IN the first game at Ikon Park yesterday, Vic Country defeated Queensland in an exciting contest. We review all the players from both teams.
By: Peter Williams and Craig Byrnes
#1 Kobe Brown
Had an early shot on goal on the run, but had an unlucky bounce and it went to the wrong side and out of bounds. A highlight-worthy moment came later in the game when he cleanly picked up the ball off the deck and side-stepped an opponent on the forward 50 arc. Fantastic agility.
#2 Jye Chalcraft
One of the more impressive Country players, Chalcraft showed fantastic strength and composure inside the forward 50 arc. We already knew he had top-class agility, but he went out with a real desire to hunt the football and the ball carrier in a contested brand of football. Spent a little bit of time through midfield, but majority inside 50, booting a goal in the final term to ice the game for Country. Laid some fantastic tackles and almost had a goal early in the game but just missed on the run.
#4 Jarryd Barker
Had one of the best clearances out of the middle early on, managing to burst away and hit-up a teammate lace-out in the first term by lowering the eyes. From then on it was a workman-like performance, laying some big tackles and he did well by hand or foot, lowering the eyes going inside 50. He had a shot on goal in the final term, but missed to the right. He still accumulated the footy, but a lot of it was in the contest, and often feeding it out to teammates, playing an important role at the stoppages.
#5 Flynn Perez
An exciting talent who oozes X-factor. His consistency throughout games still needs to improve, but when he has the ball he can do some magical things with it. He lowers his eyes going inside 50 and hit-up Fraser Phillips coming through the midfield when he was coming off half-back. Clean hands at ground level and his closing speed is top-notch. He was used in transition going forward, and was rewarded for hard running by playing deeper, marking 35m out and converting the set shot.
#6 Riley Baldi
An absolutely huge first half, having the ball on a string and seemingly covering the ground with ease. He was strong at the packs, winning clearances, cracking in hard at the contested ball and just extracting the ball to teammates in space. He was moved around in the second half, from half-back to half-forward and did not have as much impact as the first half through the guts, but he was still very solid and got to the right positions when required.
#7 Mitch Martin
Some players seem to step up at the higher level, and Mitch Martin was one of those players today. At the Rebels, Martin is always solid, but with the extra time and space, and plenty of midfield minutes, he thrived on the open spaces of Ikon Park. His kicking was sublime and equally matched by his vision. He is not a huge accumulator, but every time he won it, he seemed to use it well, setting up Flynn Perez for a goal in the third term. He almost kicked one himself after a good mark but missed to the right.
#8 Lachlan Williams
Cracked in hard and while he was another who did not win a lot of it, he had a couple of ‘wow’ moments in the third term. He used great vision to kick inside to Fraser Phillips, then teamed up with Phillips again with a pin-point pass to his teammates’ advantage amongst a pack of Queensland opponents who had zoned off in defence.
#9 Fraser Phillips
Building a rich vein of form of late and that continued on the weekend, with some really good play inside 50. He is a good runner and moved up to half-forward well, kicking inside 50 with good precision. He lowers the eyes when entering the 50 and gave his teammates chances to score. Booted a goal early in the peace by running back with the flight and nailing the short-range set shot, and just missed a couple of chances later on in the game.
#10 Leo Connolly
Provided good pressure on his opponents to force turnovers, and in one instant, took a mark off the next possession from the turnover. Laid a massive tackle early to bring his opponent to ground and keep the ball in the middle.
#12 Isaac Wareham
Not his best game, but was playing a defensive role in the back half. Just kept a close eye on his opponent at all times.
#13 Izaac Grant
Ultra-impressed with what Grant showed at IKON Park. Coming into the game I hoped to see if he could play a role other than the pigeonholed small forward which he has been thus far, and he showed some serious intent, not just in the midfield, but in contested situations as well. He was a lovely kick in space and not only used quick hands, but blocked an opponent while handballing to a teammate to give his teammate an extra couple of seconds. One of the better field kicks out there, and still showed his vertical leap. Did not kick a goal which is his forte, but his game was better than matches where he has kicked multiple goals – another string to his bow.
#14 Tye Hourigan
He plied his trade in defence as he usually does for Gippsland with commitment. While he only stands at 188cm, Hourigan is very capable in a key position role and is difficult to move off the ball. He generally reads the ball before his opponent, as shown during the third term when he took a strong intercept mark. More of a stopper at this stage, but I feel there is another offensive gear in him.
#15 Jake Van der Plight
Was in and out of the game a bit, but generally produced quality moments when he got his hands on the ball. Starting mostly on the wing, he ran up and down the ground, winning an excellent ground ball in the defensive 50 during the third term which was sharply released by hand. He is a lovely size at 188cm and is capable of playing multiple positions. He is another Gippsland bottom ager to keep an eye on next year.
#16 Jesse Clark
Clark looks an interesting type behind the ball. He was particularly calm when he gained possession in the defensive arc, displaying good skills and well thought out decisions. During the second term he was given the ball under pressure deep inside defensive 50, but found a teammate in the corridor by foot with minimal fuss to release the immediate pressure. I’m looking forward to having a closer look over the next 15 months or so.
#17 Riley Ironside
After a relatively quiet first half, Ironside came to life in the third term with a lovely left foot pass inside 50 to Martin. That classy piece of play saw him become more involved and while he shanked a set shot not long after, he started having an influence at the stoppages and spread to offensive positions. He hit another brilliant left foot pass inside 50 to Williams in the final quarter to show he has some forward of centre weapons at his disposal.
#19 Jimmy Boyer
Boyer was another player who was dangerous running out of the back half, moving the ball forward with speed whenever he got the opportunity. Vic Country looked likely of scoring when he had the ball and his kicking was first rate on most occasions. While his offensive football was what immediately stood out, he also laid a heavy tackle in the third term to earn a holding the ball free kick.
#20 James Schischka
The Bendigo Pioneer was one of Vic Country’s better players on the day, controlling things in defence with his ability to read the play quickly and peel off his man when required. He took two strong intercept marks in the first term that appeared to spark his confidence to get to as many aerial contests as he could. While there were times he had to play deep KPD, when the opportunity presented he would look to swap with an opponent and get in the dangerous space. He laid a vital tackle in the final term to finish off a very solid outing.
#21 Darcey Chirgwin
Chirgwin was one of Vic Country’s more impressive performers and arguably produced the most transferrable AFL attributes. He is a tall inside midfielder who stands 190cm and while he looked lanky at times, he presented moments of class and time under pressure that would have excited the club representatives in the stands. In the first half he spun around an opponent with ease to kick inside 50. Later in the game after being disposed, he gathered the ball cleanly, regained balance and brilliantly hit a target near the arc. He looks a likely type.
#22 Sam De Koning
Battled well by manning some of Queensland’s taller forwards. He killed a few long Queensland entrances and took the kick outs on occasions. He perhaps would have liked to use the ball better at times, but is usually a reliable kick.
#23 Zac Skinner
Having lacked opportunities at Gippsland due to so many other tall options, Skinner would have enjoyed the chance to spend more extended periods on the ground. He started the game well, taking a mark on the lead inside 50 early in the first term. He was then rotated in the ruck, showing a soft touch in the air and was especially clean below his knees for a 199cm kid. He has composure with the ball and often makes good decisions by hand.
#24 Bigoa Nyuon
The 195cm Nyuon provided some eye catching athleticism with his minutes forward and in the ruck, especially the latter where his outstanding vertical leap often won him the hit out. He gave his midfielders some excellent taps to advantage without breaking stride and competed defensively when the ball hit the ground. He didn’t win much of the ball, but that will come with further development.
#25 Josh Smith
The big, bullocking forward had a day out inside 50, kicking four goals and had a huge influence on the result. He made his presence known early in the game, taking a strong mark in the pocket and kicking truly with a brilliantly executed banana set shot. He demanded the ball all day and took a huge contested mark inside 50 during the third quarter. His work wasn’t all done in the air either, as he cleanly picked up a ground ball in the fourth term to set up a scoring chain. His fourth goal gave Vic Country the lead to end a great outing in the best possible way.
#26 Aaron Gundry
The 198cm Bendigo tall struggled to get consistently involved, but showed signs throughout the game forward and at times in the ruck. His best moment came deep inside in the pocket where he cleanly collected the ball and handballed to Smith for a goal assist.
By: Michael Alvaro and Ed Pascoe
#1 Danial Davidson
Davidson was slow to come into the game but began to rack up more possessions as the contest wore on. His tackling was good as a smaller midfielder, and he showed a willingness to attack the ball when the game was up for grabs in the second half.
#3 Hawego Paul Oea
The smooth moving forward posed a threat throughout the game with his pace and ability to find space in good areas. With ball in hand, Oea looked to move it on more often than not and was a valuable link between the wing and forward 50. He provided a smart assist to Will Martyn with a cutting ball from near the boundary in the fourth term, putting his smarts on full show.
#5 Corey Joyce
Joyce covers the ground really well and showed a solid work rate from the wing. While he didn’t rack up as much of the ball as in previous Maroons outings, Joyce was clean in possession and showed good agility in traffic. He has the potential to play above his size too, as he gets himself in handy positions to intercept and impact contests around the ground.
#6 Jack Wingrave
Wingrave was entrusted with the kick-out duties early on and spent most of his time in the defensive half. His long kicking out of the back is an asset, and he used it to good effect when clearing his own arc. A highlight of Wingrave’s game was a tough tussle with Country’s Fraser Phillips late in the piece, where the two battled hard for the ball deep in Country’s 50 with little separating the sides, showing his willingness to compete.
#7 Lachlan Barry
Sporting a yellow headband, Barry did not find huge amounts of the ball in his deep forward role but had a decent last quarter. He laid a hard tackle in the final term and hit up big-man Samson Ryan with a pin-point pass into the forward 50, which was his best moment.
#8 Coby Williams
Williams was another who was quiet until later on, but he made his presence felt with a big tackle on Country star Jye Chalcraft in the fourth quarter, as well as a nice intercept mark in the centre square to cap off his day.
#9 Connor Budarick
The skipper was one of the Maroons’ best throughout the day with an all-round performance from midfield. The Allies and Gold Coast Academy star has good speed around the contest and showed tenacity to win much of his own ball from the stoppages. He may be small in stature, but Budarick is solid and stood up in tackles – despite being caught holding the ball once in the third term. He bounced back from that with a nice take-on and run from half-back not long after.
#10 Jack Moseley
Moseley showed glimpses of promise from half-back, looking a natural footballer. Despite starting off with a crude in the back free kick against him, he went on to prove his worth with displays of agility and a cool head in traffic. His highlight was managing to deliver a perfect kick to Hawego Paul Oea after keeping his hands up and evading a tackler, showing off a bit of class.
#14 Will Martyn
Martyn was arguably his side’s best in an industrious midfield shift. While he was fumbly early on, the Brisbane Academy member continued to crash in and win the ball out of the stoppages through brute force. Martyn’s kicking improved alongside his handling as the game progressed, with some good balls inside 50 providing scoring opportunities. His final term was particularly impressive, as he stood courageously under a loopy ball to take a mark and slot his first goal, backing it up shortly after with a second set shot major to put his side in front, with an early celebration to boot.
#15 Bruce Reville
The wingman was another Maroon to really impress with good athletic traits and a knack for finding the footy in dangerous areas. Reville has good handles and can gather the ball at pace, highlighted by a nice gather at speed from a third term centre bounce. Based on the wing for most of the game, Reville had a brief stint at the centre bounces to start the second half, but quickly moved back outside where he continued to assist his forwards with effective inside 50 entries.
#16 Campbell Aston
Aston was quiet but battled hard in the back half, recording nine disposals. His highlight was a solid grab against the highly touted Riley Baldi in the first term where he showed good attack on the footy.
#17 Josh Gore
Gore continued his good form in the Queensland jumper with another effective display up forward. While he only managed the one major this time around, Gore had plenty of opportunities and was able to find the ball inside 50 well. His goal came from a decent mark backing deep towards the goalsquare in the second term, and he converted the set shot. Gore worked to find the ball further up the ground in the second half and proved calm when delivering the ball forward. He also laid a solid holding the ball tackle in the third quarter to cap an all-round game.
#18 Brandon Deslands
Deslands started the game in defence and was trusted with a kick out, you used his solid kicking up the ground more in the third and fourth quarter. Deslands managed to get some time in the midfield in the last quarter getting involved and laying a nice tackle.
#19 Gracen Sproule
Sproule played as a forward and he showed great movement and skill throughout the day. His best quarter came in the second when he kicked a nice long goal from beyond 50. What stood out from Sproule was his clean takes on the run and clean use by hand and his ability to move through traffic.
#21 Matthew Fraser
Had a quiet day but he looked good at ground level with his front and square work really impressing, he read the ball well and was clean at ground level. Fraser was not afraid to tackle and have an impact when the ball was in his area.
#22 Thomas Jeffrey
Jeffrey was impactful with his strong marking ability and long kicking being used to effect all over the ground. He had a lovely kick inside 50 in the 2nd quarter and got involved in a nice passage of play in the last quarter showing both his good marking and kicking ability.
#23 Sam Butler
A good user of the ball throughout the day, his best moment came with a good long kick to the hot spot in the first quarter hitting up teammate Matthew Conroy. Butler was neat with his handballing and his kicking was sound.
#24 Nickolas Haberer
Haberer played well down back taking some nice intercept marks and providing some good spoils and using his body well in one-on-one contests. Haberer did the defensive acts well with good tackling and spoiling while also using the ball well down back.
#26 Matthew Conroy
Conroy made a statement in the first half kicking a nice set shot goal in the first quarter and kicking a long bomb in the second quarter which hyped up his team. He competed well in the ruck and up forward before a quieter second half.
#27 Ashton Crossley
Queensland’s best player on the day, Crossley was industrious through he midfield using his strong body to crash packs and win the contested ball. Early in the game he had a few long kicks which were not accurate, but he improved as the game went on with one of his kicks in the last quarter coming from a nice mark and then unleashing a long penetrating kick out wide. His strong marking and contested ability was important for Queensland around the ground and he was a solid four-quarter player.
#28 Max Newman
Newman did some nice things down back with some timely spoils with one on the last line in the third quarter. Not a huge game but played his role well.
#30 Joshua Hammond
Hammond was one of the better defenders for Queensland with some fantastic spoiling efforts especially in the first quarter where he was most prominent. Hammond did not get much of the ball but he did not give his opponents an inch and if he was not spoiling he was tackling hard and blocking for teammates. With a bit more confidence it would be good to see how well he could rebound himself to really make him a more complete modern day defender.
#32 Thomas Wischnat
Wischnat was a permanent forward often giving good leads but wasn’t always rewarded. He kicked a nice snap goal in the first quarter and he took a nice lead up mark in the 2nd although he missed the set shot. Wischnat could have done more at ground level but also could have hit the scoreboard harder with better supply from teammates.
#33 Sampson Ryan
The 203cm Ryan not only use his height to his advantage in the ruck, but also managed to keep involved all over the ground working into defence to intercept and also resting forward, providing a good option despite spraying many of his opportunities at goal. What stood out with Ryan was his smarts around the ground for a ruckman with some nice visions by hand and even a solid opposite foot kick in the last quarter.