Tag: noah wheeler

Weekend Previews: TAC Cup – Wild Card Round

FOR players of four TAC Cup sides, they will run out for the final time this weekend with the new concept of a Wild Card Round giving every team the chance of winning a premiership, regardless of finishing position during the season. The four games will be played across two days, with a Double Header at MARS Stadium on Saturday, before a Double Header takes place at Ikon Park on Sunday.

 

CALDER CANNONS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Wild Card Round – Saturday, September 1, 11:30am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

It will be a case of déjà vu for fans who make the trip to MARS Stadium tomorrow. The Calder Cannons take on the Geelong Falcons at 11.30am, an identical match, time and place of their Round 16 clash a week ago. In that game, the Falcons proved too good, coming from behind at quarter time to run away with the game before the Cannons kicked back to go down by just 15 points. Arguably the Falcons should have won by more, as despite having 29 scoring shots to 19, they ended the match with an inaccurate 11.18 for the match. Co-captain Sam Walsh was a clear best on ground. Brayden Ham, while inaccurate in front of goal with 1.4, was exciting in the forward half, as was Connor Idun. Cooper Stephens and Ned McHenry were tough on the inside, while Cooper Cartledge and Charlie Sprague played their roles up their respective ends. For the Cannons, Rhylee West was sensational drifting forward to boot three goals, while Daniel Mott and Mitch Podhajski were strong through the midfield, with Podhajski getting forward to finish with two goals. Harrison Jones enjoyed a great game in the ruck, while Lachlan Sholl and Brodie Newman continue to impress behind the ball. Daniel Hanna has been named in the Cannons’ extended team, and will be a crucial inclusion to take a tall in the Falcons forward line, allowing the smaller rebounders to create more run out of defence. Geelong rightfully hold favouritism after last week, and pushing the minor premiers the week before, but both these teams are sleepers in the premiership race, and it is somewhat disappointing one has to go.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Wild Card Round – Saturday, September 1, 2:00pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The second game marks the third time that the Northern Knights will travel to MARS Stadium for the season to tackle the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The venue holds no fears for the Knights, who have been victorious twice, once with a come-from-behind victory in Round 9 by four points, and then again in Round 12 when they won by 22 points. In the first encounter, it took until the 21st minute of the final term for the Northern Knights to hit the front for just the second time that day, with a Patrik Della Rocca goal. That was also the breakout game for bottom-ager Izaac Grant, who booted seven of the Rebels’ nine goals for the day. Elliott Lamb, Scott Carlin and Lochie Dawson were named the Rebels best on the day with Grant, while for the Knights, James Lucente‘s five majors saw him named the best, along with Della Rocca and Stefan Uzelac. In the second encounter, Sunny Brazier and Charlie Wilson booted three goals for their respective sides, while Cooper Craig-Peters and Patrick Glanford were the Rebels’ best. Adam Carafa had a day out with 37 disposals, while speedster Lachlan Potter was also impressive. On form, the Knights will head in as favourites, but some crucial inclusions for the Rebels in Carlin, Grant and Craig-Peters should be equally as important as Lucente and Ryan Sturgess for Northern.

 

WESTERN JETS v. EASTERN RANGES

Wild Card Round – Sunday, September 2, 11:00am
Ikon Park, Carlton North

On Sunday, the Western Jets will take on the Eastern Ranges in a game that is one of two that should be fairly straight forward. As we have seen with finals or pre-finals however, anything can happen and regular season form means nothing now that we are at the knockout stage of the season. Eastern had just the two wins, but pushed Western all the way back in the only encounter between the sides this season. In blustery Williamstown, the Ranges led throughout the match and only trailed by a goal at the final break – mostly due to the Jets inaccuracy, booting 2.12. The home side found its kicking boots in the final term however, booting five goals to one and ran away with the 31-point win. Steven Kyriazis booted two goals that day, while Zak Butters earned best on ground honours (he will not be out there this weekend) and Connor Thar and Stefan Radovanovic were also impressive. Billy McCormack was the multiple goalkicker for Eastern, while Jarrod Gilbee, James Ross and Mitch Mellis were the top Ranges. Mellis will be the only one of the trio playing on Sunday, with Eastern hoping to cause an upset. The winner will face Oakleigh Chargers in the elimination final, so will want to hit the game with some great form.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Wild Card Round – Sunday, September 2, 1:30pm
Ikon Park, Carlton North

Murray Bushrangers were the side unlucky to drop out of the top four race, but by being the top-seeded team in the Wild Card Round, they take on the bottom-placed Bendigo Pioneers. The Pioneers have just had the two wins so far this season, while the Bushrangers won both their previous encounters against Bendigo. Murray won by 57 points in Round 2 up in Shepparton, before claiming a 40-point win at Queen Elizabeth Oval in Round 9. In the first game, Laitham Vandermeer was named best on ground, with the injured speedster not able to be out there on the weekend, but his partner in crime that day, Lachlan Ash will be, as will Nick Murray who was impressive in defence. Noah Wheeler was unsurprisingly named best for the Pioneers with another top performance, while Jye Caldwell amassed 24 disposals and laid seven tackles in his only TAC Cup game until last weekend. He will be crucial for the Pioneers this weekend if they are to get the upset, however the Bushrangers look to be too strong on season form. In the second encounter, Ely Smith was best on ground with 28 disposals and nine tackles, while Jordon Butts slotted six goals in a terrific effort up forward. Oscar Perez and Zane Keighran booted two goals each, while ruck Daniel Keating was named the Pioneers’ top player. With no Wheeler, Keighran or Keating this weekend, it will be a big ask for the Pioneers to get up, but there is no coming back. 

2018 AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year announced

GIPPSLAND Power and Murray Bushrangers make up one third of the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year, with four nominees each in the side. Every side except Eastern Ranges is represented in the team, with minor premiers Dandenong Stingrays (three), Calder Cannons (two), Geelong Falcons (two), Northern Knights (two), Oakleigh Chargers (two) and Western Jets (two) all having multiple nominees. Bendigo Pioneers and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels have one nominee in the starting team each.

Gippsland Power has plenty of talented bottom-agers, but its four National Combine invitees made our Team of the Year in 2018, lead by captain Xavier Duursma, over-ager Matthew McGannon, and bookends Kyle Reid and Noah Gown. Murray also had four nominees with key forward Hudson Garoni, reliable midfielder Ely Smith, the versatile Jordon Butts, and bottom-ager Lachlan Ash, all making the side. Dandenong Stingrays trio, Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman provide the ruck and forward depth, while captain Campbell Hustwaite has had a superb season.

Amongst the sides with dual nominations are Calder Cannons, with co-captain Mitch Podhajski and serial rebounder Lucas Cavallaro making the side after consistent seasons. Geelong Falcons co-captain Sam Walsh is no surprise in the team, captaining the team with teammate, Brayden Ham his vice-captain. GWV Rebels’ forward Charlie Wilson is the sole Rebel in the side, but his eight nominations – equal with Walsh and Ham – have earned him vice-captain with Ham.

Northern Knights duo, Tom McKenzie and Josh D’Intinosante have made the side, with McKenzie being a rare inclusion given he has missed a lot of football due to school commitments. But the football he has played, he has starred and has earned a place in the side. Oakleigh Chargers also have two nominees in the team despite most of their side missing at times, with Jack Ross and Trent Bianco impressing when at TAC Cup level, making the Team of the Year.

The remaining members of the best 24 are Western Jets duo, Xavier O’Halloran and Connor Thar, as well as the sole Bendigo Pioneers nominee, Noah Wheeler, who slots onto a half-back flank. Much like the All-Australian side, the three bottom-agers in Ash, Bianco and D’Intinosante have been named on the bench.

AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week nominations:

8: Brayden Ham, Sam Walsh, Charlie Wilson
7: Campbell Hustwaite, Ely Smith
6: Noah Gown, Mitch Podhajski, Noah Wheeler
5: Lachlan Ash, Xavier Duursma, Jack Ross, Connor Thar, Bailey Williams
4: Trent Bianco, Riley Bowman, Jordon Butts, Lachlan Cavallaro, Josh D’Intinosante, Hudson Garoni, Matthew McGannon, Tom McKenzie, Xavier O’Halloran, Kyle Reid, Liam Stocker

In the Second Team of the Year, Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets all have three nominees each to fill out more than 60 per cent of the team. Dandenong Stingrays, Murray Bushrangers and Sandringham Dragons each have two nominees, while Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power and GWV Rebels have a sole nominee in each in the team. Bendigo Pioneers is the only side without a nominee in the Second Team of the Year.

Eastern Ranges’ Ben Cardamone is the only player with four Team of the Week nominations to miss out on the Team of the Year, so he captains the Second Team of the Year. There are five bottom-agers who have made the side, with Ryan Byrnes, Adam Carafa, Jye Chalcraft, Mitch Mellis and Sam Flanders all earning their places in the Second Team of the Year.

 

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Wild Card Round

THE finals are all but upon us and with most sides fielding arguably their best line-ups for the year in this week’s inaugural Wildcard Round, we should be set for some absolute belters. 

CALDER CANNONS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Wild Card Round – Saturday, September 1, 11:30am

MARS Stadium, Ballarat

Calder take on the Falcons in the first match-up of the round, with recent additions to the Geelong line-up meaning they pose a serious threat to both the Cannons, and all finals contenders – despite finishing the regular season in a disappointing tenth.

Calder have bolstered a couple of areas with Jesse Taylor and Jacob Martin set to line up in the forward 50, while in-form versatile tall Daniel Hanna will slot straight back into the defensive six after outings with Essendon’s VFL team.

For Geelong, small bottom-age forward Jay Dahlhaus could be a handy inclusion, while Finlay Parish is back to provide some added depth to the midfield. Both are named on an extended bench alongside Chas Karpala, with talented 16-year-old Tanner Bruhn the 23rd man.

Calder Cannons

B: 9. C. Barton, 38. B. Newman, 43. L. Cavallaro
HB: 48. S. Ramsay, 23. D. Hanna, 8. L. Sholl
C: 27. T.  Browning, 30. M.  Podhajski, 35. S.  Graham
HF: 57. J. Kemp, 36. P. Mahoney, 14. J. Taylor
F: 33. J. Evans, 5. C. Taylor, 25. J. Martin
R: 29. J. Riccardi, 20. R. West, 1. D. Mott
Int: 44. N. Gentile, 40. L. Johnson, 51. W. Jury, 10. H. Minton-Connell, 3. I. Moussa, 12. J. O’Sullivan, 52. B. Reddick
23P: 21. H. Jones

In: N. Gentile, D. Hanna, J. Taylor, J. Martin
Out: C. Brown

Geelong Falcons

B: 40. J. Clark, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 7. C. Harris
HB: 20. B. Ham, 31. C. Cartledge, 21. L. Smith
C: 8. E.  McHenry, 6. D.  Madigan, 22. S.  Walsh
HF: 9. B. Morton, 39. C. Idun, 13. H. Whyte
F: 36. C. Sprague, 48. B. Schlensog, 2. S. Torpy
R: 44. S. Conway, 30. O. Brownless, 41. C. Stephens
Int: 1. J. Dahlhaus, 11. C. Karpala, 10. B. Mensch, 34. C. Page, 32. F. Parish, 3. K. Rayner, 42. H. Spiller
23P: 15. T. Bruhn

In: F. Parish, C. Karpala, J. Dahlhaus

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Wild Card Round – Saturday, September 1, 2:00pm

MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The Knights and Rebels were destined to face each other in this eighth vs ninth fixture no matter the results of Round 16. Northern are in good form having knocked off top-eight competition in the last two weeks, and will be looking to gain their third win over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) for the year.

They have some serious bottom-age talent to sure up each line, with Ryan Sturgess and Jackson Davies slotting in at half-back, Sam Philp coming into the midfield and forward James Lucente named on an extended bench alongside Charlie Simonsen. They lose the leadership of Mitch Wild and Harrison Grace though, with last round’s debutant Jack House also omitted.

Meanwhile, the Rebels have plenty of changes of their own, with the key one being Scott Carlin replacing Josh Chatfield in the midfield. Plenty of bottom-agers also make up their extended bench, while Cooper Craig-PetersRiley Polkinghorne and Izaac Grant fill spots in the forward and back halves. Also keep an eye on 16-year old key forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who is an exciting mover.

Northern Knights

B: 25. J. Davies, 28. S. Uzelac, 15. O. White
HB: 5. L. Potter, 33. J. Randall, 11. R. Sturgess
C: 30. J.  McInerney, 13. S.  Philp, 4. T.  McKenzie
HF: 24. R. Bowkett, 12. J. Naylor, 17. J. D’Intinosante
F: 3. B. Gillard, 21. M. Baker, 36. K. Yodgee
R: 19. N. Howard, 18. S. Brazier, 8. A. Carafa
Int: 10. B. Bell, 37. K. Brandt, 1. R. Gardner, 27. J. Lucente, 32. I. Rossi, 9. C. Simonsen, 44. C. Wild
23P: 55. J. Boyd

In: R. Sturgess, C. Simonsen, S. Philp, M. Baker, J. Davies, R. Bowkett, J. Lucente
Out: M. Wild, B. Leonard,  H. Grace,  J. House

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 10. J. Lohmann, 18. B. Helyar, 44. R. Polkinghorne
HB: 48. J. Cleaver, 43. J. Wright, 5. H. Jennings
C: 24. M.  Lloyd, 3. S.  Carlin, 30. I.  Wareham
HF: 21. I. Grant, 20. T. Watts, 14. J. Hill
F: 1. C. Craig-Peters, 50. J. Ugle-Hagan, 6. C. Wilson
R: 29. P. Glanford, 7. M. Martin, 2. M. Schnerring
Int: 8. H. Butler, 9. L. Dawson, 41. B. Dodd, 38. I. Ewing, 27. E. Lamb, 47. T. Mahony, 45. D. McEldrew
23P: 26. R. Ranieri

In: H. Butler, C. Craig-Peters, B. Dodd, I. Grant, I. Ewing, R. Polkinghorne, S. Carlin
Out: L. Herbert, J. Chatfield, A. Gove, J. Henderson

 

WESTERN JETS v. EASTERN RANGES

Wild Card Round – Sunday, September 2, 11:00am

IKON Park, Carlton North

Eastern will be coming into this clash with a spring in their step, having pushed top-four side Gippsland hard in the previous round. They showed some good moments of footy and will hoping to bring that same intensity against the Jets. Still, Western have stars on every line in their side and will be hard to beat.

The Jets have brought over-ager Jack Papachatzakis into the starting line-up to replace Jaden Rice in defence, while bottom-ager Cassius White has been named as their 23rd man. The remaining ins make up an extended bench featuring Jack Watkins, with depth the key to their inclusions.

The Ranges look to have included some exciting bottom-age prospects, with Chayce Black and Lucas Vassis named on the bench, while Jayden Weichard slots into defence and bite-sized Kyle Crosby is in as their 23rd player.

Western Jets

B: 15. M. Hearne, 37. H. Murphy, 28. J. Papachatzakis
HB: 48. A. Britten, 38. B. Khamis, 6. L. Rocci
C: 17. D.  Andrews, 12. C.  Thar, 24. J.  Honey
HF: 20. D. Cassar, 31. E. Jeka, 2. T. Rudic
F: 10. S. Kyriazis, 45. A. Clarke, 49. D. Pantalleresco
R: 47. D. Walters, 39. S. Radovanovic, 33. X. O’Halloran
Int: 13. D. Bolkas, 18. B. Colley, 1. L. Failli, 25. S. Johnson, 22. O. Manton, 26. W. Smyth, 7. J. Watkins
23P: 16. C. White

In: D. Bolkas, B. Colley, J. Papachatzakis, C. White, W. Smyth
Out: N. Ellis, C. Raak, J. Rice

Eastern Ranges

B: 37. J. Weichard, 59. J. Nathan, 45. M. Zalac
HB: 23. X. Fry, 31. J. Blanck, 24. K. Quirk
C: 30. T.  Edwards, 7. L.  Stapleton, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 2. A. Kalcovski, 18. B. McCormack, 19. J. Kritopoulos
F: 40. D. Brereton, 65. B. Hickleton, 9. J. Duffy
R: 58. R. Smith, 57. C. Leon, 8. J. Burleigh
Int: 10. C. Black, 1. B. Bredin, 27. J. Jaworski, 64. Z. Pretty, 22. C. Quirk, 25. L. Vassis, 46. B. White
23P: 43. K. Crosby

In: L. Vassis, J. Weichard, J. Jaworski, K. Crosby, C. Black
Out: R. Clausen, W. Parker

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Wild Card Round – Sunday, September 2, 1:30pm

IKON Park, Carlton North

The final game of the round pits fifth placed Murray against bottom-placed Bendigo in an all-Country clash, with both sides coming off losses in the final round of the regular season.

The Bushrangers have brought in Floyd Bollinghaus to replace ruck giant Ben Kelly, while also solidifying their defence with Rory Quinn and Tom Boyd slotting into the 22. Star forward Zane Barzen also returns, and will look to continue his dangerous partnership with Hudson Garoni.

For Bendigo, Connor O’Shea comes in on the wing, with the likes of bottom-ager Logan Fitzgerald making up an extended bench alongside Alex Smith-Ralph and Will Allen. The Pioneers have also been dealt a couple of untimely blows, with Noah Wheeler out of the side, joined by Braydon Vaz. Many will be keen to see if star midfielder Jye Caldwell can impress and push for top-25 selection, having returned to competition in the last couple of weeks.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 11. E. Adams, 59. L. Fiore, 15. R. Quinn
HB: 12. L. Ash, 16. N. Murray, 34. T. Boyd
C: 55. R.  Paradzayi, 5. E.  Smith, 53. C.  Wilson
HF: 7. Z. Barzen, 2. J. Butts, 6. W. Chandler
F: 26. R. Bice, 18. H. Garoni, 13. B. Frauenfelder
R: 35. F. Bollinghaus, 9. M. Walker, 38. D. Clarke
Int: 19. J. Boyer, 20. J. Bradshaw, 1. W. Christie, 10. P. Warner
Emg: 50. K. Davies, 33. F. Ellis, 40. N. Irvine
23P: 58. E. Hollands

In: F. Bollinghaus, T. Boyd, J. Bradshaw, R. Quinn, Z. Barzen
Out: B. Kelly, H. Kaak, D. Harrington, L. Walker

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 21. D. Loveridge, 24. N. McHugh, 49. O. Perez
HB: 25. F. Perez, 18. B. Henderson, 58. J. Tillig
C: 26. C.  O’Shea, 8. B.  Kemp, 51. B.  Waasdorp
HF: 55. C. Fisher, 20. J. Schischka, 3. L. Marciano
F: 16. J. Atley, 54. M. Christensen, 1. M. Goodwin
R: 36. A. Gundry, 4. J. Caldwell, 43. H. Lawrence
Int: 53. W. Allen, 52. L. Bond, 15. L. Caccaviello, 60. L. Fitzgerald, 57. A. Smith-Ralph
23P: 50. N. Kay

In: A. Smith-Ralph, W. Allen, C. O’Shea, L. Fitzgerald, J. Tillig, L. Bond
Out: S. Conforti, N. Wheeler, J. Williams, J. McHale, B. Vaz

AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year 48-man squad announced

WITH the conclusion of the TAC Cup season, AFL Draft Central has released its 48-man squad for the TAC Cup Team of the Year. The AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year takes into account the top performers across the TAC Cup season, not incorporating any performances at school football or National Under 18 Championships, which is why some top-end stars that have missed most of the season through school football such as Bailey SmithNed McHenry and Ben King have not been included. In fact, just three players made the team from school football, with Tom McKenzie the most remarkable, making four Team of the Week nominations from six games, having played the least of any player.

For our TAC Cup Team of the Year, we will construct two 24-player squads with the Team of the Year, and the Second Team of the Year, rewarding all those who have performed strongly across the course of the season. The Team of the Year is worked out first and foremost by our TAC Cup Team of the Week nominations, with all players in the team having at least FOUR Team of the Week nominations. The Second Team of the Year squad is made up of players with between TWO and FOUR nominations.

In terms of club-by-club nominations, Murray Bushrangers has the most, with six players making the squad of 48, while top four sides, Dandenong Stingrays, Gippsland Power and Oakleigh Chargers, all five. The Calder Cannons and Western Jets are also among the sides with five nominees each. Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights had four nominees, while Eastern Ranges and Sandringham Dragons had three each. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels (two) and Bendigo Pioneers (one) round out the remaining sides. The AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year will be announced on Friday.

ADC TAC CUP TEAM OF THE YEAR FULL SQUAD:

Bendigo [1]: Noah Wheeler

Calder [5]: Lucas Cavallaro, Mitch Podhajski, Jake Riccardi, Lachlan Sholl, Curtis Taylor

Dandenong [5]: Riley Bowman, Zac Foot, Campbell Hustwaite, Lachlan McDonnell, Bailey Williams

Eastern [3]: Ben Cardamone, Mitch Mellis, Kye Quirk

Geelong [4]: Brayden Ham, Baxter Mensch, Blake Schlensog, Sam Walsh

Gippsland [5]: Xavier Duursma, Sam Flanders, Noah Gown, Matthew McGannon, Kyle Reid

GWV [2]: Jed Hill, Charlie Wilson

Murray [6]: Lachlan Ash, Jordon Butts, Jye Chalcraft, Hudson Garoni, Ely Smith, Mathew Walker

Northern [4]: Adam Carafa, Josh D’Intinosante, Tom McKenzie, Stefan Uzelac

Oakleigh [5]: Trent Bianco, Jake Gasper, Xavier O’Neill, Isaac Quaynor, Jack Ross

Sandringham [3]: Ryan Byrnes, James Rendell, Liam Stocker

Western [5]: Buku Khamis, Xavier O’Halloran, Stefan Radovanovic, Connor Thar, Jack Watkins

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 16

IN the final round of the TAC Cup season it was incredibly hard to narrow down the best 22 to create the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 16. In the end, with impressive wins to Dandenong Stingrays, Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets each team had three players named in the side, while losers Eastern Ranges and Murray Bushrangers had two representatives with the other winners. Equally, Northern Knights had just the one representative indicating the team effort to get the job done against Murray, along with the remaining losers of Round 16.

Dandenong’s big win over Sandringham Dragons resulted in defender Matthew Gahan, forward Sam Sturt, and inside midfielder, Matthew Cottrell earn their places in the Team of the Week. Fellow top four side, Oakleigh had a huge win over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, and also had three players make the best 22 for the week with Bailey Wraith‘s ruck performance, James Rowbottom‘s midfield work and Atu Bosenavulagi‘s forward craft among the deserving nominees. Oakleigh had plenty of others who could have made the side as well, including Charlie Whitehead and Noah Anderson.

Western Jets also had three players in the Team of the Week, with consistent midfielder, Connor Thar, and speedster Daly Andrews making the team, as did key forward Aaron Clarke. Captain Xavier O’Halloran came close to making the side yet again but just missed out. Geelong Falcons duo Sam Walsh and Brayden Ham have been regulars in the Team of the Week this year and Round 16 was no different, as Ham was named on the half-back flank having played at both ends. Their opponents, Calder Cannons had just the one nominee in Rhylee West who stood tall up forward, but Daniel Mott was considered unlucky and was the 23rd player in the team.

Gippsland Power and Eastern Ranges both had two players make the Team of the Week from their clash, as key forward, Noah Gown and captain, Xavier Duursma made the team once again backing up their impressive recent form. For Eastern, Xavier Fry and Kye Quirk slotted into the best 22. Murray Bushrangers also had two talls make the side despite the loss, with Nick Murray and Jordon Butts slotting into the key defensive posts. While Butts did not play the role on the weekend, he has the versatility to play anywhere and deserved to make it into the 22 after a strong performance.

Of the remaining players in the 22, those who made the Team of the Week as individual nominees were the hardworking Noah Wheeler (Bendigo Pioneers), GWV Rebels forward Jed Hill, Northern Knights midfielder Justin McInerney and Sandringham Dragons star Liam Stocker. Stocker’s teammate, James Rendell was unlucky not to make the team, as was McInerney’s bottom-age teammate, Adam Carafa who could both be hypothetical emergencies in the Team of the Week.

 

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 16

THE final round of the TAC Cup threw up some surprising results, and some standout individual performances. Here is how Round 16 went down.

 

Sandringham Dragons 6.10 (46) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 14.9 (93)

Dandenong Stingrays capped off a near-perfect home and away season, defeating top four side, Sandringham Dragons by 49 points at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on the weekend. The Stingrays finished the season with a 15-1 record and that loss was a six-point defeat at the hands of Oakleigh Chargers. The Stingrays burst out of the blocks booting six goals to one in the opening half, and by the final break had 10 goals on the board to the Dragons’ two. The final term was a goal fest with eight of the 20 goals kicked, as both teams shared in the feast booting four goals apiece. 

Sam Fletcher won plenty of the ball once again with 30 disposals, three marks, two clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, joined on the inside by captain Campbell Hustwaite (28 disposals, four clearances and a goal) who had a combined 34 contested possessions between them. Matthew Cottrell was voted the Stingrays best for his 28 disposals, four clearances, eight inside 50s, two rebounds and a goal, while Sam Sturt continued to impress at TAC Cup level, booting 3.2 from 18 disposals and five marks. Toby Bedford (18 disposals, three clearances and four inside 50s) and Matthew Gahan (16 disposals, four marks and five rebounds) were others who impressed for the winners.

For the Dragons, Liam Stocker had another day out, amassing 32 disposals, one mark, nine clearances, eight inside 50s and three rebounds, winning two thirds of his possessions at the coal face. Alastair Richards was equally effective on the outside, collecting 25 disposals, three marks, two clearances and four rebounds to give the Dragons some important run. James Rendell (14 disposals, two contested marks, 29 hitouts and a goal) and Corey Watts (20 disposals and eight marks) were others who stood tall for the losing side.

 

Geelong Falcons 11.12 (84) defeated Calder Cannons 10.9 (69)

Geelong Falcons gained a vital mental advantage over the Calder Cannons, claiming bragging rights  ahead of the pair’s duel in the Wild Card Round next weekend. The Falcons had to fight from eight points down at quarter time to put pressure on their opponents and had 11 scoring shots to two in the second quarter, heading in with a 16-point advantage. They built on that lead in the third term, before the Cannons finished stronger, but it was just too little, too late in the game, as the Falcons celebrated by 15 points.

Co-captain Sam Walsh was sensational with 37 disposals, 10 marks (one contested), five clearances, eight inside 50s, six rebounds and three behinds, while fellow co-captain Oscar Brownless got the Falcons moving early, finishing the game with 19 disposals, six marks, four inside 50s and a powerful long-range goal. Brayden Ham‘s consistent season continued with 20 disposals, nine marks and eight inside 50s, albeit with an inaccurate 1.4. Ned McHenry (27 disposals, seven marks, three clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal), Cooper Stephens (21 disposals, seven marks, six clearances and three inside 50s) and Connor Idun (16 disposals, seven marks and three inside 50s and a goal) were others who stood out for the winners.

Calder had a number of strong contributors with Daniel Mott having a team-high 29 disposals, three marks, nine clearances, six inside 50s and three rebounds. Rhylee West was strong up forward, booting three goals while resting up there to go with his 20 touches, four marks (two contested), six clearances and four inside 50s. Lachlan Sholl (20 disposals, 11 marks and five rebounds) and Mitch Podhajski (21 disposals, eight marks, two clearances, four inside 50s and two goals) were others who stood out for the Cannons.

 

GWV Rebels 5.3 (33) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 18.15 (123)

In a match that started positively for the Rebels, it ended in disaster as Oakleigh Chargers stormed home with a 90-point win at MARS Stadium. The Rebels, although down at the first break, had been matching the Chargers around the ground, and faced a 13-point deficit at the first break. A five goals to two second term put the Rebels to the sword, but it was the nine goals to one second half that saw Oakleigh waltz away with the huge win, peppering the goals in the second half, having a whopping 20 scoring shots to two, in a game which the deficit could have been even greater.

Jack Ross had the most disposals, with 26 touches, five marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and a goal, ably assisted on the inside by James Rowbottom (24 disposals and eight clearances) and Riley Collier-Dawkins (16 disposals and seven clearances). Trent Bianco had another impressive game highlighted by a strong second half, picking up 15 disposals and having 24 overall, to go with his five marks and six rebounds, while Zac Hart buzzed around to collect 23 disposals, six marks, six inside 50s and three rebounds. Atu Bosenavulagi and Jake Gasper caused headaches up forward, while Noah Anderson and Jay Robertson also booted three goals.

For the Rebels, Matty Lloyd was the sole player with more than 20 disposals, having 24 touches, five marks and eight rebounds, while forward, Jed Hill was the clear standout player, having 12 disposals, three marks (one contested), two clearances and three goals – all in the first half. Jayden Wright played well in defence with five rebounds from 19 disposals and three marks, while Charlie Wilson had four clearances and four inside 50s from 14 disposals.

 

Gippsland Power 11.11 (77) defeated Eastern Ranges 10.8 (68)

Gippsland Power finished their season off with a hard-fought nine-point win over Eastern Ranges. The Power had to work for it against the bottom two side, booting the first four goals of the game, but being reeled in over the next two quarters to trail at the final break by three points. Luckily for Gippsland, they booted four goals to two in the final term and ensured their regular season ended on a high.

Captain Xavier Duursma was consistent once again with 21 touches, two marks, five clearances, three inside 50s and two goals, while bottom-age forward, Sam Flanders also had 21 disposals, two marks, eight inside 50s and booted an inaccurate 1.4. Noah Gown continued his strong form up forward with another four goals from 20 disposals and eight marks (two contested), while Leo Connolly (20 disposals, three marks, five inside 50s and a goal) and Riley Baldi (18 disposals, three marks, four clearances and three inside 50s) were other prominent ball winners.

For Eastern, Kye Quirk had a massive game-high 34 disposals, five marks, two clearances, eight inside 50s and two rebounds, while Xavier Fry was prominent in defence with seven rebounds from 24 disposals and five marks. Joel Burleigh had 23 disposals, four marks, four clearances, six inside 50s, four rebounds and two goals, while Lachlan Stapleton was busy at the stoppages, recording eight clearances and 21 disposals. Adrian Kalcovski booted three goals from 22 disposals and seven marks, while Mitch Mellis had 19 touches and three marks.

 

Murray Bushrangers 8.7 (55) defeated by Northern Knights 9.10 (64)

Northern Knights spoiled the party for Murray Bushrangers, who were looking to cement a top four spot with a win. The Knights could not move out of eighth spot, and the home side got on top early, booting six goals to three in the first half. Northern clawed back into the contest in the third quarter, to cut the deficit to nine points at the final change, but came over the top of the Bushrangers, booting four goals to one in the nine-point victory.

Justin McInerney was busy around the ground for the Knights, picking up 24 disposals, 12 marks (one contested), two inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal. Adam Carafa also found 24 touches and had five marks, four clearances, three rebounds and a goal. Cameron Wild was busy with 22 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and a goal, while Josh D’Intinosante had 18 touches, five marks, seven inside 50s and a goal. Teammate Oscar White also covered the ground well with six inside 50s and five rebounds from 17 disposals and five marks (one contested).

Jimmy Boyer was the top ball winner for the Bushrangers, racking up 25 touches, seven marks, seven clearances and three inside 50s, while Edward Adams had 22 disposals, seven marks (one contested) and four rebounds. Jordon Butts was productive through the midfield, sending the ball inside 50 on six occasions from 21 disposals and seven marks, while Nick Murray had five rebounds from 21 disposals and seven marks. Bottom-ager Lachlan Ash (17 disposals, five marks and five rebounds) and Ely Smith (18 disposals, two marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and a goal) were others who impressed for the losing side.

 

Bendigo Pioneers 8.9 (57) defeated by Western Jets 15.8 (98)

A six goals to two first term effectively ended the contest before it began, as the finals-bound Western Jets got the job done against the Bendigo Pioneers. After quarter time it was much closer as the Pioneers booted six goals to the Jets’ nine, but could not quite capitalise and the Jets enjoyed the 41-point lead heading into the Wild Card Round next weekend.

Connor Thar had a super game with 32 disposals, five marks, three contested, five inside 50s, two rebounds and two goals to be named the AFL Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 16, while Daly Andrews (26 disposals, nine marks, six inside 50s, four rebounds and one goal) was busy around the ground. Captain Xavier O’Halloran was deadly going inside 50, having 10 entries along with 25 touches, six marks, four clearances and a goal. Jack Watkins was also instrumental with 25 disposals, four marks, five clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal. Aaron Clarke was the key forward with four majors while Steven Kyriazis booted three.

For the Pioneers, Noah Wheeler was again the top performer for the home side, picking up 19 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s, six rebounds and a goal, while Bailey Henderson had six rebounds from 22 disposals and seven marks. Talented bottom-ager Brodie Kemp had 21 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while Jye Caldwell had 19 disposals, four marks and four clearances in his first TAC Cup game since early in the year.

Walsh favourite in open field for Morrish Medal

GEELONG Falcons dynamo Sam Walsh is predicted to be the front runner in Sunday’s Morrish Medal count, despite playing just the 10 games in the TAC Cup competition if the AFL Draft Central predictions are anything to go by. The number one pick contender is likely to poll votes in as many as eight games, including his last five since returning from the National Under 18 Championships. He is not alone in the stakes for the medal, with AFL Draft Central predicting a number of other contenders hot on his heels, with nine of the top 10 placegetters in our count from different TAC Cup clubs.

Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons)

The Falcons midfielder has enjoyed a terrific season in 2018, firing on all cylinders since returning from the championships, and expect him to power home like Hugh McCluggage did in 2016 with a huge run home. It is almost hard to ignore him in most games, and we have him polling in eight of a possible 10 matches, and usually with the three or two votes. Some heavy losses to Geelong at times will not help, but he missed quite a few of the mid-year games where the Falcons had trouble.

Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power)

The biggest challenger to Walsh is fellow captain, Gippsland Power midfielder, Xavier Duursma. He also missed games due to National Under 18 Championships, and also missed a game due to injury, but when he has played, he has been ultra-consistent. He will have plenty of teammates threatening to take votes off him such as Noah Gown, Kyle Reid or Riley Baldi among others, but if the umpires saw him as the key in many of the Power’s wins, Duursma is in with a huge chance of causing an upset.

Liam Stocker (Sandringham Dragons)

Prior to returning in Round 9 following injury, we predicted Liam Stocker to be sitting on just four votes. Over four of the next five games we predicted Stocker would pick up 10 votes, before collecting another three on the weekend for a big weekend in the umpires eyes. He is one who could poll even better if the umpires vote him ahead of the Kings or Bailey Smith, but when they played they dominated.

Charlie Wilson (GWV Rebels)

The GWV Rebels forward is a bit of an unknown come Morrish Medal night because he is one who could poll regularly, or be the one that gets left behind being a forward instead of a midfielder. But his consistency through the mid-season and on the back straight is not to be underestimated, having at least three best on grounds in the run home.

Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons)

You get the feeling he could be pushing Walsh if Geelong had won more games, but expect Ham and Walsh to combine for the top two votegetters on a few occasions. He has that eye-catching ability that is likely to poll him quite a few votes, but like Wilson, it just depends if they opt for that powerful forward who can play up the ground – and in defence at times – or if they opt for pure midfielders with the votes.

Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets)

The Jets captain is likely to run out to an early lead in the count with a strong season pre-Under 18 Championships. Aside from a couple of quiet games in the first month, we predict O’Halloran to be on 11 votes after seven rounds. From there though others have stood out more with the votes shared around late in the season, but is sure to poll well early. It will be interesting to see how the votes are divided up between himself and Connor Thar, in particular.

Mitch Podhajski (Calder Cannons)

It is a bit hard to read how the Cannons co-captain will poll because he spent time in the Victorian Football League (VFL) throughout the season, and will have to fight the likes of Rhylee West and Jack Bytel for votes at either end of the season. His purple patch from Rounds 12 to 14 could see him rack up quite a few votes with at least two best on grounds, and be another top 10 certainty one would think.

Ely Smith (Murray Bushrangers)

A slow start to the season, but once he got going, he really got going. Had the luxury of playing the majority of games, and had no trouble finding the ball. The fact he caught the eye of Vic Country coaches to be a late-call up, one would think he would catch the eye of the umpires as well.

Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong Stingrays)

Dandenong is the toughest team to read how votes will go. They won 15 of a possible 16 votes which means the most votes of any side. The problem? The votes are likely to be split by as many as 12 players who could float in and out as the top vote getters. Captain Campbell Hustwaite is likely to poll the most for the Stingrays, but we also have Bailey Williams, Riley Bowman, Sam Fletcher, Corey Ellison, Matthew Cottrell and Zac Foot all polling in multiple games.

Jake Gasper (Oakleigh Chargers)

In the same boat as Wilson and Ham, comes Oakleigh Chargers’ Jake Gasper. Like Dandenong, Oakleigh is hard to predict where votes will go given the high volume of top performances. Jack Ross, Trent Bianco, James Rowbottom, Isaac Quaynor and Noah Anderson are among those who we have predicted will poll solidly.

 

In terms of club leading vote getters of the three remaining clubs, Bendigo’s Noah Wheeler seems the clear choice for the Pioneers and will likely attract votes in the games where Bendigo got close, or won. Eastern Ranges’ bottom-ager Mitch Mellis is one of a number of players who could poll the most from the other bottom two side, while Northern has a number of contenders fighting over votes, but we have thought Josh D’Intinosante might be the top pick of the bunch. Others just outside the top 10 elsewhere are Stingrays duo Williams and Bowman, Murray trio Lachlan Ash, Hudson Garoni and Laitham Vandermeer, and Oakleigh trio Ross, Bianco and Rowbottom.

 

AFL Draft Central Predicted Leaderboard:

Sam Walsh (Geelong) 21 votes
Xavier Duursma (Gippsland) 20
Liam Stocker (Sandringham) 17
Charlie Wilson (GWV) 15
Brayden Ham (Geelong) 14
Xavier O’Halloran (Western) 14
Ely Smith (Murray) 14
Mitch Podhajski (Calder) 13
Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong) 12
Jake Gasper (Oakleigh) 12

Top by club not mentioned above:

Bendigo: Noah Wheeler (8)
Eastern: Mitch Mellis (7)
Northern: Josh D’Intinosante (10)

Votes by Club:

Dandenong Stingrays (75)
Gippsland Power (68)
Oakleigh Chargers (67)
Murray Bushrangers (58)
Sandringham Dragons (52)
Calder Cannons (47)
Geelong Falcons (46)
Western Jets (45)
Northern Knights (41)
GWV Rebels (36)
Eastern Ranges (24)
Bendigo Pioneers (17)

Weekend Previews: TAC Cup – Round 16

THE final round of the TAC Cup is here and for four sides, it will be the last round before a week off ahead of finals. Three sides – Sandringham Dragons, Oakleigh Chargers and Murray Bushrangers – are battling for the last two positions in the top four, while there are still plenty of moves that could happen lower down the ladder.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 16 – Saturday, August 25, 10.30am Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

The first clash of the weekend is one that will determine the games that follow. A Sandringham Dragons outfit will be breathing fire after going down to an impressive Oakleigh Chargers side last week, and will want to make amends through knocking off the minor premiers, Dandenong Stingrays. A win for the Dragons will lock away third spot, while a loss leaves them at the mercy of other results. Oakleigh Chargers play bottom four side Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, while Murray Bushrangers go head-to-head with Northern Knights, and if both are victorious, the Dragons drop to fifth. Dandenong are close to full strength, with about 15 of its 17 combine invitees in the extended side. They will miss Riley Bowman, but with plenty of talls to cover, the bigger loss is on the Dragons side with captain Bailey Smith still out. Liam Stocker was strong on the inside last week but needed an extra hand or two in there, and the return of Samuel Forbes will see Ryan Byrnes and Darcey Chirgwin able to focus their efforts on the inside. Though Dandenong’s midfield does not have the star power of Oakleigh, it bats deep and can hurt you in multiple ways. If the Stingrays can contain Ben King and limit the inside 50s, then they will go a long way to victory, but they cannot afford to miss gettable shots at goal like they did against the Geelong Falcons last week. Bailey Williams and Campbell Hustwaite were among the Stingrays best last week, and with Jai Taylor and Zac Foot on the outside, expect a good contest here.  

GEELONG FALCONS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 16 – Saturday, August 25, 11.30am MARS Stadium, Ballarat

Unless Western Jets go down to Bendigo Pioneers, this will be a pre-cursor for the Wildcard Round clash a week later. Both teams are dangerous when at full strength, and Geelong’s wildcard forward, Charlie Sprague will help to add another dimension inside 50. With fellow National AFL Draft Combine invitees, Connor IdunSam Walsh and Ned McHenry also able to rotate through the area it will make for an exciting spectacle. Geelong lost no fans after a really strong effort against the Stingrays last week, and will be looking to continue that form against the Cannons here. Calder looked dangerous inside 50 with Josh Kemp and Jake Riccardi leading the way against Eastern Ranges last week, and will look to stretch the Falcons’ defence. Curtis Taylor, Rhylee West and Mitch Podhajski have a three-way rotation through the midfield, forward line and interchange with short bursts enabling them to impact on the contest. All three will be crucial in determining how deep the Cannons go in finals, and with Daniel Hanna returning to the defence, and Lucas Cavallaro and Lachlan Sholl providing good rebound out of that back half, Calder will look to springboard out of defensive 50 and play smart football to their tall forwards.  

GIPPSLAND POWER v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 16 – Saturday, August 25, 2pm Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell

An imposing Gippsland Power outfit hosts Eastern Ranges in a game that realistically does not mean much in terms of finals, but will serve as a way for both sides to end their regular seasons on a high. The Power have locked up second spot and earned a week off, while Eastern will head to the Wildcard Round all but certain to face the Western Jets. Unless the Pioneers upset the Jets, the Ranges will face either the Dragons, Chargers or Bushrangers. With Caleb Serong and Sam Flanders returning to the side, the Power should take care of business in this one. They did what they had to against the Bushrangers last week, and are back at home for their last Morwell game of the year. In front of a home crowd they will show off their incredible depth, particularly for next year, while captain Xavier Duursma and the in-form Noah Gown will prepare to be key cogs in their finals campaign. The Ranges looked good in the second term against Calder, with the breeze, but did not capitalise on their opportunities in front of goal, which they will need to do in this game if they are to stand a chance of the upset. They also have a number of talented bottom-agers who form a good nucleus through the midfield with Mitch Mellis and Lachlan Stapleton strong contributors, while top-age defender James Blanck will look to nullify Gown in one of the crucial match-ups on the day.  

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 16 – Saturday, August 25, 2pm MARS Stadium, Ballarat

It will take some effort for the GWV Rebels to cause an upset in this one, and that is nothing against the Rebels, but the Chargers are on fire at the moment. They dismantled the highly rated Sandringham Dragons and beat them at their own game. With a large amount of draftable talent, and a top four spot on the line, Oakleigh will not take the foot off the pedal in this game. The Rebels played arguably their best game of the year aside from perhaps the Geelong Falcons win earlier in the year, with most of their side out due to St Patrick’s playing in the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final. They regain most of their best 22 for the game, gaining outside run and greater depth up forward, and need to realistically win the midfield battle if they are to cause an upset. Charlie Wilson and Jed Hill were in ripping form last week, as was bottom-ager Mitch Martin, and Tylar Watts contributing a couple of goals returning to the side as a tall forward. Will Kelly did well against Ben King when they did get the chance to face-off in defensive 50, while Jack Ross, James Rowbottom and Will Golds were among the top-age brigade which racked up the ball. Bottom-agers Trent Bianco, Dylan Williams and Noah Anderson loom as danger players, while Matty Lloyd and Patrick Glanford are among those back in who should impact the contest.  

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 16 – Sunday, August 26, 1pm Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

Depending on Saturday’s results, this could either be a live contest that seriously shakes up the top eight, or two sides that are locked into their spots on the table. The Knights cannot move from eighth – aside from dropping to ninth if the Rebels win, but will play them in the Wildcard Round anyway – while Murray will be playing for a top four spot if one of Sandringham or Oakleigh lose, otherwise they cannot move either way from fifth. With top four on the line you would expect the Bushrangers to come out firing, and despite the loss of Jye Chalcraft, they regain Ely Smith from state league duties who will be crucial against the big-bodied Northern midfielders. Both sides are not afraid to have a crack, and with the home ground advantage, Murray will look to get it long to Hudson Garoni and Zane Barzen who will be keen to hit the scoreboard. Joel Naylor booted four goals in a low-scoring game against Western Jets last weekend, while Josh D’Intinosante always looks dangerous inside 50. With the speed of Lachlan Potter off half-back, the Knights will back themselves in to win this contest and prepare for next week, likely at the same ground. Murray’s defence was good for the most part last week, and Nick Murray and Lachlan Ash will look to back up last week’s effort with a similar showing here.  

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 16 – Sunday, August 26, 1pm Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the final game of the round, bottom of the table Bendigo Pioneers take on Western Jets, in a game that might not end up having much bearing on the finals race, but will be important for Western if indeed Calder get up against Geelong. It would mean the Jets drop to seventh and face the Falcons instead of the Eastern Ranges, with Geelong showing it has the capability to match it with the best as per its game against Dandenong last weekend. The Jets just needed a bit more finishing class, missing opportunities in the final quarter against Northern, narrowly missing out on the four points in that game. Leaders Jye Caldwell and Xavier O’Halloran return for their respective teams, in what adds extra interest in the clash given Caldwell has been out of football for the most part. With the home ground advantage, the Pioneers will be hoping to cause an upset and hand Eastern the spoon with a victory, while the Jets will look to cause headaches with the run of Stefan Radovanovic and Daly Andrews getting the ball forward to their array of small forwards. Brodie Kemp and Noah Wheeler both impressed last week for the Pioneers and will be key cogs in the game if Bendigo are to finish the regular season with a win. Victory also means they potentially avoid Sandringham Dragons in the Wildcard Round.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 15

IMPRESSIVE wins to Calder Cannons, Gippsland Power and Oakleigh Chargers have resulted in each of the three sides contributing three representatives to the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 15. Meanwhile other winners, the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Northern Knights had two each, as did Geelong Falcons and Murray Bushrangers. It was an odd game between the Falcons and Dandenong Stingrays, with the Falcons recording an extra player in Team of the Week despite losing narrowly. The other four losing sides also had just the one player each.

The Cannons had three players who were crucial in each third of the ground, with Lucas Cavallaro and Jake Riccardimaking our Team of the Week once again, while ruck Harrison Jones made it into the 22 for the first time this season. Gippsland also had one in each third of the ground, with defender Brock Smith, midfielder Riley Baldi, and tall forward Noah Gown earning their places in the side, while captain Xavier Duursma came close to making the side as well, but it was a tough midfield to break into this week. Oakleigh had a couple of bottom-agers in the side, with Dylan Williams and Trent Bianco making the team, along with top-age midfielder Jack Ross.

GWV Rebels forwards who spent time in the midfield, Charlie Wilson and Jed Hill made the side again, while Bendigo Pioneer Noah Wheeler found himself in the side again for his tireless work in defence and through the midfield. Geelong Falcons star, Sam Walsh and teammate Blake Schlensog make it into the team, as does opposing midfielder Campbell Hustwaite, in a performance which was incredibly even by the Stingrays, and both Sam Sturt and Bailey Williams can consider themselves unlucky not to be in the team.

Murray might have lost this week, but utility Mat Walker and defender Nick Murray stood out, making the best 22 for the week, while Zane Barzen was another player unlucky not to make it, and would have been named a hypothetical emergency for his three goals. Northern Knights pair, inside midfielder Adam Carafa and forward Joel Naylor both made the side, as did opposing midfielder, Western Jet Connor Thar. Of the remaining places in the 22, Sandringham Dragons’ full-back Corey Watts and Eastern Ranges’ Cooper Leon both made the team.

Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 15

IN an action packed weekend with six games across two venues, it saw the top two lock up their position, leaving just three teams in the race for third and fourth spot. 

Gippsland Power 9.13 (67) defeated Murray Bushrangers 5.8 (38)

Gippsland Power locked up a top two spot on the weekend with an impressive 29-point win over fellow top four side Murray Bushrangers. The Power held the Bushrangers scoreless in the opening term, opening up a 16-point lead by quarter time. They extended the margin to 22 by the main break, before a Zane Barzen-inspired Bushrangers outfit hit back. They missed a few opportunities but cut the deficit to 16 by the final break, before Gippsland booted the only two goals of the final term to record a comfortable win and lock up second spot on the TAC Cup table.

Riley Baldi was sensational for the Power, racking up 31 disposals, seven marks, seven clearances, five tackles, two rebounds and a goal. Captain Xavier Duursma continued his good form with 26 disposals, three marks, six inside 50s and a goal, while key forward Noah Gown slotted three majors from 14 disposals and five marks (three contested), but could have had more, slotting four behinds. Brock Smith played one of his best games of the year in defence amassing 22 disposals, four marks, two inside 50s and seven rebounds. In defence, Kyle Reid did a great job on the competition’s leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, while Matt McGannon was clean with his 11 touches, three marks and five rebounds.

For Murray, Mat Walker was really strong across the four quarters, picking up 18 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s, while Barzen was the excitement machine up forward, booting 3.2 from 11 disposals and six marks. Bottom-ager Jimmy Boyer found plenty of the ball with 28 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, four clearances, six inside 50s and four rebounds, while ruck Floyd Bollinghaus covered the ground really well from 23 disposals, two marks, 14 hitouts and five clearances. Nick Murray (18 disposals, five marks and four rebounds) and Ed Adams (24 disposals, seven marks and five rebounds) were a couple of defenders who were busy on the day.

 

Geelong Falcons 5.7 (37) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 7.13 (55)

Dandenong Stingrays showed why they have taken out the TAC Cup minor premiership, but not without a genuine challenge from Geelong Falcons in wet conditions at MARS Stadium. The Falcons burst out of the blocks to boot three goals to one, and lead by nine points despite the Stingrays having an extra scoring shot. From quarter time the game was more on the Stingrays’ terms, but the Falcons refused to go away. When Geelong scored the first goal of the final term, just a kick separated the sides, before Sam Sturt put the game to bed with a couple of late majors.

Captain Campbell Hustwaite was prominent for the Stingrays, racking up 24 disposals, one mark, six clearances, five tackles and four inside 50s, while Lachlan McDonnell also found his fair share of the football with 22 disposals, three marks, four clearances and a goal. Sturt was the main man up forward with three majors from 14 disposals and four marks, while Bailey Williams kept presenting amassing 10 touches, two marks, seven tackles and three behinds. Potential 2019 top pick Hayden Young had another good showing with 15 disposals, five clearances, three inside 50s and nine marks in the 18-point win.

Geelong Falcons star, Sam Walsh had another day out with 25 disposals, three marks, two clearances, three inside 50s, three rebounds and two goals, while Blake Schlensog was terrific early in the ruck for 14 disposals, six marks, seven hitouts, three inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal. Brayden Ham stood out off half-back with 18 disposals, six marks, three tackles and five rebounds, while bottom-ager Cooper Stephens had 22 disposals (16 contested), two marks, eight clearances and four inside 50s.

 

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels 11.9 (75) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 5.9 (39)

In the final game of the Country Triple Header, GWV Rebels stormed home to boot nine goals to one after half-time and run over the top of Bendigo Pioneers. The Pioneers looked good early and adapted to the conditions better than the home side, booting four goals to two in the first half to lead by eight points at the main break. But with Charlie Wilson and Tylar Watts forward, the Rebels powered home finding their kicking boots and scoring 9.3 to 1.7 to win by 36 points.

Wilson booted two goals from 26 disposals, five marks, six clearances, five inside 50s, three rebounds and nine tackles in another best on ground performance. While, Watts played one of his best games of the year, booting two goals – including a nice long-range goal off a couple of steps – from 12 disposals 10 hitouts, three clearances, three inside 50s and six tackles. Mitch Martin also worked between midfield and forward booting three goals from 21 disposals, three marks, five clearances and six inside 50s, while Jed Hill continued his good form with 19 disposals, two marks, seven clearances, six inside 50s and 1.3. Bottom-ager Toby Mahony (18 disposals, three clearances and a goal) and Ethan Harvey (23 disposals, two marks and five clearances) were others who were prominent on the day.

Noah Wheeler was Bendigo’s best player on the day, racking up 28 disposals, six marks and seven rebounds working hard throughout the four quarters, while Bailey Henderson (27 disposals, eight marks and 10 rebounds) and Brodie Kemp (26 disposals, five marks, eight clearances and a goal) were also impressive for the losing side. Hunter Lawrence had another 22 touches, while Riley Ironside, Jacob Atley and Flynn Perez all had 18 disposals.

 

Western Jets 8.6 (54) defeated by Northern Knights 9.6 (60)

In what was a thrilling contest, and the closest of the weekend, Northern Knights just got over the line against a determined Western Jets outfit. The Knights took the early ascendancy with the breeze, booting three goals to zero in the first term. Western hit back with a massive five goals to one second term to take a six-point lead into half-time. Northern regained control with a slightly inaccurate 5.4 to 2.0 term to lead by 16 points with a quarter to go. Kicking with the breeze, the Jets stormed home with five scoring shots, but could only convert the one goal, to fall six points short at the death.

Adam Carafa was huge on the inside with 20 contested possessions from his 33 disposals, and also had 10 clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds. Bottom-ager Josh D’Intinosante booted a goal from 19 disposals, four marks, two clearances and five inside 50s, while Joel Naylor booted for goals from eight touches and four marks. Braedyn Gillard returned for his first game back from injury playing forward and had 16 disposals, three marks, two inside 50s and a goal, while Stefan Uzelac was strong at full-back with 15 disposals, five marks, four tackles and two rebounds.

For the Jets, Darcy Cassar was strong with 27 disposals, four marks, eight tackles, three clearances and eight inside 50s, while Connor Thar continues to pump out consistent performances, notching up 25 disposals (16 contested), nine clearances, nine tackles, three rebounds and a goal. Jack Watkins (26 disposals, seven clearances and nine tackles) was the other big ball winner, while Daly Andrews (14 disposals, five tackles and three rebounds) and Buku Khamis (14 disposals, three marks and three rebounds) were others who impressed

 

Eastern Ranges 5.15 (45) defeated by Calder Cannons 14.3 (87)

Calder Cannons used the strong breeze to their advantage in the win over Eastern Ranges, booting 12 goals to zero with the wind to set up a 42-point win. While the Ranges had more scoring shots, they missed time and time again with the troubling breeze, scoring 5.15, while the Cannons were deadly in front of goal booting 14 goals from 17 scoring shots. While the Cannons did not score in the second term, they booted two goals in the final term as the Ranges struggled to capitalise, only scoring two majors from their eight scoring shots. 

Jake Riccardi booted 5.1 including three in the first term, finishing with 20 disposals, 10 marks (three contested), five hitouts and four inside 50s. Lucas Cavallaro was prominent in the defensive 50 with another 10 rebounds – he was already more than 20 ahead of the next highest rebounder in the competition – from 24 disposals and three marks. Daniel Mott (22 disposals, three clearances and three inside 50s), Rhylee West (22 disposals, eight clearances and three inside 50s) and Mitch Podhajski (21 disposals, three marks, three clearances, five inside 50s and a goal) were strong through midfield and forward, while Harrison Jones had 21 hitouts from 18 disposals, three marks and three clearances.

For Eastern, Kye Quirk had 31 disposals, three marks, five clearances and three inside 50s, while Cooper Leon (28 disposals, six marks, two clearances, six inside 50s and three rebounds) and Lachlan Stapleton (24 disposals, three marks, nine tackles, three clearances and seven inside 50s) were judged Eastern’s best. Mitch Mellis had another good game with 26 disposals, two marks, two clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while Caleb Quirk booted 2.3 from 13 disposals and six marks (three contested).

 

Oakleigh Chargers 13.10 (88) defeated Sandringham Dragons 4.8 (32)

Oakleigh Chargers have stamped their authority as a genuine premiership contender with a thumping 56-point victory over fellow contender Sandringham Dragons. Sandringham booted the first goal through Ben King, but it was the Chargers who dominated from then on, piling on 13 of the next 16 goals to run away with a surprisingly comfortable victory, restricting the Dragons to just 23 inside 50s and beating them at their own game, having 42 more disposals and a massive 33 more marks.

Jack Ross was Oakleigh’s best with 25 disposals, eight marks, six clearances, five inside 50s, three tackles and a goal, while Trent Bianco had 27 disposals, six marks and four inside 50s. Dylan Williams booted four goals up forward – three consecutively in the second term – from 13 disposals and three marks, while Isaac Quaynor was busy once again with 17 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s. Will Kelly was good against King in the few one-on-ones they had. Will Golds (27 disposals, seven marks and five inside 50s) and James Rowbottom (26 disposals, five marks and six clearances) were also impressive for the Chargers.

For the Dragons, Liam Stocker was strong on the inside, picking up seven clearances from 22 disposals (13 contested – a team high), while Alastair Richards provided run on the outside with 24 touches, four marks, two clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while Josh Worrell stood up in defence with four rebounds and nine marks from 22 disposals. Corey Watts was Sandringham’s best with 12 disposals, three marks and seven rebounds, while James Rendell worked hard in the ruck from 26 hitouts, four clearances, nine disposals and two marks.