Tag: sam weideman

State leagues preview: Pressure on undefeated sides

AS the weekend approaches, state leagues around the country prepare for another big round of footy. With high stakes across the board, don’t be surprised to see some thrilling contests.

Victoria:

The VFL will be holding less games this week, with eight teams set to have a bye this weekend as the competition breaks up the matches with the added interstate teams. However, this does not mean there will be a shortage of exciting matchups.

The Casey Demons were hoping to maintain their spot on top of the ladder with a win over the Sydney Swans at Casey Fields on Sunday morning, however that encounter has been delayed due to COVID-19 related issues. The Demons find themselves in first place after starting the season 3-0 with a handy percentage and their big win over North Melbourne last round will give them plenty of confidence despite not being able to head into a clash with the struggling Swans side. Sydney have started the season with just one win from their three games, with their heartbreak from last week’s three-point loss a driving factor for the Swans players.

Sunday afternoon will also see the Carlton Blue travelling to Whitten Oval to take on the undefeated Footscray Bulldogs in a tantalising matchup. Carlton have been no slumps this season, winning two out of their first three matches, and dominating Essendon by 49 points in round three. They will fancy themselves against the Dogs here, but it will be a tough task to slow down their opponents. Footscray soundly defeated the Northern Bullants to the tune of 43 points last week, marking their third win by over seven goals. Prized Bulldog Jamarra Ugle-Hagan continues to find his feet at this level, so expect him to have a big presence in the forward line. Carlton’s Will Setterfield will be looking to perform at the level that has seen him collect over 25 disposals in each of the last two games.

South Australia:

The SANFL season is flying as South Australia’s premier league heads into their sixth round of action. The most intriguing matchup of the round comes first as the Woodville-West Torrens host the South Adelaide Panthers in a clash that will prove vital for each of the two sides. The Panthers have lost just the one match from their first five games, good enough for second place on the ladder. Their chances will be bolstered by the return of Matthew Broadbent and Liam Fitt, while 17-year-old Matty Roberts will make his debut after a strong performance in the U18’s last round. The Eagles sit just behind their opponents in third place, having won one less game, but will be driven by last round’s loss to Port Adelaide. The inclusion of star forward Jack Hayes will give them a huge confidence boost heading into a crucial game on Saturday afternoon.

The Central District Bulldogs will be looking for their second win for the season as they prepare for this round’s match against Norwood at X Convenience Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs have had a less than ideal start to the season, finding themselves on the bottom of the ladder after six rounds, and have decided to change things up at selection. Key forward Connor McLean has been named in the forward pocket, in an attempt to stretch Norwood’s defence. Norwood could be recalling Mitch Grigg, who is named on the extended bench after his shocking relegation to the reserves in recent weeks. Grigg collected 20 touches in last week’s match, so don’t be surprised to see him line up for the senior side this week.

The SANFL showdown always delivers a buzz around Adelaide, with this year proving no exception, as the Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows prepare to go to war on Saturday afternoon at Adelaide Oval as a curtain raiser to the AFL match between the two sides. The Power find themselves just inside the top five based on percentage, but last week’s ten-goal win over the Eagles will see them enter this match with their tails up. Experienced defender Tyson Goldsack will debut for the side having overcome a knee injury, while potential draftee Jase Burgoyne will line up for the Power in his debut as a part of his work in the Power’s Next Generation academy. The Crows sit on the same amount of wins as their fifth-placed opponents, but find themselves down the pecking order in eighth place. They will unleash Tasmanian development player Oliver Davis on the wing, after being recruited from Clarence for the rest of the season.

Kicking off the Sunday football action, the North Adelaide Roosters will host the West Adelaide Bloods at Prospect Oval on Sunday afternoon, with both sides keen to take home a very important win. The Roosters have started the season with just the one win from five games, so a triumph in this match would be vital for reigniting their 2021 season. They will welcome back utility Sam McInerney, who will play his first match since 2019, following a series of back injuries, while former Hawk Billy Hartung has been named on a wing in his first game of the year. The West Adelaide Bloods will be hoping to ride the momentum of last week’s win over Central District into this week, as they look to enter the top five with a victory on Sunday. They will be welcoming mature-age recruit Nick Steele, who will be lining up at centre-half-forward for his first SANFL match.

Sturt face a tough task this round, as they face off against the top of the table Glenelg at ACH Group Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the round. Sturt have started the season with two wins and three losses from five games, with their round five triumph over the Crows coming by just one point. They have not confirmed their changes yet, with all inclusions named on the extended bench, and one of these inclusions is former Power player Riley Grundy, who could debut to boost his side’s backline. Glenelg have started the season like a house on fire, winning all five of their matches to date, and will be looking to keep their unbeaten streak rolling. As a result of their hot start, they will likely enter the clash unchanged.

Western Australia:

The sixth round of WAFL action kicks off with an absolute blockbuster, as Claremont travel to Leederville Oval to face off against a fired-up Subiaco side on Saturday afternoon. Claremont have not put a foot wrong in their start to the season, ending round five with a 4-0 record as the dominant team of the competition. Forward Jack Butler kicked five goals from nine scoring shots, so expect Subiaco to send their best defender to keep an eye on him all day. Subiaco started the season 3-0, but were handed their first loss of the season by South Fremantle in round five, so look for them to come out eager to make amends. Ruckman Lachlan Delahunty will play a crucial role in his side’s success, and if he can back up last week’s 21 disposal and 29 hitout effort, Subiaco’s midfield should gain ascendancy.

Perth will be hoping to move up the ladder with a second consecutive win as they prepare to take on a Peel Thunder side in a similar situation. Both sides sit at 2-2 on the season and a third win could see the victor move into the top four after this high-stake game. Perth broke a two-game losing streak with a five-goal win over East Fremantle last round in a promising display and would love to back it up this round. Brady Grey played his best game of the season last week, with 29 disposals, 11 marks and nine tackles, and was crucial in the win, and should prove important again this week. Peel Thunder dominated West Coast last week, crushing their opponents by 79 points, so they will be confident in their ability heading into this clash. Blair Bell is fresh off a six-goal haul against the Eagles, so keep an eye on his presence around goal.

Swan Districts will be looking to edge closer to top spot on the ladder with a win over a faulting West Perth team at Provident Financial Oval on Saturday afternoon. Swan Districts are on a three-game winning streak to see them currently sit with a 3-1 record in second place and will be heavy favourites this week. Midfielder Samuel Fisher is averaging 34.5 disposals on the season in a blistering start and should rack up plenty of the ball in this clash. West Perth have only managed the one win in the 2021 season, and look unlikely to snatch one here, but if they do, it could kickstart a promising campaign.

East Perth will have the opportunity to grab their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon, as they travel to Fremantle Community Bank Oval to take on South Fremantle. East Perth have started the season with a disappointing 0-4 record and sit second last on the ladder. Last week’s performance was promising as they pushed second placed Swan Districts right to the final siren, only falling two goals short of a massive upset. If they can bring a similar effort this week, they may finally sing the song. Edward Simpson booted five snags in the loss and should once again give defenders a headache. South Fremantle have won two games in a row to finally build some momentum as the season progresses. A win here could push them into the top three, so they will be eager to walk away victors. Haiden Schloithe has displayed his talents as a goalkicking midfielder all year so expect Saturday to prove no different.

The final match of round six will see East Fremantle host a West Coast side that is yet to compete all year, as the sides go head-to-head at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. East Fremantle are making a strong push for the top four, but last round’s loss to Perth made that slightly harder. They will be looking to grab this game with both hands early on, with Cameron Eardley likely to prove influential through the midfield. West Coast have simply looked off the pace all year, yet to register their first win and have been soundly beaten by plenty of sides. A bright spot for the season has been Hamish Brayshaw, who will look to find plenty of the ball around the ground.

Queensland:

QAFL action begins at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon, as Surfers Paradise host Noosa at Sir Bruce Small Park, as both sides look to recover from shaky starts. Surfers Paradise have won just the one game so far this year, and a loss here could see them fall right down in the race for the flag. Luckily for them, they face an out of form side, and a win would likely pump some life into their season. Look for Alby Jones to back up last week’s strong outing. Noosa are yet to win a game after four games and will be desperate to change that with a win this round. They were competitive against Sherwood Districts, but missed an opportunity to defeat a side that was also searching for their first win. Ryley Buntain has delivered two fantastic performances in losing sides, so he will be eager to walk off a winner.

Labrador will be thrilled with the opportunity to jump up the ladder as they head into Saturday afternoon’s clash with Mt Gravatt at Cooke-Murphy Oval. Labrador sit fourth on the ladder with three wins and one loss from their matches this year, and a win could see them reach second depending on results around the league. Heading into the match as favourites, their motivation will be high to continue to set themselves up as the season progresses. Former AFL gun Pearce Hanley has been on fire in the last two weeks, so if he is once again allowed to roam free, Labrador will be hard to stop. Mt Gravatt have won only the solitary game this year but have had two byes in five weeks. Nevertheless, a second win is crucial, and Saturday provides a perfectly good opportunity. Gavin Grose’s start to the year has been eye catching and should continue in this match.

A fresh Morningside team will be hosting Redland-Victoria Point at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday afternoon in an exciting matchup. Fresh off the bye, Morningside will be ready for the challenge from a strong Redland-Victoria Point side, as both sides look to climb the ladder with an important win on Saturday. Redland-Victoria Point’s Harrison Kerr has booted 11 goals in his past three games and will need to be held accountable if Morningside are to slow down the scoring of their opponent.

Sherwood Districts will be looking to cause an upset as they prepare to host an impressive Maroochydore at Sherwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Sherwood Districts have only won a single game this season, while their opponents have won three, so a boilover here looks unlikely, but stranger things have happened. Maroochydore sit second on the ladder, and if ladder leaders Broadbeach are beaten this round, a big win in this match could see them move to the top of the table. Keep an eye on Maroochydore’s Jacob Simpson, who has performed strongly all year. Sherwood Districts’ William Fletcher has been equally impressive and has also put his hand up as one to watch.

Wilston Grange face the tough task of slowing down the ladder leaders, as they host the undefeated Broadbeach at Hickey Park on Saturday afternoon. Wilston Grange have a 1-3 record after four games in an underwhelming start to the year, but a win here would truly send a message to the rest of the competition. They have the ability to kick a winning score, highlighted by Will McKenzie’s seven goals in his last two games. Broadbeach will be a tough beast to tame though. 4-0 on the season, they simply know how to get the job. With the top spot comes the pressure, and they will be eager to show they can more than handle it. Liam Nelson has been strong in the last three games and will be hoping to maintain this.

Tasmania:

The sixth round of TSL football kicks off with a bang as Clarence host competition powerhouse Launceston at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon. Launceston have looked unstoppable but face arguably their toughest challenger this week on their home deck. Clarence have looked fantastic this year, especially since returning to Blundstone Arena, and will fancy themselves a strong chance to knock off the reigning premiers on Saturday. The inclusion of experienced forward Josh Green should make them more dangerous forward of the ball. Launceston will be regaining stand-in captain Jake Hinds after serving his suspension, while Dylan Riley will be eager to continue the run of form that has seen him boot 19 goals in the last two matches.

Another key clash this weekend comes in the form of North Hobart taking on Glenorchy at North Hobart Oval on Saturday afternoon. Both sides sit with a 1-3 record and changing that to 2-3 is crucial for the season moving forward. North Hobart will bring in ruckman Logan Elphinstone to establish some midfield dominance. Glenorchy will be regaining the services of experienced midfielder Sam Rundle who should prove a crucial inclusion to the side.

The Tigers and North Launceston will clash at UTAS Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the final match of the round. The Tigers have a 3-2 record and had their colours lowered by a firing Clarence side last weekend, so they will be desperate to get back on the winners list. Star Elijah Reardon was kept reasonably quiet last round so he should be keen to bounce back in this game. North Launceston sit at 2-2 having played one less game than their opponent, but will regain the services of Bradley Cox-Goodyer, setting up a thrilling clash.

Picture credit: The Examiner

State Leagues Wrap: Weekend of thrillers

AS the weekend came to an end, so did a round of exciting football around the country. State leagues saw plenty of contests that came down to the wire, while other teams flexed their muscles with big wins.

Victoria:

VFL action kicked off on Thursday night with the Casey Demons’ big win over North Melbourne as VFL finally returned to Marvel Stadium. The Demons kicked a whopping 19 goals and finished the game as 107-point winners in a game that would not have impressed North Melbourne fans. Sam Weideman kicked four goals as he continues his ripping form that is sure to earn him an AFL recall in the near future. Unfortunately for him, Casey’s AFL affiliate Melbourne is absolutely flying at the moment, but if the key forward keeps up these performances, he will be hard to ignore come selection time. For the Roos, ruckman Tristian Xerri fought hard, and won the duel with Casey’s rucks, collecting 16 disposals to go with his 35 hitouts.

Collingwood stole a victory at the death as they snuck away with a three-point win against the Gold Coast Suns at Olympic Park Oval on Friday afternoon. With his 20th disposal, Magpie Reef McInnes kicked a goal at the 26-minute mark of the final term to put his side in front, and the rest is history. Young Pie Oliver Henry’s three goal haul would have impressed coaches, while Sun Will Brodie dominated in the midfield, collecting 41 touches and laying 11 tackles.

Geelong held off a fast-finishing Sydney side to claim a tense four-point win at Tramway Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Swans led by three points heading into the final term but Logan McDonald’s three goal effort was not enough to get the Swans home. Charlie Constable found the ball 28 times in a promising display, while Josh Jenkins booted two goals. For the Swans, Lewis Taylor and Robbie Fox combined for 59 disposals and looked dangerous whenever the ball was in dispute.

Essendon’s fast start couldn’t be maintained, eventually falling to Carlton by 49 points at Windy Hill on Sunday afternoon. The Bombers led by 14 points at the first break, but a five goal to nil second term got the Blues in front, and they never looked back. Out of favour Blue Will Setterfield continued his strong VFL form with a 26 disposal effort as he continues to push for a recall, while Nic Newman returned from a serious knee injury sustained last year to gather 23 disposals in a promising outing for Blues fans. First game Don Nick O’Kearney gathered 36 disposals in an eye-catching performance.

South Australia:

Round 5 of the SANFL began with an upset, as Norwood took down the previously undefeated South Adelaide Panthers at Coopers Stadium on Friday night. The Redlegs kicked a whopping five goals to one in the second goal to give themselves a 26-point lead at half time, and the Panthers simply couldn’t get the comeback done in time. Norwood midfielders Matthew Nunn and Jacob Kennerley combined for a whopping 29 tackles with 16 and 13 respectively, while former Crow Richard Douglas racked up 30 disposals. Joseph Haines was the Panthers’ best with 28 touches.

Glenelg remain the best team in the competition after their 31-point triumph over the North Adelaide Roosters on Saturday afternoon at Prospect Oval. A four-goal lead at quarter time was a sign of things to come, as Glenelg rode the first quarter effort until the final siren. Former Tiger Liam McBean kicked a bag of five of Glenelg, while midfielder Luke Partington had 35 disposals and seven clearances. Thomas Schwarz kicked three goals for the Roosters.

A strong final term saw West Adelaide claim their second win of the season, taking down Central Districts by four goals at Hisense Stadium on Saturday afternoon. There were only four points separating the two sides at three quarter time, but West Adelaide were able to extend that lead after kicking four goals to none in the final term. Edward Allan was strong in the midfield for North Adelaide, finishing with 22 disposals, five clearances and 11 tackles, while teammate Thomas Keough kicked four snags. For Central Districts, Justin Hoskin’s 26 disposals and two goals were excellent.

Over at Unley Oval, Sturt were able to pull off a heist, stealing a one-point win from the Crows on Sunday afternoon. Sturt’s Ashley Johnson kicked his fourth goal 26 minutes into the final quarter to give his side a one-point lead that proved to be enough. He was well aided by teammate Albania Davis who had 33 disposals, 11 marks and a goal. Crows skipper Matthew Wright kicked three goals in what could have been a match-winning performance.

Port Adelaide’s ten goal win over the West-Woodville Torrens was set up by a clinical second quarter performance at Alberton Oval on Sunday afternoon. The Power kicked seven goals in the second quarter to take a 47-point lead into half time, which they only improved on in the second half. Port’s skipper Cam Sutcliffe was marvellous rotating through the midfield and forward line, finishing with 25 disposals and three goals, while Tom Rockliff had 34 touches and eight clearances. Eagles mid James Tsitas had a whopping 39 disposals for the losing side.

Western Australia:

In the WAFL, Round 5 kicked off with Swan Districts surviving a massive scare from an East Perth side who are still searching for their first win. The inaccuracy of East Perth really hurt their chances, kicking 7.13, while Swan Districts kicked 10.8 to run out 13-point victors for their third win of the season. Swan Districts midfielder Samuel Fisher had the ball on a string as he worked his way to 37 disposals and a goal, while teammate Frank Anderson had 35 touches of his own. Edward Simpson was nearly the hero for East Perth, booting five goals in a near match-winning performance.

Perth were able to cruise to their second win of the season with a triumph over East Fremantle by five goals at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. A six-goal opening term set up the win, with the home side unable to close the gap in the next three quarters. Brady Grey was the star for the victors, with 29 disposals and a huge 10 inside 50’s for the match, while Doultan Langlands kicked three goals. For East Fremantle, Cameron Eardley led the way with 32 touches.

Despite a slow start, Claremont were able to find their rhythm in the second quarter, steamrolling their way to a 52-point win over West Perth at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Claremont trailed by two goals at quarter time, before kicking six goals in the second term to get the game back in their control. Claremont’s Lachlan Martinis racked up a whopping 42 disposals and nine marks in a dominant display, while Jack Buller kicked five goals for the victors. For West Perth, Shane Nelson had 39 disposals in an impressive display.

South Fremantle caused a major upset with their 18-point win over Subiaco, handing them their first loss of the year at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco were at the top of the table heading into this game, while South Fremantle had only won the two games, but they turned the table in this dominant display, set up by their seven goal second term. Haiden Schloithe put in a star turn for the winners, ending the match with 39 disposals and two goals in a clear best on ground performance. For Subiaco, Gregory Clark led with 30 touches.

West Coast’s struggles continued on Sunday morning after being convincingly beaten by Peel Thunder to the tune of 79 points at David Grays Arena. The Eagles trailed by seven goals at half time, and could not get themselves back in the game against a dominant Thunder side. Blair Bell kicked six goals for Peel, while teammate Josh Treacy kicked five of his own. West Coast’s Hamish Brayshaw performed admirably with 29 disposals.

Queensland:

QAFL’s fifth round of action kicked off with a blockbuster as Labrador upset Maroochydore by 12 points at Maroochydore Multisports Complex on Saturday afternoon. Labrador had one less win than the home side heading into this clash, but a strong third term saw the visitors take a lead that they would end up holding for the remainder of the game. Labrador’s Pearce Hanley once again claimed best on ground honours, running riot through the midfield as he continues to show that age will not slow him down. For Maroochydore, Jacob Simpson fought hard all day to be his side’s best.

Redland-Victoria Point cruised their way to their third win for the year against Mt Gravatt on Saturday afternoon at Southside Toyota Oval. Redland-Victoria Point jumped to an early lead in the first quarter and then only extended their control from there, waltzing to a crucial win that keeps them well in the hunt for top spot on the ladder. Redland-Victoria Point full back Mitchell Stallard was named his side’s best after a dominant display in defence. Gavin Grose was Mt Gravatt’s best for the second week in a row.

Sherwood Districts have finally found their first win for the season, defeating bottom-placed Noosa by 22 points at Rococo Oval on Saturday afternoon. Noosa remain winless, but Sherwood Districts will be hoping this is the triumph that kick starts their season. For the winners, Joshua Coombes led the way with three goals up forward, but it was truly a team effort that delivered the win. For Noosa, Ryley Buntain was his side’s best for the second consecutive week.

A bag of seven goals from forward John Anthony has led Palm Beach Currumbin to an important win over Wilston Grange at Salk Oval on Saturday afternoon. Anthony’s bag of seven was inspiring and proved crucial to Palm Beach Currumbin securing their second win of the season, shooting them up the ladder. Anthony was his side’s best, but had plenty of help from teammate Matthew Gahan. For Wilston Grange, Isaac Corvo was a clear standout.

Broadbeach kept their unbeaten streak rolling with their fourth win of the year, defeating a brave Surfers Paradise side by 10 points at Subaru Oval on Sunday afternoon. A close game all day, Broadbeach kicked three final quarter goals to seal the game to hold off the upset. For the winners, Liam Nelson was the star, leading his side all day in a best afield display, while Alby Jones was the bright spark for Surfers Paradise.

Tasmania:

TSL action resumed this weekend, as Clarence continued their hot streak, knocking off the Tigers at Kingston Twin Ovals on Saturday afternoon. The victors led all afternoon, and never looked like giving up the lead on their way to recording their third win of the season. For Clarence, Oliver Davis was best on ground for the second week in a row. For the Tigers, Blake McCulloch stood out through the backline to end the day as his side’s best.

North Hobart have recorded their first win for the 2021 season, kicking away in the last quarter to defeat Lauderdale by 18 points at Lauderdale Oval on Saturday afternoon. There was two points separating the sides heading into the last quarter, but North Hobart were too strong, kicking four final quarter goals on their way to a maiden win for the year. For the victors, Thomas Liefhebber was outstanding all day, while Jye Menzie kicked four goals. For Lauderdale, Alex Hevey never gave up and performed admirably.

Launceston continue to uphold their status as league powerhouse, demolishing Glenorchy by 148 points at Windsor Park on Saturday Oval. Launceston hit the 100-point mark by half time, and Glenorchy never stood a chance against this well-oiled machine. Launceston star forward Dylan Riley backed up his 10-goal haul last week with a nine-goal effort this round, putting emphasis on the importance of shutting him down. For Glenorchy, Nick Reibelt impressed despite the loss.

2021 VFL Round 2 review: Southport wins battle of Queensland standalones

SOUTHPORT Sharks have overcome inaccuracy to post a 14-point victory over Aspley Hornets in the battle of the Queensland standalone teams at Fankhauser Reserve. Both sides won their respective Round 1 Victorian Football League (VFL) matches, so were coming in with good form. Despite having 19 more scoring shots throughout the match, the Sharks were only able to just get across the line, 14.25 (109) to 15.5 (95) as the visitors never stopped pushing the home team.

The match started with Aspley’s Matt Hammelmann on absolute fire. He booted two goals in the first six minutes, then converted a third midway through the term, for the Hornets to lead 3.1 (19) to 1.3 (9), as Jesse Joyce was the sole goalkicker for the home side. After a couple of other misses late in the term – Billy Gowers being the main suspect with three behinds – back-to-back goals to Round 1 hero Lukas Webb, as well as Ryan Gilmore, handed the Sharks a five-point lead at the first break.

The Sharks dominated the second quarter from the get-go as Brayden Crossley, and Gilmore contributed to a couple of behinds before Crossley bagged his first major, and Gowers got his first from his fourth scoring shot. By the midway mark of the second term, the Sharks were out to a 22-point lead, but already missed chances were keeping the Hornets in the game. Against the flow of play, Ben Warren and Ryan Banks-Smith slotted majors for the Hornets, and it was clear the visitors were going to capitalise on their chances.

In the final 15 minutes of the term, a flurry of action saw the Sharks extend their lead a little more, despite three straight behinds in the final couple of minutes. Crossley and Gowers both booted their second goals prior to that, with Thomas Baulch snagging one back for the visitors. At the main break, the Sharks had 22 scoring shots to nine, but only one more goal for an 18-point lead.

Desperate to capitalise on forward half possession, the Sharks had a goal in the opening three minutes going to Michael Manteit, which was countered by Ryan Bastinac of the Hornets. Three more minor scores down the Sharks’ end – including a couple of rushed behinds – were worrying, but Rhys King and Gowers ensured they did get some bang for their buck. They needed someone to try and contain Hammelmann however, as the ex-Brisbane forward was dominating with another three goals – taking his match total to five by the final break. For all the back-and-forth, the margin was once again 18 points at the last change.

The home fans really started to get nervous in the final term despite kicking the first two goals of the quarter through Gowers and Nutting to stretch the lead out to 30 points. Just when they looked to run away with it, the Hornets kicked five of the next six goals – including Cody Stackelberg matching Hammelmann’s three consecutive majors – which cut the deficit to within a kick. With seven minutes on the clock, the game was well and truly alive. Luckily for the Sharks, King came to the rescue to kick a steadier, and from there the home team held on for the victory, 14.25 (109) to 15.5 (95).

Gowers finished with a massive 5.5 from 17 disposals and six marks, leading the way for the winners, as Crossley and King both booted two goals, while Webb (25 touches), Joyce (23) and Manteit (20) all found plenty of the ball and each snagged a major. Jacob Dawson feasted around the ground on his way to 34 disposals, while Fraser Thurlow had 29 hitouts from 19 touches. Despite playing in a losing side, Hammelmann snagged six goals from 11 touches and seven marks, with Stackelberg’s three coming from 14 disposals and four marks. Baulch (25 disposals, two goals), Jack Rolls (22 and one) and Bastinac (19 and one) all worked hard to also hit the scoreboard, as ex-AFL talents Jacob Allison (30 disposals) and Corey Lyons (26) led the disposals.

It was a mixed back of results for the other Queensland sides, with Gold Coast Suns claiming a 14-point win over Sydney Swans, whilst the Brisbane Lions suffered a heavy 69-point loss to Carlton. Dylan Stephens (32 disposals, seven marks and five tackles), Sam Gray (31 disposals, six marks and five tackles) and Ryan Clarke (30 disposals, eight marks) all put their hand up for a Swans recall, whilst youngster Sam Thorne slotted three goals, as did Joel Amartey. For the Suns, Will Bella slotted three goals form 10 touches and five marks to be a standout Academy prospect, with Malcolm Rosas (18 disposals, two goals) and Will Brodie (31 disposals, two goals) among the top AFL-listed players. For the Lions, Tom Fullarton had a day out with 34 touches and 18 hitouts through the ruck, while Rhys Mathieson kicked four goals from 18 disposals in a half. The Blues had an even set of contributors led by Will Setterfield (25 disposals, seven marks and 10 tackles) and Paddy Dow (20 disposals, six tackles) through the midfield, whilst Ben Crocker and James Parsons combined for a whopping 12 goals in the win.

Western Bulldogs handed GWS GIANTS their second loss of the season, as last year’s number one draft pick, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan slotted five goalswer to be amongst six multiple goalkickers for the Dogs in the huge 21.9 (135) to 10.3 (63) victory. Mitch Hannan (three goals), Rhylee West (three and 25 touches, seven marks and five tackles) and Louis Butler (two and 20 touches, six marks and three tackles) were all huge, while teenager Dominic Bedendo (nine disposals, five marks and two goals) also looked dangerous for the Dogs. Jesse Hogan continued his good return to form with four goals from 14 touches and 11 marks for the Giants, while Will Shaw (two goals) and James Peatling (23 disposals, six marks) and Josh Green (21 disposals, three marks and four tackles) were among the top ball-winners.

Meanwhile, Port Melbourne and Williamson enjoyed wins against Sandringham and Werribee respectively. Nash Holmes (28 disposals, six marks and five tackles), Tom O’Sullivan (28 disposals, eight marks), Eli Templeton (25 disposals, 13 marks and two goals) and Isaac Conway (24 disposals, four marks, five tackles and two goals) all dominated for the Borough, while Luke Dunstan had the ball on a string for the Zebras, collecting 46 disposals. Ryan Byrnes (25 disposals, five marks) and Leo Connolly (19 disposals, four marks) were other St Kilda-listed talents who stood out. Mitch Hibberd was again lively for the Seagulls with 23 disposals and eight tackles, leading the way from Liam Hunt (20 disposals) and Jack Toner (16 disposals, eight marks), while Tom Downie had a great battle with Matthew Lobbe, collecting 35 hitouts from 12 disposals. Lobbe had 37 and 12, while Matthew Hanson (25 disposals, six tackles), Shaun Mannagh (24 disposals, four tackles) and Tom Gribble (22 disposals, four tackles) were also big ball-winners.

In other results, Frankston Dolphins dominated North Melbourne on their way to another win, getting up 16.8 (104) to 5.9 (39). Tyler Roos and Nathan Freeman shared in a lazy 85 disposals and 20 marks between them for opposite sides through the midfield, while Bailey Lambert (five goals), Jack Mentha (three) and Will Fordham (24 disposals, two goals) were also damaging on the scoreboard for the Dolphins. Will Walker (23 disposals, 11 marks) Harry Jones (21 disposals, eight marks) and Flynn Appleby (20 disposals, 11 marks) supported Roos in the heavy loss. Another standalone side Northern Bullants was not as fortunate against Hawthorn at Box Hill City Oval, with the visitors going down by 56 points after being level at quarter time. Emerson Jeka slotted five goals from 20 disposals and nine marks in a dominant display up forward, while Fergus Greene (14 disposals, three goals) and Keegan Brooksby (13 disposals, 24 hitouts and two goals) were also good. Ned Reeves had a casual 54 hitouts to go with 16 touches and a goal as well. for the Bullants, Tynan Smith kicked three majors from 16 touches, as Tom Wilson (26 disposals, 10 marks) and Paul Ahern (23 disposals, one goal) were among the best.

In the final two games, Casey Demons recorded a big 13.18 (96) to 5.7 (37) victory over Richmond, while Essendon won the Anzac Day eve battle with Collingwood, 12.13 (85) to 6.14 (50). It was a good day for the red heads, as Jake Bowey (26 disposals, five marks) and Oskar Baker (24 disposals five marks) both impressed, while Neville Jetta was strong with 23 touches, and Ben Brown (four goals) and Sam Weideman (three) stepped up in front of goal again. For the Tigers, Mabior Chol was the only multiple goalkicker with two, as Pat Naish (28 disposals, five marks) and Callum Coleman-Jones (18 disposals, nine marks and 29 hitouts) worked hard through the four quarters. Tom Cutler (27 disposals, seven marks and three goals) was outstanding for the Bombers, while Ned Cahill (21 disposals, five marks and six tackles), Angus Baker (21 disposals, five marks) and Josh Tynan (21 disposals, five marks) were also solid. For the Magpies, youngster Caleb Poulter racked up 27 touches, three marks and three tackles to put his hand up for an AFL debut, as Reef McInnes (17 disposals, four tackles) and Tom Wilson (20 touches, seven marks) were also impressive. Next-Generation Academy member Youseph Dib finished with 11 disposals, tow marks and eight tackles in a solid display.

VFL ROUND 2 RESULTS:

GWS GIANTS 10.3 (63) def. by Western Bulldogs 21.9 (135)
Gold Coast Suns 14.11 (95) def. Sydney 12.9 (81)
Carlton 24.10 (154) def. Brisbane 13.7 (85)
Southport 14.25 (109) def. Aspley 15.5 (95)
North Melbourne 5.9 (39) def. by Frankston 16.8 (104)
Collingwood 6.14 (50) def. by Essendon 12.13 (85)
Hawthorn 17.10 (112) def. Northern Bullants 8.8 (56)
Richmond 5.7 (37) def. by Casey Demons 13.18 (96)
Port Melbourne 13.14 (92) def. Sandringham 9.12 (66)
Werribee 7.11 (53) def. by Williamstown 9.10 (64)

Picture credit: RF Photography

2021 VFL Round 1 review: Queensland teams make their mark

A NEW era and a new competition full of surprises saw a number of clubs from New South Wales and Queensland join the still rather oddly-named Victorian Football League (VFL), and the majority came away with the points. The four AFL-aligned clubs in the two northern states on the east coast joined the competition, with standalone teams, Aspley Hornets and Southport Sharks also joining the fold, as did the Northern Bullants who returned to the competition. With 11 games played every weekend in the new 22-team competition, the competitiveness to finish inside the top eight has never been greater.

The match of the round was easily Southport’s come-from-behind win over Carlton at Ikon Park on Saturday. The Blues raced out of the blocks to pile on six goals to two in the opening term and lead by 26 points at quarter time. The Sharks began to claw their way back in the second, kicking five goals to four to draw to within 19 points at the main break, but the Blues seemed to keep them at arms-length. Carlton kicked 4.6 to 4.0 in the premiership quarter to again extend out to 25 points with a quarter to play, but the visitors were not done with just yet. Connor Nutting kicked two goals in the opening six minutes, and by the time Jacob Dawson had converted a major, the deficit was back in the single digits midway through the term, Lukas Webb brought it back to two points a few minutes later, and after Dawson levelled the score with a behind in the 20th minute, many thought it could be the competition’s first draw.

AFL-listed youngster Lochie O’Brien had other ideas, converting a goal in the 25th minute, and when Matt Shannon kicked a major at 26:38 on the clock, it appeared the Sharks had fought gallantly, but would not be able to comeback from a 12-point deficit, The last eight minutes of the term saw the Sharks relentlessly attacking, and forcing a rushed behind, which would prove ultimately important in the end result. Fraser Thurlow kicked a major in red time, and then it was just five points in it. The former AFL-contingent at the Queensland club had stepped up throughout the game, and indeed it would be Webb who would be the man of the moment, kicking a match-winning major in the last minute to seal the game. At one point, the deficit had got out to as much as 31 points, but the visitors had kept believing, and stunned the home side, 17.7 (109) to 16.12 (108).

Whilst he might not have kicked one in the final term, ex-Bulldog Billy Gowers had a day out with five goals from seven scoring shots, 15 disposals and six marks. Thurlow absolutely dominated the ruck for the Sharks, notching up 49 hitouts, but then going forward to slot three goals and take eight marks from 12 touches. Nutting, a former Gold Coast Academy talent kicked the three goals from 11 touches, while Webb’s two goals in the final term added to his 24 touches, five marks and four tackles. Andrew Boston (27 disposals, 11 tackles), Dawson (26 disposals, seven tackles and one goal), Jesse Joyce (23 disposals, four marks, three tackles and a goal) and Michael Manteit (21 disposals, five marks, two tackles and a goal) were among the other top ball winners.

Despite the loss, Liam Stocker practically kicked down the door for AFL selection with a whopping 38-disposal and 13-mark game, as David Cuningham (28 disposals, four marks, four tackles and a goal), Sam Ramsay (22 disposals, seven marks and five tackles) and O’Brien (21 disposals, six marks and a goal) also found plenty of the footy. Matthew Owies kicked a straight four goals from 12 touches, six marks and four tackles, while ex-Pie and Crow Ben Crocker slotted 2.3 from 11 touches and five marks up forward. Another ex-AFL listed talent in Toby Wooller returned to Victoria from Queensland to kick 1.2 from 16 disposals, six marks, eight tackles and have six hitouts tor the Blues.

Fellow standalone Queensland side Aspley Hornets also sent a message to the rest of the competition with an absolute belting of one of Victoria’s proudest clubs Port Melbourne. The Hornets blew the Borough away in the opening term with a 10 goal to two first quarter, and whilst the visitors managed to get back to within 43 points at the final break with six goals to two over the next two quarters, the damage was done and the Hornets booted six last quarter goals to win 20.13 (133) to 12.8 (80). Ryan Bastinac was ridiculous with 39 touches, four marks, six tackles and three goals, with Matthew Payne (28 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and two goals), Corey Lyons (27 disposals, five marks and one goal) and Matthew Hammelmann (11 disposals, eight marks and 4.4) among the dominant players for the Hornets. Harvey Hooper (27 disposals, four marks and two tackles) tried hard for the Borough, while Anthony Anastasio and Matthew Signorello both slotted three goals apiece.

Also in the Sunshine State, Brisbane Lions reserves knocked off Essendon’s reserves in a 66-point belting at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex. Rhys Mathieson did his chances of a recall no harm thanks to a lazy 34 touches, eight marks and two goals, while Connor Ballenden (31 disposals, 15 marks and one goal) and Keidean Coleman (29 disposals, nine marks, three tackles and two goals) were also up there with the best for the Lions. First-year player Carter Michael showed he has the capacity to match it at senior level, amassing an impressive 25 touches on debut. Ex-Lion Tom Cutler had a team-high 29 disposals and 10 marks for the Bombers, while Nick Bryan racked up 34 hitouts, five marks and three tackles to show off his around-the-ground work with 27 touches.

The only Queensland team to suffer defeat in the opening round of the VFL was Gold Coast Suns, going down by 67 points to a red-hot Western Bulldogs outfit. The Bulldogs kicked 10 goals to three in the opening half to set up the win, restricting the Suns to just 12 scoring shots as the home team won, 16.13 (109) to 6.6 (42). The potent tall forward combination of Josh Schache (19 disposals, 12 marks and 5.4) and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (12 disposals, 2.1) was the issue for the Suns, though father-son talent Ryley West was one of nine individual scorers, picking up 22 disposals, five marks and four disposals in the process. Will Hayes (29 disposals, 11 marks), Riley Garcia (24 disposals, three marks and nine tackles), Lin Jong (24 disposals, seven marks, four tackles and a goal) and Buku Khamis (21 disposals, 11 marks) were other AFL-listed Dogs impressing. For the Suns, Brayden Fiorini (31 disposals, 11 marks and six tackles) and Will Brodie (30 disposals, 10 marks and six tackles) had days out, while talented AFL Academy member Austin Harris kicked two goals from six touches, two marks and three tackles.

In the all-New South Wales battle, Sydney Swans emerged victorious of the GWS GIANTS, booting 12 goals to seven after quarter time to record a 15.6 (96) to 10.10 (70) victory. Colin O’Riordan had 32 disposals and 14 marks, as other Swans-listed talents in Lewis Taylor (32 disposals, eight marks and one goal) and Ryan Clarke (31 disposals, eight marks and four tackles) both racked up the ball with ease. Hayden McLean and Harry Morrison slotted three majors apiece, whilst Paddy McCartin returned to the field to have 19 disposals and nine marks in a promising return. Teenage talents, Sam Thorne (13 disposals, six marks and a goal) and Marc Sheather (10 disposals, three tackles and a goal) also gained some important experience. For the GIANTS, Alex Smout racked up 33 disposals, as Tanner Bruhn showed his AFL debut cannot be too far away with 27 touches and two goals. Josh Green, brother of GIANTS’ Tom stepped up to have 21 touches, as AFL Academy member Josh Fahey had the nine disposals, three marks and three tackles in the loss.

In a couple of the more memorable matches for the VFL, two all-standalone Victorian clashes saw Frankston Dolphins and Williamstown Seagulls win easily against Coburg Lions and Northern Bullants respectively. The Dolphins, led by ex-Bomber Josh Begley (six goals), and ex-Pie and Saint Nathan Freeman (40 disposals), proved too strong for the Lions. Coburg’s Marcus Lentini suffered leather poisoning himself, matching Freeman with a whopping 40 disposals and slotting a goal. Josh D’Intinosante and Mitch Podhajski both slotted three goals in defeat. For the Seagulls, they booted seven goals to one in the first half to set up the victory against the Bullants, as Jake Greiser (29 disposals, eight marks and one goals), Mitch Hibberd (29 disposals, five marks and one goal) and Liam Hunt (29 disposals, one goal) ran rampant. Joel Ottavi slotted four goals from eight scoring shots, while ex-Crow Jordan Gallucci slammed home three goals from 21 touches and six marks. For the Bullants, Tom Wilson had the most touches with 25 and six marks, while ex-GIANT and Roo Paul Ahern had 23 disposals, four marks, four tackles and kicked a goal.

Pies fans had something to smile about over the weekend, with a hard-fought seven-point win over Werribee, 10.9 (69) to 9.8 (62). Second year talent Jay Rantall put his hand up to return to an injury-depleted AFL lineup with 28 disposals, five marks and six tackles, while Tyler Brown (22 disposals), Caleb Poulter (18 disposals, seven marks and a goal) and Ollie Henry (11 disposals, seven marks and two goals) were among the young Pies to make an impact. Ex-Cat Wylie Buzza slotted four goals from 10 touches and four marks, as Tom Gribble (30 disposals, nine marks and five tackles) and Matthew Hanson (28 disposals, four marks and three tackles) did their thing. It was a much more one-sided contest for Richmond’s 40-point win over Sandringham Zebras, as the Tigers piled on 10 goals to three in the first three quarters to lead by 47 points at the final break, before the Zebras cut the deficit back rallying in the final term. Samson Ryan kicked three goals up forward, as Callum Coleman-Jones (22 disposals, six marks, 13 hitouts, four tackles and two goals) found plenty of the football. Jack Ross (34 disposals), Pat Naish (33) and Riley Collier-Dawkins (31) all easily dominated proceedings, whilst for the Zebras, Shaun McKernan was outstanding with 23 disposals, 10 marks, 11 hitouts, four goals and four tackles, while Ryan Byrnes (22 disposals, eight marks and a goal) and Oscar Clavarino (20 disposals, 14 marks) were among the St Kilda-listed talents to impress.

The two Sunday clashes between AFL-aligned clubs resulted in the Casey Demons getting a comfortable 41-point victory over Hawthorn at Box Hill, while Geelong posted a whopping 79-point thrashing over North Melbourne to sit at the top of the VFL ladder. Kade Chandler (25 disposals, 10 marks and a goal), Neville Jetta (25 disposals, 10 marks) and Aaron Vandenberg (25 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and a goal) were busy around the ground, whilst Ben Brown‘s debut in the red and blue (18 disposals, six marks and three goals) was overshadowed by a monstrous performance from Sam Weideman (16 disposals, seven marks and 7.2). Developing Hawk tall Emerson Jeka was one of three in the brown and gold to slot three majors in the loss, while Lachlan Bramble (20 disposals, eight tackles) and Michael Hartley (20 disposals) were among the Hawthorn-listed players to impress. For the Cats, Zach Guthrie had a day out with 27 disposals and 11 marks, as Charlie Constable (26 touches) and Oscar Brownless (24) pressed their cases for a call-up. Josh Jenkins and Ben Jarvis both slotted four goals apiece in the massive win, as two of eight individual goalkickers. Former Bushranger and Hawk’ Mat Walker had three goals from six scoring shots, as well as 16 touches and 10 marks in a dirty day for the Roos, while Dom Tyson (29 touches), Harry Jones (23) and Will Walker (20) tried hard.

VFL ROUND 1 RESULTS:

Richmond 13.17 (95) defeated Sandringham 7.13 (55)
Frankston 20.6 (126) defeated Coburg 14.12 (96)
Western Bulldogs 16.13 (109) defeated Gold Coast Suns 6.6 (42)
Brisbane Lions 15.14 (104) defeated Essendon 5.8 (38)
Sydney Swans 15.6 (96) defeated GWS GIANTS 10.10 (70)
Aspley 20.13 (133) defeated Port Melbourne 12.8 (80)
Carlton 16.12 (108) lost to Southport 17.7 (109)
Werribee 9.8 (62) lost to Collingwood 10.9 (69)
Hawthorn 10.7 (67) lost to Casey Demons 17.16 (118)
Geelong 18.15 (123) defeated North Melbourne 6.8 (44)
Northern Bullants 6.11 (47) lost to Williamstown 14.15 (99)

Picture credit: Southport Sharks Twitter

Classic Contests: Menadue helps Jets hold off Ranges fightback

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 one of the would-have-been Round 19 clashes in the NAB League this year between the Eastern Ranges and Western Jets. In this edition we wind back the clock to 2014, when the two sides met for a mid-season clash at Box Hill City Oval.

2014 TAC Cup, Round 10
Sunday June 15, 1:00pm
Box Hill City Oval

EASTERN RANGES 3.1 | 6.3 | 8.5 | 12.9 (81)
WESTERN JETS 4.1 | 9.3 | 12.4 | 13.7 (85)

GOALS:

Eastern: S. Weideman 3, P. Klep 2, S. Lennox 2, B. Hardwick 2, M. Traynor, R. Sheridan-Ferrie, L. Sverns
Western:
B. Coletta 5, L. Spiteri 3, C. Menadue 2, M. Orr, L. Delahey, R. Stuhldreier

BEST:

Eastern: L. Hannon, D. Crocker, J. Collins, J. Healy, M. Traynor, A. Cotte
Western:
B. Myers, C. Menadue, B. Monk, B. Coletta, M. Orr, L. Spiteri

Draftees in action:

Eastern: Blake Hardwick, Sam Weideman
Western: Connor Menadue

Only percentage separated the Western Jets (third) and Eastern Ranges (sixth) before their Round 10 TAC Cup clash in 2014, making for what would be a scintillating contest. Both sides boasted 5-4 records to that point and had accumulated their wins in identical fashion. After dropping their first three games for the season, they would embark on five-game winning runs, before both going down in Round 9. With five teams on five wins creating a logjam among the top eight, premiership points were at a premium.

Plenty of draftees came out of either region throughout the 2013/14 period too, though names like Christian Petracca and Ryan Clarke would miss for Eastern, while Western went in without Liam Duggan, Corey Ellis, Jayden Laverde, and Dillon Viojo-Rainbow. Of the future AFL-listed players to take the field were bottom-agers Blake Hardwick and Sam Weideman for the Ranges, with Connor Menadue the lone prospect in that category for Western.

In a high-scoring opening term, Western found a way to edge ahead with four goals to three, acclimatising well to conditions on the road. The Jets would extend their even one-goal lead out to three at the main break, and it seemed as though they would be able to cruise home as the buffer sat at a very handy 23 points heading into the final change.

But Eastern would not go down without a fight, and managed to produce its best term of football at the death. Four unanswered goals helped the Ranges sneak ahead with under five minutes left to play, and it looked for all hope that they simply had more left in the tank – not to mention all the momentum. In need of a hero, Menadue stepped up for Western to boot his side’s only major for the quarter and save the Jets from heartbreak, as they held on to win by four points.

Menadue’s efforts (31 disposals, six marks, five tackles, 2.3) were good enough only for second-best afield honours behind teammate Billy Myers (29 disposals, nine marks, seven tackles). Brandon Coletta (five goals) and Leigh Spiteri (three) were dangerous inside forward 50 for the winners, combining for over half their total goals.

Skipper Luke Hannon was named Eastern’s best for his 31 disposals and 12 tackles, in front of a debuting Jayden Collins. Weideman showed his high-level potential with three goals, while Hardwick added two in a role much different to what he plays for Hawthorn, and Matthew Traynor found plenty of the ball (26 disposals, one goal).

The Jets would go on to add three more wins to its regular season tally to finish with a positive record (9-8) in sixth, but were bundled out in an elimination final at the hands of Dandenong. Eastern slipped as well, missing out on finals by two games with a 7-10 record to slot in to the unwanted ninth place.

Draft Central All-Star Teams: Eastern Ranges

EASTERN Ranges’ All-Star side has a potent defence and strong midfield group which makes it a competitive outfit when comparing its best of the best at AFL level. With Sam Mitchell voted the Best Player of the AFL Era, he is one of 28 players to have reached the 100-game mark, though nine of those played between 100-109 games. Instead, three players under the 100-game mark have been included with some strong showings from a couple of modern day players as well.

THE TEAM:

Across the board, the most noticeable aspect about the Ranges’ All-Star side is trying to work out the back six. The amount of small and medium defenders who have progressed from the TAC Cup up to the AFL is envious of any other side, with some like David Wirrpanda put in the forward line – where he did spend time later in his career – because of the defensive strength.

The midfield is very impressive with a nice balance, and there’s some really solid depth across the board. While other sides might have greater depth in the top-end, the Ranges team as a whole has some match winners and plenty of consistent ball winners who would worry the opposition.

DEFENCE:

The two key defenders were easy to pick in Mark Bolton and Jason Saddington as the obvious choices, but the four around them were a lot more difficult. In the end the Scott twins – Chris and Brad – make it in after successful stints in Brisbane’s golden era, while Sydney and Gold Coast’s Nick Malceski, and Lindsay Gilbee round out the back side.

Others coming off the bench who could slide into the role include Rayden Tallis, Jess Sinclair, Michael Firrito and Adam Kingsley which gives fans an idea of just how many players could have slotted into the defensive 50. That is even before you consider Wirrpanda (half-forward) and Kade Simpson (wing) who in their prime would be half-backs.

MIDFIELD:

The combination of Rory Sloane, Mitchell and Kane Johnson is one that other opposition midfields would fear. It is also a highly underrated midfield with Mitchell only really getting the plaudits he deserved later in his career. Liam Shiels and Simpson provide the run on the wings, while Heath Hocking makes the bench, and along with Kingsley, could come in and have an impact through the midfield.

With seven best and fairests and four All-Australians between Sloane and Mitchell, the duo would be a strong one-two hit combination onball. They would rove to Melbourne, Fremantle and Richmond ruck, Troy Simmonds who again was the standout choice for the ruck position, and as a whole the midfield would do its job and be tough to beat.

FORWARD:

The less experienced third of the ground is definitely inside 50, though that is not to take away from Wirrpanda and Travis Cloke who both earned All-Australian honours and played more than 200 games. Cloke also won a best and fairest in 2007 and provides the strong marking ability the team needs. He would team up with the relatively inexperienced and injury prone – but incredibly talented – Jon Patton (89 games, 130 goals) as the two talls inside 50.

Brad Fisher (99 games, 127 goals) was a third tall named inside 50, though that was mainly due to just lacking another small-medium type with Christian Petracca (85 games, 79 goals) – who could be anything by the end of his career – and Chris Knights rounding out the front six.

DEPTH:

Despite three players with less than 100 games making it into the team, there were a further seven players who had just reached the 100-game mark. A couple of players expected to force their way in over the coming years will be Hayden Crozier (108) and Paul Seedsman (101), while the other options of players who have reached 100 games were Simon Godfrey (105), Leigh Adams (104), Matthew Bate (102), Matthew Lobbe (100) and Aaron Young 100).

Of the current players expected to force their way in over time, Blake Hardwick (66 games), Jaidyn Stephenson (40) and Adam Cerra (41) have all made strong starts to their careers. Along with Callum Brown (35), James Parsons (35) and Sam Weideman (31) who have all passed the 30-game mark, the more recent crop of players coming through has plenty of positives for the future.

VFL weekly wrap: Top-of-the-table thriller at Punt Rd goes Richmond’s way

RICHMOND cemented their place at the top of the Victorian Football League (VFL) ladder following a three-point victory over the Bombers in Round 8, while Collingwood returned to the winners list for the first time since Round 1.

Collingwood 12.7 (79) defeated Box Hill 9.11 (65)

The Magpies overturned a one-point deficit at three-quarter-time to storm home to their second win of the season. In a tight match, Box Hill held the largest margin of three goals midway through the third term. With Collingwood’s senior list decimated due to injury, it was largely the VFL stars who turned the tide and lead the black and white to the win. Former Blue Andrew Gallucci, Sam Glover and Callan Wellings all kicked two goals each when the match was there to be won, while Lachie Howe stood out in the ruck with 38 hitouts, a goal, and 20 disposals. Josh Daicos had 34 disposals for the Pies, pushing his case for a senior recall. Box Hill’s Jackson Ross sits equal top of the Frosty Miller Medal standings after another four-goal display.

Geelong 20.11 (131) defeated Coburg 7.12 (54)

Geelong smashed Coburg at home to the tune of 77 points. The Cats lead all day but it was the second quarter where the majority of the damage was done, with Geelong booting seven goals to one. Coburg’s task wasn’t made any easier with an injury to small forward Sam Lowson, who still managed to kick two goals. It was a day to remember for Nathan Krueger as he slammed home six majors while Blake Schlensog, Jake Tarca, and Jackson McLachlan all contributed three each. The latter also had 25 disposals in an impressive display, with Cats VFL coach Shane O’Bree comparing him to Tom Atkins.

Richmond 10.10 (70) defeated Essendon 10.7 (67)

The match of the round took place as a curtain raiser to Dreamtime at the ‘G just 200m across Yarra Park at Punt Rd. Richmond led all day but almost fell over at the final hurdle as the Bombers mounted a last-quarter comeback, booting four goals to one. The Tigers managed to hold on however to remain the only undefeated side in the competition. Mabior Chol dominated with 22 touches, a goal and 22 hitouts, as Jack Graham and Jake Aarts each kicked two goals. Essendon’s Dylan Clarke had the most disposals on the ground with 26 while Irving Mosquito and Mark Baguley also had two goals each to their name.

Footscray 12.11 (83) defeated North Melbourne 9.10 (64)

The Bulldogs got the job done under the lights at the Whitten Oval on Saturday night. North started fast, high on confidence from their win prior to the bye, before the Dogs reeled them back in and did not let the lead go, eventually running out victors by 19 points. Aaron Hall racked up 28 disposals for the Kangaroos while former VFL Premiership Bulldog Tom Campbell had 22 touches and 52 hitouts against his old side. Lukas Webb had 24 disposals and Tory Dickson kicked three goals for the Dogs. The win moves Footscray to outright second on the VFL ladder.

Sandringham 12.8 (80) defeated Northern Blues 10.9 (69)

It was a tale of two halves at Marvel Stadium and the Zebras picked up their game in the second act to win by 11 points. The Blues led by 16 points at the main break before Sandy kicked 6 goals and left their opponents goalless in the third term to turn the game on its head. Brede Seccull had 30 disposals while David Armitage and Hunter Clark had 29 for Sandringham. Sam Fisher was best afield for the Blues with 26. Patrick Kerr and Sam Fox each kicked three goals for their respective sides.

Williamstown 11.11 (77) defeated Casey 9.7 (61)

Casey held the Seagulls scoreless in the first quarter but still couldn’t come home with the four points, as Williamstown ran over the top of the Demons at home. Willy kicked eight goals in the second half to Casey’s three, all of which were kicked in the last three minutes of the game, to record a 16-point victory. Mitchell Hibberd continued his fine form with 31 disposals while Jay Kennedy-Harris had 26 disposals and kicked a goal. Sam Weideman impressed for the Demons with three goals but Jordan Lewis doesn’t look like gaining a senior recall anytime soon, collecting only 23 touches. Christian Buykx-Smith and Jaylon Thorpe kicked three goals each for the Seagulls.

Frankston 4.11 (35) defeated Werribee 8.16 (64)

There is a feeling that the Dolphins are getting closer to a win despite going down by 29 points at home to Werribee on Sunday. Frankston held the Tigers goalless in the first term and led for most of the match, including at three-quarter time, before Werribee rolled over the top to pick up their fourth win of 2019. The Tigers slammed home four goals and eight behinds in the final term, holding the Dolphins scoreless to win by 29 points. Jake Riccardi kicked three goals for the away side, while Beau Bailey kicked 2 for Frankston. Tom Gribble collected 32 disposals and kicked two goals as teammate Matt Hanson collected 31. James Rendell impressed for Frankston with 30 hitouts.

Bye – Port Melbourne

Picture: VFL.com.au

Who will the Demons draft?

Darcy Parish is likely to be a top five pick. Photo: Brian Bartlett (Geelong Advertiser)
Darcy Parish is likely to be a top five pick. Photo: Brian Bartlett (Geelong Advertiser)

Melbourne has some tough decisions to make. Several sources have said that the Demons are leaning towards Darcy Parish at pick three, while others believe they will select Charlie Curnow. Either way, it looks likely that the Demons will want a midfielder and a key forward.

Pick five (originally pick three)

The big fish: Sam Weideman

Weideman is a traditional tall forward with an excellent set of hands. He’s excellent on the lead or overhead and he works hard to present as an option. Weideman needs to work on his goal kicking, as he can be very streaky. Some days, he can nail five from five, but when he struggles with confidence, he becomes a bit wayward in front of goal.

Plan B: Charlie Curnow

Curnow makes a lot of sense for the Demons. He’s a physical key forward who could fit in well with Hogan. Or alternatively, the Demons may chose to develop him as a midfielder. The Demons may have traded up to chose the player who could be a franchise corner stone. He’s got a lot to work on, but he arguably has the highest ceiling of anyone available at that pick.

Pick 10 (originally seven)

The big fish: Darcy Parish

Parish is a smooth moving outside midfielder who does everything to a high standard. He’s worked on finding his own ball on the inside, and his ceiling has expanded immensely over the course of this year. Parish’s best case scenario is that he becomes a top 15 midfielder in the competition, and that doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch for him.

Plan B: Wayne Milera

Milera is a classy smaller midfielder with a range of different tricks. He’s shown he can be a very effective small forward at senior level, as he hits the scoreboard, provides creativity and he can win his own football. Milera is elusive in traffic and shown that he can be a consistent offensive presence.

Pick 46

The big fish: Kieran Lovell

Lovell is a big-time accumulator, averaging 35 disposals at the national championships. Lovell is tough on the inside, but his endurance also allows him to be a consistent presence on the outside. He makes the right decisions and he’s got great vision, but his execution is not great. Lovell can also hit the scoreboard, so he may be a decent option as a hard-working small forward who can rotate through the midfield.

Plan B: Greg Clark

The Demons could do with a third tall forward who works as a link player. Clark is a versatile type at 194 centimetres, but he’s not a bull on the inside or quick on the outside. He is a clean user of the football and he’s got the endurance to burn off defenders. He hasn’t had the year he would have liked, but there is plenty to work with at the next level.

Pick 50: James Harmes (rookie upgrade)

Pick 82: Aaron vandenBerg (rookie upgrade)

Jourdan Canil’s top 30 draft prospects

Darcy Parish is likely to be a top five pick. Photo: Brian Bartlett (Geelong Advertiser)
Darcy Parish is likely to be a top five pick. Photo: Brian Bartlett (Geelong Advertiser)

The AFL Draft is nearing, and despite suggestions of a weak draft, the top 30 prospects are still relatively strong in comparison to previous years. This is my list of the top prospects, but it does not indicate where they will go in the draft.

1. Jacob Weitering
Club: Dandenong Stingrays
Position: Key defender
Height: 195 cm
Weight: 94 kg
Player Comparison: Alex Rance

Weitering’s got the whole package. His best asset is his intercept marking. He runs off his opponent and reads the play so well. He’s strong enough to not only compete at AFL level, but immediately win contests. He’s a terrific overhead mark, and positions himself well. A terrific rebounder, Weitering also has a long and classy kick, often putting the ball out into space for his team mates to run into. Athletically, he’s got a good leap and he’s got good closing speed. I firmly believe he will be one of the two or three best key defenders in the league in years to come.

2. Josh Schache
Club: 
Murray Bushrangers
Position: Key forward
Height: 199 cm
Weight: 93 kg
Player Comparison: Tom Lynch (Gold Coast)

Probably the most promising ‘true’ key forward of 2015, Schache kicked 27 goals from 15 games as a 17 year old. Schache prides himself on his contested marking. His size allows him to crash through packs, but he also takes the ball out at full stretch. Schache is a great player below the knees, and unlike most key forwards, he is a reliable field kick and shot for goal. Schache has speed on the lead and he also likes to use his physicality. Schache can kick a goal from most places on the field, and he’s got a 55 metre cannon too. In terms of agility, Schache is actually quite impressive for his size. He could potentially improve on the defensive side of his game, which is for me, what separates him from Tom Boyd and Patrick McCartin, as they are probably less likely to become well-rounded key forwards. Schache’s conversion rate this year has been impressive and he’s stood up in key games. Definitely the second best player in the draft for mine.

3. Darcy Parish
Club: 
Geelong Falcons
Position: Midfielder
Height: 181 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Player Comparison: Lachie Whitfield

Darcy Parish is a classy outside midfielder, who despite his flaws, should be a top five pick. Parish is a very slight framed player who has great speed. He runs hard to receive a handball or take an uncontested mark, then will keep zipping past others to break lines. Parish loves to kick, and he can often have 20 or more kicks in a game. Most will hit the targets, as he prefers to do short sharp chips. He’s a good decision maker and with that comes a high disposal efficiency. I think at AFL level that efficiency may drop a little as he will be encouraged to be bolder. It’s scary that a player with so much hurt factor still has so much room to grow. Parish has become more of a goal kicker, and he’s put on a bit of weight to increase his core strength. He’s got room to improve his defensive efforts, as his strong tank and speed should really see him taking down few more players. I see him growing into that Lachie Whitfield mould, but perhaps with a little more pace.

4. Callum Mills
Club:
 North Shore
Position: Midfielder
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player Comparison: Lenny Hayes

Mills is the complete package, and he will head to Sydney through their academy. He would certainly have been a top three pick if he was on the open market. Mills is an exceptional accumulator, as he averaged 32 disposals at 65% through his six TAC Cup games last year as a 17 year old. . He was named in the bests in five out of his six games. Mills also averaged over six tackles and six marks per game in the TAC Cup. Mills is a beast of an inside midfielder. He’s fairly balanced, as he gets around 50% of his ball on the outside, as he finds space to take uncontested marks and handball receives. But his courage to throw himself at the ball is incredible. He is impossible to tag. Mills is a leader and works hard defensively.

5. Aaron Francis
Club: West Adelaide
Position: Utility
Height: 191cm
Weight: 89 kg
Player Comparison: Adam Goodes

Francis is just a shade below the top two in my eyes, but he’s got the potential to be a franchise cornerstone. He’s a terrific intercept mark, has tremendous athleticism and literally plays in every position. Francis has played his best footy as a third tall or key defender, as his intercept marking and ability to rebound are his two best assets. He’s also extremely strong around the contest, so he can win his own footy on the inside. His kicking is well above average, and he is quickish, so he’s a good player on the outside too. I liked his smarts when playing as a forward. He lead up consistently, and he provides a great target. When the ball hits the deck, he is too big and strong for small defenders, and too agile for bigger ones. The one query I have on him is his goal kicking, but I haven’t seen a big enough sample size of him as a forward to say whether that’s a true weakness

6.Jacob Hopper
Club:
North Ballarat Rebels
Position:
Inside midfielder
Height:
186 cm
Weight:
82 kg
Player Comparison:
Ollie Wines

Hopper is clearly the best pure inside midfielder in this draft. His extraction skills are supreme and he’s got a great understanding of where to position himself at stoppages to have an impact. Hopper is an excellent goal kicker – he heads forward and he can be effective at ground level or as a marking target. He’s a terrific tackling presence and he never stops trying. His kicking is just okay, but his vision and spatial awareness are excellent, so he doesn’t get caught out often. He’s very clean by hand in traffic.

7. Charlie Curnow
Club:
Geelong Falcons
Position: Key forward/midfielder
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 95 kg
Player Comparison: Jake Stringer

Curnow looks like a possible top five pick. He can be a bit lazy, often looking to engage in one on one contests, rather than leading up and using space. Having said that, he’s an elite runner with a very high beep test score, so clearly he’s got a strong work ethic. He gets by in under 18’s with his strength, and obviously coming off that knee injury he wasn’t able to show his running strength. He’s a great contested mark, he wins his own ball on the inside, and at times, his skills are usually pretty good. I think his 21/30 on the kicking test at the combine was a bit misleading. He’s a below average converter on goals, and he’s not a great field kick either.  He’s got a very high upside with his great frame and the ability to grow into a big-bodied midfielder, but I personally see him as a forward in the Jake Stringer role.

8. Matthew Kennedy
Club:
Collingullie-GP
Position: Inside midfielder
Height: 187cm
Weight: 84 kg
Player Comparison: Elliot Yeo

Kennedy is a big-bodied inside midfielder with terrific endurance and a great overhead mark. He finished with a 14.12 beep tests and some really good scores in various leaping tests at the combine. He’s very hard at the contest, and while he’s not in that elite level for racking up the footy, you can tell that with development, he’ll be able to make that transition at AFL level. Kennedy looks damaging in the forward line, and whilst he is pretty clean with either foot, if it was a bit better he could be challenging for a top three pick.

9. Wayne Milera
Club:
Central Districts
Position: Outside midfielder/small forward
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Player Comparison: Shaun Burgoyne (early career)

Milera has far exceeded expectations this year. He’s a creative midfielder/half forward with some of the best skills in this draft class. Milera is a terrific decision maker and he offers something a bit different to the rest of the midfielders in this draft class, where there seems to be one or two clear options, but he’ll cut through the middle and pick a more damaging option that most players wouldn’t even consider. He’s very agile and hard to tackle, and he loves using his speed through the centre of the ground. Milera has been the best performed junior in the top flight of the SANFL, where he’s consistently found the football and chipped in for several goals on a few occasions.

10. Rhys Mathieson
Club: 
Geelong Falcons
Position: Midfielder
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 79 kg
Player Comparison: Jordan Lewis

I don’t like to overrate players, but Mathieson has a similar style to Jordan Lewis in the way he plays on the inside and outside. Mathieson is a big time accumulator, but it’s the way that he does it that really makes his 30 disposal games really impressive, despite being just an above average kick of the ball. Mathieson hunts the ball on the inside. He throws himself at the contest, and despite not being the new prototype big midfielder, his body strength in packs is advanced for his age. He knows how to position himself on the inside, and once he has the ball, he executes handpasses in traffic and out of the bottom of a pack quickly and usually to the best outside option. Mathieson is terrific on the outside too, and this is what makes him such a champion type. Mathieson is fairly quick on the outside, with a solid 20 metre burst that breaks games open. He doesn’t have to run a long distance, because with the separation he creates in a short space, he gives himself enough time to launch a kick into the forward 50. Mathieson has above average skills by hand and foot, and he’s a solid overhead mark too.

11. Kieran Collins
Club:
Dandenong Stingrays
Position: Key defender
Height: 193 cm
Weight: 94 kg
Player Comparison: Daniel Talia

Collins is the best lockdown key defender in the draft. He’s that classic disciplined Darren Glass type, where he doesn’t give his opponents any room to move. He’s got a very high football IQ and he doesn’t try to exceed his limitations. Collins is exceptional overhead and he can take plenty of intercept marks, but he’s not the type to take a massive risk and fly if he didn’t think it was the right time to do so. Collins won the handball test at the combine with an exceptional 29/30. His kicking is fine, but he’s not a great rebounder at this stage of his career. He’s not the quickest player, but his football smarts and spatial awareness make up for that. He’s also shown a little bit as a forward, but he looks like a 200 game player as a key back already.

12. Harley Balic
Club: 
Sandringham Dragons
Position: Forward/midfielder
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player Comparison: Jackson Macrae

Balic is a really classy half forward who can pull off some incredible things. Balic is a terrific overhead mark, and he leads to the right places. His contested marking is incredible for a medium forward. He is a really intelligent forward who pushes up to create space for his full forward to lead in to. He has a very strong body and last year he lacked opportunity in the midfield. His inside game development is arguably the biggest leap of any top talent in the draft this year. Last year I would have said he was a pure outside player, but he has learnt the nuances of the inside game in terms of positioning himself at contests. His developmental curve is extremely encouraging and it’s one of the reasons I like him more than most. The fact he is now a balanced midfielder who can find the footy, as well as being a forward with flare makes me believe he has a sneakily very high ceiling.

13. Ben Keays
Club: 
Morningside
Position: Forward/midfielder
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Player Comparison: Christian Petracca

Keays in my mind is close to a top 10 pick, but he will be going to Brisbane through their academy a little later. Keays is a gut running type, who shows absolute class on the outside most of the time (although he does make some poor choices sometimes). Keays has the ability to kick it long or hit short targets with ease.

Keays has a really strong body, and his work on the inside is outstanding. Indeed, Keays’ most exciting ‘Petracca like’ feature is his overhead marking and work as a forward. Keays can really dominate up forward with strength, but he can also kick freakish, skillful goals. He fends off players as he takes on the game, and backs himself in to finish off with a goal. He’s increased his ability to rack up the football, and as such, his disposal efficiency has dropped off a touch, which I think is why he hasn’t been talked about as much in that top 10 equation.

14. Callum Ah Chee
Club: 
South Fremantle
Position: Forward/midfielder
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 69 kg
Player Comparison: Chad Wingard

Ah Chee offers a bit of a different look this year, and though I suspect he has more potential than most of the players in the top 10, he probably hasn’t had the year he would have liked. Ah Chee is lightening quick, in terms of acceleration and over a long distance. There’s not too many ultra quick players who have multiple strings to their bow in this year’s draft class. Ah Chee is an excellent kick of the football. He gets a fair bit of penetration on it and I’ve noticed his decision making has improved over the course of this year. Ah Chee is very dangerous around goals. He’s an excellent crumber, but as you’ve all seen with his mark in the AFL Academy game, he’s a high flier and a good over head mark, despite his light frame. I’d love to see him build up his tank and also his core strength, as he’s struggling to win much of his own footy.

15. Jade Gresham
Club: Northern Knights
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Position: Midfielder
Player Comparison: Travis Boak

Gresham is one of those players you know what you are going to get. While he does lack that punishing hurt factor that the elite players have, he uses his limitations to the best of his ability. Skill wise, he was clearly the best tester at the NAB AFL Combine, which helps tick those boxes. Defensively, he’s not too bad. He doesn’t rack up a lot of tackles, but he is accountable and he reads the play well enough to choose when to peel off his man as well. Gresham is a outside-leaning midfielder, with the potential to develop an inside game in the future. He reads the ruck taps so well and knows where to run and break away. While he’s not fast, he’s smart and this helps him at stoppages. He is fearless in the way he throws himself into packs, despite being a shorter midfielder. His hands in traffic are really clean and quick. Gresham has added goal kicking to his repertoire of late. He hasn’t had the opportunity to play much as a crumbing small forward, but he has kicked a goal per game on average this season. Gresham looks to be an excellent leader already.

16. Sam Weideman
Club: 
Eastern Ranges
Position: Key forward
Height: 195 cm
Weight: 91 kg
Player Comparison: Levi Casboult

Weideman’s injury issues have made him an intriguing prospect, as he has so much that he must improve on. 2014 was an up and down year for the forward. He was able to play 15 games, but only kicked 19 goals and 15 behinds. His statline is poor, but recruiters will look to his best games to find out why he is so highly regarded. Again in 2015, he struggled statistically, despite receiving very good delivery from a strong midfield group. Weideman is a terrific mark of the ball. His contested marking is a standout in pack situations. However, what is most impressive is his ability to take one grab marks on the lead, particularly in sticky situations. You know if the ball is within his long reach, then he won’t drop it. He’s a below average kick of the football. He’s probably one of only a handful of players in this draft class who have one truly dominant skill, but when you cannot convert simple set shots at goal, then it really hurts. Weideman plays as a true leading centre half forward, but he also has the size and skill set to play as a full forward.

17. Darcy Tucker
Club: 
North Ballarat Rebels
Position: Midfielder
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Player Comparison: Sam Docherty

Tucker looks best as a half back in my eyes. He reads the play really well, and he plays pretty wide of the contest, so he’s often in a dangerous spot on the rebound if the ball leaks out. He’s not a great individual defender, but I can see with his mindset and leadership that his defensive game will grow. As a midfielder, Tucker plays almost exclusively on the outside, but I can see scope for that developing as he seems to have good core strength. Tucker’s endurance is terrific, as he came in with a 15.3 beep test. That gives me hope that he can be a midfielder, but he’s got a bit to learn in terms of stoppage set ups and the general nuances of that position. Tucker is an excellent kick of the footy. Although he’s a bit down the pecking order, I don’t think there is a massive class difference between Darcy Parish, Cal Ah Chee and Tucker.

18. Ryan Clarke
Club: 
Eastern Ranges
Position: Midfielder
Height: 184 cm
Weight: 85 kg
Player Comparison: David Zaharakis

Clarke’s speed is excellent over the first few steps and he really breaks lines, but he’s probably a couple of rungs slower than the absolute best. He’s an excellent distributor by hand and foot. His decision making and vision is in the top class of this year’s draft, and he backs himself to hit difficult targets. Clarke is a strong runner who loves to break through the middle. He’s also got a fairly long kick too, and on the run he can impact the scoreboard from 55 out. He can go forward, but he’s probably got some work to do in that regard. He’s not a great mark overhead, and although he has the physical attributes to be a good crumber, he hasn’t shown that he’s got those talents as of yet.  Clarke’s inside game is developing. He’s got great core strength, so he breaks tackles fairly easily. He reads the tap well and he’s physical, so he throws himself at the footy. Clarke is sharp and quick by hand too, so there aren’t too many doubts over whether he’ll be a well-rounded midfielder. He’s not the prototype big-bodied inside beast that recruiters are infatuated with, so it’s unlikely that he’ll be a clearance machine at the top level, but he’ll be serviceable.

19. Eric Hipwood
Club:
Aspley
Position: Key back/forward
Height: 200 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Player Comparison: Harris Andrews

Hipwood will probably attract a top 10 bid, although his form doesn’t quite warrant it. He’s a project player who has terrific agility and a great overhead marking ability. He’s an okay user of the footy, who finds it more than your traditional key backman, but he doesn’t really know his limitations. He looks a bit more at home as a key defender, although he’s showed spurts of form as a forward here and there this year. He’ll take a long time to develop, but then again, we thought that of Harris Andrews and look how quickly he’s adapted.

20. Harry McKay
Club:
Gippsland Power
Position: Key forward
Height: 200 cm
Weight: 85 kg
Player Comparison: Drew Petrie

Harry McKay is a raw prospect who has shown great signs for his age. He should basically be considered a 2016 prospect, as he is only a few days off being eligible for next year’s draft. For a 200 cm player, McKay is very quick and agile. He can twist and turn and crumb like a small forward. He’s a terrific overhead mark, and he continually leads up the ground to present as a link up target. He’s a pretty good kick for goal too. At this stage, he’s a long-term prospect. He’s going to need to put on plenty of size to be able to compete, but he’s got as much upside as anyone in this draft class.

21. Ryan Burton
Club: 
North Adelaide
Position: Forward
Height: 190 cm
Weight: 89 kg
Player Comparison: Brett Burton

Burton’s broken leg could see him as a big slider, so it’s really difficult to get a gauge on where he sits. Although he is in that inbetween size, I can see Burton being a key forward. Burton has a massive leap, and his overhead marking is exceptional. Indeed, his game style isn’t too dissimilar to his namesake Brett Burton. Burton is a wonderful kick for goal, and he isn’t shy when it’s a clutch situation. Burton needs to improve his field kicking and forward smarts (ie where to lead and how to space himself). However, one thing that cannot be questioned is his defensive efforts, as he averaged three tackles per game in the Championships as a 17 year old.

22. Riley Bonner
Club:
West Adelaide
Position: Half back
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 80 kg
Player Comparison: Grant Birchall

Bonner is your classic elite ball user off the back flank. He’s probably the best long kick in the draft, and he can use both feet to a very high level. Bonner can play on the wing, or as a half forward too, but he’s played his best footy as a half-back this year. Bonner isn’t super quick, but he’s agile and he runs hard all game to present as a link-up target. The biggest issue with Bonner is his complete lack of accountability, but that should get better with a few years of development.

23. Clayton Oliver
Club:
Murray Bushrangers
Position: Midfielder
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 86 kg
Comparison: Luke Parker

Oliver is a big bodied inside midfielder who has a few different tricks. He wins his own ball easily, and while he has a large frame, he needs to develop a bit more physically for his game to translate to the AFL. Oliver can go forward and take a strong mark, and his finishing around the goals is excellent. Oliver is a strong tackler and a hard worker who runs both ways. Interestingly, Oliver tested much better than most expected in the speed and agility drills, which perhaps raises his ceiling in the eyes of recruiters. He ran a 2.99 20 metre sprint, which isn’t jaw dropping, but it’s pretty good for an inside midfielder. His agility time of 8.11 seconds was third in the entire AFL combine, and incredible feat that will no doubt be taken into account on draft night.

24. Josh Dunkley
Club:
 Gippsland Power
Position: Midfielder
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 84 kg
Player Comparison: Early career Jobe Watson

Dunkley is an inside midfielder who finds the goals easily. His drive and work ethic is incredible, reminiscent of Jason Johnson in his prime.He uses his size to bully his opponents, which should still work relatively well at AFL level, but he hasn’t become the great extractor his skillset should allow him to. Dunkley is an incredible tackler and a strong overhead mark. His leadership is a plus as well. Dunkley averaged 6 and a half tackles in the TAC Cup over 13 games, with an astounding 18 tackles leading the way against the Falcons as a 17 year old. He’s a really poor kick and lacks any form of an outside game at this stage. He’s pretty sluggish off the mark too, but he’s got a pretty good tank. He showed that he can hold his own at VFL level, which is crucial for a player of his ilk.

25. Mitchell Hibberd
Club:
Clarence
Position: Half back
Height: 191 cm
Weight: 85 kg
Player Comparison: Brad Sheppard

Hibberd would be a nice complimentary player on any team. He’s a smart defender, who is really solid in the air. He reads the flight of the ball well and he’s a good athlete. Hibberd isn’t an elite kick, but he hits targets consistently and rarely turns the ball over. He makes the right decisions and he takes the game on when he’s rebounding. Hibberd finds plenty of the ball on the outside, and he’s damaging enough to float forward and have an impact. With his size, athleticism and skills, he’s a very solid option.

26. Ben McKay
Club:
Gippsland Power
Position: Key defender
Height: 200 cm
Weight: 91 kg
Player Comparison: Lachie Henderson

Ben McKay is the identical twin of Harry. Ben’s best skill is contested marking, which was showcased against Oakleigh, when he took five of them. Like Harry, he is quite agile, although Ben is a bit stronger at this stage. McKay is a solid user of the footy, although he doesn’t offer too much at this stage from a rebounding point of view. He’s a solid intercept mark, but at this stage, he’s more concerned with being accountable than peeling off his man. McKay also showed he can head forward effectively, as well as providing a chop out in the ruck.

27. Luke Partington
Club:
Norwood
Position: Outside midfielder
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Player Comparison: Leigh Montagna

Luke Partington looks to be a really well rounded midfielder. He’s got a bit of speed, and he’s the type to work hard all game, so he’s always providing a link up target on the outside. He’s a pretty neat kick and a nice decision maker too. He’s become a better inside midfielder this year too, using his smarts and speed to read the tap and win clearances, rather than using his strength.

28. Aidyn Johnson
Club:
Bendigo Pioneers
Position: Utility
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Comparison: No real comparison

It’s been hard to get a gauge on what type of player Aidyn Johnson is, due to his injury troubles. Johnson is one of the fastest and most agile players in this draft class, and will probably be taken in the second round based on that. Michael Ablett and Brett Anderson rate him very highly, with his agility (fourth in the AFL Combine), speed and also the ability to create space around goals that others can’t being the really exciting features of his game. Johnson is a great volume tackler, averaging four per game last year in the TAC Cup. He’s also got that match winning ability. He kicked four goals and laid seven tackles last year against the Falcons, and he had a two other games where he was the best player for the Pioneers. He’s got a fair bit that he needs to improve on based on the ten or so games he’s played in the last two years. His kicking is a little too erratic, and he can give away clumsy free kicks. He’s also got to try and use his pace to receive more handballs on the outside, as he struggles to get more than 10-15 touches most games.

29. Nick O’Kearney
Club: 
Calder Cannons
Position: Midfielder
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 70 kg
Player Comparison: Brent Stanton

I like O’Kearney more than most, and I think that comes with accepting that he is a limited role player. His ball winning is incredible, as he averaged 25 disposals in the TAC Cup as a 17 year old, and he’s shown that he can do that again as an 18 year old. Despite playing in a star studded Calder team, O’Kearney took out the Cannons’ best and fairest as a 17 year old, and may do so again. O’Kearney reminds me a lot of Brent Stanton, in that he is a terrific two way runner. He gets 65% of the ball on the outside, but he’s improved his inside game as well this year. O’Kearney captained Vic Metro in the Under 16’s and he has natural leadership qualities. However, despite his leadership and high production, there are clear knocks on his game. His kicking is pretty average for someone who is predominately an outside midfielder. It has improved a little bit, but not enough to be a top 25 pick in my eyes.

30. Bailey Rice
Club:
Dandenong Stingrays
Position: Half back/midfielder
Height: 184 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Player Comparison: Zak Jones

Rice is a real competitive beast who has made big strides this year. He’s a really strong contested mark for a half back, and he’s shown some real physicality when defending. He offers a lot on the rebound, and even though he’s not an elite kick, he’s very neat and rarely turns the ball over. Rice has shown that he can win his own football as a midfielder, and with increased running power, he can be a balanced midfielder. Rice throws himself at the footy and really reads the flight of the ball well.

AFL Bloodlines: Weideman wants to forge his own legacy

rsz_weidemansam

Football is entrenched in Sam Weideman’s blood. Arguably so it seemed long before he understood that he was always destined to play football.

For Sam, he is the third generation in a long line of one of Collingwood Football Club’s most famous families; the Weideman’s. Sam’s Grandfather Murray, was one of the most revered players of his era. A 1958 premiership captain who also played a staring role in the 1953 flag is one of the more coveted players to have ever pulled on the famous black and white jumper.

His son Mark followed in his father’s footsteps, and was a colourful character who came to the club with great promise. He played 20 of his 28 games in a strong Collingwood side in 1981. However he was left out of the Grand Final side that year, with injury over the following seasons ultimately cutting short a promising career which finished on 28 senior games, which brings us to Sam. At just 16 years old, Sam Weideman is a man mountain. Already 195 cm and 85 kg, he’s still got plenty of growing to do before he is draft eligible in 2015.

Weideman is an infectious character. His big smile, followed up by a warm hand shake and friendly demeanor meant that the chat post-game after the Eastern Ranges’ nail-biting win over the Northern Knights – in which Weideman starred, ensured that his up-in-your-face, bubbly-type persona on field, matched his charm off it.

Weideman’s transition onto the Eastern Ranges’ TAC Cup list has been a promising one. The big, lead up forward finds himself immersed at a club that has a knack for producing big key forwards, with the likes of Jonathan Patton and Tom Boyd both being products of the prodigious system in the last few years. His fellow star up forward, Christian Petracca, an AFL-AIS member who seems set to become a first round selection later in November has continued that trend and Weideman could be the fourth in as many years in 2015. But as a bottom-age player this season, it’s a year of development and opportunity for Weideman, with the chance to get a head start along side and against the best talent in the state. “It’s a really big development year for me personally. It’s been challenging to start off, but I feel I’m slowly getting into it each week.”

Weideman started the season off slowly. He didn’t star, but his efforts in the air and disposal at ground level provided positive signs that a breakout game was threatening. With Petracca the focal point up forward for the Eastern Ranges, pressure mounted on Weideman to step up to the plate, with the forward prodigy away on AIS commitments for two weeks. The challenge was put to Weideman, to which he responded. His final stats for the day read five goals, 11 disposals and six marks, of which four were contested. Although the Eastern Ranges couldn’t hold off the Calder Cannons, the breakout which was threatening became a reality.

It reaffirmed what TAC Cup fans, as well as the Eastern Ranges officials were all thinking. This kid is about to blow everyone away.

But coming into a must-win game for the reigning premiers with Petracca still away, Weideman again fronted up and kicked three majors while taking some mind-blowing contested marks and kicking important goals as momentum swung in the favour of the Ranges. The Knights’ paranoia was evident, because whenever Weideman went near the ball, panic stations set in due to his command on the footy. He was met by two or three Northern players, knowing instinctively that Weideman could put them to the sword if given the chance.

That is exactly what he did.

His third goal of the afternoon was the one that put the Ranges in front. After a 40-point deficit turned into just five points, it was fitting that it was Weideman who took on the responsibility and was the one to put them in front. And despite a close finish in which the Ranges recorded their first win of the year, Weideman was all praise for Petracca who had been a vital cog in his progression as a forward. “Hes’s got so much experience, and so much promise as a player and he’s really helping me develop into a player like him who’s always such a danger.” Weideman said. I aspire to be like him, and his work rate is just fantastic. He loves to really help me and teach me in aspects of being a forward, and with him out it’s given me the opportunity to step up and really present myself and show what I’ve got to put on the table, but in saying that, I can’t wait to have him back.”

Having influential people around the football club this season is something that extends beyond Petracca. Eastern Ranges are coached by former Essendon champion Darren Bewick, whilst former Melbourne head coach Mark Neeld holds a position as talent manager. “They have been a massive help for me, and they’ve had so much experience and know what it takes to get to the elite level, especially in terms of developing my strengths and working on my weaknesses and to really get the best out of myself.”

Strength in general, is something that Weideman has plenty of. He has a natural knack to body up well against his opponent, working him under the ball and taking clean contested marks. He protects the drop of the ball well and is shown signs that he can ruck when the ball is in deep in Eastern’s attacking half.

“I’m starting to develop my leading patterns, which I hope to make a real strength of mine, but I’d say my marking ability is one attribute I feel is my strongest.” Weideman said. “I like to really extend myself, and back my speed off the mark to beat my opponent to give myself the best opportunity to take important marks.”

But in terms of what his aims are this year, Weideman is much more realistic.

“My main aim on my game, is finding some consistency and trying to improve my game each week. The challenges are going to become harder, and I just want to try and step up to the plate and really present myself.”

It’s reflective of exactly how the year started for Weideman. Slowly each week, he has been chipping away and now he is started to see the rewards with a return of eight goals in the previous two games. His ability has always been there, but perhaps now we’re finally starting to see that he too understands exactly what he can produce.

Although Weideman has played predominately deep forward, already he understands where his improvement needs to come form if he’s to take the next step in his development.

“Definitely my endurance (is a weakness),” Weideman suggested. “I did every session during preseason and I tried to develop my tank as much as I can to get the best out of myself, so it’s something I really want to work on, so I can push further up the ground and give myself the best possibly chance in my top-age year. My defensive pressure as a forward is something I want to work on, too but I feel I can really work on that over the year and provide a really good contest and work really hard when I haven’t got the ball.”

It’s already a strong indication that Weideman understands that having a famous surname won’t be enough to get him onto an AFL list at the end of next year.

But one factor that hasn’t disrupted Weideman’s progress is external pressure and expectation that he’ll carry on the famous name at Collingwood one day. His grandfather Murray declared in the Herald Sun back in 2010 that, “Sam will definitely play for the Magpies one day so it’s important he sees what a Collingwood premiership looks and feels like.”

But although his father didn’t play enough games to see Sam carry on the tradition, he’s realistic in his approach that he has a lot of work to do before before any such career path presents itself.

“Granddad always gets a bit ahead of himself sometimes!” Weideman joked. “But he’s been really great to me and has always been super supportive during my junior career, and he’s always been there every chance he’s had to watch me play and give all the tips he has. He’s a wealth of knowledge, especially with what he’s been able to achieve. “

His father Mark has equally been as supportive, and has taken a hands-on approach with Sam as he enters his first of two years at the Eastern Ranges. “He’s been a tremendous support to me. He’s always helping me, always trying to make me a better footballer, and I feel I’m very fortunate.”

But coming from a generation of Collingwood stalwarts, one would assume that the same passion and love for the black and white would flow on to Sam. “I actually follow Richmond,” Weideman revealed.

After a long love affair for Matthew Richardson, Weideman jumped ship and has been a passionate supporter ever since. “I’m not to sure how it happened, really. I went to a lot of Richmond games as a kid, and although I followed Collingwood early on, I just loved watching ‘Richo’ and I guess that’s how it happened.  I love the Tiges.”

Perhaps what was more astounding, was that his father Mark didn’t try to sway his interests, which inadvertently was an early sign that despite his famous surname, his father was adamant he would be his own man. If the opportunity presented itself allowing Sam to carry on the surname at the club his family are considered a monarchy at, he couldn’t wipe the smile off his face at the fairytale should it one day follow through. “Grandad would be very proud.” Weideman said of the futuristic suggestion. “To have that sort of legacy at the club, it’d be very nice to be able to follow that up.”

While some 16 year-olds would get carried away with dreams of playing AFL, let alone following their father’s footsteps – Weideman is realistic in his approach with his feet firmly on the ground, and focus purely on the next game ahead.

“I just want to play some consistent footy at TAC Cup level ahead of my top-age year next season.” Weideman stressed. “I’m not looking too far ahead, but I want to develop myself towards what will hopefully be an exciting future.”