Tag: riley baldi

NAB League Boys 2019 Throwback: Round 17 – Chargers, Ranges win thrillers amid dual triple-headers

ROUND 17 of the 2019 NAB League was split into two triple-headers, with the six Metropolitan sides going head-to-head at Avalon Airport Oval on the Saturday, while Queen Elizabeth Oval hosted the six Country regions on Sunday, and Tasmania enjoyed a bye. Top three challengers Oakleigh and Eastern won out in thrillers, with a certain number two pick dragging the Chargers home, while a gun Next-Generation Academy prospect snatched four points for the Ranges with a kick after the siren.

But the weekend’s action started with a clash between Western and Northern, a game which saw the Knights handle the conditions better to run our 32-point winners. The Jets could not take full toll of their promising start, booting 1.4 to Northern’s 2.2 in the first quarter, before the latter pulled away with six goals to nil in term two to set up a game-defining margin. There would be little scoring after that, with the sides combining for just five goals after half-time.

The competition’s two leading goalkickers went head-to-head, with Josh D’Intinosante booting four goals to Archi Manton‘s three, but the Jets forward taking out top honours for his season tally. Promising bottom-ager Nikolas Cox added two for Northern, while Adam Carafa (23 disposals) and Darcy Cassar (22) led the ball winning stakes for their respective sides. Josh Watson enjoyed a breakout game with 21 touches and a goal, and in a cool quirk, Carlton draftees Sam Philp and Josh Honey competed on opposite sides shortly before becoming teammates.

Things really ramped up in the following fixture, as Connor Downie‘s post-siren set shot helped Eastern nab a four-point win over Calder from nowhere. The Cannons looked to have poked their noses in front at the ideal time as the lead changed hands on multiple occasions throughout the match, but a two-goal margin in the final term was quickly reigned back. In a last roll of the dice play, Downie would win a free kick inside 50 and sink the resultant shot to break Calder hearts and seal the minor premiership.

Eastern’s Lachlan Stapleton was massive in the clutch moments, and finished with 23 disposals and two goals in a terrific display of heart. Calder’s Jake Sutton beat him out in the goalkicking department with three majors, while Carlton draftee Sam Ramsay (27 disposals) and Mitch Mellis (26) led all comers in terms of disposals amid their back-and-forth midfield battle. Essendon’s Harrison Jones also looked lively up forward, booting a goal from 17 disposals and four marks.

If spectators thought that game would be the peak of entertainment for the afternoon, they were in for a treat when Oakleigh and Sandringham took the field. 11 eventual draftees were in action, including the top two selections, in what was one of the highest quality Under 18 games in recent history. After Finn Maginness booted the Dragons out to a 29-point lead early in the final term, Noah Anderson stepped up with back-to-back majors to help put the Chargers in front, before Cooper Sharman sealed the remarkable comeback to see Oakleigh home by seven points.

The cream truly rose to the top, with Anderson’s match-winning efforts seeing him finish with 24 disposals and three goals. Potential 2020 number one pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan was spectacular in the air in his four-goal display, while Matt Rowell wowed again with a mammoth 34 touches. Darcy Chirgwin led the way in that department for Sandringham with 30 disposals, but it was Maginness who stole the show with three goals from his 17 touches. Bottom-ager Archie Perkins also snagged a hat-trick of majors, as the wealth of talent on show made for scintillating viewing.

Fast forward to Sunday and switching over to the Country regions, Gippsland opened the show with a 10-point win over hosts, Bendigo at Queen Elizabeth Oval. In another heartbreaker, the Pioneers led at every break, albeit by slim margins, but faltered at the last as the Power surged home with 4.5 to the home side’s 3.0. The quality was evident in this clash too, with eight future draftees running out for their respective sides.

Among them, Fraser Phillips was one of six players on either team to boot two goals, also adding three behinds from his 19 disposals. Riley Baldi put in a terrific shift with a game-high 27 disposals and two majors, while Thomson Dow was among Bendigo’s best ball winners with 24 touches and a goal. Charlie Comben showed promising signs in his ruck/forward role, collecting 12 disposals, three marks, 13 hitouts, and 1.3, while a pair of Pioneers bottom-agers also fared well – with Jack Ginnivan and Seamus Mitchell both earning multiple goals.

Geelong notched just its third win of the season, accounting for reigning premier Dandenong to the tune of 31 points in a convincing effort. The Falcons shot to a five-goal buffer at half time and never looked back, extending the margin to an even 50 points heading into the final break, and coasting home despite the Stingray’s best efforts to claw back the deficit. Remarkably, the Falcons only registered one more scoring shot than their opponents, with their accurate 15.9 proving the difference when compared to Dandenong’s 9.14.

Charlie Sprague capped off his over-age season with a bang, booting six goals as the Falcons’ spearhead. Bottom-age jets Oliver Henry and Tanner Bruhn also contributed two majors each, while Dandenong’s Lachlan Williams (three goals) was his side’s most potent mover. Another 19-year-old, Will Lewis led all comers with 24 disposals, followed by Geelong captain Jesse Clark on 23. The likes of Hayden Young and Cody Weightman ran out for Dandenong, but could do little to thwart the Falcons’ emerging talents from taking hold.

The final game of the 2019 regular season saw the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels down Murray by 15 points in a relatively low-scoring affair, with neither side able to take full advantage of their opportunities. It mattered little in the end for the Rebels, who produced a greater wealth of chances throughout the day, while the Bushrangers could only manage a goal per the first three terms.

Glenelg recruit Mitch Martin snagged a game-high three goals from 17 disposals as the only multiple goalkicker afield, showcasing all of his individual quality. Fellow Rebel Cooper Craig-Peters led all comers with 24 disposals, while Jye Chalcraft (22 disposals) and Cam Wild (21) fared best for the Bushies. Draftees Jay Rantall and Lachlan Ash were kept to 20 and 19 touches respectively, while a bunch of Under 16 talent shone through for both sides.

Classic Contests: Mozzie’s last minute magic guarantees draw

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 14 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Gippsland Power and Northern Knights. In this edition, we wind the clock back to 2018, when Gippsland Power hosted Northern Knights in Morwell, and by the end of four quarters, neither side could be split.

2018 TAC Cup, Round 4
Saturday April 21, 1:00pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve

GIPPSLAND POWER 1.8 | 2.3 | 6.5 | 10.6 (66)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.1 | 5.4 | 7.4 | 10.6 (66)

GOALS:

Gippsland: I. Mosquito 4, J. Smith 2, R. Baldi, M. McGannon, A. Young, T. Hayes.
Northern:
S. Brazier 4, K. Agosta 2, J. D’Intinosante, B. Gillard, R. Sturgess, R. Bowkett.

BEST:

Gippsland: I. Mosquito, K. Reid, R. Sparkes, J. van der Pligt, B. Smith, M. McGannon
Northern:
B. Gillard, R. Sturgess, L. Potter, S. Brazier, T. Hallebone, R. Gardner

Draftees in action:

Gippsland: Irving Mosquito, Brock Smith, Fraser Phillips, Leo Connolly, Noah Gown
Northern:
Sam Philp

An early season clash out at Morwell saw Gippsland Power take on Northern Knights in Round 4 of the 2018 TAC Cup season. The Power had a host of talented bottom-agers who were already starring for the side, and had started the season with a 2-1 record to sit third on the table. They went in as strong favourites at home against a hardened Knights outfit that was one win from three games, sitting eighth on the table.

The early going belonged to Northern Knights as skipper, Braedyn Gillard booted the opener just two minutes into the game, and then Kye Agosta added another six minutes later to put his side up by 10. The lively Irving Mosquito would kick the first of four goals in the game late in the term, giving his team some confidence going into the second quarter.

Once again though, Northern had the upper hand in the next term, booting three of the four goals and racing out to a 19-point advantage by half-time. Josh D’Intinosante and Ryan Sturgess were both having big games, while Josh Smith was looking strong in attack for the Power. Trailing at half-time, Gippsland burst out of the blocks in the second half with Riley Baldi, Matt McGannon and Mosquito booting consecutive goals. The latter of the trio levelled the scorers momentarily until back-to-back goals from Sunny Brazier handed the visitors a 12-point buffer with five minutes remaining.

With only a couple of minutes left in the term, Mosquito found the goals yet again, and not for the last time in the game, would have a say deep in red time. At the final break, the home team’s deficit was a measly five points. The first goal in the final quarter would be crucial and up stepped Brazier to match Mosquito’s trio of goals, giving his team an 11-point advantage. That would not last long however, with Tyrone Hayes scoring, then Smith putting his team in front and Alex Young adding some extra incentive. After a few misses from Northern, the goal hurt as the Power led by five.

Agosta came to the rescue midway through the term with a goal, and soon Brazier popped up for his fourth, and the Knights trailed by seven points with 11 and a half minutes remaining. The last 10 minutes were tension-filled as both sides tried to get the upper hand, but the Power kept attacking and when they scored a crucial behind, the deficit was just six points and everyone knew what could be on the cards.

It looked for ages like the Knights would hold on and score a terrific away victory, but in the dying moments with just 22 seconds left on the clock, that man Mosquito popped up and found a way with a terrific effort in the pocket to drill it home and create something out of nothing for his time. The scores were level, and with no time on, the siren sounded not long after to signal a draw and the teams would split the points.

Mosquito was named best-on for the Power thanks to his crucial four-goal outing which accompanied 15 disposals, five marks, nine inside 50s and five tackles, while Kyle Reid was instrumental down back clunking nine marks and seven rebounds from 20 disposals. Ryan Sparkes (28 disposals, six marks and three tackles), Jake Van Der Plight (27 disposals, seven marks and 11 tackles), Brock Smith (14 disposals, three marks and nine tackles) and McGannon (18 disposals, four marks, 10 tackles and a goal) were the other bests for Gippsland. Of future draftees, bottom-agers Fraser Phillips (15 disposals, one mark and three behinds) and Leo Connolly (14 disposals, five marks) both impressed, while top-age key forward Noah Gown worked hard for 14 disposals, four marks and four tackles.

Gillard led the way for the Knights, picking up 25 disposals, five marks, eight clearances, four inside 50s and a goal. Sturgess had a massive day out racking up 29 disposals, 10 marks and four rebounds, as well as capitalising with a goal. Harrison Grace (21 disposals) and future Blue, Sam Philp (21) both had big days out, whilst Brazier booted four goals from 18 touches and seven marks. Stefan Uzelac had seven rebounds with 19 touches and eight marks.

Gippsland Power would finish the season in second, reaching a preliminary final before bowing out at the hands of Oakleigh Chargers to the tune of 93 points, while Northern Knights finished eighth but lost to Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels in a Wildcard Round clash.

NAB League Boys 2019 Throwback: Round 8 – Three games decided by under a goal

ROUND 8 of the 2019 NAB League delivered a truly mixed bag of results, with three games decided by less that a goal, two by over 50 points, and one fixture proving an inbetweener. Dandenong survived a scare to remain undefeated, while Gippsland fared well enough to bridge the gap to first to just two points. Two of the next three best Victorian sides – Sandringham and Western – also secured wins to remain in the top three hunt.

Northern and Oakleigh were up first though on neutral territory, battling it out at Shepley Oval in Dandenong. In a low-scoring affair, the undermanned Chargers broke back ahead at the ideal time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. A shrewd change of position for Oakleigh co-captain Dylan Williams changed the game, with his two final term goals sealing a six-point victory.

His fellow skipper, Trent Bianco had an indifferent outing with 17 disposals (but 10 tackles and four rebounds), while a couple of bottom-age Chargers thrived. Fraser Elliot gathered a game-high 28 touches as well as six clearances, while Lochlan Jenkins managed 22 and eight as the pair combined through midfield.

For Northern, Sam Philp also managed 28 disposals, five marks, four tackles, four inside 50s, nine clearances and a goal, while Ryan Sturgess (19 disposals, three marks and 10 rebounds) in a strong defensive effort. Jackson Davies and Lachlan Potter both had 17 disposals and five rebounds in the defeat.

All the way up in Echuca, an inaccurate Sandringham Dragons outfit scraped home against an unlucky and dead-eye Bendigo Pioneers team. Despite having 14 more scoring shots, the Dragons struggled to find the big sticks, booting 10.18 (78) on the border up against the Pioneers’ 12.2 (74).

Future Saint and Dragons captain, Ryan Byrnes had a day out with 31 disposals (15 contested), three marks, seven tackles, eight clearances, five inside 50s and a goal, while Angus Hanrahan found plenty of the ball in the win with 26 disposals, six marks, four clearances and three inside 50s. Miles Bergman was also strong wiht 19 touches, five marks, nine tackles, four clearances, six inside 50s and a goal.

For the Pioneers, Riley Wilson had 23 disposals, six marks, six tackles, five clearances and six rebounds, while Aaron Gundry worked hard for 22 hitouts from 13 disposals, and Jack Hickman worked hard through the middle thanks to 18 touches and four clearances.

Crossing the Bass Strait to the Apple Isle, Tasmania Devils fell short against a red-hot Dandenong Stingrays outfit. The Stingrays were up at each break, but never into double-figures, eventually winning 9.6 (60) to 8.8 (56).

The onball brigade of Bailey Schmidt (14 disposals, 42 hitouts and five clearances), Reece Orchard (24 disposals, seven clearances and eight inside 50s) and Mitch Riordan (23 disposals, five clearances and five inside 50s) ran rampant for the Stingrays. Also impressive were bottom-age talents, Clayton Gay (15 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and three goals) and Henry Berenger (16 disposals, seven marks and six rebounds).

Devils’ bottom-ager Oliver Davis was best-on for the home side, amassing 33 disposals (18 contested), seven marks, three tackles, five clearances and inside 50s in the tight loss. Ethan Jackson (24 disposals, eight tackles, seven clearances and five inside 50s) was impressive as were Sam Collins (23 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and four rebounds) and Matt McGuinness (21 disposals, eight marks, five rebounds and a goal).

Western Jets held Geelong Falcons to just two goals in a 28-point win on the road, one of which came in the last term. The Jets comfortably looked good after a slow first term, piling on four goals in the second to blow out the lead and keep their opponent to just a single-digit score. In the end, they held off any sort of a comeback in the last despite a 1.5 last quarter from the Falcons to win 7.8 (50) to 2.10 (22)

Darcy Cassar suffered leather poisoning with 41 touches, 12 marks and eight rebounds out of defence to be best on ground. Meanwhile overager, Daly Andrews (31 touches, 10 marks, six clearances, three inside 50s and five rebounds) and Morrish Medallist, Lucas Rocci (28 disposals, 11 marks and seven rebounds) both dominated.

For the Falcons, Harry Stubbings led all-comers from his side with 27 disposals (15 contested), six marks, four tackles, seven clearances, five inside 50s and two rebounds. Charlie Harris (23 disposals, eight marks and four rebounds) and Keidan Rayner (22 disposals, six marks, six tackles, six clearances and five inside 50s) were others who stood out in a disappointing day for the wooden spooners.

Meanwhile Gippsland Power had no problems scoring during a 53-point win over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The Power dominated from the get-go with five goals to one in the opening term, and never looked back from there to run out 15.8 (98) to 6.9 (45) winners.

Brock Smith was a general in defence with 23 disposals, five marks and 11 rebounds, while Josh Smith dominated across the ground in his best game thanks to 22 disposals (16 contested), four marks, four tackles, 16 hitouts, 11 clearances and three goals. Sam Flanders and Fraser Phillips also booted a couple of goals each, combining for 47 touches, six marks and 10 inside 50s, while Riley Baldi had 29 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, seven clearances, four inside 50s and a goal in the win.

Jay Rantall was the biggest ball winner for the Rebels, amassing an impressive 30 touches (15 contested), as well as three tackles, six clearances, three inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal. Liam Herbert (21 disposals, seven marks and a goal) and Toby Mahony (16 disposals, five clearances and three inside 50s) were also productive.

Calder Cannons had no trouble producing a huge win up in Wangaratta for the final game of the round, defeating Murray Bushrangers by 50 points at Norm Minns Oval. The Cannons were only 18 points up at the half, but really went to town in the second half to run away with the contest, 18.9 (117) to 10.7 (67).

Daniel Mott had a game-high 29 disposals, four marks, six clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal, while Ned Gentile (24 touches, four marks, eight clearances, five inside 50s and two goals) was also very impressive. Captain, Brodie Newman picked up the 24 touches and seven rebounds, while in a rare showing, up the other end, Francis Evans booted three goals from 10 touches and six marks.

Cameron Wild was the clear standout for the Bushrangers with 27 disposals, seven marks, six clearances, four inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal, while Cameron Wilson booted a three goals from 16 touches and nine marks. Dylan Clarke (14 disposals, four marks, eight tackles and five clearances) worked hard in the midfield alongside Wild.

Eastern Ranges was the team that had the bye.

Classic Contests: Flanders’ first half magic fails to halt Chargers

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 7 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Gippsland Power and Oakleigh Chargers. In this edition, we wind back the clock only one year to 2019, when the two sides locked horns in a classic qualifying final at Ikon Park.

GIPPSLAND POWER 2.2 | 9.2 | 11.3 | 12.3 (75)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 5.1 | 5.3 | 9.7 | 12.11 (83)

NAB League Qualifying Final | Sunday September 1, 2019
Ikon Park, 1:30pm

Draftees in action:

Gippsland – Caleb Serong, Sam Flanders, Leo Connolly, Fraser Phillips, Harrison Pepper
Oakleigh – Nick Bryan, Trent Bianco, Noah Anderson, Matt Rowell

Both Gippsland and Oakleigh finished the NAB League regular season just one game adrift from top spot at 11-4, enough to see them earn a week’s rest come wildcard round. They would meet in the qualifying final, the last fixture of the competition’s first post-season weekend, and produce an instant classic full of momentum swings.

Oakleigh boasted the would-be first and second picks of the 2019 draft, but the Power had a greater number of draftees on the park in this bout led by Sam Flanders and Caleb Serong. The key absence of skipper Brock Smith would prove vital though, with a certain bottom-aged Oakleigh star having a big impact on the game.

The Chargers stormed out of the blocks with five goals to two in the opening term, spearheaded by in-form forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan at what proved to be the scoring end. Needing a spark at 23 points down in the first 15 minutes, the Power turned to Serong who provided a lift with his aggression from midfield.

But it was Trent Baldi who would have an even bigger say with his scoreboard impact, slamming home consecutive majors to keep Gippsland in touch. An opportunistic Reef McInnes goal late hurt the Power though, especially given they had kept Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell relatively quiet to that point. It would have to last.

The second period of play would belong to Flanders, who stole the show with one of the greatest 10-minute patches of elite junior football in history. Pushing forward, the dynamic first round draftee showed up his new Gold Coast teammates on the opposing side with four consecutive goals from over 10 touches to break the game open.

On a day where scoring was hard to come by, Flanders’ feats helped the Power pile on nine of the last 10 goals to claim a 23-point lead at the main break. The seven-goal term also went unanswered up the other end as the usually potent Oakleigh side would require a big lift come the second half with much of its bottom-age brigade standing up to that point.

Keeping with the ebb and flow of the contest, it was Oakleigh’s turn to get on top in the third stanza, but their four goals to two was not enough to reclaim the lead. But having created more clear-cut chances, the Chargers drew back to within single digits to give themselves a sniff heading into the final change, albeit if they had spurned a couple of chances to further cut the deficit.

Ugle-Hagan converted a third major early in the fourth quarter as the heavens opened, turning the game into an all-out slog. With goals hard to come by, Riley Baldi‘s major to push the margin out to over a kick looked a big one, but Oakleigh found avenues to the big sticks when they needed them as skipper Trent Bianco sunk a long bomb, and Nick Stathopoulos booted a screamer to seal the come-from-behind win.

Proving impossible to keep down, Rowell and Anderson led the disposal count among two others to lead the Oakleigh’s charge. Bottom-age jet Will Phillips also had 29 touches and added a goal for the winners, while Serong managed the same feat in a valiant effort for Gippsland. Flanders would finish with 27 disposals to go with his four second quarter goals, while St Kilda draftee Leo Connolly also hit the scoreboard from 23 touches.

Oakleigh’s bottom-age brigade proved somewhat of a difference aside from the heavyweight battle through midfield, with the likes of Finlay Macrae, Bailey Laurie, and Ugle-Hagan producing the goods early on. Under the leadership of Bianco (24 disposals, one goal), they proved they were not just there to simply fill the numbers.

The Chargers would go on to claim a dominant grand final win over Eastern after comfortably accounting for Sandringham in the preliminary final stage, while Gippsland were done-over by the Ranges at the same mark after overcoming Western in the semi-finals. With a wealth of draftees coming from either side, they were two of the premier clubs of the competition and stand to have a great impact come draft time in 2020 as well.

NAB League Boys 2019 Throwback: Round 5 – Dragons, Ranges humble Academies to go top

ROUND 5 of the 2019 NAB League season saw the Victorian mainstays peg back their Northern visitors in an action packed nine-game weekend. Sandringham and Eastern delivered big wins over the two Queensland academies at Trevor Barker Oval, while the Sydney Academy won strongly to remain undefeated alongside Dandenong (3-0-1).

But first to take the field were the Bendigo Pioneers and Northern Knights at Queen Elizabeth Oval, with the visitors taking four points back to Preston after trailing at every other break. After streaming ahead by 17 points at half-time with double the goal tally, the Pioneers ran out of legs to be held to just one major in the second half as the Knights snuck ahead to come away five-point victors.

As was a theme in Round 5, both sides were weakened but had some solid talent running around from each age bracket. Josh D’Intinosante and Sunny Brazier had plenty of the ball while also hitting the scoreboard, while Lachlan Potter created some zip on the outside. Top-age Pioneers James Schischka, Ben Worme, and Logan Fitzgerald all had 25 touches, while bottom-age jet Jack Ginnivan showed promise with 20 and a goal.

Sam Philp was the best ball winner of the 2019 draftees, earning 17 touches for Northern, while Swans recruit Brady Rowles had just 11 as he popped up in spurts. Ryan Sturgess, who almost joined Philp at the Blues as a supplementary top-up, was also impressive with 21 disposals and seven marks.

Saturday’s first game opened a Blacktown double-header as the Swans Academy accounted for Murray in a close encounter to move to equal-first. The Sydneysiders shot out of the blocks with five goals to nil to open the match, adding another four in the second term to lead by six goals at half time. Although they fared much better in the second half, the Bushrangers could not fully recover the deficit and went down by 24 points.

Sydney over-ager Kyle Martin led all comers with 29 disposals, just one touch ahead of Bushrangers runner Cam Wild (28, one goal). Dylan Clarke also led the way for Murray with 23 disposals, with Jye Chalcraft, Jimmy Boyer, and Sam Durham all also ticking over the 20-mark. Max Geddes (23 disposals) was also influential for the Swans, but it was big man Hamish Ellem who stole the show with 22 disposals, nine marks, and 3.3 in a performance which went a long way to securing him an Allies berth.

The GWS Academy was next up on its home turf against another Victorian country side in Gippsland, only it could not repeat the feats of its New South Wales rival. The GIANTS trailed at every break but brought the contest to the highly-fancied Power, getting within a single point at three-quarter time before falling by nine points.

Harry Grant had an outstanding game for GWS, booting two goals from his game-high 31 disposals, while Oakleigh squad member Jeromy Lucas had 24 touches and newly-transferred Northern Knight Liam Delahunty booted two goals. But a talent rich Gippsland unit was led well by Brock Smith (24 disposals, seven rebound 50s) and Hawthorn rookie Harrison Pepper (26 disposals, one goal), with Riley Baldi also stepping up through midfield. Draftees Kyle Dunkley, Leo Connolly, Fraser Phillips, and Charlie Comben were also in action for the Power.

Skipping back, and Dandenong extended its unbeaten start to the season with a huge win over Oakleigh on home turf. After a tight opener, the Stingrays played the conditions perfectly to pile on eight goals in the second term, and seven in the last to storm away 70-point victors with 11 individual goalkickers.

Lachlan Williams and Ned Cahill slotted three majors each for the winners, while bottom-ager Will Bravo slotted two and Richmond recruit Bigoa Nyuon managed one from 17 touches. Cahill was the leading disposal getter with 29, while Joe Ayton-Delaney, Lochlan Jenkins, and Trent Bianco all managed 24 for the Chargers. Port draftee Dylan Williams went goalless in a different role, while Gold Coast mid-season recruit Mitch Riordan had 15 touches and Melbourne rookie Austin Bradtke had just eight disposals and a goal.

Saturday’s other double-header began with Sandringham thumping the Brisbane Lions Academy by 97 points on home turf. The Lions had won just one game to that point, and were in for more immediate pain as the Dragons helped themselves to 13 first half goals while holding the visitors to one. There was no way back from there, with Sandringham coasting to victory.

Brisbane skipper Will Martyn was one of the sole Lions to stand up all day, collecting a game-high 31 touches while fellow Richmond draftee Noah Cumberland was kept to just nine. Louis Butler and Ryan Byrnes strutted their stuff for the Dragons to win plenty of the ball, while Miles Bergman started to get into his stride with 17 touches, Jack Bell impressed with two goals from the same disposal haul, and Blake O’Leary finished with a game-high three goals.

Eastern completed the academy rout with a defensively sound 59-point thumping of Gold Coast’s academy, keeping the SUNS to just two goals. After just three goals were scored in the first half, the Ranges clicked into gear to break the game open with seven in the third term and run home comfortable winners.

Zak Pretty had a monster day out with 37 disposals, aided well by Lachlan Stapleton (27) and Mitch Mellis (24), while bottom-age defenders Wil Parker and Josh Clarke also impressed. Bailey White led the goal count with four, while Jamieson Rossiter managed three and Cody Hirst played one of his last games before being snapped up by Sydney. Skipper Connor Budarick was the standout for Gold Coast, accumulating 27 touches, with bottom-ager Max Pescud also thereabouts, and fellow SUNS recruits Matt Conroy and Patrick Murtagh also taking the field.

Saturday’s final fixture saw Calder edge Geelong in a close battle at Highgate Recreation Reserve, with both sides enjoying time in the lead. The Cannons looked the goods after coming out on top in a low-scoring first half, but were pegged back to within a point at the final break. Keeping their heads, the hosts held on to win by seven points.

Sam Ramsay was the sole draftee afield, and he had a decent outing with 27 disposals – behind only Daniel Mott (29) and Brodie Newman (36). Ned Gentile booted three goals from 21 disposals to also be among the best, while skipper Jesse Clark claimed that honour for Geelong. Nineteen-year-old Charlie Sprague was another to impress with two goals from 18 touches, with fellow over-ager Henry Stubbings managing 20.

Fast-forward to Sunday, and Western got the better of Tasmania in their trip to the Apple Isle, trumping the hosts by 47 points to get within touch of the top four. A steady opening half saw Tasmania prove wasteful, booting 1.6 as Western eventually took flight to run home with six goals to two after half-time.

Competition leading goalkicker Archi Manton took full toll with a game-high three majors, supported well by Carlton rookie Josh Honey (two from 25 disposals) and bottom-age jet Eddie Ford (two from 16 disposals). Darcy Cassar racked it up across half back to finish with 31 disposals, while Patrick Walker and Bailey Gordon shared that feat for Tasmania (25). Isaac Chugg was also impressive on debut for a Devils side which was missing a lot of its star power.

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels took home a huge win in the round’s final match, defeating the Northern Territory Thunder Academy by 55 points on neutral territory. The Rebels never looked back after a 10 goals to one opening half at Windy Hill, which proved more than enough for the win despite a more even second half.

Nick Caris led the goal count with four for GWV, while Jay Rantall (27 disposals, two goals), Matty Lloyd (28, two), and Riley Polkinghorne (23, two) all had an impact. There was plenty of class on show for NT despite the loss too, with Beau O’Connell (29 disposals, two goals) having a day out, while Ben Jungfer had it 28 times, Joel Jeffrey had 24 touches and six marks, and new SUNS rookie Malcolm Rosas Jnr also got on the park.

Classic Contests: Flanders and Phillips star as Gippsland finds a way against Eastern

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 4 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Gippsland Power and Eastern Ranges. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2019 when the teams played out a see-sawing affair in Morwell as the Power held on for victory.

GIPPSLAND POWER 4.1 | 8.2 | 9.7 | 12.9 (81)
EASTERN RANGES 5.1 | 7.2 | 9.3 | 11.5 (71)

Round 6 | Sunday May 5, 2019
Morwell Recreation Reserve, 1pm

The pre and post-National Championships periods often see NAB League sides stacked to the brim with top-end draftable talent, and it was no different in last year’s Round 6 contest between Gippsland and Eastern at Morwell Recreation Reserve. The Ranges had shot out of the blue to make a 4-1 start to the season, but a meeting with the highly-fancied Power side awaited – on the road, no less – and would always prove a test of their true credentials. The Power were 3-1 having already notched up a bye, going down only to reigning premier, Dandenong to that point. Both sides came in off wins over Northern Academies, with Gippsland scraping over the line against GWS, while Eastern comfortably accounted for Gold Coast.

Five eventual AFL draftees lined up for the hosts, as Sam Flanders, Brock Smith, Fraser Phillips, Charlie Comben, and Harrison Pepper formed a formidable spine, with 2020 top-ager Zach Reid only consolidating it at full back. While the 2019 Ranges squad only produced one mid-season draftee (Cody Hirst), there were a bunch of notable players in the line-up. 2020 over-ager Jamieson Rossiter slotted in at centre half-forward, with top-aged Academy members Connor Downie and Joshua Clarke also on the team sheet. 2019 Vic Metro representatives Lachlan Stapleton, Mitch Mellis, and James Ross made for reliable operators all year, and would certainly have their hands full against quality opposition in this fixture as leaders of the group.

A high-scoring opening term set the stage for an action-packed clash, with both sides shooting sharply in front of goal to register a combined 9.2. It was the Ranges who found their way on top though thanks to their superior five-goal effort, hitting back at each of the Power’s advances and gaining the ascendancy late as Bailey White cancelled out Flanders’ equalising goal. But with the advantageous end, Gippsland began to have their say with a four-goal to two second stanza – all while both sides maintained remarkably accuracy. In an end-to-end final five minutes of the half, Phillips and Riley Baldi put the Power two goals ahead, before White’s second goal brought the margin back to single digits.

It was again Eastern’s turn to shift the tide and the Ranges somewhat managed to do so with two goals to one in the third term as the contest tightened up. Harvey Neocleous’ third-minute major did little to stop Eastern from hitting back with six-pointers as the Power began to stray in front of goal. With the lead cut to four points heading into the final change, a grandstand finish awaited. Ben Hickleton immediately put the pressure on the Power as he goaled with two minutes on the clock in the final term, putting the Ranges in front before Billy McCormack extended the buffer to eight points. But the cream rises to the top, especially in the clutch, as Flanders and Comben goaled to reinstate Gippsland’s ascendancy. Tom Fitzpatrick’s major with a tick over six minutes left meant the Ranges required two goals to win, but they could only managed a single behind as the hosts held on for victory.

Eastern’s ball magnets stood up in the engine room despite the losing effort, with Stapleton (28 disposals, nine tackles, six inside 50s) and Zak Pretty (28 disposals, six inside 50s) leading all comers, while Mellis found it 21 times. White and Hickleton were the main culprits in front of goal, each bagging three majors while McCormack managed two as the only other Eastern multiple goalkicker. 2020 top-agers Downie (10 disposals) and Clarke (13) had steady games, with Rossiter able to claim one major from his eight disposals.

For the stacked Gippsland side, Flanders led the way with two goals from his 25 disposals and five inside 50s from midfield, trailing only Phillips (20 disposals, seven marks, three goals) in terms of scoreboard impact. Skipper Smith racked up a team-high 27 touches from defence, while Riley Baldi (26 disposals, one goal) and Ryan Sparkes (21 disposals) were others to stand out. The remaining two draftees, Pepper and Comben, managed 18 and 14 touches respectively, with bigman Comben also notching six marks and a goal.

The two sides would meet just once more in 2019, with Eastern getting the chocolates in their preliminary final tie to the tune of 30 points. The Ranges, who also ended up minor premiers, fell short of a rampant Oakleigh side in the grand final, while Gippsland bowed out at that preliminary final stage after finishing one game adrift in second.

Classic Contests: Gippsland powers home in strong last term against Pios

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 3 clashes in the NAB League this year between Bendigo Pioneers and Gippsland Power. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2019, which was the team’s most recent meeting that pulled out a classic in the final round of the year.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 3.3 | 5.5 | 6.9 | 9.9 (63)
GIPPSLAND POWER 1.2 | 5.4 | 6.8 | 10.13 (73)

Round 17 | Sunday, August 18
Queen Elizabeth Oval, 10am

It was a day that promised so much in terms of the weather, and then provided what Victorians have come to expect as “Melbourne weather” – in the Country. A triple header at Queen Elizabeth Oval saw spectators greeted by sunshine, but a few hours later pounded by pouring rain with the sun teasing those who had stuck around, in the final quarter of the day. The first game was between one of the premiership contenders in Gippsland Power, and a side that had been competitive throughout the year despite amassing just the five wins in Bendigo Pioneers – not indicative of how good they had been. Gippsland had to win to ensure the Power took top spot, with a loss relegating themselves to third after Oakleigh Chargers had downed Sandringham Dragons the day before. For Bendigo, they could have finished 10th on the table, regardless of the last game of the day’s result between Murray Bushrangers and Greater Western Victoria Rebels, with Bendigo having a higher percentage than both sides.

Bendigo showed it would be up for the fight with top prospect, Thomson Dow booting a goal early and Seamus Mitchell and Riley Wilson converting first term majors. Riley Baldi ensured his side would get on the board in the opening stanza, but the Power still trailed by 13 points at the break. When Wilson booted his second just 90 seconds into the next term, the Pioneers led by 19 points and the home team was up and a bout. It would not last long however, as Sam Flanders and Ryan Sparkes both kicked majors within three minutes of the Pioneers’ goal to drag the margin back to seven points. Jack Ginnivan kicked a steadier midway through the term, but that was countered by Baldi’s second and a late goal to future Roo, Charlie Comben.

Now holding just a one-point lead at the break, Bendigo needed to maintain the pressure against a side that was capable of scoring in quick succession. For the first 12 minutes, neither side could buy a goal as the Pioneers booted 0.4 to the Power’s 0.3 in what was a case of missed opportunities up either end. Future Carlton draftee, Fraser Phillips broke the 20-minute drought with a major in the 17th minute of the third term to give his side a four-point lead. Comben then added a behind to make it five, but bottom-age tall Josh Treacy came to the rescue and converted a huge goal with a few minutes remaining in the term to secure a one-point lead for the home team. The final term was one of two halves as Ginnivan booted a second goal three minutes into the term, and then Mitchell added another one to his name. Midway through the term, the Pioneers led by 12 and it seemed another goal or two might have been enough. Sensing the importance of a major, Mason McGarrity popped up to kick a vital one for the Power, and then defender Tye Hourigan found himself in the most unique circumstances, thrown forward and taking a crucial mark deep inside 50. He converted a huge goal with nine minutes remaining to put his side in front.

After Zach Reid had won the game against Dandenong Stingrays at a wet Shepley Oval, it seemed another defender had come through at the right time. But Noah Walsh had other ideas, with the Pioneer kicking a goal with three and a half minutes on the clock. Just when it looked like there might be the final twist, McGarrity found another one with a goal in the final two minutes and the Power were back up by three points. Phillips missed the chance to ice the game in the final minute and the Pioneers rushed it down to try and win it all, but it was well rebounded by the Power and a mark to Phillips in the last few seconds handed him another chance at goal. This time he converted it – after the siren – to provide the Power with a thrilling 10-point win and second spot on the NAB League Boys ladder.

Riley Baldi finished with a team-high 27 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s, two rebounds and two goals, while Phillips had 19 touches, four marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and a couple of goals. Hourigan was instrumental across the ground with a massive 11 marks to accompany 20 disposals, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while future Saint, Leo Connolly helped himself to 22 disposals, seven marks, three clearances and five rebounds. Other future AFL draftees for the Power included Flanders (14 disposals, three marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and a goal), Comben (12 disposals, three marks, 13 hitouts and a goal), Brock Smith (14 disposals, five rebounds) and Harrison Pepper (six disposals, two rebounds).

For the Pioneers, Riley Ironside had the most touches with 26, as well as six marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and five rebounds, while Dow had 24 disposals, six marks, two clearances, two rebounds and a goal working hard on the inside. Ben Worme (21 disposals, seven marks, four tackles, four clearances, six inside 50s and four rebounds), Wilson (21 disposals, three marks, 10 tackles and two goals) and Walsh (21 disposals, four marks, four tackles and a goal) all found plenty of the ball. Future Swan, Rowles was among the best with 15 disposals and five rebounds, while bottom-age talents Sam Conforti (19 disposals, four clearances and three inside 50s), Ginnivan (17 disposals, three marks, four tackles, four clearances and two goals) and Mitchell (12 disposals, four inside 50s and two goals) were also impressive.

Gippsland Power went on to reach the preliminary finals before bowing out to Eastern Ranges, while Bendigo Pioneers lost to Northern Knights the following round at Preston City Oval in Wildcard Round.

2019 AFL Draft Preview: Western Bulldogs

WESTERN Bulldogs are coming off a much-needed finals series after a premiership three years ago where since that memorable day in 2016, the Dogs have not been able to maintain the rage. Showing some promising signs in the second half of 2019, the Western Bulldogs filled holes at either end of the ground by bringing in Alex Keath and Josh Bruce to fill key defensive posts, with perhaps one more needed in the defensive 50 to sure it up. They could also consider a small forward or outside player with some speed and skill to complement their exciting young list which is building towards something special.

CURRENT PICKS: 13, 53, 89, 107, 125.

NEXT GEN ACADEMY/FATHER-SONS – COMBINE INVITES: Nil.

LIST NEEDS:

Small forward with speed and skill
Tall Defender
Midfield depth

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:

The Dogs enter the draft at pick 13 which means there should still be plenty of talent on the board. They would consider Sandringham Dragons talls, Fischer McAsey and Josh Worrell, the latter of whom should at least be on the board then. Luke Jackson could have teamed up with fellow West Australian Tim English in the ruck over the next decade to be the most exciting ruck partnership but he will most certainly be gone by the time Pick 13 rolls around given Melbourne’s intent to take him. In terms of their smaller options, Cody Weightman might be a consideration, as would Miles Bergman and Kysaiah Pickett, two of whom should be there at Pick 13 – depending on what Melbourne does – or perhaps a bid on Liam Henry if one has not already been placed.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

Potentially they could trade down on draft night if the talls are gone and pick up a couple of players to fill needs. There are a few clubs who might be able to work something out, but Geelong with picks 17 and 24 will probably be the closest to what the Dogs would want, though the Cats are more keen to move further up using pick 14 packaged with 17. Realistically they will stay where they are, take a top talent with 13 and then see what is available at 53, or split that pick for a couple of picks marginally down the order.

REMAINING CROP:

By the time pick 53 rolls around it will be hard for anyone to predict what might be on the board. In terms of talls, Emerson Jeka is a possibility, as is Callum Jamieson, both of whom could be long-term key prospects. They might look at more mature-age talent like Williamstown’s Joel Ottavi or giving former Eagle, Luke Partington a lifeline. If Ned Cahill was still on the board – which is unlikely – the Dogs would pounce, or they might eye of the likes of Jai Jackson or Riley Baldi who can hit the scoreboard and apply pressure to the opposition. If the Bulldogs opt for slightly taller forward options, South Australian duo Callum Park and Josh Morris, Western Jets’ mid/forward Josh Honey and Dandenong Stingrays’ utility Lachlan Williams might be considerations. More mature-age prospects are Sam Lowson and Jake Riccardi for a medium and taller option respectively.

2019 AFL Draft Preview: GWS GIANTS

GWS GIANTS do not need to do too much or address gaping holes in their list given the current group brought them to a grand final and have been thereabouts for a number of years now. They will add elite talent Tom Green to the list with the first pick, as well as another top five player after trading Pick 6 up to Pick 4. Liam Delahunty is another player they would consider adding later on in the draft – though with the recent live trade, any bid that comes in before picks worth zero points they cannot match. General depth and perhaps an additional ruck for long-term development might be a good option to pair with Kieren Briggs given Shane Mumford has a year left and Dawson Simpson has retired.

CURRENT PICKS: 4, 40, 59, 60, 80, 94

NOMINATED ACADEMY/FATHER-SONS: Tom Green, Liam Delahunty

LIST NEEDS:

Inside midfielder
Ruck
General depth

FIRST PICK OPTIONS:

After pulling the trigger to leapfrog the Crows and Swans, GWS is set to be able to add two elite talents in this year’s draft thanks to securing Pick 4. With Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson off the board, it means Melbourne will likely pick between Luke Jackson and Hayden Young. The GIANTS should opt for the other with the selection though the likes of Lachlan Ash, Sam Flanders and Caleb Serong are also around the mark, meaning there are plenty of options available to them.

LIVE TRADE OPTIONS:

The GIANTS are pretty hamstrung when it comes to live trading having already traded Pick 6 and next year’s first rounder for Pick 4. Rules state they cannot trade next year’s picks because the first rounder is gone, so the only option is downtrading Pick 40 before the Green bid to try and reduce the deficit. Regardless there will be a deficit and the GIANTS will have to manage it carefully next year.

REMAINING CROP:

It is no surprise that the obvious name here is Green. The sublime pure inside midfielder could be a walk-up starter in Round 1 next year given his readymade ability and frame that would match it with most AFL midfielders. At 190cm, Green has the height as well as the size to play inside from early on and the GIANTS will not think twice about matching him. The Swans are the most likely to place a bid on Green at Pick 5, with that to remove all the picks from this draft and go into heavy deficit next draft. The GIANTS must select at least three players in the 2019 edition, so pick 80 will still be live given it is worth zero points. It will be tough to work out who might be there for that selection, but perhaps there could be someone like a Riley Baldi or Callum Jamieson if he slid that far. They will likely have to look at mature-age prospects and perhaps picking up Canberra Demons’ Angus Baker – who has had quite a bit of interest – as someone who can come straight into the side.

NAB League Boys team review: Gippsland Power

AS the NAB League grand final approaches, we take a look at the sides that are no longer in contention for the title; checking out their draft prospects, Best and Fairest (BnF) chances, 2020 Draft Crop and a final word on their season. The next side we look at is the Gippsland Power.

Position: 2nd
Wins: 11
Losses: 4
Draws: 0

Points For: 1091 (Ranked #4)
Points Against: 856 (Ranked #3)
Percentage: 122.90
Points: 44

Top draft prospects:

Caleb Serong

The hard-nosed and aggressive ball winner was outstanding in each of his five NAB League outings spilt at either end of the season, while also performing for Geelong Grammar and Vic Country in a high quality year of football. Serong is competitive and his standards are high, helping him get the best out of himself in his time at the Power. He could well be the third player taken after Oakleigh’s two stars, offering goals up forward or a reliable midfield asset to whichever club he ends up at.

Sam Flanders

Flanders’ stocks have risen on the back of a massive finals campaign where he proved he can take big games by the scruff of the neck and make them his own. His combination of inside work and forward prowess makes him a rare prospect, and one who is now pushing the likes of Serong to feature among the top five picks. Explosive yet clean, Flanders has lived up to all expectations coming into the year and has definitely added to the high-flying forward profile he built in his bottom-age season.

Others in the mix:

The leading Country side this year in terms of draftable talent, Gippsland should have a good number of players taken throughout each round. Tall forward/ruck Charlie Comben has shown great improvement to thrown his name in the hat, with skipper Brock Smith a consistent figure throughout the year who missed the back end due to injury, and Riley Baldi is another mainstay who proved his worth. Fraser Phillips is a dynamic forward with huge upside who should also be in the mix alongside classy outside movers Leo Connolly and Ryan Sparkes. The form of Hawthorn NGA prospect Harrison Pepper will give the Hawks something to think about come November, too.

BnF chances:

Flanders’ impact on each game he played will put him right up there despite playing less games than others, while the likes of Connolly, Tye Hourigan, Sam Berry and the Baldi brothers enjoyed consistent patches throughout the middle of the year to give them good chances of getting up.

2020 Draft Crop:

While the class of 2019 has been incredibly strong, the Power has been able to blood a good number of bottom-agers this year which bodes well for sustained form in 2020. Midfield bull Berry and exciting forward/wingman Ryan Angwin lead the charge at this stage, with versatile tall Zach Reid another with plenty of promise. The likes of Will Papley, Tom Fitzpatrick and Tyran Rees saw plenty of action in their bottom-age years too, so should feature heavily again next time around.

Final word:

Gippsland Power will be disappointed they ultimately fell one win short of the decider again, but still had plenty to enjoy this season with a number of draft prospects stepping up and having most of the Vic Country squad this year. The Power were the only Country side in the top seven teams, and they still have some bottom-age talents who will look to take the next step up in 2020. Expect another strong season next year with some important roles filled already based on their form this year.