Tag: roth

Eastern Ranges conquer premiership favourites

It was a game that pitted the two best, albeit understrength teams against each other that was expected to be a beauty. Geelong, arguably the powerhouse team of this year’s TAC Cup competition and at home at Simmonds Stadium was facing off against the second placed Eastern Ranges, missing its two key players, spearhead Tom Boyd and inside midfielder Ben Cavarra. It turned out to be a complete annihilation for the latter as the likes of Christian Petracca and Matthew Traynor destroyed the normally clinical Falcons.

It is not just the fact that Eastern Ranges defeated Geelong, but more the margin of the defeat, which is so surprising. Eastern thumped Geelong by a massive 108 points, kicking 20.9.129 to 2.9.21. No side has come close to kicking twenty goals against a stingy Falcons outfit, yet Eastern Ranges had 29 scoring shots to 11 in a complete domination of a club that has dominated all season.

Unsurprisingly the Falcons led at the first change, holding Eastern Ranges goalless. But from then on it was all Eastern Ranges. The game remained relatively close until half time, with Eastern Ranges ending the half having kicked six goals to Geelong’s two, and leading by 24 points. It was in the second half that the game split open, with Eastern Range kicking 8.1 to Geelong’s 0.1 in the third term, and 6.1 to 0.1 in the fourth term. You’re not misreading that, Eastern Ranges booted 14 goals to just two behinds in a complete annihilation of a club that is expected to hold the trophy aloft this year.

With both teams missing key players to Vic Country and Vic Metro duties, it was the turn of the lesser lights to step up. In the absence of partner-in-crime Boyd, Eastern forward Christian Petracca had a day out against the Falcons, kicking 6.2 and amassing 22 disposals, whilst Matthew Traynor and Andreas Roth chimed in with 4.0 and 3.2 respectively. Midfielder Mitch Keedle also played well, collecting 21 disposals, five marks, two tackles, and a goal. Jordan Walker (23 disposals, seven tackles and a goal) and James Belo (20 disposals and five marks)

It would be an understatement to say it was a disappointing game for Geelong. Kody Spokes and Lachlan Devine were the sole goal kickers for the team on the day, and there was little contribution from other players. Midfielders Matt Boag (20 disposals, six tackles, 0.3) and Meyrick Buchanan (31 disposals, six tackles, three marks) were amongst the best, and tried hard all day, but ultimately lacked contribution from other Geelong players.

Geelong’s list of missing players include Lewis Taylor, James Tsitas, Darcy Gardiner, Nic Bourke, Fraser Fort and Darcy Lang amongst others, leaving the work to too few.

Both teams will be better for the return of their star players in coming rounds, with Eastern to regain Boyd and Cavarra, whilst Geelong will be bolstered by the inclusion of those named above and will be wanting a much better effort this weekend. The Falcons are a powerhouse at full strength and while they’ve given second placed Eastern Ranges a catch up, it will still be hard to see them drop out of first. What this match does show us that Eastern Ranges are not as Boyd-orientated as first thought and have a very dangerous forward line on any given day; something they must conquer with Boyd out after injuring his ankle for Vic Metro. One thing’s for certain, expect both this teams to be there when the whips are cracking in September.

Geelong Falcons 2.9 (21)
Eastern Ranges 20.9 (129)

Geelong: Spokes, Devine
Eastern Ranges: C. Petracca (6), M. Traynor (4), A. Roth (3), C. Jones (2), C. McDougall (2), J. Walker, K. Staples, M. Keedle

Geelong: M. Buchanan, G. Cameron, A. Hickey, L. Davis, C. Floyd, K. Spokes
Eastern: J. Belo, J. Walker, C. Petracca, K. Staples, N. Evans, M. Keedle

Phantom Draft June edition part four: Jourdan Canil

One of our Rising Star team, Jourdan Canil has bravely stuck his neck out and created a phantom draft for the first four rounds. It should be noted that plenty can change over the next few months and with the great diversity of our writers, much like the public, everyone has a different opinion. Jourdan has been the first one to put his hand up and attempt one of the hardest things to do five months from the draft. The aim is to give readers an insight into who will be available around the picks that your club has. It should also be noted that Adelaide will not have the picks designated to them, however Jourdan has used Adelaide in his phantom draft so it gives an extra pick for the first two rounds and therefore an extra player can be included.

The first round can be found here. The second round can be found here. The third round can be found here. So enjoy getting familiar with some of the names that will grace the AFL field in 2014.

55. GWS – Erin Wasley-Black (NT – Def/Mid)
NT Thunder
188 cm 70 kg
Player Comparison: Matt Buntine
GWS have the option to pick the AIS player for themselves as a zone selection, or trade him off like they did with Anderson, Barry and Neade. Wasley-Black looks to be the kind of half back who can rack up the touches, but doesn’t quite have that polish yet. He’s been played all around the ground but he’s found a niche running off the half back. He reads the play well, but when he’s setting up the play he can butcher the ball. If no one wants to bid on him, I see GWS stealing him late.

56. Melbourne – Aaron Heppell (VIC – Mid/Def)
Gippsland Power
181 cm 78 kg
Player Comparison: Dyson Heppell
Surprising player comparison, no? Aaron is much like his brother except a little better defensively and nowhere near as good offensively. Seems to be much more of a bull type inside midfielder and a strong half back. He’s great one on one and in close. I’m surprised he’s less than 80 kg because he seems to be very strong in the core. He’s a great link up player when he’s outside or off the half back line. Against the Western Jets, he racked up 25 touches, seven handball receives, five uncontested marks and seven tackles. For a guy who hasn’t been talked up massively, he seems to be a very solid late second or mid-third round pick. If he can become a better ball user, then he has massive upside.

57. Western Bulldogs – Lewis Fitzgerald (VIC – Mid)
Oakleigh Chargers
190 cm 82 kg
Player Comparison: Jackson Macrae
Fitzgerald reminds me a lot of a taller Jack Macrae in terms of footskills, reading the play and the chance to really bolt up the draft. Against the Western Jets early in the year, Fitzgerald just read the ball really well when the Jets tried to rebound and he had three or four consecutive inside 50’s. He’s a very silky kick and is adept on both sides of the body. He is the kind of link up player that you just value forward of the centre, as he just takes so many uncontested marks and works hard to find space. Fitzgerald only needs 15 or so touches to really influence a game. He’s high quality, already has an AFL body and great athletically. Not sure why he isn’t being talked up more.

58. St Kilda – Nathan Drummond (VIC – Def/Mid)
Murray Bushrangers
181 cm 82 kg
Player Comparison: Josh Hunt
Drummond is a solid defensive half back who can push up into the midfield. He provides rebound off the half back and links up well as he is a decent kick. He’s not overly quick or athletically gifted, but he goes hard at the ball and is solidly built. The best part about Drummond is that he’s accountable for his man, but at the same time he knows when to take the game on by himself. He could pair nicely with Nathan Wright off the half back line for the Saints.

59. Gold Coast – Louis Herbert (VIC – UTIL)
North Ballarat Rebels
187 cm 75 kg
Player Comparison: Kyle Hardingham
Herbert is an explosive utility who could become a great pick, but his light frame and abhorred ability to go missing from games frequently really puts a dampener on what could be a gem of a player. This year, he’s been used more across the half back as a Kyle Hardingham type, due to his great leap and ability to read the flight of the ball. When forward, Herbert is a great over head mark and is fantastic around goals. He’s an accurate and long disposer of the ball and has kicked bags in the past.

60. Brisbane – Cain Tickner (QLD – KPF/KPD)
194 cm 91 kg
Player comparison: Michael Hurley
Tickner is a Lions academy player like Isaac Conway but probably won’t command as much attention. He’s a key position swing man who can clunk marks and play at both ends well. The best part is that he’s already at a great size, so he can certainly push for selection from round one. He’s been hampered by injuries this year so he may not be highly sought after, but he’s one of the better key position value players.

61. Port Adelaide – Michael Apeness (VIC – Ruck/KPF)
Eastern Ranges
199 cm 101 kg
Player Comparison: Tom Bellchambers
I have seen Michael Apeness play a few times now and he’s got the size to tear a game to shreds. Of course, sharing the forward line with Tom Boyd makes it hard for him to stand out. Apeness is a very strong contested mark and a decent shot on goal. He came to life against NSW/ACT with 33 hitouts and really giving the Metro midfielders fantastic service. He’s probably not the most agile of ruckman, but he’s come on in leaps and bounds this year.  There’s a few better pure ruckman in this draft, but his versatility and performance on the big stage are impressive enough to warrant draft selection.

62. North Melbourne – Nick Holman (VIC – Mid)
Murray Bushrangers
186 cm 79 kg
Player Comparison: Matthew Broadbent
Holman stood out against Tasmania, yet he only had 22 touches. He plays as an outside midfielder, but he has a great tank so he’s near the contest quite a lot, applying pressure constantly. He’s a solid kick over 30 metres, but he doesn’t have a great penetrating kick. I considered going with Michael Gibbons here, but I think North will prefer that medium outside midfielder rather than having another guy who can rack it up then turn it over. Holman’s run and carry is good, but his lack of speed and ability to play inside leaves him in that fourth round to rookie category.

63. Adelaide – Andreas Roth (VIC – Fwd)
Eastern Ranges
174 cm 72 kg
Player Comparison: Mark LeCras
I genuinely cannot believe the lack of love this guy gets. He is the best pure small forward in the TAC Cup, and manages to kick plenty of goals, even when all the delivery goes to Boyd, Apeness and Petracca (a great prospect for next year). He is great on the lead and knows how to get out of the big guys way while still being in a damaging position. He’s a fantastic mark for his height, yet also a magician below the knees. His field kicking isn’t that great and he’ll always be a permanent forward. I think that lack of versatility is why people don’t rate him, but if you look at the starting small forwards for Metro against NSW/ACT, it was Jack Billings, Christian Salem, Jesse Tardio and Ben Lennon, all of whom are predominately midfielders who can play forward. Roth has been starved of opportunities but performs so well consistently.

64. Carlton – Mark Orr (VIC – UTIL)
Western Jets
195 cm 97 kg
Player Comparison: Chris Dawes
There’s something I don’t quite get with Orr. He’s a better player than his stats say, but in all fairness, he is a seriously limited player. He’s a good mark on the lead and in the air, yet he only takes three to four marks per game. He’s a good target up forward, yet he hasn’t kicked more than one goal in a game this year. Against Oakleigh, he threatened to kick three or four, but the wind put him off horribly that day. He’s a serviceable back up ruckman, averaging around eight hitouts a game (Duon Dawam, their first ruckman, is leading the league in hitouts).  He can play as a key back too, which is important. He’s strong in one on one competitions and honestly on an output basis that is where he’s done his best work. But I like him as a lead up forward. He’ll never be exciting on the stats sheet but at least the Blues will have a forward target with real size and consistency.

65. Richmond – Jake Barrett (NSW – Mid)
182 cm 78 kg
Player Comparison: Heath Hocking
Barrett just tries all day long, no matter how much they’re getting smashed by. I likened him to a more skilful Heath Hocking as he gets his own ball, can keep his player quiet and can go forward. He’s also fairly powerfully built and has great core strength. Against Vic Metro, he had 22 possessions and kicked two nice goals. He sustained a leg injury, yet continued to play on through that. I really like his attitude and he also has a high enough skill level to be considered for the main draft.

66. West Coast – Dayle Garlett (WA – Mid/Fwd)
Swan Districts
181 cm 75 kg
Player Comparison: Lewis Jetta
Garlett is a classy outside midfielder who will be one to watch. The discipline and attitude issues will ultimately decide whether he’ll be passed over again, but he is the silkiest player in the draft. In the WAFL this season, he has been tagged frequently, yet still averages over 20 possesions and two goals a game. He carries with him explosive speed, great decision maker and a kick that has great penetration. He obviously needs to put on some weight, but that will come in time. Garlett can hit the scoreboard most games, although he doesn’t often kick bags, excluding a recent haul of six goals. I can see him being a very handy half forward whilst his body develops, and eventually should transition into a full time winger or outside midfielder.

67. Essendon – Jacob Chisari (VIC – Mid)
Bendigo Pioneers
176 cm 76 kg
Player Comparison: Travis Colyer
There is a high chance that due to his size, Chisari won’t even get drafted, also being left out of the Vic Country squad. But there is serious upside to the small midfielder that not many others in this draft have. He is an extremely intelligent footballer. He’s not your traditional inside midfielder; instead of getting the ball and distributing it out of the pack, he will pick the ball up on the inside and then have the pace to break away from it. His acceleration is a real highlight and it allows him to to not only break free from contested situations, but gives him time and space to get a clean kick away. Chisari, like Colyer, is the type of player that will back himself to run the length of the field and blaze away, though he is a better kick. A smart, quick and skilful footballer, Chisari is worthy of a second round pick, but he could be a steal late in the draft.

68. Fremantle – Jesse Tardio (VIC – Mid)
Northern Knights
179 cm 72 kg
Player Comparison: Sharrod Wellingham
The first few times I saw Tardio play, I wasn’t particularly impressed. He’d come off for spells every eight or so minutes absolutely spent. I didn’t really think he was that great until I realised who was on the bottom of every pack. He was hidden by bodies, but managed to grab 32 disposals. In another game he played a little more on the outside and up forward and slotted two nice goals. The highlights of his game are his tenacity, speed and his vision in setting up forward 50 attacks. The real disappointment for me is that he hasn’t performed on the big stage and he’s certainly lacking a tank. There are parts of his game that he needs to work on, but he could be a decent player.

69. Collingwood – Elijah Edwards (VIC – Fwd) NSW Scholarship
Oakleigh Chargers
165 cm 62 kg
Player Comparison: Jeff Garlett
Edwards has been someone that the Pies have put quite some time into, perhaps hoping he’d grow a little more. That hasn’t eventuated, but one thing Edwards does have is extreme speed. He’d have everyone in this draft covered for speed by a long shot. With the ball in hand, he could easily be that 100-metre player carrying it from half back to half forward and getting the crowd going. He’s pure X-factor and whilst his skills aren’t bad, they aren’t exactly great. He doesn’t get much of the ball and is too small to be a midfielder. He’s received a lot of hype, but he’s fantastic to watch when he’s on.

70. Sydney – Matthew Boag (VIC – Fwd/Mid)
Geelong Falcons
185 cm 90 kg
Player Comparison: Dayne Zorko
Boag is another like Amon who would be a main midfielder at most clubs, but the midfield at the Falcons is filled with guns. He’s a strong bodied midfielder who has great core strength and he breaks tackles easily. He’s not blessed with speed, but he’s strong, tries hard and is versatile. He’s played forward quite a bit and has been a solid goal kicker. He’s a strong inside ball winner, but his skills are good enough to help on the outside as well. Due to being over looked for the Championships and others being more athletically gifted, Boag will go late, although I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes top 50, or potentially not at all.

71. Hawthorn – Kurt Heatherly (VIC – Def) NZ Selection
Sandringham Dragons
193 cm 85 kg
Player Comparison: Ted Richards
I haven’t seen much of Heatherly but he has been talked up as being as good as worth a pick in the late first round if he wasn’t an international selection. He’s a strong key back who can link up well and is offensively talented. There’s plenty of time for him to develop so I don’t think he’ll play much next year, even though he’s at a decent size already.

72. Geelong – James Sicily (VIC – Fwd/Mid)
Western Jets
186 cm 75 kg
Player Comparison: Steve Johnson
Sicily is a player who I really like and who is going under the radar so far. He doesn’t carry as big a bag of tricks as Steve Johnson, but he certainly is dangerous around goals and is a live wire. He’s kicked 13 goals from eight matches this year, including three bags of three. Averaging 16 touches per game and 5.7 marks isn’t doing him justice. In the draw against Oakleigh early on this year, Sicily was the most impressive player on the ground, amassing three goals, 10 marks and 24 disposals, 18 of which were effective. He’s one of the better-rounded skilful half forwards in the draft. There are players who might be better goal kickers, but in terms of excitement and consistency, Sicily is right up there.

TAC Cup: 12 players you won’t see at the Under 18s Championships

Everyone loves the players that sneak under opposition clubs noses to be snared late and develop into stars. Reasons behind falling down the order could be through a deficiency or the fact that they improve more rapidly than expected. Nonetheless, every year certain players can come out of nowhere and forge an AFL career. Champions of past and present such as James Hird, Chris Grant and Dane Swan weren’t considered super talented players in their respective draft years, but through hard work and the AFL system, they became champions in their own right. There are plenty of players in the TAC Cup that may not have their names up in lights, but have the talent to be develop into solid AFL players. Here’s a list of twelve players you won’t see at the Under 18s Championships but stake a strong claim to be on an AFL list next year.

Jacob Chisari (Bendigo Pioneers)

Jacob Chisari is arguably the unluckiest player to not get a Vic Country jumper this year. He is top ten in most stats, uses it reasonably well and loves the hard ball. AFL teams lacking a contested midfielder would love to have Chisari, who, despite being 176cm, finds the ball and drives it inside 50. He’s the type of player you’ll find buried at the bottom of a pack, not too dissimilar to a Luke Ball, but with more penetration. He would have to be in the top 20 midfielders in the TAC Cup so one would have to hope that recruiters look past his puzzling non-selection for Vic Country.

Aaron Christensen (Calder Cannons)

Aaron Christensen might share a similar name to his Geelong counterpart, but he’s a very different player who is often found off half back or along the wings. He’s the first player that opposition coaches put work into when facing Calder and although he doesn’t find a lot of the ball (14.33 disposals per game), he uses it damagingly while averaging almost four marks per game. At this stage Christensen looks like a project prospect who, if he puts on weight, could be an impact player. Main knock is his ability to find more of the footy which no doubt has been communicated to him.

Agape Patolo (Dandenong Stingrays)

Coming into the 2013 TAC Cup season, Agape Patolo was considered the standout Victorian ruck. While he doesn’t find much of the ball (8.8 disposals per game), he has the athleticism and ruck ability to put him right into consideration for selectors. Averaging the second most hitouts in the TAC Cup (22), Patolo continues to do his job without too much fuss. Unfortunately for him, statistics may work against him this year if clubs elect to go with mature-aged rucks. It would be a big surprise if Patolo couldn’t at least sneak onto a rookie list because the talent and potential is there, he just needs a club to harness it.

Andreas Roth (Eastern Ranges)

Andreas Roth is the most damaging small crumbing forward in the TAC Cup, but somehow couldn’t make his way into the Vic Country squad. Roth is leading the crumbing forwards for goals and is a constant danger in a forward line that contains Thomas Boyd and Christian Petracca. He’s a Brent Harvey type player who if you give him an inch, he’ll turn it into a mile. He’s a great kick for goal and clubs in need of a dangerous small forward would be remiss not to consider Roth.

Matthew Boag (Geelong Falcons)

Matthew Boag is arguably the most underrated players in the TAC Cup. In a lesser side, there’s a good chance he’d be the number one or two midfielder. Unfortunately for Boag, he has the likes of Lewis Taylor, James Tsitas and Nicholas Bourke around him so he was moved to a half forward flank where he immediately did damage booting five goals in his first game there. Boag is similar to Dustin Martin in many ways because of his ability to go forward and make a difference, but can also be a midfield rotation and give teammates relief. If Boag doesn’t get drafted, it will be a travesty because Boag, like Chisari, have immense talent and deserve to be given a spot.

Nathaniel Paredes (Gippsland Power)

Nathaniel Paredes is another nuggety midfielder who will aim to defy odds for his height. Ironically he’s one of the ‘taller’ smalls at 177cm but has the hardened body to be playing at state level. An inside midfielder likened to a Scott Selwood, Paredes leads the league in tackles, averaging eight per game. Just last week Paredes recorded a mammoth 14 tackles, an equaling season game high. By his own admission, like many inside midfielders, his kicking efficiency needs to improve. Being an integral part of the game, AFL recruiters will be wanting players who can deliver perfectly inside 50. However if you want the bloke who stops those guys before they get their kick away, Paredes is your man.

Jake Sharp (Murray Bushrangers)

Jake Sharp is almost a forgotten man for the Bushrangers. He is an integral part of their structures playing off a half back and floating into the midfield. Unlike others who have missed out, Sharp is of good height (187cm) and works well in tandem with Nathan Drummond from defense. Sharp could be one of those diamonds in the rough because he is a no fuss player who plays his role week in week out and doesn’t stand out particularly like some of his teammates. Sharp is one that could be drafted very late in the National Draft and supporters go ‘who?’. Fear not, he’s got some really likeable characteristics with plenty to still improve on.

Jake Kalanj (Northern Knights)

Jake Kalanj is arguably the most unlucky Vic Metro player not to make the squad, with the medium utility taking his game to another level this season. Kalanj is your typical utility being able to play off either flank or on a wing, with his best position in defense. He’s similar to Dyson Heppell in the sense he positions himself well, finds open space and can create chances from defense. Kalanj averages just under 20 disposals, 5.8 marks and four tackles per game, solid statistics for a defender. He’s another who might draw interest from recruiters and should land somewhere on an AFL list if recruiters like what they see for the rest of the season.

Lachlan Cassidy (North Ballarat Rebels)

Lachlan Cassidy is arguably one of the best over-agers in the TAC Cup. Like Tom Langdon, Cassidy is an accumulator, averaging 27.8 disposals, 4.8 marks and 7.3 tackles a game. Those statistics are in the top ten so statistically, Cassidy is a sound player who with work, could become a good AFL talent. His disposal efficiency could be improved, but it’s not the worst, hovering at around 60 per cent for an inside midfielder. Cassidy has the limelight off him while Matt Crouch is in the side, but he’s stood up when required the last few weeks. Any clubs looking for a ready made midfielder could definitely do worse than take a punt on him.

Hugh Beasley (Oakleigh Chargers)

Hugh Beasley is the only man to have managed to stop Thomas Boyd this season. His first few rounds were phenomenal and then due to APS schooling, he’s disappeared off the TAC Cup map. Seemingly rated behind Toohey and then Dickson later on, Beasley is potentially a forgotten man who may miss out due to unfortunate luck. He has good strength and speed while also being able to handle much taller opponents one-on-one while ensuring good accountability. Beasley is one to watch if anyone takes a punt on him very late or as a rookie.

Callum Cathcart (Sandringham Dragons)

It may seem like a broken record, but Callum Cathcart is another small player who is competing to defy odds and secure a spot on an AFL list. Cathcart is a forward who can pinch-hit in the midfield with great speed and evasiveness. He averages 15 disposals and two goals a game, so he’s one of your solid forwards who is reliable most weeks. He isn’t one to set the world on fire, but he has the x-factor look about him and like many in this list, is definitely worth a punt for a club seeking a live wire around the goals. Cathcart will be hoping he can impress through the midfield for Sandringham while the highly-touted midfielders are playing APS football.

Mark Orr (Western Jets)

He may seem like a Herald Sun headline waiting to happen, but Mark Orr is a talented key position player who has shown he can play at both ends. Orr is built like a German tank at 195cm, 97kg and is strong overhead and a reliable switch player. Like many talls, he could probably work on his endurance, but Orr has plenty of improvement in him. He’s most likely to be a project rookie pick given he hardly finds the football, but his defensive one-on-one attributes are a strength of his and recruiters looking for a mature-aged body with a late pick could see his name plucked out. Orr is an interesting one who is potentially someone to come in with very few accolades but continually do his job such as a Prestigiacomo. One to watch very late.


All of the above players have strengths and deficiencies, but they are twelve players who could offer something at AFL level. While they won’t come with the accolades of other players in the TAC Cup, they have very draftable characteristics which will catch the eye of recruiters.

Jacob Chisari leads list of puzzling Vic Country omissions

Every year the All-Australian team is critiqued by both the media and the fans. At TAC Cup level, this is no different for the Victorian Under 18 squads. Unlike the 40-man All-Australian squad at AFL level, there are two squads representing Victoria: Vic Metro and Vic Country. Each squad is comprised of players from six of the clubs so a total of 80 players are selected between the Victorian sides. Despite this larger proportion of selected players, it appears that puzzling selections and omissions are not limited to the big league.

Vic Country’s squad had the largest amount of question marks surrounding the omissions which included Bendigo onballer Jacob Chisari, Dandenong ruckman Agape Patolo and Gippsland rover Nathaniel Paredes. Throw in Geelong’s Matthew Boag, Bendigo utility Jordan Mangan and Gippsland half back Tom Muir to that list of missing stars and you end up with a number of puzzled fans and coaches. It’s no doubt a tough job to be a selector, but when kids’ AFL careers are on the line, there is very little room for error.

Jacob Chisari is arguably the biggest omission of the Vic Country squad. Having helped drag Bendigo across the line against Oakleigh a few weeks ago, Chisari is your typical in-and-under mid who can also find space on the outside and pump the ball inside 50. He’s currently averaging 26.6 disposals a game putting him inside the top ten of all TAC Cup players. It’s not just his disposal count that leaves question marks regarding his non selection because he posts averages of 4.8 marks and 6.6 tackles (another top ten stat). For all those fantasy players out there, Chisari has averaged 109.2 Dream Team points throughout the season which places him ninth overall and sixth for all Vic Country players. Ironically, of the five above him, three are AIS players (Matt Crouch, Billy Hartung and James Tsitas) and two are over-agers who missed out on selection (Sam Heavyside and Lachlan Cassidy). It’s hard to fathom that someone of Chisari’s ilk missed out on competing in the most crucial tournament for TAC Cup players.

Dandenong’s Agape Patolo at the start of the TAC Cup season was rated as the top ruck prospect for the 2013 draft. He hasn’t disappointed this season, averaging 22 hitouts a game, the second most of any player. Only Eastern’s Dion De Pace is averaging more and ironically, he missed out on Vic Metro selection. Patolo is averaging just 8.33 disposals a match, but that lowly figure is the highest of the top eight rucks. It’s hard to believe that a player with Patolo’s vertical leap could miss out on the Championships. There’s no standout ruck this year like a Grundy or a Kreuzer, but Patolo is rated as high as anyone else around the league and heads were no doubt being scratched at the Stingrays during the week.

Everyone loves a gritty onballer who buries himself under the pack putting his body on the line. Well apparently everyone except the Vic Country selectors who chose not to pick Gippsland’s Nathaniel Paredes despite the nuggety midfielder averaging the third most disposals for the Power. While the Intra Trials showed Paredes was on the border of selection by being a late inclusion for the injured Matt Crouch, it has been puzzling to see the rover miss out despite being statistically superior to a number of his selected team mates. This isn’t to say they haven’t deserved selection themselves, but questionable that Paredes couldn’t be included given he has laid the most tackles of any player in the league while still maintaining a solid 17 disposals per game average. Unlike Chisari and Patolo, Paredes didn’t come with the preseason hype but has busted a gut to perform above expectations and is another worthy selection who missed out.

Geelong Falcons have had great success this season, dominating the competition with a number of players being very eligible draftees. Unfortunately the success may have pushed some of their talented players to the back of the queue given the amount of depth through the midfield. While James Tsitas and Lewis Taylor were away in Europe, Matthew Boag was tearing it up in the Falcons midfield. They returned and Boag moved onto a forward flank, immediately having an impact booting five goals. Despite the performance a fortnight ago, Boag was another omission from the Vic Country squad.

Jordan Mangan a talented key back and relief ruck for the Pioneers, was another one who missed out despite being highly rated around the league. Mangan’s versatility across the ground for Bendigo has been a highlight of his game this season. Another defender, Gippsland’s Tom Muir missed out despite impressive performances for the Power. At the Intra Trials, Muir was sent to full back to play on Geelong’s high leaping Pat McCartin. While Muir is one of the best readers of the play, his main weakness is strength and to be assigned to a  key forward was once again, puzzling. It all but ended his chances of competing for Vic Country this year.

Vic Metro also had a couple of questionable exclusions. Northern Knights’ Jake Kalanj dominated at the Intra Trials but somehow the medium utility didn’t get a guernsey while Mitch Norton (Western), Dion De Pace and Andreas Roth (both Eastern) also missed the cut. Norton will have a chance next year as a bottom-ager this year, but the others could quite easily have been given the nod. Roth in particular is the leading small forward in the competition with Norton second.

State selection for Under 18s would be one of the hardest jobs to have given that players careers are on the line. It is expected that there will always be surprising omissions or additions that others couldn’t see coming, but this year there appears to be a number of  omissions that has left some clubs puzzled. One can only hope that in missing out at Champs will not deteriorate the chances of Jacob Chisari, Agape Patolo, Nathaniel Paredes or Matthew Boag gaining a place on an AFL list for 2014.