Tag: sunny brazier

Weekend Previews: TAC Cup – Wild Card Round

FOR players of four TAC Cup sides, they will run out for the final time this weekend with the new concept of a Wild Card Round giving every team the chance of winning a premiership, regardless of finishing position during the season. The four games will be played across two days, with a Double Header at MARS Stadium on Saturday, before a Double Header takes place at Ikon Park on Sunday.



Wild Card Round – Saturday, September 1, 11:30am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

It will be a case of déjà vu for fans who make the trip to MARS Stadium tomorrow. The Calder Cannons take on the Geelong Falcons at 11.30am, an identical match, time and place of their Round 16 clash a week ago. In that game, the Falcons proved too good, coming from behind at quarter time to run away with the game before the Cannons kicked back to go down by just 15 points. Arguably the Falcons should have won by more, as despite having 29 scoring shots to 19, they ended the match with an inaccurate 11.18 for the match. Co-captain Sam Walsh was a clear best on ground. Brayden Ham, while inaccurate in front of goal with 1.4, was exciting in the forward half, as was Connor Idun. Cooper Stephens and Ned McHenry were tough on the inside, while Cooper Cartledge and Charlie Sprague played their roles up their respective ends. For the Cannons, Rhylee West was sensational drifting forward to boot three goals, while Daniel Mott and Mitch Podhajski were strong through the midfield, with Podhajski getting forward to finish with two goals. Harrison Jones enjoyed a great game in the ruck, while Lachlan Sholl and Brodie Newman continue to impress behind the ball. Daniel Hanna has been named in the Cannons’ extended team, and will be a crucial inclusion to take a tall in the Falcons forward line, allowing the smaller rebounders to create more run out of defence. Geelong rightfully hold favouritism after last week, and pushing the minor premiers the week before, but both these teams are sleepers in the premiership race, and it is somewhat disappointing one has to go.



Wild Card Round – Saturday, September 1, 2:00pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The second game marks the third time that the Northern Knights will travel to MARS Stadium for the season to tackle the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The venue holds no fears for the Knights, who have been victorious twice, once with a come-from-behind victory in Round 9 by four points, and then again in Round 12 when they won by 22 points. In the first encounter, it took until the 21st minute of the final term for the Northern Knights to hit the front for just the second time that day, with a Patrik Della Rocca goal. That was also the breakout game for bottom-ager Izaac Grant, who booted seven of the Rebels’ nine goals for the day. Elliott Lamb, Scott Carlin and Lochie Dawson were named the Rebels best on the day with Grant, while for the Knights, James Lucente‘s five majors saw him named the best, along with Della Rocca and Stefan Uzelac. In the second encounter, Sunny Brazier and Charlie Wilson booted three goals for their respective sides, while Cooper Craig-Peters and Patrick Glanford were the Rebels’ best. Adam Carafa had a day out with 37 disposals, while speedster Lachlan Potter was also impressive. On form, the Knights will head in as favourites, but some crucial inclusions for the Rebels in Carlin, Grant and Craig-Peters should be equally as important as Lucente and Ryan Sturgess for Northern.



Wild Card Round – Sunday, September 2, 11:00am
Ikon Park, Carlton North

On Sunday, the Western Jets will take on the Eastern Ranges in a game that is one of two that should be fairly straight forward. As we have seen with finals or pre-finals however, anything can happen and regular season form means nothing now that we are at the knockout stage of the season. Eastern had just the two wins, but pushed Western all the way back in the only encounter between the sides this season. In blustery Williamstown, the Ranges led throughout the match and only trailed by a goal at the final break – mostly due to the Jets inaccuracy, booting 2.12. The home side found its kicking boots in the final term however, booting five goals to one and ran away with the 31-point win. Steven Kyriazis booted two goals that day, while Zak Butters earned best on ground honours (he will not be out there this weekend) and Connor Thar and Stefan Radovanovic were also impressive. Billy McCormack was the multiple goalkicker for Eastern, while Jarrod Gilbee, James Ross and Mitch Mellis were the top Ranges. Mellis will be the only one of the trio playing on Sunday, with Eastern hoping to cause an upset. The winner will face Oakleigh Chargers in the elimination final, so will want to hit the game with some great form.



Wild Card Round – Sunday, September 2, 1:30pm
Ikon Park, Carlton North

Murray Bushrangers were the side unlucky to drop out of the top four race, but by being the top-seeded team in the Wild Card Round, they take on the bottom-placed Bendigo Pioneers. The Pioneers have just had the two wins so far this season, while the Bushrangers won both their previous encounters against Bendigo. Murray won by 57 points in Round 2 up in Shepparton, before claiming a 40-point win at Queen Elizabeth Oval in Round 9. In the first game, Laitham Vandermeer was named best on ground, with the injured speedster not able to be out there on the weekend, but his partner in crime that day, Lachlan Ash will be, as will Nick Murray who was impressive in defence. Noah Wheeler was unsurprisingly named best for the Pioneers with another top performance, while Jye Caldwell amassed 24 disposals and laid seven tackles in his only TAC Cup game until last weekend. He will be crucial for the Pioneers this weekend if they are to get the upset, however the Bushrangers look to be too strong on season form. In the second encounter, Ely Smith was best on ground with 28 disposals and nine tackles, while Jordon Butts slotted six goals in a terrific effort up forward. Oscar Perez and Zane Keighran booted two goals each, while ruck Daniel Keating was named the Pioneers’ top player. With no Wheeler, Keighran or Keating this weekend, it will be a big ask for the Pioneers to get up, but there is no coming back. 

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 13

TAC Cup action returns this weekend with all 12 teams back at it. While some are understrength due to school football, the ladder is taking shape as just four rounds remain in the competition ahead of the new addition of a wildcard round after Round 16.


Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 12pm
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

The opening game of the round pits two bottom four sides against each other, with the Rebels able to draw within four points of the eighth placed Northern Knights if they can win, while Eastern can draw level with Geelong Falcons and within two points of the Rebels if they can take home the four points. Eastern’s midfield has been relatively settled this year, with Joel Burleigh, Kye Quirk, Adrian Kalcovski and Mitch Mellis all busy through the middle, while Ben Cardamone and Xavier Fry have proved important in the back half. James Blanck‘s return to the side in the past week has settled the defence down, while in attack, the return of Thomas Lockman combining with Billy McCormack should provide some targets up front. For the Rebels, they have beefed up their attack, bringing in Tylar Watts and Josh Chatfield, making for an even more damaging forward line with the likes of Jed Hill, Charlie Wilson and Izaac Grant set to cause headaches for Eastern’s defence. While the half-back line of Scott Carlin and Matty Lloyd provides good rebound. It’s a 50/50 game with Eastern having the home ground advantage.



Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 1pm
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

In arguably the match of the round, Murray Bushrangers hosts Western Jets up in Wangaratta where two of the top inside midfielders will go head-to-head in Ely Smith and Xavier O’Halloran. There are fantastic one-on-ones across the field with the likes of Jacob Koschitzke taking Emerson Jeka, Buku Khamis potentially lining up on Hudson Garoni, and Hamish Murphy going head-to-head with Zane Barzen. Both sides pride themselves on contested ball and speed from half-back, so it is likely to be an entertaining contest of end-to-end football. Jaden Rice is a crucial loss for the Jets on this road trip, but they have plenty of depth through the midfield, and potency up forward with Darcy Cassar, Aaron Clarke and Steven Kyriazis being sources of scoreboard pressure. Murray arguably have the best forward line in the league with Jordon Butts joining Barzen and Garoni, while Jye Chalcraft and Bailey Frauenfelder are always damaging. If the Bushrangers win they will retain third spot, while the Jets could leap frog both Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers with favourable results in other games if they take home the points.



Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 2pm
Preston City Oval, Preston

Another important top eight clash tomorrow is that between the Northern Knights and Gippsland Power. The Knights sit eighth with an eight-point buffer, but will be keen to have another win and upset the Power. The Power sit in second spot, but Murray Bushrangers are hot on their heels and with the finals approaching, a top four spot is at a premium. Last time these two sides played it was a draw at Morwell Recreation Reserve after Irving Mosquito kicked a goal in the dying seconds. Mosquito is in the team again to cause some serious headaches, while Tyrone Hayes also returns to provide some speed around the ground. Noah Gown is fresh off a five-goal haul and will be keen to impress once again at full-forward, while Sam Flanders and Austin Hodge know how to hit the scoreboard. For the Knights, they have Josh D’Intinosante and Sunny Brazier who consistently find goals, while Harrison Grace is an important inclusion at half-forward, with he and James Lucente capable of creating opportunities in the front half. Tom McKenzie and Lachlan Potter will provide plenty of run off half-back, while Matthew McGannon will look to continue his strong form from last week to carry over into this important game. Gippsland will head in as favourites, but the Knights have the speed and talent to cause an upset at home.



Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 11.30am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

An early Sunday game at RAMS Arena is set to provide a treat with an almost full-strength Dandenong side taking on a Calder team with Curtis Taylor back in the side. Dandenong seem to be the clear benchmark this season and will go in as strong favourites, but Calder have matched it with most sides this year and have caused a number of upsets. Opposing captains Campbell Hustwaite and Mitch Podhajski could go head-to-head in the middle, both capable of running both ways and working hard to help their team gain momentum. The speed of the Stingrays might trouble the Cannons, with Zac Foot and Jai Taylor providing plenty of outside run, while Will Hamill and Sam Fletcher provide the inside hands. Bailey Williams is a monster in the air, and Riley Bowman and the returning Bailey Schmidt will push the Cannons for height. Daniel Hanna could be handed the job on Williams, while Lucas Cavallaro and Lachlan Sholl will look to be the ones rebounding from defence. Taylor is a hard match-up for any opposition up forward, and could go head-to-head with potential number one pick in 2019, Hayden Young. The Stingrays seem almost assured of the minor premiership this season, but the wind at RAMS Arena always throws up a few surprises, while the Cannons can go outright seventh with breathing space if the Power defeat the Knights.



Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 1pm
Central Reserve, Colac

Out in the south west, Geelong Falcons will look to take advantage of mass changes for Oakleigh to snatch a win in the Falcons’ home away from home in Colac. While Ned McHenry is a big loss for the Falcons, the Chargers will have to overcome wholesale changes with players heading back to school football. Sam Walsh, Oscar Brownless and Cooper Stephens will still have a fascinating battle in midfield, with Riley Collier-Dawkins, Xavier O’Neill and Noah Answerth, while Oakleigh’s dominant forward line still has serious threats with bottom-agers Noah Anderson and Dylan Williams down there, as well as over-ager Matthew Day and top-ager Jake Gasper who have both booted bags of goals this season – Gasper last week. The strength in attack means Oakleigh will be a danger if they can control the midfield, while Geelong can control play if they win the contested ball. Connor Idun and Dane Hollenkamp will look to contain the forwards, while Brayden Ham is back at half-back where he will try and provide both offensive and defensive pressure on the opposition. Up forward, Blake Schlensog provides a target, while Baxter Mensch and Jay Dahlhaus are others who can find the ball and keep it moving forward. Despite the changes and the home ground advantage, Oakleigh would be rightfully favourites in this game, but Geelong pushed Sandringham Dragons all the way last round and will be hoping for a repeat effort this week.



Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 2.30pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons will take on Bendigo Pioneers in what should be a close game on paper. The Dragons will rightfully head in as favourites, but any time a team makes 17 changes is always going to present challenges. The Pioneers have remained relatively stable and welcomed James Schischka back into the side. While the Dragons have plenty of depth and still some serious talent around the field, they will look to their next tier of players to step up in front of a home crowd. Liam Stocker will look to build on his great form of late since returning from injury, while James Rendell is back in the team to provide a tall target up front. Jai Florent and Tyson Milne are small forwards who create opportunities at ground level, while Corey Watts and Ryan Byrnes are others who have shown good signs throughout the season. For the Pioneers, Jacob Atley provides good speed and effort out of defence, and will combine well with Schischka back there. Noah Wheeler, Hunter Lawrence and Liam Marciano are always involved, while Oscar and Flynn Perez provide some excitement up forward and on the outside. A win to Sandringham could see them move past Murray into third spot, while a loss could see them drop back as far as sixth. The Pioneers can get off the bottom of the TAC Cup table with a win here.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 12

DANDENONG Stingrays and Northern Knights make up almost one third of the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 12 after the teams had strong wins over Bendigo Pioneers and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels respectively. On the other end of the scale, a narrow win for the Sandringham Dragons, meant just the one player – Angus Hanrahan – squeezed into the 22, thanks to the strong team effort, although Liam Stocker was one of the hypothetical emergencies. The Dragons’ opponents Geelong Falcons had two, while Gippsland Power, Murray Bushrangers, Oakleigh Chargers and the Western Jets all had two nominations after their round 12 win. Besides from the Falcons, other round 12 losers, Bendigo Pioneers, Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges and GWV Rebels just had the one nominee each.

For the ladder leading Stingrays, there are four players who have made the side after a big win over Bendigo. Three of the five starting midfielders are Stingrays, with Sam Fletcher, Campbell Hustwaite and Zac Foot making the side, as did mid/forward Jake Frawley who booted four first-half goals. At the same end, bottom-age Pioneers defender Braydon Vaz made the side in the back pocket. Northern Knights also had their fair share of players in the side, with Adam Carafa easily securing his spot on a wing with 37 disposals, joined by fellow midfielder Tom McKenzie, and forward Sunny Brazier. Opposition ruck, GWV Rebels’ Patrick Glanford makes his debut in the team after an impressive 38 hitouts in that game.

Geelong Falcons’ Team of the Week regulars, Sam Walsh and Brayden Ham both made the side once again, as did Gippsland Power tall forward Noah Gown and teammate Matthew McGannon (half-back). Joining McGannon at half-back is Murray Bushrangers defenders Lachlan Ash and Jacob Koschitzke. Ash has made the team on multiple occasions and slots into his regular position in defence, while Koschitzke is coming off a fantastic National Under 18 Championships and put in a strong performance for the Bushrangers.

Up the other end, Oakleigh’s damaging forward line is on show in the Team of the Week with AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Week Jake Gasper in at half-forward along with Dylan Williams. Noah Anderson narrowly missed out, although is considered unlucky given a three-goal performance but with so many good forward efforts this week it was hard to pick just six. Likewise Gippsland Power forward Irving Mosquito was also unlucky not to make the team, another hypothetical emergency for the team.

Western Jets might have had a loss, but still had two players in the team with defender Buku Khamis and Team of the Week regular Xavier O’Halloran making the side. For the other losing sides, Daniel Hanna (Calder Cannons) and Lachlan Stapleton (Eastern Ranges) also made it into the final 22 as their sides’ respective best players.

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 12a

THERE were just the three games on the weekend which saw Oakleigh Chargers, Northern Knights and Sandringham Dragons all record victories in challenging conditions at times.

Oakleigh Chargers 14.10 (94) def. Calder Cannons 12.4 (76)

Oakleigh and Calder played out a good contest in lovely conditions with both teams playing fast and exciting football. There were plenty of highlights throughout the day, with the biggest one coming from Chargers goal sneak Jake Gasper, who kicked six goals including the sealer in the last quarter when Calder were fighting back.

Calder lost their number one midfielder Jack Bytel early, after he was instrumental in the first half, amassing 23 disposals. Bytel impressed in the midfield winning the ball in the contest and working hard in transition. But unfortunately for Calder, he was not the only injury for the day with talented forward Joshua Kemp going down, ending the game with his arm in a sling. Kemp kicked two goals which included a classy running goal in the first quarter before injury struck.

Oakleigh had plenty of contributors throughout the match with midfielders Jack Ross (28 disposals), James Rowbottom (24) and Will Golds (21) all playing well. Bottom agers Noah Anderson (three goals) and Dylan Williams (three goals) proved a handful up forward with Trent Bianco (22 disposals), Will Kelly (21), Noah Answerth (20) and Joe Ayton-Delaney (16) all providing valuable rebound in defence. Calder had a good spread of players which included 19 year-olds Mitch Podhajski (25 disposals and one goal) and Jake Riccardi (three goals) and Vic Metro representative Lachlan Sholl (25 disposals).

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels 9.7 (61) def. by Northern Knights 13.5 (83)

By: Cameron Ross

The Northern Knights won by 22 points over the GWV Rebels on Sunday at a freezing MARS Stadium in Ballarat. In what was an unattractive, scrappy and low quality game, the Knights flew out of the blocks kicking four goals to zero with the wind and never looked back.

The Knights dominated the ruck and marking contests, and were first to the ball all game. The Rebels did not look like winning the game at any stage in what was an impressive performance from the visitors, restricting the home team throughout the four quarters. Jed Hill was terrific again playing half the game forward and the second half in the midfield, while the dangerous forward Charlie Wilson kicked three goals. Cooper Craig-Peters was also solid for the Rebels on a day that had very few standouts. Bottom-age midfielder, Josh D’Intinosante was solid for the Knights, while midfielder turned defender Tom McKenzie controlled the game from defence, setting up the play from the back line and winning clearances from defensive stoppages. Also, Sunny Brazier was fantastic up forward kicking three goals.

The Rebels have a chance to bounce back next week when they play fellow cellar dwellers, Eastern Ranges next Saturday at Box Hill City Oval while the Knights play the Gippsland Power in what is going to be a massive contest for both sides.

Geelong Falcons 9.15 (69) def. by Sandringham Dragons 11.5 (71)

By: Cameron Ross

The Sandringham Dragons held on for a two-point win over the Geelong Falcons at MARS Stadium in Ballarat on Sunday. The Falcons led by Sam Walsh and Ned McHenry had the weight of possession and chances but simply couldn’t covert kicking nine goals and 15 behinds. On the other hand, the Dragons were clinical up forward kicking 11 goals and five behinds.

With a firm breeze to the Wendouree end of the ground, the Falcons had a chance to overcome a three goal deficit in the final term. In what was nearly a match winning move, the Falcons coach Daniel O’Keefe moved defender, Connor Idun up forward shaking up their forward structure and allowing him to get more involved in the game. However just when the Falcons looked as though they were going to run over the top of the Dragons, Angus Hanrahan kicked a huge goal to push the margin out to 11 points with 10 minutes to go. The Falcons could only manage one more goal, with McHenry kicking a superb snap on the run but with only two minutes to go, they ran out of time. The Falcons got the ball inside 50, more specifically to the top of the goal square with seconds to go, but in what was a theme for the day, the Dragons defended incredibly well, and hung on for what was in the end a deserved victory. Potential number one draft pick Walsh was once again outstanding for the Falcons racking up plenty of possessions, while Brayden Ham, McHenry and Sam Conway were also important. Angus Hanrahan proved to be a match winner for the Dragons, kicking a huge goal in the final term and was very consistent working hard across all four quarters. Alistair Richards also gave the Dragons some much needed run of the half back line and James Rendell was a key target up forward.

Next week the Falcons play the Chargers, while the Dragons will look to build on this win against bottom side Bendigo.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 12a

THREE games, three action packed matches of TAC Cup to watch this weekend. With one game at Warrawee Park tomorrow and a double-header at Mars Stadium, there are two venues to pick from as Round 12 gets underway.


Round 12 – Saturday, July 14, 11am
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

In the opening game of the split round, Oakleigh Chargers welcome back a ridiculous amount of talent into the line-up. Joe Ayton-Delaney, Will Kelly and Noah Answerth will strengthen the defence, while Riley Collier-Dawkins, Matt Rowell and James Rowbottom do the same in midfield, and Noah Anderson and Atu Bosenavulagi in attack. The quality across the board is really strong and if they will be a tough side to beat in this clash. However, Calder have some serious talent returning too, with potential top 30 duo Rhylee West and Jack Bytel to really strengthen the midfield and the battle between the Cannons pair, and Collier-Dawkins and Rowbottom on-ball will be one to watch. The in-form Daniel Mott and the ever-consistent Mitch Podhajski means the midfield is an area where Calder will hold its own against Oakleigh and create some genuine interest in seeing which team can win the contested ball and clearances. Daniel Hanna and Jake Riccardi are bookends that have also been in form for the Cannons, while Jack Ross and Trent Bianco are in strong form for the Chargers. Oakleigh will naturally head into this game as strong favourites given the ins, but Calder would back themselves in if they can nullify the midfield and get first opportunity to their forwards.



Round 12 – Sunday, July 15, 11:30am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the early game on Sunday, the GWV Rebels host the Northern Knights at Mars Stadium. The Rebels have lost Tom Berry who will be missed through the midfield, while Tylar Watts will miss his first game of the year. It means Patrick Glanford will do the rucking against Vic Metro ruck Tom Hallebone – who returns to the side – and bottom-age talent Nathan Howard. The Knights have also welcomed back clearance gun Tom McKenzie who is a much-needed inclusion to the side, named at half-back where he has been playing for Metro. In the middle, Josh D’Intinosante, Brody Bell and Kye Yodgee have the on-ball spots, while Justin McInerney and Oscar White are those named on the wings. McKenzie, Stefan Uzelac and bottom-ager Lachlan Potter form an imposing half-back line, while James Lucente and Sunny Brazier add different elements to the forward line. For the Rebels, Charlie Wilson, Elliott Lamb and Scott Carlin form a strong midfield that will match it with Northern’s on-ball brigade, while Jed Hill and Izaac Grant know how to find the goals. Ben Dodd has been impressive since coming into the side, and he and Harris Jennings add good depth to the Rebels’ midfield. Northern head in as favourites for this clash, but being at home in freezing Ballarat, expect the Rebels to be in with a real shot, especially after last time where they looked to have the game won, but faded away late.



Round 12 – Sunday, July 15, 2pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the third and final game of the round, Geelong Falcons host Sandringham Dragons in what should be a fantastic match to watch. Geelong’s triple threat midfield of Sam Walsh, Ned McHenry and Oscar Brownless return to the fold, against a midfield of Liam Stocker, Harry Houlahan and Alastair Richards. The Falcons will also welcome Brayden Ham back to his new-found role at half-back, joining Connor Idun, Dane Hollenkamp and Cooper Cartledge as rocks in the back half. They will compete against the likes of James Rendell, Jack Denborough, Jack Mahony and Angus Hanrahan who provide many elements to the forward 50 for the Dragons. Kai Owens has been named at centre half-back replacing Corey Watts there, and will team up with the in-form Will Kennedy. Anthony Seaton and Nicholas Stamatis are also in defence, and will match up against the likes of McHenry, Jay Dahlhaus and Blake Schlensog, while Cooper Stephens and Baxter Mensch hold up the midfield with Walsh rotating forward. The match is a really hard one to pick, with both teams strengthened by the inclusions. Sandringham have shown this season they have more depth than Geelong, but the top-end talent for the Falcons returning is very impressive. A real 50/50 game here.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 11

DANDENONG Stingrays’ big win over Geelong Falcons has seen them record a massive four players in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 11. The Stingrays were the only side to record more than two players, with the other winners, as well as Murray Bushrangers and Northern Knights recording two nominees, while the four remaining losers had the sole nomination each.

Dandenong’s key position players Riley Bowman and Matthew Cumming have made the team with Bowman named in the ruck and Cumming named at centre half-back. Sam Fletcher and Toby Bedford also made the team after some strong performances in the impressive victory. Geelong’s only nomination was Dane Hollenkamp who returned to the team and was named the Falcons best, and slots into the full-back position.

Also named in defence is bottom-ager from Murray Bushrangers, Lachlan Ash, named in the team once again along with onballer, Ely SmithElliot Lamb is at half-back and makes the team once again, as does regular forward, Charlie Wilson. Also in attack are a couple of Northern Knights in Sunny Brazier and Josh D’Intinosante who both hit the scoreboard again.

Harry Houlahan slots into our Team of the Week at half-forward, with the Sandringham Dragons midfielder joined in the side by Jack Denborough who was classy around the goals. On the other flank is Jack Ross who was named Oakleigh’s best, in the side along with fellow Chargers midfielder, and bottom-ager Trent Bianco. Calder Cannons’ Daniel Mott makes the team in consecutive weeks, joined in the 22 by forward Jack Riccardi.

The other team with two nominees is the Gippsland Power, with bottom-age midfielder Caleb Serong starring in the Power’s win, while debutant Harold Hood was so impressive he also squeezes into our Team of the Week. The remaining players of sole nominees are Hunter Lawrence (Bendigo Pioneers), Xavier Fry (Eastern Ranges) and Jack Watkins(Western Jets) who all slotted in the side.

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 11

IN the first full round of TAC Cup action for a few rounds – Rounds 9 and 10 were split over two weeks – the Dandenong Stingrays picked up where they left off, while a number of other top eight teams pushed forward their premiership credentials with strong performances.

Calder Cannons 10.18 (78) defeated Western Jets 3.4 (22)

In typical RAMS Arena conditions, Calder acclimatised best to run out winners with a dominant second half display. With only four goals between the teams and a six-point advantage for the Cannons to half time, the home side poured it on with 8.10 to just 1.3 to run out the game. It was a contested armwrestle in the early stages, with the likes of Mitch Podhajski and Stefan Radovanovic crashing in for their respective sides.

With the game opening up, Dylan Mott found plenty of the ball to drive his side forward in an important role, with Jake Riccardi providing strong presence up forward but only managing four behinds for the match despite his dominance. Meanwhile, it was Tye Browning and Lachlan Sholl who provided the class with the former contributing two classy goals, and the latter intercepting everything off half back. For the Jets, Radovanovic led from the front despite a quiet second half, and Connor Thar accumulated at his usual rate to run out a consistent game.

The result had little effect on either side’s standing, with Western still hanging on to their top four spot and Calder over a game safe in the top eight.


Oakleigh Chargers 13.14 (92) defeated Eastern Ranges 5.3 (33)

Oakleigh Chargers kept within striking distance of the top four with a domiant win over Eastern Ranges. With the conditions seeming to favour one end of the ground, the home side charged out to a 40-point lead at the first change, keeping their opponents scoreless.

The Ranges fought back to win the second term, but normal proceedings resumed in the third as Oakleigh again kept the Ranges scoreless while adding another five goals to their tally. Not to be discouraged, Eastern went on to win the last quarter, too, with three goals to one bringing the final margin to 59 points.

For Oakleigh, Dylan Williams and Jake Gasper bagged three goals each, while Charlie Whitehead and Matthew Warren slotted two apiece to be named in the best. Trent Bianco was also solid with 25 disposals, five marks and six tackles. Meanwhile for Ranges, Xavier Fry found it 27 times and Cooper Leon used his 26 disposals well.


Dandenong Stingrays 17.13 (115) defeated Geelong Falcons 5.7 (37)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Conditions were set to be much worse at Shepley Oval on Saturday, so the boys should count themselves lucky they were not swimming through mud. The day brought a chill and a bit of wind, but nothing that’d keep Dandenong from dominating the game as they’re so used to doing this season. By the main break, the Falcons were only down by 15 points, but after the final siren, that margin lifted to 78.

The Dandenong boys were playing at their usual best with a good spread of them having an impact. Toby Bedforddominated atop the hard ball and showed great, composed footy alongside Will Hamill and Finlay Bayne coming up the guts of the ground. Sam De Koning threw himself on a lot of the loose ball out of the back half, with Riley Bowman (four goals) dominating on the goal front on the opposing end.

The Falcons had their work cut out for them against an aggressive Stingrays side. Connor Idun remained composed and dominant despite the game getting away from them. Nicholas Conway worked hard in the ruck all day, winning many of the taps, and Blake Schlensog lifted well in the final quarter. Though it was Dane Hollenkamp who rose above at full-back, locking down his opponent and delivering another solid performance.


Sandringham Dragons 8.18 (66) defeated Northern Knights 5.9 (39)

Sandringham kept a fighting Northern Knights outfit at bay with a 27-point win at Trevor Barker Oval. The visitors started well to hold a slender lead at the first break, but were kept scoreless in the second quarter. Despite being wasteful in front of goal, Sandringham’s 2.7 was enough to have them hold a two-goal lead at the main break.

The Dragons were most productive in the third term with a further three goals to the Knights’ one, and ended up coming home strongly to comfortably win by over four goals. Both sides had two players kick two goals each, with Hugo Ralphsmith and Josh D’Intinosante named in the best for their respective sides out of them.

Harry Houlahan was arguably best afield through the middle with 25 disposals, five marks, seven tackles and a goal, and was accompanied by Vic Metro representative Alastair Richards, who amassed 22 disposals, 18 handball receives and four tackles. Liam Stocker rounded out the midfield magic with 24 disposals, four marks and five tackles as he continues his bolt towards the first round.

For the Knights, Adam Carafa was again instrumental in the middle with 24 disposals and six tackles, while Sunny Brazier continued his goal scoring form with two from 17 disposals and six marks. Others to contribute were Justin McInerney (14 disposals, five marks, four tackles) and Oscar White (nine disposals, three marks, seven tackles).


Gippsland Power 9.16 (70) defeated Murray Bushrangers 3.7 (25)

By: Craig Byrnes

In wet, windy, cold and mostly miserable conditions at Morwell, a dominant Gippsland Power overcame fellow top four hopeful the Murray Bushrangers to climb to second position on the ladder.

Kicking with the aid of a breeze favouring the right hand pocket at the northern end, Power jumped to a 28-point lead at quarter time and never looked threatened throughout the encounter. As Gippsland dominated forward territory with a  plus29 inside 50 differential for the day, Murray couldn’t register a goal until the three minute mark of the third term as the home side ran away to a 45 point victory.

With a rare opportunity to represent Gippsland before returning to Geelong Grammar, Caleb Serong made the most of it collecting 23 disposals, five clearances and two brilliant goals. He was well supported in an even team performance by Austin Hodge and Riley Baldi who won 20 disposals each, while Irving Mosquito created an early spark with two first quarter goals and Harold Hood caught the eye on debut with 16 touches.

The Bushrangers didn’t have too many four quarter performers, but a 26 disposal outing from bottom age prospect Lachlan Ash was the clear standout in defence. Ely Smith continued his purple patch of form with 30 disposals and eight clearances, Kyle Clarke fought all day to win the ball 21 times, while Jimmy Boyer showed glimpses throughout to gather 26 disposals on a difficult day.


Bendigo Pioneers 9.4 (58) defeated by Greater Western Victoria Rebels 12.11 (83)

Charlie Wilson starred with six goals to help Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels to a 25-point victory over Bendigo. The Pioneers shot out of the blocks, taking advantage of the scoring end with four straight goals to GWV’s 2.2 to hold a 10-point lead at quarter time. The Rebels soon clicked into gear though, with Wilson slamming home four of their five second term goals to see them in to the main break with a 16-point buffer – a four goal turnaround. With another four goals conceded, the Pios were all but shut out in the third term and their slight advantage in the final quarter was too little, too late.

With Wilson taking best-on honours, Elliot Lamb was the next best with his 30 disposals, four marks and three tackles. Vic Country gun Thomas Berry had it 25 times, while laying five tackles, and Matty Lloyd provided a good foil with 25 touches and seven marks across half back.

The hosts were led well by Jacob Atley, who had 19 disposals, nine marks and three tackles alongside Hunter Lawrence’s 22 disposal, five mark and three goal effort.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 9

THERE are five games this weekend in the TAC Cup, with Sandringham Dragons and Eastern Ranges having a weekend off ahead of their standalone clash on June 30 – during the school holidays. The five games throw up some interesting possibilities given ladder positions as we pass the halfway mark of the 2018 TAC Cup season.


Round 9 – Saturday, June 16, 11am Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

Both sides head into this Round 9 clash relatively understrength with all of Western’s Vic Metro representatives out of the side, while Geelong just has the returning Dane Hollenkamp, and Blake Schlensog (who has been named as a Vic Country emergency) in the team. A win for the Jets is crucial given a loss could mean they drop outside the top four, while victory would potentially see them move to second on the TAC Cup table with a Gippsland loss. For Geelong, a big win could see them jag eighth spot off the Cannons, but a loss could see them slip one spot to eleventh on the table. Western has a relatively stable clearance midfield with Jaden Rice, Connor Thar and Jack Watkins all able to extract the ball from a stoppage. They will likely take advantage of a Geelong side without its first choice midfield, however Baxter Mensch has been a big ball winner and clearance player this season, while Charlie Harris on the wing and Brayden Ham at half-forward can also win the footy and impact up the ground. It is great to see Titit Nyak back in the team after a long absence through injury, with Geelong’s defence remaining relatively untouched given the 1-2 combination of Hollenkamp and Cooper Cartledge has been solid for the Falcons. Without Emerson Jeka, the Jets will look to Aaron Clarke and the 190cm Tom Warner to provide the tall timber. Steven Kyriazis and last week’s best on ground Darcy Cassar are set to do the ground level work. Given the outs it is hard to predict a winner in this one, with the Jets likely to prevail in the midfield battle, but Geelong has had a lot of continuity this season with its top-end talent at either school football or out for AFL Academy duties.


Round 9 – Saturday, June 16, 2.15pm Shepley Oval, Dandenong

If we are talking about top-end talent missing, then you need not go further than this game with the most representatives from both of the Victorian sides – Dandenong for Country and Oakleigh for Metro – having a big impact on the team selection. Both teams will be relying on their bottom-agers and non-school football players, in a game that resulted in Oakleigh getting up in Round 5. This time around the Chargers are digging deep into their list, and it will take a mighty challenge to up-end the in-form Stingrays, who welcome back potential number one pick next year Hayden Young, as well as Will Hamill and Bailey Schmidt – the latter having played for Vic Country last week. For Oakleigh, Bailey Griffiths will hope to take advantage in the ruck in what will be a fantastic battle with Schmidt, as the Chargers have Xavier O’Neill, Lachlan Bugeja and Sam Harte among others through the midfield who can win plenty of the football. They will go up against Dandenong skipper Campbell Hustwaite, Hamill, and Lachlan McDonnell who has been in good form. Angus Patterson will line-up at full-forward as Matthew Cumming and Sam De Koning hold down the key defensive posts. The likes of Matthew Gahan and Jamie Plumridge will look to create some run out of the back half. For the Chargers, they have a number of defensive forwards who can kick goals including Atu Bosenavulagi and Daniel Scala, while over-ager Tom Hogan has the unique opportunity to face his teammates from last year, crossing from the Stingrays in the off-season after missing out on being drafted last year.


Round 9 – Sunday, June 17, 12pm Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

The TAC Cup Radio team head up to Bendigo for the clash between the Pioneers and Murray Bushrangers. The Pioneers had a really competitive effort last week against the Western Jets, levelling with just a few minutes left on the clock, before going down by seven points. The Bushrangers had a disappointing loss to a strengthened Oakleigh side, feeling the brunt of missing many players for Vic Country and Allies duty. It does not get any easier for the Bushrangers, losing one of last week’s best in Mathew Walker to Allies duty, and a couple of consistent defenders in Nick Murray and Ajak Dang to injury. Mark Marriott was impressive in his first game back from injury and will look to press for Vic Country claims with a good performance here, taking on another in-form ruck in Daniel Keating. With Ben Kelly and Jordon Butts lining up in the forward line, the Bushrangers will look to stretch the Pioneers defence, especially given Bendigo has lost full-back Josh Grace for this match. The 191cm William Wallace will have his hands full with the 202cm Kelly and 197cm Butts, and given the strength in the Bushrangers midfield, Bendigo defence will need to be on its game. Arguably the most important players for the Pioneers are Noah Wheeler, Zane Keighran and Hunter Lawrence, who will rotate through that midfield and just simply have to win the clearances. The Perez brothers – Oscar, an overager and Flynn, a bottom-ager – were impressive last week and will hope to continue that form. James Schischka is a Vic Country player who will be keen to impress for a call-up, while Liam Marciano has been consistent out of defence. For the Bushrangers, Ely Smith continues to tick boxes week-in, week-out, Dylan and Kyle Clarke are always busy, and the forward line that contains Bailey Frauenfelder and Jye Chalcraft is always going to be dangerous. The Bushrangers will be looking to bounce back after a big loss last week, but at home in Bendigo, and after a really promising performance last week, you cannot rule out the Pioneers, either.


Round 9 – Sunday, June 17, 1pm Morwell Football Ground, Morwell

Over in Morwell, the Gippsland Power take on the Calder Cannons. Gippsland were missing most of its top-end talent through resting for Vic Country representation last round, but it mattered little as they stormed past the Geelong Falcons, and now welcome back hard nosed defender/midfielder Brock Smith and livewire forward Irving Mosquito – the latter of whom has returned from injury. While the likes of Xavier Duursma, Sam Flanders, Caleb Serong, Matt McGannon and Kyle Reid will be in Adelaide for Vic Country’s clash with South Australia, the Power are in a very good position. They sit second and could well be top-of-the-table by round’s end if Oakleigh can upset first placed Dandenong on Saturday. For Calder, they are eighth, but have the GWV Rebels, Geelong Falcons and Eastern Ranges chomping at their heels. They also lose a truckload of top-end talent for this game, with AFL Academy members Jack Bytel and Curtis Taylor, co-captain Mitch Podhajski, and Vic Metro representatives Lachlan Sholl and Jack Evans all out. Consistent key position player Daniel Hanna returns, as do a number of solid bottom-agers, but there is no doubting Calder will be looking for something special from its next tier of players to come away with the win. John Roumeliotis made a successful return from injury, and he and Jake Riccardi might pose some problems for the Gippsland defence with their strength, while Tye Browning and Sam Graham are always players that can get their hands on the ball. For Gippsland though, they have a relatively stable team despite some of the big outs. They will be looking to capitalise with Rylan Henkel rucking to Smith along with Mosquito and Riley Baldi looking like an ominous prospect, as is the forward line with Noah Gown and Josh Smith who have been known to hit the scoreboard. Couple that with the fact Jake Van der Pligt and Ryan Sparkes have been in good form rebounding out of defence, and Gippsland look to be clear favourites in this one. The Cannons changes do bring an air of unpredictability about them however, with backs against the wall, anything can happen.


Round 9 – Sunday, June 17, 1pm MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the final game of the round, the GWV Rebels host the Northern Knights. The Rebels are coming off a great away win over Calder Cannons and will be keen to make it two on the trot and three for the season. The Knights on the other hand, will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing loss at home to the Eastern Ranges, and get a win in what is expected to be a typical Ballarat day – wild and windy. The Rebels lose Tom Berry and Matty Lloyd to Vic Country duties which will hurt given their influence on the contest. But Scott Carlin remains in the side despite being named as an emergency for Vic Country, and one would expect he might be an omission from the next round for the All-Victorian battle at the MCG. Carlin and Harris Jennings will look to provide run out of defence, while the returns of Josh Chatfield and Izaac Grant will give the home side another dimension. Given Charlie Wilson rotates forward, a forward combination with Chatfield, Grant, Wilson, Jed Hill and Tylar Watts suddenly looks a lot more dangerous and capable of kicking a winning score. It does not help with Northern losing its two in-form rebounding defenders, bottom-agers Ryan Gardner and Lachlan Potter for the match, however Stefan Uzelac was best on for the Knights last week, while Mitch and Cameron Wild will be keen to stand up in the absence of their teammates. Northern also have a damaging forward line, with Sunny Brazier continuing to kick goals, Josh D’Intinosante ever-dangerous and Harrison Grace the smooth mover from midfield through to half-forward. Ryan Sturgess and Kobe Brandt are others who have shown signs throughout the season what they are capable of, and will test themselves against Matt Schnerring, Ben Annett and the in-form Elliot Lamb. While both sides are more than capable of a win here, I am leaning towards the Rebels at home, with some key forward inclusions and some big losses for the Knights in defence. But it honestly is a fairly 50/50 contest.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 8

NOW that Round 8 is completely done and dusted, AFL Draft Central looks back across the six games and names its TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 8. It was spread across two weekends, but there are certainly a lot of fresh faces in the 22, with many players rested for Vic Metro or Vic Country duties.

Calder Cannons and Dandenong Stingrays had three players each in the side – the equal most of any team for the round. It was a remarkable feat for the Cannons since they actually lost to the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels at RAMS Arena, but their top stars covered each third of the ground. Co-captain Mitch Podhajski was influential in the midfield once again. Curtis Taylor booted five behinds in what could have been a day out if he converted in front of goal, and Campbell Barton was strong in defence. For the Stingrays, they had a much better day out, thumping the Sandringham Dragons by 78 points. Matthew Gahan makes his debut in our Team of the Week for his work in defence, along with AFL Academy ruck Riley Bowman and half-forward Lachlan McDonnell.

Eastern Ranges midfielders Lachlan Stapleton and Kye Quirk made the list, just ahead of Adrian Kalcovski who would be one of the unlucky ones. Quirk had a massive 39 disposals and a day out against Northern, while Stapleton was judged the Ranges’ most influential player on the day. Their opponents Northern also had two players in the Team of the Week, with full-back Stefan Uzelac and forward Sunny Brazier making the side.

Regular Team of the Week nominee, GWV Rebels’ forward Charlie Wilson made the cut with another three goals, joined in the side by debutant to the team, Elliot Lamb. Western Jets also had a couple of nominees from their narrow win over the Pioneers, with defender Buku Khamis sensational at half-back, while Darcy Cassar was a strong link in the chain from defence to attack. Speaking of the Pioneers, inside midfielder Noah Wheeler did his best to inspire the team in the third term, named on the ball as Bendigo’s sole nominee. Ruck Daniel Keating went close to making the team once again, but with three other outstanding rucks on the weekend, it was hard to squeeze in a fourth. Jets midfielder Connor Thar was the other unlucky player to miss out after a consistent performance.

In the most recent game on Saturday, both Murray Bushrangers and Oakleigh Chargers produced two nominees for the Team of the Week. Matthew Day‘s seven goal haul was clearly enough to see him make the side, also named AFL Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 8. Midfielder Jack Ross made the team too, while for Murray, Mark Marriott had a successful return from injury, while creative mid/forward Mathew Walker was also promising up forward with two goals.

Of the remaining nominees who were their club’s only player in the 22, Sandringham Dragons’ Corey Watts holds down the fort at centre half-back, Gippsland’s Ryan Sparkes was sensational off half-back and Blake Schlensog pinch hit in the ruck and was ultra-impressive around the ground. Gippsland was unlucky not to have more contributors to the team, but their win was considered a very even performance across the ground.

Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 8

IT was a weekend of upsets, with two of the bottom three sides claiming victory, and the other levelling the scores in the dying minutes only to lose the lead again with a match-winning goal. Oakleigh Chargers grabbed a top four spot with victory against Murray Bushrangers on Saturday in the standalone day.

Northern Knights 7.7 (49) defeated by Eastern Ranges 10.8 (68)

By: Michael Alvaro

In perfect conditions at Preston City Oval, the Knights and Ranges could only manage three first half goals between them in what was an end-to-end contest. The travelling side broke the game open in the third quarter with five goals to two, as well as the opening two goals of the final term to set up an unassailable lead. The Knights fought to trim the margin back late, with forward Sunny Brazier booting two of the last three goals to have the final deficit sit at 19 points. 

Eastern were on top in the midfield battle thanks largely to midfielder Kye Quirk, who collected 39 disposals, 11 clearances, nine tackles and three marks. He was aided well by Adrian Kalcovski (24 disposals, six tackles) and skipper Joel Burleigh (18 disposals, 14 tackles), while their forward line clicked with three multiple goal kickers.

Stefan Uzelac (17 disposals, five marks, three tackles) stood up under pressure in defence for the Knights, setting them up well with 88% disposal efficiency to be named their best. Patrik Della Rocca provided a big body in the midfield, collecting 20 disposals, five marks, four tackles and a goal alongside bottom ager Josh D’Intinosante, who also had it 20 times to go with six marks and eight tackles. Brazier (13 disposals, six tackles, four marks, three goals) was their only real bright spot up forward, popping up in the right place when given the opportunity. 

The Ranges now climb off equal-last on the ladder with their second win for the year, while the Knights hold on to seventh place for another round.

Calder Cannons 7.19 (61) defeated by GWV Rebels 10.11 (71)

By: Liam Connop

In perfect footy conditions at RAMS Arena, the Cannons’ inaccuracy in front of goal cost them a golden opportunity to win the their fourth game of the season. Kicking with the breeze in the opening term, Calder dominated proceedings but could not put it on the scoreboard, kicking 2.8 (20) to quarter-time. This would come back to haunt them, as the Rebels kicked five goals to one in the second quarter to take the ascendency at half-time. The second half was an arm wrestle, with a couple of late goals giving the Rebels a 10-point win and their second win of the season.

Thomas Berry (16 possessions, six marks) was the X-factor in the game, showing off his pace and taking a mark that Warwick Capper would have been proud of. Elliott Lamb (24 possessions, eight marks) had an excellent game in the midfield, rarely wasting a possession. In what was an even performance from the Rebels, Matty Lloyd (23 possessions, seven marks) had a strong game in the midfield and across half-back, while Charlie Wilson and Mitchell Martin (three goals each) did the damage up forward.

For the Cannons, ball-magnet Mitchell Podhajski (30 possessions, 12 tackles, two goals) continued his outstanding season, while Curtis Taylor (29 possessions, 10 marks) backed up his best-on-ground performance last week, despite being wasteful in front of goals, booting five behinds. Lachlan Sholl (32 possessions, 18 handball receives) was also very impressive rebounding off half-back.

Western Jets 9.11 (65) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 8.10 (58)

Western Jets played their get out of jail card in the dying moments of their narrow win against Bendigo Pioneers. It was a close game throughout, until the Jets looked like they had broken free in the third term with three consecutive goals to open up a healthy 22-point margin. Bendigo refused to give in, booting the last two goals of the quarter to draw within eight points at the final break. When Hamish Murphy ran into an open goal in the final term it looked beyond the Pioneers, before Phill Moi Moi and Zane Keighran slammed home goals to tie the game with less than three minutes remaining. The Jets managed to get it forward and Malwal Maguang received a free kick, converting from a tight angle which ended up being the winning goal.

For the Jets, Buku Khamis (22 disposals, nine marks and four rebounds) was superb off half-back, controlling the airways and rebounding anything that came his way. Darcy Cassar was busy through midfield, linking up to a high half-forward, with a game-high 25 disposals and six inside 50s. Connor Thar (24 disposals, four clearances), Jack Watkins (22 disposals, 11 tackles) and Jaden Rice (21 disposals, seven clearances) were also among the key on-ballers, while Zak Butters (21 disposals, six marks) and Stefan Radovanovic (20 disposals, seven marks, six rebounds, four inside 50s and a goal) were instrumental from defence through to attack.

For the Pioneers, Keighran had 19 disposals, four marks and kicked that crucial goal, while Noah Wheeler was enormous in the middle with eight clearances and nine inside 50s to go with his 24 disposals – a key reason the Pioneers turned the momentum in the third quarter. Hunter Lawrence was busy with 23 disposals and six inside 50s, while Liam Marciano (22 disposals, seven rebounds) and Daniel Keating (14 disposals, seven marks, 19 hitouts and three rebounds) were top players once again.

Dandenong Stingrays 15.15 (105) defeated Sandringham Dragons 4.4 (28)

By: Ed Pascoe

Despite missing nine players from the Vic Country squad, top of the ladder Dandenong easily defeated a young Sandringham Dragons team. Dandenong played a great team defence with their defenders setting up well behind the ball and their forwards putting on good pressure to cause many mistakes for the inexperienced Sandringham defenders. Sandringham did not lack in effort, they where just beaten by a red hot team looking to impress on their home turf.

Ruckman Riley Bowman was a standout with two goals (15 disposals, five marks), moving well around the ground and often following up his ruck work to providing a good target when forward. Matthew Gahan had a field day in defence with his intercept marking and drive (19 disposals, seven marks) and young leaders Campbell Hustwaite (24 disposals) and Jamie Plumridge (23 disposals) controlled the midfield, Hustwaite was busy at stoppages while Plumridge owned the Wing with both players looking both strong and composed around the ball.

It was not all doom and gloom for Sandringham with young key defender Corey Watts (15 disposals, nine marks) a standout in defence with some good contested and intercept marks, while his long kicking was also an asset. Darcy Chirgwin (21 disposals, six tackles) showed class on the wing and was willing to work hard deep in defence, even managing a goal. Jeremy Goddard (14 disposals, 11 tackles) competed hard in the midfield – despite his small frame, he wasn’t afraid to go in and have a crack against the bigger Dandenong bodies.

Gippsland Power 10.5 (65) defeated Geelong Falcons 3.13 (31)

By: Ed Pascoe

As they say, ‘bad kicking is bad football’ and that rang true for Geelong who struggled to turn opportunities into goals, scoring 11 behinds before Samuel Torpy kicked a classy goal from the boundary late in the 3rd quarter. With the scorecard reading 3.13 Geelong will be ruing what could have been. Credit has to go to Gippsland however since they took their opportunities and their entries inside 50 made the difference. Gippsland still looked the better team on the day and deserved the win.

Gippsland had an even spread of contributors – Bailey Beck was influential on the wing using the ball well, taking some fantastic marks under pressure (seven marks, two contested) he also finished with 20 disposals and a goal in a classy display. The backline was well controlled with the likes of Tye Hourigan (15 disposals), Ryan Sparkes (24 disposals) and Bailey Patterson (19 disposals) all providing run and drive from the backline with the ball coming out of the defensive 50 very quickly. The midfield had a good mix with the grunt coming from overager Austin Hodge (18 disposals) and the class coming from fellow overager Tyrone Hayes (18 disposals).

Vic Country representative Blake Schlensog was the standout tall player on the ground competing hard and following up his ruck work (21 disposals) while also helping out the defence staying strong taking some quality intercept marks to finish with eight overall. Geelong’s other Vic Country representative and bottom ager Cooper Stephens was the standout midfielder for the day winning the contested ball at stoppages and also working hard to get on the outside. He had the ball on a string in the first three minutes to finish with 20 disposals. Sam Torpy kicked Geelong’s first goal late in the third quarter and finished the game with two of his team’s three goals, working hard to also collect 17 disposals.

Murray Bushrangers 7.10 (52) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 17.10 (112)

A blistering first quarter set up Oakleigh’s huge 10-goal win over Murray Bushrangers in the standalone game on Saturday. The Chargers booted seven goals to two in a massive opening quarter, then maintained the rage with a 38-point lead at half-time courtesy of a four goals to three second term. After a low-scoring third quarter which saw the home side boot the only goal of the quarter, Oakleigh stormed home with six of the last seven goals to run away with the massive 60-point win and jump into the top four.

Matthew Day was a star with seven goals from 19 disposals and six marks, acting as the key forward in the absence of a number of players due to Vic Metro duties. Despite both sides missing a huge chunk of their top-end talent, a number of bottom-agers stood out. Trent Bianco racked up 19 disposals, four marks, three inside 50s, two rebounds and two clearances, while Dylan Williams had four inside 50s from nine disposals. Jack Ross was a standout in midfield with 19 disposals, five marks, six clearances, six inside 50s and four tackles, while Lucas Westwood had six rebounds from 17 disposals.

For the Bushrangers, Ely Smith was the highest disposal winner with 21 touches, three clearances, three inside 50s and six tackles, while Kyle Clarke had four clearances from his 18 disposals. Potential Brisbane father-son prospect Jake Bradshaw was busy with 18 disposals, four marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds. The classy Mathew Walker booted two important goals from his 15 touches, nine marks, seven tackles and five inside 50s to be a clear standout of the losing side. Mark Marriott and Ben Kelly were strong in the ruck, notching up 21 and 20 hitouts respectively.