Tag: Marcus Lentini

Stat Leaders: 2021 VFL – Round 3

THE 2021 Victorian Football League (VFL) season rolled on into its third round over the weekend, with 1 fixtures spread from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon. There were a number of outstanding individual performances among the Round 3 action, as AFL-listed talent and state league guns alike topped a range of key categories. We take a look at this week’s stat leaders, as well as the season tallies to this point.

>> RESULTS: State League wrap

Usual forward Jake Riccardi swung into defence for GWS on Sunday and had a blinder, seeing him top the league for kicks and marks in Round 3. The 21-year-old racked up 40 disposals, with 31 of them delivered by foot and 19 earned via marks. His dynamic performance helped the Giants to a 30-point win over Southport, their first for the season.

It was no surprise to see Coburg ball magnet Marcus Lentini again tick over the 40-disposal mark, this time managing 42 against Brisbane in what was a battle of the Lions. The mid-season draft hopeful was just pipped atop the handball charts on the weekend by Gold Coast’s Will Brodie, who dished out 22 in the Suns’ narrow loss to Collingwood. In the same game, first year Magpie Reef McInnes got his hands dirty with a round-high 11 tackles.

Elsewhere, competition leading goalkicker Matt Hammelmann upped his season average (5.3) with a bag of six majors as Aspley went down to Frankston. The effort accounted for over half of the Hornets’ score, brining Hammelmann’s season tally to 16 after three games. Western Bulldogs ruck Jordon Sweet also excelled in his field, feasting to win 38 hitouts against inexperienced Northern Bullants’ talls.

Looking at the season leaders, Frankston jet Nathan Freeman has served a reminder of his class in 2021 with a clean run, topping the league for disposals and kicks. Jacob Dawson is another former AFL player finding plenty of ball, distributing more than any other player thus far by hand. Hammelmann and Casey’s James Munro are the other state leaguers topping charts, while AFL-listed bigmen Connor Ballenden and Ned Reeves have the most marks and hitouts respectively.

Find the full list of Round 3, and 2021 season stat leaders below.

ROUND 3 STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Marcus Lentini (Coburg) – 42

Kicks:
Jake Riccardi* (GWS) – 31

Handballs:
Will Brodie* (Gold Coast) – 22

Goals:
Matt Hammelmann** (Aspley) – 6

Marks:
Jake Riccardi* (GWS) – 19

Tackles:
Reef McInnes* (Collingwood) – 11

Hitouts:
Jordon Sweet* (Footscray) – 38

2021 SEASON STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Nathan Freeman (Frankston) – 117 total / 39.0 average

Kicks:
Nathan Freeman (Frankston) – 78 / 26.0

Handballs:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 56 / 18.7

Goals:
Matt Hammelmann (Aspley) – 16 / 5.3

Marks:
Connor Ballenden* (Brisbane) – 34 / 11.3

Tackles:
James Munro (Casey) – 28 / 9.3

Hitouts:
Ned Reeves* (Box Hill) – 118 / 39.3

* – denotes AFL-listed.
** – denotes season leader.

Image Credit: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos

2021 VFL Round 1 review: Queensland teams make their mark

A NEW era and a new competition full of surprises saw a number of clubs from New South Wales and Queensland join the still rather oddly-named Victorian Football League (VFL), and the majority came away with the points. The four AFL-aligned clubs in the two northern states on the east coast joined the competition, with standalone teams, Aspley Hornets and Southport Sharks also joining the fold, as did the Northern Bullants who returned to the competition. With 11 games played every weekend in the new 22-team competition, the competitiveness to finish inside the top eight has never been greater.

The match of the round was easily Southport’s come-from-behind win over Carlton at Ikon Park on Saturday. The Blues raced out of the blocks to pile on six goals to two in the opening term and lead by 26 points at quarter time. The Sharks began to claw their way back in the second, kicking five goals to four to draw to within 19 points at the main break, but the Blues seemed to keep them at arms-length. Carlton kicked 4.6 to 4.0 in the premiership quarter to again extend out to 25 points with a quarter to play, but the visitors were not done with just yet. Connor Nutting kicked two goals in the opening six minutes, and by the time Jacob Dawson had converted a major, the deficit was back in the single digits midway through the term, Lukas Webb brought it back to two points a few minutes later, and after Dawson levelled the score with a behind in the 20th minute, many thought it could be the competition’s first draw.

AFL-listed youngster Lochie O’Brien had other ideas, converting a goal in the 25th minute, and when Matt Shannon kicked a major at 26:38 on the clock, it appeared the Sharks had fought gallantly, but would not be able to comeback from a 12-point deficit, The last eight minutes of the term saw the Sharks relentlessly attacking, and forcing a rushed behind, which would prove ultimately important in the end result. Fraser Thurlow kicked a major in red time, and then it was just five points in it. The former AFL-contingent at the Queensland club had stepped up throughout the game, and indeed it would be Webb who would be the man of the moment, kicking a match-winning major in the last minute to seal the game. At one point, the deficit had got out to as much as 31 points, but the visitors had kept believing, and stunned the home side, 17.7 (109) to 16.12 (108).

Whilst he might not have kicked one in the final term, ex-Bulldog Billy Gowers had a day out with five goals from seven scoring shots, 15 disposals and six marks. Thurlow absolutely dominated the ruck for the Sharks, notching up 49 hitouts, but then going forward to slot three goals and take eight marks from 12 touches. Nutting, a former Gold Coast Academy talent kicked the three goals from 11 touches, while Webb’s two goals in the final term added to his 24 touches, five marks and four tackles. Andrew Boston (27 disposals, 11 tackles), Dawson (26 disposals, seven tackles and one goal), Jesse Joyce (23 disposals, four marks, three tackles and a goal) and Michael Manteit (21 disposals, five marks, two tackles and a goal) were among the other top ball winners.

Despite the loss, Liam Stocker practically kicked down the door for AFL selection with a whopping 38-disposal and 13-mark game, as David Cuningham (28 disposals, four marks, four tackles and a goal), Sam Ramsay (22 disposals, seven marks and five tackles) and O’Brien (21 disposals, six marks and a goal) also found plenty of the footy. Matthew Owies kicked a straight four goals from 12 touches, six marks and four tackles, while ex-Pie and Crow Ben Crocker slotted 2.3 from 11 touches and five marks up forward. Another ex-AFL listed talent in Toby Wooller returned to Victoria from Queensland to kick 1.2 from 16 disposals, six marks, eight tackles and have six hitouts tor the Blues.

Fellow standalone Queensland side Aspley Hornets also sent a message to the rest of the competition with an absolute belting of one of Victoria’s proudest clubs Port Melbourne. The Hornets blew the Borough away in the opening term with a 10 goal to two first quarter, and whilst the visitors managed to get back to within 43 points at the final break with six goals to two over the next two quarters, the damage was done and the Hornets booted six last quarter goals to win 20.13 (133) to 12.8 (80). Ryan Bastinac was ridiculous with 39 touches, four marks, six tackles and three goals, with Matthew Payne (28 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and two goals), Corey Lyons (27 disposals, five marks and one goal) and Matthew Hammelmann (11 disposals, eight marks and 4.4) among the dominant players for the Hornets. Harvey Hooper (27 disposals, four marks and two tackles) tried hard for the Borough, while Anthony Anastasio and Matthew Signorello both slotted three goals apiece.

Also in the Sunshine State, Brisbane Lions reserves knocked off Essendon’s reserves in a 66-point belting at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex. Rhys Mathieson did his chances of a recall no harm thanks to a lazy 34 touches, eight marks and two goals, while Connor Ballenden (31 disposals, 15 marks and one goal) and Keidean Coleman (29 disposals, nine marks, three tackles and two goals) were also up there with the best for the Lions. First-year player Carter Michael showed he has the capacity to match it at senior level, amassing an impressive 25 touches on debut. Ex-Lion Tom Cutler had a team-high 29 disposals and 10 marks for the Bombers, while Nick Bryan racked up 34 hitouts, five marks and three tackles to show off his around-the-ground work with 27 touches.

The only Queensland team to suffer defeat in the opening round of the VFL was Gold Coast Suns, going down by 67 points to a red-hot Western Bulldogs outfit. The Bulldogs kicked 10 goals to three in the opening half to set up the win, restricting the Suns to just 12 scoring shots as the home team won, 16.13 (109) to 6.6 (42). The potent tall forward combination of Josh Schache (19 disposals, 12 marks and 5.4) and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (12 disposals, 2.1) was the issue for the Suns, though father-son talent Ryley West was one of nine individual scorers, picking up 22 disposals, five marks and four disposals in the process. Will Hayes (29 disposals, 11 marks), Riley Garcia (24 disposals, three marks and nine tackles), Lin Jong (24 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and a goal) and Buku Khamis (21 disposals, 11 marks) were other AFL-listed Dogs impressing. For the Suns, Brayden Fiorini (31 disposals, 11 marks and six tackles) and Will Brodie (30 disposals, 10 marks and six tackles) had days out, while talented AFL Academy member Austin Harris kicked two goals from six touches, two marks and three tackles.

In the all-New South Wales battle, Sydney Swans emerged victorious of the GWS GIANTS, booting 12 goals to seven after quarter time to record a 15.6 (96) to 10.10 (70) victory. Colin O’Riordan had 32 disposals and 14 marks, as other Swans-listed talents in Lewis Taylor (32 disposals, eight marks and one goal) and Ryan Clarke (31 disposals, eight marks and four tackles) both racked up the ball with ease. Hayden McLean and Harry Morrison slotted three majors apiece, whilst Paddy McCartin returned to the field to have 19 disposals and nine marks in a promising return. Teenage talents, Sam Thorne (13 disposals, six marks and a goal) and Marc Sheather (10 disposals, three tackles and a goal) also gained some important experience. For the GIANTS, Alex Smout racked up 33 disposals, as Tanner Bruhn showed his AFL debut cannot be too far away with 27 touches and two goals. Josh Green, brother of GIANTS’ Tom stepped up to have 21 touches, as AFL Academy member Josh Fahey had the nine disposals, three marks and three tackles in the loss.

In a couple of the more memorable matches for the VFL, two all-standalone Victorian clashes saw Frankston Dolphins and Williamstown Seagulls win easily against Coburg Lions and Northern Bullants respectively. The Dolphins, led by ex-Bomber Josh Begley (six goals), and ex-Pie and Saint Nathan Freeman (40 disposals), proved too strong for the Lions. Coburg’s Marcus Lentini suffered leather poisoning himself, matching Freeman with a whopping 40 disposals and slotting a goal. Josh D’Intinosante and Mitch Podhajski both slotted three goals in defeat. For the Seagulls, they booted seven goals to one in the first half to set up the victory against the Bullants, as Jake Greiser (29 disposals, eight marks and one goals), Mitch Hibberd (29 disposals, five marks and one goal) and Liam Hunt (29 disposals, one goal) ran rampant. Joel Ottavi slotted four goals from eight scoring shots, while ex-Crow Jordan Gallucci slammed home three goals from 21 touches and six marks. For the Bullants, Tom Wilson had the most touches with 25 and six marks, while ex-GIANT and Roo Paul Ahern had 23 disposals, four marks, four tackles and kicked a goal.

Pies fans had something to smile about over the weekend, with a hard-fought seven-point win over Werribee, 10.9 (69) to 9.8 (62). Second year talent Jay Rantall put his hand up to return to an injury-depleted AFL lineup with 28 disposals, five marks and six tackles, while Tyler Brown (22 disposals), Caleb Poulter (18 disposals, seven marks and a goal) and Ollie Henry (11 disposals, seven marks and two goals) were among the young Pies to make an impact. Ex-Cat Wylie Buzza slotted four goals from 10 touches and four marks, as Tom Gribble (30 disposals, nine marks and five tackles) and Matthew Hanson (28 disposals, four marks and three tackles) did their thing. It was a much more one-sided contest for Richmond’s 40-point win over Sandringham Zebras, as the Tigers piled on 10 goals to three in the first three quarters to lead by 47 points at the final break, before the Zebras cut the deficit back rallying in the final term. Samson Ryan kicked three goals up forward, as Callum Coleman-Jones (22 disposals, six marks, 13 hitouts, four tackles and two goals) found plenty of the football. Jack Ross (34 disposals), Pat Naish (33) and Riley Collier-Dawkins (31) all easily dominated proceedings, whilst for the Zebras, Shaun McKernan was outstanding with 23 disposals, 10 marks, 11 hitouts, four goals and four tackles, while Ryan Byrnes (22 disposals, eight marks and a goal) and Oscar Clavarino (20 disposals, 14 marks) were among the St Kilda-listed talents to impress.

The two Sunday clashes between AFL-aligned clubs resulted in the Casey Demons getting a comfortable 41-point victory over Hawthorn at Box Hill, while Geelong posted a whopping 79-point thrashing over North Melbourne to sit at the top of the VFL ladder. Kade Chandler (25 disposals, 10 marks and a goal), Neville Jetta (25 disposals, 10 marks) and Aaron Vandenberg (25 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and a goal) were busy around the ground, whilst Ben Brown‘s debut in the red and blue (18 disposals, six marks and three goals) was overshadowed by a monstrous performance from Sam Weideman (16 disposals, seven marks and 7.2). Developing Hawk tall Emerson Jeka was one of three in the brown and gold to slot three majors in the loss, while Lachlan Bramble (20 disposals, eight tackles) and Michael Hartley (20 disposals) were among the Hawthorn-listed players to impress. For the Cats, Zach Guthrie had a day out with 27 disposals and 11 marks, as Charlie Constable (26 touches) and Oscar Brownless (24) pressed their cases for a call-up. Josh Jenkins and Ben Jarvis both slotted four goals apiece in the massive win, as two of eight individual goalkickers. Former Bushranger and Hawk’ Mat Walker had three goals from six scoring shots, as well as 16 touches and 10 marks in a dirty day for the Roos, while Dom Tyson (29 touches), Harry Jones (23) and Will Walker (20) tried hard.

VFL ROUND 1 RESULTS:

Richmond 13.17 (95) defeated Sandringham 7.13 (55)
Frankston 20.6 (126) defeated Coburg 14.12 (96)
Western Bulldogs 16.13 (109) defeated Gold Coast Suns 6.6 (42)
Brisbane Lions 15.14 (104) defeated Essendon 5.8 (38)
Sydney Swans 15.6 (96) defeated GWS GIANTS 10.10 (70)
Aspley 20.13 (133) defeated Port Melbourne 12.8 (80)
Carlton 16.12 (108) lost to Southport 17.7 (109)
Werribee 9.8 (62) lost to Collingwood 10.9 (69)
Hawthorn 10.7 (67) lost to Casey Demons 17.16 (118)
Geelong 18.15 (123) defeated North Melbourne 6.8 (44)
Northern Bullants 6.11 (47) lost to Williamstown 14.15 (99)

Picture credit: Southport Sharks Twitter

Classic Contests: Cannons hold off wasteful Knights

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 11 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Calder Cannons and Northern Knights. In this edition, we wind back the clock to…

2016 TAC Cup, Round 13
Saturday July 9, 11:00am
Highgate Reserve

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.2 | 2.7 | 4.12 | 8.14 (62)
CALDER CANNONS 4.2 | 7.2 | 8.4 | 10.7 (67)

Goals:

Northern: C. McKay 2, J. Shea 2, L. Murphy, M. Perry, A. Federico, M. Signorello
Calder:
L. Middleton 2, T. Burnside 2, M. Saad 2, L. Bramble, N. Balta, M. Lewis, B. Ronke

Best:

Northern: M. Lentini, M. Signorello, L. Murphy, E. Penrith, L. Bunker, C. Roberts
Calder:
B. Ronke, J. Velissaris, H. Blythe, M. Saad, B. Caluzzi, J. Owen

Draftees in action:

Northern: Nick Coffield*, Patrick Naish*, Matthew Signorello, Lachlan Murphy
Calder: Noah Balta*, Mitchell Lewis, Ben Ronke, Zach Guthrie

* – denotes bottom-aged

Calder and Northern ensured their only meeting for the 2016 TAC Cup season would be a close one, with the more accurate Cannons made to work for a five-point victory on home turf. While either side boasted four eventual draftees each, the gap in their respective form was evidenced by Calder’s four straight wins to sit sixth at 6-6, while Northern had won two of its last four games to improve to 3-9 in 11th place.

The Knights’ crop of high-end talent was propped up a touch more by bottom-agers, including the likes of Patrick Naish and Nick Coffield, with top-ager Patrick Lipinski absent for the clash. On the other hand, all three of Calder’s 2016 draftees took the field, with Ben Ronke among them and adjudged his side’s best on the day. As the action showed, that slight experience advantage paid dividends for Calder in typically tough Highgate conditions.

True to form, the Cannons broke out to an early lead at 4.2 to 2.2 come the first break, while Northern spurned the chance to hit back in the second, registering behinds with each of its five scoring shots as Calder put away its three chances to create a 25-point buffer heading into half time.

The trend continued into the third term as Northern desperately tried to claw its way back into the contest, with an added 2.5 setting up what would be a tense finish at just 16 points adrift. Having finally broken the kicking curse with 4.2 to Calder’s 2.3, it proved too little and too late with the Cannons holding on to a five-point lead as the final siren sounded.

Ronke’s 23 disposals, 10 tackles, and one goal for the winners helped him earn best-on honours, with the VFL-listed Jean-Luc Velissaris and Muhammad Saad also thereabouts. Fellow Coburg pair Marcus Lentini (30 disposals) and Luke Bunker (23) were among Northern’s best, with Adelaide draftees Matthew Signorello and Lachlan Murphy managed 27 disposals and a goal each.

In terms of the other future AFL-listed players afield, Noah Balta and Mitchell Lewis were both kept to under 10 disposals and a goal each, while Zach Guthrie had 11 touches. For Northern, Naish had 18 disposals and Coffield, 15 as bottom-agers. The Knights would have two players drafted in 2016 and four in 2017, while Calder laid claim to three and one over the next two years respectively.

Both sides dropped slightly come the end of the regular season in 2016, as Calder held on to a finals spot in seventh with its 8-9 record, only to be bundled out of the post-season upon the first hurdle. Northern finished last of the Victorian sides in 12th, adding just one more win after Round 13 to sit at 4-14.

Classic Contests: Rebels and Knights split points in low-scoring battle

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 4 clashes in the NAB League this year between Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Northern Knights. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2017 when the teams played out a draw up at MARS Stadium with both teams understrength due to the AFL Under 18s National Championships taking place at the same time.

GWV REBELS 1.1 | 4.1 | 6.5 | 6.8 (44)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.3 | 4.5 | 5.6 | 6.8 (44)

Round 11 | Sunday, June 25, 2017
MARS Stadium, 11am

Two sides keen to get a win at the midpoint of the 2017 TAC Cup season were sixth placed Northern Knights and ninth placed GWV Rebels. The Knights sat a win outside the top four but a poor percentage of just 79.76, while the Rebels had a better percentage of 86.04, but had to win in order to knock Eastern Ranges out of the top eight. The Rebels had gone down to Gippsland Power by 27 points the week before, while the Knights had a match to forget, humbled by Oakleigh Chargers to the tune of 84 points at Preston City Oval.

Northern would pepper the goals early with a couple of behinds before Patrik Della Rocca finally got one on the board for his side in the 12th minute mark of the term. The Rebels, who had been held goalless until the 15th minute had a flurry of activity with a goal from Trent Reed and behind from Matty Lloyd to give them some hope, before Della Rocca finished the term with another another major to head into quarter time. The second term saw the Rebels hit back with goals to Lochie Dawson, Tom Clark and Keegan Gray, while a major to Jamison Shea midway through the term ensured the visitors did not cough up the lead by half-time.

Another burst of activity from the Rebels on the other side of half-time saw them kick a couple of majors through Jackson Taurau and Scott Carlin, but a host of misses – booting 2.3 to 0.0 in the first 21 minutes – did not give the Rebels the lead they deserved. A behind to future Eagle, Jack Petruccelle and then major to Harrison Grace on the edge of three quarter time cut the deficit to just five points heading into the final break. Both sides continued to pepper the goals trading behinds back and fourth for the first 22 minutes with three behinds to the visitors and two to the home side, before with two minutes and 10 seconds left, Sam Binion broke through to kick the only major of the last term and level the scores. Despite the best efforts of both teams, neither could get a winning score on the board and both had to settle for two points apiece after the hard-fought game.

There were some big numbers from the Knights midfielders on the day with Marcus Lentini leading all-comers thanks to 35 disposals, five marks, three tackles, two clearances, two inside 50s and six rebounds. Providing an unmatched tackling presence, Alex Federico (27 disposals – 17 contested – five marks, 15 tackles and three rebounds) was strong, while future Roo, Tom McKenzie (23 disposals, four marks, three tackles and six inside 50s provided the dash off a wing. Petruccelle finished the game with 19 disposals, four marks, three clearances, seven inside 50s and three rebounds, while Shea had 21 touches, six marks, five tackles and five inside 50s.

For the Rebels, Reed had a massive game with 31 touches, three marks, nine tackles, 10 clearances, four inside 50s, six rebounds and a goal, teaming up well in midfield with Naish McRoberts (27 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, five clearances, two inside 50s and five rebounds) and Dawson (20 disposals, six tackles, eight clearances and a goal). Others who found plenty of the ball included Lloyd (21 touches, three tackles and four inside 50s), Carlin (20 disposals, three marks, four tackles and a goal) and Elliott Lamb (20 disposals, five marks, 10 tackles, three clearances and five inside 50s). Future Magpie, Flynn Appleby had 12 touches, two marks, seven tackles and two inside 50s, while ruck Tylar Watts had a game-high 24 hitouts to go with nine disposals, six tackles, three clearances and two inside 50s.

Northern would go on to make the finals, but be bundled out rather quickly by Oakleigh Chargers in a similar result to their Round 10 clash that season. The Rebels would end up finishing 11th, and ironically had this draw been a win, that finishing position would have been ninth.

Classic Contests: Ranges hold off Knights in tight thriller at Box Hill

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest it is a clash between sides who would have played in Round 1 this year. Today we travel back in time to a late-2017 encounter between the Eastern Ranges and Northern Knights, who played out a thriller at Box Hill City Oval.

EASTERN RANGES 2.2 | 6.6 | 8.10 | 10.11 (71)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.4 | 4.5 | 6.6 | 9.8 (62)

Round 14 | Saturday, July 29, 2017
Box Hill City Oval, 2.00pm

With the season winding down in late July, 2017 and only five rounds remaining, two metropolitan clubs faced off at Box Hill in a mid-table clash. Just two points separated the sides with Northern Knights sitting in sixth with six wins and a draw, while Eastern Ranges were seventh with just the six wins flat. Both were a couple of games clear of eighth and ninth Gippsland Power and Calder Cannons respectively. Eastern was closing the gap on Northern having knocked off Gippsland Power by nine goals the week before on the road, while Northern had fallen to Dandenong Stingrays by 29 points a week earlier.

Heading into the clash, the Ranges had a number of highly fancied prospects in Jaidyn Stephenson, Sam Hayes, Thomas North and Ryley Stoddart, with the likes of Cody Hirst, Xavier Fry and Harrison Nolan also putting in strong consistent performances throughout the season. A couple of 16-year-old talents were also making their debuts for the Ranges with James Ross and Jamieson Rossiter playing for the first time off the back of the Under 16 Championships. For Northern, first round prospect Nick Coffield was the standout in the side, while they also had speedster Jack Petruccelle who could turn the game in a moment. Aside from the AFL talent, the Knights would go on to have a number of VFL stars on the books as well, namely Marcus Lentini and Braedyn Gillard – the latter of whom would suffer a broken elbow in his top-age year the following season.

The first quarter was a tight tussle with the Knights taking the early advantage by just two points at quarter time. They continued to push, but the firepower of the Ranges was starting to come out as the team booted 4.4 to 2.1 to take back the lead and race out to a 13-point advantage at the main break. It proved to be a real difference in the game, with both sides converting two majors in the third term, though the Ranges could have had more with an inaccurate 2.4 to 2.1, pushing the lead out to 16. A more accurate Eastern side had to hold on in the final term as the Knights came charging home, booting 3.2 to Eastern’s 2.1 and get within nine points at the final siren.

Hirst was named best on ground for his four goals off 19 disposals, three marks, six tackles, two clearances and two rebounds with the future Sydney talent showing off his athletic abilities as a bottom-ager. Hayes was phenomenal through the ruck, having 30 hitouts and seven clearances to go with 17 disposals, three marks, two tackles, two inside 50s and a goal, while Stephenson (17 disposals, four marks, six tackles and four inside 50s) was prominent up the ground. Stoddart (15 disposals, six marks and four rebounds) continued his good form in defence alongside Nolan (12 disposals, five marks and four rebounds). Rossiter finished the game with 11 touches and a goal, as Ross also booted a major from four disposals. In terms of the big ball winners, it was Kye Quirk (28 disposals, four inside 50s), Jordan Lynch (26 disposals, nine marks, seven tackles and four inside 50s) and MacKenzie Doreian (23 disposals, three marks, five clearances, six inside 50s and a goal) working hard with North (19 disposals, eight tackles and four clearances).

The Knights found plenty of the ball themselves, as Gillard had a day out with 36 disposals (16 contested), four tackles, seven clearances, four rebounds and two goals, partnering up with Mitchell Andrews (31 disposals, eight marks, two inside 50s, five rebounds and a goal). Lentini (24 disposals, dive marks, 11 tackles, five clearances and three rebounds) and Patrick Howe (25 disposals, six marks and six rebounds) were also among the big ball winners, as was Sam Binion (20 disposals, five marks, five tackles, four clearances, five inside 50s and a goal). From the two future draftees, Coffield picked up 19 touches, six marks, three clearances, four inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal, while Petruccelle had 16 touches, four marks, three clearances and four inside 50s.

Both sides would end up making finals with Eastern Ranges finishing sixth and Northern Knights, eighth. It would be a forgettable day at Victoria Park for those elimination finals as the Knights were completely destroyed by Oakleigh Chargers, while Eastern was on the receiving end of one of the best comebacks in TAC Cup history when Dandenong Stingrays came from the clouds to overrun them. The Ranges would end up with their best draft haul ever though in what was a terrific year for them,

VFL weekly wrap: Coburg wins battle of the cellar dwellers

COBURG overturned a half-time deficit to run away victors against fellow bottom two side Frankston in Round 13 of the Victorian Football League (VFL) while top two sides Richmond and Essendon extended the gap to the rest of the top eight.

Casey 12.12 (84) defeated Box Hill 7.8 (50)

A five goals to one third term ensured the Demons would notch up their fifth win of the season, moving within two points of the Hawks in eighth spot. Casey did most of their work in the opening and third terms, with Box Hill winning the second and final quarters by a slight margin, although it was nowhere near enough as the Demons eased to victory. Jay Kennedy-Harris kicked three goals for the home side and gathered 24 possessions, while Harrison Jones collected 29 disposals. Box Hill host Geelong on Saturday while Casey take on the Northern Blues.

Northern Blues 8.1 (58) defeated by Geelong 10.12 (72)

The Blues had their opportunities to take the four points but ultimately fell short at home against the Cats. Northern gained the lead towards the end of the third term only to fall behind by five points at the final break. From there they never regained momentum and Geelong ran out victors by 14 points. Sam Fisher and James Parsons had 26 disposals each as Jarrod Garlett and Luke Smith both kicked three goals. Hugh Goddard was solid for the Blues with 21 disposals and nine marks. Geelong travel to Box Hill while the Northern Blues play Casey.

Port Melbourne 8.10 (58) defeated by Footscray 15.17 (107)

Midway through the second quarter Port Melbourne held a 25-point lead. From then on, the Borough only kicked three more goals for the match (all coming in the final term) as the Bulldogs stormed home to win by 49 points. Jordon Sweet had 60 hitouts for the Dogs as Toby McLean kicked two goals and collected 30 disposals. Ben Cavarra kicked four goals while Jordan Lisle slotted three for Port. Footscray host Richmond on Saturday while Port Melbourne have the bye.

Collingwood 9.7 (61) defeated North Melbourne 6.6 (42)

The Magpies recorded their second straight win with a solid outing at Victoria Park against the Kangaroos. Collingwood held the lead from the second minute and eventually won by 19 points. Ben Crocker kicked three goals for the home side. Jamie Macmillan had 33 disposals while Nick Rippon touched the footy 32 times and kicked a goal. Collingwood travel to Werribee on Saturday to face the Tigers while North host Sandringham on Sunday.

Sandringham 7.11 (53) defeated by Richmond 10.8 (68)

Richmond led by 39 points at quarter time with Sandringham not even on the scoreboard, and many in attendance would’ve thought the Tigers would roll on to a percentage boosting win. The Zebras didn’t give up however, reducing the margin to just nine points late in the final term before eventually falling by a margin of 15. Sam Fox and Jacob Townsend kicked three goals each while Jack Higgins chipped in with two as well as 23 disposals. Mav Weller had the most touches on the ground with 25. Sandringham face North Melbourne while Richmond travel to Footscray this weekend.

Werribee 13.9 (87) defeated by Essendon 16.3 (99)

Essendon prevailed in a see-sawing battle at Avalon Airport Oval. The final quarter was a tense one, with the scores level with just 10 minutes to go before the Bombers booted two goals to win by 12 points. The largest lead of the match was Essendon by 16 points late in the second term, after Werribee had led by 13 in the early stages of that term. Thomas Gribble had 32 disposals for the Tigers while Michael Barlow had 27. Heath Hocking, Jordan Houlahan, Danny Younan and Kye Declase each kicked two goals as Michael Hartley kicked two and collected 23 disposals. Werribee host Collingwood on Saturday while Essendon face Coburg away on Sunday.

Frankston 7.14 (56) defeated by Coburg 9.8 (62)

Coburg notched up their second win of the season in a tight encounter with the Dolphins at Skybus Stadium. Frankston had a nine-point lead at half-time and extended that to 15 early in the third term but from that point the momentum swung to the Tigers. The home side had their chances late in the match but six late behinds perhaps cost them the victory. Marcus Lentini was dominant again with 35 disposals while Will Fordham collected 28 for Frankston. Josh Weightman kicked two goals and had 22 touches for the away side. Frankston travel to Williamstown while Coburg host Essendon this weekend.

Bye – Williamstown

Picture: VFL.com.au

VFL weekly wrap: Magpies suffer again as Seagulls soar

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

Richmond 13.8 (86) defeated Geelong 9.9 (63)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Casey 15.12 (102) defeated Collingwood 6.3 (39)

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

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

Pic: NMFC.com.au

VFL weekly wrap: Kangaroos stun the Tigers

NORTH MELBOURNE caused the biggest boilover of the Victorian Football League (VFL) season, handing top-of-the-table Richmond their first defeat in Round 9, while the Whitten Oval played host to an unbelievably low-scoring affair between Footscray and Geelong.

Box Hill 10.14 (74) defeated Williamstown 8.6 (54)

The Hawks recorded a victory at home against Williamstown after leading much of the game. Box Hill only sacrificed the lead towards half time, where they trailed by three points, but quickly took charge once again when the third term commenced to eventually run away 20-point winners. Luke Meadows had 27 disposals while Jake Greiser had the most for the away side with 23 and 1 goal. Jaylon Thorpe kicked three goals from five kicks.

Werribee 13.10 (84) defeated Casey 7.11 (53)

Werribee were comfortable victors over Casey at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday. The Tigers controlled the contest from the first bounce with their lead never really under threat. Michael Barlow’s good form continued with 33 disposals and a goal as teammate Josh Clayton also managed 30 disposals and a major. Corey Wagner had the most for Casey with 25 disposals and 10 tackles. Max Augerinos kicked 3 goals for the Tigers.

North Melbourne 17.7 (109) defeated Richmond 11.14 (80)

In the upset of the season so far, North Melbourne returned to Arden Street Oval in style with a win over the current table-toppers Richmond. North had the lead at every break and finished strongly, kicking six goals to three in the final term. Taylor Garner, new recruit Lachlan Hosie, and Curtis Taylor all kicked three goals each for the home side while Patrick Naish continued his push for a senior call-up with 25 disposals and three goals. Paul Ahern recorded 27 disposals for the victors.

Essendon 12.12 (84) defeated Northern Blues 6.7 (43)

A five goal to none last term paved the way for a big Bombers win over the Northern Blues at Windy Hill. Essendon only held a 10-point lead at the final break, but the second-placed side turned on the jets to eventually win by 41 points. Dale Thomas made partial amends for his demotion with 32 disposals while Sam Fisher also impressed, notching up 26 touches. David Myers kicked two goals and also had 26 disposals. Brayden Ham converted three majors for the Bombers.

Coburg 8.10 (58) defeated by Sandringham 9.14 (68)

The Zebras won away from home against Coburg to remain in the top eight. Sandringham led for most of the match, bar a period in the third term, but never by a comfortable margin, and the Tigers continued to push them all the way until the final siren. St Kilda fans will be excited by Max King, who kicked three goals while Mitch Podhajski kicked 2 and could’ve had a few more, as he slotted 5 behinds. Marcus Lentini had 29 disposals as Adam Swierzbiolek recorded 52 hitouts.

Footscray 4.10 (34) defeated by Geelong 5.5 (35)

A truly bizzare game at the Whitten Oval resulted in a one-point win to Geelong. The biggest lead of the game was 18 points the way of the Bulldogs in the second quarter, and they lead by a goal at the main break. Ultimately, it was Footscray’s inaccuracy in front of goal that cost them the victory. Wylie Buzza was the only multiple goalscorer with 2 goals while Rhylee West had 22 disposals. Zach Guthrie notched up 21 for the Cats.

Port Melbourne 15.16 (106) defeated Collingwood 10.4 (64)

A disappointing Collingwood outfit collapsed in the final term, going scoreless as Port Melbourne romped to victory. The Magpies started strongly and despite resting the returning Matt Scharenberg from half time, led by 12 points at the final break. From then on it was all the Borough as they slammed on 8 goals to record a 42-point win. Brayden Sier starred with 34 disposals and a goal while Eli Templeton racked up 30 touches for Port. Jordan Lisle kicked 4 goals while at the opposite end, Andrew Gallucci kicked 3.

Bye – Frankston

Pic: VFL.com.au

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