Tag: Patrick Kerr

VFL weekly wrap: Top-of-the-table thriller at Punt Rd goes Richmond’s way

RICHMOND cemented their place at the top of the Victorian Football League (VFL) ladder following a three-point victory over the Bombers in Round 8, while Collingwood returned to the winners list for the first time since Round 1.

Collingwood 12.7 (79) defeated Box Hill 9.11 (65)

The Magpies overturned a one-point deficit at three-quarter-time to storm home to their second win of the season. In a tight match, Box Hill held the largest margin of three goals midway through the third term. With Collingwood’s senior list decimated due to injury, it was largely the VFL stars who turned the tide and lead the black and white to the win. Former Blue Andrew Gallucci, Sam Glover and Callan Wellings all kicked two goals each when the match was there to be won, while Lachie Howe stood out in the ruck with 38 hitouts, a goal, and 20 disposals. Josh Daicos had 34 disposals for the Pies, pushing his case for a senior recall. Box Hill’s Jackson Ross sits equal top of the Frosty Miller Medal standings after another four-goal display.

Geelong 20.11 (131) defeated Coburg 7.12 (54)

Geelong smashed Coburg at home to the tune of 77 points. The Cats lead all day but it was the second quarter where the majority of the damage was done, with Geelong booting seven goals to one. Coburg’s task wasn’t made any easier with an injury to small forward Sam Lowson, who still managed to kick two goals. It was a day to remember for Nathan Krueger as he slammed home six majors while Blake Schlensog, Jake Tarca, and Jackson McLachlan all contributed three each. The latter also had 25 disposals in an impressive display, with Cats VFL coach Shane O’Bree comparing him to Tom Atkins.

Richmond 10.10 (70) defeated Essendon 10.7 (67)

The match of the round took place as a curtain raiser to Dreamtime at the ‘G just 200m across Yarra Park at Punt Rd. Richmond led all day but almost fell over at the final hurdle as the Bombers mounted a last-quarter comeback, booting four goals to one. The Tigers managed to hold on however to remain the only undefeated side in the competition. Mabior Chol dominated with 22 touches, a goal and 22 hitouts, as Jack Graham and Jake Aarts each kicked two goals. Essendon’s Dylan Clarke had the most disposals on the ground with 26 while Irving Mosquito and Mark Baguley also had two goals each to their name.

Footscray 12.11 (83) defeated North Melbourne 9.10 (64)

The Bulldogs got the job done under the lights at the Whitten Oval on Saturday night. North started fast, high on confidence from their win prior to the bye, before the Dogs reeled them back in and did not let the lead go, eventually running out victors by 19 points. Aaron Hall racked up 28 disposals for the Kangaroos while former VFL Premiership Bulldog Tom Campbell had 22 touches and 52 hitouts against his old side. Lukas Webb had 24 disposals and Tory Dickson kicked three goals for the Dogs. The win moves Footscray to outright second on the VFL ladder.

Sandringham 12.8 (80) defeated Northern Blues 10.9 (69)

It was a tale of two halves at Marvel Stadium and the Zebras picked up their game in the second act to win by 11 points. The Blues led by 16 points at the main break before Sandy kicked 6 goals and left their opponents goalless in the third term to turn the game on its head. Brede Seccull had 30 disposals while David Armitage and Hunter Clark had 29 for Sandringham. Sam Fisher was best afield for the Blues with 26. Patrick Kerr and Sam Fox each kicked three goals for their respective sides.

Williamstown 11.11 (77) defeated Casey 9.7 (61)

Casey held the Seagulls scoreless in the first quarter but still couldn’t come home with the four points, as Williamstown ran over the top of the Demons at home. Willy kicked eight goals in the second half to Casey’s three, all of which were kicked in the last three minutes of the game, to record a 16-point victory. Mitchell Hibberd continued his fine form with 31 disposals while Jay Kennedy-Harris had 26 disposals and kicked a goal. Sam Weideman impressed for the Demons with three goals but Jordan Lewis doesn’t look like gaining a senior recall anytime soon, collecting only 23 touches. Christian Buykx-Smith and Jaylon Thorpe kicked three goals each for the Seagulls.

Frankston 4.11 (35) defeated Werribee 8.16 (64)

There is a feeling that the Dolphins are getting closer to a win despite going down by 29 points at home to Werribee on Sunday. Frankston held the Tigers goalless in the first term and led for most of the match, including at three-quarter time, before Werribee rolled over the top to pick up their fourth win of 2019. The Tigers slammed home four goals and eight behinds in the final term, holding the Dolphins scoreless to win by 29 points. Jake Riccardi kicked three goals for the away side, while Beau Bailey kicked 2 for Frankston. Tom Gribble collected 32 disposals and kicked two goals as teammate Matt Hanson collected 31. James Rendell impressed for Frankston with 30 hitouts.

Bye – Port Melbourne

Picture: VFL.com.au

VFL weekly wrap: Tigers and Borough winning streaks continue

ESSENDON returned to winning ways while Port Melbourne notched up their fifth win on the trot. Meanwhile, the Tigers remain on top without a loss following Round 7 of the Victorian Football League (VFL).

Footscray 13.13 (91) defeated Werribee 11.14 (80)

The Bulldogs bounced back from last week’s draw against Box Hill with a solid victory over Werribee. Footscray started fast and led most of the day, only falling behind midway through the third term. Daniel Giansiracusa’s men lifted and extended the lead to as much as four goals in the final quarter before eventually settling for an 11-point win. Bailey Dale kicked three goals and had 21 disposals for the home side while Max Augerinos slotted three for the Tigers. Pat Lipinski had the most touches on the ground with 30 as former Docker and Sun Michael Barlow produced another strong showing with a goal and 28 disposals.

Northern Blues 13.10 (88) defeated Frankston 9.9 (63)

It was another case of close yet so far for the Dolphins on Saturday as the Blues ran away the victors at Ikon Park. The final margin of 25 points perhaps doesn’t do the contest justice, with just two goals in it at three-quarter time and Frankston closing to within a goal early in the last. It was a day out for Patrick Kerr as he slammed home six majors, while Alex Fasolo and Jason Kingsbury kicked two apiece. Darcy Lang notched up 28 disposals, with Josh Newman the standout again for Frankston, collecting 26 disposals.

Casey 9.7 (61) defeated by Port Melbourne 16.8 (104)

A rampant second half performance by Port Melbourne saw the Borough take home four points for their fifth win in a row at Casey Fields. Leading at half-time by a point, the Demons would kick only two goals for the remainder of the match. Jordan Lisle did much of the damage for Port, kicking six goals as Shannen Lange assisted with three goals and 31 disposals. James Munro was best afield for the Demons with 29 disposals and 18 tackles while Brayden Preuss chimed in with two goals and 34 hitouts.

Richmond 11.12 (78) defeated Box Hill 11.4 (70)

The Tigers continued their impressive form with a hard-fought victory over Box Hill at Punt Road. The Hawks held the largest lead of the match 23 points up close to half time, however Richmond found a way to come back, taking control late in the third and doing enough to hold off Box Hill in the last. An AFL call-up for Patrick Naish can’t be too far away as he once again dominated with 28 disposals, while Dan Howe had 25 for the away side. Dan Butler and Jackson Ross kicked three each for their respective sides.

Coburg 10.8 (68) defeated by Williamstown 14.16 (100)

Williamstown recorded a solid 32-point win away to Coburg on Sunday afternoon. A six-goal nil first term set the tone for the rest of the match, however the Lions should be credited with continuing the battle and not letting the Seagulls run away with a larger win. Sam Dunell booted five goals for Willy while Adam Marcon kicked one major from 23 disposals. Luke Bunker had the most touches of anyone on the ground with 27.

Geelong 10.8 (68) defeated Collingwood 9.7 (61)

Collingwood’s finals hopes are in serious doubt after yet another close loss, this time to the Cats on the road. It was a close contest all day before Geelong opened up a 25-point lead halfway through the final term. The Pies fought back but ultimately fell short by seven points. Alex Woodward is looking to be an early favourite for the Liston Trophy after another 32-disposal display. In good news for Collingwood fans, Brayden Sier and Josh Daicos played well with a goal apiece and 24 and 23 disposals respectively. Wylie Buzza kicked five goals for the Cats.

Sandringham 13.9 (87) defeated by Essendon 15.10 (100)

The Bombers fought off an impressive Zebras comeback to record victory at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. Essendon started fast, kicking seven goals to two in the first term before Sandy came out with fire in the second, kicking five to one. With all the momentum, one would have expected Sandringham to continue their display in the second half, but Essendon held strong and eventually ran away 13 point winners. St Kilda’s first pick in last year’s draft, Max King, booted four goals while Danny Younan kicked four for the Bombers. Hunter Clark kicked a goal and had 32 disposals while David Myers racked up 29 and kicked three. Billy Longer dominated in the ruck with 57 hitouts.

Bye – North Melbourne

Picture: VFL.com.au

Photo: VFL

VFL weekly wrap: Port returns home in style

GEELONG, Port Melbourne, Sandringham, and Coburg all won their first games of the season in Round 3 of the Victorian Football League (VFL), as Essendon claimed top spot despite having played a game less than half of the competition.

North Melbourne 5.10 (40) defeated by Essendon 20.14 (134)

The horror start to the season for North Melbourne continued as they were thrashed by the Bombers at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday. While the first term was relatively even, Essendon took full control in the second quarter and never looked back, kicking seven goals to two. Jayden Laverde slammed home six goals from 19 disposals in an encouraging performance, while Trent Mynott racked up 25 disposals and slotted two goals. Dan Robinson continued his good form for the Kangaroos with 29 disposals as Nathan Hrovat chimed in with 28 touches.

Werribee 12.9 (81) defeated by Geelong 12.12 (84)

The double header at Avalon Airport Oval continued with the battle of the west. Geelong managed to sneak home despite a last-quarter comeback by the Tigers, who nearly snatched the win after kicking five goals to one in the final term. Darcy Fort kicked three goals for the Cats while Jake Riccardi managed three for the home side. Werribee’s Tom Gribble notched up 31 disposals and James Parsons won the most footy for Geelong with 26 touches.

Collingwood 11.11 (77) defeated by Northern Blues 11.14 (80)

Josh Fraser again returned to Victoria Park as coach to haunt his old side as the Blues came from behind to defeat arch-rivals, Collingwood. The Magpies had a slight ascendency at every break, however, they couldn’t hold on in the final term as Patrick Kerr’s third goal of the day sealed the four points for the Blues. Matthew Kennedy put a bad week behind him to register 22 disposals, while Rupert Wills and Alex Woodward were on fire for the Pies, with 32 and 31 respectively. Tim Broomhead kicked three goals for the Pies while Daniel Wells managed two.

Port Melbourne 12.17 (89) defeated Box Hill 8.17 (65)

On their return to Adcon Stadium, the Borough stunned last years’ premiers Box Hill to hand the Hawks their first loss of the season. Port Melbourne flew out of the blocks, kicking five goals to one in the opening term, and never looked back. Dylan Conway and Tom O’Sullivan both kicked three goals for the home side, while Ben Jolley recorded 25 disposals and Teia Miles slotted two goals for the Hawks.

Sandringham 14.8 (92) defeated Williamstown 9.14 (68)

A dominant third quarter paved the way for Sandringham’s first win of the season as they defeated the Seagulls at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. The Zebras kicked away towards the end of the first half and continued that form into the second, restricting Williamstown to only one goal in the third term. Hunter Clark was dominant for the home side with 28 disposals and a goal while Durras Seccull, brother of captain Bede, kicked four goals on debut. Adam Marcon had 28 disposals for Williamstown while Nick Rodda and Jaylon Thorpe kicked three goals each.

Coburg 20.18 (138) defeated Frankston 9.9 (63)

What many were expecting to be match of the round turned into a fizzer, as Coburg trounced the Dolphins at Piranha Park. It was once again the third term that did the most damage to Frankston, as the Lions banged home nine goals to two. Peter McEvoy kicked six goals for Coburg while Sam Lowson chimed in with three. Marcus Lentini was the leading ball winner with 28 disposals as Josh Newman continued to lead the Dolphins with 25. Nathan Freeman appeared injured as he only managed the three touches and didn’t spend much time in the midfield.

Bye – Casey, Richmond, Footscray

Photo: VFL.com.au

Matt Balmer’s 2016 Final AFL Draft Power Rankings Part 1

EVERY month since May, Matt Balmer has ranked his players from the 2016 AFL Draft pool. With less than three weeks until the November 25 National AFL Draft, he counts down the players ranked 50-1 over the next two weeks. Today will be 50-26, before next Monday’s final rankings from 25-1.

Well what a year it has been. Looking back at May’s rankings, it’s amazing how things can change after Sam Petrevski-Seton was #1 all those months ago. We have had injuries such as Jy Simpkin and Alex Witherden breaking their legs in separate school game incidents, while names have jumped up with strong performances throughout the season and in finals.

Having seen just under 100 games throughout the season, it is always hard to come to a final order and I have ranked the players how I would if I was an AFL club going into the draft come November, ticking names off the list as they are called out.

#50 Zac Fisher
Inside Midfielder (Perth/Western Australia)
15/06/1998 | 175.2cm | 70.3kg

Bite sized inside midfielder who jumped onto the radar with a big performance against the Allies in the first television game of the National Under 18s Championships on Fox Footy. Fisher’s awareness is one of his strengths and it is highlighted in the final quarter of the Western Australia game against the Allies, where he pulls the kick from the half forward flank into the centre 45 metres out from goal. His run and carry work through the midfield is good and he using his quick hands to clear the ball from the stoppages which is a strength. Kicking efficiency needs work and it was below 50 per cent in the WAFL this season. He played senior football all season for Perth and is not worried by bigger bodied opponents. Probably starts up forward in an AFL environment, before playing through the midfield if he can add to his frame.

#49 Josh Begley
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
03/07/1998 | 185.5cm | 96.1kg

Josh Begley is one of the bolters of the draft who begun the year playing at Upper Ferntree Gully, before Eastern Ranges added him to their squad where he bagged six goals on debut against Tasmania. Coming off no preseason, Begley bagged 27 goals this season playing up forward. He did move into the midfield, where he used his strong frame to good success. His work in close at the stoppages is very good and is willing to tackle hard to win the ball back. Will need a few preseasons under his belt to work on his body shape, but fits in as a likely Christian Petracca type of player. Skinfolds have reduced dramatically in the last few months and looms as a likely second rounder.

#48 Harry Morrison
Outside Midfielder (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
12/11/1998 | 181.5cm | 77.6kg

It’s been a tough two-year block for Harry Morrison. Morrison suffered an ACL injury in 2014 that resulted in him missing the Under 16s carnival, before an injury to his back saw him miss the Under 18 carnival this season. His form throughout the season at the Murray Bushrangers has been solid, without starring in any particular games. He looks best suited to playing across half back or on a wing – thanks to his outstanding kick and his decision making. Morrison is composed with the ball in hand across half back, reading the play well before disposing of it well off his right boot. Morrison is not the quickest player out on the ground and it may be an area of focus if he can get a run at it without injuries.

#47 Corey Lyons
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
31/05/1998 | 180.5cm | 77.1kg

The brother of current Gold Coast Sun Jarryd could not have done much more to be drafted in 2016. He continued to give it his all, right up until the final game of the TAC Cup season after a steller finals series. Lyons is an inside midfielder who is not blessed with speed, but tackles hard and wins the clearances. A knock on him has been his kicking efficiency which has been 57 per cent in the TAC Cup. Chances were limited in the National Under 18 Championships in a strong Vic Metro side, but his best position will be on the inside at AFL level despite his small size. Has the running ability to play outside and across half forward.

#46 Brennan Cox
Key Position Defender/Forward (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia)
13/08/1998 | 192.6cm | 91.6kg

All Australian Brennan Cox has had a strong season playing virtually in every position. Cox held down the fort for South Australia at full back in the National Under 18 Championships and often floated between forward and back, with some stints in the ruck for Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL. He played both Reserves and Under 18s football in South Australia, where he showed off his good leap and marking up forward and his intercept marking and one-on-one work in defence. Despite his early season testing results, he at times can appear slow moving around the ground. Is one of the handful of best defenders in the draft pool.

#45 Callum Brown
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
27/04/1998 | 177.0cm | 72.2kg

Callum Brown is the son of Collingwood great Gavin and begun the Under 18 championships with a big performance. His work in close is very good and he picks the ball up as well as anyone from ground level. After playing mostly as a small forward for the Ranges in 2015, Brown spent most of the season on the inside. Whilst his aggression and work rate is very good, he can let down with his kicking. He is a player that tends to kick short and does not have much hurt factor when he disposes of the ball. His kicking efficiency can also be affected at times when he goes to kick the ball on either side of his body. Expect a bid in the 30 plus region for Brown.

#44 Declan Watson
Key Position Defender (Aspley/Queensland)
17/09/1998 | 191.4cm | 82.8kg

Declan Watson is a strong one-on-one defender who does not lose too often to his opponent. Watson intercepts well in the back half and kicked the ball out of for Queensland in the Under 18 championships. Whilst he isn’t a big ball winner, his work stopping his opponent is very good. Watson will need some time to develop with a light frame, but all signs point to him being the first Brisbane Lions academy member being bidded on come November 25.

#43 Ryan Garthwaite
?Key Position Defender (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
30/06/1998 | 192.0cm | 83.2kg

Ryan Garthwaite finished the year outstandingly well as the Murray Bushrangers’ best defender in their TAC Cup Grand Final loss to Sandringham Dragons. Garthwaite collected 24 disposals, nine marks and six rebound 50s in one of his best games of the season. Garthwaite is a strong lock down defender that is also mobile enough to play up the ground across half back. His intercept mark work is some of the best in the Under 18 system (averaged 6.5 marks in the TAC Cup) but injuries meant an underdone Under 18 carnival. His kicking action can appear strange with both hands dropping the ball onto his foot, but the ball does get to where it needs to go, more often than not.

#42 Jack Graham
?Inside Midfielder (North Adelaide/South Australia)
25/02/1998 | 180.3cm | 81.1kg

South Australian inside midfielder Jack Graham won All-Australian honours and was the Larke Medalist for the best player in Division One in the National Under 18 Championships. Has had a few injuries that has meant he missed a few games across the season, including a quad injury which kept him out of finals for North Adelaide. Graham is a contested ball winning hard nut and is strongly built from the waist down. My only concern is, will his body shape be able to adapt for AFL level where he likely trims off a little to work on endurance? His ball winning ability on the inside is very good and should appeal to clubs with a late second round pick.

#41 Louis Cunningham
Outside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
24/02/1998 | 181.8cm | 76.6kg

Little known Oakleigh Charger Louis Cunningham impressed in 2016. Showing his dash across half back, Cunningham stood out not only for his bright orange boots, but his pinpoint left foot pass that could break the game open rebounding out of defence. His attacking flair impressed me on multiple occasions when he would have the ball sprinting out of the back half and kicking it long forward. Deserves a chance on an AFL list.

#40 Willem Drew
Inside Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
01/10/1998 | 188.0cm | 79.3kg

Willem Drew is one of the best pure inside midfielders in the TAC Cup. Averaging 7.4 tackles and 6.9 clearances per game, Drew was a crucial cog in the North Ballarat Rebels midfield alongside Hugh McCluggage. Whilst his ball winning is great, he has not had inside form at National Under 18 Championships level or in the NAB U18 All-Stars game, making it hard to judge where he sits in the draft overall. Drew does have some areas of improvement, where he can just hack the ball out of a stoppage at times – this resulted in a kicking efficiency of 55.7 per cent in the TAC Cup. He is slow to accelerate and isn’t blessed with pace, meaning the clear a stoppage he often needs to handball to ball out to a teammate.

#39 Myles Poholke
?Inside Midfielder/General Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
10/07/1998 | 183.7cm | 81.9kg

Strong midfielder Myles Poholke has the ability to push forward and hit the scoreboard. Poholke had 18 disposals and two goals for Vic Country in their narrow loss to Vic Metro in the National Under 18s Championships. Whilst he is not a huge disposal winner, he played in a team that had one of the lowest disposal averages as a team week in week out. Poholke’s bursts can see him collect six disposals in as many minutes, before fading as he did at times throughout the year. His consistency does need work but his running ability and endurance has improved from what they were earlier in the season. His strength at the contest is very good and that can help him win one-on-one contests.

#38 Kobe Mutch
Balanced Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/NSW-ACT)
18/03/1998 | 186.1cm | 83.6kg

One of the best ball winners in the 2016 draft pool is Kobe Mutch, but just where does he play his best football? He has multiple traits that make him so attractive, but without being elite in one category. His work rate around the ground is very good and he spreads very well from the stoppages and looks to get involved. Mutch is a good clearance player when he plays through the centre of the ground and is able to link the ball up with teammates on the outside. An average kick can see Mutch lean back at times and float the ball when going forward, allowing for it to be intercepted by opposition. He is willing to kick the ball on either side of his body and is a smooth mover.

#37 Jack Maibaum
?Key Position Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
27/03/1998 | 191.9cm | 91.0kg

Key defender Jack Maibaum won All-Australian honours after a great National Under 18 Championships playing as Vic Metro’s number one tall. Maibaum has floated between forward and back at both Melbourne Gramamr (school) and Eastern Ranges (TAC Cup). Up forward he is mobile enough to lead further up the ground, whilst in defence he has played mainly a role shutting down the opposition best forward. Not a big disposal winner, but his efforts in one-on-one situations are very good and he gives his all week in week out. At 192cm, is he big enough to play as the number one key back?

#36 Josh Daicos
Outside Midfielder/Small Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
26/11/1998 | 177.8cm | 72.2kg

Josh Daicos is the highest ranked Father/Son prospect in my rankings. The son of Peter has had a good year in the TAC Cup providing X-Factor when playing up forward. At times he has pushed through the midfield and played across half back, but looks most at home. Against the Northern Knights, Daicos played in defence for the first half before moving forward- providing deadly booting a couple of goals to get the Chargers over the line. Some of his moments up forward are eye catching and looks agile on the field, wearing bright boots as he has for most of the season. His footy brain is very good but he can fade in and fade out of matches very quickly. Expect a bid in the 30-45 range.

#35 Luke Ryan
General Defender (Coburg/VFL)
07/02/1996 | 185.7cm | 82.9kg

Luke Ryan is the best state league prospect across Australia and seems likely to be a first round pick. Upon watching him, he looks to be ‘skinny’, but up close and testing wise he sits at a touch under 83kg. The general defender rebounds the ball and isn’t afraid to intercept mark. He is very good athletically, but from the games I have seen him play- he does collect a lot of the ball uncontested due to dropping off his man. A shoulder injury saw his season end early but was still able to win the Fothergill-Round medal as the best Under 23 player in the VFL.

#34 Sam Walker
?Medium Defender (Glenelg/South Australia)
16/03/1998 | 185.1cm | 79.2kg

I’m a big fan of rebounding defender Sam Walker. The South Australian has an exquisite left boot and hits targets at will when steaming from defence. Walker’s National Under 18 Championships saw him average 14 disposals and was named in the All Australian side. His disposal efficiency was elite from the carnival and continued his form back in the SANFL. Walker has pushed further up the ground at times, but looks most suited in defence with his great rebounding ability. Had the match up on Will Hayward in the SANFL U18 Grand Final in the wet and performed well.

#33 Isaac Cumming
Outside Midfielder (North Adelaide/NSW-ACT)
11/08/1998 | 184.2cm | 73.8kg

Someone mentioned to me back in June to keep an eye out on Isaac Cumming – and sure enough he was right. Cumming finished the year outstandingly well after a quiet performance in the under 18s carnival for both the Allies and NSW-ACT. Cumming provided a spark coming from defence in the NAB AFL U18 All Stars game on Grand Final Eve and was able to break the lines. Not a big disposal winner but uses the ball well and can be damaging across half back or on a wing.

#32 Jonty Scharenberg
Inside Midfielder (Glenelg/South Australia)
28/08/1998 | 183.2cm | 80.6kg

Jonty Scharenberg is the brother of Collingwood’s Matt, but is a completely different player. The Glenelg midfielder is an inside midfielder who is a good decision maker will ball in hand. His handballing to opponents out of a stoppage is outstanding and one of his best traits. Scharenberg collected 34 disposals in his only SANFL U18 apperance for the season in the Grand Final and was Glenelg’s best on the day. His clearance work in the Under 18 championships was very good, but kicking is a major knock on him with a kicking efficiency of 49 per cent in the carnival. Scharenberg doesn’t have a burst of speed either to get away from opponenents, often relying on his football IQ to dispose of the footy.

#31 Zach Sproule
?Key Position Forward/Defender (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
15/05/1998 | 195.6cm | 88.5kg

GWS Academy member Zach Sproule has played multiple roles in 2016. He played up forward alongside Todd Marshall, kicking seven goals in the Under 18 championships for NSW-ACT. Sproule played a similar role for the Allies but played the second half of the season in defence for the Bushrangers, playing on opponents such as Josh Battle throughout the year. A strong mark, Sproule has the running capabilities to play furthur up the ground as a roaming half forward thanks to outstanding endurance. Is still lightly framed but his set shot kicking routine is very good. His mobility should appeal to clubs looks for a tall at either end with plenty of development left in them.

#30 Dylan Clarke
?Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
06/09/1998 | 185.7cm | 83.4kg

Dylan Clarke is the younger brother of North Melbourne 2015 draftee Ryan. Clarke has had a stellar season for both Eastern Ranges and Vic Metro. The competitive midfielder is a hard nut at the ball and averaged just under eight tackles and seven clearances per TAC Cup game for the Ranges. Has a good endurance base which means he can play on the outside if required, but his strong build will allow him to transition into senior football rather quickly through the midfield. Clarke’s knocks have been hit kicking technique and it was under 50% in both the TAC Cup and the Under 18 championships for Vic Metro. Likely second round pick.

#29 Jordan Gallucci
Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/05/1998 | 180.0cm | 77.5kg

The athletic Jordan Gallucci has fluctuated around in my ratings all season. He showed plenty of promise in 2015 with many expecting him to have one of the better kicks in the draft pool. Unfortunately Gallucci could not find his feet as to where he best played his football, mixing between half back, midfield and periods up forward. For me I think he is best suited on the outside, rebounding across half back or on the wing. His kicking has struggled at times this year, at the 61 per cent (when combing TAC Cup & Under 18 championships). His athletic traits in speed and agility are outstanding, where he can burn opponents off running forward. Can win his own football in the midfield and his clearance work when on the inside has been strong.

#28 Patrick Kerr
Key Position Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
31/07/1998 | 193.4cm | 93.2kg

The grandson of Carlton’s Laurie Kerr is one of the best key forwards in the 2016 draft. Kerr was at his best booting four final quarter goals to get Vic Metro over the line against South Australia in the Under 18 championships. Kerr has terrific hands overhead and marks well on the lead. When Kerr is on, he’s hard to stop and can really take the game away from opposing sides. Kerr is a strong leader and works hard on field & is a great character, speaking well to all those who have a chat with him. His speed over the first 5-10m is good which allows him to get distance between him and opposition. Kerr has worked hard on his agility, but it still was one of the worst at the National Combine. May appeal to the Blues at Pick 25 due to the family history.

#27 Jarrod Berry
Medium utility (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
05/02/1998 | 191.0cm | 81.8kg

A large majority have Berry in their top 10-15 names, but not for me. Berry has left me wanting more all season with each game I have seen him play. Multiple injuries did not give Berry an ability to be consistent across the season and play constant football. Berry has the best leadership abilities out of any player in this draft, his vocal work out on the ground is clear and it will hold him in good stead in the AFL. But where does he play his best football? He has the size to play inside midfielder, showed his good capabilities overhead up forward at stages late in the season as well as rebounding the ball out of defence. His kicking does need some work and for me I would be playing him in the attacking half of the ground. The utility will have plenty of suiters and should be a first round selection.

#26 Shai Bolton
Outside Midfielder (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
08/12/1998 | 174.7cm | 68.8kg

Excitement machine Shai Bolton has one of the best highlight packages in 2016. His fast side step is Cyril Rioli-like and he moves as well as anyone when getting around opponents. His speed is outstanding and is a hard match up when playing up forward. Bolton’s first half in the NAB AFL U18 All-Stars shows he has the capabilities to play up on a wing and his eye-catching moments make you take notice. What does need to be improved on is his kicking, which thanks to a high ball drop and style it can result in some bad kicks. Will need to work on his endurance in an AFL environment where he could well become a very damaging playing on the outside.

So that’s my players ranked 50-26, if you want to know more: Send me a Tweet @MattBalmer7 before my final 25-1 is released next Monday night.

Stars to shine bright at the National AFL Draft Combine

ben-jarman

FOR the draft crop of 2016, the National AFL Draft Combine is the first sign that their AFL dreams are a step closer to fruition. An invitation to the AFL Draft Combine means that at least five AFL clubs have expressed interest in the player. The AFL Draft Combine is a way for clubs to determine the players’ physical strengths as well as getting one-on-one time through combine interviews.

Draftees take on each other in a series of tests that challenge their speed, endurance, reflexes and skills to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Combine results are taken into account by clubs when deciding between players and whether they believe they can take the next step into the AFL. A total of 81 players have been invited to the 2016 AFL Draft Combine.

Matt Balmer takes a look at who might be the standouts in the testing which runs from Friday to Sunday.


Thursday:

Players will begin to arrive at Etihad Stadium before a welcome will be held for all 81 players in attendence. Not all players will be able to test due to injuries, but they will sit in on interviews and medicals with clubs early in the combine.

Thursday also sees heights and weight taken, along with all the body sizing and measurements such as skin folds and tricept sizes. My spies have told me Ollie Florent will be a likely winner for the biggest hands at the combine.

The media will also be in attendance on Thursday afternoon with Kevin Sheehan speaking alongside Jonty Scharenberg, Jy Simpkin and Sam Powell-Pepper.

Friday:

More medicals and interviews for players when they arrive for another day. Friday night from 7pm-9.30pm will be the hand balling, kicking and goal kicking tests.

The Matthew Lloyd clean hands/handpassing test measures how well a player collects the football and is able to dispose of it using a handball. There are three targets set up on both the left and right side at distances of 6m, 8m and 10m. An official will roll out or throw a ball at the player and instruct them where to handball the ball to. This is done six times and a score from 1-5 is allocated to each handball depending on how good it is.

Who could win? Hugh McCluggage‘s hands in stoppages are outstanding, whilst Andrew McGrath has the highest TAC Cup handball efficiency with 93 per cent of his handballs hitting the target.

The Brad Johnson goal kicking test will measure a players accuracy kicking for goal. Four kicking points are designated with players taking five kicks in total; two set shots (35m out in either pocket), two snaps (20m out, one left foot and one right foot) and one kick on the run (40m out directly in front). The player has 70 seconds to complete the test. A score is then worked out from the amount of goals and behinds a player kicks.

Who could win? Vic Country forward Josh Battle has a superb kick on him from short or long range distances in front of goal. Again, Hugh McCluggage has shown he can push forward and hit the scoreboard throughout 2016.

The Nathan Buckley kicking test measures players kicking efficiency over six kicks. Six targets (three on each side) are set out at distances of 20m, 30m and 40m. An official will call out a target at random to the kick, who will then to proceed to hit the target. Each kick is given a score from one to five, with five being a perfect kick.

Who could win? West Australian Josh Rotham is one of the best kicks in the draft pool, his teammate tall ruckman Tim English is another who uses the ball well. Harry Morrison, Sam Petrevski-Seton, Alex Villis and Harry Perryman are others that should perform well in this test.

Saturday:

The biggest day of the carnival will see sprints, agility, jumps and the beep test held on the purpose built floor on Etihad.

Sprints will be held in the morning , whilst the afternoon will conclude with the beep test.

Who could win in the sprints? Exciting WA midfielder Shai Bolton will test extremely well in both the 20m sprint and the agility test. Back in 2014, Bolton ran a sub 3s 20m sprint and under 8s for the agility test, considered elite.

Brandan Parfitt and Cedric Cox are among others who has shown off their speed at times this season while Jordan Gallucci should perform well in the agility test. Vic Country teammates Ben Ainsworth (8.00 seconds) and Jarrod Berry (7.80 seconds) were superb in TAC Cup preseason testing, while Stingrays defender Bailey Morrish was just behind Berry running 7.81 seconds. Queenslander Josh Williams showed a remarkable dash of speed in a division two National Under 18s Championships game earlier in the season.

Murray Bushrangers tall Esava Ratugolea is another who tested well in the past (2.92s) as has South Australian excitement machine Kym Lebois.

The vertical leap test is always an interesting test with vertical jump and running vertical jump (left and right foot) measured.

Who could win in the jumps? South Australian tall utility Brennan Cox was superb in the preseason testing in the SANFL, recording over 90cm off either foot in the running vertical jump. Ruckman Tim English, Esava Ratugolea and Tony Olango could test well above their counterparts, but it was Stingrays defender Bailey Morrish who beat all comers in the TAC Cup preseason testing with a vertical leap of 81cm.

The shuttle run/beep test or multistage fitness test depending on where you’re from is another that is closely watched by clubs. Most are looking for kids to push out one last level on the test, rather than take the easy option and drop out early. Sometimes the dedication and commitment from players can lead to them ‘spewing’ up their lunch- but an effect that some clubs might put down as a big tick in their notebook.

Who could win in the beep test? Tim Taranto will be an early front runner, having run a 15.9 in the preseason. His Sandringham Dragons team mate Ollie Florent is another who might perform well. If Jack Graham tests, he could be South Australia’s best.

Sunday:

The final day of the combine will see the 3km time trial run in groups of 10-15. The 3km time trial is one of the most strutinised tests, players pushing themselves to the limit deserve a pat on the back- while those that cruse through without little effect might come under the eyes of recruiters when they pour over all their data.

The 3km time trial has gotten faster every season, with the record being broken for three years running.

Who could win the 3km time trial? Possible number one draft pick Andrew McGrath should run well, but will his heavy work load over the last few months affect him? Again Tim Taranto will be another who could perform well.


Invites:

Small Defenders/Midfielders/Forwards

Ben Ainsworth- Vic Country
Liam Baker- Western Australia
Shai Bolton- Western Australia
Callum Brown- Vic Metro
Cedric Cox- Vic Country
Joshua Daicos- Vic Metro
Zac Fisher- Western Australia
Ben Jarman- South Australia
Kym Lebois- South Australia
Andrew McGrath- Vic Metro
Brandan Parfitt- Northern Territory
Tyson Stengle- South Australia

Medium Defenders 

Jarrod Berry- Vic Country
Isaac Cumming- NSW/ACT
Taylin Duman- Vic Metro
Ben Long- NT
Bailey Morrish- Vic Country
Harry Morrison- Vic Country
Harry Perryman- NSW/ACT
Sam Walker- South Australia
Tom Williamson- Vic Country
Alex Witherden- Vic Country
Alex Villis- South Australia

Tall Defenders

Brennan Cox- South Australia
Ryan Garthwaite- NSW/ACT
Elliot Himmelberg- Queensland
Griffin Logue- Western Australia
Harrison Macreadie- NSW/ACT
Jack Maibaum- Vic Metro
Sam McLarty- Vic Metro
Jordan Ridley- Vic Metro
Joshua Rotham- Western Australia
Jack Scrimshaw- Vic Metro
Declan Watson- Queensland

Medium Midfielders

Jacob Allison- Queensland
Joseph Atley- Vic Country
Hamish Brayshaw- Vic Metro
Will Brodie- Vic Country
Jack Bowes- Queensland
Dylan Clarke- Vic Metro
Willem Drew- Vic Country
Judah Dundon- Vic Metro
Jordan Gallucci- Vic Metro
Jack Graham- South Australia
Matt Guelfi- Western Australia
Oscar Junker- Vic Metro
Hugh McCluggage- Vic Country
Kobe Mutch- NSW/ACT
Sam Petrevski-Seton- Western Australia
Myles Poholke- Vic Country
Sam Powell-Pepper- Western Australia
Luke Ryan- VFL
Jonty Scharenberg- South Australia
Will Setterfield- NSW/ACT
Daniel Venables- Vic Metro
Josh Williams- Queensland

Medium Forwards

Joshua Begley- Vic Metro
Benjamin Davis- NSW/ACT
Sam Fisher- NSW/ACT
Oliver Florent- Vic Metro
Will Hayward- South Australia
Mitchell Hinge- South Australia
Patrick Lipinski- Vic Metro
Quinton Narkle- Western Australia
Mark O’Connor- International
Brad Scheer- Queensland
Jy Simpkin- Vic Country
Tim Taranto- Vic Metro
Cameron Zurhaar- Western Australia

Tall Forwards/Rucks

Josh Battle- Vic Country
Sean Darcy- Vic Country
Timothy English- Western Australia
Jack Henry- Vic Country
Patrick Kerr- Vic Metro
Max Lynch- NSW/ACT
Todd Marshall- NSW/ACT
Mitchell McCarthy- Vic Country
Tony Olango- NT
Esava Ratugolea- Vic Country
Zachary Sproule- NSW/ACT
Jake Waterman- Western Australia

By the states:

International (1):
NSW/ACT (11):
Northern Territory (3):
Queensland (6):
South Australia (10):
Vic Country (18):
VFL (1):
Vic Metro (19):
Western Australia (12):

Matt Balmer’s October Power Rankings

Friday's Under 18 All Stars match saw the best draftees go head-to-head at Punt Road Oval.
Friday’s Under 18 All Stars match saw the best draftees go head-to-head at Punt Road Oval.

In an AFL Draft Central feature, AFL Draft analyst Matt Balmer will update his Power Rankings on the first Monday of every month.

Well, what a season it has been. Games are done and dusted for the season, with Friday’s Under 18 All Stars match showcasing some of the very best draft prospects for 2016. The AFL National Combine runs from Thursday to Sunday, with clubs casting their eye over the 2016 draft prospects.

U18 ALL STARS ULTIMATE REVIEW

You can read Matt Balmer‘s September edition of his Power Rankings here:


This list is purely how Matt rates the players at this current point of time and is not a mock draft. 

#1 Hugh McCluggage
Balanced Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
03/03/1998 | 185cm | 75kg
Previous Ranking: #1

Scouting notes: Appears like Scott Pendlebury in traffic, making everything appear in slow motion. Clears the ball with ease via quick hands or off his preferred right boot. A few people questioning his contested ball winning abilities, but averaged 20 disposals in the Under 18 Championships (43 per cent contested). McCluggage’s contested numbers are similar at TAC Cup level and has been able to deal with the extra attention from opponents.

Last month: McCluggage had some great moments in the Rebels’ semi-final loss. McCluggage collected 25 disposals, but did lack some polish by foot. His game in the All Stars match was outstanding, with the goal kicking mid slotting four majors alongside having 17 disposals.

#2 Andrew McGrath
Small Defender/Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
02/06/1998 | 179cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #3

Scouting notes: Exciting rebounder from defence. Agile runner with an elite athletics background. Not afraid to take the game on- with that comes his kicking which can be shaky at stages when he tries to break the game open. Can win his own ball on the inside too. Depth of kicking over 50m a question mark, but McGrath gives you 10m in run and a 40m kick to your advantage. Excellent leadership skills. Can play last line of defence and shut down an opponent as indicated by blanketing Ben Ainsworth & Jaidyn Stephenson.

Last month: McGrath was a crucial figure for the Sandringham Dragons in the TAC Cup finals, which saw him rack up 27 disposals v Dandenong, 32 disposals v Geelong (including 14 in the final quarter) and a mammoth 38 disposal effect in their winning TAC Cup Grand Final. McGrath moved to the half back flank after half time and 28 second-half disposals saw him win best on ground honours. Still had 18 disposals in the All Stars game but was quieter, with a five day break off a hard Etihad Stadium surface looking to take its toll. Certainly been a big year.

#3 Jack Bowes
Balanced Midfielder (Cairns/Queensland)
26/01/1998 | 187cm | 78kg
Previous Ranking: #2

Scouting notes: Silky smooth midfielder who doesn’t waste too many of his disposals. Moves well through traffic, willing to pump the ball long inside 50. Was a slow starter for the Allies but got better with each game in division one. Gold Coast Academy member. Did not look out of place playing in the NEAFL.

Last month: Bowes played just the one game in the All Stars match racking up 23 disposals. His silky smooth approach sees him work hard in the contested situations. If not for McGrath’s huge TAC Cup finals, Bowes would still be my #2. Gold Coast has a gem.

2016 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: JACK BOWES

#4 Tim Taranto
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
28/01/1998 | 186cm | 82kg
Previous ranking: #12

Scouting notes: Athletic forward that can play through the midfield. Very good in traffic, helped by his basketball background. Willing to give the ball off to teammates in better positions. Strong overhead mark means he has the ability to play deeper inside 50, where he has plenty of smarts and can hit the scoreboard. Has plenty of shots on goal.

Last month: Taranto just capped off his steller finals series with best on ground honours for the All Stars match. Four goals from 19 disposals was outstanding and his ability to play inside, along with up forward sees him jump this high in my rankings. Had 29, 23 and 31 disposals in his final three games in the TAC Cup for the Dragons.

#5 Will Brodie
Inside Midfielder (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
23/08/1998 | 189cm | 82kg
Previous ranking: #4

Scouting notes: Strong inside midfielder, one of the best clearance players in the draft. Goes in hard at the ball, can’t see him being anything less than a 200 game AFL footballer. Real professional, could step into an AFL team in Round One next season. Kicking has improved from earlier in the season.

Last month: Brodie had a very quiet game with just the 12 disposals in the TAC Cup Preliminary Final for the Bushrangers. He collided with the umpire in the opening quarter of the TAC Cup Grand Final, leaving his nose bloodied. Finished the day with 22 disposals, seven clearances and six tackles, but I thought bar a patch in the third term his day was largely influential. Sat out the All Stars game through injury.

#6 Sam Petrevski-Seton
Balanced Midfielder (Claremont/Western Australia)
19/02/1998 | 181cm | 76kg
Previous Ranking: #6

Scouting notes: Exciting midfielder who has the ability to use either side of his body. Looked a touch underdone in the championships returning from hamstring issues. Not a noted huge disposal winner, but does have x-factor about him. Isn’t a midfielder that hits the scoreboard with just one goal for Claremont this season.

Last month: Petrevski-Seton continued to find the football in Claremont’s final series in the WAFL Colts. I still would have liked him to have played higher WAFL up than he did. 21 disposals and six tackles in the Grand Final was a great effort. His All Stars match saw him collect 23 disposals, eight tackles and six clearances where he was outstanding. Is one of the midfielders in the draft that has plenty of pace to burn.

#7 Jack Scrimshaw
Medium Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
04/09/1998 | 193cm, 77kg
Previous ranking: #10

Scouting notes: Hybrid defender that is better playing small than tall. Nice long left boot, where he looks best at home across the half back flank. At stages has pushed onto a wing, which might be his finishing position thanks to a strong disposal efficiency. Has had multiple injuries in the last 18 months so will need to stay fit for the rest of the season to show clubs he’s over them. His ability to weave through traffic coming out of half back is elite.

Last month: Kicking has been on the improve and is back to what it was in the National Under 18s Championships. Floated forward at stages in the TAC Cup finals, including the grand final when he moved from half back to half forward after half time. Continued to find the football since last month with his 27 disposal display against Dandenong one of his best for the year. His marking overhead has been good when floating back in defence.

#8 Harry Perryman
Outside Midfielder (Collingullie-GP/NSW-ACT)
19/12/1998 | 184cm | 75kg
Previous ranking: #5

Scouting notes: Good decision maker, reads the play well. Didn’t look out of place off the half back flank throughout the championships. Kicks on both feet, ideally will transition into the midfield. Lacks speed that some of the other midfielders have. GWS Academy member.

Last month: Perryman took part in the All Stars game after spending the last few months playing for his local club. Did not find a huge amount of the ball, but I do like his composure across half-back. Certainly going to be interesting to see who/where he gets bid on come draft night.

#9 Tim English
Ruckman (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
10/08/1997 | 203cm | 86kg
Previous ranking: #8

Scouting notes: Tall ruckman who uses his strong leap in the ruck contests. Only averaged 13 disposals through the championships, but showed plenty with his ability to find and dispose of the ball well off his right boot. Could mount a case that his kicking is better than some of the midfielders in the draft. May warrant a Top five pick on draft night.

Last month: Continued to find the football and have good hitout numbers in the WAFL with disposals and 18 hitouts in his final WAFL reserves match. Had one of his quiest games in the All Stars match. Clubs will need to be patient with him, but his leap at the ruck contest is outstanding.

#10 Ben Ainsworth
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
10/02/1998 | 179cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #7

Scouting notes: Strong overhead mark and has the ability to change a game in 10 minutes. An interupted season with injury and suspension, but has had more midfield time in recent months. Damaging inside 50 but can be a bit goal hungry at stages. Does a small forward warrent a Top 10 pick?

Last month: Just the one game for the month, which was the Under 18 All Stars. Played up forward for most the game, without running through the midfield. Ainsworth finished with 15 disposals, six marks and a goal in an okay game.

#11 Will Setterfield
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/NSW-ACT)
05/02/1998 | 190cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #13

Scouting notes: Tall midfielder who is still finding his feet as to where he best plays his football. Was down on form in the championships, carrying a foot niggle. Can play in multiple positions, but looks best forward of centre. Needs some consistency as can float in and out of games. GWS academy member.

Last month: Collected 22 disposals and laid nine tackles in the Dragons’ semi-final win over Dandenong, using the ball well and taking it forward. Unfortunately for Setterfield, he injured his shoulder in the TAC Cup preliminary final resulting in him missing the TAC Cup Grand Final and All Stars match.

#12 Josh Rotham
Medium Defender (West Perth/Western Australia)
25/02/1998 | 192cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #11

Scouting notes: Hybrid defender who has played both tall and small this season. Against VFL opposition was undersized playing key back, but looked best in the championships further up the ground, wonder if he becomes a midfielder in the future? Strong mark who got better as the championships went on and is one of the top handful of kicks in this draft pool.

Last month: Had just the 11 disposals playing in the back half in the All Stars. Did not get the opportunity to use his good kick very often, but I think he is going to be there abouts in the first round.

#13 Brad Scheer
Inside Midfielder (Palm Beach/Queensland)
31/08/1998 | 184cm | 83kg
Previous ranking: #14

Scouting notes: Tough inside midfielder who just gets the job done with plenty of clearances. His strong contested work is his strength and he won the Allies the match with a snap deep in the pocket (Video can be found here). Good runner around the ground, probably a late first round or second round bid for the Gold Coast academy member.

Last month: Gold Coast Suns NEAFL were knocked out in the elimination final and an injury kept him out of the Under 18 All Stars game.

#14 Oliver Florent
Outside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
22/07/1998 | 183cm | 74kg
Previous ranking: #25

Scouting notes: Exciting half forward/outside midfielder. In his usual eye catching orange boots, Florent has playing of X-Factor around the ball inside 50. Liked his work last year for Sandringham and has continued that into this season. Outside midfielder who is a capable overhead mark. A good kick around the ground, but does have the ability to shank the odd kick on the run. Looks likely to start his AFL career as a half forward and push onto a wing.

Last month: One of the big jumpers up the rankings with a big finals series and a best on ground performance in the All Stars match. His form in the TAC Cup previous was up and down with 20 disposals in both games in the lead up to his 24 disposal and five tackle effort in the TAC Cup Grand Final. Despite a five-day break, he put on the jets to have 27 disposals, seven clearances and seven inside 50s (in a shortened 4×20 minute match).

#15 Jy Simpkin
Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
05/03/1998 | 182cm | 72kg
Previous ranking: #16

Scouting notes: Crafty small forward who burst onto the scene with seven goals in six Under 18 championship games in 2015. Knows where the goals are- but does he become a full time mid? Broke his leg at school football earlier in the season.

Last month: N/A – Recovering well from leg surgery from all reports. Hoping to be back for the National Combine in October. It was good to see him kicking the ball around at Under 18 All Stars training on Thursday and was on the bench working the whiteboard at Friday’s game.

#16 Alex Villis
Outside Midfielder (Norwood/South Australia)
20/08/1998 | 182cm | 70kg
Previous ranking: #17

Scouting notes: Clean kick on either sides of his body. Smart footballer who knows when to pull the kick short or go long. Decision making is elite and has held his own at SANFL senior level. A lot of his possessions are uncontested.

Last month: A quiet game in the SANFL reserves final with just 12 disposals, but he took eight marks around the grounds. Used his superb kick mostly well in the All Stars match and laid five tackles. That tackle figure is one of his biggest for the season and was a good sign for someone who mostly collects uncontested ball.

2016 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: ALEX VILLIS

#17 Todd Marshall
Key Position Forward (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
08/10/1998 | 198cm | 87kg
Previous ranking: #9

Scouting notes: Athletic tall that has a strong pair of dukes. Still a bit raw after only returning to AFL after two winters in the UK playing cricket. Set shot goalkicking routine needs some work to stop him hooking the ball across his leg. Has only shown patches so far in 2016.

Last month: Played the best game I have seen him play in the TAC Cup preliminary final against Oakleigh, where he took seven marks (three contested) and imposed himself on the game. Had just two kicks for two goals in the TAC Cup Grand Final after being well held by Ari Sakeson. Was again quiet in the All Stars game. His flashes can be really good, but will he make it and be able to put a full game together?

2016 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: TODD MARSHALL

#18 Griffin Logue
Key Position Defender (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
13/04/1998 | 193cm | 92kg
Previous ranking: #21

Scouting notes: Strong lockdown defender who doesn’t lose too many one-on-ones. Rowing background at school has helped his physic, with a strong upper body enabling to outmuscle his opponents. Pinch hit in the ruck in the final match for WA and kicks the ball well off his left foot.

Last month: Disappointingly missed the All Stars match, as his form in the latter half of the year at WAFL level was very good from regular WAFL watchers.

#19 Patrick Kerr
Key Position Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
31/07/1998 | 194cm | 93kg
Previous ranking: #15

Scouting notes: Strong overhead mark, who has worked on his mobility at ground level. Speed over first 10 metres is one of the best out of all the key forwards and gets distance between himself and defenders. Speaks exceptionally well and will interview well. When he’s on, he’s hard to stop.

Last month: An okay month for Kerr, but I thought when he got on the lead and marked the ball he looked very good like he did against North Ballarat in the TAC Cup Semi-Final. Started well bagging the first goal in the All Stars match and finished with eight disposals and four marks.

#20 Josh Battle
General Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
01/09/1998 | 192cm | 90kg
Previous ranking: #18

Scouting notes: Superb footy IQ and a great endurance base helps him get up the ground. Has the ability to change a game quickly with bursts of goals. Set shot routine is great and he’ll kick the ball through whether he’s 20m or 50m out. Solid mark overhead, but unlikely to play as the number one tall at AFL level. Year 11 boy too, so will need to complete school next year.

Last month: Was well held by Ari Sakeson in the Stingrays’ semi-final loss, kicking just two goals. Did not impact the game in the All Stars match, but showed he can nail a goal from long range. A good kick of the football and should fine a suitor in the second or third round.

#21 Harrison Macreadie
Key Position Defender (Henty/NSW-ACT)
11/04/1998 | 196cm | 89kg
Previous Ranking: #19

Scouting notes: Tall Defender that has the ability to push further up the ground. Strong rebounder, intercept marks was his strengths in 2015- but have been scarce in 2016. His form in NEAFL has still be solid and I would be very very surprised if GWS academy member Macreadie was not at the Giants, after they had a part in him moving schools.

Last month: Was solid with 15 disposals, rebounding the ball well in the NEAFL Preliminary Final. He was quiet in their NEAFL Grand Final win and believe he was rested from the All Stars game.

#22 Daniel Venables
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
19/11/1998 | 185cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: #20

Scouting notes: Aggressive midfielder who can break through opposition tackles. Powerful burst from a stoppage and can hit the scoreboard. Yet to see a full complete game from him, as he’ll flash in and out of games.

Last month: N/A – Has been injured in the past month and was sporting a moon boot at the Morrish Medal last month. Believe he will not test at the combine.

#23 Jonty Scharenberg
Inside Midfielder (Glenelg/South Australia)
28/08/1998 | 185cm | 78kg
Previous ranking: #23

Scouting notes: Inside midfielder who is the brother of Collingwood’s Matt. Scharenberg works hard at the stoppages, with his best asset his ability to free his arms when tackled to dish the ball off to a teammate. Champion Data rate Scharenberg as an elite clearance and tackling midfielder. Doesn’t have a great deal of speed, but often elects to pass the ball off to a teammate rather than trying to burst away from the stoppage. Kicking efficiency of 49% through the Under 18 championships.

Last month: Could not have done much more to get Glenelg over the line in the SANFL reserves final. Despite having 27 disposals and five clearances, his contested possession numbers were down and the Tigers could not get the win. Played his one and only SANFL Under 18s game for Glenelg in the Grand Final, in their after the siren win over North Adelaide. Scharenberg had 34 disposals, 12 tackles and five clearances in a strong performance. Had 20 disposals in the All Stars game, but his kicking is a work in progress.

#24 Jordan Gallucci
Outside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/05/1998 | 182cm | 73kg
Previous ranking: #24

Scouting notes: Explosive midfielder whose kicking can be hot and cold. Has plenty of zip at the contest, but just where does he play his best football? Is willing to use either foot to take the ball inside 50. Strong leadership skills as indicated by being selected as co-captain of the Vic Metro side.

Last month: Started well in the first half in the All Stars game, but thought he was very quiet after that. Finished with nine disposals and three marks and it is certainly going to be interesting to see where he gets drafted come November.

#25 Shai Bolton
Outside midfielder (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
8/12/1998 | 177cm | 67kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Electric speed and an elite side step, the Flashy West Australian will end up with one of the best highlight packages in this years draft crop. Consistency is his biggest issue and with flash in and out of a contest. At times can just bang the ball on his boot without looking.

Last month: Ninteeen disposals and four goals in South Fremantle’s semi-final loss. Caught the eye of those who haven’t seen much of him in the All Stars game at Punt Road, where he had 16 disposals. Bolton had some eye catching moments on the wing and his agility is traffic is elite. Another who will test well for speed and agility at the combine.

#26 Zachary Sproule
Key Position Forward/Defender (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)
12/05/1998 | 197cm | 87kg
Previous ranking: #22

Scouting notes: Key Position Forward who can get up the ground on long leads thanks to a good endurance base. Agile inside 50, but more of your true leading centre half forward. Takes most of his marks outside 50, but kicked 13 goals in the Division One & Two carnivals combined. When playing back has looked ok one-on-one despite his light frame.

Last month: Looks to have been working on playing at both ends and kept Josh Battle to one goal in August. Floated between both ends yesterday but for me he looks more at home inside 50.

#27 Will Hayward
Medium forward (North Adelaide/South Australia)
26/10/1998 | 186cm | 76kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Medium forward who plays tall. His marking is outstanding and good in one-on-one contests for his size. Booted nine in the SANFL Under 18s in the finals. Not a big ball winner, but leads well and marks the ball well overhead or down below his knees. Kicked eight goals in the Under 18 championships, but didn’t earn a lot of credit for his craft.

Last month: Kicked nine goals in North Adelaide’s preliminary final. Took 10 marks (including five on a lead) and was a clear best player for the Roosters. Started well in the Grand Final, finishing the day with four goals. Showed good signs in the All Stars game with 14 disposals and two goals.

2016 AFL DRAFT PROFILE: WILL HAYWARD

#28 Jordan Ridley
General Defender (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
20/10/1998 | 192cm | 79kg
Previous ranking: #30

Scouting notes: Rebounding defender who is composed with the ball in hand. Can push up further onto a wing and is capable overhead. Build strongly below his waist, but should be able to build that physic in his upper body with a few preseasons under his belt.

Last month: Collected 22 disposals and was strong across half back for the Oakleigh Chargers against North Ballarat Rebels in the TAC Cup Semi-Final. It was a fast finishing final quarter, but unfortunately he suffered a shoulder injury late in the game. Has not played since.

#29 Cedric Cox
Outside Midfielder (North Ballarat Rebels/Vic Country)
19/08/1997 | 184cm | 70kg
Previous ranking: N/A

Scouting notes: Neat outside midfielder who can play at both ends of the ground. Looks best suited to half-back, where he can use his speed to burn off his opponents. Is a dual footed kicker and is willing to use both his left and right foot in any situation.

Last month: Played mostly forward for the Rebels in their semi-final loss. Some of his moments are great, but was reasonably quiet. Had four disposals in almost as many minutes to open the game in the Under 18 All Stars, but faded badly throughout the game. A lot to like about some of his flashes. Expect him to test well in speed and agility.

#30 Dylan Clarke
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
06/09/1998 | 187cm | 85kg
Previous ranking: #29

Scouting notes: Strong inside midfielder who crashed in hard and wins the clearances. Kicking technique needs some work and it has seen him kick at under 50% in the TAC Cup this season.

Last month: Seventeen disposals and a goal in the Under 18 All Stars for Clarke. Did not have a clearance for the game and he was mostly playing forward in a team that was chocker block with inside midfielders.


Our Draft Profiles are still being posted online, so keep on eye on the website where we take you through over 150 names eligible for the 2016 NAB AFL Draft.

Remember to check out our YouTube account for vision on the draftees.

As always, if you have any questions or want to know more, send me a tweet @MattBalmer7.

Under 18 All Stars game ultimate preview

Allies - Kobe Mutch

AUSTRALIA’S top teenage footballers will take part in a new concept that is aimed to feature the best players from the 2016 draft pool.

Friday’s Under 18 All Stars match will see players divided up into two teams to play against each other in an event that the AFL hope will be in front of a blockbuster crowd at Punt Road Oval following the AFL Grand Final Parade.

The two teams have been named after AFL greats Chris Judd and Michael O’Loughlin and will be a part of the AFL’s changing program for the Grand Final weekend.

The league has made the most of the Grand Final Day public holiday and the movement of the Grand Final parade to the MCG precinct, where the junior talent coming through will be recognised.

Current NAB AFL Academy coach Brenton Sanderson will coach the Chris Judd teams, while NSW/ACT & Allies coach Tadhg Kennelly will coach the Michael O’Loughlin teams.

The match will be broadcast live on FOX FOOTY from 1.30pm on Friday.


Likely Teams:

The final U18 All Stars teams. ** Subject to late changes.
The final U18 All Stars teams. ** Subject to late changes.

** Will Setterfield‘s replacement is to be confirmed- We believe it is Mitchell Hinge**

With a five day turnaround for a large amount of the players due to the WAFL Colts, SANFL Reserves and TAC Cup Grand Finals over the weekend, there are many sore bodies.

Will Brodie hurt his nose in an incident with an umpire on Sunday and will miss the contest despite training this afternoon. Murray Bushrangers outside midfielder Harry Morrison will replace Brodie.

Will Setterfield was still in a sling on Sunday at the TAC Cup Grand Final and is expected to miss with Mitchell Hinge believed to be taking his place.

Key Defender Griffin Logue is also out for Team Judd, with Dandenong Stingrays defender Bailey Morrish taking his place.

There were also a few injury issues at training with many players on light duties. Sam Petrevski-Seton copped a knock below the knee, which affected his ankle and trained for five minutes only. Petrevski-Seton appears likely to play, but West Coast Father/Son prospect Jake Waterman is in more doubt after failing to train with what appeared to be a groin complaint.


Star Power:

On the outset, Team Judd look the most talented on paper. Featuring Andrew McGrath, Hugh McCluggage and Jack Bowes– all of whom could challenge for the number one draft pick. Up forward, they feature Josh Battle and Todd Marshall, whilst down back Declan Watson and Jack Maibaum will hold down the fort.

Harry Perryman will be a name to watch after being relatively left alone since the Under 18 championships. The GWS academy member has spent the last two months playing for his local club Collingullie-GP, hitting the scoreboard and playing through the midfield.

Tim Taranto and Ben Ainsworth are two others from Team Judd that may feature in the Top 10 come November.

For Team O’Loughlin, Jack Scrimshaw will be one of the stars worth watching. The rebounding defender has a classy left foot and was one of the best players on the ground on Sunday. Despite missing inside midfielder Will Brodie, players such as Dylan Clarke, Jonty Scharenberg and Willem Drew will likely step up in his absence. After a steller game for the Murray Bushrangers on Sunday, Ryan Garthwaite will be a likely opponent on his Bushrangers teammate Todd Marshall.

Up forward Patrick Kerr, Zach Sproule and Jake Waterman will make up their forward line whilst West Australian midfielder Sam Petrevski-Seton will look to perform well to keep his name in the first handful of picks.

Excitement machine Cedric Cox hasn’t been spoken about enough this season and the little known 19-year-old is a big chance for a Top 20 pick on draft night.


Surprise Packets:

South Australian medium forward Will Hayward has jumped out as a surprise inclusion. Hayward kicked a bag of nine goals in the SANFL U18 Preliminary Final for North Adelaide and another good performance on Friday may see him find a spot in the first half of the draft.

DRAFT PROFILE: WILL HAYWARD

Murray Bushrangers ruckman Esava Ratugolea has plenty of X-Factor and leap like no other AFL Draft prospect. Ratugolea continues to show glimpses after an eight goal haul earlier in the season saw him drafted into the Vic Country team late.

DRAFT PROFILE: ESAVA RATUGOLEA

Little known Cameron Zurhaar from East Fremantle is one to watch. The medium forward has kicked averaged 16.6 disposals in the WAFL Colts this year.

Isaac Cumming is flying under the radar and the GWS academy member may find himself as a national draft selection. Cumming was nominated for the National Combine and the smart half back flanker rebounded the ball well in the Under 18 championships.

Willem Drew played two excellent TAC Cup finals games for the North Ballarat Rebels, averaging 23 (13 contested) disposals and seven clearances in the 2016 TAC Cup. The inside midfielders contested ball winning is superb, but does lack some speed around the ground.

Brennan Cox made the All-Australian team after a strong championships down back for South Australia. Cox has played up forward for the Woodville-West Torrens in the SANFL but looks likely to start in the defence.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2duh-DJIhU[/embedyt]


Key Matchups:

Willem Drew vs Hugh McCluggage

Teammates at the North Ballarat Rebels, the pair will be opponents in the big clash on Friday. Both represented Vic Country in the Under 18 championships, but McCluggage was more prominant. At TAC Cup level, Drew’s contested ball winning abilities are greater than McCluggage’s- But McCluggage’s work in traffic is elite and is his advantage despite not winning a large chunk of contested ball. McCluggage can also push forward and hit the scoreboard, something that Drew hasn’t showed throughout this season. Drew does lay plenty of tackles and win the clearances, but does lack a touch of pace and class with his skills with him at times just bombing the ball forward off his boot without looking.  

Tim English vs Max Lynch

It looks likely that the first ruck contest of the game will have West Australian tall English and NSW/ACT ruck Lynch. English only featured as the number one ruck in the final championships game, but has an elite leap and his footskills are better than some of the midfielders running around in the game. Despite being skinny in appearance, it makes for an interesting contest against former junior goalkeeper Lynch. Lynch’s form in the latter half of the season was very good for the Bushrangers and the GWS academy member may have pushed himself into a national draft selection. 

Jack Scrimshaw vs Tim Taranto

Sandringham Dragons key players Scrimshaw and Taranto may play on each other. Scrimshaw is a rebounding defender, with a pinpoint pass and was a strong player in the TAC Cup Grand Final. Scrimshaw does have the ability to rack up the clangers with his foot at times and when he’s off- he’s off. Taranto was a consistent performer right throughout the year playing through the midfield and across half forward. A good showing from either, could see them really put their hand up for Top Five players on clubs boards. 

Jack Maibaum vs Patrick Kerr

With Griffin Logue a late out for Team Judd, expect Maibaum to have first crack at strong Vic Metro forward Kerr. Both played together in the Vic Metro winning Under 18 championship team and won All Australia honours with Maibaum’s strength will be the reason he should get first chance at stopping Kerr. Kerr however is a tough match up, with strong hands overhead and one of the fastest forwards over 10m on a lead. Maibaum has played both forward and defence throughout 2016, but averaged the third most spoils in the Under 18 championships.

Ryan Garthwaite vs Todd Marshall

The pair were teammates on Sunday, but loom likely to match up on each other. Garthwaite is one of the best one-on-one defenders in the draft pool, while Marshall has shown some superb glimpses at times. Garthwaite collected 24 disposals on Sunday as one of his teams best performers, whilst Marshall was kept reasonably quiet from Ari Sakeson with just two kicks for two goals in the TAC Cup Grand Final. If Marshall can put in a strong performance that recruiters are wanting, he could keep his name amongst the top ten names. Garthwaite despite an awkward kicking style, does use to ball well more often than not and has done a great job down back this season. 


Predictions

Team Judd on paper looks too strong for Team O’Loughlin. Team Judd’s midfield looks too star studded, despite Tim English likely giving Team O’Loughlin first use at the ball. If Team O’Loughlin’s contested midfield brigade can fire, they could give the star studded Judd side a run for their money.

It would be hard to go past Andrew McGrath for BOG honours, but there are multiple players from either side that are capable of changing a game. 


Details:

Team O’Loughlin v Team Judd
1.30pm, Punt Road Oval
September 30th
Live on FOX FOOTY 1.30pm
Tweets: @afldraftcentral


Matt Balmer’s predicted starting line up:

Possible line ups

Top talent on show on AFL Grand Final weekend

MB - Will Brodie

In a new initiative announced by the AFL, the best Under 17 and Under 18 talent will play games on the Grand Final day long weekend under the eyes of recruiters and fans.

The Under 18 All Stars game will be played at Punt Road Oval at 1.30pm, broadcast on Fox Footy on Grand Final Eve (Friday 30th September). The Under 17 game will be played as a curtain-raiser to the AFL Grand Final beginning from 10am with a live stream on AFL.com.au.

For more information on the initiative click here:

Under 18 squad:

Under 18 squad ALL STARS

Under 17 squad:

Under 17 squad

Scouting notes: TAC Cup Semi-Finals

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Sunday’s TAC Cup Semi-Final scouting notes:


Sandringham Dragons 13.13 (91) defeated Dandenong Stingrays 4.6 (30)

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes

Dandenong Stingrays:

#10 Myles Poholke– Spent a fair chunk of the first quarter on the bench, but found plenty of the ball post his time on the pine. He finished with 22 disposals and three clearances, picking the ball up cleanly off the ground throughout the day. Could hold his head up high.

#13 Tom Jok– Picked up an injury and wasn’t sighted after half-time. Can fumble with ball in hand at times and is probably unlikely to be picked in the draft at this stage. Left the game on crutches.

#15 Sam Fowler– Was the big inclusion for the Stingrays but was kept quiet for most the afternoon with just five disposals. His best passage came from him taking three bounces down the wing before taking it inside 50.

#17 Josh Battle– Just the two goals for Battle after nailing six last weekend. Was well held by Ari Sakeson but kicked through well off his right foot when shooting for goal.

Sandringham Dragons:

#4 Will Setterfield– Backed up last weekends effort with 22 disposals and nine tackles. His attack on the ball was great and drilled the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions. His work in close is very strong and he’s a big chance to earn a bid (GWS academy) in mid first round of the draft.

#5 Andrew McGrath– McGrath spent more time on the inside than last weekend and collected 27 disposals and six clearances. The Stingrays tried to rough him up early, but it didn’t work and McGrath let the play do the talking. Hit most of his targets at short range and looked sideways & backwards at stages to find a loose Dragon.

#7 Corey Lyons– Kicking has been a knock but he was good today. Numbers wise he was down on last weekend but wasn’t afraid to get the ball in deep to the Dragons talls inside 50. Finished with 18 disposals.

#8 Tim Taranto– Was the best player on the ground for me. Started slowly last week but didn’t today and was good all match. Finished with 29 disposals, seven marks and eight tackles. His overhead marking is a strength and if he keeps this form up there is no doubt he could push for a Top five pick.

#10 Jack Scrimshaw– Weaves through the packs, lifts his arms and knows where to run. His kicking has been poor the last few weeks, but hardly missed a target today. He collected 27 disposals and took some really nice marks playing across half back. Another who could push for a Top five pick.

#13 Oliver Florent– Had 20 disposals and five inside 50s in his best finals display. Has a lot of X-Factor about him and looks the goods forward of centre. Took seven marks and gets in the right positions.

#25 Tom Maloney– Nabbed four goals and was exciting for the Dragons. Easily his best performance of the season. He’s a smart rover inside 50 and marks well.


Oakleigh Chargers 12.14 (86) defeated North Ballarat Rebels 12.8 (80)

Peter Williams’ scouting notes:

North Ballarat Rebels:

#1 Jamaine Jones – Quiet game from the small forward after a lively first final. Did a couple of nice things on the wing, but did not have his usual scoreboard impact when forward.

#2 Callan Wellings – Sensational game by the captain. Was everywhere and put in a four quarter performance. Finished with 30 disposals, six marks, six clearances and seven inside 50s.

#6 Willem Drew – Another hard working effort from Drew. Consistently won the hardball and put his body on the line with no regard for his own safety. Not the cleanest user of the ball, but you can never question his intensity and bravery.

#7 Hugh McCluggage – Found plenty of the ball again, but was not his usual self. Made a few uncharacteristic errors, but still made space and got the forward to advantage. Another one who did not impact the scoreboard as much as he normally does.

#8 Shannon Beks – One of the best first halves I have seen from Beks, booting three goals and looking like the most dangerous forward on the ground. He drifted out of the game after half-time, but was one of the reasons the Rebels managed to keep in touch to the main break.

#19 Jarrod Korewha – It was a typical Korewha performance. His offensive run off half-back was an asset, reading the play well and getting it moving, but his disposal can hurt at times. Really good one-on-one considering there is not much of him and takes risks, which is a big plus about him, opting for longer kicks rather than the easy short option..

#23 Lloyd Meek – Really strong in the air and looked good around the ground for a bigger bloke. Got frustrated at times and gave away a few undisciplined free kicks (five against total). Was beaten in the hitouts however which would have led to his frustrations.

#46 Cedric Cox – Had a really strong second quarter and kicked his first TAC Cup goal. After starting in defence and being a little quiet he moved forward and was a danger around the goals. Kicked the one but assisted with others and while his stat sheet was not overly high with only 10 touches, his work off the ball with pressure acts was good.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#2 Ed Phillips – Really liked his game as a link-up player between midfield and half-forward. When the Rebels were on top, it was Phillips who along with Aujard, stood up and took control. Had several key inside 50s that led to goals and provided energy and enthusiasm forward of centre.

#3 Vincent Adduci – For a small forward he certainly finds the ball and uses it well. Looked dangerous every time he went near it and provided the Rebels defence with a few headaches. Very small, but just goes in grabs the pill and shoots out quick fire handballs to his teammates.

#6 Campbell Lane – Not the silkiest of players, but is a footballer’s footballer. Does all the hard stuff and puts his body on the line to help his side. Consistently wins one-on-one contests and drives it forward.

#9 Jono Aujard – Another top player for the Chargers that really stood out to me. Found plenty of it on the wing and covered the ground really well, kicking out of defence and being on the end of it at the other end.

#11 Patrick Kerr – Floated in an out of patches much like the first final. Did not do a lot overall, but the opportunities he had he looked solid. Seems to have a penetrating kick for goal and is very quick on the lead. Due for a big game next weekend.

#21 Lachlan Walker – Was solid without being outstanding after a very good first final. Always finds plenty of the ball and is a solid kick without being a star. Often impacts the scoreboard which he did not in the semi-final, but still worked hard. Was reported for a high tackle, but I would be shocked if that was not thrown out pretty quickly.

#28 Josh Daicos – Was quiet for two and a half quarters then snapped a typical ‘Daicos’ goal with a banana after wrong footing his opponent. Then turned it on in the last quarter kicking another and almost had a third with a dribbler from the boundary line. Ultimately kicked the sealer to put the Chargers 18 points up 20 minutes into the final term. Still needs to work on consistency, but the class is there.

#42 Louis Cunningham – His work off half-back was first class. The amount of times he would step back and take a goal-saving mark or stem the flow forward was quite impressive. Another one that was willing to fight the Rebel resistance in the second half.

Week 2 finals preview

SD - Andy McGrath

WITH the first week of finals done and dusted, there is no turning back for any side now, with every match a do-or-die clash.

Last weekend we farewelled the Calder Cannons and Eastern Ranges as Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers advanced to the semi-finals.

In the qualifying finals, Murray Bushrangers and Geelong Falcons advanced through to the preliminary finals at the expense of the Dandenong Stingrays and North Ballarat Rebels who now face sudden-death semi-finals against the successful metropolitan teams


Dandenong Stingrays vs. Sandringham Dragons

The minor premiers looked completely in control during their first quarter against the Murray Bushrangers, but were eventually overrun by the Bushies in the last three quarters.

Sandringham almost looked like making a shock exit late in the match against Eastern Ranges and indeed trailed for most of the game.

But a couple of late goals saw the Dragons get home by two points in a thriller.

This weekend is expected to be another beauty with both teams having legitimate claims to victory.

Sandringham has a star studded midfield, while Dandenong has consistent players all over the field.

The five questions that need answering:

1 Can the likes of Myles Poholke, Tom Glen and Tom Jok win enough inside ball to topple the Dragons classy midfield?

2 Will the inclusion of Sam Fowler who missed last week’s qualifying final be one that helps get Dandenong over the line?

3 Can Josh Battle repeat his six-goal haul from last week?

4 Who will the Dragons move to full back if their first choice defender is beaten? Would Andy McGrath have the ability to play on Battle?

5 How will the teams adjust to a game expected to be vastly different to the ones they played last week given their opposition’s styles?

Dandenong Stingrays:

The star: Josh Battle

Underrated: Myles Poholke

Danger man: Sam Fowler

Watch for: Dan Allsop

Sandringham Dragons:

The star: Andy McGrath

Underrated: Hamish Brayshaw

Danger man: Tim Taranto

Watch for: Will Setterfield

How does the match play out?

I anticipate both sides will take a disciplined approach to the match, with a lower scoring game my tip.

Sandringham will attempt to win plenty of the ball through midfield, while Dandenong’s defence is the best in the league and those players will read the play and come off their men to spoil other contests.

The key will be whether Dandenong can keep the ball in their own hands’ long enough to keep it off Sandringham’s premium ball users.

The Stingrays midfield should aim to nullify the likes of McGrath and Ollie Florent who are two of their better ball users, while keeping Tim Taranto on a tight leash.

Dandenong has the more damaging forward line, with Battle, Sam Fowler, Dan Allsop and Tom De Koning all able to kick bags on their day.

Sandringham’s defence will have its work cut out trying to reduce one-on-one contests, particularly with Battle and De Koning.

Up the other end, the Dragons’ forward line is also capable of kicking a big score, but it will need to make the most of its opportunities against the stringent Stingray’s defence.

Sandringham’s Lachlan Filipovic is likely to win the ruck battle against Dylan Atkins to give his mids first possession, but the Dandenong midfield is willing to do the hard stuff.

Tip: Dandenong by 2 points

I could certainly see Sandringham winning this contest, but as good as the Dragons’ midfield is, I feel the Stingrays have the more consistent line-up across the field.

Therefore I will tip the Stingrays in a thriller, but the result could honestly go either way.


North Ballarat Rebels vs. Oakleigh Chargers

Oakleigh Chargers’ dream of a three-peat and four premierships in five years is still alive, with a preliminary final awaiting them if they can defeat the wounded Rebels.

The Rebels have been sensational in the second half of the year, but have limped into this semi-final on the back of a string of injuries in the past fortnight.

James Gow was a late withdrawal last week with appendicitis and both Jarrod Berry and Jacob Wheelahan are omissions through injury this week along with Todd Clode who was suspended in last week’s fiery clash.

North Ballarat still has their stars in Hugh McCluggage, Willem Drew and Cedric Cox through the midfield, but will require players such as bottom-age prospect Trent Reed to step up on the big stage.

Oakleigh got through last week’s thumping win over Calder Cannons unscathed and will be fresh to take on the Rebels.

The five questions that need answering:

1 How will North Ballarat cope with the losses of Berry and Wheelahan?

2 Can Patrick Kerr have a bigger influence on the match this weekend?

3 Will we see a highlight reel of sensational runs down the field given both sides contain a great deal of pace?

4 Can the likes of Shannon Beks and Sam White stand up and deliver for the Rebels to kick them a winning score?

5 Will Oakleigh adopt a similar style to Geelong last week and place a defensive midfielder on Hugh McCluggage?

North Ballarat Rebels:

The star: Hugh McCluggage

Underrated: Tom Williamson

Danger man: Cedric Cox

Watch for: Willem Drew

Oakleigh Chargers:

The star: Patrick Kerr

Underrated: Taylin Duman

Danger Man: Jordan Ridley

Watch for: Josh Daicos

How does the match play out?

I predict Oakleigh will try and run North Ballarat off its feet. The Chargers will look to try and get a big score on the board early and dent the Rebels’ confidence.

On the other side of the coin, North Ballarat will look to limit the amount of effective inside 50s and not get caught on the counter attack.

North Ballarat’s midfield is stronger, Oakleigh’s forward line is stronger and both teams’ defences you could throw a blanket over.

Lloyd Meek should get the better of Ned Reeves in the ruck and with Todd Lawrence assisting, expect the Rebels to have first hands to it.

McCluggage must get off the chain and get plenty of it, with Cox and Williamson other good ball users who can hurt the opposition.

As good as the likes of Willem Drew and Callan Wellings are, they are better at extracting it and getting it forward rather than using outside pace or footskills.

Likewise, Oakleigh will look to Jack Higgins and Taylin Duman, with Lachie Walker and Campbell Lane at the coal face.

If Oakleigh’s forward line gets as much supply as it did last week, it is hard to see the Chargers losing here.

North Ballarat need to win the midfield convincingly and get plenty of forward 50 entries to have any chance of victory.

Tip: Oakleigh by 35 points

It pains me to predict such a large win given the Rebels were a genuine premiership contender, but given their omissions and the strength of Oakleigh, it is hard to see North Ballarat really pushing the Chargers.

Hopefully the Rebels can prove me wrong and make a real game of it and even upset the apple cart as they have earned it this year.