Tag: Joel Crocker

AFL Draft review: North Melbourne

VERSATILITY was the key for North Melbourne in the 2018 AFL Draft period, taking players who can slot into a variety of roles on the field. The Kangaroos also stayed close to home with their selections, picking up three players attached to the club. An early bid did not scare the Roos off at Pick 8 from Next Generation Academy member, Tarryn Thomas, while they also won the rights to father-son prospect Bailey Scott, and had a free hit at talented, but unlucky Joel Crocker, as well as the slider of the draft, Curtis Taylor.

 

National Draft:

Tarryn Thomas – Balanced Midfielder/Forward

The North Launceston product has been a source of hope for North Melbourne fans for some time now, with Thomas showing his ability at a young age, playing at the National Under 18 Championships at just 16. Since then he has continued on an upward trajectory and his biggest strength is by far his clean hands. He could be a one-touch player in the middle of a hail storm, and with his clean disposal comes a touch of class and plenty of scope to improve. He is still quite lightly built, but is a good size and will likely play up forward early in his career, before naturally transitioning into the midfield. A real gift for Kangaroos fans and the club had no issues matching the bid.

Curtis Taylor – General Forward

Invited to draft night, the Calder Cannons forward was the last name to be called out of those with an invitation, lasting until the 40s in what was a genuine slide. With an invitation to the first round, it meant at least one club was considering him with a pick at that stage, but North Melbourne ended up the beneficiaries, trading up to score Taylor with a live trade. He offers strength overhead, some X-factor and a keen goal sense, as well as an ability to float through the midfield. He needs to build his consistency, but he has some nice tools to work with going forward.

Bailey Scott – Medium Utility

It was almost unbelievable to see Scott land where he did, as the medium utility was an equally as surprising slider as Taylor. Scott can play inside or outside, roam up forward or drift back, and ticks a lot of boxes across the board. He is strong overhead, uses the ball well and has a fierce attack on the footy. At the National Under 18 Championships, Scott was one of the most impressive players for the Allies, and is equally equipped with offensive and defensive traits. In many ways, Scott provides a readymade player if required, and he has the hardness that the Kangaroos midfield has, as well as the ability to create magic on the outside as well.

Joel Crocker – Tall Utility

Little would have been talked about Crocker given he has missed the entire year due to injury, but just quietly this is a steal. With the selection being the definition of a no-risk, high-reward selection, Crocker has some fantastic athletic traits and can play through the midfield, or up forward. The son of Darren who still works at the club, Crocker has a lot of work to catch up on in terms of match fitness, but the scope that the Kangaroos would see in the tall utility and former Sandringham Dragons player, is exciting.

 

Rookie Draft:

Tom McKenzie – Balanced Midfielder

The Northern Knights midfielder slid compared to where some had him, but heads across the city to Arden Street and represents good value at this pick. McKenzie can play inside or outside, though he is lightly built so will need some more time before competing with senior bodies. He spent time at half-back for Vic Metro at the National Under 18 Championships, and followed on in that role back in the TAC Cup with the Knights.

Kyron Hayden – Balanced Midfielder

Redrafted from the senior list for list management purposes, Hayden will have a point to prove as he hopes to overcome some injury issues of the past couple of seasons. A big-bodied midfielder who can play inside or outside, we are yet to see the best of him and hopefully 2019 can be a turning point.

Tom Wilkinson – General Forward

The Southport forward has finally achieved his dream of making it to the AFL after missing out through Sandringham Dragons, and heading north. Playing in the NEAFL he was a standout in the Sharks’ premiership-winning forward line, earning praise from former Carlton forward, Matthew Lappin. It took until very late in the Rookie Draft, but Wilkinson landed at the Kangaroos and can now begin his AFL career.

 

Summary:

This is a draft that could go down as one of North Melbourne’s best, picking up three players attached to the club, two of which were bargains, while the fourth player was a massive slider and also represents value. McKenzie and Wilkinson are free hits in the rookie draft and are seen as equally good value at those selections, with Wilkinson and the recovering Hayden, able to play once fully fit. Overall, an exciting draft for the Kangaroos who picked up players with high upside and just add class to what is a blue collar midfield.

2018 National AFL Draft selections

THE 2018 National AFL Draft selections and club by club selections as they happen today will appear here:

Round 1:

1 – Carlton – Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
2 – Gold Coast – Jack Lukosius – (WWT Torrens/South Australia)
3 – Gold Coast – Izak Rankine (West Adelaide/South Australia)
4 – St Kilda – Max King (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
5 – Port Adelaide – Connor Rozee (North Adelaide/South Australia)
6 – Gold Coast – Ben King (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
7 – Western Bulldogs – Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
8 – North Melbourne – Tarryn Thomas (North Launceston/Tasmania)
9 – Adelaide – Chayce Jones (Launceston/Tasmania)
10 – Sydney – Nick Blakey (Sydney Swans Academy/NSW-ACT)
11 – GWS GIANTS – Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
12 – Port Adelaide – Zak Butters (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
13 – Collingwood – Isaac Quaynor (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
14 – GWS GIANTS – Jackson Hately (Central District/South Australia)
15 – Geelong – Jordan Clark (Claremont/Western Australia)
16 – Adelaide – Ned McHenry (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
17 – Fremantle – Sam Sturt (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
18 – Port Adelaide – Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
19 – Carlton – Liam Stocker (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
20 – Richmond – Riley Collier-Dawkins (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
21 – Brisbane – Ely Smith (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
22 – GWS GIANTS – Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

End of Round 1:

23 – Gold Coast –  Jez McLennan (Central District/South Australia)

Round 2:

24 – GWS – Ian Hill (Perth/Western Australia)
25 – Sydney – James Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
26 – Western Bulldogs – Rhylee West (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
27 – Melbourne – Tom Sparrow (South Adelaide/South Australia)
28 – West Coast – Xavier O’Neill (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
29 – Collingwood – Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
30 – Adelaide – Will Hamill (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
31 – West Coast – Luke Foley (Subiaco/Western Australia)
32 – Fremantle – Luke Valente (Norwood/Western Australia)
33 – Melbourne – James Jordon (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
34 – GWS GIANTS – Kieren Briggs (GWS GIANTS Academy/NSW-ACT)
35 – West Coast – Bailey Williams (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
36 – Brisbane – Thomas Berry (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
37 – Western Bulldogs – Laitham Vandermeer (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
38 – Essendon – Irving Mosquito (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
39 – West Coast – Jarrod Cameron (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
40 – Brisbane – Tom Joyce (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
41 – St Kilda – Jack Bytel (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
42 – Brisbane – Connor McFadyen (Brisbane Lions Academy/Queensland)
43 – Richmond – Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Round 3:

44 – Sydney –  Justin McInerney (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
45 – Western Bulldogs – Ben Cavarra (Williamstown VFL)
46 – North Melbourne – Curtis Taylor (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
47 – St Kilda –  Matthew Parker (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
48 – Geelong – Ben Jarvis (Norwood/South Australia)
49 – North Melbourne – Bailey Scott (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Queensland)
50 – Geelong – Jacob Kennerley (Norwood/South Australia)
51 – Sydney – Zac Foot (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
52 – Hawthorn – Jacob Koschitzke (Murray Bushangers/Allies)
53 – Melbourne – Aaron Nietschke (Central District/South Australia)
54 – St Kilda –  Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
55 – Brisbane – Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Round 4:

56 – Melbourne – Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
57 – Fremantle – Lachlan Schulz (Williamstown VFL)
58 – Richmond – Fraser Turner (Clarence/Tasmania)
59 – Fremantle – Brett Bewley (Williamstown VFL)
60 – Essendon – Noah Gown (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
61 – GWS GIANTS – Connor Idun (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
62 – Richmond – Luke English (Perth/Western Australia)
63 – Hawthorn – Matthew Walker (Murray Bushrangers/Allies)
64 – Adelaide – Lachlan Sholl (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
65 – Geelong – Darcy Fort (Central District/South Australia)
66 – Carlton – Finbar O’Dwyer (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
67 – St Kilda – Robert Young (North Adelaide/South Australia)
68 – Geelong – Jake Tarca (South Adelaide/South Australia)
69 – North Melbourne – Joel Crocker (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

Round 5 onwards:

70 – Carlton – Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
71 – Gold Coast – Caleb Graham (Gold Coast Academy/Queensland)
72 – Essendon – Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
73 – Port Adelaide – Riley Grundy (Sturt/South Australia)
74 – Geelong – Oscar Brownless (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
75 – Melbourne – Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
76 – Port Adelaide – Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide/South Australia)
77 – Collingwood – Atu Bosenavulagi (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
78 – Western Bulldogs – Will Hayes (Footscray VFL)

*Clubs matched bids to secure father-son or academy prospect

Club by Club Players:

Adelaide: Chayce Jones, Ned McHenry, Will Hamill, Lachlan Sholl
Brisbane: Ely Smith, Thomas Berry, Tom Joyce, Connor McFadyen, Noah Answerth
Carlton: Sam Walsh, Liam Stocker, Finbar O’Dwyer, Ben Silvagni
Collingwood: Isaac Quaynor, Will Kelly, Atu Bosenavulagi
Essendon: Irving Mosquito, Noah Gown, Brayden Ham
Fremantle: Sam Sturt, Luke Valente, Lachlan Schulz, Brett Bewley
Geelong: Jordan Clark, Ben Jarvis, Jacob Kennerley, Darcy Fort, Jake Tarca, Oscar Brownless
Gold Coast: Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine, Ben King, Jez McLennan, Caleb Graham
GWS GIANTS: Jye Caldwell, Jackson Hately, Xavier O’Halloran, Ian Hill, Kieren Briggs, Connor Idun
Hawthorn: Jacob Koschitzke, Mathew Walker
Melbourne: Tom Sparrow, James Jordon, Aaron Nietschke, Marty Hore, Toby Bedford
North Melbourne: Tarryn Thomas, Curtis Taylor, Bailey Scott, Joel Crocker
Port Adelaide: Connor Rozee, Zak Butters, Xavier Duursma, Riley Grundy, Boyd Woodcock
Richmond: Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Ross, Fraser Turner, Luke English
St Kilda: Max King, Jack Bytel, Mathew Parker, Nick Hind, Robert Young
Sydney: Nick Blakey, James Rowbottom, Justin McInerney, Zac Foot
West Coast: Xavier O’Neill, Luke Foley, Bailey Williams, Jarrod Cameron
Western Bulldogs: Bailey Smith, Rhylee West, Laitham Vandermeer, Ben Cavarra, Will Hayes

AFL Draft preview: North Melbourne

MANY commentators and punters predicted North Melbourne to be in the bottom five of the AFL in 2018. However, the Roos defied these predictions, finishing ninth with 12 wins (one win away from the top eight). During the Trade Period, the Roos brought in a heap of talented players such as Aaron Hall, Jared Polec, Jasper Pittard, and Dom Tyson. They also secured plenty of draft selections to secure academy and father-son prospects.

LIST NEEDS

  • Small Forward
  • Ruckman
  • Small Defender

DRAFT SELECTIONS: 42, 47, 48, 49, 55, 58, 86

It is likely North Melbourne will receive a bid for their highly-rated Academy prospect Tarryn Thomas between pick seven and pick 20. The Roos should happily match the bid for the talented youngster thanks to the multiple picks in the 40s. Thomas is a highly skilled and explosive line-breaking midfielder who can impact the scoreboard, much like Gold Coast star Jack Martin. Thomas has the capabilities of playing from round one next year. He has high offensive drive and moves well, while having the prototype size of 189cm that he can fill out and be a valuable contributor at Arden Street.

The Kangaroos will also match a bid for father-son prospect Bailey Scott in the second round. The son of former Geelong and North Melbourne champion Robert, Scott is a versatile midfielder with clean hands, neat skills, a good ball-winning ability and someone who oozes leadership. He does not have too many deficiencies in his game and Kangaroos fans will be excited by having him on board because he offers consistency and an ability to roam around the ground.

Finally, the Kangaroos have nominated fellow father-son prospect, Joel Crocker, son of Darren. He has not had much luck getting on the park in the past 18 months, missing his entire top-age year this season, but has nice athletic ability and some great upside for the future. He is a long-term prospect who might take some time, but should be worth the wait when he fully develops. The . Kangaroos could well head home with just Thomas, Scott and Crocker, making it an easy night for both the club and supporters knowing who will walk into Arden Street the next week. With the club having four list spots to fill, they will likely pick up a late prospect, who could be someone like an Angus Hanrahan or Tyron Smallwood who could be selected before Crocker, or perhaps they opt for a tackling small forward in Hayden Sampson.

In the rookie draft, North Melbourne will look to bring in a mature ruckman to help support All-Australian Todd Goldstein. Some players the Kangaroos should be targeting include former Western Bulldog Tom Campbell, Claremont product Oliver Eastland, Central Districts’ Darcy Fort or Southport’s Fraser Thurlow.

The run home: Sandringham Dragons

ANYTHING to do with statistical analysis on the Sandringham Dragons this season – or most seasons to this point of the year – is largely irrelevant. The majority of the Dragons list plays school football, making at times as many as 17 changes when it starts or stops, and up to nine or 10 changes each week depending on which school has the bye, and other injuries or omissions. To sit third after 14 rounds ahead of getting their top-end talent back is remarkable. After storming to three wins with a full-strength side, the Dragons dropped the next few games as they tinkered with their line-up. But since then, their form has been as good as any side in the competition, and now they face two genuine premiership contenders in the final two rounds. The Round 16 showdown between the Dragons and Dandenong Stingrays could well be a Grand Final preview, in what will be a fantastic spectacle to watch.

Wins: 10
Losses: 4
Draws: 0
Position: 3rd
Points For: 874 (8th)
Points Against: 976 (8th)
Percentage: 90
Points: 40

Fixtures:

R15: vs. Oakleigh Chargers – Avalon Airport Oval
R16: vs. Dandenong Stingrays – Trevor Barker Beach Oval

National Combine Invitations: [7] Joel Crocker, Angus Hanrahan, Will Kennedy, Ben King, Max King, Bailey Smith, Liam Stocker

State Combine Invitations: [4] Harry Houlahan, James Rendell, Harry Reynolds, Alastair Richards

Sandringham had the second most invitees of any side to the National Combine, receiving an impressive seven invitations. Given two of them have been injured practically the entire year – Joel Crocker (since last year’s finals) and Max King (first round of school football) – it shows the quality that could have been in this finals series coming up. With Ben King and Bailey Smith linking up, and the likes of Liam Stocker on the inside and Angus Hanrahan on the outside, the Dragons pose a huge threat to any side hoping to claim the flag this year. Will Kennedy and James Rendell are strong bookends, while Harry Houlahan and Alastair Richards have proven to be handy this season. We will get a much better idea of where the Dragons sit in the next two weeks with wholesale changes returning to the line-up for Sunday’s game.

Top Fives:

Disposals:

1 – Liam Stocker – 216 (43rd overall)
2 – Nicholas Stamatis – 189
3 – Ryan Byrnes – 176
4 – Corey Watts – 168
5 – Kai Owens – 162

Marks:

1 – Corey Watts – 55 (21st overall)
2 – Nicholas Stamatis – 35
2 – James Rendell – 35
4 – Kai Owens – 33
5 – Liam Stocker – 32
5 – Will Kennedy – 32

Contested Possessions:

1 – Liam Stocker – 115 (18th overall)
2 – Ryan Byrnes – 95
3 – Kai Owens – 68
4 – James Rendell – 67
5 – Nicholas Stamatis – 58

Tackles:

1 – Kai Owens – 51 (eq. 31st overall)
2 – Dawit McNeish – 50
3 – Liam Stocker – 49
4 – Ryan Byrnes – 44
5 – James Rendell – 41

Hitouts:

1 – Andrew Courtney – 183 (6th overall)
2 – James Rendell – 104
3 – Joe Griffiths – 99
4 – Ethan Casey – 69
5 – Fischer McAsey – 28

Clearances:

1 – Liam Stocker – 52 (eq. 12th overall)
2 – Ryan Byrnes – 33
3 – Kai Owens – 30
4 – Bailey Smith – 23
5 – Dawit McNeish – 22

Inside 50s:

1 – Liam Stocker – 53 (7th overall)
2 – Alastair Richards – 38
3 – James Rendell – 30
3 – Nicholas Stamatis – 30
5 – Ryan Byrnes – 27

Rebounds:

1 – Corey Watts – 36 (eq. 15th overall)
2 – Liam Stocker – 21
2 – Jackson Voss – 21
4 – Nicholas Stamatis – 19
4 – Miles Bergman – 19

Goals:

1 – James Rendell – 12 (eq. 25th overall)
2 – Nicholas Stamatis – 8
2 – Harry Bede – 8
2 – Max King – 8
5 – Jack Denborough – 7

Eighty invited to National AFL Draft Combine

VIC Metro has dominated the nominations for the National AFL Draft Combine with more than one third of the invitees coming from Metro, and more than half from Victoria. South Australia’s title-winning side has the next most with 13, including mature-ager Shane McAdam. Sturt’s McAdam is one of two mature agers to be invited to the combine, with Werribee’s Josh Corbett also gaining an invite. Western Australia has 11 invitees, while Tasmania and Queensland (four each) and NSW-ACT (three) round out the total nominees with no Northern Territory player invited.

There are six Northern Academy-tied players invited – Nick Blakey (Sydney), Kieren Briggs (GWS GIANTS), Keidean Coleman and Connor McFadyen (Brisbane), and Dirk Koenen and Bailey Scott (Gold Coast). Additionally there are a raft of father-sons, such as Oscar BrownlessRhylee WestWill KellyBen Silvagni and Joel Crocker, whilst Tarryn Thomas (North Melbourne), Jarrod Cameron (West Coast), Irving Mosquito (Hawthorn) and Isaac Quaynor (Collingwood) are others tied to Next Generation Academies.

In terms of individual clubs, Oakleigh Chargers (eight), Sandringham Dragons (seven), Geelong Falcons and Dandenong Stingrays (both five), Murray Bushrangers, Western Jets, Calder Cannons and Gippsland Power (all four) lead the way, with the remaining four TAC Cup clubs having a nominee each. For interstate clubs, Sturt and Perth both have three players invited.

The 80 players will test in front of clubs from October 2-5.

National AFL Draft Combine invitees:

NSW-ACT [3]
Nick Blakey (Sydney Academy)
Kieren Briggs (GWS Academy)
Jacob Koschitzke (Murray Bushrangers)

Queensland [4]
Keidean Coleman (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Dirk Koenen (Gold Coast Academy)
Connor McFadyen (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Bailey Scott (Gold Coast Academy)

South Australia [13]
Jez McLennan (Central District)
Ben Jarvis (Norwood)
Izak Rankine (West Adelaide)
Tom Sparrow (South Adelaide)
Jackson Hately (Central District)
Jacob Kennerley (Norwood)
Connor Rozee (North Adelaide)
Luke Valente (Norwood)
Shane McAdam (Sturt)
Hayden Sampson (South Adelaide)
Riley Grundy (Sturt)
Jack Lukosius (Woodville West Torrens)
Hugo Munn (Sturt)

Tasmania [4]
Nicholas Baker (Lauderdale)
Chayce Jones (Launceston)
Tarryn Thomas (North Launceston)
Fraser Turner (Clarence)

VFL [1]
Josh Corbett (Werribee)

Vic Country [19]
Zane Barzen (Murray Bushrangers)
Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays)
Thomas Berry (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)
Riley Bowman (Dandenong Stingrays)
Oscar Brownless (Geelong Falcons)
Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers)
Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power)
Zac Foot (Dandenong Stingrays)
Will Hamill (Dandenong Stingrays)
Connor Idun (Geelong Falcons)
Matt McGannon (Gippsland Power)
Ned McHenry (Geelong Falcons)
Irving Mosquito (Gippsland Power)
Kyle Reid (Gippsland Power)
Ely Smith (Murray Bushrangers)
Charlie Sprague (Geelong Falcons)
Laitham Vandermeer (Murray Bushrangers)
Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons)
Bailey Williams (Dandenong Stingrays)

Vic Metro [25]
Daly Andrews (Western Jets)
Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers)
James Blanck (Eastern Ranges)
Zak Butters (Western Jets)
Jack Bytel (Calder Cannons)
Riley Collier-Dawkins (Oakleigh Chargers)
Joel Crocker (Sandringham Dragons)
Will Golds (Oakleigh Chargers)
Angus Hanrahan (Sandringham Dragons)
Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers)
William Kennedy (Sandringham Dragons)
Buku Khamis (Western Jets)
Ben King (Sandringham Dragons)
Max King (Sandringham Dragons)
Tom McKenzie (Northern Knights)
Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets)
Xavier O’Neill (Oakleigh Chargers)
Isaac Quaynor (Oakleigh Chargers)
James Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers)
Lachlan Sholl (Calder Cannons)
Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh Chargers)
Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons)
Liam Stocker (Sandringham Dragons)
Curtis Taylor (Calder Cannons)
Rhylee West (Calder Cannons)

Western Australia [11]
Jarrod Cameron (Swan Districts)
Jordan Clark (Claremont)
Luke English (Perth)
Damon Greaves (East Perth)
Luke Foley (Subiaco)
Ian Hill (Perth)
Tom Joyce (East Fremantle)
Dillon O’Reilly (East Fremantle)
Tyron Smallwood (Claremont)
Sydney Stack (Perth)
Durak Tucker (Peel Thunder)

Mid-Season Review: 2018 APS season

AT the mid-point in the Associated Public Schools (APS) Australian Rules competition, we take a look at how each of the schools are going and some of the names who have stood out, both TAC Cup-listed players and non TAC Cup-listed players. For those schools in the Associated Grammar Schools (AGS), we will review them next week.

Brighton Grammar (BGS)

R1: lost to Scotch by 11 points
R2: defeated Caulfield by 16 points
R3: defeated Geelong College by 10 points
R4: lost to Carey by nine points
R5: lost to Haileybury by 23 points
R6: lost to St Kevin’s by 55 points

Summary:

Brighton have won two games this season and will be hoping to turn their form around in the second half of the season. A narrow defeat to Scotch College in the opening round was followed by two wins over Caulfield Grammar and Geelong College, but Brighton has since lost its past three games, albeit two by narrow margins, including the undefeated Haileybury by under four goals. Brighton Grammar lost their key defender Oscar Lewis, in the opening quarter in their hard fought win against Caulfield Grammar. North Melbourne father-son prospect Joel Crocker is also out for the season, after an ankle injury at school training required surgery. Captain Harry Reynolds could be a name to pencil in, with a few clubs tracking the utility. Sandringham Dragons bottom-ager Louis Butler has been their standout, with multiple BOG performances. 

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Carey Grammar (CY)

R1: lost to Melbourne Grammar by 32 points
R2: defeated Geelong Grammar by 38 points
R3: lost to St Kevin’s by 48 points
R4: defeated Brighton by nine points
R5: defeated Wesley by six points
R6: defeated Xavier by one point

Summary:

A strong Carey team is sitting third on the APS ladder and this is largely due to its midfield strength. Bottom-agers Matthew Rowell and Noah Anderson already project as top 10 prospects for next year’s AFL National Draft, with the duo combining as Carey’s best on ground on multiple occasions this year. Despite his size, Rowell competes with the stronger inside midfielders in the draft pool with his quick hands on the inside a key trait – while Anderson is a big ball winner and can hurt you with his disposal. Young Nick Daicos is a while away from his draft year, but has booted some goals throughout the year. Midfielder Oliver Simpson and school captain Bailey Wraith have also had some good moments throughout the season. A one-point win over the previously undefeated Xavier was a massive result, with losses to Melbourne Grammar and St Kevin’s earlier in the season the only two defeats.

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Caulfield Grammar (CAUL)

R1: defeated Wesley by 48 points
R2: lost to Brighton by 16 points
R3: lost to Melbourne by 43 points
R4: lost to Xavier by 81 points
R5: defeated Geelong College by seven points
R6: Bye

Summary:

Caulfield Grammar has managed to have two wins this season, either side of three losses. An ugly 81-point loss to Xavier College was the worst of the bunch, but Caulfield has shown it is more than capable of performing when required, defeating Wesley by eight goals, and getting past Geelong College in a thriller. Sandringham Dragons’ 198cm prospect Will Kennedy is an interesting one – he has been playing all around the ground this season up forward and through the midfield. Oakleigh Chargers midfielder Jack Ross has provided a hard edge to the Caulfield on-ball brigade showcasing his clean his hands in congestion. He is a player that puts on a lot of tackling pressure through out games. Ryan Pietsch is a defender who got the better of Ben Silvagni when the Carlton father-son prospect had plenty of opportunities in Xavier’s 81-point win. Pietsch is strong one-on-one and also has the ability to play forward.

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Geelong College (GC)

R1: lost to Xavier by 64 points
R2: defeated Wesley by 12 points
R3: lost to Brighton by 10 points
R4: Bye 
R5: lost to Caulfield by seven points
R6: defeated Scotch by 18

Summary:

Geelong College has won two games from its five games thus far this season which is a good result. Aside from a forgettable 10-goal loss to Xavier in Round 1, Geelong College has been competitive in every match, losing its other two games by a combined 17 points, while winning its two games by a combined 30 points. Geelong College’s best player is first round prospect Ned McHenry. The inside midfielder won the contested ball and knows where the goals are, and almost single handedly got Geelong College over the line against Brighton Grammar back in Round 3. Forward Charlie Sprague is another who has been named among the best and looms as an underrated prospect in the 2018 draft crop after a good year as a bottom-ager last season. Looking to the future, 16 year-old Charlie Lazarro has been named among the best on several occasions including in the victory against Wesley and the loss to Xavier.

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Geelong Grammar (GGS)

R1: lost to Haileybury by 156 points
R2: lost to Carey by 38 points
R3: lost to Scotch by 45 points
R4: lost to St Kevin’s by 53 points
R5: Bye
R6: defeated Melbourne by 18 points

Summary:

Geelong Grammar started their season with four straight losses, including the horrific 156-point demolition at the hands of Hailebury. But after a tough month which saw them face a number of the top sides, they broke through for their first win, defeating Melbourne Grammar by three goals. The school has remarkable top-end talent with three AFL Academy members including Bendigo Pioneers’ Jye Caldwell and Brodie Kemp. Caldwell has played mostly on the outside, but has shown he can win the football at school football level when required. Kemp has been solid as a tall, working hard in the Grammar side despite the losses mounting. Gippsland Power’s Caleb Serong is a lively prospect for next year’s draft and will be doing plenty of travelling – to go from Geelong Grammar back home to Gippsland throughout the year. Serong has smarts around goal and is also a useful inside midfielder and has been named in the best on multiple occasions. Another name to keep an eye on is Thomson Dow who is the bottom-aged brother of Carlton’s Paddy and has been okay throughout the season. Tanner Bruhn turned 16 last weekend and has been another youngster who has put in some promising performances.

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Haileybury (HY)

R1: defeated Geelong Grammar by 156 points
R2: defeated St Kevin’s by 33 points
R3: Bye
R4: defeated Melbourne by 24 points
R5: defeated Brighton by 23 points
R6: defeated Wesley by 68 points

Summary:

Haileybury are sitting on top of the ladder undefeated and are looking good for the premiership. With a number of AFL Academy members it is no surprise that Hailebury are the benchmark in the competition to date. They destroyed Geelong Grammar in the opening round when Ben King piled on 10 goals, and has since taken his tally to 29 in five games. His ability to play at either end is remarkable and it would be hard not to see him amongst the top few picks in the 2018 AFL National Draft. His brother Max is unfortunately out for the season after injuring his knee in the opening round. Heath Briggs has also been one of Haileybury’s best, while Cody Weightman impresses every week as a small forward. Mitch Riordan is another top talent who could be a first round prospect.

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Melbourne Grammar (MGS)

R1: defeated Carey by 32 points
R2: defeated Scotch by 26 points
R3: defeated Caulfield by 43 points
R4: lost to Haileybury by 24 points
R5: lost to St Kevin’s by 72 points
R6: lost to Geelong Grammar by 18 points

Summary:

Melbourne Grammar is sitting three and three this season, starting the year on fire with three victories, before losing its next three games, including a 12-goal defeat at the hands of St Kevin’s and a three-goal loss to the previously winless Geelong Grammar. Melbourne Grammar vice-captain Toby Bedford has been exciting, with the Dandenong Stingrays mid/forward using his game-breaking speed to disrupt the opposition and he shows clean hands in congestion, putting a lot of tackle pressure on his opponents. Darcy Chirgwin has also been impressive, with his solid work rate throughout games and hitting contest after contest with 110 percent. Sam Connock has been playing forward and competes and reads the play well, taking a number of good marks this season. Oakleigh Chargers’ Sydney Swans father-son prospect Kyle Dunkley has been named among the best, with the Sale product one to watch.

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Scotch College (SC)

R1: defeated Brighton by 11 points
R2: lost to Carey by 38 points
R3: defeated Geelong Grammar by 45 points
R4: lost to Wesley by one point
R5: lost to Xavier by 13 points
R6: lost to Geelong College by 18 points

Summary:

Scotch College started the year well with a win over Brighton Grammar, but have won just one game in the past four outings, albeit with some unlucky losses along the way. New recruit – Maurice Rioli Jnr will turn some heads throughout the year. While the Northern Territory Under 16 prospect is still very raw, he has shown a tenacious tackling ability and booted a freak goal against Xavier a few weeks ago. Finn Maginness has played well in the midfield, while Collingwood father-son prospect Will Kelly had been utilised up forward and is a very strong mark. Defenders Reef McInness and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan mark outstandingly well in the defensive 50 – with Ugle-Hagan definitely a name to keep an eye on for years to come.

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St Kevin’s College (SKC)

R1: Bye
R2: lost to Haileybury by 33 points
R3: defeated Carey by 48 points
R4: defeated Geelong Grammar by 53 points
R5: defeated Melbourne by 72 points
R6: defeated Brighton by 55 points

Summary

This season St Kevin’s have a strong team with four boys making the Vic Metro squad. Having lost their first game to Haileybury, the team has been able to bounce back, not losing a game since and winning every game in excess of eight goals. Western Bulldogs father-son prospect Rhylee West is an inside beast who has been playing up forward a lot more and has been hitting the scoreboard every week. It has given his game another layer. Alastair Richards is having a terrific start to the season, often arching his back and taking the game on, as well as hitting the scoreboard for St Kevin’s. James Rowbottom is a big ball winning midfielder who adds plenty of defensive pressure and importantly hits the scoreboard. His hands in close have been great and he also has some breakaway speed from the stoppages. Angus Hanrahan is an interesting prospect who has shown he can play up forward. He is a natural footballer with elite use of the footy on his left and right foot and plenty of X-factor. Others that have impressed include bottom-age prospect Jack Mahony, as well as non TAC Cup-listed players defender Matthew Presutto and forward Will James.

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Wesley College (WC)

R1: lost to Caulfield by 48 points
R2: lost to Geelong College by 12 points
R3: lost to Xavier by 59 points
R4: defeated Scotch by one point
R5: lost to Carey by six points
R6: lost to Haileybury by 68 points

Summary:

Wesley College has managed one win this season, defeating Scotch by the narrowest of margins. Aside from close defeats to Carey Grammar (six points) and Geelong College (12 points), Wesley has suffered three defeats by more than eight goals, granted two of them came against the premiership favourites. Wesley College do not have a standout draft prospect, but have shown they can match is with some of the stronger schools, with a consistent spread of players across the board. Oscar Jackson and Charlie Dean have been prominent players for the Lions, booting goals on multiple occasions including combining for seven majors in Wesley’s only victory of the season. Nick Sund is another player who has been named among the best on a number of occasions.

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Xavier College (XC)

R1: defeated Geelong College by 64 points
R2: Bye
R3: defeated Wesley by 69 points
R4: defeated Caulfield by 81 points
R5: defeated Scotch by 13 points
R6: lost to Carey by one point

Summary:

One of the strongest Xavier College teams in recent memory, the side lost its first game of the season in round six to Carey by one point. The team is a really well coached and structured and is led by potential top 10 draft pick and captain Bailey Smith who has been playing predominantly in the midfield. Smith leads from the front using the ball exceptionally well. He has the ability to win the footy on the inside and outside and uses his pace to break away from stoppages and take the game on. Potential Carlton father-son Ben Silvagni is yet to tear a game apart, but does have impact within games. He uses his body well in marking contests and also reads the play well. Joe Ayton-Delaney has been impressive, using his foot-skills to great effect, while Oakleigh teammate Charlie Whitehead has been good in congestion and shows great decision making skills and composure. What is really impressive is his endeavour to put pressure on his opponents. Teammate and small forward Zac Hart is quick and able to use the ball well and kicks goals. Others who have also impressed include Zak Evans, Charles Holmes, Harrison Bell and Sam Stynes.

Editors predict tight year for TAC Cup teams

AFTER a long off-season, the TAC Cup boys are ready to follow their female counterparts in kicking off their 2018 campaigns this weekend. In what is predicted to be a super year for draft talent, there is no shortage of future AFL stars across the 12 TAC Cup clubs and we are excited to bring you plenty of content throughout the year.

Rewind to last year and the Geelong Falcons took out the premiership, defeating Sandringham Dragons in a thrilling grand final for the ages, coming down to a last-second miss by the Dragons to hand the Falcons a drought-breaking win. It was a lot closer by the final siren than many predicted after Geelong hero Gryan Miers booted seven goals as the country side looked set to run away with the contest in the final term. But to the Dragons credit, they fought back and took it up to the Falcons, narrowly missing out on back-to-back flags.

Both sides are expected to be around the mark once again, as both teams have no shortage of AFL AIS Academy stars and some envious depth. Sam Walsh and Ned McHenry lead the Falcons’ midfield brigade, while Oscar Brownless is a developing utility with strong bloodlines. Connor Idun, Blake Schlensog and Charlie Sprague are potential X-factors this season for the reigning premiers. For Sandringham, it is hard to look past the much talked about King twins, with Max and Ben both expected to be top 10 picks – if not both top five. Captain Bailey Smith will not be far behind them after an outstanding bottom-age season, while Joel Crocker is another to keep in mind for this year.

Other country teams expected to be around the mark are Dandenong Stingrays and Murray Bushrangers, with Dandenong having a wealth of AIS AFL Academy talls and smalls, while Murray has an experienced list for the season ahead. Reeling off some names for the Stingrays, Bailey Williams, Riley Bowman, Stephen Cumming and Matthew Cumming are four top-end talent talls who are likely to fill holes across the key position posts, while Sam Fletcher and Mitch Riordan will impact through the midfield along with the dangerous Jai Nanscawen up forward. For Murray, Zane Barzen is the top prospect with all the class in the world, while talls Hudson Garoni, Mark Marriott, Ben Kelly and the pint sized Kyle Clarke are others to watch.

Looking across to the metropolitan regions, Oakleigh Chargers and Calder Cannons are other sides likely to challenge at the business end of the season. Oakleigh are perennial achievers, and it will be no surprise to see them near the top of the ladder again. The Chargers have midfielders Xavier O’Neill and Charlie Whitehead leading the attack, while Isaac Quaynor will be a key in defence. Joseph Ayton-Delaney and Riley Collier-Dawkins are other players to keep an eye on, with a mosquito fleet likely to cause headaches for opposition clubs. For the Cannons, their AFL AIS Academy members in Curtis Taylor, Jack Bytel and Rhylee West are names that jump off the page, while the likes of father-son prospect Mason Fletcher, Jack Evans and Lachlan Sholl are others that could impress throughout the season.

Gippsland Power’s top prospect in 2018 is Xavier Duursma, while the Power also have a couple of electrifying smalls in Irving Mosquito and the returning Tyrone Hayes. For Bendigo Pioneers, Jacob Atley and Jye Caldwell are two midfielders to watch this season, while tall forward Daine Grace could provide some X-factor inside the forward 50. GWV Rebels also have a talented midfield with Thomas Berry, Scott Carlin and Matty Lloyd, all of whom will be well supported by tall target Tylar Watts.

Western Jets have a strong core of midfielders leading the way in 2018, with 2017 best and fairest winner Stefan Radovanovic, Zac Butters, Connor Thar and Xavier O’Halloran among the top prospects, while Buku Khamis and Oskar Manton are likely to sure up the defensive end. Eastern Ranges might not have the huge roll-call of AFL AIS Academy members they had last year, but Ben Cardamone, Kye Quirk and Cody Hirst are just some of the names that might catch draft watchers eyes. Finally, Northern Knights midfielders Braedyn Gillard and Tom McKenzie will compliment each other well, while Joseph Ciranna, Harrison Grace, Kye Yodgee and Patrik Della Rocca are other names that will be closely watched in 2018.

AFL Draft Central Editor predictions:

Peter Williams
Chief Editor

Premier: Dandenong Stingrays
Runner-Up: Geelong Falcons
Top 4: Dandenong, Geelong, Oakleigh, Murray
Wildcard Weekend: Sandringham, Calder, Western, GWV, Eastern, Gippsland, Northern, Bendigo
Morrish Medallist: Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons)

Matt Balmer
Draft Editor

Premier: Sandringham Dragons
Runner-Up: Oakleigh Chargers
Top 4: Sandringham, Oakleigh, Dandenong, Geelong
Wildcard Weekend: Eastern, Murray, Calder, Western, Northern, Bendigo, GWV, Gippsland
Morrish Medallist: Curtis Taylor (Calder Cannons)

Michael Alvaro
News Editor

Premier: Geelong Falcons
Runner-Up: Dandenong Stingrays
Top 4: Geelong, Sandringham, Dandenong, Oakleigh
Wildcard Weekend: Murray, Calder, Western, Gippsland, Northern, GWV, Eastern, Bendigo
Morrish Medallist: Zane Barzen (Murray Bushrangers)

Peter Bonadio
Features Editor

Premier: Geelong Falcons
Runner-Up: GWV Rebels
Top 4: Geelong, Sandringham, Oakleigh, Dandenong
Wildcard Weekend: Western, Eastern, GWV, Northern, Gippsland, Calder, Murray, Bendigo
Morrish Medallist: Tom Berry (GWV Rebels)

TAC Cup preview: Sandringham Dragons

SANDRINGHAM Dragons were only a kick away from winning back-to-back TAC Cup titles last year, and with plenty of top talent in 2018 – they will be looking to make it three consecutive Grand Final berths. The Dragons produced seven draftees last year, headlined by Andrew Brayshaw – who was drafted by Fremantle with the second pick overall. 2018 will see the Dragons put out a taller team than previous seasons and hold two of the best key position players in the entire 2018 draft pool in the King twins.

The Haileybury College students Max & Ben both tower over 200cm and the AFL Academy members will be right in the mix as top five selections for the 2018 draft. Bailey Smith’s superb season across half-back and in the midfield, pushed him into the AFL Academy squad and the Dragons’ 2018 captain will be looking to progress into a full-time midfielder during the season. Smith’s bottom-age year was headlined by his 44 disposal, 13 inside 50s and 10 clearances game against Western Jets in Round 14 of the 2017 TAC Cup.

Another player that will feature heavily in the Dragons’ pursuit for success will be North Melbourne father-son prospect Joel Crocker (son of Darren). The rangy hybrid midfielder impressed last year at school football for Brighton Grammar playing in defence and is a good ball user by foot. The agile Crocker missed the latter parts of the Dragons 2017 campaign due to an ankle injury, but expect him to feature prominently this season.

Nineteen year-old 200cm tall Joe Griffiths might be one to keep an eye on, coming to the TAC Cup club for the first time after the boarder performed well in the ruck for Geelong Grammar at school football, earning him a State Combine invite. Ethan Casey will also return from an ACL injury and will battle it out in the ruck alongside vice-captain James Rendell (son of Fitzroy and Brisbane ruckman Matt). There’s no doubting opposition teams will need to have plenty of tall timber to combat the Dragons team.

Tom Long, Alastair Richards, Liam Stocker, Harry Houlahan and Ryan Macdermid are a handful of players who had experience as bottom-agers and they will be looking to progress their football in 2018. Angus Hanrahan (brother of Hawthorn’s Ollie) is another player who performed well at school football for St Kevin’s College in 2017, and might be a player to track during the year. Alongside Hanrahan, Rendell and Crocker – there are some other familiar last names down at the Dragons with Finn Maginness (son of Hawthorn premiership player Scott), Jai Florent (brother of Sydney’s Ollie), Jeremy Goddard (brother of St Kilda’s Hugh), Jackson Voss (son of former Saint Brett) and Tyson Milne (son of former St Kilda goalsneak Steven).

2017 Stats:

2017 Summary:

The Dragons were not far off back-to-back premierships in a see-sawing TAC Cup Grand Final that saw them come from 20 points down at three-quarter time to nearly storm home and get the win, after Geelong Falcons small forward Gryan Miers booted seven goals. They begun the season with a bang at Ikon Park, with bottom-age forward Max King bagging six marks and booting four goals. Hamish Brayshaw returned in the second half of the season after VFL commitments for Sandringham Zebras and used his power in the middle of the ground to push the Dragons side deep into the finals, eventually helping the 19 year-old find himself on an AFL list by the end of the year. Although they lost some games throughout the season that they ultimately should’ve won, the ‘next man up’ attitude at the Dragons saw them able to cover their losses during the season when the APS and AGSV school football commitments popped up.

2018 Snapshot:

The Dragons begin the season at Skybus Stadium in Frankston against Northern Knights, before playing the Oakleigh Chargers and Calder Cannons before school football season kicks-off. If the Dragons can win all three winnable games, it should set them up for the season that will see them juggle plenty of squad members as best as they can. With the Dragons’ strong squad, if they can avoid having to play off during the ‘Wildcard’ round in the lead up to finals, they should be able to progress deep into September for yet another year.

2018 Fixture:

Sandringham Dragons 2018

DateEventTime/ResultsVenueArticle
Frankston Oval
Rams Arena
Trevor Barker Oval
Norm Minns Oval
Trevor Barker Oval
Morwell Recreational Reserve
Trevor Barker Oval
Shepley Oval
Warrawee Park
Trevor Barker Oval
Trevor Barker Oval
MARS Stadium
Trevor Barker Oval
Box Hill City Oval
Avalon Airport Oval
Trevor Barker Oval
Trevor Barker Oval
Ikon Park

Sandringham Dragons 2017 review

With the off-season now officially here for TAC Cup clubs, AFL Draft Central will go back and review what 2017 was like for each of the 12 clubs. We kick off the series with Bendigo Pioneers and will end with the Western Jets.

Sandringham Dragons

Finished: 2nd
Wins: 13
Losses: 8
Draws: 0
Percentage:
 123
Points: 44 (eliminated in grand final)

Players Drafted: (7)

  • Andrew Brayshaw (Fremantle)
  • Will Walker (North Melbourne)
  • Charlie Constable (Geelong)
  • Nathan Murphy (Collingwood)
  • Hamish Brayshaw (West Coast)
  • Angus Styles (Sydney)
  • Joel Amartey (Sydney)

2017 Review:

In 2016, Sandringham Dragons were the talk of the AFL Draft world with an abundance of draftees in the first round to complement their premiership. In 2017, they had an impressive seven players drafted, including the Brayshaw brothers – Andrew and Hamish – heading to Perth, Will Walker picked by North Melbourne, Charlie Constable heading down the highway to the Cattery and Nathan Murphy donning the black and white stripes for season 2018. Meanwhile in the rookie draft, Angus Styles and Joel Amartey were reunited within a round of each other as the pair was selected by Sydney.

On the field in 2017, Sandringham had another impressive season, finishing top four and then making its way to the grand final after defeating Oakleigh Chargers in the preliminary final. At half-time in the grand final against the Geelong Falcons it looked like the Dragons would win back-to-back flags, but a dismal third quarter turned the game on its head. In a remarkable turnaround, the Dragons stormed home and almost stole the flag back with Amartey marking just before the siren, but his kick missed and the Falcons breathed a sigh of relief. Nonetheless, the Dragons had yet another strong season.

In 2018, the Dragons are the envy of the competition with the best 1-2 tall combo in twins Max and Ben King. Along with them, there are quite a few talented players who will divide their TAC Cup time with their school football. Another big year is predicted for Sandringham.

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2018 Preview:

Sandringham Dragons have the much talked about twin-towers in Max and Ben King who can play either end or through the ruck. In 2017, Max played up forward and pinch hit in the ruck, while Ben primarily stayed down back, occasionally reliving the ruckman when in the defensive 50. Bailey Smith is another player who could push into the top 10 come draft night, with the outside midfielder spending the majority of his time in defence this season and showing he has no issues finding the ball.

Max King (Sandringham Dragons) 201cm | 81kg | Key Position Forward/Ruck
2017 TAC Cup: (7) 7.7 disposals | 3.4 marks | 7.7 hitouts | 1.4 goals | 57% KE | 65% DE | 63% CP

Max primarily played the ruck/forward role at TAC Cup level and was impressive in the air and in front of goal. He covered the ground well and showed off his versatility having had an ultra-impressive year for Haileybury in the APS competition. He is one of a number of players likely to command a top five pick in next year’s draft.

Ben King (Sandringham Dragons) 201cm | 79kg | Key Position Defender/Ruck
2017 TAC Cup: (9) 13.7 disposals | 4.8 marks | 0.8 tackles | 2.2 rebounds | 69% KE | 77% DE | 42% CP

Ben played down back for the Dragons and was strong overhead and used also as a rebounding defender. He has a long effective kick and also played forward during the school season with Haileybury teammate Oscar Clavarino holding down the fort in defence. He reads the play well and could well go top five with his brother.

Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons) 183cm | 74kg | Medium Defender/Outside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (12) 24.3 disposals | 4.1 marks | 2.3 clearances | 2.5 inside 50s | 3.9 rebounds | 73% KE | 77% DE | 38% CP

A huge ball winner in the TAC Cup last season, Smith showed he was capable of playing midfield mid-season when his teammates were unavailable during the National Under 18s Championships, then was dominant in defence often tasked with the kick-out duties. He is a deadly kick of the football and averaged almost four rebounds per game, so expect him to settle into the midfield and see what he is capable of with a full-time role in there.

Others to keep an eye on:

Joel Crocker (Sandringham Dragons) 188cm | 69kg | Outside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (5) 16.4 disposals | 4.4 marks | 1.4 tackles | 2.6 inside 50s | 56% KE | 65% DE | 28% CP

Nicholas Stamatis (Sandringham Dragons) 175cm | 70kg | Small Utility
2017 TAC Cup: (10) 13.5 disposals | 2.2 marks | 4.4 tackles | 2.1 inside 50s | 65% KE | 76% DE | 32% CP

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Summary:

Sandringham Dragons have been the most successful team of the past two years and with their twin towers and multiple other talents already emerging, it is clear 2018 is another year likely to keep smiles on the faces of the Dragons faithful. They had the seven players drafted in 2017, following on from a remarkable 2016 draft period. They will be up there with the best at the end of the 2018 season so do not be surprised to see them playing deep into September.

TAC Cup finals preview: Oakleigh Chargers vs. Sandringham Dragons

AFTER a round of less than underwhelming finals – with the Eastern/Dandenong clash the exception – the top four teams remain in contention for the 2017 TAC Cup premiership. There is one thing for certain – a metropolitan team will face a country team in the grand final for the second consecutive year. In the second match of the day, Oakleigh Chargers take on Sandringham Dragons in the preliminary final at Simonds Stadium with the winner to run out on Etihad in a week’s time.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Sandringham Dragons

Oakleigh: 1st, 15-3, 1653 points for, 993 points against
Sandringham: 4th,11-7, 1360 points for, 1104 points against

Last week Oakleigh produced a blow-out win over Northern Knights, defeating their opponents 15.14 (104) to 4.10 (34) in a game not likely to be remembered fondly by anyone out at Preston. Chargers’ spiritual leader and 2016 captain Jack Roughsedge was instrumental through the middle with 28 disposals (16 contested), 10 clearances, three inside 50s and a goal. Toby Wooller was unstoppable leading out of the forward 50 with 22 disposals, 10 marks, four inside 50s and 3.3 as well as two score assists. Others that impressed included Luke Stacker (26 disposals, six marks and foru clearances), Matthew King (24 disposals, six rebounds) and Charlie Thompson (22 disposals, five inside 50s, 2.2 and an impressive five score assists.

Sandringham on the other hand did not have the most ideal start, trailing Murray Bushrangers at quarter time and then conceding three of the next four goals before putting the foot down with a performance everyone expected of them. They piled on 16 of the next 21 goals to run away with the game in a huge 19.11 (125) to 11.8 (74) victory. There were plenty of standouts in that match including Will Walker who played a large portion forward, booting four goals to go with his 25 disposals, four marks and five clearances, while Hamish Brayshaw was huge again with 25 disposals, six marks, five clearances, eight inside 50s, six tackles and three goals. Others that impressed included Seb Williams (23 disposals, four inside 50s), Charlie Constable (23 disposals, six clearances and four score assists) and Alfie Jarnestrom (21 disposals, five marks, three clearances and three score assists).

The changes:

Unfortunately for Oakleigh, there is a huge out in the form of Toby Wooller. His omission will be felt quite considerably as he was one of the best last week and just leads by example with huge marks and telling goals. The inclusion of Jack Higgins after he missed with a shoulder injury will bring a sigh of relief from the coaches, but it is hard to replace Wooller. Given they lined up without a ruckman last week and Hugh Longbottom shouldered the bulk of the load, the 191cm versatile player will line-up at half-forward with giant Ned Reeves returning, along with Ed Michelmore and Bailey Griffiths.

For Sandringham, Joel Crocker is out after an injury late in the game, as is defender Nathan Murphy with the cricketer-turned-footballer named in the side to face the Chargers but was a late withdrawal. Tall forward/ruck Hayden McLean returns to the gold, as does Sam Cameron and Alastair Richards with three to be omitted from their team named on Thursday night.

The tip:

This game is incredibly hard to tip (like it should be) given Oakleigh has done nothing wrong all year, but Sandringham just know how to peak at the right time. The Chargers are one of only a handful of teams that produce four quarter performances game in, game out, but without Toby Wooller it leaves a massive hole up forward. The Dragons have gone very tall in their line-up, hoping to control the airways over the smaller Chargers, while Oakleigh will hope they use their speed to advantage. In saying that, Sandringham has some serious pace in its line-up and given it is closer to full-strength and coming off a dominant second half, I will pick the Dragons to head into the grand final. However, start like they did against Murray last week and the Dragons could be in serious trouble as the Chargers do not muck around or waste opportunities. It is set to be a cracker.