Tag: northern academies

Queensland Academy Watch | Lions learn, Suns caught in COVID chaos

DESPITE losing in Thursday night footy in the seniors to the Brisbane Lions, Geelong’s reserves have given their club some consolation with a cracking 118-point away win on Friday.

As was to be expected in a contest between mostly AFL listed players, the early going was willing and scores remained close into the second quarter, but Geelong’s exceptional midfield began to exert its dominance and booted the final four goals to go into half time with a lead that would extend through the second half, as they went on an 18-goal rampage until the Lions fought to retain some respectability in junk time.

For the Lions, Academy player Tom Triffett topped the tackle count with 11 and added a goal to his 14 disposals, while James Langbourne again got forward to hit the scoreboard and mid-season draftee Kalin Lane backed up his debut with a goal and 11 hit-outs.

Brisbane again fielded 10 top-up players, with the late decision to cancel the Allies camp due to Sydney’s worsening COVID crisis, so Saxon Crozier, Tahj Abberley, Jack Briskey and Triffett were drafted into the VFL side at the last minute, against a Geelong outfit with mature-bodied ex-AFL players included, and the result showed the imbalance.

2019 second round draft pick Francis Evans kicked 4.2 for the victors, while 2020 second round tall Shannon Neale kicked 4.1, but it was Charlie Constable with 44 disposals who starred with the big-bodied inside midfielder putting in a great audition in a contract year.

Spare a thought for Gold Coast Suns Academy players in the Allies squad, who after their camp was cancelled were selected to play VFL, only for the Southport vs. Suns fixture to be postponed as well. Will Bella, Max Pescud, Bailey Reeves, Jack Johnston and Bodhi Uwland subsequently missed out on playing football altogether.

However, Finn Brown turned in a best on ground performance for Broadbeach for the third game straight as he and Austin Harris ran through the midfield in the Cats’ loss to Sherwood. Meanwhile, Jed Foggo and Brinn Little turned out for Palm Beach Currumbin in their loss to Maroochydore, as top-age ruck Thomas Hofert joined junior club Labrador for their thumping win over Noosa.

Gold Coast prospect Jye Lockett played his fourth senior game for North Ballarat, bagging a couple of goals to bring his tally to a total of seven for the season in the Ballarat League.

Image Credit: RF Photography

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 9

METRO regions returned to the NAB League in Round 9 as full-time competition resuming, with seven games played on a bumper weekend of action. It meant plenty of Victorian, Tasmanian, and Giants Academy prospects were able to show their wares ahead of the Under 17 and 19 National Championships, with a good amount of budding representatives strutting their stuff in style. We take a look at some of the top performers from each side, in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS | NAB League Round 9 snapshot

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 7.10 (52) def. by NORTHERN KNIGHTS 14.10 (94)

By: Declan Reeve

Oakleigh Chargers:

#3 Nick Daicos

Once again topping the disposal count for the game, Daicos took some time to work into the contest, looking uncharacteristically rushed with his disposal early as Northern burst out of the blocks. When he found his feet later on in the first quarter he returned to his usual classy self, with his ball use, particularly by foot, damaging offensively as he looked to put it into space for his forwards to run onto. He would also handball to teammates already on the fly, keeping Oakleigh moving quickly forward. He continued on with his top level positioning around the midfield, especially at stoppages, to be a constant danger once he had figured out how to play on his opponent – regularly Northern’s Josh Ward.

#14 Sam Darcy

The rapidly rising Western Bulldogs father-son prospect further solidified his claims to the best key position prospect in the pool, with a strong display where he was put into a few different spots. Starting the day in the defensive 50, Darcy looked clean throughout, showing off some clean pick-ups below his knees early on where he followed up with good use by foot, usually into central spots to keep the ground open for Oakleigh up ahead. In the second quarter he seemingly couldn’t drop anything, holding onto the ball overhead even when there was heavy contact, or in pack situations. It was impressive to see his confidence to take the game on following his marks, happy to play on and get past or around opponents to get extra distance and penetration on his kicks. He played a little more in the ruck in the third term where his height was too much to deal with for Northern, directing the ball well from the taps clear from his opposition ruck. In the forwardline, he presented well even with a heavy lockdown focus from the opposition, getting himself a goal in the fourth term.

#33 Patrick Voss

Having less time away than most on ground due to his games for the Giants Academy, Voss looked one of the most up to the task on field, switching from his usual forward role into the defensive half, which paid off wonderfully. He was a threat aerially and generally used the ball well coming out of defence, but what was most impressive was his physicality and confidence with his tackling and carry of the ball. He performed two really good fend-offs in the second quarter, where he had the ball and put his opponents to ground, with the second one being followed by a good run forward and a torpedo kick to a pack. He moved into the midfield later on where that physicality was again on show as he ran through opponents when hunting for the ball.

Northern Knights:

#3 Josh Ward

Arguably the best on ground across both sides, Ward was a step above with his ball winning and clean disposal throughout the game, despite the wet conditions. While it took others a while to work into it, he was ready from the get go. Ward set the tone early, winning the first clearance and kicking well long for a teammate to mark and convert the first goal of the game, and it only continued on from there. Able to get the ball out quickly to teammates, he became a dangerous option for Northern around the ground, made even more obvious by their efforts to get it in his hands. A point of interest from Ward’s game was the fact he often put himself on Oakleigh’s Nick Daicos around stoppages, able to negate his usual impact well in the early stages of the game whilst not letting his own numbers slip.

#7 Ewan Macpherson

The ever reliable inside bull flourished in the conditions early on and then maintained his impact in the latter stages of the game when it became more and more contested. His follow up efforts around the contest and the ground were impressive, applying pressure and laying tackles to everyone that got within arm’s reach, while also able to pick the ball up even when under heavy pressure and fire out hands to outside runners.

#9 Darcy Wilmot

Wilmot was consistently seen streaming out of defence with ball in hand, trying to be creative with his disposal in order to make Northern more dangerous on the rebound. Whilst he occasionally struggled to execute his skills when running at full speed, overall he hit it his targets more often than not. His workrate was exceptional; proving just as willing to work hard offensively by pushing up and getting handball receives, as he was to run back and impact contests or lay tackles. He came into his own in the second half in particular, as Northern started to run over the top of Oakleigh, as he provided a dangerous option behind the ball.

#19 Joel Trudgeon

Felt like he brought his own footy at stages in the game given how much he had it. Was just a constant sight on the inside of contests, battling hard to keep Northern in possession then disposing of it to teammates who were in space. As usual he worked hard defensively as well, seemingly landing every tackle and impressing with his follow up on the ball when it spilled, able to beat all comers to it and hand it out. Whilst he didn’t have many ‘flashy’ moments through the game, Trudgeon was just consistent and showed good football instinct with his positioning, timing and use by hand.

#27 Jason McCormick

The bottom-aged small forward had a game to be proud of, registering a game-high four goals. His read of the ball off hands led to him crumbing well off of packs, able to see if the ball was going to go over the top or in front of the contest and hit the area at speed to pick the ball up, usually with one grab, consistently. Despite being smaller in height than most on field, he wasn’t afraid to compete for the ball in air, leaping for a few high balls and reaching impressive heights, whilst showing strong leading patterns and impressive speed to get separation from opponents. 

GWV REBELS 11.8 (74) def. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 6.5 (41)

By: Peter Williams

GWV Rebels:

#2 Ben Hobbs

An outstanding game from the inside midfielder who racked up a massive amount of the ball and never took a backwards step. In conditions that suited him to a t, Hobbs was a work horse on the inside and just crashed and bashed his way around the ground. Despite injury ruling him out of the first part of the year, Hobbs showed no signs of being held back by it, using the ball by hand regularly and racking up the possessions with ease from the opening bounce. Always under pressure, Hobbs has to rush his kicks, but it was his hands in close which stood out, as well as his fierce tackling. Hobbs won a free kick for being taken high in the second term and earned a 50m penalty where he slotted it from the goalsquare. He had another flying shot on goal running hard from the initial centre square stoppage to receive the ball and launch on goal, only to just miss to the left. Hobbs kicked his second goal from a forward stoppage in the final term, with a clever snap around his body sailing home. His natural footy IQ combined with his desire to never lose a contest made him a difficult player to contain.

#3 Charlie Molan

Started the game with a clever intercept in the middle, reading the handball from an opposition to steal it back and give it off. Composed with ball in hand, Molan spreads well to the outside and often looked to draw the opponent in before firing off the handball to a teammate. Late in the second quarter, Molan pushed back deep into defence and produced a long, accurate kick to the wing, and then early in the third term was back mopping up in defence again. He tried to spin out of trouble in the middle at one stage in the third but was pinged for holding the ball, though he is able to use both feet which helps him get out of trouble when being corralled.

#6 Marcus Herbert

Herbert donned the long sleeves and found plenty of it in the wet, showing clean hands at ground level and being able to shovel out passes to teammates on the outside. He had some more time in the first half where he was able to spread and win a few uncontested marks, and whilst his kicking under pressure was a bit rushed, he used it well with time on his side. Herbert had a nice passage of play in the third term where he dribbled a kick out of the defensive stoppage and then ran hard to win the next possession via hand, before distributing to a teammate. His clean flick out of a stoppage to an open runner early in the fourth, and his hard ball get to aide in Hobbs’ goal meant he had an influence on the game.

#13 Sam Breuer

Set the tone with Hobbs early, going in for a fierce tackle and then getting the ball away to a teammate, and went on to have an impressive game. Winning a match-high 35 disposals, Breuer covered the ground well and kicked a remarkable thumping goal from the wing. By the wing, that’s centre wing, where an open goalsquare saw it bounce home and in early in the first term. Throughout the match Breuer worked hard for his touches, showing good hands in the wet, spreading well and applying immense defensive pressure. He had a poor turnover in the second term trying to cross from the middle to half-forward, but otherwise was able to impact going forward.

#14 Jamieson Ballantyne

Rotating through the midfield, Ballantyne had a few nice moments throughout the match, which included a release handball to Breuer for that long goal, and then showing some nice toe of his own to burst away from an opponent at half-forward. The right footer showed he can kick off his left as well, and predominantly looked to open up the play by hand or with a short kick, finishing off with a good goal from an uncontested mark 20m out in the final term. He then produced a well-weighted kick to Josh Gibcus up forward, but the usual defender missed to the left.

Murray Bushrangers:

#8 Zavier Maher

Maher provided some experience and stoppage nous around the contest, able to win the ball in close and use his elite sidestep to get himself out of trouble. A few times he was a little fumbly, such as dropping a mark on the wing then unable to gather quickly, though he redeemed himself with some great second efforts. He read the taps at the stoppages well, and took a strong contested juggling mark late in the game at half-back. Maher had a flying snap on goal in the second term, but it did not swing enough and missed to the left.

#9 Kade Chalcraft

Started strongly with a gather from the stoppage, and got back in defence to help out not long after to clear the ball to half-back and move it on quickly. Playing on-ball, Chalcraft used his stronger frame to frame in and protect the ball when required, lay a big tackle or shovel it out to the outside. Chalcraft had a flying shot from 50m out under pressure just drifted it to the left early in the second term. At one stage in the second quarter, he was tackled by multiple opponents then still shovelled it out showing great strength.

#52 Tom Bracher

Playing on the last line, Bracher provided some good run and carry out of defence to be one of the best Murray players on the day. He read the ball in flight consistently and then was able to run off and receive the handball when he was not marking it. He timed his marking attempts well, and when he had to spoil, using the ball well by foot coming out of defence. He had a big opening term and took a couple of intercept marks in the opening half, tasked with the kickout duties for the Bushrangers on the day. He took some risky passes at times but was able to open the game up through the middle or via a switch, nailing the short harp attempts to his teammates in the back half more often than not.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 12.11 (83) def. EASTERN RANGES 5.5 (35)

By: Ed Pascoe

Sandringham Dragons:

#6 Blake Howes

In perhaps Howes’ best game this year, he made the wing position his own after playing the bulk of his time as a high half-forward earlier in the year. Howes, standing at 190cm, moves incredibly well for a player of his stature, with his agility over the ground and clean hands – not just overhead but also at ground level – a real feature in his game against Eastern Ranges. One of the best showcases of his talent came in the second quarter, taking a nice mark at half-back before quickly playing on, showing his great speed and willingness to take the game on. He would get better as the game went on as well, showing great skill at the back of stoppages and with a 50m penalty, he converted a goal which was reward for his efforts up to that point. Howes finished the game with 18 disposals in what is two very strong back to back games for Sandringham Dragons.

#17 Finn Callaghan

Callaghan has likely left the wing position behind him playing for Sandringham, as he has not only excelled in his move to the stoppages, but is starting to look like one of the prime midfielders in this year’s draft crop. His game against Eastern was his most complete game to date. It felt like Callaghan was everywhere, not just having an influence at stoppages in winning multiple clearances, but also getting the ball in open play using his trademark agility to escape congestion, leaving opponents in his wake. It’s hard to showcase as a wingman, but as he is now playing on the inside more he has started to show good attack on the loose ball, showing great balance to his outside class which was already well noted. That harder edge is what will push him towards the very top end of the draft and with a game high 31 disposals to go with four tackles and seven inside 50s, Callaghan’s stocks continue to improve.

#32 Dante Visentini

In his best outing to date, the Under 16 Vic Metro representative showed why he won those accolades back in 2019 with a strong display playing forward and pinch-hitting in the ruck. Visentini was a real threat in the air, taking some strong marks highlighted with one contested grab inside 50 in the third quarter. He would miss the resultant set shot there, but his marking on the wing was also impressive, showing he could get on his bike and present as a leading option all over the ground. Visentini finished the game with 13 disposals, seven marks, 13 hit outs and a goal in a timely reminder to recruiters of his talent ahead of the National Championships.

#52 Luke Nankervis

The smooth moving forward hasn’t been the type of forward to kick bags of goals, but he is certainly one of the more creative ones in this year’s crop with his clean hands and agility with ball in hand real features of his game. That was again evident against Eastern Ranges, where Nankervis showed a great ability to take the ball cleanly below his knees and get his arms up to release by hand. Although he hasn’t been able to use those hands in marking contests, he does have that in his arsenal. Defensively, Nankervis was also very sound with six tackles for the game, with one in the first quarter rewarded for holding the ball. If Nankervis can start to really weave around opponents more often with his agility and start to be a threat in the air, he will cause major headaches for any defender. Nankervis finished the game with 18 disposals and five inside 50s.

#61 Max Heath

The newest acquisition to the St Kilda Football Club, Heath was an imposing force around the ground with his trademark bash and crash style on show – not just in the ruck, but also up forward where he would lay multiple bone crunching tackles. Heath relishes on the tackling side of football, which showed with his five tackles and every one of them certainly left his opponent worse for ware. Heath’s ruck work was also good, forming a great partnership with his on-ballers – especially Finn Callaghan who was fed some quality taps from Heath. The AFL-listed bigman finished the game with seven disposals, five tackles and 21 hit-outs in a typical Heath display.

Eastern Ranges:

#1 Tyler Sonsie

It wasn’t Sonsie’s day, with the classy first round prospect struggling to really get going in the midfield and despite looking good when he got the ball at stoppages, those moments were few and far between by his lofty standards. Usually a dangerous forward threat, Sonsie had numerous opportunities to kick some majors but just couldn’t get the finish, missing some snaps at goal he would usually nail. Things wouldn’t get any better for Sonsie late on, going down with a suspected lower leg injury while being tackled early in the last quarter. Sonsie finished the game with 15 disposals and four tackles and we can only hope the leg injury isn’t too serious.

#5 Jake Soligo

In what was Soligo’s most prolific game to date, the hard nosed Eastern Ranges midfielder proved why he was considered one of Victoria’s most promising midfielders after his strong performances in the 2019 Under 16 National Championships. Soligo was a workhorse through the midfield, winning plenty of the ball at the coalface while also getting back into defence to help his defenders. That defensive nous was on show in the second quarter with a strong intercept mark sitting in the hole, as well as a crunching tackle on fellow hardnut Charlie McKay. Soligo looked elusive and composed whenever he got possession and although it has taken a few games for Soligo to find his feet, he looks to have hit his straps at the right time with Vic Metro soon to take on Allies in the Under 19 National Championships, Soligo finished with a team-high 29 disposals to go with eight marks and 10 tackles.

#8 Nick Watson

A player not eligible for the draft until 2023, the nippy and creative forward only stands at 168cm but his impact and smarts make him an incredible prospect to look out for, and he couldn’t have impressed more in his NAB League debut. Watson was active early, having no issue finding the ball and offering plenty of pressure inside 50. His first goal came on the half time siren where he would kick an impressive major from long range. His second was even better in the last quarter, kicking an incredible snap hard on the boundary from a set shot, showing his obvious class and skill. He was rewarded for his first half with some midfield time in the second half and he again showed plenty of dash and skill through the middle. Watson finished with 13 disposals, five tackles and kicked 2.1 and looks a player to watch for Vic Metro in the upcoming Under 17 championships.

#31 Tyreece Leiu

After starting the year in the midfield and up forward, Leiu has had a stunning turn of form playing down back in recent times for Eastern Ranges. His intercept marking was a key feature of his game, taking strong marks in the contest and reading the play really well. The Eastern Ranges defence was adept at taking intercept marks, non more-so than Leiu, but it was also his intercepts in general where he would body line a loose contest and either take the ball himself or cause a 50/50, using his stronger frame to his advantage. Leiu finished the game with 26 disposals, nine marks and nine rebound 50s in a performance which could have solidified his spot in Vic Metro’s backline in the upcoming Under 19 National Championships.

#49 Sahaf Ali

Another exciting debutant for the Eastern Ranges, Ali showed plenty of eye catching traits up forward with his leap and marking ability on show multiple times. The East Ringwood prospect had impressed in his senior EFL debut and has taken that form into the NAB League, where he looks to be a mainstay for the rest of the year. The athletic forward wouldn’t kick a goal until the last quarter, which came from a free kick, but he was certainly one of the more dangerous marking options and he even got a run in the midfield later in the game, showing some versatility. Ali finished the game with 11 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and kicked 1.1.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 8.16 (64) def. TASMANIA DEVILS 8.10 (58)

By: Eli Duxson

Giants Academy:

#1 Harrison Grintell

Grintell was crafty, hovering around the half-forward flank all game while also showing a strong intent to hit the contest hard and do his bit defensively. It was his attacking play that stood out on the day though, as he notched seven inside 50’s with impressive sprinting efforts with and without the ball. His ability in space matched his silkiness in tight as his agility allowed him to get out of packs and deliver to a teammate on several occasions. This play led to a goal after a pair of disposals on centre wing saw him deliver to hit a teammate inside forward 50. His field kicking was sound, but he could not quite convert the way he would have liked, kicking 1.2. Grintell also finished with 18 disposals.

#7 Matthew Hamblin

Probably GWS’ best on the day, showing a willingness to hit legs and cover ground to make his way to stoppages and contests all over the ground, but staying mostly between the arcs as a link player. His work rate to contests was on par with his aggression once he got there, often trying to get first hands on it at stoppages with his bustling style. He did also play a role for his side being the sweeper many times to which he received some balls to slingshot forward or move laterally. Hamblin put in some big efforts in the tense final quarter which was eventually rewarded with an off-the-ball free kick, which saw him slot through a set shot from 30 metres out to give the Giants a two-goal buffer. He managed 29 disposals, seven marks, and five inside 50s.

#24 Sam Frost

The GWS captain led all comers with 30 disposals and a whopping 10 rebound 50s. That probably typifies his game as well as possible, as the defender looked solid in one-on-ones, while also looking to attack once the ball hit the deck managing six inside 50s. He played a bit like Brandon Starcevich showing good confidence aerially to mark, while also being a steady user by foot. There were several blunders on his behalf however, including a lazy kick, two free kicks, and a 50-metre penalty which could have resulted in Tasmania goals but luckily did not. Beyond those though, he led valiantly for the Giants.

#31 Josh Green

It seemed no position was impossible for Green as he tried his hand everywhere bar the defence on Sunday. Starting as a lead up forward, he kicked GWS’ first goal of the game with a tidy finish across his body, looking dangerous for in one-on-one situations. His mobility once the ball hit the ground posed more problems for Tasmania as he could bust through packs due to his size. He moved into the middle in the second half and made good decisions with his hands in tight, while also showing a willingness to work back and help defensively at stoppages. Green rucked in the forwardline when he was there, but also rotated as the main ruck at times, especially in the final quarter as he became another midfielder after the ruck contest. He finished with 20 disposals and four marks to go with his goal.

Tasmania Devils:

#12 Jye Menzie

Tasmania’s best on the day playing predominantly half-forward, he managed three goals from 15 disposals, with his goals all coming in the first half. His first two were bursts into space to snap through well, with his third being a set shot after the half-time siren to put Tasmania back in front. He scrapped and hustled in contests and showed a cleanliness in tight not many others on the ground possessed. His defensive abilities were adequate for his role, but his forward movement showed he has a good sense for the forward craft.

#22 Baker Smith

The key defender was generally very good with his positioning and body in aerial contests, being rarely beaten. Repeat entries challenged him, like it would most defenders, but his ability to read the flight of the ball was impressive knowing when to spoil and when to mark. Even more impressive was his temperament. He did not look flustered within his defensive role despite the +22 inside 50s for the Giants, but he also did not give any free kicks away which can be easy to do playing on key forwards.

CALDER CANNONS 10.12 (72) def. WESTERN JETS 8.9 (57)

By: Michael Alvaro

Calder Cannons:

#4 Sam Clohesy

Shifting between the wing and forwardline, Clohesy warmed to the contest and showcased some of his best traits as it wore on. While Calder often opted to play a controlled kick-mark style, Clohesy looked to break the play open with his penetrative disposal by foot, seeing him gain good meterage along the line. His strong overhead marking also came to the fore, with Clohesy clunking some nice grabs in important areas to either intercept, or help keep Calder in possession. Overall a solid outing, with the top-ager ending on 23 disposals and 12 marks.

#5 Zac Taylor

Arguably the best player afield, Taylor was a consistent ball winner for Calder and a productive member of the midfield-forward rotation. A crafty type on the ball, he always took his time in possession and looked to create with his kicks. While some of those kicks were delivered a touch short in the early stages, Taylor continued to back his skills and went on to hit leading targets inside 50. He finished with a game-high 32 disposals and nine inside 50s, while also contributing defensively with a couple of notable chase-down tackles.

#25 Josh Goater

The big body in Calder’s midfield, Goater played the distributor role perfectly at stoppages with his clean hands and strength in tight spots. He often got first hands to the ball and proved difficult to tackle, allowing for fluent ball movement to the outer where runners awaited. Goater is a terrific athlete and showed as much aerially with a spekky during the second term, but could perhaps better showcase his explosiveness at stoppages by pumping his legs instead of always dishing to the first option. Finishing with 28 touches, Goater was typically efficient with his ball use.

#30 Sam Paea

That standout key forward afield, Paea produced arguably his best outing to date. The high-marking Cannon proved near-unstoppable when allowed a full run at the ball, rising to clunk some outstanding overhead marks with his combination of reach and vertical leap. His athleticism also allowed for handy separation on the lead, as Paea worked hard up the ground to provide a link into attack for Calder. He seems a real confidence player, so is still a touch inconsistent with his goalkicking but still managed to convert four set shot goals with fluency. Eight marks and four majors from 13 disposals makes for good reading.

#41 Liam Podhajski

Making his NAB League return after gaining senior experience in the VFL, Podhajski took some of the learnings he inevitably made back into the elite junior competition. The developing ruckman showcased his vertical ability with sizeable leaps at each centre bounce, before following up nicely at ground level. He did not have as profound an impact around the ground in terms of marking, but still had his moments and dropped behind the ball nicely when Western was attacking. His directional work was also handy in the ruck, including some deft taps over his shoulder.

Western Jets:

#2 Harrison White

White ended as Western’s leading ball winner on the day with 23 disposals, which included seven inside 50s and three rebound 50s. He was a positive member of the midfield mix, constantly looking to generate some forward spark with his run and foot skills coming away from the contest. The top-ager backed his speed in those instances but was also quite no-fuss around the ball with quick and clean touches at the contest. He missed a chance to hit the scoreboard via a set shot during term three, but had a solid day overall.

#32 Paul Curtis

Curtis was again Western’s most productive forward, leaning on his smarts and goal sense to snare three goals from five scoring shots. Mostly stationed deep inside 50, he presented well for a player of his size to mark on the lead, while also holding his own in one-on-one situations. He snared two majors via those methods with set shots, with his third an opportunistic volley from the goalsquare. Curtis also tackled well, laying five overall, including a strong effort in the pocket to earn another shot on goal.

#33 Billy Cootee

Western’s skipper lead from the front on Sunday, working hard in midfield and showing positive attacking intent with ball in hand. He would often mark uncontested and look to wheel around quickly to release long by foot, allowing Western’s forwards to get to work on swift inside 50 entries. He also impacted at the contest, with his clearance work at the centre bounces helping the Jets stay in touch during the third term. His urgency remained heading into the closing stages with more of that typical meterage, and Cootee also made his mark with a well-hit snap goal late in the opening quarter.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 6.10 (46) def. by DANDENONG STINGRAYS 22.11 (143)

By: Peter Williams

Bendigo Pioneers:

#15 Jack Stewart

One of the more lively Pioneers on the day, Stewart showed off some neat evasion skills and clean hands in close. More often than not, the midfielder was able to identify the target he needed to hit, and threaded the needle through traffic. His kicking at times was rushed when in play, often trying to open up angles and go long, but when resting forward, Stewart kicked a couple of goals, one from a good mark on the lead and set shot in the second term, and another running into an open goal in the final few minutes of the match.

#29 Cooper Smith

Provided great run out of defence and down the ground, often acting as the interceptor in the back half of the ground. He was often under pressure and forced to rush his kicks, but he kept accumulating the ball and just looking to take grass at every opportunity. One of the Pioneers more prominent ball-winners, he was under siege more often than not, but kept working hard throughout the game.

#56 Harley Reid

A real eye-catcher on the day, Reid was strong in the contest and able to stand up in tackles to get free by brute force, At one stage late in the first term he produced a low bullet to a teammate going inside 50 after leading out to take a great grab. He did not win a heap of the ball, but seemed to look dangerous every time he went near it, clunking a good mark in the final term and converting the set shot.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Josiah Kyle

Possessing high level footy smarts, incredibly clean hands and a great goal sense, Kyle feasted on the Stingrays’ dominance going forward to slot 3.1 from limited touches roaming deep inside 50. He was a worry for the opposition, and still provided that defensive pressure required of him, providing a contest in the air or at ground level. His first goal came with a great run and mark heading with the flight towards goal. He missed his second set shot from straight in front in the second term, then snuck out the back of a contest, to use one mitt to win the ball at speed and kick with the outside of the boot for a goal. More impressively, his second term run-down tackle forced a turnover and goal for the Stingrays. He nailed his third goal in the third term from a mark and set shot.

#3 Miller Bergman

Bergman covered the ground well and was involved from early on, putting pressure on the opposition.He pushed to the outside and an early touch 12 minutes into the game lead to a Stingrays’ goal. He slotted a nice goal on the run himself in the second term from a one-two in one of the plays of the day. Bergman provided some good run throughout the game, worked hard and generally made the right decisions with ball-in-hand, setting up a goal to Judson Clarke in the final term. Bergman then capped off his day with a tidy snap from the pocket as casual as you like to slot home his second.

#14 Will Bravo

Played the role you would come to expect of the talent who was close to earning a spot on an AFL list. He looked too strong for his opponents and showed off his athletic traits in close, often winning the ball and getting and going forward, accumulating the ball at will. Bravo was clean at ground level and able to move through the stoppages well, finding the space to exit. He gave away a number of free kicks going hard at the contest, but his spread and work rate was really impressive, and you can never doubt his intent at the coal face where he really did his best work.

#17 Bryce Milford

Started his day in defence to smack a wayward set shot into the behind post, but funnily enough found himself slotting four majors up the other end. The left footer found plenty of space on the outside, though he was fumbly at ground level, needing to take the ball a little cleaner at times. When in possession and playing his game, Milford was dangerous, missing a chance early in the third term, then went to work slotting four goals in the final 39 minutes of the match. His first was from a mark and lead nine minutes into the third quarter, then he took a good contested grab at half-forward, played on and slotted it from 50m, before kicking back-to-back goals in the fourth, the first from an uncontested mark and the second from getting behind his opponent to get boot to ball on the run.

#23 Jai Neal

A strong presence in the air, Neal’s marking was noticeable throughout the game, positioning himself well in the back 50 from the opening few minutes and taking back-to-back intercept marks in the hole. Neal had a really big first term with plenty of involvements both in the back 50 and pushing up the ground to impact the contest. As the game went well and truly on the Stingrays’ terms, Neal had less work to do, but still positioning himself well.

#40 Colby Nayna

Had a really eye-catching game up forward pushing further afield at times to slot three goals from 13 touches and always look dangerous. His first involvement was an incredibly high leap to grab midway through the first term, with his set shot sailing through the middle. He slotted his second just five minutes later from another mark on the lead, showing his burst to create separation from opponents. He is quick off the first few steps and then set up a goal to Sam Frangalas with a well-weighted kick. His used the ball well by hand or foot and kicked his third in the third quarter on the run cleverly reading the drop of the ball off hands inside 50.

#42 James Cahill

Cahill worked hard around the ground to provide plenty of drive going forward. Not only did he pump the ball inside 50 time and time again, but applied defensive pressure – through tackling or implied pressure – to opponents. Midway through the first term, he got free inside 50, gathered the ball well under pressure and snapped around his body for his first goal. He then played a part in the next forward thrust with a mark, then a rushed handball that proved effective and lead to a goal off the next disposal. He had a chance for goal early in the second term running in but drifted to the left. at times Cahill was a little fumbly under pressure, but he still had an overall solid game, kicking his second goal from a mark and set shot in the third term.

#48 Declan Cole

The leading ball winner on the ground, Cole just accumulated the pill with ease in the big win. He cracked in hard alongside Bravo and Henry Berenger and won a lot of his touches in close be it himself or as the first handball receiver spreading from the contest. Late in the first term he had a set shot but missed to the right in his only score for the day, but his best work was done up the field. He was strong overhead and looked to open up the play when possible and get it to dangerous areas. He made a mistake in the second term missing a crucial handball in defensive 50 which lead to a shot on goal, but generally attacked the ball carrier well and worked hard up and down the ground.

GIPPSLAND POWER 6.9 (45) def. by GEELONG FALCONS 9.13 (67)

By: Michael Alvaro

Gippsland Power:

#6 Mitchell Moschetti

Moschetti offered real class on the ball with his movement coming away from traffic, as he sped into space before looking to deliver by foot. The draft eligible midfielder did well to shift to the outside and managed to get Gippsland going with a couple of running bounce passages, even if the end product was not always effective. He added a stylish centre bounce break to his game in the final quarter, and finished with 20 disposals.

#9 Will Papley

Rotating forward from the midfield, Papley proved a slippery customer with ball in hand. He was hard on the inside with his speed and tackling pressure, but also presented nicely for a small forward when stationed inside 50. He often led to the ball at half-forward, before wheeling around and pumping a long kick to the hot spot. The top-ager finished strongly with more time in midfield, getting busy at the contest and continuing to provide important defensive acts. Papley was lively overall, finishing with 21 disposals, five tackles and five inside 50s.

#17 Luis D’Angelo

D’Angelo was quite crafty and clean with his work on the inside, winning the contested ball and getting it out to receivers on the outer by hand. In more open play, the Gippsland leader looked quite polished in possession with his short kicking, able to find the ball in dangerous areas and deliver forward by foot. He contributed to a couple of scores with that kind of work; the first was an intercept mark from a kick-in which he handed off, and the second was a clever knock on which allowed Chance Doultree to waltz inside 50 and convert a major score.

Geelong Falcons:

#12 Noah Gribble

Gribble continues to be one of the more consistent accumulators in the NAB League, racking up another game-high tally of 32 disposals on the back of sheer work rate and smarts. Having transitioned to the inside, he was able to contribute neat touches around the contest with clean and quick hands, having no trouble finding the ball. As the play broke either way, the top-ager worked hard to impact in either arc and provide an outlet coming out of defence. He seemed a lot more assured in possession, not rushing his disposals as much and not trying to do too much with each touch.

#32 Noah Gadsby

One of the more handy inclusions to this Geelong side of late, Gadsby was able to showcase some of his high-level athletic traits on Sunday. The top-ager was stationed forward for most of the day but worked hard up the ground and was also given a late run in the midfield, attending centre bounces during term four. His athleticism was mostly observed in overhead marking contests, where Gadsby rose well to contest with courage. He also leant on his running capacity to work over his opponent en route to collecting 28 disposals, while also becoming a threat inside 50 with four scoring shots. Only one of them was a goal, converted craftily from a quick snap in the pocket.

#56 Oscar Morrison

The intercept marking defender continues to make strong strides in 2021, putting in a strong shift across the backline and cutting off a number of Gippsland attacks. Morrison was superb aerially, reading the play and flight of the ball beautifully to rise third-up and cleanly take some quality grabs in the back half. He was hardly beaten in the air, but also distributed the ball with good poise and skill to keep the Falcons out of trouble, proving a no-fuss kind of operator.

#60 Toby Conway

Conway returned another strong showing in the ruck, proving too big and strong with his 204cm frame. He showed good confidence to grab out of the ruck and dispose of the ball, while also continuing to show handy ruck craft with his directional taps. He protected his space well and was quite strong on the ball, looking a touch more comfortable in possession than in other weeks. Conway also positioned nicely down the line and behind the ball, with his impact around the ground an area of growth.

2021 Draft Central NAB League Boys TOTW: Round 9

THE 2021 NAB League season rolled on into Round 9 over the weekend, with metro regions returning to the fold. A few school football fixtures were rescheduled too, meaning the wealth of talent filtering back through the competition was at a high. This week’s squad is headlined by Player of the Week candidates Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels) and Josh Ward (Northern Knights), who earn starting spots in midfield on the back of dazzling 34-disposal displays.

Hobbs also laid nine tackles and booted two goals in the Rebels’ win over Murray, marking a sparkling return from injury for the tough inside midfielder. He is joined by teammates Sam Breuer (wing) and Marcus Herbert (bench), who were squeezed out of the centre bounce mix but both ticked over 30 touches in terrific individual outings. Murray’s Tom Bracher is the other to feature from that game, earning a spot in the back pocket for his efforts in defence this week.

Ward’s feats were made all the more impressive by the fact he lined up on Nick Daicos, taking on the role with aplomb while also advancing his own game. Daicos produced another high-numbers game with 37 disposals to continue his remarkable season, joined by fellow father-son prospect Sam Darcy (centre half-back) and Giants Academy member Patrick Voss (half-back) in the starting lineup. Ward is also supported by teammates, namely partner-in-crime Joel Trudgeon and dashing defender Darcy Wilmot.

Other standouts across the squad include Finn Callaghan, who was best afield in his relatively new midfield role for Sandringham Dragons, while intercept marking machine Tyreece Leiu and busy midfielder Jake Soligo were productive for Eastern. Noah Gribble and Zac Taylor were also arguably best afield in their respective wins, while forwards Sam Paea and Bryce Milford bagged four goals each to earn a spot.

The Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers, and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels all lay claim to three squad members, along with the Calder Cannons. Fellow victors Sandringham, Geelong, Dandenong, and the Giants Academy all boast two players apiece, with Eastern the only Round 9 loser to produce multiple candidates this time around. With competition for spots at a premium, particularly in midfield, three losing sides did not have any players included.

Check out the full team below:

Draft Central NAB League Team of the Week: Round 9

FB: Darcy Wilmot (NK), Tyreece Leiu (ER), Tom Bracher (MB)
HB: Patrick Voss (OC), Sam Darcy (OC), Sam Frost (GWS)

C: Sam Breuer (GWV), Ben Hobbs (GWV), Noah Gribble (GF)

HF: Joel Trudgeon (NK), Dante Visentini (SD), Bryce Milford (DS)
FF: Jye Menzie (TD), Sam Paea (CC), Noah Gadsby (GF)

FOL: Jack Driscoll (GWS), Josh Ward (NK), Finn Callaghan (SD)

INT: Nick Daicos (OC), Josh Goater (CC), Marcus Herbert (GWV), Colby Nanya (DS), Jake Soligo (ER), Zac Taylor (CC)

EMG: Oscar Morrison (GF), Billy Cootee (WJ), Will Bravo (DS)

2021 NAB League Boys snapshot: Round 9

FULL competition resumed in the NAB League, with seven games played across Round 9 as metropolitan regions returned to the fold. Four of the fixtures were decided by 33 points or more, with Dandenong romping to the weekend’s widest margin of victory (97 points), while the GIANTS Academy rounded out their undefeated cameo with a one-goal triumph. Check out the key performances and stats in our weekend snapshot, with Scouting Notes to follow tomorrow evening.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 7.10 (52) def. by NORTHERN KNIGHTS 14.10 (94)

IN A SENTENCE:

The determined Northern Knights stormed Warrawee Park to take home a rare win over Oakleigh, beating the Chargers by 42 points on the back of a five-goal opening term and consistent scoreboard pressure.

TEAM STATS:

  • Northern Knights won the disposals (326-279), handballs (153-112), and inside 50s (42-36)
  • Oakleigh Chargers won the tackles (60-57) and hitouts (35-26)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Nick Daicos (Oakleigh Chargers) 37 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Patrick Voss (Oakleigh Chargers) 20 disposals, 9 marks, 8 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s
  • Sam Darcy (Oakleigh Chargers) 14 disposals, 8 marks, 1 rebound 50, 4 hitouts, 1 goal
  • Josh Ward (Northern Knights) 34 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights) 30 disposals, 8 marks, 9 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal, 3 behinds
  • Jason McCormick (Northern Knights) 7 disposals, 4 marks, 1 tackle, 4 goals, 2 behinds

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Josh Ward (Northern Knights)
4 – Joel Trudgeon (Northern Knights)
3 – Jason McCormick (Northern Knights)
2 – Sam Darcy (Oakleigh Chargers)
1 – Patrick Voss (Oakleigh Chargers)

NEXT UP:

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Sandringham Dragons | Saturday June 26, 10:45am @ RSEA Park
Northern Knights vs. Calder Cannons | Saturday June 26, 2:15pm @ Preston City Oval

GWV REBELS 11.8 (74) def. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 6.5 (41)

IN A SENTENCE:

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels boosted their buffer atop the table with a 33-point win over Murray, kicking away via seven goals across the second half.

TEAM STATS:

  • GWV Rebels won the handballs (199-85), tackles (92-76), and hitouts (55-26)
  • Murray Bushrangers won the rebound 50s (33-25)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels) 34 disposals, 3 marks, 9 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 goals, 2 behinds
  • Sam Breuer (GWV Rebels) 35 disposals, 4 marks, 12 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels) 31 disposals, 3 marks, 8 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s
  • Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers) 25 disposals, 5 marks, 5 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Kade Chalcraft (Murray Bushrangers) 17 disposals, 1 mark, 9 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Tom Bracher (Murray Bushrangers) 17 disposals, 5 marks, 5 rebound 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels)
4 – Sam Breuer (GWV Rebels)
3 – Tom Bracher (Murray Bushrangers)
2 – Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels)
1 – Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers)

NEXT UP:

GWV Rebels vs. Western Jets | Sunday June 27, 12:00pm @ Mars Stadium
Murray Bushrangers vs. Bendigo Pioneers | Sunday June 27, 1:00pm @ Victoria Park (Echuca)

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 12.11 (83) def. EASTERN RANGES 5.5 (35)

IN A SENTENCE:

Sandringham Dragons dominated territory and did enough to penetrate a plucky Eastern Ranges defence, winning by 48 points on home turf.

TEAM STATS:

  • Sandringham Dragons won the handballs (139-96), inside 50s (64-33), and hitouts (45-21)
  • Eastern Ranges won the kicks (186-175), rebound 50s (51-28), and marks (94-82)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Finn Callaghan (Sandringham Dragons) 31 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Darby Hipwell (Sandringham Dragons) 26 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Blake Howes (Sandringham Dragons) 19 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Jake Soligo (Eastern Ranges) 29 disposals, 8 marks, 10 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Tyreece Leiu (Eastern Ranges) 26 disposals, 9 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 9 rebound 50s
  • Nick Watson (Eastern Ranges) 13 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 2 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Finn Callaghan (Sandringham Dragons)
4 – Jake Soligo (Eastern Ranges)
3 – Tyreece Leiu (Eastern Ranges)
2 – Nick Watson (Eastern Ranges)
1 – Blake Howes (Sandringham Dragons

UP NEXT:

Sandringham Dragons vs. Oakleigh Chargers | Saturday June 26, 10:45am @ RSEA Park
Eastern Ranges vs. Geelong Falcons | Saturday June 26, 1:00pm @ TBC

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 8.16 (64) def. TASMANIA DEVILS 8.10 (58)

IN A SENTENCE:

The Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Academy capped off its unbeaten NAB League cameo with another tight victory, this time by six points as the GIANTS snuck past Tasmania Devils.

TEAM STATS:

  • GIANTS Academy won the disposals (338-322), handballs (150-133), and inside 50s (57-35)
  • Tasmania Devils won the rebound 50s (49-27) and tackles (54-44)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Sam Frost (GIANTS Academy) 30 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 10 rebound 50s
  • Matthew Hamblin (GIANTS Academy) 29 disposals, 7 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Luke Fellows (GIANTS Academy) 28 disposals, 5 marks, 6 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Baynen Lowe (Tasmania Devils) 29 disposals, 7 marks, 1 tackle, 3 inside 50s, 5 rebound 50s
  • Ryley Sanders (Tasmania Devils) 25 disposals, 8 marks, 3 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Jye Menzie (Tasmania Devils) 15 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Sam Frost (GIANTS Academy)
4 – Matthew Hamblin (GIANTS Academy)
3 – Jye Menzie (Tasmania Devils)
2 – Baynen Lowe (Tasmania Devils)
1 – Luke Fellows (GIANTS Academy)

UP NEXT:

Tasmania Devils vs. Dandenong Stingrays | Sunday June 27, 12:00pm @ UTAS Stadium

CALDER CANNONS 10.12 (72) def. WESTERN JETS 8.9 (57)

IN A SENTENCE:

A three-goal flurry in the final term saw Calder Cannons open up a tight contest against the Western Jets, eventually coming away 15-point victors at RAMS Arena.

TEAM STATS:

  • Calder Cannons won the disposals (317-279), kicks (206-149), and marks (114-58)
  • Western Jets won the handballs (130-111) and rebound 50s (32-31)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons) 32 disposals, 10 marks, 6 tackles, 9 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Josh Goater (Calder Cannons) 28 disposals, 9 marks, 4 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Sam Paea (Calder Cannons) 13 disposals, 8 marks, 2 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 4 goals, 2 behinds
  • Harrison White (Western Jets) 23 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Billy Cootee (Western Jets) 22 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Paul Curtis (Western Jets) 11 disposals, 3 marks, 5 tackles, 1 inside 50, 3 goals, 2 behinds

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons)
4 – Sam Paea (Calder Cannons)
3 – Josh Goater (Calder Cannons)
2 – Billy Cootee (Western Jets)
1 – Harrison White (Western Jets)

NEXT UP:

Calder Cannons vs. Northern Knights | Saturday June 26, 2:15pm @ Preston City Oval
Western Jets vs. GWV Rebels | Sunday June 27, 12:00pm @ Mars Stadium

BENDIGO PIONEERS 6.10 (46) def. by DANDENONG STINGRAYS 22.11 (143)

IN A SENTENCE:

Dandenong Stingrays overwhelmed the Bendigo Pioneers forward of centre, accelerating to a 97-point victory on the road with 33 scoring shots to 16.

TEAM STATS:

  • Bendigo Pioneers won the rebound 50s (36-31) and tackles (52-48)
  • Dandenong Stingrays won the kicks (197-150), marks (83-48), inside 50s (59-38), and scoring shots (33-16)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Bode Stevens (Bendigo Pioneers) 17 disposals, 5 marks, 5 tackles, 1 inside 50, 5 rebound 50s
  • Cooper Smith (Bendigo Pioneers) 17 disposals, 1 mark, 5 tackles, 1 inside 50, 3 rebound 50s
  • Jack Stewart (Bendigo Pioneers) 15 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Bryce Milford (Dandenong Stingrays) 16 disposals, 6 marks, 1 tackle, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 4 goals
  • Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays) 22 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 6 inside 50s
  • James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays) 18 disposals, 6 marks, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals, 2 behinds

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Bryce Milford (Dandenong Stingrays)
4 – Colby Nayna (Dandenong Stingrays)
3 – Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays)
2 – Josiah Kyle (Dandenong Stingrays)
1 – James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays)

UP NEXT:

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Murray Bushrangers | Sunday June 27, 1:00pm @ Victoria Park (Echuca)
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Tasmania Devils | Sunday June 27, 12:00pm @ UTAS Stadium

GIPPSLAND POWER 6.9 (45) def. by GEELONG FALCONS 9.13 (67)

IN A SENTENCE:

Geelong Falcons stretched its winning run to three games, holding firm against a competitive Gippsland Power outfit to come out 22 points to the good.

TEAM STATS:

  • Geelong Falcons won the kicks (198-166), rebound 50s (35-30), and marks (94-55)
  • Gippsland Power won the tackles (67-57)
  • The inside 50s were level at 41-apiece

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Chance Doultree (Gippsland Power) 29 disposals, 4 marks, 7 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Luis D’Angelo (Gippsland Power) 27 disposals, 1 mark, 1 tackle, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Will Papley (Gippsland Power) 21 disposals, 3 marks, 5 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons) 32 disposals, 9 marks, 4 tackles, 2 inside 50s
  • Noah Gadsby (Geelong Falcons) 28 disposals, 9 marks, 6 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s, 1 goal, 3 behinds
  • Olivier Wiltshire (Geelong Falcons) 20 disposals, 2 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Noah Gadsby (Geelong Falcons)
4 – Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons)
3 – Luis D’Angelo (Gippsland Power)
2 – Olivier Wiltshire (Geelong Falcons)
1 – Chance Doultree (Gippsland Power)

UP NEXT:

Gippsland Power – Bye
Geelong Falcons vs. Eastern Ranges | Saturday June 26, 1:00pm @ TBC

Academy Watch | Lions prospects endure tough loss, Suns earn late call-ups

THE Brisbane Lions reserves returned to the scene of their 2019 NEAFL Grand Final victory at Fankhauser Oval to face their opponents from that day, 2018 NEAFL premiers, the Southport Sharks. However, the 2021 version of the Lions, unlike the undefeated side of two years ago, is injury depleted with 10 Lions Academy players topping up the team, while Southport’s lineup is now studded with ex-AFL talent including 10 former Gold Coast Suns, so it was the Sharks who dominated this contest from start to finish.

Mid-season rookie Kalin Lane debuted for the Lions, with the West Australian recruit scoring his maiden VFL goal and tapping a respectable 13 hit-outs in Brisbane’s three-man ruck battery.

Saxon Crozier and Toby Triffett each had 21 disposals through the midfield and were among the Lions’ leading on-ballers, but were outclassed by an all ex-AFL Sharks midfield that is leading the VFL in most statistics, and has their team sitting on top of the ladder.

Recent academy graduate Bruce Reville once again showed his quality, consistently breaking through the middle of the ground with speedy run and carry, having multiple shots on goal on the rare occasions the Lions went into forward fifty to finish with 2.3 from 19 disposals.

Athletic tall utility Jack Briskey played loose in defence, but with the Sharks deploying a mozzie fleet in their forwardline and the ball continually coming in hot, the lanky key defender battled.

Jacob Langbourne provided a strong marking outlet on the flanks and had a nice set shot goal late, while Charlie Bowes was stoic in defence as he weathered some crunching contests.

Tahj Abberley was starved of opportunity, but with six marks and four tackles he made his 15 touches count, while Will Tasker and Hugh Fidler each had goals as the young Lions never stopped trying throughout the 107-point hiding.

Southport now sit a game clear at the top of the table with seven wins from eight games, while the Lions drop a game and percentage out of the top eight.

The Gold Coast Suns reserves fielded only the two academy top-up players, with top-ager Jack Johnston coming in to provide a strong body against a prolific Aspley attack, while Bodhi Uwland answered a late call up to be part of the Suns’ 40-point second half comeback.

Meanwhile, AFL Academy Sun, Austin Harris, was among the best on ground on debut in his senior QAFL appearance for Broadbeach. However, the Cats fell to Labrador in a top of the table clash, with Tigers and Allies player Bailey Reeves scoring a goal in his side’s victory.

Passed over for the Allies squad, Jed Foggo came out and scored four goals for Palm Beach Currumbin (PBC) in a performance sure to soon win him a place in the Suns’ side. Teammates Will Bella and Brinn Little were major contributors to the win as they now pack their bags for next week’s Allies camp in Sydney.

Jye Lockett, who has previously linked with the Suns Academy, was another to be overlooked for Allies selection but had an impressive outing for GWV Rebels in the NAB League with 17 touches and a goal.

Image Credit: RF Photography

PREVIEW | Debuts galore as Metro sides make NAB League return

METRO regions are set to make their long-awaited return to the NAB League this weekend, as the competition extends back out to eight fixtures in Round 9. While fans are still not allowed to attend metropolitan games, one recruiter from each club will be allowed on the scene to observe the next generation of talent, with rules more relaxed at country and interstate fixtures.

As advertised, a bunch of bottom-age prospects will continue to be blooded through the elite talent pathways and there are some absolute gems to keep an eye out for ahead of the Under 17 National Championships. Returning 18th-year and top-age stars also fill out the list of names to watch, while both New South Wales (NSW) academies remain along with the Northern Territory (NT) Thunder.

Scotch College pair Sam Darcy and Scott Beilby have been named in Oakleigh’s side to face the Northern Knights on Saturday morning. Both boast ties to AFL clubs, with the former a Western Bulldogs father-son candidate, while the latter is part of St Kilda’s Next Generation Academy (NGA).

The Chargers will also unveil Tasmanian top-ager Sam Collins, who will make his first appearance for the region having shifted to live in Melbourne this year. 2019 premiership midfielder Fraser Elliot is another 19-year-old back in the mix having had a taste of VFL football, while GIANTS Academy member Patrick Voss is back in Oakleigh colours after earning an Allies nod. Elijah Tsatas is the bottom-ager to watch, an explosive midfielder who was previously sidelined with a broken collarbone.

Northern is also set to blood a couple of promising Under 17s, as coach Leigh Clarke returns to face his former side. Brayden Ham and Josh Hamilton add to those under-age stocks, while Melbourne Grammar student Josh Ward is a welcome addition to the midfield. He’ll operate alongside in-form skipper Joel Trudgeon and Ewan Macpherson, who returns after a stint with Footscray in the VFL.

The day’s other all-metro bout sees Sandringham host Eastern Ranges, boasting mid-season draftee Max Heath. The St Kilda ruck is set to palm down to a formidable midfield trio, which includes co-captain Darby Hipwell, and the newly-formed combination of Finn Callaghan and Charlie McKay. Allies squad member Jack Peris has also been named on the wing.

The midfield battle should be fierce, with Tyler Sonsie and Jake Soligo resuming for Eastern. Dashing top-ager Josh Clarke comes in for his first game in 2021, named in his usual half-back post, while 2005-born talent Nick Watson is in line to make his debut. The diminutive midfielder-forward has serious talent, akin to the likes of Errol Gulden in terms of natural ability which defies his size.

Eastern Ranges half-back Josh Clarke (centre) is in line to return

In the final game on Saturday, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) locks horns with Murray, as Mars Stadium continues to get a workout from the Rebels. Gun inside midfielder Ben Hobbs is set to return for the hosts, named in a forward pocket as GWV boasts an embarrassment of midfield riches.

Allies squad members Toby Murray (ruck) and Cameron McLeod (centre half-forward) are set to rotate through the Bushrangers’ structure, with Carlton VFL listed midfielder Zavier Maher again suiting up for Murray as former Caulfield Grammar schoolmate Josh Rachele comes out of the side.

Sunday’s action starts early as the GIANTS Academy takes on Tasmania Devils in the first game of a Blacktown double-header. Sydney is the other NSW-based academy to play host, taking on the NT Thunder in the afternoon. All four sides boast a bunch of prospects named in the Allies squad, who should acquaint themselves nicely.

Calder and Western battle it out in the round’s sole other metro clash, making for a repeat of the season-opener in Craigieburn. Carlton father-son hopeful Dane Whitnall comes in for his Calder debut, bolstering his side’s spine along with developing ruck Liam Podhajski. The latter is one of a few players afield with VFL experience, including Jets top-agers Cody Raak (defence) and Billy Cootee (midfield).

The in-form Geelong Falcons take on Gippsland Power in Morwell, with both sides having fielded a bunch of up-and-comers of late. Geelong will again go with midfielder Jhye Clark, ruckman Olivier Northam, and forward Will Baker, while Gippsland will be buoyed by the returns of Will Papley and Chance Doultree as Jai Serong goes the other way. 2005-born forward Zane Duursma is again one to watch.

The Dandenong Stingrays enter the fold once again to see out the weekend’s action, travelling to face Bendigo Pioneers at Queen Elizabeth Oval. 2005-born Vic Country Under 17 squad member Harley Reid has shown plenty of promise for the Pios, as one of many under-agers settling into the side. Dandenong will have a bunch of fresh faces take the field too, including 16-year-old Sam Frangalas, along with a strong core of familiar names.

2021 Allies Under 19 squad announced

THE 2021 Allies Under 19 squad was announced on Wednesday, with the 39-man squad featuring players originating from four different states and territories. Made up of prospects from the Northern Territory, NSW-ACT, Queensland, and Tasmania, the Allies are set to field a largely competitive team at the upcoming National Championships, boasting a strong core of top-agers. In a quirk not many other squads will have, there were no bottom-agers selected.

Among the talents from each state are Northern Academy products, with the GIANTS, Swans, Lions and SUNS academies represented, along with the Northern Territory Thunder and Tasmanian NAB League side. With stints in the Victorian pathways competition, all five academies have been able to enjoy an extended run of competitive action, with the top echelon of players also filtering into the state leagues.

NSW-ACT and Queensland are set to be the most represented states, with the former producing 15 squad members – including three from the Murray Bushrangers – while the latter lays claim to 13. There were six Tasmanians included, while four hail from the Northern Territory.

There are a few prospects playing outside of their native zonings, with the likes of Patrick Voss and Sam Collins (both Oakleigh Chargers), Jack Peris (Sandringham Dragons), Oliver Davis (Adelaide SANFL), and Brodie Lake (Peel Thunder), and Ned Stevens (SUNS Academy) all competing in seperate states. That is not to mention the four Murray Bushrangers representatives; Charlie Byrne, Cameron McLeod, Toby Murray, and Ryan Eyers.

Standouts in the squad include GIANTS Academy gun Josh Fahey, a dashing defender who earned the President’s Medal as best afield in April’s AFL Academy showcase against Geelong VFL. Versatile tall, Stevens is also part of the national academy, as is fellow SUNS Academy member Austin Harris and Tasmanian Sam Banks, who is recovering from a wrist injury.

The Allies are set to begin their carnival on July 8 against Vic Country, playing host to the Victorians at Metricon stadium. They then travel to face South Australia at Adelaide Oval on July 24, before taking on Western Australia in Blacktown on July 31, and ending at GMHBA Stadium on August 14 by taking on Vic Country.

Below is a preview of how the Allies team may look, in a line-up put together by Draft Central analyst Ed Pascoe. Scroll further to see the full squad list.

B: Charlie Byrne (MB) – Ryan Eyers (MB) – Josh Fahey (GWS)
HB: Bodhi Uwland (GCS) – Jack Briskey (BL) – Sam Banks (TAS)
C: Jack Peris (NT) – Josh Green (GWS) – Saxon Crozier (BL)
HF: Patrick Voss (GWS) – Ned Stevens (NT) – Jye Menzie (TAS)
F: Max Pescud (GCS) – Will Bella (GCS) – Austin Harris (GCS)
FOL: Jack Driscoll (GWS) – Brodie Lake (NT) – Oliver Davis (TAS)

INT: Tahj Abberley (BL), Sam Collins (TAS), Cameron McLeod (MB), Toby Murray (MB), Bailey Reeves (GCS), Toby Triffett (BL)

EMG: Toby Alker (SYD), Angus Anderson (SYD), Charlie Bowes (BL), Sam Frost (GWS), Darcy Gardner (TAS), Harrison Grintell (GWS), Thomas Hofert (GCS), Jack Johnston (GCS), Brinn Little (GCS), Andy Moniz-Wakefield (NT), Kye Pfrengle (SYD), Liam Puncher (SYD), Felix Rogers (SYD), Pierce Roseby (SYD), Baker Smith (TAS)

FULL SQUAD:

Tahj Abberley (Lions Academy)
Jack Briskey (Lions Academy)
Charlie Bowes (Lions Academy)
Saxon Crozier (Lions Academy)
Toby Triffett (Lions Academy)
Jack Johnston (Suns Academy)
Brinn Little (Suns Academy)
Austin Harris (Suns Academy)
Bodhi Uwland (Suns Academy)
Max Pescud (Suns Academy)
Bailey Reeves (Suns Academy)
Will Bella (Suns Academy)
Thomas Hofert (Suns Academy)
Josh Fahey (Giants Academy)
Sam Frost (Giants Academy)
Harrison Grintell (Giants Academy)
Josh Green (Giants Academy)
Paddy Voss (Oakleigh Chargers/Giants Academy)
Jack Driscoll (Giants Academy)
Toby Alker (Swans Academy)
Kye Pfrengle (Swans Academy)
Liam Puncher (Swans Academy)
Felix Rogers (Swans Academy)
Angus Anderson (Swans Academy)
Pierce Roseby (Swans Academy)
Sam Banks (Tasmania)
Sam Collins (Oakleigh Chargers/Tasmania)
Baker Smith (Tasmania)
Oliver Davis (Adelaide/Tasmania)
Jye Menzie (Tasmania)
Darcy Gardner (Tasmania)
Andy Moniz-Wakefield (Northern Territory)
Brodie Lake (Peel Thunder/Northern Territory)
Jack Peris (Sandringham Dragons/Northern Territory)
Ned Stevens (Suns Academy/Northern Territory)
Cameron McLeod (Murray Bushrangers)
Ryan Eyers (Murray Bushrangers)
Toby Murray (Murray Bushrangers)
Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers)

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 8

THE 2021 NAB League season rolled over the weekend, with two Northern Academies and Tasmania returning while four of Victoria’s country regions also battled it out. Plenty of draft prospects for 2021 and beyond impressed in Round 8, as the competition draws closer to full resumption. Check out the top performers from all four of Saturday’s fixtures in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS: Round 8 snapshot

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 13.6 (84) def. by TASMANIA DEVILS 14.4 (88)

By: Michael Alvaro

Swans Academy:

#3 Felix Rogers

The busy Swans midfielder proved just that in another outing where his ball winning ability came to the fore. He was all-action at stoppages, getting on the move and finding first touch off the taps despite there being little room to operate. Rogers constantly seemed to be at the drop of the ball, while showing good anticipation with his spread to impact away from the contest. Not only did the midfielder kick two goals, but he also set up multiple scores for his teammates with good ball use on the move. His major in the final term put the Swans ahead, but they were unable to hang on.

#7 Pierce Roseby

Another of the Swans’ productive small midfielders, Roseby showcased his typical ability to get in-and-under, while also running hard to accumulate around the ground. Tasmania’s pressure around the ball made it difficult to cleanly extract and break away, but Roseby did his best to gather on the move and bustle out of traffic. While it was tough going at the contest, the top-ager found the ball in a touch more space when working back or spreading forward. He missed his chance to hit the scoreboard in term two after winning a free kick close to goal, ending with one behind from 25 disposals.

#20 Marco Rossmann

Rossmann was finally able to put forward the potential he previously showcased in what was arguably his best academy outing for the year. With a more permanent run in midfield, the top-ager was able to find plenty of the ball with a game-high 31 disposals and still impacted inside 50 with two goals. He looked classy in possession, using a strong five-step burst to break into space and look to use the ball positively, often pumping the ball long by foot. His two majors came during the second term, with the first a gift via the umpire’s whistle, and the second a really classy snap as Rossmann quickly wheeled onto his left side.

Tasmania Devils:

#1 Baynen Lowe

After missing Tasmania’s last NAB League game through illness, Lowe returned with the Devils and picked up right where he left off. The midfielder was terrific with his pressure and intent around the ball, remaining relevant going both ways and finding plenty of footy. The ground level contest was hot, and Lowe managed to snatch good meterage for Tasmania with his long kicks out of congestion, notching eight inside 50s from his team-high 28 touches. He cracked in hard but also showed clean hands on the inside, while also producing a couple of nice repeat run efforts in transition on the outside.

#4 Sam Foley

Foley was a reliable sweeper across the back half for the Devils, able to read the play and get into positions to force the turnover. He made a few handy intercepts, pressing aggressively and competing either in the air or at ground level to strongly win possession for his side. He pushed up hard between the arcs to then distribute on the rebound, using his run and usually clean short kicking to hit targets further afield. He bombed a touch under pressure, but so too did many others on the day. Foley finished with 22 disposals and three inside 50s in a solid outing.

#12 Jye Menzie

On his NAB League return, Menzie took up his usual forward post and started brightly by kicking the game’s opening goal. Much of his play suited the high half-forward role, with the top-ager able to work up the ground and use his sticky hands on the lead, while also getting back towards goal. He was a key link-up player down the line with such presentation and showed good intent with ball in hand to get it moving quickly, putting Sydney’s defence under more immediate pressure. Menzie also snared the first goal of the final term, drawing the Devils back to within a goal and setting the tone for their last-ditch push towards victory.

GEELONG FALCONS 9.10 (64) def. BENDIGO PIONEERS 7.12 (54)

By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong Falcons:

#11 Cooper Whyte

Again one of Geelong’s most prominent stoppage players, Whyte ended up providing some terrific drive from the engine room. He contributed a lot of his early work from the clinches, dishing out short handballs and getting stuck in at the coalface. Come the second term and beyond, and Whyte began to get going a touch more on the outer and looked to get Geelong on the front foot with driving run and long kicks. He also got his hands dirty in a tackling sense, making for another well rounded midfield performance.

#12 Noah Gribble

Having enjoyed a stint in midfield last time out, Gribble moved into the centre bounces permanently on Saturday and racked up an equal game-high 28 disposals. Credit to his enormous running power and work rate, Gribble seemed to pop up everywhere and won the ball in all areas of the ground. He also did the basics well at the contest, distributing more often by hand and allowing others to be the outside runners. The top-ager came a little unstuck when he tried to bite off a bit more by foot, but looked effective when quickly disposing to those on the move. He almost capped his game with a goal, as his 45m set shot in the final term rocketed into the post.

#28 Mitch Knevitt

The big-bodied midfielder was well and truly in the thick of things early on, as arguably the best player afield during the first half. Knevitt’s tackling and physicality were real features, as he proved combative at the contest and used his size to win plenty of hard balls. He also showed a good turn of speed on the exit at times, while competing aerially to display a couple handy points of difference. He kept his hands free under tackling pressure and flicked handballs out, before spending more time forward after half time and booting a set shot goal in term three.

#60 Toby Conway

The 204cm AFL Academy representative made his NAB League return on Saturday, and showed just why he is considered one of the better Under 19 ruck prospects going around. Conway was simply too big and strong in the ruck, winning a whopping 37 hitouts and dominating that realm. He protected the drop zone with strength and was able to palm down to his rovers’ advantage, before eventually gaining the confidence to snatch out of the ruck on a couple of occasions. In a tick to his work rate and game awareness, Conway worked back onto the defensive goal line when Bendigo took long-range set shots, earning him a contested mark and a couple of rushed behinds. He also marked well when stationed a kick behind the play, which is a good area of development for Conway.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#1 Sam Conforti

Starting in midfield and rotating forward, Conforti was a productive forward mover for Bendigo in his NAB League return. The top-ager did well to stay on the move and collect the ball cleanly in motion, contributing some handy work at ground level. He was forced to work well up the ground to find the ball as a forward, linking his side back towards the attacking arc as he received and ran in transition. Conforti had multiple chances to hit the scoreboard too, with a couple of quick snaps going wide and a second term set shot missing to the near side.

#2 Harvey Gallagher

Gallagher has shown some really nice form for the Pioneers of late, starting up forward in this game before getting to work through midfield. He was a strong contributor at the contest, able to use his speed and strength in tackles to break away and set Bendigo on the front foot. He backed said pace when blazing through the corridor, but also showed some finesse with nice vision and execution by hand in tight spots. Gallagher snared two goals via free kicks after half time, with his second putting Bendigo in front momentarily. His intent and effort were solid in the closing stages, as he looked to make things happen when the game was up for grabs.

#56 Harley Reid

One for the future, Reid is a 2005-born player who has shown some serious talent across his first two NAB League appearances. He is set to feature in the Vic Country Under 17 side this year and has already made an impact at Under 19 level with his explosive traits and goal sense. The 16-year-old started the game magnificently, booting two goals within as many minutes during the opening term. The first was a terrific running snap which showed his eye for goal, and the second came from a pack mark in the goalsquare where he simply read the ball better than anyone else. Reid also showed a knack for the spectacular with his spekky attempt in the same quarter, before bouncing straight to his feet and winning the spill. He went on to snare a third goal after half time, again judging the ball well in flight to mark in a two-on-two situation in the goalsquare. One who doesn’t need many touches to make an impact, Reid promises to catch the eye for years to come if he can keep up such form.

GWV REBELS 16.20 (116) def. GIPPSLAND POWER 6.1 (37)

By: Ed Pascoe

GWV Rebels:

#1 Sam Butler

Butler has been playing some excellent footy this year and this might have been his best outing yet, with the crafty forward/midfielder the most impactful player on the ground. His first quarter really set the tone, kicking two great goals; with the first coming from a nice show of courage going back with the flight before nailing the set shot, and the second showing his forward nous by quickly getting boot to ball in general play. Butler was a handful forward but once the game was won he was moved into the midfield in the second half and despite the impending result, Butler still showed plenty of intent with a lovey chase down tackle in the midfield which was rewarded. Overall, Butler has shown a great mix of flashy brilliance and the ability to do the hard yards and win his own ball. He finished with 27 disposals, seven tackles, six marks, six inside 50s and two goals in a best on ground performance as he continues to build a very strong year.

#3 Charlie Molan

One of the hardest workers in the NAB League, Molan put together a very complete performance this time around, not only showing plenty defensively but also proving to be dangerous with ball in hand as well. Molan has made the wing position his own, using his fantastic work rate and size at stoppages to his advantage. Molan’s ability to get involved multiple times in transition was a key feature of his game, often getting the ball at half-back and finding himself on the end of chains inside attacking 50. He also showed his ability to kick long and accurately with a nice goal from a handball receive at 50m. Although he isn’t the flashiest, his work rate and selfless plays should endear him to his coaches and scouts, and he finished a very strong game winning 26 disposals, eight inside 50s and one goal.

#5 Josh Rentsch

Although he didn’t capitalise on the scoreboard, Rentsch provided a great target for the Rebels going inside 50. He was a constant feature, leading up to cause havoc for the Gippsland defenders who couldn’t go with him due to his size and power – not just on the lead but also at ground level. Rentsch kicked 1.6 with his only goal coming from a nice finish in general play, powering out of congestion. He had many set shots but didn’t miss any by a long way, and his set shot kicking despite the result shouldn’t be a massive concern for clubs. Rentsch was certainly the most dangerous looking tall forward and he also remains one of the prime key forwards in Victoria in general. He finished the game with 14 disposals and six marks, with his marks all very impressive.

#8 Josh Gibcus

The talented defender has had a quieter last two weeks by his standards, but still managed to show why he is rated so highly with his impressive leap and marking ability. Gibcus had a good battle with Jai Serong for parts of the first half but certainly got off the leash once Serong was moved behind the ball. Something for Gibcus to tidy up is his kicking, which has fallen away slightly in the last two weeks and while it’s good that he wants to move the play on quickly, he needs to take more care to execute the kicks to help maximise his rebound ability, as he has no trouble at all intercepting the ball – even marking the return kicks he originally turned over. Gibcus finished the game with 12 disposals, seven marks and four tackles.

#13 Sam Breuer

A change of position worked wonders for Breuer, who has been stationed as a defender all year but transitioned seamlessly into a midfield role against Gippsland. Breuer was a great four-quarter performer and although not the flashiest, he did what was required with efficiency and toughness. Despite not spending much time in the midfield this year, he looked a natural with his ability to read taps and show poise with ball in hand at stoppages, often handballing well and finding targets by foot when in transition. Breuer kicked a nice goal on the siren with a steady set shot on half time and would set up a goal in the third quarter, with his second efforts from a stoppage and tough tackle creating a chance inside 50. This was a promising performance from Breuer and another good back up performance in the midfield could really improve his draft stocks, as he has now shown to be a very versatile and committed player. Breuer finished the game with 30 disposals, seven tackles and 1.2.

#16 Kai Lohmann

The athletic half-forward has looked better and better as the year has gone on and although he hasn’t been able to put results on the scoreboard, his natural traits just make him so exciting to watch, with his dominance in the air and speed at ground level real difference makers. Lohmann was a marking machine, if he jumped at the ball he was a sure bet to take the mark no matter the competition in the air. With his clean hands and natural leap, he might yet take the mark of the year in the NAB League. Although he could be making a play for mark of the year at some point, he almost kicked goal of the year with a stunning piece of play, running and carrying the ball tight on the boundary, taking a bounce and almost snapping the goal. It was a great showcase of his natural athleticism and willingness to take the game on. Lohmann finished the game with a season-high 23 disposals, eight marks and five inside 50s and although he didn’t kick a goal, it seems a matter of time before he starts to really hurt the opposition on the scoreboard.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Cooper Alger

One of the better users of the ball for Gippsland in what was a a dirty day for the team, Alger could hold his head high as he provided plenty of skill and drive from half-back, running hard both ways. Alger’s work rate was rewarded in the second quarter when he would get a mark working into the forwardline, and then slotted the set shot with ease on his trusty left foot. Although not the most prolific for Gippsland with only 13 disposals, he made all of his possessions count with his skill and poise.

#23 Jai Serong

The talented tall, who has spent plenty of time as a forward and midfielder so far this year for Gippsland, would find himself spending time down back later in the game and applying himself surprisingly well in a new role. Serong started the match promisingly up forward with fellow talented tall Josh Gibcus manning up on him in a few contests, with Serong taking a strong contested grab against him in the second quarter. Serong was dangerous up forward, kicking a goal from a holding the ball decision in the first quarter and a classy major in the second, getting boot to ball quickly under pressure in one of the goals of the day. Serong was later moved to defence where he offered plenty of rebound and good skills from half-back. At over 190cm, Serong has shown some great versatility so far this year which could only enhance his draft stocks, and he finished the game with a team-high 18 disposals, seven marks and two goals.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 15.14 (104) def. NT THUNDER ACADEMY 3.8 (26)

By: Declan Reeve

GIANTS Academy:

#5 Angus Curry

The bottom-aged midfielder was a touch too classy for anyone else afield, as he looked convincingly the best ball user when he had ball in hand. He pin-pointed his kicks going forward and hit his handballs well with precision, at times not even turning his head to see his teammate, but putting it to the voice. Was in the right spots around stoppages from the second quarter onwards, where he’d win first possession consistently but sometimes failed to find a way out of the traffic and got caught for another ball up. Showing his game sense however, he adjusted how he approached stoppages as the game went on to start getting the ball out in a bit more space. Tackled well for a player of his size, where he caught a few off guard with his pace.

#7 Matthew Hamblin

The standout inside midfielder for the game, Hamblin was everywhere early on in the game when others were still trying to find their feet a bit, leading to him having the ball on a string. Was prolific around stoppages for a good chunk of the first half, just able to note subtle cues from the opposition ruck to start winning clearances off NT hitouts. Around the ground he was handy, working hard to pressure opponents and force turnovers, able to get the ball off the deck and dispose of it quickly, where without pressure his kicking was reliable, and under pressure he preferred to fire off quick and sharp handballs.

#14 Luke Lawrence

The bottom-aged forward target was the go-to man in the attacking half for GWS, with his leading patterns at a high level, he was often well placed inside 50 to follow up with a shot on goal when he held onto the marks – but did have some trouble with holding onto them at times. He worked hard without the ball as well, laying an impressive tackle in the third quarter where he ran 25 metres to lay it, rightfully being rewarded with the free kick. When he had the ball he generally used it well, not looking to do anything flashy, but always what was right for the team.

#19 Maximus Monaghan

After a quieter first half than you’d expect from the ball winner, Monaghan started to get into the game really well in the second half, with aggression on the ball around the ground that was hard to deal with for NT. Playing similarly to Hamblin, they formed a strong inside partnership, with Monaghan looking faster and more confident using the ball under pressure. What really stood out with Monaghan was how hard it was to move him for the opposition, he took bumps and heavy contact in his stride to hold his feet, not even being knocked off balance.

#24 Sam Frost

In a game that had relatively little defensive half pressure for the Giants, Frost was always switched on, often stopping NT attacks from transition with his aggressive attack in the air and even at ground level, where he wasn’t afraid to back his size and strength to get through packs of players without being brought down, often following up with a long bomb forward. Frost was consistently able to launch his kicks 60 metres, from kick-ins and from outside forward 50 in attempts to score, where distance wasn’t an issue but accuracy needed some polishing. 

NT Thunder:

#2 Andy Moniz-Wakefield

Battled hard all day to be a player constantly with the ball for NT. Often used as a link-up man from defence, he did well to break away from opponents and create separation on the lead to take marks without much hassle. He used that same speed, mixed with his agility, to get around players in tighter situations and follow up with good ball use forward, which unfortunately often went unrewarded.

#27 Tadhj Evans

On what was a hard day for the NT forwards, Evans managed to stand out as a head above the rest with his leap and strong hands as the main forward target, consistently able to hold contested marks or knock the ball in front of teammates to run onto. He used his body well in marking contests, able to nudge opponents under the ball to allow it to go over the back for either himself or a teammate. He looked good and agile at ground level as well, best displayed in the final term where he gathered a ground ball under pressure from two opponents, spun out of their arms and handed it off to a teammate without breaking stride.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

2021 NAB League Boys snapshot: Round 8

THE 2021 NAB League season is slowly returning to normalcy, with four games played across a pair of double-headers on Saturday. Geelong and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) picked up points in all-country showdowns, while Tasmania returned to the fold with a win over the Sydney Swans Academy, and the Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Academy trumped Northern Territory Thunder. Check out the key figures and stats in our weekend snapshot, with Scouting Notes to follow tomorrow evening.

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 13.6 (84) def. by TASMANIA DEVILS 14.4 (88)

IN A SENTENCE:

Tasmania Devils marked a captivating return to the NAB League, winning by four points via a Will Splann goal with six minutes left to play having trailed at the first three breaks.

TEAM STATS:

  • Swans Academy won the handballs (161-133) and tackles (61-55)
  • Tasmania Devils won the kicks (162-146) and marks (62-34)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Marco Rossmann (Swans Academy) 31 disposals, 5 marks, 7 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Felix Rogers (Swans Academy) 26 disposals, 3 marks, 5 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Pierce Roseby (Swans Academy) 25 disposals, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50
  • Baynen Lowe (Tasmania Devils) 28 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 8 inside 50s
  • Sam Tilley (Tasmania Devils) 22 disposals, 4 tackles, 2 rebound 50s
  • Jye Menzie (Tasmania Devils) 22 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 2 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Marco Rossmann (Swans Academy)
4 – Baynen Lowe (Tasmania Devils)
3 – Felix Rogers (Swans Academy)
2 – Jye Menzie (Tasmania Devils)
1 – Sam Tilley (Tasmania Devils)

NEXT UP:

TBC.

GEELONG FALCONS 9.10 (64) def. BENDIGO PIONEERS 7.12 (54)

IN A SENTENCE:

Geelong Falcons toppled higher-ranked opposition for the second week running, edging the Bendigo Pioneers by 10 points after giving up the lead in term four.

TEAM STATS:

  • Geelong Falcons won the handballs (121-110), inside 50s (47-41) and hitouts (55-21)
  • Bendigo Pioneers won the kicks (179-157) and rebound 50s (36-33)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons) 28 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons) 28 disposals, 9 marks, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Cooper Whyte (Geelong Falcons) 22 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 6 inside 60s
  • Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) 24 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers) 24 disposals, 5 marks, 8 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 behinds
  • Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers) 6 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Mitch Knevitt (Geelong Falcons)
4 – Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons)
3 – Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers)
2 – Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers)
1 – Cooper Whyte (Geelong Falcons)

NEXT UP:

TBC.

GWV REBELS 16.20 (116) def. GIPPSLAND POWER 6.1 (37)

IN A SENTENCE:

The GWV Rebels overwhelmed Gippsland Power with 36 scoring shots to seven, returning to the winners list via a 79-point thumping on home turf.

TEAM STATS:

  • GWV Rebels won the disposals (398-245), inside 50s (65-26), and marks (93-55)
  • Gippsland Power won the rebound 50s (49-20), tackles (68-65) and hitouts (43-20)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Sam Breuer (GWV Rebels) 30 disposals, 3 marks, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal
  • Sam Butler (GWV Rebels) 27 disposals, 6 marks, 7 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Fraser Marris (GWV Rebels) 38 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Jai Serong (Gippsland Power) 18 disposals, 7 marks, 4 tackles, 5 rebound 50s, 2 goals
  • Max Walton (Gippsland Power) 17 disposals, 7 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power) 16 disposals, 12 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Sam Butler (GWV Rebels)
4 – Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels)
3 – Sam Breuer (GWV Rebels)
2 – Kai Lohmann (GWV Rebels)
1 – Vincent Huf (GWV Rebels)

NEXT UP:

TBC.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 15.14 (104) def. NT THUNDER ACADEMY 3.8 (26)

IN A SENTENCE:

The GIANTS Academy proved far too strong for their Northern Territory counterparts, piling on scoreboard pressure after quarter time and running out comfortable 78-point victors in Blacktown.

TEAM STATS:

  • GIANTS Academy won the disposals (285-198), inside 50s (50-25), and marks (70-63)
  • NT Thunder won the rebound 50s (34-22)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Sam Frost (GIANTS Academy) 28 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 6 rebound 50s
  • Matthew Hamblin (GIANTS Academy) 24 disposals, 7 marks, 1 tackle, 3 rebound 50s
  • Maximus Monaghan (GIANTS Academy) 19 disposals, 2 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s
  • Andy Moniz-Wakefield (NT Thunder) 24 disposals, 7 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 6 rebound 50s, 1.3
  • Lloyd Johnston (NT Thunder) 21 disposals, 6 marks, 2 tackles, 1 inside 50, 7 rebound 50s
  • Ronald Fejo Jnr (NT Thunder) 19 disposals, 7 marks, 5 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Matthew Hamblin (GIANTS Academy)
4 – Angus Curry (GIANTS Academy)
3 – Luke Lawrence (GIANTS Academy)
2 – Maximus Monaghan (GIANTS Academy)
1 – Andy Moniz Wakefield (NT Thunder)

NEXT UP:

TBC.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League Boys – Round 6

THE 2021 NAB League season rolled on over the weekend despite a fourth Victorian lockdown, with a pair of Northern Academy derbies making up the extent of the Round 6 fixtures. It meant budding AFL Draft prospects from around the nation got their chance to shine on centre stage, and a good number of them impressed. Check out the top performers from both fixtures in our opinion-based Scouting Notes.

>> RESULTS: Round 6 snapshot

GWS GIANTS Academy 10.9 (69) def. Sydney Swans Academy 9.9 (63)
By: Michael Alvaro

GIANTS Academy:

#7 Matthew Hamblin

Hamblin finished as the most prolific GIANTS midfielder with 27 disposals and proved a productive runner among the centre bounce group. He showed a good step through traffic and was able to zip onto the outer with a few quick steps before disposing of the ball cleanly. Complimenting those bursts was one excellent example of repeat running in the second term, where Hamblin was involved at half-back, got the ball again as the GIANTS transitioned through the corridor, and was rewarded for his running effort as he received inside 50 and slotted a goal on the fly. He could have added a couple more majors, but put shots wide in terms one and four.

#21 Fraser Kelly

Kelly was one who rotated forward from midfield and had an impact in both roles, collecting 18 disposals and booting three goals. He finished well on the day and his third major was an important one to level the scores in term four, snapping home with aplomb. Around the ball, he showed clean hands and the ability to get his arms up while being tackled to keep the play moving. While some of his handball distribution fell short of the intended targets, Kelly looked stylish in tight spaces and under solid pressure at the contest.

#24 Sam Frost

The GIANTS Academy leader was a dominant aerial force across his side’s defensive 50, rising to take 10 grabs and looking to generate some forward momentum by foot on the rebound. He took on the kick-in duties, which aided his road to 30 disposals (24 kicks), and looked to have sharpened his execution a touch this time out. Frost’s intercept marking was the highlight of his game though, as he sat on opponents’ heads in one-on-one contests and floated across to cut off an array of Sydney attacks. It’s clear what his key strength is, and he played to it perfectly on this occasion.

#31 Josh Green

A top-age prospect who has garnered interest for the mid-season draft, Green was solid in this outing without being dominant. He used his strong frame on the inside to get over the ball and distribute out of congestion, with 18 of his 25 disposals coming by hand. He was clean in those situations, even under tackling pressure, and brought his teammates into the game by playing to his primary strength in congestion. Green also rotated forward and took a couple of decent grabs, with a two-bite mark in the second term leading to his lone goal of the game – a set shot conversion from 40 metres out.

Swans Academy:

#3 Felix Rogers

Rogers clearly has no trouble finding the ball and again proved as much by accumulating a game-high 34 disposals both inside and away from the contest. He positioned well at the back of stoppages to receive second possession and be released to burst forward with a short run and kick. The 18-year-old also turned feeder himself and found a way to consistently get his hands on the ball, while spreading well to accumulate around the ground. He lifted in term four when the game was on the line, getting busy in midfield despite his side falling short. Rogers also hit the scoreboard with a set shot goal in the third quarter and was arguably best afield.

#7 Pierce Roseby

Another small Swans midfielder who finds the ball at will, Roseby worked hard all day for his side in an offensive and defensive sense. He worked back well when stationed in midfield to provide an outlet option, generally using the ball well with his short kicking game. Roseby used the same kind of method forward of centre too, often marking inside 50 but looking to find the next short option within the arc. He seemed to spend a bit more time up forward in the second half but presented right up the ground and covered plenty of territory in the process, helping his side link out of defence and along the outer.

#15 Jeremy Woodford

Woodford was one who showed great class in possession and made his kicks count, despite not racking up as much as others. Stationed on the wing and moving the ball forward of centre, Woodford was able to link the Swans into attack from the outer, weighting well directed passes to centre half-forward and inside attacking 50. One such pass was a goal assist for Hugh McLeod in the second term, and that kind of execution proved a weapon at times. Woodford was also thrown into the centre bounces and showed nice spurts of agility, but looked more comfortable when operating in space and given the time to hit a target going forward.

#26 Angus Anderson

Providing a hard edge on the inside, Anderson competed well and looked to help set the tone for Sydney. He built into the game steadily, proving strong at the contest with attempts to bustle out of congestion and break tackles with strength. Those kind of efforts meant Anderson had a good amount of presence at stoppages, but he also spread well to boot a goal on the run in term two, while also dropping back to find the ball in defence when required.

Brisbane Lions Academy 7.7 (49) def. by Gold Coast SUNS Academy 13.18 (96)
By: Declan Reeve

Lions Academy:

#12 Saxon Crozier

Considered unlucky by some not to be picked up in last year’s draft, Crozier showed that he’s since worked on his football to enhance his stocks for this season. With one particular knock last season being his inside game, Crozier played the majority of the contest as a rover on his way to a game-high 34 disposals. He won the first clearance of the day which set the tone for how he would play, utilising his positional awareness and speed to win the ball around the ground and then use it well, especially when kicking, to get the Lions into good spots. He balanced his performance well, also featuring on the wing at times where he showed what people already knew he could do, holding his space and being a switch option before getting the ball and pumping it forward.

#23 Charlie Bowes

Utilising his speed and deadly long kick, Bowes was one of the standout users of the footy throughout the game. He often leant on his penetrative kick to break lines and get the ball well clear of the defensive 50. When he took the kick-ins, he’d back in his speed and take on the opponent on the mark, then once he had run his distance, kick it 50-plus meters low and hard to give his leading teammates the best chance of holding onto it. Not only able to bullet his kicks, when required he weighted them well for a teammate to run onto and take easily.

#26 Jack Briskey

The former Collingwood train-on player was solid defensively and dangerous offensively, providing a well rounded performance that is sure to catch some eyes. He was strong overhead, even when under pressure, to hold most marks he should’ve taken. His follow up disposal was also generally good, though missing a few kicks or failing to get much penetration remains an area of improvement. What’s most impressive about Briskey is his athleticism for a bigman – he possesses great speed which saw him go for a couple of runs, one in the second quarter was particularly notable, where he took on two opponents and took a couple of bounces, then kicked long inside 50. That speed, along with his great leap meant that he rarely allowed his opponents to take marks near him, as he could close down the space extremely quickly and then compete in the air to get a fist in and spoil the mark.

SUNS Academy:

#2 Max Pescud

Splitting his time between the forwardline and midfield, Pescud was arguably the spark that got Gold Coast piling on scores in the second and fourth quarters, bringing a nice bit of zip to the midfield group when he got the ball. He generally used it well, more inclined to place the ball in front of teammates rather than bullet it directly at them, making it easier to hold onto. When in the forwardline he was always dangerous, kicking the Suns’ first two goals of the game; one from a strong lead when the Suns got a turnover, and the next from crumbing from a pack and snapping it through the middle.

#4 Austin Harris

Whilst not accumulating massive numbers, the AFL Academy member added a bit of class out of the back half for the Suns, with his ball use and speed especially dangerous in transition. He got into the right spots trying to receive a handball on the outside of packs, with the times he was used in those situations generally resulting in a penetrating kick forward. Had an impressive display of composure in the third term, where he got the ball and managed to evade two opponents, then break a tackle and kick the ball laterally to a teammate. Through his efforts to be involved even when the ball wasn’t in the backline, he got up the ground and snagged a goal in the second quarter. He occasionally tried to do too much or opt for unrealistic targets, which is an area of his game he can look to iron out.

#22 Bailey Reeves

Starting the game up forward before being promptly moved into the midfield, Reeves was one of the leading ball winners for the Suns. In midfield, his balanced disposal was vital to his side winning the midfield battle, as he would often get first hands on it around the stoppages and then move it on via hand to an outside runner or kick long forward. In open play his kicking was accurate and sharp, giving his leading forwards to best chance to hold onto it and maintain their separation.

#35 Will Bella

The most dominant forward in the contest, Bella was able to easily out-body and out-reach opposition defenders in marking contests, making it almost a sure thing he was going to win one-on-ones. As the Lions defenders caught onto this strength, they started to look to outnumber him, forcing him to start leading a bit more and look to create separation which he did to varying success. He would’ve had more than just two goals if he had been a bit more accurate, with that conversion a part of his game that he’ll certainly look to work on. Looked comfortably the best ruck when he was rotating through there, winning taps and doing well as a ‘kick behind the play’ player.