Tag: saxon crozier

Caught the Eye – U17 Futures

WITH the NAB League sides enjoying a development weekend, we cast out eyes over the Under 17 Futures double-header at Ikon Park on Sunday to see who would catch them – this week selecting three players from each side. For full scouting notes on each player highlighted and more, click here.

Vic Country vs. NSW/ACT

Sam Berry (Vic Country)
Gippsland Power | Midfielder
12/02/2002 | 180cm | 82kg

Stats: 23 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 6 clearances, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “His clearance work was great but it was also his skill with ball in hand that stood out, and despite looking like the type to just win the hard ball and bomb it, he actually took the time to hit his targets on both feet.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Arguably the best Country player on the day, Berry is well and truly a proven ball winner having continued from the form he showed in the NAB League. Is tenacious at the coalface, but has a good burst and should assume the number one midfield role for Gippsland next year.

Zavier Maher (Vic Country)
Murray Bushrangers | Midfielder
5/05/2002 | 183cm | 82kg

Stats: 20 disposals, 7 marks, 6 tackles, 5 clearances, 7 inside 50s

Our scouts said: “Maher covered plenty of ground and played a good mix to win his own ball but also work hard to get around the ground on the outside” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Complimented Berry beautifully in midfield as another with good size. Is another who looks likely to take over the leading midfield mantle at his NAB League club next year and will do well to transfer the numbers he had in this game to that competition.

Deakyn Smith (Vic Country)
Dandenong Stingrays | Small Forward
22/08/2002 | 179cm | 65kg

Stats: 14 disposals, 8 marks, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Smith got better and better as the game went on and his combination of speed and aerial ability made him a difficult matchup.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Is such a slippery customer and much of the NSW/ACT side had no answer for his tricks in the forward half. Has played in different roles for Dandenong, but was dangerous inside 50 here and works hard to find space up the field.

Braeden Campbell (NSW/ACT)
Swans Academy | Midfielder/Forward
4/02/2002 | 178cm | 71kg

Stats: 18 disposals, 4 marks, 7 tackles, 5 clearances, 7 inside 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Another of the diminutive Swans Academy fleet, Campbell has a great mix of inside and outside skills.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Is right behind Errol Gulden in terms of leading the NSW/ACT prospects pack and can play a variety of positions. Already gained U18 representative experience in the Allies squad this year and his added midfield time in this game bodes well for a transition from his usual half-forward role.

Errol Gulden (NSW/ACT)
Swans Academy | Wing
18/07/2002 | 172cm | 68kg

Stats: 19 disposals, 5 marks, 4 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “Gulden continually used his innate ability to find space of the outside to send the Rams forward, getting on the move and piercing some classy passes along the line.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Is just so classy by foot and there is hardly a player better to watch at this level that Gulden on the run forward. He looks primed for another big year after impressing for the Allies and Swans Academy in 2019, and should catch the eye with his ability to make low-percentage passes work.

Pierce Roseby (NSW/ACT)
Swans Academy | Inside Midfielder
4/01/2002 | 179cm | 72kg

Stats: 17 disposals, 7 tackles, 7 clearances, 1 goal

Our scouts said: “It was another workmanlike shift from the small midfielder, who proved ferocious around the ball going both ways.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Roseby might be sub-180cm, but is one of the more tenacious players around the ball and just does all of the tough stuff. Is one of many Swans Academy prospects who looked right at home in Rams colours, and will be an interesting one for Sydney to keep an eye on given their ageing midfield.

Vic Metro vs. Queensland

Connor Downie (Vic Metro)
Eastern Ranges | Wing/Midfielder
31/05/2002 | 183cm | 81kg

Stats: 20 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “The Ranges’ gun swapped time between the wing and midfield, having an impact going forward with raking left boot and clunking a strong mark on forward wing under heat.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Was the only player afield to have some U18 championships experience under his belt, which speaks to his quality. Downie has proven his ability to damage teams on the outside with his run and penetrating kick, but his size makes him an interesting midfield proposition. Does a bit of everything and should have no trouble finding the ball.

Finlay Macrae (Vic Metro)
Oakleigh Chargers | Midfielder
13/03/2002 | 183cm | 73kg

Stats: 34 disposals, 6 marks, 5 clearances, eight inside 50s, one goal

Our scouts said: “Best afield for mine… Macrae built into the game nicely, starting with some clean and effective accumulative touches before really having an impact in the second half.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Macrae’s pedigree is obvious to all, accumulating possessions at will through midfield with clean hands and touch of class. Did not always damage with ball in hand but has the ability to turn it on, doing so in the final term with a raft of score involvements. Made the U18 Metro squad this year and is a lock get on the park next year.

Reef McInnes (Vic Metro)
Oakleigh Chargers | Inside Midfielder
12/12/2002 | 192cm | 83kg

Stats: 24 disposals, 9 tackles, 6 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

Our scouts said: “His clean hands, strength in the contest, and tackling made him the dominant inside midfielder, but his spread and props in traffic bode well for a well-balanced game.” – Michael Alvaro

Verdict: Collingwood has found another gem in its NGA ranks, with McInness a fantastic inside midfield prospect. He started the game better than anyone and just finds the ball, working hard to do so around the ground. Has already made an impact with Oakleigh too, and is a great size.

Blake Coleman (Queensland)
Lions Academy | Forward
6/08/2002 | 180cm | 75kg

Stats: 13 disposals, 4 marks, 5 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Coleman was one of Queensland’s most dangerous players up forward with his skill and composure a real standout in the wet conditions.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Coleman just does not miss in front of goal, only needing a few chances to have an impact on the game. His class is obvious, constantly finding space in the right areas around the forward 50 and finishing well. Can now work on consistency and having more of the ball.

Saxon Crozier (Queensland)
Lions Academy | Balanced Midfielder
14/11/2002 | 189cm | 75kg

Stats: 17 disposals, 5 tackles, 3 clearances, 6 inside 50s

Our scouts said: “Crozier was often classy with ball in hand, making good decisions and moving well in traffic and he really stood out with his kicking inside 50.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: Is constantly one of the more influential players between the arcs, but is developing a greater inside game and does not mind getting stuck in despite his best traits suiting the outside. Crozier is a good forward mover and can rack up the numbers at his best.

Max Pescud (Queensland)
SUNS Academy | Wing/Forward
13/04/2002 | 183cm | 60kg

Stats: 16 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles, 2 rebound 50s, 2 goals

Our scouts said: “Pescud despite his light frame had a real impact on the game kicking two goals and showing his class and composure up the field as well.” – Ed Pascoe

Verdict: There’s just something to like about the lightly-built Pescud, who worked hard on the outside all day. Has the ability to win a good amount of ball there, but also makes the most of his chances when slipping forward and contributes across the board.

Scouting notes: U17 Futures

BOTH Victorian teams toppled Queensland and NSW/ACT respectively by over four goals at Ikon Park on Sunday, with a range of conditions testing the talent on show. Our writers cast an eye over each fixture, taking opinion-based notes on the outstanding players from either side.

Vic Country vs. NSW/ACT

Vic Country:
By: Ed Pascoe

#2 Deakyn Smith

Smith was an absolute handful up forward with his speed and overhead marking far too good to stop. Smith got better and better as the game went on and his combination of speed and aerial ability made him a difficult matchup. He kicked two goals with his first coming after a very strong mark and his second spinning and showing his class to kick a nice goal. His marking and ball use were a real highlight and he finished the game with 14 disposals, eight marks and two goals to be his side’s most dangerous player forward of centre.

#6 Seamus Mitchell

Mitchell was a very crafty and nimble small forward showing great speed, skill and agility with ball in hand and he certainly had some eye catching movements. Mitchell showed plenty of run and he had one nice bit of play where he followed up his good run with a nice kick inside 50 and his setups for his teammates made him one of his team’s better creative players going to goal. His only goal came from a mark and set shot and he only gathered the 11 disposals but his impact was more than what the stats show.

#7 Sam Berry

Berry was his team’s standout player wit his grunt work in the middle setting the tone for the day. His work rate with and without the ball was impressive and that carried on for the four quarters. He would also hit the scoreboard with his goal coming from reading the play to mark 40 metres out to slot the nice goal. His clearance work was great but it was also his skill with ball in hand that stood out, and despite looking like the type to just win the hard ball and bomb it, he actually took the time to hit his targets on both feet. His only real blemish was an ambitious kick in the corridor on his opposite foot. Berry finished the game with 23 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and a goal in a complete performance through the midfield.

#8 Zavier Maher

Maher combined well with fellow midfielder Sam Berry to not only win plenty of the ball but also offer something a little different with his ability to get forward and take the game on. Maher covered plenty of ground and played a good mix to win his own ball but also work hard to get around the ground on the outside which showed with his seven marks, three rebound 50s and seven inside 50s. The inside 50s in particular especially late in the game stood out where he often hit his targets and lowered the eyes. Maher had 20 disposals, six tackles and five inside 50s in a well-rounded game through the midfield.

#13 Dominic Bedendo

Bedendo was one of Country’s most dangerous forwards with his ability to get into good spots inside 50 and get himself into scoring situations while also setting up others with good vision. His first and only goal came in the first quarter with a set shot from 50 metres, he showed great movement and marking ability and would take another two marks inside 50 but missed both set shots. Bedendo had a chance early to pass to a teammate but missed a shot, but he would later show better teamwork with an unselfish kick to the hotspot when caught on the boundary. Bedendo has a light frame but is a nice height at 185cm and looks a prospect in the forward half as he finished the game with nine disposals, six marks and kicking 1.3 so he could have been more damaging.

NSW/ACT:
By: Michael Alvaro

#3 Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans Academy/Maroubra)

Came back into the side after missing the annual clash against Queensland on the Gold Coast, shaking off some early cobwebs to showcase his talent. Positioned on his customary wing, Gulden continually used his innate ability to find space of the outside to send the Rams forward, getting on the move and piercing some classy passes along the line. The leading Swans Academy prospect was usually composed with ball in hand, using his agility to prop into space and find a target as he lowered his eyes – a valuable point of difference to many U18 players. While he was almost found out with some kicks across attacking 50 and passes which proved a little too cute, Gulden’s skills were typically fantastic and he makes the play come alive.

#13 Pierce Roseby (Sydney Swans/Willoughby Mosman Swans)

It was another workmanlike shift from the small midfielder, who proved ferocious around the ball going both ways. Roseby was a constant through the Rams’ engine room, winning most of his 17 disposals himself and getting to the ball first to earn six free kicks with some brave contested work. That work culminated in seven clearances to go with seven tackles, showcasing Roseby’s work rate and tenacity at the stoppages. He did well to break forward and find the goals in the second term with a nicely finished snap, but missed a later opportunity on the back of a 50m penalty.

#15 Braeden Campbell (Sydney Swans/Westbrook)

Another of the diminutive Swans Academy fleet, Campbell has a great mix of inside and outside skills. His passing going forward was excellent, hitting targets on the move from midfield in each quarter with some good range. Campbell’s ability to weave or break away from congestion proved handy in a hard-fought midfield battle – especially at centre bounces – with his hard tackling (seven) another feature. The Westbrook product capped off an excellent game with two final quarter goals; the first coming after a clean pick up at pace and clinical finish, while the second was a more straightforward set shot conversion.

#26 Marco Rossmann (Sydney Swans/East Sydney Bulldogs)

Playing mostly forward with some of NSW/ACT’s prime movers back in the side, Rossmann was a reliable target leading up to the arc. He only stands at 181cm, but was great in the air with his springy leap and strong hands overhead helping him to clunk five marks from 12 disposals. Much of Rossmann’s ability to find space up the ground came on the back of clever reading of the play, and he also popped up inside 50 for a couple of chances on goal. The first was a miss from the impossible angle in the second term, with a later set shot failing to find the target.

#39 Marc Sheather (Sydney Swans/Terrigal Avoca JAFL)

A versatile prospect, Sheather assumed his usual role down back to start and proved to be a calming influence. He constantly got in the road of Vic Country’s attacks, snapping the ball up in the air and off the deck while following up with some efficient rebound. He would go on to prove his work rate with some of his acts up the ground, continuing his runs up the field and laying a shrewd holding-the-ball tackle just outside of defensive 50. A move into the midfield proved slightly less fruitful, but Sheather’s solid frame makes him a dangerous figure in there.

Vic Metro vs. Queensland

Vic Metro:
By: Michael Alvaro

#1 Lucas Failli (Western Jets)

A typical small forward, Failli caused headaches inside 50 and created good opportunities for Metro. He started off with some work further afield, pumping a couple of penetrating kicks into the forward arc and finding a teammate with one of them, while going back for repeat efforts at ground level and converting a free kick opportunity in a busy first half. Failli continued to show good desperation at the fall of the ball, proving agile and clean once he had scooped it up and capping his day with a second goal over the back in the final term.

#6 Jackson Cardillo (Calder Cannons)

Having shown his aggression and ball winning ability on the inside in his NAB League outings, Cardillo spent most of his time on the wing in this game. His forward running proved effective, hitting up Reef McInnes inside 50 in the first term and moving up towards attacking 50 with intent. After lacking oomph on a snap attempt in the second term, Cardillo made amends with a nice set shot finish after the half time siren for his only goal of the game. He would go on to miss another chance on the run when he had a touch more time to find the intended target, and attended the centre bounces late on.

#9 Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers)

Best afield for mine, the brother of Bulldogs star Jack showed off his pedigree with a game-high 34 disposals – 10 more than anyone else – six marks, five clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal. Macrae built into the game nicely, starting with some clean and effective accumulative touches before really having an impact in the second half. He lifted again in the fourth term, hitting the scoreboard with a classy finish from 45m while also assisting goals to Ollie Lord and Jack Diedrich to cap off a fantastic display.

#10 Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges)

Skipper for the day, Downie was the only player afield to have also featured in the U18 carnival. The Ranges gun swapped time between the wing and midfield, having an impact going forward with raking left boot and clunking a strong mark on forward wing under heat. While he didn’t score from his own attempt on goal in the second term, Downie created two opportunities for others with beautiful delivery into forward 50 after moving into the midfield. Is already well built for midfield minutes but looks pretty comfortable on the outside.

#11 Archie Perkins (Sandringham Dragons)

Perkins was another to move through the midfield-forward rotation, catching the eye with some strong and agile bursts through traffic which he finished with smart kicks inside 50. The powerful Sandringham product went on to have an impact around the ball with more midfield time after the main break, slamming forward five clearances and standing up in tackles to dish the ball out from congestion. Sprayed a tough chance on goal on the move, with that area of his game one to work on as he gets in dangerous positions.

#17 Liam McMahon (Northern Knights)

The dynamic tall didn’t find a mountain of the ball but looked lively up forward early on. McMahon put through the first goal of the game with a textbook set shot after plucking the ball at its highest point on the lead. He would go on to add another major in similar fashion during the second term, with strong hands overhead and a lovely kicking action his clear strengths. McMahon was thrown back in the second half where he provided some nice rebound and made some attacking kick-ins work.

#21 Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers)

The Collingwood NGA prospect looks to be another great find for the Magpies, and he had some sort of start to the game. McInnes was strong from the get-go, winning the very first clearance and working hard to impact a number of contests around the ground – he was involved in just about everything. His clean hands, strength in the contest, and tackling made him the dominant inside midfielder, but his spread and props in traffic bode well for a well-balanced game. McInnes was a little quieter as the game wore on, but racked up 24 disposals, nine tackles, six clearances, and four inside 50s.

Queensland:
By: Ed Pascoe

#9 Blake Coleman

Coleman was one of Queensland’s most dangerous players up forward with his skill and composure a real standout in the wet conditions. Coleman although standing at 180cm played more of a half forward lead up role with his marking overhead a real feature with how clean it was, especially in the wet conditions later in the game. Coleman wad classy with ball in hand and rarely wasted a possession. His class around goal was also a feature kicking two goals with his best coming in the last quarter, going for a nice run before steadying himself to kick a classy goal. Coleman finished the game with 13 disposals, four marks, five tackles and two goals.

#12 Max Pescud

Pescud despite his light frame had a real impact on the game kicking two goals and showing his class and composure up the field as well. Pescud was the lightest player on the ground at 60kg and started the game playing more of an outside role using his speed and clean hands on the wings before going forward to kick his two goals and then go into the stoppages in the last quarter to show he could play a range of roles. Pescud finished the game with 16 disposals, six marks, five tackles and two goals to be one of his team’s best players both with and without the ball.

#22 Carter Michael

Michael wasn’t hard to pick out with his bright blonde hair but it was more so his ability to win the football that stood out, playing as a tall midfielder he showed a good mix of inside and outside game being a consistent player over four quarters. Michael would often use his long left foot to his advantage, hitting targets both long and short but it was his long kicks that did the most damage. Michael showed good skill by hand and foot and didn’t waste many possessions as he finished with 21 disposals, six tackles and four clearances.

#24 Saxon Crozier

Queensland had no shortage of tall midfielders and Crozier standing at 189cm showed plenty both inside and outside the contest but mostly did his damage on the outside with his reading of the play and ability to get forward of centre. Crozier was often classy with ball in hand making good decisions and moving well in traffic and he really stood out with his kicking inside 50 in the last quarter with a good run and long kick inside 50 and not long after would show his ability to hot short targets with a nice kick lowering the eyes. Crozier finished the game with 17 disposals, five tackles and six inside 50s.

#26 Alex Davies

The tallest of Queensland’s big midfielders standing at 190cm, he was a strong player around stoppages going in hard to win clearances but also working hard around the ground to be an option. Davies showed good attack on the ball but he also showed his ability to pressure and give multiple efforts through the midfield, and had a good bit of play in the first quarter with a great second effort smother. Davies finished the game with 15 disposals and was his team’s leading clearance player with five.

Vic Metro U17s outgun Queensland in the wet

VIC METRO U17s overcame some early woes in front of goal to topple Queensland 10.11 (71) to 6.7 (43) in trying second half conditions at Ikon Park on Sunday.

After a slow, stalemate opening term which saw goals go to Metro’s Liam McMahon and Queensland’s Blake Coleman, the Victorians began to look like breaking the game open. But the visitors were keen to make the trip a fruitful one, sticking with Metro and going goal for goal in a six-goal second term full of little momentum swings. While Queensland seemed to have few answers to Metro’s dominant midfield, they kept touch heading into the main break by making the most of their forward 50 entries and holding up down back at the fall of the ball.

That theme proved consistent through the third term, with the hosts breaking away ever so slightly on the back of two goals (Ollie Lord and Lochlan Jenkins) to one (Max Pescud), making the most of their sole extra scoring shot. Metro’s 11-point three quarter time lead looked a handy one with the rain bucketing down and fog descending on North Carlton, but it would shortly clear over the break to give the Maroons a fighting chance. That was quickly taken from them though, with the winners piling on four goals to Queensland’s one to cruise home 28 points to the good.

Collingwood NGA prospect Reef McInnes made a dominant start for Metro, finishing with 24 disposals and six clearances to be second only to Finlay Macrae – the brother of Bulldogs’ Jack – who had 34 disposals, five clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal to be best afield. Sandringham pair Darby Hipwell (22 disposals, three inside 50s) and Archie Perkins (21 disposals, five clearances, five inside 50s) provided good fold rotating through the midfield and forward line, while Jackson Cardillo (18 disposals, one goal) and Connor Downie (20 disposals, four inside 50s) were influential on the outside.

For the Maroons, Carter Michael led the ball-winners with 21 disposals to go with his four clearances and four inside 50s, with Saxon Crozier (17 disposals, six inside 50s) lifting after half time, while Gold Coast academy pair Ethan Hunt (17 disposals, four tackles) and Alex Davies (15 disposals, five clearances) dug in well. Up forward, Coleman finished his chances beautifully to boot two goals from 13 disposals, with Pescud (16 disposals, six marks, five tackles) another to provide some spark in the forward half.

The top-end talent from either side can now look forward to the possibility of featuring in the U17 Futures All Stars showcase match on Grand Final day.

VIC METRO 1.5 | 4.8 | 6.10 | 10.11 (71)
QUEENSLAND 1.2 | 4.3 | 5.5 | 6.7 (43)

GOALS
Vic Metro: L. McMahon 2, O. Lord 2, L. Failli 2, F. Macrae, J. Cardillo, L. Jenkins, J. Diedrich.
Queensland: B. Coleman 2, M. Pescud 2, C. Bulley 2.

ADC BEST
Vic Metro: F. Macrae, R. McInnes, C. Downie, A. Perkins, J. Cardillo, L. McMahon
Queensland: B. Coleman, M. Pescud, S. Crozier, C. Michael, E. Hunt, A. Davies

Bottom-age talent to hit Ikon Park

A DOUBLE header at Ikon Park is exactly what footy fans will be after during the NAB League’s development weekend. The top Victorian Under 17s will go head-to-head against NSW/ACT and Queensland which gives fans of the four AFL clubs with Northern Academies a chance to see them in action. While some players such as Will Phillips and Elijah Hollands are not named, there is still plenty of talent to go around.

VIC COUNTRY vs. NSW/ACT
Sunday August 11, 9.45am
Ikon Park

Vic Country:

1 Ryan Angwin (Gippsland Power)
2 Deakyn Smith (Dandenong Stingrays)
3 Harry Sharp (GWV Rebels)
4 Jack Ginnivan (Bendigo Pioneers)
5 Jack Hickman (Bendigo Pioneers)
6 Seamus Mitchell (Bendigo Pioneers)
7 Sam Berry (Gippsland Power)
8 Zavier Maher (Murray Bushrangers)
9 Charlie Lazzaro (Geelong Falcons)
10 Clayton Gay (Dandenong Stingrays)
11 Will Bravo (Dandenong Stingrays)
12 Noah Gribble (Geelong Falcons)
13 Dominic Bedendo (Murray Bushrangers)
14 Blake Reid (Geelong Falcons)
15 Noah Gadsby (Geelong Falcons)
16 Jack Tillig (GWV Rebels)
17 Oliver Henry (Geelong Falcons)
18 Max Annadale (Geelong Falcons)
19 Ethan Baxter (Murray Bushrangers)
20 Finn Ellis Castle (Bendigo Pioneers)
21 Kyle Skene (Geelong Falcons)
22 Josh Treacy (Bendigo Pioneers)
24 Jai Neal (Dandenong Stingrays)
25 Cameron Fleeton (Geelong Falcons)
26 Mason Hawkins (Gippsland Power)
27 Keith Robinson (Gippsland Power)

Vic Country’s side has a number of nice developing talls including Bendigo Pioneers’ Josh Treacy up forward and Geelong Falcons’ Cameron Fleeton down back, both of whom have been in good form of late. The defensive lines look strong with the likes of Oliver Henry and Clayton Gay likely to provide plenty of run and carry out of defence with their terrific ball skills, whilst Sam Berry, Charlie Lazzaro and Noah Gadsby provide some fierce tackling pressure.

NSW/ACT Rams:

1 Jackson Tikkeros (Sydney Swans)
2 Cooper Wilson (Sydney Swans)
8 Oscar Davis (Sydney Swans)
9 Taine Wright (Sydney Swans)
10 Matthew Hamblin (GWS GIANTS)
12 Kale Gabila (Sydney Swans)
13 Pierce Roseby (Sydney Swans)
26 Marco Rossmann (Sydney Swans)
27 Coopa Steele (GWS GIANTS)
28 Sam Frost (GWS GIANTS)
29 Drew Beavan (GWS GIANTS)
34 Sebastian Quirk (GWS GIANTS)
35 Fraser Kelly (GWS GIANTS)
36 Maximus Monaghan (GWS GIANTS)
37 Scott Brown (GWS GIANTS)
38 Sam Eynaud (Sydney Swans)
39 Marc Sheather (Sydney Swans)
40 Jack Driscoll (GWS GIANTS)
41 Jarred Gardiner (GWS GIANTS)
43 Aidan Beveridge (Sydney Swans)
## Errol Gulden (Sydney Swans)
## Braeden Campbell (Sydney Swans)
## Charlie Byrne (Murray Bushrangers)

NSW/ACT have named a strong team for the contest, with the bottom three players yet to receive a number the keys to watch. Errol Gulden is the top prospect of this group and has already shown he can match it with top-agers as a great left footer who can win plenty of the pill on the outside and do damage by foot. Braeden Campbell is a dangerous forward who knows where the goals are and can push up the ground, while Charlie Byrne has elite foot skills and can play off half-back or drift forward.

VIC METRO vs. QUEENSLAND
Sunday August 11, 12.15pm
Ikon Park

VIC METRO:

1 Lucas Failli (Western Jets)
2 Jake Bowey (Sandringham Dragons)
3 Eddie Ford (Western Jets)
4 Joshua Clarke (Eastern Ranges)
6 Jackson Cardillo (Calder Cannons)
7 Ewan Macpherson (Northern Knigts)
8 Darby Hipwell (Sandringham Dragons)
9 Finlay Macrae (Oakleigh Chargers)
10 Connor Downie (Eastern Ranges)
11 Archie Perkins (Sandringham Dragons)
12 Lochlan Jenkins (Oakleigh Chargers)
13 Liam Conway (Western Jets)
15 Luke Cleary (Sandringham Dragons)
16 Jack Keeping (Calder Cannons)
17 Liam McMahon (Northern Knights)
18 Fraser Elliot (Oakleigh Chargers)
19 Wil Parker (Eastern Ranges)
20 Ollie Lord (Sandringham Dragons)
21 Reef McInnes (Oakleigh Chargers)
23 Joshua Eyre (Calder Cannons)
25 Jack Diedrich (Eastern Ranges)
26 Cody Raak (Western Jets)
27 Joe Nowell (Sandringham Dragons)
29 Campbell Edwardes (Calder Cannons)

X-factor galore in this side, with Jake Bowey and Eddie Ford providing the speed and high-flying marks, while Collingwood Next Generation Academy member Reef McInnes and Wil Parker will be strong through midfield. Ewan Macpherson has provided support up in defence for the Northern Knights, while Lochie Jenkins and Cody Raak are in great form as well. Connor Downie and Finlay Macrae were both named in the Vic Metro squad with Downie getting to run out on the MCG. Also watch for the lightning speed of Joshua Clarke.

QUEENSLAND:

3 Ethan Hunt (Gold Coast Suns)
4 Shatna Cashen-Harris (Brisbane Lions)
5 Tahj Abberley (Brisbane Lions)
6 Will O’Dwyer (Brisbane Lions)
7 James Smith (Gold Coast Suns)
9 Blake Coleman (Brisbane Lions)
10 Will Tasker (Brisbane Lions)
11 Ky McKenzie (Brisbane Lions)
12 Max Pescud (Gold Coast Suns)
13 Darcy Prest (Brisbane Lions)
15 Toby Trffett (Brisbane Lions)
16 Bailey Reeves (Gold Coast Suns)
18 Oliver Rojo (Gold Coast Suns)
20 Aiden Fyfe (Gold Coast Suns)
23 Carter Michael (Brisbane Lions)
24 Saxon Crozier (Brisbane Lions)
26 Alex Davies (Gold Coast Suns)
27 Connor Bulley (Gold Coast Suns)
29 Lleyton Cottrell (Brisbane Lions)
30 Jack Johnston (Gold Coast Suns)
33 Thomas Hofert (Gold Coast Suns)
34 Ryan Pickering (Gold Coast Suns)
35 Ethan Harris (Brisbane Lions)

A squad full of zippy smalls and outside types will make the trip down for Queensland, with each member assigned to either to Gold Coast or Brisbane academies. The likes of Tahj Abberley and Ethan Hunt are likely to run through the midfield, respectively providing class and hardness to the engine room, while Saxon Crozier looks to be a leading prospect who can roam between the flanks. Blake Coleman provides some excitement up forward, with the likes of James Smith and Darcy Prest likely to solidify the half-back line. Another to watch for is Alex Davies, who is a brutish inside midfielder and finds plenty of clearances.

Scouting notes: U17 Futures – Queensland vs. NSW/ACT

THE NSW/ACT Rams won out against traditional rivals, Queensland in their annual Under-17 Futures fixture in heavy rain at Southport. Michael Alvaro was on hand to take his opinion-based notes of the outstanding players.

Queensland:

#3 Ethan Hunt (Gold Coast Suns)

The diminutive ball winner embraced the conditions and was hard at it all day, starting well with a brave mark against two opponents off a clearance. Hunt went on to win the ball well on the precipice of stoppages around the ground with good intent, digging in and under to accumulate his 17 possessions and move the ball forward. His pressure on the ball carrier was also important in the conditions, laying six tackles.

#5 Tahj Abberley (Brisbane Lions)

There’s not much of Abberley, but the Lions Academy product looked unfazed by having to get stuck in. Playing through the midfield and off half-back, Abberley was clean at ground level and smart with his hands out of congestion. His four clearances bode well for more midfield minutes, but Abberley also worked well around the ground to penetrate both arcs.

#7 James Smith (Gold Coast Suns)

The no-frills defender was terrific with his work off the muddy deck, sweeping up ground balls on the move. Smith racked up 16 disposals across the defensive half, opting to kick more often than not – much like his fellow smaller defenders. His decision making and composure by foot was great, but Smith’s two pick-ups off at pace in the third term caught the eye most.

#9 Blake Coleman (Brisbane Lions)

Coleman’s major point of difference was his cleanliness in the conditions and while others did well to make one-touch plays at ground level, Coleman also did it in the air. He scooped up a number of his possessions on the move and with opponents in tow, while taking a couple of juggled marks hitting up to at the ball at half-forward. Coleman was productive forward of centre, looking like creating something with ball in hand – shown by his crafty assist for Saxon Crozier in the second term and constant wheeling around to go inside 50. Did not find the goals on this occasion, seeing a set shot fall short just before his goal assist.

#13 Darcy Prest (Brisbane Lions)

Another effective mover in the back half, Prest provided a bit of zip out of defence and was constantly looking to get the ball moving. He met the ball at pace when it landed in his area to aid that kind of play, gathering cleanly and rebounding well. His ability to clear his lines saw him penetrate both arcs, having three inside 50s and four rebounds, with his best bit of play a one-on-one win on defensive wing in the third term – made by good body positioning and a nice pick-up to get moving.

#17 Rhys Nicholls (Gold Coast Suns)

Another of the small-medium defensive brigade, Nicholls looked a good mover off half-back. His red boots made him hard to miss, but it was Nicholls’ neat kicking early on that set the tone for his game. He went on to struggle a little in getting the same penetration when it was truly wet under foot, but buzzed around the back half all the same to collect 16 disposals.

#24 Saxon Crozier (Brisbane Lions)

The Lions Academy standout was one of Queensland’s more productive players on the day, winning an equal team-high 20 disposals in all areas on the ground. While he initially produced his usual running game on the outside with long kicks into attacking 50, Crozier swapped that game for greater influence around the contest when the rain came down. Although he was rushed in possession at times, Crozier’s meters-gained attitude with ball in hand cleared congestion and set his side on the attack – going inside 50 on five occasions. He also managed to find his usual space in the second term and slam home an important goal for the Maroons, which is exactly what we are used to seeing from him.

#26 Alex Davies (Gold Coast Suns)

Davies’ game suited the conditions, with the big-bodied midfielder bustling around packs and forcing his way through at stoppages. His approach was pretty simple, slamming the ball on the boot in traffic and gaining territory for his team – often kicking off one or two steps. He did the hard stuff as well with six tackles and a spoil to kill the ball from a front-half kick-in.

NSW/ACT:

#1 Jackson Tikkeros (Sydney Swans)

The diminutive forward had a purple patch in the third term, coming alive and helping to lift the Rams when it mattered. He took a nice sliding mark on the forward 50 arc but fellow short with his kick, only to charge on to the drop of the ball and snap a goal through heavy congestion in the goalsquare. Only had the eight touches, but his forward pressure was also of note with four tackles.

#8 Oscar Davis (Sydney Swans)

Davis was able to find the ball in all areas of the ground, clearing the ball three times and breaching both arcs (three inside 50s, two rebounds) in his 14-disposal effort. He first caught the eye with a terrific overhead intercept mark going back with the flight in the second term, and went on to rack up the ball well across the day with particular influence in clearing his lines down back in the second half.

#9 Taine Wright (Sydney Swans)

The Swans Academy product was relevant both with the ball and without it, winning 13 disposals and laying seven tackles. His first good bit of play was a flashy gather and spin in the first term, and he continued to stay calm around would-be tacklers by keeping his hands up. Wright had the chance to hit the scoreboard in the third term after intercepting a kick-in, but missed the resultant shot.

#10 Matthew Hamblin (GWS Giants)

Hamlin was an influential contributor in the forward half, having an impact around goal despite not finding them. He looked a neat player when wheeling around and delivering short kicks early on, and found a couple of goal opportunities by being in the right place at the right time. Hamblin marked a quick Marco Rossman snap inside 50 but missed the set shot, he missed another in the third term, before unluckily having an on-target shot stopped in the goalsquare during the final term. Could have been a big day otherwise.

#13 Pierce Roseby (Sydney Swans)

The sub-180cm midfielder was a constant at the centre bounces, digging in for an equal game-high 21 disposals to go with his 13 tackles, four clearances and sole goal. He went about his business with no-fuss accumulation early on, before enjoying a good patch of form in the third term which would result in his goal. Roseby initially had a snap on goal touched, but followed it up with a cool set shot conversion and loved the celebration. A solid outing, and played an important role in the conditions.

#26 Marco Rossman (Sydney Swans)

Arguably best afield with his influence from midfield, Rossman moved forward particularly well with seven inside 50s from his 21 disposals. Not only did he have a lot of touches, but Rossman also had important ones including two shots on goal in the opening term – of which, one sailed through the big sticks. It set the tone for his game, winning the ball at will and proving one of the few who could win it in the air as well with five marks. His positioning was great, and he almost capped off his day with another goal, but saw his soccered attempt touched over.

#27 Coopa Steele (GWS Giants)

Was a bit of a sporadic influence on the game with his 12 disposals, and almost made an ideal start as he read the ball well front and centre inside 50 but missed the snap. He would go on to correct that shot with an important goal in the first minute of the final term, banging the ball home from long range as he positioned in front to win the cleared ball and put the game beyond doubt.

#34 Sebastian Quirk (GWS Giants)

One of the better ball winners on the day, Quirk had an influence you had to watch closely – with seven clearances from his 18 disposals and a lot of inside work. The GWS Academy member was the beneficiary of a 50-metre penalty in the second term when putting through a goal, but had more say around the congestion. Quirk also took a nice overhead mark on defensive wing to show some strength, and did well to push the ball in and out of either arc.

#35 Fraser Kelly (GWS Giants)

Kelly played the conditions well with his approach, tackling aggressively and pushing his side forward. He caught the eye with a really clean pick up amid the worst of the downpour in the second term, and would go on to win 12 disposals, three clearances, and three inside 50s in a solid outing.

#39 Marc Sheather (Sydney Swans)

Has played in all sorts of positions for the Rams and looked comfortable down back as an intercepting type. Sheather plays above his 185cm height given his strong frame, and has really clean hands overhead. While he didn’t always get to show that, he was an efficient figure in the back 50 and hardly made a mistake. Was the main repellant for NSW/ACT, rebounding seven times from his 17 disposals and doing most of his work by foot.

Rams make a splash in Queensland

THE Under-17 NSW/ACT Rams claimed a win in enemy territory over traditional rivals Queensland, riding the bumps for a 6.9 (45) to 3.10 (28) win in trying conditions.

The game started with an arm-wrestle in the first term on a heavy track, with both sides enjoying time in their forward half but unable to convert their territory to scoreboard influence. Queensland’s Connor Bulley was the first to put a major on the board, coolly converting a fairly straightforward set shot chance. His goal was answered by Marco Rossman, who made good on an earlier miss with a set shot goal of his own, before later missing another to see the Maroons hold onto a slender quarter-time lead.

The second term produced much of the same as a damp deck turned muddy with the rain beginning to pour down. Both sides looked up for the slog, sliding in for ground ball gets and embracing the conditions. Amid the weather, the Rams snatched the lead via a Jack Driscoll goal after he clunked a terrific mark overhead deep in the forward 50. They looked to be getting on a roll as Sebastian Quirk put through another to take full advantage of a 50-metre penalty, but the home side replied through Saxon Crozier – who slammed one home on the run to cut the half time margin to four points.

NSW/ACT broke away in the third term as the rain halted but remained under foot. Jackson Tikkeros was beginning to look dangerous inside 50 and capitalised on the Rams’ purple patch to snare a goal from only a couple of metres out – just moments after his set shot from 40 metres had fallen short. Pierce Roseby’s goal ensured it would be tough for the home side to make up the difference, but Will O’Dwyer’s clutch conversion after the three-quarter time siren gave them a sniff at 13 points adrift heading into the final change.

That sniff was snuffed out pretty quickly as Coopa Steele buried a snap from long range within the first minute of the final term to all but put the game to bed. It was an ugly quarter from there-on, with the Rams coasting to victory while Queensland scrapped hard to find a fourth goal and pretty up the scoreboard.

Rossman led all-comers with his 21 disposals for the Rams alongside Roseby, with the latter also laying 13 tackles and both hitting the scoreboard. Crozier was Queensland’s best, collecting an equal team-high 20 touches, five inside 50s and a goal. Blake Coleman was also sensational in the wet, collecting 20 disposals of his own and laying nine tackles.

GOALS:

Queensland: S. Crozier, W. O’Dwyer, C. Bulley.
NSW/ACT: M. Rossman, P. Roseby, C. Steele, S. Quirk, J. Tikkeros, J. Driscoll.

ADC BEST:
Queensland: S. Crozier, B. Coleman, R. Nicholls, J. Smith, E. Hunt
NSW/ACT: M. Rossman, P. Roseby, S. Quirk, M. Hamblin, O. Davis

Allies announce 50-player squad for national championships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allies Under 18 Championships fixture:

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

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 6

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

 

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

Tasmania:

#2 Oliver Burrows-Cheng

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

#4 Will Peppin

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

#7 Matthew McGuiness

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

#13 Sam Collins

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

#25 Jackson Callow

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

 

Oakleigh:

#1 Lucas Westwood

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

#5 Trent Bianco

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

#27 Josh May

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

#47 Nick Balderanos

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

#65 Thomas Lovell

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

 

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

 

Murray:

#5 Cam Wild

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

#14 Jye Chalcraft

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

#12 Lachlan Ash

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

#19 Jimmy Boyer

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

 

GWS:

#17 Jeromy Lucas

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

#25 Thomas Green

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

#26 Liam Delahunty

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

#28 Matt McGrory

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

 

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

 

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

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

#38 Brodie Newman

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

 

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

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

#11 Aaron Gundry

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

#20 James Schischka 

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

#21 Riley Wilson 

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

 

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

 

Gold Coast Suns:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

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

#5 Connor Budarick

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

#22 Alex Davies

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

#28 Ashton Crossley

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

#31 Jack Johnston

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

 

GWV Rebels:

#3 Toby Mahony

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

#7 Mitch Martin

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

#9 Isaac Wareham

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

#13 Jay Rantall

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

 

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

 

Geelong:

#37 Oliver Henry

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

#40 Jesse Clark

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

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

 

Sydney:

#2 Hamish Ellem

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

#3 Luke Parks

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

#7 Braeden Campbell

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

#23 Errol Gulden

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

#39 Josh Rayner

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

 

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

 

Brisbane:

#11 Will Martyn

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

#12 Saxon Crozier

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

#18 Bruce Reville

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

#19 Tom Griffiths

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

 

Dandenong:

#2 Hayden Young

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

#11 Ned Cahill

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

#20 Sam De Koning

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

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

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

#44 Cody Weightman

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

#50 Lachlan Williams

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

 

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

 

Gippsland:

#4 Sam Flanders

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

#6 Riley Baldi

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

#12 Brock Smith

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

#15 Ryan Sparkes

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

#19 Fraser Phillips

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

#37 Harrison Pepper

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

 

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

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

#11 Mitch Mellis

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

#18 Billy McCormack

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

#21 James Ross

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

#22 Bailey White

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

#23 Zak Pretty

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

 

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

 

Northern:

#1 Lachlan Potter

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

#4 Jackson Davies

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

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

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

#7 Ryan Gardner

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

#11 Ryan Sturgess

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

 

Northern Territory:

#8 Malcolm Rosas Jr

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

#19 Ben Jungfer

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

#24 Joel Jeffery

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

Scouting notes: NAB League Boys – Round 5

NAB League returned with a bang this weekend, and despite a few stars missing through school football and rotation, had plenty of others show their worth over three days and nine games. Here are our opinion-based scouting notes from each game on players highlighted by club talent managers or who those who made the Vic Metro/Vic Country extended squad.

Bendigo Pioneers 7.7 (49) defeated by Northern Knights 8.6 (54)

By: Peter Williams

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

The nuggety bottom-age midfielder showed off his strength in a number of ways during the narrow loss. He was able to stand his ground in mark contests and also get the ball free while being tackled. In the opening term he won the ball uncontested on the wing and kicked long inside 50 which set up a goal to Kobe Brown. He kept finding space and working hard into it, winning plenty of the ball and trying to get it forward whenever he could. He has great special awareness and does not panic with ball-in-hand, able to shift his centre of gravity before disposing of the ball. Had a great run-down tackle in the third term as the Knights were attacking.

#11 Aaron Gundry

Spent most of his time through the ruck when on and showed off his good vertical leap. He competed at the stoppages and had clean hitouts, and also won a free kick deep in defence and was able to clear the ball long. Ball use by hand or foot was hit and miss but his athleticism was good.

#19 Ben Worme

Some nice highlights from Worme, providing some run and carry both through the midfield and off half-back. He had a great passage of play in the opening term, lowering his eyes after bursting away from the wing and hit up a teammate. He showed good vision under pressure to give out a handball to a teammate in space. Made a few mistakes by foot at times, but stood up when required.

#20 James Schischka

Hardly puts a foot wrong and was really strong in defence. He used the ball fairly well apart from the odd occasion, and was often the general in defence just keeping the opposition at bay and mopping up back there. He draws opponents to him when carrying the ball and then releases the disposal at the right time to a teammate. One of the Pioneers’ best on the night.

#21 Riley Wilson

Impressive game from the inside midfielder, playing well through the stoppages and being the prominent clearance midfielder on the night. He has a great technique when it comes to tackling, and he reads the taps well from the ruckmen. When in time and space he can use the ball well, the next step is just settling down his kicking when under pressure as a few times he chucked it on the boot. In the second term he fended off an opponent and then when a second opponent tackled him, stood tall and handballed clear to a teammate. Wilson had a number of good moments bursting out of a stoppage, and never stopped trying. Certainly one of Bendigo’s four quarter performers.

#38 Brady Rowles

Not a huge ball winner, but he had memorable moments, with a juggling intercept mark in defence, and a great spoil at half-back when out of position. He had a chance to kick a goal in the second term but it drifted to the left and fell short, then had a terrific run off half-back, bursting from defensive 50 straight past opponents and set up a goal with a long kick inside 50. In the third term he produced a terrific run-down tackle midway through the term when an opponent was streaming down the middle and his actions forced a turnover.

Northern:

#1 Lachlan Potter

Had one of his better games in terms of ball winning capabilities, just needs to tidy up his ball use a little by foot. He suffered leather poisoning in the first quarter, winning absolutely everything off half-back and pushing up to the wing, even winning an intercept mark at half-forward. When using the ball by hand he seemed to do it effectively as he drew opponents given his well renowned speed. When he has space no-one can catch him easily, and he uses that to his advantage. When he goes to take the game on, Potter looks very damaging, it is just trying to lower the eyes at times or put it to a teammates’ advantage. In terms of his run-and-carry and metres gained, it was a huge tick, and he took a number of intercept marks as well.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

The best Knights player for mine, just continues to have an impact throughout the four quarters. He is not the quickest player out there, but he plays to his strengths and they are his physical strength and low centre of gravity, football nous and competitiveness. Time and time again D’Intinosante will crack in hard and win the clearances or lay a smother or crunch an opponent in a tackle. What he does well is have a good balance between offence and defence – tackling and using the ball forward of centre. He wins a lot of his possessions at the coal face, and is standing up well as an inside midfielder. At times his kicking can be hit and miss, but he hits the scoreboard, and while the stats will say he kicked one major, there were three other opportunities where if he had a bit more kicking penetration, he could have headed home with four. A really promising performance and strong game from D’Intinosante and is enjoying a great season so far.

#11 Ryan Sturgess

Just a reliable player in defence, able to use the ball well and just control things from the back half. He took quite a few intercept marks in defence and was able to switch the ball across the back 50 or down the wing well. He was tasked with the kick-out duties and cleared the defensive 50 strongly, and looked comfortable in the air, taking a contested mark in the second term with an opponent coming front on.

Sydney Swans Academy 13.10 (88) defeated Murray Bushrangers 9.10 (64)

By: Scott Dougan

Sydney:

#2 Hamish Ellem

Ellem lined up on Bushranger Ben Kelly and was able to hit the scoreboard within the first 10-minutes of the game. He continued his goal-kicking form into the second and third quarters, booting two more goals – one of them from the boundary line on his left foot. A good game.

#3 Luke Parks

Parks played across half-back and was competitive all game. He took some very good contested marks throughout the match, putting his height, good leap and strong hands to good use.

#9 Sam Thorne

Thorne’s first quarter was brilliant, with the tough midfielder a major contributor to his team’s quick start. He tackled with intent and was damaging with all of his possessions. Thorne was strong in contested situations, where he won a lot of his disposals. He also showed that he can play on the outside of the contest too, with his acceleration coming in handy. Thorne had a game-high 10 tackles.

#10 Jackson Barling

Barling was prominent around stoppages, where he continually released the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. His inside grunt work caught the eye, along with his defensive pressure. He also spent some time forward and booted his one and only goal of the match in the third term after reading the flight of an incoming ball better than his opponent.

Murray:

#1 Will Christie

Christie showcased his strong leap and athletic attributes throughout the game, especially during the second half. He started in the ruck in the third term and immediately won the first hit-out that he guided down his team-mates throat. He stayed involved around the ground and continued his good tap-work in the ruck. Christie had 30 hitouts and 11 disposals in an encouraging performance.

#3 Ben Kelly

Kelly played as a key defender on Swans forward Hamish Ellem. Ellem booted three goals on him but I thought his defensive positioning and spoiling was pretty good. Even though he’s over 200cm, he also played as a rebounding defender, putting his speed and ball use to good use when exiting the defensive 50.

#5 Cameron Wild

Wild was one of his team’s best midfielders and players on the day. His inside work was noticeable, winning a lot of contested ball. His ball use by foot and hand was clean and his work-rate remained high all game. He was able to hit the scoreboard after collecting a loose ground-ball get deep inside the forward 50. Moments later, he demonstrated his composure and vision, with an intelligent kick to his teammate Cameron Wilson, resulting in a set-shot on goal. Wild finished with 26 disposals, 7 marks, and 1 goal.

#7 Zane Barzen

The 19-year-old played mainly across half-forward, where he used his clean skills to deliver the ball to his teammates in the forward half. He took a while to get into the game, but his second half was promising. Barzen took some nice marks on the day, finishing with a team-high 8.

#10 Will Quirk

Quirk played in the defensive half for his team and was able to provide some run and carry out of the back half. He took some nice marks in the second term and was able to show off his athletic attributes on the day. Quirk had a good second half, finishing the match with 21 disposals and five rebound 50s.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Chalcraft was exceptionally clean at ground level and his ball use by foot and hand was superb. He was able to use his speed and agility to escape and break his opponents’ tackles. He kicked a beautiful opposite foot snap goal in the third term, which kept his team within striking distance of the Swans. He is very hard at the contest for his size and I thought he was one of his team’s best players.

#19 Jimmy Boyer

Boyer remained involved in the contest and always found a way to find the ball. His ball use by foot was as usual, noticeable. He played as a link-up player across half-back and through the midfield, where he provided some run and carry for his team moving forward.

Dandenong Stingrays 19.10 (124) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 8.6 (54)

By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#11 Ned Cahill

One of Dandenong’s most outstanding performers across three quarters. Cahill has that touch of class about him and most importantly he gets forward and hits the scoreboard as well. He kicked three goals and handed off a fourth in the win, but also had some good defensive moments too. He spoiled a ball across the line on the wing coming across third up, and put pressure on opponents when they tried to kick forward. He had a great one-on-one in the second term for a goal to work his opponent under the footy then run onto the loose ball at the back.

#18 Mitch Riordan

A high work rate and competitive effort is what you get with Riordan each and every week and this week was no different. He is a clearance expert and just racks up the ball from a stoppage going in hard. He also has some good footy IQ to be able to tap to a teammate in space rather than take possession when under pressure. Not a huge ball winner, but plays such an important role on the inside.

#20 Sam De Koning

Spent the day in defence and had a nice balance between offence and defence. He stood tall on his opponent and provided some offensive rebound at the same time. De Koning pulled down a terrific intercept mark in defence flying high, and showed great vision to handball clear to a teammate while being slung around in a tackle.

#24 Bigoa Nyuon

Stepped up rotating between ruck and forward and you just never know what you are going to get. He can create the unbelievable and then do the unthinkable, which is what makes him quite an entertaining prospect. He was able to hit the scoreboard after picking up a loose ball in attack following good pressure on an opponent, then was able to set up teammates inside 50 for goals as well. He did try and do too much at times like backing himself in from the pocket – which is good to see but he was out of position – rather than handballing into Ned Cahill who was 10 metres closer to goal in space, and then there was a 30m kick straight up in the air when up the other end. However his athleticism and ability to leap above others is without question and there is some serious talent there, it is just piecing it together.

#42 Jai Nanscawen

Known for his goal kicking but Nanscawen played a higher role at times on the weekend, being a playmaker at half-forward or through the midfield, then drifting deeper and providing a target. His defensive work was what stood out, laying a smother on Dylan Williams, then scooping it up with one hand and kicking it forward. He did it again by intercepting a handball in the air and took possession showing high football IQ. He capped off his day with a great mark and set shot goal with a snap in the final term.

#50 Lachlan Williams

Played on a wing but pushed forward and helped himself to three goals and enjoyed every one of them. Williams just finds space and is a damaging prospect from anywhere within 50m, launching his first goal in the second term off a step from outside the arc and it went straight through the middle. Not long after he launched another shot on the run from 45m with just six seconds left in the half and it never looked like missing. IN the final term he showed his smarts by standing on the mark and anticipating his opponent would handball laterally and Williams stuck out his hand, picked it up and snapped around his body for his third. A clean user by foot and while not a huge possession winner, made his touches count.

Oakleigh:

#5 Trent Bianco

The co-captain played as many would have expected him to – with a touch of class and high work rate. Bianco played off half-back and pushed up to the midfield at times, using the ball well and settling the at-times under-siege defence. He impacted a contest on the last line in the second term to clear the ball out of trouble and then used his composure at half-back to provide an option for him to be able to propel the ball forward.

#23 Dylan Williams

Played a little bit everywhere, between forward, back and midfield with the Chargers’ co-captain having some great moments and other patches where he was not as involved. His clearance work to burst out of the middle was really good and he applied some defensive pressure with some fierce tackles, but he was not having the best time with delivery, often the ball sent to his feet when leading out, or being double-teamed with defenders blocking his run. He gave away a free kick for head-high contact and the frustration was clear. He settled and had an impact later in the game, setting up a goal in the third term and then had a number of solid inside 50s despite being held at stoppages.

#27 Josh May

The defender played both a key position and smaller role, doing well one-on-one and creating some run off half-back. May was able to use the ball by foot relatively well despite having more of an awkward short kicking action, but it seemed to be effective. He showed good defensive pressure and second efforts to lay strong tackles on his opponents and just played his role throughout the match.

Sandringham Dragons 19.18 (132) defeated Brisbane Lions Academy 5.5 (35)

By: Michael Alvaro

Sandringham:

#5 Ryan Byrnes

A complete game from Byrnes in the absence of his usual midfield partners, with the hard-working Dragon continuing his consistent season to date. Byrnes was instrumental in Sandringham’s first-half onslaught, driving his side forward well with a wealth of centre-bounce clearances and inside 50 entries. Despite a couple of neat finds going forward and looking comfortable on both sides, Byrnes looks to still be improving his kicking game and overcooked a couple of balls at speed. His reading of taps, forward running and damage in this game were as effective as I’ve seen from him though, so Byrnes looks to be building nicely.

#6 Miles Bergman

The dynamic Bergman has enormous potential, but can work on consistently putting the pieces of his game together. Employed off half-forward and up to the wing, Bergman showed as clean a set of hands as anyone out there – both overhead and at ground level. A slight downside of Bergman’s game at times was his kicking, with a couple a turnovers in the defensive half and others falling short despite finding targets. Still, has plenty to work with and is so smooth on the ball.

#7 Jackson Voss

The potential Saints father-son had one of his better games, catching the eye with a couple of highlight-reel moments. Took an absolute screamer early on while following up with another later, and definitely has that side of his game down pat with seven of his 12 disposals coming from marks. Topped his game off with a goal and showed nice signs.

#13 Louis Butler

A damaging rebounder, Butler has made the half-back flank his own of late. The leading ball-winner on the ground was effective on the outside and shot Sandringham forward as a key link between the arcs. A couple of handy intercept marks on defensive wing were impressive, with Butler proving to be as clean by hand as he was by foot. Missed a set shot attempt which would have capped off his game nicely, but was otherwise highly impressive with his run and carry.

#15 Angus Hanrahan

The over-ager was a beneficiary of Sandringham’s strong start, claiming two first-quarter goals via set shot conversions. Led up well for one of them and is clever when finding space forward of centre, but was not as effective when positioned one-out. Wins a lot of outside ball and worked up the ground on occasion to do just that.

#28 Riley Bowman

Tried in just about every position possible, Bowman took to each role well across the day. Starting in the ruck, Bowman led the hitout count and out-bodied his opponents well around the ground. Manufactured a nice find inside 50, while also taking a strong intercept mark up the other end against Samson Ryan. Did not hit the scoreboard while employed forward, but assisted one of Jack Bell’s third-quarter goals and perhaps looked most impressive when thrown down back to finish off the game.

#36 Oscar Lewis

Lewis was a solid feature in the Sandringham defence all day, winning the loose balls well and rebounding via foot. Is a good size and proved competitive, making himself a likely type who can play effectively on both the inside and outside.

Brisbane:

#11 Will Martyn

Led the way once again for the Lions, burrowing in at stoppages and finding the ball at both ends of the ground to end with a game-high 33 disposals. Played almost a lone hand in the first half, winning his fair share of ball in the midfield and sending the Lions forward, only for the ball to be sent straight back into his area. The same went in the third quarter as Martyn tried to help push the ball out of Brisbane’s defensive half, where to took a lot of his 10 marks. Missed a chance to cap off his game with a goal on the back of Brisbane’s best passage of play, but did most things right across the day with strong tackling and overhead marking a highlight.

#12 Saxon Crozier

Was not Crozier’s most prolific or impactful outing, but a solid one nonetheless. Started well with a nice intercept possession to break up one of Sandringham’s many transitions and found space well around the arcs. While he is normally a high accumulator of marks and good user on the back of them, some of Crozier’s kicks under pressure were a little off. Still, continued to take the game on late and laid a crunching tackle on Jackson Voss in the final term.

#15 Tahj Abberley

The bottom-ager looked most lively inside 50 during the second half, and was instrumental in Brisbane’s best few minutes of the game. Started up the field on a wing and took a nice overhead mark in the second quarter, backing it up with a courageous effort after half time. Laid a fantastic tackle on the much bigger Corey Watts which went unrewarded, but managed to snare a goal with a calm dribbled finish out the back.

#21 Noah Cumberland

The combative forward tried hard for the Lions and while he did not find a heap of the ball or the goals, showed good character. Was forced to search for the ball up-field early, but looked more comfortable amongst the stoppages inside Brisbane’s forward half where he stood up in tackles and muscled his way out. He also tackled hard, but showed good finesse with an assist to Tom Wischnat and spearing ball inside 50 to Saxon Crozier.

Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy 9.7 (61) defeated by Gippsland Power 10.10 (70)

By: Ed Pascoe

GWS:

#17 Jeromy Lucas

Lucas has had a strong start to the year for the Giants and his form continued with a strong performance through the midfield winning the contested ball and looking composed with ball in hand. Lucas had a nice bit of play in the first quarter attacking the ball hard on the wing and then kicking nicely inboard to a teammate, in the 2nd quarter he took a mark and hit a nice long pass to teammate James Peatling. Lucas showed he could impact outside the contest flying up for a huge grab on the wing in the last quarter although he didn’t stick the mark it was a courageous attempt showing his athleticism, Lucas finished the game with 24 disposal and 3 tackles and he rarely wasted a handball which he had 18 off.

#26 Liam Delahunty

Delahunty was a good target for the giants with good attack on the ball and crashing packs to give his smaller players a chance to crumb. Delahunty kicked 2 goals with his first coming from a nice snap dribble goal on his opposite foot in the 2nd quarter with his last goal coming off a Gippsland turnover close to goal in the 3rd quarter quickly gathering a loose ball and kicking the goal. Delahunty looked most dangerous in the 3rd quarter taking two very nice contested marks but would let himself down kicking a behind and then one out on the full from 50 metres. Delahunty finished the game with 8 disposals, 2 marks and 2 goals.

Gippsland:

#6 Riley Baldi

Baldi was the most dangerous player early on from Gippsland, in his first game of the year he was unstoppable in the first quarter through the midfield and up forward. Baldi despite his size took a good contested mark 15 metres out from goal and would kick the set shot and later in the first quarter would spin around and snap a nice goal, in the second quarter he was also hard to stop taking a nice intercept mark and quickly play on with a good handball and he would have another shot at goal on the run on the boundary but would just miss. Baldi was smart with his ball use with a nice kick to the hot spot in the second quarter followed by a nice opposite foot kick to teammate Kyle Dunkley. Baldi was hard to stop both in the air and at ground level where he would attack the ball hard and would always look to move the play on, Baldi finished with 22 disposals, 8 inside 50s and 2 goals.

#11 Kyle Dunkley

Dunkley was a tough customer through the midfield attacking he ball hard and tackled like a man possessed. His only goal would come from a mark and set shot in the 2nd quarter but his hard work set up plenty of others, he showed good vision under pressure to hit a nice switch kick in the 3rd quarter and later that quarter would lay a bone crunching tackle. Dunkley would finish the game with 18 disposals, 6 marks, 11 tackles and 1 goal.

#12 Brock Smith

Smith was the main playmaker for Gippsland down back setting up the play and setting the standard for attack on the ball and body contact on the man, his first quarter had some good and bad moments with the good coming from a lovely long kick inside 50 to teammate Riley Baldi and showing good composure with link up play from defence, the bad was a Clanger kick on a kickout. Smith loved the push and shove and was happy to let the Giants forward know he was there and it was hard not to notice him both defending his man and also linking up with good composure in defence showing why he is the captain. Smith finished the game with 24 disposals and 7 rebound 50s.

#19 Fraser Phillips

Phillips had another game with nice flashes but the consistency over 4 quarters to impact the game is still not at a level he would like. Phillips would take till the second quarter to hit the scoreboard with a nice quick snap and goal, he was more involved in the 3rd quarter taking a nice mark on the wing and quickly playing on inboard with a nice kick and he showed he could also do the team things with a good hard tackle to lock the ball in. Phillips has a fantastic left foot kick and it was on show with a laser pass to teammate Riley Baldi in the last quarter, Phillips finished the game with 5 disposals, 3 tackles and 1 goal.

#37 Harrison Pepper

Pepper was one of Gippsland’s busiest players throw out the day and was particularly noticeable in the 2nd half where he stood up when the Giants where making their comeback. In the 2nd quarter he would take a nice contested mark deep in the pocket and showed his team thinking with a pass inboard to a teammate in better position, in the 3rd quarter he would show his quick thinking with a quick play on and nice low kick which was a feature of his game opening up the play with his kicking. His last quarter was sensational taking a good intercept mark and playing smart football in the last quarter running down the clock and finally having a sealer mark and goal on the siren running towards goal which was a nice mark on its own. Pepper finished the game with 26 disposals, 7 marks, 4 inside 50s and 1 goal.

Eastern Ranges 11.11 (77) defeated Gold Coast Suns Academy 2.6 (18)

By: Michael Alvaro

Eastern:

#4 Joshua Clarke

Was one of Eastern’s best, providing exciting dash and forward penetration off half-back. Showcased a clean set of hands with overhead intercepts and gathers at ground level early on, while also rebounding well with long kicks. Was entrusted with kick-outs at times, and his use proved effective forward of centre too with a nice assist to Bailey White in the third term. Laid a goal-saving tackle in the same quarter, and followed up a fumbled ball with another to show his defensive capabilities on top of his attacking traits. One of the more promising bottom-agers.

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

Provided good forward run with four inside 50s on top of six clearances from his 27 disposals. Started well by hitting up Ben Hickleton inside 50 at speed and was largely effective by foot early, but finished with a couple of clangers. Won a heap of contested ball, which proved vital to the Ranges.

#11 Mitch Mellis

Another of Eastern’s small midfield brigade to win a high amount of ball, Mellis was electric early with 10 first-quarter disposals. Positioned mostly on the outside, Mellis worked hard to find possessions in a range of areas, while also winning six clearances – a lot of which came at speed. Mellis has a great first five steps and agility, which helped him to break away from congestion well. Had a quiet second half but showed plenty earlier on.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

By no means dominated, but managed to consistently produce goal scoring opportunities and took half of his chances with 3.3. Rossiter’s hands were strong throughout, with a contested pack mark from the side his undoubted highlight for the day. Managed another nice clunk one-out to convert his second of three set shot goals earlier in the piece, and could have had a finished with four or five goals had he converted better in blustery conditions.

#17 Cody Hirst

The athletic small buzzed around the ground well, finding most of his ball between the arcs despite moving forward later on. Showed a good leap and laid a fantastic holding the ball tackle after a solid hit on Connor Budarick. While his pressure game is hard to fault, Hirst’s kicking left a little to be desired at times and he was ineffective with eight of his 11 attempts. Still, found Josh Tilly well inside 50 and kicked a nice goal on the run in the third term.

#21 James Ross

The skipper did not have too much to do as the second-deepest defender, but did his part when the ball came his way. Ross started with a handy intercept mark overhead, and keeps his hands up well in traffic to dish the ball off and keep the play alive. Showed a good willingness to provide rebound with a nice handball chain and was largely calm on the ball despite a couple of missed targets.

#23 Zak Pretty

Far and away the highest ball-winner on the ground with 37 disposals, which was enough to earn him a Draft Central Player of the Week nomination. Was as influential as anyone going forward with eight clearances and seven inside 50s across the day, as well as a goal in the third term. Showed a willingness to work as well with five tackles to add to his attacking drive, and was simply in everything through the middle. A top game from a player who seems to be rising well.

Gold Coast:

#1 Hewago Paul Oea

It was a hard slog for ‘Ace’, who struggled to find his way into the game with just one handball apiece in the first and third quarters. While possessions were hard to come by, Oea was unlucky as he continued to run to good areas to no avail in a low-scoring Suns effort. Came into the game in the second quarter with a nice intercept mark and holding the ball tackle, with a move into the midfield to finish the game allowing him to show off his clean hands and zip around traffic.

#5 Connor Budarick

Tried all day for the Suns with a team-high 27 disposals and 16 tackles ensuring he stood out on a down day for his side. Followed up an early turnover with a crunching tackle, and trusted his speed well to escape the grasps of opponents. Was busy all day but particularly effective in the first half with clearances finding their way inside 50. Missed a shot on the run which would have been handy, and found more of the ball in the back half with Gold Coast under pressure in the second half.

#15 Corey Joyce

The diminutive defender was a key runner out of the back 50 all day with five rebound 50s from 22 disposals. Acted as a sweeper at ground level and looked most effective when disposing by hand, while finding most of his kicks short to settle the Suns defence. Under pressure for most of the day, Joyce stood up as one who competed well amidst the onslaught.

#28 Ashton Crossley

Was another Sun who started relatively strongly but faded late, with 16 of his 22 disposals coming in the first half. A contested beast, Crossley was down on his clearance output but resorted to his handball game well to clear congestion. Can still work on his kicking as he often blazed away quickly under pressure or from congestion, and had a turnover in the corridor early. Took an impressive contested chest mark underneath a high ball in the first term, and was a solid contributor.

Calder Cannons 8.11 (59) defeated Geelong Falcons 8.4 (52)

By: Shyam Bali

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

Mott started the game well with a big clearance and a long kick out of the centre to kick off Calder’s first attack, which set the tone for his day. He had lots of ball around the centre and half forward flank and could be found on the bottom of packs most of the afternoon either dishing out to team mates or laying big tackles. His highlight for the day was a good solo effort in the forward pocket where he showed some magic soccering the ball up to himself perfectly before finding a team mate in space. He finished the day on a high running out the last quarter well and being involved in a 1-2 that helped set up Browning’s score which gave the Cannons the lead late in the fourth. Mott finished with a very productive 29 touches and 8 tackles.

#8 Sam Ramsay

Ramsay was busy all day and showed great zip and energy whenever he had the ball. In the second quarter he was a big reason Calder got back into the game, backing himself to take on players with his run and drive the ball long into the attacking 50. He showed some of his tricks also launching for a big grab in the 3rd quarter, which he dropped unfortunately, but showed great competitive spirit diving back to make a tackle and force a ball up. Ramsay was good all day and worked well all around the ground. He ended up with slightly inflated numbers after getting a few possessions chipping around the backline in the last five minutes, but ended up with 27 disposals, seven marks, three tackles.

#38 Brodie Newman

Newman was an absolute star repelling attacks and setting up his team off the half back flank in a best on ground performance. He took several big marks in the defensive 50 and showed both courage when running back into a pack to take a big mark in the third and leadership when he took three intercept marks in a passage of about five minutes to stop Geelong taking the lead in the third quarter. His leadership was also on display several times as he instructed team mates in defence, and often directed traffic through the backline. Newman’s display for a KPD was one of the most dominant displays of the year and he finished with a whopping 36 disposals including 29 kicks, 17 marks (many of which were intercept) and three tackles.

Geelong:

#36 Charlie Sprague

Sprague started the day in everything running hard between the arcs and providing a lead up option to his team mates. He had 9 disposals in the first quarter and provided an option when ever his team was looking to move the ball out of defense or into the attacking half. He quietened down after that but did offer more closer to goal kicking a great goal from 50m out in the third and getting the Falcons back to within a point when he goaled in the last quarter. Although he finished with quite a serviceable game with 18 touches and 2 goals, as an overeager he went missing for too long when his team were in trouble and I felt like he could’ve done a bit more to help them especially in the second quarter.

#40 Jesse Clark

Clark played his customary half-back role, repelling attacks and rebounding with speed. He intercepted the ball three times in the first quarter and seemed to be able to read play and the windy conditions better than his Calder opponents in the first quarter. In the second quarter he rebounded well and showed some class with a long kick off HB which hit a team mate on the 50 lace out. Clark also wasn’t scared getting his hands dirty laying four strong tackles throughout the day. He finished with 22 disposals, 6 marks and tried hard to help the Falcons get over the line.

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

By: Michael Alvaro

Tasmania:

#2 Oliver Burrows-Cheng

The zippy ball-winner showed good agility around the stoppages early to evade traffic and drive Tasmania forward with long kicks. Burrowing in, half of Burrows-Cheng’s 22 disposals were handballs, and he was influential in the Devils’ combative start. He laid a goal-saving tackle in the first term, but missed a shot on goal running inside 50 which would have finished his game off well.

#4 Will Peppin

The National Academy member was composed on the ball and often delivered by hand to outside runners. While he did not look particularly quick, Peppin stayed out of trouble though traffic, which was helped by his clean hands. An intercept chest mark in the first term was a highlight, and it was a solid outing overall.

#7 Matthew McGuiness

Over-ager McGuiness was a feature down back for the Devils, often positioned in a sort of quarterback role. When Tasmania gained position past defensive wing, they would often go back or across to McGuiness, who would set up his side’s forward movement with long kicks. His best efforts came with balls into the centre square, but they became less prominent as Western tightened the clamps. He managed a nice intercept mark deep in defence, and had a couple of forward forays to deliver inside 50.

#12 Isaac Chugg

The debutant was impressive early, and looks like having some nice traits to work on as a bottom ager. Coming from an athletics background, Chugg was electric in the first term with high marking forward of centre and good pace in his defensive efforts. Kicked the first goal of the game from long range, and almost snared another in a similar fashion.

Western:

#3 Eddie Ford

Ford seldom fails to catch the eye with his strong overhead marking, stylish use of the ball, and explosiveness. While he was quiet early on, Ford came into the game well after half time and had a purple patch in the third term where he kicked two goals. The first was a set shot conversion from 45 metres on the back of a strong one-on-one mark, and the second was a clever snap from the boundary, while he missed another chance in the final quarter on the run.

#7 Daly Andrews

The over-ager looked good throughout the day, and was most effective when kicking long down the line to give the Jets forward penetration. He found the ball early around defensive 50 when Tasmania was pouring on the pressure, and used his speed to find space well. Andrews was also nifty in traffic and would end the day with 23 disposals.

#20 Darcy Cassar

Looked Western’s best at times throughout the game, employed as a sort of defensive sweeper. Cassar would collect ground balls and intercept at will, while directing the play once he had disposed of the ball. He showed good burst when taking the game on with shrugs of his opponents and a bit of dash to drive the Jets forward. A designated kicker down back, Cassar was a little more erratic when on the ball forward of centre and lacked his usual finish product both around goal and going inside 50. He continues to rack up disposals though, with 31 touches and 13 marks a fine effort.

#24 Josh Honey

Honey bounced back into some good form in this game, finding plenty of the ball and hitting the scoreboard as he so often does. He pushed up the ground well to find the footy around defensive wing, and spread well to claim uncontested marks around the ground all day. Honey was fantastic when moving through traffic, and make a couple of opponents look silly as he got on his bike and zipped around them with ease. His first goal came from a neat collect of the loose ball going forward to allow him to finish from just inside the arc, while the second was a smart snap around the corner to cap off a good outing.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels 17.10 (112) defeated Northern Territory Thunder 8.9 (57)

By: Peter Williams

GWV Rebels:

#3 Toby Mahony

The midfielder just has a touch of class about him. Not a huge accumulator, but he seemed to have control of the ball despite the conditions, and had a great moment when he evaded a tackler diving for him and then kicked lace out to Riley Polkinghorne in the first term. He then added a goal of his own with a lovely kick off the left from a few steps, able to straighten up, steady and kick it up the other end. Had a piercing kick from half-back to the wing, a low bullet that he used off a few steps after marking at half-back. Next contest he stood up in a tackle and got his hands free to be able to give the ball off to a teammate. Earned a free kick for a push in the back, then got back-to-back 50m penalties to kick the goal from the goalsquare.

#7 Mitch Martin

Applied some good defensive pressure and able to get the ball out to teammates, just has not had as much space as he has in previous games, playing more time inside. Won a free kick midway through the third term and roosted it long but was plucked off by Joel Jeffrey. Great vision to handball to a teammate on the wing and open up space. Had a huge highlight in the final term, being able to win the ball then pause and seemingly stop time as an opponent went for him and he kicked neatly down the field. Laid a good tackle on Stephen Cumming in the middle to win a free. Capped off his day with a goal after running hard into space to mark and then complete the set shot.

#9 Isaac Wareham

Taking the game on which was eye-catching. Backed himself in and would move the ball quickly along the wing, winning a crucial one-on-one against Malcolm Rosas Jnr in the first term and earned a free kick for a trip. He arched his back and was able to evade tacklers, although did get caught once in the second term, but was able to get his hands free and handball before he hit the ground.

#13 Jay Rantall

One of the Rebels standout players once again and seems to be getting better. His skills are still a little shaky, but his goal sense and ability to hit the scoreboard is terrific. Kicked two first half goals, one from a set shot straight in front and one from the boundary with a snap. Both were free kicks with opponents clumsy around him. He won his fair share of ball in the contest, firing out quick handballs to teammates. Erred on the side of caution to his detriment in the first term, kicking to a teammate leading out when he had a set shot straight in front, but will learn from it. He seems to break the game open with quick handballs to teammates running by, able to extract it out of the contest and handball long to a teammate on the outside.

NT:

#8 Malcolm Rosas Jnr

Just so silky and a terrific leader as well. He is a clean player who is able to dish off the handballs to teammate in space. He has a quick burst that creates separation between himself and his opponent and would work hard up the ground to win the ball. Not a huge ball winner, but has some eye-catching traits. Blindsided his opponent in the third term with a great run-down tackle at half-back but turned the ball over. Laid a big tackle in the final term but was penalised for a sling tackle – rather unluckily.

#19 Ben Jungfer

A strong inside midfielder who has a crack. Jungfer laid some fierce tackles and kept diving in for the contested ball. To start the third term Jungfer had a quick few steps to burrow in, win the contested ball and handball out to a teammate in space. Shows good hands in close and is strong to shrug off would-be tacklers. Kept fighting throughout the four quarters and won some important clearances late to help the Thunder kick some consolation goals.

#24 Joel Jeffery

Definitely an eye-catching player at half-back. His kicking was hit or miss at times, with his vision and decision making good, his execution just a bit iffy. His vertical leap one-on-one was outstanding and he is a terrific intercept mark. He does not panic when under pressure and seems to shrug off opponents with ease. A long kick of the football and someone who found plenty of it coming out of defence. Jeffrey reads the ball in flight well and has a nice marking action. Took a huge intercept mark in the third term rising above all others to cleanly grab it in the third term, and then saved a goal with a great running mark back with the flight. Overall a super game in a defence that was under siege for the most part.

#27 Beau O’Connell

A clever mid/forward who looks ever-dangerous in the forward half. He zipped around contests and seemed to win the ball a lot in the early stages, earning some free kicks and having a few shots on goal. He did rush a kick or two at times when he did not realise he had more time such as in the second term when a shot went out on the full, but when on the wing with space in front of him, he was able to size up his options well. To start the third term, O’Connell took a good mark under pressure then kicked it to a dangerous position to set up Tyson Woods for the goal on the line, then went inside and won the next clearance. O’Connell found plenty of it in all thirds of the ground and was one the Thunder’s standout players. Had a great dribble goal midway through the third term as the Thunder piled on the pressure. Kicked a second goal midway through the final term.

Number Crunching: NAB League Boys – Stars shine amid representative commitments

DESPITE representative trials, an academy hit-out, and byes interrupting the season thus far, usual suspects have dominated the first month of NAB League action. In this edition of Number Crunching, we take a look at who leads the key stats, with Northern Academy prospects well and truly making their mark.

While the consistent performances of Matt Rowell have him poised as arguably this crop’s top player thus far, Oakleigh teammate Noah Anderson has done his chances of going first off the board no harm with an incredible early-season stat-line.

The damaging midfielder started the year with 26 disposals and four goals against Eastern, backing that up with a monster 44 disposals against Calder and another 26 against Sandringham. Anderson’s impressive disposal tallies see him top the averages with 32 and overall total with 96, while also posting the best goal return of any pure midfielder with eight – and at least two in each game.

Tom Green is his closest ball-winning competitor, with the GWS Giants Academy product having just one less disposal for an average of 31.7 over his three games – highlighted by his 38-disposal effort against Northern. Sydney Academy bottom-ager Errol Gulden would have been right up there with Green and Anderson had he not missed his side’s second outing, putting together two spectacular displays for the Swans to average 30 touches of the ball as third-best.

Green leads the contested ball stakes with his haul of 60 contested possessions making up almost two-thirds of his overall tally. Northern’s Sam Philp is his nearest contender, with the two duking it out in their most recent outing. Philp, who is also equal-third for total possessions (92), has been a beacon of hope for the Knights, and leads the league for handballs (51) from Green (50). Tackling is also a strong point for Philp, with the Knight laying a league-best 32, with Rowell the only other to have 30 to his name. Giants bull Green is stamping his authority as the leading inside midfielder overall though, with a competition-high 30 clearances to be eight better than Philp, Rowell, Ashton Crossley, and Daly Andrews.

On the flip-side, Oakleigh over-ager Joe Ayton-Delaney sits second for uncontested possessions in his third-best overall tally (92) with 59, trailing fellow returnee Angus Hanrahan, who has 64. While Hanrahan boasts the greatest total with 16 over his four games, the best averages belong to Brisbane Academy skipper Will Martyn (17.6), Anderson (16.6) and Calder’s Daniel Mott (16.3).

While the likes of Hanrahan and Ayton-Delaney are fantastic forward movers, academy guns are the ones who dominate the inside 50 ranks. Gold Coast’s Hewago Paul Oea leads all-comers with 22 thus far while teammate Connor Budarick has 16 and Sydney’s Gulden separates them with 18.

At the other end of the ground, Western Jet Josh Kellett has racked up an impressive 31 rebound 50s, followed by Geelong co-captain and half-back mainstay, Jesse Clark on 24 in one less game. Lion Saxon Crozier is one who covers the ground well to boast stats at either end, and it shows in his equal-second marks tally of 23. With key-forward Jet Aaron Clarke on top with his 26 over four games, Martyn and Murray’s Lachlan Ash are the best midfielders in this area with equal averages of 7.3 over three games.

On top in the marking charts, Clarke is second in the goal kicking stakes – his tally of 10 goals is equal with Tasmanian Jackson Callow, and one less than Charlie Dean‘s 11. Meanwhile, Anderson is the highest-scoring midfielder with eight goals – with half coming in his opening game. Dean shares the best individual goal haul of five with Geelong bottom-ager Oliver Henry – the brother of Cats defender, Jack.

While many stars of the draft crop are standing out at this point, expect the stat lines to even out as the season goes on with Northern academy prospects heading back home, school commitments coming into play, and the National Championships also to be played. As is often the case, diamonds appear from the rough during these periods, and they may well appear in the next addition of Stats Central.