Tag: kyle clarke

Weekend Previews: TAC Cup – Round 15

TAC Cup football is back and with two rounds left, the end of the season is near. For the penultimate round of action there are some big guns back, while others head out to play the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final on the MCG tomorrow.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 15 – Saturday, August 18, 10am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the opening game of the round, two top four sides go head-to-head in a season-defining clash for both teams. Gippsland will lock away second spot with a victory, while Murray will need to win to put itself in the best position for a top four position as Oakleigh Chargers sit just two points adrift of the Bushrangers. The Power has only had the two losses this season, with two draws in season 2018 – against Calder Cannons and Northern Knights. It will be a good opportunity for the Power to grab the four points as the Bushrangers have a number of key outs. The side has lost Kyle Clarke and Jacob Koschitzke to injury, as well as Ely Smith to the VFL. The previous two head-to-head clashes between the teams have also gone the way of the Power, winning both by more than seven goals. Gippsland come into the game in good form coming off a victory against the Chargers. With Noah Gown and Fraser Phillips causing headaches up forward, Xavier Duursma in midfield and Kyle Reid in defence, they will be tough to beat. Their bottom-age brigade of Riley Baldi, Josh Smith and Brock Smith among others form a strong group, but Murray is a side that can topple anyone on its day. Hudson Garoni and Jye Chalcraft are always capable to creating scoring opportunities, while Jordon Butts is a very handy inclusion, patrolling the airways and finding plenty of the football. Jimmy Boyer, Willson Mack and Will Chandler are just a handful of talented bottom-agers for the Bushrangers who could have an impact against the Power. Gippsland head into the game as deserving favourites, but you can never write-off the Bushrangers.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 15 – Saturday, August 18, 12.30pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The midfield battle between Geelong Falcons and Dandenong Stingrays is poised to be a battle within a battle. Sam Walsh, Ned McHenry and Oscar Brownless will go head-to-head against the likes of Campbell Hustwaite, Sam Fletcher and Finlay Bayne, while Baxter Mensch and Cooper Stephens rotate through there, as will the likes of Zac Foot and Jamie Plumridge. Dandenong’s advantage has always been in the ruck, with Bailey Schmidt joining Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams between there and the key forward posts. The Falcons are in great form after a big win last round and will love the challenge of testing themselves against the benchmark in this game. For the Stingrays, they’re not in so much good form as they have never been in anything other than good form this season, dropping just the one game – by a kick no less. Now they travel up to MARS Stadium with top spot locked up, and will look to have a good win against the side that knocked the Stingrays out of the finals series last year. Expect this game to be a cracker and the likes of Dane Hollenkamp, Connor Idun and Blake Schlensog to have their work cut out against quality talls, while Brayden Ham continues to impress by hitting the scoreboard on a regular basis. Up the other end, Toby Bedford is sure to cause a few headaches with his tackling pressure and goal nous.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 15 – Saturday, August 18, 3pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The final game up in Ballarat is a battle between the country rivals in Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Bendigo Pioneers. The teams have played twice, with the head-to-head split one each. The Pioneers won the round one game by a point coming home strongly in the final term, before the Rebels accounted for them in the next clash. With the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final on at the MCG, the GWV Rebels’ depth will be tested, making at least 10 changes to their line-up, losing the likes of Scott Carlin, Matty Lloyd, Lochie Dawson, Josh Chatfield and Izaac Grant among others, while Tom Berry is of course out for the season through injury. For the Pioneers, they have strengthened their line-up massively with the inclusions of bottom-age tall Brodie Kemp, brothers Flynn and Oscar Perez, and the ever-consistent Bailey Henderson. If there was a game the Pioneers would go in as favourites despite being bottom of the ladder, it would be this one. Spectators will get a great indication of the strength of the Rebels’ depth, while also seeing if the Pioneers can utilise their speed and bottom-age talent to get the job done. While Jye Caldwell is still not out on the park, the Pioneers go in with one of their strongest line-ups this season and will back their chances here. GWV Rebels’ forward Charlie Wilson has been named in the middle, with he and Jed Hill the keys to putting scores on the board with so many outs in the team. Mitch Martin showed some great signs in the Under 17 Futures game and has a big opportunity in the midfield here, while Harris Jennings and Ben Annett are others who have shown signs throughout the season this year.

 

WESTERN JETS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 15 – Sunday, August 19, 10am
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

Moving to the Sunday games, two sides in the bottom half of the eight do battle with Western Jets hosting Northern Knights. Captain Xavier O’Halloran will swap Avalon Airport Oval for the MCG when he runs out for St Bernards in the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final. His leadership is a big loss on-field and with Zak Butters out for the year, the Jets will look to their strong inside midfield of Connor Thar, Jack Watkins and Jaden Rice to win the footy at the coal face and distribute to their runners on the outside in Stefan Radovanovic and Daly Andrews. Northern welcomes back its captain Braedyn Gillard after a long-term lay-off due to injury. He is one of a number of crucial inclusions along with Oscar White and Lachlan Potter in defence, and Josh D’Intinosante up forward. Tom Hallebone will be a loss in the ruck, especially against Darren Walters, but the Knights will back themselves in against the Jets’ midfielders with Adam Carafa in good form, and Justin McInerney and Ryan Gardner providing good run on the outside. This is expected to be a great contest and important in the scheme of finals. While the Knights cannot make top four and the Jets need all the luck in the world, positioning in the bottom half of the eight is still important because it determines their opponents in the Wildcard Round. Both sides are well coached, well drilled line-ups so expect a hard fought battle and no-one giving an inch across the four quarters.

 

EASTERN RANGES v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 15 – Sunday, August 19, 12.30pm
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

In the middle game, Eastern Ranges will be hoping to bring its A-game against a Calder Cannons team that keeps getting the job done each week. The Cannons lose a number of players to the St Bernards team in the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final, but welcome back top 30 draft prospect Rhylee West, forward Josh Kemp and Vic Metro representative Jack Evans among others. Eastern also has a number of inclusions, as Lachlan Stapleton and Caleb Quirk strengthen the side in their bid to upset the Cannons in this clash. Calder’s choice of overagers this year has been very clever with Mitch Podhajski patrolling the midfield, Daniel Hanna strengthening the defence and Jake Riccardi providing a reliable target up forward. Curtis Taylor provides the X-factor up forward and Lucas Cavallaro continues to rebound the ball at will, and are two players Eastern has to keep under wraps. For the Ranges, the midfield of Kye Quirk, Mitch Mellis, Adrian Kalcovski and Stapleton is a consistent core, they just need more out of the next tier. Key defender, James Blanck will have an important role in defence for the Ranges, while Billy McCormack will keep a Cannons defender accountable up the other end. In the earlier match between these two teams, Calder got the job done under lights at RAMS Arena in chilly conditions. With the weather hit and miss this weekend, the Cannons will be hoping for a similar result.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 15 – Sunday, August 19, 3pm
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

The last game of the round is arguably the best, with everyone looking forward to practically full-strength Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons outfits going head-to-head in a battle between two genuine premiership contenders. Earlier in the year prior to his knee injury, Max King had a day out with eight majors against the Chargers at RAMS Arena in the Dragons’ come-from-behind win. This time around, it could be twin brother Ben who will hope to repeat the feat, with Will Kelly playing in defence this time around and a likely opponent for King. The Dragons are still missing captain Bailey Smith to injury, but Liam Stocker, Ryan Byrnes and Darcey Chirgwin is a strong core on the inside, while Alastair Richards and Angus Hanrahan provide good run and skill up either end. Draft watchers will get a first look at Harry Reynolds who makes his debut in Dragons colours, similar to Nathan Murphy last season – rewarded for school football form with a TAC Cup debut. Will Kennedy has been named forward with James Rendell in the ruck which should keep the Chargers’ talls busy. Oakleigh has its own top-end talent and depth which will test the Dragons outfit. Isaac Quaynor, Joe Ayton-Delaney and Trent Bianco is a ridiculously good small defensive trio, while Riley Collier-Dawkins, James Rowbottom, Jack Ross, Will Golds and Matt Rowell in the middle is as strong as it has been all season. They do not have the key position forwards Sandringham do at the top-end, but with Will James coming in from APS football and Dylan Williams and Noah Anderson capable of kicking multiple goals, it is likely to result in an absolute classic.

Draft dream not over for 2018 state combine nominees

MORE than one hundred draft hopefuls will test themselves under the watchful eye of AFL club recruiters at the various State Combine’s around the country. After the list of National Combine invitations was released last week – indicating those players with the most draft interest – last night the full list of State Combine, and Rookie Me Combine lists were released.

EIGHTY INVITED TO NATIONAL DRAFT COMBINE

A total of 126 players were nominated for the combines, with Vic Country having 26 players nominated, ahead of South Australia with 24, and Western Australia and Vic Metro with 21 each. It has also proved a bumper year for the Victorian Football League (VFL) with 13 players nominated to test, behind the four Division One states. New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) has eight players nominated, the highest of the Division Two states, while Queensland has seven, and Northern Territory three and Tasmania three.

In terms of individual clubs, Dandenong Stingrays trumps all others, having 12 nominees, making it 17 players heading to testing in 2018. Murray Bushrangers is next with seven, followed by Calder Cannons and Oakleigh Chargers (six), as well as South Australian club Norwood. Fellow South Australian club South Adelaide, West Australian clubs Peel Thunder and Swan Districts, and Sandringham Dragons, all have four nominees. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Sturt, South Fremantle and Claremont have three apiece. In terms of Academies, the GWS Academy had six players nominated, Gold Coast and Brisbane Lions Academies both had three, and Sydney Swans Academy had one.

 

Full list of State Combine nominations:

NSW/ACT: [6]

Riley Bice (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)
Jeromy Lucas (GWS Giants Academy)
Nick Murray (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)
James Peatling (GWS Giants Academy)
Guy Richardson (GWS Giants Academy)
Mathew Walker (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)

Northern Territory: [2]

Michael Mummery (NT Thunder)
Izaak Wyatt (Southern Districts)

Queensland: [4]

Caleb Graham (GC Suns Academy) 
Darcy Marsh (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Tom Matthews (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Lachlan McDonald (GC Suns Academy)

South Australia: [24]

Finn Betterman (Glenelg)
Connor Bristow (Norwood)
Chris Burgess (West Adelaide)
Declan Carmody (Glenelg)
Kade Chandler (Norwood)
Oscar Chapman (North Adelaide)
Tate Coleman (South Adelaide)
Jacob Collins (Norwood)
Job Colwell (South Adelaide)
Tobin Cox (Glenelg)
Darcy Fort (Central District)
Martin Frederick (Woodville-West Torrens)
Nathan Kreuger (South Adelaide)
Tom Lewis (Sturt)
Mihail Lochowiak (Sturt)
Tyler Martin (Norwood)
Aaron Nietschke (Central District)
Matthew Nunn (Norwood)
Kai Pudney (Woodville West Torrens)
Isaac Saywell (Norwood)
Jake Tarca (South Adelaide)
Casey Voss (Sturt)
Callum Wilkie (North Adelaide)
Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide)

Tasmania: [1]

Rhyan Mansell (North Launceston)

VFL: [8]

Jake Aarts (Richmond VFL)
Brett Bewley (Williamstown)
Sam Collins (Werribee)
Will Hayes (Footscray VFL)
Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
Ethan Phillips (Port Melbourne)
Corey Rich (Frankston)

Vic Country: [21]

Jacob Atley (Bendigo Pioneers)
Stephen Cumming (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Fletcher (Dandenong Stingrays)
Matthew Gahan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Hudson Garoni (Murray Bushrangers)
Noah Gown (Gippsland Power)
Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons)
Jed Hill (GWV Rebels)
Austin Hodge (Gippsland Power)
Zane Keighran (Bendigo Pioneers)
Matty Lloyd (GWV Rebels)
Lachlan McDonnell (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong Stingrays)
Finbar O’Dwyer (Murray Bushrangers)
Jamie Plumridge (Dandenong Stingrays)
Mitch Riordan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Bailey Schmidt (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Sturt (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jai Taylor (Dandenong Stingrays)
Charlie Wilson (GWV Rebels)
Lachlan Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

Vic Metro: [18]

Frank Anderson (South Croydon)
Joseph Ayton-Delaney (Oakleigh Chargers)
Atu Bosenavulagi (Oakleigh Chargers)
Kyle Dunkley (Oakleigh Chargers)
Mason Fletcher (Calder Cannons)
Xavier Fry (Eastern Ranges)
Jake Gaspar (Oakleigh Chargers)
Sam Graham (Calder Cannons)
Harry Houlahan (Sandringham Dragons)
James Jordan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Josh Kemp (Calder Cannons)
Justin McInerney (Northern Knights)
Mitchell Podhajski (Calder Cannons)
Stefan Radovanovic (Western Jets)
James Rendell (Sandringham Dragons)
Harry Reynolds (Sandringham Dragons)
Alistair Richards (Sandringham Dragons)
Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers)

Western Australia: [21]

Jason Carter (Peel Thunder)
Dylan Curley (East Fremantle)
Oliver Eastland (Claremont)
Kody Eaton (East Fremantle) 
Harry Edwards (Swan Districts) 
Patrick Farrant (Swan Districts) 
Ethan Hansen (Perth) 
Wil Hickmott (Subiaco) 
Corey Hitchcock (Claremont)
Jack Mayo (Subiaco) 
Tom Medhat (West Perth)
Louis Miller (East Perth) 
Luke Moore (South Fremantle) 
Rylie Morgan (Claremont)
Matthew Parker (South Fremantle) 
Jarvis Pina (Peel Thunder)
Tyson Powell (Peel Thunder)
Regan Spooner (South Fremantle)
James Sturrock (Peel Thunder)
Tobe Watson (Swan Districts)
Graydon Wilson (Swan Districts)

Rookie Me Combine: [21]

Ryan Hebron (Sydney University)
Joey Reinhard (Sydney Swans Academy)
Adam Tipungwuti (Western Magpies)
Matthew Green (NT Thunder)
Ryan Gilmore (GC Suns Academy)
Jack Tomkinson (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Lachlan Gadomski (Kingborough Tigers) 
Matthew McGuinness (Lauderdale)
Ben Cavarra (Williamstown) 
Jay Lockhart (Casey Scorpions) 
Hayden McLean (Sandringham VFL) 
Kieran Strachan (Port Melbourne) 
Charlie Thompson (Richmond VFL)
Jordon Butts (Murray Bushrangers)
Kyle Clarke (Murray Bushrangers)
Sam Conway (Geelong Falcons)
Jake Frawley (Dandenong Stingrays)
Matt Neagle (Wodonga Raiders)
Tye Browning (Calder Cannons)
Daniel Hanna (Calder Cannons)
Cody Hirst (Eastern Ranges)

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 13

IN an action packed round of TAC Cup football, the top few sides had important wins to extend their lead on the competition, while others gained some much needed points.

Eastern Ranges 5.8 (38) def. by Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels 13.13 (91)

GWV Rebels claimed their fourth win of the season, with a comprehensive four-quarter victory over Eastern Ranges at Box Hill. The Rebels took control early, although could not make the most of their opportunities in the first term, booting 3.6, and then heading into half-time with a score of 6.9 to 2.2. The third quarter was where the Rebels did all the damage, with Charlie Wilson heading into the final break with four majors after two goals in each of the second and third terms. The Ranges rallied in the final term and only conceded one more point than they scored, to go down by 53 points.

Wilson was the star for the Rebels, booting 5.3 from 19 disposals and 12 marks (two contested), as well as six inside 50s. Matty Lloyd racked up a massive 37 disposals, as he roamed the wings, working between the defensive and offensive arcs for six inside 50s, six rebounds and a third quarter goal. Lochie Dawson (28 disposals, six marks, four clearances, two inside 50s and four rebounds) and Matt Schnerring (27 disposals, five marks, two clearances, five inside 50s and an important intercept and goal in the first term) were others who found plenty of the footy.

Mitch Mellis was one of Eastern’s shining lights, racking up 33 disposals, moving between the inside and outside using quick hands on his way to seven clearances, three inside 50s and three rebounds. Cooper Leon found space to boot a goal to go with his 28 touches, five marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and five rebounds. Joel Burleigh and Kye Quirk both had 20 disposals, while Burleigh booted a goal and Quirk had four rebounds. James Blanck was strong in defence before switching to attack with six marks from 18 disposals.

 

Murray Bushrangers 17.7 (109) def. Western Jets 9.8 (62)

It took all four quarters, but Murray Bushrangers finally shook off the Western Jets with an eight goals to two final term at Wangaratta on Saturday. The Jets led at quarter time by six points before the home side booted the only four goals of the second term to lead by 16 points at the main break. The Jets cut the deficit to 11 by the final break, before the Bushrangers stormed home in the final term to run away with the 47-point victory. Mathew Walker booted four goals in the final term to seal the deal.

Walker was the key player for the Bushrangers, nailing six goals from 14 disposals and eight marks (one contested). Along with Walker, Kyle Clarke booted two majors and had 21 disposals, two marks and six inside 50s, while Zane Barzen continued his good form with two majors from 14 disposals and six marks. Jye Chalcraft (17 disposals, four marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds) and Will Chandler (11 disposals, seven marks and three goals) were also among the Bushrangers’ best in the win.

For the Jets, Jack Watkins was the major ball winner with 27 disposals, eight marks, seven clearances and three inside 50s, while bottom-ager Darcy Cassar continues to rack up the football in transition through the midfield, winning half of his possessions in a contest, finishing with 25 disposals, eight marks (three contested), three clearances, five inside 50s and one goal. Connor Thar was the other busy ball winner with 25 disposals, five marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and a rebound, while Buku Khamis and Stefan Radovanovic had a combined 36 disposals, seven marks and seven rebounds.

 

Northern Knights 10. 8 (68) def. by Gippsland Power 13. 7 (85)

After playing out a draw in their early encounter at Morwell, the Northern Knights and Gippsland Power went to do battle once again, this time at Preston City Oval. While the Knights had the home ground advantage and started strongly with the breeze, they eventually fell to the second placed Power. Northern booted five goals to two in the opening term, before Gippsland responded with five goals to one in the second to hit the front at the main break. The Knights regained the lead with an inaccurate 3.6 to 1.1. in the third term to hold a 10-point advantage over the visitors. But the last quarter belonged to the Power, coming home with a wet sail, Gippsland booted 5.3 to 1.0 to run out 17-point winners.

Despite challenging weather at times, Bailey Beck was clean with the ball, picking up 18 disposals, eight marks and three inside 50s and was named Gippsland’s best, while captain Xavier Duursma again stood tall, racking up 20 disposals, three marks, three clearances and booting two goals, while also being awarded five free kicks for getting in and under. Matthew McGannon backed up his good form from last week with 25 disposals, 11 marks (one contested) and four rebounds, while Austin Hodge had 24 touches, four marks, seven clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal. Key forward Noah Gown made it back-to-back hauls with five majors once again.

For the Knights, bottom-ager Josh D’Intinosante was busy with 21 disposals, two marks, seven clearances and two goals, while Sam Philp found plenty of the pill with 26 disposals (16 contested), eight clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Tom McKenzie had 20 touches, three marks, three inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal, while Ryan Sturgess had five rebounds and two inside 50s to go with his 18 touches and three marks. Harrison Grace was prominent with 15 disposals, two marks and five inside 50s, as was Mitch Wild with 15 disposals, eight marks and five rebounds.

 

Calder Cannons 6.6 (42) def. by Dandenong Stingrays 12.10 (82)

The ladder-leading Dandenong Stingrays survived an almighty scare from Calder Cannons at RAMS Arena in blustery conditions to defeat the likely top eight side by 40 points. Leading by just two at the final break, the Stingrays put the foot down in the final term and did what they have done all year – found a way to win. They booted seven goals to one in the final term to run over the top of the plucky Cannons and maintain their place at the top of the table with an eight-point gap on second placed Gippsland Power.

Captain Campbell Hustwaite was a big performer once again, amassing 27 disposals, three marks, seven clearances and seven inside 50s, getting the job done inside and out. Finlay Bayne played one of his best games for the season upon his return to the side, picking up 25 disposals, five marks, four clearances, eight inside 50s and booted a goal. Teammate Sam Fletcher found plenty of the footy again with 23 touches, five marks, eight clearances, three inside 50s and a goal. Bailey Williams controlled the airways again with eight marks (four contested), 17 disposals, five inside 50s and two goals.

Co-captain Mitch Podhjaski played an equally inspirational game, racking up 33 touches, six marks, seven clearances, two inside 50s and booted a goal to be one of the Cannons’ best, while Lachlan Sholl was strong in defence with Brodie Newman (26 disposals and four rebounds), racking up 27 disposals, five marks and five rebounds. Lucas Cavallaro had a team-high eight rebounds to be a star in the back half, also amassing 25 disposals and seven marks, while Daniel Mott‘s second half of the season resurgence continued with seven inside 50s and five clearances to go with his 24 disposals.

 

Geelong Falcons 2.5 (17) def. by Oakleigh Chargers 7.9 (51)

Oakleigh Chargers won an old-fashioned scrap at Colac, holding Geelong Falcons to just one goal after quarter time while booting seven majors themselves in a 34-point win. The Falcons booted the only goal of the first term to start proceedings, before Oakleigh got back into the rhythm to pile on six consecutive goals to all but end the contest. Oakleigh kept its top four hopes alive with the low-scoring victory and will build confidence from the win.

Jake Gasper continued his great form with another three majors, picking up 18 disposals, one contested mark, four clearances and three inside 50s, while Josh May won plenty of the footy with 24 disposals, three clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds. Isaac Quaynor stood out and was named the winners’ best, racking up 21 disposals, one mark, two clearances, four inside 50s and one rebound playing up the ground. Fellow Collingwood Next Generation Academy member Atu Bosenavulagi was also strong, racking up 17 disposals (11 contested), two marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds.

For Geelong, it was the usual suspects standing out, with Sam Walsh having another 33 disposals, three marks, six tackles, six clearances and six inside 50s, while Brayden Ham‘s consistent form saw him rack up five rebounds from 20 disposals playing off half-back. Cooper Stephens was busy in the midfield with 17 disposals (13 contested) and five clearances, while Oscar Brownless (15 disposals) and Jay Dahlhaus (15 disposals and a massive 17 tackles) were prominent, as was Charlie Harris (19 disposals and 12 tackles).

 

Sandringham Dragons 6.12 (48) def. Bendigo Pioneers 6.4 (40)

It was not a pretty win, but they got the four points to take to the bank and the Dragons will find themselves still in the hunt for a top four spot. Led by Liam Stocker, the Dragons had to fight hard to overcome the dogged Bendigo Pioneers, booting the first three goals of the game before the Pioneers booted three of the next four, Holding a slender lead at the final break after Bendigo came hard at them in the third term, the Dragons managed to hold on in a quarter which saw just three behinds scored and the home side enjoying the eight-point victory.

Stocker was best on ground yet again for the Dragons, picking up 35 disposals, four marks, 12 inside 50s, nine clearances and booting a goal. Ryan Byrnes had his fair share of the footy racking up 26 disposals (17 contested), six clearances, two inside 50s and three rebounds), while big man James Rendell had 18 disposals, seven marks (two contested), 20 hitouts and three clearances in a big effort around the ground. He and Andrew Courtney (33 hitouts) dominated against the smaller Bendigo rucks, while Sam Sofronidis had 26 touches, three marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds.

For Bendigo, Noah Wheeler was the top ball winner, amassing 23 disposals, two marks, two clearances, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while Jacob Atley was clean out of defence, having four rebounds to go with his 19 disposals and six marks. Liam Marciano had 17 disposals, three marks, four clearances and five rebounds, while Flynn Perez was busy with 17 disposals, four marks, three clearances and two rounds. James Schischka returned to the team to play a key role with 16 touches, four marks and four inside 50s, while Jackson Williams had five rebounds from 16 disposals out of defence.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 12b

WITH three games to cast an eye over this weekend, we look at some of the key players in each game and a number of crucial match-ups that could decide the contest.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 12 – Saturday, July 21, 1pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

In the first game of the round, top-of-the-table Dandenong Stingrays take on the last placed Bendigo Pioneers at home in what on face value appears to be a one-sided contest. Given the Stingrays’ big inclusions such as Bailey Williams, Zac Foot and Jake Frawley among others, it will be a tough ask for the smaller Pioneers, who have lost talented bottom-age tall Brodie Kemp to school football. However, Josh Grace will be a welcome inclusion against Williams and Stephen Cumming who are likely to cause the defence all sorts of headaches. In the midfield, both teams pride themselves on contested ball and Noah Wheeler and Hunter Lawrence will go head-to-head with the likes of Sam Fletcher and Campbell Hustwaite on the inside. Jacob Atley and Liam Marciano provide good run and carry out of the Pioneers defence, while Zac Foot and Jai Taylor provide the same for the Stingrays. Dandenong will deservedly head in as very strong favourites, but with nothing to lose, the Pioneers should throw everything at the ladder leaders and test themselves against the benchmark team.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 12 – Sunday, July 22, 1pm
Deakin Reserve, Shepparton

In the first of two Sunday games occurring at the same time, the fourth placed Murray Bushrangers take on the eleventh placed Eastern Ranges at Shepparton. Murray will also be strong favourites in this clash with Jacob Koschitzke returning to the defence after a huge last couple of months for the GWS GIANTS and Allies. But it is Murray’s attack which is unbelievably diverse given it contains competition leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, the X-factor in Zane Barzen, as well as talented bottom-agers Lachlan Ash and Jye Chalcraft while Jordon Butts has shown he can kick a bag, and Bailey Frauenfelder often chips in with scoreboard pressure. The midfield duo of Ely Smith and Kyle Clarke will go head-to-head with Kye Quirk and Lachlan Stapleton, while Eastern will look to release Joel Burleigh and Mitch Mellis on the wings. James Blanck will be the man Eastern turns to in order to restrict Garoni, while Ben Cardamone and Adrian Kalcovski will look to continue their good form. Murray will be keen to take back third spot with victory here, while Eastern can gain some breathing space from Bendigo should they get up.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. WESTERN JETS

Round 12 – Sunday, July 22, 1pm
Morwell Football Ground, Morwell

Over at Morwell, the Gippsland Power and Western Jets do battle in what is expected to be the clear match of the weekend. The Power sits second and could pull away from its closest rivals with a win, while a victory to Western would see them regain a top four spot, and be one of three sides potentially on 32 points – with Oakleigh two points behind. A win to the Jets would also mean the Stingrays would be a massive 12 points clear on top if they defeat Bendigo. Both respective captains in Xavier Duursma and Xavier O’Halloran return to their sides, along with a host of talented inclusions such as Sam Flanders and Matthew McGannon (Gippsland) and Emerson Jeka and Buku Khamis (Western). Kyle Reid is another big inclusion for the Power and will settle the defence along with McGannon. The midfield battle will be intriguing with O’Halloran, Connor Thar and Jack Watkins taking on Duursma, Flanders and Harold Hood. Stefan Radovanovic and Daly Andrews will break open the game with their pace, while the Power will look to Tyrone Hayes and Irving Mosquito to do the same at either end. This game is hard to pick, with the home ground advantage going to Gippsland, but Western have been very good with their best side on the park. Expect it to be a thriller.

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 11

IN the first full round of TAC Cup action for a few rounds – Rounds 9 and 10 were split over two weeks – the Dandenong Stingrays picked up where they left off, while a number of other top eight teams pushed forward their premiership credentials with strong performances.

Calder Cannons 10.18 (78) defeated Western Jets 3.4 (22)

In typical RAMS Arena conditions, Calder acclimatised best to run out winners with a dominant second half display. With only four goals between the teams and a six-point advantage for the Cannons to half time, the home side poured it on with 8.10 to just 1.3 to run out the game. It was a contested armwrestle in the early stages, with the likes of Mitch Podhajski and Stefan Radovanovic crashing in for their respective sides.

With the game opening up, Dylan Mott found plenty of the ball to drive his side forward in an important role, with Jake Riccardi providing strong presence up forward but only managing four behinds for the match despite his dominance. Meanwhile, it was Tye Browning and Lachlan Sholl who provided the class with the former contributing two classy goals, and the latter intercepting everything off half back. For the Jets, Radovanovic led from the front despite a quiet second half, and Connor Thar accumulated at his usual rate to run out a consistent game.

The result had little effect on either side’s standing, with Western still hanging on to their top four spot and Calder over a game safe in the top eight.

 

Oakleigh Chargers 13.14 (92) defeated Eastern Ranges 5.3 (33)

Oakleigh Chargers kept within striking distance of the top four with a domiant win over Eastern Ranges. With the conditions seeming to favour one end of the ground, the home side charged out to a 40-point lead at the first change, keeping their opponents scoreless.

The Ranges fought back to win the second term, but normal proceedings resumed in the third as Oakleigh again kept the Ranges scoreless while adding another five goals to their tally. Not to be discouraged, Eastern went on to win the last quarter, too, with three goals to one bringing the final margin to 59 points.

For Oakleigh, Dylan Williams and Jake Gasper bagged three goals each, while Charlie Whitehead and Matthew Warren slotted two apiece to be named in the best. Trent Bianco was also solid with 25 disposals, five marks and six tackles. Meanwhile for Ranges, Xavier Fry found it 27 times and Cooper Leon used his 26 disposals well.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 17.13 (115) defeated Geelong Falcons 5.7 (37)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Conditions were set to be much worse at Shepley Oval on Saturday, so the boys should count themselves lucky they were not swimming through mud. The day brought a chill and a bit of wind, but nothing that’d keep Dandenong from dominating the game as they’re so used to doing this season. By the main break, the Falcons were only down by 15 points, but after the final siren, that margin lifted to 78.

The Dandenong boys were playing at their usual best with a good spread of them having an impact. Toby Bedforddominated atop the hard ball and showed great, composed footy alongside Will Hamill and Finlay Bayne coming up the guts of the ground. Sam De Koning threw himself on a lot of the loose ball out of the back half, with Riley Bowman (four goals) dominating on the goal front on the opposing end.

The Falcons had their work cut out for them against an aggressive Stingrays side. Connor Idun remained composed and dominant despite the game getting away from them. Nicholas Conway worked hard in the ruck all day, winning many of the taps, and Blake Schlensog lifted well in the final quarter. Though it was Dane Hollenkamp who rose above at full-back, locking down his opponent and delivering another solid performance.

 

Sandringham Dragons 8.18 (66) defeated Northern Knights 5.9 (39)

Sandringham kept a fighting Northern Knights outfit at bay with a 27-point win at Trevor Barker Oval. The visitors started well to hold a slender lead at the first break, but were kept scoreless in the second quarter. Despite being wasteful in front of goal, Sandringham’s 2.7 was enough to have them hold a two-goal lead at the main break.

The Dragons were most productive in the third term with a further three goals to the Knights’ one, and ended up coming home strongly to comfortably win by over four goals. Both sides had two players kick two goals each, with Hugo Ralphsmith and Josh D’Intinosante named in the best for their respective sides out of them.

Harry Houlahan was arguably best afield through the middle with 25 disposals, five marks, seven tackles and a goal, and was accompanied by Vic Metro representative Alastair Richards, who amassed 22 disposals, 18 handball receives and four tackles. Liam Stocker rounded out the midfield magic with 24 disposals, four marks and five tackles as he continues his bolt towards the first round.

For the Knights, Adam Carafa was again instrumental in the middle with 24 disposals and six tackles, while Sunny Brazier continued his goal scoring form with two from 17 disposals and six marks. Others to contribute were Justin McInerney (14 disposals, five marks, four tackles) and Oscar White (nine disposals, three marks, seven tackles).

 

Gippsland Power 9.16 (70) defeated Murray Bushrangers 3.7 (25)

By: Craig Byrnes

In wet, windy, cold and mostly miserable conditions at Morwell, a dominant Gippsland Power overcame fellow top four hopeful the Murray Bushrangers to climb to second position on the ladder.

Kicking with the aid of a breeze favouring the right hand pocket at the northern end, Power jumped to a 28-point lead at quarter time and never looked threatened throughout the encounter. As Gippsland dominated forward territory with a  plus29 inside 50 differential for the day, Murray couldn’t register a goal until the three minute mark of the third term as the home side ran away to a 45 point victory.

With a rare opportunity to represent Gippsland before returning to Geelong Grammar, Caleb Serong made the most of it collecting 23 disposals, five clearances and two brilliant goals. He was well supported in an even team performance by Austin Hodge and Riley Baldi who won 20 disposals each, while Irving Mosquito created an early spark with two first quarter goals and Harold Hood caught the eye on debut with 16 touches.

The Bushrangers didn’t have too many four quarter performers, but a 26 disposal outing from bottom age prospect Lachlan Ash was the clear standout in defence. Ely Smith continued his purple patch of form with 30 disposals and eight clearances, Kyle Clarke fought all day to win the ball 21 times, while Jimmy Boyer showed glimpses throughout to gather 26 disposals on a difficult day.

 

Bendigo Pioneers 9.4 (58) defeated by Greater Western Victoria Rebels 12.11 (83)

Charlie Wilson starred with six goals to help Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels to a 25-point victory over Bendigo. The Pioneers shot out of the blocks, taking advantage of the scoring end with four straight goals to GWV’s 2.2 to hold a 10-point lead at quarter time. The Rebels soon clicked into gear though, with Wilson slamming home four of their five second term goals to see them in to the main break with a 16-point buffer – a four goal turnaround. With another four goals conceded, the Pios were all but shut out in the third term and their slight advantage in the final quarter was too little, too late.

With Wilson taking best-on honours, Elliot Lamb was the next best with his 30 disposals, four marks and three tackles. Vic Country gun Thomas Berry had it 25 times, while laying five tackles, and Matty Lloyd provided a good foil with 25 touches and seven marks across half back.

The hosts were led well by Jacob Atley, who had 19 disposals, nine marks and three tackles alongside Hunter Lawrence’s 22 disposal, five mark and three goal effort.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 10

AFTER a five-game round last week, the full set is back for Round 10 with all 12 teams taking part in the first of two Futures Rounds. In Futures Rounds, squads are extended to 24, and at least 11 bottom-age players must be in the side. This gives recruiters a chance to get a glimpse of the bottom-age talent coming through the ranks and get an idea about where players sit for 2019.

 

EASTERN RANGES v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 10.30am
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

It would have been hard to believe a few rounds ago, but Eastern Ranges head into the home clash with Calder Cannons on a hot streak, having picked up two consecutive wins and looking strong. They play yet another game there and come up against a Calder Cannons side that took it right up to the Gippsland Power despite the Cannons missing the majority of their best 22. Calder’s two key forwards are in good form, with Jake Riccardi booting four goals in the final term last round to single-handedly ensure the Cannons snatched two points, while John Roumeliotis is building up some consistency after missing three years through knee injuries. Daniel Hanna is rock solid in defence, while Lucas Cavallaro had another consistent performance out of the back half last week and looks to be a danger man in this clash. For Eastern, the loss of Xavier Fry and James Blanck will hurt, but the midfield that got the job done against Bendigo Pioneers is still intact with Lachlan Stapleton, Joel Burleigh, Kye Quirk and Mitch Mellis forming a good quartet in the centre. Ben Cardamone has been consistent in defence. This is set to be a close contest.  

 

WESTERN JETS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 10.30am
Williamstown Football Ground, Williamstown

The Western Jets will be disappointed their winning streak was broken last week, with their depth tested against an impressive Geelong Falcons outfit. The Northern Knights on the other hand will be pleased they got over the line against GWV Rebels in tough conditions at MARS Stadium following a good final term. Oscar White and Justin McInerney both return to the visitors team in what will be a boost for the Knights in the clash, while a couple of potential father-son prospects are in for the Jets in Oskar Manton and Tyler Kolyniuk. Western’s strength is in its midfield, similar to Northern, and it will be a great contest to watch Connor Thar, Jack Watkins and Jaden Rice go head-to-head with McInerney, White and Ryan Sturgess among others in a deep midfield group. Aaron Clarke and Steven Kyriazis can cause headaches up forward for the Jets, while talented bottom-ager Josh D’Intinosante has been named at half-back after an impressive game on-ball last week. Patrik Della Rocca, Sunny Brazier and Harrison Grace provide three different elements to the Knights’ forward line, while Hamish Murphy and Darcy Cassar are others who have been important players for the home side this season.  

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 10.30am
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

A mid-season clash between Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons does not always bring about too many top-age talents given the National Championships and school football commitments, but there is plenty to like about both sides when they go head-to-head at Warrawee Park tomorrow. The Dragons will look to address a form slump due to the amount of upheaval to their side, losing four of the past five games. Meanwhile the Chargers have also slipped, albeit defeating the Murray Bushrangers a couple of weeks ago. A win to Oakleigh could see the Chargers back in the top four, while it could also mean the Dragons drop outside the top eight. On the other side of the coin, the Dragons could move to sixth, and sit just four points behind the Chargers in fifth, with a victory. In line with Futures Round, Oakleigh has gone in with a young, but talented side, with Matt Rowell headlining the bottom-agers after returning from Vic Metro duties. He, Trent Bianco and Bailey Wraith will be important inclusions, in a side that looks to have plenty of grunt, speed and class. After a big day out last week, Matt Day will be a loss up forward, while Sam Harte and Lachlan Bugeja have been consistent, however Atu Bosenavulagi is finding some good form, and Jack Ross is a crucial inclusion as well. For the Dragons, their side might look even stronger on paper, with the return of many players from school football. Key position players Fischer McAsey and Will Kennedy return to the fold to provide some quality height, while Kai Owens, Liam Stocker and Harry Houlahan will provide a good core midfield that will challenge the Chargers.  

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 1pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Dandenong has been the benchmark in the competition this season, and can move eight points clear on top with a victory here and an unlikely loss to Gippsland. For the Rebels, they can leapfrog Geelong into ninth and be just percentage away from Calder in eighth with a win. GWV will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing final term against Northern Knights last weekend. Stephen Cumming is an important inclusion into the team, allowing Bailey Schmidt to go forward more often for the Stingrays, while Finlay Bayne returns to the team due to a bye in school football. Jai Taylor also slots back into the team after representing Vic Country last week, and a midfield of Campbell Hustwaite, Jamie Plumridge and Lachlan McDonnell is always going to be challenging, while Reid Nanscawen was another who stepped up for the Stingrays in Round 9. For the Rebels, they lose Scott Carlin who has been a slick ball user off half-back, but regain Matty Lloyd in the same position, while retaining what on paper could be the most underrated forward line. With Josh Chatfield, Jed Hill, Izaac Grant and Charlie Wilson all rotating through there, the speed and goal sense is high, it will just be putting it all together for four quarters. The Stingrays will head in as strong favourites for the clash, but the Rebels could trouble them with their speed up forward.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 2pm
Windy Hill, Essendon

In an afternoon game, Gippsland Power hosts Bendigo Pioneers at Windy Hill in a venue about halfway between both locations. The Power will be disappointed they only took two points away from their clash against Calder Cannons at home, their second draw of the season at the venue. While the Pioneers notched up another defeat, this time to Eastern Ranges leaving them outright bottom of the table with nine straight losses. They will hope to turn it around with a good win here, but will have to do so without a series of important players. Zane Keighran, Liam Marciano, Josh Grace, Phill Moi Moi and Lucas Caccaviello have all been consistent players of late and will be sorely missed, but the return of AFL Academy member Brodie Kemp will be important for the Pioneers. Along with in-form ruck Daniel Keating and the Perez brothers – Oscar and Flynn – tearing it up on the wings, the Pioneers still have plenty of speed around the ground and capable of getting it inside 50. For the Power, they bring back live-wire Irving Mosquito who did not quite come up last week from a hamstring injury, but seems right to go now, and will be keen to play well in the hope of a Vic Country call-up in the final game against South Australia at GMHBA Stadium. The Power midfield is very strong with Brock Smith, Riley Baldi, Bailey Beck, Boadie Motton and Mosquito forming a really consistent base at the feet of Rylan Henkel. Austin Hodge can play forward or through the midfield, and Tyrone Hayes, Ryan Sparkes and Jake Van Der Pligt provide plenty of speed and rebound out of defence. Gippsland head in as very strong favourites, but they were last week, so they will be hoping to learn from the lessons and grab the four points here.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 2.15pm
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

In the final game of the round, an understrength young Geelong Falcons side meets an almost full-strength Murray Bushrangers outfit in what will be a great challenge for the Falcons. Vic Country selection has not done the Falcons much favours, losing Dane Hollenkamp and Blake Schlensog in what will be exciting for Geelong to see them on the MCG, but more so for the opposition with key position forward and TAC Cup leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, X-factor Zane Barzen, and talented bottom-ager Lachlan Ash, all returning to the Bushrangers side. Couple that with the fact a virtually untouched midfield of Ely Smith, Dylan Clarke and Kyle Clarke has been performing, and Geelong will need to be at its best to topple the Bushrangers. For Geelong, Brayden Ham continues to put his hand up to recruiters with another four goals last week, named at half-back this week. Baxter Mensch has not slowed down pulling in big numbers and clearances week-in, week-out, while acting captain Cooper Cartledge will be tasked with leading a young defence – while potentially given the job on the in-form Garoni. The match is likely to see what the bottom-agers can do for the Falcons, while the Bushrangers will be supremely confident they can take the four points in this clash.

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 9

MURRAY Bushrangers have bounced back into the top four and now sit just two points behind second after favourable results. The Bushrangers defeated the Bendigo Pioneers, while losses to the Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets ensured the Bushrangers stay outside the top four was just a short one. Meanwhile Calder Cannons and Gippsland Power played out a draw, and the Northern Knights came from behind to defeat GWV Rebels away.

Western Jets vs. Geelong Falcons

By: Brandon Hutchinson

In poor conditions at Avalon Airport Oval, the Falcons and Jets were locked in a tight contest ending in a low a low scoring affair. By the end of the first, Falcons led by a goal, and by halftime that dropped to just a point. The game was scrappy and accuracy was less than subpar, but by the third the Falcons took control taking a 10-point lead and holding it until the end of the game.

Brayden Ham (18 disposals and six inside 50s) was pivotal in the Falcons win, having kicked four goals for the game. Cooper Cartledge stepped up to captain his side and dominated in the final quarter, taking plenty of intercept marks and finishing the game with 18 disposals, seven marks and five rebounds. Titit Nyak (15 disposals, three marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds) Baxter Mensch (34 disposals, seven marks, five clearances and seven inside 50s and one goal) Sheldon Ham (11 disposals and three inside 50s) also impressed with great composure and ball sense.

Hamish Murphy played strong out of the backline, keeping centred and in control of the ball. Darcy Cassar and Lucas Rocci fought hard through the Jets’ midfield to earn the contested ball and Steven Kyriazis played supreme overhead. The boys fought hard but were unfortunate in their fight back during the second half.

 

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Oakleigh Chargers

By: Liam Connop

On a breezy day at Shepley Oval, top-side Dandenong were too strong for a gallant Oakleigh. The Stingrays were noticeably taller than their opposition over the ground, which would be influential as the game went on. Though the game was tight early, Dandenong broke the shackles in the second term, piling on five goals to one to lead by 42 points at half-time. Despite this, the Chargers fought hard until the final siren, eventually succumbing to a 55-point loss and losing a place in the top four.

Campbell Hustwaite (22 possessions, 11 tackles) was great in-and-under all day in the midfield for the Stingrays, while Reid Nanscawen (26 touches, six marks and five tackles) had an outstanding game in the midfield. Effective ball-use was provided off half-back by Will Hamill (16 possessions, three marks) and Hayden Young (12 possessions, three marks) to help set-up many attacking plays for the Stingrays.

For the Chargers, Jake Gasper (13 possessions, four tackles, two goals) presented to the midfielders all day while teammates Xavier O’Neill (22 possessions) and Fraser Elliott (21 possessions) were prominent in the midfield. Daniel Scala (13 possessions, seven tackles) also tried hard all day, competing well to win the footy.

 

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Murray Bushrangers

By: Peter Williams

Murray Bushrangers have bounced back from a rare loss to Oakleigh Chargers last week, to record a 40-point win over Bendigo Pioneers at Queen Elizabeth Oval on Sunday. Murray booted the only two goals of the first quarter, and led by 20 points at the main break. Much like the first term, Murray came out firing in the third quarter, booting the only three goals of the term to stretch their lead to 39 points at the final break. A spirited Pioneers outfit only lost the final quarter by a point, but still suffered their eighth consecutive loss.

Jimmy Boyer and Ely Smith were busy for the Bushrangers, racking up 28 disposals each. Boyer took seven marks and laid five tackles, while Smith was instrumental on the inside with nine clearances and nine tackles. Kyle Clarke had a massive 24 kicks from his 25 disposals, also notching up five marks, six clearances, four rebounds and eight tackles. Up forward Jordon Butts was the main man in Hudson Garoni‘s absence, slotting six goals, while Bailey Frauenfelder had plenty of chances with five scoring shots from 19 disposals, but finished the game with 1.4. Bottom-ager Jye Chalcraft was one of the best on the ground, with his agility and forward prowess resulting in him collecting 24 disposals, four marks, four tackles and booting a goal.

Liam Marciano was once again impressive for the Pioneers, racking up 25 disposals, seven marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and seven rebounds. Jacob Atley was equally as busy with 25 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and two rebounds. The Perez brothers continued their good form from the week before with Oscar booting two goals from 21 disposals and six marks, while Flynn racked up 20 disposals, three marks, three tackles and four inside 50s. Zane Keighran got on the scoreboard with two majors, while Noah Wheeler had an equal team-high four clearances to go with his 18 disposals.

 

Gippsland Power vs. Calder Cannons

By: Peter Williams

Jake Riccardi-inspired Calder Cannons outfit has stunned an in-form Gippsland Power at Morwell on Sunday. The Power went into the game as strong favourites, having brought back a number of talented players into the line-up, although they were still missing some stars due to Vic Country. The Cannons were well and truly picked apart thanks to the high level of Vic Metro representation, meaning their next tier of players had to stand up, and they certainly did that. When Gippsland held a 16-point lead at half-time, things looked good for the home side, but the determined Cannons fired plenty of shots in the second half, to hit the front at the final break by a single kick. Gippsland refused to give in and threw everything at the Cannons, but it was the over-ager Riccardi who single-handedly dominated the scoreboard, booting four goals in the final term, including the last goal of the game, to tie the scores and split the points. It was Gippsland’s second draw of the season after splitting the points with Northern Knights earlier in the year at the same venue.

Riccardi was the star of the show, booting 5.2 for the game off 10 disposals (eight kicks) making the most of his opportunities, while also taking six marks and laying two tackles. Sam Graham topped the disposal count for Calder with 20 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and four rebounds, while also laying nine tackles. Ismail Moussa had 19 disposals and five rebounds, while Lucas Cavallaro was a rock in defence, notching up a game-high eight rebounds – three more than any other player. Sam Ramsay (19 disposals and four marks) and Daniel Hanna (18 disposals and six marks) were also among the high possession winners.

For Gippsland, Riley Baldi had a good day out with 29 disposals, nine tackles, four clearances and four inside 50s, while overager Austin Hodge was consistent again with 24 disposals, five marks, four tackles and four inside 50s, while also nailing two goals. Bottom-ager Brock Smith had 19 disposals, six clearances and booted two goals in his return to the team from Vic Country, while Josh Smith booted three goals from 14 disposals, while sharing the ruck load with 10 hitouts. Jake Van Der Pligt had another promising game in defence with a team-high five rebounds from 19 disposals and seven marks. Bailey Beck (20 disposals, five inside 50s and three rebounds) and Rylan Henkel (26 hitouts) were others that impressed.

 

GWV Rebels vs. Northern Knights

By: Cameron Ross

Ugly conditions made it difficult, but the Northern Knights overpowered the GWV Rebels for a big win at MARS Stadium in Ballarat on Sunday. It was a game of inches with both teams having their opportunities to claim the four points and with the south-westerly breeze favouring the Midland Highway end, they needed to take their chances kicking to this end if they were to win. Both teams struggled in the first quarter but seemed to settle as the game progressed.

From early in the first quarter, Izaac Grant looked superb. The Rebels forward kicked his sides only two goals in the first term, the second being a delightful piece of play. The Knights kicked a very important goal against the run of play and into the wind in the last five minutes of the quarter, signalling their intent to win.

Both teams started to adjust to the conditions in the second quarter, and the Rebels began to clean up their disposal, and use their running players and when Grant kicked his third at the fourth minute mark, it looked as though it was going to be a good day for his side. However, this kicked the Knights into gear, and after Patrik Della Rocca responded moments later, the Knights all of a sudden were all over the Rebels. But the Knights struggled to capitalise on this momentum, kicking their set shots poorly, and not allowing for the wind anywhere near enough. The Knights missed three or four crucial goals, holding an eight-point lead at half-time.

The third term was the Grant show. He was outstanding kicking another three goals, bringing his overall tally to six up until three quarter time. The final quarter was tense and tight, but with the Rebels holding a slender lead for the majority. However, once again, the Rebels began to falter in the last 10 minutes of the final quarter, and you could see the Knights players running over the top of them. The Knights were first to the footy, and pressuring the Rebels players into uncharacteristic mistakes. However, the Rebels did have a chance to win it. In the final two minutes of the game, the Rebels owned the ball inside their forward 50. Despite it being chaotic, Charlie Wilson attempted a quick kick out of the pack which dribbled into the point post. This was as close as the Rebels got, as the resulting throw in was cleared as the Knights clung on for the victory.

Unfortunately for the Rebels, this game was like so many others for them this year. They have had so many opportunities to win games, and have not been able to get the job done. Instead of being 2-6-1, the Rebels could easily be 5-4, as the Bendigo, Oakleigh and now the Knights games were there to be won. The Knights deserved this win however. Della Rocca was impressive up forward, Josh D’Intosante was superb in the middle and the Knights engine room was outstanding and outworked the Rebels all day. Knights key defender Stefan Uzelac was their best player on the day. He stood up in big moments, and intercepted numerous inside 50 attempts. Grant was the best player for the Rebels, kicking seven goals in a losing side. Many of his goals came from 15-20 out, but this did not mean they weren’t deserved. He worked hard to get himself in the right positions and earned his big bag.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Eastern Ranges

By: Peter Williams

Sandringham Dragons have made it two wins on the trot, defeating Eastern Ranges in a scrappy affair at Trevor Barker Beach Oval, claiming a 22-point win. The Dragons held their opponents scoreless in the opening term and a wasteful second quarter saw Eastern boot one goal from eight scoring shots as the home side lead by seven points at the main break. A four goals to zero third quarter blew the low-scoring game open to hand the Dragons a 31-point lead, before Eastern used the breeze to boot three majors in the final term and draw within 14, before a Dawit McNeish goal in the dying moments pushed it out to 22 by the final siren.

Liam Stocker was best on ground for the second consecutive week, notching up 30 disposals, five marks, four tackles, 10 clearances, six inside 50s and two rebounds, while Jackson Voss – son of Brett – had another promising effort between midfield and defence with 24 disposals, five marks, five clearances, two inside 50s and three rebounds. Will Kennedy also backed up his form with 23 disposals, six marks and three rebounds playing in defence, while Harry Houlahan and Alastair Richards both had 20 touches and assisted through the midfield with a combined six clearances.

For Eastern, Kye Quirk racked up 30 disposals, two marks, five clearances, three inside 50s, three rebounds and laid eight tackles, while Joel Burleigh was also strong defensively with nine tackles from 29 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s. Mitch Mellis (26 disposals, three marks, five tackles and two clearances), Adrian Kalcovski (24 disposals, three marks, four tackles and two inside 50s) and Xavier Fry (21 disposals, two marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds) were other prominent ball winners.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 9

TAC Cup action returned to an almost-full round on the weekend when five games were played across Saturday and Sunday. We were at four of them, and focused on those extended Vic Metro and Vic Country players back at TAC Cup level as well as a few bottom-agers who have already shown promising signs this season.

Western Jets vs. Geelong Falcons

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Western Jets:

#20 Darcy Cassar

As usual, Cassar went hard to win the contested ball, earning a great deal of possessions. The high-pressure player laid a few strong tackles and showed little regard for his own safety when the ball was loose. He runs hard and provides plenty of support for his teammates around stoppages. He had a handful of clearances, moving up the ground to assist in the contest. He kicked a goal in the fourth as his side struggled against the Falcons. It is his hunger that separates Cassar from a lot of other players. With the ball in sight, Cassar is not afraid to go in and rip the ball out of the contest. 

#37 Hamish Murphy

Clean and composed, Murphy’s decision making was a definite highlight of his game. Working off centre half-back, he picked his targets well, hitting his man well off the leads and picking up a handful of inside 50s. He knows when and how to switch the pace of the game to regain control and moved the pill well up through the guts on the counter attack. On occasion he struggled hitting targets, as did most of the players, but struck it well when he took his time. In all, Murphy showed us he’s a great decision maker and a well composed backman who encouraged great offensive movement.

 

Geelong Falcons:

#20 Brayden Ham

Despite the heavy conditions, Ham went home with four goals, having three of them by half-time. Ham set up his teammates well with his supreme passing ability and kicks true from set shots. He presented a high footy IQ through a careful read on the ball and good decision-making. Playing his final quarter in the midfield, Ham proved his versatility and ability to win the footy in the contest. The small forward went up against bigger bodies and still snuck his way to the goals. Ham once again stepped up for the Falcons.

 

Dandenong Stingrays v. Oakleigh Chargers 

By Liam Connop 

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hayden Young

Young spent much of the day matched up on Bosenavulagi in defence. He played tight to his man and showed good defensive capabilities, where he was then able to use his damaging left foot for many rebound 50s. Another feature of Young’s game is the poise he shows with ball in hand. He rarely gets phased and makes good decisions with the footy.

#23 Campbell Hustwaite

Hustwaite is a tough, in-and-under midfielder who works hard to get to each contest and has clean skills with balls in hand. He also peels off the back of contests well, using a handball link-up and using his skilful left foot to progress the Stingrays forward. Hustwaite will impress recruiters looking for a contested ball winner someone who will run all day.

#28 Bailey Schmidt

Certainly the most versatile player on the field, Schmidt had stints in defence, up forward as well as in the ruck, demonstrating an array of skills. He showed his speed with a nice mark on the lead in the second quarter, and is a lovely kick of the footy, slotting the goal from 40 metres out. Schmidt also did some nice work in the ruck-up, with his follow-up work a key aspect of his game.

#58 Will Hamill

Hamill’s agility and dash through the stoppages is a standout. He looks to be a great mover who is able to evade opponents and use his classy left-foot, which was on display in the second quarter, kicking a goal from 45 metres. Playing predominantly off halfback, Hamill spent more time in the midfield in the second half, where accumulated plenty of the footy. High impact player who has a real spark about his game

 

Oakleigh Chargers:

 #5 Xavier O’Neill 

O’Neill started the game reasonably slowly, but worked his way into the game in the second half with pure effort to run hard and create position. This allowed him to be involved in many link-up plays with both defence and forward. O’Neill has clean hands and kicks well on both feet, and tried valiantly hard in the second half to lift his side back into the game.

#7 Jay Robertson

Robertson spent his majority of time up forward, but with his outstanding vertical leap, the Chargers were able to utilise him in the ruck, winning a few tapouts and give their primary ruckman a rest. Although not getting an abundance of possessions, Robertson has good mobility and skills, and knows where the goals are, slotting a nice goal in the last term. A bright prospect who will improve with more development.

#13 Atu Bosenavulagi

Bosenavulagi is a beautifully-sized footballer, who played mostly forward with stints in the backline in the second half. He has excellent balance in the contests, demonstrating good clean hands allowing him to mark overhead well. In a game where Oakleigh were starved off forward opportunities, Bosenavulagi was one of Oakleigh’s best on the day.

#79 Bailey Griffiths

Griffiths is a very good tap ruckman who is not shy of putting his body into the contests. However, Griffiths needs to work on impacting the game more around the ground by taking some marks and gathering possessions. Once Griffith’s develops his confidence with his skills, he should be able to impact the game in more ways than just his ruckwork. He certainly has the makings of a good player if he pieces the jigsaw puzzle together.

 

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Murray Bushrangers

By: Michael Alvaro

Bendigo Pioneers:

#9 Zane Keighran 

Despite a quiet start, Keighran played himself into the game, after trading his long-sleeve jumper in for the more conventional look at quarter time. With the Pioneers held goalless in the opening term, Keighran took one of the few chances to fall his side’s way in the second quarter with a booming set shot goal after a clean overhead mark. Keighran showed his versatility as he was rotated through the midfield throughout the match, winning a few eye-catching clearances with his breakaway speed and utilising his good, long leg. He looked to have badly injured his knee in the third quarter but soldiered on to boot a second goal later in the term from another set shot. He showed some good zip in the forward half to create scoring opportunities with multiple inside 50 entries.  

#16 Jacob Atley 

Atley was another Pioneer who took some time to come into the game, but ended up producing good form in patches. Playing forward for most of the game, Atley collected the ball cleanly below his knees in trying conditions and was a decent lead-up option early. He was most effective when utilised closer to the contest as he has a useful knack for keeping his hands free in-close and squirting out handballs. As expected, Atley looked to play on at all costs and was involved in some dangerous handball chains, but rarely used his damaging long kick. His highlight for the day came in the second quarter as he took a mark of the day contender, going back with the flight and clunking a solid contested overhead grab.

 

Murray Bushrangers:

#14 Jye Chalcraft

The bottom ager wasn’t hard to miss with his bright green boots and Dusty-esque haircut, but it was his football that stood out most. In difficult conditions, the 176cm live-wire was as clean and effective as anyone out there and matched it with his hard attack on the ball. Often rotating with Kyle Clarke between the midfield and forward line, Chalcraft’s zip and ability to ease past his opponents with a couple of twists really caught the eye. His most notable highlights came in the form of almost identical assists for two of Jordan Butts’ six goals; as he dished off a couple of ridiculously clever look-away handballs to send his teammate into an open goal, showing good range and instinct. His ability to turn on a sixpence and get around opponents had the TAC Cup Radio team claiming he could ‘run his own candy store’, and he mentioned in a post-game interview with the crew that he is working on building his tank in hopes of moving into the midfield.

#23 Mark Marriott

The towering ruckman had a decent day out, competing well both up forward and in his usual position. He started each quarter in the centre bounce, and used his size advantage to often reach over his direct opponent and give Murray’s dangerous midfielders first use. With key big-man Hudson Garoni on Vic Country duties, Marriott found himself forward on many occasions in an attempt to fill the void, and even slotted the first goal of the game. While he did not have a massive impact on the scoreboard after that, Marriott did well to bring the ball to the feet of Murray’s small forwards in conditions that suited them better.

#28 Kyle Clarke

Clarke has become somewhat of a staple in Murray’s midfield and forward rotation with his consistent form, but was made to work hard for his possessions in this match. Taking up his usual position at the opening bounce, Clarke was in the thick of things early on with his solid work rate allowing him to find the ball often. He had a couple of forays at goal which fell well short, but his lack of scoreboard impact is never for the want of trying. A livewire in the contest, Clarke tackled well and showed good awareness to provide effective clearances in patches. A tendency of his game was to throw the ball onto his boot quickly almost every time he received it, which may have come on account of Bendigo’s perceived pressure.

 

Greater Western Victoria Rebels vs. Northern Knights

By: Cameron Ross

Greater Western Victoria Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin

Carlin is such a consistent player, and yet again was in the Rebels best three players. Lately, he has really stood up showcasing an  improvement in his on-field leadership. Carlin was directing traffic and rotations all day. Although the Rebels like to play him in many positions, Carlin’s a terrific running defender. His ability to link up with teammates, got the Rebels out of trouble in defence twice. Carlin would start a handball chain, receiving the ball three to four times before kicking the ball long.

#9 Lochie Dawson

The strong-bodied midfielder, got his hands on the footy a lot, but had more damaging games than today. He was worn like a glove at stoppages, every time he touched the footy, the Knights were all over him. Dawson kicked a goal after managing to free himself and find some space to slot one through the middle.  

#11 Josh Chatfield

Played forward and onball. Really tried to assert his physicality at the contest with some bone crunching tackles. One of those tackles produced a turnover, and gave the Rebels an inside 50 chance. Went on ball in the second half, and this was where he was most efficient. He played on the outside at stoppages, hitting the contest at pace in an attempt to be an effective outlet.

 

Northern Knights:

#17 Josh D’Intinosante

The bottom-ager spent the majority of the game in the middle, and was arguably the best midfielder on the ground. Produced a fine piece of skill, winning a centre clearance by hitting the pack at speed and spinning out of a tackle to clear the ball (ala Trent Cotchin against Geelong). Seemed to have an impact at every stoppage. If he did not win the stoppage, he was getting his hands on the ball and getting tackled, or laying a tackle on an opponent. Played as a small forward in the final term, but was not as effective as he was on-ball.

Team Selection: Murray Bushrangers vs. Oakleigh Chargers

WHILE many eyes will be on the National Under 18s Championships this weekend, anyone keen to head to the country for some TAC Cup action can witness a standalone game between the Murray Bushrangers and Oakleigh Chargers. With no school football on, Oakleigh receives the bulk of its non-Vic Metro representatives back into the side, meaning they will give the Bushrangers a real challenge on the weekend.

In terms of team selection, Murray have lost five of their most consistent players to National Championships duties, with Hudson Garoni, Laitham Vandermeer and Zane Barzen all out to play for Vic Country, while Jacob Koschitzke will represent the Allies against his Bushrangers teammates. Kai Davies is the other omission to the team, while Mark Marriott and Will Chandler are among six inclusions to the team.

Oakleigh have made wholesale changes with 13 players coming into the side for an extended interchange, but they lose a number of players to Vic Metro duties. Isaac Quaynor, Riley Collier-Dawkins and Noah Answerth all depart the Chargers outfit, but with Matt Rowell, Zac Hart, Jack Ross and Bailey Wraith among the inclusions, there are some positives at the selection table with quality heading out of the team.

The result of this game is simple in terms of ladder position – if Murray wins, they move into third ahead of the Western Jets, whereas if Oakleigh triumphs, they take Murray’s place inside the top four. As the only game on this weekend for the TAC Cup, expect there to be plenty of interested onlookers keeping an eye on the match.

Murray still has its starting midfield in this game , with Ely Smith, Dylan Clarke and Kyle Clarke in the centre, while Bailey Frauenfelder, Jye Chalcraft and Mathew Walker provide good support up forward. Jordon Butts has been thrown forward in the absence of Garoni, while Ajak Dang will be asked to take a key position down back to cover Butts. Jake Bradshaw and Jimmy Boyer will provide run off half-back, while Ben Kelly and Marriott are the tall timber for the Bushrangers.

For the Chargers, Matt Rowell and Dylan Williams lead a number of talented players for next year’s draft, while Xavier O’Neill, Jack Ross and Lachlan Bugeja will be key ball winners in the midfield. Atu Bosenavulagi and Daniel Scala provide the crumbs up forward, while Wraith and Matt Warren will hold down the key position posts in defence. Bailey Griffiths, Trent Bianco and Hart are among others who could influence the game with strong performances.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 8 – Saturday, June 9, 1pm Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

Murray Bushrangers

B: 34. T. Boyd, 22. A. Dang, 15. R. Quinn
HB: 19. J. Boyer, 16. N. Murray, 20. J. Bradshaw
C: 13. B.  Frauenfelder, 28. K.  Clarke, 55. R.  Paradzayi
HF: 6. W. Chandler, 2. J. Butts, 9. M. Walker
F: 14. J. Chalcraft, 3. B. Kelly, 10. P. Warner
R: 23. M. Marriott, 38. D. Clarke, 5. E. Smith
Int: 11. E. Adams, 17. N. Amery, 26. R. Bice, 48. R. Goodley 23P: 52. J. Sanford

In: R. Quinn, R. Goodley, J. Sanford, W. Chandler, R. Paradzayi, M. Marriott
Out: H. Garoni,  L. Ash,  K. Davies,  L. Vandermeer,  Z. Barzen,  J. Koschitzke

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 36. C. Beasley, 33. M. Warren, 35. X. Fry
HB: 15. K. Schreiber, 30. B. Wraith, 16. L. Westwood
C: 31. W.  Golds, 2. L.  Bugeja, 11. M.  Rowell
HF: 26. J. Gasper, 7. J. Robertson, 22. D. Williams
F: 13. A. Bosenavulagi, 6. M. Day, 25. D. Scala
R: 79. B. Griffiths31, 5. X. O’Neill, 32. J. Ross
Int: 17. T. Bianco, 43. P. Bohan, 38. Z. Hart, 24. S. Harte, 34. C. Leon, 19. D. Romero, 21. H. Shugg
23P: 29. F. Elliot

In: L. Westwood, P. Bohan, B. Wraith, H. Shugg, D. Romero, W. Golds, C. Leon, M. Warren, J. Ross, C. Beasley, K. Schreiber, M. Rowell, Z. Hart
Out: I. Quaynor, U. Chol, M. Fewings, S. Elliott, S. Fernandez, R. Collier-Dawkins, N. Answerth , H. Leonard, J. May, K. Viccars

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 7

In a big round of TAC Cup footy there was plenty of action to soak up with key players starring across the ground for all the teams. However, it proved to be a big round for the forwards with the likes of Eastern Ranges forward, Jamieson Rossiter impressing with a bag of six and Bushrangers forward, Hudson Garoni slotting seven goals.

 

Calder Cannons v. Northern Knights

By: Michael Alvaro

Calder Cannons:

#5 Curtis Taylor

Taylor was undoubtedly the Cannons’ best throughout the day, spending most of his minutes in the midfield despite starting forward. He almost dragged his side back to level pegging with a sensational second half, and his second goal which came from a sharp shark at an inside-50 stoppage had the Cannons up and about. That goal, and much of his good work in congestion came about on account of his vice-like grip and lightning hands, which he used to full effect. Taylor pin-balled around the stoppages all day and ran hard through the ball, showing a good work rate to follow up his clearances by moving forward with them. With his constant threat and influence in key areas, it was a really good showing from the Cannons’ number five.

#8 Lachlan Sholl

While he was subdued well in the first half by Northern’s Braedyn Gillard, Sholl forced his way into the game late when it was in the balance. Assuming his usual position at half-back, he continued to use the ball well by foot when given time in a hotly contested match. With the ball lodged in the Cannons’ attacking half for long periods of time during the second and third quarters, Sholl did not have many opportunities to show off his trademark dash and damaging kick, but found a bit of the ball higher up the ground late on and had an impact.

#27 Tye Browning

Starting deep forward, Browning looked dangerous as Calder’s primary target early in the first term. He showed off his good lateral movement and clean hands with some smart crumbing, as well as some solid lead-up marking. He was moved higher up the ground during the second quarter to have more of an impact around the ball, and it worked, with Browning tackling hard and winning plenty of possession. While he did not often have much room to move, Browning was composed with ball in hand and delivered some deft short passes by foot.

#33 Jack Evans

It was a quiet day for Evans, who battled it out in the midfield for most of the game. Attending a high number of centre bounces, Evans had good support around him and used his frame to advantage in creating space for them at the drop of the ball. He was often the link in the chain as the Cannons went forward, but could not quite get himself in the position to use his disposal in more damaging ways. Still, he was efficient when given the chance.

 

Northern Knights:

#3 Braedyn Gillard

Arguably the best afield, the Knights skipper contributed in more ways than one to his side’s win. Playing most of the game as a half-forward, Gillard took on the responsibility of keeping Calder livewire Lachlan Sholl accountable, and kept him relatively quiet for three quarters while managing to snare two goals. His impressive work rate allowed him to play the position effectively, working high up the ground to win the ball and running back hard to create goal opportunities. With the Cannons coming back hard, Gillard was thrown into the centre bounce at the start of the last quarter, lining up next to the dangerous Curtis Taylor. He made an immediate impact – collecting the ball momentarily from the tap and laying a crunching tackle moments later to set the tone for the quarter. He was busy throughout, and continues to be a pillar of consistency for the Knights.

 #7 Harrison Grace

Like his skipper, Grace spent most of the game forward and provided a good presence as Northern tried to lock the ball in their half. He had a couple of highlights in the second quarter while working up the ground – contesting the ball where he was outnumbered at least two-to-one on two separate occasions, bringing it to ground and giving his teammates a chance to mop it up. Not only is he a pest with his constant niggle, but he looked dangerous with the ball in close around the forward 50, which was highlighted as he flicked out an assist to Braedyn Gillard in the third term. He also took a good contested overhead mark in the final quarter to cap off his day. 

 #16 Tom Hallebone

The rangy Knights ruckman has been in a good vein of form lately, improving as the weeks go by. While he had a slight size and reach advantage over the two Calder ruckmen, Hallebone showed he was no one-trick pony and used his body well at the stoppages. His taps to advantage always impress when they come off, and he had the chance to really get on top in the fourth quarter as Daniel Hanna and Mitch Podhajski were forced to cover for the injured Cannons rucks. Still, he played well within his limits throughout the game – especially with ball in hand as he often handed it off to Northern’s runners instead of kicking the ball himself.

 

Murray Bushrangers v. Dandenong Stingrays

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Dandenong:

#3 Jamie Plumridge

Plumridge kept himself busy throughout the midfield, getting plenty of the hard ball and involving himself in a good deal of the linkups. He had a handful of successful second efforts that caused important stoppages and brought quick hands to earn interceptions. Composed but aggressive, Plumridge puts his head over the play and rips the pill from congestion, assisting in driving the attack. An outstanding work rate and competitive spirit were all on display Saturday afternoon.

#29 Bailey Williams

Easily the most dynamic tall in the competition, Williams put on a clinic for spectators at RAMS Arena. His work rate in the one on ones was outmatched, taking big, contested grabs as a forward, crumbing the spills and providing immense pressure to the Murray backline when trying to rebound. He was involved in most of the link plays, assisted through a great footy sense, and was dangerous up high and on the loose ball. He dominated in the ruck contest against Ben Kelly and bagged himself a few centre clearances. Williams’ work was summed up well when he won a centre tap, smothered a kick and then proceeded to pin the ball carrier. Besides bagging one himself, the high pressure tall was involved in much of the scoring, assisting a few directly. Williams’ display was not only best on ground but one of the best individual performances I have witnessed in the TAC Cup to date.

 

Murray:

#4 Laitham Vandermeer

The Bushrangers played much of their transition football through Vandermeer. He was smooth out of congestion with the ball tucked under his arm and had no trouble finding space and picking the right pass. He showed off clean skills and explosive runs, adding class to the Murray link ups. A dangerous presence along the wings, he picked hit spots well to break Dandenong lines, and in the final term, he scooped and booted from 40 out and put home a well-deserved goal.

#18 Hudson Garoni

With a significant difference in scoring shots going Dandenong’s way, it was Garoni’s efficiency in front of the sticks which kept his team from a shutout first half. In the beginning of the second he kicked two off the back of careful leads, and a third on the run to bring back his side. He had four at the main break and went onto kick three more before full-time. Despite a larger opponent, Garoni’s footy sense, explosive leads and strong hands made it impossible to rip the ball from him. His style of footy is clean and solid, showcasing a key forward in the purest form.

 #28 Kyle Clarke

The biggest point from Clarke’s game is that he is an exciting footballer to watch. On the wing, Clarke was crafty and slick, breaking lines and throwing off his opponents with stutters, fakes, spins and quick passes. His agility is great in close and his skill work polished, but his highlights don’t appear as much as we’d like. A unique talent, Clarke showed off his prowess by somehow caressing an around the body goal off a step, under pressure, while falling forward. There might have been a sprinkle of luck in there, but it all looked quite natural.

 

Greater Western Victoria Rebels v. Gippsland Power

By: Brandon Hutchinson

GWV:

#9 Lochie Dawson

Dawson was easily one of Rebels’ hardest workers across the four terms. His efforts across the ground contributed to a good deal of link ups, exhibiting a smart read on the flow of play. The hard ball was no stranger to Dawson, fighting hard against the grain and causing some serious transition through outstanding clearance work. Clean and effective, Dawson was a sure standout for the struggling Rebels.

 #14 Jed Hill

Hill’s workrate was standout and consistent for the Rebels on Saturday. With intense pressure around stoppages and attack on the ball carrier, Hill forced a number of turnovers. Good off hands, he ran with great pace along the wings, cleverly linking up the ball to break defensive lines. His transition work was smooth and quick around congestion, and his second and third efforts resulted in a few wins for the Rebels. Quieter in the second half, Hill’s first half highlighted his potential and work rate when the ball gets within his grasp.

 

Gippsland:

#4 Sam Flanders

Flanders kicked four goals for the game, often resulting in the final stop in a midfield link. Leading his team to a comfortable victory in the fourth, Flanders put away two goals, to consolidate their win. His efforts in gaining the loose ball shone bright in a contest against two GWV players that ended in a stalemate. Positioning well, Flanders performed under the incoming ball and kicked true from set shots, finishing the game with 4.2.

#5 Xavier Duursma

A hard worker from start to finish, Duursma left nothing behind on the field. Fierce on the ground and confident in the air, he positioned well around the ground to provide a clear passage forward. In the third, Duursma kicked his two goals, one on the run and the second from a set shot. He worked hard to earn the football and ran hard with ball in hand, burning his man. Poised and dominant, Duursma’s presence was clear in the Power’s transition.

#23 Noah Gown

Gown’s read under the ball put GWV backman on the wrong foot in the contest. With sharp vision and strong form, Gown was too hard to beat in a contest. His overhead marks plucked the pill out of the air and gave him opportunities to capitalise in front of goal. Unfortunately, Gown’s kicking was subpar, hitting one of his three shots. Despite this, he earned his opportunities and assisted his fellow forwards in hitting the scoreboard proving his worth all the same.

#25 Kyle Reid

Reid was an eligible pick for best on ground, as his work in the backline was important in keeping the Rebels at bay. Putting pressure on the forwards and cutting off the opposition ball, Reid boomeranged much of the incoming transition into a Power counter attack. He cleared the ball plenty of times and guided much of the movement from the back half of the ground. The last line of defence and a pillar for his team, it was Reid’s footy IQ most on display, presenting keen decision-making under pressure and an accurate read on the crumb.

 

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets

By: James Goller

Oakleigh:

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins

Collier- Dawkins when given the opportunity is not afraid to take the game on. When in congestion he showed the ability to have clean hands. The midfielder ran back well defensively in one passage where he spoilt the Jets play and rebounded strongly from it.

#5 Xavier O’Neill

O’Neill played in the midfield for majority of the day in tough wet conditions. He used his speed to break the game open at times and won plenty of the footy in and around at stoppages. In the last quarter, he moved down to the back flank and rebounded strongly taking a intercept mark as well to cap off a solid performance.

#23 Isaac Quaynor

He started the game well showcasing his ability to run off the back flank strongly. Quaynor is renowned for his run and carry type of play and usually makes solid decisions. His impact was limited in the second half but still ended up with 13 touches and five tackles for the game.

#79 Bailey Griffiths

Griffiths was in the ruck for majority of the day and used his height advantage well to win the footy. He competed hard all day for the Chargers but in difficult conditions dropped a simple mark in the defensive 50.

 

Western:

#11 Zak Butters

Butters had a really good game showcasing his elite use of the footy and good awareness with ball in hand. He was able to put on a fair amount of pressure to his opponents laying five tackles for the match. When in congestion he was able and willing to compete hard to win the ball and used his clean hands to open up opportunities for his teammates.

#31 Emerson Jeka

Jeka was one of the best on ground for the Jets and was especially good early in the match. He took a heap of great contested marks and slotted a couple of clutch goals. He could have kicked more today if he had his kicking his kicking boots on but still impressed up forward for Western.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran

O’Halloran was in the midfield for majority of the day and contested hard for the footy. He Imposed himself around the ground laying some strong tackles and applied plenty of pressure throughout the game. O’Halloran gained a number of clearances during the four quarters and also showcased his footy smarts a number of times. He kicked a great goal from 50-55 meters out after the siren in the third quarter which lifted the Jets. He was not afraid to break through packs and take the game on.

#38 Buku Khamis

Khamis was the intercept marking king for the match with at least five of his 12 grabs intercepts for the Jets. His ability to read the play allowed him to leave his player and take strong marks. Not only that but Khamis used the ball effectively and efficiently. Sometimes his decision making can be questioned however today he was outstanding and racked up plenty of the footy.

#45 Aaron Clarke

Clarke was another Western Jet that had a good day at the office. He showed some real promise up forward kicking two goals. The 194cm player also pinched hit in the ruck and showed great agility across the ground.

 

Eastern Ranges vs. Bendigo Pioneers

By: Liam Connop

Eastern:

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

Rossiter played as a key forward and kicked an impressive six goals given the wet conditions. Though he is only a medium-size for a key position player, he demonstrated a great ability to kick a long-range goal, with his lovely left-foot kicking style allowing him to kick a few of his majors from 40 meters or more out on a set shot. Rossiter was also great in one-on-one contests, using his strength to push off his opponent and take contested marks. He was arguably the difference in this game.

#17 Cody Hirst

Hirst was a welcome addition back into the side after a month layoff. Playing at half-forward, Hirst was lively early setting up a scoring opportunity and almost kicking one himself. However, his day was cut short early into the second quarter, where he appeared to hurt his knee on the wing and was helped off the ground by trainers.

#24 Kye Quirk

Quirk played as an onballer for the duration of the game, and was able to utilise the domination of his ruckman to win the ball at the stoppages and help to propel the Ranges forward. Quirk covered the ground well and, whilst not being as prolific as he can be, was a prominent factor in his side’s comfortable win.

 

Bendigo:

#9 Zane Keighran

Keighran started slowly in the first quarter. However, an incident in the second quarter seemed to spark him into the match, where he was pushed into the fence before quickly retaliating in a healthy show of aggression. Shortly after, Keighran booted two goals in a row to keep his side in the contest in the first half, and continued to demonstrate pressure around the packs, with some strong tackling and good defensive efforts.

#20 James Schischka

Schischka is a medium-sized midfielder who moves well and reads the play well in the stoppages. He was not as prolific in winning the ball as in previous weeks, but showed his class at times in a tough day for the Pioneers. Schischka showed signs he could develop into a nice-moving midfielder.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Geelong Falcons

By: Owen Leonard:

Sandringham:

#28 James Rendell

Predominantly locked into an intriguing battle with Geelong’s Dane Hollenkamp, Rendell consistently created contests providing opportunity for the Dragons’ small forwards, albeit went goalless for the day. In addition, though, the key position prospect spent time in the ruck where he was more than serviceable, winning 18 hit-outs.

#32 Joe Griffiths

The ruckman was impressive at Trevor Barker Oval on Sunday, winning the majority of hit-outs. However, the mobility of Griffiths was more notable, who seemed to almost turn into another midfielder at ground level. A complete ruck performance, with 20 hit-outs well complemented by two goals.

Geelong:

#30 Oscar Brownless

It was a relatively quiet first half for the Geelong Cats father-son prospect, and frustration showed giving away a downfield free kick early in the third term – one of five frees against. However, the midfielder managed to get himself into the game as it progressed and finished with a respectable 20 disposals along with an equal game-high 12 tackles in a losing side.

#39 Connor Idun

Playing a traditional centre half-forward role, Idun was a constant target up the ground. Contributed with six marks, 13 disposals and three tackles.

#41 Cooper Stephens

 In a healthy return, the versatile Geelong player went forward and was effective in his ball use, with 11 efficient disposals for the day. Consistently presenting as a strong forward option, Stephens concluded the match with five marks and a goal.

#48 Blake Schlensog

The Falcon exhibited notable intercept marking ability in the first half, and set-up play from defence. Schlensog also went forward and kicked an impressive goal to put the Falcons 29 points clear in the second quarter. He finished with two goals for the day.

#49 Dane Hollenkamp

Hollenkamp was assigned the task of matching-up on James Rendell which he passed with flying colours, ultimately restricting the Dragon to just one behind. He seemed to be the general down in defence and was one of the Falcons’ best.