Tag: sam collins

NAB League Boys Round 14 preview: U16 talent hits the big time

AFTER a week off for all but two of the NAB League Boys sides, the competition recommences full-time action with a double-header at Box Hill City Oval in Saturday’s lone fixtures. A top-four clash between Eastern and Oakleigh firms as the game of the round, with the Geelong and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) clash set to have an impact down the other end of the ladder. Watch for the debuts of some of the nation’s best Under 16s too, fresh off their National Championship campaigns.

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. TASMANIA DEVILS
Saturday July 20, 11:45am
Box Hill City Oval

A near full-strength Gippsland Power unit will look to pile the pain on Tasmania when they do battle at Box Hill City Oval to kick off Round 14. Both sides are coming off losses, but the Devils have faced a few more challenges over the last four weeks in a string of losses. Results aside, their usual competitiveness has risen in the last fortnight, but Gippsland’s ins make the Power a tough proposition for even a side in the best of form. A massive seven Country representatives return to the side, with the likes of Brock Smith, Sam Flanders, Charlie Comben, and Josh Smith re-forming that strong spine. On the other hand, Tasmania will be without both Mitch O’Neill and competition leading goal kicker Jackson Callow in a big blow to their chances. O’Neill’s class through the midfield will likely be covered by the likes of Under-16 Division 2 MVP Sam Banks and bottom-aged Allies representatives Oliver Davis and Sam Collins, meaning Callow’s goals could prove the most difficult void to fill. The game will be the Devils’ last in Victoria for the regular season, with their remaining two fixtures set to be played at home, while Gippsland will finish off with a couple of country fixtures.

EASTERN RANGES vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday July 20, 2:15pm
Box Hill City Oval

In what looms as the game of the round, Oakleigh will look to derail Eastern’s charge atop the NAB League ladder when the sides meet to round out Saturday’s action. The Ranges are on a tear, simply finding a way to win in each of their six-consecutive victories dating back to Round 7. Having twice gotten the better of fellow top-four hopefuls Sandringham in that run, they should come into this fixture against a rampant Oakleigh outfit with the confidence to stand tall despite the Chargers’ form. Oakleigh’s attempt to make it seven wins from their last eight outings will be dented slightly by the loss of promising bottom-agers Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, Sam Tucker, and Reef McInnes, but gain some midfield depth as Jeromy Lucas and Fraser Elliot make the 23. Eastern’s key position strength will be tested as skipper James Ross joins Jamieson Rossiter and Joel Nathan as outs, but we should be treated to a glimpse into the future as Metro U16 stars Tyler Sonsie and Tyreece Leiu have been named to make their debuts. Both could feature through midfield, with Metro MVP Sonsie also able to move forward well. It adds another layer to what already shapes as an interesting battle, with the Ranges hoping to maintain their two-game buffer in first place.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS vs. DANDENONG STINGRAYS
Sunday July 21, 9:30am
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

A chance to snap losing streaks is up for grabs for Sandringham and Dandenong at Trevor Barker Beach Oval, with both sides sliding out of the top four in recent weeks. The Dragons have been on a three-game slide while Dandenong has lost its last four, and Sandringham could well jump back into the top four should results go their way. The Stingrays’ six changes seems significant, but it pales in comparison to Sandringham’s 13 with a raft of top-end talent going both ways in either starting 23. Dandenong’s ins read well, with All Australians Hayden Young and Sam De Koning slotting back in alongside Country teammates Ned Cahill, Blake Kuipers, and Bigoa Nyuon. On the other hand, the home side regains Fischer McAsey and Miles Bergman alongside over-agers Riley Bowman and Angus Hanrahan, but lose stars on each line in the form of Finn Maginness, Hugo Ralphsmith, Josh Worrell, Louis Butler, and Charlie Dean. The Dragons’ strength of depth has shone through thus far, and should carry them through well in this bout despite Dandenong’s sizeable inclusions. If the Eastern and Oakleigh game is the best of the round, this looks to be a close second with clear finals ramifications in play.

BENDIGO PIONEERS vs. CALDER CANNONS
Sunday July 21, 1:00pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval

The Calder Cannons could shoot into the top four with a win and favourable results elsewhere, but Bendigo Pioneers stand in their way in a meeting set for Queen Elizabeth Oval. The Cannons have enjoyed a good stretch of form, winning in four of their last five outings, with some key talent in the form of Daniel Mott, Harrison Jones, and Brodie Newman set to add a bit of class to the side which is sailing along smoothly. Bendigo has fared a touch differently, but the Pioneers found form well in the last three rounds with two wins and a 10-point loss added to their record. The competition in this game is a little stiffer, but the inclusions of Brady Rowles and Logan Fitzgerald should bode well for their chances of a fifth win. Big man Josh Treacy also returns, named up forward alongside usual full back Will Wallace as the Pioneers shuffle their key position magnets – and they could well be tested in that area given Calder’s ins. Bendigo should make a game of it on home turf, with both sides refreshed after a week off and keen to gain as much ladder position as possible with just three regular season rounds remaining.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Sunday July 21, 1:00pm
Deakin Reserve

The battle for top eight spots heats up as ninth place Murray hosts eighth place Northern with just four points separating the two sides. Both have enjoyed good bursts of form of late, with Northern on a three-game winning run and Murray’s own streak of three only just broken last round by ladder-leaders, Eastern. Either sides’ true credentials will be revealed as they go close to hitting full strength, while also welcoming some Under 16 talent to their respective line-ups. Kevin Sheehan medallist Josh Rachele is one of those talented 16-year-olds named to play, while Northern boast Darcy Wilmot and Jack Rossimel. In the top-age stakes, Murray look to have replenished well with co-skipper Lachlan Ash returning alongside Cam Wild, while fellow Country representative Elijah Hollands also slots in. For Northern, key midfield cog Adam Carafa goes out alongside Metro teammate Nikolas Cox in a blow to their depth, but the versatility of the side should see the Knights cover their losses. With the top eight make-up truly taking shape in the closing three rounds, this game will prove to be a key one in deciding Wildcard Round fixtures.

GEELONG FALCONS vs. GWV REBELS
Sunday July 21, 1:30pm
GMHBA Stadium

Bottom two sides Geelong and GWV clash at GMHBA Stadium to see out Round 14, with just four wins between the teams heading into the final few fixtures. If history is anything to go by, this is set to be a close one, as the Rebels managed to snatch a one-point win over the Falcons all the way back in Round 2 in a thriller. The stakes are arguably higher in this clash with pride on the line and some notable under-age talent breaking into either starting 23. GWV welcomes Country Under 16 representatives Ben Hobbs and Josh Rentsch, with top-age stars Jay Rantall, Mitch Martin, Toby Mahony also set to really bolster the line-up. Meanwhile, the Falcons are finally set to again field one of their two original co-captains with Jesse Clarke back into the defensive unit, with the likes of over-agers Lochlan Hocking and Sam Christensen getting another crack in the starting team. With limited opportunities to bolster up their win tallies, both sides should give this game a red hot crack on the hallowed Kardinia Park turf.

Scouting notes/wrap: NAB League Boys – Tasmania vs. Eastern

IN the weekend’s sole fixture, Tasmania and Eastern finally brought Round 12 of the NAB League Boys competition to an end, jerking the curtain at UTAS Stadium for the Hawthorn-Fremantle AFL clash. Given it was a standalone game, we combined the match report and scouting notes into one for your convenience.

TASMANIA DEVILS 5.1 | 6.3 | 7.6 | 8.7 (55)
EASTERN RANGES 4.0 | 6.4 | 7.9 | 11.11 (77)

GOALS:
Tasmania: J. Callow 4, J. Menzie, W. Harper, W. Peppin, R. Mansell.
Eastern: J. Rossiter 2, B. Hickleton 2, C. Downie, T. Edwards, T. Weir, B. McCormack, Z. Pretty, H. Keeling, M. Mellis.

BEST:
Tasmania: R. Mansell, J. Callow, M. McGuinness, O. Davis, I. Chugg, J. Lane
Eastern: M. Mellis, W. Parker, B. McCormack, J. Nathan, C. Black, J. Duffy

The Eastern Ranges extended their lead atop the NAB League standings to eight points, becoming the first side in 2019 to hit 10 wins with a 22-point victory over Tasmania on the Apple Isle.

It did not come easy though, with the hosts enjoying a great start on the back of a dominant three-goal opening term from bottom-age forward Jackson Callow. The Devils’ attacking approach saw them get the better of their more fancied opponents to the first break, opening a seven-point gap on the back of a free-flowing period of play. As expected, the Ranges hit back in the second term to edge in front at half time by a single point, but it proved a costly quarter for both sides as Tasmania lost Mitch O’Neill to an innocuous knee injury, while Eastern skipper James Ross was helped from the ground after copping the full force of a late bump. The game continued to tighten up in the third term as the sides shared a goal each to set up a tense finish, with Eastern’s tactical shift in the back half ensuring Callow was kept much quieter. Taking some good momentum into the final term, Eastern would go on to run away with the win with four goals to one, very much proving to be the team to beat.

The instinctual combination between Eastern’s midfield trio of Mitch Mellis, Lachlan Stapleton, and Zak Pretty proved telling, especially after Tasmania lost O’Neill with Mellis named best afield. Joel Nathan‘s role on Callow in the second half with Ross out of the game was crucial, despite the Tasmanian finishing with four goals and edging in front of Eastern’s Ben Hickleton to lead the NAB League goal kicking charts. For Tasmania, Matt McGuinness continued his good form across half back, taking on a greater role with Sam Collins shifting further afield at times. Oliver Davis was again instrumental through midfield, with Will Peppin busy around the ground and Rhyan Mansell dangerous up forward.

Both teams are set to line up in Round 14’s double-header at Box Hill City Oval, with Tasmania opening proceedings against Gippsland and Eastern readying for a top four clash with Oakleigh.

SCOUTING NOTES

Tasmania:

#1 Mitchell O’Neill

Unfortunately had his return game for the Devils cut short by what looked like a pretty innocuous knee injury in the second term. He had started the same term off the ground after limping off earlier, getting stuck straight back into the action. Can hopefully get a better run at it toward the back-end of the year, and looked a positive addition to Tasmania’s midfield in the early stages.

#3 Oliver Davis

The bottom-ager continues to excel in the engine room, putting in a typical shift with inside ball winning and hard tackling. He won the first clearance of the first and second terms to mark his intent and enjoyed a good battle against Eastern’s Lachie Stapleton, catching him holding the ball on two occasions with great technique. While Davis sometimes blazes away in possession, his presence in midfield is invaluable and he plays his role well.

#4 Will Peppin

The National Academy member looks to have regained some good form and was busy throughout this outing. Peppin loves to take off with ball in hand, doing so with agile moves through traffic in the first term to send his side forward. The zippy mover added tackling pressure to his game as it went on, while also running hard off the line at centre bounces and impacting the play further afield in general play. Peppin earned at front-on contact free kick in the first quarter to kick his sole goal for the game, with a later shot from 50 falling short.

#7 Matt McGuinness

Another who contributed a game now expected of him, McGuinness has been an important cog in the Tasmanian back six. He positioned well in the hole to intercept overhead on many an occasion, but was mostly sighted bringing the ball out of defensive 50 by foot on the move. While his range was a little off at times, McGuinness got some handy distance on his kicks and is finding solid consistency.

#13 Sam Collins

Was by no means a huge game from Collins, but he looked strong around the ball as he enjoyed some time in the midfield. When starting on the outside, he pushed hard off the line to impact stoppages and get involved in the play. The bottom-ager also got his usual kicking game going well, delivering a pin-point ball into the corridor in the first term and backing it up with an even better pass from half-back into the middle in the final quarter. Had a bit of a rough patch to open the third term as he gave away a couple of free kicks, but was otherwise effective when in possession.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow looked like having a huge game after he booted three goals within the first half-hour, but was clamped well after the main break with Eastern ensuring he would compete against two or three markers in the air. He started off by winning a ground ball against his direct opponent deep inside 50 before snapping the first goal of the game, following up with a huge pack mark and set shot goal to highlight a scintillating opening. He also created Will Peppin’s goal after booting his third, marking deep in the pocket and kicking well inboard. His physicality ensured that direct opponents were more occupied with holding him that getting to the ball, and Callow’s work off the deck was scarily good for a player of his size. He would go on to show as much by turning his opponent twice in the third term but missing the shot, eventually being restricted well.

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

The natural ball winner did a lot of unheralded work around the contest, handing out well and combining almost telepathically with his Eastern midfield mates to buzz forward from congestion. His low centre of gravity and reading of taps ensured he often got to the ball first before dishing off quickly. Stapleton had a good moment in the final term where he ran forward hard from the stoppage to receive a handball of the attacking side, before delivering beautifully on the run inside 50 to honour Ben Hickleton’s lead.

#11 Mitch Mellis

Arguably the best afield, Mellis was aggressive in both his forward running and defensive efforts. His gut-busting runs after disposing of the ball to get on the end of a second handball broke the play open, with Mellis using his speed to burst away from trouble. He worked fantastically well in the small Eastern midfield to chain possessions together at stoppages rather than blazing away, and did as much around the ground as he got busy from the get-go. Mellis was alight early, booting a goal after finding space to get the hand-off inside 50 and snapping truly, going on to accumulate around the ground in an influential display.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

Rossiter makes his possessions count, getting in dangerous areas within the forward half and impacting the scoreboard. He worked well up to half forward in the first half, throwing his weight around and taking a strong mark from behind on the attacking arc. He found space in the third term to get a shot on goal but fell short, before thumping home a goal from nothing as he threw the ball onto his boot 60 metres from home and saw it bounce through over the back. Rossiter added another in the final term, mopping up an errand handball to snap truly on his left boot.

#20 Connor Downie

The bottom-aged Metro representative was again influential on the outside, finding the ball on the flanks at both ends and using his damaging left boot to good effect. Downie had an early score involvement as he roosted long towards goal to find Harrison Keeling in the square, before getting another hand-off at the arc in the second term and slamming the ball home himself. He finds space well and always looks for the shorter option inboard, kicking long down the line when in doubt to ensure his plays are high-percentage.

#21 James Ross

Was unfortunately the other big injury casualty to come out of the game, being taken off the field by trainers in the second term after receiving a heavy late bump shortly after disposing of the ball. He did not return to the game, but had started solidly in his key back post and got up the ground well. Hopefully he gets another chance to prove his worth this year.

#23 Zak Pretty

Was in the thick of it early on with some linking handballs at the centre bounces and a nice goal on the run from the pocket to get Eastern on the board. He combined his usual inside work with some good movement forward, putting in another solid shift and finding his usual numbers around the contest.

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 13

IN Round 13 of the NAB League Boys competition there were plenty of individual standouts as Vic Metro players made their way back into their respective squads. Our writers took a look at a number of Victorian and Allies-based squad members, as well as some impressive bottom-agers. All notes are opinion-based of the individual writers.

Western Jets vs. Sandringham Dragons
By: Ed Pascoe

Sandringham:

#4 Finn Maginness

Maginness was a class act through the midfield moving well through congestion and showing great composure with ball in hand. Maginness was a consistent player throughout the day and even managed to hit the scoreboard with a goal in the second quarter from a set shot and almost kicked a second in the last quarter from another set shot. Maginness hardly put a foot wrong all day finishing the game with 24 disposals and eight tackles.

#5 Ryan Byrnes

The Sandringham captain lead from the front with a strong performance through the midfield winning plenty of clearances and showing his breakaway speed from stoppages. Byrnes had a stronger first half than second but was still a consistently good player in and around the contest going in hard to extract the ball time and time again. He managed to hit the scoreboard in the last quarter with a nice goal on the run to complete his game finishing with 28 disposals and five tackles.

#11 Hugo Ralphsmith

Ralphsmith showed his usual craftiness when forward kicking two goals. He put out another solid game but was unable to have an impact for a full four quarters. Ralphsmith impressed with his defensive side of the game with some good chases. His two goals both came from set shots with the best one coming after a nice intercept mark in the forward 50. Ralphsmith was a big part of the late attempted comeback providing a lot of run with a great dash on the wing and kick inside 50 that really caught the eye and he took a courageous intercept mark as well. He was quick to play on to give his side the best chance of making a comeback finishing the game with 16 disposals and six inside 50s.

#12 Charlie Dean

Dean was the focal point up forward but his impact up forward still has not reached the heights of his early season form and that trend continued against the Jets but his last quarter showed that it may soon click for him again. Dean kicked both of his goals in the last quarter one from a strong contested mark and the other a set shot after a 50m penalty. He had another shot at goal with a snap that bounced over the boundary. He was lined up on talented Jets player Emerson Jeka which was a great one on one battle in the last quarter. Dean finished the game with 10 disposals half resulting in scores finishing with 2.3.

#13 Louis Butler

Butler showcased his usual dash from defence but was moved onto a wing in the third quarter where he looked more dangerous and natural. Butler was his usual self rebounding from defence in the first half and was the leading disposal winner in the first quarter with nine. He only had the three in the third quarter playing on the wing but he looked dangerous just missing a snap on goal and also spinning out of trouble nicely in a contest showing his nous under pressure. He was moved back to defence in the last quarter and saved a certain goal with a good chase down tackle, Butler finished the game with 23 disposals and five rebounds.

Western

#3 Eddie Ford

Ford was again his usual self in the forward line showing his dynamic and smart play style. Ford was busiest in the first half with two consistent quarters getting involved and using the ball well, he showed his defensive work with a good punch to the boundary. Ford finished the game with 12 disposals.

#18 Emerson Jeka

Jeka was tried in a new role in defence for the Jets and despite a few errors it looks like a move worth persisting with both for Jeka and the Jets. Jeka looked composed early on using the ball well in defence. He took a nice contested mark and a good intercept mark although what would follow the intercept was a stray kick that went out on the full. He had a quiet third quarter but finished the game nicely with a strong contested mark against Charlie Dean, Jeka finished with 12 disposals and six marks.

#24 Josh Honey

Honey had a quiet start to the game but worked into the game and played an important part in the Jets getting the jump on Sandringham in the second and third quarters. Honey also looked dangerous again in the last quarter especially up forward showing his explosiveness and evasiveness to take the tacklers on and proved hard to stop when up and running. Honey finished the game with 18 disposals and five marks to be one of the Jets better and more dangerous players.

Gippsland Power vs. Northern Knights
By: Craig Byrnes

Gippsland:

#7 Sam Berry

A typically tough, in and under day for the bottom age midfielder. Starting at the centre bounces, Berry got involved inside 50 during the first term with a nice goal assist to Tom Fitzpatrick by hand. He got busier through the midfield in the second quarter, somehow stealing a clearance seemingly straight out of the hands of an opponent before sending the ball forward. His possessions were heavy, which occasionally lead to him rushing the ball forward and producing some messy disposals. He fought hard though and was one of Gippsland better players, collecting 21 disposals and laying five tackles.

#10 Leo Connolly

Connolly played a more outside orientated game this week, generally starting on the wing and getting involved in multiple link up plays to have some high metre gained moments. He still attacked the hard ball when it was his turn though, winning a clean clearance in the first term with fast hands. Connolly often found himself in a position to feed the ball inside 50 and he hit some brilliant targets. One play in particular stood out during the third term, producing a pin point pass on his left foot inside 50 before he continued on running to provide a target about 30 metres out. He got the ball back, but just tried to do too much by playing on and rushing the shot. He had a solid day, finishing with 18 disposals.

#19 Fraser Phillips

It was a bit of an “almost moments” day for Phillips, who returned to Power this week after missing selection for Vic Country’s final game at Marvel Stadium. There were times when he looked on the brink of putting his mark on the game, but the ball didn’t quite fall his way. He still had some nice moments, including an unselfish goal assist in the first term and some class hits inside 50. In one play he side stepped and turned to create enough room, before producing a lovely weighted ball to the advantage of Baldi inside 50 for a goal assist. Only the second time he has been held goalless at NAB League level this season, but he’ll bounce back.

Northern:

#1 Lachie Potter

In his first game back from Vic Metro duties, the electrifying wingman had a huge impact on the outcome of the game. He was especially prolific early, winning nine possessions in the first term where he had multiple fast moments with ball in hand. Potter just goes at 100% at every opportunity, which at times can produce a turnover, but he had far more good than bad moments on Saturday. A brilliant bouncing run through the middle of the ground in the third term got the ball inside 50 so quickly that the Gippsland defence was almost caught stagnant as he hit a teammate in space. He appeared from nowhere at the top of the goal square after accelerating while the ball was in the air to kick an easy goal. Apart from giving away an off the ball free kick at one stage, it was an exciting performance by the speedster to finish with 23 disposals.

#4 Jackson Davies

Davies was the most influential player on the ground for mine. The Knights skipper was completely in control behind the play, making composed decisions, using the ball brilliantly and intercepting seemingly everything. He read the play better than anyone else on the ground, highlighted by a superb flying one handed intercept “specky” in the defensive 50 earlier in the game. Even ground balls he mopped up with ease and his offensive running packed a punch. He also took the kick outs and looked to create a scoring chain on most occasions. First time I’ve seen him live and I must admit he exceeded my expectations with 23 eye catching touches.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

D’Intinosante was another one of the Knight’s stars to have a large impact on this game, kicking four really smart goals in a near flawless display up forward. I loved his first goal, giving a look-away handball to Potter, before running hard inside 50 space to receive the ball for a set shot goal. He then exploded back into the game during the second quarter, kicking two goals in a minute from brilliantly read crumbs off the pack and finished both with excellent snaps. He kicked a fourth goal in the third while under a fair bit of heat, finding just enough space to connect a nicely executed drop punt through the sticks. He didn’t win mountains of the footy and was pretty well held after his fourth goal, but ensured every touch counted.

#8 Adam Carafa

Does not play too many bad games this fellow, and Saturday was no exception for the Vic Metro midfielder. He started the game hot, getting his hands on the footy first at the stoppages and winning 11 first term possessions. If the ball was in dispute, he just came out of the contest with it in his hands, highlighted by a pressure gather and release deep in defensive 50 early in the game. Carafa then found himself at the offensive end of the ground, striking a lovely goal from approximately the 50 metre line. He was consistently involved throughout the day, creating space or on the odd occasion he couldn’t, holding strong in a tackle and releasing calmly to a nearby teammate. It was a good outing, finishing with 28 no fuss touches.

#11 Ryan Sturgess

Another Vic Metro representative to return to the Knights fold, but in a position that is a little less familiar to the behind the play roles we’ve seen in recent times. Sturgess basically played as a lead up full forward type and did so successfully too. While he didn’t win heaps of the footy, particularly in the first three quarters, he had a genuine presence when leading up to the ball. He took seven marks, the best coming deep inside 50 during the second term where he extended the arms to take a strong contested overhead effort. He got more involved in the final term, executing lovely passes to Cox and Brazier. More importantly, he consistently hit the scoreboard throughout the afternoon to kick a respectable three goals, two behinds.

#23 Nikolas Cox

This kid has some exciting attributes. It was no surprise to see the 197cm bottom ager play for Vic Metro at the Championships, the talent is there for all to see. He is almost freakishly clean for his size at ground and possesses a left foot that any 180cm footballer would be proud of. He fights at ground level, winning a holding the ball free kick in the second quarter before hitting Brazier lace out inside 50. Then there is the aerial stuff, where he took a fantastic flying mark on the wing in the fourth term. Then there was evidence of work rate, running hard inside 50 to get the ball back on the lead only moments later. From a tight angle he hit the post, but it was a fluent and really well struck kick that was unlucky to miss. He moves with a bit style and is a player that everyone should be keeping tabs on over the next 18 months.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Eastern Ranges
By: Peter Williams

Murray:

#1 Will Christie

The big man impressed throughout the ruck, but it was his work around the ground that was arguably the best of the year for him. His second efforts, tackling and presenting as an option in all thirds of the ground was a highlight. He spent time in defence early taking a number of grabs floating across the pack, and then had a nice piece of play in the second term, scooping the ball up at ground level, turning and firing off a quick handball to the appropriate teammate free on the outside. He showed good intent throughout the four quarters, even if he did give away a couple of free kicks. He had superb run-down tackle on Lachlan Stapleton in the third term at half-back when he blindsided him, and got the ball moving for a scoring opportunity. Christie had a number of inside 50s in the final term but could not quite find a target, but overall had an impressive game.

#6 Will Chandler

Played at both ends during the game, taking a good mark in the first term flying in from the side, then converting the set shot from 40m out. He was sent back to defence where he did not win as much of the ball, but he produced a nice spoil in the third term to punch it out of bounds. His hard running in the final quarter saw him receive the handball and run inside 50 but his kick was spoiled on the line by defenders. Chandler finished the game with a terrific tackle at half-forward to lock the ball in deep in the final term.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Had another big game backing up last week and most of the season, winning a heap of it in the opening few minutes. He consistently used quick hands to try and clear it from congestion, with it working most of the time, but it did force some turnovers. He managed to get higher than his opponents and fire out handballs over the top of the stoppage to the area of where his teammates would run to try and open up play. Chalcraft had a couple of burst moments to break up the game, and won a couple of free kicks for going in hard, whilst also giving the odd one away. In the third term he found Hudson Kaak after dancing one way and then another to an opponent inside 50. In the final term he won an important contest at half-forward, wrestling the ball out, winning a free but his teammates chose to play on, kick quickly and Eastern won the football back.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Again played up forward in a different role to his running half-back/wing that he might be accustomed to, and it only took 25 seconds to look like a move of genius. Boyer read the ball off the marking contest from the first clearance, pounced and kicked a goal for the first of the game. In the second term he marked right on the line, nearly played on and slipped over but was given benefit of the doubt and he went back, snapped around his body and kicked truly. His third game early in the third term when he pounced on a ball which spilled out of a stoppage via a Jye Chalcraft handball and kicked a goal. In the final term he came close to being the difference by presenting, but a number of inside 50s went just out of his reach. He had a nice turning circle at one stage to kick to a dangerous area, and a late set shot just went across the face.

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

Played a really underrated role in the midfield and was often the one picking up the loose ball and firing out a handball to his fellow midfielders. Stapleton worked really well in tandem with Mitch Mellis and Zak Pretty in midfield, and laid some fierce tackles as we have become accustomed to him doing. Showed great hands under pressure at half-forward to give off to a teammate in the third term enabling him to kick inside 50, and then timed a handball perfectly to Mellis in the last quarter to deliver an important ball inside 50. His tackling was the standout area for the game.

#11 Mitch Mellis

The most prominent Ranges player on the ground, Mellis had a typical ball-winning performance and kept running for four quarters. He started the game with a strong mark under duress at half-back and booted a superb running goal in the opening term when he ran hard, did not receive it at first and kept running, got the quick handball off Jamieson Rossiter and ran inside 50 not breaking stride for a goal. At one stage in the second term he got knocked over on the wing, bounced straight back up and got into a bit of argy bargy with Jye Chalcraft and won a free for the exchange. Mellis kicked his second goal late in the second quarter with a dribbler inside 50 that got a kind bounce and went through capping off a massive first half of about 15 touches and two goals. He kept buzzing around in the second half and produced a nice delivery to a teammate inside 50 at full speed in the final term and then broke the lines through a one-two handball and then kick following a mark from a kick out.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

Worked hard up the ground in the win and kept presenting all day. He showed great hands and smarts to give a lightning quick handball to Mitch Mellis to set up his first goal, then won a huge contested ball, ripping it from an opponent and hand balling to a teammate, then winning it back and kicking to a dangerous position to set up another major. He marked well under pressure as well as pushing up to the wing on long leads. He positioned himself appropriately in marking contests, and was unlucky not to mark at the top of the square when it was not paid in the second term.

#23 Zak Pretty

Won most of his possessions at the coal face and was often diving into the pack to knock the ball clear or handball out to a teammate in space. He has very quick hands and is not afraid to tackle bigger bodied players, which he did on a number of occasions. Pretty applies pressure on the ball carrier which worked well in the third term to force a dropped mark at half-forward, and also took a nice intercept mark around the same area. Did not rack up the big numbers he has at times this season, but was prominent in other ways throughout the game.

Calder Cannons vs. Dandenong Stingrays
By: Michael Alvaro

Calder:

#3 Jackson Cardillo

The bottom-ager was persistent when running through midfield, while also proving lively when resting forward. Had an indifferent start with a turnover by hand, but warmed to the contest by standing up in tackles and busting his way through congestion. Cardillo’s ability to constantly find the ball at stoppages was promising, and he was hardly caught as he shovelled it out quickly (17 handballs/27 disposals) or broke the first tackle. His reading of the taps almost ended in a goal from a forward stoppage, but he unfortunately sprayed it out on the full. Cardillo eventually found that finish product with a goal in the second term, and a neat pass to find Jeremy O’Sullivan inside 50 later on.

#5 Curtis Brown

It was a typical game from Brown, who used his piercing left boot to penetrate off half back. He combined his easy-out via foot with some good moments in the air – drifting in inside defensive 50 and backing back to impact high balls. Brown took the risky option on many occasions in looking to switch the play and when it came off, it showed he can truly be a weapon in his position. His metres-gained kind of play often starts from the kick-ins too, with Brown pushing hard to find space and become the next option.

#8 Sam Ramsay

Ramsay is really growing into the midfield craft, attending the majority of centre bounces and collecting a game-high 32 disposals. Coming off an outside base, Ramsay is accustomed to staying on the move and he did so well to wheel around when he found the ball at stoppages. When he wasn’t slamming the ball forward by foot, Ramsay flicked out quick handballs to mixed effect, showing he still has areas to sharpen up. His best traits are easily seen in time and space, with pace to burn and the dare to move past opponents – as he did in the third and final terms. May move back onto the outside when Daniel Mott slots back in, but has shown his ability in both areas.

#26 Mason Fletcher

It seems as if Fletcher is starting to put the pieces together, and he looked ominous up forward in this game with four goals. Donning the long sleeves, Fletcher timed his leads really smartly from deep inside the 50 but didn’t always get reward for his efforts. He proved his ability to read the ball in flight down back, and did the same up forward here to mark over the back of an opponent who had committed in the third term. Fletcher also took a big pack mark in the following quarter and converted his third goal from the resultant kick, adding a fourth soon after. Hopefully he can get some consistency going.

#29 Campbell Edwardes

The bottom-ager is by no means a high accumulator, but just seemed to ooze class with every touch. He is that in-between kind of size and tends to play above his height across half back, but is so good at ground level as well. He started with a clean gather and kick on his left to clear the danger on defensive wing, and continued to sweep it up at speed throughout the game in impressive fashion. His ground work also translated into a pressure game, preventing two Ashton Williamson shots on goal with strength in the first and third terms. Edwardes also went on to show his prowess in the air, positioning well one-on-one and clunking a big mark in defensive 50 late on. One to watch.

#60 Samuel Paea

Paea was a surprise packet, quiet early but popping up in spurts. He had a good one on one win in the air against Clayton Gay, then backed it up with another in the second term, and continued to clunk them around the ground with clean hands. Is so strong in that area, but looked a little more iffy at ground level. Managed to hit the scoreboard with two goals in the final term with a neat snap and set shot conversion during Calder’s onslaught.

Dandenong:

#10 Clayton Gay

Not a massive game from Gay, who was employed at both ends of the ground. Starting down back, the bottom-ager looked to move the ball on quickly when in possession and even took on a couple of kick-ins. Gay almost made an immediate impact when thrust forward after half time, smashing a shot into the post from close range. He had another indifferent moment when shepherding a Lachlan Williams shot on the line, but bounced back with a mark up into the corridor and one down low inside 50. The resultant shot led to a Will Howe goal, and Gay constantly looked to move the ball on up forward.

#50 Lachlan Williams

The Country representative was one of Dandenong’s better players on the day, starting brightly down back with some dash. He did not have a heap of the ball early but showed glimpses with darting runs and clean delivery by foot. Once he was moved up the ground and into the midfield, Williams had a chance on goal that was touched in the goalsquare. While he couldn’t always get his usual running game going, the top-ager would be a scary proposition bursting from the centre bounce stoppages. Williams’ pressure without the ball was also handy, but he looked most effective when kicking inboard or through the corridor. Williams’ overhead marking was another solid part of his game, snapping up a couple of strong grabs in the third term to show off some versatility.

#51 Ashton Williamson

The bottom-age forward booted three of his side’s five majors, proving efficient inside 50. He made himself busy inside 50, zipping around and finding space to become an option. His first goal was also the Stingray’s opener, and he followed it up with a second in the next quarter as his set shot just scraped through. Williamson’s third goal was much of the same, and his simple game was highly effective.

Tasmania Devils vs. Bendigo Pioneers
By: Scott Dougan

Tasmania:

#3 Ollie Davis

Davis was always applying pressure around the contest, especially in tight where he would lay some strong tackles in the opening quarter. He was prolific on the inside when he was on his hands and knees doing his best to collect the contested ground ball. Davis was able to fill the hole a number of times down back where he took some intercept marks. His positive performance was nearly topped off with a running shot on goal from 50 metres that fell just short in the third quarter. Davis had 19 disposals, six inside 50s and five tackles.

#4 Will Peppin

Peppin was involved in the first scoring play of the day for the Devils, delivering a ball deep inside 50 that resulted in a mark and goal to teammate Jordan Lane. One of his best passages of play came in the third term when tucked the ball under his arm and sprinted away from his opponent, running at least a further 20-25 metres before finding a target in the middle of the ground by foot. Peppin nearly kicked a ripper of goal from the forward pocket after using his speed to break away from his opponent in the fourth quarter but his shot was pushed wide.

#7 Matt McGuinness

McGuinness had the ball on a string all day. He found plenty of space, was composed with ball in hand and made sure he took his time before making a decision by foot. He took some really nice intercept possessions that caught the eye. McGuinness has fantastic reach and was able to take plenty of marks at the highest point. He was able to provide his team with plenty of drive out of the back half and even showcased his defensive spoiling at times. A very good performance, which was capped off with 34 disposals and eight marks.

#13 Sam Collins

Collins would take plenty of intercept marks in the defence on the day, positioning himself perfectly in front of his opponents. He worked hard into space to make himself an option for his teammates when trying to provide some run out of the defensive 50. At times, he was the last man in defence and didn’t crack under pressure, applying some defensive spoils that resulted in only minor or no score for the Pioneers. A rock down back with eight rebound 50s.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow competed fiercely in the air in the first quarter but was unable to get his hands on the ball. He came to life late in the second term when he took a mark on the goal line and easily booted it through the big sticks for his first major. Callow got more involved as the game went on and in the third term, he took a couple of contested marks, along with some marks on the lead in the forward 50. He kicked his second goal in the final minute of the third term after clunking a tough grab on the lead. Callow ended up having a pretty imposing game after finding it difficult to get involved early on. He finished with two goals and 18 disposals.

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

Conforti was clean at ground level, gathering the loose ball and disposing of it by hand to a teammate on the outside. He laid a very impressive tackle in the third quarter and was given a free-kick. The passage of play didn’t result in a score for his team, but it was great to see his defensive efforts were rewarded. His fourth quarter was probably his best for the day, catching the eye when he drove the ball deep inside 50 to teammate Jack Ginnivan who goaled, putting the Pioneers up by five goals. He finished with 24 disposals and three tackles.

#19 Ben Worme

Worme found a bit of the ball across half-back and the wing. He was effective by hand and did the little things well, such as shepherding. He rarely fumbled and that was evident in the third term when he collected a front and centre crumb after the ball fell to ground from a marking contest down back. Occasionally, Worme was able to use his speed to weave through traffic before disposing of the ball successfully.

#20 James Schischka

Schischka was pretty dependable with ball in hand. He always found plenty of space, which gave him time to make the correct decisions. He spent the majority of the game playing across half-back, putting his raking right foot to good use. Schischka had a mammoth third term, gathering plenty of uncontested disposals around the ground and was one of the reasons for the Pioneers’ dominance. He accumulated 24 disposals (15 kicks) and six marks.

Geelong Falcons vs. Oakleigh Chargers
By: Joe Lee

Oakleigh:

#23 Dylan Williams

The medium forward played a starring role, slotting five majors from nine disposals. His first goal came within the first minute of the game, snagging a classy goal on his trusty left boot from a tight angle. Was a consistent threat and is tough to match up on given his awkward size. Is very mobile and smart around goals, Williams positions himself very well. Slotted two goals in the first and two in the last and was a consistent presence up forward.

#25 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

The Oakleigh big man continued his recent form with a bag of four goals in another impressive athletic display. Finished with 10 touches to go with his haul of four, Ugle-Hagan was outstanding for the Chargers. Also had six marks and is piecing together a couple of fine weeks in attack for Oakleigh. Did miss a very gettable set shot early that would’ve given him five for the day but slotted a goal a minute later from the exact same spot to make up for it. Played a starring last quarter, bagging two goals and threatening to bring the margin out to triple figures.

#39 Reef McInnes

McInnes was dominant for the Chargers, highlighted by his two goals, 29 disposals, five tackles and five inside 50s. The impressive display was a testimony to McInnes improved recent form and he was the best midfielder on the ground. With his draft stocks rising after outings such as the weekend, McInnes is one to keep an eye on for next year.

#73 Cooper Sharman

The tall forward slotted two goals from eight touches that included five marks. Took a nice contested grab early in the second, going back and converting the simple set shot with his sound shot for goal technique. Is a tantalising prospect given his size and athletic traits and did his draft chances so harm with his performance. Could win more of the ball around the ground but has only played two NAB League games this year. Nailed a crucial set shot from 45 metres out when Geelong was lifting, highlighting his class, poise and polish.

Geelong Falcons:

#36 Charlie Sprague

The Geelong over-ager played a lone hand up forward in trying conditions, slotting three goals from 12 possessions. Played as a key forward and used his strong frame to great effect. Was a reasonably quiet in the first half but came to life in the second, bagging most of his goals and providing a few headaches for Oakleigh defenders. Took a strong one on one contested mark in the second quarter and slotted the shot on goal.

#37 Oscar Henry

The athletic forward worked hard but was largely ineffectual in a tough day for Geelong forwards. Had to work up the ground for his kicks, finishing with a goal, nine touches and six marks. Did take some nice marks on the lead but was often on the wing or half-back line rather than his usual dangerous self inside 50. Had a really strong first quarter but drifted out of the game. Could’ve had two goals but was run down in the goal square after taking a courageous mark back with the flight.

#46 Henry Walsh

The Geelong ruckman was serviceable for his side, winning 26 hit outs and 11 disposals, showcasing his improved ability and impact around the ground. Walsh won a number of taps to advantage and was able to out-body and outmuscle Tom Graham due to his taller figure. Had a moment to forget in the second, handballing it to a teammate in trouble after a free kick which did show he has to work on his decision making and footy smarts.

NAB League Boys Round 13 wash-up: Cannons and Chargers go big

A TRULY mixed bag of results in Round 13 of the NAB League Boys competition saw a couple of close contests and a couple of blowouts, with returning representative stars once again stamping their mark. While ladder-leaders Eastern still sit pretty at the top, Western put a dent in Sandringham’s top four hopes with an upset win – seeing the two trade places. Arguably the biggest surprise win belonged to Northern though, going clear in eighth with a win over second places Gippsland. All that, and more in this week’s wash-up.

 

WESTERN JETS 3.2 | 4.4 | 12.5 | 12.7 (79)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 3.2 | 5.6 | 6.7 | 10.10 (70)

GOALS:

Western: A. Clarke 3, L. Failli 3, A. Manton 2, H. White, W. Kennedy, L. Green, J. Horo.
Sandringham: C. Dean 2, H. Ralphsmith 2, B. O’Leary 2, R. Byrnes, F. Maginness, K. Yorke, J. Worrell.

BEST:

Western: W. Kennedy, C. Raak, J. Honey, J. Horo, B. Ryan, A. Clarke
Sandringham: H. Ralphsmith, L. Carrigan, J. Voss, N. Burke, B. O’Leary, C. Dean

Returning stars and a final term flurry were not enough to see Sandringham over the line as the Western Jets held on to win by nine points and send the Dragons out of the top four. Before the visitors roared home, a stalemate ensued in the first term as either side mustered 3.2 apiece, with Sandringham going on to break the cycle and skip out to an eight-point half time lead. The Dragons’ purple patch did not last for long though, as the Jets flew out of the blocks after the main break to pile on a whopping eight goals as the wind picked up. Undeterred, Sandringham hit back in the last but to no avail – relinquishing their top four position to the Jets but maintaining a formidable percentage. The Dragons’ representative guns stood up despite the loss, with Ryan Byrnes (28 disposals, five tackles, one goal), Finn Maginness (24, eight, one), and Louis Butler (23, five rebound 50s) leading all-comers in the ball winning stakes. The firepower of Charlie Dean, Hugo Ralphsmith and Blake O’Leary (all two goals) was not quite enough to outgun the eight goals between Western’s Aaron Clarke, Archi Manton, and bottom-ager Lucas Failli, as the Jets benefitted from some added efficiency in front of goal. Bailey Ryan (19 disposals, seven tackles) and Josh Honey (18, five marks) were the key ball-winners for Western, with ruckman Will Kennedy claiming best-afield honours against his former side for his 15 disposals, six marks, 33 hit-outs and one goal. Flying high, the Jets will get to enjoy a two-week break with back-to-back byes, while Sandringham will look to hit back against Dandenong in Round 14.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 3.2 | 7.2 | 8.6 | 8.8 (56)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.4 | 7.4 | 11.6 | 15.9 (99)

GOALS:

Gippsland: T. Fitzpatrick 2, J. van der Pligt 2, Z. Skinner, T. Baldi, M. McGarrity, J. Hume.
Northern: J. D’Intinosante 4, S. Brazier 3, R. Sturgess 3, L. Potter, B. Nikolovski, N. Long, A. Carafa, S. Philp.

BEST:

Gippsland: T. Hourigan, S. Berry, M. Hawkins, M. McGarrity, J. van der Pligt, T. Rees
Northern: J. Davies, A. Carafa, L. Potter, R. Sturgess, J. D’Intinosante, C. Simonsen

The upset of the round came as Northern trumped the Gippsland Power by 43 points in enemy territory to go a game clear in eighth place. The Knights’ strength and flexibility across the ground proved the difference, with the likes of Josh D’Intinosante (four goals), Ryan Sturgess (three) and Sunny Brazier (three) all able to impact the game forward of centre with only around a dozen disposals each. After a very even first half that saw Northern lead by two points at the first two breaks, the Knights tightened the screws in defence to only concede the one goal after half time, while booting eight of their own to seal a big win. Adam Carafa and Sam Philp resumed their strong partnership in midfield to have 52 disposals between them, while Lachie Potter (23 disposals, one goal) was great on the outside and skipper Jackson Davies (23 disposals, eight rebounds) a rock down back. For Gippsland, Sam Berry continues to rack up possessions with another 21, followed closely by Tye Hourigan‘s 20. Jake van der Plight was also impactful with 19 disposals and two goals, with Tom Fitzpatrick Gippsland’s only other multiple goal kicker. Despite the loss, Gippsland remains second and will look to rebound against Tasmania on neutral territory next round. Meanwhile, the Knights will look to halt Murray’s top eight aspirations when they meet next time out.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 3.0 | 5.3 | 9.6 | 11.9 (75)
EASTERN RANGES 5.5 | 9.7 | 11.7 | 12.7 (79)

GOALS:

Murray: H. Kaak 3, J. Boyer 3, K. Chalcraft, E. Baxter, M. Holt, Z. Maher, W. Chandler.
Eastern: B. Hickleton 4, M. Mellis 2, C. Downie, H. Keeling, T. Edwards, C. Black, T. Hardstaff, M. Zalac.

BEST:

Murray: W. Christie, J. Chalcraft, Z. Barzen, S. Durham, Z. Maher, K. Chalcraft
Eastern: J. Nathan, B. Hickleton, B. McCormack, M. Mellis, C. Black, T. Garner

The Murray Bushrangers fell four points short of a remarkable second half comeback, going down to the ladder-leading Eastern Ranges in a tightly contested game. It was beginning to look elementary for Eastern early on as the Ranges put on 17 scoring shots to Murray’s eight to break to a 27-point half-time buffer. But the third term proved a breakthrough one for the Bushrangers, booting four goals to Eastern’s two to close within striking distance at just 13 points adrift. Another two goals to one was not enough to snatch the win though, with Eastern holding on for its ninth win from eleven games. While Joel Nathan was named best for the winners, Ben Hickleton (eight disposals, four goals) was efficient up the other end alongside Mitch Mellis (22 disposals, seven inside 50s, two goals) to make a profound impact. Zak Pretty matched Mellis’ disposal haul to lead the Ranges in that area, but was beaten out by Murray’s Jye Chalcraft – who led all-comers with 29. Ruckman Will Christie also stood tall with 19 disposals, eight marks, and 25 hit-outs, while Zane Barzen continues to mark everything (nine) and Zavier Maher (15 disposals, one goal) was also serviceable. The Bushrangers, who should cause some headaches for sides above them in the back end of the season, face Northern next for a chance to sneak into the eight, while Eastern hosts Oakleigh in a top four showdown.

 

CALDER CANNONS 4.2 | 9.3 | 10.4 | 17.5 (107)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.0 | 2.0 | 5.5 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS:

Calder: M. Fletcher 4, J. Sutton 2, H. Minton-Connell 2, J. O”Sullivan 2, N. Gentile 2, S. Paea 2, J. Cardillo, C. Brown, N. Stewart.
Dandenong: A. Williamson 3, W. Howe, J. Toner.

BEST:

Calder: J. Cardillo, S. Ramsay, M. Simpson, J. Sutton, C. Brown, N. Gentile
Dandenong: J. Toner, L. Williams, W. Bravo, P. Gerdan, R. Orchard, M. Gregory

Twelve goals at one end helped Calder to a comprehensive 68-point win over reigning premiers Dandenong at RAMS Arena, moving the Cannons above the Stingrays in the top eight. Seven final-quarter goals to nil really compounded the difference as the Cannons entered party mode late on, enjoying the wind advantage after Dandenong had managed three goals to one in the previous term. There simply was not enough firepower for the Stingrays, with bottom-ager Ashton Williamson claiming three of their five goals for the game and the effects of a stripped core showing as players were forced to perform out of position. Jack Toner stood up with 28 disposals and eight marks, while Lachlan Williams (23 disposals, five inside 50s) was good through defence and midfield, and Will Bravo (16 disposals, four marks) was also solid. For the winners, Mason Fletcher was outstanding up forward with his four majors and lead-up marking, while five other Cannons also managed to bag multiple goals. Sam Ramsay was prolific in the engine room with 32 disposals alongside Jackson Cardillo (27, nine tackles), while Curtis Brown (22 disposals, one goal) was effective off half-back and Ned Gentile (23, two) continues to be consistent. Calder will look to climb further up the table in its next fixture against Bendigo, while Dandenong will need to lift if it is to compete with Sandringham next round as both sides welcome back representative players.

 

TASMANIA DEVILS 2.0 | 4.3 | 5.6 | 5.7 (37)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.4 | 3.7 | 6.10 | 9.12 (66)

GOALS:

Tasmania: J. Lane 2, J. Callow 2, R. Mansell.
Bendigo: J. Ginnivan 3, S. Mitchell 3, J. Dick-O’Flaherty 2, J. Rodi.

BEST:

Tasmania: M. McGuinness, J. Callow, O. Davis, O. Shaw, J. Barwick, S. Collins
Bendigo: A. Gundry, S. Mitchell, N. Walsh, J. Ginnivan, W. Wallace, R. Clarke

The Bendigo Pioneers got one back on the Tasmania Devils after a narrow Round 7 loss, this time running out 29-point winners on home turf. It was no easy task for the Pio’s, who overcame a slender half time deficit to run home strong. That came on the back of six goals to one after the main break, with Bendigo well and truly clicking into gear when it mattered most. Bottom-agers Jack Ginnivan and Seamus Mitchell each booted three goals to contribute two thirds of their side’s score, while Jake Dick-O’Flaherty claimed two to round out Bendigo’s multiple goal kickers. Sam Conforti found some good form to collect 24 disposals, while the Pioneer’s fourth goal kicker, Jeremy Rodi, had 23 touches and the James Schischka and Ben Worme again combined for over 45 disposals. Aaron Gundry was named best though for his 17 disposals and 24 hit-outs, while Matt McGuinness claimed the same honour for Tasmania – collecting a game-high 34 disposals, eight marks, and 11 rebounds. Bottom-agers Ollie Davis and Sam Collins were the next best with 19 touches each, while Jackson Callow dominated the air with 18 disposals, eight marks and two goals. With the two sides swapping ladder spots, Bendigo is set to face a firing Calder Cannons side, while Tasmania opens Round 14 against Gippsland.

 

GEELONG FALCONS 2.3 | 3.3 | 5.4 | 6.6 (42)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 5.4 | 10.6 | 14.8 | 20.9 (129)

GOALS:

Geelong: C. Sprague 3, M. Lord, C. Karpala, O. Henry.
Oakleigh: D. Williams 5, J. Ugle-Hagan 4, T. Bianco 2, B. Laurie 2, R. McInnes 2, C. Sharman 2, T. Graham, J. Ayton-Delaney, T. Lovell.

BEST:

Geelong: C. Lazzaro, N. Gribble, C. Fleeton, C. Sprague, H. Whyte, O. Henry
Oakleigh: R. McInnes, D. Williams, J. Ugle-Hagan, T. Bianco, T. Graham, V. Zagari

All of Oakleigh’s top-end guns fired as the Chargers easily accounted for a depleted Geelong Falcons side by 87 points to see out the round. Returning co-captains Dylan Williams (five goals) and Trent Bianco (24 disposals, two goals) were fantastic, with a raft of bottom and top-age talents helping Oakleigh to their big win. Bottom-agers Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (four goals) and Reef McInnes (29 disposals, two goals) did their best to live up to the standard set by Williams and Bianco, with over-ager Thomas Graham (24 disposals, 23 hitouts, one goal) monstrous in the ruck and Kaden Schreiber handball-happy with 25 among his 29 disposals. For Geelong, Charlie Sprague‘s three goals were a shining light, while bottom-agers Charlie Lazzaro (23 disposals, four rebound 50s), Noah Gribble (20 disposals, five marks), Cameron Fleeton (19 disposals, seven marks) and Henry Walsh (11 disposals, 26 hitouts) gave a glimpse of the future. Desperate for form, a meeting with GWV Rebels is next for Geelong, while Oakleigh will be red hot heading into its top four clash with table-toppers, Eastern.

NAB League Boys Round 13 preview: Representative guns return to action

WITH the national carnival come and gone, top-end NAB League regulars are starting to filter back into action, starting with Round 13. Sandringham’s inclusions will put the Dragons in good stead for a top four clash against Western, while Oakleigh and Northern also look well replenished coming into their respective fixtures.


WESTERN JETS vs. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
Saturday July 6, 11:00am
Downer Oval

A well-stocked Sandringham Dragons line-up will be looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats when it faces fellow top-four side, the Western Jets to open Round 13. The Dragons are set to welcome back Vic Metro representatives Ryan Byrnes, Finn Maginness, Oscar Lewis, Josh Worrell, Louis Butler, and Jack Bell, as well as over-ager Angus Hanrahan in one of the more star studded inclusion lines of any team this season. They join the likes of Hugo Ralphsmith, Charlie Dean, and Andrew Courtney from last week’s team, meaning over half of the Dragons’ Metro squad members will suit up for them as they gear towards full strength. Meanwhile, Western is also set to benefit from the conclusion of the national carnival, welcoming Emerson Jeka back into the side. He joins fellow inclusion and big man Aaron Clarke, meaning Will Kennedy is likely set to revert back to his usual ruck duties against his old side. While they gain good tall stocks, the Jets will be without Darcy Cassar for this clash, but should be able to cover their losses down back with Josh Kellett and Lucas Rocci in good form, while Eddie Ford and Josh Honey hold equal class up the other end. This will be a tough ask for Western given Sandringham’s regained midfield and defensive depth, on top of coming off a pretty dour defeat to Calder last time out. Expect the Dragons boys to come out hot after a down couple of weeks, as well as a heartbreaking loss for those who donned Metro colours against the Allies. Plenty to prove.


GIPPSLAND POWER vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Saturday July 6, 1:00pm
Morwell Recreational Reserve

Northern Knights will look to test an undermanned Gippsland Power unit, with a near-full strength squad named to travel up to Morwell. Metro back six regulars Ryan Sturgess and Lachie Potter bolster the Knights line-up – albeit starting on different lines – with Adam Carafa‘s inclusion set to see Josh D’Intinosante spend more time forward, while Nikolas Cox provides some versatility. Ben Major could spend some time down back with over-ager Sunny Brazier named at full forward, while 16-year-old Ned Long slots in as 23rd man. For Gippsland, Fraser Phillips is the only Country representative set to suit up this week, meaning the likes of Leo Connolly, Trent Baldi, and Jake van der Plight will have to continue to stand up alongside bottom-age gem Sam Berry as the Power’s major ball-finders. The home side will look to take full advantage of Northern’s extended break, with a trip to Morwell a tough ask coming off the bye, but a chance to refresh equally plays into Northern’s hands. The Power only just snuck home against a vastly inexperienced Geelong side last week, so will have to show some noted improvement across the four quarters to get the better of a relatively strong and more flexible Knights side. If conditions allow for it, this game could be an under-the-radar belter.


MURRAY BUSHRANGERS vs. EASTERN RANGES
Saturday July 6, 2:00pm
Norm Minns Oval

Wins streaks are set to be broken as the Murray Bushrangers host ladder-leaders, Eastern Ranges on Saturday afternoon. The Bushies are slowly but surely making amends for a disappointing start to their season, winning their last three games to sit just outside of the top eight on percentage. On the other hand, Eastern have surpassed all pre-season expectations to sit first, boasting two wins over third-place Sandringham and their last loss coming against the second-ranked side, Gippsland in Round 6. The Ranges have the added advantage of fielding five Vic Metro representatives given they had the bye during Wednesday’s carnival action. Skipper James Ross, Lachlan Stapleton, Mitch Mellis, Jamieson Rossiter, and bottom-ager Connor Downie have all been named, making the Ranges look a pretty formidable opponent. Their pressure game across the ground will be key to victory here, with Murray coming off a 3.22 performance – albeit in wet and windy conditions. The Bushrangers will have to wait another week to regain their Country squad members, but the likes of Jye Chalcraft, Jimmy Boyer, and Charlie Byrne have all shown solid form over the past few weeks. The dynamism of over-ager Zane Barzen will also be crucial as he again slots in at centre half-back, with Eastern’s tall strength up forward posing a big threat. They visitors look stronger across the board, but face Murray at a bad time as the Bushrangers are finally clicking into gear as the season hots up.


CALDER CANNONS vs. DANDENONG STINGRAYS
Saturday July 6, 2:15pm
RAMS Arena

Fresh off a win over top-four hopefuls, Western, the Calder Cannons will be looking to consign the Dandenong Stingrays to a fourth-straight defeat when they meet at RAMS Arena. The two sides had largely differing starts to the season, with Calder improving greatly through the middle-sector while the Stingrays are faltering after going undefeated until Round 10. The comparatively inexperienced Dandenong side features a couple of Vic Country Under 16 trial squad members with Patrick Gerdan and Miller Bergman again named, while Clayton Gay will again have to stand up in the absence of many key top and over-agers. Lachlan Williams is one Dandenong top-age gun to feature after his Country duties, named in the centre as opposed to his typical wing position given how depleted the squad is. For Calder, Sam Ramsay, Ned Gentile and Harrison Minton-Connell will look to lead the ball-winning brigade and take advantage of a weakened Dandenong engine room, with Mason Fletcher showing enough form up forward to be named there once again. Bottom-ager Campbell Edwardes slots into the back six next to Curtis Brown, with the magnets able to be shuffled around if need be. While the hosts are at a high point, they have met a lot of sides at ideal times – and this clash is no different. Dandenong have the talent to bounce back though, and should have a back end of the year we are more accustomed to.


TASMANIA DEVILS vs. BENDIGO PIONEERS
Sunday July 7, 10:30am
Kingston Twin Ovals

Another tight tussle between the Tasmania and Bendigo is set to go down at Kingston’s Twin Ovals, with the Pioneers looking to make good on their after-the-siren loss to the Devils last time out. Both sides remain relatively steady coming off the national carnival, with only the usual suspects missing and making the ledger pretty even in that sense. Matt McGuinness is a key inclusion for Tasmania, named at centre-half back and set to join Allies representative Sam Collins as aerial dominators. Collins’ fellow Allies squad member Ollie Davis also remains in the heart of the side, with Jackson Callow making it a trio of dangerous bottom-agers for the Devils. For Bendigo, James Schischka and Ben Worme will look to mirror the efforts of McGuinness and Collins in their own defensive half, while Sam Conforti will look to show his own prowess as a bottom-ager. The Pioneers’ tall stocks take a hit with Josh Treacy out, meaning Braydon Vaz will have to play above his height and Aaron Gundry could spend some time forward. However the sides line-up, this looks a very even contest on paper and if the sides’ previous contest is anything to go by, this should be an very tight slog from start to finish, with Tasmania’s host status the only clear advantage to be had.


GEELONG FALCONS vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Sunday July 7, 11:30am
Avalon Airport Oval

Geelong Falcons will be looking for leaders to rise when they play host to the Oakleigh Chargers, with the Falcons fresh off yet another heartbreaking defeat. It will be a tall order though, as some big ins all of a sudden have Oakleigh looking quite formidable after losing a raft of top-end talent to national carnival duties. Co-captains Trent Bianco and Dylan Williams slot in at either end, with bottom-ager Will Phillips joining over-agers Joe Ayton-Delaney and Cooper Sharman on the bench. Phillips’ fellow bottom-agers Sam Tucker, Lochlan Jenkins, and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan have been in fine form as Oakleigh’s makeshift spine, and should be a huge threat again in this game. The Falcons have some bottom-age talent of their own though, with Henry Walsh and Oliver Henry finding form alongside midfielders Gennaro Bove and Charlie Lazzaro. Charlie Sprague is the key inclusion, set to resume his forward partnership with Henry and add some much-needed experience and strength. The Chargers look to be taking no prisoners in their top-four tilt though, and have gone all-out in looking to break through this weekend. A win would not be enough to scrape Geelong off the bottom of the ladder, but would go a long way towards a confidence boost.

Scouting Notes: NAB League Boys – Round 11

WITH Vic Country enjoying a bye round, there was plenty of top-end talent back to replenish their respective NAB League sides. The usual suspects also pitched in, and with scouts looking at each game, here are our Round 11 scout notes. Each note is the individual opinion of the writer, with the focus on Allies, Vic Country, and Vic Metro squad members, and a few stand-outs.

Tasmania Devils vs. Northern Knights
By: Michael Alvaro

Tasmania:

#3 Oliver Davis

Responded well to being left out of the Allies 23, bouncing back to his usual ball-winning ways as a constant at the stoppages. Provides a good mix of competitiveness going both ways, finding the ball constantly but also tackling hard without it. While he is prolific at winning ground balls, Davis is also often caught, or flicks out handballs to teammates under just as much pressure – keeping the ball locked in at the stoppage. He did show some burst and a willingness to kick forward on occasion – like with his centre clearance in the final term – so has the potential to be more effective. Was the skipper for the day as a bottom-ager, so has some pretty impressive traits already and is quite obviously talented.

#13 Sam Collins

Slotted back into the Tassie side seamlessly alongside Davis, assuming his usual role across half back. Was really impressive with his ability to intercept in the air, possessing a great leap and the courage to position himself in the hole. Collins got to a number of high-balls, spoiling down when he couldn’t get both hands to the ball and hunting at ground level. Was a touch fumbly early on under pressure, and looks most damaging when rebounding in space with long kicks down the line. Positioned well on the corridor side of stoppages in the back half but didn’t win a whole lot of ball there, instead accumulating mostly through kickouts and inside defensive 50. Works really well on the last line to save goals, and is one of the better intercept markers of his draft crop.

#25 Jackson Callow

The strong key forward just keeps on pushing for Allies selection, putting in another fantastic display without totally ripping the game apart. Dominated in the air when the ball came his way, breaking double digits for marks but only managing the one goal – with some polish lacking in front of the big sticks. His best traits are obvious through, and he worked better than anyone up the ground to mark from defensive kick-ins and a target closer to goal. Callow is constantly on the move and always looked to wheel around and move the ball on quickly when in possession – as most forwards prefer. He also made a beautiful pass across the attacking 50 to find a teammate in front of goal early on, hallmarking his all-round class.

Northern:

#4 Jackson Davies

The skipper continues to put in solid shifts for the Knights, again proving to be his side’s best defender. Davies was terrific in the air, sitting in the hole and reading the game better than anyone to pick of much of Tasmania’s forward 50 entires. He had a purple patch early on with three or four intercept possessions, and moved the ball out of defence quickly down the line. His game is relatively simple, but Davies’ ability to leap and clunk intercept marks always proves a valuable asset. He worked well at ground level too, making repeat efforts to lock it up and chasing down an opponent who looked to be charging out the back in the third term. Solid player.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

The lively midfielder/forward won a fair amount of ball, but couldn’t quite put it all together despite looking likely. Starting in the midfield, D’Intinosante accumulated the contested ball well early, pushing the Knights forward into attacking 50. He found space well to provide a surprising target for kick-ins in the corridor, and showed solid hands overhead. ‘JD’ also put the clamps on his opponents, tackling well but sometimes proving overzealous – as was the case with an in-the-back free kick in the second term. He is constantly a productive and hard worker, but couldn’t quite produce an end product to some nice work at the forward stoppages – missing a few quick-fire shots on goal to register 0.3. If he had a touch more speed, his stoppage work would be fantastic – as shown with a few tap reads and clearances, but he does well with what he has.

#27 Ewan Macpherson

The potential 2020 Bulldogs father-son is enjoying a consistent season, finding a place in the back six. Is often effective as a good user of the ball by foot when exiting the 50, but produced a couple of uncharacteristic clanger kicks early on. Still continued to work and provide an outlet for teammates, spreading into good positions. Like his brother, Darcy, Macpherson also looked strong in the tackle, and laid some hard ones of his own throughout. Made a couple of nice intercepts in the second term off the centre bounces, but looked to have drifted out of the game a touch afterwards.


GWV Rebels vs. Western Jets

By: Joe Lee

Western:

#4 Lucas Rocci

The Jets defensive playmaker was it his offensive best once again, showcasing this via his 24 disposals and 9 rebound 50s. combined with Kellett for 18 rebounds, Rocci was precise with his kicking and dangerous behind the ball, often setting up as a loose man one kick behind the player. His penetrating left boot enables him to generate good purchase on his kick outs and when he combines this with his intercept marking, he’s a complete package. Had one instance in the first quarter where he picked off 3 Rebels forward 50 entries, marking uncontested and moving the ball quickly into the corridor. Did however get easily beaten one on one in the 1st, being out-bodied and out-manoeuvred which is something he can work on

#7 Daly Andrews

The over-age midfielder was one of the Jets’ best, finishing with 27 disposals for the day. Worked hard and spreads well from the contest – Daly racks up big handball numbers, putting his teammates in better positions to make decisions up the ground. Underscored his outstanding breakaway speed from the stoppage late in the third, breaking free and driving the ball in long on his non-preferred. Was very serviceable for the Jets in their winning midfield.

#8 Josh Kellett

The rebounding defender had his best game of the season, capping off his display with 25 disposals and nine rebound 50s. Worked in tandem with Rocci to prevent the Rebels’ forward forays ever eventuating into scores and was a key pillar in the Jets’ back six. Uses the ball well on both feet, often hitting targets down the ground lace out on the lead. Set up a shot on goal with an outstanding contested mark for his size in the fourth, breaking a run of Rebels scores.

#47 Will Kennedy

The over-age ruckman was a dominant force on the ground, racking up 21 disposals, seven marks, 29 hit-outs. Uses his body well and his agility stands out, where in the first quarter he danced around two Rebels opponents and had a shot on goal only for it to fade to the left. Gets back and helps the defenders out, often intercepting bombs into the Rebels 50. Took a fantastic contested mark in the second, only to not carry the distance 40m out. Sprayed another shot on goal from 45m out on the full, highlighting that set shot goalkicking is an area that needs to improve in his game.

GWV:

#7 Mitch Martin

The Vic Country representative responded to his omission with a classy 20 disposals and a goal. Also finished with eight tackles and five inside 50s, highlighting his defensive pressure and offensive nous. Brings a real physical factor to his game, often hitting Jets players hard and making them earn their possessions. Almost set up a Rebels goal in the third with an exquisite handball over his head, showcasing his natural footy smarts.

#14 Liam Herbert

The tough inside midfielder put in a dominant display, showcasing his all-round midfield class with 28 disposals, eight marks, eight tackles and a goal. Was as tough inside the contest as he was out, Herbert’s tackling pressure was omnipotent in tough and scrappy conditions. Won a free kick for holding the ball early in the second but didn’t back himself to kick 50m, giving it off which resulted in minor score. Nailed a set shot 40m out in the 3rd term to breath life into the Rebels. Was a real leader all day and was close to best on ground.


Dandenong Stingrays vs. Murray Bushrangers

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Dandenong:

#20 Sam De Koning

His vertical leap impressed, getting over top in the ruck and marking contests. Proved pivotal through the centre, providing passage with an excellent overhead ability. For the day, he amassed 11 disposals, five marks and eight hit-outs. He only kicked the one behind in his return but is continuing to show great promise as a forward marking option.

#32 Blake Kuipers

Utilised down back, Kuipers displayed strong decision-making and urgency in moving the football. Along with many, the game was one of his weaker for the season. He managed six disposals, two marks, two tackles and three hit-outs, but regardless of his numbers, Kuipers displayed great versatility in the loss.

#50 Lachlan Williams

Damaging overhead. Williams brings a great vertical and read to every marking contest, delivered well on the inside and used well by foot under pressure. Both poised and well-positioned, Williams intercepted defensive exits and countered effectively for a lot of the game. He also nearly took mark of the year over a pack in the third quarter but could not hold it.

Murray:

#5 Cameron Wild

Made his return from Vic Country for the bye and absolutely dominated. Wild recorded a game-high 29 disposals, six marks, six tackles, four inside 50s and four rebounds in his return home. A contested beast, Wild brought solid hands off the deck, absorbed contact, kept his feet and broke through opponents to release by hand. A reliable user by foot, Wild hit his targets well on the run, picks his passes well, and moved down back for the last quarter to aid exiting the ball. A bull on the football, Wild’s return was immense in their victory.

#6 Will Chandler

A classy user and mover, Chandler saw a lot of the footy and affected well by foot. His use going forward was feature, amassing eight inside 50s, making his work look easy under pressure. He positioned well, getting first hands to it and moving well between contests. He showed great contested ability, keeping his feet with strong hands off the deck. He was unlucky in front, kicking three behinds, but impacted the scoreboard well with his entries.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

A hard runner, Chalcraft worked hard between contests and never gave up on the contest. Had an excellent pick-up in the second quarter, taking the ball the second it hit the deck before surging it forward. Reads the play better in close, intercepting, out-positioning and losing his opponents tackles with great acceleration. He finished second to Wild in disposals on 27, alongside three marks, seven tackles and six inside 50s. His pressure work around the centre was first-rate, as was his delivering going forward.


Gippsland Power vs. Oakleigh Chargers

By: Craig Byrnes

Gippsland:

#7 Sam Berry

The in and under bottom ager was one of many relevant players returning to the Gippsland fold and he continued on from where he left off earlier in the season. He is a competitor who does the heavy work on the inside with determination, often getting first hands on the footy cleanly and extracts to advantage. Berry has a physical presence defensively and ensures his opponent doesn’t get an easy touch. I loved his overhead work on Saturday too, taking a great contested mark in the corridor under pressure and backing that up with a leaping effort at half back in the last. One of the better players on the ground finishing with 26 disposals and 5 tackles.

#10 Leo Connolly

Connolly has been building into some good form over the last couple of weeks and Saturday was his best performance at the level. Starting at the first centre bounce, he got his hands on the ball early and his confidence appeared to grow with every quality disposal. He possesses genuine class, highlighted by a superbly executed kick around the corner in the first term that set up a shot on goal. There are times when you can accuse him of trying to take on too much with his brilliant skills, but his decision making was elite and instinctive on Saturday. He finished with 32 touches and it’s great to see him making loud noises again.

#12 Brock Smith

Back on the field after nasty bruising from the first Vic Country fixture saw him miss the Allies clash in Tasmania, Smith returned to his usual defensive post and was at his influential best. While admittedly starting a little rusty by uncharacteristically losing an early one on one and kicking a floater, he quickly took control behind the ball and rarely got passed. A big tackle in the second term earned a free kick which began a chain resulting in a goal, while his composure whether kicking out, intercepting or rebounding from the defensive arc gave his teammates up the ground trust that the ball was coming back to their advantage. Smith finished with 26 disposals, 10 marks and I suspect he’ll be back in the white Vic Country jumper on Friday.

#13 Tom Fitzpatrick

The exciting bottom-age prospect has played numerous positions this season, but started forward on Saturday and produced his best NAB League performance to date. He is explosive, powerful and possesses extreme speed having recorded a 2.86 second 20 metre time earlier in the year. Fitzpatrick looked particular dangerous on the lead early, presenting to the ball and creating separation from his opponent with ease on the flanks. His two goals came behind the contest, the second showcasing that elite pace as he ran into an open goal with no Charger having a chance to catch him. He is really hard to tackle too and has a brutal “don’t argue” fend in his armoury. He is one to keep an eye on.

#15 Ryan Sparkes

This fellow just knows where to find the footy in any position. Starting on the wing, he was composed and had time whenever the ball got in his hands, which was a lot. A little play that took the eye showcased his smarts, winning the ball in a mud patch that had developed in the middle of Morwell Rec Reserve, he calmly side stepped onto solid ground to ensure he had balance and hit a target lace out at half forward. Many would just tumble that forward, but Sparkes considered the situation and executed like it was a training run. He is underrated overhead too, taking a flying intercept mark in the final term, before hitting a laser pass inside 50 that was almost perfect to a difficult target. Another 26 disposals for the Vic Country representative.

#17 Charlie Comben

After a best on ground performance against Vic Metro on the MCG a couple of weeks ago, it is little wonder to see Comben beaming with confidence at the moment. He is looking more capable in the air with every game, whether taking the ball out of the ruck and releasing or attacking the ball in a pack. He took a great contested mark inside 50 in the first term with extreme heat on his back, while his second efforts offensively and defensively are outstanding. He ended the game on the bench with a few other Vic Country players and would be satisfied with another solid outing.

#19 Fraser Phillips

Wow, what a performance by the Warragul junior. He had already provided influential moments up to half time, kicking a set shot goal and producing one of the highlights of the first quarter in weaving through traffic stylishly on the wing and following up to lay a tackle inside 50. But he exploded in the third quarter, being involved in almost every score and kicking three himself. A sharply read intercept and opportunistic left foot snap got things going, before creating space from an I50 stoppage and handballing to a running Harrision Pepper on the outside for a goal assist. Then came the highlight of the game, a superbly executed dribble kick from the boundary that will have recruiters checking the tapes. Another great finish on the run produced his third goal for the quarter and it should have been more had he converted two very gettable late behinds. He earned a down the ground free kick in the final term for a well deserved fifth goal. Huge impact from his 20 disposals, I am looking forward to seeing what he provides for the televised Championships games.

#37 Harrison Pepper

Pepper was another Vic Country player who provided quality output on return. The Hawthorn NGA prospect started behind the footy, winning 20 disposals and beginning many dangerous forward chargers. He often found himself on his non-preferred left side, but rarely wasted a disposal when in that position. Pepper released pressure from the defensive arc with long hits up the ground and stuck some strong tackles when Oakleigh threatened. He won an excellent ground one on one contest in the second term with impressive body use, before getting a smart one metre kick to the advantage of a teammate. He kicked a great goal on the run in the third term, again on his left foot.

Oakleigh:

#27 Josh May

The 195cm midfielder had some nice moments around the stoppages on Saturday, combining sharp hands and a stylish left foot to help keep Oakleigh competitive in the first half. He executed a smart underground handball in the first term and hit an excellent target inside 50 shortly after. He read the hit outs well and uses his height to release, getting his arms high on one occasion in the final term to impressively free up a teammate. On a day where Oakleigh had limited winners, May was solid in his 18 disposal outing.

#30 Sam Tucker

The tall bottom ager doesn’t win huge amounts of the ball in defence, but when he does, something good generally comes of it. He won a brilliantly clean ground ball in congestion during the third term, released and it resulted in a set shot on goal. Tucker also provided a composed kick from deep in the defence arc when Power were hot during that third term, providing a rare moment of relief. Had a tough job matched up on the electrifying Fitzpatrick at times, but held his own.

#73 Cooper Sharman

An overage player making his NAB League debut after producing some excellent performances under Rodney Eade at Balwyn, including a recent three goal best on ground effort against Noble Park. He is a rangy athletic type, standing 190cm and looks to have some flexibility. Sharman started forward and got in dangerous positions at times, before having stints on the ball. He read the stoppages well, often receiving the ball on the outside of the contest to finish with 20 disposals. He looks an interesting type.


Bendigo Pioneers vs. Geelong Falcons

By: Scott Dougan

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

Conforti laid a terrific smother early on in the first term which ended up resulting in a Geelong turnover and goal for his team. He was efficient by foot and constantly hit targets on both sides of the body. His brilliant opposite foot kick inside 50 to the leading Josh Treacy was one of his top moments on the day. Conforti played throughout the Pioneers’ forward line and midfield, finishing with 13 disposals and five tackles.

#19 Ben Worme

Worme was noticeable from the get first bounce, taking two defensive intercept marks in the space of 30 seconds. He was very reliable by foot and he consistently made the right decisions. Worme was able to hit targets with ease from 40mtrs away and it wasn’t hard to see why the Pioneers wanted the ball in his hand when rebounding out of the back half. Worme was hugely influential, racking up an imposing 26 disposals and seven marks.

#20 James Schischka

Schischka played across half-back and read the play exceptionally well. He was extremely busy in the first term, gathering plenty of disposals along with taking some intercept marks. One of his best passages of play came in the third term when he was able to take a contested mark deep inside defensive 50. He was rock-solid down back and ended being one of the best players on the ground, finishing with 20 disposals and seven marks.

#38 Brady Rowles

Rowles played on the outside of the contest where he would win plenty of uncontested possessions. In the first term, he a took a one-on-one contested mark on the wing and then would use his speed to break away from his opponent before steadying and distributing the ball effectively to a teammate. His composure with ball in hand and ability to take his time before making a final decision impressed. Rowles had a damaging game by foot and had plenty of passages of play that resulted in score involvements for Bendigo. He finished with 15 disposals and seven marks.

Geelong:

#37 Oliver Henry

Henry was terrific in the first term and presented strongly up forward. He took an impressive mark on the lead against Bendigo defender Ben Worme that caught the eye. He would then deliver the ball to a teammate in the forward park who would convert a set-shot attempt. Henry stayed dangerous through the first term but was unable to hit the scoreboard himself. His next three quarters were quiet, but the athletic forward definitely had many positive moments throughout the match.

#46 Henry Walsh

Even though Walsh didn’t win a huge amount of the ball around the ground (finishing with just five disposals), he was able to compete strongly in the ruck. Walsh may still be very light, but his athleticism was definitely on show. He won many convincing hit-outs to the advantage of his teammates and showcased some impressive athletic traits, like a good leap. Walsh finished with 43 hit-outs.


Eastern Ranges vs. Sandringham Dragons

By: Josh Ward

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

Again such a handy player to replace Mitch Mellis. Another strong performance in midfield, gathering a few clearances to go with his 22 touches. Also had 10 tackles and six inside 50s. Yet another strong performance from a man who has performed pretty well this year.

#18 Billy McCormack

In the end, only just won a big battle between him and Jack Bell. Played a massive role up forward, with his marking and disposal use proving crucial as well. Had 23 hitouts to go with two goals in the first half, 19 touches, along with four inside 50’s, four marks and five tackles as well. Looks set for a big second half to the year

#23 Zak Pretty

Another absolutely brilliant performance from him. Continuing on his hot form from the last few weeks, although this game was remarkably the least disposals he collected since Round 2. Only the 24, but still had eight tackles, couple of clearances as well, with 19 of those touches handballs. Continues to increase his stocks.

Sandringham:

#2 Darcy Chirgwin

Was really one of the only shining lights for the Dragons. In his first game back from injury, was absolutely a star in midfield. Collected 32 touches, with 20 handballs as well, five clearances, and 16 tackles, so not a bad return. Look out for him in the second half of the year.

#7 Jackson Voss

Had a pretty decent game out on the wing, helping create a few nice chances during the game as well with his efficiency. In the end though, only got the three inside 50s and two rebounds, but did have six tackles, three marks to go with his 21 touches. Continues a pretty solid season.

#32 Jack Bell

Only just lost what was a pretty big matchup between him and Billy McCormack, but still was pretty good. He did collect 13 touches to go with his 21 hitouts, but only had 1.1, three tackles, two inside 50’s and sometimes was a touch sloppy with his ball use. Will look to bounce back next week, so look out Oakleigh.

NAB League Boys Round 11 preview: Top four set for a shake up in Futures Round

AFTER a week off, the NAB League Boys top four set-up is set for a shake-up this weekend. A top of the table clash headlines the action, while the Gippsland Power face a tough task in holding onto fourth as Western and Oakleigh hunt their spot. A Mars Stadium double-header leads the five Country-based Saturday games, with Eastern hosting Sunday’s only fixture at Box Hill. This weekend also marks the first Futures Round, where teams are required to field at least 11 sixteen-seventeen year olds and squads are expanded to 24 players.

 

TASMANIA DEVILS vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Saturday June 22, 11:00am
Twin Oval, Kingston

The slightly replenished Tasmania Devils are set to host a Northern Knights side without all of their Vic Metro squad members, as both look to crack into the top eight with a win. The tenth-place, 4-5 Devils have been ultra competitive in their first full-time NAB League season, but struggled last time out against Murray with a host of stars instead suiting up for the Allies in their first outing for the year. This game is the first of five home games for Tasmania over the last six rounds, and with Northern missing as host of big names, could act as a chance to get on a roll. The inclusions of bottom-age Allies representatives Oliver Davis and Sam Collins should inject some class into the middle and off half-back respectively, but the in-form Matt McGuinness and his fellow over-ager Lachlan Gadomski come out of the side to accomodate the Futures requirements. Meanwhile, the Knights will once again be without Adam Carafa as he slots back into the Metro side, joined by rangy bottom-age utility Nikolas Cox as key outs. A host of bottom-agers also replace the likes of Nathan Howard, Bailey Leonard and Ben Nikolovski, who have been key figures in the team this year. It will be a tough test for the Knights as they look to build on their Round 10 win, with the top-age talent of Sam Philp, Jackson Davies and Josh D’Intinosante on each line crucial to their chances. Expect a slog down on the Apple Isle to open the round.

 

GWV REBELS vs. WESTERN JETS
Saturday June 22, 11:30am
Mars Stadium

A top four spot could be on the horizon for Western Jets should they get over the GWV Rebels in enemy territory and have results go their way. They travel to Ballarat with high hopes of claiming a fourth consecutive victory, as their weekend opponents are coming off a goalless trumping at the hands of Eastern. Still, the Rebels should be buoyed by the inclusions of a couple of in-form Country representatives as they search for just their third win of the year, and their first at Mars Stadium. Over-ager Matty Lloyd comes out of the side, but Mitch Martin and Toby Mahony should cover the gap left in the midfield/forward rotation two-fold after promising national carnival outings. Meanwhile, the in-form Jets lose some tall timber in the form of Metro inclusion Emerson Jeka and Aaron Clarke, but gain some midfield depth as Josh Honey and Daly Andrews make their NAB League returns. The likes of Lucas Rocci down back and over-age tall Will Kennedy have shown form of late for the Jets, while Jack Tillig and Riley Polkinghorne have stood tall in a depleted Rebels line-up. Form may show otherwise, but the home side will be looking to really test the Jets, but Western have a lot to play for as they hope to keep pace with the top four.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS vs. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Saturday June 22, 1:30pm
Shepley Oval

The Dandenong Stingrays will be looking to get right back onto the winners list as they host Murray Bushrangers at Shepley Oval on Saturday afternoon. A loss could remarkably see the Stingrays dislodged from the top four – barring a draw in the Gippsland-Oakleigh clash – after going undefeated across their first seven games. The raft of changes finally caught up with them last time out, and they are set to face a few more in the lead up to this game. Country representatives Sam De Koning and Lachlan Williams are welcome additions, but the depth of Luca Goonan, Corey Ellison, and Jai Nanscawen that had helped to keep the Stingrays in the hunt with their stars out are all exclusions in this week’s 24. On the other hand, Murray is set to benefit greatly from Country’s bye, regaining skipper Lachlan Ash alongside versatile midfielder Cam Wild and Allies representative, Will Chandler. Ash should add a ton of class to the back six, working in tandem with the in-form Jimmy Boyer and perhaps even freeing up Jye Chalcraft to go forward should he be moved into the middle. A disappointing start to the year is something the Bushrangers look to be putting behind them after their last outing, with the top eight still well within reach at just four points away. Beating Dandenong has proved a difficult job over the last two seasons though, and the reigning premiers should be keen to bounce back after a rare loss.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday June 22, 2:00pm
Morwell Football Ground

Oakleigh Chargers can throw a spanner in the top four works and snatch Gippsland Power’s spot in one fell swoop with a win as the two do battle in Morwell on Saturday. The Chargers look to be back to their usual selves on the back of four-straight wins, with their last two coming by a combined 126 points. Their depth has been well and truly tested during the middle part of the season and just as they look to be adapting well, they are set to contend with at least another 14 changes from their Round 10 side. Representative action calls for Jeromy Lucas and Will Phillips, while Futures round sees over-ager Joe Ayton-Delaney out and school football sees last round’s five-goal hero, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan also out of the side. On the other hand, the Power should benefit greatly from a Vic Country bye – regaining the likes of Harrison Pepper, Ryan Sparkes, Brock Smith, Fraser Phillips, and Charlie Comben to add enormous strength and class to each line. Gippsland will look to overpower an Oakleigh midfield led by usual wingman Josh May and bottom-age gun Lochlan Jenkins, and should have some capable aerial cover in defence with Smith back. You can never rule Oakleigh out – especially given recent form – but Gippsland looks a formidable opponent for any side this week.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS vs. GEELONG FALCONS
Saturday June 22, 2:00pm
Mars Stadium

Two sides desperate for a win are set to clash in Saturday’s final fixture, as Bendigo looks to do the season double over Geelong at Mars Stadium. The Pioneers are reeling on the back of six-straight losses, but impressively beat the Falcons in Round 1 in their first of two wins to open the season. On the other hand, Geelong has been massively unlucky to find themselves at 1-7-1, fading out late in a number of games to surrender winning positions and remain the lowest-ranked Victorian side. The largely inexperienced Falcons side has shown promise though, and Futures round should provide the perfect platform for their younger talent to shine through once again. Noah Gribble, Charlie Brauer, and Henry Walsh are three notable bottom-age ins, with holes left by Charlie Sprague, Charlie Lazzaro, and Noah Gadsby. The Bendigo team looks near full strength barring the absence of their two top-end stars, with the likes of top-agers Ben Worme, Brady Rowles, and James Schischka all important figures with plenty of ball winning ability. This should be a cracking contest as two Country sides in varying bouts of form put it all on the line, and the prevalence of Bendigo’s top-agers could prove a key factor in deciding the outcome.

 

EASTERN RANGES vs. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
Sunday June 23, 1:00pm
Box Hill City Oval

A top-of-the-table clash closes Round 11 in Sunday’s only fixture, as Eastern Ranges and Sandringham Dragons go head to head for the second time this year. In their first meeting, current ladder leaders Eastern got the better of the Dragons away from home in a low-scoring tussle, and may even come in as favourites for this bout. The Dragons will be impacted once again by at least 15 changes, but have a couple of more than handy ins. Ryan Byrnes and Darcy Chirgwin will slot straight back into the midfield in their returns from injury, adding strength and class to the engine room mix with Angus Hanrahan and Jake Bowey going the other way. They should have an interesting time combating ball-winning Eastern pair Lachlan Stapleton and Zak Pretty in what will be a hotly contested midfield duel. Both sides lose stocks in the ruck department as Riley Smith is set to miss for the Ranges, while Riley Bowman and Andrew Courtney also come out of the Sandringham side. A swap of Metro representative talls from either end is also a feature of Eastern’s changed, with James Ross a handy addition as Jack Bell comes in for the Dragons. With big contests set to take place on each line, expect a high-quality contest as both sides throw everything at a result and the chance to claim top spot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WA and Allies ready for battle against Vics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western Australia:

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

Vic Metro:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Allies:

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

Vic Country:

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

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

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 9

WHILE National Championship commitments took away much of the top-end NAB League talent this weekend, we took a look at those players in the extended Victorian squad or Young Guns squads that impressed, as well as a couple of father-son options. All notes are opinion-based by the individual writer.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels vs. Tasmania Devils
By: Joe Lee

GWV:

#3 Toby Mahony

The tall midfielder was in and out of the game and wasn’t overly damaging with ball in hand. Ended up with 12 touches and five tackles and, like many of his teammates, struggled to have a profound impact on the outcome. Missed a set shot that could’ve kept the Rebels in touch with the Devils in the third quarter. but tackled hard and used his bigger frame well.

#8 James Cleaver

The midfielder registered a solid 15 disposals for the game. Worked hard but struggled for impact, but it was a tough game for all of the Rebels’ midfield group. Covers the ground and helps out his teammates, highlighted by his three inside 50s and two rebound 50s.

#10 Matt Lloyd

Was one of the Rebels’ best, finishing with 22 disposals and six inside 50s. Almost kicked a brilliant set shot goal, judging the wind perfectly from 50 out but it faded late, ending up as one of Lloyd’s three behinds for the day. Could’ve had a day out had he converted his chances but nonetheless was one of the Rebels better performers, playing consistently well across four quarters. Uses his bigger frame to great effect, breaking a couple of tackles and pumping the ball long into attack.

Tasmania:

#1 Mitchell O’Neill

The Devils midfielder worked well with Davis and Peppin to overwork the Rebels engine room in a solid midfield win. O’Neill registered 20 disposals for the game, coupled with 5 tackles, and worked hard on the inside of the contest, spreading the ball with his clean hands to teammates outside of the stoppage. Wasn’t as prolific as he normally is and was reasonably well held but still influences the game with his quick hands inside the contest, picking up a number of clearances.

#3 Oliver Davis

Davis was a dominant midfielder all day, picking up 25 touches but also a huge nine inside 50s. his skill and precision when delivering the ball, often to Callow on the lead, was sensational. Makes the forwards move when he has the ball and rarely misses a target. Stood out for his clean disposal and willingness to hit up his options in the blustery and slippery conditions. Was a handful for the Rebels to contain and once he gets into space, he makes the most of his possessions. Was a clear standout.

#4 William Peppin

The classy midfielder was solid all day, picking up when the game was on the line in the third quarter. Nailed a clutch set shot on goal from 40 meters out to put the Devils in control. Positions himself really well around the ground, picking up multiple front and centres and roving the ball off the aerial contest to drive it forward. Stood out with his clean hands and ‘one touch’ possessions, generating three inside 50s from his 18 disposals, it is Peppin’s evasiveness, agility and breakaway speed that make him a dangerous proposition for opposition clubs.

#7 Matt McGuinness

Positions incredibly well in defence, intercepting the play at will and setting up offensive strikes. Was involved in multiple score assists, including setting up the Devils first goal with an intercept mark and rebound 50 that say a smooth transition into the goals. Is a classy left footer out of defence who always hits targets from long range, the tall defender was outstanding for the Devils. His intercept marking, kicking skills and athleticism are all traits that will hold McGuinness in good stead, as he utilises his attributes very well. Finished the day with 25 disposals, including 20 kicks, eight marks and four tackles.

#13 Sam Collins

The rebounding defender worked outstandingly with McGuinness to provide the Devils with drive and rebound off half-back, picking up 8 rebound 50s. Possesses a driving and penetrating right foot out of defence that breaks the oppositions zone. The defensive duo worked in tandem to thwart any chance of the Rebels mounting a fightback, intercepting their inside 50s at will. Finished the game with 18 disposals and seven marks and was a key pillar in combating the Rebels forward forays.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow was a force to be reckoned with all day, slotting four majors and clunking eight marks, en route to a superb performance. Kicked the Devils first of the game, courtesy of some smooth ball movement up the ground. Took plenty of marks inside 50 and had a number of shots on goal, spraying one out on the full and missing a couple of gettable others. Did nail a drop punt, 35 out on the boundary that was a highlight for the day but didn’t make the most of his ample opportunities. Took a couple of marks when he was outnumbered but won due to his superior body work and reading of the ball trajectory. Finished with 15 disposals and was the dominant forward on the ground

 

Northern Knights vs. Calder Cannons
By: Michael Alvaro

Northern:

#4 Jackson Davies

Was arguably the Knights’ most composed and influential player in the back half, leading from the front in tough conditions. Davies is deceptively strong overhead, with a good leap and sticky hands allowing him to get to and impact a wealth of aerial contests. Most often opts to kick out of defensive 50, with 16 of his 22 disposals being kicks, and six of them being rebounds. Davies is clearly the designated kicker out of defence as he shouldered the kick-in duties, but looked most effective when impacting the play off the square or intercepting up on defensive wing.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

A decent display from D’Intinosante, who again spent a lot of time forward. Started brightly with a nice sliding mark inside 50, but missed the resultant set shot. Would eventually get on the board in the final term with a very nice dribbled finish on the run, highlighting his credentials in front of goal. Looks most dangerous when on the move at forward stoppages and gets involved there, as well as with his front and centre positioning from long kicks in. Falls short at times in one on one contests and had opponents reach over him for marks, but is otherwise a reliable competitor.

#7 Ryan Gardner

Gardner’s day was unfortunately cut short by injury early in the second quarter, hurting his lower leg after being caught in an awkward tackle. It was a real shame as Gardner had started brightly in the midfield, collecting nine first-quarter disposals. He kicked long inside 50 well, with one particular centre bounce break catching the eye. While he looked to be lacking a certain spark off the mark, Gardner kept on the move at stoppages and reads the taps well. Can still sharpen up his disposal at times, and hopefully gets back on the park this year to show it.

Calder:

#5 Curtis Brown

Brown is one who has come on strong of late, and looks a real smooth mover off half back. He burst away well from defensive 50, sweeping up the ground balls and providing effective rebound by foot. Brown stays strong in one-on-one contests, and took a nice clean take against his Northern opponent early on. Was influential off the back of the square with his 23 disposals, and is constantly one of Calder’s better contributors.

#8 Sam Ramsay

Ramsay has been pushed up onto a wing to good effect, providing positive forward movement through his run and long kicking. Got involved well early and had a shot on goal that fell short, but caught the eye with a great run down effort on his defensive arc to show his two-way running. Tended to blaze away at times when under pressure, but is definitely more effective in space.

 

Murray Bushrangers vs. Oakleigh Chargers
By: Scott Dougan

Oakleigh:

#6 Jeromy Lucas

On a day where the Chargers’ dominance was clear, Lucas was able to do as he pleased, winning a game-high 27 possessions. His foot skills were terrific and his spread from the contest was handy for the Chargers moving forward. He first caught the eye when he delivered an opposite foot kick to a leading forward inside 50, which unfortunately didn’t end up in a goal. Lucas’s agility would come in handy on the day, side-stepping around his opponents to break away. A positive performance.

#27 Josh May

May was immediately involved in the contest when he used his strength and size to release a handball away after breaking a tackle from two Bushranger opponents. He was one of the Chargers’ top ball winners on the day and his ball use on both feet was sublime. At 195cm, his athleticism and cleanliness at ground level is definitely something that stood out to me. May’s versatility makes him a very dangerous player in all areas of the ground. He finished with 19 disposals, three marks, and four inside-50s.

Murray:

#1 Will Christie

Christie had his hands on the pill early on and was very competitive in the ruck, winning 26 hit-outs. He was a threat around the ground, gathering 12 disposals, taking four marks and laying a notable nine tackles. Christie stood his ground in many contests and his repeated efforts around stoppages caught the eye. His contested grab in the third quarter on the Chargers’ goal line was one of his best moments of the game. A standout for Murray.

#5 Cam Wild

Wild played through the midfield and would occasionally drift forward. He didn’t have many possessions in the first half, but he did have three shots on goal – that were all behinds. Wild’s second half was much more encouraging, he won more of the ball and his foot skills were at most times, pretty good. He finally kicked his first goal of the day deep into the last quarter and would follow it up with a second minutes later. It wasn’t a dominant game by any means, but he showed that he can be a threat up forward when required. Wild finished with 20 disposals and 2.3.

#10 Will Quirk

Quirk played across half-back and through the Bushrangers’ midfield. He did his best to drive the ball forward at all times. Quirk drifted forward in the second quarter and had a set shot on goal that just missed. One of his best moments came in the fourth term when he took a really good intercept grab in defence. He finished the match with 10 disposals and three marks.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

In such a big loss, it was hard for any of the Bushranger players to stand out. Nevertheless, Chalcraft gathered 17 possessions, four tackles and booted one of his teams’ nine goals. He may be of short stature, but there’s no denying his competitiveness, courage, and strength. Chalcraft was able to break tackles due to his strength around the hips and he disposed of the ball really well by hand.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

In a disappointing day for the Bushrangers, Boyer was the shining light. It was his cleanliness at ground level that stood out after an extremely scrappy start from both teams. Boyer would collect a ground ball, tuck the ball under his arm, run 15metres and then deliver the ball effectively to a teammate in space. He spent the majority of the match across half-back and would mop up everything that came his way. Boyer would put his pace and agility to good use and would give his team plenty of momentum going forward. He finished with 27 disposals (18 kicks) and nine rebound 50s.

 

Eastern Ranges vs. Geelong Falcons
By: Joshua Ward

Eastern Ranges:

#11 Mitch Mellis

Absolutely dominant in midfield yet again. Continues his hot start to the season with his second 30+ disposal game, increasing his average to 27.5 a game. Used his speed and carry well yet again, adding seven inside 50’s and three rebound 50’s as well to go with six tackles and a fair amount of clearances. 

#18 Billy McCormack

Won the battle between him and bottom-age prospect Henry Walsh in a pretty tight battle in the end. Did get quite a few more touches in the end, and was pretty good in the air as well with a few good contested marks. Did also score the goal to snuff out any hope for the falcons early in the fourth. Looks like an X-factor for the Ranges.

#23 Zak Pretty

He and Mellis continue to impress as a duo as well as individually, had around 30 touches, including 20+ in the second half. He also added a pretty darn good goal in the second half, kicking it over his shoulder and managing to just sneak it through. Also included six tackles, three inside and three rebound 50’s. Looks a good prospect.

Geelong Falcons:

#46 Henry Walsh

Didn’t come out on top of this huge ruck contest, but still did pretty well in the end. Managed again to only get a few touches, but was still pretty good in the ruck contest, finishing just behind Billy McCormack in the end with 18 (McCormack had 22). Did take a good contested mark in the first but showed limited impact in the air for the rest of the game.

 

Gippsland Power vs. Sandringham Dragons
By: Craig Byrnes

Gippsland:

#10 Leo Connolly

It was a bit strange to see Connolly on the bench during the early stages of the game, but once on, he was a class above the standard with both teams depleted. He hit some lovely targets in the corridor and took the game on, breaking lines, changing direction and creating space for his teammates. His highlight came early when he won the ball behind centre and hit a quality corridor target, kept running to receive the ball by hand from Skinner and kick a long goal. It wasn’t quite the complete break out performance that we’ve been waiting for from the Moe junior, but 20 quality disposals and four clearances is still a good day out.

#43 Zac Skinner

It was a bit of a mixed bag for the 200cm tall Skinner, who spent a majority of his time forward, as well as relieving Nicholas in the ruck. He had some genuinely exciting moments, highlighted by a huge contested flying mark inside 50 during the second quarter which saw him reach over the top of his opponent. He gave the highly rated Corey Watts issues, taking another contested mark deep only a minute later. Unfortunately his kicking let him down, missing that particular set shot from close range and turned a ball over in the corridor later on with options available inside 50. He ended with a respectable six marks and a goal, but is capable of being more influential by making his chances count.

Sandringham:

#7 Jackson Voss

The St Kilda father-son prospect had arguably his best performance of the season, taking advantage of extended midfield minutes with the Dragons depleted due to representative duties. He is the son of Brett and nephew Brownlow Medallist Michael, so you could say footy pedigree is top notch. Voss is a nice two way midfielder, capable of winning the heavy inside ball or running into space to utilise a quality left hoof. He constantly found ways to release the ball effectively in congestion, often twisting his hips to slip away from an opponent. He finished the day as one of the highest ball winners on the ground, collecting 27 possessions, five clearances and seven tackles.

#14 Kyle Yorke

Yorke is a bit of an old school full forward type who utilises smart leading patterns, has strong hands and most importantly impacts the scoreboard. He keeps presenting all day and his teammates honour that work. His set shot goal kicking in particular was outstanding, starting with a quality “J Curve” in the first term, before slotting two brilliant efforts from tight angles in the third term. His three goal third term was match defining, often on highly respected Gippsland defender Tye Hourigan. In last quarter he showed off ground skills and agility, cleanly picking up a loose ball before snapping his fifth goal over his left shoulder. He presented high up the flanks too with eight inside 50s, finishing with an impressive 19 disposals (17 kicks), 9 marks and 5 goals, 2 behinds. It brings his season tally to 12 goals from five matches and at 194cm, crafty forwards with such stature deserve due consideration.

#17 Tyson Milne

Milne is another St Kilda father-son prospect who is taking full advantage of the Sandringham player exclusions. He is the son of celebrated forward pocket Stephen, but plays off half back and is a different size to his dad standing 184cm. He really impressed both offensively and defensively, holding excellent body positioning one on one and taking the game on with ball in hand. He showed both elements in one play during the third term, holding front position to win a ground intercept, before handballing, getting it back and kicking long to Yorke deep inside 50. He finished with 25 disposals (19 kicks) and seven rebounds in an eye catching display.

#32 Jack Bell

The Vic Metro squad member looks a real talent, but he is raw and will take time to hit his peak. He is your modern prototype ruckman or KPF, 201cm, athletic and moves more like a six foot midfielder. He is strong overhead, possesses lovely skills for his size and is impressively clean at ground level. He took two strong intercept contested marks in the first and third terms and even presented well on the lead when positioned inside 50. You can tell he is confident with his ball use as he attempted the occasional audacious bullet pass inside 50, which is a decision that will mature with time. He finished with 15 disposals, 14 hit outs and got on the end of a goal out the back late in the game.

#33 Corey Watts

Another Vic Metro squad member looking to impress and earn a Championships call up, Watts had the difficult task of manning the much taller Zac Skinner deep in defence. There wasn’t much he could do when Skinner plucked the ball from the highest position, but smart positioning and well timed spoils ensured he had his share of aerial wins one on one. Offensively, he was outstanding, combining great decisions and vision with great effect. He reads the play so well and is a one touch footballer, which gives him much more time than his opponent. He uses it well, but admittedly missed some targets on Sunday. I like him most as a third tall interceptor and he produced a couple of fast forays through the middle of the ground, which he produces consistently when released from a close checking role.

 

Western Jets vs. Bendigo Pioneers
By: Sophie Taylor

Western Jets:

#3 Eddie Ford

Ford was among the Jets’ best against the Pioneers, and did a good job finding space as one of the key ball getters for the Jets. Had a kick on goal in the second but went through for a behind, put some good pressure on the contest while also providing a good kick inside 50 with three inside 50s from 22 touches and five marks.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#1 Sam Conforti

Though not named in the Pioneers’ best on the weekend, Conforti was solid with 27 touches combining well with his midfielders to create options forward. Kicked a goal towards the end of the first to keep the Jets in check, while his six marks and seven tackles were solid in keeping clean possession of the ball as the Jets kicked away. Despite six inside 50s, Conforti’s efforts weren’t enough on the day.

#11 Aaron Gundry

Gundry was another among the best on ground, finishing well with 28 hitouts 19 touches, three marks and four tackles to his name in certainly his best match of the season so far. Also kicked his first goal for the season in the opening term, assisting at both ends well with two rebounds and three inside 50s moving well despite his size.

#17 Logan Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald was best on ground for the Pioneers in a disappointing day out, notching up 29 disposals in another season-high performance. Of 29 touches 19 were handballs, showcasing his ability to feed off into better space putting his clean hands to good use against the pressing defence of the Jets. Picked up some good clearances with six marks, one rebound and two inside 50s, while his pressure on the carrier was solid with six tackles.

#20 James Schischka

The captain had a quieter outing this round, not generating a lot of the footy but putting on some good pressure courtesy of his two tackles, five marks and two rebounds. All of his 10 disposals were kicks, showcasing his ability to create and find space off the man as well as clean hands. Had a kick on goal early but went through for a behind.

#21 Riley Wilson

Wilson was another who piled on some good pressure, racking up 17 touches as he went hard at the footy for five tackles, getting into the scrap well. Clean hands to grab two marks but otherwise didn’t have too much of an impact on the play as the Jets took over.

#22 Josh Treacy

The bottom-ager had a solid match, moving well courtesy of some smooth movement through the midfield and clean ball use. Assisted Gundry in the ruck at times, finished with 12 touches, five marks and three inside 50s as he assisted the mids in their struggle to create opportunities downfield.

#30 Jake Dick-O’Flaherty

An improvement on last week saw Dick-O’Flaherty lift for 16 touches and a dominant seven tackles, going in hard to the contest to win some good ball and create opportunities out of the pack. His disposals were spread evenly for eight kicks and marks apiece, credit to his ability to read the play for the best option in the moment. Also had a kick on goal but couldn’t convert.