Tag: sam collins

Team of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 7

IN the most evenly spread Draft Central Team of the Week thus far, every match provided four players from the NAB League Boys Round 7 competition. With Gippsland powering to a big win over Calder, the Power had three players to the Cannons’ one, however every other game the teams were split evenly with two apiece. There were plenty of goals kicked by medium sized players, while a number of defenders had big numbers and some strong performances from inside midfielders also saw them make the cut.

Gippsland’s trio that made the side were captain Brock Smith off half-back, Sam Flanders in midfield and Riley Baldi on the bench who was also influential around the stoppages. Calder’s Jacob Martin also found plenty of the ball despite the defeat and slotted into the midfield. Bendigo Pioneers’ Sam Conforti won our Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 7 and is named in the centre alongside fellow nominee for the award, Jay Rantall from the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. Their teammates in the side are defender William Wallace (Bendigo) and mid-forward Toby Mahony (GWV).

On the other wing is Eastern Ranges overager Cody Hirst, joined in the side by Zakery Pretty who is enjoying a big year in midfield. Their opposition was Sandringham Dragons, as Miles Bergman and Ryan Byrnes made the 24-player squad as well. Tasmania also provided two players with match winner Jye Menzie and teammate Sam Collins represented in the team up either end. Holding down the other key defensive post is Geelong Falcons’ Jesse Clark, in the side with bottom-age forward Oliver Henry. Their opponents on the weekend were Murray Bushrangers, which provided full-forward Hudson Kaak (five goals) and Cam Wild who was impressive through the midfield.

In the other games, Dandenong Stingrays’ regular Hayden Young made the side again, as did Ned Cahill up forward, while their opponents Western Jets had ruck Will Kennedy and forward Eddie Ford in the team. The remaining players in the side come from the Northern Knights who were victorious over GWV Rebels, as Lachlan Potter‘s form continued, in the team with Team of the Week regular, Josh D’Intinosante.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 7

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

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers
By: Peter Williams

Geelong:

#12 Noah Gribble

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

#37 Oliver Henry

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

#40 Jesse Clark

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

#46 Henry Walsh

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

 

Murray:

#3 Ben Kelly

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

#5 Cam Wild

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

#6 Will Chandler

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

#7 Zane Barzen

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

#12 Lachlan Ash

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

#14 Jye Chalcraft

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

 

Western Jets vs. Dandenong Stingrays
By: Michael Alvaro

Western:

#3 Eddie Ford

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

#7 Daly Andrews

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

#20 Darcy Cassar

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

#24 Josh Honey

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

#47 Will Kennedy

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

 

Dandenong:

#2 Hayden Young

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

#10 Clayton Gay

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

#11 Ned Cahill

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

#18 Mitch Riordan

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

#20 Sam De Koning

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

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

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

#50 Lachlan Williams

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

 

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Tasmania Devils
By: Michael Alvaro

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

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

#19 Ben Worme

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

#20 James Schischka

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

 

Tasmania:

#3 Oliver Davis

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

#13 Sam Collins

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

#25 Jackson Callow

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

#31 Jye Menzie

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

 

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

Northern:

#1 Lachie Potter

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

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

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

#11 Ryan Sturgess

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

 

GWV:

#3 Toby Mahony

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

#8 James Cleaver

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

#10 Matty Lloyd

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

#13 Jay Rantall

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

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Eastern Ranges
By: Joe Lee

Sandringham:

#5 Ryan Byrnes

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

#6 Miles Bergman

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

#15 Angus Hanrahan

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

#28 Riley Bowman

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

#30 Andrew Courtney

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

#32 Jack Bell

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

#33 Corey Watts

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

#43 Jake Bowey

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

 

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

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

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

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

#17 Cody Hirst

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

#18 Billy McCormack

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

#20 Connor Downie

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

#21 James Ross

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

#49 Riley Smith

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

 

Gippsland Power vs. Calder Cannons
By: Peter Williams

Gippsland:

#4 Sam Flanders

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

#6 Riley Baldi

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

#10 Leo Connolly

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

#12 Brock Smith

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

#15 Ryan Sparkes

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

#16 Josh Smith

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

#17 Charlie Comben

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

#19 Fraser Phillips

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

 

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

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

#5 Curtis Brown

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

#30 Josh Kemp

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

#38 Brodie Newman

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

Allies announce 50-player squad for national championships

THE Allies have today announced the 50-player squad to take to the National Under 18 Championships following the conclusion of the NAB League Boys competition which gave the Allies teams a chance to test themselves against Victorian opponents ahead of the championships next month. Of the sides, Sydney Swans Academy had the most representatives with 10, while the two Queensland Academies had eight apiece as did Tasmania Devils. GWS GIANTS Academy and the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) region – comprised of Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers – had six each, while Northern Territory had the four.

Among the names to watch are potential first round picks, Connor Budarick (Gold Coast), Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania) and Tom Green (GWS GIANTS), while the likes of Malcolm Rosas Jr (Northern Territory) and Hewago Paul Oea (Gold Coast) will provide excitement inside 50. The team will have some serious talent in the key position posts, with Liam Delahunty (GWS GIANTS), Jackson Callow (Tasmania) and Hamish Ellem (Sydney) among those talls vying for the spot, while Kobe Tozer has been named in the squad and will aim to return after some bad luck with injury. Both Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers have three players in the side, with the first game to commence in Launceston on June 9.

Brisbane Lions Academy: [8]
Tom Griffiths (Maroochydore)
Will Martyn (Aspley)
Bruce Reville (Western Magpies/Maryborough)
Saxon Crozier (Wests)
Samson Ryan (Toowoomba)
Kobe Tozer (Aspley/Bribie Island)
Noah Cumberland (Maroochydore)
Nikolas Haberer (Sandgate/Caloundra)

Gold Coast SUNS Academy: [8]
Hewago Paul Oea (PNG/Broadbeach)
Connor Buderick (Labrador)
Ashton Crossley (Burleigh/Palm Beach Currumbin)
Alex Davies (Cairns Hawks)
Jack Johnston (Palm Beach Currumbin)
Matt Conroy (Hermit Park Townsville/Broadbeach)
Joshua Gore (Southport/Broadbeach)
Dirk Koenan (Palm Beach Currumbin)

GWS GIANTS Academy: [6]
Liam Delahunty (Coolamon)
Tom Green (Marist)
Jeromy Lucas (Northern Jets)
Matt McGrory (Gungahlin)
Nicholas Murray (Wangaratta Rovers)
James Peatling (Pennant Hills)

NSW/ACT: [6]
Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers)
Will Chandler (Murray Bushrangers)
Jake Dick-O’Flaherty (Bendigo Pioneers)
Logan Fitzgerald (Bendigo Pioneers)
Ben Kelly (Murray Bushrangers)
Will Shaw (Bendigo Pioneers)

Northern Territory Academy: [4]
Malcolm Rosas Jnr (Darwin)
Ben Jungfer (Waratah)
Joel Jeffrey (Wanderers)
Beau O’Connell (Wanderers)

Sydney Swans Academy: [10]
Jackson Barling (Willoughby Mosman)
Braeden Campbell (Westbrook)
Hamish Ellem (Manly Warringah)
Samuel Gaden (Easts Bulldogs)
Max Geddes (Easts Bulldogs)
Errol Gulden (Maroubra)
Ky McGrath (Warners Bay)
Luke Parks (North Shore)
Josh Rayner (North Shore)
Sam Thorne (Figtree Kangaroos)

Tasmania Devils: [8]
Hamish Allan (North Hobart)
Jackson Callow (North Launceston)
Sam Collins (North Hobart)
Jared Dakin (Launceston)
Oliver Davis (Clarence)
Mitch O’Neill (North Hobart)
Matt McGuinness (Lauderdale)
Will Peppin (North Hobart)

Allies Under 18 Championships fixture:

vs. Vic Country – Launceston, June 9
vs. Western Australia – Alberton Oval, June 22
vs. Vic Metro – GMHBA Stadium, June 28
vs. South Australia – Marvel Stadium, July 3

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 6

ROUND 6 was the last chance for many to get a close look at Northern Academy products, as all five academies this week bowed out of NAB League action. With eight games to cast eyes on, here are our scouting notes on players from Victoria Metro and Country squad lists, as well as those pointed out by respective talent managers. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

 

TASMANIA DEVILS 8.7 (55) defeated by OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 8.8 (56)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Tasmania:

#2 Oliver Burrows-Cheng

Burrows-Cheng remained one of the hard hitters for the day. Continually went to Trent Bianco at the contest and minimised where he could, often affecting the stoppage. In the second, he laid an important tackle on Bianco as he moved inside 50, forcing a turnover and counter-attack which should have resulted in a goal. His presence on the ball was subdued but he tackled with intent (nine) and brought continual pressure to the ball carrier.

#4 Will Peppin

Peppin impressed at the hard ball and brought strength to the stoppages, bullying his way to the footy and keeping his feet at the ground ball. He remained clean by hand and dominated the clinch, fending and breaking tackles, keeping hands free and holding his feet. His work rate and courage were standouts across four quarters, as was his work going inside 50.

#7 Matthew McGuiness

McGuiness was pivotal at both ends, reading the flight of the footy better than most. He kicked the Devils’ first with an impressive left-foot punt and affected more with vision and elite movement. He was dropped back in the third to bolster Tasmania’s fractured defence, out-reading and reacting before his opponents.

#13 Sam Collins

Providing excellent coverage in the back half, Collins intercepted well and rebounded effectively out of defence (nine rebounds). His marking was a feature, clunking nine and prevailing in the contest. Collins continually beat his opponents, attacked the footy and accelerated well out the backline. On the day he did not record a handball but had 18 kicks, proving quick and effective in clearing danger. In all, an athletic and reliable footballer with a good attitude for the game.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow proved damaging in the forward half across four quarters. He led hard at the footy and out-bodied his opponents in marking contests. He brought speed to the ground ball and proved deceptively nimble for his size. He kicked one goal for the day and affected many more, bringing outstanding goal sense to his forward outfit.

 

Oakleigh:

#1 Lucas Westwood

In his first game for the year, Westwood impressed with a classy four-quarter performance. He kicked his first following a high tackle free with an unusually low kick at goal. He continuously exploded with the footy, tackled hard and maintained involvement on both ends of the ground, measuring his kicks effectively and creating space.

#5 Trent Bianco

The captain was prolific for four quarters, leading his side with outstanding accumulation (42 disposals) and great running. He excelled in the stoppage despite the occasional tag, was the priority target for the tap down, and injected class and agility moving through traffic. His attitude was standout, demanding the ball as he led the kicker and breaking lines through well-measured passes and hard running. He caused plenty of trouble with flair through congestion and excelled with presence and elite awareness, wrapping up opponents (nine tackles) when the ball strayed from his path.

#27 Josh May

May’s composure with the pill was standout. The tall continually took the footy out the back and swept the midfield with pinpoint kicking – an action which likely won Oakleigh the game in the final minutes. He hands off well under pressure and glides from traffic which assists his exceptional ball use. In the third, his efforts converted a goal when he brought an exiting kick to ground, followed up and chipped to the lead despite fierce pressure. An important defensive unit and incredibly mobile with good size, May remained in everything and was second only to Bianco.

#47 Nick Balderanos

A good mover through traffic and present through stoppage work. Balderanos’ hands were consistently clean and his vision freeing the footy, elite. He earned two free kicks for his work rate and got very involved in forward chains. Seemed to play his role well.

#65 Thomas Lovell

Lovell demonstrated outstanding forward craft for four quarters. He showed strength in the marking contest and brought clean hands to the ball. Leading the board, Lovell kicked four goals despite the low scoring, including a beauty off the deck which stole a win from the home side. He also proved athletic in the ruck (six hit-outs).

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 11.11 (77) defeated by GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 12.16 (88)
By: Scott Dougan

 

Murray:

#5 Cam Wild

Wild was one of his teams’ best midfielders, with the hard-running midfielder finding plenty of the pill. He always found a way to stay involved in the contest and he did his best to have an impact defensively. His effective clearance work and ball use was noticeable throughout the match. Wild had 27 disposals and four tackles.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Chalcraft was quiet early but it was not long before he got more involved, with the fierce competitor setting up teammate Lachlan Ash for the Bushrangers’ first goal of the second term. Even though he didn’t have the biggest game stat-wise, he was always dangerous when he was around the ball because of his defensive pressure. Chalcraft finished with 14 disposals and two goals.

#12 Lachlan Ash

Ash provided some speed and run and carry across half-back and on the wing for his team. His ball use was extremely useful and effective. Ash was the perfect player to deliver the ball inside 50, which he did successfully on numerous occasions. He drifted forward at stages throughout the match and even kicked a goal of his own in the first half. He finished with a team-high 27 disposals, a really good game.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Boyer spent plenty of minutes up forward and was very lively when he was around the ball. He was one of his team’s most dangerous players, hitting the scoreboard plenty of times in the match. His class, speed, and ball use stood out as usual. Boyer booted three goals and had 22 disposals.

 

GWS:

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Lucas played through the Giants midfield and stood out with his composure with ball in hand. He always took his time before making a decision and at most times, he made the correct one. He won a lot of his possessions on the outside of the contest, where he was able to have the biggest impact. Lucas kicked a brilliant, long goal in the third term which put his team four goals in front.

#25 Thomas Green

Green was prolific around stoppages and in contested situations. He won first possession constantly and always disposed of the ball effectively. He found space in congestion and was able to use his acceleration to escape his opponents. What stood out most was Green’s ability to lower his eyes after bursting out of a stoppage. Most players would just bang the ball forward as far as possible, but Green took the time to find a teammate in space or on the lead. Green finished the match with a whopping 37 disposals, five tackles, and one goal.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Delahunty was able to create some separation from his opponent, Ethan Baxter throughout the first half. He was very good on the lead and he marked the ball strongly. He kicked his first major of the day in the second term when he kicked an eye-catching snap from 30 metres out. Delahunty had a very good game, finishing with 21 disposals, seven marks, and one goal.

#28 Matt McGrory

McGrory stayed involved throughout all four quarters and played pretty well. His rebounding out of the defensive 50 was superb and he consistently did his best to provide as much run and carry as possible for his team. In the second term, McGrory caught the eye when he won two vital one-on-one contests against highly rated Bushranger, Lachlan Ash.

 

CALDER CANNONS 7.10 (52) defeated BENDIGO PIONEERS 5.6 (36)
By: Taylah Melki

 

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

Always around the contest and working hard to win the ball, won a good clearance and used the ball well given the conditions. Kicked a good goal in the opening term and had good clean hands to move the ball forward multiple times throughout the game. Quick use of the ball, clever with ball in hand and constantly looking to attack the ball. Clever use of the body to try and out position his opponent and was a real ball magnet as the game went on. He ran hard and really made his presence felt around the ground. Mott used his good spatial awareness to hit up teammates on the lead by hand.  

#38 Brodie Newman

Newman was a commanding presence across the ground, taking a good mark in the opening term and had strong hands given the wet weather. He consistently contested hard in the air to punch or mark the ball and used his body well to try and gain better position. He provided good voice on the field to offer advice and applied strong defensive pressure in the back half. He got in good position and often out bodied his opponent to win the ball or take a mark. He was equally as strong up forward with his marking ability but missed a shot in front of goal in the fourth but his efforts throughout the game were impressive.  

 

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

Worked hard to try and win the ball for his side and good hands under pressure. He used clever running patterns to create space and was solid in the contest not afraid to get involved and apply strong physical pressure. He laid a couple of crucial tackles to hold the game up and really lifted in the third term. Conforti almost took a huge mark getting high and juggling the ball but just dropped it coming down but his effort was impressive. He positioned well across the ground to judge the play, had good general footy smarts and used his quick hands and good spatial awareness to know where the pressure is coming from.

#11 Aaron Gundry

Good lead up at the footy, and strong hands but missed a goal in the opening term on a tricky angle. Gundry worked hard in the ruck and tried use his read of the flight of the ball to his advantage. He was often out bodied by his bigger framed opponent but still played his role and won a few hit outs to his side’s advantage.

#20 James Schischka 

Laid some really good strong tackles throughout the game to stop and hold up the play of the Cannons. Schischka displayed his ability to read the play getting a deflection and then do the follow up his work at ground level. Good careful kicking action to dish off to a teammate leading up at him and had clean hands out of congestion. He laid a good smother in the third term and tracked the ball well at ground level to pick the ball up. His ability to read his opponent and get into the right positions was impressive racking up three marks in the third term alone showing his strength and control of the ball.

#21 Riley Wilson 

Good read of the footy and was involved early at the contest to dish out a handball to a teammate passing by. He had relatively clean hands and played on quickly to propel the ball forward. Wilson showcased his good vision and intent to keep the ball moving but had a rush of blood and missed a running shot at goal in the second quarter. his defensive work was solid with a really impressive smother mid jump in the third term.

 

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 14.11 (95) defeated GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 12.9 (81)
By: Sophie Taylor

 

Gold Coast Suns:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

Had some solid moments, creating entries inside 50 but not forcing the footy. A great mover in traffic, Oea showcased his ability to weave in and out of players and good vision of where the ball was in order to play to his advantage. Oea’s smooth movement led to a great chase, tackle and entry inside 50, while also contributing two goals; the first a great snap on goal in the middle of a scrap, while the second helped keep the Suns on track after an intercept mark in the final quarter. Finished with 19 touches, five inside 50s, three marks and three tackles for a solid day out

#5 Connor Budarick

Some great work off the ball and pressure on the play saw Budarick have a solid match, doing his bit to settle the play and carry the ball forward. Took some solid marks to send the ball back forward, finishing the match with 23 disposals, eight marks and seven inside 50s.

#22 Alex Davies

Davies used his height to his advantage, providing a good option in pack scenarios and showing some good movement in space and shepherd around stoppages. Put pressure on ground ball and crumbers, credit to his clever use of space and ability to barrel through a pack. Had only the 12 touches, three marks and two tackles, but his bodywork off the ball was solid.

#28 Ashton Crossley

Crossley put his two-way running on show, highlighting his solid run and carry. Good thinking to open up space and ability to take the ball and run with it, playing to his own advantage. Put in the hard yards at the centre bounce, creating some great clearances through the midfield. With 19 disposals to his name along with two marks and two tackles, Crossley had a good hitout overall.

#31 Jack Johnston

Johnston showcased some of his speed and ability to separate from his opposition, creating options and putting himself in a good defensive position to receive the footy and clear it out to options further up the field. Johnston was another player who didn’t have too much of the footy, however was still able to put pressure on the ball.

 

GWV Rebels:

#3 Toby Mahony

Solid clean hands, good ability to clear ball into space and picking up four marks for his efforts downfield. Showed some smart ball placement inside 50 – had the right idea but not always executed the way he would have liked given at times there were no clean options forward to receive the footy and mark for an opportunity on goal. Mahony was a solid option inside 50, as well as providing a great shepherd to give teammates a clear opportunity to receive the footy and run the ball through the midfield.

#7 Mitch Martin

Martin had a good game, picking up 15 touches and showing his strong marking ability with five. Had some good composure at key moments to clear the ball out and even got an opportunity forward to kick a goal, slotting one through midway through the second. Also showed some good game smarts when going for the ball, knowing where to place self to intercept mark and feed back through the midfield.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Great pressure on ball, created some turnovers credit to his intensity on the ball receiver. Had a really great moment in the final quarter when he showcased his closing speed as he ran down Gold Coast speedster, Oea. Kicked two goals to keep the Rebels in the fight while also picking up five marks.

#13 Jay Rantall

Some good movement and moments across the field but had some rough patches unaware of player movement around him and was tackled on a few occasions. Great movement off the ball to keep footy in play. Was held well by his opposition, finishing with only the 14 touches and five inside 50s, while also rendered to his first match of the season without a score on the board.

 

GEELONG FALCONS 12.12 (84) defeated SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 7.11 (53)
By: Joe Lee

 

Geelong:

#37 Oliver Henry

The classy and smooth moving forward was dangerous all day and provided an omnipotent headache for Swans defenders. Played out of the goal square, Henry was often outnumbered in marking contests but managed to at least halve them or win them on multiple occasions. Had 13 touches, five marks and 4.2, the only knock on Henry’s game was missing a couple of easy opportunities earlier on in the piece. Plays taller than his size and was outstanding for Geelong, particularly in the second half which saw him score three of his four goals.

#40 Jesse Clark

Was Geelong’s best player along with Oliver Henry, integral in intercepting Sydney’s forward forays whilst also setting up offensive strikes with his effective disposal. Playing on Harry McGuire for most of the day, Clark beat his opponent one on one through his superior body-work, positioning and overall reading of the play. Had 10 rebound 50’s, seven marks and 24 disposals, Clark was consistently reliable throughout the whole game and his leadership in setting up the Geelong defensive structure should not be underplayed. Hardly missed a target by foot all day and was almost best on ground.

#46 Henry Walsh
The Geelong ruckman and brother of Carlton young gun Sam, had a quiet day, recording just five disposals. Whilst his work around the ground needs improvement, Geelong won the hitout count 48 to 37, with Walsh recording 24 of them. Was played behind the ball at times but struggled to make an impact on the game outside of his ruck-work.

 

Sydney:

#2 Hamish Ellem

The Swans spearhead struggled for most of the game, recording only seven disposals and a goal. Missed a couple of easy shots, including one that was 20m out directly in-front after he worked hard leading up to the ball carrier. Only had two touches in the first half when the game was particularly tight, and had three free kicks against. Does follow up his work well and possesses athletic traits, as displayed early in the third quarter when he collected the ball on the wing and ran to within range but missed the shot.

#3 Luke Parks

The close-checking intercept defender was solid for the Swans, intercepting a couple of Geelong’s entries and was rarely beaten one on one. Recorded 17 touches, four rebounds and four marks, Parks needed to be more attacking with his disposal, often just kicking it long to a contest. Athletic and moves well, Parks has good closing speed and was reliable for the Swans.

#7 Braeden Campbell

The tough and evasive midfielder-forward was Sydney’s best player all day. Consistently lifted when the Swans needed to and was part of the reason the Swans came close in the third quarter. Played predominantly midfield and on the wing all day, Campbell recorded eight tackles and nine inside 50s, showing he has both offensive and defensive traits in his well-rounded game. Has a damaging and raking left boot and could’ve had a day out if not for wayward goalkicking. Had 24 touches, 1.2 and three rebound 50’s, workin around the ground tirelessly in an outstanding all-round game.

#23 Errol Gulden

The small midfielder was serviceable for the Swans but was down on his usual numbers, recording just 22 touches and a goal for the day. Still had seven inside 50s and two rebound 50s but was not as noticeable as he normally is. Was instrumental in Sydney’s fightback in the third quarter, being more damaging and clean with his kicking but was overall well held for most of the game by the Geelong midfielders.

#39 Josh Rayner

The key position swingman was reasonably quiet this week, particularly in the second half, having just four disposals. Worked hard defensively with six tackles but gave away a few undisciplined frees, including one 50m penalty for not giving the ball back on the full, resulting in a Geelong goal right on three-quarter time. Held Max Annandale to four touches and won most one-on-ones but also had some poor moments. Overall, Rayner had 14 touches and five marks and was swung forward later in the piece but had little influence on the game.

 

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 3.11 (29) defeated by DANDENONG STINGRAYS 14.16 (100)
By: Shyam Raj Bali

 

Brisbane:

#11 Will Martyn

Martyn again led the Lions and tried hard all day. He offered plenty of end to end run for his team and was a big reason Brisbane stayed in the game for as long as they did. Martyn had lots of possessions rebounding out of the defensive 50 and sending his team into attack. His highlight for the day was a really classy moment in the third where he gathered a contested ball, spun and had a shot from 50 but unfortunately couldn’t get it on target. Had a game high 32 disposals to go with four marks and five tackles to be the lions best.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Bottom-ager Crozier battled well throughout the day. He had a few flashes of brilliance (only 16 until November) across half-back where he took the game on and provided some spark. His best five minutes came at the start of the second quarter where he was involved in about four passages of play in the opening minutes of the quarter both rebounding and laying a good tackle. Unfortunately his kicking let him down a little late in the game. Crozier finished with 15 disposals, four marks and three tackles.

#18 Bruce Reville

Reville’s eye catching run and smooth moving was on display early as he had several positions through the middle and HF sending his team into attack. The way he covers the ground and almost effortlessly catches up to/get away from opponents is very impressive. As like other games in the year he was quieter in the second half, finishing with 19 classy touches.

#19 Tom Griffiths

Griffiths was serviceable playing through the midfield and half-back. His best passage of play was in the second quarter, he took on a few players and seemed to run himself into trouble before managing to slip a tackle, lower his eyes and hit a target. He took a few kick outs in the second half also, playing on and hitting team mates across the defensive 50. Finished with 16 disposals but did not see as many midfield minutes as normal.

 

Dandenong:

#2 Hayden Young

Young’s run of big numbers continued, posting 28 disposals. Most of his work was done at the bottom of packs or around the defensive 50 as he often found space and repelled Brisbane attacks. Although he had the equal most possessions for Dandenong, he did not have a huge lot of highlights and was unassuming, gathering his possessions without fuss.

#11 Ned Cahill

Cahill had a really consistent game playing well for all four quarters and finishing with 21 disposals, nine marks and four tackles. He always did the team thing setting up team mates in better positions and lowering his eyes to hit targets inside 50. His individual highlight came in the third, where he was outnumbered two to one and forced a turnover, gathered the loose ball and goaled form 45.

#20 Sam De Koning

De Koning was a rock in defence, although it must be said that he had a relatively easy day after half time. He started well taking contested marks (three in the first quarter) and rebounding strongly to help start Dandenong attacks. Finished with 17 touches and seven marks.

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

Nyuon was well beaten early by Samson Ryan in the ruck as he struggled to find his timing for jumping at the taps. He also struggled around the ground with his light frame as Ryan managed to out position and out body him at most contests. In the second half he seemed to improve this a fair bit and ended up fixing his timing, and using his great leap to effect. When he played in defence he also had a few good instances of leaving his man to come up to the ball and cut off Brisbane attacking plays. He finished with 14 hitouts and 12 touches.

#44 Cody Weightman

Cody played well and showed his smarts around goal kicking 3.2 for the day. He could’ve had a big day out, but often did the team thing setting up team mates or putting team mates into better positions. Was always a threat when he was near the ball and he always made it feel like something would happen. He ended the game well kicking 2.2 in the last quarter to go with his one from earlier in the game.

#50 Lachlan Williams

Williams had a serviceable day playing most of his game across half back. He intercepted well and also hit targets throughout the day both coming out of the defensive 50 and moving the ball into the forward 50. Finished with a serviceable 16 disposals (14 kicks) and six marks.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 12.9 (81) defeated EASTERN RANGES 11.5 (71)
By: Michael Alvaro

 

Gippsland:

#4 Sam Flanders

Starting in the midfield, Flanders built into the game nicely. The powerful utility showed a good knack for being able to collect the ball at speed, using his clean hands to gather and move the ball on in no-time. While some of his handballs early on hit no one in particular and simply cleared opponents, Flanders usually distributed well when he opted not to boot forward a clearance himself. Rotating forward, Flanders converted a set shot goal after marking on the lead with his first look inside 50, and later on proved instrumental in the Power win while playing deep. Intercepted a kick-in and booted a clutch second goal to cap off his solid outing.

#6 Riley Baldi

Baldi continued his eye-catching form after a return from injury, accumulating at a good rate throughout the day. An ever-present at centre bounces, Baldi acted as the anchor at stoppages and won his fair share of clearances. He worked hard around the ground to dish out a few neat kicks, but sometimes lacked effectiveness when going forward by foot. Baldi was terrific nonetheless and showed outstanding composure on the ball – particularly in a passage of three possessions during the opening term which he ended by shrugging an opponent with ease and booting laterally.

#12 Brock Smith

In one of his better games, period, Smith did enough to earn a Draft Central player of the week nomination. The Gippsland skipper was his solid self in defence, but stood out with a range of intercept marks and effective rebounding kicks. Calm in possession, Smith was entrusted with kick-in duties and pushed up into the middle of the ground to provide real drive forward. His aerial prowess under long and high balls also showed in other ways, as Smith surprisingly contested some a few ruck contests in defensive 50.

#15 Ryan Sparkes

An effective outside user, Sparkes continues to find the ball with ease and provide a good link forward. Often receiving from Smith, Sparkes utilised his skipper’s silver service to become a threat in space, while also proving calm in traffic when the ball was in dispute. Building a nice season.

#19 Fraser Phillips

In perhaps his best game to date, Phillips was able to show off all the traits that make him a promising talent. He was clean and effective inside forward 50, using the ball neatly on his left peg and proving efficient in front of goal. While he looks awkward in style at times, it all just seems to work for Phillips, and his long reach helped him to reel in the ball impressively. His best moment came in the first quarter after being caught holding the ball, where Phillips in-turn wrapped up his opponent as he tried to step around him on the mark to earn an easy set shot chance. Putting two other goals on the board, Phillips provided some crucial spark to Gippsland’s forward set-up.

#37 Harrison Pepper

Pepper loves the contest, and looked strong in contested situations once again. While he started shakily with a loose handball to hand Eastern the ball, he built into the game nicely. Rotating between the forward line and midfield with Flanders, Pepper provided the same extractor-type role with quick hands out while standing up in tackles. Took a nice contested mark while protecting the drop of the ball in the second term which caught the eye.

 

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

Stapleton took up his usual role as one of Eastern’s better midfield accumulators, extracting from the stoppages and then buzzing around the ground to find the ball. He mops up well at ground level, quickly disposing of the ball and sending the Ranges forward. Really came into the game in the second term with his service around the ground, and put up his usually high numbers.

#11 Mitch Mellis

While he had his fair share of the ball, Mellis did not look as damaging as he usually is. He swept the ball up well on the outside despite some fumbles, and was typically good in tight spaces – always finding a way out of trouble when hemmed in. Usually tackles well, but copped a huge fend-off early on, however showed he was not deterred when he took in a nice mark looking over his shoulder shortly after.

#18 Billy McCormack

Played a monster role in the ruck, slowly building in confidence after converting an early set shot and going out of his way to throw his body around. McCormack used that same physicality in the ruck around the ground, and really crashed into his opponent at the centre bounces. A low disposal game, but played an important role and managed to find the goals a second time.

#21 James Ross

Ross once again showed his leadership skills, standing up for his troops and taking on the responsibility of being the designated kicker out of defence. Took a nice one-on-one intercept mark on defensive 50 in the second quarter and looked to move the ball straight on – like he often does. Did the little things well in a lower-output game, and is proving to be consistent.

#22 Bailey White

White is one who is starting to catch the eye, backing up a four-goal performance in his first game with another three here. He looks a natural forward, always aware of where the goals are, ever the opportunist, and clinical when given the chance. Not a big winner of the ball, but could have had it a lot more if he hung on to some of his overhead attempts. He read the flight well to mark deep inside 50 for his second goal, and could be one to watch.

#23 Zak Pretty

Pretty has been in terrific form and was once again right in the thick of it early. Laid a nice holding the ball tackle in the opening exchange, and while he wins a lot of ball at the coal face, was most noticeable when retrieving it on hard lateral spreads. Missed a couple of kicks going forward on the run, but otherwise provided good drive from midfield.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 15.8 (98) defeated NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER ACADEMY 9.6 (60)
By: Scott Dougan

 

Northern:

#1 Lachlan Potter

Potter seemed to have no direct opponent all day, and he took full advantage of that. He won plenty of the ball and he did not waste a possession. His electric speed and agility was obvious, with the hard running midfielder burning many of the Thunder players on the day. He played across half-back and was able to create many effective passages of play. His kicking had plenty of penetration behind it, which helped him boot the ball effectively over a long distance. He had 24 disposals for the match.

#4 Jackson Davies

Davies had a massive second term, booting two very important goals for his team. His ball use was exceptional and his decision making when he had the ball was really good. He was also very composed with ball in hand and made sure he took his time before making decisions. Impressive.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

D’Intinosante came to life in the second half and had a really big impact on the game. In the third term, D’Intinosante would bring the ball to the ground in a one-on-one contest, gather the ball cleanly and then blind turn his opponent, before running into an open goal. He was very unselfish on the day and could’ve ended up with more goals, but he always put his team first and made sure he made the correct and smartest decisions. He finished with a game-high two goals and 11 marks.

#7 Ryan Gardner

Gardner was ultra-impressive through the Knights midfield. He had plenty of disposals and used the ball well on both feet. He played predominately on the outside but was able to win the contested ball when needed. Gardner was a key player in the Knights victory, collecting 22 disposals (16 kicks).

#11 Ryan Sturgess

Sturgess was rock-solid down back for the Knights, making it very difficult for the Thunder to score. He read the play well and was able to take a handful of intercept marks – showing off his sticky hands. He would also provide some run-and-carry out of the backline, putting his efficient ball skills to good use. Sturgess had 21 disposals (19 kicks) and 8 marks.

 

Northern Territory:

#8 Malcolm Rosas Jr

Rosas spent plenty of minutes up forward and through the midfield. He worked tirelessly and was always involved, especially in the third term when he gathered plenty of possessions. His burst of speed and agility was on full display, with the classy midfielder able to escape his opponents’ attempted tackles. One of his best passages of play came in the third term when he made up a lot of ground to lay a ripping tackle on Josh D’Intinosante. Rosas knew where the big sticks were, hitting the scoreboard multiple times.

#19 Ben Jungfer

Jungfer’s work rate and clearance work was a real standout for the Thunder. He was able to win first possession around stoppages many times and he disposed of the ball effectively to his teammates on the outside. Jungfer used the ball well most times, moving the ball forward as often as he could. He finished with 22 disposals and six tackles.

#24 Joel Jeffery

Jeffery played in the defensive half and his rebounding definitely caught the eye. He turned the ball over a couple of times, but I liked that he wanted to take risks with ball in hand, rather than playing it safe. He read the play well and took some nice intercept marks in the second half. He finished with eight rebound 50s – a game-high.

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

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

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

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

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

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

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

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

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

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

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

By: Taylah Melki

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

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

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

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

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

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

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

By: Joe Lee

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

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

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

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

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

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

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

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

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

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

By: Michael Alvaro

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

Tasmania monthly wrap: Tassie’s finest mix it with the best

IT has been a busy month in Tasmanian football, with the very best Under 18 boys and girls competing against talent from across the Country. Locally, both Lauderdale and Glenorchy have made undefeated starts to their Tasmanian State League (TSL) seasons, while the TSL Women’s kicked off on ANZAC Day with a big win for the reigning premiers. All that, and more in this month’s Tasmania football wrap.


DEVILS BEGIN NAB LEAGUE LIFE

The Tasmania Devils Under 18 representative team has been introduced to the NAB League Boys and Girls competitions over the past month as part of the league’s nation-wide expansion, with the boys already picking up a win on home turf and the girls completing their two-game cameo. Below is a wrap of how both sides fared in each game.

NAB League Boys:

Round 2 

Sydney Swans Academy 7.14 (56) defeated Tasmania Devils 6.6 (42)

Goals: W. Harper 2, J. Menzie 2, J. Callow, N. Baker
Best: J. Chaplin, O. Davis, S. Collins, L. Gadomski, J. Steele, M. McGuinness

The Devils endured a tough introduction to their NAB League campaign, but fought to the end in a 14-point loss to the Swans Academy. The home side led all day in Blacktown, gradually pushing out the lead despite inaccuracy in front of goal to build a 26-point buffer heading into the final break. The Devils rallied late to push a potential comeback, but their three final-term goals were not enough to bridge the gap in what was a low-scoring affair. Will Harper and Jye Menzie each put two goals on the board, with hulking key forward Jackson Callow adding one to ensure bottom-agers contributed five of Tasmania’s six majors. Nicholas Baker was the other Devil to find the goals, while overlooked North Melbourne Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Matthew McGuiness led the ball-winning stakes with 27 disposals. Ruckman Joseph Chaplin beat him out to best-afield honours with his 20-disposal and 25 hitout effort, while bottom-aged stars Sam Collins (22 disposals, nine rebound 50s) and Oliver Davis (19 disposals, six tackles) impressed at either end of the ground alongside midfield ace Mitch O’Neill (21 disposals, nine tackles, six inside 50s).

Round 3

Northern Territory 6.8 (44) defeated by Tasmania Devils 13.14 (92)

Goals: J. Callow 5, W. Peppin 2, M. McGuiness 2, J. Menzie, J. Hennessy, R. Mansell, J. Chaplin
Best: M. O’Neill, J. Callow, L. Viney, R. Mansell, J. Steele, O. Burrows-Cheng

Tasmania Devils claimed its first win as a full-time NAB League side at the second time of asking with a thumping 48-point win over the Northern Territory Thunder Academy. With the game played on neutral ground at the Holden Centre in Melbourne, the Devils were made to travel for a second-consecutive week, but the four points ensured this one was much more fruitful. It was all-Tasmania after the Devils conceded a quarter time defecit, booting four goals in each of the remaining three terms to romp to victory. Jackson Callow put his name in lights with a starring five-goal performance from 19 disposals and eight marks, adjudged to only be bettered by Mitch O’Neill‘s 35-disposal effort. Jake Steele was again amongst the best, with over-ager Rhyan Mansell (23 disposals, seven inside 50s, one goal) and hard-working midfielder Oliver Burrows-Cheng (17 disposals, seven tackles) also thereabouts. National Academy memeber Will Peppin and Tyler McGinniss joined Callow as multiple goal kickers with two apiece, while Matthew McGuiness (18 disposals, five rebound 50s) and Oliver Davis (22 disposals, six inside 50s) again found plenty of the ball at either end.

Round 4

Tasmania Devils 10.3 (63) defeated Calder Cannons 7.9 (51)

Goals: J. Callow 4, J. Hennessy 2, J. Menzie, R. Mansell, P. Walker, W. Peppin
Best: J. Callow, O. Shaw, J. Chaplin, R. Ashlin, L. Gadomski, J. Steele

The firsts continued in Round 4 for the Devils as they overcame a persistent Calder Cannons outfit by 12 points to register their first win on home turf. After a stalemate first term saw the sides only manage a behind each, Tasmania burst to life with five goals to one setting up a 21-point half time lead. Despite their best efforts, the depleted Cannons could not overcome the Devils as they hung on for a second-consecutive win in front of adoring home support in Penguin. Jackson Callow continued his hot form, with his 16 disposals, eight marks and four goals this time enough to claim best-on honours from defender Oscar Shaw (17 disposals, 12 marks). Jake Steele (24 hitouts) was named in the best for a third-straight week for his role as an undersized ruck alongside Joseph Chaplin (17 disposals, 23 hitouts), with the injury-hampered Lachlan Gadomski (20 disposals, six marks) returning his best game to date. Bottom-ager Patrick Walker and over-ager Nicholas Baker led all-comers for disposals with 24 each, as the former also managed to find the goals in a solid outing. 

Round 5

Tasmania Devils 3.8 (26) defeated by Western Jets 10.13 (73)

Goals: T. Penwright, I. Chugg, L. Gadomski
Best: O. Burrows-Cheng, P. Walker, M. McGuiness, B. Gordon, L. Viney, O. Shaw

Tasmania’s winning streak was snapped by the Western Jets after a week off from NAB League duties, with the Devils going down by 47 points in Launceston. The home ground advantage did not prove as telling for Tasmania this time out, though signs were promising early on. The Devils booted the first goal of the game through debutant Isaac Chugg and dominated general play in the first 10 minutes, but a lack of scoreboard pressure allowed Western to find their way to a quarter time lead. The Jets did not let up after that, scoring consistently in each quarter to eventually overpower the hosts and claim take the four points back to Melbourne. Oliver Burrows-Cheng was named best for the Devils on the back of his 22 disposals, six tackles and six inside 50s in a combative display, while Patrick Walker was this time recognised for leading the disposal count (25) with a slot in the best six players. Matt McGuiness (16 disposals) and Oscar Shaw (11) stood up alongside Walker in defence to also be named in the best, while Bailey Gordon matched his disposal count of 25 as another to play well. Lachlan Gadomski and Tyler Penwright joined Chugg as the Devils’ only goal scorers on a dirty day, with the absence of bottom-age Academy members and star man Mitch O’Neill proving telling in the defeat. 

NAB League Girls:

Round 7

Western Jets 5.8 (38) defeated Tasmania Devils 0.1 (1)

Goals: Nil
Best: E. Brickhill, E. Dixon, A. Prokopiec, H. Smith, M. King, A. Clark

Much like the boys, the Tasmania Devils girls encountered a tough introduction to the NAB League, going down to the tenth-paced Western Jets in a goalless Friday night outing. The home side goalled in every quarter to build the eventual 38-point winning margin, with best-afield Devil Ellen Brickhill (14 disposals) finally getting Tasmania on the board in the final term with a behind. 2018 Allies representative Mia King was Tasmania’s leading ball-winner with 16 disposals, named in the best alongside Brickhill, Amy Prokopiec (14, eight rebound 50s) and Angelica Clark (10 disposals). Skipper Hailee Baldwin also had a steady start, collecting nine disposals and laying two tackles. 

Eastern Ranges 3.3 (21) defeated Tasmania Devils 2.4 (16) 

Goals: H. Breward, B. Oates
Best: H. Smith, B. Oates, M. King, C. Lovell, P. King

The Devils followed up a disappointing opening game with a much-improved effort against the finals-bound Eastern Ranges, narrowly going down by five points. After leading the tight tussle at quarter, and three-quarter time, Tasmania looked on course for an unlikely upset victory – only for it to come unstuck via a late Serena Gibbs goal for Eastern. 19-year old Hayley Breward scored the Devils’ first ever NAB League goal, joined later on by Brianna Oates, who was named in the best for her 12 disposals. Mia King again led the disposal count as the only Devil to crack the 20-mark, with Killarney Morey the next best on 13. Hannah Smith was adjudged Tasmania’s best for her 12-disposal and four-mark effort, while Perri King had another 10 disposals in the midfield. Again not the result the travelling side was after, but plenty of development and the experience gained would have the Devils label the weekend an overall success. 

 

DEVILS SHINE ON NATIONAL STAGE

With state representative honours now a weekly theme for those in the Tasmania Devils squad, four Apple Isle products got the chance to go a step further and represent their nation this month.

After suiting up for Tasmania in three NAB League outings, midfield ace Mitch O’Neill had the honour taking part in the AFL Under-18 Academy showcase game against VFL side, Casey Demons at the MCG. The annual match, which this year feautured the best talent from across the country, allows the next crop of hopefuls to shine on the big stage against AFL and VFL-listed players. O’Neill contributed 11 disposals, six tackles, four clearances and a goal in a positive display, playing a key hand in the second half as the Academy side rolled over the top of Casey. The North Hobart product played in with typical Tasmanian spirit, putting his head over the ball on numerous occassions against bigger opponents and working hard throughout the game.

In the other annual national showcase, O’Neill’s bottom-age Devils teammates Jackson Callow (North Launceston), Sam Collins (North Hobart), and Oliver Davis (Clarence) took on New Zealand’s open-age side at Marvel Stadium on ANZAC Day weekend. The Under 17 Australians proved too strong for their cross-Tasman rivals in the Adelaide v. St Kilda curtain raiser, picking up a thumping 77-point win. All three played important roles in the win, and along with O’Neill will soon return to NAB League duties with Tasmania ahead of Allies squad selection. Callow had 10 disposals and four marks, as well as three tackles while running at 70 per cent efficiency. Collins stood up in defence with 10 touches at an elite 90 per cent efficiency as well as five marks and two tackles. Davis was a prominent player in the midfield, racking up 21 disposals at 71 per cent efficiency with less than three quarters on the filed, while taking six marks, three clearances and seven tackles in the win.

 

LAUDERDALE TOPS TSL

Lauderdale and Glenorchy boast perfect records after five rounds of TSL action, with the former topping the table having played an extra game. Reigning premiers North Launceston sit third with three wins after going down in a Round 4 grand final rematch, with Launceston a game behind them at 2-3, and Tigers (1-3) rounding out the top five as Clarence and North Hobart languish at the base of the ladder with no wins thus far. The Southern Bombers’ early-season form is merely a continuation of their late-season run in 2018 which cultimated in a grand final appearance from fifth, and they look the team to beat going into their first bye. North Launceston can spoil their nearest rivals’, Glenorchy’s, winning run when they clash at UTAS Stadium this weekend, while one of North Hobart or Clarence will claim its first win (barring a draw) as they meet to open Round 6. Glenorchy’s Aiden Grace tops the goal kicking and Player of the Year charts with 15 in four games, including a bag of five against North Hobart, with Blues player-coach Mitch Thorp the next best goal kicker with 13 on the back of his six-goal haul against the Demons. Northern Bomber Brad Cox-Goodyer is another who continues to find the goals, starting the season in good form, with ex-Hawk Kieran Lovell performing for Tigers. Lauderdale’s Sam Siggins joins Grace with six votes in the Player of the Year race, while Lovell, Jobi Harper (Launceston), Josh McGuinness and Haydn Smith (both Lauderdale) are all tied on five votes after excellent starts to the season.

 

NEW-LOOK TSLW KICKS OFF

An expanded TSL Women’s competition kicked off on ANZAC Day, with reigning premiers Glenorchy picking up where it left off with a 10.13 (73) to 1.0 (6) win over Tigers in Round 1’s only fixture. Magpie Nietta Lynch was instrumental in the vcictory with half of her side’s 10 goals, while Paige Flakemore booted Tigers’ only goal for the game. The season continues this week as all six sides are set to participate in a Gala Day at UTAS Stadium, with competition newcomers Lauderdale and North Launceston commencing proceedings at 11:00am in what should be a cracking showcase of Tasmanian female football.  

 

In AFL-related news, Tasmanian products Chayce Jones (Adelaide) and Tarryn Thomas (North Melbourne) each made their debuts at the highest level, with both impressing in respective roles forward of centre. Closer to home, Launceston was treated to a cracking match of AFL football between Carlton and Hawthorn, with the Hawks staging a remarkable second-half comeback to topple the Blues by just five points.

NAB League Boys Round 4 preview: Changes galore as NAB League goes national

ROUND 4 of the NAB League Boys sees established Victorian Metropolitan sides both play host and traveler as five clubs steel themselves for clashes against the Northern Academies, while the Country clubs each have a bye. A Saturday double-header sees both Sydney academies hit Sandringham, while the Queensland academies are set to host a game each at Southport on Sunday, and Calder becomes the first side for the year to cross Bass Strait and battle Tasmania.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GWS GIANTS ACADEMY
Saturday April 13, 10:45am
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

Northern Knights and GWS GIANTS Academy open Round 4 as sides still searching for their first win in season 2019. This bout acts as the Giants’ first experience in playing against established NAB League Boys opposition after losses to the Sydney and Brisbane academies in Rounds 2 and 3. For Northern, while the chance to showcase talent that would otherwise miss out during the year will be the number one priority, wins are at a premium and a 0-4 start would not be ideal. With the core ripped out of their side due to Vic Metro trial game commitments, the Knights have plenty of players who will be looking to consolidate a spot in the underperforming starting lineup. 19-year old Northern Blues listed Sunny Brazier is one of them, and should form a handy midfield trio alongside Sam Philp and Lucas Perry. Speaking of, the Giants have a few in-form ball winners of their own – with star Tom Green leading the way from Jeromy Lucas and Matt McGrory. An inexperienced and largely bottom-aged Knights defence will also have its hands full with dynamic Liam Delahunty, who has been in good goal-scoring form. With one side depleted and the other looking to prove themselves, this should prove to be a close encounter.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY
Saturday April 13, 1:15pm
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

Sandringham will be looking to maintain its perfect start to season 2019 as it hosts the Sydney Swans academy to close out Saturday’s proceedings. Like many of the metro sides, the Dragons have a raft of key outs as trial games roll into town, with at least 14 changes from last week’s side that beat Oakleigh. With their typical midfield core out, the likes of Jackson Voss and Angus Hanrahan will get the opportunity to run through the middle, while Riley Bowman is sure to take up more rucking responsibility. AFL family connections Jai Florent and Jeremy Goddard also slot in at either end as noticeable ins, but Sydney has arguably the most important inclusion of the round. Errol Gulden is set to suit up for his second game of the year, looking to have the likes of Braeden Campbell and Jackson Barling bounce off the electricity he brings. A change of structure looks imminent with Josh Rayner named at half-back, while the promising Ky McGrath will slot in as 23rd man. With the Dragons’ depth set to be tested on this rare occasion, look for the Swans to come out firing, with some serious talent running around on each line.

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Sunday April 14, 10:45am
Southport Oval

Best placed Academy side Gold Coast SUNS welcome NAB League Boys premiership fancies Oakleigh Chargers to the Sunshine State, looking to maintain its winning record. While the Suns downed NT and Brisbane in their first two games, Oakleigh suffered its first loss for the year against Sandringham last time out and will hope to rectify it this week. With perfect conditions forecasted, it is as good a chance as any for the Chargers to showcase their brand of football. The Suns have proven their worth though, and the likes of top-end midfield duo Connor Budarick and Ashton Crossley will have a big say on proceedings. The clinical Josh Gore is also in good form, and is sure to cause headaches for the Oakleigh depth alongside Hewago Paul Oea. Chargers over-ager Joe Ayton Delaney is one who remains amid the 11 changes, and should have a good battle with Budarick as another zippy midfield type. While many of the big names are missing, Oakleigh’s second-string is arguably as strong as some sides’ starting line-up, so they will stand every chance of jumping on the plane home with a win.

TASMANIA DEVILS v. CALDER CANNONS
Sunday April 14, 11:30am
Penguin Oval – Tasmania

Tasmania is set to play on home turf for the first time this season, hosting Calder Cannons at Penguin Oval. The Devils are the best placed side with one win, sitting pretty in ninth after toppling NT in Round 3, while Calder also got on the board last week with a win over Western. While six changes is nothing to scoff at for the Cannons, they will remain relatively steady coming into this game, travel aside, with a solid bunch of 19-year olds looking to contribute. Josh Kemp leads the pack alongside Mason Fletcher, with Tye Browning showing glimpses of why he was picked to return thus far, and top-ager Harrison Minton-Connell another likely type in midfield. The hosts will feel they have answers on each line though, with Jackson Callow one who may well keep Fletcher busy, while Matt McGuinness and Sam Collins have been good across half-back, Jye Menzie and Will Harper likewise up the other end, and Mitch O’Neill leading all-comers in midfield. With the whole state behind them, Tasmania will look to take full advantage of a good hand and streak to a second-straight win, but it will not be easy against the Cannons.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY v. EASTERN RANGES
Sunday April 14, 1:15pm
Southport Oval

Eastern Ranges will be hoping to make it three-straight NAB League Boys wins as it travels north to face the Brisbane Lions Academy in the second game of Sunday’s double-header. The Lions went down in last week’s Q-Clash, but hold a Round 2 win over their GWS counterparts, while Eastern has soundly beaten Western and Northern to shape as one of the surprise packets so far. With nine outs named, the Ranges will be stretched thin in combating their weekend travel, but will have solid contributors across the park. 19-year old James Blanck comes in to stake his claim, with forward pocket duo Chayce Black and Joshua Tilly showing good form thus far. The Lions have some eye-catchers, with Bruce Reville a clear standout last week, while Will Martyn will look to lift and join Tom Griffiths in finding a wealth of possessions. Good conditions should greet the sides, which should make for decent viewing on stream for those watching at home. A couple should really catch the eye, so look for those smooth movers in the hosts’ lineup.

WESTERN JETS v. NORTHERN TERRITORY
Sunday April 14, 2:30pm
Downer Oval – Williamstown

A clash between Western Jets and Northern Territory Thunder is set to close the round out, with the travelling Thunder still looking to get on the board in their NAB League Boys stint. After Western snatched a win in Round 1 over Northern, both sides have lost over the last two weeks with a crushing defeat handed to them each. The Jets remain the most steady of the Victorian sides coming into this weekend with only four outs, but they are all key players at that. Still, the likes of Aaron Clarke and Archi Manton have found the goals well, and over-ager Daly Andrews should catch the eye through midfield. For NT, Stephen Cumming looks to be coming along nicely after teasing for Dandenong last year, while the likes of Joel Jeffrey and Maurice Rioli Jr have provided moments of magic. Joel Budarick and Ben Jungfer are ball-winners also sure to catch the eye, though the conditions at Downer Oval may prove difficult for all. A good opportunity rises for the Thunder, but the Jets proved in Round 1 that they will not go down without a fight.

Weekend preview: NAB League Boys – Round 3

WITH a landmark Round 2 come and gone, Round 3’s set of fixtures delivers another nine games and another nine opportunities to observe the best talent from across the nation as the Northern Academies and Tasmania settle into NAB League proceedings. With a Sandringham double-header on Saturday and Bendigo triple-header on Sunday, settle in for some non-stop Under 18 action.

Northern Knights v Eastern Ranges
Saturday April 6, 9:45
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

Northern Knights host Eastern Ranges on neutral ground to open the round and Saturday’s double-header at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. The Knights are still without a win in 2019 after going down narrowly to Western and more comfortably to Sandringham, while Eastern come in 1-1 after toppling the Jets last week. Lachie Potter returns to the side after missing through injury, and will look to provide run on the outside of in-form Northern ball winners Adam Carafa and Sam Philp. While Potter gives the Knights’ defence more dynamism, the Ranges have brought in 19-year old Vic Metro representative James Blanck to sure up the back six – not that it has been particularly leaky. Further afield, Eastern’s Mitch Mellis will hope to build on his Round 2 Draft Central player of the week performance, with the midfield combination of Lachlan Stapleton and Cody Hirst effective so far. Both sides will see this clash as a good opportunity to pick up a win, with the Knights especially keen to get on the board as quickly as possible.

GWS GIANTS Academy v Sydney Swans Academy
Saturday April 6, 11:00
Manuka Oval

The battle of the bridge comes to the NAB League as the GWS GIANTS and Sydney Swans academies prepare to do battle in Canberra. While the Swans had a winning start to NAB League life, GWS will look towards this opportunity to get on the board having gone down to academy counterparts, Brisbane in Round 2. The Swans have been dealt a major blow as star of their opening game, Errol Gulden has been named as an out, with fellow bottom-ager Pierce Roseby set to slot right into his place. Samuel Thorne is one who can also pick up the slack alongside the likes of Jackson Barling and Kyle McKellar after good performances last week, and the midfield battle will be a cracker. Leading Giants prospect Tom Green showed his class last week and will hope to overwhelm the Swans mids, while the dynamic forward combination of Liam Delahunty and James Peatling should cause some headaches for the Swans. This is certainly one to watch with some high-end academy prospects running around, and should be a good contest to boot.

Brisbane Lions Academy v Gold Coast Suns Academy
Saturday April 6, 12:00
Yerong Football Ground

The academy state derbies continue as the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS academies play off in an Under 18 Q-clash up in the sunshine state. Both Round 2 winners, the sides will be playing off for bragging rights before testing themselves against established NAB League opponents. A potential midfield match-up between Gold Coast’s Connor Budarick Brisbane’s Will Martyn should be a belter, as would a shootout between Suns goalsneak Josh Gore and Lions forward ace Tom Wischnat – who bagged seven collective goals last week. With plenty of forward runners in either lineup and sunny conditions an forecasted, this fixture should well and truly attract some eyes, and will be as good an opportunity as ever for each side’s top-end talent to showcase their skills – or even use as preparation for future AFL Q-clashes.

Sandringham Dragons v Oakleigh Chargers
Saturday April 6, 12:15
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

The game of the round hits Trevor Barker Beach Oval as Metro premiership fancies, Sandringham and Oakleigh play off in what could well be an early season finals dress rehearsal. Both sides come into the game at 2-0 as the top two on the ladder, but the Dragons should come in as favourites given they hold home ground advantage and have won more comfortably thus far. The home side backed up a Round 1 shellacking of Calder with a solid win over Northern, while Oakleigh was tested last week against a fighting Calder side in tough conditions. With stars studded across each line for both teams, there will be no shortage of mouth-watering match-ups to grab the attention of recruiters. Sandringham’s forward line has been lethal so far, with Charlie Dean leading the competition for goals (nine), and fellow talls Riley Bowman and Jack Bell also pitching in. While they will no doubt trouble the visitors’ defence, Oakleigh’s midfield is set to feature three genuine top 10 draft pick contenders – with returning co-captain Trent Bianco joining Round 1 Draft Central Player of the Week, Noah Anderson, and the unflappable Matt Rowell. Over-ager Joe Ayton-Delaney also features in that midfield rotation, with he and Bianco able to join the back six or play on the outside. Recent AFL Vic Metro Academy squad inclusion, Nick Bryan will hope to continue his early-season run and provide his fleet with first use in the ruck, with Dylan Williams showing signs of clicking into full gear up forward. While Oakleigh’s midfield is arguably the competition’s best on paper, Sandringham’s engine room is proving to be right up there – as the likes of Jack Mahony, Ryan Byrnes, and Finn Maginness have formed a consistent ball-winning trio. Sandringham’s defence features a combination of aerial prowess and calm ball users, with Josh Worrell, Corey Watts, and Fischer McAsey versatile enough to tackle all sorts of forwards. With potential draftees littered across this game, it is simply a must watch – and the chance to watch this much elite talent most likely will not come until the National Championships.

Calder Cannons v Western Jets
Saturday April 6, 3:30
RAMS Arena

The winless Calder Cannons will have a point to prove when they meet Western Jets in another home fixture at RAMS Arena to close out Sunday’s games. Having been dealt a tough hand with their first two games being against premiership fancies Sandringham and Oakleigh, the Cannons showed marked improvement in Round 2 as they matched it with the Chargers for three quarters. On the other hand, Western suffered a comprehensive loss to Eastern after a promising Round 1 victory, so will be looking to pave a more consistent path as the season progresses. Calder’s tall defensive duo of Brodie Newman and Mason Fletcher will have their hands full with probably match-ups against Emerson Jeka and Aaron Clarke, while both sets of midfielders will hope to improve on last week’s outings – namely Western’s Josh Honey and Calder’s Daniel Mott, who have outstanding potential. Enigmatic Calder forward Josh Kemp is also set to be a factor, coming off three goals last week and hoping to build a case for the next level as a 19-year-old. The Cannons may surprise a few, but Western will hope it can get back on the winners list with an stronger output here.

Bendigo Pioneers v Gippsland Power
Sunday April 7, 10:00
Queen Elizabeth Oval

The season’s surprise packet to date, Bendigo Pioneers, will hope to keep its perfect record in tact when it faces Gippsland to open Sunday’s all-Country triple-header. The hosts have taken full advantage of retaining their top-end talent for the early-season proceedings, with Thomson Dow and Brodie Kemp leading the way well from midfield to provide an eye-catching mix of grunt and creativity. A thrilling win last week against Murray puts them in good stead at 2-0, with Gippsland on the wrong end of a tight loss last time out and coming in with a 1-1 record. Much like the Pioneers, Gippsland will hope to take advantage of having Caleb Serong free from school football and Vic Country commitments, but have a wealth of talent to see them through in any case. Ryan Sparkes has started the season well on the outside, with the powerful Sam Flanders mixing time in the midfield and forward line seamlessly, and over-ager Kyle Dunkley looking a much-improved prospect. With one side playing in a rare vein of form and the other looking to click into gear as most expect them to, this clash could well be right up there with the Sandringham and Oakleigh game for pure entertainment.

Dandenong Stingrays v Geelong Falcons
Sunday April 7, 12:30
Queen Elizabeth Oval

Dandenong Stingrays and Geelong Falcons take centre stage in the second QEO all-Country clash, with either side coming in on the back of polar opposite form-lines. While the reigning premiers have managed to scrape in for two six-point wins, the Falcons are one of four established NAB League teams still searching for their first win. Usual suspects are already appearing in the Geelong side, with co-captains Cooper Stephens and Jesse Clark continually standing up, while 19-year-old Charlie Sprague has also been lively thus far. The Falcons will unfortunately be without Jay Dahlhaus for what looks like being most of the season though, with the speedster partially tearing his ACL last week. On Dandenong’s end, Hayden Young is coming into form, with over-ager Mitch Riordan following suit in the midfield, while talls Bigoa Nyuon and Bailey Schmidt are also making a mark. With plenty of experience remaining from last year’s premiership side, the Stingrays will prove a tough test for Geelong as they look to bounce back by collecting a set of four points.

Northern Territory Thunder Academy v Tasmania Devils
Sunday April 7, 1:00
Holden Centre

Someone’s winless start will end when Northern Territory Thunder and Tasmania Devils take their talent to neutral ground in Melbourne, with both sides hoping to bounce back from defeats in their respective NAB League debuts. The Thunder is set to take an unchanged line-up to the Holden Centre, while Tasmania will have at least two fresh faces in the team this week with an extended squad named. The Devils fell respectably short of the Sydney Swans Academy last time out, with leading prospect Mitch O’Neill the standout alongside Matt McGuiness. They will be important once again alongside the running power of Sam Collins, while the versatile forward duo of Will Harper and Jye Menzie will hope to again combine effectively to help the Taswegians get on the board. Ben Jungfer was the NT’s clear best ball winner last week, and will play a key role against the Devils’ best, while twin tall pair Stephen and Matthew Cumming should again prove a handful wherever they are required. With plenty of speed set to come to the fore, expect some fireworks between two sides battling for their first win.

Murray Bushrangers v Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Sunday April 7, 3:00
Queen Elizabeth Oval

Murray Bushrangers and Greater Western Victoria Rebels are set to see out the round of action and Sunday’s QEO fixtures as they clash for regional bragging rights. While Murray have been unlucky not to snatch the win thus far – going down by a collective seven points in the first two rounds – GWV managed to get up by the narrowest of margins last week as they snatched a win from under the Falcons’ beaks. The Rebels have a number of triers who contribute well, with Jay Rantall and James Cleaver among the best so far, but they are set to lose key contributors Cooper Craig-Peters and Matty Lloyd for this week’s clash. On the other hand, Murray has named a handy inclusion, with over-ager Zane Barzen slotting straight into the forward line. With Will Chandler set to join him up there and Jye Chalcraft able to rest inside 50 from midfield duties, the Bushrangers’ look a dangerous prospect. Lachlan Ash and former-Knight Cam Wild have also gone about their business well as ball-winners, so should collectively provide some headaches for the Rebels midfield. With wins imperative as sides are at relative full strength, Murray will be keen to pick up four points here.

2019 VFL season preview: Werribee ready to roar

IT is a new season and reigning premiers Box Hill Hawks are the team with a target on their back. We take a look at each of the 15 Victorian Football League (VFL) teams with plenty of new inclusions to excite fans ahead of the season, with Werribee and Port Melbourne tipped to be some of the top sides in the competition.

Box Hill Hawks

Last season: Premiers

The Hawks have brought in a number of big ball winners to their side with tall winger, Mason De Wit and strong mid/forward Jake Frawley heading to the brown and gold with outside runner, Boadie Motton from Gippsland Power. The Hawks have also picked up Nathan Mullenger-McHugh from the Western Bulldogs, and some experience out west in West Perth’s Luke Meadows. Add in Port Melbourne’s Damian Mascitti and the talented but relatively unknown Paddy Anderson from the Hampden League, and the Hawks have brought in some page and power up forward, as well as great midfield depth. Will Hams will be a loss with a number of other players out to play local footy, while former Sandringham Dragon, Georgie Nagle has headed to Port Melbourne. The reigning premiers have built on the list that took them to the cup last season and they are a team to watch in season 2019.

Casey Demons

Last season: Grand Finalists

The Demons have traded around Stingrays, with Riley D’Arcy, Goy Lok and Ali Zijai all heading to Frankston over the summer, but have brought in premiership Stingrays, Jai Taylor and Matthew Gahan for the 2019 season. Gahan offers good movement out of defence, while the lightning quick Taylor will no doubt make it easy for Casey’s social media team to regularly draw out highlights. Heath Briggs joins his brother at the Demons, while Nick Lowden has progressed from Gippsland among a couple of Port Melbourne recruits in Luke Tynan and Anthony Vella. With a few local league players also joining the side including a familiar name with Darcy Fritsch – brother of Melbourne’s Bailey – pulling on the red and blue. It was a heartbreaking loss in the Grand Final last season and the Demons will be keen to go one better this year with the additions.

Coburg Lions

Last season: 15th (Wooden spoon)

Change was afoot at Coburg over the summer with a match day team full of players coming in, and going out of the Lions’ doors. From a VFL perspective, Matthew Harman has crossed from the Northern Blues with Alex Federico to join former Northern Knights teammates, Braedyn Gillard and Mark Baker at the club, while fellow draft prospects last year, Mitch Podhajski – who returns on a full-time basis to the club – Jack Evans and Lucas Cavallaro all switch from Calder to Coburg. Evans and Cavallaro will provide good drive out of defence, while Podhajski will be a dominant force in multiple areas around the ground. Add in former Eastern Ranges outside midfielder Xavier Fry, a couple of Gold Coast NEAFL players in Brodie Foster and Harry Simington and Canberra Demons’ Jack Baker who was close to being drafted last season, and the Lions have really built some serious depth this year. Of the departures, Hisham Kerbatieh, Nick Mellington and Sean Gregory have crossed to the Seagulls, while Tom Condon will try his hand in the SANFL With Sturt.

Collingwood Magpies

Last season: 5th (Elimination final exit)

A relatively settled line-up, the Magpies will have a bitter taste in their mouth after coming close to a double chance, only to be knocked out in the elimination final by Essendon. Adam Oxley has hung around at the club after being delisted by Collingwood’s AFL side, while Dandenong Stingrays’ co-captain Campbell Hustwaite looms as a massive inclusion who could put his name up in lights with a big season, while Alex Spencer is the other addition coming from Port Melbourne. Marty Hore and Tom Jok were drafted by Melbourne and Essendon respectively, while Gus Borthwick also departs. The Magpies will hope for a better run of injuries this season with the VFL side stretched at times last year given the amount of AFL players required at AFL level.

Essendon Bombers

Last season: 8th (Preliminary final exit)

Essendon have strategically brought in a number of over-age prospects who did have draft interest over the past two years, with key defender Daniel Hanna and Oakleigh Chargers versatile tall, Matthew Day having plenty of draftable attributes but needing to iron out a few things. Jacob Atley will also share time between Essendon and Bendigo Pioneers in his bid to get drafted with Essendon considering him for an AFL list spot last year. Nick Hind was a whirlwind last season but he will now cross to Sandringham to play with St Kilda’s affiliate, while Alex Boyse also departed the club over the off-season after some draft interest. The Bombers have also picked up former Saint, Ray Connellan, as well as Werribee’s Kurt Aylett and Port Melbourne’s Josh Tynan who should all make important contributions to the club.

Footscray Bulldogs

Last season: 9th

Footscray has bolstered its side ahead of the 2019 season, only losing Jamison Shea to Southport, while Will Hayes got his chance for the Bulldogs’ senior side. Richmond’s Nathan Drummond and Geelong’s Ryan Gardner cross to the club after being delisted last season, while former Carlton AFL player, Dillon Viojo-Rainbow has made the move further west after a stint with Port Melbourne. Interestingly, the Bulldogs have raided St Kevin’s to top up their list, with Sam Barnett, Lachlan Farrugia, Gerard Gleeson and Billy Kanakis all signing onto the club this year. Footscray would hope that the inclusions will be enough to reach the finals after narrowly missing out last year.

Frankston Dolphins

Last season: 14th

The Dolphins had moments returning to the competition for the 2018 season, but ultimately just managed the two wins from 18 games in 2018. Unsuprisingly, Frankston has looked to Sandringham Dragons and Dandenong Stingrays for young talent coming through, while also picking up some former Dragons who were delisted by their respective AFL clubs. Nathan Freeman was a feel-good story last year for the Saints, but his AFL time came to an end, as did Sydney’s Angus Styles who was delisted after one year on the rookie list. Former Stingrays, Riley D’Arcy and Ali Zijai, and former Dragon, Goy Lok all return to Frankston, along with potential Brisbane father-son James Rendell, former Mentone Grammar captain, Harry Houlahan, and Stingrays duo, Aaron Darling – who has had two consecutive knee reconstructions – and Lachlan McDonnell who was unlucky to miss out on being drafted last season. The Dolphins will also help develop St Kilda ruck, Sam Alabakis who was allowed to play for Frankston given St Kilda’s ruck depth who will play at Sandringham.

Geelong Cats

Last season: 3rd (Semi-final exit)

Geelong has made minimal changes to its line-up for the 2019 season, with captain Tom Atkins pulling on the senior blue and white hoops so likely to roll through the VFL team this season, while former Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels midfielder Aiden Domic, has crossed to Werribee. His Rebels teammate, Charlie Wilson joins the club and will provide some firepower in attack. Gippsland Power key defender Kyle Reid comes into the Cats line-up and with a good season could be a chance to be drafted as a 19-year-old given the Cats’ tendency to draft their own state league players and ageing key defenders, while Aaron Black stays at the club after being delisted. The Cats have also headed to the Goulburn Valley to recruit Nik Rokahr and Luke Smith from the Shepparton Bears. The Cats had a terrific season last year, but fell short in finals, exiting in straight sets at the hands of eventual premiers, Box Hill Hawks.

Northern Blues

Last season: 12th

The Northern Blues have bolstered their line-up with some AFL experience, bringing in key defensive duo, Kieran Collins and Alex Johnson. Collins was close to getting a reprieve with the Blues in the AFL, but will bide his time for Carlton’s VFL affiliate, while Johnson was the feel-good story then the heartbreak story of 2018. After multiple knee reconstructions, the former Sydney defender has not given up hope of reaching the highest level again and it will be interesting to see how he fairs in the state league. Hawthorn’s Jonathan O’Rouke also joins the club with some unfulfilled potential, while South Croyden’s Frank Anderson was the name that had a few eyebrows raised when State Combine invites went out last year, but the talented former Eastern Football League star will now get the chance to step up at the higher level.

North Melbourne Kangaroos

Last season: 10th

Not a great deal of change out at North Melbourne, with Alex Morgan staying at the club despite being delisted by the AFL affiliate. Brendan Whitecross will provide invaluable experience after his time at Hawthorn, while former Sydney player, Daniel Robinson also joins the Roos for season 2019. Sam Parson crosses to the club from Box Hill Hawks, while key forward Michael Close, Liam Whelan and Steve Stroobants all depart. The Kangaroos were solid in their debut year last year, finishing 10th and pushing towards a finals birth at times. They did get smashed by the AFL Academy side early in the year, but once North Melbourne gelled, they showed what they were capable of in the competition.

Port Melbourne Borough

Last season: 7th (Elimination final exit)

The 2017 premiers bowed out in the first week of finals last year to eventual premiers, Box Hill Hawks. Like most standalone clubs, the Borough have made plenty of changes to their list, with Kieran Strachan the headline departure after being picked up by Adelaide Crows. Robin Nahas has retired and Dillon Viojo-Rainbow heads to Footscray, while Lucas Cook and Luke Tynan have also left. Into the side comes former Collingwood premiership player, Jarryd Blair, as well as a host of Oakleigh Chargers including Charlie Beasley, Jake Gasper and Xavier Fry. Gasper will replace Nahas as the danger inside 50, while Blair and experienced VFL campaigner, Ben Jolley will be the hard men in the middle with the latter the biggest transfer of the summer. Matthew Signorello has returned to Victoria after being delisted by Adelaide, while former Melbourne player, Dion Johnston has also joined the club. Patrick Veszpremi will try his luck at state level again, returning from Pascoe Vale, while Tom Goodwin (Coburg) and Geordie Nagle (Box Hill Hawks) are some of the VFL talent that have changed clubs to Port Melbourne.

Richmond Tigers

Last season: 1st (Semi-final exit)

It was not a good September for Richmond fans at any level considering two minor premiership led to a straight sets exit and a preliminary final exit. After finishing on top of the table in season 2019, the Tigers looked like going all the way, but as they found out, finals is a different ball game, even for the light technicians and despite some controversy over the finals losses – one they were left in the dark and the second was a brilliance passage of play from Nick Hind in the dying seconds being the difference – they will look to rebound in season 2019.

Sandringham Zebras

Last season: 13th

The Zebras had a disappointing season in 2018, recording a bottom four finish and have subsequently overhauled plenty of their list ahead of the 2019 season. They have made Kai Owens a more full-time member of the side, while Sam Sofronidis, Anthony Seaton, Ryan O’Meara and Nick Stamatis all go through the pathway from Dragons to Zebras. Nathan Wright provides some AFL experience, as does Sam Gilbert who has experienced the atmosphere of AFL Grand Final Day, while Port Melbourne’s Dylan Atkins is another with state league experience invaluable to the Zebras cause. A host of local players round out a long list of additions for season 2019.

Werribee Tigers

Last season: 11th

The Tigers might not have had the best season, finishing in eleventh last year, but they had two players head north to ply their trade with the Gold Coast SUNS. Both Sam Collins and Josh Corbett were pre-listed by the SUNS and will forge AFL careers, while Andrew Hooper and Kurt Aylett both head to the Bombers’ VFL side. While they have lost some experience, the Tigers are arguably the team to watch in season 2019, with AFL experience galore, as well as some seriously talented state league and former TAC Cup stars. Michael Barlow and Max Spencer (Gold Coast), Oscar Junker and Daniel Nielson (North Melbourne), Timm House (Geelong) and Jackson Edwards (Adelaide) return after stints on AFL lists, Barlow the most recognisable name of the lot. Jake Riccardi and Scott Carlin join the club on a full-time basis after playing as 19 year-olds last season, while Ryan Hebron and Josh Clayton are NEAFL players who were in the draft conversation. Key position players, Tom Boyd and Hudson Garoni will straighten the Tigers up, while Western Jets have provided four players to the club, with ball winners, Connor Thar and Jack Watkins, key position utility Hamish Murphy and Nick Stuhldreier all coming to the club. The biggest recruit might be off the field, with 2004 AFL Premiership coach, Mark Williams taking the reigns at Werribee.

Williamstown Seagulls

Last season: 4th (Preliminary final exit)

The narrowest of defeats in the Preliminary Final to eventual premiers Box Hill Hawks might have stung over the summer had the National AFL Draft not rolled around.By the end of November, Williamstown’s Ben Cavarra – a player with a well-documented pathways journey – finally found an AFL home at the Western Bulldogs, while Lachlan Schulz and Brett Bewley remained teammates over in the west with Fremantle. By the AFL season start, Michael Gibbons would become a Blue, making it a mammoth four players drafted by the one club over the off-season, then club legend Ben Jolley departed for rivals Port Melbourne. The Seagulls will undoubtedly drop back a bit with the serious talent that has left the club, but will be proud of the development pathway provided. In saying that, they have brought in North Melbourne’s Mitch Hibberd and Collingwood’s Sam McLarty for some AFL experience, while Joel Ottavi, Nick Mellington, Hisham Kerbatieh and Nick Sing cross from other VFL clubs. From the TAC Cup, Stefan Radovanovic will provide speed and power for the Seagulls, while former Collingwood small Ben Kennedy also joins the club, A team to watch with interest to see how they go given the amount of experience out the door, but always a team to keep an eye on.

Predictions:

Premiers: Werribee
Runner-Up: Port Melbourne
Michael Barlow (Werribee)

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Boys – Round 2

AN HISTORIC weekend of Under 18 football saw the northern academies debut in the NAB League, while competition new-comers Tasmania also participated after a Round 1 bye. With a couple of close games and boil-overs, this round of nine games certainly delivered on the hype.

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 2.2 | 3.8 | 6.11 | 7.14 (56)
TASMANIA DEVILS 0.0 | 2.3 | 3.3 | 6.6 (42)

GOALS:
Sydney:
M. Sheather 2, E. Gulden 2, H. Parker, S. Thorne, C. Nash
Tasmania: W. Harper 2, J. Menzie 2, J. Callow, N. Baker

BEST:
Sydney:
E. Gulden, L. Parks, K. McKellar, J. Dol, M. Geddes, B. Campbell
Tasmania: J. Chaplin, O. Davis, S. Collins, L. Gadomski, J. Steele, M. McGuinness

Errol Gulden had a day out to lead Sydney Swans Academy to a 14-point victory on an historic Saturday of Under 18s football. Marking the first time a Northern Academy would compete in the NAB League and Tasmania’s return to the competition, the two sides fought out a low-scoring affair to open Round 2 and the Blacktown triple-header. After a relatively even first half, the Swans broke out to a 26-point lead at the final break to have the game all but won. The Devils had other ideas though, and double their score in the fourth quarter, but the gap proved too far to bridge as the home side sealed its victory. Gulden amassed 33 disposals, eight inside 50s, six marks, four rebounds and two goals in a complete game on the outside – and he is still only a bottom-ager. Marc Sheather was the only other Swan to bag multiple goals, while Will Harper and Jye Menzie each claimed two for Tasmania. Kyle McKellar was also effective for the Swans with 23 disposals and eight tackles alongside Braedon Campbell (15 disposals, eight tackles, 0.3) For the travelling side, ruckman Joseph Chaplin was close to best-on with 20 disposals, seven marks and 25 hitouts, followed by Matt McGuiness (27 disposals, seven marks, six rebound 50s) and Sam Collins (22 disposals, nine rebound 50s). While Tasmania moves on to a meeting with Northern Territory in Melbourne, the Swans will look to build on their win in a ‘Battle of the Bridge’ derby in Round 3.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 4.3 | 7.7 | 7.10 | 10.10 (70)
BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 1.2 | 7.4 | 9.7 | 14.12 (96)

GOALS:
GWS:
L. Delahunty 3, C. Edwards 2, J. Moen, J. Peatling, M. Hamblin, L. Conlan, J. Lucas
Brisbane: T. Wischnat 4, C. Michael 2, N. Cumberland 2, C. Aston, T. Jeffrey, C. Bulley, E. Hunt, G. Sproule, W. Martyn

BEST:
GWS:
L. Delahunty, N. Murray, J. Lucas, T. Green, J. Peatling, M. McGrory
Brisbane: W. Martyn, T. Griffiths, B. Reville, N. Cumberland, B. Coleman, T. Jeffrey

The Brisbane Lions Academy overcame a half-time deficit to edge past GWS GIANTS Academy in the second game of Saturday’s academy triple-header. The hosting GIANTS started strongly with four goals to one in a fast opener, but were hit hard in the second stanza as the Lions piled on six goals to concede a slender three-point margin at the main break. In another game where bottom-aged players stood up, Brisbane’s Tom Wischnat booted four goals to be the leading forward, but it was midfield ace, Will Martyn (30 disposals, nine marks, five inside 50s, one goal), who was named the Queenslanders’ best. Bruce Reville was damaging with 16 disposals, eight marks, six tackles and five inside 50s, and N Cumberland (11 disposals, six tackles, six inside 50s) did well to conjure two majors. Liam Delahunty was terrific for the GIANTS and booted three goals, with Tom Green (29 disposals, seven inside 50s) their key ball-winner. While a Sydney derby awaits for GWS, Brisbane is set for a Round 3 Q-clash in Yeronga in what is set to be am exciting set of fixtures for the academy sides.

GIPPSLAND POWER 2.3 | 5.7 | 7.9 | 9.11 (65)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.3 | 5.4 | 8.7 | 10.11 (71)

GOALS:
Gippsland:
W. Papley 3, H. Neocleous 2, H. Pepper, M. McGannon, S. Flanders, C. Comben
Dandenong: J. Nanscawen 2, C. Weightman 2, E. Cahill, B. Nyuon, D. Smith, B. Schmidt, N. Heath, L. Goonan

BEST:
Gippsland:
S. Flanders, T. Hourigan, C. Serong, B. Smith, C. Comben, H. Pepper
Dandenong: C. Weightman, J. Toner, N. Heath, M. Riordan, H. Young, C. Gay

Dandenong secured a 2-0 start to the NAB League season, battling to a one-goal win over Gippsland at Morwell. Getting up in a game again decided by a goal or less, the Stingrays had just enough in the tank to run the Power over in the second half after being down by three points at half-time. The Power have been in close games to open the season, too, but were on the wrong side of this result to hold a 1-1 record. Will Papley bagged a game-high three goals for the home side, playing a good hand up forward with service from the likes of Sam Flanders(23 disposals, four marks, one goal), Kyle Dunkley (21 disposals, six tackles), and the returning Caleb Serong (21 disposals, nine tackles). For the winners, Corey Weightman was named best for his two-goal effort, with Hayden Young (21 disposals, five tackles) important in the final stages, and 19-year old Mitch Riordan (23 disposals, five tackles, five inside 50s) also good. Both sides are poised for another all-country clash in Round 3, with Gippsland travelling to Bendigo to face the Pioneers and the Stingrays playing Geelong in the game immediately after.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 5.1 | 5.3 | 8.4 | 9.9 (63)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.1 | 5.9 | 7.11 | 9.14 (68)

GOALS:
Murray:
W. Christie 2, J. Chalcraft 2, J. O’Dwyer 2, J. Hillary, J. Boyer, E. Hollands
Bendigo: M. Johnson 2, J. Atley, T. Dow, B. Kemp, J. Rodi, C. Vick, C. Fisher, E. Roberts

BEST:
Murray:
B. Kelly, J. Chalcraft, C. Wild, W. Quirk, J. O’Dwyer, J. Hillary
Bendigo: A. Gundry, T. Dow, B. Vaz, L. Fitzgerald, J. Atley, J. Rodi

Bendigo Pioneers finally claimed a win over the Murray Bushrangers after 15 years of trying, besting its fellow-country side by five points in a Saturday afternoon thriller. Murray started the better of the two sides with five first-quarter goals but the lead did not last long, with Bendigo surging ahead by a goal at half time – only to have to scrap back in the final quarter to snatch the win in a see-sawing affair. Thomson Dow (24 disposals, one goal) was again outstanding for Bendigo when it counted alongside Brodie Kemp (17 disposals, one goal), but both were beaten out to best-afield honours by ruckman Aaron Gundry (13 disposals, four marks, 18 hitouts). Ben Kelly‘s best-on performance for Murray meant both rucks had a ripping contest, with Cam Wild (30 disposals, seven marks, seven tackles, six rebound 50s) the Bushrangers’ best ball winner. Jye Chalcraft also had a big game with 26 disposals and two goals, and skipper Lachlan Ash matched his disposal feat. With the Pioneers hosting Gippsland as part of a Bendigo double-header, Murray is set to face GWV at home in search of its first win for season 2019.

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 3.5 | 8.7 | 9.8 | 12.10 (82)
NORTHERN TERRITORY 1.2 | 1.5 | 4.7 | 5.8 (38)

GOALS:
Gold Coast:
J. Gore 3, E. Dawson 2, M. Conroy, C. Budarick, M. Fraser, H. Rowles, M. Selsby, B. Reeves, H. Oea
Northern Territory: W. Derksen, M. Cumming, S. Cumming, M. Rioli Jnr, M. Cooper

BEST:
Gold Coast:
J. Gore, A. Crossley, C. Budarick, A. Davies, M. Pescud , C. Joyce
Northern Territory: B. Jungfer, M. Cumming, S. Cumming, J. Patrick, B. Lake, B. Rusca

Gold Coast Suns Academy rounded out the Bankstown triple-header with a comfortable 44-point win over Northern Territory to mark a successful NAB League debut. A strong first half set up the victory for the Queensland side, putting eight goals through while keeping the Thunder to just one to half time. While the Territory fought to make the scoreboard respectable in the second half, the damage had already been done and the SUNS rolled on to an impressive win. Josh Gore was dangerous up forward for Gold Coast to snare three goals as his side’s best player, while gun midfielders Aaron Crossley (27 disposals) and Connor Budarick (22 disposals, nine tackles, six marks, five inside 50s) tore it up further afield. Ben Jungfer was named best for the Thunder, collecting 31 disposals and six rebounds, while Stephen Cumming had 22 disposals to go with a monster 35 hitouts, and Matthew Cumming also fared well for his 12 disposals, five marks, and one goal. Northern Territory travel further south to Melbourne next week to take on Tasmania on neutral ground, while Gold Coast will be looking to go 2-0 with a win in their Round 3 academy Q-clash.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 3.2 | 6.4 | 9.9 | 12.10 (82)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.2 | 2.3 | 4.5 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS:
Sandringham:
C. Dean 4, J. Mifsud 2, A. Hanrahan 2, D. Hipwell, J. Mahony, O. Lewis, J. Bell
Northern: C. Simonsen 2, Z. Costello, N. Kitchell, J. D’Intinosante

BEST:
Sandringham:
F. McAsey, N. Burke, J. Mahony, H. Ralphsmith, C. Dean, C. Watts
Northern: J. D’Intinosante, R. Uwandu, R. Sturgess, J. Davies, A. Carafa, N. Cox

Sandringham Dragons continued its perfect start to season 2019, putting in a consistent four-quarter effort to beat the Northern Knights on home turf by 43 points. Scoring three goals in each term while keeping the Knights to a maximum of two, the Dragons were simply too good across each line for the fighting Knights and slowly built their lead over the game. Charlie Dean was again a menace up forward for the home side, claiming 4.3 in a dominant forward display. The midfield combination of Ryan Byrnes (24 disposals, four tackles) and Jack Mahony (17 disposals, seven tackles, six inside 50s) was again effective for Sandringham, but Northern’s Adam Carafa was the leading ball-winner with 28, as well as a game-high 11 tackles. Josh D’Intinosante was not far behind in that stat with 10 of his own to go with 14 disposals and a trying 1.4 to be named his side’s best. Skipper Ryan Sturgess was also thereabouts in a busy backline, collecting 22 disposals and eight rebound s. With Northern opening Round 3 against Eastern in search of win number one, Sandringham is set to face Oakleigh in what looks to be an absolute belter between two 2-0 teams at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

WESTERN JETS 0.1 | 2.4 | 4.4 | 5.4 (34)
EASTERN RANGES 6.7 | 8.11 | 12.14 | 13.19 (97)

GOALS:
Western:
E. Jeka, A. Clarke, Z. Christofi, K. Borg, J. Honey
Eastern: J. Tilly 3, M. Mellis 3, B. McCormack 2, J. Duffy, J. Clarke, J. Rossiter, L. Gawel, C. Black

BEST:
Western:
D. Cassar, J. Kellett, L. Rzanovski, K. Borg, Z. Christofi, L. Failli
Eastern: C. Hirst, M. Mellis, J. Nathan, L. Stapleton, J. Ross, Z. Pretty

Eastern Ranges got the upper hand in an East v. West battle, trumping the Western Jets by 63 points to see both sides move to 1-1. Signs were ominous early as the Ranges skipped out to a seven-goal lead at quarter time, holding it until half time and building on it in the second half. Mitch Mellis put in a performance good enough for a Draft Central player of the week nomination, collecting 35 disposals, five inside 50s and three goals. Joshua Tilly joined Mellis with three majors, while Lachlan Stapleton won 33 disposals (including 10 inside 50s) and Cody Hirst had 29 of his own. Darcy Cassar was best afield for Western on a dirty day with 31 disposals, nine rebound 50s and seven marks, while Josh Kellett was also handy with 20 disposals and 12 rebound 50s. The Jets will have a third crack at getting on the board next week in their meeting with fellow winless side, Calder, while Eastern is set to open the round against Northern in an interesting match-up.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 1.3 | 3.8 | 5.10 | 8.16 (64)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.2 | 4.3 | 9.6 | 9.9 (63)

GOALS:
GWV: D. McEldrew 2, J. Cleaver 2, I. Wareham, J. Rantall, I. Grant, M. Martin
Geelong: C. Karpala 2, M. Langan 2, J. Dahlhaus, M. Annandale, C. Stephens, S. Ham, H. Stubbings

BEST:
GWV:
J. Tillig, L. Herbert, H. Sharp, I. Wareham, J. Rantall, P. Glanford
Geelong: S. Christensen, C. Stephens, N. Gribble, S. Bourke, J. Clark, K. Rayner

Greater Western Victoria Rebels got on the board for season 2019 at the second time of asking, beating Geelong Falcons by the narrowest of margins in Ballarat. The winless Falcons looked like soaring to victory after opening up a 20-point lead at three-quarter time, but the Rebels finally put it together in a final term to run over the top of Geelong while keeping them goalless to round out the game. Jay Rantall was superb for the home side with 24 disposals, seven inside 50s, six tackles and a goal, while James Cleaver also put in a handy shift for his 17 disposals and bag of two. Geelong co-captain Cooper Stephens (28 disposals, five marks) again stood up in a losing side, with Keidan Rayner having 25 touches (including 10 rebound 50s) and Chas Karpala (19 disposals, seven tackles, two goals) also good. Geelong will now travel to Dandenong still searching for a win, while GWV will hope this result will get the ball rolling and put it in good stead for its clash with Murray on the same day.

CALDER CANNONS 0.0 | 5.4 | 6.4 | 7.4 (46)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 4.4 | 4.4 | 6.6 | 10.9 (69)

GOALS:
Calder:
J. Kemp 3, S. Ramsay, N. Gentile, T. Browning, J. Sutton
Oakleigh: D. Williams 3, N. Anderson 2, F. Macrae, L. Johnson, N. Dempsey, B. Jepson, S. Tucker

BEST:
Calder:
H. Minton-Connell, B. Newman, J. Kemp, S. Ramsay, J. Sutton, D. Mott
Oakleigh: N. Anderson, N. Guiney, M. Rowell, K. Schreiber, H. Mastras, L. Johnson

The Rolls Royce stars of Oakleigh slowly clicked into gear on Sunday, helping the Chargers to a 23-point win over Calder. The Cannons were dismantled last week and responded well to going four goals down in the opening term this week, hitting back with five majors to nil in the second stanza to take a lead into the major break. With the ledger all but level going into the home straight, the likes of Dylan Williams and Noah Anderson stood up when it mattered to drag Oakleigh over the line. Williams was kept relatively quiet, but managed to snare three goals in the fourth quarter, while Anderson (44 disposals, five tackles, five inside 50s, two goals) was near-on unstoppable. Matt Rowell also showed his class for 31 disposals, with bottom-ager Finlay Macrae (21 disposals, 1.2) dangerous up forward. Just as dangerous at the other end was Josh Kemp, who pulled Calder back into the game with two crucial goals in the second quarter and ended with three. Brodie Newman (21 disposals, five rebound 50s, four marks) was a calming influence in defensive 50, and Sam Ramsay was a good forward driver with 18 disposals and five rebounds. With plenty of improvement shown, Calder will face Western Jets at RAMS next week, with Oakleigh set to meet fellow premiership fancies, Sandringham in a ripping match-up.