Tag: joel trudgeon

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 15

THE NAB League returned for Round 15 over the weekend, with a set of six fixtures kicked off under Friday night lights in Werribee. While school football competitions also resumed and injuries continue to hit, there was still plenty of top-end talent on show this time around. We take a look at some of the top performers from each side in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> Round 15 snapshot | Round 15 POTW | Round 15 TOTW | August Power Rankings

WESTERN JETS 7.7 (49) def. by GEELONG FALCONS 11.13 (79)

By: Michael Alvaro

Western Jets:

#28 Massimo D’Ambrosio

Having been utilised in a few different roles this year, D’Ambrosio dropped back to defence to good effect in this outing. The 18-year-old moves well and provided plenty of drive out of defence for the Jets as he took the game on with ball-in-hand. D’Ambrosio had plenty do to after half time as he carried the ball on the rebound and looked to be damaging by foot with either inboard options or penetrating balls down the line. He finished with a clear season-high 31 disposals to go with eight marks and 10 rebound 50s.

#32 Paul Curtis

While he started the game off in midfield, it wouldn’t take long for Curtis to switch to his usual forward post and get to work. The crafty small snared Western’s first goal of the night after marking deep on the behind line, and was a constant threat inside 50. While he used his smarts within the arc, Curtis also looked really polished when working further afield where he hardly fumbled and brought others into the play with sharp disposal. He missed a couple of set shots which would have cemented an even better game, but he was productive nonetheless with 21 disposals, four marks and five tackles.

#35 Liam Conway

A key figure in Western’s midfield, Conway again won a mountain of ball to end with a game-high 35 disposals, five marks and five inside 50s. He used his strength over the ball at each contest and was also a solid marking option around the ground, accumulating his touches at a good tick throughout the game. He also spent some in the forward half after the main break, but found the goals in term one with a monster 50m set shot.

Geelong Falcons:

#8 Jhye Clark

A standout at Under 17 level, Clark has transitioned well into the Falcons’ Under 19 program and had another solid outing here. The midfielder isn’t afraid to get stuck in and boasts a pretty well-rounded game; able to go up for overhead marks, win his own ball and tackle at the contest, while also coming away from it with class. Clark finished with 18 disposals and six tackles.

#18 Blake Reid

Having been thrown into midfield at a greater rate this season, Reid was again part of that rotation before being sent back to play a role on Western’s Paul Curtis. He started out with some good early intent at the contest and looked to kick Geelong forward with well-directed passes. Much of his influence after quarter time came in the back half, as he took on the kick-in duties to finish with 23 disposals, seven tackles, and six inside 50s.

#26 Olivier Northam

The bottom-aged ruckman brought plenty of heat to the contest with his intensity and willingness to provide a bit of physicality around the ball. As quite a mobile and competitive tall, he was able to prize his own clearances while also showing a handy leap around the ground to crash aerial balls. He also did the latter when resting forward and found the goals with a set shot in term three. Northam set the tone well for the Falcons as they ran away with the contest during the final quarter.

#28 Mitch Knevitt

Knevitt was the Falcons’ most prolific ball winner on the night with 28 disposals, providing his usual strength to the midfield battle in offensive and defensive settings. The 193cm prospect proved difficult to bring down, constantly able to stand up in tackles and wait to dish off the ideal release handball to his runners. He also made Western feel the hurt with his own tackling and used his burst of speed well to shut the Jets down with solid pressure. As per usual, he also spent some time resting forward but couldn’t snare a goal this time out.

#32 Noah Gadsby

It could have been a huge game for Gadsby if not for some goalkicking inaccuracy, with the athletic forward managing 2.4 from his 22 disposals and four marks. He showed a strong running capacity with his work up the ground, presenting all the way up past the wing to help link Geelong in transition. Gadsby was also lively inside 50 with his various shots on goal and always looked like making something happen, despite his lack of a finished product.

#56 Oscar Morrison

While not his most prolific game, Morrison showed some really promising glimpses in the first half as a dynamic rebounding influence down back. The 17-year-old looked composed for the ball and backed his speed at 193cm to burn opponents or break tackles. He was often in good position to intercept or mop up before taking metres and kicking Geelong into attack.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 9.10 (64) def. by EASTERN RANGES 13.13 (91)

By: Eli Duxson

Dandenong Stingrays:

#8 Bayleigh Welsh

While it was far from his strongest game statistically (33 disposals vs. Gold Coast), Welsh brought a lot of grunt and hustle in his defensive post providing efforts that would not have showed up on the stat sheet. He hit his first contest hard and continued to scrap the disputed ball which set the tone for the way he would go about his day. Defensively he knows how to take the body well without giving away free kicks and can maintain balance over the ball to extract out of congestion (eight handballs). Welsh looked to attack off half back and provided good run and generally tidy skills but was a little overzealous at times in trying to create options moving forward.

#14 Will Bravo

Probably Dandenong’s best player on the day as he accumulated 28 disposals, five inside 50’s, and a goal in the final quarter to top off his day. Showed strong poise and composure over the ball in traffic rarely going to ground while also being active around stoppages to hunt the footy. He showed a high work rate running both ways and found the ball in every single third of the ground. His disposal was generally reliable with pinpoint short passes as he lowered his eyes on many occasions moving forward. One of the inside midfielder’s most well-rounded games for the season.

#22 Mac Andrew

Had a busy first half playing primarily in the ruck as he did for most of the day while resting forward, but his output slowed down as Eastern gained the ascendency. His athleticism was on full display from the get-go with his leap highlighted at the first centre bounce, and his mobility around the ground almost turning him into a fourth midfielder once the ball is in open play. His ground ball gathers were clean and his positioning behind the ball allowed him to mark overhead well. His ruckwork around the game showed his lack of strength will impact his ability to muscle bigger opponents as he opted for a wider starting position to run and jump at the ball unhindered but was often out positioned due to unfavourable throw ins. He finished with 17 disposals, 16 hit outs, and four marks.

Eastern Ranges:

#4 Josh Clarke

Eastern’s skipper had another high disposal effort in his third NAB League appearance for the season playing predominantly out of half back, maximising his penetrating kick moving forward. He managed a whopping 11 inside 50’s from his 21 kicks (seven handballs) as his left boot worked off half back to find multiple targets forward of centre with a couple of goal assists. He ran most of the wing on one occasion taking a few bounces and typified the role of an attacking half back, even accumulating possessions in a Daniel Rich type role taking 11 marks with few being intercept.

#35 Max Hall

Perhaps Eastern’s most impactful player through the midfield amassing a goal, 25 disposals, eight marks, and seven inside 50’s as he continues his string of good form at the back end of the season. Hall’s pace spreading from stoppages was impressive, as was his ability to get to good spots to find and receive the footy. His ball use was stable and was highlighted with a good step and well-weighted hit to a teammate streaming forward who did not have to break stride. His outside work was good, but it was balanced with some inside grunt work showing strength to handball out of tackles, as well as earning himself a free kick for the holding the ball.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 6.3 (39) def. by CALDER CANNONS 7.7 (49)

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers:

#2 Charlie Byrne

Capable of playing on either side of midfield, Byrne was employed on the inside this time around as a fixture at the centre bounces for Murray. The top-ager got busy around the ball and found plenty of it with 27 disposals, but arguably looked more dangerous when operating in space. On the end of handball receives, Byrne was able to generate some run in transition and make better use of his kicking skills, but was still solid in a slightly different role.

#5 Oliver Hollands

One of the competition’s standout bottom-agers and a familiar name to many, Hollands warmed to the contest well after a couple of shaky moments early on. He tended to do the basics well, showing clean hands and quick disposal in midfield while also working hard to cover plenty of ground up and back. That work-rate and constant pressure around the ball may have hindered his kicking somewhat, but Hollands was typically sharp by hand and always able to dish off in traffic.

#13 Tom Brown

A real riser since returning from injury, Brown wasn’t quite at his best on Sunday but still showed glimpses of his exciting traits. Once again stationed in defence, the Vic Country representative had a couple of rusty-looking moments early but soon sharpened up to look more assured in possession. Brown’s ability to read the play and intercept was evident, as he was never afraid to fly high for his marks despite not always reeling them in cleanly. Having made strong strides of late, there were some handy points to take from his 12-disposal showing.

#52 Tom Bracher

Bracher has taken on an important role for Murray since Paddy Parnell was picked up in the mid-season draft, proving a consistent and reliable small defender who shows great composure on the last line. He accumulated 28 disposals and 13 marks in the back half, rising well for a player of his 177cm stature while using his agility at ground level to get out of tight spots. In a pretty scrappy contest, he proved quite effective.

Calder Cannons:

#4 Sam Clohesy

It was a slightly indifferent day for Clohesy, who looked strong in some areas of his game and less so in others. The top-ager showed great aerial ability with his overhead marking around the ground, rising to take the ball cleanly under pressure. He often beat opponents in one-on-one contests, but tended to hack the ball forward with a preference for meterage over precision. He couldn’t quite steer his quick snaps on target, but had an impact with 16 disposals, seven marks and four inside 50s.

#5 Zac Taylor

Taylor has been in incredible form recently and after another short break, hardly missed a beat on Sunday. The crafty small midfielder was busy around the ball, finding less space at the contest but adjusting well to display sound handballing skills. His vision and awareness in traffic were terrific, as he looked to release others into space before pumping his legs a touch more in the second half. He accumulated less around the ground but was mega at the stoppages, accumulating 37 disposals, four marks, and four inside 50s.

#25 Josh Goater

It’s well known that Goater boasts incredible athletic traits, and he is really beginning to show them more consistently with a move to half-back. The top 25 candidate has wickedly clean hands and reads the ball so well, which makes intercept marking look easy when combined with his spring-heeled leap. Goater rose well to cut off numerous Murray attacks among his 11 marks, while also kicking Calder into gear on the rebound. He generally used the ball well and began to back his speed in the final term with a couple of daring one-two passages in transition. With 28 disposals and eight rebound 50s, he showed plenty of quality and should rise on the back of his form.

#30 Sam Paea

Paea worked really hard to provide some presence and spark for Calder inside 50, contributing both in the air and at ground level with limited service. He’s difficult to beat with a clean run at the ball and proved as much with his lone goal – converted after a pack mark from two or three players deep. The top-ager had a few bites of the cherry on most of his six marks, but proved strong in that department while being mobile enough to also impact the ground ball.

GIPPSLAND POWER 12.9 (81) def. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 9.5 (59)

By: Peter Williams

Gippsland Power:

#2 Cooper Alger

Whilst nine disposals and two marks might not look like a lot, Alger caught the eye a couple of times with his work rate across the ground. A couple of times in the first half, he won the ball at half-back and under pressure was able to spot a target and execute the pass cleanly. He was one of the most prominent Power players in the first half for his spread and defensive pressure – not always rewarded with tackles, but team efforts – and despite fading in a bit in the second half, had his moments.

#6 Mitchell Moschetti

Moschetti was Gippsland’s most consistent across the four quarters and continually won the ball and tried to drive it forward to give his teammates scoring opportunities. He led by example with the most disposals (28), tackles (nine) and second most inside 50s (six), which indicated his influence on the game. Battling away even when the chips were down, Moschetti was able to keep accumulating the ball and putting pressure on the Chargers’ defence with his repeat entries inside 50 and defensive pressure around the ground.

#23 Jai Serong

The draft-eligible talent was thrown everywhere during the match, starting midfield, then going forward, then on the wing to start the second half, before playing forward again in the last term. After a quiet start to the match, Serong got more involved as the game went on, with the fourth term being his most lively. He started well at high half-forward reading the ball well in fight to take a good mark going back with the flight, then pulled down a terrific contested mark flying in from the side 30m from goal to nail the set shot and put Gippsland in front for the first term. He then set up a scoring chance for a teammate late in the piece and looked lively by hand and moving well, a lot more actively involved around the play.

#24 Jonti Schuback

Played out of defence and the bottom-age talent was reliable more often than not, showing quick hands off half-back and then tasked with the kickout duties at times. He provided some good run during the game, and mostly drew opponents before executing the handball, or shuffling out the ball quickly to open up transitional opportunities for his side

#37 Max Walton

A mixed bag of a day for Walton who certainly found his fair share of the football. He had some terrific offensive moments driving it out of the back 50, but also made a few mistakes along the way. His long kicking down the ground enabled his side to clear the ball from danger, and he was also strong in the air. He was constantly looking to run and carry, and that enabled his team to be always on the move and play an attacking brand of football. In the third term he had a moment to forget where he fumbled in the back pocket but under pressure managed to clean it up. Overall one of the better Power players on the day.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Youseph Dib

Had a huge start to the game where he racked up a ton of the ball and seemed to be involved in every play. His quick hands and size enabled him to win a fair amount of free kicks for over the shoulder, and he was able to set up a couple of scoring opportunities, including a first quarter goal to Luke Kelvie. Laying more tackles than anyone else on the field (10), Dib’s pressure remained consistent throughout the match, even when he faded in the second half. He still had plenty of inside 50s early in the piece, and was able to worry the opposition with his mix of offensive and defensive traits.

#4 Sam Tucker

The standout player on the ground, and certainly from the Chargers perspective, Tucker was unbeatable in the air with his strong hands around the ground. Playing deep forward then working hard up the ground, he showed off his work rate by often leading out and doubling back to goal. He pulled down a contested mark in the goalsquare in the opening minute of the game, and then kicked a second goal in the third term from a similar contested mark, clunking it one-grab in a pack. His short kicking was reliable looking good going forward, and on occasion tried to open up the forward line by winning the ball on the wing and thumping it inside 50 for his quicker teammates to run onto. He had a couple more chances on goal in the second and third terms but missed those chances out on the full, and falling short. Overall a strong performance from the top-age key forward.

#12 Lochlan Jenkins

The other top-age performer who put together a consistent, four quarter performance, Jenkins buzzed around the ground and was particularly influential in the first half when the game was on the line. He had a chance on goal early which missed to the right, but kept pushing hard to drive it forward. At times he would rush his disposal under pressure, but he found plenty of it, and was a key contributor in generating scoring opportunities for the Chargers. When the team was dropping off late in the game, Jenkins was still working hard to arrest the tide.

#27 Karl Worner

Started forward then played off a wing and pushing defensively to assist off half-back, Worner slotted into multiple roles on gameday. He started with a set shot which despite its power, went out on the full, then missed the chance at goal from 15m out when he rushed the kick on the outside of the boot. After the first quarter, Worner played further up the ground and won the ball, having a hit and miss game in terms of his disposal, but providing the Chargers with plenty of run in transition. He spread and always offered up being an option in space, looking to find the loose ball and take grass down the field.

#56 Yu Ashwin

After a quieter start to the game, Ashwin kicked three of his side’s last four goals to firstly keep his side on top, and then be the only one to put through a major late in the game. Ashwin’s first goal after getting forward on the end of a scoring chain occurred in the third term, then took a good mark inside 50 and slotted his second goal from a set shot. Gippsland had all the momentum in the last, but Ashwin found his way into an open goal later in the term and slotted his third to make it three goals from nine touches in an efficient performance.

GWV REBELS 6.10 (46) def. by SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 10.10 (70)

By: Tom Wyman

GWV Rebels:

#1 Sam Butler

Sam Butler played a solid game up forward for the GWV Rebels. The brother of St.Kilda’s Dan, Butler showed flashes of similarities to the Tigers premiership star, such as his quickness off the mark and cleanness at ground level. He pounced on a loose ball to kick an easy goal in the second term after narrowly missing a flying attempt earlier on. Butler pushed up into the midfield on a couple of occasions but looked most dangerous closer to goal.

#2 Ben Hobbs

The hard-nosed inside midfielder produced another strong performance for the Rebels in their defeat to Sandringham. Renowned for his attack on the ball and tough tackling, Hobbs featured prominently around the stoppages, reading the ruck-taps well and positioning himself well. Hobbs’ vision and ball use by hand were also noteworthy strengths of his performance, however his distribution by foot was inconsistent, with some of his kicks missing their targets but others nicely weighted. The highlight of his game was a long-range set-shot from outside-50m which sailed through for arguably the Rebels best goal of the match.

#3 Charlie Molan

Although the Rebels would ultimately succumb to their metro-based counterparts, wingman Charlie Molan produced an excellent performance for the home side. The reliable teenager produced a dominant second term, where he seemed to be in everything going forward for Greater Western Victoria. Arguably the Rebels best on ground, Molan also did some of his best work along the half-back flank, where he used the ball well by foot and linked up well between the arcs.

#8 Josh Gibcus

The key position defender had a decent day down back, without starring. Touted as one of the best key position defenders in the draft pool, Gibcus’ athleticism was clearly evident despite not winning much of the ball. He fought well in one-on-one contests and looked cool and calm with ball in-hand when placed under pressure deep in defence.

#13 Sam Breuer

Midfielder Sam Breuer was prolific all-day long for the Rebels. Attacking each contest hard, Breuer combined well in the middle with the likes of Ben Hobbs and Charlie Molan. He showed a nice turn of pace and looked assured with ball in-hand for the most part, which complemented the hard-nosed, highly-contested approach of Hobbs and the calm skills of Molan. Having spent some time down back this season, it was pleasing to see him find plenty of the ball through the middle against Sandringham.

#16 Kai Lohmann

Lohmann produced an eye-catching performance which is sure to have captured the attention of recruiting staff. Playing across half-forward, Lohmann’s aerial brilliance was stunning at-times, using his impressive leap to fly above packs and haul in a number of contested marks. But not only was Lohmann impressive in the air, once the ball hit the deck, he used his speed and dash to provide some important run and carry on the outside. He tackled well and booted the Rebels lone opening term goal. Lohmann is certainly one to watch in the back-half of the season as he looks to rise up draft boards across the country.

Sandringham Dragons:

#5 Lachlan Benton

Lachlan Benton spent the game going head-to-head with the likes of Hobbs, Breuer and Molan in the midfield, and got better as the game wore on. His work at the stoppages was particularly impressive in his sides win. Benton showed a high level of footy smarts in regards to his positioning and ability to read the taps, then complimented smarts with breakaway acceleration to evade traffic. Benton continued to rack up the touches into the fourth quarter as his side put the foot down, displaying a good work ethic throughout.

#6 Blake Howes

Blake Howes possesses the ability to play a variety of roles across the field, and it was his work on the outside of the contest which stood out on Sunday afternoon. The athletic prospect worked hard around the ground and showed some real class and skill by foot to nail a couple of handy goals. Howes was good above his head and classy on the outside but, crucially, wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty on the inside in a strong display from the Victoria Metro prospect.

#32 Dante Visentini

Visentini was arguably the most dominant key position player on the ground for Sandringham. He shared the ruck role with over-ager Felix Flockart but looked at his best when operating out of the forward-50. For a tall player, Visentini’s attack on the ball at ground level impressed and complimented his aerial ability. He booted back-to-back goals in the middle of the game – the first being a terrific snap after taking the ball out of the ruck and the second being a well-taken set-shot to extend the Dragons lead at Ballarat. Overall, it was an impressive showing from the big man, who worked hard around the ground.

#42 Luke Cleary

It was a typical-Luke Cleary performance from Sandringham’s half-back. He read the game beautifully, getting himself into position quickly and taking a couple of important intercept marks. Cleary was clean below his knees and generated some meaningful drive from defence, hitting almost all of his targets by foot. His efficient ball-use went a long way to the Dragons ability to transition from the backline into the forward-50.

#52 Luke Nankervis

Nankervis has filled a number of roles this season, including across a half-forward flank and on the wing, but spent more time in the midfield against the Rebels. His willingness to take the game on really benefitted the Dragons forwards, who thrived upon the quick ball movement. An athletic mover who looks to have plenty of upside and room for development left in him, Nankervis was impressive one-on-one and had some nice moments in congestion, where his quick hands initiated some meaningful drive from the stoppages.

#53 Eren Soylemez

Small forward Eren Soylemez was a real livewire up forward for the Dragons. His forward craft was immediately evident as he worked his way into some very damaging positions. He had a couple of early attempts on goal, which were gettable by his high standards. However he found his form as the game worn on. In the final term he booted a classy left-foot snap goal to remind everyone of his prowess from just about anywhere inside the forward-50. A real source of energy for the Dragons, Soylemez also pushed up the ground at-times and looked to inject some creativity into the game. Despite a couple of blemishes in-front of goal, Soylemez looked ominous whenever the ball was in his area.

#59 Mitch Owens

St.Kilda’s next generation prospect entered the clash against Greater Western Victoria in strong form, and continued where he left off. Owens spent the game on the wing but also had a couple of important touched in the back half, where he positioned himself well to take a couple of intercept marks, one of which displayed plenty of courage. Liked some of his work around the stoppages as well. A versatile prospect, Owens appears to have plenty of likeable traits which would appeal to recruiters.

#66 Charlie McKay

Carlton fans will have been pleased with the performance of their father/son prospect. His aggression and seemingly relentless attack on the football stood out, as McKay refused to be beaten time and time again at ground level. A real midfield fighter, his battle with Rebel star Ben Hobbs was an enjoyable one, with the duo cracking in hard and winning an abundance of contested ball for the duration of the match. He used the ball slightly better than Hobbs and took a very courageous mark in heavy traffic, which would have pleased onlookers.

#74 Felix Flockart

Felix Flockart showed some very promising signs for the Dragons in their top-of-the-table victory. Although he is a couple of years older than most of the competition, the developing tall looked strong through the ruck and up forward. When given a run on-ball, his tap-work often provided the Dragons on-ballers with first-use. His positioning in the ruck contest was solid and he also looked threatening when moved up forward. He worked well in-tandem with Dante Visentini, with the pair causing some headaches for the Rebels defence.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.8 (56) def. by BENDIGO PIONEERS 12.7 (79)

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights:

#9 Darcy Wilmot

There was plenty of voice coming from Northern’s number nine and while he has plenty of vocal presence, Wilmot also lets his football do the talking. He set up well behind the ball and was able to play slightly above his size when intercepting, not afraid to go up at contest for strong marks. Wilmot began to get more expansive with his run-and-carry after half time, working hard into more advanced areas and even getting a run in midfield, where his speed was again prominent on the attack.

#10 Ben De Bolfo

Bendigo was quite efficient in its forward half which made De Bolfo’s job all the more tough, but he proved a calm head behind the ball for Northern. The top-ager positioned well to intercept and looked to distribute cleanly by foot, making for a pretty well-rounded defensive game. He began to hold a slightly higher line in the second half, but the Knights couldn’t get their final kick forward to work on the back of his solid set-up.

#19 Joel Trudgeon

The Knights skipper was unsurprisingly prolific and near-unbeatable at the contest, racking up 34 disposals, seven marks, and seven tackles. Trudgeon’s mature frame and willingness to get in-and-under meant he earned most of those touches, but was often made to go to ground or lock the ball up as he scrapped to win it. He still managed to stand up in tackles and distribute cleanly by hand, with a few of slips-catch style marks also a feature of his game. Trudgeon rotated forward and kicked a team-lifting goal before quarter time, but missed a couple of later attempts.

#26 Dominic Akuei

For a player with such outstanding and raw athleticism, Akuei has also shown solid defensive fundamentals in recent weeks. The Carlton NGA prospect took on his usual role in the back half and also rotated through the ruck, where his monster vertical leap was on show. Akuei leant on that athleticism to time his spoils and intercepts well in the first half, before taking on more minutes in the ruck after the main break. He looks to still be working on his craft there, and could provide some exciting moments with better directed hits, as he usually taps with momentum and follows up from there.

#28 Joel Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald was thrown around in a few different roles on Sunday, starting out in the midfield-forward rotation before eventually being swung back to his more comfortable defensive post. He put a couple of tough chances wide in the opening term and got amongst the contest, but arguably looked more lively in defence after half time. Fitzgerald read the ball well and rose for repeat intercept grabs, helping Northern break up the play.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Harvey Gallagher

He’s had more prolific games, but Gallagher still managed to wreak some havoc with his 14 disposals and seven inside 50s. The speedy midfielder also booted two goals; the first coming out of nowhere as he burst away and launched home from 50m, while the second was a set shot won from a smart slip of the shoulders and high free kick. Gallagher was a productive driver of the ball and hit a couple of sharp passes going inside 50, making full use of his touches.

#4 Jack Hickman

Another Bendigo midfielder who didn’t win bucketloads of ball but looked stylish in possession, Hickman showcased his turn of speed coming away from the contest and looked busy around the ball – particularly early on. The top-ager back his pace and was able to bring the ball to the outer that way, but struggled a touch at times with his end product. He finished with 14 disposals and seven tackles, also rotating forward.

#7 Ryan O’Keefe

The raw key forward continues to show promising glimpses and did so again on Sunday, contributing 10 disposals, five marks, and two goals. He spent time in all parts of the ground but looked most likely up forward, where he used his leap to mark the ball at its highest point. O’Keefe’s first major came via that exact method, as he got up to mark in front and slotted home from 20m. He clunked another nice overhead grab in the fourth term and snapped home a sealing goal, bookending his day well with those two passages.

#17 Oskar Faulkhead

Usually a smooth moving defender, Faulkhead has spent more time rotating through midfield of late and did so once again on Sunday. He caught the eye when released coming away from the contest, positioning well on the outer while using his speed and agility to break into clear space. He made some good decisions by foot too, looking inboard or hitting targets down the line to end up with 14 disposals, five tackles, and three inside 50s.

#56 Harley Reid

The youngest player afield and the only won born in 2005, Reid again showed just why he is one to keep a keen eye on for the future. Stationed up forward, the under-ager snared three goals for the day – two in the second term and one team-lifter in the last. He proved willing to use his explosive athleticism in the air, attacking the ball hard in marking attempts and almost coming down with some ripper grabs. Reid also nailed a couple of hard tackles and while he may pop up in patches at this stage, is so exciting given his age and upside.

2021 Draft Central NAB League Boys TOTW: Round 15

THE Draft Central NAB League Round 15 Team of the Week (TOTW) has dropped, with 24 of the weekend’s best performed-players featuring in a competitive lineup. Player of the Week nominees Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons) and Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels) take out leadership honours in the 24-man squad, headlining a very even spread of prospects from around the league.

After their fighting Friday night win over Western Jets, the Geelong Falcons boast a round-high four representatives in this side. They fill out most of the spine too, with Oscar Morrison (full back), Olivier Northam (ruck), and Mitch Knevitt (centre) listed in prime positions, while Noah Gadsby comes in at half-forward.

There were plenty of midfielders unlucky to miss out on starting positions too, with the co-captains locks in the follower slots, as Will Bravo, Max Hall, Mitchell Moschetti, and Joel Trudgeon had to settle for spots on the six-man interchange. They couldn’t sneak in on the wings either, with Ethan Warburton and Mitch Owens locking them down.

There’s plenty of rebound on offer in defence, with the starting six not overly tall but combining for 32 rebound 50s in Round 15. Their marking power was also observed, as was the case with Sam Tucker and Sam Paea as the key pillars up forward. In the pocket, 2005-born Bendigo Pioneers product Harley Reid is the lone under-ager to feature this time around, having snared three goals.

Check out the full team below, including three emergencies.

Draft Central NAB League Team of the Week: Round 15

B: Tom Bracher (MB) – Oscar Morrison (GF) – Massimo D’Ambrosio (WJ)
HB: Josh Clarke (ER) – Luke Cleary (SD) – Josh Goater (CC)
C: Ethan Warburton (MB) – Mitch Knevitt (GF) – Mitch Owens (SD)
HF: Noah Gadsby (GF) – Sam Tucker (OC) – Lachlan Benton (SD)
F: Harley Reid (BP) – Sam Paea (CC) – Paul Curtis (WJ)
FOL: Olivier Northam (GF) – Zac Taylor (CC, c) – Marcus Herbert (GWV, vc)

INT: Miller Bergman (DS), Will Bravo (DS), Max Hall (ER), Aiden Hare (BP), Mitchell Moschetti (GP), Joel Trudgeon (NK)

EMG: Jake Arundell (ER), Ben Hobbs (GWV), Lochlan Jenkins (OC)

2021 NAB League Boys snapshot: Round 15

THE NAB League returned for Round 15 this past weekend and while there were no crowds, a bunch of Victoria’s brightest draft prospects put on a show after another season interruption. The action kicked off on Friday night, before five fixtures were played on a super Sunday of junior pathway football. We run you through all the results and big performances in the Round 15 snapshot, stay tuned for Scouting Notes to follow tomorrow evening.

WESTERN JETS 7.7 (49) def. by GEELONG FALCONS 11.13 (79)

IN A SENTENCE:

A four-goal to nil final term saw the Geelong Falcons break a tense deadlock with Western Jets under Friday night lights, coming away 30-point victors.

TEAM STATS:

  • Western Jets won the rebound 50s (49-18) and tackles (72-59)
  • Geelong Falcons won the inside 50s (60-27) and scoring shots (24-14)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Liam Conway (Western Jets) 35 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Massimo D’Ambrosio (Western Jets) 31 disposals, 8 marks, 5 tackles, 10 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Paul Curtis (Western Jets) 21 disposals, 4 marks, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons) 28 disposals, 3 marks, 6 tackles, 6 inside 50s
  • Blake Reid (Geelong Falcons) 23 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Noah Gadsby (Geelong Falcons) 22 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 2 goals, 4 behinds

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons)
4 – Massimo D’Ambrosio (Western Jets)
3 – Noah Gadsby (Geelong Falcons)
2 – Paul Curtis (Western Jets)
1 – Olivier Northam (Geelong Falcons)

NEXT UP:

Western Jets vs. Murray Bushrangers | Sunday August 8, 1:00pm @ Deakin Reserve
Geelong Falcons vs. Dandenong Stingrays | Sunday August 8m 11:00am @ Shepley Oval

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 9.10 (64) def. by EASTERN RANGES 13.13 (91)

IN A SENTENCE:

After a slow start, Eastern Ranges powered past the Dandenong Stingrays with seven goals in term two and superior ball use proving the difference in a 27-point victory.

TEAM STATS:

  • Dandenong Stingrays won the handballs (159-109) and rebound 50s (38-29)
  • Eastern Ranges won the kicks (190-150), marks (87-67), and inside 50s (53-38)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays) 28 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Miller Bergman (Dandenong Stingrays) 23 disposals, 5 marks, 1 tackle, 4 rebound 50s, 2 goals
  • James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays) 21 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s, 3 behinds
  • Josh Clarke (Eastern Ranges) 28 disposals, 11 marks, 2 tackles, 11 rebound 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Jake Soligo (Eastern Ranges) 25 disposals, 10 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Max Hall (Eastern Ranges) 25 disposals, 8 marks, 4 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Josh Clarke (Eastern Ranges)
4 – Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays)
3 – Jake Soligo (Eastern Ranges)
2 – Miller Bergman (Dandenong Stingrays)
1 – Max Hall (Eastern Ranges)

NEXT UP:

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Geelong Falcons | Sunday August 8, 11:00am @ Shepley Oval
Eastern Ranges vs. GWV Rebels | Sunday August 8, 2:00pm @ Box Hill City Oval

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 6.3 (39) def. by CALDER CANNONS 7.7 (49)

IN A SENTENCE:

The Calder Cannons were made to earn a 10-point away win against a plucky Murray Bushrangers outfit, coming out on top in a low-scoring affair.

TEAM STATS:

  • Murray Bushrangers won the inside 50s (38-35) and hit-outs (40-18)
  • Calder Cannons won the marks (123-98) and tackles (63-41)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Ethan Warburton (Murray Bushrangers) 34 disposals, 14 marks, 2 tackles, 8 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Tom Bracher (Murray Bushrangers) 28 disposals, 13 marks, 4 tackles, 4 rebound 50s
  • Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers) 27 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles, 2 rebound 50s
  • Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons) 37 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 4 inside 50s
  • Flynn Gentile (Calder Cannons) 31 disposals, 8 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Josh Goater (Calder Cannons) 28 disposals, 11 marks, 8 rebound 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons)
4 – Ethan Warburton (Murray Bushrangers)
3 – Josh Goater (Calder Cannons)
2 – Tom Bracher (Murray Bushrangers)
1 – Sam Paea (Calder Cannons)

NEXT UP:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Western Jets | Sunday August 8, 1:00pm @ Deakin Reserve
Calder Cannons vs. Tasmania Devils | Saturday August 7, 10:30am @ RAMS Arena

GIPPSLAND POWER 12.9 (81) def. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 9.5 (59)

IN A SENTENCE:

A string of seven final term goals saw Gippsland Power cause a massive boilover on home turf, coming from behind to defeat the Oakleigh Chargers by 22 points.

TEAM STATS:

  • Gippsland Power won the disposals (353-271) and marks (77-57)
  • Oakleigh Chargers won the rebound 50s (40-34) and tackles (67-64)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power) 28 disposals, 3 marks, 9 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Luis D’Angelo (Gippsland Power) 26 disposals, 3 marks, 6 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Chance Doultree (Gippsland Power) 22 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 8 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 2 goals
  • Lochlan Jenkins (Oakleigh Chargers) 25 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Youseph Dib (Oakleigh Chargers) 20 disposals, 1 mark, 10 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Sam Tucker (Oakleigh Chargers) 17 disposals, 9 marks, 1 tackle, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Sam Tucker (Oakleigh Chargers)
4 – Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power)
3 – Max Walton (Gippsland Power)
2 – Lochlan Jenkins (Oakleigh Chargers)
1 – Paddy Cross (Gippsland Power)

NEXT UP:

Gippsland Power vs. Sandringham Dragons | Saturday August 7, 2:00pm @ RSEA Park
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Northern Knights | Saturday August 7, 2:00pm @ Preston City Oval

GWV REBELS 6.10 (46) def. by SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 10.10 (70)

IN A SENTENCE:

The Sandringham Dragons took charge in a top-of-the-table clash against Greater Western Victoria, leading at every break before solidifying a 24-point win.

TEAM STATS:

  • GWV Rebels won the disposals (324-303) and marks (59-57)
  • Sandringham Dragons won the kicks (179-168) and tackles (70-47)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels) 35 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 1 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s
  • Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels) 34 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels) 24 disposals, 5 marks, 1 tackle, 4 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Luke Cleary (Sandringham Dragons) 26 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s
  • Lachlan Benton (Sandringham Dragons) 26 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Blake Howes (Sandringham Dragons) 20 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 2 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Luke Cleary (Sandringham Dragons)
4 – Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)
3 – Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels)
2 – Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels)
1 – Lachlan Benton (Sandringham Dragons)

NEXT UP:

GWV Rebels vs. Eastern Ranges | Sunday August 8, 2:00pm @ Box Hill City Oval
Sandringham Dragons vs. Gippsland Power | Saturday August 7, 2:00pm @ RSEA Park

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.8 (56) def. by BENDIGO PIONEERS 12.7 (79)

IN A SENTENCE:

Bendigo Pioneers had all the answers against the Northern Knights, skipping ahead via five-straight goals in the opening term and leading throughout a 23-point victory.

TEAM STATS:

  • Northern Knights won the marks (55-47)
  • Bendigo Pioneers won the tackles (82-61)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights) 34 disposals, 7 marks, 7 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Joel Fitzgerald (Northern Knights) 28 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 2 behinds
  • Josh Watson (Northern Knights) 23 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Aiden Hare (Bendigo Pioneers) 20 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles, 1 inside 50, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) 14 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers) 12 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Aiden Hare (Bendigo Pioneers)
4 – Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights)
3 – Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers)
2 – Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers)
1 – Darcy Wilmot (Northern Knights)

NEXT UP:

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers | Saturday August 7, 2:00pm @ Preston City Oval
Bendigo Pioneers – Bye.

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 12

WITH Victoria’s most highly touted top-agers recouping on the back of representative action, it was time for bottom-aged prospects to shine in the NAB League. A raft of fresh faces shot on the scene for their respective regions across the six-game weekend, supporting a wealth of usual suspects who continue to perform well. We take a look at some of the top performers from each side in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS | NAB League Round 12 snapshot

CALDER CANNONS 2.2 (14) def. by SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 11.12 (78)

By: Eli Duxson

Calder Cannons:

#8 Paul Pascu

It was the 16-year-old’s third game of the season and arguably his best in the heavy defeat he and his side suffered. Pascu found the footy mostly exiting defensive 50 in which Sandringham provided plenty of opportunities for recording three rebound 50’s. His follow up work was impressive as he continued to try and assist with the link between the arcs, but was missed on multiple occasions when he was free in the corridor with poor kicks. When found, he looked composed with ball in hand and even managed three inside 50s on the day. He worked hard defensively laying eight tackles and looked comfortable in contested situations despite playing against more mature frames.

#26 Matthew Gook

A tough assignment coming up against AFL-listed Max Heath in the ruck, but he provided a contest all day and showed promising signs in open play. At 201cm he looked quite mobile and long which assisted with a couple of nice pick ups below the knees, as well as a nice mark in the second quarter. His decision making was a little on the slow side but there were some positives. In the ruck he got out-bodied by the stronger frames, but he did not stop competing.

Sandringham Dragons:

#1 Harry Sheezel

The Vic Metro Under 17s squad member showed genuine class and composure all game playing mostly out of the forwardline, where he kicked 3.3 from 21 disposals to go with six marks. His first goal came on the run from 40 metres taking advantage from a free kick with the result never in doubt, while his second came from a well-judged mark in the goal square. His third was after earning a free kick for holding the ball where he drilled the set shot. He looked dangerous running back at goal with or without the ball, managing five inside 50s, while his pressure made him look even more so, laying six tackles for the game.

#5 Lachlan Benton

Dominated around the stoppages all game, looking very comfortable in traffic as he accumulated 28 disposals and five inside 50s. He has had a strong season to date, but this performance has typified a solid three-week stretch for Benton as he looks to increase his standard and consistency. Benton’s clearance work was impressive, showing good acceleration into space as well as positional awareness with the dominating ruckmen. He moved well around the ground getting back into defence, as well as hitting contests forward of centre to crumb. An intercept mark and hit inside 50 early in the game set the tone for his day.

#13 Luca Macnab

The dashing rebounding defender was amongst it all game but slowly moved his positioning forward as the game wore on with his side’s ascendency on the play. He and his lovely left boot were streaming off half back early where he showed a good balance of composure and aggression, notably hitting a short target to slow down a frantic play in the second quarter while also penetrating further out of defensive 50 on another occasion. A pair of beautiful hits inside 50 highlighted his ability to deliver forward as his team maintained territory for much of the game. Macnab finished with 25 disposals (season-high), six marks, and six inside 50s.

#52 Luke Nankervis

Playing as a high half-forward for much of the day, Nankervis was often the link player for the Dragons between the arcs using his 189cm frame and his athleticism to provide a threat both in the air and on the ground. He also spent time at stoppages but looked his best in open space in one-on-one situations. He took six marks for the game and his 18 disposals were mostly efficient, showing a propensity for either side of his body. His pressure game as a forward and around stoppages was just as good, laying a whopping 12 tackles despite his side’s control of the game.

#53 Eren Soylemez

Vibrancy for the whole game from Soylemez who maintained his consistency in front of goals with 3.1 from 14 disposals and seven marks. He kicked the first goal of the game marking inside 50 and drilling the set shot. He looked to lead at the ball carrier and often a kick outside the forward 50, using his trusty left boot to deliver inside 50 which he did on three occasions. His second goal came from a contested mark on the behind line which he snapped through truly, while his third was another snap but this time out of nothing, showing a brilliant goal sense. His ground ball gathers were clean and he moved smoothly with ball in hand all game.

#61 Max Heath

It was a super Saturday for St Kilda fans as they watched their side beat AFL premiership contenders Brisbane, while their newly drafted ruckman had a day out and showed why the Saints were eager to secure his services. His ruckwork was dominant as he often held a strong position to direct taps to teammates cleanly, while then also getting after it when the ball hit the deck. His work rate and tank allowed him to get back defensively and mark on multiple occasions. Heath had 21 disposals and 26 hitouts, but it was his two goals and eight marks as a forward that was most exciting. He was able to create space on the lead and marked cleanly overhead at pace.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 12.8 (80) def. by TASMANIA DEVILS 12.9 (81)

By: Eli Duxson

Murray Bushrangers:

#3 Toby Murray

The mobile ruckman showed his versatility in all thirds after a strong second half almost helped propel his side to a memorable comeback win. Probably tied the ruck battle with Tasmania’s Tony Aganas but looked much more likely when play continued showing good speed and agility for his 198cm body. He started the second half with a couple of inside 50s before getting on the end of one of those kicks himself, and kicking a long set shot from 50 metres. Fitting the evolving mould of the mobile and capable ball-using ruckmen, Murray showed all the hallmarks of being a two-way runner and player finishing with 11 disposals, four marks, and 17 hitouts.

#8 Zavier Maher

A competitive beast who went hard at the contest all game, showing a strong ability to tackle effectively while also keeping his balance over the ball through contact. While being threatening without the ball, he was composed in tight and showed a good step. Maher also seemed intent on finding it in open space as well often spreading hard out of stoppages to either get to the fall of the next contest or be an option in the link. He finished with 17 disposals, seven tackles, and three inside 50s.

#51 Brayden George

The Under 17s Vic Country squad member led all comers with goals on the day booting four straight as he did his best to keep the Bushrangers in the contest. His first came from a free kick, drilling the 35-metre set shot, while his next two came back-to-back to start the second half and drag his side back in the game. He is a one-touch player who marks cleanly on hard leads and looks solid underneath the ball. His final goal came over the top in the goal square as he finished with 11 disposals and four marks.

Tasmania Devils:

#7 Will Splann

The focal point of the Devils forward line looked likely all day using his 195cm frame to mark reliably overhead, leading to him kicking a season-high three goals. Two of his goals came after marking on the lead and drilling the set shots, while his third came from a free kick in a marking contest. He is not a high-disposal forward as so few you are in the key position, but he showed he does not need many touches to be effective in front of goal. He took six marks in what was perhaps his most involved game this season.

#12 Jye Menzie

Menzie is also not a high possession winner but is damaging when he does find the ball as a half forward operator. His speed allows him to lose his opponent, especially when his side regains possession and he drifts into space, but his ball use is equally impressive. He lowers his eyes and makes good decisions, favouring to kick more than handball (nine kicks, two handballs). From his 11 disposals he had three shots on goal scoring 2.1 with his first being a lovely snap from the boundary.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.7 (55) def. GEELONG FALCONS 6.11 (47)

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights:

#17 Jackson Bowne

Bowne provided plenty of spark from midfield for the Knights, utilising his speed to exit the contest and bring a rather scrappy game to the outer. He could be seen zipping out of traffic in all areas of the ground, penetrating the arcs a combined 10 times and taking nine marks as he worked to become an easy outlet. The top-ager also booted a goal in the second term and could have had a couple more with more polished finishing, but was quite productive nonetheless.

#19 Joel Trudgeon

Clearly the best player afield, Trudgeon dominated as the biggest and strongest body at each stoppage. He was in the thick of things throughout and brought a hard physical presence, getting his hands dirty to win 35 disposals and lay 15 tackles. The imposing Knights skipper led from the front in a ball winning sense and was able to generate some scores with his disposal on the attack. He contributed at least three direct goal assists with kicks to teammates inside 50, while also adding a major of his own by converting a 50m set shot in the opening term. Trudgeon also rested forward and sought to find more green ball on the weekend, but looked most impactful with his work on the inside.

#23 Anthony Caminiti

The mobile tall forward returned another promising performance in Knights colours, showcasing his class as a leading target. Caminiti did his best work when let off the least further afield, where he would lead as high as the wing and help link Northern into attack. His reach was made more effective by generally clean hands and handy spurts of mobility with ball in hand, while that same pattern of movement allowed for ample separation on the lead. Caminiti couldn’t quite put through a couple of tough set shot chances, but snared a snap goal in the third quarter after marking deep on the behind line.

#28 Joel Fitzgerald

A mainstay in the Knights’ defence, Fitzgerald was relentless in his pursuit to rebound out of the back half with run and a sound kicking game. His actions proved repetitive, but largely effective, as Fitzgerald hit short targets forward of the ball and constantly looked to move the play on quickly. He racked up 27 disposals (20 kicks) and six rebound 50s, while also displaying a solid marking game as he floated across to clunk a couple of intercepts among his eight overall grabs. With plenty of work to do, the 17-year-old stood tall.

Geelong Falcons:

#1 Will Baker

The crafty bottom-aged forward displayed some of his best traits on Saturday, popping up with little bursts of brilliance in the front half. While quite small at 176cm, Baker proved his toughness and won a bit of his own ball, either spinning out of trouble or leaning on his speed and agility to come away from congestion cleanly. He was able to roam further afield as the game wore on, finishing with 13 disposals to go with his second term goal.

#4 Gennaro Bove

Leading from the front, Bove took his extended midfield opportunity with both hands and was arguably Geelong’s best player on the day. He finished with a team-high 23 disposals along with five marks and six tackles, with three wayward behinds the only thing stopping his very good game from being a massive one. Starting on-ball, he showed typically clean hands and skills in-tight, before finding more possessions in space around the ground. He seemed to lift in the final term when Geelong needed a spark, but his valiant efforts at the source fell just short.

#11 Cooper Whyte

While it was a relatively quiet day by Whyte’s recent standards, he still managed to be a positive forward mover from midfield for the Falcons. Among his 13 disposals, the 18-year-old pumped forward seven inside 50s and looked his best when breaking into attack with speed – particularly in the first half. Whyte also showed good courage on a few seperate occasions; leaping up in the face of oncoming contact to spoil and mark in the corridor, allowing the Falcons to turn the ball over and manufacture bonus chances on goal.

WESTERN JETS 14.11 (95) def. BENDIGO PIONEERS 10.7 (67)

By: Michael Alvaro

Western Jets:

#6 Matthew Payne

The diminutive Western forward was really lively in exciting bursts, bringing his pace to the fore on the ball. He snared a nice goal in the opening term after attacking an aerial ball, before recovering first and snapping home the six points. He added two more in the second half, again showing good smarts and quick reactions to take his chances. Payne also broke the game open with a couple of chaining passages, burning forward and looking to get the ball back after dishing off.

#18 Nash Reynolds

A constant presence in midfield for Western, Reynolds looked to push his side forward with intent. He showed a nice step in traffic but was not afraid to cop contact when required, helping set the tone for his side at the source. Reynolds did not quite find the goals himself but provided that opportunity for others, including in the fourth term when he side-stepped the man on the mark and kicked long for Payne to crumb and finish.

#35 Liam Conway

Conway was mega for Western once again, seemingly popping up everywhere at times and boasting the statline to match that notion with 32 disposals, nine marks, and nine inside 50s. When he wasn’t bustling the ball forward at stoppages, Conway positioned well to mark around the ground and was quite clean in his handling. The top-ager’s ball winning ability is proven, with this his third 30-plus disposal effort for the season.

#50 Paul Tsapatolis

This was potentially Tsapatolis’ best outing yet, with the Geelong-listed ruckman able to showcase his ruck craft and improving work on the follow-up. At the centre bounces, he looked to tap to advantage instead of just hitting the ball, finding his rovers with some deft touches early on. He also fared well with a couple of strong grabs around the ground, while also getting low to make an impact at ground level and bombing forward a few clearances. He also managed a snap goal among his 21 disposals, and won 41 hitouts.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Harvey Gallagher

Usually a productive line-breaker rotating forward from midfield, Gallagher was made to step up and become a more permanent fixture of Bendigo’s engine room. The pacey Pioneer ended the day as his side’s most prolific ball winner, notching 27 disposals and penetrating either arc a combined nine times. In a different style than usual, Gallagher won more ball in-close – rather than being released on the outer himself where his speed shines. He was still effective in those instances, using the ball well by foot heading inside 50.

#11 Cobi Maxted

In a monster effort, Maxted showcased every bit of his versatility on Sunday in a dynamic display. The Pioneers utility started at the centre bounces, but tended to shift forward in general play and got busy in both departments to finish with 25 disposals, nine marks and four goals. The top-ager used his big frame around the ball to stand up in and break tackles before disposing, but he looked arguably more damaging on hard forward spreads. Maxted snuck inside 50 for two goals during the first half, and provided a more permanent marking option there after the main break. His clean hands and strong presentation were key features during that time, and Maxted capped his day with another couple of majors in the fourth quarter.

#17 Oskar Faulkhead

The smooth-moving defender had a few quiet patches, but looked like opening up the game with his run-and-carry out of the backline at times. He looked stylish in possession and timed his runs well to be released on the outer, sending Bendigo forward in transition with his foot skills and willingness to take on opponents. Faulkhead also got a run in midfield during the fourth quarter.

#29 Cooper Smith

Smith was another of Bendigo’s positive forward movers, as he constantly looked to weaponise his kicks and carry the ball towards goal with intent. The top-ager broke tackles, made repeat running efforts and hit targets in the front half, operating nicely on the outer and pushing into advanced areas. He dropped back a touch more in the second half, helping distribute out of defence and doing some of the tough stuff when called upon.

GIPPSLAND POWER 7.6 (48) def. by EASTERN RANGES 11.12 (78)

By: Michael Alvaro

Gippsland Power:

#6 Mitchell Moschetti

Gippsland’s best player on the day, Moschetti again looked his side’s most polished player in possession. The classy left-footer showed good poise on the ball and worked it into space before delivering sharp kicks forward. As the game wore on, he began to manufacture more time and space, linking play on the outer and generating valuable momentum as Gippsland attacked. Moschetti ended with a game-high 30 disposals and five marks from midfield, including a couple of handy goal assists.

#9 Will Papley

In his usual midfield-forward rotation, Papley was a productive and versatile member of the Gippsland set-up. He started at the centre bounces and used his burst of speed to break forward, often getting to the front of the stoppage and streaming inside forward 50. When stationed forward, he initially presented as a lead-up kind of option in a role which defied his size, before getting busy closer to goal with that typical mix of speed and smarts. Papley got on the board early, smothering on the mark before finishing beautifully from range, while adding a second major in the third term with a snap from the pocket.

#28 Zane Duursma

The 2005-born prospect already looks comfortable alongside players as many as four years his senior, and proved as much with some time in the midfield on Sunday. Duursma started brightly but missed a 45m set shot in the opening term, before getting back into the game with some handy work in term three. He displayed good courage to protect the drop zone under a high ball and mark inside 50, before converting a classy snap goal and going on to show sharp skills when running through midfield.

Eastern Ranges:

#3 Jake Arundell

Arundell was at his crafty best on Sunday, stationed forward and contributing plenty both inside 50 and up the ground. He consistently showed high level smarts and evasion, while a zippy turn of speed saw him gain considerable separation on the lead time and time again. The diminutive top-ager worked beautifully in tandem with under-ager Nick Watson, as the two found each other inside 50 on multiple occasions. Arundell snared three goals from five scoring shots, while also twice turning provider in a balanced effort, where he brought others into the game and was a constant threat in the front half. No Gippsland defender could go with him.

#8 Nick Watson

The other half of Eastern’s dangerous small forward pairing, Watson also went about getting busy both up the ground and closer to goal. After missing a couple of chances in the first term, Watson straightened up to convert two majors in the following period and all three of his goals for the day came via set shots. The 2005-born talent defied his size as a viable leading option, leaning on his high footy IQ to also get to handy spots when the ball hit the deck. Watson fulfilled his usual small forward duties with smothering pressure acts and tackling efforts, making for a well-rounded performance.

#35 Max Hall

With some of Eastern’s prime midfield movers unavailable in recent weeks, Hall has consistently stood up as a reliable inside ball winner. He had no trouble finding the ball at the coalface, digging in and proving strong over the ground ball before looking to bullock his way out of tackles. While he tended to bomb kick out of the contest, Hall showed he could lower his eyes when afforded more time and even put through a well-hit set shot in the first quarter. Away from the stoppages, the top-ager worked hard around the ground and his final statline of 29 disposals, nine marks, and nine inside 50s was exemplary of that.

#58 Kai Windsor

Windsor showed plenty during his stint in the Vic Metro Under 17 squad, and carried his form back into the NAB League on Sunday. Playing mostly in the forward half before shifting into the midfield, Windsor was an apt carrier of the ball forward and seemed to enjoy operating in time and space. The bottom-ager was also able to show his skills at time, including on one instance in the second quarter where he provided a goal assist for Arundell as he streamed forward.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 8.8 (56) def. by OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 15.7 (97)

By: Declan Reeve

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Josiah Kyle

The St Kilda NGA prospect yet again displayed some eye-catching athletic traits throughout the contest, where he was, at times, played as the deepest forward target for the Stingrays. He looked at his most dangerous when he was able to run onto a free ball, with his pace and clean pick ups from ground level giving him the tools to make the most of those opportunities and keep the ball going quickly, with one moment in the first quarter highlighting this best when he got free, side stepped an opponent and pinpointed a kick inside 50 where his teammate didn’t have to move to hold onto the mark. Ended the day with one goal, where he ran onto a kick over the top of his head and snapped the goal whilst being brought to ground. Despite what the stat sheet may say, he created plenty of scoring opportunities for Dandenong with his plays in the forward half causing headaches for the Chargers defence.

#4 Jaxon Binns

The Under 17 Vic Country representative demonstrated exactly why he was selected in that side in his NAB League debut, looking like Dandenong’s best player early on, showing off high work rate and running capacity on the wing. Was far more inclined to kick than handball when he was disposing of the ball, where he regularly got good penetration and showed good technique with his kicking but sometimes lacked the accuracy to make it truly damaging. Positioned well to get the releasing handball from inside winners, able to beat most opponents in one-on-ones foot races. Kicked an impressive goal in the first, winning the ball off the ground in the forward pocket and snapping it through in the first. Unfortunately had his day cut short after suffering a suspected knee injury. 

#35 Finn Jakstas

Looking composed with ball in and well positioned in the defensive half, Jakstas did some underrated one-percenter acts throughout the game that either stopped certain Oakleigh goals or got Dandenong the upper hand in moving the footy. Whether it was tapping the ball in front of a running teammate, laying a smother in the middle of the ground or spoiling a ball in a two-on-one, he was able to impact plays well to win them for Dandenong. Looked strong overhead as well in the defensive 50, following up with clean ball use to teammates. 

#42 James Cahill

Playing essentially exclusively as a rover for the game, Cahill looked particularly good when collecting the ball off the ground, looking clean even when under pressure. Fed well to receivers via hand when the option was there, never just throwing the ball onto his hand or foot if there wasn’t a teammate ready to get it. Worked hard to follow up and get the ball back as well when he could, with one moment in the first quarter demonstrating this best, inside defensive 50 where he handballed to a teammate, got it back, handed it off again, then got it back and kicked long to a leading teammate. He was composed through most of the game, having moments where he just picked out an option through congestion that not many would’ve found, or had the confidence to try and take. His ability to spread from a contest or stoppage was also a highlight, able to burst away from these situations and spot up teammates to get Dandenong moving forward. 

 #47 Henry Hustwaite

Another Under 17s Vic Country representative, Hustwaite was stationed mostly on the wing, where he showed composure with ball in hand, even when caught in congested spots under pressure. His quick hands in close were on full display, keeping his hands free and firing them out to release runners from behind, or pinpointing a handball through traffic to teammate closer to the forward 50. Didn’t kick often but was composed and kicked with purpose when he chose to, finding targets laterally who were able to take space. 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#7 Blake Drury 

In his first outing for Oakleigh at Under 19s level, Drury took no time at all to get involved and show why he was selected for the Vic Metro U17s side, winning plenty of ball around the midfield and forward half, using it well by hand to get the ball to teammates in better spots. Showed plenty of confidence with his movement with ball in hand, never biting off more than he could chew, but always willing to run the ball forward and get around opponents before getting rid of the ball. What was particularly impressive to see from his Under 17s Metro performances, was how much better his kicking looked at this level, regularly putting it in front of teammates inside 50 to run onto, and taking wider options when nothing presented up the line.

#17 Braden Andrews

The AFL Academy member was thrown about positionally again, spending time in all thirds of the ground and showing promise in each spot. In the first three quarters he split his time down back and through the midfield mostly, with his work around stoppages the highlight, picking up the ball from below his knees cleanly and firing out quick hands on the up as teammates moved for him. He looked composed with his kicking when given time in space to compose himself. When moved into the forwardline he got himself two goals in the final quarter, the first of which came from smart positioning in a marking contest, able to run onto the ball as it went over the top and kicking it straight through from the goal square. His second came after receiving a handball from a teammate he was running alongside going into 50 and slotting it from about 25 out. He paid this back later, after giving off a shot on goal despite being in range.

#33 Patrick Voss 

Continuing his impressive run of form in the backline, Voss looked more convincing, providing run from behind than he previously has, not afraid to take opponents on coming out of the defensive 50. This was highlighted best when he went for a run from the back 50 mark, taking two bounces along the way, as well as a give and go, then stiff arming an opponent and kicking the ball inside 50 to finish it off. That stiff arm wasn’t his only show of physicality, continuing his strong tackling that often rattled opponents whilst still being fair. He got himself a lot of marks by being a switch option in the back line, with Oakleigh looking to switch when it was on, but also got a couple of intercept marks showing his strength to push opponents out of the contest, with one being a good sign of courage, running 20 meters to mark a ball that was hacked out of a centre stoppage, with incoming front on pressure. Kicking was good with time to compose himself, but is a general area of improvement.

#57 George Wardlaw

With arguably the highest profile of any of the debutants from this game, the Under 17s Vic Metro representative was dominant from beginning to end with his inside game a clear standout across both sides. Regularly getting first possession around stoppages, Wardlaw commanded more and more attention around stoppages as the game went on to negate his effect from the midfield, where if given the slightest amount of space he’d get a handball away, having a few moments where he fired a pinpoint pass through congestion and past two or three opponents to release a runner on the other side of the contest. Managed to get good spread from stoppages when he was right in the thick of it, able to stay balanced and on his feet when copping contact, still managing to get the ball to a teammate. Wardlaw drew in some free kicks for high contact with how low he gets when picking the ball up and how fast he tries to straighten up. 

#79 Jack O’Sullivan

O’Sullivan was yet another Oakleigh debutant, and a Vic Country Under 17s representative over the past two weeks. He showed himself to be a damaging pressure forward. Collected ground balls at speed well, following up with damaging ball use even if he didn’t have clear vision, putting the ball in danger spots in front of goal if he was under pressure. Looked dangerous with his leading, not always sticking marks but getting his hands to the ball. Ended the game with two goals and two behinds, although he set up a couple of goals that he could have easily gotten, showing a sense of selfless in his game and want to get teammates involved.

Image Credit: Cameron Grimes/AFL Photos

2021 Draft Central NAB League Boys TOTW: Round 12

THE Draft Central NAB League Round 11 Team of the Week (TOTW) has dropped, with 24 of the weekend’s best performed-players featuring in a competitive lineup. Player of the Week nominees Cobi Maxted (Bendigo Pioneers) and Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights) take out leadership honours in the 24-man squad, headlining a very even spread of prospects from around the league.

Trudgeon’s Knights, who beat Geelong on Saturday join the Western Jets and Eastern Ranges as winning teams with three TOTW representatives, while Sandringham Dragons have four after their dominant win over Calder Cannons. Each region has contributed at least one player, with standouts from each fixture just about picking themselves this week.

There are two AFL-listed players in the squad, with Western and Geelong ruck Paul Tsapatolis starting at the centre bounces, while St Kilda-listed bigman Max Heath was a lock at full forward. Both were imposing in their respective victories, and help make up quite a solid spine.

It was a good week for small forwards, with Eastern Ranges small Jake Arundell pushed up to the wing to accomodate a raft of well-performed flankers and pocketmen. 2005-born teammate Nick Watson is among them, as well as bottom-agers Brayden George, Harry Sheezel, and Blake Drury. The former two combined for seven majors in Round 12, while Drury was a standout rotating from midfield alongside fellow debutant George Wardlaw, who takes his place on the bench.

James Cahill has also been squeezed out to the wing despite playing on the inside, with Western’s Liam Conway and Sandringham’s Charlie McKay taking up starting spots alongside Trudgeon. The likes of Gennaro Bove, Max Hall, and Mitchell Moschetti could all have snuck into those spots having returned solid performances.

There are a few mainstays back once more too, mostly in defence, with Henry Berenger, Zach Morris, and Joel Fitzgerald all retaining their places in the starting back six. Conway, Hall, and Heath are others to feature for a second week running.

Check out the full team below:

Draft Central NAB League Team of the Week: Round 12

B: Tom Bracher (MB), Zach Morris (TD), Tyler McGinnis (TD)
HB: Joel Fitzgerald (NK), Henry Berenger (DS), Luca Macnab (SD)
C: Jake Arundell (ER), Joel Trudgeon (NK, vc), James Cahill (DS)
HF: Blake Drury (OC), Cobi Maxted (BP, c), Nick Watson (ER)
F: Harry Sheezel (SD), Max Heath (SD), Brayden George (MB)
FOL: Paul Tsapatolis (WJ), Liam Conway (WJ), Charlie McKay (SD)

INT: Gennaro Bove (GF), Max Hall (ER), Mitchell Moschetti (GP), Paul Pascu (CC), Nash Reynolds (WJ), George Wardlaw (OC)

EMG: Sam Banks (TD), Lachlan Benton (SD), Eren Soylemez (SD)

2021 NAB League Boys snapshot: Round 12

WITH many of Victoria’s best top-agers running out for Vic Country and Vic Metro during last week’s Under 19 National Championships fixture, Round 12 of the NAB League provided bottom-agers the chance to shine, with many coming off their own representative honours. There were a couple of close games among the weekend’s offering, including a one-point thriller, but some dominant second half showings saw most margins exceed the five-goal mark. We run you through all the results and big performances in the Round 12 snapshot, stay tuned for Scouting Notes to follow tomorrow evening.

CALDER CANNONS 2.2 (14) def. by SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 11.12 (78)

IN A SENTENCE:

A stingy Sandringham Dragons outfit kept the Calder Cannons to just two goals, both after half time, while managing 11 of their own to win by 64 points at RAMS Arena.

TEAM STATS:

  • Calder Cannons won the rebound 50s (39-21)
  • Sandringham Dragons won the disposals (341-271), marks (78-48), inside 50s (51-24), and hitouts (44-16)
  • The tackles were even at 68-apiece

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Flynn Gentile (Calder Cannons) 28 disposals, 1 mark, 2 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Paul Pascu (Calder Cannons) 20 disposals, 3 marks, 8 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Flynn Lakey (Calder Cannons) 20 disposals, 2 marks, 7 tackles, 1 inside 50, 3 rebound 50s
  • Charlie McKay (Sandringham Dragons) 26 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Max Heath (Sandringham Dragons) 21 disposals, 8 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 26 hitouts, 2 goals
  • Harry Sheezel (Sandringham Dragons) 21 disposals, 6 marks, 6 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Max Heath (Sandringham Dragons)
4 – Harry Sheezel (Sandringham Dragons)
3 – Charlie McKay (Sandringham Dragons)
2 – Lachlan Benton (Sandringham Dragons)
1 – Paul Pascu (Calder Cannons)

NEXT UP:

Calder Cannons vs. Eastern Ranges | Saturday July 17, 11:00am @ RAMS Arena
Sandringham Dragons vs. Northern Knights | Saturday July 17, 2:00pm @ Preston City Oval

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 12.8 (80) def. by TASMANIA DEVILS 12.9 (81)

IN A SENTENCE:

A four-goal flurry in the final 10 minutes was not enough to see Murray Bushrangers pull off a miracle comeback against Tasmania, with the Devils holding firm to win by a single point on neutral territory.

TEAM STATS:

  • Murray Bushrangers won the kicks (196-190), rebound 50s (30-26), and marks (92-91)
  • Tasmania Devils won the handballs (125-116), inside 50s (42-38), and tackles (66-42)
  • The hitouts were even at 29-apiece

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Tom Bracher (Murray Bushrangers) 31 disposals, 7 marks, 2 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s
  • Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers) 17 disposals, 4 marks, 7 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Brayden George (Murray Bushrangers) 11 disposals, 4 marks, 1 tackle, 4 goals
  • Baynen Lowe (Tasmania Devils) 29 disposals, 8 marks, 2 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Tyler McGinnis (Tasmania Devils) 24 disposals, 7 marks, 3 tackles, 1 inside 50, 4 rebound 50s
  • Sam Banks (Tasmania Devils) 17 disposals, 3 marks, 1 tackle, 1 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Tyler McGinnis (Tasmania Devils)
4 – Zach Morris (Tasmania Devils)
3 – Tom Bracher (Murray Bushrangers)
2 – Brayden George (Murray Bushrangers)
1 – Sam Banks (Tasmania Devils)

NEXT UP:

Murray Bushrangers – Bye
Tasmania Devils vs. Geelong Falcons | Sunday July 18, 1:30pm @ Avalon Airport Oval

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.7 (55) def. GEELONG FALCONS 6.11 (47)

IN A SENTENCE:

Northern Knights wrestled momentum in the second half with four goals to one, helping defeat the Geelong Falcons by eight points in a scrappy affair at Preston City Oval.

TEAM STATS:

  • Northern Knights won the disposals (296-257), rebound 50s (28-26), marks (73-62), and tackles (71-66)
  • Geelong Falcons won the inside 50s (36-34) and scoring shots (17-15)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights) 35 disposals, 6 marks, 15 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Joel Fitzgerald (Northern Knights) 27 disposals, 8 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 6 rebound 50s
  • Jackson Bowne (Northern Knights) 21 disposals, 9 marks, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Gennaro Bove (Geelong Falcons) 23 disposals, 5 marks, 6 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s, 3 behinds
  • Cooper Whyte (Geelong Falcons) 13 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 7 inside 50s
  • Tom Gillett (Geelong Falcons) 12 disposals, 5 marks, 1 inside 50, 1 goal, 3 behinds

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights)
4 – Jackson Bowne (Northern Knights)
3 – Gennaro Bove (Geelong Falcons)
2 – Joel Fitzgerald (Northern Knights)
1 – Tom Gillett (Geelong Falcons)

NEXT UP:

Northern Knights vs. Sandringham Dragons | Saturday July 17, 2:00pm @ Preston City Oval
Geelong Falcons vs. Tasmania Devils | Sunday July 18, 1:30pm @ Avalon Airport Oval

WESTERN JETS 14.11 (95) def. BENDIGO PIONEERS 10.7 (67)

IN A SENTENCE:

A six-goal to nil third term was the difference as Western Jets overcame a half time deficit to beat Bendigo Pioneers by 28 points, overrunning the country region in style.

TEAM STATS:

  • Western Jets won the kicks (191-159), inside 50s (53-45), marks (64-55), and hitouts (49-17)
  • Bendigo Pioneers won the rebound 50s (38-34)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Liam Conway (Western Jets) 32 disposals, 9 marks, 5 tackles, 9 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Paul Tsapatolis (Western Jets) 21 disposals, 4 marks, 1 tackle, 4 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 41 hitouts, 1 goal
  • Nash Reynolds (Western Jets) 21 disposals, 2 marks, 8 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Cobi Maxted (Bendigo Pioneers) 25 disposals, 9 marks, 5 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 4 goals
  • Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) 27 disposals, 2 marks, 6 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s
  • Cooper Smith (Bendigo Pioneers) 6 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Cobi Maxted (Bendigo Pioneers)
4 – Liam Conway (Western Jets)
3 – Nash Reynolds (Western Jets)
2 – Paul Tsapatolis (Western Jets)
1 – Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers)

NEXT UP:

Western Jets vs. Oakleigh Chargers | Saturday July 17, 12:00pm @ Warrawee Park
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power | Saturday July 17, 2:00pm @ Shepley Oval

GIPPSLAND POWER 7.6 (48) def. by EASTERN RANGES 11.12 (78)

IN A SENTENCE:

Eastern Ranges made it three-straight wins on Saturday, leading at every break and kicking away late to beat a competitive Gippsland Power side by 30 points on the road.

TEAM STATS:

  • Gippsland Power won the handballs (151-125) and rebound 50s (33-23)
  • Eastern Ranges won the kicks (193-145), inside 50s (50-30), and marks (93-71)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power) 30 disposals, 5 marks, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Cooper Alger (Gippsland Power) 21 disposals, 4 marks, 1 inside 50, 1 rebound 50
  • Will Papley (Gippsland Power) 13 disposals, 5 marks, 2 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Max Hall (Eastern Ranges) 29 disposals, 9 marks, 6 tackles, 9 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Jake Arundell (Eastern Ranges) 23 disposals, 9 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 3 goals
  • Nick Watson (Eastern Ranges) 15 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Max Hall (Eastern Ranges)
4 – Jake Arundell (Eastern Ranges)
3 – Nick Watson (Eastern Ranges)
2 – Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power)
1 – Will Papley (Gippsland Power)

NEXT UP:

Gippsland Power vs. Bendigo Pioneers | Saturday July 17, 2:00pm @ Shepley Oval
Eastern Ranges vs. Calder Cannons | Saturday July 17, 11:00am @ RAMS Arena

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 8.8 (56) def. by OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 15.7 (97)

IN A SENTENCE:

An injection of gun bottom-agers helped Oakleigh overturn a narrow half time deficit, piling on 10 goals thereafter to defeat the Dandenong Stingrays by 41 points.

TEAM STATS:

  • Dandenong Stingrays won the rebound 50s (27-23)
  • Oakleigh Chargers won the kicks (183-163), inside 50s (43-33), marks (64-59), and hitouts (42-24)
  • The handballs (121-apiece) and tackles (60-apiece) were even

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Declan Cole (Dandenong Stingrays) 25 disposals, 3 marks, 9 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays) 23 disposals, 5 marks, 2 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Henry Berenger (Dandenong Stingrays) 14 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 5 rebound 50s
  • Henry Brown (Oakleigh Chargers) 26 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s
  • Blake Drury (Oakleigh Chargers) 21 disposals, 5 marks, 1 tackle, 6 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • George Wardlaw (Oakleigh Chargers) 19 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – George Wardlaw (Oakleigh Chargers)
4 – Blake Drury (Oakleigh Chargers)
3 – James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays)
2 – Jack O’Sullivan (Oakleigh Chargers)
1 – Henry Brown (Oakleigh Chargers)

NEXT UP:

Dandenong Stingrays vs. GWV Rebels | Saturday July 17, 11:30am @ Shepley Oval
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets | Saturday July 17, 12:00pm @ Warrawee Park

Image Credit: Cameron Grimes/AFL Photos

Young Guns: 2021 VFL Round 12

A BUNCH of the nation’s most promising Under 19 prospects continues to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL), including a raft of top-ups and academy talents. Many have already made their state league debuts, with more to come and a handful sighted this past weekend. We take a look at how the prominent 19th-year players performed as they hit the senior football grade.

Bendigo Pioneers pair Sam Conforti and Jack Hickman returned the Essendon VFL setup, as the Bombers found the going tough against a rampant Geelong side. The nippy small midfielders both got their hands on the ball, with Conforti ticking up to 18 disposals in his sixth outing to bring his season average up to 17.3. Hickman found it 12 times, making for a solid fourth outing at the level.

A strong bunch of top-up players ran out for Gold Coast in the Suns’ loss to Box Hill, taken from four different NAB League regions. Geelong supplied top-agers Lachlan Kidd (16 disposals, seven marks), Blake Reid (nine disposals, four marks), and Noah Gadsby (nine disposals), who fared well given the Hawks’ dominance. Oakleigh Chargers midfielder Giorgio Varagiannis booted a major from his 10 touches, as Dandenong Stingrays utility Bryce Milford also found the goals. Talls Felix Flockart and Henry Walsh also got a run, combining for 11 hit-outs. Walsh is the 203cm brother of Carlton midfielder, Sam and has been playing local football at St Joseph’s.

Sydney was another reserves side to send out plenty of top-ups, with eight NAB Leaguers from six separate regions taking the field in their loss to Frankston. West Australian Logan Young was the pick of the bunch with 21 disposals, five marks and a goal, while Calder Cannons top-ager Sam Clohesy (18 disposals, six marks, five tackles) was also productive on debut. Clohesy was recently signed by Coburg, but got clearance to fill in for this clash.

Geelong Falcons products Sam Witherden, Gennaro Bove, and Kyle Skene each got a run in their second outings, while fellow country talents Cobi Maxted (Bendigo) and Fraser Marris (Greater Western Victoria) were also called up. Eastern Ranges skipper Josh Clarke ramped up his return from injury with the Swans, making the step up to senior football after two consecutive NAB League outings.

Greater Western Sydney brought in a few of its academy hopefuls to take on, and beat, Casey Demons by a single point. All half-dozen of them had 10 disposals or less, topped by midfielder Maximus Monaghan. Fraser Kelly was productive with two goals from his eight touches, while Harrison Grintell also found the big sticks. AFL Academy member Josh Fahey returned to the fold steadily with seven disposals, as defender Sam Frost got his hands dirty with an equal number of tackles, and Luke Fellows rounded out the cohort.

A couple of powerhouse aligned clubs called upon top-aged guns, with Carlton retaining Joel Trudgeon (eight disposals, four tackles) and Richmond giving a late call-up to Will Bravo (eight disposals, three tackles) as both sides suffered losses. Sandringham co-captain Darby Hipwell also turned out in the VFL once more, snaring a goal from his 12 disposals against Collingwood.

Ewan Macpherson was another to enjoy his extended run at the level, upping his output to gather 17 disposals and four marks for the Western Bulldogs. Fellow club-tied prospect Cody Raak also donned the red, white and blue for a third time. Gippsland Power ball winner Chance Doultree was also busy with 15 touches and six marks on debut, while North Melbourne was serviced well by its own debutant in Western Jets product Sam Clifford (11 disposals, seven marks).

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

Young Guns: 2021 VFL Round 11

WHILE a bunch of draft eligible prospects earned representative honours on the weekend, some of Victoria’s most promising Under 19 talent continues to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL). A raft of top-age talents have already made their state league debuts, with more to come, while members of all four Northern Academies also get some run in their legs. We take a look at how the prominent 19th-year players performed as they hit the senior football grade.

>> Scouting Notes: Victorian U19 trials

A pair of Northern Knights prospects unlucky to miss out on Vic Metro honours made good of the weekend with promising VFL stints, proving they can adjust to the senior level. Knights co-captain Joel Trudgeon managed 13 disposals, 10 tackles, and two clearances on debut for Carlton, while fellow top-ager Ewan Macpherson returned to the Footscray side and booted two goals from his 11 touches and five marks. The latter is quite used to donning the red, white and blue by now, as another Bulldogs father-son hopeful.

Sandringham Dragons co-captain Darby Hipwell also slotted back into the state league system with the Zebras, after spending his bye week back in the NAB League. The midfielder finished with 12 disposals, two tackles, four clearances, and two inside 50s in his side’s terrific upset win over Richmond.

Most of the NAB League and Academy prospects to get a VFL gig were sighted in Sunday’s Sydney derby, with Greater Western Sydney (GWS) and the Sydney Swans fielding a whopping 16 top-up players between them. The Giants had five, all of whom had their moments in the 38-point win.

Geelong Falcons product Lachlan Kidd notched 16 disposals and three inside 50s, while Murray Bushrangers trio Kade Chalcraft (14 disposals, three clearances, five inside 50s), Thomas Panuccio (13 disposals, three marks), and Cameron McLeod (seven disposals) all productive. Academy talent and Allies squad member Harrison Grintell also got a run, kicking a goal from his nine touches.

Sydney blooded 11 top-up players from four different NAB League regions, with nine of them making their debuts. Cooper Smith (10 disposals, four marks, three tackles) and Logan Young (six disposals, four tackles) had previously turned out for North Melbourne, but swapped their colours for this clash. Smith was reunited with Bendigo Pioneers teammates Finn Ellis-Castle (seven disposals, three marks, 0.2), Ryan O’Keefe (six disposals) and Cobi Maxted (one goal), who all lined up against former Pio, Will Shaw.

There were four Geelong Falcons afield, in Kyle Skene (10 disposals, five tackles), Gennaro Bove (nine disposals, three marks), Sam Witherden (eight disposals, three tackles) and Will Kilpatrick (four disposals, two tackles). Bove is a leader among the Falcons group, while Witherden is the brother of West Coast’s Alex and Kilpatrick is a Geelong Cats father-son hopeful (son of Glenn).

Rounding out the selection was a pair of Greater Western Victoria (GWV) talents, with top-ager Fraser Marris crossing from the Geelong VFL program to snare a goal from eight touches, while 17-year-old Isaac Lovison had it nine times and laid three tackles in his first taste of state league football.

Image Credit: Mike Owen/AFL Photos

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 9

METRO regions returned to the NAB League in Round 9 as full-time competition resuming, with seven games played on a bumper weekend of action. It meant plenty of Victorian, Tasmanian, and Giants Academy prospects were able to show their wares ahead of the Under 17 and 19 National Championships, with a good amount of budding representatives strutting their stuff in style. We take a look at some of the top performers from each side, in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS | NAB League Round 9 snapshot

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 7.10 (52) def. by NORTHERN KNIGHTS 14.10 (94)

By: Declan Reeve

Oakleigh Chargers:

#3 Nick Daicos

Once again topping the disposal count for the game, Daicos took some time to work into the contest, looking uncharacteristically rushed with his disposal early as Northern burst out of the blocks. When he found his feet later on in the first quarter he returned to his usual classy self, with his ball use, particularly by foot, damaging offensively as he looked to put it into space for his forwards to run onto. He would also handball to teammates already on the fly, keeping Oakleigh moving quickly forward. He continued on with his top level positioning around the midfield, especially at stoppages, to be a constant danger once he had figured out how to play on his opponent – regularly Northern’s Josh Ward.

#14 Sam Darcy

The rapidly rising Western Bulldogs father-son prospect further solidified his claims to the best key position prospect in the pool, with a strong display where he was put into a few different spots. Starting the day in the defensive 50, Darcy looked clean throughout, showing off some clean pick-ups below his knees early on where he followed up with good use by foot, usually into central spots to keep the ground open for Oakleigh up ahead. In the second quarter he seemingly couldn’t drop anything, holding onto the ball overhead even when there was heavy contact, or in pack situations. It was impressive to see his confidence to take the game on following his marks, happy to play on and get past or around opponents to get extra distance and penetration on his kicks. He played a little more in the ruck in the third term where his height was too much to deal with for Northern, directing the ball well from the taps clear from his opposition ruck. In the forwardline, he presented well even with a heavy lockdown focus from the opposition, getting himself a goal in the fourth term.

#33 Patrick Voss

Having less time away than most on ground due to his games for the Giants Academy, Voss looked one of the most up to the task on field, switching from his usual forward role into the defensive half, which paid off wonderfully. He was a threat aerially and generally used the ball well coming out of defence, but what was most impressive was his physicality and confidence with his tackling and carry of the ball. He performed two really good fend-offs in the second quarter, where he had the ball and put his opponents to ground, with the second one being followed by a good run forward and a torpedo kick to a pack. He moved into the midfield later on where that physicality was again on show as he ran through opponents when hunting for the ball.

Northern Knights:

#3 Josh Ward

Arguably the best on ground across both sides, Ward was a step above with his ball winning and clean disposal throughout the game, despite the wet conditions. While it took others a while to work into it, he was ready from the get go. Ward set the tone early, winning the first clearance and kicking well long for a teammate to mark and convert the first goal of the game, and it only continued on from there. Able to get the ball out quickly to teammates, he became a dangerous option for Northern around the ground, made even more obvious by their efforts to get it in his hands. A point of interest from Ward’s game was the fact he often put himself on Oakleigh’s Nick Daicos around stoppages, able to negate his usual impact well in the early stages of the game whilst not letting his own numbers slip.

#7 Ewan Macpherson

The ever reliable inside bull flourished in the conditions early on and then maintained his impact in the latter stages of the game when it became more and more contested. His follow up efforts around the contest and the ground were impressive, applying pressure and laying tackles to everyone that got within arm’s reach, while also able to pick the ball up even when under heavy pressure and fire out hands to outside runners.

#9 Darcy Wilmot

Wilmot was consistently seen streaming out of defence with ball in hand, trying to be creative with his disposal in order to make Northern more dangerous on the rebound. Whilst he occasionally struggled to execute his skills when running at full speed, overall he hit it his targets more often than not. His workrate was exceptional; proving just as willing to work hard offensively by pushing up and getting handball receives, as he was to run back and impact contests or lay tackles. He came into his own in the second half in particular, as Northern started to run over the top of Oakleigh, as he provided a dangerous option behind the ball.

#19 Joel Trudgeon

Felt like he brought his own footy at stages in the game given how much he had it. Was just a constant sight on the inside of contests, battling hard to keep Northern in possession then disposing of it to teammates who were in space. As usual he worked hard defensively as well, seemingly landing every tackle and impressing with his follow up on the ball when it spilled, able to beat all comers to it and hand it out. Whilst he didn’t have many ‘flashy’ moments through the game, Trudgeon was just consistent and showed good football instinct with his positioning, timing and use by hand.

#27 Jason McCormick

The bottom-aged small forward had a game to be proud of, registering a game-high four goals. His read of the ball off hands led to him crumbing well off of packs, able to see if the ball was going to go over the top or in front of the contest and hit the area at speed to pick the ball up, usually with one grab, consistently. Despite being smaller in height than most on field, he wasn’t afraid to compete for the ball in air, leaping for a few high balls and reaching impressive heights, whilst showing strong leading patterns and impressive speed to get separation from opponents. 

GWV REBELS 11.8 (74) def. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 6.5 (41)

By: Peter Williams

GWV Rebels:

#2 Ben Hobbs

An outstanding game from the inside midfielder who racked up a massive amount of the ball and never took a backwards step. In conditions that suited him to a t, Hobbs was a work horse on the inside and just crashed and bashed his way around the ground. Despite injury ruling him out of the first part of the year, Hobbs showed no signs of being held back by it, using the ball by hand regularly and racking up the possessions with ease from the opening bounce. Always under pressure, Hobbs has to rush his kicks, but it was his hands in close which stood out, as well as his fierce tackling. Hobbs won a free kick for being taken high in the second term and earned a 50m penalty where he slotted it from the goalsquare. He had another flying shot on goal running hard from the initial centre square stoppage to receive the ball and launch on goal, only to just miss to the left. Hobbs kicked his second goal from a forward stoppage in the final term, with a clever snap around his body sailing home. His natural footy IQ combined with his desire to never lose a contest made him a difficult player to contain.

#3 Charlie Molan

Started the game with a clever intercept in the middle, reading the handball from an opposition to steal it back and give it off. Composed with ball in hand, Molan spreads well to the outside and often looked to draw the opponent in before firing off the handball to a teammate. Late in the second quarter, Molan pushed back deep into defence and produced a long, accurate kick to the wing, and then early in the third term was back mopping up in defence again. He tried to spin out of trouble in the middle at one stage in the third but was pinged for holding the ball, though he is able to use both feet which helps him get out of trouble when being corralled.

#6 Marcus Herbert

Herbert donned the long sleeves and found plenty of it in the wet, showing clean hands at ground level and being able to shovel out passes to teammates on the outside. He had some more time in the first half where he was able to spread and win a few uncontested marks, and whilst his kicking under pressure was a bit rushed, he used it well with time on his side. Herbert had a nice passage of play in the third term where he dribbled a kick out of the defensive stoppage and then ran hard to win the next possession via hand, before distributing to a teammate. His clean flick out of a stoppage to an open runner early in the fourth, and his hard ball get to aide in Hobbs’ goal meant he had an influence on the game.

#13 Sam Breuer

Set the tone with Hobbs early, going in for a fierce tackle and then getting the ball away to a teammate, and went on to have an impressive game. Winning a match-high 35 disposals, Breuer covered the ground well and kicked a remarkable thumping goal from the wing. By the wing, that’s centre wing, where an open goalsquare saw it bounce home and in early in the first term. Throughout the match Breuer worked hard for his touches, showing good hands in the wet, spreading well and applying immense defensive pressure. He had a poor turnover in the second term trying to cross from the middle to half-forward, but otherwise was able to impact going forward.

#14 Jamieson Ballantyne

Rotating through the midfield, Ballantyne had a few nice moments throughout the match, which included a release handball to Breuer for that long goal, and then showing some nice toe of his own to burst away from an opponent at half-forward. The right footer showed he can kick off his left as well, and predominantly looked to open up the play by hand or with a short kick, finishing off with a good goal from an uncontested mark 20m out in the final term. He then produced a well-weighted kick to Josh Gibcus up forward, but the usual defender missed to the left.

Murray Bushrangers:

#8 Zavier Maher

Maher provided some experience and stoppage nous around the contest, able to win the ball in close and use his elite sidestep to get himself out of trouble. A few times he was a little fumbly, such as dropping a mark on the wing then unable to gather quickly, though he redeemed himself with some great second efforts. He read the taps at the stoppages well, and took a strong contested juggling mark late in the game at half-back. Maher had a flying snap on goal in the second term, but it did not swing enough and missed to the left.

#9 Kade Chalcraft

Started strongly with a gather from the stoppage, and got back in defence to help out not long after to clear the ball to half-back and move it on quickly. Playing on-ball, Chalcraft used his stronger frame to frame in and protect the ball when required, lay a big tackle or shovel it out to the outside. Chalcraft had a flying shot from 50m out under pressure just drifted it to the left early in the second term. At one stage in the second quarter, he was tackled by multiple opponents then still shovelled it out showing great strength.

#52 Tom Bracher

Playing on the last line, Bracher provided some good run and carry out of defence to be one of the best Murray players on the day. He read the ball in flight consistently and then was able to run off and receive the handball when he was not marking it. He timed his marking attempts well, and when he had to spoil, using the ball well by foot coming out of defence. He had a big opening term and took a couple of intercept marks in the opening half, tasked with the kickout duties for the Bushrangers on the day. He took some risky passes at times but was able to open the game up through the middle or via a switch, nailing the short harp attempts to his teammates in the back half more often than not.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 12.11 (83) def. EASTERN RANGES 5.5 (35)

By: Ed Pascoe

Sandringham Dragons:

#6 Blake Howes

In perhaps Howes’ best game this year, he made the wing position his own after playing the bulk of his time as a high half-forward earlier in the year. Howes, standing at 190cm, moves incredibly well for a player of his stature, with his agility over the ground and clean hands – not just overhead but also at ground level – a real feature in his game against Eastern Ranges. One of the best showcases of his talent came in the second quarter, taking a nice mark at half-back before quickly playing on, showing his great speed and willingness to take the game on. He would get better as the game went on as well, showing great skill at the back of stoppages and with a 50m penalty, he converted a goal which was reward for his efforts up to that point. Howes finished the game with 18 disposals in what is two very strong back to back games for Sandringham Dragons.

#17 Finn Callaghan

Callaghan has likely left the wing position behind him playing for Sandringham, as he has not only excelled in his move to the stoppages, but is starting to look like one of the prime midfielders in this year’s draft crop. His game against Eastern was his most complete game to date. It felt like Callaghan was everywhere, not just having an influence at stoppages in winning multiple clearances, but also getting the ball in open play using his trademark agility to escape congestion, leaving opponents in his wake. It’s hard to showcase as a wingman, but as he is now playing on the inside more he has started to show good attack on the loose ball, showing great balance to his outside class which was already well noted. That harder edge is what will push him towards the very top end of the draft and with a game high 31 disposals to go with four tackles and seven inside 50s, Callaghan’s stocks continue to improve.

#32 Dante Visentini

In his best outing to date, the Under 16 Vic Metro representative showed why he won those accolades back in 2019 with a strong display playing forward and pinch-hitting in the ruck. Visentini was a real threat in the air, taking some strong marks highlighted with one contested grab inside 50 in the third quarter. He would miss the resultant set shot there, but his marking on the wing was also impressive, showing he could get on his bike and present as a leading option all over the ground. Visentini finished the game with 13 disposals, seven marks, 13 hit outs and a goal in a timely reminder to recruiters of his talent ahead of the National Championships.

#52 Luke Nankervis

The smooth moving forward hasn’t been the type of forward to kick bags of goals, but he is certainly one of the more creative ones in this year’s crop with his clean hands and agility with ball in hand real features of his game. That was again evident against Eastern Ranges, where Nankervis showed a great ability to take the ball cleanly below his knees and get his arms up to release by hand. Although he hasn’t been able to use those hands in marking contests, he does have that in his arsenal. Defensively, Nankervis was also very sound with six tackles for the game, with one in the first quarter rewarded for holding the ball. If Nankervis can start to really weave around opponents more often with his agility and start to be a threat in the air, he will cause major headaches for any defender. Nankervis finished the game with 18 disposals and five inside 50s.

#61 Max Heath

The newest acquisition to the St Kilda Football Club, Heath was an imposing force around the ground with his trademark bash and crash style on show – not just in the ruck, but also up forward where he would lay multiple bone crunching tackles. Heath relishes on the tackling side of football, which showed with his five tackles and every one of them certainly left his opponent worse for ware. Heath’s ruck work was also good, forming a great partnership with his on-ballers – especially Finn Callaghan who was fed some quality taps from Heath. The AFL-listed bigman finished the game with seven disposals, five tackles and 21 hit-outs in a typical Heath display.

Eastern Ranges:

#1 Tyler Sonsie

It wasn’t Sonsie’s day, with the classy first round prospect struggling to really get going in the midfield and despite looking good when he got the ball at stoppages, those moments were few and far between by his lofty standards. Usually a dangerous forward threat, Sonsie had numerous opportunities to kick some majors but just couldn’t get the finish, missing some snaps at goal he would usually nail. Things wouldn’t get any better for Sonsie late on, going down with a suspected lower leg injury while being tackled early in the last quarter. Sonsie finished the game with 15 disposals and four tackles and we can only hope the leg injury isn’t too serious.

#5 Jake Soligo

In what was Soligo’s most prolific game to date, the hard nosed Eastern Ranges midfielder proved why he was considered one of Victoria’s most promising midfielders after his strong performances in the 2019 Under 16 National Championships. Soligo was a workhorse through the midfield, winning plenty of the ball at the coalface while also getting back into defence to help his defenders. That defensive nous was on show in the second quarter with a strong intercept mark sitting in the hole, as well as a crunching tackle on fellow hardnut Charlie McKay. Soligo looked elusive and composed whenever he got possession and although it has taken a few games for Soligo to find his feet, he looks to have hit his straps at the right time with Vic Metro soon to take on Allies in the Under 19 National Championships, Soligo finished with a team-high 29 disposals to go with eight marks and 10 tackles.

#8 Nick Watson

A player not eligible for the draft until 2023, the nippy and creative forward only stands at 168cm but his impact and smarts make him an incredible prospect to look out for, and he couldn’t have impressed more in his NAB League debut. Watson was active early, having no issue finding the ball and offering plenty of pressure inside 50. His first goal came on the half time siren where he would kick an impressive major from long range. His second was even better in the last quarter, kicking an incredible snap hard on the boundary from a set shot, showing his obvious class and skill. He was rewarded for his first half with some midfield time in the second half and he again showed plenty of dash and skill through the middle. Watson finished with 13 disposals, five tackles and kicked 2.1 and looks a player to watch for Vic Metro in the upcoming Under 17 championships.

#31 Tyreece Leiu

After starting the year in the midfield and up forward, Leiu has had a stunning turn of form playing down back in recent times for Eastern Ranges. His intercept marking was a key feature of his game, taking strong marks in the contest and reading the play really well. The Eastern Ranges defence was adept at taking intercept marks, non more-so than Leiu, but it was also his intercepts in general where he would body line a loose contest and either take the ball himself or cause a 50/50, using his stronger frame to his advantage. Leiu finished the game with 26 disposals, nine marks and nine rebound 50s in a performance which could have solidified his spot in Vic Metro’s backline in the upcoming Under 19 National Championships.

#49 Sahaf Ali

Another exciting debutant for the Eastern Ranges, Ali showed plenty of eye catching traits up forward with his leap and marking ability on show multiple times. The East Ringwood prospect had impressed in his senior EFL debut and has taken that form into the NAB League, where he looks to be a mainstay for the rest of the year. The athletic forward wouldn’t kick a goal until the last quarter, which came from a free kick, but he was certainly one of the more dangerous marking options and he even got a run in the midfield later in the game, showing some versatility. Ali finished the game with 11 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and kicked 1.1.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 8.16 (64) def. TASMANIA DEVILS 8.10 (58)

By: Eli Duxson

Giants Academy:

#1 Harrison Grintell

Grintell was crafty, hovering around the half-forward flank all game while also showing a strong intent to hit the contest hard and do his bit defensively. It was his attacking play that stood out on the day though, as he notched seven inside 50’s with impressive sprinting efforts with and without the ball. His ability in space matched his silkiness in tight as his agility allowed him to get out of packs and deliver to a teammate on several occasions. This play led to a goal after a pair of disposals on centre wing saw him deliver to hit a teammate inside forward 50. His field kicking was sound, but he could not quite convert the way he would have liked, kicking 1.2. Grintell also finished with 18 disposals.

#7 Matthew Hamblin

Probably GWS’ best on the day, showing a willingness to hit legs and cover ground to make his way to stoppages and contests all over the ground, but staying mostly between the arcs as a link player. His work rate to contests was on par with his aggression once he got there, often trying to get first hands on it at stoppages with his bustling style. He did also play a role for his side being the sweeper many times to which he received some balls to slingshot forward or move laterally. Hamblin put in some big efforts in the tense final quarter which was eventually rewarded with an off-the-ball free kick, which saw him slot through a set shot from 30 metres out to give the Giants a two-goal buffer. He managed 29 disposals, seven marks, and five inside 50s.

#24 Sam Frost

The GWS captain led all comers with 30 disposals and a whopping 10 rebound 50s. That probably typifies his game as well as possible, as the defender looked solid in one-on-ones, while also looking to attack once the ball hit the deck managing six inside 50s. He played a bit like Brandon Starcevich showing good confidence aerially to mark, while also being a steady user by foot. There were several blunders on his behalf however, including a lazy kick, two free kicks, and a 50-metre penalty which could have resulted in Tasmania goals but luckily did not. Beyond those though, he led valiantly for the Giants.

#31 Josh Green

It seemed no position was impossible for Green as he tried his hand everywhere bar the defence on Sunday. Starting as a lead up forward, he kicked GWS’ first goal of the game with a tidy finish across his body, looking dangerous for in one-on-one situations. His mobility once the ball hit the ground posed more problems for Tasmania as he could bust through packs due to his size. He moved into the middle in the second half and made good decisions with his hands in tight, while also showing a willingness to work back and help defensively at stoppages. Green rucked in the forwardline when he was there, but also rotated as the main ruck at times, especially in the final quarter as he became another midfielder after the ruck contest. He finished with 20 disposals and four marks to go with his goal.

Tasmania Devils:

#12 Jye Menzie

Tasmania’s best on the day playing predominantly half-forward, he managed three goals from 15 disposals, with his goals all coming in the first half. His first two were bursts into space to snap through well, with his third being a set shot after the half-time siren to put Tasmania back in front. He scrapped and hustled in contests and showed a cleanliness in tight not many others on the ground possessed. His defensive abilities were adequate for his role, but his forward movement showed he has a good sense for the forward craft.

#22 Baker Smith

The key defender was generally very good with his positioning and body in aerial contests, being rarely beaten. Repeat entries challenged him, like it would most defenders, but his ability to read the flight of the ball was impressive knowing when to spoil and when to mark. Even more impressive was his temperament. He did not look flustered within his defensive role despite the +22 inside 50s for the Giants, but he also did not give any free kicks away which can be easy to do playing on key forwards.

CALDER CANNONS 10.12 (72) def. WESTERN JETS 8.9 (57)

By: Michael Alvaro

Calder Cannons:

#4 Sam Clohesy

Shifting between the wing and forwardline, Clohesy warmed to the contest and showcased some of his best traits as it wore on. While Calder often opted to play a controlled kick-mark style, Clohesy looked to break the play open with his penetrative disposal by foot, seeing him gain good meterage along the line. His strong overhead marking also came to the fore, with Clohesy clunking some nice grabs in important areas to either intercept, or help keep Calder in possession. Overall a solid outing, with the top-ager ending on 23 disposals and 12 marks.

#5 Zac Taylor

Arguably the best player afield, Taylor was a consistent ball winner for Calder and a productive member of the midfield-forward rotation. A crafty type on the ball, he always took his time in possession and looked to create with his kicks. While some of those kicks were delivered a touch short in the early stages, Taylor continued to back his skills and went on to hit leading targets inside 50. He finished with a game-high 32 disposals and nine inside 50s, while also contributing defensively with a couple of notable chase-down tackles.

#25 Josh Goater

The big body in Calder’s midfield, Goater played the distributor role perfectly at stoppages with his clean hands and strength in tight spots. He often got first hands to the ball and proved difficult to tackle, allowing for fluent ball movement to the outer where runners awaited. Goater is a terrific athlete and showed as much aerially with a spekky during the second term, but could perhaps better showcase his explosiveness at stoppages by pumping his legs instead of always dishing to the first option. Finishing with 28 touches, Goater was typically efficient with his ball use.

#30 Sam Paea

That standout key forward afield, Paea produced arguably his best outing to date. The high-marking Cannon proved near-unstoppable when allowed a full run at the ball, rising to clunk some outstanding overhead marks with his combination of reach and vertical leap. His athleticism also allowed for handy separation on the lead, as Paea worked hard up the ground to provide a link into attack for Calder. He seems a real confidence player, so is still a touch inconsistent with his goalkicking but still managed to convert four set shot goals with fluency. Eight marks and four majors from 13 disposals makes for good reading.

#41 Liam Podhajski

Making his NAB League return after gaining senior experience in the VFL, Podhajski took some of the learnings he inevitably made back into the elite junior competition. The developing ruckman showcased his vertical ability with sizeable leaps at each centre bounce, before following up nicely at ground level. He did not have as profound an impact around the ground in terms of marking, but still had his moments and dropped behind the ball nicely when Western was attacking. His directional work was also handy in the ruck, including some deft taps over his shoulder.

Western Jets:

#2 Harrison White

White ended as Western’s leading ball winner on the day with 23 disposals, which included seven inside 50s and three rebound 50s. He was a positive member of the midfield mix, constantly looking to generate some forward spark with his run and foot skills coming away from the contest. The top-ager backed his speed in those instances but was also quite no-fuss around the ball with quick and clean touches at the contest. He missed a chance to hit the scoreboard via a set shot during term three, but had a solid day overall.

#32 Paul Curtis

Curtis was again Western’s most productive forward, leaning on his smarts and goal sense to snare three goals from five scoring shots. Mostly stationed deep inside 50, he presented well for a player of his size to mark on the lead, while also holding his own in one-on-one situations. He snared two majors via those methods with set shots, with his third an opportunistic volley from the goalsquare. Curtis also tackled well, laying five overall, including a strong effort in the pocket to earn another shot on goal.

#33 Billy Cootee

Western’s skipper lead from the front on Sunday, working hard in midfield and showing positive attacking intent with ball in hand. He would often mark uncontested and look to wheel around quickly to release long by foot, allowing Western’s forwards to get to work on swift inside 50 entries. He also impacted at the contest, with his clearance work at the centre bounces helping the Jets stay in touch during the third term. His urgency remained heading into the closing stages with more of that typical meterage, and Cootee also made his mark with a well-hit snap goal late in the opening quarter.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 6.10 (46) def. by DANDENONG STINGRAYS 22.11 (143)

By: Peter Williams

Bendigo Pioneers:

#15 Jack Stewart

One of the more lively Pioneers on the day, Stewart showed off some neat evasion skills and clean hands in close. More often than not, the midfielder was able to identify the target he needed to hit, and threaded the needle through traffic. His kicking at times was rushed when in play, often trying to open up angles and go long, but when resting forward, Stewart kicked a couple of goals, one from a good mark on the lead and set shot in the second term, and another running into an open goal in the final few minutes of the match.

#29 Cooper Smith

Provided great run out of defence and down the ground, often acting as the interceptor in the back half of the ground. He was often under pressure and forced to rush his kicks, but he kept accumulating the ball and just looking to take grass at every opportunity. One of the Pioneers more prominent ball-winners, he was under siege more often than not, but kept working hard throughout the game.

#56 Harley Reid

A real eye-catcher on the day, Reid was strong in the contest and able to stand up in tackles to get free by brute force, At one stage late in the first term he produced a low bullet to a teammate going inside 50 after leading out to take a great grab. He did not win a heap of the ball, but seemed to look dangerous every time he went near it, clunking a good mark in the final term and converting the set shot.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Josiah Kyle

Possessing high level footy smarts, incredibly clean hands and a great goal sense, Kyle feasted on the Stingrays’ dominance going forward to slot 3.1 from limited touches roaming deep inside 50. He was a worry for the opposition, and still provided that defensive pressure required of him, providing a contest in the air or at ground level. His first goal came with a great run and mark heading with the flight towards goal. He missed his second set shot from straight in front in the second term, then snuck out the back of a contest, to use one mitt to win the ball at speed and kick with the outside of the boot for a goal. More impressively, his second term run-down tackle forced a turnover and goal for the Stingrays. He nailed his third goal in the third term from a mark and set shot.

#3 Miller Bergman

Bergman covered the ground well and was involved from early on, putting pressure on the opposition.He pushed to the outside and an early touch 12 minutes into the game lead to a Stingrays’ goal. He slotted a nice goal on the run himself in the second term from a one-two in one of the plays of the day. Bergman provided some good run throughout the game, worked hard and generally made the right decisions with ball-in-hand, setting up a goal to Judson Clarke in the final term. Bergman then capped off his day with a tidy snap from the pocket as casual as you like to slot home his second.

#14 Will Bravo

Played the role you would come to expect of the talent who was close to earning a spot on an AFL list. He looked too strong for his opponents and showed off his athletic traits in close, often winning the ball and getting and going forward, accumulating the ball at will. Bravo was clean at ground level and able to move through the stoppages well, finding the space to exit. He gave away a number of free kicks going hard at the contest, but his spread and work rate was really impressive, and you can never doubt his intent at the coal face where he really did his best work.

#17 Bryce Milford

Started his day in defence to smack a wayward set shot into the behind post, but funnily enough found himself slotting four majors up the other end. The left footer found plenty of space on the outside, though he was fumbly at ground level, needing to take the ball a little cleaner at times. When in possession and playing his game, Milford was dangerous, missing a chance early in the third term, then went to work slotting four goals in the final 39 minutes of the match. His first was from a mark and lead nine minutes into the third quarter, then he took a good contested grab at half-forward, played on and slotted it from 50m, before kicking back-to-back goals in the fourth, the first from an uncontested mark and the second from getting behind his opponent to get boot to ball on the run.

#23 Jai Neal

A strong presence in the air, Neal’s marking was noticeable throughout the game, positioning himself well in the back 50 from the opening few minutes and taking back-to-back intercept marks in the hole. Neal had a really big first term with plenty of involvements both in the back 50 and pushing up the ground to impact the contest. As the game went well and truly on the Stingrays’ terms, Neal had less work to do, but still positioning himself well.

#40 Colby Nayna

Had a really eye-catching game up forward pushing further afield at times to slot three goals from 13 touches and always look dangerous. His first involvement was an incredibly high leap to grab midway through the first term, with his set shot sailing through the middle. He slotted his second just five minutes later from another mark on the lead, showing his burst to create separation from opponents. He is quick off the first few steps and then set up a goal to Sam Frangalas with a well-weighted kick. His used the ball well by hand or foot and kicked his third in the third quarter on the run cleverly reading the drop of the ball off hands inside 50.

#42 James Cahill

Cahill worked hard around the ground to provide plenty of drive going forward. Not only did he pump the ball inside 50 time and time again, but applied defensive pressure – through tackling or implied pressure – to opponents. Midway through the first term, he got free inside 50, gathered the ball well under pressure and snapped around his body for his first goal. He then played a part in the next forward thrust with a mark, then a rushed handball that proved effective and lead to a goal off the next disposal. He had a chance for goal early in the second term running in but drifted to the left. at times Cahill was a little fumbly under pressure, but he still had an overall solid game, kicking his second goal from a mark and set shot in the third term.

#48 Declan Cole

The leading ball winner on the ground, Cole just accumulated the pill with ease in the big win. He cracked in hard alongside Bravo and Henry Berenger and won a lot of his touches in close be it himself or as the first handball receiver spreading from the contest. Late in the first term he had a set shot but missed to the right in his only score for the day, but his best work was done up the field. He was strong overhead and looked to open up the play when possible and get it to dangerous areas. He made a mistake in the second term missing a crucial handball in defensive 50 which lead to a shot on goal, but generally attacked the ball carrier well and worked hard up and down the ground.

GIPPSLAND POWER 6.9 (45) def. by GEELONG FALCONS 9.13 (67)

By: Michael Alvaro

Gippsland Power:

#6 Mitchell Moschetti

Moschetti offered real class on the ball with his movement coming away from traffic, as he sped into space before looking to deliver by foot. The draft eligible midfielder did well to shift to the outside and managed to get Gippsland going with a couple of running bounce passages, even if the end product was not always effective. He added a stylish centre bounce break to his game in the final quarter, and finished with 20 disposals.

#9 Will Papley

Rotating forward from the midfield, Papley proved a slippery customer with ball in hand. He was hard on the inside with his speed and tackling pressure, but also presented nicely for a small forward when stationed inside 50. He often led to the ball at half-forward, before wheeling around and pumping a long kick to the hot spot. The top-ager finished strongly with more time in midfield, getting busy at the contest and continuing to provide important defensive acts. Papley was lively overall, finishing with 21 disposals, five tackles and five inside 50s.

#17 Luis D’Angelo

D’Angelo was quite crafty and clean with his work on the inside, winning the contested ball and getting it out to receivers on the outer by hand. In more open play, the Gippsland leader looked quite polished in possession with his short kicking, able to find the ball in dangerous areas and deliver forward by foot. He contributed to a couple of scores with that kind of work; the first was an intercept mark from a kick-in which he handed off, and the second was a clever knock on which allowed Chance Doultree to waltz inside 50 and convert a major score.

Geelong Falcons:

#12 Noah Gribble

Gribble continues to be one of the more consistent accumulators in the NAB League, racking up another game-high tally of 32 disposals on the back of sheer work rate and smarts. Having transitioned to the inside, he was able to contribute neat touches around the contest with clean and quick hands, having no trouble finding the ball. As the play broke either way, the top-ager worked hard to impact in either arc and provide an outlet coming out of defence. He seemed a lot more assured in possession, not rushing his disposals as much and not trying to do too much with each touch.

#32 Noah Gadsby

One of the more handy inclusions to this Geelong side of late, Gadsby was able to showcase some of his high-level athletic traits on Sunday. The top-ager was stationed forward for most of the day but worked hard up the ground and was also given a late run in the midfield, attending centre bounces during term four. His athleticism was mostly observed in overhead marking contests, where Gadsby rose well to contest with courage. He also leant on his running capacity to work over his opponent en route to collecting 28 disposals, while also becoming a threat inside 50 with four scoring shots. Only one of them was a goal, converted craftily from a quick snap in the pocket.

#56 Oscar Morrison

The intercept marking defender continues to make strong strides in 2021, putting in a strong shift across the backline and cutting off a number of Gippsland attacks. Morrison was superb aerially, reading the play and flight of the ball beautifully to rise third-up and cleanly take some quality grabs in the back half. He was hardly beaten in the air, but also distributed the ball with good poise and skill to keep the Falcons out of trouble, proving a no-fuss kind of operator.

#60 Toby Conway

Conway returned another strong showing in the ruck, proving too big and strong with his 204cm frame. He showed good confidence to grab out of the ruck and dispose of the ball, while also continuing to show handy ruck craft with his directional taps. He protected his space well and was quite strong on the ball, looking a touch more comfortable in possession than in other weeks. Conway also positioned nicely down the line and behind the ball, with his impact around the ground an area of growth.

2021 Draft Central NAB League Boys TOTW: Round 9

THE 2021 NAB League season rolled on into Round 9 over the weekend, with metro regions returning to the fold. A few school football fixtures were rescheduled too, meaning the wealth of talent filtering back through the competition was at a high. This week’s squad is headlined by Player of the Week candidates Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels) and Josh Ward (Northern Knights), who earn starting spots in midfield on the back of dazzling 34-disposal displays.

Hobbs also laid nine tackles and booted two goals in the Rebels’ win over Murray, marking a sparkling return from injury for the tough inside midfielder. He is joined by teammates Sam Breuer (wing) and Marcus Herbert (bench), who were squeezed out of the centre bounce mix but both ticked over 30 touches in terrific individual outings. Murray’s Tom Bracher is the other to feature from that game, earning a spot in the back pocket for his efforts in defence this week.

Ward’s feats were made all the more impressive by the fact he lined up on Nick Daicos, taking on the role with aplomb while also advancing his own game. Daicos produced another high-numbers game with 37 disposals to continue his remarkable season, joined by fellow father-son prospect Sam Darcy (centre half-back) and Giants Academy member Patrick Voss (half-back) in the starting lineup. Ward is also supported by teammates, namely partner-in-crime Joel Trudgeon and dashing defender Darcy Wilmot.

Other standouts across the squad include Finn Callaghan, who was best afield in his relatively new midfield role for Sandringham Dragons, while intercept marking machine Tyreece Leiu and busy midfielder Jake Soligo were productive for Eastern. Noah Gribble and Zac Taylor were also arguably best afield in their respective wins, while forwards Sam Paea and Bryce Milford bagged four goals each to earn a spot.

The Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers, and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels all lay claim to three squad members, along with the Calder Cannons. Fellow victors Sandringham, Geelong, Dandenong, and the Giants Academy all boast two players apiece, with Eastern the only Round 9 loser to produce multiple candidates this time around. With competition for spots at a premium, particularly in midfield, three losing sides did not have any players included.

Check out the full team below:

Draft Central NAB League Team of the Week: Round 9

FB: Darcy Wilmot (NK), Tyreece Leiu (ER), Tom Bracher (MB)
HB: Patrick Voss (OC), Sam Darcy (OC), Sam Frost (GWS)

C: Sam Breuer (GWV), Ben Hobbs (GWV), Noah Gribble (GF)

HF: Joel Trudgeon (NK), Dante Visentini (SD), Bryce Milford (DS)
FF: Jye Menzie (TD), Sam Paea (CC), Noah Gadsby (GF)

FOL: Jack Driscoll (GWS), Josh Ward (NK), Finn Callaghan (SD)

INT: Nick Daicos (OC), Josh Goater (CC), Marcus Herbert (GWV), Colby Nanya (DS), Jake Soligo (ER), Zac Taylor (CC)

EMG: Oscar Morrison (GF), Billy Cootee (WJ), Will Bravo (DS)