Tag: lachlan riley

2021 Draft Central NAB League Boys Team of the Week: Round 1

THREE metropolitan sides and one country team are well represented in our Draft Central NAB League Boys Team of the Week for NAB League Boys in Round 1, recording three players apiece. The huge Easter Monday clash between Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers resulted in both sides recording a trio of representatives, as did Northern Knights and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels thanks to their wins over the weekend. Of the eight other teams in action, five had two players apiece, with Geelong Falcons and Murray Bushrangers having one player each, whilst Gippsland Power missed out this week, though did have an emergency.

The Dragons and Chargers had a great battle on Monday, with Nick Daicos a standout despite the loss for the Chargers and named co-captain of the team for being voted in as our NAB League Boys Player of the Week for Round 1. He joins teammates Scott Beilby and ruck Ned Moyle in the team for the opening round. The Dragons supply both wings for the team with Finn Callaghan and Campbell Chesser in the side, whilst Lachlan Riley also made the team on the bench.

GWV Rebels were healthily represented as well with defender Josh Gibcus, midfielder Marcus Herbert and forward Sam Butler all making the starting side for Round 1. The final team with three players in the side this round were the Northern Knights, as Joel Fitzgerald (back pocket), Ned Long (onball) and Darcy Wilmot (interchange) all made the team. At the other end of the scale, Geelong Falcons’ Flynn Young and Murray Bushrangers’ Charlie Byrne were their respective team’s sole representatives.

The other sides who featured all had two players in the 24-player squad, starting with the standalone match’s best player Cody Raak at centre half-back, alongside Paul Curtis on the bench for the Western Jets. Rounding out the midfielder was the team’s co-captain and top ball-winner over the weekend in Tyler Sonsie in the centre, named in the team with forward Corey Preston. The other metropolitan team to feature two players was Calder Cannons, with Sam Clohesy and Josh Goater both making the squad.

Looking at the remaining country teams with two players apiece, the Bendigo Pioneers have Xavier Mitchell and Sam Conforti inside the 24 players, while Dandenong Stingrays are represented by Connor Macdonald and Josiah Kyle in the team. The three hypothetical emergencies were Gippsland Power’s Tom Crole, Calder Cannons’ Zac Taylor and Sandringham Dragons’ Logan Young for this round. Among the other players considered this week, Northern Knights’ Josh Ward, Dandenong Stingrays’ Judson Clarke, Murray Bushrangers’ Josh Rachele, Oakleigh Chargers’ Lachlan Rankin and Geelong Falcons’ Toby Conway.

DRAFT CENTRAL NAB LEAGUE BOYS TEAM OF THE WEEK: ROUND 1

B: Joel Fitzgerald (NK) – Josh Gibcus (GWV) – Scott Beilby (OC)
HB: Charlie Byrne (MB) – Cody Raak (WJ) – Sam Clohesy (CC)
C: Finn Callaghan (SD) – Tyler Sonsie (ER) (c) – Campbell Chesser (SD)
HF: Marcus Herbert (GWV) – Flynn Young (GF) – Connor Macdonald (DS)
F: Sam Butler (GWV) – Xavier Mitchell (BP) – Corey Preston (ER)
R: Ned Moyle (OC) – Nick Daicos (OC) (c) – Ned Long (NK)
INT:  Sam Conforti (BP) – Paul Curtis (WJ) – Josh Goater (CC) – Josiah Kyle (DS) – Lachlan Riley (SD) – Darcy Wilmot (NK)

EMG: Tom Crole (GP) – Zac Taylor (CC) – Logan Young (SD)

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League – Round 1

AFTER last week’s standalone season-opener, the first full NAB League round of 2021 was run and done across an enthralling five-day stretch. Victoria’s hottest AFL Draft prospects were scattered throughout all six fixtures as they begin their quest for elite level recognition, with some talents blowing out the cobwebs in quick time and proving their top 10 credentials. Our scouts were on hand to run you through the top performers from each game, in their opinion-based Scouting Notes.

GWV REBELS vs. GEELONG FALCONS

By: Peter Williams

GWV REBELS:

#1 Sam Butler

Played a clever small forward’s game inside 50, timing his runs and attack on the ball well. He used the ball well by foot, hitting up Jye Lockett early in the match as an example. He showed off his quick bursts around the goals with a nice running goal mopping up after a minor lapse of cleanliness between Lockett and Josh Rentsch. In the third term, he slickly stole the ball off Indy Parish and ran forward, then kicked an opportunistic goal 16 minutes in when everyone else thought there was a mark to Toby Conway, and Butler slammed home a major from point blank range. He capped off his performance with a hard run into goal 20m out off the back of great defensive work from his teammates.

#2 Ben Hobbs

Cracked in time and time again and provided the inside body the Rebels needed, showing a high work rate early in the match to win plenty of the ball. He was not as prolific in the second half in terms of his impact, but he still had clean hands and used quick disposals around the coal face to get it out and forward for his side. He had a set shot in the opening term from 60m which easily made the distance, but went to the left. Never gave in across the match and was a fierce competitor in the win.

#3 Charlie Molan

Spread well around the ground and had plenty of the football himself, particularly through the middle two terms. He looked to switch up play and be the distributor from defence or in the midfield to open the game up for his teammates. He had a good second term which included a great clearance and thumping ball forward from the stoppage, then would push back into defence such as in the third term, where his desperation saw him rush the ball across the line and get a free kick for his trouble. Has the silky spin moves to get out of trouble in his arsenal as well, and was clean by hand.

#5 Josh Rentsch

The tall forward was busy early, crashing into opponents and packs to try and win the ball. He clumsily hit an opponent front-on and earned a report, then had an unlucky bounce not long after when it went on a right angle as he tried to run into an open goal and collect it on the way. He kicked his first goal 10m out on a tight angle to nail the set shot, then kicked his second in the final term with a strong grab and a set shot on a tight angle. He had a couple of other chances, including a missed handball in the second term to Lockett, a mark that was deemed a push in the back in the second term, and then a set shot from 35m out that missed to the right. Overall he looked a presence inside 50 though.

#6 Marcus Herbert

Made his mark early in he match in a half-forward stoppage when he won the ball against three Falcons, spun out of trouble and kicked inside 50. He put up the don’t argue in the second term to handball clean to a teammate and was busy in the back half throughout the quarter. He worked hard across the ground to win the ball in all thirds, and then intercepted the ball at half-forward, did not break stride and nailed the running goal from 35m out. Darted in and out of traffic cleanly and was one of the better Rebels players on the night.

#8 Josh Gibcus

One of, if not the Rebels’ best on the day, Gibcus was outstanding in defence with his intercept marking and positioning. Time and time again he would mop up in the back 50, taking clean one-grab marks and then when at ground level, showed composure with ball-in-hand. He has a lovely long kick and makes the right decisions, and aside from a couple of kicks that were rushed, generally used it well. In the opening term, Gibcus had a nice sidestep under pressure and chopped the arms to get free and going forward. He was instrumental in ensuring the Rebels did not concede more goals through the middle of the game.

#10 Blake Scott

Stepped up to be one of the better Rebels with some really eye-catching highlights in the middle two teams. He used his pace to run down the wing and break the lines, then pickpocketed an opposition dangerous kick in board, only to miss the set shot. He made no mistake by crumbing a Rentsch attempted mark to snap and goal, with another snap on goal missing to the left. In the third term, Scott took a nice mark and nailed the set shot from 35m out, then won a free kick on the wing for being bumped high front on later in the term, and backed himself with a kick inboard to a two-on-one which worked out.

GEELONG:

#4 Gennaro Bove

Might not have gone his way in the first half with the Rebels in control, but Bove never stopped running and working hard throughout the game. He had a quick snap in the third term which was rushed but still on target, though an unlucky bounce went up instead of forward and was mopped up by the Rebels defence. Thanks to great tackling pressure on Hobbs, Bove won a free kick and received a 50m penalty where he converted the set shot from the goalsquare. He kicked his second midway through the final term by finding space and kicking the set shot from 30m out.

#7 Flynn Young

Was a really busy forward inside 50, kicking three goals from five scoring shots and realistically having chances to go home with a big bag in the opening round. He kicked a set shot goal 25m out in the opening term to put his team within a point, then nailed another set shot in the second term. Keeping his average at a goal a quarter, Young kicked his third from a set shot late in the premiership quarter, with an earlier miss in the third term hitting the post three quarters high.

#12 Noah Gribble

Coming back from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, Gribble wasted no time in asserting himself on the contest. The hard runner in his 19-year-old season worked hard around the ground to rack up the ball with ease. He worked hard out of defence and along the wing to drive the ball forward and remain in the contest. His second and third efforts were good and spread well around the ground. He showed off is agility by sidestepping some opponents at half-back in the final term to create separation from opponents and get out of trouble.

#27 Charlie Brauer

A high-impact-per-disposal player, Brauer only finished with the 11 touches, three marks and two rebounds, but caught the eye on a number of occasions. He was clean and composed coming out of the back 50, and generally made the right decisions by hand or foot. He might not have amassed the amount of ball as some of his teammates, but as he showed, he has the ability to move the ball well in transition.

#34 Indy Parish

Won his fair share of the ball and showed clean hands, but was often tightly guarded at stoppages. He showed quick hands when in possession through midfield, and read the ball well off the fall, also taking a good mark early in the third term and then quickly dishing off to a teammate on the run to keep it moving. Worked throughout the match to be a solid contributor without being outstanding.

#60 Toby Conway

The bigman had his way in the ruck by using his height and strength to position himself well at stoppages and win the lionshare of the hitouts. He was clever around the stoppages on his way to 30-odd hitouts, but it was his ground level work that also stood out. He tracked it at ground level and would provide second and third efforts for his midfielders and had a crack throughout the four quarters to be a reliable player around the ground.

CALDER CANNONS vs. EASTERN RANGES

By: Ed Pascoe

CALDER CANNONS:

#4 Sam Clohesy

It was back-to-back strong games for Clohesy who has been one of the more impressive players coming back through the new 19s competition, but as a December birth he still has plenty of growth as a player. Clohesy started the game in his preferred half-back position, offering plenty of rebound and using his voice to offer direction and make his own presence known to teammates for the quick receive. As Calder needed to make some changes to get back into the game, Clohesy was moved forward to good effect and was quickly making his presence felt with some nice marks and quick ball movement, but he also hit the scoreboard with a nice set shot. He didn’t add to his goal tally but he looked dangerous and got to show his versatility, ending the game with 24 disposals, 10 marks, seven rebound 50s and a goal.

#5 Zac Taylor

The pick of Calder’s players, the 180cm Taylor worked tirelessly through midfield in all four quarters. Having played mostly forward last week, Taylor showed that crafty nature through the midfield at stoppages, but it was his ability to receive on the outside and push into defence that also stood out and showed he isn’t just a player wanting to look flashy. Taylor’s skills and composure were great on the outside and he won his fair share of clearances on the inside as well, using his clean hands and agility to escape congestion and although it was surprising to see him only finish with the 22 disposals and seven marks as he looked to pop up everywhere, his impact was still high for those 22 touches.

#25 Josh Goater

The incredibly talented Goater started the game in fine fashion, winning the opening clearance of the game. Despite not winning a heap of the ball in that first quarter, he kicked a very nice goal on the run to highlight his impact per possession, which would be a theme for the day for Goater. He was moved to the outside as the game went on and was able to showcase his nice evasion and ability to gain meterage with a nice bit of play in the last quarter; receiving at half-back and then going for a run, taking a few bounces and hitting up teammate Sam Paea on the lead at half-forward. Although he only finished with the 16 disposals and five inside 50s, his impact and dazzling plays couldn’t help but catch the eye.

EASTERN RANGES:

#1 Tyler Sonsie

Sonsie reminded everyone why he is considered one of the top five prospects in the 2021 draft with a dominant display in the midfield, showing his trademark attacking nature and class in a strong four-quarter performance. Sonsie was a clearance specialist in the first quarter, winning plenty of the ball in-close and dishing off cleanly by hand. It wasn’t his usual style of winning the ball and attacking by foot, but he was effective nonetheless. Sonsie had a few running shots on goal in the first half and didn’t quite nail them as he usually would, biting off a bit more than he could chew with some opposite foot kicks, but he would address those issues in the last quarter. Sonsie is usually flawless in his kick execution on both sides and it all finally clicked in the last quarter as he kicked two sensational goals on his non-preferred. The first was a classy rove and snap from a stoppage and the second came after he won a centre clearance and then followed that very clearance up with a running shot at goal from 40-metres out. Sonsie put on a show, finishing the gamer with 34 disposals, six inside 50s and two goals.

#5 Jake Soligo

The impressive Eastern Ranges co-captain led from the front in their engine room and despite not having a huge day on the stat sheet, he certainly played his role in that midfield and helped set up a lot of scoring opportunities. Soligo started the game well, showing clean hands at stoppages and often releasing his runners by hand. He had some chances to hit the scoreboard himself but after missing a running shot at goal in the second quarter, he would later nail a good set shot goal from a mark in the third term. Soligo finished the game with 14 disposals, four inside 50s and kicked 1.2 in a solid outing for the small midfield prospect.

#21 Corey Preston

Preston was one of the unlucky players to miss getting drafted last year after getting a combine invite, but he will certainly have scouts thinking twice about passing him during the mid-season intake after an exciting display up forward. The crafty 181cm left-footer was causing headaches early on, winning plenty of the ball up forward with his first goal coming tight on the boundary from a strong mark, before coolly slotting the snap goal. His second goal was just as impressive, burning off his opponent with speed and then slotting a nice running goal from long range. His next two goals would come in the next quarter, all using his forward smarts with nice crumbing goals. It wasn’t just his crafty work at ground level, as he showed in the second quarter with a really strong contested mark at centre half-forward. Preston would have a quieter second half but he finished the game with an impressive 18 disposals, five marks, and kicked 4.2.

#31 Tyreece Leiu

The big bodied 194cm midfielder-forward spent his time between midfield and the forwardline, proving a good target in attack and around the ground with his height and size. Leiu didn’t kick any goals and really should have converted his early shot in the first quarter from 20 metres straight in front, but he did show his good marking ability by marking strongly against another big-bodied player in Josh Misiti. Although being a handy midfielder at stoppages with his size, his ability to win the ball at half-forward and hit up targets inside 50 was very good – especially in the second half. Leiu had a lot of unselfish plays and while he set up a lot of scoring chains, he couldn’t quite convert another shot at goal late and finished the game with 18 disposals, five marks, six inside 50s and 0.2.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS vs. WESTERN JETS

By: Ed Pascoe

NORTHERN KNIGHTS:

#2 Ned Long

The 192cm midfielder set the tone early with good attack on the ball and good spread around the ground, showing he is more than just that pure big-bodied inside midfielder. Long won plenty of the ball in the first quarter and showed a lot of smarts with ball in hand, drawing in opponents to release better handballs to his teammates. Long was also able to hit the scoreboard, with his first major coming from a strong contested mark and set shot. His marking around the ground was a real highlight, using his big frame to his advantage. His next two goals came in the last quarter and were seemingly match-winning goals both on the run, with the last coming from a quick play-on and long-range bomb. In a best on ground performance, Long finished with 26 disposals, nine marks, seven inside 50s and three goals to mark a near-perfect start to his NAB League campaign.

#3 Josh Ward

The Knights ball magnet didn’t have his usual prolific game but a solid outing nonetheless through the midfield, with his ability inside and outside the contest a real feature of his game. The 181cm midfielder looked classy with his ball use by hand and foot, favouring his left foot, and he hit some nice targets going inside 50. His clean hands at stoppages to go with some nice tackles also really complimented his inside-outside combination. He isn’t the quickest player but he didn’t do a lot wrong with his 22 disposals, getting maximum value out of them and he has shown since Under 16s level that he can win a lot of the ball, so he will prove an important cog in the Northern Knights midfield this year.

#9 Darcy Wilmot

Wilmot certainly wasn’t the most prolific player out there but he certainly had the best moments of the game, which will be touched on, but to describe the 182cm defender’s game in a snapshot, he played the fast rebounder role and offered plenty of drive. His first sensational bit of play came in the second quarter; starting on the wing, he attacked the loose ball to gather and handpass to a teammate, before then working hard to receive again and show his dash to kick a spectacular goal hard on the boundary from 50 metres out – an effort worthy of goal of the year. As flashy as he looked, he was able to intercept really well overhead and was always quick to play on. Another great moment deep in the last quarter saw him take a bounce and stream from half-back, running flat-out through the middle of the ground and although he probably should have been done for running too far it, was such an eye-catching moment. Wilmot finished the game with 15 disposals and five rebound 50s and is only just draft eligible having been born on December 31, so he has even more room for growth as the year goes on. He is certainly a player to keep an eye on.

#22 Jack Rossimel

Although the 193cm key forward didn’t hit the scoreboard, he was certainly influential in his team’s result, providing a great target from centre half-forward with his constant leading at the ball carrier. Rossimel’s greatest strength wasn’t just his ability to lead up and give his teammates a target, it was also his incredible dexterity at ground level – able to gather any ball below his knees at speed and handpass to a teammate perfectly. His skillset lends well to perhaps playing as a midfielder at some point or even as a wingman. He had one shot at goal that didn’t make the distance but expect the goals to come this year to reward his efforts. Rossimel finished the game with 16 disposals and six marks.

#28 Joel Fitzgerald

An emerging leader for Northern Knights, Fitzgerald played his role in defence to perfection, not only defending really well but also offering plenty of rebound from the back half. Although Fitzgerald wasn’t flashy he did the one-percenters well with some timely spoils and one-on-one defending. He showed his rebound ability early with a nice intercept mark then quickly kicking down the line to teammate Rossimel, before receiving back and gaining plenty of meterage. Fitzgerald was a good four-quarter performer but he really stood up in the last quarter when the heat was on. He had some great defensive moments while also taking some strong intercept marks which were a staple of his game all day. The 186cm defender finished the game with 32 disposals, 12 marks and seven rebound 50s and couldn’t have done much more offensively or defensively in a well-rounded performance.

WESTERN JETS:

#26 Cody Raak

It wasn’t a prolific game for Raak compared to last week, but he still showed his great composure and ability to rebound from defence. Raak started the game well with a nice mark deep in defence, followed by a lovely gather and handball to show his class above his head and at ground level. His confidence to quickly hit the switch kick and do it perfectly was a nice sight. He almost got a chance to kick a goal as well, receiving a handball at 50-metres and just missing the running long-range shot at goal in the second quarter. He also showed good intensity during the same term in defence with a good second effort. Raak finished the game with 18 disposals and five rebound 50s in a strong performance down back.

#32 Paul Curtis

“Expect the goals to come if he keeps getting himself in dangerous situations” – that was our quote for Curtis after his game last week and not only did he hit the scoreboard this time out, but he almost did it in a big way. Curtis set the tone early, showing that he would be a handful by taking a nice slips catch mark. Despite missing the set shot, he would add another behind with a snap at goal on his non-preferred side, showing good speed as well. Curtis would finally kick a goal in the second quarter coming from a high free kick. His pressure was outstanding in this quarter and really helped spark his side. Curtis would kick a further two goals in the last quarter, with one from a lovely crumbed snap and the other from a 50-metre penalty. Curtis finished the game with eight disposals, kicking 3.2 as he continues to prove to be one of the standout small forwards in the NAB League.

#33 Billy Cootee

The Jets’ captain led from the front, showing great attacking intent through the midfield with his impact. Though that was not exactly shown on the stat sheet, Cootee provided plenty of drive from the midfield, with his burst from stoppages and long kicking a big driving force especially in the first half. Cootee finished the game with 15 disposals and six tackles, but he certainly made all those touches count and was a key reason as to why the Jets kept within striking distance of the dangerous Knights outfit.

#50 Paul Tsapatolis

Geelong-listed rookie, Tsapatolis seems to be getting better with every game, as the 201cm ruckman was a real presence against the Knights. A strong contested mark in the first quarter set the tone for his game as he proved to be a hard player to stop both in ruck contests and around the ground with his big body and marking ability. He didn’t hit the scoreboard, missing a set shot in the last quarter, but he had some good numbers for the game with 15 disposals, six marks and 22 hit-outs – improving from his eight-disposal game last week.

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

By: Declan Reeve

GIPPSLAND POWER:

#4 Nathan Noblett

Positioned well in the backline for Gippsland down deep. Often under siege down there, Noblett held himself well, especially in marking contests where he’d be able to out-position opponents to get the mark, then look to switch the ball across the defensive 50 to get the Power started again. Had a few kicks under pressure that didn’t quite come off, but it didn’t slow him down as he continued to take the game on through the day.

#5 Chance Doultree

Played a bit of a mixed role throughout the day, stationed mostly in the backline but he had no issues pushing up and almost playing as an extra midfielder to give Gippsland another body around the contest. Marked well for the game, with his positioning outside of forward 50 being smart and giving himself the best chance to put the ball straight back in. When he was up forward he won a few two-on-ones to create scoring shots, a big reason for Power’s improved scoreboard showing in the third quarter.

#9 Will Papley

Really aggressive towards the ball and opposition ball carrier, making him a menace in close around the midfield, and a high pressure player in the forward 50, where he almost guaranteed a successful tackle when he latches on. His ball use was good as well, knowing when to take the opportunity to kick for goal, but also lowering his eyes and hitting up teammates as well.

#23 Jai Serong

Splitting his time between the midfield and backline, Serong’s biggest strength was his positioning in either role. In the midfield he got to the right spots, where his cleanliness at ground level gave him the upper hand in the contest and led to him feeding it out to teammates under less pressure. In the backline, he was able to impact contests by coming off his own opponent to throw in a spoil or hold off an opponent for his teammates.

#38 Thomas Crole

Presented well up forward all day, making hard and aggressive leads to dangerous spots inside forward 50, with his first four or five steps really hard for Dandenong defenders to keep up with. He kicked a few goals for the day where there wasn’t a whole heap of ball up forward for Power, with his conversion really good from set shots and on the run.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS:

#2 Josiah Kyle

The St Kilda NGA prospect has some very nice traits around the ground that make him a high-impact player whenever he’s around the contest. There were just times where he’d evade two or three opponents and then deliver a handball out to a teammate, or a damaging kick forward to a leading teammate, highlighting his vision and composure in traffic. Being a smaller forward he was naturally good at ground level, but his presence aerially was also impressive, getting on shoulders when he could but also out-bodying opponents through smart positioning in one-on-ones when he was a deeper target. He was dangerous when he went into the midfield as well, with his pace a real asset around stoppages and on the outside, where he’d get himself into space and deliver damaging kicks forward.

#3 Miller Bergman

Provided meaningful run off of the half-back flank throughout the day, coming out to meet the ball when it went over the top of contests or dropped short of his defensive 50. Moved into the forward half for the last quarter, where he was a particularly strong link-up option in transition, working hard up the ground to be a switch option out of defence and beating opponents with his speed when moving with the ball forward, where his long and often penetrating kick was a weapon for the Stingrays.

#6 Connor Macdonald

Was probably the standout midfielder for the day, with his burst of speed and read of the ball off of the rucks’ hands a real strength, leading to a lot of quick entries forward for the Stingrays from centre bounces in particular. He highlighted his versatility by playing as not only an inside ball winner, but an outside receiver as well, where he showed solid ball use and again showcased his speed to move the ball well. Also had his stints up forward where he crumbed well off the talls and used his hands well to give to teammates, or had a shot on goal himself, finishing the day with two majors.

#7 Judson Clarke

Formed a dynamic duo of sorts with Macdonald around the midfield, with one going in to win the ball and the other holding on the outside, both playing either role with the flick of a switch, it was almost like they were reading each others’ minds. Clarke was efficient when moving the ball forward, hitting up teammates with bullet-like kicks, making him particularly damaging when the Stingrays were in transition.

#22 Mac Andrew

Another NGA prospect for Melbourne, he showed some really good signs as a forward that rotated through the ruck, where he displayed a good understanding of the role, timing his leaps and placing his taps well to the advantage of teammates around the ground, leading to Dandenong’s scoreboard pressure. He also positioned well in marking contests, being in spots just outside the forward 50 that he’d create a contest for Dandenong to get it back in.

#23 Jai Neal

Made the most of his opportunities in the forwardline, making really well-positioned leads and marking strongly on the chest when his teammates chose to reward his efforts. He was also opportunistic around the forward 50 arc, looking to attack any spilt balls out of contests and get them going forward.

#27 Kobi George

The Melbourne NGA prospect worked out of the backline, trusted with the kick-ins where he’d deliver to the advantage of teammates. He was a delight to watch when working through traffic, with Gippsland players just unable to get a hold of him. He could run through a pack and come out the other side without losing balance. His speed and precision with his handballing was top class, often getting a good amount of distance behind it to a teammate out on their own, allowing the Dandenong transition to continue quickly going forward. Had a few kicks on the run that didn’t quite come off as well as he’d like, but still managed penetration in them. 

#42 James Cahill

Fit in well on the wing for the Stingrays, making himself an option for switch kicks out of the backline as often as he could, and having the confidence to tuck the ball under his arm and go for a run before kicking long forward. He worked hard to help teammates under pressure, often getting a handball out the back, giving it off and then running to receive it back as well. That hard work was on display all day.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS vs. BENDIGO PIONEERS

By: Declan Reeve

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS:

#2 Charlie Byrne

Byrne showed a high level of leadership during the game, very clearly directing teammates whether he had the ball or not. He was courageous at the footy no matter where he was lining up, putting his body on the line to win it out the middle or coming to meet it out of defence. His confidence and composure in pursuit of and with the ball was a highlight for Murray.

#3 Toby Murray

Lined up at full forward for the game, Murray led well for his teammates further up the ground, pushing high up onto the wings when the ball was in Murray’s defensive 50 to become a solid link-up player in transition. He’s not overly physical in marking contests, but uses his body well to just nudge opponents out of the way or push them under the ball. He used the ball well, with his kicking to hit up teammates inside 50 a highlight. Was the relieving ruck for Murray and competed well, able to time his jumps really well to win quite a few hit-outs, without getting much strong direction on them. 

#4 Josh Rachele

A very good user of the footy around the ground, getting penetration behind his kick that was unmatched by anyone else, so when he was moving it centrally as he so often looked to do it was generally a jump start for a Murray attack. Whilst he had a run-with player when in the midfield, he managed well in pulling his opponent out and then beating them on the outside with his burst of speed. For his size, he presented a surprisingly strong aerial presence and proved very clean above his head, even at full speed, which led to him being used and taking some impressive marks around the ground, even against bigger opponents.

#13 Tom Brown

Competed well in marking contests especially, just a really safe set of hands with a well-timed leap which adds an element of reliability for Murray wherever he’s stationed on ground, only dropping a mark when heavy contact was made. Was a bit of ‘Mr. Fix It’, filling in down back in the second quarter when there were a lot of entries, where his tendency to drift in front of contests became a big reason the Bushies didn’t concede more, and his ball use helped get Murray started for a counter.

#24 Cameron McLeod

Has really good speed and running capacity as a tall forward, working his opponents up the ground to be an option high up on the wing, and if he went unused his work-rate running back into the forward 50 was very impressive. Mixed with that speed, it was evident he was a difficult match up for Bendigo. His follow up work at ground level is equally impressive, beating much smaller players regularly.

#29 Noah Bradshaw

Looked most impressive during his stints in the midfield, where he had a knack for moving through congestion without much trouble, and then delivering either a well placed kick to a leading teammate or a clean handball to someone running past on the outside. Was really strong overhead as well, taking some impressive marks when stationed in the forward line. The son of former Brisbane Lions goalkicker, Daniel

BENDIGO PIONEERS:

#1 Sam Conforti

Split his time between the forwardline and midfield, where his ball winning ability and tendency to look for short inside 45 options with his kicking going forward shone. It opened up the game for Bendigo, especially out of stoppages where he could find a way out of congestion to hit up a leading target, or the hot zone up forward. Was also smart with his leading, making some shorter leads to open up the ground, and again utilise that inside 45 kick option.

#2 Harvey Gallagher

Just did a bit of everything throughout the day as a forward and midfielder, doing well to hold his space on the outside of the contest, then use the ball well by foot going forward. His positioning and leading patterns made him a strong marking option going forward as well, just getting into smart spots where he was the clear best option and often alone.

#5 Cooper Hamilton

Played a bit of everywhere, starting as a defender and then getting more midfield time as the game went on, then drifting up forward when the opportunity presented. Was really good with his pressure application throughout the day, never allowing an easy opposition disposal to get away. With the ball himself, he looked at his best when he was involved in the contested stuff, especially with his quick hands out to teammates to keep the ball moving. 

#8 Hugh Hamilton

Used the ball well through the midfield, often winning it on the inside, getting through congestion and then delivering a well weighted kick to a leading forward. The few times his kicks were rushed because of pressure, they were still well placed to the advantage of his forward teammates. He tackled hard around the contest as well, with the Pioneers noticeably stronger with him on the inside.

#9 Aidan Hare

Got better as the game went on, stationed as a midfielder for the majority of the contest. His brute force and hard work around stoppages led to quite a few clearances, whether for him or his teammates. As the game went on it became more evident he was fitter than most on ground, becoming a focal player for Bendigo; taking marks and becoming a regular ball winner around the ground as well. Rested up forward occasionally and akin to his midfield game as the match went on, he became more and more involved, presenting well as a target up forward and even taking a nice mark in particular during the fourth quarter straight from a centre clearance.

#10 Bode Stevens

Lining up for the Pioneers in the engine room, Stevens showed true ability to impact all around the ground. With his inside work particularly strong in the midfield, his ability to get hands out quickly to an oncoming teammate was vital to Bendigo’s forward 50 entry game. He also presented well in the forwardline when he was around there, getting himself a goal just by being free in a more central spot of the 50 than a teammate with the ball.

#13 Jack Evans

Looked good when he was given the freedom to move around the ground and help out everywhere. There were times where he pushed down into the defensive 50 to help out down there, and his composure under pressure to find a free teammate was impressive, with his ability to find shorter options and weight the quick kick well really good as Bendigo worked it out carefully.

#23 Xavier Mitchell

Showed some really good athletic traits, with his leap and speed two in particular that caught the eye and led to a few goals for him. He could’ve had a few more had he not passed it off or had free kicks paid as advantage to teammates. Got to all the right spots for his teammates, making a contest of any ball regardless of how high or fast it came in.

#28 Louis Thompson

Didn’t have a whole heap of the footy, but was very eye catching when he did. Lining up mostly at half-forward, he’d drift across and impact aerial contests well, with one particular instance in the first quarter leading to a mark a good five meters in front of the pack, which he converted into a goal. When in the midfield, he was really clean in traffic, getting around opponents easily to then handball to a teammate on the outside. He went on a few good runs where he’d be confident and assured taking on opponents, standing up strongly on the rare occasions he was caught. Looked to be on the wing for the fourth quarter where he became a strong driver for the Pioneers going forward, using his speed and agility well then kicking to teammates. 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

By: Ed Pascoe

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS:

#4 Josh Sinn

Coming into the season as one of this year’s brightest prospects, the Sandringham co-captain wasn’t given much space to work with by the Oakleigh forwards and he was tasked with the difficult matchup on Lachlan Rankin early, who got the better of him. Sinn tried to get his usual rebound game going but found it tough with Oakleigh’s superb pressure, but he would start to hit his straps more as the game went on. Usually doing his best work at half-back, he was moved through the midfield to provide some spark and even drifted forward to kick an important goal in the last quarter from a mark and set shot. Sinn finished the game with 20 disposals, four rebound 50s and one goal which was a strong return after a shaky start.

#6 Blake Howes

The smooth moving medium forward had plenty of eye-catching moments, showcasing his superb athletic traits; able to be a threat in the air but also show great dexterity and clean hands at ground level. Howes’ kicking under pressure during the game was a real highlight, often getting separation from his opponent before kicking long inside 50 to hit his targets. The talented forward only kicked the one goal but it was certainly a good one, with a nice snap kick on his opposite foot in the second quarter. Howes finished the game with 12 disposals, five marks and a goal, showing he would be a very difficult matchup this year with his combination of height, smarts and athleticism.

#7 Campbell Chesser

Chesser made the wing his own, winning plenty of the ball and really lifting his output and damage in the last quarter when his team needed it most. Chesser wasn’t overly flashy on the outer, just getting the job done with great skill and composure by hand and foot. Rarely flustered, he popped up to give an outlet at the back of stoppages while also working hard around the ground to set up scoring chains. Chesser finished the game with 23 disposals and five inside 50s and was one of Sandringham’s better players for the day in their hard earned win.

#17 Finn Callaghan

A smooth moving wingman with a bit of weight behind him, Callaghan isn’t your typical looking NAB League wingman, but despite his strong looking frame he showed great agility and movement through traffic and looks to be an interesting prospect in 2021. Fleet of foot at ground level, Callaghan also looked comfortable overhead with a nice intercept mark in the second quarter and was comfortable going back to kick on his favoured left boot from 55 metres out. He missed the set shot but certainly showed his cannon-like left boot and would do so around the ground for the rest of the game. Callaghan finished the game with 19 disposals and two behinds.

#52 Luke Nankervis

Although not prolific, Nankervis certainly showed some exciting traits that should see him come into draft consideration as the year goes on, as the lightly built medium forward impressed with his speed and skill. Nankervis looked a threat in the air and at ground level which was a similar trait shared with teammate Blake Howes. Nankervis was very agile at ground level and looked quick in transition, not just with the ball but also when gliding across the ground to receive. Nankervis did well to kick his first goal in the second quarter when he snapped truly with a nice gather after his mark was spoiled. Nankervis only had the 10 disposals but took four marks and kicked 1.1 in a very promising first game at NAB League level.

#66 Charlie McKay

The Carlton father-son prospect impressed last year in the pre-season before Covid impacted his year, but McKay has come back with a point to prove and he certainly went in with an attacking mindset through the Dragons’ engine room. McKay was a bull, putting his head over the ball and putting plenty of pressure on the ball carrier to set the tone for his teammates. Not one to solely operate at ground level, he also showed intent in the air by taking some strong grabs and even pushing into defence at times, and showed some good form behind the ball as well. McKay finished the game with 17 disposals, four tackles and five inside 50s as the big-bodied midfielder made the most of his NAB League debut.

Others:

Promising ruck Jacob Edwards, who has attracted some mid-season draft interest, built on his terrific preseason form with a couple of clutch moments for the Dragons while being solid all game. West Australian recruit Logan Young was reliable in midfield and opportunistic with a couple of goals up forward, as was Eren Soylemez with three majors and great tackling pressure. Lachlan Benton was another lively figure in the attacking half, while Jack Peris showed clean pairs of hands and heels from the wing. In the thick of the midfield action, Lachlan Riley proved a dependable figure and won plenty of ball.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS:

#1 Youseph Dib

The Collingwood NGA member showed a lot of spark from half-back, providing plenty of creativity and composure to help his side provide meaningful rebound. Usually stationed in the forwardline or through the midfield, Dib made the half-back line his own and was busy very early in the game and despite playing mostly in defence, managed to kick a goal in the first quarter following a 50-metre penalty. As much as Dib has been seen as a very agile and exciting little player, his one-percenters really stood out with some nice tackles and some good smothers. Dib wasn’t prolific but had a solid game with 10 disposals, three tackles and a goal.

#3 Nick Daicos

In his NAB League debut, Daicos showed the hype was justified with a best on ground performance against perhaps the team to beat this year in Sandringham. Daicos was superb in the midfield, winning the ball at will and showing great skill and speed when in possession. Daicos started the game perfectly with the game’s first clearance and showed his forward craft, kicking a well-struck set shot from 45 metres out. His second goal came from a set shot from 50 metres in the third quarter, and his third and final goal came in the last quarter with a terrific crumbing effort where he hit the ball at speed and kicked the goal quicker than a hiccup. With an early corky, Daicos had to spend a bit of time at deep forward in the second half but he still looked so damaging whenever he went near the ball. Daicos finished the game with 28 disposals, eight marks, seven tackles and kicked 3.2 in a best on ground performance.

#17 Braden Andrews

Usually very prolific as a tall inside midfielder, Andrews had a quieter game by his standards yet still showed some great signs with his skills and composure. The AFL Academy member finished with 11 disposals but made most of them count with some nice long kicks and classy work by hand. Expect him to bounce back with a more prolific game in the coming weeks as he adjusts to the rigours and speed of play.

#22 Lachlan Rankin

Usually used as a rebounding half-back or wingman, Rankin was stationed up forward, lining up on gun Sandringham captain Josh Sinn. He certainly made Sinn accountable by lighting up the first quarter, kicking two goals and getting Oakleigh off to the perfect start. Both his goals came from free kicks, with one a simple set shot but another a very nice opposite foot snap hard on the boundary which showcased his skill. His third goal would come in the third quarter with a nice dribble close to goal, and after attempting a huge screamer later that quarter he would unfortunately injure himself – putting a stop to his dominant performance up forward. Although not the tallest or quickest forward, Rankin was clean and classy around the ball and his natural football IQ made the foreign position work. Rankin finished the game with eight disposals and three goals.

#36 Scott Beilby

The St Kilda NGA prospect provided a lot of spark down back for Oakleigh, often taking the kick-outs and always looking to attack with them as well. Although Beilby showed great rebounding ability, he also took some really strong intercept marks to prove he isn’t just a running receiver, or one who uses kick-outs to inflate his figures. Beilby finished the game with 21 disposals and nine rebound 50s to be amongst his teams best players, despite some shaky moments at the death.

Others:

New South Welshman, Patrick Voss was ultra impressive up forward in his maiden outing for Oakleigh, defying his size to apply great pressure at ground level. Alex Lukic doubled well in the ruck and was mobile around the ground, supporting the strong efforts of bigman, Ned Moyle. Lochlan Jenkins and Dylan Thomas were among the Chargers to find plenty of ball, as Jed Rule returned a solid shift and Luke Kelvie had some good moments.

2021 NAB League Boys snapshot: Round 1 – Dragons salute on Easter Monday as teams dust off cobwebs

IT was a fantastic opening round of NAB League Boys action as teams dusted off the cobwebs and there were a number of top performers across the weekend. Ahead of our Scouting Notes and Team of the Week, we take a snapshot into Round 1 and how the six matches played out across the Easter Weekend.

GWV REBELS 12.9 (81) defeated GEELONG FALCONS 9.4 (58)

IN A SENTENCE:

After a tight start to the game, the Rebels kicked four goals to one in the second term to give themselves a 23-point lead at the main break, with the Falcons attacking hard in the third, before the Rebels again kicked away in the last.

TEAM STATS:

  • Geelong Falcons won the disposal count (280-255), marks (69-55) and hitouts (44-21)
  • GWV Rebels won the inside 50s (44-43) and rebound 50s (34-31)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels) 22 disposals, 2 marks, 8 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels) 21 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 3 inside 50s
  • Josh Gibcus (GWV Rebels) 14 disposals, 6 marks, 4 rebound 50s
  • Sam Butler (GWV Rebels) 13 disposals, 3 tackles, 3 goals
  • Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons) 24 disposals, 9 marks, 3 inside 50s, 5 rebounds
  • Archie Hilderbrandt (Geelong Falcons) 25 disposals, 5 marks, 2 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Flynn Young (Geelong Falcons) 11 disposals, 6 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Josh Gibcus (GWV Rebels)
4 – Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels)
3 – Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons)
2 – Sam Butler (GWV Rebels)
1 – Flynn Young (Geelong Falcons)

NEXT UP:

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers @ Queen Elizabeth Oval, Sunday April 11
GWV Rebels vs. Dandenong Stingrays @ Queen Elizabeth Oval, Sunday April 11

CALDER CANNONS 10.6 (66) defeated by EASTERN RANGES 14.14 (98)

IN A SENTENCE:

An 11 goals to three first half wrapped up the game early on for the Ranges in what was a tale of two halves, as the Cannons piled on seven goals to three in the second half, only to go down by 32 points in the end.

TEAM STATS:

  • Eastern Ranges won the inside 50s (52-44) and tackles (41-34)
  • Calder Cannons won the marks (115-85), rebound 50s (36-34) and hitouts (33-26)
  • Both teams were level with disposals (304-304)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges) 34 disposals, 6 marks, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Corey Preston (Eastern Ranges) 18 disposals, 5 marks, 4 inside 50s, 4 goals
  • Tyreece Leiu (Eastern Ranges) 17 disposals, 5 marks, 6 inside 50s
  • Mitchell Sruk (Eastern Ranges) 21 disposals, 9 rebound 50s
  • Flynn Lakey (Calder Cannons) 27 disposals, 7 marks, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Flynn Gentile (Calder Cannons) 25 disposals, 15 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Sam Clohesy (Calder Cannons) 24 disposals, 10 marks, 3 inside 50s, 7 rebounds 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges)
4 – Corey Preston (Eastern Ranges)
3 – Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons)
2 – Sam Clohesy (Calder Cannons)
1 – Tyreece Leiu (Eastern Ranges)

NEXT UP:

Calder Cannons vs. Tasmania Devils @ UTAS Stadium, Saturday April 10
Eastern Ranges vs. Oakleigh Chargers @ Preston City Oval, Saturday April 10

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.13 (61) defeated WESTERN JETS 7.10 (52)

IN A SENTENCE:

In a low-scoring tussle with not much between them all day, the Knights managed to kick away with the final goal of the game after Western Jets drew within a point midway through the final term.

TEAM STATS:

  • Northern Knights won the disposals (344-272), inside 50s (55-41) and marks (96-70)
  • Western Jets won the rebound 50s (47-33), tackles (73-58) and hitouts (31-20)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Joel Fitzgerald (Northern Knights) 32 disposals, 12 marks, 4 tackles, 7 rebound 50s
  • Ned Long (Northern Knights) 26 disposals, 9 marks, 3 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 3 goals
  • Josh Ward (Northern Knights) 22 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 4 inside 50s
  • Harrison White (Western Jets) 26 disposals, 5 marks, 6 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s
  • Sam Clifford (Western Jets) 19 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 6 rebound 50s
  • Harrison Schumann (Western Jets) 16 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 4 rebound 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Ned Long (Northern Knights)
4 – Joel Fitzgerald (Northern Knights)
3 – Darcy Wilmot (Northern Knights)
2 – Paul Curtis (Western Jets)
1 – Billy Cootee (Western Jets)

NEXT UP:

Northern Knights vs. Sandringham Dragons @ Preston City Oval, Saturday April 10
Western Jets vs. Oakleigh Chargers @ Avalon Airport Oval, Saturday April 17

GIPPSLAND POWER 7.6 (48) defeated by DANDENONG STINGRAYS 12.15 (87)

IN A SENTENCE:

The Stingrays never looked like making it a tight contest with eight goals to one in the first half to open up a 49-point half-time lead, before the Power hit back with six goals to four in the second half to reduce the final deficit to 39.

TEAM STATS:

  • Dandenong Stingrays won the disposals (337-331), inside 50s (55-40), marks (77-64) and hitouts (27-19)
  • Gippsland Power won the rebound 50s (43-32)
  • The teams both laid 64 tackles in the match

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Judson Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays) 23 disposals, 6 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays) 23 disposals, 7 marks, 3 tackles, 8 inside 50s
  • Mac Andrew (Dandenong Stingrays) 22 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Connor MacDonald (Dandenong Stingrays) 24 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Max Walton (Gippsland Power) 32 disposals, 6 marks, 4 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 10 rebound 50s
  • Luis D’Angelo (Gippsland Power) 21 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 3 rebound 40s
  • Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power) 26 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles, 5 inside 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5Connor Macdonald (Dandenong Stingrays)
4 –  Josiah Kyle (Dandenong Stingrays)
3 – Judson Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays)
2 – Miller Bergman (Dandenong Stingrays)
1 – Mac Andrew (Dandenong Stingrays)

NEXT UP:

Gippsland Power vs. Bendigo Pioneers @ Queen Elizabeth Oval, Sunday April 11
Dandenong Stingrays vs. GWV Rebels @ Queen Elizabeth Oval, Sunday April 11

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 9.7 (61) defeated by BENDIGO PIONEERS 19.11 (125)

IN A SENTENCE:

A fairly even contest for most of the first half, the Pioneers booted 11 of the last 14 goals to storm to a massive 64-point victory over the Bushrangers.

TEAM STATS:

  • Bendigo Pioneers won the disposals (310-300), inside 50s (59-41), marks (93-76) and hitouts (33-30)
  • Murray Bushrangers won the rebound 50s (40-30) and tackles (49-42)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers) 25 disposals, 3 marks, 6 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Hugh Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers) 19 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) 18 disposals, 6 marks, 4 inside 50s, 3 goals
  • Xavier Mitchell (Bendigo Pioneers) 16 disposals, 8 marks, 7 inside 50s, 3 goals
  • Cameron McLeod (Murray Bushrangers) 18 disposals, 6 marks, 4 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Paddy Parnell (Murray Bushrangers) 22 disposals, 5 marks, 8 tackles, 7 rebound 50s
  • Josh Rachele (Murray Bushrangers) 19 disposals, 7 marks, 5 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers)
4 – Xavier Mitchell (Bendigo Pioneers)
3 – Josh Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
2 – Hugh Hamiliton (Bendigo Pioneers)
1 – Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers)

NEXT UP:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Geelong Falcons @ Queen Elizabeth Oval, Sunday April 11
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power @ Queen Elizabeth Oval, Sunday April 11

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 11.16 (82) defeated OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 10.6 (66)

IN A SENTENCE:

In an unbelievably high-quality game, the Dragons had the breeze in the last quarter to kick five goals to one, and run over the top of the Chargers by 16 points.

TEAM STATS:

  • Sandringham Dragons won the disposals (306-272), inside 50s (45-36) and marks (63-58)
  • Oakleigh Chargers won the rebound 50s (34-24), tackles (64-50) and hitouts (36-30)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons) 23 disposals, 2 marks, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Lachlan Riley (Sandringham Dragons) 24 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Josh Sinn (Sandringham Dragons) 20 disposals, 4 marks, 2 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s
  • Logan Young (Sandringham Dragons) 17 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 2 goals
  • Nick Daicos (Oakleigh Chargers) 28 disposals, 8 marks, 7 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 3 goals
  • Lachlan Rankin (Oakleigh Chargers) 8 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 3 goals
  • Scott Beilby (Oakleigh Chargers) 21 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 9 rebound 50s
  • Patrick Voss (Oakleigh Chargers) 11 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Nick Daicos (Oakleigh Chargers)
4 – Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)
3 – Lachlan Riley (Sandringham Dragons)
2 – Scott Beilby (Oakleigh Chargers)
1 – Logan Young (Sandringham Dragons)

NEXT UP:

Sandringham Dragons vs. Northern Knights @ Preston City Oval, Saturday April 10
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Eastern Ranges @ Preston City Oval, Saturday April 10

WAFL League Weekly Wrap: Round 9 – Perth pulls off finals miracle

THE final round of the 2020 WAFL League season saw a host of great individual and team performances alike with Perth securing a drought-breaking finals appearance. The round also saw East Perth, West Perth and Swan Districts secure victories. Claremont was the club that had the bye this weekend.

Read below to catch up on all the Round 9 results, and to see the best players.

EAST PERTH 15.11 (101) def. PEEL THUNDER 4.6 (30)

East Perth ended its 2020 Optus WAFL League campaign with a bang, after thumping Peel by 71 points at Leederville Oval.

Former Casey Demon Angus Scott starred for East Perth with 26 possessions, 12 marks, 4 tackles and 3 goals.

Ex-AFL players Jackson Ramsay (35 possessions, five inside 50s, three marks, three tackles), Nicholas Robertson (25 possessions, seven marks, six tackles, one goal), Rohan Kerr (22 possessions), Nathan Blee (21 possessions, six marks), Patrick McGinnity (15 possessions, two goals), and Scott Jones (12 possessions, 35 hit-outs) were prominent for the Royals.

Young guns Kye Willcocks (19 possessions, eight marks), Christian Amdeuri (15 possessions, eight tackles, one goal), and Matthew Young (12 possessions, five marks, one goal) also showed encouraging signs for the Royals.

For Peel, talented youngsters Michael Randall (22 possessions, seven marks), Isiah Winder (15 possessions), Tyrone Thorne (13 possessions, eight tackles, one goal), and James Sturrock (12 possessions, four marks, four tackles) showed promise, somewhat a theme of the Thunder’s difficult season.

WEST PERTH 12.5 (77) def. SUBIACO 8.10 (58)

West Perth ended the finals hopes and dynasty of reigning premier, Subiaco after beating the Lions by 19 points at Provident Financial Oval.

In his 200th Club game, Aaron Black was sensational for West Perth with 26 possessions, 7 tackles, 3 marks, 3 inside 50s and a goal.

Shane Nelson (28 possessions, 3 marks), Connor West (20 possessions, five marks, three tackles, three inside 50s), Luke Meadows (15 possessions, four tackles), Noah Pegoraro (13 possessions, four marks), and Tyler Keitel (12 possessions, eight marks, five goals) helped guide the Falcons to victory.

For Subiaco, captain Leigh Kitchin competed admirably with 23 possessions, 13 tackles and 4 inside 50s.

Kyal Horsley (21 possessions, five tackles, five inside 50s, four marks), Lachlan Delahunty (18 possessions, 36 hit-outs), Max Walters (17 possessions, one goal), and Greg Clark (16 possessions, four marks, three tackles, three inside 50s, two goals) also competed strongly for the Lions.

PERTH 8.18 (66) def. SOUTH FREMANTLE 9.7 (61)

Perth secured its first finals campaign since 1997, after overcoming South Fremantle by five points in a thrilling contest at Mineral Resources Park.

Former West Coast player Brant Colledge was inspirational for Perth with 22 possessions, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 2 inside 50s and a goal.

Andrew Fisher (26 possessions, 9 marks), Matthew Rogers (13 possessions, 8 marks, 6 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 3 goals), Jacob Coniglio (17 possessions, 4 marks) and Marshall Jones (15 possessions, 8 tackles, 1 goal) were excellent for the Demons.

Budding stars Conor McPartland (16 possessions, five inside 50s, four tackles), Nathan O’Driscoll (10 possessions, seven tackles), Regan Clarke (9 possessions, three marks) and Logan McDonald (8 possessions, one goal) played pivotal roles to help steer the Demons to victory.

For South Fremantle, former Hawthorn player, Kade Stewart shone with 19 possessions, nine tackles, four marks, four inside 50s and two goals.

Jacob Dragovich (27 possessions, seven tackles, seven inside 50s, five marks), Chad Pearson (21 possessions, three marks, three tackles, three inside 50s), Ben Rioli (14 possessions, one goal), Caleb Datson (16 possessions, two goals), Dylan Main (12 possessions, seven tackles, one goal) and Steven Verrier (13 possessions, four tackles) contributed strongly for the Bulldogs.

EAST FREMANTLE 6.8 (44) def. by SWAN DISTRICTS 11.9 (75)

Swan Districts secured its third victory of the 2020 Optus WAFL League competition, after overwhelming East Fremantle by 31 points at New Choice Homes Park.

Jesse Turner was best afield for Swan Districts with 32 possessions, 7 inside 50s, 6 marks, 5 tackles and 3 goals.

Samuel Fisher (28 possessions, six tackles, six inside 50s, four marks, one goal), Frank Anderson (25 possessions, five tackles), Corey Gault (22 possessions, 23 hit-outs) and Lachlan Riley (14 possessions, one goals) produced superb performances for the Swans.

Former Fremantle Rookie Luke Strnadica was a shining light for East Fremantle with 11 possessions, 16 hit-outs and two goals.

Cameron Eardley (26 possessions, six inside 50s, five marks, five tackles), Blaine Boekhorst (26 possessions, three tackles), Cody Leggett (19 possessions, three inside 50s) and Jarrad Jansen (16 possessions, nine tackles) were admirable for the Sharks.

Featured Image: Perth players celebrate their finals qualification | Credit: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

Out to impress: WAFL Round 8 preview

YOUNG talent continues to turn heads at state league level around the nation, and it has been no different across all three WAFL grades upon the competition’s resumption in 2020. As we roll into Round 8, Draft Central continues its new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. In our latest edition, Perth is set to blood another Colts standout, while a first round AFL Draft candidate has finally been named in West Perth’s League side.

>> SCROLL for fixtures and League teams

19-year-old midfielder Conor McPartland is set to become the latest Perth product to earn a League debut, named in the forward pocket among the Demons’ side to face Swan Districts. A prolific ball winner, McPartland required just one Reserves outing to earn a second promotion, having averaged 33 disposals across his five Colts games this year.

He joins fellow Colts talents Nathan O’Driscoll and Logan McDonald in the lineup, as well as Regan Clarke. After a terrific 20-disposal display last time out, O’Driscoll has been pegged for even more midfield minutes, while keen draft watchers will undoubtedly have their eyes peeled for the seemingly inevitable McDonald-versus-Denver Grainger-Barras matchup.

Grainger-Barras lines up for his seventh League appearance in 2020, set to grace the backline alongside Nathan Ireland. A trio of youngsters make up the Swans’ inclusions; as Thomas Edwards readies for his top flight debut, while Lachlan Riley makes his first League outing for the year, and Tarir Bayok reenters the fold. Draft hopefuls Zane Trew and Ty Sears have again been teased with promotion to the Reserves, while bottom-agers Rhett Bazzo and Max Chipper are again absent in the Colts grade.

Leading West Perth draft prospect Heath Chapman is another young gun preparing to make his League debut, after finally earning the call-up ahead of this weekend’s action. The 193cm defender has proven a class above at Colts level, averaging 23 disposals and over seven marks per his six games. Should be he let off the hook as a third tall in defence, expect his intercept marking and exceptional skills by foot to come to the fore.

Tristan Hobley, who made his League debut in Round 7, remains in the Falcons’ side, while Claremont prepares to unearth some fresh faces of its own. 18-year-old Max Spyvee comes in for his maiden top flight berth, while Anthony Davis and Tyron Smallwood make their respective returns for the Tigers. Jack Buller has been named as an emergency after impressing in the Reserves. Speaking of, Tyron Hindmarsh and Callum Johnson are set to remain in said grade alongside Victorian Matty Lloyd, while Kellen Johnson is a possible Colts inclusion pending recovery from his wrist injury.

Another Round 7 first-gamer, Liam Hickmott remains in Subiaco’s side as the Lions do battle with East Fremantle, with brother Wil named as an emergency. 19-year-old forward Nicholas Martin also holds onto his spot despite his first goalless outing for the year. Jai Jackson is another 19-year-old knocking on the League door, while Jacob Miller and Ben Reid find themselves back in the Reserves as Subiaco’s two outs.

Brynn Teakle comes in for his first taste of League footy for 2020 as part of at least one East Fremantle change, with another four players added to the Sharks’ extended bench. The 202cm 20-year-old is set to slot in up forward, while Durak Tucker plies his trade down back once again. AFL Academy guns Jack Carroll, Finn Gorringe, and Brandon Walker all seem close to promotions, while bottom-ager Judd McVee looks like being a key out for the Colts.

Much like the aforementioned Sharks trio, Jack Cooley and Harley Sparks are a couple of East Perth youngsters on the cusp of League berths. They are both poised to continue their push in the Reserves though, as they Royals take on South Fremantle on Saturday. The undefeated, ladder-leading Bulldogs have made four changes, with 22-year-old Jacob Warne making a one-and-done League outing as he comes back out of the side.

Manfred Kelly remains in the Reserves for South while Ira Jetta looks like missing another round of Colts action, much like Kade Dittmar for East Perth.

FIXTURES

League:

Subiaco vs. East Fremantle | Saturday September 5, 2:30pm @ Leederville Oval
Claremont vs. West Perth | Saturday September 5, 2:30pm @ Revo Fitness Stadium
South Fremantle vs. East Perth | Saturday September 5, 2:35pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Swan Districts vs. Perth | Saturday September 5, 3:05pm @ Steel Blue Oval

Reserves:

Subiaco vs. East Fremantle | Saturday September 5, 12:00pm @ Leederville Oval
Claremont vs. West Perth | Saturday September 5, 12:00pm @ Revo Fitness Stadium
South Fremantle vs. East Perth | Saturday September 5, 12:00pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Swan Districts vs. Perth | Saturday September 5, 12:20pm @ Steel Blue Oval

Colts:

Subiaco vs. East Fremantle | Saturday September 5, 9:30am @ Leederville Oval
Claremont vs. West Perth | Saturday September 5, 9:30am @ Revo Fitness Stadium
South Fremantle vs. East Perth | Saturday September 5, 9:30am @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval
Swan Districts vs. Perth | Saturday September 5, 9:500am @ Steel Blue Oval

Bye: Peel Thunder

LEAGUE TEAMS

Featured Image: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

2018 WAFL Colts Team of the Year announced

MINOR premiers, Subiaco has been rewarded for a fantastic season thus far, with four Lions named in the Western Australia Football League (WAFL) Colts Team of the Year last night. At the Jack Clarke Medal presentation night, the 23-man side announced saw every WAFL Colts team represented by at least two players, with Subiaco the sole side with four players. East Fremantle, South Fremantle and Peel Thunder all had three representatives in the side, while East Perth, Perth, Swan Districts, West Perth and Claremont all had two players in the team.

Competition leading goal scorer Jack Mayo was not surprisingly named at full-forward in the Team of the Year, joined by Subiaco teammates, potential Carlton father-son prospect and Jack Clarke Medallist Liam Hickmott, top 30 hopeful Luke Foley and the ever consistent Tristan Hobley.

While they lost in the preliminary final on the weekend, Peel Thunder still managed three representatives in the WAFL Colts Team of the Year, with key position forward, Jack Sears and fellow forward James Sturrock, as well as Lachlan Riley all making the team. East Fremantle had three players in the starting line-up with centre half-back Cameron Davidson, ruck Nicholas Watson and half-forward Corey Robinson making the team. Likewise, South Fremantle had back pocket Tom Blechynden, forward pocket Luke Moore, and Matthew Ward named on the interchange bench.

Potential top 20 pick, Claremont’s Jordan Clark earned his spot in the team at half-back after a scintillating back-end of the year, making the team with other draft hopeful, talented forward-mid, Tyron Smallwood. Other top talent, Perth’s Sydney Stack joined a strong midfield on the wing, along with teammate, Luke English who has been a consistent ball winner throughout the season.

Swan Districts’ Graydon Wilson (back pocket), and Mitchell Bain (interchange), West Perth’s Alec Johnson (full-back) and Nathan Murray (rover), and East Perth’s Damon Greaves (half-back) and Thomas Baulch (interchange) were also rewarded for their fine seasons with places in the best 23.

Peel Thunder coach, Brad Dodd was announced as the Coach of the Year for the WAFL Colts Team of the Year.

Western Australia weekly wrap: Swan Districts overcome Peel to book grand final spot

DEFINING what is a successful and failed season is always a fascinating point of discussion for football officials and fans alike.

Logically speaking, the further you progress into a finals campaign would be seen as progress but that also depends on what your key objectives were heading into the season proper.

It is therefore worth asking the question – how would your team view a defeat in a preliminary final?

It is the widely viewed as the worst game to lose as you are near enough to see the premiership cup loom in the distance, yet a late stumble sees all the hard work during the season go to waste. However, there are some who would rather accept defeat in this game, than experience the mental toll of losing on Grand Final day which can linger for a long while after the event.

Two WAFL Colts teams were playing their biggest game of the 2018 season. For one team it would be the last time they pull on the boots this season, while for the other a date with destiny is just one game away.

Read below for all the details on which team moved on to next week, and who would head off on their offseason break.

WAFL Colts wrap – Preliminary Final:

Swan Districts 10.12 (72) defeated Peel Thunder 7.8 (50)

Swan Districts’ quest for premiership glory will see them take on Subiaco in the 2018 Colts Grand Final after defeating Peel Thunder in the Preliminary final by 22 points at Fremantle Oval on Sunday morning.

It was the second time in a fortnight that the teams had met in the 2018 finals series. Swan Districts edged out Peel by nine points in the qualifying final despite having control of for most of that game. So the main question coming into this contest was whether Peel would be able to alter anything as they chased their first Colts premiership since their back to back success in 2004/5.

The Thunder’s biggest lead was a solitary point two weeks ago. However they started on the front foot at the start of this contest with two early goals to Tyson Powell. After a period of territory domination, Swans’ hit back hard courtesy of influential midfielder Riley Garcia. He topped off his fine 10-disposal opening quarter with two goals as the Black and Whites took a three-point lead into the first break.

After a sluggish start, Swans had well and truly worked their way into the game. They started the second term the way they finished the first quarter with goals to the in-form Kade Wallrodt and Brodie Newman. Swans had registered the last eight scoring shots of the game and Peel had not scored for over a quarter and needed a way to stem the bleeding. Nathan Ireland added to the Thunder’s pain with his first of the game as Swans now had a commanding 22 point lead heading into the long break.

If ever a team needed a goal to give them a bit of confidence it was Peel. Bottom-age livewire Tyrone Thorne answered the call on the brink of half time to cut the margin to 17 points at the long break. The Mandurah based side would have been hoping that it could be a sense of momentum leading into the following 50 minutes of action.

However it was Swans’ who re-established their advantage early in the second half through a goal to Atem Deng. The talented forward Patrick Farrant then pushed the Bassendean side one step closer to their first grand final appearance since 2015 as he gave them a five goal lead which seemed a lot bigger when you consider the nature of the contest. Soon after Ireland kicked his second of the game and Peel were now at great risk of finishing a promising campaign on a very low note.

The dominance of Swan Districts continued when exciting draft prospect Graydon Wilson pushed the past 40 points. The belated answer came through forward Jack Sears who had minimal impact in the game to that point. Still the task looked a exceptionally tough one for Peel as they trailed by 37 points with a quarter to play.

To stand any chance, the Thunder needed to make the most of every opportunity they created but three early misses to start the term would have been deflating. However to their credit, they kept pushing hard and got their reward when Thorne kicked his second. The ball was almost permanently camped in the Thunder’s forward 50 but Swans’ were content to soak up the pressure and hit them on the counter attack. Blake Pescud ended any thoughts of a stunning fightback with a goal which was the icing on the cake as Swans booked their grand final date with Subiaco next Sunday.

Just like their qualifying final encounter, Peel kept on fighting till the end and produced late goals to Thorne and Bailey Taylor which narrowed the final margin to 22 points. However, there was no doubt that Swans were deserving of their victory. A indicator to the success of Swan Districts on the day  was the fact that they held a advantage in most of the key categories. While Peel narrowed the gap in the last term, there was little doubt that the game was won in the middle two quarters where the Black and Whites outscored their opponents 7.7 to 2.3.

There was too much left to too few on the goalkicking front last Sunday against Subiaco, however Swans’ spread the load perfectly against Peel with eight individual goalkickers. Garcia set the tone early with his impact and his teammates followed his lead. The tough midfielder finished with 27 disposals and four tackles and was supported well by the creative Wilson with 17 disposals, seven tackles and five marks while defender Denzel More continued his fine finals form with 18 disposals and five marks.

Two of Swans’ key movers in Mitchell Bain and Jarrod Cameron were quiet as far as disposals were concerned with 12 and seven respectively. However their overall willingness to have a impact in the game was shown by the fact that they laid 20 tackles between them.

While Peel will naturally be disappointed of falling one game short of the decider, it is their best season since 2015 where ironically they finished runners-up to Swan Districts. As has been the case since they entered the competition in 1997, they have a lot of young talent in their ranks and that was displayed throughout 2018.

The likes of James Sturrock, Lachlan Riley and Jarvis Pina have been star performers on a weekly basis, while bottom ager Thorne has shown he is not afraid of the big stage. Thorne proved this once again on Sunday where he compiled 18 disposals while taking five marks and being the lone scoring outlet with three goals. Sturrock was his usual combative self with 24 disposals, seven tackles and six marks.

2018 Jack Clarke Medal preview

THE prestigious Jack Clarke Medal for the best and fairest player of the 2018 WAFL Colts Competition will be awarded tonight. Previous winners of the Jack Clarke Medal who have gone on to play in the AFL include Kepler Bradley, Adam Cockie, Dean Kent, and Tom Ledger.

The night will also recognise the WAFL Colts Coaches Award, the WAFL Colts Leading Goalkicker, the Coach of the Year, and the WAFL Colts Team of the Year. Below are each club’s best prospect of taking home the Jack Clarke Medal.

CLAREMONT: MAX GRANT

The West Coast junior was phenomenal for the Tigers throughout the 2018 season. At Claremont he ranked first for possessions (338 at an average of 19 per game), fourth for tackles (58 at three per game) and eighth for marks (33 at two per game). The flair he provided with his dare to run and carry, along with his penetrating skills made him a vital cog in the Claremont line-up. His best games came against Perth in round seven (25 possessions and a goal), Swan Districts in round 10 (24 possessions, six tackles and a goal), West Perth in round 11 (26 possessions and four tackles) and East Perth in round 16 (24 possessions and six marks).

EAST FREMANTLE: COREY ROBINSON

The Aquinas student was a key factor for the Sharks, especially in their engine room. His tough combative style often saw him winning clearances and getting the ball forward for his team. He ranked fifth in the competition for possessions (395 at an average of 22 per game), while he ranked fifth at East Fremantle for marks (68) and sixth for tackles (49). His best games came against South Fremantle in round four (24 possessions, 6 inside 50s and 5 tackles), East Perth in round six (26 possessions, seven marks and six tackles), West Perth in round 7 (29 possessions and 11 marks), and Subiaco in round 20 (23 possessions and a goal).

EAST PERTH: JACOB MSANDO

The 2016 WA Under 16s State Academy member was a lively player for the Royals as a dashing wingman. In 18 games, he averaged 15 possessions, four tackles and three marks and was often the Royals’ link-up player due to his exhilarating speed and damaging skills. At East Perth he ranked third for total possessions (272), second for marks (53) and first for tackles (68). His best games came against Claremont in round 12 (22 possessions, five marks and four tackles), South Fremantle in round 13 (29 possessions, seven marks, seven tackles and six inside 50s) and Perth in round 17 (21 possessions, five tackles, four inside 50s and a goal).

PEEL THUNDER: LACHLAN RILEY

The South Bunbury product was a dynamo in the midfield for the Thunder in 2018, averaging 23 possessions, five marks and two tackles across 15 games. Despite being a smaller-bodied midfielder, Riley competed hard in the midfield but also showed his class on the outside to be extremely damaging. His notable performances came against Claremont in round six (28 possessions and six marks), Subiaco in round 7 (23 possessions, seven marks, five inside 50s, and three tackles), Perth in round 15 (22 possessions and two goals), and South Fremantle in round 16 (29 possessions and a goal).

PERTH: SYDNEY STACK

The Under-18 All-Australian had a sensational season with the Demons that certainly enhanced his draft prospects. A dynamic playmaker, Stack is a strong clearance player in the middle but also has the explosiveness to worry defenders when resting forward. In 11 games, Stack averaged 23 possessions, eight tackles and two marks. His noteworthy games came against East Fremantle in round two (24 possessions and 13 tackles), East Perth in round four (24 possessions, seven tackles and six inside 50s), West Perth in round five (27 possessions, six tackles, six inside 50s and two goals) and Peel Thunder in round 15 (25 possessions and seven tackles).

SOUTH FREMANTLE: TOM BLECHENDYN

The Brookton-Pingelly product put together an outstanding campaign for the Bulldogs. In 18 games, he averaged 21 possessions, four tackles and four marks. He ranked fourth in the competition for total possessions (398), while at South he ranked second for marks (69) and fourth for tackles (76). His starring performances came against Claremont in round eight (18 possessions and five tackles) and round 14 (34 possessions and a goal), and against Peel in round 11 (23 possessions and nine marks) and round 16 (21 possessions and 12 tackles).

SUBIACO: LIAM HICKMOTT

The reigning Subiaco Best and Fairest winner put together another unbelievable season in 2018. In 18 games he averaged 26 possessions (ranked second in the competition), and seven tackles (ranked second in the competition). His ability to win the clearances for his team and his two-way defensive pressure make him an outstanding prospect for senior football. His best games came against Swan Districts in round three (27 possessions and seven tackles), Perth in round eight (38 possessions and 10 tackles), South Fremantle in round 15 (33 possessions and 8 tackles) and Claremont in round 17 (28 possessions, nine tackles and a goal).

SWAN DISTRICTS: MITCHELL BAIN

Despite only playing 11 games for Swan Districts’ Colts team, expect Bain to poll well in the Jack Clarke Medal count. In the 11 games, Bain averaged 23 possessions, five tackles and four marks and was named in the best on six occasions. At Swan Districts he ranked third for possessions (303), fourth for tackles (66) and sixth for marks (54). His best games came against Peel in round two (28 possessions, seven tackles, and four inside 50s), West Perth in round four (29 possessions, nine marks, four tackles and four inside 50s), East Perth in round eight (24 possessions, eight inside 50s, and six tackles), Perth in round nine (23 possessions, seven tackles and a goal), and Claremont in round 10 (25 possessions and seven tackles).

WEST PERTH: NATHAN MURRAY

The Ocean Ridge junior was a constant shining light for the Falcons. A big-bodied midfielder, Murray would often crash-and-bash his way through packs to win the ball for his team and also had the class on the outside to be extremely damaging with ball in hand. Despite only playing 14 games, Murray ranked third in the competition for possessions (402 at 29 per game), while at West Perth he ranked sixth for tackles (52 at four per game), and seventh for marks (50 at four per game). His notable games were against South Fremantle in round three (31 possessions and two goals), Perth in round five (27 possessions, nine tackles and three goals), Claremont in round 11 (34 possessions and a goal), and East Fremantle in round 14 (37 possessions and a goal).

 

LAST 10 WINNERS

YEAR PLAYER CLUB VOTES
2017 Luke English Perth Demons 53
2016 Michael Humble Peel Thunder 43
2015 Stan Wright East Perth 42
2014 Albert Dean Swan Districts 40
2013 Jacob Green East Fremantle 45
2012 Dean Kent Perth Demons 37
2011 Kerwin Stewart Perth Demons 45
2010 Tom Ledger Claremont 36
2009 Aaron Elari Perth Demons 46
2008 Jordan Eastwell East Perth 55

 

Western Australia weekly wrap: Subiaco Colts one win away from ending premiership drought

THE second week of a finals series often gives us an indication regarding who are serious premiership contenders and who are just making up the numbers. This weekend saw the opportunity for one side to book a grand final date, while two other teams were fighting to keep their premiership dream alive.

All the details on a pivotal weekend of finals action is below.

WAFL Colts wrap: Semi-Finals

Subiaco 14.10 (94) defeated Swan Districts 7.6 (48)

Subiaco has qualified for its first Colts Grand Final in 23 years after a accomplished 46-point win over Swan Districts at Leederville Oval on Sunday.

In terms of their 2018 meetings, the Lions had got the better of Swan Districts, winning all three games by comfortable margins. When they met at the same venue in round three it was 36 points, Subi held sway all game to beat the Black and Whites by 21 points at Steel Blue Oval in Round 12 and in their most recent meeting last month, Subiaco were able to handle the extremely wet conditions to post a commanding 38 point victory.

The big question coming into this game was how would Subiaco perform coming off the bye especially as they had plenty of momentum coming into the finals after recording eleven straight wins. However, Swans arguably had one of their best wins of the season last week when they upset second placed Peel Thunder in the qualifying final. So while Subi went into the contest as clear favourites, Swans was certainly not without their chances.

A perfect sunny spring day greeted both teams as both teams ran onto the ground.  Swan Districts made the perfect start with a mark to Kade Walldrot and the resulting 50-metre penalty made his shot for goal even more certain. Walldrot then made it two goals in as many minutes as the underdogs got off to the best possible start. The Lions were looking to get their hands on the ball to assert some forward line pressure and a fumble by Brenton Hilton on the last line of defence gave Nathan French a gift from close range to open the minor premiers’ account. A great pack mark and goal by the highly rated draft prospect Luke Foley then gave the Lions their second, but the visitors quickly replied as Walldrot kicked his third of the term.

Swans were looking assured with the ball in hand as their confidence from last week’s win was flowing over to the early stages of this contest. The signs were there for a terrific contest when Jordan Faroane kicked truly for the Lions from 45 metres. However, from the following centre clearance, Swan Districts took the ball forward and a clever soccer goal by Ethan Nordahl put them back in front by a goal.

Subiaco had the last word in a captivating first quarter of free flowing end to end footy when Jake McKinnon kicked a goal from a 50-metre penalty to level the scores at 4.1 apiece at the first break. Zane Shellabear Healy then gave Subiaco their biggest lead of the game with a early goal to start the second term and there were signs that the Lions were getting their game into motion.

The stakes were clearly raised with both teams cracking in very hard and every tackle having a real impact. Faroane kicked Subiaco’s second for the term and that was soon followed by French kicking his second as the Lions were now moving towards top gear. Foley then joined in on the goalscoring blitz by kicking his team’s third in as many minutes and in doing so becoming their third multiple goalscorer for the game.

In the blink of an eye, Swans were on the ropes and desperately needed a goal. It came courtesy of a kick inside their forward 50 by Jarred Cameron which hit Walldrot on the chest and gave him his fourth for the game. However it was becoming clear that Swans’ needed another outlet other than the bottom ager if they wanted to stay with the minor premiers. This was certainly the case as Subiaco had multiple goalscoring options and that was illustrated when Jack Mayo delivered a great kick inside 50 which French was able to run into open space and kick his third.

The five goal to one second quarter by Subiaco shaped as being a pivotal in the outcome of the contest with Foley (14 disposals two goals ) and French 14 disposals (two goals) having a outstanding impact. While Swans’ were far from being out of the contest (24 point deficit), they clearly needed a lot more from their key movers such as Riley Garcia (seven disposals), Jarrod Cameron (five disposals), Joe Hinder (four disposals) and Patrick Farrant (two disposals).

Sixteen year-old Mitch Georgiades got the home team off to the best possible start in the third term by taking a good mark and goaling from close range. Swans were struggling to get any momentum in their forward line and their plight was summed up when Cameron had a straight kick from 50 metres touched on the line. Subiaco then went down the other end where Nicolas Martin snapped truly from close range. The Lions hunger for the contest was infectious all over the ground, not giving their opponents a inch of space. All the visitors were able to conjure up in the third quarter was a solitary point and a damning statistic was since the start of the second quarter, the Black and Whites had been outscored 7.5 to 1.1.

Taj Schofield kept up the Lions’ dominance at the start of the fourth term with a goal from a set shot goal from 45 metres. While a rare second half forward thrust by Swans’ had finished without reward a few minutes beforehand, that failed to deterHinder with the rebounding defender producing a fantastic piece of individual play to kick their first goal since half time, however Subi got the instant reply through Martin. Nordahl got a late consolation goal from a strong mark in the forward pocket, but just like they had done all game, Subiaco had the final say through Benjamin Golding and in reality the final margin of 46 points was a fair reflection of the game.

The final siren sounded and the reality that Subiaco were into the decider swept through the playing group as the celebrations was clear to see. However they will know that the hard work is not done as they aim to win their first Colts premiership since 1989 and remarkably just the third in their illustrious history after their first triumph in 1974.

Just like their big brothers in the seniors, the young Lions have a remarkable ability to flick the switch at any moment which instantly leave their opponents flat-footed and seemingly without any answers. It is also a very scary prospect for the other eight sides that the Lions have a remarkable amount of depth across all grades (their reserves finished top and are in the Preliminary final).

Meanwhile, it was a tough day for Swan Districts as they fell to their fourth straight loss against Subiaco this season with none of the losses have been under three goals. However their win last week gives them another bite of the cherry as they play Peel for the second time in a fortnight at Fremantle Oval next Sunday. They will need their forward line to be in better form as three goal kickers is not going to win a major final at any level.

Subiaco held sway in all of the major categories, but a key factor was the extra amount of scoring shots they were able to generate compared to their opponents (24-13). The second term was the key quarter with Subiaco outscoring their opponents five goals to one. Two of the key players in that quarter wasFrench and Foley who each kicked two goals in that term.

French finished the game with 25 disposals, three marks and three goals, while AFL combine invitee Luke Foley switched seamlessly between midfield and the forward line finishing with 22 disposals, five marks, five tackles and two goals. Madoc Plane subdued the influence of Jarred Cameron when he was stationed in the Swans forward line and finished with 10 disposals, while his fellow defenders in Kyle Stainsby and Samuel West were also key figures in shutting down the other attacking weapons of Swan Districts.

Walldrot was a beacon of hope in the forward 50 for Swan Districts until the forward entries dried up after half time. However, the bottom ager still had a impact around the ground finishing with 15 disposals nine marks and four goals. The back six of Swan Districts had their hands full throughout the game, but one player who could hold his head up high was bottom ager Pasini who kept Subiaco focal point Mayo goalless while taking five marks himself.

Peel Thunder 8.14 (62) defeated East Fremantle 9.6 (60)

In the first semi-final, Peel Thunder withstood a surging East Fremantle side to defeat the reigning premiers by two points and eliminate them from the finals race while progressing to the Preliminary final where they will play Swan Districts looking to gain revenge from last week’s defeat.

Peel Thunder led throughout the large majority of the contest, but a inaccurate third term where they could only kick 3.7 to 1.0 left the door ajar for the Sharks to make one last push as they trailed by 20 points with a quarter to play.

The defending premiers did just that kicking 5.3 to 1.3 and hitting the front for the first time in the game with nine minutes remaining. Determined not to bow out in straight sets after their defeat to Swans last week, Peel regained their composure and kicked the winning goal with only three minutes remaining and managed to hold on to record the thrilling victory. Over time we have seen teams blow opportunities to win games with wasteful kicking on goal and Peel was very nearly one of those teams with seven more scoring shots on the day, but luckily on this occasion that did not prove to be the case.

Lachlan Riley and James Sturrock led the way in terms of possessions with 25 and 22 disposals respectively while bottom age talents Jack Sears and Ben Middleton were important with two goals each. The Sharks spread the load when it came to goalkickers with eight, but only bottom ager Trent Rivers was able to put multiple goals on the board with two. Rivers produced a great all-round performance with 19 disposals and six marks while Milan Murdock produced his typical in and under performance with 23 disposals and 13 tackles.

Scouting notes: WAFL Colts – Week One Finals

IN the 2018 WAFL Colts’ finals series, East Fremantle thumped arch-rivals South Fremantle to the tune of 62 points at Fremantle Oval in the elimination final, while Swan Districts accounted for Peel Thunder by nine points at Claremont Oval to advance through to the grand final. Lenny Fogliani was at both games and noted down the best players.

East Fremantle vs. South Fremantle

East:

#1 Milan Murdock

The East Fremantle Power junior was at his unrelenting best against the Bulldogs with 26 possessions, 14 tackles, three marks and two inside 50s. His tenacity in the contest to win the ball for his team was first class, while his outside link-up play was brilliant.

#7 Jeremy Sharp

The 2018 U18s All-Australian showcased why he is one of the leading prospects for next year’s AFL draft with another polished performance. Sharp accumulated 24 possessions, took nine marks, recorded eight inside 50s and laid three tackles in an impressive display.

#8 Dylan Curley

The Mullewa product manufactured a performance that demonstrated why he is a highly-sought after prospect for this year’s AFL Draft. He finished with nine possessions, eight tackles, three marks and four goals to be one of the most dangerous forwards on the ground.

#9 Corey Robinson

The Aquinas student was again busy in the midfield for the Sharks with 26 possessions, five marks, two inside 50s and a goal. A real feature of Robinson’s game was his crisp disposal especially when going inside 50. More often than not, Robinson would lower his eyes and then spear the ball onto the chest of his forwards.

#24 Trey Ruscoe

The Booragoon junior was deployed as a big-bodied midfielder and it paid dividends for East Fremantle. He bustled his way to 20 possessions, five tackles and five inside 50s to be one of the most influential players on the ground. His draft stocks for 2019 are rapidly rising.

#25 Cameron Davidson

The Collie product was again superb for the Sharks with another polished display off the half-back line. With the ball in hand, Davidson was never flustered and always made excellent decisions. The combination of his combative toughness and silky skills makes him an exciting prospect. He finished with 12 possessions and five marks.

#26 Dillon O’Reilly

Without doubt the star of the show! Made the key focal point in the second half, O’Reilly finished with 19 possessions, nine marks and a bag of six goals to drag the Sharks from a 13-point deficit to victory. His contested marking as well as his exceptional goal-kicking routine makes him one of the best key position prospects in this year’s Draft.

#28 Nick Watson

The East Fremantle Captain produced a true captain’s performance to lead his team to victory. The 2016 WA U16s State Academy representative finished with 11 possessions, 29 hitouts, four marks, four tackles and a goal.

 

South:

#1 Jack Musika

The Cockburn junior was back to his best against the Sharks. He gathered 14 possessions, laid five tackles and grabbed three marks to be one of the better Bulldogs’ midfielders. His toughness in the contest along with his endurance and excellent skills make him a damaging midfield prospect for the 2019 AFL Draft.

#4 Luke Moore

The WA State U18s Academy representative was dynamic and explosive in the forward half for the Bulldogs. Moore’s forward craft had the Sharks defenders terrified whenever the ball went inside 50. He beat players on the lead, forced them to put their hands in his back and his finishing around goal was first class. He finished with 12 possessions, five marks and five goals.

#5 James Russell

The Secret Harbour product was dazzling on the half-back line for the Bulldogs with 26 possessions, and four marks. His composure under duress was magnificent and his foot skills were impressive.

#9 Kyle Hamersley

The Wagin product was again South Fremantle’s best player, underlying his status as one of the best midfielders in this year’s draft pool. He finished with 25 possessions, six tackles, two marks and two inside 50s as he tried to will his team back into the contest.

#10 Regan Spooner

On a tough morning for the South Fremantle defenders, Spooner stood out as he manfully tried to combat East Fremantle’s attacking forays. He collected 13 possessions and laid four tackles as he tried to inspire his fellow defenders to beat their direct opponents.

 

Peel Thunder vs. Swan Districts

Peel:

#1 Lachlan Riley

The South Bunbury product continued his fine season with another excellent performance. Against the Swans, Riley accumulated a team-high 30 possessions, an impressive seven inside 50s, took five marks and laid three tackles to be one of the Thunder’s best.

#7 James Sturrock

The big-bodied midfielder fought hard in the stoppages all game for the Thunder but it was to no avail. The Baldivis junior racked up 29 possessions, laid six tackles, recorded six inside 50s and took four marks to be the Thunder’s best player. His physical contested style of play should have him in the recruiters’ sights.

#9 Michael Randall

Another big-bodied midfielder who tried to gain ascendancy in the middle of the ground, Randall continually bustled his way through packs for the Thunder. He finished the game with 21 possessions and five tackles.

#11 Jarvis Pina

One of the best attacking half-back flankers in the competition, Pina tried his best to give the Thunder some drive from defence. His willingness to take the opposition on was outstanding, whether it was him using his elite skills or pace. He finished the game with 18 possessions, four marks and three inside 50s.

#32 Jason Carter

They say the big guns come out in September, and this was very evident with Carter’s game. The Fremantle Next-Generation Academy member was electrifying on the wing with 20 possessions, seven marks, six inside 50s and four tackles. His skill, speed, courage and dare to take opponents on are all outstanding traits.

Swan Districts:

#1 Joseph Hinder

The 2016 WA U16s State Academy representative was deployed in a host of positions for the Black and Whites, and he handled them with aplomb. He was originally stationed in defence and it was here that his intercept play shone, while on the wing and up forward, his attacking flair was on full display. He finished with 15 possessions, three marks and three tackles.

#3 Mitchell Bain

Arguably the best player on the ground, Bain showcased why he is one of the premier midfielders in the competition. His speed out of contests, his dazzling skills and his tenacious defensive efforts were all to be seen. A highlight of his game occurred in the fourth quarter, when he stole the ball out of congestion, burst away and then speared a ball onto the chest of team-mate Kade Wallrodt. His final stats were 31 possessions, nine inside 50s, eight tackles, and five marks.

#9 Riley Garcia

The 2017 WA U16s State Academy representative was one of the Swans’ best players after a stunning performance in the midfield. He collected 24 possessions, and took three marks as he played the link-up role to perfection. Another feature of his game was his ability to crumb marking contests, spinning out of danger and then passing the ball to a team-mate.

#12 Graydon Wilson

The Centrals Football Club product was brilliant on the half-back line for the Swans, as he gave his team a heap of drive from the defensive half. He accumulated 14 possessions, and laid six tackles to remind recruiters of his potential.

#15 Jarrod Cameron

The younger brother of Brisbane star Charlie, Jarrod was electrifying in the forward half. He gathered just nine possessions, but took seven marks, laid five tackles, recorded three inside 50s and nailed four goals to be the most damaging forward on the ground. His contested marking was a real highlight of his game.

#18 Jake Pasini

The Caversham junior is a quiet achiever on the football field, but his team-mates and coaches would be rapt with his performance. He collected 12 possessions, laid five tackles and took three marks, but more importantly kept his direct opponent (Lachlan Cullen) to just one goal.