Tag: matthew payne

State Leagues wrap: Jeffrey slots nine as leagues limited by lockdowns

JUST three states had unimpeded state league competitions over the weekend with the Tasmanian State League (TSL), West Australian Football League (WAFL) and Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) take place, with a trio of Victorian Football League (VFL) matches in Queensland. We recap the results over the weekend.

Tasmania (TSL):

Lauderdale caused an upset on Saturday, defeating the fourth-placed Tigers by a narrow two-point margin. The Bombers led at every break, taking a 15-point advantage heading into the final term, before a fourth quarter fightback from the Tigers saw them kick four straight goals and take the lead. Consecutive goals to Edward Stanley and Samuel Siggins meant the Bombers snuck home in a thrilling contest.

Ex-Brisbane and Geelong player Allen Christensen booted three goals for Lauderdale, while Luke Graham also kicked three majors for the away side. Siggins’ final quarter goal added to his strong performance, while Lachlan Gadomski was excellent for the Tigers.

The win for the Bombers sees them jump Glenorchy into fifth spot after the Magpies conceded a 10-point three quarter time lead to go down to the rampant Roos who booted five last quarter goals to none to win by 25 points.

Meanwhile in North Hobart, visitors North Launceston were victorious by 36 points. The Northern Bombers were led by Brandon Leary who added five goals to his season tally.

Western Australia (WAFL):

A thrilling final quarter made bottom three clash between East Perth and West Coast the game of the round with the Eagles just hanging on to win by two points. Led by captain Hamish Brayshaw (27 disposals, one goal) and AFL listed players Jackson Nelson (32 disposals, nine tackles), Alex Witherden (25 disposals), Luke Foley (25 disposals), and big man Nathan Vardy (three goals, 31 hit outs) the Eagles just managed to hold off the fast-finishing Royals who kicked 5.6 to 0.0 in the final quarter. Angus Scott (33 disposals) and Matthew Young (three goals) both had an impact for the home side.

West Perth made it six wins on the trot after defeating Peel 12.10.82 to 8.10.58. League leading goal-kicker Tyler Keitel added another seven goals to his name, while Shane Nelson (34 disposals) and Aaron Black (32 disposals) continued to find the footy. Taylin Duman (32 disposals, 13 marks) and Blake Acres (27 disposals) will be hoping for a recall to Fremantle’s senior team, while Benjamin Hancock (30 disposals) also played well.

Top two sides Subiaco and Claremont were both victorious on the weekend defeating South Fremantle and East Fremantle respectively. Leigh Kitchin (33 disposals) and Gregory Clark (32 disposals) led the way for Subiaco, while Callan England and Jake Patmore both booted four goals for Claremont. Swan Districts, led by Samuel Fisher collecting 37 touches, maintained their place in fifth after a 24-point win over Perth.

New South Wales/Queensland/Victoria (VFL):

With New South Wales and Victoria still in lockdown, only three VFL games took place this weekend, all in Queensland. The third last Bombers, who are temporarily located in Queensland took on Southport, and with just 10 AFL-listed players available, the rest of the team was literally made up of ‘ring ins’. Richmond premiership player Alex Rance and ex-Saint Paddy McCartin both featured for the makeshift Bombers team who took it right up to top-two hope Southport, leading at every break before Tom Fields kicked a match-winning snap with just a couple of minutes remaining to secure the four points for the Sharks. Jacob Dawson (34 disposals) led the way for the Sharks along with Fields (two goals, 22 touches) and Mackenzie Willis (28 disposals, 15 marks). For the Bombers, McCartin booted three goals playing forward as opposed to his usual spot in defence for the Swans VFL team. Dylan Clarke had 31 touches, while Rance was an important inclusion in defence.

The Giants defeated the Lions by 27 points on the Gold Coast to help their chances of maintaining a top eight spot. Like the Bombers, the Giants had limited players available. The Giants had 13 players and borrowed nine others from crosstown rival Sydney. AFL omissions Jeremy Finlayson (three goals, 22 disposals) and Zach Sproule (two goals, 27 disposals) both responded in a big way, while Swan Ryan Clarke (38 disposals) had the most touches on the day with teammate Dylan Stephens (26 disposals) also impactful. AFL-listed Lions Tom Joyce (29 disposals), Rhys Mathieson (29 disposals) and Brock Smith (27 disposals) each had plenty of the footy, and Nakia Cockatoo booted two goals as he edges closer to a debut game with the Lions in the AFL.

Meanwhile, the Suns were big winners against Apsley. Joel Jeffrey was dominant in attack kicking nine goals straight in the 78-point victory. Matthew Payne had 35 touches for the Hornets, while Malcolm Rosas had 30 touches for the Suns. Darcy MacPherson put his forward pressure on display with a couple of goals to go along with 26 touches and 12 tackles.

Queensland (QAFL):

Labrador moved into top spot on the ladder after an 18-point win over Mt Gravatt. Charles Ford had four goals on the day, while Tom Simpson was among the best for the Tigers. For the Vultures, Jonah Licht and Benji Neal each had three majors. Surfers Paradise defeated Maroochydore to move into fourth spot following an epic comeback victory. Trailing by 18 points at three quarter time the Demons blew the Roos away in the final term with a six goal to nothing last quarter. Matthew Green led the way for the Demons with three goals in the last quarter to set up the 17-point win.

In other results, John Baker (five goals) and Thomas Baulch (four goals) both cashed in on a 71-point win by the Sherwood Districts over Morningside, and second last Wilston Grange defeated the winless Noosa by 14 points. Palm Beach Currumbin, Broadbeach, and Redland-Victoria Point all had a bye in Round 17.

Picture credit: RF Photography / AFL Photos

Stat Leaders: 2021 VFL – Round 13

THE 2021 Victorian Football League (VFL) season rolled on into its 13th round over the weekend, with nine fixtures spread from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. There were a number of outstanding individual performances among the Round 13 action, as AFL-listed talent and state league guns alike topped a range of key categories. We take a look at this week’s stat leaders, as well as the season tallies to this point.

>> RESULTS | State leagues wrap

A bunch of senior-listed youngsters pressed their claims for call-ups in the state league this past weekend, none more so of late than Western Bulldogs midfielder-forward Patrick Lipinski. In the red, white and blue of Footscray, he dished out a round-high 23 handballs to be level with Gold Coast’s Will Brodie. Richmond veteran Josh Caddy had the most disposals overall with 39, while Josh Newman topped the kicking charts (25) in Frankston’s win over Port Melbourne.

Along with Newman, Casey’s Corey Ellison was the only other non AFL-listed player to feature atop his own category this week, after snaring six goals as Casey thumped Werribee. Dominating the airways were Sydney forward Logan McDonald (14 marks) and Collingwood ruck Max Lynch (40), while Richmond midfielder Will Martyn got his hands dirty with a round-high 13 tackles in the Tigers’ loss to the Magpies.

Looking at the overall leaderboard, Coburg ball magnet Marcus Lentini is out in front for disposals and handballs, while fellow standalone standouts Matthew Payne and Matthew Hammelmann (both Aspley) lead the competition for kicks and goals respectively. Emerging Essendon ruck Nick Bryan has also taken over top spot for hitouts, as he searches for another senior berth.

Find the full list of Round 13, and 2021 season stat leaders below.

ROUND 13 STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Josh Caddy* (Richmond) – 39

Kicks:
Josh Newman* (Frankston) – 25

Handballs:
Patrick Lipinski* (Footscray) – 23
Will Brodie* (Gold Coast) – 23

Marks:
Logan McDonald* (Sydney) – 14

Tackles:
Will Martyn* (Richmond) – 13

Hitouts:
Max Lynch* (Collingwood) – 40

Goals:
Corey Ellison (Casey) – 6

* – denotes AFL-listed

2021 SEASON STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Marcus Lentini (Coburg) – 320 total / 35.6 average

Kicks:
Matthew Payne (Aspley) – 198 / 22.0

Handballs:
Marcus Lentini (Coburg) – 188 / 20.9

Marks:
Colin O’Riordan* (Sydney) – 78 / 9.8

Tackles:
Dom Brew (Werribee) – 82 / 10.3

Hitouts:
Nick Bryan* (Essendon) – 259 / 32.4

Goals:
Matthew Hammelmann (Aspley) – 39 / 4.3

* – denotes AFL-listed

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 12

WITH Victoria’s most highly touted top-agers recouping on the back of representative action, it was time for bottom-aged prospects to shine in the NAB League. A raft of fresh faces shot on the scene for their respective regions across the six-game weekend, supporting a wealth of usual suspects who continue to perform well. We take a look at some of the top performers from each side in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS | NAB League Round 12 snapshot

CALDER CANNONS 2.2 (14) def. by SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 11.12 (78)

By: Eli Duxson

Calder Cannons:

#8 Paul Pascu

It was the 16-year-old’s third game of the season and arguably his best in the heavy defeat he and his side suffered. Pascu found the footy mostly exiting defensive 50 in which Sandringham provided plenty of opportunities for recording three rebound 50’s. His follow up work was impressive as he continued to try and assist with the link between the arcs, but was missed on multiple occasions when he was free in the corridor with poor kicks. When found, he looked composed with ball in hand and even managed three inside 50s on the day. He worked hard defensively laying eight tackles and looked comfortable in contested situations despite playing against more mature frames.

#26 Matthew Gook

A tough assignment coming up against AFL-listed Max Heath in the ruck, but he provided a contest all day and showed promising signs in open play. At 201cm he looked quite mobile and long which assisted with a couple of nice pick ups below the knees, as well as a nice mark in the second quarter. His decision making was a little on the slow side but there were some positives. In the ruck he got out-bodied by the stronger frames, but he did not stop competing.

Sandringham Dragons:

#1 Harry Sheezel

The Vic Metro Under 17s squad member showed genuine class and composure all game playing mostly out of the forwardline, where he kicked 3.3 from 21 disposals to go with six marks. His first goal came on the run from 40 metres taking advantage from a free kick with the result never in doubt, while his second came from a well-judged mark in the goal square. His third was after earning a free kick for holding the ball where he drilled the set shot. He looked dangerous running back at goal with or without the ball, managing five inside 50s, while his pressure made him look even more so, laying six tackles for the game.

#5 Lachlan Benton

Dominated around the stoppages all game, looking very comfortable in traffic as he accumulated 28 disposals and five inside 50s. He has had a strong season to date, but this performance has typified a solid three-week stretch for Benton as he looks to increase his standard and consistency. Benton’s clearance work was impressive, showing good acceleration into space as well as positional awareness with the dominating ruckmen. He moved well around the ground getting back into defence, as well as hitting contests forward of centre to crumb. An intercept mark and hit inside 50 early in the game set the tone for his day.

#13 Luca Macnab

The dashing rebounding defender was amongst it all game but slowly moved his positioning forward as the game wore on with his side’s ascendency on the play. He and his lovely left boot were streaming off half back early where he showed a good balance of composure and aggression, notably hitting a short target to slow down a frantic play in the second quarter while also penetrating further out of defensive 50 on another occasion. A pair of beautiful hits inside 50 highlighted his ability to deliver forward as his team maintained territory for much of the game. Macnab finished with 25 disposals (season-high), six marks, and six inside 50s.

#52 Luke Nankervis

Playing as a high half-forward for much of the day, Nankervis was often the link player for the Dragons between the arcs using his 189cm frame and his athleticism to provide a threat both in the air and on the ground. He also spent time at stoppages but looked his best in open space in one-on-one situations. He took six marks for the game and his 18 disposals were mostly efficient, showing a propensity for either side of his body. His pressure game as a forward and around stoppages was just as good, laying a whopping 12 tackles despite his side’s control of the game.

#53 Eren Soylemez

Vibrancy for the whole game from Soylemez who maintained his consistency in front of goals with 3.1 from 14 disposals and seven marks. He kicked the first goal of the game marking inside 50 and drilling the set shot. He looked to lead at the ball carrier and often a kick outside the forward 50, using his trusty left boot to deliver inside 50 which he did on three occasions. His second goal came from a contested mark on the behind line which he snapped through truly, while his third was another snap but this time out of nothing, showing a brilliant goal sense. His ground ball gathers were clean and he moved smoothly with ball in hand all game.

#61 Max Heath

It was a super Saturday for St Kilda fans as they watched their side beat AFL premiership contenders Brisbane, while their newly drafted ruckman had a day out and showed why the Saints were eager to secure his services. His ruckwork was dominant as he often held a strong position to direct taps to teammates cleanly, while then also getting after it when the ball hit the deck. His work rate and tank allowed him to get back defensively and mark on multiple occasions. Heath had 21 disposals and 26 hitouts, but it was his two goals and eight marks as a forward that was most exciting. He was able to create space on the lead and marked cleanly overhead at pace.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 12.8 (80) def. by TASMANIA DEVILS 12.9 (81)

By: Eli Duxson

Murray Bushrangers:

#3 Toby Murray

The mobile ruckman showed his versatility in all thirds after a strong second half almost helped propel his side to a memorable comeback win. Probably tied the ruck battle with Tasmania’s Tony Aganas but looked much more likely when play continued showing good speed and agility for his 198cm body. He started the second half with a couple of inside 50s before getting on the end of one of those kicks himself, and kicking a long set shot from 50 metres. Fitting the evolving mould of the mobile and capable ball-using ruckmen, Murray showed all the hallmarks of being a two-way runner and player finishing with 11 disposals, four marks, and 17 hitouts.

#8 Zavier Maher

A competitive beast who went hard at the contest all game, showing a strong ability to tackle effectively while also keeping his balance over the ball through contact. While being threatening without the ball, he was composed in tight and showed a good step. Maher also seemed intent on finding it in open space as well often spreading hard out of stoppages to either get to the fall of the next contest or be an option in the link. He finished with 17 disposals, seven tackles, and three inside 50s.

#51 Brayden George

The Under 17s Vic Country squad member led all comers with goals on the day booting four straight as he did his best to keep the Bushrangers in the contest. His first came from a free kick, drilling the 35-metre set shot, while his next two came back-to-back to start the second half and drag his side back in the game. He is a one-touch player who marks cleanly on hard leads and looks solid underneath the ball. His final goal came over the top in the goal square as he finished with 11 disposals and four marks.

Tasmania Devils:

#7 Will Splann

The focal point of the Devils forward line looked likely all day using his 195cm frame to mark reliably overhead, leading to him kicking a season-high three goals. Two of his goals came after marking on the lead and drilling the set shots, while his third came from a free kick in a marking contest. He is not a high-disposal forward as so few you are in the key position, but he showed he does not need many touches to be effective in front of goal. He took six marks in what was perhaps his most involved game this season.

#12 Jye Menzie

Menzie is also not a high possession winner but is damaging when he does find the ball as a half forward operator. His speed allows him to lose his opponent, especially when his side regains possession and he drifts into space, but his ball use is equally impressive. He lowers his eyes and makes good decisions, favouring to kick more than handball (nine kicks, two handballs). From his 11 disposals he had three shots on goal scoring 2.1 with his first being a lovely snap from the boundary.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.7 (55) def. GEELONG FALCONS 6.11 (47)

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights:

#17 Jackson Bowne

Bowne provided plenty of spark from midfield for the Knights, utilising his speed to exit the contest and bring a rather scrappy game to the outer. He could be seen zipping out of traffic in all areas of the ground, penetrating the arcs a combined 10 times and taking nine marks as he worked to become an easy outlet. The top-ager also booted a goal in the second term and could have had a couple more with more polished finishing, but was quite productive nonetheless.

#19 Joel Trudgeon

Clearly the best player afield, Trudgeon dominated as the biggest and strongest body at each stoppage. He was in the thick of things throughout and brought a hard physical presence, getting his hands dirty to win 35 disposals and lay 15 tackles. The imposing Knights skipper led from the front in a ball winning sense and was able to generate some scores with his disposal on the attack. He contributed at least three direct goal assists with kicks to teammates inside 50, while also adding a major of his own by converting a 50m set shot in the opening term. Trudgeon also rested forward and sought to find more green ball on the weekend, but looked most impactful with his work on the inside.

#23 Anthony Caminiti

The mobile tall forward returned another promising performance in Knights colours, showcasing his class as a leading target. Caminiti did his best work when let off the least further afield, where he would lead as high as the wing and help link Northern into attack. His reach was made more effective by generally clean hands and handy spurts of mobility with ball in hand, while that same pattern of movement allowed for ample separation on the lead. Caminiti couldn’t quite put through a couple of tough set shot chances, but snared a snap goal in the third quarter after marking deep on the behind line.

#28 Joel Fitzgerald

A mainstay in the Knights’ defence, Fitzgerald was relentless in his pursuit to rebound out of the back half with run and a sound kicking game. His actions proved repetitive, but largely effective, as Fitzgerald hit short targets forward of the ball and constantly looked to move the play on quickly. He racked up 27 disposals (20 kicks) and six rebound 50s, while also displaying a solid marking game as he floated across to clunk a couple of intercepts among his eight overall grabs. With plenty of work to do, the 17-year-old stood tall.

Geelong Falcons:

#1 Will Baker

The crafty bottom-aged forward displayed some of his best traits on Saturday, popping up with little bursts of brilliance in the front half. While quite small at 176cm, Baker proved his toughness and won a bit of his own ball, either spinning out of trouble or leaning on his speed and agility to come away from congestion cleanly. He was able to roam further afield as the game wore on, finishing with 13 disposals to go with his second term goal.

#4 Gennaro Bove

Leading from the front, Bove took his extended midfield opportunity with both hands and was arguably Geelong’s best player on the day. He finished with a team-high 23 disposals along with five marks and six tackles, with three wayward behinds the only thing stopping his very good game from being a massive one. Starting on-ball, he showed typically clean hands and skills in-tight, before finding more possessions in space around the ground. He seemed to lift in the final term when Geelong needed a spark, but his valiant efforts at the source fell just short.

#11 Cooper Whyte

While it was a relatively quiet day by Whyte’s recent standards, he still managed to be a positive forward mover from midfield for the Falcons. Among his 13 disposals, the 18-year-old pumped forward seven inside 50s and looked his best when breaking into attack with speed – particularly in the first half. Whyte also showed good courage on a few seperate occasions; leaping up in the face of oncoming contact to spoil and mark in the corridor, allowing the Falcons to turn the ball over and manufacture bonus chances on goal.

WESTERN JETS 14.11 (95) def. BENDIGO PIONEERS 10.7 (67)

By: Michael Alvaro

Western Jets:

#6 Matthew Payne

The diminutive Western forward was really lively in exciting bursts, bringing his pace to the fore on the ball. He snared a nice goal in the opening term after attacking an aerial ball, before recovering first and snapping home the six points. He added two more in the second half, again showing good smarts and quick reactions to take his chances. Payne also broke the game open with a couple of chaining passages, burning forward and looking to get the ball back after dishing off.

#18 Nash Reynolds

A constant presence in midfield for Western, Reynolds looked to push his side forward with intent. He showed a nice step in traffic but was not afraid to cop contact when required, helping set the tone for his side at the source. Reynolds did not quite find the goals himself but provided that opportunity for others, including in the fourth term when he side-stepped the man on the mark and kicked long for Payne to crumb and finish.

#35 Liam Conway

Conway was mega for Western once again, seemingly popping up everywhere at times and boasting the statline to match that notion with 32 disposals, nine marks, and nine inside 50s. When he wasn’t bustling the ball forward at stoppages, Conway positioned well to mark around the ground and was quite clean in his handling. The top-ager’s ball winning ability is proven, with this his third 30-plus disposal effort for the season.

#50 Paul Tsapatolis

This was potentially Tsapatolis’ best outing yet, with the Geelong-listed ruckman able to showcase his ruck craft and improving work on the follow-up. At the centre bounces, he looked to tap to advantage instead of just hitting the ball, finding his rovers with some deft touches early on. He also fared well with a couple of strong grabs around the ground, while also getting low to make an impact at ground level and bombing forward a few clearances. He also managed a snap goal among his 21 disposals, and won 41 hitouts.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Harvey Gallagher

Usually a productive line-breaker rotating forward from midfield, Gallagher was made to step up and become a more permanent fixture of Bendigo’s engine room. The pacey Pioneer ended the day as his side’s most prolific ball winner, notching 27 disposals and penetrating either arc a combined nine times. In a different style than usual, Gallagher won more ball in-close – rather than being released on the outer himself where his speed shines. He was still effective in those instances, using the ball well by foot heading inside 50.

#11 Cobi Maxted

In a monster effort, Maxted showcased every bit of his versatility on Sunday in a dynamic display. The Pioneers utility started at the centre bounces, but tended to shift forward in general play and got busy in both departments to finish with 25 disposals, nine marks and four goals. The top-ager used his big frame around the ball to stand up in and break tackles before disposing, but he looked arguably more damaging on hard forward spreads. Maxted snuck inside 50 for two goals during the first half, and provided a more permanent marking option there after the main break. His clean hands and strong presentation were key features during that time, and Maxted capped his day with another couple of majors in the fourth quarter.

#17 Oskar Faulkhead

The smooth-moving defender had a few quiet patches, but looked like opening up the game with his run-and-carry out of the backline at times. He looked stylish in possession and timed his runs well to be released on the outer, sending Bendigo forward in transition with his foot skills and willingness to take on opponents. Faulkhead also got a run in midfield during the fourth quarter.

#29 Cooper Smith

Smith was another of Bendigo’s positive forward movers, as he constantly looked to weaponise his kicks and carry the ball towards goal with intent. The top-ager broke tackles, made repeat running efforts and hit targets in the front half, operating nicely on the outer and pushing into advanced areas. He dropped back a touch more in the second half, helping distribute out of defence and doing some of the tough stuff when called upon.

GIPPSLAND POWER 7.6 (48) def. by EASTERN RANGES 11.12 (78)

By: Michael Alvaro

Gippsland Power:

#6 Mitchell Moschetti

Gippsland’s best player on the day, Moschetti again looked his side’s most polished player in possession. The classy left-footer showed good poise on the ball and worked it into space before delivering sharp kicks forward. As the game wore on, he began to manufacture more time and space, linking play on the outer and generating valuable momentum as Gippsland attacked. Moschetti ended with a game-high 30 disposals and five marks from midfield, including a couple of handy goal assists.

#9 Will Papley

In his usual midfield-forward rotation, Papley was a productive and versatile member of the Gippsland set-up. He started at the centre bounces and used his burst of speed to break forward, often getting to the front of the stoppage and streaming inside forward 50. When stationed forward, he initially presented as a lead-up kind of option in a role which defied his size, before getting busy closer to goal with that typical mix of speed and smarts. Papley got on the board early, smothering on the mark before finishing beautifully from range, while adding a second major in the third term with a snap from the pocket.

#28 Zane Duursma

The 2005-born prospect already looks comfortable alongside players as many as four years his senior, and proved as much with some time in the midfield on Sunday. Duursma started brightly but missed a 45m set shot in the opening term, before getting back into the game with some handy work in term three. He displayed good courage to protect the drop zone under a high ball and mark inside 50, before converting a classy snap goal and going on to show sharp skills when running through midfield.

Eastern Ranges:

#3 Jake Arundell

Arundell was at his crafty best on Sunday, stationed forward and contributing plenty both inside 50 and up the ground. He consistently showed high level smarts and evasion, while a zippy turn of speed saw him gain considerable separation on the lead time and time again. The diminutive top-ager worked beautifully in tandem with under-ager Nick Watson, as the two found each other inside 50 on multiple occasions. Arundell snared three goals from five scoring shots, while also twice turning provider in a balanced effort, where he brought others into the game and was a constant threat in the front half. No Gippsland defender could go with him.

#8 Nick Watson

The other half of Eastern’s dangerous small forward pairing, Watson also went about getting busy both up the ground and closer to goal. After missing a couple of chances in the first term, Watson straightened up to convert two majors in the following period and all three of his goals for the day came via set shots. The 2005-born talent defied his size as a viable leading option, leaning on his high footy IQ to also get to handy spots when the ball hit the deck. Watson fulfilled his usual small forward duties with smothering pressure acts and tackling efforts, making for a well-rounded performance.

#35 Max Hall

With some of Eastern’s prime midfield movers unavailable in recent weeks, Hall has consistently stood up as a reliable inside ball winner. He had no trouble finding the ball at the coalface, digging in and proving strong over the ground ball before looking to bullock his way out of tackles. While he tended to bomb kick out of the contest, Hall showed he could lower his eyes when afforded more time and even put through a well-hit set shot in the first quarter. Away from the stoppages, the top-ager worked hard around the ground and his final statline of 29 disposals, nine marks, and nine inside 50s was exemplary of that.

#58 Kai Windsor

Windsor showed plenty during his stint in the Vic Metro Under 17 squad, and carried his form back into the NAB League on Sunday. Playing mostly in the forward half before shifting into the midfield, Windsor was an apt carrier of the ball forward and seemed to enjoy operating in time and space. The bottom-ager was also able to show his skills at time, including on one instance in the second quarter where he provided a goal assist for Arundell as he streamed forward.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 8.8 (56) def. by OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 15.7 (97)

By: Declan Reeve

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Josiah Kyle

The St Kilda NGA prospect yet again displayed some eye-catching athletic traits throughout the contest, where he was, at times, played as the deepest forward target for the Stingrays. He looked at his most dangerous when he was able to run onto a free ball, with his pace and clean pick ups from ground level giving him the tools to make the most of those opportunities and keep the ball going quickly, with one moment in the first quarter highlighting this best when he got free, side stepped an opponent and pinpointed a kick inside 50 where his teammate didn’t have to move to hold onto the mark. Ended the day with one goal, where he ran onto a kick over the top of his head and snapped the goal whilst being brought to ground. Despite what the stat sheet may say, he created plenty of scoring opportunities for Dandenong with his plays in the forward half causing headaches for the Chargers defence.

#4 Jaxon Binns

The Under 17 Vic Country representative demonstrated exactly why he was selected in that side in his NAB League debut, looking like Dandenong’s best player early on, showing off high work rate and running capacity on the wing. Was far more inclined to kick than handball when he was disposing of the ball, where he regularly got good penetration and showed good technique with his kicking but sometimes lacked the accuracy to make it truly damaging. Positioned well to get the releasing handball from inside winners, able to beat most opponents in one-on-ones foot races. Kicked an impressive goal in the first, winning the ball off the ground in the forward pocket and snapping it through in the first. Unfortunately had his day cut short after suffering a suspected knee injury. 

#35 Finn Jakstas

Looking composed with ball in and well positioned in the defensive half, Jakstas did some underrated one-percenter acts throughout the game that either stopped certain Oakleigh goals or got Dandenong the upper hand in moving the footy. Whether it was tapping the ball in front of a running teammate, laying a smother in the middle of the ground or spoiling a ball in a two-on-one, he was able to impact plays well to win them for Dandenong. Looked strong overhead as well in the defensive 50, following up with clean ball use to teammates. 

#42 James Cahill

Playing essentially exclusively as a rover for the game, Cahill looked particularly good when collecting the ball off the ground, looking clean even when under pressure. Fed well to receivers via hand when the option was there, never just throwing the ball onto his hand or foot if there wasn’t a teammate ready to get it. Worked hard to follow up and get the ball back as well when he could, with one moment in the first quarter demonstrating this best, inside defensive 50 where he handballed to a teammate, got it back, handed it off again, then got it back and kicked long to a leading teammate. He was composed through most of the game, having moments where he just picked out an option through congestion that not many would’ve found, or had the confidence to try and take. His ability to spread from a contest or stoppage was also a highlight, able to burst away from these situations and spot up teammates to get Dandenong moving forward. 

 #47 Henry Hustwaite

Another Under 17s Vic Country representative, Hustwaite was stationed mostly on the wing, where he showed composure with ball in hand, even when caught in congested spots under pressure. His quick hands in close were on full display, keeping his hands free and firing them out to release runners from behind, or pinpointing a handball through traffic to teammate closer to the forward 50. Didn’t kick often but was composed and kicked with purpose when he chose to, finding targets laterally who were able to take space. 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#7 Blake Drury 

In his first outing for Oakleigh at Under 19s level, Drury took no time at all to get involved and show why he was selected for the Vic Metro U17s side, winning plenty of ball around the midfield and forward half, using it well by hand to get the ball to teammates in better spots. Showed plenty of confidence with his movement with ball in hand, never biting off more than he could chew, but always willing to run the ball forward and get around opponents before getting rid of the ball. What was particularly impressive to see from his Under 17s Metro performances, was how much better his kicking looked at this level, regularly putting it in front of teammates inside 50 to run onto, and taking wider options when nothing presented up the line.

#17 Braden Andrews

The AFL Academy member was thrown about positionally again, spending time in all thirds of the ground and showing promise in each spot. In the first three quarters he split his time down back and through the midfield mostly, with his work around stoppages the highlight, picking up the ball from below his knees cleanly and firing out quick hands on the up as teammates moved for him. He looked composed with his kicking when given time in space to compose himself. When moved into the forwardline he got himself two goals in the final quarter, the first of which came from smart positioning in a marking contest, able to run onto the ball as it went over the top and kicking it straight through from the goal square. His second came after receiving a handball from a teammate he was running alongside going into 50 and slotting it from about 25 out. He paid this back later, after giving off a shot on goal despite being in range.

#33 Patrick Voss 

Continuing his impressive run of form in the backline, Voss looked more convincing, providing run from behind than he previously has, not afraid to take opponents on coming out of the defensive 50. This was highlighted best when he went for a run from the back 50 mark, taking two bounces along the way, as well as a give and go, then stiff arming an opponent and kicking the ball inside 50 to finish it off. That stiff arm wasn’t his only show of physicality, continuing his strong tackling that often rattled opponents whilst still being fair. He got himself a lot of marks by being a switch option in the back line, with Oakleigh looking to switch when it was on, but also got a couple of intercept marks showing his strength to push opponents out of the contest, with one being a good sign of courage, running 20 meters to mark a ball that was hacked out of a centre stoppage, with incoming front on pressure. Kicking was good with time to compose himself, but is a general area of improvement.

#57 George Wardlaw

With arguably the highest profile of any of the debutants from this game, the Under 17s Vic Metro representative was dominant from beginning to end with his inside game a clear standout across both sides. Regularly getting first possession around stoppages, Wardlaw commanded more and more attention around stoppages as the game went on to negate his effect from the midfield, where if given the slightest amount of space he’d get a handball away, having a few moments where he fired a pinpoint pass through congestion and past two or three opponents to release a runner on the other side of the contest. Managed to get good spread from stoppages when he was right in the thick of it, able to stay balanced and on his feet when copping contact, still managing to get the ball to a teammate. Wardlaw drew in some free kicks for high contact with how low he gets when picking the ball up and how fast he tries to straighten up. 

#79 Jack O’Sullivan

O’Sullivan was yet another Oakleigh debutant, and a Vic Country Under 17s representative over the past two weeks. He showed himself to be a damaging pressure forward. Collected ground balls at speed well, following up with damaging ball use even if he didn’t have clear vision, putting the ball in danger spots in front of goal if he was under pressure. Looked dangerous with his leading, not always sticking marks but getting his hands to the ball. Ended the game with two goals and two behinds, although he set up a couple of goals that he could have easily gotten, showing a sense of selfless in his game and want to get teammates involved.

Image Credit: Cameron Grimes/AFL Photos

Stat leaders: 2021 VFL – Round 12

ROUND 12 of the Victorian Football League (VFL) men’s concluded and packed a punch with an interesting mix of names taking out the top spots for this rounds’ stat leaders.

Nathan Freeman’s performance on Sunday proved a worthy asset in his sides win against Sydney. The Frankston star showed versatility in his game this week, once again clocking up the top spot for disposals given his ability to find the footy and dispose of it cleanly. Freeman also amassed the most kicks and marks for the round highlighting his complete performance. Collingwood’s Jay Rantall made the list for the most handballs in Round 12. Meanwhile teammate Jack Ginnivan took out the top spot for goals this week. Both Luke Bunker and Matthew Parker appear on the list, racking up an equal amount of tackles. To round out the list, North Melbourne’s Tom Campbell came out on top this week with the most hitouts with 48.

Round 12 STAT LEADERS:
Disposals:
Nathan Freeman (Frankston) – 45
Kicks:
Nathan Freeman (Frankston) – 29
Handballs:
Jay Rantall (Collingwood) – 23
Goals:
Jack Ginnivan (Collingwood) – 4
Marks:
Nathan Freeman (Frankston) – 15
Tackles:
Luke Bunker (Coburg) and Matthew Parker (Richmond) – 11
Hitouts:
Tom Campbell (North Melbourne) – 48

2021 SEASON STAT LEADERS:
Disposals:
Marcus Lentini (Coburg) – 295 / 36.9
Kicks:
Matthew Payne (Aspley) – 198 / 22.0
Handballs:
Marcus Lentini (Coburg) – 171 / 21.4
Goals:
Matthew Hammelmann (Aspley) – 39 / 4.3
Marks:
Colin O’Riordan (Sydney) – 78 / 9.8
Tackles:
Dominic Brew (Werribee) – 71 / 10.1
Hitouts:
Ned Reeves (Box Hill Hawks) – 250 / 31.3

Stat Leaders: 2021 VFL – Round 11

THE 2021 Victorian Football League (VFL) season rolled on into its 11th round over the weekend, with 10 fixtures spread from Friday morning to Sunday evening. There were a number of outstanding individual performances among the Round 11 action, as AFL-listed talent and state league guns alike topped a range of key categories. We take a look at this week’s stat leaders, as well as the season tallies to this point.

>> RESULTS | State leagues wrap

Geelong Cats midfielder Charlie Constable set an ominous tone in the round’s opening game, racking up 44 disposals in his side’s thumping win over Brisbane. The competition’s ball magnets followed suit, with Aspley’s Matthew Payne (32 kicks) and Coburg’s Marcus Lentini (26 handballs) topping the charts in respective categories despite both playing in losses.

Senior-listed Richmond ball winner Jack Ross also worked hard to notch 15 marks as his Tigers went down to Sandringham, and Sydney’s Ryan Clarke dominated the stoppage situations with 12 clearances as the Swans took out Sunday’s Sydney derby. In the same game, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) youngster Xavier O’Halloran managed a high of 11 inside 50s as his side was beaten by 38 points.

North Melbourne had a couple of players feature on this week’s leaderboard, starting with Kade Answerth for his monster 16-tackle effort. Bigman Tom Campbell also returned a big performance in the ruck with 49 hitouts, while fellow AFL-listed tall Ben Brown bagged five majors for Casey Demons to top the Round 11 goalkicking charts, continuing his press for a call-up.

Southport may have had its bout with Gold Coast cancelled, but Jacob Dawson still leads the league for disposals and handballs, while Payne has the most kicks at an average of 20.9 and teammate Matthew Hammelmann is head and shoulders above the rest with 39 goals. Werribee pair Dom Brew (tackles) and Matthew Lobbe (hitouts) also feature on the leaderboards, as Brisbane tall Connor Ballenden is the sole AFL-listed player to lead a category, having clunked the most marks thus far.

Find the full list of Round 11, and 2021 season stat leaders below.

ROUND 11 STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Charlie Constable* (Geelong) – 44

Kicks:
Matthew Payne (Aspley) – 32

Handballs:
Marcus Lentini (Coburg) – 26

Marks:
Jack Ross* (Richmond) – 15

Tackles:
Kade Answerth (North Melbourne) – 16

Clearances:
Ryan Clarke* (Sydney) – 12

Inside 50s:
Xavier O’Halloran* (GWS) – 11

Hitouts:
Tom Campbell* (North Melbourne) – 49

Goals:
Ben Brown* (Casey Demons) – 5

* – denotes AFL-listed

2021 SEASON STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 282 total / 35.3 average

Kicks:
Matthew Payne (Aspley) – 198 / 22.0

Handballs:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 167 / 20.9

Marks:
Connor Ballenden* (Brisbane) – 72 / 9.0

Tackles:
Dom Brew (Werribee) – 71 / 10.1

Hitouts:
Matthew Lobbe (Werribee) – 225 / 32.1

Goals:
Matthew Hammelmann (Aspley) – 39 / 4.3

* – denotes AFL-listed

Image Credit: Jonathan Di Maggio/AFL Photos

Stat Leaders: 2021 VFL – Round 10

THE 2021 Victorian Football League (VFL) season rolled on into its 10th round over the weekend, with eight fixtures spread from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, as Victorian sides returned to the fold. There were a number of outstanding individual performances among the Round 10 action, as AFL-listed talent and state league guns alike topped a range of key categories. We take a look at this week’s stat leaders, as well as the season tallies to this point.

>> RESULTS | State leagues wrap

Port Melbourne midfielder Eli Templeton dominated proceedings in Round 10, collecting round highs of 49 disposals and 31 kicks in the Borough’s loss to Carlton on Saturday afternoon. On the winning side, another former AFL-listed on-baller, Tom North notched up 14 marks as the Blues took home a full set of premiership points away from home. Western Bulldogs-listed key forward Josh Schache also clunked 14 marks, in his six-goal outing against Geelong.

Southport’s 107-point thumping of Brisbane saw a number of Sharks lurk on the stats sheet, led by Billy Gowers‘ eight goals. Jordan Dawson, who leads the competition for disposals and handballs, distributed the most of anyone by hand with 25 handballs. In the other Queensland-based game, Darcy Macpherson got his hands dirty for Gold Coast by laying a high of 14 tackles.

The league’s bigmen also proved prominent in Round 10, led by substantial efforts from Jack Berry (Frankston) and Matthew Lobbe (Werribee) in the ruck. Both men won 42 hitouts as their sides earned victories. Lobbe is yet another former-AFL product to be racking up big numbers, and he currently leads the competition for hitouts after another strong showing. Teammate Dom Brew remains top for tackles with an average of 10.2, with Queenslanders making up the remaining stat leaders overall.

Find the full list of Round 10, and 2021 season stat leaders below.

ROUND 10 STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Eli Templeton (Port Melbourne) – 49

Kicks:
Eli Templeton (Port Melbourne) – 31

Handballs:
Jordan Dawson (Southport) – 25

Marks:
Tom North (Carlton) – 14
Josh Schache (Footscray) – 14

Tackles:
Darcy Macpherson (Gold Coast) – 14

Goals:
Billy Gowers (Southport) – 8

Hitouts:
Jack Berry (Frankston) – 42
Matthew Lobbe (Werribee) – 42

2021 SEASON STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 282 total / 35.3 average

Kicks:
Matthew Payne (Aspley) – 166 / 20.8

Handballs:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 167 / 20.9

Marks:
Connor Ballenden (Brisbane Lions) – 65 / 9.3

Tackles:
Dom Brew (Werribee) – 61 / 10.2

Goals:
Matthew Hammelmann (Aspley) – 37 / 4.6

Hitouts:
Matthew Lobbe (Werribee) – 198 / 33.0

Image Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

State Leagues wrap: Finals spots shaken up

THERE were some key changes to finals calculations across the state league this weekend, with ladder leaders soaring as the following packs jostle for position. Victorian sides still await their return, but it was business as usual in South Australia and Tasmania, while West Australian fans had two fixtures to take in on Saturday and Sunday. We run you through all the results and outstanding performances in this week’s state league wrap.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

Teams from everywhere but Victoria carried the Victorian Football League through another round of action, with three AFL reserves sides taking the field across a pair on Saturday afternoon fixtures. The first saw Gold Coast complete a dramatic turnaround against Sydney Swans, with first year utility Joel Jeffrey putting the SUNS ahead in the dying stages having trailed by as much as 38 points in term two. An eight-goal third quarter blitz set up the 17.5 (107) to 16.8 (104) victory, with Jeffrey among four SUNS to boot three goals. Brayden Fiorini racked up a game-high 45 disposals upon returning to the grade, as Sydney bigman Hayden McLean claimed four majors.

In the day’s second fixture, over at Blacktown International Sportspark, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) stormed home with seven final term goals to topple Aspley by 49 points. Having been trialled in numerous roles, GIANTS youngster Jake Riccardi returned to his familiar forward post and bagged eight goal to spearhead his side’s victory. Up the other end, competition leading goalkicker Matthew Hammelmann snared six of the Hornets’ nine major scores, as teammate Matthew Payne led all comers for disposals (32). Young GIANTS Tanner Bruhn (25 disposals, two goals) and Kieren Briggs (23 disposals, 28 hitouts, one goal) were also outstanding.

With Victorian teams back in training as of last week, a return normal programming should be just around the corner. Southport currently tops the ladder at 6-1 having played twice more than most other teams, while Casey Demons and Footscray remain undefeated at 5-0 to sit second and third respectively.

South Australia (SANFL):

Woodville-West Torrens moved up to second spot with a comprehensive 68-point drubbing of Port Adelaide, seeing the Magpies drop to fifth. The Eagles broke away with 10 goals to one after half time, with Jack Hayes (28 disposals, three goals) and James Tsitas (41 disposals, eight clearances) among the prominent figures. Jarrod Lienert was kept busy for Port, registering 14 rebound 50s among his 26 disposals as first year forward Ollie Lord showed some promise with two goals and three contested marks.

The Eagles overtook South Adelaide in second, as the Panthers went down to Norwood by nine points. Mitch Grigg continued his return to form for the Redlegs, racking up 34 touches and booting three goals in the win while Matthew Nunn (29 disposals) and Richard Douglas (19, one goal) also played key hands. Former AFL veterans Matthew Broadbent (25 disposals) and Bryce Gibbs (24, 11 clearances and one goal) stood up for the Panthers, as 200-gamer Joel Cross also hit the scoreboard and top draft prospect Jason Horne booted a goal from his 19 touches.

Ladder leader Glenelg moved to an ominous 10-0, defeating North Adelaide by 23 points as Liam McBean (five goals) and Matthew Snook (34 disposals) took hold. Meanwhile, Adelaide jumped Sturt after its 10-point win over the Double Blues, which saw senior-listed players Jackson Hately (31 disposals, seven clearances and one goal) and Billy Frampton (three goals) knock on the door for a call-up.

Tasmania (TSL):

Round 11 of the Tasmanian State League (TSL) went largely as expected, with ladder position telling the story of all three results. The round of action opened on Friday night as Tigers stormed KGV to come away 22-point victors over Glenorchy, seeing the visitors stretch the gap to their weekend opponents to three wins. Max Collidge booted three goals for Tigers, while Riley Oakley snared two for the Magpies as Edward Cole and Nathan Blowfield were named best afield for their respective sides.

North Launceston maintained its chase for top spot on Saturday, doubling Lauderdale’s score to win by 35 points in enemy territory. 14 of the combined 15 goals scored were kicked at one end of the ground, with the Northern Bombers dealing more damaging blows in the first and third terms. Jay Foon booted a game-high three goals and was named the victors’ best player, while Phillip Bellchambers snared two for Lauderdale as Rhys Sutton earned the coaches votes.

Competition leading goalkicker Dylan Riley enjoyed another day out, booting eight majors in Launceston’s 103-point thumping of North Hobart. Riley has bullied the Demons this season, kicking 18 goals in two meetings – including a season-high bag of 10. Alec Wright also featured prominently for the table topping Blues, while Callum Fitzpatrick was named the best for North Hobart after a tough outing.

Western Australia (WAFL):

Claremont rose to the top of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) ladder in Round 10, coming from behind to beat Peel Thunder by seven points on Saturday. The Tigers trailed at each of the first three breaks, before piling on five goals in the final term to sneak ahead at the clutch. Jye Bolton continued his dominance with another 35 disposals and nine inside 50s for Claremont, as youngster Jack Buller booted four goals in the win. Fremantle-listed midfielder Luke Valente was Peel’s biggest ball winner (26 disposals), as the Thunder again yielded a heavy amount of rotations.

The round’s sole other fixture came on Sunday, with East Perth causing a boilover to beat reigning premier South Fremantle by five points. The Royals were ahead at each break and while South remained within striking distance, they were unable to turn the tables and snatch victory. The Bulldogs still sit pretty comfortably in third though, with the Royals’ second win sees them remain ninth. The likes of Angus Scott (26 disposals), Angus Schumacher and Shayne Hill were terrific for East Perth, as Chad Pearson (29 disposals) led all comers and Brandon Donaldson (four goals) proved potent going forward for South Freo.

Image Credit: Hannah Howard/SANFL

2021 VFL Round 1 review: Queensland teams make their mark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VFL ROUND 1 RESULTS:

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

Picture credit: Southport Sharks Twitter

QAFL weekend preview: Round 9 – Top two battle for minor premiership

A BATTLE to decide the minor premiership is what confronts top two sides, Broadbeach and Morningside this weekend, with the final round of Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) action taking place. Both sides have won every match thus far, to sit on seven wins from eight games – with one bye – heading into Round 9 of the competition prior to finals. Both teams will secure a top two spot, but first placed will take on the winner of fourth or fifth and avoid the third placed finisher in the preliminary finals.

While Broadbeach has had the much superior percentage – 239.39 per cent – Morningside has won a number of tight contests to ensure it sits on 28 points heading into the final round. Regardless of the match’s result, neither side can drop outside the top two. It is a similar story for third placed Palm Beach Currumbin that has had a strong season in response to its grand final loss last year, only dropping games to the top two sides. It has helped the Lions sit eight points clear of the mid-table crunch, and guarantee themselves third spot and facing sixth in the first week of finals.

Seven teams are still in contention for six spots, with effectively the clash between Maroochydore and Surfers Paradise determining the final spot on the ladder. Realistically, the Roos just need to be avoid getting smashed, as they are 15 per cent clear of the reigning premiers who have had just the two wins this season and had a couple of of forgettable matches in 2020. If Maroochydore win – or at least do not lose by a considerable amount – then they will play finals and potentially move up a spot in the process. The Demons must win if they are to be any chance of defending their 2019 title, but in counter contrasting to the Roos, must win, and win well. Roughly around an eight-goal win – depending on the scores – would be needed for an unlikely finals berth.

However, what makes it interesting is the fact that fifth placed Mt Gravatt – who take on Palm Beach Currumbin – hold a near-identical percentage to Maroochydore (just 1.27 per cent more). What that means is, it is possible for Surfers Paradise to have a win – realistically will need to still be a pretty healthy win – while getting into finals if Mt Gravatt suffers a disappointing loss. In the scenario that the Lions account for the Vultures well and the Demons win, then Maroochydore would actually move up to fifth despite the loss, and Mt Gravatt drop out of the six. However if Surfers only wins by a little and Mt Gravatt push the Lions, then Maroochydore can leapfrog Mt Gravatt, but the Vultures remain in sixth.

Sitting pretty in fourth is Sherwood, a side that holds its own destiny in its hands. Realistically the equation is simple – win and get third spot, lose and potentially drop as far as sixth. The Magpies have a superior percentage to the other 3-4 sides, with 98.91 per cent and no chance of any other side overtaking them on percentage – barring some 200-point shellacking – so they will have pole position in terms of home ground advantage for the elimination final if they can win. They will play one of the other three teams depending on the results, unless they lose and both Mt Gravatt and Maroochydore win, which means they will slip to sixth. They take on eighth placed Labrador which has avoided the wooden spoon – unless they cop a big loss and their percentage drops them below last placed Wilston Grange who have the bye.

Heading into the final round, Matt Hammelmann has the leading goalkicker award sewn up barring a big bag from one of his nearest rivals, having booted 33 goals in seven games at an impressive 4.7 goals per game. He leads another former Brisbane forward in Liam Dawson (26 goals in seven games), from Broadbeach’s Jordan Moncrieff (25 in six) and Maroochydore’s Mitchell Scholard (25). Young gun Josh Gore is fifth on the table with 16 goals in six games.

In terms of top performers for the season, Labrador duo Fraser Thurlow and Matthew Lee have stood up to be named in the best all seven times, as has Morningside’s Matthew Payne, and Wilston Grange’s Will McKenzie (seven from eight). Mt Gravatt’s Luke O’Sullivan and Maroochydore’ Jacob Simpson have featured in the best six times, while Hammelmann, Scholard, Palm Beach Currumbin’s Zac Harrison, Wilston Grange’s Isaac Corvo and Maroochydore’s Josh Govan, have all featured in the best on six occasions. When it comes to Rising Star possibilities, Wilston Grange’s Tahj Abberley, Broadbeach’s Bailey Reeves, and Surfers Paradise duo Myles Jewell and Max Pescud are all among the mix.

QAFL ROUND 9 RESULTS:

Broadbeach vs. Morningside
Labrador vs. Sherwood
Palm Beach Currumbin vs. Mt Gravatt
Surfers Paradise vs. Maroochydore

QAFL weekend preview: Round 8 – Last chance saloon for bottom few teams

TWO rounds remain in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) competition, with minimal time for sides to try and squeeze into the top six spots for finals. The top three sides – Broadbeach, Morningside and Palm Beach Currumbin – are locked away for finals and considering percentages, have the top three spots booked. Top two get a week off though, so there is plenty to play for. At the other end of the ladder, Wilston Grange and Labrador can mathematically still make it despite having just one win on the board after seven rounds, but need results to go their way.

There are a number of ladder defining games this weekend starting with Maroochydore and Labrador. The winner will go a long way to booking a finals spot, whilst the loser will be in danger of missing out. For the Tigers in particular, a loss could be deadly, given they have a lower percentage than the fifth placed Sherwood, who would then be the only team Labrador could overtake. Maroochydore can secure a finals spot with a good enough win and build a large enough percentage gap to make it difficult for the sides below the Roos to make it.

Another season-defining clash is between Sherwood and Surfers Paradise which is linked the aforementioned match. If the Magpies get up with the Roos, it will all but lock away the top six spots with a round to play. The Demons showed they are not done with yet, getting a vital win over Wilston Grange last round. They will need to win here to be a realistic chance to defend their title, and if they do, will move up to at least sixth on the table, though a loss – holding the lowest percentage of any of the nine sides – would be fatal for their post-season hopes.

At the other end of the ladder, Morningside hosts Palm Beach Currumbin in the standout match for the round. The pair are fighting over a week off with the Panthers undefeated, but playing the other top two sides in the final fortnight. With Broadbeach next week, Morningside will get a good idea of where it sits in the scheme of things, while Palm Beach Currumbin will be desperate to knock over another contender and take prime position inside the top two. Considering the Lions will have an easier opponent next week, they know they will all but secure a top two spot with a win here, whilst Morningside will achieve that if the Panthers can get up.

In the final game of the round, a top-against-bottom clash looms as a potential blowout, but Wilston Grange came close to a win against Surfers Paradise last week. Broadbeach look good to be the premiership favourites, winning all six games and will have Morningside next week. A win here will secure the Cats inside the top two, but a loss just opens the door for the other top three sides. Realistically, Broadbeach should get the job done, though the Gorillas have their backs against the wall knowing a win is the only option to play finals, no matter how tough the task might be.

In terms of the competition’s leading goalkicker, Matthew Hammelmann seems to have one hand on the trophy after eight snags last week to take his total to 28 for the season. He overtook Broadbeach’s Jordan Moncrieff who had an uncharacteristic game that even saw him miss from on the line as his ball drop missed the boot. Nonetheless, Moncrieff sits three goals back, and three ahead of Maroochydore’s Mitchell Scholard. The other player with 20 majors is Liam Dawson who will return this week after a week off. In terms of young guns, Josh Gore (13 goals in five games) and Max Pescud (12 in four) have been the key scorers.

Looking at some of the top performers around the league, Mt Gravatt – who has the bye this weekend – has Luke O’Sullivan who has been named in the best six of a possible seven times, snagging six goals in the process. Morningside’s Matthew Payne, Labrador duo Fraser Thurlow and Matthew Lee and Wilston Grange’s Will McKenzie have also earned best honours in six matches. Scholard and Roos’ teammate Jacob Simpson are the next most with five bests for their respective sides.

For Brisbane Lions fans, it might be one of the last couple of weeks to see Tahj Abberley in action as Wilston Grange need to do the unthinkable and upset Broadbeach with Gold Coast fans being able to see the likes of Gore, Bailey Reeves and Aidan Fyfe running around for the Cats. Blake Coleman and Saxon Crozier will run out for the Panthers against Jack Johnston for the Lions, whilst Rhys Nicholls and Carter Michael are among those who might cross paths in the Maroochydore-Labrador game. The Magpies will need to find a way to stop Pescud who slammed home 6.5 for the Demons last week in the win, in a big weekend for QAFL action.

QAFL ROUNDS 8 FIXTURES:

Maroochydore vs. Labrador
Morningside vs. Palm Beach Currumbin
Sherwood vs. Surfers Paradise
Wilston Grange vs Broadbeach

Picture: RF Photography