Tag: Jai Nanscawen

Weekend preview: NAB League Boys – Round 1

TOMORROW marks the start of a new era in Victorian Under 18 Boys football, with the brand new NAB League Boys competition kicking off. A standalone game at MARS Stadium begins the first round, before a spread of matches across Victoria on Sunday will provide plenty of highlights for the 2019 draft crop.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 1 – 23/03/2019
3:00pm
Mars Stadium – Ballarat

The standalone game on Saturday afternoon pits the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels against reigning premiers, Dandenong Stingrays. The game marks the second consecutive match the Rebels have played against the Stingrays, having been on the receiving end of a belting in last year’s elimination final. The Stingrays have made some changes with a new coach and talent manager coming into the fold, while also losing a fair chunk of their premiership side. They will now rely on a lot of bottom-agers as well as some talented top-agers who featured in parts throughout the 2018 season. Led by top prospect, Hayden Young, the Stingrays have a solid team across the board with last year’s co-catain Mitch Riordan slotting into the centre for this match, and the likes of overager Jai Nanscawen and Luca Goonan also named there, while Sam Merrick – who tested well at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day on a wing. It will largely be a new-look side both on an off the field for the Stingrays, while for the Rebels, they have a large among of players who tasted plenty of football last year. The midfield contains overager, Matty Lloyd who is looking at a new inside role, as well as some silky top-agers in Mitch Martin and Isaac Wareham, the inside ability of Cooper Craig-Peters and bottom-age talent, Nick Stevens. Fellow overagers, James Cleaver and Jed Hill provide some good run up either end, while the ruck duel between Patrick Glanford and Bailey Schmidt will be one to watch. The Stingrays deserve to be favourites, having the wood over the Rebels the past few years, but with so much change, it is as good a time as any for the home team to grab much needed points in the opening round.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
10:00am
RSEA Park – Moorabbin

The next day at RSEA Park, Sandringham Dragons face Calder Cannons in the first of a Metro double header at the ground. The Dragons are stacked with talent across the board and will be one of the teams to beat this season. The Dragons’ spine of Corey Watts, Fischer McAsey, Jack Mahony, Charlie Dean and Riley Bowman looks ominous, while a midfield containing Ryan Byrnes, Finn Magginness and Josh Worrell will match it with the best. For the Cannons, captain Brodie Newman holds down half-back with overager Tye Browning, while the athletic Thomas Cartwright has been named at full-back. The Cannons midfield is a strength with Daniel Mott, Sam Graham and Harrison Minton-Connell named in the middle. Josh Kemp is an exciting prospect who while overage, is still only in his second year in the system. There is no doubt the Cannons have a massive challenge on their hands here against a full-strength Dragons outfit. Winning the midfield battle is crucial and backing themselves to match Sandringham’s run is the challenge, while the Dragons will be keen to win in the first game at their new home in Moorabbin.

 

EASTERN RANGES v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
12:30pm
RSEA Park – Moorabbin

In the second match of the double header, Eastern Ranges take on a full-strength Oakleigh Chargers which is a huge challenge for the Ranges. A year more experienced with the likes of Mitch Mellis, Lachlan Stapleton and Chayce Black in the middle, captain James Ross, Todd Garner and Jarrod Gilbee in defence, and Billy McCormack and Jamieson Rossiter in attack, Eastern has a solid side on paper. Overagers, Cody Hirst and James Blanck will play key roles in the side, but they will all need to be at their best to topple the might of the Chargers. Nick Bryan heads up the ruck and will look to get first hands to Noah Anderson, Matt Rowell and Joe Ayton-Delaney who moves into a more contested role this year. Dylan Williams and former Rebel, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan provide excitement up forward, while Trent Bianco and Will Phillips use the ball well coming down the ground. The top-end talent and depth is clearly there for the Chargers and is a key reason why they are arguably the team to beat this season along with Sandringham and Gippsland, of whom all three are well represented in the AFL Academy.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
1:00pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

The second all-country clash of the weekend occurs at RAMS Arena in Craigieburn where Murray Bushrangers meet Gippsland Power. The Power are one of the contenders this season and look to be the top country team for season 2019. Coming off a preliminary final, albeit with a disappointing exit in the end, the large proportion of bottom-agers who steered the team to such a successful season are now top-agers and have the extra year of experience. For the Bushrangers, they also have their fair share of talented bottom-agers and should be the country side most likely to give Gippsland a run for its money. For Muray, its dynamic forward line will cause headaches, which in the past has been dominated by talls, but is more likely to be the hybrid-medium-smalls who create some issues for opposition defenders. Jye ChalcraftCam Wilson and Elijah Hollands can be damaging at ground level while Will Chandler provides some height up forward, and the match-ups with Jake van der Pligt, Brock Smith, Ryan Sparkes and Tye Hourigan will be the ones to watch. Leo Connolly, Fraser Phillips and Sam Flanders going head-to-head with the likes of Jimmy Boyer, Dylan Clarke and Cam Wild will be another interesting battle, while Josh Smith and Ben Kelly could go head-to-head in the Power forwad line. While Gippsland are missing key midfielder Caleb Serong, expect them to get the job done in what could be a thrilling contest to open the season.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
2:00pm
Colac Football Ground – Colac

A couple of teams with unknowns about them face-off in Colac, as Geelong Falcons host Bendigo Pioneers. The Falcons have a lot of new players in their side, while the Pioneers are always a young team. With many of the names getting games last year, the Pioneers should feel some line-up consistency for round 1. High-flyers, Braydon Vaz and Will Wallace hold down the key defensive posts for the Pioneers, while Brodie Kemp, Thomson Dow and Riley Ironside all fill out the midfield. They will have to battle top talent, Cooper Stephens, as well as overage forward-turned-midfielder, Charlie Sprague and Charlie Harris. Jesse Clark will look to provide some run and carry out of a new-look defence in 2019, while the likes of Jay Dahlhaus and Charlie Lazzaro are ever-dangerous inside 50. The Falcons given their record and form late last year, including from some of their bottom-agers in 2018, will have them heading in as favourites, but Bendigo could well take home the points given the majority of their line-up – minus Flynn Perez who is out with an ACL and a couple of others like Matt Hird – is able to play.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
3:40pm
Ikon Park – Carlton

The final game of the round heads to Ikon Park where the Knights and Jets go head-to-head in what could be a battle of the two most improved sides heading into this year. Last year the Jets made the finals but were bundled out in the elimination final, while the Knights had a disapponting loss to GWV Rebels the week before in the Wild Card round. Both teams are capable of creating scoring opportunities, as Josh D’Intinosante and Darcy Cassar were a couple of the more dangerous half-forwards last season. Emerson Jeka will start at centre half-forward and no doubt be the main target inside 50, while Eddie Ford and Josh Honey know where the goals are. Daly Andrews is a handy overager to return to the side, while Spencer Johnson and Josh Kellett will come out of defence. The Knights’ bottom-agers were among the top players last season, and Nathan Howard will take up the ruck duties, while Adam Crafa, Sam Philp and Sunny Brazier will use their bigger bodies to try and outmuscle the Jets midfield. Ryan Gardner, Lachlan Potter and Ryan Sturgess will move the ball in transition, while former Sandringham Dragon, Will Kennedy and Aaron Clarke are two Jets who will look to stretch the Knights when forward.

NAB League season preview: Dandenong Stingrays

REIGNING premiers, Dandenong Stingrays are one of a number of sides with a fresh face in the Talent Manager role, as Darren Flanigan returned to the club for the 2019 season. The Stingrays claimed the ultimate TAC Cup glory last year in the club’s sixth attempt, and now under the new NAB League banner, will be keen to build on that momentum.

Flanigan said while he did not arrive until after the pre-season had started – in late November – he had liked what he had seen from the group.

“I missed the start of it (preseason), but I’ve been really impressed with the level of intensity of the group,” he said. “We’ve got some really nice athletes and we’ve got some good size, skills are always a work in progress of course, but the attitude and application of the players has been fantastic.”

The premiership had been a boost to the entire club and described it as “good promotion for the area”. While many of those premiership players have left now, a number of bottom-agers from that memorable day remain. One of them is Hayden Young, the Stingrays’ top prospect and club captain.

“Hayden’s our captain, he sets a really good example, he’s dong a really good job of driving the group and he sets really high standards on himself and his game,” Flanigan said. “I think he’s probably a little bit disappointed in his first practice match, but that was the first bit of competitiveness all preseason so we just know with the kid with his level of professionalism that’ll be just the springboard to a better season.”

One player who played in the premiership last year but spent considerable time on the sidelines due to injury, was co-captain Mitch Riordan. He has returned as a 19-year-old this season and will provide invaluable experience to the midfield group.

“Mitch had a great game last week, coming back as a 19-year-old he’ll do a little bit of work with mentoring the leadership group because he was in the leadership group last year,” Flanigan said. “So that’ll add another string to his bow. “Ned Cahill is our vice captain, he’s also learning from the front, so he and Hayden are setting really high standards.”

Speaking of Cahill, he is currently overcoming some tendonitis in his ankle, held back from testing at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day by Rookie Me.

“We could’ve tested him today but, what does that achieve?” Flanigan said. “He’s got a really long year in front of him with Nationals and we assume he’ll be playing a lot of footy with us, so it’s just a little bit of precaution with him.”

Along with Riordan, the Stingrays have brought back small forward Jai Nanscawen, forward-ruck Bailey Schmidt and medium forward Corey Ellison as the overagers this season. The other 19-year-old prospect this season is described by Flanigan as a “bit of a smoky” in John Roysmith.

“He’s been a boarder at Melbourne Grammar for the last couple years so hasn’t been in the system, but we were alerted to him, and he’s tested really well,” Flanigan said. “He’s top 10 athletically in the club, still got a little bit to learn about the speed of the game, he’s come from playing school footy which is a lot slower than what we play here, so the speed of the game is something he’s got to learn, absorbing all the knowledge he can. “We think he’s a really good prospect, especially for the second half of the year.”

As for expectations, Flanigan said there was good depth across the field in multiple positions and the side would look to make finals in 2019.

“You don’t know with such a raw list, with so few games coming back, we really don’t know how we’ll go, but some of our talls are really talented,” he said. “In this comp you need a good, deep midfield, and I think we’ve got some nice strong bodies around the footy, got a bit of speed around the outside so we think as far as team balance goes, we’ll be okay.”

Dandenong Stingrays’ season begins on Saturday, March 23 at MARS Stadium when they face the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels.

AFL Draft preview: Port Adelaide

PORT Adelaide’s 2018 season can only be described as a “wasted season.” The Power were sitting in fourth position after round 16 with 11 wins, before slumping to tenth spot, winning just one more game before the season concluded. They recruited strongly in the 2017 off-season, bringing in three players – Jack Watts, Tom Rockliff and Steven Motlop – but their goals of moving up the ladder with the extra experience did not pan out.

List needs:

  • Outside midfielders
  • Small-medium forward
  • Key position forward depth

Draft Picks: 5, 10, 15, 85

The 2018 AFL Draft is crucial for Port Adelaide as they have three first round picks which they have to nail. At pick five they will likely consider a Sandringham Dragons player with Max or Ben King, or Bailey Smith all coming into consideration. Jye Caldwell could come into the Power’s thinking, though the inside-leaning midfielder would be used more on the outside. Expect a best available selection with pick five, likely to be a King. The Power are stocked for key position players, but the ones in the forward half are ageing, with Justin Westhoff and Paddy Ryder in the twilight on their careers. Port has more depth in the key defensive posts, but might decide to bring in Ben King to be the future star – who could also play forward.

With pick 10, they could look to West Australian Jordan Clark who will add skill on the half-back line or wing. Like Hamish Hartlett, Clark can turn a defensive situation into an offensive opportunity with his physicality, smarts and supreme skills. Other players that are in consideration with this pick are Jackson Hately, and Chayce Jones, while another to keep in mind is Western Jets’ Zak Butters who will reportedly go inside the top 12 selections.

With the third pick, if one of the above slides, the Power should look to snap up another running player, while Xavier Duursma seems a perfect fit for Port Adelaide at the selection. West Australian, Ian Hill fills the void for outside speed and skill, while Port are perfectly placed to throw some bids on the likes of Tarryn Thomas and Isaac Quaynor both of whom could fill needs at the club.

At pick 85, the Power may look at a key defender with Tom Jonas, Tom Clurey, Dougal Howard and Jarrod Lienert the only recognised key defenders. Some prospects include Connor Idun, Kyle Reid, and Riley Grundy. They could consider a small forward if they had not already picked one up, with Hayden Sampson, Kade Chandler and Boyd Woodcock among the South Australian talents who could be there, while Jed HillJai Nanscawen and Zane Keighran are Victorians who could be sneaky chances. Some left-field choices include Western Magpies’ Adam Tipungwuti or Frankston’s Corey Rich, though both could be rookie selections.

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)

Vic Country Under 18s squad finalised

DANDENONG Stingrays’ hot start to the TAC Cup season has got even better with twelve Stingrays in the finalised Vic Country squad for the upcoming National Under 18 Championships. First round talents Bailey Williams, Riley Bowman and Mitch Riordan are all in the side, as is the speedy Zac Foot and Jai Nanscawen and top five bottom-age prospect Hayden Young.
 
Geelong Falcons have eight players in the final 42-man squad, meaning almost half of the players in Vic Country are Stingrays or Falcons. Gippsland Power has a remarkable three bottom-agers and one over-ager in the side from seven representatives, while Murray Bushrangers have five. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Bendigo Pioneers have three nominees each.
 
Ones to watch include Geelong duo Sam Walsh and Ned McHenry who form a formidable midfield combination with Riordan, while Gippsland captain Xavier Duursma and Bendigo talent Jye Caldwell are among others to keep an eye on. Thomas Berry could be one to watch if he gets to full fitness, while Irving Mosquito and Zane Barzen are others who create something out of nothing up forward. Vic Country kicks off its championships with a match on June 9 against the Allies, followed by tames against South Australia, Vic Metro and Western Australia across June.
 
Vic Country’s National Under 18 Championships fixture:
 
Rd 1 vs Allies, Saturday June 9, 1.10pm
Rd 2 vs South Australia, Sunday June 17, 11am, Thebarton Oval
Rd 3 vs Vic Metro, Saturday June 24, 12pm, MCG
Rd 4 vs Western Australia, Friday June 29, 4.40pm, GMHBA Stadium
 
FIRSTNAME SURNAME DOB HT WT Region LOCAL CLUB/SCHOOL
Jye Caldwell 28/09/2000 184 78 Bendigo Pioneers Golden Square/Geelong Grammar
Zane Keighran 19/10/2000 182 79 Bendigo Pioneers Golden Square/Bendigo Senior Secondary
Brodie Kemp 1/05/2001 193 76 Bendigo Pioneers Echuca/Geelong Grammar
William Hamill 17/11/2000 185 70 Dandenong Stingrays Dromana Senior FC/Padua College
Toby Bedford 27/05/2000 176 65 Dandenong Stingrays Rosebud Senior FC/Melbourne Grammar
Jai Taylor 3/02/2000 187 71 Dandenong Stingrays Red Hill Senior FC
Zac Foot 24/12/2000 180 71 Dandenong Stingrays Langwarrin Senior FC/Elisabeth Murdoch College
Jake Frawley 3/08/1999 187 81 Dandenong Stingrays Pearcedale Senior FC
Hayden Young 11/04/2001 186 79 Dandenong Stingrays Somerville Junior FC/Mornington SC
Mitchell Riordan 25/01/2000 186 79 Dandenong Stingrays Beaconsfield Senior FC/Haileybury College
Sam Fletcher 27/01/2000 187 79 Dandenong Stingrays Red Hill Senior FC
Jai Nanscawen 31/03/2000 184 73 Dandenong Stingrays Rosebud Senior FC/SEDA
Bailey Schmidt 7/03/2000 199 97 Dandenong Stingrays Seaford Senior FC
Bailey Williams 17/04/2000 198 95 Dandenong Stingrays Pines Senior FC/Westernport SC
Riley Bowman 25/02/2000 198 82 Dandenong Stingrays Crib Pt Senior FC
Samuel Walsh 2/07/2000 183 74 Geelong Falcons St. Josephs/St.Josephs
Edward McHenry 13/07/2000 176 71 Geelong Falcons Barwon Heads/Geelong College
Cooper Stephens 17/01/2001 187 70 Geelong Falcons Colac/Trinity College
Oscar Brownless 16/02/2000 186 76 Geelong Falcons Geelong Amateurs
Charlie Sprague 8/05/2000 187 79 Geelong Falcons Barwon Heads/Geelong College
Dane Hollenkamp 22/10/1999 200 83 Geelong Falcons Torquay
Blake Schlensog 25/09/2000 198 90 Geelong Falcons Grovedale
Connor Idun 29/07/2000 190 89 Geelong Falcons Drysdale/Christian College Geelong
Xavier Duursma 7/07/2000 185 71 Gippsland Power Foster/South Gippsland Secondary College
Irving Mosquito 24/08/2000 175 69 Gippsland Power Maffra/Gippsland Grammar Sale
Caleb Serong 9/02/2001 178 82 Gippsland Power Warragul/Geelong Grammar
Sam Flanders 24/07/2001 183 81 Gippsland Power Moe/Lowanna Secondary College
Kyle Reid 12/08/2000 193 85 Gippsland Power Leongatha/Wonthaggi Secondary College
Brock Smith 13/03/2001 188 78 Gippsland Power Moe/Lowanna Secondary College
Matthew McGannon 27/12/1999 184 73 Gippsland Power Fish Creek/Mary Mackillop Catholic College Leongatha
Thomas Berry 1/05/2000 185 76 GWV Rebels Horsham Saints / Ballarat Clarendon
Matty Lloyd 2/11/2000 185 77 GWV Rebels Horsham Demons / St Patricks College
Scott Carlin 17/01/2000 185 78 GWV Rebels Terang / St Patricks College
Laitham Vandermeer 3/02/1999 180 76 Murray Bushrangers Mooroopna
Lachlan Ash 21/06/2001 186 77 Murray Bushrangers Shepparton Bears / Notre Dame College
Mark Marriott 14/01/2000 202 89 Murray Bushrangers Benalla Saints / Goulburn Valley Grammar
Zane Barzen 29/10/2000 193 77 Murray Bushrangers Shepparton United / Notre Dame College
Hudson Garoni 25/08/2000 195 91 Murray Bushrangers Wodonga Bulldogs / Catholic College Wodonga
 

TAC Cup previews: Round 4

SO many changes at the selection table and ahead of round four we investigate which players will need to stand out, and those who will need to continue their form in order to get their team across the line in round four of the TAC Cup competition.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 

Round 4 – Friday, April 20, 7pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

Bendigo Pioneers host Oakleigh Chargers under lights tonight at Queen Elizabeth Oval and it becomes a game which is almost impossible to predict how it is going to go. Bendigo has made at least six changes, something that pales in comparison with Oakleigh’s team selection as 13 players return to school football or other commitments. Noah Anderson will be a key out, second overall in clearances for the Chargers, but Bendigo will still need to watch James Rowbottom, who has notched up 17 clearances (eight centre clearances) and is influential at the stoppages.

Bendigo’s 1-2 counter punch at the stoppages are Noah Wheeler and Zane Keighran with the latter named at half-back for the match. They have 21 clearances between them in season 2018, but Wheeler has also been crucial for 12 inside 50s. Bailey Henderson has been named up forward after being Mr Consistent at half-back, and he will line-up alongside Will Holt who is leading the goal kicking in the competition with Max King. The injury to Daniel Keating will be felt, with the in-form ruck having played some great football to date, and the Pioneers will look to Matt Hird in his first game this year to provide the midfielders with the first possession.

For Oakleigh, they will need their depth to step up in the absence of Anderson, Trent Bianco, Matt Rowell, Jack Ross and Charlie Whitehead in the middle, while Ben Silvagni has been the most influential forward in terms of scoreboard influence this year. In his place comes Sam Elliott who moves to full-forward with Daniel Scala the key small down there. With Anderson, Silvagni, Whitehead and Zac Hart gone, the Chargers lose four of their top five players involved in scoring chains this year. Instead of having eight of the top 10 in this match-up, it is more even 6-4 split. Oakleigh still has the depth to win the game, but Bendigo will be hoping to take advantage of the mass changes and its strong inside brigade make the most of its experience at the stoppages.

GEELONG FALCONS v. EASTERN RANGES 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.15am
Avalon Airport Oval, Werribee

In a game where both sides are still looking for their first win, last year’s reigning premiers and the team with the most players drafted in 2017, find themselves in a vastly different situation six months on. Geelong will welcome back Sam Walsh who is a crucial cog in the Falcons midfield, especially against an Eastern Ranges outfit which will be without the likes of Xavier Fry and Cody Hirst who both rotate through there.

Geelong will miss Charlie Sprague who has been arguably the most consistent Falcons player who has played all three games, as Sprague heads back to play school football, as will Cooper Stephens and a host of others among seven changes for Geelong. Eastern have also made six changes, with Hirst’s a forced one through injury. One area in which Eastern can try and take control is in the midfield with a strong inside brigade. With no Ed McHenry, the Ranges have four of the top five clearance players in the game, with Joel Burleigh, Jonte Duffy, Adrian Kalcovski and Lachlan Stapleton all providing good extraction from the stoppages. Oscar Brownless, Baxter Mensch, Brayden Ham and of course Walsh will look to go head-to-head with the Eastern onballers in what could decide the match.

The big question for these teams is scoring, with the Falcons missing Sprague (who would have the highest scoreboard impact in this match-up) and relying on Blake Schlensog who has had nine score involvements, three more than any other player on the field this season. Based on the season so far, both teams will look to share the load in terms of scoring, with Billy McCormack and Thomas Lockman named as the key position posts for Eastern, while Finlay Parish comes in for his first game and will line-up at centre-half forward in between Ham and Walsh. Throwing Connor Idun forward continues to offer a different look for the Falcons, and with a marked improvement in round three compared to the prior two rounds, the Falcons will be confident going into this one.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.30am
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

In the other early game on Saturday, Murray Bushrangers will look to win their third consecutive match, while Sandringham Dragons head into the game unbeaten. With the start of the APS and AGVS seasons, the Dragons are hit harder than any other team and lose almost all of their best 22 – they made 16 changes. It will be a great test to see if they can overcome the Bushrangers with their next tier of players, and see some stand up in the absence of others.

Players who have been in form for the Dragons include Alastair Richards, Liam Stocker and Kai Owen, the three highest extractors for the Dragons this season who have been named in the line-up. Without Dawit McNeish and Bailey Smith, the Dragons will need to win the clearances against a Bushrangers midfield which includes Ely Smith and Dylan Clarke, with Mark Marriott dominant in the ruck more often than not. Losing the King twins always hurts, but the Dragons got the job done against Calder without them, and they will look to James Rendell to continue his good form – booting four goals in the second half against the Cannons – to have an impact on the contest. Up the other end, the Bushrangers have no shortage of contributors, with Patrick Warner (six goals), Bailey Frauenfelder (five), Riley Bice (four) and Jacob Koschitkze (three) all having an impact. Sandringham will be vastly unknown quantity up forward, with Liam Stocker (two) the highest season goal kicker behind Rendell, with Angus Hanrahan thrown forward for this match.

Last year the Dragons knocked off Dandenong Stingrays at Frankston Oval after making 17 changes to its side at the start of the APS season. It was a remarkable win, and they will be looking to do the same here. The trick will be trying to limit the influence of Murray’s midfield and working as a team to ensure they don’t concede too many early goals as they try and gel which is always difficult with wholesale changes. Murray does not rely on one goal kicker to kick a high score, something Sandringham will look for this round as the teams aim to share the goals around and provide a great contest in Wangaratta.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 12.45pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell

In what is shaping to be a great contest, Gippsland Power takes on Northern Knights at Morwell, a ground where the Power pushed Dandenong Stingrays all the way a few weeks back. The Knights have also improved since a round one capitulation against the Sandringham Dragons, and are starting to find their groove – so naturally both sides have been scattered with the start of the school football system with Gippsland’s four omissions among their four most important players – Xavier Duursma, Sam Flanders, Austin Hodge and Caleb Serong. Northern has also lost their most consistent ball winner in Tom McKenzie, as well as the likes of Justin McInerney, Oscar White and Joel Naylor among at least seven changes.

Gippsland will look to rely on Matthew McGannon for plenty of drive out of the back half, with the overager leading the competition in disposals (84) and marks (30). Through the midfield, Riley Baldi’s role as a clearance gem will become more important given the loss of partner in crime Hodge, and the fact the Knights will be without the only player with more clearances than Baldi this season in McKenzie. Gippsland will look to the likes of Nick Lowden, Brett Thorson and Boadie Motton to stand up through the middle and around the ground who have been that next tier of players behind the four omissions. Brock Smith is a talented bottom-ager who provides great drive, while Ryan Sparkes is another one who has impressed so far this season. Gippsland’s forward line is vastly untouched outside of Flanders, with Irving Mosquito and Josh Smith – two of the three highest Power goal kickers – both in the side.

For Northern, Josh D’Intinosante and Braedyn Gillard shape as the two most important players. D’Intinosante is a bottom-ager who has a good all-round game providing forward pressure and scoreboard impact. He also gets up the ground and sets up his teammates, as does Gillard through the middle with his work at stoppages. Without McKenzie, Gillard will look to Harrison Grace and Ryan Gardner among others to try and win the midfield battle – an area which is weakened for the Power by their omissions. Lachlan Potter provides a good link down back, while Patrik Della Rocca and Mark Baker will be a couple of targets who can hit the scoreboard if given the opportunity. The battle between Rylan Henkel and Thomas Hallebone in the ruck will be fascinating with both players selected in the extended Vic Country and Vic Metro squads respectively.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. WESTERN JETS 

Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 12.30pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Dandenong Stingrays face Western Jets in the first game on Sunday, with the Stingrays losing a number of key players to school football and Under 18 Academy Series commitments. The Stingrays are yet to lose in season 2018, but their depth will be put to the test with the likes of Stephen and Matthew Cumming, Hayden Young, Mitch Riordan, Toby Bedford, Jai Nanscawen and Heath Briggs out of the side. Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams return from the AFL Academy game among a host of fresh faces including familiar Stingrays name Sam De Koning who lines up at centre-half back. For the Jets, Emerson Jeka is a big loss down forward, while Lucas Rocci is another out; but the return of AFL Academy member Buku Khamis will buoy the Jets coaching staff.

Western might have the upper hand if they can control Williams and Bowman in their defensive 50, with Aaron Clarke, Steven Kyriazis and Zak Butters three of the most damaging forwards in the game, all adding a different element inside 50 for the Jets. Bailey Schmidt, captain Campbell Hustwaite, and Finlay Bayne have the three highest score involvements of the remaining Dragons, although expect both Williams and Bowman to have a say in the team’s fortune down forward. Zac Foot booted four goals in the last outing against the GWV Rebels, so is another who could be damaging, but the Jets also have a strong defence to rely upon.

The likes of Khamis and Hamish Murphy hold down the key defensive posts, while Stefan Radovanovic and Jack Papachatzakis provide good run and defensive pressure. Xavier O’Halloran has been Mr Consistent through midfield, while Connor Thar provides a strong presence at the stoppages and is a known ball winner. Daly Andrews and Darcy Cassar are others who have shown some good signs throughout the season. For Dandenong, Jamie Plumridge and Will Hamill provide a good trio with Hustwaite, while Angus Paterson has been a rock in defence.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. CALDER CANNONS 

Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 1.30pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The final game of the round sees GWV Rebels return to MARS Stadium where they take on the Calder Cannons with both sides at a crucial junction in the early part of the season, sitting 1-2 after three rounds. The Rebels will look to turnaround from the heavy defeat at the hands of Dandenong Stingrays up in Bendigo, while Calder will look to build on the performance against Sandringham Dragons without their AFL Academy members, and bring the same level of intensity into this clash. Unlike many other teams, both sides have got stronger at the top end, with the Rebels welcoming back midfielder Tom Berry, while the Cannons have their AFL Academy trio in, of Jack Bytel, Curtis Taylor and Rhylee West. They do lose Mitch Podhajski and Mason Fletcher who have been consistent all season, but will be bolstered by the important returns.

Without a second thought, the clearances are going to be an entertaining battle with Lochie Dawson and Scott Carlin leading the way in this game, while Taylor, Bytel and Curtis will add some serious grunt in the middle. Neither side has a dominant key forward, and instead looks to share the goals around between talls and smalls, with Jed Hill (five), Mitch Martin (four) and Josh Chatfield (three) the top Rebels goal kickers; and Taylor (four) and Jack O’Sullivan (three) the top Cannons in the absence of Podhajski. Tylar Watts returns to the ruck against Devereux Pretty who is back into the side this week, with the ruck battle a crucial one-on-one in the overall scheme of things.

Calder has a consistent defence with Jack Evans, Lucas Cavallaro and Lachlan Sholl back there, while Kyle Baker adds composure and speed. Dylan Landt and Tye Browning are other consistent mid/forwards, while the Rebels have a mosquito fleet in attack. Matt Schnerring and Toby Mahony joining Hill, Chatfield and Martin as dangerous forwards, while Jed Henderson will look to provide a target as well. Harris Jennings and Charlie Wilson are other players to watch, while Angus Gove links well between midfield and attack.

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Round 4

MORE than 100 players have been named as inclusions across the twelve TAC Cup sides for round four as most sides are hit with forced omissions through the APS and AGVS competitions kicking off. The 101 players named as ‘ins’ include those named as emergencies, but there are still 83 players who were omitted from their respective sides from the round three clashes.

There are a number of big inclusions for those AFL Academy players who are not part of the school footballing system such as Isaac Quaynor (Oakleigh Chargers), Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons), Hudson Garoni (Murray Bushrangers), Buku Khamis (Western Jets), Dandenong Stingrays pair Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams, and Calder Cannons trio Curtis Taylor, Rhylee West (who has the APS bye) and Jack Bytel. GWV Rebels star Thomas Berry and overager Tyrone Hayes (Gippsland Power) return, with the latter having not played TAC Cup since round one last season.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 

Round 4 – Friday, April 20, 7pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

The fourth round of TAC Cup action kicks off tomorrow night in Bendigo when the Pioneers host the Oakleigh Chargers under lights at Queen Elizabeth Oval. The Pioneers are searching for their second win of the season, while Oakleigh will be hoping to go three wins from four games. Brodie Kemp, Kobe Lloyd and Daniel Keating – the latter injured himself in the Pioneers’ last clash – are all outs, with overage pair Zac Denahy and Oscar Perez, and bottom-age ruck Matt Hird among the inclusions. Will Holt will look to go to outright leader on the goal kicking table early on Friday night, with the Pioneers full-forward currently sharing the lead with Sandringham’s Max King who is missing due to APS commitments. For Oakleigh, 13 changes have been made with Noah Anderson, Ben Silvagni, Kyle Dunkley, Will Kelly, Jack Ross, Matt Rowell, Joseph Ayton-Delaney and Matthew Warren among the outs. AFL Academy member Isaac Quaynor is a huge in for the Chargers, while Sam Harte, Lachlan Bugeja and Sam Elliott are among those called into the team.

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 27. M. Lias, 11. J. Grace, 33. J. McHale
HB: 9. Z. Keighran, 24. N. McHugh, 43. H. Lawrence
C: 7. L.  Chisholm, 5. N.  Wheeler, 57. A.  Smith-Ralph
HF: 3. L. Marciano, 20. J. Schischka, 51. B. Waasdorp
F: 18. B. Henderson, 45. W. Holt, 17. R. Ironside
R: 12. M. Hird, 37. C. McCarty, 25. F. Perez
Int: 35. Z. Denahy, 1. M. Goodwin, 10. D. Grace, 2. J. Williams
23P: 38. K. Stevens

In: C. McCarty, M. Lias, D. Loveridge, K. Stevens, T. Walters, Z. Denahy, F. Perez, M. Hird
Out: K. Walker,  B. Kemp,  D. Keating,  T. Dow,  C. Vick,  K. Lloyd

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 39. S. Fernandez, 36. C. Beasley, 22. D. Williams
HB: 12. N. Answerth , 23. I. Quaynor, 35. X. Fry
C: 13. A.  Bosenavulagi, 1. R.  Collier-Dawkins, 24. S.  Harte
HF: 6. M. Day, 7. J. Robertson, 26. J. Gasper
F: 25. D. Scala, 63. S. Elliott, 42. K. Viccars
R: 71. T. Hogan, 5. X. O’Neill, 9. J. Rowbottom
Int: 2. L. Bugeja, 47. U. Chol, 64. C. Cormack, 56. M. Fewings, 65. L. Harry, 27. J. May, 50. V. Zagari
23P: 19. D. Romero

In: L. Bugeja, C. Cormack, J. Gasper, L. Harry, I. Quaynor, U. Chol, M. Fewings, D. Romero, S. Elliott, S. Fernandez, S. Harte, V. Zagari, J. May, C. Beasley, K. Viccars
Out: N. Anderson, B. Silvagni, K. Dunkley, B. Wraith, C. Leon, T. Bianco, M. Warren, W. Kelly, C. Whitehead, J. Ross, M. Rowell, Z. Hart, J. Ayton-Delaney

GEELONG FALCONS v. EASTERN RANGES 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.15am
Avalon Airport Oval, Werribee

In the early Saturday game, the two sides without a victory to their name will battle it out with Geelong Falcons hosting Eastern Ranges at Avalon Airport Oval in Werribee. Charlie Sprague and Cooper Stephens are a couple of omissions from the Falcons side that narrowly went down to Murray Bushrangers a fortnight ago, with school football returning. In their place comes a pretty handy player by the name of Sam Walsh, joining a couple of famous names in Finlay Parish and Sam Christensen in the 22. Eastern Ranges have also lost a couple of crucial players with Cody Hirst (injured) and Xavier Fry among the outs. Jordan Jaworski, Tyler Edwards and Ryan Einsporn will return to the team among at least six changes.

Geelong Falcons

B: 40. J. Clark, 31. C. Cartledge, 7. C. Harris
HB: 15. L. Handley, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 3. K. Rayner
C: 6. D.  Madigan, 25. L.  Taylor, 2. S.  Torpy
HF: 20. B. Ham, 32. F. Parish, 22. S. Walsh
F: 39. C. Idun, 48. B. Schlensog, 26. F. Wilson
R: 44. S. Conway, 30. O. Brownless, 10. B. Mensch
Int: 50. J. Grigsby, 9. B. Morton, 28. C. O’Connor, 16. B. Scott
23P: 17. S. Ham

In: L. Handley, F. Wilson, S. Christensen, S. Walsh, S. Ham, F. Parish, J. Grigsby, H. Spiller
Out: C. Sprague,  N. Young,  T. Richardson,  J. Muhor,  C. Stephens,  S. Bourke,  N. Conway

Eastern Ranges

B: 12. J. Gilbee, 53. J. Drake, 26. C. Norris
HB: 24. K. Quirk, 31. J. Blanck, 21. J. Ross
C: 4. R.  Clausen, 8. J.  Burleigh, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 10. C. Black, 42. T. Lockman, 45. M. Zalac
F: 9. J. Duffy, 18. B. McCormack, 5. R. Einsporn
R: 41. J. Corless, 7. L. Stapleton, 2. A. Kalcovski
Int: 38. M. Briggs, 20. B. Cardamone, 39. C. Daraio, 30. T. Edwards, 27. J. Jaworski, 32. F. Smith, 25. L. Vassis
23P: 37. J. Weichard

In: J. Drake, F. Smith, R. Einsporn, T. Edwards, J. Weichard, M. Briggs, J. Jaworski, C. Black
Out: T. Garner, S. Kapahnke, H. Chinn, J. Kritopoulos, C. Hirst, X. Fry

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.30am
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

Also on Saturday morning is the clash between Murray Bushrangers and Sandringham Dragons. The Bushrangers have made at least four changes for the clash after their victory over the Geelong Falcons a fortnight ago, with Ben Kelly missing due to the Academy Series, and Finbar O’Dwyer who was named in Murray’s best in that win, also out of this weekend’s clash. Star key position player Hudson Garoni returns to the team and will line-up at centre-half forward, while Fraser Ellis has been named in a back pocket. Sandringham have had their annual APS cleanout with 16 players making way in wholesale changes. The changes do not include the King brothers and Bailey Smith who were also missing from the Dragons’ round three clash. As always, the Dragons depth will be tested, with the likes of Tom Long, Ronan Ladds and Tom Fogarty among a huge list of inclusions.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 28. K. Clarke, 16. N. Murray, 33. F. Ellis
HB: 12. L. Ash, 8. J. Koschitzke, 34. T. Boyd
C: 6. W.  Chandler, 17. N.  Amery, 4. L.  Vandermeer
HF: 26. R. Bice, 18. H. Garoni, 10. P. Warner
F: 14. J. Chalcraft, 2. J. Butts, 13. B. Frauenfelder
R: 23. M. Marriott, 20. J. Bradshaw, 5. E. Smith
Int: 19. J. Boyer, 38. D. Clarke, 22. A. Dang, 32. E. Dayman
23P: 40. N. Irvine

In: N. Irvine, H. Garoni, E. Dayman, F. Ellis, W. Christie, M. Oates
Out: B. Kelly,  C. Hill,  F. O’Dwyer,  B. St John

Sandringham Dragons

B: 3. T. Fogarty, 20. H. Bede, 16. J. Paul
HB: 19. S. Forbes, 69. C. Watts, 18. A. Seaton
C: 14. R.  O’Meara, 2. A.  Richards, 46. L.  Witts
HF: 12. C. Jones, 34. C. Birmingham, 1. T. Long
F: 23. A. Hanrahan, 28. J. Rendell, 11. N. Stamatis
R: 32. J. Griffiths, 7. L. Stocker, 8. K. Owens
Int: 37. N. Bufalo, 50. T. Deane-Johns, 24. H. Ferdinand, 56. J. Hannah, 15. R. Ladds, 25. O. McMaster, 22. C. Millar
23P: 42. T. Murray

In: N. Bufalo, R. Ladds, T. Long, J. Griffiths, H. Ferdinand, J. Paul, R. O’Meara, L. Witts, C. Millar, C. Birmingham, J. Hannah, O. McMaster, T. Deane-Johns, T. Murray, H. Bede, T. Fogarty
Out: H. Ralphsmith, F. Maginness, J. Goddard, J. Mahony, D. McNeish, W. Kennedy, J. Denborough, J. Worrell, D. Chirgwin, M. Bergman, S. Sofronidis, H. Houlahan, E. Casey, A. Courtney

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 12.45pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell

Gippsland hosts a lunchtime clash against Northern on Saturday, with both sides losing key players to the school football system. Talented bottom-agers Caleb Serong and Sam Flanders are out, as is captain Xavier Duursma and over-ager Austin Hodge, all of whom have been in good form. Returning to the team sheet for the first time in more than 12 months is the excitement machine Tyrone Hayes who has been names on an extended bench, with Bailey Patterson and Zac Skinner also named in the team. Northern will miss Tom McKenzie‘s influence in the middle, with Oscar White and Justin McInerney also omissions from the team. In their place the likes of Sunny Brazier, Evan Tsitsis and Mitch Wild return to the fold.

Gippsland Power

B: 14. T. Hourigan, 23. N. Gown, 12. B. Smith
HB: 18. M. McGannon, 25. K. Reid, 15. R. Sparkes
C: 10. L.  Connolly, 13. N.  Lowden, 29. B.  Motton
HF: 9. I. Mosquito, 38. J. Wykes, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 3. M. McGannon, 16. J. Smith, 19. F. Phillips
R: 22. R. Henkel, 6. R. Baldi, 8. B. Beck
Int: 1. T. Hayes, 21. M. McGarrity, 7. B. Patterson, 43. Z. Skinner, 33. B. Thorson, 35. J. van der Pligt, 45. A. Young
23P: 36. M. Bentvelzen

In: T. Hayes, B. Patterson, A. Young, Z. Skinner, M. McGarrity, M. Bentvelzen
Out: C. Serong,  A. Hodge,  S. Flanders,  X. Duursma

Northern Knights

B: 5. L. Potter, 33. J. Randall, 11. R. Sturgess
HB: 25. J. Davies, 28. S. Uzelac, 14. E. Tsitsis
C: 1. R.  Gardner, 10. B.  Bell, 22. M.  Wild
HF: 24. R. Bowkett, 20. P. Della Rocca, 44. C. Wild
F: 17. J. D’Intinosante, 21. M. Baker, 40. N. Mayne
R: 16. T. Hallebone, 7. H. Grace, 3. B. Gillard
Int: 35. K. Agosta, 31. N. Barro, 18. S. Brazier, 34. Z. Hudson, 43. J. Murphy, 29. K. Nasser, 13. S. Philp
23P: 37. K. Brandt

In: E. Tsitsis, M. Wild, N. Barro, S. Brazier, K. Agosta, K. Nasser, Z. Hudson, J. Murphy, K. Brandt
Out: T. McKenzie, C. Simonsen, J. McInerney, A. Carafa, X. Naish, O. White, J. Naylor

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. WESTERN JETS 

Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 12.30pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

On Sunday, Dandenong Stingrays host the Western Jets at Shepley Oval, with plenty of talented talls switching places. The Stingrays lose a handful of top graders with twin talls Matthew and Stephen Cumming (Academy Series commitments with NT), midfield leader Mitch Riordan (School Football), pocket rocket Jai Nanscawen and rebounding defender Hayden Young all out. In their place the Stingrays welcome back twin towers Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman, while Sam De Koning will line-up at centre-half back. For Western, they have made just the two confirmed changes, losing star bottom-age tall Emerson Jeka, and Lucas Rocci, but have regained AFL Academy defender Buku Khamis, as well as Jaksyn Grant.

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 32. D. Frampton, 43. W. Geurts, 16. J. Frawley
HB: 37. B. Angwin, 20. S. De Koning, 12. M. Gahan
C: 9. Z.  Foot, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 3. J.  Plumridge
HF: 27. L. McDonnell, 29. B. Williams, 7. J. Taylor
F: 17. F. Bayne, 28. B. Schmidt, 57. R. Nanscawen
R: 13. R. Bowman, 58. W. Hamill, 33. J. Carosella
Int: 49. M. Cottrell, 52. C. Ellison, 47. J. Hickey, 5. A. Paterson, 41. L. Stenning, 50. L. Williams, 10. L. Young
23P: 19. J. Burton

In: L. Stenning, L. Young, J. Burton, R. Bowman, S. De Koning, W. Geurts, B. Angwin, B. Williams, L. Williams
Out: T. Bedford,  H. Briggs,  M. Riordan,  S. Cumming,  J. Nanscawen,  H. Young,  M. Cumming

Western Jets

B: 25. S. Johnson, 37. H. Murphy, 28. J. Papachatzakis
HB: 30. L. Pettigrove, 38. B. Khamis, 39. S. Radovanovic
C: 17. D.  Andrews , 33. X.  O’Halloran, 20. D.  Cassar
HF: 11. Z. Butters, 2. T. Rudic, 4. J. Jenkins
F: 24. J. Honey, 45. A. Clarke, 10. S. Kyriazis
R: 47. D. Walters, 36. J. Rice, 12. C. Thar
Int: 40. J. Grant, 22. O. Manton, 35. T. Warner, 7. J. Watkins
23P: 9. J. Dodemaide

In: J. Grant, D. Fruscalzo, J. Dodemaide, B. Khamis
Out: L. Rocci, E. Jeka

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. CALDER CANNONS 

Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 1.30pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the final game of the round, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels host Calder Cannons at MARS Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Both sides are relatively unscathed from their top-end talent, although Calder will miss co-captain Mitch Podhajski and reliable defender Mason Fletcher who are among at least nine changes. However, the Cannons have loaded up in the midfield with Rhylee West returning (with St Kevin’s having the APS bye), joining fellow AFL Academy members Curtis Taylor and Jack Bytel back in the side. The Rebels also have a big name returning with Tom Berry coming back into the team for the first time since running into a post and suffering concussion in round one. He is joined by Ethan Harvey and Tom Clark in the side among five changes with Josh Bibby named as 23rd man. Tylar Watts is named back in the ruck, the third positional change in as many weeks after being centre-half forward in rounds one and two, centre-half back in round three and now back to his bottom-age year position of first ruck.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 10. J. Lohmann, 18. B. Helyar, 34. J. O’Connell
HB: 4. B. Annett, 8. H. Butler, 3. S. Carlin
C: 12. A.  Gove, 13. T.  Berry, 5. H.  Jennings
HF: 14. J. Hill, 11. J. Chatfield, 7. M. Martin
F: 47. T. Mahony, 19. J. Henderson, 2. M. Schnerring
R: 20. T. Watts, 6. C. Wilson, 9. L. Dawson
Int: 17. T. Clark, 48. J. Cleaver, 29. P. Glanford, 16. E. Harvey, 27. E. Lamb, 33. J. Ross, 25. T. Shannon
23P: 37. J. Bibby

In: J. Ross, E. Lamb, T. Clark, J. Bibby, E. Harvey, J. Cleaver, T. Berry
Out: C. Perks,  K. Councillor,  J. Wright,  I. Grant,  M. Clarke

Calder Cannons

B: 4. K. Baker, 43. L. Cavallaro, 33. J. Evans
HB: 48. S. Ramsay, 38. B. Newman, 8. L. Sholl
C: 2. D.  Landt, 42. N.  Croft, 3. I.  Moussa
HF: 27. T. Browning, 12. J. O’Sullivan, 44. N. Gentile
F: 11. J. Firebrace, 29. J. Riccardi, 5. C. Taylor
R: 60. D. Pretty, 16. J. Bytel, 39. L. Sultana
Int: 17. N. Doyle, 54. C. Lamb, 1. D. Mott, 20. R. West
23P: 34. O. Sasalu

In: O. Sasalu, D. Pretty, L. Goater, C. Lamb, C. Taylor, J. Bytel, B. Rigoni, B. Newman, R. West
Out: S. Skidmore, P. Mahoney, L. Johnson, M. Podhajski, J. Westphal, H. Minton-Connell, S. Graham, M. Fletcher

Silvagni leads the way in score involvements

WITH all the tactics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in today’s football, the golden principle to winning is the same as it was when the game was founded – score more than your opposition. So as the TAC Cup had a bye over the weekend, it was an opportune time – ahead of the multiple schools competitions starting – to look at which players led the way in score involvements in the opening three rounds. Score involvements of course include goals, behinds and score assists, with a number of midfielders setting up teammates down the field, which is still important in kicking a winning score.

Oakleigh Chargers and possible Carlton father-son Ben Silvagni leads the way with a total of 15 score involvements in season 2018. The mobile forward has booted four goals, six behinds and had five score assists to cover each key category. Just behind him is Sandringham Dragons’ key forward Max King, who has had 14 score involvements – eight goals, five behinds and a score assist – in just one game.

A host of country players follow next on 13 score involvements thus far this season, with Gippsland Power’s Josh Smith (six goals, two behinds, five score assists), Geelong Falcons’ Charlie Sprague (four goals, five behinds, four score assists) and Murray Bushrangers’ Bailey Frauenfelder (five goals, six behinds, two score assists) all coming next on the list.

Looking to the top three from each team, Oakleigh Chargers has the most potent top-end attack, with their top three players – Silvagni, Daniel Scala and Noah Anderson – combining for a total of 37 score assists. Next on the list is Gippsland Power with Smith, Sam Flanders and a tie for third with Austin Hodge and Fraser Phillips, totalling up to 36. Sandringham Dragons are next with Will Kennedy (11) and Jack Mahony (10) following on from King to make a total of 35 so far from the top three. Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets round out the top five with 32 score assists a piece. The Bushrangers have Frauenfelder, Patrick Warner (12), and Riley Bice and Finbar O’Dwyer (seven each); while Western has Aaron Clarke (12), Steven Kyriazis (11) and Zac Butters (nine) sharing the load.

A special mention should go to Sandringham Dragons’ midfielder Alastair Richards, who has had an impressive eight score assists – leading the competition – two ahead of Hodge and Butters. Dandenong’s Bailey Schmidt, Oakleigh’s Zac Hart and Murray’s Dylan Clarke are others who have had five score assists but did not quite make it into their club’s top three for score involvements.

Top 15:

Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh) 15
Max King (Sandringham) 14
Josh Smith (Gippsland) 13
Charlie Sprague (Geelong) 13
Bailey Frauenfelder (Murray) 13
Patrick Warner (Murray) 12
Mitch Podhajski (Calder) 12
Sam Flanders (Gippsland) 12
Daniel Scala (Oakleigh) 12
Aaron Clarke (Western) 12
Austin Hodge (Gippsland) 11
Fraser Phillips (Gippsland) 11
Josh D’Intinosante (Northern) 11
Will Kennedy (Sandringham) 11
Steven Kyriazis (Western) 11

Club by Club: Top 3

Bendigo: Will Holt (10) | Noah Wheeler (8) | Liam Marciano (6)
Calder: Mitch Podhajski (12) | Rhylee West/Jack O’Sullivan/Curtis Taylor (7)
Dandenong: Bailey Schmidt/Jai Nanscawen (10) | Campbell Hustwaite (8)
Eastern: Jonte Duffy (6) | Mihaele Zalac (5) | Joel Burleigh/Adrian Kalcovski/Mitch Mellis/Jordan Jaworski (3)
Geelong: Charlie Sprague (13) | Blake Schlensog (9) | Oscar Brownless/Bailey Scott/Brayden Ham (6)
Gippsland: Josh Smith (13) | Sam Flanders (12) | Austin Hodge/Fraser Phillips (11)
GWV: Mitch Martin (10) | Izaac Grant (9) | Jed Hill (8)
Murray: Bailey Frauenfelder (13) | Patrick Warner (12) | Riley Bice/Finbar O’Dwyer (7)
Northern: Josh D’Intinosante (11) | Patrik Della Roca (9) | Harrison Grace (7)
Oakleigh: Ben Silvagni (15) | Daniel Scala (12) | Noah Anderson (10)
Sandringham: Max King (14) | Will Kennedy (11) | Jack Mahony (10)
Western: Aaron Clarke (12) | Steven Kyriazis (11) | Zak Butters (9)

 

Early look: Country sides’ top ball winners

AFTER taking a look at the top performers across each statistical category from the Metro sides, AFL Draft Central now turns its attention to the six country teams. The clear number on ball winner is Gippsland over-ager Matthew McGannon, who has collected a competition-high 84 disposals in three rounds. He leads GWV Rebels pair Lochie Dawson and Scott Carlin as the three country players above 70 disposals.

McGannon also leads all-comers in the marks, taking 30 grabs, 10 clear of teammate Kyle Reid and Dandenong Stingrays overager Angus Patterson with 20. In the tackle stat, Oscar Brownless is the clear leader with 24 tackles – an average of eight per game – five clear of Gippsland’s Bailey Beck. Remarkably, Brownless’ teammate Ed McHenry is the equal leader in the clearances with 19 so far this season despite playing just two gams. McHenry is equal with Gippsland’s Riley Baldi in the statistical area.

Bendigo forward Will Holt‘s hauls of five and three goals in rounds one and three has him equal competition leader in the goal kicking stakes. He is one ahead of Dandenong pocket rocket Jai Nanscawen, whose six goals against Gippsland in round two was the second most of any player for the season.

Murray’s Kyle Clarke has the most effective kick of any country player with 25 or more kicks so far this season, running at 79.5 per cent efficiency, about three per cent ahead of Gippsland’s Ryan Sparkes. GWV Rebels’ Jacob Lohmann is the most contested player so far with 40 or more disposals, notching up 59 per cent of his possessions in a contest. He comes in just ahead of Bendigo’s Zane Keighran and McHenry.

Other players who have managed to make it onto multiple statistical categories include Dandenong captain Campbell Hustwaite, Murray defender Lachlan Ash and overager Laitham Vandermeer, and GWV Rebels’ mid/forward Charlie Wilson.

Disposals:

1 Matthew McGannon (Gippsland) 84
2 Lochie Dawson (GWV) 78
3 Scott Carlin (GWV) 71
4 Zane Keighran (Bendigo) 69
5 Bailey Henderson (Bendigo) 68
5 Lachlan Ash (Murray) 68
7 Xavier Duursma (Gippsland) 65
8 Austin Hodge (Gippsland) 63
8 Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong) 63
8 Caleb Serong (Gippsland) 63

Marks:

1 Matthew McGannon (Gippsland) 30
2 Kyle Reid (Gippsland) 20
2 Angus Patterson (Dandenong) 20
4 Lachlan Ash (Murray) 18
4 Brayden Ham (Geelong) 18
6 Sam Flanders (Gippsland) 17
6 Nick Murray (Murray) 17
8 Laitham Vandermeer (Murray) 16
8 Ryan Sparkes (Gippsland) 16
10 Alex Smith-Ralph (Bendigo) 15

Tackles:

1 Oscar Brownless (Geelong) 24
2 Bailey Beck (Gippsland) 19
3 Jye Chalcraft (Murray) 18
4 Charlie Wilson (GWV) 17
4 Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong) 17
6 Brayden Ham (Geelong) 16
7 Irving Mosquito (Gippsland) 15
7 Josh Chatfield (GWV) 15
7 Toby Bedford (Dandenong) 15
10 Hunter Lawrence (Bendigo) 14
10 Austin Hodge (Gippsland) 14

Clearances:

1 Riley Baldi (Gippsland) 19
1 Ed McHenry (Geelong) 19
3 Lochie Dawson (GWV) 18
4 Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong) 14
5 Austin Hodge (Gippsland) 12
5 Scott Carlin (GWV) 12
7 Noah Wheeler (Bendigo) 11
8 Ely Smith (Murray) 10
8 Zane Keighran (Bendigo) 10

Goals:

1 Will Holt (Bendigo) 8
2 Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong) 7
3 Sam Flanders (Gippsland) 6
3 Patrick Warner (Murray) 6
3 Josh Smith (Gippsland) 6
6 Irving Mosquito (Gippsland) 5
6 Bailey Frauenfelder (Murray) 5
6 Jed Hill (GWV) 5

Kicking Efficiency (at least 25 kicks):

1 Kyle Clarke (Murray) 79.5%
2 Ryan Sparkes (Gippsland) 76.9%
3 Matthew McGannon (Gippsland) 75.4%
4 Sam Torpy (Geelong) 75%
5 Laitham Vandermeer (Murray) 73.5%
6 Hunter Lawrence (Bendigo) 71.4%
7 Lachlan Ash (Murray) 70.5%
8 Charlie Wilson (GWV) 70%
9 Jai Taylor (Dandenong) 69.2%
10 Bailey Beck (Goppsland) 69%

Contested Percentage (at least 40 disposals):

1 Jacob Lohmann (GWV) 59%
2 Zane Keighran (Bendigo) 57.6%
3 Ed McHenry (Geelong) 56.6%
4 Hayden Young (Dandenong) 54.5%
5 Irving Mosquito (Gippsland) 52.3%
6 Noah Wheeler (Bendigo) 52.1%
7 Matthew Cottrell (Dandenong) 50%
8 Austin Hodge (Gippsland) 49.2%
9 Lachlan McDonnell (Dandenong) 49.1%
10 Baxter Mensch (Geelong) 48.9%

TAC Cup previews: Round 3

AFTER some sensational round two clashes, the TAC Cup sides are set to lose some of their biggest names to the AFL Academy match tomorrow, and spectators will see which team’s depth will stand up in the face of these omissions.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER 

Round 3 – Saturday, April 7, 10am Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the opening game of the round, Bendigo Pioneers take on Gippsland Power in a game which could well be decided by who wins the clearances. Against Murray in round two, Bendigo Pioneers dominated the clearances (39-23) over Murray with 18 players registering at least one clearance. Of those in the centre circle, Noah Wheeler (three), Daniel Keating (two) and Jye Caldwell (two) were the big movers, however the latter will miss this game due to the AFL Academy match. A player who could step up is Zane Keighran who has averaged 3.5 clearances and done well in the back half, with eight rebounds. Another Pioneer who could hold the key to success is Bailey Henderson, who had had 10 inside 50s and seven rebounds, covering the ground well. Similarly, Gippsland have broken even in the clearances against Murray and Dandenong, with the Power’s ability to get the ball inside 50 the key. they dominated the Bushrangers in round one with 16 more inside 50s, culminating in a 44-point victory. But in round two it was a different story,  conceding 59 inside 50s, while registering 31 themselves. If the Power can get plenty of delivery to their forwards, it will be a crucial step towards victory. Captain Xavier Duursma and bottom-age midfielder Sam Flanders combined for nine inside 50s against Dandenong – almost one third of the team’s total. In round one, it was a shared effort with just three players not registering an inside 50 against the Bushrangers. An area the Pioneers must try and match the Power on is tackling, with Gippsland’s 83 tackles a key reason why they stuck with the Stingrays so long in their clash despite conceding almost 60 inside 50s. The Pioneers broke even with Murray in tackles, but had 18 less – just 43 – against the Rebels in round one. For Gippsland, the biggest focal point is their kicking, with their effectiveness by foot at a high 68 per cent in round one against Murray, but that dropped to 54 per cent in their loss to Dandenong. The pressure placed upon the Gippsland defenders in round two was evident, with the Power’s top ball user from round one – Matthew McGannon – dropping efficiency from 81 per cent to 60 per cent. Bendigo’s ball use was at just 52 per cent against Murray on the weekend, an area for improvement for the Power. If Bendigo can bring the heat to Gippsland, then the Pioneers could be a huge chance, but if Gippsland have time and space, they will cut up most teams with their pace and good ball use. Equally as important, Gippsland must match it with the Pioneers at the stoppages, and continue to bring the fierce tackling pressure they have shown in the opening two rounds.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 

Round 3 – Saturday, April 7, 12.30pm Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the second game at Queen Elizabeth Oval, the unbeaten Dandenong Stingrays take on GWV Rebels. The Stingrays have been hard to fault so far with a 53-point belting of Geelong Falcons, before getting past a hard working Gippsland Power by four goals. The Stingrays have kicked multiple goals in seven of the eight quarters played this season, but key outs in Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman, as well as the injured Aaron Darling will cause Dandenong to move some magnets around on the weekend. The trio have kicked nine of the team’s 26 goals this season, with Jai Nanscawen (six goals) dominant on the weekend. But the biggest dominance the Stingrays have had is in their inside 50 count, with a whopping 109-59 so far this season – 50 more inside 50s compared to their opponents. In the same time, the Rebels have conceded 81, while sitting narrowly ahead of their opponents on 84. What the Rebels have done well might not reflect on a score sheet, with their fast ball movement and ability to score from streaming down the field a clear indicator of their success against Geelong Falcons on the weekend. Dandenong has had the lowest number of rebounds in the competition with just 55 rebounds, given its opponents have gone inside 50 a combined 59 times. The likes of Charlie Wilson (eight inside 50s in round one), Lochie Dawson (seven inside 50s total), Josh Chatfield (seven) and Jed Henderson (seven) can all pump the ball long inside 50. For Dandenong, Hayden Young has had a whopping nine rebounds in his two games – 16 per cent of his team’s total – and will be crucial in defence. In terms of ball use, the Stingrays have used the ball at just 55 and 51 per cent respectively in their two games. This is largely to the highly contested game they play (+53), while the Rebels are just plus one in contested ball, they went at an impressive 65 per cent by foot against the Falcons – an improvement of eight per cent from their loss to Bendigo. Forward Mitch Martin could be the key to ball use forward of centre, having 12 kicks against the Falcons, nine of which were effective, to go with his six marks, three clearances, three tackles and three goals. In round one, he kicked at just 33 per cent, and booted 1.4 instead of 3.1 meaning he could be the key to the Rebels’ success. For Dandenong to win, they must use their contested game to turn the match into a hard fought contest. They just will the ball forward and get countless inside 50s. James Hickey (10), Mitch Riordan (nine), Finlay Bayne (nine), Campbell Hustwaite (eight) and Lachlan McDonnell (eight) are among the top players getting the ball forward. For the Rebels, they have the pace and foot skills on their day to hurt the Stingrays, but will need to be on their game to face the bigger bodied Stingrays inside.

WESTERN JETS v. EASTERN RANGES 

Round 3 – Saturday, April 7, 2.00pm Williamstown Football Ground

In the televised game, Western Jets are hosting Eastern Ranges at Williamstown. The Jets had a round one win against Calder Cannons, before going down in a close one to Northern Knights. Eastern has not had an ideal start to the season, dropping its opening two matches to Oakleigh Chargers and Calder respectively. The most noticeable aspect about the two teams is neither is a high possession team. They have had just one player pick up more than 23 disposals – Adrian Kalcovski (28) – and neither has cracked 300 disposals as of yet. In the torrential rain, Eastern managed just 200 disposals and 12 marks, improving that to 298 and 48 respectively against Calder. For the Jets, they have had 282 and 266 disposals in their two games, 50 less than their opponents. A strength for Eastern is certainly its rebounding, with the likes of Ben Cardamone (10) and James Blanck (nine) leading the way. Along with its rebounding, Eastern leads the way in tackles, with a whopping 181 tackles in its two games. Lachlan Stapleton is a competition leader with 23 tackles – five more than the next highest player. Jonte Duffy (16), Cody Hirst (13) and Kye Quirk (12) are also high up on the tackle count leaderboard. For Western, they have managed 53 tackles, but have been much better by foot with 62 and 59 per cent in their respective games. Both sides have done well in the clearances, so it could well be a battle of which side can control the inside of the contest as to who gets the points in the contest. Western has had no trouble getting the ball inside 50 so far this season, with a plus 18 in that stat, while Eastern sits at minus 18. This is the area in which Western could take advantage if it can make the most of it’s inside 50s. Captain Xavier O’Halloran is five clear of the next highest player in terms of inside 50s, racking up 16 in his opening two games, ahead of Daly Andrews (nine) and Steven Kyriazis (eight). O’Halloran has been huge in the opening could of rounds, but was restricted more outside ball against Northern, however he still had an influence in close. Based on the opening two games, it will come down to the Jets’ end of the ground with Western strong going forward, and Eastern strong rebounders of the football. Neither side is a high possession team, but they are willing to crack in and win contested football. They have not always capitalised on their inside 50s, but if Eastern can move the ball freely and pinpoint teammates on the rebound, it will be important, while the Jets need to hit-up targets and capitalise on the large number of inside 50s they have been getting, particularly with such good rebounders in the opposition.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. GEELONG FALCONS 

Round 3 – Saturday, April 7, 3.00pm Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the final game of the Bendigo Triple Header, Murray Bushrangers take on Geelong Falcons. The Falcons find themselves in an unfamiliar position on the bottom of the ladder after two losses to Dandenong Stingrays and GWV Rebels. For Murray, they bounced back from a loss to Gippsland Power in round one, to register a win in round two. Unfortunately the AFL Academy match means the teams will be without some of their classiest ball users. Geelong will miss the drive and influence of Sam Walsh and Ed McHenry, while the Bushrangers will miss the injured Zane Barzen, as well as Matthew Walker and talented key position player, Hudson Garoni. Walsh and McHenry have had 26 clearances from their 109 disposals in the opening two rounds, so Geelong will need to find a way to cover their losses. The match against GWV Rebels despite the scoreline, showed the Falcons were heading in the right direction, winning the inside 50s and clearances, after losing both in the opening round.  The likes of Charlie Sprague has been vital up forward, booting four goals, but also having 38 disposals. Bailey Scott came into the tam in round two and was one of the most effective ball users, while Connor Idun‘s switch up forward worked wonders with two majors. The Bushrangers have proven to be strong rebounders so far this season, with the likes of Lachlan Ash (11), Thomas Boyd (nine) and Kyle Clarke (eight) among the top rebounders in the league. The two games the Bushrangers have played so far have been largely uncontested, breaking even in the contested ball but losing out slightly in the uncontested game. Geelong have no troubles when it comes to finding space and working the ball to the outside and this might be an aim for the Falcons, particularly with the loss of their two best extractors. For Murray, they will want to continue to play the tough brand of football expected of them, and follow on from a sensational second half last week when they booted eight goals to one against the Pioneers, including six in the final term. The win is vital for Geelong to get its season off and running, with the likes of Ethan Floyd, Oscar Brownless and Baxter Mensch expected to step up in the absence of Walsh and McHenry. For Murray, their strength is in their rebounding and clearances, something they could take advantage of to get the ball forward and apply some early scoreboard pressure to the Falcons.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. CALDER CANNONS 

Round 3 – Sunday, April 8, 10.45am Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

In the early game on Sunday, Sandringham Dragons will be looking to make it three from three after two victories in the opening two rounds against Northern Knights and Oakleigh Chargers. They will be without the likes of Max King, Ben King and the injured Bailey Smith, but their key position omissions will be offset by Calder losing its midfield as Rhylee West, Curtis Taylor and Jack Bytel‘s absence is sure to cause a few headaches in the Cannons coaching box. No doubt Max King was the difference for Sandringham last week, with 8.5 from 19 disposals and nine marks (six contested) in a show of strength up forward. Ben King has been ultra consistent in defence, while West was best on ground in his team’s victory over Eastern Ranges last week, following the Cannons’ narrow loss to the Western Jets in round one. Sandringham has not done too much wrong, with their dominant performance over Northern meaning they are ahead in nearly every statistic except rebounds, and tackles, with Oakleigh registering 15 more than the Dragons. Sandringham have shown they are very strong in contested ball despite being able to play a smart passing game around the ground, and it makes them just as damaging on the inside as they are on the outside. Without their star trio, the Dragons will look to the likes of Angus Hanrahan, who on debut had 29 disposals, nine marks and four rebounds coming out of defence, while Alastair Richards was sensational with 26 disposals, 11 marks and seven inside 50s. Both players create run and carry, while Liam Stocker (10 clearances) and Dawit McNeish (seven) are the ones leading the way at the stoppages. For Calder, the match will no doubt be a challenge without their midfield stars, with the Cannons welcoming back Dylan Landt as an over-ager to join co-captain Mitch Podhajski as crucial big bodies at the stoppages. Tye Browning and Nathan Croft can also float through midfield, and were impressive in the Cannons’ win last weekend. Calder notched up 54 inside 50s for 28 scoring shots, but an accuracy of 39 per cent hurt them. They will need to be more efficient against the Dragons in round three, with Sam Forbes (eight rebounds) and Harry Houlahan (six) likely to create some headaches for the visitors. Calder are a high possession and kick-mark team, where they look to hit targets by foot, taking 176 marks in their opening two rounds, a whopping 34 more than their opponents. Sandringham (117) were equally as dominant in this area however. Looking at both sides, foot skills could well make or break the game, with Sandringham operating at 67 per cent efficiency in round two, compared to Calder’s 56 per cent. The teams traded efficiency by foot, but the difference was Sandringham played in the pouring rain. A factor not spoken about is the difference between playing under lights and during the day, with Calder to play its first day game for the season. The Dragons will head in strong favourites due to their depth, but the Cannons could be more unpredictable without its stars in there. NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 

Round 3 – Sunday, April 8, 2.00pm Preston City Oval, Preston

In the final game of round three, Northern Knights will be looking to make it two consecutive wins, while the Oakleigh Chargers hope to bounce back from their loss to Sandringham Dragons to make it two wins from three games. Undoubtedly Oakleigh’s superior depth – not just in this match but in the competition – will test Northern, who were impressive in their defeat of the Western Jets last round. Tom McKenzie and Braedyn Gillard are two midfielders the Knights rely upon to win the football, combining for 87 disposals and 24 clearances in the opening two rounds. The pair will need to be at their best when they face a deep Oakleigh midfield who have had nine players already collect at least 20 disposals in a match this season. Northern have conceded too many inside 50s this season, with opponents going inside their forward line 102 times to the Knights’ 63. To Northern’s credit, they had 23 scoring shots from 39 entries in round two, an efficiency rate of 59 per cent. They have been dominant rebounding it out of the back half, a key reason why their opposition’s inside 50s have not hurt them as much as they could have. Ryan Gardner has already notched up 14 rebounds, while Lachlan Potter has also been an important player in defence. Up forward, bottom-ager Josh D’Intinosante has been a revelation, booting three goals on the weekend from 19 disposals, six marks, eight tackles and five inside 50s. If he can create some havoc through the midfield and up forward, he could hurt the Chargers. For Oakleigh it is hard to know where to begin, with a well-balanced game across most statistical areas. They have been strong in the clearances, and on the outside, while also using the ball at 62 per cent on the weekend, the same amount as Northern did in its victory. Xavier O’Neill has been a pillar of consistency for the Chargers, already amassing 45 disposals and laying nine tackles. Bottom-agers Trent Bianco, Dylan Williams, Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson look every bit as experienced as top-agers out there and will form a dangerous core group over the next 18 months. The loss of Isaac Quaynor to the AFL Academy match will hurt the Chargers, but they have plenty of players willing to step in to his shoes in defence. The loss against Sandringham is unlikely to have lost any admirers for Oakleigh, with the Chargers beaten by a couple of top five picks who had outstanding performances. The Chargers will be keen to make amends here, and if they can keep up their foot skills and win the clearances, capitalising on their inside 50s, they will be hard to stop. Northern needs to be at its best, with smart rebounds and using their kick-mark game style to keep it out of Oakleigh’s clutches.