Tag: sam de koning

NAB League Boys 2019 Throwback: Round 14 – Chargers, Power cut gap to Ranges

A SATURDAY double-header at Box Hill City Oval held massive finals ramifications in last year’s NAB League competition, kicking off Round 14 in style. Gippsland Power had Oakleigh to thank as the Chargers knocked off ladder leader, Eastern, seeing the two sides close within a game of top spot. Elsewhere, Sandringham kept pace with the leading pack after a thrilling win over Dandenong, while Northern and Calder got the better of their Country opponents, and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) knocked off Geelong. Western Jets enjoyed the bye.

Gippsland and the Tasmania Devils were first to take the field for the weekend, doing battle on neutral territory on Saturday morning. Having fallen just behind at the first break and jolted two goals ahead heading into the last, the second-placed Power found a spark when it mattered to leave Tasmania in their wake. A six-goal final term saw the Victorians coast to a 51-point victory, not indicative of the overall contest, but a sign of their irresistible form in full flight.

Twin talls Josh Smith and Charlie Comben contributed three goals each to the win, with skipper Brock Smith also booting a rare couple of majors from defence to go with 26 touches. Sam Flanders was the leading disposal getter on the day with 28, while fellow draftee Leo Connolly managed 23. Rhyan Mansell and Oliver Davis found the most ball for Tasmania en route to 18 disposals apiece, as the likes of Matt McGuinness (16 disposals, one goal) and Sam Collins (15, one) also fared well.

In the day’s later game, Oakleigh pegged back Eastern’s first quarter jump to get over the line by eight points in what would prove a Grand Final preview. The Chargers took toll in the two terms they held a wind advantage, booting 10 of their 12 goals in the second and fourth quarters to secure a massive result. While they regained the lead with under 20 minutes to play, the Ranges simply could not stop Oakleigh’s onslaught.

A forward from either side put four goals on the board, with Oakleigh 19-year-old Cooper Sharman, and Eastern’s Jordan Jaworski playing their parts. Port draftee Dylan Williams again proved a hero up forward with two important goals from eight touches in his final game for the year, with his co-captain Trent Bianco (34 disposals) the leading ball winner. Cricketing ace Wil Parker was Eastern’s best with 26 touches, while Oakleigh bottom-agers Lochlan Jenkins and Will Phillips also found plenty of the ball with 22 disposals each.

Fast forward to Sunday morning, and Sandringham was made to work for a seven-point win over Dandenong on home turf. After setting up an early lead and holding the ascendancy for the entire match, it seemed the Dragons would coast home to victory at 29 points to the good come the final break. But the Stingrays would not take the loss lying down, piling on five goals in the final 10 minutes to give the scoreless Sandringham an almighty scare.

Future Adelaide top 10 pick Fischer McAsey proved his swingman value in returning a three-goal effort, also dominating the airways with 10 marks. Ashton Williamson booted three majors for Dandenong, as Hayden Young managed two from his team-high 25 disposals. Angus Hanrahan led all comers with 35 disposals and a goal, while the likes of Ryan Byrnes (22 disposals) and Sam De Koning (16) stood strong against good opposition on either side.

Calder’s Bendigo road trip proved a fruitful one, as the Cannons raided the Pioneers’ territory to snatch all four premiership points. Bendigo held a slight advantage early, but could not quite do enough to match Calder’s constant scoreboard pressure. A four-goal to one second term in favour of Calder proved the defining period of play, with Bendigo matching their opponent otherwise in the 20-point defeat.

Diminutive Calder forward Jake Sutton booted a game-high three goals, while teammate and leading ball winner Harrison Minton-Connell notched two from his 34 touches in a day out, and Essendon draftee Harrison Jones also found the goals twice. Bottom-ager Jack Ginnivan repeated the feat for Bendigo alongside Will Wallace, while Ben Worme and Noah Walsh also hit the scoreboard from their team-high 20 disposals each. Carlton draftee Sam Ramsay (28 disposals, one goal) continued his hot form, and Sydney recruit Brady Rowles was kept to 12 touches.

Another Metro team to make the most of its road trip was Northern, who travelled to Shepparton to take on Murray. All of the damage was done in a 10-goal to three opening half from the Knights, as the home side struggled to claw its way back into the contest. The final margin sat at 27 points having gotten out to 44 in the third term, as Northern picked up its seventh victory.

A massive outing from small forward Josh D’Intinosante saw him bag six majors from 18 disposals in a sharp display inside forward 50, with leading target Liam McMahon booting three of his own. Skipper Justin Davies saw the most ball for Northern with 26 disposals alongside Sunny Brazier, with Carlton draftee Sam Philp managing 25. Murray’s co-captains stood up too, with Dylan Clarke (28 disposals) leading all comers, while number four pick Lachlan Ash kicked two goals from his 24. 16-year-old Josh Rachele also showcased his talent with two majors.

The GWV Rebels ensured they would continue the trend of away sides picking up wins, as they comfortably accounted for Geelong to the tune of 35 points. Like many of the Round 14 winners, GWV got off to an ideal start at Kardinia Park on the back of four goals to nil in the opening term. An inaccurate Falcons outfit spurned chances to get back into the match with 2.7 in the third term, as GWV kicked away with another four majors in the last to cruise to victory.

Collingwood slider Jay Rantall was among a quartet of Rebels to claim multiple goals, booting two alongside Glenelg recruit Mitch Martin, while Nick Caris managed a game-high four. 19-year-old Charlie Sprague added another three majors to his season tally for Geelong, while bottom-ager Noah Gribble had 28 disposals to lead all comers, and skipper Jesse Clark managed 25 in the losing effort.

NAB League Boys 2019 Throwback: Round 6 – Academies bow out, Stingrays go top

FANS, recruiters, and pundits alike were treated to another eight games in Round 6 of the 2019 NAB League, with the early-May weekend serving as the last for each of the five Northern Academies’ cameos. Reigning premier Dandenong broke clear as the sole undefeated side left, while Gold Coast was crowned the Academy Series victor via percentage after Sydney lost its only game for the season. A thrilling finals preview also went down as Gippsland and Eastern battled it out, with the Power getting the better of the eventual premiers on home turf.

The round kicked off in North Hobart, with Tasmania playing host to the heavily-depleted Oakleigh Chargers on Saturday morning. It was the visitors who managed to scrape home in a nail-biting, low-scoring slog by the slimmest of margins, overcoming a half-time deficit to keep the Devils at bay. Winning skipper Trent Bianco, the only national draftee afield dominated with 42 disposals as he stepped-up in the absence of some key personnel.

Fellow top-ager Josh May was also influential with 28 touches, while bottom-aged midfielder Fraser Elliot had it 23 times, and Thomas Lovell put in his best shift for the season with four majors. For the Devils, Harrison Ireland was named best for his work as an undersized ruck, with bottom-age gun Oliver Davis getting to work at ground level with a team-high 21 touches, and fellow Allies Hub member Sam Collins not far behind on 18.

The GWS Academy and Murray Bushrangers went to battle on the New South Wales-Victorian border at midday, with the GIANTS coming away with their second win from five attempts. It was a well drawn out win for the ‘away’ side in its home state, leading at every break but being made to earn the 11-point victory. In another game headlined by the dominance of a future draftee, Tom Green amassed 37 touches for the GIANTS in a mammoth performance.

Over-agers Jeromy Lucas (33 disposals) and Ed Perryman (31) were not far behind, while Harry Grant put in a big shift for 3.2 from his 23 touches, and 2020 19-year-old hopefuls Matt McGrory and Liam Delahunty also got busy. Green’s current GIANTS teammate Lachlan Ash collected 27 touches and booted a goal as Murray’s skipper, aided by Dylan Clarke and Cam Wild who matched his ball-winning output. Jimmy Boyer also impressed with three goals from over 20 disposals, while former GWS Academy member Charlie Byrne had 20 touches exactly.

Saturday’s final fixture took the competition back down to Victoria, as Calder and Bendigo met at Highgate Reserve. It was the Cannons’ day in another low-scoring affair, leading relatively comfortably at every break to eek out a 16-point win over the Pioneers on home turf. The leading Calder draft candidate to that point, Daniel Mott led the way with 36 disposals and a goal in a game which featured just two eventual draftees.

Jacob Martin enjoyed a breakout performance, racking up 36 touches of his own alongside Mott, while skipper Brodie Newman had 21 from defence and Carlton recruit Sam Ramsay had 16 on the same line. James Schischka was Bendigo’s leading ball winner with 20 disposals, with Sydney draftee Brady Rowles collecting his season-high haul of 17 in tricky conditions.

Heading up north to South Pine in the Sunshine State, Gold Coast took out the overall Academy Series with a well-earned 14-point victory over the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The visitors pushed the talented academy prospects all the way despite trailing for the game’s entirety, with captain and SUNS AFL rookie Connor Budarick capping off a stellar month with another terrific performance.

His 23 disposals led all comers, with the exciting Hewago Paul Oea managing 19 and two goals, while Ashton Crossley provided good fold in midfield with 19 touches. Bottom-ager Max Pescud booted a game-high four majors, matched by Rebels’ Nick Caris in his second consecutive four-goal game. 2020 over-age hopeful Isaac Wareham notched two goals of his own, with fellow Vic Country representative Mitch Martin also impressing, but Jay Rantall kept quiet at just 14 disposals.

Completing the South Pine double-header were the Brisbane Lions Academy and Dandenong Stingrays, with the visitors claiming a resounding 71-point win on their travels up north. After a low-scoring first half, the Stingrays clicked into gear after the main break with 10 goals to one to comfortably ensure they would remain undefeated and atop the NAB League ladder.

Brisbane skipper Will Martyn stood tall in the defeat with a typically professional 32-disposal performance, with fellow Richmond draftee Noah Cumberland (26 disposals) also returning a good shift. 19-year-old Tom Matthews matched Cumberland’s effort, with bottom-agers Will Tasker and Tahj Abberley also impressing. For Dandenong, new Bulldog Cody Weightman bagged three goals, while fellow draftees Hayden Young (28 disposals), Sam De Koning (17, seven marks) Ned Cahill (21, 1 goal) strutted their stuff. Bottom-ager Clayton Gay was another to catch the eye, booting two goals from 21 touches.

A touch earlier and back in Victoria, the Geelong Falcons proved too good for the previously undefeated Sydney Swans Academy in their clash on neutral territory, upsetting the northern hopefuls with a 31-point win. The home side’s four-goal to one fourth term sealed the final margin, with the contest a touch tighter to that point.

It was the bottom-ager who stole the show in this clash, as Ollie Henry booted four goals for the Falcons alongside Charlie Brauer‘s two, while Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden both managed 22 disposals and a goal each. Geelong captain Jesse Clark was the leading ball winner on the ground with 25 touches, followed closely by Sydney top-ager Sam Thorne (24).

Not much may have been expected of the Gippsland-Eastern clash coming into the season, but it proved to be a belting finals preview as the Power took out the four points in Morwell. The game was tight the whole way through, with the high-quality contest ending in a 10-point triumph to the home side.

As had been the case in previous fixtures, the cream rose to the top as Sam Flanders (25 disposals, two goals), Brock Smith (27 disposals), and Fraser Phillips (20 disposals, three goals) all enjoyed fantastic outings for the winners. The midfield trio of Zak Pretty (28 disposals), Lachlan Stapleton (28), and Mitch Mellis (21) was just as handy for Eastern, while forwards Bailey White and Ben Hickleton notched three goals apiece.

The final game of the round saw a seventh venue used in Ikon Park, as the Northern Knights held off a fast-finishing Northern Territory Thunder Academy. A six-goal third term saw the Knights double their goal tally, and it set up a match-defining margin as they went on to salute to the tune of 38 points. The NT’s campaign would finish winless, but not for a lack of trying and talent.

Josh D’Intinosante and Jackson Davies both had a good amount of ball while also booting two goals each for the winners, while 2020 Vic Metro Hub member Liam McMahon also managed two goals from his 15 disposals and eight marks. Ben Jungfer was the Thunder’s leading ball winner with 22 touches, but it was Malcolm Rosas Jnr who shone with 21 and two goals, while Joel Jeffrey found the ball 21 times, Beau O’Connell 19, and Brodie Lake 16.

NAB League Boys 2019 Throwback: Round 3 – First draw of the season in Country Triple Header

IN an action-packed nine games of NAB League Boys action, spectators witnessed the season’s first draw at Queen Elizabeth Oval in Bendigo as part of a huge triple header for the six country teams. The round also included a double header at Trevor Barker Oval the day before, while the Northern Academies went head-to-head across the nation, and the standalone game at RAMS Arena was a close one.

Opening up the round in Sandringham with the double header changed from Preston was the Northern Knights taking on Eastern Ranges. From the start it was clear the Ranges were going to be too strong, and by half-time led by 26 points. It would only get worse for the Knights in the second half, as Eastern piled on 7.9 to 0.2, to run away 75-point winners.

Mitch Mellis was best on ground with three goals from 29 touches, six marks, six tackles, two clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while the likes of Zakery Pretty (26 disposals, five marks, three tackles, nine clearances and three inside 50s) and James Ross (30 disposals, three marks, three clearances, five inside 50s and two rebounds) were not too far behind. Connor Downie (25 touches, five marks, five inside 50s and a goal), Josh Clarke (24 touches, five inside 50s and three rebounds) and Lachlan Gawel (21 disposals, six marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and a goal) were all prolific, while Cody Hirst (19 disposals, five marks, nine tackles, five inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal) looked impressive in one of his few games prior to being drafted by Sydney.

Sam Philp was a clear standout for the losing side as he amassed 26 touches, five marks, nine tackles, four inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal. Ryan Gardner (23 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and three rebounds) worked hard on the outside, Josh D’Intinosante (21 disposals, five marks, nine tackles, four clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal) was busy through midfield, and Jackson Davies (20 disposals, six marks and five rebounds) did his best in defence.

The second game at Trevor Barker Oval was much closer with perennial rivals and premiership contenders, Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers going at it. The end result was a 10-point win to the Dragons after booting five goals to two in the middle two quarters and then holding off a Chargers comeback to grab the bragging rights, 9.11 (65) to 8.7 (55).

Jack Mahony led the way for his side with 25 touches, five marks, five tackles, three clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, teaming up well in midfield with Finn Maginness (24 disposals, two marks, three tackles, four clearances, six inside 50s and a goal) and Ryan Byrnes (21 disposals, four marks, three clearances, six inside 50s and two rebounds). Josh Worrell was a rock in defence thanks to 23 touches, four marks, four tackles and five rebounds, while up forward, Charlie Dean continued his good form with 16 disposals, six marks and two goals.

It was no surprise to see who led the way despite the loss for the Chargers with Matt Rowell (31 disposals, seven marks, 11 tackles, eight clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds) dominating alongside Noah Anderson (26 disposals, two marks, six tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s, four rebounds and two goals). Future Magpie, Trent Bianco picked up 26 disposals, seven marks, four inside 50s and five rebounds, while bottom-age talent, Will Phillips had 21 touches, seven marks and three tackles of his own. Dylan Williams booted three goals from nine disposals and four marks up forward.

Up at RAMS Arena, Calder Cannons kicked away in the final term against Western Jets to win by 12 points in what was a thrilling contest. It was only a two goals to one final quarter, but that was enough to see the home side in front at the final siren after leading by just three points at the final break. Western had worked its way back into the game after trailing by 19 and 15 points at the quarter time and half-time breaks respectively, but would ultimately not do enough to get the points in the end.

Cannons captain Daniel Mott had the ball on a string thanks to 32 disposals, seven marks, four tackles, seven clearances, five inside 50s, four rebounds and two goals, while Harrison Minton-Connell joined him with leather poisoning after 30 disposals, six marks, six tackles, seven clearances, two inside 50s, two rebounds and a goal. Flynn Lakey (26 disposals, five marks, four clearances and two rebounds) and Jake Sutton (18 disposals, seven marks, three clearances and six inside 50s) were busy, while Harrison Jones showed off his versatility after 17 disposals, eight marks, four hitouts and three inside 50s.

Darcy Cassar and Josh Kellett were saviours in the defensive 50, combining for 44 disposals, 12 marks and 15 rebounds in a hard working effort for the Jets. Up forward, excitement machine Eddie Ford had 16 touches, four marks, three tackles, two clearances and three inside 50s, while Will Kennedy racked up a whopping 41 hitouts to go with 15 rouches, five marks, four inside 50s and three rebounds. Of the future draftees, Josh Honey had 14 disposals, three marks, six tackles, three inside 50s and a goal, while Emerson Jeka took six marks from nine touches and laid three tackles.

Heading north to Yeronga, the Gold Coast Suns Academy booted the last six goals of the game and five goals to zero in the final term, to post a 10.10 (70) to 5.12 (42) victory over cross-state rivals, Brisbane Lions Academy. The Lions had led by two points at the final break, but it was all Gold Coast in the last term as they ran away with the points.

Ashton Crossley racked up 31 touches, four marks, 10 clearances and two inside 50s, teaming up well with future Sun, Connor Budarick (26 disposals, three marks, five tackles, three clearances and six inside 50s) and bottom-age talent, Alex Davies (22 disposals, three marks, five inside 50s and three rebounds). Josh Gore booted three majors from 12 disposals and seven marks, while another future senior Sun in Matthew Conroy kicked two last quarter goals from eight touches, three marks and 25 hitouts. Hewago Paul Oea was also lively with 17 disposals, three marks, eight inside 50s and a goal.

For the Lions, Tom Griffiths (27 disposals, five marks and four rebounds) and Bruce Reville (26 disposals, eight marks, five tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds) had the most touches, while Saxon Crozier (19 disposals, nine marks, three tackles, two clearances and two inside 50s) and Ethan Hunt (18 disposals, six marks, three inside 50s and six rebounds) were also busy. Future Tigers, Noah Cumberland (13 disposals, four clearances and six inside 50s) and Will Martyn (12 disposals, five tackles) played in the match as well.

In another dominant performance late, Sydney Swans Academy stormed past GWS GIANTS to win by 59 points in Canberra. The Swans trailed at quarter time and half-time, but piled on 12 goals to two in the second half to run away with the contest and gain some serious bragging rights early in the Academy Series.

It was a strong team effort from the Swans, with Jackson Barling (24 disposals, six marks, four tackles and three clearances) and Lachlan Swaney (22 disposals, three marks, five tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s and a goal) both prominent. Captain Sam Thorne (19 touches, six tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s) was busy, while Harrison Parker and Braeden Campbell both booted three goals in the win.

For the GIANTS it was all about Tom Green who racked up 28 touches, six marks, eight clearances, three inside 50s and a goal, while Jeromy Lucas (25 touches, four marks, five clearances and four inside 50s) and James Peatling (24 touches, seven marks, four tackles, five clearances, six inside 50s and two goals) provided support. Liam Delahunty (10 touches, six marks and two goals) was busy up forward, while Nick Murray (15 disposals, seven marks and nine rebounds) stood tall under siege in defence.

Heading into the city for a clash between Northern territory and Tasmania, it was the Devils who came away with their first win after a slow start. Trailing by 10 points at the first break, Tasmania piled on 12 goals to three after that to finish with a commanding 13.14 (92) to 6.8 (44) victory over the Thunder.

Leading draft prospect, Mitch O’Neill had the ball on a string with 35 disposals, three marks, four clearances, nine inside 50s and three rebounds, as Rhyan Mansell (23 disposals, four marks, four tackles, seven inside 50s and a goal) and Oliver Davis (22 disposals, six marks, three tackles, four clearances and six inside 50s) provided great service to the forwards. Bottom-age key forward Jackson Callow showed just what he was capable of with five majors from 19 disposals and eight marks, while Matthew McGuinness was a reliever in defence with 18 disposals, three marks and five rebounds.

All eyes were on Richmond father-son bottom-age prospect Maurice Rioli Jnr for the Thunder, and he had 13 disposals, two marks, six tackles, four clearances and five inside 50s in a lively display. Others who impressed included Stephen Cumming (22 disposals, 40 hitouts and nine clearances), and bottom-age hopefuls, Joel Jeffrey (20 disposals, seven marks, seven rebounds and a goal), Isaac Seden-Kurnoth (18 disposals, nine tackles and five rebounds) and Brodie Lake (15 disposals, six marks and six rebounds).

Heading up the highway to Bendigo, the country triple header took place at Queen Elizabeth Oval. The Pioneers were battling against premiership contender, Gippsland Power and had themselves right in the contest until the final term. The Power led by just one point at the last break, but piled on 4.5 to 1.0 in the last quarter to run away with a 12.10 (82) to 8.10 (58) victory.

Future first round pick, Caleb Serong helped himself to 23 disposals, five marks, three tackles, seven clearances, four inside 50s, four rebounds and two goals, while another first round selection in Sam Flanders amassed 20 touches, two marks, three tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s. Ryan Sparkes (21 disposals, five marks and six inside 50s), Sam Berry (20 disposals, three tackles, six clearances, three inside 50s and a goal), Kyle Dunkley (15 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, six clearances, three inside 50s and a goal) and Leo Connolly (15 disposals, two marks, four inside 50s and six rebounds) were among the best across the four quarters, while Fraser Phillips booted three goals from 12 touches and four marks.

Bendigo’s own future first round pick in Brodie Kemp had a day out with 21 disposals, four marks, three tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s and a goal, teaming up well in midfield with Sam Conforti (22 disposals, four marks, three tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds) and Jeremy Rodi (19 disposals, four marks, four tackles, three clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds). Riley Wilson (14 disposals, five tackles, five clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds) was prominent in midfield, while Logan Fitzgerald and Brady Rowles combined for 26 disposals and nine rebounds in defence.

The second game was the best of the lot, with Dandenong Stingrays splitting the points with Geelong Falcons. In a wind-affected day, the see-sawing contested had everyone on the edge of their seat. Trailing by 30 points at the final break but with the wind behind their backs, the Stingrays booted 5.6 to 1.0 and managed to draw level at 12.11 (83) apiece thanks to a kick after the siren.

Ned Cahill had 24 disposals, four marks, five tackles, four clearances and eight inside 50s, as all of Dandenong’s future draftees stood out. Hayden Young had 22 disposals, five marks, three clearances, five inside 50s and five rebounds, Cody Weightman had 20 touches, three marks, five clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal, and Sam De Koning picked up 17 disposals, three marks, four hitouts and two goals, switching into attack in the last quarter and being a huge influence on the result.

The game was unfortunately the last for Geelong’s sole draftee, Cooper Stephens who broke his leg in the first term and would not play another game in season 2019. Jesse Clark (26 disposals, four marks and 11 rebounds) and Charlie Harris (24 touches, eight marks and five rebounds) worked hard, while bottom-agers, Noah Gribble (22 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s and a goal) and Charlie Lazzaro (19 disposals, nine tackles and seven inside 50s) were among their side’s best.

In the final game of the round, Murray Bushrangers came back from a goal down at the final break to find their kicking boots and defeat Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels by seven points. The Bushrangers had booted 6.12 to three quarter time – four more scoring shots than their opponents – but trailed them by a goal. They picked it up in the final term to slot 3.3 to 1.2 and record a 9.15 (69) to 9.8 (62) victory.

Lachlan Ash had a team-high 28 disposals, six marks, four tackles, seven inside 50s and seven rebounds, while Jye Chalcraft (22 disposals, five marks, six tackles, three clearance and five inside 50s) and Jimmy Boyer (22 disposals, nine marks and two rebounds) found plenty of the ball. In midfield, Cameron Wild (20 disposals, four marks, three clearances and seven inside 50s) and Dylan Clarke (17 disposals, three marks, four tackles, six clearances and three inside 50s) were strong.

Jay Rantall was a clear standout for the Rebels, amassing an impressive 31 touches, three marks, five tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s, two rebounds and two goals in a complete game. Mitch Martin (22 disposals, 10 marks, four tackles, five clearances, six inside 50s and two goals) was also impressive, while James Cleaver and Emmanuel Ajang combined for 33 disposals, 10 marks and 13 rebounds in defence.

Classic Contests: Stingrays and Falcons play out first draw of season

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in a new series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 3 clashes in the NAB League this year between Dandenong Stingrays and Geelong Falcons. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2019, where these two teams faced off in a wind-swept game in Bendigo to eventually split the points.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.0 | 7.4 | 7.5 | 12.11 (83)
GEELONG FALCONS 5.5 | 6.6 | 11.11 | 12.11 (83)

Round 3 | Saturday, April 7, 2019
Queen Elizabeth Oval, 12.30pm

The reigning premiers, Dandenong Stingrays headed into the Round 3 clash undefeated, but only just. They had survived a comeback against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels by a goal, then won in a thriller against Murray Bushrangers by five points just a round earlier. The Falcons had lost in heart-breaking circumstances to the Rebels in Round 2, but it was a much better effort than their Round 1 thumping at the hands of Bendigo Pioneers. Nonetheless, Dandenong headed in as favourites based on overall form, though the weather threatened to make it challenging for all involved.

Geelong had the breeze in the opening term and had plenty of chances, booting 5.5 from 10 scoring opportunities, though it was Dandenong’s accuracy – three goals from as many scoring shots – that had the Stingrays buoyant early on. It took Dandenong six minutes to get the early chance in the second term as Cody Weightman kicked a ripper to cut the deficit to 10 points. Melbourne-listed Austin Bradtke made it two consecutive goals for the Stingrays and the teams were separated by just a kick, before Oliver Henry steadied the ship with an important goal – his second of the contest. It would be Geelong’s only major of the term, as Dandenong added two more, with Corey Ellison booting his second and Reece Orchard his first in the last minute for the Stingrays to hit the front by four points at half-time.

Regaining the benefit of the breeze, Henry converted his third and fourth goals either side of a Mitch Langan major. Gennaro Bove and Sheldon Ham soon joined the party and the Falcons had five consecutive goals on the board and led by 30 points at the main break in what was truly a complete domination and utilising the breeze to perfection. Trailing by five goals at the last change, Dandenong Stingrays made a swap, throwing key defender Sam De Koning into attack for the last term to provide a target with the wind in their favour. It seemed only a matter of time before the Stingrays began to chase the Falcons down, and Nathan Heath was the first on the board in the opening three minutes, before De Koning converted in the 10th minute shortly after a behind and the deficit was 15 points with 15 minutes on the clock.

Out of nowhere and against the run of play, Henry stepped up for the Falcons and booted a crucial fifth goal to push the margin back out to 21 – it would be Geelong’s last score for the game. Dandenong relentlessly attacked as De Koning kicked a second major, while Luca Goonan also made good on a chance. With five minutes left, Ned Cahill missed and the margin was a flat six points. The ball was camped inside Dandenong’s forward line for the last five minutes, with plenty of chances to rush through a crucial behind, but the Stingrays were going all-out, though as it would show in hindsight, a behind could have won them the game. Instead, it took until a mark just seconds before the siren – to Heath – before a result would be decided. He calmly came in slotted the goal with Dandenong celebrating. It had been a terrific comeback, but at the end of the day, both teams split the points and it was a deserving finish to a game of that quality.

Henry deservingly finished as the standout player on the ground with 11 touches, seven marks and five goals in such challenging conditions. Jesse Clark had 26 disposals, four marks and 11 rebounds, working hard defensively with Keidan Rayner (16 disposals, three marks and five rebounds) and Charlie Harris (24 disposals, eight marks and five rebounds). In the forward half, Noah Gribble (22 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s and a goal) was busy, while Chas Karpala (20 disposals, 10 tackles), Charlie Lazzaro (19 disposals, seven clearances and nine tackles) and Ham (15 disposals, five inside 50s and a goal) were also among the best.

For the Stingrays, future Bomber, Cahill had 24 disposals, four marks, five tackles, four clearances and eight inside 50s through the midfield, working well with the skill of Hayden Young (22 disposals, five marks, three clearances, five inside 50s and five rebounds) and the X-factor of Weightman (20 disposals, three marks, five clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal). De Koning finished the game with 17 touches, three marks and two goals, while Mitch Riordan had 16 disposals, four marks, seven tackles, four clearances and three inside 50s. Ellison (three goals), Goonan (two) and Heath (two) were the multiple goalkickers with De Koning, while Jack Toner was busy with 13 disposals, four clearances and five inside 50s.

Dandenong Stingrays would end up reaching the first week of finals before losing to Calder Cannons, while Geelong Falcons’ season would end at the hands of Sandringham Dragons in Wildcard Round.

NAB League Boys 2019 Throwback: Round 2 – Academies join competition

ROUND 2 last year will be forever known as the return of Allied teams to the Victorian Under-18 boys competition. While some states have participated in past years on and off, all four northern Academies, along with Northern Territory Thunder joined the competition. Tasmania Devils also joined in, but on a full-time basis, with the Devils playing their first official match in the round across a whopping nine games.

Kicking off the round as part of a Triple Header at Blacktown, Tasmania travelled north for its first game, coming up against Sydney Swans Academy. The Devils had to wait until the second term to score, as the Swans booted 3.7 before Nicholas Baker made history as the first official goalkicker for the Devils. A goal to Jye Menzie just 19 seconds into the third term saw the margin cut as little as five points, but that was as close as it got for the rest of the game as the Swans booted the last three goals of the term to be 26 points up at the final break. Jackson Callow converted another major in the opening minute of the final term to give his team a sniff, and by the time Will Harper put his second on the board, the margin was just nine points with 14 minutes remaining. Unfortunately for the visitors, Marc Sheather kicked a settling goal to help ease the pressure and the Swans got up by 14 points.

Bottom-age talent, Errol Gulden had a day out with 33 disposals, six marks, three tackles, two clearances, eight inside 50s, four rebounds and two goals, with Sam Thorne (23 disposals, four marks, four clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal) also prominent for the Swans. Another talented bottom ager in Braeden Campbell collected 15 disposals, three marks, eight tackles and five inside 50s, while Kyle McKellar and Jackson Barling were also impressive. For the Devils, overager Matthew McGuinness picked up 27 disposals, seven marks and seven rebounds, working hard with Patrick Walker (25 disposals, seven marks and seven rebounds) and Sam Collins (23 disposals, five marks and nine rebounds) in defence. The Devils’ top rated prospect, Mitch O’Neill helped himself to 21 touches, nine tackles, 12 clearances, six inside 50s and three rebounds in the loss.

In the next game at Blacktown, the Brisbane Lions Academy fought back from a disappointing first quarter to down the GIANTS Academy, winning 14.12 (96) to 10.10 (70). GWS led by 19 points at quarter time, but a six goals to three second term had Brisbane just three points down by the main break. A seven goals to three second half saw the Lions run over the top of the GIANTS despite the best efforts of GIANTS star, Tom Green (29 disposals – 18 contested – nine clearances, seven inside 50s, four rebounds and three tackles).

Will Martyn (30 disposals, nine marks, five clearances, five inside 50s and a goal) was busy, as was the likes of Tom Griffiths (20 disposals, six marks and four tackles), Ethan Hunt (19 disposals) and Bruce Reville (16 disposals, eight marks and five inside 50s). Aside from Green, Jeromy Lucas had his fair share of the ball with 24 touches, four marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and a goal, while Matt McGrory (18 disposals, seven clearances and four inside 50s), Nick Murray (19 disposals, 10 marks), Lachlan Squire (15 disposals, seven clearances and four inside 50s) and Liam Delahunty (15 disposals, seven marks, three inside 50s and three goals) all impressed.

Rounding out the triple header at Blacktown, Gold Coast Suns Academy never looked like losing to Northern Territory. The Suns piled on eight goals to one in the opening half, and while the Thunder hit back in the third term to cut the deficit to 31 points, Gold Coast stepped up again to boot three goals to one in the final term and win by 44 points.

Ashton Crossley had 27 disposals and seven clearances through the midfield, while top prospect, Connor Budarick racked up 22 touches, six marks, nine tackles, five inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal across the ground. Bottom-age talent, Alex Davies had 22 touches, nine clearances, four tackles and four inside 50s, while Max Pescud (20 touches, three clearances and three inside 50s), Hewago Paul Oea (16 disposals, five marks, six inside 50s and a goal) and Josh Gore (15 touches, three marks, seven tackles and three goals) all looked lively. Future Sun, Matthew Conroy looked strong through the ruck with 22 hitouts from 15 touches, three marks and a goal.

Heading down to Victoria and Dandenong Stingrays caused a boil-over against premiership contenders, Gippsland Power. The reigning premiers had a new-look line-up after the 2018 success, but started strongly to lead by a goal at quarter time. Gippsland hit the front to have the advantage by half-time, but it flipped again by the last break with the Stingrays in front by four points. When Bailey Schmidt kicked a goal with six minutes to play, the Stingrays hit the front and never surrendered it in a match that had a whopping 11 lead changes.

Mitch Riordan picked up 23 disposals, three marks, five tackles, four clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds in one of his few games before being selected in the mid-season draft, as captain Hayden Young was strong off half-back with 21 disposals, four marks, five tackles and three rebounds. Jack Toner (19 touches, two marks, five tackles, five clearances and seven inside 50s) had a truckload of the ball, while future first round pick, Cody Weightman racked up 14 disposals, five marks, six tackles and a goal. Other future draftees who played in the game included Ned Cahill (12 disposals, seven tackles and a goal), Bigoa Nyuon (six disposals, four marks, four tackles and a goal) and Sam De Koning (four disposals).

For the Power, first round picks Sam Flanders (23 disposals, four marks, four tackles, eight clearances, four inside 50s and a goal) and Caleb Serong (21 disposals, nine tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s) were prominent. Another mid-season recruit in Kyle Dunkley (20 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s) was lively again, while Leo Connolly (16 disposals, three marks and six rebounds), Fraser Phillips (15 disposals, three tackles, four inside 50s and three rebounds) and Harrison Pepper (14 disposals, two marks, two tackles, three clearances and one goal) were among other future draftees who impressed.

In the other Saturday game, Murray Bushrangers had a second heart-breaking loss in a row, losing by five points to Bendigo Pioneers after dropping their first game by under a kick. They led by 18 points at the first change, but the Pioneers booted three goals to zero in the second term to lead by half-time, and then a see-sawing contest ensued with the Pioneers saluting in a thrilling game.

Thomson Dow was busy with 24 disposals, four marks, four tackles, seven clearances and a goal, as fellow first round pick, Brodie Kemp had a strong day out with 17 touches, four marks, three tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s and a goal. Future Swan, Brady Rowles would have 12 touches, two clearances and two inside 50s, while Logan Fitzgerald (22 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and four rebounds) had plenty of the ball. Cam Wild was the prominent ball winner with 30 touches, seven marks, seven tackles, seven clearances, three inside 50s and six rebounds, while top five pick Lachlan Ash had 26 touches, eight marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and seven rebounds. Jye Chalcraft (26 touches, four marks, six clearances and two goals), Will Quirk (23 disposals, 10 marks) and Elijah Hollands (22 disposals, three marks and a goal) were also impressive.

Looking to Sunday, Sandringham Dragons continued their form to start the season with a comfortable 43-point win over Northern Knights. The Dragons booted six goals to two in the opening half and then kept their opponents at arms-length after that to secure a strong win in the first of two games at Trevor Barker Oval.

Ryan Byrnes picked up 24 touches, two marks, four tackles and six clearances, as Louis Butler looked lively across the ground thanks to 18 disposals, three marks, three inside 50s and four rebounds. Jack Mahony (17 disposals, four marks, seven tackles, four clearances and six inside 50s), Hugo Ralphsmith (17 disposals, three marks), Josh Worrell (17 disposals, seven marks and three rebounds) and Finn Maginness (14 disposals, six tackles and four inside 50s) were among future draftees to win plenty of the ball as Charlie Dean caught attention with four majors from 15 touches and eight marks. Adam Carafa (28 disposals, three marks, 11 tackles, seven clearances and four inside 50s) and Sam Philp (18 disposals, eight marks and five clearances) were busy through midfield, while Ryan Gardner (19 disposals, five inside 50s) worked the outside and Ryan Sturgess (22 touches, eight rebounds) was strong in defence.

A dominant six goals to zero first term set Eastern Ranges up for an impressive 63-point win over Western in the second game of a double header at Trevor Barker Oval. With 13 scoring shots to one in the first term, the margin could have been bigger than the 42 points, and while Western managed to stem the bleeding after that, the Ranges had opened up a 58-point lead by the final break to ensure they would enjoy a big win.

Mitch Mellis (35 disposals, four marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and three goals) and Lachlan Stapleton (33 disposals, four marks, eight tackles, six clearances and 10 inside 50s) ran rampant as future Swan, Cody Hirst (29 disposals, eight marks, four tackles and three rebounds) and inside midfielder, Zakery Pretty (23 disposals, two marks, five clearances and five inside 50s were also prominent. Bottom-ager Josh Clarke work hard with his run-and-carry picking up 15 disposals, five marks, six inside 50s and a goal, while Josh Tilly capped off his day with three majors. For the Jets, Darcy Cassar had the ball on a string from defence, racking up 31 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and nine rebounds, working in tandem with Daly Andrews (24 disposals, six marks, five clearances, three inside 50s and eight rebounds). Josh Kellett was instrumental mopping up in defence as well with 12 rebounds to go with his 20 touches in the defeat.

In the final game of the round, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels put the Round 1 heart-breaking loss to Dandenong Stingrays to the back of their mind as they came from behind to down the Geelong Falcons by a point in a thrilling contest. Darcy McEldrew kicked the winning goal late in the fourth term to get his side over the line. Jay Rantall was enormous in his second game for the Rebels, racking up 24 disposals, three marks, six tackles, six clearances, seven inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal, while James Cleaver booted two majors from 17 touches in his new role up forward. Cooper Craig-Peters impressive with six clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds from 19 disposals and eight tackles, while Riley Polkinghorne had seven rebounds working hard out of defence.

Cooper Stephens led from the front in his last full game prior to injury, amassing a game-high 28 touches, four marks, five tackles, four clearances and a goal, while Charlie Lazzaro worked hard as a bottom-ager to pick up 26 touches, four marks, five clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Out of defence, Keidan Rayner racked up 10 rebounds with his 25 disposals, while Jesse Clark had nine and 16 respectively. Also busy but in the other half of the ground was Charlie Sprague (23 disposals, three marks and seven inside 50s).

NAB League Boys 2019 Throwback: Round 1 – Future Blues light up Ikon Park

A SPIRITED comeback from the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels was not enough to see them topple the Dandenong Stingrays in the opening round of the 2019 season. The Stingrays led by as much as 36 points at the 15-minute mark of the third term, before the Rebels bolted home to boot eight of the last 12 goals to get within eight points with eight minutes remaining in the game. Unfortunately for the home side, they could only manage back-to-back behinds on the day.

Captain and top prospect, Hayden Young had 15 disposals, five marks, four tackles and seven rebounds in the Stingrays’ win, while the talented Cody Weightman had 12 disposals, two tackles, three inside 50s and a goal. It was Lachlan Williams in defence who was instrumental with 23 disposals and 11 rebounds, as bottom-age talent Clayton Gay had a big game across the ground, picking up 20 disposals, three marks, three inside 50s, two rebounds and two goals. Future draftees, Bigoa Nyuon (seven disposals, three marks, 13 hitouts, four inside 50s and two goals) and Ned Cahill (nine disposals, two marks, three tackles and two goals) had an impact, and Sam De Koning (six disposals, three hitouts, one rebound) also played in the match. Mitchell Riordan also started his overage year positively – though he would only be at the club for another month and a half before heading north – picking up 16 touches, four marks, three tackles, six clearances and five inside 50s.

A former Australian basketballer by the name of Jay Rantall made his debut for the GWV Rebels, picking up 24 touches and having five clearances in a strong performance through the midfield group. Cooper Craig-Peters led the way with 30 disposals (16 contested), 10 tackles, 10 clearances, four inside 50s and a goal, while Mitch Martin (24 disposals, four clearances, seven inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal) and Matty Lloyd (26 disposals, nine marks, three clearances, four inside 50s and three goals) also impressed despite the loss.

The next day, Murray Bushrangers and Gippsland Power engaged in an equally tough tussle at Rams Arena, where Will Chandler had the ball in the dying seconds, but was just a touch too far out to score as the Bushrangers went down by three points. The Bushrangers had been in front by that margin at quarter time and half-time against the title-contending Power team, and even led by as much as five points at the final break. But the only goal of the final term went to the Power in what was a struggle between two top defences in the 10.9 (69) to 8.12 (66) defeat.

Kyle Dunkley made onlookers check twice when they saw the former Oakleigh Chargers forward dominating through the midfield for Gippsland on his way to 21 disposals, six marks, seven tackles, three clearances, six inside 50s and three goals in what would prove to be one of only a handful of outings at NAB League level, switching RAMS Arena for Etihad Stadium. Without Caleb Serong, it was Sam Flanders who brought the highlights, picking up 19 disposals, two marks, five tackles, six clearances and six inside 50s, while Ryan Sparkes had the most touches with 26 disposals, three marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and eight rebounds. Charlie Comben returned for a modest three touches, two marks and 11 hitouts, while other future draftees who played in the game included Brock Smith (18 disposals, four marks and four rebounds), Harrison Pepper (13 disposals, six marks and four tackles), Leo Connolly (10 disposals, two marks) and Fraser Phillips (five disposals, two marks and one goal).

It was no surprise to see future GIANT, Lachlan Ash having a big day out for Murray with 24 disposals, eight marks, six tackles, two clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while the midfield duo of Dylan Clarke (24 touches, five marks, four tackles, five clearances and five inside 50s) and Cameron Wild (22 disposals, five marks, five inside 50s and four rebounds) were productive. Co-captain Cameron Wilson slotted three goals in a big game up forward with 21 disposals, seven marks and five inside 50s, while bottom-age talent Elijah Hollands showed off his class with 15 disposals, 10 marks, four inside 50s and a goal.

At RSEA Park, premiership contenders Sandringham Dragons made an early statement on the competition with a big win over Calder. The Dragons had a host of draftable prospects heading into the year and destroyed Calder Cannons by 109 points. It was the likes of future Saint, Ryan Byrnes (26 disposals, five marks, four tackles, five clearances, six inside 50s and a goal) and future Hawk, Finn Maginness (23 disposals, three marks, seven tackles, six clearances and a goal) who shone. Louis Butler (22 disposals) and Miles Bergman (16) both had strong games, as top 10 pick Fischer McAsey had two rebounds from 14 disposals and five marks in what was a pretty comfortable day to be a Dragons defender. Instead it was Charlie Dean‘s five goals that stole the show. For the Cannons, future draftees Sam Ramsay (23 disposals, three marks and a goal) and Harrison Jones (12 disposals, three marks and six hitouts) both played, while Tye Browning and Daniel Mott did all they could sharing in 24 disposals each, with Mott also having four clearances and six inside 50s.

A full-strength Oakleigh Chargers also had an impressive win in the first match of the season against a far-from-disgraced Eastern Ranges outfit. Top two picks, Matt Rowell (21 touches, five tackles, four clearances and one goal) and Noah Anderson (26 disposals, five marks, five clearances, six inside 50s and four goals) were the best, as Joe Ayton-Delaney picked up a game-high 32 touches as well as nine clearances, four inside 50s and five rebounds. The likes of future draftees, Trent Bianco (22 disposals, four marks, three tackles and three clearances) and Dylan Williams (19 disposals, five clearances, six inside 50s and a goal) were also prominent. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan made his Oakleigh debut but was quiet with four touches and two marks, though fellow bottom-age prospect Will Phillips was solid with 17 disposals and five tackles. Future draftees Nick Bryan (10 disposals, 18 hitouts) and Lachlan Johnson (11 touches, five tackles) also played in the match. For Eastern, soon-to-be-listed Swans player, Cody Hirst had 20 touches, five clearances and three inside 50s in the loss, as bottom-age talent Connor Downie was strong alongside top-age hopefuls Zakery Pretty and Mitch Mellis.

Bendigo Pioneers also opened their season off on the right foot courtesy of a big 43-point win over Geelong Falcons. Future Cat, Cooper Stephens did all he could for the Falcons in the loss, picking up 22 touches, three marks, three tackles, four clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds, working hard with Jesse Clark (24 disposals, seven marks and four rebounds). For the Pioneers, Thomson Dow quickly asserted himself on the competition with two goals from 28 disposals, eight marks, three clearances and three inside 50s, while fellow first round selection Brodie Kemp had 22 touches, three marks, five tackles, five clearances and three inside 50s. The Pioneers’ other draftee in the match was Brady Rowles who helped himself to 15 touches, two clearances and two rebounds.

In the final game of the round, Western Jets got up in a thrilling come-from-behind seven-point victory over Northern Knights at Ikon Park. They teams traded blows throughout the match and the Knights led by 18 points at the final break, but a high-scoring last term saw the Jets pile on six goals to two to run over the top of Northern in the end. Future Blue, Josh Honey lit up his future home training ground with 22 touches, six marks, three clearances, six inside 50s and a goal, while future Hawk, Emerson Jeka booted a goal from 14 touches, six marks and four inside 50s. If Honey being Western’s best at Carlton’s home was not freaky enough, Sam Philp – one of Carlton’s first round draft picks – stamped his authority with 22 disposals, nine tackles, nine clearances, three inside 50s and a goal for the Knights. Josh D’Intinosante and Ryan Sturgess booted two goals apiece from 20 touches, while competition leading goalkicker, Archi Manton snagged three majors on his way to that title.

2020 NAB League Boys team preview: Dandenong Stingrays

DANDENONG Stingrays are coming off a self-proclaimed “very successful” year, with Talent Manager Darren Flanigan pleased a number of bottom-agers were able to squeeze into the team last year and are more prepared for the year ahead. Flanigan said the measure of success for the club was in terms of development, and thus the Stingrays were thrilled with the result at the drafts.

I think we had with 13 Stingrays players added or upgraded onto AFL lists onto AFL lists,” Flanigan said. “That’s some previous blokes being picked up in the preseason draft, four girls and five boys in the National Draft. “As well as Mitch Riordan in the mid-season draft, so an incredibly successful year as far as draft goes and I think that’s our measure.”

While double-figure players made their way onto senior AFL lists at the drafts, three of those came on night one in the first round, with Hayden Young (Fremantle), Cody Weightman (Western Bulldogs) and Sam De Koning (Geelong) earning spots on AFL lists early in the draft.

To have three boys picked up on the first night was a really, really great boom for the club and shows we are doing some things right,” Flanigan said.

De Koning was one of a number of talls who provided plenty of height across the ground for the Stingrays, but this year the team will look different with most of the towering types on the younger end of the scale, and the top-agers predominantly smalls to medium types.

This year we’re a little bit short,” Flanigan said. “Probably our tallest two are Paddy Gerdan the 16-year-old who played some games last year and is now a 17-year-old and we’ve got Walter Delahunty across from the Sandy Dragons who at 199cm are really are our only real genuine talls. Then you’ve got young Hudsyn Hill as a bottom-ager who’s got a lot of development left in him. “So we’re not overly endowed with talls. “Bryce Milford‘s had a pretty good preseason, he’s put on eight kilos and he’s now a pretty good size, so we haven’t got any 200s but we’ve got a few 195s.”

Last year the Stingrays ability to blood so many 17 and 16-year-olds gave them plenty of scope for 2020 and 2021, particularly late in the year agains stronger opposition. Flanigan said that extra experience also saw the players come back bigger and better for this season.

Yeah that’s one of the most impressive things about preseason is Miller Bergman and Connor Macdonald and Paddy Gerdan have all come back in really good nick,” he said. “They’ve actually performed really strong in each of the practice matches so they’ll be in line for selection even as early as Round 1. “Justin Davies has come back in good nick, his hands are super he’s kicking it well. “Lachie Robinson‘s another one who’s tall and skinny. We’ve got half a dozen bottom-agers who will certainly be in the mix for Round 1.”

The Stingrays started the preseason a 60 which meant more focused attention on the bottom half of the list to make it a highly competitive one for spots this year. Flanigan said there were a couple of surprise packets who have shone on the track, including Vic Country hub member, Will Bravo.

His (Bravo’s) form was pretty exposed but him and Bayleigh Welsh have been outstanding as far as they’ve attacked preseason,” he said. “Their testing and the way they’ve led the group. “They’ve been really good and we’ve been really pleased with how they’ve come on. “Of course Will’s already in the Country hub and we’re hopeful that Bailey might get an opportunity after three or four rounds to put his hand up as well. “Those two are probably the two who have been the standouts over preseason.”

Bravo and Clayton Gay are Dandenong’s two Country hub members, and both offer different aspects to the team and were shining as leaders amongst the 2020 playing group.

Clayton’s probably the natural footballer, he’s got really good skills, he understands the game well. Can play back and forward,” Flanigan said. “Will’s a hard worker, he’s a really strong, really quick, plays with high intensity. “We’re really pleased with the way they’ve attacked preseason, constantly improving week in, week out. “Clayton’s leadership’s been really good as well.”

The Stingrays also hold a Melbourne Next Generation Academy (NGA) member in Deakyn Smith who possesses some nice athletic traits and is ironing out other aspects of his game.

Good speed, really good speed,” Flanigan said of Smith. “He’s doing a bit of work with Melbourne and Corey Maynard on just his fundamental skills. “Occasionally in games he collapses in and hunts the footy whereas you’d like him to stay on the outside and use his speed. “(We want to) use his run to his advantage, so we’re sort of educating him on that as well. “Once he gets strong in pre-season, you look at at the way he just ran there, well under three for the 20. “Just good form, good strong body. “He’s got school footy again this year, which is going to be a challenge, balancing that with us and his school commitments, but it will be a big year for Deakyn.”

The trio of Bravo, Gay and Smith will play a multitude of roles to show off their talent, but will begin in their preferred positions at the start of the season.

Will will probably start inside mid, Deakyn will start outside mid and Clayton will probably be behind the footy,” Flanigan said. “But they can all play forward, they can all play inside, outside. “We’re really blessed to have talent that can play multiple positions. “But at this level you like to expose them to multiple positions so the AFL clubs can see them with more than just their A grade.”

Along with a host of bottom-agers, a number of overagers have returned to the club to share their time between the Stingrays and respective Victorian Football League (VFL) clubs.

Blake Kuipers has been approved to come back as a 19-year-old and he’s been doing a lot of preseason down in Frankston which is exposing him to the next level,” Flanigan said. “He’s come back into our group the last couple of weeks. “You’ve got Jarryd Barker and Will Lewis, one’s at Casey and one’s at Northern Blues so they’re all our 19-year-olds.”

“As far as newbies, probably Josiah Kyle is an interesting one. He’s an Indigenous lad from far North Queensland whose been living in the region for a couple of years and he’s shown some signs that he could be a player. Jye Culley has shown a bit as well. “He’s a taller, stronger-bodied bottom-ager middle-ager with a strong left foot. “Probably won’t play Round 1 those two but they’re kids who have just come from outside the system and done well.”

Overall, Flanigan was quite pleased with how preseason had gone to-date and was just excited for the season to start.

It’s a really close group,” he said. “They’ve united really well. “The coaching staff have done a tremendous job preparing them physically and for footy. “The club’s ticking along quite nicely.”

2019 AFL Draft club review: Geelong Cats

WHEN it comes to approaching the National AFL Draft for Geelong, the Cats fans and wider general public expect a couple of things. Firstly, a player linked to the Geelong region in some way, shape or form, and a bolter from obscurity that anyone outside serious draft watchers would have to deep dive into Google to find out information about. The mastermind of Stephen Wells did it again, ticking both boxes in a bid to add extra depth to the list. Coming into the draft Geelong could do with a replacement midfielder, a key position player, ruck and some more firepower up forward. Three of those four areas were ticked off, with the Cats just not in the right ball park to snag a ruck – too late in the order to pick up Luke Jackson and too early to reach on the next handful of long-term talents.

GEELONG:

National Draft:
16. Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) | 188cm | 83kg | Inside Midfielder
19. Sam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 201cm | 86kg | Key Position Utility
41. Francis Evans (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro) 182cm | 78kg | Medium Forward
50. Cameron Taheny (Norwood/South Australia) 185cm | 80kg | Medium Forward

Rookie Draft:
14. Brad Close (Glenelg) | 180cm | 68kg | Midfielder/Forward
27. Oscar Brownless (Geelong Cats)
35. Lachlan Henderson (Geelong Cats)

As late as draft night itself, Geelong was linked to the likes of Brodie Kemp and Deven Robertson, with the belief the Cats would select a midfielder with their first pick. That occurred, but instead it was local boy Cooper Stephens who missed the majority of the year with a broken leg. His recovery has been nothing short of sublime – and as the Falcons showed on Instagram last week – he is fit and ready to go in 2020. He is predominantly an inside midfielder with good strength and hands around the contest and clever decision making skills. He is that Tim Kelly replacement, although the Cats as a collective will replace the West Coast Eagles’ recruit. They then went tall as expected with their second pick inside the top 20, opting for Sam De Koning at Pick 19, after the likes of Harrison Jones and Josh Worrall were also in the conversation. De Koning has the most versatility of the talls, having the size to play in the ruck at AFL level, but will likely play as a key defender or swingman going forward.

The final two selections in the National Draft ticked off the firepower in the forward half. Wells’ obsure pick for the year was Francis Evans, a medium forward from Calder Cannons who stepped up from the amateur leagues on the word of close mate Daniel Mott, and had an immediate impact. Injury ended his NAB League run, but between that and his work in the VAFA, Geelong believed Evans had done enough to earn a spot on the list. He was the surprise of the draft, and Cats fans were scrambling to find any information they could on him. Luckily, Draft Central spoke to the forward at the State and Rookie Me Draft Combine and the interview can be found here. Along with Evans, a highly rated South Australian forward in Cam Taheny was selected in what could be the steal of the draft. Heading to the blue and white hoops at Pick 50, Taheny is a first rounder on talent, but had an injury interrupted year that also impacted his form. Expect once he can build his endurance and get on the park, he will make a few clubs look silly down the track.

The Cats closed out their draft period with a mature-age selection in Brad Close, a late blooming midfielder/forward who played all 21 games in Glenelg’s premiership-winning League side. The 21-year-old still has further development in him, but his athletic traits – notably his speed and agility – and his competitive nature make him a real goer. He is ready to step right into the side if required, while Stephens is another who is most prepared to tackle senior football once he has built up more match fitness. Taheny could be a surprise packet later in the year in 2020, while both De Koning and Evans would not be expected to feature next season as they are long-term prospects with the Cats to build their development first. The Cats also redrafted Oscar Brownless and Lachlan Henderson with the final two picks in the AFL Rookie Draft, making it a mix of long-term and readymade prospects.

2019 AFL Draft – Club-by-club selections

WITH the 2019 AFL National, Pre-season, and Rookie Drafts come and gone, here are the full club-by-club selections after three days worth of drafting.

ADELAIDE:

National Draft:
6. Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 197cm | 91kg | Key Position Utility
24. Harry Schoenberg (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia) | 182cm | 83kg | Inside Midfielder
28. Josh Worrell (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 195cm | 83kg | Key Position Utility
42. Ronin O’Connor (Claremont/Western Australia) | 192cm | 83kg | Inside Midfielder
48. Lachlan Gollant (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro) | 191cm | 72kg | Outside Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
7. Ben Keays (Brisbane Lions)
21. Ben Crocker (Collingwood Magpies)

BRISBANE:

National Draft:
22. Deven Robertson (Perth/Western Australia) | 184cm | 81kg | Inside Midfielder
33. Brock Smith (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 189cm | 82kg | Tall Defender
37. Keidean Coleman (Brisbane Lions Academy) | 183cm | 75kg | Medium Defender
59. Jaxon Prior (West Perth/Western Australia) | 189cm | 82kg | Tall Defender

Rookie Draft:
12. Sam Skinner (Brisbane Lions)
26. Corey Lyons (Brisbane Lions)
34. Archie Smith (Brisbane Lions)

CARLTON:

National Draft:
17. Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 192cm | 89kg | Tall Utility
20. Sam Philp (Northern Knights/Vic Metro) | 186cm | 79kg | Inside Midfielder
47. Sam Ramsay (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro) | 180cm | 72kg | Balanced Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
3. Josh Honey (Western Jets/Vic Metro) | 185cm | 82kg | Midfielder/Forward
18. Fraser Phillips (Gippsland Power/Vic Country | 187cm | 72kg | Medium Forward
PSD. Jack Martin (Gold Coast Suns)

COLLINGWOOD:

National Draft:
40. Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) | 185cm | 83kg | Balanced Midfielder
45. Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 178cm | 73kg | Midfielder/Defender
55. Trey Ruscoe (East Fremantle/Western Australia) 192cm | 75kg | Defender/Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
Nil

ESSENDON:

National Draft:
30. Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro) | 196cm | 78kg | Key Position Utility
38. Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 202cm | 87kg | Ruck
56. Ned Cahill (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) 179cm | 78kg | Small Forward
63. Lachlan Johnson (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) 176cm | 74kg | Small Utility

Rookie Draft:
10. Mitchell Hibberd (Williamstown) | 191cm | 90kg | Midfielder

FREMANTLE:

National Draft:
7. Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 188cm | 83kg | Medium Defender
8. Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 178cm | 83kg | Midfielder/Forward
9. Liam Henry (Perth/Western Australia) | 180cm | 68kg | Midfielder/Forward
61. Minairo Frederick (Woodville-West Torrens) | 183cm | 71kg | Outside Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
6. Jarvis Pina (Peel Thunder/Western Australia) | 178cm | 72kg | Midfielder/Forward
20. Thomas North (Fremantle Dockers)
30. Hugh Dixon (Fremantle Dockers)
Cat-B. Isaiah Butters (Claremont/Western Australia) | 182cm | 69kg | Medium Forward
Cat-B. Leno Thomas (Claremont/Western Australia | 181cm | 74kg | Medium Defender

GEELONG:

National Draft:
16. Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) | 188cm | 83kg | Inside Midfielder
19. Sam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 201cm | 86kg | Key Position Utility
41. Francis Evans (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro) 182cm | 78kg | Medium Forward
50. Cameron Taheny (Norwood/South Australia) 185cm | 80kg | Medium Forward

Rookie Draft:
14. Brad Close (Glenelg) | 180cm | 68kg | Midfielder/Forward
27. Oscar Brownless (Geelong Cats)
35. Lachlan Henderson (Geelong Cats)

GOLD COAST:

National Draft:
1. Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 180cm | 78kg | Inside Midfielder
2. Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 191cm | 87kg | Inside Midfielder
11. Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 183cm | 82kg | Midfielder/Forward
27. Jeremy Sharp (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 189cm | 81kg | Midfielder/Defender
60. Jy Farrar (Adelaide SANFL) | 191cm | 79kg | Tall Utility

Rookie Draft:
1. Josh Schoenfeld (Gold Coast Suns)
16. Connor Budarick (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Allies)
29. Matt Conroy (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Allies)
37. Malcolm Rosas Jnr (Northern Territory/Allies)

GWS GIANTS:

National Draft:
4. Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) | 187cm | 83kg | Medium Defender
10. Tom Green (GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies) | 190cm | 89kg | Inside Midfielder
51. Jake Riccardi (Werribee) | 194cm | 96kg | Key Forward
65. Thomas Hutchesson (Adelaide SANFL) | 177cm | 75kg | Outside Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
15. Jake Stein (GWS Giants)
28. Tom Sheridan (GWS Giants)
36. Zachary Sproule (GWS Giants)

HAWTHORN:

National Draft:
13. Will Day (West Adelaide/South Australia) | 189cm | 76kg | Medium Defender
29. Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 189cm | 82kg | Inside Midfielder
57. Josh Morris (Woodville-West Torrens) | 186cm | 76kg | Medium Forward

Rookie Draft:
9. Emerson Jeka (Western Jets/Vic Metro) | 198cm | 91kg | Key Position Utility
PSD. Michael Hartley (Essendon Bombers)
Cat-B. Harrison Pepper (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) 181cm | 84kg | Small Utility

MELBOURNE:

National Draft:
3. Luke Jackson (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 199cm | 94kg | Ruck
12. Kysaiah Pickett (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia) | 171cm | 71kg | Small Forward
32. Trent Rivers (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 188cm | 83kg | Defender/Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
Nil

NORTH MELBOURNE:

National Draft:
31. Charlie Comben (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 199cm | 84kg | Ruck
34. Jack Mahony (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 178cm | 72kg | Midfielder/Forward
35. Flynn Perez (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 188cm | 81kg | Outside Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
Cat-B. Matt McGuinness (Tasmania/Allies) | 195cm | 77kg | Tall Utility

PORT ADELAIDE:

National Draft:
14. Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 189cm | 83kg | Medium Forward
18. Mitch Georgiades (Subiaco/Western Australia) | 192cm | 87kg | Tall Forward
23. Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 186cm | 81kg | Medium Forward
25. Jackson Mead (Woodville-West Torrens) 183cm | 83kg | Balanced Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
8. Jake Pasini (Swan Districts/Western Australia) | 192cm | 81kg | Tall Defender
22. Trent Burgoyne (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia) | 177cm | 67kg | Outside Midfielder
32 Boyd Woodcock (Port Adelaide)
38. Riley Grundy (Port Adelaide)

RICHMOND:

National Draft:
21. Thomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 184cm | 76kg | Inside Midfielder
43. Noah Cumberland (Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies) | 183cm | 79kg | Medium Utility
44. Will Martyn (Brisbane Lions Academy/Allies) | 185cm | 83kg | Utility
46. Hugo Ralphsmith (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 188cm | 75kg | Forward/Midfielder
54. Bigoa Nyuon (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 195cm | 87kg | Key Position Utility

Rookie Draft:
Nil

ST KILDA:

National Draft:
52. Ryan Byrnes (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 182cm | 84kg | Balanced Midfielder
64. Leo Connolly (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 181cm | 74kg | Outside Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
5. Jack Bell (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 202cm | 81kg | Ruck/Key Forward

SYDNEY:

National Draft:
5. Dylan Stephens (Norwood/South Australia) | 183cm | 74kg | Outside Midfielder
26. Will Gould (Glenelg/South Australia) 192cm | 106kg | Tall Defender
36. Elijah Taylor (Perth/Western Australia) | 188cm | 77kg | Medium Forward
39. Chad Warner (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 183cm | 83kg | Inside Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
4. Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 186cm | 75kg | Outside Midfielder
19. Jack Maibaum (Sydney Swans)

WEST COAST:

National Draft:
49. Callum Jamieson (Claremont/Western Australia) | 199cm | 84kg | Ruck/Forward
58. Ben Johnson (West Perth/Western Australia) | 178cm | 68kg | Small Defender

Rookie Draft:
11. Anthony Treacy (Claremont/Western Australia) | 182cm | 69kg | Medium Forward
25. Mitch O’Neill (Tasmania/Allies) | 176cm | 72kg | Balanced Midfielder
33. Brendon Ah Chee (West Coast Eagles)
39. Hamish Brayshaw (West Coast Eagles)

WESTERN BULLDOGS:

National Draft:
15. Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 178cm | 75kg | Small Forward
53. Louis Butler (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) 185cm | 75kg | Medium Defender
62. Riley Garcia (Swan Districts/Western Australia) | 177cm | 70kg | Balanced Midfielder

Rookie Draft:
Nil

2019 National AFL Draft: Round 1 selections

IF the first round of the 2019 National AFL Draft is anything to go by, then the remainder of the draft today will be full of surprises. A number of bolters made their way into the top 20, with Port Adelaide picking up Subiaco tall Mitch Georgiades with Pick 18 ahead of a number of other talls who had been touted highly, before Carlton picked up Sam Philp, an electrifying speedster from Northern Knights. Both were expected to land somewhere in the 20s but clubs pounced early.

Sydney pulled the first surprise of the night with Dylan Stephens heading to Sydney – a move that Draft Central‘s Ed Pascoe predicted – with the remainder of the top eight going as planned. Stephen Silvagni made sure he was going out with a bang on his final night in navy blue, bidding on Fremantle’s Liam Henry and GWS GIANTS’ Tom Green, before trading the pick to Gold Coast SUNS who selected Sam Flanders. Carlton received picks 17 and 22 in return, while Gold Coast also received Pick 62. With those picks, Carlton used it to snap up slider, Brodie Kemp who was overlooked by Geelong – a team expected to pick him up – with the Cats going a fellow Geelong-based midfielder in Cooper Stephens who missed most of the year through injury.

The small forwards fell as expected with Kysaiah Pickett, Miles Bergman and Cody Weightman all going inside the top 15 picks, while Sam De Koning won the race for the third key position player behind Luke Jackson and Fischer McAsey when he was picked up by Geelong. Carlton on-traded its pick 22 to gain Pick 20 from Port Adelaide and pick up Philp – whilst also handing the Power, Pick 55. This meant Port Adelaide resumes the draft today with the coveted first selection in the second round – a smart decision given the fact that a number of clubs such as Collingwood were on record to try and target the pick if a slider they were keen on was still on the board. Thomson Dow was the last player picked in the first round with Richmond picking him up leaving a number of talented players still up for offer in the second round.

West Australian captain Deven Robertson was perhaps the biggest slider, touted as high as Fremantle’s Pick 7 at one stage, then linked to Geelong and Gold Coast – the latter traded up therefore did not have the mid-teens selection – but still remains without a club entering night two. His West Australian teammate Trent Rivers was also suggested to be a possible first rounder, while the likes of talls Josh Worrell and Harrison Jones remain available, as does South Australian captain Will Gould, and Oakleigh Chargers’ premiership captain Trent Bianco.

In two other minor trades, GWS GIANTS received Picks 62 and 70 from Collingwood in order to bump the Magpies up two spots to Pick 60. It was a win-win for both clubs given Collingwood has admitted it plans to only use three picks and therefore moved on its third and fourth selection in order to raise its third pick, while the GIANTS gained vital draft points. Meanwhile, Fremantle had to give up a 2020 second rounder as well as Pick 66 to Port Adelaide in exchange for picks 52 and 55 in order to gain some late selections for additional players following the matching of Henry in the top 10.

PICK 1 – Gold Coast SUNSMatt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 180cm | 78kg | Inside Midfielder
PICK 2 – Gold Coast SUNSNoah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro) | 191cm | 87kg | Inside Midfielder
PICK 3 – MelbourneLuke Jackson (East Fremantle/Western Australia) | 199cm | 94kg | Ruck
PICK 4 – GWS GIANTSLachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) | 187cm | 83kg | Medium Defender
PICK 5 – SydneyDylan Stephens (Norwood/South Australia) | 183cm | 74kg | Outside Midfielder
PICK 6 – AdelaideFischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 197cm | 91kg | Key Position Utility
PICK 7 – FremantleHayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 188cm | 83kg | Medium Defender
PICK 8 – FremantleCaleb Serong (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 178cm | 83kg | Midfielder/Forward
PICK 9 – Fremantle (matched Carlton’s bid)Liam Henry (Perth/Western Australia) | 180cm | 68kg | Midfielder/Forward
PICK 10 – GWS GIANTS (matched Carlton’s bid)Tom Green (GWS GIANTS Academy/Allies) | 190cm | 89kg | Inside Midfielder
PICK 11 – Gold Coast SUNSSam Flanders (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) | 183cm | 82kg | Midfielder/Forward
PICK 12 – MelbourneKysaiah Pickett (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia) | 171cm | 71kg | Small Forward
PICK 13 – HawthornWill Day (West Adelaide/South Australia) | 189cm | 76kg | Medium Defender
PICK 14 – Port AdelaideMiles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) | 189cm | 83kg | Medium Forward
PICK 15 – Western BulldogsCody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 178cm | 75kg | Small Forward
PICK 16 – GeelongCooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) | 188cm | 83kg | Inside Midfielder
PICK 17 – CarltonBrodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 192cm | 89kg | Tall Utility
PICK 18 – Port AdelaideMitch Georgiades (Subiaco/Western Australia) | 192cm | 87kg | Tall Forward
PICK 19 – GeelongSam De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country) | 201cm | 86kg | Key Position Utility
PICK 20 – CarltonSam Philp (Northern Knights/Vic Metro) | 186cm | 79kg | Inside Midfielder
PICK 21 – RichmondThomson Dow (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country) | 184cm | 76kg | Inside Midfielder