Tag: joe ayton-delaney

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Round 13

ALL twelve teams return to TAC Cup action this round after a split round 12 saw teams divided up over two weekends.

EASTERN RANGES v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

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

In the first game of the round, the Eastern Ranges host Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels with both sides having named extended benches. Mihaele Zalac, Thomas Lockman, Xavier Fry and Harvey Chinn are among eight inclusions, while ruck Steven Kapahnke, Chayce Black and Lachlan Kruger are named among the five omissions. GWV have made just two confirmed changes with Connor Giddings and Ben Dodd out, while five players have come in, including forwards Tylar Watts and Josh Chatfield to provide height up front.

Eastern Ranges

B: 38. M. Briggs, 47. T. Hallett-Tauali’i, 20. B. Cardamone
HB: 23. X. Fry, 31. J. Blanck, 57. C. Leon
C: 8. J.  Burleigh, 7. L.  Stapleton, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 25. L. Vassis, 45. M. Zalac, 46. B. White
F: 59. J. Nathan, 18. B. McCormack, 32. F. Smith
R: 58. R. Smith, 24. K. Quirk, 26. C. Norris
Int: 3. H. Chinn, 30. T. Edwards, 5. R. Einsporn, 12. J. Gilbee, 2. A. Kalcovski, 42. T. Lockman, 22. C. Quirk
23P: 64. Z. Pretty

In: M. Zalac, J. Nathan, H. Chinn, F. Smith, C. Leon, T. Lockman, X. Fry, Z. Pretty
Out: C. Tilyard,  L. Munro,  S. Kapahnke,  L. Kruger,  C. Black

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 10. J. Lohmann, 48. J. Cleaver, 44. R. Polkinghorne
HB: 3. S. Carlin, 18. B. Helyar, 24. M. Lloyd
C: 5. H.  Jennings, 27. E.  Lamb, 30. I.  Wareham
HF: 21. I. Grant, 11. J. Chatfield, 6. C. Wilson
F: 14. J. Hill, 20. T. Watts, 2. M. Schnerring
R: 29. P. Glanford, 9. L. Dawson, 1. C. Craig-Peters
Int: 4. B. Annett, 12. A. Gove, 16. E. Harvey, 47. T. Mahony, 7. M. Martin, 26. R. Ranieri, 40. I. Thomas
23P: 42. E. Ajang

In: T. Watts, J. Chatfield, R. Ranieri, A. Gove, B. Annett
Out: C. Giddings, B. Dodd

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. WESTERN JETS

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

Up the highway, Murray Bushrangers take on Western Jets in the match of the day. The Bushrangers have brought in creative forward, Mathew Walker, as well as midfielder, Dylan Clarke, but Jake Bradshaw and James Butts are among four outs in the team. For the Jets, Jaden Rice and Malwal Maguang are the only two confirmed outs, while David Pantalleresco and Tristan Rudic are two of five ins to an extended bench.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 34. T. Boyd, 59. L. Fiore, 19. J. Boyer
HB: 12. L. Ash, 8. J. Koschitzke, 16. N. Murray
C: 26. R.  Bice, 5. E.  Smith, 13. B.  Frauenfelder
HF: 2. J. Butts, 18. H. Garoni, 10. P. Warner
F: 14. J. Chalcraft, 7. Z. Barzen, 9. M. Walker
R: 35. F. Bollinghaus, 28. K. Clarke, 38. D. Clarke
Int: 6. W. Chandler, 23. M. Marriott, 55. R. Paradzayi, 53. C. Wilson
23P: 51. T. Matthes

In: R. Paradzayi, T. Matthes, M. Walker, D. Clarke
Out: J. Butts,  J. Bradshaw,  L. Whyte,  J. Sanford

Western Jets

B: 48. A. Britten, 37. H. Murphy, 15. M. Hearne
HB: 25. S. Johnson, 38. B. Khamis, 39. S. Radovanovic
C: 17. D.  Andrews , 7. J.  Watkins, 24. J.  Honey
HF: 20. D. Cassar, 31. E. Jeka, 2. T. Rudic
F: 1. J. Hazik, 45. A. Clarke, 49. D. Pantalleresco
R: 47. D. Walters, 12. C. Thar, 33. X. O’Halloran
Int: 18. B. Colley, 8. J. Kellett, 10. S. Kyriazis, 22. O. Manton, 6. L. Rocci, 41. L. Rzanovski, 26. W. Smyth
23P: 44. N. Shaw

In: B. Colley, N. Shaw, D. Pantalleresco, T. Rudic, W. Smyth
Out: M. Maguang, J. Rice

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

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

Both Northern Knights and Gippsland Power have welcomed back some important players for their clash at Preston City Oval. The Knights have lost a number of players to school football, with the outs made up of Vic Metro ruck Tom Hallebone, as well as Justin McInerney, Patrik Della Rocca, Adam Carafa and Kye Yodgee. Ryan Sturgess, Harrison Grace, Ryan Gardner and Joel Naylor are among eight inclusions on an extended bench. For the Power, ruck Ryan Henkel comes into the team, as does Tyrone Hayes, while Marcus Toussaint is the only confirmed out at this stage.

Northern Knights

B: 11. R. Sturgess, 33. J. Randall, 22. M. Wild
HB: 4. T. McKenzie, 28. S. Uzelac, 5. L. Potter
C: 25. J.  Davies, 10. B.  Bell, 1. R.  Gardner
HF: 7. H. Grace, 18. S. Brazier, 40. N. Mayne
F: 24. R. Bowkett, 9. C. Simonsen, 27. J. Lucente
R: 19. N. Howard, 13. S. Philp, 17. J. D’Intinosante
Int: 35. K. Agosta, 37. K. Brandt, 51. J. Collins, 12. J. Naylor, 32. I. Rossi, 15. O. White, 44. C. Wild
23P: 52. J. Trudgeon

In: R. Sturgess, H. Grace, R. Gardner, N. Mayne, K. Agosta, J. Collins, J. Naylor, K. Brandt
Out: K. Yodgee,  T. Hallebone,  P. Della Rocca,  J. McInerney,  A. Carafa

Gippsland Power

B: 7. B. Patterson, 25. K. Reid, 15. R. Sparkes
HB: 1. T. Hayes, 14. T. Hourigan, 12. B. Smith
C: 18. M.  McGannon, 28. H.  Hood, 29. B.  Motton
HF: 36. M. Bentvelzen , 33. B. Thorson, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 8. B. Beck, 23. N. Gown, 9. I. Mosquito
R: 16. J. Smith, 11. A. Hodge, 5. X. Duursma
Int: 4. S. Flanders, 22. R. Henkel, 40. Z. Hurley, 19. F. Phillips, 35. J. van der Pligt, 32. L. Williams, 45. A. Young
23P: 34. J. Hume

In: R. Henkel, T. Hayes, F. Phillips, J. Hume
Out: M. Toussaint

 

CALDER CANNONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

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

Moving onto the Sunday games, both Calder Cannons and Dandenong Stingrays have named extended benches for their clash. Calder has brought in AFL Academy member, Curtis Taylor and the likes of Ben Rigoni, Anthony Righele and Mohammed Abou-Eid among 12 inclusions. Fellow AFL Academy member Jack Bytel is out with injury, with forward Josh Kemp, Sam Graham and Harrison Minton-Connell among nine outs. For the ladder-leading Stingrays, Bailey Schmidt and Daniel Frampton replace Matthew Cumming and Corey Ellison up either end in the side, while Finlay Bayne and Hayden Young are big inclusions for the visitors.

Calder Cannons

B: 9. C. Barton, 38. B. Newman, 43. L. Cavallaro
HB: 48. S. Ramsay, 23. D. Hanna, 8. L. Sholl
C: 27. T.  Browning, 30. M.  Podhajski, 3. I.  Moussa
HF: 44. N. Gentile, 12. J. O’Sullivan, 19. B. Rigoni
F: 42. N. Croft, 5. C. Taylor, 32. M. Simpson
R: 59. J. Middleton, 1. D. Mott, 53. M. Abou-Eid
Int: 51. W. Jury, 52. B. Reddick, 29. J. Riccardi, 55. A. Righele, 39. L. Sultana, 37. D. Torcia, 13. N. Walsh
23P: 18. S. Shorten

In: M. Simpson, D. Torcia, J. Middleton, B. Reddick, S. Shorten, M. Abou-Eid, N. Walsh, N. Gentile, L. Sultana, C. Taylor, B. Rigoni, A. Righele
Out: P. Mahoney,  J. Taylor,  H. Jones,  H. Minton-Connell,  L. Johnson,  J. Bytel,  J. Martin,  J. Kemp,  S. Graham

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 12. M. Gahan, 32. D. Frampton, 41. L. Stenning
HB: 2. H. Young, 5. A. Paterson, 10. L. Young
C: 9. Z.  Foot, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 7. J.  Taylor
HF: 49. M. Cottrell, 29. B. Williams, 3. J. Plumridge
F: 17. F. Bayne, 28. B. Schmidt, 16. J. Frawley
R: 13. R. Bowman, 1. S. Fletcher, 58. W. Hamill
Int: 6. J. Barker, 36. S. Cumming, 45. L. Goonan, 27. L. McDonnell, 57. R. Nanscawen, 25. J. Triep
23P: 48. J. Stuart

In: L. Goonan, B. Schmidt, H. Young, D. Frampton, L. Young, J. Stuart, F. Bayne
Out: E. Cahill, B. Angwin, M. Cumming, L. Williams, C. Ellison

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

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

Geelong Falcons return to Colac this weekend and are hosting Oakleigh Chargers, with both sides taking a very different approach to team selection. AFL Academy member, Ed McHenry is the only out for the Falcons, while Jack Grigsby and Keidan Rayner are the two confirmed ins. Oakleigh have unsurprisingly been hit hard by the return of school football with Vic Metro players James Rowbottom, Will Kelly and Joe Ayton-Delaney among a whopping 11 confirmed outs. There is some good news for the Chargers, with AFL Academy defender, Isaac Quaynor returning to the team and has been named on a wing. The likes of Bailey Wraith and Daniel Scala are also among the 14 inclusions.

Geelong Falcons

B: 31. C. Cartledge, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 21. L. Smith
HB: 40. J. Clark, 39. C. Idun, 20. B. Ham
C: 7. C.  Harris, 6. D.  Madigan, 2. S.  Torpy
HF: 10. B. Mensch, 42. H. Spiller, 22. S. Walsh
F: 1. J. Dahlhaus, 48. B. Schlensog, 13. H. Whyte
R: 44. S. Conway, 30. O. Brownless, 41. C. Stephens
Int: 9. B. Morton, 32. F. Parish, 3. K. Rayner, 25. L. Taylor
23P: 29. B. Miller

In: J. Grigsby, K. Rayner
Out: E. McHenry

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 56. M. Fewings, 30. B. Wraith, 76. H. Leonard
HB: 35. X. Fry, 80. T. Graham, 27. J. May
C: 23. I.  Quaynor, 1. R.  Collier-Dawkins, 11. M.  Rowell
HF: 13. A. Bosenavulagi, 7. J. Robertson, 26. J. Gasper
F: 8. N. Anderson, 22. D. Williams, 6 . M. Day
R: 65. L. Harry, 5. X. O’Neill, 12. N. Answerth
Int: 43. P. Bohan, 2. L. Bugeja, 66. N. Dempsey, 20. F. Elliot, 25. D. Scala, 28. O. Simpson, 42. K. Viccars
23P: 40. B. Jepson

In: T. Graham, N. Dempsey, L. Harry, I. Quaynor, P. Bohan, B. Wraith, M. Day, M. Fewings, D. Scala, B. Jepson, H. Leonard, J. May, K. Viccars, F. Elliot
Out: J. Rowbottom, N. Bryan, K. Dunkley, W. Golds, T. Bianco, W. Kelly, C. Whitehead, J. Ross, H. Mastras, C. Beasley, J. Ayton-Delaney

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

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

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons have just made the casual 17 changes for the Dragons’ clash with Bendigo Pioneers. A massive 20 players have been included in a side which is almost a completely different side to the one that fronted up against Geelong Falcons in Round 12. With school football returning, the likes of Alastair Richards, Angus Hanrahan, Will Kennedy, Joe Griffiths, Harry Houlahan and Anthony Seaton will be missing from the side. In their place, George Grey, Ryan O’Meara, Andrew Courtney, Jai Florent, Tyson Milne and Corey Watts are among the long list of inclusions. For the Pioneers, James Schischka headlines five inclusions, while Braydon Vaz and Jeremy Rodi are among four confirmed outs for the Pioneers.

Sandringham Dragons

B: 14. R. O’Meara, 56. J. Hannah, 16. J. Paul
HB: 55. J. Cowden, 22. C. Millar, 69. C. Watts
C: 50. T.  Deane-Johns, 10. S. Sofronidis, 25. O. McMaster
HF: 3. T. Fogarty, 58. K. Yorke, 11. N. Stamatis
F: 39. J. Florent, 28. J. Rendell, 1. T. Long
R: 59. A. Courtney, 7. L. Stocker, 13. T. Brimble
Int: 36. M. Bergman, 67. J. Brazionis, 66. R. Byrnes, 24. H. Ferdinand, 47. T. Milne, 42. T. Murray, 40. M. Scott
23P: 35. G. Grey

In: M. Scott, T. Long, J. Cowden, H. Ferdinand, G. Grey, J. Paul, R. O’Meara, C. Millar, J. Hannah, A. Courtney, J. Florent, T. Milne, T. Deane-Johns, O. McMaster, M. Bergman, T. Murray, J. Brazionis, K. Yorke, C. Watts, T. Fogarty
Out: H. Ralphsmith,  F. McAsey,  J. Griffiths,  J. Mahony,  W. Kennedy,  L. Witts,  J. Bell,  A. Seaton,  A. Richards,  J. Denborough,  S. Forbes,  N. Burke,  J. Worrell,  C. Dean,  H. Houlahan,  A. Hanrahan,  J. Le Grice 

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 26. C. O’Shea, 24. N. McHugh, 2. J. Williams
HB: 16. J. Atley, 32. W. Wallace, 20. J. Schischka
C: 3. L.  Marciano, 43. H.  Lawrence, 51. B.  Waasdorp
HF: 17. R. Ironside, 46. L. Tenace, 49. O. Perez
F: 15. L. Caccaviello, 34. R. Clarke, 27. M. Lias
R: 54. M. Christensen, 5. N. Wheeler, 25. F. Perez
Int: 53. W. Allen, 39. D. Clohesy, 37. C. McCarty, 33. J. McHale, 28. C. Vick
23P: 50. N. Kay

In: D. Clohesy, C. McCarty, N. Kay, W. Wallace, J. Schischka
Out: E. Roberts, K. Brown, J. Rodi, B. Vaz

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 12a

THERE were just the three games on the weekend which saw Oakleigh Chargers, Northern Knights and Sandringham Dragons all record victories in challenging conditions at times.

Oakleigh Chargers 14.10 (94) def. Calder Cannons 12.4 (76)

Oakleigh and Calder played out a good contest in lovely conditions with both teams playing fast and exciting football. There were plenty of highlights throughout the day, with the biggest one coming from Chargers goal sneak Jake Gasper, who kicked six goals including the sealer in the last quarter when Calder were fighting back.

Calder lost their number one midfielder Jack Bytel early, after he was instrumental in the first half, amassing 23 disposals. Bytel impressed in the midfield winning the ball in the contest and working hard in transition. But unfortunately for Calder, he was not the only injury for the day with talented forward Joshua Kemp going down, ending the game with his arm in a sling. Kemp kicked two goals which included a classy running goal in the first quarter before injury struck.

Oakleigh had plenty of contributors throughout the match with midfielders Jack Ross (28 disposals), James Rowbottom (24) and Will Golds (21) all playing well. Bottom agers Noah Anderson (three goals) and Dylan Williams (three goals) proved a handful up forward with Trent Bianco (22 disposals), Will Kelly (21), Noah Answerth (20) and Joe Ayton-Delaney (16) all providing valuable rebound in defence. Calder had a good spread of players which included 19 year-olds Mitch Podhajski (25 disposals and one goal) and Jake Riccardi (three goals) and Vic Metro representative Lachlan Sholl (25 disposals).

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels 9.7 (61) def. by Northern Knights 13.5 (83)

By: Cameron Ross

The Northern Knights won by 22 points over the GWV Rebels on Sunday at a freezing MARS Stadium in Ballarat. In what was an unattractive, scrappy and low quality game, the Knights flew out of the blocks kicking four goals to zero with the wind and never looked back.

The Knights dominated the ruck and marking contests, and were first to the ball all game. The Rebels did not look like winning the game at any stage in what was an impressive performance from the visitors, restricting the home team throughout the four quarters. Jed Hill was terrific again playing half the game forward and the second half in the midfield, while the dangerous forward Charlie Wilson kicked three goals. Cooper Craig-Peters was also solid for the Rebels on a day that had very few standouts. Bottom-age midfielder, Josh D’Intinosante was solid for the Knights, while midfielder turned defender Tom McKenzie controlled the game from defence, setting up the play from the back line and winning clearances from defensive stoppages. Also, Sunny Brazier was fantastic up forward kicking three goals.

The Rebels have a chance to bounce back next week when they play fellow cellar dwellers, Eastern Ranges next Saturday at Box Hill City Oval while the Knights play the Gippsland Power in what is going to be a massive contest for both sides.

Geelong Falcons 9.15 (69) def. by Sandringham Dragons 11.5 (71)

By: Cameron Ross

The Sandringham Dragons held on for a two-point win over the Geelong Falcons at MARS Stadium in Ballarat on Sunday. The Falcons led by Sam Walsh and Ned McHenry had the weight of possession and chances but simply couldn’t covert kicking nine goals and 15 behinds. On the other hand, the Dragons were clinical up forward kicking 11 goals and five behinds.

With a firm breeze to the Wendouree end of the ground, the Falcons had a chance to overcome a three goal deficit in the final term. In what was nearly a match winning move, the Falcons coach Daniel O’Keefe moved defender, Connor Idun up forward shaking up their forward structure and allowing him to get more involved in the game. However just when the Falcons looked as though they were going to run over the top of the Dragons, Angus Hanrahan kicked a huge goal to push the margin out to 11 points with 10 minutes to go. The Falcons could only manage one more goal, with McHenry kicking a superb snap on the run but with only two minutes to go, they ran out of time. The Falcons got the ball inside 50, more specifically to the top of the goal square with seconds to go, but in what was a theme for the day, the Dragons defended incredibly well, and hung on for what was in the end a deserved victory. Potential number one draft pick Walsh was once again outstanding for the Falcons racking up plenty of possessions, while Brayden Ham, McHenry and Sam Conway were also important. Angus Hanrahan proved to be a match winner for the Dragons, kicking a huge goal in the final term and was very consistent working hard across all four quarters. Alistair Richards also gave the Dragons some much needed run of the half back line and James Rendell was a key target up forward.

Next week the Falcons play the Chargers, while the Dragons will look to build on this win against bottom side Bendigo.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 12a

THIS weekend saw the first half of Round 12 take place. The Oakleigh Chargers defeated Calder Cannons on Saturday, while Mars Stadium hosted a double header between the GWV Rebels and Northern Knights, and Geelong Falcons and Sandringham Dragons. Here are some of the notes from those three games.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Calder Cannons

Oakleigh Chargers:

By: Ed Pascoe

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins

After a solid run in the championships, Collier-Dawkins was quiet against Calder winning just the 11 disposals. He needed to find a way to get involved in the play on transition, his leading patterns up forward could have improved and he had to impose himself more at the stoppages. However, when he did go in for the ball he looked clean and rarely made a mistake, he made a few nice turns while being tackled giving off good handballs showing what he is capable of as a tall inside midfielder.

#3 Joe Ayton-Delaney

Ayton-Delaney played a solid game down back, winning 16 disposals and keeping his opponents honest with some good spoils and close checking. Despite a few missed kicks, his overall kicking efficiency was good and often looked for his teammates to set up the play from defence. Didn’t do a lot wrong throughout the day in a nice four quarter performance.

#4 Will Kelly

Kelly played down back, carrying on his good form in the championships, rebounding well and amassing 21 disposals while also taking eight marks. He did well in marking contests against the likes of Jake Riccardi but he really impressed with his rebound out of defence often picking good options and running hard to get on the end of some handballs. Despite one errant kick in the first quarter his skills were solid throughout the day as the Collingwood father-son prospect continues to impress.

#9 James Rowbottom

Another solid game from Rowbottom who won plenty of the ball winning 24 disposals. He applied plenty of physical pressure laying 11 tackles, which was the most of any player on the ground. His strength throughout the day was his work at stoppages winning plenty of clearances and winning plenty of contested ball. His kicking let him down a few times kicking a few out on the full and a few kicks inside 50 where he tried to kick it too hard to a leading player, if he cleans this part of his game up then he would have been the clear best on ground.

#32 Jack Ross

Ross was extremely unlucky not to make the Metro squad and he proved that again today with a great performance in the midfield. Ross barely made a mistake all game by hand and foot and he worked hard around the ground to win the ball. Speed and agility are his knocks but he makes the most of what he has got with good running and positioning around the ground. He was vocal in the huddles showing good football smarts and leadership. Ross finished the game with 28 disposals which was the highest of anyone for the game.

 

Calder Cannons:

By: Scott Dougan

#8 Lachlan Sholl

The classy half-back started terrifically, finding plenty of the pill early. Sholl read the play well and was able to rebound out of the defensive 50 effectively. He pushed up the ground at times where he was able to put his sublime kicking skills to good use, hitting multiple targets on both sides of the body. He was exceptionally clean at ground level and rarely fumbled. Sholl can be exposed defensively at times, which was evident in the second term when he hesitated and pulled out of a marking contest, resulting in a goal to the Chargers. His composure with ball in hand and ability to find the ball in multiple areas of the ground makes him an exciting prospect.

#16 Jack Bytel

The inside midfielder was prominent in the first quarter, especially in tight situations. His work around stoppages was evident, constantly releasing the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. He was involved in an important passage of play in the second term where he was able to break an opposition tackle and release the ball to teammate Will Jury, who kicked accurately through the big sticks. Bytel displayed inconsistency by foot, turning the ball over on multiple occasions, which is an area he will need to improve on as he develops. His game was cut short with injury and was unable to return to the field after half-time. Bytel had 23 disposals in the first half.

#27 Tye Browning

Browning played on the wing and up forward, winning the majority of his disposals on the outside. He made good decisions with the ball in hand and was able to create effective passages of play when moving forward. Browning received a free kick inside 50 in the fourth term, kicking a goal from directly in front after showing courage in a marking contest. While it was not Browning’s best game of the year, he still had a positive impact, gathering 21 possessions and booting one goal.

#35 Sam Graham

Graham had stints through the Cannons midfield but spent the majority of his time in the back half. He took a couple of strong intercept marks and used the ball well when rebounding out of the back 50. His defensive pressure was clear in the second term when he was rewarded a free kick after laying an important tackle on Charger midfielder, Jack Ross. Graham gave in-form forward Jake Gasper too much space at times, with the classy Charger taking full advantage of the situation. In a tough day for the Cannons, Graham put his leadership skills to good use and continued to work hard.

 

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels vs. Northern Knights

By: Cameron Ross

GWV Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin

Carlin kicked a goal in the third term, which is rare for the hard working wingman. He amassed 17 disposals and while his ball use could have been a little better, he was able to impact with some crucial inside 50s.

#14 Jed Hill

Went onball in the second half and proved his dominant midfield display against Dandenong was not a fluke. Hill was instrumental in the third term, racking up a heap of possessions and was important around the clearances working hard to win the footy. Despite being quiet in the final term, Hill was once again one of his sides best performers with his strong tackling pressure.

 

Northern Knights:

#4 Tom McKenzie

Played the loose man in defence for most of the game and controlled the play well for the Knights. McKenzie made good decisions and hit his targets, tailoring his kick to suit the play. Mckenzie displayed his ability to win the contested ball at stoppages in defence which was really important for his side into the wind.

#17 Josh D’Intinosante

The youngster was once again fantastic and looks to be a top prospect for the 2019 draft. His ability to win both the contested and uncontested possession was terrific for someone who is a bottom ager. He impressed with his overhead skills considering his size. D’Intinosante was a tackling machine and led the way for the Knights with his physical pressure.

#30 Justin McInerney

McInerney works hard and is quick which is a great combination in a footballer. He used the ball quite well throughout the day especially into the wind when it was difficult to do so, firing out quite a few crucial handballs to teammates at opportune times.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Sandringham Dragons

By: Cameron Ross

Geelong Falcons:

#8 Ned McHenry

Sam Walsh is the captain, but McHenry is clearly well respected by the playing group, and could be heard directing traffic and encouraging his team mates all game. Proved his leadership abilities with a huge goal with two minutes to go, and nearly dragged his team over the line getting tackled before getting the ball on the boot at the top of the square with 20 seconds to go.

#20 Brayden Ham

Kicked a big goal from 55m out after intercepting the kick-in. Granted, the kick was with the wind, but the penetration he got on the kick was really impressive. Proved his ability at ground level nailing his opponent in a tackle and winning a free kick. Ham also proved he has terrific skills by hand, cleanly hitting targets in tight releasing outside runners. He is also really quick, and seems to have an extra gear that he can hit when he is running with the ball. Really good game overall from Ham today.

#22 Sam Walsh

I watched Walsh at Kardinia Park earlier in the season (Round 4 vs GWV), and while I saw glimpses of the superstar quality, I was not blown away. Today I was. He is a genuine star and is the best player I have watched this year. He has the composure of Pendlebury, reads contests like Cunnington and plays like Selwood. He is a bust-proof no-risk pick that barring injury will play over 200 games of AFL football. The sort of player that Carlton, who has struggled at the draft table recently, should really look at with pick one.

#30 Oscar Brownless

The Cats father-son prospect played onball for the majority of the day and while he was very impressive up forward, failed to fully fire onball. I was excited to see how he would go in there, but he seemed to be 5-10 metres away from the clearance winner at each stoppage or under pressure. This was possibly due to the nature of playing on-ball, but he just lacked a bit of composure at times. The positives were, that when he went forward, he was very dangerous. He is a terrific kick, has a nice simple action, and kicked a key goal in the final term. He is clearly a better forward than midfielder, but due to his size (186cm) he may need to add that string to his bow in the modern game.

#39 Connor Idun

If Idun was a stock in the stock market, you would be buying shares in him. I went out and listened to the three quarter time speech and was blown away by his size. He is a big kid. If this boy is available in the later rounds of a draft, a club up the top end might be willing to take the risk on a player who still has a way to go developmentally, but could hold down a key defender post in 5-10 years time. Idun played in defence to begin with and was quiet statistically, but wore his opponent like a glove. He was moved forward in the final term, and was a big presence. Kicked a goal from the square after crumbing Schlenslog’s contest.

#48 Blake Schlensog

Schlensog not only rucked well, but was a big presence up forward. Despite not hitting the scoreboard, Schlensog’s ability to create a contest was really important for players such as Walsh and Idun who both scored after a Schlensog marking contest.

 

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Alistair Richards

Richards was fantastic today. He has an abundance of pace, and had the best highlight of the day. Richards collected the ball on the back flank, took on two Falcons who were trying to tackle him and burned them off. He then handballed to a teammate and collected the “one-two” before kicking long into the forward line. Rendell finished Richards work with a goal. All of this was into the wind, and against the run of play. On a day where run and carry was pivotal, Richards lead his side well, tucking the ball under the arm like Jack Steven and sprinting away from the opposition at least three times. His disposal can be questionable, but this can be excused in what was very difficult conditions.

#7 Liam Stocker

Really good game today from Stocker who kicked a goal against the run of play in the final term, which proved to be a massive goal for the Dragons and the match. Stocker is a smooth mover and the sort of player that seems to never be under any pressure. Put his body on the line and got cleaned up in a contest, but the Dragons midfielder got straight back up and ran to the next contest.

#19 Samuel Forbes

Played well on the wing and did some nice things in the contest under pressure. Produced an amazing kick that could easily have been missed. He was put under severe pressure from a poor handball from a teammate, but he gathered the ball, danced around the tackler, and hit Charlie Dean with a 40-metre pinpoint kick in between at least four Falcons defenders. Dean capped this bit of play off with a goal.

#23 Angus Hanrahan

His work rate was supreme. An example was when he took possession of the ball on the outer wing, and switched the ball across the ground. He ran hard forward, and collected the next kick up in the forward line taking a strong mark backing back into the pack. Hanrahan got hit hard, but picked himself up and took his kick. Ended up kicking the match winning goal. Hanrahan sold the whole candy store to an opposition player, strolled into 50 and slotted the goal on the run. Arguably the best player for the Dragons on the day, after giving a consistent, hard working, and match winning performance.

#28 James Rendell

Played well up forward and took some nice marks. Was the Dragons key target on a day without King. Kicked two goals and proved that he can take over the reins as the key forward when King is absent.

#61 Fischer McAsey

The Dragons ruckman proved to be solid not only in the ruck, but played well as a “fourth rover” laying big tackles and being a physical presence at stoppages. He is a lovely kick for a big man, and drilled a 40-metre bullet, setting up a teammate for a shot on goal.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 12a

THREE games, three action packed matches of TAC Cup to watch this weekend. With one game at Warrawee Park tomorrow and a double-header at Mars Stadium, there are two venues to pick from as Round 12 gets underway.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 12 – Saturday, July 14, 11am
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

In the opening game of the split round, Oakleigh Chargers welcome back a ridiculous amount of talent into the line-up. Joe Ayton-Delaney, Will Kelly and Noah Answerth will strengthen the defence, while Riley Collier-Dawkins, Matt Rowell and James Rowbottom do the same in midfield, and Noah Anderson and Atu Bosenavulagi in attack. The quality across the board is really strong and if they will be a tough side to beat in this clash. However, Calder have some serious talent returning too, with potential top 30 duo Rhylee West and Jack Bytel to really strengthen the midfield and the battle between the Cannons pair, and Collier-Dawkins and Rowbottom on-ball will be one to watch. The in-form Daniel Mott and the ever-consistent Mitch Podhajski means the midfield is an area where Calder will hold its own against Oakleigh and create some genuine interest in seeing which team can win the contested ball and clearances. Daniel Hanna and Jake Riccardi are bookends that have also been in form for the Cannons, while Jack Ross and Trent Bianco are in strong form for the Chargers. Oakleigh will naturally head into this game as strong favourites given the ins, but Calder would back themselves in if they can nullify the midfield and get first opportunity to their forwards.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 12 – Sunday, July 15, 11:30am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the early game on Sunday, the GWV Rebels host the Northern Knights at Mars Stadium. The Rebels have lost Tom Berry who will be missed through the midfield, while Tylar Watts will miss his first game of the year. It means Patrick Glanford will do the rucking against Vic Metro ruck Tom Hallebone – who returns to the side – and bottom-age talent Nathan Howard. The Knights have also welcomed back clearance gun Tom McKenzie who is a much-needed inclusion to the side, named at half-back where he has been playing for Metro. In the middle, Josh D’Intinosante, Brody Bell and Kye Yodgee have the on-ball spots, while Justin McInerney and Oscar White are those named on the wings. McKenzie, Stefan Uzelac and bottom-ager Lachlan Potter form an imposing half-back line, while James Lucente and Sunny Brazier add different elements to the forward line. For the Rebels, Charlie Wilson, Elliott Lamb and Scott Carlin form a strong midfield that will match it with Northern’s on-ball brigade, while Jed Hill and Izaac Grant know how to find the goals. Ben Dodd has been impressive since coming into the side, and he and Harris Jennings add good depth to the Rebels’ midfield. Northern head in as favourites for this clash, but being at home in freezing Ballarat, expect the Rebels to be in with a real shot, especially after last time where they looked to have the game won, but faded away late.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 12 – Sunday, July 15, 2pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the third and final game of the round, Geelong Falcons host Sandringham Dragons in what should be a fantastic match to watch. Geelong’s triple threat midfield of Sam Walsh, Ned McHenry and Oscar Brownless return to the fold, against a midfield of Liam Stocker, Harry Houlahan and Alastair Richards. The Falcons will also welcome Brayden Ham back to his new-found role at half-back, joining Connor Idun, Dane Hollenkamp and Cooper Cartledge as rocks in the back half. They will compete against the likes of James Rendell, Jack Denborough, Jack Mahony and Angus Hanrahan who provide many elements to the forward 50 for the Dragons. Kai Owens has been named at centre half-back replacing Corey Watts there, and will team up with the in-form Will Kennedy. Anthony Seaton and Nicholas Stamatis are also in defence, and will match up against the likes of McHenry, Jay Dahlhaus and Blake Schlensog, while Cooper Stephens and Baxter Mensch hold up the midfield with Walsh rotating forward. The match is a really hard one to pick, with both teams strengthened by the inclusions. Sandringham have shown this season they have more depth than Geelong, but the top-end talent for the Falcons returning is very impressive. A real 50/50 game here.

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Round 12a

ROUND 12 of the TAC Cup is split over two weekends, with just the one Saturday and two Sunday games this weekend, but teams will be near full strength given the bye in school football and the end of the National Under 18 Championships.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 12 – Saturday, July 14, 11am
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

Oakleigh have some massive inclusions after the National Under 18 Championships, naming an extended bench in a team that sees Vic Metro representatives; James Rowbottom, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Noah Answerth, Will Kelly, Matt Rowell and Joe Ayton-Delaney all return to strengthen the team. Among those to miss the game against Calder are Lucas Westwood, Bailey Wraith and Daniel Romero. The Cannons have made just the two confirmed changes, with Shane Skidmore and Anthony Righele out of the side, while Jack Bytel and Rhylee West return from Vic Metro duty to line up through the middle.

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 3. J. Ayton-Delaney, 36. C. Beasley, 17. T. Bianco
HB: 12. N. Answerth , 4. W. Kelly, 35. X. Fry
C: 31. W.  Golds, 9. J.  Rowbottom, 11. M.  Rowell
HF: 26. J. Gasper, 33. M. Warren, 10. C. Whitehead
F: 8. N. Anderson, 7. J. Robertson, 22. D. Williams
R: 49. N. Bryan, 32. J. Ross, 1. R. Collier-Dawkins
Int: 13. A. Bosenavulagi, 2. L. Bugeja, 14. K. Dunkley, 65. L. Harry, 5. X. O’Neill, 15. K. Schreiber, 28. O. Simpson
23P: 74. H. Mastras

In: J. Rowbottom, N. Anderson, L. Harry, K. Dunkley, R. Collier-Dawkins, N. Answerth, W. Kelly, M. Rowell, J. Ayton-Delaney, A. Bosenavulagi
Out: L. Westwood,  B. Wraith,  D. Romero,  S. Fernandez,  M. Bowman,  J. May,  J. Jordon,  F. Elliot

Calder Cannons

B: 9. C. Barton, 38. B. Newman, 43. L. Cavallaro
HB: 35. S. Graham, 23. D. Hanna, 48. S. Ramsay
C: 27. T.  Browning, 1. D.  Mott, 3. I.  Moussa
HF: 10. H. Minton-Connell, 36. P. Mahoney, 14. J. Taylor
F: 51. W. Jury, 29. J. Riccardi, 57. J. Kemp
R: 12. J. O’Sullivan, 30. M. Podhajski, 16. J. Bytel
Int: 53. M. Abou-Eid, 42. N. Croft, 44. N. Gentile, 40. L. Johnson, 25. J. Martin, 8. L. Sholl, 20. R. West
23P: 21. H. Jones

In: J. Taylor, J. Bytel, R. West, S. Graham
Out: S. Skidmore, A. Righele

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 12 – Sunday, July 15, 11:30am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The Rebels have made three confirmed changes following their win over Bendigo Pioneers last weekend and will hope to have a similar result against the Northern Knights at home on Sunday. Isaac Wareham, Connor Giddings and Joel O’Connell all return to the side among five inclusions, while Vic Country midfielder Tom Berry is out, along with ruck Tylar Watts and Connor Hinkley. For the Knights, they have talent going in and out of the side with Tom McKenzie, Lachlan Potter, Cam Wild and Tom Hallebone all returning, while Ryan Gardner, Ryan Sturgess and Joel Naylor are among the outs from the Knights team for the clash.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 1. C. Craig-Peters, 18. B. Helyar, 10. J. Lohmann
HB: 24. M. Lloyd, 48. J. Cleaver, 44. R. Polkinghorne
C: 41. B.  Dodd, 27. E.  Lamb, 5. H.  Jennings
HF: 21. I. Grant, 40. I. Thomas, 14. J. Hill
F: 16. E. Harvey, 47. T. Mahony, 7. M. Martin
R: 29. P. Glanford, 6. C. Wilson, 3. S. Carlin
Int: 32. M. Burgess, 9. L. Dawson, 28. C. Giddings, 34. J. O’Connell, 31. C. Perks, 2. M. Schnerring, 30. I. Wareham
23P: 42. E. Ajang

In: C. Giddings, C. Perks, J. O’Connell, I. Wareham, E. Ajang
Out: T. Watts,  C. Hinkley,  T. Berry

Northern Knights

B: 25. J. Davies, 33. J. Randall, 22. M. Wild
HB: 4. T. McKenzie, 28. S. Uzelac, 5. L. Potter
C: 30. J.  McInerney, 10. B.  Bell, 15. O.  White
HF: 8. A. Carafa, 9. C. Simonsen, 40. N. Mayne
F: 18. S. Brazier, 16. T. Hallebone, 27. J. Lucente
R: 19. N. Howard, 36. K. Yodgee, 17. J. D’Intinosante
Int: 24. R. Bowkett, 55. J. Boyd, 20. P. Della Rocca, 7. H. Grace, 13. S. Philp, 32. I. Rossi, 44. C. Wild
23P: 52. J. Trudgeon

In: L. Potter, C. Wild, T. McKenzie, N. Mayne, J. Boyd, B. Bell, T. Hallebone, C. Simonsen, J. Davies
Out: R. Sturgess, N. Barro, R. Seakins, R. Gardner, X. Naish, J. Naylor, B. Nikolovski

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 12 – Sunday, July 15, 2pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the final game of the round, Geelong Falcons have loaded up with their Vic Country representatives as Sam Walsh and Ned McHenry return to the side, as does Oscar Brownless and Cooper Stephens, while Brayden Ham is set to return to defence. Tom Richardson, Titit Nyak and Will Batson are among those out of the team. For the Dragons, Kai Owens joins Metro representatives James Rendell, Jack Mahony and Angus Hanrahan back in the team, but have no included Bailey Smith and Ben King. Darcy Chirgwin, Corey Watts and Dawit McNeish are among six changes to leave the side.

Geelong Falcons

B: 31. C. Cartledge, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 21. L. Smith
HB: 40. J. Clark, 39. C. Idun, 20. B. Ham
C: 6. D.  Madigan, 10. B.  Mensch, 2. S. Torpy
HF: 8. E. McHenry, 42. H. Spiller, 22. S. Walsh
F: 1. J. Dahlhaus, 48. B. Schlensog, 13. H. Whyte
R: 44. S. Conway, 30. O. Brownless, 41. C. Stephens
Int: 7. C. Harris, 9. B. Morton, 32. F. Parish, 25. L. Taylor
Emg: 51. N. Conway, 50. J. Grigsby, 17. S. Ham
23P: 29. B. Miller

In: B. Ham, L. Taylor, C. Stephens, S. Walsh, O. Brownless, N. Conway, C. Harris, J. Grigsby, E. McHenry, H. Whyte
Out: J. Jewell,  T. Richardson,  W. Batson,  T. Nyak,  C. Karpala,  P. Smith,  K. Rayner,  B. Ritchie

Sandringham Dragons

B: 18. A. Seaton, 33. W. Kennedy, 46. L. Witts
HB: 11. N. Stamatis, 8. K. Owens, 48. J. Worrell
C: 19. S.  Forbes, 2. A.  Richards, 10. S.  Sofronidis
HF: 17. J. Denborough, 28. J. Rendell, 23. A. Hanrahan
F: 52. C. Dean, 70. J. Bell, 27. J. Mahony
R: 32. J. Griffiths, 6. H. Houlahan, 7. L. Stocker
Int: 36. M. Bergman, 13. T. Brimble, 51. N. Burke, 64. L. Butler, 66. R. Byrnes, 61. F. McAsey, 53. H. Ralphsmith
23P: 38. J. Le Grice

In: K. Owens, J. Griffiths, J. Mahony, N. Burke, L. Butler, J. Rendell, S. Sofronidis, A. Hanrahan
Out: D. Chirgwin, J. Voss, C. Watts, G. Grey, A. Courtney, D. McNeish

Scouting notes: National U18 Championships – Round 5

WE made the trip down to Etihad Stadium yesterday and saw the conclusion to the National Under 18 Championships. Here we take a look at every player in both games and see how they fared on the night. Lenny Fogliani, Cameron Ross, Scott Dougan, James Goller, Craig Byrnes, David Chapman, Jamie Morgan and Damon Mattiazzo all combined to provide the notes.

Allies vs. Western Australia:

Allies:

#1 Conor Budarick

Budarick was a strong tackler for the Allies having eight for the day – he was really fierce in the contest. He played like a smart footballer and made good decisions with the ball. His kicking was good all day and included three inside 50s. The 2019 draft prospect spent most of his time on the wing and through the forward line.

#3 Josh Stern

Stern had 10 possessions for the day. He showed courage going back with the flight in a marking contest – he didn’t flinch. He kicked the ball really well, especially in the last term. Stern also displayed good hands in the contest, playing mostly up forward pushing up the ground.

#6 Rhyan Mansell 

The hard nosed defender was impressive, laying seven strong tackles. He brought a bit of aggression out there and proved very hard to beat one on one, rarely losing a contest. He didn’t have a lot of the ball only collecting five possessions but used it well. Mansell showed a little bit of spread and speed off the back flank but needs to add more of that to his game so he can be a solid contributor both defensively and offensively, not just defensively.

#7 Jesse Quint

Quint had a okay day, gathering 10 possessions. A highlight was his hands in congestion. He kicked a nice goal to go with four inside 50s and kicked the ball well.

#10 Chayce Jones

The Tasmanian had a strong day at the office playing midfield and resting up forward. Jones is really hard at it in the contest and laid seven tackles for the game. When he doesn’t have the ball he was the willingness and desire to put as much defensive pressure on as he can. He kicked the ball well and made good decisions with ball in hand. He was both strong on inside and outside.

#11 Keidean Coleman

Coleman had seven possessions for the day playing down back, he was very strong defensively laying five tackles. He does have the ability to break the lines but he wasn’t able to do it enough having only two rebounds.

#12 Mitchell O’Neil

Definitely one to write down for the 2019 draft. He has really good hands in congestion. O’Neill also took a nice contested mark. He had 18 possessions and kicked the ball well, also booting a nice goal. He took the game on and was able to rebound well having three rebound 50’s for the game. O’ Neill made the All Australian team.

#15 Guy Richardson

The backman had 19 possessions for the day, I thought he played really well mopping up defensively. He was also good offensively rebounding four times and showcasing his really good foot skills. Richardson showed some good run and carry and the ability to break the lines. Defensively he was good one on one.

#17 Thomas Matthews

Another Allies defender who had a strong game, Matthews has really solid pressure in the contest. He only laid three tackles, but the work he does off the ball that doesn’t get any stats for was noticeable. He took five marks and a couple of those were intercepts. Matthews was great offensively as well having five rebounds. He kicks the ball well and showed some run and carry.

#19 Bailey Scott

The captain had a fantastic day for Allies. He played more in the midfield collecting 30 possessions. His clearance work was really good having six. He had really good hands in congestion and tackled really strongly showing some aggression with five tackles for the game. He kicked the ball well, especially late when he hit team mate Nick Blakey on the chest with a 40-meter kick. Scott was able to hit the scoreboard as well with a goal. He rebounded strongly with three rebounds and also had three inside 50s. The skipper also took a great mark.

#20 Fraser Turner

The wingman is a great runner and ran hard all day, slotting two great goals on the run at critical times. He had 24 possessions and showed strong hands in the contest. Turner rebounded really well having three for the game and his kicking was solid all day. Turner plays mostly on the wing is a outside damaging player.

#23 Michael Mummery

Mummery had a quiet day with only the four possessions, however, he was really good defensively laying five tackles. He also was good one on one in marking contests, taking a fantastic contested mark.

#28 Matthew Green

The tall midfielder put good pressure on the opposition and used his trademark long handballs into space to set up teammates running passed. Just the 11 disposals on the night, but he had a couple of crucial intercepts late, including one tackle which earned him a holding the ball free kick. Also had a couple of clearances and inside 50s on the night to end up with a solid performance.

#29 Joey Reinard

The forward showed some good glimpses in patches, kicking a goal early in the piece, working hard for leads and being creative through midfield. Not a high accumulator, he presents when required and plays that medium-tall role well.

#31 Connor McFadyen

The 190cm utility continues to impress with his super quick hands and strong contested marking ability. He took a great grab on the goal line in the second half to nail a vital goal, then handed one off to Mitch O’Neill who kicked truly from long range. He uses his body well one-on-one and has shown promising signs he can develop into an inside midfielder who drifts forward and has an impact.

#36 Matthew McGuiness

Playing in defence, McGuiness rebounded well from the back 50, working in tandem with Jacob Koschitzke and Nick Baker. Positions himself well and is able to put pressure on opposition forwards, while taking some strong marks.

#37 Jacob Koschitzke

One of the most improved players across the tournament, Koschitzke played another strong game out of full-back, taking some good contested marks and rebounding strongly. He showed good courage backing back with the flight on a couple of occasions and applying his penetrating kick to clear of the defensive zone.

#40 Kieren Briggs

The clear dominant ruck on the ground once again and deserving of the Allies’ Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the carnival. It was clear Briggs has a huge tank and covers the ground well, barely taking a break. His second efforts are a highlight and he continually does the defensive things right as well. I would be surprised if it was not just the GIANTS keeping an eye on the overager.

#41 Mathew Walker

The Murray Bushrangers forward started slowly but worked into the game in the second half. He kicked a good goal on the move, and missed a chance to add a second. Walker showed good hands in close, giving off lightning quick handballs to teammates and opening up space for them.

#44 Caleb Graham

The athletic big man was often found pushing up onto a wing and showing off his versatility. He laid a really big tackle early in the piece and took a great intercept mark and drove the ball long inside 50. Not a huge accumulator, but a long kick of the football and can play anywhere.

#46 Tarryn Thomas

The potential top 10 pick was relatively quiet again by his lofty standards, but he did pick up in the last quarter where he kicked a great set shot goal to get the Allies team up and about. He has the cleanest hands at ground level, and could pick up a soaking ball with velcro-like hands. Had a big clearance in the first term that resulted in a Nick Blakey goal. Thomas was terrific defensively laying a number of good tackles to stop opponents in their tracks.

#47 Nick Baker

Played up the ground through the midfield as well as at half-back and was strong one-on-one. He managed to get his hands on the football a bit and continued to remain involved in the contest. He was one of the Allies’ more prominent ball winners in the match.

#49 Nick Blakey

Just enormous. After being held early, Blakey came into the game with a bang once moving into the middle, winning two early clearances in the second half. He used his big body to impact the contest and then drifted forward to provide a contest. He had a brilliant dart of a pass to Mathew Walker in the third term and his disposal by foot was terrific. Just got better with every game he played and yesterday was huge when the game was on the line.

 

Western Australia:

#2 Jarrod Cameron

The lively small forward wasn’t as influential as compared to his dazzling performance against Vic Country, but still showed glimpses of his potential. His desire to run and chase opposition defenders is outstanding for someone his age, and his ability with ball in hand is unbelievably good.

#4 Graydon Wilson

The dynamic defender was outstanding for Western Australia, with his run and carry, skills and vision all on display. He also produced the match-saving spoil and tackle that secured WA the victory.

#6 Wil Hickmott

A late inclusion into the squad, Hickmott’s class was on full display. His vision, skills and reading of the play are at a fantastic level for someone his age. Carlton will be monitoring him closely as he is the son of former player Adrian Hickmott

#8 Luke Moore

The South Fremantle product finished with 13 possessions and two goals but the stat line doesn’t emphasise how good he was. In the first quarter, he stood up in a tackle and got the ball to Brad Oldfield who duly converted the opening goal of the game. Then late in the first quarter, he gathered the ball at full pace, sidestepped an opponent and snapped one through. The youngster has been likened to Alan Didak and shapes as a genuine match winner for any AFL club.

#9 Tyron Smallwood

Smallwood was extremely lively in the forward half for the Sandgropers, often setting up attacking forays. Not unlike Adelaide star Tom Lynch, Smallwood was the connector between the midfield and the forward line and he played the role to perfection.

#10 Rylie Morgan

The Claremont product was outstanding in the midfield. A beautifully balanced player with exceptional skills and sound decision-making, Morgan wielded an influence on the inside and the outside. He shapes as a potential bolter come draft night.

#11 Luke English

The acting captain of the day, English showed why he is such a highly rated prospect. He was tough, combative, skilful and smart against the Allies. He finished with 25 possessions and six tackles in what was a tremendous display.

#12 Jeremy Sharp

The bottom-ager did his stocks for the 2019 AFL Draft no harm whatsoever with an accomplished display against the Allies. His vision, speed, skills and smarts all make him an attractive player, and he would be thoroughly deserving of All-Australian selection.

#13 Jason Carter

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy player showed glimpses of why he is such a highly rated prospect. His dare to take the opposition on should excite the Fremantle recruiters and his speed was unmatched by any Allies player.

#14 Sydney Stack

The Northam product’s stocks continue to soar by the week. Against the Allies, Stack was aggressive, tough, skilful and dynamic. In the last quarter, he soared for a mark, roved his own crumbs and dribbled through a goal. He finished with 20 possessions and seven clearances.

#15 Jordan Clark

Arguably the best player on the ground, Clark deservedly took home the WA Most Valuable Player award. He finished with 29 possessions and 11 rebounds, and was often a catalyst for WA’s drive from the back half to the forward half. His skills, vision, composure and toughness will all make him an AFL star.

#16 Ethan Hansen

Hansen started the game in terrific fashion, taking an early intercept mark and gathering plenty of possessions. He showed the ability to kick on both sides of his body and his decision-making with the ball in hand was superb. Hansen was able to use his speed to escape the congestion and to provide run on the outside of the contest, which proved handy for Western Australia going forward. In the third quarter, Hansen read the play superbly and was able to take an intercept mark at full speed in the middle of the ground, resulting in a Western Australian goal. Hansen had 19 disposals and more than 300 metres gained.

#18 Deven Robertson

The bottom-age midfielder looks to be one to keep an eye on in next year’s draft. He didn’t have massive numbers by any means but what impressed me the most with Robertson, was his work-rate. He chased hard defensively and he was able to make plenty of contests in all areas of the ground, due to his gut-running.

#20 Luke Foley

Foley was pivotal in the midfield for Western Australia, setting the standard required for his teammates by making a strong impression early. He accumulated disposals in all areas of the ground, on the inside and outside of the contest. His clearance work was really good, but his tackling was even better. Foley never gave up and he tried his hardest to make an impact, both offensively and defensively.

#21 Tyson Powell

Powell started in defence and was solid. He tackled strongly and had some nice defensive spoils. In the second quarter, Powell coped a big knock and was unable to have the same influence. He bounced back in the second half and was responsible for the in-form Connor McFayden at times. Powell continued to spoil strongly and he started to find more of the ball as the game went on.

#23 Louis Miller

Miller was prominent down back and was one of Western Australia’s best on the day. His competitiveness and strength in the contest were noticeable throughout the match. Miller positioned himself well defensively and rebounded effectively. He amassed 22 disposals and used the ball well. The highlight of the day came in the second quarter when Miller took an eye-catching pack mark over four players on the wing.

#24 Regan Spooner

The classy defender spent a considerable amount of time on the in-form forward, Nick Blakey. Spooner kept Blakey to one goal in the first half and played his role fabulously. His ball use was top-notch and he was clean below his knees. His finest passage of play came in the second quarter when he kicked an absolute bullet inside 50 to the leading Tom Medhat.

#26 Jake Pasini

Pasini started the game in the defence and was solid. He did not have the same stats to most of his teammates, but he undeniably played a crucial role in limiting the Allies forwards impact during the game.

#27 Tom Medhat

The versatile forward was Western Australia’s most dangerous in the first half and he proved difficult for the Allies defenders to stop. He kicked his team’s second goal of the match with a running goal from 40m out, demonstrating his composure in pressure situations. Medhat found plenty of space in the second quarter and kicked his second goal only three minutes into the term. He pushed into the midfield at times and showed the ability to win the contested ball. Medhat kicked his third goal of the term in the dying minutes and was one of the main reasons behind Western Australia’s dominance in the first half. He didn’t have the same effect in the third and fourth quarters, but he continued to work hard at making himself an attractive option in the forward 50.

#29 Dillion O’Reilly

O’Reilly started in the forward half and shared ruck duties with Jack Buller throughout the game. He showed his athleticism early, winning some impressive jumping hit-outs to give his midfielders first use. O’Reilly kicked his first goal of the day in the second term, with a terrific snap around the body. He continued to hit the scoreboard for Western Australia, booting his second goal in the third term after leading successfully into a large amount of space inside 50.

#34 Brad Oldfield

Oldfield was outstanding in contested situations, winning the ball in tight and dishing the ball out by hand to his teammates. Oldfield found plenty of space in situations that you shouldn’t, which helped him make the correct decisions with ball in hand. In the first term, he was involved in an important passage of play where he kicked the ball inside 50 to a teammate and then sprinted extremely hard to make himself an appealing option to receive the ball back, resulting in the first goal of the game. His work rate and hard running was evident across four quarters.

#35 Mitchell Georgiades

The bottom-ager played on Nicholas Baker and arguably beat him in the first half. He booted two essential goals in the space of 10 minutes in the second term, instantly becoming one of the most dangerous forwards on the ground. Georgiades showcased his sticky hands and the ability to mark the ball at its highest possible point. His set-shot goal kicking was spot on and his technique was sublime. He was unable to have the same influence in the second half, but his 10-minute burst in the second quarter was enough to get me excited for his draft year in 2019.

#36 Jack Buller

Buller’s competitiveness and ground level work for a big man was on display from the get-go. He was beaten in the hit-out department to the bigger and stronger opposition ruckmen Kieran Briggs, but as soon as the ball hit the deck, Buller basically turned into a midfielder. His follow up work was magnificent, his pressure on the opposition was clear and he won plenty of contested possessions. After his dominant first half, Buller went into the main break with 11 disposals to his name. He was much quieter in the second half, but there’s no doubt he was one of Western Australia’s main contributors in the first two quarters.

 

Vic Metro vs. South Australia

Vic Metro:

#1 Jack Mahony

The bottom ager started a little shaky by foot early. He has really good hands in congestion and has the endeavour to put on pressure and really goes in the contest with pace. He showed courage when taking a mark back with the flight, knowing there would be contact. Mahony kicked a ripping snap goal at the start of the third term. With a goal and 17 possessions to his name, he played well.

#2 Joe Ayton-Delaney

Ayton-Delaney has the ability to really break the lines and hurt his opposition with it had five rebounds to his name which shows this. However, he did make some poor decisions with the football. He tends to use the ball fairly well, however his decision making leads him to turn over the footy and this happened a few times. Interested to see how he goes in the back-end of the year for Xavier College and Oakleigh Chargers.

#3 Zak Butters

Yesterday was set to be Butters’ last game for the season as he is going in for shoulder surgery next week. Sadly his season send-off ended early with a injury to the same shoulder. He showed a willingness to take the game on with his three possessions. Butters is quite small in stature, but is a slick and crafty player.

#4 Rhylee West

West did not have a big day against South Australia only having the 12 possessions. He has really solid hands in close, also making decent decisions with it. He kicked fairly well especially when he tried to open the play up. The Western Bulldogs father-son prospect is looking like at this stage a late first round, or early second round selection.

#5 Matt Rowell

Rowell had a fantastic day at the office, with the hard nosed midfielder collecting 20 possessions for the day. Rowell has break away speed from stoppages which caught the eye. On top of that he has really good hands in congestion. He is a fantastic tackler and managed seven for the day. He used the ball well on his left and right having four clearances and three inside 50s. Definitely one to watch for the 2019 draft.

#6 Curtis Taylor

Taylor is pure class inside the forward 50. He had eight possessions for the day, but really made each one of them effective in play – two of his forward tackles resulted in set shots. He also had two inside 50s and was dangerous up forward for Vic Metro, booting two goals.

#7 Angus Hanrahan

A quieter day for Hanrahan with 12 possessions. He is a real interesting type; starting forward he did not have much impact, but after moving to the wing he started to get his hands more on it. He has good hands in close and managed nine handballs. Only having three kicks for the day is slightly disappointing as his real strength is his kicking on his left and right. It’s hard to tell exactly where Hanrahan fits. I think he could fit around the mid second round to fourth round. Really depends on his second half of the year.

#8 James Rowbottom

Rowbottom is a real inside mid. He did not have a lot of the ball with just the 12 possessions compared to his other Championship games, but he was a strong tackler for Metro laying seven, with one of the tackles being a goal-saving one. He gave a little bit of spread from stoppages and his kicking was okay. Rowbottom’s draft stocks have risen from the championships

#12 Tom McKenzie

McKenzie played off the half-back flank and was one of Metro’s best in the first half. He provided run and carry out of the defensive 50 and his ball use was very good, on most occasions. He stayed composed under pressure, especially when South Australia were repeatedly entering their forward 50. He did most of his damage in uncontested situations but has proven in the past that he can win the ball on the inside when necessary.

#14 Isaac Quaynor

Along with the majority of his teammates, he started slowly but quickly found himself more involved as the game went on. He spent most of his minutes further up the ground, rather than deep, which is a position I do enjoy him in. His best passage of play came in the third quarter when he showcased his agility and speed with an exciting blind turn in the middle of the ground, effectively releasing the ball by hand to an outside runner.

#15 Bailey Smith

The hard-running, endurance beast was one of Metro’s only shining lights in the first half. Smith never gave in and tried hard all game, even when things were not going his way. His tackling was strong as always and he won the ball in contested and uncontested situations, which is why he’s so highly rated. His clearance work was impeccable and he was able to find plenty of the ball, finishing with 22 disposals. His positioning and effort in the defensive 50 were below par at times, but it is something that he will work on during his development.

#16 Noah Answerth

It was an up-and-down game for Answerth, who received a red card at the half-time break and missed the first 15 minutes of the third term. He showed that he can have a big impact on the contest with his ball-winning ability and link-up play, but was completely exposed in defensive situations. Answerth was responsible for the red-hot forward Izak Rankine, who was near-impossible to stop. There were a couple of moments that Answerth was caught ball watching, forgetting to give Rankine enough attention, which resulted in Rankine booting some very easy goals, with no defensive pressure applied. This is common with junior footballers and of no big concern. He will improve in this area as he progresses through his development.

#18 Xavier O’Halloran

The captain gradually worked into the match and was vital in stages throughout the second half. O’Halloran only had the 10 disposals but definitely made them count, which makes him such a damaging player. He did his best work in the forward half of the ground and was involved in one of cleanest passages of play in the game. In the third quarter, he was able to drill a 40-metre kick inside 50 to the leading Ben King, who marked and kicked truly, keeping Metro in the game. O’Halloran hit the scoreboard himself in the last minute of the third, after taking a strong contested mark 20 metres out.

#19 Jack Bytel

Bytel was at his best in tight, where he could gather possession and release the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. His ball use by foot was inconsistent. He turned the ball over on multiple occasions but also displayed that he can hit targets in high-pressure situations, on both feet. Bytel spent some time down back in the second half but was unable to have any real influence on the match.

#23 Buku Khamis

Khamis spent some time on the highly-rated Connor Rozee, with the athletic rebounding defender doing his best in trying to limit his impact. Khamis read the play well, his ball use was good and his intercept marking was a standout. Khamis has progressed rapidly over the past year and did his draft chances no harm.

#24 Noah Anderson

The exciting bottom-ager from the Oakleigh Charges contributed to Metro’s midfield and looms as one of the top prospects for next year. He didn’t have the biggest effect on the game but his ball-winning ability, speed and clean ball use was a sign of things to come in 2019.

#26 Riley Collier-Dawkins – The big bodied Oakleigh midfielder was in and around the stoppages for long periods of the night, but struggled to have the impact of earlier matches. He often won first possession, but struggled to find the opportunity to release as the South Australians wrapped him up quickly. While he would only win eight disposals, Collier-Dawkins still produced moments that showcase why he is now regarded a first round prospect. He took a great overhead mark and played on with acceleration inside 50, but couldn’t finish off his work by foot. In the third term he raised his arms high at a stoppage to release a teammate brilliantly on the outside, before showing his defensive presence by producing a heavy tackle on Valente later in the quarter.

#27 Will Kelly – Starting on Lukosius, Kelly was one of the only Vic Metro defenders to keep his opponent accountable with offensive run during the early onslaught. He intercepted and rebounded with style, but also defended admirably by holding the most talked about player of the draft pool to one goal. He went forward in the final term and looked capable leading to space, while also setting up Bailey Smith in the corridor. The son of Craig and brother of Jake at Adelaide finished with 17 disposals to be one of Vic Metro’s better players. You suspect the Pies won’t let another Kelly father/son prospect slip on this occasion.

#28 Ben Silvagni – The second of the Silvagni boys came to Etihad Stadium with some expectation from the Carlton faithful and he started okay forward considering the lack of early opportunities. He took a nice overhead mark on the lead inside 50, before a brilliant piece of play on the wing where he shrugged a tackle, disposed the ball to a teammate and ran hard forward to receive the kick on the arc. A disappointing set shot after the half time siren could have given his side some life going into the break, but instead instigated a small melee. He was moved to defence in the second half and faded as the match wore on.

#29 James Blanck – After an excellent performance in defence against Vic Country at the MCG, Blanck was given a small reality check by a rampaging South Australian side. He was exposed physically against the bigger Hugo Munn in the first term, who out muscled him one on one on two occasions. He positioned himself better as the game went on, but couldn’t have the same impact offensively as his previous game. He finished the night spending time in the ruck.

#34 James Rendell – Rendell is another father/son prospect who has ties with Brisbane through his father Matt’s 164 games for Fitzroy. The 198cm forward/ruck has shown signs of promising AFL attributes throughout 2018 and again produced moments of interest against South Australia. After a quiet first half he came to life in the third term, kicking a banana out of congestion that bounced to Jack Mahony in the corridor to set up a goal. He then produced one of the highlights of the game to take a towering pack mark deep inside 50 and kicked truly to continue his side’s fight back at the time. A goal, 12 hit outs and 11 possessions was a solid outing when considering minimal Vic Metro contributors.

#35 Thomas Hallebone – The lanky 201cm Northern Knights ruckman had moments throughout the day to suggest that he can develop into a capable prospect with time. While only winning five disposals for the game, he took a strong intercept mark in the first term. In the ruck he has skills, highlighted by a soft touch that the midfielders can easily read. He is currently more effective at the centre bounces where he can jump at the ball, as the bigger bodied, albeit shorter James Siviour was able to easily push his 83kg frame out of position at around the ground stoppages.

#36 Ben King – King again proved his potential No.1 pick worth with a four goal haul on arguably the biggest pathway stage against a mighty South Australian outfit at Etihad Stadium. While he lacked opportunities in the first term with the ball seemingly forever at the other end, he took his chance in the second quarter with a series of strong marks and smart leads. He attacked the ball at its highest point, often leaving his opponent with no chance. That was highlighted perfectly in the third term as he brought down a contested mark on the move with Riley Grundy right on his hammer creating immense physical pressure. He made the most of his shots on goal too, kicking four goals straight from only seven disposals. The recruiters also got their wish of the dream King/Lukosius match up in the second half, but unfortunately it was a bit of a letdown as they rarely competed aerially.

South Australia:

#2 Hayden Sampson

Sampson as dangerous around the ball and put his head into the pack on numerous occasions. Probably would have liked to be a bit cleaner off the ground but his 15 disposals and three clearances were important

#4 Kade Chandler

Another SA player that goes in hard. Played his role as small defensive forward and crumbed a good goal from the pocket and set up a teammate’s goal with some great pressure.

#10 Martin Frederick

Really stepped up and provided a number of dashing drives from half-back. With 16 disposals he used the ball also really well, broke some tackles due to his pace, and nearly got a goal bursting inside 50. Has really improved his draft chances and is a Port Next Generation Academy.

#11 Finn Betterman

The midfielder had a quieter game but still managed to lock in four tackles, which is what you need to do when the ball is not coming your way. Can play the first receiver really well and his possessions normally matter.

#13 Connor Rozee

This was the return to form we were waiting for, Rozee had the 18 disposals and four clearances. Managed the miracle goal out of the back of the pack with a smart kick and was smooth when he had it. But it was his desperation that really showed off as he was diving for smothers, chasing at speed and on multiple occasions jumped up to intercept or bring to ground a Vic Metro kick, killing off their rebound.

#14 Izak Rankine

One word – Magic! Booted five goals and about four of them were goal of the game contenders. Just so special, and no doubt his highlights package will be something to marvel over. A class above on the night.

#16 Tom Lewis

Literally living at the bottom of a pack, this inside bull was outstanding. Had 18 disposals and eight tackles. Lewis continues to find the footy under enormous contested pressure and dish out to teammates. A memorable play was where he was on the ground in the pack, got the footy, stood up, bursted out of the congestion with 2-3 Vic Metro players on him and dished to a teammate. Scored a nice goal in the last quarter.

#18 Oscar Chapman

The third tall was outstanding and able to demonstrate all his flexibility. Opened up with a holding the ball tackle that hit Munn for the goal and was continuously harassing Metro defenders and providing blocks for his other forwards. In the last quarter he was taken off the leash and exploded kicking 2.2 including a fantastic pack mark 15m out. Finished with a game high seven marks and 14 disposals

#22 Jacob Kennerley

Was important key ball winner for SA and was dominant early on the wing linking play to the SA forwards. Always looked damaging with the ball and used it well and when Vic Metro came back in the third quarter he worked back well. Certainly one of SA’s best for the day finishing with 22 disposals.

#23 Aaron Nietschke

Was a quiet game for Nietschke possession wise, but he did show glimpses of what he can do. Worked hard in and under when the opportunity was there. He has had better games, but his body size and work rate made him a valuable member of the team

#25 Tom Sparrow

Another player who had an impact when it was his turn, and finished with 17 disposals and five inside 50s and did like some of his work down back when he won some key one on ones and fed the ball out. Another contributor who rarely lost a contested ball when in his area.

#27 Jez McLennan

Another solid and productive game for the defender. Managed to grab some intercept marks and always was poised with the football and efficient. Looked well balanced and calm when Vic Metro had a run in the third quarter. A key for the SA defence all tournament and absolute leader down back. His seven tackles were evident of his work rate and willingness to chase and compete. Great leadership shown.

#30 Ben Jarvis

The goal sneak is a real enigma as he always looks dangerous near the footy and around goal and was rewarded with another two goals. He roved a ball off the pack at speed and class which showed off his ability. He worked up the ground at times and was also good in at the contest. Drifted in and out of the game, but when he is near the footy, things happened that really benefit his team.

#31 Mihail Lochowiak

Was prominent early in the game with dash, but did try to do too much at times and turned the ball over. Once he adjusted to the pace of the game he made a solid contribution and when Vic Metro were coming made a nice lead and goal to stem the flow. A bit more poise and polish to his game will be key to his development as his pace, willingness to take the game on and size are all impressive

#32 Luke Valente

A quieter game for the captain, but as a true leader really worked into the game after a quiet first quarter. Still finished with 18 disposals for SA, but what stands out is his composure in traffic, and decision making is generally spot on. Seemed to have a bit more time than others which showed his class. Liked how he dug in during the third quarter to win some key football. His evasion and side step is excellent

#33 Tyler Martin

Had limited possessions but this game really saw his class when challenged. Would rarely be beaten for the footy and just a classic “played your role” game which was vital for the team. He reads the play well and is the third man up at times with timely spoils as well as finishing with five marks intercepting when required.

#34 Jackson Hately

Hately produced another fantastic performance when it mattered most in the title decider. Hately capped off a consistent carnival with 23 disposals in the final game a team high and also a game high of six inside 50’s. He had ten disposals in the first quarter as the Croweaters could no wrong, his brilliant quarter was shown in finding Rankine with a pin-point kick inside 50 to his advantage on the lead. Hately was deservedly named in the forward line of the U18 All Australian team.

#35 Jacob Collins

Norwood’s Jacob Collins was called up for his first game of the carnival and rewarded selectors with a solid game. Collins had plenty of touches early on as the South Australian defence exited Vic Metro’s forward line with ease. Collins ball use from defence early was terrific as South Australia punished Vic Metro’s poor forward entries. Had a knock in second quarter which curtailed his influence somewhat, but still managed to have 13 disposals and five inside 50s.

#37 Riley Grundy

Grundy had the easiest job on field in the first quarter as the service to Ben King was nothing sort of horrific. But once Vic Metro responded, delivery to King was maximised as the height difference between King (202cm) and Grundy (195cm) in the marking contests started to show. Grundy struggled at times to compete with King aerially, as King finished with four goals. Grundy has had a solid carnival down back with Will Gould and has done decent jobs on the each team’s key forward.

#42 Jack Lukosius

Lukosius took a back seat to the Izak Rankine show early on and was quiet in the first term. In the second quarter Lukosius kicked his first goal after a great passage of play by the SA onball brigade, as Munn tapped it down to Lukosius who converted on ground level. In the second half the recruiters got their carnival wish as Lukosius was sent back to stop King from continuing his dominance. Lukosius certainly assured the SA backline and took intercepting marks down back to prove that he is almost the prototype footballer that can play in almost any position. His brilliant carnival was capped off with the centre half-forward position in the U18 All Australian team and is likely to be taken at pick one in the AFL National Draft.

#43 Will Gould

Under-age defender Will Gould was a monster down back for his side as he also had a carnival high of 17 possessions for the match. Gould took it upon himself to be more adventurous out of defence once he was joined by Jack Lukosius down back proving his versatility. Gould was deservedly awarded with a spot in U18 the All-Australian team on the interchange, as massive achievement for the 2001-born player.

#44 James Siviour

Siviour produced his best performance for the title decider as he took care of ruckman Tom Hallebone, Joe Griffith’s replacement. Siviour contributed with 28 hitouts, 10 disposals and goal, his intercepting down back was a highlight as took six marks for the day, as Hallebone could only manage one.

#47 Hugo Munn

Munn was on fire in the first quarter as he dominated opponent James Blanck tacking a pack mark and converting truly and another contested mark against his opponent and fed a running Rankine who kicked it from the goal square. Munn has showed some brilliant signs and efforts throughout the carnival as finished as one of the top goal kickers with Lukosius, Rankine and King.

South Australia take out the U18 AFL National Championships title

A devastating first quarter from top-five draft prospect Izak Rankine saw South Australia storm towards the Under-18 AFL National Championship title. The Croweaters had to hold off a fast finishing Victoria Metro side whose deplorable start to the match severely wrecked their chances. But South Australia’s mesmerising first half start blew Vic Metro away with a nine goal to two half.

This start was the game changer as Rankine took the match away from Vic Metro contributing three goals and put on an incredible show for the patrons at Etihad Stadium. South Australia’s start of the match was potentially the best start of the championships as SA attacked at will from their early clearances, as Vic Metro’s onball brigade were given an armchair ride. Star forward/midfielder Rankine opened his account by kicking a wonderful volley goal in the middle of a forward 50m stoppage to give SA the first of the game.

SA’s attack was relentless after Oscar Chapman hunted down a Vic Metro defender attempting to rebound from his defensive 50 and quickly got it onto the boot to Hugo Munn who took a fantastic park mark. Munn converted his first and was given another terrific delivery into the forward line which saw him out mark Vic Metro defender James Blanck with ease and strength. With only Munn and Blanck in the goal square, Rankine stormed past to receive the handball and kick his second of game.

Vic Metro started to get some forward entries but butchered their kicks as the SA defenders were intercepting with ease. Rhylee West was starting to get some critical clearances for his side. But Vic Metro couldn’t stop the bleeding, Rankine then kicked a stunning snap goal from the boundary line to bring up his third goal of the day as Metro could not stop his influence. Rankine was single-handily taking control of the match as he then took a screamer up forward. Rankine had two more set-shots for the quarter but couldn’t convert both as he had the chance to end the quarter with five goals to his name, SA led by 26 points and kept Metro goalless.

The South Australia juggernaut had no signs of stopping any time soon, as Connor Rozee kicked a great soccer goal to start the second quarter. Vic Metro finally got on the board as a long kick from Ben Silvagni found Ben King who converted for his side’s first of the game. SA then made the most of the forward 50m entries, as Jack Lukosius kicked a great goal of ground level as Kade Chandler and Ben Jarvis continued the rout. Vic Metro tried their best to cut the margin but kept missing gettable chances Riley Collier-Dawkins took a great mark inside 50 but couldn’t convert, South Australia led by seven goals at the main break.

But South Australia’s comfortable 43-point margin at half-time was incredibly in danger as Vic Metro booted the next five goals of the match to close to within 11 points halfway through the third quarter. King led the charge up front, as Curtis Taylor and under-age forward Jack Mahony kicked crucial goals for Metro. Underage midfielder Matt Rowell started finding tons of space and his pin-point kicking was finding targets in the forward 50, James Rendell was sent forward and was causing the SA defence problems as he kicked a goal. South Australia needed a response as Vic Metro were looking unstoppable and had plenty of time to catch up and get the in front of the game.

Angus Hanrahan had the opportunity for Vic Metro to get within a goal after a brilliant rundown tackle on Mihail Lochowiak in the forward pocket but failed to score the goal. Lochowiak keen to make up for his error marked just inside 50 from Munn’s kick and intercept mark on the wing, Lochowiak kicked the long bomb and SA steadied the ship somewhat. Then it all started to fall apart for Metro as they breached the anti-density rule and SA captain Luke Valente kindly obliged from 25m directly in front to give South Australia that nerve settler.

South Australia coach Tony Bamford granted the wishes of the recruiters as he moved star forward Lukosius into defence to stop King’s dominance. Rankine quiet and barely seen in the third quarter nursing an ankle injury, came out firing in the final stanza as he kicked a great snap goal to get his fourth of the game. Rankine then followed up with his fifth as he burnt off the Metro defence to take his tally to five for the day.

Chapman started to dominate in the forward line with Lukosius down back as he kicked a nice snap goal and followed it up with a great mark and goal moments later to get his second for the quarter. The match sealer came from honest midfielder Tom Lewis who profited from a superb run down tackle from Chandler, as Lewis then shrugged an opponent to kick a wonderful snap goal.

South Australia ran out 55-point winners as the Croweaters produced their best performance for decider, the same couldn’t be said about Victoria Metro who were admirable across the championships but couldn’t match it with SA.

Rankine arguably only played two effective quarters and ended his day with best on ground honours with five goals from 17 disposals and a highlight reel for the ages. Midfielders Jackson Hately (24 disposals) and Jacob Kennerley (22 disposals) were effective across the day and were vital to South Australia’s ball movement and stoppage dominance, Kennerley impressive off the wing. Possible number one draft pick Lukosius was serviceable for his side in a relatively quiet outing for the star forward, as he shifted to play on King in latter stages of the match. South Australia MVP Valente (18 disposals) was at his solid best as on-ball partner Lewis (18 disposals) both carried most of the heavy grunt work across the midfield. Martin Frederick was superb off half-back with 16 disposals, as Frederick produced his best performance of the carnival in a time that mattered most.

For the disappointed Vic Metro, King’s performance was the main reason that it wasn’t an embarrassing score line for his side. King dominated in the contests against Riley Grundy as the way King flew for the ball made it almost impossible for the SA defenders to stop him, he kicked four goals for the day. Joseph Ayton-Delaney was a steady possession getter for his side when they were struggling to find it, as his 25 disposals for the day was a game high. Rowell was integral to Metro’s comeback in the third term and picked up 20 touches for the game. Bailey Smith was quiet in the opening stanza but slowly influenced as the game grew older he finished with 22 disposals and six tackles.

VIC METRO 0.1 2.3 8.5 9.7 (61)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 4.3 9.4 12.7 17.14 (116)

Goals
Vic Metro: King 4, Taylor 2, Mahony, Rendell, O’Hallora.
South Australia: Rankine 5, Jarvis 2, Chapman 2, Munn, Rozee, Lukosius, Chandler, Lochowiak, Siviour, Valente, Lewis.

Best
Vic Metro: King, Ayton-Delaney, Smith, Rowell, O’Halloran, Mahony
South Australia: Rankine, Kennerley, Hately, Lewis, Frederick, Chapman

Draft Central Power Rankings: July 2018

IN one of the most recognisable draft crops in some time, the 2018 AFL National Draft is heating up to be one of the most talked about in the lead-up with so many tall and small prospects who are already looking like genuine AFL stars. As was the case last year, on the first Monday of the month we take a look at the top 30 prospects and where we see them throughout the season. Some will rise and drop depending on performances, while others will remain steady throughout. Keep in mind that the Power Rankings are an opinion-based ranking system, without taking into account AFL club finishing positions or needs – ie. not a Phantom Draft. It is purely measuring players on our opinion of their ability. Without further ado, here are our current top 30:
#1 Jack Lukosius

Key Position Forward/Defender (WWT Eagles/South Australia)
09/08/2000 | 196cm | 84kg

June rank: #1

Lukosius started the season as the consensus number one after jumping on the scene as a 17-year-old for WWT Eagles in the SANFL Preliminary Final, booting four goals and clunking eight marks on his League debut. He has continued his form into this season, booting seven goals from five matches, including an 18-disposal, 11-mark and three-goal game against Glenelg. He also showed his versatility collecting 25 disposals, 14 marks and six inside 50s from centre-half back in a South Australia Under 18 trial match at the beginning of the year. For the AFL Academy he was utilised at both ends, looking most at home as a forward, finishing the match with 12 disposals and two goals. The thing that separates Lukosius from other talls is his foot skills, where you could argue he is one of the best kicks in the entire draft pool, hitting targets at ease off his right foot around the ground. A genuine franchise player.

Past month:

Lukosius has done everything expected of him in the National Under 18 Championships, dominating against Western Australia with 14 marks from 17 disposals and three goals, before back-up performances against Vic Country and the Allies. While he only booted the one goal against the Allies, he had 18 disposals and seven marks playing everywhere from forward to back, to the wing. An out and out star and as versatile as any player in the draft crop.

#2 Sam Walsh
Outside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
02/07/2000 | 183cm | 74kg

June rank: #3

The best midfielder in the 2018 AFL Draft pool has started the season exceptionally well at TAC Cup level. Walsh’s smarts help him around the ground and it is very hard to keep him quiet or out of a game. Against the North Melbourne VFL team, Walsh had 22 disposals, nine marks and four clearances, working through the midfield and booting the opening goal of the game. His spread on the outside is good and he has shown he can win the footy in both contested and uncontested situations. He leads from the front and is probably the safest player in this draft pool for a club to draft. The knock was his disposal at full speed last season, but he is as consistent as they come across all areas.

Past month:

Walsh moves up to number two in our Power Rankings after an impressive National Championships carnival. It was no surprise to see him win Vic Country’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, after another 30-disposal game against Western Australia. He was dominant against Vic Metro with 29 touches and in Country’s top couple of players in every game. The standout non KPP in the draft.

#3 Max King
Key Position Forward (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
07/07/2000 | 201cm | 86kg

June rank: #2

The tall forward is one of the best tall prospects we have seen in recent years and is most certainly in the mix as a top five pick, despite the fact that King will not play another game this season. After booting a few goals in the opening quarter for Haileybury College at school football, King’s knee buckled from underneath him in the second quarter and he was stretchered off. Scans later confirmed that the talented forward suffered a torn ACL. Nevertheless, King is a superb prospect who is outstanding in the air (thanks to a big wingspan) and a goal-kicking option, having booted 8.5 against Oakleigh Chargers earlier in the TAC Cup last month. A real strength of King’s is his ability to collect the ball when it hits the ground, with a strong recovery helping the 201cm tall. While some say he could slip down the order due to injury, he won’t be falling outside the top 10, or even maybe the top five due to his impressive skill set.

Past month:

Recovering from an ACL injury which will see him miss the rest of the 2018 season.

#4 Ben King
Key Position Defender/Forward (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
07/07/2000 | 201cm | 85kg

June rank: #4

The twin brother of Max King has started the season very well, used at both ends at all levels. While Ben is a natural key defender, he has shown at school level that he can be a valuable forward, booting 18 goals in the first two school games. Like brother Max, he is very mobile and has an outstanding leap. He recovers very well when the ball hits the ground and when he flies to mark or spoil the ball and it falls to the ground. Is one of the best tall defenders and competes exceptionally well. Reckon we might see him more as a forward as the season goes, could become a genuine ‘swingman’ if he isn’t already. After a good AFL Academy game, Ben King won the Melbourne Cricket Club’s President’s Medal as the best player.

Past month:

Started the National Under 18 Championships on fire up forward with five goals against Western Australia in a best on ground performance. King then was well held by Jacob Koschitzke in Vic Metro’s narrow two-point win against the Allies, but booted the winning goal showing he can stand up in clutch moments. He managed to break away from Connor Idun a couple of times and converted two majors at the MCG in the All-Victorian clash. Could cap off a strong championships with a good performance against South Australia on Wednesday.

#5 Izak Rankine
Small Forward/Balanced Midfielder (West Adelaide/South Australia)
23/04/2000 | 180cm | 76kg

June rank: #5

Probably the most exciting prospect in the 2018 AFL Draft pool, Rankine can do some special things that a majority of others cannot. He is a lively forward who can push into the midfield and win his own footy, with his agility a key trait. Rankine was so good in last year’s NAB AFL Under 17 All Stars match that they made him switch teams at half-time! He missed the opening few weeks through suspension, but has since returned back to SANFL League footy with West Adelaide, booting four goals from 12 disposals. At this stage he is more of a forward/midfielder than a pure midfielder – and it will be interesting to see how he goes throughout the year, working on his craft with more midfield time for the South Australian side in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Past month:

Just when the midfield power of Bailey Smith or the sheer ball-winning ability of Sam Walsh was the talk of the smaller brigade, Izak Rankine comes out and produces a performance to remember against the Allies. He racked up 20 disposals, five marks, four clearances, six inside 50s and three goals – including one from the 50m arc off a couple of steps – and signalled his intentions as a top five pick in case anyone had forgotten.

#6 Bailey Smith
Inside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
07/12/2000 | 184cm | 79kg

June rank: #11

Bailey Smith had a great finish to the 2017 season which saw him elevated to the NAB AFL Academy Level Two group. Smith played mostly across half back last year, but did show his ball winning capabilities on the inside for Xavier College and the Dragons, including a huge 44 disposals (22 contested) at 72 per cent efficiency, 13 inside 50s, 10 clearances, six marks and four rebound 50s match against Western. The Dragons 2018 captain is a strong leader and has really transitioned into an inside ball winning midfielder, having collected 37 disposals (22 contested) in the opening match of the season this year. In his most recent outing for the Dragons against the Jets, Smith had 28 disposals, 11 clearances and booted two goals, where he used his quick and clean hands to effectiveness on the inside. The right footer is a capable target around the ground and runs very well.

Past month:

Smith is the biggest bolter in the top-end of the list and well and truly deserved the spot inside the top six. A month is a long time in football and with each game he plays he seems to move higher. Just makes the right decisions, stands up when required and can play anywhere on the ground. In the best couple in each of his three Under 18 Championships games and is firming as a potential top five pick.

#7 Nick Blakey
Key Position Forward (Sydney Swans Academy/Allies)
27/02/2000 | 195cm | 80kg

June rank: #6

Up until this time last week, Blakey had multiple options as the son of former North Melbourne and Brisbane player John. Blakey also fell into the Sydney Swans Academy, while he could have opted for the open draft. However – Blakey has made a decision to stick with the Sydney Swans Academy and the Swans are going to get a ‘goodie’. Blakey is a natural forward with a good goal sense and marks well overhead. He glides around the ground and can play in defence if required, while there is midfield potential should some of his coaches see fit. Blakey has dominated in the AFL Under 18 Academy Series against some average opposition, but he booted an exceptional goal off a few steps in the AFL Academy match against North Melbourne’s VFL side. While injuries kept him out of a lot of football last year, expect Blakey to warrant an early bid inside the top 10 at this stage.

Past month:

After being struck down with illness and missing the opening National Championships game against Vic Country, then having a quieter seven-disposal, one-goal performance against Vic Metro, Blakey showed every bit of why he is considered a top 10 pick in his performance against South Australia. Blakey led hard at the football, collecting 11 disposals and clunking six marks, copping hits left, right and centre and still not looking 100 per cent. Nonetheless he shook it off to be one of the best Allies, just needing to capitalise in front of goal, slotting 2.3 for the day.

#8 Tarryn Thomas
Balanced Midfielder (Tasmania/North Melbourne Academy/Allies)
25/03/2000 | 189cm | 73kg

June rank: #7

Thomas is a really exciting player whose glimpses over the last few years suggest he is going to be a special player in the future. The Tasmanian falls into North Melbourne’s Next-Generation Academy and therefore the Kangaroos will have first dibs on Thomas who will likely command a first round bid. Thomas is an outside midfielder who has a good burst of speed and agility, using it well off his right foot. He can also push forward and hit the scoreboard. One of the cleanest players in the draft crop, Thomas is a one-touch player and turns an inch into a mile.

Past month:

Thomas had a quieter game against South Australia with just the 12 touches and four inside 50s, but still has that touch of class. He has shared the load for the Allies after a dominant Academy Series for Tasmania, and has played both forward and midfield in the championships. Hopefully he finishes off strong on Wednesday against Western Australia.

#9 Jackson Hately
Inside Midfielder (Central District/South Australia)
21/10/2000 | 192cm | 80kg

June rank: #10

Jackson Hately is one of the few pure inside midfielders in the top half of the rankings list. While he still has some size to put on, the 192cm midfielder is strong in the contest, where he can win the contested ball, tackle hard and win clearances. Hately can also hit the scoreboard when required. The Central Districts product has had a taste of SANFL League footy, recording 21 disposals and seven tackles against Glenelg a few weeks ago. Hately was one of the standouts for the AFL Academy in their match against the North Melbourne VFL side, where he had 17 disposals, eight tackles and kicked two goals.

Past month:

Hately has enjoyed a really consistent National Championships thus far and would not have deviated too much from his initial position around the top 10. He had 21 disposals and six clearances against the Allies, and again worked well with the inside grunt of Luke Valente and the outside class of Izak Rankine. Continues to impress and no doubt will be one South Australian fans look to in the final game against Vic Metro.

#10 Ian Hill
Small Forward (Perth/Western Australia)
09/02/2000 | 175cm | 76kg

June rank: #8

Ian “Bobby” Hill is an exciting small forward similar to Rankine in the way that he can make recruiters and fans go “wow” at certain moments. While at this stage, he’s far from the finished product – he has produced plenty of glimpses that suggest he’ll be a strong player for the future. He has superb speed and agility, while his goal sense is outstanding. So far in the WAFL Colts for Perth he has been very good – having overcome a concussion earlier in the season. Hill is Western Australia’s best draft prospect and the second cousin of Fremantle pair Brad and Stephen Hill. He will be one to watch at the National Championships.

Past month:

Probably has not had the National Championships he would have liked thus far, but you can see the talent that burst onto the scene at Etihad Stadium last year is still there. He had 19 disposals, six marks and four inside 50s against Vic Country in a building performance, but it was his leadership that stood out – getting around his teammates and keeping them focused. Some people have him slipping late into the first round, but I do not buy that yet, too much class and talent.

#11 Curtis Taylor
Medium Forward/Inside Midfielder (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
06/04/2000 | 186cm | 79kg

June rank: #13

Taylor might be earlier than many others have him – it is based on the potential that the Calder Cannons product has. Taylor has plenty of X-Factor, which he showed in past years at school football for PEGS, playing alongside top draftees Cameron Rayner and Daniel Venables. Taylor at this stage is far more comfortable across half forward than as an inside midfielder, but has plenty of opportunities across the year to improve his midfield calibre. He has a good skill set and can mark well overhead.

Past month:

Taylor stands up in big games and on the MCG turf, he was the standout forward with three goals, showing his strength in the air and an ability to convert in pressure situations. With Vic Country charging late, Taylor cooly slotted the winner to hand Vic Metro the victory. Oozes X-factor and could well be a top 10 pick come November.

#12 Bailey Williams
Key Position Forward/Ruckman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
17/04/2000 | 198cm | 95kg

June rank: #9

The red-haired Williams burst onto the scene last year with some eye-catching displays for the Dandenong Stingrays, while he was also able to represent the Vic Country Under 18 team as a bottom-ager, where he mostly played in the ruck. While Williams is a strong ruck, he is probably a better forward at the moment – in the mould of Gold Coast’s 2014 draftee Peter Wright. Williams has an outstanding leap and is a capable set shot for goal and booted a stunning bag of seven against the Western Jets in Round 4 of the 2018 TAC Cup.

Past month:

Williams has been a number of dropped marks away from a really imposing National Championships. He had a poor game against Vic Metro, but stepped up against Western Australia as all gun players do, collecting 16 disposals and booting two goals. His marking has been a bit of an issue this carnival, but his athleticism and vertical leap have been on show and has not disappointed in that regard.

#13 Ned McHenry
Balanced Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
13/07/2000 | 176cm | 71kg

June rank: #14

McHenry’s super 2017 season saw him elevated to the National AFL Under 18 Academy Level Two squad and is a player that gives his all in every game. Despite his light frame, McHenry starts at the centre bounces and can win the contested football. The Falcons midfielder is a great character and you really need to check out his work on the Geelong Falcons Facebook page and watch the ‘Ned’s Falcons files’ videos. McHenry impressed in the National AFL Under 18 Championships for Vic Country last year as a bottom-ager, averaging 18 disposals at 75 per cent efficiency and laying 5.5 tackles.

Past month:

A quieter game against Western Australia, but still managed to lay seven tackles on the weekend. He looked the goods against Vic Metro with two first quarter goals, but could not quite capitalise in front of the big sticks after that. His pressure game is as good as any and he has maintained a clear first round spot on the rankings.

#14 Connor Rozee
Outside Midfielder (North Adelaide/South Australia)
22/01/2000 | 184cm | 72kg

June rank: #12

Rozee is another of South Australia’s top draft prospects and in recent weeks has pushed into the SANFL League side for North Adelaide. The midfielder has smarts around the ground, getting to the right positions and has shown his capabilities as a good runner. He rarely wastes a disposal and moves well in and around the stoppages. While he has spent some time playing as a half forward in recent times, he will likely end up as a pure midfielder with his strong skill set. Rozee has made his SANFL League debut, booting two goals in both appearances in the last fortnight. Rozee played all four games as a bottom-ager for South Australia in the 2017 Under 18 Championships, averaging 14 disposals and seven tackles.

Past month:

It has been hard to assess Rozee this carnival as he has played in a myriad of roles. He retains a spot in the mid first round, because his use by hand or foot, and his vision is spectacular. He just had the 13 touches on the weekend, but he uses it so well he hurts opposition off a dozen possessions. Just does not do too much wrong and there will be a better indication of his capabilities when he faces the strong Vic Metro midfield.

#15 Riley Collier-Dawkins
Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
03/02/2000 | 193cm | 88kg

June rank: #16

Based on potential – Collier-Dawkins could well be a first round prospect come later in the season. He still has some work to do in order to reach this level, but the signs early in the season are very good. Collier-Dawkins was very good in the #57 last year as a bottom-ager for the Oakleigh Chargers winning the ball as a hybrid midfield, and ‘RCD’ has had a big growth spurt over recent years, seeing him jump to 193cm (and growing!). Collier-Dawkins looks most at home as an inside midfielder – using his clean and quick hands to effectiveness, but has played on the outside at times this year, including the Vic Metro trial game where he recored 13 disposals and four marks.

Last month:

After missing a game due to injury, Collier-Dawkins returned to the MCG and had a promising performance playing between midfield and full-forward, clunking a strong mark and nailing the set shot. He had 13 disposals and three clearances that game, and while they are not big numbers compared to some others, it is his power and versatility that hold him in high regard.

#16 Xavier Duursma
Balanced Midfielder | Gippsland Power/Vic Country
07/07/2000 | 185cm | 71kg

June rank: #17

The Gippsland Power captain is one of those players that in his bottom-age year looked like an outside midfielder, but won the majority of his possessions on the inside. In 2018, it has balanced out for him to impact on the outside and he is strong through the core despite being one of the lightest midfielders out there. He is a transition player who can give-and-go and can get forward and impact on the scoreboard. The biggest thing with Duursma is he has not got an obvious weakness, and while he does not win as much of the ball as other midfielders in the top end, he has both top skill and the ability to gain meterage with each disposal.

Past month:

After a big month at the National Championships, Duursma did have a quieter game against Western Australia. He still managed three clearances, but had the 13 touches and did not have as much impact as his impressive game against Vic Metro where he had seven inside 50s, five clearances, six marks and five tackles from 19 disposals. One to watch in the back-end of the TAC Cup season because he has that potential to be a first rounder.

#17 Riley Bowman
Ruckman/Key Position Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
25/02/2000 | 198cm | 82kg

June rank: #15

There is a little bit of Tim English in the way Riley Bowman moves around the ground. The athletic ruckman has a decent leap on him, he is also a good user of the ball by foot. While Bowman is very raw and will need developing by any club that takes him, he has shown enough this year to suggest he needs to be tracked closely during the season. He worked hard in the ruck for the AFL Academy against the bigger North Melbourne opponents, at times going up against big Brayden Preuss. Bowman is averaging 16 hitouts in the TAC Cup this season.

Past month:

Perhaps the best ruck of the National Championships along with Allies’ Kieren Briggs, Bowman did his draft chances no harm with a really promising month of performances. He was rested in the first game and has shared the ruck load throughout the final three games, impressive against Vic Metro with 20 hitouts and a goal from 10 disposals and three marks. Played second fiddle to Mark Marriott in the final match against Western Australia, but that was more about his versatility to play anywhere on the ground, than anything else.

#18 Rhylee West
Inside Midfielder | Calder Cannons/Vic Metro
12/07/2000 | 180cm | 81kg

June rank: #21

An inside midfielder with lightning hands, West has the ability to impact in close or in the air. He has a vice-like grip and is one of the best contested marks of the midfielders in the competition. Rarely beaten one-on-one, West’s next step is just working on doing the fundamentals perfectly as there have been times where he can over-use the football or overcomplicate a situation. No doubt Western Bulldogs fans will keep a close eye on him.

Past month:

West has been one of the big performers for Vic Metro in the National Under 18 Championships and finds himself inside our top 20. Working in tandem with Bailey Smith and doing a lot of the grunt work on the inside to allow Smith to go forward, West is the one player challenging Smith for the Metro Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. He played forward at St Kevin’s and does have the versatility and strength in the air to have an impact inside 50.

#19 Chayce Jones
Balanced Midfielder | Launceston/Tasmania
14/01/2000 | 180cm | 74kg

June rank: #24

A classy midfielder who can also hit the scoreboard, Jones has been going about his business very nicely. The Tasmanian was overshadowed by the efforts of top 10 pick Tarryn Thomas at the Under 18 Academy Series, but his ability to win clearances and burn off his opponents is eye-catching. He often gets forward and hurts opposition teams on the scoreboard, and is always dangerous at ground level. Just the 180cm, but is versatile and slot in anywhere.

Past month:

Jones has been really consistent in the National Championships and is another player who has done his draft chances no harm. He had 21 disposals, four clearances and five inside 50s against South Australia, and while there were some who stood out more, Jones continues to find the football and cover ground well. His best game of the carnival came against Vic Country, finishing off with two goals from 28 disposals, five marks, five clearances, five inside 50s and four rebounds while laying six tackles.

#20 Luke Valente
Balanced Midfielder (Norwood/South Australia)
08/05/2000 | 186cm | 80kg

June rank: #22

The Norwood midfielder has a nice balance of skills and grunt, able to play on the inside or out and is set to play a pivotal role for South Australia at the National Championships. Valente was nominated captain of the Croweaters and his leadership shines through on the field. Known for his ball-winning abilities and clearance expertise, Valente is not overawed by bigger bodies and would be one player who is AFL ready from round one.

Past month:

Valente is knocking down the door of South Australia’s MVP Award for the carnival despite the class of Izak Rankine and the sheer eye-opening ability of Jack Lukosius. He is often the player that does not receive the hype those guys do, but his role through the middle is vital. He had a sensational game against the Allies, racking up six clearances and 28 disposals, and most importantly, had 15 kicks showing he can use it well by hand or foot in transition.

#21 Liam Stocker
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
23/01/2000 | 183cm | 83kg

June rank: #19

Stocker is a player who could definitely find himself as a first round prospect by November. Stocker is a strong midfielder who wins the football on the inside and spreads well from the stoppages. His clearance work is very good, while he can play on the outside where he can use the ball very well off either his right or left foot. Stocker will have the entire season at TAC Cup level, having finished school at Haileybury College in 2017.

Past month:

Stocker was unfortunate to miss the National Under 18 Championships due to a broken jaw he sustained against Gippsland in the TAC Cup. He has now returned to the TAC Cup and picking up some good form, named the Dragons’ best in their win over Oakleigh Chargers in Round 10 and had a sensational 30-disposal game against the Eastern Ranges on the weekend. He is an inside midfielder who uses the ball well and could well enter the top 20 again with some consistent form and his injury behind him.

#22 Zak Butters
Outside Midfielder/General Forward (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
08/10/2000 | 178cm | 70kg

June rank: N/A

The lightly-built outside midfielder who spends a lot of time forward, is a little on the small side, but plays taller than his 178cm. He has that touch of class that shines through when he wins the football, and his first few steps are lightning. Butters spreads well across the ground and can win the ball on the wing and be on the receiving end of a pass inside 50 moments later.

Past month:

An underrated performer for Vic Metro at the National Under 18 Championships, he has showed his great speed and acceleration on the outside, while also being used in transition from half-back through to half-forward. Butters has averaged 17 disposals, two clearances and three inside 50s across his three games so far at the championships. He is rising and could well be the first Western Jet taken.

#23 Mitch Riordan
Inside Midfielder (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
25/01/2000 | 186cm | 79kg

June rank: #18

Riordan is a player who flies under the radar a little bit, but continues to improve. While his numbers aren’t as big as some of the other Stingrays players, their game plan very rarely sees any player get above 25 disposals, with a team input seeing an even performance across the board. Riordan is strong in the contest and is a decent ball user off his right foot. He wins the contested ball and is a good tackler, working hard to win the ball back. Riordan averaged 16 disposals and three tackles in the TAC Cup at the start, but he will spend the month leading up to the National AFL Under 18 Championships at school level for reigning APS Premiers Haileybury College.

Past month:

Riordan injured his hamstring against Vic Metro on the MCG – his second injury of the carnival – marking an unfortunate end to his series. The talented inside midfielder did show some signs playing off half-back, but has had limited time on the ground to show his wares against the nation’s top players. Hopefully he can get fully fit and have a big end to the TAC Cup season once he returns from injury.

#24 Jye Caldwell
Balanced Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
28/09/2000 | 184cm | 78kg

June rank: #20

Bendigo Pioneers and Geelong Grammar product Jye Caldwell is a good midfielder who has some strong tricks. Injury forced him off the ground early in the AFL Academy match against the North Melbourne VFL team, but he has returned to football and is one who showed some talent in the Under 18 Championships last year for Vic Country, averaging 18 disposals. Caldwell tackles well and can win both the contested and uncontested ball.

Past month:

Caldwell saw just the one game in the National Under 18 Championships – against the Allies – and spent less than half the time on the ground, succumbing to an early injury. The versatile midfielder who predominantly plays on the inside will be disappointed he has missed the Championships, but will be keen to return in the back half of the TAC Cup season and help the Bendigo Pioneers.

#25 Xavier O’Halloran
Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
11/07/2000 | 186cm | 82kg
 
June rank: N/A
 
An inside midfielder at TAC Cup level, his consistent form this season is as good as anyone in the competition. He lead the Western Jets in style with his contested work, acceleration and clearance ability among his top strengths. His leadership was recognised at state level, earning the Vic Metro captaincy over fellow captain Bailey Smith.
 
Past month:
 
The Vic Metro captain did his draft credentials no harm with a consistent National Under 18 Championships playing up forward and through the midfield. He showed his versatility with a two-goal game against Vic Country on the MCG, and when in the midfield has that nice few steps and lowers the eyes when kicking inside 50. One player who keeps rising up the boards and will be important in the title decider against South Australia on Wednesday.
 

#26 Isaac Quaynor
Medium Defender (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro/Collingwood NGA)
15/01/2000 | 179cm | 82kg

May rank: #23

Collingwood fans would be excited to see a Next Generation Academy Member come through the ranks next season. The AFL Academy defender is a run-and-carry player and despite being just 179cm, plays much taller and has even opposed key position players before. Expect him to develop into a medium tall defender, and with no second round pick following acquisition of Sam Murray last off-season, the Pies will be more than happy to match a bid given it will come after their first round selection.

Past month:

Quaynor injured himself in the second National Championships game against the Allies and missed the Vic Country match at the MCG. He was one of the best against Western Australia and the Allies pre-injury, and provided great rebound out of defence. Not playing against South Australia, the next time we will see Quaynor is back in a Chargers jumper for the second half of the TAC Cup season.

#27 Zac Foot
Balanced Midfielder/Utility | Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country
25/12/2000 | 180cm | 71kg

June rank: N/A

The exciting, speedy outside midfielder can win his own ball on the inside and use the football well wherever he plays. He has great agility and goal sense when forward, and can break the lines from defence. Just building consistency in his game, but he clearly has plenty of tools which clubs will look at come November. A great story too after initially missing the cut at the Stingrays, to making it all the way to Vic Country.

Past month:

Foot had a quieter game against Western Australia, with the 12 touches, two inside 50s, two rebounds and four tackles, but he works hard in transition and is a real metres-gained player. He makes the list on the future ceiling he provides, and his ability to do damage by foot on the inside or outside. Keep his name down as a bolter if he has good form in the back half of the year.

#28 Zane Barzen
Tall Forward/Inside Midfielder | Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country
29/10/2000 | 193cm | 77kg

June rank: #25

Barzen is one of the dark horses in the 2018 draft pool, and similar to Riley Collier-Dawkins in the sense that you draft him on potential scope. In his bottom-age year, Barzen showed his class up forward, with the ability to hit passes inside 50 that very few could. He plays that high half-forward role well, and with increased fitness and miles in the legs, Barzen could transition to more midfield minutes in the future. He is strong overhead and has an impact up forward, and only needs a dozen possessions to hurt the opposition.

Past month:

Barzen has shown the signs of what he is capable of throughout the National Championships, without setting the world on fire. He went back to the Bushrangers for a week missing the MCG clash against Vic Metro, then returned to boot a goal from eight disposals and four marks. A quiet carnival overall, but still needs miles in the legs and showed he can play anywhere on the field if required. Just that hybrid tall who uses it well by foot.

#29 Joe Ayton-Delaney
General Defender | Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
25/03/2000 | 180cm | 68kg

June rank: N/A

Ayton-Delaney is a bit of a smokey for the top 30 in the draft and is definitely a name to watch out for throughout the year. In his flashy red boots, Ayton-Delaney rebounds the ball well at speed from half-back and has shown he can play further up the ground on the wing or through the inside. He links up well and breaks the lines, using it well by foot – against the Stingrays in round five he had 25 disposals, hardly missing a target. He is a player with plenty of potential and it will be interesting to see where he ends up at the pointy end of the season.

Past month:

After missing the second game against the Allies, Ayton-Delaney returned to run out on the MCG for Vic Metro in his side’s win over Vic Country. He was one of the best out of defence, picking up 20 disposals, five marks, three rebounds and two inside 50s, showing his strong work in transition from the back half to the forward 50.

#30 Luke Foley
Inside Midfielder | Subiaco/Western Australia
08/10/1999 | 187cm | 75kg

June rank: N/A

Foley is an overager who plays on the inside and can win a truckload of clearances, while laying some strong tackles. He has impressed for Subiaco in the WAFL Colts, and earned a place in the Black Swans side for the National Under 18s Championships.

Past month:

The hard working clearance midfielder has been consistent for Western Australia since coming into the team for the National Championships. He racked up five clearances and six inside 50s from 18 disposals, but also took six marks and laid six tackles against Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium. The overager continues to stand out and is readymade for AFL football, and is one to closely watch over the next few months.

Keep an eye on:

  • Angus Hanrahan (Vic Metro)
  • Dillon O’Reilly (Western Australia)
  • Jez McLennan (South Australia)
  • Ely Smith (Vic Country)
  • Fraser Turner (Tasmania/Allies)

If you have any questions, tweet us at @AFLDraftCentral or leave us a comment on our Facebook page.

Scouting notes: Vic Country vs. Vic Metro

VIC Metro triumphed over Vic Country in their third round clash of the National Under 18 Championships. We had six people taking notes on the game, with Craig Byrnes, Scott Dougan and Peter Williams covering Vic Country, and Cameron Ross, Ed Pascoe and Michael Alvaro taking a look at Vic Metro. Here are their opinion-based scouting notes.

Vic Country:

#1 Will Hamill (Dandenong Stingrays)

Hamill started the game in defence and was unfortunate to give away a one-on-one free kick to Smith in the goal square early. He provided a couple of efficient releases from traffic, but was relatively quiet in the first half. Took a nice intercept mark in the third quarter and got it out to Duursma with a stylish left foot. He played further up the ground as the game went on and won an outstanding ground ball on the half forward flank, diving to the contest and gaining possession.

#2 Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons)

The number one pick contender continued his outstanding championships to arguably be best on field in a losing side. He started the game on fire, winning 10 first quarter possessions which were highlighted by a classy goal from 45 metres. He really is a true all-round midfielder, winning the ball inside before spreading and creating an option in space. In traffic he finds gaps that others don’t, often wrong footing opponents and creating room for his teammates. He is good overhead too, taking a strong intercept mark in the third term before hitting Flanders lace out inside 50. He fought to the end and lead by example all day, finishing with 29 disposals and five clearances. He is a star.

#3 Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays)

Starting the game inside 50 as a small forward, Bedford showed some fancy footwork on occasions but struggled to get into the game in the first half. Although late in the third quarter he was moved up the ground to the stoppages and created a real spark. He won a couple of hard balls in traffic and released each to advantage, before his defensive efforts were rewarded with a holding the ball free kick. He broke from a centre bounce in the final term and almost set up a goal with a long kick inside 50.

#5 Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power)

The Gippsland Power skipper played an excellent game behind the ball against South Australia last week, but was given an opportunity in the midfield against Vic Metro and flourished. He started in the centre, won the first clearance and did not look back for the rest of the day. He creates offensive space from the stoppage and often kicks long inside 50 to the hot spot with speed. While he missed two corridor kicks in the second term, Duursma takes the game on with educated risks. He could have kicked one of the goals of the day after winning the ball in the centre, kicking it on his non-preferred left boot inside 50 to Williams and followed it up to get the ball back, but couldn’t finish off his good work. Duursma finished with 19 disposals in an eye catching display.

#6 Laitham Vandermeer (Murray Bushrangers)

Started the game on the wing and was involved in stoppage rotations throughout the game. Had an uncharacteristic turnover early on, but was lively throughout the day and ran hard in both directions. He showed great acceleration by burning off Sholl on the wing and broke away from a centre clearance too. While his offensive traits standout, he is desperate defensively and will throw his small frame into any situation. Unlucky not to end up on a list last year.

#8 Ned McHenry (Geelong Falcons)

Starting the game as a high half-forward, it took McHenry 15-20 minutes to get into the contest, but by quarter time was one of the most influential players on the ground. An opportunistic snap goal got him going, before running down Radovanovic inside 50 to set up his second goal of the quarter. His defensive pressure was elite and tackling genuinely vicious at times, it was a role you could see him mastering at the next level. He created opportunities for his teammates too, being the provider for Brownless’ freak banana goal. Unfortunately he did miss a crucial set shot in the fourth quarter, which could have kept the Vic Country pulse beating.

#10 Zac Foot (Dandenong Stingrays)

Foot did not quite begin the match as he would have liked, missing a target inside 50 and grasping a difficult mark that ended up being a running goal to Smith. He got better as the game went on, getting in ball winning positions, but struggled to find the space to utilise his outside strengths. A disappointing set shot in the third term and a missed dribbled goal late finished a day for the talented Stingray that could have been more fruitful if not for missed opportunities.

#11 Zane Keighran (Bendigo Pioneers)

The talented cricketer was part of the midfield rotations and had to do some heavy work when at the stoppages. He pushed forward in the second quarter to take a strong overhead mark, but could not convert the gettable chance. He made up for that miss to nail a critical set shot when the game was heating up in the third term. He was in and out of the contest, but made his defensive presence known when required.

#12 Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power)

Serong spent the majority of the game playing on the half-forward flank and occasionally drifted through the midfield. He imposed himself on the contest and was not afraid to put his head over the ball. He always found a way to get involved, even though he was not having the biggest influence. Serong was kept quiet in the second and third quarters and spent some time on Ayton-Delaney, who limited Serong’s impact. He found more of the ball in the last quarter, putting his kicking skills to good use by hitting multiple targets with both feet. Serong is not eligible for the draft until next year. 

#13 Thomas Berry (GWV Rebels)

Berry started in the defensive 50, where he matched up on the creative Curtis Taylor. Taylor ended up with three goals for Metro, but two of them came when Berry was not his direct opponent. Berry’s repeated efforts and competitiveness were one of the highlights for Country. He never gave up on the contest and worked tirelessly to lay several solid tackles. His defensive work was superb, constantly spoiling the ball away in one-on-one contests, where he was rarely beaten. But Taylor’s footy smarts and continuous leads in the forward half proved difficult for Berry to stop.

#14 Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power)

The 16 year-old from Gippsland Power provided some real X-Factor for Country inside the forward 50, booting two goals. Flanders was Country’s most dangerous forward and proved to be a difficult matchup for Metro defenders. His leading patterns were unstoppable, beating his opponent on multiple occasions. When the ball hit the deck, he showcased his clean skills, agility and speed. Flanders also spent some time throughout the midfield, winning the ball on the inside and outside. He is an extremely powerful player who works just as hard defensively as he does offensively. Something good always seems to happen when Flanders gets the ball.

#16 Jake Frawley (Dandenong Stingrays)

Frawley played predominately as an inside midfielder and was not able to have much impact on the game. He spent time on Smith and Bytel at stoppages and displayed the potential to win his own ball in tight situations. Just like most inside midfielders, Frawley will need to work on his foot skills. He had the chance to kick a running goal late in the last quarter, but was unable to capitalise, shanking the kick out of bounds.

#17 Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

The bottom-ager from the Dandenong Stingrays impressed me with his composure, sticky hands and outside run. He got off to a ripping start, accumulating plenty of disposals and taking some noticeable intercept marks. His accurate left foot was one of his best assets, and he rarely turned the ball over. The most eye-catching passage of play came when Young competed in a one-on-one contest on the wing during the second quarter. He lost the battle, but quickly won the ball back with a huge diving smother. Young was much quieter in the second half after plenty of positive signs early on. 

#18 Mitch Riordan (Dandenong Stingrays)

Riordan began the match on the half-back flank, where he gathered some early disposals and rebounded effectively. He took a quality intercept mark in the second quarter but turned it over with a poor kick moments later. He was involved in a marking contest with Curtis Taylor inside 50 where his lack of defensive positioning was exposed. Unfortunately, Riordan suffered a hamstring injury during the third quarter and did not return to the ground.

#19 Sam Fletcher (Dandenong Stingrays)

The inside midfielder went head to head with Collier-Dawkins at times and battled hard all day. He continually threw himself at the contest, winning the ball in tight situations, and releasing it by hand to his teammates. His impact on the game was limited however.

#20 Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons)

Stephens started in the defensive 50 where he made a couple of nice spoils. He was unable to amass many possessions, which resulted in Stephens being moved up forward and through the midfield in the second half. His third and fourth quarters were his best of the day and he became more involved and influential as the game progressed. Stephens is another player who is not eligible until next year’s draft.

#25 Kyle Reid (Gippsland Power)

Opposed to Rendell early and a multitude of smaller options throughout the game, Reid was strong throughout the four quarters. He showed a good penetrating kick out of the back 50 and applied shepherds both in the defensive half and on the wing. He laid a strong tackle on Collier-Dawkins in the second term tight against the boundary to force a throw-in, and then had a great run down the wing in the third quarter, taking a couple of bounces, drawing an opponent and releasing the handball well. He won plenty of the ball off half-back while keeping a close eye on his opposition. The smaller but quicker opponents such as Collier-Dawkins and O’Halloran got him on the lead, but he was solid otherwise, and provided equal offensive and defensive pressure.

#29 Bailey Williams (Dandenong Stingrays)

A very quiet game by his lofty standards. Williams rotated between the ruck and up forward and continually contested in the air. He did not manage to bring down a mark, which is rare for Williams, but he brought the ball to ground for crumbers. He had a number of clean hitouts on the wing, but his marking and the delivery inside 50 to him was not working as well as it could.

#30 Oscar Brownless (Geelong Falcons)

Had the highlight of the day with a fantastic banana in the pocket late in the third term. Brownless gathered the ball, and instinctively snapped it off a step and it sailed home, keeping Vic Country in the contest. Otherwise most of his work was done in close up the forward end, providing good body work around the stoppages and was able to use his strength to stand up in a tackle and handball clear in the middle of the ground.

#34 Scott Carlin (GWV Rebels)

Just the eight touches for Carlin who had a quiet outing, but is another player who can hurt you with very few touches. Two possessions in particular were superb, pin-point passes in between opponents to hit-up a teammate over a short distance in the middle. Had a couple of inside 50s as well, roaming through the middle.

#36 Riley Bowman (Dandenong Stingrays)

One of the most impressive Country players, and probably the standout tall on the ground. He started at full-forward and rotated with Williams in the ruck. He dropped back into defence in the second term and put good body pressure on King and Rendell to cause a spill, and not long after ran hard to mark inside 50 and slot the goal from long range. He got better as the game went on, offering up good second efforts and laying a great tackle. His disposal over short distances was good too, with a great pass to Foot inside 50, as well as quick hands through congestion in the middle.

#38 Blake Schlensog (Geelong Falcons)

Had some good glimpses, but overall had a quiet game. Just the five touches for the big man who played forward and showed good hands. He went for a number of marks, but did get pushed off a bit by the stronger bodies. Schlensog also drifted into defence and took a strong mark deep in the square.

#39 Connor Idun (Geelong Falcons)

Played a really strong role on King in defence, often not giving him an inch. He was good one-on-one and matched him in athleticism, keeping him to just the two goals – both of which were marks on the lead. He had no trouble thumping a high ball clear in a pack situation in the second term, and wore King like a glove. He spread well in the final term to mark at full-back and switch play, pushing up the ground and creating drive where possible, working well with Reid in defence.

 

Vic Metro:

#2 Joe Ayton-Delaney (Oakleigh Chargers)

Had a good second half where he clearly lifted. His aggression and willingness to take the game on stood out. Ayton-Delaney won more of the football and spread well taking good marks and covering the ground from defence to attack.

#3 Zak Butters (Western Jets)

Outstanding game from Butters who had a huge impact from the start to finish. Had a great first quarter. One standout piece of play was when he “crumbed” the pack and had an opportunity to score himself, yet he didn’t blaze away, instead hand-balling it to a teammate for an easy goal. Other pieces of play that stood out was a terrific decision to look inside and hit Collier-Dawkins with a perfect kick, a desperate attempt to win the footy where he crashed the contest head first; and an outstanding decision to turn on a dime and look inside, then switched the ball across the wing, and “opened up” the Country side that ended up in a shot on goal for Taylor. Butters brought fantastic energy to his side, especially when Country were making their run.

#4 Rhylee West (Calder Cannons)

One of the best players on the ground. The game didn’t start well for West, giving away a 50 metre penalty in the first 5 minutes, but from that moment on, he was fantastic. West had a brilliant piece of play at a centre bounce, where he read and roved the tap, and broke free from the contest, taking a bounce before kicking it long into the forward line. He shrugged off a couple of tackles, which assisted him in winning two clearances, before he got caught holding the ball attempting it a third time. Made an interesting decision not to attempt a set shot from 45 metres out. Attempted the fake set shot give off (made famous by Jack Riewoldt) to Bytel, that didn’t pay off and ended up out of bounds. He made up for this by using his peripheral vision to hit Gardner with a handball and shot on goal while being slung to the ground. West’s ability to absorb the tackle and still distribute with his hands was terrific. West would have Western Bulldogs fans extremely excited and for good reason. He looks as though he will fit in well into the AFL.

#6 Curtis Taylor (Calder Cannons)

A really mixed bag for Curtis Taylor today. After pulling a kick poorly in the first quarter, he kicked his first in the second quarter. This kick was quite lucky to go through after a poor ball drop, but luckily for Taylor, the ball swung favourably through the goals. A moment in the second quarter he would have liked to have taken back was when he took his eyes off the ball when he should have marked it easily. However, on his very next opportunity, Taylor made up for it, taking a strong mark going backing back into a pack knowing that he was going to be hit. Taylor was one of the most dangerous forwards all day, and his three goals were important on a day when King was relatively quiet.

#7 Angus Hanrahan (Sandringham Dragons)

Had a quiet first three quarters but was arguably the best player on the field in the final term. The Sandy Dragons forward played higher up the ground and was able to show off his superb foot skills.  Hanrahan delivered a beautiful low pass to hit Rowbottom at half-forward, and the decision resulted in a Taylor goal. His amazing last quarter was capped off when his perfect kick resulted in King’s set shot goal from 55 metres out.

#8 James Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers)

Had a typical performance expected of the big ball-winning midfielder. Worked really hard on the inside and complemented the work of Smith, Answerth and West, recording four clearances and also pumping the ball inside 50 on four occasions. Importantly he laid countless tackles and ensured the opposition always knew he was there, creating a presence at the coal face.

#10 Xavier Fry (Eastern Ranges)

A quiet game, Fry had the six touches and limited impact. He still has the speed and ability to do damage, and does not need many touches to hurt the opposiion.

#11 Ryan Gardner (Northern Knights)

Gardner’s manic attack on the footy was fantastic. In the second quarter he went in head-first in heavy traffic to win a ball in dispute for his team. Showed guts to stand under the footy before getting crunched and clung onto the mark. Gardner knew it was coming and knew it would hurt but did not back down. Tough player who proved to be clean and calm under pressure.

#12 Tom McKenzie (Northern Knights)

McKenzie was instrumental in Metro’s win where he topped their disposal count (23) playing a sweeping role at half-back. McKenzie was a constant feature over the four quarters taking intercept marks and breaking through the Country defence with some nice long kicking and his quick hands under pressure were also a feature. McKenzie also did well to push up the ground where he hit multiple kicks inside 50, rarely making a mistake with his disposal and he really showed good football smarts on several occasions.

#13 Lachlan Sholl (Calder Cannons)

Sholl spent most of his time on the wing where he provided a good link-up especially forward of centre where he was able to kick inside 50 several times with his best kick inside 50 coming in the second quarter. His disposal was sloppy at times in the last quarter, but he worked hard on the wing to take some nice marks and he tried to move the ball forward and he worked hard for his 13 disposals.

#15 Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons)

Smith was instrumental in the first quarter kicking two goals. His first came from attacking the contest and having a run to the 50m arc and kicking a lovely long running goal. The second came from a free kick close to goal where he kicked truly. Smith did not have big numbers in the first half but he certainly lifted after the main break to finish with 20 disposals. His last quarter was exceptional where he attacked the ball hard at stoppages and released well by hand. His third goal came from a ripping tackle where he would earn a free kick and then a handy 50m penalty to put him within scoring range. His second efforts were also impressive, especially in one passage of play in the last quarter which showed his tenacity at the contest.

#16 Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers)

The 19-year-old has mostly played as a defender for Metro over the championships, but he found himself up forward a few times, kicking two goals. His first goal came in the first quarter with a nice lead and set shot goal and his second came from a holding the ball free kick where he would kick a nice long set shot goal from 50m. Answerth would continue to work hard in the second half, finishing the game with 21 disposals which was the second most for Metro. He had a good mix of winning the contested ball while also working hard to link up with handballs.

#18 Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets)

The Metro captain O’Halloran made the most of his opportunities playing as a forward, kicking two nice goals. The first goal was also the team’s first which was a classy running shot at goal. His second came from a fantastic contested mark in the last quarter which was his best quarter where he was able to work into the midfield and show his tenacity and attack on the ball which he is mostly known for this season.  It was not just his attack at the contest, but also his smarts around the ground that were telling, including a smart tap at half-forward leading to a forward entry for Metro.

#19 Jack Bytel (Calder Cannons)

Bytel worked hard in the midfield laying seven tackles and winning 11 disposals, it may seem like a low number but he injured his elbow very early in the last quarter. Bytel had some nice moments winning some good clearances in the third quarter where he also earned himself a shot at goal with a nice tackle, although he would miss the set shot. His handballs at stoppages were good as usual, but with his kicking often a criticism of his game, he hit a nice left foot pass in the first quarter.

#20 Alastair Richards (Sandringham Dragons)

Richards did not get a lot of the ball (7 disposals) but he still showed plenty of exciting signs in defence with his run and carry. In his first game for Metro he was looking to impress early with a nice run and dash at half-back although he would not hit the target he wanted with the kick. Richards showed a willingness to work hard with a nice kick-in from defence where he would quickly run hard to try and receive the ball. His run and carry again stood out in the third quarter with a nice running bounce and long kick from defensive 50.

#23 Buku Khamis (Western Jets)

Khamis backed up last weeks solid game with another good performance showing the same standout traits as last week. His first quarter was sensational with his clean hands and slick disposal catching everyones eye. He did everything you want from a defender with a good mix of defensive efforts and effective rebounding, he made a great chase on the wing in the first quarter and he laid a great tackle in the second quarter. His second half was not as prolific, but he still used the ball well and played his role to finish with 18 disposals.

#25 Stefan Radovanovic (Western Jets)

The Western Jets skipper assumed his usual role down back and looked comfortable alongside TAC Cup teammate Khamis in a well oiled Metro defence. While he was caught holding the ball by McHenry to gift the Country gun his first goal, Radovanovic started well with a couple of good defensive marks deep in the 50. He found himself as the last man in defence on occasions and used his solid frame well in one on one situations, while also looking to take the game on when he could. Radovanovic accumulated at a slower rate than usual on the day, but was a reliable contributor to Metro’s solid back six when called upon.

#26 Riley Collier-Dawkins (Oakleigh Chargers)

Collier-Dawkins started in the centre bounce and played a good amount of the game in the midfield, but by no means dominated the clearance stakes as the Metro coaches would have intended. A prototype modern day midfielder, the Oakleigh Chargers prospect also spent long periods playing deep forward, but it was his drive from the midfield that provided the more effective scoring threat. While he did not trouble the scorers in the first quarter, Collier-Dawkins proved the catalyst for a couple of early goals with some good run and a clever kick inboard to set Metro on the right path. He took an impressive contested grab in the second term and slotted his only goal for the game from the resultant set shot. While he was quiet in the third term, ‘Dawk’ bounced back in the last with some good work below his knees and a centre clearance we’re sure to see more of.

#27 Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers)

The Collingwood father-son prospect provided a cool head in defence for Metro, chiming in with some vital intercept marks, spoils, and rebounds. Somewhat unlike his father Craig, Kelly is quite athletic for his size and looked sharp both below his knees and in the air. The Charger also has a good tank, which allowed him to add counter attacking to his game and he looked smooth in transition, using the ball well moving forward. He looks to be more comfortable with each passing week, which will no doubt excite Collingwood fans leading up to the draft.

#29 James Blanck (Eastern Ranges)

Blanck was rock solid on debut at full-back, doing all the right things as Metro’s last line of defence. He had a few shakey moments early on with some clangers by foot but recovered well to finish as arguably Metro’s most effective defender. Blanck did not necessarily have one or two clear highlights, but more so a package of important plays with an array of composed overhead marks and last ditch spoils saving the day for his side. The epitome of his day was a desperate tackle on Zac Foot in the final term to cap off a solid National Championships introduction.

#34 James Rendell (Sandringham Dragons)

It was not the biggest day for Metro’s key forwards, and Rendell had his work cut out for him as he acted as a foil for both Ben King up forward and Joe Griffiths in the ruck. While his Country opponents ultimately had decent games, Rendell played his role for the winning team and showed an impressive work rate to both find the ball and get to contests over many parts of the ground.

#36 Ben King (Sandringham Dragons)

Coming off an excellent outing in Metro’s Championship opener, King was a little more quiet this time around by way of a shutdown role from Country’s Connor Idun. Operating deep forward for most of the game, King looked at his best when leading up the ground and finding space from the Geelong Falcons skipper. His two goals came from beautiful looking long set shots in the first half, and he also managed to create an assist for Noah Answerth along the way. Known for his overhead marking, King took until the third quarter to land his first real clunck of the day in tough, swirly MCG conditions.

#37 Joe Griffiths (Sandringham Dragons)

Griffiths was forced to put his full athletic ability to use against the formidable Country ruck duo of Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman, and he held his own in an honest display. The overager was good at ground level and showed impressive hands when flicking the ball out in-close. While the leap of Williams gives most ruckman trouble, Griffiths used his body well around the ground to effect the ruck contest. His only real blunder for the day was a comical throw in an uncontested ruck contest, which lead to a shot on goal for Country.   

Weekend previews: National U18 Championships – Vic Country vs. Vic Metro

SOME of Victoria’s top talent will run out onto the Melbourne Cricket Ground as a curtain raiser to the Carlton-Collingwood game on Sunday, when Vic Country takes on Vic Metro on the hallowed turf. Both sides have made quite a few changes, with Vic Country bringing in five debutants, while Vic Metro has two.

Dandenong Stingrays’ inside midfielder Mitch Riordan will play off half-back and returns after missing the second game due to the injury he sustained in game one. He missed facing off at Adelaide Oval, but returns for the All-Victorian clash, along with plenty of fresh faces. GWV Rebels’ slick ball user Scott Carlin, Stingrays’ pair Will Hamill and Hayden Young, Bendigo Pioneers’ Zane Keighran and tall forward/ruck Blake Schlensog, from the Geelong Falcons, have been named in the team. A trio of Murray Bushrangers are out in Hudson Garoni, Zane Barzen and Lachlan Ash, while Matty Lloyd, Jai Taylor and Matt McGannon (injured) are also out from the Vic Country side.

For Vic Metro, injury has forced the selectors hand with Calder Cannons’ Jack Evans, Western Jets’ Daly Andrews, and Oakleigh Chargers pair Ben Silvagni and Isaac Quaynor all out of the side. It will be particularly disappointing for Silvagni and Quaynor with the potential Carlton father-son and Collingwood Next Generation Academy member, missing out on playing before their sides do battle at the G’. Bottom agers Dylan Williams and Matt Rowell are out, as is Northern Knights’ Thomas Hallebone. James Blanck and bottom-ager Ryan Gardner make their Metro debuts, while Riley Collier-Dawkins, Joe Ayton-Delaney, James Rendell, Angus Hanrahan and Alastair Richards all return to the side after missing game two.

Vic Metro will head in as favourites for the clash after winning its first two matches, while Vic Country is yet to get on the board at the 2018 National Championships. Regardless of the result, Metro’s grand final will effectively come in the final round against South Australia, given the use of the head-to-head system rather than percentage. Should Metro lose this game and defeat South Australia – Metro take the title. If they win and lose to South Australia, they cannot win the title regardless of how much they win this by. For Country, they will be hoping to score a win against their closest rival, and will look to use its extra speed across the ground to cause headaches. Metro have the ace in the pack with Ben King up forward, and the midfield has been functioning strongly. Sam Walsh, Xavier Duursma and Sam Fletcher will need to be at their best to match it with the highly contested brand of football Metro will bring. Both teams have plenty of capable rebounders and goal scorers which make it an entertaining contest.

VIC COUNTRY

B: 20. Cooper Stephens – 39. Connor Idun – 13. Thomas Berry
HB: 18. Mitch Riordan – 25. Kyle Reid – 17. Hayden Young
C: 10. Zac Foot – 19. Sam Fletcher – 6. Laitham Vandermeer
HF: 30. Oscar Brownless – 38. Blake Schlensog – 8. Ned McHenry
F: 14. Sam Flanders – 36. Riley Bowman – 3. Toby Bedford
R: 29. Bailey Williams – 5. Xavier Duursma – 2. Sam Walsh
INT: 34. Scott Carlin – 12. Caleb Serong – 11. Zane Keighran – 1. Will Hamill – 16. Jake Frawley
EMG: 27. Zane Barzen – 24. Matty Lloyd

In: M. Riordan, B. Schlensog, S. Carlin, Z. Keighran, W. Hamill, H. Young
Out: M. Lloyd, J. Taylor, M. McGannon, Z. Barzen, H. Garoni, L. Ash

VIC METRO

B: 25. Stefan Radovanovic – 29. James Blanck – 2. Joe Ayton-Delaney
HB: 23. Buku Khamis – 27. Will Kelly – 12. Tom McKenzie
C: 13. Lachlan Sholl – 15. Bailey Smith – 10. Xavier Fry
HF: 3. Zak Butters – 34. James Rendell – 6. Curtis Taylor
F: 18. Xavier O’Halloran – 36. Ben King – 4. Rhylee West
R: 37. Joe Griffiths – 26. Riley Collier-Dawkins – 8. James Rowbottom
INT: 19. Jack Bytel – 16. Noah Answerth – 11. Ryan Gardner – 7. Angus Hanrahan – 20. Alastair Richards
EMG: 1. Jack Mahony – 35. Thomas Hallebone – 5. Matthew Rowell

In: J. Ayton-Delaney, J. Blanck, J. Rendell, R. Collier-Dawkins, R. Gardner, A. Hanrahan, A. Richards
Out: J. Evans (Inj), D. Andrews (Inj), B. Silvagni (Inj), I. Quaynor (Inj), D. Williams, M. Rowell, T. Hallebone