Tag: Jackson Barling

NAB League Boys 2019 Throwback: Round 3 – First draw of the season in Country Triple Header

IN an action-packed nine games of NAB League Boys action, spectators witnessed the season’s first draw at Queen Elizabeth Oval in Bendigo as part of a huge triple header for the six country teams. The round also included a double header at Trevor Barker Oval the day before, while the Northern Academies went head-to-head across the nation, and the standalone game at RAMS Arena was a close one.

Opening up the round in Sandringham with the double header changed from Preston was the Northern Knights taking on Eastern Ranges. From the start it was clear the Ranges were going to be too strong, and by half-time led by 26 points. It would only get worse for the Knights in the second half, as Eastern piled on 7.9 to 0.2, to run away 75-point winners.

Mitch Mellis was best on ground with three goals from 29 touches, six marks, six tackles, two clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while the likes of Zakery Pretty (26 disposals, five marks, three tackles, nine clearances and three inside 50s) and James Ross (30 disposals, three marks, three clearances, five inside 50s and two rebounds) were not too far behind. Connor Downie (25 touches, five marks, five inside 50s and a goal), Josh Clarke (24 touches, five inside 50s and three rebounds) and Lachlan Gawel (21 disposals, six marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and a goal) were all prolific, while Cody Hirst (19 disposals, five marks, nine tackles, five inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal) looked impressive in one of his few games prior to being drafted by Sydney.

Sam Philp was a clear standout for the losing side as he amassed 26 touches, five marks, nine tackles, four inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal. Ryan Gardner (23 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and three rebounds) worked hard on the outside, Josh D’Intinosante (21 disposals, five marks, nine tackles, four clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal) was busy through midfield, and Jackson Davies (20 disposals, six marks and five rebounds) did his best in defence.

The second game at Trevor Barker Oval was much closer with perennial rivals and premiership contenders, Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers going at it. The end result was a 10-point win to the Dragons after booting five goals to two in the middle two quarters and then holding off a Chargers comeback to grab the bragging rights, 9.11 (65) to 8.7 (55).

Jack Mahony led the way for his side with 25 touches, five marks, five tackles, three clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, teaming up well in midfield with Finn Maginness (24 disposals, two marks, three tackles, four clearances, six inside 50s and a goal) and Ryan Byrnes (21 disposals, four marks, three clearances, six inside 50s and two rebounds). Josh Worrell was a rock in defence thanks to 23 touches, four marks, four tackles and five rebounds, while up forward, Charlie Dean continued his good form with 16 disposals, six marks and two goals.

It was no surprise to see who led the way despite the loss for the Chargers with Matt Rowell (31 disposals, seven marks, 11 tackles, eight clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds) dominating alongside Noah Anderson (26 disposals, two marks, six tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s, four rebounds and two goals). Future Magpie, Trent Bianco picked up 26 disposals, seven marks, four inside 50s and five rebounds, while bottom-age talent, Will Phillips had 21 touches, seven marks and three tackles of his own. Dylan Williams booted three goals from nine disposals and four marks up forward.

Up at RAMS Arena, Calder Cannons kicked away in the final term against Western Jets to win by 12 points in what was a thrilling contest. It was only a two goals to one final quarter, but that was enough to see the home side in front at the final siren after leading by just three points at the final break. Western had worked its way back into the game after trailing by 19 and 15 points at the quarter time and half-time breaks respectively, but would ultimately not do enough to get the points in the end.

Cannons captain Daniel Mott had the ball on a string thanks to 32 disposals, seven marks, four tackles, seven clearances, five inside 50s, four rebounds and two goals, while Harrison Minton-Connell joined him with leather poisoning after 30 disposals, six marks, six tackles, seven clearances, two inside 50s, two rebounds and a goal. Flynn Lakey (26 disposals, five marks, four clearances and two rebounds) and Jake Sutton (18 disposals, seven marks, three clearances and six inside 50s) were busy, while Harrison Jones showed off his versatility after 17 disposals, eight marks, four hitouts and three inside 50s.

Darcy Cassar and Josh Kellett were saviours in the defensive 50, combining for 44 disposals, 12 marks and 15 rebounds in a hard working effort for the Jets. Up forward, excitement machine Eddie Ford had 16 touches, four marks, three tackles, two clearances and three inside 50s, while Will Kennedy racked up a whopping 41 hitouts to go with 15 rouches, five marks, four inside 50s and three rebounds. Of the future draftees, Josh Honey had 14 disposals, three marks, six tackles, three inside 50s and a goal, while Emerson Jeka took six marks from nine touches and laid three tackles.

Heading north to Yeronga, the Gold Coast Suns Academy booted the last six goals of the game and five goals to zero in the final term, to post a 10.10 (70) to 5.12 (42) victory over cross-state rivals, Brisbane Lions Academy. The Lions had led by two points at the final break, but it was all Gold Coast in the last term as they ran away with the points.

Ashton Crossley racked up 31 touches, four marks, 10 clearances and two inside 50s, teaming up well with future Sun, Connor Budarick (26 disposals, three marks, five tackles, three clearances and six inside 50s) and bottom-age talent, Alex Davies (22 disposals, three marks, five inside 50s and three rebounds). Josh Gore booted three majors from 12 disposals and seven marks, while another future senior Sun in Matthew Conroy kicked two last quarter goals from eight touches, three marks and 25 hitouts. Hewago Paul Oea was also lively with 17 disposals, three marks, eight inside 50s and a goal.

For the Lions, Tom Griffiths (27 disposals, five marks and four rebounds) and Bruce Reville (26 disposals, eight marks, five tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds) had the most touches, while Saxon Crozier (19 disposals, nine marks, three tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s) and Ethan Hunt (18 disposals, six marks, three inside 50s and six rebounds) were also busy. Future Tigers, Noah Cumberland (13 disposals, four clearances and six inside 50s) and Will Martyn (12 disposals, five tackles) played in the match as well.

In another dominant performance late, Sydney Swans Academy stormed past GWS GIANTS to win by 59 points in Canberra. The Swans trailed at quarter time and half-time, but piled on 12 goals to two in the second half to run away with the contest and gain some serious bragging rights early in the Academy Series.

It was a strong team effort from the Swans, with Jackson Barling (24 disposals, six marks, four tackles and three clearances) and Lachlan Swaney (22 disposals, three marks, five tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s and a goal) both prominent. Captain Sam Thorne (19 touches, six tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s) was busy, while Harrison Parker and Braeden Campbell both booted three goals in the win.

For the GIANTS it was all about Tom Green who racked up 28 touches, six marks, eight clearances, three inside 50s and a goal, while Jeromy Lucas (25 touches, four marks, five clearances and four inside 50s) and James Peatling (24 touches, seven marks, four tackles, five clearances, six inside 50s and two goals) provided support. Liam Delahunty (10 touches, six marks and two goals) was busy up forward, while Nick Murray (15 disposals, seven marks and nine rebounds) stood tall under siege in defence.

Heading into the city for a clash between Northern territory and Tasmania, it was the Devils who came away with their first win after a slow start. Trailing by 10 points at the first break, Tasmania piled on 12 goals to three after that to finish with a commanding 13.14 (92) to 6.8 (44) victory over the Thunder.

Leading draft prospect, Mitch O’Neill had the ball on a string with 35 disposals, three marks, four clearances, nine inside 50s and three rebounds, as Rhyan Mansell (23 disposals, four marks, four tackles, seven inside 50s and a goal) and Oliver Davis (22 disposals, six marks, three tackles, four clearances and six inside 50s) provided great service to the forwards. Bottom-age key forward Jackson Callow showed just what he was capable of with five majors from 19 disposals and eight marks, while Matthew McGuinness was a reliever in defence with 18 disposals, three marks and five rebounds.

All eyes were on Richmond father-son bottom-age prospect Maurice Rioli Jnr for the Thunder, and he had 13 disposals, two marks, six tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s in a lively display. Others who impressed included Stephen Cumming (22 disposals, 40 hitouts and nine clearances), and bottom-age hopefuls, Joel Jeffrey (20 disposals, seven marks, seven rebounds and a goal), Isaac Seden-Kurnoth (18 disposals, nine tackles and five rebounds) and Brodie Lake (15 disposals, six marks and six rebounds).

Heading up the highway to Bendigo, the country triple header took place at Queen Elizabeth Oval. The Pioneers were battling against premiership contender, Gippsland Power and had themselves right in the contest until the final term. The Power led by just one point at the last break, but piled on 4.5 to 1.0 in the last quarter to run away with a 12.10 (82) to 8.10 (58) victory.

Future first round pick, Caleb Serong helped himself to 23 disposals, five marks, three tackles, seven clearances, four inside 50s, four rebounds and two goals, while another first round selection in Sam Flanders amassed 20 touches, two marks, three tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s. Ryan Sparkes (21 disposals, five marks and six inside 50s), Sam Berry (20 disposals, three tackles, six clearances, three inside 50s and a goal), Kyle Dunkley (15 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, six clearances, three inside 50s and a goal) and Leo Connolly (15 disposals, two marks, four inside 50s and six rebounds) were among the best across the four quarters, while Fraser Phillips booted three goals from 12 touches and four marks.

Bendigo’s own future first round pick in Brodie Kemp had a day out with 21 disposals, four marks, three tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s and a goal, teaming up well in midfield with Sam Conforti (22 disposals, four marks, three tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds) and Jeremy Rodi (19 disposals, four marks, four tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds). Riley Wilson (14 disposals, five tackles, five clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds) was prominent in midfield, while Logan Fitzgerald and Brady Rowles combined for 26 disposals and nine rebounds in defence.

The second game was the best of the lot, with Dandenong Stingrays splitting the points with Geelong Falcons. In a wind-affected day, the see-sawing contested had everyone on the edge of their seat. Trailing by 30 points at the final break but with the wind behind their backs, the Stingrays booted 5.6 to 1.0 and managed to draw level at 12.11 (83) apiece thanks to a kick after the siren.

Ned Cahill had 24 disposals, four marks, five tackles, four clearances and eight inside 50s, as all of Dandenong’s future draftees stood out. Hayden Young had 22 disposals, five marks, three clearances, five inside 50s and five rebounds, Cody Weightman had 20 touches, three marks, five clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal, and Sam De Koning picked up 17 disposals, three marks, four hitouts and two goals, switching into attack in the last quarter and being a huge influence on the result.

The game was unfortunately the last for Geelong’s sole draftee, Cooper Stephens who broke his leg in the first term and would not play another game in season 2019. Jesse Clark (26 disposals, four marks and 11 rebounds) and Charlie Harris (24 touches, eight marks and five rebounds) worked hard, while bottom-agers, Noah Gribble (22 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s and a goal) and Charlie Lazzaro (19 disposals, nine tackles and seven inside 50s) were among their side’s best.

In the final game of the round, Murray Bushrangers came back from a goal down at the final break to find their kicking boots and defeat Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels by seven points. The Bushrangers had booted 6.12 to three quarter time – four more scoring shots than their opponents – but trailed them by a goal. They picked it up in the final term to slot 3.3 to 1.2 and record a 9.15 (69) to 9.8 (62) victory.

Lachlan Ash had a team-high 28 disposals, six marks, four tackles, seven inside 50s and seven rebounds, while Jye Chalcraft (22 disposals, five marks, six tackles, three clearance and five inside 50s) and Jimmy Boyer (22 disposals, nine marks and two rebounds) found plenty of the ball. In midfield, Cameron Wild (20 disposals, four marks, three clearances and seven inside 50s) and Dylan Clarke (17 disposals, three marks, four tackles, six clearances and three inside 50s) were strong.

Jay Rantall was a clear standout for the Rebels, amassing an impressive 31 touches, three marks, five tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s, two rebounds and two goals in a complete game. Mitch Martin (22 disposals, 10 marks, four tackles, five clearances, six inside 50s and two goals) was also impressive, while James Cleaver and Emmanuel Ajang combined for 33 disposals, 10 marks and 13 rebounds in defence.

Classic Contests: Second half dominance sees Swans fly

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 3 clashes in the NAB League this year between Sydney Swans Academy and GWS GIANTS Academy. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2019, as both teams are new to the competition and therefore only have the one previous meeting.

GWS GIANTS 4.3 | 5.7 | 7.7 | 7.9 (51)
SYDNEY SWANS 2.1 | 4.5 | 11.6 | 16.14 (110)

Round 3 | Saturday, April 6, 2019
Manuka Oval, 11am

The two sides from New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) faced off in the nation’s capital at Manuka Oval to try and grab bragging rights in the inaugural NAB League Boys game between the teams. Both these sides had some draft prospects, with GIANTS’ inside midfielder Tom Green the pick of the bunch for 2020. Sydney had plenty of depth in the side though, with Braeden Campbell one of a number of talented bottom-agers, though the Swans were without star midfielder, Errol Gulden for the clash. Sydney was coming off a 14-point triumph over Tasmania the week before, while GWS GIANTS fell to Brisbane by 26 points in the match immediately after.

Sydney started strongly with the first goal on the board to Aidan Watling just 41 seconds into the match. Soon enough though, the GIANTS piled on four consecutive majors, including ones to Green and fellow draft hopeful, Liam Delahunty. A late goal to Sydney’s Harry Maguire gave them some ascendancy heading into the first break trailing by 14 points. Campbell’s major just a minute into the next term brought the margin back to eight, but when James Peatling converted a chance midway through the term, GWS led by 14 points, which would be the largest margin for the rest of the game.

Coming out all guns-blazing in the second half, Sydney piled on the goals early with Marc Sheather, Campbell, Harrison Parker and Kyle McKellar blowing the margin out to 17 points. A much-needed major from Delahunty followed, before Campbell kicked his third. Peatling had his second on the board with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, which would prove to be the last goal of the game for the GIANTS as they would kick just two behinds while the Swans booted the last seven goals of the game in a 16.13 (110) to 7.9 (51) victory.

Jackson Barling won the most touches in the Swans’ win, picking up 24 disposals, as well as six marks, four tackles and three clearances. Lachlan Swaney was not far behind with 22 disposals, three marks, five tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s and a goal while captain Sam Thorne had 19 disposals, six tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s. Parker capped off his day with three goals from 15 touches, three marks, three clearances and six inside 50s, while Campbell (three goals), McKellar (two), Sheather (two) and Hamish Ellem (two) alls recorded multiple majors. Kyle Martin was another who was strong in defence, picking up five rebounds to go with 14 disposals and four marks.

It was no surprise to see Green as the standout GIANT, racking up 28 disposals (15 contested), six marks, eight clearances, three inside 50s and a goal, while Peatling was damaging with 24 disposals (10 contested), seven marks, four tackles, five clearances, six inside 50s and two goals. Other Academy members who stood out were Jeromy Lucas (25 disposals, four marks, five clearances and four inside 50s) and Matthew McGrory (18 disposals, four marks, five tackles, five inside 50s and a goal), while Nick Murray was a rock in defence, picking up 15 disposals, seven marks and nine rebounds.

Sydney would go on to finish second overall in the series, just percentage behind Gold Coast Suns Academy, while the GIANTS would end with a couple of wins from their five games.

NAB League Boys 2019 Throwback: Round 2 – Academies join competition

ROUND 2 last year will be forever known as the return of Allied teams to the Victorian Under-18 boys competition. While some states have participated in past years on and off, all four northern Academies, along with Northern Territory Thunder joined the competition. Tasmania Devils also joined in, but on a full-time basis, with the Devils playing their first official match in the round across a whopping nine games.

Kicking off the round as part of a Triple Header at Blacktown, Tasmania travelled north for its first game, coming up against Sydney Swans Academy. The Devils had to wait until the second term to score, as the Swans booted 3.7 before Nicholas Baker made history as the first official goalkicker for the Devils. A goal to Jye Menzie just 19 seconds into the third term saw the margin cut as little as five points, but that was as close as it got for the rest of the game as the Swans booted the last three goals of the term to be 26 points up at the final break. Jackson Callow converted another major in the opening minute of the final term to give his team a sniff, and by the time Will Harper put his second on the board, the margin was just nine points with 14 minutes remaining. Unfortunately for the visitors, Marc Sheather kicked a settling goal to help ease the pressure and the Swans got up by 14 points.

Bottom-age talent, Errol Gulden had a day out with 33 disposals, six marks, three tackles, two clearances, eight inside 50s, four rebounds and two goals, with Sam Thorne (23 disposals, four marks, four clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal) also prominent for the Swans. Another talented bottom ager in Braeden Campbell collected 15 disposals, three marks, eight tackles and five inside 50s, while Kyle McKellar and Jackson Barling were also impressive. For the Devils, overager Matthew McGuinness picked up 27 disposals, seven marks and seven rebounds, working hard with Patrick Walker (25 disposals, seven marks and seven rebounds) and Sam Collins (23 disposals, five marks and nine rebounds) in defence. The Devils’ top rated prospect, Mitch O’Neill helped himself to 21 touches, nine tackles, 12 clearances, six inside 50s and three rebounds in the loss.

In the next game at Blacktown, the Brisbane Lions Academy fought back from a disappointing first quarter to down the GIANTS Academy, winning 14.12 (96) to 10.10 (70). GWS led by 19 points at quarter time, but a six goals to three second term had Brisbane just three points down by the main break. A seven goals to three second half saw the Lions run over the top of the GIANTS despite the best efforts of GIANTS star, Tom Green (29 disposals – 18 contested – nine clearances, seven inside 50s, four rebounds and three tackles).

Will Martyn (30 disposals, nine marks, five clearances, five inside 50s and a goal) was busy, as was the likes of Tom Griffiths (20 disposals, six marks and four tackles), Ethan Hunt (19 disposals) and Bruce Reville (16 disposals, eight marks and five inside 50s). Aside from Green, Jeromy Lucas had his fair share of the ball with 24 touches, four marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and a goal, while Matt McGrory (18 disposals, seven clearances and four inside 50s), Nick Murray (19 disposals, 10 marks), Lachlan Squire (15 disposals, seven clearances and four inside 50s) and Liam Delahunty (15 disposals, seven marks, three inside 50s and three goals) all impressed.

Rounding out the triple header at Blacktown, Gold Coast Suns Academy never looked like losing to Northern Territory. The Suns piled on eight goals to one in the opening half, and while the Thunder hit back in the third term to cut the deficit to 31 points, Gold Coast stepped up again to boot three goals to one in the final term and win by 44 points.

Ashton Crossley had 27 disposals and seven clearances through the midfield, while top prospect, Connor Budarick racked up 22 touches, six marks, nine tackles, five inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal across the ground. Bottom-age talent, Alex Davies had 22 touches, nine clearances, four tackles and four inside 50s, while Max Pescud (20 touches, three clearances and three inside 50s), Hewago Paul Oea (16 disposals, five marks, six inside 50s and a goal) and Josh Gore (15 touches, three marks, seven tackles and three goals) all looked lively. Future Sun, Matthew Conroy looked strong through the ruck with 22 hitouts from 15 touches, three marks and a goal.

Heading down to Victoria and Dandenong Stingrays caused a boil-over against premiership contenders, Gippsland Power. The reigning premiers had a new-look line-up after the 2018 success, but started strongly to lead by a goal at quarter time. Gippsland hit the front to have the advantage by half-time, but it flipped again by the last break with the Stingrays in front by four points. When Bailey Schmidt kicked a goal with six minutes to play, the Stingrays hit the front and never surrendered it in a match that had a whopping 11 lead changes.

Mitch Riordan picked up 23 disposals, three marks, five tackles, four clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds in one of his few games before being selected in the mid-season draft, as captain Hayden Young was strong off half-back with 21 disposals, four marks, five tackles and three rebounds. Jack Toner (19 touches, two marks, five tackles, five clearances and seven inside 50s) had a truckload of the ball, while future first round pick, Cody Weightman racked up 14 disposals, five marks, six tackles and a goal. Other future draftees who played in the game included Ned Cahill (12 disposals, seven tackles and a goal), Bigoa Nyuon (six disposals, four marks, four tackles and a goal) and Sam De Koning (four disposals).

For the Power, first round picks Sam Flanders (23 disposals, four marks, four tackles, eight clearances, four inside 50s and a goal) and Caleb Serong (21 disposals, nine tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s) were prominent. Another mid-season recruit in Kyle Dunkley (20 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s) was lively again, while Leo Connolly (16 disposals, three marks and six rebounds), Fraser Phillips (15 disposals, three tackles, four inside 50s and three rebounds) and Harrison Pepper (14 disposals, two marks, two tackles, three clearances and one goal) were among other future draftees who impressed.

In the other Saturday game, Murray Bushrangers had a second heart-breaking loss in a row, losing by five points to Bendigo Pioneers after dropping their first game by under a kick. They led by 18 points at the first change, but the Pioneers booted three goals to zero in the second term to lead by half-time, and then a see-sawing contest ensued with the Pioneers saluting in a thrilling game.

Thomson Dow was busy with 24 disposals, four marks, four tackles, seven clearances and a goal, as fellow first round pick, Brodie Kemp had a strong day out with 17 touches, four marks, three tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and a goal. Future Swan, Brady Rowles would have 12 touches, two clearances and two inside 50s, while Logan Fitzgerald (22 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and four rebounds) had plenty of the ball. Cam Wild was the prominent ball winner with 30 touches, seven marks, seven tackles, seven clearances, three inside 50s and six rebounds, while top five pick Lachlan Ash had 26 touches, eight marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and seven rebounds. Jye Chalcraft (26 touches, four marks, six clearances and two goals), Will Quirk (23 disposals, 10 marks) and Elijah Hollands (22 disposals, three marks and a goal) were also impressive.

Looking to Sunday, Sandringham Dragons continued their form to start the season with a comfortable 43-point win over Northern Knights. The Dragons booted six goals to two in the opening half and then kept their opponents at arms-length after that to secure a strong win in the first of two games at Trevor Barker Oval.

Ryan Byrnes picked up 24 touches, two marks, four tackles and six clearances, as Louis Butler looked lively across the ground thanks to 18 disposals, three marks, three inside 50s and four rebounds. Jack Mahony (17 disposals, four marks, seven tackles, four clearances and six inside 50s), Hugo Ralphsmith (17 disposals, three marks), Josh Worrell (17 disposals, seven marks and three rebounds) and Finn Maginness (14 disposals, six tackles and four inside 50s) were among future draftees to win plenty of the ball as Charlie Dean caught attention with four majors from 15 touches and eight marks. Adam Carafa (28 disposals, three marks, 11 tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s) and Sam Philp (18 disposals, eight marks and five clearances) were busy through midfield, while Ryan Gardner (19 disposals, five inside 50s) worked the outside and Ryan Sturgess (22 touches, eight rebounds) was strong in defence.

A dominant six goals to zero first term set Eastern Ranges up for an impressive 63-point win over Western in the second game of a double header at Trevor Barker Oval. With 13 scoring shots to one in the first term, the margin could have been bigger than the 42 points, and while Western managed to stem the bleeding after that, the Ranges had opened up a 58-point lead by the final break to ensure they would enjoy a big win.

Mitch Mellis (35 disposals, four marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and three goals) and Lachlan Stapleton (33 disposals, four marks, eight tackles, six clearances and 10 inside 50s) ran rampant as future Swan, Cody Hirst (29 disposals, eight marks, four tackles and three rebounds) and inside midfielder, Zakery Pretty (23 disposals, two marks, five clearances and five inside 50s were also prominent. Bottom-ager Josh Clarke work hard with his run-and-carry picking up 15 disposals, five marks, six inside 50s and a goal, while Josh Tilly capped off his day with three majors. For the Jets, Darcy Cassar had the ball on a string from defence, racking up 31 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and nine rebounds, working in tandem with Daly Andrews (24 disposals, six marks, five clearances, three inside 50s and eight rebounds). Josh Kellett was instrumental mopping up in defence as well with 12 rebounds to go with his 20 touches in the defeat.

In the final game of the round, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels put the Round 1 heart-breaking loss to Dandenong Stingrays to the back of their mind as they came from behind to down the Geelong Falcons by a point in a thrilling contest. Darcy McEldrew kicked the winning goal late in the fourth term to get his side over the line. Jay Rantall was enormous in his second game for the Rebels, racking up 24 disposals, three marks, six tackles, six clearances, seven inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal, while James Cleaver booted two majors from 17 touches in his new role up forward. Cooper Craig-Peters impressive with six clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds from 19 disposals and eight tackles, while Riley Polkinghorne had seven rebounds working hard out of defence.

Cooper Stephens led from the front in his last full game prior to injury, amassing a game-high 28 touches, four marks, five tackles, four clearances and a goal, while Charlie Lazzaro worked hard as a bottom-ager to pick up 26 touches, four marks, five clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Out of defence, Keidan Rayner racked up 10 rebounds with his 25 disposals, while Jesse Clark had nine and 16 respectively. Also busy but in the other half of the ground was Charlie Sprague (23 disposals, three marks and seven inside 50s).

Vic Country makes it two on the trot with big win over Allies

VIC Country continued its ominous start to the AFL Under 18 National Championships, comprehensively beating the Allies by 97 points in Launceston on Sunday to stake its claim as the new team to beat.

Cody Weightman ensured Country got off on the right foot, reading a long-range Caleb Serong set shot best to win the spoils and snap an opportunistic first goal from deep in the pocket. After Will Chandler missed the chance to hit back with a free kick from 25 metres out, Tom Green and Hamish Ellem snapped wide with the Allies’ only other opportunities for the term. Serong made them pay shortly after two quick goals to go with a Jay Rantall major, seeing Country break to a 23-point quarter time lead.

It was more of the same after the first break, with Country dominating the course of general play to pile on another five majors. Weightman was again in the action, winning a free kick in his customary pocket and duly converting, with Thomson Dow slotting home from the goalsquare, while Mitch Martin and Lachlan Williams hit set shots from further out sweetly and Ned Cahill made it nine first half goals. While the Allies double their score in the term, they remained goalless heading into the main break.

Warning bells were ringing as an Elijah Hollands shot on the fly sailed on target to start the third term, but Tom Griffiths cut it off with a mark on the goal line. Vic Country had 54 points on the board before Jackson Barling marked strongly and made good on his set shot to give the Allies their first goal, but it would be their only big moment for the term as the Vics again kicked away. Another free kick inside 50 saw Josh Smith provide an immediate reply, while also playing a part in Cam Wild‘s goal shortly after. Ryan Sparkes put through another to make the lead 64 heading into the final straight, with the result well beyond doubt.

A Martin dribbler goal after some early deadlock meant it was party time for Country, as he celebrated his work with the ever exuberant Cahill. A double to Weightman, second from Rantall and third from Serong and Martin, ensured the visitors put their foot to the throat of the Allies, with the penultimate goal from Noah Cumberland the only resistance in a six goals to one closing term.

Lachlan Ash was again superb for Country, leading the ball-winning stakes with 30 and providing plenty of run, with his mates on the half-back line Brodie Kemp (20 disposals, 10 marks) and Hayden Young (18 disposals, seven marks) intercepting everything. Ash’s co-captain Serong was arguably best afield with 23 disposals and three goals with fantastic attack on the ball, joined with three goals by Martin but beaten out by Weightman’s four.

For the Allies, Mitch O’Neill was named best for his 26-disposal showing, while Green did a wealth of work on the inside to finish with 18 disposals (16 contested) and nine clearances in a more unheralded role. Tom Griffiths (21 disposals, three rebound 50s) collected plenty of it down back, with Will Martyn and Sam Thorne constants in the midfield with 16 disposals each, as Martyn also had five clearances on a tough day for his side.

ALLIES 0.2 | 0.4 | 1.6 | 2.7 (19)
VIC COUNTRY 4.1 | 9.2 | 12.4 | 18.8 (116)

GOALS
Allies: J. Barling, N. Cumberland.
Vic Country: C. Weightman 4, C. Serong 3, M. Martin 3, J. Rantall 2, L. Williams, R. Sparkes, C. Wild, J. Smith, N. Cahill, T. Dow.

BEST
Allies: M. O’Neill, N. Murray, T. Green, T. Griffiths, C. Budarick
Vic Country: C. Serong, B. Kemp, L. Ash, R. Baldi, H. Young, C. Weightman, J. Clark

Allies announce 50-player squad for national championships

THE Allies have today announced the 50-player squad to take to the National Under 18 Championships following the conclusion of the NAB League Boys competition which gave the Allies teams a chance to test themselves against Victorian opponents ahead of the championships next month. Of the sides, Sydney Swans Academy had the most representatives with 10, while the two Queensland Academies had eight apiece as did Tasmania Devils. GWS GIANTS Academy and the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) region – comprised of Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers – had six each, while Northern Territory had the four.

Among the names to watch are potential first round picks, Connor Budarick (Gold Coast), Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania) and Tom Green (GWS GIANTS), while the likes of Malcolm Rosas Jr (Northern Territory) and Hewago Paul Oea (Gold Coast) will provide excitement inside 50. The team will have some serious talent in the key position posts, with Liam Delahunty (GWS GIANTS), Jackson Callow (Tasmania) and Hamish Ellem (Sydney) among those talls vying for the spot, while Kobe Tozer has been named in the squad and will aim to return after some bad luck with injury. Both Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers have three players in the side, with the first game to commence in Launceston on June 9.

Brisbane Lions Academy: [8]
Tom Griffiths (Maroochydore)
Will Martyn (Aspley)
Bruce Reville (Western Magpies/Maryborough)
Saxon Crozier (Wests)
Samson Ryan (Toowoomba)
Kobe Tozer (Aspley/Bribie Island)
Noah Cumberland (Maroochydore)
Nikolas Haberer (Sandgate/Caloundra)

Gold Coast SUNS Academy: [8]
Hewago Paul Oea (PNG/Broadbeach)
Connor Buderick (Labrador)
Ashton Crossley (Burleigh/Palm Beach Currumbin)
Alex Davies (Cairns Hawks)
Jack Johnston (Palm Beach Currumbin)
Matt Conroy (Hermit Park Townsville/Broadbeach)
Joshua Gore (Southport/Broadbeach)
Dirk Koenan (Palm Beach Currumbin)

GWS GIANTS Academy: [6]
Liam Delahunty (Coolamon)
Tom Green (Marist)
Jeromy Lucas (Northern Jets)
Matt McGrory (Gungahlin)
Nicholas Murray (Wangaratta Rovers)
James Peatling (Pennant Hills)

NSW/ACT: [6]
Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers)
Will Chandler (Murray Bushrangers)
Jake Dick-O’Flaherty (Bendigo Pioneers)
Logan Fitzgerald (Bendigo Pioneers)
Ben Kelly (Murray Bushrangers)
Will Shaw (Bendigo Pioneers)

Northern Territory Academy: [4]
Malcolm Rosas Jnr (Darwin)
Ben Jungfer (Waratah)
Joel Jeffrey (Wanderers)
Beau O’Connell (Wanderers)

Sydney Swans Academy: [10]
Jackson Barling (Willoughby Mosman)
Braeden Campbell (Westbrook)
Hamish Ellem (Manly Warringah)
Samuel Gaden (Easts Bulldogs)
Max Geddes (Easts Bulldogs)
Errol Gulden (Maroubra)
Ky McGrath (Warners Bay)
Luke Parks (North Shore)
Josh Rayner (North Shore)
Sam Thorne (Figtree Kangaroos)

Tasmania Devils: [8]
Hamish Allan (North Hobart)
Jackson Callow (North Launceston)
Sam Collins (North Hobart)
Jared Dakin (Launceston)
Oliver Davis (Clarence)
Mitch O’Neill (North Hobart)
Matt McGuinness (Lauderdale)
Will Peppin (North Hobart)

Allies Under 18 Championships fixture:

vs. Vic Country – Launceston, June 9
vs. Western Australia – Alberton Oval, June 22
vs. Vic Metro – GMHBA Stadium, June 28
vs. South Australia – Marvel Stadium, July 3

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 5

NAB League returned with a bang this weekend, and despite a few stars missing through school football and rotation, had plenty of others show their worth over three days and nine games. Here are our opinion-based scouting notes from each game on players highlighted by club talent managers or who those who made the Vic Metro/Vic Country extended squad.

Bendigo Pioneers 7.7 (49) defeated by Northern Knights 8.6 (54)

By: Peter Williams

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

The nuggety bottom-age midfielder showed off his strength in a number of ways during the narrow loss. He was able to stand his ground in mark contests and also get the ball free while being tackled. In the opening term he won the ball uncontested on the wing and kicked long inside 50 which set up a goal to Kobe Brown. He kept finding space and working hard into it, winning plenty of the ball and trying to get it forward whenever he could. He has great special awareness and does not panic with ball-in-hand, able to shift his centre of gravity before disposing of the ball. Had a great run-down tackle in the third term as the Knights were attacking.

#11 Aaron Gundry

Spent most of his time through the ruck when on and showed off his good vertical leap. He competed at the stoppages and had clean hitouts, and also won a free kick deep in defence and was able to clear the ball long. Ball use by hand or foot was hit and miss but his athleticism was good.

#19 Ben Worme

Some nice highlights from Worme, providing some run and carry both through the midfield and off half-back. He had a great passage of play in the opening term, lowering his eyes after bursting away from the wing and hit up a teammate. He showed good vision under pressure to give out a handball to a teammate in space. Made a few mistakes by foot at times, but stood up when required.

#20 James Schischka

Hardly puts a foot wrong and was really strong in defence. He used the ball fairly well apart from the odd occasion, and was often the general in defence just keeping the opposition at bay and mopping up back there. He draws opponents to him when carrying the ball and then releases the disposal at the right time to a teammate. One of the Pioneers’ best on the night.

#21 Riley Wilson

Impressive game from the inside midfielder, playing well through the stoppages and being the prominent clearance midfielder on the night. He has a great technique when it comes to tackling, and he reads the taps well from the ruckmen. When in time and space he can use the ball well, the next step is just settling down his kicking when under pressure as a few times he chucked it on the boot. In the second term he fended off an opponent and then when a second opponent tackled him, stood tall and handballed clear to a teammate. Wilson had a number of good moments bursting out of a stoppage, and never stopped trying. Certainly one of Bendigo’s four quarter performers.

#38 Brady Rowles

Not a huge ball winner, but he had memorable moments, with a juggling intercept mark in defence, and a great spoil at half-back when out of position. He had a chance to kick a goal in the second term but it drifted to the left and fell short, then had a terrific run off half-back, bursting from defensive 50 straight past opponents and set up a goal with a long kick inside 50. In the third term he produced a terrific run-down tackle midway through the term when an opponent was streaming down the middle and his actions forced a turnover.

Northern:

#1 Lachlan Potter

Had one of his better games in terms of ball winning capabilities, just needs to tidy up his ball use a little by foot. He suffered leather poisoning in the first quarter, winning absolutely everything off half-back and pushing up to the wing, even winning an intercept mark at half-forward. When using the ball by hand he seemed to do it effectively as he drew opponents given his well renowned speed. When he has space no-one can catch him easily, and he uses that to his advantage. When he goes to take the game on, Potter looks very damaging, it is just trying to lower the eyes at times or put it to a teammates’ advantage. In terms of his run-and-carry and metres gained, it was a huge tick, and he took a number of intercept marks as well.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

The best Knights player for mine, just continues to have an impact throughout the four quarters. He is not the quickest player out there, but he plays to his strengths and they are his physical strength and low centre of gravity, football nous and competitiveness. Time and time again D’Intinosante will crack in hard and win the clearances or lay a smother or crunch an opponent in a tackle. What he does well is have a good balance between offence and defence – tackling and using the ball forward of centre. He wins a lot of his possessions at the coal face, and is standing up well as an inside midfielder. At times his kicking can be hit and miss, but he hits the scoreboard, and while the stats will say he kicked one major, there were three other opportunities where if he had a bit more kicking penetration, he could have headed home with four. A really promising performance and strong game from D’Intinosante and is enjoying a great season so far.

#11 Ryan Sturgess

Just a reliable player in defence, able to use the ball well and just control things from the back half. He took quite a few intercept marks in defence and was able to switch the ball across the back 50 or down the wing well. He was tasked with the kick-out duties and cleared the defensive 50 strongly, and looked comfortable in the air, taking a contested mark in the second term with an opponent coming front on.

Sydney Swans Academy 13.10 (88) defeated Murray Bushrangers 9.10 (64)

By: Scott Dougan

Sydney:

#2 Hamish Ellem

Ellem lined up on Bushranger Ben Kelly and was able to hit the scoreboard within the first 10-minutes of the game. He continued his goal-kicking form into the second and third quarters, booting two more goals – one of them from the boundary line on his left foot. A good game.

#3 Luke Parks

Parks played across half-back and was competitive all game. He took some very good contested marks throughout the match, putting his height, good leap and strong hands to good use.

#9 Sam Thorne

Thorne’s first quarter was brilliant, with the tough midfielder a major contributor to his team’s quick start. He tackled with intent and was damaging with all of his possessions. Thorne was strong in contested situations, where he won a lot of his disposals. He also showed that he can play on the outside of the contest too, with his acceleration coming in handy. Thorne had a game-high 10 tackles.

#10 Jackson Barling

Barling was prominent around stoppages, where he continually released the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. His inside grunt work caught the eye, along with his defensive pressure. He also spent some time forward and booted his one and only goal of the match in the third term after reading the flight of an incoming ball better than his opponent.

Murray:

#1 Will Christie

Christie showcased his strong leap and athletic attributes throughout the game, especially during the second half. He started in the ruck in the third term and immediately won the first hit-out that he guided down his team-mates throat. He stayed involved around the ground and continued his good tap-work in the ruck. Christie had 30 hitouts and 11 disposals in an encouraging performance.

#3 Ben Kelly

Kelly played as a key defender on Swans forward Hamish Ellem. Ellem booted three goals on him but I thought his defensive positioning and spoiling was pretty good. Even though he’s over 200cm, he also played as a rebounding defender, putting his speed and ball use to good use when exiting the defensive 50.

#5 Cameron Wild

Wild was one of his team’s best midfielders and players on the day. His inside work was noticeable, winning a lot of contested ball. His ball use by foot and hand was clean and his work-rate remained high all game. He was able to hit the scoreboard after collecting a loose ground-ball get deep inside the forward 50. Moments later, he demonstrated his composure and vision, with an intelligent kick to his teammate Cameron Wilson, resulting in a set-shot on goal. Wild finished with 26 disposals, 7 marks, and 1 goal.

#7 Zane Barzen

The 19-year-old played mainly across half-forward, where he used his clean skills to deliver the ball to his teammates in the forward half. He took a while to get into the game, but his second half was promising. Barzen took some nice marks on the day, finishing with a team-high 8.

#10 Will Quirk

Quirk played in the defensive half for his team and was able to provide some run and carry out of the back half. He took some nice marks in the second term and was able to show off his athletic attributes on the day. Quirk had a good second half, finishing the match with 21 disposals and five rebound 50s.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Chalcraft was exceptionally clean at ground level and his ball use by foot and hand was superb. He was able to use his speed and agility to escape and break his opponents’ tackles. He kicked a beautiful opposite foot snap goal in the third term, which kept his team within striking distance of the Swans. He is very hard at the contest for his size and I thought he was one of his team’s best players.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Boyer remained involved in the contest and always found a way to find the ball. His ball use by foot was as usual, noticeable. He played as a link-up player across half-back and through the midfield, where he provided some run and carry for his team moving forward.

Dandenong Stingrays 19.10 (124) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 8.6 (54)

By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#11 Ned Cahill

One of Dandenong’s most outstanding performers across three quarters. Cahill has that touch of class about him and most importantly he gets forward and hits the scoreboard as well. He kicked three goals and handed off a fourth in the win, but also had some good defensive moments too. He spoiled a ball across the line on the wing coming across third up, and put pressure on opponents when they tried to kick forward. He had a great one-on-one in the second term for a goal to work his opponent under the footy then run onto the loose ball at the back.

#18 Mitch Riordan

A high work rate and competitive effort is what you get with Riordan each and every week and this week was no different. He is a clearance expert and just racks up the ball from a stoppage going in hard. He also has some good footy IQ to be able to tap to a teammate in space rather than take possession when under pressure. Not a huge ball winner, but plays such an important role on the inside.

#20 Sam De Koning

Spent the day in defence and had a nice balance between offence and defence. He stood tall on his opponent and provided some offensive rebound at the same time. De Koning pulled down a terrific intercept mark in defence flying high, and showed great vision to handball clear to a teammate while being slung around in a tackle.

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

Stepped up rotating between ruck and forward and you just never know what you are going to get. He can create the unbelievable and then do the unthinkable, which is what makes him quite an entertaining prospect. He was able to hit the scoreboard after picking up a loose ball in attack following good pressure on an opponent, then was able to set up teammates inside 50 for goals as well. He did try and do too much at times like backing himself in from the pocket – which is good to see but he was out of position – rather than handballing into Ned Cahill who was 10 metres closer to goal in space, and then there was a 30m kick straight up in the air when up the other end. However his athleticism and ability to leap above others is without question and there is some serious talent there, it is just piecing it together.

#42 Jai Nanscawen

Known for his goal kicking but Nanscawen played a higher role at times on the weekend, being a playmaker at half-forward or through the midfield, then drifting deeper and providing a target. His defensive work was what stood out, laying a smother on Dylan Williams, then scooping it up with one hand and kicking it forward. He did it again by intercepting a handball in the air and took possession showing high football IQ. He capped off his day with a great mark and set shot goal with a snap in the final term.

#50 Lachlan Williams

Played on a wing but pushed forward and helped himself to three goals and enjoyed every one of them. Williams just finds space and is a damaging prospect from anywhere within 50m, launching his first goal in the second term off a step from outside the arc and it went straight through the middle. Not long after he launched another shot on the run from 45m with just six seconds left in the half and it never looked like missing. IN the final term he showed his smarts by standing on the mark and anticipating his opponent would handball laterally and Williams stuck out his hand, picked it up and snapped around his body for his third. A clean user by foot and while not a huge possession winner, made his touches count.

Oakleigh:

#5 Trent Bianco

The co-captain played as many would have expected him to – with a touch of class and high work rate. Bianco played off half-back and pushed up to the midfield at times, using the ball well and settling the at-times under-siege defence. He impacted a contest on the last line in the second term to clear the ball out of trouble and then used his composure at half-back to provide an option for him to be able to propel the ball forward.

#23 Dylan Williams

Played a little bit everywhere, between forward, back and midfield with the Chargers’ co-captain having some great moments and other patches where he was not as involved. His clearance work to burst out of the middle was really good and he applied some defensive pressure with some fierce tackles, but he was not having the best time with delivery, often the ball sent to his feet when leading out, or being double-teamed with defenders blocking his run. He gave away a free kick for head-high contact and the frustration was clear. He settled and had an impact later in the game, setting up a goal in the third term and then had a number of solid inside 50s despite being held at stoppages.

#27 Josh May

The defender played both a key position and smaller role, doing well one-on-one and creating some run off half-back. May was able to use the ball by foot relatively well despite having more of an awkward short kicking action, but it seemed to be effective. He showed good defensive pressure and second efforts to lay strong tackles on his opponents and just played his role throughout the match.

Sandringham Dragons 19.18 (132) defeated Brisbane Lions Academy 5.5 (35)

By: Michael Alvaro

Sandringham:

#5 Ryan Byrnes

A complete game from Byrnes in the absence of his usual midfield partners, with the hard-working Dragon continuing his consistent season to date. Byrnes was instrumental in Sandringham’s first-half onslaught, driving his side forward well with a wealth of centre-bounce clearances and inside 50 entries. Despite a couple of neat finds going forward and looking comfortable on both sides, Byrnes looks to still be improving his kicking game and overcooked a couple of balls at speed. His reading of taps, forward running and damage in this game were as effective as I’ve seen from him though, so Byrnes looks to be building nicely.

#6 Miles Bergman

The dynamic Bergman has enormous potential, but can work on consistently putting the pieces of his game together. Employed off half-forward and up to the wing, Bergman showed as clean a set of hands as anyone out there – both overhead and at ground level. A slight downside of Bergman’s game at times was his kicking, with a couple a turnovers in the defensive half and others falling short despite finding targets. Still, has plenty to work with and is so smooth on the ball.

#7 Jackson Voss

The potential Saints father-son had one of his better games, catching the eye with a couple of highlight-reel moments. Took an absolute screamer early on while following up with another later, and definitely has that side of his game down pat with seven of his 12 disposals coming from marks. Topped his game off with a goal and showed nice signs.

#13 Louis Butler

A damaging rebounder, Butler has made the half-back flank his own of late. The leading ball-winner on the ground was effective on the outside and shot Sandringham forward as a key link between the arcs. A couple of handy intercept marks on defensive wing were impressive, with Butler proving to be as clean by hand as he was by foot. Missed a set shot attempt which would have capped off his game nicely, but was otherwise highly impressive with his run and carry.

#15 Angus Hanrahan

The over-ager was a beneficiary of Sandringham’s strong start, claiming two first-quarter goals via set shot conversions. Led up well for one of them and is clever when finding space forward of centre, but was not as effective when positioned one-out. Wins a lot of outside ball and worked up the ground on occasion to do just that.

#28 Riley Bowman

Tried in just about every position possible, Bowman took to each role well across the day. Starting in the ruck, Bowman led the hitout count and out-bodied his opponents well around the ground. Manufactured a nice find inside 50, while also taking a strong intercept mark up the other end against Samson Ryan. Did not hit the scoreboard while employed forward, but assisted one of Jack Bell’s third-quarter goals and perhaps looked most impressive when thrown down back to finish off the game.

#36 Oscar Lewis

Lewis was a solid feature in the Sandringham defence all day, winning the loose balls well and rebounding via foot. Is a good size and proved competitive, making himself a likely type who can play effectively on both the inside and outside.

Brisbane:

#11 Will Martyn

Led the way once again for the Lions, burrowing in at stoppages and finding the ball at both ends of the ground to end with a game-high 33 disposals. Played almost a lone hand in the first half, winning his fair share of ball in the midfield and sending the Lions forward, only for the ball to be sent straight back into his area. The same went in the third quarter as Martyn tried to help push the ball out of Brisbane’s defensive half, where to took a lot of his 10 marks. Missed a chance to cap off his game with a goal on the back of Brisbane’s best passage of play, but did most things right across the day with strong tackling and overhead marking a highlight.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Was not Crozier’s most prolific or impactful outing, but a solid one nonetheless. Started well with a nice intercept possession to break up one of Sandringham’s many transitions and found space well around the arcs. While he is normally a high accumulator of marks and good user on the back of them, some of Crozier’s kicks under pressure were a little off. Still, continued to take the game on late and laid a crunching tackle on Jackson Voss in the final term.

#15 Tahj Abberley

The bottom-ager looked most lively inside 50 during the second half, and was instrumental in Brisbane’s best few minutes of the game. Started up the field on a wing and took a nice overhead mark in the second quarter, backing it up with a courageous effort after half time. Laid a fantastic tackle on the much bigger Corey Watts which went unrewarded, but managed to snare a goal with a calm dribbled finish out the back.

#21 Noah Cumberland

The combative forward tried hard for the Lions and while he did not find a heap of the ball or the goals, showed good character. Was forced to search for the ball up-field early, but looked more comfortable amongst the stoppages inside Brisbane’s forward half where he stood up in tackles and muscled his way out. He also tackled hard, but showed good finesse with an assist to Tom Wischnat and spearing ball inside 50 to Saxon Crozier.

Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy 9.7 (61) defeated by Gippsland Power 10.10 (70)

By: Ed Pascoe

GWS:

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Lucas has had a strong start to the year for the Giants and his form continued with a strong performance through the midfield winning the contested ball and looking composed with ball in hand. Lucas had a nice bit of play in the first quarter attacking the ball hard on the wing and then kicking nicely inboard to a teammate, in the 2nd quarter he took a mark and hit a nice long pass to teammate James Peatling. Lucas showed he could impact outside the contest flying up for a huge grab on the wing in the last quarter although he didn’t stick the mark it was a courageous attempt showing his athleticism, Lucas finished the game with 24 disposal and 3 tackles and he rarely wasted a handball which he had 18 off.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Delahunty was a good target for the giants with good attack on the ball and crashing packs to give his smaller players a chance to crumb. Delahunty kicked 2 goals with his first coming from a nice snap dribble goal on his opposite foot in the 2nd quarter with his last goal coming off a Gippsland turnover close to goal in the 3rd quarter quickly gathering a loose ball and kicking the goal. Delahunty looked most dangerous in the 3rd quarter taking two very nice contested marks but would let himself down kicking a behind and then one out on the full from 50 metres. Delahunty finished the game with 8 disposals, 2 marks and 2 goals.

Gippsland:

#6 Riley Baldi

Baldi was the most dangerous player early on from Gippsland, in his first game of the year he was unstoppable in the first quarter through the midfield and up forward. Baldi despite his size took a good contested mark 15 metres out from goal and would kick the set shot and later in the first quarter would spin around and snap a nice goal, in the second quarter he was also hard to stop taking a nice intercept mark and quickly play on with a good handball and he would have another shot at goal on the run on the boundary but would just miss. Baldi was smart with his ball use with a nice kick to the hot spot in the second quarter followed by a nice opposite foot kick to teammate Kyle Dunkley. Baldi was hard to stop both in the air and at ground level where he would attack the ball hard and would always look to move the play on, Baldi finished with 22 disposals, 8 inside 50s and 2 goals.

#11 Kyle Dunkley

Dunkley was a tough customer through the midfield attacking he ball hard and tackled like a man possessed. His only goal would come from a mark and set shot in the 2nd quarter but his hard work set up plenty of others, he showed good vision under pressure to hit a nice switch kick in the 3rd quarter and later that quarter would lay a bone crunching tackle. Dunkley would finish the game with 18 disposals, 6 marks, 11 tackles and 1 goal.

#12 Brock Smith

Smith was the main playmaker for Gippsland down back setting up the play and setting the standard for attack on the ball and body contact on the man, his first quarter had some good and bad moments with the good coming from a lovely long kick inside 50 to teammate Riley Baldi and showing good composure with link up play from defence, the bad was a Clanger kick on a kickout. Smith loved the push and shove and was happy to let the Giants forward know he was there and it was hard not to notice him both defending his man and also linking up with good composure in defence showing why he is the captain. Smith finished the game with 24 disposals and 7 rebound 50s.

#19 Fraser Phillips

Phillips had another game with nice flashes but the consistency over 4 quarters to impact the game is still not at a level he would like. Phillips would take till the second quarter to hit the scoreboard with a nice quick snap and goal, he was more involved in the 3rd quarter taking a nice mark on the wing and quickly playing on inboard with a nice kick and he showed he could also do the team things with a good hard tackle to lock the ball in. Phillips has a fantastic left foot kick and it was on show with a laser pass to teammate Riley Baldi in the last quarter, Phillips finished the game with 5 disposals, 3 tackles and 1 goal.

#37 Harrison Pepper

Pepper was one of Gippsland’s busiest players throw out the day and was particularly noticeable in the 2nd half where he stood up when the Giants where making their comeback. In the 2nd quarter he would take a nice contested mark deep in the pocket and showed his team thinking with a pass inboard to a teammate in better position, in the 3rd quarter he would show his quick thinking with a quick play on and nice low kick which was a feature of his game opening up the play with his kicking. His last quarter was sensational taking a good intercept mark and playing smart football in the last quarter running down the clock and finally having a sealer mark and goal on the siren running towards goal which was a nice mark on its own. Pepper finished the game with 26 disposals, 7 marks, 4 inside 50s and 1 goal.

Eastern Ranges 11.11 (77) defeated Gold Coast Suns Academy 2.6 (18)

By: Michael Alvaro

Eastern:

#4 Joshua Clarke

Was one of Eastern’s best, providing exciting dash and forward penetration off half-back. Showcased a clean set of hands with overhead intercepts and gathers at ground level early on, while also rebounding well with long kicks. Was entrusted with kick-outs at times, and his use proved effective forward of centre too with a nice assist to Bailey White in the third term. Laid a goal-saving tackle in the same quarter, and followed up a fumbled ball with another to show his defensive capabilities on top of his attacking traits. One of the more promising bottom-agers.

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

Provided good forward run with four inside 50s on top of six clearances from his 27 disposals. Started well by hitting up Ben Hickleton inside 50 at speed and was largely effective by foot early, but finished with a couple of clangers. Won a heap of contested ball, which proved vital to the Ranges.

#11 Mitch Mellis

Another of Eastern’s small midfield brigade to win a high amount of ball, Mellis was electric early with 10 first-quarter disposals. Positioned mostly on the outside, Mellis worked hard to find possessions in a range of areas, while also winning six clearances – a lot of which came at speed. Mellis has a great first five steps and agility, which helped him to break away from congestion well. Had a quiet second half but showed plenty earlier on.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

By no means dominated, but managed to consistently produce goal scoring opportunities and took half of his chances with 3.3. Rossiter’s hands were strong throughout, with a contested pack mark from the side his undoubted highlight for the day. Managed another nice clunk one-out to convert his second of three set shot goals earlier in the piece, and could have had a finished with four or five goals had he converted better in blustery conditions.

#17 Cody Hirst

The athletic small buzzed around the ground well, finding most of his ball between the arcs despite moving forward later on. Showed a good leap and laid a fantastic holding the ball tackle after a solid hit on Connor Budarick. While his pressure game is hard to fault, Hirst’s kicking left a little to be desired at times and he was ineffective with eight of his 11 attempts. Still, found Josh Tilly well inside 50 and kicked a nice goal on the run in the third term.

#21 James Ross

The skipper did not have too much to do as the second-deepest defender, but did his part when the ball came his way. Ross started with a handy intercept mark overhead, and keeps his hands up well in traffic to dish the ball off and keep the play alive. Showed a good willingness to provide rebound with a nice handball chain and was largely calm on the ball despite a couple of missed targets.

#23 Zak Pretty

Far and away the highest ball-winner on the ground with 37 disposals, which was enough to earn him a Draft Central Player of the Week nomination. Was as influential as anyone going forward with eight clearances and seven inside 50s across the day, as well as a goal in the third term. Showed a willingness to work as well with five tackles to add to his attacking drive, and was simply in everything through the middle. A top game from a player who seems to be rising well.

Gold Coast:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

It was a hard slog for ‘Ace’, who struggled to find his way into the game with just one handball apiece in the first and third quarters. While possessions were hard to come by, Oea was unlucky as he continued to run to good areas to no avail in a low-scoring Suns effort. Came into the game in the second quarter with a nice intercept mark and holding the ball tackle, with a move into the midfield to finish the game allowing him to show off his clean hands and zip around traffic.

#5 Connor Budarick

Tried all day for the Suns with a team-high 27 disposals and 16 tackles ensuring he stood out on a down day for his side. Followed up an early turnover with a crunching tackle, and trusted his speed well to escape the grasps of opponents. Was busy all day but particularly effective in the first half with clearances finding their way inside 50. Missed a shot on the run which would have been handy, and found more of the ball in the back half with Gold Coast under pressure in the second half.

#15 Corey Joyce

The diminutive defender was a key runner out of the back 50 all day with five rebound 50s from 22 disposals. Acted as a sweeper at ground level and looked most effective when disposing by hand, while finding most of his kicks short to settle the Suns defence. Under pressure for most of the day, Joyce stood up as one who competed well amidst the onslaught.

#28 Ashton Crossley

Was another Sun who started relatively strongly but faded late, with 16 of his 22 disposals coming in the first half. A contested beast, Crossley was down on his clearance output but resorted to his handball game well to clear congestion. Can still work on his kicking as he often blazed away quickly under pressure or from congestion, and had a turnover in the corridor early. Took an impressive contested chest mark underneath a high ball in the first term, and was a solid contributor.

Calder Cannons 8.11 (59) defeated Geelong Falcons 8.4 (52)

By: Shyam Bali

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

Mott started the game well with a big clearance and a long kick out of the centre to kick off Calder’s first attack, which set the tone for his day. He had lots of ball around the centre and half forward flank and could be found on the bottom of packs most of the afternoon either dishing out to team mates or laying big tackles. His highlight for the day was a good solo effort in the forward pocket where he showed some magic soccering the ball up to himself perfectly before finding a team mate in space. He finished the day on a high running out the last quarter well and being involved in a 1-2 that helped set up Browning’s score which gave the Cannons the lead late in the fourth. Mott finished with a very productive 29 touches and 8 tackles.

#8 Sam Ramsay

Ramsay was busy all day and showed great zip and energy whenever he had the ball. In the second quarter he was a big reason Calder got back into the game, backing himself to take on players with his run and drive the ball long into the attacking 50. He showed some of his tricks also launching for a big grab in the 3rd quarter, which he dropped unfortunately, but showed great competitive spirit diving back to make a tackle and force a ball up. Ramsay was good all day and worked well all around the ground. He ended up with slightly inflated numbers after getting a few possessions chipping around the backline in the last five minutes, but ended up with 27 disposals, seven marks, three tackles.

#38 Brodie Newman

Newman was an absolute star repelling attacks and setting up his team off the half back flank in a best on ground performance. He took several big marks in the defensive 50 and showed both courage when running back into a pack to take a big mark in the third and leadership when he took three intercept marks in a passage of about five minutes to stop Geelong taking the lead in the third quarter. His leadership was also on display several times as he instructed team mates in defence, and often directed traffic through the backline. Newman’s display for a KPD was one of the most dominant displays of the year and he finished with a whopping 36 disposals including 29 kicks, 17 marks (many of which were intercept) and three tackles.

Geelong:

#36 Charlie Sprague

Sprague started the day in everything running hard between the arcs and providing a lead up option to his team mates. He had 9 disposals in the first quarter and provided an option when ever his team was looking to move the ball out of defense or into the attacking half. He quietened down after that but did offer more closer to goal kicking a great goal from 50m out in the third and getting the Falcons back to within a point when he goaled in the last quarter. Although he finished with quite a serviceable game with 18 touches and 2 goals, as an overeager he went missing for too long when his team were in trouble and I felt like he could’ve done a bit more to help them especially in the second quarter.

#40 Jesse Clark

Clark played his customary half-back role, repelling attacks and rebounding with speed. He intercepted the ball three times in the first quarter and seemed to be able to read play and the windy conditions better than his Calder opponents in the first quarter. In the second quarter he rebounded well and showed some class with a long kick off HB which hit a team mate on the 50 lace out. Clark also wasn’t scared getting his hands dirty laying four strong tackles throughout the day. He finished with 22 disposals, 6 marks and tried hard to help the Falcons get over the line.

Tasmania Devils 3.8 (26) defeated by Western Jets 10.13 (73)

By: Michael Alvaro

Tasmania:

#2 Oliver Burrows-Cheng

The zippy ball-winner showed good agility around the stoppages early to evade traffic and drive Tasmania forward with long kicks. Burrowing in, half of Burrows-Cheng’s 22 disposals were handballs, and he was influential in the Devils’ combative start. He laid a goal-saving tackle in the first term, but missed a shot on goal running inside 50 which would have finished his game off well.

#4 Will Peppin

The National Academy member was composed on the ball and often delivered by hand to outside runners. While he did not look particularly quick, Peppin stayed out of trouble though traffic, which was helped by his clean hands. An intercept chest mark in the first term was a highlight, and it was a solid outing overall.

#7 Matthew McGuiness

Over-ager McGuiness was a feature down back for the Devils, often positioned in a sort of quarterback role. When Tasmania gained position past defensive wing, they would often go back or across to McGuiness, who would set up his side’s forward movement with long kicks. His best efforts came with balls into the centre square, but they became less prominent as Western tightened the clamps. He managed a nice intercept mark deep in defence, and had a couple of forward forays to deliver inside 50.

#12 Isaac Chugg

The debutant was impressive early, and looks like having some nice traits to work on as a bottom ager. Coming from an athletics background, Chugg was electric in the first term with high marking forward of centre and good pace in his defensive efforts. Kicked the first goal of the game from long range, and almost snared another in a similar fashion.

Western:

#3 Eddie Ford

Ford seldom fails to catch the eye with his strong overhead marking, stylish use of the ball, and explosiveness. While he was quiet early on, Ford came into the game well after half time and had a purple patch in the third term where he kicked two goals. The first was a set shot conversion from 45 metres on the back of a strong one-on-one mark, and the second was a clever snap from the boundary, while he missed another chance in the final quarter on the run.

#7 Daly Andrews

The over-ager looked good throughout the day, and was most effective when kicking long down the line to give the Jets forward penetration. He found the ball early around defensive 50 when Tasmania was pouring on the pressure, and used his speed to find space well. Andrews was also nifty in traffic and would end the day with 23 disposals.

#20 Darcy Cassar

Looked Western’s best at times throughout the game, employed as a sort of defensive sweeper. Cassar would collect ground balls and intercept at will, while directing the play once he had disposed of the ball. He showed good burst when taking the game on with shrugs of his opponents and a bit of dash to drive the Jets forward. A designated kicker down back, Cassar was a little more erratic when on the ball forward of centre and lacked his usual finish product both around goal and going inside 50. He continues to rack up disposals though, with 31 touches and 13 marks a fine effort.

#24 Josh Honey

Honey bounced back into some good form in this game, finding plenty of the ball and hitting the scoreboard as he so often does. He pushed up the ground well to find the footy around defensive wing, and spread well to claim uncontested marks around the ground all day. Honey was fantastic when moving through traffic, and make a couple of opponents look silly as he got on his bike and zipped around them with ease. His first goal came from a neat collect of the loose ball going forward to allow him to finish from just inside the arc, while the second was a smart snap around the corner to cap off a good outing.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels 17.10 (112) defeated Northern Territory Thunder 8.9 (57)

By: Peter Williams

GWV Rebels:

#3 Toby Mahony

The midfielder just has a touch of class about him. Not a huge accumulator, but he seemed to have control of the ball despite the conditions, and had a great moment when he evaded a tackler diving for him and then kicked lace out to Riley Polkinghorne in the first term. He then added a goal of his own with a lovely kick off the left from a few steps, able to straighten up, steady and kick it up the other end. Had a piercing kick from half-back to the wing, a low bullet that he used off a few steps after marking at half-back. Next contest he stood up in a tackle and got his hands free to be able to give the ball off to a teammate. Earned a free kick for a push in the back, then got back-to-back 50m penalties to kick the goal from the goalsquare.

#7 Mitch Martin

Applied some good defensive pressure and able to get the ball out to teammates, just has not had as much space as he has in previous games, playing more time inside. Won a free kick midway through the third term and roosted it long but was plucked off by Joel Jeffrey. Great vision to handball to a teammate on the wing and open up space. Had a huge highlight in the final term, being able to win the ball then pause and seemingly stop time as an opponent went for him and he kicked neatly down the field. Laid a good tackle on Stephen Cumming in the middle to win a free. Capped off his day with a goal after running hard into space to mark and then complete the set shot.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Taking the game on which was eye-catching. Backed himself in and would move the ball quickly along the wing, winning a crucial one-on-one against Malcolm Rosas Jnr in the first term and earned a free kick for a trip. He arched his back and was able to evade tacklers, although did get caught once in the second term, but was able to get his hands free and handball before he hit the ground.

#13 Jay Rantall

One of the Rebels standout players once again and seems to be getting better. His skills are still a little shaky, but his goal sense and ability to hit the scoreboard is terrific. Kicked two first half goals, one from a set shot straight in front and one from the boundary with a snap. Both were free kicks with opponents clumsy around him. He won his fair share of ball in the contest, firing out quick handballs to teammates. Erred on the side of caution to his detriment in the first term, kicking to a teammate leading out when he had a set shot straight in front, but will learn from it. He seems to break the game open with quick handballs to teammates running by, able to extract it out of the contest and handball long to a teammate on the outside.

NT:

#8 Malcolm Rosas Jnr

Just so silky and a terrific leader as well. He is a clean player who is able to dish off the handballs to teammate in space. He has a quick burst that creates separation between himself and his opponent and would work hard up the ground to win the ball. Not a huge ball winner, but has some eye-catching traits. Blindsided his opponent in the third term with a great run-down tackle at half-back but turned the ball over. Laid a big tackle in the final term but was penalised for a sling tackle – rather unluckily.

#19 Ben Jungfer

A strong inside midfielder who has a crack. Jungfer laid some fierce tackles and kept diving in for the contested ball. To start the third term Jungfer had a quick few steps to burrow in, win the contested ball and handball out to a teammate in space. Shows good hands in close and is strong to shrug off would-be tacklers. Kept fighting throughout the four quarters and won some important clearances late to help the Thunder kick some consolation goals.

#24 Joel Jeffery

Definitely an eye-catching player at half-back. His kicking was hit or miss at times, with his vision and decision making good, his execution just a bit iffy. His vertical leap one-on-one was outstanding and he is a terrific intercept mark. He does not panic when under pressure and seems to shrug off opponents with ease. A long kick of the football and someone who found plenty of it coming out of defence. Jeffrey reads the ball in flight well and has a nice marking action. Took a huge intercept mark in the third term rising above all others to cleanly grab it in the third term, and then saved a goal with a great running mark back with the flight. Overall a super game in a defence that was under siege for the most part.

#27 Beau O’Connell

A clever mid/forward who looks ever-dangerous in the forward half. He zipped around contests and seemed to win the ball a lot in the early stages, earning some free kicks and having a few shots on goal. He did rush a kick or two at times when he did not realise he had more time such as in the second term when a shot went out on the full, but when on the wing with space in front of him, he was able to size up his options well. To start the third term, O’Connell took a good mark under pressure then kicked it to a dangerous position to set up Tyson Woods for the goal on the line, then went inside and won the next clearance. O’Connell found plenty of it in all thirds of the ground and was one the Thunder’s standout players. Had a great dribble goal midway through the third term as the Thunder piled on the pressure. Kicked a second goal midway through the final term.

NAB League Boys Round 4 preview: Changes galore as NAB League goes national

ROUND 4 of the NAB League Boys sees established Victorian Metropolitan sides both play host and traveler as five clubs steel themselves for clashes against the Northern Academies, while the Country clubs each have a bye. A Saturday double-header sees both Sydney academies hit Sandringham, while the Queensland academies are set to host a game each at Southport on Sunday, and Calder becomes the first side for the year to cross Bass Strait and battle Tasmania.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GWS GIANTS ACADEMY
Saturday April 13, 10:45am
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

Northern Knights and GWS GIANTS Academy open Round 4 as sides still searching for their first win in season 2019. This bout acts as the Giants’ first experience in playing against established NAB League Boys opposition after losses to the Sydney and Brisbane academies in Rounds 2 and 3. For Northern, while the chance to showcase talent that would otherwise miss out during the year will be the number one priority, wins are at a premium and a 0-4 start would not be ideal. With the core ripped out of their side due to Vic Metro trial game commitments, the Knights have plenty of players who will be looking to consolidate a spot in the underperforming starting lineup. 19-year old Northern Blues listed Sunny Brazier is one of them, and should form a handy midfield trio alongside Sam Philp and Lucas Perry. Speaking of, the Giants have a few in-form ball winners of their own – with star Tom Green leading the way from Jeromy Lucas and Matt McGrory. An inexperienced and largely bottom-aged Knights defence will also have its hands full with dynamic Liam Delahunty, who has been in good goal-scoring form. With one side depleted and the other looking to prove themselves, this should prove to be a close encounter.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY
Saturday April 13, 1:15pm
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

Sandringham will be looking to maintain its perfect start to season 2019 as it hosts the Sydney Swans academy to close out Saturday’s proceedings. Like many of the metro sides, the Dragons have a raft of key outs as trial games roll into town, with at least 14 changes from last week’s side that beat Oakleigh. With their typical midfield core out, the likes of Jackson Voss and Angus Hanrahan will get the opportunity to run through the middle, while Riley Bowman is sure to take up more rucking responsibility. AFL family connections Jai Florent and Jeremy Goddard also slot in at either end as noticeable ins, but Sydney has arguably the most important inclusion of the round. Errol Gulden is set to suit up for his second game of the year, looking to have the likes of Braeden Campbell and Jackson Barling bounce off the electricity he brings. A change of structure looks imminent with Josh Rayner named at half-back, while the promising Ky McGrath will slot in as 23rd man. With the Dragons’ depth set to be tested on this rare occasion, look for the Swans to come out firing, with some serious talent running around on each line.

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Sunday April 14, 10:45am
Southport Oval

Best placed Academy side Gold Coast SUNS welcome NAB League Boys premiership fancies Oakleigh Chargers to the Sunshine State, looking to maintain its winning record. While the Suns downed NT and Brisbane in their first two games, Oakleigh suffered its first loss for the year against Sandringham last time out and will hope to rectify it this week. With perfect conditions forecasted, it is as good a chance as any for the Chargers to showcase their brand of football. The Suns have proven their worth though, and the likes of top-end midfield duo Connor Budarick and Ashton Crossley will have a big say on proceedings. The clinical Josh Gore is also in good form, and is sure to cause headaches for the Oakleigh depth alongside Hewago Paul Oea. Chargers over-ager Joe Ayton Delaney is one who remains amid the 11 changes, and should have a good battle with Budarick as another zippy midfield type. While many of the big names are missing, Oakleigh’s second-string is arguably as strong as some sides’ starting line-up, so they will stand every chance of jumping on the plane home with a win.

TASMANIA DEVILS v. CALDER CANNONS
Sunday April 14, 11:30am
Penguin Oval – Tasmania

Tasmania is set to play on home turf for the first time this season, hosting Calder Cannons at Penguin Oval. The Devils are the best placed side with one win, sitting pretty in ninth after toppling NT in Round 3, while Calder also got on the board last week with a win over Western. While six changes is nothing to scoff at for the Cannons, they will remain relatively steady coming into this game, travel aside, with a solid bunch of 19-year olds looking to contribute. Josh Kemp leads the pack alongside Mason Fletcher, with Tye Browning showing glimpses of why he was picked to return thus far, and top-ager Harrison Minton-Connell another likely type in midfield. The hosts will feel they have answers on each line though, with Jackson Callow one who may well keep Fletcher busy, while Matt McGuinness and Sam Collins have been good across half-back, Jye Menzie and Will Harper likewise up the other end, and Mitch O’Neill leading all-comers in midfield. With the whole state behind them, Tasmania will look to take full advantage of a good hand and streak to a second-straight win, but it will not be easy against the Cannons.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY v. EASTERN RANGES
Sunday April 14, 1:15pm
Southport Oval

Eastern Ranges will be hoping to make it three-straight NAB League Boys wins as it travels north to face the Brisbane Lions Academy in the second game of Sunday’s double-header. The Lions went down in last week’s Q-Clash, but hold a Round 2 win over their GWS counterparts, while Eastern has soundly beaten Western and Northern to shape as one of the surprise packets so far. With nine outs named, the Ranges will be stretched thin in combating their weekend travel, but will have solid contributors across the park. 19-year old James Blanck comes in to stake his claim, with forward pocket duo Chayce Black and Joshua Tilly showing good form thus far. The Lions have some eye-catchers, with Bruce Reville a clear standout last week, while Will Martyn will look to lift and join Tom Griffiths in finding a wealth of possessions. Good conditions should greet the sides, which should make for decent viewing on stream for those watching at home. A couple should really catch the eye, so look for those smooth movers in the hosts’ lineup.

WESTERN JETS v. NORTHERN TERRITORY
Sunday April 14, 2:30pm
Downer Oval – Williamstown

A clash between Western Jets and Northern Territory Thunder is set to close the round out, with the travelling Thunder still looking to get on the board in their NAB League Boys stint. After Western snatched a win in Round 1 over Northern, both sides have lost over the last two weeks with a crushing defeat handed to them each. The Jets remain the most steady of the Victorian sides coming into this weekend with only four outs, but they are all key players at that. Still, the likes of Aaron Clarke and Archi Manton have found the goals well, and over-ager Daly Andrews should catch the eye through midfield. For NT, Stephen Cumming looks to be coming along nicely after teasing for Dandenong last year, while the likes of Joel Jeffrey and Maurice Rioli Jr have provided moments of magic. Joel Budarick and Ben Jungfer are ball-winners also sure to catch the eye, though the conditions at Downer Oval may prove difficult for all. A good opportunity rises for the Thunder, but the Jets proved in Round 1 that they will not go down without a fight.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 3

ANOTHER blockbuster weekend of NAB League footy saw the best of the best stake their claims as the next big things, with one particular game showcasing some enormous talent to come. With scouts eyeing all nine games across the round, these are our individual, opinion-based thoughts on the players identified as standouts by respective talent managers.

Northern Knights 3.3 (21) defeated by Eastern Ranges 13.18 (96)
By: Shyam Bali

Northern:

#1 Lachie Potter

In his first game back, Potter showed good run and dash. He took several kick ins and played on for about four of them, often taking on the man on the mark and showing a bit of flair. He showed a great passage in the second half where he broke away inside the defensive 50, and ran 30 metres before delivering the ball long inside 50 in an attacking 80-metre plus play. Potter also tackled well throughout the day laying lots of hard tackles showing his competitiveness. Ended the day with 15 disposals and five tackles.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

‘JD’ started forward and had a quiet first term with a highlight coming in the second quarter being a strong mark and goal. He was moved onto ball in the second half and was much more prolific there. He had several touches through the middle trying to will the Knights back in to the game, and had a magnificent solo effort on the half forward flank where he took on a few players and got the ball forward but unfortunately his kick let him down. He also had several big tackles in the second half resulting in a couple of holding the ball frees. D’Intinosante finished with 21 touches, five marks, nine tackles and a goal – with an extremely productive second half.

#7 Ryan Gardner

Gardner played predominantly across half back, gathering lots of the ball in the second quarter when the ball was stuck down there. His decision making at times was sometimes questionable and he would turn it over in close proximity, needing a few follow up possessions to fix the mistake. In the second half he continued to rack up the ball and seemed to use it more effectively. He set up a few shots on goal in the second half, but unfortunately his team mates could not capitalise. He ended with over 23 touches, nine marks and six tackles, patrolling the back half and along the wing.

#8 Adam Carafa

Carafa was good all day and tried hard in a tough day out for his team. He fumbled a little early in the game but his touch got better as the match wore on. He had a few passages of play that showed his class including a spearing kick to a teammate inside 50, a centring kick under pressure that hit his team mate in full stride and a few good clearances in the second half. His decision making let him down on occasion seeming in two minds, this was evident when he played on, ran himself into trouble and handballed straight into the man on the mark at the end of the first half. Overall he was a good contributor on the day and one of the best for the Knights.

#11 Ryan Sturgess

A quieter day for the reliable defender who did not get a lot of the ball in the first half whilst playing down back. This prompted a move to the wing where he found a few possessions but struggled to get involved as the Ranges ran over the top of the Knights from the second quarter onward. Showed off his versatility by spending time in attack as well. Took a few kick outs and showed good penetration in his kicks earlier in the day.

#13 Sam Philp

Philp was big all day, gathering lots of the ball across half-back and often reading the play well and being the first to the ball. He also peeled off his opponent and laid a lot of tackles to hold up the Ranges in the first half. Philp had many highlights including a free kick and 50m penalty, resulting in a goal. In the second half, Philp rebounded and took the ball down the wing well often finding team mates. Philp showed great work rate running out the game strongly and giving strong repeat efforts late into the game and making lots of stoppages all over the ground. Philp finished the game with a team high 26 disposals to go along with nine tackles, five marks and a goal.

#23 Nikolas Cox

Cox started in the backline but was moved all over the ground. He took a great mark in the first quarter but did not see much of the ball before half-time. In the second half he played a mixture of half-back/half-forawrd and got a bit more involved, laying a strong tackle and taking a good mark. Ended up being a pretty quiet day for Cox with seven touches, three marks and two tackles.

Eastern:

#11 Mitch Mellis

Mellis picked up where he left off last week, showing great zip, energy and attack on the ball in the first half. Had a great centre clearance where he pumped the ball deep inside 50 resulting in a score for his team. He also cut off a kick reading the play well before going back and goaling in the second quarter. His hard chasing and tackling was evident and he showed great two-way running ability. In the second half he seemed to elevate his game further, involved in several scoring plays and setting up his team mates. He showed a great solo effort wrapping up a player 45 metres out and getting a holding the ball decision before going back and slotting the goal which was his second in a row in the last quarter. Mellis was the standout performer on the day with 29 disposals, six marks, six tackles and three goals to cap off a great day.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

Rossiter started the day in a lot of contests, but let himself down with a few fumbles. He showed great competitiveness and intent though, following up his mistakes and laying some big tackles. He worked forward in the second half and kicked a good goal. Rossiter’s tackling was his standout for the day laying lots of big tackles and wrapping up Knights opponents. His stats finished with 14 disposals (four kicks), 10 tackles, three marks and a goal in a serviceable outing.

#17 Cody Hirst

Hirst started the game with two great defensive efforts, one locking up the ball and the second chasing an opponent down from 30 metres behind him to force a turnover. He was always on the move and showed great energy whenever the ball was around him, promising to excite. In the second half he brought it all together roving the ball and using great vision to set up team mates on a few occasions. His pace and run lit up the team in the second half as he had multiple passages where he took on opponents – or chased them down when he wasn’t close to the contest. Hirst was rewarded for his hard running with a great snap goal in the last quarter. He finished the day with 19 disposals and a goal but the standout was his defensive pressure, laying nine quality tackles.

#18 Billy McCormack

McCormack started forward and had a few shots on goal but was not accurate in the first quarter, booting a couple of behinds. He also had stints in the ruck, amassing 14 hitouts. Ended up doing a few good things around the ground, but his inaccuracy (three behinds) in front of goal stopped it from being a really strong game.

 

GWS GIANTS Academy 7.9 (51) defeated by Sydney Swans Academy 16.14 (110)
By: Scott Dougan

GWS:

#10 James Peatling

Peatling had a very dominant second term, with the midfielder/forward hitting the scoreboard after winning a free-kick for a strong tackle on his opponent. His ball use when entering the forward 50 was reliable and consistent. Peatling was one of the best players on the day, finishing with two goals and over twenty possessions.

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Lucas started in the midfield and played predominately on the outside where he received the ball from his teammates. He found plenty of it early on in the first term and even though his possessions weren’t extremely damaging, he was one of the reasons for the Giants’ fantastic opening quarter, where he repeatedly drove the ball into the Giants’ forward half. Lucas’ work rate also stood out, with the midfielder making plenty of contests throughout the day.

#25 Thomas Green

Green was involved early on, winning the second centre clearance of the game for his team, along with booting a first-quarter goal fifteen minutes later. He accumulated plenty of the footy and was prolific in contested situations. For his size, Green is exceptionally clean at ground level, which makes him a very damaging player around stoppages. His ball use and composure also caught the eye on the day.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Delahunty’s forward craft was a standout. He was able to take a few marks inside the forward 50 just because he was playing in front of his opponent, rather than from behind. He took a very nice mark on the lead in the second term but was unable to convert his set-shot attempt.

#28 Matt McGrory

McGrory won a 50-metre penalty in the defensive half that resulted in him delivering the ball deep inside the forward line for the Giants’ first major of the day. His athleticism stood out in the second term when he took an impressive intercept mark just outside his team’s forward half. McGrory also demonstrated his ball-winning capabilities and his clean ball use by foot during the match.

Sydney:

#7 Braeden Campbell

Campbell won plenty of the ball on the inside and he tackled strongly. One of his best passages of play came early on in the second term when he kicked an important, thumping goal from 50 metres out, keeping his team in the game. Campbell finished with a game-high three goals.

#9 Sam Thorne

Thorne was clean by hand and made smart decisions. He competed hard all day and continued to drive the ball forward on all occasions. His inside work was evident, along with his defensive pressure around the contest. Thorne had a game-high six tackles.

#10 Jackson Barling

Barling was good in both contested and uncontested situations. He continually put his head over the ball and always did his best to make himself an option around the ground for his teammates. He won many one-on-one contests around the ground, signifying his strength and smart body use. He was the Swans’ top ball-winner for the match.

 

Brisbane Lions Academy 5.12 (42) defeated by Gold Coast SUNS Academy 10.10 (70)
By: Michael Alvaro

Brisbane:

#11 Will Martyn

Martyn is a really nice mover in the midfield, and showed his impressive agility around the stoppages here. He looks to be on the move for the majority of time, zipping in and out of tight situations to send his side forward. While his numbers were down (12 disposals) and his kicking left a little to be desired on occasion, Martyn worked hard and seems to always find the ball in good areas. Can become a damaging midfielder with surer kicking, but has enormous potential.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Typically a damaging forward runner, Crozier’s output looked to be limited to action between the arc in this game, and he missed an opportunity to hit the scoreboard as he so often does. Still put in a good shift with 19 disposals and was a good link on the wing, working hard for nine marks to help Brisbane play the short build-up game.

#18 Bruce Reville

Reville really catches the eye and was on form early, playing most of the game through the midfield. He is such a smooth mover and looks a natural footballer, often receiving from the extractors at stoppages and bursting forward seamlessly. His decision making and effective use were features in the first half, with Reville showing great awareness to know when to lower his eyes going forward, or prop and deliver the ball laterally. While he did not quite go at 100 per cent efficiency, Reville’s clever delivery by foot made him stand out and ensured he was a damaging forward mover. Reville faded out slightly as the Suns got on top late, but ended with a team-high 25 disposals to go with a clever soccered goal in the second term.

#19 Tom Griffiths

Equalled Reville’s output in terms of possessions with 25, but played a more selfless role as the extractor in midfield. Winning a good amount of contested ball, Griffiths was effective by hand and released his outside runners, while also spreading well to win the ball in all areas of the ground. A hard worker, and one you may miss if you do not watch closely.

Gold Coast:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

Oea is an excitement machine, lurking dangerously in and around the forward 50 arc all day. He is a smart user by foot and created opportunities for his teammates with good use going forward. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of that is his ability to use the ball well at speed, and his gather, turn and kick to Ethan Dawson in the goalsquare was an example of that. Oea looked like doing something great whenever he was goalside of his opponent, and his eye-catching goal on the run in the third term showcased that to a t. Definitely one to watch, and is hard to miss when at full flight.

#5 Connor Budarick

The zippy midfielder-forward was a mainstay at the centre bounces, but I thought his possessions in the forward half showed where his best football will be played at the next level. He sweeps up the loose ball at ground level and hits it at speed, using smart hands to extract when he opts not to break away from stoppages. Would have had a pretty complete game had he put away two goal opportunities he created with impressive gathers at pace, but was damaging nonetheless. A pleasing part of his game was his direction of play after disposing of the ball, and he seems a clever type. 26 disposals for the Allies representative marked a solid day.

#13 Josh Gore

Gore looks a polished player, and was nothing short of clinical up forward. He certainly knows where the goals are, but did not get the chance to show off his outstanding awareness inside 50 as he instead booted his three goals from set shots at varying angles. Gore does not need much of the ball to have an impact, and definitely caught the eye with his evasiveness with ball in hand. Worked hard to find space with seven marks, and has a nice left-foot kick.

#28 Ashton Crossley

A contested ball machine, Crossley continued his good start to the Sun’s NAB League cameo with 28 disposals. I was not surprised to find that 20 of them were handballs, but that is simply his game and he was hardly beaten as the number one stoppage player on the ground. While his releasing handballs were effective for the most part, Crossley often hacked the ball out by foot, so still has some areas to work on as most inside midfielders do. Worked tirelessly in tandem with Budarick in a team-oriented role and won an impressive 10 clearances.

 

Sandringham Dragons 9.11 (65) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 8.7 (55)
By: Ed Pascoe

Sandringham:

#1 Jack Mahony

Mahony was very busy through the midfield wining plenty of the ball and using it well by hand and foot and he was one of his teams better performers in the first half. He was everywhere in the third quarter and he had a nice bit of play taking a nice mark inside 50 and a quick wide kick to teammate Angus Hanrahan lead to a goal. Mahony showed he was one of the most skilled players on the ground and he finished the game with 25 disposals and five tackles.

#4 Finn Maginess

Maginess showed a lot of class through the midfield with his clean hands and strength at stoppages, he had a strong start to the game and was even better in the second quarter taking a nice contested mark and did some nice repeat efforts at the contest with clean ball use at the same time. Maginess would hit the scoreboard in the third quarter cutting off an opposition player and ran in to kick the goal. Maginess was a strong player around the contest and he finished the game with 24 disposals, six inside 50s and a goal.

#5 Ryan Byrnes

Byrnes was very busy through the midfield early in the game but his disposal seemed rushed and he was not as damaging early as he was in recent weeks and it was more of the same during the whole game. His third quarter was quiet but his best bit of play came in the last quarter with a nice kick inside 50 to teammate Charlie Dean, he would finish the game with 21 disposals and six inside 50s.

#11 Hugo Ralphsmith

Ralphsmith had another good game mostly as a link up player on the wing using his dash and clean disposal. His first goal came in the 2nd quarter running into open goal, he would have a good movement in this quarter burning off an opponent with pure speed and then turning on a dime and hitting a nice short pass under pressure. He would continue to show of his dash in the third quarter with a nice run from the wing into the forward half and he would have another solid quarter, he would kick his second goal from a strong mark in the last quarter and converting the set shot. He would finish the game with 15 disposals, four marks and two goals.

#12 Charlie Dean

Dean continues to lead the NAB League for goals and that has came from his great leading patterns which he again showed early, taking a strong contested mark and kick a set shot goal 15 minutes into the first quarter. The second goal came in the second quarter from a nice mark and set shot finish, he would continue to provide a good target taking a nice lead up mark in the third quarter and delivering a nice short kick inside 50. Dean was a great target all day and he finished the game with 16 disposals, six marks and two goals.

#29 Fischer McAsey

McAsey had a similar game to last week starting slowly before becoming more involved as the game went on, he started the second quarter well with a good chase down tackle and was solid overall for that quarter down back and would improve again in the third showing his neat skills by hand and foot. McAsey had a neat game down back finishing with 12 disposals and three rebound 50s.

#31 Josh Worrell

Worrell was physical early hitting contests hard and tackling with intent, his skills by hand and foot early where very solid, he was very important repelling a lot of the oppositions attacks in the first half. His disposal dropped in the second half but his positioning in defence was fantastic and he was still having an influence. Worrell was his teams standout defender with 23 disposals, four marks and five rebounds.

Oakleigh:

#4 Nick Bryan

Another solid game for Bryan who competed well in the ruck especially early on working in tandem with gun midfielder Matthew Rowell. His second quarter was the most impressive with some lovely tap work in the ruck and even showing his skill with ball in hand with a nice kick inside 50. His tap work was the standout but he showed even more tricks with a great tackle on Sandringham speedster Hugo Ralphsmith in the last quarter. Bryan finished the game with 11 disposals, three tackles and 33 hitouts.

#5 Trent Bianco

Bianco was all class for four quarters and was a big reason for his side coming close to knocking off premiership favourites Sandringham. His first half was strong using the ball well down back and in the third quarter he showed why he is considered one of the better skilled players at Oakleigh with a fantastic opposite foot switch kick to teammate Matthew Rowell. Bianco was huge in the last quarter starting to be an influence up the ground, some standout moments came with a lovely kick to the advantage of teammate Dylan Williams inside 50 and he would latter look after Williams again with a fantastic pickup and quick clean and long handball over the top for Williams to run into open goal. Bianco finished the game with 26 disposals, four inside 50s and five rebound 50s.

#8 Noah Anderson

The in-form player in the Nab League so far again had a solid outing he was his usual impactful self working hard through the middle early and linking up well in transition. Anderson was quieter in the second and third quarter but would kick his first goal from straight in front close to goal in the third quarter. Anderson’s second goal came in the last quarter through a free kick and he was also a solid contributor through the midfield in the last quarter and would finish the game with 26 disposals, six tackles and two goals.

#11 Matthew Rowell

Rowell was the standout player on the day especially early having a big say on the game through the midfield, not only was he tackling with intent but he also went in hard to win the ball and was classy with his ball use. He didn’t let up in the second quarter either, continuing to be a force through the midfield and in the third quarter he showed his skill with a classy opposite foot kick inside 50. Rowell excelled at stoppages but he also had an impact in general play especially in the last quarter taking a strong intercept mark and quickly kicking inboard to teammate Trent Bianco which started a great chain for Oakleigh. Rowell finished the game strong with 31 disposals, seven marks and eleven tackles.

#23 Dylan Williams

Williams had a rough start to the game he struggled to get involved in the play early but he started to have an influence in the second quarter taking a nice lead up mark and delivering a nice kick inside 50 which was unfortunately dropped by is teammate but later in the quarter he would kick his first goal which was a nice goal on the run. Williams got a chance through the midfield where he showed some good signs with his movement in traffic, he had one nice bit of play showing clean hands under pressure standing up in a tackle and finding a difficult handpass. Williams looked set to take the game by the scruff of the neck in the last quarter taking a strong mark early and converting a set shot goal he would almost kick another goal from a similar situation that was touched on the line. His final goal came running into open goal to finish his game on a high despite the loss. He finished the game with nine disposals, four marks and three goals.

 

Calder Cannons 10.14 (74) defeated Western Jets 9.8 (62)
By: Ed Pascoe

Calder:
#1 Daniel Mott

Mott had an impact early kicking the first goal of the game which was a lovely opposite foot goal in general play 40 metres out and the second goal also in the same quarter which was an easy goal running into open goal. Most was one of his teams more classy players with ball in hand especially by foot which he had some good movements in the last quarter with a lovely opposite foot kick to teammate Josh Kemp and another long kick inside 50 to the advantage of his teammate which was impossible for a defender to stop. In the last quarter he even showed a good burst of speed to get away from his opponent to get a kick away inside 50. Mott finished the game with 32 disposals, seven marks and two goals in a good four-quarter performance through the midfield.

#8 Sam Ramsay

Ramsay was fantastic in the first quarter showing his class and work ethic laying a strong tackle and showing great composure and movement with ball in hand and he would latter kick a fantastic running goal from 50 metres. Ramsay left the game early and was a big loss for his side as he had started the game extremely well showing his speed and class. He finished the game with eight disposals and one goal.

#30 Josh Kemp

Kemp looked dangerous early he would set up a goal with a nice bit of play in the pocket working hard to win the ball and then a creative handball to set it up, and he would again have a similar bit of play although not leading to a goal but he would almost kick a goal showing lovely hands and movement and then snapping only to be touched on the line and again would come close with a great lead and diving mark but the set shot was changed to a kick to the hot spot. He looked good again in the second quarter showing his leap with a great contested overhead mark but the set shot dropped short and another chance from a nice lead up mark but again not kicking the goal. Kemp would have a quieter second half but showed his kicking skills with a nice pass inboard with a bit of composure in the last quarter, Kemp finished the game with nine disposals and four marks.

#38 Brodie Newman

Newman had a very quiet game, especially for his standards, he defended first and he still showed his game awareness with a nice bit of play in the second quarter positioning himself well having a run and clearing a long kick outside defensive 50. Newman did not have many standout moments in the second half and he finished the game with four disposals and three tackles.

Western:

#18 Emerson Jeka

Jeka showed good presence early taking some nice lead up marks and proving a difficult matchup for the Calder side but he could not quite put it on the scoreboard with a set shot behind and one not making the distance from long range. He would show his class with ball in hand taking a nice mark on the wing and quickly kicking inboard twice one on his preferred and one on his non preferred. He had a good highlight in the third quarter taking a mini specky getting the knee in the middle of his opponents back but again failing to kick the set shot, he would finish the game with nine disposals, six tackles and two behinds.

#20 Darcy Cassar

Cassar started the game well hitting a lovely pass under pressure and showing good movement and speed from a stoppage deep in defence, he was classy down back in the first half showing his speed on many occasions and cool head under pressure. Cassar was a good four-quarter performer and a major reason for the Jets staying in the game and he finished with 24 disposals and eight rebound 50s.

#24 Josh Honey

Honey has had a tough start to the year and again didn’t start the game well although showing good movement trying to take the game on early, he was taken down in a good tackle. Honey would show his class in the second quarter with a great contested mark on the last line and converting the easy set shot he also had a strong tackle in the third quarter and should have been rewarded with a free kick. Honey tried hard but he will be looking to have bigger impacts on the game which he is more than capable of, he finished the game with 14 disposals, six tackles and a goal.

 

Bendigo Pioneers 8.10 (58) defeated by Gippsland Power 12.10 (82)
By: Peter Williams

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

I was impressed with the way he went about it and was one of Bendigo’s most consistent across the four quarters. The bottom-age midfield has a neat left foot kick and is not afraid to take the game on. He had a terrific spearing pass into Brodie Kemp early in the game and showed great core strength throughout to stand up in tackles and get his hands free. Conforti has high football smarts and can find space whilst in traffic, it is just sharpening up the kicking when at top speed. Gets around the ground comfortably.

#4 Thomson Dow

Not as prolific as past games, finishing with just the nine touches and one effective kick but still managed to hit the scoreboard courtesy of a free kick inside 50 in the second term. He showed good vision to give off a long handball to a teammate in space in the same quarter, and had a chance for another goal from a set shot in the third quarter but missed to the left.

#8 Brodie Kemp

Impressive across the four quarters, he kicked the Pioneers’ opening goal of the game with a ripping shot to bend the ball back through the big sticks in the right forward pocket. He took a great mark at half-forward then kicked low in favour of Caleb Fisher in the pocket. With time and space he can be real damaging, and it is just tightening up the kicking when under pressure at speed. Kept winning it and has a knack of spinning out of trouble. Good hands in traffic too.

#20 James Schischka

Had a solid game throughout playing his usual role in the defensive half and pushing up the ground to take a number of intercept marks. He has a long, direct kick which he uses effectively to put into dangerous positions, but will often size up his options and pick a shorter option. Has strength, applying a fend-off to an opponent and still being able to dispose of the ball.

Gippsland:

#2 Caleb Serong

Does not play a bad game and on this occasion, Serong was one of Gippsland’s best across the four quarters, rotating between midfield and forward. He has great skills and is able to weight kicks well, while also having terrific strength for a small player. Serong just has the ability to get his hands free whilst being tackled, and force opponents to commit to the tackle before giving the ball off to a teammate in space. He had a mind blank in the third term where he gave away a downfield free for a slightly late bump on an opponent, but got forward and booted two goals using strong hands.

#4 Sam Flanders

The forward-turned-midfielder had another impressive game throughout the four quarters, tending to win the ball at the stoppage and get the hands free to find a teammate running past. He would then spread to the outside and win the footy in space and have an impact on the outside.

#11 Kyle Dunkley

Providing strong support on the inside for Gippsland and laid a number of big tackles on opponents throughout the match. His kicking can be hit or miss at times, with his long, penetrating kick more effective than trying to find targets at short range. Dunkley unloaded a long-bomb from well outside 50m and put it straight through the middle, and when inside 50 provides leads and is good in the air or ground level.

#12 Brock Smith

A solid game from the AFL Academy defender who played well one-on-one and is composed with ball-in-hand in the back half. He had a great punch in the second term to put it across the line at half-back and took a good intercept mark on the wing not long after. Continued to apply great defensive pressure and played his role.

#15 Ryan Sparkes

The defender-midfielder just finds the ball wherever he goes and had a nice clearance straight out of the middle to start the game and his ability to win the ball in transition and get it forward was a feature of his match. Has a neat kick, often opting for shorter options, then pushing forward to offer as a target in space. A valuable, underrated midfielder in the side.

#16 Josh Smith

Not a huge game by any means, but played his role inside 50 with his bodywork and finished off with a goal and a couple of score assists. Had a great kick inside 50 to Harrison Pepper leading out, and laid a great tackle in the first term to cause a spillage in defence.

#19 Fraser Phillips

The best game of the season so far for Phillips who has an impact despite not having high disposal numbers. Finishing with just the 12 touches, Phillips roamed around the forward 50 and up to the wing, booting 3.2 in the game and showed high footy IQ and a great goal sense to kick a couple of goals out of nothing. He also showed good defensive pressure, laying a number of tackles inside 50. Effectively nailed the coffin shut in the final term with back-to-back goals including a snap off a few steps and converting a set shot.

#22 Zac Reid

The key defender was another who played his role with little fuss, taking a few marks and just using the ball well across the ground. Reid did not miss a target and played well one-on-one, but his moment of the match was a massive goal-saving tackle in the final term as an opponent ran into an open goal, stopping him in his tracks.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 12.11 (83) drew to Geelong Falcons 12.11 (83)
By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#2 Hayden Young

The potential top five selection showed a good aerial ability and strong penetration kick throughout the four quarters as he played his best game for the season. Often winning the ball at half-back or along the wing, Young was ably to double back into the defensive 50, then get up the ground to send the ball into his team’s own attacking 50. Mopped up well throughout the game, though did make one clanger in the third term when kicking out of the back half which was intercepted and led to an opposition goal. Could not fault Young too much throughout, almost kicking a massive goal from the wing in the final term.

#11 Ned Cahill

After a delayed start to the season due to injury, Cahill was really impressive through the midfield, winning both contested and uncontested possessions and most importantly, getting the ball forward to provide scoring possibilities. He has such clean hands and does not fumble much, able to use his footy smarts to keep moving without being caught. Used the ball well more often than not and certainly had a big hand in Dandenong’s drawing the match.

#18 Mitch Riordan

The premiership co-captain provides the stronger body on the inside and experience to the young Stingrays’ midfielders with another solid game. He finds space and is able to kick long to dangerous areas. Riordan is clever at reading ruck taps, and provides good defensive pressure with a number of fierce tackles to stop opponents in their tracks.

#20 Sam De Koning

Started in defence and went forward in the final term, booting two goals and missing a couple which were also gettable. He had to judge the wind which was swirling around, but managed to lift for the Stingrays in that charge home. Would like his time again when trying to kick in the goal square under pressure, but his strong marking and leading looked good, and he was very settled in attack.

#44 Cody Weightman

An exciting prospect who continues to turn heads because of his ability to look dangerous whenever he goes near it. He has a nice kicking technique and great acceleration, which makes him a damaging prospect in the forward half of the ground. Weightman has clean hands and despite copping a head knock in the final term, was fine and a key player in Dandenong’s win.

Geelong:

#4 Gennaro Bove

Showed some nice signs as a bottom-ager and while he did not win a lot of the ball, used it really well and had a touch of class about him. He took a strong mark opposed to Hayden Young on the wing and showed no fear, and has a penetrating kick that he put in the path of Charlie Sprague during the third term. Courageous with good vision and composure, he is one to watch over the next 18 months.

#8 Charlie Lazzaro

Another bottom-ager who stood out in the draw was Lazzaro who stepped up in the absence of the injured Cooper Stephens. Continually cracking in and laying some big tackles, shovelling out the contested ball and winning the clearance, Lazzaro was quite impressive with his kicking action and getting it forawrd.

#17 Sheldon Ham

Just showed a few nice signs on the weekend in the forward half as a creative type who can win the footy. Kicked a great goal in the third term and just seems to move well and get himself out of trouble. Won a lot of his possessions under pressure and held himself up well, sharing the ball around to teammates in the forward 50.

#36 Charlie Sprague

A serviceable game for the overager who would have liked to have made more of his forward chances. Had some nice passes of play such as a good leading mark diving forward, but then kicked it out on the full. Set up a couple of teammates going forward and pushing up to the wing, won the ball and used his body well to fire a quick handball to a teammate running past in the opposite direction.

#40 Jesse Clark

Stationed at half-back, Clark showed good body pressure on his opponents at ground level or in the air and repelled a lot of Dandenong attacks. He was outsized late in the game against Sam De Koning, but aside from that, had a really promising game with strong kicking and a couple of good intercept marks in defence under immense pressure. Just consistent throughout the match.

 

Northern Territory Thunder Academy 6.8 (44) defeated by Tasmania Devils 13.14 (92)
By: Alex Gibson

Northern Territory:

#17 Maurice Rioli

The way this bottom-ager plays it is no surprise he is a Rioli. His presence of silky skill was complimented beautifully by his dashing speed. Although he did not have huge numbers his possessions were damaging thanks to his precise vision and ability to lower his eyes. A run-down tackle at the start of the third quarter got the crowd up on their feet.

#19 Ben Jungfer

In what was a frustrating day for the Thunder star, Jungfer’s efforts can not be questioned. The Devils seemed to have put a lot of time into the midfielder following last weeks performance and he wasn’t given much space throughout the game. Finding it hard to get his hands on the ball in the first half, Jungfer’s second half showed promising signs and he worked hard to finish with 17 disposals and five tackles.

#24 Joel Jeffery

The 17-year-old swingman was immense for the NT boys. Playing as the key forward at only 189cm, his athleticism contributed to him being a serious aerial threat and the devils defenders were cautious of his raw talent. When the Devils began to get on top, a smart coaching move saw Jeffery go back, where his marking ability alongside a deadly long kick saw him gather 20 disposals including seven rebounds out of the defensive 50 to go with his earlier goal.

#27 Beau O’Connell

O’Connell was the Thunder’s best by far. He had a big first term where his gut running and damaging kick gave him the opportunity to kick back-to-back goals and allowed his team to get on top early. Rotating through half forward and the midfield, when O’Connell had the ball the Thunder looked at their most dangerous. He gathered 16 touches and finished with three goals.

#35 Stephen Cumming

In what was a disappointing day for the Thunder, the 199cm monster dominated in the ruck. Finishing with 40 hitouts, the next best hit out count on the day between both teams was six. The big man also exploited the new ruck rule where he on numerous occasions took the ball straight out of the stoppage giving first use to his midfielders. His football smarts largely contributed to his 17 handball and 22 disposal day.

Tasmania:

#1 Mitch O’Neill

The Thunder had no response to O’Neill’s dominance throughout the whole day, he was unstoppable. The dashing on baller amassed a massive 35 disposal performance including 21 kicks and nine inside 50’s. Not only did he hurt the Thunder by foot going inside 50, but his quick hands in and under the stoppage allowed the Devils to have a huge second quarter and control the game from there on. Was clearly the best on ground.

#2 Oliver Burrows-Cheng

The big bodied midfielder showed a display of pure strength. Despite having a clear defensive role in which he got on top of his opponent, Burrows-Cheng was still the first player to get his hands on the football at the stoppage and was impressive all day. Working tirelessly all game he laid seven tackles and defensively was brilliant.

#7 Matt McGuiness

The game seemed to slow down when McGuiness had the ball. The half back had elite composure out the the defensive 50 which stood out along with him hitting targets using both sides of his body. McGuiness also was very solid defensively where his ability to read the ball allowed him to get the upper hand on his opponents.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow could have had a really, really big day. He dominated the Thunder’s defence all game and finished with five goals however if he kicked straight could’ve easily had seven or eight to his name. Callow did not once get out-marked and either took the grab himself or brought the ball to ground to which his small forwards appreciated. Callow was the go-to man for the Devils and the well built key forward’s work rate was impressive – often providing a target well up the ground.

 

Murray Bushrangers 9.15 (69) defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels 9.8 (62)
By: Peter Williams

Murray:
#3 Ben Kelly

The 19-year-old ruck/defender has made a strong start to his overage year and while he had less impact on the weekend, still showed enough signs to suggest this year could be a big one for him. He moves well for a taller player and does not panic when potentially quicker players are in pursuit. He has a nice sidestep and even attempted to go for a run in the first term, taking a bounce before opting for a handball. He patrolled the backline and switches the play when required, taking a good intercept mark in the final term and backed himself to move around a player and take off down the field.

#5 Cam Wild

An accumulator who plays his role for the team with minimal fuss and just wins the ball every week. Wild is a player who does his best work around stoppages, often firing out handballs or kicking clear of danger. Found a fair bit of it in space on the wing and pumped it long inside 50.

#7 Zane Barzen

Another overage player at the Bushrangers, Barzen had some nice moments inside 50, kicking a couple of goals and assisting in some others. Still looking to find consistency across four quarters, Barzen had a quieter second half, but still acquitted himself in the forward arc. Had a late chance for a third goal with a snap under immense pressure but missed.

#12 Lachlan Ash

If there is a player in the NAB League competition that catches the eye, then it is most certainly Lachlan Ash. Hardly putting a foot wrong, Ash’s ball use is elite and some of the kicks he produces are bordering on perfection. Ash will almost always pick the right option and does not just play safe, going for the deeper, penetrating kicks forawrd to set up attacking plays, even if the kick comes attached with risk. He set up a number of goals, including one in the first term to Will Chandler, and the winning goal to Jay Hillary in the final quarter. The amazing thing about Ash is the fact that he firstly takes the game on, but secondly brings teammates into play by drawing opponents and giving the ball off, or providing shepherds to allow teammates to kick cleanly up the ground like he did in the final term. Ash is terrific overhead and really does it all.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Had an influential first term in the midfield, and played a solid game throughout the four quarters as one of the Bushrangers’ best. Still finding consistency throughout the match, Chalcraft’s ability to sidestep opponents with ease and just pump the ball forward makes him a damaging player wherever he is playing. Chalcraft has good core strength and stands up in tackles, also having a nice kick under pressure in the opening term to hit a target at half-forward. He spreads around the ground and a good work rate, and finds the ball when in midfield. Does not make a heap of errors with his disposal, and more often than not is able to put the ball to a teammates’ advantage.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Floated around the ground providing an option in space, taking a number of marks and keeping the ball moving in transition. Boyer’s worked hard to spread to the wings and flanks and is able to use the ball well under pressure. A nice kick of the football, his lateral movement and good vision make him a handy prospect. One of the better Bushrangers on the day and just keeps winning the football and providing an option to his teammates.

#20 Elijah Hollands

A classy forward who just has that knack of finding the goals, he was disappointed in himself missing a few early chances, before kicking two for the game, including a natural instinct shot off the left to win the game for the Bushrangers. Hollands also shows good second efforts, giving off a quick handball before following up with a tackle immediately after.

GWV:

#4 Jed Hill

Worked hard throughout the match and played a solid game to continually find space rotating through the midfield and half-forward. Still needs to fine tune some consistency having a quiet second half, but was prominent early in the game with 10 touches and five marks to half-time. Finished with the 13 disposals, but did a lot of things that were outside the stat sheet. Hill ran hard and kicked a goal into the breeze in the second term after a “typical” Hill goal from a tight angle in the pocket in the first term.

#7 Mitch Martin

A classy performance and as clean as they come at ground level. Used the ball well throughout and showed neat kicking across the ground. In the third term, Martin showed his composure by nullifying a ball in the forward pocket despite being chased by two opponents. Kept getting busy around the ground and offered himself as an option with 10 marks, rotating between midfield and half-forward. Also laid a number of good tackles, but the standout feature was his one-touch ability at ground level.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Made some uncharacteristic errors by foot in the game, kicking at just 50 per cent, but his pressure was still high. While the normally classy Wareham had some nice disposals at times, it was his hunting of the ball and ball carrier which stood out. He is not a huge disposal winner, but always goes for a smother or tackle whenever possible and plays a great team role.

#13 Jay Rantall

Shot onto my draft board after the match on the weekend and will be one to watch. The former basketballer is still very raw, and does make mistakes by foot at times, but some of the natural things he does are very eye-catching. Rantall has an eye for the goals and was able to kick a couple of majors, one off a step from long range, timing the kick perfectly, then had another snap around the body from a stoppage in the third term. His energy levels and second efforts are very impressive and his overall athletic capabilities are off the charts. By far the moment that caught everyone’s eye was the final centre stoppage where he read the tap to perfection, burst away and hit a pass onto the chest of a leading forward.

#14 Liam Herbert

Had a few nice plays around the ground and weight his kicks, but also made some errors by foot. He worked hard to push back into defence at times and also got forward, moving around the ground well. Had an important fist under pressure in the defensive 50 in the final term.

NAB League Boys Round 3 wash-up: Academy derbies headline action-packed weekend

AN ACADEMY derby double led an exciting round of NAB League action, with a Saturday Metro double-header and Sunday Country triple-header producing some ripping contests between the established sides – including a high-scoring draw and top-of-the-table clash.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 3.1 | 3.3 | 3.3 (21)
EASTERN RANGES 3.4 | 6.9 | 8.14 | 13.18 (96)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Northern:
S. Philp, J. D’Intinosante, L. McMahon
Eastern: M. Mellis 3, J. Tilly 2, C. Hirst, B. Hickleton, L. Vassis, J. Rossiter, J. Duffy, L. Gawel, C. Black, C. Downie

BEST:
Northern:
J. D’Intinosante, S. Philp, J. Davies, A. Taylor
Eastern: Z. Pretty, J. Ross, M. Mellis, C. Downie, R. Smith, M. Zalac

Eastern Ranges notched up its second-consecutive NAB League win, opening Round 3 with a 75-point drubbing of the Northern Knights. Despite a steady start, Eastern accelerated after half-time – keeping their opponents goalless while pouring on seven majors to finish up comprehensive winners. While Sam Philp, Josh D’Intinosante, and Liam McMahon were the only Knights to hit the scoreboard with first-half goals, the Ranges had an impressive 10 individual goal kickers in the dominant performance. Fresh off his Draft Central player of the week outing, Mitch Mellis again had a day out, collecting 29 disposals and a bag of three goals, with Joshua Tilly the only other multiple goal kicker and Cody Hirst lively for his 19 disposals and lone goal. Skipper James Ross was the leading ball-winner with 30 touches, while Philp (26 disposals, nine tackles, one goal) led the way for Northern on a dirty day from Ryan Gardner (23 disposals, nine marks, six tackles) and D’Intinosante (21 disposals, nine tackles, seven inside 50s, one goal). Yet to claim a win, the Knights host the GWS GIANTS academy next time out in hopes of rectifying that, while Eastern is set for a trip north to face Brisbane Lions Academy on Sunday.

 

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 4.3 | 5.7 | 7.7 | 7.9 (51)
SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 2.1 | 4.5 | 11.6 | 16.14 (110)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
GWS:
L. Delahunty 2, J. Peatling 2, T. Green, M. McGrory, C. Edwards
Sydney: H. Parker 3, B. Campbell 3, M. Sheather 2, H. Ellem 2, K. McKellar 2, S. Gaden, H. Maguire, L. Swaney, A. Watling

BEST:
GWS:
N. Murray, T. Green, J. Peatling, J. Lucas, L. Delahunty, J. Reed
Sydney: M. Geddes, A. Watling, B. Campbell, H. Parker, S. Gaden, H. Ellem

Sydney Swans Academy won the NAB League’s ‘battle of the bridge’ on Saturday, blitzing their western rivals in an awesome second half to come out 59-point winners. Trailing at the main break, the Swans came out firing in the third term to put through a sensational seven goals to the Giants’ two – turning an eight-point deficit into a 23-point lead heading into the final turn. It was more of the same from Sydney to see the game out, keeping the GWS academy goalless while they poured on another five goals to consolidate the big win. Braeden Campbell was super with an equal game-high three goals from his 13 disposals, with Harrison Parker also slotting three of his own among nine individual goal kickers. Jackson Barling was the Swans’ major ball winner with 20 disposals, leading from Samuel Thorne (18, six tackles), but beaten out by GWS stars Tom Green (25 disposals, six marks, one goal) and Jackson Peatling (24 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s, five tackles, two goals). Liam Delahunty also chimed in with two majors to join Peatling as a multiple goal scorer in an otherwise hard day for the Giants. Moving on to established NAB League opponents, GWS travels to Melbourne to face Northern Knights next week, with Sydney facing Sandringham Dragons on the same day in a double-header.

 

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 1.4 | 4.5 | 5.9 | 5.12 (42)
GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 2.4 | 4.6 | 5.7 | 10.10 (70)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Brisbane:
W. Tasker, B. Reville, C. Aston, B. Coleman, N. Haberer
Gold Coast: J. Gore 3, M. Conroy 2, M. Selsby, E. Dawson, P. Murtagh, H. Rowles, H. Oea

BEST:
Brisbane:
T. Griffiths, E. Hunt, B. Reville, W. Tasker, N. Haberer
Gold Coast: A. Crossley, J. Johnston, C. Budarick, J. Gore, M. Fraser, A. Davies

In the second northern academy derby, Gold Coast blew Brisbane away in a dominant final term to come out 28-point winners. An otherwise even contest, the Suns found themselves two points down heading into the last break, but turned it on when it mattered to slam home five goals and seal a handy win. The midfield duo of Ashton Crossley (31 disposals) and Connor Budarick (26, five tackles, five inside 50s) worked wonders for Gold Coast, with Hewago Paul Oea electric for his 17 disposals, eight inside 50s and 1.2. Josh Gore was also clinical up forward, slotting all three of his set shot attempts and taking seven marks. The Lions did not have any multiple goal kickers, but Bruce Reville was excellent with 25 disposals, eight marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and one goal from midfield. He was matched for disposal output by Tom Griffiths, while Saxon Crozier had 19 touches and nine marks in a mix of inside and outside work between the arcs. With the Under 18 Q-clash come and gone, both sides are set to play host to Victorian NAB League sides in Labrador next week, with Brisbane facing Eastern Ranges and Gold Coast set to do battle with Oakleigh Chargers in the Sunshine State.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 2.3 | 5.5 | 7.9 | 9.11 (65)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.0 | 3.1 | 4.5 | 8.7 (55)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Sandringham:
H. Ralphsmith 2, C. Dean 2, A. Hanrahan 2, O. Lewis, F. Maginness, J. Bowey
Oakleigh: D. Williams 3, N. Anderson 2, N. Dempsey, G. Varagiannis, J. Ugle-Hagan

BEST:
Sandringham:
F. Maginness, J. Mahony, C. Dean, J. Worrell, H. Ralphsmith, J. Le Grice
Oakleigh: M. Rowell, H. Mastras, W. Phillips, N. Bryan, K. Schreiber, N. Anderson

Hosts Sandringham got the better of the Round 3 top-of-the-table clash, downing the Oakleigh Chargers by 10 points to remain undefeated atop of the ladder. The Dragons were in control for most of the contest in perfect conditions to showcase the raft of draftable talent on display, and held on in the face of a late Oakleigh charge. Charlie Dean started strongly up forward, clunking big marks and putting two majors on the board to remain the competition’s leading goal scorer. Hugo Ralphsmith was the only other Dragon to slot two goals, and was dangerous in each of his forward forays – much like Oakleigh’s Noah Anderson, who booted two goals from 26 disposals. Along with Anderson’s efforts, Oakleigh’s midfield force was led by Matt Rowell (31 disposals, 11 tackles, seven marks) and co-captain Trent Bianco (26 disposals, five rebound 50s, four inside 50s), but was ultimately outdone by the Dragons’ depth. The centre bounce trio of Jack Mahony (25 disposals), Finn Maginness (24, six inside 50s, one goal), and Ryan Byrnes (21, six inside 50s) worked tirelessly to win a wealth of possessions and send Sandringham forward, with Josh Worrell a force off half-back. With the amount of talent on show, the game fully delivered on expectations with respects to getting a good glimpse of the game’s future stars, and the two sides would surely provide another corker should they meet in the post-season. Both teams now go on to face academies in Round 4, with Sandringham hosting Sydney, while Oakleigh travels to Brisbane to take on the Suns.

 

CALDER CANNONS 5.4 | 7.7 | 8.10 | 10.14 (74)
WESTERN JETS 2.3 | 5.4 | 8.7 | 9.8 (62)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Calder:
J. Cardillo 2, D. Mott 2, J. Keeping, S. Ramsay, H. Minton-Connell, N. Gentile, T. Browning, C. Edwardes
Western: A. Clarke 3, A. Manton 2, S. Clifford, L. Failli, K. Borg, J. Honey

BEST:
Calder:
D. Mott, F. Lakey, H. Minton-Connell, N. Gentile, S. Bell-Bartels, J. Cardillo
Western: A. Clarke, J. Horo, L. Failli, Z. Christofi, E. Ford, S. Johnson

Calder Cannons got on the board for season 2019 at the third time of asking, ousting the Western Jets by an even two-goal margin at RAMS Arena. Leading for the majority of the clash, Calder were put soundly under the pump during the second half as Western closed to within three points at three-quarter time, but the Jets ran out of fuel late to ensure the Cannons would pick up four points. Daniel Mott returned to form with a bang, collecting a classy 32 disposals, seven marks, five inside 50s and two goals, with midfield mate Harrison Minton-Connell having 30 and one goal. Meanwhile, Darcy Cassar was the Jets key ball winner with 24 disposals, with Aaron Clarke again bagging three goals and Archi Manton claiming two. With wins crucial for both teams at this stage of the season, the Cannons will be happy to have picked one up. Round 4 sees them head south to Tasmania to face the Devils, while Western hosts Northern Territory on the same day.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS 3.4 | 4.5 | 7.10 | 8.10 (58)
GIPPSLAND POWER 2.0 | 5.3 | 8.5 | 12.10 (82)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:
Bendigo:
C. Fisher 3, B. Kemp, E. Roberts, T. Dow, R. Clarke, A. Cole
Gippsland: F. Phillips 3, H. Pepper 2, C. Serong 2, H. Neocleous, J. Smith, W. Papley, C. Doultree, K. Dunkley

BEST:
Bendigo:
J. Rodi, B. Kemp, J. Schischka, R. Clarke, L. Fitzgerald, R. Wilson
Gippsland: C. Serong, S. Flanders, R. Sparkes, F. Phillips, B. Smith, Z. Skinner

Gippsland Power ended Bendigo Pioneers’ two-game winning streak with a fast-finishing 25-point win over the Pioneers in the opening game at Queen Elizabeth Oval yesterday. The Pioneers stuck with one of the league favourites for most of the match before a few late goals put the result beyond doubt. The Power booted the last three goals of the game, including two to Fraser Phillips to seal the match in a 12.11 (83) to 8.10 (58) win. Phillips was impressive up forward with 12 disposals, four marks and 3.2, joined at times by the talented Caleb Serong who slotted two goals from 23 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds. Serong’s partner in crime in the midfield, Sam Flanders was once again prolific with 20 touches, two marks, five clearances and four inside 50s, while Ryan Sparkes (21 disposals, six inside 50s) and Sam Berry (20 disposals, six clearances) were others who stood out. For the Pioneers, bottom-ager Sam Conforti was a standout with 22 disposals, four marks, four clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds. Brodie Kemp (21 disposals, four marks, six clearances, five inside 50s and the opening goal) was impressive throughout the match, while Jeremy Rodi (19 disposals, four marks, three clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds) and Brady Rowles (13 disposals, five rebounds) were also prominent.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.0 | 7.4 | 7.5 | 12.11 (83)
GEELONG FALCONS 5.5 | 6.6 | 11.11 | 12.11 (83)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:
Dandenong:
C. Ellison 3, S. De Koning 2, L. Goonan 2, N. Heath 2, A. Bradtke, R. Orchard, C. Weightman
Geelong: O. Henry 5, M. Annandale 2, C. Harris, M. Langan, S. Ham, G. Bove, N. Gribble

BEST:
Dandenong:
H. Young, M. Riordan, C. Weightman, M. Gregory, E. Cahill, S. De Koning
Geelong: O. Henry, J. Clark, N. Gribble, C. Karpala, K. Rayner, H. Stubbings

Dandenong Stingrays escaped with two points after stealing a draw on the siren, successfully mowing down Geelong Falcons with the breeze in a thrilling final term. The Stingrays always had the upperhand with the strong breeze blowing towards the Bendigo city end, but the Falcons had a five-goal lead at the final break. An inspirational decision was moving Sam De Koning forward in the final term as he booted two goals from set shots – and could have had a couple more, while Nathan Heath‘s mark just before the siren had everyone on edge. Trailing by six points, Heath calmly slotted the goal to level the scores and the Stingrays headed home from Queen Elizabeth Oval with two points in the bag. For the Falcons, it was not all bad considering they had also collected two points after a heartbreaking one-point defeat last week, but again could have had back-to-back wins. Ned Cahill was terrific for the Stingrays with 24 touches, four marks, four clearances and eight inside 50s, while Hayden Young was strong off half-back and through the middle with 22 disposals, five marks, three clearances, five inside 50s and five rebounds. Cody Weightman continued his good form up forward with 20 disposals, three marks and pushing up the ground for seven inside 50s, while De Koning also had 17 touches and three marks (two contested). Corey Ellison booted three goals, while Mitch Riordan had four clearances and 16 disposals. For the Falcons, Jesse Clark had a team-high 26 disposals and 11 rebounds out of defence, while Charlie Harris (24 disposals, five rebounds) and Noah Gribble (22 disposals, five inside 50s) were busy at either end. Meanwhile, Oliver Henry had a huge game up forward with five goals from 11 disposals and seven marks (two contested).

 

NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER 3.2 | 3.3 | 4.5 | 6.8 (44)
TASMANIA DEVILS 1.4 | 5.7 | 9.11 | 13.14 (92)

By: Alex Gibson

GOALS:
Northern Territory:
B. O’Connell 3, W. Derksen 2, D. Forbes
Tasmania: J. Callow 5, M. McGuinness 2, W. Peppin 2, J. Chaplin, J. Hennessy, R. Mansell, J. Menzie

BEST:
Northern Territory:
B. Jungfer, B. Lake, I. Seden-Kurnoth, B. O’Connell, M. Rioli Jnr, S. Cumming
Tasmania: M. O’Neill, J. Callow, L. Viney, R. Mansell, J. Steele, O. Burrows-Cheng

Despite a promising start from the Northern Territory (NT) Thunder, it was the boys from down south that ran away with a 48-point victory and their first win of the season. The Thunder came out all guns blazing at the Holden Centre and kicked the first three of four goals largely thanks to Beau O’Connell who showed off his elite kicking, capitalising with back-to-back majors in the first 15 minutes of play. However, from there on it was all about the Devils who put on an elite running game which proved too strong for the Thunder’s defence. Midfielders Mitch O’Neill (35 disposals, 21 kicks) and Rhyan Mansell (24 disposals, one goal) ran rings around the Thunder on-ballers and dominated through the middle despite a dominant ruck performance from NT’s Stephen Cumming (40 hitouts). The elite work from the Tasmanian on-ballers set the scene for bottom aged key forward Jackson Callow whose frame could not be tamed by the Thunder’s defence and the big forward finished with 5.2 including eight marks in a dominant display. The Thunder boys were not shy of highlights throughout the game with exciting run from behind tackles from bottom-agers Maurice Rioli Jr and Micheal Cooper whose elite speed was often too much to handle for Tasmania. NT showed promising signs throughout the game however the entries into the forward line needed improvement if they were going to hit the scoreboard more often. Despite a slow start it was hard to critique the Devils who at each line had a player who really impacted on the game and their second and third quarter dominance eventuated in an historic first win.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.3 | 4.9 | 6.12 | 9.15 (69)
GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 4.1 | 6.2 | 8.6 | 9.8 (62)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:
Murray:
W. Chandler 3, E. Hollands 2, J. Hillary 2, Z. Barzen 2
GWV: J. Hill 2, J. Rantall 2, M. Martin 2, M. Jorgensen, R. O”Keefe, N. Caris

BEST:
Murray:
L. Ash, S. Durham, B. Kelly, J. Boyer, Z. Barzen, J. Chalcraft
GWV: J. Rantall, J. Dwyer, J. Wright, I. Wareham, M. Martin, J. Hill

Coming into this game both these teams had experienced thrilling finishes in their respective opening first two rounds. The Bushrangers have been unlucky, losing both Round 1 and 2 matches by a straight kick, while the Rebels bounced back from a six-point loss to Dandenong Stingrays in Round 1, to knock off Geelong Falcons by a points. In a see-sawing contest, Murray dominated the inside 50 count, 61-36, but could not seemingly make use of their forward half dominance as the Rebels stood tall with a massive 52 rebounds, forcing the Bushrangers to get creative. Trailing at each break, the Bushrangers had one last effort in the final term, and it took until an Elijah Hollands goal in the final minutes of the game to seal the match by seven points. Lachlan Ash was terrific with 28 disposals, six marks (four contested), seven inside 50s, seven rebounds, three score assists and ran at a sizzling 89 per cent disposal efficiency. Along with Ash, Jye Chalcraft backed up his good Round 2 form with another strong performance, finishing with 22 touches, five marks, three clearances, five inside 50s, six tackles and three score assists. Jimmy Boyer (22 disposals, nine marks) and Cam Wild (20 disposals, seven inside 50s) were also impressive, while Hollands booted 2.3 from 13 touches and four marks. For the Rebels, Jay Rantall was as eye-catching as he could be, finishing with 31 disposals, three marks, five clearances, four inside 50s, two rebounds and two goals. Others who impressed included Mitch Martin whose class shone through with 22 touches, 10 marks, six inside 50s, five clearances and two goals, while Emmanuel Ajang, James Cleaver and Jayden Wright mopped up everything in defence.

Weekend preview: NAB League Boys – Round 3

WITH a landmark Round 2 come and gone, Round 3’s set of fixtures delivers another nine games and another nine opportunities to observe the best talent from across the nation as the Northern Academies and Tasmania settle into NAB League proceedings. With a Sandringham double-header on Saturday and Bendigo triple-header on Sunday, settle in for some non-stop Under 18 action.

Northern Knights v Eastern Ranges
Saturday April 6, 9:45
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

Northern Knights host Eastern Ranges on neutral ground to open the round and Saturday’s double-header at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. The Knights are still without a win in 2019 after going down narrowly to Western and more comfortably to Sandringham, while Eastern come in 1-1 after toppling the Jets last week. Lachie Potter returns to the side after missing through injury, and will look to provide run on the outside of in-form Northern ball winners Adam Carafa and Sam Philp. While Potter gives the Knights’ defence more dynamism, the Ranges have brought in 19-year old Vic Metro representative James Blanck to sure up the back six – not that it has been particularly leaky. Further afield, Eastern’s Mitch Mellis will hope to build on his Round 2 Draft Central player of the week performance, with the midfield combination of Lachlan Stapleton and Cody Hirst effective so far. Both sides will see this clash as a good opportunity to pick up a win, with the Knights especially keen to get on the board as quickly as possible.

GWS GIANTS Academy v Sydney Swans Academy
Saturday April 6, 11:00
Manuka Oval

The battle of the bridge comes to the NAB League as the GWS GIANTS and Sydney Swans academies prepare to do battle in Canberra. While the Swans had a winning start to NAB League life, GWS will look towards this opportunity to get on the board having gone down to academy counterparts, Brisbane in Round 2. The Swans have been dealt a major blow as star of their opening game, Errol Gulden has been named as an out, with fellow bottom-ager Pierce Roseby set to slot right into his place. Samuel Thorne is one who can also pick up the slack alongside the likes of Jackson Barling and Kyle McKellar after good performances last week, and the midfield battle will be a cracker. Leading Giants prospect Tom Green showed his class last week and will hope to overwhelm the Swans mids, while the dynamic forward combination of Liam Delahunty and James Peatling should cause some headaches for the Swans. This is certainly one to watch with some high-end academy prospects running around, and should be a good contest to boot.

Brisbane Lions Academy v Gold Coast Suns Academy
Saturday April 6, 12:00
Yerong Football Ground

The academy state derbies continue as the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS academies play off in an Under 18 Q-clash up in the sunshine state. Both Round 2 winners, the sides will be playing off for bragging rights before testing themselves against established NAB League opponents. A potential midfield match-up between Gold Coast’s Connor Budarick Brisbane’s Will Martyn should be a belter, as would a shootout between Suns goalsneak Josh Gore and Lions forward ace Tom Wischnat – who bagged seven collective goals last week. With plenty of forward runners in either lineup and sunny conditions an forecasted, this fixture should well and truly attract some eyes, and will be as good an opportunity as ever for each side’s top-end talent to showcase their skills – or even use as preparation for future AFL Q-clashes.

Sandringham Dragons v Oakleigh Chargers
Saturday April 6, 12:15
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

The game of the round hits Trevor Barker Beach Oval as Metro premiership fancies, Sandringham and Oakleigh play off in what could well be an early season finals dress rehearsal. Both sides come into the game at 2-0 as the top two on the ladder, but the Dragons should come in as favourites given they hold home ground advantage and have won more comfortably thus far. The home side backed up a Round 1 shellacking of Calder with a solid win over Northern, while Oakleigh was tested last week against a fighting Calder side in tough conditions. With stars studded across each line for both teams, there will be no shortage of mouth-watering match-ups to grab the attention of recruiters. Sandringham’s forward line has been lethal so far, with Charlie Dean leading the competition for goals (nine), and fellow talls Riley Bowman and Jack Bell also pitching in. While they will no doubt trouble the visitors’ defence, Oakleigh’s midfield is set to feature three genuine top 10 draft pick contenders – with returning co-captain Trent Bianco joining Round 1 Draft Central Player of the Week, Noah Anderson, and the unflappable Matt Rowell. Over-ager Joe Ayton-Delaney also features in that midfield rotation, with he and Bianco able to join the back six or play on the outside. Recent AFL Vic Metro Academy squad inclusion, Nick Bryan will hope to continue his early-season run and provide his fleet with first use in the ruck, with Dylan Williams showing signs of clicking into full gear up forward. While Oakleigh’s midfield is arguably the competition’s best on paper, Sandringham’s engine room is proving to be right up there – as the likes of Jack Mahony, Ryan Byrnes, and Finn Maginness have formed a consistent ball-winning trio. Sandringham’s defence features a combination of aerial prowess and calm ball users, with Josh Worrell, Corey Watts, and Fischer McAsey versatile enough to tackle all sorts of forwards. With potential draftees littered across this game, it is simply a must watch – and the chance to watch this much elite talent most likely will not come until the National Championships.

Calder Cannons v Western Jets
Saturday April 6, 3:30
RAMS Arena

The winless Calder Cannons will have a point to prove when they meet Western Jets in another home fixture at RAMS Arena to close out Sunday’s games. Having been dealt a tough hand with their first two games being against premiership fancies Sandringham and Oakleigh, the Cannons showed marked improvement in Round 2 as they matched it with the Chargers for three quarters. On the other hand, Western suffered a comprehensive loss to Eastern after a promising Round 1 victory, so will be looking to pave a more consistent path as the season progresses. Calder’s tall defensive duo of Brodie Newman and Mason Fletcher will have their hands full with probably match-ups against Emerson Jeka and Aaron Clarke, while both sets of midfielders will hope to improve on last week’s outings – namely Western’s Josh Honey and Calder’s Daniel Mott, who have outstanding potential. Enigmatic Calder forward Josh Kemp is also set to be a factor, coming off three goals last week and hoping to build a case for the next level as a 19-year-old. The Cannons may surprise a few, but Western will hope it can get back on the winners list with an stronger output here.

Bendigo Pioneers v Gippsland Power
Sunday April 7, 10:00
Queen Elizabeth Oval

The season’s surprise packet to date, Bendigo Pioneers, will hope to keep its perfect record in tact when it faces Gippsland to open Sunday’s all-Country triple-header. The hosts have taken full advantage of retaining their top-end talent for the early-season proceedings, with Thomson Dow and Brodie Kemp leading the way well from midfield to provide an eye-catching mix of grunt and creativity. A thrilling win last week against Murray puts them in good stead at 2-0, with Gippsland on the wrong end of a tight loss last time out and coming in with a 1-1 record. Much like the Pioneers, Gippsland will hope to take advantage of having Caleb Serong free from school football and Vic Country commitments, but have a wealth of talent to see them through in any case. Ryan Sparkes has started the season well on the outside, with the powerful Sam Flanders mixing time in the midfield and forward line seamlessly, and over-ager Kyle Dunkley looking a much-improved prospect. With one side playing in a rare vein of form and the other looking to click into gear as most expect them to, this clash could well be right up there with the Sandringham and Oakleigh game for pure entertainment.

Dandenong Stingrays v Geelong Falcons
Sunday April 7, 12:30
Queen Elizabeth Oval

Dandenong Stingrays and Geelong Falcons take centre stage in the second QEO all-Country clash, with either side coming in on the back of polar opposite form-lines. While the reigning premiers have managed to scrape in for two six-point wins, the Falcons are one of four established NAB League teams still searching for their first win. Usual suspects are already appearing in the Geelong side, with co-captains Cooper Stephens and Jesse Clark continually standing up, while 19-year-old Charlie Sprague has also been lively thus far. The Falcons will unfortunately be without Jay Dahlhaus for what looks like being most of the season though, with the speedster partially tearing his ACL last week. On Dandenong’s end, Hayden Young is coming into form, with over-ager Mitch Riordan following suit in the midfield, while talls Bigoa Nyuon and Bailey Schmidt are also making a mark. With plenty of experience remaining from last year’s premiership side, the Stingrays will prove a tough test for Geelong as they look to bounce back by collecting a set of four points.

Northern Territory Thunder Academy v Tasmania Devils
Sunday April 7, 1:00
Holden Centre

Someone’s winless start will end when Northern Territory Thunder and Tasmania Devils take their talent to neutral ground in Melbourne, with both sides hoping to bounce back from defeats in their respective NAB League debuts. The Thunder is set to take an unchanged line-up to the Holden Centre, while Tasmania will have at least two fresh faces in the team this week with an extended squad named. The Devils fell respectably short of the Sydney Swans Academy last time out, with leading prospect Mitch O’Neill the standout alongside Matt McGuiness. They will be important once again alongside the running power of Sam Collins, while the versatile forward duo of Will Harper and Jye Menzie will hope to again combine effectively to help the Taswegians get on the board. Ben Jungfer was the NT’s clear best ball winner last week, and will play a key role against the Devils’ best, while twin tall pair Stephen and Matthew Cumming should again prove a handful wherever they are required. With plenty of speed set to come to the fore, expect some fireworks between two sides battling for their first win.

Murray Bushrangers v Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Sunday April 7, 3:00
Queen Elizabeth Oval

Murray Bushrangers and Greater Western Victoria Rebels are set to see out the round of action and Sunday’s QEO fixtures as they clash for regional bragging rights. While Murray have been unlucky not to snatch the win thus far – going down by a collective seven points in the first two rounds – GWV managed to get up by the narrowest of margins last week as they snatched a win from under the Falcons’ beaks. The Rebels have a number of triers who contribute well, with Jay Rantall and James Cleaver among the best so far, but they are set to lose key contributors Cooper Craig-Peters and Matty Lloyd for this week’s clash. On the other hand, Murray has named a handy inclusion, with over-ager Zane Barzen slotting straight into the forward line. With Will Chandler set to join him up there and Jye Chalcraft able to rest inside 50 from midfield duties, the Bushrangers’ look a dangerous prospect. Lachlan Ash and former-Knight Cam Wild have also gone about their business well as ball-winners, so should collectively provide some headaches for the Rebels midfield. With wins imperative as sides are at relative full strength, Murray will be keen to pick up four points here.