley Baldi

Was not as prolific in terms of ball-winning as he has been lately, but still made a steady contribution when running through the engine room. Is a hard worker at the stoppages with his willingness to run both ways – tackling well when he isn’t scooting away with ball in hand and onto his left foot. Initially caught the eye with a tackling effort on the wing to earn a free kick, and then started the second half brightly with the first clearance as he moved into the centre bounce. Continued to accumulate from there, and popped up again in the final quarter with a precise kick inside 50 to find Lachie Williams – which is something he seems to have added to his arsenal.

#9 Isaac Wareham

The Rebels defender proved to be a shrewd inclusion for Country, adding to the class across their back six despite not being a huge ball winner. Wareham’s point of difference to his aerially-apt teammates is his ground-level game, mopping the ball up well with clean hands and flicking it on quickly to alleviate any previous danger. Had some nice moments in the final term as he came into the game with some dashing bursts forward, proving an effective mover of the ball out of the defensive half and one-touch below his knees.

#12 Lachlan Ash

It was a typical day out for the Country co-captain, gaining serious meterage with his line-breaking speed and elite kicking skills. Ash’s impact early on came in the air with superior reading of the ball in flight to intercept, recovering well on one occasion as he spilt the mark to move forward. He had a hand in Cody Weightman’s late goal in the first term with a run from half back, which proved a sign of things to come. Ash would go on to accumulate well across half back – positioning smartly, swooping on ground balls, and zipping through traffic at speed to release long balls into Country’s attacking half. His previous work culminated in a couple of unreal plays in the final term, with the first a three-bounce run which he couldn’t quite finish off from 50m. The second proved a game-winner, as Ash backed himself to take on an opponent on defensive wing, burn him off through the corridor and deliver a pin-point pass to Brodie Kemp inside 50 with two opponents closing fast. Ash’s ability to take on such responsibility and create the chance was incredibly impressive, and makes him a real leader.

#13 Jay Rantall

Was one who popped up in patches throughout the game despite consistently featuring at stoppages, catching the eye most as he broke from congestion. Is really starting to come into his own in the midfield, with a strong athletic base boding well for his breakaway traits and bursts forward. The kick on the end of such plays was the only slight issue with Rantall’s game, spearing a couple of stray passes going inside 50 despite looking stylish while delivering at full stride. One of those kicks across the 50 arc ended up coming off as Cody Weightman found the goals, and Rantall almost booted his own major in the third term on the run. Has so much upside and a wealth of nice traits, making him a prospect who is easy on the eye but still developing.

#16 Brodie Kemp

Was the hero of the day, slotting an ice-cool set shot with the last kick of the game to give Country a miraculous win. While Kemp’s strong overhead mark and clinical conversion was the talking point at the final siren, he had already proved his worth earlier in the day. The big-bodied Bendigo product finally enjoyed an extended run through the midfield and was even used forward on the back of his strong overhead capabilities, amassing 27 disposals, seven marks, five clearances, and four inside 50s. Kemp’s cleanliness in snapping up the ball and using it by foot made him so effective early on as he accumulated strongly, working well at stoppages and linking into the forward arc in general play. He just seemed to get into the right spots and made the most of each touch, exemplified best with his game-winning play. Will be moving up draft boards on the back of his versatility and one-touch ability, and will look to finish off the carnival strongly on Wednesday.

#17 Hayden Young

Was one of Young’s quieter games given the lofty standard he has already set, but he still managed to get his rebound game going and won a good amount of ball. The Stingrays product positioned well inside defensive 50 to get on the last line, and worked hard to find space after delivering kick-ins. His kicking game is usually arguably the best of anyone in this year’s draft pool, but Young tended to more often play the percentages with his long-range kicks down the line or into space – showing good decision making but not necessarily always hitting a direct target. You always sensed that Young was hanging around when a Country player marked at half forward, wanting the hand-off to launch a bomb towards goal. He managed to get a couple, but they didn’t quite come off with one shot being smothered straight off the boot. A solid outing, and hardly made a mistake as per usual.

#24 Brock Smith

Smith was ultra-impressive deep inside defensive 50, intercepting well in the air with good judgement while also mopping up the ground balls. He hardly loses a one-on-one, backing up much of the niggle he engages in with his direct opponents as a typical defender. Smith was also composed in possession, using the ball efficiently by foot from defensive 50 and just seems to be a really calm outlet for whichever side he plays in. An important part of a very talented Country back six, providing physical presence and good defensive traits on top of his skill.

#36 Sam De Koning

De Koning was fantastic in the air as a permanent key defender, leaping to intercept almost everything that came his way – whether it was through strong marking or an assured fist. The dynamic tall was as competitive as I’ve seen throughout his top-age year, closing quickly on opponents and leaping well to get to contests he had no right to. Looks to have finally found his position having been tried up forward and through the ruck, with his reading of the play and athleticism making him one of the more exciting key defenders this year.

#40 Charlie Comben

Took on his usual duties in the ruck, winning a game-high 22 hitouts. Comben has been somewhat of a surprise packet during the carnival, and continued his form with some solid contested marks and competitive follow-up work. Showed his marking traits off early with a nice overhead clunk on the lead up to his forward 50, followed by another up the other end from a kick-in. With his aerial prowess in mind, Comben also positoned a kick behind the play on his forward 50 arc for the rushed rebound kick, despite it not coming off on numerous occasions. Capped off a decent day with a terrific chase on Corey Durdin to halt an exciting run and effect the bottom-ager’s shot on goal.

South Australia:
By: Craig Byrnes

#7 Dylan Stephens

A solid outing by the highly rated wingman, who did most of his good work on the outside of the contest. He has some class with the footy and can move through congestion with ease. He was able to run and carry forward of centre, particularly early, highlighted by a brilliant goal in the first term which he calmly slotted after running and bouncing at speed. He has some genuine composure, but perhaps tries to take on to much by foot on occasions and was one of many victims of the skinny GMHBA Stadium boundaries throughout the day by kicking it out on the full in the third term. Stephens finished the day with 20 disposals.

#10 Josh Shute

Another South Australian wingman with some impressive outside tricks who is a lovely modern size at 187cm. Shute caught the eye early with an outstanding smother in the first term which he followed up to collect and kick inside 50 to a dangerous position. He is a one touch player and clean under pressure, but the attribute that’s really exciting is his willingness to take on his opponent. He had multiple moments throughout the day where he’d use a simple side step or candy sell to make the opposition over commit and he was off in no time. He worked hard to create an option in space too, taking 10 marks. While he still has some work defensively, Shute’s 19 disposals had impact.

#12 Will Day

Despite a light 70kg frame, Day is a real goer who will throw his body toward the ball in any situation. He started really well, attacking the in dispute footy and rebounding with penetration. He is equally capable in the air as he is on the ground, creating the flexibility to play on different sized players in the back half. His seven rebound 50s were an equal match high, but he also managed to link further up the ground and find the ball forward of centre. A rangy type who is really starting to win some admirers, he ended the day with 24 disposals.

#15 Harry Schoenberg

This guy is having an outstanding individual tournament and is flying under the radar to an extent. He set the tone for South Australia in the first term, winning 12 disposals and while 10 were handballs, his touches were relevant. He is really clean inside and has sharp hands, perfectly shown in the first term when he executed a fast link up escape in the defensive 50. He is quicker than he looks and possesses some explosive attributes to evade tackles, giving a “don’t argue” fend and hip flick in the term third to get away from an opponent. He finished the day with a team high 32 disposals and six clearances to again be one of South Australia’s better performers.

#18 Jackson Mead

The Port Adelaide father/son prospect produced a real eye catching match, getting involved during defining moments and lifting when the game was on the line. He was clean on the inside and influential on the spread, showcasing both elements in the first half when he won a clearance, carried the ball and superbly hit a target inside 50. He ran both ways, helping the defensive unit when he could and getting in dangerous positions in the front half. He went up a gear in the final term kicking two goals, the first a superb bending snapped finish that got the South Australians up and about. 22 disposals, four clearances and scoreboard impact meant that Mead was arguably one of the most influential players on the day.

#19 Luke Edwards

The son of former Adelaide champion Tyson, Luke is a potential father/son option for next year, but speculation continues to grow that he may opt to nominate for the open draft. With plenty to play out until then, the talented bottom ager is currently playing some outstanding footy and looking like being one of the better 2020 prospects. He again found himself behind the ball on Friday, intercepting, rebounding and often starting dangerous scoring chains. He took an excellent intercept mark in the third term which set up a goal for his team at a vital time. Edward’s ended the game with 23 disposals and is looking more comfortable with every game.

#20 Lachlan McNeil

An inside midfielder who does a lot of heavy work at ground contests, both offensively and defensively. He puts his head over the ball and fights, ensuring that he has a physical impact with or without the ball. While he isn’t the prettiest player in the South Australian side, you know what you are going to get and I suspect Tony Bamford would lock him in to complete his role successfully every game. He is solid overhead too, taking an excellent mark under pressure in the defensive 50 during the tense third term. A solid return again, finishing the game with 23 disposals, six tackles and three clearances.

#24 Will Gould

The intercept defender with the thick set and booming right foot is well on track to become a dual All Australian, after producing a near best on ground performance against Vic Country. It is the first time I’ve seen him live and boy does he provide a physical, almost scary presence when the ball is in his area. He controlled the back half with his ability to read the play and make smart decisions to pick the ball off at will to win 26 disposals. In the second term he competed for a difficult aerial contest and despite being out of position, won the ground ball to highlight his determination. Gould had some huge moments in defence during that manic fourth term, but with the game on the line he managed to win the ball forward of centre and give South Australia the lead with a brilliant running goal from just inside the arc in the final minutes. Vic Country ultimately got that goal back to win, but Gould gave recruiters the best evidence possible that he is a big moment star.

#33 Dyson Hilder

Another South Australian defender who had a large say, the 196cm key position player continues to gain fans with his consistent performances. While he dropped a mark he would usually take in the first term, he barely made another error for the rest of the day. He reads the drop of the ball so quickly, often coming off his man or using excellent body work to protect the position he wants to be. He out bodied the much heavier Josh Smith on multiple occasions and was so calm in difficult situations late in the game. He took some great intercept marks when his side really needed it and made great decisions by foot too. You get the feeling he is one of the best KPDs available in 2019.

#35 Karl Finlay

The South Australian defensive unit is really well credentialed and Finlay was another to impress at GMHBA Stadium on Friday afternoon. Finlay is a little shorter than your modern key position type at 192cm, but he has the flexibility to play on smaller players and is loves to have a say aerially. He really lifted in the second half, taking multiple contested intercept marks and complimented, Gould, Hilder, Edwards, Day and the like perfectly. He flies under the radar a tad like a few South Australians, but he just continues to tick so many boxes.

NAB League Boys Round 12 weekend preview: Country sides clash

ALL six country sides clash in a five-game weekend as Northern Knights have the bye, and the Round 12 clash between Tasmania Devils and Eastern Ranges will take place as a standalone fixture on July 13. That will be good news for those sides, with the AFL Under 18 Championships concluded, meaning teams should be at full strength. For the rest of the 10 teams competing this round, expect them to be missing the majority of their Victorian representatives, with all three sides – Vic Country, Vic Metro and the Allies competing in the final two rounds of the carnival today and next Wednesday.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday, June 29, 9.20am
Trevor Barker Oval

Traditional rivals, Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers go head-to-head to open Round 12 of the competition, in what will be more of a test of each side’s depth, rather than top-end talent considering the amount of names missing from both sides due to representative duties. The Dragons are coming off a hard-fought loss to top-of-the-table Eastern Ranges and sit a game behind the Ranges in second, and just percentage ahead of Gippsland Power and Western Jets with seven wins from 10 games. The Chargers on the other hand, went down to Gippsland Power in a seven-goal loss, which with the home side strengthened by a number of returning Vic Country players, was not unexpected. While the clash between the sides is usually a close one, Sandringham’s depth this year appears the stronger of the sides, matching it with the top teams during the past couple of months, while Oakleigh has had mixed results, often relying on a player to steal the match from the opposition. Sandringham are bolstered by the likes of key position players, Charlie Dean and Andrew Courtney, as well as Hugo Ralphsmith through the midfield and Jake Bowey up forward. Oakleigh also have a number of changes, with Jamarra Ugle-Hagan returning and likely to provide plenty of excitement in the forward half.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS vs. GWV REBELS
Saturday, June 29, 12pm
Shepley Oval

After remaining undefeated from seven rounds – including a bye to Geelong Falcons – the Dandenong Stingrays have dropped two consecutive matches minus their Vic Country players. But if there’s one team desperate for a win, it is the side with the current longest losing streak, the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The Rebels have not sung the song since smashing Northern Territory Thunder Academy on April 28, when they triumphed by 55 points at Windy Hill. Two months on, and the Rebels have lost six consecutive matches, including four by five goals or more, and a 111-point shellacking at the hands of likely minor premiers, Eastern Ranges. With some of their Vic Country representatives returning for their Round 11 clash with the Western Jets, the Rebels put in a strong effort after a slow start, but fell seven points short. With Dandenong understrength, it is a great chance for the Rebels to break their losing streak, but at home at Shepley Oval, with the Stingrays needing a win to jump back inside the top four, it is as much on the line for Dandenong to gain form as it is for the Rebels. The Stingrays lose the likes of Sam De Koning and Lachlan Williams, while the Rebels have a couple of big outs themselves with Isaac Wareham and Liam Herbert into the Vic Country squad after some strong form.

BENDIGO PIONEERS vs. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Saturday, June 29, 12.15pm
Victoria Park, Echuca

In a special Echuca clash, Bendigo’s players from the far north west of the state get a reprieve of a handful of hours travel, while welcoming Murray Bushrangers who have followed the state border across from east to west. These teams have had differing form lines across the season, with the Bushrangers seemingly not able to buy a win earlier in the season, going down in tight loss after tight loss, with wins over the bottom two sides the only victories heading into Round 10. Since then, the Bushrangers have defeated Tasmania Devils by 38 points, and Dandenong Stingrays by 34 points, and while the teams might have been understrength, they were important victories for the side that still holds an impressive percentage of 94 despite a 4-6 record. Their opponents hold an even more remarkable percentage considering the Pioneers have won three from nine, with one of those being a five-point thriller over Murray in Round 2. At that stage, the Pioneers were two from two, but as the likes of Brodie Kemp and Thomson Dow headed off to school footy, the Pioneers tight wins turned into tight losses, going down to Northern Knights, Tasmania Devils and Sandringham Dragons within a month by a combined 11 points in a heartbreaking turn of events. After six consecutive losses, Bendigo finally broke the drought last week with a 29-point win over Geelong Falcons. The game on the weekend will be a tough one now Murray has found its groove, and the home team will need to be at its best to win. Unlike a lot of the other sides, Bendigo has maintained a stable side from last round’s win, with Brady Rowles a notable Vic County out, but other Country representatives, James Schischka and Ben Worme still in the side. Murray has lost Lachlan Ash and Ben Kelly among five changes, with overager Zane Barzen among those players returning to the side.

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. GEELONG FALCONS
Saturday, June 29, 2.30pm
Shepley Oval

In the second game of a double-header at Shepley Oval, Gippsland Power’s depth will take on one of the league’s youngest sides in Geelong Falcons. The Falcons have had their most disappointing start to a year in recent history, but with injuries to a number of top players – including Cooper Stephens – and the majority of their side being bottom-age, the Falcons have plenty of reasons to smile for 2020. Luckily under the Wildcard system, if the Flacons can get their top-end talent fit and firing come September, they can still make finals despite likely finishing bottom two. Gippsland will be missing almost half of its best 22 – a testament to the quality coming through the program that so many players were chosen for Vic Country – which makes it tough for the Power during the national carnival. They dropped a couple of games prior to Round 11, and it was no surprise to see with the likes of Fraser Phillips (five goals) and captain Brock Smith back in the line-up, the Power looked a much more settled team to easily take the points against Oakleigh. Gippsland will be understrength again in this match-up, which means the Falcons have a genuine shot at taking down a top four side. But the Power team will have got used to its structures after two losses and then claiming victory last week, so it should be a very close contest. Gippsland will miss Phillips, Smith, Charlie Comben and Harrison Pepper and Ryan Sparkes who head to Vic Country, while Mason McGannon and Zach Reid are among those back into the team. For Geelong, Sam Witherden and Charlie Lazzaro loom as important inclusions while Harry Stubbings is among six players out of the side.

CALDER CANNONS vs. WESTERN JETS
Sunday, June 30, 1pm
RAMS Arena

In the only Sunday game, Calder Cannons host Western Jets in a bid to remain in the top eight. The Cannons’ best seems to be very good, but some disappointing losses over season 2019 has them sitting eighth, but with the second worst percentage of any side. It means a loss, and a win to Murray on the weekend, would see the Cannons replaced inside the top eight. They have to take advantage against a Western team just missing the cream of Vic Metro representatives, Emerson Jeka, Darcy Cassar and Josh Honey. To the Jets’ credit, captain Lucas Rocci has done a magnificent job stepping up into Cassar’s role since he has been in the Metro side and along with Josh Kellett has the backline purring perfectly. The tight, low-scoring win against the Rebels indicated their forward stocks have been depleted with Jeka and Honey, as well as Aaron Clarke out last week, which meant scoring has had its own challenges. The Cannons have had their own issues with putting big scores on the board, averaging 54.5 points per game this season. Coming off a bye in Round 12, the Cannons will have had an extended 22-day break since their last match – a 69-point loss at the hands of Oakleigh Chargers. They will have prepared for this game for some time and keen to take down the top four Jets, and leapfrog the Knights into seventh. The Cannons did not play last week, but have a strong side named with Curtis Brown lining up at half-back and Sam Ramsay and Harrison Minton-Connell through the midfield. The Jets have a massive inclusion into the side with Cassar and Honey named in the side.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 10

THE changes continued in Round 10 of the NAB League Boys, with representative side rotation and a break from school footy seeing talent come in and out of each side. Our scouts cast eyes across each game, highlighting a mix of Victorian and Allies representative squad members and a number of bottom-agers already showing promising signs. Notes are the individual opinion of each scout.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Northern Knights:

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

A sharp, quick user. D’Intinosante executed well off half-forward, brought a strong body to the loose ball and worked hard between contests. He got plenty reward for effort, kicking a goal from a set-shot in the first, and another to close out the third, though his damage off the ball proved most effective, amassing nine tackles for the afternoon.

#8 Adam Carafa

Clinical around the stoppage, Carafa consistently out-positioned his opponents to effect the clearance and used the footy well under pressure. He seemed to understand the game better than most, getting out the back and finding clear passage to break free with the footy. His run on goal ended with a neat score to close out the half, again assuming the space at the right moment. His use by foot impressed all afternoon, along with his clean hands overhead – best on ground.

#24 Ben Major

Managed three goals from the four disposals, leading well at the ball carrier and burning his opponent on the burst. He showed a few glimpses of pressure footy with a couple tackles in the forward line, and lots of presence around the exiting footy. Both a strong and durable footballer, Major played his role well in the win.

#27 Ewan Macpherson

Macpherson was poised and effective off half-back, rebounding well and causing some real run on the counter-attack. His kicking was a feature under pressure, confidently finding space in congestion and hitting his targets under pressure. The defender finished behind Carafa (24) in possessions with 21, tackled well (five) but pulled up a bit unlucky with his frees against.

 

Dandenong Stingrays:

#10 Clayton Gay

Kicked an outstanding goal to open the second, dribbling the ball with the outside of the left, under a jumping opponent for Dandenong’s first. While definitely one of his quieter games, Gay still provided four inside 50s with his eight disposals, keeping his impact alive under Northern fire.

#32 Blake Kuipers

Liked to move a lot in the ruck contest, proving both nimble and physical with his direct opponent, Nathan Howard. Kuipers amassed 24 hit-outs, 13 disposals, three marks and a goal for the afternoon, and despite coming up against a taller opponent, shaved the difference with an impressive vertical.

#42 Jai Nanscawen

A hard worker on the inside, Nanscawen extracted well and hung close to his opponent where possible. He amassed 16 disposals for the day, two marks, three tackles, two rebounds and three inside 50s for the afternoon, having an impact all over the ground. Undoubtedly a hard worker and dedicated to having an impact.

 

GEELONG FALCONS vs. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong:

#4 Gennaro Bove

The Geelong Grammarian made a solid return to the Falcons outfit on the back of a break from school footy as a lively figure through midfield. The thing that stands out most is his cleanliness by hand – both in collecting it and dishing it off. Bove also showed he could break away and push forward with ball in hand, but stayed relevant on the defensive end with his tackling pressure. Should get a better glimpse of him in Falcons colours later in the year, and looks a decent bottom-ager.

#8 Charlie Lazzaro

It was a relatively quiet outing for Lazzaro, down on his usual numbers in his Falcons return. Was still present at most of the centre bounces and stoppages, keeping busy by applying pressure. Lazzaro showed at times decent first few steps away from traffic, but was also uncharacteristically caught a couple of times in the second term. Had a nice clearance on the run in the third term, finishing it off with a long ball inside 50.

#36 Charlie Sprague

The over-ager worked well in tandem with Oliver Henry up forward, spending most of the game deep inside 50. Started brightly after marking in the pocket, showing good vision and executing well to spear a pass across goal to gift Charlie Harris an opportunity. He moved to space smartly around the arc, passing to a teammate in the first term before running hard into the hole to receive the following kick, but unfortunately miss his shot on goal. Had another set shot fall short in the following quarter after finding space to mark once again, but made amends with two majors to extend the Falcons’ lead. After a quiet third term, Sprague came back into the game early in the final term with another shot on goal, and got on the end of Geelong’s best passage of play from defence to find his third goal. A solid outing, and looks at home inside forward 50.

#37 Oliver Henry

Never has a mountain of the ball, but is just a natural forward who always looks dangerous. Proved his craftiness deep inside 50 with the ball in dispute, acting to keep it alive with taps back into play – but to no avail. Kick-started his day with a lovely set shot on goal from 40 meters out on the boundary, and would add another in the following term with a clever snare off hands and check-side finish on the run. Perhaps looked at his best when marking at full flight, reading it better than most in the air. Henry claimed a fantastic overhead mark going back with the flight inside 50 but missed the resultant set shot, and took another nice grab from a kick-out late on. Showed exceptional spatial awareness throughout the day too, particularly with a neat kick across the 50 to Charlie Sprague which didn’t quite come off, as well as in a move around his opponent to give Keidan Rayner a chance. Slowly becoming the Falcons’ leading bottom-ager.

 

Sandringham:

#7 Jackson Voss

The St Kilda father-son prospect just continues to put his hand up, returning another solid shift from midfield. Showed good tackling intent early, but Voss looks at his best when using his agility in traffic and breaking from congestion. His left foot was also a feature at times, with the kind of style that sees him kick across his body and spear the ball forward. Had a quiet middle part of the game after bursting away from an early centre bounce, but came back into the game in the second half with a similar play. Kicked an eye-catching goal on the run from range in the last quarter to spark his side, showing a good bit of composure.

#30 Andrew Courtney

Came back into the side after a sole Metro outing on the MCG, and tried his best to get involved at ground level. Made a couple of good efforts on the follow up at centre bounces after starting on the bench, and went on to hack forward a few clearances throughout the game. Was outmuscled at times in the ruck duels, but has a long enough reach and showed his leap to counteract that, still winning around 30 hitouts. Positioned well just outside the attacking 50 late on to take a good mark and effect another aerial contest, completing a solid game.

#43 Jake Bowey

Was named the Dragons’ best, and provided some damaging run on the outside from his customary wing position. Could have had an even bigger impact if it weren’t for his 0.3 in front of goal – missing a shot on the run in the opening term, a snap in the last quarter, and another on the run in the last minute which would seal the two-point win. Is only slight in stature, but Bowey did not shy away from the contest as he ran head-on at the ball to win it impressively in the second term, using it as a catalyst to get more involved. Bowey’s run and carry proved most damaging, and he showed a nice bit of vision to seek out Riley Bowman inside 50, just falling short with the kick. Made a couple of crucial interceptions forward of centre too, making his contributions important ones.

#45 Archie Perkins

The 23rd man was one of the most influential throughout, making a menace of himself in the forward half. While he arguably looked the Dragons’ most likely, inaccuracy in front of goal (0.5) told the story of his day, and he could have even had six or seven goals with better conversion. Still, Perkins had some great moments throughout – getting busy around the forward stoppages and finding space to wheel around and deliver inside 50. His willingness to take the game and opponents on proved a game-winner, with one of his five behinds putting the Dragons in front in the final minute of the game as he broke away from three opponents on the arc and let fly. Showed he is good in the air and in one-on-one duels too, with plenty to like about his game overall. As a bottom-ager, can sharpen up his kicking at times and go to ground less as he builds his frame.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. WESTERN JETS
By: Craig Byrnes

Gippsland Power:

#10 Leo Connolly

It was interesting to see Connolly start on the bench for the second week running, but once on he went to the stoppages and started getting involved. Also like last round’s game, he got on the end of a handball receive on 50 and hit the ball sweetly to convert the goal. His skills shone in good conditions for footy, selling some subtle candy and giving the handball, getting it back and hitting a nice target in the corridor. He missed a vital set shot in the final term and misjudged an aerial contest he could have impacted, but the talented ball user still produced a solid afternoon to finish with 23 disposals.

#43 Zac Skinner

Skinner played a majority of the game forward again and had limited opportunities. He got on the end of a lead early and set up a goal with a kick to the pocket. He probably had his most productive moments during short periods in the ruck, highlighted by a play of second efforts deep in D50 during the second term. He released the ball well when in possession and even produced a really smart tap to advantage instead of taking the ball in the final term, but ultimately it wasn’t his most influential day.

 

Western Jets:

#3 Eddie Ford

The promising bottom ager is still only 16, but already a good size at 186cm and has a whole heap of talent. He played almost exclusively half forward, but still knows how to win the Sherrin and constantly find space on the flanks. He is clean and smart with the ball, gathering and blind turning in almost one motion during the first quarter. He positions himself perfectly too, getting front and centre to snap a fantastic goal in the third term. He missed an opportunity to seal the game late, but ended with a classy 17 disposal outing.

#4 Lucas Rocci

It was a really influential performance by Rocci, who patrolled half back with skill and tenacity. Offensively he played that modern quarterback type role, but still had an important defensive aspect and read the ball movement superbly. He took an outstanding contested intercept mark with the flight of the ball in the first term, showcasing his courage in the best possible way. He impacted aerial contests whenever he could and with ball in hand, he aggressively targeted the corridor with his lethal left foot. After an intercept mark in the second term, he bulleted the ball low inside 50 to hit Clarke lace out. One of the Jets’ best, collecting a team high 22 disposals.

#18 Emerson Jeka

On return from injury, the highly rated key forward made his presence known early by smashing a pack outside 50 and leaving bodies spread on the turf. It didn’t take long for him start clunking them either, taking an outstanding, reaching contested mark in the goal square before converting truly. He looked particularly dangerous leading at the ball and his opponent Tye Hourigan was often left answerless in those situations. While he didn’t miss a beat in the air, his kicking was a tad rusty with two poor set shots in the second term and another in the fourth. In saying that, he struck a lovely left foot pass inside 50 after taking a great mark up the ground. It was a really satisfying comeback performance for Jeka, finishing with seven marks and two goals.

#47 Will Kennedy

Having moved from Sandringham to the Jets this year as a 19 year old, the 2018 draft combine invitee continued on his impressive 2019 form. He was absolutely dominant at the stoppages, amassing an enormous 53 hitouts and often offered silver service to his teammates. Since moving to his new club, he has learned how to win more of the ball and Saturday was no exception in collecting 16 disposals. While some wouldn’t want their ruckman getting so much footy, Kennedy is different with his skills excellent for his size. I feel he has taken another step from last year and still has development to go.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS vs. EASTERN RANGES
By: Sophie Taylor

GWV:

#1 Cooper Craig-Peters

Took a good intercept mark midway through the first quarter for a shot on goal but missed to the right, a good read of play despite not being able to convert. Doing a good job to involve himself in the contest, taking a good contested mark and hunting the ground ball.

#6 Jack Tillig

Some good marks early, finding some space behind the ball to not crowd forward and open up opportunities around the ball carrier. Got his hands on a large amount of the ball, showing willingness to engage in the contest and create opportunities for teammates.

#8 James Cleaver

Did not see much of the ball but credit to his tackling pressure, had seven tackles. Showed some good vision to create pressure on the ball carrier, running them down. Put in the hard yards with a potential goal on the line, shepherding an opposition player off his line to ensure his teammate could clear the ball from danger.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Took a good defensive mark in the first quarter, holding ground well for the Rebels’ zoning defensive setup coming out of attack. Some nice pressure on the marking contest early to put doubt in the mind of his opposition, also showcasing his good hands and chase.

 

Eastern:

#4 Josh Clarke

Good use of space to clear the ball out of the pack, handballed to a passing player in better space on multiple instances to boost his side’s run forward. Had a great passage of play coming out of defence, sitting back to clear the space before receiving a quick handball and speeding down field, finishing with a solid kick toward the forward pocket. Also set up a goal for a teammate in the second, using his quick movement and positioning to grab the loose ball and shrug off an attempted tackle.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

Finding some good space early, shrugging off his mark to run free around the loose ball. Good mark inside 50 early but kick on goal carried to the right, hitting the behind post for no score. Also took a solid mark inside 50 in the first quarter looking into the sun, and unselfishly kicked off to a player on a better angle to guarantee a Ranges goal.

#20 Connor Downie

Found some good space to clear the ball early, made a solid kick inside 50 to player on the move, and showed good run and carry with the flow of the game. Took a great intercept mark in the second for an attempt at goal, slotting one of his three majors. Put his hand up for Metro selection once again after coming out of the side for this week.

 

CALDER CANNONS vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
By: Taylah Melki

Calder Cannons:

#5 Curtis Brown

Has good clean hands and was clever at ground level to pick the ball up cleanly off his toes and then dish it off to a teammate. Showcased his agility to turn his opponent inside out on the boundary line in the forward 50 and propel the ball forward. Used his vision to provide outlet passes and think his way through traffic.

#8 Sam Ramsay

Showed great intent to get the ball moving and use the middle corridor to open up attacking forays for the Cannons. Good use of acceleration to break away from his opponent, took a few strong marks in the second quarter highlighting his strength and read of the play. Won plenty of footy throughout the match working hard to get into damaging positions and reading the play well to influence the contest.

#26 Mason Fletcher

Good kick of the footy, attacked the ball hard and was not afraid to go in and grab the ball. Fletcher highlighted his strong hands overhead to take a good grab in the opening term and continued that marking form throughout the match. Good read of the flight of the ball, strong body positioning, careful clever kick coming out of defence. Controlled the back half well in the opening half of footy to try and limit the influence of the Chargers’ forwards.

 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#3 Joseph Ayton-Delaney

Little fumble in the first quarter dropping a mark but recovered well and regained possession showing his intent and endeavour to win the ball back. Good dash to break away from the pack and try and set up a more attacking style of play. Constantly involved throughout the game throwing his body in the mix to try and win the footy for the Chargers.

#6 Jeromy Lucas

Quick clean hands to dispose of the ball at a stoppage, presented well up at the footy and showcased his strong set of hands to take a few good marks. Awarded a free kick in the second term and kicked truly banging it through the middle to get his first goal of the game. Strong hands and good read of the flight of the footy throughout the match. Lucas was awarded a 50 metre free kick to take him within scoring range and notched up his second goal for the game midway through the third quarter. He worked tirelessly throughout the match and won plenty of the ball.

#9 Will Phillips

Clean hands in and around the contest and read the bounce of the ball well. He was a real bull in and around the contest going in hard and using his body well to win the ball at the coalface. Found good space in the second quarter getting separation from his opponent and applying strong attacking intent. Clean hands in tight and good vision to release teammates in space. Showcased his footy smarts to lay of perfectly weighted kicks into the forward 50 to players leading forward.

#12 Lochlan Jenkins

Jenkins won a heap of the footy and worked consistently hard to regain possession for the Chargers. He worked his way through traffic and was often involved in and around the stoppages. Showcased his footy smarts on when to go and when to hold back. Scrapped hard at ground level to squeeze the ball out of the congestion and create space and opportunities for his teammates. Good read of the flight of the footy and clever body positioning to out-body his opponent and take a pack mark in the fourth term.

#18 Fraser Elliot

Awarded a 50 metre free kick in the opening term and made no mistake of it slotting it straight through the middle. Good strong hands to take a big mark in the first quarter with a player coming straight towards him. He won a lot of the footy early and used it well. Showcased good spatial awareness and general football smarts to accelerate away from his opponent and then dish off to a teammate.

#25 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

Had an impressive game, contested the ball hard and was good at ground level. Good strong contested grab in the forward 50 but was unable to convert in the opening term but worked his way into the game as the match went on. Nailed an impressive goal off a couple of steps working his way through traffic showcasing his clever goal sense and long booming kick. That goal was closely followed by another major credit to his hard running, clever lead and strong hands to take a good mark in the forward 50 and convert. Clever body positioning and read of the play to get out the back and attack the footy and slot through is third goal in the third quarter right on the goal line. Kicked the first goal after half time to add to his total. Clever lead into space and strong hands to take a good grab and then convert on a slight angle for his fourth of the match. ended the game with five goals and proved to be a real dangerous prospect in the forward 50.

#27 Josh May

Really built into the game using his strong hands and clever leading patterns to win the ball and create space across the ground. Worked hard to keep the ball moving forward. Had a big influence in the third term winning a heap of the ball and using it well to try and create opportunities for the Chargers moving forward.

 

TASMANIA DEVILS vs. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
By: Scott Dougan

Tasmania:

#4 Will Peppin

Peppin caught the eye in the first term when he gathered a ground ball in the middle of the ground and blindly turned his way past his opponent and out of trouble. He would release the ball by hand successfully to a teammate, who would continue moving the ball forward. He was able to hit the scoreboard in the third term, which ended up being one of Tasmania’s four goals on the day.

#7 Matt McGuinness

McGuinness played across half-back where he would use his powerful left foot to good advantage. He was reliable by foot and he showcased some of his athletic attributes with some nice intercept marks on the day, especially in the second half. He finished with 21 disposals (16 kicks) and seven marks.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow was barely sighted early on but came to life late in the first term when he missed a set shot on goal after winning a free kick. He showed plenty of aggression around the contest and towards his opponents, which is an encouraging sign for a powerful full-forward. Callow had the chance to kick his first goal of the day in the fourth quarter but pushed his shot wide. He would end up having a good 10-minute patch but was unable to make the most of his limited chances on the day, finishing with four behinds.

 

Murray:

#3 Ben Kelly

Kelly won plenty of the ball around the ground and competed strongly in the ruck. He was the bigger-bodied ruckman on the day, so he was able to direct his hit-outs to the advantage of his rovers. He kicked a major in the second term after reading the ball perfectly off his teammates’ boot. Kelly would spend some time in the defensive 50 in the fourth quarter, where he won plenty of intercept possessions. A good performance from the ruckman.

#7 Zane Barzen

Barzen kicked his teams’ second goal of the day with a good snap around the body in the forward pocket. He was very lively in the second half and was exceptionally dangerous inside 50. He played in front of his opponent at all times which gave him first access to the incoming balls that would fall short. Barzen booted his second goal of the game in the fourth quarter with another impressive snap around the body. Barzen also collected 13 disposals.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

I thought Chalcraft was the most impressive Bushranger player on the day. He set up Zane Barzen’s first major when he saw him in the forward pocket out of the corner of his eye. All of his possessions on the day had a huge impact and many resulting in score involvements for his team. In such a scrappy contest, Chalcraft’s ability to pick up ground balls effectively and with such little effort, definitely caught the eye. His attack on the ball and repeated efforts around the contest were first-class. He finished with 20 disposals and seven tackles in another solid performance. He’s definitely one of the players I’ve been extremely pleased with this season.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Boyer played across half-back, mopping up everything that came in his direction. He had plenty of time with ball in hand and made the right decisions by foot. His run-and-carry was useful for his team moving forward. One of his best passages of play came in the first term when he took a sliding intercept mark on the wing. Boyer had a game-high 27 disposals (19 kicks).

NAB League Boys Round 10 preview – Changes continue amid national carnival

THE changes continue to roll on among NAB League sides in Round 10, with a week off from school football and national championship rotations allowing teams to replenish. While a few sides remain particularly weakened, others are more balanced and could shake up the ladder with big wins over more fancied rivals.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Saturday June 8, 10:30am
Shepley Oval

Dandenong Stingrays will look to continue its unbeaten premiership defence when it opens Round 10 against the Northern Knights on home turf. Coming off a bye last week, this game will be one of the few occasions throughout the year where Dandenong will be at less than full strength – with Lachlan Williams‘ inclusion in the Vic Country squad making it five Dandenong representatives set to suit up against the Allies on Sunday. Mid-season draftee Mitch Riordan is another who comes out of the side, but the home side will be boosted by the inclusion of Bigoa Nyuon – set to line-up in the ruck. Their weekend opponents, the Knights, will also be boosted by the return of a couple of Victorian representatives in the form of Ryan Sturgess and Adam Carafa, while Nikolas Cox is another to slot straight back in due to a halt in the school football season. The inclusions are especially timely given the opposition, as well as an unfortunate injury to Ryan Gardner in last week’s loss. With Dandenong somewhat weakened, it will be interesting to see how some of their players adjust in different roles and with added responsibility, and Northern will be keen to pounce on an unlikely bounce-back victory.

GEELONG FALCONS vs. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
Saturday June 8, 11:30am
MARS Stadium

The Sandringham Dragons and Geelong Falcons open a MARS Stadium double-header on Saturday, with the Falcons looking to correct a three-game slide. They face stiff opposition in the form of Sandringham though, with the Dragons adjusting well without over half of their best 23 last week. On top of giving Andrew Courtney a rest after missing Metro selection this week, the Dragons are set to lose a further three guns in the form of Oscar Lewis, Jack Bell, and Corey Watts. With the Falcons regaining the likes of over-age pair Charlie Sprague and Sam Christensen, along with bottom-agers Charlie Lazzaro and Noah Gadsby amongst other school football inclusions, Geelong can have a real crack at picking up a second win for the year. The Falcons are not heavily impacted by Vic Country selection either with only two representatives, so have an obvious advantage in that department. As mentioned though, the Dragons are used to fielding depleted squads and have shown they are more than well enough equiped to deal with the outs. Only time will tell whether it will prove too much this week, but the second place side is always hard to tip against.

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. WESTERN JETS
Saturday June 8, 1:00pm
Morwell Football Ground

A spot back on the winners list is up for grabs for the Gippsland Power as they host a Western Jets outfit looking to make it three-consecutive wins. The Power went down to fellow top four fancies Sandringham last time out, largely on the back of having nine players suit up for Vic Country instead, as well as losing mid-season draftee Kyle Dunkley. A week to adjust to the wealth of changes may prove handy for the Power, who still managed to push Sandringham to within four goals. Western had no such troubles last week in a big win over Bendigo, and will in fact be strengthened by the return of Metro representative Josh Honey, as well as Emerson Jeka from injury and Will Kennedy from the Young Guns game. In a rare instance at this time of year, they are essentially a couple of players off being at full strength, which will more than bode well for them in this clash. The Power will have some shuffling to do with an extended bench named, but have the remaining talent to get up and consolidate their spot in the top four. It will be a tough ask against the flying Jets, and should be one of the closer contests of the round.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS vs. EASTERN RANGES
Saturday June 8, 2:00pm
MARS Stadium

Contrasting form lines tell the story in the lead up to the clash between Greater Western Victoria and the Eastern Ranges, with the 6-2 visitors looking for a third-straight win, while the 2-6 Rebels look to snap a four-game losing run. The Ranges have been a surprise packet thus far in claiming a top four spot, and bounced back well from a loss to Gippsland two rounds ago. Despite a bright start they only had one Metro representative last week in Connor Downie, who comes back in for this game. The form of Mitch Mellis was too good to refuse though, so he and skipper James Ross will both suit up for Metro this week, but will be covered by the likes of Chayce Black, Riley Smith, and Jamieson Rossiter as key ins. Given the remaining strength of the Eastern side and its consistency, the Rebels face a mountain to climb in overcoming the Ranges. That will be somewhat compounded as Country selection calls for Toby Mahony, but Nick Stevens and Isaac Wareham are solid ins across half-back. The home ground advantage should suit GWV, so expect some fight from them in what will be a tough game.

CALDER CANNONS vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday June 8, 2:00pm
RAMS Arena

The Calder Cannons will be looking to rectify a 23-point Round 2 loss to Oakleigh when they face the Chargers for a second time this year to close out Saturday’s proceedings. Calder once again plays host at RAMS Arena with Warrawee Park unavailable, and will be in with a good chance of turning the previous result around. The Cannons come in on the back of two-straight wins, albeit over bottom ten sides, and have looked solid for their 5-4 record and seventh place. Meanwhile, sixth-place Oakleigh seems to be hitting its straps despite missing a host of stars, and will be buoyed by some great inclusions from school football and the Young Guns game. The likes of Joe Ayton-Delaney, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, and Will Phillips are all classy inclusions, and will provide some spark to the line-up. Calder has also benefitted with its ins, as over-agers Josh Kemp and Mason Fletcher return alongside bottom-ager Campbell Edwardes as the Cannons look to replace the spine usually filled by their Metro representatives. Form would suggest this may be one of the closer games of the round, and if their first meeting is anything to go by, game-winners will need to stand up in order to get the job done.

TASMANIA DEVILS vs. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Sunday June 9, 10:00am
UTAS Stadium

The Tasmania Devils and Murray Bushrangers are set to face off in their curtain raiser match for the Allies and Vic Country clash at UTAS Stadium in Sunday’s only game. The Devils have been competitive over their eight matches so far, going at an even 4-4 having beaten GWV last week. While they face an underperforming Murray side, and move to a positive record will be tough with the likes of leading prospect Mitch O’Neill and bottom-agers Oliver Davis and Sam Collins selected in the Allies team. With Murray already without the likes of Lachie Ash and Elijah Hollands, Cam Wild becomes another called up for Country duties, while Will Chandler is set to suit up for the Allies. One who missed out on Allies selection is over-ager Ben Kelly, who comes back into the Murray side alongside fellow Young Guns player, Zane Barzen. While the Bushrangers are still finding their feet on the back of their key outs, this will be one of the few times where Tasmania will be forced to cover losses on a bigger scale, so it will be a test of who can adjust better. Expect a good contest in the lead up to a showcase of elite Under 18 football.

Dragons, Power dominate finalised Victorian squads

SANDRINGHAM Dragons and Gippsland Power make up one third of the total Victorian representatives in the Vic Country and Vic Metro sides which were officially announced this week. Following the Victorian trial games which saw the Victorian teams face-off against Allies at Ikon Park on Sunday, the two squads are set ahead of the National Under 18 Championships starting on Saturday, June 1.

Sandringham Dragons have a whopping 14 players across the sides, with 13 players – Jack Mahony, Ryan Byrnes, Louis Butler, Hugo Ralphsmith, Miles Bergman, Finn Maginness, Fischer McAsey, Joshua Worrell, Corey Watts, Charlie Dean, Andrew Courtney and Jack Bell – making the Metro side, while the Country-based Darcy Chirgwin earned a place in the Country squad. Gippsland Power had nine representatives themselves, with Caleb Serong, Sam Flanders, Riley Baldi, Harrison Pepper, Ryan Sparkes, Fraser Phillips, Brock Smith, Josh Smith and Charlie Comben all securing a spot in the final Country squad.

Oakleigh Chargers – led by potential top two picks Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson – had seven players in the Metro squad, while Dandenong Stingrays also had seven players in the Country squad, including top 10 potential pick Hayden Young.  Bendigo Pioneers had six representatives in the Country squad, including the injured Flynn Perez, while the likes of Cooper Stephens, Tanner Bruhn and Chirgwin are also currenly in the rehab program but are involved in the development camp tomorrow.

The two sides go head-to-head this Saturday at the MCG as a curtain raiser to the Collingwood-Fremantle clash in a Round 2 battle of the championships which has been brought forward. Vic Country then heads south to Launceston to face the Allies a week later, while Vic Metro traves to Western Australia.

VIC COUNTRY:

1 Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays)
2 Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power)
3 Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays)
4 Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power)
5 Cameron Wild (Murray Bushrangers)
6 Riley Baldi (Gippsland Power)
7 Mitch Martin (GWV Rebels)
8 Thomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers)
9 Isaac Wareham (GWV Rebels)
10 Harrison Pepper (Gippsland Power)
12 Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers)
13 Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels)
14 Liam Herbert (GWV Rebels)
15 Ryan Sparkes (Gippsland Power)
16 Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers)
17 Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays)
18 Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers)
19 Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power)
20 Elijah Hollands (Murray Bushrangers)
21 Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons)
22 Darcy Chirgwin (Sandringham Dragons)
24 Brock Smith (Gippsland Power)
25 Flynn Perez (Bendigo Pioneers)
26 Jesse Clark (Geelong Falcons)
27 Oliver Henry (Geelong Falcons)
29 Lachlan Williams (Dandenong Stingrays)
30 James Schischka (Bendigo Pioneers)
32 Ben Worme (Bendigo Pioneers)
33 Josh Treacy (Bendigo Pioneers)
34 Bigoa Nyuon (Dandenong Stingrays)
35 Toby Mahony (GWV Rebels)
36 Sam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays)
37 Blake Kuipers (Dandenong Stingrays)
38 Henry Walsh (Geelong Falcons)
39 Josh Smith (Gippsland Power)
40 Charlie Comben (Gippsland Power)
41 Tanner Bruhn (Geelong Falcons)

VIC METRO:

1 Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons)
2 Mitch Mellis (Eastern Ranges)
5 Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers)
6 Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers)
7 Lachlan Stapleton (Eastern Ranges)
8 Adam Carafa (Northern Knights)
9 Will Phillips (Oakleigh Chargers)
11 Matthew Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers)
12 Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons)
13 Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons)
14 James Ross (Eastern Ranges)
15 Louis Butler (Sandringham Dragons)
16 Darcy Cassar (Western Jets)
17 Ryan Gardner (Northern Knights)
18 Lachlan Potter (Northern Knights)
19 Josh Honey (Western Jets)
20 Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges)
21 Hugo Ralphsmith (Sandringham Dragons)
22 Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons)
23 Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers)
24 Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers)
25 Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons)
26 Ryan Sturgess (Northern Knights)
27 Oscar Lewis (Sandringham Dragons)
28 Jamieson Rossiter (Eastern Ranges)
29 Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons)
30 Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons)
31 Joshua Worrell (Sandringham Dragons)
33 Corey Watts (Sandringham Dragons)
34 Charlie Dean (Sandringham Dragons)
35 Nikolas Cox (Northern Knights)
36 Emerson Jeka (Western Jets)
37 Andrew Courtney (Sandringham Dragons)
38 Brodie Newman (Calder Cannons)
39 Jack Bell (Sandringham Dragons)
40 Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers)

Team of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 6

DANDENONG Stingrays’ big win over Brisbane Lions Academy has seen them earn the most players of any side in our Draft Central NAB League Boys Team of the Week for Round 6. The Stingrays have four players in our Team of the Week, one more than other Round 6 winners, Calder Cannons and Gippsland Power, while Eastern Ranges also had a trio of players in our Team of the Week. Geelong Falcons, Northern Knights and Oakleigh Chargers were the other three sides to record a win, and they have two players in the team, while Bendigo Pioneers, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Tasmania Devils each have a player in the team.

Dandenong Stingrays’ Hayden Young and Sam De Koning feature in a strong defensive unit, with bottom-ager Clayton Gay in the forward line and Cody Weightman coming off the bench. Also in defence is Calder Cannons’ Brodie Newman, while Daniel Mott and Jacob Martin‘s games through the midfield earned them places in the team. On the opposite half-back flank to Young is Gippsland Power captain Brock Smith, while Riley Baldi sits on a wing and Fraser Phillips is at half-forward. The other team with three players in our side is Eastern Ranges, with midfielders Lachlan Stapleton and Zakery Pretty making the team again, while Billy McCormack is the starting ruck in a week where a number of rucks impressed.

Geelong Falcons’ victory over Sydney Swans Academy resulted in Jesse Clark (centre half-back) and Oliver Henry (forward pocket) both making the team, while Northern Knights’ Lachlan Potter rounds out the defence, and Josh D’Intinosante makes the team in the forward 50 yet again. The other remaining winning side with two players is Oakleigh Chargers, as co-captain and Draft Central‘s Player of the Week Trent Bianco slots into centre, along with teammate Josh May who also made the squad. Murray Bushrangers’ Jimmy Boyer booted three goals and comes into the team at half-forward, while Lachlan Ash is once again in the side. Of those players as their team’s sole representatives, Bendigo Pioneers’ Josh Treacy (full-forward), GWV Rebels’ Isaac Wareham and Tasmania Devils’ Oliver Davis (both interchange) also made the team.