Tag: Jonte Duffy

Rowell masterclass leads Oakleigh to a dominant premiership

IT was the 10 minutes that won Oakleigh Chargers the premiership that eluded them last year.

Seven goals from the 15-minute mark of the third term to the final break broke the hearts of Eastern Ranges supporters, and elevated almost certain pick one, Matt Rowell into another stratosphere with an absolute masterclass performance. While it was a terrific team effort by the Chargers to outwork the Ranges, there was no stopping Rowell who won the Best on Ground Medal with 44 disposals – the second most disposals by any player in a TAC Cup/NAB League Grand Final behind Mitch Wallis’ 47.

Rowell and Noah Anderson were busy from the opening bounce, combining well at stoppages, while Trent Bianco was receiving close attention and gave away a free kick for retaliating from Mihaele Zalac. Both Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Cooper Sharman had chances early but missed, with Will Phillips opening the account for the Chargers early in the game with a terrific goal on the run from 40m to entice a huge roar from the crowd. Oakleigh continued to pepper the Lygon Street end, booting four consecutive behinds. The causalities were beginning to piled on for the Ranges as Joel Nathan and Tyler Sonsie were helped off the field within a minute of each other. Connor Stone took advantage of the extra forward and found Sharman all alone in the square with the reliable goalkicker making no mistake from 10m out.

Everything was going right for the Chargers in the first term. Stone appealed for a soccer off the ground in the goalsquare but it looked to be a fresh airy. The normally composed Eastern defence looked under siege as Sharman ran down an opponent deep in defence, but his set shot too tight to the boundary but missed. Similarly, Bailey Laurie had a great chance with a running shot that bounced through but was deemed touched off the boot and brought the Chargers to 2.7 for the first term. Then the first massive highlight for Eastern came with a much-needed goal from Harrison Keeling in the pocket with 17 seconds left on the clock. It was the last kick of the quarter as the Ranges breathed a sigh of relief knowing for all of Oakleigh’s dominance, they were 13 points down and in the contest.

Nick Bryan was dominant around the ground for the Chargers, picking up 10 disposals, two marks and eight hitouts in the first term, while Jeromy Lucas (eight) and Phillips (seven and a goal) were also prolific. For the Ranges’ Wil Parker was steady in defence with nine disposals and three rebounds, while James Ross (six touches, two marks) was also busy back there. With 17 inside 50s to five, the Chargers were dominating play, but the Ranges defence was doing enough to limit the score in what could have been a lot uglier for them.

Both sides’ pressure was high as neither team had much time and space to move on, if they found space they had to move it on quickly as opponents closed them down quickly. Just as either side needed a deadlock breaker in the second, it came in the form of Mitch Mellis who burst forward, took a bounce and then launched from 45m for it to bounce home and all of a sudden, the Ranges were back within a kick. The Chargers almost scored a goal from a turnover up the other end, with Thomas Graham winning a loose ball after a spill and snapped around his body only for it to hit the woodwork. Up the other end, Zalac was running into 50 when he unsuspectingly got mowed down by Vincent Zagari. Both sides were finding more open space with end-to-end plays, but a couple of attempts under pressure on goal resulted in behinds for both sides.

Eastern’s defence was desperate and managed to keep a one-on-one ball close to the line in play but the kick landed in the waiting arms of Rowell who showed he can find the footy even when he is not looking for it. His set shot was un-Rowell like though and it was a shank short. Then Eastern seized on the miss as Josh Clarke ran inside 50 dropped it onto his left, negotiated the breeze perfectly and slammed it home to the roar of the eastern faithful and the scores were level again. Oakleigh’s midfield was getting stuck into Zalac to try and let Bianco off the leash, and Bianco’s extra freedom with his slicing kicks was starting to have a real impact on the contest. Both sides were still making uncharacteristic errors going forward, but it was a terrific contest. With a few minutes remaining, Finlay Macrae found some space inside 50 and his set shot from 40m looked good until a late drift that went through for a behind. With the siren imminent and the Chargers leading by three points, Laurie snuck out the side of a forward stoppage, put it on the outside of the boot and it sailed home to give Oakleigh breathing space heading into the main break.

Clarke was a massive player in the second term, picking up 13 touches to head into the break with 18, the most of any Ranges player, while Rowell had one better with 19, as well as three marks and three tackles. Bryan and Lucas both had 13 touches for the Chargers, while Parker (13) and Mellis (12) were the other two who had an influence for the Ranges.

If Rowell needed to convince anyone else how likely it was that he would potentially edge closer to a second best on ground in an Under 18s Grand Final, he found space in the middle and put out a perfect kick to Ugle-Hagan on the lead in the early moments of the game. He missed his set shot, but Oakleigh continued to press forward of centre. Despite holding the momentum, it was Eastern’s second forward 50 entry in the term that saw Jonte Duffy snap off his left and put the margin back to just four points to remind the crowd it was game on. Not long after, Jamieson Rossiter proceed to be the facilitator with a perfectly weighted kick to Jordan Jaworski. His tight set shot also missed, but the heat was well and truly in the game.

Then came the 10 minutes that won Oakleigh the premiership. The exciting Laurie then converted his second goal, sidestepping an opponent on a run towards goal and launching from 50 to add a bit of spice to the margin. Moments later forward pressure saw the Chargers run down Ross in the back 50, then a ruck stoppage from Sharman resulted in the ball landing in the arms of Lucas who snapped and goaled off the right and the margin was 14. When Rowell stepped up to win a 50m penalty and deliver to make it 20 points, it looked like it was going to be tough for Eastern to get back. After Lucas booted another two in two minutes, Rowell booted his second with a long-range bouncing kick that never looked like missing. He could do anything and so could the Chargers, as Thomas Graham capitalised on another Eastern error and snapped around his body and the game was well and truly done and dusted.

The heat was out of the game after that 10-minute blitz, and Nick Stathopoulos added his name to the goalkickers and it was party time for the Chargers in the final 25 minutes. Rowell had to remind onlookers her was human with another set shot miss. It was not long before he was in the thick of it again with a goal assist to Phillips who delivered on the run. Rowell again marked inside 50 but again missed his set shot. Ben Hickleton kicked a consolation goal late in the match as Rowell passed 40 touches. Ugle-Hagan had one last shot after the siren, but it hit the woodwork and the final margin was 53.

Rowell ended the game with 44 touches, eight marks, eight tackles, six tackles, two rebounds and 2.2, while Bianco (30 disposals, 11 marks, three tackles and six inside 50s), Anderson (26 disposals, four marks and four tackles) and Schreiber (26 disposals, 11 marks and two tackles). Bryan built on his form from last week with a dominant performance in the ruck with 20 disposals and 26 hitouts, while Lucas booted three goals and was dominant during that third quarter blitz. For Eastern, Parker had 27 touches, five marks and 11 rebounds to be the Ranges’ best as a bottom-ager, along with fellow bottom-ager Clarke who amassed 23 touches and seven rebounds. The midfield trio of Stapleton (19 touches), Pretty (19) and Mellis (18 and a goal) were consistent as usual, while Nathan did his best on Ugle-Hagan to keep him goalless and tack ip 16 touches and five rebounds.

EASTERN 1.0 | 3.3 | 4.5 | 5.6 (36)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.7 | 3.12 | 10.13 | 12.17 (89)

GOALS:

Eastern: H. Keeling, M. Mellis, J. Clarke, J. Duffy.
Oakleigh: J. Lucas 3, B. Laurie 2, M. Rowell 2, W. Phillips 2, C. Sharman, T. Graham, N. Stathopoulos.

ADC BEST:

Eastern: W. Parker, J. Clarke, L. Stapleton, M. Mellis, J. Nathan, Z. Pretty
Oakleigh: M. Rowell, K. Schreiber, J. Lucas, N. Bryan, F. Macrae, T. Bianco.

Comprehensive 2019 NAB League Grand Final Preview

FOLLOWING on from last year’s Grand Final preview, it is that time again where we try and analyse all facets of the NAB League Grand Final from the players to style and what one might expect from the match.

TEAMS

EASTERN RANGES v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Grand Final – 21/09/2019
1:05pm
Ikon Park – Carlton

EASTERN RANGES

B: 10. C. Black, 39. J. Nathan, 40. J. Hourihan
HB: 4. J. Clarke, 21. J. Ross, 19. W. Parker
C: 20. C. Downie, 7. L. Stapleton, 30. T. Edwards
HF: 11. M. Mellis, 18. B. McCormack, 52. T. Sonsie
F: 9. J. Duffy, 13. J. Rossiter, 27. J. Jaworski
R: 49. R. Smith, 16. T. Garner, 23. Z. Pretty
Int: 6. M. Brown, 14. L. Gawel, 36. B. Hickleton, 26. C. Norris, 59. B. Tennant, 37. J. Weichard, 45. M. Zalac
23P: 44. H. Keeling

In: J. Weichard, M. Brown, B. Tennant

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

B: 15. K. Schreiber, 36. R. Valentine, 34. V. Zagari
HB: 5. T. Bianco, 52. N. Guiney, 49. H. Mastras
C: 39. R. McInnes, 6. J. Lucas, 9. W. Phillips
HF: 27. J. May, 25. J. Ugle-Hagan, 61. C. Stone
F: 29. F. Macrae, 73. C. Sharman, 77. N. Stathopoulos
R: 4. N. Bryan, 8. N. Anderson, 11. M. Rowell
Int: 58. Y. Dib, 18. F. Elliot, 22. T. Graham, 12. L. Jenkins, 30. S. Tucker, 17. G. Varagiannis, 1. L. Westwood
23P: 2. B. Laurie

In: L. Westwood, S. Tucker, Y. Dib

2019 SEASON REVIEW

1. Eastern Ranges – 12 wins, 3 losses, 148.1%, 48 points
3. Oakleigh Chargers – 11 wins, 4 losses, 114.8%, 44 points

HEAD TO HEAD

R1: Eastern Ranges 7.5 (47) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 12.16 (88)
R14: Eastern Ranges 11.9 (75) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 12.11 (83)

CHANGES SINCE ROUND 14 THRILLER

Eastern:
IN:
Mitchell Brown, Mitch Mellis, Jamieson Rossiter, Lachlan Gawel, Todd Garner, James Ross, Callum Norris, Ben Hickleton, Jayden Weichard, Joel Nathan, Harrison Keeling, Riley Smith

Oakleigh:
IN:
Nick Bryan, Noah Anderson, Matt Rowell, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Finlay Macrae, Reef McInnes, Harris Mastras, Nick Guiney, Connor Stone, Sam Tucker, Yoseph Dib

WHO HAS COMBINE INVITES?

National

Eastern Ranges [0]: Nil.
Oakleigh Chargers [6]: Noah Anderson, Trent Bianco, Nick Bryan, Matt Rowell, Cooper Sharman, Dylan Williams*.

State/Rookie Me:

Eastern Ranges [8]: Tyler Edwards, Lachlan Gawel, Billy McCormack, Mitch Mellis, Zak Pretty, Jamieson Rossiter, Riley Smith Lachlan Stapleton.
Oakleigh Chargers [3]: Lachlan Johnson*, Josh May, Kaden Schreiber.

*Unavailable due to injury

PLAYERS

EASTERN RANGES

#4 Josh CLARKE

Absolute lightning when he gets going. The bottom-age speedster is capable of breaking lines off half-back and along the wing and makes things happen. He is a player who catches the eye with his high risk-high reward style.

#6 Mitchell BROWN

Included in the extended squad for the grand final, Brown last played in Round 16 against Dandenong Stingrays. The 173cm utility had some good form earlier in the season, including six rebounds from 21 touches against Gippsland Power in Round 6.

#7 Lachlan STAPLETON

Consistent as they come and one of Eastern’s top draft hopefuls who not only wins the ball in the midfield, but hurts opposition teams going forward as well. In his third season with the Ranges, the now top-ager has lifted his numbers by five disposals a game, but his defensive pressure is what makes him stand out from the ground, averaging a massive seven tackles per game.

#9 Jonte DUFFY

The smallest player on the ground, but the tackling half-forward packs a punch. He averages more than five tackles a game and is not afraid to go in hard despite his 166cm, 69kg frame recorded at the start of the season.

#10 Chayce BLACK

The Fremantle father-son hopeful has shown some signs throughout the season and progressed into a defensive role after initially playing at half-forward and pinch-hitting through the midfield.

#11 Mitch MELLIS

Like Stapleton, one of Eastern’s top draft hopes and a dominant player throughout season 2019. A natural ball winner who covers the ground with ease, Mellis spent plenty of time forward this year, booting nine goals in 11 games compared to his three in his previous 20. He has also lifted his disposal numbers and despite being 173cm works hard around the clearances and is often the receiver of the ball who bursts off and gets it forward.

#13 Jamieson ROSSITER

Has been a much talked about prospect over the past couple of years but has struggled with injury, playing just two games in his bottom-age year – booting eight goals – after four as a 16-year-old. He has managed to get some continuity this year in between Vic Metro commitments, and booted 19 goals in 12 games, including six in the finals series. He is hitting form at the right time of year and at 190cm he is a touch small for a key position player at AFL level, but has the ability to go into the midfield and use his bigger frame there to have an impact.

#14 Lachlan GAWEL

Not a huge ball winner, but has a touch of class in the forward half using his vision and accuracy by foot to set up goal scoring opportunities. He has managed the eight games this season, but has booted six goals in that time, also averaging three tackles per game to provide some defensive pressure to the opposition.

#16 Todd GARNER

Brother of former Eastern captain and now Port Adelaide player Joel, Todd is a member of the Hawthorn Next Generation Academy. He has managed just the 15 games over the past two seasons, but has shown some signs playing out of defence. He averages three rebounds and almost four tackles per game and plays a role on a dangerous opposition forward.

#18 Billy McCORMACK

Has been a big improver this season after just the three games last season. McCormack is a smoky in the draft because of his ability to have an impact both in the ruck and forward which is something quite rare in this draft class. He averages more than 10 touches and 15 hitouts per game, while booting 10 majors in his 16 matches.

#19 Wil PARKER

A bottom-age player who got a taste of it as a 16-year-old last season and has progressed through to be a staple in the Eastern defence this year. He is one no doubt likely to move into the midfield in 2020, but has arguably been Eastern’s most consistent rebounding small defender throughout the year, working well with James Ross and Joel Nathan as the keys. Averages 17 disposals and four marks per game.

#20 Connor DOWNIE

The Ranges’ top prospect for next year, and another member of the Hawthorn Next Generation Academy. Has had consistency issues at times, but when he is up and going, Downie is all class. He knows how to use the footy and sums up situations with terrific vision and execution, while hitting the scoreboard playing from a wing and half-forward. Played on the MCG for Vic Metro which is rare for bottom-agers.

#21 James ROSS

The general in defence and captain of the side, Ross is one who represented Vic Metro on one occasion, put together a consistent season and was unlucky not to receive a combine invite. Considering his finals series to-date, Ross has no doubt done all he can to convince recruiters he is worth a shot, and while he is slightly undersized for a key position role, he reads the ball perfectly in the air and is strong overhead. Courageous and a great team leader.

#23 Zakery PRETTY

Eastern’s big improver this season after just the limited three games in 2018. Pretty is one of the taller Eastern midfielders despite standing at 183cm, but at 80kg is more built for that inside role. With more than 50 per cent of his possessions won in contested situations, and racking up a truckload of clearances – six per game – Pretty is one who has flown onto draft radars after a big year.

#26 Callum NORRIS

Returned after 12 months off, to grab a spot in the Ranges’ finals side against Sandringham and was better for the run after the first final, to be a key contributor last weekend on his way to 18 disposals, five marks and a goal. Not a typically high disposal winner, but has been around for the past three seasons but has been marred with injury.

#27 Jordan JAWORSKI

The goal sneak has booted 17 goals in 10 games this season, with seven of those coming in Eastern’s smashing of Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. He is a classic small forward who knows where the goals are and will often run hard to open space back to goal and be in the right spot to win the ball and apply scoreboard pressure for his side.

#30 Tyler EDWARDS

Playing through the midfield, Edwards has produced a solid season in his 10 games, averaging 18 touches and three clearances per game. He did enough to earn a place at the state combine, and is one who provides a role in multiple positions, but will likely play through the midfield and on a wing.

#36 Ben HICKLETON

Eastern’s leading goalkicker this season and a player who stepped up in his top-age year to average two goals a game and provide a target up forward. Hickleton rotated through the ruck with Riley Smith and Billy McCormack despite being just 192cm, often pinch-hitting to give those players a rest, averaging three hitouts per game. At 87kg, he is a strong player who is good one-on-one.

#37 Jayden WEICHARD

Just the three games this season and none since Round 11, but Weichard was included in the Ranges’ extended squad for the Grand Final, with his best game coming against Geelong Falcons in Round 9, amassing 15 disposals spending time on the inside.

#39 Joel NATHAN

A terrific lockdown defender who will beat his man more often than not, Nathan is the ultimate team player in defence. He still wins his own ball with 13 disposals and three marks per game, but has plenty of spoils and one percenters to his name. He and Ross are arguably the top cohesive defensive partnership and will not make it easy for the Chargers’ forwards.

#40 Jack HOURIHAN

His first season for the Ranges as a top-ager, Hourihan has managed every game this year and averaged 14 disposals, four marks, three rebounds and two tackles playing predominantly in defence. A latecomer to the program who has bought into the Ranges system and been a consistent player throughout the year playing his role.

#44 Harrison KEELING

A bottom-ager in his first season, Keeling is lightly built but has strung together six games in the back-end of the season, recalled for the first final and has held his spot. Not a huge disposal winner, but one who like many of his teammates last year, is gaining great experience for 12 months time.

#45 Mihaele ZALAC

Taller midfielder who operates between the arcs, often playing an outside role and rotating onball to have an impact. Has played every game in season 2019, averaging 14 disposals, three marks and three tackles per game, while having similar clearance, inside-50 and rebound numbers showing his ability to spread.

#49 Riley SMITH

The overage ruck took control of the ruck division when in the side this year, playing eight games and averaging more than 27 hitouts per game. He is readymade to play at senior level, earning a Rookie Me Combine invitation and is someone who could provide a presence at ruck stoppages.

#52 Tyler SONSIE

Four years ago Jaidyn Stephenson and Adam Cerra burst onto the scene as 16-year-olds, and for 2019, Tyler Sonsie is that player. He has played the last five games of the season and being a half-forward who can kick off either foot and hit the scoreboard consistently or set others up, Sonsie is a damaging player and with continued development, could be a top pick in the 2021 draft.

#57 Beau TENNANT

A tall target inside 50, Tennant played his best game in his first game this year, booting three goals from six marks and 15 touches against Oakleigh in Round 14. He was named in Eastern’s extended squad for the grand final.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

#1 Lucas WESTWOOD

An unfortunate pre-game injury before the preliminary final ruled him out but he has been named in the extended squad. The reliable defender has been a club favourite with him doing a role each and every week and would play a role on an opposition forward if fit and available.

#2 Bailey LAURIE

The exciting small forward has enjoyed a busy finals series, constantly popping up and helping set up scoring opportunities for his teammates. He teams up well at the feet of Jamarra Ugle-Hagan with Nick Stathopoulos, and was instrumental in the qualifying final win over Gippsland Power with two goals from 16 touches and seven marks. A bottom-ager to look out for next season.

#4 Nick BRYAN

Had his best game since the start of the year last weekend when he took control of the ruck and was giving his midfielders first use. Might not have got to the expectations some placed on him at the start of the season, but showed just why people rated him so highly and it will be interesting to see if he can back it up against a strong combination of rucks in this game.

#5 Trent BIANCO

The co-captain is the Chargers’ most damaging player when up and about, and his lethal foot skills can punish opposition from turnovers. He has an array of ways to inflict pain on the opposition with his skills and vision, and leads from the front having no trouble finding the footy whether it be on the wing or half-back. One of the most important players in the grand final.

#6 Jeromy LUCAS

The GWS GIANTS Academy member has had no worries finding plenty of the pill this season, stepping up in the absence of Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson, also representing the GIANTS during the Academy Series. Has managed the eight games so far this season, and after a quiet qualifying final – the only game this season with less than 20 touches – he was more prolific last week in the Chargers’ win over the Dragons.

#8 Noah ANDERSON

Hard not to know this name given the publicity around him. In six games this year he had just one game under 23 disposals, and three games with 26 or more, including a whopping 44 touches and 2.2 against the Calder Cannons in Round 2. So big and strong compared to many other midfielders, he goes forward and plays the role of leading targets, hitting the scoreboard with multiple goals in all bar one of his matches.

#9 Will PHILLIPS

Generally a handball-happy midfielder, Phillips can play inside or out and takes some of the burden off the top-age midfielders in that group. He took out Vic Metro’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the Under-16 Championships last year, and practically brings his own ball to every game. Seems to model a fair bit of his game around Matt Rowell with similar intensity at the ball carrier or at ground level and hates being beaten.

#11 Matt ROWELL

Unless you have been living under a rock the past 12 months, it is near-impossible not to recognise the name. The likely number one pick has won just about every award under the sun, including best on ground in both the NAB League Grand Final last year – in a losing team – and on the MCG in the Under-17 All Stars game prior to the AFL Grand Final. Since gathering “just” 21 touches in Round 1, his NAB League disposal hauls are 31, 29, 34, 29 and 32. Disposals are not everything, but when they are in this guy’s hands they certainly are. Just opens things up and not only that, but averages 8.5 tackles per game, including back-to-back weeks of a combined 29 in Rounds 2 and 3.

#12 Lochlan JENKINS

Excited to see what the bottom-ager is capable of producing on the big stage, with him able to play a more outside role at times given the return of Rowell and Anderson to the midfield group. He is not afraid to attack the contest, and was one of the Chargers’ best during the mid-part of the season. One of a number of Chargers who will shape next year’s side.

#15 Kaden SCHREIBER

A State Draft Combine invitee, Schreiber’s form has been building over the past couple of months, rotating between the midfield and defence. Generally handball-happy, he played a more kick-encouraging role in defence for the preliminary finals and had arguably his best game of the year. One who will want to put up a big performance to show recruiters he can be as influential as some of the names in his side.

#17 Giorgio VARAGIANNIS

Another bottom-ager who just keeps popping up, recalled for the preliminary final after having not played since the last time these sides met back in Round 14. With an 18-disposal game, the utility finds the ball and works hard between the arcs.

#18 Fraser ELLIOT

Came off sore with his hamstring iced early in the preliminary final and while it was clear he wanted to get back out there, with the game well and truly on Oakleigh’s terms, on went the tracksuit. An important bottom-age prospect who could develop rapidly in his top-age year next year given his 188cm frame. Can find the ball too when he has the inside role, picking up massive numbers once the school footballers went out and he took control of the midfield.

#22 Thomas GRAHAM

I am not the only one that questions the 190cm listed at the start of the season. He is the ultimate utility, seemingly able to play every role on the field including ruck. With Nick Bryan back in the side, Graham can have the relief role, and he plays a good foil up front with three majors last week while all defenders eyes were on Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.

#25 Jamarra UGLE-HAGAN

His name has been one on the lips of plenty of draft watchers over the past month with consistency finally creeping into his game. After a quiet start to the year, Ugle-Hagan returned to the team for a couple of weeks mid-season during the school holidays, ad then again from Round 17 onwards, booting a massive 23 goals in his past six games. He has gone from likely first round selection to probable top five pick. His speed off the mark and clean hands are terrific, and if he can clean up some of his set shot attempts, then he could be looking at six-goal hauls most weeks.

#27 Josh MAY

Earned a State Draft Combine invitation after a consistent year playing between a wing and half-back. Has a long kick that can be effective, and benefits from freedom when Oakleigh is at full strength. Not a massive ball winner, May still finds his fair share of the footy – usually in the mid-teens – and is best suited to a role winning the ball on the wing and pumping it inside 50 to dangerous positions.

#29 Finlay MACRAE

The brother of Jack still needs to find his consistency, with a bit of yo-yo form at times, but his best is up there with some of the top bottom-agers. We saw on the weekend just how damaging he can be, racking up 22 touches, nine marks and a goal, and he is a smooth mover in the midfield. While he did not play for Vic Metro, getting named for the side was a big bonus and showed just how highly they rate him in the pathway.

#30 Sam TUCKER

A key position player who still has another year in the system, Tucker was included in the extended squad for the Grand Final after not playing since Round 13. His best game came in Round 12 when he took seven marks from 11 touches and four rebounds playing in defence, and is able to play around the ground as well.

#34 Vincent ZAGARI

You can rely on Zagari to go out and do a role each and every week. He has a long, penetrating kick that clears the defensive 50, and often matches up on the opposition’s most dangerous small forward. With the crafty Jordan Jaworski potentially on the horizon in this game, Zagari will need to be aware of the goal sneak’s ability to double back and find space goal-side. Just a consistent player.

#36 Ryan VALENTINE

Can match up on a taller opposition forward, and at 192cm, might even get the job on Jamieson Rossiter this week. Not a high disposal winner, but the bottom-age prospect just does a job and aims to nullify his opponent in each contest to give his side the best chance of winning.

#39 Reef MCINNES

The fact Oakleigh’s midfield is so strong that this kid can chill out in the backline is just ridiculous. A beast of an inside midfielder who is going to be a top-end prospect next year after showing plenty mid-year in the absence of Rowell and Anderson, the Collingwood Next Generation Academy member is 191cm already and has a raking kick and knows how to find the footy. Can play anywhere on the ground and right now he is doing a role off half-back.

#49 Harris MASTRAS

Another strong role player who has contributed to Oakleigh’s success by limiting the effectiveness of an opposition forward. Had his second most touches of the season on the weekend with 12 disposals, so is not a massive ball winner, but just does his job and makes life difficult for the opposition.

#52 Nick GUINEY

Bottom-ager who tends to play his best footy in defence, Guiney is a medium height at 186cm and while not an accumulator, clears the danger in the back half, while showing he can play further up the ground when required and get the ball inside 50. Like Valentine and Mastras, expect Guiney to fill out the defence and play a role on an opposition forward.

#58 Youseph DIB

The 16-year-old Collingwood Next Generation Academy member earned All-Australian honours this year and stands at just 172cm. He attacks the ball hard and creates opportunities in the forward half of the ground. Dib has only played the one game this season, playing the Sandringham Dragons in Round 17 and having six touches and three marks. He was included in the extended squad for the Grand Final.

#61 Connor STONE

Similar to Guiney but up the opposite end of the ground, Stone is a bottom-age forward who does not mind a goal. He booted two of them on the weekend and just pops up, good for a goal most weeks. He burst onto the scene against Murray Bushrangers with a five-goal haul in Round 9 and had plenty of draft watchers looking up his name, and while he has not replicated the massive haul, he is just consistent inside 50.

#73 Cooper SHARMAN

A late bloomer to the NAB League system, Sharman has booted goals in all bar one of his games, including a season-high four majors against Eastern Ranges in Round 14. He is the most reliable set shot in the competition with some nice athletic traits, and being an over-ager included in the program late, the Balwyn product and former GWS GIANTS Academy member has come on so quickly in draft calculations he earned a National Draft Combine invitation.

#77 Nick STATHOPOULOS

The stereotypical small forward, Stathopoulos is just a handful inside 50. He can smell a goal from a mile away and was a match-winner against Gippsland Power in the qualifying final with four majors from 15 disposals and four marks. He booted five goals against the Bushrangers in Round 9 on debut – exactly the same as Stone – and has hit the scoreboard in all bar one of this games this year.

FATHER/SON AND ACADEMY PROSPECTS

Eastern:

Chayce Black (Fremantle father-son – 2019)
Todd Garner (Hawthorn NGA – 2019)
Connor Downie (Hawthorn NGA – 2020)

Oakleigh:

Lachlan Johnson (Brisbane father-son / Essendon NGA – 2019)
Reef McInnes (Collingwood NGA – 2020)
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Western Bulldogs NGA – 2020)

WHY CAN THEY WIN?

Eastern Ranges:

They have been the best side all year and are deserving of the coveted 2019 premiership. They have the most even team of the entire competition, with their bottom six the strongest of any side. After a down year last year in the bottom two, the Ranges have thrived in 2019, and looking back, a remarkable 14 of their 23 players from the team have been on the list since 2017 as 16-year-olds. We know they will put in a four-quarter performance and are so unrelenting as they have done it all season.

Oakleigh Chargers:

Eastern has had just three losses this year – once to Gippsland Power by 10 points – and twice to the Chargers. Both time Oakleigh has found the formula to success against the Ranges, although now with plenty of changes for both sides since Round 14, it will be interesting to see how it goes down. Also, Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson are the best two players in the draft crop, and chuck in Trent Bianco on the outside, and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Cooper Sharman up forward and there is some serious talent on the park for Oakleigh.

WHO DO THEY NEED TO STOP?

Eastern Ranges:

Trent Bianco and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan. These two players are effectively Oakleigh’s barometer. It would be easy to say try and stop Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson, but we know that is not realistically going to happen with even poor games from those guys being 20-plus disposals. You can limit their influence at the stoppages and make life difficult for them around the ground, but they are so hard to beat. For Bianco, it will be not allowing him the time and space to slice up your defence and win easy ball on the outside. He can win his own ball, so make him do that. Too often teams focus on controlling the inside of the contest and it allows Bianco to be waiting for the ball in space and then deliver an elite bullet inside 50 to the leading Jamarra Ugle-Hagan. The amount of times no-one got in front of Ugle-Hagan on the lead in the past few weeks is quite remarkable. Oakleigh opens up the forward 50 for him, and Eastern needs to make sure someone is standing in the hole or ready to block the lead. If the Chargers hit-up someone else it is a risk, but the Ranges can ill-afford Ugle-Hagan to get his confidence up and on a roll.

Oakleigh Chargers:

James Ross and Connor Downie. Similar to Rowell and Anderson, the likes of Lachlan Stapleton, Mitch Mellis and Zakery Pretty are hard to stop. They will win the ball regardless of anything you do, it is just forcing them to rush their disposal under pressure or handball rather than kick and keep the ball in the area. The one you do not want getting too much of the ball is Connor Downie. He is a player similar to Bianco in the sense that when he starts to get the ball in time and space, can do some damage going forward. Moreso, Downie hits the scoreboard himself and while his consistency can be up and down, when he is on, he is a super damaging player as Gippsland found out on the weekend. Oakleigh cannot allow him to get his confidence up and start using his vision and skills to pinpoint passes inside 50. As for Ross, he is the key to the defence and if he has 20-plus touches and eight-plus marks, Eastern win the game. His read of the ball in flight is superb and he just settles the team down in defence. He will have the task of chopping off leads and dropping courageously into the hole. For Oakleigh, you have to make him as accountable as possible, and use his direct opponent as an option inside 50, or make it a consideration to restrict the predictability going forward. Otherwise Ross will just pick the perfect moment to peel off his opponent and come across as the third-man to spoil or mark and help out a teammate in defence.

GRAND FINAL HISTORY

Both the Eastern Ranges and Oakleigh Chargers are well familiar with the final day of the TAC Cup/NAB League Boys season, having made six grand finals each. Of the 26 previous seasons, one of these sides has been in 11 of them. In 2015, these teams faced off in the decider, rising from fifth and sixth to make the grand final. With four country teams ahead of them, it gave credence to the metropolitan sides being stronger in finals with their school players back, and on that day the sides played out a thriller. Oakleigh won by 12 points with Kade Answerth being named best on ground, along with a host of future talent including Tom Phillips and Ben Crocker (Collingwood), Patrick Kerr (Carlton), Taylin Duman (Fremantle), Sam McLarty (Collingwood) and Alex Morgan (North Melbourne/Essendon) all running around for the winners. Eastern had a list containing a fair bit of super bottom-age talent as well as top-age stars, with Ryan Clarke (North Melbourne) and Dylan Clarke (Essendon), Jordan Gallucci (Adelaide), Blake Hardwick (Hawthorn), Callum Brown (Collingwood) and Jack Maibaum (Sydney) all strutting their stuff, but for draft watchers, a couple of players donning the #56 and #58 jumpers caught the eye most as 16-year-olds Jaidyn Stephenson (three goals) and Adam Cerra stole the show.

Eastern Ranges:

1995: lost to Northern Knights by 29 points
2000: lost to Geelong Falcons by 22 points
2002: defeated Calder Cannons by one point
2004: lost to Calder Cannons by 70 points
2013: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 112 points
2015: lost to Oakleigh Chargers by 12 points

Oakleigh Chargers:

2006: defeated Calder Cannons by 27 points
2011: lost to Sandringham Dragons by eight points
2012: defeated Gippsland Power by one point
2014: defeated Calder Cannons by 47 points
2015: defeated Eastern Ranges by 12 points
2018: lost to Dandenong Stingrays by six points.

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPS

Peter Williams
Tip: Eastern Ranges
BOG: James Ross (Eastern)

Michael Alvaro
Tip: Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Noah Anderson (Oakleigh)

Ed Pascoe
Tip: Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Matt Rowell (Oakleigh)

Craig Byrnes
Tip: Eastern Ranges
BOG: Mitch Mellis (Eastern)

Matthew Cocks
Tip: Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Trent Bianco (Oakleigh)

NLB GF 2019: How they got here – Eastern Ranges

EASTERN Ranges have had a sensational 2019 season, finishing minor premiers and earning their way into the NAB League Boys decider. The Ranges have a really even team across the board with captain James Ross holding together a stringent defence, Mitch Mellis, Lachlan Stapleton and Zakery Pretty among a host of uncompromising midfielders, and the likes of Jamieson Rossiter and Jordan Jaworski able to hit the scoreboard in the front half. Along with smalls and medium-talls, they also rotate their rucks through the forward line with Riley Smith and Billy McCormack providing tall targets inside 50. We take a look at our round-by-round wrap-ups of each of Eastern’s matches this season.

ROUND 1:

EASTERN RANGES 3.0 | 4.1 | 5.3 | 7.5 (47)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.3 | 6.9 | 10.13 | 12.16 (88)

In the second game of the double header at RAMS Arena, Eastern Ranges put up a fight before eventually going down to one of the premiership favourites in Oakleigh Chargers. The Ranges booted three goals in the opening term to lead by three points at the first break, before the Chargers hit back in the second term with four goals to one, albeit with inaccuracy plaguing them. They booted 6.9 in the first half, and then 6.7 in the second half, finishing the game strongly and holding the Ranges to just three goals in the last half. Noah Anderson was the clear best on ground with four goals from 26 disposals, while Lachlan Gawel booted two goals for the Ranges. Nick Guiney, Will Phillips and Nick Bryan were named among the best for the Chargers, while Lachlan Stapleton and Cody Hirst were impressive for the Ranges. While the loss would be disappointing, the fact Eastern was able to match it with one of the top teams will give them plenty of confidence going forward.

ROUND 2:

WESTERN JETS 0.1 | 2.4 | 4.4 | 5.4 (34)
EASTERN RANGES 6.7 | 8.11 | 12.14 | 13.19 (97)

Eastern Ranges got the upper hand in an East v. West battle, trumping the Western Jets by 63 points to see both sides move to 1-1. Signs were ominous early as the Ranges skipped out to a seven-goal lead at quarter time, holding it until half-time and building on it in the second half. Mitch Mellis put in a performance good enough for a Draft Central player of the week nomination, collecting 35 disposals, five inside 50s and three goals. Joshua Tilly joined Mellis with three majors, while Lachlan Stapleton won 33 disposals (including 10 inside 50s) and Cody Hirst had 29 of his own. Darcy Cassar was best afield for Western on a dirty day with 31 disposals, nine rebound 50s and seven marks, while Josh Kellett was also handy with 20 disposals and 12 rebound 50s. The Jets will have a third crack at getting on the board next week in their meeting with fellow winless side, Calder, while Eastern is set to open the round against Northern in an interesting match-up.

ROUND 3:

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 3.1 | 3.3 | 3.3 (21)
EASTERN RANGES 3.4 | 6.9 | 8.14 | 13.18 (96)

Eastern Ranges notched up its second-consecutive NAB League win, opening Round 3 with a 75-point drubbing of the Northern Knights. Despite a steady start, Eastern accelerated after half-time – keeping their opponents goalless while pouring on seven majors to finish up comprehensive winners. While Sam Philp, Josh D’Intinosante, and Liam McMahon were the only Knights to hit the scoreboard with first-half goals, the Ranges had an impressive 10 individual goal kickers in the dominant performance. Fresh off his Draft Central player of the week outing, Mitch Mellis again had a day out, collecting 29 disposals and a bag of three goals, with Joshua Tilly the only other multiple goal kicker and Cody Hirst lively for his 19 disposals and lone goal. Skipper James Ross was the leading ball-winner with 30 touches, while Philp (26 disposals, nine tackles, one goal) led the way for Northern on a dirty day from Ryan Gardner (23 disposals, nine marks, six tackles) and D’Intinosante (21 disposals, nine tackles, seven inside 50s, one goal). Yet to claim a win, the Knights host the GWS GIANTS academy next time out in hopes of rectifying that, while Eastern is set for a trip north to face Brisbane Lions Academy on Sunday.

ROUND 4:

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 3.0 | 5.1 | 11.1 | 12.3 (75)
EASTERN RANGES 4.4 | 6.7 | 8.7 | 13.8 (86)

An fighting final term turnaround saw Eastern Ranges earn its third-consecutive win, overcoming the Brisbane Lions academy by 11 points in Southport. Having broken to a 12-point half-time lead, the Ranges were reigned in quickly thereafter as the hosts booted six goals to two to steer clear heading into the final break, but the Ranges turned the two-goal deficit almost completely around as the heavens opened to snatch an unlikely victory. Eastern bottom-ager Salele Feagaimalii had an blinder, taking full advantage of playing full-time midfield to rack up 28 disposals, seven clearances and two clutch final-quarter goals as his side’s best. Fellow 17-year old Joshua Clarke also stood up when it mattered, slotting the goal of the day on the run from 50 as part of his 21 disposals, while Chayce Black was dangerous early up forward, ending with 2.3 behind Ben Hickleton‘s 3.0. For the Lions, Blake Coleman claimed a game-high four goals from his nine disposals, with Tom Wischnat (19 disposals, 3.2) to thank for two of them, while Noah Cumberland also claimed three majors. Skipper Will Martyn lifted from last week’s performance to rack up an impressive 37 disposals and 12 marks, while former-captain Cody Stackleberg was influential with 26 touches and seven inside 50s. With Eastern locked into the top four, a game against another Queensland academy awaits, while Brisbane will look for a second win in its away clash against Sandringham.

ROUND 5:

EASTERN RANGES 1.3 | 2.5 | 9.7 | 11.11 (77)
GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 0.2 | 1.3 | 1.5 | 2.6 (18)

Eastern Ranges made it a double demolition of the Northern Academies at Trevor Barker Beach Oval, downing the Gold Coast Suns academy by 59 points to climb into the competition’s top two. After a first-half arm-wrestle ensued, the Ranges broke the game open with a seven-goal to nil third term to set up their fourth-straight win. Three players did the bulk of Eastern’s scoring, with Bailey White claiming an opportunistic bag of four goals in his first game for the year, while Jamieson Rossiter booted 3.3 in a solid marking display and Ben Hickleton chimed in with 2.4. Another player to find the goals, Zak Pretty, amassed a whopping 37 disposals at 70 per cent efficiency to earn the Draft Central player of the week nod, but was beaten out by dominant ruckman Riley Smith (19 disposals, 37 hit-outs) for best-afield honours. Lachlan Stapleton (27 disposals) and Mitch Mellis continued their good form through the middle, with bottom-age prospect Joshua Clarke impressing off half-back with plenty of dash. Ryan Buckland and Ethan Dawson were the Suns’ only goal kickers for the day, with many of their best players employed further afield. Connor Budarick (27 disposals, 16 tackles) continues to shine on the back of hard work, while Corey Joyce and Dirk Koenen were also named in the best for their roles in defence. The Suns head back home next week to face GWV and see out their NAB League cameo, while Eastern faces a tough task in keeping its win-streak alive against Gippsland in Morwell.

ROUND 6:

GIPPSLAND POWER 4.1 | 8.2 | 9.7 | 12.9 (81)
EASTERN RANGES 5.1 | 7.2 | 9.3 | 11.5 (71)

Gippsland Power ground out a 10-point win over Eastern Ranges to see them continue their gradual climb towards the top of the NAB League ladder, while Eastern remains lodged in the top four despite the narrow defeat. The Ranges got the better of a high-scoring opening term, but Gippsland reversed the six-point margin heading into the main break. With both sides performing well in front of goal and the margin cut back to within four points in the final quarter, a grandstand finish was on the horizon. After Eastern reclaimed the lead with two quick goals, Gippsland powered home with the last three to seal victory. Zak Pretty and Lachlan Stapleton again won a heap of the ball to lead all comers with 28 disposals each for Eastern, with opportunistic forwards Ben Hickleton and Bailey White bagging hauls of three goals. Power captain Brock Smith collected 27 disposals and nine rebound 50s to earn a Draft Central player of the week nomination, with Riley Baldi (27 disposals, seven marks) continuing his solid return to be named amongst the best. Sam Flanders (26 disposals, nine clearances, two goals) was instrumental in helping Gippsland get over the line, with Fraser Phillips (20 disposals, three goals) also finding the ball and big sticks. The Power host Calder next week with an eye on Eastern’s top four spot, as the Ranges set to face Sandringham in their biggest test yet.

ROUND 7:

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 4.2 | 4.7 | 6.9 | 6.10 (46)
EASTERN RANGES 3.2 | 4.4 | 6.5 | 8.7 (55)

Onlookers were treated to an enthralling contest down at RSEA Park, with finals aspirants Eastern Ranges grinding out a nine-point win against a gallant Sandringham Dragons. In a tough and uncompromising affair where polish and poise lacked, grit and determination made up for. With the margin at each break never being more than a goal, both teams fought out to the death, with the Ranges breaking away in the final minutes to record a clutch win. Sandringham led at every break and won the inside 50 count 53 to 44, but failed to capitalise on ample opportunities, often bombing the ball in long where it was intercepted by Jack Ross, who was outstanding for the Ranges. Whilst the Dragons midfield, led by Ryan Byrnes and Miles Bergman, seemingly won the clearance count, it was the Ranges outside midfielders Cody Hirst and Connor Downie who delivered the ball to the Ranges forwards with class. Eastern proved the stronger team for longer, willing themselves over the line with some classy use and heroic defensive acts, placing them in the upper echelon of the ladder, with Sandringham rueing missing some straight-forward opportunities that were missed.

ROUND 8:

Bye.

ROUND 9:

EASTERN RANGES 1.4 | 4.8 | 6.12 | 9.16 (70)
GEELONG FALCONS 1.0 | 1.0 | 4.4 | 4.6 (30)

Eastern Ranges consigned the Geelong Falcons to a third-straight loss despite some troubles in front of goal, claiming victory by 40 points to jump into third. The Ranges kept their opponents goalless in the second and fourth quarters, while taking full advantage of the one-way breeze to boot three majors in each of those terms – which proved more than enough. The result could have been blown out far worse had Eastern converted its 25 scoring shots better, but the Box Hill City Oval conditions hardly ever make for pretty football. Mitch Mellis responded to being left out of the Vic Metro side well, collecting a monster 39 disposals, 10 clearances and seven inside 50s in yet another best-afield performance for Eastern. Zak Pretty was next best in the ball-winning stakes with 28 disposals, with skipper James Ross (13 disposals, six marks) solid in defence, Mihaele Zalac (19 disposals, eight inside 50s) showing signs, and Jonte Duffy busy with three goals. Sam Bourke continues to put his hand up for Geelong despite the side’s down form, named best for his 21-disposal effort off half back. Chas Karpala was not far behind with his team-high 24 touches and nine marks, while bottom-ager Cameron Fleeton was impressive alongside Bourke in the back half with 15 disposals and six rebound 50s. Not being massively depleted by the national carnival worked to the Ranges’ favour as they fielded a near full strength side in the face of Geelong missing both of its co-captains. Both sides are set to take part in a MARS Stadium double-header next Saturday, with Geelong opening the show against Sandringham while Eastern clashes with GWV.

ROUND 10:

GWV REBELS 0.3 | 0.3 | 0.5 | 0.5 (5)
EASTERN RANGES 3.1 | 9.4 | 12.6 | 18.8 (116)

New ladder-leaders Eastern Ranges consigned the Greater Western Victoria Rebels to the season’s first goalless score, trouncing them by 111 points at Mars Stadium. The Ranges piled on six goals in the second and fourth quarters while also keeping the home side scoreless in both to set up the big win, with the percentage boost putting them top of the NAB League ladder. While both sides had some key outs coming into the game on the back of Under 18 championship duties, Eastern simply had too much remaining firepower across the board. Jordan Jaworski was the main beneficiary, booting 7.1 in a break-out game for him, while Metro representative Connor Downie put his hand up for re-selection on the back of three goals, and fellow squad member Jamieson Rossiter matched his tally to return to the side with a bang. Zak Pretty again won a mountain of ball to lead the possession stakes, with Tyler Edwards and Wil Parker not far behind to also be named among Eastern’s best. On a tough day for the Rebels, bottom-ager Jack Tillig stood up with 31 disposals as his side’s best, while fellow ’02 birth Fraser Marris was the next best alongside Round 9 player of the week nominee, Riley Polkinghorne. The Rebels will have to wait a week until they can redeem their performance, with a tough encounter against Western up next, while Eastern has the chance to go 2-0 against fellow top four hopefuls, Sandringham in what will be a top of the table clash in Round 11.

ROUND 11:

EASTERN RANGES 2.2 | 4.4 | 7.6 | 8.8 (56)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.2 | 3.5 | 5.6 | 5.8 (38)

Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash between Eastern and Sandringham saw little change in terms of ladder position, as the Ranges only strengthened their hold on top spot with an even three-goal win to go four points clear of their weekend opponents. With Eastern holding six and five-point buffers at the first two breaks, the Dragons always looked a chance to come back into the game, but hey were held off well as the Ranges slowly built their lead and kept the dangerous travelling side to just two points in the final term. A difference in firepower ended up being a telling factor, with Ben Hickleton (10 disposals, three goals) and Billy McCormack (19 disposals, 23 hitouts, two goals) stepping up in the absence of Jamieson Rossiter. Jack Bell was the best answer to their efforts for Sandringham up the other end, returning 13 disposals, 21 hitouts and a goal to put his hand up for Metro selection. In the ball-winning stakes, returning Sandringham star Darcy Chrigwin was phenomenal around the ball with a game-high 32 disposals and 16 tackles, with fellow returnee Ryan Byrnes having a steady 21 disposals and Jackson Voss matching his haul in a return to the outside. For Eastern, Jacob Gilbee, Zak Pretty, and Lachlan Stapleton led the possessions but were not named in the best – beaten out by the likes of Tyler Edwards (20 disposals, four inside 50s), Mihaele Zalac (19 disposals, six tackles), and James Ross (15 disposals, five rebound 50s). The Ranges will look to stay top with another win next week against Tasmania on the road, while Sandringham faces Oakleigh in what should be a cracker.

ROUND 12:

TASMANIA DEVILS 5.1 | 6.3 | 7.6 | 8.7 (55)
EASTERN RANGES 4.0 | 6.4 | 7.9 | 11.11 (77)

The Eastern Ranges extended their lead atop the NAB League standings to eight points, becoming the first side in 2019 to hit 10 wins with a 22-point victory over Tasmania on the Apple Isle.

It did not come easy though, with the hosts enjoying a great start on the back of a dominant three-goal opening term from bottom-age forward Jackson Callow. The Devils’ attacking approach saw them get the better of their more fancied opponents to the first break, opening a seven-point gap on the back of a free-flowing period of play. As expected, the Ranges hit back in the second term to edge in front at half time by a single point, but it proved a costly quarter for both sides as Tasmania lost Mitch O’Neill to an innocuous knee injury, while Eastern skipper James Ross was helped from the ground after copping the full force of a late bump. The game continued to tighten up in the third term as the sides shared a goal each to set up a tense finish, with Eastern’s tactical shift in the back half ensuring Callow was kept much quieter. Taking some good momentum into the final term, Eastern would go on to run away with the win with four goals to one, very much proving to be the team to beat.

The instinctual combination between Eastern’s midfield trio of Mitch Mellis, Lachlan Stapleton, and Zak Pretty proved telling, especially after Tasmania lost O’Neill with Mellis named best afield. Joel Nathan‘s role on Callow in the second half with Ross out of the game was crucial, despite the Tasmanian finishing with four goals and edging in front of Eastern’s Ben Hickleton to lead the NAB League goal kicking charts. For Tasmania, Matt McGuinness continued his good form across half back, taking on a greater role with Sam Collins shifting further afield at times. Oliver Davis was again instrumental through midfield, with Will Peppin busy around the ground and Rhyan Mansell dangerous up forward.

Both teams are set to line up in Round 14’s double-header at Box Hill City Oval, with Tasmania opening proceedings against Gippsland and Eastern readying for a top four clash with Oakleigh.

ROUND 13:

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 3.0 | 5.3 | 9.6 | 11.9 (75)
EASTERN RANGES 5.5 | 9.7 | 11.7 | 12.7 (79)

The Murray Bushrangers fell four points short of a remarkable second half comeback, going down to the ladder-leading Eastern Ranges in a tightly contested game. It was beginning to look elementary for Eastern early on as the Ranges put on 17 scoring shots to Murray’s eight to break to a 27-point half-time buffer. But the third term proved a breakthrough one for the Bushrangers, booting four goals to Eastern’s two to close within striking distance at just 13 points adrift. Another two goals to one was not enough to snatch the win though, with Eastern holding on for its ninth win from eleven games. While Joel Nathan was named best for the winners, Ben Hickleton (eight disposals, four goals) was efficient up the other end alongside Mitch Mellis (22 disposals, seven inside 50s, two goals) to make a profound impact. Zak Pretty matched Mellis’ disposal haul to lead the Ranges in that area, but was beaten out by Murray’s Jye Chalcraft – who led all-comers with 29. Ruckman Will Christie also stood tall with 19 disposals, eight marks, and 25 hit-outs, while Zane Barzen continues to mark everything (nine) and Zavier Maher (15 disposals, one goal) was also serviceable. The Bushrangers, who should cause some headaches for sides above them in the back end of the season, face Northern next for a chance to sneak into the eight, while Eastern hosts Oakleigh in a top four showdown.

ROUND 14:

EASTERN RANGES 4.2 | 6.2 | 9.5 | 11.9 (75)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 0.2 | 6.6 | 8.10 | 12.11 (83)

In the second game of the double header, it looked to be a blowout early in the match with Eastern Ranges piling on four goals to zero in the opening term and had six on the board to Oakleigh’s one midway through the second term. The Chargers then roared into action, piling on five consecutive goals to hit the front by the main break. In a see-sawing second half, both sides looked to have a stake in the win, but it was not until Dylan Williams booted a late goal in the final term – as he had done on the eve of half-time, for Oakleigh to be home. While Williams finished with two majors, Cooper Sharman was dominant with four straight goals and 18 touches, looking ever-dangerous. Trent Bianco had a day out with 34 touches and 10 rebounds, camping off half-back and keeping the ball moving forward, while Jeromy Lucas and Will Phillips were among the big ball winners for the Chargers. For Eastern, it was a rare loss for the top-of-the-table side, but Jordan Jaworksi finished with four goals – three in the first half, while Beau Tennant booted three. Lachlan Stapleton was the standout midfielder in the absence of partner-in-crime Mitch Mellis, while Wil Parker and Zak Pretty were also productive in the midfield.

ROUND 15:

BYE

ROUND 16:

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 0.5 | 2.5 | 5.5 | 6.5 (41)
EASTERN RANGES 1.5 | 1.6 | 4.10 | 5.16 (46)

Dandenong fell agonisingly short of snapping its seven-game losing streak, going down by five points to ladder leaders Eastern at Shepley Oval. Six straight goals after quarter time was not quite enough to account for a wasteful 0.5 opening, with the equally wayward Ranges getting over the line after scrounging five behinds in the final 15 minutes to crawl to victory. It was the top-end talent of Dandenong that saw it draw close, with Hayden Young continuing his fine form to collect 26 disposals, six marks and five inside 50s, while Ned Cahill booted two goals from 18 touches, and Bigoa Nyuon was prominent in the air with 20 hitouts and seven marks. Despite their efforts, bottom-ager Clayton Gay (15 disposals, six marks, six tackles, six rebound 50s) was named the Stingrays’ best in a well-rounded performance, with Jack Toner (27 disposals) leading all-comers in the ball winning stakes. For the Ranges, who have now locked in top spot due to a sizeable percentage, skipper James Ross was terrific in a role further afield – collecting 20 disposals, taking seven marks and kicking two goals. Zak Pretty (27 disposals) and Mitch Mellis (24) found plenty of the pill, while consistent tall Billy McCormack (20 disposals, 22 hitouts) proving just that and 16-year-old Tyler Sonsie (20 disposals, five marks, six tackles) acclimatising nicely to the level. With first place all but nailed down, the Ranges move on to face Calder in the ultimate round, while Dandenong will eye off a win heading into Wildcard Round when it meets Geelong to end the regular season.

ROUND 17:

CALDER CANNONS 3.1 | 4.1 | 7.6 | 9.9 (63)
EASTERN RANGES 1.4 | 4.5 | 6.7 | 10.7 (67)

Eastern Ranges snatched a dramatic after-the-siren win over Calder on Saturday to finish the regular season a game clear on top of the ladder. Bottom-age gun Connor Downie proved the hero, slotting home cooly with his twelfth disposal after earning a 50/50 incorrect disposal free kick with just seconds left. Earlier, the Cannons chipped away well to earn leads at two of the first three breaks and looked to have done enough to hold off the Ranges, with Mason Fletcher converting as time ticked away. But in the last roll of the dice play at the end of an action-packed final minute, the Ranges broke forward quickly and created the all-important scramble inside 50 to come up trumps through Downie. The diminutive Eastern midfield trio of Mitch Mellis (26 disposals), Zak Pretty (24) and Lachie Stapleton (23, two goals) was arguably led by the latter in a typically workmanlike display through the engine room, while 16-year-old Tyler Sonsie was also influential moving forward with his 17 touches and two minor scores. For the unlucky losers, Daniel Mott was very nearly a match-winner as he lifted late through midfield to prize a bunch of clearances among his 21 disposals and six inside 50s. State combine invitee Sam Ramsay led the disposal count with 27, while Ned Gentile (20 disposals, 0.3) had some nice moments and Jake Sutton booted a game-high three goals. The result had little bearing on the final ladder and looked to prove as much in the build-up, with results at the other end of the ladder poising Calder against Tasmania in Wildcard Round while Eastern can enjoy a week off.

QUALIFYING FINAL:

EASTERN RANGES 1.6 | 4.6 | 5.10 | 7.10 (52)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.0 | 2.2 | 4.4 | 5.8 (38)

EASTERN Ranges are through to the preliminary finals after downing a highly rated Sandringham Dragons outfit at Mars Stadium this afternoon. The Ranges were ferocious from the opening bounce and looked like a side on a mission to show they were every bit the title contender. By the time the final siren sounded, the feeling around the stadium was that there was now four realistic premiership contenders, as an even team performance put them through. Jamieson Rossiter booted four goals, while the Ranges’ midfield was steady as always, but it was such an even contribution that they held firm and got the job done.

Eastern started strongly, but could not seem to miss the post with a remarkable four posters in the first quarter, two from Jordan Jaworski set shots, one from a Billy McCormack snap and one from a Lachlan Gawel set shot, all of which had they been goals could have seen the margin 25 points at quarter time. Instead, it was just six points with the breeze less dominant than the first game, but still just as influential compared to the other end. The only goals in the term came from Eastern’s Rossiter who converted a set shot from straight in front early, followed by a clunk from Miles Bergman in a pack with his shot sailing home. Louis Butler was busy in defence for the Dragons with nine touches and a couple of rebounds, while Ryan Byrnes (seven disposals) was busy in midfield. For the Ranges, McCormack had four inside 50s from eight disposals, while Zakery Pretty (eight disposals) and Mitch Mellis (seven) were just as busy.

With the wind by their side, it did not take long for the Dragons to hit back with the first major after a long shot from Darcy Chirgwin landed short, came off hands and was soccered through by Andrew Courtney to level the scores. But from that point on, the Ranges’ defence was a thing of beauty, not giving the Dragons an inch and rebounding everything that Sandringham threw at them. Lachlan Stapleton was the first to capitalise through a team goal that went from a series of a handballs and he finished off the great team work. Then came a bit of class from Tyler Sonsie with the Under 16s talent marking, playing on and negotiating the breeze perfectly with a violent turn that spun around the post for a major. The term was about to get better as a long shot on goal from Jaworski was marked close to the boundary by Rossiter, who turned and snapped his second and the lead was 18 points. A couple of late behinds – including a disappointing miss after the siren from Jake Bowey drew some choice words from Eastern players as the ladder leaders headed into half-time with a 16-point lead. Early in the term, Sandringham key forward/ruck Jack Bell was stretchered off in the with what looked to be a serious knee injury.

Sandringham looked a different team out in the second half, opening the half with great intent and back into their running game. The likes of Butler, Byrnes and Bergman were getting their hands on the ball and moving it quick, switching it through the middle and getting it inside 50 to set up scoring opportunities. On the other side, Eastern still pressured the ball carrier and had plenty of chances, but like the first term, missed a number of gettable opportunities inside 50. Byrnes set up a goal with a super pass inside 50 to Charlie Dean. While Dean’s shot missed, it gave Will Mackay a crumbing opportunity to snap around his body and boot his side’s third of the day. Another goal came shortly after, again thanks to running from a stoppage by Byrnes which lead to a Blake O’Leary free kick for front-on contact and goal. With the margin back within a kick, Eastern held on for dear life – such as a goal-saving spoil from captain James Ross on the line – and it paid dividends with their constant opportunities eventually getting them a goal on the board through Rossiter who again was clean at ground level, turned and snapped for his third major late in the quarter. The siren sounded with the Ranges 12 points up with the Dragons kicking towards a two-goal breeze but not much in it.

The fourth quarter was an entertaining arm wrestle with nothing in it, and it took a couple of class moments from players to keep the game alive on both sides. First it was Sonsie who received the last handball in a chain of a handballs and kicked it on the run which bounced through. Then it was the defensive work of Joel Nathan and Ross up the other end, such as Nathan’s one-on-one win against Dean under pressure to get it out. Unfortunately for the Ranges, Bergman was there to intercept on the 50m line and his kick sailed over the goal umpires head to put it back in single digits. For the next 10 minutes there was not much that separated the sides as Courtney missed a chance on goal and various Dragons attacks were stopped by the stringent Eastern back six. Instead, a costly 50m penalty with a couple of minutes left saw Rossiter with a free kick and then from the set shot put it through to send his side into the preliminary finals.

Pretty finished with a team-high 22 touches, while Mellis was everywhere with 21 disposals, four inside 50s and five tackles. Rossiter was the most crucial player with four majors in a low scoring contest from just 10 disposals and four marks, while Stapleton (19 disposals, eight tackles) and Connor Downie (18 disposals, two marks) were also impressive. For the Dragons, Byrnes was arguably best on ground with a Herculean four-quarter effort for his side with 27 disposals, four marks, 10 inside 50s and three tackles, setting up his team in any way he could. Butler also played on of his best games with 25 disposals and eight rebounds, while Bowey (14 disposals, four marks and three inside 50s) looked busy throughout.

PRELIMINARY FINAL:

EASTERN RANGES 2.1 | 4.3 | 7.4 | 10.8 (68)
GIPPSLAND POWER 1.2 | 2.4 | 4.7 | 5.8 (38)

MINOR premier Eastern Ranges advanced to the NAB League grand final with a 30-point win over the Gippsland Power at Princes Park. The Ranges fought off every Gippsland challenge to run out comfortable winners in the end, claiming the 10.8 (68) to 5.8 (38) result.

In a slow opener, it was Eastern who edged ahead through goals from Jamieson Rossiter and Jordan Jaworski, with a long-range major to Harrison Pepper splitting the two Ranges efforts. The midfield battle was tight, with Gippsland’s key ball winners doing everything in their power to give their forwards first use. But the Ranges continued to get on top as the scrum-like contest wore on, working hard in general play to lock the ball in their half and create the better opportunities. Their chances were not all taken though, with the 11-point half-time lead not looking nearly as comfortable as the Ranges did out on the field and something they could have gone on to rue. In another two goals to one term, Caleb Serong’s set shot goal was Gipplsand’s sole response to majors from Todd Garner and a beauty from Connor Downie at range heading into the main break.

It took a while for the shackles to break after half-time too, but the Ranges made a brief spell of dominance count as Joshua Clarke broke the early deadlock while Jordan Jaworksi and Callum Norris followed suit. With the margin stretched out to 30 points the Power needed a lift. It came in the form of Sam Flanders up the field, with Nicholas Prowd almost an unlikely hero with two chances on goal, settling for the one major. A silly 50m penalty to Fraser Phillips gave Gippsland a sniff as he converted after the siren. In a familiar scene, it took until the six minute mark of the final term for a goal to be scored, and it came through Ben Hickleton to make things really tough for Gippsland. It was soon all over as Tyler Sonsie slotted home the sealer after Charlie Comben missed the chance to instantly reply, with Rossiter booting another and Serong adding his second just before the final siren.

Lachlan Stapleton led the charge with an equal game-high 28 touches, with bottom-age defender Wil Parker next best on 23 touches and Connor Downie impactful with his goal from 17 disposals. For Gippsland, it was the typical duo of Flanders (28 disposals) and Serong (21 disposals, two goals) who stood up, while Pepper was terrific in defence.

NAB League Boys weekend preview: Tasmania vs. Eastern

A standalone fixture this week sees Tasmania Devils host the Eastern Ranges in a bout originally scheduled for Round 12, as the rest of the competition enjoys a week off before Round 14 recommences the season on Saturday, July 20.

TASMANIA DEVILS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 12 – 13/06/2019

10:45am

UTAS Stadium – Launceston

 

While it seemed long odds at the beginning of the season, Eastern has been far and away the most consistent and best side in 2019, sitting pretty atop the NAB League ladder at 9-2 coming into its clash with Tasmania. The Devils have been competitive for the most part, battling to 4-7 in their inaugural full-time NAB League season to sit eleventh. The two sides are yet to meet this season, taking history out of the equation and allowing both sides to work from a clean slate. With the national carnival run and done, both sides will slowly return to full strength in the coming weeks, starting on Saturday for Tasmania as it regains leading prospect Mitch O’Neill for the tough battle ahead. The core of the Devils’ side is in place, with Round 13 Draft Central Player of the Week Matt McGuinness remaining in the heart of defence, O’Neill back through the middle, and Jackson Callow set to dominate from centre half-forward. Allies representative Jake Steele also returns and may be freed up from his usual ruck duties, named on the wing. For Eastern, a bit of forward line depth slots into the selected 23 as Jordan Jaworski and Joshua Tilley find themselves named alongside diminutive ball winner, Jonte Duffy. It means Eastern possesses threats all around the ground, with a midfield capable of winning high amounts of ball, a forward line with plenty of goals in it from tall and small options, and a solid defence with rebounding quality. The Ranges could look to really get on top in their forward half though, with Tasmania’s strength most significantly lying in the engine room. Needless to say, it will be an uphill climb for the Devils in their persuit to overcome the Ranges, but they should give it a red-hot crack in front of their adoring home fans.

 

TEAMS:

 

TASMANIA DEVILS

B: 60. J. Barwick, 38. O. Shaw, 21. L. Gadomski

HB: 12. I. Chugg, 7. M. McGuinness, 17. P. Walker

C: 39. S.  Green, 3. O.  Davis, 8. J.  Steele

HF: 20. W. Harper, 9. J. Chaplin, 4. W. Peppin

F: 33. L. Borsboom, 25. J. Callow, 27. R. Mansell

R: 56. J. Lane, 13. S. Collins, 1. M. O’Neill

Int: 2. O. Burrows-Cheng, 37. L. Deegan, 23. H. Ireland, 31. J. Menzie, 50. C. Riethoff, 26. O. Sanders, 14. B. Simpson, 35. L. Viney

 

In: L. Deegan, J. Steele, W. Harper, L. Borsboom, O. Sanders, C. Riethoff, S. Green, M. O’Neill

Out: N. Baker,  T. Reeves,  E. Jackson,  C. Stephenson,  Z. Adams

 

EASTERN RANGES

B: 12. J. Gilbee, 39. J. Nathan, 40. J. Hourihan

HB: 4. J. Clarke, 21. J. Ross, 19. W. Parker

C: 20. C.  Downie, 7. L.  Stapleton, 30. T.  Edwards

HF: 9. J. Duffy, 28. T. Weir, 13. J. Rossiter

F: 10. C. Black, 36. B. Hickleton, 27. J. Jaworski

R: 18. B. McCormack, 23. Z. Pretty, 11. M. Mellis

Int: 42. A. Begg, 44. H. Keeling, 32. I. Mccormick, 45. M. Zalac

Emg: 24. T. Hardstaff, 53. J. Tilly, 3. C. Tilyard

 

In: J. Duffy, J. Jaworski, J. Tilly, A. Begg

Out: T. Garner, J. Diedrich

 

NAB League Boys Round 9 wash-up: Dragons and Chargers adjust best to big outs

ROUND 9 NAB League results see each top four side sit pretty on six wins as ladder-leaders Dandenong had the week off, with Sandringham getting the better of Gippsland and Eastern getting up convincingly against Geelong. Despite missing around half of its best 22 to Vic Metro commitments, Oakleigh was another big winner – solidifying a top eight spot with the largest margin of the weekend.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 1.4 | 2.8 | 3.13 | 5.14 (44)
TASMANIA DEVILS 2.1 | 5.5 | 7.13 | 10.16 (76)

GOALS:
GWV: F. Atchison 2, I. Grant, J. Quick, N. Caris.
Tasmania: J. Callow 4, J. Menzie 2, O. Burrows-Cheng, W. Peppin, C. Stephenson, J. Chaplin.

BEST:
GWV:
R. Polkinghorne, F. Marris, I. Grant, C. Craig-Peters, J. Dwyer, M. Lloyd
Tasmania: O. Davis, J. Chaplin, I. Chugg, J. Callow, O. Burrows-Cheng, R. Mansell

By: Joe Lee

Blustery conditions made for a scrappy affair at MARS Stadium on Saturday morning, with the Devils running out eventual victors by 32 points. With inaccuracy being the headline of the day, it was the Devils’ quick and efficient ball movement that saw them claim the four points ahead of the Rebels. With both teams being incredibly fumbly and wasteful with ball in hand, the game lacked class at times in tough conditions. Jackson Callow was outstanding with a four-goal haul for the Devils, whilst Oliver Davis and Will Peppin starred. Defensive pair Matt McGuinness and Sam Collins were a force to be reckoned with for the Devils, combining for a whopping 18 rebound 50s and 15 marks. Riley Polkinghorne amassed a whopping 39 touches for the Rebels, with Matty Lloyd and under-ager Jack Tillig working hard alongside him in the middle.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.1 | 4.2 | 6.4 | 8.8 (56)
CALDER CANNONS 3.1 | 7.1 | 8.2 | 10.5 (65)

GOALS:
Northern: J. Lucente 3, B. Major, K. Davies, J. Bowne, T. McMahon, J. D’Intinosante.
Calder: J. O’Sullivan 3, F. Evans 2, O. Sasalu, M. Simpson, Z. Molloy, J. Eyre.

BEST:
Northern:
A. Taylor, S. Philp, J. Davies, B. Major, O. Simpson, J. Potter
Calder: N. Gentile, Z. Molloy, J. O’Sullivan, M. Simpson, C. Brown, B. Overman

Calder Cannons are back on a winning run after edging the Northern Knights by nine points in tough conditions. The match marked a return to Preston City Oval for the Knights, but the home ground advantage proved a minor factor as Calder adjusted better to the wet conditions after an opening quarter deadlock. An efficient showing in front of goal proved the difference, especially in the second term when Calder converted four-straight goals to build a match-defining 17-point lead – helping them over the line despite having one less scoring shot. Ned Gentile continues to impress for Calder, notching up another best-afield nod on the back of 21 disposals, six clearances and five inside 50s, while Jeremy O’Sullivan caught the eye with an equal game-high three goals from 17 touches. Max Simpson was the leading disposal-getter on the ground with 27, working admirably around the ground to also clock up 12 marks, six rebound 50s and five inside 50s, with Curtis Brown also finding plenty of the ball (23 disposals, four rebound 50s). For the Knights, over-ager Ayce Taylor was named best for his 23-disposal effort, just in front of leading ball-winners Sam Philp (25 disposals, five clearances) and skipper, Jackson Davies (22 disposals, six rebound 50s). James Lucente was their only multiple goal kicker with 3.1, but bottom-age key forward Ben Major was also dangerous forward of centre. The loss is a second-straight for Northern after it won three consecutively, set to back it up with a clash against ladder-leaders, Dandenong. Meanwhile, Calder will hope to extend its hot streak next week against fellow Round 9 winners, Oakleigh in what should be a cracking game.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 1.2 | 2.6 | 4.7 | 9.11 (65)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 3.6 | 8.11 | 14.12 | 18.14 (122)

GOALS:
Murray: H. Kaak 3, C. Wild 2, D. Bedendo, J. Chalcraft, W. Chandler, W. Bowden
Oakleigh: C. Stone 5, N. Stathopoulos 5, H. Mundy 3, T. Graham 2, L. Jenkins 2, A. Tassell

BEST:
Murray:
J. Boyer, D. Bedendo, J. Hillary, W. Christie, C. Wild, W. Chandler
Oakleigh: C. Stone, F. Elliot, L. Jenkins, V. Zagari, N. Stathopoulos, F. Maguire

Oakleigh Chargers made it three wins on the trot as they comfortably accounted for the Murray Bushrangers by 57 points, consolidating their top eight standing. After scraping over the line by under a goal in each of their last two outings, the Chargers emphatically returned to form on the back of huge second and third quarters where they piled on 11 goals to three to establish dominance. Goals came in droves for the winners, with five of their six goal kickers claiming multiples – led by bottom-ager Connor Stone and Nicholas Staphopoulos, who each bagged five majors. Both were named amongst the best, with the bottom-aged midfield pairing of Fraser Elliot (26 disposals, six inside 50s) and Lochlan Jenkins (24 disposals, eight clearances) again right in the thick of it, and Vincent Zugari (17 disposals, seven rebound 50s) also solid. Jimmy Boyer was the clear best for Murray on a tough day, amassing an equal game-high 27 disposals and nine rebound 50s, with Vic Country squad member Cam Wild (20 disposals, 2.3) also good. Hudson Kaak joined Wild as the only other Murray multiple goal kicker (three), with over-ager Will Christie (12 disposals, nine tackles, 26 hitouts) working well around the ground. Murray’s search for a third win heads to Tasmania next week as they ready themselves to do battle with the Devils, while Oakleigh hosts and in-form Calder side with both teams looking to stretch their win streaks.

 

EASTERN RANGES 1.4 | 4.8 | 6.12 | 9.16 (70)
GEELONG FALCONS 1.0 | 1.0 | 4.4 | 4.6 (30)

GOALS:
Eastern: J. Duffy 3, J. Jaworski 2, J. Tilly, B. Hickleton, B. McCormack, Z. Pretty.
Geelong: C. Brauer, T. Richardson, J. Grigsby, J. Sarcevic.

BEST:
Eastern:
M. Mellis, J. Ross, W. Parker, J. Duffy, M. Zalac, Z. Pretty
Geelong: S. Bourke, C. Karpala, C. Fleeton, W. Kilpatrick, O. Barrow, J. Sarcevic

Eastern Ranges consigned the Geelong Falcons to a third-straight loss despite some troubles in front of goal, claiming victory by 40 points to jump into third. The Ranges kept their opponents goalless in the second and fourth quarters, while taking full advantage of the one-way breeze to boot three majors in each of those terms – which proved more than enough. The result could have been blown out far worse had Eastern converted its 25 scoring shots better, but the Box Hill City Oval conditions hardly ever make for pretty football. Mitch Mellis responded to being left out of the Vic Metro side well, collecting a monster 39 disposals, 10 clearances and seven inside 50s in yet another best-afield performance for Eastern. Zak Pretty was next best in the ball-winning stakes with 28 disposals, with skipper James Ross (13 disposals, six marks) solid in defence, Mihaele Zalac (19 disposals, eight inside 50s) showing signs, and Jonte Duffy busy with three goals. Sam Bourke continues to put his hand up for Geelong despite the side’s down form, named best for his 21-disposal effort off half back. Chas Karpala was not far behind with his team-high 24 touches and nine marks, while bottom-ager Cameron Fleeton was impressive alongside Bourke in the back half with 15 disposals and six rebound 50s. Not being massively depleted by the national carnival worked to the Ranges’ favour as they fielded a near full strength side in the face of Geelong missing both of its co-captains. Both sides are set to take part in a MARS Stadium double-header next Saturday, with Geelong opening the show against Sandringham while Eastern clashes with GWV.

 

WESTERN JETS 3.1 | 3.4 | 7.5 | 11.7 (73)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.3 | 4.4 | 4.5 | 4.7 (31)

GOALS:
Western: S. Clifford 4, D. Pantalleresco 2, L. Heaney 2, A. Manton, D. Edwards, K. Borg.
Bendigo: J. Ginnivan, K. Brown, A. Gundry, S. Conforti.

BEST:
Western:
L. Rocci, S. Clifford, E. Ford, D. Edwards, A. Clarke, L. Rzanovski
Bendigo: L. Fitzgerald, B. Vaz, J. Treacy, A. Gundry, J. Evans, J. Guiney

Bendigo Pioneers suffered its sixth-straight loss, held goalless in the second half to go down by an even seven goals to the Western Jets. The Pioneers have suffered massively on the back of losing their star players to school football and now, Vic Country commitments, and this game highlighted that. The low score broke Bendigo’s two-game run of putting 74 points on the board, with Western booting four goals each in the third and fourth terms to build its winning margin. Bottom-ager Samuel Clifford booted a game-high four goals for the Jets, joined by over-ager Daniel Pantalleresco and Luke Heaney with multiple goals. But it was Lucas Rocci who impressed most, racking up 34 disposals (29 kicks), 12 marks, and 12 rebound 50s to be the winner’s clear best performer, while Eddie Ford‘s 22 disposals was the next highest. Leading Bendigo ball-winner Logan Fitzgerald (29 disposals, five clearances) was named best in a losing effort, with Sam Conforti (27 disposals) Braydon Vaz (21, seven marks) solid, and Aaron Gundry (19 disposals, 28 hitouts) the only Pioneers goal kicker to also be named amongst the best. While Bendigo can enjoy a week off, Western faces a tough task in backing up its win against the surging Gippsland Power in Round 10.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 1.4 | 3.6 | 4.7 | 6.7 (43)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.1 | 3.4 | 7.6 | 10.8 (68)

GOALS:
Gippsland: L. Connolly, Z. Skinner, M. McGannon, L. Williams, M. McGarrity, Z. Soutar
Sandringham: K. Yorke 5, T. Sheezel, J. Bell, M. Heath, G. Grey, J. Gray

BEST:
Gippsland:
T. Hourigan, T. Mann, T. Rees, J. van der Pligt, B. McAuliffe, L. Williams
Sandringham: K. Yorke, T. Milne, L. Lamble, J. Bell, J. Voss, B. O’Leary

The Sandringham Dragons overcame massive outs and a half-time deficit to get the better of fellow top four fancies Gippsland Power in a 25-point victory to see out Round 9. The Dragons clicked into gear after being held well in a deadlocked first half, kicking away with seven goals to three over the third and fourth terms to snap up a sixth win. Kyle Yorke found his way back onto the scoresheet in emphatic fashion with 5.2 as the game’s only multiple goal kicker and Sandringham’s best afield. Potential St Kilda father-son pair Jackson Voss (27 disposals, seven tackles) and Tyson Milne (25 disposals, eight marks, seven rebound 50) benefitted from greater midfield minutes as other Dragons to impress, while Lachlan Lamble and Blake O’Leary matched Voss’ game-high haul of 27 touches. Luke Williams was the only Power player to find the goals and be named in the best, with Jake van der Plight (20 disposals, 11 tackles) and Leo Connolly (20 disposals, one goal) leading the possession stakes. Tye Hourigan was named Gippsland’s best though on the back of 17 disposals and five marks, but it wasn’t enough to help the Power cover for the heavy losses they suffered due to Vic Country selection. Sandringham’s form without many of its stars proved the difference, with Gippsland hardly experiencing the same test to its depth before this outing. The Power have the chance to rectify the loss against Western next week, while Sandringham travels to face Geelong at MARS Stadium.

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Round 8

ALL ten TAC Cup clubs have thrown the magnets around at the selection table with a number of top prospects rested ahead of the National Under 18 Championships. For Murray Bushrangers and Oakleigh Chargers, they have to wait an extra week to play in a standalone game, but there are still five games for the interested onlooker to sink their teeth into across the weekend.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 8 – Saturday, June 2, 11:15am
Preston City Oval, Preston

Both Northern and Eastern have named extended benches with Mark Baker returning to the side and has been named at full-forward, while Kobe Brandt and Evan Tsitsis are others who have been named on the field for the Knights. They will miss captain Braedyn Gillard who has been a consistent ball-winning midfielder this season, while Kye Yodgee and Adam Carafa are others who have been confirmed outs for the game. For Eastern, Cody Hirst and Jonte Duffy are out, however there is good new for the Ranges with James Blanck and Xavier Fry back into the lineup, named among four inclusions in the extended squad.

Northern Knights

B: 25. J. Davies, 11. R. Sturgess, 22. M. Wild
HB: 1. R. Gardner, 33. J. Randall, 5. L. Potter
C: 37. K.  Brandt, 10. B.  Bell, 40. N.  Mayne
HF: 24. R. Bowkett, 18. S. Brazier, 14. E. Tsitsis
F: 7. H. Grace, 21. M. Baker, 27. J. Lucente
R: 16. T. Hallebone, 12. J. Naylor, 17. J. D’Intinosante
Int: 35. K. Agosta, 31. N. Barro, 20. P. Della Rocca, 23. J. Hart, 34. Z. Hudson, 50. M. Sindrivanis, 28. S. Uzelac
23P: 39. N. Kitchell

In: E. Tsitsis, N. Kitchell, M. Baker, J. Hart, K. Agosta, M. Sindrivanis, Z. Hudson, K. Brandt
Out: K. Yodgee,  B. Gillard,  A. Carafa,  X. Bateman,  A. Castagna

Eastern Ranges

B: 20. B. Cardamone, 31. J. Blanck, 47. T. Hallett-Tauali’i
HB: 23. X. Fry, 18. B. McCormack, 25. L. Vassis
C: 4. R.  Clausen, 7. L.  Stapleton, 30. T.  Edwards
HF: 2. A. Kalcovski, 53. J. Drake, 11. M. Mellis
F: 14. L. Gawel, 13. J. Rossiter, 28. L. Kruger
R: 58. R. Smith, 8. J. Burleigh, 24. K. Quirk
Int: 3. H. Chinn, 5. R. Einsporn, 12. J. Gilbee, 27. J. Jaworski, 36. S. Kapahnke, 22. C. Quirk, 54. J. Sullivan
23P: 43. K. Crosby

In: S. Kapahnke, L. Gawel, J. Jaworski, J. Blanck, X. Fry
Out: J. Duffy, C. Hirst

WESTERN JETS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 8 – Saturday, June 2, 2.15pm
Williamstown Football Ground, Williamstown

In the second game of the day, the Western Jets will hope to continue their strong form against the Bendigo Pioneers who are on a six-game losing streak. The Jets lose captain Xavier O’Halloran who has earned a break ahead of the National Championships, but regain Stefan Radovanovic and man mountain Darren Walters who is among six inclusions for the extended squad. The Pioneers will be without the likes of Bailey Henderson for the clash with at least seven players departing the side from last round, while Jacob Atley is back in to provide good support in midfield.

Western Jets

B: 25. S. Johnson, 41. L. Rzanovski, 37. H. Murphy
HB: 10. S. Kyriazis, 38. B. Khamis, 6. L. Rocci
C: 17. D.  Andrews , 36. J.  Rice, 23. M.  Maguang
HF: 20. D. Cassar, 24. J. Honey, 2. T. Rudic
F: 11. Z. Butters, 31. E. Jeka, 45. A. Clarke
R: 47. D. Walters, 12. C. Thar, 39. S. Radovanovic
Int: 5. M. Chak, 21. J. Crawford, 29. D. Fruscalzo, 4. J. Jenkins, 28. J. Papachatzakis, 35. T. Warner, 7. J. Watkins
23P: 16. C. White

In: D. Walters, C. White, J. Crawford, M. Maguang, S. Radovanovic, T. Rudic
Out: X. O’Halloran,  N. Ellis,  W. Smyth

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 3. L. Marciano, 11. J. Grace, 41. B. Vaz
HB: 24. N. McHugh, 32. W. Wallace, 2. J. Williams
C: 25. F.  Perez, 43. H.  Lawrence, 49. O.  Perez
HF: 29. E. Roberts, 46. L. Tenace, 20. J. Schischka
F: 6. J. Rodi, 54. M. Christensen, 5. N. Wheeler
R: 23. D. Keating, 9. Z. Keighran, 15. Caccaviello
Int: 16. J. Atley, 33. J. McHale, 48. P. Moi Moi, 28. C. Vick, 51. B. Waasdorp
23P: 13. K. Brown

In: J. Atley, L. Tenace, C. Vick, K. Brown, J. Rodi, O. Perez, B. Vaz
Out: L. Caccaviello, Z. Denahy, T. Walters, C. McCarty, M. Lias, D. Loveridge, B. Henderson

CALDER CANNONS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 8 – Saturday, June 2, 2.15pm
RAMS Arena, Cragieburn

Up at RAMS Arena, Calder Cannons have bolstered their line-up with the return of co-captain Jack Bytel from injury, while the classy Kyle Baker and tall Jake Riccardi join a number of inclusions in the team. Switchman Daniel Hanna was good last week but is among the outs, as is Dylan Landt and Jeremy O’Sullivan. For the GWV Rebels, Tom Berry will be a welcome return, while Terang Mortlake junior Isaac Wareham makes his debut as the 23rd player. Harrison Butler and Ethan Harvey are the two confirmed outs for the Rebels.

Calder Cannons

B: 9. C. Barton, 38. B. Newman, 17. N. Doyle
HB: 3. I. Moussa , 43. L. Cavallaro, 8. L. Sholl
C: 44. N.  Gentile, 5. C.  Taylor, 1. D.  Mott
HF: 4. K. Baker, 27. T. Browning, 11. J. Firebrace
F: 33. J. Evans, 41. J. Roumeliotis, 48. S. Ramsay
R: 29. J. Riccardi, 42. N. Croft, 30. M. Podhajski
Int: 16. J. Bytel, 46. S. Callander, 6. J. Horo, 52. B. Reddick
Emg: 51. W. Jury, 19. B. Rigoni, 39. L. Sultana
23P: 53. M. Abou-Eid

In: W. Jury, K. Baker, L. Sultana, D. Mott, J. Bytel, B. Rigoni, J. Roumeliotis, J. Riccardi
Out: J. O’Sullivan,  D. Hanna,  C. Lamb,  A. Righele,  D. Landt

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 48. J. Cleaver, 43. J. Wright, 1. C. Craig-Peters
HB: 3. S. Carlin, 35. C. Hinkley, 24. M. Lloyd
C: 32. M.  Burgess, 2. M.  Schnerring, 5. H.  Jennings
HF: 14. J. Hill, 20. T. Watts, 6. C. Wilson
F: 7. M. Martin, 28. C. Giddings, 39. J. Mawson
R: 29. P. Glanford, 13. T. Berry, 9. L. Dawson
Int: 4. B. Annett, 12. A. Gove, 27. E. Lamb, 33. J. Ross
Emg: 17. T. Clark, 21. I. Grant, 40. I. Thomas
23P: 30. I. Wareham

In: J. Mawson, I. Wareham, I. Grant, I. Thomas, T. Berry
Out: H. Butler, E. Harvey

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 8 – Sunday, June 3, 10.45am
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Dandenong has put most of its Vic Country stars on ice for this round, with Bailey Williams, Zac Foot, Sam Fletcher and Bailey Schmidt all out, while Stephen and Matthew Cumming return, as does AFL Academy member Hayden Young. For the Dragons, they have the four confirmed outs with Josh Paul and Jackson Hannah departing he side, while the break from school footy sees the likes of Darcy Chirgwin, Jacquin Mifsud, Jeremy Goddard and Charlie Langford returning with the Melbourne Grammar bye this weekend.

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 12. M. Gahan, 20. S. De Koning, 41. L. Stenning
HB: 7. J. Taylor, 56. M. Cumming, 2. H. Young
C: 37. B.  Angwin, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 3. J.  Plumridge
HF: 49. M. Cottrell, 36. S. Cumming, 27. L. McDonnell
F: 11. E. Cahill, 5. A. Paterson, 57. R. Nanscawen
R: 13. R. Bowman, 16. J. Frawley, 47. J. Hickey
Int: 6. J. Barker, 33. J. Carosella, 38. J. Harmes, 55. J. Ocaa, 35. F. Stellato, 50. L. Williams
23P: 45. L. Goonan

In: L. Goonan, H. Young, J. Barker, F. Stellato, J. Ocaa, S. Cumming, J. Harmes, M. Cumming
Out: B. Schmidt,  L. Young,  Z. Foot,  S. Fletcher,  C. Ellison,  B. Williams

Sandringham Dragons

B: 44. J. Mifsud, 43. C. Langford, 45. J. Voss
HB: 14. R. O’Meara, 69. C. Watts, 11. N. Stamatis
C: 72. D.  Chirgwin, 8. K.  Owens, 50. T.  Deane-Johns
HF: 47. T. Milne, 20. H. Bede, 76. X. Verdnik
F: 13. T. Brimble, 28. J. Rendell, 58. K. Yorke
R: 32. J. Griffiths, 66. R. Byrnes, 21. D. McNeish
Int: 37. N. Bufalo, 63. M. Butera, 59. A. Courtney, 24. H. Ferdinand, 3. T. Fogarty, 41. J. Goddard, 25. O. McMaster
23P: 55. J. Cowden

In: T. Brimble, J. Mifsud, J. Goddard, D. Chirgwin, J. Cowden, C. Langford, H. Ferdinand
Out: J. Paul, L. Lamble, J. Hannah, B. Krongold

GIPPSLAND POWER v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 8 – Sunday, June 3, 1.15pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Both Gippsland and Geelong have rested a multitude of stars in the final game of the round ahead of the National Championships. Gippsland will go in with its youngest side of the year with captain Xavier Duursma, over-ager Matthew McGannon, key defender Kyle Reid and bottom-agers Brock Smith and Sam Flanders all out of the side. Nick Lowden, Will Broadbent and Mason McGannon are among at least five inclusions for the game. For Geelong, they will miss their full-back Dane Hollenkamp, as well as switchman Connor Idun and co-captain Oscar Brownless who joins fellow captain Sam Walsh on the sidelines.

Gippsland Power

B: 7. B. Patterson, 40. Z. Hurley, 15. R. Sparkes
HB: 36. M. Bentvelzen , 14. T. Hourigan, 10. L. Connolly
C: 8. B.  Beck, 1. T.  Hayes, 19. F.  Phillips
HF: 20. H. Neocleous, 23. N. Gown, 45. A. Young
F: 6. R. Baldi, 16. J. Smith, 26. W. Broadbent
R: 22. R. Henkel, 13. N. Lowden, 11. A. Hodge
Int: 17. G. Cocksedge, 3. M. McGannon, 21. M. McGarrity, 29. B. Motton, 37. H. Pepper, 43. Z. Skinner, 35. J. van der Pligt
23P: 31. B. Macfarlane

In: N. Lowden, Z. Hurley, F. Phillips, A. Young, M. McGarrity, B. Macfarlane, W. Broadbent, M. McGannon
Out: K. Reid,  B. Smith,  S. Flanders,  X. Duursma,  M. McGannon

Geelong Falcons

B: 40. J. Clark, 37. B. Campi, 33. Z. Knights
HB: 3. K. Rayner, 31. C. Cartledge, 21. L. Smith
C: 6. D.  Madigan, 41. C.  Stephens, 2. S.  Torpy
HF: 32. F. Parish, 20. B. Ham, 16. B. Scott
F: 14. R. Hayden, 42. H. Spiller, 48. B. Schlensog
R: 50. J. Grigsby, 13. E. Floyd, 10. B. Mensch
Int: 9. B. Morton, 35. C. Tanis, 25. L. Taylor, 26. F. Wilson
Emg: 15. L. Handley, 28. C. O’Connor, 45. T. Richardson
23P: 19. B. Ritchie

In: C. O’Connor, T. Richardson, Z. Knights, B. Ham, J. Clark, B. Campi, E. Floyd, B. Ritchie, H. Spiller
Out: C. Harris, S. Stokes, D. Hollenkamp, C. Idun, C. Karpala, O. Brownless

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Round 7

A NUMBER of key inclusions to TAC Cup sides this round could help teams in their quest to get a win ahead of the Development Weekend next weekend. GWV Rebels have welcomed back Matty Lloyd, a defender who made a habit of running and carrying the footy out of defence last year, while AFL Academy member Mathew Walker and key position player Stephen Cumming return for their respective teams after strong Under 18 Academy Series performances. In Round 7 there is a top-of-the-table clash, a bottom two clash, and a number of contests which could see teams leapfrog the other with victories.

CALDER CANNONS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 7 – Saturday, May 19, 10am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

In the first game of a Triple Header at RAMS Arena, the Calder Cannons will be hoping to win its second consecutive match for the first time this season. At 3-3, the Cannons are sixth on the table hosting the eighth placed Knights. However a win to the visitors will see Northern leapfrog Calder on the ladder, with the Knights just two points behind the Cannons. Calder have made at least three changes to their line-up, with Jonah Horo, Dylan Landt and Ben Reddick coming into the starting line-up, while Mohammed Abou-Eid has been named as the 23rd man. The likes of Kyle Baker, Oscar Sasalu and Luke Sultana make way for these changes. For the Knights, they have thrown the magnets around with six changes, including some big inclusions. Patrik Della Rocca, Kye Yodgee, Justin McInerney, Joel Naylor and Mark Baker are among the names to return to the side with an extended bench, with Aaron Castagna – the brother of Tiger Jason Castagna – named as 23rd man.

Calder Cannons

B: 9. C. Barton, 38. B. Newman, 3. I. Moussa
HB: 43. L. Cavallaro, 23. D. Hanna, 8. L. Sholl
C: 27. T.  Browning, 33. J.  Evans, 48. S.  Ramsay
HF: 44. N. Gentile, 46. S. Callander, 2. D. Landt
F: 11. J. Firebrace, 12. J. O’Sullivan, 5. C. Taylor
R: 54. C. Lamb, 30. M. Podhajski, 42. N. Croft
Int: 17. N. Doyle, 6. J. Horo, 52. B. Reddick, 55. A. Righele
Emg: 51. W. Jury, 1. D. Mott, 29. J. Riccardi
23P: 53. M. Abou-Eid

In: W. Jury, M. Abou-Eid, D. Mott, J. Horo, B. Reddick, D. Landt
Out: K. Baker,  O. Sasalu,  L. Sultana

Northern Knights

B: 33. J. Randall, 28. S. Uzelac, 11. R. Sturgess
HB: 25. J. Davies, 12. J. Naylor, 5. L. Potter
C: 1. R.  Gardner, 10. B.  Bell, 30. J.  McInerney
HF: 17. J. D’Intinosante, 20. P. Della Rocca, 3. B. Gillard
F: 8. A. Carafa, 31. N. Barro, 27. J. Lucente
R: 16. T. Hallebone, 36. K. Yodgee, 18. S. Brazier
Int: 21. M. Baker, 24. R. Bowkett, 37. K. Brandt, 45. J. Furphy, 7. H. Grace, 40. N. Mayne, 22. M. Wild
23P: 42. A. Castagna

In: K. Yodgee, P. Della Rocca, A. Carafa, A. Castagna, J. Furphy, M. Baker, J. Davies, J. McInerney, J. Naylor
Out: E. Tsitsis, C. Wild, N. Kitchell, J. Hart, K. Agosta, K. Nasser

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 7 – Saturday, May 19, 12.30pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The second game at RAMS Arena sees an mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash between Murray Bushrangers and Dandenong Stingrays. The winner will go outright top with a 6-1 win-loss ratio and earn some early bragging rights. Murray has loaded up with AFL Academy member Mathew Walker, Dylan Clarke and ruck Ben Kelly among the ins, however Mark Marriott, Edward Dayman and Will Chandler are listed among the outs. For the Stingrays, they have named an extended bench with William Geurts the only confirmed out. Key position tall Stephen Cumming and speedster Zac Foot are among four inclusions with the 25-man squad to be cut back to 22.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 34. T. Boyd, 2. J. Butts, 19. J. Boyer
HB: 12. L. Ash, 16. N. Murray, 22. A. Dang
C: 4. L.  Vandermeer, 5. E.  Smith, 10. P.  Warner
HF: 7. Z. Barzen, 8. J. Koschitzke, 26. R. Bice
F: 13. B. Frauenfelder, 18. H. Garoni, 9. M. Walker
R: 3. B. Kelly, 38. D. Clarke, 28. K. Clarke
Int: 11. E. Adams, 17. N. Amery, 20. J. Bradshaw, 14. J. Chalcraft
Emg: 48. R. Goodley, 15. R. Quinn, 44. L. Whyte
23P: 50. K. Davies

In: B. Kelly, R. Quinn, M. Walker, L. Whyte, R. Goodley, D. Clarke
Out: E. Dayman,  M. Marriott,  W. Chandler

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 12. M. Gahan, 20. S. De Koning, 10. L. Young
HB: 7. J. Taylor, 5. A. Paterson, 2. H. Young
C: 9. Z.  Foot, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 27. L.  McDonnell
HF: 49. M. Cottrell, 29. B. Williams, 3. J. Plumridge
F: 52. C. Ellison, 28. B. Schmidt, 57. R. Nanscawen
R: 13. R. Bowman, 1. S. Fletcher, 33. J. Carosella
Int: 37. B. Angwin, 11. E. Cahill, 36. S. Cumming, 16. J. Frawley, 45. L. Goonan, 47. J. Hickey, 41. L. Stenning
23P: 50. L. Williams

In: L. Goonan, E. Cahill, S. Cumming, Z. Foot
Out: W. Geurts

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 7 – Saturday, May 19, 3pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

In the final game of the RAMS Arena Triple Header, the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels take on the Gippsland Power. The Rebels drew with Oakleigh last week and have moved to within four points of the top eight, however Gippsland is flying, thumping Sandringham Dragons last week and moving into third spot on the table. A win to the Power will see them move into second with the top two teams facing off in the earlier day. Matty Lloyd is a vital inclusion for the Rebels, playing his first game of the season, brought in with Izaac Grant and Darcy McEldrew, while Harrison Butler and Jacob Lohmann are the confirmed outs. For the Power, Nick Lowden and Fraser Phillips are the two confirmed outs, while the five ins include Mason McGannon, Grady Cocksedge and Will Broadbent.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 48. J. Cleaver, 43. J. Wright, 1. C. Craig-Peters
HB: 32. M. Burgess, 20. T. Watts, 24. M. Lloyd
C: 3. S.  Carlin, 9. L.  Dawson, 5. H.  Jennings
HF: 14. J. Hill, 27. E. Lamb, 6. C. Wilson
F: 15. K. Councillor, 28. C. Giddings, 21. I. Grant
R: 29. P. Glanford, 4. B. Annett, 2. M. Schnerring
Int: 17. T. Clark, 35. C. Hinkley, 7. M. Martin, 45. D. McEldrew
Emg: 12. A. Gove, 33. J. Ross
23P: 16. E. Harvey

In: J. Ross, D. McEldrew, I. Grant, M. Lloyd
Out: H. Butler,  J. Lohmann

Gippsland Power

B: 15. R. Sparkes, 25. K. Reid, 35. J. van der Pligt
HB: 7. B. Patterson, 14. T. Hourigan, 12. B. Smith
C: 8. B.  Beck, 6. R.  Baldi, 29. B.  Motton
HF: 36. M. Bentvelzen , 23. N. Gown, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 4. S. Flanders, 16. J. Smith, 11. A. Hodge
R: 22. R. Henkel, 5. X. Duursma, 18. M. McGannon
Int: 26. W. Broadbent, 17. G. Cocksedge, 10. L. Connolly, 1. T. Hayes, 3. M. McGannon, 21. M. McGarrity, 37. H. Pepper
23P: 43. Z. Skinner

In: H. Pepper, G. Cocksedge, M. McGarrity, W. Broadbent, M. McGannon
Out: N. Lowden, F. Phillips

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 7 – Sunday, May 20, 10.45am
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

In the first Sunday game, the Oakleigh Chargers host the Western Jets at Warrawee Park. The Chargers were forced to split the points last week after a GWV Rebels comeback, while the Jets have now strung a couple of wins together after the disaster at Shepley Oval. Given the swings and roundabouts of school football, the Chargers have brought in six players for an extended bench including Trent Bianco and Bailey Griffiths, while the three confirmed outs are Lachlan Harry, Riley Thompson and Tyson Calder. A win to the Jets will see will see Western leapfrog the Chargers into fourth on the back of great form. The Jets have named an unchanged line-up so far, with Tom Warner, Jack Crawford and Lachlan Rzanovski all named in the 25.

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 56. M. Fewings, 43. P. Bohan, 22. D. Williams
HB: 12. N. Answerth , 23. I. Quaynor, 76. H. Leonard
C: 17. T.  Bianco, 2. L.  Bugeja, 35. X.  Fry
HF: 13. A. Bosenavulagi, 27. J. May, 26. J. Gasper
F: 6. M. Day, 7. J. Robertson, 25. D. Scala
R: 79. B. Griffiths31, 1. R. Collier-Dawkins, 5. X. O’Neill
Int: 47. U. Chol, 63. S. Elliott, 39. S. Fernandez, 24. S. Harte, 77. M. Tighello, 42. K. Viccars, 50. V. Zagari
23P: 20. F. Elliot

In: T. Bianco, B. Griffiths, M. Tighello, F. Elliot, U. Chol, S. Fernandez
Out: L. Harry,  R. Thompson,  T. Calder

Western Jets

B: 25. S. Johnson, 41. L. Rzanovski, 28. J. Papachatzakis
HB: 17. D. Andrews , 38. B. Khamis, 37. H. Murphy
C: 11. Z.  Butters, 33. X.  O’Halloran, 6. L.  Rocci
HF: 20. D. Cassar, 24. J. Honey, 7. J. Watkins
F: 45. A. Clarke, 31. E. Jeka, 10. S. Kyriazis
R: 47. D. Walters, 12. C. Thar, 39. S. Radovanovic
Int: 21. J. Crawford, 32. N. Ellis, 29. D. Fruscalzo, 36. J. Rice, 2. T. Rudic, 26. W. Smyth, 35. T. Warner
23P: 5. M. Chak

In: T. Warner, J. Crawford, L. Rzanovski

 

EASTERN RANGES v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 7 – Sunday, May 20, 2pm
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

Over at Box Hill on Sunday, the Eastern Ranges host the Bendigo Pioneers in what is a clash of the cellar dwellers. Eastern have been competitive throughout the season, and will be keen to have a win on their home soil. For the Pioneers, they only have a narrow win over GWV Rebels in round one to show for their season thus far and will be keen to potentially leapfrog the Rebels with a victory in this game. The Ranges have made at least four changes to their side, with key defender James Blanck, tackling small forward Cody Hirst and the likes of Brent Bredin and Jonte Duffy returning, while Thomas Lockman is one of four players named out of the side. Bendigo has lost Jacob Atley and full-forward Will Holt from its line-up, but with Geelong Grammar having the school football bye, can welcome a number of players back into the line-up. Thomson Dow is a name likely to be tracked over the next 18 months, while Zane Keighran, Riley Ironside and Bailey Waasdorp are a number of key ins.

Eastern Ranges

B: 12. J. Gilbee, 31. J. Blanck, 47. T. Hallett-Tauali’i
HB: 20. B. Cardamone, 21. J. Ross, 4. R. Clausen
C: 30. T.  Edwards, 7. L.  Stapleton, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 17. C. Hirst, 18. B. McCormack, 46. B. White
F: 9. J. Duffy, 13. J. Rossiter, 28. L. Kruger
R: 58. R. Smith, 8. J. Burleigh, 24. K. Quirk
Int: 1. B. Bredin, 3. H. Chinn, 53. J. Drake, 2. A. Kalcovski, 22. C. Quirk, 54. J. Sullivan, 25. L. Vassis
23P: 43. K. Crosby

In: J. Duffy, H. Chinn, J. Drake, J. Blanck, L. Kruger, C. Hirst, B. Bredin
Out: T. Lockman,  J. Weichard,  M. Taylor,  C. Daraio

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 3. L. Marciano, 11. J. Grace, 2. J. Williams
HB: 14. T. Dow, 24. N. McHugh, 25. F. Perez
C: 33. J.  McHale, 5. N.  Wheeler, 48. P.  Moi Moi
HF: 27. M. Lias, 35. Z. Denahy, 51. B. Waasdorp
F: 9. Z. Keighran, 18. B. Henderson, 29. E. Roberts
R: 23. D. Keating, 20. J. Schischka, 43. H. Lawrence
Int: 15. L. Caccaviello, 54. M. Christensen, 17. R. Ironside, 21. D. Loveridge, 37. C. McCarty, 38. K. Stevens, 28. C. Vick, 19. T. Walters
23P: 32. W. Wallace

In: R. Ironside, Z. Keighran, D. Loveridge, W. Wallace, T. Dow, C. Vick, B. Waasdorp
Out: J. Atley, W. Holt, L. Chisholm

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 7 – Sunday, May 20, 2pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

In the final game of the round, the Sandringham Dragons will be hoping a home ground advantage can turn their recent form around. The Dragons have dropped the three games since APS football started and will hoping that they can bounce back against the Geelong Falcons who lost against Western Jets last week following two good wins. A win to the Falcons would see Geelong move past Sandringham on the TAC Cup ladder. Among the large amount of ins for the Dragons is Kai Owens and key forward James Rendell, but the home side loses key midfielder Liam Stocker, as well as Ethan Casey among at least five changes. For the Falcons, Ed McHenry returns to school football after his one week back in the side, while Brayden Ham is among another three outs for the Falcons. Riley Hayden, Bailey Scott and Campbell Tanis are returning to the side for the round seven clash.

Sandringham Dragons

B: 14. R. O’Meara, 59. A. Courtney, 16. J. Paul
HB: 11. N. Stamatis, 69. C. Watts, 45. J. Voss
C: 37. N.  Bufalo, 66. R.  Byrnes, 25. O.  McMaster
HF: 3. T. Fogarty, 58. K. Yorke, 56. J. Hannah
F: 20. H. Bede, 28. J. Rendell, 21. D. McNeish
R: 32. J. Griffiths, 50. T. Deane-Johns, 8. K. Owens
Int: 34. C. Birmingham, 63. M. Butera, 24. H. Ferdinand, 71. B. Krongold, 15. R. Ladds, 65. L. Lamble, 76. X. Verdnik
23P: 47. T. Milne

In: L. Lamble, X. Verdnik, T. Milne, K. Owens, J. Rendell, O. McMaster, M. Butera, B. Krongold
Out: M. Scott,  T. Long,  T. Murray,  L. Stocker,  E. Casey

Geelong Falcons

B: 15. L. Handley, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 7. C. Harris
HB: 3. K. Rayner, 31. C. Cartledge, 41. C. Stephens
C: 6. D.  Madigan, 9. B.  Morton, 2. S.  Torpy
HF: 10. B. Mensch, 39. C. Idun, 32. F. Parish
F: 14. R. Hayden, 48. B. Schlensog, 26. F. Wilson
R: 50. J. Grigsby, 30. O. Brownless, 22. S. Walsh
Int: 16. B. Scott, 21. L. Smith, 35. C. Tanis, 25. L. Taylor
Emg: 33. Z. Knights, 28. C. O’Connor, 53. S. Stokes
23P: 11. C. Karpala

In: C. O’Connor, Z. Knights, C. Tanis, L. Smith, R. Hayden, B. Scott
Out: E. McHenry, B. Ham, B. Campi, J. Clark

TAC Cup previews: Round 4

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

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 

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

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

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

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

GEELONG FALCONS v. EASTERN RANGES 

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

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

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

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

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 

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

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

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

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

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS 

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

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

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

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

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. WESTERN JETS 

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

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

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

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

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. CALDER CANNONS 

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

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

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

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

Silvagni leads the way in score involvements

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

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

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

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

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

Top 15:

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

Club by Club: Top 3

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

 

Early look: Metro sides’ big ball winners

IT is the opening turn of the long TAC Cup season, but after three rounds, AFL Draft Central takes a look at those players who are already lighting up the stats sheet. From disposals and marks, to kicking efficiency and contested rate, there are a number of players already standing out. Today’s early look just investigates the six Metro teams, with the six Country ones to come.

Noah Anderson is leading the way with disposals, four clear of Northern’s Tom McKenzie, however McKenzie tops the charts in the clearances, three clear of the next highest player having notched up 20 in his three games thus far.

Alastair Richards has been impressive in his first few games for Sandringham, racking up 71 disposals and 20 marks – the latter ranked at number one from the Metro sides. Looking at those with plenty of defensive pressure, Eastern’s Lachlan Stapleton leads all comers by some way, laying 29 tackles in three games well ahead of his nearest rivals with 22.

Despite playing the one game, Max King is the club house leader in the goal kicking stakes. His eight goals against Oakleigh Chargers was enough to see the potential top five pick leading the Metro players after three rounds. His brother Ben has also been eye-catching in defence with some stints forward, ranked third overall in kicking efficiency – four out of five kicks have found their target so far.

The King brothers’ teammate Sam Forbes is just ahead of Ben with 83.9 per cent of his kicks being declared efficient, while Bombers fans would be smiling knowing potential father-son recruit and key defender Mason Fletcher is the most efficient kick of the Metro players (25 or more kicks) with an impressive 89.3 per cent hitting the mark.

Northern’s Sam Philp is the most contested player from the Metro sides with 40 or more touches so far this season, leading Western’s Jaden Rice and Eastern’s Ben Cardamone. Other players that have impressed across multiple statistical categories are Western pair Connor Thar and Zak Butters, Northern pair Braedyn Gillard and Josh D’Intinosante, and Calder co-captain Mitch Podhajski.

Disposals:

1 Noah Anderson (Oakleigh) 77
2 Tom McKenzie (Northern) 73
3 Alastair Richards (Sandringham) 71
3 Connor Thar (Western) 71
5 Mitch Podhajski (Calder) 65
6 Kye Quirk (Eastern) 63
6 Adrian Kalcovski (Eastern) 63
8 Matt Rowell (Oakleigh) 60
9 Zak Butters (Western) 58
10 Xavier O’Neill (Oakleigh) 57

Marks:

1 Alastair Richards (Sandringham) 20
2 Lachlan Sholl (Calder) 18
3 Kai Owen (Sandringham) 17
3 Jack Evans (Calder) 17
3 Sam Forbes (Sandringham) 17
6 Tye Browning (Calder) 16
6 Steven Kyriazis (Western) 16
6 Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh) 16
9 Mitch Podhajski (Calder) 14
9 Lucas Cavallaro (Calder) 14
9 Mason Fletcher (Calder) 14

Tackles:

1 Lachlan Stapleton (Eastern) 29
2 Jack Watkins (Western) 22
2 Jonte Duffy (Eastern) 22
2 Nathan Croft (Calder) 22
5 Josh D’Intinosante (Northern) 18
6 Kye Quirk (Eastern) 17
6 Jaden Rice (Western) 17
6 Liam Stocker (Sandringham) 17
9 Dawit McNeish (Sandringham) 16
9 Cody Hirst (Eastern) 16
9 Ben Cardamone (Eastern) 16
9 Zak Butters (Western) 16

Clearances:

1 Tom McKenzie (Northern) 20
2 James Rowbottom (Oakleigh) 17
2 Xavier O’Halloran (Western) 17
4 Braedyn Gillard (Northern) 15
4 Zak Butters (Western) 15
6 Connor Thar(Western) 14
6 Noah Anderson (Oakleigh) 14
8 Liam Stocker (Sandringham) 13
9 Dawit McNeish (Sandringham) 12
9 Bailey Smith (Sandringham) 12

Goals:

1 Max King (Sandringham) 8
2 Mitch Podhajski (Calder) 6
2 Josh D’Intinosante (Northern) 6
2 James Rendell (Sandringham) 6
2 Patrik Della Rocca (Northern) 6
2 Steven Kyriazis (Western) 6
7 Aaron Clarke (Western) 5
7 Daniel Scala (Oakleigh) 5
9 Curtis Taylor (Calder) 4
9 Will Kennedy (Sandringham) 4
9 Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh) 4
9 Josh Honey (Western) 4

Kicking Efficiency: (At least 25 kicks)

1 Mason Fletcher (Calder) 89.3%
2 Sam Forbes (Sandringham) 83.9%
3 Ben King (Sandringham) 80%
3 Xavier Fry (Eastern) 80%
5 Angus Hanrahan (Sandringham) 77.4%
6 Jack Papachatzakis (Western) 76.9%
7 Lucas Cavallaro (Calder) 75.8%
8 Ryan Gardner (Northern) 75.7%
9 Lachlan Sholl (Calder) 70.6%
10 Trent Bianco (Oakleigh) 67.9%

Contested Percentage: (At least 40 disposals)

1 Sam Philp (Northern) 66.7%
2 Jaden Rice (Western) 60%
3 Ben Cardamone (Eastern) 58.7%
4 Zac Hart (Oakleigh) 58.1%
5 Zak Butters (Western) 55.9%
6 Atu Bosenavualagi (Oakleigh) 55%
7 Liam Stocker (Sandringham) 51.9%
8 Joel Burleigh (Eastern) 50%
8 Jack Watkins (Western) 50%
8 Josh D’Intinosante (Northern) 50%