THE finals are all but upon us and with most sides fielding arguably their best line-ups for the year in this week’s inaugural Wildcard Round, we should be set for some absolute belters.
CALDER CANNONS v. GEELONG FALCONS
Wild Card Round – Saturday, September 1, 11:30am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat
Calder take on the Falcons in the first match-up of the round, with recent additions to the Geelong line-up meaning they pose a serious threat to both the Cannons, and all finals contenders – despite finishing the regular season in a disappointing tenth.
Calder have bolstered a couple of areas with Jesse Taylor and Jacob Martin set to line up in the forward 50, while in-form versatile tall Daniel Hanna will slot straight back into the defensive six after outings with Essendon’s VFL team.
For Geelong, small bottom-age forward Jay Dahlhaus could be a handy inclusion, while Finlay Parish is back to provide some added depth to the midfield. Both are named on an extended bench alongside Chas Karpala, with talented 16-year-old Tanner Bruhn the 23rd man.
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, 35. S. Graham
HF: 57. J. Kemp, 36. P. Mahoney, 14. J. Taylor
F: 33. J. Evans, 5. C. Taylor, 25. J. Martin
R: 29. J. Riccardi, 20. R. West, 1. D. Mott
Int: 44. N. Gentile, 40. L. Johnson, 51. W. Jury, 10. H. Minton-Connell, 3. I. Moussa, 12. J. O’Sullivan, 52. B. Reddick
23P: 21. H. Jones
In: N. Gentile, D. Hanna, J. Taylor, J. Martin
Out: C. Brown
B: 40. J. Clark, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 7. C. Harris
HB: 20. B. Ham, 31. C. Cartledge, 21. L. Smith
C: 8. E. McHenry, 6. D. Madigan, 22. S. Walsh
HF: 9. B. Morton, 39. C. Idun, 13. H. Whyte
F: 36. C. Sprague, 48. B. Schlensog, 2. S. Torpy
R: 44. S. Conway, 30. O. Brownless, 41. C. Stephens
Int: 1. J. Dahlhaus, 11. C. Karpala, 10. B. Mensch, 34. C. Page, 32. F. Parish, 3. K. Rayner, 42. H. Spiller
23P: 15. T. Bruhn
In: F. Parish, C. Karpala, J. Dahlhaus
NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS
Wild Card Round – Saturday, September 1, 2:00pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat
The Knights and Rebels were destined to face each other in this eighth vs ninth fixture no matter the results of Round 16. Northern are in good form having knocked off top-eight competition in the last two weeks, and will be looking to gain their third win over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) for the year.
They have some serious bottom-age talent to sure up each line, with Ryan Sturgess and Jackson Davies slotting in at half-back, Sam Philp coming into the midfield and forward James Lucente named on an extended bench alongside Charlie Simonsen. They lose the leadership of Mitch Wild and Harrison Grace though, with last round’s debutant Jack House also omitted.
Meanwhile, the Rebels have plenty of changes of their own, with the key one being Scott Carlin replacing Josh Chatfield in the midfield. Plenty of bottom-agers also make up their extended bench, while Cooper Craig-Peters, Riley Polkinghorne and Izaac Grant fill spots in the forward and back halves. Also keep an eye on 16-year old key forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who is an exciting mover.
B: 25. J. Davies, 28. S. Uzelac, 15. O. White
HB: 5. L. Potter, 33. J. Randall, 11. R. Sturgess
C: 30. J. McInerney, 13. S. Philp, 4. T. McKenzie
HF: 24. R. Bowkett, 12. J. Naylor, 17. J. D’Intinosante
F: 3. B. Gillard, 21. M. Baker, 36. K. Yodgee
R: 19. N. Howard, 18. S. Brazier, 8. A. Carafa
Int: 10. B. Bell, 37. K. Brandt, 1. R. Gardner, 27. J. Lucente, 32. I. Rossi, 9. C. Simonsen, 44. C. Wild
23P: 55. J. Boyd
In: R. Sturgess, C. Simonsen, S. Philp, M. Baker, J. Davies, R. Bowkett, J. Lucente
Out: M. Wild, B. Leonard, H. Grace, J. House
Greater Western Victoria Rebels
B: 10. J. Lohmann, 18. B. Helyar, 44. R. Polkinghorne
HB: 48. J. Cleaver, 43. J. Wright, 5. H. Jennings
C: 24. M. Lloyd, 3. S. Carlin, 30. I. Wareham
HF: 21. I. Grant, 20. T. Watts, 14. J. Hill
F: 1. C. Craig-Peters, 50. J. Ugle-Hagan, 6. C. Wilson
R: 29. P. Glanford, 7. M. Martin, 2. M. Schnerring
Int: 8. H. Butler, 9. L. Dawson, 41. B. Dodd, 38. I. Ewing, 27. E. Lamb, 47. T. Mahony, 45. D. McEldrew
23P: 26. R. Ranieri
In: H. Butler, C. Craig-Peters, B. Dodd, I. Grant, I. Ewing, R. Polkinghorne, S. Carlin
Out: L. Herbert, J. Chatfield, A. Gove, J. Henderson
WESTERN JETS v. EASTERN RANGES
Wild Card Round – Sunday, September 2, 11:00am
IKON Park, Carlton North
Eastern will be coming into this clash with a spring in their step, having pushed top-four side Gippsland hard in the previous round. They showed some good moments of footy and will hoping to bring that same intensity against the Jets. Still, Western have stars on every line in their side and will be hard to beat.
The Jets have brought over-ager Jack Papachatzakis into the starting line-up to replace Jaden Rice in defence, while bottom-ager Cassius White has been named as their 23rd man. The remaining ins make up an extended bench featuring Jack Watkins, with depth the key to their inclusions.
The Ranges look to have included some exciting bottom-age prospects, with Chayce Black and Lucas Vassis named on the bench, while Jayden Weichard slots into defence and bite-sized Kyle Crosby is in as their 23rd player.
B: 15. M. Hearne, 37. H. Murphy, 28. J. Papachatzakis
HB: 48. A. Britten, 38. B. Khamis, 6. L. Rocci
C: 17. D. Andrews, 12. C. Thar, 24. J. Honey
HF: 20. D. Cassar, 31. E. Jeka, 2. T. Rudic
F: 10. S. Kyriazis, 45. A. Clarke, 49. D. Pantalleresco
R: 47. D. Walters, 39. S. Radovanovic, 33. X. O’Halloran
Int: 13. D. Bolkas, 18. B. Colley, 1. L. Failli, 25. S. Johnson, 22. O. Manton, 26. W. Smyth, 7. J. Watkins
23P: 16. C. White
In: D. Bolkas, B. Colley, J. Papachatzakis, C. White, W. Smyth
Out: N. Ellis, C. Raak, J. Rice
B: 37. J. Weichard, 59. J. Nathan, 45. M. Zalac
HB: 23. X. Fry, 31. J. Blanck, 24. K. Quirk
C: 30. T. Edwards, 7. L. Stapleton, 11. M. Mellis
HF: 2. A. Kalcovski, 18. B. McCormack, 19. J. Kritopoulos
F: 40. D. Brereton, 65. B. Hickleton, 9. J. Duffy
R: 58. R. Smith, 57. C. Leon, 8. J. Burleigh
Int: 10. C. Black, 1. B. Bredin, 27. J. Jaworski, 64. Z. Pretty, 22. C. Quirk, 25. L. Vassis, 46. B. White
23P: 43. K. Crosby
In: L. Vassis, J. Weichard, J. Jaworski, K. Crosby, C. Black
Out: R. Clausen, W. Parker
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS
Wild Card Round – Sunday, September 2, 1:30pm
IKON Park, Carlton North
The final game of the round pits fifth placed Murray against bottom-placed Bendigo in an all-Country clash, with both sides coming off losses in the final round of the regular season.
The Bushrangers have brought in Floyd Bollinghaus to replace ruck giant Ben Kelly, while also solidifying their defence with Rory Quinn and Tom Boyd slotting into the 22. Star forward Zane Barzen also returns, and will look to continue his dangerous partnership with Hudson Garoni.
For Bendigo, Connor O’Shea comes in on the wing, with the likes of bottom-ager Logan Fitzgerald making up an extended bench alongside Alex Smith-Ralph and Will Allen. The Pioneers have also been dealt a couple of untimely blows, with Noah Wheeler out of the side, joined by Braydon Vaz. Many will be keen to see if star midfielder Jye Caldwell can impress and push for top-25 selection, having returned to competition in the last couple of weeks.
B: 11. E. Adams, 59. L. Fiore, 15. R. Quinn
HB: 12. L. Ash, 16. N. Murray, 34. T. Boyd
C: 55. R. Paradzayi, 5. E. Smith, 53. C. Wilson
HF: 7. Z. Barzen, 2. J. Butts, 6. W. Chandler
F: 26. R. Bice, 18. H. Garoni, 13. B. Frauenfelder
R: 35. F. Bollinghaus, 9. M. Walker, 38. D. Clarke
Int: 19. J. Boyer, 20. J. Bradshaw, 1. W. Christie, 10. P. Warner
Emg: 50. K. Davies, 33. F. Ellis, 40. N. Irvine
23P: 58. E. Hollands
In: F. Bollinghaus, T. Boyd, J. Bradshaw, R. Quinn, Z. Barzen
Out: B. Kelly, H. Kaak, D. Harrington, L. Walker
B: 21. D. Loveridge, 24. N. McHugh, 49. O. Perez
HB: 25. F. Perez, 18. B. Henderson, 58. J. Tillig
C: 26. C. O’Shea, 8. B. Kemp, 51. B. Waasdorp
HF: 55. C. Fisher, 20. J. Schischka, 3. L. Marciano
F: 16. J. Atley, 54. M. Christensen, 1. M. Goodwin
R: 36. A. Gundry, 4. J. Caldwell, 43. H. Lawrence
Int: 53. W. Allen, 52. L. Bond, 15. L. Caccaviello, 60. L. Fitzgerald, 57. A. Smith-Ralph
23P: 50. N. Kay
In: A. Smith-Ralph, W. Allen, C. O’Shea, L. Fitzgerald, J. Tillig, L. Bond
Out: S. Conforti, N. Wheeler, J. Williams, J. McHale, B. Vaz