Tag: ryan sturgess

Scouting notes: AFL U18s – Western Australia vs. Vic Metro

WESTERN Australia started its AFL U18 Championships campaign with a stirring 17-point victory over the highly-fancied Vic Metro at Lathlain Park. It is the first time since 2015 that the Sandgropers have secured victory over their Victorian counterparts.

Below were the best players from either side.

Western Australia:

#4 Riley Garcia

The WA Leadership group member produced a performance that highlighted his credentials as one of the best prospects from WA this year. Against the Big V, Garcia collected 21 possessions, won an equal team-high seven clearances, laid four tackles, recorded four inside 50s and took three marks to be one of the best players on the ground. His kicking skills in the wet conditions were elite for someone his age.

#10 Deven Robertson

The WA Captain was inspirational for the Sandgropers, crashing his way through stoppages to win the ball for his team. He finished with a game-high 31 possessions, an equal team-high seven clearances, a team-high five rebound 50s, five marks, four inside 50s, and three tackles to be best afield. A highlight of his game was when he went back with the flight of the ball and took a courageous mark, before crashing into an opponent and team-mate.

#15 Liam Henry

The Fremantle Dockers NGA member was electrifying in the forward half for the Sandgropers, using his noted speed, dazzling agility and precise skills to provide an x-factor inside 50. He finished with 14 possessions, six tackles, four marks, four inside 50s and three goals in a dominant display. A highlight of his performance came in the second quarter, when he out-marked an opponent before playing on and drilling a goal from outside 50.

#17 Jeremy Sharp

The 2018 AFL U18s All-Australian was dynamic on the wing for the Sandgropers, often using his pace and skill to carve up the defence of Vic Metro. He collected 20 possessions, took three marks and recorded two inside 50s to be one of the best players on the ground.

#19 Elijah Taylor

The electrifying forward showed why he is being labelled as a possible draft bolter, showing flashes of brilliance in the forward half. He finished with 13 possessions, three inside 50s, two marks, two tackles and two goals. The highlight of his game came in the fourth quarter, when he cleanly picked up the ball, darted around an opponent, shrugged off another opponent and snapped through a goal from about 50m out.

#21 Jake Pasini

The key defender was exceptional in defence for the Sandgropers, winning many one-on-one contests, intercepting Vic Metro’s attacking forays and rebounding with class. The Swan Districts product finished with 10 possessions and six marks, while restricting Charlie Dean to just four possessions and a goal.

#26 Trey Ruscoe

Stationed at centre half-back, Ruscoe proved why WA officials rate him highly, with a stunning performance playing primarily on Harrison Jones. Ruscoe finished with 18 possessions, seven marks, three tackles and three rebounding 50s in a pivotal performance for the Sandgropers.

#32 Luke Jackson

The highly-touted ruckman produced a performance that indicated why he is considered to be a potential first-round pick. Up against Nick Bryan, Jackson gathered 12 possessions, won 35 hit-outs, won six clearances, laid three tackles, took two marks and recorded two inside 50s to stamp his authority on the game. His follow-up work around the ground has dramatically improved, making him an even more dangerous player.

#34 Ryan Bennell

A late addition to the WA U18s team, Bennell produced a performance that indicated he could be another bolter. The South Bunbury product finished with 11 possessions, five tackles, five inside 50s and a magnificent goal. Late in the second quarter, Vic Metro looked to rebound the ball out of defensive 50 via a number of handballs, but Bennell was able to steal it from them, weave his way past a couple of defenders and then drill through the goal from just inside 50.

#35 Trent Rivers

The East Fremantle product was outstanding off the half-back line and through the midfield for the Sandgropers. Rivers gathered 22 possessions, took four marks, laid three tackles, recorded three rebound 50s and two inside 50s, and kicked a telling goal in the third quarter. His composure and skill-level when under duress is outstanding for someone his age.

 

Vic Metro:

#5 Trent Bianco

The Oakleigh Chargers product showed why he is considered to be one of the best small rebounding defenders in this year’s draft pool. He finished with 17 possessions, six rebound 50s, four marks, four tackles, two inside 50s and a goal to be one of Vic Metro’s best. His run and carry, combined with his precise skills, make him a damaging player from the back half.

#11 Matthew Rowell

The much-fancied Rowell showed everyone why he is so highly touted. He gathered 24 possessions, won an equal game-high eight clearances, recorded six inside 50s, took four marks, laid four tackles and kicked a goal to be Victoria Metro’s best. His contested work around the stoppages was elite.

#13 Daniel Mott

The Maribynong Park junior was outstanding in the midfield for the Big V, often putting his head over the ball to get it going forward. He accumulated an equal team-high 24 possessions, won an equal game-high eight clearances, took seven marks, recorded three inside 50s and three rebound 50s, and laid two tackles in a powerful performance.

#15 Louis Butler

Stationed on the half-back line, Butler was prominent for the visitors with 23 possessions, seven rebound 50s, and four marks in a classy and polished performance. In a tough outing for the Victorian defenders, Butler showed excellent composure under duress, intercepted a host of WA’s attacking forays and displayed his penetrating kicking skills.

#24 Noah Anderson

The Victorian Captain tried to will his team through the middle with 16 possessions and seven clearances. His spread from the contest, work-rate, vision, decision-making and skill execution were all on display.

#26 Ryan Sturgess

The Northern Knights player tried his heart out for Victoria with a solid performance in defence. He finished the game with 17 possessions, seven marks, five rebound 50s and two tackles. His defensive marking and spoiling were a feature of his game, as was his reading of the play.

#29 Fischer McAsey

Stationed a centre half-back, McAsey was rock solid in defence for the Vics, intercepting a host of WA’s attacking forays. He finished with 11 possessions, six tackles, four marks, and two rebound 50s to arguably be Victoria’s best defender.

#31 Joshua Worrell

The Haileybury College student was Vic Metro’s most potent forward with 18 possessions, six marks, three inside 50s and four goals. Usually a defender for the Sandringham Dragons, Worrell showed excellent signs further afield with his leading patterns, set shot routine, and overhead marking all strong.

NAB League Boys Round 10 preview – Changes continue amid national carnival

THE changes continue to roll on among NAB League sides in Round 10, with a week off from school football and national championship rotations allowing teams to replenish. While a few sides remain particularly weakened, others are more balanced and could shake up the ladder with big wins over more fancied rivals.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Saturday June 8, 10:30am
Shepley Oval

Dandenong Stingrays will look to continue its unbeaten premiership defence when it opens Round 10 against the Northern Knights on home turf. Coming off a bye last week, this game will be one of the few occasions throughout the year where Dandenong will be at less than full strength – with Lachlan Williams‘ inclusion in the Vic Country squad making it five Dandenong representatives set to suit up against the Allies on Sunday. Mid-season draftee Mitch Riordan is another who comes out of the side, but the home side will be boosted by the inclusion of Bigoa Nyuon – set to line-up in the ruck. Their weekend opponents, the Knights, will also be boosted by the return of a couple of Victorian representatives in the form of Ryan Sturgess and Adam Carafa, while Nikolas Cox is another to slot straight back in due to a halt in the school football season. The inclusions are especially timely given the opposition, as well as an unfortunate injury to Ryan Gardner in last week’s loss. With Dandenong somewhat weakened, it will be interesting to see how some of their players adjust in different roles and with added responsibility, and Northern will be keen to pounce on an unlikely bounce-back victory.

GEELONG FALCONS vs. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
Saturday June 8, 11:30am
MARS Stadium

The Sandringham Dragons and Geelong Falcons open a MARS Stadium double-header on Saturday, with the Falcons looking to correct a three-game slide. They face stiff opposition in the form of Sandringham though, with the Dragons adjusting well without over half of their best 23 last week. On top of giving Andrew Courtney a rest after missing Metro selection this week, the Dragons are set to lose a further three guns in the form of Oscar Lewis, Jack Bell, and Corey Watts. With the Falcons regaining the likes of over-age pair Charlie Sprague and Sam Christensen, along with bottom-agers Charlie Lazzaro and Noah Gadsby amongst other school football inclusions, Geelong can have a real crack at picking up a second win for the year. The Falcons are not heavily impacted by Vic Country selection either with only two representatives, so have an obvious advantage in that department. As mentioned though, the Dragons are used to fielding depleted squads and have shown they are more than well enough equiped to deal with the outs. Only time will tell whether it will prove too much this week, but the second place side is always hard to tip against.

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. WESTERN JETS
Saturday June 8, 1:00pm
Morwell Football Ground

A spot back on the winners list is up for grabs for the Gippsland Power as they host a Western Jets outfit looking to make it three-consecutive wins. The Power went down to fellow top four fancies Sandringham last time out, largely on the back of having nine players suit up for Vic Country instead, as well as losing mid-season draftee Kyle Dunkley. A week to adjust to the wealth of changes may prove handy for the Power, who still managed to push Sandringham to within four goals. Western had no such troubles last week in a big win over Bendigo, and will in fact be strengthened by the return of Metro representative Josh Honey, as well as Emerson Jeka from injury and Will Kennedy from the Young Guns game. In a rare instance at this time of year, they are essentially a couple of players off being at full strength, which will more than bode well for them in this clash. The Power will have some shuffling to do with an extended bench named, but have the remaining talent to get up and consolidate their spot in the top four. It will be a tough ask against the flying Jets, and should be one of the closer contests of the round.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS vs. EASTERN RANGES
Saturday June 8, 2:00pm
MARS Stadium

Contrasting form lines tell the story in the lead up to the clash between Greater Western Victoria and the Eastern Ranges, with the 6-2 visitors looking for a third-straight win, while the 2-6 Rebels look to snap a four-game losing run. The Ranges have been a surprise packet thus far in claiming a top four spot, and bounced back well from a loss to Gippsland two rounds ago. Despite a bright start they only had one Metro representative last week in Connor Downie, who comes back in for this game. The form of Mitch Mellis was too good to refuse though, so he and skipper James Ross will both suit up for Metro this week, but will be covered by the likes of Chayce Black, Riley Smith, and Jamieson Rossiter as key ins. Given the remaining strength of the Eastern side and its consistency, the Rebels face a mountain to climb in overcoming the Ranges. That will be somewhat compounded as Country selection calls for Toby Mahony, but Nick Stevens and Isaac Wareham are solid ins across half-back. The home ground advantage should suit GWV, so expect some fight from them in what will be a tough game.

CALDER CANNONS vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday June 8, 2:00pm
RAMS Arena

The Calder Cannons will be looking to rectify a 23-point Round 2 loss to Oakleigh when they face the Chargers for a second time this year to close out Saturday’s proceedings. Calder once again plays host at RAMS Arena with Warrawee Park unavailable, and will be in with a good chance of turning the previous result around. The Cannons come in on the back of two-straight wins, albeit over bottom ten sides, and have looked solid for their 5-4 record and seventh place. Meanwhile, sixth-place Oakleigh seems to be hitting its straps despite missing a host of stars, and will be buoyed by some great inclusions from school football and the Young Guns game. The likes of Joe Ayton-Delaney, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, and Will Phillips are all classy inclusions, and will provide some spark to the line-up. Calder has also benefitted with its ins, as over-agers Josh Kemp and Mason Fletcher return alongside bottom-ager Campbell Edwardes as the Cannons look to replace the spine usually filled by their Metro representatives. Form would suggest this may be one of the closer games of the round, and if their first meeting is anything to go by, game-winners will need to stand up in order to get the job done.

TASMANIA DEVILS vs. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Sunday June 9, 10:00am
UTAS Stadium

The Tasmania Devils and Murray Bushrangers are set to face off in their curtain raiser match for the Allies and Vic Country clash at UTAS Stadium in Sunday’s only game. The Devils have been competitive over their eight matches so far, going at an even 4-4 having beaten GWV last week. While they face an underperforming Murray side, and move to a positive record will be tough with the likes of leading prospect Mitch O’Neill and bottom-agers Oliver Davis and Sam Collins selected in the Allies team. With Murray already without the likes of Lachie Ash and Elijah Hollands, Cam Wild becomes another called up for Country duties, while Will Chandler is set to suit up for the Allies. One who missed out on Allies selection is over-ager Ben Kelly, who comes back into the Murray side alongside fellow Young Guns player, Zane Barzen. While the Bushrangers are still finding their feet on the back of their key outs, this will be one of the few times where Tasmania will be forced to cover losses on a bigger scale, so it will be a test of who can adjust better. Expect a good contest in the lead up to a showcase of elite Under 18 football.

WA and Allies ready for battle against Vics

WHILE the Vic Country-Vic Metro clash commenced the national championships last week, Round 1 officially begins this weekend as the same sides face off against the Allies and Western Australia respectively. Metro’s search for its first win will continue on Saturday at Lathlain Park in Western Australia, while the Allies will hope to bring a halt to Country’s momentum when they clash at UTAS Stadium in Launceston on Sunday.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA vs. VIC METRO
Lathlain Park – Saturday June 8, 10:00am

An exciting West Australian team hosts Vic Metro in the first of Round 1’s fixtures, looking to inflict further pain on the highly-fancied Victorians after they had no answers for their Country counterparts last week.

The Black Swans come in with a relatively small line-up, with their starting key position posts filled by players no taller than 192cm – barring the 198cm Luke Jackson at ruck. Speed will obviously be a key to their game, as they undoubtedly will look to emulate the pressure that Vic Country put on Metro to shut down their run and classy ball movers. Look for the likes of in-form East Fremantle products Trent Rivers and Jeremy Sharp to find plenty of the ball in linking up between half-back and the wing, with Rivers a chance to join skipper Deven Robertson – the nephew of Eagles champion Darren Glass – in the engine room to provide some physicality. X-factor will come from the likes of Jarvis Pina off half back, as well as Fremantle NGA prospect Liam Henry up the other end, who booted four goals in his last WAFL Colts outing.

The battle between Jackson and Metro’s Nick Bryan is arguably the most exciting of all across the field, as the two are currently the consensus leading ruck prospects. Bryan remains part of the all-Oakleigh followers line, with star Chargers Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell set to resume their partnership through the middle. The exclusion of Northern’s Adam Carafa is the only real change to the Metro midfield, but he does not necessarily have a like-for-like replacement amongst the five changes. Mitch Mellis earns his spot on the back of a 39-disposal performance, and will likely take Carafa’s place in the midfield/forward rotation, with outside mover Oscar Lewis also coming in for Josh Honey. Lewis’ Sandringham teammate Corey Watts will sure up the Metro defensive stocks in a key post, while James Ross also slots into the back six with Eastern teammate Connor Downie and Ryan Sturgess going the other way. Jack Bell is the other relatively straight-forward swap, coming in for fellow Dragons tall, Andrew Courtney.

It will be interesting to see whether this West Australian side can shut down Metro’s obvious outside class for a second week running, but the Victorians’ strength on paper suggests they will be hard to deny more than once. A sured-up defence will help their cause, and they have plenty of prospects who will be looking to rectify last week’s effort. For WA, their prime movers will look to announce themselves to the rest of the nation, and they will no doubt bring some excitement to this stage with plenty of flair.

Western Australia:

B: 20. Jaxon Prior – 21. Jake Pasini – 13. Ben Johnson
HB: 11. Jarvis Pina – 26. Trey Ruscoe – 35. Trent Rivers
C: 12. Regan Clarke – 10. Deven Robertson (C) – 17. Jeremy Sharp
HF: 34. Ryan Bennell – 19. Elijah Taylor – 3. Tyrone Thorne
F: 5. Liam Henry – 23. Nicholas Martin – 39. Callum Jamieson
R: 32. Luke Jackson – 14. Chad Warner – 4. Riley Garcia
Int: 36. Denver Grainger-Barras, 7. Nathan O’Driscoll, 28. Ryan Hudson, 24. Ronin O’Connor, 18. Jai Jackson, 27. Jack Buller, 6. Cameron Anderson

Vic Metro:

B: 38. Brodie Newman – 33. Corey Watts – 14. James Ross
HB: 15. Louis Butler – 29. Fischer McAsey – 5. Trent Bianco
C: 31. Joshua Worrell – 25. Finn Maginness – 22. Miles Bergman
HF: 16. Darcy Cassar – 30. Harrison Jones – 1. Jack Mahony
F: 2. Mitch Mellis – 34. Charlie Dean – 23. Dylan Williams
R: 40. Nick Bryan – 24. Noah Anderson (C) – 11. Matthew Rowell
Int: 39. Jack Bell, 27. Oscar Lewis, 13. Daniel Mott, 18. Lachlan Potter, 21. Hugo Ralphsmith
Emg: 26. Ryan Sturgess, 19. Josh Honey

In: Corey Watts (Sandringham), James Ross (Eastern), Mitch Mellis (Eastern), Jack Bell (Sandringham), Oscar Lewis (Sandringham)
Out: Ryan Sturgess (Northern – rotated), Josh Honey (Western – rotated), Adam Carafa (Northern – rotated), Andrew Courtney (Sandringham – rotated), Connor Downie (Eastern – rotated)


ALLIES vs. VIC COUNTRY
UTAS Stadium – Sunday June 9, 12:30pm

Vic Country will be looking to back up an incredible opening win over their Metro counterparts when they travel to Launceston to face the Allies.

The allied forces of each Northern academy and Tasmania are set to provide some stiff competition though, with a balanced midfield mix, zippy outside movers, and a couple of dynamic talls making up the 23. GWS inside gun Tom Green is set to lead the midfield brigade, with Brisbane skipper Will Martyn providing a mix of inside and outside traits, while Tasmania’s Mitch O’Neill looks set to feature on the outside. Diminutive Gold Coast leader Connor Budarick is the other who may feature through the midfield, but will get a shot on the flanks at either end first. Liam Delahunty and Hamish Ellem should create a formidable all-NSW key forward pairing, with both more than capable overhead and always a threat in front of goal. The Allies’ outside running types in the form of Sydney bottom-age pair Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden will also be key, while the Devils have a couple of bottom-aged representatives of their own; with Oliver Davis thrust onto a forward flank from midfield, and Sam Collins one to watch off half-back. There is one noticable absentee, with Hewago Paul Oea set to miss through injury – but the likes of Bruce Reville and Malcolm Rosas Jnr should provide enough cover.

While the versatility and run that the Allies side will bring should prove a handful, Country have already shown they can shut down such a style of play. Brodie Kemp firmed as an early candidate to tackle Green in the midfield but has been named in defence, with Gippsland pair Sam Flanders and Caleb Serong set to take on that load instead alongside Thomson Dow. Look for the damaging half-back pairing of Lachlan Ash and Hayden Young to again dominate, with Jesse Clark also set to take on an important role as Brock Smith comes out of the back six through injury. Lachlan Williams comes in to add even more speed on the outside for Country, joined by Cam Wild and Toby Mahony – who will both most likely spend time between the forward line and midfield. It will be a tough ask for Josh Smith and Charlie Comben to back up their performances, but they will again be key as the most likely Country talls going forward.

This should be a tight one, and if Country’s first performance is anything to go by, they will be more than up for it. The gelling of a talented Allies side will be key to the contest, and Tom Green looms as a crucial figure with Country lacking like-for-like answers. All will be revealed on Sunday though, with many looking forward to a hot contest.

Allies:

B: 21. Luke Parks – 49. Nicholas Murray – 8. Tom Griffiths
HB: 3. Connor Budarick – 27. Josh Rayner – 5. Braeden Campbell
C: 20. Matt McGrory – 15. Will Martyn – 9. Mitch O’Neill
HF: 7. Oliver Davis – 26. Liam Delahunty – 17. Bruce Reville
F: 14. Will Chandler – 31. Hamish Ellem – 46. Noah Cumberland
R: 30. Samson Ryan – 22. Tom Green – 36. Sam Thorne
Int:13. Jackson Barling, 29. Matt Conroy, 1. Errol Gulden, 19. Sam Collins, 4. Malcolm Rosas Jnr

Vic Country:

B: 10. Harrison Pepper – 36. Sam De Koning – 26. Jesse Clark
HB: 17. Hayden Young – 16. Brodie Kemp – 12. Lachlan Ash (C)
C: 29. Lachlan Williams – 2. Caleb Serong (C) – 18. Brady Rowles
HF: 3. Cody Weightman – 20. Elijah Hollands – 1. Ned Cahill
F: 19. Fraser Phillips – 39. Joshua Smith – 6. Riley Baldi
R: 40. Charlie Comben – 4. Sam Flanders – 8. Thomson Dow
Int: 7. Mitchell Martin, 35. Toby Mahony, 13. Jay Rantall, 15. Ryan Sparkes, 5. Cameron Wild
Emg: 32. Benjamin Worme, 38. Henry Walsh

In: Lachlan Williams (Dandenong), Toby Mahony (GWV), Cam Wild (Murray)
Out: Ben Worme (Bendigo – rotated), Brock Smith (Gippsland – injured), Bigoa Nyuon (Dandenong – rotated)

Scouting notes: AFLU18s – Vic Metro vs. Vic Country

A Victorian derby opened the 2019 Under 18 National Championships, with the Country side coming away with an upset 9.10 (64) to 7.9 (51) win over their Metro counterparts. We had five scouts cast eyes over all 46 players who graced the hallowed MCG turf, and here are their opinion-based notes on how each prospect fared.

Vic Country:

#1-10 by Craig Byrnes
#12-32 by Peter Williams
#34-40 by Ed Pascoe

#1 Ned Cahill

The nifty and clever Stingray’s small forward was arguably one of the most influential players on the ground, but did so with less fanfare than the likes of Young, Ash and Serong. He showcased the disciplined Vic Country standards early with a big tackle in the centre to earn a free kick and an unselfish goal assist to Smith in the first term to get things started. While he didn’t utilise two good chances to hit targets inside 50 when in space during the second term, he barely made another error for the rest of the day as his elite smarts and decision making took control. It was highlighted by two brilliantly read crumbs that he finished off superbly with dual snaps off his left in the second half. He also got the ball to Flanders inside 50 in the final term to end with a match high four score assists and two goals from his 16 disposals.

#2 Caleb Serong

The Vic Country co-captain set the early intensity level for his teammates with physical, two way football from the midfield in the first term. He made life as difficult as possible for the Vic Metro big names, earning a holding the ball free on Rowell in the opening stages of the match. He refused to give in until the ball was out of his area, highlighted by a multiple tackle effort in the second quarter on the wing that eventually won Country the ball back. He also made them accountable, winning first possession at the stoppages and running to dangerous ball winning positions. Serong’s trademark cleanliness stood out as usual, his hands sharp and precise in tight situations. While he uncharacteristically let some kicks hang longer than hoped, his ball use in general was very good. One of the best performers in the winner’s corner, finishing with 22 disposals, five clearances and seven tackles.

#3 Cody Weightman

The exciting small forward took time to get into the game with a quiet first half, but came to life in the third term to display his quality AFL attributes. His confidence got a boost when flying for a mark at half back and earning a free kick, which triggered a flurry of touches on the lead or in space forward of centre. He worked hard to get in offensive positions, but unfortunately let himself down with ball in hand, operating at only 30% by foot including some turnovers in dangerous rebounding positions. He produced some brilliance in between though, highlighted by an excellent contested mark on the lead in the third term, before turning and hitting Josh Smith inside 50. This guy has serious ability, looking forward to seeing what he can produce throughout the competition.

#4 Sam Flanders

It did not take long to recognise that Leigh Brown’s focus was about pressure and Sam Flanders made that intention clear from the start. The superb chase down of Ryan Sturgess in the first quarter that resulted in a goal made the belief real and potentially cemented the buy in from every player if it wasn’t already. His pressure at the contest was outstanding, finishing with a game high nine tackles, but he also continued his rich reign of ball winning form at Gippsland with 21 disposals. He had his usual stints forward, kicking a vital fourth quarter set shot goal to keep a comfortable margin. Can still tidy his kicking up, but it was an important contribution by the talented forward/mid.

#6 Riley Baldi

Baldi has been in outstanding since returning to the Gippsland fold from injury, collecting large disposal tallies at will with his nous at the stoppages. For Country he was part of later midfield rotations and still won plenty of footy, despite not producing his usually prolific contested and clearance numbers. He found most of his possessions on the outside by receiving on the outskirts of contests and running to space. Despite a poor handball turnover in the first quarter, he typically finished with composure as proven with a classy kick inside 50 to Smith shortly after. It was a solid outing for Baldi, ending with 19 possessions, of which 15 were uncontested.

#7 Mitch Martin

Playing a high percentage of minutes forward, Martin had a modest first half despite producing a nice moment in the second quarter where he weaved through traffic and placed a quick kick inside 50 to advantage. But it was in the third term when he became truly relevant, starting with a slick handball over his head to a teammate. From there, the ball began to follow him and he took advantage with a couple of threatening inside 50s. He almost kicked a ridiculous set shot goal from the corner of the boundary and 50 metre arc, but was touched on the line. He has some tricks and can sell some attractive candy. Martin got out the back for a goal in the final term to complete a creative second half.

#8 Thomson Dow

You could make a very strong case that Thomson Dow was the best player on the ground up to half-time. To that point he had collected 15 disposals, doing heavy work inside at the stoppages and finding space on the outside. He was particularly slick by hand, raising his arms and releasing with impressive vision. We didn’t see nearly as much of him in the third and fourth terms, managed only three disposals after the main break. Despite the quieter second half, what we did see is a player who is currently too far down many draft boards. The brother of Carlton’s Paddy can definitely play.

#10 Harrison Pepper

The Hawthorn NGA prospect took time to get into the contest from the wing, but got busy in the second quarter. He won a couple of excellent one on one ground balls, using his frame to advantage and got the ball forward on each occasion. His kicking and decision making was tentative at times, especially during the third term when he took a mark 30 metres out from goal and floated a short pass to the disadvantage of a teammate 15-20 metres away. He has worked extremely hard on his running capacity over the last 12 months or so and that has resulted in excellent on-field improvement. He will be better for the run at the standard.

#12 Lachlan Ash

One of the better Country players on the day, overcoming an early turnover to hit 13 of his remaining 14 kicks through some terrific vision. Not only was he able to hit targets all over the ground, but he took the game on and would have been one of the highest metres gained players. Ash showed poise and composure coming out of defence and pushing up the ground, particularly stepping up in the last quarter with the game on the line and Metro pushing hard. He was able to set up goal opportunities to Josh Smith and Ned Cahill, and opened up the game with terrific in-board kicks.

#13 Jay Rantall

Was one of the more consistent Country midfielders and worked hard through the inside. He is able to get his hands free from would-be tacklers, and started to get moving more in the middle of the game. He laid some important tackles and was able to get quick-fire handballs out to teammates such as Riley Baldi in the first term with a nice handball, and then snap round his body for a goal assist to Charlie Comben. He then set up a second goal late in the game to Rebels’ teammate Mitch Martin. Had a chance himself in the third quarter after pushing hard to the forward pocket but was thrown off it. An impressive game once again.

#15 Ryan Sparkes

Gave a four quarter effort and was constantly on the move. His kicking in the first term was a little shaky, but once he worked into the game he had a bigger impact on the game. His final quarter saw him remarkably win a one-on-one contest against the much stronger and taller Noah Anderson with good body position, and won his fair share of the ball in the second half when Country needed players to stand up.

#16 Brodie Kemp

Was an intercept machine who took the game on out of defence and often was spotted bursting out from half-back and down the middle. He won a free kick early against Charlie Dean, and saved a number of goals, including one in the first term, rushing it through. His kicking was a worry at times, making a number of errors when he was running off half-back. His strengths were his overhead marking and his one-on-one work, marking against the much taller Nick Bryan through good positioning. A courageous grab against Jack Mahony where both players committed was another highlight in the final term.

#17 Hayden Young

The best on ground running defender was absolutely elite in his ball use with his kicking out of defence, penetrating long kicks and intercept marking a delight. Young was a real headache for the Metro side, getting to the point where he was spinning out of trouble and hitting up targets in the middle of the ground with his non-preferred right foot. He rarely made errors with his disposal and apart from a clumsy high free kick to Dylan Williams, had a near perfect game. Just so dominant and a key to Country’s chances this year.

#18 Brady Rowles

Not a huge disposal winner, with just the nine touches for the game, but has some nice eye-catching moments. He is able to dispose of the ball under pressure, whilst applying defensive pressure himself to opposition players. He has great hands in tight which were on show when he fed the handball out to Jay Rantall to set up a goal from Charlie Comben in the first term.

#19 Fraser Phillips

Not overly impactful offensively, but defensively he was very good. His tackling pressure locked up a number of balls throughout the game, and he was able to get his hands free when tackles late in the game. He missed a shot on goal tight in the pocket on the run in the second term, but his big highlight was a massive hardball get in the final term, using hands to give it to Lachlan Ash in the middle and set up a scoring opportunity.

#20 Elijah Hollands

So exciting and not only does he have the offensive capabilities, but works hard defensively as well, laying a number of huge tackles in the forward half. Hollands has lightning hands in congestion and is able to win the hardball and quickly dish off to a teammate before being dispossessed. He had a huge highlight in the second term with an unbelievable goal out of nothing from a forward stoppage, roving Charlie Comben and booting the goal from just inside 50 close to the boundary line.

#24 Brock Smith

A quiet game from the Gippsland Power game, but won a free kick one-on-one against Dylan Williams in the third term, and was composed with ball in hand, mostly handballing to teammates to run out in space.

#26 Jesse Clark

A statless first term, but Clark really work into the game after quarter time, taking a number of good marks and rebounding out of the defensive half. He showed a good second effort when taking a mark, was smothered and then won it back. He positioned himself well in front of his opponents when one-on-one.

#32 Ben Worme

Just the three touches from Worme in a quiet game. He did rush a behind late in the game when under pressure which was clever.

#34 Bigoa Nyoun

Nyoun played a solid game rotating in the ruck, he did well to get involved around the ground taking multiple marks and often choosing to hand off to a running teammate. There was a good bit of play in the first quarter despite not taking the mark he would recover well to take the ball cleanly and give off a handball, his last half was strongest with a nice pass inside 50 and a nice intercept mark and quick pass inside 50. A very good contributor who competed well in the ruck and did some good things around the ground.

#36 Sam De Koning

De Koning was a strong interceptor in defence taking four nice intercept marks with one coming in the first quarter deep in defence and another really strong mark late in the game, De Koning was very clean throughout the game never fumbling and using the ball well by hand especially in one bit if play in the second quarter where he would pick out a long 15 metre handball under pressure and it was a feat in itself to even find the option from where he was at. De Koning was the standout tall defender for Country with his good marking and ball use.

#39 Josh Smith

Smith was the most dangerous forward early on kicking two first quarter goals; one from an uncontested mark 10 metres out and a holding free kick deep in the pocket where he would slot a nice goal, he could have kicked three goals after a nice lead up mark but would miss the set shot. His third goal would be his best taking the ball in mid air right on the line and kicking a great goal quickly dropping the ball on his boot. He did not hit the scoreboard in the second half but he took a great contested mark against Ryan Sturgess but would miss the set shot, he also rotated in the ruck at times and competed well taking a nice intercept mark in defence.

#40 Charlie Comben

Comben had a hard task rucking against the in form ruck this year in Nick Bryan, but Comben not only competed well all day, but really showed good aggression and enthusiasm throughout the match to win the battle. He had a great bit of play in the first quarter taking a strong mark deep in the forwardline and then quickly playing on and kicking a goal. Comben worked even harder in the second quarter taking a strong intercept mark and quickly playing on with a kick inboard and he did well late in the game with a good strong tackle inside 50 winning a free kick but missing the set shot on the siren. A high energy game from Comben who showed of his athletic attributes and aggression around the ground.

 

Vic Metro:

#1-19 by Michael Alvaro
#20-26 by Scott Dougan
#29-40 by Ed Pascoe

#1 Jack Mahony

It was workman-like display from Mahony, who played a key role in the heavy Metro midfield/forward rotation. Starting inside 50, Mahony looked most effective when working up the ground – using his admirable work rate to create distance from his opponent and find the ball in space. He is clean at ground level, and showed as much with a few nice gathers early on and clean clearances later, while his kicking also looked more on point in the first half. The Sandringham gun’s leadership was also on display with audible talk around traffic, and he put his body on the line in a bone-crunching contest going back with the flight in the third term. Supplied Dragons teammate Finn Maginness with a goal in the final quarter to cap off a solid 15-disposal day.

#5 Trent Bianco

While the Oakleigh leader did not always look his usual damaging self, Bianco still had some nice moments. Was very quiet in the opening term and struggled to get any kind of running game going early off half-back, which in all fairness had a lot to do with Country’s manic pressure. Bianco was unlucky not to find more of the ball as he positioned well when breaking from stoppages and ran to the right places to receive on the outside, but was hardly found. Showed off his typical kicking penetration with a nice ball going inside 50 and flicked out some nice deft handballs in the clinches to show his class in the second and third terms. Bianco seemed to be most effective with his overlap runs late on, and put in a good push to get Metro back in the game with efficient use across defensive 50.

#8 Adam Carafa

Carafa managed to get a run in the stacked Metro midfield, but spent most of his time at half forward having already proven his ability to compete at either end. By no means had a massive disposal output (13), but the Northern midfielder showcased his clean set of hands at ground level when called upon and was all class in traffic. Had about four attempts on goal throughout the match – with two snaps and a set shot falling short, while another went out on the full – so could have otherwise had a greater influence. Ended up spending some time off half back in the second half, and looks to be one who will be called upon in multiple roles throughout the carnival.

#11 Matt Rowell

The list of superlatives to describe Rowell is running thin at this point on the back of yet another dominant outing. While his midfield partnership with close mate Noah Anderson could not quite drag Metro over the line, the two were simply outstanding. Rowell’s balanced game was on show as the Chargers gun went about pressuring his opposition without the ball, while also breaking away from traffic with it. Rowell did not find the goals while resting forward, but he still managed to snare a major from the goalsquare in the third term after creating forward movement from an inside 50 stoppage. He also sparked the move for Finn Maginness’ goal with a burst away from congestion on defensive wing – a play which was largely symbolic of his whole performance. A somewhat underrated aspect of Rowell’s game is his strong overhead marking, but he again showed his ability to prize the ball in the air with some courageous attempts. The comparisons to Joel Selwood will likely continue to roll on too, with pictures of Rowell bloodied up on the bench shown on the big screen. A big-time performer – 28 disposals, eight marks, five tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s, and one goal.

#13 Daniel Mott

Mott started brightly and looked like taking the chance he was afforded at the centre bounces to full effect. The classy Calder ball-user showed off a good bit of vision to find Jack Mahony back through the corridor early on, and was in the thick of the action. While Mott’s output slowed as the game progressed, he would catch the eye with glimpses of his usual self – side-stepping well in the second term, booting well inside 50 from a clearance to find Josh Worrell, and flicking out a deft handball to Trent Bianco amid oncoming traffic. Was another to rest forward but looks to be an effective point of difference to Metro’s largely inside midfield.

#15 Louis Butler

Butler made the half-back flank his own, and was the designated Metro kicker out of defence – both with kick-ins and further afield. Usually a penetrating and reliable kick, Butler was uncharacteristically let down by that area of his game on occasion with four noticeable clangers across the day. Much like in the case of Trent Bianco, Butler also struggled at times to generate effective run in the face of Country’s pressure, but you could not fault his effort as he racked up 24 disposals and seven rebound 50s. Showed positive signs early with his composure on the last line of defence, and he took a nice pair of intercept marks. Butler also had a purple patch in the final term as he delivered well through the corridor on two occasions with kicks more typical of his class, and he was one to take the game on when his side needed it. Had a humorous moment in the third term where he looked to have been tripped up by the goal umpire, stiff.

#16 Darcy Cassar

Cassar diverted back to the role which helped him come to the fore in his NAB League debut as a 16-year-old – making a menace of himself at half-forward. The Keilor product made a terrific start, finding Western teammate Josh Honey with a neat kick inside 50 to help Metro put the first goal on the board. Donning the #16 of Jets graduate Cam Rayner, Cassar sharked a smart read off hands and finished well on they dribble in an effort the now-Brisbane gun would be proud of. Cassar also showed a zippy first five steps through traffic, and was clean in gathering tricky balls at ground level. Was eventually moved to the defensive position he has become used to for Western this season, but had an indifferent start when he lost direct opponent Sam Flanders and could only watch as the Country star converted a crucial goal. Was otherwise composed in the back half and looked most effective when given space. Would love to see more of him up forward.

#18 Lachie Potter

It was a pretty typical Lachie Potter game, with the speedy Northern half-back looking to cause headaches with damaging forward run. Is hardly a massive accumulator, with the 15-disposal mark he hit usually a marker for one of his better games. Potter’s impact is not calculated by pure numbers though, and he caught the eye with repeated take-ons and some impressive overhead marks which added to his game. Was matched up as the deepest defender as Country looked to thwart his influence, but Potter still found a way to get on his mazey runs. Is often let down by his end product though – especially at full speed – but tended to handball more and was more effective as a result. Had an unfortunate fumble inside defensive 50 when a bounce didn’t quite come back to him, and is still ironing out those mistakes in his game.

#19 Josh Honey

Honey looked like returning to his best form when he converted the first goal of the game from a set shot, but tended to fade out the game after that point. Still showed some glimpses of his class with a couple of nice one-on-one wins, and an eye-catching spin out of trouble with two Country opponents close-by. Led well up the ground from half-forward and has shown he has plenty of upside.

#20 Connor Downie

Downie played predominately on the wing and did his best to provide some run and carry. He did not win much of the ball but when he did, he was able to put his penetrating left foot to good use. Downie finished with nine disposals and four marks. Still a bottom-ager which is rare for a Metro side, Downie will be better for the experience.

#21 Hugo Ralphsmith

Ralphsmith played through the midfield and caught the eye in the first quarter when he won an important one-on-one contest by bringing the ball to ground and winning possession. He would then drive the ball inside 50 to the advantage of his teammates. His footy smarts were also on display in the second quarter when he decided it would be best to ‘soccer kick’ a ground ball to teammate Jack Mahony, which was effective.

#22 Miles Bergman

Bergman won a few touches early and laid a couple of good tackles. One of his best passages of play came in the second term when he took a really good contested grab against two others that somehow, wasn’t paid by the field umpire. Bergman had a very promising second half, winning a lot of the ball and booting a brilliant snap-goal in the final seconds of the match. He had a very good all-around game and did all the little things extremely well. Bergman had 16 disposals, four marks, and three tackles.

#23 Dylan Williams

Williams was quiet early but slowly worked his way into the game in the second quarter. He had two shots on goal within minutes, but both failed to register a score. Williams went off half-way through the term after coping a big knock and looked very sore. He would return shortly after, but he was still clearly struggling. He would spend a lot of the time on the bench in the second half. Williams has the potential to turn games instantly, and that’s what makes him such a dangerous player, especially in the forward half.

#24 Noah Anderson

The potential number one pick was instantly involved, laying the first tackle of the game and would then win the first clearance. His hands in tight were superb. Anderson won 14 disposals in the first half and was prolific around stoppages. In the second term, he would win a centre clearance with one of his arms being held, showcasing his strength in the contest and fantastic hand-eye coordination. Anderson’s defensive work was also fantastic, laying eight tackles for the match. His work-rate and competitiveness were why he was one of the standout performers for Metro.

#25 Finn Maginness

Maginness was one of his teams’ best midfielders, winning 15 possessions and five clearances on the day. His impact defensively in the first half was eye-catching, and he finished with a game-high nine tackles. He was exceptionally clean at ground level and his foot skills were noticeable. Maginness demonstrated composure with ball in hand and his vision was impressive, with the classy midfielder finding a teammate out of the corner of his eye in the third term. He would hit the scoreboard late in the fourth term when he ran into an open goal after running hard into space.

#26 Ryan Sturgess

Sturgess had his work cut out for him, along with a lot of the Metro’s defenders on the day. His marking ability and strong hands definitely stood out, taking five marks. His ball use by foot was sometimes questionable, but he never stopped trying and battled on throughout the match. Sturgess read the play well and his defensive spoiling was encouraging.

#29 Fischer McAsey

McAsey was a wall in defence all day taking intercept marks at will and showing good composure and skill with the ball coming from defence. He would kick a goal in the third quarter after taking a strong intercept mark on the wing and winning a 50 metre penalty, he showed a good set shot routine showing he could also make a good forward especially with his marking ability. He was near unstoppable in the last quarter taking three strong intercept marks and moving the ball on quickly usually favouring a switch kick. McAsey is making an early case as the best key defender in the 2019 draft.

#30 Harrison Jones

Jones played forward and kicked his only goal in the first quarter from a lead up mark showing a good set shot routine, Jones lead up well as a tall target all day despite being very light he still worked hard to be a target. He did some really nice things in the last quarter showing unselfishness to block for teammate Maginess to run into open goal and continuing to take lead up marks and picking the ball up nice at ground level showing his athleticism.

#31 Josh Worrell

Worrell started well taking a good intercept mark in the first quarter and quickly playing on with a long kick, his hands overhead and ground level were a feature and he had a nice spin out of trouble showing his mobility. He was sore after a collision in the 3rd quarter but would go forward in the last quarter and take a nice strong mark on the lead although missing the long shot at goal, he would later take more nice marks showing his versatility in playing at either end.

#34 Charlie Dean

Dean had a tough day at the office playing well but not getting the reward, Dean looked composed and clean early showing good composure tight on the boundary in the first quarter to release a handball and had a fantastic pick up and then good handball. Dean had two chances to hit the scoreboard in the 3rd quarter taking a strong contested mark against De Koning but would miss the set shot and later on would show good composure under pressure but just miss the goal in general play. Dean was involved in the last quarter laying a good smother and taking a lead up mark and delivering a beautiful low pass inside 50 to teammate Ralphsmith who would kick the final goal of the game.

#37 Andrew Courtney

Courtney was the ruck rotation from the bench and he competed well when he got the chance winning a few nice hitouts. Courtney didn’t get a lot of the ball but worked hard to get forward of centre a few times to get involved and link up with teammates.

#38 Brodie Newman

Newman despite a shaky start really worked into the game to be on of Metro’s better players playing in defence, had a poor contest early not manning the mark well enough for Comben to run into open goal but his work in defence for the next 3 quarters was outstanding intercepting at will at times especially his second quarter where he was heavily involved defending and attacking equally well. Had a good bit of play in the third quarter laying a good spoil on Josh Smith and then would gather the ball and show good composure under pressure, he had another good play in the last quarter going for a dash and showing his good speed for his size.

#40 Nick Bryan

Bryan did not have an absolute standout game but he was still able to show his talent and why he is highly regarded as a ruckman in this years draft. Bryan showed good agility, smarts and ball use with ball in hand which was certainly above average for a ruckman and his best bit of play came in the third quarter laying a good spoil then receiving a handball and handballing well himself and then getting the ball back again to lower his eyes with a lovely kick to Oakleigh teammate Matt Rowell, it was a great chain that showed of his ball use and smarts. His tap work was also good timing his jumps well and often competing well.

Victorian sides prepare for battle at National Championships

THE first match of the AFL National Under 18 Championships gets underway on Saturday, with an all-Victorian battle at the MCG. The game will be a curtain-raiser to the Collingwood-Fremantle match, with the first bounce from 10.35am.

Sandringham Dragons and Gippsland Power dominated the Vic Metro and Vic Country squads, and it looks to be the case on Saturday with at least nine Dragons and Power players to take the field. Such is their dominance, the Dragons fill the entire half-back line with Louis Butler, Fischer McAsey and Josh Worrell, while the Power contain the entire full-forward line with Riley Baldi, Josh Smith and Fraser Phillips. But the two sides aren’t the only ones in that boat, with the onball brigade of Metro no doubt familiar with each other – Oakleigh’s Nick Bryan, Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson all named in there. Gippsland has three that will play onball as well, with ruck Charlie Comben, and midfielders Sam Flanders and Caleb Serong also inside.

Metro has opted with a medium size defence outside of McAsey, with Brodie Newman and Ryan Sturgess opted to take forwards in what is a smaller attack line-up for Country. For the visitors, the surprise is Brodie Kemp named in the back pocket, with his versatility a clear strength, but was expected to be played through the middle. He could well end up there, but given the height of the Metro attack, his 192cm frame will come in handy against a smaller, yet highly talented Country defence. Both sides have named extended benches to be cut to 23 players, with two omissions from each side. Jack Bell and Mitch Mellis have both been named for their respective NAB League Boys sides, as have Oliver Henry and Lachlan Williams for Country.

Metro heads into this game as favourites, boasting an incredibly strong midfield with potential top two picks, Rowell and Anderson, while Daniel Mott will benefit from the pair getting the ball out. The best head-to-head battles will be found up the Metro forward-Country defence end, with the likes of Lachlan Ash and Hayden Young going to Darcy Cassar and Dylan Williams. Sam De Koning will have a big job on Charlie Dean, while up the other end, one would expect Fischer McAsey be the man to take on Josh Smith in terms of size. With all the damaging forwards in the Country forward 50, Ned Cahill, Elijah Hollands, Cody Weightman and Fraser Phillips will cause headaches for the opposition, with Josh Worrell, Louis Butler, Brodie Newman and Ryan Sturgess likely to take those match-ups to allow Trent Bianco to use his damaging skills out of the back 50. Overall, it will be a case of whether Country can do enough to nullify the midfield, as its defence is good enough to play a rebounding style to set-up and try and get it down to the classy forwards. For Metro, they have the talls, so putting it in to their advantage will make it difficult for the undersized, but clever Country defenders.

VIC METRO vs. VIC COUNTRY
MCG – Saturday June 1, 10.35am

Vic Metro:

B: 5. Trent Bianco – 38. Brodie Newman – 26. Ryan Sturgess
HB: 15. Louis Butler – 29. Fischer McAsey – 31. Josh Worrell
C: 22. Miles Bergman – 13. Daniel Mott – 21. Hugo Ralphsmith
HF: 16. Darcy Cassar – 30. Harrison Jones – 23. Dylan Williams
F: 19. Josh Honey – 34. Charlie Dean – 1. Jack Mahony
R: 40. Nick Bryan – 24. Noah Anderson – 11. Matt Rowell
INT: 39. Jack Bell* – 8. Adam Carafa – 37. Adam Courtney – 20. Connor Downie – 25. Finn Maginness – 2. Mitch Mellis* – 18. Lachlan Potter

Vic Country:

B: 26. Jesse Clark – 36. Sam De Koning – 16. Brodie Kemp
HB: 12. Lachlan Ash – 24. Brock Smith – 17. Hayden Young
C: 18 Brady Rowles – 2. Caleb Serong – 15. Ryan Sparkes
HF: 1. Ned Cahill – 20. Elijah Hollands – 3. Cody Weightman
F: 6. Riley Baldi – 39. Josh Smith – 19. Fraser Phillips
R: 40. Charlie Comben – 4. Sam Flanders – 8. Thomson Dow
INT: 27. Oliver Henry* – 7. Mitch Martin – 34. Bigoa Nyuon – 10. Harrison Pepper – 13. Jay Rantall – 32. Ben Worme – 29. Lachlan Williams*

Dragons, Power dominate finalised Victorian squads

SANDRINGHAM Dragons and Gippsland Power make up one third of the total Victorian representatives in the Vic Country and Vic Metro sides which were officially announced this week. Following the Victorian trial games which saw the Victorian teams face-off against Allies at Ikon Park on Sunday, the two squads are set ahead of the National Under 18 Championships starting on Saturday, June 1.

Sandringham Dragons have a whopping 14 players across the sides, with 13 players – Jack Mahony, Ryan Byrnes, Louis Butler, Hugo Ralphsmith, Miles Bergman, Finn Maginness, Fischer McAsey, Joshua Worrell, Corey Watts, Charlie Dean, Andrew Courtney and Jack Bell – making the Metro side, while the Country-based Darcy Chirgwin earned a place in the Country squad. Gippsland Power had nine representatives themselves, with Caleb Serong, Sam Flanders, Riley Baldi, Harrison Pepper, Ryan Sparkes, Fraser Phillips, Brock Smith, Josh Smith and Charlie Comben all securing a spot in the final Country squad.

Oakleigh Chargers – led by potential top two picks Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson – had seven players in the Metro squad, while Dandenong Stingrays also had seven players in the Country squad, including top 10 potential pick Hayden Young.  Bendigo Pioneers had six representatives in the Country squad, including the injured Flynn Perez, while the likes of Cooper Stephens, Tanner Bruhn and Chirgwin are also currenly in the rehab program but are involved in the development camp tomorrow.

The two sides go head-to-head this Saturday at the MCG as a curtain raiser to the Collingwood-Fremantle clash in a Round 2 battle of the championships which has been brought forward. Vic Country then heads south to Launceston to face the Allies a week later, while Vic Metro traves to Western Australia.

VIC COUNTRY:

1 Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays)
2 Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power)
3 Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays)
4 Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power)
5 Cameron Wild (Murray Bushrangers)
6 Riley Baldi (Gippsland Power)
7 Mitch Martin (GWV Rebels)
8 Thomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers)
9 Isaac Wareham (GWV Rebels)
10 Harrison Pepper (Gippsland Power)
12 Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers)
13 Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels)
14 Liam Herbert (GWV Rebels)
15 Ryan Sparkes (Gippsland Power)
16 Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers)
17 Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays)
18 Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers)
19 Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power)
20 Elijah Hollands (Murray Bushrangers)
21 Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons)
22 Darcy Chirgwin (Sandringham Dragons)
24 Brock Smith (Gippsland Power)
25 Flynn Perez (Bendigo Pioneers)
26 Jesse Clark (Geelong Falcons)
27 Oliver Henry (Geelong Falcons)
29 Lachlan Williams (Dandenong Stingrays)
30 James Schischka (Bendigo Pioneers)
32 Ben Worme (Bendigo Pioneers)
33 Josh Treacy (Bendigo Pioneers)
34 Bigoa Nyuon (Dandenong Stingrays)
35 Toby Mahony (GWV Rebels)
36 Sam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays)
37 Blake Kuipers (Dandenong Stingrays)
38 Henry Walsh (Geelong Falcons)
39 Josh Smith (Gippsland Power)
40 Charlie Comben (Gippsland Power)
41 Tanner Bruhn (Geelong Falcons)

VIC METRO:

1 Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons)
2 Mitch Mellis (Eastern Ranges)
5 Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers)
6 Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers)
7 Lachlan Stapleton (Eastern Ranges)
8 Adam Carafa (Northern Knights)
9 Will Phillips (Oakleigh Chargers)
11 Matthew Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers)
12 Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons)
13 Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons)
14 James Ross (Eastern Ranges)
15 Louis Butler (Sandringham Dragons)
16 Darcy Cassar (Western Jets)
17 Ryan Gardner (Northern Knights)
18 Lachlan Potter (Northern Knights)
19 Josh Honey (Western Jets)
20 Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges)
21 Hugo Ralphsmith (Sandringham Dragons)
22 Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons)
23 Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers)
24 Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers)
25 Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons)
26 Ryan Sturgess (Northern Knights)
27 Oscar Lewis (Sandringham Dragons)
28 Jamieson Rossiter (Eastern Ranges)
29 Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons)
30 Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons)
31 Joshua Worrell (Sandringham Dragons)
33 Corey Watts (Sandringham Dragons)
34 Charlie Dean (Sandringham Dragons)
35 Nikolas Cox (Northern Knights)
36 Emerson Jeka (Western Jets)
37 Andrew Courtney (Sandringham Dragons)
38 Brodie Newman (Calder Cannons)
39 Jack Bell (Sandringham Dragons)
40 Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers)

Team of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 8

GIPPSLAND Power and Western Jets’ big wins over their opponents have resulted in making up almost one third of the Draft Central NAB League Boys Team of the Week for Round 8. Seven other teams recorded two players each, while Round 8 losing sides, Geelong Falcons, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Tasmania Devils each had one.

Fraser Phillips, Brock Smith, Josh Smith and Riley Baldi all impressed in the Power’s win over the GWV Rebels to make the team, while Jay Rantall continued his good form this season to be the standout Rebel in the loss. For the Jets, a couple of reborn defenders make the side with Darcy Cassar the Draft Central Player of the Week clearly in the team, as is captain Lucas Rocci and overager Daly Andrews. Their opponent, Geelong Falcons had Keidan Rayner make the team.

In the half-back line with the two Jets is Calder captain, Brodie Newman, making the team once again and joined in the side by Ned Gentile who was also nominated for the Draft Central Player of the Week. Ryan Sturgess holds down the other key defensive position, making the team with contested bull, Sam Philp. Rounding out the defence is Bendigo Pioneers’ William Wallace, who along with forward Josh Treacy, makes the Team of the Week again.

Through the midfield is Sandringham Dragons’ captain Ryan Byrnes, included in the side with teammate Miles Bergman. Dylan Williams kicked the winning goal for Oakleigh Chargers in the final term against Northern and made the team with teammate, Lochlan Jenkins. Tasmania Devils’ Oliver Davis was a standout in the middle and slots straight into the centre. Providing the ruck power is overager Bailey Schmidt who had a dominant game against Tasmania, while Lachlan Williams relished a role in the back half. Lining up at centre half-forward to be his third different position this season in our Team of the Week is Ben Kelly, with the Murray overager continuing to stake his claim this season, joined in the side by co-captain Cam Wilson who booted three goals.

NAB League Boys Round 8 wash-up: Mixed bag sees three games decided by under a goal

ROUND 8 of the NAB League Boys season threw up three close results, as well as three not so close ones. Calder broke the early trend of tight finishes with a huge victory to keep Murray languishing near the bottom, while Tasmania brought it to league-leaders Dandenong in another surprise scoreline. All that, and more in this week’s wash-up.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 1.2 | 2.4 | 4.6 | 5.10 (40)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.2 | 2.6 | 3.8 | 6.10 (46)

GOALS:
Northern:
S. Brazier, R. Gardner, S. Philp, J. Zapantis , J. Trudgeon
Oakleigh: T. Graham 2, D. Williams 2, T. Lovell, R. Sklavenitis

BEST:
Northern:
S. Philp, R. Sturgess, R. Gardner, L. Potter, K. Brandt, J. Davies
Oakleigh: L. Jenkins, D. Williams, J. Woodfull, J. May, S. Seach, M. Steiner

By: Michael Alvaro

Oakleigh Chargers scraped home in a dour low-scoring affair, overcoming a three-quarter time deficit to beat the Northern Knights by six points. The match served as a curtain-raiser to the NAB League Girls finals at Shepley Oval, but both sides came out slowly on the big stage to play out a deadlocked 1.2 apiece first term. It proved much of the same in the following quarter, but Oakleigh managed to hold on to a two-point lead at half time after kicking the first goal of the term through Spiros Sklavenitis. The Knights hit back following the main break after Oakleigh’s Thomas ‘Love Machine’ Lovell again ensured the Chargers had the first goal of the quarter, with majors to Ryan Gardner and Joel Trudgeon putting them in a winning position heading into the last turn. It wasn’t to be though, with Dylan Williams‘ inspired move forward proving the difference as the Oakleigh co-captain booted two last quarter goals and assisted another to help his side sneak ahead and hold on. Bottom-aged Chargers Lochlan Jenkins (23 disposals, eight clearances) and Fraser Elliot (28 disposals, six clearances) were terrific in midfield, with the wing pairing of Josh May (24 disposals, six inside 50s) and Jeromy Lucas (23 disposals) also finding plenty of the ball. Thomas Graham joined Williams as the only other Oakleigh multiple goal-kicker, with no Knight achieving the same feat. Sam Philp (28 disposals, nine clearances) and Gardner (15 disposals, seven inside 50s) were named amongst Northern’s best and also found the goals, with Ryan Sturgess (19 disposals, 10 rebound 50s) resolute in defence and Lachie Potter (17 disposals) providing plenty of run. A second-consecutive narrow win sees Oakleigh sneak into the top eight, with Northern just outside on three wins as the competition heads into a development weekend.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 4.0 | 6.0 | 10.1 | 12.2 (74)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 3.3 | 4.10 | 6.12 | 10.18 (78)

GOALS:
Bendigo:
J. Dick-O’Flaherty 3, J. Treacy 3, R. Clarke 2, J. Evans, K. Attwell, J. Schischka, Z. Murley
Sandringham: J. Florent 2, E. Soylemez 2, R. Bowman 2, R. Byrnes, T. Spencer, J. Bell, M. Bergman

BEST:
Bendigo:
W. Wallace, J. Treacy, J. Evans, J. Ginnivan, W. Shaw, R. Wilson
Sandringham: C. Watts, M. Bergman, A. Hanrahan, R. Byrnes, J. Voss, J. Bell

By: Joe Lee

A wasteful Sandringham escaped with a four-point victory at Victoria Park, Echuca, with Bendigo pushing the Dragons right until the final siren. Whilst Bendigo made the most of their entries, Sandringham was the antithesis, recording 18 behinds. Miles Bergman was outstanding but was the main culprit, kicking five behinds and only one goal. In what was a consistently tight contest, Bendigo managed to hold a 19-point lead early in the fourth, but Sandringham fought back to run out eventual victors. It was the Pioneers’ efficiency inside 50 that kept them in the game, registering 14 shots from 24 inside 50s compared to the 54 inside 50s for Sandy. Ryan Byrnes and Bergman continued their sensational form for the Dragons whilst Riley Wilson worked hard for the Pioneers. The win cements Sandringham as one of the teams to beat whilst Bendigo are left languishing down the lower echelon of the ladder.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 3.3 | 8.4 | 10.5 | 10.7 (67)
CALDER CANNONS 6.2 | 11.4 | 15.7 | 18.9 (117)

GOALS:
Murray:
C. Wilson 3, B. Kelly 2, H. Kaak 2, C. Wild, L. Fiore, Z. Barzen
Calder: F. Evans 3, J. O’Sullivan 3, S. Ramsay 2, B. Bozinovski 2, N. Gentile 2, J. Kemp 2, A. Righele, S. Graham, D. Mott, T. Browning

BEST:
Murray:
B. Kelly, C. Wilson, C. Wild, L. Fiore, S. Durham, D. Bedendo
Calder: N. Gentile, B. Newman, J. O’Sullivan, A. Righele, D. Mott, T. Browning

By: Michael Alvaro

The Calder Cannons continued their recent upward trend, with a 50-point victory over Murray Bushrangers on Saturday making it three wins from their last four outings. After having their previous win streak broken by the highly-fancied Gippsland Power last week, the Cannons came out firing with 11 goals in a high-scoring opening half. While Murray managed to stay with them throughout the first two stanzas, Calder thwarted the home side’s scoring after the main break while piling on a further eight majors to come out comprehensive winners. Draft Central player of the week nominee Ned Gentile was named best afield for his 24 disposals, eight clearances and two goals, while Daniel Mott was the leading possession-getter on the ground with 29 and Brodie Newman (24 disposals, seven rebound 50s) again impressed. Calder had an impressive 10 individual goal kickers with Francis Evans and Jeremy O’Sullivan booting three, while Sam Ramsay was one of four others to find multiple goals. Murray also three players kick multiple goals as Cameron Wilson booted three, and Ben Kelly and Hudson Kaak each had two with Kelly named their best as he pushes for mid-season draft selection. Cam Wild (27 disposals, six clearances, one goal) clearly led the Bushrangers’ possession count, with Wilson and Jimmy Boyer the next best on 16. The Bushies’ biggest loss of the season sees them stuck much closer to the bottom than expected with two wins, while Calder has shot up to ninth – equal on points with four top-eight sides.

GEELONG FALCONS 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.5 | 2.10 (22)
WESTERN JETS 1.4 | 5.6 | 7.6 | 7.8 (50)

GOALS:
Geelong:
C. Brauer, L. Smith
Western: A. Clarke 2, A. Manton 2, J. Honey, B. Ryan, S. Clifford

BEST:
Geelong:
K. Rayner, S. Bourke, L. Smith, H. Stubbings, J. Clark, W. Kilpatrick
Western: L. Rocci, W. Kennedy, D. Andrews , K. Crimmins, D. Cassar, J. Horo

By: Taylah Melki

The Western Jets put on a strong defensive effort to limit the Falcons to a mere two goals for the game while applying plenty of attacking pressure themselves. The Falcons had plenty of opportunities however, inaccuracy killed them unable to capitalise on scoring chances registering 10 points. It was a tight tussle to start with as the both sides only managed a goal in the first quarter but the Jets pushed away as the game went on, piling on four goals to none in the second term to ultimately set up the game for them. In the last term, the Falcons had all the play winning the ball out of the middle and peppering the goals but they could not convert slotting 1.5 to the Jets 0.2. Western were led by Darcy Cassar who was prolific amassing a game high 41 disposals while Daly Andrews was also important for the Jets winning the ball at the coalface and delivering it to teammates on the lead. Aaron Clarke and Archi Manton made their presence felt on the scoreboard nailing two goals apiece while Josh Honey was equally important with his 11 touches and one goal. For the Falcons William Kilpatrick and Harry Stubbings were impressive winning their fair share of the ball and using it well. Stubbings was the leading disposals winner for Geelong with 27 to go with his seven clearances showcasing his hard work across the ground. Charlie Sprague was also impressive applying strong pressure to win the ball and offering good leads to be a constant option for the Falcons racking up four inside 50s. Another key player for the Falcons was Keidan Rayner who contested hard to win the ball and created plenty of attacking forays with five inside 50s and six clearances.

TASMANIA DEVILS 1.4 | 4.5 | 4.7 | 8.8 (56)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.1 | 5.1 | 6.3 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS:
Tasmania:
H. Allan 2, M. O’Neill 2, M. McGuinness, C. Stephenson, B. Gordon, W. Peppin
Dandenong: C. Gay 3, M. Riordan, W. Bravo, D. Popa, J. Nanscawen, D. Gould, L. Goonan

BEST:
Tasmania:
O. Davis, B. Gordon, E. Jackson, M. McGuinness, J. Callow, O. Shaw
Dandenong: B. Schmidt, N. Heath, H. Berenger, J. Nanscawen, C. Gay, D. Popa

By: Michael Alvaro

The Tasmania Devils were this time on the wrong end of a third-consecutive game decided by less than a goal, going down to ladder-leaders Dandenong by four points on home turf. In what was a thrilling final term where Tasmania snatched the lead for just the second time on the back of four unanswered goals, Dandenong’s Declan Gould came up clutch to break Tasmanian hearts with a goal in the final five minutes. Returning Devils star Mitch O’Neill almost proved a match-winner with his two majors both coming in the final quarter after a steady opening three, but bottom-ager Oliver Davis was the clear standout, collecting a game-high 33 disposals and nine inside 50s. Ethan Jackson (24 disposals, eight tackles), Bailey Gordon (23 disposals, eight clearances), and Matt McGuiness (21 disposals, one goal) were the other Devils to impress with solid amounts of ball throughout. The Stingrays also had a number of contributors, with over-agers Bailey Schmidt (14 disposals, 42 hitouts) and Mitch Riordan (23 disposals, five clearances) leading the way. Bottom-ager Clayton Gay was the only Dandenong player to boot multiple goals, finishing with three from his 15 disposals, while Jai Nanscawen made a steady return with 18 disposals and a goal. The win serves as Dandenong’s fourth-straight, helping them to consolidate top spot in an undefeated premiership defence to date. Meanwhile, the Devils will be happy with the level of competitiveness they have shown, sitting a win outside the top eight with three already on the board.

GIPPSLAND POWER 5.3 | 9.5 | 12.6 | 15.8 (98)
GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 1.1 | 2.3 | 4.7 | 6.9 (45)

GOALS:
Gippsland: J. Smith 3, M. McGarrity 2, S. Flanders 2, F. Phillips 2, J. McGrath, H. Neocleous, M. McGannon, L. Connolly, R. Baldi, T. Baldi
GWV: F. Macdonald 3, L. Herbert, J. Rantall, P. Rea

BEST:
Gippsland: F. Phillips, R. Baldi, J. Smith, S. Flanders, J. van der Pligt, B. Smith
GWV: J. Rantall, J. Cleaver, H. Sharp, J. Tillig, J. Dwyer, F. Macdonald

By: Peter Williams

Gippsland powered to a big win over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels at Windy Hill in the standalone game on Sunday afternoon. In a game that the Power controlled from the first bounce, Gippsland piled on five goals to one in the first quarter, and by half-time had nine majors on the board to the Rebels’ two. GWV tightened up in the second half and hit the scoreboard themselves, booting four goals to the Power’s six in a much more even half, but the game was done and dusted by that stage. Fraser Phillips was impressive in the forward half with 24 disposals, five marks, four tackles, six inside 50s and two goals from five scoring shots, while Riley Baldi was the top ball winner with 29 touches, five marks, eight tackles, seven clearances, four inside 50s and a goal. Also impressive for the Power up front was Josh Smith who rotated through the ruck and had 16 hiouts, 11 clearances, 22 disposals, four marks and three goals in one of his best games for the season. On the inside Sam Flanders (25 disposals, five clearances, four inside 50s and two goals) was good, while Jake Van Der Plight and Brock Smith were also impressive. For the Rebels, Jay Rantall racked up 30 disposals, six clearances, three inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal to be the standout Rebel once again, while James Cleaver (16 disposals, three marks, three clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds) and Harry Sharp (16 disposals, five marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds) were also named among the best, while Fergus Macdonald hit the scoreboard with three majors.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 8

A TRULY mixed bag of NAB League results in Round 8 saw some teams play above their level and match their more fancied opponents. Plenty of players shone across the weekend, and we cast eyes on each game to provide you with notes on players selected in initial representative squads. Each note is the opinion of the individual author.

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers
By: Michael Alvaro

Northern:

#1 Lachie Potter

It was a typical Lachie Potter game, with the Knights top-ager driving forward well off half-back. Mopping up the loose ball in defensive 50 at speed, Potter constantly looked to round his nearest opponents and boot his side forward with long kicks. While his pace is a clear strength, it worked against him at times as he tried to properly grasp the ball in the back half and fumbled early on. When he did manage to get his hands on it though, Potter often made his Oakleigh opposition look silly as he repeatedly took them and the game on. Could look to lower his eyes more often, with his kicking accuracy compromised as he blazed away, but you wouldn’t want to thwart the instincts of such a natural player.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

Was not a massive game from D’Intinosante, but his work rate inside forward 50 and at the coalface in midfield was outstanding. ‘JD’ dug in with repeat efforts and was constantly on the move at stoppages, while also leading smartly when starting forward to be hit up inside 50. His kicking lacks a touch of penetration at times, and D’Intinosante looked wary of that as he looked to find targets closer to goal when others may have had a shot around the arc. While his disposal efficiency was compromised by the amount of contested ball he earned, D’Intinosante usually made good decisions when given time and showed his goal sense despite not finding a major. Took a good overhead mark going back with the flight during the third term, and is certainly a trier.

#7 Ryan Gardner

Playing mostly through the midfield, Gardner was reasonably quiet through the middle stages of the game, but was impactful in a tight final term. Gardner popped up with a couple of nice running clearances and balls inside 50, with one ending in a missed shot on goal. While he could not quite drag his side over the line, Gardner’s work at the forward-half stoppages was great to watch in the final 25 minutes, and showed plenty of the promise we saw in his bottom-age year. Was clean at ground level and bided his time well in traffic, while also cashing in with a goal from a 50-metre penalty in the third term.

#11 Ryan Sturgess

Sturgess is as reliable as they come, constantly providing an outlet option in the back half and positioning himself well to intercept. Those traits boded well for his role of sweeping up across half-back, with his efficient kicking also ensuring he was trusted with kick-in duties. Took on a slightly different role in the second half as Oakleigh threw co-captain Dylan Williams forward, with Sturgess the obvious match-up for him. While Williams would boot two crucial goals and trouble Sturgess with his athleticism, the Knights defender was unlucky to concede one of them with a free kick as the two tussled one-out. Was unlucky as Williams assisted another goal too, with Sturgess left to mark two Chargers players inside 50, and coming off his man to very nearly stop the move altogether. Not a bad outing, and continues to be one of Northern’s most consistent.

#13 Sam Philp

Philp was the standout Knight on the day and is an absolute bull in the midfield. The contested-ball machine won most of his 28 possessions himself, and pushed his side forward with nine clearances. Did well to get involved outside of the stoppages at both ends when running through midfield, and accumulated nicely across the day. Would spend time forward in the second and third terms, but found the goals with a clutch set shot conversion in the fourth quarter after moving back into the middle. Looks increasingly composed on the ball, but can sharpen up his kicking.

#27 Ewan Macpherson

By no means a huge accumulator, but Macpherson looks a tidy player. Has found his spot in the back six now after a slow start to the season and is usually a neat user, finding a good amount of ball at ground level. Positions well in defence and as a smaller player, is starting to pressure more. Looks a different type of player to his brother, Darcy, and is starting to adapt.

Oakleigh:

#5 Trent Bianco

Bianco was down on his usual numbers, and struggled to break through with the run and carry we have come to expect from midfield. Still by no means had a bad game, winning 17 disposals and having 10 tackles to show his work rate at the stoppages. The Oakleigh co-captain almost found the goals with a snap and set shot attempt, but also spent some time on the outer of the arc as Oakleigh looked to lock it in. Was employed off half-back at times too as he hoped to find more space, and provided his usual rebound from there.

#6 Jeromy Lucas

The GWS Academy product accumulated well throughout the game, and started brightly with a sharp kick forward as he carved a run through midfield. Lucas moved onto the wing as Oakleigh looked for more outside run, but he looked to be a bit down on confidence after missing a few kicks and being caught holding the ball. Lucas went to ground on occasion with opponents nipping at his heels, but still managed to find the ball and looked better with his disposal by hand. Has the potential to provide more damaging kicks, as showcased by another neat find going inside 50 during the final term, but he was a touch inconsistent in that area on the day. A solid outing.

#23 Dylan Williams

The Oakleigh co-captain proved a match-winner as he moved forward in the second half, and always makes defenders wary of his presence. Starting off half-back as he increasingly does, Williams showed his smarts with some good positioning to intercept a couple of errand Northern kicks forward. Williams was provided with plenty of instruction when he came to the bench and is clearly still adapting to the new role, with his clear skill and smoothness on the ball carrying him through. He is so effective one-on-one and creative forward of centre, so it was no surprise that he made an immediate impact when moved forward. Almost created a goal with a beautifully weighted left-foot kick inside 50, but later found the first goal of the final term as he marked on the behind line. Got out the back smartly to provide Thomas Graham with a goal, while garnering enough attention from his direct opponent to win a free kick and boot the deciding six points half-way through the last quarter. So obviously talented, and almost impossible to stop one-out inside forward 50.

#27 Josh May

May was a constant on the wing for Oakleigh, proving most effective by hand in tight situations and driving forward well by foot. Was involved early and stood out with his ability to keep his hands free in tackles, also keeping his feet and flicking the ball out to runners. Laid a nice holding the ball tackle on defensive wing and kicked beautifully inside 50 to Spiros Sklavenitis to cap off a solid first term. While he was a touch quieter in the middle-stages, May came back into the game with another long find going inside 50, and a solid one-on-one mark on the wing to finish off.

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Sandringham Dragons
By: Joe Lee

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

The silky left footer was reasonably quiet, held to 15 touches. Was in and out of the game but was able to manage 12 kicks and used his disposal effectively. Works hard both ways but was rather subdued by Sandringham’s dominant midfield engine room.

#11 Aaron Gundry

The ruckman finished with 13 disposals and 22 hit-outs, capping off a trying day. Worked hard when thrown both forward and back, the mobile big man moved well around the ground and fought hard against Sandringham’s duel ruck rotation.

#20 James Schischka

The intercepting defender worked tirelessly all day, even managing a goal from his 14-disposal, five-mark effort. Took a nice intercept mark playing as a loose man in the third quarter but was otherwise reasonably quiet for the most part. His highlight of the day was when he intercepted a sloppy kick from Tyson Milne in the goal square, nailing an easy goal to put Bendigo up deep into the final quarter.

#21 Riley Wilson

Playing up forward, Wilson had one play in the dying stages of the fourth quarter where he tackled which resulted in a free kick in the Bendigo back half, setting up the play for a Pioneers goal. Finishing with 23 touches, six tackles and six rebounds, Wilson was a clear standout for the Pioneers, working tirelessly against a strong opposition midfield.

#59 Riley Clarke

The electric forward only had six touches for the day but was a dangerous avenue to goal. Ended up kicking two goals, and Clarke did a number of show-stopping things, including plucking a brilliant one-handed mark on the run. Sprayed a couple of shots on goal but his marking was solid, including taking a hotly contested lead-up effort and converting the set shot from about 40m out. Does drift in and out of games but his sticky hands when marking makes him a threatening proposition for opposition clubs to curtail.

Sandringham:

#5 Ryan Byrnes

Byrnes was sensational for the Dragons, bursting away from stoppages all day and dominating in the contest. Finished with 31 disposals, seven tackles, five inside 50s and a goal. Was let down by a few inside 50 entries that were gifted to the opposition but was overall outstanding from the first siren. Had a five-disposal chain of play in the third quarter and got on the end of some Miles Bergman brilliance in the fourth, taking a nice mark in the goal square and converting. His consistent performances have been key for Sandringham, standing up in the absence of his usual midfield mates. Byrnes could not have done much more for the Dragons.

#6 Miles Bergman

Bergman could have possibly had a huge game had he made the most of his ample opportunities in front of goal. The hard-working midfielder slotted an inaccurate 1.5 but made up for this with his work around the ground, recording 19 disposals to go with nine tackles and six inside 50s. Bergman’s offensive and defensive traits were on display all game, including a fantastic run down tackle effort in the second quarter, showcasing his elite closing speed and desperation. Was played out of the goal square and won most of his one on ones, providing a headache for Bendigo defenders. Almost kicked a Paddy Dangerfield type goal in the fourth quarter, breaking away from the centre at pace, taking a bounce and driving it long to the square where the Dragons eventually goaled. Followed it up later with a delightful snap around the body to finish off a good passage of play from the Dragons. Played a monster final quarter when the game was on the line.

#15 Angus Hanrahan

Hanrahan continued his strong form into Echuca, recording 26 touches and six marks. In a game where space was hard to find, Hanrahan managed to show his good breakaway speed out of stoppages and showcased his athleticism and agility. Wasn’t as attacking with his use as he has been and failed to hit the scoreboard but played more of a midfield role. His clean disposal stood out and he started the game off strongly. Is often unmanned at stoppages and positions himself as an attacking option, often picking up the loose ball and driving it forward.

#28 Riley Bowman

Shared the ruck duties with Andrew Courtney for the majority of the game, and Bowman again impressed with his work around the ground, finishing with two goals from 14 touches. Was one of the Dragons’ best and displayed his capacity to perform in all aspects of the game, with four tackles, four marks and 19 hit-outs to go with his work up forward. Spilled a simple chance late in the last quarter but followed it up with a tackle that he won a free for, converting the straight-forward shot. Used the ball well by foot and makes his presence felt both in the air and on the ground.

#30 Andrew Courtney

The athletic ruckman was used more around the middle of the ground rather than being plugged at either end, amassing 29 hit outs and nine disposals. Courtney was serviceable for the Dragons but doesn’t do as much around the ground, as evidenced when he found space to run and carry in the second quarter but instead opted to blaze away and cough the ball up. Can also work on using his big frame more effectively to outmuscle smaller opponents and could be more aggressive to show his physical presence.

#32 Jack Bell

The tall forward finished with only one goal from three shots but showed he can be a damaging proposition, with his vertical leap and strong hands enabling him to obtain six marks from 10 disposals. Pinch-hit in the ruck as well, and Bell’s solitary goal came from a well-timed lead to a good area where he was hit on the chest by Jack Bowey, nailing the set shot from 40m out.

#33 Corey Watts

The lock down key defender was outstanding for the Dragons, with his defensive work rate and intercept marking on show all day. Watts had one terrific defensive effort in the third quarter, running off his man to pick up the ball and rebound 50, hitting his teammate lace out on the wing. Finished with 12 touches and three marks, Watts showed he’s more than a negating player, with his offensive attributes being utilised to push Sandringham forward from siren to siren.

#43 Jake Bowey

The zippy wingman worked up and down the ground, registering 17 touches, four inside 50s and five marks. Copped a big elbow to the neck region in the second quarter and had to be assisted off but finished the game to play a strong role in Sandringham’s victory. Always uses the ball well by foot and plays the percentages well. Really lifted in the last quarter, putting his small frame on the line but also providing a strong outlet for defenders, often breaking into space on the wing and providing an option.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Calder Cannons
By: Scott Dougan

Murray:

#3 Ben Kelly

Kelly started in the ruck and was constantly involved. He also spent plenty of time up forward where he proved to be very difficult to stop, especially in the air. Kelly took several strong, contested marks which resulted in two goals for his team. He showcased his reach, athleticism and sticky hands throughout the match. He ended up with 13 disposals, 15 hitouts, five marks, and two goals.

#5 Cam Wild

Wild was the Bushrangers’ best midfielder on the day. He found plenty of the pill and never faded out of the contest. He had a few fumbles early on, but he was still able to move the ball forward. One of his best passages of play came in the third term when he took a courageous mark running back with the flight of the ball. Wild had a team-high 27 disposals, along with seven marks and a goal.

#7 Zane Barzen

Barzen was able to hit the scoreboard early, with a fantastic left foot snap in the first quarter. He would then fade in and out of the game throughout the next three quarters. He was very good in patches and his ball use moving forward caught the eye.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Chalcraft did not have the biggest game possession wise, finishing with just 13 disposals. But the majority of his touches were very effective and had an impact on the game. His cleanliness at ground level and vision around the contest was noticeable. Chalcraft had an influence defensively, laying a game-high seven tackles.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Boyer was relatively quiet, accumulating 16 disposals (15 kicks). He spent time through the Bushrangers midfield and across half-back. His ball use was generally good, but he did miss targets on occasions. An okay game from the talented midfielder.

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

Mott was prolific around stoppages, winning a lot of his possessions on the inside of the contest. He also won plenty of the ball on the outside, where he used the ball effectively by foot. Mott ended up with a game-high 29 disposals and one goal.

#8 Sam Ramsay

Playing on the wing, Ramsay was involved early and was able to hit the scoreboard in the first term after crumbing a marking contest to perfection. His kicking skills were top notch and he always ran hard into open space, where he would make himself a good option for his teammates. Ramsay kicked his second goal of the day in the third term when he ran into an open goal, giving the Cannons a 40-point lead. He had the chance to kick another goal moments later, but his shot on goal hit the woodwork. Ramsay collected 17 disposals and kicked two goals.

#30 Josh Kemp

Kemp started well, laying a really strong tackle on his opponent that resulted in a free-kick and shot goal on goal, which he converted successfully. He was able to hit the scoreboard again in the second term after taking a good grab inside 50. Kemp also laid some impressive tackles on the day.

#38 Brodie Newman

The general down back was very solid offensively and was just as good defensively. He had 24 disposals (16 kicks) and continually used his powerful leg to drive the ball out of the back half. Newman was the perfect player to have the ball in hand because of his clean skills and decision-making. A solid all-around game.

Geelong Falcons vs. Western Jets
By: Taylah Melki

Geelong:

#12 Noah Gribble

Won plenty of the footy and was clever with ball in hand. He used his body well to win possession and went in hard time and time again. Good strong hands and read the flight of the ball well. Give it and go mentality and runs hard to create space for the Falcons. Good evasive skills to sidestep an opponent and then dispose of the ball to a teammate further afield.

#36 Charlie Sprague

Clever kick and good spatial awareness to push the ball forward and create a scoring opportunity for his teammate. Missed a shot at goal after rushing the kick but he had more time than he expected. He consistently tried hard to win the ball and create pressure in the Falcons attacking 50 to give his side scoring chances. Harassed his opponent both at ground level and in the air making him work for each possession. Sprague showcased good football smarts to hit up teammates on the lead in the attacking 50 with well weighted kicks and won plenty of the footy getting into clever positions across the ground.

#37 Oliver Henry

Henry got into good damaging positions but was unable to convert in front of goals slotting three behinds for the afternoon. He had good hands under pressure to take some strong marks. Good lead up at the footy and clever leading patterns able to take the mark under pressure. He applied good defensive pressure in the last term to worry his opponent out of the kick and cause him to turn the ball over in the Falcons forward 50.

#40 Jesse Clark

Good strength around the contest and was able to stand up in the tackle and keep his arms free in the third term. He was involved in the play and worked hard to win the ball in and around the contest. Reads the play well and has quick hands to move the ball out of congestion and into space. Good body work to take a nice grab, shake off his opponent and then go for a run but was unable to convert in the last term only registering a point.

Western Jets:

#7 Daly Andrews

Andrews was impressive throughout the game with his quick hands and worked hard at the stoppages to win the ball and dish it out to teammates. Used the ball well with a clean pick up to turn and then kick the ball inside the Jets attacking 50. Took plenty of strong grabs and showcased his ability to read the flight of the ball and get into the right positions across the ground. He did a wealth of work across the ground winning the ball from half back and then pushing forward to create options in the forward half. He showcased some good dash to break away from the pack and go for a run along the boundary line to create some forward momentum for his side.

#20 Darcy Cassar

He won a truckload of the footy and was constantly involved in the contest across the ground. Cassar worked hard to impact every play and ensure he was an option. Good sidestep to get around his opponents and ran hard to create space across the ground. Clean at ground level and used the ball well with majority of his possessions kicks. He was important across the back half running the ball out of defence time and time again. He showcased his strength to stand up in a tackle and still get rid of the ball to a teammate. He was classy with ball in hand and tackled hard to win the ball back for the Jets credit.

#24 Josh Honey

Good attacking play to keep the ball moving, used his quick hands and good vision to pass the footy off to an opponent streaming by in better position. Clever back up play to help out his teammates and provide running support. Honey applied good strong physical pressure laying some crunching tackles with a big tackle in the third term to win a holding the ball call. Clever goal in the third term to pick the ball up cleanly and then stream into an open goal square and kick it straight through the middle.

#47 Will Kennedy 

Good turn of speed on the lead to accelerate away from his opponent and take the mark in the forward 50 but did not score on that opportunity. Kennedy did a wealth of work moving between a variety of positions and covering the ground well to impact the play. Good body work to win the ball in the ruck against a bigger bodied opponent. His ground work and follow up efforts were impressive, tracking the ball well at ground level and winning plenty of the footy.

Tasmania Devils vs. Dandenong Stingrays
By: Ed Pascoe

Tasmania:

#1 Mitch O’Neill

O’Neill had a quiet game by his standards and struggled to get any meaningful run or touches for a good portion of the game. The intent was there with his attack on the ball and the man, but was sometimes a bit overzealous with his tackling which resulted in a few frees against. It was not until the last quarter where he really started to turn the game, being swung forward and kicking two quick goals while looking very lively and dangerous whenever the ball went inside forward 50. O’Neill had a few nice kicks but a few poor ones as well throughout the day, but one kick was perfectly weighted to a teammate in the second quarter. O’Neill finished the game with 15 disposals, five tackles and two goals.

#3 Oliver Davis

Davis was a ball magnet through the midfield, winning it both at the contest and around the ground. His smarts with ball in hand was notable, very rarely missing a target and rarely taking the wrong option and a lot of his disposals came from knowing where the ball was going to be next whether that was roving a pack in defence or getting forward of centre in space to kick long inside 50. Davis finished the game with 33 disposals, seven marks and nine inside 50s in a best on ground performance where he couldn’t have done much more and certainly looked a mature player and leader despite not being eligible until the 2020 draft.

#7 Matt McGuinness

McGuinness was one of many solid performers down back for Tasmania he read the play well and had a good mix of defence and offence. He kicked a lovely goal on the run, running past a teammate who had marked inside 50 and that was just before the quarter time siren to give his team some momentum. The standout trait for McGuinness was obviously his kicking with his left foot hitting targets at will whether that was short or a big long 50m kick. He also intercepted well and was a calm head down back. McGuinness finished the game with 21 disposals, eight marks, five rebounds and a goal in a well rounded performance down back.

Dandenong:

#2 Hayden Young

Young battled hard down back and was a strong contributor for Dandenong across the four quarters. He was strong in defence early with a strong tackle and his general attack on the ball was stellar. A feature of his game was his kicking where it was not only penetrating but long and dangerous often perfectly placed for the leading target. He was moved to into the midfield in the last quarter and attacked the ball well but it was his work down back that again stood out most taking a very strong intercept mark late in he quarter when the heat was on. Young finished the game with 19 disposals and four rebound 50s.

#18 Mitch Riordan

Riordan was a constant in the Dandenong engine room as a standout at the stoppages with his attack and clean hands at the contest. He hit the scoreboard early taking a nice intercept mark and kicking the set shot goal in the first quarter. His second and last quarters were his most productive and eye catching, and he showed some nice burst to evade a tackler in the second quarter and also worked hard behind the ball to help out his defenders and in the last quarter. He was pivotal at the stoppages winning some big clearances and eternally using the ball well. Riordan finished the game with 23 disposals, five tackles, five inside 50s and a goal.

#20 Sam De Koning

De Koning started the game forward and standing at 200cm was there to be a marking option but didn’t quite excel at the role. He did however get a nice front and square at a marking on test deep in the forward pocket – showing his clean hands and agility for a tall but was unfortunately taken in a good tackle. he got to pinch hit in the ruck in the first quarter and actually looked quite impressive with his leap and good taps. He was moved to defence rather quickly and showed his good rebound and clean ball use and he also did look more comfortable back there, he rarely fumbled at all and was very clean at ground level which is often an issue for players of his height. De Koning finished the game with eight disposals but rarely wasted his touches.

Gippsland Power vs. Greater Western Victoria Rebels
By: Peter Williams

Gippsland:

#4 Sam Flanders

Had a productive day at the office playing through the middle and pushing forward. Worked hard at the stoppages, showing clean hands at ground level and able to handball clear to free teammates on the outside. He had the smarts to draw a couple of players running the opposite direction and handballed over his head to a teammate who was free because of the move. He did not rush and assessed his options well throughout the day, and had two of the easier goals he will kick in his career, receiving a couple of handballs over opponents to him in the goal square – first from Riley Baldi in the opening term and Charlie Comben in the final term, to finish off his hard work in the middle with two majors.

#6 Riley Baldi

Just gets to the right positions and finds a truckload of the ball. His vision and work rate is very high, but his execution by foot can let him down at times. A couple of early inside 50s were swallowed up by opposition defenders just because they went to the wrong side of the one-on-one contest. His field kicking through midfield was better as he used his vision to see free opponents streaming down the middle and used it to open the game up. Set up a goal to Sam Flanders and another to Josh Smith, while having a funny moment where he put his hand up for the ruck stoppage despite Smith being there. Baldi read the ball of ruck hands well throughout the game.

#10 Leo Connolly

A slick mover, Connolly was impressive in patches throughout the game, particularly moving forward in transition. He was able to spin out of trouble early in the game and handball free, something he did a number of times, using a neat sidestep to create his own space in close. He laid some good tackles and had a long shot on goal which just fell short and rushed across the line in the second term. Found space in the last quarter and marked from a short Charlie Comben kick and put it straight through the middle from 45m out.

#12 Brock Smith

Did not have the prolific numbers of past weeks, but did not need to given the lack of entries inside the defensive 50 at times. Such was Gippsland’s dominance in the first half, Smith often pushed up the ground and worked well to add an extra number to the contest, handballing with teammates to get the ball moving in transition. When in defence he settled down the side and used the ball well under pressure to gain distance up the field. Took a very good mark one-on-one against Mitch Martin in the goal square to save a certain goal, and even when he lost front position in a marking contest managed to win the ball with great second efforts. Did all he could deep in defence.

#15 Ryan Sparkes

Did well on the outside working hard up the wing, but also went in to win some hard balls at ground level, clean with his hands to spin out of trouble whilst under pressure to handball to a teammate. He just burrows in at ground level and wins his own footy, then can spread to the outside and provide an option. Had a good fend-off in defence to get the ball free to a teammate by hands.

#16 Josh Smith

A big game from Smith who while he did not see much of it in the final term, had a massive first three quarters and was close to best on ground. He provided a presence with his marking ability and lead out strongly, taking the ball out in front, but also worked hard with his second efforts to make a contest at ground level. Smith finished with three goals, booting one from a mark early, and two from snaps, including his second after dropping a mark he should have taken, grabbing the ball and putting it through off a couple of steps. Had a chance for his fourth from long range which was on target, but was rushed across on the line. Laid tackles and bumps for his teammates, while sharing the ruck load when not inside 50.

#19 Fraser Phillips

Phillips continued his good form this season, creating a number of chances inside 50 and booting a couple of goals. Had an outside of the boot kick to Josh Smith in the opening term, with Smith converting the opportunity, then had his own chance but drifted to the right. Kicked his first from a snap, then missed another chance this time to the left. Had some hit and miss passes by foot at times trying to keep the ball low, but worked hard pushing up to the wing, and even won a possession in the defensive 50. Laid a great tackle on the wing to show off his defensive capability and then kicked the perfect set shot in the third term after winning a free kick from being thrown to the ground. Had another couple of chances in the fourth term when he had a long shot from just inside 50 which was touched on the line, then attempted a dribble goal under pressure but bounced the wrong side of the post.

#22 Zach Reid

Used the ball well in defence and was strong overhead, seemed to move well around the ground but at times was a tad slow to react and was tackled a couple of times, forcing him to rush his disposal. Reid showed off a nice long, technically sound kick and showed good body work on his opponent one-on-one deep in defence.

#37 Harrison Pepper

Had a few nice plays when up the ground, providing a stronger body at stoppages, winning the ball in the middle and putting it into dangerous positions which yielded a goal in the second term. He was quick to dispose of the ball when winning it on the inside, and spot up a free teammate on the wing. Had a nice run in the third term, fending off an opponent and charge inside 50 but his low kick just missed its target.

GWV:

#3 Toby Mahony

Mahony had some nice plays throughout the game, not winning heaps of the ball, but still showing off some quick hands at stoppages. He had a smart movement in the first half, winning the ball at ground level, rolling over, getting his hands free and handballing to a teammate. Mahony won a free kick in the third term for being infringed in a marking contest but his shot from 40m drifted to the right. He had a great clearance and kick out of the middle in the final term as well.

#4 Jed Hill

Played through the midfield and up forward, taking a sliding mark inside 50, then having a long range shot but it fell short and was intercepted in the goal square. He laid a great tackle deep in attack in the second term, and was more prominent through the stoppages, then kicked long inside 50 to Matty Lloyd’s advantage – though he could not capitalise with the mark – after Hill’s opponent fell over just outside 50. He had a unique attempt on goal in the third term kicking it off the ground, but it went across the other side to the pocket and just stayed in for a throw-in.

#7 Mitch Martin

Showed good tackling pressure early in the game and was able to extract the ball from tight situations. Did not win a heap of the footy on the day, but was able to find space inside 50, taking a mark and then having a set shot after the siren in the first term which went to the right. Had a quieter second half, but took a good mark inside defensive 50 under pressure.

#10 Matty Lloyd

Had a nice play on the wing at one stage where he fended off an opponent, handed it off, received the ball back then kick low into a sliding Jed Hill inside 50 in the opening term, and had a chance on goal in the second when he kicked long, received the handball back, had a long-range shot but it went to the right. Had another shot on goal with a snap but missed. Another player who was okay without standing out.

#13 Jay Rantall

Rantall’s big ball-winning streak continued on the weekend with another 30-odd touches and he just keeps running. A massive endurance base, Rantall often wins the ball in tight and handballs out to a free player, while also laying some good tackles. He was not afforded the space he often can get during games, but still played his role in the midfield and was a key player in the Rebels’ better second half. His kicking is hit and miss, but his goal sense is still good, kicking a long-range goal from free play 50m out late in the final term. He had a snap just earlier but was smothered off the boot. His quick hands from congestion to the outside is a highlight.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 7

WITH NAB League proceedings back to the norm, performances were even across the board, but a few players managed stand out in a mixed bag of results. Our scouts cast eyes across all six games in Round 7, and here are their opinion-based notes on players included in the initial Victoria Country and Metro squads, as well as those pointed out by respective talent managers.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers
By: Peter Williams

Geelong:

#12 Noah Gribble

The bottom-ager had a solid game playing along the wing and winning the ball on the outside. At half-back he had a clean turn and spin, grabbing it off one touch and despite finding himself under pressure, spun out and gave off the clean hands to a teammate running forward. He affected a Will Chandler kick inside 50 with good pressure forcing him to rush, while mostly ran hard on the outside and used the ball well while doing the defensive things right.

#37 Oliver Henry

A great finisher around goal who works really hard up the ground. He goes on long searching leads and often can win the ball in midfield or even at half-back, before running hard forward doubling back on his opponent to create an outnumber forward of centre. He is strong overhead and is good on the lead, and had a great moment in the opening term, faking a step on the right to kick on the left in board to Tom Richardson leading out. He was a little ambitious at one stage in the third term, crashing through multiple players before getting caught, but finished the term with a soccer off the ground after pushing hard then doubling back once the ball went over his head. Took a great mark late in the game and kicked an easy consolation goal, finishing the match with three majors and strapping across his face from a blood nose.

#40 Jesse Clark

Not as prolific as his usual self, Clark was playing defensive roles on his opponents, spending time on players such as Zane Barzen in defence. He swallowed up anything that came his way, but the Bushrangers made a conscious effort to avoid him where possible given his prolific rebounding skills. He still managed to provide rebound out of defence and was strong overhead, just did not get it on a silver platter as much with the Bushrangers smarter kicking inside 50.

#46 Henry Walsh

Did not win much of the footy, but still competed in the ruck. Was beaten by the more experienced Ben Kelly, but applied good defensive pressure at ground level. Laid some strong tackles following up from his hitouts to nullify the ball at stoppages and had an impressive clearing punch at one stage in the third term at half-back.

 

Murray:

#3 Ben Kelly

His form this season is arguably the best of any 19 year-old tall and that continued on the weekend against inexperienced rucks. He not only gets the hitouts, but follows up with clearances and tackles, and most importantly is able to take the game on without being a liability. He has a quick few steps and can sidestep opponents but does not overdo it, and uses hands to draw an opponent and handball clear to a teammate. Along with his above average athletic traits, Kelly was able to manhandle his opponent in the third term, throwing him out of the way, grabbing the loose ball and getting his hands free to pass to a teammate. His second efforts were exemplified in the final term when he dropped an intercept mark he should have taken, but quickly followed up cleaning it up and handballing quickly to a teammate.

#5 Cam Wild

Just a workhorse. Wild finds the ball with ease on the inside or outside and he wins a lot of his touches from outrunning his opponents. His pressure at ground level is very good and he finds space to receive the ball on the flanks. In one instance in the second term, Wild won the ball at half-back, got it to the wing, ran past multiple teammates looking for the handball, was ignored, kept running, crumbed a forward stoppage and kicked a running goal. His opponent from the original play just could not go with him and because he ran so far, disrupted the opposition set-ups. He gets separation on his opponents and is a solid user of the ball.

#6 Will Chandler

Played the role of leading forward and did it well. Set up a goal to Hudson Kaak early in the game, and kicked one of his own. Kept working up the ground and winning the ball then sending it inside 50. Almost kicked a second goal earlier in the game but snapped and missed because he was being dragged down.

#7 Zane Barzen

The overager played one of his best games for the year, leading out at the footy and creating some headaches for the opposition defence. Kicked a goal in the second term with a snap around his body, then kicked a second major from a free kick set shot 35m straight in front in the third term. Had a couple more shots in the fourth quarter but one went to the left and just missed and the other went out to the right and fell short. Was strong overhead though which was a promising sign.

#12 Lachlan Ash

The potential top five pick stood out in this game with his class and ball use by hand or foot. He took the game on when in defence, and in the second half spent time up forward and through the midfield. He has an ability to produce the unbelievable by foot, kicking across his body between opponents to hit up a teammate inboard and open up the corridor. Got a free kick for being infringed in a marking contest at one stage such was his impact in the air. Kicked a goal off the ground just before three quarter time, and narrowly missed a set shot which drifted to the right in the fourth term. Not as big statistical numbers as in the past, but played multiple roles rather than just his dominant half-back rebounding role.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Got better as the game went on and finished as one of the most prolific ball winners on the ground. You do not always notice his impact unless you are watching carefully because he fires out quick handballs to teammates while under pressure, able to work out time and space with good vision. Worked hard on the inside of the contest and then runs into space to provide an option. Did not have a heap of forward chances because of the inside work, which deserved a tick today.

 

Western Jets vs. Dandenong Stingrays
By: Michael Alvaro

Western:

#3 Eddie Ford

The explosive bottom-ager has a good knack of getting involved up the ground from half-forward, and this game was no different as Ford worked hard to win 10 marks around the ground among his 20 disposals. He constantly looked to move the ball on, but Ford was often held up on the mark which saw him resort to handing off to runners or kicking short. While he called for the ball in odd areas at times in the defensive half, it only showed Ford’s want for the ball and his good work rate. Took a strong mark on the line against two Stingrays opponents to turn a certain behind into his first goal, while adding another in the final term to cap off a solid day. Is so clean overhead and below his knees, definitely one to watch going into 2020.

#7 Daly Andrews

Andrews was named the Jets’ best, and showed a greater contested output with almost 60 per cent of his 17 disposals won in the contest. Attending most of the centre bounces and stoppages across the day, Andrews won a handful of clearances and pushed Western forward as he usually does, pitching in with a classy goal after side-stepping Dandenong gun, Hayden Young. Andrews’ kicking was clearly impacted by his high contested ball rate, but he was much more productive by hand and flicked it out well to teammates in the clinches. Would be pushing for mid-season draft selection, but still has areas to improve on.

#20 Darcy Cassar

Cassar assumed his usual role across half back, acting as a designated kicker on the rebound and accumulating the ball well across defensive 50. He affected the drop of the centre bounces when running in hard off the back flank, and often positioned himself a kick off the ball when it was further afield. Cassar looked a little unsure of whether to stick with his opponent or guard territory in those situations, but is clearly building into the new role. Was caught holding the ball in the first term, but that did not stop him from breaking the lines going forward and taking the game on as the Jets looked to stay in the game. Cassar is a natural player and also looks comfortable forward, but can sharpen his defensive acts – highlighted by his marking attempt from behind inside defensive 50, and his low tackle count. A solid outing, and finished with a game-high 29 disposals.

#24 Josh Honey

Honey was down on his usual output in this game, but came into it with a couple of neat touches. While he struggled to generate his usual running game, Honey’s presence came in the form of five clearances and some good defensive pressure throughout, which led to a Dandenong turnover early on. Honey also moved forward in the second half and while he showed promise with a nice mark inside 50, could not quite find the goals in his time there.

#47 Will Kennedy

The over-ager has shown good promise in the ruck after moving from Sandringham, and continues to improve in his work around the ground. As a slightly more mature body, Kennedy competes well in the ruck and won 22 hitouts, but impressed more with his work at the drop to find a good amount of the ball and lay some hard tackles. A particular highlight came in the first quarter where Kennedy followed up a dropped mark to effect a smother inside 50 and keep the ball in dispute.

 

Dandenong:

#2 Hayden Young

Young was his usual self across half-back, racking up a team-high 27 disposals as well as an equal game-high seven rebound 50s and five inside 50s. Ever the damaging player, Young kicked 77 per cent of the time at 76 per cent efficiency, but fell short with a few lower-distance passes by foot. Young mopped up well in the defensive half, using his clean hands to gather at ground level and quickly dispose of the ball to good effect. Young was also given the freedom to push forward well in a high Dandenong press, and had to opportunity to hit the scoreboard with a set shot early on. A contribution we have come to expect, but still always impressive.

#10 Clayton Gay

The exciting bottom-ager mixed his time between a deep forward position and up on the wing, but looked most dangerous inside 50. Kept Cassar accountable in the forward half early on and even caught him holding the ball with a terrific tackle, while later contributing a major on the back of a contested mark in the goalsquare. Looked to take it on when playing up the field, and while he is not a high accumulator, always garners attention when on the ball. One to watch for next year.

#11 Ned Cahill

One who continues to rise in my eyes, Cahill returned another eye-catching display in this game. Positioned mostly inside 50, Cahill was isolated against his Western opponent and out-worked him to find space around goals – kicking two majors in dispute during the first quarter and another couple from set shots in the last. It proved good reward for effort given Cahill’s ability to find space, and he could well have finished with a couple more goals to make it a true day out. The way Cahill plays taller than his height would suggest makes him a versatile threat inside 50, and he is certainly one who will look to prove himself further in the National Championships.

#18 Mitch Riordan

Over-ager Riordan has built a good case to be picked up in the mid-season draft after an interrupted top-age year, and was damaging from stoppages around the ground in this outing. Riordan’s run from congestion was great to watch, with an explosive first five steps allowing him to break forward quickly and dispose of the ball effectively in more space, while also flicking out handballs well. Repeat efforts in-close helped him tally his 25 disposals, including five clearances, but Riordan also contributed well in handball chains – using his pace to good effect.

#20 Sam De Koning

De Koning switched roles in this game with fellow tall, Nyuon, trading his time between the forward line and ruck to prove his versatility and get a different look. He started one-out in the goalsquare, but caught the eye more with his leap in the ruck early on. Took a couple of handy marks leading up to the ball, but missed early chances on goal which he later rectified with a sole major. Looks to still be learning and refining all areas of his game, and has a good athletic base.

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

Nyuon was thrown back, where he played a lot of football for the Stingrays last season. Opposed to man-mountain Aaron Clarke at times, the St Kilda NGA prospect was competitive in overhead contests and followed up well at ground level to provide calm use out of defensive 50. Made a nice run forward after a clean sweep of the ball on his defensive arc, getting it back at the opposite 50 to deliver inside. Can dominate games if he can continue to snap up big marks, but is still improving at both ends.

#50 Lachlan Williams

Was by no means a high accumulator, but Williams looked lively whenever he got on the ball. Moves forward so well from the wing and is an aggressive runner, which was encapsulated well by his second-quarter goal on the fly after a running bounce. Also took a nice overhead mark early on which caught the eye, and could have added another goal in the last term.

 

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Tasmania Devils
By: Michael Alvaro

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

The bottom-ager was best-afield in a busy outing on the wing, earning him the Draft Central Player of the Week nod. While he was most influential in the first and last quarters, Conforti worked hard all day on the outside to provide a releasing option along the outer of Queen Elizabeth Oval, finding a heap of space time after time. Prepare for the inevitable Caleb Daniel comparisons, as the diminutive left footer oozes class with neat kicks and is hard at it in the contest with a low centre of gravity. He looks a much better kick on the run, using his vision and smarts to find targets others cannot – much like in the second term where he hit up James Schischka for a goal with a clever 90-degree kick. Impressed with a couple of overhead intercept marks in the final term, and finished off his day with a nice goal after sidestepping his opponent.

#19 Ben Worme

Worme started a little shakily but found his feet as the game wore on. He accumulated well, usually on the opposite wing to Conforti, and was smart in his positioning when the ball was set to come out of his side’s forward 50 – intercepting from two occasions, with one resulting in a missed shot on goal. Was let down somewhat by a combination of his decision making and execution, but had the right idea as he often looked to go inside with his kicks in particular. A solid outing.

#20 James Schischka

Schischka was a solid contributor, and looked a decent marking threat when played inside forward 50. On top of converting two set shot goals in his time forward, Schischka’s best moments came in traffic where he would often shrug off opponents and keep his head in crises with handballs out to receivers. Moved into the midfield late on, but found his second major after an impressive overhead mark in the goalsquare from a set shot which fell short, putting the Pioneers in front.

 

Tasmania:

#3 Oliver Davis

It was an indifferent display from Davis, who was a constant at the stoppages. While he tackled ferociously and was solid in the clinches, many of his kicks were hacked forward and he looked rushed in possession at times. One of his better kicks found Cohen Stephenson inside 50 to give him a set shot chance, and Davis even hit the scoreboard with a clutch free kick conversion to snatch back the lead in the final term. Can polish up areas of his game, but has a good physical base and finds the ball.

#13 Sam Collins

Played the role of sweeper in the back half well, mopping up cleanly and providing efficient rebound when given time. While many of his short kicks were effective, Collins was another who missed a couple on the back of acts under pressure – with one cross-goal ball almost leading to a turnover goal. Looked much better in space with handball receives, and certainly has potential.

#25 Jackson Callow

Arguably Tasmania’s leading bottom-age prospect, Callow mixed his time up forward and through the ruck, competing well in both areas. Almost made an ideal start when he won a contested ball at ground level deep inside 50, but dribbled to an opponent in the goalsquare. Callow’s lead up marking to the 50 and clunks overhead were a feature, with the big-man often wheeling around quickly to deliver forward. While he did not quite find the goals himself, a spearing ball to Jye Menzie gifted his side one, and Callow played an important overall role for the Devils.

#31 Jye Menzie

Menzie ended up being the hero of the day, converting a set shot after the siren to give Tasmania a miraculous win. While he was quiet early on, Menzie came into the game in the second term when he won a free kick one-out, putting through the resultant set shot. Booted another in the third quarter and crucially contributed two more in the final term, with a shimmy giving him his third and the game-winner his fourth. Finds space inside 50 well and looks most dangerous there, proving to be a clinical finisher when given the opportunity.

 

Greater Western Victoria Rebels vs. Northern Knights
By: Cameron Ross

Northern:

#1 Lachie Potter

Really like him. He is lightning quick and damaging off half back. Question marks over his kicking, but he is dangerous enough with the handball to be effective. Rebels clued onto how damaging he was when receiving handballs, and marked him tightly, but still was a positive influence on the game, and one of the best Knights on the day.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

Copped a whack in the face in the second quarter, but it didn’t stop him. Very clean, and was really damaging across the half forward line where he was consistently hitting up leading forwards for scoring opportunities. Really smart player, who was rarely beaten at ground level and was crucial in the Knights’ second half dominance.

#11 Ryan Sturgess

The young defender was another who was very reliable all game, and even snuck forward for a long goal on the run in the final term. Seems to be a very nice size, and has enough pace that he could play on the smalls as well. I’m not sure if he had a direct opponent or not all game, as he seemed to easily find a lot of the ball.

 

GWV:

#3 Toby Mahony

Kicked three nice goals, and was a presence in the air and around the all game. Took a really nice mark up forward, after floating in from the side and crashing the pack, and topping it off with a goal.

#8 James Cleaver

Very reliable down back, and I’m not sure he was beaten one on one all game. Took a couple of nice intercept marks, and limited McMahon to only the one major.

#10 Matty Lloyd

Had a couple of very flashy moments. Made a defender look foolish with clever side step, and drilled a shot at goal that just missed. Quiet through patches but others were quieter. Left the game late with a calf injury, hopefully cramp?

#13 Jay Rantall

Best player on the ground. Key in the Rebels moving the ball effectively out of the backline and midfield and one of the few players who wanted to take the game on and make the play instead of just kicking to a pack. His link up run and intelligent handballing were extremely impressive, and broke the game open. Good overhead, good below his knees, and hit most of his targets on the day. 10/10 game.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Eastern Ranges
By: Joe Lee

Sandringham:

#5 Ryan Byrnes

The zippy midfielder continued his strong form, finishing with a team-high 28 disposals and five inside 50s. Byrnes trademark explosive burst out of the stoppage was on show all day, easily manoeuvring his way past his Eastern opponents and driving the ball long inside 50. Used the ball well when others let themselves down in this department and never stopped trying. Byrnes looks a well-rounded prospect, who covers the ground well and is adept at winning the ball from the inside of the contest and utilising his speed to run and carry the ball. Overall was outstanding for the Dragons and was just about their best player.

#6 Miles Bergman

The big-bodied midfielder was solid for the Dragons, using his strength and frame to win the ball in the clinches. Had a quiet first half with only six touches but worked well into the game, finishing with 18 disposals, five marks, and a goal. Used the ball well and his first reaction to hit a target inside the corridor on show all day, with a number of his kicks hitting up a teammate in space. Worked hard all day and improved as the game got tighter.

#15 Angus Hanrahan

Starting on the wing, the top—ager showcased his signature class and polish but also his two-way running in another strong performance. Finishing with 27 disposals and nine marks, perhaps the most telling stats for Hanrahan was his four rebounds and six inside 50s, highlighting a willingness to work both ways for the Dragons. Kicked a show-stopping goal on his opposite foot from the boundary and would’ve had a day out had he taken two opportunities running into the goals in the second and last quarters. Was a class above in the first half and was the leading disposal winner at the main break but drifted out early in the 4th when the game was in the balance. Sound performance from the wingman and is building a strong case to be selected in the mid-season/end of season draft.

#28 Riley Bowman

The athletic ruck-forward was solid for the dragons, amassing 18 hitouts to go with 15 disposals and three inside 50s. Had a quiet first quarter but lifted from then on, which included a chase down tackle in the Dragons forward 50 that resulted in a shot on goal. Moves well around the ground and hits the contest hard, both in the air and on the ground. Was sometimes out-muscled by the bigger Riley Smith in the ruck but overall probably had more influence on the game around the ground than his Eastern opponent.

#30 Andrew Courtney

Courtney had a solid day down back for the Dragons with a multitude of spoils and one—percenters that often halved or won 50-50 contests. Only had 8 disposals and was used around the ground with 11 hitouts in the ruck and a stint up forward, Courtney was thrown around the ground which may have hurt his impact. The 200cm prospect needs to improve his disposal numbers and could have more influence in the air if he got both hands to the ball rather than opting for the safety of a spoil. positions himself well in defence and engages his opponent early, using his strong frame to move them under the ball then bringing it to ground.

#32 Jack Bell

The ruck-forward was workmanlike for the Dragons, generating a goal from 13 disposals, eight hitouts, and seven marks. Had a strong first half before dropping away with only three disposals in the second half but the skinny prospect did some nice things, taking some strong contested marks. Often let himself down by playing on and being tackled and needs to work on being quicker with ball in hand, often taking too long to give off a handball or a kick. Was a good performance from the agile prospect.

#33 Corey Watts

The close-checking key defender was serviceable again for Sandringham, having more effect as the game wore on. Shows desperation in defense, often coming off his direct opponent to influence the contest but needs to do more, not having a touch in the first half. Finished with 11 disposals and four rebounds and showed he has the capabilities to become an aerial threat, taking two big pack marks late in the fourth quarter and driving the ball long out of the Dragons defense. if he can do this more consistently then Watts will become a stronger asset to the Dragons defense.

#43 Jake Bowey

The red-haired midfielder was productive for the Dragons, showcasing his elite speed and evasiveness across the whole game. Failed to hit the scoreboard but played predominantly on the wing, finishing with 23 disposals. Was often tackled and thrown around due to his small stature but did some eye-catching things, including leaping for a huge mark and following up to earn a free kick. Produces fantastic repeat efforts and has a large pressure factor. Is smart with ball in hand and uses it effectively on his left boot, the bottom-ager is one to watch out for.

 

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

Stapleton was huge for the Ranges, winning 23 disposals, five inside 50s and a goal. Had the ball on a string for the second half and led the Rangers to victory, kicking a clutch goal in the third term from about 45 metres out on a tough angle and on the wrong side for a left footer. Works tirelessly on the inside and spreads hard on the outside. Didn’t put a foot wrong all day and was a huge reason for the Ranges win.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

The power forward was strong target all day for Eastern, clunking eight marks to go along with 15 disposals. Did not hit the scoreboard (one behind) and did cough up a few kicks inside 50 but tried hard and set up a Connor Downie goal that ended up being the match winner.

#17 Cody Hirst

The smart wingman ran hard all day, with most of his 31 disposals being won in the Eastern back half (six rebounds). The impressive midfielder possesses clean hands and skills, always finding a target by foot even when there seemingly is no option. On a day where most players opted to kick it long down the line or bomb it inside 50, Hirst’s clever ball use stood out. Covers the ground with ease and loves to take a bounce. Hirst had a huge last quarter and willed his team over the line.

#18 Billy McCormack

The mobile tall forward started the game strongly, kicking a goal off the ground after halving an aerial contest, bringing the ball to ground and beating two Dragons defenders. Has an accurate field kick and was a good lead up target out of defence and in attack. On a day where key forwards struggled McCormack was solid, rounding out his day with 1.2 from 12 disposals.

#20 Connor Downie

The smart bottom ager had his best game for the year, with his match-winning goal capping off a 25-disposal, seven-inside-50 and six-mark effort. Was consistently strong all day, combining with Hirst on the wing to provide rebound off the half back line and efficient use inside 50. Very clean under pressure and rarely fumbles, Downie ran hard all day and was a headache later in the piece for the Dragons, who struggled to contain Eastern’s outside midfielders.

#21 James Ross

The general in defence, Ross was prolific for the Rangers, intercepting multiple Dragons inside 50’s with his strong hands, and providing damaging rebound. Capped off a sound performance with 24 disposals, nine marks, and nine rebounds to be the best defender on the ground. Set up the Rangers defensive structures and was consistent throughout, often playing as the loose man. In the Rangers top few players.

#49 Riley Smith

The 199cm ruckman had a tough day. With the Dragons rotating Bell, Courtney, and Bowman in the middle, Smith shouldered the majority of the ruck duty for Eastern, capping off a strong performance with 10 disposals and 23 hitouts. Used his bigger and more developed frame to outmuscle opponents and the Eastern midfielders lifted in the second half thanks to Smith’s solid tap-work.

 

Gippsland Power vs. Calder Cannons
By: Peter Williams

Gippsland:

#4 Sam Flanders

Flanders was one of Gippsland’s best on the day, playing in the forward half and having a crucial role in extracting the ball from stoppages and pumping it inside 50. He took a great one-on-one mark in front of goal in the first term and booted a goal from the set shot. Flanders took a number of marks when leading outside of the forward 50, missing a shot later in the game, but was a consistent four quarter performance.

#6 Riley Baldi

Baldi continued his strong form this season since returning from injury with some hard running throughout the match. He often teamed up with Fraser Phillips when kicking inside 50, giving him a number of score assists, including a late goal. One trait that was noticeable with Baldi was his lightning quick hands, able to scoop the ball off the deck with one-touch and handball to a teammate running past without his teammate breaking stride. Had a couple of shots on goal but finished with two behinds.

#10 Leo Connolly

Had a few nice passages of play along the wing, creating run out of defence, often picking up the loose ball and kicking down the line. His kicking was neat and smart throughout the game, and he spread into space taking plenty of marks while being the outside mover to complement Gippsland’s array of inside bulls.

#12 Brock Smith

Another super performance from the defender who patrolled the backline and gobbled up everything that came his way in the first term as despite Calder having double the inside 50s. Smith’s remarkable first team saw him have 14 disposals and five marks, more than half of his total touches by the end of the game. While the Cannons used the ball better after quarter time, Smith still remained involved in the contest, showing good closing speed opposed to Josh Kemp, laying a great tackle to nullify the contest. Also loved the argy bargy with a few things to say to Kemp on the wing after being tackled. Another highlight came late in the third term with a long-range goal which got the team up and about.

#15 Ryan Sparkes

Played his usual game through the middle, roaming between the arcs and getting free to win plenty of the ball in space. He also went in when he had to winning his fair share of his own ball, while getting the ball forward to advantage. He spread well and broke up play using sharp, short kicks.

#16 Josh Smith

Had a big start to the day, booting two goals in the opening term despite copping a knock to the face. Shared the ruck load with Charlie Comben and while he was quieter after quarter time, still had a number of inside 50s to put pressure on the opposition defence.

#17 Charlie Comben

The big man had a consistent four quarter effort playing through the ruck, leading up at the football when in attack, getting back and assisting his defence when in the back half, and winning his fair share of hitouts through the middle. He had a set shot in the second term but his shot fell short in the goalsquare. Comben showed good defensive pressure for a tall, laying some fierce tackles on opponents. Promising signs.

#19 Fraser Phillips

Kicked four goals for the game, including two in the final term – one coming after the siren. He had another chance from a snap tight on the boundary but missed, and then gave one off to a teammate instead of having a shot. Played almost exclusively inside 50 in the match and provided the Power with a target throughout the game. Has that excitement factor about him.

 

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

Mott was his industrious self on the weekend, playing an inside role at stoppages and along with Jacob Martin, was one of only two players to reach double-figure contested possessions. He was not able to get the time and space he normally would and thus resulted in some rushed kicks. Nonetheless he was one of Calder’s best, extracting from the stoppages and pumping the ball long, then dropping back in defence and getting it clear from the danger.

#5 Curtis Brown

Kicked Calder’s first goal in the second term after winning a free and launching a set shot from outside 50, easily making the distance. Had some nice touches at half-forward, using the ball neatly and trying to get the ball moving in the Cannons’ favour.

#30 Josh Kemp

Had a few good moments in the first half including an intercept mark at half-forward and showed clean hands leading up at the football and was clean with his disposal off the bounce. Received a 50m penalty in the third term and kicked the Cannons’ only goal of the quarter, but otherwise was quiet in the second half.

#38 Brodie Newman

A quieter game compared to his recent form, but Newman still won his fair share of touches in the back half. His work rate and on-field leadership were noticeable, running well off half-back and intercepting a number of early Gippsland forward thrusts. Tried to keep his side alive and the ball moving. Had a team-high seven rebounds and was the key general back there.