Tag: Sam Hayes

Classic Contests: Begley and Stephenson combine for nine, but Pioneers clinch shootout

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back in our series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at another clash between the NAB League rivals to complete our full series, and today’s battle is between the Bendigo Pioneers and Eastern Ranges. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2016, when the two sides met in Kyabram for what was a high-scoring affair.

2016 TAC Cup, Round 6
Saturday May 7, 1:00pm
Kyabram Recreational Reserve

BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.7 | 7.7 | 16.8 | 19.11 (125)
EASTERN RANGES 1.1 | 8.7 | 9.11 | 15.14 (104)


Bendigo: J. Neaves 4, K. Kirby 3, B. Whitford 3, A. Schumacher 2, J. Atley 2, C. Jones, J. Rosengren, M. Booth, N. Twigg, D. Henderson.
J. Begley 5, J. Stephenson 4, S. Hayes 2, J. Lynch, T. Jacotine, P. Wallis, N. Mullenger-McHugh.


Bendigo: A. Schumacher, C. Jones, D. Henderson, B. Blake, J. Sheahan, L. Wallace
J. Begley, J. Stephenson, H. Nolan, N. Mullenger-Mchugh, T. North, J. Lynch

Draftees in action:

Bendigo: Joe Atley, Kayle Kirby, Angus Schumacher, Kane Farrell
Eastern: Josh Begley, Jaidyn Stephenson, Tom North, Sam Hayes, Nathan Mullenger-McHugh

There may have been a host of big names missing when Bendigo and Eastern went head-to-head in the 2016 TAC Cup season, but it didn’t stop the extensive talent afield from putting on a high-scoring showcase. A total of 34 goals were kicked between the Pioneers and Ranges as they met in Kyabram, with 17 individual goalkickers spread between the teams, and two star Ranges combining for more than half of their side’s score.

Eastern made the long road trip without the likes of Jordan Gallucci, Callum Brown, and Dylan Clarke, as well as a host of jets from their bottom-age crop which went on to produce 10 AFL draftees. Bendigo also boasted a terrific under-age core in that period, but would not have access to the likes of Paddy Dow, Lochie O’Brien, and Brent Daniels for this encounter. Nine future AFL players still took the field, split five to four in the Ranges’ favour.

Speaking of favours, a clear scoring end was established throughout the match, and the hosts would have access to it first-up. Eight scoring shots to two told of Bendigo’s immense territorial gains, but a 12-point quarter time lead meant the Pioneers had failed to truly capitalise. The game would be opened up massively after the first break, with Eastern edging ahead by one goal at half time on the back of 7.6 to Bendigo’s 5.0.

The third term is often referred to as the premiership quarter, and it was where the Pioneers made their move. In keeping with their accurate conversion rate in term two, the hosts slammed home 9.1 to stream ahead by 39 points heading into the final break. It proved more than enough to withstand Eastern’s final charge, as the Ranges remained 21 points adrift upon the final siren.

Five goals from that year’s Victorian draft bolter, Josh Begley, and four from Collingwood star Jaidyn Stephenson were not enough to peg back Bendigo’s even spread of scorers, even with bigman Sam Hayes (two goals) getting in on the act. Begley was rightly named best afield for the Ranges, with draftees Nathan Mullenger-McHugh and Tom North also recognised for their efforts.

But they would prove fruitless, as Jonty Neaves (four goals) led Bendigo’s scoring surge, backed by the likes of Kayle Kirby (three goals), and Angus Schumacher (two), who was named the winners’ most valuable player. Cooper Jones and Darby Henderson both collected 26 touches to be named among the best, while Joe Atley found it 24 times and Kane Farrell, 18.

The Pioneers would hardly improve their ladder position by season’s end, missing out on finals as their 4-14 record was only good enough for 11th. Eastern fared much better, but only added three more wins to their tally after Round 6, finishing eighth at 7-10. The Ranges were pipped by Sandringham Dragons in a dramatic elimination final to end their season.

Classic Contests: Stephenson, Hayes help Ranges find a way to down Dragons

IF you are missing footy like we are, then let us somewhat salvage that with a look back our series of Classic Contests. In today’s contest we look at one of the would-have-been Round 17 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Eastern Ranges and Sandringham Dragons. In this edition, we wind the clock back to 2017 when the two sides played out one of the many thrillers among their battles over the past decade.

2017 TAC Cup, Round 9
Saturday June 3, 10:30pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 2.3 | 5.4 | 6.9 | 7.11 (53)
EASTERN RANGES 3.0 | 4.4 | 5.4 | 8.6 (54)


Sandringham: H. McLean 2, T. Long, W. Walker, J. Gorman, J. Gibbins, R. Macdermid.
J. Duncan 3, S. Milner, L. Woodward, P. Bruzzese, S. Hayes, J. Stephenson.


Sandringham: Q. Montanaro, G. Nagle, H. McLean, W. Walker, S. Sofronidis, D. McNeish
L. Woodward, H. Nolan, S. Hayes, C. Hirst, B. Cardamone, J. Stephenson

Draftees in action:

Sandringham: Hayden McLean, Will Walker
Jaidyn Stephenson, Sam Hayes, Tom North, Cody Hirst

Teams are often depleted during the mid-season rush and while that was the case in Round 9 of 2017, it didn’t stop Eastern and Sandringham from producing a TAC Cup classic. Despite holding a 5-3 record to sit fourth, the Dragons were starting to feel the pinch of school football, dropping three games in a row having won their first four. A win against Greater Western Victoria steadied the ship, but the same cannot be said for Eastern (ninth, 3-5), who had just lost to Dandenong after working to halt an early-season skid.

While six eventual draftees took to the field, there was a bunch of top-end talent missing in action for either side. Sandringham would have to go to war without the likes of Andrew Brayshaw and Charlie Constable, while Eastern would miss the presence of Joel Garner, Adam Cerra, and Tyler Brown among others.

Keen to inflict an upset, the Ranges got the better of the early goings with the first three goals of the game within 10 minutes. A late lapse in concentration would see the Dragons hit back twice though, and they carried the momentum into the second stanza to make it five-consecutive goals. A Josiah Duncan major before half time reigned the margin back to a single straight kick at the main break, with the contest beginning to close up.

The third term proved an armwrestle, with neither side properly able to snatch the ascendancy and Sandringham spurning some solid opportunities. Still, the Dragons’ 1.5 to Eastern’s 1.0 had them up by 11 points heading into the final break, with the game remaining in the balance. That was when the cream began to rise to the top; with Jaidyn Stephenson sparking the turnaround, and Sam Hayes completing the job with a late goal to snatch a one-point win.

Both were named among the best players for Eastern alongside Cody Hirst, with Lucas Woodward and Harry Nolan topping that list, and Duncan booting a game-high three goals. Quintin Montanaro claimed that honour for Sandringham, in front of the likes of Hayden McLean and Will Walker – the sole drafted Dragons afield on the day.

The Dragons would finish the regular season in the same spot at 11-7, but thrived in the back-end of the year to incite a finals run that was only spoiled at the final hurdle by Geelong in a famous Grand Final. Seven Dragons went on to be drafted in 2017, a number shaded by Eastern’s 10 AFL recruits, plus Hirst in 2019. The Ranges improved to finish sixth at 9-9, but were dumped out by a remarkable Dandenong comeback in week one of the finals.

Classic Contests: Big first half sets up Rebels for away win

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 14 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Eastern Ranges and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. In this edition, we wind the clock back to 2016, when some star studded sides faced off – and the Rebels were known as North Ballarat – in what turned into a thriller at Box Hill.

2016 TAC Cup, Round 6
Saturday May 28, 1:00pm
Box Hill City Oval

EASTERN RANGES 2.2 | 7.2 | 11.6 | 14.7 (91)
NORTH BALLARAT REBELS 5.1 | 11.3 | 12.6 | 15.9 (99)


Eastern: C. Wakefield 5, T. North 2, J. Hannon 2, J. Haynes 2, J. Stephenson 2, J. Lynch.
North Ballarat:
J. Wheelahan 3, I. Johnson 2, N. Hausler 2, S. Beks 2, K. Gray, J. Johnston, L. Meek, C. Wellings, R. Taylor, W. Drew.


Eastern: J. Begley, J. Haynes, T. North, H. Nolan, C. Wakefield, Z. Elms
North Ballarat:
N. McRoberts, W. Drew, T. Williamson, T. Lawrence, J. Wheelahan, L. Huppatz

Draftees in action:

Eastern: Tom North, Josh Begley, Jaidyn Stephenson, Sam Hayes, Jackson Ross
North Ballarat:
Willem Drew, Tom Williamson, Lloyd Meek, Jamaine Jones

Two sides that were battling it out in the mid-table logjam early in the season were North Ballarat Rebels and Eastern Ranges. Coming into the clash between the sides at Box Hill, they were sitting fifth and sixth respectively, and had some serious top-end talent on their lists. Whilst a combined nine players from the match would go onto be drafted, there were a lot more who joined the AFL ranks from the respective lists that did not run out onto the field for the Round 6 match.

The winner of the match would at least be secure in the top five by four points, as both teams were locked on 16 points – four wins from seven matches – with Oakleigh Chargers the third side with the same win-loss ratio. All three sides were eight points clear of three other teams, as well as Queensland who had played a couple of invitational games in the TAC Cup that year.

The match started with the Rebels having all the momentum, booting five goals to two in the opening term and stunning the home side to lead by 17 points at the first break. They stormed to an even bigger lead by half-time as fans witnessed an 11-goal second quarter. The Rebels kicked six goals to five as both teams showed off their impressive forward lines. Trailing by 25 points at the main break, the Ranges fought back to cut the final quarter deficit to a solitary kick. In a see-sawing second half and final term, neither side would give an inch up until the final siren with the Rebels eventually getting up by eight points.

Future Port Adelaide midfielder, Willem Drew had a big day out, named among the Rebels’ best with 21 disposals, two marks, eight tackles and a goal, while the outside run of Tom Williamson (19 disposals, nine marks, seven tackles and two behinds) was important. Named his side’s best in the win, Naish McRoberts picked up 16 disposals and seven marks, while Todd Lawrence had 20 hitouts and six tackles. The enigmatic forward in Jacob Wheelahan booted three goals from 20 touches, 10 marks and four tackles, whilst three other players kicked multiple goals. Lloyd Meek (11 disposals, four marks, six tackles, nine hitouts and one goal) and Jamaine Jones (16 disposals, six marks and five tackles) also performed strongly.

For the Ranges, Josh Begley was his team’s best roaming up the field for 19 disposals, three marks and two tackles, while future Docker, Tom North booted two snags from 18 disposals and two marks, while Jordan Haynes also kicked two goals from 20 touches, seven marks and six tackles. Future top 10 draft pick and AFL Rising Star, Jaidyn Stephenson kicked a couple of majors from 16 disposals and six marks – two contested – while Jackson Ross (15 disposals, three marks) and Sam Hayes (eight disposals, 17 hitouts) also played for the Ranges in the narrow loss.

By season’s end, North Ballarat Rebels would finish third on the table, but eventually would drop out in straight sets, losing to Geelong Falcons in the qualifying final at the same venue – Box Hill – where Max Augerinos tagged Hugh McCluggage out of the game. The Rebels would then go on to bow out at the hands of Oakleigh Chargers by a kick the next week missing a host of players. Eastern Ranges would scrape into the finals series but fall agonisingly short, losing to Sandringham Dragons by two points in one of the best finals games in recent times.

Classic Contests: Falcons overcome Stephenson-inspired Ranges in Box Hill thriller

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 8 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Eastern Ranges and Geelong Falcons. In this edition, we wind back the clock to 2016 when the two teams faced off at Box Hill City Oval.

EASTERN RANGES 4.3 | 9.3 | 11.5 | 13.7 (85)
GEELONG FALCONS 4.3 | 7.5 | 11.7 | 13.14 (92)

TAC Cup, Round 15 | Sunday, July 31, 2016
Box Hill City Oval, 2pm

Future draftees:

Eastern: Jaidyn Stephenson (Collingwood), Jordan Gallucci (Adelaide), Dylan Moore (Hawthorn), Josh Begley (Essendon), Trent Mynott (Essendon), Sam Hayes (Port Adelaide)
Geelong: James Worpel (Hawthorn), Gryan Miers (Geelong)

Crossing the West Gate and heading up the Eastern to meet the Ranges at Box Hill, the top of the table Geelong Falcons were strong favourites against a seventh placed Ranges outfit. Despite having a ton of talent – almost 20 draftees over the next two years – Eastern was six wins from 14 games with a number of players unavailable throughout the season. The Falcons also had plenty of top-end talent missing, but the game was not without some future AFL young stars in Jaidyn Stephenson and James Worpel on opposing sides.

Both sides hit it off early with neither team able to be split in the first term. From seven scoring shots, the sides headed into the first break with a 4.3 scoreline each and the knowledge that their opposition was not going to back down. Against the odds it was Eastern that broke clear in the second term. The Ranges piled on five goals, largely helped by the influence of Stephenson up forward, whilst the Falcons booted the three to be trailing by 10 points at the break. Again both sides had the same amount of scoring shots, but the 5.0 to 3.2 in favour of the home side was the difference at half-time.

The ladder leaders would get back on track in the third quarter, booting 4.2 to 2.2 and take a two-point lead by the final break, The stage was set for a ripping last quarter, and while there was only a combined four goals kicked between the sides, the tension was unbelievable. Geelong had the lion-share of disposal, recording nine scoring shots to the Ranges’ four. Whilst inaccuracy could have hurt the Falcons, they did enough to dominate the ball and capitalise where possible with forward 50 possession and eventually got the four points, 13.14 (92) to 13.7 (85) in a tight contest.

Tough midfielder, Max Augerinos was named best for the Falcons with 18 disposals, two marks, six tackles and a couple of goals, just ahead of the Falcons top prospect Worpel. He racked up 17 disposals, two marks and a goal, whilst laying a game-high 19 tackles. Harry Benson (14 disposals, three marks and six tackles) and co-captain Cooper Stephens (14 disposals, two tackles) were also named among the best, as were Zachary Zdybel (21 disposals, eight marks, 19 hitouts, two tackles and a goal) and Patrick Killen (23 disposals, six marks and four tackles).  The other drafted Falcon in Gryan Miers was lively up forward with a goal from 17 disposals, three marks and two tackles.

Despite the loss, Stephenson was the clear best on ground, slotting five goals from 14 touches, four marks – two contested – and four tackles, while Trent Mynott (two goals) was busy with 20 disposals, four marks and four tackles. Future Crow, Gallucci was also among the top Ranges, helping himself to 18 disposals, two marks and four tackles, but gave away five free kicks. Working hard through the ruck, Sam Hayes had 33 hitouts from 18 touches, seven marks – two contested – and two tackles in the defeat, while Tate Short and Billy Norris booted a couple of majors each and were named in the best. Of the other draftees, Dylan Moore (18 disposals, three marks and two tackles) and Josh Begley (16 disposals, three marks and eight tackles) both contributed strongly.

The Falcons would end up finishing second on the TAC Cup ladder and reach a preliminary final but fade away in the second half against Sandringham Dragons. A fortnight earlier, Eastern Ranges would fall two points short of the Dragons on their way to the 2016 TAC Cup premiership.

Classic Contests: Ranges hold off Knights in tight thriller at Box Hill

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 it is a clash between sides who would have played in Round 1 this year. Today we travel back in time to a late-2017 encounter between the Eastern Ranges and Northern Knights, who played out a thriller at Box Hill City Oval.

EASTERN RANGES 2.2 | 6.6 | 8.10 | 10.11 (71)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.4 | 4.5 | 6.6 | 9.8 (62)

Round 14 | Saturday, July 29, 2017
Box Hill City Oval, 2.00pm

With the season winding down in late July, 2017 and only five rounds remaining, two metropolitan clubs faced off at Box Hill in a mid-table clash. Just two points separated the sides with Northern Knights sitting in sixth with six wins and a draw, while Eastern Ranges were seventh with just the six wins flat. Both were a couple of games clear of eighth and ninth Gippsland Power and Calder Cannons respectively. Eastern was closing the gap on Northern having knocked off Gippsland Power by nine goals the week before on the road, while Northern had fallen to Dandenong Stingrays by 29 points a week earlier.

Heading into the clash, the Ranges had a number of highly fancied prospects in Jaidyn Stephenson, Sam Hayes, Thomas North and Ryley Stoddart, with the likes of Cody Hirst, Xavier Fry and Harrison Nolan also putting in strong consistent performances throughout the season. A couple of 16-year-old talents were also making their debuts for the Ranges with James Ross and Jamieson Rossiter playing for the first time off the back of the Under 16 Championships. For Northern, first round prospect Nick Coffield was the standout in the side, while they also had speedster Jack Petruccelle who could turn the game in a moment. Aside from the AFL talent, the Knights would go on to have a number of VFL stars on the books as well, namely Marcus Lentini and Braedyn Gillard – the latter of whom would suffer a broken elbow in his top-age year the following season.

The first quarter was a tight tussle with the Knights taking the early advantage by just two points at quarter time. They continued to push, but the firepower of the Ranges was starting to come out as the team booted 4.4 to 2.1 to take back the lead and race out to a 13-point advantage at the main break. It proved to be a real difference in the game, with both sides converting two majors in the third term, though the Ranges could have had more with an inaccurate 2.4 to 2.1, pushing the lead out to 16. A more accurate Eastern side had to hold on in the final term as the Knights came charging home, booting 3.2 to Eastern’s 2.1 and get within nine points at the final siren.

Hirst was named best on ground for his four goals off 19 disposals, three marks, six tackles, two clearances and two rebounds with the future Sydney talent showing off his athletic abilities as a bottom-ager. Hayes was phenomenal through the ruck, having 30 hitouts and seven clearances to go with 17 disposals, three marks, two tackles, two inside 50s and a goal, while Stephenson (17 disposals, four marks, six tackles and four inside 50s) was prominent up the ground. Stoddart (15 disposals, six marks and four rebounds) continued his good form in defence alongside Nolan (12 disposals, five marks and four rebounds). Rossiter finished the game with 11 touches and a goal, as Ross also booted a major from four disposals. In terms of the big ball winners, it was Kye Quirk (28 disposals, four inside 50s), Jordan Lynch (26 disposals, nine marks, seven tackles and four inside 50s) and MacKenzie Doreian (23 disposals, three marks, five clearances, six inside 50s and a goal) working hard with North (19 disposals, eight tackles and four clearances).

The Knights found plenty of the ball themselves, as Gillard had a day out with 36 disposals (16 contested), four tackles, seven clearances, four rebounds and two goals, partnering up with Mitchell Andrews (31 disposals, eight marks, two inside 50s, five rebounds and a goal). Lentini (24 disposals, dive marks, 11 tackles, five clearances and three rebounds) and Patrick Howe (25 disposals, six marks and six rebounds) were also among the big ball winners, as was Sam Binion (20 disposals, five marks, five tackles, four clearances, five inside 50s and a goal). From the two future draftees, Coffield picked up 19 touches, six marks, three clearances, four inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal, while Petruccelle had 16 touches, four marks, three clearances and four inside 50s.

Both sides would end up making finals with Eastern Ranges finishing sixth and Northern Knights, eighth. It would be a forgettable day at Victoria Park for those elimination finals as the Knights were completely destroyed by Oakleigh Chargers, while Eastern was on the receiving end of one of the best comebacks in TAC Cup history when Dandenong Stingrays came from the clouds to overrun them. The Ranges would end up with their best draft haul ever though in what was a terrific year for them,

South Australia weekly wrap: Glenelg clear on top as Double Blues edge closer

GLENELG has moved a step closer to securing the minor premiership after downing Adelaide in a thrilling top-of-the-table contest, while Sturt moved to within a point of the top two with victory over the Eagles. We recap all the results across the three levels of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL).


West Adelaide 10.2 (62) defeated by Central District 11.11 (77)

Central District moved further ahead of the bottom two sides with a 15-point win over West Adelaide. Jarrod and Travis Schiller were dominant for Central District, combining for 57 disposals, 10 marks, 18 clearances, 11 tackles and two goals, while Troy Menzel booted four goals from 18 disposals, six marks, three clearances and three tackles. For West Adelaide, Christopher Schmidt had 34 disposals, 10 clearances, four tackles and three marks in the win, while Kaine Stevens (31 disposals, five marks, five clearances, four tackles and a goal) and Murray Waite (28 disposals, three clearances and six tackles) also produced big numbers. Bottom-age talent Riley Thilthorpe picked up 15 disposals and had eight marks and two goals in the Bloods’ loss.

Glenelg 15.6 (96) defeated Adelaide 14.10 (94)

Glenelg has all but sealed the minor premiership after downing Adelaide by two points in a thriller at ACH Group Stadium. The Crows had some pretty impressive names in the line-up and hit back in the final term booting the only three goals of the game, but a seven goals to three third term was the difference for the Tigers. Luke Partington‘s continued good form saw him rack up 31 disposals, seven marks, three clearances, seven tackles and a goal, while Luke Reynolds and Liam McBean both booted four goals. South Australian Under-18 state captain Will Gould had 12 disposals and five rebounds in the narrow win. For Adelaide, Bryce Gibbs had the ball on a string with 40 disposals, eight marks, 11 clearances and 10 tackles, while Richard Douglas booted three goals from 34 disposals and 11 marks. Sam Jacobs (13 disposals, 28 hitouts, four marks and two goals had a good battle with former Sydney and Collingwood forward/ruck Jesse White (14 disposals, five marks, 32 hitouts and a goal). Up forward, Eddie Betts put his best foot forward with four goals from 14 touches, two goals and three tackles.

Norwood 22.11 (143) defeated North Adelaide 10.12 (72)

Norwood dominated North Adelaide in a thumping 71-point win which included 15 second-half goals to storm to a massive victory. Sam Baulderstone picked up 28 disposals, 11 marks and six clearances in the win, while Matthew Panos (22 disposals, 10 marks and five clearances) and Anthony Wilson (11 disposals, two marks) both booted five majors in a big day out up forward. Top AFL Draft hopefuls Dylan Stephens (26 disposals, four marks, eight tackles, three clearances and a goal) and Cameron Taheny (10 disposals, one mark and five tackles) continue to feature for the League side. For North Adelaide, Thomas Schwarz had 30 disposals, four marks, six tackles, eight clearances and a goal, while Jarred Allmond (23 disposals, nine marks) and Campbell Combe (30 disposals, four marks, eight clearances and three tackles) were busy.

South Adelaide 10.11 (71) defeated by Port Adelaide 15.9 (99)

Port Adelaide have held firm on a top four spot, downing South Adelaide by 28 points at Flinders University Stadium. AFL-listed players Jack Trengove (25 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and two goals), Peter Ladhams (22 disposals, four marks, 21 hitouts, seven clearances, three tackles and three goals), Sam Hayes (20 disposals, 10 marks, 19 hitouts and a goal) and Willem Drew (26 disposals, seven marks, six clearances and four tackles) all pressed for a call-up to the senior side. The Panthers’ Matthew Rose (30 disposals, seven marks, nine tackles and two clearances), Joel Cross (24 disposals, seven marks, four clearances and a goal) and Abe Davis (19 disposals, five marks and three goals) all tried hard.

Woodville-West Torrens 8.13 (61) defeated by Sturt 13.8 (86)

Sturt drew to within a point of the top two after a strong 25-point win over Woodville-West Torrens at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval. Sam Colquhoun continued his ripping form this season with 31 disposals, nine marks, five clearances and nine tackles, while Zane Kirkwood finished with 29 disposals, six marks and seven clearances, and Steven Slimming had 23 disposals, five marks, five clearances and four tackles. James Battersby was a key at the stoppages, picking up 12 clearances – five more than anyone else on the field – as well as 27 disposals, three marks and three tackles. For the home side, Nicholas Hayes had 24 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and a goal, while Jordan Foote helped himself to 28 disposals, nine marks, four clearances and four tackles.


Glenelg 8.4 (52) defeated by South Adelaide 12.15 (87)

A six goals to one final quarter has seen cellar dwellers South Adelaide cause a remarkable 35-point upset win over Glenelg. The Panthers had booted an inaccurate 6.14 to 7.3 at the final break, leading by just five points despite double the scoring shots. They settled in the final term to find their kicking boots and slot 6.1 to Glenelg’s 1.1. Luke Bogle (21 disposals, five marks, four clearances, seven tackles and three goals), Hayden Sampson (34 disposals, four marks, three clearances and two tackles), Tate Coleman (20 disposals, seven marks, three tackles and a goal) and Jesse McKinnon (18 disposals, three marks, 11 clearances and five tackles) were all among the strong performers for South Adelaide. For Glenelg, Ben Sawford owned the stoppages with 16 clearances to accompany his 32 disposals and eight tackles, while Sam Davies had 24 touches and nine marks, and draft hopeful Callum Park finished with 18 disposals, seven marks and three tackles.

West Adelaide 8.6 (54) defeated by Central District 11.12 (78)

Central District has kept in touch with the top two by defeating West Adelaide in a four-goal win. Isaya McKenzie was the star for the Bulldogs, booting three goals whilst having an impact around the ground with 26 disposals, nine marks, six clearances and two tackles, while Oliver Shaw (21 disposals, nine marks) and Corey Durdin (18 disposals, eight marks) were among South Australian representatives who found their fair share of the footy. Patrick Fairlie was the clear best on ground despite being on the losing side, racking up a massive 35 disposals, 10 clearances, 12 tackles and seven marks for the Westies, while Scott Bentley (25 disposals, eight clearances, nine tackles and four marks) and Ethan Moore (32 disposals, six marks, three clearances and a goal) were other key contributors.

Norwood 12.9 (81) defeated North Adelaide 7.12 (54)

Norwood continued their dominant season with another win, this time over bottom two side North Adelaide by 27 points at Coopers Stadium. Jack Heard had a team-high 25 disposals, four marks and three tackles, while Mac Bower and Sam Buckham (nine clearances) both had 23 disposals in the victory. For the Roosters, James Schwarz had 27 disposals, five marks, seven clearances and seven tackles, while Brayden Kirk had 23 disposals, 10 marks, two clearances and three tackles.

Woodville-West Torrens 11.5 (71) defeated by Sturt 11.7 (73)

Second placed Sturt has stolen the points from the jaws of defeat in the final 10 minutes, winning by just two points against a brave Eagles’ outfit. The Eagles led by 16 points at the 15-minute mark of the final term, before three consecutive goals to the visitors – the last one at the 21-minute mark put them in front by two to steal the win. It was the first time since the first term that Sturt had lead in the game. Mihail Lochowiak was the difference for the Double Blues, booting an accurate five-straight goals from 12 disposals and three marks, while Edward Allen racked up an equal game-high 29 touches to go with three marks, seven clearances, six tackles and a goal. Father-son prospect Casey Voss had 26 disposals, four marks, eight clearances and three tackles, whilst South Australian Under-18 representative Josh Shute picked up 25 disposals and eight marks in the win. For the Eagles. Jake Comitogianni had 29 disposals, six marks, four clearances and three tackles, while Lachlan McNeil was strong on the inside with seven clearances from 17 disposals.


Norwood 13.8 (86) defeated North Adelaide 11.7 (73)

Norwood won a crucial game over North Adelaide after trailing at quarter time and sitting level at the final break. The Redlegs booted six goals to four in the final term, extending the margin to as much as 26 points early in the quarter before the Roosters hit back to get within seven in the last few minutes before the home team settled. Cooper Murley enjoyed a big day out with 31 disposals, six marks, eight clearances, three tackles and three goals, while Sam Morris laid 11 tackles to go with his 18 touches, seven marks and five clearances. Tristan Binder was also strong in front of goal for the winners, booting three majors, whilst Elliott McNamara (18 disposals, four marks, four clearances, four tackles and three goals) was the main source of goals for the Roosters. Harrison Magor was North Adelaide’s best with a massive 34 disposals, five marks, seven clearances and a goal, while Josh Hart had an eye-opening 55 hitouts to accompany his 17 disposals, three marks, six clearances and three tackles working hard through the ruck.

West Adelaide 14.7 (91) defeated Central District 5.8 (38)

West Adelaide has stormed away from Central District to post a large 53-point victory at City Mazda Stadium, booting 11 goals to three after quarter time. Jason Westley (33 disposals, eight marks, 14 clearances, two tackles and two goals) was a clear best on ground for the Bloods, well assisted by Aryan Sareen (33 disposals, nine marks) and Bailey Boughen (22 disposals, nine marks, six clearances and two tackles). For the Bulldogs, Jakob Thomson had 28 touches and 12 marks, while Tyrone Milera looked classy with 21 disposals, three marks, five clearances and seven tackles.

Woodville-West Torrens 17.12 (114) defeated Sturt 1.6 (12)

The top-of-the-table Eagles showed no mercy in a 102-point belting of lowly Sturt. The Eagles booted the last 12 goals of the game in the massive 29 scoring shots to seven win, restricting the Double Blues to just the one major – in the first term – and two behinds in the second half. Lachlan Hoile picked up a game-high 35 disposals as well as five marks, three clearances and three tackles, while Lachlan Jones was not far behind with 31 disposals, six marks, six clearances and four tackles. Bottom-age father-son prospect, Taj Schofield was also productive for the Eagles, racking up eight clearances to go with his 29 touches, while Zane Williams piled on four goals to go with his 24 disposals, four marks, four clearances and six tackles in the win. For Sturt, William Britten-Jones had 29 disposals, 11 marks, seven clearances and two tackles, while Heath Wingard helped himself to 28 disposals and 11 marks.

South Adelaide 18.15 (123) defeated Glenelg 9.6 (60)

A massive six-goal game from South Australian Under-18 state squad key forward Daniel Sladojevic has helped South Adelaide run away with a 63-point victory over Glenelg to snatch fourth spot from the Tigers. Sladojevic racked up 15 disposals, eight marks and 6.2 as well as six tackles in the big win. Jason Horne (28 disposals, seven clearances and two goals) and Damon Freitag (16 disposals, four marks and two goals) also hit the scoreboard multiple times for the Panthers. Tex Dowdell did his best with 23 disposals, eight marks, 10 tackles and two clearances in the loss, while talented bottom-ager Luke Edwards was strong with 21 touches, six marks, three clearances and four tackles, and Austin Kitschke booted four goals from 11 disposals and seven marks.

Season preview: SANFL 2019

AFTER a successful off-season that saw many South Australian National Football League (SANFL) players reach the highest level, the 10 clubs again begin the journey towards the 2019 premiership. Our South Australian writers take a look at how each side is shaping up in the pre-season.


By: Damon Mattiazzo

The Adelaide Crows SANFL team will be headlined this season by former AFL-listed forward Matthew Wright who will captain the team into the 2019 season. Wright will also take on a role as a part-time development coach with the club after announcing his retirement from the AFL after three years at Carlton. The club did not draft any players from South Australia and picked up Allies star midfielder Chayce Jones, who played Round 1 in the AFL. Will Hamill and Lachlan Sholl will be intriguing prospects for the Crows, as Ned McHenry should be on the fringes for an AFL debut sometime throughout the season. The Crows also gained Shane McAdam from Carlton through trade after he was selected in the mature-aged pre-draft after a stellar season for Sturt. Out of the Crows SANFL contracted players, Jordon Boyle from Salisbury North impressed the most last season, but Michael McMahon and 2018 Dean Bailey award winner Corey Davey should be their best contributors. With Tom Doedee suffering a season ending ACL injury in Round 1 against Hawthorn, the Crows may potentially consider taking a player at the first AFL mid-season draft to bolster their defensive stocks.


By: Damon Mattiazzo

Central District will be hoping for a swift return to finals football after a rare finals absence in 2018. Former Crow Troy Menzel headlines the new recruits returning after five years in the AFL with Carlton, Adelaide and a dominant premiership stint in the SAAFL with Tea Tree Gully in 2018. The Dogs have also recruited a trio of Neagle’s- Jydon, Matthew, and Jaxon– from Wodonga and will be looking to make the most of the opportunity at the Ponderosa. Tim Auckland– 2018 Adelaide Crows SANFL contracted player- impressed enough to earn himself a contract at the Dogs and will be the one envisaged to replace the outgoing Darcy Fort. Central were one of the club’s to be hit most by AFL Draft, with Jackson Hately (GWS), Jez McLennan (Gold Coast), Aaron Nietschke (Melbourne) and Fort (Geelong) all recruited. 2018 leading goal kicker John Butcher and former Docker Jack Hannath have also both moved onto new opportunities outside of the game.


By: Jamie Morgan

Things have been very busy in the offseason at Brighton Road with some big names to the club. Ex-West Coast midfielder Luke Partington will look to have an immediate impact on the side slotting straight into the middle. Added as well is Ex-Geelong forward and local Glenelg boy, Cory Gregson. Despite his injury troubles whilst in the AFL system, the best of Gregson will compliment a strong Glenelg side. With key experienced players Liam McBean and Brad Agnew back to the Bay, this looks like the strongest Glenelg squad for some years. Despite losing Tobin Cox to Port Power, and some other players moving, the talent coming is excellent. Coach Mark Stone has young talent to work with, with 2019 Top 10 draft hopeful Will Gould showing he is ready for league footy in the pre-season and has been rewarded with a Round 1 berth. Gould is a versatile player with a strong body who will be looking to thrive in his draft year. 2018 SA U18 team member Finn Betterman has impressed also over the pre-season and will be making his debut in Round 1 as well. The Glenelg leaders of Max Proud and Chris Curran will be looking to guide this team to finals and break a long drought for the Tigers. At Reserves and Under 18 level there is plenty of talent keen to impress with SA U18 members Cooper Hornsell and Brady Searle developing nicely.

North Adelaide:

By: David Chapman

The reigning premiers have an uphill start, being docked two wins prior to the start of the season for the 19th man incident in the 2018 Preliminary finals. They have also lost five premiership players to the AFL in the form of Best and Fairest Callum Wilkie, wing/forward Robbie Young, ruckman Jordon Sweet, utility Connor Rozee and small forward Boyd Woodcock. Coming into the mix to replace those will be; back from the AFL, small forward Jake Neade (Power), and mid/forward Ben Jarman (Crows). Also out of country footy and returning to the Roosters with three Mail Medals is former SA U18 captain and midfielder Campbell Coombe and key defender from Keith, Bill Laurie. Rugby convert Jack Blair from NSW also takes up the ruck space. In the trial games, we have also seen some exciting play from small forwards Keanu Miller and Frankie Szekely and winger Mason Neagle. Some of the key youngsters in the mix for the Roosters this year include tall Dyson Hilder, at around 196cm he has played in the SANFL league trials in the midfield, up forward and down back and will be a key cog in the SA U18 champs this year. Also one to watch is key position player, Karl Findlay, picked in the U18 Academy as well, this smooth and calm defender will have a his mix of school, state and SANFL commitments this year. With the Reserves also winning the flag last year there is some depth, but a number of those experienced players have left the club to play some local and country footy. This year North cannot really afford to go on a 1-6 late season run like they did last year. The nucleus of the North success has been their core of hard midfielders, and while the key positions remain unchanged, the impact of losing Wilkie could be the key. However, North will still be a real threat in 2019.


By: Jamie Morgan

Norwood look to again be in the mix for finals after another solid offseason adding ex Port (and Glenelg) Dom Barry and former South Adelaide player Cody Szust to an already strong list. Magarey medalist Mitch Grigg again looks like he will be able to control games from the middle alongside Matthew Panos. Norwood had four of their talented youngsters drafted at the end of 2018 in Luke Valente, Jacob Kennerley, Ben Jarvis, and Kade Chandler, but their core group is experienced and tough and Coach Jarrod Cotton will be looking to go further than 2018. Ex PAC student Cole Gerloff is an emerging talent and should be a consistent member of the league side this year. The Under 18 talent at the Redlegs is again top notch and SA squad members Cameron Taheny and Dylan Stephens are real standouts who will no doubt get a taste at the next level. Both will be keys for SA’s Under 18 title defence and will be watched closely for the Redlegs.

Port Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

For the first time since Port Magpies re-assignment in the SANFL they will not be led by club stalwart Steven Summerton. Taking over the captaincy and marquee spot is former Fremantle utility Cameron Sutcliffe who surprisingly knocked back his original SANFL club Woodville-West Torrens. Sutcliffe has also taken on a role as a development mentor which will aid the draftees’ development and integration into the Magpies setup. Bar Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma, Port drafted exclusively from South Australia and already have Boyd Woodcock and Connor Rozee who played in a North Adelaide premiership in the previous season. Kai Pudney dominated in U18’s level last season and will look to take the next step in the seniors, as will Martin Frederick – who impressed at the U18 South Australia championship win – and will be looking to further his development with senior football. Out of the Magpies SANFL contracted players, ex-Central District forward Dallas Hill will be one to watch, as is Matt Appleton, who played 15 league matches for North Adelaide in 2018 will be an interesting prospect. With the Magpies’ Reserves side disbanded for 2019, all SANFL contracted players that don’t feature in the league side will play for their community clubs when not required. Second year Western Australian player Jake Patmore suffered an ACL injury in a SANFL trail match against South Adelaide and will miss the season, much like ruckman Sam Hayes who suffered the same injury last season but will be looking return to the SANFL side in the near future.

South Adelaide:

By: Jamie Morgan

It has been an interesting off season for the Panthers with some great talent snapped up with losing players Nathan Krueger to Geelong, Keegan Brooksby back into the AFL system at West coast as well as youngsters Tom Sparrow to Melbourne and Jake Tarca to Geelong. Bringing in Malcom Karpany from West Coast will be a handy addition as well as South favourite Emmanuel Irra returning from Port Adelaide, but it is the class of ball magnet Nick Liddle and Joel Cross which always makes South hard to beat. Players ready to break out include Liam Fitt who impressed with every game and Jaiden Kappler is another talent on the rise. South has some quality young talent emerging with big men Damon Freitag and Daniel Sladojevic likely to get an opportunity at the highest level.


By: Damon Mattiazzo

After losing dual premiership coach Marty Mattner as an assistant coach to the Adelaide Crows, the new Sturt era will be under the tutelage of former North Melbourne and Central District premiership player Nathan Grima. Grima was recruited from Essendon Football League side Strathmore and has brought Victorian pair Tom Condon from his former side and 6ft 5in giant Josh Patullo from Footscray’s VFL team from across the border. But their season will be headlined by the return of Sturt product Danyle Pearce, returning after 258 AFL games for Fremantle and Port Adelaide and a 2006 Rising Star award to his name. The Double Blues lost star player Shane McAdam to the AFL as a Mature-age draft pick and Riley Grundy to Port Adelaide late in last year’s draft. Sturt will also miss promising midfielder Tom Lewis – a key asset in South Australia’s successful U18 carnival- to an ACL injury suffered in an early season trial match and will miss the entire 2019 season.

West Adelaide:

By: Damon Mattiazzo

West Adelaide will hope 2019 can be the season the Bloods can rise back up into finals contention, with coach Gavin Colville into his second term. West welcome back Jack Oatey medallist and the captain of their 2015 premiership Chris Schmidt, partnering the return of Will Snelling back from three seasons with Port Adelaide. Snelling- a hard luck story to be delisted by Port- will be keen to build on his 2018 best-and-fairest SANFL Port season and make a big impact back at his original club. The Bloods have also recruited Dallas Willsmore from Hawthorn after he was delisted at the end of the 2018 season after two AFL games in four seasons with the Hawks. Willsmore will provide more depth in West’s engine room, as West rounded out their acquisitions with Werribee swingman Jade Cleeland and ex-Norwood defender Pat Levicki. The recruits should replenish the loss of star players Chris Burgess and Izak Rankine, who were picked by the Gold Coast Suns, and veterans Aaron Fielke, Daniel Webb, and Shannon Green.

Woodville-West Torrens:

By: Jamie Morgan

There has been some strong ex-AFL talent added to the Eagles side this year, with Jimmy Toumpas (Port), Jesse Lonergan (Gold Coast) and Jordan Foote (Sydney Swans) providing even more class to a finals hardened outfit. With long-time coach Michael Godden departing to take up an Assistant role at Adelaide Crows, the Eagles secured Sam Lonergan as head coach in the off-season. Lonergan brings AFL and SANFL playing and Tasmanian coaching experience to the group and will be looking to have a clean slate after the difficult end to 2018 and the 19th man saga. This side looks ready for finals, and with exciting youngsters in their draft year Kysiah Pickett and Jackson Mead, the mix of experience and youth is spread well. No doubt the Round 1 clash vs 2018 Premiers North Adelaide will have an extra bite to it, with Lonergan’s team wanting to make its mark on the competition early. Midfielder accumulator James Boyd will be important, as will the class of Luke Thompson in defence.

TAC Cup preview: Eastern Ranges

EASTERN Ranges may not have had the on-field success last year in terms of wins, but they were clearly the most successful off the field with a staggering 10 players drafted, in the form of Adam Cerra (pick five), Jaidyn Stephenson (six), Sam Hayes (47), Tyler Brown (50), Ryley Stoddart (53), Joel Garner (60), Tom North (65), Dylan Moore (67), Jackson Ross (71) and Trent Mynott (Rookie) all finding new homes.

They took it up to Dandenong in the first final showing once again that they will always be a threat when it comes to finals football, they even did the same the year before, losing narrowly to eventual 2016 premiers Sandringham in one of the better TAC Cup games you will see.

Eastern will not be expecting 10 players to be drafted like last year but there are still plenty of players making a good early impression. Eastern had a number of bottom age players have an impact last year with Adrian Kalcovski and Joel Burleigh (12 games), Xavier Fry and Ben Cardamone (nine) all players to keep an eye on. Eastern have a very even spread of players this time around so it will be hard to find the pick of the bunch, Cody Hirst showed a lot of class last year playing as a small forward and should be getting more time up the ground to showcase his great composure and skill. Blake Tahlambouris is a crafty medium forward who can have an impact both overhead and at ground level, he will be a tough match-up for the opposition this year and does his best work deep forward. Kye Quirk looked very comfortable last year playing in defence he showed a great ability to both attack and defend. He is a smart reader of the play who should be set for more midfield time this year, and is also the grandson of Carlton premiership player Bryan Quirk.

An unexpected arrival as a 19 year-old playing for Eastern this year is none other than Devlin Brereton, son of Hawthorn champion Dermott Brereton. The lively small forward has come over from Sandringham Dragons after narrowly missing out on getting drafted last year; he faces a big year to prove himself. Eastern will be going in with a smaller and younger squad compared to last year so expect to see bottom agers like Jamieson Rossiter, Jonte Duffy, Mitch Mellis, James Ross and Todd Garner (brother of 2017 draftee Joel Garner) all push to make an impact, making them the key to Eastern challenging for a finals spot again in 2018.

2017 Stats:

2017 Summary:

Eastern had an up and down year but managed to finish 6th. School football meant that the bulk of their star players weren’t available for selection and that was made even worse at the National Championships when they would also lose their gun players who didn’t have school commitments like Stephenson and Hayes. In the later part of the year Eastern really started to find their groove with the natural progression of their up and coming bottom agers and the return of their star players from school football culminating in a 5-game run of wins in the lead up to the finals. Although they lost their last 2 rounds to high quality finals teams in Oakleigh and Geelong, they gave Dandenong a massive scare in the first final where they lead by 50 points at half time. Eastern went out fighting which they have done so very often in recent years.

2018 Snapshot:

Eastern start the year with a big game down at Skybus Stadium in Frankston against a strong Oakleigh Chargers team. Eastern only get to play the four games at their fortress in Box Hill and incredibly will play at 11 different grounds not including their home ground which they have to wait until round seven to play on. Once again Eastern will play a night game at RAMS arena in round two on a Thursday night.

2018 Fixture:

Determination pays off for Ballard

EVERY draftee has taken their own unique pathway to the big time.

Some, like last year’s number one pick Cam Rayner, are touted as high-end selections years in advance. Others, like Giants recruit Aiden Bonar, re-emerge after stints on the sidelines with injury. And some, due to a wide variety of reasons, drop out of first-round calculations as the season progresses, as was the case with Port Adelaide ruckman Sam Hayes. But as is often said when draft day approaches, where you end up being taken is merely a number once you make it into club land.

One such draftee went from a virtually unknown, skinny utility to a draft bolter with plenty of x-factor, on the back of an outstanding year for South Australia, Sturt and at school level with Sacred Heart College. That bolter was Charlie Ballard who was drafted to the Gold Coast Suns with pick 42 in last year’s AFL National Draft.

After missing out on inclusion in Sturt’s 2015 under-18 squad, in the space of just two years, Ballard grew no less than 15 cm’s, allowing him to be tried in key position roles at either end of the ground.

At the start of 2017, Ballard said his initial goals were to “make the Sturt 18’s team and then just chip away at my footy and see how [he] went”.

“I had bigger goals at the back of my mind but kept my mind short-term,” Ballard said.

As the season progressed, strong performances at school and club level caught the attention of state representatives. This led to his inclusion in South Australia’s Under 18 squad for the mid-year national championships.

Ballard’s neat skills, mobility, cleanness at ground level and strength overhead proved to be too good for opponents when he lined up for Sacred Heart College. Despite his height and proven ability up forward and down back, Ballard played predominantly across the wing in for the Croweaters.

Ballard, 18, says the national championships were “a step up from all the footy that I’ve played before, quick and intense, but I just tried to treat it like any other game”.

“It really helped having a couple of good mates in the team to help me get settled,” he said.

Featuring in all four games for South Australia, Ballard excelled under pressure, finishing the tournament averaging 18 disposals (11 kicks, seven handballs), 4.3 marks, 1.8 tackles and 0.3 goals. By this point in time, recruiters across the nation had all heard the name Charlie Ballard and were sure to monitor him closely for the remaining games and the upcoming national combine, to which the utility received an invitation.

“I probably first realised being drafted was a possibility when I got told by a couple of coaches that it could happen, but really clicked when I was lucky enough to get a combine invite,” the 18 year old said.

Coming into the draft, there was a reasonably significant amount of hype around Ballard, with many draft experts predicting the Suns would swoop at the back end of the first round, with  selection 19. In the end, it was the Gold Coast who picked him up, albeit later than perhaps anticipated, at pick 42. It capped off an outstanding year for Ballard, whose stocks continued to rise as the season progressed.

Now, with one AFL pre-season under his belt, Ballard has well and truly set his sights on making a strong early impression in Queensland, either at NEAFL or potentially AFL level.

“Settling in was really easy, living with a player makes it pretty cruisy and you learn a lot about good habits, etc. The preseason was really good, exhausting but really rewarding coming up to the seasons’ beginning soon,” the Suns recruit said.

When asked about where he sees himself playing at the highest level, Ballard said his preference was midfield, but anywhere to get a game would be great

“At the moment I think I’d still like to play on the wing but I expect to be a bit all over the place, I just have to adapt to different positioning.”

Many South Australians will be watching on with interest in 2018 and beyond to see how the talented utility goes at the elite level.

Eastern Ranges 2017 review

With the off-season now officially here for TAC Cup clubs, AFL Draft Central will go back and review what 2017 was like for each of the 12 clubs. We kick off the series with Bendigo Pioneers and will end with the Western Jets.

Eastern Ranges

Finished: 6th
Wins: 9
Losses: 10
Percentage: 91
Points: 36 (eliminated in elimination final)

Players Drafted: (10)

  • Adam Cerra (Fremantle)
  • Jaidyn Stephenson (Collingwood)
  • Sam Hayes (Port Adelaide)
  • Tyler Brown (Collingwood)
  • Ryley Stoddart (Sydney)
  • Joel Garner (Port Adelaide)
  • Tom North (Fremantle)
  • Dylan Moore (Hawthorn)
  • Jackson Ross (Hawthorn)
  • Trent Mynott (Essendon)

2017 Review:

There is not much more that can be said for Eastern Ranges’ draft night that simply spectacular. The only bloke busier than the AFL recruiters that night was the Ranges’ social media account manager who could have been forgiven for failing to keep up with the rate of Ranges’ draftees dropping at AFL clubs. Nine in total landed at AFL clubs by the end of the National Draft and when Trent Mynott was selected by Essendon in the rookie draft, the Ranges’ reached double figure draftees.

There was a nice sense of symmetry about the clubs with pairs of Ranges heading to the same clubs. Adam Cerra and Tom North both headed west to Fremantle, Sam Hayes and Joel Garner have a slightly shorter trip west to Port Adelaide, while Jaidyn Stephenson and Tyler Brown became Pies, and Dylan Moore and Jackson Ross will don the brown and gold. Ryley Stoddart was the other player selected in the National Draft, heading to Sydney.

After such a successful night, the Eastern Ranges will look ahead to 2018 hoping for similar results. While the absolute elite talent might not be as great as 2017 – let’s face it, that amount of draftees from one club rarely happens – they still have quite a few promising prospects.


2018 Preview:

Eastern Ranges have a few draftees to keep an eye on next year, and while they are not the huge numbers they had in 2017, there is no doubt going to be some that pop up as the season goes on, particularly those who might have been hidden at school football. Ben Cardamone is the standout with Cody Hirst and Adrian Kalcovski others who had promising bottom-age seasons.

Ben Cardamone (Eastern Ranges) 182cm | 78kg | Inside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (9) 13.2 disposals | 2 marks | 5.4 tackles | 2 clearances | 51% KE | 61%DE | 57% CP

Ben Cardamone is one player who while he did not accumulate a heap of touches in 2017, is a promising inside midfielder. He laid 5.4 tackles in his bottom age year and did not get the midfield minutes because of the strength that the Ranges had on the inside this year. Expect him to be a starting midfielder in 2018 and show why he is a top prospect.

Kye Quirk (Eastern Ranges) 185cm | 72kg | Balanced Midfielder/General Defender
2017 TAC Cup: (14) 23.1 disposals | 4.6 marks | 3.9 tackles | 2.3 clearances | 49% KE | 57% DE | 41% CP

Kye Quirk is a player who was pretty solid off the half-back line this year. He does need to clean up his kicking, but he finds the ball and has a good balance of offensive and defensive traits. To average 23.1 disposals as a 17 year-old is pretty impressive and if he can iron out his kicking and potentially make a move into the midfield or make the half-back line his own, then Quirk is one to watch next year.

Others to keep an eye on:

Cody Hirst (Eastern Ranges) 176cm | 61kg | Small Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (15) 11.6 disposals | 2.5 marks | 3.9 tackles | 0.8 goals | 65% KE | 68% DE | 43% CP

Adrian Kalcovski (Eastern Ranges) 183cm | 79kg | Inside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (12) 17 disposals | 3.2 marks | 5.5 tackles | 2.8 clearances | 3 inside 50s | 45% KE | 60% DE | 47% CP



Eastern Ranges had a superb finish to 2017 with all their hard work coming to fruition on draft night. They might have been bundled out of the TAC Cup in the elimination final, but it was clear from the start of the season the Ranges had the most top-end talent of any club and were duly rewarded on National Draft night. In 2018 the top-end talent is not as high as this year – they were flushed with AFL AIS Academy members – but the best thing about it being 12 months away is you never know which players might stand up and make a case to be drafted, so we will watch in earnest at what the Ranges will do next year.