Tag: Jacob Atley

2018 AFL Draft Preview: Carlton

HAVING hit the draft hard in previous years, the Blues targeted a different age bracket in this trade period and may well do the same come draft time. Should Pick 1 remain in the bag, it looks like Carlton will have an obvious choice, and the three late picks they hold allow them to either give a mature-age state league player an opportunity, or find an Under 18 diamond in the rough.

List Needs:

  • Inside midfielders
  • Outside midfielders
  • Small forwards
  • Medium forwards

 

DRAFT SELECTIONS: 1, 69, 71, 77

We may as well get it out of the way early – should Carlton hold onto Pick 1, they look more than likely to select Sam Walsh. The Vic Country and Geelong Falcons co-captain won basically every individual award available to him, while only narrowly missing out on the Morrish Medal for the TAC Cup best and fairest. Walsh provides an outstanding mix of inside ball-winning and outside class, looking like a ready-made and reliable 200-game prospect.

The Blues can then put their feet up until Round 4, with their next selection coming at Pick 69. Another certainty looms with their late picks as the Blues have nominated father-son prospect Ben Silvagni for the National Draft, meaning they must take him should he not receive a bid from another club. Other late options with Carlton connections include Subiaco midfielder Wil Hickmott, who impressed in the WAFL Colts but missed out on a father-son nomination, and Calder’s Lachlan Sholl, who is the son of ex-Blue, Brett.

That leaves two free-reign late selections. Given the constant need to bulk up their midfield and provide guaranteed ball-winning support to newly appointed co-captain Patrick Cripps, Carlton should jump at the opportunity to bring in some much needed depth.

They may look at bringing in some clearance grunt, with the likes of Dandenong’s Sam Fletcher and Mitch Riordan likely to still be on the board, while interstate prospects Tom Lewis and Rylie Morgan are also ones who could provide midfield strength. Mitch Podhajski is another who has thrived in his overage year, with his experience at VFL outfit Coburg suggesting he can match it with mature bodies. Should they look towards outside run, Walsh’s Falcons teammate Brayden Ham is a player with great upside as an athletic phenom. Daly Andrews and Jacob Atley are options who can also drift forward from a wing, with Bendigo’s Atley looking to join his two brothers in the AFL and continue Carlton’s recent trend of picking Pioneers.

While they may look to cover a couple of bases with the aforementioned names, the only other area Carlton may want to bolster is its forward stocks. They look set in terms of talls with the recent addition of Mitch McGovern, but the Blues could look to a couple of established state league players to fill out the forward 50. Williamstown’s Ben Cavarra is a player who has long been touted as an AFL-level prospect, while Northern Blues general forward Jesse Palmer is one who can provide a third marking option after leading his side’s goalkicking.

Other state league players worth a look include ex-Crow and two time Magarey Medallist Mitch Grigg, as well as Cavarra’s Williamstown teammate Brett Bewley. Both could provide the midfield depth Carlton is after, while also fitting the age profile that needs bolstering most. With two selections all but in the book, the Blues will have to be crafty with their two remaining National Draft selections, and could use their rookie selections on state league players hungry for the opportunity. They will also have the option to continue their recent preference of packaging players from one or two sides, and it could pay dividends.

Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup – Wildcard Round

WILDCARD Round is done and won, and four sides are out of the premiership race. While Geelong Falcons, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets advance to the finals, Calder Cannons, Northern Knights, Eastern Ranges and Bendigo Pioneers seasons are over.

 

Calder Cannons 8.7 (55) defeated by Geelong Falcons 8.8 (56)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

In one of the games of the year, and for a second week in a row, the Geelong Falcons snare a come from behind victory against the Calder Cannons to eliminate them from the finals race. Struggling to capitalise with their scoring shots in the third, the Falcons turned the tables in the final term, kicking three goals to one and winning from an 11-point deficit at the break. The Cannons’ big third quarter effort put them ahead and gave them the largest lead of the game. Neither team was ever out of the race, but in the end, it was a behind and the Falcons’ defensive pressure that snatched away the victory.

Cooper Stephens was instrumental with three rebounds, four inside 50s, five clearances, a game-high 27 disposals and a final quarter goal. Co-captain Sam Walsh finished similarly with four rebounds, three inside 50s, five clearances and 26 disposals racking up an impressive 16 contested possessions. Sam Conway dominated in the ruck with 27 hit outs, beating the Cannons’ total hit outs of 25 on his own. Jay Dahlhaus (16 disposals, five marks, five inside 50s and two goals), Oscar Brownless (18 disposals, four clearances and two goals) and Ned McHenry (20 disposals and two goals) impressed in front of goals, with Doyle Madigan (23 disposals, 15 contested, four clearances and two inside 50) also proving very dominating.

Will Jury had a strong performance with a game high 16 contested possessions (19 disposals), three marks (one contested), five clearances and six inside 50s. Lachlan Sholl (23 disposals, six marks, two inside 50s and one clearance), Brodie Newman (13 disposals, six marks and four rebounds) and Daniel Hanna (16 disposals and seven marks) all presented strong overhead. Curtis Taylor (11 disposals and five marks) and Jake Riccardi (12 disposals, three marks, six hitouts, three clearances and four inside 50s) kicked two goals each, while Jacob Martin (17 disposals, four clearances and six inside 50s) and Rhylee West (12 disposals, six clearances, five inside 50s and one goal) were among the best for the Cannons. 

 

Northern Knights (3.4.22) defeated by Greater Western Victoria Rebels (14.7.91)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Finals are now well and truly over for the Northern Knights after being handed a smashing by the GWV Rebels at MARS Stadium. Though only a point between them come the second quarter, the GWV lifted to produce a 37-point second quarter, with seven shots on goal to two. The third proved just as disappointing for the Knights with just the one point scored for the quarter, summing up a rather dismal performance with 21 scoring shots to seven.

Riely Ranieri’s work in the Rebels’ defensive half was extremely pivotal in their win, racking up 19 disposals (11 contested), four clearances, and seven rebounds. Matt Schnerring boasted a team-high 22 disposals, moving the ball well with three inside 50s and two rebounds, and contributed to their big second quarter with a late goal. Matty Lloyd capped off a solid game with 20 disposals and kicked two big goals, with Scott Carlin close behind on 19 disposals, five clearances and two goals of his own. Jed Hill and Harrison Butler also put two each on the board, while Patrick Glanford (11 disposals, 27 hit outs, four clearances and three inside 50s) performed well in the ruck alongside Darcy McEldrew (18 hitouts).

Despite their poor showing, the Northern Knights still had plenty of strong performers on the day. Sam Philp had a game-high 23 disposals and dominated out of the stoppages with 9 clearances. Philp moved the ball well to collect six inside 50s for the match. Similarly, Tom McKenzie delivered well with his seven inside 50s, showcased his strong hands (six marks) and got a bit of footy with 20 disposals. Adam Carafa (four clearances, two inside 50s, three rebounds), Josh D’Intinosante (three clearances, three inside 50s, two rebounds), Jackson Davies (four clearances, four inside 50s and three inside 50s) and Braedyn Gillard (10 contested possessions, three clearances and three inside 50s) also had considerable impacts.

 

Western Jets 12.12 (84) defeated Eastern Ranges 7.4 (46)

By: Michael Alvaro

Western Jets survived an early Eastern Ranges onslaught to claim a 38-point win and earn their spot in the TAC Cup final eight. The sixth-place Jets had every reason to be nervous coming into the game against second-last Eastern given both sides outside of the top eight beat their more fancied counterparts in the previous day’s play, and that fear would have been heightened as the Ranges stormed out to a first half lead. Three first half majors to bottom ager Ben Hickleton put Eastern in good stead, as they put on five straight goals to open the game and kept Western goalless in the second term to hold a 16-point buffer at the main break.

Their run came to a grinding halt once the ball went down to start the third term, as key Western ball-winners Xavier O’Halloran and Morrish Medal runner-up Connor Thar came into the game, with Stefan Radovanovic solid down back and Emerson Jeka providing a target forward of centre. Western jetted into the lead with four goals to none in the third term, and kept their form in the last as they piled on another five to Eastern’s one.

For the winners, O’Halloran (17 disposals, four tackles) stepped up when it counted, while Thar (32 disposals, six tackles, four marks nd one goal) was arguably their best. The Western forward line was dangerous as ever too, with Daniel Pantalleresco and Jeka claiming three majors each, while 23rd man Cassius White was also dangerous, booting two.

In one of Eastern’s better displays, Kye Quirk continued to rack up the possessions with 24 touches, 10 handball receives and six marks, while Joel Burleigh and Xavier Fry were their main ball-winners with 32 touches each. Bottom ager Hickleton also impressed with his three goals, finding himself in good areas inside 50.

The Jets now face an in-form Oakleigh side full of stars in the first week of finals, while Eastern’s season ends on the back of a fighting effort.

 

Murray Bushrangers 9.18 (72) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 6.9 (45)

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers rounded out the TAC Cup wildcard round with a comfortable, yet wasteful 27-point win over Bendigo Pioneers. Having been booted out of the top four in the last two rounds, the Bushies looked to have learned a lesson from the previous wildcard games as the favourites broke out to a 22-point lead to open the game, keeping the Pio’s goalless.

To Bendigo’s credit, they didn’t give in and hit back with three goals of their own in the second term to reduce the margin to 12 points at the main break. Neither side could really snatch a good run of momentum, as the buffer stayed at a steady three-four goals going into the final break – with Bendigo’s accuracy (6.4) keeping them within reach in quarters two and three as Murray complied a wasteful 5.8 in comparison.

But the class of Murray proved too much as they held on with a further 1.5 in the fourth quarter to shut out the trying contest and their nagging opposition. Ely Smith continued his good form in the midfield to be named Murray’s best with 29 disposals and six tackles, while Mathew Walker (21 disposals, nine tackles, six marks and three goals) was not far behind. Zane Barzen and Lachlan Ash were the Bushranger’s other multiple goal kickers with two each, with the latter also gathering 20 disposals in a more advanced role.

For Bendigo, Jacob Atley was the clear standout up forward as he collected 21 disposals and marked well while claiming half of his side’s six goals. Liam Marciano was also industrious with his 27 disposals, six tackles and five marks and one goal, while Bailey Henderson (22 disposals and six marks) was also solid. Jye Caldwell also showed some brilliant glimpses before unfortunately injuring his hamstring.

Murray will go on to face the Sandringham side which snatched their top-four spot in what looks like being a tantalising contest.

Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 15

IN an action packed weekend with six games across two venues, it saw the top two lock up their position, leaving just three teams in the race for third and fourth spot. 

Gippsland Power 9.13 (67) defeated Murray Bushrangers 5.8 (38)

Gippsland Power locked up a top two spot on the weekend with an impressive 29-point win over fellow top four side Murray Bushrangers. The Power held the Bushrangers scoreless in the opening term, opening up a 16-point lead by quarter time. They extended the margin to 22 by the main break, before a Zane Barzen-inspired Bushrangers outfit hit back. They missed a few opportunities but cut the deficit to 16 by the final break, before Gippsland booted the only two goals of the final term to record a comfortable win and lock up second spot on the TAC Cup table.

Riley Baldi was sensational for the Power, racking up 31 disposals, seven marks, seven clearances, five tackles, two rebounds and a goal. Captain Xavier Duursma continued his good form with 26 disposals, three marks, six inside 50s and a goal, while key forward Noah Gown slotted three majors from 14 disposals and five marks (three contested), but could have had more, slotting four behinds. Brock Smith played one of his best games of the year in defence amassing 22 disposals, four marks, two inside 50s and seven rebounds. In defence, Kyle Reid did a great job on the competition’s leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, while Matt McGannon was clean with his 11 touches, three marks and five rebounds.

For Murray, Mat Walker was really strong across the four quarters, picking up 18 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s, while Barzen was the excitement machine up forward, booting 3.2 from 11 disposals and six marks. Bottom-ager Jimmy Boyer found plenty of the ball with 28 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, four clearances, six inside 50s and four rebounds, while ruck Floyd Bollinghaus covered the ground really well from 23 disposals, two marks, 14 hitouts and five clearances. Nick Murray (18 disposals, five marks and four rebounds) and Ed Adams (24 disposals, seven marks and five rebounds) were a couple of defenders who were busy on the day.

 

Geelong Falcons 5.7 (37) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 7.13 (55)

Dandenong Stingrays showed why they have taken out the TAC Cup minor premiership, but not without a genuine challenge from Geelong Falcons in wet conditions at MARS Stadium. The Falcons burst out of the blocks to boot three goals to one, and lead by nine points despite the Stingrays having an extra scoring shot. From quarter time the game was more on the Stingrays’ terms, but the Falcons refused to go away. When Geelong scored the first goal of the final term, just a kick separated the sides, before Sam Sturt put the game to bed with a couple of late majors.

Captain Campbell Hustwaite was prominent for the Stingrays, racking up 24 disposals, one mark, six clearances, five tackles and four inside 50s, while Lachlan McDonnell also found his fair share of the football with 22 disposals, three marks, four clearances and a goal. Sturt was the main man up forward with three majors from 14 disposals and four marks, while Bailey Williams kept presenting amassing 10 touches, two marks, seven tackles and three behinds. Potential 2019 top pick Hayden Young had another good showing with 15 disposals, five clearances, three inside 50s and nine marks in the 18-point win.

Geelong Falcons star, Sam Walsh had another day out with 25 disposals, three marks, two clearances, three inside 50s, three rebounds and two goals, while Blake Schlensog was terrific early in the ruck for 14 disposals, six marks, seven hitouts, three inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal. Brayden Ham stood out off half-back with 18 disposals, six marks, three tackles and five rebounds, while bottom-ager Cooper Stephens had 22 disposals (16 contested), two marks, eight clearances and four inside 50s.

 

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels 11.9 (75) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 5.9 (39)

In the final game of the Country Triple Header, GWV Rebels stormed home to boot nine goals to one after half-time and run over the top of Bendigo Pioneers. The Pioneers looked good early and adapted to the conditions better than the home side, booting four goals to two in the first half to lead by eight points at the main break. But with Charlie Wilson and Tylar Watts forward, the Rebels powered home finding their kicking boots and scoring 9.3 to 1.7 to win by 36 points.

Wilson booted two goals from 26 disposals, five marks, six clearances, five inside 50s, three rebounds and nine tackles in another best on ground performance. While, Watts played one of his best games of the year, booting two goals – including a nice long-range goal off a couple of steps – from 12 disposals 10 hitouts, three clearances, three inside 50s and six tackles. Mitch Martin also worked between midfield and forward booting three goals from 21 disposals, three marks, five clearances and six inside 50s, while Jed Hill continued his good form with 19 disposals, two marks, seven clearances, six inside 50s and 1.3. Bottom-ager Toby Mahony (18 disposals, three clearances and a goal) and Ethan Harvey (23 disposals, two marks and five clearances) were others who were prominent on the day.

Noah Wheeler was Bendigo’s best player on the day, racking up 28 disposals, six marks and seven rebounds working hard throughout the four quarters, while Bailey Henderson (27 disposals, eight marks and 10 rebounds) and Brodie Kemp (26 disposals, five marks, eight clearances and a goal) were also impressive for the losing side. Hunter Lawrence had another 22 touches, while Riley Ironside, Jacob Atley and Flynn Perez all had 18 disposals.

 

Western Jets 8.6 (54) defeated by Northern Knights 9.6 (60)

In what was a thrilling contest, and the closest of the weekend, Northern Knights just got over the line against a determined Western Jets outfit. The Knights took the early ascendancy with the breeze, booting three goals to zero in the first term. Western hit back with a massive five goals to one second term to take a six-point lead into half-time. Northern regained control with a slightly inaccurate 5.4 to 2.0 term to lead by 16 points with a quarter to go. Kicking with the breeze, the Jets stormed home with five scoring shots, but could only convert the one goal, to fall six points short at the death.

Adam Carafa was huge on the inside with 20 contested possessions from his 33 disposals, and also had 10 clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds. Bottom-ager Josh D’Intinosante booted a goal from 19 disposals, four marks, two clearances and five inside 50s, while Joel Naylor booted for goals from eight touches and four marks. Braedyn Gillard returned for his first game back from injury playing forward and had 16 disposals, three marks, two inside 50s and a goal, while Stefan Uzelac was strong at full-back with 15 disposals, five marks, four tackles and two rebounds.

For the Jets, Darcy Cassar was strong with 27 disposals, four marks, eight tackles, three clearances and eight inside 50s, while Connor Thar continues to pump out consistent performances, notching up 25 disposals (16 contested), nine clearances, nine tackles, three rebounds and a goal. Jack Watkins (26 disposals, seven clearances and nine tackles) was the other big ball winner, while Daly Andrews (14 disposals, five tackles and three rebounds) and Buku Khamis (14 disposals, three marks and three rebounds) were others who impressed

 

Eastern Ranges 5.15 (45) defeated by Calder Cannons 14.3 (87)

Calder Cannons used the strong breeze to their advantage in the win over Eastern Ranges, booting 12 goals to zero with the wind to set up a 42-point win. While the Ranges had more scoring shots, they missed time and time again with the troubling breeze, scoring 5.15, while the Cannons were deadly in front of goal booting 14 goals from 17 scoring shots. While the Cannons did not score in the second term, they booted two goals in the final term as the Ranges struggled to capitalise, only scoring two majors from their eight scoring shots. 

Jake Riccardi booted 5.1 including three in the first term, finishing with 20 disposals, 10 marks (three contested), five hitouts and four inside 50s. Lucas Cavallaro was prominent in the defensive 50 with another 10 rebounds – he was already more than 20 ahead of the next highest rebounder in the competition – from 24 disposals and three marks. Daniel Mott (22 disposals, three clearances and three inside 50s), Rhylee West (22 disposals, eight clearances and three inside 50s) and Mitch Podhajski (21 disposals, three marks, three clearances, five inside 50s and a goal) were strong through midfield and forward, while Harrison Jones had 21 hitouts from 18 disposals, three marks and three clearances.

For Eastern, Kye Quirk had 31 disposals, three marks, five clearances and three inside 50s, while Cooper Leon (28 disposals, six marks, two clearances, six inside 50s and three rebounds) and Lachlan Stapleton (24 disposals, three marks, nine tackles, three clearances and seven inside 50s) were judged Eastern’s best. Mitch Mellis had another good game with 26 disposals, two marks, two clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while Caleb Quirk booted 2.3 from 13 disposals and six marks (three contested).

 

Oakleigh Chargers 13.10 (88) defeated Sandringham Dragons 4.8 (32)

Oakleigh Chargers have stamped their authority as a genuine premiership contender with a thumping 56-point victory over fellow contender Sandringham Dragons. Sandringham booted the first goal through Ben King, but it was the Chargers who dominated from then on, piling on 13 of the next 16 goals to run away with a surprisingly comfortable victory, restricting the Dragons to just 23 inside 50s and beating them at their own game, having 42 more disposals and a massive 33 more marks.

Jack Ross was Oakleigh’s best with 25 disposals, eight marks, six clearances, five inside 50s, three tackles and a goal, while Trent Bianco had 27 disposals, six marks and four inside 50s. Dylan Williams booted four goals up forward – three consecutively in the second term – from 13 disposals and three marks, while Isaac Quaynor was busy once again with 17 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s. Will Kelly was good against King in the few one-on-ones they had. Will Golds (27 disposals, seven marks and five inside 50s) and James Rowbottom (26 disposals, five marks and six clearances) were also impressive for the Chargers.

For the Dragons, Liam Stocker was strong on the inside, picking up seven clearances from 22 disposals (13 contested – a team high), while Alastair Richards provided run on the outside with 24 touches, four marks, two clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while Josh Worrell stood up in defence with four rebounds and nine marks from 22 disposals. Corey Watts was Sandringham’s best with 12 disposals, three marks and seven rebounds, while James Rendell worked hard in the ruck from 26 hitouts, four clearances, nine disposals and two marks.

The run home: Bendigo Pioneers

BENDIGO Pioneers sit at the bottom of the TAC Cup table despite some competitive efforts, claiming two victories thus far this season. One came against the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels in Round 1, before shocking the Gippsland Power at Windy Hill later in the year. It was their best performance of the year, and a reward for effort after a narrow loss to Western Jets at Williamstown. To finish off the season they have fellow bottom four side GWV Rebels up at Mars Stadium, before finishing off the regular season against Western Jets at Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Wins: 2
Losses: 12
Draws: 0
Position: 12th
Points For: 648 (12th)
Points Against: 1152 (12th)
Percentage: 56
Points: 8

Fixtures:

R15: vs. GWV Rebels – MARS Stadium
R16: vs. Western Jets – Queen Elizabeth Oval

National Combine Invitations: [1] Jye Caldwell

State Combine Invitations: [2] Jacob Atley, Zane Keighran

The Bendigo Pioneers will face one of Murray Bushrangers, Oakleigh Chargers or Western Jets in the Wildcard Round in three weeks, entrenched in the bottom two. A win in the final fortnight would see them overtake Eastern Ranges into eleventh which should hand them a slightly better chance at upsetting a challenger in the Wildcard Round. They have a star midfielder in Jye Caldwell, while the likes of Jacob Atley, Zane Keighran, Noah Wheeler, Hunter Lawrence, Flynn Perez and Brodie Kemp form a solid nucleus around the ground.

Top Fives:

Disposals:

1 – Noah Wheeler – 292 (8th overall)
2 – Liam Marciano – 250
2 – Hunter Lawrence 250
4 – Flynn Perez – 199
5 – Jacob Atley – 190

Marks:

1 – Jacob Atley – 59 (19th overall)
2 – Noah Wheeler – 50
2 – Flynn Perez – 50
4 – Hunter Lawrence – 49
5 – Liam Marciano – 48

Contested Possessions:

1 – Noah Wheeler – 133 (11th overall)
2 – Liam Marciano – 104
3 – Hunter Lawrence – 89
4 – Zane Keighran – 76
5 – Jacob Atley – 66
5 – Flynn Perez – 66

Tackles:

1 – Hunter Lawrence – 69 (eq. 10th overall)
2 – Noah Wheeler – 60
3 – Jack McHale – 34
3 – Callum McCarty – 34
5 – Flynn Perez – 32
5 – Daniel Keating – 32
5 – Riley Ironside – 32

Hitouts:

1 – Daniel Keating – 190 (5th overall)
2 – Mitchell Christensen – 47
3 – Daine Grace – 41
4 – Max Johnson – 25
5 – Matt Hird – 23

Clearances:

1 – Noah Wheeler – 57 (eq. 6th overall)
2 – Liam Marciano – 34
3 – Hunter Lawrence – 24
4 – Zane Keighran – 21
5 – Bailey Henderson – 18

Inside 50s:

1 – Noah Wheeler – 62 (eq. 1st overall)
2 – Hunter Lawrence – 44
3 – Bailey Henderson – 31
4 – Flynn Perez – 30
5 – Liam Marciano – 21

Rebounds:

1 – Hunter Lawrence – 42 (6th overall)
2 – Noah Wheeler – 34
2 – Jackson Williams – 34
4 – Flynn Perez – 30
5 – Jacob Atley – 29

Goals:

1 – Will Holt – 10 (eq. 34th overall)
2 – Noah Wheeler – 7
3 – Hunter Lawrence – 6
4 – Zane Keighran – 5
5 – Braydon Vaz/Brodie Kemp/Oscar Perez, Lucas Caccaviello/Riley Clarke – 4

Draft dream not over for 2018 state combine nominees

MORE than one hundred draft hopefuls will test themselves under the watchful eye of AFL club recruiters at the various State Combine’s around the country. After the list of National Combine invitations was released last week – indicating those players with the most draft interest – last night the full list of State Combine, and Rookie Me Combine lists were released.

EIGHTY INVITED TO NATIONAL DRAFT COMBINE

A total of 126 players were nominated for the combines, with Vic Country having 26 players nominated, ahead of South Australia with 24, and Western Australia and Vic Metro with 21 each. It has also proved a bumper year for the Victorian Football League (VFL) with 13 players nominated to test, behind the four Division One states. New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) has eight players nominated, the highest of the Division Two states, while Queensland has seven, and Northern Territory three and Tasmania three.

In terms of individual clubs, Dandenong Stingrays trumps all others, having 12 nominees, making it 17 players heading to testing in 2018. Murray Bushrangers is next with seven, followed by Calder Cannons and Oakleigh Chargers (six), as well as South Australian club Norwood. Fellow South Australian club South Adelaide, West Australian clubs Peel Thunder and Swan Districts, and Sandringham Dragons, all have four nominees. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Sturt, South Fremantle and Claremont have three apiece. In terms of Academies, the GWS Academy had six players nominated, Gold Coast and Brisbane Lions Academies both had three, and Sydney Swans Academy had one.

 

Full list of State Combine nominations:

NSW/ACT: [6]

Riley Bice (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)
Jeromy Lucas (GWS Giants Academy)
Nick Murray (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)
James Peatling (GWS Giants Academy)
Guy Richardson (GWS Giants Academy)
Mathew Walker (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)

Northern Territory: [2]

Michael Mummery (NT Thunder)
Izaak Wyatt (Southern Districts)

Queensland: [4]

Caleb Graham (GC Suns Academy) 
Darcy Marsh (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Tom Matthews (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Lachlan McDonald (GC Suns Academy)

South Australia: [24]

Finn Betterman (Glenelg)
Connor Bristow (Norwood)
Chris Burgess (West Adelaide)
Declan Carmody (Glenelg)
Kade Chandler (Norwood)
Oscar Chapman (North Adelaide)
Tate Coleman (South Adelaide)
Jacob Collins (Norwood)
Job Colwell (South Adelaide)
Tobin Cox (Glenelg)
Darcy Fort (Central District)
Martin Frederick (Woodville-West Torrens)
Nathan Kreuger (South Adelaide)
Tom Lewis (Sturt)
Mihail Lochowiak (Sturt)
Tyler Martin (Norwood)
Aaron Nietschke (Central District)
Matthew Nunn (Norwood)
Kai Pudney (Woodville West Torrens)
Isaac Saywell (Norwood)
Jake Tarca (South Adelaide)
Casey Voss (Sturt)
Callum Wilkie (North Adelaide)
Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide)

Tasmania: [1]

Rhyan Mansell (North Launceston)

VFL: [8]

Jake Aarts (Richmond VFL)
Brett Bewley (Williamstown)
Sam Collins (Werribee)
Will Hayes (Footscray VFL)
Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
Ethan Phillips (Port Melbourne)
Corey Rich (Frankston)

Vic Country: [21]

Jacob Atley (Bendigo Pioneers)
Stephen Cumming (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Fletcher (Dandenong Stingrays)
Matthew Gahan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Hudson Garoni (Murray Bushrangers)
Noah Gown (Gippsland Power)
Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons)
Jed Hill (GWV Rebels)
Austin Hodge (Gippsland Power)
Zane Keighran (Bendigo Pioneers)
Matty Lloyd (GWV Rebels)
Lachlan McDonnell (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong Stingrays)
Finbar O’Dwyer (Murray Bushrangers)
Jamie Plumridge (Dandenong Stingrays)
Mitch Riordan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Bailey Schmidt (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Sturt (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jai Taylor (Dandenong Stingrays)
Charlie Wilson (GWV Rebels)
Lachlan Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

Vic Metro: [18]

Frank Anderson (South Croydon)
Joseph Ayton-Delaney (Oakleigh Chargers)
Atu Bosenavulagi (Oakleigh Chargers)
Kyle Dunkley (Oakleigh Chargers)
Mason Fletcher (Calder Cannons)
Xavier Fry (Eastern Ranges)
Jake Gaspar (Oakleigh Chargers)
Sam Graham (Calder Cannons)
Harry Houlahan (Sandringham Dragons)
James Jordan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Josh Kemp (Calder Cannons)
Justin McInerney (Northern Knights)
Mitchell Podhajski (Calder Cannons)
Stefan Radovanovic (Western Jets)
James Rendell (Sandringham Dragons)
Harry Reynolds (Sandringham Dragons)
Alistair Richards (Sandringham Dragons)
Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers)

Western Australia: [21]

Jason Carter (Peel Thunder)
Dylan Curley (East Fremantle)
Oliver Eastland (Claremont)
Kody Eaton (East Fremantle) 
Harry Edwards (Swan Districts) 
Patrick Farrant (Swan Districts) 
Ethan Hansen (Perth) 
Wil Hickmott (Subiaco) 
Corey Hitchcock (Claremont)
Jack Mayo (Subiaco) 
Tom Medhat (West Perth)
Louis Miller (East Perth) 
Luke Moore (South Fremantle) 
Rylie Morgan (Claremont)
Matthew Parker (South Fremantle) 
Jarvis Pina (Peel Thunder)
Tyson Powell (Peel Thunder)
Regan Spooner (South Fremantle)
James Sturrock (Peel Thunder)
Tobe Watson (Swan Districts)
Graydon Wilson (Swan Districts)

Rookie Me Combine: [21]

Ryan Hebron (Sydney University)
Joey Reinhard (Sydney Swans Academy)
Adam Tipungwuti (Western Magpies)
Matthew Green (NT Thunder)
Ryan Gilmore (GC Suns Academy)
Jack Tomkinson (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Lachlan Gadomski (Kingborough Tigers) 
Matthew McGuinness (Lauderdale)
Ben Cavarra (Williamstown) 
Jay Lockhart (Casey Scorpions) 
Hayden McLean (Sandringham VFL) 
Kieran Strachan (Port Melbourne) 
Charlie Thompson (Richmond VFL)
Jordon Butts (Murray Bushrangers)
Kyle Clarke (Murray Bushrangers)
Sam Conway (Geelong Falcons)
Jake Frawley (Dandenong Stingrays)
Matt Neagle (Wodonga Raiders)
Tye Browning (Calder Cannons)
Daniel Hanna (Calder Cannons)
Cody Hirst (Eastern Ranges)

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 14

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

Eastern Ranges vs. Sandringham Dragons

By Scott Dougan

Eastern:

#11 Mitch Mellis

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

#23 Xavier Fry

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

#24 Kye Quirk

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

#31 James Blanck

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

Sandringham:

#6 Harry Houlahan

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

 #28 James Rendell

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

#69 Corey Watts

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

 

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Gippsland Power

By: Craig Byrnes

Oakleigh:

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins

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

#5 Xavier O’Neill

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

#12 Noah Answerth

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

#13 Atu Bosenavualagi

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

#17 Trent Bianco

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

#22 Dylan Williams

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

#23 Isaac Quaynor

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

#26 Jake Gasper

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

Gippsland:

#4 Sam Flanders

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

#5 Xavier Duursma

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

#9 Irving Mosquito

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

#16 Josh Smith

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

#18 Matt McGannon

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

#19 Fraser Phillips

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

#22 Rylan Henkel

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

#23 Noah Gown

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

#25 Kyle Reid

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

#29 Boadie Motton

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

 

Northern Knights vs. Dandenong Stingrays

By Michael Alvaro

Northern:

#1 Ryan Gardner

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

#16 Tom Hallebone

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

#30 Justin McInerney

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

#51 Jaden Collins

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

Dandenong:

#1 Sam Fletcher

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

#2 Hayden Young

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

#3 Jamie Plumridge

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

#7 Jai Taylor

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

#9 Zac Foot

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

#17 Finlay Bayne 

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

#23 Campbell Hustwaite 

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

#28 Bailey Schmidt 

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

#29 Bailey Williams 

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

 

Western Jets vs GWV Rebels

By: Ed Pascoe

Western:

#17 Daly Andrews

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

#33 Xavier O’Halloran

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

#38 Buku Khamis

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

#39 Stefan Radovanovic

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

GWV:

#3 Scott Carlin

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

 

Other game notes:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Calder Cannons

Murray:

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

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

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

Calder:

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

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

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

 

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Geelong Falcons

Bendigo:

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

Geelong:

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

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

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

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 14

TAC Cup action returns for the final week before a bye, with some huge ladder-defining clashes. Just two rounds remain after this weekend, so teams will be keen to put in strong performances.

EASTERN RANGES v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 14 – Saturday, August 4, 10.45am
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

On paper this looks like a one-sided game based on ladder positions, but an understrength Sandringham travels to Box Hill to take on Eastern in a clash that is crucial to determine a top four place. With their top-end talent returning next round from school football, the Dragons – now minus Liam Stocker who has been best on ground two weeks in a row for Sandringham – could move six points clear of Oakleigh and have a week off during the wildcard round. Eastern will have other ideas here, with a strong midfield that could take it up to the Dragons, but just need to find a way to put scores on the board. They were overpowered by a versatile GWV Rebels outfit last week, and will want to improve a lot here to claim the four points. Both sides lose crucial players with Lachlan Stapleton and Stocker – a potential head-to-head on the inside – both out of the team. Xavier Fry moves into the midfield for Eastern, and is set to face the in-form Ryan Byrnes. Meanwhile the experienced Kai Owens returns after some VFL time and will look to influence the contest for Sandringham, as will James Rendell up forward who could match up against Vic Metro teammate James Blanck.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 14 – Saturday, August 4, 2pm
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

In the match of the round, the fifth placed Oakleigh Chargers host the second placed Gippsland Power. A win to the visitors would see them lock up a top two spot, while Oakleigh need to win to remain in touch with the top four before teams return to full strength next round. The Chargers have plenty of good depth, while having good top-end talent with the likes of Isaac Quaynor and Riley Collier-Dawkins still in the team. Led by their bottom-agers in Dylan Williams and Trent Bianco – Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell return to school football – the Chargers will back themselves in here, but they know the Power are in ripping form. Gippsland have brought in a number of fresh faces, including Riley Baldi who is crucial in the middle and at half-forward, while captain Xavier Duursma and full-forward Noah Gown have been in terrific form themselves, as has full-back Kyle Reid. With strong bookends, and a deep midfield that has been at the top of its game all season, this is expected to be an exhilarating clash. Gippsland will head in favourites for this clash, but it is a genuine 50/50 contest with the challenges playing at Warrawee Park in the Chargers’ favour.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 14 – Saturday, August 4, 2pm
Preston City Oval, Preston

Northern host the benchmark team in the competition when the Knights welcome Dandenong to Preston City Oval on Saturday. The Knights sit eighth and are just four points clear of the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, a match-up that could well occur in the wildcard round. Dandenong need one win in its final three games to secure top spot, and look a class above at times, although they have been pushed within games. With just the one loss for the season – a narrow defeat to Oakleigh Chargers, the Stingrays head into the game as favourites and the Knights will need to be at their best to win. Northern loses Tom McKenzie, Josh D’Intinosante, James Lucente and Oscar White for the clash, but regain ruck Tom Hallebone, Adam Carafa and Justin McInerney. The combination of Hallebone and Nathan Howard will be vital against the talented Stingrays rucks in Riley Bowman, Bailey Schmidt and Bailey Williams. Both teams have speed and the Knights, through the likes of Lachlan Potter and Ryan Gardner will look to provide drive out of the back half. Dandenong likewise have Jai Taylor and Zac Foot, setting up a match that could see some dashing runs and end-to-end football. One would expect Dandenong to continue their run this season, but as the Knights showed against Gippsland at Morwell earlier in the year, they can push the top sides all the way.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 14 – Sunday, August 5, 12pm
Albury Sports Ground, Albury

Murray is one of three teams battling it out for third and fourth spot on the table, and this week it is the plucky Calder Cannons that stand in the Bushrangers’ way. The Cannons keep being that pesky team that might not have consistency week-to-week, but they throw up some surprising results and knock off some quality teams. Despite being massively understrength they defeated Gippsland earlier in the season, and pushed Dandenong for three quarters last weekend. Jordon Butts will get his chance in the Victorian Football League (VFL) with Werribee, so he misses this week, while Ben Kelly and Floyd Bollinghaus swap places in the ruck. The Cannons have also welcomed back an important tall in Jake Riccardi who spent some time in the state league, and he has proven to be a handful at times standing at full-forward. At home, Murray look a tough opposition to beat. The Bushrangers are a consistent outfit who arguably only have a poor game once every couple of months, so if they don’t win, they will push their opponents to line. Expect them to be favourites in this clash, although the Cannons have enough about them to cause some problems, with a potential match-up of Lachlan Ash and Curtis Taylor, while Mitch Podhajski and Ely Smith might go head-to-head at times. Bushrangers in a close one.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 14 – Sunday, August 5, 1pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

On Sunday afternoon, the last placed Bendigo Pioneers have a chance to leapfrog Eastern into eleventh, which might not seem like much, but in the wildcard round, twelfth will likely play a full strength Oakleigh Chargers or Sandringham Dragons. The Pioneers effort has been strong, and while they are not getting the wins on the board, they are not getting blown away like they have at times in the past. They might succumb to a quarter or two, but for the most part, are genuinely in the contest and expect them to believe they win this clash against Geelong at Queen Elizabeth Oval. The Falcons have been up and down this season, and at full strength they have enough about them to challenge most teams, so they will head into the game as favourites. With Ned McHenry and Charlie Sprague still out, the likes of Sam Walsh, Oscar Brownless and Brayden Ham will be looked upon as important players in the side, while Cooper Cartledge and Dane Hollenkamp will hold down the key defensive posts. Connor Idun has been named forward with Blake Schlensog to try and provide a target, with Bendigo’s backline able to provide plenty of drive this season. Braydon Vaz returns to join Jacob Atley and Noah Wheeler who will try and run the Falcons down, while Bailey Henderson is an important inclusion to the side, able to fill in anywhere required. Geelong cannot move from their spot this weekend, but can edge closer to the GWV Rebels, and guarantee they will not finish bottom two, with a win here.

 

WESTERN JETS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 14 – Sunday, August 5, 2pm
Williamstown Football Ground, Williamstown

In the final game of the round, the GWV Rebels, fresh off a big win over Eastern Ranges, travel to Williamstown to face the Western Jets. The Jets form has dipped a bit in the past month, but they will back themselves in here as they head into the home stretch. For a top four finish they need a lot of luck from here, but finishing as high as possible could be vital to progressing, because sixth place will see them face Bendigo or Eastern in the wildcard round, rather than Geelong who at full strength, could give any side headaches. The Jets midfield is one of the most underrated in the league, because clearance wise, Xavier O’Halloran, Connor Thar and Jack Watkins are a formidable trio, while Daly Andrews and Stefan Radovanovic provide the pace. They have plenty of options up forward both tall and small, and match up well against most sides in defence. The Rebels will likely go in with the two-ruck approach to tackle the Jets as Darren Walters is in good form, but Patrick Glanford‘s form this season has been building, and both Tylar Watts and Mathew Clarke have been named in the side. Jayden Wright returns to tackle one of Aaron Clarke or Emerson Jeka, while the Rebels’ forward line is likely to give the Jets the most trouble, with Charlie Wilson in remarkable form, and Jed Hill, Izaac Grant and Josh Chatfield, all capable of having days out in front of goal. Despite recent form lines, you would say the Jets are favourites with the depth they have, but if the Rebels continue their good form of late, they are a huge chance here.

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 13

IN an action packed round of TAC Cup football, the top few sides had important wins to extend their lead on the competition, while others gained some much needed points.

Eastern Ranges 5.8 (38) def. by Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels 13.13 (91)

GWV Rebels claimed their fourth win of the season, with a comprehensive four-quarter victory over Eastern Ranges at Box Hill. The Rebels took control early, although could not make the most of their opportunities in the first term, booting 3.6, and then heading into half-time with a score of 6.9 to 2.2. The third quarter was where the Rebels did all the damage, with Charlie Wilson heading into the final break with four majors after two goals in each of the second and third terms. The Ranges rallied in the final term and only conceded one more point than they scored, to go down by 53 points.

Wilson was the star for the Rebels, booting 5.3 from 19 disposals and 12 marks (two contested), as well as six inside 50s. Matty Lloyd racked up a massive 37 disposals, as he roamed the wings, working between the defensive and offensive arcs for six inside 50s, six rebounds and a third quarter goal. Lochie Dawson (28 disposals, six marks, four clearances, two inside 50s and four rebounds) and Matt Schnerring (27 disposals, five marks, two clearances, five inside 50s and an important intercept and goal in the first term) were others who found plenty of the footy.

Mitch Mellis was one of Eastern’s shining lights, racking up 33 disposals, moving between the inside and outside using quick hands on his way to seven clearances, three inside 50s and three rebounds. Cooper Leon found space to boot a goal to go with his 28 touches, five marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and five rebounds. Joel Burleigh and Kye Quirk both had 20 disposals, while Burleigh booted a goal and Quirk had four rebounds. James Blanck was strong in defence before switching to attack with six marks from 18 disposals.

 

Murray Bushrangers 17.7 (109) def. Western Jets 9.8 (62)

It took all four quarters, but Murray Bushrangers finally shook off the Western Jets with an eight goals to two final term at Wangaratta on Saturday. The Jets led at quarter time by six points before the home side booted the only four goals of the second term to lead by 16 points at the main break. The Jets cut the deficit to 11 by the final break, before the Bushrangers stormed home in the final term to run away with the 47-point victory. Mathew Walker booted four goals in the final term to seal the deal.

Walker was the key player for the Bushrangers, nailing six goals from 14 disposals and eight marks (one contested). Along with Walker, Kyle Clarke booted two majors and had 21 disposals, two marks and six inside 50s, while Zane Barzen continued his good form with two majors from 14 disposals and six marks. Jye Chalcraft (17 disposals, four marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds) and Will Chandler (11 disposals, seven marks and three goals) were also among the Bushrangers’ best in the win.

For the Jets, Jack Watkins was the major ball winner with 27 disposals, eight marks, seven clearances and three inside 50s, while bottom-ager Darcy Cassar continues to rack up the football in transition through the midfield, winning half of his possessions in a contest, finishing with 25 disposals, eight marks (three contested), three clearances, five inside 50s and one goal. Connor Thar was the other busy ball winner with 25 disposals, five marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and a rebound, while Buku Khamis and Stefan Radovanovic had a combined 36 disposals, seven marks and seven rebounds.

 

Northern Knights 10. 8 (68) def. by Gippsland Power 13. 7 (85)

After playing out a draw in their early encounter at Morwell, the Northern Knights and Gippsland Power went to do battle once again, this time at Preston City Oval. While the Knights had the home ground advantage and started strongly with the breeze, they eventually fell to the second placed Power. Northern booted five goals to two in the opening term, before Gippsland responded with five goals to one in the second to hit the front at the main break. The Knights regained the lead with an inaccurate 3.6 to 1.1. in the third term to hold a 10-point advantage over the visitors. But the last quarter belonged to the Power, coming home with a wet sail, Gippsland booted 5.3 to 1.0 to run out 17-point winners.

Despite challenging weather at times, Bailey Beck was clean with the ball, picking up 18 disposals, eight marks and three inside 50s and was named Gippsland’s best, while captain Xavier Duursma again stood tall, racking up 20 disposals, three marks, three clearances and booting two goals, while also being awarded five free kicks for getting in and under. Matthew McGannon backed up his good form from last week with 25 disposals, 11 marks (one contested) and four rebounds, while Austin Hodge had 24 touches, four marks, seven clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal. Key forward Noah Gown made it back-to-back hauls with five majors once again.

For the Knights, bottom-ager Josh D’Intinosante was busy with 21 disposals, two marks, seven clearances and two goals, while Sam Philp found plenty of the pill with 26 disposals (16 contested), eight clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Tom McKenzie had 20 touches, three marks, three inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal, while Ryan Sturgess had five rebounds and two inside 50s to go with his 18 touches and three marks. Harrison Grace was prominent with 15 disposals, two marks and five inside 50s, as was Mitch Wild with 15 disposals, eight marks and five rebounds.

 

Calder Cannons 6.6 (42) def. by Dandenong Stingrays 12.10 (82)

The ladder-leading Dandenong Stingrays survived an almighty scare from Calder Cannons at RAMS Arena in blustery conditions to defeat the likely top eight side by 40 points. Leading by just two at the final break, the Stingrays put the foot down in the final term and did what they have done all year – found a way to win. They booted seven goals to one in the final term to run over the top of the plucky Cannons and maintain their place at the top of the table with an eight-point gap on second placed Gippsland Power.

Captain Campbell Hustwaite was a big performer once again, amassing 27 disposals, three marks, seven clearances and seven inside 50s, getting the job done inside and out. Finlay Bayne played one of his best games for the season upon his return to the side, picking up 25 disposals, five marks, four clearances, eight inside 50s and booted a goal. Teammate Sam Fletcher found plenty of the footy again with 23 touches, five marks, eight clearances, three inside 50s and a goal. Bailey Williams controlled the airways again with eight marks (four contested), 17 disposals, five inside 50s and two goals.

Co-captain Mitch Podhjaski played an equally inspirational game, racking up 33 touches, six marks, seven clearances, two inside 50s and booted a goal to be one of the Cannons’ best, while Lachlan Sholl was strong in defence with Brodie Newman (26 disposals and four rebounds), racking up 27 disposals, five marks and five rebounds. Lucas Cavallaro had a team-high eight rebounds to be a star in the back half, also amassing 25 disposals and seven marks, while Daniel Mott‘s second half of the season resurgence continued with seven inside 50s and five clearances to go with his 24 disposals.

 

Geelong Falcons 2.5 (17) def. by Oakleigh Chargers 7.9 (51)

Oakleigh Chargers won an old-fashioned scrap at Colac, holding Geelong Falcons to just one goal after quarter time while booting seven majors themselves in a 34-point win. The Falcons booted the only goal of the first term to start proceedings, before Oakleigh got back into the rhythm to pile on six consecutive goals to all but end the contest. Oakleigh kept its top four hopes alive with the low-scoring victory and will build confidence from the win.

Jake Gasper continued his great form with another three majors, picking up 18 disposals, one contested mark, four clearances and three inside 50s, while Josh May won plenty of the footy with 24 disposals, three clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds. Isaac Quaynor stood out and was named the winners’ best, racking up 21 disposals, one mark, two clearances, four inside 50s and one rebound playing up the ground. Fellow Collingwood Next Generation Academy member Atu Bosenavulagi was also strong, racking up 17 disposals (11 contested), two marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds.

For Geelong, it was the usual suspects standing out, with Sam Walsh having another 33 disposals, three marks, six tackles, six clearances and six inside 50s, while Brayden Ham‘s consistent form saw him rack up five rebounds from 20 disposals playing off half-back. Cooper Stephens was busy in the midfield with 17 disposals (13 contested) and five clearances, while Oscar Brownless (15 disposals) and Jay Dahlhaus (15 disposals and a massive 17 tackles) were prominent, as was Charlie Harris (19 disposals and 12 tackles).

 

Sandringham Dragons 6.12 (48) def. Bendigo Pioneers 6.4 (40)

It was not a pretty win, but they got the four points to take to the bank and the Dragons will find themselves still in the hunt for a top four spot. Led by Liam Stocker, the Dragons had to fight hard to overcome the dogged Bendigo Pioneers, booting the first three goals of the game before the Pioneers booted three of the next four, Holding a slender lead at the final break after Bendigo came hard at them in the third term, the Dragons managed to hold on in a quarter which saw just three behinds scored and the home side enjoying the eight-point victory.

Stocker was best on ground yet again for the Dragons, picking up 35 disposals, four marks, 12 inside 50s, nine clearances and booting a goal. Ryan Byrnes had his fair share of the footy racking up 26 disposals (17 contested), six clearances, two inside 50s and three rebounds), while big man James Rendell had 18 disposals, seven marks (two contested), 20 hitouts and three clearances in a big effort around the ground. He and Andrew Courtney (33 hitouts) dominated against the smaller Bendigo rucks, while Sam Sofronidis had 26 touches, three marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds.

For Bendigo, Noah Wheeler was the top ball winner, amassing 23 disposals, two marks, two clearances, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while Jacob Atley was clean out of defence, having four rebounds to go with his 19 disposals and six marks. Liam Marciano had 17 disposals, three marks, four clearances and five rebounds, while Flynn Perez was busy with 17 disposals, four marks, three clearances and two rounds. James Schischka returned to the team to play a key role with 16 touches, four marks and four inside 50s, while Jackson Williams had five rebounds from 16 disposals out of defence.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 13

A FULL round of TAC Cup action and we were at four games on the weekend, casting an eye over proceedings at Box Hill, Preston, Craigieburn and Sandringham. We also noted down some top performers in Wangaratta and Colac.

Eastern Ranges vs. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels

By: Peter Williams

Eastern:

#11 Mitch Mellis

The bottom-age midfielder won a lot of his possessions in close on the move with quick fire handballs to teammates and then ran on to receive the ball back. Early on in the contest he was one-on-one with an opponent, handballed to space to his advantage to give himself an extra second, then cleanly picked it up and handballed it off to a teammate. Finished off his hard running with a set shot goal in the final term.

#23 Xavier Fry

Created some great run and carry as well as metres gained coming out of defence. Had a few well-placed kicks, but made the odd error, which included a handball straight to Matt Schnerring just before quarter time and was made pay. He charged into the next contest and showed his intent to make up, and continued to provide drive out of defence.

#31 James Blanck

One of Eastern’s more composed users, the noticeable trait is his clean spoiling ability – he gets a fist to it well. He positions himself in the defensive hole and was okay by foot. He swung forward in the final term and presented well, giving off the hands to Chayce Black who goaled. He used some good bodywork up forward and his second efforts when down there were impressive. Showed he is capable of playing down forward if needed.

 

GWV:

#3 Scott Carlin

Had a big first term, not necessarily in terms of possessions, but each handball to space was effective. He made some good decisions by hand or foot and took a good intercept mark cleanly in the air. He delivered well inside 50 to hit-up a target as well. In the final term, he intercepted a handball from the running Adrian Kalcovski, then used his agility to sidestep him and then kick long to Charlie Wilson in the forward pocket.

#6 Charlie Wilson

The most consistent forward in the competition continued with another bag of five goals. He started a little shaky in the first term, rushing a kick inside 50 but then went forward and provided a vital target down there. His strength in the air and ability to clunk marks cleanly is something that makes him stand out compared to other forwards. Wilson was consistent across the final three quarters, booting two goals in the second term, two in the third term and one in the last quarter, mostly from set shots, with the last being an opportunistic snap in front of goal.

#14 Jed Hill

Started the game with an intercept mark at half-forward and delivered a well drilled pass inside 50 to Lochie Dawson. His transition work between midfield and forward was good; did not win a lot of the football, but continued to work hard. In the third term he was important in setting up a scoring chain, pinpointing Izaac Grant in the middle which lead to a Charlie Wilson goal down the track. He had a chance to goal in the third term, but was pushed as he kicked it, as his shot bounced through for a behind.

#20 Tylar Watts

Had a game where most of the work he did was off the ball rather than on the stats sheet. All you can ask of a big man is to contest and go for his grabs, which he did. Took a couple of big clunks, but still dropped a couple as well. His most important mark was a pack mark on the defensive goal line in the third term. He also worked hard back towards goal, spoiling a Mitch Mellis certain goal in the third term across the line. Covered the ground well.

#21 Izaac Grant

The bottom-age goal sneak has always been smart around goals and seems to find the right positions, but in this weekend’s game I was happy with his tackling pressure which is vital for a small forward. He is strong in the air, uses his body well and keeps his feet. Assisted in a scoring chain in the third term, kicking well to Harris Jennings at half-forward. Booted two goals himself as well.

#24 Matty Lloyd

Had the ball on a string for most of the day and played off half-back and along the wing. Had a lot of outside ball and could have made better decisions at times in terms of lowering the eyes, but spread well and covered a large amount of ground. Was used in transition between defence and attack quite a lot, rebounding and pumping the ball inside 50 on numerous occasions.

#30 Isaac Wareham

Another bottom-age talent who continues to have glimpses of brilliance. A perfectly weighted kick to Izaac Grant in the first term to pinpoint him in between two opponents was great. He showed cleanliness at ground level, and defensive pressure as well. Wareham ran down an opponent in the forward 50, earned a free kick and then kicked a goal on the half-time siren. Clean and strong performance.

 

Northern Knights vs Gippsland Power:

By Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights:

#1 Ryan Gardner

It was a quieter than usual day for Gardner, who built into the game slowly. The conditions set up a great opportunity for him to show off his run and carry ability, but the bottom-ager only managed to pop up in patches with his trademark dash. Opposing a red-hot Matthew McGannon on the wing for most of the contest, it proved a big test of Gardner’s two-way running, but he showed an aptitude for seeing out the game as he found more of the footy in the second half and began to carry it forward. It was good to see the Vic Metro representative continue to take the game on after being caught holding the ball in the third term, that’s what he’s best at.

#4 Tom McKenzie

Having taken on leadership responsibilities for the match, much was expected of McKenzie leading up to the first bounce. The Ivanhoe product started nicely with a goal out of nothing, booting the ball home from 50 after a scramble around the arc. It would prove to be one of his only highlights of the game though, despite accumulating a good amount of possessions and pushing his side forward from the back. McKenzie spent a heap of time through the midfield too, digging in to claim a few clearances. While his kicking out of defence was a highlight in the National Championships, the Metro star could not quite get the same form going and turned it over at times with rushed kicks out of congestion.

#7 Harrison Grace

This was one of Grace’s better performances in terms of what he was able to produce with ball in hand. The Fitzroy junior looked composed in traffic, weaving his way through danger and cooly picking out teammates with handballs. Assuming his regular position at half-forward and advancing to the wing, Grace would often be seen pushing high up the ground and working his way back towards goal, providing a good contested link between the arcs. While his time on the ball was key, Grace had other standout moments with an intercept mark in the first term leading to McKenzie’s only goal, and a strong fend off on McGannon allowing him to push the ball forward.

#17 Josh D’Intinosante

While the TAC Cup Radio team may have trouble with the pronunciation of his name at times, ‘JD’ proved once again to be largely no-fuss on the field. The bottom-ager’s attack on the ball was superb early on, as he beat two opponents to the punch with an impressive gather in the first term. He went on to produce a smart checkside goal in the same quarter, and narrowly missed an opportunistic dribbler later on. While he had a large amount of midfield minutes, D’Intinosante looked so dangerous forward of the ball and his smarts inside 50 helped him snare a second goal late in the piece to round out a solid performance.

 

Gippsland Power:

#4 Sam Flanders

Flanders continued his impressive form with another strong outing in multiple roles. Assuming his most natural half-forward position to start the game, the Vic Country goalkicker was hard at the contest early despite limited opportunity. His high flies for marks in the first half were a standout, and he brought that facet of his game with him in a move to half-back. Remaining a kick behind the ball, Flanders set up well and was able to quell a lot of the Knights’ attacks. With the game on the line and Gippsland needing goals, the bottom-ager was swung back forward with immediate impact, booting the first major of the final term to spark the Power’s onslaught. Flanders’ repeat efforts and ability to find a way to constantly win the ball was terrific, and was matched by his efficient use by foot.

#5 Xavier Duursma

The skipper led from the front right off the bat, and his first quarter goal stemmed the flow of a surging Knights outfit. Duursma was terrific in the midfield congestion, snatching his fair share of hard ball gets and showing a good five-meter burst to push his side forward from the midfield. While his explosiveness from stoppages was a highlight, his goal in the last term to seal the win after getting absolutely poleaxed by Northern’s Joel Randall summed up his game pretty nicely.

#9 Irving Mosquito

There’s always a bit of buzz about the Power when Mosquito is near the ball, and he once again provided some nice moments. The Hawthorn Next Generation Academy prospect played mostly deep forward under the presence of big-man Noah Gown, and made an ideal start with his long-range set shot goal in the opening term. While he drifted in and out of the game at times, he came right back into it with a courageous contested mark late on, as well as a good bit of foot-candy in the final quarter which led to one of Gown’s five goals.

#12 Brock Smith

While it was not one of his best games, Smith was still able to pitch in with some moments that remind us why he has stood out as a bottom-ager. He showed clean hands early when the game was being hotly contested, and stood up well under some immense pressure in defence. A solid outing.

#18 Matt McGannon

McGannon was once again prolific throughout the game, accumulating a wealth of possessions from the wing and half-back. Despite making a horror start with a turnover leading to Tom McKenzie’s goal, the over-ager provided solidarity to protect his defence and rebound accordingly. He had a couple of nice runs in the third term, helping himself to a bounce or two, and was damaging with both inside 50 entries and exits. At times during the second half he did turn the ball over with long balls forward, where he may have found a shorter target under less pressure, but overall it was another solid outing.

#22 Rylan Henkel

Henkel played his role well in the ruck, and used his sizeable leap to help the Gippsland midfield get on top. He did well to follow up with some tackles and took a couple of marks around the ground to help provide an exit out of the Power’s defence.

#23 Noah Gown

Gown was again in sensational form, matching last week’s haul of five goals in a solid forward display. While he was not in the game at all times, he managed to hit the scoreboard when given the opportunity and began to dominate in the last quarter with strong marks on the lead deep into the pocket. His goals undoubtedly came at crucial moments, with his fourth and fifth pushing Gippsland into the lead late on. Gown could well have ended up with six or seven majors, but sprayed almost identical opportunities with snaps that ended up out on the full. While his marking on the lead and presence inside 50 were a standout, Gown also found other avenues to goal with a sneaky one off the ground, and one where he worked his opponent under the ball nicely to head into an open goal.

#25 Kyle Reid

The red-headed full-back was as solid as ever, continuing the breakout form he showed in the National Under 18 Championships. He was fierce early, crashing contests and having a real go with some hard tackles. His ability to win one-on-ones and turn defence into rebound is sensational, and he was rarely beaten when long balls came his way as he reads the ball so well. The TAC Cup Radio team summed up his game nicely, describing him as being “cool in a crisis”, which was largely needed for Gippsland as they kept within touch going into the final term.

#29 Boadie Motton

While he was quiet for parts of the game, Motton showed glimpses of his best form and ran hard to push the pace when going forward. There’s not much of Motton, but he was good overhead and pulled down some crucial marks in positions where he needed to. His run and carry proved dangerous, and he was rewarded with a big long-range goal on the fly in the second term.

 

Calder Cannons vs. Dandenong Stingrays

By: Ed Pascoe

Calder:

#5 Curtis Taylor

With his first game since coming back from playing National Championships, Taylor had a very quiet game by his standards finishing the game with only 11 disposals and no goals. Taylor showed nice movement on the wing early in the game, getting out of trouble with ease. He dropped an easy mark late in the first quarter, with the windy conditions being considered as a factor but it was his lack of second effort really stood out in that contest recording no tackles for the game. Taylor however did start the second quarter well competing hard in the midfield almost winning a classy clearance with his good judgement and movement when receiving the ball from the tap out. In the third quarter he took some nice marks and his kicking was solid. Taylor like many of his teammates struggled in the last quarter.

#8 Lachlan Sholl

Sholl had a shaky start to the game with a few fumbles but he really lifted as the game went on often setting up the play with his run and good disposal. He took a quality contested mark in the second quarter and worked hard down the wing to hit up a target on his non-preferred kicking inside 50. Sholl did not fumble in the second term with his work by hand a standout feature. He continued this into the third quarter winning plenty of the ball at half back he finished the game with 27 disposals.

#30 Mitchell Podhajski

Podhajski was the standout midfielder over both teams winning 33 disposals in a well rounded game that included a set shot goal in the first quarter and half a dozen marks and tackles. Podhajski had a few poor kicks inside 50 as both sides tried to adjust to the windy conditions, but his kicking improved as the game went on with some nice penetrating kicks. He roved well at stoppages and his handballs and vision where a step above anyone else in the midfield for the day, his work rate was important as was his voice around the contest.

 

Dandenong:

#9 Zac Foot

Foot had a quiet game recording only 11 disposals and just the one behind which was a running shot at goal hitting the post in the last quarter. Foot took some nice marks in the first quarter when plenty of taller players struggled in this area, kicking wasn’t at his best in the first quarter but it got better as the game went on. Despite the low disposal count Foot still competed hard when the ball was there to be won which was promising from a smaller player, he will be hoping to bounce back and hit the scoreboard next week after having one of his better games last week.

#13 Riley Bowman

The conditions did not suit Bowman, who had one of his quieter games for the year recording only 10 disposals and no goals. Bowman did his best work in the ruck winning plenty of hit outs, with the amount of talls Dandenong had he spent a lot of time on the bench swapping with players such as Bailey Williams, Bailey Schmidt and Stephen Cumming. Apart from a kick into the man on the mark, his disposal was good throughout the day especially by hand, second efforts could have been there more often but when he did he laid a good tackle.

#29 Bailey Williams

Williams was the standout big man on the ground despite some wayward kicking at goal early on. His first nice mark in the opening quarter was followed by an absolute howler kick that went out on the full, he would however not make the same mistake with another strong mark later in the game leading to a goal.  The windy conditions made it tough for the talls but he still managed to take plenty of good marks and if he was not able to mark it, he at least flew at the contests showing his intent. Williams would repeat his goal kicking woes in the third quarter, but one of those missed shots came from a fantastic contested mark. Despite the wind playing a big part in the missed shots, he was still the standout key forward through the day, always looking like a threat. He finished the game with two goals, eight marks and 17 disposals.

#58 Will Hamill

Despite a slow start to the year Hamill earned selection for the National AFL Draft Combine. He started the game in the midfield and despite his light frame he was able to win some of his own ball with his clean hands and slick handballs really standing out in the first quarter. Hamill was a very composed player throughout the day, he was caught once for holding the ball which was no fault of his own. Though his speed has been questioned at times, it is his class and agility that often gives him ample time to use his lethal left boot. Hamill was moved to half-back after the first quarter taking a few nice intercept marks and hitting some lace out passes by foot. He finished the game with 14 disposals.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Bendigo Pioneers

By: Owen Leonard

Sandringham:

#7 Liam Stocker

Leading the Sandringham midfield, it was a typically authoritative performance from the Dragons onballer, with 21 kicks from 35 disposals, four marks, five tackles and a goal. While Stocker’s ability to rest forward and hit the scoreboard has been notable this season, he played purely through the midfield in the absence of usual stalwarts Bailey Smith, Alastair Richards, Harry Houlahan and Kai Owens. In windy conditions at Trevor Barker Oval, the first-round prospect kicked a freakish left-foot goal in the second term. After appearing to miss its intended target, the Sherrin — aided by the breeze — had a mind of its own, somehow evading the Pioneers’ defence before bouncing through for a miracle major. The Haileybury product was bumped crudely into the fence in the dying stages, but appeared unscathed as the final siren sounded, confirming an eight-point Dragons victory.

#28 James Rendell

The Brisbane Lions father-son prospect did his draft chances no harm with a solid display despite unfavourable weather for key-position players. Rendell managed a game-high seven marks, to go with 20 hitouts and 18 disposals. Applied impressive pressure for a big man, too, laying four tackles. Also managed a pair of behinds in blustery conditions.

#39 Jai Florent

The younger brother of Sydney Swans midfielder Ollie, Florent is starting to secure his position in the Dragons line-up with an impressive two-goal effort on Sunday. Playing as a small forward, the bottom-ager found enough of the football — while applying strong pressure around the goals with five tackles — to warrant further selection. Gaining vital experience at TAC Cup level this season, Florent could be one to watch in 2019.

 

Bendigo:

#16 Jacob Atley

Managing 19 disposals and six marks across the backline, the younger brother of North Melbourne regular Shaun and Port Adelaide midfielder Joe, Jacob Atley provided speed, skill and leadership out of defence, and was among the better players on the ground in a tight encounter on Sunday afternoon. Since winning a junior league best and fairest in 2014, the Bendigo skipper’s talent has been obvious. While his stats haven’t stood out throughout his 2018 TAC Cup campaign, Atley’s ability to break the lines is sure to have club recruiters taking notice.

#20 James Schischka

Another among the best in Sunday’s affair, Schischka’s intercept marking ability was prominent in a close loss. The impressive key-defender plays a game similar to that of West Coast’s Jeremy McGovern, and his capacity to read the play is exceptional, seemingly unfazed by the wind-affected, unpredictable direction of the Sherrin. Drifted forward at stages, but was unable to convert in the howling wind after a good grab inside-50 early in the final quarter. Finished the game with 16 disposals, four marks and six tackles.

#25 Flynn Perez

It was a more-than-respectable performance from the Bendigo midfielder, who contributed well with 17 disposals, four marks and five tackles. Since surviving an injury scare a month ago after a heavy landing from a contested mark playing school football, Perez has compiled a consistent string of games together, and has become one of the Pioneers’ most dependable performers.

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Other games’ notes:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Western Jets

Murray:

#5 Ely Smith – The inside midfielder had 18 disposals, starting finishing strongly with 12 disposals in the second half. He was strong at the stoppages, racking up nine clearances, including four centre bounce clearances. Smith also finished with four inside 50s and two rebounds in a solid performance.

#7 Zane Barzen – After three goals last week, Barzen finished Round 13 with two majors from four scoring shots, to go with 14 disposals and six marks. He started with a bang in the first term, racking up six disposals before booting the opening goal in both the second and third terms.

#18 Hudson Garoni – The TAC Cup leading goal kicker was at his dominant best in the air. Not kicking a bag like he has in past weeks, Garoni was still too strong for his opponents, taking a game-high 10 marks, including three contested to go with his 15 disposals, three inside 50s, and impressively, two rebounds. The stats showed the amount of ground he covered during the game.

Western:

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – When Murray applied the pressure in the final term, O’Halloran was one to stand up, having six final quarter kicks – three more than any other Jet. He finished with 16 disposals, seven clearances, six inside 50s and booted a goal against the flow early in the final term.

#38 Buku Khamis – The rebounding defender certainly had his hands full with Murray’s efficiency inside 50. He had the three rebounds to go with 18 disposals – including 10 kicks at 100 per cent efficiency! Khamis took five marks, one of which was contested.

#39 Stefan Radovanovic – Named in Western’s bests, Radovanovic found the ball and used it well, kicking at 70 per cent by foot. He took a couple of marks and had four rebounds, getting back to the form he has showed throughout the season, using his dash to advantage.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Oakleigh Chargers

Geelong:

#20 Brayden Ham – Ham’s superb season continued on the weekend, playing off half-back and having five rebounds to go with his 20 disposals and showing his versatility to play at either end once again. He is not afraid to attack the contest, winning the majority of his possessions one-on-one and shows strength by extracting the ball and kicking forward.

#22 Sam Walsh – Not much to be said about Walsh that has not been said before. Another 33-disposal game to go with six inside 50s, six rebounds and six clearances. He covers the ground incredibly well, wins the ball with ease and hurts the opposition whenever he goes near it. Laid six tackles on the weekend too which was good to see highlighting his ability to impact the contest.

#41 Cooper Stephens – The bottom-age prospect racked up 17 disposals and laid a strong seven tackles on the weekend, as well as having five clearances.

Oakleigh:

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins – Not usually a handball-dominant player, Collier-Dawkins found little space, having to work in close and deliver 14 handballs in his 15 disposals, winning the majority in tight. He had three clearances, two inside 50s and laid a team-high 10 tackles showcasing his intent to win the footy.

#23 Isaac Quaynor – The Collingwood Next Generation Academy member was Oakleigh’s best player at Colac, playing further up the ground than his usual half-back flank. He amassed 21 disposals, four tackles, four inside 50s and two clearances. He showed good composure and class around the contest to help move the ball out of dangerous areas.

#26 Jake Gasper – The exciting small forward was able to find the ball up the ground, while still having an impact on the scoreboard. Gasper booted 3.2 from 18 disposals, laying nine tackles and having four clearances and three inside 50s to go with it. He continues to press his claim with consistent performances throughout the season.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 13

TAC Cup action returns this weekend with all 12 teams back at it. While some are understrength due to school football, the ladder is taking shape as just four rounds remain in the competition ahead of the new addition of a wildcard round after Round 16.

EASTERN RANGES v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

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

The opening game of the round pits two bottom four sides against each other, with the Rebels able to draw within four points of the eighth placed Northern Knights if they can win, while Eastern can draw level with Geelong Falcons and within two points of the Rebels if they can take home the four points. Eastern’s midfield has been relatively settled this year, with Joel Burleigh, Kye Quirk, Adrian Kalcovski and Mitch Mellis all busy through the middle, while Ben Cardamone and Xavier Fry have proved important in the back half. James Blanck‘s return to the side in the past week has settled the defence down, while in attack, the return of Thomas Lockman combining with Billy McCormack should provide some targets up front. For the Rebels, they have beefed up their attack, bringing in Tylar Watts and Josh Chatfield, making for an even more damaging forward line with the likes of Jed Hill, Charlie Wilson and Izaac Grant set to cause headaches for Eastern’s defence. While the half-back line of Scott Carlin and Matty Lloyd provides good rebound. It’s a 50/50 game with Eastern having the home ground advantage.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. WESTERN JETS

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

In arguably the match of the round, Murray Bushrangers hosts Western Jets up in Wangaratta where two of the top inside midfielders will go head-to-head in Ely Smith and Xavier O’Halloran. There are fantastic one-on-ones across the field with the likes of Jacob Koschitzke taking Emerson Jeka, Buku Khamis potentially lining up on Hudson Garoni, and Hamish Murphy going head-to-head with Zane Barzen. Both sides pride themselves on contested ball and speed from half-back, so it is likely to be an entertaining contest of end-to-end football. Jaden Rice is a crucial loss for the Jets on this road trip, but they have plenty of depth through the midfield, and potency up forward with Darcy Cassar, Aaron Clarke and Steven Kyriazis being sources of scoreboard pressure. Murray arguably have the best forward line in the league with Jordon Butts joining Barzen and Garoni, while Jye Chalcraft and Bailey Frauenfelder are always damaging. If the Bushrangers win they will retain third spot, while the Jets could leap frog both Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers with favourable results in other games if they take home the points.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

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

Another important top eight clash tomorrow is that between the Northern Knights and Gippsland Power. The Knights sit eighth with an eight-point buffer, but will be keen to have another win and upset the Power. The Power sit in second spot, but Murray Bushrangers are hot on their heels and with the finals approaching, a top four spot is at a premium. Last time these two sides played it was a draw at Morwell Recreation Reserve after Irving Mosquito kicked a goal in the dying seconds. Mosquito is in the team again to cause some serious headaches, while Tyrone Hayes also returns to provide some speed around the ground. Noah Gown is fresh off a five-goal haul and will be keen to impress once again at full-forward, while Sam Flanders and Austin Hodge know how to hit the scoreboard. For the Knights, they have Josh D’Intinosante and Sunny Brazier who consistently find goals, while Harrison Grace is an important inclusion at half-forward, with he and James Lucente capable of creating opportunities in the front half. Tom McKenzie and Lachlan Potter will provide plenty of run off half-back, while Matthew McGannon will look to continue his strong form from last week to carry over into this important game. Gippsland will head in as favourites, but the Knights have the speed and talent to cause an upset at home.

 

CALDER CANNONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

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

An early Sunday game at RAMS Arena is set to provide a treat with an almost full-strength Dandenong side taking on a Calder team with Curtis Taylor back in the side. Dandenong seem to be the clear benchmark this season and will go in as strong favourites, but Calder have matched it with most sides this year and have caused a number of upsets. Opposing captains Campbell Hustwaite and Mitch Podhajski could go head-to-head in the middle, both capable of running both ways and working hard to help their team gain momentum. The speed of the Stingrays might trouble the Cannons, with Zac Foot and Jai Taylor providing plenty of outside run, while Will Hamill and Sam Fletcher provide the inside hands. Bailey Williams is a monster in the air, and Riley Bowman and the returning Bailey Schmidt will push the Cannons for height. Daniel Hanna could be handed the job on Williams, while Lucas Cavallaro and Lachlan Sholl will look to be the ones rebounding from defence. Taylor is a hard match-up for any opposition up forward, and could go head-to-head with potential number one pick in 2019, Hayden Young. The Stingrays seem almost assured of the minor premiership this season, but the wind at RAMS Arena always throws up a few surprises, while the Cannons can go outright seventh with breathing space if the Power defeat the Knights.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

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

Out in the south west, Geelong Falcons will look to take advantage of mass changes for Oakleigh to snatch a win in the Falcons’ home away from home in Colac. While Ned McHenry is a big loss for the Falcons, the Chargers will have to overcome wholesale changes with players heading back to school football. Sam Walsh, Oscar Brownless and Cooper Stephens will still have a fascinating battle in midfield, with Riley Collier-Dawkins, Xavier O’Neill and Noah Answerth, while Oakleigh’s dominant forward line still has serious threats with bottom-agers Noah Anderson and Dylan Williams down there, as well as over-ager Matthew Day and top-ager Jake Gasper who have both booted bags of goals this season – Gasper last week. The strength in attack means Oakleigh will be a danger if they can control the midfield, while Geelong can control play if they win the contested ball. Connor Idun and Dane Hollenkamp will look to contain the forwards, while Brayden Ham is back at half-back where he will try and provide both offensive and defensive pressure on the opposition. Up forward, Blake Schlensog provides a target, while Baxter Mensch and Jay Dahlhaus are others who can find the ball and keep it moving forward. Despite the changes and the home ground advantage, Oakleigh would be rightfully favourites in this game, but Geelong pushed Sandringham Dragons all the way last round and will be hoping for a repeat effort this week.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

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

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons will take on Bendigo Pioneers in what should be a close game on paper. The Dragons will rightfully head in as favourites, but any time a team makes 17 changes is always going to present challenges. The Pioneers have remained relatively stable and welcomed James Schischka back into the side. While the Dragons have plenty of depth and still some serious talent around the field, they will look to their next tier of players to step up in front of a home crowd. Liam Stocker will look to build on his great form of late since returning from injury, while James Rendell is back in the team to provide a tall target up front. Jai Florent and Tyson Milne are small forwards who create opportunities at ground level, while Corey Watts and Ryan Byrnes are others who have shown good signs throughout the season. For the Pioneers, Jacob Atley provides good speed and effort out of defence, and will combine well with Schischka back there. Noah Wheeler, Hunter Lawrence and Liam Marciano are always involved, while Oscar and Flynn Perez provide some excitement up forward and on the outside. A win to Sandringham could see them move past Murray into third spot, while a loss could see them drop back as far as sixth. The Pioneers can get off the bottom of the TAC Cup table with a win here.