Tag: Marcus Lentini

VFL weekly wrap: Dolphins come close

ROUND 5 of the Victorian Football League (VFL) saw Essendon and Richmond remain the only two undefeated sides in the competition, with the Bombers occupying top spot on a mammoth percentage.

Northern Blues 12.17 (89) defeated North Melbourne 7.10 (52)

North Melbourne started off the better of the two sides and looked on track to record their first win of the season, before the Blues reeled them back in and put on a final quarter to remember, winning by 37 points. The Kangaroos led for the majority of the first half, only slipping up just before the main break. They wrestled the lead back at three-quarter time, however from that point on it was all the Blues as they kicked 6 goals to none. Sam Fisher and Dan Robinson had the most touches on the ground with 27, while Curtis Taylor and Noah Wheeler kicked three goals each.

Essendon 13.16 (94) defeated Geelong 7.10 (52)

The curtain raiser to the Country Match at the MCG was anticlimactic as the Bombers boosted their percentage with a 42-point victory. Essendon took the lead midway through the first term and never looked back. Trent Mynott kicked three goals for the red and black. Charlie Constable won 25 disposals while Ryan Abbott dominated in the ruck following Sam Draper‘s unfortunate ACL injury, kicking two goals from 19 disposals and notching up 37 hitouts.

Coburg 12.7 (79) defeated by Port Melbourne 12.13 (85)

With a score worm that looks like the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Borough recorded an almighty comeback win at Piranha Park. Trailing by 37 points at half-time, Gary Ayres’ men fought back to win by six points. It was Campbell Walker‘s goal that gave Port the lead, and they would hold on in a tense last five minutes to claim the four points. Steven Stroobants had kicked one of his four goals a minute earlier to give the Lions back the lead. Tom O’Sullivan had 30 disposals while Shannen Lange had 28 and kicked a goal. Liam Dickson was best afield for the home side with 25 disposals, closely followed by Marcus Lentini with 24.

Casey 8.11 (59) defeated by Footscray 11.10 (76)

Casey seemed to drop dead at half time, barely putting up a fight as they relinquished their lead and the four points to the Bulldogs. The Demons trailed by 25 points early in the first term but fought back to lead by 2 points at the main break. Footscray then booted four goals to none in the third term to set up the victory. Bailey Williams recorded 29 disposals, while Tom Boyd booted three goals as he continues his return to football. Sam Weideman responded to his AFL non-selection with two goals and 21 disposals in a solid outing for Casey.

Williamstown 4.10 (34) defeated by Richmond 12.13 (85)

The Tigers led from the first bounce to the final siren, securing a big win away from home against the Seagulls. Richmond restricted Williamstown to just one goal at the three-quarter time break as they romped to a 51-point win. Dan Butler and Jake Aarts kicked three goals each while Maibor Chol added two. Mitch Hibberd had 27 touches for the Seagulls as Sam Dunell and Patty Naish each recorded 23 disposals.

Sandringham 11.12 (78) defeated Frankston 12.4 (76)

Football returned to Moorabbin for the first time in over a decade as the Zebras turned around a half-time deficit to deny the Dolphins their first victory of the season. Frankston led by as much as 16 points early in the third term after Sandy led by as much at quarter time. It was the Zebras’ six goal third quarter that gave them the win, despite the Dolphins holding them scoreless in the final term. Luke Dunstan was best afield with 32 disposals and a goal, while David Armitage also kicked a goal to go along with his 25 touches. Dolphins captain, Josh Newman led from the front with 26 disposals. Frankston’s forward line showed glimpses of what’s to come as Yilber Zijai kicked four goals from four kicks, while Shem Tatupu slotted home three.

Bye – Box Hill, Werribee, Collingwood

Picture: VFL.com.au

Photo: VFL

VFL weekly wrap: Port returns home in style

GEELONG, Port Melbourne, Sandringham, and Coburg all won their first games of the season in Round 3 of the Victorian Football League (VFL), as Essendon claimed top spot despite having played a game less than half of the competition.

North Melbourne 5.10 (40) defeated by Essendon 20.14 (134)

The horror start to the season for North Melbourne continued as they were thrashed by the Bombers at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday. While the first term was relatively even, Essendon took full control in the second quarter and never looked back, kicking seven goals to two. Jayden Laverde slammed home six goals from 19 disposals in an encouraging performance, while Trent Mynott racked up 25 disposals and slotted two goals. Dan Robinson continued his good form for the Kangaroos with 29 disposals as Nathan Hrovat chimed in with 28 touches.

Werribee 12.9 (81) defeated by Geelong 12.12 (84)

The double header at Avalon Airport Oval continued with the battle of the west. Geelong managed to sneak home despite a last-quarter comeback by the Tigers, who nearly snatched the win after kicking five goals to one in the final term. Darcy Fort kicked three goals for the Cats while Jake Riccardi managed three for the home side. Werribee’s Tom Gribble notched up 31 disposals and James Parsons won the most footy for Geelong with 26 touches.

Collingwood 11.11 (77) defeated by Northern Blues 11.14 (80)

Josh Fraser again returned to Victoria Park as coach to haunt his old side as the Blues came from behind to defeat arch-rivals, Collingwood. The Magpies had a slight ascendency at every break, however, they couldn’t hold on in the final term as Patrick Kerr’s third goal of the day sealed the four points for the Blues. Matthew Kennedy put a bad week behind him to register 22 disposals, while Rupert Wills and Alex Woodward were on fire for the Pies, with 32 and 31 respectively. Tim Broomhead kicked three goals for the Pies while Daniel Wells managed two.

Port Melbourne 12.17 (89) defeated Box Hill 8.17 (65)

On their return to Adcon Stadium, the Borough stunned last years’ premiers Box Hill to hand the Hawks their first loss of the season. Port Melbourne flew out of the blocks, kicking five goals to one in the opening term, and never looked back. Dylan Conway and Tom O’Sullivan both kicked three goals for the home side, while Ben Jolley recorded 25 disposals and Teia Miles slotted two goals for the Hawks.

Sandringham 14.8 (92) defeated Williamstown 9.14 (68)

A dominant third quarter paved the way for Sandringham’s first win of the season as they defeated the Seagulls at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. The Zebras kicked away towards the end of the first half and continued that form into the second, restricting Williamstown to only one goal in the third term. Hunter Clark was dominant for the home side with 28 disposals and a goal while Durras Seccull, brother of captain Bede, kicked four goals on debut. Adam Marcon had 28 disposals for Williamstown while Nick Rodda and Jaylon Thorpe kicked three goals each.

Coburg 20.18 (138) defeated Frankston 9.9 (63)

What many were expecting to be match of the round turned into a fizzer, as Coburg trounced the Dolphins at Piranha Park. It was once again the third term that did the most damage to Frankston, as the Lions banged home nine goals to two. Peter McEvoy kicked six goals for Coburg while Sam Lowson chimed in with three. Marcus Lentini was the leading ball winner with 28 disposals as Josh Newman continued to lead the Dolphins with 25. Nathan Freeman appeared injured as he only managed the three touches and didn’t spend much time in the midfield.

Bye – Casey, Richmond, Footscray

Photo: VFL.com.au

TAC Cup finals preview: Oakleigh Chargers vs. Northern Knights

IT is that time of year again where the best sides take to the field and determine which TAC Cup clubs are contenders and which are pretenders. In the past years, the junior competition has seen the finals series take on the identical look to that of the AFL, but in 2017, the finals will be three weeks of pure knockout. The first two games to kick off the round are first taking on eighth and third taking on sixth. So without further adue, we take a look at the first match of the finals series.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Northern Knights

Oakleigh: 1st, 15-3, 1653 points for, 993 points against, 166%
Northern: 8th, 7-10-1, 1164 points for, 1383 points against, 84%

On face value alone it is clear to see why the Chargers will head into this clash as strong favourites. They have amassed double the amount of points compared to Northern in the home and away season over 18 rounds and come in with a three-game winning streak, including two beltings over Bendigo Pioneers and Eastern Ranges. The Chargers’ three losses came against Western Jets, Geelong Falcons and Sandringham Dragons, with the Jets’ loss the only one since the end of April for the Chargers.

On the other hand, the Knights did not have the run home they would have liked. A huge 39-point win over finalists Murray Bushrangers in round 17 disguised a formline that would worry the Knights coaching staff, with five losses from their last six games. The last time these two sides met, Oakleigh triumphed 16.14 (110) to Northern’s 4.2 (26) in a pretty comprensive victory, holding the Knights to just two goals in each half, while running away with it in the second half.

What was most impressive about that win was the fact the Chargers were missing star and Morrish Medallist Jack Higgins – who has been withdrawn from today’s match with a shoulder injury – as well as Toby Wooller, the clubs’ two leading goal kickers. But the likes of Matthew Day (24 disposals, eight tackles, two goals), Lachlan Bugeja (24 disposals – 18 contested, seven clearances, five inside 50s) and Daniel Stanford (16 disposals, nine marks and four goals) all stood up, while Matthew King was a rock in defence with seven rebounds, and Jordan Troani played further up the field with 12 marks and four inside 50s from 21 disposals.

For the Knights, they too were missing a host of stars including top 10 draft pick Nick Coffield, speedsters Jack Petruccelle and Ethan Penrith, and the exciting Patrick Naish to name a few. Marcus Lentini had 34 disposals and six marks to lead the way, while Mitchell Andrews racked up 30 disposals, seven marks and six rebounds in the game. Oliver Stapleton (26 disposals, seven rebounds) and Jamison Shea (23 disposals and eight marks were others that stood up in the heavy defeat to the Knights.

Key Players today:

Toby Wooller (Oakleigh Chargers) – 17.7 disposals, 5.5 marks, 2.1 hitouts, 4.6 tackles, 2.7 goals per game

Without Higgins, Wooller will be the man the Chargers turn to for their goals and he will also play an important role leading up onto the wing. He has been in fantastic form all season, booting 40 goals, and still winning plenty of the football and most importantly laying some strong tackles.

Patrick Naish (Northern Knights) 18.7 disposals, 4.1 marks, 2.7 tackles, 1.7 goals per game

There were a number of players I could have highlighted here, but Naish is the one I feel could hold the key for the Knights. He has started in defence recently, but has the capability of going forward and kicking goals, which I think he will need to if they are to kick a winning score.

Last word:

For Northern to win, they need to play smart football and get goals out of their midfielders because that is how Oakleigh has been so successful this season. For the Chargers, Higgins will be a big loss, but the structures and ability of others to stand up has been on show all season, and that is why Oakleigh is my tip in today’s game.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 16

ROUND 16 of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend – with all teams at full strength following the conclusion of school football. We had scouts watching all six games, read their notes below.


Northern Knights vs. Western Jets (Michael Alvaro)

Northern Knights:

#2 Mitchell Andrews – Put on the long sleeves in the second half and didn’t look back, racking up the ball with ease from half back to the wing. Played a settling role for the Knights throughout the game and did well to break the lines in bringing his side forward. Showed good poise and even chimed in with a goal on the back of a 50-meter penalty

#5 Marcus Lentini – Played the role he’s been so consistent at all year for the Knights – mopping up between midfield and half back and setting up attacks with penetrating kicks. Showed good improvement in his decision making and short kicking accuracy too, while doing all the hard stuff that coaches love. Has the valuable quality of being able to play well in both wet and dry conditions

#8 Nick Coffield – The skipper produced another decent outing, acting as sergeant of the Knight’s back half. He was able to again show off his poise and class in-close, while also displaying his quick step and good turn of pace on the outside. Was prolific by foot as usual and tried his best to use his skill to settle the fast-paced game. Unfortunately, he gave away two uncharacteristic and costly free kicks in the final quarter that ended up handing Western the game – one was a very stiff deliberate rushed behind call, and the other a holding the ball decision. That shouldn’t take anything away from his solid game and overall credentials and is firmly in the top 10 mix.

#9 Alex Federico – Started off like a house on fire with 10 disposals and a handful of tackles in the first quarter. He continued that form and was probably the best for the Knights throughout the day, cracking in and winning the ball relentlessly. Attended most of the centre bounces and willed himself at the ball at each one, while making sure to follow up and not give his opponents an inch. Showed signs of the good outside traits he’s always had, too, and found targets with ease.

#11 Ethan Penrith – Was another who started the game well with half-a-dozen touches and a set shot goal in the first term. While he often drifts in and out of games, his pressure allows him to make his presence be felt on the field. You’d think opposition coaches would tell their players to take on anyone but Penrith, but he continues to wrap up players in great tackles to win the ball back. While he excels in that area, he just lacks a bit of polish in his disposal and decision making.

#18 Jamo Shea – Was very quiet for most of the game playing as a key forward, but dragged the Knights back into the game with his three second-half goals. Took his opportunities when they came but otherwise struggled to get going, along with the likes of Patrick Naish and Matt Harman.

Western Jets:

#11 Zak Butters – A member of the strong Western bottom-age contingent, Butters was reliable in the moments that counted. Most notably, he brought down Knights skipper Nick Coffiled late in the last quarter, allowing Cam Rayner to take the advantage and kick the sealing goal. Provided a wealth of drive for the Jets between the wing and half forward with his speed on the outside and grunt on the inside – despite his size. And while his name suggests otherwise, he showed a clean pair of hands in trying conditions.

#12 Connor Thar – Another bottom-ager, Thar backed up his performance for the Under 17 Vic Metro side with a solid outing here. Switching characteristically between defence and attack, the classy small provided plenty of run for the Jets on the outside. He isn’t afraid to take on an opponent (or three) and he regularly put his step to good use, buying himself time and space with ease.

#14 Lachlan Fogarty  Was arguably best afield in the first half as he won plenty of the ball and hit the scoreboard with two majors. Demonstrated a good work rate to find space in the forward 50 where not many can, and then put on a show of overhead marking to get full reward for his efforts. He’s another one who showed good desire in the contest while it was up for grabs, but sometimes got ahead of himself and gave away an undisciplined 50-meter penalty in the second half.

#19 Cameron Rayner – Rayner did his chances of snaring top spot in this year’s draft no harm with an impressive best-on-ground performance. He was slow to get going and the second quarter rain halted his ability to mark overhead momentarily, but he came to life after that. Chimed in with a couple of clutch goals to will his side over the line and continued to show signs of an improved work rate with some big efforts around the ground. He managed to do all of that and even throw in a typical fend off with a fractured thumb – freakish.

#26 Darcy Cassar – One who came from left-field, Cassar was as composed and assured as you’ll ever see a 16-year old be. With four first-half goals and an eye-catching set of locks, Cassar proved a real handful for the Knights defence all day and really took control of the half-forward line. He’s very clean with ball in hand and quite smart in the way he moves – certainly one to keep an eye on.

#38 Buku Khamis – Khamis is a late-comer to footy, but he looked like a natural out there today. Took some impressive grabs in defence, intercepting a lot of the long balls that went in and then setting up his side on the rebound. Uses the ball well by foot and is a promising, versatile talent for 2018’s draft.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Sandringham Dragons (Matt Balmer)

Oakleigh Chargers:

#6 Matthew Day – Had a very quiet first quarter, but impacted in the second quarter with multiple clearances on the inside. Has a burst of speed that can help him to burst away when he collects the ball. Took a nice mark in the fourth quarter, judging it better than his opponents.

#7 Charlie Thompson – Played as a strong bodied inside midfielder. Is willing to use it off either foot when going forward and is follow up is superb. Has good clean hands in close and kicked a good goal in the second quarter after his 2nd efforts saw him able to intercept the ball.

#8 Toby Wooller – Made a very good tackle on Andrew Brayshaw and should’ve been rewarded with a holding the ball call in the opening quarter. Took some marks throughout the contest – including a very nice sliding mark in four quarter with his shot missing on goal. Also intercepted a kick from Charlie Constable close to full time deep inside 50.

#14 Ed Richards – Took majority of the kickouts for the Chargers and used his pinpoint left foot to find a target short. On some occasions he played on and used his zip to gain 25 metres and bang it long. Had a nice early run down the broadcast wing in the first quarter and used his clean hands to find targets in the contest. Had a good contested knock-on to Jack Higgins that set up a goal in the last quarter. Also spent time playing as an inside midfielder, mostly in the final term.

#35 Jack Higgins – Spent a lot of time as a small forward and finished with three goals for the match. Laid some strong tackles and his defensive smothers were very good – including two in quick succession showing his desperation. Showed off his contested marking ability inside 50 as the game progressed. Won a free for ‘ducking’ close to goal and did his trademark ‘Stevie J’ run around snap to slot the goal with ease.

Sandringham Dragons:

#1 Lachlan Harris – Has played as an inside midfielder for Caulfield Grammar but returned playing as a small forward for the Dragons. Marked early in the game from 20 metres out and slotted the goal. He was willing to block to help his teammates and showed off some speed at times. Roved a nice tap in the third quarter but didn’t have time to get a shot on target. Finished with two goals for the day.

#6 Charlie Constable – Won a stack of the ball and used it well by hand and foot. Had a few chances on goal from 55 metres but just fell a few metres short into the wind. Had a nice rebound 50 in the second term that got the Dragons running down the far wing at RAMS Arena. His contested mark right on half time allowed him to go back and slot the chance giving them some momentum into the main break. Had another very good centre clearance in the last quarter and did his top 10 chances no harm.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Like Constable, would’ve won a lot of the football. What is noticeable is his contested ball winning and he weaves very well in tight spaces. His vision is good and he hits targets with ease. He worked hard defensively and was able to win the ball in multiple positions around the ground. Has a bit of zip in the midfield and could well push into the Top 10 come draft night.

#12 Jackson Hille – Played as a defender for the Dragons and possesses good hands in close. Was able to break free and rundown the wing in the opening quarter and his offensive work is good. At times he can get caught out with his defensive positioning and that is one area that he will improve as he spends more time in defence. Has a long right foot kick.

#24 Sam Cameron – Showed some speed across half back and has very good agility. Switched the ball well early in the contest and was composed with ball in hand. Is willing to use it off either foot.

Eastern Ranges vs. Calder Cannons 

Eastern Ranges:

#2 Thomas North – Played through the midfield and was able to find the ball at ease. He used it well on his left foot and had hurt factor with his disposals.

#6 Ryley Stoddart – The Vic Metro defender is in stellar form at the moment, after being one of the Ranges’ best against Sandringham Dragons. He started back against Calder, but worked himself up the ground – finishing up forward with two goals. He impacted the play throughout the day and was again in the best players.

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – Again spent time in the midfield after being the best player on the ground against Sandringham Dragons. Won the footy in contested situations and was able to find targets ahead of him.

#18 Sam Hayes – Was the clear best ruckman throughout the day winning a lot of taps. For the second game in a row had a more of an athletic ruckman (Balta) that attempted to jump over him at times, but he was able to compete strongly using his strength around the ground. Also pushed forward to boot two goals.

#22 Jackson Ross – Ross booted 29 goals for Haileybury in the APS competition and left no doubts to recruiters on Saturday, that he has the ability to dominate at not just school level. Ross booted five goals in a best-on-ground display, covering the ground well and finding the football. A very athletic type, he is a player to keep an eye on.

Calder Cannons:

#12 Noah Balta – Has been trialled in different positions for the Cannons this season, but played in the attacking half of the ground. Balta booted two goals up forward and completed well in the ruck against Sam Hayes, in what was a good battle when they went against each other. Showed his athletic traits off throughout the contest.

#20 Rhylee West – Found the ball easily through the midfield and was able to get the ball moving forward. Has a strong build below his waist and is able to stay standing when he is tackles.

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers (Peter Williams)

Geelong Falcons:

#4 Gryan Miers – Miers played predominantly forward in the game, pushing up the ground and then creating space for himself in the forward 50 when his team had possession. Took a couple of strong diving marks, although the second of which looked like it hit the ground. Had a couple of set shots but missed opportunities to have a big impact on the scoreboard. Miers kicked a goal on the siren at the end of the third term to give the Falcons a two-goal lead when the Bushrangers had the momentum.

#7 Harry Benson – Benson was strong defensively but did not spend as much time in the midfield as he had in past games. Played a bit off half-back, Benson laid a few desperate tackles and showed good vision when moving the ball from half-back. Had a clanger in the second term when he hooked a kick inside 50 to a defender, but showed some super clean hands at ground level under pressure to dish off to a teammate earlier in the game.

#16 David Handley – Handley was impressive in the first term and got his fair share of the football throughout. He provided some good link-up through the middle and when one-on-one, protected the ball drop well. Handley kicked a couple of goals, both of which game in the first half, but he spread his ground cover to include the defensive half, having a rebound outside defensive 50. His kick was a bit rushed and went to an opponent, but overall his decision making was reasonable. He showed a good sidestep when taking on Daniel Johnston in the second term.

#17 Cooper Stephens – Stephens continues to have his moments of brilliance. He is a nice, penetrating kick of the football coming out of defence, it is just a case of working on his shorter kicks where he tends to not kick through the football and therefore drops short of loops his kicks. Stephens was a presence in the air and took a good contested grab in the third quarter.

#19 Matt Ling – Ling was another who showed a few highlights, but ultimately was well held through the game. Had a couple of eye-catching dashes on the wing, but was constantly under pressure. He has good vision when coming off half-back. Ling’s best quarter was his last as he managed to win a bit more of the football and used his delicate kicking skills to influence the contest coming out of defence and into attack.

#38 James Worpel – Worpel played his typically consistent game, winning the ball and just grinding out a strong effort. His kicking still leaves a bit to be desired, but his quick hands under pressure is really good. When in close, his decision making also appears to be good and kicked a goal in the opening minute of the third term which gave his side a boost.

#42 Cassidy Parish – Parish was busy around the ground, winning plenty of the football and spreading well. He is good at getting his arms free in a tackle and handballing to a teammate running into space. Had a nice moment where he arched his back and kicked inside 50 to hit up David Handley, but his kicking still needs much work. Overall one of the better Falcons and tried his heart out for four quarters.

#43 Josh Jaska – Jaska is a developing key position defender who has a nice mix of speed and strength. He took a few strong grabs and provided some rebound off half-back. Jaska laid a strong tackle against a midfielder on the wing to kill a contest and help his side reset.

Murray Bushrangers:

#1 Daniel Johnston – Johnston had a quieter game against the Falcons after big bags in recent weeks. He leads at the football strongly, but needs to work on his second and third efforts. He noticeably lifted his intensity after quarter time, but has some areas to work on in regards to athleticism. Johnston found a bit more of it in the ruck but gave away a free kick which looked to be in frustration. Kept trying, but just wasn’t his day.

#2 Jordon Butts – Butts played in defence and was impressively offensively. He took a chest mark going back with the flight when he should have stuck the mitts up, but he protected the ball drop which was important. Butts is a reliable kick over any distance and showed good athleticism to be involved in a chain of handballs on the wing. He also did well to corral the speedster Matt Ling, and has a good tackling technique.

#4 Laitham Vandermeer – Vandermeer battled hard for four quarters and won a bit of inside ball but is not the big ball winner compared to some of his teammates and opposition on the day. He has quick hands under pressure and often looks to clear the area quickly by hand. He can tend to loop his handballs a bit which can put teammates under pressure at times.

#5 Ben Paton – Lined up on Miers early on and throughout the game at times and did a fairly good job. He has a penetrating kick coming out of defence and a good sidestep which he showed on multiple occasions. Paton took a fantastic contested mark sliding in from the side of a pack and then took an intercept grab in a rare stint pushing forward, cutting the deficit to just six points late in the third term.

#11 Jy Lane – Quiet game offensively for Lane who was tasked to oppose Ling early on. Kept his opponent quiet and did his job, but did not win a heap of the football himself. Provided a great run down tackle on Ling in the opening term, but was not sighted as much since.

#21 Doulton Langlands – Langlands was definitely one of the better Bushrangers, starting off half-back then moving through the midfield and finishing up forward. He created some line-breaking speed in the opening half, and while his decision making at times was questionable, he starred up forward late. Langlands finished the game with three majors and along with Joe Richards (four goals), was the major goal kicker for the Bushrangers.

#30 Alex Paech – Paech showed off his athleticism against the Falcons with some good closing speed and defensive pressure. He smothered Gryan Miers who has having a shot on goal, but then caught him high in frustration after Miers was paid what seemed to be a questionable mark. He was moved onto Garner who had two majors in the first term and kept the big forward quiet. He applied plenty of team pressure across the ground with shepherds and bumps.

#34 Tom Boyd – Boyd played forward and was quiet early, but worked into the game as he moved further up the ground. Laid a great tackle in the third term at half-forward and was more involved in the play through the middle of the ground. Boyd kicked inside 50 for a goal assist in the third quarter and took a good lead-up mark through the middle of Mars Stadium.

Gippsland Power vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Peter Williams)

Gippsland Power:

#2 Nick Hogan – Hogan was one of the Power’s top performers across four quarters, winning plenty of the football and buzzing around the stoppages. He had a number of inside 50s pushing forward hard, and showed great vision throughout the game. Hogan’s hard running was rewarded when he got on the end of a handball chain in the third term and booted a goal. One of his better kicks came when going inside 50 to hit-up Irving Mosquito who took a great grab.

#6 Aidan Quigley – Quigley has an imposing figure around the stoppages and has an influence on the contest when he’s “on”. Made a statement early with a goal from just inside 50 after receiving the handball from Cal Porter, then had a goal assist with a lovely clearance to Kyle Reid. At times he can rush his kick when under pressure, but has a booming rake when he gets onto it.

#11 Austin Hodge – Hodge’s trademark is his penetrating kick which he used to effect early. He would win the ball in the midfield and then pump the footy long to a contest which advantaged his forwards. A couple of times his kick would be a little predictable and was chopped off, but he showed his versatility, sneaking inside 50 to grab a mark.

#19 Callum Porter – Porter continues to stand out for the Power, working hard around the stoppages and having that unique combination of strength and acceleration. He can burst away from a stoppage, but also get his hands dirty and fire out a handball to a teammate on the outside. Porter is a really strong contested mark, especially for his size and he has a decent vertical leap as well. He rarely loses a one-on-one.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#1 Paddy Dow – Dow is an A grade player and it is clear to see why he would come into consideration for the first pick in the National AFL Draft. He can win the ball inside or out, but does most of his damage when in space. He has super quick hands, a great kick when he has time and space, and he is a goal kicker as well. Dow booted a goal from outside 50 and then set up another later on in the game when he won the ball, kicked short, got to the contest to win the ball again and then weaved through three players to hit Angus Byrne lace out inside 50. Dow had another chance later in the third term but his shot drifted to the right. A last quarter goal after a contested grab again saw the Pioneers claw to within six points midway through the term.

#2 Kane Farrell – Farrell played a tough, inside role throughout the match and had clean hands in tight. He won a number of crucial one-on-ones and showed a good penetrating kick when going inside 50. Farrell booted a goal in the final term when the momentum was against the Pioneers and continued to battle hard. He just does all the defensive things right.

#10 Brent Daniels – A nuggety midfielder/forward, Daniels is the prototype defensive forward who can also punish opponents on the scoreboard. Daniels works hard to push forward and looks to play on at all costs. He is solid by foot and is able to kick laterally at full speed while fending off an opponent. Daniels booted a goal after being on the end of a chain of handballs, rewarding him for his hard work.

#13 Jarrod Brander – The likely top 10 pick looked a dominant force all game and began to influence the game on the scoreboard with a couple of goals and a narrow miss in the third term. Brander took a ton of contested marks, and was impressive at ground level for a bigger player. He has a penetrating kick for goal and looked every bit a marquee tall forward. He earned a few free kicks as well with his opponents wary of his ability.

#18 Bailey Henderson – Henderson started at half-back and moved through the midfield, particularly spending time on a wing. He knows how to find the football and is a good size with good accelerations. A couple of times he stood up in a tackle and used his body to win the ball and move it on to a teammate’s advantage.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels vs. Dandenong Stingrays (Peter Williams)

Greater Western Victoria Rebels:

#2 Callan Wellings – The GWV Rebels’ captain continued to try throughout the four quarters, constantly pushing to contest after contest. Wellings used his quick hands to get it to teammates to run down the ground and worked hard with Aiden Domic in the third term when everyone else seemed to be down. He really started to rack up the ball, particularly off half-back and could hold his head high for his efforts. Narrowly missed a shot on goal from outside 50 after taking a grab on a long lead.

#4 Aiden Domic – After a quiet start, Domic began to exert his influence on the game in the second term. While he had a couple of forgettable kicks, more often than not he managed to kick it to his teammates’ advantage and showed clean hands throughout the match. A highlight was his clean pick up at ground level, spin out of traffic and snap on goal, but it was unfortunately punched through by Oscar Clavarino after the ball bounced the wrong way on the goal line. Domic continued to win the ball throughout the third term, being used well in transition from half-back to half-forward.

#10 Jordan Johnston – A quieter game for the exciting talent. Johnston started in the midfield to show what he could do on the inside and he did not disappoint, earning a few free kicks after burying himself under packs and winning the ball first. He showed good vision across half-back under pressure, hitting up a teammate with a lateral pass while under pressure. Johnston also continued to apply defensive pressure despite not winning much of the ball, laying a few tackles and providing shepherds for his teammates. Johnston had a highlight earlier in the last term with a clever spin but then ruined it with a kick that landed in an opposition player’s lap. Johnston had a rare shot at goal late in the final term but his shot drifted away for a behind.

#23 Lloyd Meek – One of GWV Rebels’ best with the way he presented himself across the ground. He went when he had to go and provided a target up forward when he was not rucking. He took a few good contested marks and was equally as impressive at ground level. Meek knows how to use his body, shows good positioning and his tap work was also impressive. For a taller player, he is surprisingly good at ground level, and he is able to stand his ground well when one-on-one. Meek continued presenting throughout the four quarters.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hunter Clark – Clark put in another impressive performance with a good mixture of speed and strength. His kicking was once again questionable with a few rushed kicks off the boot, including one that was smothered. Nonetheless, Clark was one of the better Stingrays, bursting out of a stoppage and kicking long to the forwards. His repeat efforts during the game were also impressive, while his one-on-one work was really good. Clark has good vision coming out of a stoppage and has a greater influence when he handballs to the advantage of a teammate rather than throwing it on the boot. Clark won a 50m penalty in the last quarter and kicked truly to put a goal on the board for his team.

#6 Aiden Bonar – After a quiet first quarter at half-back, Bonar was moved to half-forward with instant results. He took a great grab and missed a chance at capitalising, but then snagged a great goal off a forward 50 stoppage when he read the tap to perfection. Despite having a few errors by foot, Bonar on the whole was reasonably effective by foot and his class without the ball shone through. He took a huge grab in the third term and kicked truly from the set shot to put the Stingrays 39-points up. Bonar won a bit of the football early in the last term and continued to push hard.

#9 Luke Davies-Uniacke – The potential number one draft pick actually had an anti-climactic start without impacting the contest a great deal. Once he got going however, he really got going and began to collect the ball across the ground. While he would not have won as much of the football as Hunter Clark, most of his kicks were long, penetrating kicks deep inside 50 to his teammates’ advantage. Davies-Uniacke had a snap in the final term but just missed. His work in close was good as was his ability to cover the ground, from mopping up in to defence to having score assists inside 50. A highlight was a pinpoint penetrating kick to Riley D’Arcy on the lead inside 50 in the third quarter.

#25 Oscar Clavarino – Clavarino is Mr Consistency and a complete rock in defence. He won a truckload of intercept possessions, going back, taking good contested grabs and rebounding off half-back. The most noticeable aspect about his game is his ability to seem composed at all times and is a good decision maker by hand or foot. Clavarino propelled a number of Rebels’ attacks throughout the match.

#26 Tom Murphy – Murphy had a few fleeting moments, but overall was quieter than other games. He had a booming shot at goal early from outside 50, but kicked it out on the full. Later on in the third term he did a good job clearing the ball out of defence with his penetrating boot to clear the defensive arc.

#35 Tom Freeman – Freeman did not have a huge game, but he was good in the contest. He continually put his body on the line and battled hard and lightened the load of Luke Davies-Uniacke and Hunter Clark on the inside. In one instance he got his hands free in a tackle when he looked well and truly wrapped up.

#50 Riley D’Arcy – D’Arcy had a huge first quarter but was relatively quiet after that. While he did not put a goal on the board, he took a number of contested grabs, and shepherded through a goal on the siren to allow Bailey Williams to goal. His kick to the top of the goal square moments earlier allowed Jai Nanscawen to pounce and snap a goal. D’Arcy showed good aggressiveness when tackling and had clean hands around the ground. Flynn Appleby locked down on him well after quarter time, with a rare mark in the third term and shot on goal just missing to the left.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 12

ROUND Twelve of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend, with TAC Cup ‘Futures Rounds’ continuing. We had scouts watching two of the games – read their notes below.

GWV Rebels vs. Eastern Ranges (Jack Carter)

GWV Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin – Played a solid game on the wing for the Rebels. He wasn’t afraid to go in hard and win the contested ball.

#4 Aiden Domic – Was one of the Rebels players who held his own throughout the contest. He laid multiple strong tackles and tried hard all day to get his team going.

#9 Flynn Appleby – Was yet again solid in defence for the Rebels. With multiple entries from the Ranges midfielders, he was able to apply himself well using it efficiently by foot.

Eastern Ranges:

#4 Riley Clausen – Provided very good run and kicked it well. He tackled hard right throughout the day and had a strong presence in the midfield. His running patterns were very good and he knew where to move

#22 Jackson Ross – Has a great set shot kick and booted five goals straight. Once he adds some size he will have the perfect body size for an AFL football. Spent time in the midfield as well as up forward, knowing where to go at the stoppages and was hard at the ball. Was one of the best players on the ground.

#34 Adrian Kalcovski – Took advantage of some poor kicks in the entries inside 50 from the GWV Rebels midfielders allowing him to drop off and win the ball. Was able to create run for the Ranges and possesses a strong mark.

#61 Mackenzie Dorelan – Ran hard all day and his decision making & kicking at full tilt was outstanding. Is a strong player for a player of his size and he controlled the play from half back for the Ranges.

Northern Knights vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Michael Alvaro)

Northern Knights:

#2 Mitchell Andrews – Found the ball in all parts of the ground, playing mainly out of defence. Has worked on his kicking and defensive work rate, lending a good hand to the likes of Dreher and Lentini in bringing moving Knights forward.

#4 Max Dreher – Fresh from a couple of weeks off after his Vic Metro stint, Dreher looked to be getting back to the form that had him held in high esteem early in the year. Was important for the Knights in the second half as the game came down to the wire, and shouldered most of the kick-in duties. Looks to have improved his contested ball-winning ability, and threw himself at the ball on numerous occasions.

#5 Marcus Lentini – Was utilised through the midfield with Dreher back in defence to sure things up. Played on the wing when he didn’t attend centre bounces, but wasn’t able to have his usual impact. He looked to be conscious of not blazing away, opting for a lot of short, sideways, and backwards kicks which took away the forward penetration he usually brings. Still delivered in terms of effort and accumulating possessions.

#19 Christian Farchione – Was punishing in bursts throughout the game, but was just short of really taking the game by the scruff of its neck. Gave a timely reminder of his devastating left foot with some great passes going forward and inside-50 entries, and has matched that up now with better decision making. He’s a natural footballer, but still very raw and slight in frame. Booted an incredible goal from the pocket.

#30 Oliver Wilson – By no means is a high-possession getter but stands out with his defensive pressure and effort. Does all the hard stuff and dug in well for the Knights after half time, setting a good example with his physicality. Hit Laine Fitzgerald with a huge bump at the start of the third term to set the tone.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#7 Matt Harvey – The 19-year old was effective all day, streaming seamlessly between the midfield & forward line and putting in a few noticeable efforts in the third term with the game on the line. Racked up the possessions and was a key contributor.

#9 Laine Fitzgerald – He didn’t have his best game, but the GWS Academy product showed his class today and sent repeatedly sent his side into attack. Looked to be frustrated after being cleaned up early in the third term and gave away an unnecessary free kick for his troubles. Has a hard edge to him and it shows in his contested ball winning, but he also spreads well and found himself involved in some good handball chains.

#15 Darby Henderson – Sets up really well of half back and has a knack for finding space, which is odd since his yellow boots stand out so much. Lifted his side in the second and third quarters, breaking the lines and looking dangerous with ball in hand. He doesn’t tend to kick the ball as much as he could, though, which would make him even more threatening going forward. Has a good mix of outside and inside traits, which he showed with his combined pace, pressure, and a clever snap goal.

#16 Jacob Atley – A really rangy outside player, Atley didn’t find much of the ball but made an impact when he did. His highlight for the day was a two-bounce dash down the Mary St wing which eventually sent the ball deep inside the Pioneers 50. One to watch for 2018 purely for his pace and the x-factor it brings.

#19 Mitchell Kemp – There’s not much of him, but Kemp isn’t afraid to throw himself at the ball in the air. He’s not particularly quick, but has a decent leap and finds himself in the right places to intercept opposition balls into the 50. Controlled the back half today and provided some good rebound

Weekend That Was – Round 10

A COMBINED 78 disposals, 16 marks, 12 clearances, 16 inside 50s and two goals to Geelong Falcons pair James Worpel and Cassidy Parish sunk the Bendigo Pioneers to bounce back from the Falcons’ only loss of the season.

The Falcons proved too good for the Pioneers, who were missing a number of key players due to representative duties through the Allies and school football. They battled hard but ultimately could not match the ladder leading Falcons, going down 11.21 (87) to 3.9 (27).

Worpel finished with a season high 43 disposals (but kicked at just 38 per cent efficiency), eight marks, seven clearances, seven tackles, 12 inside 50s and two goals, while Parish won 35 disposals, took eight marks, had five clearances, four inside 50s, three rebounds and three tackles. Others to find plenty of the ball was Bayley Cockerill (28 disposals, 10 marks, seven inside 50s) and Adam Garner (16 disposals, 11 hitouts and three goals).

For the Pioneers, regular ball winner Darby Henderson racked up 28 disposals, five marks and four clearances, while Laine Fitzgerald and Angus Schumacher both finished with 27 disposals.

Up at RAMS Arena, Sandringham Dragons got the job done against Calder Cannons, kicking 6.7 to 0.1 in the third term to be the difference between the sides in a 35-point win. The Dragons won 13.13 (91) to 8.8 (56), led by Lucas Barrett who racked up 32 disposals, seven marks, 10 clearances and three inside 50s.

Other Dragons that stood out were Quintin Montanaro who had 33 disposals, seven marks and three clearances, Geordie Nagle with 29 disposals, eight marks and seven clearances, and Will Walker who went at an impressive 86 per cent efficiency for his 22 disposals, as well as six marks, four clearances and two goals.

For the Cannons, Brad Bernacki continued his big month with another 30 disposal game at 87 per cent efficiency, while Lucas Cavallaro had 21 disposals and eight marks and Ben Caluzzi finished with 23 disposals (74 per cent efficiency), five marks, eight inside 50s and a goal.

Dandenong survived an almighty scare against Murray to post an important two-point win. The Stingrays led by 27 points at the final break, but a five goals to one term saw the Bushrangers storm home, only to fall short 14.9 (93) to 14.7 (91).

Bailey Morrish was impressive around the ground with 20 disposals (80 per cent efficiency), five marks, six inside 50s, four rebounds, four tackles and a goal. Other Stingrays that stood out were Riley D’Arcy who booted six goals from 16 disposals and five marks, and midfield pair Tom Murphy and Mitch Cotter who had 23 disposals each and racked up a combined 18 tackles, eight clearances, seven inside 50s and four rebounds.

For Murray, Kyle Clarke had 19 disposals, three marks and thre tackles and Angus Hicks finished with 23 disposals, seven clearances and 11 tackles. Mark Marriott had 32 hitouts to go with 15 disposals, nine tackles, four clearances and two goals.

Western Jets moved a win closer to the top eight with a 33-point victory over Eastern Ranges. The Jets had a strong start to lead by five goals at half-time and while the Ranges hit back in the third term, the Jets steadied in the fourth quarter to win 11.15 (81) to 6.12 (48).

Xavier O’Halloran had 27 disposals, three marks, eight clearances, six inside 50s and 12 tackles for the winners, while Nicholas Stuhldreier racked up 29 disposals, nine clearances, four inside 50s and five rebounds. Connor Thar was also productive with three goals from 25 disposals, nine inside 50s and 10 marks.

For Eastern, Thomas North continued his leather poisoning for season 2017 with 37 disposals, seven marks, six clearances and six inside 50s, while partner in crime Jordan Lynch had 20 disposals, five marks, 10 tackles and booted a goal. Cody Hirst laid 11 tackles to go with his 20 disposals and five marks.

Over at Casey Fields, Callum Porter backed up his huge effort in the last round to have another best on ground performance against the Greater Western Victoria Rebels. Porter had 31 disposals, six marks, 11 clearances, nine inside 50s, eight tackles and two goals to lead from the front for the Gippsland Power who knocked off the Rebels by 27 points. Trailing by a point at the final break, the Power booted six goals to two in the final quarter to run over the top of the Rebels, having finished with eight of the last 10 goals to win 15.14 (104) to 12.5 (77).

Acting captain Will Stephenson stood up at clutch moments, having 20 disposals (75 per cent efficiency, five marks, five clearances, four inside 50s and four goals, while Kim Drew had 20 disposals, six marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and four rebounds. Up forward, Kyle Reid was a target, booting four goals from seven shots and his game included 18 disposals and six marks.

For the Rebels, Aiden Domic was the clear standout with 26 disposals, five marks and a goal, while Naish McRoberts (23 disposals) and Trent Reed (20 disposals and eight clearances) worked hard around the stoppages. Lloyd Meek was prominent in the ruck with 28 hitouts and 15 disposals.

TAC Cup Scouting Notes: Round 10

In the other game of the round, Oakleigh Chargers got the points against Northern Knights in a thumping 83-point victory. The Chargers never looked like losing and played a consistent four quarters in the 16.13 (109) to 4.2 (26) victory.

Lachlan Bugeja had 24 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles, five inside 50s and two rebounds, while James Troani was busy in the forward half with 21 disposals, 12 marks, four inside 50s and a goal. Matthew Day was also prominent with 24 disposals, three marks, two goals and eight tackles, while Daniel Stanford had seven marks (three contested) and booted four goals from 16 disposals.

For the Knights, Marcus Lentini had 34 disposals and six marks, while Mitchell Andrews racked up another 30 touches, seven marks and six rebounds. Jamison Shea (23 disposals, eight marks and a goal), and Lane Sinclair (21 disposals, four marks and four rebounds) were also among the bigger ball winners.

After 10 rounds, Geelong Falcons sits four points clear on top ahead of Oakleigh Chargers and Murray Bushrangers. Sandringham Dragons and Dandenong Stingrays sit four points behind with Northern Knights (20 points) outright sixth ahead of Gippsland Power and Eastern Ranges in seventh and eighth. Greater Western Victoria Rebels, Western Jets and Bendigo Pioneers are ready to pounce outside the eight on 12 points, while Calder Cannons are holding up the ladder with eight points.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 10

ROUND Ten of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend and we had scouts watching four of the games. Round 10 is the start of the three week TAC Cup ‘Futures Rounds’ which will see teams play a minimum of 11 bottom-aged players. Read their scouting notes below:

Eastern Ranges vs. Western Jets (Matt Balmer)

Eastern Ranges:

#2 Thomas North – One of the unlucky players to miss out on Vic Metro selection for the opening game, but North did all he could do to bang down the door for a spot in their round three team. North’s hands in close were super and he worked the ball out of the stoppage with ease. His usage on his left foot was good and he hit most of his targets. Would’ve been one of the leading disposal winners on the ground, often looking to play on at all costs.

#7 Jordan Lynch – Stop the game at quarter time and the over-ager would’ve been clear best on ground. Lynch controlled the centre of the ground for most of the day and while he faded out a bit as the game went on with some extra attention from the Jets – he was a great player for them. His strong body at the stoppages helped him win the clearances and he used his agility and burst to move the ball forward at speed. Has presence.

#17 Cody Hirst – Laid an outstanding rundown tackle on O’Halloran in the opening quarter on the 50m arch. Took a nice mark on the lead in the second quarter and used the ball well on his left foot throughout the game. Had a kickable shot on goal in the third quarter 20m out on the run, but was impressive on the outside.

#20 Ben Cardamone – First time I’d noticed Cardamone and he wasn’t a player I had jotted down to watch coming into the clash – but I was impressed by the bottom-ager. Spent time at either end and was lively around the ball – willing to crack in hard and lay tackles. Reckon he’s a player to track over the next 18 months.

#24 Kye Quirk – Played in defensive 50 and the bottom ager was solid without starring. Has a long kick and has good vision with ball in hand. Took a nice mark at ground level in the opening quarter. Was winded in a Buku Khamis tackle in the third quarter nursing a sore head, but played out the game without too much discomfort.

Western Jets:

#1 Jake Hazik – Has an enormous supply of energy and the bottom-ager is as lively as they come. Possess great speed & agility and is fast footed. Booted a nice goal on his left foot close to goal in the opening quarter but his best goal was around the corner in the second quarter of the game over his shoulder. Did miss a kickable shot on the run in the first quarter but he’s someone who certainly will catch the eye.

#11 Zak Butters – Was a big ball winner in the U17 Futures game for Vic Metro last week and provides plenty of run and carry for the Jets team. Is a zippy midfield and while his kicking can be hot and cold, he was pretty good on Saturday. Picks the ball up cleanly from ground level and loves to tackle.

#12 Connor Thar – Roved his first goal from the ruck contest 15m out and was solid right throughout the game. Ball use was good on his right foot and took a nice mark in the last quarter.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – Was a slow starter but his work in the centre of the ground was outstanding. Is a clearance machine and possesses a long kick. When tackled he lifts his arms up and is able to get them free to dish off a handball. Laid some crunching tackles and was superb in the second quarter.

#38 Buku Khamis – Haven’t seen a lot of Khamis up forward but he bagged two goals on his long left foot from outside 50 which were outstanding. He keeps his feet at the contest and has a very good leap. At times he misjudged the flight of the ball and didn’t take as many marks as he could’ve – but I thought it was one of the better games I’ve seen him play. Not a huge ball winner, but his last quarter was special despite missing an easy shot on goal from 15m out.

Gippsland Power vs. Greater Western Victoria Rebels (Peter Williams)

Gippsland Power:

#5 Xavier Duursma – Played a solid role on the outside, moving the ball really well in transition and his ability to get his hands free when tackled is a big plus. Did not win as much of it as others, but seemed to get better as the game went on and kicked a really good goal from a standing start. Almost had a second courtesy of a high leap but just missed.

#7 Will Stephenson – The acting captain for the Power just relishes the big moments. With the game on the line and the Rebels starting to get hold of the match, Stephenson booted three second half goals to turn the game back in Gippsland’s favour. He was in the votes for mine, just behind teammate Cal Porter with the pair booting six majors between them and proving a handful for the opposition.

#15 Cody Henness – A steady hand in defence. He would chop off opposition passes and just hold up the play to regain momentum for Gippsland. He would then size up his options and pass laterally or go long, playing percentage football. A rock back there for Gippsland.

#18 Matthew McGannon – The Power player switched between midfield and defence at times and seemed to judge his kick really well. He had a good pass in the second term where he used his peripheral vision to kick laterally, hit-up a target and allow the Power to run clear of the defensive 50. One of the better Power players on the day and was solid throughout the four quarters.

#19 Callum Porter – Another best on ground performance for mine. Just so strong in the air, wins clearances and kicks goals. His reading of the tap in the last quarter, bursting away, taking a couple of bounces and slotted it from outside 50. Finished with two goals, a large number of contested possessions, contested marks and clearances, he just continues to get the job done and another all-round performance for the inside midfielder.

#20 Kim Drew – Another underrated midfielder at the Power who caught my eye a number of times. He sometimes was let down by his execution, but his decision making was very good. In otherwords, he would kick it to the right areas, and he has that penetrating kick, but it wouldn’t always hit the target lace out. He also had good vision on the outside and was a key mover on the wing.

#24 Sean Masterson – Can play at either end but settled in defence. Started on Jordan Johnston but moved around a fair bit. Took a couple of really neat hangers to show off his aerial ability. Got a bit of the ball and is athletic for his size, so another promising performance for the over-ager.

#25 Kyle Reid – Finished the match with four goals and for mine that’s a good day in any key forward’s book. Proved too strong for his opponents at times, he leads at the football and makes the most of his opportunities. Might have had one or two more but he had a few shots from tight angles. One goal he kicked tight up on the boundary line was his best. A prominent target inside 50.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin – The player to go to in the defensive half, Carlin isn’t rushed with his disposal and will hit up targets over short and medium ranges. Tasked with the kick-in duties, he did not let his side down and often would look for the 1-2 pass coming out of defence. Definetely a defensive playmarker and will be good to watch him develop into a midfielder over the next 18 months given his accurate passing.

#4 Aiden Domic – A very impressive performance from the Rebels midfielder. I’ve always thought he had the talent, but on the weekend he added the hard running to the max and got a tick from me. In one instant he had the ball at half-back, kicked long to a teammate and ran hard enough to receive the pass from that teammate inside 50. Kicked a goal against the flow late and used his pinpoint passing to effect throughout the game. Was very pleased with what he produced.

#9 Flynn Appleby – I took notice of both his offensive and defensive traits from the game. He laid a really good smother early in the third term, and also has that ability to break zones with his long kicking. He showed good hands under pressure and just kept bobbing up throughout the game and could hold his head high from that performance.

#10 Jordan Johnston – Looked to be going for the marks record early on, was hauling them in from everywhere including a high flying grab in the goal square for the first goal of the game. Finished with just the two majors, but played further up the ground as the game went on and hit up targets inside 50 on numerous occassions. A fine performance from the Vic Country squad member.

#15 Trent Reed – Had a truck load of the ball, but his kicking let him down at times. Seemed to rush his disposal a little bit but continually worked hard throughout the match. Copped a knock early and played it out and despite some of the missed kicks would have been one of the Rebels’ best. He covers the ground really well and just continually puts his body on the line and does the team thing with no regard for his own safety.

#23 Lloyd Meek – The standout ruck in the game, he’s just so strong and manhandled his opponents. In the past he’s had the ruckwork ability but this season he’s come in leaps and bounds in terms of using his body to ragdoll opponents. Took several contested marks including a few in defence and just played everywhere on the ground. A presence in the air and so clever around the stoppages.

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Michael Alvaro) 

Northern Knights:

#5 Marcus Lentini – Has returned from a wrist injury well over the last few weeks, settling the Knights across half-back and earning high numbers in disposals. Uncharacteristically shirked a contest in the third term, but worked hard afterwards to rectify it and really dug in for his side going forward. While he was great at setting his side up, his efforts going the other way weren’t as prominent, and he’ll need to work on that as he gains more time in the midfield. That, and blazing away under pressure are probably the things keeping him out of the final Vic Metro squad.

#10 Brody Bell –Utilised on the wing for most of the game, the bottom-ager stood out with his one-on-one prowess and hunger for the contest. Isn’t a high accumulator, but tackles well and already has a decent build, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him thrown into the centre bounces in the future. The Knights have a good history of doing that and it certainly wouldn’t hurt his development.

#13 Ollie Stapleton – Looks much-improved this year and provided some needed dash for the Knights with starts Jack Petruccelle and Patrick Naish on Vic Metro representative duty this weekend. Prone to a clanger or two, but has a lot of upside with his gut-running and knack around goals.

#18 Jamison Shea – The Old-Paradian has enjoyed a decent few weeks as 23rd man for Footscray in the VFL and as a star-man for the Knights. Was played through the middle to capitalise on his improved ball-winning ability, and floated around the ground nicely to win the ball in important areas at both ends. Has really excelled this year with the Knights having more key position outlets, allowing him to play a role more suited to his slight 190cm frame.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#4 Ned Reeves – The Knights tried three different rucks but couldn’t get the better of Oakleigh’s man mountain. Dominated the centre bounces, giving his classy midfielders first use and even chimed in with a goal late in the game.

#6 Matthew Day – Big bodied midfielder with a ton of class. Has terrific hands which he often uses to release teammates on the run, and compliments it well with a booming left foot. Provided a couple of decent highlights throughout the day with a huge run-down tackle and a neat side-step which lead to his first of two goals. Was also rested forward in the second half after hurting his ankle in that tackle and looked dangerous.

#10 Riley Jones – Has an exciting mix of athleticism and courage – showcasing his outstanding leap and strong hands with either a ridiculous mark or attempt in each term. Backed it up with three goals and was menacing throughout the game, latching onto high balls into the 50 that would often go to ground.

#13 Daniel Stanford – The 19-year-old excelled up forward, dominating his side’s 50 for the whole contest. Proved a handful with his work rate and ability to find space, teaming up well with Riley Jones to provide reliable targets. Finished with deserved return of four goals.

#16 Lachlan Bugeja – There isn’t much of this bottom-ager, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the way he wins his contested ball. Provided a combination of grunt and class in the second and third terms which set the sides apart and saw Oakleigh gain an unassailable lead. Attended most of the centre bounces and used the ball well out of them.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Murray Bushrangers (Brandon Hutchinson)

Dandenong Stingrays: 

#29 Bailey Williams – Showed consistent success in his centre hitouts throughout this weekend’s match. The leap and timing of him was not easy to match from the Bushrangers. While not every hitout was correctly capitalised on, his midfield presence in the centre made him a strong target for his team. With an excellence composure, this young man remained a pillar for his team throughout a tough four quarters of football.

#38 Mitch Cotter – The ferocity shown by Cotter is powerful and unmatched. Has no problem throwing his head over the ball. Always in the right place at the right time, and he works hard to eject the football toward his 50 and has no issue playing both offensively and defensively. He is excellent along the ground, snatching up the football whenever he’s near it. This kid is someone to keep an eye on.

#50 Riley D’Arcy – His physical presence did not go unnoticed in the Stingray’s forward 50. In the air he is unparalleled, with firm marking and sharp kicking that launched his team out of the gate in the second quarter. D’Arcy had a strong first half, kicking four assuming an assisting role in the later half of the game. His movement of the ball helped cease midfield scramble, creating smooth movement through the passage toward goal. When he is hit up in front of goal, more often than not is he going to mark and put a score on the board. D’Arcy ended the game with five goals.

#55 Ali Zijai – Has excellent midfield presence and hits the scoreboard. Zijai’s slick running along the wing is a sight to behold. In a game with plenty of stoppages and fumbling, this young fella held the ball tight and put it where it needed to be. On the ground and in the air, Zijai holds his composure under insurmountable opposition pressure. Sharp kicking and excellent run & carry saw this young man set up plenty of goals out of the midfield, as well as kicking three of his own.

Murray Bushrangers: 

#1 Daniel Johnston – Had a realatively quiet game but launched out of the gate as soon as the Bushies got a whiff of victory. He kicked Murray’s first goal for the game and their final goal to put them within two points. His fight came through hard in the final quarter, kicking two to give the Bushrangers a chance. His willingness to attack the ball was quite prevalent in the nail biter, and the hanger he took in the closing minutes was nothing short of incredible.

#18 Hudson Garoni – Was a man on a mission. He opened up Murray’s game launching through two important goals in the first quarter. Was their leading goal kicker for the day, showing no issue dropping them in from any angle. As a smaller forward, this kid has a future and showed it without doubt against the Stingrays.

#21 Doulton Langlands – This man’s work in the backline was a huge reason behind the close finish. His decision-making and running was a key factor behind his teams movement along the wing. When this kid grabbed the ball he was off. It could be easily argued that he was the biggest problem for Stingray’s forward line, being way too quick for any of their players. Langlands has a lot of potential, showing he can do at all if he’s needed to. If you ask me, he definitely has a future in this game.

Under 18 Championships Preview: Vic Metro

VIC METRO enters the National Under 18 Championships as the short priced favourite to take out the title – but don’t be putting your house on it, with one unexpected result already taking place in the opening game of the carnival. After winning against the odds in 2016 – Metro will be fighting hard to go back-to-back but will need to be on their game to avoid a slip up in their opening fixture.

A deep midfield will allow them to float multiple players through the centre to find the best combination, with Eastern Ranges pair Adam Cerra and Joel Garner two such players who will likely have time in the guts, while Jack Petruccelle’s elite speed will provide a point of difference as he bursts from the packs getting the ball forward.

Medium forwards Cameron Rayner and Jaidyn Stephenson are elite marks overhead and as a bonus they can push into the midfield and win their own ball. Sandringham Dragons captain Hayden McLean will be one of the key targets infront of goal, while Will Sutherland and the tall King twins (Max and Ben) will have their opportunities through the latter stages of the carnival.

Noah Balta has seamlessly transitioned into a key defender and is looking the goods. His role will likely see him take the most dangerous opposition forward, where he can use his outstanding agility and big leap to his advantage.

Overall Metro will likely boast more of the top 20 than any other teams at this point in time – but as we have seen time and time again, the next four weeks are the make and break for players pushing their case in front of club recruiters.

Players to watch:

Jack Higgins – The midfielder/small forward averaged 20 disposals in his appearances for Vic Metro in last year’s carnival. Higgins is a very good goal sneak and is agile enough to get around opposition defenders. As a prolific ball winner, expect him to be one of Metro’s best performers in the championships.

Joel Garner – The captain of the Vic Metro team has had a solid start to the year at school and TAC Cup level. Has a long left foot and can play at all ends of the ground. Will mostly play as an outside midfielder, but his hands in close mean that he can be as damaging in the contest.

Cameron Rayner – The exciting midfielder can push forward and take excellent marks overhead. He has the ability to make things happen in a quick burst thanks to his power, and his X-Factor will appeal to clubs as a player who could content for the No.1 pick.

Jaidyn Stephenson – One of the better marks in the draft pool for a player sub 190cm. Stephenson will play as a target up forward and has a good burst of speed that adds another dimension to the marking forward. Played in Vic Metro’s game against Vic Country last year and looks set for a big carnival after showing midfield craft for the Eastern Ranges.

Will Sutherland – Sutherland won’t be running out for Vic Metro this weekend against Western Australia, but will likely line up when Metro play their games in Victoria. Sutherland is a good mark overhead and has pushed into the midfield for Scotch College using his great agility for a tall, attending multiple centre bounces. Clubs believe he could be worth an early selection should the talented cricketer choose the football pathway.

2018 names to keep an eye on:

Ben King – One of the top talls alongside brother Max for the 2018 draft. Ben is a natural key defender with an athletic leap, who reads the play superbly in defence. He will miss the opening game of the championships, but expect him to make an impact at some point in the Under 18 Championships.

Max King – One of the top talls alongside brother Ben for the 2018 draft and is a contender for the number one pick in 2018. The key forward has an athletic leap and can clunk some super marks inside 50. He will play school footy & miss Metro’s first game against WA this weekend, but expect him impact up forward when given the chance.

Curtis Taylor – One of the 2018 eligible draftees who were stiff to miss out on AFL Academy recognition after putting on some superb displays at school football for PEGS last year. Has recently returned for PEGS and Calder Cannons after an injury, and is currently little known by some – but is a player I’d expect to leave a lasting impression should he play in the Under 18 Championships.

FIXTURES

Round 1: BYE
Round 2: v WESTERN AUSTRALIA – June 18th 11.00am Domain Stadium
Round 3: v VIC COUNTRY – June 24th 2.30pm Punt Road Oval
Round 4: v SOUTH AUSTRALIA – June 30th 4.40pm Etihad Stadium (FOX FOOTY)
Round 5: v ALLIES – July 5th 2.10pm Simonds Stadium (FOX FOOTY)

Possible Round Two team:**

B: Ethan Penrith, Harrison Nolan, Mitchell Podhajski
HB: Ryley Stoddart, Noah Balta, Nicholas Coffield
C: Joel Garner, Adam Cerra, Lachlan Fogarty
HF: Patrick Naish, Hayden McLean, Cameron Rayner
F: Jack Higgins, Tristan Xerri, Jaidyn Stephenson

FOLL: Sam Hayes, Jack Petruccelle, Thomas North
INT: Toby Wooller, Trent Mynott, Curtis Taylor, Dylan Moore, Angus Styles

** – The Round two teams will be publicly announced tomorrow afternoon.

Predictions:

Finishing prediction: 1st – Metro have all the class around the ground and are short favourites to go through the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships undefeated. However – as we’ve already seen in the opening weekend upsets do happen and Western Australia should be able to push them at least for the first half this weekend. Anything is possible in the Under 18 Championships results wise, but it is Vic Metro’s title to lose.

MVP prediction: Jack Higgins – Higgins was a good contributor in the 2016 Under 18 Championships as a bottom ager and will likely play a key role through the midfield & as a small forward inside 50. Expect him to push forward and hit the scoreboard using his smarts around goal. Should be a key player in Vic Metro’s attempt of winning back-to-back titles.

2017 VIC METRO SQUAD

No. Name
DOB
HT(cm)
WT (kg)
Club
1 Dylan Moore 4/08/1999 175 66 Eastern Ranges/Rowville/Caulfield Grammar
2 Jack Higgins 19/03/1999 178 76 Oakleigh Chargers/ East Malvern
3 Ethan Penrith 24/10/1999 179 76 Northern Knights/West Preston
4 Lachlan Fogarty 1/04/1999 179 75 Western Jets/Spotswood/St Kevins
5 Patrick Naish 15/01/1999 180 69 Northern Knights/ Ivanhoe Grammar
6 Dylan Landt 18/11/1999 180 74 Calder Cannons/Sunbury
7 Rhylee West 12/07/2000 180 80 Calder Cannons/Strathmore/St Kevins
8 Joel Garner 21/05/1999 183 81 EasternRanges/Wandin/ Scotch College
9 Andrew Brayshaw 8/11/1999 183 80 Sandringham Dragons/Hailebury College
10 Max Dreher 12/04/1999 183 75 Northern Knights/Ivanhoe Grammar
11 Ryley Stoddart 15/10/1999 183 73 Eastern Ranges/Blackburn/Yarra Valley
12 Callum Searle 12/10/1998 185 81 Oakleigh Chargers/Waverley Blues
13 Trent Mynott 4/10/1999 185 73 Eastern Ranges/Caulfield Grammar
14 Jack Petruccelle 12/04/1999 184 73 Northern Knights/Epping
15 Angus Styles 3/05/1999 185 76 Sandringham Dragons/Caulfield Grammar
16 Thomas North 14/02/1999 186 87 Eastern Ranges/Heathmont FC
17 Adam Cerra 7/10/1999 186 85 Eastern Ranges/Wesley Grammar
18 Curtis Taylor 6/04/2000 186 74 Calder Cannons/Keilor FC/ PEGS
19 Cameron Rayner 21/10/1999 187 88 Western Jets/Essendon Doutta Stars/ PEGS
20 Jack Bytel 14/03/2000 188 79 Calder Cannons/Aberfeldie FC
21 Buku Khamis 24/03/2000 188 81 Western Jets/St Albans
22 Riley Jones 5/04/1999 191 79 Oakleigh Chargers/Beverley Hills FC
23 Jaidyn Stephenson 15/01/1999 189 76 Eastern Ranges/Ferntree Gully FC
24 Charlie Constable 18/05/1999 190 83 Sandringham Dragons/Haileybury College
25 Nicholas Coffield 23/10/1999 190 83 Northern Knights/Eltham FC
26 Mitchell Podhajski 4/01/1999 190 82 Calder Cannons/Aberfeldie FC
27 Toby Wooller 16/03/1999 193 90 Oakleigh Chargers/Old Scotch
28 Noah Balta 23/10/1999 194 92 Calder Cannons/Essendon/Doutta Stars/ St Bernards
29 Harrison Nolan 11/06/1999 195 93 Eastern Ranges/Mt Evelyn FC
30 Hayden McLean 20/01/1999 197 93 Sandringham Dragons/Beaumaris/St Bedes
31 Will Sutherland 27/10/1999 195 90 Scotch College
32 Joel Grace 23/06/1999 199 90 Northern Knighs/Sth Morang
33 Ben King 7/07/2000 201 79 Sandringham Dragons/ Haileybury College
34 Max King 7/07/2000 201 82 Sandringham Dragons/Haileybury College
35 Matthew Harman 2/06/1998 200 87 Northern Knights/Marcellin O.C.
36 Tristan Xerri 15/03/1999 201 93 Western Jets/ Caroline Springs FC
37 Sam Hayes 9/06/1999 203 93 Eastern Ranges/Ferntree Gully FC
38 Alex Federico** 26/09/1999 184 77 Northern Knights/Marcellin College
39 Marcus Lentini** 5/06/1999 183 74 Northern Knights

** – Emergencies

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 9

ROUND Nine of the TAC Cup continued over the weekend and we had scouts watching five of the games. Read their scouting notes below:


Sandringham Dragons vs. Eastern Ranges

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Geordie Nagle – Arguably the Dragons’ best in the hard fought loss. Nagle played a good role in the back pocket and used the ball well. Is trusted with the kick outs and has been one of the Dragons’ best when they’ve been understrength with players at school football.

#22 Quintin Montanaro – Bounced back after a few disappointing games in a row carrying a toe injury. Clean ball user on either foot and can run hard all day. Handballing in close was better than previous weeks.

Eastern Ranges:

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – Took a while to get into the game mixing between forward and playing through the midfield. Finished strongly and was one of the Ranges best booting a vital goal early into the last quarter.

#18 Sam Hayes – Was a class above in the ruck. Won multiple hit outs and looked dangerous throughout the day. Had stints up forward and booted what turned out to be the match-winning goal with not long remaining in the contest.


Geelong Falcons vs. Gippsland Power (Peter Williams)

Geelong Falcons:

#7 Harry Benson – I was most impressed with his performance. Each time I’ve seen him live he seems to get a little bit more damaging. He’s worked on his inside game further as well as his defensive pressure which will undoubtedly show in his tackle statistics and key performance indicators at club level. Benson got his hands dirty on the weekend and played more inside shovelling out handballs, while still providing the run on the outside. The next key for him is working on his kicking under pressure because when having time and space, he is a damaging kick, but under pressure he tends to rush his disposal more than he needs to. One of, if not the best in my eyes for the Falcons.

#12 Bayley Cockerill – Seemed to get better as the game wore on. Played mostly behind the ball, he showed courage going back with the flight, and provided a running option at half-back. Was not afraid to keep the ball moving and kick long to contests. After a quieter start, he provided a real highlight later in the game with a snap from the pocket under pressure. His work rate and ability to just keep pushing throughout four quarters was good.

#17 Cooper Stephens – Played on Irving Mosquito at half-back and had his work cut out for him defensively. But despite Mosquito providing a few highlights, Stephens provided good run and drive out of the back half. He was often used as the designated kick out of defence, or the link-up handball between the back 50 and the midfield. Often combined with Harry Benson or Bayley Cockerill to get the ball moving.

#22 Sam Walsh – A player who just does not panic. Walsh showed plenty of composure in another impressive performance returning to the the Falcons’ line-up from injury. At times he does have that ability to make time stop and assess his options, almost doing a 360 degree spin to work out what to do next. He was often the player that would mark in the middle of the ground and switch play to either wing. Used in a chain of handballs or to penetrate inside forward 50, he got a tick from me for his game. Walsh is still a bottom-ager so I look forward to seeing him over the next 18 months.

#41 Tom McCartin – Aside from his strong marking, the one thing that stood out for me was his ground level work. His clean hands and ability to pick up a ball off the deck, particularly at full speed like he was in one instance in the first quarter was impressive. Despite playing key forward and not kicking a goal, I thought McCartin was one of the Falcons’ best using his work rate and ability to provide a contest to help his side. I think his work at ground level and ability to pick the ball off the deck with clean hands adds a point of difference to other key forwards in the draft.

#46 Adam Garner – Simply too big and too strong for his opponents. Played on a few different Power players, but the result was the same, his contested marking is a treat, sticking up the big gloves and if he didn’t mark it, he always brought it to ground. A straight line forward, for me the next step is his ground level work and decision making as at times he seemed to be a tad slow with disposing of the ball in play. With six goals and a plethora of big marks, Garner could be pleased with his performance in almost hauling the Falcons over the line.

Gippsland Power:

#5 Xavier Duursma – The Power midfielder certainly caught the attention of opposition players with his booming kick and fierce tackling. Moved well across the ground and was one of Gippsland’s better players through the middle. Had a couple of shots on goal, kicking one and narrowly missing another. Has a forward presence with good marking ability and reading of the play. There was an instance in the first term where it looked like he might have panicked a little under pressure and rushed his disposal, but I did not see it again so it could have been a once-off. A solid overall game from Duursma.

#6 Aiden Quigley – The AFL Academy member has a presence around the ground with his tackling and repeat efforts. He showed good decision making throughout the four quarters, but his execution let him down at times. His tackling technique is one that many players could learn as he pins the arm away and forces the umpire to award him a free kick. Seemed to drift out of the game late, but he was far from alone as Geelong took control in the last quarter. Overall he showed good signs defensively, just needs to work on his kicking.

#7 Will Stephenson – This kid just lives for the big moments. Seemed to be quiet in the first half, but in the second half when Geelong was hitting back, he won a couple of cruical one-on-one contests, including one of the last centre clearances. Matched on Cassidy Parish who is arguably the best or one of the best TAC Cup clearance players in the game, Stephenson read the flight of the tap perfectly and kicked inside 50 to hit-up a target with the Falcons pushing hard. They were able to chew vital seconds off the clock and his influence late was a key reason why they held on. Stephenson has plenty of courage and is not afraid to match it with bigger players and go back with the flight.

#9 Irving Mosquito – Everyone has told me how exciting this kid is and after an indifferent start seeing him live at QEO earlier in the season, I was sold by his highlights against the Falcons. A huge vertical leap dangerous around goals, Mosquito kicked a fantastic goal off a step from a tight angle and almost had two with a dribble shot from the boundary just missing. Just oozes X-factor and has great decision making. My knock on him earlier in the season was his ability to rush his disposal at times not realising how much time and space he has, but he did not have that problem on the weekend. Was injured in the last quarter after a late knock following a kick, so hopefully his injury is not too serious.

#19 Callum Porter – A perfect game in terms of offensive and defensive impact from the tough, inside midfielder. Had four tackles within the first minute of play and would drift back to half-back and take the intercept mark, then somehow drift forward and kick four goals. He would have racked up 20 plus disposals, 10 plus tackles, eight to 10 marks and of course four goals, to really put a stap on the game. His ability to mark in a contest against bigger bodies was really telling and he just never took a backwards step. Stood up when Gippsland needed a hero and he provided the forward presence when the Power’s forwards were being well held. Clearly best on ground and a game he is unlikely to forget anytime soon.

#24 Sean Masterson – A quiet game, but stood up at crucial times similar to Stephenson. Nearly every involvement he had was important, whether it was a towering mark at centre half forward or a spoil and intercept at centre half back, Masterson really showed his versatility on the weekend. Played up both ends and while he might not have the strength of his opponents, he has a good leap and is a solid field kicker. He also took a huge mark late in the game and iced the clock, showing his maturity.


Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets (Duncan Robertson)

Oakleigh Chargers:

#8 Toby Wooller – Far too strong and mobile for his Jets opponent. Played a solid game booting two goals in a game where he mostly played inside 50.

#24 Sam Harte – The bottom ager is a classy small midfielder who used his speed on multiple occasions to burst away from the stoppages.

#35 Jack Higgins – Was wasteful in front of goal and could’ve well kicked seven if he had’ve kicked straight. His quality is obvious and the Jets had no answer to his crafty ability through the midfield and up forward as a small forward. Finished with four goals.

Western Jets:

#19 Cameron Rayner – One of the standouts for the Jets, in a solid game by his high standards. Powerful, classy and quick. His ‘speccy’ was play of the day and he booted three goals. The Jets suffered wherever he was moved from, winning the contested ball when he played in the midfield and looking dangerous inside 50 with his contested marking when he went forward. Was unable to settle into one particular role as was switching between forward and midfield constantly throughout the day.

#35 Blake Graham – Worked hard as a lead up target inside 50, making multiple leads but didn’t get much supply.

#37 Hamish Murphy -Tried hard all day in defence with multiple inside 50s for Oakleigh. His intercept work was good and he possesses a very strong left foot which helps him rebound the ball effectively.

#38 Buku Khamis – Played an excellent game as a midsized forward. Was classy and elusive when he had ball in hand. Is a strong body at the contests and has good hands to dispose of the ball.


Calder Cannons vs. Northern Knights (Billy Friend)

Calder Cannons:

#1 Brad Bernacki – An inspiring best on ground performance from the Calder captain today, as he willed his team to their first home victory this season. Bernacki collected 39 touches in the midfield whilst applying constant pressure around the ball. The tough inside midfielder found pockets of space around the ground but his most influential work was done at the clearances.

#2 Dylan Landt – Accumulated in the midfield with expertise and kicked the game sealing goal with a left foot snap. He displayed his endurance and work rate throughout the contest. His football smarts are very good and he was often able to get to the right place at the right time.

#4 Mohammed Moustafa – Didn’t collect a lot of the ball, but his strength in the contest really stood out. Moustafa shook off tackles and was clean when the ball was in dispute.

#8 Lachlan Sholl – Played an outside role to perfection as he pushed back to take marks in the hole and found space to accumulate possessions all around the ground. Was efficient by foot.

#11 Jake Firebrace – Made up for a number of first half errors and fumbles with a solid second half performance. His sidestep and ferocious pressure was important for Calder heading inside forward fifty

#12 Noah Balta – Appeared to be a level above his opponents for most of the day. His athletic leap was a standout as he took three spectacular overhead marks both in defence and in the forward line. He kicked two crucial goals in the last quarter to ice the game after playing the first half at centre half back and was second best to Bernacki on the day.

#26 Mason Fletcher – Was commanding in defence and held the Northern key forwards at bay. Took some strong intercept marks and made critical spoils. Disposed of the ball well coming out of defensive 50.

#29 Jake Riccardi – Played well as the focal point of the Cannons’ attack for most of the day and finished with three goals. His hands were strong as he took contested marks, but also lead hard to present an option for teammates.

#33 Jack Evans – Played an almost identical role to Mason Fletcher. Evans was commanding in defence and held the Northern key forwards at bay. Took some strong intercept marks and made critical spoils. Disposed of the ball well coming out of defensive 50.

#39 Jesse Firebrace – Excited in the first quarter as Calder’s live wire in the forward half, kicking two early goals. His small frame didn’t stop him from imposing himself around contests and his speed & agility was a real weapon for the Cannons.

Northern Knights:

#5 Marcus Lentini – Was the delivery man in the back half and his run & dash was important. He rebounded the ball well and took a couple of intercept marks.

#7 Jack Petruccelle – A fairly quiet performance by his lofty standards, but he did show glimpses where he went forward and took two strong contested marks and kicked a goal. His impact in the midfield was subdued.

#10 Brody Bell – Played well as a loose player behind the stoppage and was clean with his disposal. Didn’t have a huge impact but had his moments.

#11 Ethan Penrith – His speed and agility was lethal deep forward and he kicked an outstanding goal beating three opponents in the third quarter. He tried hard all day and was one of Northern’s best with his tackling pressure and pinpoint field kicking.

#15 Anthony Fable – Probably kicked the goal of the day as he showed off his lightning speed and long kick. His tackling pressure was a level above most of his teammates and his service into the forward line was lethal.

#32 Patrick Howe – Kicked two goals in the first quarter and continued to be dangerous as a third tall as the game went on.

#34 Matthew Harman – Fought hard in the ruck without much help and won most of the hitouts today. His hitout to advantage rate was not high as the Cannons midfield got on top especially in the second half.


Greater Western Victoria Rebels vs. Murray Bushrangers (Billy Friend)

Greater Western Victoria Rebels:

#1 Dale Cox – Showed agility across half back and pressurised the Murray forwards constantly. He needs to improve his kicking but showed impressive signs.

#4 Aiden Domic – His hard running was a highlight and he kicked a superb midfield goal where he impacted the contest on the wing and ended up with the ball in the forward line seconds later. Was one of the leading ball winners on the ground.

#6 Keegan Gray – Found plenty of space on the wing and probably gained the most metres of all his teammates. Showed impressive endurance to cover the ground and collect possessions at ease.

#9 Flynn Appleby – Displayed overhead marking prowess. He was swung forward and took strong marks, kicking two goals.

#16 Joe Dodd – Kicked a goal and did a lot of good work up the ground.

#19 Jackson Taurau – Was outmuscled by Johnston on several occasions but fought back with impressive spoils in the second half. At 188cm was undersized against the Murray key forwards.

#22 Naish McRoberts – Stood out in the Rebels midfield as his clean hands resulted in many clearances. He kicked a booming goal from fifty metres out and was a shining light.

#24 Matty Lloyd – His disposals were classy and impactful as Lloyd once again caught the eye. He was best on ground in the first half but his impact was limited as the Rebels were overwhelmed in the second half. Kicked a nice goal too.

#40 Tylar Watts – Busted his guts all day and presented as a strong option up forward. He kicked three goals and won most of his one-on-one duals with the Bushranger defenders. When asked to pinch hit in the ruck he made some nice contributions shovelling the ball out by hand to outside runners.

Murray Bushrangers: 

#1 Daniel Johnston – Was a man mountain at full forward and got the better of Taurau and co. He kicked three goals in the second quarter and was too big and too strong. Johnston also provided an imposing physical presence when he pinch hit in the ruck through laying tackles and even clearing the ball on a couple of occasions.

#3 Benjamin Kelly – Monstered his direct opponent in the ruck and easily won the share of the hitouts. He showed off quick hands to dish the ball off to his midfielders but mainly impressed with his physicality.

#7 Zane Barzen – Showed off his impressive vertical leap by taking mark of the day in the first half. Brazen kicked three goals in a minute, (yes, you read that correctly) and shined today as one of Murray’s most dangerous forwards.

#8 Jacob Koschitzke – Read the fight of the ball excellently in defence, saving the day on a few occasions by repelling the Rebels’ entries forward.

#18 Hudson Garoni – Did not find much of the ball but did show potential taking two strong overhead marks.

#19 Will Donaghey – Showed off his flexibility today rotating between defence and midfield, and he accumulated the ball with ease.

#21 Doulton Langlands – Showed poise coming off half back and was one of Murray’s best. He took a number of intercept marks in the defensive 50 and was a partner in crime with Samuel Beasley.

#27 Harrison Jones – Started off slow in the first half but was monumental in the third and fourth quarters to orchestrate the second half smashing. Jones showed a combination of toughness and class around stoppages, and appeared to be a real leader for Murray. Kicked a great goal from 40m out too.

#42 Samuel Beasley – Was terrific rebounding the ball out of defence. Demanded the ball and didn’t let anyone down as he showed his proficiency by foot. Beasley also showed a gritty determination with one percenters and spoils in the backline.

Vic Metro 46-man U18 training squad announced

VIC Metro will be aiming to win back-to-back titles after naming a strong Under 18 training squad for the upcoming NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

The squad will be coached by Martin Allison, who is taking over the reigns from David Flood. Allison is the new AFL Victoria Metro Talent Pathways Manager and previously coached the Vic Metro Academy back in 2013.

He will be joined by former Western Bulldogs player Steve Wallis and current Director of Coaching at Eastern Michael Rizio – who were part of last year’s assistant coaching set up, while Carlton AFL Women’s and Sandringham Dragons forward coach Jackson Kornberg and Uni Blues (VAFA) senior coach Quinton Gleeson will join as Metro assistants.

Vic Metro’s midfield will be led by talented Eastern Ranges duo Adam Cerra and Joel Garner, while Jack Petruccelle (Northern Knights) and Cameron Rayner (Western Jets) will provide some much needed X-Factor in the side.

SQUAD: