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Caught the Eye – U17 Futures

WITH the NAB League sides enjoying a development weekend, we cast out eyes over the Under 17 Futures double-header at Ikon Park on Sunday to see who would catch them – this week selecting three players from each side. For full scouting notes on each player highlighted and more, click here.

Vic Country vs. NSW/ACT

Sam Berry (Vic Country)
Gippsland Power | Midfielder
12/02/2002 | 180cm | 82kg

Stats: 23 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 6 clearances, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “His clearance work was great but it was also his skill with ball in hand that stood out, and despite looking like the type to just win the hard ball and bomb it, he actually took the time to hit his targets on both feet.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Arguably the best Country player on the day, Berry is well and truly a proven ball winner having continued from the form he showed in the NAB League. Is tenacious at the coalface, but has a good burst and should assume the number one midfield role for Gippsland next year.

Zavier Maher (Vic Country)
Murray Bushrangers | Midfielder
5/05/2002 | 183cm | 82kg

Stats: 20 disposals, 7 marks, 6 tackles, 5 clearances, 7 inside 50s

Our scouts said: “Maher covered plenty of ground and played a good mix to win his own ball but also work hard to get around the ground on the outside” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Complimented Berry beautifully in midfield as another with good size. Is another who looks likely to take over the leading midfield mantle at his NAB League club next year and will do well to transfer the numbers he had in this game to that competition.

Deakyn Smith (Vic Country)
Dandenong Stingrays | Small Forward
22/08/2002 | 179cm | 65kg

Stats: 14 disposals, 8 marks, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Smith got better and better as the game went on and his combination of speed and aerial ability made him a difficult matchup.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Is such a slippery customer and much of the NSW/ACT side had no answer for his tricks in the forward half. Has played in different roles for Dandenong, but was dangerous inside 50 here and works hard to find space up the field.

Braeden Campbell (NSW/ACT)
Swans Academy | Midfielder/Forward
4/02/2002 | 178cm | 71kg

Stats: 18 disposals, 4 marks, 7 tackles, 5 clearances, 7 inside 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Another of the diminutive Swans Academy fleet, Campbell has a great mix of inside and outside skills.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Is right behind Errol Gulden in terms of leading the NSW/ACT prospects pack and can play a variety of positions. Already gained U18 representative experience in the Allies squad this year and his added midfield time in this game bodes well for a transition from his usual half-forward role.

Errol Gulden (NSW/ACT)
Swans Academy | Wing
18/07/2002 | 172cm | 68kg

Stats: 19 disposals, 5 marks, 4 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “Gulden continually used his innate ability to find space of the outside to send the Rams forward, getting on the move and piercing some classy passes along the line.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Is just so classy by foot and there is hardly a player better to watch at this level that Gulden on the run forward. He looks primed for another big year after impressing for the Allies and Swans Academy in 2019, and should catch the eye with his ability to make low-percentage passes work.

Pierce Roseby (NSW/ACT)
Swans Academy | Inside Midfielder
4/01/2002 | 179cm | 72kg

Stats: 17 disposals, 7 tackles, 7 clearances, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “It was another workmanlike shift from the small midfielder, who proved ferocious around the ball going both ways.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Roseby might be sub-180cm, but is one of the more tenacious players around the ball and just does all of the tough stuff. Is one of many Swans Academy prospects who looked right at home in Rams colours, and will be an interesting one for Sydney to keep an eye on given their ageing midfield.

Vic Metro vs. Queensland

Connor Downie (Vic Metro)
Eastern Ranges | Wing/Midfielder
31/05/2002 | 183cm | 81kg

Stats: 20 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “The Ranges’ gun swapped time between the wing and midfield, having an impact going forward with raking left boot and clunking a strong mark on forward wing under heat.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Was the only player afield to have some U18 championships experience under his belt, which speaks to his quality. Downie has proven his ability to damage teams on the outside with his run and penetrating kick, but his size makes him an interesting midfield proposition. Does a bit of everything and should have no trouble finding the ball.

Finlay Macrae (Vic Metro)
Oakleigh Chargers | Midfielder
13/03/2002 | 183cm | 73kg

Stats: 34 disposals, 6 marks, 5 clearances, eight inside 50s, one goal

Our scouts said: “Best afield for mine… Macrae built into the game nicely, starting with some clean and effective accumulative touches before really having an impact in the second half.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Macrae’s pedigree is obvious to all, accumulating possessions at will through midfield with clean hands and touch of class. Did not always damage with ball in hand but has the ability to turn it on, doing so in the final term with a raft of score involvements. Made the U18 Metro squad this year and is a lock get on the park next year.

Reef McInnes (Vic Metro)
Oakleigh Chargers | Inside Midfielder
12/12/2002 | 192cm | 83kg

Stats: 24 disposals, 9 tackles, 6 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “His clean hands, strength in the contest, and tackling made him the dominant inside midfielder, but his spread and props in traffic bode well for a well-balanced game.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Collingwood has found another gem in its NGA ranks, with McInness a fantastic inside midfield prospect. He started the game better than anyone and just finds the ball, working hard to do so around the ground. Has already made an impact with Oakleigh too, and is a great size.

Blake Coleman (Queensland)
Lions Academy | Forward
6/08/2002 | 180cm | 75kg

Stats: 13 disposals, 4 marks, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Coleman was one of Queensland’s most dangerous players up forward with his skill and composure a real standout in the wet conditions.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Coleman just does not miss in front of goal, only needing a few chances to have an impact on the game. His class is obvious, constantly finding space in the right areas around the forward 50 and finishing well. Can now work on consistency and having more of the ball.

Saxon Crozier (Queensland)
Lions Academy | Balanced Midfielder
14/11/2002 | 189cm | 75kg

Stats: 17 disposals, 5 tackles, 3 clearances, 6 inside 50s

Our scouts said: “Crozier was often classy with ball in hand, making good decisions and moving well in traffic and he really stood out with his kicking inside 50.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Is constantly one of the more influential players between the arcs, but is developing a greater inside game and does not mind getting stuck in despite his best traits suiting the outside. Crozier is a good forward mover and can rack up the numbers at his best.

Max Pescud (Queensland)
SUNS Academy | Wing/Forward
13/04/2002 | 183cm | 60kg

Stats: 16 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles, 2 rebound 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Pescud despite his light frame had a real impact on the game kicking two goals and showing his class and composure up the field as well.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: There’s just something to like about the lightly-built Pescud, who worked hard on the outside all day. Has the ability to win a good amount of ball there, but also makes the most of his chances when slipping forward and contributes across the board.

Scouting notes: U17 Futures

BOTH Victorian teams toppled Queensland and NSW/ACT respectively by over four goals at Ikon Park on Sunday, with a range of conditions testing the talent on show. Our writers cast an eye over each fixture, taking opinion-based notes on the outstanding players from either side.

Vic Country vs. NSW/ACT

Vic Country:
By: Ed Pascoe

#2 Deakyn Smith

Smith was an absolute handful up forward with his speed and overhead marking far too good to stop. Smith got better and better as the game went on and his combination of speed and aerial ability made him a difficult matchup. He kicked two goals with his first coming after a very strong mark and his second spinning and showing his class to kick a nice goal. His marking and ball use were a real highlight and he finished the game with 14 disposals, eight marks and two goals to be his side’s most dangerous player forward of centre.

#6 Seamus Mitchell

Mitchell was a very crafty and nimble small forward showing great speed, skill and agility with ball in hand and he certainly had some eye catching movements. Mitchell showed plenty of run and he had one nice bit of play where he followed up his good run with a nice kick inside 50 and his setups for his teammates made him one of his team’s better creative players going to goal. His only goal came from a mark and set shot and he only gathered the 11 disposals but his impact was more than what the stats show.

#7 Sam Berry

Berry was his team’s standout player wit his grunt work in the middle setting the tone for the day. His work rate with and without the ball was impressive and that carried on for the four quarters. He would also hit the scoreboard with his goal coming from reading the play to mark 40 metres out to slot the nice goal. His clearance work was great but it was also his skill with ball in hand that stood out, and despite looking like the type to just win the hard ball and bomb it, he actually took the time to hit his targets on both feet. His only real blemish was an ambitious kick in the corridor on his opposite foot. Berry finished the game with 23 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and a goal in a complete performance through the midfield.

#8 Zavier Maher

Maher combined well with fellow midfielder Sam Berry to not only win plenty of the ball but also offer something a little different with his ability to get forward and take the game on. Maher covered plenty of ground and played a good mix to win his own ball but also work hard to get around the ground on the outside which showed with his seven marks, three rebound 50s and seven inside 50s. The inside 50s in particular especially late in the game stood out where he often hit his targets and lowered the eyes. Maher had 20 disposals, six tackles and five inside 50s in a well-rounded game through the midfield.

#13 Dominic Bedendo

Bedendo was one of Country’s most dangerous forwards with his ability to get into good spots inside 50 and get himself into scoring situations while also setting up others with good vision. His first and only goal came in the first quarter with a set shot from 50 metres, he showed great movement and marking ability and would take another two marks inside 50 but missed both set shots. Bedendo had a chance early to pass to a teammate but missed a shot, but he would later show better teamwork with an unselfish kick to the hotspot when caught on the boundary. Bedendo has a light frame but is a nice height at 185cm and looks a prospect in the forward half as he finished the game with nine disposals, six marks and kicking 1.3 so he could have been more damaging.

NSW/ACT:
By: Michael Alvaro

#3 Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans Academy/Maroubra)

Came back into the side after missing the annual clash against Queensland on the Gold Coast, shaking off some early cobwebs to showcase his talent. Positioned on his customary wing, Gulden continually used his innate ability to find space of the outside to send the Rams forward, getting on the move and piercing some classy passes along the line. The leading Swans Academy prospect was usually composed with ball in hand, using his agility to prop into space and find a target as he lowered his eyes – a valuable point of difference to many U18 players. While he was almost found out with some kicks across attacking 50 and passes which proved a little too cute, Gulden’s skills were typically fantastic and he makes the play come alive.

#13 Pierce Roseby (Sydney Swans/Willoughby Mosman Swans)

It was another workmanlike shift from the small midfielder, who proved ferocious around the ball going both ways. Roseby was a constant through the Rams’ engine room, winning most of his 17 disposals himself and getting to the ball first to earn six free kicks with some brave contested work. That work culminated in seven clearances to go with seven tackles, showcasing Roseby’s work rate and tenacity at the stoppages. He did well to break forward and find the goals in the second term with a nicely finished snap, but missed a later opportunity on the back of a 50m penalty.

#15 Braeden Campbell (Sydney Swans/Westbrook)

Another of the diminutive Swans Academy fleet, Campbell has a great mix of inside and outside skills. His passing going forward was excellent, hitting targets on the move from midfield in each quarter with some good range. Campbell’s ability to weave or break away from congestion proved handy in a hard-fought midfield battle – especially at centre bounces – with his hard tackling (seven) another feature. The Westbrook product capped off an excellent game with two final quarter goals; the first coming after a clean pick up at pace and clinical finish, while the second was a more straightforward set shot conversion.

#26 Marco Rossmann (Sydney Swans/East Sydney Bulldogs)

Playing mostly forward with some of NSW/ACT’s prime movers back in the side, Rossmann was a reliable target leading up to the arc. He only stands at 181cm, but was great in the air with his springy leap and strong hands overhead helping him to clunk five marks from 12 disposals. Much of Rossmann’s ability to find space up the ground came on the back of clever reading of the play, and he also popped up inside 50 for a couple of chances on goal. The first was a miss from the impossible angle in the second term, with a later set shot failing to find the target.

#39 Marc Sheather (Sydney Swans/Terrigal Avoca JAFL)

A versatile prospect, Sheather assumed his usual role down back to start and proved to be a calming influence. He constantly got in the road of Vic Country’s attacks, snapping the ball up in the air and off the deck while following up with some efficient rebound. He would go on to prove his work rate with some of his acts up the ground, continuing his runs up the field and laying a shrewd holding-the-ball tackle just outside of defensive 50. A move into the midfield proved slightly less fruitful, but Sheather’s solid frame makes him a dangerous figure in there.

Vic Metro vs. Queensland

Vic Metro:
By: Michael Alvaro

#1 Lucas Failli (Western Jets)

A typical small forward, Failli caused headaches inside 50 and created good opportunities for Metro. He started off with some work further afield, pumping a couple of penetrating kicks into the forward arc and finding a teammate with one of them, while going back for repeat efforts at ground level and converting a free kick opportunity in a busy first half. Failli continued to show good desperation at the fall of the ball, proving agile and clean once he had scooped it up and capping his day with a second goal over the back in the final term.

#6 Jackson Cardillo (Calder Cannons)

Having shown his aggression and ball winning ability on the inside in his NAB League outings, Cardillo spent most of his time on the wing in this game. His forward running proved effective, hitting up Reef McInnes inside 50 in the first term and moving up towards attacking 50 with intent. After lacking oomph on a snap attempt in the second term, Cardillo made amends with a nice set shot finish after the half time siren for his only goal of the game. He would go on to miss another chance on the run when he had a touch more time to find the intended target, and attended the centre bounces late on.

#9 Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers)

Best afield for mine, the brother of Bulldogs star Jack showed off his pedigree with a game-high 34 disposals – 10 more than anyone else – six marks, five clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal. Macrae built into the game nicely, starting with some clean and effective accumulative touches before really having an impact in the second half. He lifted again in the fourth term, hitting the scoreboard with a classy finish from 45m while also assisting goals to Ollie Lord and Jack Diedrich to cap off a fantastic display.

#10 Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges)

Skipper for the day, Downie was the only player afield to have also featured in the U18 carnival. The Ranges gun swapped time between the wing and midfield, having an impact going forward with raking left boot and clunking a strong mark on forward wing under heat. While he didn’t score from his own attempt on goal in the second term, Downie created two opportunities for others with beautiful delivery into forward 50 after moving into the midfield. Is already well built for midfield minutes but looks pretty comfortable on the outside.

#11 Archie Perkins (Sandringham Dragons)

Perkins was another to move through the midfield-forward rotation, catching the eye with some strong and agile bursts through traffic which he finished with smart kicks inside 50. The powerful Sandringham product went on to have an impact around the ball with more midfield time after the main break, slamming forward five clearances and standing up in tackles to dish the ball out from congestion. Sprayed a tough chance on goal on the move, with that area of his game one to work on as he gets in dangerous positions.

#17 Liam McMahon (Northern Knights)

The dynamic tall didn’t find a mountain of the ball but looked lively up forward early on. McMahon put through the first goal of the game with a textbook set shot after plucking the ball at its highest point on the lead. He would go on to add another major in similar fashion during the second term, with strong hands overhead and a lovely kicking action his clear strengths. McMahon was thrown back in the second half where he provided some nice rebound and made some attacking kick-ins work.

#21 Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers)

The Collingwood NGA prospect looks to be another great find for the Magpies, and he had some sort of start to the game. McInnes was strong from the get-go, winning the very first clearance and working hard to impact a number of contests around the ground – he was involved in just about everything. His clean hands, strength in the contest, and tackling made him the dominant inside midfielder, but his spread and props in traffic bode well for a well-balanced game. McInnes was a little quieter as the game wore on, but racked up 24 disposals, nine tackles, six clearances, and four inside 50s.

Queensland:
By: Ed Pascoe

#9 Blake Coleman

Coleman was one of Queensland’s most dangerous players up forward with his skill and composure a real standout in the wet conditions. Coleman although standing at 180cm played more of a half forward lead up role with his marking overhead a real feature with how clean it was, especially in the wet conditions later in the game. Coleman wad classy with ball in hand and rarely wasted a possession. His class around goal was also a feature kicking two goals with his best coming in the last quarter, going for a nice run before steadying himself to kick a classy goal. Coleman finished the game with 13 disposals, four marks, five tackles and two goals.

#12 Max Pescud

Pescud despite his light frame had a real impact on the game kicking two goals and showing his class and composure up the field as well. Pescud was the lightest player on the ground at 60kg and started the game playing more of an outside role using his speed and clean hands on the wings before going forward to kick his two goals and then go into the stoppages in the last quarter to show he could play a range of roles. Pescud finished the game with 16 disposals, six marks, five tackles and two goals to be one of his team’s best players both with and without the ball.

#22 Carter Michael

Michael wasn’t hard to pick out with his bright blonde hair but it was more so his ability to win the football that stood out, playing as a tall midfielder he showed a good mix of inside and outside game being a consistent player over four quarters. Michael would often use his long left foot to his advantage, hitting targets both long and short but it was his long kicks that did the most damage. Michael showed good skill by hand and foot and didn’t waste many possessions as he finished with 21 disposals, six tackles and four clearances.

#24 Saxon Crozier

Queensland had no shortage of tall midfielders and Crozier standing at 189cm showed plenty both inside and outside the contest but mostly did his damage on the outside with his reading of the play and ability to get forward of centre. Crozier was often classy with ball in hand making good decisions and moving well in traffic and he really stood out with his kicking inside 50 in the last quarter with a good run and long kick inside 50 and not long after would show his ability to hot short targets with a nice kick lowering the eyes. Crozier finished the game with 17 disposals, five tackles and six inside 50s.

#26 Alex Davies

The tallest of Queensland’s big midfielders standing at 190cm, he was a strong player around stoppages going in hard to win clearances but also working hard around the ground to be an option. Davies showed good attack on the ball but he also showed his ability to pressure and give multiple efforts through the midfield, and had a good bit of play in the first quarter with a great second effort smother. Davies finished the game with 15 disposals and was his team’s leading clearance player with five.

Vic Metro U17s outgun Queensland in the wet

VIC METRO U17s overcame some early woes in front of goal to topple Queensland 10.11 (71) to 6.7 (43) in trying second half conditions at Ikon Park on Sunday.

After a slow, stalemate opening term which saw goals go to Metro’s Liam McMahon and Queensland’s Blake Coleman, the Victorians began to look like breaking the game open. But the visitors were keen to make the trip a fruitful one, sticking with Metro and going goal for goal in a six-goal second term full of little momentum swings. While Queensland seemed to have few answers to Metro’s dominant midfield, they kept touch heading into the main break by making the most of their forward 50 entries and holding up down back at the fall of the ball.

That theme proved consistent through the third term, with the hosts breaking away ever so slightly on the back of two goals (Ollie Lord and Lochlan Jenkins) to one (Max Pescud), making the most of their sole extra scoring shot. Metro’s 11-point three quarter time lead looked a handy one with the rain bucketing down and fog descending on North Carlton, but it would shortly clear over the break to give the Maroons a fighting chance. That was quickly taken from them though, with the winners piling on four goals to Queensland’s one to cruise home 28 points to the good.

Collingwood NGA prospect Reef McInnes made a dominant start for Metro, finishing with 24 disposals and six clearances to be second only to Finlay Macrae – the brother of Bulldogs’ Jack – who had 34 disposals, five clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal to be best afield. Sandringham pair Darby Hipwell (22 disposals, three inside 50s) and Archie Perkins (21 disposals, five clearances, five inside 50s) provided good fold rotating through the midfield and forward line, while Jackson Cardillo (18 disposals, one goal) and Connor Downie (20 disposals, four inside 50s) were influential on the outside.

For the Maroons, Carter Michael led the ball-winners with 21 disposals to go with his four clearances and four inside 50s, with Saxon Crozier (17 disposals, six inside 50s) lifting after half time, while Gold Coast academy pair Ethan Hunt (17 disposals, four tackles) and Alex Davies (15 disposals, five clearances) dug in well. Up forward, Coleman finished his chances beautifully to boot two goals from 13 disposals, with Pescud (16 disposals, six marks, five tackles) another to provide some spark in the forward half.

The top-end talent from either side can now look forward to the possibility of featuring in the U17 Futures All Stars showcase match on Grand Final day.

VIC METRO 1.5 | 4.8 | 6.10 | 10.11 (71)
QUEENSLAND 1.2 | 4.3 | 5.5 | 6.7 (43)

GOALS
Vic Metro: L. McMahon 2, O. Lord 2, L. Failli 2, F. Macrae, J. Cardillo, L. Jenkins, J. Diedrich.
Queensland: B. Coleman 2, M. Pescud 2, C. Bulley 2.

ADC BEST
Vic Metro: F. Macrae, R. McInnes, C. Downie, A. Perkins, J. Cardillo, L. McMahon
Queensland: B. Coleman, M. Pescud, S. Crozier, C. Michael, E. Hunt, A. Davies

Bottom-age talent to hit Ikon Park

A DOUBLE header at Ikon Park is exactly what footy fans will be after during the NAB League’s development weekend. The top Victorian Under 17s will go head-to-head against NSW/ACT and Queensland which gives fans of the four AFL clubs with Northern Academies a chance to see them in action. While some players such as Will Phillips and Elijah Hollands are not named, there is still plenty of talent to go around.

VIC COUNTRY vs. NSW/ACT
Sunday August 11, 9.45am
Ikon Park

Vic Country:

1 Ryan Angwin (Gippsland Power)
2 Deakyn Smith (Dandenong Stingrays)
3 Harry Sharp (GWV Rebels)
4 Jack Ginnivan (Bendigo Pioneers)
5 Jack Hickman (Bendigo Pioneers)
6 Seamus Mitchell (Bendigo Pioneers)
7 Sam Berry (Gippsland Power)
8 Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers)
9 Charlie Lazzaro (Geelong Falcons)
10 Clayton Gay (Dandenong Stingrays)
11 Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays)
12 Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons)
13 Dominic Bedendo (Murray Bushrangers)
14 Blake Reid (Geelong Falcons)
15 Noah Gadsby (Geelong Falcons)
16 Jack Tillig (GWV Rebels)
17 Oliver Henry (Geelong Falcons)
18 Max Annadale (Geelong Falcons)
19 Ethan Baxter (Murray Bushrangers)
20 Finn Ellis Castle (Bendigo Pioneers)
21 Kyle Skene (Geelong Falcons)
22 Josh Treacy (Bendigo Pioneers)
24 Jai Neal (Dandenong Stingrays)
25 Cameron Fleeton (Geelong Falcons)
26 Mason Hawkins (Gippsland Power)
27 Keith Robinson (Gippsland Power)

Vic Country’s side has a number of nice developing talls including Bendigo Pioneers’ Josh Treacy up forward and Geelong Falcons’ Cameron Fleeton down back, both of whom have been in good form of late. The defensive lines look strong with the likes of Oliver Henry and Clayton Gay likely to provide plenty of run and carry out of defence with their terrific ball skills, whilst Sam Berry, Charlie Lazzaro and Noah Gadsby provide some fierce tackling pressure.

NSW/ACT Rams:

1 Jackson Tikkeros (Sydney Swans)
2 Cooper Wilson (Sydney Swans)
8 Oscar Davis (Sydney Swans)
9 Taine Wright (Sydney Swans)
10 Matthew Hamblin (GWS GIANTS)
12 Kale Gabila (Sydney Swans)
13 Pierce Roseby (Sydney Swans)
26 Marco Rossmann (Sydney Swans)
27 Coopa Steele (GWS GIANTS)
28 Sam Frost (GWS GIANTS)
29 Drew Beavan (GWS GIANTS)
34 Sebastian Quirk (GWS GIANTS)
35 Fraser Kelly (GWS GIANTS)
36 Maximus Monaghan (GWS GIANTS)
37 Scott Brown (GWS GIANTS)
38 Sam Eynaud (Sydney Swans)
39 Marc Sheather (Sydney Swans)
40 Jack Driscoll (GWS GIANTS)
41 Jarred Gardiner (GWS GIANTS)
43 Aidan Beveridge (Sydney Swans)
## Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans)
## Braeden Campbell (Sydney Swans)
## Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers)

NSW/ACT have named a strong team for the contest, with the bottom three players yet to receive a number the keys to watch. Errol Gulden is the top prospect of this group and has already shown he can match it with top-agers as a great left footer who can win plenty of the pill on the outside and do damage by foot. Braeden Campbell is a dangerous forward who knows where the goals are and can push up the ground, while Charlie Byrne has elite foot skills and can play off half-back or drift forward.

VIC METRO vs. QUEENSLAND
Sunday August 11, 12.15pm
Ikon Park

VIC METRO:

1 Lucas Failli (Western Jets)
2 Jake Bowey (Sandringham Dragons)
3 Eddie Ford (Western Jets)
4 Joshua Clarke (Eastern Ranges)
6 Jackson Cardillo (Calder Cannons)
7 Ewan Macpherson (Northern Knigts)
8 Darby Hipwell (Sandringham Dragons)
9 Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers)
10 Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges)
11 Archie Perkins (Sandringham Dragons)
12 Lochlan Jenkins (Oakleigh Chargers)
13 Liam Conway (Western Jets)
15 Luke Cleary (Sandringham Dragons)
16 Jack Keeping (Calder Cannons)
17 Liam McMahon (Northern Knights)
18 Fraser Elliot (Oakleigh Chargers)
19 Wil Parker (Eastern Ranges)
20 Ollie Lord (Sandringham Dragons)
21 Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers)
23 Joshua Eyre (Calder Cannons)
25 Jack Diedrich (Eastern Ranges)
26 Cody Raak (Western Jets)
27 Joe Nowell (Sandringham Dragons)
29 Campbell Edwardes (Calder Cannons)

X-factor galore in this side, with Jake Bowey and Eddie Ford providing the speed and high-flying marks, while Collingwood Next Generation Academy member Reef McInnes and Wil Parker will be strong through midfield. Ewan Macpherson has provided support up in defence for the Northern Knights, while Lochie Jenkins and Cody Raak are in great form as well. Connor Downie and Finlay Macrae were both named in the Vic Metro squad with Downie getting to run out on the MCG. Also watch for the lightning speed of Joshua Clarke.

QUEENSLAND:

3 Ethan Hunt (Gold Coast Suns)
4 Shatna Cashen-Harris (Brisbane Lions)
5 Tahj Abberley (Brisbane Lions)
6 Will O’Dwyer (Brisbane Lions)
7 James Smith (Gold Coast Suns)
9 Blake Coleman (Brisbane Lions)
10 Will Tasker (Brisbane Lions)
11 Ky McKenzie (Brisbane Lions)
12 Max Pescud (Gold Coast Suns)
13 Darcy Prest (Brisbane Lions)
15 Toby Trffett (Brisbane Lions)
16 Bailey Reeves (Gold Coast Suns)
18 Oliver Rojo (Gold Coast Suns)
20 Aiden Fyfe (Gold Coast Suns)
23 Carter Michael (Brisbane Lions)
24 Saxon Crozier (Brisbane Lions)
26 Alex Davies (Gold Coast Suns)
27 Connor Bulley (Gold Coast Suns)
29 Lleyton Cottrell (Brisbane Lions)
30 Jack Johnston (Gold Coast Suns)
33 Thomas Hofert (Gold Coast Suns)
34 Ryan Pickering (Gold Coast Suns)
35 Ethan Harris (Brisbane Lions)

A squad full of zippy smalls and outside types will make the trip down for Queensland, with each member assigned to either to Gold Coast or Brisbane academies. The likes of Tahj Abberley and Ethan Hunt are likely to run through the midfield, respectively providing class and hardness to the engine room, while Saxon Crozier looks to be a leading prospect who can roam between the flanks. Blake Coleman provides some excitement up forward, with the likes of James Smith and Darcy Prest likely to solidify the half-back line. Another to watch for is Alex Davies, who is a brutish inside midfielder and finds plenty of clearances.

Team of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 16

EASTERN Ranges and Geelong Falcons might sit at either end of the NAB League Boys ladder, but both were featured heavily in the Draft Central NAB League Boys Team of the Week for Round 16. Both the Ranges and Falcons had a round-high four nominations each in the Team of the Week, while other winners, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Oakleigh Chargers had three players each, as did narrow losers Bendigo Pioneers and Dandenong Stingrays. Tasmania Devils and Western Jets both had two players each in the side to round out the 24-player squad decided over four games.

Geelong Falcons broke through for just their second win of the season, which was led by a number of bottom-agers including Oliver Henry and Cameron Fleeton who held up the defence well down on the Apple Isle. Also returning to the side but having more of a midfield presence was co-captain Jesse Clark who made the side along with overager, Charlie Sprague. At the other end of the table, Eastern secured a narrow win over Dandenong, which was led by captain James Ross who was strong in defence and got forward to boot two goals, as well as Team of the Week regulars Mitch Mellis and Zak Pretty in midfield, and Billy McCormack through the ruck and pushing forward.

Oakleigh Chargers’ Lochlan Jenkins won our Player of the Week for Round 16 and was named in midfield along with teammates Reef McInnes and Vincent Zagari who both impressed, while their opponents Western Jets saw the classy Josh Honey and five-goal forward Archi Manton make Team of the Week this week. Rounding out the back six are Dandenong Stingrays’ duo Clayton Gay and Hayden Young, while Ned Cahill showed impressive signs up forward.

Up at MARS Stadium on Sunday, Jay Rantall was superb again for GWV Rebels through the midfield, while Cooper Craig-Peters and Under 16s key forward Josh Rentsch were also named in our Team of the Week. Bendigo Pioneers had the three players as well in the tight game with Jack Ginnivan making it once again after four goals, while Josh Treacy was strong up forward too, and Aaron Gundry solid through the ruck. Rounding out the team is Tasmania’s Oliver Davis and Sam Banks who were among the best for the Devils in their loss to the Falcons.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 16

TWO of four games being played between the bottom-four sides did not stop a good amount of talent from shining through in Round 16 of the NAB League. We cast an eye over each match, highlighting the performances of representative squad members, as well as impressive under and over-agers, with our notes the opinion of each individual writer.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets
By: Peter Williams

Oakleigh:

#6 Jeromy Lucas

Played an important role through the midfield to be a key cog in linking up the defence through to attack. He worked hard defensively to support the Chargers’ back six and was composed when providing an option and moving the ball off half-back, whilst applying plenty of defensive pressure around the stoppages. He had a number of important inside 50s, but finished off his own work with a good running goal in the third term after running hard to find space 40m out and converting the set shot from straight in front.

#12 Lochlan Jenkins

The small bottom-aged midfielder won the ball with ease throughout the match, having a big influence around the stoppages and then spreading to the outside to set up attacking plays. He had a massive 10 inside 50s, and along with Reef McInnes, provided the link from midfield to the forward line. He not only had some nice attacking plays, but laid a number of strong tackles, accumulating the ball by winning it himself and winning it back from the opposition.

#39 Reef McInnes

One of Oakleigh’s best and was a bigger body in terms of height in the midfield for the Chargers. He had a massive first term and was strong throughout the game, putting together a nice four-quarter effort. The Collingwood Next Generation Academy bottom-ager looked good around the clearances, winning a number of big clearances from in close, and set up scoring opportunities with nice kicks inside 50. He is able to get his hands free when tackles and had a shot on goal in the first term but his kick was rushed and it went to the left. McInnes showed good decision making ability when in congestion, picking the right option when handballing clear and stood tall against a number of opponents.

#72 Alex Lukic

Built on his recent debut with an even improved performance. The tall 16-year-old seemed more like a small with his ability to crumb the ball, kicking the easiest of goals after a free kick and play on by a teammate found him alone at the top of the the square in the first term, then kicked another later on from a tight angle to put it straight through in general play.

#73 Cooper Sharman

Continued his great form with more exciting moments, showing off his terrific vertical leap and clean set shot routine. He missed his first chance to the right – his first set shot miss in four games, but then converted his first opportunity from a 30m set shot on a slight angle in the second term. Sharman’s defensive pressure was noticeably up compared to his other matches, working on that area of his game, laying a great tackle in the back pocket in the second term as an example. He was strong and clean overhead, taking a great mark in front of Emerson Jeka in the third term and converting the set shot from 40m out. He did lose a one-on-one against a smaller but stronger opponent shortly after showing an area of improvement, but again had some really eye-catching moments in the game.

Western:

#3 Eddie Ford

The bottom-age forward reads the play well and times his marks, almost providing another massive highlight as he had at the Victorian trials at Ikon Park, but could not quite bring it down. He wanted to keep the ball moving at every opportunity, playing on and getting it deep into attack. Ford set up a goal to Billy Cootee with a quick handball out of congestion to his teammate free in space for a great goal. He had a chance himself earlier in the game but was dragged down and his shot went to the right.

#7 Daly Andrews

Tried hard throughout the four quarters and managed to win the ball in all thirds of the ground. He occasionally would rush kicks to get it out of the danger zone, or have a flying shot on goal such as he did in the first term, but was dragged down as he kicked it. His long raking kick was used to effect to put the ball inside 50 on a number of occasions and it impacted the scoreboard with a long-range shot from 50m out in the final term to cut the deficit to 21 points midway through the final term. Won a lot of his touches in close.

#18 Emerson Jeka

Played a full game down in defence and held his own. It was not his best game, but still showed plenty of signs to continue his good form of late. Jeka took a strong intercept mark one-on-one deep in defence to stop a potential goal early in the first term and had a timely punch short after to get it out of the danger zone. He contested well at every opportunity and continued to present at marking contests, taking another good intercept mark in the second term 25 metres out from goal.

#24 Josh Honey

Impressed throughout the game with a mix of offensive and defensive attributes, and whilst sometimes it might cost him – such as being pinged for holding the ball later in the game – it can be a massive benefit such as when he burst out of the middle in the second term for the first stoppage and set up the opening goal with a damaging long kick. He pushed hard into defence to win the ball at times, but was predominantly used as an option through midfield, kicking it long into attack. Best of all for Honey was his clean use with a slippery ball which forced others to fumble. His defensive work such as tackling and pressure on the ball carrier was also very good.

Tasmania Devils vs. Geelong Falcons
By: Michael Alvaro

Tasmania:

#3 Oliver Davis

Just continues to do the dirty-work in Tasmania’s engine room, digging in hard to extract contested ball and tackling with just as much intent. He wasn’t as prolific as usual, but still led the Devils’ disposal count with 23 on the back of some willing clearances in the final term with the game on the line. Is so clean at the stoppages, and looks to be sharpening up his use when coming away from them with more handballs and targeted kicks.

#6 Sam Banks

The 16-year-old has unbelievable class and poise, catching the eye with a couple of deft moves around opponents and long kicks forward. A lot of Banks’ work was done on the outside given his starting position on the wing, but he worked hard to have an impact at either end and penetrate both arcs. Banks’ best moments came with little baulks and clever props, using one to trick an opponent and find Jack Rand inside 50 before creating his own goal opportunity with another, but only managing to hit the post.

#7 Matt McGuinness

Known as the designated kicker for Tasmania, McGuinness was particularly influential in the second term and got to plenty of contests with his superior positioning. Truly plays above his height when setting himself to intercept, and did so on plenty of occasions while doubling as a driver out of the back half. He got forward well early on to get a hand-off on the forward arc, but put the long-range shot wide. Has shown marked improvement from his top-age year.

#8 Jake Steele

You know what you’re going to get from Steele, who put in another competitive shift for the Devils in a range of roles. Starting down back as he has done in the past few weeks, Steele was matched one-on-one against the dangerous Charlie Sprague, but had a greater impact when getting free to provide an outlet out of defence. The Allies representative was thrown into the ruck after half time where he became influential as the game tightened up, taking a couple of nice overhead marks and pushing Tasmania forward with long kicks. Missed a couple of sharp chances on goal, but was solid overall.

#25 Jackson Callow

It was a trying day for the Tasmanian target man but he started really brightly with some terrific shows of sticky hands on the lead and pure one-on-one strength. Callow’s only goal of the game came from a textbook set shot in the opening term, and his influence was quelled as the contest wore on as he was forced to lead up further afield and often flew for marks in packs. Definitely is not afraid to throw his weight around, providing a bit of niggle and sparking a three-quarter time melee – perhaps out of a bit of frustration. Is such a competitor though, and will be a leading tall prospect for next year.

#49 Baynen Lowe

Was by no means a high-disposal output from the 16-year-old debutant, but Lowe showed some nice signs in patches. Employed up forward, Lowe’s aggression and intent when hunting the ball and tackling was impressive given his diminutive size, having a real crack with great tenacity. Lowe paired those traits with touches of class, roving a ball nicely at speed, reading a high ball well to mark over the back of an opponent, and proving clean below his knees.

Geelong:

#1 Jay Dahlhaus

It was a steady return for the zippy top-ager, coming back from a serious knee injury sustained all the way back in Round 2. Playing permanently forward, Dahlhaus made a bright start as he found the goals in the opening term, going on to have his best impact with tackling pressure and by getting in the right spots. Didn’t all come together for him on the day, but it was good to see him moving well and back out there. Could be one to come back as an over-ager if he shows what he is capable of in Geelong’s closing games.

#36 Charlie Sprague

Has really found a home up forward and turned it on in patches to boot three goals for the fourth-consecutive time. Often starting out of the goalsquare, Sprague’s work on the lead made him particularly dangerous, getting good separation while also being able to gain an advantage with his bodywork. Booted his first major in straightforward fashion with a close-range set shot, before assisting Jay Dahlhaus shortly after. He would go on to put through another textbook set shot in the following quarter after finding space inside 50, but missed another chance after a fantastic run-down tackle close to goal. Had arguably the highlight of the day with a beautiful pick up in the pocket, spin, and snap to claim a sensational goal and cap an influential first half. Did not have the same scoreboard impact after half time, but continued to lead up well.

#37 Oliver Henry

Had some sort of start to the game, clunking just about everything that came his way in defence with some brave efforts going back with the flight and others coming in from the side. Henry’s clean hands and reading of the ball in flight were on full show, with his ability to rebound and find short options bringing a calmness to Geelong’s back half. Was arguably the most influential player afield in the first half, just continually attacking the ball in the air and bringing it down. Henry was eventually thrown forward as the Falcons rolled the dice late, but didn’t quite have the same impact. Will be a top prospect next year given his versatility, marking ability, and pedigree.

#40 Jesse Clark

Is doing well to show off different sides to his game with some more midfield minutes, and was relevant throughout the contest with his work at the stoppages. Clark just constantly found a way to find enough space amid congestion and break away or get the ball onto his boot quickly, pushing the Falcons forward. He caused enough of a headache around the ball to earn a holding free kick inside 50 in the first term, which he took full advantage of to boot his only goal for the game. The Geelong skipper accumulated at a good rate across the match, with a couple of nice tap reads and good tackling in-close.

#46 Henry Walsh

The big, lumbering bottom-ager continues to get the job done in the ruck, dominating around the ground to smack down 44 hitouts – albeit against smaller opponents. Walsh’s seems to be growing in his ruck craft, palming some nice hits to advantage and looking to put the ball into the best areas for his ball winners. The brother of Sam also impressed with his follow-up work at ground level, laying some heavy tackles at stoppages and even winning a couple of clearances. Was unfazed by some heat from the Devils after a goal in the third term, putting the ball down Jesse Clark’s throat at the very next centre bounce, which was good to see. Is still pretty raw but has shown his potential in recent weeks.

#53 Cameron Fleeton

Another exciting Falcons bottom-ager, Fleeton played a massive role in what was arguable the contest of the day against Devils forward Jackson Callow. Despite conceding some size, Fleeton trimmed the difference with his leap and combativeness, following Callow’s every step and managing to get a hand in at the opportune moment. He improved his positioning as the game went on after getting caught behind and too far under the ball on separate occasions early, while making his opponent work the other way with some run on the rebound. Can sharpen up his use by foot at times, but has played every game since his Round 8 debut and is coming on in leaps and bounds.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Eastern Ranges
By: Ed Pascoe

Dandenong:

#2 Hayden Young

Young was Dandenong’s clear best on ground and he did everything he could to try and get his team over the line. Young’s first quarter was his best and his first great bit of play was a trademark kick on his left hitting up leading teammate Sam De Koning close to the boundary with no margin for error, and he would later hit up De Koning again with a nice spin out of trouble and great kick inside 50. Young was quieter until the last quarter where he was influential through the midfield attacking the contests hard and working hard up and down the ground to try and win his team the game. Young has been fantastic through the midfield in recent weeks and has certainly showed another string to his bow and using his strong marking and kicking higher up the ground, Young finished the game with 26 disposals, six marks and five inside 50s.

#11 Ned Cahill

Cahill had a slow start to the game but he really came alive in the second and third quarters showing his fantastic work rate through the midfield and proving a dangerous option when forward. Cahill was crafty forward of centre and in the second quarter pulled off a super quick handball that lead to a goal and would kick a goal himself after winning a high free kick and converted the set shot. Cahill’s best bit of play came in the third quarter winning a stoppage at the defensive 50m arc then later linking up on the wing to kick inboard and would then keep running inside 50 to take a well earned mark and would convert the set shot which was well deserved for the massive effort. Cahill finished the game with 18 disposals, five tackles, five inside 50s and two goals.

#20 Sam De Koning

De Koning played forward after showing his quality as a defender at the Under 18 championships winning AA honours. He started the game well taking a nice leading mark to the boundary of a nice pass from teammate Hayden Young, it was a tough spot and he would miss the set shot. Despite being as taller player, De Koning was among the quicker decision makers and users of the ball with his handballs really standing out, he showed great courage going back to try and take a mark and would get hurt in the process and then in the third quarter would come off limping and take no more part in the game. De Koning finished the game with seven disposals, three marks and four hitouts.

Eastern:

#11 Mitch Mellis

Mellis was one of Eastern’s better players for the day working hard through the midfield and using his pace any chance he got. Mellis was not afraid to take the game on and that was evident in the first quarter after taking a great mark, he would take the player on the mark on and got around him comfortably using his great explosiveness, he showed great attack on the ball inside 50 hitting it at pace and then using his explosiveness to evade and narrowly miss the running shot at goal. He would also use his speed without the ball as well doing well to work back into defence in the second quarter going back with the flight to spoil a certain mark to dangerous small forward Ned Cahill, he was a busy player through the day and finished the game with 24 disposals, three tackles and four inside 50s.

#21 James Ross

The Eastern captain was certainly influential and did so at both ends of the ground to remind recruiters of his talent. Ross started the game down back and was an intercept king often taking some courageous marks and also showing his reading of the play and clean hands with some marks coming from the side of contests. He was most annoying to Dandenong in the second quarter seemingly owning the defensive 50m arc. Ross was surprisingly sent forward in the third quarter and that move proved a game changer in a long scoring game as he would go on to kick two goals that quarter, his first came from an uncontested mark and would slot the set shot and the second came from a fantastic contested mark and he would again prove a solid set shot for goal. He wouldn’t add to his tally in the last quarter kicking a behind with a snap but he had done the damage to finish the game with 20 disposals, seven marks and two goals.

#52 Tyler Sonsie

The MVP for Vic Metro in the Under 16 championships, Sonsie showed why he is a highly rated prospect for the 2021 draft with a solid outing playing through the midfield. Sonsie stood out with his quick reaction times and clean and crisp ball use, the one area Sonsie struggled in was his tackling with his lighter build working against him to properly hold up the opposition but the intent was certainly there and you couldn’t fault that for a 16 year old. He did however show good strength in a contest keeping his feet as this year’s highly touted prospect Hayden Young flew from the side to spoil him, he would then gather the ball and step Young in a great bit of play involving two great prospects of the future. Sonsie started on the wing but was moved into the midfield and would contest with Young on multiple occasions and despite the obvious size difference he more than held his own at the contest. Sonsie finished the game with 20 disposals, five marks, six tackles and five inside 50s.

GWV Rebels vs. Bendigo Pioneers
By: Cam Ross

GWV:

#4 Jed Hill

Really smooth off half-back where he able to showcase his terrific foot-skills. Twice hit up forward targets with perfect long kicks on the lead. Played a very outside game, but his usage by foot was important.

#7 Mitch Martin

Had a quieter first half where he spent the majority of time on-ball. The talented forward was moved back to his natural position in the second half where he immediately hit the scoreboard, and had an influence in the Rebels’ comeback.

#13 Jay Rantall

Despite being closely monitored at stoppages in the first half, he was still was finding a lot of the ball around the ground. Using the word “singlehandedly” in a team sport is usually unfair, but Rantall’s efforts were as close to singlehandedly bringing his side back into the game as you could get. In the opening 10 minutes of the second half he had kicked two goals, and had a hand in two others, bringing the Rebels back into the game.

#45 Josh Rentsch

Barely sighted in the first half, due to the ineffectiveness of the Rebels’ forward 50 entries. Got a nice easy goal from the goal square, which was well deserved considering the amount of work he put in that went unrewarded, and then came alive after that. Took a few really nice marks inside 50, showing signs that he could be one to watch over the next two years. Took a big mark late in the game and kicked a clutch goal to make it a one point game. Really good size, athleticism and agility for a big man.

Bendigo:

#11 Aaron Gundry

Took a nice pack mark in front of goal, finishing the goal from point blank range. Looked better up forward than in the ruck.

#19 Ben Worme

Snuck forward and kicked a really important goal in the fourth quarter, turning an solid game into a good game.

#20 James Schischka

Played really well. His direct opponent had hardly any influence on the game. He showcased an ability to mark an opponent closely and defend with a big fist, while also proving his intercept marking ability. Nearly set up the winning goal with a quick kick forward that wasn’t converted on the siren.

#22 Josh Treacy

Best player for the Pioneers. Treacy won his own clearances in the ruck, and impacted further with tackle pressure at ground level. He booted two sensational goals; one on the run from the square, the other from winning a free kick with a nice tackle in front of goal.

NAB League Boys Round 16 wash-up: Three games decided by a combined 16 points

TWENTY-TWO points was the greatest margin in what was, needless to say, a tight round of NAB League action. Oakleigh kicked off the weekend with an impressive second half performance to knock Western off, followed by dramatic low-scoring wins to Geelong and Eastern. The drama continued on Sunday as Greater Western Victoria (GWV) came back from the dead twice to edge home over Bendigo, rounding off a remarkable four games of Under 18S football.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.2 | 4.3 | 10.5 | 12.8 (80)
WESTERN JETS 1.2 | 5.3 | 5.3 | 9.4 (58)

GOALS
Oakleigh: N. Stathopoulos 3, A. Tassell 2, C. Sharman 2, A. Lukic 2, J. Lucas, L. Jenkins, S. Seach.
Western: A. Manton 5, B. Cootee 2, S. El-Hawli, D. Andrews

BEST
Oakleigh: L. Jenkins, V. Zagari, R. McInnes, L. Westwood, N. Stathopoulos, J. Lucas.
Western: J. Honey, A. Manton, L. Conway, B. Cootee, S. El-Hawli, K. Crimmins

A barnstorming second half saw Oakleigh get the better of Western and slot into the all-important third place, with all teams bar Tasmania having now played 14 games. The Chargers gave up a six-point half-time lead after heading into the first break with an identical margin to the good, but turned it on in typical Oakleigh fashion to boot six goals to Western’s nil in the third term. While Western managed to claw back a bit of the margin in an improved final quarter, it was to no avail as Oakleigh held firm despite missing both of its co-captains. Chargers midfielder Lochlan Jenkins was the standout with 35 disposals, 10 inside 50s and a goal, backed by fellow bottom-age ball finder Reef McInnes (28 disposals, seven marks, nine tackles). Over-ager Jeromy Lucas (26 disposals, six tackles) was another to stand up with some of the Chargers’ guns absent, while Nicholas Stathopoulos was efficient in front of goal to prize three goals from seven disposals and Cooper Sharman (10 disposals, 2.1) continues to excite. For the Jets, Archi Manton was just as economical with 5.1 from seven kicks to do most of the damage as his side’s only multiple goal kicker, but Josh Honey was named best for his 24-disposal effort. Over-ager Daly Andrews (23 disposals) keeps on finding the ball, with returning defensive duo Lucas Rocci and Josh Kellett doing the same and bottom-ager Billy Cootee booting a couple of handy goals. Both sides are set to play their final regular season games in the Avalon Airport Oval triple-header, with Western opening the show against Northern and Oakleigh closing it in a mouth-watering clash with Sandringham.

TASMANIA DEVILS 2.4 | 2.5 | 4.11 | 6.13 (49)
GEELONG FALCONS 3.1 | 5.4 | 5.6 | 8.8 (56)

GOALS
Tasmania: J. Lane 2, J. Rand, P. Walker, J. Callow, J. Menzie.
Geelong: C. Sprague 3, M. Annandale 2, C. Seymour, J. Clark, A. Hildebrandt

BEST:
Tasmania: O. Davis, J. Rand, S. Banks, O. Shaw, J. Lane.
Geelong: O. Henry, C. Sprague, C. Fleeton, J. Clark, N. Gribble, H. Whyte

It was tough going, but Geelong finally managed to stand up in the final term and record its second win for the year, scraping past Tasmania to win by seven points on enemy territory. The game came to life in the final term after the Devils cut Geelong’s 17-point half time margin to just one heading into the last turn, with a heated scuffle ensuing at three-quarter time. It all looked like unravelling as Tasmania got on top early in the final period, but a strong final five minutes and clutch goals to Max Annandale and Chris Seymour got the Falcons home. There were plenty of standouts despite it being a bottom-two clash, with bottom-agers Oliver Henry and Oliver Davis clearly best for their respective sides. Henry reverted back to a defensive role, dominating in the air to pull down 11 marks, while Davis was relentless through midfield with 23 disposals and 10 tackles. Cameron Fleeton (21 disposals, 10 rebound 50s) complimented Henry well down back while keeping Jackson Callow to eight disposals and one goal, with skipper Jesse Clark (21 disposals, eight tackles, one goal) enjoying some midfield time and Charlie Sprague dangerous up forward with 3.2. For the Devils, Matt McGuinness continued his consistent form with 20 disposals and eight rebound 50s, while Jack Rand (16 disposals, 2.1) was good in just his second game and 16-year-old Sam Banks (14 disposals) also impressed. While the Devils can enjoy a week off, Geelong will look to finish its regular season strongly despite being cemented to last spot as it meets Dandenong in Round 17.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 0.5 | 2.5 | 5.5 | 6.5 (41)
EASTERN RANGES 1.5 | 1.6 | 4.10 | 5.16 (46)

GOALS
Dandenong: E. Cahill 2, C. Ellison 2, J. Nanscawen, W. Howe
Eastern: J. Ross 2, B. Hickleton, H. Keeling, M. Brown

BEST
Dandenong: C. Gay, H. Young, B. Nyuon, N. Heath, J. Nanscawen, E. Cahill
Eastern: J. Ross, M. Mellis, J. Nathan, T. Garner, B. McCormack, T. Sonsie

Dandenong fell agonisingly short of snapping its seven-game losing streak, going down by five points to ladder leaders Eastern at Shepley Oval. Six straight goals after quarter time was not quite enough to account for a wasteful 0.5 opening, with the equally wayward Ranges getting over the line after scrounging five behinds in the final 15 minutes to crawl to victory. It was the top-end talent of Dandenong that saw it draw close, with Hayden Young continuing his fine form to collect 26 disposals, six marks and five inside 50s, while Ned Cahill booted two goals from 18 touches, and Bigoa Nyuon was prominent in the air with 20 hitouts and seven marks. Despite their efforts, bottom-ager Clayton Gay (15 disposals, six marks, six tackles, six rebound 50s) was named the Stingrays’ best in a well-rounded performance, with Jack Toner (27 disposals) leading all-comers in the ball winning stakes. For the Ranges, who have now locked in top spot due to a sizeable percentage, skipper James Ross was terrific in a role further afield – collecting 20 disposals, taking seven marks and kicking two goals. Zak Pretty (27 disposals) and Mitch Mellis (24) found plenty of the pill, while consistent tall Billy McCormack (20 disposals, 22 hitouts) proving just that and 16-year-old Tyler Sonsie (20 disposals, five marks, six tackles) acclimatising nicely to the level. With first place all but nailed down, the Ranges move on to face Calder in the ultimate round, while Dandenong will eye off a win heading into Wildcard Round when it meets Geelong to end the regular season.

GWV REBELS 3.2 | 3.3 | 9.7 | 13.11 (89)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 3.2 | 8.2 | 10.4 | 13.7 (85)

GOALS
GWV: I. Grant 2, M. Lloyd 2, J. Rentsch 2, J. Rantall 2, F. Marris, M. Martin, M. Herbert, B. Hobbs, M. Jorgensen
Bendigo: J. Ginnivan 4, W. Wallace 2, J. Treacy 2, A. Gundry, S. O’Farrell, J. Evans, B. Worme, B. Rowles

BEST
GWV: J. Rantall, C. Craig-Peters, T. Mahony, I. Grant, J. Rentsch, P. Glanford
Bendigo: J. Ginnivan, J. Treacy, A. Gundry, J. Schischka, J. Evans, B. Worme

By: Cam Ross

The Bendigo Pioneers travelled to MARS stadium on Sunday for the battle of the two central Victorian teams.
The first quarter saw both sides wanting to play a free-flowing game. Pioneers midfield took advantage and Riley Wilson and Josh Treacy were really important. The highlight of the first quarter was Treacy’s brilliant running goal from inside the centre square. Two goals late, one with a lucky bounce for Ben Hobbs and a delightful finish on the run from Matty Lloyd looked to be enough to give the Rebels a lead into quarter time, but the red hot Treacy won the free kick with a nice tackle, and converted the set shot to keep the scores locked at 20 at the first break.

The Pioneers started the second where they left off in the first with Aaron Gundry converting after a nice pack mark in front of goal, and within a minute, some poor discipline from the Rebels cost them again and the Pioneers got a 50 metre penalty, putting them in the square again. The Rebels needed to respond around the ball, and with gun onballer Jay Rantall being closely checked it was up to Mitch Martin and Toby Mahony to attempt to have more of an impact. The Pioneers simply kept on winning the stoppages, and kicked six straight goals, meaning that a six-point Rebels lead at the 23-minute mark of the first quickly became a 29-point deficit half way through the second. Jed Hill and Rantall (around the ground) were winning enough ball for the Rebels, but didn’t have many helpers in the first half. The Rebels couldn’t kick one major in the second term and were crippled by their ineffectiveness to move the ball inside 50. The Pioneers on the other hand were sensational. Their five straight goals in the second, meant they were able to capitalise on their midfield dominance and really put it on the scoreboard.

The Rebels needed a spark to start the second half, and when Josh Rentsch was finally was on the end of some decent service to start the third quarter, the Rebels looked to get the start they needed. He missed this shot, but the ball was locked in the forward line, and then Lloyd gave them that early goal. Rantall’s following goal was one for the highlight reels. The Rebels gun took the ball on the wing, hit the leading target, receiving the ball back for a delightful finish on the run. Rantall’s dominance at start of the quarter continued, winning a free kick, bounding away and kicking long to a contest where naturally gifted forward Martin finished the job. The Rebels kicked three straight goals early in the third to drag themselves back into the contest. The Rebels completely dominated the third term, being first to the footy, and remarkably turned around the deficit inside 15 minutes. However, The Pioneers finished the term well and took a three-point lead into the final change.

The Pio’s Jack Ginnivan took full advantage of a questionable free kick two minutes into the final term, giving the Pioneers a dream start. The Pioneers began to win a lot more of the ball around the ground, and as they had all day, the Pioneers forwards were taking their presented opportunities. When Ben Worme kicked a delightful set shot, the margin drifted out to 16 points. After this, and the Pioneers put cruise control on late in the game, and three goals from Mitchell Jorgensen, Izaac Grant and Rentsch made it a one point game in the blink of an eye and when Grant kicked his second goal in five minutes the Rebels had amazingly taken the lead. With only seconds remaining, the ever reliable James Schischka, intercepted the ball off the Rebels rebound, and quickly put on the boot where it magically ended up in the hands of Noah Walsh. The Pioneers forward unfortunately missed the goal on the siren, leaving the Rebels as four-point victors. Rantall was best for the home side, while Treacy and Schischka played well for the Pioneers in extremely entertaining contest where both sides deserved to win.

NAB League Boys Round 14 preview: U16 talent hits the big time

AFTER a week off for all but two of the NAB League Boys sides, the competition recommences full-time action with a double-header at Box Hill City Oval in Saturday’s lone fixtures. A top-four clash between Eastern and Oakleigh firms as the game of the round, with the Geelong and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) clash set to have an impact down the other end of the ladder. Watch for the debuts of some of the nation’s best Under 16s too, fresh off their National Championship campaigns.

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. TASMANIA DEVILS
Saturday July 20, 11:45am
Box Hill City Oval

A near full-strength Gippsland Power unit will look to pile the pain on Tasmania when they do battle at Box Hill City Oval to kick off Round 14. Both sides are coming off losses, but the Devils have faced a few more challenges over the last four weeks in a string of losses. Results aside, their usual competitiveness has risen in the last fortnight, but Gippsland’s ins make the Power a tough proposition for even a side in the best of form. A massive seven Country representatives return to the side, with the likes of Brock Smith, Sam Flanders, Charlie Comben, and Josh Smith re-forming that strong spine. On the other hand, Tasmania will be without both Mitch O’Neill and competition leading goal kicker Jackson Callow in a big blow to their chances. O’Neill’s class through the midfield will likely be covered by the likes of Under-16 Division 2 MVP Sam Banks and bottom-aged Allies representatives Oliver Davis and Sam Collins, meaning Callow’s goals could prove the most difficult void to fill. The game will be the Devils’ last in Victoria for the regular season, with their remaining two fixtures set to be played at home, while Gippsland will finish off with a couple of country fixtures.

EASTERN RANGES vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday July 20, 2:15pm
Box Hill City Oval

In what looms as the game of the round, Oakleigh will look to derail Eastern’s charge atop the NAB League ladder when the sides meet to round out Saturday’s action. The Ranges are on a tear, simply finding a way to win in each of their six-consecutive victories dating back to Round 7. Having twice gotten the better of fellow top-four hopefuls Sandringham in that run, they should come into this fixture against a rampant Oakleigh outfit with the confidence to stand tall despite the Chargers’ form. Oakleigh’s attempt to make it seven wins from their last eight outings will be dented slightly by the loss of promising bottom-agers Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Sam Tucker, and Reef McInnes, but gain some midfield depth as Jeromy Lucas and Fraser Elliot make the 23. Eastern’s key position strength will be tested as skipper James Ross joins Jamieson Rossiter and Joel Nathan as outs, but we should be treated to a glimpse into the future as Metro U16 stars Tyler Sonsie and Tyreece Leiu have been named to make their debuts. Both could feature through midfield, with Metro MVP Sonsie also able to move forward well. It adds another layer to what already shapes as an interesting battle, with the Ranges hoping to maintain their two-game buffer in first place.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS vs. DANDENONG STINGRAYS
Sunday July 21, 9:30am
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

A chance to snap losing streaks is up for grabs for Sandringham and Dandenong at Trevor Barker Beach Oval, with both sides sliding out of the top four in recent weeks. The Dragons have been on a three-game slide while Dandenong has lost its last four, and Sandringham could well jump back into the top four should results go their way. The Stingrays’ six changes seems significant, but it pales in comparison to Sandringham’s 13 with a raft of top-end talent going both ways in either starting 23. Dandenong’s ins read well, with All Australians Hayden Young and Sam De Koning slotting back in alongside Country teammates Ned Cahill, Blake Kuipers, and Bigoa Nyuon. On the other hand, the home side regains Fischer McAsey and Miles Bergman alongside over-agers Riley Bowman and Angus Hanrahan, but lose stars on each line in the form of Finn Maginness, Hugo Ralphsmith, Josh Worrell, Louis Butler, and Charlie Dean. The Dragons’ strength of depth has shone through thus far, and should carry them through well in this bout despite Dandenong’s sizeable inclusions. If the Eastern and Oakleigh game is the best of the round, this looks to be a close second with clear finals ramifications in play.

BENDIGO PIONEERS vs. CALDER CANNONS
Sunday July 21, 1:00pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval

The Calder Cannons could shoot into the top four with a win and favourable results elsewhere, but Bendigo Pioneers stand in their way in a meeting set for Queen Elizabeth Oval. The Cannons have enjoyed a good stretch of form, winning in four of their last five outings, with some key talent in the form of Daniel Mott, Harrison Jones, and Brodie Newman set to add a bit of class to the side which is sailing along smoothly. Bendigo has fared a touch differently, but the Pioneers found form well in the last three rounds with two wins and a 10-point loss added to their record. The competition in this game is a little stiffer, but the inclusions of Brady Rowles and Logan Fitzgerald should bode well for their chances of a fifth win. Big man Josh Treacy also returns, named up forward alongside usual full back Will Wallace as the Pioneers shuffle their key position magnets – and they could well be tested in that area given Calder’s ins. Bendigo should make a game of it on home turf, with both sides refreshed after a week off and keen to gain as much ladder position as possible with just three regular season rounds remaining.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Sunday July 21, 1:00pm
Deakin Reserve

The battle for top eight spots heats up as ninth place Murray hosts eighth place Northern with just four points separating the two sides. Both have enjoyed good bursts of form of late, with Northern on a three-game winning run and Murray’s own streak of three only just broken last round by ladder-leaders, Eastern. Either sides’ true credentials will be revealed as they go close to hitting full strength, while also welcoming some Under 16 talent to their respective line-ups. Kevin Sheehan medallist Josh Rachele is one of those talented 16-year-olds named to play, while Northern boast Darcy Wilmot and Jack Rossimel. In the top-age stakes, Murray look to have replenished well with co-skipper Lachlan Ash returning alongside Cam Wild, while fellow Country representative Elijah Hollands also slots in. For Northern, key midfield cog Adam Carafa goes out alongside Metro teammate Nikolas Cox in a blow to their depth, but the versatility of the side should see the Knights cover their losses. With the top eight make-up truly taking shape in the closing three rounds, this game will prove to be a key one in deciding Wildcard Round fixtures.

GEELONG FALCONS vs. GWV REBELS
Sunday July 21, 1:30pm
GMHBA Stadium

Bottom two sides Geelong and GWV clash at GMHBA Stadium to see out Round 14, with just four wins between the teams heading into the final few fixtures. If history is anything to go by, this is set to be a close one, as the Rebels managed to snatch a one-point win over the Falcons all the way back in Round 2 in a thriller. The stakes are arguably higher in this clash with pride on the line and some notable under-age talent breaking into either starting 23. GWV welcomes Country Under 16 representatives Ben Hobbs and Josh Rentsch, with top-age stars Jay Rantall, Mitch Martin, Toby Mahony also set to really bolster the line-up. Meanwhile, the Falcons are finally set to again field one of their two original co-captains with Jesse Clarke back into the defensive unit, with the likes of over-agers Lochlan Hocking and Sam Christensen getting another crack in the starting team. With limited opportunities to bolster up their win tallies, both sides should give this game a red hot crack on the hallowed Kardinia Park turf.

Team of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 12

IN a Draft Central first, the Round 12 NAB League Boys Team of the Week featured two players from the 12 sides across the competition in the 24-player squad. The Round which was split over two weekends – was completed on the weekend with Eastern Ranges defeating Tasmania Devils. The other five games were played the weekend prior to Round 13 last weekend, with no one scoring more than 60 points in a rain-affected round.

In the standalone game on the weekend, Eastern Ranges’ Mitch Mellis continued his terrific season with a spot in the team, joined by ruck Billy McCormack who can spend time up forward. Also in the forward line is Tasmania’s Jackson Callow and up the other end, his teammate Matt McGuinness, both of whom make the team once again. Speaking of regulars in the Team of the Week, Western Jets’ captain Lucas Rocci has become a lock in the back pocket over the past couple of months, making the side with Josh Kellett. Their opponents Calder Cannons had Sam Ramsay make the team on the wing, whilst Ben Overman was impressive in the back half.

The double header at Shepley Oval resulted in eight players making the side, with Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels duo Mitch Martin and Mitchell Burgess making the side up either end on flanks, while Clayton Gay and Max Gregory worked hard in the Dandenong Stingrays’ loss and made the side. In the ohter game, Sam Berry was sensational with 18 tackles from 20 touches and three goals for Gippsland Power, joined in the side by teammate Tye Hourigan. Their opponents Geelong Falcons had ruck Henry Walsh, and tireless midfielder Charlie Lazzaro make the side – the latter was the only player to pick up more than four touches in the final term (eight) when they were overran by the Power.

In the other two games, Murray Bushrangers’ Jye Chalcraft slotted into the team after he earned the Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 12, joined by overager Zane Barzen in the side. Their opponents were Bendigo Pioneers, as James Schischka was named on half-back and Ben Worme on a wing. In the all-metropolitan battle, Oakleigh Chargers’ Jamarra Ugle-Hagan booted three goals and fits into the forward line, with Reef McInnes also making the team. Sandringham Dragons’ Hugo Ralphsmith and Will Mackay round out the Team of the Week for Round 12.

Team of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 13

BENDIGO Pioneers and Oakleigh Chargers have received the most nominations for the Draft Central Team of the Week for Round 13 in the NAB League Boys. All other sides have two players each in an even spread, with Dandenong Stingrays and Geelong Falcons the two exceptions (one player each) after heavy losses.

Bendigo’s forward duo of Seamus Mitchell and Jack Ginnivan both made the side along with ruck Aaron Gundry. Oakleigh’s trio of nominations occur in the forward half, with Dylan Williams and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan booting nine goals between them, while Reef McInnes also hit the scoreboard from the midfield. Their opponents Geelong had a sole representative in Charlie Lazzaro with the midfielder working hard defensively to pick up five rebounds and was named on the half-back flank. On the other half-back flank is Matt McGuinness who played in Tasmania Devils’ loss to Bendigo, named in the side with teammate Jackson Callow at the other end.

Other winners with two nominees include Calder Cannons who had Sam Ramsay and Jackson Cardillo both make the side, as did Eastern Ranges’ Mitch Mellis and forward Ben Hickleton. Northern Knights’ captain Jackson Davies and inside midfielder, Adam Carafa both made the team, as did Western Jets’ captain Lucas Rocci and overager Will Kennedy. The other side with just one sole nominee was Dandenong Stingrays, seeing Jack Toner‘s performance in his side’s loss earn him a spot in the 24-player team.

Gippsland Power defender Tye Hourigan and midfielder Sam Berry squeeze into the team once again, while Murray Bushrangers’ Jye Chalcraft backed up his Player of the Week nomination last round with another strong performance in Round 13. He and Will Christie are the two Bushrangers’ representatives with Christie rotating between defence and ruck. Sandringham Dragons welcomed back a number of Vic Metro representatives to the team over the weekend with two Metro players in Hugo Ralphsmith and captain Ryan Byrnes making the side.