ROUND 11 delivered on a top four shake up as Western soared into the placings and Eastern went four points clear atop of the NAB League standings with victory over second-place Sandringham. Meanwhile, Dandenong was upset by a rising Murray side, Northern won on the road, a replenished Gippsland held firm against Oakleigh, and Bendigo got the better of a bottom-three clash. All that, and more in this week’s wash-up.
TASMANIA DEVILS 2.1 | 2.4 | 3.5 | 7.7 (49)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.2 | 3.4 | 6.6 | 8.10 (58)
Tasmania: J. Lane 3, B. Ryan, T. Reeves, P. Walker, J. Callow.
Northern: L. Waldron 2, Z. Costello 2, C. Barbera, S. Philp, H. Ramshaw, N. Kitchell.
Tasmania: O. Davis, J. Callow, O. Burrows-Cheng, H. Ireland, P. Walker, O. Shaw
Northern: J. Davies, S. Philp, A. Taylor, E. Macpherson, H. Ramshaw, J. D’Intinosante
Northern Knights broke into the top eight with a nine-point win on the road against the Tasmania Devils, booting their weekend opponents from the traditional finals spot in the process. It was a typical low-scoring slog on the Apple Isle, with the conditions and depleted teams making scoring tough. It showed early on, but after an arm-wrestle of a first half which saw just five goals scored between the sides, Northern kicked clear to a game-defining 19-point lead after the main break with three goals to one. A late Devils surge did little to damage the Knights’ winning position, despite them more than doubling their previous total and outscoring Northern by 10 points to see out the game. Sam Philp and Josh D’Intinosante were again superb with a game-high 30 disposals each, with the former adding a goal and the latter going 0.3 in front of the big sticks. Skipper Jackson Davies was named best for the Knights on the back of his 27 disposals and 10 marks, continuing his partnership down back with bottom-ager Ewan Macpherson (16 disposals, five rebounds). Lorne Waldron and Zane Costello each booted two goals for the visitors, but were beaten out by Tasmania’s Jordan Lane in that regard as he claimed three. Oliver Davis responded well to his Allies omission to collect a team-high 28 disposals, with fellow representative squad member Jackson Callow (16 disposals, 10 marks, 1.2) also prominent. Oscar Burrows-Cheng joined in on Davis’ dirty work with 26 touches of his own, while Patrick Walker was also productive with 25 disposals, nine rebound 50s and a goal. The Devils again host a Metro team at home in Round 12 as they welcome table-toppers Eastern, while Northern is set for a week off with the bye.
GWV REBELS 1.3 | 1.7 | 4.7 | 7.9 (51)
WESTERN JETS 3.1 | 4.2 | 6.3 | 9.4 (58)
GWV: C. Giddings, L. O’Brien, C. Nagorcka, L. Herbert, F. Marris, M. Martin, N. Caris.
Western: A. Manton 2, E. Ford, M. Cousins, K. Borg, J. Honey, H. Schumann, N. Reynolds, L. Vidovic.
GWV: L. Herbert, M. Martin, R. Polkinghorne, M. Burgess, M. Herbert, N. Stevens
Western: C. Raak, L. Rocci, J. Kellett, L. Phillips, E. Ford, M. Cousins
Western Jets climbed into a top four spot with a narrow win over the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels in the first of two Saturday fixtures at Mars Stadium. The Jets simply continue to put wins on the board, thriving in a typically tough period for sides as stars of the competition complete representative action. They broke out to an early lead on the back of 3.1 to GWV’s 1.3, making the most of their chances with a touch more class than their opponents. The first half continued to prove difficult for the home side as their woes in front of goal wore on with four behinds, but it did not matter for much as they also managed to hold Western to just the one goal. The Rebels found their kicking boots after the main break, but unfortunately still lacked the firepower to run over the top of a firm Western side, going down by just over a goal. Liam Herbert was their best with a game-high 28 disposals to go with eight marks, eight tackles and a goal, with returning Country representative Mitch Martin (20 disposals, one goal) also handy. Riley Polkinghorne was another to rack up the ball with another 26 disposals, as some of the more recognised Rebels ball-winners were a touch quieter. For the winners, Daly Andrews won the most ball (27 disposals), but it was Lucas Rocci (24, nine rebound 50s) and Josh Kellett (25, nine rebound 50s) who proved most effective in possession from the back half. Josh Honey and Eddie Ford each found the goals to also be influential, while Archi Manton was the game’s only multiple goal kicker with two. The Jets will look to hold onto their ladder position against Calder in Round 12, while GWV faces a tough ask next time out against an albeit, down Dandenong Stingrays.
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.1 | 5.2 | 7.4 | 10.4 (64)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 3.5 | 6.12 | 8.17 | 13.20 (98)
By: Brandon Hutchinson
Dandenong: J. Neal 2, M. Gregory 2, J. Roysmith, S. Merrick, A. Williamson, B. Welsh, B. Cliffe, J. Stuart.
Murray: R. Bouker 3, D. Bedendo 3, K. Brown 2, C. Wilson, D. Everett, H. Kaak, B. Kelly, J. Cooper.
Dandenong: M. Gregory, B. Milford, P. Gerdan, W. Bravo, L. Williams, S. De Koning
Murray: J. Chalcraft, K. Chalcraft, J. Hillary, W. Chandler, C. Wild, D. Bedendo
After suffering a rare loss in Round 10 against the Northern Knights, the Dandenong Stingrays again suffered another loss at home, going down to the Murray Bushrangers by 34 points. After previously going the whole season undefeated, the Stingrays have now suffered consecutive losses. On the other hand, the win bodes well for the rest of Murray’s season – knocking on the door for finals. Despite doubling their scoring attempts in the first, Murray only led by four-points come quarter-time. Their finishing on goal only worsened in the second, adding three goals and seven more behinds. Dandenong boasted a much better conversion rate, but continually proved outgunned in transition. Following the main break, Murray again struggled in conversion, adding five behinds and two goals. Dandenong kept close with two goals, though despite the one goal difference, Murray’s behinds kept them 19 points ahead. In the fourth, Murray fixed their finish. They put away five in the fourth quarter, while Dandenong added three of their own. Despite Dandenong’s efforts, they were simply outclassed through the centre. Bottom-ager, Max Gregory had his best game for Dandenong this season, amassing two goals, 19 disposals, three marks, five tackles and six rebounds, alongside tall, Bryce Milford, who starred down back with 13 disposals and six rebounds. Sam De Koning (11 disposals, five marks and eight hit-outs) and Lachlan Williams (11 disposals, six marks and four inside 50s) also impressed in their return. For Murray, Cameron Wild (29 disposals, six marks, six tackles, four inside 50s and five rebounds) and Jye Chalcraft (27 disposals, three marks, seven tackles and six inside 50s) were immense through the midfield. Jay Hilary starred down back in the win with 16 disposals, eight marks and seven rebounds, while Will Chandler dominated on the opposite end with 15 disposals, three marks and eight inside 50s. In Round 12, Dandenong come up against the Rebels at home in what they will hope to be a more straightforward victory. Murray find themselves in a similar spot, versing second from bottom, Bendigo, in what could be back-to-back wins on the road.
GIPPSLAND POWER 4.4 | 5.6 | 10.10 | 13.13 (91)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.2 | 4.7 | 4.7 | 6.9 (45)
Gippsland: F. Phillips 5, T. Fitzpatrick 2, H. Pepper, N. Prowd, L. Connolly, M. McGarrity, J. van der Pligt, H. Neocleous.
Oakleigh: A. Tassell, C. Sharman, R. Walsh, T. Lovell, C. Stone, N. Stathopoulos.
Gippsland: F. Phillips, B. Smith, L. Connolly, R. Sparkes, H. Pepper, S. Berry
Oakleigh: V. Zagari, F. Maguire, C. Stone, L. Jenkins, T. Lovell, N. Stathopoulos
A Vic Country bye boded well for the Gippsland Power as they climbed into third with a strong win over the dangerous Oakleigh Chargers. After kicking out to a 20-point quarter time buffer, Oakleigh hit back to find themselves just five points down at the main break with 3.5 in the second term. The see-sawing continued though, as the Chargers were held goalless in the next stanza, and could only answer back with 2.2 in the final period to the home side’s powerful eight-goal second half. Four of Gippsland’s best half-dozen were Country representatives, with Fraser Phillips (20 disposals, 5.3) enjoying a day out to lead the lot and earn a Draft Central Player of the Week nomination. Leo Connolly narrowly missed out on that gig with his game-high 32 touches and lone goal, while skipper Brock Smith, Ryan Sparkes, and bottom-ager Sam Berry each had 26 disposals as Gippsland dominated possession. The likes of Tom Fitzpatrick (17 disposals, 2.1), Harrison Pepper (20 disposals, one goal) and Mason McGarrity (18 disposals, 1.4) were others on the verge of having big days. For Oakleigh, whose winning run has snapped, Vincent Zugari was named best for his team-high 22-disposals effort, with Lochlan Jenkins (18 disposals, 10 tackles) and Josh May (18 disposals) working hard in a weakened midfield. Over-aged debutant Cooper Sharman was one who impressed among the raft of Oakleigh changes, collecting 20 disposals and booting a goal. The Chargers will look to get back on the winners list as they clash with Sandringham next time out, while Gippsland faces a Geelong team desperate for form.
BENDIGO PIONEERS 4.2 | 10.5 | 13.5 | 13.5 (83)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.2 | 3.4 | 5.9 | 7.12 (54)
Bendigo: J. Treacy 4, Z. Murley 2, R. Clarke, S. Mitchell, F. Ellis Castle, A. Cole, J. Dick-O’Flaherty, R. Ironside, R. Wilson.
Geelong: H. Stubbings 2, J. Mullen 2, C. Karpala, M. Annandale, C. Brauer.
Bendigo: W. Wallace, B. Worme, J. Treacy, J. Schischka, R. Wilson, N. Walsh
Geelong: H. Walsh, K. Rayner, C. Page, J. Mullen, L. Smith, H. Stubbings
The Geelong Falcons struggled once again against a determined Bendigo Pioneers, going down by 29 points to Bendigo Pioneers in Saturday’s final fixture. The win sees Bendigo do the double over Geelong for the year, with both sides remaining in the bottom three on the back of tough years to date. Fielding a stronger squad compared to recent weeks, Bendigo got on top in the second term with six goals to one, and held on for victory despite going scoreless in the fourth quarter. Vic Country squad members Ben Worme (26 disposals, seven marks, nine rebounds), James Schischka (20 disposals), and Brady Rowles (15 disposals, seven marks) showed their class in the win, with Riley Wilson (20 disposals, one goal) another solid ball-winner, while Josh Treacybooted four goals as the leading forward on the ground. Zavier Murley was the only other Pioneer to find multiple majors across an impressive nine Bendigo goalkickers, while Harry Stubbings and Jack Mullen did the same for Geelong with two each. Henry Walsh enjoyed his best NAB League outing thus far with a monster 43 hitouts to provide the likes of Keidan Rayner (26 disposals, eight inside 50s) with silver service, while Cameron Fleeton (21 disposals) and Lachlan Smith (17) others to again impress. The Falcons face a tough ask in their search for form next week as they face Gippsland, while Bendigo is set to host Murray as both look to climb out of the bottom four.
EASTERN RANGES 2.2 | 4.4 | 7.6 | 8.8 (56)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.2 | 3.5 | 5.6 | 5.8 (38)
Eastern: B. Hickleton 3, B. McCormack 2, F. Kroeger, B. White, M. Silvaggi.
Sandringham: J. Bell, J. Goddard, J. Miller, E. Soylemez, J. Mifsud.
Eastern: L. Stapleton, B. McCormack, B. Hickleton, T. Edwards, M. Zalac, J. Ross
Sandringham: D. Chirgwin, T. Sheezel, G. Grey, J. Lloyd, J. Mifsud, J. Voss
Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash between Eastern and Sandringham saw little change in terms of ladder position, as the Ranges only strengthened their hold on top spot with an even three-goal win to go four points clear of their weekend opponents. With Eastern holding six and five-point buffers at the first two breaks, the Dragons always looked a chance to come back into the game, but hey were held off well as the Ranges slowly built their lead and kept the dangerous travelling side to just two points in the final term. A difference in firepower ended up being a telling factor, with Ben Hickleton (10 disposals, three goals) and Billy McCormack (19 disposals, 23 hitouts, two goals) stepping up in the absence of Jamieson Rossiter. Jack Bell was the best answer to their efforts for Sandringham up the other end, returning 13 disposals, 21 hitouts and a goal to put his hand up for Metro selection. In the ball-winning stakes, returning Sandringham star Darcy Chrigwin was phenomenal around the ball with a game-high 32 disposals and 16 tackles, with fellow returnee Ryan Byrnes having a steady 21 disposals and Jackson Voss matching his haul in a return to the outside. For Eastern, Jacob Gilbee, Zak Pretty, and Lachlan Stapleton led the possessions but were not named in the best – beaten out by the likes of Tyler Edwards (20 disposals, four inside 50s), Mihaele Zalac (19 disposals, six tackles), and James Ross (15 disposals, five rebound 50s). The Ranges will look to stay top with another win next week against Tasmania on the road, while Sandringham faces Oakleigh in what should be a cracker.