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NAB League Boys team review: Bendigo Pioneers

AS the NAB League season finals approach, 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 Bendigo Pioneers.

Position: 11th
Wins: 5
Losses: 10
Draws: 0

Points For: 962 (Ranked #8)
Points Against: 956 (Ranked #4)
Percentage: 101
Points: 20

Top draft prospects:

Brodie Kemp

The standout Pioneers prospect really staked his claim as a potential top 10 talent with his AFL Under-18 Championships performances for Vic Country. He booted the clutch goal to win Country the game against South Australia, and then almost did it again in Country’s tight loss to Western Australia – with more playing out after his important goal. Unfortunately Kemp was ruled out for the year following his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury late in the year for school football, but he did more than enough to suggest he will not drift much, and should be a locked and loaded first round choice.

Thomson Dow

Had his ups and downs at times, but the brother of Paddy showed he has some real draftable qualities with his traits and ability to look smooth through traffic. He spent time resting forward and would hit the scoreboard which was important, and can go back and help out the defence as well. While his brother was a top five prospect, Dow is one who is potentially in that second round, though could land later in the first if a club wants to pounce early. He has great upside and is more of a longer term prospect by the time he hits his peak.

Other in the mix:

Bendigo has had a number of players put their hand up to be drafted on the back of a strong season in terms of game-by-game performances. Along with the two above, Brady Rowles has surely done enough this year to earn a place on an AFL list after his impressive work in the back half, while Flynn Perez – despite being injured the entire year – has always caught the eye of scouts with his class and upside. Outside the quartet, Ben Worme, Aaron Gundry and James Schischka all received combine invites and have attracted interest from clubs.

BnF chances:

There are a few names who put their hand up for the BnF, with bottom-age midfielder and former Vic Country Under-16 captain Sam Conforti leading the way. He was consistent throughout the season and has to be a good shout, while Schischka was another who played all year after not cracking into the Vic Country side despite being named on the list. Gundry, Riley Ironside, Riley Wilson and Josh Treacy also all produced consistent years and played at least 15 games, so expect the count to be tight with plenty of players deserving of the nod.

2020 Draft Crop:

Looking to next year and the likes of Treacy and Conforti are a couple of players who standout front-of-mind. Treacy is the bigger-bodied key forward who can pinch hit in the ruck and will be a leading candidate for the overall goalkicking next season, while Conforti has been tracking nicely in midfield. The real dark horse who based on his last month or two could be the first Pioneer selected next year is Jack Ginnivan, the forward who has midfielder traits and showed he can spend stints in there. There is not much of him in terms of size, but he has that eye-catching class that will standout in the competition. Add in Seamus Mitchell and Jack Hickman – who both played Under-17 Futures – and the Pioneers have a number of names to watch next year.

Final word:

On face value, the Pioneers finished third last and it is easy to write that off as a bad season. But in no way, shape or form was this season a disappointment, other than the fact they blew a few chances for more wins. This was the best Bendigo side we have seen in seven years purely for its depth and consistency for the entire year. They conceded the fourth least points of any side and still managed to score, ranked in the top eight with a massive percentage of 101. Sure they lost in Wildcard Round and on paper they finished eleventh, but Steve Sharp and the whole Pioneers organisation should be thrilled for what they produced which was a strong, competitive outfit all year round.

NAB League Boys weekend preview: Wildcard Round

IT is a big round of NAB League boys action this weekend, with the Wildcard Round getting underway at Preston, Craigieburn and Box Hill across two big days. There is no turning back for the losers, so for five teams, it is curtains on season 2019, while five others live to fight another day.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS vs. GEELONG FALCONS
Saturday August 24, 11.45am
Preston City Oval

There was always going to be one of the highly-rated top four sides drop out of the automatic finals qualification places and in this case it was Sandringham who finished fifth and face a Wildcard Round elimination final. They meet 2019 Wooden Spooners, Geelong Falcons in the repeat of the 2017 TAC Cup Grand Final. Geelong has had its most disappointing year for some time on wins alone, but outside the win-loss ratio, the Falcons are a much better side than meets the eye. Their last quarter fadeouts have cost them on a number of occasions and the majority of their developing talent are bottom-agers. Not to dissimilar to Eastern Ranges this year, the core of the Geelong midfield will still have a year to go in the system and should be better heading into next year. Coupled with the bottom-agers is overager Charlie Sprague who has been on a goal-scoring spree over the past five rounds, piling on 18 goals in that time – including six last round against Dandenong Stingrays. He comes up against an in-form Corey Watts who, along with the likes of Jackson Voss and forward-turned-defender Charlie Dean will not make it easy for Sprague. Oliver Henry and Charlie Lazzaro provide strong support for Sprague inside 50, with Lazzaro rotating with Tanner Bruhn and Noah Gribble through the midfield. Sandringham’s midfield is star-studded and will take full advantage of their greater experience, with Darcy Chirgwin, Finn Maginness and Ryan Byrnes in the top three midfields of the competition. If the midfield gets on top, then the forwards of Fischer McAsey and Kyle Yorke could have a field day, especially with Miles Bergman, Hugo Ralphsmith and Jake Bowey named in the forward line and who are all capable of picking up midfield minutes. Jesse Clark looms as Geelong’s most important player to try and halt the Sandringham attack, while Cameron Fleeton returns to provide the Falcons with some more stability back there. It is hard to see Sandringham losing this clash, but Geelong played its best game of the season last week, so if they can build on that and start strongly, anything is possible.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS vs. BENDIGO PIONEERS
Saturday August 24, 2.15pm
Preston City Oval

In the second game of a double-header at Preston City Oval, the Knights host the Pioneers. The Knights are coming off an impressive win over Western Jets in the final round after starting slowly, while the Pioneers started strongly, and had their chances but just went down to Gippsland Power by 10 points on Sunday. The Knights midfield has the upperhand in this game with Northern trio Adam Carafa, Sam Philp and Josh Watson all in good form, while Josh D’Intinosante looms as a key for Northern up forward with 26 goals to his name this season – second over all on the goalkicking charts. James Schischka might be the man to try and stop him, while William Wallace and Riley Ironside have played good defensive roles in the back 50 of late. Brady Rowles was impressive last week and will provide good rebound, while Sam Conforti, Thomson Dow and Riley Wilson can win the pill and hit the scoreboard. Josh Treacy is strong enough to worry opposition key defenders, with Ryan Sturgess and Jackson Davies the two who will likely play a big role in the defence for the home side. Aaron Gundry has been in good form this season, as has Jack Ginnivan and Ben Worme with the former able to kick multiple goals in a game, while Worme can push up the ground and rotate through the middle. Nikolas Cox and Ryan Gardner are another couple of players that must be contained or Bendigo risk conceding a big score, but they will be relieved that Lachlan Potter will miss the season as his run and carry can break games open. Northern go in as favourites at home, but Bendigo beat the Knights at this venue earlier in the season so will be confident they can repeat the dose here.

CALDER CANNONS vs. TASMANIA DEVILS
Sunday, August 25, 11am
RAMS Arena

In the standalone game at RAMS Arena, Calder host a somewhat depleted Tasmania side in what on paper should favour the fifth placed home side. With Mitch O’Neill already out and the likes of Sam Collins and Oliver Davis missing it means three of their top players will be unavailable for the knockout clash. Jared Dakin has returned to provide some vital leadership, while Matt McGuinness, Patrick Walker and Liam Viney provide good rebound off the back 50. With Harrison Jones, Jake Sutton and Jackson Cardillo inside the forward arc, the Cannons front six will be hard to contain, but the Devils’ forward line is capable of providing impressive contested marking with Jackson Callow and Jake Steele named in the key position spots. Steele can also play in defence if the Devils start to get overwhelmed on the scoreboard, while Sam Banks and Will Peppin are future prospects who have shown great signs. The Calder midfield of Daniel Mott, Sam Ramsay and Ned Gentile should take control of the game given their experience, and if they get first use to their forwards nice and quickly, then the Cannons could put up a big score. Tasmania must remain composed and use the ball well to take advantage of their contested marking talls in the forward line if they are to cause an upset in this game.

WESTERN JETS vs. GWV REBELS
Sunday August 25, 11.45am
Box Hill City Oval

Down the Eastern Freeway, Western Jets cross the West Gate to play the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels at Box Hill. Western’s defence has won it games in the past, with Lucas Rocci, Darcy Cassar, Cody Raak and Josh Kellett a formidable combination, while Emerson Jeka can play there as well. Jeka has been named in attack, no doubt to stretch the Rebels’ defence with the tall utility likely to cause headaches for undersized defenders. Also in attack is competition leading goalscorer Archi Manton, but the Jets have struggled to kick big scorers on a consistent basis, so quick ball movement forward is key, as the likes of Josh Honey and Eddie Ford can run and hit the scoreboard. The Rebels are more than comfortable in a shootout situation, but showed last week they can win in a slog as well, which will be great preparation for this match. Jay Rantall, Mitch Martin and Cooper Craig-Peters is an underrated midfield and capable of producing quick clearances, while Josh Rentsch is already showing signs as a top-end key forward despite being two years away from being drafted. Riley Polkinghonre and Jack Tillig have been consistent players up either end this season, while Toby Mahony adds a touch of class, and Ben Hobbs is a 2021 draft prospect with a high ceiling. The Jets have overage experience in Aaron Clarke and Daly Andrews on their side, while Will Kennedy has been phenomenal in the ruck. He meets Patrick Glanford who averages the second most hitouts behind Kennedy, while James Cleaver and Matty Lloyd have also remained in the team this season as overagers, playing roles up opposite ends of the ground.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS vs. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Sunday August 25, 2.15pm
Box Hill City Oval

In what could be the match of the round, eighth placed Dandenong Stingrays take on ninth placed Murray Bushrangers in the second game at Box Hill. The Stingrays head into the game on an eight-game losing streak after sitting at a remarkable six wins and a draw from seven games. They have improved the past month, but were overwhelmed by the last placed Falcons in the wet at Bendigo last weekend. With elimination on the line for the reigning premiers, they must pick up if they are to overcome Murray in this match. The Bushrangers were starting to get back to their best before slipping and sliding – literally and figuratively – to a hungry GWV Rebels side in the previous round. The Stingrays still have plenty of match winners with Hayden Young, Ned Cahill and Cody Weightman in the side, and after spending time in the midfield, have been named back in their most dominant positions of half-back and the latter two, half-forward. Lachlan Williams has consistency to build, but as he showed from his three-goal last quarter in Round 17, can pop up and turn a game if it is tight. Murray is usually a strong defensive side, with Liam Fiore and Ethan Baxter able to nullify their direct opponents, as Charlie Byrne and Zavier Maher provide the run and carry out of defence. Sam Durham, Jye Chalcraft, Cam Wild and Dylan Clarke provide a hard edge to the midfield, while Lachlan Ash is all class and can play anywhere on the ground. Jimmy Boyer and Clayton Gay can play up both ends for their respective sides, while Ben Kelly will try and work over Bigoa Nyuon in the ruck, who will have the athletic advantage in the air. Will Lewis played his first game for the year last week and looked impressive, while Josh Rachele is a Under 16s forward who looms as a top pick in the 2021 draft already.

NAB League Boys Round 17 wash-up: Chargers snatch finals spot in thriller

THE NAB League Boys regular season came to a close on the weekend with a pair of triple-headers, finalising the all-important automatic finals qualifiers and Wildcard Round fixtures. There were plenty of standouts across the six games despite indifferent conditions, with the Oakleigh-Sandringham game living up to the pre-game hype.

WESTERN JETS 1.4 | 1.6 | 2.9 | 4.12 (36)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.2 | 8.3 | 10.5 | 10.8 (68)

GOALS:
Western – A. Manton 3, A. Clarke
Northern – J. D’Intinosante 4, N. Cox 2, J. Watson, J. Lucente, S. House, J. Boyd

BEST:
Western – L. Rocci, J. Honey, D. Bolkas, C. Raak, L. Failli, J. Kellett
Northern – J. Watson, R. Sturgess, N. Cox, J. Boyd, A. Carafa, J. D’Intinosante

By: Michael Alvaro

A sense of redemption was achieved by the Northern Knights on Saturday as they got one back over the Western Jets with a 32-point win at Avalon Airport Oval. The win sees the Knights jump their opponents into sixth place on the back of superior percentage, making it that little bit sweeter on top of redeeming a Round 1 loss to the Jets. After a relatively steady opening term where Western arguably had the better of general play, Northern sprung to life with an explosive six-goal to nil second quarter to set up the win. The Knights’ dare and transition from a high-possession defensive game helped them dominate the scoreboard during middle-period of the game, rapidly building the game-defining margin. Josh D’Intinosante played a big part in that, snaring three goals in quick succession at the start of the term to break the game open. Two late goals as the heat simmered proved consolations for the Jets, who have now lost their last three games. Strong stay-at-home forward Archi Manton had all of Western’s goals for over three quarters and was the sole threat inside 50, finishing with 3.2 from seven disposals and five marks. Josh Honey (18 disposals, seven tackles, five inside 50s) was also terrific for the Jets with his burst from congestion, with the likes of Darcy Cassar (22 disposals, four marks) and Lucas Rocci (20 disposals, five rebounds) also standing up. But it was Northern bottom-ager Josh Watson who was best afield in a breakout game, collecting 21 disposals, four marks and booting a lovely goal. Adam Carafa led the disposal count with 23 and a lot of work in-close, while Ryan Sturgess (21 disposals, 13 marks) was terrific in the air at both ends and D’Intinosante finished with 4.2 from 13 disposals and six marks. The result now sees Northern host Bendigo in Wildcard Round, while Western will face the Knights’ 2018 Wildcard nemesis, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) next week.

CALDER CANNONS 3.1 | 4.1 | 7.6 | 9.9 (63)
EASTERN RANGES 1.4 | 4.5 | 6.7 | 10.7 (67)

GOALS:
Calder – J. Sutton 3, M. Fletcher 2, J. Cardillo, C. Brown, J. O”Sullivan, H. Jones
Eastern – B. Hickleton 2, L. Stapleton 2, J. Rossiter, C. Downie, L. Gawel, R. Smith, J. Jaworski, M. Zalac

BEST:
Calder – D. Mott, S. Ramsay, J. Sutton, G. Thomas, J. Cardillo, M. Fletcher
Eastern – L. Stapleton, J. Ross, Z. Pretty, M. Mellis, R. Smith, M. Zalac

By: Michael Alvaro

Eastern Ranges snatched a dramatic after-the-siren win over Calder on Saturday to finish the regular season a game clear on top of the ladder. Bottom-age gun Connor Downie proved the hero, slotting home cooly with his twelfth disposal after earning a 50/50 incorrect disposal free kick with just seconds left. Earlier, the Cannons chipped away well to earn leads at two of the first three breaks and looked to have done enough to hold off the Ranges, with Mason Fletcher converting as time ticked away. But in the last roll of the dice play at the end of an action-packed final minute, the Ranges broke forward quickly and created the all-important scramble inside 50 to come up trumps through Downie. The diminutive Eastern midfield trio of Mitch Mellis (26 disposals), Zak Pretty (24) and Lachie Stapleton (23, two goals) was arguably led by the latter in a typically workmanlike display through the engine room, while 16-year-old Tyler Sonsie was also influential moving forward with his 17 touches and two minor scores. For the unlucky losers, Daniel Mott was very nearly a match-winner as he lifted late through midfield to prize a bunch of clearances among his 21 disposals and six inside 50s. State combine invitee Sam Ramsay led the disposal count with 27, while Ned Gentile (20 disposals, 0.3) had some nice moments and Jake Sutton booted a game-high three goals. The result had little bearing on the final ladder and looked to prove as much in the build-up, with results at the other end of the ladder poising Calder against Tasmania in Wildcard Round while Eastern can enjoy a week off.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 3.2 | 5.4 | 10.6 | 13.6 (84)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 3.3 | 6.6 | 8.7 | 14.7 (91)

GOALS:
Sandringham – F. Maginness 3, A. Perkins 3, K. Yorke 2, A. Hanrahan 2, N. Burke, M. Bergman, C. Dean
Oakleigh – J. Ugle-Hagan 4, N. Anderson 3, C. Sharman 2, F. Elliot, C. Stone, R. McInnes, F. Macrae, N. Stathopoulos

BEST:
Sandringham – C. Watts, F. Maginness, J. Bell, N. Burke, K. Yorke, J. Voss
Oakleigh – M. Rowell, N. Anderson, R. Valentine, J. Ugle-Hagan, J. Lucas, V. Zagari

By: Michael Alvaro

Pure star power dragged the Oakleigh Chargers over the line and into third place with an incredible seven-point come-from-behind win over Sandringham Dragons in the thick of what was a finals-like atmosphere. After the Dragons looked to have sealed the game with three goals in the first five minutes of the final quarter, a Noah Anderson-inspired Oakleigh hit back in style with four majors in the following five minutes, and ended with the last six of the game altogether to snatch victory. Both sides enjoyed spurts of momentum throughout the game and looked like getting on top on numerous occasions, but Oakleigh’s final thrust came at the ideal time as they charged home to claim the remarkable win. Anderson’s game-winning 24 disposals and three goals were arguably matched for importance by the efforts of Matt Rowell (34 disposals, seven tackles) – who hardly put a foot wrong – and skipper Trent Bianco (28 disposals). The high-marking forward duo of Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Cooper Sharman also shone, combining for six goals and a couple of highlight reel moments. For the Dragons, Finn Maginness did his level best to drag his side over the line with 17 disposals and three goals, with Darcy Chirgwin (30 disposals, seven tackles) doing the tough stuff through midfield and Angus Hanrahan influential on the outside (23 disposals, two goals). Bottom-ager Archie Perkins was another to impress with his three goals from 11 disposals, while Corey Watts put in a mammoth effort in defence with 12 disposals, six marks and seven rebound 50s. With an absolute raft of combine invitees and representative players taking the field, it was one of the highest quality Under 18 games in recent memory and truly lived up to the pre-game hype as a number of top-end stars stood up.

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

GOALS:
Bendigo – R. Wilson 2, J. Ginnivan 2, S. Mitchell 2, J. Treacy, N. Walsh, T. Dow
Gippsland – M. McGarrity 2, F. Phillips 2, R. Baldi 2, C. Comben, S. Flanders, T. Hourigan, R. Sparkes

BEST:
Bendigo – R. Wilson, B. Rowles, R. Ironside, S. Conforti, J. Ginnivan, B. Worme
Gippsland – R. Baldi, T. Hourigan, F. Phillips, R. Sparkes, L. Connolly, R. Angwin

By: Peter Williams

In a day of upsets, Bendigo Pioneers almost set the tone with an impressive performance against top two side, Gippsland Power. The Pioneers regained a number of players back to the line-up, including Thomson Dow who returned from school football, but were missing the injured Brodie Kemp. Despite Caleb Serong being the only key omission from the premiership contending Power, the Pioneers jumped them in the first quarter to boot three goals to one, two of which came from free kicks and another from a turnover as the home side looked to be disciplined on the day. With Bendigo booting the first goal of the second term, it looked like the Pioneers might start to run away with it, before Gippsland piled on five of the next seven over the two quarters to keep within a point at both breaks. The last quarter was topsy turvy with lead changes galore, and it took until Fraser Phillips‘ goal after the siren to relieve the nerves of the Power supporters. Riley Baldi was the clear standout performer from the Power, booting two goals and could have had a third to go with his 27 disposals, five marks, five inside 50s and seven tackles, while Tye Hourigan was good in defence before kicking what almost looked like the winning goal late, in attack. He had 20 disposals, 11 marks, three inside 50s, two rebounds and a goal on the day. Leo Connolly (22 disposals, seven marks) and Phillips (2.3 from 19 disposals and four marks) also showed signs. For the Pioneers, Dow showed his class in patches with 24 disposals, six marks and a goal, while Ben Worme (21 disposals, seven marks, four tackles, six inside 50s and four rebounds), Riley Ironside (26 disposals, six marks, five rebounds and three tackles) and Riley Wilson (21 disposals, three marks, 10 tackles and two goals) were the Pioneers’ best.

GEELONG FALCONS 3.5 | 8.7 | 14.8 | 15.9 (99)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 2.3 | 3.9 | 5.12 | 9.14 (68)

GOALS:
Geelong – C. Sprague 6, O. Henry 2, T. Bruhn 2, C. Lazzaro, K. Skene, C. Karpala, H. Walsh, S. Fonseca-Hateley
Dandenong – L. Williams 3, J. Toner, N. Heath, J. Andrews, W. Howe, W. Lewis, W. Bravo

BEST:
Geelong – C. Sprague, T. Bruhn, H. Walsh, C. Lazzaro, J. Dahlhaus, K. Rayner
Dandenong – W. Bravo, W. Lewis, L. Goonan, L. Scott, J. Toner, B. Kuipers

By: Peter Williams

In what was clearly Geelong’s best performance of the season, the 2019 wooden spooners showed they might just have life in their season yet with a strong 31-point win over Dandenong Stingrays. While the Falcons have to contend with the star-studded Sandringham Dragons this weekend, they played a commanding three quarters against the Stingrays before Dandenong booted four of the five last goals to cut the deficit back to a reasonable margin. The Falcons had some troubles with accuracy early, while the Stingrays found the same issues in the second term, booting 1.6 to the Falcons’ 5.2 to ultimately be the difference with Geelong heading into the main break 28 points in front. They did not stop there however, as the Falcons added another six goals to the Stingrays’ two, effectively ending the contest at a game-high 50 points. Lachlan Williams had a last quarter to remember with three consecutive goals – not that it did enough to turn the momentum – while Charlie Sprague said enough was enough booting his sixth goal of the game late to ensure the Falcons had a major in the final term. To the final break, Sprague had booted the same amount of goals as the Stingrays side, eventually finishing with a clear best-on performance of 16 disposals, six marks, three inside 50s and 6.1 for the day. Jesse Clark was a rock in defence with 23 disposals, six marks, nine rebounds and three tackles, while bottom agers Noah Gribble (19 disposals, four marks three inside 50s and three behinds) and Charlie Lazzaro (19 disposals, three marks, three inside 50s, two tackles and a goal) were also impressive. Assisting Sprague in attack was Oliver Henry with two goals from 12 touches and always presenting, while bottom-ager Tanner Bruhn showed no signs that he was coming off a long-term injury, booting two majors and could have had a third, with 16 disposals, two marks, four tackles and six inside 50s. For Dandenong, William Lewis had 24 disposals, two marks, four tackles, nine inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal to be the best across four quarters, while Luca Goonan had a superb first half to finish with 19 disposals, two marks, six tackles and three inside 50s. Jack Toner (20 disposals, four marks, three inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal) and Hayden Young (17 disposals, three marks three inside 50s, three rebounds and five tackles) tried hard, while Cody Weightman had his moments, finishing with 16 disposals and three behinds.

GWV REBELS 1.3 | 3.4 | 6.9 | 8.11 (59)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 1.1 | 2.7 | 3.9 | 5.14 (44)

GOALS:
GWV – M. Martin 3, M. Lloyd, J. Rentsch, F. Marris, R. Polkinghorne, B. Hobbs
Murray – J. Boyer, T. Panuccio, D. Bedendo, B. Kelly, W. Chandler

BEST:
GWV – C. Molan, M. Martin, C. Craig-Peters, J. Rantall, F. Marris, P. Glanford
Murray – N. Irvine, S. Durham, L. Fiore, J. Chalcraft, C. McLeod, B. Kelly

By: Peter Williams

Given the pouring rain had set in midway through the last game, by the time the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Murray Bushrangers took the field, the ground could have doubled up for the swimming pool next to Queen Elizabeth Oval. The game itself was not one either side will be reaching for the highlight tapes too quickly, as the conditions made it a genuine slog and difficult for sides to firstly mark the ball inside 50, and secondly hit the scoreboard. Players were slipping and sliding in the mud, with one Rebels play indicative of the weather, going for a run through the middle but as he went to kick slipped in the mud and slid a metre of two along the ground. When it was all said and done however, it was the Rebels who managed to kick away in the second half, booting five consecutive goals to blow the margin out to 29 points with 10 minutes remaining in the game, before a couple of late majors to the Bushrangers cut the final deficit to just 15. With 13.25 between the sides, it could have been a lot worse, but at least the sun decided to show up in the last 10 minutes of the match, instead blinding the players who were already soaked thanks to Mother Nature. Cooper Craig-Peters had a game-high 24 disposals, five inside 50s, four rebounds and eight tackles to relish in the conditions for the Rebels, while Jack Tillig finished with 20 disposals, six marks, four tackles and six rebounds. A frequent sufferer of leather poisoning, Jay Rantall had just one touch in the first term and six by the main break, but produced a big second half to end with 20 disposals and a massive 18 tackles in the win. Mitch Martin impressed up forward with three goals from 17 disposals and four marks, as well as a couple of other opportunities, while 16-year-olds Charlie Molan (17 disposals, six marks and four rebounds) and Ben Hobbs (12 disposals, nine tackles, three inside 50s and a goal) stood tall, as did bottom-ager Nick Stevens (17 disposals, two marks, five inside 50s, four rebounds and four tackles). For the Bushrangers, Jye Chalcraft (22 disposals), Cam Wild (21) and Dylan Clarke (20) unsurprisingly loved the wet weather, going in hard and winning the ball in close, while Lachlan Ash overcame a similarly slow start to Rantall with just two disposals in the first term to finish the game with 19 playing in all areas of the ground. Josh Rachele presented well up forward with 19 disposals and four inside 50s, while bottom-age forward Dominic Bedendo had 13 disposals, three inside 50s and a goal.

Team of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 14

IMPORTANT wins to Gippsland Power and Northern Knights have earned the sides three players each in our Draft Central NAB League Boys Team of the Week for Round 14. The spread across the 24-player side was even in the round, with just the one player each from Bendigo Pioneers and Geelong Falcons, while each of the other sides had two players apiece fitting into the team. There were a number of unlucky omissions who could not quite squeeze in, with the likes of Miles Bergman, Sam Ramsay and Jeremy Rodi among the most unlucky.

With plenty of Vic Metro and Vic Country players returning to their sides, quite a few have made their way back into our Team of the Week, led by Gippsland Power trio, Brock Smith, Josh Smith and Charlie Comben with the latter two impressive in the air. Also earning three players in the Team of the Week is Northern Knights, with captain Jackson Davies, Draft Central Player of the Week Josh D’Intinosante and midfielder Sam Philp. Their opponents on the day, Murray Bushrangers had two players back in the side with Lachlan Ash and Dylan Clarke both having an impact.

Heading to defence, Trent Bianco makes the side after a massive effort for Oakleigh Chargers, joined in the team by draft bolter Cooper Sharman who booted four goals in the tight win over Eastern Ranges. Eastern had two players in the side as well with midfielder Lachlan Stapleton and defender, Mihaele Zalac both impressing. Earlier in the day, Tasmanian defensive duo Matt McGuinness and Jake Steele kept their side in the contest against the Power and earned spots in our Team of the Week.

Also in defence is Angus Hanrahan who played possibly his best game at the level coming off half-back, in the side with key position utility and Vic Metro Most Valuable Player (MVP) Fischer McAsey who booted three goals in the win over Dandenong Stingrays. Hayden Young was back to his best for the Stingrays trying to will his side over the line and makes the team, while Bailey Schmidt was terrific through the ruck. Up at MARS Stadium, Mitch Martin showed class to boot two goals and make the side once again, along with teammate Cooper Craig-Peters. Charlie Sprague continued his consistent season with three goals in a losing Geelong Falcons outfit.

In the last remaining game, Calder Cannons’ Harrison Minton-Connell and Jake Sutton both slotted into the side after big games in the victory over Bendigo Pioneers, while for the Pioneers, Riley Ironside managed to earn a spot in the 24-player side.

NAB League Boys Round 6 wash-up: Academies bow out as Dandy go top

NORTHERN Academies played out their final NAB League games in Round 6 as a new leader emerged and the Geelong Falcons grabbed their first win for the season. The Falcons’ victory saw Gold Coast Suns jump Sydney Swans to claim the Academy Division 2 title on percentage, as both teams finished with 4-1 records. All that, and more in this weekend’s wash-up.

TASMANIA DEVILS 3.0 | 5.2 | 6.5 | 8.7 (55)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 3.4 | 3.5 | 6.6 | 8.8 (56)

GOALS:
Tasmania:
R. Mansell 2, W. Harper 2, M. McGuinness, S. Banks, B. Gordon, J. Callow
Oakleigh: T. Lovell 4, T. Graham, L. Westwood, H. Mundy, A. Tassell

BEST:
Tasmania:
H. Ireland, R. Mansell, O. Davis, P. Walker, L. Viney, I. Chugg
Oakleigh: T. Bianco, J. Woodfull, J. May, H. Mastras, L. Westwood, S. Seach

By: Michael Alvaro

Oakleigh Chargers held on for a hard-fought win by the narrowest of margins over Tasmania at North Hobart Oval, helping them climb back into the NAB League top eight. After breaking to a slim quarter-time lead, the Chargers gave up a nine-point half time lead after going goalless in the second term. With their backs against the wall, Oakleigh stood up to reclaim the lead, and hold on until the final siren as both sides contributed 1.2 in the fourth quarter. Oakleigh’s Thomas Lovell was efficient in front of goal with half of his eight touches ending in six points, but it was co-captain Trent Bianco who was his side’s best with 42 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, nine tackles and eight inside 50s. Josh May was also instrumental with 28 disposals and five clearances, while ruckman Jacob Woodfull was handy with 16 disposals and 27 hitouts. Harrison Ireland was named the Devils’ best for his role as an undersized ruck, while Ollie Davis was their leading ball winner with 21 touches and five clearances. Fellow bottom-age star Sam Collins was not far behind, matching AFL Academy member Will Peppin‘s effort of 18 disposals, while Will Harper and Rhyan Mansell each booted two goals. While Oakleigh can enjoy a bye in Round 7, Tasmania faces a trip to Bendigo to face the Pioneers, who are also 2-3.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.4 | 5.7 | 7.7 | 11.11 (77)
GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 4.5 | 6.8 | 8.11 | 12.16 (88)

GOALS:
Murray:
J. Boyer 3, H. Kaak 2, J. Chalcraft 2, L. Sykes, C. Wilson, L. Ash, M. Holt
GWS: H. Grant 3, J. Green 2, L. Conlan 2, M. Hamblin 2, J. Lucas, L. Delahunty, T. Green

BEST:
Murray:
D. Clarke, S. Durham, L. Ash, J. Chalcraft, J. Boyer, W. Bowden
GWS: H. Grant, E. Perryman, L. Delahunty, J. Green, L. Conlan

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers slump to 1-4 as the worst-placed Victorian NAB League side after going down by 11 points to GWS Giants Academy. The Bushrangers are unlucky to find themselves in that position given three of their four losses have come by a collective margin of 18 points, with their other loss (24 points) coming against the Swans Academy last week. The Giants, meanwhile, picked up their second win with star midfielder Tom Green (37 disposals, 11 clearances) back in the side, seeing them finish third of the five academies. While Green was at the centre of everything for the Giants, Jeromy Lucas (33 disposals, seven marks) was also instrumental alongside over-ager Ed Perryman (31 disposals, nine marks) in his first game for the year, while Harry Grant 23 disposals, three goals) and Liam Delahunty (21 disposals, seven inside 50s) were effective forward of centre. Dylan Clarke was Murray’s best and equal-leading disposal getter with 27, matched by returning skipper Lachlan Ash (six marks, six tackles, one goal). Jimmy Boyer found the goals well with three majors, joined as a multiple goal kicker by Jye Chalcraft and Hudson Kaak (both two goals). While the GWS products bow out of NAB League commitments and ready themselves for possible Allies selection, Murray faces Geelong in hopes of snaring a second win and a run of form.

CALDER CANNONS 4.3 | 6.5 | 7.6 | 7.10 (52)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 1.0 | 2.1 | 4.3 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS:
Calder:
M. Fletcher 2, B. Rigoni, N. Gentile, J. O’Sullivan, D. Mott, M. Allison
Bendigo: E. Roberts, R. Ironside, J. Ginnivan, Z. Murley, C. Fisher

BEST:
Calder:
J. Martin, D. Mott, J. Hotchkin, T. Browning, N. Gentile, B. Newman
Bendigo: J. Treacy, R. Ironside, S. Conforti, J. Schischka, B. Vaz, W. Wallace

By: Taylah Melki

The Cannons came out firing in the first term and really took control of the game placing them in a strong position for the rest of the game opening a four goal to one first term. In tricky wet and slippery conditions both sides battled hard to win possession with forge the ball forward but it was the Cannons who prevailed against the Pioneers who could not capitalise in front of goal. Jacob Martin led the way for the Cannons winning a heap of the ball with 36 touches, four inside 50s and five tackles for his efforts, while teammate Daniel Mott was impressive. Mott worked hard across the ground and racked up 36 touches to go with his first quarter goal making him a key player for Calder. Brodie Newman also had a solid performance with a game 12 marks testament to his strong hands and clever placement to get into the right position and take big grabs. Mason Fletcher made his presence felt on the scoreboard nailing two majors while Ned Gentile scored 1.2 for the afternoon. After a quiet start James Schischka worked his way into the game and amassed 20 touches along with eight tackles for the Pios. He was closely followed by teammates, Riley Wilson (18 touches) and Brady Rowles (17) while Joshua Treacy did a wealth of work in attack with five inside 50s. Riley Ironside also had a big second half going in hard at the contest and doing the little things well to try and influence the play. He finished with a major, 17 possessions and five marks.

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 3.6 | 6.9 | 9.10 | 14.11 (95)
GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 2.0 | 5.3 | 8.7 | 12.9 (81)

GOALS:
Gold Coast:
M. Pescud 4, C. Beaman 3, H. Oea 2, J. Gore 2, M. Conroy, M. Selsby, E. Hunt
GWV: N. Caris 4, I. Wareham 2, L. O’Brien 2, L. Herbert, J. Wright, I. Grant, M. Martin

BEST:
Gold Coast:
H. Oea, C. Budarick, A. Crossley, M. Conroy, M. Pescud , J. Gore
GWV: I. Wareham, C. Craig-Peters, N. Caris, J. Rantall, T. Mahony, J. Tillig

By: Michael Alvaro

Gold Coast Suns snatched the Division 2 title with a fighting 14-point win over the Greater Western Victoria Rebels in front of their home crowd. Leading at every break, the Suns bounced back well from a heavy loss last week with a spread of four multiple goal kickers heading a solid team performance. While Connor Budarick again led all comers for disposals (23), Max Pescud booted an equal game-high four goals and Hewago Paul Oea was named best for his 19 disposals, seven clearances and two goals. In what was a low-disposal game, the Rebels’ top five ball-winners had between 15 and 16 disposals each, with Riley Polkinghorne and Isaac Thomas leading the way. Nick Caris claimed four goals, with Cooper Craig-Peters and Liam O’Brien bagging two each as the other GWV multiple goal kickers. While the Suns’ NAB League commitments are over, GWV plays Northern on home turf as their season rolls on.

GEELONG FALCONS 2.2 | 6.5 | 8.8 | 12.12 (84)
SYDNEY SWANS 1.3 | 3.4 | 6.9 | 7.11 (53)

GOALS:
Geelong:
O. Henry 4, W. Batson 2, C. Brauer 2, S. Ham, W. Kilpatrick, C. Seymour, J. Makuey
Sydney: K. McGrath 2, E. Gulden, L. Swaney, B. Campbell, H. Ellem, S. Gaden

BEST:
Geelong:
J. Clark, C. Harris, C. Karpala, L. Smith, S. Bourke, O. Henry
Sydney: A. Watling, E. Gulden, R. van Huisstede, M. Geddes, L. Parks, B. Campbell

By: Joe Lee

An electric Geelong provided a big upset, leading at every change to record a 31-point victory over the Sydney Swans Academy. In a tough and uncompromising contest in near perfect conditions at Trevor Barker Oval, the Falcons were too good offensively for a wasteful Sydney outfit. Geelong’s multitude of quick and evasive small midfielder-forwards were too much for the Swans to handle, both on the inside and outside of the contest. Geelong’s slick and accurate ball movement overwhelmed the Sydney defence, with Jesse Clark being instrumental in setting up play with his damaging right boot, whilst Oliver Henry’s draft stocks continue to rise, backing up his five-goal effort in Round 3 with a four-goal haul this week. For the Swans, Braeden Campbell worked tirelessly all day, attacking the contest with vigour and was a clear standout in a team lacking a bit of intensity.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 1.1 | 2.5 | 2.8 | 3.11 (29)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 2.6 | 4.8 | 9.12 | 14.16 (100)

GOALS:
Brisbane:
C. Michael, W. Tasker, J. Quint
Dandenong: C. Weightman 3, J. Roysmith 2, C. Gay 2, C. Ellison 2, J. Johnson, E. Cahill, J. Toner, W. Bravo, R. Orchard

BEST:
Brisbane:
J. Currie, N. Cumberland, T. Griffiths, S. Ryan, W. Martyn, T. Jeffrey
Dandenong: C. Gay, C. Ellison, H. Berenger, B. Welsh, H. Young

By: Michael Alvaro

Reigning premiers Dandenong Stingrays climbed atop the NAB League ladder for the first time this season, trouncing the Brisbane Lions Academy by 71 points in Queensland. With only a draw hindering their otherwise unblemished record, the Stingrays hit top gear after half time with ten goals to one in a dominant display. The result rounds off a disappointing end to Brisbane’s NAB League cameo, with the Lions losing four-straight after their Round 2 win over GWS. Will Martyn has been far from disappointing though, and contributed 32 disposals to lead all comers, but was beaten out by Justin Currie (16 disposals, five marks) as Brisbane’s best. Noah Cumberland (26 disposals, nine clearances) was also thereabouts with Tom Matthews matching his disposal output, while Samson Ryan (14 disposals, 32 hit-outs) had a good day in the ruck. Hayden Young was touted as a key inclusion for Dandenong, and was amongst the best with his team-high 28 disposals and six clearances. Bottom-ager Clayton Gay was adjudged to be his side’s best though, with 21 disposals and 2.2, while over-ager Corey Ellison also claimed two majors in the win. The new ladder leaders travel again next time out to face Western, while Brisbane’s brightest will prepare themselves for potential Allies selection.

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

GOALS:
Gippsland:
F. Phillips 3, S. Flanders 2, M. McGarrity 2, R. Baldi, W. Papley, C. Comben, T. Fitzpatrick, H. Neocleous
Eastern: B. Hickleton 3, B. White 3, B. McCormack 2, C. Tilyard, J. Rossiter, C. Black

BEST:
Gippsland:
B. Smith, F. Phillips, M. McGarrity, R. Baldi, Z. Reid, C. Comben
Eastern: L. Stapleton, Z. Pretty, B. McCormack, B. Hickleton, B. White, J. Duffy

By: Michael Alvaro

Gippsland Power ground out a 10-point win over Eastern Ranges to see them continue their gradual climb towards the top of the NAB League ladder, while Eastern remains lodged in the top four despite the narrow defeat. The Ranges got the better of a high-scoring opening term, but Gippsland reversed the six-point margin heading into the main break. With both sides performing well in front of goal and the margin cut back to within four points in the final quarter, a grandstand finish was on the horizon. After Eastern reclaimed the lead with two quick goals, Gippsland powered home with the last three to seal victory. Zak Pretty and Lachlan Stapleton again won a heap of the ball to lead all comers with 28 disposals each for Eastern, with opportunistic forwards Ben Hickleton and Bailey White bagging hauls of three goals. Power captain Brock Smith collected 27 disposals and nine rebound 50s to earn a Draft Central player of the week nomination, with Riley Baldi (27 disposals, seven marks) continuing his solid return to be named amongst the best. Sam Flanders (26 disposals, nine clearances, two goals) was instrumental in helping Gippsland get over the line, with Fraser Phillips (20 disposals, three goals) also finding the ball and big sticks. The Power host Calder next week with an eye on Eastern’s top four spot, as the Ranges set to face Sandringham in their biggest test yet.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.2 | 6.6 | 12.7 | 15.8 (98)
NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER ACADEMY 1.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS:
Northern:
J. Lucente 3, L. Mcmahon 2, C. Barbera 2, J. Davies 2, J. Bowne 2, J. D’Intinosante 2, J. Mazzarella, M. Sindrivanis
NT: S. Foster 2, M. Rosas 2, M. Cumming 2, R. Fejo, J. Tipiloura

BEST:
Northern:
L. Potter, J. D’Intinosante, R. Sturgess, R. Gardner, J. Davies, E. Macpherson
NT: S. Foster, J. Jeffrey, B. Ah Mat, B. Jungfer, M. Rosas, B. Lake

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights claimed its second-straight victory after a winless first four games, comfortably accounting for the Northern Territory Thunder Academy by 38 points at Ikon Park. The loss sees NT bow out of the NAB League without a win, but having shown plenty of promise. Confident on the back of last week’s breakthrough performance, the Knights were simply too strong and put at least three goals on the board in each quarter. Josh D’Intinosante continues to do all the right things, collecting a game-high 25 disposals, 11 marks and two goals, but was beaten out to best-on honours by Lachie Potter (24 disposals, seven rebound 50s). Ryan Sturgess (21 disposals, eight marks) and the returning Ryan Gardner (22 disposals, four clearances) also chimed in well, with James Lucente (three goals) leading a brigade of six Northern multiple goal kickers. Top NT prospect Malcolm Rosas Jr was one of three Thunder players to boot two goals, with Shawn Foster‘s game enough to see him named best. Joel Jeffrey had another impressive outing in the back half with 21 disposals, seven marks and eight rebound 50s, while Ben Jungfer was his side’s leading ball winner with 22 touches and five clearances.

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Boys – Round 5

A NEW ladder-leader has emerged in the NAB League as one academy side suffered its first loss, and Geelong Falcons and Northern Territory remain the only ones without a win. With eyes on each of the nine games, here is the Round 5 wash-up.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.1 | 6.1 | 7.2 | 7.7 (49)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 3.2 | 6.3 | 8.6 (54)

GOALS:

Bendigo: K. Brown 2, K. Attwell, J. Ginnivan, R. Ironside, C. Fisher, J. Rodi.
Northern: J. Bowne 2, S. Brazier 2, J. D’Intinosante, C. Barbera, Z. Costello, J. Lucente.

BEST:

Bendigo: R. Wilson, W. Wallace, J. Ginnivan, J. Schischka, B. Worme, R. Ironside.
Northern: E. Macpherson, J. D’Intinosante, S. Philp, S. Brazier, Z. Costello, L. Potter.

It took five rounds but Northern Knights finally came away with some premiership points, downing the impressive Bendigo Pioneers by less than a kick under lights at Queen Elizabeth Oval on Friday night. Bendigo lost its second consecutive game after starting the season 2-0, despite having chances to win in both matches. In this clash, the Pioneers led throughout the night, including by 17 points at the main break. A more determined Knights outfit came out in the second half, making the most of their run and carry, booting five goals to one in the second half to secure the five-point victory. Ewan Macpherson was named best on ground for Northern, while Josh D’Intinosante was consistent across the four quarters, as were fellow inside midfielders, Sam Philp and Sunny Brazier. Lachie Potter showed dash off half-back and between the run from defence to the inside ball winning capabilities, the Knights were better across the four quarters. For the Pioneers, Riley Wilson was terrific across the four quarters, while James Schischka was ever-reliable in defence with William Wallace, while Ben Worme and Riley Ironside were others who performed on the night for the Pioneers.

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 5.2 | 9.3 | 11.5 | 13.10 (88)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 0.3 | 2.9 | 7.9 | 9.10 (64)

GOALS:

Sydney: H. Ellem 3, T. Drum 2, H. Maguire 2, M. Sheather, A. Watling, J. Barling, K. McGrath, P. Roseby, M. Rossmann.
Murray: C. Wilson 3, H. Kaak 2, C. Wild, K. Chalcraft, J. Chalcraft, J. O’Dwyer.

BEST:

Sydney: L. Swaney, C. Nash, A. Watling, M. Geddes, J. Dol, S. Thorne
Murray: C. Wild, J. Chalcraft, S. Durham, K. Chalcraft, C. Wilson, W. Christie

Sydney Swans Academy extended its unbeaten NAB League run on Saturday, kicking off the Blacktown double-header with an impressive 24-point win over the Murray Bushrangers. The loss is the only result for Murray that has been decided by over seven points after going 1-2 across the first three rounds, with the Bushrangers unlucky to be languishing in the bottom half of the table. They were beaten out of the blocks by the home side, which broke out to a 29-point lead at the first break, while building on it well to find themselves an seven six goals up at half time. The Bushrangers fought back after the main break, taking their chances well to boot 5.0 to 2.2 in the third term, but the gap proved too far to bridge in a rather stalemate final stanza as the Swans cruised to victory. An impressive nine individual Swans goal kickers were led by Hamish Ellem‘s three majors from 22 disposals, while Harry Maguire and Thomas Drum snared two each in low possession games. While Kyle Martin led their possession count, Lachlan Swaney was named best for the Swans for his 18-disposal performance, while Sam Thorne, Max Geddes and Jacob Dol each had over 20 touches to also be thereabouts. Cam Wild continues to be a standout for Murray, named their best in this outing on the back of 28 disposals, seven inside 50s and a goal, while both Kade and Jye Chalcraft hit the scoreboard to be named in the best alongside leading goal-getter Cameron Wilson, who bagged three. Murray goes on to face other Sydney academy, GWS in Round 6, while the Swans face Geelong Falcons in their final NAB League hit-out.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 2.2 | 10.4 | 12.8 | 19.10 (124)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 | 8.6 (54)

GOALS:

Dandenong: E. Cahill 3, L. Williams 3, J. Neal 2, W. Bravo 2, B. Kuipers 2, J. Nanscawen 2, B. Nyuon, B. Welsh, B. Milford, A. Bradtke, L. Goonan.
Oakleigh: L. Stelling 2, T. Graham, T. Lovell, R. Valentine, H. Mundy, B. Rogers, F. Elliot.

BEST:

Dandenong: E. Cahill, J. Toner, J. Nanscawen, L. Williams, S. De Koning, C. Gay
Oakleigh: J. Woodfull, S. Seach, R. Valentine, L. Jenkins, F. Elliot, L. Stelling

In their first three clashes, the Dandenong Stingrays have enjoyed absolute nail-biters, winning by a goal twice, and the drawing with Geelong Falcons in Round 3. While the opening term scores suggested this one would head down the same path, the action told a different story with the Stingrays on top, but not putt ing the scores on the board. That happened in the second term when they took full control of the game from Oakleigh Chargers, piling on eight goals to one with the breeze in a windy day at Shepley Oval. In front of a home crowd, the Stingrays put an understrength Oakleigh to the sword, extending the lead to 52 points by the final break, before running away with it in the last term as both sides managed to break through for goals. Eleven majors were kicked as Dandenong won that quarter seven goals to four, and enjoyed a massive 70-point win. In the absence of Hayden Young, Ned Cahill stood tall to be the standout player on the ground, while Luke Williams also contributed with his long-range goals a highlight. Jack Toner and Clayton Gay were solid throughout, as was Sam De Koning who took a multitude of intercept marks at centre half-back. For Oakleigh, Jacob Woodfull is hard to miss, rocking a mullet, but the ruck was sensational throughout the match, while Sam Seach and Ryan Valentine were also named among the best. AFL Academy members and co-captains Trent Bianco and Dylan Williams showed signs across the ground, but the Stingrays controlled the play for the most part in the impressive win.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 8.3 | 13.9 | 17.13 | 19.18 (132)
BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 0.1 | 1.1 | 3.3 | 5.5 (35)

GOALS:

Sandringham: B. O’Leary 3, J. Bell 2, K. Yorke 2, A. Courtney 2, A. Hanrahan 2, R. Byrnes, T. Murray, J. Voss, J. Le Grice , T. Deane-Johns, G. Grey, D. Hipwell, A. Perkins.
Brisbane: T. Wischnat, T. Abberley, C. Bowes, M. McDonald, T. Matthews.

BEST:

Sandringham: J. Bell, J. Voss, H. Loughnan, R. Byrnes, L. Butler, R. Bowman
Brisbane: W. Martyn, T. Griffiths, B. Reville, T. Jeffrey

New NAB League table-toppers Sandringham Dragons roared to a thumping 97-point win over the Brisbane Lions academy, keeping its perfect record in tact. A 13-goal to one blitz in the first half set up the final margin of victory for the home side, with a whopping 13 Dragons getting on the scoresheet and five of them scoring multiple goals – led by Blake O’Leary‘s three. The tall timber of Jack Bell and Andrew Courtney proved a handful for the Lions defence, with over-ager Angus Hanrahan chiming in well early and bottom-ager Archie Perkins also impressive forward of centre. Midfield maestro Ryan Byrnes (26 disposals, seven inside 50s, one goal) was the key catalyst for the first-half onslaught though, winning a wealth of ball through the middle and setting Sandringham forward with bursting runs and inside 50 entries on both sides. The likes of Louis Butler (31 disposals) and Harry Loughnan (25, nine marks) also covered the ground well, with Riley Bowman showing his versatility in all key-position posts. Though they were soundly beaten overall, the Lions showed good heart in the second half to keep Sandringham to six goals while scoring four of their own, with key players finding their way into the game. One who was combative all day was Will Martyn (33 disposals, 10 marks, six tackles), leading his side well from midfield and leading all-comers in disposals. Tom Griffiths was named in the best for his role in an under-siege defence, while the smooth-moving Bruce Reville lifted in the second half to also be thereabouts, and bottom-ager Tahj Abberley also showed good signs. In its final NAB League outing, Brisbane hosts Dandenong in the Sunshine State, while Sandringham can enjoy a bye.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 1.1 | 5.1 | 9.4 | 9.7 (61)
GIPPSLAND POWER 3.2 | 8.5 | 9.5 | 10.10 (70)

GOALS:

GWS: L. Conlan 2, L. Delahunty 2, H. Grant 2, R. Mooney, J. Peatling, T. Organ.
Gippsland: R. Baldi 2, H. Pepper, Z. Skinner, M. McGarrity, J. van der Pligt, B. Maslen, W. Papley, F. Phillips, K. Dunkley.

BEST:

GWS: H. Grant, N. Murray, L. Squire, J. Lucas, S. Driscoll, J. Peatling
Gippsland: J. Smith, H. Pepper, R. Baldi, R. Sparkes, B. Smith, T. Hourigan

Gippsland Power was made to work for its third win of the NAB League season, downing a spirited GWS Giants Academy side by nine points in Blacktown. The travel did not seem to faze the Victorian side, looking fresh coming off a bye round to set up an early lead. The Power’s 13-point quarter-time lead proved the difference in their second-consecutive win, as the home side poured on eight goals during the second and third terms to get within a single point heading into the final break. With the game on the line, Gippsland’s depth proved too strong, seeing the Power home in a tense and low-scoring final term. Riley Baldi sent a timely reminder of his talent with 22 disposals, eight inside 50s and two goals on his return, with big-man Josh Smith named Gippsland’s best. Harrison Pepper (26 disposals) and Josh Dunkley (18) found a good amount of ball on top of hitting the scoreboard, while Brock Smith (24 disposals, seven rebound 50s) and Ryan Sparkes (18 disposals) continued their solid partnership across half-back. Harry Grant had a monster day out as GWS’ best with 31 disposals and two goals, while Liam Delahunty and Lucas Conlan were the other multiple goal kickers. Ball winners Lachlan Squire (26 disposals, Jeromy Lucas (24), and Nicholas Murray (21) also proved important for the Giants in the narrow loss. GWS’ last NAB League fixture comes against Murray in Victoria, with Gippsland returning to home turf in Round 6 to face the in-form Eastern in a top eight clash.

EASTERN RANGES 1.3 | 2.5 | 9.7 | 11.11 (77)
GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 0.2 | 1.3 | 1.5 | 2.6 (18)

GOALS:

Eastern: B. White 4, J. Rossiter 3, B. Hickleton 2, Z. Pretty, C. Hirst.
Gold Coast: R. Buckland, E. Dawson.

BEST:

Eastern: R. Smith, Z. Pretty, J. Nathan, J. Clarke, L. Stapleton, B. White
Gold Coast: C. Joyce, C. Budarick, M. Pescud , D. Koenen, R. Gilmore, P. Murtagh

Eastern Ranges made it a double demolition of the Northern Academies at Trevor Barker Beach Oval, downing the Gold Coast Suns academy by 59 points to climb into the competition’s top two. After a first-half arm-wrestle ensued, the Ranges broke the game open with a seven-goal to nil third term to set up their fourth-straight win. Three players did the bulk of Eastern’s scoring, with Bailey White claiming an opportunistic bag of four goals in his first game for the year, while Jamieson Rossiter booted 3.3 in a solid marking display and Ben Hickleton chimed in with 2.4. Another player to find the goals, Zak Pretty, amassed a whopping 37 disposals at 70 per cent efficiency to earn the Draft Central player of the week nod, but was beaten out by dominant ruckman Riley Smith (19 disposals, 37 hit-outs) for best-afield honours. Lachlan Stapleton (27 disposals) and Mitch Mellis continued their good form through the middle, with bottom-age prospect Joshua Clarke impressing off half-back with plenty of dash. Ryan Buckland and Ethan Dawson were the Suns’ only goal kickers for the day, with many of their best players employed further afield. Connor Budarick (27 disposals, 16 tackles) continues to shine on the back of hard work, while Corey Joyce and Dirk Koenen were also named in the best for their roles in defence. The Suns head back home next week to face GWV and see out their NAB League cameo, while Eastern faces a tough task in keeping its win-streak alive against Gippsland in Morwell.

CALDER CANNONS 0.1 | 4.6 | 5.10 | 8.11 (59)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.1 | 2.1 | 6.3 | 8.4 (52)

GOALS:

Calder: N. Gentile 3, J. Martin 2, O. Sasalu, M. Simpson, J. Keeping.
Geelong: C. Sprague 2, L. Lloyd 2, C. Seymour, L. Smith, K. Rayner, W. Batson.

BEST:

Calder: B. Newman, D. Mott, N. Gentile, O. Sasalu, S. Ramsay, S. Graham
Geelong: H. Stubbings, S. Christensen, C. Karpala, C. Sprague, S. Bourke, W. Batson

The Calder Cannons were made to earn their second win of the year, leaving Geelong Falcons winless after five rounds with a seven-point victory at RAMS Arena. With the wind favouring one end, the game was ultimately decided by Calder’s dominant second quarter, where the Cannons scored 4.5 while keeping Geelong scoreless to open up a 17-point lead. Despite bridging the gap to a single point heading into the final break, the Falcons were outlasted by the home side, which converted well in the clutch moments in an otherwise hit-and-miss display in front of goal. Ned Gentile (21 disposals, three goals) converted in each of the last three quarters to provide a key hand, while other multiple goal kicker Jacob Martin kicked the deciding goal with seven minutes to play. The game was dominated by Cannons key defender Brodie Newman, who recorded 36 disposals and an incredible 17 marks, while Daniel Mott (29 disposals) continued to build his form and Sam Ramsay (27) was also good. Not all is lost for the Falcons despite being the only full-time NAB League side without a win, with some of their depth players standing up. Over-ager Harry Stubbings was named best for his 20 disposals and nine tackles, with Will Batson (20 disposals, one goal) and Chas Karpala (19 disposals) also amongst it, while Charlie Sprague returned an impressive 18 disposals, six marks, and two goals. Geelong’s search for a win continues on neutral territory in Round 6 against an unbeaten Sydney Academy side, with Calder hosting at RAMS Arena once again against Bendigo.

TASMANIA DEVILS 1.4 | 1.6 | 2.7 | 3.8 (26)
WESTERN JETS 2.0 | 4.3 | 7.8 | 10.13 (73)

GOALS:

Tasmania: T. Penwright, L. Gadomski, I. Chugg.
Western: A. Manton 3, J. Honey 2, E. Ford 2, A. Clarke, C. White, J. Horo.

BEST:

Tasmania: O. Burrows-Cheng, P. Walker, M. McGuinness, B. Gordon, L. Viney, O. Shaw
Western: D. Cassar, K. Borg, J. Kellett, J. Horo, W. Kennedy, L. Rocci

A second-consecutive win sees Western Jets fly into the NAB League top eight, accounting for Tasmania Devils by 47 points on the Apple Isle. With the two sides coming in on eight points apiece, it was the Jets who got the better of an early stalemate – snatching a two-point lead at the first break and never looking back. The travelling side gradually widened the margin as the game went on, kicking no more than three goals in each quarter to build their eventual winning score. While goals were hard to come by for the Devils, they proved competitive up the field but were beaten by a combination of Western’s strength and classy ball winners. Darcy Cassar led the way in the latter department, collecting a game-high 31 disposals (27 kicks, 13 marks) from half-back, while Josh Honey was back to his best with 25 disposals and two goals, and Josh Kellett (18 disposals) also proved effective. Over-ager Will Kennedy (19 disposals, 33 hit-outs) continues to dominate in the ruck, while fellow big-man Aaron Clarke clunked nine marks and Archi Manton converted three goals up forward. For the home side, Oscar Burrows-Cheng was named best for his combative 22 disposals, with Patrick Walker and Bailey Gordon the leading disposal getters (both 25) and debutant Isaac Chugg showing some promising signs. The Devils remain in Tasmania for a clash against Oakleigh at North Hobart Oval next week, while Western has a bye in Round 6.

GWV REBELS 3.3 | 10.6 | 13.9 | 17.10 (112)
NT THUNDER 1.2 | 1.5 | 6.8 | 8.9 (57)

GOALS:

GWV: N. Caris 4, R. Polkinghorne 2, I. Grant 2, M. Lloyd 2, J. Rantall 2, T. Mahony 2, C. Craig-Peters, J. Hill, M. Martin.
NT: T. Woods 3, M. Cumming 2, B. O’Connell 2, J. Lynch.

BEST:

GWV: P. Glanford, C. Craig-Peters, R. Polkinghorne, M. Burgess, J. Rantall, M. Lloyd
NT: B. Jungfer, B. O’Connell, L. Ferreira, S. Cumming, M. Cumming, J. Jeffrey

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels have come away with an easy Round 5 victory, downing Northern Territory Thunder by 55 points at Windy Hill. The venue was aptly named for the conditions as a strong breeze blowing a gale caused for some inaccuracy at times, although both teams seemed well equipped by half-time to deal with the conditions. The Rebels never looked like losing the game, piling on 10 goals to one by half-time and essentially having put a nail in the Thunders’ coffin as they headed into the main break. The Northern Territory coaches told the players that their efforts “now” (in the second half) was what mattered and was within their control, and the visitors answered with three of the first four goals, and five foals to three in the term, to cut the deficit to 43 points by the final break. Any slight hint of a comeback was soon snuffed out within eight and a half minutes as the Rebels piled on four consecutive goals – including two to Izaac Grant – to race away to a 67-point advantage. Two late goals to Beau O’Connell and Matthew Cumming restored the final margin to 55. Patrick Glanford was named the Rebels’ best in the ruck, competing against the bigger-bodied Stephen Cumming, while Cooper Craig-Peters and Riley Polkinghorne were among nine individual goalkickers. Nick Caris led the way with four majors, while Polkinghorne, Grant, Jay Rantall, Toby Mahony and Matty Lloyd all booted two apiece. For the Thunder, Tyson Woods kicked three goals all within 15 metres, while Matthew Cumming managed two majors, as did O’Connell. The small mid-forward was a standout for the Thunder, working hard on the outside with Ben Jungfer doing the heavy lifting on the inside. Down back, Joel Jeffrey had some highlight reel moments with high leaps and terrific intercept marks.

NAB League Boys Analysis: Bendigo Pioneers six-goal first term

IT was a quarter that certainly opened eyes across the league, with Bendigo Pioneers completely dominating the Geelong Falcons in 25 minutes of impressive football. The Pioneers, who won two matches and finished on the bottom of the table last year, showed that their bottom-agers were up for the fight in season 2019, racing to a 6.1 (37) to 0.1 (1) quarter time lead. After that, the Pioneers still won the scoring battle, seven goals to six, but it was much closer and the start was something to behold. We take a look at what made the Pioneers so impressive in that first term. To take a look at how the Pioneers piled on six goals, we look at the way each major came about and the time in the quarter the goal occured.

GOALS:

1:53 Riley Ironside – A quick handball out of the pack straight to the running Ironside who opened the Pioneers’ account in the opening two minutes.
7:31 Max Johnson – Free kick from a forward 50 stoppage. Johnson converted the set shot from just insdie 50.
8:35 Riley Wilson – Another handball out of traffic to Wilson who snapped truly on his right and bent it through.
11:35 Jeremy Rodi – Sharked a hitout and snapped a goal off a step from a forward stoppage and it bounced once before bouncing the right way through the goals.
17:19 Caleb Fisher – A series of handballs by the Pioneers finished with Fisher who kicked truly after straightening up inside 50.
22:35 Will Shaw – Put on the afterburners and burnt off opponents to deliver late in the term with a running goal just inside 50.

So of the six goals, three goals came from handballs inside 50 from inside congestion out to the running player on the outside, one came from a set shot, one directly from a stoppage clearance and one from taking the game on and goaling on the run.

Looking ahead to the top disposal winners in the first term, Bendigo Pioneers trio, Thomson Dow, James Schischka and Logan Fitzgerald finished the term with nine touches each. A number of the handballs out of stoppages were from Dow, while Schischka positioned himself for the intercept mark out of the Falcons defence, and Fitzgerald was productive around the stoppages. Other Pioneers who found the footy were Riley Wilson, Brodie Kemp and Riley Ironside – two of whom kicked goals, while Kemp played an important role in midfield. For the Falcons, Cooper Stephens had a team-high nine disposals, while Jesse Clark and Archie Hildebrandt had eight, and Charlie Harris finished the quarter with seven.

DISPOSALS:

Thomson Dow (BP) 9
James Schischka (BP) 9
Logan Fitzgerald (BP) 9
Cooper Stephens (GF) 9
Jesse Clark (GF) 8
Archie Hildebrandt (GF) 8
Charlie Harris (GF) 7
Riley Wilson (BP) 6
Brodie Kemp (BP) 6
Riley Ironside (BP) 6

Now looking to the team statistics, we see a clear discrepancy across all areas aside from rebounds, with the Pioneers taking 16 marks to eight, and having 27 more disposals. More importantly, Bendigo restricted Geelong to just 28 kicks in the quarter, compared to the second half where the Falcons were able to record 107 kicks. After quarter time, Geelong was able to find more space to kick the ball, and its kick to handball ratio reduced. The Pioneers used the running handball game to their advantage, and backed their speed which saw them set up several plays forward.

A big factor in the first term was in the forward 50 tackles. Bendigo Pioneers served up eight forward 50 tackles from 14 inside 50s, while the Falcons did not record one from seven. The effective clearances stood at five to one in the Pioneers’ favour, with the Falcons’ first clearances and inside 50 coming at the 9:26 minute mark. By that stage, the score was 3.1 (19) to 0.0 (0). Geelong had three attempts on goal – Max Annadale recording a behind on the run, with two other attempts going out on the full – both from set shots.

KEY STATISTICS:

Stat: BP-GF
Kicks:
 45-28
Handballs: 51-41
Disposals: 96-69
Marks: 16-8
Clearances: 5-1
Inside 50s: 14-7
Tackles I50: 8-0
Rebounds: 7-8

Bendigo Pioneers went on to record a memorable 43-point win, and while the game was tight after quarter time, Bendigo finished off strongly as well, booting two goals to zero after Geelong cut the deficit to 31 points at the final break. Dow recorded the most disposals for the Pioneers with 28, as well as eight marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while capping off the performance with two goals. Schischka and Fitzgerald both went on to have 24 disposals, as well as a combined 10 rebounds and 11 marks. Wilson was named best on for the Pioneers, racking up 23 disposals, three marks, four clearances, four inside 50s, three tackles and two rebounds as well as his goal. The Pioneers now travel to Deakin Reserve, Shepparton to take on Murray Bushrangers who are coming off a narrow loss to Gippsland Power in what hopes to be a thrilling contest.

Weekend preview: NAB League Boys – Round 1

TOMORROW marks the start of a new era in Victorian Under 18 Boys football, with the brand new NAB League Boys competition kicking off. A standalone game at MARS Stadium begins the first round, before a spread of matches across Victoria on Sunday will provide plenty of highlights for the 2019 draft crop.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 1 – 23/03/2019
3:00pm
Mars Stadium – Ballarat

The standalone game on Saturday afternoon pits the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels against reigning premiers, Dandenong Stingrays. The game marks the second consecutive match the Rebels have played against the Stingrays, having been on the receiving end of a belting in last year’s elimination final. The Stingrays have made some changes with a new coach and talent manager coming into the fold, while also losing a fair chunk of their premiership side. They will now rely on a lot of bottom-agers as well as some talented top-agers who featured in parts throughout the 2018 season. Led by top prospect, Hayden Young, the Stingrays have a solid team across the board with last year’s co-catain Mitch Riordan slotting into the centre for this match, and the likes of overager Jai Nanscawen and Luca Goonan also named there, while Sam Merrick – who tested well at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day on a wing. It will largely be a new-look side both on an off the field for the Stingrays, while for the Rebels, they have a large among of players who tasted plenty of football last year. The midfield contains overager, Matty Lloyd who is looking at a new inside role, as well as some silky top-agers in Mitch Martin and Isaac Wareham, the inside ability of Cooper Craig-Peters and bottom-age talent, Nick Stevens. Fellow overagers, James Cleaver and Jed Hill provide some good run up either end, while the ruck duel between Patrick Glanford and Bailey Schmidt will be one to watch. The Stingrays deserve to be favourites, having the wood over the Rebels the past few years, but with so much change, it is as good a time as any for the home team to grab much needed points in the opening round.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
10:00am
RSEA Park – Moorabbin

The next day at RSEA Park, Sandringham Dragons face Calder Cannons in the first of a Metro double header at the ground. The Dragons are stacked with talent across the board and will be one of the teams to beat this season. The Dragons’ spine of Corey Watts, Fischer McAsey, Jack Mahony, Charlie Dean and Riley Bowman looks ominous, while a midfield containing Ryan Byrnes, Finn Magginness and Josh Worrell will match it with the best. For the Cannons, captain Brodie Newman holds down half-back with overager Tye Browning, while the athletic Thomas Cartwright has been named at full-back. The Cannons midfield is a strength with Daniel Mott, Sam Graham and Harrison Minton-Connell named in the middle. Josh Kemp is an exciting prospect who while overage, is still only in his second year in the system. There is no doubt the Cannons have a massive challenge on their hands here against a full-strength Dragons outfit. Winning the midfield battle is crucial and backing themselves to match Sandringham’s run is the challenge, while the Dragons will be keen to win in the first game at their new home in Moorabbin.

 

EASTERN RANGES v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
12:30pm
RSEA Park – Moorabbin

In the second match of the double header, Eastern Ranges take on a full-strength Oakleigh Chargers which is a huge challenge for the Ranges. A year more experienced with the likes of Mitch Mellis, Lachlan Stapleton and Chayce Black in the middle, captain James Ross, Todd Garner and Jarrod Gilbee in defence, and Billy McCormack and Jamieson Rossiter in attack, Eastern has a solid side on paper. Overagers, Cody Hirst and James Blanck will play key roles in the side, but they will all need to be at their best to topple the might of the Chargers. Nick Bryan heads up the ruck and will look to get first hands to Noah Anderson, Matt Rowell and Joe Ayton-Delaney who moves into a more contested role this year. Dylan Williams and former Rebel, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan provide excitement up forward, while Trent Bianco and Will Phillips use the ball well coming down the ground. The top-end talent and depth is clearly there for the Chargers and is a key reason why they are arguably the team to beat this season along with Sandringham and Gippsland, of whom all three are well represented in the AFL Academy.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
1:00pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

The second all-country clash of the weekend occurs at RAMS Arena in Craigieburn where Murray Bushrangers meet Gippsland Power. The Power are one of the contenders this season and look to be the top country team for season 2019. Coming off a preliminary final, albeit with a disappointing exit in the end, the large proportion of bottom-agers who steered the team to such a successful season are now top-agers and have the extra year of experience. For the Bushrangers, they also have their fair share of talented bottom-agers and should be the country side most likely to give Gippsland a run for its money. For Muray, its dynamic forward line will cause headaches, which in the past has been dominated by talls, but is more likely to be the hybrid-medium-smalls who create some issues for opposition defenders. Jye ChalcraftCam Wilson and Elijah Hollands can be damaging at ground level while Will Chandler provides some height up forward, and the match-ups with Jake van der Pligt, Brock Smith, Ryan Sparkes and Tye Hourigan will be the ones to watch. Leo Connolly, Fraser Phillips and Sam Flanders going head-to-head with the likes of Jimmy Boyer, Dylan Clarke and Cam Wild will be another interesting battle, while Josh Smith and Ben Kelly could go head-to-head in the Power forwad line. While Gippsland are missing key midfielder Caleb Serong, expect them to get the job done in what could be a thrilling contest to open the season.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
2:00pm
Colac Football Ground – Colac

A couple of teams with unknowns about them face-off in Colac, as Geelong Falcons host Bendigo Pioneers. The Falcons have a lot of new players in their side, while the Pioneers are always a young team. With many of the names getting games last year, the Pioneers should feel some line-up consistency for round 1. High-flyers, Braydon Vaz and Will Wallace hold down the key defensive posts for the Pioneers, while Brodie Kemp, Thomson Dow and Riley Ironside all fill out the midfield. They will have to battle top talent, Cooper Stephens, as well as overage forward-turned-midfielder, Charlie Sprague and Charlie Harris. Jesse Clark will look to provide some run and carry out of a new-look defence in 2019, while the likes of Jay Dahlhaus and Charlie Lazzaro are ever-dangerous inside 50. The Falcons given their record and form late last year, including from some of their bottom-agers in 2018, will have them heading in as favourites, but Bendigo could well take home the points given the majority of their line-up – minus Flynn Perez who is out with an ACL and a couple of others like Matt Hird – is able to play.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
3:40pm
Ikon Park – Carlton

The final game of the round heads to Ikon Park where the Knights and Jets go head-to-head in what could be a battle of the two most improved sides heading into this year. Last year the Jets made the finals but were bundled out in the elimination final, while the Knights had a disapponting loss to GWV Rebels the week before in the Wild Card round. Both teams are capable of creating scoring opportunities, as Josh D’Intinosante and Darcy Cassar were a couple of the more dangerous half-forwards last season. Emerson Jeka will start at centre half-forward and no doubt be the main target inside 50, while Eddie Ford and Josh Honey know where the goals are. Daly Andrews is a handy overager to return to the side, while Spencer Johnson and Josh Kellett will come out of defence. The Knights’ bottom-agers were among the top players last season, and Nathan Howard will take up the ruck duties, while Adam Crafa, Sam Philp and Sunny Brazier will use their bigger bodies to try and outmuscle the Jets midfield. Ryan Gardner, Lachlan Potter and Ryan Sturgess will move the ball in transition, while former Sandringham Dragon, Will Kennedy and Aaron Clarke are two Jets who will look to stretch the Knights when forward.

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Round 16

AFTER a long and exciting season of TAC Cup action, the final round of the competition is here, and there are some huge inclusions. It appears a number of players racing against time to be back for finals are returning, with Jye Caldwell, Charlie Sprague and Mitch Riordan all back into their respective teams in what is a finals-defining round of action from the first game.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

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

The first game of the round sets in motion the rest of the finals-defining clashes, with the third placed Sandringham Dragons looking to lock up a top four spot. They have made at least two changes, with bottom-agers Finn Maginness and Miles Bergman heading out of the 22, while forward Jack Denborough and midfielder Samuel Forbes are among five inclusions in an extended team, however captain Bailey Smith is still on the sidelines. For the Stingrays, they welcome back Mitch Riordan, Jake Frawley and Corey Ellison to an extended bench, in what is arguably just Riley Bowman away from being full strength.

Sandringham Dragons

B: 18. A. Seaton, 69. C. Watts, 48. J. Worrell
HB: 74. H. Reynolds, 52. C. Dean, 2. A. Richards
C: 19. S.  Forbes, 72. D.  Chirgwin, 53. H.  Ralphsmith
HF: 17. J. Denborough, 33. W. Kennedy, 11. N. Stamatis
F: 70. J. Bell, 29. B. King, 23. A. Hanrahan
R: 28. J. Rendell, 7. L. Stocker, 66. R. Byrnes
Int: 64. L. Butler, 3. T. Fogarty, 41. J. Goddard, 35. G. Grey, 12. C. Jones, 61. F. McAsey, 25. O. McMaster
23P: 38. J. Le Grice

In: J. Denborough, C. Jones, S. Forbes, J. Goddard, O. McMaster
Out: F. Maginness,  M. Bergman

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 12. M. Gahan, 56. M. Cumming, 41. L. Stenning
HB: 58. W. Hamill, 32. D. Frampton, 10. L. Young
C: 9. Z.  Foot, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 27. L.  McDonnell
HF: 49. M. Cottrell, 29. B. Williams, 7. J. Taylor
F: 17. F. Bayne, 59. S. Sturt, 15. T. Bedford
R: 28. B. Schmidt, 2. H. Young, 16. J. Frawley
Int: 31. H. Briggs, 36. S. Cumming, 52. C. Ellison, 1. S. Fletcher, 45. L. Goonan, 3. J. Plumridge, 18. M. Riordan, 44. C. Weightman
23P: 39. J. Toner

In: J. Frawley, M. Riordan, L. Stenning, C. Ellison, J. Toner

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. CALDER CANNONS

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

It has been a long time coming, but Charlie Sprague is back in Geelong colours after a long lay-off due to injury. He returns to the side along with four others on an extended bench, while the injured Jay Dahlhaus, and Bailey Scott are both out of the side. Impressive 16 year-old Tanner Bruhn holds his spot as the 23rd player after a solid debut last week. For the Cannons, a number of St Bernard’s players return back to the side, with best on ground in the Herald Sun Shield decider, Brodie Newman, among a number of key ins, with Lachlan Sholl, Daniel Hanna and Will Jury all back, while Jake Firebrace and Ben Rigoni are among five confirmed outs for the match.

Geelong Falcons

B: 40. J. Clark, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 7. C. Harris
HB: 20. B. Ham, 31. C. Cartledge, 21. L. Smith
C: 8. E.  McHenry, 6. D.  Madigan, 22. S.  Walsh
HF: 9. B. Morton, 39. C. Idun, 13. H. Whyte
F: 36. C. Sprague, 48. B. Schlensog, 2. S. Torpy
R: 44. S. Conway, 30. O. Brownless, 41. C. Stephens
Int: 37. B. Campi, 11. C. Karpala, 10. B. Mensch, 34. C. Page, 32. F. Parish, 3. K. Rayner, 42. H. Spiller
23P: 15. T. Bruhn

In: C. Sprague, C. Karpala, L. Smith, B. Campi, H. Spiller
Out: J. Dahlhaus,  B. Scott

Calder Cannons

B: 9. C. Barton, 38. B. Newman, 43. L. Cavallaro
HB: 35. S. Graham, 23. D. Hanna, 8. L. Sholl
C: 27. T.  Browning, 30. M.  Podhajski, 48. S.  Ramsay
HF: 51. W. Jury, 29. J. Riccardi, 57. J. Kemp
F: 10. H. Minton-Connell, 36. P. Mahoney, 5. C. Taylor
R: 21. H. Jones, 1. D. Mott, 20. R. West
Int: 33. J. Evans, 40. L. Johnson, 25. J. Martin, 3. I. Moussa , 12. J. O’Sullivan, 52. B. Reddick, 14. J. Taylor
23P: 56. C. Brown

In: P. Mahoney, W. Jury, L. Johnson, J. O’Sullivan, D. Hanna, J. Taylor, L. Sholl, B. Newman
Out: T. Cartwright, S. Shorten, L. Sultana, B. Rigoni, J. Firebrace

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. EASTERN RANGES

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

Over in Morwell, Gippsland has welcomed back a couple of big inclusions, as AFL Academy members and Vic Country representatives, Caleb Serong and Sam Flanders return to the side. They are among six inclusions, along with ruck Rylan Henkel, who are added to an extended team. Meanwhile the injured Fraser Phillips heads out along with Luke Williams and Zac Skinner. Eastern has also rolled the dice at the selection table, with Tyler Edwards and Riley Clausen among seven inclusions, while Lachlan Gawel and Chayce Black are two of four confirmed outs.

Gippsland Power

B: 12. B. Smith, 25. K. Reid, 15. R. Sparkes
HB: 18. M. McGannon, 14. T. Hourigan, 7. B. Patterson
C: 8. B.  Beck, 6. R.  Baldi, 29. B.  Motton
HF: 9. I. Mosquito, 23. N. Gown, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 4. S. Flanders, 16. J. Smith, 11. A. Hodge
R: 22. R. Henkel, 2. C. Serong, 5. X. Duursma
Int: 36. M. Bentvelzen , 10. L. Connolly, 13. N. Lowden, 24. B. Maslen, 37. H. Pepper, 39. M. Ryan, 35. J. van der Pligt
23P: 41. W. Anderson

In: M. Ryan, R. Henkel, B. Maslen, C. Serong, H. Neocleous, S. Flanders
Out: F. Phillips,  L. Williams,  Z. Skinner

Eastern Ranges

B: 1. B. Bredin, 59. J. Nathan, 19. J. Kritopoulos
HB: 8. J. Burleigh, 31. J. Blanck, 23. X. Fry
C: 2. A.  Kalcovski, 7. L.  Stapleton, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 40. D. Brereton, 45. M. Zalac, 46. B. White
F: 4. R. Clausen, 65. B. Hickleton, 9. J. Duffy
R: 18. B. McCormack, 24. K. Quirk, 57. C. Leon
Int: 3. H. Chinn, 43. K. Crosby, 30. T. Edwards, 27. J. Jaworski, 64. Z. Pretty, 22. C. Quirk, 58. R. Smith
23P: 56. W. Parker

In: M. Zalac, R. Clausen, T. Edwards, B. White, B. Hickleton, K. Crosby, Z. Pretty
Out: J. Sullivan, T. Hallett-Tauali’i, L. Gawel, C. Black

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

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

In the second game at MARS Stadium, the GWV Rebels have brought in 11 players to an extended side after the return of the St Patrick’s contingent. Elliott Lamb, Matty Lloyd, Lochie Dawson and Josh Chatfield are back into the side, while bottom-agers Ben Dodd, Isaac Wareham and Patrick Glanford also return, as Under 16s talent Jamarra Ugle-Hagan makes his debut. For Oakleigh, they have just brought two players into the team, with Charlie Beasley and Zac Hart returning, and are yet to decide on the 23rd player.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 10. J. Lohmann, 18. B. Helyar, 26. R. Ranieri
HB: 48. J. Cleaver, 43. J. Wright, 5. H. Jennings
C: 19. J.  Henderson, 6. C.  Wilson, 24. M.  Lloyd
HF: 12. A. Gove, 20. T. Watts, 27. E. Lamb
F: 14. J. Hill, 45. D. McEldrew, 2. M. Schnerring
R: 29. P. Glanford, 47. T. Mahony, 7. M. Martin
Int: 11. J. Chatfield, 9. L. Dawson, 41. B. Dodd, 16. E. Harvey, 49. L. Herbert, 44. R. Polkinghorne, 30. I. Wareham
23P: 50. J. Ugle-Hagan

In: E. Lamb, B. Dodd, L. Herbert, J. Ugle-Hagan, R. Polkinghorne, M. Lloyd, L. Dawson, I. Wareham, J. Chatfield, J. Lohmann, P. Glanford
Out: H. Butler,  T. Shannon,  M. Burgess,  I. Ewing,  M. Clarke,  B. Annett,  C. Heard,  C. Hinkley

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 3. J. Ayton-Delaney, 36. C. Beasley, 16. L. Westwood
HB: 17. T. Bianco, 4. W. Kelly, 23. I. Quaynor
C: 31. W.  Golds, 32. J.  Ross, 11. M.  Rowell
HF: 13. A. Bosenavulagi, 7. J. Robertson, 26. J. Gasper
F: 8. N. Anderson, 33. M. Warren, 22. D. Williams
R: 30. B. Wraith, 1. R. Collier-Dawkins, 9. J. Rowbottom
Int: 12. N. Answerth , 64. J. Jordon, 5. X. O’Neill, 44. W. Phillips, 10. C. Whitehead
23P:

In: C. Beasley, Z. Hart

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

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

By the time their game rolls around, Murray Bushrangers will know if a top four spot is on the line. Expect them to hit the ground running with Ely Smith returning back to the team after a successful run with Collingwood’s Victorian Football League (VFL) side. Ben Kelly is also in, replacing Floyd Bollinghaus, while agile bottom-ager Jye Chalcraft will miss the remainder of the season due to injury. For the Knights, they welcome back Mitch and Cam Wild, Harrison Grace and Kobe Brandt among eight players on an extended bench, while Ryan Sturgess, Sam Philp and James Lucente are among five outs from their Round 15 side.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 11. E. Adams, 59. L. Fiore, 55. R. Paradzayi
HB: 12. L. Ash, 16. N. Murray, 10. P. Warner
C: 26. R.  Bice, 5. E.  Smith, 45. D.  Harrington
HF: 7. Z. Barzen, 2. J. Butts, 13. B. Frauenfelder
F: 6. W. Chandler, 18. H. Garoni, 53. C. Wilson
R: 3. B. Kelly, 9. M. Walker, 19. J. Boyer
Int: 1. W. Christie, 38. D. Clarke, 33. F. Ellis, 36. L. Walker
23P: 58. E. Hollands

In: E. Hollands, B. Kelly, L. Walker, E. Smith
Out: F. Bollinghaus,  N. Amery,  J. Chalcraft,  W. Mack

Northern Knights

B: 9. C. Simonsen, 33. J. Randall, 22. M. Wild
HB: 5. L. Potter, 28. S. Uzelac, 15. O. White
C: 30. J.  McInerney, 36. K.  Yodgee, 38. B.  Nikolovski
HF: 1. R. Gardner, 12. J. Naylor, 3. B. Gillard
F: 17. J. D’Intinosante, 21. M. Baker, 7. H. Grace
R: 19. N. Howard, 18. S. Brazier, 8. A. Carafa
Int: 10. B. Bell, 24. R. Bowkett, 37. K. Brandt, 20. P. Della Rocca, 46. J. House, 32. I. Rossi, 44. C. Wild
23P: 55. J. Boyd

In: M. Wild, C. Wild, H. Grace, B. Bell, I. Rossi, J. House, K. Brandt, B. Nikolovski
Out: R. Sturgess, S. Philp, J. Davies, J. Lucente, J. Trudgeon

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. WESTERN JETS

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

Depending on other results, this might be a dead rubber by the time it rolls around, but both Bendigo Pioneers and Western Jets will be keen to finish off the regular season with a victory. Jye Caldwell is a massive inclusion for the home team, playing just his second game of the season having returned from concussion sustained at school football and a hamstring injury this year. He returns along with five others players, including Lucas Caccaviello and Deklan Loveridge, while Riley Ironside and Daniel Clohesy are among four outs for the match. For the Jets, captain Xavier O’Halloran returns from winning the Herald Sun Shield with St Bernard’s, while Lachlan Pettigrove and Nathan Ellis are among the six players named in the extended team. Josh Kellett, Will Smyth and Eddie Ford are the three confirmed outs from Western’s loss to Northern last weekend.

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 41. B. Vaz, 24. N. McHugh, 2. J. Williams
HB: 16. J. Atley, 18. B. Henderson, 49. O. Perez
C: 3. L.  Marciano, 8. B.  Kemp, 25. F.  Perez
HF: 50. N. Kay, 20. J. Schischka, 51. B. Waasdorp
F: 55. C. Fisher, 36. A. Gundry, 43. H. Lawrence
R: 54. M. Christensen, 4. J. Caldwell, 5. N. Wheeler
Int: 15. L. Caccaviello, 1. M. Goodwin, 21. D. Loveridge, 33. J. McHale, 28. C. Vick, 31. B. Worme
23P: 47. S. Conforti

In: L. Caccaviello, J. Caldwell, N. Kay, D. Loveridge, C. Vick, B. Worme
Out: R. Ironside,  D. Clohesy,  J. Treacy,  S. O’Farrell

Western Jets

B: 48. A. Britten, 37. H. Murphy, 25. S. Johnson
HB: 15. M. Hearne, 38. B. Khamis, 6. L. Rocci
C: 17. D.  Andrews , 33. X.  O’Halloran, 20. D.  Cassar
HF: 24. J. Honey, 31. E. Jeka, 12. C. Thar
F: 10. S. Kyriazis, 45. A. Clarke, 49. D. Pantalleresco
R: 47. D. Walters, 39. S. Radovanovic, 36. J. Rice
Int: 32. N. Ellis, 1. L. Failli, 22. O. Manton, 28. J. Papachatzakis, 30. L. Pettigrove, 2. T. Rudic, 7. J. Watkins
23P: 26. C. Raak

In: L. Pettigrove, X. O’Halloran, N. Ellis, C. Raak, L. Failli, A. Britten
Out: E. Ford, J. Kellett, W. Smyth

Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 15

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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