Tag: Thomas Hallebone

Scouting notes: National U18 Championships – Round 5

WE made the trip down to Etihad Stadium yesterday and saw the conclusion to the National Under 18 Championships. Here we take a look at every player in both games and see how they fared on the night. Lenny Fogliani, Cameron Ross, Scott Dougan, James Goller, Craig Byrnes, David Chapman, Jamie Morgan and Damon Mattiazzo all combined to provide the notes.

Allies vs. Western Australia:


#1 Conor Budarick

Budarick was a strong tackler for the Allies having eight for the day – he was really fierce in the contest. He played like a smart footballer and made good decisions with the ball. His kicking was good all day and included three inside 50s. The 2019 draft prospect spent most of his time on the wing and through the forward line.

#3 Josh Stern

Stern had 10 possessions for the day. He showed courage going back with the flight in a marking contest – he didn’t flinch. He kicked the ball really well, especially in the last term. Stern also displayed good hands in the contest, playing mostly up forward pushing up the ground.

#6 Rhyan Mansell 

The hard nosed defender was impressive, laying seven strong tackles. He brought a bit of aggression out there and proved very hard to beat one on one, rarely losing a contest. He didn’t have a lot of the ball only collecting five possessions but used it well. Mansell showed a little bit of spread and speed off the back flank but needs to add more of that to his game so he can be a solid contributor both defensively and offensively, not just defensively.

#7 Jesse Quint

Quint had a okay day, gathering 10 possessions. A highlight was his hands in congestion. He kicked a nice goal to go with four inside 50s and kicked the ball well.

#10 Chayce Jones

The Tasmanian had a strong day at the office playing midfield and resting up forward. Jones is really hard at it in the contest and laid seven tackles for the game. When he doesn’t have the ball he was the willingness and desire to put as much defensive pressure on as he can. He kicked the ball well and made good decisions with ball in hand. He was both strong on inside and outside.

#11 Keidean Coleman

Coleman had seven possessions for the day playing down back, he was very strong defensively laying five tackles. He does have the ability to break the lines but he wasn’t able to do it enough having only two rebounds.

#12 Mitchell O’Neil

Definitely one to write down for the 2019 draft. He has really good hands in congestion. O’Neill also took a nice contested mark. He had 18 possessions and kicked the ball well, also booting a nice goal. He took the game on and was able to rebound well having three rebound 50’s for the game. O’ Neill made the All Australian team.

#15 Guy Richardson

The backman had 19 possessions for the day, I thought he played really well mopping up defensively. He was also good offensively rebounding four times and showcasing his really good foot skills. Richardson showed some good run and carry and the ability to break the lines. Defensively he was good one on one.

#17 Thomas Matthews

Another Allies defender who had a strong game, Matthews has really solid pressure in the contest. He only laid three tackles, but the work he does off the ball that doesn’t get any stats for was noticeable. He took five marks and a couple of those were intercepts. Matthews was great offensively as well having five rebounds. He kicks the ball well and showed some run and carry.

#19 Bailey Scott

The captain had a fantastic day for Allies. He played more in the midfield collecting 30 possessions. His clearance work was really good having six. He had really good hands in congestion and tackled really strongly showing some aggression with five tackles for the game. He kicked the ball well, especially late when he hit team mate Nick Blakey on the chest with a 40-meter kick. Scott was able to hit the scoreboard as well with a goal. He rebounded strongly with three rebounds and also had three inside 50s. The skipper also took a great mark.

#20 Fraser Turner

The wingman is a great runner and ran hard all day, slotting two great goals on the run at critical times. He had 24 possessions and showed strong hands in the contest. Turner rebounded really well having three for the game and his kicking was solid all day. Turner plays mostly on the wing is a outside damaging player.

#23 Michael Mummery

Mummery had a quiet day with only the four possessions, however, he was really good defensively laying five tackles. He also was good one on one in marking contests, taking a fantastic contested mark.

#28 Matthew Green

The tall midfielder put good pressure on the opposition and used his trademark long handballs into space to set up teammates running passed. Just the 11 disposals on the night, but he had a couple of crucial intercepts late, including one tackle which earned him a holding the ball free kick. Also had a couple of clearances and inside 50s on the night to end up with a solid performance.

#29 Joey Reinard

The forward showed some good glimpses in patches, kicking a goal early in the piece, working hard for leads and being creative through midfield. Not a high accumulator, he presents when required and plays that medium-tall role well.

#31 Connor McFadyen

The 190cm utility continues to impress with his super quick hands and strong contested marking ability. He took a great grab on the goal line in the second half to nail a vital goal, then handed one off to Mitch O’Neill who kicked truly from long range. He uses his body well one-on-one and has shown promising signs he can develop into an inside midfielder who drifts forward and has an impact.

#36 Matthew McGuiness

Playing in defence, McGuiness rebounded well from the back 50, working in tandem with Jacob Koschitzke and Nick Baker. Positions himself well and is able to put pressure on opposition forwards, while taking some strong marks.

#37 Jacob Koschitzke

One of the most improved players across the tournament, Koschitzke played another strong game out of full-back, taking some good contested marks and rebounding strongly. He showed good courage backing back with the flight on a couple of occasions and applying his penetrating kick to clear of the defensive zone.

#40 Kieren Briggs

The clear dominant ruck on the ground once again and deserving of the Allies’ Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the carnival. It was clear Briggs has a huge tank and covers the ground well, barely taking a break. His second efforts are a highlight and he continually does the defensive things right as well. I would be surprised if it was not just the GIANTS keeping an eye on the overager.

#41 Mathew Walker

The Murray Bushrangers forward started slowly but worked into the game in the second half. He kicked a good goal on the move, and missed a chance to add a second. Walker showed good hands in close, giving off lightning quick handballs to teammates and opening up space for them.

#44 Caleb Graham

The athletic big man was often found pushing up onto a wing and showing off his versatility. He laid a really big tackle early in the piece and took a great intercept mark and drove the ball long inside 50. Not a huge accumulator, but a long kick of the football and can play anywhere.

#46 Tarryn Thomas

The potential top 10 pick was relatively quiet again by his lofty standards, but he did pick up in the last quarter where he kicked a great set shot goal to get the Allies team up and about. He has the cleanest hands at ground level, and could pick up a soaking ball with velcro-like hands. Had a big clearance in the first term that resulted in a Nick Blakey goal. Thomas was terrific defensively laying a number of good tackles to stop opponents in their tracks.

#47 Nick Baker

Played up the ground through the midfield as well as at half-back and was strong one-on-one. He managed to get his hands on the football a bit and continued to remain involved in the contest. He was one of the Allies’ more prominent ball winners in the match.

#49 Nick Blakey

Just enormous. After being held early, Blakey came into the game with a bang once moving into the middle, winning two early clearances in the second half. He used his big body to impact the contest and then drifted forward to provide a contest. He had a brilliant dart of a pass to Mathew Walker in the third term and his disposal by foot was terrific. Just got better with every game he played and yesterday was huge when the game was on the line.


Western Australia:

#2 Jarrod Cameron

The lively small forward wasn’t as influential as compared to his dazzling performance against Vic Country, but still showed glimpses of his potential. His desire to run and chase opposition defenders is outstanding for someone his age, and his ability with ball in hand is unbelievably good.

#4 Graydon Wilson

The dynamic defender was outstanding for Western Australia, with his run and carry, skills and vision all on display. He also produced the match-saving spoil and tackle that secured WA the victory.

#6 Wil Hickmott

A late inclusion into the squad, Hickmott’s class was on full display. His vision, skills and reading of the play are at a fantastic level for someone his age. Carlton will be monitoring him closely as he is the son of former player Adrian Hickmott

#8 Luke Moore

The South Fremantle product finished with 13 possessions and two goals but the stat line doesn’t emphasise how good he was. In the first quarter, he stood up in a tackle and got the ball to Brad Oldfield who duly converted the opening goal of the game. Then late in the first quarter, he gathered the ball at full pace, sidestepped an opponent and snapped one through. The youngster has been likened to Alan Didak and shapes as a genuine match winner for any AFL club.

#9 Tyron Smallwood

Smallwood was extremely lively in the forward half for the Sandgropers, often setting up attacking forays. Not unlike Adelaide star Tom Lynch, Smallwood was the connector between the midfield and the forward line and he played the role to perfection.

#10 Rylie Morgan

The Claremont product was outstanding in the midfield. A beautifully balanced player with exceptional skills and sound decision-making, Morgan wielded an influence on the inside and the outside. He shapes as a potential bolter come draft night.

#11 Luke English

The acting captain of the day, English showed why he is such a highly rated prospect. He was tough, combative, skilful and smart against the Allies. He finished with 25 possessions and six tackles in what was a tremendous display.

#12 Jeremy Sharp

The bottom-ager did his stocks for the 2019 AFL Draft no harm whatsoever with an accomplished display against the Allies. His vision, speed, skills and smarts all make him an attractive player, and he would be thoroughly deserving of All-Australian selection.

#13 Jason Carter

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy player showed glimpses of why he is such a highly rated prospect. His dare to take the opposition on should excite the Fremantle recruiters and his speed was unmatched by any Allies player.

#14 Sydney Stack

The Northam product’s stocks continue to soar by the week. Against the Allies, Stack was aggressive, tough, skilful and dynamic. In the last quarter, he soared for a mark, roved his own crumbs and dribbled through a goal. He finished with 20 possessions and seven clearances.

#15 Jordan Clark

Arguably the best player on the ground, Clark deservedly took home the WA Most Valuable Player award. He finished with 29 possessions and 11 rebounds, and was often a catalyst for WA’s drive from the back half to the forward half. His skills, vision, composure and toughness will all make him an AFL star.

#16 Ethan Hansen

Hansen started the game in terrific fashion, taking an early intercept mark and gathering plenty of possessions. He showed the ability to kick on both sides of his body and his decision-making with the ball in hand was superb. Hansen was able to use his speed to escape the congestion and to provide run on the outside of the contest, which proved handy for Western Australia going forward. In the third quarter, Hansen read the play superbly and was able to take an intercept mark at full speed in the middle of the ground, resulting in a Western Australian goal. Hansen had 19 disposals and more than 300 metres gained.

#18 Deven Robertson

The bottom-age midfielder looks to be one to keep an eye on in next year’s draft. He didn’t have massive numbers by any means but what impressed me the most with Robertson, was his work-rate. He chased hard defensively and he was able to make plenty of contests in all areas of the ground, due to his gut-running.

#20 Luke Foley

Foley was pivotal in the midfield for Western Australia, setting the standard required for his teammates by making a strong impression early. He accumulated disposals in all areas of the ground, on the inside and outside of the contest. His clearance work was really good, but his tackling was even better. Foley never gave up and he tried his hardest to make an impact, both offensively and defensively.

#21 Tyson Powell

Powell started in defence and was solid. He tackled strongly and had some nice defensive spoils. In the second quarter, Powell coped a big knock and was unable to have the same influence. He bounced back in the second half and was responsible for the in-form Connor McFayden at times. Powell continued to spoil strongly and he started to find more of the ball as the game went on.

#23 Louis Miller

Miller was prominent down back and was one of Western Australia’s best on the day. His competitiveness and strength in the contest were noticeable throughout the match. Miller positioned himself well defensively and rebounded effectively. He amassed 22 disposals and used the ball well. The highlight of the day came in the second quarter when Miller took an eye-catching pack mark over four players on the wing.

#24 Regan Spooner

The classy defender spent a considerable amount of time on the in-form forward, Nick Blakey. Spooner kept Blakey to one goal in the first half and played his role fabulously. His ball use was top-notch and he was clean below his knees. His finest passage of play came in the second quarter when he kicked an absolute bullet inside 50 to the leading Tom Medhat.

#26 Jake Pasini

Pasini started the game in the defence and was solid. He did not have the same stats to most of his teammates, but he undeniably played a crucial role in limiting the Allies forwards impact during the game.

#27 Tom Medhat

The versatile forward was Western Australia’s most dangerous in the first half and he proved difficult for the Allies defenders to stop. He kicked his team’s second goal of the match with a running goal from 40m out, demonstrating his composure in pressure situations. Medhat found plenty of space in the second quarter and kicked his second goal only three minutes into the term. He pushed into the midfield at times and showed the ability to win the contested ball. Medhat kicked his third goal of the term in the dying minutes and was one of the main reasons behind Western Australia’s dominance in the first half. He didn’t have the same effect in the third and fourth quarters, but he continued to work hard at making himself an attractive option in the forward 50.

#29 Dillion O’Reilly

O’Reilly started in the forward half and shared ruck duties with Jack Buller throughout the game. He showed his athleticism early, winning some impressive jumping hit-outs to give his midfielders first use. O’Reilly kicked his first goal of the day in the second term, with a terrific snap around the body. He continued to hit the scoreboard for Western Australia, booting his second goal in the third term after leading successfully into a large amount of space inside 50.

#34 Brad Oldfield

Oldfield was outstanding in contested situations, winning the ball in tight and dishing the ball out by hand to his teammates. Oldfield found plenty of space in situations that you shouldn’t, which helped him make the correct decisions with ball in hand. In the first term, he was involved in an important passage of play where he kicked the ball inside 50 to a teammate and then sprinted extremely hard to make himself an appealing option to receive the ball back, resulting in the first goal of the game. His work rate and hard running was evident across four quarters.

#35 Mitchell Georgiades

The bottom-ager played on Nicholas Baker and arguably beat him in the first half. He booted two essential goals in the space of 10 minutes in the second term, instantly becoming one of the most dangerous forwards on the ground. Georgiades showcased his sticky hands and the ability to mark the ball at its highest possible point. His set-shot goal kicking was spot on and his technique was sublime. He was unable to have the same influence in the second half, but his 10-minute burst in the second quarter was enough to get me excited for his draft year in 2019.

#36 Jack Buller

Buller’s competitiveness and ground level work for a big man was on display from the get-go. He was beaten in the hit-out department to the bigger and stronger opposition ruckmen Kieran Briggs, but as soon as the ball hit the deck, Buller basically turned into a midfielder. His follow up work was magnificent, his pressure on the opposition was clear and he won plenty of contested possessions. After his dominant first half, Buller went into the main break with 11 disposals to his name. He was much quieter in the second half, but there’s no doubt he was one of Western Australia’s main contributors in the first two quarters.


Vic Metro vs. South Australia

Vic Metro:

#1 Jack Mahony

The bottom ager started a little shaky by foot early. He has really good hands in congestion and has the endeavour to put on pressure and really goes in the contest with pace. He showed courage when taking a mark back with the flight, knowing there would be contact. Mahony kicked a ripping snap goal at the start of the third term. With a goal and 17 possessions to his name, he played well.

#2 Joe Ayton-Delaney

Ayton-Delaney has the ability to really break the lines and hurt his opposition with it had five rebounds to his name which shows this. However, he did make some poor decisions with the football. He tends to use the ball fairly well, however his decision making leads him to turn over the footy and this happened a few times. Interested to see how he goes in the back-end of the year for Xavier College and Oakleigh Chargers.

#3 Zak Butters

Yesterday was set to be Butters’ last game for the season as he is going in for shoulder surgery next week. Sadly his season send-off ended early with a injury to the same shoulder. He showed a willingness to take the game on with his three possessions. Butters is quite small in stature, but is a slick and crafty player.

#4 Rhylee West

West did not have a big day against South Australia only having the 12 possessions. He has really solid hands in close, also making decent decisions with it. He kicked fairly well especially when he tried to open the play up. The Western Bulldogs father-son prospect is looking like at this stage a late first round, or early second round selection.

#5 Matt Rowell

Rowell had a fantastic day at the office, with the hard nosed midfielder collecting 20 possessions for the day. Rowell has break away speed from stoppages which caught the eye. On top of that he has really good hands in congestion. He is a fantastic tackler and managed seven for the day. He used the ball well on his left and right having four clearances and three inside 50s. Definitely one to watch for the 2019 draft.

#6 Curtis Taylor

Taylor is pure class inside the forward 50. He had eight possessions for the day, but really made each one of them effective in play – two of his forward tackles resulted in set shots. He also had two inside 50s and was dangerous up forward for Vic Metro, booting two goals.

#7 Angus Hanrahan

A quieter day for Hanrahan with 12 possessions. He is a real interesting type; starting forward he did not have much impact, but after moving to the wing he started to get his hands more on it. He has good hands in close and managed nine handballs. Only having three kicks for the day is slightly disappointing as his real strength is his kicking on his left and right. It’s hard to tell exactly where Hanrahan fits. I think he could fit around the mid second round to fourth round. Really depends on his second half of the year.

#8 James Rowbottom

Rowbottom is a real inside mid. He did not have a lot of the ball with just the 12 possessions compared to his other Championship games, but he was a strong tackler for Metro laying seven, with one of the tackles being a goal-saving one. He gave a little bit of spread from stoppages and his kicking was okay. Rowbottom’s draft stocks have risen from the championships

#12 Tom McKenzie

McKenzie played off the half-back flank and was one of Metro’s best in the first half. He provided run and carry out of the defensive 50 and his ball use was very good, on most occasions. He stayed composed under pressure, especially when South Australia were repeatedly entering their forward 50. He did most of his damage in uncontested situations but has proven in the past that he can win the ball on the inside when necessary.

#14 Isaac Quaynor

Along with the majority of his teammates, he started slowly but quickly found himself more involved as the game went on. He spent most of his minutes further up the ground, rather than deep, which is a position I do enjoy him in. His best passage of play came in the third quarter when he showcased his agility and speed with an exciting blind turn in the middle of the ground, effectively releasing the ball by hand to an outside runner.

#15 Bailey Smith

The hard-running, endurance beast was one of Metro’s only shining lights in the first half. Smith never gave in and tried hard all game, even when things were not going his way. His tackling was strong as always and he won the ball in contested and uncontested situations, which is why he’s so highly rated. His clearance work was impeccable and he was able to find plenty of the ball, finishing with 22 disposals. His positioning and effort in the defensive 50 were below par at times, but it is something that he will work on during his development.

#16 Noah Answerth

It was an up-and-down game for Answerth, who received a red card at the half-time break and missed the first 15 minutes of the third term. He showed that he can have a big impact on the contest with his ball-winning ability and link-up play, but was completely exposed in defensive situations. Answerth was responsible for the red-hot forward Izak Rankine, who was near-impossible to stop. There were a couple of moments that Answerth was caught ball watching, forgetting to give Rankine enough attention, which resulted in Rankine booting some very easy goals, with no defensive pressure applied. This is common with junior footballers and of no big concern. He will improve in this area as he progresses through his development.

#18 Xavier O’Halloran

The captain gradually worked into the match and was vital in stages throughout the second half. O’Halloran only had the 10 disposals but definitely made them count, which makes him such a damaging player. He did his best work in the forward half of the ground and was involved in one of cleanest passages of play in the game. In the third quarter, he was able to drill a 40-metre kick inside 50 to the leading Ben King, who marked and kicked truly, keeping Metro in the game. O’Halloran hit the scoreboard himself in the last minute of the third, after taking a strong contested mark 20 metres out.

#19 Jack Bytel

Bytel was at his best in tight, where he could gather possession and release the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. His ball use by foot was inconsistent. He turned the ball over on multiple occasions but also displayed that he can hit targets in high-pressure situations, on both feet. Bytel spent some time down back in the second half but was unable to have any real influence on the match.

#23 Buku Khamis

Khamis spent some time on the highly-rated Connor Rozee, with the athletic rebounding defender doing his best in trying to limit his impact. Khamis read the play well, his ball use was good and his intercept marking was a standout. Khamis has progressed rapidly over the past year and did his draft chances no harm.

#24 Noah Anderson

The exciting bottom-ager from the Oakleigh Charges contributed to Metro’s midfield and looms as one of the top prospects for next year. He didn’t have the biggest effect on the game but his ball-winning ability, speed and clean ball use was a sign of things to come in 2019.

#26 Riley Collier-Dawkins – The big bodied Oakleigh midfielder was in and around the stoppages for long periods of the night, but struggled to have the impact of earlier matches. He often won first possession, but struggled to find the opportunity to release as the South Australians wrapped him up quickly. While he would only win eight disposals, Collier-Dawkins still produced moments that showcase why he is now regarded a first round prospect. He took a great overhead mark and played on with acceleration inside 50, but couldn’t finish off his work by foot. In the third term he raised his arms high at a stoppage to release a teammate brilliantly on the outside, before showing his defensive presence by producing a heavy tackle on Valente later in the quarter.

#27 Will Kelly – Starting on Lukosius, Kelly was one of the only Vic Metro defenders to keep his opponent accountable with offensive run during the early onslaught. He intercepted and rebounded with style, but also defended admirably by holding the most talked about player of the draft pool to one goal. He went forward in the final term and looked capable leading to space, while also setting up Bailey Smith in the corridor. The son of Craig and brother of Jake at Adelaide finished with 17 disposals to be one of Vic Metro’s better players. You suspect the Pies won’t let another Kelly father/son prospect slip on this occasion.

#28 Ben Silvagni – The second of the Silvagni boys came to Etihad Stadium with some expectation from the Carlton faithful and he started okay forward considering the lack of early opportunities. He took a nice overhead mark on the lead inside 50, before a brilliant piece of play on the wing where he shrugged a tackle, disposed the ball to a teammate and ran hard forward to receive the kick on the arc. A disappointing set shot after the half time siren could have given his side some life going into the break, but instead instigated a small melee. He was moved to defence in the second half and faded as the match wore on.

#29 James Blanck – After an excellent performance in defence against Vic Country at the MCG, Blanck was given a small reality check by a rampaging South Australian side. He was exposed physically against the bigger Hugo Munn in the first term, who out muscled him one on one on two occasions. He positioned himself better as the game went on, but couldn’t have the same impact offensively as his previous game. He finished the night spending time in the ruck.

#34 James Rendell – Rendell is another father/son prospect who has ties with Brisbane through his father Matt’s 164 games for Fitzroy. The 198cm forward/ruck has shown signs of promising AFL attributes throughout 2018 and again produced moments of interest against South Australia. After a quiet first half he came to life in the third term, kicking a banana out of congestion that bounced to Jack Mahony in the corridor to set up a goal. He then produced one of the highlights of the game to take a towering pack mark deep inside 50 and kicked truly to continue his side’s fight back at the time. A goal, 12 hit outs and 11 possessions was a solid outing when considering minimal Vic Metro contributors.

#35 Thomas Hallebone – The lanky 201cm Northern Knights ruckman had moments throughout the day to suggest that he can develop into a capable prospect with time. While only winning five disposals for the game, he took a strong intercept mark in the first term. In the ruck he has skills, highlighted by a soft touch that the midfielders can easily read. He is currently more effective at the centre bounces where he can jump at the ball, as the bigger bodied, albeit shorter James Siviour was able to easily push his 83kg frame out of position at around the ground stoppages.

#36 Ben King – King again proved his potential No.1 pick worth with a four goal haul on arguably the biggest pathway stage against a mighty South Australian outfit at Etihad Stadium. While he lacked opportunities in the first term with the ball seemingly forever at the other end, he took his chance in the second quarter with a series of strong marks and smart leads. He attacked the ball at its highest point, often leaving his opponent with no chance. That was highlighted perfectly in the third term as he brought down a contested mark on the move with Riley Grundy right on his hammer creating immense physical pressure. He made the most of his shots on goal too, kicking four goals straight from only seven disposals. The recruiters also got their wish of the dream King/Lukosius match up in the second half, but unfortunately it was a bit of a letdown as they rarely competed aerially.

South Australia:

#2 Hayden Sampson

Sampson as dangerous around the ball and put his head into the pack on numerous occasions. Probably would have liked to be a bit cleaner off the ground but his 15 disposals and three clearances were important

#4 Kade Chandler

Another SA player that goes in hard. Played his role as small defensive forward and crumbed a good goal from the pocket and set up a teammate’s goal with some great pressure.

#10 Martin Frederick

Really stepped up and provided a number of dashing drives from half-back. With 16 disposals he used the ball also really well, broke some tackles due to his pace, and nearly got a goal bursting inside 50. Has really improved his draft chances and is a Port Next Generation Academy.

#11 Finn Betterman

The midfielder had a quieter game but still managed to lock in four tackles, which is what you need to do when the ball is not coming your way. Can play the first receiver really well and his possessions normally matter.

#13 Connor Rozee

This was the return to form we were waiting for, Rozee had the 18 disposals and four clearances. Managed the miracle goal out of the back of the pack with a smart kick and was smooth when he had it. But it was his desperation that really showed off as he was diving for smothers, chasing at speed and on multiple occasions jumped up to intercept or bring to ground a Vic Metro kick, killing off their rebound.

#14 Izak Rankine

One word – Magic! Booted five goals and about four of them were goal of the game contenders. Just so special, and no doubt his highlights package will be something to marvel over. A class above on the night.

#16 Tom Lewis

Literally living at the bottom of a pack, this inside bull was outstanding. Had 18 disposals and eight tackles. Lewis continues to find the footy under enormous contested pressure and dish out to teammates. A memorable play was where he was on the ground in the pack, got the footy, stood up, bursted out of the congestion with 2-3 Vic Metro players on him and dished to a teammate. Scored a nice goal in the last quarter.

#18 Oscar Chapman

The third tall was outstanding and able to demonstrate all his flexibility. Opened up with a holding the ball tackle that hit Munn for the goal and was continuously harassing Metro defenders and providing blocks for his other forwards. In the last quarter he was taken off the leash and exploded kicking 2.2 including a fantastic pack mark 15m out. Finished with a game high seven marks and 14 disposals

#22 Jacob Kennerley

Was important key ball winner for SA and was dominant early on the wing linking play to the SA forwards. Always looked damaging with the ball and used it well and when Vic Metro came back in the third quarter he worked back well. Certainly one of SA’s best for the day finishing with 22 disposals.

#23 Aaron Nietschke

Was a quiet game for Nietschke possession wise, but he did show glimpses of what he can do. Worked hard in and under when the opportunity was there. He has had better games, but his body size and work rate made him a valuable member of the team

#25 Tom Sparrow

Another player who had an impact when it was his turn, and finished with 17 disposals and five inside 50s and did like some of his work down back when he won some key one on ones and fed the ball out. Another contributor who rarely lost a contested ball when in his area.

#27 Jez McLennan

Another solid and productive game for the defender. Managed to grab some intercept marks and always was poised with the football and efficient. Looked well balanced and calm when Vic Metro had a run in the third quarter. A key for the SA defence all tournament and absolute leader down back. His seven tackles were evident of his work rate and willingness to chase and compete. Great leadership shown.

#30 Ben Jarvis

The goal sneak is a real enigma as he always looks dangerous near the footy and around goal and was rewarded with another two goals. He roved a ball off the pack at speed and class which showed off his ability. He worked up the ground at times and was also good in at the contest. Drifted in and out of the game, but when he is near the footy, things happened that really benefit his team.

#31 Mihail Lochowiak

Was prominent early in the game with dash, but did try to do too much at times and turned the ball over. Once he adjusted to the pace of the game he made a solid contribution and when Vic Metro were coming made a nice lead and goal to stem the flow. A bit more poise and polish to his game will be key to his development as his pace, willingness to take the game on and size are all impressive

#32 Luke Valente

A quieter game for the captain, but as a true leader really worked into the game after a quiet first quarter. Still finished with 18 disposals for SA, but what stands out is his composure in traffic, and decision making is generally spot on. Seemed to have a bit more time than others which showed his class. Liked how he dug in during the third quarter to win some key football. His evasion and side step is excellent

#33 Tyler Martin

Had limited possessions but this game really saw his class when challenged. Would rarely be beaten for the footy and just a classic “played your role” game which was vital for the team. He reads the play well and is the third man up at times with timely spoils as well as finishing with five marks intercepting when required.

#34 Jackson Hately

Hately produced another fantastic performance when it mattered most in the title decider. Hately capped off a consistent carnival with 23 disposals in the final game a team high and also a game high of six inside 50’s. He had ten disposals in the first quarter as the Croweaters could no wrong, his brilliant quarter was shown in finding Rankine with a pin-point kick inside 50 to his advantage on the lead. Hately was deservedly named in the forward line of the U18 All Australian team.

#35 Jacob Collins

Norwood’s Jacob Collins was called up for his first game of the carnival and rewarded selectors with a solid game. Collins had plenty of touches early on as the South Australian defence exited Vic Metro’s forward line with ease. Collins ball use from defence early was terrific as South Australia punished Vic Metro’s poor forward entries. Had a knock in second quarter which curtailed his influence somewhat, but still managed to have 13 disposals and five inside 50s.

#37 Riley Grundy

Grundy had the easiest job on field in the first quarter as the service to Ben King was nothing sort of horrific. But once Vic Metro responded, delivery to King was maximised as the height difference between King (202cm) and Grundy (195cm) in the marking contests started to show. Grundy struggled at times to compete with King aerially, as King finished with four goals. Grundy has had a solid carnival down back with Will Gould and has done decent jobs on the each team’s key forward.

#42 Jack Lukosius

Lukosius took a back seat to the Izak Rankine show early on and was quiet in the first term. In the second quarter Lukosius kicked his first goal after a great passage of play by the SA onball brigade, as Munn tapped it down to Lukosius who converted on ground level. In the second half the recruiters got their carnival wish as Lukosius was sent back to stop King from continuing his dominance. Lukosius certainly assured the SA backline and took intercepting marks down back to prove that he is almost the prototype footballer that can play in almost any position. His brilliant carnival was capped off with the centre half-forward position in the U18 All Australian team and is likely to be taken at pick one in the AFL National Draft.

#43 Will Gould

Under-age defender Will Gould was a monster down back for his side as he also had a carnival high of 17 possessions for the match. Gould took it upon himself to be more adventurous out of defence once he was joined by Jack Lukosius down back proving his versatility. Gould was deservedly awarded with a spot in U18 the All-Australian team on the interchange, as massive achievement for the 2001-born player.

#44 James Siviour

Siviour produced his best performance for the title decider as he took care of ruckman Tom Hallebone, Joe Griffith’s replacement. Siviour contributed with 28 hitouts, 10 disposals and goal, his intercepting down back was a highlight as took six marks for the day, as Hallebone could only manage one.

#47 Hugo Munn

Munn was on fire in the first quarter as he dominated opponent James Blanck tacking a pack mark and converting truly and another contested mark against his opponent and fed a running Rankine who kicked it from the goal square. Munn has showed some brilliant signs and efforts throughout the carnival as finished as one of the top goal kickers with Lukosius, Rankine and King.

Weekend previews: National U18 Championships – Vic Country vs. Vic Metro

SOME of Victoria’s top talent will run out onto the Melbourne Cricket Ground as a curtain raiser to the Carlton-Collingwood game on Sunday, when Vic Country takes on Vic Metro on the hallowed turf. Both sides have made quite a few changes, with Vic Country bringing in five debutants, while Vic Metro has two.

Dandenong Stingrays’ inside midfielder Mitch Riordan will play off half-back and returns after missing the second game due to the injury he sustained in game one. He missed facing off at Adelaide Oval, but returns for the All-Victorian clash, along with plenty of fresh faces. GWV Rebels’ slick ball user Scott Carlin, Stingrays’ pair Will Hamill and Hayden Young, Bendigo Pioneers’ Zane Keighran and tall forward/ruck Blake Schlensog, from the Geelong Falcons, have been named in the team. A trio of Murray Bushrangers are out in Hudson Garoni, Zane Barzen and Lachlan Ash, while Matty Lloyd, Jai Taylor and Matt McGannon (injured) are also out from the Vic Country side.

For Vic Metro, injury has forced the selectors hand with Calder Cannons’ Jack Evans, Western Jets’ Daly Andrews, and Oakleigh Chargers pair Ben Silvagni and Isaac Quaynor all out of the side. It will be particularly disappointing for Silvagni and Quaynor with the potential Carlton father-son and Collingwood Next Generation Academy member, missing out on playing before their sides do battle at the G’. Bottom agers Dylan Williams and Matt Rowell are out, as is Northern Knights’ Thomas Hallebone. James Blanck and bottom-ager Ryan Gardner make their Metro debuts, while Riley Collier-Dawkins, Joe Ayton-Delaney, James Rendell, Angus Hanrahan and Alastair Richards all return to the side after missing game two.

Vic Metro will head in as favourites for the clash after winning its first two matches, while Vic Country is yet to get on the board at the 2018 National Championships. Regardless of the result, Metro’s grand final will effectively come in the final round against South Australia, given the use of the head-to-head system rather than percentage. Should Metro lose this game and defeat South Australia – Metro take the title. If they win and lose to South Australia, they cannot win the title regardless of how much they win this by. For Country, they will be hoping to score a win against their closest rival, and will look to use its extra speed across the ground to cause headaches. Metro have the ace in the pack with Ben King up forward, and the midfield has been functioning strongly. Sam Walsh, Xavier Duursma and Sam Fletcher will need to be at their best to match it with the highly contested brand of football Metro will bring. Both teams have plenty of capable rebounders and goal scorers which make it an entertaining contest.


B: 20. Cooper Stephens – 39. Connor Idun – 13. Thomas Berry
HB: 18. Mitch Riordan – 25. Kyle Reid – 17. Hayden Young
C: 10. Zac Foot – 19. Sam Fletcher – 6. Laitham Vandermeer
HF: 30. Oscar Brownless – 38. Blake Schlensog – 8. Ned McHenry
F: 14. Sam Flanders – 36. Riley Bowman – 3. Toby Bedford
R: 29. Bailey Williams – 5. Xavier Duursma – 2. Sam Walsh
INT: 34. Scott Carlin – 12. Caleb Serong – 11. Zane Keighran – 1. Will Hamill – 16. Jake Frawley
EMG: 27. Zane Barzen – 24. Matty Lloyd

In: M. Riordan, B. Schlensog, S. Carlin, Z. Keighran, W. Hamill, H. Young
Out: M. Lloyd, J. Taylor, M. McGannon, Z. Barzen, H. Garoni, L. Ash


B: 25. Stefan Radovanovic – 29. James Blanck – 2. Joe Ayton-Delaney
HB: 23. Buku Khamis – 27. Will Kelly – 12. Tom McKenzie
C: 13. Lachlan Sholl – 15. Bailey Smith – 10. Xavier Fry
HF: 3. Zak Butters – 34. James Rendell – 6. Curtis Taylor
F: 18. Xavier O’Halloran – 36. Ben King – 4. Rhylee West
R: 37. Joe Griffiths – 26. Riley Collier-Dawkins – 8. James Rowbottom
INT: 19. Jack Bytel – 16. Noah Answerth – 11. Ryan Gardner – 7. Angus Hanrahan – 20. Alastair Richards
EMG: 1. Jack Mahony – 35. Thomas Hallebone – 5. Matthew Rowell

In: J. Ayton-Delaney, J. Blanck, J. Rendell, R. Collier-Dawkins, R. Gardner, A. Hanrahan, A. Richards
Out: J. Evans (Inj), D. Andrews (Inj), B. Silvagni (Inj), I. Quaynor (Inj), D. Williams, M. Rowell, T. Hallebone

Team Selection: National U18 Championships – Round 1

WHILE there was a standalone game last week which saw South Australia triumph over Western Australia, the official Round 1 clashes of the National Under 18 Championships begin this weekend, with the Allies taking on Vic Country, and Western Australia hosting Vic Metro.

Allies vs. Vic Country

Saturday, June 9, 10.30am
Blacktown International Sportspark, Blacktown

While illness has struck down Allies key forward Nick Blakey, the side heads into the opening round close to full strength. The midfield of Tarryn Thomas, Chayce Jones and Thomas Green, assisted by Fraser Turner and Matthew Green on the wings means the top five midfielders are all in their preferred positions. Bailey Scott is at half-forward with small forward Blair Rubock roving to Jacob Koschitzke – who will play against a number of Murray Bushrangers teammates – and Connor McFadyen who kicked four goals in the Allies trial against Vic Metro. Caleb Graham holds down the fort at full-back with Keidean Coleman to provide speed out of defence, while Ethan Jackson and Michael Mummery have also been named in the 23.

For Vic Country, Sam Walsh, Xavier Duursma, Mitch Riordan, Sam Fletcher, Jye Caldwell and Zac Foot are set to tackle the strong Allies midfield, with Zane Barzen, Ned McHenry and Oscar Brownless rotating through the area. TAC Cup leading goalkicker Hudson Garoni has been named at full-forward, while in-form key defenders Kyle Reid and Dane Hollenkamp have made the team. It is a Gippsland Power and Murray Bushrangers feel in defence, with five of the six players from those two teams. Bailey Williams will start in the ruck and rotate with Stingrays teammate Bailey Schmidt, to tackle Allies big man Kieren Briggs. AFL Academy tall Riley Bowman has been rested and is named as an emergency, along with Stingrays teammate Jai Taylor.


B: 25. Ryan Gilmore – 44. Caleb Graham – 11. Keidean Coleman
HB: 8. Baxter Norton – 48. Dirk Koenen – 18. Lachlan McDonald
C: 20. Fraser Turner – 10. Chayce Jones – 28. Matthew Green
HF: 19. Bailey Scott – 31. Connor McFadyen – 12. Mitchell O’Neill
F: 16. James Peatling – 37. Jacob Koschitzke – 9. Blair Rubock
R: 40. Kieren Briggs – 26. Thomas Green – 46. Tarryn Thomas
INT: 36. Matthew McGuiness – 47. Nicholas Baker – 13. Ethan Jackson – 45. Jack Tomkinson – 23. Michael Mummery
EMG: 35. Joshua Rayner – 7. Jesse Quint

Vic Country:

B: 31. Brock Smith – 37. Dane Hollenkamp – 26. Matthew McGannon
HB: 15. Lachlan Ash – 25. Kyle Reid – 6. Laitham Vandermeer
C: 10. Zac Foot – 19. Sam Fletcher – 27. Zane Barzen
HF: 30. Oscar Brownless – 14. Sam Flanders – 3. Toby Bedford
F: 8. Ned McHenry – 35. Hudson Garoni – 13. Thomas Berry
R: 29. Bailey Williams – 4. Jye Caldwell – 2. Sam Walsh
INT: 39. Connor Idun – 5. Xavier Duursma – 18. Mitch Riordan – 12. Caleb Serong – 28. Bailey Schmidt
EMG: 7. Jai Taylor – 36. Riley Bowman



Sunday June 10, 1.30pm
Optus Stadium, Perth

In the other National Under 18 Championships match, Western Australia will look to bounce back from its disappointing start to the carnival by knocking off Vic Metro. For the visitors, they will be keen to pile on more pain for the Black Swans, who lost to South Australia by 89 points last weekend. Western Australia has thrown around the magnets making a massive eight changes to its final side, including some huge inclusions. The classy Sydney Stack returns to the fold after missing last week, joined in the team by small forward Jarrod Fazioli, and in-form overager Luke Foley who has been a big ball winner at WAFL Colts level. Among the other changes, Ethan Hansen, Riley Garcia, Tyson Powell, Jarrod Cameron and Brad Oldfield come in, with Fremantle Next Generation Academy member Jason Carter the biggest name to be omitted from the side for this match.

For Vic Metro, they bring an Oakleigh-leaning side into the clash with a whopping five of the six defenders coming from the Chargers. Most remarkably, forward Ben Silvagni has been thrown into full-back, with slightly less of a surprise seeing man mountain Ben King at full-forward in the absence of brother max. The spine also has a distinct Sandringham feel about it, with James Rendell at centre half-forward and Bailey Smith in the middle. Metro captain Xavier O’Halloran and inside ball winner Rhylee West join Smith in the guts, while Riley Collier-Dawkins has been named up forward with Curtis Taylor also likely to rotate through the midfield. Northern ruck Thomas Hallebone will have the big job of containing bottom-ager Luke Jackson, who was a star for Western Australia last week.

Western Australia:

B: 4. Graydon Wilson – 31. Tom O’Donnell – 24. Regan Spooner
HB: 22. Damon Greaves – 36. Jack Buller – 15. Jordan Clark
C: 16. Ethan Hansen – 11. Luke English – 12. Jeremy Sharp
HF: 35. Mitchell Georgiades – 29. Dillion O’Reilly – 10. Rylie Morgan
F: 33. Jarrod Cameron – 21. Tyson Powell – 1. Ian Hill
R: 30. Luke Jackson – 20. Luke Foley – 18. Deven Robertson
INT: 5. Riley Garcia – 3. Jarrod Fazioli – 14. Sydney Stack – 34. Brad Oldfield – 6. Wil Hickmott
EMG: 32. Egan Bradbury – 7. James Sturrock

IN: 3. Jarrod Fazioli, 5. Riley Garcia,14. Sydney Stack, 16. Ethan Hansen,  20. Luke Foley, 21. Tyson Powell, 33. Jarrod Cameron, 34. Brad Oldfield
OUT: 7. James Sturrock, 8. Luke Moore, 13. Jason Carter, 17. Thomas Baldwin, 19. Kyle Hamersley, 23. Louis Miller, 28. Trent Rivers, 37. Xavier Peacock

Vic Metro:

B: 2. Joe Ayton-Delaney – 28. Ben Silvagni – 16. Noah Answerth
HB: 14. Isaac Quaynor – 27. Will Kelly – 23. Buku Khamis
C: 13. Lachlan Sholl – 15. Bailey Smith – 3. Zak Butters
HF: 6. Curtis Taylor – 34. James Rendell – 1. Jack Mahony
F: 7. Angus Hanrahan – 36. Ben King – 26. Riley Collier-Dawkins
R: 35. Thomas Hallebone – 18. Xavier O’Halloran – 4. Rhylee West
INT: 8. James Rowbottom – 12. Tom McKenzie – 25. Stefan Radovanovic – 20. Alastair Richards – 24. Noah Anderson – 9. Daly Andrews

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 7

In a big round of TAC Cup footy there was plenty of action to soak up with key players starring across the ground for all the teams. However, it proved to be a big round for the forwards with the likes of Eastern Ranges forward, Jamieson Rossiter impressing with a bag of six and Bushrangers forward, Hudson Garoni slotting seven goals.


Calder Cannons v. Northern Knights

By: Michael Alvaro

Calder Cannons:

#5 Curtis Taylor

Taylor was undoubtedly the Cannons’ best throughout the day, spending most of his minutes in the midfield despite starting forward. He almost dragged his side back to level pegging with a sensational second half, and his second goal which came from a sharp shark at an inside-50 stoppage had the Cannons up and about. That goal, and much of his good work in congestion came about on account of his vice-like grip and lightning hands, which he used to full effect. Taylor pin-balled around the stoppages all day and ran hard through the ball, showing a good work rate to follow up his clearances by moving forward with them. With his constant threat and influence in key areas, it was a really good showing from the Cannons’ number five.

#8 Lachlan Sholl

While he was subdued well in the first half by Northern’s Braedyn Gillard, Sholl forced his way into the game late when it was in the balance. Assuming his usual position at half-back, he continued to use the ball well by foot when given time in a hotly contested match. With the ball lodged in the Cannons’ attacking half for long periods of time during the second and third quarters, Sholl did not have many opportunities to show off his trademark dash and damaging kick, but found a bit of the ball higher up the ground late on and had an impact.

#27 Tye Browning

Starting deep forward, Browning looked dangerous as Calder’s primary target early in the first term. He showed off his good lateral movement and clean hands with some smart crumbing, as well as some solid lead-up marking. He was moved higher up the ground during the second quarter to have more of an impact around the ball, and it worked, with Browning tackling hard and winning plenty of possession. While he did not often have much room to move, Browning was composed with ball in hand and delivered some deft short passes by foot.

#33 Jack Evans

It was a quiet day for Evans, who battled it out in the midfield for most of the game. Attending a high number of centre bounces, Evans had good support around him and used his frame to advantage in creating space for them at the drop of the ball. He was often the link in the chain as the Cannons went forward, but could not quite get himself in the position to use his disposal in more damaging ways. Still, he was efficient when given the chance.


Northern Knights:

#3 Braedyn Gillard

Arguably the best afield, the Knights skipper contributed in more ways than one to his side’s win. Playing most of the game as a half-forward, Gillard took on the responsibility of keeping Calder livewire Lachlan Sholl accountable, and kept him relatively quiet for three quarters while managing to snare two goals. His impressive work rate allowed him to play the position effectively, working high up the ground to win the ball and running back hard to create goal opportunities. With the Cannons coming back hard, Gillard was thrown into the centre bounce at the start of the last quarter, lining up next to the dangerous Curtis Taylor. He made an immediate impact – collecting the ball momentarily from the tap and laying a crunching tackle moments later to set the tone for the quarter. He was busy throughout, and continues to be a pillar of consistency for the Knights.

 #7 Harrison Grace

Like his skipper, Grace spent most of the game forward and provided a good presence as Northern tried to lock the ball in their half. He had a couple of highlights in the second quarter while working up the ground – contesting the ball where he was outnumbered at least two-to-one on two separate occasions, bringing it to ground and giving his teammates a chance to mop it up. Not only is he a pest with his constant niggle, but he looked dangerous with the ball in close around the forward 50, which was highlighted as he flicked out an assist to Braedyn Gillard in the third term. He also took a good contested overhead mark in the final quarter to cap off his day. 

 #16 Tom Hallebone

The rangy Knights ruckman has been in a good vein of form lately, improving as the weeks go by. While he had a slight size and reach advantage over the two Calder ruckmen, Hallebone showed he was no one-trick pony and used his body well at the stoppages. His taps to advantage always impress when they come off, and he had the chance to really get on top in the fourth quarter as Daniel Hanna and Mitch Podhajski were forced to cover for the injured Cannons rucks. Still, he played well within his limits throughout the game – especially with ball in hand as he often handed it off to Northern’s runners instead of kicking the ball himself.


Murray Bushrangers v. Dandenong Stingrays

By: Brandon Hutchinson


#3 Jamie Plumridge

Plumridge kept himself busy throughout the midfield, getting plenty of the hard ball and involving himself in a good deal of the linkups. He had a handful of successful second efforts that caused important stoppages and brought quick hands to earn interceptions. Composed but aggressive, Plumridge puts his head over the play and rips the pill from congestion, assisting in driving the attack. An outstanding work rate and competitive spirit were all on display Saturday afternoon.

#29 Bailey Williams

Easily the most dynamic tall in the competition, Williams put on a clinic for spectators at RAMS Arena. His work rate in the one on ones was outmatched, taking big, contested grabs as a forward, crumbing the spills and providing immense pressure to the Murray backline when trying to rebound. He was involved in most of the link plays, assisted through a great footy sense, and was dangerous up high and on the loose ball. He dominated in the ruck contest against Ben Kelly and bagged himself a few centre clearances. Williams’ work was summed up well when he won a centre tap, smothered a kick and then proceeded to pin the ball carrier. Besides bagging one himself, the high pressure tall was involved in much of the scoring, assisting a few directly. Williams’ display was not only best on ground but one of the best individual performances I have witnessed in the TAC Cup to date.



#4 Laitham Vandermeer

The Bushrangers played much of their transition football through Vandermeer. He was smooth out of congestion with the ball tucked under his arm and had no trouble finding space and picking the right pass. He showed off clean skills and explosive runs, adding class to the Murray link ups. A dangerous presence along the wings, he picked hit spots well to break Dandenong lines, and in the final term, he scooped and booted from 40 out and put home a well-deserved goal.

#18 Hudson Garoni

With a significant difference in scoring shots going Dandenong’s way, it was Garoni’s efficiency in front of the sticks which kept his team from a shutout first half. In the beginning of the second he kicked two off the back of careful leads, and a third on the run to bring back his side. He had four at the main break and went onto kick three more before full-time. Despite a larger opponent, Garoni’s footy sense, explosive leads and strong hands made it impossible to rip the ball from him. His style of footy is clean and solid, showcasing a key forward in the purest form.

 #28 Kyle Clarke

The biggest point from Clarke’s game is that he is an exciting footballer to watch. On the wing, Clarke was crafty and slick, breaking lines and throwing off his opponents with stutters, fakes, spins and quick passes. His agility is great in close and his skill work polished, but his highlights don’t appear as much as we’d like. A unique talent, Clarke showed off his prowess by somehow caressing an around the body goal off a step, under pressure, while falling forward. There might have been a sprinkle of luck in there, but it all looked quite natural.


Greater Western Victoria Rebels v. Gippsland Power

By: Brandon Hutchinson


#9 Lochie Dawson

Dawson was easily one of Rebels’ hardest workers across the four terms. His efforts across the ground contributed to a good deal of link ups, exhibiting a smart read on the flow of play. The hard ball was no stranger to Dawson, fighting hard against the grain and causing some serious transition through outstanding clearance work. Clean and effective, Dawson was a sure standout for the struggling Rebels.

 #14 Jed Hill

Hill’s workrate was standout and consistent for the Rebels on Saturday. With intense pressure around stoppages and attack on the ball carrier, Hill forced a number of turnovers. Good off hands, he ran with great pace along the wings, cleverly linking up the ball to break defensive lines. His transition work was smooth and quick around congestion, and his second and third efforts resulted in a few wins for the Rebels. Quieter in the second half, Hill’s first half highlighted his potential and work rate when the ball gets within his grasp.



#4 Sam Flanders

Flanders kicked four goals for the game, often resulting in the final stop in a midfield link. Leading his team to a comfortable victory in the fourth, Flanders put away two goals, to consolidate their win. His efforts in gaining the loose ball shone bright in a contest against two GWV players that ended in a stalemate. Positioning well, Flanders performed under the incoming ball and kicked true from set shots, finishing the game with 4.2.

#5 Xavier Duursma

A hard worker from start to finish, Duursma left nothing behind on the field. Fierce on the ground and confident in the air, he positioned well around the ground to provide a clear passage forward. In the third, Duursma kicked his two goals, one on the run and the second from a set shot. He worked hard to earn the football and ran hard with ball in hand, burning his man. Poised and dominant, Duursma’s presence was clear in the Power’s transition.

#23 Noah Gown

Gown’s read under the ball put GWV backman on the wrong foot in the contest. With sharp vision and strong form, Gown was too hard to beat in a contest. His overhead marks plucked the pill out of the air and gave him opportunities to capitalise in front of goal. Unfortunately, Gown’s kicking was subpar, hitting one of his three shots. Despite this, he earned his opportunities and assisted his fellow forwards in hitting the scoreboard proving his worth all the same.

#25 Kyle Reid

Reid was an eligible pick for best on ground, as his work in the backline was important in keeping the Rebels at bay. Putting pressure on the forwards and cutting off the opposition ball, Reid boomeranged much of the incoming transition into a Power counter attack. He cleared the ball plenty of times and guided much of the movement from the back half of the ground. The last line of defence and a pillar for his team, it was Reid’s footy IQ most on display, presenting keen decision-making under pressure and an accurate read on the crumb.


Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets

By: James Goller


#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins

Collier- Dawkins when given the opportunity is not afraid to take the game on. When in congestion he showed the ability to have clean hands. The midfielder ran back well defensively in one passage where he spoilt the Jets play and rebounded strongly from it.

#5 Xavier O’Neill

O’Neill played in the midfield for majority of the day in tough wet conditions. He used his speed to break the game open at times and won plenty of the footy in and around at stoppages. In the last quarter, he moved down to the back flank and rebounded strongly taking a intercept mark as well to cap off a solid performance.

#23 Isaac Quaynor

He started the game well showcasing his ability to run off the back flank strongly. Quaynor is renowned for his run and carry type of play and usually makes solid decisions. His impact was limited in the second half but still ended up with 13 touches and five tackles for the game.

#79 Bailey Griffiths

Griffiths was in the ruck for majority of the day and used his height advantage well to win the footy. He competed hard all day for the Chargers but in difficult conditions dropped a simple mark in the defensive 50.



#11 Zak Butters

Butters had a really good game showcasing his elite use of the footy and good awareness with ball in hand. He was able to put on a fair amount of pressure to his opponents laying five tackles for the match. When in congestion he was able and willing to compete hard to win the ball and used his clean hands to open up opportunities for his teammates.

#31 Emerson Jeka

Jeka was one of the best on ground for the Jets and was especially good early in the match. He took a heap of great contested marks and slotted a couple of clutch goals. He could have kicked more today if he had his kicking his kicking boots on but still impressed up forward for Western.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran

O’Halloran was in the midfield for majority of the day and contested hard for the footy. He Imposed himself around the ground laying some strong tackles and applied plenty of pressure throughout the game. O’Halloran gained a number of clearances during the four quarters and also showcased his footy smarts a number of times. He kicked a great goal from 50-55 meters out after the siren in the third quarter which lifted the Jets. He was not afraid to break through packs and take the game on.

#38 Buku Khamis

Khamis was the intercept marking king for the match with at least five of his 12 grabs intercepts for the Jets. His ability to read the play allowed him to leave his player and take strong marks. Not only that but Khamis used the ball effectively and efficiently. Sometimes his decision making can be questioned however today he was outstanding and racked up plenty of the footy.

#45 Aaron Clarke

Clarke was another Western Jet that had a good day at the office. He showed some real promise up forward kicking two goals. The 194cm player also pinched hit in the ruck and showed great agility across the ground.


Eastern Ranges vs. Bendigo Pioneers

By: Liam Connop


#13 Jamieson Rossiter

Rossiter played as a key forward and kicked an impressive six goals given the wet conditions. Though he is only a medium-size for a key position player, he demonstrated a great ability to kick a long-range goal, with his lovely left-foot kicking style allowing him to kick a few of his majors from 40 meters or more out on a set shot. Rossiter was also great in one-on-one contests, using his strength to push off his opponent and take contested marks. He was arguably the difference in this game.

#17 Cody Hirst

Hirst was a welcome addition back into the side after a month layoff. Playing at half-forward, Hirst was lively early setting up a scoring opportunity and almost kicking one himself. However, his day was cut short early into the second quarter, where he appeared to hurt his knee on the wing and was helped off the ground by trainers.

#24 Kye Quirk

Quirk played as an onballer for the duration of the game, and was able to utilise the domination of his ruckman to win the ball at the stoppages and help to propel the Ranges forward. Quirk covered the ground well and, whilst not being as prolific as he can be, was a prominent factor in his side’s comfortable win.



#9 Zane Keighran

Keighran started slowly in the first quarter. However, an incident in the second quarter seemed to spark him into the match, where he was pushed into the fence before quickly retaliating in a healthy show of aggression. Shortly after, Keighran booted two goals in a row to keep his side in the contest in the first half, and continued to demonstrate pressure around the packs, with some strong tackling and good defensive efforts.

#20 James Schischka

Schischka is a medium-sized midfielder who moves well and reads the play well in the stoppages. He was not as prolific in winning the ball as in previous weeks, but showed his class at times in a tough day for the Pioneers. Schischka showed signs he could develop into a nice-moving midfielder.


Sandringham Dragons vs. Geelong Falcons

By: Owen Leonard:


#28 James Rendell

Predominantly locked into an intriguing battle with Geelong’s Dane Hollenkamp, Rendell consistently created contests providing opportunity for the Dragons’ small forwards, albeit went goalless for the day. In addition, though, the key position prospect spent time in the ruck where he was more than serviceable, winning 18 hit-outs.

#32 Joe Griffiths

The ruckman was impressive at Trevor Barker Oval on Sunday, winning the majority of hit-outs. However, the mobility of Griffiths was more notable, who seemed to almost turn into another midfielder at ground level. A complete ruck performance, with 20 hit-outs well complemented by two goals.


#30 Oscar Brownless

It was a relatively quiet first half for the Geelong Cats father-son prospect, and frustration showed giving away a downfield free kick early in the third term – one of five frees against. However, the midfielder managed to get himself into the game as it progressed and finished with a respectable 20 disposals along with an equal game-high 12 tackles in a losing side.

#39 Connor Idun

Playing a traditional centre half-forward role, Idun was a constant target up the ground. Contributed with six marks, 13 disposals and three tackles.

#41 Cooper Stephens

 In a healthy return, the versatile Geelong player went forward and was effective in his ball use, with 11 efficient disposals for the day. Consistently presenting as a strong forward option, Stephens concluded the match with five marks and a goal.

#48 Blake Schlensog

The Falcon exhibited notable intercept marking ability in the first half, and set-up play from defence. Schlensog also went forward and kicked an impressive goal to put the Falcons 29 points clear in the second quarter. He finished with two goals for the day.

#49 Dane Hollenkamp

Hollenkamp was assigned the task of matching-up on James Rendell which he passed with flying colours, ultimately restricting the Dragon to just one behind. He seemed to be the general down in defence and was one of the Falcons’ best.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 7

IN Round 7 of the TAC Cup, spectators can witness a Triple Header at RAMS Arena on Saturday, before a number of neck-and-neck contests on the Sunday at various metropolitan grounds.


Round 7 – Saturday, May 19, 10am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

In the first game of the round, the sixth placed Calder Cannons take on the eighth placed Northern Knights from 10am at RAMS Arena. The Cannons have had a yo-yo start to the season, not able to string two consecutive wins together thus far, but with a home ground advantage against the Knights, Calder will be keen to build on their strong performance against the Bendigo Pioneers last week. The big question is where the Cannons are rated in the scheme of things because they clearly have talent in the team, but so far have just beaten the bottom three sides and will be keen to add a top eight scalp to the mix. The Knights started the season pretty rocky in wet conditions at Frankston, but have since performed fairly well, notching up two wins and a draw – which was unlucky not to be a win – from five games.

Dylan Landt is a key inclusion for the Cannons and will provide another strong body for co-captain Mitch Podhajski after his best on ground performance last week. With Jack Bytel still out injured and Rhylee West suiting up for St Kevin’s, the pair will look to lead the side through the midfield, with help from Curtis Taylor, Tye Browning and Jack Evans. Lachlan Sholl played more of a defensive role for his 35 disposals last week, and will be looking to combine with Lucas Cavallaro to keep the ball rebounding out of the defensive 50. For the Knights, Josh D’Intinosante might be the danger man up forward, while Patrik Della Rocca and Braedyn Gillard join him on the half-forward line in which is a dangerous trio in the makings. Thomas Hallebone will look to take full advantage in the ruck, and with Justin McInerney and Joel Naylor among a host of inclusions, the Knights have beefed up their best 22 for this weekend’s clash.



Round 7 – Saturday, May 19, 12.30pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Spectators making the trip to RAMS Arena could be in for an absolute treat in the second game, with a top-of-the-table clash between Murray Bushrangers and Dandenong Stingrays. The Bushrangers have not missed a beat since they were outclassed by Gippsland Power in round one, while the Stingrays have almost had the perfect start to the season – with two 15 goal plus wins and aside from a last quarter fadeout against Oakleigh, have been fairly dominant. It also makes for a simple reward for the winner – whoever takes home the four points secures top spot, while for the loser, it could mean dropping as low as fourth if both Gippsland and Oakleigh can win their respective games.

For Murray, welcoming back Mathew Walker will be a huge bonus, while the loss of Mark Marriott is countered by the inclusion of Ben Kelly. After a best on ground performance in the middle last week, Ely Smith will look to continue his strong form and combine well with the Clarke’s in Dylan and Kyle through the midfield. Hudson Garoni always looms as a danger up forward, while both sides head into the game with a number of quality talls. Overager Angus Paterson is likely to be given the job on Garoni, while Sam De Koning could line-up against Jacob Koschitzke when he roams up the ground. Jordon Butts and Nick Murray are likely to have their hands full with Bailey Schmidt and Bailey Williams, while Lachlan Ash and Zac Foot will provide great dash through their respective midfields.



Round 7 – Saturday, May 19, 3pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

In the final game of the RAMS Arena Triple Header, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels will look to build on their first positive final quarter from last week to head into this game full of running. They stole two points off the second placed Oakleigh Chargers, and can sneak into the eight with a good win here, and a Knights loss. However the Gippsland Power will be a formidable opponent, as one of the most in-form sides this season. Only a loss to the Dandenong Stingrays and a draw to the Northern Knights has stopped them being at the top of the table. Heading into the season it was clear the Power had an enormous amount of raw talent, particularly at the bottom-age level, but 2019 was expected to be their year. However thus far they have really taken it up to more experienced sides and have been incredibly enjoyable to watch.

The Rebels will no doubt need to be at their absolute best to knock off the Power – and we have seen in patches what they are capable of both offensively and defensively. They held Geelong Falcons goalless in the first half of their clash, and hit the front early in the final quarter against Murray Bushrangers a few weeks ago. The likes of Thomas Berry, Scott Carlin and Lochie Dawson form a good core midfield with Matt Schnerring and Harrison Jennings also playing good footy. Ben Annett had his best game of the year last week, while Charlie Wilson and Jed Hill are two of the most damaging small forwards in the competition. Tylar Watts has been named at centre half-back, potentially matching up on the in-form Noah Gown. Sam Flanders and Austin Hodge both booted four goals last week and are just some of the key players for the Power heading into this game. Captain Xavier Duursma, Matthew McGannon and Riley Baldi form a strong midfield that can match it with anyone, while Brock Smith and Jake Van Der Pligt are bottom-agers who have been in great form this season.



Round 7 – Sunday, May 20, 10.45am
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

In the early Sunday game, Oakleigh Chargers host Western Jets at Warrawee Park with a top four spot on the line. The Jets have come a long way in the past fortnight and are playing some good football with wins over Sandringham Dragons and Geelong Falcons. The Chargers will be ruing they dropped two points against the GWV Rebels last week and will be keen to make a statement back at home in round seven. A win would see them retain a top four spot, however a loss would certainly see them forfeit their fourth place to the Jets.

Oakleigh has a strong defence that is ruthless, but also skilful, with the likes of Dylan Williams, Noah Answerth and Isaac Quaynor providing good rebound out of the back half. The midfield is somewhat stretched with the APS season running, however Riley Collier-Dawkins and Xavier O’Neill can have the ball on a string when at their best. Atu Bosenavulagi played his best game of the season last week in that dangerous small forward role, while Trent Bianco and Bailey Griffiths return to the onball brigade. For the Jets, they will go in the same as last week and keen to continue their good form. Stefan Radovanovic was sensational through the midfield last week, with he and captain Xavier O’Halloran taking control while Zak Butters, Daly Andrews and Connor Thar provide strong support around the ground. Up forward, Emerson Jeka, Aaron Clarke and Josh Honey provide good targets, while Steven Kyriazis and Darcy Cassar have shown they can hit the scoreboard with multiple goals.



Round 7 – Sunday, May 20, 2pm
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

Over at Box Hill, the Eastern Ranges and Bendigo Pioneers face off in a bottom two battle. The Ranges are yet to get a win on the board, while the Pioneers have just the one victory – a one-point win in round one against the GWV Rebels. The Ranges are back at home with Cody Hirst returning from injury and a number of other fresh faces to hopefully turn their form around. The Pioneers have also had a rough start to the season, and will be keen to take home the four points here in what would be considered a must-win by both sides to kick-start their 2018 campaigns.

The return of James Blanck will be welcomed after he started the season strongly and will work well with Jarrod Gilbee in defence. Kye Quirk and Ben Cardamone will hope to provide some good rebound out of the back half, while Joel Burleigh and Tyler Edwards have been in good form of late. Lachlan Stapleton brings the tackling pressure, while Mitch Mellis adds a touch of class to the outside with Eastern’s midfield looking as strong as it has been all year. For the Pioneers, they lose Jacob Atley, but regain Zane Keighran and Thomson Dow, while Riley Ironside and Bailey Waasdorp add depth and strength through the midfield. Bailey Henderson looks to be set to fill Will Holt’s shoes lining up at full-forward, while Daniel Keating is one of the most in-form rucks and will look to feed the ball to Noah Wheeler and James Schischka in the midfield.



Round 7 – Sunday, May 20, 2pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons will look to reverse their recent form and get back to their winning form early in the season. The Dragons have lost their past three games after winning their first three matches, while their opponents Geelong Falcons will look for their third win of the season after winning two of their past three games. A win for the Falcons will see the reigning premiers jump back into the top eight at the expense of either the Dragons or Northern Knights.

Sandringham always have it tough with continuity in their team due to the comings and goings of school football, and this week is no different. Liam Stocker is a key out for the home side, but the Dragons will be hoping the experience of overager Kai Owens returning will help cover Stocker’s loss on the inside. Harry Bede and Corey Watts have been a couple of shining lights for the Dragons at either end of late, while James Rendell will be a welcome return to the forward line, providing a target deep inside 50. For the Falcons, possible top 20 draft prospects Ed McHenry and Brayden Ham are set to miss the match which will be a big loss for Geelong. Bailey Scott was good in Geelong’s narrow loss to Murray Bushrangers a month ago and could add some X-factor in the forward half, while a midfield with Sam Walsh and Oscar Brownless is always going to be tough to beat. The defensive pairing of Dane Hollenkamp and Cooper Cartledge is proving a good combination, while Blake Schlensog, Baxter Mensch and Connor Idun have also looked good throughout 2018.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 6

CALDER Cannons’ big win over Bendigo Pioneers has seen them top the list for the most nominees in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 6. The Cannons had three nominees in what was an even spread across the board with every other winning (and drawing) side, as well as Eastern Ranges and Geelong Falcons having two nominees apiece. Bendigo Pioneers, Northern Knights and Sandringham Dragons had the one nominee each after losses on the weekend.

Calder co-captain Mitch Podhajski led the way to be named the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Player of the Week for Round 6 and he leads the midfield, while Lachlan Sholl sits at half-back and Curtis Taylor slides onto the interchange. Also in the midfield is Murray Bushrangers’ Ely Smith who is joined in the team by forward Riley Bice, while Stefan Radovanovic played his best game of the year and dislodges captain Xavier O’Halloran from the centre position, with the latter considered unlucky to miss, as Darcy Cassar made the forward line.

A regular in the Team of the Week is Geelong star Sam Walsh who slots onto a wing, joined in the team by first-time nominee Dane Hollenkamp at full-back. Ed McHenry was the next player in line for a spot, just missing out after 11 tackles and seven rebounds to slot into what was a competitive defensive back six this week. On the other wing is Gippsland Power’s Austin Hodge who returned to boot four goals for the Power in their big win over the Dragons, as did Sam Flanders who made the forward line.

Speaking of the defence, Dandenong Stingrays top bottom-age prospect Hayden Young was impressive making the team, along with ruck/forward Bailey Schmidt who will rotate through the middle. Bendigo Pioneers’ sole nominee, ruck Daniel Keating also makes his third appearance in the Team of the Week. In the other back pocket, Isaac Quaynor makes the team again for Oakleigh Chargers, and Collingwood fans will be licking their lips seeing both Quaynor and fellow Next Generation Academy member Atu Bosenavualagi making the team after impressive performances.

At half-back is Ben Annett who was impressive across the ground, he and Charlie Wilson (half-forward) make the side following Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ draw with Oakleigh. The final spot in the defence belongs to Jarrod Gilbee who has been strong down back this season for the Ranges, joined in the team by Tyler Edwards who made the interchange bench. The remaining two spots are taken up by the sole nominees for their respective teams, Harry Bede (Sandringham Dragons) and Ryan Bowkett (Northern Knights). The Knights had a couple of unlucky players with Braedyn Gillard and Thomas Hallebone going close to making the side but having stiff competition, while exciting half-GWV Rebels forward Jed Hill also just missed out.


Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 5

IT was another big weekend of TAC Cup footy with some stunning last quarter fight-backs. As with last week, we narrowed our focused to those players named in the initial Vic Metro and Vic Country squads. We had scouts watching all six games this weekend and here are some of the notes below.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Western Jets (Matt Balmer)

Sandringham Dragons:

#5 Bailey Smith – Was defensively monitored from the Jets midfielders, especially at the stoppages, and at times got frustrated with the extra attention. The late out of Stocker didn’t help Smith’s cause either, but impressively he produced some good numbers from the game, fighting very hard all day. While some might have left the ground thinking it was an underwhelming performance, his work in close at the stoppages was outstanding. He was quick and clean with his first give, getting the handballs out from the stoppages to clear the ball, winning multiple contested possessions during the contest. Smith booted the opening match of the game, eventually finishing with two goals from his 28 disposals and 11 clearances. The Dragons were impressed with Smith’s game, naming him as their best player

Western Jets:

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – For me was the best player on the ground, having an excellent game as an inside midfielder. He started the match strongly and his contested work was outstanding and like Bailey Smith, his handball and ball use on the inside was super. His clearance work was very good (especially at the centre bounces), as was his tackling in attempts to win the ball back. If I was to nit pick, his kicking inside 50 could have been a little more cleaner, but overall he had an excellent day in the Western Jets midfield. 

#38 Buku Khamis – The Western Bulldogs Next Generation Academy member played as a tall defender, often matched up on Dragons forward James Rendell. Khamis marked well overhead, clunking seven marks for the match and was able to intercept at crucial times, when the Dragons bombed the ball deep (especially in the second and third quarters). He was involved in the play early in the match, with some real positive signs that haven’t consistently been there all season. 

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Dandenong Stingrays (Matt Balmer)

Oakleigh Chargers:

#3 Joe Ayton-Delaney – With Xavier College having the APS school footy bye, Ayton-Delaney returned to Warrawee Park and performed well in the Chargers’ tight win. He started very well in the first quarter and showed his ability to break the lines. Crucially he won a one-on-one defending at half-back in the third term, remaining composed to ensure the Chargers won the contest. He finished the day with 25 disposals and hardly missed a target during the match. 

#5 Xavier O’Neill – In his trademark red boots, O’Neill played well during the match, using his good speed and agility to effectiveness on the inside. Like Ayton-Delaney, he can break lines – but impressively has the ability to use the ball on either foot, but it can at times bring a downfall to his kicking efficiency. Nearly kicked an outstanding goal in the first quarter, but it narrowly just missed. 

#23 Isaac Quaynor – Played his trademark game in defence, running the ball out of defence and defending well one-on-one. His tackling pressure and follow up is good, and he is willing to back himself in a contest and to beat opposition forwards when rebounding the ball at speed, taking the ball under his arm and taking a bounce. At times he was manned up on the bigger and taller Bailey Williams, who was able to out mark him. Quaynor won a crucial one-on-one in the last quarter at half back, before getting the one-two handball and then finding a target off his right foot. 

Dandenong Stingrays:

#13 Riley Bowman – The athletic tall played in the ruck for the majority of the day. His battle was an intriguing one, up against the bigger and stronger Lachlan Harry. He is a very agile mover, but I’d be interesting to see his sprint times – as it does appear at times he is stuck in the same gear when around the ball. He does however, remind me somewhat of Tim English and he has a massive upside for a player with plenty of developing left to do. His follow up work at the stoppages was also impressive, whether he had won or lost the hitout, he was able to pick the ball off the ground and handball it off to a teammate. 

#29 Bailey Williams – Played almost completely as a tall forward, returning 0.4 in front of goal. He did win a few frees inside 50, which allowed him to get set shots on goal – but he was unable to slot a goal through the big sticks. He did slot a superb goal on the snap in the 2nd quarter, but it was said to have been touched. He is quite agile for a 198 cm+ tall and his mobility at ground level is pretty good. His solid leap did cause some trouble for the Chargers defenders at times.  

#61 Jamie Plumridge – Had a jumper swap during the match – possibly due to his hot start in the contest, and he was the Stingrays leading disposal winner on the day. His kicking was pretty good, where he was able to win the ball out of the stoppages and link up well on the outside. He did snag a goal in the second term, and impressively was able to get the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions. 

GWV Rebels vs. Murray Bushrangers (Peter Williams)

GWV Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin – A polished performance from the half-back/winger with Carlin showing off his strong skills in the opening term. His first touch was with a handball to a teammate who unfortunately slipped, but Carlin was clean enough to mop up and kick to the wing. He has a powerful kick and drove the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions in the first half. His first term and third quarter were prominent, although he made a few blues including a clanger straight to the opposition in the third term. But clearly disappointed with his effort, his next kick was a pearler, perfectly piercing through a couple of opponents to hit-up a teammate in the middle.

#5 Harris Jennings – A prominent figure early on, Jennings spreads well and covers the ground. He played across all thirds at times and has a powerful boot on him. He spoiled an opponent in a marking contest and recovered from that to kick to Conor Giddings and set him up for a goal. Continually got involved in the play and laid a really strong tackle early in the third term. Drifted back more in the second half and won a bit in the defensive half, often creating a contest in front of the opposition forwards, including a crucial spoil on Hudson Garoni in the final term.

#13 Tom Berry – I was interested to see how Berry played in his second game back from injury and he certainly impressed me. He could have had three first term goals had it not been for a couple of set shot misses – one which fell short and was rushed through – that he would be a little disappointed with. His goal off a step with a great snap was fantastic play and he has that penetrating kick that has opposition defences worried every time he is within range. He has a unique ability to bring his teammates into the game and looks for the quick handball to release a teammate, and if there is no running option, he kicks long and deep. Won some crucial one-on-one contests and seemed like he took another step forward from even the week before. Started the third term in the goal square, so rotated between midfield and forward, resting in the latter.

#14 Jed Hill – Liked his first half where he won a free for a clear push in the back in the first quarter. Missed the set shot and then missed his second one after great running to take a good vertical leap. A real talent that pushed up the ground and took some good marks. Continued to create an option and while he was quieter through the middle part of the game then came off with an ankle injury, Hill just has that touch of class and skill that you feel one day he will break a game open with a fantastic individual effort. Does the defensive work too with a couple of good tackles, including one at half-forward on Laitham Vandermeer who is no slouch, so he showed great closing speed.

Murray Bushrangers:

#4 Laitham Vandermeer – A good four-quarter performance from the overager who just never stops running. He takes the game on and the second he wins the ball, he’s off. He kicked out from full-back at times and won a free kick for being held on the wing. He hit-up Zane Barzen inside 50 on the lead for a goal assist, and covered so much ground from defence to attack. Would love to see his GPS numbers because each week they would have to be pretty high.

#7 Zane Barzen – First game back after injuring himself in the first term of the first game of the year. Showed glimpses of his natural talent at times, and as they say, will be better for the run. Took a strong overhead mark on the wing in the opening quarter and hit-up Hudson Garoni leading forward. Marked in the second term just inside 50 and his set shot never looked like missing. Barzen almost took a huge pack grab in the third quarter but couldn’t bring it down and hit the ground a bit awkwardly. All in all, it was just good to see the talented forward-cum-midfielder back in action.

#12 Lachlan Ash – Like him as a half-back. Each time he wins the football he just looks composed and takes the game on. But he has that good balance between running and holding it up. He can run in a straight line or switch play, a real general down back for a bottom-age player. He moves up the ground too so can get some inside 50s to his name, and is just so consistent. A composed user who prefers to kick but can also release others with 1-2 handball plays. One to keep an eye on over the next 18 months.

#18 Hudson Garoni – Garoni continued on from his AFL Draft Central Player of the Week performance last round, with a five-goal haul against the GWV Rebels. He did play against two undersized opponents and was just too big and strong for the defence. Garoni continually presented to his midfielders and lead strong, sometimes leading out to the wing showing off his running capacity. He booted two goals in the second term and looked to have found his range, then kicked the final one on the final siren. At ground level he uses his frame well, in one case protecting the ball by holding off an opponent until a teammate came, and he handballed it off.

#28 Kyle Clarke – For a smaller player, Clarke is really strong overhead. He took a number of really good marks and converted a set shot from 20m out in the third term and let everyone know how much he enjoyed it. He racked up quite a few clearances but the one knock for me is he can throw it on the boot at times and just aim for space. He is best when running in space because he lowers the eyes and hits up target going forward. Has good speed on the outside, Clarke attacks the footy hard and wins his own ball at the same time. A highlight was a great grab in front of the goals going back with the flight which led to his set shot goal.

Eastern Ranges vs. Gippsland Power (Taylah Melki)

Eastern Ranges:

#24 Kye Quirk – He worked really hard in and around the stoppages to try and impose himself on the contest and win the footy at ground level. Quirk was never far from the contest and applied pressure around the ground to try and create something for his team. Quirk provided a few strong leads across the ground particularly in the forward 50. He showcased his ability to take some big strong marks and through his clever ball use opened up space for his teammates. Overall he was relatively well held by Gippsland but had some good moments during the game.

#42 Thomas Lockman – Had a relatively quiet game but showed some good signs when competing in the ruck with his strong leaping ability. Lochman displayed some really clever and good tap downs to advantage allowing his midfielders to run onto the footy. He also showcased his footy smarts and ability to read the play throughout the game.

Gippsland Power:

#4 Sam Flanders – He had some really good moments throughout the game showcasing his ability to lead up at the footy. Flanders used his break-away speed going for a run through the middle of the ground to help propel his team forward.  He applied plenty of physical pressure across the ground laying a couple of really strong tackles. He also went on to slot a goal, contributing to the Power’s overall tally.

#5 Xavier Duursma – He was a key player for the Power throughout the game imposing himself on the contest and competing hard to win the footy. Duursma used his good long kick to help propel his team into their forward 50 and create plenty of scoring opportunities. He also showcased his impressive evasive skills and ability to hit targets while under plenty of pressure. Through his ability to break lines he opened up plenty of space and created a good spread across the ground. Duursma also impressed with his clean pick-ups and ability to read the play not to mention slotting a good goal in the third quarter to cap off an already dominant display.

#9 Irving Mosquito – Looked lively throughout the match with his impressive speed and ability to break away from the contest. The Power benefited from his consistent run and carry with the footy helping to move the ball forward with his long piercing kick and putting it into dangerous positions. Mosquito showcased his evasive skills breaking tackles and covering the ground well. He was also instrumental up forward competing hard to win the footy whenever it came to ground and at stoppages.

#23 Noah Gown – He was dangerous all game, providing a good target up forward for his teammates and more importantly bagging four goals for the match. Gown applied plenty of good physical pressure and consistently imposed himself on the contest with his strong leap. He had strong body positioning throughout the game to protect the drop of the ball and take plenty of strong contested marks in the forward 50. He bagged an impressive goal in the second quarter from a tight angle and was even more lively in the third slotting two consecutive goals. He showcased his ability to read the play of the game and get into damaging scoring positions. Gown also provided plenty of strong leads up at the footy and out-bodied his opponent on a number of times.

#25 Kyle Reid – Was strong down in defence taking a heap of good intercept marks and positioned well for the Power.  Reid put in a consistent four quarter effort and applied plenty of physical pressure on his opponents. He looked to keep the ball moving with his good long penetrating kick and was involved in a series of good link up handballs through the middle of the ground to open-up space. His ability to read the play and slot into the holes in the backline was important for Gippsland.  

#29 Boadie Motton – Applied plenty of physical pressure on the ball carrier laying multiple crunching tackles and competing hard at ground level to win the footy for his team. He frequently imposed himself on the contest and his clean hands around the stoppages were invaluable. Motton showcased his good evasive skills and used his long kick to help propel his team forward and out of trouble. He was solid across the ground and took a big contested mark in defence in the fourth quarter.

Calder Cannons vs. Geelong Falcons (Julia Montesano)

Calder Cannons:

#5 Curtis Taylor – Taylor lead up well to the footy and had a long, booming kick. Often laid good pressure on his opponent and was a key cog in the midfield. Laid a nice smother to create a defensive 50 stoppage. Worked well with his teammates throughout the day. A team player with a high work ethic.

#16 Jack Bytel – Jack Bytel’s game reminded me a little of the way Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell plays. He gives off plenty of handballs but each of them make an impact. He’s also a really strong tackler and laid plenty of them, stopping opponents in their tracks. The thing that really stands out about Bytel is that he can take what he gives, as he was able to stand up or get a quick-fire handball away on his knees while being tackled. Bytel is an aggressive midfielder and clearly knows the game really well. This was shown when he was instructing a teammate to shepherd his opponent while Bytel chased the ball down. Bytel is a great on-field leader and a ball magnet. He got plenty of the footy, especially in the depths of the contest. Displayed a great passage of play where he fended off two players and fired off a quick handball, which was the catalyst in setting up a forward entry for the Cannons.

#23 Daniel Hanna – Had one of the cleanest sets of hands on the ground. Hanna is an agile mover with the ball in hand and loves to run. He marked everything that came his way, whether it was in a huge pack or uncontested in space. Had a great passage of play when he cleverly picked the ball up off the deck when it was in a danger zone for the Cannons. Hanna is really great with the ball in hand and knows how to move it forward.

#33 Jack Evans – Evans was sensational in the Calder backline. Worked tirelessly all day and often came out on top, thanks to his impressive endurance. He displayed good composure while a Geelong forward was hot on his heels. Evans worked really well with his teammates to get the ball out of defensive 50 and was able to create stoppages to halt the Geelong momentum. In one instance, Evans and Lucas Cavallaro were both going for the ball and Evans saw that Cavallaro wanted to attack the footy hard, so he shepherded his opponent to allow his teammate to do so. Evans was really vocal on the field, whether he was rallying his teammates at the end of a quarter or being a pest on the mark when his opponent was kicking for goal. Has really nice hands and can mark anything, often courageously going back with the flight of the footy. Evans’ physique is deceiving as he has a huge muscle mass but also has a huge tank.

Geelong Falcons:

#20 Brayden Ham – Ham is a tank and a player that does not stop working. He was extremely damaging up forward, kicking three majors for the day. He not only has precise kicking but also has super quick hands out of the stoppage. His agility is second to none. Lead up to the footy brilliantly all day and demonstrated great footy IQ with a couple of clever sidesteps throughout the day to get around his opponent. Ham is a beautiful user of the footy and his goal-kicking is marvellous. He kicked it extremely straight through the goals despite being on a tough angle. Ham displayed excellent footwork throughout the day, which complemented his great all-round game.

#22 Sam Walsh – Has one of the most precise kicks I have seen. Was able to consistently turn his opponent inside out in tight spaces to find an option. A really unselfish player who always looked for the pass to a teammate. Walsh exemplified this when he used a free kick inside 50 from an out-on-the-full kick to find a teammate in a better position, rather than just banging it to the square in hope. Kicked a magnificent and well-deserved goal in the second quarter with a quick pick-up and wonderful snap around the body that soared through the goals. Gets plenty of penetration on his kicks and knows how to hit a target. He created so many forward entries and was so important around the ground. Great gut running all game, running from the forward line to the back line in a matter of seconds, and getting tackles at one end of the ground then intercepting at the other end. Such an impressive player who deserves to be highly rated.

#30 Oscar Brownless – Brownless has a huge work rate and was a key cog in the forward line for the Falcons. While his three goals were all brilliant, the one that impressed me most was his amazing goal on the run because it demonstrated to me that he’s a traditional forward with an X-factor, which is an extremely exciting prospect. Brownless is really agile for a tall player and was a huge presence up forward throughout the day. Continues to be a consistent performer for Geelong.

#48 Blake Schlensog – Schlensog finished with two majors for the day but his impact wasn’t just felt up forward. He was excellent in the ruck at times with clever taps that were crafted to his midfielders, instead of tapping it down and letting them do all the work. Had clean hands which were useful to find a teammate and create a forward entry. Another quick pick-up allowed him to snap through a goal that got momentum going early on. He’s a tall player but has gentle hands and footwork, exemplified through a nice light kick to just drop it onto the chest of a teammate. Schlensog was able to read the footy well and work his opponent under the ball, often resulting in strong marks.

#49 Dane Hollenkamp – Possesses really good agility for a tall player. Had an innate ability to lower his eyes and find a good option, exemplified through precise chip kicks rather than long ones down the line. Has really strong hands and is a brilliant kicker of the footy. Really strong in the contest and was able to shrug off one or two opponents to get the ball forward. Worked really well with the midfielders throughout the game. He’s a really versatile player who showed some good signs as an over-age player against the Cannons.

Northern Knights vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Michael Alvaro)

Northern Knights:

#3 Braedyn Gillard – The skipper was one of the Knights’ best throughout the day as he gathered plenty of the ball and provided some solid midfield grunt. Having attended the majority of centre bounces, Gillard was able to put his clearance work on show, but it was his work rate and spread that allowed him to have the biggest impact on the game as he won the ball in all areas of the ground. He spent some time up on the forward flank during the second quarter, perhaps as a ploy to keep Bendigo’s Jacob Atley accountable. While he couldn’t manage to impact the scoreboard directly, he chimed in with a handy assist to ruckman Tom Hallebone and showcased his ability to find targets with clever short kicks. 

#7 Harrison Grace – Even on a quieter day by his standards, Grace managed to play his role for the team and chip in with two handy goals. He has been the provider of grunt and pressure for the Knights since his bottom age year, and today was no different as he was prepared to get stuck in and niggle his opponents. Having spent some time through the midfield, Grace was able to put his booming kick to good use with some penetrating inside 50s and a set shot goal from just on the arc in the first term. A solid game from a solid player overall. 

#16 Tom Hallebone – While ‘T-Bone’ competed for the most part in the ruck, he was rotated forward for large portions of the game where he provided a target. There’s not much of the rangy tall, but his bodywork in the ruck was noticeably better this week, and was backed up by some solid second efforts. He displayed a good work rate and tried his best to impact the game around the ground, but still has a lot of room for improvement below his knees. While forward in the final term, he marked well overhead and was unlucky not to add to his first quarter goal.  

Bendigo Pioneers:

#9 Zane Keighran – Keighran provided some good dash across half-back for the Pioneers in a defence that was under the pump for most of the game. Entrusted with kick-in duties, he did his best to penetrate the Knights’ wall and took the game on when he could. He had a couple of highlights with two runs in particular catching the eye, but both were finished off with short, sideward handballs. He’s a pretty silky outside player at his best, but fumbled the ball numerous times while trying to collect it with one hand in oncoming traffic, which might just be a habit he can fix.

#16 Jacob Atley – It was a bit of a mixed bag for Atley as he had some nice moments, but couldn’t quite do it consistently. An organiser in defence, Atley looked to intercept when he could and rebound up the wing with his trademark dash. He has a quick step and can manoeuvre his way around opponents with ease, but was caught in possession a couple of times when trying to break the lines. With the game all but wrapped up, he was thrown forward in the last quarter and found the ball in dangerous positions, but couldn’t quite capitalise as he sprayed his two shots on the run. While forward, he also worked hard and put in a couple of good chases, hoping to lead by example.

#20 James Schischka – Schischka was utilised in a few positions throughout the day but seemed to look most comfortable up forward. He still spent a wealth of time in the midfield and attended a good amount of centre bounces, but it was is work between stoppages that was most effective. He recovered well after limping off in the second term to find a fair bit of the ball and provide some important second efforts. His highlight for the day came in the fourth quarter where he slipped an opponent and snapped a nice goal to round out his game. 

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 4

AFTER a one-week hiatus due to the TAC Cup’s first development weekend of the season, the TAC Cup returned with some big individual bags of goals from the key forwards and a nail-biting draw between Gippsland Power and Northern Knights. 

We had scouts watching four of the games this weekend, with a narrowed focus on the players selected in the initial Victorian representative squads for the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. 

Geelong Falcons vs. Eastern Ranges (Matt Balmer)

Geelong Falcons:

#20 Brayden Ham – The lively left footer booted three goals for the contest and certainly stood out. He has a great burst of speed and mixed with his agility around the forward 50, makes him a very tough opponent for any defender. His hands in close are pretty strong and he has the vision to be able to switch the ball when needed. He has an outstanding piece of play, with a pinpoint pass to Sam Conway inside 50 in the second quarter. A clean pick up, bounce and then goal in the opening quarter was one of his many highlights, which included a little left foot ‘na na’ that would have impressed Brian Taylor.

#22 Sam Walsh – Walsh is an absolute machine and there’s no doubt at this stage that he is by far the best midfielder in the TAC Cup. Despite not spending a lot of time in at the centre bounces, he floated around the outside collecting 39 disposals. His tackling was important during the day, including a strong tackle in the opening minute of the match. He spreads well and has a decent burst of speed when he needs to use it. Snapped a good goal in the third term and simply was everywhere throughout the match. If I had to nitpick – the right footer had a few occasions where he should’ve gone onto his left foot, but at this stage he prefers to use his more comfortable right boot. 

#30 Oscar Brownless – The possible Geelong father-son selection had a good game in the midfield, mostly starting in as an inside midfielder. His hands in close are quick and effective and he was able to begin the chain of handballs that got the Falcons moving forward. He worked hard both ways, but his best passage of play during the match came in the second quarter when he ran towards goal and nailed the shot at speed from 55m out. 

#39 Connor Idun – The Falcons mobile tall played predominantly up forward, booting two goals. His tackling was good, as was his pressure when he was around the ball. He has strong hands overhead and he showed this at one stage in the second quarter, before going back and nailing the set shot goal. Unlike some other talls, he is clean at ground level and picked the ball up on multiple times off the ‘half-volley’ with ease. 

Eastern Ranges:

#24 Kye Quirk – Was undoubtably in the Ranges’ best playing all over the ground. He found 25 disposals during the contest and had some good kicks inside 50. He still has a lot of filling out to do body size wise, but his agility and clearance work around the ground were impressive. He was willing to run hard and create a target up forward, but equally did the hard yards running back when required. He marked a ball inside 50 and then booted an impressive goal right up against the fence from 45m out.  

#31 James Blanck – The agile tall did not have a lot of the football, but his first quarter was mighty impressive and hopefully is a sign of what is to come throughout the season. He took multiple overhead marks, intercepting in front of the Geelong forwards – while he hit the targets off his right foot. He is good below the knees and his offensive work was really good in the opening quarter. 

Gippsland Power vs. Northern Knights (Peter Williams)

Gippsland Power:

#9 Irving Mosquito – Looked dangerous throughout the first half, winning an early touch and dishing off to a teammate running by with a quick handball. Took a good mark early and centred the kick to the danger zone and was rewarded late in the term with a free kick and goal from set shot. Quieter in the second term, but had a crowd follow him when he accelerated away in the forward pocket to chase after the ball and handball to a teammate. One of the most exciting players out there, he got even better in the second half, kicking a couple of goals including one in the last 10 seconds. Just always looked dangerous and unpredictable. Great first few steps out of the contest.

#12 Brock Smith – Played good aggressive football off half-back, playing in front of his opponent and frustrating them. Laid a great tackle late in the first term on Patrik Della Rocca, continually harassing him before winning a free kick. In the second term he jumped high, won the possession in mid-air and handpassed it on to keep the ball moving. Good spread throughout. His second half was even better, playing midfield and laying some strong tackles and just busting into packs. He copped a fierce knock and handed one out to Braedyn Gillard in a tackle, then laid a fierce tackle on the wing on Gillard to get the ball across the line. Just annoyed the opposition players all game.

#18 Matthew McGannon – Was put under careful guard very early in the peace but started to get away from the mid-way point of the first term. Very good clean touch and rarely wastes a disposal. Went in hard on a couple of occasions and pushed up the ground but was typically the quarterback in defence. He had a piecing kick late in the first term when he managed to hit-up a teammate inside the centre square between a couple of Knights players. Worked hard to spread down the wing and often kicked long down the middle. Good defensive work with tough tackles. Moved into the midfield in the second half and immediately had an impact. Won a free kick up forward and kicked truly from a tight angle. His one blemish was a kick off the side of the boot to Nicholas Mayne which almost cost a goal. Other than that, he was reliable by foot and showed a willingness to take the game on with a dash last in the match and kicked forward. Did not rack up as much touches as he has over the past few weeks, but does not waste too much.

#22 Rylan Henkel – Showed good aggression in the ruck, even though it did cost him a couple of free kicks. Positions himself well and works his opponents under the ball. He also spread well for a ruck, winning some touches on the wing and laid some fierce tackles. Went forward in the third term and then back into the ruck and wasn’t as influential, but still solid around the ground.

#25 Kyle Reid – Very consistent in defence, always looking to keep the ball moving and switching play. Reid showed good defensive pressure when his opponent had the ball in his hand and harassed opponents at ground level. He took a good mark going back with the flight in the second term and is a good kick at full speed. Just a consistent four quarter effort, read the play well and provided good offensive drive and defensive pressure. A composed performance from the defender.

Northern Knights:

#3 Braedyn Gillard – A typical consistent game from the reliable inside midfielder. Kicking lets him down at times but he just barrels into every contest and wins plenty of one-on-ones. Earned himself some free kicks and also gave some away, but could never question his work ethic. Likewise his ability to cover the ground is a highlight, winning the ball in each third of the ground, which at times was crucial to be able to drop back and help the Knights defenders. Kicked a goal in the first term after picking the ball off the deck and snapping truly. Just stands up when needed and shovels out handballs to teammates in space. Won an important clearance in the final term but was hurt in a Brock Smith tackle and had to come off two minutes in. Returned to the field and went in hard and continued to spread well. Probably the Knights’ best player on the day.

#7 Harrison Grace – A classy mover through traffic, he is lightly built and does not win a tonne of it, but uses it well. He has quick hands under pressure and is often used in transition across the ground. He won the first clearance of the second term and bombed long, and showed good pace and agility out of the congestion, thinking his way through his disposals. He is impressive with ball-in-hand moving around the midfield. Seems to have that trademark handball and sprint forward to receive it back. Had a good piece of play in the third term where he wore a bump knowing it was coming, holding onto the ball long enough to successfully draw an opponent and handball to a teammate. He won the ball and had a long kick out of a stoppage to the advantage of a teammate and provided good pressure to a marking contest in the fourth quarter to stop a Gippsland mark on the forward 50 for the Power late.

#16 Thomas Hallebone – Was outmuscled by Henkel through the first half, but also spent time at full-forward. When against undersized rucks he used his good vertical leap to advantage and had a few solid passages of play at the stoppages around the ground. His second half was much better as he won the ruck battle against Josh Smith and produced several taps to advantage. He was spreading well to the wing and took a strong mark with a good vertical leap in the third quarter. He seemed fiercer at stoppages and got more involved and even won some crucial taps once Henkel returned back to the ruck.

Dandenong Stingrays vs, Western Jets (Ed Pascoe)

Dandenong Stingrays:

#9 Zac Foot – Foot showed some real skill throughout the day taking the game on with his blistering speed and follow up running which lead to one his three goals. It came right before half-time when he won the ball on the wing, had a run and passed it off and eventually won the ball again in the forward 50 and kicked a quality running goal. Foot was very clean at ground level and overhead, while his skills by hand and foot could not be faulted.

#13 Riley Bowman – Bowman started the game extremely well with an excellent tap, follow-up and then a crunching tackle. He looked switched on very early and continued to impress as the game went on. Bowman finished the game with three goals, including two bananas and one snap which came from a bit of composure and great movement especially of a player his size. Bowman took some great marks around the ground and his ball use was exceptional for someone of his stature. Bowman is an AFL Academy member and his improvement this year holds him in good stead in the lead up to the National Under 18 Championships.

#29 Bailey Williams – Williams was the most dominant player on the ground proving to be a handful up forward, he finished with seven goals and could have been even more with a few missed shots on goal. Williams was unstoppable one-on-one with his strength, height and leap too much for any of the Jets defenders. Williams did not just do great work in the air, although he did take a lovely hangar in the third quarter, his hands at ground level were very clean which was apparent in the last quarter when he went up for a marking contest – the ball then went over the contest and he quickly recovered, picking the ball up at speed and ran into goal. Williams dominated in the ruck last year and has added another string to his bow up forward.

#58 William Hamill – Hamill was all class at half-back with his ball use first rate and his decision making better still. Hamill was clean with his pickups and by hand and foot, he did not miss many targets and even if he did they where mostly to the advantage of his teammates. His link-up run was important for Dandenong and his good run and precise left foot cut the Jets up. It was impossible to fault his game and he will hopefully keep building form in the lead up to the National Under 18 Championships.

Western Jets:

#11 Zak Butters – Butters had a tough day at the office much like all his teammates, he got battered and bruised and was made to earn every one of his possessions. Butters attacked every contest hard and at pace but it did come at a cost a few times with his smaller frame running into some of the bigger bodies of the Dandenong players. He did not get a great deal of the ball but he made all his possessions count and didn’t fumble at all during the game, Butters will always have more impact when he can be released on the outside where he can use his speed and good skills.

#17 Daly Andrews – Andrews worked hard on the wing all day and he continued to run and take the game on even late in the game when the Jets where getting bombarded by a stellar Dandenong team. Andrews again tried to do too much at times but every time he gets caught he shows his trademark agility and speed and you can’t help but see his talent. Despite his light size, he took some great marks with one contested mark in the first quarter catching the eye. Andrews showed plenty of attack and was clean with his hands and despite not being able to show his trademark dash as often as normal, he still had a crack in the contest which showed he was not a one-dimensional wingman.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – O’Halloran was the clear standout for the Jets with his attack on the ball in the contest and his willingness to keep on pushing forward obvious despite the one-sided game. O’Halloran played his normal game with his trademark roves from clearances on the run with his best of those coming in the third quarter when he attacked the clearance, got the ball, had a run and kicking a long running goal. His kicking early was shaky at best but as the game went on his kicking was not only better, but it was long and penetrating with one long switch kick in the last quarter a real highlight showing if he has time his kicking can be sensational. O’Halloran has so many likeable traits which he showed again today with his attack, speed and tackling but if he can start making kicks like the one he did in the last quarter it will go along way to him finding his way onto an AFL list at the end of the year.

#38 Buku Khamis – It was an interesting game for Khamis. He started on Williams early and was obviously worried about the height and size difference, but once Khamis was released to intercept he looked a lot more comfortable. He took some nice marks during the game and his kicking was long and accurate. Khamis was moved forward late to give a good lead-up option for the Jets which he did so pretty well taking some nice marks on the lead. He missed a shot at goal which was a shame since I thought he deserved reward for his lead up work.

GWV Rebels vs. Calder Cannons (Cameron Ross)

GWV Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin – Carlin is a star and racks up possessions comfortably. Played in all three thirds of the field today, however was most damaging in the middle third. Carlin’s ability to make the correct decision quickly sets him apart from others. If he has three men to give the ball to, he will make the right choice within a split second.

#13 Thomas Berry – Another solid game from Berry, who seems to be still working himself back from that horrific collision with the point post against Bendigo. Berry was the Rebels best midfielder at stoppages today, winning clearances around the ground and in the middle. Berry was also good when he went forward today, showing his versatility with a knowledge of forward craft and leading patterns. Kicked back-to-back goals in the third quarter and could have had three goals in the third quarter, hitting the post after a set shot.

#14 Jed Hill – For Hill, it is not how much of it he gets, but what he does with it. He was outstanding today. He kicked 3.4, which could have been 6.1 if not for marginally pulling a couple of set shots. A key part of being a forward is the ability to “halve” a contest and bring the ball to ground and if Hill was not marking it, he was halving the contest. Had 3-4 opponents, mainly Sholl, and none of them could stop him. If he is not in the argument for the top five most-skilled forwards in the TAC Cup, I would like to have a word. 

#20 Tylar Watts – Starting ruck today and was back to his best after a couple of quiet games. Had a big first quarter, but as he was splitting time with Glanford in the ruck, was not as dominant in the other three quarters. Would love to see him given the opportunity to ruck out the majority of the game as he is a very good tap ruckman and has fantastic ability for his size to win the ball below his knees.

Calder Cannons: 

#5 Curtis Taylor – Split time between midfield and forward and was damaging in both. Kicked two goals including the sealer finishing off a superb piece of link up play from West and Bytel, with a drop punt on the run from 40 out. Hurt the Rebels with an ability to extricate the ball in traffic and set up his team mates for numerous scoring opportunities.

#8 Lachlan Sholl – Many would say his game was quiet for his standards, but I think he played quite well, especially when matched up on Hill. Was asked the question by his coach at three-quarter time, and responded, intercepting a kick-in and nailing a big goal. However, I really liked him as a defender and I believe he has buckets of potential.

#16 Jack Bytel – Was outstanding in the middle and was pivotal in his sides huge last quarter. Not only a ball magnet but extremely damaging player who was able to kick the ball long inside 50 and put the Rebels defence under extreme pressure. Looked a class above the rest in the middle and I understand the plaudits coming from those who believe he will be a high draft pick.

TAC Cup previews: Round 4

SO many changes at the selection table and ahead of round four we investigate which players will need to stand out, and those who will need to continue their form in order to get their team across the line in round four of the TAC Cup competition.


Round 4 – Friday, April 20, 7pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

Bendigo Pioneers host Oakleigh Chargers under lights tonight at Queen Elizabeth Oval and it becomes a game which is almost impossible to predict how it is going to go. Bendigo has made at least six changes, something that pales in comparison with Oakleigh’s team selection as 13 players return to school football or other commitments. Noah Anderson will be a key out, second overall in clearances for the Chargers, but Bendigo will still need to watch James Rowbottom, who has notched up 17 clearances (eight centre clearances) and is influential at the stoppages.

Bendigo’s 1-2 counter punch at the stoppages are Noah Wheeler and Zane Keighran with the latter named at half-back for the match. They have 21 clearances between them in season 2018, but Wheeler has also been crucial for 12 inside 50s. Bailey Henderson has been named up forward after being Mr Consistent at half-back, and he will line-up alongside Will Holt who is leading the goal kicking in the competition with Max King. The injury to Daniel Keating will be felt, with the in-form ruck having played some great football to date, and the Pioneers will look to Matt Hird in his first game this year to provide the midfielders with the first possession.

For Oakleigh, they will need their depth to step up in the absence of Anderson, Trent Bianco, Matt Rowell, Jack Ross and Charlie Whitehead in the middle, while Ben Silvagni has been the most influential forward in terms of scoreboard influence this year. In his place comes Sam Elliott who moves to full-forward with Daniel Scala the key small down there. With Anderson, Silvagni, Whitehead and Zac Hart gone, the Chargers lose four of their top five players involved in scoring chains this year. Instead of having eight of the top 10 in this match-up, it is more even 6-4 split. Oakleigh still has the depth to win the game, but Bendigo will be hoping to take advantage of the mass changes and its strong inside brigade make the most of its experience at the stoppages.


Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.15am
Avalon Airport Oval, Werribee

In a game where both sides are still looking for their first win, last year’s reigning premiers and the team with the most players drafted in 2017, find themselves in a vastly different situation six months on. Geelong will welcome back Sam Walsh who is a crucial cog in the Falcons midfield, especially against an Eastern Ranges outfit which will be without the likes of Xavier Fry and Cody Hirst who both rotate through there.

Geelong will miss Charlie Sprague who has been arguably the most consistent Falcons player who has played all three games, as Sprague heads back to play school football, as will Cooper Stephens and a host of others among seven changes for Geelong. Eastern have also made six changes, with Hirst’s a forced one through injury. One area in which Eastern can try and take control is in the midfield with a strong inside brigade. With no Ed McHenry, the Ranges have four of the top five clearance players in the game, with Joel Burleigh, Jonte Duffy, Adrian Kalcovski and Lachlan Stapleton all providing good extraction from the stoppages. Oscar Brownless, Baxter Mensch, Brayden Ham and of course Walsh will look to go head-to-head with the Eastern onballers in what could decide the match.

The big question for these teams is scoring, with the Falcons missing Sprague (who would have the highest scoreboard impact in this match-up) and relying on Blake Schlensog who has had nine score involvements, three more than any other player on the field this season. Based on the season so far, both teams will look to share the load in terms of scoring, with Billy McCormack and Thomas Lockman named as the key position posts for Eastern, while Finlay Parish comes in for his first game and will line-up at centre-half forward in between Ham and Walsh. Throwing Connor Idun forward continues to offer a different look for the Falcons, and with a marked improvement in round three compared to the prior two rounds, the Falcons will be confident going into this one.


Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.30am
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

In the other early game on Saturday, Murray Bushrangers will look to win their third consecutive match, while Sandringham Dragons head into the game unbeaten. With the start of the APS and AGVS seasons, the Dragons are hit harder than any other team and lose almost all of their best 22 – they made 16 changes. It will be a great test to see if they can overcome the Bushrangers with their next tier of players, and see some stand up in the absence of others.

Players who have been in form for the Dragons include Alastair Richards, Liam Stocker and Kai Owen, the three highest extractors for the Dragons this season who have been named in the line-up. Without Dawit McNeish and Bailey Smith, the Dragons will need to win the clearances against a Bushrangers midfield which includes Ely Smith and Dylan Clarke, with Mark Marriott dominant in the ruck more often than not. Losing the King twins always hurts, but the Dragons got the job done against Calder without them, and they will look to James Rendell to continue his good form – booting four goals in the second half against the Cannons – to have an impact on the contest. Up the other end, the Bushrangers have no shortage of contributors, with Patrick Warner (six goals), Bailey Frauenfelder (five), Riley Bice (four) and Jacob Koschitkze (three) all having an impact. Sandringham will be vastly unknown quantity up forward, with Liam Stocker (two) the highest season goal kicker behind Rendell, with Angus Hanrahan thrown forward for this match.

Last year the Dragons knocked off Dandenong Stingrays at Frankston Oval after making 17 changes to its side at the start of the APS season. It was a remarkable win, and they will be looking to do the same here. The trick will be trying to limit the influence of Murray’s midfield and working as a team to ensure they don’t concede too many early goals as they try and gel which is always difficult with wholesale changes. Murray does not rely on one goal kicker to kick a high score, something Sandringham will look for this round as the teams aim to share the goals around and provide a great contest in Wangaratta.


Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 12.45pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell

In what is shaping to be a great contest, Gippsland Power takes on Northern Knights at Morwell, a ground where the Power pushed Dandenong Stingrays all the way a few weeks back. The Knights have also improved since a round one capitulation against the Sandringham Dragons, and are starting to find their groove – so naturally both sides have been scattered with the start of the school football system with Gippsland’s four omissions among their four most important players – Xavier Duursma, Sam Flanders, Austin Hodge and Caleb Serong. Northern has also lost their most consistent ball winner in Tom McKenzie, as well as the likes of Justin McInerney, Oscar White and Joel Naylor among at least seven changes.

Gippsland will look to rely on Matthew McGannon for plenty of drive out of the back half, with the overager leading the competition in disposals (84) and marks (30). Through the midfield, Riley Baldi’s role as a clearance gem will become more important given the loss of partner in crime Hodge, and the fact the Knights will be without the only player with more clearances than Baldi this season in McKenzie. Gippsland will look to the likes of Nick Lowden, Brett Thorson and Boadie Motton to stand up through the middle and around the ground who have been that next tier of players behind the four omissions. Brock Smith is a talented bottom-ager who provides great drive, while Ryan Sparkes is another one who has impressed so far this season. Gippsland’s forward line is vastly untouched outside of Flanders, with Irving Mosquito and Josh Smith – two of the three highest Power goal kickers – both in the side.

For Northern, Josh D’Intinosante and Braedyn Gillard shape as the two most important players. D’Intinosante is a bottom-ager who has a good all-round game providing forward pressure and scoreboard impact. He also gets up the ground and sets up his teammates, as does Gillard through the middle with his work at stoppages. Without McKenzie, Gillard will look to Harrison Grace and Ryan Gardner among others to try and win the midfield battle – an area which is weakened for the Power by their omissions. Lachlan Potter provides a good link down back, while Patrik Della Rocca and Mark Baker will be a couple of targets who can hit the scoreboard if given the opportunity. The battle between Rylan Henkel and Thomas Hallebone in the ruck will be fascinating with both players selected in the extended Vic Country and Vic Metro squads respectively.


Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 12.30pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Dandenong Stingrays face Western Jets in the first game on Sunday, with the Stingrays losing a number of key players to school football and Under 18 Academy Series commitments. The Stingrays are yet to lose in season 2018, but their depth will be put to the test with the likes of Stephen and Matthew Cumming, Hayden Young, Mitch Riordan, Toby Bedford, Jai Nanscawen and Heath Briggs out of the side. Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams return from the AFL Academy game among a host of fresh faces including familiar Stingrays name Sam De Koning who lines up at centre-half back. For the Jets, Emerson Jeka is a big loss down forward, while Lucas Rocci is another out; but the return of AFL Academy member Buku Khamis will buoy the Jets coaching staff.

Western might have the upper hand if they can control Williams and Bowman in their defensive 50, with Aaron Clarke, Steven Kyriazis and Zak Butters three of the most damaging forwards in the game, all adding a different element inside 50 for the Jets. Bailey Schmidt, captain Campbell Hustwaite, and Finlay Bayne have the three highest score involvements of the remaining Dragons, although expect both Williams and Bowman to have a say in the team’s fortune down forward. Zac Foot booted four goals in the last outing against the GWV Rebels, so is another who could be damaging, but the Jets also have a strong defence to rely upon.

The likes of Khamis and Hamish Murphy hold down the key defensive posts, while Stefan Radovanovic and Jack Papachatzakis provide good run and defensive pressure. Xavier O’Halloran has been Mr Consistent through midfield, while Connor Thar provides a strong presence at the stoppages and is a known ball winner. Daly Andrews and Darcy Cassar are others who have shown some good signs throughout the season. For Dandenong, Jamie Plumridge and Will Hamill provide a good trio with Hustwaite, while Angus Paterson has been a rock in defence.


Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 1.30pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The final game of the round sees GWV Rebels return to MARS Stadium where they take on the Calder Cannons with both sides at a crucial junction in the early part of the season, sitting 1-2 after three rounds. The Rebels will look to turnaround from the heavy defeat at the hands of Dandenong Stingrays up in Bendigo, while Calder will look to build on the performance against Sandringham Dragons without their AFL Academy members, and bring the same level of intensity into this clash. Unlike many other teams, both sides have got stronger at the top end, with the Rebels welcoming back midfielder Tom Berry, while the Cannons have their AFL Academy trio in, of Jack Bytel, Curtis Taylor and Rhylee West. They do lose Mitch Podhajski and Mason Fletcher who have been consistent all season, but will be bolstered by the important returns.

Without a second thought, the clearances are going to be an entertaining battle with Lochie Dawson and Scott Carlin leading the way in this game, while Taylor, Bytel and Curtis will add some serious grunt in the middle. Neither side has a dominant key forward, and instead looks to share the goals around between talls and smalls, with Jed Hill (five), Mitch Martin (four) and Josh Chatfield (three) the top Rebels goal kickers; and Taylor (four) and Jack O’Sullivan (three) the top Cannons in the absence of Podhajski. Tylar Watts returns to the ruck against Devereux Pretty who is back into the side this week, with the ruck battle a crucial one-on-one in the overall scheme of things.

Calder has a consistent defence with Jack Evans, Lucas Cavallaro and Lachlan Sholl back there, while Kyle Baker adds composure and speed. Dylan Landt and Tye Browning are other consistent mid/forwards, while the Rebels have a mosquito fleet in attack. Matt Schnerring and Toby Mahony joining Hill, Chatfield and Martin as dangerous forwards, while Jed Henderson will look to provide a target as well. Harris Jennings and Charlie Wilson are other players to watch, while Angus Gove links well between midfield and attack.

Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 2

IT was another big weekend with Round 2 of the TAC Cup taking place over the Easter long weekend. Calder kicked things off with a 33-point victory over Eastern under lights at RAMS Arena on Thursday night, while it was the Dandenong Stingrays and Murray Bushrangers who came out as winners in an all-country affair on Good Friday. Saturday’s double-header at RAMS Arena saw possible top-five draft pick Max King produce a stunning game, booting eight goals in the Sandringham Dragons’ win over the Oakleigh Chargers, while the Northern Knights won in a close encounter over the Western Jets. Down the highway, GWV Rebels produced the upset of the season, defeating the highly rated Geelong Falcons by 33-points thanks to an even team performance. 

Calder Cannons vs. Eastern Ranges

Calder Cannons bounced back from their tight round one loss under lights to produce a much stronger 33-point win over Eastern Ranges. Playing on Thursday night, the Cannons looked the goods early, but could not capitalise with three straight behinds before Eastern put through its first major. From there though, the Cannons were predominantly in control, booting seven of the next 10 goals to head into the final break with a four-goal lead. A 4.4 to 3.1 final term saw Calder extend their lead to run out comfortable winners in the end.

Rhylee West starred through the midfield and provided some eye-catching moments with a long goal and a huge pack mark. West finished the game with a match-high 29 disposals, six tackles, six clearances and five inside 50s. Lucas Cavallaro (16 disposals, four rebound 50s) played well off half-back, while Curtis Taylor (22 disposals, nine clearances) and Tye Browning (22 disposals, six rebound 50s) found plenty of the ball through midfield. Jack Evans and Nathan Croft were solid throughout the four quarters, while co-captains Mitch Podhajski (the only multiple goal scorer) and Jack Bytel, were other Cannons that stood out on the night. Essendon father-son prospect Mason Fletcher (seven marks) was clean with his ball use and a rock in defence.

For Eastern, Ben Cardamone stood out once again off half-back with 22 disposals, with Kye Quirk another player who picked up in the second half to provide some defensive rebound. Adrian Kalcovski (28 disposals, six marks) was strong in the contest, while Mitch Mellis (23 disposals, five inside 50s) provided some speed around the ground and a touch of class when required. Xavier Fry was another who continued to perform against the Calder attack, while Jacob Gilbee was admirable in defence.

Gippsland Power vs. Dandenong Stingrays

Dandenong Stingrays came from behind to give the Power their first loss of the season, running out 24-point winners – after earlier trailing by a single point going into the final quarter. The Power kept the Stingrays goalless in the third term, with their midfield stepping up, but it was not enough as the Stingrays booted six goals to two to finish the contest and remain undefeated on the top of the ladder. The Stingrays crucially won the inside 50s, – 59 to 31 – indicating their strength of how easily they were able to get the ball inside the attacking half of the ground. 

For the travelling team, small forward Jai Nanscawen was the star, booting six goals from his 15 disposals. Midfielders Mitch Riordan (20 disposals), Zac Foot (20 disposals) and James Hickey (19 disposals) won plenty of the ball, with the trio combining for 16 tackles and 15 inside 50s. Bottom-ager Hayden Young (16 disposals, five rebound 50s) again put in a performance pushing his top-five credentials for the 2019 AFL Draft. AFL Academy talls Riley Bowman (15 hitouts) and Bailey Williams (13 disposals, five marks and two goals) were also impressive, while over-ager Angus Paterson impressed with his arial marking during the contest, where he pulled off four contested marks out of his game-high 12 marks. 

Matthew McGannon (27 disposals, six rebound 50s) once again led the stats sheet for the home Power team. Xavier Duursma’s start to the season has been superb, recording 26 disposals (14 contested), six tackles, five inside 50s and four clearances in a standout performance from the midfield. Boadie Motton and Austin Hodge cracked in hard and won the contested ball in the fierce midfield battle, while it was Bailey Beck (13 disposals and 13 tackles) who busted his backside off in defensive 50, with plenty of game saving tackles. Kyle Reid (nine marks) was another player in defence who could hold his head high after the Power’s loss. Small forward Irving Mosquito booted two goals showing off his smarts around goal. 

Murray Bushrangers vs. Bendigo Pioneers 

The Murray Bushrangers led from start to finish to win their first game of season 2018, running out 56-point winners over the Bendigo Pioneers at Deakin Reserve. The Bushrangers had plenty of contributors across the board, in what was an even team performance. 

Lachlan Ash (19 disposals) once again found plenty of the football in the midfield, also laying four tackles during the contest. Overager Tom Boyd provided good rebound out of defensive 50, with six rebounds to go with his 19 disposals and five marks. Laitham Vandermeer was also a crucial cog in the Bushrangers’ midfield, with 18 disposals and two goals. GWS Academy member Mathew Walker picked up 17 disposals and kicked two goals, but it was small forward Patrick Warner who did the damage inside 50 for the Bushrangers, kicking a team-high three goals. 

AFL Academy member Jye Caldwell was the clear best for the Pioneers, recording 24 disposals and seven tackles, playing in the midfield. Small Liam Marciano won five clearances, as well as collecting 24 disposals (13 contested), while dual-sport prospect Zane Keighran hunted the contested footy, finishing with 11 contested possessions from his 16 disposals. Ruckman Daniel Keating was the clear best ruck on the ground, with a game-high 23 hitouts.  

Sandringham Dragons vs. Oakleigh Chargers

It was the Max King show at RAMS Arena on Saturday, as the possible pick one contender clunked nine marks and booted eight goals in a simply dominant performance in the Dragons’ 23-point victory. The game was evenly poised in the opening half, but the Dragons ran away with the contest with a strong third quarter, where they scored five goals to one.

Midfielder Alastair Richards (26 disposals, 11 marks and seven inside 50s) played arguably his best game in Dragons colours, while Angus Hanrahan (29 disposals, four rebound 50s) and Harry Houlahan (17 disposals, nine marks) showed plenty of promise coming out of the backline. Liam Stocker (13 disposals, five clearances) was good in the contest, using the ball well off either foot. Ben King (20 disposals, nine marks and six inside 50s) was a damaging defender for the Dragons, before moving forward in the final quarter of the game. He intercept work in the air meant that the Chargers were rarely able to mark the ball inside their forward 50, with King often intercepting. The hero Max King could have easily broken TAC Cup records for most goals in a game, booting five behinds to go with his eight goal haul, but his nine-mark game was overall enough to give him a certain three votes for the Morrish Medal. 

For the Chargers, bottom-age midfielder Trent Bianco (26 disposals, five rebound 50s) was their most impressive player. He worked hard up and down on the wing and showed off his good skills. Midfielders James Rowbottom (23 disposals) and Xavier O’Neill (22 disposals) have flashes where they stood up and took control, but overall were beaten by the Dragons players in the contest. Bottom-age rebounding defender Dylan Williams‘ silky smooth skills were on show, with 20 out of his 21 disposals being effective throughout the afternoon. Other bottom-agers Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell both collected 20 disposals, while Collingwood NGA member Isaac Quaynor (19 disposals, five rebounds) also put in another good performance for the Chargers.

Northern Knights vs. Western Jets

It was a thrilling match to conclude Saturday’s double header at RAMS Arena. Despite leading at three-quarter time by seven points, a see-sawing final quarter saw both teams trade goals with the Knights narrowly coming out winners by eight points. Western will be ruing a slow start which allowed the Knights to kick ahead early in the game.

Tom McKenzie won 28 disposals for the Knights, again putting in a decent effort through the midfield, where he also had six tackles, five inside 50s, five clearances and four rebound 50s. However, a superb captain’s performance from Braedyn Gillard put his name in the spotlight, where he had 26 disposals and won eight clearances – including six centre clearances. He has had an outstanding start to the season and could well be the clubhouse leader for the Knights best and fairest at this stage. Thomas Hallebone won 22 hitouts in the ruck, while Harrison Grace did some good things up forward kicking two goals. Josh D’Intinosante was another player who featured in the bests, with 19 disposals, eight tackles, six marks and five goals. He showed great speed and agility during the contest, which saw him boot an impressive long set shot goal from the boundary in the final term. 

Connor Thar (22 disposals, six clearances and five inside 50s) was the Jets’ leading ball winner, while fellow midfielder Zak Butters (19 disposals, five clearances and five inside 50s) had a strong game. Butters’ overhead marking throughout the day was impressive, as was his zip and speed, where he also booted an impressive snap goal right on the boundary in the third term. Strong inside midfielder Xavier O’Halloran tackled hard throughout the day and also had six inside 50s, helping the Jets move the ball forward in the final quarter. The last quarter also had O’Halloran boot an impressive goal on the run. 

Geelong Falcons vs. GWV Rebels 

A scintillating first half display, set up the GWV Rebels comfortable 33-point win over the Geelong Falcons at Kardinia Park on Sunday.

The Rebels were outstanding in the first half, converting what felt like every opportunity inside 50. Mitch Martin set the tone for the day, kicking a beautiful goal from the boundary within the first minute of the game, which started a succession of seven goals to none in the first quarter. Jed Hill backed up his terrific performance against the Pioneers, with two terrific set shot goals in the quarter while Josh Chatfield also kicked two in the first. Lachlan Dawson (28 disposals, four tackles) had a huge half of footy, winning the ball at stoppages and getting the ball quickly into a forward line which piled on another three goals in the second quarter, to lead 10 goals to nil at the main break.

Thankfully for the Falcons it was only a few minutes into the second half, before Charlie Sprague (22 disposals) was able to kick their first. Sprague crumbed the ball nicely off the pack before snapping the ball on his right boot and kicking truely. After half-time, classy onballer, and potential top-five draft pick, Sam Walsh started to become more effective. A lot of Walsh’s work was undone however, by the Falcons inability to remain in possession of the ball. Walsh finished the contest as the lead ball-winner on the ground, with 36 disposals and three clearances. The Falcons continually tried to use the corridor, but were being punished by a lack of foot skill, as the Rebels intercepted the ball or brought it to ground level. The Rebels use of the corridor on the other hand was terrific, and players such as Harris Jennings and Scott Carlin, were extremely effective in helping the Rebels move the ball quickly.

The Falcons had a terrific last quarter, booting six goals to two. After starting in defence, Connor Idun was moved forward and was very effective converting his two goals and displaying a beautiful set shot technique. Idun’s last quarter performance was matched by a brilliant last quarter from Kayne Councillor. The Rebels only had four inside 50’s for the quarter, yet Councillor found a way to attempt three shots on goal, kicking two of them. As signs of fatigue began to set in, the nightmare of the previous week fadeout against the Pioneers, may have began to haunt the Rebels, however Councillors back to back goal’s put the nail in the coffin of the Falcons, and the Rebels finished the game off comfortably.

The home side had no answer to Dawson all day, who was outstanding from siren to siren. Others who impressed for the visitors were, the terrific forward duo of Martin and Hill, the tough defensive pressure machine in Jacob Lohmann, and the extremely consistent onballer Matt Schnerring. Meanwhile, Sprague, Walsh and Idun did everything they could to get the home side over the line.

The Rebels will look to build on their first win of the season, playing the Stingrays at the QEO in Bendigo. The Geelong Falcons will look to get their first win of the season also at the QEO against the Bushrangers.