Tag: Lachlan Sholl

SANFL weekly wrap: Round 5 – Under 18s warm-up for Champs

THERE was plenty of football over the weekend in the South Australia National Football League (SANFL) with plenty of big games and close contests throughout the round. The Academy game also took place allowing the youngsters to compete against Western Australia. Our South Australian writers Jamie Morgan, David Chapman Damon Mattiazzo and Tom Wyman all contributed to the article.

SANFL U18 Academy

Last week saw a host of SANFLs best Under 18 players put through a SANFL Academy camp consisting of a variety of off-field training sessions as well as positional and game instructions. The camp culminated in two games with the squad split into two against a similar squad from WA.

Some U17 talent was also absent from the camp as they had been selected for Australian U17 duties in Melbourne.

The first game was played on Friday afternoon at West Adelaide Football Club. In a tough first quarter it took a while for both teams to gel and the scorers were not troubled early. By half-time it had been a defensive battle and Western Australia led 23 – 20. After half time SA hit the lead with the first goal, but from then on WA ran away with the game. Leading 48-27 at three quarter time and slamming on six goals in the last quarter to comfortably win 86 – 35. For WA it was their running brigade which really tore the SA midfield apart, winning the inside ball and then breaking out of the packs in numbers and using quick hands to move the ball with elite speed. Western Australia were led by midfield general Michael Wright with numerous contested possessions and his relentless chat and encouragement for his teammates. Other on ballers also who impressed included Cameron Anderson, Jye Clark, and Tristan Hobley. 200cm ruckman Callum Jamieson was impressive around the ground as well and also hit the scoreboard making his presence felt on the ground. Jeremy Sharp provided real poise and class, especially rebounding the ball and driving into attack. And 197cm Michael Mallard was also dangerous up forward. For SA the better players included the tall defenders Karl Finlay, Dyson Hilder and Jordan Moore. Midfielder Harry Schoenberg also had plenty of it, and Will Gould was again impressive starting down back and then having a run through the midfield and finishing up forward. Brady Searle was also one to link the play well and small forward Cooper Horsnell capitalised with a couple of goals. In the second game, South Australia won with a kick just seconds before the final siren, with Kysaiah Pickett and Cameron Taheny among those who played for the South Australians. The game was littered with injuries and illness, but gave both sides a good chance to warm up ahead of the National Under 18 Championships.


SANFL Wrap

League
Adelaide 14.6 (90) defeated Centrals 8.7 (55)

Adelaide left X Convenience Oval with the four points, defeating Central Districts by 35-points. Recent first-round draftee Ned McHenry played his best game for the club, amassing 28 disposals, seven marks, 11 tackles, four clearances and a goal to press his case for an AFL debut. Prolific on-baller Patrick Wilson notched up another 30 disposals and seven clearances, whilst Andy Otten was strong in defence, taking 12 marks. Josh Jenkins booted three majors, albeit from relatively easy shots, and key-position draftee Jordon Butts continued to look settled at the level, taking nine marks. Ben Davis and Lachlan Sholl were again impressive for Adelaide, as was skipper Matthew Wright who contributed two majors to the clubs winning margin. For the Bulldogs, Jarrod Schiller was terrific around the stoppages, racking up 34 disposals and 12 clearances to go with a pair of goals. His brother Travis was also amongst it regularly, collecting 35 possessions, as was fifth-gamer Jydon Neagle (27 disposals). Yet, despite winning enough of the ball in the middle, the Bulldogs had just one multiple-goal kicker and were simply outclassed by a youthful Crows outfit.

Port v Eagles

A strong second half was the catalyst for Port Adelaide to get back on the winners list defeating Woodville-West Torrens by 37 points at the Maughan Thiem KIA Oval. Former Demon Jack Trengove was again superb in the middle of the ground gathering 31 disposals, eight marks, eight tackles and kicked two goals to lead his side to victory and potentially extending his lead at the top of Magarey Medal. Ruckman turned forward Billy Frampton made up for lost time, returning from a two game suspension to kick goals while also proving to be an aerial threat with eight marks all inside 50m. Emerging ruckman Peter Ladhams continues his dominant season so far with his ability at ground level with 27 disposals, nine marks, four tackles and 22 hit outs in what is turning out to be a breakout year so far. Sam Mayes and Karl Amon continued their impressive form and push for AFL selection, while Steven Motlop had a quiet game disposal wise with only 17, but kicked two great goals to seal the victory. For the Eagles, Jack Hayes continued to give his side a sniff throughout the day but his efforts of two goals and three behinds with 11 disposals were to no avail. James Rowe was one positive for the Eagles kicking four goals for his side and has become the surprise leader of the Ken Farmer Medal after five rounds of the competition. Former Port and Swans players Jimmy Toumpas and Jordan Foote had 22 and 21 touches respectively in an all-round tough day out for the Eagles. The Eagles find themselves with a 1-4 record as they try to adjust to the new era under coach Sam Lonergan.

Eagles vs Centrals
Reserves: Centrals 15.7 (97) defeated Eagles 14.4 (88)
Under 18s: Eagles 10.18-78 defeated Centrals 2.7 (19)

The Reserves game was a tight tussle all day, with Centrals getting a break in the third term, but Eagles fought back in the last quarter to almost run over the Bulldogs. Flynn Pisani from the Bulldogs was best and is having a very good season to date. Steve Burton also had a standout performance clocking up a game high 38 disposals in a strong display for his side. Connor McLean was very good up forward and finished with three goals. For the Eagles, Jake Weidemann was a presence up forward finishing with four goals, while Jake Camitogianni and Cooper Gaffney were good around the contest for the Eagles.

The U18 Eagles won easily and the shining light was a six goal haul from Michael Frederick for the winning side. He could have ended up with nine if he was able to convert his three behinds but he clearly posed a dangerous figure in the forward line attacking the ball hard. Henry McCabe (son of Luke) again was solid for the Bulldogs finishing with 24 disposals and best for the losing side

Glenelg vs West
League:
Glenelg 10.14 (74) defeated West 8.10 (58)
Reserves: West 11.13 (79) defeated Glenelg 7.3 (45)
Under 18s: West 17.6 (108) defeated Glenelg 4.12 (36)

Glenelg gained its third win of the season with a 16-point victory over West Adelaide under ANZAC Day eve lights at City Mazda Oval. The Bloods led at every change but were unable to stop a Tigers side which came charging home in the last quarter. Lachlan Hosie finished with a bag of three, bringing his season tally to 14 to sit equal-top of the Ken Farmer Medal alongside Eagle, James Rowe. Luke Reynolds also contributed two goals, with Darcy Bailey and Marlon Motlop also booting majors. Motlop was integral in the win, collecting 25 disposals, seven marks and four tackles. He was supported by Chris Curran (24 disposals and eight marks) and Carl Nicholson (18 disposals, nine marks and four tackles). Young duo Jonty Scharenberg (17 disposals, seven marks and three tackles) and Luke Partington (17 disposals and three tackles) continued to build momentum in the engine room. For West Adelaide, Will Snelling dominated around the stoppages in a best-on-ground performance, tallying 27 disposals, five marks, 17 tackles and seven clearances. Veteran Chris Schmidt had 22 possessions, whilst Jono Beech, Mason Middleton and Gibson Turner each kicked two.

West Reserves side had another good win, with Nathan Batley and Kenny Karpany leading the way for the Bloods once again. Sam May is having a consistent season clocking up another 26 disposal and one goal game. Glenelg’s Alex Martini played a solid game in the loss, and Seb Kerrish continues to push for league selection with a 24 disposal game for the Tigers.

Westies Under 18s had a day out with talented Beau Nunan kicking nine goals in a classy performance. For the Bloods, Bailey Chamberlain found plenty of ball finishing with 32 disposals and three clearances, along with Zac Wooldridge collecting 31 disposals and 11 marks. Will Schreiber was best for the struggling Bays.

North vs Norwood
League:
Norwood 15.11 (101) defeated North 12.15 (87)
Reserves: North 12.14 (86) defeated Norwood 7.12 (54)
Under 18s: Norwood 14.8 (92) defeated North 10.9 (69)

Norwood fought off a fast finishing North in the rematch of the 2018 Grand final, but had control of the game for most of the day. Norwood’s class was evident and prime mover Matt Panos again was best for the Redlegs with 27 disposals and three goals to make him a deserved Anzac Medal winner. North showed signs and recently promoted small forwards Liam Verity and Strato Agostoras both hit the scoreboard with two and three goals respectively.

In the reserves, the result went the other way for North. For the Roosters small forward Frankie Szkeley was best with two goals, eight tackles and 17 possessions to provide real dash and spark around the packs. Midfielder Dakota Nixon returned from injury and also provided some poise for the Roosters with 24 disposals and seven clearances. Medium forward Cameron Tiggeman also had a day out kicking five goals, from both set shots and snaps. For Norwood, in a close to best on ground performance running defender Jacob Collins was impressive, with 28 possessions including nine marks as he repeatedly rebounded the ball or drove it forward from defence with a booming kick. Onballer Cody Szust was also strong with two goals and 22 possessions while Josh Richards also impressed with 24 disposals and six clearances for the game.

Under 18s victory went to Norwood as well, Mitchell Carroll was best for the Redlegs in a 26 disposal, 7 clearance game along with Xavier Tranfa who finished with 23 possessions and 6 tackles. For North Jackson Antrobus (son of Tony) had probably his best game for the Roosters, along with midfielder Lachlan Borg who ended up with 22 disposals and 6 clearances.

South vs Sturt
League:
Sturt 14.8 (92) defeated South 11.4 (70)
Reserves: South 11.11 (77) defeated Sturt 10.9 (69)
Under 18s: Sturt 15.13 (103) defeated South 7.3 (45)

Sturt enjoyed a 22-point win over South Adelaide in the League match with Sam Colquhoun having a day out. Colquhoun collected 40 disposals, 10 marks, six clearances, six inside 50s and three rebounds in a massive performance, while James Battersby (27 touches, 13 marks, four clearances and two inside 50s) was solid. Zane Kirkwood and Aidan Riley hit the scoreboard for the Double Blues with two majors apiece. For the Panthers, Matthew Rose had 30 touches, nine marks and eight rebounds out of defence, while Nick Liddle racked up 24 disposals, six clearances and six tackles. Ben Heaslip starred in the Reserves with 31 touches, 10 clearances and six tackles for the winning Panthers, while Joel Thiele was his nemesis at the stoppages, racking up 11 clearances himself as well as 27 disposals and six tackles. In the Under 18 demolition by Sturt, it was hard to go past the performance of the week by Sturt’s Charlie Allan. A huge game of 42 disposals, one goal, eight tackles and nine clearances was highly impressive. For the losing side, Max Clifton had a team-high 22 disposals as well as five marks, eight clearances, six inside 50s and four rebounds.

SANFL weekly wrap: Norwood wins in thriller as Tigers tame Crows

FOLLOWING Round 2 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition, our writers Jamie Morgan, David Chapman, Tom Wyman and Damon Mattiazzo recap some of the impressive performances across the weekend.

Glenelg v Adelaide

League: Glenelg 18.7 (115) defeated Adelaide 9.8 (62)

Glenelg collected their first premiership points of the new season by defeating a young Adelaide side under Friday night lights at the bay. Former Richmond Tiger, Liam McBean was the hero for the home side, bagging nine majors from full-forward. He was well-supported by a half-backline comprising of skipper Chris Curran, who amassed 31 disposals and 17 marks, and former-Carlton player Aaron Joseph (24 disposals and six marks). Potential high draft pick Will Gould was solid in defence, collecting 19 touches and seven marks, whilst 2018 state-representative Finn Betterman managed eight disposals in just his second league appearance. For the Crows, Myles Poholke slotted three majors to stake his claim for a call-up and Cam Ellis-Yolmen continued to find the ball, racking up 36 disposals and 7 marks. Recent draftees, Lachlan Sholl (34 disposals, six marks and eight rebounds), Jordon Butts (19 disposals) and Ned McHenry (15 disposals, five marks and five tackles) were also impressive. Expect Hugh Greenwood (19 disposals and 10 clearances) and Jordan Gallucci (16 disposals) to return to the Crows senior onball rotation within weeks.

Central District vs. Norwood

League: Central District 12.14 (86) defeated by Norwood 13.11 (89)
Reserves: Central District 10.8 (68) defeated Norwood 10.7 (67)
Under 18s: Norwoood 13.14 (92) defeated Central District 5.5 (35)

Two of the three clashes between the Bulldogs and Redlegs were absolute thrillers, as the Redlegs claimed victory in the League clash by just three points, before Central District scored the points in a one-point victory over Norwood in the Reserves. All eyes were on potential first round pick, Dylan Stephens who cracked his way into a strong Norwood League side and looked the part, collecting 18 disposals, four marks, three tackles and booting a goal on debut. Lewis Johnston continued his ripping form with 38 disposals, four clearances and seven marks, while for the winners, Jarrod Schiller had 28 touches, eight marks, seven clearances and a goal. In the Reserves, Isaac Saywell had a team-high 29 touches as well as four marks and four clearances for Norwood, while Cameron Taheny was lively up forward, booting three goals from 14 disposals and nine marks (three contested). For Central District, Steve Burton recorded 34 disposals and 13 clearances in a midfield masterclass. At Under 18s level, Henry Nelligan was impressive for Norwood, racking up 28 disposals, 10 clearances, five marks, six tackles and booting two goals in the win, while Xavier Tranfa finished with 26 touches, three marks, four clearances and seven tackles. For the Bulldogs, Rhys Cannizzaro was the one to watch, racking up nine clearances and laying 10 tackles from 27 disposals and five marks.

North Adelaide vs West Adelaide

League: North Adelaide 14.11 (95) defeated West Adelaide 9.12 (66)
Reserves: North Adelaide 6.9 (45) defeated by West Adelaide 13.11 (89)
Under 18s: West Adelaide 7.6 (48) defeated by North Adelaide 14.7 (91)

In the Reserves match, North big man Dyson Hilder started off in a midfield role and after half-time switched to key defender on the dangerous Westies forward. In the Under 18s, North got the win against Westies, led by Harrison Magor with 33 disposals including six clearances, while Charlie Dowling kicked four goals from his 18 possessions and eight marks. For Westies, Bailey Chamberlain had 28 possession and 13 marks to be in his side’s best. In the League clash, North Adelaide ran out 29-point winners as Aidan Tropiano racked up 32 disposals, two marks, six tackles and nine clearances, while Max Thring booted three goals from 30 touches and four marks. For West Adelaide, Christopher Schmidt had a team-high 31 disposals and eight clearances, while John Noble booted three goals from 27 touches and Kaine Stevens finished with 30 disposals and a goal.

South Adelaide v Port Adelaide

League: Port Adelaide 8.10 (58) defeated by South Adelaide 14.10 (94)

South Adelaide continued its fine start to the season with a dominant 36 point win against Port at Alberton Oval. South were led by co-captain Joel Cross who contributed 24 disposals and two goals, while former Eagle Tom Whittlesea made a big impact with five goals for his side. For Port Adelaide, Jack Trengove backed up his 44-disposal game from the opening round with another 42 touches for his side and could be rewarded with a call-up to the AFL side. Matthew Broadbent had 28 touches as he continues to stake his claim for a recall, while Category B rookie Kai Pudney continues to find plenty of the ball with 30 disposals coming from the wing. New Mapgies captain Cam Sutcliffe, and Aidyn Johnson both missed majority of the game with hamstring and concussion problems respectively.

South Adelaide vs. Glenelg

Reserves: Glenelg 10.9 (69) defeated by South Adelaide 14.9 (93)
Under 18s: Glenelg 8.12 (60) defeated South Adelaide 8.7 (55)

South took on Glenelg in Under 18s and went down in a five-point game. Glenelg’s Clayton Symonds (son of Tony) finished with a game high three goals while Sam Liambis led possession count with 24 disposals and nine tackles. Big man Riley Holder backed up another solid game in the ruck. South’s talented Zac Dumesny showed he is in for a big year in a strong performance for the Panthers. In the Reserves, South Adelaide claimed a big win, but it was Glenelg’s Darcy Bailey dominating with 39 disposals, 10 marks, seven clearances, three tackles and a goal, while teammate Declan Carmody is a name to watch, racking up 24 disposals, six marks, four tackles and booting a goal. Key forward Daniel Sladojevic was strong for the Panthers, booting a goal from 15 disposals and five marks (one contested), while Cameron McGree had 28 hitouts from 17 disposals and booted two goals.

Woodville-West Torrens vs Sturt

League: Sturt 12.12 (84) defeated Woodville-West Torrens 11.11 (77)
Reserves: Sturt 7.9 (51) defeated by Woodville-West Torrens 8.9 (57)
Under 18s: Woodville-West Torrens 17.5 (107) defeated Sturt 10.7 (67)

The Under 18s talent at the Eagles disposed of Sturt easily by 40 points and that was with some players up into the Eagles Reserves side. Forward Josh Morris finished with six goals, and Harry Shoenberg played well again. The Eagles Reserves side hung on in a close tussle with young talent, Jackson Mead (son of Darren) again playing well finishing with two goals and 16 possessions, while young Ruckman Sam Michael showed he is up to the challenge against bigger bodies. Teammate Jamie Coff also impressed up forward snagging three goals. Sturt’s Jed McEntee found his feet along with Anzac Lochowiak who looked at ease against the strong Eagles side. Sturt were victorious despite a late charge from the Eagles in the league game. Kysaiah Pickett kicked a goal in his League debut for the Eagles and Jordan Foote was a beast again in the midfield. Ex-Docker Danyle Pearce was also good for the Double Blues.

Season preview: SANFL 2019

AFTER a successful off-season that saw many South Australian National Football League (SANFL) players reach the highest level, the 10 clubs again begin the journey towards the 2019 premiership. Our South Australian writers take a look at how each side is shaping up in the pre-season.

Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

The Adelaide Crows SANFL team will be headlined this season by former AFL-listed forward Matthew Wright who will captain the team into the 2019 season. Wright will also take on a role as a part-time development coach with the club after announcing his retirement from the AFL after three years at Carlton. The club did not draft any players from South Australia and picked up Allies star midfielder Chayce Jones, who played Round 1 in the AFL. Will Hamill and Lachlan Sholl will be intriguing prospects for the Crows, as Ned McHenry should be on the fringes for an AFL debut sometime throughout the season. The Crows also gained Shane McAdam from Carlton through trade after he was selected in the mature-aged pre-draft after a stellar season for Sturt. Out of the Crows SANFL contracted players, Jordon Boyle from Salisbury North impressed the most last season, but Michael McMahon and 2018 Dean Bailey award winner Corey Davey should be their best contributors. With Tom Doedee suffering a season ending ACL injury in Round 1 against Hawthorn, the Crows may potentially consider taking a player at the first AFL mid-season draft to bolster their defensive stocks.

Centrals:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

Central District will be hoping for a swift return to finals football after a rare finals absence in 2018. Former Crow Troy Menzel headlines the new recruits returning after five years in the AFL with Carlton, Adelaide and a dominant premiership stint in the SAAFL with Tea Tree Gully in 2018. The Dogs have also recruited a trio of Neagle’s- Jydon, Matthew, and Jaxon– from Wodonga and will be looking to make the most of the opportunity at the Ponderosa. Tim Auckland– 2018 Adelaide Crows SANFL contracted player- impressed enough to earn himself a contract at the Dogs and will be the one envisaged to replace the outgoing Darcy Fort. Central were one of the club’s to be hit most by AFL Draft, with Jackson Hately (GWS), Jez McLennan (Gold Coast), Aaron Nietschke (Melbourne) and Fort (Geelong) all recruited. 2018 leading goal kicker John Butcher and former Docker Jack Hannath have also both moved onto new opportunities outside of the game.

Glenelg

By: Jamie Morgan

Things have been very busy in the offseason at Brighton Road with some big names to the club. Ex-West Coast midfielder Luke Partington will look to have an immediate impact on the side slotting straight into the middle. Added as well is Ex-Geelong forward and local Glenelg boy, Cory Gregson. Despite his injury troubles whilst in the AFL system, the best of Gregson will compliment a strong Glenelg side. With key experienced players Liam McBean and Brad Agnew back to the Bay, this looks like the strongest Glenelg squad for some years. Despite losing Tobin Cox to Port Power, and some other players moving, the talent coming is excellent. Coach Mark Stone has young talent to work with, with 2019 Top 10 draft hopeful Will Gould showing he is ready for league footy in the pre-season and has been rewarded with a Round 1 berth. Gould is a versatile player with a strong body who will be looking to thrive in his draft year. 2018 SA U18 team member Finn Betterman has impressed also over the pre-season and will be making his debut in Round 1 as well. The Glenelg leaders of Max Proud and Chris Curran will be looking to guide this team to finals and break a long drought for the Tigers. At Reserves and Under 18 level there is plenty of talent keen to impress with SA U18 members Cooper Hornsell and Brady Searle developing nicely.

North Adelaide:

By: David Chapman

The reigning premiers have an uphill start, being docked two wins prior to the start of the season for the 19th man incident in the 2018 Preliminary finals. They have also lost five premiership players to the AFL in the form of Best and Fairest Callum Wilkie, wing/forward Robbie Young, ruckman Jordon Sweet, utility Connor Rozee and small forward Boyd Woodcock. Coming into the mix to replace those will be; back from the AFL, small forward Jake Neade (Power), and mid/forward Ben Jarman (Crows). Also out of country footy and returning to the Roosters with three Mail Medals is former SA U18 captain and midfielder Campbell Coombe and key defender from Keith, Bill Laurie. Rugby convert Jack Blair from NSW also takes up the ruck space. In the trial games, we have also seen some exciting play from small forwards Keanu Miller and Frankie Szekely and winger Mason Neagle. Some of the key youngsters in the mix for the Roosters this year include tall Dyson Hilder, at around 196cm he has played in the SANFL league trials in the midfield, up forward and down back and will be a key cog in the SA U18 champs this year. Also one to watch is key position player, Karl Findlay, picked in the U18 Academy as well, this smooth and calm defender will have a his mix of school, state and SANFL commitments this year. With the Reserves also winning the flag last year there is some depth, but a number of those experienced players have left the club to play some local and country footy. This year North cannot really afford to go on a 1-6 late season run like they did last year. The nucleus of the North success has been their core of hard midfielders, and while the key positions remain unchanged, the impact of losing Wilkie could be the key. However, North will still be a real threat in 2019.

Norwood:

By: Jamie Morgan

Norwood look to again be in the mix for finals after another solid offseason adding ex Port (and Glenelg) Dom Barry and former South Adelaide player Cody Szust to an already strong list. Magarey medalist Mitch Grigg again looks like he will be able to control games from the middle alongside Matthew Panos. Norwood had four of their talented youngsters drafted at the end of 2018 in Luke Valente, Jacob Kennerley, Ben Jarvis, and Kade Chandler, but their core group is experienced and tough and Coach Jarrod Cotton will be looking to go further than 2018. Ex PAC student Cole Gerloff is an emerging talent and should be a consistent member of the league side this year. The Under 18 talent at the Redlegs is again top notch and SA squad members Cameron Taheny and Dylan Stephens are real standouts who will no doubt get a taste at the next level. Both will be keys for SA’s Under 18 title defence and will be watched closely for the Redlegs.

Port Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

For the first time since Port Magpies re-assignment in the SANFL they will not be led by club stalwart Steven Summerton. Taking over the captaincy and marquee spot is former Fremantle utility Cameron Sutcliffe who surprisingly knocked back his original SANFL club Woodville-West Torrens. Sutcliffe has also taken on a role as a development mentor which will aid the draftees’ development and integration into the Magpies setup. Bar Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma, Port drafted exclusively from South Australia and already have Boyd Woodcock and Connor Rozee who played in a North Adelaide premiership in the previous season. Kai Pudney dominated in U18’s level last season and will look to take the next step in the seniors, as will Martin Frederick – who impressed at the U18 South Australia championship win – and will be looking to further his development with senior football. Out of the Magpies SANFL contracted players, ex-Central District forward Dallas Hill will be one to watch, as is Matt Appleton, who played 15 league matches for North Adelaide in 2018 will be an interesting prospect. With the Magpies’ Reserves side disbanded for 2019, all SANFL contracted players that don’t feature in the league side will play for their community clubs when not required. Second year Western Australian player Jake Patmore suffered an ACL injury in a SANFL trail match against South Adelaide and will miss the season, much like ruckman Sam Hayes who suffered the same injury last season but will be looking return to the SANFL side in the near future.

South Adelaide:

By: Jamie Morgan

It has been an interesting off season for the Panthers with some great talent snapped up with losing players Nathan Krueger to Geelong, Keegan Brooksby back into the AFL system at West coast as well as youngsters Tom Sparrow to Melbourne and Jake Tarca to Geelong. Bringing in Malcom Karpany from West Coast will be a handy addition as well as South favourite Emmanuel Irra returning from Port Adelaide, but it is the class of ball magnet Nick Liddle and Joel Cross which always makes South hard to beat. Players ready to break out include Liam Fitt who impressed with every game and Jaiden Kappler is another talent on the rise. South has some quality young talent emerging with big men Damon Freitag and Daniel Sladojevic likely to get an opportunity at the highest level.

Sturt:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

After losing dual premiership coach Marty Mattner as an assistant coach to the Adelaide Crows, the new Sturt era will be under the tutelage of former North Melbourne and Central District premiership player Nathan Grima. Grima was recruited from Essendon Football League side Strathmore and has brought Victorian pair Tom Condon from his former side and 6ft 5in giant Josh Patullo from Footscray’s VFL team from across the border. But their season will be headlined by the return of Sturt product Danyle Pearce, returning after 258 AFL games for Fremantle and Port Adelaide and a 2006 Rising Star award to his name. The Double Blues lost star player Shane McAdam to the AFL as a Mature-age draft pick and Riley Grundy to Port Adelaide late in last year’s draft. Sturt will also miss promising midfielder Tom Lewis – a key asset in South Australia’s successful U18 carnival- to an ACL injury suffered in an early season trial match and will miss the entire 2019 season.

West Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

West Adelaide will hope 2019 can be the season the Bloods can rise back up into finals contention, with coach Gavin Colville into his second term. West welcome back Jack Oatey medallist and the captain of their 2015 premiership Chris Schmidt, partnering the return of Will Snelling back from three seasons with Port Adelaide. Snelling- a hard luck story to be delisted by Port- will be keen to build on his 2018 best-and-fairest SANFL Port season and make a big impact back at his original club. The Bloods have also recruited Dallas Willsmore from Hawthorn after he was delisted at the end of the 2018 season after two AFL games in four seasons with the Hawks. Willsmore will provide more depth in West’s engine room, as West rounded out their acquisitions with Werribee swingman Jade Cleeland and ex-Norwood defender Pat Levicki. The recruits should replenish the loss of star players Chris Burgess and Izak Rankine, who were picked by the Gold Coast Suns, and veterans Aaron Fielke, Daniel Webb, and Shannon Green.

Woodville-West Torrens:

By: Jamie Morgan

There has been some strong ex-AFL talent added to the Eagles side this year, with Jimmy Toumpas (Port), Jesse Lonergan (Gold Coast) and Jordan Foote (Sydney Swans) providing even more class to a finals hardened outfit. With long-time coach Michael Godden departing to take up an Assistant role at Adelaide Crows, the Eagles secured Sam Lonergan as head coach in the off-season. Lonergan brings AFL and SANFL playing and Tasmanian coaching experience to the group and will be looking to have a clean slate after the difficult end to 2018 and the 19th man saga. This side looks ready for finals, and with exciting youngsters in their draft year Kysiah Pickett and Jackson Mead, the mix of experience and youth is spread well. No doubt the Round 1 clash vs 2018 Premiers North Adelaide will have an extra bite to it, with Lonergan’s team wanting to make its mark on the competition early. Midfielder accumulator James Boyd will be important, as will the class of Luke Thompson in defence.

NAB League season preview: Calder Cannons

THERE was plenty to like about last season for the Calder Cannons. They showed glimpses of brilliance throughout the year, however struggled with consistency at times. They finished the 2018 season in ninth position after falling to the Geelong Falcons in the Wild Card round. Overall the club would be pleased with some of the talent they produced with the likes of Rhylee West, Jack Bytel, Lachlan Sholl and Curtis Taylor all being drafted.

Looking ahead to season 2019 new Talent Manager and former Geelong defender, Tom Lonergan has faith in his side and is excited about what the Cannons could bring to the competition if they hit the ground running.

“We think we have got some good talls that we are going to be able to use both in defence and attack. We are really excited about the year to come,” he said.

The Cannons have been boosted with the return of a few overagers coming into the 2019 season which provides the relatively inexperienced side with some added composure.

“We are really happy with our 19 year olds, we’ve got four on our list,” Lonergan said. “We’ve got Mason (Fletcher), Kempy (Josh Kemp), Browny (Tye Browning) and Sammy Graham all those guys have really good leadership which is filtering down to our younger team members.”

Tye Browning was a mainstay for the Cannons in 2018. Lonergan credited Browning’s ability to work up the wing and forward line, and will be hoping Browning brings that form into the current season with Calder. Teammate, Sam Graham was also a key cog in the Cannons outfit and is set to return in 2019 providing some good dash and defensive pressure off half-back.

“Browning he’s been on the list for a little while, he’s a player that we think has potential,” Lonergan said. “Sammy Graham who would probably be our captain if he was an 18-year-old, he’s been tremendous for our group and we’ve got high aspirations for him this year.”

While there is plenty of excitement surrounding the return of the 19 year olds Lonergan is equally impressed by some of the up-and-coming talent with new players set to take the field some time throughout the year.

“We’ve brought in a guy that wasn’t involved in the program last year, Jake Sutton who’s played some pretty good footy in the practice matches, sort of hybrid forward, smart around goals, kicked four in both practice matches so he’s been really dangerous,” Lonergan said. “We think Curtis Brown’s got a lot to offer, got a beautiful left foot kick off half-back.”

Lonergan is hoping to build on the form from last year and hopefully progress up the ladder. However, he is more concerned on developing the players and creating an environment that players can learn in rather than focusing on wins.

“We basically want the guys to improve as a whole,” Lonergan said. “We will work with them closely on an individual basis as to their strengths and what they need to improve on. You know and hopefully if that all comes together then the ladder position will look after itself.”

With the season set to kick off for the Calder Cannons on Sunday, March 24 against the Sandringham Dragons, the Cannons will hope to bring plenty of intensity and attack the ball to ensure that they are recognised as a tough opposition in the NAB League.

2018 AFL Draft review: Adelaide

ADELAIDE headed into the National AFL Draft with three picks in the first round, and eventually only took the two, offloading what would become pick 19, and the Crows’ 2019 first rounder, to Carlton for the Blues’ 2019 first rounder. It likely meant the Crows picked up a top five pick next year, putting them in a terrific position not just this year, but for 2019 too.

National Draft:

 

Chayce Jones – Small Utility

Jones was rumoured to be a possible top 10 selection heading into draft night, and, after the Crows unsuccessfully bid on North Melbourne Next Generation Academy member, Tarryn Thomas, they selected Jones with the ninth pick in the National Draft.  Jones has all the traits the Crows would be looking for – speed, skills and tackling pressure – not to mention leadership to boot. The Launceston product is a terrific leader and is one of the more underrated players in the draft crop, and now he heads to West Lakes and will have an instant impact. Don’t worry about his size, he packs plenty of punch and will see senior games next year.

Ned McHenry – Small Midfielder/Forward

It was a little surprising to see the Crows pick up McHenry after selecting Jones given their relatively small stature compared to those available, but I love the selection. McHenry is the ying to Eddie Betts’ yang, in the sense that while both players are two-way runners, Betts does his damage offensively, while McHenry does his damage defensively – averaging the most tackles at the National Under 18 Championships. He knows where the goals are and can play midfield, though at 174cm, expect him to be a pressure forward who relieves on a wing in time. His forward stoppage prowess is something to behold and is another player who given the right circumstance, could play games next season.

Will Hamill – General Defender/Midfielder

Unlike the other two, Hamill is more of a long-term player, though he has that prototype size to fill into something special. At 188cm or thereabouts, Hamill has the height, and the smooth-moving ability to glide around the field and break down opposition zones. Like Jones, Hamill runs a sub-three second 20m sprint, and rarely makes a mistake by hand or foot. He needs to find more of the football, but will always be a player that might average 17 touches a game, of which 13 of them cause serious headaches for the opposition. Can play off half-back or through the middle, Hamill is still very light and will need type to bulk up, but when he does, expect him to do some nice things.

Lachlan Sholl – General Defender/Midfielder

Sholl is a similar type and size to Hamill, so in some ways they have double-dipped here, but they do have some differences. While both primarily play off half-back and can push into the wing, Sholl has more penetration by foot and can do some damage with his piercing kick. He does not quite have the consistency of disposal that Hamill does, and needs to build up more of a contested brand of ball-winning to have a bigger impact at senior level, but at pick 64, Sholl looms as a low-risk, high-reward selection.

 

Rookie Draft:

Kieran Strachan – Ruck

The Essendon VFL ruckman has barely got on the park in the past two seasons, but the Crows had no issues giving him a chance, with selection in the rookie draft. He will take time, but given Sam Jacobs is not getting any younger, and the likes of Reilly O’Brien and co are still developing, the Crows will be keen to add another ruck to the group, which they have done here in the mature-ager.

Jordon Butts – Tall Utility

The over-age tall does not turn 19 until the final day of the year, so is practically a top-age player. He is similar to a Justin Westhoff in the sense he can play forward, back or through the midfield. At 194cm or so, Butts has a remarkable running ability to play on a wing if needed. He is one of those players that is perfectly suited to the rookie draft because he has lots of traits that can be harnessed in order to make him a better player, he just needs to put them all together to click. Smart pick by the Crows.

Summary:

Adelaide placed an emphasis on speed and tackling pressure in its National Draft selections, with both Jones and McHenry being two of the draft crop’s more prolific tacklers. Jones and Hamill are two of the quickest players available, while all four have great foot skills. In terms. Of their draft selections, Adelaide deserves an A+ because the Crows not only addressed needs, but picked up players who would not have been there at their next selection with other clubs keen on those players. Overall, Adelaide gets a tick for meeting needs and a tick for value. Then there’s a top five pick incoming, overall a fantastic draft for the Crows.

2018 National AFL Draft selections

THE 2018 National AFL Draft selections and club by club selections as they happen today will appear here:

Round 1:

1 – Carlton – Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
2 – Gold Coast – Jack Lukosius – (WWT Torrens/South Australia)
3 – Gold Coast – Izak Rankine (West Adelaide/South Australia)
4 – St Kilda – Max King (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
5 – Port Adelaide – Connor Rozee (North Adelaide/South Australia)
6 – Gold Coast – Ben King (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
7 – Western Bulldogs – Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
8 – North Melbourne – Tarryn Thomas (North Launceston/Tasmania)
9 – Adelaide – Chayce Jones (Launceston/Tasmania)
10 – Sydney – Nick Blakey (Sydney Swans Academy/NSW-ACT)
11 – GWS GIANTS – Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
12 – Port Adelaide – Zak Butters (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
13 – Collingwood – Isaac Quaynor (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
14 – GWS GIANTS – Jackson Hately (Central District/South Australia)
15 – Geelong – Jordan Clark (Claremont/Western Australia)
16 – Adelaide – Ned McHenry (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
17 – Fremantle – Sam Sturt (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
18 – Port Adelaide – Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
19 – Carlton – Liam Stocker (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
20 – Richmond – Riley Collier-Dawkins (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
21 – Brisbane – Ely Smith (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
22 – GWS GIANTS – Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

End of Round 1:

23 – Gold Coast –  Jez McLennan (Central District/South Australia)

Round 2:

24 – GWS – Ian Hill (Perth/Western Australia)
25 – Sydney – James Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
26 – Western Bulldogs – Rhylee West (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
27 – Melbourne – Tom Sparrow (South Adelaide/South Australia)
28 – West Coast – Xavier O’Neill (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
29 – Collingwood – Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
30 – Adelaide – Will Hamill (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
31 – West Coast – Luke Foley (Subiaco/Western Australia)
32 – Fremantle – Luke Valente (Norwood/Western Australia)
33 – Melbourne – James Jordon (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
34 – GWS GIANTS – Kieren Briggs (GWS GIANTS Academy/NSW-ACT)
35 – West Coast – Bailey Williams (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
36 – Brisbane – Thomas Berry (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
37 – Western Bulldogs – Laitham Vandermeer (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
38 – Essendon – Irving Mosquito (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
39 – West Coast – Jarrod Cameron (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
40 – Brisbane – Tom Joyce (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
41 – St Kilda – Jack Bytel (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
42 – Brisbane – Connor McFadyen (Brisbane Lions Academy/Queensland)
43 – Richmond – Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Round 3:

44 – Sydney –  Justin McInerney (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
45 – Western Bulldogs – Ben Cavarra (Williamstown VFL)
46 – North Melbourne – Curtis Taylor (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
47 – St Kilda –  Matthew Parker (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
48 – Geelong – Ben Jarvis (Norwood/South Australia)
49 – North Melbourne – Bailey Scott (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Queensland)
50 – Geelong – Jacob Kennerley (Norwood/South Australia)
51 – Sydney – Zac Foot (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
52 – Hawthorn – Jacob Koschitzke (Murray Bushangers/Allies)
53 – Melbourne – Aaron Nietschke (Central District/South Australia)
54 – St Kilda –  Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
55 – Brisbane – Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

Round 4:

56 – Melbourne – Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
57 – Fremantle – Lachlan Schulz (Williamstown VFL)
58 – Richmond – Fraser Turner (Clarence/Tasmania)
59 – Fremantle – Brett Bewley (Williamstown VFL)
60 – Essendon – Noah Gown (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
61 – GWS GIANTS – Connor Idun (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
62 – Richmond – Luke English (Perth/Western Australia)
63 – Hawthorn – Matthew Walker (Murray Bushrangers/Allies)
64 – Adelaide – Lachlan Sholl (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
65 – Geelong – Darcy Fort (Central District/South Australia)
66 – Carlton – Finbar O’Dwyer (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
67 – St Kilda – Robert Young (North Adelaide/South Australia)
68 – Geelong – Jake Tarca (South Adelaide/South Australia)
69 – North Melbourne – Joel Crocker (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)

Round 5 onwards:

70 – Carlton – Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
71 – Gold Coast – Caleb Graham (Gold Coast Academy/Queensland)
72 – Essendon – Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
73 – Port Adelaide – Riley Grundy (Sturt/South Australia)
74 – Geelong – Oscar Brownless (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
75 – Melbourne – Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
76 – Port Adelaide – Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide/South Australia)
77 – Collingwood – Atu Bosenavulagi (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
78 – Western Bulldogs – Will Hayes (Footscray VFL)

*Clubs matched bids to secure father-son or academy prospect

Club by Club Players:

Adelaide: Chayce Jones, Ned McHenry, Will Hamill, Lachlan Sholl
Brisbane: Ely Smith, Thomas Berry, Tom Joyce, Connor McFadyen, Noah Answerth
Carlton: Sam Walsh, Liam Stocker, Finbar O’Dwyer, Ben Silvagni
Collingwood: Isaac Quaynor, Will Kelly, Atu Bosenavulagi
Essendon: Irving Mosquito, Noah Gown, Brayden Ham
Fremantle: Sam Sturt, Luke Valente, Lachlan Schulz, Brett Bewley
Geelong: Jordan Clark, Ben Jarvis, Jacob Kennerley, Darcy Fort, Jake Tarca, Oscar Brownless
Gold Coast: Jack Lukosius, Izak Rankine, Ben King, Jez McLennan, Caleb Graham
GWS GIANTS: Jye Caldwell, Jackson Hately, Xavier O’Halloran, Ian Hill, Kieren Briggs, Connor Idun
Hawthorn: Jacob Koschitzke, Mathew Walker
Melbourne: Tom Sparrow, James Jordon, Aaron Nietschke, Marty Hore, Toby Bedford
North Melbourne: Tarryn Thomas, Curtis Taylor, Bailey Scott, Joel Crocker
Port Adelaide: Connor Rozee, Zak Butters, Xavier Duursma, Riley Grundy, Boyd Woodcock
Richmond: Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Ross, Fraser Turner, Luke English
St Kilda: Max King, Jack Bytel, Mathew Parker, Nick Hind, Robert Young
Sydney: Nick Blakey, James Rowbottom, Justin McInerney, Zac Foot
West Coast: Xavier O’Neill, Luke Foley, Bailey Williams, Jarrod Cameron
Western Bulldogs: Bailey Smith, Rhylee West, Laitham Vandermeer, Ben Cavarra, Will Hayes

2018 AFL Draft Preview: Carlton

HAVING hit the draft hard in previous years, the Blues targeted a different age bracket in this trade period and may well do the same come draft time. Should Pick 1 remain in the bag, it looks like Carlton will have an obvious choice, and the three late picks they hold allow them to either give a mature-age state league player an opportunity, or find an Under 18 diamond in the rough.

List Needs:

  • Inside midfielders
  • Outside midfielders
  • Small forwards
  • Medium forwards

 

DRAFT SELECTIONS: 1, 69, 71, 77

We may as well get it out of the way early – should Carlton hold onto Pick 1, they look more than likely to select Sam Walsh. The Vic Country and Geelong Falcons co-captain won basically every individual award available to him, while only narrowly missing out on the Morrish Medal for the TAC Cup best and fairest. Walsh provides an outstanding mix of inside ball-winning and outside class, looking like a ready-made and reliable 200-game prospect.

The Blues can then put their feet up until Round 4, with their next selection coming at Pick 69. Another certainty looms with their late picks as the Blues have nominated father-son prospect Ben Silvagni for the National Draft, meaning they must take him should he not receive a bid from another club. Other late options with Carlton connections include Subiaco midfielder Wil Hickmott, who impressed in the WAFL Colts but missed out on a father-son nomination, and Calder’s Lachlan Sholl, who is the son of ex-Blue, Brett.

That leaves two free-reign late selections. Given the constant need to bulk up their midfield and provide guaranteed ball-winning support to newly appointed co-captain Patrick Cripps, Carlton should jump at the opportunity to bring in some much needed depth.

They may look at bringing in some clearance grunt, with the likes of Dandenong’s Sam Fletcher and Mitch Riordan likely to still be on the board, while interstate prospects Tom Lewis and Rylie Morgan are also ones who could provide midfield strength. Mitch Podhajski is another who has thrived in his overage year, with his experience at VFL outfit Coburg suggesting he can match it with mature bodies. Should they look towards outside run, Walsh’s Falcons teammate Brayden Ham is a player with great upside as an athletic phenom. Daly Andrews and Jacob Atley are options who can also drift forward from a wing, with Bendigo’s Atley looking to join his two brothers in the AFL and continue Carlton’s recent trend of picking Pioneers.

While they may look to cover a couple of bases with the aforementioned names, the only other area Carlton may want to bolster is its forward stocks. They look set in terms of talls with the recent addition of Mitch McGovern, but the Blues could look to a couple of established state league players to fill out the forward 50. Williamstown’s Ben Cavarra is a player who has long been touted as an AFL-level prospect, while Northern Blues general forward Jesse Palmer is one who can provide a third marking option after leading his side’s goalkicking.

Other state league players worth a look include ex-Crow and two time Magarey Medallist Mitch Grigg, as well as Cavarra’s Williamstown teammate Brett Bewley. Both could provide the midfield depth Carlton is after, while also fitting the age profile that needs bolstering most. With two selections all but in the book, the Blues will have to be crafty with their two remaining National Draft selections, and could use their rookie selections on state league players hungry for the opportunity. They will also have the option to continue their recent preference of packaging players from one or two sides, and it could pay dividends.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Wildcard Round

FOUR teams advanced through to the finals in the Wildcard Round and our writers were on hand to take notes on how some of the combine invitees and Under 17 Futures players went in the knockout weekend.

Calder Cannons vs. Geelong Falcons

By: Peter Williams

Calder:

#5 Curtis Taylor

Started the game really strongly and even though he had the two goals to his name, he could have had more. After starting quietly in the past two weeks, it was great to see him up and about creating space. He was leading hard up at the footy and looked really dangerous. Importantly, he was zipping around inside 50 forcing ground level pressure as well, including acts that would not be recorded on a stats sheet. Faded out of the game in the last term, so is still looking for that four quarter effort, but got the Cannons going early and was still a target in the third term.

#8 Lachlan Sholl

Was under siege in the final term and ended as one of the Cannons best in defence. He had a couple of moments he would want back again such as trying to kick the ball off the ground instead of picking it up late, but when coming off half-back he looked good. Earlier in the game he had an absolute elite pass across his body coming out of defence hitting up a teammate on the wing. Saved a certain Oscar Brownless goal, jumping up on the line and getting finger tips to it as Brownless’ snap sailed through midway through the last term.

#20 Rhylee West

Did not win a truckload of the ball like he can do on some occasions, but had a high impact per possession game. His stoppage work was first class and his ability to move through congestion seamlessly, was a highlight. He kicked a ripping goal off hands at a stoppage to bend it around the post and in, and just has those highlight-worthy moments. Also made sure the likes of Sam Walsh and Ned McHenry knew he was up for the fight, pestering his opposition fellow AFL Academy members.

#23 Daniel Hanna

Returned to the side after some experience with Essendon’s Victorian Football League (VFL) side, and was one of the top players in the first term. His composure and cleanliness at ground level was good, and he took a number of intercept marks dropping into the hole. It also released Lachlan Sholl and the like to play more free with their game-style off half-back. He almost had a horror moment dropping what appeared to be a standard uncontested mark in the final term, but the kick was called back and he would have breathed a sigh of relief. Showed some promising signs in that key defensive post.

#30 Mitch Podhajski

Did not have his most prolific game, but just stands up when he is called to do so. Kicked an early goal in the opening term and provides a target when forward, or a big body around the stoppages in the middle.

#57 Josh Kemp

An exciting talent who looked very good in the opening term, flying for marks and backing up his highlight-worthy moments with good pressure plays. He had just three touches after quarter time, drifting right out of the game, but does have some exciting traits – that vertical leap being one.

 

Geelong:

#8 Ned McHenry

A terrific game from McHenry, possibly his best for the season. He might have had just the 20 touches, but his ability to stand up when the game was on the line and with the Cannons focused on Sam Walsh, McHenry was terrific. He kicked Geelong’s first major of the game and then nailed the first of the final term – the most important of the game because of the balance between the sides with Calder leading by 11. He swung the momentum back in Geelong’s favour, and was fierce around the stoppages and just turned it on in the second half to be a crucial player.

#20 Brayden Ham

Did not have the scoreboard impact he has had in recent weeks, starting in defence then moving forward in the second half – a trend which has become the norm for Ham over the past month in particular. Ham also spent time in the midfield and did not look out of place around the stoppages. He uses the ball well, has a high impact per possession count, and takes the game on with his blistering speed and huge tank. Had a big third term presenting up the ground and had an opportunity to cut the final break deficit to six with a set shot from tight in the pocket, but just missed. Has become an important player in the Falcons’ outfit.

#22 Sam Walsh

Had limited influence compared to past weeks, but you can never keep him down entirely, showing his class on multiple occasions throughout the four quarters. The big thing with Walsh is, when he cannot impact offensively, he gets his hands dirty defensively, and can switch between the roles. He knew he was copping close attention on the weekend, so he turned it back on his opponents and instead laid multiple tackles and had one of his better defensive games. Walsh’s massive tank allows him to cover the ground and run opponents into it, so he managed to still find the pill in each third of the ground.

#30 Oscar Brownless

Booted a couple of goals and played what has become a typical Oscar Brownless game. Not always the cleanest player, but he just works hard time and time again. He was in the thick of the action when Calder let the Falcons know they were up for the fight, and Brownless booted his goals when the game was hot early. It was his tackling pressure that stood out, locking the ball in and restricting his opponents from an easy exit. Had a snap out of nothing to put the Falcons up by six midway through the last term, but it was touched on the line by Lachlan Sholl.

#36 Charlie Sprague

Such a smart player, he is that hybrid forward who leads out, can take strong marks, but is not lost to the contest when it hits the ground. If anything, his best piece of play was a touch that will not get a statistic, but it was a deft tap on to Ned McHenry in the final term who burst away and nailed the all-important first goal of the quarter. Did not have heaps of opportunities, but nailed a terrific set shot goal in the opening term. Had a goal assist in the final term with a nice chip pass to Jay Dahlhaus 15m out rather than having a snap.

#39 Connor Idun

Had a quiet game up forward, while still presenting. Went into the ruck to start the final term and had an immediate impact by contesting at ground level, and his follow-up work earned him a free kick for a tackle on Rhylee West. Finished with the 10 hitouts, using his body well at throw-ins. The highlight for mine was his tackle in the final term on Lucas Cavallaro leading to Charlie Sprague winning the spilled ball and setting up a Jay Dahlhaus goal.

#41 Cooper Stephens

Showed off his spacial awareness and vision in tight with some fantastic deft handballs to teammates on the outside. He has that knack for not overdoing it, and was able to turn on a dime under pressure. The most eye-catching thing about Stephens is his ability to just play within the tempo of the game because he can blaze away and kick long when required, or take weight off the kick and retain possession for his side when it is needed. Kicked a goal in the final term showing his class, with a snap off one step and using pure instinct.

 

Northern Knights vs. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Northern:

#4 Tom McKenzie

McKenzie brought clean hands to the loose ball and delivered effectively by foot inside 50, having seven effective kicks for the day. McKenzie was unlucky not having his work rewarded through the passage off his seven deliveries inside 50, but regardless his work rate did not waiver. His 20 disposals for the day and 16 uncontested possessions stand as a testament to his ability to cut off the footy (six marks) and create space upfield. Though grabbed a few times, McKenzie did not get dispossessed or brought to ground, withstanding the waves of GWV’s abuse. His invite to the National Combine stands as no surprise when he stand outs as possibly the match’s best player in the losing side.

#8 Adam Carafa

Carafa positioned well around the stoppages, boasting loads of second efforts. He did his best to clean up some of the sloppy work out of the stoppage, laying tackles in succession in the first half. He finished with four clearances, two inside 50s, three rebounds and tied game high 14 contested possessions (Sam Philp). He was unlucky not to hit his shot at goal around the body, but that seemed to be the theme for the Knights’ day.

GWV:

#14 Jed Hill

Hill kicked the first and only goal for the Rebels in the first quarter off a strong lead into the goal square. He followed it up with a second, kicking off GWV’s 37-point second quarter. Hill’s impact continued up the ground, moving swiftly with the ball and creating space with short, effective kicks. Despite not kicking a goal in the second half, Hill kept a strong forward half presence. He worked well around the contest and took three marks (one contested) for the day. He was unlucky not to kick the day’s best goal after taking the ball and kicking from the boundary on the run. If it was not touched on the line, it would have been his.

#21 Izaac Grant

Took a brilliant intercept mark through the passage in the third, opened the ground and delivered the ball well by foot. His delivery by foot was impressive, picking his man well and hitting them up with short, sharp kicks (7 effective kicks). Despite this efficiency, Grant’s two shots on goal both resulted in behinds. Regardless, he helped create these opportunities, which was something the Knights had a lot of trouble doing. Constantly first to the football, Grant snatched up an impressive eight marks (one contested), getting in front of man with a good burst of speed while showing off strong hands over head. He judged the flight of the footy well, especially those hurried out of their defensive 50.

#24 Matty Lloyd

Lloyd delivered the ball well by foot along the wing, easily breaking down the Knights’ forward trap. Six minutes into the second he found space 45 metres out and landed his first goal. Lloyd’s work by foot was immense, delivering the ball well up the field with 10 effective kicks, three inside 50s, two rebounds and 20 disposals. He was pivotal in creating opportunities at goal, even flexing his own talents in front as well. He boasts good composure despite pressure from the Knight’s forward line. This became more evident in the fourth as he collected the ball off the deck from a poor kick and slotted his second goal for the day.

 

Western Jets vs. Eastern Ranges

Western:

By: Ed Pascoe

#17 Daly Andrews

Andrews had a quiet first half but he had one good moment in the first quarter making a nice run and penetrating kick down the line. Andrews started to lift as the team did in the third quarter, he laid a nice tackle and had a few runs on the wing and kicking long effectively on a few occasions. He finished the game well with some nice run around the ground. He had a running shot at goal which he just missed and showed good attack on the contest in the backline winning the hard ball cleanly and dishing off the handball which was a fair effort with the recent rain making the ball harder to handle. Andrews finished with 14 disposals and four inside 50s.

#24 Josh Honey

He has a touch of class with the way he goes about it. Does not need a lot of the ball to have a high impact on the game and is similar to a fellow Jet, in Zak Butters, Can hurt the opposition when he gathers it inside 50, and finished with one goal from 14 disposals.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran

O’Halloran like his teammates had a quiet first half, but he had a great bit of play late in the first quarter bursting from the stoppage with a penetrating kick, then following up bursting away from the opposition and a nice handball out wide. O’Halloran lifted his side in the third quarter to give his team the lead going into the last quarter, he managed to win the ball inside and outside the contest with a few nice kicks on his opposite foot and some hard ball gets at stoppages getting out of tackles with sheer willpower. His best piece of play came in the last quarter where he was able to drift forward to impact a marking contest he would then follow up with a hard tackle and follow the ball up another 25 metres before getting involved in the attacking chain and kicking back inside 50 on his left foot, this really showed off his desire for the contest. O’Halloran finished with 17 disposals, four inside 50s and four tackles.

#38 Buku Khamis

Khamis took the no-fuss approach to his game against Eastern laying plenty of spoils and only running off when necessary. He took plenty of intercept marks during the game, including one in the last quarter showing great courage coming back with the flight and taking a nice grab. Khamis used the ball well on his trusty left foot often hitting targets long and short. Khamis only had nine disposals but he also had five tackles showing off his fantastic defensive work and he will need to bring that next week with the potential matchup against a dangerous Oakleigh forward.

#39 Stefan Radovanovic

Radovanovic played a consistent game over the four quarters playing a number of roles for the team in the midfield and down back and up forward. Radovanovic showed plenty of run throughout the game with a few give and gets from the back half and he used his speed to get separation around the ground. Radovanovic has a running shot at goal but missed in the last quarter which involved his trademark dash, a goal would have been reward for effort. Radovanovic finished the game with 15 disposals, four inside 50s and four tackles.

 

Eastern:

By: Michael Alvaro

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

The bottom-ager was industrious as usual in the engine room, extracting from congestion and tackling hard. He was a regular at the stoppages and found most of his ball there, and while he has a good work rate to get there, Stapleton would do well to find more ball on the outside, too. The midfielder finished with 18 disposals and six tackles.

#11 Mitch Mellis

Mellis was at his productive best across the day, starting on the wing and zipping around the outside of stoppages to compile 31 quality possessions. While he won a good amount of his own ball, Mellis was most often either a link in the chain or the one to push the ball out into space, receiving handballs 16 times and taking four marks. The bottom-ager was one of the better users on the day too, going at 77 per cent overall, and particularly standing out with his 88% handball efficiency. Mellis’ best moments came when gathering and flicking out handballs quickly, while he also darted a nice kick inbound in the opening term which caught the eye.

#31 James Blanck

It’s rare that Blanck ever troubles the statisticians too heavily, but his impact is more often than not valuable. He started off a little shakily with a dropped mark inside defensive 50, but quickly bounced back to show his composure and excellent decision making – reading the ball well in the air and coming off his man to good effect. His intercept mark in the opening quarter led to a Ranges goal, and Blanck found himself in the right spot to intercept once again in the following term to provide the catalyst for another opportunity. He finished with a nice one on one mark in the final term to cap off a solid, but not perfect day.

 

Murray Bushrangers vs. Bendigo Pioneers

Murray:

By: Craig Byrnes

#2 Jordan Butts

It was a solid outing by the overage forward who was born on the last day of the millennium, despite not hitting the scoreboard. He plays in front and constantly presents on the lead, giving his midfielders an option to lower their eyes to. It saw him take a respectable eight marks from his 18 disposals, proving to possess strong hands on occasions. He is a nice field kick for his size too, hitting Boyer inside 50 earlier in the game with a brilliantly weighted pass. Butts was a tad fumbly at times below his knees, but produced enough moments to suggest he has improved.

#5 Ely Smith

The prolific big-bodied midfielder won a game high 29 disposals and was making his presence known in and around the stoppages as usual. He is incredibly strong and at times is happy to run directly through an opponent, knowing they won’t be able to hold him, instead of attempting to get around. This successful tactic often left Bendigo opponents on their backsides, as Smith forcefully broke through to continue running or release the ball by hand. While his possessions were not always influential or pretty, he has that knack of finding the ball and does all he can to get it forward.

#6 Will Chandler

The bottom-aged New South Welshman still does not turn 17 for a few months, but is showing promising signs in the forward half. He leads to dangerous positions and loves to turn onto his left boot. It could have been a very fruitful day if he was more accurate in front of goal, kicking three behinds, but is coming along nicely and he is one to look out for next year.

#7 Zane Barzen

Barzen continues to drift in and out of games, but those occasional glimpses of talent are forever making you think what ceiling he possesses and what he can become at the next level. He has natural instincts that you really cannot teach, as shown when he snapped a lovely left foot goal in the first term, movements that are not generally associated with 193cm kids. He kicked a second goal from a well read intercept mark inside 50, but was missing for long periods in between. The talent is there.

#9 Mathew Walker

The GWS Academy prospect generally gives hints of the attributes that are transferrable to the next level, but he displayed those skills on a more consistent basis on Sunday. Whether it was forward or at the stoppages, he had an impact on the game, collecting 21 disposals, seven clearances and most importantly hit the scoreboard with three goals. He has genuine goal sense inside 50, slicing the goals with a snap, inside out banana on the run and a lovely long set shot. He was clean in the contest or at the stoppages, often getting forward of centre and kicking efficiently to scoring positions. While he does not appear to be blessed with great pace, he has a solid frame to grow into and could become a bit of a bargain later in the draft.

#12 Lachlan Ash

Ash is going to be a player highly sought after in 2019 and did not do anything to hurt that reputation on Sunday. Starting in defence, he got in ball winning positions and made excellent decisions as we’ve become accustomed to. He spent more time forward as the game went on, kicking two goals including a brilliantly crumbed effort in the third term. He is underrated in the air too, taking two contested marks and competing whenever the opportunity presented. Exciting talent.

#16 Nick Murray

The Murray Bushrangers skipper is a tad underrated when discussing the key position defender options for the upcoming draft, despite earning himself a state combine invite. His strength is reading the ball in the air, where he is capable of taking high intercept contested marks as shown twice on Sunday. If he cannot mark the ball, he looks to impact a contest with aggression, generally killing the ball and taking bodies with him. While clubs want their KPDs taller than 193cm these days, he still could have something to offer if he ends up on a list.

#18 Hudson Garoni

The thick-framed key position forward started the game in a lively manner, presenting up to the ball and was often rewarded on the lead. He hit a nice pass inside 50 and looked to be playing a very team oriented role by feeding his teammates as opposed to kicking the goals himself. He took a particularly strong contested intercept in the third term, but drifted out of it a little as time wore on. Still ended up with 18 disposals and seven marks, but was goalless.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

The underage Boyer looks a solid prospect for next year, despite having quiet patches on Sunday. He spent time in defence and forward, getting on the end of a pass inside 50 during the second which he couldn’t convert. He is a really well balanced player and appears a calming influence with ball in hand.

#26 Riley Bice

Starting mostly on the wing, Bice is a player the Bushrangers want with ball in hand. He is an exquisite left foot kick and makes great decisions too. He has good height at 185cm and despite being extremely light, tackles hard as shown in the fourth term. He doesn’t win huge amounts of the ball, but doesn’t have to as he’ll make things happen more often than not. He is an interesting player who probably just needs one big outing to get more clubs on board.

 

Bendigo:

By: Ed Pascoe

#4 Jye Caldwell

Caldwell was the player most came to see at Ikon Park, with the highly touted midfielder starting the game superbly showing his class with his kicking to teammates advantage and his work by hand often hitting them with speed and precision. He had a nice bit of play in the middle of the ground where he stood up in a tackle and managed to keep his composure and fire out a nice handball. Caldwell looked every bit a first round prospect before injury struck again with another hamstring injury very late in the first quarter, Caldwell had six disposals in the first quarter and looked set for a productive game.

#8 Brodie Kemp

Kemp was left to fill the hole that Caldwell left after his injury, Kemp was the main playmaker for Bendigo showing off his class in the contest. He dropped an easy mark in the first quarter but his spin out of trouble to follow up was sublime, Kemp came off in the second quarter looking wobbly which spelled disaster for Bendigo but he managed to come back and better than ever playing behind the ball using his smarts and play making ability. He showed plenty of dash which was impressive for a bottom age player standing at 193cm, despite one poor kick his kicking was sublime out of defence and his follow up work to try and tackle was admirable. Kemp finished with 23 disposals, eight marks and seven tackles, and he was the clear best player for Bendigo and he looks to be their number one prospect in the 2019 draft.

Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup – Wildcard Round

WILDCARD Round is done and won, and four sides are out of the premiership race. While Geelong Falcons, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets advance to the finals, Calder Cannons, Northern Knights, Eastern Ranges and Bendigo Pioneers seasons are over.

 

Calder Cannons 8.7 (55) defeated by Geelong Falcons 8.8 (56)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

In one of the games of the year, and for a second week in a row, the Geelong Falcons snare a come from behind victory against the Calder Cannons to eliminate them from the finals race. Struggling to capitalise with their scoring shots in the third, the Falcons turned the tables in the final term, kicking three goals to one and winning from an 11-point deficit at the break. The Cannons’ big third quarter effort put them ahead and gave them the largest lead of the game. Neither team was ever out of the race, but in the end, it was a behind and the Falcons’ defensive pressure that snatched away the victory.

Cooper Stephens was instrumental with three rebounds, four inside 50s, five clearances, a game-high 27 disposals and a final quarter goal. Co-captain Sam Walsh finished similarly with four rebounds, three inside 50s, five clearances and 26 disposals racking up an impressive 16 contested possessions. Sam Conway dominated in the ruck with 27 hit outs, beating the Cannons’ total hit outs of 25 on his own. Jay Dahlhaus (16 disposals, five marks, five inside 50s and two goals), Oscar Brownless (18 disposals, four clearances and two goals) and Ned McHenry (20 disposals and two goals) impressed in front of goals, with Doyle Madigan (23 disposals, 15 contested, four clearances and two inside 50) also proving very dominating.

Will Jury had a strong performance with a game high 16 contested possessions (19 disposals), three marks (one contested), five clearances and six inside 50s. Lachlan Sholl (23 disposals, six marks, two inside 50s and one clearance), Brodie Newman (13 disposals, six marks and four rebounds) and Daniel Hanna (16 disposals and seven marks) all presented strong overhead. Curtis Taylor (11 disposals and five marks) and Jake Riccardi (12 disposals, three marks, six hitouts, three clearances and four inside 50s) kicked two goals each, while Jacob Martin (17 disposals, four clearances and six inside 50s) and Rhylee West (12 disposals, six clearances, five inside 50s and one goal) were among the best for the Cannons. 

 

Northern Knights (3.4.22) defeated by Greater Western Victoria Rebels (14.7.91)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Finals are now well and truly over for the Northern Knights after being handed a smashing by the GWV Rebels at MARS Stadium. Though only a point between them come the second quarter, the GWV lifted to produce a 37-point second quarter, with seven shots on goal to two. The third proved just as disappointing for the Knights with just the one point scored for the quarter, summing up a rather dismal performance with 21 scoring shots to seven.

Riely Ranieri’s work in the Rebels’ defensive half was extremely pivotal in their win, racking up 19 disposals (11 contested), four clearances, and seven rebounds. Matt Schnerring boasted a team-high 22 disposals, moving the ball well with three inside 50s and two rebounds, and contributed to their big second quarter with a late goal. Matty Lloyd capped off a solid game with 20 disposals and kicked two big goals, with Scott Carlin close behind on 19 disposals, five clearances and two goals of his own. Jed Hill and Harrison Butler also put two each on the board, while Patrick Glanford (11 disposals, 27 hit outs, four clearances and three inside 50s) performed well in the ruck alongside Darcy McEldrew (18 hitouts).

Despite their poor showing, the Northern Knights still had plenty of strong performers on the day. Sam Philp had a game-high 23 disposals and dominated out of the stoppages with 9 clearances. Philp moved the ball well to collect six inside 50s for the match. Similarly, Tom McKenzie delivered well with his seven inside 50s, showcased his strong hands (six marks) and got a bit of footy with 20 disposals. Adam Carafa (four clearances, two inside 50s, three rebounds), Josh D’Intinosante (three clearances, three inside 50s, two rebounds), Jackson Davies (four clearances, four inside 50s and three inside 50s) and Braedyn Gillard (10 contested possessions, three clearances and three inside 50s) also had considerable impacts.

 

Western Jets 12.12 (84) defeated Eastern Ranges 7.4 (46)

By: Michael Alvaro

Western Jets survived an early Eastern Ranges onslaught to claim a 38-point win and earn their spot in the TAC Cup final eight. The sixth-place Jets had every reason to be nervous coming into the game against second-last Eastern given both sides outside of the top eight beat their more fancied counterparts in the previous day’s play, and that fear would have been heightened as the Ranges stormed out to a first half lead. Three first half majors to bottom ager Ben Hickleton put Eastern in good stead, as they put on five straight goals to open the game and kept Western goalless in the second term to hold a 16-point buffer at the main break.

Their run came to a grinding halt once the ball went down to start the third term, as key Western ball-winners Xavier O’Halloran and Morrish Medal runner-up Connor Thar came into the game, with Stefan Radovanovic solid down back and Emerson Jeka providing a target forward of centre. Western jetted into the lead with four goals to none in the third term, and kept their form in the last as they piled on another five to Eastern’s one.

For the winners, O’Halloran (17 disposals, four tackles) stepped up when it counted, while Thar (32 disposals, six tackles, four marks nd one goal) was arguably their best. The Western forward line was dangerous as ever too, with Daniel Pantalleresco and Jeka claiming three majors each, while 23rd man Cassius White was also dangerous, booting two.

In one of Eastern’s better displays, Kye Quirk continued to rack up the possessions with 24 touches, 10 handball receives and six marks, while Joel Burleigh and Xavier Fry were their main ball-winners with 32 touches each. Bottom ager Hickleton also impressed with his three goals, finding himself in good areas inside 50.

The Jets now face an in-form Oakleigh side full of stars in the first week of finals, while Eastern’s season ends on the back of a fighting effort.

 

Murray Bushrangers 9.18 (72) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 6.9 (45)

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers rounded out the TAC Cup wildcard round with a comfortable, yet wasteful 27-point win over Bendigo Pioneers. Having been booted out of the top four in the last two rounds, the Bushies looked to have learned a lesson from the previous wildcard games as the favourites broke out to a 22-point lead to open the game, keeping the Pio’s goalless.

To Bendigo’s credit, they didn’t give in and hit back with three goals of their own in the second term to reduce the margin to 12 points at the main break. Neither side could really snatch a good run of momentum, as the buffer stayed at a steady three-four goals going into the final break – with Bendigo’s accuracy (6.4) keeping them within reach in quarters two and three as Murray complied a wasteful 5.8 in comparison.

But the class of Murray proved too much as they held on with a further 1.5 in the fourth quarter to shut out the trying contest and their nagging opposition. Ely Smith continued his good form in the midfield to be named Murray’s best with 29 disposals and six tackles, while Mathew Walker (21 disposals, nine tackles, six marks and three goals) was not far behind. Zane Barzen and Lachlan Ash were the Bushranger’s other multiple goal kickers with two each, with the latter also gathering 20 disposals in a more advanced role.

For Bendigo, Jacob Atley was the clear standout up forward as he collected 21 disposals and marked well while claiming half of his side’s six goals. Liam Marciano was also industrious with his 27 disposals, six tackles and five marks and one goal, while Bailey Henderson (22 disposals and six marks) was also solid. Jye Caldwell also showed some brilliant glimpses before unfortunately injuring his hamstring.

Murray will go on to face the Sandringham side which snatched their top-four spot in what looks like being a tantalising contest.

Weekend Previews: TAC Cup – Wild Card Round

FOR players of four TAC Cup sides, they will run out for the final time this weekend with the new concept of a Wild Card Round giving every team the chance of winning a premiership, regardless of finishing position during the season. The four games will be played across two days, with a Double Header at MARS Stadium on Saturday, before a Double Header takes place at Ikon Park on Sunday.

 

CALDER CANNONS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Wild Card Round – Saturday, September 1, 11:30am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

It will be a case of déjà vu for fans who make the trip to MARS Stadium tomorrow. The Calder Cannons take on the Geelong Falcons at 11.30am, an identical match, time and place of their Round 16 clash a week ago. In that game, the Falcons proved too good, coming from behind at quarter time to run away with the game before the Cannons kicked back to go down by just 15 points. Arguably the Falcons should have won by more, as despite having 29 scoring shots to 19, they ended the match with an inaccurate 11.18 for the match. Co-captain Sam Walsh was a clear best on ground. Brayden Ham, while inaccurate in front of goal with 1.4, was exciting in the forward half, as was Connor Idun. Cooper Stephens and Ned McHenry were tough on the inside, while Cooper Cartledge and Charlie Sprague played their roles up their respective ends. For the Cannons, Rhylee West was sensational drifting forward to boot three goals, while Daniel Mott and Mitch Podhajski were strong through the midfield, with Podhajski getting forward to finish with two goals. Harrison Jones enjoyed a great game in the ruck, while Lachlan Sholl and Brodie Newman continue to impress behind the ball. Daniel Hanna has been named in the Cannons’ extended team, and will be a crucial inclusion to take a tall in the Falcons forward line, allowing the smaller rebounders to create more run out of defence. Geelong rightfully hold favouritism after last week, and pushing the minor premiers the week before, but both these teams are sleepers in the premiership race, and it is somewhat disappointing one has to go.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Wild Card Round – Saturday, September 1, 2:00pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The second game marks the third time that the Northern Knights will travel to MARS Stadium for the season to tackle the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The venue holds no fears for the Knights, who have been victorious twice, once with a come-from-behind victory in Round 9 by four points, and then again in Round 12 when they won by 22 points. In the first encounter, it took until the 21st minute of the final term for the Northern Knights to hit the front for just the second time that day, with a Patrik Della Rocca goal. That was also the breakout game for bottom-ager Izaac Grant, who booted seven of the Rebels’ nine goals for the day. Elliott Lamb, Scott Carlin and Lochie Dawson were named the Rebels best on the day with Grant, while for the Knights, James Lucente‘s five majors saw him named the best, along with Della Rocca and Stefan Uzelac. In the second encounter, Sunny Brazier and Charlie Wilson booted three goals for their respective sides, while Cooper Craig-Peters and Patrick Glanford were the Rebels’ best. Adam Carafa had a day out with 37 disposals, while speedster Lachlan Potter was also impressive. On form, the Knights will head in as favourites, but some crucial inclusions for the Rebels in Carlin, Grant and Craig-Peters should be equally as important as Lucente and Ryan Sturgess for Northern.

 

WESTERN JETS v. EASTERN RANGES

Wild Card Round – Sunday, September 2, 11:00am
Ikon Park, Carlton North

On Sunday, the Western Jets will take on the Eastern Ranges in a game that is one of two that should be fairly straight forward. As we have seen with finals or pre-finals however, anything can happen and regular season form means nothing now that we are at the knockout stage of the season. Eastern had just the two wins, but pushed Western all the way back in the only encounter between the sides this season. In blustery Williamstown, the Ranges led throughout the match and only trailed by a goal at the final break – mostly due to the Jets inaccuracy, booting 2.12. The home side found its kicking boots in the final term however, booting five goals to one and ran away with the 31-point win. Steven Kyriazis booted two goals that day, while Zak Butters earned best on ground honours (he will not be out there this weekend) and Connor Thar and Stefan Radovanovic were also impressive. Billy McCormack was the multiple goalkicker for Eastern, while Jarrod Gilbee, James Ross and Mitch Mellis were the top Ranges. Mellis will be the only one of the trio playing on Sunday, with Eastern hoping to cause an upset. The winner will face Oakleigh Chargers in the elimination final, so will want to hit the game with some great form.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Wild Card Round – Sunday, September 2, 1:30pm
Ikon Park, Carlton North

Murray Bushrangers were the side unlucky to drop out of the top four race, but by being the top-seeded team in the Wild Card Round, they take on the bottom-placed Bendigo Pioneers. The Pioneers have just had the two wins so far this season, while the Bushrangers won both their previous encounters against Bendigo. Murray won by 57 points in Round 2 up in Shepparton, before claiming a 40-point win at Queen Elizabeth Oval in Round 9. In the first game, Laitham Vandermeer was named best on ground, with the injured speedster not able to be out there on the weekend, but his partner in crime that day, Lachlan Ash will be, as will Nick Murray who was impressive in defence. Noah Wheeler was unsurprisingly named best for the Pioneers with another top performance, while Jye Caldwell amassed 24 disposals and laid seven tackles in his only TAC Cup game until last weekend. He will be crucial for the Pioneers this weekend if they are to get the upset, however the Bushrangers look to be too strong on season form. In the second encounter, Ely Smith was best on ground with 28 disposals and nine tackles, while Jordon Butts slotted six goals in a terrific effort up forward. Oscar Perez and Zane Keighran booted two goals each, while ruck Daniel Keating was named the Pioneers’ top player. With no Wheeler, Keighran or Keating this weekend, it will be a big ask for the Pioneers to get up, but there is no coming back.