Tag: Mason Fletcher

NAB League season preview: Calder Cannons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFL Draft preview: Essendon

ESSENDON brought in Dylan Shiel during the off-season which forced their draft hand to be considerably weakened, leaving the Bombers with the second least points of any club –  behind only Hawthorn. They enter the draft at pick 34, and the next pick is 66, followed by 84 and 102 if they choose to use them. It is as much guesswork as anything else at the later point of the draft and will be a little bit of wait and see.
List needs:
  • Explosive inside midfielder
  • Ruck
  • Key position forward
  • Small forwards

Draft selections: 34, 66, 84, 102

It seems to be agreed upon talking to many Bombers supporters that an inside midfielder is the absolute necessity with the club’s first pick in the second round. Preferably if that inside midfielder has some speed out of the contest, all the better. They will arguably look to go tall at some point, with a drifting key position player or ruck, and then most likely best available in any late picks the club has in the draft.

At Pick 34, the Bombers will look and see who is left, with so many possibilities depending on how the clubs ahead of them value players. Essendon might decide to throw a spanner in the works and bid for Connor McFadyen at pick 34, forcing the Lions to match with the very next pick. Of non Academy tied players, Essendon will take a hard look at Calder Cannons co-captain, Jack Bytel, Oakleigh Chargers ball winner, James Rowbottom, or West Australian talent, Sydney Stack. If they are lucky, perhaps a sliding midfielder in Ely Smith or Xavier O’Halloran might be there, with the latter more unlikely than likely.

At the later picks, Essendon might opt for a tall and look at ruckman, Riley Bowman if he is still on the board – given the likelihood of rucks sliding on draft night. Hugo Munn or Hudson Garoni could be there, or perhaps they opt for a more athletic tall in Oscar Chapman or Zane Barzen. Perhaps Dillon O’Reilly – a hybrid of both positions – might come into Essendon’s thinking, or they might end up going with Jake Gasper or Jed Hill who could be late/rookie chances.

In terms of Essendon-tied players, Mason Fletcher has opted not to nominate for the AFL Draft and has instead chosen to play with TAC Cup side, Calder Cannons in 2019. Daniel Hanna attracted some interest with a Rookie Me Combine invitation and could be placed on the list through the rookie draft.

Draft dream not over for 2018 state combine nominees

MORE than one hundred draft hopefuls will test themselves under the watchful eye of AFL club recruiters at the various State Combine’s around the country. After the list of National Combine invitations was released last week – indicating those players with the most draft interest – last night the full list of State Combine, and Rookie Me Combine lists were released.

EIGHTY INVITED TO NATIONAL DRAFT COMBINE

A total of 126 players were nominated for the combines, with Vic Country having 26 players nominated, ahead of South Australia with 24, and Western Australia and Vic Metro with 21 each. It has also proved a bumper year for the Victorian Football League (VFL) with 13 players nominated to test, behind the four Division One states. New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) has eight players nominated, the highest of the Division Two states, while Queensland has seven, and Northern Territory three and Tasmania three.

In terms of individual clubs, Dandenong Stingrays trumps all others, having 12 nominees, making it 17 players heading to testing in 2018. Murray Bushrangers is next with seven, followed by Calder Cannons and Oakleigh Chargers (six), as well as South Australian club Norwood. Fellow South Australian club South Adelaide, West Australian clubs Peel Thunder and Swan Districts, and Sandringham Dragons, all have four nominees. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Sturt, South Fremantle and Claremont have three apiece. In terms of Academies, the GWS Academy had six players nominated, Gold Coast and Brisbane Lions Academies both had three, and Sydney Swans Academy had one.

 

Full list of State Combine nominations:

NSW/ACT: [6]

Riley Bice (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)
Jeromy Lucas (GWS Giants Academy)
Nick Murray (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)
James Peatling (GWS Giants Academy)
Guy Richardson (GWS Giants Academy)
Mathew Walker (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)

Northern Territory: [2]

Michael Mummery (NT Thunder)
Izaak Wyatt (Southern Districts)

Queensland: [4]

Caleb Graham (GC Suns Academy) 
Darcy Marsh (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Tom Matthews (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Lachlan McDonald (GC Suns Academy)

South Australia: [24]

Finn Betterman (Glenelg)
Connor Bristow (Norwood)
Chris Burgess (West Adelaide)
Declan Carmody (Glenelg)
Kade Chandler (Norwood)
Oscar Chapman (North Adelaide)
Tate Coleman (South Adelaide)
Jacob Collins (Norwood)
Job Colwell (South Adelaide)
Tobin Cox (Glenelg)
Darcy Fort (Central District)
Martin Frederick (Woodville-West Torrens)
Nathan Kreuger (South Adelaide)
Tom Lewis (Sturt)
Mihail Lochowiak (Sturt)
Tyler Martin (Norwood)
Aaron Nietschke (Central District)
Matthew Nunn (Norwood)
Kai Pudney (Woodville West Torrens)
Isaac Saywell (Norwood)
Jake Tarca (South Adelaide)
Casey Voss (Sturt)
Callum Wilkie (North Adelaide)
Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide)

Tasmania: [1]

Rhyan Mansell (North Launceston)

VFL: [8]

Jake Aarts (Richmond VFL)
Brett Bewley (Williamstown)
Sam Collins (Werribee)
Will Hayes (Footscray VFL)
Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
Ethan Phillips (Port Melbourne)
Corey Rich (Frankston)

Vic Country: [21]

Jacob Atley (Bendigo Pioneers)
Stephen Cumming (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Fletcher (Dandenong Stingrays)
Matthew Gahan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Hudson Garoni (Murray Bushrangers)
Noah Gown (Gippsland Power)
Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons)
Jed Hill (GWV Rebels)
Austin Hodge (Gippsland Power)
Zane Keighran (Bendigo Pioneers)
Matty Lloyd (GWV Rebels)
Lachlan McDonnell (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong Stingrays)
Finbar O’Dwyer (Murray Bushrangers)
Jamie Plumridge (Dandenong Stingrays)
Mitch Riordan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Bailey Schmidt (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Sturt (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jai Taylor (Dandenong Stingrays)
Charlie Wilson (GWV Rebels)
Lachlan Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

Vic Metro: [18]

Frank Anderson (South Croydon)
Joseph Ayton-Delaney (Oakleigh Chargers)
Atu Bosenavulagi (Oakleigh Chargers)
Kyle Dunkley (Oakleigh Chargers)
Mason Fletcher (Calder Cannons)
Xavier Fry (Eastern Ranges)
Jake Gaspar (Oakleigh Chargers)
Sam Graham (Calder Cannons)
Harry Houlahan (Sandringham Dragons)
James Jordan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Josh Kemp (Calder Cannons)
Justin McInerney (Northern Knights)
Mitchell Podhajski (Calder Cannons)
Stefan Radovanovic (Western Jets)
James Rendell (Sandringham Dragons)
Harry Reynolds (Sandringham Dragons)
Alistair Richards (Sandringham Dragons)
Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers)

Western Australia: [21]

Jason Carter (Peel Thunder)
Dylan Curley (East Fremantle)
Oliver Eastland (Claremont)
Kody Eaton (East Fremantle) 
Harry Edwards (Swan Districts) 
Patrick Farrant (Swan Districts) 
Ethan Hansen (Perth) 
Wil Hickmott (Subiaco) 
Corey Hitchcock (Claremont)
Jack Mayo (Subiaco) 
Tom Medhat (West Perth)
Louis Miller (East Perth) 
Luke Moore (South Fremantle) 
Rylie Morgan (Claremont)
Matthew Parker (South Fremantle) 
Jarvis Pina (Peel Thunder)
Tyson Powell (Peel Thunder)
Regan Spooner (South Fremantle)
James Sturrock (Peel Thunder)
Tobe Watson (Swan Districts)
Graydon Wilson (Swan Districts)

Rookie Me Combine: [21]

Ryan Hebron (Sydney University)
Joey Reinhard (Sydney Swans Academy)
Adam Tipungwuti (Western Magpies)
Matthew Green (NT Thunder)
Ryan Gilmore (GC Suns Academy)
Jack Tomkinson (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Lachlan Gadomski (Kingborough Tigers) 
Matthew McGuinness (Lauderdale)
Ben Cavarra (Williamstown) 
Jay Lockhart (Casey Scorpions) 
Hayden McLean (Sandringham VFL) 
Kieran Strachan (Port Melbourne) 
Charlie Thompson (Richmond VFL)
Jordon Butts (Murray Bushrangers)
Kyle Clarke (Murray Bushrangers)
Sam Conway (Geelong Falcons)
Jake Frawley (Dandenong Stingrays)
Matt Neagle (Wodonga Raiders)
Tye Browning (Calder Cannons)
Daniel Hanna (Calder Cannons)
Cody Hirst (Eastern Ranges)

Mid-Season review: AGSV

AFTER reviewing the Associated Public Schools (APS) football competition at the midway point of the season last week, we take a look at how the nine Associated Grammar Schools Victoria (AGSV) are faring.

Assumption College

R1: lost to Marcellin by 71 points
R2: defeated Yarra Valley by 37 points
R3: defeated Camberwell by 69 points
R4: lost to Trinity by 12 points
R5: defeated Mentone by 81 points
R6: Bye
R7: defeated PEGS by 20 points

Assumption has started the season as one of the three sides with four wins from six games. They were belted by Marcellin in the opening round, but have been impressive since, losing to the undefeated Trinity in round four, and have knocked off all other challengers, including the second placed PEGS. Big wins over Mentone and Camberwell showed they have some talent amongst the team, as well as a solid 37-point win over Yarra Valley. Bottom-age Northern Knights tall Owen Sloan, Bendigo Pioneers’ Logan Fitzgerald, and Calder Cannons quartet Shane Skidmore – who has been their best performer – Jesse Taylor, Patrick Mahoney and James Westphal are among the TAC Cup-listed players at the school.

Camberwell Grammar School

R1: lost to Trinity by 54 points
R2: defeated Mentone by 17 points
R3: lost to Assumption by 69 points
R4: lost to PEGS by 70 points
R5: lost to Peninsula by 146 points
R6: lost to Ivanhoe by 88 points
R7: lost to Camberwell by 99 points

The only AGV school without a TAC Cup-listed player on its books, Camberwell has struggled this year, winning just the one match – a 17-point victory over Mentone – a result that turned heads. Camberwell has suffered losses of more than nine goals in each of its other six games. The average losing margin over the past three weeks is 111 points.

Ivanhoe Grammar School

R1: lost to PEGS by 88 points
R2: lost to Peninsula by 41 points
R3: Bye
R4: defeated Marcellin by 20 points
R5: defeated Yarra Valley by 44 points
R6: defeated Camberwell by 88 points
R7: lost to Trinity by six points

Ivanhoe had a shaky start to the season with back-to-back losses including an opening round belting at the hands of PEGS. But since the bye, Ivanhoe have been sensational, notching up three consecutive wins and only dropping its first game in five rounds on the weekend to an undefeated Trinity. Northern Knights’ Tom McKenzie is the top prospect at Ivanhoe and often cops a tag at school football. He is joined at the school by Knights teammates Xavier Naish – brother of Richmond’s Patrick – Charlie Simonsen, Nathan Howard and Ben Nikolovski.

Marcellin College

R1: defeated Assumption 71 points
R2: lost to PEGS by eight points
R3: defeated Peninsula by 27 points
R4: lost to Ivanhoe by 20 points
R5: Bye
R6: defeated Yarra Valley by 37 points
R7: defeated Camberwell by 99 points

Marcellin is one of three sides with four wins from the first seven rounds, with thumping victories over Assumption (71 points) and Camberwell (99 points) in the first and most recent rounds. They narrowly lost to PEGS and went down to Ivanhoe, but have had a solid season overall. Northern Knights’ Lucas Perry, Adam Carafa, Justin McInerney, Kye Yodgee, Xavier Bateman and Aaron Castagna – brother of Richmond’s Jason – represent the school, as do Oakleigh Chargers Trent Bianco and Jake Sticca.

Mentone Grammar

R1: defeated Yarra Valley by 17 points
R2: lost to Camberwell by 17 points
R3: lost to Trinity by 75 points
R4: Bye
R5: lost to Assumption by 81 points
R6: lost to PEGS by 49 points
R7: lost to Peninsula by 74 points

Mentone started its season off on the right note with a 17-point win over Yarra Valley, but it has been tough going since, losing their last five games, including three by more than 12 goals. Sandringham Dragons’ Harry Houlahan captains the side and has played in multiple positions, while Jai Florent – brother of Sydney’s Ollie – Matthew Scott and Christopher Perkins are other Dragons on Mentone’s list.

Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School (PEGS)

R1: defeated Ivanhoe by 88 points
R2: defeated Marcellin by eight points
R3: defeated Yarra Valley by 44 points
R4: defeated Camberwell by 70 points
R5: lost to Trinity by 26 points
R6: defeated Mentone by 49 points
R7: lost to Assumption by 20 points

PEGS enjoyed the honour of having the number one pick attend the school last season with Cameron Rayner becoming a household name in the AGS competition whilst away from the TAC Cup. This season the most notable name is Esssendon father-son prospect Mason Fletcher who is currently out injured and will miss the remainder of the season. He is joined in the side by fellow Cannons’ Harrison Minton-Connell, and Sam Graham who have been the sides’ best, while other Cannons include Tom Cartwright, Jacob Martin and Christos Kosmas

Peninsula Grammar

R1: Bye
R2: defeated Ivanhoe by 41 points
R3: lost to Marcellin by 27 points
R4: defeated Yarra Valley by 62 points
R5: defeated Camberwell by 146 points
R6: lost to Trinity by 46 points
R7: defeated Mentone by 74 points

Peninsula have won four games out of their six to start the season. They had the bye in the opening round and enjoyed thumping wins over Camberwell (146 points), Mentone (74 points) and Yarra Valley (62 points), while dropping matches to Marcellin and Trinity in between those matches. Dandenong Stingrays’ trio Finlay Bayne, Jeremy Burton and Daniel Frampton are the three TAC Cup players listed on Peninsula’s team list.

Trinity Grammar School

R1: defeated Camberwell by 54 points
R2: Bye
R3: defeated Mentone by 75 points
R4: defeated Assumption by 12 points
R5: defeated PEGS by 26 points
R6: defeated Peninsula by 46 points
R7: defeated Ivanhoe by six points

Oakleigh Chargers Charlie Beasley – brother of former Brisbane Lions’ player Hugh – is the sole TAC Cup-listed player on Trinity’s list, but it has clearly not stopped them from being ultra impressive this season. They have had a couple of big wins over Camberwell and Mentone, and were forced to fight it out against both Assumption and Ivanhoe. With a 26-point victory over PEGS, Trinity assumed top spot and will face Yarra Valley and Marcellin in the final two rounds.

Yarra Valley Grammar

R1: lost to Mentone by 17 points
R2: lost to Assumption by 37 points
R3: lost to PEGS by 44 points
R4: lost to Peninsula by 62 points
R5: lost to Ivanhoe by 44 points
R6: lost to Marcellin by 37 points
R7: Bye

The winless Yarra Valley have not had a great season, but they can hold firm in the fact they have only suffered one loss above 45 points. They face Trinity and Camberwell in the final games of the season with the latter being considered a winnable match for the school. Yarra Valley have a number of TAC Cup-listed players, most notably Vic Metro representative Xavier Fry. The running defender is joined in the team by Eastern Ranges’ teammates Riley Clausen, Lachlan Gawel and Josh Matthews. Oakleigh Chargers duo Lucas Westwood and Charlie Oglethorpe are also on Yarra Valley’s books.

TAC Cup previews: Round 4

SO many changes at the selection table and ahead of round four we investigate which players will need to stand out, and those who will need to continue their form in order to get their team across the line in round four of the TAC Cup competition.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 

Round 4 – Friday, April 20, 7pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

Bendigo Pioneers host Oakleigh Chargers under lights tonight at Queen Elizabeth Oval and it becomes a game which is almost impossible to predict how it is going to go. Bendigo has made at least six changes, something that pales in comparison with Oakleigh’s team selection as 13 players return to school football or other commitments. Noah Anderson will be a key out, second overall in clearances for the Chargers, but Bendigo will still need to watch James Rowbottom, who has notched up 17 clearances (eight centre clearances) and is influential at the stoppages.

Bendigo’s 1-2 counter punch at the stoppages are Noah Wheeler and Zane Keighran with the latter named at half-back for the match. They have 21 clearances between them in season 2018, but Wheeler has also been crucial for 12 inside 50s. Bailey Henderson has been named up forward after being Mr Consistent at half-back, and he will line-up alongside Will Holt who is leading the goal kicking in the competition with Max King. The injury to Daniel Keating will be felt, with the in-form ruck having played some great football to date, and the Pioneers will look to Matt Hird in his first game this year to provide the midfielders with the first possession.

For Oakleigh, they will need their depth to step up in the absence of Anderson, Trent Bianco, Matt Rowell, Jack Ross and Charlie Whitehead in the middle, while Ben Silvagni has been the most influential forward in terms of scoreboard influence this year. In his place comes Sam Elliott who moves to full-forward with Daniel Scala the key small down there. With Anderson, Silvagni, Whitehead and Zac Hart gone, the Chargers lose four of their top five players involved in scoring chains this year. Instead of having eight of the top 10 in this match-up, it is more even 6-4 split. Oakleigh still has the depth to win the game, but Bendigo will be hoping to take advantage of the mass changes and its strong inside brigade make the most of its experience at the stoppages.

GEELONG FALCONS v. EASTERN RANGES 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.15am
Avalon Airport Oval, Werribee

In a game where both sides are still looking for their first win, last year’s reigning premiers and the team with the most players drafted in 2017, find themselves in a vastly different situation six months on. Geelong will welcome back Sam Walsh who is a crucial cog in the Falcons midfield, especially against an Eastern Ranges outfit which will be without the likes of Xavier Fry and Cody Hirst who both rotate through there.

Geelong will miss Charlie Sprague who has been arguably the most consistent Falcons player who has played all three games, as Sprague heads back to play school football, as will Cooper Stephens and a host of others among seven changes for Geelong. Eastern have also made six changes, with Hirst’s a forced one through injury. One area in which Eastern can try and take control is in the midfield with a strong inside brigade. With no Ed McHenry, the Ranges have four of the top five clearance players in the game, with Joel Burleigh, Jonte Duffy, Adrian Kalcovski and Lachlan Stapleton all providing good extraction from the stoppages. Oscar Brownless, Baxter Mensch, Brayden Ham and of course Walsh will look to go head-to-head with the Eastern onballers in what could decide the match.

The big question for these teams is scoring, with the Falcons missing Sprague (who would have the highest scoreboard impact in this match-up) and relying on Blake Schlensog who has had nine score involvements, three more than any other player on the field this season. Based on the season so far, both teams will look to share the load in terms of scoring, with Billy McCormack and Thomas Lockman named as the key position posts for Eastern, while Finlay Parish comes in for his first game and will line-up at centre-half forward in between Ham and Walsh. Throwing Connor Idun forward continues to offer a different look for the Falcons, and with a marked improvement in round three compared to the prior two rounds, the Falcons will be confident going into this one.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.30am
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

In the other early game on Saturday, Murray Bushrangers will look to win their third consecutive match, while Sandringham Dragons head into the game unbeaten. With the start of the APS and AGVS seasons, the Dragons are hit harder than any other team and lose almost all of their best 22 – they made 16 changes. It will be a great test to see if they can overcome the Bushrangers with their next tier of players, and see some stand up in the absence of others.

Players who have been in form for the Dragons include Alastair Richards, Liam Stocker and Kai Owen, the three highest extractors for the Dragons this season who have been named in the line-up. Without Dawit McNeish and Bailey Smith, the Dragons will need to win the clearances against a Bushrangers midfield which includes Ely Smith and Dylan Clarke, with Mark Marriott dominant in the ruck more often than not. Losing the King twins always hurts, but the Dragons got the job done against Calder without them, and they will look to James Rendell to continue his good form – booting four goals in the second half against the Cannons – to have an impact on the contest. Up the other end, the Bushrangers have no shortage of contributors, with Patrick Warner (six goals), Bailey Frauenfelder (five), Riley Bice (four) and Jacob Koschitkze (three) all having an impact. Sandringham will be vastly unknown quantity up forward, with Liam Stocker (two) the highest season goal kicker behind Rendell, with Angus Hanrahan thrown forward for this match.

Last year the Dragons knocked off Dandenong Stingrays at Frankston Oval after making 17 changes to its side at the start of the APS season. It was a remarkable win, and they will be looking to do the same here. The trick will be trying to limit the influence of Murray’s midfield and working as a team to ensure they don’t concede too many early goals as they try and gel which is always difficult with wholesale changes. Murray does not rely on one goal kicker to kick a high score, something Sandringham will look for this round as the teams aim to share the goals around and provide a great contest in Wangaratta.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 12.45pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell

In what is shaping to be a great contest, Gippsland Power takes on Northern Knights at Morwell, a ground where the Power pushed Dandenong Stingrays all the way a few weeks back. The Knights have also improved since a round one capitulation against the Sandringham Dragons, and are starting to find their groove – so naturally both sides have been scattered with the start of the school football system with Gippsland’s four omissions among their four most important players – Xavier Duursma, Sam Flanders, Austin Hodge and Caleb Serong. Northern has also lost their most consistent ball winner in Tom McKenzie, as well as the likes of Justin McInerney, Oscar White and Joel Naylor among at least seven changes.

Gippsland will look to rely on Matthew McGannon for plenty of drive out of the back half, with the overager leading the competition in disposals (84) and marks (30). Through the midfield, Riley Baldi’s role as a clearance gem will become more important given the loss of partner in crime Hodge, and the fact the Knights will be without the only player with more clearances than Baldi this season in McKenzie. Gippsland will look to the likes of Nick Lowden, Brett Thorson and Boadie Motton to stand up through the middle and around the ground who have been that next tier of players behind the four omissions. Brock Smith is a talented bottom-ager who provides great drive, while Ryan Sparkes is another one who has impressed so far this season. Gippsland’s forward line is vastly untouched outside of Flanders, with Irving Mosquito and Josh Smith – two of the three highest Power goal kickers – both in the side.

For Northern, Josh D’Intinosante and Braedyn Gillard shape as the two most important players. D’Intinosante is a bottom-ager who has a good all-round game providing forward pressure and scoreboard impact. He also gets up the ground and sets up his teammates, as does Gillard through the middle with his work at stoppages. Without McKenzie, Gillard will look to Harrison Grace and Ryan Gardner among others to try and win the midfield battle – an area which is weakened for the Power by their omissions. Lachlan Potter provides a good link down back, while Patrik Della Rocca and Mark Baker will be a couple of targets who can hit the scoreboard if given the opportunity. The battle between Rylan Henkel and Thomas Hallebone in the ruck will be fascinating with both players selected in the extended Vic Country and Vic Metro squads respectively.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. WESTERN JETS 

Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 12.30pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Dandenong Stingrays face Western Jets in the first game on Sunday, with the Stingrays losing a number of key players to school football and Under 18 Academy Series commitments. The Stingrays are yet to lose in season 2018, but their depth will be put to the test with the likes of Stephen and Matthew Cumming, Hayden Young, Mitch Riordan, Toby Bedford, Jai Nanscawen and Heath Briggs out of the side. Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams return from the AFL Academy game among a host of fresh faces including familiar Stingrays name Sam De Koning who lines up at centre-half back. For the Jets, Emerson Jeka is a big loss down forward, while Lucas Rocci is another out; but the return of AFL Academy member Buku Khamis will buoy the Jets coaching staff.

Western might have the upper hand if they can control Williams and Bowman in their defensive 50, with Aaron Clarke, Steven Kyriazis and Zak Butters three of the most damaging forwards in the game, all adding a different element inside 50 for the Jets. Bailey Schmidt, captain Campbell Hustwaite, and Finlay Bayne have the three highest score involvements of the remaining Dragons, although expect both Williams and Bowman to have a say in the team’s fortune down forward. Zac Foot booted four goals in the last outing against the GWV Rebels, so is another who could be damaging, but the Jets also have a strong defence to rely upon.

The likes of Khamis and Hamish Murphy hold down the key defensive posts, while Stefan Radovanovic and Jack Papachatzakis provide good run and defensive pressure. Xavier O’Halloran has been Mr Consistent through midfield, while Connor Thar provides a strong presence at the stoppages and is a known ball winner. Daly Andrews and Darcy Cassar are others who have shown some good signs throughout the season. For Dandenong, Jamie Plumridge and Will Hamill provide a good trio with Hustwaite, while Angus Paterson has been a rock in defence.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. CALDER CANNONS 

Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 1.30pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The final game of the round sees GWV Rebels return to MARS Stadium where they take on the Calder Cannons with both sides at a crucial junction in the early part of the season, sitting 1-2 after three rounds. The Rebels will look to turnaround from the heavy defeat at the hands of Dandenong Stingrays up in Bendigo, while Calder will look to build on the performance against Sandringham Dragons without their AFL Academy members, and bring the same level of intensity into this clash. Unlike many other teams, both sides have got stronger at the top end, with the Rebels welcoming back midfielder Tom Berry, while the Cannons have their AFL Academy trio in, of Jack Bytel, Curtis Taylor and Rhylee West. They do lose Mitch Podhajski and Mason Fletcher who have been consistent all season, but will be bolstered by the important returns.

Without a second thought, the clearances are going to be an entertaining battle with Lochie Dawson and Scott Carlin leading the way in this game, while Taylor, Bytel and Curtis will add some serious grunt in the middle. Neither side has a dominant key forward, and instead looks to share the goals around between talls and smalls, with Jed Hill (five), Mitch Martin (four) and Josh Chatfield (three) the top Rebels goal kickers; and Taylor (four) and Jack O’Sullivan (three) the top Cannons in the absence of Podhajski. Tylar Watts returns to the ruck against Devereux Pretty who is back into the side this week, with the ruck battle a crucial one-on-one in the overall scheme of things.

Calder has a consistent defence with Jack Evans, Lucas Cavallaro and Lachlan Sholl back there, while Kyle Baker adds composure and speed. Dylan Landt and Tye Browning are other consistent mid/forwards, while the Rebels have a mosquito fleet in attack. Matt Schnerring and Toby Mahony joining Hill, Chatfield and Martin as dangerous forwards, while Jed Henderson will look to provide a target as well. Harris Jennings and Charlie Wilson are other players to watch, while Angus Gove links well between midfield and attack.

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Round 4

MORE than 100 players have been named as inclusions across the twelve TAC Cup sides for round four as most sides are hit with forced omissions through the APS and AGVS competitions kicking off. The 101 players named as ‘ins’ include those named as emergencies, but there are still 83 players who were omitted from their respective sides from the round three clashes.

There are a number of big inclusions for those AFL Academy players who are not part of the school footballing system such as Isaac Quaynor (Oakleigh Chargers), Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons), Hudson Garoni (Murray Bushrangers), Buku Khamis (Western Jets), Dandenong Stingrays pair Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams, and Calder Cannons trio Curtis Taylor, Rhylee West (who has the APS bye) and Jack Bytel. GWV Rebels star Thomas Berry and overager Tyrone Hayes (Gippsland Power) return, with the latter having not played TAC Cup since round one last season.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 

Round 4 – Friday, April 20, 7pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

The fourth round of TAC Cup action kicks off tomorrow night in Bendigo when the Pioneers host the Oakleigh Chargers under lights at Queen Elizabeth Oval. The Pioneers are searching for their second win of the season, while Oakleigh will be hoping to go three wins from four games. Brodie Kemp, Kobe Lloyd and Daniel Keating – the latter injured himself in the Pioneers’ last clash – are all outs, with overage pair Zac Denahy and Oscar Perez, and bottom-age ruck Matt Hird among the inclusions. Will Holt will look to go to outright leader on the goal kicking table early on Friday night, with the Pioneers full-forward currently sharing the lead with Sandringham’s Max King who is missing due to APS commitments. For Oakleigh, 13 changes have been made with Noah Anderson, Ben Silvagni, Kyle Dunkley, Will Kelly, Jack Ross, Matt Rowell, Joseph Ayton-Delaney and Matthew Warren among the outs. AFL Academy member Isaac Quaynor is a huge in for the Chargers, while Sam Harte, Lachlan Bugeja and Sam Elliott are among those called into the team.

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 27. M. Lias, 11. J. Grace, 33. J. McHale
HB: 9. Z. Keighran, 24. N. McHugh, 43. H. Lawrence
C: 7. L.  Chisholm, 5. N.  Wheeler, 57. A.  Smith-Ralph
HF: 3. L. Marciano, 20. J. Schischka, 51. B. Waasdorp
F: 18. B. Henderson, 45. W. Holt, 17. R. Ironside
R: 12. M. Hird, 37. C. McCarty, 25. F. Perez
Int: 35. Z. Denahy, 1. M. Goodwin, 10. D. Grace, 2. J. Williams
23P: 38. K. Stevens

In: C. McCarty, M. Lias, D. Loveridge, K. Stevens, T. Walters, Z. Denahy, F. Perez, M. Hird
Out: K. Walker,  B. Kemp,  D. Keating,  T. Dow,  C. Vick,  K. Lloyd

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 39. S. Fernandez, 36. C. Beasley, 22. D. Williams
HB: 12. N. Answerth , 23. I. Quaynor, 35. X. Fry
C: 13. A.  Bosenavulagi, 1. R.  Collier-Dawkins, 24. S.  Harte
HF: 6. M. Day, 7. J. Robertson, 26. J. Gasper
F: 25. D. Scala, 63. S. Elliott, 42. K. Viccars
R: 71. T. Hogan, 5. X. O’Neill, 9. J. Rowbottom
Int: 2. L. Bugeja, 47. U. Chol, 64. C. Cormack, 56. M. Fewings, 65. L. Harry, 27. J. May, 50. V. Zagari
23P: 19. D. Romero

In: L. Bugeja, C. Cormack, J. Gasper, L. Harry, I. Quaynor, U. Chol, M. Fewings, D. Romero, S. Elliott, S. Fernandez, S. Harte, V. Zagari, J. May, C. Beasley, K. Viccars
Out: N. Anderson, B. Silvagni, K. Dunkley, B. Wraith, C. Leon, T. Bianco, M. Warren, W. Kelly, C. Whitehead, J. Ross, M. Rowell, Z. Hart, J. Ayton-Delaney

GEELONG FALCONS v. EASTERN RANGES 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.15am
Avalon Airport Oval, Werribee

In the early Saturday game, the two sides without a victory to their name will battle it out with Geelong Falcons hosting Eastern Ranges at Avalon Airport Oval in Werribee. Charlie Sprague and Cooper Stephens are a couple of omissions from the Falcons side that narrowly went down to Murray Bushrangers a fortnight ago, with school football returning. In their place comes a pretty handy player by the name of Sam Walsh, joining a couple of famous names in Finlay Parish and Sam Christensen in the 22. Eastern Ranges have also lost a couple of crucial players with Cody Hirst (injured) and Xavier Fry among the outs. Jordan Jaworski, Tyler Edwards and Ryan Einsporn will return to the team among at least six changes.

Geelong Falcons

B: 40. J. Clark, 31. C. Cartledge, 7. C. Harris
HB: 15. L. Handley, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 3. K. Rayner
C: 6. D.  Madigan, 25. L.  Taylor, 2. S.  Torpy
HF: 20. B. Ham, 32. F. Parish, 22. S. Walsh
F: 39. C. Idun, 48. B. Schlensog, 26. F. Wilson
R: 44. S. Conway, 30. O. Brownless, 10. B. Mensch
Int: 50. J. Grigsby, 9. B. Morton, 28. C. O’Connor, 16. B. Scott
23P: 17. S. Ham

In: L. Handley, F. Wilson, S. Christensen, S. Walsh, S. Ham, F. Parish, J. Grigsby, H. Spiller
Out: C. Sprague,  N. Young,  T. Richardson,  J. Muhor,  C. Stephens,  S. Bourke,  N. Conway

Eastern Ranges

B: 12. J. Gilbee, 53. J. Drake, 26. C. Norris
HB: 24. K. Quirk, 31. J. Blanck, 21. J. Ross
C: 4. R.  Clausen, 8. J.  Burleigh, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 10. C. Black, 42. T. Lockman, 45. M. Zalac
F: 9. J. Duffy, 18. B. McCormack, 5. R. Einsporn
R: 41. J. Corless, 7. L. Stapleton, 2. A. Kalcovski
Int: 38. M. Briggs, 20. B. Cardamone, 39. C. Daraio, 30. T. Edwards, 27. J. Jaworski, 32. F. Smith, 25. L. Vassis
23P: 37. J. Weichard

In: J. Drake, F. Smith, R. Einsporn, T. Edwards, J. Weichard, M. Briggs, J. Jaworski, C. Black
Out: T. Garner, S. Kapahnke, H. Chinn, J. Kritopoulos, C. Hirst, X. Fry

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.30am
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

Also on Saturday morning is the clash between Murray Bushrangers and Sandringham Dragons. The Bushrangers have made at least four changes for the clash after their victory over the Geelong Falcons a fortnight ago, with Ben Kelly missing due to the Academy Series, and Finbar O’Dwyer who was named in Murray’s best in that win, also out of this weekend’s clash. Star key position player Hudson Garoni returns to the team and will line-up at centre-half forward, while Fraser Ellis has been named in a back pocket. Sandringham have had their annual APS cleanout with 16 players making way in wholesale changes. The changes do not include the King brothers and Bailey Smith who were also missing from the Dragons’ round three clash. As always, the Dragons depth will be tested, with the likes of Tom Long, Ronan Ladds and Tom Fogarty among a huge list of inclusions.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 28. K. Clarke, 16. N. Murray, 33. F. Ellis
HB: 12. L. Ash, 8. J. Koschitzke, 34. T. Boyd
C: 6. W.  Chandler, 17. N.  Amery, 4. L.  Vandermeer
HF: 26. R. Bice, 18. H. Garoni, 10. P. Warner
F: 14. J. Chalcraft, 2. J. Butts, 13. B. Frauenfelder
R: 23. M. Marriott, 20. J. Bradshaw, 5. E. Smith
Int: 19. J. Boyer, 38. D. Clarke, 22. A. Dang, 32. E. Dayman
23P: 40. N. Irvine

In: N. Irvine, H. Garoni, E. Dayman, F. Ellis, W. Christie, M. Oates
Out: B. Kelly,  C. Hill,  F. O’Dwyer,  B. St John

Sandringham Dragons

B: 3. T. Fogarty, 20. H. Bede, 16. J. Paul
HB: 19. S. Forbes, 69. C. Watts, 18. A. Seaton
C: 14. R.  O’Meara, 2. A.  Richards, 46. L.  Witts
HF: 12. C. Jones, 34. C. Birmingham, 1. T. Long
F: 23. A. Hanrahan, 28. J. Rendell, 11. N. Stamatis
R: 32. J. Griffiths, 7. L. Stocker, 8. K. Owens
Int: 37. N. Bufalo, 50. T. Deane-Johns, 24. H. Ferdinand, 56. J. Hannah, 15. R. Ladds, 25. O. McMaster, 22. C. Millar
23P: 42. T. Murray

In: N. Bufalo, R. Ladds, T. Long, J. Griffiths, H. Ferdinand, J. Paul, R. O’Meara, L. Witts, C. Millar, C. Birmingham, J. Hannah, O. McMaster, T. Deane-Johns, T. Murray, H. Bede, T. Fogarty
Out: H. Ralphsmith, F. Maginness, J. Goddard, J. Mahony, D. McNeish, W. Kennedy, J. Denborough, J. Worrell, D. Chirgwin, M. Bergman, S. Sofronidis, H. Houlahan, E. Casey, A. Courtney

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 12.45pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell

Gippsland hosts a lunchtime clash against Northern on Saturday, with both sides losing key players to the school football system. Talented bottom-agers Caleb Serong and Sam Flanders are out, as is captain Xavier Duursma and over-ager Austin Hodge, all of whom have been in good form. Returning to the team sheet for the first time in more than 12 months is the excitement machine Tyrone Hayes who has been names on an extended bench, with Bailey Patterson and Zac Skinner also named in the team. Northern will miss Tom McKenzie‘s influence in the middle, with Oscar White and Justin McInerney also omissions from the team. In their place the likes of Sunny Brazier, Evan Tsitsis and Mitch Wild return to the fold.

Gippsland Power

B: 14. T. Hourigan, 23. N. Gown, 12. B. Smith
HB: 18. M. McGannon, 25. K. Reid, 15. R. Sparkes
C: 10. L.  Connolly, 13. N.  Lowden, 29. B.  Motton
HF: 9. I. Mosquito, 38. J. Wykes, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 3. M. McGannon, 16. J. Smith, 19. F. Phillips
R: 22. R. Henkel, 6. R. Baldi, 8. B. Beck
Int: 1. T. Hayes, 21. M. McGarrity, 7. B. Patterson, 43. Z. Skinner, 33. B. Thorson, 35. J. van der Pligt, 45. A. Young
23P: 36. M. Bentvelzen

In: T. Hayes, B. Patterson, A. Young, Z. Skinner, M. McGarrity, M. Bentvelzen
Out: C. Serong,  A. Hodge,  S. Flanders,  X. Duursma

Northern Knights

B: 5. L. Potter, 33. J. Randall, 11. R. Sturgess
HB: 25. J. Davies, 28. S. Uzelac, 14. E. Tsitsis
C: 1. R.  Gardner, 10. B.  Bell, 22. M.  Wild
HF: 24. R. Bowkett, 20. P. Della Rocca, 44. C. Wild
F: 17. J. D’Intinosante, 21. M. Baker, 40. N. Mayne
R: 16. T. Hallebone, 7. H. Grace, 3. B. Gillard
Int: 35. K. Agosta, 31. N. Barro, 18. S. Brazier, 34. Z. Hudson, 43. J. Murphy, 29. K. Nasser, 13. S. Philp
23P: 37. K. Brandt

In: E. Tsitsis, M. Wild, N. Barro, S. Brazier, K. Agosta, K. Nasser, Z. Hudson, J. Murphy, K. Brandt
Out: T. McKenzie, C. Simonsen, J. McInerney, A. Carafa, X. Naish, O. White, J. Naylor

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. WESTERN JETS 

Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 12.30pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

On Sunday, Dandenong Stingrays host the Western Jets at Shepley Oval, with plenty of talented talls switching places. The Stingrays lose a handful of top graders with twin talls Matthew and Stephen Cumming (Academy Series commitments with NT), midfield leader Mitch Riordan (School Football), pocket rocket Jai Nanscawen and rebounding defender Hayden Young all out. In their place the Stingrays welcome back twin towers Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman, while Sam De Koning will line-up at centre-half back. For Western, they have made just the two confirmed changes, losing star bottom-age tall Emerson Jeka, and Lucas Rocci, but have regained AFL Academy defender Buku Khamis, as well as Jaksyn Grant.

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 32. D. Frampton, 43. W. Geurts, 16. J. Frawley
HB: 37. B. Angwin, 20. S. De Koning, 12. M. Gahan
C: 9. Z.  Foot, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 3. J.  Plumridge
HF: 27. L. McDonnell, 29. B. Williams, 7. J. Taylor
F: 17. F. Bayne, 28. B. Schmidt, 57. R. Nanscawen
R: 13. R. Bowman, 58. W. Hamill, 33. J. Carosella
Int: 49. M. Cottrell, 52. C. Ellison, 47. J. Hickey, 5. A. Paterson, 41. L. Stenning, 50. L. Williams, 10. L. Young
23P: 19. J. Burton

In: L. Stenning, L. Young, J. Burton, R. Bowman, S. De Koning, W. Geurts, B. Angwin, B. Williams, L. Williams
Out: T. Bedford,  H. Briggs,  M. Riordan,  S. Cumming,  J. Nanscawen,  H. Young,  M. Cumming

Western Jets

B: 25. S. Johnson, 37. H. Murphy, 28. J. Papachatzakis
HB: 30. L. Pettigrove, 38. B. Khamis, 39. S. Radovanovic
C: 17. D.  Andrews , 33. X.  O’Halloran, 20. D.  Cassar
HF: 11. Z. Butters, 2. T. Rudic, 4. J. Jenkins
F: 24. J. Honey, 45. A. Clarke, 10. S. Kyriazis
R: 47. D. Walters, 36. J. Rice, 12. C. Thar
Int: 40. J. Grant, 22. O. Manton, 35. T. Warner, 7. J. Watkins
23P: 9. J. Dodemaide

In: J. Grant, D. Fruscalzo, J. Dodemaide, B. Khamis
Out: L. Rocci, E. Jeka

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. CALDER CANNONS 

Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 1.30pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the final game of the round, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels host Calder Cannons at MARS Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Both sides are relatively unscathed from their top-end talent, although Calder will miss co-captain Mitch Podhajski and reliable defender Mason Fletcher who are among at least nine changes. However, the Cannons have loaded up in the midfield with Rhylee West returning (with St Kevin’s having the APS bye), joining fellow AFL Academy members Curtis Taylor and Jack Bytel back in the side. The Rebels also have a big name returning with Tom Berry coming back into the team for the first time since running into a post and suffering concussion in round one. He is joined by Ethan Harvey and Tom Clark in the side among five changes with Josh Bibby named as 23rd man. Tylar Watts is named back in the ruck, the third positional change in as many weeks after being centre-half forward in rounds one and two, centre-half back in round three and now back to his bottom-age year position of first ruck.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 10. J. Lohmann, 18. B. Helyar, 34. J. O’Connell
HB: 4. B. Annett, 8. H. Butler, 3. S. Carlin
C: 12. A.  Gove, 13. T.  Berry, 5. H.  Jennings
HF: 14. J. Hill, 11. J. Chatfield, 7. M. Martin
F: 47. T. Mahony, 19. J. Henderson, 2. M. Schnerring
R: 20. T. Watts, 6. C. Wilson, 9. L. Dawson
Int: 17. T. Clark, 48. J. Cleaver, 29. P. Glanford, 16. E. Harvey, 27. E. Lamb, 33. J. Ross, 25. T. Shannon
23P: 37. J. Bibby

In: J. Ross, E. Lamb, T. Clark, J. Bibby, E. Harvey, J. Cleaver, T. Berry
Out: C. Perks,  K. Councillor,  J. Wright,  I. Grant,  M. Clarke

Calder Cannons

B: 4. K. Baker, 43. L. Cavallaro, 33. J. Evans
HB: 48. S. Ramsay, 38. B. Newman, 8. L. Sholl
C: 2. D.  Landt, 42. N.  Croft, 3. I.  Moussa
HF: 27. T. Browning, 12. J. O’Sullivan, 44. N. Gentile
F: 11. J. Firebrace, 29. J. Riccardi, 5. C. Taylor
R: 60. D. Pretty, 16. J. Bytel, 39. L. Sultana
Int: 17. N. Doyle, 54. C. Lamb, 1. D. Mott, 20. R. West
23P: 34. O. Sasalu

In: O. Sasalu, D. Pretty, L. Goater, C. Lamb, C. Taylor, J. Bytel, B. Rigoni, B. Newman, R. West
Out: S. Skidmore, P. Mahoney, L. Johnson, M. Podhajski, J. Westphal, H. Minton-Connell, S. Graham, M. Fletcher

Early look: Metro sides’ big ball winners

IT is the opening turn of the long TAC Cup season, but after three rounds, AFL Draft Central takes a look at those players who are already lighting up the stats sheet. From disposals and marks, to kicking efficiency and contested rate, there are a number of players already standing out. Today’s early look just investigates the six Metro teams, with the six Country ones to come.

Noah Anderson is leading the way with disposals, four clear of Northern’s Tom McKenzie, however McKenzie tops the charts in the clearances, three clear of the next highest player having notched up 20 in his three games thus far.

Alastair Richards has been impressive in his first few games for Sandringham, racking up 71 disposals and 20 marks – the latter ranked at number one from the Metro sides. Looking at those with plenty of defensive pressure, Eastern’s Lachlan Stapleton leads all comers by some way, laying 29 tackles in three games well ahead of his nearest rivals with 22.

Despite playing the one game, Max King is the club house leader in the goal kicking stakes. His eight goals against Oakleigh Chargers was enough to see the potential top five pick leading the Metro players after three rounds. His brother Ben has also been eye-catching in defence with some stints forward, ranked third overall in kicking efficiency – four out of five kicks have found their target so far.

The King brothers’ teammate Sam Forbes is just ahead of Ben with 83.9 per cent of his kicks being declared efficient, while Bombers fans would be smiling knowing potential father-son recruit and key defender Mason Fletcher is the most efficient kick of the Metro players (25 or more kicks) with an impressive 89.3 per cent hitting the mark.

Northern’s Sam Philp is the most contested player from the Metro sides with 40 or more touches so far this season, leading Western’s Jaden Rice and Eastern’s Ben Cardamone. Other players that have impressed across multiple statistical categories are Western pair Connor Thar and Zak Butters, Northern pair Braedyn Gillard and Josh D’Intinosante, and Calder co-captain Mitch Podhajski.

Disposals:

1 Noah Anderson (Oakleigh) 77
2 Tom McKenzie (Northern) 73
3 Alastair Richards (Sandringham) 71
3 Connor Thar (Western) 71
5 Mitch Podhajski (Calder) 65
6 Kye Quirk (Eastern) 63
6 Adrian Kalcovski (Eastern) 63
8 Matt Rowell (Oakleigh) 60
9 Zak Butters (Western) 58
10 Xavier O’Neill (Oakleigh) 57

Marks:

1 Alastair Richards (Sandringham) 20
2 Lachlan Sholl (Calder) 18
3 Kai Owen (Sandringham) 17
3 Jack Evans (Calder) 17
3 Sam Forbes (Sandringham) 17
6 Tye Browning (Calder) 16
6 Steven Kyriazis (Western) 16
6 Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh) 16
9 Mitch Podhajski (Calder) 14
9 Lucas Cavallaro (Calder) 14
9 Mason Fletcher (Calder) 14

Tackles:

1 Lachlan Stapleton (Eastern) 29
2 Jack Watkins (Western) 22
2 Jonte Duffy (Eastern) 22
2 Nathan Croft (Calder) 22
5 Josh D’Intinosante (Northern) 18
6 Kye Quirk (Eastern) 17
6 Jaden Rice (Western) 17
6 Liam Stocker (Sandringham) 17
9 Dawit McNeish (Sandringham) 16
9 Cody Hirst (Eastern) 16
9 Ben Cardamone (Eastern) 16
9 Zak Butters (Western) 16

Clearances:

1 Tom McKenzie (Northern) 20
2 James Rowbottom (Oakleigh) 17
2 Xavier O’Halloran (Western) 17
4 Braedyn Gillard (Northern) 15
4 Zak Butters (Western) 15
6 Connor Thar(Western) 14
6 Noah Anderson (Oakleigh) 14
8 Liam Stocker (Sandringham) 13
9 Dawit McNeish (Sandringham) 12
9 Bailey Smith (Sandringham) 12

Goals:

1 Max King (Sandringham) 8
2 Mitch Podhajski (Calder) 6
2 Josh D’Intinosante (Northern) 6
2 James Rendell (Sandringham) 6
2 Patrik Della Rocca (Northern) 6
2 Steven Kyriazis (Western) 6
7 Aaron Clarke (Western) 5
7 Daniel Scala (Oakleigh) 5
9 Curtis Taylor (Calder) 4
9 Will Kennedy (Sandringham) 4
9 Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh) 4
9 Josh Honey (Western) 4

Kicking Efficiency: (At least 25 kicks)

1 Mason Fletcher (Calder) 89.3%
2 Sam Forbes (Sandringham) 83.9%
3 Ben King (Sandringham) 80%
3 Xavier Fry (Eastern) 80%
5 Angus Hanrahan (Sandringham) 77.4%
6 Jack Papachatzakis (Western) 76.9%
7 Lucas Cavallaro (Calder) 75.8%
8 Ryan Gardner (Northern) 75.7%
9 Lachlan Sholl (Calder) 70.6%
10 Trent Bianco (Oakleigh) 67.9%

Contested Percentage: (At least 40 disposals)

1 Sam Philp (Northern) 66.7%
2 Jaden Rice (Western) 60%
3 Ben Cardamone (Eastern) 58.7%
4 Zac Hart (Oakleigh) 58.1%
5 Zak Butters (Western) 55.9%
6 Atu Bosenavualagi (Oakleigh) 55%
7 Liam Stocker (Sandringham) 51.9%
8 Joel Burleigh (Eastern) 50%
8 Jack Watkins (Western) 50%
8 Josh D’Intinosante (Northern) 50%

 

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 3

IT was another big weekend of TAC Cup football, with the Dandenong Stingrays and Sandringham Dragons continuing their undefeated streaks. 

With some teams missing their best players due to the AFL Academy’s clash against North Melbourne VFL, it allowed for others to step up and make an impact in their absence.

MATCH REPORT: AFL Academy vs. North Melbourne VFL
SCOUTING NOTES: AFL Academy vs. North Melbourne VFL

Read our scouting notes from ALL six games.

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power (Peter Williams)

Bendigo Pioneers:

#3 Liam Marciano – One of the Bendigo players who covered a lot of ground during the day, winning the ball in each of the thirds – defence, midfield and attack. He showed good vision and applied plenty of pressure on the ball carrier, forcing a number of stoppages or throw ins from his pressure. He kicked a great running goal after getting on the end of a series of passes, and then almost made it two, but hit the post in the third term.

#5 Noah Wheeler – Tended to be most damaging up forward, providing good pressure on the opposition defence and then roaming out of the attacking 50 to win his fair share of ball up the ground. He kicked a great inside-out snap goal from 20m while on the run and then kicked a goal after pouncing on a long Bailey Henderson bomb in the third term. Has a good share of contested and uncontested possessions.

#8 Brodie Kemp – Provided good pressure in defence, and then had an impact up forward when he kicked a set shot foal from 40m out following a 50m penalty. Later on he assisted a Will Holt goal with a powerful kick from the middle of the ground hitting up Holt perfectly. He backed himself in defence, taking a couple of good strong marks, including a good intercept grab in the final term, having really become more noticeable in the second half.

#9 Zane Keighran – I thought he was probably the Pioneers best player across four quarters because he consistently did everything right. Early on he dropped into a hole up forward and took a good grab, before moving up the ground and working hard in transition to run and carry the football forward. In the third term he really stepped it up, winning a heap of football across half-back and through the midfield. A highlight was a one-on-one marking contest where he was out of position, but he forced his way to the front and marked strongly. His win helped start a chain of possessions forward that led to a goal.

#18 Bailey Henderson – Played an important role down back before moving into the inside midfield in the second half. He mopped up everything in defence early, and used his powerful, long kick to penetrate the opposition’s defence going forward. He spent some time behind the ball, playing loose, before the opposition managed to ensure a man was beside him at all times. He took a couple of great intercept marks, and showed off his speed on the lead for good spoils. In the third term he moved inside and won a solid amount of contested possessions, then drifted back again, producing a highlight reel worthy run, to stream off half-back, fend off an opponent and kick long in front of Noah Wheeler, who capitalised.

#45 Will Holt – He was a leading target for the Pioneers up forward. He is so quick on the lead, and just leads to the right positions. He might have that old-school forward feel about him in the way that he starts in the square, leads, marks, goals, but he does have that athletic ability to also roam further up the field and showed that as the game went on which is important. Finished with three goals and probably could have had five with a couple of behinds in there too. Overall a promising performance.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Caleb Serong – A very classy performance from the talented bottom-ager. Among the Power’s better players again, he works hard on the inside with some clever handballs through traffic to outside runners. He kicked a good goal, seizing on a free kick to Sam Flanders to put it through. He is composed with the football and is a deadly kick. In the last term he put a dagger of a pass into the forward 50, slicing through a few Pioneers to hit-up Mason McGannon.

#4 Sam Flanders – Flanders booted four goals for the game, but realistically could have finished with a much larger bag. He was just everywhere in the first half, kicking 3.3 and a couple out on the fulls from his shots, just dominating his opponent in the air and at ground level. He was strong and powerful, moving well to have a real impact early in the game. He gave off a few passes to assist in scores, and his highlight was a dribble goal from the boundary 30m out. He took a huge contested mark in the third term to kick his fourth. Overall Flanders was a star on the day.

#6 Riley Baldi – Was one of the better players around the stoppages, and particularly damaging up forward. The exciting player booted two goals, and many of his disposals were impactful on the game. His ability to clear the ball out of the area and hurt the opposition in attack was a highlight. He also laid a number of good tackles to show he also applies plenty of defensive pressure as well.

#5 Xavier Duursma – The Gippsland Power captain played another consistent four quarter game and never stopped running. He played off a wing, but won his fair share of contested ball, and covers the ground so well. At times it looked like there was multiple Xavier Duursma’s out there because he seemed to win the ball at half-back and then would be on the end of a pass on a wing shortly after. He had a couple of top highlights, including a fantastic clearance to start the second term where he sidestepped an opponent and delivered a perfect pass to the 50m arc to Irving Mosquito leading out; and was on the end of a chain of passes, receiving the handball from Sam Flanders at top speed and kicking a great running goal.

#9 Irving Mosquito – Liked his enthusiasm throughout, particularly early. He was dangerous up forward and just looked damaging each time he went near the footy. Mozzie has that high vertical leap and strong hands for a smaller player, as well as a clean first touch to rarely waste a possession. He kicked a great goal on the run in the second term, scooping it off the ground cleanly and kicking truly. He was quite good around the forward stoppages and also won a bit of ball up the wing, sending it long inside 50.

#11 Austin Hodge – A fierce competitor who was dominant on the inside. He just bullied his way around the stoppages and won a truckload of contested possessions and clearances. He has a penetrating kick and can do some serious damage when in form, and he certainly played a well balanced game with more midfield time than I saw from him last season. An overager with a few nice tricks.

#12 Brock Smith – Provided some good speed out of defence and was a solid user of the football. Did not win as much of it as past weeks, but won a few one-on-ones and most importantly kept the ball moving forward. Continues to hold down that half-back to back pocket role well, and expect him to eventually move towards the midfield with more minutes in time.

#18 Matthew McGannon – A typical Matt McGannon performance off half-back, being a general in the back half. Just led his team superbly and took the game on when required. He was clean in defence, made spoils when called upon to do so and took a few really good intercept marks. Predominantly outside, this week he won a few more contested possessions, and opted for more lateral kicks to open the game up on the other side of the ground rather than blazing away. He was one of the better Power players on the day.

#22 Rylan Henkel – Played his best game for the season in the ruck and won a number of clearances as well as hitouts, rucking against Daine Grace for most of the game after Daniel Keating went down. Henkel was able to release midfielders with quick hands and cleared a number of stoppages with smart play.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. GWV Rebels (Peter Williams)

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hayden Young – He was busy at the start (when the game was hot) and the end (when he went forward). He kicked a couple of goals and created some good drive out of defence when required early. Most of his touches were further up the field because that is where the game was being played. Kicked a goal in the final term to bring up the 100-point margin.

#5 Angus Paterson – Aside from a short stint in the forward line, Paterson played in defence and was really steady back there. He took a few important intercept marks and was smart with his ball use, making good decisions by hand or foot. He won a few hitouts when in defence, and took a couple of contested grabs as well.

#9 Zac Foot – Felt he was the best Stingray on the day, kicking four goals and looking dangerous every time he went near it. A clear strength of Foot’s is his forward pressure he is able to apply on the ball carrier when the opponent is trying to move out of defence. Foot has that unique goal sense where he kicked goals on the run, from a quick snap, and from a mark on a lead. He also found the ball further up the ground late in the match when he moved back.

#15 Toby Bedford – Had a sensational opening quarter where he really looked like turning the game on its head. Still did a few nice things throughout the game, providing pressure on opponents, and creating good run through the middle of the ground. He executed a nice pass into the pocket later in the game hitting up a teammate well.

#18 Mitch Riordan – Huge opening half of football when the game was hot, he was the clear standout through the middle. He racked up the clearances, won the footy on the inside and then progressed to the outside where he used his powerful kick to penetrate the opposition’s defence. Only had a handful of touches after the main break, but it was his effort in the first half that helped Dandenong race away to the huge half-time lead. Gave Foot a nice goal assist in the second term.

#23 Campbell Hustwaite – Along with Riordan, Hustwaite was a prime mover in the second quarter onslaught which saw the Stingrays boot seven goals to zero. He went a little quiet after half-time before having a huge last term where he seemed to have the ball on a string. Won a number of important clearances in the final term and laid some tough tackles. A hard worker on the inside.

#28 Bailey Schmidt – Played up forward and provided a contest. He took some really good marks and executed a neat pass in the third term to Jake Carosella. Schmidt could have had a handful of goals but finished with the two. His marking presence and work at the stoppages up forward was important, rotating through the ruck with the Cumming twins.

GWV Rebels:

#2 Matt Schnerring – Tried hard all match and had some impact early. Went quiet in patches, but applied some good defensive pressure throughout the game and laid some important tackles. Showed off some hard running through the first term in particular to receive the ball on the wing and on the half-back flank.

#3 Scott Carlin – One of the Rebels’ best on the day, Carlin was a consistent performer in the opening few quarters. Made a couple of errors late in the game, but could hold his head high as one of the Rebels who kept a cool head under the swam of Stingrays going forward. Won some crucial one-on-ones in the midfield and drifted into defence at times to help the defenders back there, collecting a number of rebounds.

#6 Charlie Wilson – Had an impressive first quarter and provided some serious dash. He looks to provide the run through using teammates for one-two movements and open up the game from the back half. He was hurt in the second term and had to come off, which impacted the Rebels with his loss of speed. When he returned he showed some good signs, sending a penetrating kick long into the forward 50, and laid an strong tackle to win a free late in the game.

#9 Lochie Dawson – Really important player and the Rebels’ best in my opinion. Just worked hard for four quarters and often sat back at half-back and repelled whatever he could as the ball continued to fly into defence. Of the midfielders he was the standout on the inside, notching up a number of important clearances, and working within his means through smart short kicks and settling down the team in defence. Won his own ball too which was important.

#11 Josh Chatfield – He is not a huge accumulator but has those “special” moments. He adds a touch of class to the side, and whenever the ball is in his area, he looks dangerous. Continued to present throughout the game and when he was not involved up forward, he moved down back and won a few possessions that way. Looked at home at half-back and along the wing in the final term.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Geelong Falcons (Peter Williams)

Murray Bushrangers:

#4 Laitham Vandermeer – He got my vote as best on ground for his ability to move the ball in transition. He won a heap of it in the first term, would have been close to double figure possessions, while also covering the ground well. He is always on the move and tucks the ball under his arm, powering forward through opposition forwards. Played off half-back but did move up the field at times, always looking forward.

#5 Ely Smith – Hard working inside effort from Smith who popped up regularly with a strong mark, bump or tackle to either open up the game for his teammates, or lock down a ball at a stoppage. In one instant in the second term, Smith went in hard, won the ball off an opponent, fended off another opponent and then managed to stay balanced to handball out to a teammate in space. A couple of overhead marks and some powerful kicking, Smith was a solid contributor.

#12 Lachlan Ash – Another player along with Vandermeer who I liked. Really calm and composed in defence, he rarely makes mistakes with ball in hand. Not only does he look to think his way through situations, but he creates run off half-back and side steps opponents using his good agility. Ash also has quick hands and is able to dish off quickly to teammates. A promising performance from the bottom-ager who has been consistent thus far this season.

#13 Bailey Frauenfelder – The forward booted three goals and was constantly a headache for the opposition. He snapped a goal from the boundary line in the second term after missing one from a standing start. Kicked his second not long after following a free kick for holding, nailing the set shot from 35m out on a 45 degree angle. His third goal was arguably the most important, winning a free kick for holding in the goal square, he kicked truly to put them 13 points up and snuff out a Falcons comeback.

#22 Ajak Dang – Ultra-impressed with his performance down back and I had him third best behind Vandermeer and Ash. He had so many intercept possessions throughout the game and is quite athletic when he leaps at the ball. Along with this offensive drive out of defence, Dang also provided good pressure on the Falcons forwards and laid a few fierce tackles. He stood up in defence in the final term taking some crucial marks, although did kick one out on the full when trying to switch play.

#54 Finbar O’Dwyer – One of those lively forwards who just continued to present and cause some headaches for opposition defenders. Won a couple of free kicks, but just kicked the one goal, in the second term. He missed a couple of shots to give him a few majors, but still put in a solid performance. I thought he was promising in attack and also showed quick hands under pressure to hand off the ball to teammates to create scoring opportunities.

Geelong Falcons:

#2 Sam Torpy – Lively in the first half and just zipped around the wing picking up quite a few important touches. Looked to break the game open with a few quick-fire handballs or short dagger kicks going forward, also intercepting at half-back. Had a precise pass inside 50 to Brayden Ham to set up a goal.

#10 Baxter Mensch – Performed at his best in the first half, just winning a fair chunk of the footy along the wing and through the middle. He won a free going in hard with a huge tackle in the first term, and had a shot on goal a bit later off a standing start but missed. Really started to get busy in the second term and stood up when Murray was attacking.

#16 Bailey Scott – Absolute huge final term. He was good in patches throughout the game, but his final term was sensational. Kicked two crucial goals, assisted Ham on a third, and almost had a second goal assist to Ham except the latter missed his snap. Just ran his opponents off their feet and seemed to be treating the last quarter like it was the first term the way he kept running.

#20 Brayden Ham – Best on ground in my eyes despite being in a losing side. He was so effective on the outside, using his run in transition to hurt Murray going forward. Got forward and finished the game with three goals, missed a couple more but was always involved in the play. He almost put the Falcons within a goal late in the final term for the second time – he had done just that a little earlier – but his snap just missed. Overall he was huge in the first term and last term, and just consistent across all quarters. The best performance I have seen him play.

#30 Oscar Brownless – Without his partners in crime in Sam Walsh and Ned McHenry I hoped for a big game for Brownless. He was okay in the first half, before really turning it on in the second half. In particular the last quarter he turned on a clinic, and despite not having a heap of touches, gained metres and impacted with each touch, causing serious problems for the opposition with his long kicking and ability to set up his teammates. Gave Bailey Scott a handball to run onto and kick a goal in the last term. He had a great running shot on goal late but just missed. He went from an okay game to a very good game with that second half when the heat was turned up.

#41 Cooper Stephens – He might have the same name and same junior club as last year’s captain, but he plays a different role and stood out early. On the field he was quite impressive early, running on the outside in the opening term, just keeping the ball moving. He has a powerful kick and was a bit fortuitous in the first quarter, snapping in the area and somehow found Sprague inside 50. He leads up the ground and took some marks on the wing, and always looks to play on.

#48 Blake Schlensog – Not a bad game from the tall forward who covers some serious ground. He took a few nice marks, including one in the first term where he did not even break stride before slotting it home. He roamed up the ground a bit and took a mark at half-back late in the game, the drifted forward again, had a snap in the third term but just missed. His field kicking had its ups and downs, but he certainly looked lively inside 50.

Western Jets vs. Eastern Ranges (Brandon Hutchinson) 

Western Jets:

#2 Tristan Rudic – Demonstrated some good footy out of congestion, with great pace and agility. Rudic was slick throughout the ground and had no problem getting his own football. He displayed a great take off speed and some clever decisions getting the ball forward. He fought hard around the stoppages and lifted his form for his team in the second half. Rudic is sharp, quick and precise as a midfielder and played quite unique football. He picked his man well, and passed well to get the ball running down field.

#10 Steven Kyriazis – In a sloppy affair from both sides, Kyriazis stood his ground. Kyriazis showed great form in the Jets’ forward line, and was the man to hit in the air. He picked his spots well and did not shy away from crashing the packs. He took some strong grabs and was a dangerous utility for his team going into attack. In the end, Kyriazis booted two goals, finessing them through with some smooth, classy football. The first term seemed off for most of the Western players, with consistency across four quarters the next step for the talented forward.

#11 Zak Butters – Butters showed some impressive work throughout ground on Saturday. He kicked sharp, attacked the ball well and made good decisions getting the ball forward. He picked his spots well and was unselfish in his passes, also going hard at his opponent, laying some important tackles, and moving well out of a congested midfield. He got his own ball and showed great poise in drawing in his man, at one stage taking on two players and still getting off an important pass. He is composed but aggressive, and the mix proved well throughout the game.

#12 Connor Thar – Thar had a good eye for taking the ball up forward and moved well with it in hand. He showed sharp skills around the middle, and made great choices in moving the ball up field. He lifted his game in the fourth and bagged himself a goal. His presence was obvious in the Jets’ win over the Ranges, and he showed it with some smooth and thoughtful football.

#36 Jaden Rice – Rice dominated players in the contest with his supreme size. He shrugged players off comfortably and showed great poise with the ball in hand. Rice applied great pressure around the contested ball, and laid a few crucial tackles – looking right at home with the ball in hand, taking clean kicks without worry. He is strong and played some impressive football. Rice was difficult to beat and even harder to bring down. Plenty of positives from his performance. 

Eastern Ranges:

#12 Jarrod Gilbee – A tough defender who doesn’t shy away from a knock. Gilbee’s work rate around the backline was astounding over the weekend, and he showed it with some earnest efforts. He demonstrated a strong attack on the ground and had no problem earning his own ball. He had a few good runs out of the backline which helped propel the ball forward into attack. Like a bull, Gilbee demonstrated plenty of acceleration and pace around plays, as well a few good choices to get the ball moving. He may not be as smooth as some of the others on this list, but his fight for the ball and work rate earn him his spot.

#17 Cody Hirst – Hirst’s game was unfortunately cut short following a heavy collision with an opposing player during the second. He was seen back on the oval for a bit as half-time closed in, but did not appear again for the rest of the game. Despite this, Hirst played some classy football. He goes hard at that the ball and does not struggle breaking free from congestion. He had a few great runs across the wing, helping launch the ball forward into attack. His contribution through the midfield had Eastern looking like the more composed team in the first half and his clean ball work most always found his man. Hirst had a couple good tackles in the first and assisted an important goal. He’s got good pace and a clean read of the ball, and if he played the second half, we could have seen a much tighter match.

#20 Ben Cardamone – Cardamone laid some crucial tackles in his backline as the Jets approached goal. He worked well around the contest and did well to keep the persistent attack at bay. He was a strong presence throughout the backline and helped to keep many players scoreless. His tackles were perfect and his pressure consistent. Cardamone demonstrated some good footy smarts and could see himself develop well as a fullback in his future.

#23 Xavier Fry – Fry was a crucial factor in keeping the Jets at bay when they went forward. He demonstrated great acceleration out of the backline and his second efforts over the ball often kept the Jets from taking off. Fry picked his spots well, appearing to play as a loose man throughout congestion. His skills were sharp and he showed great composure when possession was critical. His positioning often saw him intercept possessions throughout the mid, and he did well to move the ball out of danger. What he does, he does well, but he may also need to look at getting his own ball if he is to improve his work around the ground.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Calder Cannons (Billy Friend & Owen Leonard) 

Sandringham Dragons:

#7 Liam Stocker – A Dustin Martin style game from Stocker against the Cannons, who led the Dragons to a strong 23-point triumph at Trevor Barker Oval. While he was dominant through the midfield, Stocker was extremely dangerous while resting forward, particularly shown in the second term with a strong mark at the top of the goal square, resulting in his second goal. Stocker’s on-ground leadership was also notable, his calls for teammates to “find a man” clearly heard from the grandstand. A complete performance with Stocker finding over 20 disposals and booting two goals.

#19 Samuel Forbes – While he wasn’t a major ball-winner, Forbes impressed with precision left-foot kicking out of defence. He hit seven out of his eight targets and could be a playmaker to watch throughout the Dragons’ campaign, when he returns from school football later in the season.

#21 Dawit McNeish – Playing as an inside midfielder for the majority of the game, McNeish had a strong first half, displaying insistent grunt at stoppages. An impressive set-shot conversion from 45m out on a 45 degree angle after a free kick in the second quarter was super. Rested deep in the forward line late in the game, with a goal assist putting the Dragons 14-points clear.

#27 Jack Mahony – Backing up a strong performance last week, Mahony applied relentless forward pressure and was a constant ground level option. Playing a small forward role for most of the day, Mahony also worked hard with short stints in the midfield, kicking the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions.

#28 James Rendell – After a quiet first half, the key forward came to life in the third quarter, kicking the first two goals of the term. Played a big role in the Dragons’ victory, with a monumental second half, in which all four of his goals came. Took a strong mark at the start of the fourth quarter, and showcased his pinch-hitting ability with forward 50 ruck work. The Dragons’ tall was everywhere in the second half, and will be one to watch closely in season 2018.

#30 Ethan Casey – The big man seemed to move well in his first game back from an ACL injury, often providing his teammates first use through his power at ruck contests. He won majority of the hitouts for the contest and it was good to see him get through the contest unscathed. 

#69 Corey Watts – Played a traditional full-back role with the socks up. Provided strong drive from defence, and seems to have a rare balance between defending and attacking. Knew when to run off his man, and regularly setup play with his booming right foot.

Calder Cannons:

#11 Jake Firebrace – Firebrace had a quiet first half in the windy conditions but showed his quality in a brilliant third quarter. He is extremely clean below his knees and provided great run and carry out of defence. His agility & speed are elite and he showed flashes of his talent today.

#26 Mason Fletcher – Fletcher once again showed an ability to spoil at the last minute with his long levers, but was beaten by Rendell who kicked four goals on him in the second half. Like his old man (Dustin), Fletcher is very lightly built so can be overpowered at this stage of his career. He has plenty of filling out to do, so is far from the finished project. 

#29 Jake Riccardi – Riccardi struggled to impact the scoreboard today as much as we know he can, but he made up for that with hard work. Playing in the ruck for long stints of the game he acted as an extra midfielder for the Cannons. He showed good running ability for a tall forward getting to many contests.

#30 Mitchell Podhajski – Podhajski’s big body in the midfield really stood out today thanks to his clearance work in the trenches. He was able to break tackles, fire out quick handballs and lay tackles himself. He also impressed resting forward, taking two strong contested marks and providing a dangerous target for the Cannons in the mid-fwd role.

#33 Jack Evans – Was one of Calder’s best players today rebounding out of defence. His penetrating kicking was the highlight of his game, which included a running goal from 55m out in the third quarter. Evans has the ability to defend one-on-one as well as being an offensive weapon for the Cannons.

#40 Lachlan Johnson – Kicked the first two goals of the game and looked lively up forward. As a small forward, Johnson showed terrific forward pressure and impact for the amount of disposals he gathered.

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Peter Bonadio) 

Northern Knights:

#4 Tom McKenzie – One of those players who influences a team. When he had the ball things seemed to happen a lot smoother for the Knights. Excellent vision to find teammates by foot. Contestant ball winner who works well inside the centre square.

#5 Lachlan Potter -The defender was best on ground for the Knights today. A very consistent player, who read the play off half back very well, being in the right spot at the right time. An agile player who has a great turn off feet. Potter isn’t afraid to back himself and use his pace to break away from congestion and find targets further forward.

#17 Josh D’Intinosante – Improved as the game went on. Played better when he moved up forward. Applies good forward pressure and can take a strong mark overhead. He has a natural goal sense finding the goals on two occasions.

#20 Patrik Della Rocca – Consistent all day and finished with four goals. Works well up the ground and can lay a strong tackle. Leads well towards the ball and can take a strong contestant mark.

#21 Mark Baker – Good key forward who can move into the ruck. His ruck work was very good as to was his follow up work. He can also move around the ground well and is quite efficient by foot and has the ability to hit targets inside the forward 50. 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#3 Joseph Ayton-Delaney – Good in patches. Has a very efficient kick and spots teammates across the ground very well. Quick turn of foot and his extra bit of pace helps him burn off opponents and break through packs.

#8 Noah Anderson – Best-on-ground for the Chargers today, had plenty of the footy and used it well. Has the ability to go up forward and kick a few goals. Anderson was explosive running through the middle allows him to rack up the inside 50’s. 

#10 Charlie Whitehead – Uses his pace well around the ground and can take a contestant grab every now and then. Has good footy knowledge and reads the play well. 

#18 Ben Silvagni – Needs to work on his set shot conversions but managed to slot home three goals including a skilful dribble goal from the boundary. Helped in assisting in a few goals also with his quick hands inside the Chargers forward 50.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 2

AFTER the action-packed second round of TAC Cup action, it is hard to reduce the best players from the round down into a single best 22. But that is what we will be doing each week to create the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week.

Every team is represented in the best 22, with Dandenong Stingrays, Sandringham Dragons and Northern Knights each contributing three players – the most of any side. The Calder Cannons, GWV Rebels, Geelong Falcons and Gippsland Power each have two players, while the remaining five sides have a sole representative each.

The key position posts are dominated by Stingrays and Dragons, with their respective strong starts to the season indicative of the amount of talented talls in their line-ups. Angus Patterson (Dandenong) and Ben King (Sandringham) hold down the key defensive posts, while Max King‘s eight goals made him an easy choice for full-forward, standing alongside pocket rocket Jai Nanscawen, who booted six majors against Gippsland. Ruck/forward Bailey Williams is in the side, as is exciting midfielder Alastair Richards who played his best game in Dragons colours to date.

Northern Knights’ damaging midfield duo of Braedyn Gillard and Tom McKenzie caused all sorts of headaches for Western, earning them a place in the Team of the Week, alongside teammate and exciting bottom-age forward, Josh D’Intinosante.

The Calder Cannons opened the round with a great win under lights at RAMS Arena, with Rhylee West starring through the midfield, and Lucas Cavallaro impressive off half-back and centre. The pair made the side, along with opponent on the night, Ben Cardamone, who made it two from two as Eastern’s only representative in the team.

Despite being a largely one-sided contest for a half, the GWV Rebels and Geelong Falcons both contributed two players to the Team of the Week, with midfielder Lochie Dawson and his respective opponent Sam Walsh both putting in strong performances for their respective teams. Exciting Rebels forward Mitch Martin starred to be named at half-forward, while Charlie Sprague once again provided the Falcons an avenue up forward.

Gippsland captain Xavier Duursma‘s all-round performance earned him a spot in the side, while bottom-age talent Brock Smith stood out across half-back. The other defender named in the side was Western’s Stefan Radovanovic, who provided plenty of run and carry off half-back in the Jets’ loss to Northern on the weekend.

Others that made the side were Bendigo mid/forward Jye Caldwell who stood up on the weekend after missing round one, while Laitham Vandermeer was the best for the Bushrangers as they got the job done in Shepparton. The final member of the best 22 was Xavier O’Neill, who was a four-quarter player for Oakleigh in the Chargers’ loss to Sandringham.

Like every week, some players were very unlucky to miss out, with Bushranger Lachlan Ash, Jet Daly Andrews, Calder father-son prospect Mason Fletcher and mid/forward Curtis Taylor, and Bendigo Pioneers pair Noah Wheeler and Daniel Keating all stiff to miss the final cut. Additionally, the spread of performances by Oakleigh, Murray, Western and Bendigo all made it tough to select players for the team.

Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 2

IT was another big weekend with Round 2 of the TAC Cup taking place over the Easter long weekend. Calder kicked things off with a 33-point victory over Eastern under lights at RAMS Arena on Thursday night, while it was the Dandenong Stingrays and Murray Bushrangers who came out as winners in an all-country affair on Good Friday. Saturday’s double-header at RAMS Arena saw possible top-five draft pick Max King produce a stunning game, booting eight goals in the Sandringham Dragons’ win over the Oakleigh Chargers, while the Northern Knights won in a close encounter over the Western Jets. Down the highway, GWV Rebels produced the upset of the season, defeating the highly rated Geelong Falcons by 33-points thanks to an even team performance. 

Calder Cannons vs. Eastern Ranges

Calder Cannons bounced back from their tight round one loss under lights to produce a much stronger 33-point win over Eastern Ranges. Playing on Thursday night, the Cannons looked the goods early, but could not capitalise with three straight behinds before Eastern put through its first major. From there though, the Cannons were predominantly in control, booting seven of the next 10 goals to head into the final break with a four-goal lead. A 4.4 to 3.1 final term saw Calder extend their lead to run out comfortable winners in the end.

Rhylee West starred through the midfield and provided some eye-catching moments with a long goal and a huge pack mark. West finished the game with a match-high 29 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and five inside 50s. Lucas Cavallaro (16 disposals, four rebound 50s) played well off half-back, while Curtis Taylor (22 disposals, nine clearances) and Tye Browning (22 disposals, six rebound 50s) found plenty of the ball through midfield. Jack Evans and Nathan Croft were solid throughout the four quarters, while co-captains Mitch Podhajski (the only multiple goal scorer) and Jack Bytel, were other Cannons that stood out on the night. Essendon father-son prospect Mason Fletcher (seven marks) was clean with his ball use and a rock in defence.

For Eastern, Ben Cardamone stood out once again off half-back with 22 disposals, with Kye Quirk another player who picked up in the second half to provide some defensive rebound. Adrian Kalcovski (28 disposals, six marks) was strong in the contest, while Mitch Mellis (23 disposals, five inside 50s) provided some speed around the ground and a touch of class when required. Xavier Fry was another who continued to perform against the Calder attack, while Jacob Gilbee was admirable in defence.

Gippsland Power vs. Dandenong Stingrays

Dandenong Stingrays came from behind to give the Power their first loss of the season, running out 24-point winners – after earlier trailing by a single point going into the final quarter. The Power kept the Stingrays goalless in the third term, with their midfield stepping up, but it was not enough as the Stingrays booted six goals to two to finish the contest and remain undefeated on the top of the ladder. The Stingrays crucially won the inside 50s, – 59 to 31 – indicating their strength of how easily they were able to get the ball inside the attacking half of the ground. 

For the travelling team, small forward Jai Nanscawen was the star, booting six goals from his 15 disposals. Midfielders Mitch Riordan (20 disposals), Zac Foot (20 disposals) and James Hickey (19 disposals) won plenty of the ball, with the trio combining for 16 tackles and 15 inside 50s. Bottom-ager Hayden Young (16 disposals, five rebound 50s) again put in a performance pushing his top-five credentials for the 2019 AFL Draft. AFL Academy talls Riley Bowman (15 hitouts) and Bailey Williams (13 disposals, five marks and two goals) were also impressive, while over-ager Angus Paterson impressed with his arial marking during the contest, where he pulled off four contested marks out of his game-high 12 marks. 

Matthew McGannon (27 disposals, six rebound 50s) once again led the stats sheet for the home Power team. Xavier Duursma’s start to the season has been superb, recording 26 disposals (14 contested), six tackles, five inside 50s and four clearances in a standout performance from the midfield. Boadie Motton and Austin Hodge cracked in hard and won the contested ball in the fierce midfield battle, while it was Bailey Beck (13 disposals and 13 tackles) who busted his backside off in defensive 50, with plenty of game saving tackles. Kyle Reid (nine marks) was another player in defence who could hold his head high after the Power’s loss. Small forward Irving Mosquito booted two goals showing off his smarts around goal. 

Murray Bushrangers vs. Bendigo Pioneers 

The Murray Bushrangers led from start to finish to win their first game of season 2018, running out 56-point winners over the Bendigo Pioneers at Deakin Reserve. The Bushrangers had plenty of contributors across the board, in what was an even team performance. 

Lachlan Ash (19 disposals) once again found plenty of the football in the midfield, also laying four tackles during the contest. Overager Tom Boyd provided good rebound out of defensive 50, with six rebounds to go with his 19 disposals and five marks. Laitham Vandermeer was also a crucial cog in the Bushrangers’ midfield, with 18 disposals and two goals. GWS Academy member Mathew Walker picked up 17 disposals and kicked two goals, but it was small forward Patrick Warner who did the damage inside 50 for the Bushrangers, kicking a team-high three goals. 

AFL Academy member Jye Caldwell was the clear best for the Pioneers, recording 24 disposals and seven tackles, playing in the midfield. Small Liam Marciano won five clearances, as well as collecting 24 disposals (13 contested), while dual-sport prospect Zane Keighran hunted the contested footy, finishing with 11 contested possessions from his 16 disposals. Ruckman Daniel Keating was the clear best ruck on the ground, with a game-high 23 hitouts.  

Sandringham Dragons vs. Oakleigh Chargers

It was the Max King show at RAMS Arena on Saturday, as the possible pick one contender clunked nine marks and booted eight goals in a simply dominant performance in the Dragons’ 23-point victory. The game was evenly poised in the opening half, but the Dragons ran away with the contest with a strong third quarter, where they scored five goals to one.

Midfielder Alastair Richards (26 disposals, 11 marks and seven inside 50s) played arguably his best game in Dragons colours, while Angus Hanrahan (29 disposals, four rebound 50s) and Harry Houlahan (17 disposals, nine marks) showed plenty of promise coming out of the backline. Liam Stocker (13 disposals, five clearances) was good in the contest, using the ball well off either foot. Ben King (20 disposals, nine marks and six inside 50s) was a damaging defender for the Dragons, before moving forward in the final quarter of the game. He intercept work in the air meant that the Chargers were rarely able to mark the ball inside their forward 50, with King often intercepting. The hero Max King could have easily broken TAC Cup records for most goals in a game, booting five behinds to go with his eight goal haul, but his nine-mark game was overall enough to give him a certain three votes for the Morrish Medal. 

For the Chargers, bottom-age midfielder Trent Bianco (26 disposals, five rebound 50s) was their most impressive player. He worked hard up and down on the wing and showed off his good skills. Midfielders James Rowbottom (23 disposals) and Xavier O’Neill (22 disposals) have flashes where they stood up and took control, but overall were beaten by the Dragons players in the contest. Bottom-age rebounding defender Dylan Williams‘ silky smooth skills were on show, with 20 out of his 21 disposals being effective throughout the afternoon. Other bottom-agers Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell both collected 20 disposals, while Collingwood NGA member Isaac Quaynor (19 disposals, five rebounds) also put in another good performance for the Chargers.

Northern Knights vs. Western Jets

It was a thrilling match to conclude Saturday’s double header at RAMS Arena. Despite leading at three-quarter time by seven points, a see-sawing final quarter saw both teams trade goals with the Knights narrowly coming out winners by eight points. Western will be ruing a slow start which allowed the Knights to kick ahead early in the game.

Tom McKenzie won 28 disposals for the Knights, again putting in a decent effort through the midfield, where he also had six tackles, five inside 50s, five clearances and four rebound 50s. However, a superb captain’s performance from Braedyn Gillard put his name in the spotlight, where he had 26 disposals and won eight clearances – including six centre clearances. He has had an outstanding start to the season and could well be the clubhouse leader for the Knights best and fairest at this stage. Thomas Hallebone won 22 hitouts in the ruck, while Harrison Grace did some good things up forward kicking two goals. Josh D’Intinosante was another player who featured in the bests, with 19 disposals, eight tackles, six marks and five goals. He showed great speed and agility during the contest, which saw him boot an impressive long set shot goal from the boundary in the final term. 

Connor Thar (22 disposals, six clearances and five inside 50s) was the Jets’ leading ball winner, while fellow midfielder Zak Butters (19 disposals, five clearances and five inside 50s) had a strong game. Butters’ overhead marking throughout the day was impressive, as was his zip and speed, where he also booted an impressive snap goal right on the boundary in the third term. Strong inside midfielder Xavier O’Halloran tackled hard throughout the day and also had six inside 50s, helping the Jets move the ball forward in the final quarter. The last quarter also had O’Halloran boot an impressive goal on the run. 

Geelong Falcons vs. GWV Rebels 

A scintillating first half display, set up the GWV Rebels comfortable 33-point win over the Geelong Falcons at Kardinia Park on Sunday.

The Rebels were outstanding in the first half, converting what felt like every opportunity inside 50. Mitch Martin set the tone for the day, kicking a beautiful goal from the boundary within the first minute of the game, which started a succession of seven goals to none in the first quarter. Jed Hill backed up his terrific performance against the Pioneers, with two terrific set shot goals in the quarter while Josh Chatfield also kicked two in the first. Lachlan Dawson (28 disposals, four tackles) had a huge half of footy, winning the ball at stoppages and getting the ball quickly into a forward line which piled on another three goals in the second quarter, to lead 10 goals to nil at the main break.

Thankfully for the Falcons it was only a few minutes into the second half, before Charlie Sprague (22 disposals) was able to kick their first. Sprague crumbed the ball nicely off the pack before snapping the ball on his right boot and kicking truely. After half-time, classy onballer, and potential top-five draft pick, Sam Walsh started to become more effective. A lot of Walsh’s work was undone however, by the Falcons inability to remain in possession of the ball. Walsh finished the contest as the lead ball-winner on the ground, with 36 disposals and three clearances. The Falcons continually tried to use the corridor, but were being punished by a lack of foot skill, as the Rebels intercepted the ball or brought it to ground level. The Rebels use of the corridor on the other hand was terrific, and players such as Harris Jennings and Scott Carlin, were extremely effective in helping the Rebels move the ball quickly.

The Falcons had a terrific last quarter, booting six goals to two. After starting in defence, Connor Idun was moved forward and was very effective converting his two goals and displaying a beautiful set shot technique. Idun’s last quarter performance was matched by a brilliant last quarter from Kayne Councillor. The Rebels only had four inside 50’s for the quarter, yet Councillor found a way to attempt three shots on goal, kicking two of them. As signs of fatigue began to set in, the nightmare of the previous week fadeout against the Pioneers, may have began to haunt the Rebels, however Councillors back to back goal’s put the nail in the coffin of the Falcons, and the Rebels finished the game off comfortably.

The home side had no answer to Dawson all day, who was outstanding from siren to siren. Others who impressed for the visitors were, the terrific forward duo of Martin and Hill, the tough defensive pressure machine in Jacob Lohmann, and the extremely consistent onballer Matt Schnerring. Meanwhile, Sprague, Walsh and Idun did everything they could to get the home side over the line.

The Rebels will look to build on their first win of the season, playing the Stingrays at the QEO in Bendigo. The Geelong Falcons will look to get their first win of the season also at the QEO against the Bushrangers.