Tag: Jacob Dawson

Stat Leaders: 2021 VFL – Round 3

THE 2021 Victorian Football League (VFL) season rolled on into its third round over the weekend, with 1 fixtures spread from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon. There were a number of outstanding individual performances among the Round 3 action, as AFL-listed talent and state league guns alike topped a range of key categories. We take a look at this week’s stat leaders, as well as the season tallies to this point.

>> RESULTS: State League wrap

Usual forward Jake Riccardi swung into defence for GWS on Sunday and had a blinder, seeing him top the league for kicks and marks in Round 3. The 21-year-old racked up 40 disposals, with 31 of them delivered by foot and 19 earned via marks. His dynamic performance helped the Giants to a 30-point win over Southport, their first for the season.

It was no surprise to see Coburg ball magnet Marcus Lentini again tick over the 40-disposal mark, this time managing 42 against Brisbane in what was a battle of the Lions. The mid-season draft hopeful was just pipped atop the handball charts on the weekend by Gold Coast’s Will Brodie, who dished out 22 in the Suns’ narrow loss to Collingwood. In the same game, first year Magpie Reef McInnes got his hands dirty with a round-high 11 tackles.

Elsewhere, competition leading goalkicker Matt Hammelmann upped his season average (5.3) with a bag of six majors as Aspley went down to Frankston. The effort accounted for over half of the Hornets’ score, brining Hammelmann’s season tally to 16 after three games. Western Bulldogs ruck Jordon Sweet also excelled in his field, feasting to win 38 hitouts against inexperienced Northern Bullants’ talls.

Looking at the season leaders, Frankston jet Nathan Freeman has served a reminder of his class in 2021 with a clean run, topping the league for disposals and kicks. Jacob Dawson is another former AFL player finding plenty of ball, distributing more than any other player thus far by hand. Hammelmann and Casey’s James Munro are the other state leaguers topping charts, while AFL-listed bigmen Connor Ballenden and Ned Reeves have the most marks and hitouts respectively.

Find the full list of Round 3, and 2021 season stat leaders below.


Marcus Lentini (Coburg) – 42

Jake Riccardi* (GWS) – 31

Will Brodie* (Gold Coast) – 22

Matt Hammelmann** (Aspley) – 6

Jake Riccardi* (GWS) – 19

Reef McInnes* (Collingwood) – 11

Jordon Sweet* (Footscray) – 38


Nathan Freeman (Frankston) – 117 total / 39.0 average

Nathan Freeman (Frankston) – 78 / 26.0

Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 56 / 18.7

Matt Hammelmann (Aspley) – 16 / 5.3

Connor Ballenden* (Brisbane) – 34 / 11.3

James Munro (Casey) – 28 / 9.3

Ned Reeves* (Box Hill) – 118 / 39.3

* – denotes AFL-listed.
** – denotes season leader.

Image Credit: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos

2021 VFL Round 2 review: Southport wins battle of Queensland standalones

SOUTHPORT Sharks have overcome inaccuracy to post a 14-point victory over Aspley Hornets in the battle of the Queensland standalone teams at Fankhauser Reserve. Both sides won their respective Round 1 Victorian Football League (VFL) matches, so were coming in with good form. Despite having 19 more scoring shots throughout the match, the Sharks were only able to just get across the line, 14.25 (109) to 15.5 (95) as the visitors never stopped pushing the home team.

The match started with Aspley’s Matt Hammelmann on absolute fire. He booted two goals in the first six minutes, then converted a third midway through the term, for the Hornets to lead 3.1 (19) to 1.3 (9), as Jesse Joyce was the sole goalkicker for the home side. After a couple of other misses late in the term – Billy Gowers being the main suspect with three behinds – back-to-back goals to Round 1 hero Lukas Webb, as well as Ryan Gilmore, handed the Sharks a five-point lead at the first break.

The Sharks dominated the second quarter from the get-go as Brayden Crossley, and Gilmore contributed to a couple of behinds before Crossley bagged his first major, and Gowers got his first from his fourth scoring shot. By the midway mark of the second term, the Sharks were out to a 22-point lead, but already missed chances were keeping the Hornets in the game. Against the flow of play, Ben Warren and Ryan Banks-Smith slotted majors for the Hornets, and it was clear the visitors were going to capitalise on their chances.

In the final 15 minutes of the term, a flurry of action saw the Sharks extend their lead a little more, despite three straight behinds in the final couple of minutes. Crossley and Gowers both booted their second goals prior to that, with Thomas Baulch snagging one back for the visitors. At the main break, the Sharks had 22 scoring shots to nine, but only one more goal for an 18-point lead.

Desperate to capitalise on forward half possession, the Sharks had a goal in the opening three minutes going to Michael Manteit, which was countered by Ryan Bastinac of the Hornets. Three more minor scores down the Sharks’ end – including a couple of rushed behinds – were worrying, but Rhys King and Gowers ensured they did get some bang for their buck. They needed someone to try and contain Hammelmann however, as the ex-Brisbane forward was dominating with another three goals – taking his match total to five by the final break. For all the back-and-forth, the margin was once again 18 points at the last change.

The home fans really started to get nervous in the final term despite kicking the first two goals of the quarter through Gowers and Nutting to stretch the lead out to 30 points. Just when they looked to run away with it, the Hornets kicked five of the next six goals – including Cody Stackelberg matching Hammelmann’s three consecutive majors – which cut the deficit to within a kick. With seven minutes on the clock, the game was well and truly alive. Luckily for the Sharks, King came to the rescue to kick a steadier, and from there the home team held on for the victory, 14.25 (109) to 15.5 (95).

Gowers finished with a massive 5.5 from 17 disposals and six marks, leading the way for the winners, as Crossley and King both booted two goals, while Webb (25 touches), Joyce (23) and Manteit (20) all found plenty of the ball and each snagged a major. Jacob Dawson feasted around the ground on his way to 34 disposals, while Fraser Thurlow had 29 hitouts from 19 touches. Despite playing in a losing side, Hammelmann snagged six goals from 11 touches and seven marks, with Stackelberg’s three coming from 14 disposals and four marks. Baulch (25 disposals, two goals), Jack Rolls (22 and one) and Bastinac (19 and one) all worked hard to also hit the scoreboard, as ex-AFL talents Jacob Allison (30 disposals) and Corey Lyons (26) led the disposals.

It was a mixed back of results for the other Queensland sides, with Gold Coast Suns claiming a 14-point win over Sydney Swans, whilst the Brisbane Lions suffered a heavy 69-point loss to Carlton. Dylan Stephens (32 disposals, seven marks and five tackles), Sam Gray (31 disposals, six marks and five tackles) and Ryan Clarke (30 disposals, eight marks) all put their hand up for a Swans recall, whilst youngster Sam Thorne slotted three goals, as did Joel Amartey. For the Suns, Will Bella slotted three goals form 10 touches and five marks to be a standout Academy prospect, with Malcolm Rosas (18 disposals, two goals) and Will Brodie (31 disposals, two goals) among the top AFL-listed players. For the Lions, Tom Fullarton had a day out with 34 touches and 18 hitouts through the ruck, while Rhys Mathieson kicked four goals from 18 disposals in a half. The Blues had an even set of contributors led by Will Setterfield (25 disposals, seven marks and 10 tackles) and Paddy Dow (20 disposals, six tackles) through the midfield, whilst Ben Crocker and James Parsons combined for a whopping 12 goals in the win.

Western Bulldogs handed GWS GIANTS their second loss of the season, as last year’s number one draft pick, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan slotted five goalswer to be amongst six multiple goalkickers for the Dogs in the huge 21.9 (135) to 10.3 (63) victory. Mitch Hannan (three goals), Rhylee West (three and 25 touches, seven marks and five tackles) and Louis Butler (two and 20 touches, six marks and three tackles) were all huge, while teenager Dominic Bedendo (nine disposals, five marks and two goals) also looked dangerous for the Dogs. Jesse Hogan continued his good return to form with four goals from 14 touches and 11 marks for the Giants, while Will Shaw (two goals) and James Peatling (23 disposals, six marks) and Josh Green (21 disposals, three marks and four tackles) were among the top ball-winners.

Meanwhile, Port Melbourne and Williamson enjoyed wins against Sandringham and Werribee respectively. Nash Holmes (28 disposals, six marks and five tackles), Tom O’Sullivan (28 disposals, eight marks), Eli Templeton (25 disposals, 13 marks and two goals) and Isaac Conway (24 disposals, four marks, five tackles and two goals) all dominated for the Borough, while Luke Dunstan had the ball on a string for the Zebras, collecting 46 disposals. Ryan Byrnes (25 disposals, five marks) and Leo Connolly (19 disposals, four marks) were other St Kilda-listed talents who stood out. Mitch Hibberd was again lively for the Seagulls with 23 disposals and eight tackles, leading the way from Liam Hunt (20 disposals) and Jack Toner (16 disposals, eight marks), while Tom Downie had a great battle with Matthew Lobbe, collecting 35 hitouts from 12 disposals. Lobbe had 37 and 12, while Matthew Hanson (25 disposals, six tackles), Shaun Mannagh (24 disposals, four tackles) and Tom Gribble (22 disposals, four tackles) were also big ball-winners.

In other results, Frankston Dolphins dominated North Melbourne on their way to another win, getting up 16.8 (104) to 5.9 (39). Tyler Roos and Nathan Freeman shared in a lazy 85 disposals and 20 marks between them for opposite sides through the midfield, while Bailey Lambert (five goals), Jack Mentha (three) and Will Fordham (24 disposals, two goals) were also damaging on the scoreboard for the Dolphins. Will Walker (23 disposals, 11 marks) Harry Jones (21 disposals, eight marks) and Flynn Appleby (20 disposals, 11 marks) supported Roos in the heavy loss. Another standalone side Northern Bullants was not as fortunate against Hawthorn at Box Hill City Oval, with the visitors going down by 56 points after being level at quarter time. Emerson Jeka slotted five goals from 20 disposals and nine marks in a dominant display up forward, while Fergus Greene (14 disposals, three goals) and Keegan Brooksby (13 disposals, 24 hitouts and two goals) were also good. Ned Reeves had a casual 54 hitouts to go with 16 touches and a goal as well. for the Bullants, Tynan Smith kicked three majors from 16 touches, as Tom Wilson (26 disposals, 10 marks) and Paul Ahern (23 disposals, one goal) were among the best.

In the final two games, Casey Demons recorded a big 13.18 (96) to 5.7 (37) victory over Richmond, while Essendon won the Anzac Day eve battle with Collingwood, 12.13 (85) to 6.14 (50). It was a good day for the red heads, as Jake Bowey (26 disposals, five marks) and Oskar Baker (24 disposals five marks) both impressed, while Neville Jetta was strong with 23 touches, and Ben Brown (four goals) and Sam Weideman (three) stepped up in front of goal again. For the Tigers, Mabior Chol was the only multiple goalkicker with two, as Pat Naish (28 disposals, five marks) and Callum Coleman-Jones (18 disposals, nine marks and 29 hitouts) worked hard through the four quarters. Tom Cutler (27 disposals, seven marks and three goals) was outstanding for the Bombers, while Ned Cahill (21 disposals, five marks and six tackles), Angus Baker (21 disposals, five marks) and Josh Tynan (21 disposals, five marks) were also solid. For the Magpies, youngster Caleb Poulter racked up 27 touches, three marks and three tackles to put his hand up for an AFL debut, as Reef McInnes (17 disposals, four tackles) and Tom Wilson (20 touches, seven marks) were also impressive. Next-Generation Academy member Youseph Dib finished with 11 disposals, tow marks and eight tackles in a solid display.


GWS GIANTS 10.3 (63) def. by Western Bulldogs 21.9 (135)
Gold Coast Suns 14.11 (95) def. Sydney 12.9 (81)
Carlton 24.10 (154) def. Brisbane 13.7 (85)
Southport 14.25 (109) def. Aspley 15.5 (95)
North Melbourne 5.9 (39) def. by Frankston 16.8 (104)
Collingwood 6.14 (50) def. by Essendon 12.13 (85)
Hawthorn 17.10 (112) def. Northern Bullants 8.8 (56)
Richmond 5.7 (37) def. by Casey Demons 13.18 (96)
Port Melbourne 13.14 (92) def. Sandringham 9.12 (66)
Werribee 7.11 (53) def. by Williamstown 9.10 (64)

Picture credit: RF Photography

State Leagues Preview: All competitions in full swing

STATE league Aussie rules football is in full swing as we approach round four for most competitions this weekend. With eye-catching matchups galore, expect a weekend chock full of exciting clashes.


The new-look Victorian Football League (VFL) kicked off its 2021 season last weekend, with a different looking fixture than previous years. Interstate AFL affiliated clubs Gold Coast, Sydney, Brisbane and GWS joined the competition and shook things up a bit. Round 1 delivered what many Victorian football fans had been waiting for and expect more of this in Round 2.

Brisbane and Carlton face off this weekend with plenty of players looking to stake a claim at an AFL spot. Blue Will Setterfield is one to watch this weekend, after tagging Jacob Dawson last weekend. The former top five draft pick has found himself on the outer at Carlton as the club looks to settle on a best 22, and Setterfield’s new role as a run-with player could see him enter calculations once again. As for who he will tag, that question remains up in the air. Lions Rhys Mathieson and Devan Robertson both had stand out performances last week, so if not recalled, expect one of them to receive a bit of attention.

Rivals Collingwood and Essendon will also clash this weekend in the traditional ANZAC round. With AFL sides for this round not announced until later this weekend, the sides are not yet confirmed. Both clubs’ AFL affiliate have been struck with injuries so expect very different lineups to last weekend. If not selected for a recall, American Pie Mason Cox will be relishing the opportunity to tear the game apart this week. Dropped from the AFL side in the last couple of weeks, Cox will be eager to earn a return, and there is no better time to prove his worth than this weekend. Following a disappointing 11-goal defeat last weekend, Essendon will be looking to bounce back in Round 2. Don Andrew Phillips impressed in the ruck last weekend and will hope to continue this form.

The Gold Coast Suns and the Sydney Swans will do battle in a Saturday morning clash at the Council Training Oval. Both interstate sides will be continuing to adjust to life in the VFL instead of their respective competitions in their home states. Looking to put his hand up for a recall, Swans ruckman Callum Sinclair will be desperate to standout at VFL level and he started this last weekend, with 34 hitouts and 17 disposals. The Suns shouldn’t lose too many players to their AFL side with no fresh injuries so expect a similar lineup to last week. Suns recruit Rory Atkins had 26 disposals in his first game for the reserves last week and should prove a class above given his AFL experience.


South Australia

A Friday night match kicks off proceedings for Round 4 in the SANFL this weekend with West Adelaide hosting Norwood at Hisense Stadium. Following a 50-point loss last weekend, West Adelaide have made plenty of changes in an attempt to conjure a response out of their side. Last week’s inclusion Sam May has succumbed to a hamstring injury, while Josh Koster and Mitch Maguire have been omitted. Five players have been added to the 25-man squad, including potential debutants Nick Steele and Lucas Meline. Norwood have also made a statement at selection, with gun wingman Dom Barry dropped following the side’s disappointing 92-point loss in Round 3. Both sides will be desperate to improve on last week’s performance, and there is no better opportunity.

Central Districts will take on Adelaide at X Convenience Oval on Saturday afternoon as both sides look to improve on their 1-2 record. Central Districts will lose utility Fraser Fort to injury, opening up a spot for another big man to come into the side, which will be trimmed by three prior to the opening bounce. The Crows side is yet to be determined, with AFL emergencies to be added in the near future. Two outs have already been confirmed with former Richmond midfielder Daniel Jackson rested after a 21-disposal outing, while crafty forward Ben Davis injured.

South Adelaide will be looking to maintain top spot on the ladder with a win over this week’s opponents in Sturt, as they play host at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday. South Adelaide young gun Jason Horne has been named to line up in an AFL academy match this weekend, so the Panthers will be without him this weekend. Talented youngster Fraser Turner has been named on the extended bench and could make his debut. Sturt will be without former Crow Pat Wilson after the midfielder hurt his shoulder in the second term last round, and his return date is yet to be confirmed. In better news for Sturt, key defender Sam Smith will debut after an ACL injury ruled him out for 2020. Tasmanian Jared Dakin could also make his debut, named on the extended bench.

Glenelg will be looking to start the season 4-0 with a victory over Port Adelaide on Saturday, who are searching for their second win of the season. With no forced changes, Glenelg have named three potential debutants on the bench in the form of Brady Searle, Brodie Newman and Will Chandler, who have all performed strongly at reserve level. Port’s side will be heavily influenced by its AFL side’s line up, with only two named on the bench so far and the AFL emergencies yet to be added.

In the final game of the round, Woodville-West Torrens will welcome North Adelaide to Maughan Thiem Kia Oval in search of their third win. Woodville-West Torrens will gain some handy inclusions in the form of Troy Menzel and Angus Poole, but will lose Dane McFarlane to a calf issue. North Adelaide will be hoping to carry forward the momentum they gained after last week’s thumping 92-point win over Norwood. Someone will have to replace Frank Szekely who was injured in the win. In the frame for a debut is midfielder Kaine Mercovich, who will be hopeful he can make his first appearance at league level.


It’s a battle of the Bombers to open the round four action, with Lauderdale hosting North Launceston in an important clash for both sides. With both teams sitting at a less than desirable 1-2 record, the opportunity to move up the ladder with a win will make an exciting contest. Lauderdale have omitted pair Benjamin Steinbauer and Jarrod Westell and welcomed Joshua Williams and Sam Tilley after a three goal loss to Glenorchy last week. North Launceston have made four changes after last week’s loss to Clarence. Utility Tom Donnelly returns to the side following a stint in North Melbourne’s VFL side last week, while Jack Avent, Brandon Leary and Ryley Sanders join him in returning to the side. Oscar Van Dam, Daniel Withers, Angus Jefferies and Matthew Cossins are the outs.

Following a disappointing loss to Launceston last week, the Tigers have the chance to put themselves back on the winners list with a game against Glenorchy on Saturday, who are fresh off a win. The Tigers were humbled by the reigning premiers in round three and have made changes to rectify this. Thomas Dwyer and Benjamin Donnelly were dropped for in favour pair Marcus Gardner and George O’Neill. Meanwhile, Glenorchy have included Bayley Bester and Braidy Simpson for Cameron Goodsell and Darrean Wyatt.

A North Hobart side looking for their first win will have to take on the tough task of slowing down Launceston at North Hobart Oval this weekend. Launceston delivered a statement performance last week against the Tigers, showing the competition that they will once again be tough to stop, while North Hobart will still be thinking about their disappointing loss against North Launceston in round two. Fresh off the bye, they will be eager to notch their first win, and their five changes this week show this. Riley Higgins, Logan Elphinstone, Keegan Ryan, Isaac Mathewson and Dominic White have entered the side in exchange for Josch Bingham, Jonty Barwick, Nathan Hardy, Joshua Hilder and Austin Keeling. Launceston stand-in skipper and star midfielder Jake Hinds will not play due to suspension, while Miller Hodge and Jacob Boyd will also miss. They are replaced by Hamish Leedham, Colby McKercher and Zach Morris.


Redland-Victoria Point and Palm Beach Currumbin will open the ANZAC weekend round in the QAFL at Totally Workwear Park on Saturday. Redland-Point Victoria fell to Labrador by just over three goals last round, and a second win on the board would make a huge difference, with the ladder positioning incredibly tight after three rounds. Full-forward Harrison Kerr kicked four goals last week and should attract the best defender this week, opening opportunities for other forwards such as Matthew Warren to back up his strong performance from last week. Palm Beach Currumbin found their first win of the season last week with a 27-point triumph over Noosa. Mitchell Johnson’s four goal haul has surely caught the eye of opposition coaches, who will put some work into stopping him.

Sherwood District will be keen to bounce back from last week’s disappointing performance with a win over the in form Broadbeach this weekend. Sherwood District were embarrassed by Surfers Paradise, eventually defeated by 88 points. Jack Austin was a shining light on a dark day and his teammates will be hoping he can back up this showing. Broadbeach continue to do their thing, knocking off Morningside by 53 points last weekend. Bradley Lowe will once again be dangerous on the wing after a best on ground performance.

Its fourth place taking on sixth place as Surfers Paradise hosts Labrador at Sir Bruce Small Park on Saturday in an important clash. Both sides sit on 1-1 on the season, and a win here would prove vital in regards to ladder position. Both sides found their way to over 100 points last weekend and this should be a high scoring affair once again. Will Labrador’s Blair Rubock get off the chain again after four goals last week, or will Surfers Paradise’s balanced forward line get the better of their opponents again?

A refreshed Winston Grange side will be eager to move themselves up the ladder as they host a Morningside team that will be out to make up for last weekend’s disappointing showing. Winston Grange had the bye last week and currently sit in ninth place on percentage, but a win would shoot them up into the top half of the ladder in no time. Morningside’s recent loss will be fresh in their minds as they will once again look for Nathan Colenso in the forward line, who has started the year with six goals in two games.

Noosa’s quest to find their first win of the season will be made all the more difficult as they take on the top of the table Maroochydore at the Maroochydore Multisports Complex on Saturday afternoon. Noosa put up a brave fight against Palm Beach Currumbin, but ultimately couldn’t muster enough scoring opportunities to keep up with their opponents and fell by just under five goals. Scoring will be a focal point as they take on a red hot Maroochydore side who have started the season 2-0. Forward Jake Warren will play a key role, kicking five goals in the first two games and will surely be looking to add to that tally this weekend.


Western Australia

West Perth will be looking to follow up last week’s heartbreaking loss with a win over East Fremantle this weekend to kick off round four WAFL action. West Perth were defeated by Subiaco by a devastatingly small margin, with Subiaco walking away three-point winners. The players will be still hurting from this, eager to put the result in the past with a win on Saturday. Sam Rotham will not be lacing up the boots for West Perth, with Tyson Moulton his confirmed replacement. East Fremantle are yet to confirm any changes to the side that defeated East Perth last weekend.

Swan Districts will clash with South Fremantle in what should be an exciting match, with both sides sitting on the same win/loss record. Both sides are 2-1 after three rounds, and are sitting in similar positions, with both notching a win last week. Swan Districts backman William Collins will return to the lineup and the club is yet to confirm who will make way. South Fremantle ruckman Brock Higgins will return for his side along with backman Jason Maskos with the bench yet to be finalised.

Claremont’s undefeated streak continued last weekend, as they sit 3-0 in second place on the ladder. They take on Peel Thunder, who were outplayed by South Fremantle to make them 1-2 on the season. Claremont’s Harrison Mccracken is fresh off a four-goal haul last weekend and should have a say in the scoring of this match. The team lineups are yet to be confirmed at time of publication.

Two sides in the midst of very different seasons, West Coast will be hopeful of handing Subiaco their first loss of the season, while finding their first win. Subiaco scraped past West Perth by less than a goal, as they show they can consistently find a way to win. West Coast are having a very different year, starting the season 0-3 as their lineup consistently changes with AFL selections. They will also have their hands full containing Subiaco duo Ben Sokol and Jordan Faraone, who combined for eight goals in the round three win. The team lineups are yet to be confirmed at time of publication.

The final game of the round has plenty of implications for the ladder, with eighth place Perth taking on 10th (and last) placed East Perth. If East Perth can muster a win, it could kickstart their season, while a win for Perth could put them in the top five. With lots on the line for both sides, expect a close battle.

2021 VFL Round 1 review: Queensland teams make their mark

A NEW era and a new competition full of surprises saw a number of clubs from New South Wales and Queensland join the still rather oddly-named Victorian Football League (VFL), and the majority came away with the points. The four AFL-aligned clubs in the two northern states on the east coast joined the competition, with standalone teams, Aspley Hornets and Southport Sharks also joining the fold, as did the Northern Bullants who returned to the competition. With 11 games played every weekend in the new 22-team competition, the competitiveness to finish inside the top eight has never been greater.

The match of the round was easily Southport’s come-from-behind win over Carlton at Ikon Park on Saturday. The Blues raced out of the blocks to pile on six goals to two in the opening term and lead by 26 points at quarter time. The Sharks began to claw their way back in the second, kicking five goals to four to draw to within 19 points at the main break, but the Blues seemed to keep them at arms-length. Carlton kicked 4.6 to 4.0 in the premiership quarter to again extend out to 25 points with a quarter to play, but the visitors were not done with just yet. Connor Nutting kicked two goals in the opening six minutes, and by the time Jacob Dawson had converted a major, the deficit was back in the single digits midway through the term, Lukas Webb brought it back to two points a few minutes later, and after Dawson levelled the score with a behind in the 20th minute, many thought it could be the competition’s first draw.

AFL-listed youngster Lochie O’Brien had other ideas, converting a goal in the 25th minute, and when Matt Shannon kicked a major at 26:38 on the clock, it appeared the Sharks had fought gallantly, but would not be able to comeback from a 12-point deficit, The last eight minutes of the term saw the Sharks relentlessly attacking, and forcing a rushed behind, which would prove ultimately important in the end result. Fraser Thurlow kicked a major in red time, and then it was just five points in it. The former AFL-contingent at the Queensland club had stepped up throughout the game, and indeed it would be Webb who would be the man of the moment, kicking a match-winning major in the last minute to seal the game. At one point, the deficit had got out to as much as 31 points, but the visitors had kept believing, and stunned the home side, 17.7 (109) to 16.12 (108).

Whilst he might not have kicked one in the final term, ex-Bulldog Billy Gowers had a day out with five goals from seven scoring shots, 15 disposals and six marks. Thurlow absolutely dominated the ruck for the Sharks, notching up 49 hitouts, but then going forward to slot three goals and take eight marks from 12 touches. Nutting, a former Gold Coast Academy talent kicked the three goals from 11 touches, while Webb’s two goals in the final term added to his 24 touches, five marks and four tackles. Andrew Boston (27 disposals, 11 tackles), Dawson (26 disposals, seven tackles and one goal), Jesse Joyce (23 disposals, four marks, three tackles and a goal) and Michael Manteit (21 disposals, five marks, two tackles and a goal) were among the other top ball winners.

Despite the loss, Liam Stocker practically kicked down the door for AFL selection with a whopping 38-disposal and 13-mark game, as David Cuningham (28 disposals, four marks, four tackles and a goal), Sam Ramsay (22 disposals, seven marks and five tackles) and O’Brien (21 disposals, six marks and a goal) also found plenty of the footy. Matthew Owies kicked a straight four goals from 12 touches, six marks and four tackles, while ex-Pie and Crow Ben Crocker slotted 2.3 from 11 touches and five marks up forward. Another ex-AFL listed talent in Toby Wooller returned to Victoria from Queensland to kick 1.2 from 16 disposals, six marks, eight tackles and have six hitouts tor the Blues.

Fellow standalone Queensland side Aspley Hornets also sent a message to the rest of the competition with an absolute belting of one of Victoria’s proudest clubs Port Melbourne. The Hornets blew the Borough away in the opening term with a 10 goal to two first quarter, and whilst the visitors managed to get back to within 43 points at the final break with six goals to two over the next two quarters, the damage was done and the Hornets booted six last quarter goals to win 20.13 (133) to 12.8 (80). Ryan Bastinac was ridiculous with 39 touches, four marks, six tackles and three goals, with Matthew Payne (28 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and two goals), Corey Lyons (27 disposals, five marks and one goal) and Matthew Hammelmann (11 disposals, eight marks and 4.4) among the dominant players for the Hornets. Harvey Hooper (27 disposals, four marks and two tackles) tried hard for the Borough, while Anthony Anastasio and Matthew Signorello both slotted three goals apiece.

Also in the Sunshine State, Brisbane Lions reserves knocked off Essendon’s reserves in a 66-point belting at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex. Rhys Mathieson did his chances of a recall no harm thanks to a lazy 34 touches, eight marks and two goals, while Connor Ballenden (31 disposals, 15 marks and one goal) and Keidean Coleman (29 disposals, nine marks, three tackles and two goals) were also up there with the best for the Lions. First-year player Carter Michael showed he has the capacity to match it at senior level, amassing an impressive 25 touches on debut. Ex-Lion Tom Cutler had a team-high 29 disposals and 10 marks for the Bombers, while Nick Bryan racked up 34 hitouts, five marks and three tackles to show off his around-the-ground work with 27 touches.

The only Queensland team to suffer defeat in the opening round of the VFL was Gold Coast Suns, going down by 67 points to a red-hot Western Bulldogs outfit. The Bulldogs kicked 10 goals to three in the opening half to set up the win, restricting the Suns to just 12 scoring shots as the home team won, 16.13 (109) to 6.6 (42). The potent tall forward combination of Josh Schache (19 disposals, 12 marks and 5.4) and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (12 disposals, 2.1) was the issue for the Suns, though father-son talent Ryley West was one of nine individual scorers, picking up 22 disposals, five marks and four disposals in the process. Will Hayes (29 disposals, 11 marks), Riley Garcia (24 disposals, three marks and nine tackles), Lin Jong (24 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and a goal) and Buku Khamis (21 disposals, 11 marks) were other AFL-listed Dogs impressing. For the Suns, Brayden Fiorini (31 disposals, 11 marks and six tackles) and Will Brodie (30 disposals, 10 marks and six tackles) had days out, while talented AFL Academy member Austin Harris kicked two goals from six touches, two marks and three tackles.

In the all-New South Wales battle, Sydney Swans emerged victorious of the GWS GIANTS, booting 12 goals to seven after quarter time to record a 15.6 (96) to 10.10 (70) victory. Colin O’Riordan had 32 disposals and 14 marks, as other Swans-listed talents in Lewis Taylor (32 disposals, eight marks and one goal) and Ryan Clarke (31 disposals, eight marks and four tackles) both racked up the ball with ease. Hayden McLean and Harry Morrison slotted three majors apiece, whilst Paddy McCartin returned to the field to have 19 disposals and nine marks in a promising return. Teenage talents, Sam Thorne (13 disposals, six marks and a goal) and Marc Sheather (10 disposals, three tackles and a goal) also gained some important experience. For the GIANTS, Alex Smout racked up 33 disposals, as Tanner Bruhn showed his AFL debut cannot be too far away with 27 touches and two goals. Josh Green, brother of GIANTS’ Tom stepped up to have 21 touches, as AFL Academy member Josh Fahey had the nine disposals, three marks and three tackles in the loss.

In a couple of the more memorable matches for the VFL, two all-standalone Victorian clashes saw Frankston Dolphins and Williamstown Seagulls win easily against Coburg Lions and Northern Bullants respectively. The Dolphins, led by ex-Bomber Josh Begley (six goals), and ex-Pie and Saint Nathan Freeman (40 disposals), proved too strong for the Lions. Coburg’s Marcus Lentini suffered leather poisoning himself, matching Freeman with a whopping 40 disposals and slotting a goal. Josh D’Intinosante and Mitch Podhajski both slotted three goals in defeat. For the Seagulls, they booted seven goals to one in the first half to set up the victory against the Bullants, as Jake Greiser (29 disposals, eight marks and one goals), Mitch Hibberd (29 disposals, five marks and one goal) and Liam Hunt (29 disposals, one goal) ran rampant. Joel Ottavi slotted four goals from eight scoring shots, while ex-Crow Jordan Gallucci slammed home three goals from 21 touches and six marks. For the Bullants, Tom Wilson had the most touches with 25 and six marks, while ex-GIANT and Roo Paul Ahern had 23 disposals, four marks, four tackles and kicked a goal.

Pies fans had something to smile about over the weekend, with a hard-fought seven-point win over Werribee, 10.9 (69) to 9.8 (62). Second year talent Jay Rantall put his hand up to return to an injury-depleted AFL lineup with 28 disposals, five marks and six tackles, while Tyler Brown (22 disposals), Caleb Poulter (18 disposals, seven marks and a goal) and Ollie Henry (11 disposals, seven marks and two goals) were among the young Pies to make an impact. Ex-Cat Wylie Buzza slotted four goals from 10 touches and four marks, as Tom Gribble (30 disposals, nine marks and five tackles) and Matthew Hanson (28 disposals, four marks and three tackles) did their thing. It was a much more one-sided contest for Richmond’s 40-point win over Sandringham Zebras, as the Tigers piled on 10 goals to three in the first three quarters to lead by 47 points at the final break, before the Zebras cut the deficit back rallying in the final term. Samson Ryan kicked three goals up forward, as Callum Coleman-Jones (22 disposals, six marks, 13 hitouts, four tackles and two goals) found plenty of the football. Jack Ross (34 disposals), Pat Naish (33) and Riley Collier-Dawkins (31) all easily dominated proceedings, whilst for the Zebras, Shaun McKernan was outstanding with 23 disposals, 10 marks, 11 hitouts, four goals and four tackles, while Ryan Byrnes (22 disposals, eight marks and a goal) and Oscar Clavarino (20 disposals, 14 marks) were among the St Kilda-listed talents to impress.

The two Sunday clashes between AFL-aligned clubs resulted in the Casey Demons getting a comfortable 41-point victory over Hawthorn at Box Hill, while Geelong posted a whopping 79-point thrashing over North Melbourne to sit at the top of the VFL ladder. Kade Chandler (25 disposals, 10 marks and a goal), Neville Jetta (25 disposals, 10 marks) and Aaron Vandenberg (25 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and a goal) were busy around the ground, whilst Ben Brown‘s debut in the red and blue (18 disposals, six marks and three goals) was overshadowed by a monstrous performance from Sam Weideman (16 disposals, seven marks and 7.2). Developing Hawk tall Emerson Jeka was one of three in the brown and gold to slot three majors in the loss, while Lachlan Bramble (20 disposals, eight tackles) and Michael Hartley (20 disposals) were among the Hawthorn-listed players to impress. For the Cats, Zach Guthrie had a day out with 27 disposals and 11 marks, as Charlie Constable (26 touches) and Oscar Brownless (24) pressed their cases for a call-up. Josh Jenkins and Ben Jarvis both slotted four goals apiece in the massive win, as two of eight individual goalkickers. Former Bushranger and Hawk’ Mat Walker had three goals from six scoring shots, as well as 16 touches and 10 marks in a dirty day for the Roos, while Dom Tyson (29 touches), Harry Jones (23) and Will Walker (20) tried hard.


Richmond 13.17 (95) defeated Sandringham 7.13 (55)
Frankston 20.6 (126) defeated Coburg 14.12 (96)
Western Bulldogs 16.13 (109) defeated Gold Coast Suns 6.6 (42)
Brisbane Lions 15.14 (104) defeated Essendon 5.8 (38)
Sydney Swans 15.6 (96) defeated GWS GIANTS 10.10 (70)
Aspley 20.13 (133) defeated Port Melbourne 12.8 (80)
Carlton 16.12 (108) lost to Southport 17.7 (109)
Werribee 9.8 (62) lost to Collingwood 10.9 (69)
Hawthorn 10.7 (67) lost to Casey Demons 17.16 (118)
Geelong 18.15 (123) defeated North Melbourne 6.8 (44)
Northern Bullants 6.11 (47) lost to Williamstown 14.15 (99)

Picture credit: Southport Sharks Twitter

Queensland weekly wrap: Curtain raisers and community camps

AN exciting month of Queensland football is coming up, with the announcement of the Alpha Sport Pre-Season Cup fixture, a curtain raiser at Cazaly Stadium late next month and the junior umpiring program taking place once again.

Alpha Sport Pre-Season Cup Fixture Announced:

AFL Queensland has announced the fixture for the upcoming Alpha Sport Pre-Season Cup. The competition will begin on Saturday, March 10 at grounds across Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. The Alpha Sport Pre-Season Cup is a three-week knockout tournament involving QFA clubs. The competition grand finals are to be played at Leyshon Park, Yeronga on March 24.  Each Grand Final winner will receive an Alpha Sport Sports Taping Starter Pack, valued at $1250.

2018 Junior Football Umpiring Program Dates Released:

Last Friday saw the dates for the 2018 Junior Football Umpiring Program (JFUP) officially released. The JFUP is an exciting program that involves umpire training, education, support and ongoing development for Brisbane Junior club-based umpires officiating U8’s – U10’s. The JFUP provides a range of programs including initial and ongoing training throughout the year, training sessions located close to home to minimise travel requirements, and sessions catered to umpiring with modified junior rules. The dates for JFUP training across Brisbane, Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast can be found on their Facebook page.

Cazaly Stadium Curtain Raiser:

AFL Queensland announced an exciting curtain raiser for AFL players and supporters alike in North Queensland. On Saturday, March 24, AFL Cairns Premiers Port Douglas will square off against 2017 AFL Townsville Premiers Hermit Park in the North Queensland Challenge Cup. The game will play as a curtain raiser to the Round 1 AFL fixture between the Gold Coast Suns and North Melbourne. Much anticipation surrounds this game with many in the AFL Queensland community already regarding AFL Cairns as the strongest competition in regional Queensland. Spectators wishing to attend the curtain raiser will need to purchase tickets to the AFL fixture.

AFL Club Community Camps:

The Gold Coast Suns hosted their first community camp of the year on Tuesday, February 6. All 45 Suns players were scattered around the state – from Ormeau to Palm Beach – running various training programs throughout the day. The event was especially sentimental for Suns players Jesse Joyce, Brad Scheer, Max Spencer, Brayden Crossley and Jacob Dawson, who were welcomed back to their old school Palm Beach Currumbin SHS. The Suns will attend multiple camps over the coming months, as will the Brisbane Lions.

AFLW Round 2 | Brisbane Lions vs. Western Bulldogs:

On Sunday, February 11, the AFLW Brisbane Lions’ held their first home game against the Western Bulldogs at the South Pine Sports Complex. Both teams were coming off round one victories, with the Lions fielding an unchanged squad. The hot and windy conditions proved difficult for both sides, and that was highlighted by the low-scoring, scrappy first quarter which saw the Bulldogs take a one-point lead at the break.

The goal drought was broken by the AFLW’s number one draft pick Isabel Huntington, who kicked two goals in as many minutes for the Bulldogs after taking two strong contested marks. Unfortunately, moments later Huntington suffered an injury to her right knee and took no further part in the match. The one-way traffic continued in the second term with the Bulldogs adding two more goals while holding the Lions to just two behinds to lead 26-3 at the main break.

In the third quarter, the Lions struck back with the only goal of the quarter courtesy of Jess Wuetschner, with her lovely left foot snap cutting the margin to 16 points as the Bulldogs led at the final change. Kicking against the breeze in the last quarter, the Lions couldn’t capitalise on their chances until the final four minutes of the game. Ally Anderson popped through a goal to give the Lions a sniff, but Aisling Utri sealed the game for the Dogs with her first goal in the AFLW in her second career game with two and a half minutes remaining.

Wuetschner went on to snap her second goal from the centre bounce moments later but it was again too late for the Lions as the Bulldogs ran out nine-point winners 5.3 (33) to the Lions’ 3.6 (24). The win puts the Bulldogs into second on the ladder and the loss puts the Lions in fourth place. Next up, the Lions travel to Ikon Park to take on ladder leaders Carlton on Saturday February 17 at 7.40pm.

Under 18 Championships Preview: Allies

THE ALLIES are in their second year of a relatively new Under 18 Championship concept bringing together the best players from the Under 18 Academy Series (Previously the division two championships) to play against the division one teams.

2016 saw top ten draftees Will Setterfield (GWS Giants) and Jack Bowes (Gold Coast Suns) run out for the Allies, playing against division one sides South Australia, Western Australia, Vic Country and Vic Metro.

Last year saw the Allies bookmarked as favourites by some for the title – but struggled coming together just before the championships started, finding it hard to play as a team. This year; a camp as a group and two trial games in the lead up to the division one carnival will hopefully allow the players to adjust to their new teammates and gel as a group.

While the squad on the forefront isn’t as strong as last year, the Allies are expected to put up a fight throughout the carnival.

Greater Western Sydney’s academy has the most members of any division two side, with 12 players included, followed by Gold Coast Academy (10) and Sydney Academy (nine). Northern Territory (seven), Tasmania (six) and Brisbane Lions (four) round out the other division two sides.

Among those named are first round prospects Jarrod Brander and Charlie Spargo (GWS), both of whom were ruled ineligible to be drafted by GWS through the academy system and placed on the open market. Connor Ballenden (Brisbane) is another pegged as a first round talent as one of the best key forwards in the draft.

The squad also includes two father-son prospects for the 2018 draft with Bailey Scott (Gold Coast) who is also eligible for father/son at Geelong and North Melbourne, and Nick Blakey (Sydney – also eligible for father/son at North Melbourne and Brisbane).

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DHu5Xb0zzg[/embedyt]

Players to watch: 

Zac Bailey – Was one of the standouts for the Allies in their trial game against Vic Country – collecting 18 disposals, laying eight tackles and had five clearances. His work inside the contest is very good despite his small frame. Has enough speed to burst from the stoppages and can hit the scoreboard.

Connor Ballenden – The Brisbane Lions Academy member is a strong contested marking forward who plays well out of the goalsquare. Will likely provide some chop out in the ruck for Brayden Crossley and Nathan Richards throughout the carnival. Has a very fluid set shot routine and kicks more goals than he misses.

Jarrod Brander – Brander is a key position tall that can play at either end. His mobility is very good and he reads the flight of the ball well in the air. Has been kicking goals for Geelong Grammar at school football – but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him play at centre half back in the Under 18 Championships for the Allies.

Jack Powell – The GWS Academy member is a good two-way runner and is a clean ball user on his right foot. Spreads well from the contest and did some good things in the NAB AFL Academy game at the MCG. Had 16 disposals in the midfield for the Allies in their practice game against Vic Metro.

Charlie Spargo – Small bite-sized midfielder who cracks in hard despite standing at 175cm. Wins the contested ball and is willing to tackle hard to get the ball back. Played for the Allies in 2016, with a strong effort manning Vic Metro’s MVP Andrew McGrath at Etihad Stadium – collecting 15 disposals and laying six tackles.

2018 names to keep an eye on:

Bailey Scott – Good decision maker with ball in hand and wins the ball on both the inside and outside. Marks well overhead and was impressive for Gold Coast in the Under 18 Academy Series. Had 12 disposals and took four marks in the Allies’ trial game against Vic Country. Father-Son prospect to Geelong and North Melbourne, as well as being eligible for Gold Coast through their academy.

Nick Blakey – One of the leading players for the 2018 draft. Not only can play as a tall, but has the ability to push up into the midfield. Moves well and kicks it nicely on his left foot. Likely to play up forward for the Allies. Sydney Swans Academy member and father-son prospect to North Melbourne and Brisbane Lions.

Tarryn Thomas – Starred for Tasmania last year in the Under 18 Championships as an Under 16 player. Had some outstanding moments in the trial game against Vic Metro collecting 17 disposals, showing off his speed across half forward. Had very good vision and awareness to switch the ball deep inside 50 to find a free teammate at the top of the goalsquare. Is part of North Melbourne’s Next-Generation Academy.


Round 1: v VIC COUNTRY – June 11th 12.30pm Blacktown
Round 2: v SOUTH AUSTRALIA – June 17th 10.10am Adelaide Oval (FOX FOOTY)
Round 3: v WESTERN AUSTRALIA – June 25th 12.30pm Leederville Oval
Round 4: BYE
Round 5: v VIC METRO – July 5th 2.10pm Simonds Stadium (FOX FOOTY)

Possible Round One team: 

B: Jake Hinds, Jack Payne, Kwaby Boakye
HB: Tom Highmore, Jarrod Brander, Jack Clayton
C: Brodie Foster, Nicholas Shipley, Sam Davidson
HF: James Bell, Nick Blakey, Tarryn Thomas
F: Hugh Dixon, Connor Ballenden, Jack Hardman

FOLL: Brayden Crossley, Charlie Spargo, Jack Powell
INT: Nathan Richards, Luke Robertson, Brendan Myers, Harry Simmington, Zac Bailey


Finishing prediction: 4th – The Allies should be able to beat Western Australia and their tall forwards may cause headaches for other teams if they can win enough ball in the midfield.

MVP prediction: Charlie Spargo – The tough inside midfielder was the Under 16 Alan McLean Medalist, dominating division two back in 2015. Expect him to crack in hard and win the plenty of the ball.


No. Name
HT (cm)
WT (kg)
1 Charlie SPARGO 25/11/1999 173 73 Murray Bushrangers/Albury
2 Jack HARDMAN 31/12/1999 173 67 Swans/UNSW
3 Brodie FOSTER 3/3/1999 178 74 Suns/Surfers Paradise
4 Laine FITZGERALD 16/1/1999 179 78 Bendigo Pioneers/Balranald
5 Zac BAILEY 23/9/1999 180 68 Southern Districts
6 Jack POWELL 15/7/1999 180 75 Giants/Ainslie
7 Sam DAVIDSON 6/5/1999 180 70 Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
8 Luke SKRIVANIC 8/4/1999 182 74 Swans/Pennant Hills
9 Jacob DAWSON 3/11/1999 182 80 Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
10 James BELL 10/2/1999 183 75 Swans/UNSW
11 Brendan MYERS 10/2/1999 183 80 Giants/Wagga Tigers
12 Adam SAMBONO 24/4/1997 184 69 Darwin Buffalos
13 Bailey SCOTT 9/7/2000 184 70 Suns/Broadbeach Cats
14 Jack CLAYTON 25/2/1999 184 77 Lions/Wests Juniors
15 Jake BROWN 19/3/1998 185 76 Swans/St George
16 Thomas MUNDY 23/11/1999 185 79 Burnie
17 Jy LANE 21/3/1999 185 78 Murray Bushrangers/Corowa
18 Jake HINDS 7/5/1999 186 78 Launceston
19 Doulton LANGLANDS 29/7/1999 187 80 Murray Bushrangers/North Albury
20 Nicholas HUTCHINSON 21/5/1999 187 80 Hobart City
21 Damien BURKE 21/1/1999 188 83 Suns/Cape York Eagles
22 Tarryn THOMAS 25/3/2000 189 71 North Launceston
23 Luke ROBERTSON 7/5/1998 189 85 Swans/North Shore
24 Kwaby BOAKYE 16/3/1999 188 88 Suns/Broadbeach Cats
25 Harry SIMINGTON 28/3/1999 189 85 Suns/Labrador Tigers
26 Nicholas SHIPLEY 25/6/1999 190 90 Giants/St George
27 Matthew GREEN 5/5/2000 190 67 Sporties Spitfires
28 Harrison CARR 9/2/1998 190 87 Swans/North Shore
29 Michael CARROLL 18/6/1999 191 85 Swans/Pennant Hills
30 Caleb GRAHAM 12/9/2000 192 82 Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
31 Tom HIGHMORE 24/2/1998 192 82 Giants/Marist
32 Zac BUECHNER** 5/3/1998 192 90 Clarence
33 Jarrod BRANDER 11/2/1999 194 89 Bendigo Pioneers/Wentworth
34 Nicholas BLAKEY 27/2/2000 194 75 Swans/UNSW
35 Hugh DIXON 26/2/1999 195 92 Kingborough Tigers
36 Jack PAYNE 15/10/1999 195 93 Lions/Noosa
37 Alex PAECH 17/6/1999 196 99 Murray Bushrangers/North Albury
38 Connor BALLENDEN 29/3/1999 199 95 Lions/Wests Juniors
39 Brayden CROSSLEY 16/8/1999 198 105 Suns/Labrador Tigers
40 Nathan RICHARDS 11/2/1999 200 102 Giants/Griffith Swans
42 Timakoi BOWIE 4/4/1999 175 80 Suns/Cape York Eagles
43 Jarrod OSBORNE 29/12/1998 180 79 Swans/Manly
44 Ben SLOAN 27/8/1999 189 80 Lions/Mt Gravatt
45 Rodney BAIRD 1/3/1999 192 72 Palmerston
46 Daniel JOHNSTON 1/12/1999 196 97 Murray Bushrangers/Barooga
47 Tony OLANGO 2/9/1998 200 80 St Mary’s
 ** Zac Buechner was a late inclusion for Tasmania Chayce Jones

U18 trial Vic Country/Vic Metro/Allies scouting notes

It was a cold and wet finish to a mostly sunny day at Ikon Park today – hosting Vic Country v Allies and Vic Metro v Allies final trial games in the lead up to the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Both Victorian teams were severely understrengthed with a majority of their ‘best 22’ being left out of the contest, playing school football or were managed – while the Allies split their squad in half to help select their final squad.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:

Game 1:
VIC COUNTRY    3.5    5.8     7.13     11.14 (80)
ALLIES                2.1    4.3      4.3          6.5 (41)

VIC COUNTRY: Meek 2, Johnston 2, Garoni 2, Floyd, McHenry, Miers, Butts, Jones
ALLIES: Sambono 2, Burke, Scott, Bailey, Richards

Vic Country:

#4 Gryan Miers – Attended a large number of centre bounces, using his quick, clean hands to get the ball out of the stoppages. He’s a smart footballer and his good agility helps him weave through the packs. Kicked a nice goal in the third term but has a strange kicking action that might need some work.

#13 Ethan Floyd – Could’ve easily kicked three goals in the opening term, with kickable shots on the run at goal missed. Very left foot orientated – he kicks it long and stands out in his bright boots. His speed & dash is superb on the outside and is a weapon when he wants to attack.

#19 Matthew Ling – Had a long run with three bounces down the broadcast wing – but shanked the kick on the run when streaming inside 50. His second efforts were good and he has really good vision when he has the ball in hand. Very composed player and is versatile to play in multiple positions. Finished his morning early icing his calf up – but it didn’t appear to be too serious.

#22 Jordon Butts – Initially expected him to play at CHB – but played up forward. Took multiple marks – including one which saw him end up nearly snapping the goalpost. Did struggle to make the distance from 40m out with one set shot, but moments later made the distance from 50m at the same end. Kicked his only goal for the day in the third quarter, but his ‘dukes’ were very impressive overhead.

#26 Angus Schumacher – Slow starter but once he got going he was very impressive. Another who possesses a really clean left foot kick. Weaves well through traffic and is willing to take the game on. Also a solid mark overhead. Like him best across half back.

#30 Jordan Johnston – One of the few players with X-Factor in the Country teams. He nearly plucked a few marks metres from goal, jumping over the taller opposition defenders who were attempting to spoil the ball through. Played through the middle at times and booted a goal in the last quarter. Think the Rebels’ best prospect is worth a spot in the Country team.

#32 Cassidy Parish – Parish’s clearance work and contested numbers are some of the best in the 2017 draft pool – but he is a poor kick on his right foot. At one stage instead of handballing to a player 5 metres away, he attempted a rugby-style chip kick which he managed to nearly mark like some of the best rugby players looking to score a try. What was impressive was a left foot pinpoint pass inside 50 that hit Butts, but he mostly rushed a few of his kicks under pressure. There’s a lot to like about Parish – but he needs to clean up his kicking and stop the ‘dinky’ kicks around the ground.


#4 Jacob Dawson – Possesses really good hands in close at the stoppages. Kicking does need some work as at times he just banged it forward. Some of his other kicks around the ground did hang in the air, rather than being pinpoint and resulted in a few being spoiled. Inside work is good and wins clearances.

#5 Zac Bailey – One of the clear standouts and the player I was most impressed with through the whole day. Was willing to take the game on, using his speed & agility to move forward. Worked hard all day on the inside at the stoppages and kicked it well on his right foot. Snapped a very good goal in the second quarter.

#6 Bailey Scott – Made some good decisions with ball in hand and provided some run in the middle of the ground. Marks well overhead.

#7 Adam Sambono – Used his speed to chase and lay a great tackle. Is a player that catches the eye and screams X-Factor! Snaps the ball well on either foot and booted two goals – one of which saw him calmly think through a snap, not rushing the chance and putting it through. Is a player that doesn’t need to have too much of the ball to impact a game inside 50.

#8 Jake Brown – One of the leading disposal winners for the Allies, but his ball use was poor. Had multiple clangers and was another at times who just bombed it forward. His voice was good around the ground, barking instructions as an older player in the team and at the stoppages.

#27 Rodney Baird – Very raw footballer who is still learning the game. His decision making is a work-in-progress and was slow in possessing the ball & then disposing of it.

#32 Daniel Johnston – Played up forward and was largely influential. Was beaten in the forward ruck contests and has poor agilty. Didn’t find much of the ball through the day. Finished the game well with some solid marks in the last quarter.

#33 Jack Payne – Showed some good signs in defence. Lead up to one play, but overran it attempting to intercept and dropped the mark. He did go to ground too many times early, but his overhead marking got better as the game went on. He was always looking for a switch with ball in hand and I’m looking forward to seeing him play for the Allies in the Under 18 Championships.

#34 Nathan Richards – Shared the ruck duties with Tony Olango. Another who looked a touch off the pace at times and struggled around the ground to win the football. Had a few touches late and won most of the hitouts in the final term. Took an outstanding mark over Patterson in the last quarter.


Game 2:

VIC METRO        2.0    4.0     5.0          6.1 (37)
ALLIES                4.1    6.2     9.4        11.7 (73)

VIC METRO: Jones 2, Grace, Petruccelle, Harman, Penrith
ALLIES: Hardman 2, Bell 2, Crossley 2, Fitzgerald, Powell, Dixon, Thomas, Clayton

Vic Metro:

#2 Ryley Stoddart – Worked hard on the wing and across half back. Is composed with ball in hand and one of the better ball users off his left foot, kicking long or short. Also marks well overhead and was consistent all day.

#4 Thomas North – Started in at the centre bounces and set up smartly 50m away from play when the ball was deep inside their forward 50. He was good at the stoppages and around the ground. Another Ranges player who is in great form.

#5 Quintin Montanaro – A quiet day for Montanaro who had a slow game last week with a toe injury. The game didn’t suit him when the rain came, and he wasn’t able to find his outside ball. Expect him to bounce back next week for Sandringham Dragons.

#11 Alfie Jarnestrom – Had a superb second quarter, starting in at the centre bounces and winning multiple clearances. His hands in close are good and he took a few marks around the ground.

#27 Jack Petruccelle – Showed glimpses of his pace but looked a bit out of place on the forward flank. Looks his best on the inside through the midfield and I’m hoping he gets the opportunity to play there in the Under 18 Championships. His kicking needs attention though and this is what is stopping his breaking into the top ten at this stage – as multiple kicks missed their targets and was mostly ineffective by foot all day. As always provided a highlight in the middle of the ground when he ‘nearly’ took a screamer.

#31 Nicholas Coffield – Has so much time in the contest and is composed with ball in hand. Around the ground his vision is good and seems to find the best target short or long. Found plenty of the ball and reminds me a bit of Hugh McCluggage from last year in the contest.

#34 Noah Balta – Was happy to see him line up as a key defender – as one of the few AFL Academy players who played today. Provided good run up the ground and looked to play off his man. His leap helps him when he needs to defend one-on-one and showed enough signs to suggest he might play there again in the future.


#5 Jack Powell – Goes under the radar and just gets the job done. Has a strongly built body and is strong in at the contest. Showed great composure in the opening quarter when he snapped from 40m on an acute angle, taking his time and putting it through when there was no obvious option to pass it off to.

#7 James Bell – One of the Allies’ best in Game 2. Showed some tricks and I really liked his game better than some of his Under 18 Academy Series games. Looked his best across half forward, where he was able to impact the scoreboard booting two goals, getting involved with the contests inside forward 50. Looked lively and one to keep an eye on if he gets a chance.

#8 Jack Clayton – The Brisbane Lions Academy member possesses a nice left foot and his first quarter was one of the better ones I’ve seen him play in a while. Hit a pinpoint pass inside 50 to a teammate and worked hard right around the ground.

#22 Doulton Langlands – Best game I’ve seen him play this year. Was able to impact the game on the outside. Runs well from half back to half forward, and his run down the ground in the second quarter was superb. Spent more time at the stoppages later in the game and is very agile.

#25 Tarryn Thomas – North Melbourne will get a gem next year. Thomas showed some speed playing most of the game inside forward 50. Running down close to the boundary line, he was able to use his vision and hit Hardman in the goal square for a goal assist. Liked his game.

#34 Brayden Crossley – Won most of his one-on-one contestes up forward and in the ruck against weaker opponents – but I’m not convinced this will be able to translate at AFL level and will need to work on his endurance. Took some big contested marks, but had a few ugly kicks inside 50.

#35 Connor Ballenden – If you left at three quarter time like some watches on did you would’ve said Ballenden was poor – but he finished the game respectively well. Struggled further away from goal, but looked his best the closer he was towards goal. At one stage he collected the ball, weaved a few players, ran 20 metres and banged home a goal from just inside 50. Is a good contested mark overhead and I’m hoping he will be at his best in the Under 18 Championships.


Allies announce strong under 18s squad

FOLLOWING the conclusion of the AFL National Under 18s Division Two Championships, the Allies have announced their squad for the upcoming division one championships. Greater Western Sydney’s academy has the most members of any division two side, with 12 players included, followed by Gold Coast Academy (10) and Sydney Academy (nine). Northern Territory (seven), Tasmania (six) and Brisbane Lions (four) round out the other division two sides.

Among those named are first round prospects Jarrod Brander and Charlie Spargo (GWS), both of whom were ruled ineligible to be drafted by GWS through the academy system and placed on the open market, as well as Brayden Crossley and Bailey Scott (Gold Coast) the latter of which is also eligible for father/son at Geelong and North Melbourne, Connor Ballenden (Brisbane) and Nick Blakey (Sydney – also eligible for father/son at North Melbourne and Brisbane).

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From Matt Balmer’s top 25 Power Rankings, the Allies have Brander (#1), Ballenden (#8), Spargo (#11) and Jack Powell (#15) in the squad. A number of the GWS Academy members are on TAC Cup lists including Brander and Laine Fitzgerald (Bendigo Pioneers); and Alex Paech, Daniel Johnston, Doulton Langlands and Spargo (Murray Bushrangers).

The squad will play their final practice games on Sunday 28th May.

2017 National AFL Under 18s Championships Allies Squad:

NSW-ACT (GWS Academy): Nicholas Shipley, Brendan Myers, Jack Powell, Nathan Richards, Jarrod Brander, Alex Paech, Daniel Johnston, Laine Fitzgerald, Doultan Langlands, Jy Lane, Tom Highmore, Charlie Spargo
NSW-ACT (Sydney academy): Luke Skrivanic, Nick Blakey, James Bell, Michael Carroll, Harrison Carr, Luke Robertson, Jarrod Osborne, Jake Brown, Jack Hardman
Northern Territory: Rodney Baird, Zac Bailey, Matthew Green, Jeremiah Scrutton, Tony Olango, Adam Sambono, Dominic Grant
Queensland (Gold Coast academy): Brodie Foster, Brayden Crossley, Harry Simmington, Jacob Dawson, Bailey Scott, Sam Davidson, Damien Burke, Timakoi Bowie, Caleb Graham, Kwaby Boakye
Queensland (Brisbane Lions academy): Connor Ballenden, Jack Payne, Jack Clayton, Ben Sloan
Tasmania: Chayce Jones**, Tarryn Thomas, Hugh Dixon, Thomas Mundy, Jake Hinds, Nicholas Hutchinson
** Jones has been ruled out through injury and has been replaced by Zach Buechner (Tasmania)

15 Division Two names to watch out for in 2017

NSW/ACT's Jack Powell. (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images)
NSW/ACT’s Jack Powell. (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images)

The Division Two state carnival wrapped up a fortnight ago with NSW/ACT running away as winners. With clubs having the ability to trade future draft picks, Matthew Grundy casts his eye over 15 of the top talent to watch out for next year from the Division Two states.


Charlie Spargo 
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
25/11/1999 | 175cm | 75kg

Nearly 18 months out from the 2017 draft, Charlie Spargo is already touted as one of the best players for next year. Spargo has spent most of 2016 inside 50 for the Bushrangers and for NSW/ACT, kicking five goals in the TAC Cup. His Under 16 championships last year was impressive, where he won the Alan McLean Medal as the best player in the Division Two carnival and the MVP for NSW/ACT. Spargo averaged 29 disposals and kicked five goals in the two games and is tied with the GWS Giants academy. Spargo has AFL ties in his blood, his father Paul played 90 AFL games for Brisbane Bears and North Melbourne. Spargo is a high impact player and has a good burst of pace in the midfield, showing spark around the contest. Despite playing just the one game for NSW/ACT in this years Under 18 championship, he was selected in the Allies squad. Spargo also had 13 disposals on NEAFL debut earlier in the year and is a name to listen out for over the next 18 months.

Jack Powell 
Balanced Midfielder/Small Forward (Ainslie/NSW-ACT)
15/07/1999 | 179cm | 73kg

Jack Powell is another NSW/ACT player tied with the GWS Giants. Powell spent most of his time in the Under 16 championships last year playing forward, with an impressive three goal haul against Tasmania . Powell has gradually moved into the midfield, where he averaged 18 disposals in the Under 18 Division Two carnival in 2016. Powell’s strong performance saw him picked in the Allies squad where he was selected in their opening game. The hard working midfielder was one of the Rams’ best players in their TAC Cup clash against Dandenong Stingrays in April. Powell had 26 disposals and kicked two goals that day in a strong showing. The tough Canberra based midfielder has the uncanny ability to win lots of the football and push forward to kick goals.

Nathan Richards
Ruckman (Griffith/NSW-ACT)
01/02/1999 | 197cm | 99kg

Giant ruckman Nathan Richards has the potential to be one of the best ruckman in the 2017 draft pool. Linked with GWS, Richards has a basketball background that helps him at the stoppages where he impressed as the NSW/ACT number two ruckman in the Under 18 championships. Playing second fiddle to Max Lynch, Richards gave the midfielders good supply with his tap work. Richards rucked well in the U16 championships, including a best on ground display against Queensland. Richards positions himself well at the stoppages, but does need to work on his impact around the ground.

Jarrod Brander
Key Position Forward (Bendigo Pioneers/NSW-ACT)
11/02/1999 | 193cm | 93kg

Key Position Forward Jarrod Brander looms as one of the early tall prospects for the 2017 draft. Brander is currently on a scholarship to Geelong Grammar in Victoria, where he kicked 28 goals as a Year 10 in the First XVIII competition. Brander kicked four goals in the U16 Championships playing inside 50 for NSW/ACT, making it into the Level One AFL Academy. Brander suffered a knee injury and has missed a large portion of this season recently returning to school football. Brander is one to keep a real close eye on next season.

Alex Paech
Key Position Utility (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
17/06/1999 | 195cm | 104kg

Alex Paech is one of the most intriguing prospects for the 2017 draft. Paech weighs over 100kg and out muscles his opponents at both ends of the ground. Paech has played mostly in defence for the Bushrangers this season in the TAC Cup but can work forward and through the ruck. Paech was named in the best twice for NSW/ACT in the Under 16 championships enabling him to be selected in the Level One AFL Academy. His second and third efforts are good in defence and he rebounds the ball well. For Paech to improve his mobility expect him to trim down throughout the next 18 months prior to the draft where he could be one of the best swingmen in the system. Paech is yet another NSW/ACT player linked with the GWS Giants and their academy.

Alex Paech (Photo: Murray Bushrangers)
Alex Paech (Photo: Murray Bushrangers)

Jack Hardman
Small Forwad (Warners Bay Bulldogs/NSW-ACT)
31/12/1999 | 173cm | 72kg

Jack Hardman is one of the few NSW/ACT players who are tied with the Sydney Swans academy. Hardman is an exciting small forward who has impressed for NSW/ACT. Hardman averaged 17 disposals and kicked five goals in the two TAC Cup games for the Rams earlier this year. Despite not playing a match for NSW/ACT in the Division Two championships, he is the leading goal kicker for his club team (Warners Bay Bulldogs). It wouldn’t surprise me to see Hardman play a game with the Sydney Swans NEAFL team at some point this year. Hardman’s X-Factor is exciting and is a tough opponent for any defender in the pocket.

Jack Hardman v Calder Cannons (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images).
Jack Hardman v Calder Cannons (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images).


Connor Ballenden
Key Position Forwad (University of Queensland/Queensland)
29/03/1999 | 198cm | 95kg

One of the best key forwards in the 2017 draft will have a massive price tag if he plays as well as he has so far this year. Ballenden has shown real strength up forward this year, including two goals and nine marks in the Queensland trial match against Vic Country earlier in the year. Ballenden was superb in the Under 16 championships last year, winning the Queensland MVP kicking six goals for the carnival. A five-goal haul in the Under 18 championships against Tasmania this year ensured his selection in the Allies squad. Ballenden takes the ball out in front of his body using his body to his advantage. Ballenden’s set shot technique is good and he works hard on the lead. Ballenden has all the potential to being the a top five selection in 2017. Ballenden is a member of the Brisbane Lions academy and should make a dynamic duo with Josh Schache in years to come.

Connor Ballenden- AFL Media
Connor Ballenden- AFL Media

Jack Clayton
Medium Defender (University of Queensland/Queensland)
25/02/1999 | 184cm | 74kg

Multi-talented sportsman Jack Clayton is one of the best kicks out of the 2017 draft prospects. Clayton is a strong cricketer, dominating the Under 17 championships with the bat- But has begun the season well apart of the Level One AFL Academy. Clayton is a rebounding half back who uses his strong kick to his advantage. In his only game for Queensland in the TAC Cup this year, he collected 16 disposals at a superb efficiency of 75 per cent. Clayton also played a role in the defensive 50 throughout the Under 18 championships, often tasked with the kick outs. Throughout the championships he averaged 12 disposals at an efficiency of 71 per cent.

Jack Clayton in the U18 championships v Tasmania. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)
Jack Clayton in the U18 championships v Tasmania. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)

Brayden Crossley
Ruckman (Labrador/Queensland)
16/08/1999 | 198cm | 100kg

Gold Coast Suns academy member Brayden Crossley is one of the best talls in the 2017 crop. Crossley is predominantly a ruckman, but does have the capabilities to play forward. A strong Under 16 championship last year saw him just miss out on AFL Academy selection, after kicking four goals and being named in the best in all games. Crossley also become the NEAFL Rising Star in Round 7 this year, collecting 21 disposals and 17 hit-outs. Crossley is a tough and skillful ruckman who has many traits needed to be drafted, after starting 2016 well.

Harry Simington 
Medium Forward (Labrador/Queensland)
28/03/1999 | 188cm | 87kg

Forward Harry Simington is also a Queensland player linked with the Gold Coast Suns. As a medium forward, Simington has a great ability to mark the ball and provide spark inside 50. In his one and only game at the Under 18 championships, Simington had 17 disposals and six marks, kicking two goals in Queensland’s strong win. Simington has also shown glimpses at NEAFL level in his five games this year. The mobile target leads up the ground well, converting his multiple chances.

Jacob Dawson
Balanced Midfielder (Palm Beach/Queensland)
16/08/1999 | 181cm | 77kg

One of the best performed bottom age midfielder for Queensland was Jacob Dawson. The Gold Coast academy member was named in the best twice in the Under 16 championships and he carried that form into this season. In his only TAC Cup game he had 19 disposals and seven tackles at 89 per cent efficiency. The midfielder was also good through the Under 18 championships, averaging 17 disposals and five tackles. Dawson is strong at the clearances added with his slick and strong skills, makes him a strong all round midfielder that could prove to be a top prospect in 2017.

Jacob Dawson (right) at the Division Two championships. (Photo: AFL Queensland Facebook)
Jacob Dawson (right) at the Division Two championships. (Photo: AFL Queensland Facebook)

Northern Territory

Dominic Grant
Inside Midfielder (Wanderers/NT)
29/01/1999 | 189cm | 77kg

Tough inside midfielder Dominic Grant is a member of the Level One AFL Academy and shows plenty of energy around the contest. Grant’s tackling pressure is superb and had a strong Under 16 championship for NT, named in the best twice. Playing as a half forward and pushing through the midfield, Grant had 17 disposals and five clearances in this years Under 18 championship. Grant has been playing SANFL football for North Adelaide in the Under 18 competition and will be pushing to play in the SANFL reserves at some point this year.

Dominic Grant (#17) against Queensland. (Photo: AFL NT Facebook)
Dominic Grant (#17) against Queensland. (Photo: AFL NT Facebook)

Xavier Cubillo
Outside Midfielder (Wanderers/NT)
26/01/1999 | 174cm | 72kg

Hardworking outside midfielder Xavier Cubillo is another player worth watching. Cubillo had a solid Under 16 championships named in the best twice. Cubillo has showed promise in the TAC Cup, averaging 13 disposals and four marks providing plenty of run on the outside for NT. He also had the chance to play as a bottom ager in the Under 18 championships, collecting nine disposals and two inside 50s on average. The gut running midfielder is one to keep an eye on throughout the next 18 months as one of the better prospects to come out from NT.

Xavier Cubillo in the Division Two Under 18 championships. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)
Xavier Cubillo in the Division Two Under 18 championships. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)


Jake Hinds 
Inside Midfielder (Launceston/TAS)
07/05/1999 | 183cm | 78kg

Despite being bottom age, Jake Hinds was one of the best performing Tasmanians in the Under 18 championships. Hinds moves well around the contest and also has the ability to play in multiple positions. Despite a relatively quiet Under 16 championship he hit back and averaged 15 disposals in the Under 18 carnival. Hinds was one of the few bright lights in the Tasmanian team and is definitely a name to watch over the next 18 months.

Hinds playing for Tasmania in the Division Two carnival. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)
Hinds playing for Tasmania in the Division Two carnival. (Photo by Matt Roberts/AFL Media)

Lachlan Clifford 
Inside Midfielder (Kingborough/TAS)
18/02/1999 | 178cm | 73kg

Ball magnet Lachlan Clifford has shown promise as a small midfielder. Despite his size, Clifford wins a large chunk of contested ball providing plenty of energy around the stoppages. In the TAC Cup, Clifford has averaged 22 disposals and 15 tackles in his two games showing his ability to match it with bigger and strong opponents. Despite a poor Under 18 championship for Tasmania, Clliford averaged 13 disposals, six tackles and five clearance on the inside. A knock on Clifford is his disposal efficiency and he will be working hard on cleaning that up before next years Under 18 championships.

Lachlan Clifford tackled against Eastern. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media)
Lachlan Clifford tackled against Eastern. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media)