Tag: sam butler

2021 Draft Central NAB League Boys Team of the Week: Round 1

THREE metropolitan sides and one country team are well represented in our Draft Central NAB League Boys Team of the Week for NAB League Boys in Round 1, recording three players apiece. The huge Easter Monday clash between Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers resulted in both sides recording a trio of representatives, as did Northern Knights and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels thanks to their wins over the weekend. Of the eight other teams in action, five had two players apiece, with Geelong Falcons and Murray Bushrangers having one player each, whilst Gippsland Power missed out this week, though did have an emergency.

The Dragons and Chargers had a great battle on Monday, with Nick Daicos a standout despite the loss for the Chargers and named co-captain of the team for being voted in as our NAB League Boys Player of the Week for Round 1. He joins teammates Scott Beilby and ruck Ned Moyle in the team for the opening round. The Dragons supply both wings for the team with Finn Callaghan and Campbell Chesser in the side, whilst Lachlan Riley also made the team on the bench.

GWV Rebels were healthily represented as well with defender Josh Gibcus, midfielder Marcus Herbert and forward Sam Butler all making the starting side for Round 1. The final team with three players in the side this round were the Northern Knights, as Joel Fitzgerald (back pocket), Ned Long (onball) and Darcy Wilmot (interchange) all made the team. At the other end of the scale, Geelong Falcons’ Flynn Young and Murray Bushrangers’ Charlie Byrne were their respective team’s sole representatives.

The other sides who featured all had two players in the 24-player squad, starting with the standalone match’s best player Cody Raak at centre half-back, alongside Paul Curtis on the bench for the Western Jets. Rounding out the midfielder was the team’s co-captain and top ball-winner over the weekend in Tyler Sonsie in the centre, named in the team with forward Corey Preston. The other metropolitan team to feature two players was Calder Cannons, with Sam Clohesy and Josh Goater both making the squad.

Looking at the remaining country teams with two players apiece, the Bendigo Pioneers have Xavier Mitchell and Sam Conforti inside the 24 players, while Dandenong Stingrays are represented by Connor Macdonald and Josiah Kyle in the team. The three hypothetical emergencies were Gippsland Power’s Tom Crole, Calder Cannons’ Zac Taylor and Sandringham Dragons’ Logan Young for this round. Among the other players considered this week, Northern Knights’ Josh Ward, Dandenong Stingrays’ Judson Clarke, Murray Bushrangers’ Josh Rachele, Oakleigh Chargers’ Lachlan Rankin and Geelong Falcons’ Toby Conway.

DRAFT CENTRAL NAB LEAGUE BOYS TEAM OF THE WEEK: ROUND 1

B: Joel Fitzgerald (NK) – Josh Gibcus (GWV) – Scott Beilby (OC)
HB: Charlie Byrne (MB) – Cody Raak (WJ) – Sam Clohesy (CC)
C: Finn Callaghan (SD) – Tyler Sonsie (ER) (c) – Campbell Chesser (SD)
HF: Marcus Herbert (GWV) – Flynn Young (GF) – Connor Macdonald (DS)
F: Sam Butler (GWV) – Xavier Mitchell (BP) – Corey Preston (ER)
R: Ned Moyle (OC) – Nick Daicos (OC) (c) – Ned Long (NK)
INT:  Sam Conforti (BP) – Paul Curtis (WJ) – Josh Goater (CC) – Josiah Kyle (DS) – Lachlan Riley (SD) – Darcy Wilmot (NK)

EMG: Tom Crole (GP) – Zac Taylor (CC) – Logan Young (SD)

Scouting Notes: 2021 NAB League – Round 1

AFTER last week’s standalone season-opener, the first full NAB League round of 2021 was run and done across an enthralling five-day stretch. Victoria’s hottest AFL Draft prospects were scattered throughout all six fixtures as they begin their quest for elite level recognition, with some talents blowing out the cobwebs in quick time and proving their top 10 credentials. Our scouts were on hand to run you through the top performers from each game, in their opinion-based Scouting Notes.

GWV REBELS vs. GEELONG FALCONS

By: Peter Williams

GWV REBELS:

#1 Sam Butler

Played a clever small forward’s game inside 50, timing his runs and attack on the ball well. He used the ball well by foot, hitting up Jye Lockett early in the match as an example. He showed off his quick bursts around the goals with a nice running goal mopping up after a minor lapse of cleanliness between Lockett and Josh Rentsch. In the third term, he slickly stole the ball off Indy Parish and ran forward, then kicked an opportunistic goal 16 minutes in when everyone else thought there was a mark to Toby Conway, and Butler slammed home a major from point blank range. He capped off his performance with a hard run into goal 20m out off the back of great defensive work from his teammates.

#2 Ben Hobbs

Cracked in time and time again and provided the inside body the Rebels needed, showing a high work rate early in the match to win plenty of the ball. He was not as prolific in the second half in terms of his impact, but he still had clean hands and used quick disposals around the coal face to get it out and forward for his side. He had a set shot in the opening term from 60m which easily made the distance, but went to the left. Never gave in across the match and was a fierce competitor in the win.

#3 Charlie Molan

Spread well around the ground and had plenty of the football himself, particularly through the middle two terms. He looked to switch up play and be the distributor from defence or in the midfield to open the game up for his teammates. He had a good second term which included a great clearance and thumping ball forward from the stoppage, then would push back into defence such as in the third term, where his desperation saw him rush the ball across the line and get a free kick for his trouble. Has the silky spin moves to get out of trouble in his arsenal as well, and was clean by hand.

#5 Josh Rentsch

The tall forward was busy early, crashing into opponents and packs to try and win the ball. He clumsily hit an opponent front-on and earned a report, then had an unlucky bounce not long after when it went on a right angle as he tried to run into an open goal and collect it on the way. He kicked his first goal 10m out on a tight angle to nail the set shot, then kicked his second in the final term with a strong grab and a set shot on a tight angle. He had a couple of other chances, including a missed handball in the second term to Lockett, a mark that was deemed a push in the back in the second term, and then a set shot from 35m out that missed to the right. Overall he looked a presence inside 50 though.

#6 Marcus Herbert

Made his mark early in he match in a half-forward stoppage when he won the ball against three Falcons, spun out of trouble and kicked inside 50. He put up the don’t argue in the second term to handball clean to a teammate and was busy in the back half throughout the quarter. He worked hard across the ground to win the ball in all thirds, and then intercepted the ball at half-forward, did not break stride and nailed the running goal from 35m out. Darted in and out of traffic cleanly and was one of the better Rebels players on the night.

#8 Josh Gibcus

One of, if not the Rebels’ best on the day, Gibcus was outstanding in defence with his intercept marking and positioning. Time and time again he would mop up in the back 50, taking clean one-grab marks and then when at ground level, showed composure with ball-in-hand. He has a lovely long kick and makes the right decisions, and aside from a couple of kicks that were rushed, generally used it well. In the opening term, Gibcus had a nice sidestep under pressure and chopped the arms to get free and going forward. He was instrumental in ensuring the Rebels did not concede more goals through the middle of the game.

#10 Blake Scott

Stepped up to be one of the better Rebels with some really eye-catching highlights in the middle two teams. He used his pace to run down the wing and break the lines, then pickpocketed an opposition dangerous kick in board, only to miss the set shot. He made no mistake by crumbing a Rentsch attempted mark to snap and goal, with another snap on goal missing to the left. In the third term, Scott took a nice mark and nailed the set shot from 35m out, then won a free kick on the wing for being bumped high front on later in the term, and backed himself with a kick inboard to a two-on-one which worked out.

GEELONG:

#4 Gennaro Bove

Might not have gone his way in the first half with the Rebels in control, but Bove never stopped running and working hard throughout the game. He had a quick snap in the third term which was rushed but still on target, though an unlucky bounce went up instead of forward and was mopped up by the Rebels defence. Thanks to great tackling pressure on Hobbs, Bove won a free kick and received a 50m penalty where he converted the set shot from the goalsquare. He kicked his second midway through the final term by finding space and kicking the set shot from 30m out.

#7 Flynn Young

Was a really busy forward inside 50, kicking three goals from five scoring shots and realistically having chances to go home with a big bag in the opening round. He kicked a set shot goal 25m out in the opening term to put his team within a point, then nailed another set shot in the second term. Keeping his average at a goal a quarter, Young kicked his third from a set shot late in the premiership quarter, with an earlier miss in the third term hitting the post three quarters high.

#12 Noah Gribble

Coming back from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, Gribble wasted no time in asserting himself on the contest. The hard runner in his 19-year-old season worked hard around the ground to rack up the ball with ease. He worked hard out of defence and along the wing to drive the ball forward and remain in the contest. His second and third efforts were good and spread well around the ground. He showed off is agility by sidestepping some opponents at half-back in the final term to create separation from opponents and get out of trouble.

#27 Charlie Brauer

A high-impact-per-disposal player, Brauer only finished with the 11 touches, three marks and two rebounds, but caught the eye on a number of occasions. He was clean and composed coming out of the back 50, and generally made the right decisions by hand or foot. He might not have amassed the amount of ball as some of his teammates, but as he showed, he has the ability to move the ball well in transition.

#34 Indy Parish

Won his fair share of the ball and showed clean hands, but was often tightly guarded at stoppages. He showed quick hands when in possession through midfield, and read the ball well off the fall, also taking a good mark early in the third term and then quickly dishing off to a teammate on the run to keep it moving. Worked throughout the match to be a solid contributor without being outstanding.

#60 Toby Conway

The bigman had his way in the ruck by using his height and strength to position himself well at stoppages and win the lionshare of the hitouts. He was clever around the stoppages on his way to 30-odd hitouts, but it was his ground level work that also stood out. He tracked it at ground level and would provide second and third efforts for his midfielders and had a crack throughout the four quarters to be a reliable player around the ground.

CALDER CANNONS vs. EASTERN RANGES

By: Ed Pascoe

CALDER CANNONS:

#4 Sam Clohesy

It was back-to-back strong games for Clohesy who has been one of the more impressive players coming back through the new 19s competition, but as a December birth he still has plenty of growth as a player. Clohesy started the game in his preferred half-back position, offering plenty of rebound and using his voice to offer direction and make his own presence known to teammates for the quick receive. As Calder needed to make some changes to get back into the game, Clohesy was moved forward to good effect and was quickly making his presence felt with some nice marks and quick ball movement, but he also hit the scoreboard with a nice set shot. He didn’t add to his goal tally but he looked dangerous and got to show his versatility, ending the game with 24 disposals, 10 marks, seven rebound 50s and a goal.

#5 Zac Taylor

The pick of Calder’s players, the 180cm Taylor worked tirelessly through midfield in all four quarters. Having played mostly forward last week, Taylor showed that crafty nature through the midfield at stoppages, but it was his ability to receive on the outside and push into defence that also stood out and showed he isn’t just a player wanting to look flashy. Taylor’s skills and composure were great on the outside and he won his fair share of clearances on the inside as well, using his clean hands and agility to escape congestion and although it was surprising to see him only finish with the 22 disposals and seven marks as he looked to pop up everywhere, his impact was still high for those 22 touches.

#25 Josh Goater

The incredibly talented Goater started the game in fine fashion, winning the opening clearance of the game. Despite not winning a heap of the ball in that first quarter, he kicked a very nice goal on the run to highlight his impact per possession, which would be a theme for the day for Goater. He was moved to the outside as the game went on and was able to showcase his nice evasion and ability to gain meterage with a nice bit of play in the last quarter; receiving at half-back and then going for a run, taking a few bounces and hitting up teammate Sam Paea on the lead at half-forward. Although he only finished with the 16 disposals and five inside 50s, his impact and dazzling plays couldn’t help but catch the eye.

EASTERN RANGES:

#1 Tyler Sonsie

Sonsie reminded everyone why he is considered one of the top five prospects in the 2021 draft with a dominant display in the midfield, showing his trademark attacking nature and class in a strong four-quarter performance. Sonsie was a clearance specialist in the first quarter, winning plenty of the ball in-close and dishing off cleanly by hand. It wasn’t his usual style of winning the ball and attacking by foot, but he was effective nonetheless. Sonsie had a few running shots on goal in the first half and didn’t quite nail them as he usually would, biting off a bit more than he could chew with some opposite foot kicks, but he would address those issues in the last quarter. Sonsie is usually flawless in his kick execution on both sides and it all finally clicked in the last quarter as he kicked two sensational goals on his non-preferred. The first was a classy rove and snap from a stoppage and the second came after he won a centre clearance and then followed that very clearance up with a running shot at goal from 40-metres out. Sonsie put on a show, finishing the gamer with 34 disposals, six inside 50s and two goals.

#5 Jake Soligo

The impressive Eastern Ranges co-captain led from the front in their engine room and despite not having a huge day on the stat sheet, he certainly played his role in that midfield and helped set up a lot of scoring opportunities. Soligo started the game well, showing clean hands at stoppages and often releasing his runners by hand. He had some chances to hit the scoreboard himself but after missing a running shot at goal in the second quarter, he would later nail a good set shot goal from a mark in the third term. Soligo finished the game with 14 disposals, four inside 50s and kicked 1.2 in a solid outing for the small midfield prospect.

#21 Corey Preston

Preston was one of the unlucky players to miss getting drafted last year after getting a combine invite, but he will certainly have scouts thinking twice about passing him during the mid-season intake after an exciting display up forward. The crafty 181cm left-footer was causing headaches early on, winning plenty of the ball up forward with his first goal coming tight on the boundary from a strong mark, before coolly slotting the snap goal. His second goal was just as impressive, burning off his opponent with speed and then slotting a nice running goal from long range. His next two goals would come in the next quarter, all using his forward smarts with nice crumbing goals. It wasn’t just his crafty work at ground level, as he showed in the second quarter with a really strong contested mark at centre half-forward. Preston would have a quieter second half but he finished the game with an impressive 18 disposals, five marks, and kicked 4.2.

#31 Tyreece Leiu

The big bodied 194cm midfielder-forward spent his time between midfield and the forwardline, proving a good target in attack and around the ground with his height and size. Leiu didn’t kick any goals and really should have converted his early shot in the first quarter from 20 metres straight in front, but he did show his good marking ability by marking strongly against another big-bodied player in Josh Misiti. Although being a handy midfielder at stoppages with his size, his ability to win the ball at half-forward and hit up targets inside 50 was very good – especially in the second half. Leiu had a lot of unselfish plays and while he set up a lot of scoring chains, he couldn’t quite convert another shot at goal late and finished the game with 18 disposals, five marks, six inside 50s and 0.2.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS vs. WESTERN JETS

By: Ed Pascoe

NORTHERN KNIGHTS:

#2 Ned Long

The 192cm midfielder set the tone early with good attack on the ball and good spread around the ground, showing he is more than just that pure big-bodied inside midfielder. Long won plenty of the ball in the first quarter and showed a lot of smarts with ball in hand, drawing in opponents to release better handballs to his teammates. Long was also able to hit the scoreboard, with his first major coming from a strong contested mark and set shot. His marking around the ground was a real highlight, using his big frame to his advantage. His next two goals came in the last quarter and were seemingly match-winning goals both on the run, with the last coming from a quick play-on and long-range bomb. In a best on ground performance, Long finished with 26 disposals, nine marks, seven inside 50s and three goals to mark a near-perfect start to his NAB League campaign.

#3 Josh Ward

The Knights ball magnet didn’t have his usual prolific game but a solid outing nonetheless through the midfield, with his ability inside and outside the contest a real feature of his game. The 181cm midfielder looked classy with his ball use by hand and foot, favouring his left foot, and he hit some nice targets going inside 50. His clean hands at stoppages to go with some nice tackles also really complimented his inside-outside combination. He isn’t the quickest player but he didn’t do a lot wrong with his 22 disposals, getting maximum value out of them and he has shown since Under 16s level that he can win a lot of the ball, so he will prove an important cog in the Northern Knights midfield this year.

#9 Darcy Wilmot

Wilmot certainly wasn’t the most prolific player out there but he certainly had the best moments of the game, which will be touched on, but to describe the 182cm defender’s game in a snapshot, he played the fast rebounder role and offered plenty of drive. His first sensational bit of play came in the second quarter; starting on the wing, he attacked the loose ball to gather and handpass to a teammate, before then working hard to receive again and show his dash to kick a spectacular goal hard on the boundary from 50 metres out – an effort worthy of goal of the year. As flashy as he looked, he was able to intercept really well overhead and was always quick to play on. Another great moment deep in the last quarter saw him take a bounce and stream from half-back, running flat-out through the middle of the ground and although he probably should have been done for running too far it, was such an eye-catching moment. Wilmot finished the game with 15 disposals and five rebound 50s and is only just draft eligible having been born on December 31, so he has even more room for growth as the year goes on. He is certainly a player to keep an eye on.

#22 Jack Rossimel

Although the 193cm key forward didn’t hit the scoreboard, he was certainly influential in his team’s result, providing a great target from centre half-forward with his constant leading at the ball carrier. Rossimel’s greatest strength wasn’t just his ability to lead up and give his teammates a target, it was also his incredible dexterity at ground level – able to gather any ball below his knees at speed and handpass to a teammate perfectly. His skillset lends well to perhaps playing as a midfielder at some point or even as a wingman. He had one shot at goal that didn’t make the distance but expect the goals to come this year to reward his efforts. Rossimel finished the game with 16 disposals and six marks.

#28 Joel Fitzgerald

An emerging leader for Northern Knights, Fitzgerald played his role in defence to perfection, not only defending really well but also offering plenty of rebound from the back half. Although Fitzgerald wasn’t flashy he did the one-percenters well with some timely spoils and one-on-one defending. He showed his rebound ability early with a nice intercept mark then quickly kicking down the line to teammate Rossimel, before receiving back and gaining plenty of meterage. Fitzgerald was a good four-quarter performer but he really stood up in the last quarter when the heat was on. He had some great defensive moments while also taking some strong intercept marks which were a staple of his game all day. The 186cm defender finished the game with 32 disposals, 12 marks and seven rebound 50s and couldn’t have done much more offensively or defensively in a well-rounded performance.

WESTERN JETS:

#26 Cody Raak

It wasn’t a prolific game for Raak compared to last week, but he still showed his great composure and ability to rebound from defence. Raak started the game well with a nice mark deep in defence, followed by a lovely gather and handball to show his class above his head and at ground level. His confidence to quickly hit the switch kick and do it perfectly was a nice sight. He almost got a chance to kick a goal as well, receiving a handball at 50-metres and just missing the running long-range shot at goal in the second quarter. He also showed good intensity during the same term in defence with a good second effort. Raak finished the game with 18 disposals and five rebound 50s in a strong performance down back.

#32 Paul Curtis

“Expect the goals to come if he keeps getting himself in dangerous situations” – that was our quote for Curtis after his game last week and not only did he hit the scoreboard this time out, but he almost did it in a big way. Curtis set the tone early, showing that he would be a handful by taking a nice slips catch mark. Despite missing the set shot, he would add another behind with a snap at goal on his non-preferred side, showing good speed as well. Curtis would finally kick a goal in the second quarter coming from a high free kick. His pressure was outstanding in this quarter and really helped spark his side. Curtis would kick a further two goals in the last quarter, with one from a lovely crumbed snap and the other from a 50-metre penalty. Curtis finished the game with eight disposals, kicking 3.2 as he continues to prove to be one of the standout small forwards in the NAB League.

#33 Billy Cootee

The Jets’ captain led from the front, showing great attacking intent through the midfield with his impact. Though that was not exactly shown on the stat sheet, Cootee provided plenty of drive from the midfield, with his burst from stoppages and long kicking a big driving force especially in the first half. Cootee finished the game with 15 disposals and six tackles, but he certainly made all those touches count and was a key reason as to why the Jets kept within striking distance of the dangerous Knights outfit.

#50 Paul Tsapatolis

Geelong-listed rookie, Tsapatolis seems to be getting better with every game, as the 201cm ruckman was a real presence against the Knights. A strong contested mark in the first quarter set the tone for his game as he proved to be a hard player to stop both in ruck contests and around the ground with his big body and marking ability. He didn’t hit the scoreboard, missing a set shot in the last quarter, but he had some good numbers for the game with 15 disposals, six marks and 22 hit-outs – improving from his eight-disposal game last week.

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

By: Declan Reeve

GIPPSLAND POWER:

#4 Nathan Noblett

Positioned well in the backline for Gippsland down deep. Often under siege down there, Noblett held himself well, especially in marking contests where he’d be able to out-position opponents to get the mark, then look to switch the ball across the defensive 50 to get the Power started again. Had a few kicks under pressure that didn’t quite come off, but it didn’t slow him down as he continued to take the game on through the day.

#5 Chance Doultree

Played a bit of a mixed role throughout the day, stationed mostly in the backline but he had no issues pushing up and almost playing as an extra midfielder to give Gippsland another body around the contest. Marked well for the game, with his positioning outside of forward 50 being smart and giving himself the best chance to put the ball straight back in. When he was up forward he won a few two-on-ones to create scoring shots, a big reason for Power’s improved scoreboard showing in the third quarter.

#9 Will Papley

Really aggressive towards the ball and opposition ball carrier, making him a menace in close around the midfield, and a high pressure player in the forward 50, where he almost guaranteed a successful tackle when he latches on. His ball use was good as well, knowing when to take the opportunity to kick for goal, but also lowering his eyes and hitting up teammates as well.

#23 Jai Serong

Splitting his time between the midfield and backline, Serong’s biggest strength was his positioning in either role. In the midfield he got to the right spots, where his cleanliness at ground level gave him the upper hand in the contest and led to him feeding it out to teammates under less pressure. In the backline, he was able to impact contests by coming off his own opponent to throw in a spoil or hold off an opponent for his teammates.

#38 Thomas Crole

Presented well up forward all day, making hard and aggressive leads to dangerous spots inside forward 50, with his first four or five steps really hard for Dandenong defenders to keep up with. He kicked a few goals for the day where there wasn’t a whole heap of ball up forward for Power, with his conversion really good from set shots and on the run.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS:

#2 Josiah Kyle

The St Kilda NGA prospect has some very nice traits around the ground that make him a high-impact player whenever he’s around the contest. There were just times where he’d evade two or three opponents and then deliver a handball out to a teammate, or a damaging kick forward to a leading teammate, highlighting his vision and composure in traffic. Being a smaller forward he was naturally good at ground level, but his presence aerially was also impressive, getting on shoulders when he could but also out-bodying opponents through smart positioning in one-on-ones when he was a deeper target. He was dangerous when he went into the midfield as well, with his pace a real asset around stoppages and on the outside, where he’d get himself into space and deliver damaging kicks forward.

#3 Miller Bergman

Provided meaningful run off of the half-back flank throughout the day, coming out to meet the ball when it went over the top of contests or dropped short of his defensive 50. Moved into the forward half for the last quarter, where he was a particularly strong link-up option in transition, working hard up the ground to be a switch option out of defence and beating opponents with his speed when moving with the ball forward, where his long and often penetrating kick was a weapon for the Stingrays.

#6 Connor Macdonald

Was probably the standout midfielder for the day, with his burst of speed and read of the ball off of the rucks’ hands a real strength, leading to a lot of quick entries forward for the Stingrays from centre bounces in particular. He highlighted his versatility by playing as not only an inside ball winner, but an outside receiver as well, where he showed solid ball use and again showcased his speed to move the ball well. Also had his stints up forward where he crumbed well off the talls and used his hands well to give to teammates, or had a shot on goal himself, finishing the day with two majors.

#7 Judson Clarke

Formed a dynamic duo of sorts with Macdonald around the midfield, with one going in to win the ball and the other holding on the outside, both playing either role with the flick of a switch, it was almost like they were reading each others’ minds. Clarke was efficient when moving the ball forward, hitting up teammates with bullet-like kicks, making him particularly damaging when the Stingrays were in transition.

#22 Mac Andrew

Another NGA prospect for Melbourne, he showed some really good signs as a forward that rotated through the ruck, where he displayed a good understanding of the role, timing his leaps and placing his taps well to the advantage of teammates around the ground, leading to Dandenong’s scoreboard pressure. He also positioned well in marking contests, being in spots just outside the forward 50 that he’d create a contest for Dandenong to get it back in.

#23 Jai Neal

Made the most of his opportunities in the forwardline, making really well-positioned leads and marking strongly on the chest when his teammates chose to reward his efforts. He was also opportunistic around the forward 50 arc, looking to attack any spilt balls out of contests and get them going forward.

#27 Kobi George

The Melbourne NGA prospect worked out of the backline, trusted with the kick-ins where he’d deliver to the advantage of teammates. He was a delight to watch when working through traffic, with Gippsland players just unable to get a hold of him. He could run through a pack and come out the other side without losing balance. His speed and precision with his handballing was top class, often getting a good amount of distance behind it to a teammate out on their own, allowing the Dandenong transition to continue quickly going forward. Had a few kicks on the run that didn’t quite come off as well as he’d like, but still managed penetration in them. 

#42 James Cahill

Fit in well on the wing for the Stingrays, making himself an option for switch kicks out of the backline as often as he could, and having the confidence to tuck the ball under his arm and go for a run before kicking long forward. He worked hard to help teammates under pressure, often getting a handball out the back, giving it off and then running to receive it back as well. That hard work was on display all day.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS vs. BENDIGO PIONEERS

By: Declan Reeve

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS:

#2 Charlie Byrne

Byrne showed a high level of leadership during the game, very clearly directing teammates whether he had the ball or not. He was courageous at the footy no matter where he was lining up, putting his body on the line to win it out the middle or coming to meet it out of defence. His confidence and composure in pursuit of and with the ball was a highlight for Murray.

#3 Toby Murray

Lined up at full forward for the game, Murray led well for his teammates further up the ground, pushing high up onto the wings when the ball was in Murray’s defensive 50 to become a solid link-up player in transition. He’s not overly physical in marking contests, but uses his body well to just nudge opponents out of the way or push them under the ball. He used the ball well, with his kicking to hit up teammates inside 50 a highlight. Was the relieving ruck for Murray and competed well, able to time his jumps really well to win quite a few hit-outs, without getting much strong direction on them. 

#4 Josh Rachele

A very good user of the footy around the ground, getting penetration behind his kick that was unmatched by anyone else, so when he was moving it centrally as he so often looked to do it was generally a jump start for a Murray attack. Whilst he had a run-with player when in the midfield, he managed well in pulling his opponent out and then beating them on the outside with his burst of speed. For his size, he presented a surprisingly strong aerial presence and proved very clean above his head, even at full speed, which led to him being used and taking some impressive marks around the ground, even against bigger opponents.

#13 Tom Brown

Competed well in marking contests especially, just a really safe set of hands with a well-timed leap which adds an element of reliability for Murray wherever he’s stationed on ground, only dropping a mark when heavy contact was made. Was a bit of ‘Mr. Fix It’, filling in down back in the second quarter when there were a lot of entries, where his tendency to drift in front of contests became a big reason the Bushies didn’t concede more, and his ball use helped get Murray started for a counter.

#24 Cameron McLeod

Has really good speed and running capacity as a tall forward, working his opponents up the ground to be an option high up on the wing, and if he went unused his work-rate running back into the forward 50 was very impressive. Mixed with that speed, it was evident he was a difficult match up for Bendigo. His follow up work at ground level is equally impressive, beating much smaller players regularly.

#29 Noah Bradshaw

Looked most impressive during his stints in the midfield, where he had a knack for moving through congestion without much trouble, and then delivering either a well placed kick to a leading teammate or a clean handball to someone running past on the outside. Was really strong overhead as well, taking some impressive marks when stationed in the forward line. The son of former Brisbane Lions goalkicker, Daniel

BENDIGO PIONEERS:

#1 Sam Conforti

Split his time between the forwardline and midfield, where his ball winning ability and tendency to look for short inside 45 options with his kicking going forward shone. It opened up the game for Bendigo, especially out of stoppages where he could find a way out of congestion to hit up a leading target, or the hot zone up forward. Was also smart with his leading, making some shorter leads to open up the ground, and again utilise that inside 45 kick option.

#2 Harvey Gallagher

Just did a bit of everything throughout the day as a forward and midfielder, doing well to hold his space on the outside of the contest, then use the ball well by foot going forward. His positioning and leading patterns made him a strong marking option going forward as well, just getting into smart spots where he was the clear best option and often alone.

#5 Cooper Hamilton

Played a bit of everywhere, starting as a defender and then getting more midfield time as the game went on, then drifting up forward when the opportunity presented. Was really good with his pressure application throughout the day, never allowing an easy opposition disposal to get away. With the ball himself, he looked at his best when he was involved in the contested stuff, especially with his quick hands out to teammates to keep the ball moving. 

#8 Hugh Hamilton

Used the ball well through the midfield, often winning it on the inside, getting through congestion and then delivering a well weighted kick to a leading forward. The few times his kicks were rushed because of pressure, they were still well placed to the advantage of his forward teammates. He tackled hard around the contest as well, with the Pioneers noticeably stronger with him on the inside.

#9 Aidan Hare

Got better as the game went on, stationed as a midfielder for the majority of the contest. His brute force and hard work around stoppages led to quite a few clearances, whether for him or his teammates. As the game went on it became more evident he was fitter than most on ground, becoming a focal player for Bendigo; taking marks and becoming a regular ball winner around the ground as well. Rested up forward occasionally and akin to his midfield game as the match went on, he became more and more involved, presenting well as a target up forward and even taking a nice mark in particular during the fourth quarter straight from a centre clearance.

#10 Bode Stevens

Lining up for the Pioneers in the engine room, Stevens showed true ability to impact all around the ground. With his inside work particularly strong in the midfield, his ability to get hands out quickly to an oncoming teammate was vital to Bendigo’s forward 50 entry game. He also presented well in the forwardline when he was around there, getting himself a goal just by being free in a more central spot of the 50 than a teammate with the ball.

#13 Jack Evans

Looked good when he was given the freedom to move around the ground and help out everywhere. There were times where he pushed down into the defensive 50 to help out down there, and his composure under pressure to find a free teammate was impressive, with his ability to find shorter options and weight the quick kick well really good as Bendigo worked it out carefully.

#23 Xavier Mitchell

Showed some really good athletic traits, with his leap and speed two in particular that caught the eye and led to a few goals for him. He could’ve had a few more had he not passed it off or had free kicks paid as advantage to teammates. Got to all the right spots for his teammates, making a contest of any ball regardless of how high or fast it came in.

#28 Louis Thompson

Didn’t have a whole heap of the footy, but was very eye catching when he did. Lining up mostly at half-forward, he’d drift across and impact aerial contests well, with one particular instance in the first quarter leading to a mark a good five meters in front of the pack, which he converted into a goal. When in the midfield, he was really clean in traffic, getting around opponents easily to then handball to a teammate on the outside. He went on a few good runs where he’d be confident and assured taking on opponents, standing up strongly on the rare occasions he was caught. Looked to be on the wing for the fourth quarter where he became a strong driver for the Pioneers going forward, using his speed and agility well then kicking to teammates. 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

By: Ed Pascoe

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS:

#4 Josh Sinn

Coming into the season as one of this year’s brightest prospects, the Sandringham co-captain wasn’t given much space to work with by the Oakleigh forwards and he was tasked with the difficult matchup on Lachlan Rankin early, who got the better of him. Sinn tried to get his usual rebound game going but found it tough with Oakleigh’s superb pressure, but he would start to hit his straps more as the game went on. Usually doing his best work at half-back, he was moved through the midfield to provide some spark and even drifted forward to kick an important goal in the last quarter from a mark and set shot. Sinn finished the game with 20 disposals, four rebound 50s and one goal which was a strong return after a shaky start.

#6 Blake Howes

The smooth moving medium forward had plenty of eye-catching moments, showcasing his superb athletic traits; able to be a threat in the air but also show great dexterity and clean hands at ground level. Howes’ kicking under pressure during the game was a real highlight, often getting separation from his opponent before kicking long inside 50 to hit his targets. The talented forward only kicked the one goal but it was certainly a good one, with a nice snap kick on his opposite foot in the second quarter. Howes finished the game with 12 disposals, five marks and a goal, showing he would be a very difficult matchup this year with his combination of height, smarts and athleticism.

#7 Campbell Chesser

Chesser made the wing his own, winning plenty of the ball and really lifting his output and damage in the last quarter when his team needed it most. Chesser wasn’t overly flashy on the outer, just getting the job done with great skill and composure by hand and foot. Rarely flustered, he popped up to give an outlet at the back of stoppages while also working hard around the ground to set up scoring chains. Chesser finished the game with 23 disposals and five inside 50s and was one of Sandringham’s better players for the day in their hard earned win.

#17 Finn Callaghan

A smooth moving wingman with a bit of weight behind him, Callaghan isn’t your typical looking NAB League wingman, but despite his strong looking frame he showed great agility and movement through traffic and looks to be an interesting prospect in 2021. Fleet of foot at ground level, Callaghan also looked comfortable overhead with a nice intercept mark in the second quarter and was comfortable going back to kick on his favoured left boot from 55 metres out. He missed the set shot but certainly showed his cannon-like left boot and would do so around the ground for the rest of the game. Callaghan finished the game with 19 disposals and two behinds.

#52 Luke Nankervis

Although not prolific, Nankervis certainly showed some exciting traits that should see him come into draft consideration as the year goes on, as the lightly built medium forward impressed with his speed and skill. Nankervis looked a threat in the air and at ground level which was a similar trait shared with teammate Blake Howes. Nankervis was very agile at ground level and looked quick in transition, not just with the ball but also when gliding across the ground to receive. Nankervis did well to kick his first goal in the second quarter when he snapped truly with a nice gather after his mark was spoiled. Nankervis only had the 10 disposals but took four marks and kicked 1.1 in a very promising first game at NAB League level.

#66 Charlie McKay

The Carlton father-son prospect impressed last year in the pre-season before Covid impacted his year, but McKay has come back with a point to prove and he certainly went in with an attacking mindset through the Dragons’ engine room. McKay was a bull, putting his head over the ball and putting plenty of pressure on the ball carrier to set the tone for his teammates. Not one to solely operate at ground level, he also showed intent in the air by taking some strong grabs and even pushing into defence at times, and showed some good form behind the ball as well. McKay finished the game with 17 disposals, four tackles and five inside 50s as the big-bodied midfielder made the most of his NAB League debut.

Others:

Promising ruck Jacob Edwards, who has attracted some mid-season draft interest, built on his terrific preseason form with a couple of clutch moments for the Dragons while being solid all game. West Australian recruit Logan Young was reliable in midfield and opportunistic with a couple of goals up forward, as was Eren Soylemez with three majors and great tackling pressure. Lachlan Benton was another lively figure in the attacking half, while Jack Peris showed clean pairs of hands and heels from the wing. In the thick of the midfield action, Lachlan Riley proved a dependable figure and won plenty of ball.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS:

#1 Youseph Dib

The Collingwood NGA member showed a lot of spark from half-back, providing plenty of creativity and composure to help his side provide meaningful rebound. Usually stationed in the forwardline or through the midfield, Dib made the half-back line his own and was busy very early in the game and despite playing mostly in defence, managed to kick a goal in the first quarter following a 50-metre penalty. As much as Dib has been seen as a very agile and exciting little player, his one-percenters really stood out with some nice tackles and some good smothers. Dib wasn’t prolific but had a solid game with 10 disposals, three tackles and a goal.

#3 Nick Daicos

In his NAB League debut, Daicos showed the hype was justified with a best on ground performance against perhaps the team to beat this year in Sandringham. Daicos was superb in the midfield, winning the ball at will and showing great skill and speed when in possession. Daicos started the game perfectly with the game’s first clearance and showed his forward craft, kicking a well-struck set shot from 45 metres out. His second goal came from a set shot from 50 metres in the third quarter, and his third and final goal came in the last quarter with a terrific crumbing effort where he hit the ball at speed and kicked the goal quicker than a hiccup. With an early corky, Daicos had to spend a bit of time at deep forward in the second half but he still looked so damaging whenever he went near the ball. Daicos finished the game with 28 disposals, eight marks, seven tackles and kicked 3.2 in a best on ground performance.

#17 Braden Andrews

Usually very prolific as a tall inside midfielder, Andrews had a quieter game by his standards yet still showed some great signs with his skills and composure. The AFL Academy member finished with 11 disposals but made most of them count with some nice long kicks and classy work by hand. Expect him to bounce back with a more prolific game in the coming weeks as he adjusts to the rigours and speed of play.

#22 Lachlan Rankin

Usually used as a rebounding half-back or wingman, Rankin was stationed up forward, lining up on gun Sandringham captain Josh Sinn. He certainly made Sinn accountable by lighting up the first quarter, kicking two goals and getting Oakleigh off to the perfect start. Both his goals came from free kicks, with one a simple set shot but another a very nice opposite foot snap hard on the boundary which showcased his skill. His third goal would come in the third quarter with a nice dribble close to goal, and after attempting a huge screamer later that quarter he would unfortunately injure himself – putting a stop to his dominant performance up forward. Although not the tallest or quickest forward, Rankin was clean and classy around the ball and his natural football IQ made the foreign position work. Rankin finished the game with eight disposals and three goals.

#36 Scott Beilby

The St Kilda NGA prospect provided a lot of spark down back for Oakleigh, often taking the kick-outs and always looking to attack with them as well. Although Beilby showed great rebounding ability, he also took some really strong intercept marks to prove he isn’t just a running receiver, or one who uses kick-outs to inflate his figures. Beilby finished the game with 21 disposals and nine rebound 50s to be amongst his teams best players, despite some shaky moments at the death.

Others:

New South Welshman, Patrick Voss was ultra impressive up forward in his maiden outing for Oakleigh, defying his size to apply great pressure at ground level. Alex Lukic doubled well in the ruck and was mobile around the ground, supporting the strong efforts of bigman, Ned Moyle. Lochlan Jenkins and Dylan Thomas were among the Chargers to find plenty of ball, as Jed Rule returned a solid shift and Luke Kelvie had some good moments.

2021 NAB League Boys snapshot: Round 1 – Dragons salute on Easter Monday as teams dust off cobwebs

IT was a fantastic opening round of NAB League Boys action as teams dusted off the cobwebs and there were a number of top performers across the weekend. Ahead of our Scouting Notes and Team of the Week, we take a snapshot into Round 1 and how the six matches played out across the Easter Weekend.

GWV REBELS 12.9 (81) defeated GEELONG FALCONS 9.4 (58)

IN A SENTENCE:

After a tight start to the game, the Rebels kicked four goals to one in the second term to give themselves a 23-point lead at the main break, with the Falcons attacking hard in the third, before the Rebels again kicked away in the last.

TEAM STATS:

  • Geelong Falcons won the disposal count (280-255), marks (69-55) and hitouts (44-21)
  • GWV Rebels won the inside 50s (44-43) and rebound 50s (34-31)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Ben Hobbs (GWV Rebels) 22 disposals, 2 marks, 8 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels) 21 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 3 inside 50s
  • Josh Gibcus (GWV Rebels) 14 disposals, 6 marks, 4 rebound 50s
  • Sam Butler (GWV Rebels) 13 disposals, 3 tackles, 3 goals
  • Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons) 24 disposals, 9 marks, 3 inside 50s, 5 rebounds
  • Archie Hilderbrandt (Geelong Falcons) 25 disposals, 5 marks, 2 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Flynn Young (Geelong Falcons) 11 disposals, 6 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 goals

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Josh Gibcus (GWV Rebels)
4 – Marcus Herbert (GWV Rebels)
3 – Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons)
2 – Sam Butler (GWV Rebels)
1 – Flynn Young (Geelong Falcons)

NEXT UP:

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers @ Queen Elizabeth Oval, Sunday April 11
GWV Rebels vs. Dandenong Stingrays @ Queen Elizabeth Oval, Sunday April 11

CALDER CANNONS 10.6 (66) defeated by EASTERN RANGES 14.14 (98)

IN A SENTENCE:

An 11 goals to three first half wrapped up the game early on for the Ranges in what was a tale of two halves, as the Cannons piled on seven goals to three in the second half, only to go down by 32 points in the end.

TEAM STATS:

  • Eastern Ranges won the inside 50s (52-44) and tackles (41-34)
  • Calder Cannons won the marks (115-85), rebound 50s (36-34) and hitouts (33-26)
  • Both teams were level with disposals (304-304)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges) 34 disposals, 6 marks, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Corey Preston (Eastern Ranges) 18 disposals, 5 marks, 4 inside 50s, 4 goals
  • Tyreece Leiu (Eastern Ranges) 17 disposals, 5 marks, 6 inside 50s
  • Mitchell Sruk (Eastern Ranges) 21 disposals, 9 rebound 50s
  • Flynn Lakey (Calder Cannons) 27 disposals, 7 marks, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Flynn Gentile (Calder Cannons) 25 disposals, 15 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s
  • Sam Clohesy (Calder Cannons) 24 disposals, 10 marks, 3 inside 50s, 7 rebounds 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges)
4 – Corey Preston (Eastern Ranges)
3 – Zac Taylor (Calder Cannons)
2 – Sam Clohesy (Calder Cannons)
1 – Tyreece Leiu (Eastern Ranges)

NEXT UP:

Calder Cannons vs. Tasmania Devils @ UTAS Stadium, Saturday April 10
Eastern Ranges vs. Oakleigh Chargers @ Preston City Oval, Saturday April 10

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.13 (61) defeated WESTERN JETS 7.10 (52)

IN A SENTENCE:

In a low-scoring tussle with not much between them all day, the Knights managed to kick away with the final goal of the game after Western Jets drew within a point midway through the final term.

TEAM STATS:

  • Northern Knights won the disposals (344-272), inside 50s (55-41) and marks (96-70)
  • Western Jets won the rebound 50s (47-33), tackles (73-58) and hitouts (31-20)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Joel Fitzgerald (Northern Knights) 32 disposals, 12 marks, 4 tackles, 7 rebound 50s
  • Ned Long (Northern Knights) 26 disposals, 9 marks, 3 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 3 goals
  • Josh Ward (Northern Knights) 22 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 4 inside 50s
  • Harrison White (Western Jets) 26 disposals, 5 marks, 6 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s
  • Sam Clifford (Western Jets) 19 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 6 rebound 50s
  • Harrison Schumann (Western Jets) 16 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 4 rebound 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Ned Long (Northern Knights)
4 – Joel Fitzgerald (Northern Knights)
3 – Darcy Wilmot (Northern Knights)
2 – Paul Curtis (Western Jets)
1 – Billy Cootee (Western Jets)

NEXT UP:

Northern Knights vs. Sandringham Dragons @ Preston City Oval, Saturday April 10
Western Jets vs. Oakleigh Chargers @ Avalon Airport Oval, Saturday April 17

GIPPSLAND POWER 7.6 (48) defeated by DANDENONG STINGRAYS 12.15 (87)

IN A SENTENCE:

The Stingrays never looked like making it a tight contest with eight goals to one in the first half to open up a 49-point half-time lead, before the Power hit back with six goals to four in the second half to reduce the final deficit to 39.

TEAM STATS:

  • Dandenong Stingrays won the disposals (337-331), inside 50s (55-40), marks (77-64) and hitouts (27-19)
  • Gippsland Power won the rebound 50s (43-32)
  • The teams both laid 64 tackles in the match

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Judson Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays) 23 disposals, 6 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • James Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays) 23 disposals, 7 marks, 3 tackles, 8 inside 50s
  • Mac Andrew (Dandenong Stingrays) 22 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s
  • Connor MacDonald (Dandenong Stingrays) 24 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Max Walton (Gippsland Power) 32 disposals, 6 marks, 4 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 10 rebound 50s
  • Luis D’Angelo (Gippsland Power) 21 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 3 rebound 40s
  • Mitchell Moschetti (Gippsland Power) 26 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles, 5 inside 50s

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5Connor Macdonald (Dandenong Stingrays)
4 –  Josiah Kyle (Dandenong Stingrays)
3 – Judson Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays)
2 – Miller Bergman (Dandenong Stingrays)
1 – Mac Andrew (Dandenong Stingrays)

NEXT UP:

Gippsland Power vs. Bendigo Pioneers @ Queen Elizabeth Oval, Sunday April 11
Dandenong Stingrays vs. GWV Rebels @ Queen Elizabeth Oval, Sunday April 11

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 9.7 (61) defeated by BENDIGO PIONEERS 19.11 (125)

IN A SENTENCE:

A fairly even contest for most of the first half, the Pioneers booted 11 of the last 14 goals to storm to a massive 64-point victory over the Bushrangers.

TEAM STATS:

  • Bendigo Pioneers won the disposals (310-300), inside 50s (59-41), marks (93-76) and hitouts (33-30)
  • Murray Bushrangers won the rebound 50s (40-30) and tackles (49-42)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers) 25 disposals, 3 marks, 6 inside 50s, 1 goal
  • Hugh Hamilton (Bendigo Pioneers) 19 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) 18 disposals, 6 marks, 4 inside 50s, 3 goals
  • Xavier Mitchell (Bendigo Pioneers) 16 disposals, 8 marks, 7 inside 50s, 3 goals
  • Cameron McLeod (Murray Bushrangers) 18 disposals, 6 marks, 4 inside 50s, 2 goals
  • Paddy Parnell (Murray Bushrangers) 22 disposals, 5 marks, 8 tackles, 7 rebound 50s
  • Josh Rachele (Murray Bushrangers) 19 disposals, 7 marks, 5 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers)
4 – Xavier Mitchell (Bendigo Pioneers)
3 – Josh Rachele (Murray Bushrangers)
2 – Hugh Hamiliton (Bendigo Pioneers)
1 – Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers)

NEXT UP:

Murray Bushrangers vs. Geelong Falcons @ Queen Elizabeth Oval, Sunday April 11
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power @ Queen Elizabeth Oval, Sunday April 11

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 11.16 (82) defeated OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 10.6 (66)

IN A SENTENCE:

In an unbelievably high-quality game, the Dragons had the breeze in the last quarter to kick five goals to one, and run over the top of the Chargers by 16 points.

TEAM STATS:

  • Sandringham Dragons won the disposals (306-272), inside 50s (45-36) and marks (63-58)
  • Oakleigh Chargers won the rebound 50s (34-24), tackles (64-50) and hitouts (36-30)

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons) 23 disposals, 2 marks, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Lachlan Riley (Sandringham Dragons) 24 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s
  • Josh Sinn (Sandringham Dragons) 20 disposals, 4 marks, 2 inside 50s, 4 rebound 50s
  • Logan Young (Sandringham Dragons) 17 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 2 goals
  • Nick Daicos (Oakleigh Chargers) 28 disposals, 8 marks, 7 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 3 goals
  • Lachlan Rankin (Oakleigh Chargers) 8 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 3 goals
  • Scott Beilby (Oakleigh Chargers) 21 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 9 rebound 50s
  • Patrick Voss (Oakleigh Chargers) 11 disposals, 3 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Nick Daicos (Oakleigh Chargers)
4 – Campbell Chesser (Sandringham Dragons)
3 – Lachlan Riley (Sandringham Dragons)
2 – Scott Beilby (Oakleigh Chargers)
1 – Logan Young (Sandringham Dragons)

NEXT UP:

Sandringham Dragons vs. Northern Knights @ Preston City Oval, Saturday April 10
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Eastern Ranges @ Preston City Oval, Saturday April 10

2021 NAB League team preview: Greater Western Victoria Rebels

GREATER Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels regional talent operations lead, Phil Partington has lauded the hard work of his squad during preseason after an unforeseen year away from competitive action. The country region will start its 2021 NAB League season on Thursday evening against the Geelong Falcons, with an Under 17 clash making it a double-header at CE Brown Reserve.

The Rebels boast an exciting batch of high-end talent which should steer the side towards positive areas not only in terms of win-loss results, but more importantly in the realm of draftee production. While there is plenty of promise surrounding the group, Partington says his troops have sought to “get the best out of themselves” in more than just an individual sense during preseason.

“(Hard work) is one thing that really grows above most things in our program, that the boys want to improve and want to perform as well,” Partington said. “That’s not just for their own individual performance, it’s overall the team performance. Our experienced coaches who have all been involved at AFL level over the last three to five years, to see those coaches, the way they coach them and the boys responding to that has been really pleasing for our program.”

As part of the competition’s restructure, the top age has been lifted to 19 to ensure those who missed out on playing last year have ample opportunity to prove their draft credentials. Despite the shift, Partington says the age profile on GWV’s squad has seen much of its list made up by 18th-year prospects, along with a handful of returning 19th-year players. Those top-agers have also had the opportunity to mingle with VFL squads ahead of season proper.

“With the profile of our squad we’ve gone with many 18-year-olds, we’ve only got five 19-year-old boys in our squad and that was just the make-up of our talent base,” he said. “Marcus Herbert has a VFL contract with Geelong so we’re really pleased with that and he’s been training with them all through the preseason.

Jett Bermingham who’s one of our 19-year-olds has also been training with Geelong during the preseason, but he’ll be back with us full-time. “Fraser Marris is training down there, he’s at university down in Geelong so he’s training with Geelong VFL throughout the year as well, so our boys are getting opportunities at the next level but we’ve got at the draftable age, a strong group of Under 18 players this year.

“If boys get that opportunity to play VFL football this year I think it’s going to be fantastic for their development. We always encourage our players to play the highest (level) of football that they are capable of and if that’s VFL, it’s outstanding for the development of those players and their draft prospects too.”

Looking at the 2002-born standouts, AFL Academy member Ben Hobbs is certainly one to watch and is one of the few players in his age group to have already gained NAB League experience. The hard-nosed, hard running inside midfielder was among those Partington identified as impactful figures leading into Round 1.

“We’ve got the likes of Ben Hobbs, the way he has performed as a 16-year-old in our program (was outstanding)… Josh Rentsch got the opportunity to play some NAB League and so did Josh Gibcus (and Charlie Molan) so there’s a few players who have had opportunities to play as 16-year-olds in our program. Then you’ve got the likes of a Sam Butler, who’s worked extremely hard and impressed over the preseason, making massive impacts into games, so I’ve been really pleased with those players.

“The one player that has not so much jumped onto our radar, but developed very nicely in size and shape is Thomas Baulch from the Koroit Football Club. During our preseason phase and match simulations, we’ve been very impressed with the way he played, his running capability and his ability to kick goals. He’s a 194cm wingman or half-back/half-forward, he can play in various positions so we’re excited to see if he can carry on his preseason performance into the season.”

Leadership is yet to be finalised at this point but is in the works, with the delay mainly down to the vast expanses of GWV’s region and time constraints across preseason. Partington says the Rebels have navigated the many challenges facing each region, particularly country ones, and have seen improvement from players each time they are able to come together. All that, with the prize of finally getting back on the park now within reach.

“We’re just looking forward to the start of the NAB League season and giving our boys the opportunity to get back to what they love,” he said. “They’ve watched our girls on a couple of occasions, so the enthusiasm from our girls program has come over to our boys program and I know they’re really keen to get going. We’ll be competitive and that’s all we want for our boys to improve each week.”

’03-BORN GWV PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Thomas Baulch – one to keep an eye on this year, the versatile utility is a good size at 194cm and can play along each line. He impressed during match simulation and has some nice traits to impact off the wing or a flank.

Sam Breuer – a defender who will look to operate off half-back, Breuer was pushed well during the off-season and is still workin gon his speed. In terms of strengths, he can play lockdown roles well and dictate play from behind the ball.

Sam Butler – the brother of Richmond’s Dan, Butler will play a high half-forward role with GWV this season while also rotating through midfield. He brings good speed and tackling pressure to the fore, with his overall work rate impressing during preseason.

Josh Gibcus – an athletic tall prospect who registered top 10 jumps during the NAB League preseason testing, Gibcus has already played at the level. His leap and overhead mark are obvious strengths, but Gibcus is looking to develop his understanding of the game and his kicking skills.

Ben Hobbs – the Rebels’ standout player this year, Hobbs is an AFL Academy member and one of the best inside midfielders nationwide. He has been developing his outside game and skills, with leadership, stoppage extraction, and hard running among his most impressive assets.

Jye Lockett – the nephew of Tony, Lockett spent time back home on the Gold Coast from December through to March with the Suns Academy, which he is tied to. He will likely play a centre half-forward or third tall role, with his goalkicking a trait passed down through the family genes.

Kai Lohmann – one who has been able to lean on an older sibling to help keep fit, Lohmann is a handy player in his own right and hopes to showcase his marking and goal sense up forward this year. He will likely roll up the ground as a high half-forward with midfield minutes also on his agenda.

Charlie Molan – the brother of Richmond AFLW player Sophie, Molan is a half-back with serious penetration on his kicks, as well as speed and a top attitude. Molan is working on those shorter kicks and one-on-one bodywork as he looks to cement a spot down back.

Josh Rentsch – a promising key forward who can also pinch hit in the ruck, Rentsch already has some NAB League experience under his belt. His mix of strength, contested marking and athleticism should come to the fore in 2021.

Top 10s: National Draft Combine – Agility test

AFL DRAFT combines have wrapped up around the nation, giving an insight into how each elite level hopeful stacks up athletically. For most prospects, it was a chance to showcase just how much they had improved since preseason, especially after a full season of football – albeit compromised. For the Victorians in action, they finally got to show their wares after a substantial amount of time away from the field, with a number of them registering results indicative of remarkably hard work in the meantime.

Having already looked at the 20-metre sprint times, we now shift out focus to the agility test. Another speed test, it is used to gauge an athlete’s sideways movement and explosive turn of pace, hopefully providing a glimpse into what some of the more nimble and crafty players can do in terms of evasive technique. Tests for agility were only conducted at the South Australian, West Australian, and NSW/ACT draft combines this year, though there is also plenty of preseason data to look back on for other states.

Among the combined top 10 runners from the aforementioned regions, Northern Territory native Brodie Lake ran quickest of the lot with a scintillating time of 7.90 seconds. He, and mature-age West Adelaide defender Mitchell Duval were the only players to register times under eight seconds in the most recent results, as 19-year-old GWS Academy product Harry Grant rounded out the podium places at eight seconds flat. Impressively for the South Australian testers, they both measure up at over 185cm, while Grant is arguably of a more typical height for such agile movement (172cm).

Other notable names among the recent combine top 10 include West Australians Denver Grainger-Barras and Nathan O’Driscoll. The former clocked a time of 8.13 seconds, just shy of O’Driscoll’s effort of 8.12 which proved the quickest out of all West Australian prospects. Port Adelaide father-son hopeful Taj Schofield also showed his wares with an improved time from preseason, running at 8.31 seconds to round out the best 10 times.

AFL Draft Combine top 10:

1. Brodie Lake (NT Thunder/Central District) – 7.90 seconds
2. Mitchell Duval (West Adelaide) – 7.98 seconds
3. Harry Grant (GWS Academy) – 8.00 seconds
4. Nathan O’Driscoll (Perth) – 8.12 seconds
5. Denver Grainger-Barras (Swan Districts) – 8.13 seconds
6. Isiah Winder (Peel Thunder) – 8.18 seconds
7. Marc Sheather (Sydney Academy) – 8.23 seconds
=8. Kellen Johnson (West Perth) – 8.27 seconds
=8. Chris Walker (East Fremantle) – 8.27 seconds
10. Taj Schofield (WWT Eagles) – 8.31 seconds

It would only be fair to those from Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania to compare the above results to efforts from preseason. Six athletes who registered top 10 times at preseason were Victorian while three came from the Brisbane Lions Academy, highlighting just how different the updated scoreboard could have looked. Grant and Grainger-Barras were the only recent top 10 runners to also feature on the same list for their respective states during preseason, with both improving on their previous efforts. The preseason pool was also much larger, garnering results from all available athletes around the nation, rather than just those invited to the combine. Only Lake, the quickest draft combine runner would fit into the top preseason ranks, slotting in at equal-seventh.

Nationwide Preseason top 10:

1. Blake Reid (Geelong Falcons) – 7.76 seconds
2. Charlie Lazzaro (Geelong Falcons) –  7.79
3. Harrison White (Western Jets) – 7.83
4. Tahj Abberley (Brisbane Lions Academy) – 7.84
=5. Darcy Prest (Brisbane Lions Academy) – 7.86
=5. Caleb Hammond (Brisbane Lions Academy) – 7.86
7. Oliver Wiltshire (Geelong Falcons) – 7.90
=8. Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) – 7.92
=8. Sam Butler (GWV Rebels) – 7.92
=8. Ty Sears (Swan Districts) – 7.92

Stay tuned for top 10 results from each of the remaining tests.

>> Power Rankings: November Update

Preseason testing:
Jumps
20m Sprint
Agility
Yo-yo

Featured Image: Sydney Academy member Marc Sheather runs the agility test | Credit: Mark Evans/Getty Images via AFL Photos

Draft Central All-Star Teams: Central District

CENTRAL District has bred some of the most talented Indigenous players to ever grace the field over the years, from Swans legend Michael O’Loughlin to Magarey Medal-winning icon Gilbert McAdam. With more names such as the legendary John Platten to the modern day hero of Shannon Hurn, there is plenty of talent across the field. In fact, Hurn was the player voted by you, the fans as Central District’s Best Player of All-Time. He therefore earned the captaincy nod ahead of Travis Varcoe, who finished runner-up in our 16-man draw.

THE TEAM:

The Bulldogs have blooded 14 players to have played more than AFL 100 games, including six who managed in excess of 200 matches. The Central Districts team looks strong across the board, with a rugged, stingy backline complimented by a dangerous forward line headlined by a trio of key forwards. The midfield is perhaps the weaker of the three lines, but still features a Brownlow medalist. The ‘Dogs are one of South Australia’s most successful clubs and their best 24 is littered with talent.

DEFENCE:

The Central Districts backline has a strong Western Australian flavour, led across half-back by Eagles premiership skipper and Barossa Valley local Shannon Hurn. With 166 games under his belt, fellow Eagle defender Sam Butler was an obvious selection as a lockdown backman.

Cross-town rivals Fremantle are also represented in the Bulldogs side, in the form of rebounding defender Lee Spurr. A mature-aged rookie selection in 2011, the versatile Spurr played 120 games with the Dockers across seven seasons.

With limited key defensive prospects, the strongly-built Nathan Grima was a sure bet to feature at full back in the ‘Dogs best 24, having played 88 AFL matches with North Melbourne (86 games) and Essendon (2).

Luke McCabe‘s 138 games with Hawthorn ensured he featured in the side, whilst Anthony Ingerson assumes the role across centre-half-back, despite starting as a forward with Adelaide.

MIDFIELD:

The midfield is headlined by South Australian football icon and Hawthorn great John Platten. The 1987 Brownlow Medalist is regarded as one of the best rovers the game has seen. With his trademark locks, Platten kicked 228 goals, won two best and forest’s, was a five-time All-Australian and won four premierships during his time with the Hawks.

The strongly-built Stuart Cochrane, who played 104 games at AFL level with Port Adelaide and North Melbourne, and versatile Brad Symes make up for Platten’s smaller frame, adding plenty of size to the ‘Dogs on-ball brigade.

Journeyman big-man Jonathan Giles was the logical ruckman, having played 63 games across four AFL clubs. Cat-turned-Pie Travis Varcoe and emerging Crow Wayne Milera provide the team with a plethora of speed and class from the wings whilst also possessing the ability to rotate through the forward line. Overall its a strong midfield, with a nice balance of in-and-under contested-ball winners complimented by flashy, outside ‘finishers’.

FORWARD:

The forward line is perhaps the strongest line in the Bulldogs side, headlined by full-forward Michael O’Loughlin. ‘Micky-O’ is one of the most iconic Swans of the modern era, having kicked 521 goals in 303 games in the red and white. A dual All-Australian, best and fairest winner, premiership player and member of the Indigenous team of the century, O’Loughlin was the first name slotted into the Bulldogs side.

He is accompanied in the pockets by current coach of the Gold Coast Suns Stuart Dew. Clever around goal with a booming left foot kick, Dew kicked 265 goals in 206 games with Hawthorn and Port Adelaide, winning flags with both clubs.

Power veteran Justin Westhoff is renowned for his lanky frame, iconic beard and outstanding athleticism which allows him to play almost anywhere on the park. The 268-gamer earns a spot at centre-half-forward in the ‘Dogs best 24, but could easily rotate with Milera or Varcoe when desired.

The great thing with these key forwards is that they possess contrasting styles and thus provide a nice balance. Crows fans will no-doubt remember 1998 premiership hero Peter Vardy, who adds a touch of magic to the Bulldogs offence.

Derek Kickett was selected on the opposite flank, having booted 179 goals in 152 matches with Essendon, North Melbourne and Sydney. Gilbert McAdam is perhaps best known in South Australia for winning the 1989 Magerey Medal, but his 111 games and 89 goals at AFL level made him a clear-cut choice at half-forward.

DEPTH:

The Bulldogs have a couple of very handy players on the pine, who could very easily have cracked an on-field position in many teams across the nation. Despite his injury woes, Daniel Menzel kept scoreboard operators busy during his 73 games at the Cats and further adds to an already-deadly forward line.

Central’s great and inaugural Crow Scott Lee provides a handy bench option either as a lockdown back pocket or strongly-built on-baller. Former-Magpie Ben Kinnear and ruckman Richard Cousins add much needed key position depth in a team lacking some height.

Martin McKinnon, the Crows’ first ever draft pick, provides some x-factor to the side with an ability to play either tall or small at 189cm. The cousin of Michael O’Loughlin, Eddie Sansbury rounds off the side, providing further depth on-ball and up forward.

2020 NAB League Boys team preview: GWV Rebels

THE Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels are set to bring a bottom-age heavy list into the 2020 NAB League season, with some fast-developing top-agers and 19-year-olds also in the fold. Talent Manager Phil Partington said his club is “buoyant” about their prospects in the new year despite the current air of uncertainty, with a strong pre-season for all age groups putting the Ballarat-based program in good stead.

“We’ve been really pleased with the way our boys have gone throughout the pre-season,” Partington said. “Certainly our coaches have been really focussing on the fundamentals of the game, the skill development of the game which we’ve seen a marked improvement on in our skillset with the boys. “We’ve performed well over the pre-season trial games and into the practice games so we’re buoyant about how we’ll go this year. “We’ve got a very bottom-age group; we’ve got 50 boys in the squad so basically 18 top-agers this year, four 19-year-olds, and I think it’s 28 bottom-agers, so our bottom-aged boys are really talented across the whole region and we’re looking forward to seeing how they develop throughout the year.”

The Rebels had an impressive nine products turn out at the Under-16 National Championships last year, with a bunch of them injected into the NAB League squad post-carnival to good effect. Among them was Josh Rentsch, a developing tall who, along with Queenslander, Jye Lockett is set to have an impact on the GWV team this season.

“We had eight (16-year-old) players play Vic Country last year and one for Queensland and those boys are ready to go,” Partington said. “Those boys presented themselves really well last year as 16-year-olds in the games they did play so we’re looking forward to seeing how they go. “Young Josh Rentsch is now at boarding school in Ballarat so we’re really pleased to have Josh semi-full-time in our program. “For a young developing tall to be in our backyard and to have a bit more development that we can do with him is good for his development overall.”

“Jye is Tony Lockett‘s nephew and the family have got a really good connection with the North Ballarat Football Club through Tony’s dad and also Jye’s father, Neil. “They’ve sent him down to boarding school to further his studies and have footy opportunities as well so Jye’s been in the program now for the last two years as a 16-year-old with us and now a 17-year-old. “He’s developing quite well over time with us.”

Lockett is a member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy and will represent Queensland or the Allies if selected. He is one of a few familiar names scattered across the Rebels’ list, but Partington insists each prospect merits their own selection.

“We certainly don’t pick players on names, every player in our squad is deserving of their opportunity through their potential and also their development they’ve had through the pre-season, he said. “We want these boys, and the boys want to make their own name in footy going through. “We’ve got Myles McCluggage and young Sam Butler as well – Sam’s the brother of Daniel Butler. “These boys are performing well, we just need them to continue to develop and we don’t want to put too much external pressure on these boys because they are their own player and they’ve got their own traits in how they play.”

Arguably leading the pack of the Rebels’ draft eligible players is their sole 18-year-old Vic Country Hub member, Nick Stevens, who will look to back up a promising 17th year. Partington said the development of returning top-agers and 19-year-olds has been the most pleasing aspect of the program.

“Our talented players are becoming more developed, and our 19-year-olds are developing further through the Geelong VFL program and our alignment with them,” he said. “Nick’s in the AFL Academy, the Vic Country academy. Harry Sharp‘s an elite runner, Harry’s done a lot of things right as a 17-year-old and certainly developed further as an 18-year-old, combining his athletics and football this year. “So we’ve got some nice developing types for our top-age. “The beauty of our program is because we’ve got some boys from all over Western Victoria, (there are) boys who are travelling 3-4 hours to get to training on Thursday night so we see the development for boys that have missed out last year as 17-year-olds that have gone back and played senior football. “I think we’ve had five players that missed our squad as 17-year-olds last year that’ve come into our squad as 18-year-olds this year… so we’re really buoyant that that’s happened.”

Isaac (Wareham), unfortunately we probably wouldn’t be talking about him now if he played the last six games of the year without injury, he missed the last half of the year after the national championships. “He’s born on 24/12 so he’s a very young boy still and only a week from being a NAB League player officially as an 18-year-old this year. “All our 19-year-olds have got special AFL traits about them, but looking to have a bit more consistency in their games. “A lot of those boys have been disadvantaged as well with where they live – one night a week we only see them, compared to some boys in other areas who are two or three nights a week. “Our boys are underdeveloped (in that sense) and being in a Geelong VFL program full-time, we’ve already seen marked improvement in these boys when they’ve come back and played our trial games and we’ll see when the season starts up again they’ll be further developed once they get into it.”

A prime example of what each of the Rebels’ draft hopefuls should be aspiring towards comes from a 2019 graduate who bolted from a long way back in Jay Rantall. As GWV’s sole draftee last year, Partington said one key off-field trait helped him to harness his full potential at the junior level.

“Character and work ethic, that’s the number one driver for boys to make the AFL and Jay had bucketloads of that,” he said. “He’s very determined and he hadn’t been in some of the pathway programs at all because he had his basketball commitments, so he knew he had to improve on parts of his game and his skill assets and he certainly did that in his own time and during training to get himself better.

The Rebels were set to kick off their 2020 NAB League season against Dandenong Stingrays on home turf, but that clash has been pushed back amid competition postponement.

V/Line Cup Boys: Team by Team summary

AFTER taking a look at the V/Line Cup Girls’ competition yesterday, we have reviewed each side in the V/Line Cup Boys, and noted the top goal scorers as well as those who were among the best in the coaches eyes.

Bendigo Pioneers

Division 1

lost to North East Border by 36 points
defeated Geelong Falcons by 34 points

Hugh Hamilton was the star for Bendigo Pioneers Division 1 side in their V/Line Cup loss to North East Border and win over Geelong Falcons. Hamilton booted four goals and was named best on ground for the Pioneers in both matches. Blake Evans was dominant up forward in the important win over the Falcons, booting four goals and finishing the carnival with five majors to lead the team goal kicking. Jordan Hynes was the other multiple goal kicker with two majors, while Lachlan Wright, Lincoln White and Noah Long were also among Bendigo’s most impressive Under 15’s across the V/Line Cup.

Division 2

defeated North East Border by 28 points
defeated Geelong Falcons by nine points

Corbin Anderson was the name to remember from the Bendigo Pioneers Division 2 side, named in the top two for his side in both games, booting two goals for the carnival with both majors coming against North East Border. Jessie Gosman also booted two goals in that 28-point win, while Harvey Gallagher and Angus Mayes both booted two majors in the narrow victory over Geelong Falcons. Gallagher led the team goal kicking for the carnival with three majors, while Kaidan Fuge and Todd Moule were others who impressed in Gippsland.

 

Geelong Falcons

Division 1

lost to Western Bulldogs NGA by 34 points
lost to Bendigo Pioneers by 34 points

Geelong Falcons could not manage a win in the V/Line Cup Division 1 competition, going down in both games by 34 points. Tom Dickinson booted four goals to lead his team up front, while Tom Gillett and William Milsome booted two goals each. Indiana Parish – brother of Essendon’s Darcy and the fourth Falcon to come through the program from the family – was named best on ground against Western Bulldogs, and was impressive again in the loss to Bendigo. Oscar Morrison was the top Falcon across both games, while Luke Bartolo was the best in the defeat to the Pioneers.

Division 2

lost to Western Bulldogs NGA by 68 points
defeated Bendigo Pioneers by nine points

Geelong Falcons Division 2 side had a tough loss to Western Bulldogs, before recording a terrific win over Bendigo Pioneers in the second game. Patrick McBain led the goalkicking with three majors ahead of Noah Bartolo and Tadhg Evans who both nailed two goals. Zeph Lamperd was the standout player in an even tournament for the Falcons; he was the only player to be named in Geelong’s best on both occasions. Alexander Dunn, Brock McDonald and Hugo Williams were other Falcons who impressed in their respective games, while Evans was the sole multiple goalkicker up forward against the Bulldogs.

 

Gippsland Power

Division 1

lost to Southern Stingrays by 26 points
lost to North East Border by 14 points

Gippsland Power’s top side finished the carnival with two losses, but both were close defeats. The Power had seven individual goal kickers in their losses, with Jacob Carnes named best-on for his side in the Power’s defeat to the Stingrays while hitting the scoreboard. Ned Hanily, Lewis Smith and Jobe Somerville all scored goals, while Cooper Whitehill and Cooper Heasley were also impressive on the opening day at Morwell. Against North East Border, Gippsland scored the only two goals of the first term, but conceded five in the second term, while booting 1.10 themselves after quarter time. Tajh Eden, Brodie Mabilia and Cooper Alger all hit the scoreboard, with Eden being the most impressive Power player on the day. Ben Green and Jahmain Harrison were also named in the Power’s best players.

Division 2

lost to Southern Stingrays by 32 points
lost to North East Border by one point

In Division 2, Blake Henderson was the sole multiple goal kicker across the two matches, booting a goal in each match. In the 32-point loss to Southern Stingrays, Caleb Van Oostveen and Ben Fleming were named in the best, with Van Oostveen kicking a goal in the one-point loss against North East Border. Flynn Kennedy and Bayley Coucher were both named in the Power’s best in that narrow defeat. Across both games, the clear standout was William Bromage who stood tall for the Power, and will be one to keep an eye on.

 

Goulburn Murray

Division 1

defeated Southern Stingrays by 41 points
lost to Western Bulldogs NGA by four points

Goulburn Murray’s Division 1 side enjoyed a big win over Southern Stingrays in its first game, before just falling short against the Western Bulldogs NGA team in the second match. Tom Brown‘s four majors in the tight loss was crucial to keeping the side in the game, and he was named best on ground for his efforts. Brown finished the carnival with five majors, ahead of Jayden Dhosi (four) and Matthew Pellegrino (three). Josh Rachele also hit the scoreboard multiple times, booting two in the victory over the Stingrays, earning the title of best on ground on that day. Max Clohesy was named in the best for both matches, while Achaung Agog and Diesel Batey also impressed in the tournament.

(2) lost to Southern Stingrays by 72 points
(2) lost to Western Bulldogs NGA by 81 points

Goulburn Murray’s Division 2 side had a tough V/Line Cup, scoring just the six goals, but Campbell Steigenberger was a standout with three majors against the Western Bulldogs NGA in a 12-goal loss. Jayden Hollands, Kian Roche and Liam Serra all booted goals in the carnival, while Connor Fleming was the clear best, earning best on ground for his side in both games. Will Sheehan and Drew Docking were another couple of players who earned praise from their two matches.

 

North East Border

Division 1

defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 36 points
defeated Gippsland Power by 14 points

Ned Pendergast has burst onto the scene with the Yarrawonga product booting 10 goals in his two games – five in each win over the Bendigo Pioneers and Gippsland Power respectively. The team only booted 15 goals for the carnival, with Joshua Mathey booting two goals. Hunter Gottschling was best on ground against Gippsland Power, and amongst the best in the victory over Bendigo Pioneers. Jett Smith impressed the most against the Pioneers, while Zac Banch was the standout player across both games, named second best on both occasions. Bode Stevens was another who impressed, named among the best twice.

Division 2

lost to Bendigo Pioneers by 28 points
defeated Gippsland Power by one point

North East Border’s Division 2 side split their results, going down to Bendigo Pioneers before toppling Gippsland Power by a point. Alex Dowsley, Charlie St John and Jake Nicholson all booted two goals for North East Border, while Luke Menhenett and Sam McKenzie were deemed best on ground in their respective games. Flynn Butterworth was one of the top players across the carnival, named in the best in both games, while Charlie Young and Isaac McGrath also stood tall.

 

Southern Stingrays

Division 1

defeated Gippsland Power by 26 points
lost to Goulburn Murray by 41 points

Southern Stingrays’ Division 1 side had a mixed bag in the V/Line Cup, defeating Gippsland Power on day one at Morwell, before being held goalless in a 41-point loss to Goulburn Murray. Fergus Anderson and Lachlan Robinson both booted two goals in the victory, while James Cahill and James Egan were named the Stingrays’ best, while also booting a goal. In the loss, Daniel Didomenicantonio was the Stingrays’ standout, along with Mitchell Harvey and Zed Quick.

Division 2

defeated Gippsland Power by 32 points
defeated Goulburn Murray by 72 points

Tall forward, Callum McNair was the standout for the Stingrays in front of goal, booting five goals in his two games. He booted three majors against the Power, before adding two more in the 12-goal win over Goulburn Murray. Thomas Lewis was also prominent inside 50 with four goals, while Jamie White, Kane Timms and Xavier Donazzan all booted two goals. Mac Andrew and Callum Pola were named in the Stingrays’ best in the win over Gippsland, while Lachlan Auhl was named best on ground in the big victory.

 

Western Bulldogs NGA

Division 1

defeated Geelong Falcons by 34 points
defeated Goulburn Murray by four points

Western Bulldogs Next Generation Academy – GWV Rebels zone – was the only side to win all four games across the V/Line Cup. They accounted for Geelong Falcons by 34 points and got across the line against Goulburn Murray in the second game. Charlie Molan led all-comers with five goals, ahead of Archie Stevens (four) with the pair booting seven between them in the side’s narrow victory over Goulburn Murray. Molan was the best on ground that day with four majors, while in the other game, Ben Hobbs was named the top player for the Bulldogs. Sam Breuer, Hamish Sinnott, Sam Butler and Jamieson Ballantyne were also named among the Bulldogs’ top players and will be names to keep in mind for next year.

Division 2

defeated Geelong Falcons by 68 points
defeated Goulburn Murray by 81 points

Western Bulldogs’ NGA Division 2 side never looked like losing a game with a combined 149-point winning margin over its two opponents. Josh Rentsch was the standout player, named best on ground and second best-on in the two big wins, booting four goals, including three against Goulburn Murray. Duncan Rentsch, Geordy Slater and Kai Lohmann booted four goals each, with the latter best on ground in the Bulldogs’ second game. Tex Mitchell was named in the best across both games, as was Austin Reinehr.

Scouting notes: U17s – Vic Country vs Queensland

IN the first game at Ikon Park yesterday, Vic Country defeated Queensland in an exciting contest. We review all the players from both teams.

Vic Country:

By: Peter Williams and Craig Byrnes

#1 Kobe Brown

Had an early shot on goal on the run, but had an unlucky bounce and it went to the wrong side and out of bounds. A highlight-worthy moment came later in the game when he cleanly picked up the ball off the deck and side-stepped an opponent on the forward 50 arc. Fantastic agility.

#2 Jye Chalcraft

One of the more impressive Country players, Chalcraft showed fantastic strength and composure inside the forward 50 arc. We already knew he had top-class agility, but he went out with a real desire to hunt the football and the ball carrier in a contested brand of football. Spent a little bit of time through midfield, but majority inside 50, booting a goal in the final term to ice the game for Country. Laid some fantastic tackles and almost had a goal early in the game but just missed on the run.

#4 Jarryd Barker

Had one of the best clearances out of the middle early on, managing to burst away and hit-up a teammate lace-out in the first term by lowering the eyes. From then on it was a workman-like performance, laying some big tackles and he did well by hand or foot, lowering the eyes going inside 50. He had a shot on goal in the final term, but missed to the right. He still accumulated the footy, but a lot of it was in the contest, and often feeding it out to teammates, playing an important role at the stoppages.

#5 Flynn Perez

An exciting talent who oozes X-factor. His consistency throughout games still needs to improve, but when he has the ball he can do some magical things with it. He lowers his eyes going inside 50 and hit-up Fraser Phillips coming through the midfield when he was coming off half-back. Clean hands at ground level and his closing speed is top-notch. He was used in transition going forward, and was rewarded for hard running by playing deeper, marking 35m out and converting the set shot.

#6 Riley Baldi

An absolutely huge first half, having the ball on a string and seemingly covering the ground with ease. He was strong at the packs, winning clearances, cracking in hard at the contested ball and just extracting the ball to teammates in space. He was moved around in the second half, from half-back to half-forward and did not have as much impact as the first half through the guts, but he was still very solid and got to the right positions when required.

#7 Mitch Martin

Some players seem to step up at the higher level, and Mitch Martin was one of those players today. At the Rebels, Martin is always solid, but with the extra time and space, and plenty of midfield minutes, he thrived on the open spaces of Ikon Park. His kicking was sublime and equally matched by his vision. He is not a huge accumulator, but every time he won it, he seemed to use it well, setting up Flynn Perez for a goal in the third term. He almost kicked one himself after a good mark but missed to the right.

#8 Lachlan Williams

Cracked in hard and while he was another who did not win a lot of it, he had a couple of ‘wow’ moments in the third term. He used great vision to kick inside to Fraser Phillips, then teamed up with Phillips again with a pin-point pass to his teammates’ advantage amongst a pack of Queensland opponents who had zoned off in defence.

#9 Fraser Phillips

Building a rich vein of form of late and that continued on the weekend, with some really good play inside 50. He is a good runner and moved up to half-forward well, kicking inside 50 with good precision. He lowers the eyes when entering the 50 and gave his teammates chances to score. Booted a goal early in the peace by running back with the flight and nailing the short-range set shot, and just missed a couple of chances later on in the game.

#10 Leo Connolly

Provided good pressure on his opponents to force turnovers, and in one instant, took a mark off the next possession from the turnover. Laid a massive tackle early to bring his opponent to ground and keep the ball in the middle.

#12 Isaac Wareham

Not his best game, but was playing a defensive role in the back half. Just kept a close eye on his opponent at all times.

#13 Izaac Grant

Ultra-impressed with what Grant showed at IKON Park. Coming into the game I hoped to see if he could play a role other than the pigeonholed small forward which he has been thus far, and he showed some serious intent, not just in the midfield, but in contested situations as well. He was a lovely kick in space and not only used quick hands, but blocked an opponent while handballing to a teammate to give his teammate an extra couple of seconds. One of the better field kicks out there, and still showed his vertical leap. Did not kick a goal which is his forte, but his game was better than matches where he has kicked multiple goals – another string to his bow.

#14 Tye Hourigan

He plied his trade in defence as he usually does for Gippsland with commitment. While he only stands at 188cm, Hourigan is very capable in a key position role and is difficult to move off the ball. He generally reads the ball before his opponent, as shown during the third term when he took a strong intercept mark. More of a stopper at this stage, but I feel there is another offensive gear in him.

#15 Jake Van der Plight

Was in and out of the game a bit, but generally produced quality moments when he got his hands on the ball. Starting mostly on the wing, he ran up and down the ground, winning an excellent ground ball in the defensive 50 during the third term which was sharply released by hand. He is a lovely size at 188cm and is capable of playing multiple positions. He is another Gippsland bottom ager to keep an eye on next year.

#16 Jesse Clark

Clark looks an interesting type behind the ball. He was particularly calm when he gained possession in the defensive arc, displaying good skills and well thought out decisions. During the second term he was given the ball under pressure deep inside defensive 50, but found a teammate in the corridor by foot with minimal fuss to release the immediate pressure. I’m looking forward to having a closer look over the next 15 months or so.

#17 Riley Ironside

After a relatively quiet first half, Ironside came to life in the third term with a lovely left foot pass inside 50 to Martin. That classy piece of play saw him become more involved and while he shanked a set shot not long after, he started having an influence at the stoppages and spread to offensive positions. He hit another brilliant left foot pass inside 50 to Williams in the final quarter to show he has some forward of centre weapons at his disposal.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Boyer was another player who was dangerous running out of the back half, moving the ball forward with speed whenever he got the opportunity. Vic Country looked likely of scoring when he had the ball and his kicking was first rate on most occasions. While his offensive football was what immediately stood out, he also laid a heavy tackle in the third term to earn a holding the ball free kick.

#20 James Schischka

The Bendigo Pioneer was one of Vic Country’s better players on the day, controlling things in defence with his ability to read the play quickly and peel off his man when required. He took two strong intercept marks in the first term that appeared to spark his confidence to get to as many aerial contests as he could. While there were times he had to play deep KPD, when the opportunity presented he would look to swap with an opponent and get in the dangerous space. He laid a vital tackle in the final term to finish off a very solid outing.

#21 Darcey Chirgwin

Chirgwin was one of Vic Country’s more impressive performers and arguably produced the most transferrable AFL attributes. He is a tall inside midfielder who stands 190cm and while he looked lanky at times, he presented moments of class and time under pressure that would have excited the club representatives in the stands. In the first half he spun around an opponent with ease to kick inside 50. Later in the game after being disposed, he gathered the ball cleanly, regained balance and brilliantly hit a target near the arc. He looks a likely type.

#22 Sam De Koning

Battled well by manning some of Queensland’s taller forwards. He killed a few long Queensland entrances and took the kick outs on occasions. He perhaps would have liked to use the ball better at times, but is usually a reliable kick.

#23 Zac Skinner

Having lacked opportunities at Gippsland due to so many other tall options, Skinner would have enjoyed the chance to spend more extended periods on the ground. He started the game well, taking a mark on the lead inside 50 early in the first term. He was then rotated in the ruck, showing a soft touch in the air and was especially clean below his knees for a 199cm kid. He has composure with the ball and often makes good decisions by hand.

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

The 195cm Nyuon provided some eye catching athleticism with his minutes forward and in the ruck, especially the latter where his outstanding vertical leap often won him the hit out. He gave his midfielders some excellent taps to advantage without breaking stride and competed defensively when the ball hit the ground. He didn’t win much of the ball, but that will come with further development.

#25 Josh Smith

The big, bullocking forward had a day out inside 50, kicking four goals and had a huge influence on the result. He made his presence known early in the game, taking a strong mark in the pocket and kicking truly with a brilliantly executed banana set shot. He demanded the ball all day and took a huge contested mark inside 50 during the third quarter. His work wasn’t all done in the air either, as he cleanly picked up a ground ball in the fourth term to set up a scoring chain. His fourth goal gave Vic Country the lead to end a great outing in the best possible way.

#26 Aaron Gundry

The 198cm Bendigo tall struggled to get consistently involved, but showed signs throughout the game forward and at times in the ruck. His best moment came deep inside in the pocket where he cleanly collected the ball and handballed to Smith for a goal assist.

Queensland:

By: Michael Alvaro and Ed Pascoe

#1 Danial Davidson

Davidson was slow to come into the game but began to rack up more possessions as the contest wore on. His tackling was good as a smaller midfielder, and he showed a willingness to attack the ball when the game was up for grabs in the second half.

#3 Hawego Paul Oea

The smooth moving forward posed a threat throughout the game with his pace and ability to find space in good areas. With ball in hand, Oea looked to move it on more often than not and was a valuable link between the wing and forward 50. He provided a smart assist to Will Martyn with a cutting ball from near the boundary in the fourth term, putting his smarts on full show.

#5 Corey Joyce

Joyce covers the ground really well and showed a solid work rate from the wing. While he didn’t rack up as much of the ball as in previous Maroons outings, Joyce was clean in possession and showed good agility in traffic. He has the potential to play above his size too, as he gets himself in handy positions to intercept and impact contests around the ground.

#6 Jack Wingrave

Wingrave was entrusted with the kick-out duties early on and spent most of his time in the defensive half. His long kicking out of the back is an asset, and he used it to good effect when clearing his own arc. A highlight of Wingrave’s game was a tough tussle with Country’s Fraser Phillips late in the piece, where the two battled hard for the ball deep in Country’s 50 with little separating the sides, showing his willingness to compete.

#7 Lachlan Barry

Sporting a yellow headband, Barry did not find huge amounts of the ball in his deep forward role but had a decent last quarter. He laid a hard tackle in the final term and hit up big-man Samson Ryan with a pin-point pass into the forward 50, which was his best moment.

#8 Coby Williams

Williams was another who was quiet until later on, but he made his presence felt with a big tackle on Country star Jye Chalcraft in the fourth quarter, as well as a nice intercept mark in the centre square to cap off his day.

#9 Connor Budarick

The skipper was one of the Maroons’ best throughout the day with an all-round performance from midfield. The Allies and Gold Coast Academy star has good speed around the contest and showed tenacity to win much of his own ball from the stoppages. He may be small in stature, but Budarick is solid and stood up in tackles – despite being caught holding the ball once in the third term. He bounced back from that with a nice take-on and run from half-back not long after.

#10 Jack Moseley

Moseley showed glimpses of promise from half-back, looking a natural footballer. Despite starting off with a crude in the back free kick against him, he went on to prove his worth with displays of agility and a cool head in traffic. His highlight was managing to deliver a perfect kick to Hawego Paul Oea after keeping his hands up and evading a tackler, showing off a bit of class.

#14 Will Martyn

Martyn was arguably his side’s best in an industrious midfield shift. While he was fumbly early on, the Brisbane Academy member continued to crash in and win the ball out of the stoppages through brute force. Martyn’s kicking improved alongside his handling as the game progressed, with some good balls inside 50 providing scoring opportunities. His final term was particularly impressive, as he stood courageously under a loopy ball to take a mark and slot his first goal, backing it up shortly after with a second set shot major to put his side in front, with an early celebration to boot.

#15 Bruce Reville

The wingman was another Maroon to really impress with good athletic traits and a knack for finding the footy in dangerous areas. Reville has good handles and can gather the ball at pace, highlighted by a nice gather at speed from a third term centre bounce. Based on the wing for most of the game, Reville had a brief stint at the centre bounces to start the second half, but quickly moved back outside where he continued to assist his forwards with effective inside 50 entries.

#16 Campbell Aston

Aston was quiet but battled hard in the back half, recording nine disposals. His highlight was a solid grab against the highly touted Riley Baldi in the first term where he showed good attack on the footy.

#17 Josh Gore

Gore continued his good form in the Queensland jumper with another effective display up forward. While he only managed the one major this time around, Gore had plenty of opportunities and was able to find the ball inside 50 well. His goal came from a decent mark backing deep towards the goalsquare in the second term, and he converted the set shot. Gore worked to find the ball further up the ground in the second half and proved calm when delivering the ball forward. He also laid a solid holding the ball tackle in the third quarter to cap an all-round game.

#18 Brandon Deslands

Deslands started the game in defence and was trusted with a kick out, you used his solid kicking up the ground more in the third and fourth quarter. Deslands managed to get some time in the midfield in the last quarter getting involved and laying a nice tackle.

#19 Gracen Sproule

Sproule played as a forward and he showed great movement and skill throughout the day. His best quarter came in the second when he kicked a nice long goal from beyond 50. What stood out from Sproule was his clean takes on the run and clean use by hand and his ability to move through traffic.

#21 Matthew Fraser

Had a quiet day but he looked good at ground level with his front and square work really impressing, he read the ball well and was clean at ground level. Fraser was not afraid to tackle and have an impact when the ball was in his area.

#22 Thomas Jeffrey

Jeffrey was impactful with his strong marking ability and long kicking being used to effect all over the ground. He had a lovely kick inside 50 in the 2nd quarter and got involved in a nice passage of play in the last quarter showing both his good marking and kicking ability.

#23 Sam Butler

A good user of the ball throughout the day, his best moment came with a good long kick to the hot spot in the first quarter hitting up teammate Matthew Conroy. Butler was neat with his handballing and his kicking was sound.

#24 Nickolas Haberer

Haberer played well down back taking some nice intercept marks and providing some good spoils and using his body well in one-on-one contests. Haberer did the defensive acts well with good tackling and spoiling while also using the ball well down back.

#26 Matthew Conroy

Conroy made a statement in the first half kicking a nice set shot goal in the first quarter and kicking a long bomb in the second quarter which hyped up his team. He competed well in the ruck and up forward before a quieter second half.

#27 Ashton Crossley

Queensland’s best player on the day, Crossley was industrious through he midfield using his strong body to crash packs and win the contested ball. Early in the game he had a few long kicks which were not accurate, but he improved as the game went on with one of his kicks in the last quarter coming from a nice mark and then unleashing a long penetrating kick out wide. His strong marking and contested ability was important for Queensland around the ground and he was a solid four-quarter player.

#28 Max Newman

Newman did some nice things down back with some timely spoils with one on the last line in the third quarter. Not a huge game but played his role well. 

#30 Joshua Hammond

Hammond was one of the better defenders for Queensland with some fantastic spoiling efforts especially in the first quarter where he was most prominent. Hammond did not get much of the ball but he did not give his opponents an inch and if he was not spoiling he was tackling hard and blocking for teammates. With a bit more confidence it would be good to see how well he could rebound himself to really make him a more complete modern day defender. 

#32 Thomas Wischnat

Wischnat was a permanent forward often giving good leads but wasn’t always rewarded. He kicked a nice snap goal in the first quarter and he took a nice lead up mark in the 2nd although he missed the set shot. Wischnat could have done more at ground level but also could have hit the scoreboard harder with better supply from teammates.

#33 Sampson Ryan

The 203cm Ryan not only use his height to his advantage in the ruck, but also managed to keep involved all over the ground working into defence to intercept and also resting forward, providing a good option despite spraying many of his opportunities at goal. What stood out with Ryan was his smarts around the ground for a ruckman with some nice visions by hand and even a solid opposite foot kick in the last quarter.