Tag: Mason Fletcher

NAB League Boys Round 7 preview: Top four clash headlines ladder-shaping weekend

THE Northern Academies have come and gone in the NAB League, and proceedings will continue as normal for the remainder of the year as the ladder begins to take shape. A top four clash looms as the game of the weekend, with a host of bottom-half sides set to jostle for position in an important round of action.

GEELONG FALCONS v MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Saturday May 11, 2:00pm
Avalon Airport Oval

Fresh off their first NAB League season win, the Geelong Falcons will be hoping for more of the same when they host Murray Bushrangers in Avalon. While both teams can only lay claim to one win thus far, Geelong sits a ladder spot above its weekend opponents having also picked up a draw. Bad luck has also followed either side to this point, with close games going the way of their opposition more often than not – seeing their effort and ability to be competitive go unrewarded. The Falcons will also be without co-captain Cooper Stephens for most of the year, so need their brigade of small running midfielders to stand up once again, while Oliver Henry remains a target up forward. The Bushrangers welcome back some over-age depth in the likes of Ben Kelly, Zane Barzen, and Liam Fiore, looking primed to make a mid-season charge up the ladder. While this could be a good chance to start a winning run, the inexperienced Falcons have showed they are often competitive and can stay with sides around their level. Expect a good battle with a second win up for grabs.

WESTERN JETS v DANDENONG STINGRAYS
Saturday May 11, 3:15pm
Williamstown Football Ground

The ladder-leading Dandenong Stingrays travel to Williamstown to do battle with Western Jets, looking to keep their undefeated record in tact. A draw against Geelong remains the only blemish in an otherwise perfect Stingrays season, with their last two wins after a Round 4 bye both coming by over 70 points. The 3-2 Jets will be wary of their weekend opponents’ form, but are on a good run themselves after winning two-consecutive games before enjoying their own bye last week. The bye round proved perfect timing for over-agers Daly Andrews and Will Kennedy, who put their hands up for mid-season draft selection in the Young Guns game and will be back in Western colours this week. In the same vein, Dandenong welcomes Mitch Riordan and Bailey Schmidt back to a lineup which looks like it is really starting to click – with key position and smaller guns on each line. Equal form lines aside, the Stingrays will fancy their chances in this one, but a win may not come as easily as in their last two outings.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v TASMANIA DEVILS
Sunday May 12, 11:00am
Queen Elizabeth Oval

Bendigo Pioneers and Tasmania Devils will both be looking to build on their two respective wins for the year when they clash at Queen Elizabeth Oval in Sunday’s first game. The ‘Pios have been unable to add to their impressive Round 1 and 2 wins, but only went down by a combined 21 points in their last two games despite losing a couple of key players to school football. Meanwhile, Tasmania has also gone down in its last two efforts, including a heartbreaking one-point loss to Oakleigh at home last week. The positive signs are there for the Devils though, with Mitch O’Neill the only Australian representative star not to return to the side since his showcase outing. Despite others returning, Matthew McGuiness, Joseph Chaplin, Nicholas Baker, and Tyler Penwright are all key outs this week, leaving the Devils without some key experience and class. With the ability to hang with Bendigo clearly there, the travelling side will hope the continued development of their players can see them snatch another set of four points. But with travel a factor and Bendigo looking to stick with the pack of teams on 12 points, it will prove no mean feat.

GIPPSLAND POWER v CALDER CANNONS
Sunday May 12, 1:00pm
Morwell Recreational Reserve

Gippsland Power will look to continue its surge up the NAB League ladder at home on Sunday, but Calder Cannons stand in the way of a possible third-consecutive win. The hosts have gotten the better of three results decided by under 10 points, with their only loss coming by just six against table-toppers, Dandenong. Calder is on a run of two-straight wins after its Round 4 loss to Tasmania, faring far more competitively despite being the worst-placed of three sides on 12 points. While the Power has only named an extended bench, Calder looks set to lose some back-six class this week – with Sam Ramsay and Mason Fletcher out. Despite that, over-agers Sam Graham and Josh Kemp should prove key ins for a Cannons side looking to compete with a formidable Gippsland outfit. With Sam Flanders kicking into gear, Riley Baldi returning well from injury, and skipper Brock Smith nominated for the Round 6 Draft Central Player of the Week, the Power should soon consolidate themselves as a genuine premiership contender.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Sunday May 12, 1:00pm
MARS Stadium

A third win is up for grabs for both the Greater Western Victoria Rebels and Northern Knights as they clash in Ballarat on Sunday afternoon. Despite boasting equal wins, the Rebels have a far greater percentage than the Knights having won by 55 points over the Northern Territory Academy and their biggest loss coming by 14 points. Northern’s two victories have come in the last two weeks against Bendigo and the NT, with the Knights also breaking through for a season-high score of 98 (their next-best is 73). Some over-age and bottom-age inclusions for the Knights will aid their cause, with Sunny Brazier, Ollie Simpson, Nikolas Cox, and Ben Major returning to the side alongside top-age midfield ace, Sam Philp. Over-age talent also returns for the home side, as Jed Hill, James Cleaver, and Matty Lloyd have all been named. With the sides’ collective wins coming against bottom-half opponents, both will see this game as an opportunity for more of the same as the ladder starts to take shape. Northern should also be breathing fire after last year’s Wildcard Round thrashing at the hands of their weekend opponents, so expect a hot contest.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v EASTERN RANGES
Sunday May 12, 2:00pm
RSEA Park

Arguably the game of the round will be played out in Moorabbin, with Sandringham Dragons and Eastern Ranges set to do battle in a top four clash. Having been knocked off top spot after a bye round, the Dragons will be looking to pick up from where they left off, winning by 97 points in their last outing. While the Ranges were beaten by a strong Gippsland side last time out, they have been a one of the competition’s more consistent teams, with their only other loss coming to a full-strength Oakleigh in Round 1. A strong array of talls remains in the Sandringham 22, with Ryan Byrnes the key man in midfield and Angus Hanrahan and Riley Bowman coming off a Young Guns outing. The likes of Cody Hirst and Riley Smith come back for Eastern, adding strength to their running and tall games respectively. With much of the Dragons’ threats coming in their 195cm-plus players, this will again be a tough test for an Eastern side stacked with smaller runners, despite a bigger forward line. A tight tussle should ensue, with one side looking to stamp its authority and the other keen to prove it is a genuine contender.

BYE: Oakleigh Chargers

NAB League Boys Round 6 wash-up: Academies bow out as Dandy go top

NORTHERN Academies played out their final NAB League games in Round 6 as a new leader emerged and the Geelong Falcons grabbed their first win for the season. The Falcons’ victory saw Gold Coast Suns jump Sydney Swans to claim the Academy Division 2 title on percentage, as both teams finished with 4-1 records. All that, and more in this weekend’s wash-up.

TASMANIA DEVILS 3.0 | 5.2 | 6.5 | 8.7 (55)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 3.4 | 3.5 | 6.6 | 8.8 (56)

GOALS:
Tasmania:
R. Mansell 2, W. Harper 2, M. McGuinness, S. Banks, B. Gordon, J. Callow
Oakleigh: T. Lovell 4, T. Graham, L. Westwood, H. Mundy, A. Tassell

BEST:
Tasmania:
H. Ireland, R. Mansell, O. Davis, P. Walker, L. Viney, I. Chugg
Oakleigh: T. Bianco, J. Woodfull, J. May, H. Mastras, L. Westwood, S. Seach

By: Michael Alvaro

Oakleigh Chargers held on for a hard-fought win by the narrowest of margins over Tasmania at North Hobart Oval, helping them climb back into the NAB League top eight. After breaking to a slim quarter-time lead, the Chargers gave up a nine-point half time lead after going goalless in the second term. With their backs against the wall, Oakleigh stood up to reclaim the lead, and hold on until the final siren as both sides contributed 1.2 in the fourth quarter. Oakleigh’s Thomas Lovell was efficient in front of goal with half of his eight touches ending in six points, but it was co-captain Trent Bianco who was his side’s best with 42 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, nine tackles and eight inside 50s. Josh May was also instrumental with 28 disposals and five clearances, while ruckman Jacob Woodfull was handy with 16 disposals and 27 hitouts. Harrison Ireland was named the Devils’ best for his role as an undersized ruck, while Ollie Davis was their leading ball winner with 21 touches and five clearances. Fellow bottom-age star Sam Collins was not far behind, matching AFL Academy member Will Peppin‘s effort of 18 disposals, while Will Harper and Rhyan Mansell each booted two goals. While Oakleigh can enjoy a bye in Round 7, Tasmania faces a trip to Bendigo to face the Pioneers, who are also 2-3.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.4 | 5.7 | 7.7 | 11.11 (77)
GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 4.5 | 6.8 | 8.11 | 12.16 (88)

GOALS:
Murray:
J. Boyer 3, H. Kaak 2, J. Chalcraft 2, L. Sykes, C. Wilson, L. Ash, M. Holt
GWS: H. Grant 3, J. Green 2, L. Conlan 2, M. Hamblin 2, J. Lucas, L. Delahunty, T. Green

BEST:
Murray:
D. Clarke, S. Durham, L. Ash, J. Chalcraft, J. Boyer, W. Bowden
GWS: H. Grant, E. Perryman, L. Delahunty, J. Green, L. Conlan

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers slump to 1-4 as the worst-placed Victorian NAB League side after going down by 11 points to GWS Giants Academy. The Bushrangers are unlucky to find themselves in that position given three of their four losses have come by a collective margin of 18 points, with their other loss (24 points) coming against the Swans Academy last week. The Giants, meanwhile, picked up their second win with star midfielder Tom Green (37 disposals, 11 clearances) back in the side, seeing them finish third of the five academies. While Green was at the centre of everything for the Giants, Jeromy Lucas (33 disposals, seven marks) was also instrumental alongside over-ager Ed Perryman (31 disposals, nine marks) in his first game for the year, while Harry Grant 23 disposals, three goals) and Liam Delahunty (21 disposals, seven inside 50s) were effective forward of centre. Dylan Clarke was Murray’s best and equal-leading disposal getter with 27, matched by returning skipper Lachlan Ash (six marks, six tackles, one goal). Jimmy Boyer found the goals well with three majors, joined as a multiple goal kicker by Jye Chalcraft and Hudson Kaak (both two goals). While the GWS products bow out of NAB League commitments and ready themselves for possible Allies selection, Murray faces Geelong in hopes of snaring a second win and a run of form.

CALDER CANNONS 4.3 | 6.5 | 7.6 | 7.10 (52)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 1.0 | 2.1 | 4.3 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS:
Calder:
M. Fletcher 2, B. Rigoni, N. Gentile, J. O’Sullivan, D. Mott, M. Allison
Bendigo: E. Roberts, R. Ironside, J. Ginnivan, Z. Murley, C. Fisher

BEST:
Calder:
J. Martin, D. Mott, J. Hotchkin, T. Browning, N. Gentile, B. Newman
Bendigo: J. Treacy, R. Ironside, S. Conforti, J. Schischka, B. Vaz, W. Wallace

By: Taylah Melki

The Cannons came out firing in the first term and really took control of the game placing them in a strong position for the rest of the game opening a four goal to one first term. In tricky wet and slippery conditions both sides battled hard to win possession with forge the ball forward but it was the Cannons who prevailed against the Pioneers who could not capitalise in front of goal. Jacob Martin led the way for the Cannons winning a heap of the ball with 36 touches, four inside 50s and five tackles for his efforts, while teammate Daniel Mott was impressive. Mott worked hard across the ground and racked up 36 touches to go with his first quarter goal making him a key player for Calder. Brodie Newman also had a solid performance with a game 12 marks testament to his strong hands and clever placement to get into the right position and take big grabs. Mason Fletcher made his presence felt on the scoreboard nailing two majors while Ned Gentile scored 1.2 for the afternoon. After a quiet start James Schischka worked his way into the game and amassed 20 touches along with eight tackles for the Pios. He was closely followed by teammates, Riley Wilson (18 touches) and Brady Rowles (17) while Joshua Treacy did a wealth of work in attack with five inside 50s. Riley Ironside also had a big second half going in hard at the contest and doing the little things well to try and influence the play. He finished with a major, 17 possessions and five marks.

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 3.6 | 6.9 | 9.10 | 14.11 (95)
GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 2.0 | 5.3 | 8.7 | 12.9 (81)

GOALS:
Gold Coast:
M. Pescud 4, C. Beaman 3, H. Oea 2, J. Gore 2, M. Conroy, M. Selsby, E. Hunt
GWV: N. Caris 4, I. Wareham 2, L. O’Brien 2, L. Herbert, J. Wright, I. Grant, M. Martin

BEST:
Gold Coast:
H. Oea, C. Budarick, A. Crossley, M. Conroy, M. Pescud , J. Gore
GWV: I. Wareham, C. Craig-Peters, N. Caris, J. Rantall, T. Mahony, J. Tillig

By: Michael Alvaro

Gold Coast Suns snatched the Division 2 title with a fighting 14-point win over the Greater Western Victoria Rebels in front of their home crowd. Leading at every break, the Suns bounced back well from a heavy loss last week with a spread of four multiple goal kickers heading a solid team performance. While Connor Budarick again led all comers for disposals (23), Max Pescud booted an equal game-high four goals and Hewago Paul Oea was named best for his 19 disposals, seven clearances and two goals. In what was a low-disposal game, the Rebels’ top five ball-winners had between 15 and 16 disposals each, with Riley Polkinghorne and Isaac Thomas leading the way. Nick Caris claimed four goals, with Cooper Craig-Peters and Liam O’Brien bagging two each as the other GWV multiple goal kickers. While the Suns’ NAB League commitments are over, GWV plays Northern on home turf as their season rolls on.

GEELONG FALCONS 2.2 | 6.5 | 8.8 | 12.12 (84)
SYDNEY SWANS 1.3 | 3.4 | 6.9 | 7.11 (53)

GOALS:
Geelong:
O. Henry 4, W. Batson 2, C. Brauer 2, S. Ham, W. Kilpatrick, C. Seymour, J. Makuey
Sydney: K. McGrath 2, E. Gulden, L. Swaney, B. Campbell, H. Ellem, S. Gaden

BEST:
Geelong:
J. Clark, C. Harris, C. Karpala, L. Smith, S. Bourke, O. Henry
Sydney: A. Watling, E. Gulden, R. van Huisstede, M. Geddes, L. Parks, B. Campbell

By: Joe Lee

An electric Geelong provided a big upset, leading at every change to record a 31-point victory over the Sydney Swans Academy. In a tough and uncompromising contest in near perfect conditions at Trevor Barker Oval, the Falcons were too good offensively for a wasteful Sydney outfit. Geelong’s multitude of quick and evasive small midfielder-forwards were too much for the Swans to handle, both on the inside and outside of the contest. Geelong’s slick and accurate ball movement overwhelmed the Sydney defence, with Jesse Clark being instrumental in setting up play with his damaging right boot, whilst Oliver Henry’s draft stocks continue to rise, backing up his five-goal effort in Round 3 with a four-goal haul this week. For the Swans, Braeden Campbell worked tirelessly all day, attacking the contest with vigour and was a clear standout in a team lacking a bit of intensity.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 1.1 | 2.5 | 2.8 | 3.11 (29)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 2.6 | 4.8 | 9.12 | 14.16 (100)

GOALS:
Brisbane:
C. Michael, W. Tasker, J. Quint
Dandenong: C. Weightman 3, J. Roysmith 2, C. Gay 2, C. Ellison 2, J. Johnson, E. Cahill, J. Toner, W. Bravo, R. Orchard

BEST:
Brisbane:
J. Currie, N. Cumberland, T. Griffiths, S. Ryan, W. Martyn, T. Jeffrey
Dandenong: C. Gay, C. Ellison, H. Berenger, B. Welsh, H. Young

By: Michael Alvaro

Reigning premiers Dandenong Stingrays climbed atop the NAB League ladder for the first time this season, trouncing the Brisbane Lions Academy by 71 points in Queensland. With only a draw hindering their otherwise unblemished record, the Stingrays hit top gear after half time with ten goals to one in a dominant display. The result rounds off a disappointing end to Brisbane’s NAB League cameo, with the Lions losing four-straight after their Round 2 win over GWS. Will Martyn has been far from disappointing though, and contributed 32 disposals to lead all comers, but was beaten out by Justin Currie (16 disposals, five marks) as Brisbane’s best. Noah Cumberland (26 disposals, nine clearances) was also thereabouts with Tom Matthews matching his disposal output, while Samson Ryan (14 disposals, 32 hit-outs) had a good day in the ruck. Hayden Young was touted as a key inclusion for Dandenong, and was amongst the best with his team-high 28 disposals and six clearances. Bottom-ager Clayton Gay was adjudged to be his side’s best though, with 21 disposals and 2.2, while over-ager Corey Ellison also claimed two majors in the win. The new ladder leaders travel again next time out to face Western, while Brisbane’s brightest will prepare themselves for potential Allies selection.

GIPPSLAND POWER 4.1 | 8.2 | 9.7 | 12.9 (81)
EASTERN RANGES 5.1 | 7.2 | 9.3 | 11.5 (71)

GOALS:
Gippsland:
F. Phillips 3, S. Flanders 2, M. McGarrity 2, R. Baldi, W. Papley, C. Comben, T. Fitzpatrick, H. Neocleous
Eastern: B. Hickleton 3, B. White 3, B. McCormack 2, C. Tilyard, J. Rossiter, C. Black

BEST:
Gippsland:
B. Smith, F. Phillips, M. McGarrity, R. Baldi, Z. Reid, C. Comben
Eastern: L. Stapleton, Z. Pretty, B. McCormack, B. Hickleton, B. White, J. Duffy

By: Michael Alvaro

Gippsland Power ground out a 10-point win over Eastern Ranges to see them continue their gradual climb towards the top of the NAB League ladder, while Eastern remains lodged in the top four despite the narrow defeat. The Ranges got the better of a high-scoring opening term, but Gippsland reversed the six-point margin heading into the main break. With both sides performing well in front of goal and the margin cut back to within four points in the final quarter, a grandstand finish was on the horizon. After Eastern reclaimed the lead with two quick goals, Gippsland powered home with the last three to seal victory. Zak Pretty and Lachlan Stapleton again won a heap of the ball to lead all comers with 28 disposals each for Eastern, with opportunistic forwards Ben Hickleton and Bailey White bagging hauls of three goals. Power captain Brock Smith collected 27 disposals and nine rebound 50s to earn a Draft Central player of the week nomination, with Riley Baldi (27 disposals, seven marks) continuing his solid return to be named amongst the best. Sam Flanders (26 disposals, nine clearances, two goals) was instrumental in helping Gippsland get over the line, with Fraser Phillips (20 disposals, three goals) also finding the ball and big sticks. The Power host Calder next week with an eye on Eastern’s top four spot, as the Ranges set to face Sandringham in their biggest test yet.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.2 | 6.6 | 12.7 | 15.8 (98)
NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER ACADEMY 1.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS:
Northern:
J. Lucente 3, L. Mcmahon 2, C. Barbera 2, J. Davies 2, J. Bowne 2, J. D’Intinosante 2, J. Mazzarella, M. Sindrivanis
NT: S. Foster 2, M. Rosas 2, M. Cumming 2, R. Fejo, J. Tipiloura

BEST:
Northern:
L. Potter, J. D’Intinosante, R. Sturgess, R. Gardner, J. Davies, E. Macpherson
NT: S. Foster, J. Jeffrey, B. Ah Mat, B. Jungfer, M. Rosas, B. Lake

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights claimed its second-straight victory after a winless first four games, comfortably accounting for the Northern Territory Thunder Academy by 38 points at Ikon Park. The loss sees NT bow out of the NAB League without a win, but having shown plenty of promise. Confident on the back of last week’s breakthrough performance, the Knights were simply too strong and put at least three goals on the board in each quarter. Josh D’Intinosante continues to do all the right things, collecting a game-high 25 disposals, 11 marks and two goals, but was beaten out to best-on honours by Lachie Potter (24 disposals, seven rebound 50s). Ryan Sturgess (21 disposals, eight marks) and the returning Ryan Gardner (22 disposals, four clearances) also chimed in well, with James Lucente (three goals) leading a brigade of six Northern multiple goal kickers. Top NT prospect Malcolm Rosas Jr was one of three Thunder players to boot two goals, with Shawn Foster‘s game enough to see him named best. Joel Jeffrey had another impressive outing in the back half with 21 disposals, seven marks and eight rebound 50s, while Ben Jungfer was his side’s leading ball winner with 22 touches and five clearances.

NAB League Boys Round 4 wash-up: SUNS shine in NAB League Boys

THE NAB League ladder has a new leader after all the action from Round 4, as three Northern Academy sides got the better of their Victorian Metropolitan counterparts. With Tasmania also picking up a win, it was a good weekend to be an interstater, albeit with the Victorian sides depleted on the back of trial games.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.2 | 5.4 | 5.6 | 7.9 (51)
GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 3.3 | 4.5 | 8.13 | 10.17 (77)

By: Cameron Ross

GOALS:
Northern:
C. Barbera, L. Mcmahon, S. Brazier, L. Waldron, J. Boyd, N. Howard, O. Simpson
GWS: L. Delahunty 3, L. Conlan 2, J. Lucas 2, M. Hamblin, J. Peatling, S. Driscoll

BEST
Northern:
N. Howard, S. Philp, C. Barbera, A. Taylor, E. Macpherson, S. Brazier
GWS: M. McGrory, J. Lucas, J. Peatling, L. Delahunty, S. Driscoll, H. Grant

GWS Giants Academy travelled to Melbourne this weekend to take on the Northern Knights at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. This first quarter was hotly contested. The Giants shot out of the blocks in the first two minutes, when James Peating won a holding the ball decision directly in front and goaled. The Knights fought back and after Sunny Brazier goaled from a snap shot, they started to gain some momentum. Ruckman Nathan Howard was dominant in the first quarter, giving the Knights first use, yet he was equally impressive around the ground. A serious knee injury to Lucas Perry caused a significant delay, as the young Knight writhed in pain. Both teams were visibly shaken as the midfielder was stretchered off the field. The Giants kicked two late goals – Lucas Conlan from a tight angle and then Liam Delahunty who goaled with only a minute remaining to give the Giants a seven-point advantage into the first break. The second quarter was owned by the Knights – they had most of the possession, and took advantage of it. Ruckman Howard continued on from his fine first quarter by kicking a late goal. GWS’s Tom Green was outstanding for the Giants. The big bodied midfielder kept his side in the match, winning clearances and contested possessions, and at half time GWS were only down by five points.

The Giants flew out of the blocks in the second half. Green started where he left off, winning four possessions, two centre clearances and a goal assist in the first two minutes. The final five minutes of the third quarter changed the match. Knights could barely get their hands on the footy, as Green and Peatling took over. Jeromy Lucas kicked two goals in the final minute, and the Giants had put the game to bed. The Knights who had been in this game up until midway through the third were nearly broken. The Knights started the fourth quarter well after an early Ollie Simpson goal, but they still needed to find four more in under 20 minutes of play. Sure enough, only a minute later, Lorne Waldron took a contested mark directly in front but missed what would have been a momentous goal. The Knights continued to find opportunities to win the game but missed a further two convertible chances in the next two minutes. A terrible turnover from GWS across goal gave Cooper Barbera another opportunity, but when he missed also, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be the Knights day. The Knights had most of the possession in the final quarter, but the Giants kicked two late goals to finish off the game as 26-point victors. Green was the best player on the field with 31 possessions, while Howard did everything he could for the Knights. GWS play the Gippsland Power at Blacktown in Round 5, while the Knights head to the QEO in Bendigo to take on the Pioneers.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 2.3 | 5.5 | 7.9 | 12.11 (83)
SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 5.1 | 10.4 | 14.6 | 16.9 (105)

By: Alex Gibson

GOALS:
Sandringham:
K. Yorke 3, A. Hanrahan 2, J. Florent 2, A. Perkins 2, H. Loughnan, L. Garnaut, R. Bowman
Sydney: B. Campbell 4, H. Maguire 3, T. Tyson 2, S. Thorne 2, H. Ellem 2, E. Gulden, K. McGrath, A. Watling

BEST:
Sandringham:
N. Burke, R. Bowman, J. Le Grice , J. Castan, A. Perkins, K. Yorke
Sydney: H. Ellem, N. Brewer, B. Campbell, L. Parks, A. Watling, S. Thorne

With the ongoing Vic trials, 14 changes were made for the Sandringham side which faced a classy Swans Academy outfit. Sydney’s pressure from the outset was immense, led by Samuel Thorne (21 disposals, two goals) and Harrison Parker (seven tackles) allowing the Swans to get the early jump on the ladder leaders. Sandringham from there on had to play catch up footy and on ball duo Angus Hanrahan (29 disposals, two goals) and Bill Mackay (21 disposals) did their best for the Dragons, however it was no match for the Swans who laid 22 more tackles for the match. The new look Sandringham forward line consisted of youth and rawness which consequently lacked a strong solid target in Charlie Dean’s absence, which hurt the Dragons all day. In contrast, the Swans big forwards dominated the second term thanks to Josh Maguire (three goals) and Hamish Ellem (two goals) who were able to control the forward 50 as the Swans lead extended to 29 points heading into the main break. It was a better second half for the Dragons as ruckman Riley Bowman (40 hitouts) was able to get on top, however bottom-ager Errol Gulden (26 disposals, two goals) took the game away from the Dragons with his classy left boot. In a game that tested Sandringham’s depth, they were able to remain competitive all day with their youth showing good signs but they were outplayed by the Swans big bodies which eventuated in a 22-point victory for Sydney who remain undefeated.

GOLD COAST ACADEMY 1.3 | 6.4 | 10.8 | 14.11 (95)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.4 | 3.6 (24)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Gold Coast:
P. Murtagh 2, E. Dawson 2, M. Selsby 2, J. Gore 2, M. Conroy, C. Budarick, H. Oea, A. Davies, E. Semaan, R. Nicholls
Oakleigh: M. Steiner 2, J. Robertson

BEST:
Gold Coast:
C. Budarick, C. Joyce, A. Davies, H. Oea, J. Gore, D. Koenen
Oakleigh: J. Woodfull, K. Schreiber, J. Ayton-Delaney, H. Mastras, B. Jepson, R. McInnes

Gold Coast SUNS Academy became the third non-Victorian side to pick up four points on the weekend, opening Sunday’s Queensland double-header with a 71-point win over Oakleigh. The Chargers came in heavily depleted like most of their fellow metro sides, but it didn’t show early as they battled well in an even first term. It was all Gold Coast from thereon though, as the Suns pulled away to a 26-point half time lead. With eight goals to one, it was more of the same in a dominant second half from the home side as they pushed to claim top spot at round’s end. Connor Budarick again had a day out, leading the Suns with 28 disposals, eight marks, eight tackles and a goal, while Corey Joyce and Ashton Crossley won the ball well with 22 possessions apiece. Josh Gore could have had a huge game, claiming 2.5 from his 20 disposals as one of four Suns multiple goal kickers, with Mark Steiner booting two of Oakleigh’s three goals for the match. Chargers over-ager and 2018 Vic Metro representative Joe Ayton-Delaney (26 disposals) was influential through midfield alongside Kaden Schreiber (24, seven marks, five clearances), but both were beaten to being named best by ruckman Jacob Woodfull who managed five clearances from 15 disposals. With two losses on the trot, Oakleigh will look to bounce back after the break against Dandenong, while Gold Coast is set to face another metro side in Eastern as its NAB League stint edges over the half-way mark.

TASMANIA DEVILS 0.1 | 5.1 | 8.1 | 10.3 (63)
CALDER CANNONS 0.1 | 1.4 | 3.6 | 7.9 (51)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Tasmania:
J. Callow 4, J. Hennessy 2, J. Menzie, W. Peppin, P. Walker, R. Mansell
Calder: C. Brand 3, M. Fletcher 2, H. Minton-Connell, J. Sutton

BEST:
Tasmania:
J. Callow, O. Shaw, J. Chaplin, R. Ashlin, L. Gadomski, J. Steele
Calder: H. Minton-Connell, N. Gentile, J. Martin, M. Simpson, K. Baker, S. Callander

Tasmania Devils ground out its second win on the trot, prevailing 10.3 (63) to 7.9 (51) against Calder in its first NAB League appearance on home turf. After a slow burn in the first term with the sides only managing a behind each, the Devils kicked away in the next stanza with five goals to one to set up a game-winning lead, slowly extending it to 25 points at the final change. While Calder stood up to win the fourth quarter, it was all too little, too late as the hosts held on to a two-goal final margin. Jackson Callow was the standout Devil with another bag of goals to amass almost half of his side’s total, while Oscar Shaw spread well to reel in 12 uncontested marks from 17 disposals. Patrick Walker and Nicholas Baker were the key ball-winners with 24 disposals apiece, while usual suspect Mitch O’Neill was a little quieter than usual with 16. For Calder, Cody Brand booted all three of his season goals at once, while Mason Fletcher joined him as a multiple goal kicker as he was thrown forward. Harrison Minton-Connell was the visitors’ best with a game-high 26 disposals and eight clearances, and could have had a bigger game had he made better of his 1.3. Crashing back down to earth after last week’s win, the Cannons face a winless Geelong side next time out, while Tasmania will hope to continue its winning run as it does battle with Western.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 3.0 | 5.1 | 11.1 | 12.3 (75)
EASTERN RANGES 4.4 | 6.7 | 8.7 | 13.8 (86)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:
Brisbane:
B. Coleman 4, T. Wischnat 3, N. Cumberland 3, D. Marsh, T. Abberley
Eastern: B. Hickleton 3, S. Mason 2, C. Black 2, S. Feagaimalii 2, J. Tilly, J. Clarke, C. Weightman, J. Jaworski

BEST:
Brisbane:
T. Jeffrey, W. Martyn, C. Michael, C. Stackelberg, B. Coleman
Eastern: S. Feagaimalii, J. Clarke, J. Duffy, B. Hickleton, J. Gilbee

An fighting final term turnaround saw Eastern Ranges earn its third-consecutive win, overcoming the Brisbane Lions academy by 11 points in Southport. Having broken to a 12-point half-time lead, the Ranges were reigned in quickly thereafter as the hosts booted six goals to two to steer clear heading into the final break, but the Ranges turned the two-goal deficit almost completely around as the heavens opened to snatch an unlikely victory. Eastern bottom-ager Salele Feagaimalii had an blinder, taking full advantage of playing full-time midfield to rack up 28 disposals, seven clearances and two clutch final-quarter goals as his side’s best. Fellow 17-year old Joshua Clarke also stood up when it mattered, slotting the goal of the day on the run from 50 as part of his 21 disposals, while Chayce Black was dangerous early up forward, ending with 2.3 behind Ben Hickleton‘s 3.0. For the Lions, Blake Coleman claimed a game-high four goals from his nine disposals, with Tom Wischnat (19 disposals, 3.2) to thank for two of them, while Noah Cumberland also claimed three majors. Skipper Will Martyn lifted from last week’s performance to rack up an impressive 37 disposals and 12 marks, while former-captain Cody Stackleberg was influential with 26 touches and seven inside 50s. With Eastern locked into the top four, a game against another Queensland academy awaits, while Brisbane will look for a second win in its away clash against Sandringham.

WESTERN JETS 3.8 | 9.14 | 12.19 | 18.24 (132)
NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER 4.3 | 5.4 | 8.7 | 9.7 (61)

GOALS:
Western:
A. Clarke 4, S. El-Hawli 3, C. White 3, C. Mackenzie-George 2, A. Manton 2, L. Failli, S. Clifford, L. Conway, J. Horo
Northern Territory: T. Woods 3, B. Ah Mat 3, W. Derksen, S. Cumming, B. O’Connell

BEST:
Western:
J. Horo, A. Clarke, D. Bolkas, C. White, D. Andrews , W. Kennedy
Northern Territory: M. McGregor, T. Woods, B. Ah Mat, B. Jungfer, S. Cumming, J. Stevens

The Western Jets picked up their second win for the NAB League season, closing out the round with a thumping 71-point win over Northern Territory Thunder. After the travelling side broke to a narrow quarter-time lead, the Jets flicked a switch and piled on 15 goals from 31 scoring shots for the remainder of the game to come out as dominant winners. Jets spearhead Aaron Clarke was again amongst the goals, leading group of five multiple goal kickers with 4.6 in what could have been a huge outing. Fellow tall Will Kennedy was also dominant, leading his side’s disposal count alongside Daly Andrews with 25, while also having 28 hitouts and five clearances. For NT, Tyson Woods and Braxton Ahmat each booted three goals, with Marly McGregor (17 disposals, five clearances) named their best despite Brandon Rusca‘s 25-disposal effort. The winless NT academy will again play in Melbourne, facing the GWV Rebels at Windy Hill, with Western travelling to Tasmania to face the Devils after the Easter break.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 4

WITH the Country sides afforded a bye and Victorian trials played this weekend, the remaining Metropolitan NAB League sides faced an uphill battle against interstate rivals with depleted lineups. Still, there was a good amount of talent on show, so here are our opinion-based notes on players identified by talent managers as ones to watch, as well as strong performers on the day. The focus was primarily on the Academy sides ahead of the National Under 18 Championships.

Northern Knights 7.9 (51) defeated by GWS GIANTS Academy 10.17 (77)
Sandringham Dragons 12.11 (83) defeated by Sydney Swans Academy 16.9 (105)
Gold Coast SUNS Academy 14.11 (95) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 3.6 (24)
Tasmania Devils 10.3 (63) defeated Calder Cannons 7.9 (51)
Brisbane Lions Academy 12.3 (75) defeated Eastern Ranges 13.8 (86)
Western Jets 18.24 (132) defeated Northern Territory Thunder 9.7 (61)

Academies:

GWS:

By: Cam Ross

#10 James Peatling

Clean and quick. Played well forward and in the midfield.

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Seems to be a natural footballer, with an ability to read the play better than others. Delightful use of his body in the third quarter created an impressive goal. Ended up with 28 possessions and 2 goals in a terrific all-round performance.

#25 Tom Green

Dominant performance from Green who was the best player on the field. He’s the prototypical modern-day midfielder. Built like an undersized ruckman, but wins contested possessions and can run all day. Green’s back to back clearances in the third resulted in goals and he “sold some candy” early in the fourth quarter, making his opponents crash into each other. Finished the game with 31 possessions, most of which were contested and numerous clearances. This was even more impressive considering he spent a lot of the game up forward.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Strong forward who kicked three goals. His marking and contesting up forward was important and gave the GWS boys a target for the entire game. Delahunty’s produced some pieces of play that weren’t rewarded on the stat sheet, such as in the third quarter, when he flew from 3-4 men deep to crash the pack and bring the ball to ground. This resulted in a goal for his side in an important stage of the match. He’s also a very nice kick of the ball as he a has a beautiful technique. One to watch for the future.

#28 Matt McGrory

Good performance from the wingman. Smart piece of play in the second quarter. McGrory was outnumbered on the Knights counter attack. Instead of the overcommitting to the ball carrier, he read that the Knights player would handball over the top, and intercepted, preventing a counter attack and a potential goal.

 

Sydney Swans:

By: Alex Gibson

#7 Braeden Campbell

Didn’t have a massive day on the stat sheet but was very noticeable when he had the ball. Playing as the ‘link up man’, Campbell was very exciting to watch and the Dragons could hardly lay a hand on the half forward. The bottom-ager finished with three goals and his craftiness was a serious problem for the Sandringham defence.

#9 Samuel Thorne

Thorne was consistent all day and looks to be a very natural footballer. He was clean by hand and made smart decisions finishing with two goals and 21 touches. The midfielder worked hard in and under the stoppage and even when Thorne didn’t have the ball was still pressuring the Sandringham midfielders with his four tackles.

#23 Errol Gulden

One to watch for 2020. Sandringham had no response to the silky bottom ager who collected 26 disposals in a best on ground performance. Kicking 2 goals from the wing, Gulden’s left foot was seriously damaging and was often the man trusted with kicking the ball inside 50 due to his ability to hit a target. Sydney may just have themselves another Heeney or Mills here.

#39 Josh Rayner

Was a rock in the Swans defence all day and the Dragons could not get it past him. The 193cm prospect’s ability to not only read the play, but to also take intercept marks was brilliant. Playing a crucial role in the Swans victory, the defender finished with six rebounds and his presence in the defensive 50 was immense.

 

Gold Coast:

By: Ed Pascoe

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

Hewago looked lively at half forward early in the game and then really hit his straps in the second quarter getting to go through the midfield and show off his clean ball use and speed, he had a nice bit of play late in the second quarter with a lovely pass inside 50 on his opposite foot to teammate Murtagh. Hewago had some scintillating passages of play where he showed of his speed and agility to get around opponents with ease and he kicked a very good opportunistic goal early in the third quarter. Hewago was always clean at ground level never fumbling and he has another great big of play dancing around some opponents and kicking a lovely pass inside 50 to a teammate.

#5 Connor Budarick

Budarick was a tough customer in the midfield often laying crunching tackles and winning the hard ball, he showed he wasn’t just a bull with a lovely kick inside 50 to teammate Gore and he himself kicked a lovely set shot goal in the first quarter. He once again hit Gore with a beautiful pass inside 50 in the third quarter where he was again a strong performer with his tackling and workrate. Budarick has claims as the best player on the ground winning plenty of the ball, tackling hard and also hitting the scoreboard for a very well rounded game.

#28 Ashton Crossley

Crossley was a consistent player through the midfield who was clean at the stoppages and used his solid frame to win the contested ball, he had a nice bit of play where he showed good hands at a stoppage handballing to a teammate who would fumble but Crossley would recover and lay a hard tackle on his opponent. Crossley worked tirelessly through the midfield both at the contest and on the outside willing to link up and be an option.

 

Brisbane:

By: Michael Alvaro

#11 Will Martyn

The Brisbane skipper really lifted from his output last week, racking up a monster 37 disposals and 12 marks. Trading time through the midfield and forward line, Martyn worked hard to find the ball around half back in the first half when the Lions were under the pump, and looked more composed in possession. Martyn made better decisions by foot and while a little shaky early on, executed a lot more cleanly to find options up the field. He found Darcy Marsh well inside 50 to gift him a goal after finding space, and is mixing well between his inside and outside game.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Crozier was again busy between the arcs, particularly in the back half. While he was a touch fumbly with the ball in dispute, Crozier is clever with ball in hand and usually receives it in space with marks. A key link in the chain going forward, Crozier finished with a handy 24 disposals.

#13 Blake Coleman

The crafty forward had a phenomenal third term where he booted three of his four-straight majors. His first goal came in the opening quarter with a good collect below his knees and quick snap to find the big sticks, and he almost found a second later on as his dribbled shot fell short. He kicked his second and third goals on the run with tidy finishes from Wischnat assists, but his highlight of the game came with a big pack mark from the back deep inside forward 50, which he played on from to kick his fourth goal. An excitement machine and classy finisher, Coleman is certainly a natural footballer.

#19 Tom Griffiths

Griffiths had a couple of nervy moments early, flying for the same ball as a teammate inside defensive 50, but built into the game well. Used mainly off half-back, Griffiths rebounded well and used clever kicks in tight spaces to manipulate the ball into good areas for his teammates. Made a particularly good find in the third term with a kick inboard, and ended with four rebound 50s from his 21 disposals.

#21 Noah Cumberland

Cumberland’s tussle with his headband was just about the most trouble he found himself in all day, as he put in a solid 15 disposal and three-goal shift up forward. He made a good read from a forward 50 stoppage to snap the Lions’ first goal in the opening term, while also setting one up for Wischnat not long after. Read the ball well again for his second goal out the back in the next quarter, and booted his third with an unreal torpedo in traffic to ensure he had a goal in each of the first three terms. Has good pace and applies pressure well when pushing up the ground.

#38 Tom Wischnat

One of the Lions’ best throughout the day, Wischnat was a real presence through the midfield and particularly up forward. The academy prospect used his big frame well on so many instances to set up goal scoring opportunities, with two coming in the third quarter to release Coleman into space for back-to-back goals. He found the goals himself with a 40-metre set shot conversion early on and 35-metre one in the final quarter, but his best goal came in the third term as he slipped a would-be tackler with strength and snapped truly. He has an unconventional kicking action and sometimes rushes when going forward, which may have hampered his two missed attempts on goal in the final term – one of which came after an impressive 1v2 mark in the goalsquare, which was costly.

 

Tasmania:

By: Scott Dougan

#1 Mitch O’Neill

O’Neill had a very quiet opening term but was able to redeem himself in the second term. He won some important centre clearances for his team and was dangerous around stoppages. He also displayed his ability to win the ball on both the inside and outside of the contest.

#4 Will Peppin

Peppin did not have a massive game stat-wise, but when he was around the ball, he was able to make something happen. He was lively up forward, especially in the second term when he was able to kick Tasmania’s fourth goal of the quarter in the twentieth minute. He showcased a variety of handy attributes on the day, such as speed, athleticism, and cleanliness at ground level.

#7 Matt McGuinness

McGuinness was fantastic across half-back. He gathered plenty of disposals and used the ball extremely well on both feet. Throughout the match, McGuinness showed that he was can read the play to perfection, with the athletic utility accumulating plenty of intercept possessions and marks.

#22 Nicholas Baker

Along with plenty of his teammates in defence, Baker was rock-solid. He was able to apply some defensive spoils, but also provided some run and carry out of the defensive 50 when needed. I was also impressed with his attack on the ball, along with his defensive pressure and tackling. Baker had 22 disposals and five marks. A very solid outing.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow was kept fairly quiet in the first term but was able to bounce back in the second. He took some nice marks on the lead in the forward half and due to his sticky hands, he was able to hold the majority of them. Callow’s third term was just unbelievable, with the bottom-aged big man taking four contested marks and booting three goals. In the end, Callow was the difference between the two sides and is definitely a very exciting prospect to keep a close eye on in his draft year.

 

Northern Territory:

By: Brandon Hutchinson

#2 Tyson Woods

Woods is class personified. The electrifying small forward seemed impossible to contain at the goal face, zipping in and out of defenders and never losing sight of the sticks. He found his first from an intercept mark off a Western kick-in, putting it through on a tight angle. For the day he finished with 12 disposals, 10 kicks, three goals and five marks.

#7 Brandon Rusca

A pillar in defense, Rusca continued to show improving form with another big performance. He brought reliable hands to the penetrating footy and rebounded well from the backline. He led as Northern Territory’s highest accumulator and delivered effectively by foot. He finished up with 24 disposals, 18 kicks, five marks and four rebounds.

#32 Marly McGregor

Improved substantially from last week, spreading his influence well. He moved well and got involved in a lot of ball movement, delivering the ball inside 50 and cleaning up messes down in the backline. He finished with 17 disposals, 12 kicks, two marks, one tackle, three rebounds and three inside 50s.

#35 Stephen Cumming

Dominant in the ruck with strength and good position, Cumming took a few with both hands and kept his feet to get the ball away. He found the goals in the first from a set shot directly in front, but missed his second under similar conditions, clipping the post. Not shying away from the hard ball, Cumming continually got low and stood up in the tackles with clean hands. Cumming iced many of his direct opponents in seemingly fifty-fifty contests, providing clear passage through opposition. He finished with 18 disposals, one goal, three marks and 33 hit-outs.

#39 Braxton Ahmat

Along with Woods, Ahmat was the most important players in front of the sticks, kicking three in his first game this season. He put away his first following a well-timed lead in the first quarter and followed up with two more in the third. He accompanied his three goals with seven disposals, five kicks, three marks, two tackles and one inside 50.

 

Victorian sides:

 

Daly Andrews (Western)

Daly bounced back hard after one of his weaker performances in Round 3, accumulating the most disposals for Western. He worked hard on the inside and involved himself in a lot of the linking plays through the ground. He returned to his Round 2 (6) form with five marks, after not taking any in Rounds 1 and 3, and sped through congestion with the footy. He earned himself four inside 50s and helped mop up in defense, earning two rebounds.

Joe Ayton Delaney (Oakleigh)

Ayton-Delaney was smooth through the midfield and especially early was one of his teams better midfielders and decision makers with ball in hand. His last quarter was superb with his attack on the ball and willingness to take the game on and attack despite the wide margin, he was by far the standout for Oakleigh in a solid 4 quarter display through the midfield.

Chayce Black (Eastern)

While his finishing touch left a little to be desired, Black was a key man for the Ranges inside forward 50. Black created chance after chance in the first term, but only managed to take advantage of one – with his set shot goal the first of the game after a nice one-on-one mark deep inside 50. He involved himself well by applying pressure and working up the ground to find the ball, and is clearly a hard worker. Black’s second goal was an important one in the final term, again coming from a set shot, but he could really have had a day to remember if he finished a touch better.

Nick Burke (Sandringham)

The kid does not stop running. The stand-in Sandringham skipper worked tirelessly all day and collected 18 disposals playing on the wing and half forward. Burke’s running patterns allowed him to get to the right positions at the right time and despite a somewhat smaller frame still remained composed in a contested situation. When the skipper had the ball Sandringham looked at their most dangerous.

Aaron Clarke (Western)

Clarke played his best game this season with complete poise and control in Western’s forward line. He brought great hands to the overhead footy, keeping his eyes on the ball. He burned his opponent off the lead and, at many times, marked the ball at its highest point. He had his fair share of behinds to accompany his goal tally, but fought hard to earn his opportunities, looking a class above his opponents. For the day he finished with four goals (six behinds), 17 disposals, 15 kicks, 10 marks, two inside 50s and three free kicks.

Joshua Clarke (Eastern)

The bottom-ager was super impressive off half-back with his run and willingness to take the game on. He looks exciting with ball in hand and proved to be a key catalyst in the Ranges’ forward movement. A 1-2 handball passage through the corridor in the second term resulted in Clarke booting inside 50, only to turn the ball over. Undeterred, he intercepted the following kick but missed the resultant shot on goal. After copping a knock in the third quarter, Clarke was crucial in the last, sparking Eastern to life with a sensational running goal from 50-out on the boundary and a courageous effort in the air against 204cm ruckman, Samson Ryan.

Salele Feagaimalii (Eastern)

The solidly-built midfielder had his best game for the year, standing up as Eastern’s best with 28 disposals, seven clearances and two clutch goals. Anchoring the centre bounces, Feagaimalii burst away from the stoppages time after time and drove the Ranges forward well throughout the day. While his handballing at times showed the touch of a raw product, the bottom-ager found his teammates well with some tidy kicks on the back of his bursts. Kicked a set shot goal early in the final term to level the scores with a hacked snap, and made a seven-point play later on to cap off a stand-out performance.

Mason Fletcher (Calder)

Fletcher had a fairly quiet match but got better and more involved as the match went on. His effective defensive spoiling and positioning were evident in the first two quarters. One of his best passages of play came in the third term when he took a good contested mark deep in defence. In the fourth term, Fletcher showed that he can play both ends of the ground, with the 200cm key position player booting two goals.

Angus Hanrahan (Sandringham)

The smooth mover was the Dragons best for the day collecting a game high 29 disposals also hurting the Swans on the scoreboard with 2.4. Hanrahan’s game had a nice balance of dashing speed and poised composure knowing when to lower his eyes. Hanrahan also showed his versatility in the third quarter where he was used as the deepest forward in order to facilitate Sandringham’s forward troubles.

Nathan Howard (Northern)

The returning ruckman made an immediate impact and tried his best to give his depleted midfield first use with a monster 51 hitouts, while winning seven clearances of his own. Howard’s work around the ground was just as good as his ruck craft as he steadily accumilated 18 possessions, including three rebound and inside 50s, and a goal to boot. Will no doubt play a key role in a potential Knights turnaround as the season progresses. 

William Kennedy (Western)
Kennedy was one of many players exceeding standards in Sunday’s win, holding his own against Northern Territory’s big man, Stephen Cumming. Despite losing in hit-outs 29 to 33, Kennedy was far from defeated, finishing the game with the second most disposals and winning five free kicks due to careful positioning in the contest. He delivered well inside 50 (5) and took the footy strong overhead. He finished the game with 23 disposals, 15 kicks and three inside 50s.

Bill Mackay (Sandringham)

With an undermanned Sandringham midfield, Mackay really flourished in taking his opportunity. Noticeably more powerful and stronger then his opponents, Mackay’s one-on-one work certainly impressed throughout the day showing real grunt in the stoppages. Along with his ability to win the contested ball, the big-bodied on baller caught the eye of spectators with a few exciting centre bounce clearances where his impressive foot skills going inside 50 allowed the dragons to have numerous set shots on goal.

Sam Philp (Northern)

Philp continued his consistent start to the season, and was a key part of the effort to counter GWS midfield star Tom Green. In a largely contested game, Philp thrived with seven clearances and six tackles among his team-high 26 disposals in what was a tough day for the Knights. Should continue to grow as some of the Knights midfield brigade returns from Metro trials, and stands out with his composure on the ball through traffic.

NAB League Boys Round 4 preview: Changes galore as NAB League goes national

ROUND 4 of the NAB League Boys sees established Victorian Metropolitan sides both play host and traveler as five clubs steel themselves for clashes against the Northern Academies, while the Country clubs each have a bye. A Saturday double-header sees both Sydney academies hit Sandringham, while the Queensland academies are set to host a game each at Southport on Sunday, and Calder becomes the first side for the year to cross Bass Strait and battle Tasmania.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GWS GIANTS ACADEMY
Saturday April 13, 10:45am
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

Northern Knights and GWS GIANTS Academy open Round 4 as sides still searching for their first win in season 2019. This bout acts as the Giants’ first experience in playing against established NAB League Boys opposition after losses to the Sydney and Brisbane academies in Rounds 2 and 3. For Northern, while the chance to showcase talent that would otherwise miss out during the year will be the number one priority, wins are at a premium and a 0-4 start would not be ideal. With the core ripped out of their side due to Vic Metro trial game commitments, the Knights have plenty of players who will be looking to consolidate a spot in the underperforming starting lineup. 19-year old Northern Blues listed Sunny Brazier is one of them, and should form a handy midfield trio alongside Sam Philp and Lucas Perry. Speaking of, the Giants have a few in-form ball winners of their own – with star Tom Green leading the way from Jeromy Lucas and Matt McGrory. An inexperienced and largely bottom-aged Knights defence will also have its hands full with dynamic Liam Delahunty, who has been in good goal-scoring form. With one side depleted and the other looking to prove themselves, this should prove to be a close encounter.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY
Saturday April 13, 1:15pm
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

Sandringham will be looking to maintain its perfect start to season 2019 as it hosts the Sydney Swans academy to close out Saturday’s proceedings. Like many of the metro sides, the Dragons have a raft of key outs as trial games roll into town, with at least 14 changes from last week’s side that beat Oakleigh. With their typical midfield core out, the likes of Jackson Voss and Angus Hanrahan will get the opportunity to run through the middle, while Riley Bowman is sure to take up more rucking responsibility. AFL family connections Jai Florent and Jeremy Goddard also slot in at either end as noticeable ins, but Sydney has arguably the most important inclusion of the round. Errol Gulden is set to suit up for his second game of the year, looking to have the likes of Braeden Campbell and Jackson Barling bounce off the electricity he brings. A change of structure looks imminent with Josh Rayner named at half-back, while the promising Ky McGrath will slot in as 23rd man. With the Dragons’ depth set to be tested on this rare occasion, look for the Swans to come out firing, with some serious talent running around on each line.

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Sunday April 14, 10:45am
Southport Oval

Best placed Academy side Gold Coast SUNS welcome NAB League Boys premiership fancies Oakleigh Chargers to the Sunshine State, looking to maintain its winning record. While the Suns downed NT and Brisbane in their first two games, Oakleigh suffered its first loss for the year against Sandringham last time out and will hope to rectify it this week. With perfect conditions forecasted, it is as good a chance as any for the Chargers to showcase their brand of football. The Suns have proven their worth though, and the likes of top-end midfield duo Connor Budarick and Ashton Crossley will have a big say on proceedings. The clinical Josh Gore is also in good form, and is sure to cause headaches for the Oakleigh depth alongside Hewago Paul Oea. Chargers over-ager Joe Ayton Delaney is one who remains amid the 11 changes, and should have a good battle with Budarick as another zippy midfield type. While many of the big names are missing, Oakleigh’s second-string is arguably as strong as some sides’ starting line-up, so they will stand every chance of jumping on the plane home with a win.

TASMANIA DEVILS v. CALDER CANNONS
Sunday April 14, 11:30am
Penguin Oval – Tasmania

Tasmania is set to play on home turf for the first time this season, hosting Calder Cannons at Penguin Oval. The Devils are the best placed side with one win, sitting pretty in ninth after toppling NT in Round 3, while Calder also got on the board last week with a win over Western. While six changes is nothing to scoff at for the Cannons, they will remain relatively steady coming into this game, travel aside, with a solid bunch of 19-year olds looking to contribute. Josh Kemp leads the pack alongside Mason Fletcher, with Tye Browning showing glimpses of why he was picked to return thus far, and top-ager Harrison Minton-Connell another likely type in midfield. The hosts will feel they have answers on each line though, with Jackson Callow one who may well keep Fletcher busy, while Matt McGuinness and Sam Collins have been good across half-back, Jye Menzie and Will Harper likewise up the other end, and Mitch O’Neill leading all-comers in midfield. With the whole state behind them, Tasmania will look to take full advantage of a good hand and streak to a second-straight win, but it will not be easy against the Cannons.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY v. EASTERN RANGES
Sunday April 14, 1:15pm
Southport Oval

Eastern Ranges will be hoping to make it three-straight NAB League Boys wins as it travels north to face the Brisbane Lions Academy in the second game of Sunday’s double-header. The Lions went down in last week’s Q-Clash, but hold a Round 2 win over their GWS counterparts, while Eastern has soundly beaten Western and Northern to shape as one of the surprise packets so far. With nine outs named, the Ranges will be stretched thin in combating their weekend travel, but will have solid contributors across the park. 19-year old James Blanck comes in to stake his claim, with forward pocket duo Chayce Black and Joshua Tilly showing good form thus far. The Lions have some eye-catchers, with Bruce Reville a clear standout last week, while Will Martyn will look to lift and join Tom Griffiths in finding a wealth of possessions. Good conditions should greet the sides, which should make for decent viewing on stream for those watching at home. A couple should really catch the eye, so look for those smooth movers in the hosts’ lineup.

WESTERN JETS v. NORTHERN TERRITORY
Sunday April 14, 2:30pm
Downer Oval – Williamstown

A clash between Western Jets and Northern Territory Thunder is set to close the round out, with the travelling Thunder still looking to get on the board in their NAB League Boys stint. After Western snatched a win in Round 1 over Northern, both sides have lost over the last two weeks with a crushing defeat handed to them each. The Jets remain the most steady of the Victorian sides coming into this weekend with only four outs, but they are all key players at that. Still, the likes of Aaron Clarke and Archi Manton have found the goals well, and over-ager Daly Andrews should catch the eye through midfield. For NT, Stephen Cumming looks to be coming along nicely after teasing for Dandenong last year, while the likes of Joel Jeffrey and Maurice Rioli Jr have provided moments of magic. Joel Budarick and Ben Jungfer are ball-winners also sure to catch the eye, though the conditions at Downer Oval may prove difficult for all. A good opportunity rises for the Thunder, but the Jets proved in Round 1 that they will not go down without a fight.

Weekend preview: NAB League Boys – Round 3

WITH a landmark Round 2 come and gone, Round 3’s set of fixtures delivers another nine games and another nine opportunities to observe the best talent from across the nation as the Northern Academies and Tasmania settle into NAB League proceedings. With a Sandringham double-header on Saturday and Bendigo triple-header on Sunday, settle in for some non-stop Under 18 action.

Northern Knights v Eastern Ranges
Saturday April 6, 9:45
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

Northern Knights host Eastern Ranges on neutral ground to open the round and Saturday’s double-header at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. The Knights are still without a win in 2019 after going down narrowly to Western and more comfortably to Sandringham, while Eastern come in 1-1 after toppling the Jets last week. Lachie Potter returns to the side after missing through injury, and will look to provide run on the outside of in-form Northern ball winners Adam Carafa and Sam Philp. While Potter gives the Knights’ defence more dynamism, the Ranges have brought in 19-year old Vic Metro representative James Blanck to sure up the back six – not that it has been particularly leaky. Further afield, Eastern’s Mitch Mellis will hope to build on his Round 2 Draft Central player of the week performance, with the midfield combination of Lachlan Stapleton and Cody Hirst effective so far. Both sides will see this clash as a good opportunity to pick up a win, with the Knights especially keen to get on the board as quickly as possible.

GWS GIANTS Academy v Sydney Swans Academy
Saturday April 6, 11:00
Manuka Oval

The battle of the bridge comes to the NAB League as the GWS GIANTS and Sydney Swans academies prepare to do battle in Canberra. While the Swans had a winning start to NAB League life, GWS will look towards this opportunity to get on the board having gone down to academy counterparts, Brisbane in Round 2. The Swans have been dealt a major blow as star of their opening game, Errol Gulden has been named as an out, with fellow bottom-ager Pierce Roseby set to slot right into his place. Samuel Thorne is one who can also pick up the slack alongside the likes of Jackson Barling and Kyle McKellar after good performances last week, and the midfield battle will be a cracker. Leading Giants prospect Tom Green showed his class last week and will hope to overwhelm the Swans mids, while the dynamic forward combination of Liam Delahunty and James Peatling should cause some headaches for the Swans. This is certainly one to watch with some high-end academy prospects running around, and should be a good contest to boot.

Brisbane Lions Academy v Gold Coast Suns Academy
Saturday April 6, 12:00
Yerong Football Ground

The academy state derbies continue as the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS academies play off in an Under 18 Q-clash up in the sunshine state. Both Round 2 winners, the sides will be playing off for bragging rights before testing themselves against established NAB League opponents. A potential midfield match-up between Gold Coast’s Connor Budarick Brisbane’s Will Martyn should be a belter, as would a shootout between Suns goalsneak Josh Gore and Lions forward ace Tom Wischnat – who bagged seven collective goals last week. With plenty of forward runners in either lineup and sunny conditions an forecasted, this fixture should well and truly attract some eyes, and will be as good an opportunity as ever for each side’s top-end talent to showcase their skills – or even use as preparation for future AFL Q-clashes.

Sandringham Dragons v Oakleigh Chargers
Saturday April 6, 12:15
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

The game of the round hits Trevor Barker Beach Oval as Metro premiership fancies, Sandringham and Oakleigh play off in what could well be an early season finals dress rehearsal. Both sides come into the game at 2-0 as the top two on the ladder, but the Dragons should come in as favourites given they hold home ground advantage and have won more comfortably thus far. The home side backed up a Round 1 shellacking of Calder with a solid win over Northern, while Oakleigh was tested last week against a fighting Calder side in tough conditions. With stars studded across each line for both teams, there will be no shortage of mouth-watering match-ups to grab the attention of recruiters. Sandringham’s forward line has been lethal so far, with Charlie Dean leading the competition for goals (nine), and fellow talls Riley Bowman and Jack Bell also pitching in. While they will no doubt trouble the visitors’ defence, Oakleigh’s midfield is set to feature three genuine top 10 draft pick contenders – with returning co-captain Trent Bianco joining Round 1 Draft Central Player of the Week, Noah Anderson, and the unflappable Matt Rowell. Over-ager Joe Ayton-Delaney also features in that midfield rotation, with he and Bianco able to join the back six or play on the outside. Recent AFL Vic Metro Academy squad inclusion, Nick Bryan will hope to continue his early-season run and provide his fleet with first use in the ruck, with Dylan Williams showing signs of clicking into full gear up forward. While Oakleigh’s midfield is arguably the competition’s best on paper, Sandringham’s engine room is proving to be right up there – as the likes of Jack Mahony, Ryan Byrnes, and Finn Maginness have formed a consistent ball-winning trio. Sandringham’s defence features a combination of aerial prowess and calm ball users, with Josh Worrell, Corey Watts, and Fischer McAsey versatile enough to tackle all sorts of forwards. With potential draftees littered across this game, it is simply a must watch – and the chance to watch this much elite talent most likely will not come until the National Championships.

Calder Cannons v Western Jets
Saturday April 6, 3:30
RAMS Arena

The winless Calder Cannons will have a point to prove when they meet Western Jets in another home fixture at RAMS Arena to close out Sunday’s games. Having been dealt a tough hand with their first two games being against premiership fancies Sandringham and Oakleigh, the Cannons showed marked improvement in Round 2 as they matched it with the Chargers for three quarters. On the other hand, Western suffered a comprehensive loss to Eastern after a promising Round 1 victory, so will be looking to pave a more consistent path as the season progresses. Calder’s tall defensive duo of Brodie Newman and Mason Fletcher will have their hands full with probably match-ups against Emerson Jeka and Aaron Clarke, while both sets of midfielders will hope to improve on last week’s outings – namely Western’s Josh Honey and Calder’s Daniel Mott, who have outstanding potential. Enigmatic Calder forward Josh Kemp is also set to be a factor, coming off three goals last week and hoping to build a case for the next level as a 19-year-old. The Cannons may surprise a few, but Western will hope it can get back on the winners list with an stronger output here.

Bendigo Pioneers v Gippsland Power
Sunday April 7, 10:00
Queen Elizabeth Oval

The season’s surprise packet to date, Bendigo Pioneers, will hope to keep its perfect record in tact when it faces Gippsland to open Sunday’s all-Country triple-header. The hosts have taken full advantage of retaining their top-end talent for the early-season proceedings, with Thomson Dow and Brodie Kemp leading the way well from midfield to provide an eye-catching mix of grunt and creativity. A thrilling win last week against Murray puts them in good stead at 2-0, with Gippsland on the wrong end of a tight loss last time out and coming in with a 1-1 record. Much like the Pioneers, Gippsland will hope to take advantage of having Caleb Serong free from school football and Vic Country commitments, but have a wealth of talent to see them through in any case. Ryan Sparkes has started the season well on the outside, with the powerful Sam Flanders mixing time in the midfield and forward line seamlessly, and over-ager Kyle Dunkley looking a much-improved prospect. With one side playing in a rare vein of form and the other looking to click into gear as most expect them to, this clash could well be right up there with the Sandringham and Oakleigh game for pure entertainment.

Dandenong Stingrays v Geelong Falcons
Sunday April 7, 12:30
Queen Elizabeth Oval

Dandenong Stingrays and Geelong Falcons take centre stage in the second QEO all-Country clash, with either side coming in on the back of polar opposite form-lines. While the reigning premiers have managed to scrape in for two six-point wins, the Falcons are one of four established NAB League teams still searching for their first win. Usual suspects are already appearing in the Geelong side, with co-captains Cooper Stephens and Jesse Clark continually standing up, while 19-year-old Charlie Sprague has also been lively thus far. The Falcons will unfortunately be without Jay Dahlhaus for what looks like being most of the season though, with the speedster partially tearing his ACL last week. On Dandenong’s end, Hayden Young is coming into form, with over-ager Mitch Riordan following suit in the midfield, while talls Bigoa Nyuon and Bailey Schmidt are also making a mark. With plenty of experience remaining from last year’s premiership side, the Stingrays will prove a tough test for Geelong as they look to bounce back by collecting a set of four points.

Northern Territory Thunder Academy v Tasmania Devils
Sunday April 7, 1:00
Holden Centre

Someone’s winless start will end when Northern Territory Thunder and Tasmania Devils take their talent to neutral ground in Melbourne, with both sides hoping to bounce back from defeats in their respective NAB League debuts. The Thunder is set to take an unchanged line-up to the Holden Centre, while Tasmania will have at least two fresh faces in the team this week with an extended squad named. The Devils fell respectably short of the Sydney Swans Academy last time out, with leading prospect Mitch O’Neill the standout alongside Matt McGuiness. They will be important once again alongside the running power of Sam Collins, while the versatile forward duo of Will Harper and Jye Menzie will hope to again combine effectively to help the Taswegians get on the board. Ben Jungfer was the NT’s clear best ball winner last week, and will play a key role against the Devils’ best, while twin tall pair Stephen and Matthew Cumming should again prove a handful wherever they are required. With plenty of speed set to come to the fore, expect some fireworks between two sides battling for their first win.

Murray Bushrangers v Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Sunday April 7, 3:00
Queen Elizabeth Oval

Murray Bushrangers and Greater Western Victoria Rebels are set to see out the round of action and Sunday’s QEO fixtures as they clash for regional bragging rights. While Murray have been unlucky not to snatch the win thus far – going down by a collective seven points in the first two rounds – GWV managed to get up by the narrowest of margins last week as they snatched a win from under the Falcons’ beaks. The Rebels have a number of triers who contribute well, with Jay Rantall and James Cleaver among the best so far, but they are set to lose key contributors Cooper Craig-Peters and Matty Lloyd for this week’s clash. On the other hand, Murray has named a handy inclusion, with over-ager Zane Barzen slotting straight into the forward line. With Will Chandler set to join him up there and Jye Chalcraft able to rest inside 50 from midfield duties, the Bushrangers’ look a dangerous prospect. Lachlan Ash and former-Knight Cam Wild have also gone about their business well as ball-winners, so should collectively provide some headaches for the Rebels midfield. With wins imperative as sides are at relative full strength, Murray will be keen to pick up four points here.

Weekend preview: NAB League Boys – Round 2

AN HISTORIC weekend of NAB League football will see Northern Academies thrown in the mixer for the first of five rounds, while the Tasmania Devils get their first crack in the competition after an opening round bye. With a massive nine games across two days, we are set for a true feast of football.

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY v. TASMANIA DEVILS

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
9:30AM
Blacktown Olympic Park

One of the more anticipated aspects of the exciting new NAB League era is the inclusion of Tasmania and interstate academies, giving the competition a truely national feel. On Saturday, onlookers will get their first look at both an academy side and the Apple Isle talent as Sydney Swans Academy and Tasmania open Round 2 proceedings in Blacktown. The Swans are set to showcase the wealth of talent available to them over the next two draft years, led by dynamic forward Josh Rayner. Named at full forward, Rayner is also capable of using his big frame in the midfield. Skipper Sam Thorne is named at the heart of an exciting midfield alongside Jackson Barling, with bottom-aged stars Braedon Campbell and Errol Gulden set to start on either wing. The likes of Mitch O’Neill, Ollie Davis and Nic Baker will put their hands up to match the Swans’ midfield class, with Sam Collins also one to watch across half back. The neat Tassie ball users will all be looking to hit up imposing spearhead, Jackson Callow, although he could well be sent down back to cover the dangerous Rayner. An exciting match should provide a fitting opening to the new phase of Under 18 football, with both sides looking to make a memorable entrance.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY v. BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
11:55am
Blacktown International Sports Park

The second game of the round features the first all-academy NAB League clash, as the GWS Giants and Brisbane Lions academies do battle as part of the Blacktown triple-header. Liam Delahunty headlines the Giants’ talent, with the versatile tall set to provide some highlights from centre-half-forward. Tom Green is also one to keep a keen eye on, set to anchor the midfield alongside Matt McGrory. The Lions have some promising types, too, with an impressive centre line jumping off the page. Bottom ager Saxon Crozier holds down a wing, with Bruce Reville on the other and Will Martyn holding post in the middle. Smalls Tahj Abberley and Tom Wischnat will also provide good run and goal sense respectively, with the Lions side full of impressive forward movers. With games against fellow state academies to come in Round 3, this game will be a good opportunity to blow out the cobwebs and polish up before the all-important state derbies.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
1:00pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve

Gippsland hosts the first hit-out between established NAB League teams for Round 2, with an all-country clash against Murray set to hit Morwell. Both sides are coming off wins by under a goal in the opening round, but it is a strong Gippsland outfit that will come into the bout as favourite. The Power will be further strengthened by the inclusion of Caleb Serong, named in the forward line but sure to join the dynamic Sam Flanders through midfield. With Brock Smith and Josh Smith holding down key positions at either end of the ground, expect a complete team display from the hosts. The reigning premiers have some serious talent of their own, with potential No. 1 pick Hayden Young looking to build on a steady Round 1 performance. Versatile talls Sam De Koning and Bigoa Nyuon should hold down either end, with Nyuon looking to solidify a promising forward partnership with goalsneak, Ned Cahill. The over-age trio of Jai Nanscawen, Bailey Schmidt and Mitch Riordan will also provide some much-needed experience and grunt. While the Power’s top-end talent runs a little deeper, count the Stingrays out at your own peril.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
2:00pm
Deakin Reserve – Shepparton

Bendigo travels to Shepparton in Saturday’s second all-country clash, set to do battle with narrow Round 1 losers, Murray. The Pioneers hit the ground running last week, storming out of the blocks against Geelong with a six goal to nil opening term setting up a memorable win. Murray had a tighter tussle at home to Gippsland, being edged out early in the final term to go down by three points. Despite the result, there is plenty of promise coming into this round for Murray, with Lachlan Ash leading a talented bunch. With Jye Chalcraft named in the midfield and bottom-ager Elijah Hollands at half-forward, the Bushrangers look a dynamic unit with a good deal of versatility. While they are a good chance to bounce back this week, their opponents, Bendigo are up and about. The midfield duo of Thomson Dow and Brodie Kemp will be key again in providing drive from midfield. The mopping up of James Schischka and James Conforti in defence will also be important if Bendigo are to back up their impressive performance.

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY v. NORTHERN TERRITORY

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
2:20pm
Blacktown International Sports Park

The final interstate feature game in Blacktown sees the Gold Coast Suns Academy face off against Northern Territory in a clash that should produce some fireworks. The SUNS are set to unleash all five of their AFL Academy members, with Connor Budarick the clear standout of the group. Fellow member Ashton Crossley will join him in midfield, with Hewago Paul-Oea another to watch across half-forward opposite Josh Gore. The Thunder has its own formidable forward threat, with Wanderers gun Joel Jeffrey named at the heart of their attack, and 2020 Richmond father-son hopeful Maurice Rioli Jr set to light up the field. They will be without arguably their best player in Malcolm Rosas Jr, but boast the returning tall timber of Matthew and Stephen Cumming. With excitement machines on either forward line and a couple of classy mids to boot, expect this one to be easy on the eye as the game opens up. With a tough draw to come for both sides, this may well prove to be their greatest opportunity to snatch a win.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 2 – 31/03/2019
10:00am
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

Sandringham will be looking to make it two wins on the trot as it faces a Northern side still looking four its first set of four points. The Dragons were formidable last week, trouncing Calder in an awesome display from the midfield and forward. Northern will hope to contain Sandringham’s tall attacking trio of Riley Bowman, Charlie Dean, and Jack Bell – which combined for 10 goals in the 109-point Round 1 win. A combination of bottom-age defenders Regan Uwandu, Jaden Collins, and Nicholas Cox look set to cover two of the three, while Ryan Sturgess‘ intercept game will surely be tested as well. The Knights’ fleet of runners, including Lachlan Potter and Ryan Gardner, will be key in getting the visitors out of trouble quickly, while ball-winners Sam Philp and Adam Carafa will battle hard against the in-form trio of Ryan Byrnes, Jack Mahony, and Finn Maginness. The first game in a Trevor Barker Beach Oval double-header, this one will feature a host of draftable talent and will be important for the Dragons as they remain at full strength during the early season.

WESTERN JETS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 2 – 31/03/2019
12:30pm
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

A second consecutive win to open the season is up for grabs for the Western Jets as they play Eastern Ranges on neutral ground to close out a Sunday double-header. While the Jets soared home to an impressive comeback win over the Knights last round, the Ranges went down to a stacked Oakleigh side – but it was not without a fight. With the Jets surely looking to not leave their charge so late, Eastern will have to start strongly once again and maintain the standard they set in Round 1 if they are to be competitive once again. Cody Hirst and Lachlan Stapleton will prop up the midfield as usual, with Jets stars Darcy Cassar and Josh Honey the ‘hosts’ key ball-winners. Western’s tall forward duo of Emerson Jeka and Aaron Clarke could well prove to be the difference, with the former looking dangerous last week and the latter booting three crucial goals. East vs. West – it promises to be a good one.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 2 – 31/03/2019
1:00pm
Mars Stadium – Ballarat

An opportunity to get on the board for season 2019 looms for both the Greater Western Victoria Rebels and Geelong Falcons when they clash in Ballarat. The Rebels looked the better of the two sides last week, going down by just six points to the reigning premiers despite a spirited final term. On the other hand, the Falcons looked unlikely of pulling back the six-goal opening term deficit they conceded against Bendigo, and had their score doubled in the upset loss at home. Travelling this time around, Geelong will hope the form of co-captains Cooper Stephens and Jesse Clark remains good, with 19-year old Charlie Sprague another who stood up and will be important. Another over-ager, Matty Lloyd, was crucial to the Rebels’ effort last week, and will hope to again excel with delivery from Cooper Craig-Peters and Mitch Martin. With goalsneak Izaac Grant in the side and Jed Hill also able to play forward, GWV will look to have Geelong’s defence overwhelmed for the second week running. With players set to leave for school football commitments during the middle of the year, this is a crucial chance for Geelong to claim an early win, but GWV never give it up easily.

CALDER CANNONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 2 – 31/03/2019
3:40pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

Calder Cannons faces a tough task in bettering the Round 1 thumping it suffered, with a talented Oakleigh Chargers side posing as its next challenger. The Cannons went down by 109 points to Sandringham, a side equally fancied to Oakleigh, in their season opener. Despite the heavy loss, the likes of Daniel Mott and over-ager Tye Browning stood up in the drubbing and the home side is set to be boosted by the inclusions of Mason Fletcher down back and Campbell Edwardes into the midfield. There is not much that needs to be said about the Chargers’ talent, with Noah Anderson looking to back up his Draft Central player of the week heroics – without the aid of Trent Bianco, who will miss with concussion. While it looks a stiff ask on paper, Calder will be breathing fire after a poor display and will hope to really bring it to Oakleigh on home turf.

Team Selection: NAB League Boys – Round 2

THE first round of five consecutive rounds featuing the four Northern Academies and Northern Territory kicks off Saturday morning, with a record nine games played over the next month and a half. Tasmania Devils also play their first game in the NAB League Boys competition, pitted against Sydney Swans Academy in the opening game of the round. While the Victorian sides play against each other in Round 2, the six sides playing their first competitive game take part in a Triple Header at Blacktown International Sports Park. Potential first round picks, Mitch O’Neill, Thomas Green and Caleb Serong are set to run out for their first games in the competition, with the latter missing last week. Oakleigh has lost co-captain, Trent Bianco after copping a knock last week, while potential Essendon father-son prospect Mason Fletcher has been named by Calder Cannons.

 

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY v. TASMANIA DEVILS

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
9:30am
Blacktown International Sports Park

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY

B: 22. M. Geddes, 4. R. van Huisstede, 33. K. Martin
HB: 12. N. Brewer, 3. L. Parks, 38. J. Dol
C: 7. B. Campbell, 9. S. Thorne, 23. E. Gulden
HF: 16. L. Swaney, 5. H. Maguire, 11. A. Watling
F: 15. H. Parker, 39. J. Rayner, 21. Z. Youlten
R: 40. S. Gaden, 37. K. McKellar, 10. J. Barling
Int: 20. J. Adams, 14. T. Baxter, 28. N. Casalini, 6. C. Nash, 17. P. Roseby, 29. T. Tyson, 27. M. Sheather

TASMANIA DEVILS

B: 35. L. Viney, 8. J. Steele, 17. P. Walker
HB: 13. S. Collins, 38. O. Shaw, 7. M. McGuinness
C: 21. L. Gadomski, 1. M. O’Neill, 41. C. Stephenson
HF: 51. J. Clifford, 40. T. McGinniss, 31. J. Menzie
F: 20. W. Harper, 25. J. Callow, 19. S. Lewis-Johnson
R: 9. J. Chaplin, 22. N. Baker, 3. O. Davis
Int: 45. R. Ashlin, 16. R. Banks-Smith, 2. O. Burrows-Cheng, 39. S. Green, 48. J. Hennessy, 23. H. Ireland, 4. W. Peppin, 50. C. Riethoff

 

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY v. BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
11:55am
Blacktown International Sports Park

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY

B: 5. K. Flack, 24. N. Murray, 23. A. Whyte
HB: 43. S. Frost, 27. J. Green, 20. J. Reed
C: 1. H. Grant, 25. T. Green, 10. J. Peatling
HF: 22. L. Conlan, 26. L. Delahunty, 19. R. Mooney
F: 4. C. Edwards, 35. J. Cullen, 2. M. Hamblin
R: 34. O. Hicks, 17. J. Lucas, 28. M. McGrory
Int: 3. J. Moen, 6. T. Organ, 12. L. Squire, 16. C. Steele, 37. D. Beavan

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY

B: 44. C. Bulley, 36. J. Ward, 8. T. Townson
HB: 19. T. Griffiths, 40. N. Haberer, 28. E. Hunt
C: 12. S. Crozier, 11. W. Martyn, 18. B. Reville
HF: 13. B. Coleman, 21. N. Cumberland, 23. T. Jeffrey
F: 45. G. Sproule, 43. J. Briskey, 38. T. Wischnat
R: 60. S. Ryan, 15. T. Abberley, 20. J. Quint
Int: 26. J. Apted, 25. C. Aston, 17. J. Hammond, 14. C. Michael, 16. W. O’Dwyer
Emg: 9. W. Tasker

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
1:00pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve

GIPPSLAND POWER

B: 14. T. Hourigan, 22. Z. Reid, 32. L. Williams
HB: 29. T. Rees, 12. B. Smith, 15. R. Sparkes
C: 10. L. Connolly, 4. S. Flanders, 37. H. Pepper
HF: 20. H. Neocleous, 17. C. Comben, 9. W. Papley
F: 19. F. Phillips, 16. J. Smith, 2. C. Serong
R: 43. Z. Skinner, 11. K. Dunkley, 7. S. Berry
Int: 30. T. Baldi, 34. J. Hume, 31. B. Macfarlane, 24. B. Maslen, 3. M. McGannon, 21. M. McGarrity, 25. J. McGrath, 23. Z. Soutar, 35. J. van der Pligt

In: C. Serong, M. McGarrity, B. Macfarlane, J. Hume
Out: T. Fitzpatrick

DANDENONG STINGRAYS

B: 38. M. Gregory, 46. D. Popa, 50. L. Williams
HB: 10. C. Gay, 20. S. De Koning, 42. J. Nanscawen
C: 40. S. Merrick, 18. M. Riordan, 39. J. Toner
HF: 11. E. Cahill, 24. B. Nyuon, 44. C. Weightman
F: 14. D. Smith, 28. B. Schmidt, 25. J. Stuart
R: 53. A. Bradtke, 45. L. Goonan, 2. H. Young
Int: 1. H. Berenger, 47. W. Bravo, 52. C. Ellison, 27. K. George, 13. N. Heath, 23. J. Neal, 34. R. Orchard, 33. H. Sullivan, 30. J. Thomas

In: J. Neal, A. Bradtke, R. Orchard, C. Ellison
Out: B. Milford

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
2:00pm
Deakin Reserve – Shepparton

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

B: 28. J. O’Dwyer, 22. E. Baxter, 29. K. Williamson
HB: 12. L. Ash, 3. B. Kelly, 10. W. Quirk
C: 19. J. Boyer, 38. D. Clarke, 26. S. Durham
HF: 6. W. Chandler, 23. E. Keogh, 20. E. Hollands
F: 44. J. Hillary, 1. W. Christie, 53. C. Wilson
R: 25. L. Fiore, 5. C. Wild, 9. J. Chalcraft
Int: 17. B. Ashley-Cooper, 42. H. Beasley, 2. C. Byrne, 14. K. Chalcraft, 34. K. Davies, 27. A. Martin
Emg: 7. Z. Barzen, 32. W. Bowden, 15. P. Parnell

In: E. Baxter, P. Parnell, Z. Barzen
Out: T. Matthes

BENDIGO PIONEERS

B: 17. L. Fitzgerald, 34. W. Wallace, 14. M. Lias
HB: 1. S. Conforti, 10. B. Vaz, 20. J. Schischka
C: 38. B. Rowles, 8. B. Kemp, 25. W. Shaw
HF: 30. J. Dick-O’Flaherty, 22. J. Treacy, 9. E. Roberts
F: 35. C. Fisher, 24. M. Johnson, 49. C. Vick
R: 11. A. Gundry, 31. R. Ironside, 4. T. Dow
Int: 52. J. Atley, 59. R. Clarke, 12. A. Cole, 6. J. Rodi, 41. Z. Shelton, 21. R. Wilson, 19. B. Worme

In: R. Clarke

 

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY v. NORTHERN TERRITORY

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
2:20pm
Blacktown International Sports Park

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY

B: 15. C. Joyce, 35. M. Newman, 7. J. Smith
HB: 11. J. Wingrave, 31. J. Johnston, 17. B. Delandes
C: 18. A. Fyfe, 28. A. Crossley, 10. M. Pescud
HF: 13. J. Gore, 29. H. Rowles, 1. H. Oea
F: 14. M. Fraser, 27. B. Birch, 3. M. Selsby
R: 32. M. Conroy, 22. A. Davies, 5. C. Budarick
Int: 19. Z. Briggs, 57. J. Brumley, 6. R. Buckland, 12. E. Dawson, 8. R. Nicholls, 9. B. Reeves, 20. E. Semaan

NORTHERN TERRITORY

B: 25. D. Forbes, 31. J. Budarick, 20. B. Hodges
HB: 13. K. Kenny, 30. S. Foster, 32. M. McGregor
C: 5. L. Ferreira, 19. B. Jungfer, 7. B. Rusca
HF: 12. J. Box, 24. J. Jeffrey, 29. W. Derksen
F: 23. M. Cooper, 36. M. Cumming, 17. M. Rioli Jnr
R: 28. J. Stevens, 27. B. O’Connell, 35. S. Cumming
Int: 4. R. Fejo, 22. B. Lake, 9. J. Patrick, 37. S. Richardson, 2. T. Woods
Emg: 34. L. MacDonald, 33. D. Thompson

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 2 – 31/03/2019
10:00am
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

B: 10. J. Le Grice , 33. C. Watts, 37. W. Mackay
HB: 13. L. Butler, 29. F. McAsey, 7. J. Voss
C: 9. N. Burke, 1. J. Mahony, 31. J. Worrell
HF: 36. O. Lewis, 12. C. Dean, 11. H. Ralphsmith
F: 15. A. Hanrahan, 28. R. Bowman, 39. B. O’Leary
R: 32. J. Bell, 5. R. Byrnes, 4. F. Maginness
Int: 6. M. Bergman, 43. J. Bowey, 42. L. Cleary, 30. A. Courtney, 19. J. Goddard, 47. N. Grech, 51. D. Hipwell, 16. J. Mifsud, 44. L. Riley

In: L. Riley, L. Cleary, N. Grech

NORTHERN KNIGHTS

B: 29. J. Collins, 51. R. Uwandu, 10. J. Lucente
HB: 23. N. Cox, 11. R. Sturgess, 4. J. Davies
C: 7. R. Gardner, 13. S. Philp, 41. N. Kitchell
HF: 5. J. D’Intinosante, 9. C. Simonsen, 2. L. Perry
F: 30. B. Leonard, 34. Z. Costello, 3. B. Nikolovski
R: 15. N. Howard, 18. S. Brazier, 8. A. Carafa
Int: 17. J. Bowne, 37. K. Brandt, 40. L. Mcmahon, 6. X. Naish, 1. L. Potter, 32. I. Rossi, 16. O. Simpson, 19. J. Trudgeon, 45. A. Taylor

In: X. Naish, I. Rossi, J. Bowne, A. Taylor
Out: E. Macpherson

 

WESTERN JETS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 2 – 31/03/2019
12:30pm
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

WESTERN JETS

B: 8. J. Kellett, 42. E. Acevski, 41. L. Rzanovski
HB: 20. D. Cassar, 28. K. Crimmins, 37. L. Conway
C: 17. N. Reynolds, 29. B. Ryan, 2. H. White
HF: 5. K. Borg, 18. E. Jeka, 33. S. El-Hawli
F: 1. L. Failli, 45. A. Clarke, 44. A. Manton
R: 47. W. Kennedy, 24. J. Honey, 7. D. Andrews
Int: 34. E. Bentley, 13. D. Bolkas, 10. Z. Christofi, 31. S. Clifford, 3. E. Ford, 19. J. Horo, 36. C. Mackenzie-George, 21. P. Nesci, 4. L. Rocci

In: L. Rocci, Z. Christofi, P. Nesci, C. Mackenzie-George
Out: S. Johnson

EASTERN RANGES

B: 12. J. Gilbee, 39. J. Nathan, 40. J. Hourihan
HB: 4. J. Clarke, 21. J. Ross, 16. T. Garner
C: 20. C. Downie, 7. L. Stapleton, 17. C. Hirst
HF: 10. C. Black, 13. J. Rossiter, 11. M. Mellis
F: 9. J. Duffy, 18. B. McCormack, 14. L. Gawel
R: 49. R. Smith, 45. M. Zalac, 23. Z. Pretty
Int: 31. J. Blanck, 15. S. Feagaimalii, 1. K. Hubber, 19. W. Parker, 2. M. Silvaggi, 53. J. Tilly, 3. C. Tilyard, 25. L. Vassis, 48. S. Woodward

In: C. Tilyard, J. Nathan, K. Hubber, W. Parker, M. Silvaggi
Out: M. Brown, B. Hickleton

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 2 – 31/03/2019
1:00pm
Mars Stadium – Ballarat

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

B: 12. R. Polkinghorne, 19. N. Caris, 6. J. Tillig
HB: 8. J. Cleaver, 20. C. Giddings, 11. J. Dwyer
C: 14. L. Herbert, 4. J. Hill, 9. I. Wareham
HF: 13. J. Rantall, 18. J. Wright, 30. I. Thomas
F: 2. I. Grant, 5. M. Jorgensen, 10. M. Lloyd
R: 29. P. Glanford, 7. M. Martin, 1. C. Craig-Peters
Int: 27. M. Herbert, 35. C. Hinkley, 3. T. Mahony, 41. F. Marris, 23. D. McEldrew, 26. N. Nash, 24. J. Quick, 25. P. Rea, 32. H. Sharp

In: F. Marris, I. Grant, M. Herbert, P. Rea
Out: N. Stevens

GEELONG FALCONS

B: 40. J. Clark, 52. S. Christensen, 3. K. Rayner
HB: 38. S. Bourke, 47. L. Peck, 21. L. Smith
C: 12. N. Gribble, 36. C. Sprague, 7. C. Harris
HF: 1. J. Dahlhaus, 55. M. Langan, 30. H. Stubbings
F: 5. W. Batson, 49. M. Annandale, 4. G. Bove
R: 46. H. Walsh, 41. C. Stephens, 8. C. Lazzaro
Int: 51. N. Conway, 17. S. Ham, 37. O. Henry, 11. C. Karpala, 20. W. Kilpatrick, 29. B. Miller, 43. J. Paatsch, 34. C. Page, 18. B. Reid

In: M. Langan, C. Karpala, B. Reid, J. Paatsch, G. Bove, S. Ham
Out: O. Lewis, A. Hildebrandt, O. Balderas

 

CALDER CANNONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 2 – 31/03/2019
3:40pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

CALDER CANNONS

B: 24. T. Cartwright, 26. M. Fletcher, 20. B. Morgan
HB: 5. C. Brown, 38. B. Newman, 33. T. Browning
C: 8. S. Ramsay, 6. F. Lakey, 32. M. Simpson
HF: 27. N. Gentile, 21. H. Jones, 30. J. Kemp
F: 3. J. Cardillo, 46. S. Callander, 2. J. Sutton
R: 12. J. O’Sullivan, 10. H. Minton-Connell, 1. D. Mott
Int: 14. S. Bell-Bartels, 23. C. Brand, 29. C. Edwardes, 16. J. Keeping, 36. P. Luckins, 25. J. Martin, 55. A. Righele, 19. B. Rigoni, 34. O. Sasalu

In: F. Lakey, O. Sasalu, C. Edwardes, B. Morgan, M. Fletcher
Out: J. Flanigan, S. Graham

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

B: 52. N. Guiney, 49. H. Mastras, 12. L. Jenkins
HB: 39. R. McInnes, 7. J. Robertson, 14. C. Oglethorpe
C: 27. J. May, 3. J. Ayton-Delaney, 9. W. Phillips
HF: 28. L. Johnson, 23. D. Williams, 29. F. Macrae
F: 67. H. Mundy, 30. S. Tucker, 19. D. Romero
R: 4. N. Bryan, 8. N. Anderson, 11. M. Rowell
Int: 33. N. Dempsey, 18. F. Elliot, 55. B. Fleming, 22. T. Graham, 24. B. Jepson, 15. K. Schreiber, 17. G. Varagiannis, 63. J. Woodfull, 34. V. Zagari

In: V. Zagari, B. Fleming, B. Jepson, G. Varagiannis, D. Romero
Out: T. Bianco, J. Ugle-Hagan

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.