Tag: Kyle Dunkley

VFL weekly wrap: Magpies suffer again as Seagulls soar

COLLINGWOOD suffered another heavy loss in Round 10 of the Victorian Football League (VFL) falling to Casey, while Williamstown took advantage of the bye for Essendon and moved to second place on the ladder.

Richmond 13.8 (86) defeated Geelong 9.9 (63)

The Tigers returned to the winners list with a 23-point victory over the Cats at Punt Rd. Eager to prove last week was merely an anomaly, Richmond took the lead nearing quarter time and didn’t let go of it. Geelong only trailed by five points at the final break but couldn’t make up the difference in the last quarter, with Richmond finishing strong. Luke Nelson kicked four goals for the Tigers while Nathan Kreuger slotted three for Geelong. Charlie Constable and Fraser Turner each kicked a goal and had 26 disposals while Shai Bolton finished with 25 touches. Richmond face Coburg this weekend while Geelong have the bye.

Williamstown 19.9 (123) defeated North Melbourne 10.10 (70)

North Melbourne couldn’t continue the form from their win over the Tigers as they were trounced by the Seagulls away from home. It was Williamstown’s eight goal to four second term that set the tone, and they eventually went on to win by 53 points. Nick Rodda booted four goals while Joel Ottavi snagged three and new Roo Lachie Hosie kicked two for his side. Mitch Hibberd was best afield with 29 disposals and two goals. Williamstown take on Port Melbourne in the classic rivalry this Sunday while North Melbourne travel to Frankston.

Northern Blues 14.15 (99) defeated Coburg 13.4 (82)

A spirited fightback from the Lions was not enough to take home the four points against the Norther Blues. Wearing the traditional Preston red and white, the Blues had a lead as big as 52 points in the final term before Coburg put some good footy together to narrow it to just 17 by the final siren. The two sides were separated by just four points at the main break before the Blues switched on and kicked four goals to one in the third term. Marcus Lentini had a mammoth 42 disposals for the Lions, with Carlton’s Matthew Kennedy the next best on 30. Hedley Smith kicked five goals on debut while Andrew Phillips slotted three. The Blues return to Ikon Park to play Footscray on Saturday while Coburg take on Richmond in Beaconsfield.

Frankston 5.13 (43) defeated by Port Melbourne 17.14 (116)

It was another long Sunday for Frankston supporters as their side fell to Port Melbourne by 73 points. Again, it was a tale of two halves for the Dolphins, as they enjoyed an impressive second term, even taking the lead at one stage. From then on they seemed to fall off a cliff as the Borough romped home, restricting Frankston to just one second half goal. Tom O’Sullivan and Ethan Phillips each kicked three goals. Josh Newman, Nathan Freeman and Will Fordham kept Frankston afloat with 32, 31, and 29 disposals respectively while Eli Templeton had 31 touches for Port. Frankston take on North Melbourne at home while Port host Williamstown this weekend.

Casey 15.12 (102) defeated Collingwood 6.3 (39)

Matthew Scharenberg getting through the match uninjured was one of the few highlights for Collingwood as they never looked in the contest at Casey Fields. The Demons lead comfortably at every break, eventually winning by 63 points. Alex Woodward collected his usual 32 disposals while Jordan Lewis had 30 touches as he attempts to force his way back into the Melbourne lineup. Kyle Dunkley and Mitch White each kicked three goals for the home side. Both sides have the bye this weekend.

Bye – Werribee, Essendon, Footscray, Sandringham, Box Hill

Pic: NMFC.com.au

NAB League Boys Round 10 preview – Changes continue amid national carnival

THE changes continue to roll on among NAB League sides in Round 10, with a week off from school football and national championship rotations allowing teams to replenish. While a few sides remain particularly weakened, others are more balanced and could shake up the ladder with big wins over more fancied rivals.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Saturday June 8, 10:30am
Shepley Oval

Dandenong Stingrays will look to continue its unbeaten premiership defence when it opens Round 10 against the Northern Knights on home turf. Coming off a bye last week, this game will be one of the few occasions throughout the year where Dandenong will be at less than full strength – with Lachlan Williams‘ inclusion in the Vic Country squad making it five Dandenong representatives set to suit up against the Allies on Sunday. Mid-season draftee Mitch Riordan is another who comes out of the side, but the home side will be boosted by the inclusion of Bigoa Nyuon – set to line-up in the ruck. Their weekend opponents, the Knights, will also be boosted by the return of a couple of Victorian representatives in the form of Ryan Sturgess and Adam Carafa, while Nikolas Cox is another to slot straight back in due to a halt in the school football season. The inclusions are especially timely given the opposition, as well as an unfortunate injury to Ryan Gardner in last week’s loss. With Dandenong somewhat weakened, it will be interesting to see how some of their players adjust in different roles and with added responsibility, and Northern will be keen to pounce on an unlikely bounce-back victory.

GEELONG FALCONS vs. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
Saturday June 8, 11:30am
MARS Stadium

The Sandringham Dragons and Geelong Falcons open a MARS Stadium double-header on Saturday, with the Falcons looking to correct a three-game slide. They face stiff opposition in the form of Sandringham though, with the Dragons adjusting well without over half of their best 23 last week. On top of giving Andrew Courtney a rest after missing Metro selection this week, the Dragons are set to lose a further three guns in the form of Oscar Lewis, Jack Bell, and Corey Watts. With the Falcons regaining the likes of over-age pair Charlie Sprague and Sam Christensen, along with bottom-agers Charlie Lazzaro and Noah Gadsby amongst other school football inclusions, Geelong can have a real crack at picking up a second win for the year. The Falcons are not heavily impacted by Vic Country selection either with only two representatives, so have an obvious advantage in that department. As mentioned though, the Dragons are used to fielding depleted squads and have shown they are more than well enough equiped to deal with the outs. Only time will tell whether it will prove too much this week, but the second place side is always hard to tip against.

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. WESTERN JETS
Saturday June 8, 1:00pm
Morwell Football Ground

A spot back on the winners list is up for grabs for the Gippsland Power as they host a Western Jets outfit looking to make it three-consecutive wins. The Power went down to fellow top four fancies Sandringham last time out, largely on the back of having nine players suit up for Vic Country instead, as well as losing mid-season draftee Kyle Dunkley. A week to adjust to the wealth of changes may prove handy for the Power, who still managed to push Sandringham to within four goals. Western had no such troubles last week in a big win over Bendigo, and will in fact be strengthened by the return of Metro representative Josh Honey, as well as Emerson Jeka from injury and Will Kennedy from the Young Guns game. In a rare instance at this time of year, they are essentially a couple of players off being at full strength, which will more than bode well for them in this clash. The Power will have some shuffling to do with an extended bench named, but have the remaining talent to get up and consolidate their spot in the top four. It will be a tough ask against the flying Jets, and should be one of the closer contests of the round.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS vs. EASTERN RANGES
Saturday June 8, 2:00pm
MARS Stadium

Contrasting form lines tell the story in the lead up to the clash between Greater Western Victoria and the Eastern Ranges, with the 6-2 visitors looking for a third-straight win, while the 2-6 Rebels look to snap a four-game losing run. The Ranges have been a surprise packet thus far in claiming a top four spot, and bounced back well from a loss to Gippsland two rounds ago. Despite a bright start they only had one Metro representative last week in Connor Downie, who comes back in for this game. The form of Mitch Mellis was too good to refuse though, so he and skipper James Ross will both suit up for Metro this week, but will be covered by the likes of Chayce Black, Riley Smith, and Jamieson Rossiter as key ins. Given the remaining strength of the Eastern side and its consistency, the Rebels face a mountain to climb in overcoming the Ranges. That will be somewhat compounded as Country selection calls for Toby Mahony, but Nick Stevens and Isaac Wareham are solid ins across half-back. The home ground advantage should suit GWV, so expect some fight from them in what will be a tough game.

CALDER CANNONS vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday June 8, 2:00pm
RAMS Arena

The Calder Cannons will be looking to rectify a 23-point Round 2 loss to Oakleigh when they face the Chargers for a second time this year to close out Saturday’s proceedings. Calder once again plays host at RAMS Arena with Warrawee Park unavailable, and will be in with a good chance of turning the previous result around. The Cannons come in on the back of two-straight wins, albeit over bottom ten sides, and have looked solid for their 5-4 record and seventh place. Meanwhile, sixth-place Oakleigh seems to be hitting its straps despite missing a host of stars, and will be buoyed by some great inclusions from school football and the Young Guns game. The likes of Joe Ayton-Delaney, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, and Will Phillips are all classy inclusions, and will provide some spark to the line-up. Calder has also benefitted with its ins, as over-agers Josh Kemp and Mason Fletcher return alongside bottom-ager Campbell Edwardes as the Cannons look to replace the spine usually filled by their Metro representatives. Form would suggest this may be one of the closer games of the round, and if their first meeting is anything to go by, game-winners will need to stand up in order to get the job done.

TASMANIA DEVILS vs. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Sunday June 9, 10:00am
UTAS Stadium

The Tasmania Devils and Murray Bushrangers are set to face off in their curtain raiser match for the Allies and Vic Country clash at UTAS Stadium in Sunday’s only game. The Devils have been competitive over their eight matches so far, going at an even 4-4 having beaten GWV last week. While they face an underperforming Murray side, and move to a positive record will be tough with the likes of leading prospect Mitch O’Neill and bottom-agers Oliver Davis and Sam Collins selected in the Allies team. With Murray already without the likes of Lachie Ash and Elijah Hollands, Cam Wild becomes another called up for Country duties, while Will Chandler is set to suit up for the Allies. One who missed out on Allies selection is over-ager Ben Kelly, who comes back into the Murray side alongside fellow Young Guns player, Zane Barzen. While the Bushrangers are still finding their feet on the back of their key outs, this will be one of the few times where Tasmania will be forced to cover losses on a bigger scale, so it will be a test of who can adjust better. Expect a good contest in the lead up to a showcase of elite Under 18 football.

Thirteen players offered AFL chance in Mid-Season Draft

LAST night saw the first AFL Mid-Season Draft in 25 years, with 13 players previously overlooked in last year’s AFL Draft – and many more for some – finding homes, including four former AFL-listed players. We review each pick and take a look at who your club picked up.

PICK 1 | Carlton | Josh Deluca (Subiaco)

The former Fremantle player received a second chance when the Blues called out his name first in the draft. Since returning to the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Deluca has become a premier midfielder, winning the Simpson Medal for Best on Ground in the WAFL’s clash with the SANFL earlier in the month. Deluca adds a stronger body to Carlton’s midfield and is one player that could slot in almost immediately to the side, also having speed in his repertoire which will provide nice highlights for Carlton fans, and also great support for Patrick Cripps.

PICK 2 | Gold Coast | Mitch Riordan (Dandenong Stingrays)

The Dandenong Stingrays premiership co-captain gets his chance after an injury-riddled 2018 year. Riordan came back as an overager for the Stingrays in 2019, and has averaged 19.7 disposals, 3.5 marks and 4.7 tackles per game – all career best in the NAB League. His six games in 2019 already matched his total from last year, and he is more readymade than many 19-year-old prospects would be, joining premiership teammate Sam Fletcher at the SUNS who was also picked up post-draft. For SUNS fans, Riordan has elite agility clocking up 7.93 seconds in the agility test at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day.

PICK 3 | Melbourne | Kyle Dunkley (Gippsland Power)

Much like Riordan, Kyle Dunkley returned to the NAB League as an overager following an injury-riddled top-age year for Oakleigh Chargers. Hailing from Gippsland, Dunkley returned to the Power without school commitments now, and immediately made an impact as the clear standout 19-year-old prospect. His average disposal count rose from 13.0 to 18.5, and laid almost four more tackles per game this year. More importantly, Dunkley has played a key role in the midfield rather than as a medium forward, and has nice power in the way that he plays. He joins brother Josh in the AFL, and like Riordan is more of a readymade prospect than other 19-year-olds.

PICK 4 | Sydney | Michael Knoll (South Adelaide)

The premier ruckman outside the AFL arguably in the entire country, Michael Knoll was a surprise selection by the Swans considering the amount of pure rucks they have on their list. But with Sam Naismith injured and Callum Sinclair needing support, Knoll fills a need as a readymade ruck who the Swans can call upon if needed. The unlucky Panthers lose their ruck after also losing Keegan Brooksby and then Hayden McLean – who was recruited to replace Brooksby – to the AFL system. Another readymade player.

PICK 5 | North Melbourne | Lachlan Hosie (Glenelg)

It takes a special player to be leading the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) goalkicking tally, and that is exactly what Lachlan Hosie has done so far this season. The 22-year-old 189cm forward has booted 21 goals in eight games so far in 2019, averaging 2.6 goals per game. North Melbourne has been craving an extra marking forward, with Kangaroos fans likely to be pleased with the selection. Along with his goals, Hosie has averaged 14.5 disposals and 5.6 marks, while also getting up the ground and producing 2.5 inside 50s per game.

PICK 6 | Western Bulldogs | Ryan Gardner (Footscray VFL)

The key position utility has been impressive in his Victorian Football League (VFL) stint with Footscray this year, earning a second chance at the top level after a brief chance with Geelong as a teenager. Still only 21, Gardner has plenty of football left in him, and showed at state level he can play up either end. At AFL level, Gardner has been touted as a Tom Boyd replacement, and given he has already been a part of the Bulldogs’ system, he will not need to adjust to any game plans or tactics like at other clubs.

PICK 7 | Essendon | Will Snelling (West Adelaide)

Essendon were touted to pick up Michael Knoll given they lost Sam Draper and Joe Daniher to long-term injuries, but with Knoll off the board, they opted for fellow South Australian Will Snelling who fills the hole left by the injured Devon Smith. Snelling, like Gardner and Deluca, has also had a stint at AFL level, playing one game with Port Adelaide before being delisted last year. In his seven games thus far, Snelling has averaged 29.7 disposals – ranked in the top 10 in the SANFL League competition – as well as 9.6 tackles, 5.7 marks and 2.7 inside 50s.

PICK 8 | St Kilda | Jack Mayo (Subiaco)

One of the more unlucky players to miss out last year on being drafted, the WAFL Colts leading goalkicker has been one of the more dominant goalkickers in Western Australia over the journey. Mayo missed out on playing National Under 18 Championships, but booted 50 goals across 21 games in the Colts competition and has since transitioned between Reserves and Seniors this year in a strong Subiaco side. He has still managed to average two goals per game at Reserves level, and with Paddy McCartin now out long-term, Mayo provides another forward option for the Saints. In terms of his athletic traits, Mayo has elite speed for a tall (2.95 seconds) and elite vertical jump (84cm running jump) which he recorded at last year’s Western Australia state combine.

PICK 9 | Port Adelaide | Cam Sutcliffe (Port Adelaide Magpies)

Cam Sutcliffe became the fourth former AFL player to receive a lifeline in the Mid-Season Draft, and the second to be plucked out by the side he spent time in the Reserves with this year. After being delisted by Fremantle at the end of last year following 104 games and 18 goals, the 27-year-old offers another readymade option for the Power. In 2019, Sutcliffe has averaged 18.7 disposals at an elite disposal efficiency of 88 per cent, as well as 3.7 clearances and 3.5 tackles, more than enough for Port Adelaide to throw him an AFL lifeline.

PICK 10 | Hawthorn | Pass

PICK 11 | Fremantle | Dillon O’Reilly (East Fremantle)

The son of former Docker, Blue and Cat Stephen, Dillon O’Reilly was a key position player for Western Australia at the National Under 18 Championships, playing forward and through the ruck for the Sandgropers. In 2017 he booted 46 goals as a bottom-ager in the WAFL Colts, making his debut for the East Fremantle League side last year, booting three goals in two games. He has managed two games at League level so far this season, and is a tall option who can play anywhere Fremantle require him to in the future. Like Mayo, was one of a number of tall prospects overlooked last year, but has finally grabbed his chance and will now be able to follow in his dad’s footsteps.

PICK 12 | Adelaide | Pass

PICK 13 | Richmond | Marlion Pickett (South Fremantle)

A broken finger that will keep Marlion Pickett out for a couple of months did not deter Richmond from reading out his name at the Mid-Season Draft. The Tigers were keen to add an extra midfielder to their list, and Pickett is considered one of the top state league talents running around. He has only managed the two games this year, including the weekend’s match where he re-injured his finger, but last year managed 21.8 disposals as well as just under five marks and five tackles per game. He has that hard inside edge as well as class, and while he is 27 years old, Pickett will step into the line-up once fit. A great selection for a team in its premiership window.

PICK 14 | Collingwood | John Noble (West Adelaide)

Collingwood also picked up a readymade midfielder, that being South Australia’s John Noble, who was one of the best in the SANFL’s win over the WAFL earlier this year. Noble possesses a rare combination of speed and endurance which attracted the Pies to the 22-year-old, and while the choice of a midfielder would have surprised plenty of Pies fans, Noble provides extra depth for a side that has been tested with injuries this year. More importantly, being 22, Noble is a player who is a late bloomer with plenty of development left. Expect him to be one who catches the eye for Collingwood’s VFL side until he is set to challenge for a role in the AFL side.

PICK 15 | Gold Coast | Pass

PICK 16 | Sydney | Cody Hirst (Eastern Ranges)

The king of agility earned a place on Sydney’s list as the last pick in the Mid-Season Draft. Despite missing almost an entire season through injury, Hirst did not lose his agility at the Rookie Me Combine last year, breaking Stephen Hill’s AFL record twice – consecutively. After being a pressure forward previously, Hirst moved up to a wing this season and the role paid dividends, winning more of the ball and being able to use his athletic traits to hurt opposition sides in transition. He is one of the more long-term prospects, weighing in at barely 70kg, but he has the athleticism and versatility to make a strong go of the top level.

PICK 17 | Western Bulldogs | Pass

PICK 18 | Essendon | Pass

VFL weekly wrap: Bombers suffer big first loss

RICHMOND occupies top spot on the Victorian Football League (VFL) ladder following Round 6, as Essendon dropped their first match of the season, while North Melbourne picked up their first win.

Essendon 8.7 (55) defeated by Casey 15.6 (96)

The undefeated Bombers entered their clash with the Demons on a high, with a huge percentage and a win expected against a Casey side who only had one victory. It was the Demons, however, who led from the first bounce to the final siren to take home the four points. The only positive for Essendon was the final term, where they booted five goals to four. Brayden Preuss dominated for the away side with 40 hitouts and two goals while Tim Smith slammed home four, and Mitch White three. Dylan Clarke was best for the Bombers with 28 disposals.

Port Melbourne 16.9 (105) defeated Werribee 14.5 (89)

The Borough continued their winning streak with a win over the Tigers at home. Port lead by as much as 50 points halfway through the second term, but Werribee did well to turn the contest into a competitive one despite ultimately going down. Tom Gribble had 27 disposals while Harvey Hooper notched up 25 and a goal. Campbell Walker and Matthew Munro kicked three goals each, as Blake Pearson slotted four.

Box Hill 12.12 (84) drew Foostcray 12.12 (84)

The lead for either side never extended beyond three goals as the Hawks and Bulldogs recorded the first draw of the season at the MCG. Dropped former Hawthorn captain Jarryd Roughead excelled, kicking five goals, and famously coaching Bulldog Reuben William on-field. Tory Dickson and Kyle Dunkley kicked three each for the Dogs. Bailey Williams continued his push for an AFL berth with 31 disposals.

Collingwood 8.7 (56) defeated by Sandringham 7.14 (56)

Sandringham crawled over the line at Victoria Park to defeat the Magpies. While the margin was never more than 19 points, the Zebras led all day until three early final quarter goals put Collingwood in front by 5 points. Sandy then got six consecutive points through a combination of rushed behinds and inaccurate kicking to register the victory. Alex Woodward did what he does with 39 disposals, while Hunter Clark had the second most touches on the ground with 28. Travis Varcoe and Sam Rowe each kicked two goals.

Frankston 7.8 (50) defeated by Richmond 19.10 (124)

Frankston remains the only team in the VFL without a win after their loss to Richmond at home. The Dolphins started brightly, leading early in the first term, but the class of the Tigers prevailed. Patty Naish kicked four goals and had 29 disposals as Mabior Chol slotted three goals. Mav Weller had 27 touches while Josh Newman was immense for the Dolphins once again, with 25 disposals and a goal.

North Melbourne 17.11 (113) defeated Geelong 14.9 (93)

North Melbourne put together a superb final quarter to overrun Geelong and record their first win of the season. While the Cats led at every break, North had the lead at one stage of every term, and finally unleashed in the last, kicking 6 goals to 2. Aaron Hall responded to his VFL demotion with 29 disposals and two goals while Lachie Fogarty was impressive for the Cats with 27 disposals and a goal. Nathan Hrovat was the star of the show however, booting six goals, including the one that gave the Kangaroos the lead in the final quarter.

Bye – Coburg, Williamstown, Northern Blues

Pic: VFL.com.au

NAB League Boys Round 6 preview: Academies set for final hit-out

THE Northern Academies will each go around for the final time in the NAB League ahead of National Championship commitments next month, while Sandringham and Western can enjoy byes in Round 6. Gippsland v Eastern firms as the game of the round as the Power eyes off a top four spot, with the Swans Academy looking to complete an undefeated stint.

TASMANIA DEVILS v OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday May 4, 11:30am
North Hobart Oval

Tenth and eleventh face off in Tasmania as the Devils host Oakleigh Chargers at North Hobart Oval with both sides looking for a third win. Oakleigh has suffered three-straight defeats on the back of having much of its side’s core stripped, with both wins coming in the opening two rounds. Co-captains Trent Bianco and Dylan Williams have remained amidst school football outs over the last two weeks, but over-ager Joe Ayton-Delaney is a key omission this week on the back of being selected to play in the annual Young Guns fixture. Tasmania’s inclusions will also put a dent in the Chargers’ hopes of bouncing back, with Australian Under 17 representatives Jackson Callow, Sam Collins, and Oliver Davis all coming back into the side for this clash. While the Devils went down heavily last week after consecutive wins previously, they will stand a huge chance of causing an upset here with home ground advantage and a weakened Oakleigh side searching for form.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v GWS GIANTS ACADEMY
Saturday May 4, 12:00pm
Albury Sports Ground

With tenth and eleventh opening the round, thirteenth placed Murray Bushrangers hosts the fourteenth placed GWS Giants Academy as both sides search for a second win. The Giants were unlucky not to add to their sole victory as they went down by nine points to Gippsland last time out, but will be keen to finish up their NAB League commitments on a good note. Beating Murray in Albury will be no mean feat despite the Bushrangers’ 1-3 record, as the home side could well have been sporting an opposite record coming into the game after going down twice by under a goal. The return of Lachlan Ash will be a big boost for Murray, but they will be without talented over-agers Ben Kelly and Zane Barzen from last week’s side. The Giants will be without talent of their own as James Peatling exits the side, but will be buoyed by the inclusion of midfield bull, Tom Green. With the Division 2 prize out of the question for GWS, the result looms of greater important to Murray as it looks to mount a charge up the ladder through the mid-season period.

CALDER CANNONS v BENDIGO PIONEERS
Saturday May 4, 2:15pm
RAMS Arena

Calder and Bendigo are on the hunt for their third wins of the season, and both have the chance to do so as they face off at RAMS Arena on Saturday. While Bendigo are the second-best place team on eight points after a lightning start to the season, Calder is the worst-placed of the five teams with two wins, and sit twelfth. The Cannons will come into the clash with a better bout of confidence too, having won last week against Geelong – on the other hand, Bendigo has lost its last two games. While the Pioneers will again be without key men Thomson Dow and Brodie Kemp, as well as Jacob Atley to the Young Guns game, there are no massive changes from the side that lost to Northern last week. Calder are much the same despite over-agers Sam Graham and Josh Kemp being unavailable, with its over-age depth proving handy. The Cannons’ win last week would have them feeling good, but the quest for a second-straight will prove difficult against a Bendigo team looking to make up for a result missed in their previous effort.

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY v GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS
Sunday May 5, 10:15am
South Pine Sports Complex

Greater Western Victoria search for a second-straight win heads to the Sunshine State, as the Rebels take on Gold Coast Suns Academy to open Sunday’s Queensland double-header. The Rebels’ big win last week over Northern Territory saw them add to their Round 2 victory over Geelong, while the Suns suffered their first loss in a hefty defeat at the hands of Eastern. Despite the polar opposite form lines, this clash should prove to be a close one between the two top-eight sides, especially since the Rebels have competed in three games decided by under seven points. That competitiveness will have to well and truly be present though, with over-agers James Cleaver, Matt Lloyd, and Jed Hill all set to miss and test the Rebels’ midfield depth. While Dirk Koenan and Ryan Gilmore are out for the Suns, they have benefitted from being able to consistently field near-full strength sides throughout their four games, and this will be no different. With a chance to claim Division 2 honours still up for grabs on Gold Coast’s end, expect them to have a red hot crack to end their NAB League campaign.

GEELONG FALCONS v SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY
Sunday May 5, 12:00pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

Geelong will hope to spoil Sydney Academy’s Division 2 title hopes and collect its first win when the two do battle on neutral ground in Sandringham. The Falcons have points on the board after their Round 3 draw with Dandenong, and have been competitive in one and seven point losses to suggest they can be competitive. Meanwhile, the Swans Academy has had no such trouble in its four games, winning all of them to sit third in the overall NAB League standings. A win would see the Swans clinch the Division 2 title as the best placed academy, with the added notch of going undefeated. With the likes of Errol Gulden and Braeden Campbell back in after Australian representative action, the Swans stack up as formidable opponents. On the other hand, Geelong will be left with holes to fill at either end as Charlie Sprague and Sam Christensen report for Young Gun duties alongside Harry Stubbings, but the likes of Henry Walsh and Oliver Henry replenish the line-up. The Falcons will be breathing fire after letting one slip, and could throw a spanner in the works against much-fancied opponents.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY v DANDENONG STINGRAYS
Sunday May 5, 12:45pm
South Pine Sports Complex

A second win is on offer upon the Brisbane Lions Academy’s exit from the NAB League on Sunday when they welcome Dandenong Stingrays to the South Pine Sports Complex. The 1-4 Lions have suffered three-consecutive losses after beating GWS in Round 2, including a 97-point loss to Sandringham last week. The margin of defeat could have been far worse in that game though, and Brisbane will take the promise they showed in a four-goal to six second half into this bout. Dandenong had no such worries against its Metro opponent in Round 5, trouncing Oakleigh by 70 points to hold an undefeated 3-0-1 record and fourth place. While the Lions have made five changes, their lineup has seldom been disrupted and it showed in their two competitive outings against Eastern and Gold Coast. 2018 Academy skipper Cody Stackelberg returns after a stint in the NEAFL, but the Stingrays have made the most significant ins with Hayden Young and Cody Weightman included. Young could get a good run in the midfield with Mitch Riordan out and Jai Nanscawen following, setting up an exciting midfield battle against Brisbane’s ball winners. The Lions will want to finish well in front of a home crowd, and travel could well be a defining factor for the Stingrays.

GIPPSLAND POWER v EASTERN RANGES
Sunday May 5, 1:00pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve

In what looms as the game of the round, second-placed Eastern (4-1) travels to face a surging Gippsland Power side in Morwell. The Ranges have shown their solidity and evenness across the board in four-consecutive wins, toppling two metro sides and two academies. Gippsland has only put one foot wrong, losing narrowly to Dandenong in Round 2, but are otherwise building nicely to sit seventh as one of three 3-1 sides. Hopes of a third-consecutive win will be boosted by the inclusion of Sam Flanders, but in-form over-ager Kyle Dunkley comes out of the side as he readies for the Young Guns game. Cody Hirst, Joel Nathan, and Riley Smith are set to play in the same game alongside James Blanck, with the Ranges naming an extended bench to cover their losses. Eastern has been a somewhat of a surprise packet thus far, but Gippsland have a wealth of top-end talent that they will trust to stand up in what should be a tight tussle.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v NORTHERN TERRITORY
Sunday May 5, 2:00pm
Ikon Park

Northern Territory faces its last chance to come away with a NAB League win as it readies for battle against the Northern Knights at Ikon Park. The Knights finally got on the board last week with a come-from-behind win over Bendigo on Friday night, leaving their weekend opponents and Geelong as the only sides without a set of four points. While they have shown promise, NT’s narrowest losing margin was 44 points against the Gold Coast Suns academy in Round 2, with this the final time they can show their true worth on the NAB League stage. The Thunder forward line looks dangerous with leading prospect Malcolm Rosas Jr named alongside the likes of Beau O’Connell and big-man Matthew Cumming, with Ben Rioli also added to the mix this week. Ollie Simpson and Sunny Brazier come out of the winning Knights side from last week to fulfil Young Guns duties, with Ryan Gardner an important in – named in the midfield. Northern could see this fixture as an opportunity to get on a winning run after last week’s result, but Northern Territory should give it a good crack as some of their stars vie for a spot in the Allies squad.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 5

NAB League returned with a bang this weekend, and despite a few stars missing through school football and rotation, had plenty of others show their worth over three days and nine games. Here are our opinion-based scouting notes from each game on players highlighted by club talent managers or who those who made the Vic Metro/Vic Country extended squad.

Bendigo Pioneers 7.7 (49) defeated by Northern Knights 8.6 (54)

By: Peter Williams

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

The nuggety bottom-age midfielder showed off his strength in a number of ways during the narrow loss. He was able to stand his ground in mark contests and also get the ball free while being tackled. In the opening term he won the ball uncontested on the wing and kicked long inside 50 which set up a goal to Kobe Brown. He kept finding space and working hard into it, winning plenty of the ball and trying to get it forward whenever he could. He has great special awareness and does not panic with ball-in-hand, able to shift his centre of gravity before disposing of the ball. Had a great run-down tackle in the third term as the Knights were attacking.

#11 Aaron Gundry

Spent most of his time through the ruck when on and showed off his good vertical leap. He competed at the stoppages and had clean hitouts, and also won a free kick deep in defence and was able to clear the ball long. Ball use by hand or foot was hit and miss but his athleticism was good.

#19 Ben Worme

Some nice highlights from Worme, providing some run and carry both through the midfield and off half-back. He had a great passage of play in the opening term, lowering his eyes after bursting away from the wing and hit up a teammate. He showed good vision under pressure to give out a handball to a teammate in space. Made a few mistakes by foot at times, but stood up when required.

#20 James Schischka

Hardly puts a foot wrong and was really strong in defence. He used the ball fairly well apart from the odd occasion, and was often the general in defence just keeping the opposition at bay and mopping up back there. He draws opponents to him when carrying the ball and then releases the disposal at the right time to a teammate. One of the Pioneers’ best on the night.

#21 Riley Wilson

Impressive game from the inside midfielder, playing well through the stoppages and being the prominent clearance midfielder on the night. He has a great technique when it comes to tackling, and he reads the taps well from the ruckmen. When in time and space he can use the ball well, the next step is just settling down his kicking when under pressure as a few times he chucked it on the boot. In the second term he fended off an opponent and then when a second opponent tackled him, stood tall and handballed clear to a teammate. Wilson had a number of good moments bursting out of a stoppage, and never stopped trying. Certainly one of Bendigo’s four quarter performers.

#38 Brady Rowles

Not a huge ball winner, but he had memorable moments, with a juggling intercept mark in defence, and a great spoil at half-back when out of position. He had a chance to kick a goal in the second term but it drifted to the left and fell short, then had a terrific run off half-back, bursting from defensive 50 straight past opponents and set up a goal with a long kick inside 50. In the third term he produced a terrific run-down tackle midway through the term when an opponent was streaming down the middle and his actions forced a turnover.

Northern:

#1 Lachlan Potter

Had one of his better games in terms of ball winning capabilities, just needs to tidy up his ball use a little by foot. He suffered leather poisoning in the first quarter, winning absolutely everything off half-back and pushing up to the wing, even winning an intercept mark at half-forward. When using the ball by hand he seemed to do it effectively as he drew opponents given his well renowned speed. When he has space no-one can catch him easily, and he uses that to his advantage. When he goes to take the game on, Potter looks very damaging, it is just trying to lower the eyes at times or put it to a teammates’ advantage. In terms of his run-and-carry and metres gained, it was a huge tick, and he took a number of intercept marks as well.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

The best Knights player for mine, just continues to have an impact throughout the four quarters. He is not the quickest player out there, but he plays to his strengths and they are his physical strength and low centre of gravity, football nous and competitiveness. Time and time again D’Intinosante will crack in hard and win the clearances or lay a smother or crunch an opponent in a tackle. What he does well is have a good balance between offence and defence – tackling and using the ball forward of centre. He wins a lot of his possessions at the coal face, and is standing up well as an inside midfielder. At times his kicking can be hit and miss, but he hits the scoreboard, and while the stats will say he kicked one major, there were three other opportunities where if he had a bit more kicking penetration, he could have headed home with four. A really promising performance and strong game from D’Intinosante and is enjoying a great season so far.

#11 Ryan Sturgess

Just a reliable player in defence, able to use the ball well and just control things from the back half. He took quite a few intercept marks in defence and was able to switch the ball across the back 50 or down the wing well. He was tasked with the kick-out duties and cleared the defensive 50 strongly, and looked comfortable in the air, taking a contested mark in the second term with an opponent coming front on.

Sydney Swans Academy 13.10 (88) defeated Murray Bushrangers 9.10 (64)

By: Scott Dougan

Sydney:

#2 Hamish Ellem

Ellem lined up on Bushranger Ben Kelly and was able to hit the scoreboard within the first 10-minutes of the game. He continued his goal-kicking form into the second and third quarters, booting two more goals – one of them from the boundary line on his left foot. A good game.

#3 Luke Parks

Parks played across half-back and was competitive all game. He took some very good contested marks throughout the match, putting his height, good leap and strong hands to good use.

#9 Sam Thorne

Thorne’s first quarter was brilliant, with the tough midfielder a major contributor to his team’s quick start. He tackled with intent and was damaging with all of his possessions. Thorne was strong in contested situations, where he won a lot of his disposals. He also showed that he can play on the outside of the contest too, with his acceleration coming in handy. Thorne had a game-high 10 tackles.

#10 Jackson Barling

Barling was prominent around stoppages, where he continually released the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. His inside grunt work caught the eye, along with his defensive pressure. He also spent some time forward and booted his one and only goal of the match in the third term after reading the flight of an incoming ball better than his opponent.

Murray:

#1 Will Christie

Christie showcased his strong leap and athletic attributes throughout the game, especially during the second half. He started in the ruck in the third term and immediately won the first hit-out that he guided down his team-mates throat. He stayed involved around the ground and continued his good tap-work in the ruck. Christie had 30 hitouts and 11 disposals in an encouraging performance.

#3 Ben Kelly

Kelly played as a key defender on Swans forward Hamish Ellem. Ellem booted three goals on him but I thought his defensive positioning and spoiling was pretty good. Even though he’s over 200cm, he also played as a rebounding defender, putting his speed and ball use to good use when exiting the defensive 50.

#5 Cameron Wild

Wild was one of his team’s best midfielders and players on the day. His inside work was noticeable, winning a lot of contested ball. His ball use by foot and hand was clean and his work-rate remained high all game. He was able to hit the scoreboard after collecting a loose ground-ball get deep inside the forward 50. Moments later, he demonstrated his composure and vision, with an intelligent kick to his teammate Cameron Wilson, resulting in a set-shot on goal. Wild finished with 26 disposals, 7 marks, and 1 goal.

#7 Zane Barzen

The 19-year-old played mainly across half-forward, where he used his clean skills to deliver the ball to his teammates in the forward half. He took a while to get into the game, but his second half was promising. Barzen took some nice marks on the day, finishing with a team-high 8.

#10 Will Quirk

Quirk played in the defensive half for his team and was able to provide some run and carry out of the back half. He took some nice marks in the second term and was able to show off his athletic attributes on the day. Quirk had a good second half, finishing the match with 21 disposals and five rebound 50s.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Chalcraft was exceptionally clean at ground level and his ball use by foot and hand was superb. He was able to use his speed and agility to escape and break his opponents’ tackles. He kicked a beautiful opposite foot snap goal in the third term, which kept his team within striking distance of the Swans. He is very hard at the contest for his size and I thought he was one of his team’s best players.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Boyer remained involved in the contest and always found a way to find the ball. His ball use by foot was as usual, noticeable. He played as a link-up player across half-back and through the midfield, where he provided some run and carry for his team moving forward.

Dandenong Stingrays 19.10 (124) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 8.6 (54)

By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#11 Ned Cahill

One of Dandenong’s most outstanding performers across three quarters. Cahill has that touch of class about him and most importantly he gets forward and hits the scoreboard as well. He kicked three goals and handed off a fourth in the win, but also had some good defensive moments too. He spoiled a ball across the line on the wing coming across third up, and put pressure on opponents when they tried to kick forward. He had a great one-on-one in the second term for a goal to work his opponent under the footy then run onto the loose ball at the back.

#18 Mitch Riordan

A high work rate and competitive effort is what you get with Riordan each and every week and this week was no different. He is a clearance expert and just racks up the ball from a stoppage going in hard. He also has some good footy IQ to be able to tap to a teammate in space rather than take possession when under pressure. Not a huge ball winner, but plays such an important role on the inside.

#20 Sam De Koning

Spent the day in defence and had a nice balance between offence and defence. He stood tall on his opponent and provided some offensive rebound at the same time. De Koning pulled down a terrific intercept mark in defence flying high, and showed great vision to handball clear to a teammate while being slung around in a tackle.

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

Stepped up rotating between ruck and forward and you just never know what you are going to get. He can create the unbelievable and then do the unthinkable, which is what makes him quite an entertaining prospect. He was able to hit the scoreboard after picking up a loose ball in attack following good pressure on an opponent, then was able to set up teammates inside 50 for goals as well. He did try and do too much at times like backing himself in from the pocket – which is good to see but he was out of position – rather than handballing into Ned Cahill who was 10 metres closer to goal in space, and then there was a 30m kick straight up in the air when up the other end. However his athleticism and ability to leap above others is without question and there is some serious talent there, it is just piecing it together.

#42 Jai Nanscawen

Known for his goal kicking but Nanscawen played a higher role at times on the weekend, being a playmaker at half-forward or through the midfield, then drifting deeper and providing a target. His defensive work was what stood out, laying a smother on Dylan Williams, then scooping it up with one hand and kicking it forward. He did it again by intercepting a handball in the air and took possession showing high football IQ. He capped off his day with a great mark and set shot goal with a snap in the final term.

#50 Lachlan Williams

Played on a wing but pushed forward and helped himself to three goals and enjoyed every one of them. Williams just finds space and is a damaging prospect from anywhere within 50m, launching his first goal in the second term off a step from outside the arc and it went straight through the middle. Not long after he launched another shot on the run from 45m with just six seconds left in the half and it never looked like missing. IN the final term he showed his smarts by standing on the mark and anticipating his opponent would handball laterally and Williams stuck out his hand, picked it up and snapped around his body for his third. A clean user by foot and while not a huge possession winner, made his touches count.

Oakleigh:

#5 Trent Bianco

The co-captain played as many would have expected him to – with a touch of class and high work rate. Bianco played off half-back and pushed up to the midfield at times, using the ball well and settling the at-times under-siege defence. He impacted a contest on the last line in the second term to clear the ball out of trouble and then used his composure at half-back to provide an option for him to be able to propel the ball forward.

#23 Dylan Williams

Played a little bit everywhere, between forward, back and midfield with the Chargers’ co-captain having some great moments and other patches where he was not as involved. His clearance work to burst out of the middle was really good and he applied some defensive pressure with some fierce tackles, but he was not having the best time with delivery, often the ball sent to his feet when leading out, or being double-teamed with defenders blocking his run. He gave away a free kick for head-high contact and the frustration was clear. He settled and had an impact later in the game, setting up a goal in the third term and then had a number of solid inside 50s despite being held at stoppages.

#27 Josh May

The defender played both a key position and smaller role, doing well one-on-one and creating some run off half-back. May was able to use the ball by foot relatively well despite having more of an awkward short kicking action, but it seemed to be effective. He showed good defensive pressure and second efforts to lay strong tackles on his opponents and just played his role throughout the match.

Sandringham Dragons 19.18 (132) defeated Brisbane Lions Academy 5.5 (35)

By: Michael Alvaro

Sandringham:

#5 Ryan Byrnes

A complete game from Byrnes in the absence of his usual midfield partners, with the hard-working Dragon continuing his consistent season to date. Byrnes was instrumental in Sandringham’s first-half onslaught, driving his side forward well with a wealth of centre-bounce clearances and inside 50 entries. Despite a couple of neat finds going forward and looking comfortable on both sides, Byrnes looks to still be improving his kicking game and overcooked a couple of balls at speed. His reading of taps, forward running and damage in this game were as effective as I’ve seen from him though, so Byrnes looks to be building nicely.

#6 Miles Bergman

The dynamic Bergman has enormous potential, but can work on consistently putting the pieces of his game together. Employed off half-forward and up to the wing, Bergman showed as clean a set of hands as anyone out there – both overhead and at ground level. A slight downside of Bergman’s game at times was his kicking, with a couple a turnovers in the defensive half and others falling short despite finding targets. Still, has plenty to work with and is so smooth on the ball.

#7 Jackson Voss

The potential Saints father-son had one of his better games, catching the eye with a couple of highlight-reel moments. Took an absolute screamer early on while following up with another later, and definitely has that side of his game down pat with seven of his 12 disposals coming from marks. Topped his game off with a goal and showed nice signs.

#13 Louis Butler

A damaging rebounder, Butler has made the half-back flank his own of late. The leading ball-winner on the ground was effective on the outside and shot Sandringham forward as a key link between the arcs. A couple of handy intercept marks on defensive wing were impressive, with Butler proving to be as clean by hand as he was by foot. Missed a set shot attempt which would have capped off his game nicely, but was otherwise highly impressive with his run and carry.

#15 Angus Hanrahan

The over-ager was a beneficiary of Sandringham’s strong start, claiming two first-quarter goals via set shot conversions. Led up well for one of them and is clever when finding space forward of centre, but was not as effective when positioned one-out. Wins a lot of outside ball and worked up the ground on occasion to do just that.

#28 Riley Bowman

Tried in just about every position possible, Bowman took to each role well across the day. Starting in the ruck, Bowman led the hitout count and out-bodied his opponents well around the ground. Manufactured a nice find inside 50, while also taking a strong intercept mark up the other end against Samson Ryan. Did not hit the scoreboard while employed forward, but assisted one of Jack Bell’s third-quarter goals and perhaps looked most impressive when thrown down back to finish off the game.

#36 Oscar Lewis

Lewis was a solid feature in the Sandringham defence all day, winning the loose balls well and rebounding via foot. Is a good size and proved competitive, making himself a likely type who can play effectively on both the inside and outside.

Brisbane:

#11 Will Martyn

Led the way once again for the Lions, burrowing in at stoppages and finding the ball at both ends of the ground to end with a game-high 33 disposals. Played almost a lone hand in the first half, winning his fair share of ball in the midfield and sending the Lions forward, only for the ball to be sent straight back into his area. The same went in the third quarter as Martyn tried to help push the ball out of Brisbane’s defensive half, where to took a lot of his 10 marks. Missed a chance to cap off his game with a goal on the back of Brisbane’s best passage of play, but did most things right across the day with strong tackling and overhead marking a highlight.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Was not Crozier’s most prolific or impactful outing, but a solid one nonetheless. Started well with a nice intercept possession to break up one of Sandringham’s many transitions and found space well around the arcs. While he is normally a high accumulator of marks and good user on the back of them, some of Crozier’s kicks under pressure were a little off. Still, continued to take the game on late and laid a crunching tackle on Jackson Voss in the final term.

#15 Tahj Abberley

The bottom-ager looked most lively inside 50 during the second half, and was instrumental in Brisbane’s best few minutes of the game. Started up the field on a wing and took a nice overhead mark in the second quarter, backing it up with a courageous effort after half time. Laid a fantastic tackle on the much bigger Corey Watts which went unrewarded, but managed to snare a goal with a calm dribbled finish out the back.

#21 Noah Cumberland

The combative forward tried hard for the Lions and while he did not find a heap of the ball or the goals, showed good character. Was forced to search for the ball up-field early, but looked more comfortable amongst the stoppages inside Brisbane’s forward half where he stood up in tackles and muscled his way out. He also tackled hard, but showed good finesse with an assist to Tom Wischnat and spearing ball inside 50 to Saxon Crozier.

Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy 9.7 (61) defeated by Gippsland Power 10.10 (70)

By: Ed Pascoe

GWS:

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Lucas has had a strong start to the year for the Giants and his form continued with a strong performance through the midfield winning the contested ball and looking composed with ball in hand. Lucas had a nice bit of play in the first quarter attacking the ball hard on the wing and then kicking nicely inboard to a teammate, in the 2nd quarter he took a mark and hit a nice long pass to teammate James Peatling. Lucas showed he could impact outside the contest flying up for a huge grab on the wing in the last quarter although he didn’t stick the mark it was a courageous attempt showing his athleticism, Lucas finished the game with 24 disposal and 3 tackles and he rarely wasted a handball which he had 18 off.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Delahunty was a good target for the giants with good attack on the ball and crashing packs to give his smaller players a chance to crumb. Delahunty kicked 2 goals with his first coming from a nice snap dribble goal on his opposite foot in the 2nd quarter with his last goal coming off a Gippsland turnover close to goal in the 3rd quarter quickly gathering a loose ball and kicking the goal. Delahunty looked most dangerous in the 3rd quarter taking two very nice contested marks but would let himself down kicking a behind and then one out on the full from 50 metres. Delahunty finished the game with 8 disposals, 2 marks and 2 goals.

Gippsland:

#6 Riley Baldi

Baldi was the most dangerous player early on from Gippsland, in his first game of the year he was unstoppable in the first quarter through the midfield and up forward. Baldi despite his size took a good contested mark 15 metres out from goal and would kick the set shot and later in the first quarter would spin around and snap a nice goal, in the second quarter he was also hard to stop taking a nice intercept mark and quickly play on with a good handball and he would have another shot at goal on the run on the boundary but would just miss. Baldi was smart with his ball use with a nice kick to the hot spot in the second quarter followed by a nice opposite foot kick to teammate Kyle Dunkley. Baldi was hard to stop both in the air and at ground level where he would attack the ball hard and would always look to move the play on, Baldi finished with 22 disposals, 8 inside 50s and 2 goals.

#11 Kyle Dunkley

Dunkley was a tough customer through the midfield attacking he ball hard and tackled like a man possessed. His only goal would come from a mark and set shot in the 2nd quarter but his hard work set up plenty of others, he showed good vision under pressure to hit a nice switch kick in the 3rd quarter and later that quarter would lay a bone crunching tackle. Dunkley would finish the game with 18 disposals, 6 marks, 11 tackles and 1 goal.

#12 Brock Smith

Smith was the main playmaker for Gippsland down back setting up the play and setting the standard for attack on the ball and body contact on the man, his first quarter had some good and bad moments with the good coming from a lovely long kick inside 50 to teammate Riley Baldi and showing good composure with link up play from defence, the bad was a Clanger kick on a kickout. Smith loved the push and shove and was happy to let the Giants forward know he was there and it was hard not to notice him both defending his man and also linking up with good composure in defence showing why he is the captain. Smith finished the game with 24 disposals and 7 rebound 50s.

#19 Fraser Phillips

Phillips had another game with nice flashes but the consistency over 4 quarters to impact the game is still not at a level he would like. Phillips would take till the second quarter to hit the scoreboard with a nice quick snap and goal, he was more involved in the 3rd quarter taking a nice mark on the wing and quickly playing on inboard with a nice kick and he showed he could also do the team things with a good hard tackle to lock the ball in. Phillips has a fantastic left foot kick and it was on show with a laser pass to teammate Riley Baldi in the last quarter, Phillips finished the game with 5 disposals, 3 tackles and 1 goal.

#37 Harrison Pepper

Pepper was one of Gippsland’s busiest players throw out the day and was particularly noticeable in the 2nd half where he stood up when the Giants where making their comeback. In the 2nd quarter he would take a nice contested mark deep in the pocket and showed his team thinking with a pass inboard to a teammate in better position, in the 3rd quarter he would show his quick thinking with a quick play on and nice low kick which was a feature of his game opening up the play with his kicking. His last quarter was sensational taking a good intercept mark and playing smart football in the last quarter running down the clock and finally having a sealer mark and goal on the siren running towards goal which was a nice mark on its own. Pepper finished the game with 26 disposals, 7 marks, 4 inside 50s and 1 goal.

Eastern Ranges 11.11 (77) defeated Gold Coast Suns Academy 2.6 (18)

By: Michael Alvaro

Eastern:

#4 Joshua Clarke

Was one of Eastern’s best, providing exciting dash and forward penetration off half-back. Showcased a clean set of hands with overhead intercepts and gathers at ground level early on, while also rebounding well with long kicks. Was entrusted with kick-outs at times, and his use proved effective forward of centre too with a nice assist to Bailey White in the third term. Laid a goal-saving tackle in the same quarter, and followed up a fumbled ball with another to show his defensive capabilities on top of his attacking traits. One of the more promising bottom-agers.

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

Provided good forward run with four inside 50s on top of six clearances from his 27 disposals. Started well by hitting up Ben Hickleton inside 50 at speed and was largely effective by foot early, but finished with a couple of clangers. Won a heap of contested ball, which proved vital to the Ranges.

#11 Mitch Mellis

Another of Eastern’s small midfield brigade to win a high amount of ball, Mellis was electric early with 10 first-quarter disposals. Positioned mostly on the outside, Mellis worked hard to find possessions in a range of areas, while also winning six clearances – a lot of which came at speed. Mellis has a great first five steps and agility, which helped him to break away from congestion well. Had a quiet second half but showed plenty earlier on.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

By no means dominated, but managed to consistently produce goal scoring opportunities and took half of his chances with 3.3. Rossiter’s hands were strong throughout, with a contested pack mark from the side his undoubted highlight for the day. Managed another nice clunk one-out to convert his second of three set shot goals earlier in the piece, and could have had a finished with four or five goals had he converted better in blustery conditions.

#17 Cody Hirst

The athletic small buzzed around the ground well, finding most of his ball between the arcs despite moving forward later on. Showed a good leap and laid a fantastic holding the ball tackle after a solid hit on Connor Budarick. While his pressure game is hard to fault, Hirst’s kicking left a little to be desired at times and he was ineffective with eight of his 11 attempts. Still, found Josh Tilly well inside 50 and kicked a nice goal on the run in the third term.

#21 James Ross

The skipper did not have too much to do as the second-deepest defender, but did his part when the ball came his way. Ross started with a handy intercept mark overhead, and keeps his hands up well in traffic to dish the ball off and keep the play alive. Showed a good willingness to provide rebound with a nice handball chain and was largely calm on the ball despite a couple of missed targets.

#23 Zak Pretty

Far and away the highest ball-winner on the ground with 37 disposals, which was enough to earn him a Draft Central Player of the Week nomination. Was as influential as anyone going forward with eight clearances and seven inside 50s across the day, as well as a goal in the third term. Showed a willingness to work as well with five tackles to add to his attacking drive, and was simply in everything through the middle. A top game from a player who seems to be rising well.

Gold Coast:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

It was a hard slog for ‘Ace’, who struggled to find his way into the game with just one handball apiece in the first and third quarters. While possessions were hard to come by, Oea was unlucky as he continued to run to good areas to no avail in a low-scoring Suns effort. Came into the game in the second quarter with a nice intercept mark and holding the ball tackle, with a move into the midfield to finish the game allowing him to show off his clean hands and zip around traffic.

#5 Connor Budarick

Tried all day for the Suns with a team-high 27 disposals and 16 tackles ensuring he stood out on a down day for his side. Followed up an early turnover with a crunching tackle, and trusted his speed well to escape the grasps of opponents. Was busy all day but particularly effective in the first half with clearances finding their way inside 50. Missed a shot on the run which would have been handy, and found more of the ball in the back half with Gold Coast under pressure in the second half.

#15 Corey Joyce

The diminutive defender was a key runner out of the back 50 all day with five rebound 50s from 22 disposals. Acted as a sweeper at ground level and looked most effective when disposing by hand, while finding most of his kicks short to settle the Suns defence. Under pressure for most of the day, Joyce stood up as one who competed well amidst the onslaught.

#28 Ashton Crossley

Was another Sun who started relatively strongly but faded late, with 16 of his 22 disposals coming in the first half. A contested beast, Crossley was down on his clearance output but resorted to his handball game well to clear congestion. Can still work on his kicking as he often blazed away quickly under pressure or from congestion, and had a turnover in the corridor early. Took an impressive contested chest mark underneath a high ball in the first term, and was a solid contributor.

Calder Cannons 8.11 (59) defeated Geelong Falcons 8.4 (52)

By: Shyam Bali

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

Mott started the game well with a big clearance and a long kick out of the centre to kick off Calder’s first attack, which set the tone for his day. He had lots of ball around the centre and half forward flank and could be found on the bottom of packs most of the afternoon either dishing out to team mates or laying big tackles. His highlight for the day was a good solo effort in the forward pocket where he showed some magic soccering the ball up to himself perfectly before finding a team mate in space. He finished the day on a high running out the last quarter well and being involved in a 1-2 that helped set up Browning’s score which gave the Cannons the lead late in the fourth. Mott finished with a very productive 29 touches and 8 tackles.

#8 Sam Ramsay

Ramsay was busy all day and showed great zip and energy whenever he had the ball. In the second quarter he was a big reason Calder got back into the game, backing himself to take on players with his run and drive the ball long into the attacking 50. He showed some of his tricks also launching for a big grab in the 3rd quarter, which he dropped unfortunately, but showed great competitive spirit diving back to make a tackle and force a ball up. Ramsay was good all day and worked well all around the ground. He ended up with slightly inflated numbers after getting a few possessions chipping around the backline in the last five minutes, but ended up with 27 disposals, seven marks, three tackles.

#38 Brodie Newman

Newman was an absolute star repelling attacks and setting up his team off the half back flank in a best on ground performance. He took several big marks in the defensive 50 and showed both courage when running back into a pack to take a big mark in the third and leadership when he took three intercept marks in a passage of about five minutes to stop Geelong taking the lead in the third quarter. His leadership was also on display several times as he instructed team mates in defence, and often directed traffic through the backline. Newman’s display for a KPD was one of the most dominant displays of the year and he finished with a whopping 36 disposals including 29 kicks, 17 marks (many of which were intercept) and three tackles.

Geelong:

#36 Charlie Sprague

Sprague started the day in everything running hard between the arcs and providing a lead up option to his team mates. He had 9 disposals in the first quarter and provided an option when ever his team was looking to move the ball out of defense or into the attacking half. He quietened down after that but did offer more closer to goal kicking a great goal from 50m out in the third and getting the Falcons back to within a point when he goaled in the last quarter. Although he finished with quite a serviceable game with 18 touches and 2 goals, as an overeager he went missing for too long when his team were in trouble and I felt like he could’ve done a bit more to help them especially in the second quarter.

#40 Jesse Clark

Clark played his customary half-back role, repelling attacks and rebounding with speed. He intercepted the ball three times in the first quarter and seemed to be able to read play and the windy conditions better than his Calder opponents in the first quarter. In the second quarter he rebounded well and showed some class with a long kick off HB which hit a team mate on the 50 lace out. Clark also wasn’t scared getting his hands dirty laying four strong tackles throughout the day. He finished with 22 disposals, 6 marks and tried hard to help the Falcons get over the line.

Tasmania Devils 3.8 (26) defeated by Western Jets 10.13 (73)

By: Michael Alvaro

Tasmania:

#2 Oliver Burrows-Cheng

The zippy ball-winner showed good agility around the stoppages early to evade traffic and drive Tasmania forward with long kicks. Burrowing in, half of Burrows-Cheng’s 22 disposals were handballs, and he was influential in the Devils’ combative start. He laid a goal-saving tackle in the first term, but missed a shot on goal running inside 50 which would have finished his game off well.

#4 Will Peppin

The National Academy member was composed on the ball and often delivered by hand to outside runners. While he did not look particularly quick, Peppin stayed out of trouble though traffic, which was helped by his clean hands. An intercept chest mark in the first term was a highlight, and it was a solid outing overall.

#7 Matthew McGuiness

Over-ager McGuiness was a feature down back for the Devils, often positioned in a sort of quarterback role. When Tasmania gained position past defensive wing, they would often go back or across to McGuiness, who would set up his side’s forward movement with long kicks. His best efforts came with balls into the centre square, but they became less prominent as Western tightened the clamps. He managed a nice intercept mark deep in defence, and had a couple of forward forays to deliver inside 50.

#12 Isaac Chugg

The debutant was impressive early, and looks like having some nice traits to work on as a bottom ager. Coming from an athletics background, Chugg was electric in the first term with high marking forward of centre and good pace in his defensive efforts. Kicked the first goal of the game from long range, and almost snared another in a similar fashion.

Western:

#3 Eddie Ford

Ford seldom fails to catch the eye with his strong overhead marking, stylish use of the ball, and explosiveness. While he was quiet early on, Ford came into the game well after half time and had a purple patch in the third term where he kicked two goals. The first was a set shot conversion from 45 metres on the back of a strong one-on-one mark, and the second was a clever snap from the boundary, while he missed another chance in the final quarter on the run.

#7 Daly Andrews

The over-ager looked good throughout the day, and was most effective when kicking long down the line to give the Jets forward penetration. He found the ball early around defensive 50 when Tasmania was pouring on the pressure, and used his speed to find space well. Andrews was also nifty in traffic and would end the day with 23 disposals.

#20 Darcy Cassar

Looked Western’s best at times throughout the game, employed as a sort of defensive sweeper. Cassar would collect ground balls and intercept at will, while directing the play once he had disposed of the ball. He showed good burst when taking the game on with shrugs of his opponents and a bit of dash to drive the Jets forward. A designated kicker down back, Cassar was a little more erratic when on the ball forward of centre and lacked his usual finish product both around goal and going inside 50. He continues to rack up disposals though, with 31 touches and 13 marks a fine effort.

#24 Josh Honey

Honey bounced back into some good form in this game, finding plenty of the ball and hitting the scoreboard as he so often does. He pushed up the ground well to find the footy around defensive wing, and spread well to claim uncontested marks around the ground all day. Honey was fantastic when moving through traffic, and make a couple of opponents look silly as he got on his bike and zipped around them with ease. His first goal came from a neat collect of the loose ball going forward to allow him to finish from just inside the arc, while the second was a smart snap around the corner to cap off a good outing.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels 17.10 (112) defeated Northern Territory Thunder 8.9 (57)

By: Peter Williams

GWV Rebels:

#3 Toby Mahony

The midfielder just has a touch of class about him. Not a huge accumulator, but he seemed to have control of the ball despite the conditions, and had a great moment when he evaded a tackler diving for him and then kicked lace out to Riley Polkinghorne in the first term. He then added a goal of his own with a lovely kick off the left from a few steps, able to straighten up, steady and kick it up the other end. Had a piercing kick from half-back to the wing, a low bullet that he used off a few steps after marking at half-back. Next contest he stood up in a tackle and got his hands free to be able to give the ball off to a teammate. Earned a free kick for a push in the back, then got back-to-back 50m penalties to kick the goal from the goalsquare.

#7 Mitch Martin

Applied some good defensive pressure and able to get the ball out to teammates, just has not had as much space as he has in previous games, playing more time inside. Won a free kick midway through the third term and roosted it long but was plucked off by Joel Jeffrey. Great vision to handball to a teammate on the wing and open up space. Had a huge highlight in the final term, being able to win the ball then pause and seemingly stop time as an opponent went for him and he kicked neatly down the field. Laid a good tackle on Stephen Cumming in the middle to win a free. Capped off his day with a goal after running hard into space to mark and then complete the set shot.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Taking the game on which was eye-catching. Backed himself in and would move the ball quickly along the wing, winning a crucial one-on-one against Malcolm Rosas Jnr in the first term and earned a free kick for a trip. He arched his back and was able to evade tacklers, although did get caught once in the second term, but was able to get his hands free and handball before he hit the ground.

#13 Jay Rantall

One of the Rebels standout players once again and seems to be getting better. His skills are still a little shaky, but his goal sense and ability to hit the scoreboard is terrific. Kicked two first half goals, one from a set shot straight in front and one from the boundary with a snap. Both were free kicks with opponents clumsy around him. He won his fair share of ball in the contest, firing out quick handballs to teammates. Erred on the side of caution to his detriment in the first term, kicking to a teammate leading out when he had a set shot straight in front, but will learn from it. He seems to break the game open with quick handballs to teammates running by, able to extract it out of the contest and handball long to a teammate on the outside.

NT:

#8 Malcolm Rosas Jnr

Just so silky and a terrific leader as well. He is a clean player who is able to dish off the handballs to teammate in space. He has a quick burst that creates separation between himself and his opponent and would work hard up the ground to win the ball. Not a huge ball winner, but has some eye-catching traits. Blindsided his opponent in the third term with a great run-down tackle at half-back but turned the ball over. Laid a big tackle in the final term but was penalised for a sling tackle – rather unluckily.

#19 Ben Jungfer

A strong inside midfielder who has a crack. Jungfer laid some fierce tackles and kept diving in for the contested ball. To start the third term Jungfer had a quick few steps to burrow in, win the contested ball and handball out to a teammate in space. Shows good hands in close and is strong to shrug off would-be tacklers. Kept fighting throughout the four quarters and won some important clearances late to help the Thunder kick some consolation goals.

#24 Joel Jeffery

Definitely an eye-catching player at half-back. His kicking was hit or miss at times, with his vision and decision making good, his execution just a bit iffy. His vertical leap one-on-one was outstanding and he is a terrific intercept mark. He does not panic when under pressure and seems to shrug off opponents with ease. A long kick of the football and someone who found plenty of it coming out of defence. Jeffrey reads the ball in flight well and has a nice marking action. Took a huge intercept mark in the third term rising above all others to cleanly grab it in the third term, and then saved a goal with a great running mark back with the flight. Overall a super game in a defence that was under siege for the most part.

#27 Beau O’Connell

A clever mid/forward who looks ever-dangerous in the forward half. He zipped around contests and seemed to win the ball a lot in the early stages, earning some free kicks and having a few shots on goal. He did rush a kick or two at times when he did not realise he had more time such as in the second term when a shot went out on the full, but when on the wing with space in front of him, he was able to size up his options well. To start the third term, O’Connell took a good mark under pressure then kicked it to a dangerous position to set up Tyson Woods for the goal on the line, then went inside and won the next clearance. O’Connell found plenty of it in all thirds of the ground and was one the Thunder’s standout players. Had a great dribble goal midway through the third term as the Thunder piled on the pressure. Kicked a second goal midway through the final term.

Scouting notes: Victorian trials

VICTORIA’S top talents in the 2019 and 2020 draft crops took to Ikon Park yesterday with two trial games in front of Victorian selectors and AFL club recruiters in a bid to impress for selection ahead of the National Under 18 Championships. We took a look at 15 of the top performers from both sides across the two games.

 

VIC COUNTRY:

By: Ed Pascoe

Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers)

Ash was a strong performer down back, he rarely missed a target all day and his run and carry throughout the game was a huge factor in the Country team getting the win. Ash showed his dash with some huge runs down the wing, often taking the game on and his constant sideways movement and composure made him a nightmare to tackle for the opposition. Ash often took the kick outs and was extremely organised and often picked the right option and worked hard to again link up.

Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays)

Cahill started the game through the midfield – winning the ball on the inside and outside. He had a nice bit of play in the first quarter winning a contested ball on the wing and then a good handball to is teammate. Cahill would go forward on a few occasions, kicking a nice running goal in the second quarter and a nice pass inside 50 to teammate Josh Smith in the third quarter, he would crumb a contest in the last quarter and showed his dash away from the contests and delivered the ball well by hand.

Sam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays)

De Koning looked lively early down back, taking the ball at every opportunity and showing some real class with his pickups at ground level – exceptional for a 200cm player. His rebound work was solid and whenever he was around the ball he did some nice things and looked to play with good intent.

Kyle Dunkley (Gippsland Power)

Dunkley looked best inside the contest using his quick and clean hands at stoppages to release to his running teammates and he did well doing the bulk of the contested work through the midfield. It was not a prolific day stats wise for Dunkley but he would add a nice goal to his name with a long bomb from 50 meters.

Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power)

Flanders was busy through the midfield winning clearances and pumping the ball inside 50. Flanders usually has a big impact up forward so it was good to see him getting some midfield time where he contributed well. He had a nice bit of play in the third quarter, taking a mark inside 50 and quickly kicking to the advantage to teammate Sam Conforti which lead to a goal.

Elijah Hollands (Murray Bushrangers)

Hollands was seriously impressive up forward, he was a constant threat and was often minded by one of 2019’s top prospects Dylan Williams. He kicked his first goal in the first quarter running into open goal and he set up others with his kicking inside 50 all class. One of his standout features was his ability to keep strong in the contest and get his arms up, and his second goal came from a classy snap goal 40 metres out in the third quarter. His best bit of play also came in the third quarter where he worked hard to keep the ball in play on a wing and used the ball well with a long handball to a running teammate inboard.

Mitch Martin (GWV Rebels)

Martin did some really nice things through the midfield, he won some great clearances and showed plenty of class with ball in hand with his best movement coming in the first quarter with a bullet pass inside 50 to teammate Fraser Phillips. Martin was good at stoppages and won some nice clearances.

Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power)

Phillips looked lively early with a nice lead up mark but missing the set shot, he would look bests setting up others with his laser left foot with some impressive kicks inside 50 in the third quarter with one to the smallest player for Country in Jye Chalcraft and tallest, Aaron Gundry.

Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels)

Rantall has had a fantastic start to the year and that trend continued with an impressive showing for Country through the midfield. Rantall’s clean hands and quick handballs at stoppages were a highlight and he was a consistent performer winning plenty of the ball over the four quarters. Rantall added a goal after a 50 metre penalty, he would quickly play on and kick the running goal.

Mitchell Riordan (Dandenong Stingrays)

Riordan was one of Country’s more impactful midfielders showing his class and composure around the ball and working hard to move the ball on and attack at any opportunity. He had a lovely kick inside 50 in the first quarter and showed some dash in the third quarter with a great run through the middle of the ground and kicking long inside 50.

Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power)

Serong was a really strong player through the midfield and Country’s obvious standout in the second game. His work through the midfield was first class with his clean and hard attack on the ball and his movement to avoid tacklers to get a handball out. Serong would kick a terrific long goal from 50 meters which showed his class and why he is considered one of Country’s better prospects for the 2019 season.

Brock Smith (Gippsland Power)

Smith was solid down back doing well in one on ones and working hard to rebound ad move the ball forward. Smith played his role well down back doing everything required and showing strong leadership showing why he was named the Gippsland captain.

Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays)

Weightman did not get a lot of the ball but he always looked dangerous both in the air and at ground level constantly throwing himself up for marks and making defenders panic at ground level with his run and excitement, Weightman had his best quarter in the last with some very nice things around the ball.

Cameron Wild (Murray Bushrangers)

Wild was a solid player through the midfield, working hard inside and outside the contests to stay involved over the four quarters. He kicked a goal from a set shot after winning a free kick in the first quarter, and Wild showed his toughness with a hard tackle winning a free kick in the third quarter and then kicking wide with lovely delivery to his teammates advantage.

Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

Young started slow down back but really lifted in the second quarter with some great work under pressure and some good link-up play. He would work really hard for the rest of the game doing his best to win every contest he was near and run off to be an option and use his lethal left boot. Young was often used for kick outs where he was effective at hitting short and long passes with ease.

 

VIC METRO:

By: Peter Williams

Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers)

Finished the game a bit sore after a ripping first half where he showed good hands under pressure, in one instance giving it off to Carafa in the third term to give him time and space. Kicked a goal in the same quarter after running into the hole and taking a mark uncontested then converting the set shot. Showed off his nice penetrating kick at times.

Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers)

The classy ball magnet was deployed off half-back and just used the ball so well. He was busy early and able to hit up targets with ease on his left. He showed great composure in traffic and got to the outside and had an impact.

Louis Butler (Sandringham Dragons)

After a fumble or two early, Butler came into his own as the game went on, looking very impressive off half-back – running off his opponent to get forward and creative scoring opportunities for teammates. He had a terrific kick out in front of a leading Billy McCormack who capitalised with a goal, and had the ball on a string throughout the second half. An impressive performance.

Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons)

Was played on the outside most of the game, often playing off a wing. He used quick hands and showed nice speed out of a stoppage using his opposite foot to find a target inside 50.

Adam Carafa (Northern Knights)

Was hit and miss by foot at times, but performed throughout the four quarters, setting up a few players inside 50 including neat kicks to Curtis Brown and Josh May in the second half. Just kept battling and giving his all throughout the game.

Charlie Dean (Sandringham Dragons)

The Sandringham Dragons forward shines as the clear standout key position forward from the Victorian perspective, with his leading patterns and work rate impressive. He pushes up the ground and finds the ball, and can double back and make second leads where required. He did have a set shot to forget missing the lot early, but capped it off with some goals including the easiest of attempts alone in the goal square and another from long range which bounced through.

Cody Hirst (Eastern Ranges)

The half-forward had a number of strong chances, going in hard and providing plenty of defensive pressure, booting a goal for his efforts after protecting the ball drop inside 50 then putting it straight through the middle. One of the more memorable moments was spoiling a kick and nullifying a contest against three opponents.

Emerson Jeka (Western Jets)

After a quiet start to the game, Jeka came into his own in the final term, booting three goals and hitting the post to almost single-handedly take the game away from Country. He showed good aggression going for his marks and took a couple of great contested grabs. Jeka showed a good presence and while he did go to ground a number of times, when marking took the ball at the highest point.

Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons)

Not a huge possession winner but took a number of good marks playing at half-back. Spread to dangerous positions and took a great intercept mark at centre-half back in the second half.

Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons)

The big disposal winner played a multitude of roles across the ground, winning the ball on the wing, in defence and even getting forward to kick a goal and set up another. He has neat skills and particularly stepped up in the second half, pushing hard along the wing to win a chain of possessions from the back pocket to forward pocket. Just keeps running all day.

Mitch Mellis (Eastern Ranges)

The energetic small was clean at ground level and moved well throughout the game. Mellis showed good composure and good vision and was able to use his hands on the inside with quick hands. Was solid throughout.

Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons)

A big game from the Calder Cannons midfielder who was second to Matt Rowell across the four quarters. He and Rowell combined well through the middle and he was able to capitalise on the outside using his slick skills to get the ball forward. He won his fair share of his own footy as well and was able to use quick hands to keep the ball moving. Mott also had a number of scoring assists and kicked a terrific goal in the final term off a step.

Brodie Newman (Calder Cannons)

Got better as the game went on and was strong in the back 50 showing composure coming off half-back and using his penetrating kick to clear defence. Was often mopping up throughout the back half and getting it cleanly to teammates. Peeled off when needed but was accountable at the same time.

Matthew Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers)

Going from strength to strength is the star midfielder. Hardly puts a foot wrong and is just a complete all-round player not dissimilar to Sam Walsh last year. Rowell took a number of strong marks around the ground, won plenty of the football and clearances, then capped off a stunning performance with a couple of goals. Kicked his first with a perfect kick on his left straight through the middle, then did it again later in the game where he seemingly cruised out of a stoppage and just put it straight through. No doubt suffered leather poisoning in a best on ground performance.

Lachlan Stapleton (Eastern Ranges)

Kicked a couple of goals throughout and had a crack, a quick snap through in the first half got him on the board then snuck inside 50, took an uncontested mark and kicked a good goal.

Top Victorians to battle it out at Ikon Park in trial games

THE teams are in for tomorrow’s two Victorian trial games at Ikon Park which pits the best available from Vic Country against their Metro counterparts. Released today, there is plenty of talent across the four sides as players try to stake their claim for a spot at the National Under 18 Championships. Among the sides are a number of overagers including Eastern Ranges’ Cody Hirst and Riley Smith, Murray Bushrangers’ Will Christie, Gippsland Power’s Kyle Dunkley, Geelong Falcons’ Charlie Sprague and Sam Christensen, and Dandenong Stingrays premiership co-captain Mitch Riordan. In terms of team-by-team breakdown, Sandringham Dragons have the most with 14 available players named for tomorrow’s clashes, one more than Gippsland Power. Oakleigh Chargers and Eastern Ranges both have 10 players each, while Dandenong Stingrays and Murray Bushrangers have eight apiece, one more than Bendigo Pioneers (who have three players unavailable) and Northern Knights. Geelong Falcons have six that will take to the field tomorrow with two unavailable, while Calder Cannons and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels have five with one unavailable player each. Western Jets have just the four players.

Team-by-Team breakdown:

Bendigo Pioneers = 7 (+3 unavailable)
Calder Cannons = 5 (+1 unavailable)
Dandenong Stingrays = 8
Eastern Ranges = 10
Geelong Falcons = 6 (+2 unavailable)
Gippsland Power = 13 (+1 unavailable)
GWV Rebels = 5 (+1 unavailable)
Murray Bushrangers = 8
Northern Knights = 7 (+1 unavailable)
Oakleigh Chargers = 10
Sandringham Dragons = 14 (+1 unavailable)
Western Jets = 4

 

TRIAL MATCH 1, 10.30am

VIC COUNTRY (white jumpers)

NO. NAME   DOB HT WT NAB LEAGUE CLUB
1 Sam Conforti 15-Mar-02 173 65 Bendigo Pioneers
2 Ethan Roberts 10-Jul-01 180 78 Bendigo Pioneers
3 Toby Mahony 18-Aug-01 192 77 GWV Rebels
4 Sam Flanders 24-Jul-01 182 81 Gippsland Power
6 Liam Herbert 01-Mar-01 182 73 GWV Rebels
7 Sam Berry 12-Feb-02 180 82 Gippsland Power
8 Brady Rowles 10-Jul-01 188 72 Bendigo Pioneers
9 Isaac Wareham 24-Dec-01 187 80 GWV Rebels
10 Will Quirk 05-Mar-01 191 89 Murray Bushrangers
11 Ned Cahill 11-Jan-01 178 77 Dandenong Stingrays
12 Lachlan Ash 21-Jun-01 186 80 Murray Bushrangers
13 Jay Rantall 10-Jun-01 184 82 GWV Rebels
14 Brock Smith 13-Mar-01 188 81 Gippsland Power
15 Ryan Sparkes 13-Apr-01 184 78 Gippsland Power
16 Sam Christensen 04-Feb-00 192 80 Geelong Falcons
17 Charlie Sprague 08-May-00 188 83 Geelong Falcons
18 Mitchell Riordan 25-Jan-00 187 83 Dandenong Stingrays
19 James Boyer 31-Jan-01 181 74 Murray Bushrangers
20 Elijah Hollands 25-Apr-02 188 80 Murray Bushrangers
21 Zac Skinner 26-Mar-01 200 97 Gippsland Power
22 Zach Reid 02-Mar-02 200 77 Gippsland Power
23 Charlie Comben 20-Jul-01 199 82 Gippsland Power
24 Henry Walsh 27-Jun-02 201 84 Geelong Falcons
25 Josh Smith 20-May-01 194 100 Gippsland Power

 

VIC METRO (navy jumpers)

NO. NAME   DOB HT WT NAB LEAGUE CLUB
1 Mitch Mellis 05-Sep-01 173 72 Eastern Ranges
2 Lachlan Stapleton 14-Apr-01 177 72 Eastern Ranges
4 Finlay Macrae 13-Mar-02 181 64 Oakleigh Chargers
5 Trent Bianco 20-Jan-01 178 70 Oakleigh Chargers
6 Miles Bergman 18-Oct-01 186 75 Sandringham Dragons
7 Ryan Gardner 22-Mar-01 184 72 Northern Knights
8 Adam Carafa 22-Feb-01 181 76 Northern Knights
9 Curtis Brown 03-Feb-01 181 76 Calder Cannons
10 Lachlan Potter 26-Jan-01 184 70 Northern Knights
11 Hugo Ralphsmith 09-Nov-01 186 70 Sandringham Dragons
12 Ryan Byrnes 03-May-01 181 80 Sandringham Dragons
13 Zakery Pretty 27-Jul-01 183 80 Eastern Ranges
14 Eddie Ford 21-Jun-02 184 73 Western Jets
15 Noah Anderson 17-Feb-01 188 86 Oakleigh Chargers
16 Jamieson Rossiter 17-Nov-01 190 77 Eastern Ranges
18 Emerson Jeka 18-Sep-01 197 87 Western Jets
21 Harrison Jones 25-Feb-01 194 75 Calder Cannons
22 Corey Watts 02-Feb-01 194 94 Sandringham Dragons
23 Dylan Williams 01-Jul-01 185 79 Oakleigh Chargers
24 Joshua Worrell 11-Apr-01 195 74 Sandringham Dragons
25 Nikolas Cox 15-Jan-02 197 80 Northern Knights
26 Jack Bell 26-Jan-01 200 73 Sandringham Dragons
27 Josh May 29-Jun-01 195 86 Oakleigh Chargers
28 Samuel Tucker 07-Jan-02 196 84 Oakleigh Chargers
30 Andrew Courtney 06-Jun-01 199 81 Sandringham Dragons

 

 

TRIAL MATCH 2, 12.30pm

VIC COUNTRY (red jumpers)

NO. NAME   DOB HT WT NAB LEAGUE CLUB
1 Jye Chalcraft 02-May-01 176 78 Murray Bushrangers
2 Caleb Serong 09-Feb-01 178 83 Gippsland Power
3 Harrison Pepper 09-Aug-01 180 83 Gippsland Power
4 Cody Weightman 15-Jan-01 177 73 Dandenong Stingrays
5 Cameron Wild 28-Nov-01 184 80 Murray Bushrangers
6 Oliver Henry 29-Jul-02 186 72 Geelong Falcons
7 Mitch Martin 26-Mar-01 183 78 GWV Rebels
8 Jai Nanscawen 31-Mar-00 184 78 Dandenong Stingrays
9 Fraser Phillips 15-May-01 186 71 Gippsland Power
10 Leo Connolly 07-Aug-01 180 72 Gippsland Power
11 Kyle Dunkley 20-Jun-00 185 84 Gippsland Power
12 Lachlan Williams 12-Sep-01 182 76 Dandenong Stingrays
13 Noah Gadsby 12-Mar-02 185 72 Geelong Falcons
14 Riley Wilson 08-Jan-01 184 76 Bendigo Pioneers
15 Ethan Baxter 31-Jan-02 192 79 Murray Bushrangers
16 Jesse Clark 23-Feb-01 188 79 Geelong Falcons
17 Hayden Young 11-Apr-01 188 82 Dandenong Stingrays
19 Ben Worme 18-Jun-01 189 72 Bendigo Pioneers
20 James Schischka 24-Feb-01 190 79 Bendigo Pioneers
21 Aaron Gundry 17-Feb-01 200 82 Bendigo Pioneers
22 Will Christie 14-Jul-00 200 85 Murray Bushrangers
23 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan 04-Apr-02 195 79 Oakleigh Chargers
24 Sam De Koning 26-Feb-01 200 85 Dandenong Stingrays
25 Bigoa Nyuon 18-May-01 196 86 Dandenong Stingrays

 

VIC METRO (navy jumpers)

NO. NAME   DOB HT WT NAB LEAGUE CLUB
2 Jake Bowey 12-Sep-02 175 60 Sandringham Dragons
3 Jack Mahony 12-Nov-01 176 70 Sandringham Dragons
4 Joshua D’Intinosante 07-Jul-01 177 76 Northern Knights
5 Cody Hirst 19-Jan-00 178 67 Eastern Ranges
6 Daniel Mott 01-May-01 182 73 Calder Cannons
7 Darcy Cassar 31-Jul-01 183 75 Western Jets
8 Connor Downie 31-May-02 183 81 Eastern Ranges
10 Will Phillips 22-May-02 181 76 Oakleigh Chargers
11 Matthew Rowell 01-Jul-01 178 74 Oakleigh Chargers
12 Josh Honey 17-Oct-01 184 79 Western Jets
13 Louis Butler 26-Aug-01 183 74 Sandringham Dragons
14 Lachlan Gawel 13-Aug-01 186 76 Eastern Ranges
15 Jackson Davies 19-Mar-01 188 78 Northern Knights
16 Oscar Lewis 13-Aug-01 189 77 Sandringham Dragons
20 Campbell Edwardes 07-Oct-02 193 77 Calder Cannons
21 James Ross 11-Dec-01 187 83 Eastern Ranges
22 Ryan Sturgess 16-Nov-01 187 78 Northern Knights
23 Brodie Newman 14-Jan-01 191 88 Calder Cannons
24 Finn Maginness 23-Feb-01 187 80 Sandringham Dragons
25 Charlie Dean 19-Jun-01 194 86 Sandringham Dragons
26 Billy McCormack 15-Jan-01 197 84 Eastern Ranges
28 Nick Bryan 22-Oct-01 202 87 Oakleigh Chargers
29 Fischer McAsey 08-Mar-01 195 86 Sandringham Dragons
30 Riley Smith 31-Jul-00 199 101 Eastern Ranges

 

 

UNAVAILABLE PLAYERS

NAME   DOB HT WT NAB LEAGUE CLUB REASON
Brodie Kemp 01-May-01 192 82 Bendigo Pioneers Managed
Thomson Dow 16-Oct-01 182 72 Bendigo Pioneers Corked thigh (managed)
Riley Baldi 20-Feb-01 178 74 Gippsland Power Groin (1 week)
Flynn Perez 25-Aug-01 187 82 Bendigo Pioneers Knee (season)
Tanner Bruhn 27-May-02 182 73 Geelong Falcons Knee (TBC)
Cooper Stephens 17-Jan-01 188 83 Geelong Falcons Fractured fibula (8 weeks)
Nick Stevens 23-Mar-02 191 86 GWV Rebels Hip flexor (2-3 weeks)
Darcy Chirgwin 25-Jul-01 191 80 Sandringham Dragons Broken fibula (TBC)
Sam Ramsay 21-Mar-01 180 68 Calder Cannons Concussion
Ben Major 11-Oct-02 192 87 Northern Knights Shoulder

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 3

ANOTHER blockbuster weekend of NAB League footy saw the best of the best stake their claims as the next big things, with one particular game showcasing some enormous talent to come. With scouts eyeing all nine games across the round, these are our individual, opinion-based thoughts on the players identified as standouts by respective talent managers.

Northern Knights 3.3 (21) defeated by Eastern Ranges 13.18 (96)
By: Shyam Bali

Northern:

#1 Lachie Potter

In his first game back, Potter showed good run and dash. He took several kick ins and played on for about four of them, often taking on the man on the mark and showing a bit of flair. He showed a great passage in the second half where he broke away inside the defensive 50, and ran 30 metres before delivering the ball long inside 50 in an attacking 80-metre plus play. Potter also tackled well throughout the day laying lots of hard tackles showing his competitiveness. Ended the day with 15 disposals and five tackles.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

‘JD’ started forward and had a quiet first term with a highlight coming in the second quarter being a strong mark and goal. He was moved onto ball in the second half and was much more prolific there. He had several touches through the middle trying to will the Knights back in to the game, and had a magnificent solo effort on the half forward flank where he took on a few players and got the ball forward but unfortunately his kick let him down. He also had several big tackles in the second half resulting in a couple of holding the ball frees. D’Intinosante finished with 21 touches, five marks, nine tackles and a goal – with an extremely productive second half.

#7 Ryan Gardner

Gardner played predominantly across half back, gathering lots of the ball in the second quarter when the ball was stuck down there. His decision making at times was sometimes questionable and he would turn it over in close proximity, needing a few follow up possessions to fix the mistake. In the second half he continued to rack up the ball and seemed to use it more effectively. He set up a few shots on goal in the second half, but unfortunately his team mates could not capitalise. He ended with over 23 touches, nine marks and six tackles, patrolling the back half and along the wing.

#8 Adam Carafa

Carafa was good all day and tried hard in a tough day out for his team. He fumbled a little early in the game but his touch got better as the match wore on. He had a few passages of play that showed his class including a spearing kick to a teammate inside 50, a centring kick under pressure that hit his team mate in full stride and a few good clearances in the second half. His decision making let him down on occasion seeming in two minds, this was evident when he played on, ran himself into trouble and handballed straight into the man on the mark at the end of the first half. Overall he was a good contributor on the day and one of the best for the Knights.

#11 Ryan Sturgess

A quieter day for the reliable defender who did not get a lot of the ball in the first half whilst playing down back. This prompted a move to the wing where he found a few possessions but struggled to get involved as the Ranges ran over the top of the Knights from the second quarter onward. Showed off his versatility by spending time in attack as well. Took a few kick outs and showed good penetration in his kicks earlier in the day.

#13 Sam Philp

Philp was big all day, gathering lots of the ball across half-back and often reading the play well and being the first to the ball. He also peeled off his opponent and laid a lot of tackles to hold up the Ranges in the first half. Philp had many highlights including a free kick and 50m penalty, resulting in a goal. In the second half, Philp rebounded and took the ball down the wing well often finding team mates. Philp showed great work rate running out the game strongly and giving strong repeat efforts late into the game and making lots of stoppages all over the ground. Philp finished the game with a team high 26 disposals to go along with nine tackles, five marks and a goal.

#23 Nikolas Cox

Cox started in the backline but was moved all over the ground. He took a great mark in the first quarter but did not see much of the ball before half-time. In the second half he played a mixture of half-back/half-forawrd and got a bit more involved, laying a strong tackle and taking a good mark. Ended up being a pretty quiet day for Cox with seven touches, three marks and two tackles.

Eastern:

#11 Mitch Mellis

Mellis picked up where he left off last week, showing great zip, energy and attack on the ball in the first half. Had a great centre clearance where he pumped the ball deep inside 50 resulting in a score for his team. He also cut off a kick reading the play well before going back and goaling in the second quarter. His hard chasing and tackling was evident and he showed great two-way running ability. In the second half he seemed to elevate his game further, involved in several scoring plays and setting up his team mates. He showed a great solo effort wrapping up a player 45 metres out and getting a holding the ball decision before going back and slotting the goal which was his second in a row in the last quarter. Mellis was the standout performer on the day with 29 disposals, six marks, six tackles and three goals to cap off a great day.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

Rossiter started the day in a lot of contests, but let himself down with a few fumbles. He showed great competitiveness and intent though, following up his mistakes and laying some big tackles. He worked forward in the second half and kicked a good goal. Rossiter’s tackling was his standout for the day laying lots of big tackles and wrapping up Knights opponents. His stats finished with 14 disposals (four kicks), 10 tackles, three marks and a goal in a serviceable outing.

#17 Cody Hirst

Hirst started the game with two great defensive efforts, one locking up the ball and the second chasing an opponent down from 30 metres behind him to force a turnover. He was always on the move and showed great energy whenever the ball was around him, promising to excite. In the second half he brought it all together roving the ball and using great vision to set up team mates on a few occasions. His pace and run lit up the team in the second half as he had multiple passages where he took on opponents – or chased them down when he wasn’t close to the contest. Hirst was rewarded for his hard running with a great snap goal in the last quarter. He finished the day with 19 disposals and a goal but the standout was his defensive pressure, laying nine quality tackles.

#18 Billy McCormack

McCormack started forward and had a few shots on goal but was not accurate in the first quarter, booting a couple of behinds. He also had stints in the ruck, amassing 14 hitouts. Ended up doing a few good things around the ground, but his inaccuracy (three behinds) in front of goal stopped it from being a really strong game.

 

GWS GIANTS Academy 7.9 (51) defeated by Sydney Swans Academy 16.14 (110)
By: Scott Dougan

GWS:

#10 James Peatling

Peatling had a very dominant second term, with the midfielder/forward hitting the scoreboard after winning a free-kick for a strong tackle on his opponent. His ball use when entering the forward 50 was reliable and consistent. Peatling was one of the best players on the day, finishing with two goals and over twenty possessions.

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Lucas started in the midfield and played predominately on the outside where he received the ball from his teammates. He found plenty of it early on in the first term and even though his possessions weren’t extremely damaging, he was one of the reasons for the Giants’ fantastic opening quarter, where he repeatedly drove the ball into the Giants’ forward half. Lucas’ work rate also stood out, with the midfielder making plenty of contests throughout the day.

#25 Thomas Green

Green was involved early on, winning the second centre clearance of the game for his team, along with booting a first-quarter goal fifteen minutes later. He accumulated plenty of the footy and was prolific in contested situations. For his size, Green is exceptionally clean at ground level, which makes him a very damaging player around stoppages. His ball use and composure also caught the eye on the day.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Delahunty’s forward craft was a standout. He was able to take a few marks inside the forward 50 just because he was playing in front of his opponent, rather than from behind. He took a very nice mark on the lead in the second term but was unable to convert his set-shot attempt.

#28 Matt McGrory

McGrory won a 50-metre penalty in the defensive half that resulted in him delivering the ball deep inside the forward line for the Giants’ first major of the day. His athleticism stood out in the second term when he took an impressive intercept mark just outside his team’s forward half. McGrory also demonstrated his ball-winning capabilities and his clean ball use by foot during the match.

Sydney:

#7 Braeden Campbell

Campbell won plenty of the ball on the inside and he tackled strongly. One of his best passages of play came early on in the second term when he kicked an important, thumping goal from 50 metres out, keeping his team in the game. Campbell finished with a game-high three goals.

#9 Sam Thorne

Thorne was clean by hand and made smart decisions. He competed hard all day and continued to drive the ball forward on all occasions. His inside work was evident, along with his defensive pressure around the contest. Thorne had a game-high six tackles.

#10 Jackson Barling

Barling was good in both contested and uncontested situations. He continually put his head over the ball and always did his best to make himself an option around the ground for his teammates. He won many one-on-one contests around the ground, signifying his strength and smart body use. He was the Swans’ top ball-winner for the match.

 

Brisbane Lions Academy 5.12 (42) defeated by Gold Coast SUNS Academy 10.10 (70)
By: Michael Alvaro

Brisbane:

#11 Will Martyn

Martyn is a really nice mover in the midfield, and showed his impressive agility around the stoppages here. He looks to be on the move for the majority of time, zipping in and out of tight situations to send his side forward. While his numbers were down (12 disposals) and his kicking left a little to be desired on occasion, Martyn worked hard and seems to always find the ball in good areas. Can become a damaging midfielder with surer kicking, but has enormous potential.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Typically a damaging forward runner, Crozier’s output looked to be limited to action between the arc in this game, and he missed an opportunity to hit the scoreboard as he so often does. Still put in a good shift with 19 disposals and was a good link on the wing, working hard for nine marks to help Brisbane play the short build-up game.

#18 Bruce Reville

Reville really catches the eye and was on form early, playing most of the game through the midfield. He is such a smooth mover and looks a natural footballer, often receiving from the extractors at stoppages and bursting forward seamlessly. His decision making and effective use were features in the first half, with Reville showing great awareness to know when to lower his eyes going forward, or prop and deliver the ball laterally. While he did not quite go at 100 per cent efficiency, Reville’s clever delivery by foot made him stand out and ensured he was a damaging forward mover. Reville faded out slightly as the Suns got on top late, but ended with a team-high 25 disposals to go with a clever soccered goal in the second term.

#19 Tom Griffiths

Equalled Reville’s output in terms of possessions with 25, but played a more selfless role as the extractor in midfield. Winning a good amount of contested ball, Griffiths was effective by hand and released his outside runners, while also spreading well to win the ball in all areas of the ground. A hard worker, and one you may miss if you do not watch closely.

Gold Coast:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

Oea is an excitement machine, lurking dangerously in and around the forward 50 arc all day. He is a smart user by foot and created opportunities for his teammates with good use going forward. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of that is his ability to use the ball well at speed, and his gather, turn and kick to Ethan Dawson in the goalsquare was an example of that. Oea looked like doing something great whenever he was goalside of his opponent, and his eye-catching goal on the run in the third term showcased that to a t. Definitely one to watch, and is hard to miss when at full flight.

#5 Connor Budarick

The zippy midfielder-forward was a mainstay at the centre bounces, but I thought his possessions in the forward half showed where his best football will be played at the next level. He sweeps up the loose ball at ground level and hits it at speed, using smart hands to extract when he opts not to break away from stoppages. Would have had a pretty complete game had he put away two goal opportunities he created with impressive gathers at pace, but was damaging nonetheless. A pleasing part of his game was his direction of play after disposing of the ball, and he seems a clever type. 26 disposals for the Allies representative marked a solid day.

#13 Josh Gore

Gore looks a polished player, and was nothing short of clinical up forward. He certainly knows where the goals are, but did not get the chance to show off his outstanding awareness inside 50 as he instead booted his three goals from set shots at varying angles. Gore does not need much of the ball to have an impact, and definitely caught the eye with his evasiveness with ball in hand. Worked hard to find space with seven marks, and has a nice left-foot kick.

#28 Ashton Crossley

A contested ball machine, Crossley continued his good start to the Sun’s NAB League cameo with 28 disposals. I was not surprised to find that 20 of them were handballs, but that is simply his game and he was hardly beaten as the number one stoppage player on the ground. While his releasing handballs were effective for the most part, Crossley often hacked the ball out by foot, so still has some areas to work on as most inside midfielders do. Worked tirelessly in tandem with Budarick in a team-oriented role and won an impressive 10 clearances.

 

Sandringham Dragons 9.11 (65) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 8.7 (55)
By: Ed Pascoe

Sandringham:

#1 Jack Mahony

Mahony was very busy through the midfield wining plenty of the ball and using it well by hand and foot and he was one of his teams better performers in the first half. He was everywhere in the third quarter and he had a nice bit of play taking a nice mark inside 50 and a quick wide kick to teammate Angus Hanrahan lead to a goal. Mahony showed he was one of the most skilled players on the ground and he finished the game with 25 disposals and five tackles.

#4 Finn Maginess

Maginess showed a lot of class through the midfield with his clean hands and strength at stoppages, he had a strong start to the game and was even better in the second quarter taking a nice contested mark and did some nice repeat efforts at the contest with clean ball use at the same time. Maginess would hit the scoreboard in the third quarter cutting off an opposition player and ran in to kick the goal. Maginess was a strong player around the contest and he finished the game with 24 disposals, six inside 50s and a goal.

#5 Ryan Byrnes

Byrnes was very busy through the midfield early in the game but his disposal seemed rushed and he was not as damaging early as he was in recent weeks and it was more of the same during the whole game. His third quarter was quiet but his best bit of play came in the last quarter with a nice kick inside 50 to teammate Charlie Dean, he would finish the game with 21 disposals and six inside 50s.

#11 Hugo Ralphsmith

Ralphsmith had another good game mostly as a link up player on the wing using his dash and clean disposal. His first goal came in the 2nd quarter running into open goal, he would have a good movement in this quarter burning off an opponent with pure speed and then turning on a dime and hitting a nice short pass under pressure. He would continue to show of his dash in the third quarter with a nice run from the wing into the forward half and he would have another solid quarter, he would kick his second goal from a strong mark in the last quarter and converting the set shot. He would finish the game with 15 disposals, four marks and two goals.

#12 Charlie Dean

Dean continues to lead the NAB League for goals and that has came from his great leading patterns which he again showed early, taking a strong contested mark and kick a set shot goal 15 minutes into the first quarter. The second goal came in the second quarter from a nice mark and set shot finish, he would continue to provide a good target taking a nice lead up mark in the third quarter and delivering a nice short kick inside 50. Dean was a great target all day and he finished the game with 16 disposals, six marks and two goals.

#29 Fischer McAsey

McAsey had a similar game to last week starting slowly before becoming more involved as the game went on, he started the second quarter well with a good chase down tackle and was solid overall for that quarter down back and would improve again in the third showing his neat skills by hand and foot. McAsey had a neat game down back finishing with 12 disposals and three rebound 50s.

#31 Josh Worrell

Worrell was physical early hitting contests hard and tackling with intent, his skills by hand and foot early where very solid, he was very important repelling a lot of the oppositions attacks in the first half. His disposal dropped in the second half but his positioning in defence was fantastic and he was still having an influence. Worrell was his teams standout defender with 23 disposals, four marks and five rebounds.

Oakleigh:

#4 Nick Bryan

Another solid game for Bryan who competed well in the ruck especially early on working in tandem with gun midfielder Matthew Rowell. His second quarter was the most impressive with some lovely tap work in the ruck and even showing his skill with ball in hand with a nice kick inside 50. His tap work was the standout but he showed even more tricks with a great tackle on Sandringham speedster Hugo Ralphsmith in the last quarter. Bryan finished the game with 11 disposals, three tackles and 33 hitouts.

#5 Trent Bianco

Bianco was all class for four quarters and was a big reason for his side coming close to knocking off premiership favourites Sandringham. His first half was strong using the ball well down back and in the third quarter he showed why he is considered one of the better skilled players at Oakleigh with a fantastic opposite foot switch kick to teammate Matthew Rowell. Bianco was huge in the last quarter starting to be an influence up the ground, some standout moments came with a lovely kick to the advantage of teammate Dylan Williams inside 50 and he would latter look after Williams again with a fantastic pickup and quick clean and long handball over the top for Williams to run into open goal. Bianco finished the game with 26 disposals, four inside 50s and five rebound 50s.

#8 Noah Anderson

The in-form player in the Nab League so far again had a solid outing he was his usual impactful self working hard through the middle early and linking up well in transition. Anderson was quieter in the second and third quarter but would kick his first goal from straight in front close to goal in the third quarter. Anderson’s second goal came in the last quarter through a free kick and he was also a solid contributor through the midfield in the last quarter and would finish the game with 26 disposals, six tackles and two goals.

#11 Matthew Rowell

Rowell was the standout player on the day especially early having a big say on the game through the midfield, not only was he tackling with intent but he also went in hard to win the ball and was classy with his ball use. He didn’t let up in the second quarter either, continuing to be a force through the midfield and in the third quarter he showed his skill with a classy opposite foot kick inside 50. Rowell excelled at stoppages but he also had an impact in general play especially in the last quarter taking a strong intercept mark and quickly kicking inboard to teammate Trent Bianco which started a great chain for Oakleigh. Rowell finished the game strong with 31 disposals, seven marks and eleven tackles.

#23 Dylan Williams

Williams had a rough start to the game he struggled to get involved in the play early but he started to have an influence in the second quarter taking a nice lead up mark and delivering a nice kick inside 50 which was unfortunately dropped by is teammate but later in the quarter he would kick his first goal which was a nice goal on the run. Williams got a chance through the midfield where he showed some good signs with his movement in traffic, he had one nice bit of play showing clean hands under pressure standing up in a tackle and finding a difficult handpass. Williams looked set to take the game by the scruff of the neck in the last quarter taking a strong mark early and converting a set shot goal he would almost kick another goal from a similar situation that was touched on the line. His final goal came running into open goal to finish his game on a high despite the loss. He finished the game with nine disposals, four marks and three goals.

 

Calder Cannons 10.14 (74) defeated Western Jets 9.8 (62)
By: Ed Pascoe

Calder:
#1 Daniel Mott

Mott had an impact early kicking the first goal of the game which was a lovely opposite foot goal in general play 40 metres out and the second goal also in the same quarter which was an easy goal running into open goal. Most was one of his teams more classy players with ball in hand especially by foot which he had some good movements in the last quarter with a lovely opposite foot kick to teammate Josh Kemp and another long kick inside 50 to the advantage of his teammate which was impossible for a defender to stop. In the last quarter he even showed a good burst of speed to get away from his opponent to get a kick away inside 50. Mott finished the game with 32 disposals, seven marks and two goals in a good four-quarter performance through the midfield.

#8 Sam Ramsay

Ramsay was fantastic in the first quarter showing his class and work ethic laying a strong tackle and showing great composure and movement with ball in hand and he would latter kick a fantastic running goal from 50 metres. Ramsay left the game early and was a big loss for his side as he had started the game extremely well showing his speed and class. He finished the game with eight disposals and one goal.

#30 Josh Kemp

Kemp looked dangerous early he would set up a goal with a nice bit of play in the pocket working hard to win the ball and then a creative handball to set it up, and he would again have a similar bit of play although not leading to a goal but he would almost kick a goal showing lovely hands and movement and then snapping only to be touched on the line and again would come close with a great lead and diving mark but the set shot was changed to a kick to the hot spot. He looked good again in the second quarter showing his leap with a great contested overhead mark but the set shot dropped short and another chance from a nice lead up mark but again not kicking the goal. Kemp would have a quieter second half but showed his kicking skills with a nice pass inboard with a bit of composure in the last quarter, Kemp finished the game with nine disposals and four marks.

#38 Brodie Newman

Newman had a very quiet game, especially for his standards, he defended first and he still showed his game awareness with a nice bit of play in the second quarter positioning himself well having a run and clearing a long kick outside defensive 50. Newman did not have many standout moments in the second half and he finished the game with four disposals and three tackles.

Western:

#18 Emerson Jeka

Jeka showed good presence early taking some nice lead up marks and proving a difficult matchup for the Calder side but he could not quite put it on the scoreboard with a set shot behind and one not making the distance from long range. He would show his class with ball in hand taking a nice mark on the wing and quickly kicking inboard twice one on his preferred and one on his non preferred. He had a good highlight in the third quarter taking a mini specky getting the knee in the middle of his opponents back but again failing to kick the set shot, he would finish the game with nine disposals, six tackles and two behinds.

#20 Darcy Cassar

Cassar started the game well hitting a lovely pass under pressure and showing good movement and speed from a stoppage deep in defence, he was classy down back in the first half showing his speed on many occasions and cool head under pressure. Cassar was a good four-quarter performer and a major reason for the Jets staying in the game and he finished with 24 disposals and eight rebound 50s.

#24 Josh Honey

Honey has had a tough start to the year and again didn’t start the game well although showing good movement trying to take the game on early, he was taken down in a good tackle. Honey would show his class in the second quarter with a great contested mark on the last line and converting the easy set shot he also had a strong tackle in the third quarter and should have been rewarded with a free kick. Honey tried hard but he will be looking to have bigger impacts on the game which he is more than capable of, he finished the game with 14 disposals, six tackles and a goal.

 

Bendigo Pioneers 8.10 (58) defeated by Gippsland Power 12.10 (82)
By: Peter Williams

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

I was impressed with the way he went about it and was one of Bendigo’s most consistent across the four quarters. The bottom-age midfield has a neat left foot kick and is not afraid to take the game on. He had a terrific spearing pass into Brodie Kemp early in the game and showed great core strength throughout to stand up in tackles and get his hands free. Conforti has high football smarts and can find space whilst in traffic, it is just sharpening up the kicking when at top speed. Gets around the ground comfortably.

#4 Thomson Dow

Not as prolific as past games, finishing with just the nine touches and one effective kick but still managed to hit the scoreboard courtesy of a free kick inside 50 in the second term. He showed good vision to give off a long handball to a teammate in space in the same quarter, and had a chance for another goal from a set shot in the third quarter but missed to the left.

#8 Brodie Kemp

Impressive across the four quarters, he kicked the Pioneers’ opening goal of the game with a ripping shot to bend the ball back through the big sticks in the right forward pocket. He took a great mark at half-forward then kicked low in favour of Caleb Fisher in the pocket. With time and space he can be real damaging, and it is just tightening up the kicking when under pressure at speed. Kept winning it and has a knack of spinning out of trouble. Good hands in traffic too.

#20 James Schischka

Had a solid game throughout playing his usual role in the defensive half and pushing up the ground to take a number of intercept marks. He has a long, direct kick which he uses effectively to put into dangerous positions, but will often size up his options and pick a shorter option. Has strength, applying a fend-off to an opponent and still being able to dispose of the ball.

Gippsland:

#2 Caleb Serong

Does not play a bad game and on this occasion, Serong was one of Gippsland’s best across the four quarters, rotating between midfield and forward. He has great skills and is able to weight kicks well, while also having terrific strength for a small player. Serong just has the ability to get his hands free whilst being tackled, and force opponents to commit to the tackle before giving the ball off to a teammate in space. He had a mind blank in the third term where he gave away a downfield free for a slightly late bump on an opponent, but got forward and booted two goals using strong hands.

#4 Sam Flanders

The forward-turned-midfielder had another impressive game throughout the four quarters, tending to win the ball at the stoppage and get the hands free to find a teammate running past. He would then spread to the outside and win the footy in space and have an impact on the outside.

#11 Kyle Dunkley

Providing strong support on the inside for Gippsland and laid a number of big tackles on opponents throughout the match. His kicking can be hit or miss at times, with his long, penetrating kick more effective than trying to find targets at short range. Dunkley unloaded a long-bomb from well outside 50m and put it straight through the middle, and when inside 50 provides leads and is good in the air or ground level.

#12 Brock Smith

A solid game from the AFL Academy defender who played well one-on-one and is composed with ball-in-hand in the back half. He had a great punch in the second term to put it across the line at half-back and took a good intercept mark on the wing not long after. Continued to apply great defensive pressure and played his role.

#15 Ryan Sparkes

The defender-midfielder just finds the ball wherever he goes and had a nice clearance straight out of the middle to start the game and his ability to win the ball in transition and get it forward was a feature of his match. Has a neat kick, often opting for shorter options, then pushing forward to offer as a target in space. A valuable, underrated midfielder in the side.

#16 Josh Smith

Not a huge game by any means, but played his role inside 50 with his bodywork and finished off with a goal and a couple of score assists. Had a great kick inside 50 to Harrison Pepper leading out, and laid a great tackle in the first term to cause a spillage in defence.

#19 Fraser Phillips

The best game of the season so far for Phillips who has an impact despite not having high disposal numbers. Finishing with just the 12 touches, Phillips roamed around the forward 50 and up to the wing, booting 3.2 in the game and showed high footy IQ and a great goal sense to kick a couple of goals out of nothing. He also showed good defensive pressure, laying a number of tackles inside 50. Effectively nailed the coffin shut in the final term with back-to-back goals including a snap off a few steps and converting a set shot.

#22 Zac Reid

The key defender was another who played his role with little fuss, taking a few marks and just using the ball well across the ground. Reid did not miss a target and played well one-on-one, but his moment of the match was a massive goal-saving tackle in the final term as an opponent ran into an open goal, stopping him in his tracks.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 12.11 (83) drew to Geelong Falcons 12.11 (83)
By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#2 Hayden Young

The potential top five selection showed a good aerial ability and strong penetration kick throughout the four quarters as he played his best game for the season. Often winning the ball at half-back or along the wing, Young was ably to double back into the defensive 50, then get up the ground to send the ball into his team’s own attacking 50. Mopped up well throughout the game, though did make one clanger in the third term when kicking out of the back half which was intercepted and led to an opposition goal. Could not fault Young too much throughout, almost kicking a massive goal from the wing in the final term.

#11 Ned Cahill

After a delayed start to the season due to injury, Cahill was really impressive through the midfield, winning both contested and uncontested possessions and most importantly, getting the ball forward to provide scoring possibilities. He has such clean hands and does not fumble much, able to use his footy smarts to keep moving without being caught. Used the ball well more often than not and certainly had a big hand in Dandenong’s drawing the match.

#18 Mitch Riordan

The premiership co-captain provides the stronger body on the inside and experience to the young Stingrays’ midfielders with another solid game. He finds space and is able to kick long to dangerous areas. Riordan is clever at reading ruck taps, and provides good defensive pressure with a number of fierce tackles to stop opponents in their tracks.

#20 Sam De Koning

Started in defence and went forward in the final term, booting two goals and missing a couple which were also gettable. He had to judge the wind which was swirling around, but managed to lift for the Stingrays in that charge home. Would like his time again when trying to kick in the goal square under pressure, but his strong marking and leading looked good, and he was very settled in attack.

#44 Cody Weightman

An exciting prospect who continues to turn heads because of his ability to look dangerous whenever he goes near it. He has a nice kicking technique and great acceleration, which makes him a damaging prospect in the forward half of the ground. Weightman has clean hands and despite copping a head knock in the final term, was fine and a key player in Dandenong’s win.

Geelong:

#4 Gennaro Bove

Showed some nice signs as a bottom-ager and while he did not win a lot of the ball, used it really well and had a touch of class about him. He took a strong mark opposed to Hayden Young on the wing and showed no fear, and has a penetrating kick that he put in the path of Charlie Sprague during the third term. Courageous with good vision and composure, he is one to watch over the next 18 months.

#8 Charlie Lazzaro

Another bottom-ager who stood out in the draw was Lazzaro who stepped up in the absence of the injured Cooper Stephens. Continually cracking in and laying some big tackles, shovelling out the contested ball and winning the clearance, Lazzaro was quite impressive with his kicking action and getting it forawrd.

#17 Sheldon Ham

Just showed a few nice signs on the weekend in the forward half as a creative type who can win the footy. Kicked a great goal in the third term and just seems to move well and get himself out of trouble. Won a lot of his possessions under pressure and held himself up well, sharing the ball around to teammates in the forward 50.

#36 Charlie Sprague

A serviceable game for the overager who would have liked to have made more of his forward chances. Had some nice passes of play such as a good leading mark diving forward, but then kicked it out on the full. Set up a couple of teammates going forward and pushing up to the wing, won the ball and used his body well to fire a quick handball to a teammate running past in the opposite direction.

#40 Jesse Clark

Stationed at half-back, Clark showed good body pressure on his opponents at ground level or in the air and repelled a lot of Dandenong attacks. He was outsized late in the game against Sam De Koning, but aside from that, had a really promising game with strong kicking and a couple of good intercept marks in defence under immense pressure. Just consistent throughout the match.

 

Northern Territory Thunder Academy 6.8 (44) defeated by Tasmania Devils 13.14 (92)
By: Alex Gibson

Northern Territory:

#17 Maurice Rioli

The way this bottom-ager plays it is no surprise he is a Rioli. His presence of silky skill was complimented beautifully by his dashing speed. Although he did not have huge numbers his possessions were damaging thanks to his precise vision and ability to lower his eyes. A run-down tackle at the start of the third quarter got the crowd up on their feet.

#19 Ben Jungfer

In what was a frustrating day for the Thunder star, Jungfer’s efforts can not be questioned. The Devils seemed to have put a lot of time into the midfielder following last weeks performance and he wasn’t given much space throughout the game. Finding it hard to get his hands on the ball in the first half, Jungfer’s second half showed promising signs and he worked hard to finish with 17 disposals and five tackles.

#24 Joel Jeffery

The 17-year-old swingman was immense for the NT boys. Playing as the key forward at only 189cm, his athleticism contributed to him being a serious aerial threat and the devils defenders were cautious of his raw talent. When the Devils began to get on top, a smart coaching move saw Jeffery go back, where his marking ability alongside a deadly long kick saw him gather 20 disposals including seven rebounds out of the defensive 50 to go with his earlier goal.

#27 Beau O’Connell

O’Connell was the Thunder’s best by far. He had a big first term where his gut running and damaging kick gave him the opportunity to kick back-to-back goals and allowed his team to get on top early. Rotating through half forward and the midfield, when O’Connell had the ball the Thunder looked at their most dangerous. He gathered 16 touches and finished with three goals.

#35 Stephen Cumming

In what was a disappointing day for the Thunder, the 199cm monster dominated in the ruck. Finishing with 40 hitouts, the next best hit out count on the day between both teams was six. The big man also exploited the new ruck rule where he on numerous occasions took the ball straight out of the stoppage giving first use to his midfielders. His football smarts largely contributed to his 17 handball and 22 disposal day.

Tasmania:

#1 Mitch O’Neill

The Thunder had no response to O’Neill’s dominance throughout the whole day, he was unstoppable. The dashing on baller amassed a massive 35 disposal performance including 21 kicks and nine inside 50’s. Not only did he hurt the Thunder by foot going inside 50, but his quick hands in and under the stoppage allowed the Devils to have a huge second quarter and control the game from there on. Was clearly the best on ground.

#2 Oliver Burrows-Cheng

The big bodied midfielder showed a display of pure strength. Despite having a clear defensive role in which he got on top of his opponent, Burrows-Cheng was still the first player to get his hands on the football at the stoppage and was impressive all day. Working tirelessly all game he laid seven tackles and defensively was brilliant.

#7 Matt McGuiness

The game seemed to slow down when McGuiness had the ball. The half back had elite composure out the the defensive 50 which stood out along with him hitting targets using both sides of his body. McGuiness also was very solid defensively where his ability to read the ball allowed him to get the upper hand on his opponents.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow could have had a really, really big day. He dominated the Thunder’s defence all game and finished with five goals however if he kicked straight could’ve easily had seven or eight to his name. Callow did not once get out-marked and either took the grab himself or brought the ball to ground to which his small forwards appreciated. Callow was the go-to man for the Devils and the well built key forward’s work rate was impressive – often providing a target well up the ground.

 

Murray Bushrangers 9.15 (69) defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels 9.8 (62)
By: Peter Williams

Murray:
#3 Ben Kelly

The 19-year-old ruck/defender has made a strong start to his overage year and while he had less impact on the weekend, still showed enough signs to suggest this year could be a big one for him. He moves well for a taller player and does not panic when potentially quicker players are in pursuit. He has a nice sidestep and even attempted to go for a run in the first term, taking a bounce before opting for a handball. He patrolled the backline and switches the play when required, taking a good intercept mark in the final term and backed himself to move around a player and take off down the field.

#5 Cam Wild

An accumulator who plays his role for the team with minimal fuss and just wins the ball every week. Wild is a player who does his best work around stoppages, often firing out handballs or kicking clear of danger. Found a fair bit of it in space on the wing and pumped it long inside 50.

#7 Zane Barzen

Another overage player at the Bushrangers, Barzen had some nice moments inside 50, kicking a couple of goals and assisting in some others. Still looking to find consistency across four quarters, Barzen had a quieter second half, but still acquitted himself in the forward arc. Had a late chance for a third goal with a snap under immense pressure but missed.

#12 Lachlan Ash

If there is a player in the NAB League competition that catches the eye, then it is most certainly Lachlan Ash. Hardly putting a foot wrong, Ash’s ball use is elite and some of the kicks he produces are bordering on perfection. Ash will almost always pick the right option and does not just play safe, going for the deeper, penetrating kicks forawrd to set up attacking plays, even if the kick comes attached with risk. He set up a number of goals, including one in the first term to Will Chandler, and the winning goal to Jay Hillary in the final quarter. The amazing thing about Ash is the fact that he firstly takes the game on, but secondly brings teammates into play by drawing opponents and giving the ball off, or providing shepherds to allow teammates to kick cleanly up the ground like he did in the final term. Ash is terrific overhead and really does it all.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Had an influential first term in the midfield, and played a solid game throughout the four quarters as one of the Bushrangers’ best. Still finding consistency throughout the match, Chalcraft’s ability to sidestep opponents with ease and just pump the ball forward makes him a damaging player wherever he is playing. Chalcraft has good core strength and stands up in tackles, also having a nice kick under pressure in the opening term to hit a target at half-forward. He spreads around the ground and a good work rate, and finds the ball when in midfield. Does not make a heap of errors with his disposal, and more often than not is able to put the ball to a teammates’ advantage.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Floated around the ground providing an option in space, taking a number of marks and keeping the ball moving in transition. Boyer’s worked hard to spread to the wings and flanks and is able to use the ball well under pressure. A nice kick of the football, his lateral movement and good vision make him a handy prospect. One of the better Bushrangers on the day and just keeps winning the football and providing an option to his teammates.

#20 Elijah Hollands

A classy forward who just has that knack of finding the goals, he was disappointed in himself missing a few early chances, before kicking two for the game, including a natural instinct shot off the left to win the game for the Bushrangers. Hollands also shows good second efforts, giving off a quick handball before following up with a tackle immediately after.

GWV:

#4 Jed Hill

Worked hard throughout the match and played a solid game to continually find space rotating through the midfield and half-forward. Still needs to fine tune some consistency having a quiet second half, but was prominent early in the game with 10 touches and five marks to half-time. Finished with the 13 disposals, but did a lot of things that were outside the stat sheet. Hill ran hard and kicked a goal into the breeze in the second term after a “typical” Hill goal from a tight angle in the pocket in the first term.

#7 Mitch Martin

A classy performance and as clean as they come at ground level. Used the ball well throughout and showed neat kicking across the ground. In the third term, Martin showed his composure by nullifying a ball in the forward pocket despite being chased by two opponents. Kept getting busy around the ground and offered himself as an option with 10 marks, rotating between midfield and half-forward. Also laid a number of good tackles, but the standout feature was his one-touch ability at ground level.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Made some uncharacteristic errors by foot in the game, kicking at just 50 per cent, but his pressure was still high. While the normally classy Wareham had some nice disposals at times, it was his hunting of the ball and ball carrier which stood out. He is not a huge disposal winner, but always goes for a smother or tackle whenever possible and plays a great team role.

#13 Jay Rantall

Shot onto my draft board after the match on the weekend and will be one to watch. The former basketballer is still very raw, and does make mistakes by foot at times, but some of the natural things he does are very eye-catching. Rantall has an eye for the goals and was able to kick a couple of majors, one off a step from long range, timing the kick perfectly, then had another snap around the body from a stoppage in the third term. His energy levels and second efforts are very impressive and his overall athletic capabilities are off the charts. By far the moment that caught everyone’s eye was the final centre stoppage where he read the tap to perfection, burst away and hit a pass onto the chest of a leading forward.

#14 Liam Herbert

Had a few nice plays around the ground and weight his kicks, but also made some errors by foot. He worked hard to push back into defence at times and also got forward, moving around the ground well. Had an important fist under pressure in the defensive 50 in the final term.

Weekend preview: NAB League Boys – Round 3

WITH a landmark Round 2 come and gone, Round 3’s set of fixtures delivers another nine games and another nine opportunities to observe the best talent from across the nation as the Northern Academies and Tasmania settle into NAB League proceedings. With a Sandringham double-header on Saturday and Bendigo triple-header on Sunday, settle in for some non-stop Under 18 action.

Northern Knights v Eastern Ranges
Saturday April 6, 9:45
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

Northern Knights host Eastern Ranges on neutral ground to open the round and Saturday’s double-header at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. The Knights are still without a win in 2019 after going down narrowly to Western and more comfortably to Sandringham, while Eastern come in 1-1 after toppling the Jets last week. Lachie Potter returns to the side after missing through injury, and will look to provide run on the outside of in-form Northern ball winners Adam Carafa and Sam Philp. While Potter gives the Knights’ defence more dynamism, the Ranges have brought in 19-year old Vic Metro representative James Blanck to sure up the back six – not that it has been particularly leaky. Further afield, Eastern’s Mitch Mellis will hope to build on his Round 2 Draft Central player of the week performance, with the midfield combination of Lachlan Stapleton and Cody Hirst effective so far. Both sides will see this clash as a good opportunity to pick up a win, with the Knights especially keen to get on the board as quickly as possible.

GWS GIANTS Academy v Sydney Swans Academy
Saturday April 6, 11:00
Manuka Oval

The battle of the bridge comes to the NAB League as the GWS GIANTS and Sydney Swans academies prepare to do battle in Canberra. While the Swans had a winning start to NAB League life, GWS will look towards this opportunity to get on the board having gone down to academy counterparts, Brisbane in Round 2. The Swans have been dealt a major blow as star of their opening game, Errol Gulden has been named as an out, with fellow bottom-ager Pierce Roseby set to slot right into his place. Samuel Thorne is one who can also pick up the slack alongside the likes of Jackson Barling and Kyle McKellar after good performances last week, and the midfield battle will be a cracker. Leading Giants prospect Tom Green showed his class last week and will hope to overwhelm the Swans mids, while the dynamic forward combination of Liam Delahunty and James Peatling should cause some headaches for the Swans. This is certainly one to watch with some high-end academy prospects running around, and should be a good contest to boot.

Brisbane Lions Academy v Gold Coast Suns Academy
Saturday April 6, 12:00
Yerong Football Ground

The academy state derbies continue as the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS academies play off in an Under 18 Q-clash up in the sunshine state. Both Round 2 winners, the sides will be playing off for bragging rights before testing themselves against established NAB League opponents. A potential midfield match-up between Gold Coast’s Connor Budarick Brisbane’s Will Martyn should be a belter, as would a shootout between Suns goalsneak Josh Gore and Lions forward ace Tom Wischnat – who bagged seven collective goals last week. With plenty of forward runners in either lineup and sunny conditions an forecasted, this fixture should well and truly attract some eyes, and will be as good an opportunity as ever for each side’s top-end talent to showcase their skills – or even use as preparation for future AFL Q-clashes.

Sandringham Dragons v Oakleigh Chargers
Saturday April 6, 12:15
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

The game of the round hits Trevor Barker Beach Oval as Metro premiership fancies, Sandringham and Oakleigh play off in what could well be an early season finals dress rehearsal. Both sides come into the game at 2-0 as the top two on the ladder, but the Dragons should come in as favourites given they hold home ground advantage and have won more comfortably thus far. The home side backed up a Round 1 shellacking of Calder with a solid win over Northern, while Oakleigh was tested last week against a fighting Calder side in tough conditions. With stars studded across each line for both teams, there will be no shortage of mouth-watering match-ups to grab the attention of recruiters. Sandringham’s forward line has been lethal so far, with Charlie Dean leading the competition for goals (nine), and fellow talls Riley Bowman and Jack Bell also pitching in. While they will no doubt trouble the visitors’ defence, Oakleigh’s midfield is set to feature three genuine top 10 draft pick contenders – with returning co-captain Trent Bianco joining Round 1 Draft Central Player of the Week, Noah Anderson, and the unflappable Matt Rowell. Over-ager Joe Ayton-Delaney also features in that midfield rotation, with he and Bianco able to join the back six or play on the outside. Recent AFL Vic Metro Academy squad inclusion, Nick Bryan will hope to continue his early-season run and provide his fleet with first use in the ruck, with Dylan Williams showing signs of clicking into full gear up forward. While Oakleigh’s midfield is arguably the competition’s best on paper, Sandringham’s engine room is proving to be right up there – as the likes of Jack Mahony, Ryan Byrnes, and Finn Maginness have formed a consistent ball-winning trio. Sandringham’s defence features a combination of aerial prowess and calm ball users, with Josh Worrell, Corey Watts, and Fischer McAsey versatile enough to tackle all sorts of forwards. With potential draftees littered across this game, it is simply a must watch – and the chance to watch this much elite talent most likely will not come until the National Championships.

Calder Cannons v Western Jets
Saturday April 6, 3:30
RAMS Arena

The winless Calder Cannons will have a point to prove when they meet Western Jets in another home fixture at RAMS Arena to close out Sunday’s games. Having been dealt a tough hand with their first two games being against premiership fancies Sandringham and Oakleigh, the Cannons showed marked improvement in Round 2 as they matched it with the Chargers for three quarters. On the other hand, Western suffered a comprehensive loss to Eastern after a promising Round 1 victory, so will be looking to pave a more consistent path as the season progresses. Calder’s tall defensive duo of Brodie Newman and Mason Fletcher will have their hands full with probably match-ups against Emerson Jeka and Aaron Clarke, while both sets of midfielders will hope to improve on last week’s outings – namely Western’s Josh Honey and Calder’s Daniel Mott, who have outstanding potential. Enigmatic Calder forward Josh Kemp is also set to be a factor, coming off three goals last week and hoping to build a case for the next level as a 19-year-old. The Cannons may surprise a few, but Western will hope it can get back on the winners list with an stronger output here.

Bendigo Pioneers v Gippsland Power
Sunday April 7, 10:00
Queen Elizabeth Oval

The season’s surprise packet to date, Bendigo Pioneers, will hope to keep its perfect record in tact when it faces Gippsland to open Sunday’s all-Country triple-header. The hosts have taken full advantage of retaining their top-end talent for the early-season proceedings, with Thomson Dow and Brodie Kemp leading the way well from midfield to provide an eye-catching mix of grunt and creativity. A thrilling win last week against Murray puts them in good stead at 2-0, with Gippsland on the wrong end of a tight loss last time out and coming in with a 1-1 record. Much like the Pioneers, Gippsland will hope to take advantage of having Caleb Serong free from school football and Vic Country commitments, but have a wealth of talent to see them through in any case. Ryan Sparkes has started the season well on the outside, with the powerful Sam Flanders mixing time in the midfield and forward line seamlessly, and over-ager Kyle Dunkley looking a much-improved prospect. With one side playing in a rare vein of form and the other looking to click into gear as most expect them to, this clash could well be right up there with the Sandringham and Oakleigh game for pure entertainment.

Dandenong Stingrays v Geelong Falcons
Sunday April 7, 12:30
Queen Elizabeth Oval

Dandenong Stingrays and Geelong Falcons take centre stage in the second QEO all-Country clash, with either side coming in on the back of polar opposite form-lines. While the reigning premiers have managed to scrape in for two six-point wins, the Falcons are one of four established NAB League teams still searching for their first win. Usual suspects are already appearing in the Geelong side, with co-captains Cooper Stephens and Jesse Clark continually standing up, while 19-year-old Charlie Sprague has also been lively thus far. The Falcons will unfortunately be without Jay Dahlhaus for what looks like being most of the season though, with the speedster partially tearing his ACL last week. On Dandenong’s end, Hayden Young is coming into form, with over-ager Mitch Riordan following suit in the midfield, while talls Bigoa Nyuon and Bailey Schmidt are also making a mark. With plenty of experience remaining from last year’s premiership side, the Stingrays will prove a tough test for Geelong as they look to bounce back by collecting a set of four points.

Northern Territory Thunder Academy v Tasmania Devils
Sunday April 7, 1:00
Holden Centre

Someone’s winless start will end when Northern Territory Thunder and Tasmania Devils take their talent to neutral ground in Melbourne, with both sides hoping to bounce back from defeats in their respective NAB League debuts. The Thunder is set to take an unchanged line-up to the Holden Centre, while Tasmania will have at least two fresh faces in the team this week with an extended squad named. The Devils fell respectably short of the Sydney Swans Academy last time out, with leading prospect Mitch O’Neill the standout alongside Matt McGuiness. They will be important once again alongside the running power of Sam Collins, while the versatile forward duo of Will Harper and Jye Menzie will hope to again combine effectively to help the Taswegians get on the board. Ben Jungfer was the NT’s clear best ball winner last week, and will play a key role against the Devils’ best, while twin tall pair Stephen and Matthew Cumming should again prove a handful wherever they are required. With plenty of speed set to come to the fore, expect some fireworks between two sides battling for their first win.

Murray Bushrangers v Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Sunday April 7, 3:00
Queen Elizabeth Oval

Murray Bushrangers and Greater Western Victoria Rebels are set to see out the round of action and Sunday’s QEO fixtures as they clash for regional bragging rights. While Murray have been unlucky not to snatch the win thus far – going down by a collective seven points in the first two rounds – GWV managed to get up by the narrowest of margins last week as they snatched a win from under the Falcons’ beaks. The Rebels have a number of triers who contribute well, with Jay Rantall and James Cleaver among the best so far, but they are set to lose key contributors Cooper Craig-Peters and Matty Lloyd for this week’s clash. On the other hand, Murray has named a handy inclusion, with over-ager Zane Barzen slotting straight into the forward line. With Will Chandler set to join him up there and Jye Chalcraft able to rest inside 50 from midfield duties, the Bushrangers’ look a dangerous prospect. Lachlan Ash and former-Knight Cam Wild have also gone about their business well as ball-winners, so should collectively provide some headaches for the Rebels midfield. With wins imperative as sides are at relative full strength, Murray will be keen to pick up four points here.