Tag: tom fitzpatrick

NAB League Boys team review: Gippsland Power

AS the NAB League grand final approaches, we take a look at the sides that are no longer in contention for the title; checking out their draft prospects, Best and Fairest (BnF) chances, 2020 Draft Crop and a final word on their season. The next side we look at is the Gippsland Power.

Position: 2nd
Wins: 11
Losses: 4
Draws: 0

Points For: 1091 (Ranked #4)
Points Against: 856 (Ranked #3)
Percentage: 122.90
Points: 44

Top draft prospects:

Caleb Serong

The hard-nosed and aggressive ball winner was outstanding in each of his five NAB League outings spilt at either end of the season, while also performing for Geelong Grammar and Vic Country in a high quality year of football. Serong is competitive and his standards are high, helping him get the best out of himself in his time at the Power. He could well be the third player taken after Oakleigh’s two stars, offering goals up forward or a reliable midfield asset to whichever club he ends up at.

Sam Flanders

Flanders’ stocks have risen on the back of a massive finals campaign where he proved he can take big games by the scruff of the neck and make them his own. His combination of inside work and forward prowess makes him a rare prospect, and one who is now pushing the likes of Serong to feature among the top five picks. Explosive yet clean, Flanders has lived up to all expectations coming into the year and has definitely added to the high-flying forward profile he built in his bottom-age season.

Others in the mix:

The leading Country side this year in terms of draftable talent, Gippsland should have a good number of players taken throughout each round. Tall forward/ruck Charlie Comben has shown great improvement to thrown his name in the hat, with skipper Brock Smith a consistent figure throughout the year who missed the back end due to injury, and Riley Baldi is another mainstay who proved his worth. Fraser Phillips is a dynamic forward with huge upside who should also be in the mix alongside classy outside movers Leo Connolly and Ryan Sparkes. The form of Hawthorn NGA prospect Harrison Pepper will give the Hawks something to think about come November, too.

BnF chances:

Flanders’ impact on each game he played will put him right up there despite playing less games than others, while the likes of Connolly, Tye Hourigan, Sam Berry and the Baldi brothers enjoyed consistent patches throughout the middle of the year to give them good chances of getting up.

2020 Draft Crop:

While the class of 2019 has been incredibly strong, the Power has been able to blood a good number of bottom-agers this year which bodes well for sustained form in 2020. Midfield bull Berry and exciting forward/wingman Ryan Angwin lead the charge at this stage, with versatile tall Zach Reid another with plenty of promise. The likes of Will Papley, Tom Fitzpatrick and Tyran Rees saw plenty of action in their bottom-age years too, so should feature heavily again next time around.

Final word:

Gippsland Power will be disappointed they ultimately fell one win short of the decider again, but still had plenty to enjoy this season with a number of draft prospects stepping up and having most of the Vic Country squad this year. The Power were the only Country side in the top seven teams, and they still have some bottom-age talents who will look to take the next step up in 2020. Expect another strong season next year with some important roles filled already based on their form this year.

NAB League Boys Round 13 wash-up: Cannons and Chargers go big

A TRULY mixed bag of results in Round 13 of the NAB League Boys competition saw a couple of close contests and a couple of blowouts, with returning representative stars once again stamping their mark. While ladder-leaders Eastern still sit pretty at the top, Western put a dent in Sandringham’s top four hopes with an upset win – seeing the two trade places. Arguably the biggest surprise win belonged to Northern though, going clear in eighth with a win over second places Gippsland. All that, and more in this week’s wash-up.

 

WESTERN JETS 3.2 | 4.4 | 12.5 | 12.7 (79)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 3.2 | 5.6 | 6.7 | 10.10 (70)

GOALS:

Western: A. Clarke 3, L. Failli 3, A. Manton 2, H. White, W. Kennedy, L. Green, J. Horo.
Sandringham: C. Dean 2, H. Ralphsmith 2, B. O’Leary 2, R. Byrnes, F. Maginness, K. Yorke, J. Worrell.

BEST:

Western: W. Kennedy, C. Raak, J. Honey, J. Horo, B. Ryan, A. Clarke
Sandringham: H. Ralphsmith, L. Carrigan, J. Voss, N. Burke, B. O’Leary, C. Dean

Returning stars and a final term flurry were not enough to see Sandringham over the line as the Western Jets held on to win by nine points and send the Dragons out of the top four. Before the visitors roared home, a stalemate ensued in the first term as either side mustered 3.2 apiece, with Sandringham going on to break the cycle and skip out to an eight-point half time lead. The Dragons’ purple patch did not last for long though, as the Jets flew out of the blocks after the main break to pile on a whopping eight goals as the wind picked up. Undeterred, Sandringham hit back in the last but to no avail – relinquishing their top four position to the Jets but maintaining a formidable percentage. The Dragons’ representative guns stood up despite the loss, with Ryan Byrnes (28 disposals, five tackles, one goal), Finn Maginness (24, eight, one), and Louis Butler (23, five rebound 50s) leading all-comers in the ball winning stakes. The firepower of Charlie Dean, Hugo Ralphsmith and Blake O’Leary (all two goals) was not quite enough to outgun the eight goals between Western’s Aaron Clarke, Archi Manton, and bottom-ager Lucas Failli, as the Jets benefitted from some added efficiency in front of goal. Bailey Ryan (19 disposals, seven tackles) and Josh Honey (18, five marks) were the key ball-winners for Western, with ruckman Will Kennedy claiming best-afield honours against his former side for his 15 disposals, six marks, 33 hit-outs and one goal. Flying high, the Jets will get to enjoy a two-week break with back-to-back byes, while Sandringham will look to hit back against Dandenong in Round 14.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 3.2 | 7.2 | 8.6 | 8.8 (56)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.4 | 7.4 | 11.6 | 15.9 (99)

GOALS:

Gippsland: T. Fitzpatrick 2, J. van der Pligt 2, Z. Skinner, T. Baldi, M. McGarrity, J. Hume.
Northern: J. D’Intinosante 4, S. Brazier 3, R. Sturgess 3, L. Potter, B. Nikolovski, N. Long, A. Carafa, S. Philp.

BEST:

Gippsland: T. Hourigan, S. Berry, M. Hawkins, M. McGarrity, J. van der Pligt, T. Rees
Northern: J. Davies, A. Carafa, L. Potter, R. Sturgess, J. D’Intinosante, C. Simonsen

The upset of the round came as Northern trumped the Gippsland Power by 43 points in enemy territory to go a game clear in eighth place. The Knights’ strength and flexibility across the ground proved the difference, with the likes of Josh D’Intinosante (four goals), Ryan Sturgess (three) and Sunny Brazier (three) all able to impact the game forward of centre with only around a dozen disposals each. After a very even first half that saw Northern lead by two points at the first two breaks, the Knights tightened the screws in defence to only concede the one goal after half time, while booting eight of their own to seal a big win. Adam Carafa and Sam Philp resumed their strong partnership in midfield to have 52 disposals between them, while Lachie Potter (23 disposals, one goal) was great on the outside and skipper Jackson Davies (23 disposals, eight rebounds) a rock down back. For Gippsland, Sam Berry continues to rack up possessions with another 21, followed closely by Tye Hourigan‘s 20. Jake van der Plight was also impactful with 19 disposals and two goals, with Tom Fitzpatrick Gippsland’s only other multiple goal kicker. Despite the loss, Gippsland remains second and will look to rebound against Tasmania on neutral territory next round. Meanwhile, the Knights will look to halt Murray’s top eight aspirations when they meet next time out.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 3.0 | 5.3 | 9.6 | 11.9 (75)
EASTERN RANGES 5.5 | 9.7 | 11.7 | 12.7 (79)

GOALS:

Murray: H. Kaak 3, J. Boyer 3, K. Chalcraft, E. Baxter, M. Holt, Z. Maher, W. Chandler.
Eastern: B. Hickleton 4, M. Mellis 2, C. Downie, H. Keeling, T. Edwards, C. Black, T. Hardstaff, M. Zalac.

BEST:

Murray: W. Christie, J. Chalcraft, Z. Barzen, S. Durham, Z. Maher, K. Chalcraft
Eastern: J. Nathan, B. Hickleton, B. McCormack, M. Mellis, C. Black, T. Garner

The Murray Bushrangers fell four points short of a remarkable second half comeback, going down to the ladder-leading Eastern Ranges in a tightly contested game. It was beginning to look elementary for Eastern early on as the Ranges put on 17 scoring shots to Murray’s eight to break to a 27-point half-time buffer. But the third term proved a breakthrough one for the Bushrangers, booting four goals to Eastern’s two to close within striking distance at just 13 points adrift. Another two goals to one was not enough to snatch the win though, with Eastern holding on for its ninth win from eleven games. While Joel Nathan was named best for the winners, Ben Hickleton (eight disposals, four goals) was efficient up the other end alongside Mitch Mellis (22 disposals, seven inside 50s, two goals) to make a profound impact. Zak Pretty matched Mellis’ disposal haul to lead the Ranges in that area, but was beaten out by Murray’s Jye Chalcraft – who led all-comers with 29. Ruckman Will Christie also stood tall with 19 disposals, eight marks, and 25 hit-outs, while Zane Barzen continues to mark everything (nine) and Zavier Maher (15 disposals, one goal) was also serviceable. The Bushrangers, who should cause some headaches for sides above them in the back end of the season, face Northern next for a chance to sneak into the eight, while Eastern hosts Oakleigh in a top four showdown.

 

CALDER CANNONS 4.2 | 9.3 | 10.4 | 17.5 (107)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.0 | 2.0 | 5.5 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS:

Calder: M. Fletcher 4, J. Sutton 2, H. Minton-Connell 2, J. O”Sullivan 2, N. Gentile 2, S. Paea 2, J. Cardillo, C. Brown, N. Stewart.
Dandenong: A. Williamson 3, W. Howe, J. Toner.

BEST:

Calder: J. Cardillo, S. Ramsay, M. Simpson, J. Sutton, C. Brown, N. Gentile
Dandenong: J. Toner, L. Williams, W. Bravo, P. Gerdan, R. Orchard, M. Gregory

Twelve goals at one end helped Calder to a comprehensive 68-point win over reigning premiers Dandenong at RAMS Arena, moving the Cannons above the Stingrays in the top eight. Seven final-quarter goals to nil really compounded the difference as the Cannons entered party mode late on, enjoying the wind advantage after Dandenong had managed three goals to one in the previous term. There simply was not enough firepower for the Stingrays, with bottom-ager Ashton Williamson claiming three of their five goals for the game and the effects of a stripped core showing as players were forced to perform out of position. Jack Toner stood up with 28 disposals and eight marks, while Lachlan Williams (23 disposals, five inside 50s) was good through defence and midfield, and Will Bravo (16 disposals, four marks) was also solid. For the winners, Mason Fletcher was outstanding up forward with his four majors and lead-up marking, while five other Cannons also managed to bag multiple goals. Sam Ramsay was prolific in the engine room with 32 disposals alongside Jackson Cardillo (27, nine tackles), while Curtis Brown (22 disposals, one goal) was effective off half-back and Ned Gentile (23, two) continues to be consistent. Calder will look to climb further up the table in its next fixture against Bendigo, while Dandenong will need to lift if it is to compete with Sandringham next round as both sides welcome back representative players.

 

TASMANIA DEVILS 2.0 | 4.3 | 5.6 | 5.7 (37)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.4 | 3.7 | 6.10 | 9.12 (66)

GOALS:

Tasmania: J. Lane 2, J. Callow 2, R. Mansell.
Bendigo: J. Ginnivan 3, S. Mitchell 3, J. Dick-O’Flaherty 2, J. Rodi.

BEST:

Tasmania: M. McGuinness, J. Callow, O. Davis, O. Shaw, J. Barwick, S. Collins
Bendigo: A. Gundry, S. Mitchell, N. Walsh, J. Ginnivan, W. Wallace, R. Clarke

The Bendigo Pioneers got one back on the Tasmania Devils after a narrow Round 7 loss, this time running out 29-point winners on home turf. It was no easy task for the Pio’s, who overcame a slender half time deficit to run home strong. That came on the back of six goals to one after the main break, with Bendigo well and truly clicking into gear when it mattered most. Bottom-agers Jack Ginnivan and Seamus Mitchell each booted three goals to contribute two thirds of their side’s score, while Jake Dick-O’Flaherty claimed two to round out Bendigo’s multiple goal kickers. Sam Conforti found some good form to collect 24 disposals, while the Pioneer’s fourth goal kicker, Jeremy Rodi, had 23 touches and the James Schischka and Ben Worme again combined for over 45 disposals. Aaron Gundry was named best though for his 17 disposals and 24 hit-outs, while Matt McGuinness claimed the same honour for Tasmania – collecting a game-high 34 disposals, eight marks, and 11 rebounds. Bottom-agers Ollie Davis and Sam Collins were the next best with 19 touches each, while Jackson Callow dominated the air with 18 disposals, eight marks and two goals. With the two sides swapping ladder spots, Bendigo is set to face a firing Calder Cannons side, while Tasmania opens Round 14 against Gippsland.

 

GEELONG FALCONS 2.3 | 3.3 | 5.4 | 6.6 (42)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 5.4 | 10.6 | 14.8 | 20.9 (129)

GOALS:

Geelong: C. Sprague 3, M. Lord, C. Karpala, O. Henry.
Oakleigh: D. Williams 5, J. Ugle-Hagan 4, T. Bianco 2, B. Laurie 2, R. McInnes 2, C. Sharman 2, T. Graham, J. Ayton-Delaney, T. Lovell.

BEST:

Geelong: C. Lazzaro, N. Gribble, C. Fleeton, C. Sprague, H. Whyte, O. Henry
Oakleigh: R. McInnes, D. Williams, J. Ugle-Hagan, T. Bianco, T. Graham, V. Zagari

All of Oakleigh’s top-end guns fired as the Chargers easily accounted for a depleted Geelong Falcons side by 87 points to see out the round. Returning co-captains Dylan Williams (five goals) and Trent Bianco (24 disposals, two goals) were fantastic, with a raft of bottom and top-age talents helping Oakleigh to their big win. Bottom-agers Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (four goals) and Reef McInnes (29 disposals, two goals) did their best to live up to the standard set by Williams and Bianco, with over-ager Thomas Graham (24 disposals, 23 hitouts, one goal) monstrous in the ruck and Kaden Schreiber handball-happy with 25 among his 29 disposals. For Geelong, Charlie Sprague‘s three goals were a shining light, while bottom-agers Charlie Lazzaro (23 disposals, four rebound 50s), Noah Gribble (20 disposals, five marks), Cameron Fleeton (19 disposals, seven marks) and Henry Walsh (11 disposals, 26 hitouts) gave a glimpse of the future. Desperate for form, a meeting with GWV Rebels is next for Geelong, while Oakleigh will be red hot heading into its top four clash with table-toppers, Eastern.

Scouting Notes: NAB League Boys – Round 11

WITH Vic Country enjoying a bye round, there was plenty of top-end talent back to replenish their respective NAB League sides. The usual suspects also pitched in, and with scouts looking at each game, here are our Round 11 scout notes. Each note is the individual opinion of the writer, with the focus on Allies, Vic Country, and Vic Metro squad members, and a few stand-outs.

Tasmania Devils vs. Northern Knights
By: Michael Alvaro

Tasmania:

#3 Oliver Davis

Responded well to being left out of the Allies 23, bouncing back to his usual ball-winning ways as a constant at the stoppages. Provides a good mix of competitiveness going both ways, finding the ball constantly but also tackling hard without it. While he is prolific at winning ground balls, Davis is also often caught, or flicks out handballs to teammates under just as much pressure – keeping the ball locked in at the stoppage. He did show some burst and a willingness to kick forward on occasion – like with his centre clearance in the final term – so has the potential to be more effective. Was the skipper for the day as a bottom-ager, so has some pretty impressive traits already and is quite obviously talented.

#13 Sam Collins

Slotted back into the Tassie side seamlessly alongside Davis, assuming his usual role across half back. Was really impressive with his ability to intercept in the air, possessing a great leap and the courage to position himself in the hole. Collins got to a number of high-balls, spoiling down when he couldn’t get both hands to the ball and hunting at ground level. Was a touch fumbly early on under pressure, and looks most damaging when rebounding in space with long kicks down the line. Positioned well on the corridor side of stoppages in the back half but didn’t win a whole lot of ball there, instead accumulating mostly through kickouts and inside defensive 50. Works really well on the last line to save goals, and is one of the better intercept markers of his draft crop.

#25 Jackson Callow

The strong key forward just keeps on pushing for Allies selection, putting in another fantastic display without totally ripping the game apart. Dominated in the air when the ball came his way, breaking double digits for marks but only managing the one goal – with some polish lacking in front of the big sticks. His best traits are obvious through, and he worked better than anyone up the ground to mark from defensive kick-ins and a target closer to goal. Callow is constantly on the move and always looked to wheel around and move the ball on quickly when in possession – as most forwards prefer. He also made a beautiful pass across the attacking 50 to find a teammate in front of goal early on, hallmarking his all-round class.

Northern:

#4 Jackson Davies

The skipper continues to put in solid shifts for the Knights, again proving to be his side’s best defender. Davies was terrific in the air, sitting in the hole and reading the game better than anyone to pick of much of Tasmania’s forward 50 entires. He had a purple patch early on with three or four intercept possessions, and moved the ball out of defence quickly down the line. His game is relatively simple, but Davies’ ability to leap and clunk intercept marks always proves a valuable asset. He worked well at ground level too, making repeat efforts to lock it up and chasing down an opponent who looked to be charging out the back in the third term. Solid player.

#5 Josh D’Intinosante

The lively midfielder/forward won a fair amount of ball, but couldn’t quite put it all together despite looking likely. Starting in the midfield, D’Intinosante accumulated the contested ball well early, pushing the Knights forward into attacking 50. He found space well to provide a surprising target for kick-ins in the corridor, and showed solid hands overhead. ‘JD’ also put the clamps on his opponents, tackling well but sometimes proving overzealous – as was the case with an in-the-back free kick in the second term. He is constantly a productive and hard worker, but couldn’t quite produce an end product to some nice work at the forward stoppages – missing a few quick-fire shots on goal to register 0.3. If he had a touch more speed, his stoppage work would be fantastic – as shown with a few tap reads and clearances, but he does well with what he has.

#27 Ewan Macpherson

The potential 2020 Bulldogs father-son is enjoying a consistent season, finding a place in the back six. Is often effective as a good user of the ball by foot when exiting the 50, but produced a couple of uncharacteristic clanger kicks early on. Still continued to work and provide an outlet for teammates, spreading into good positions. Like his brother, Darcy, Macpherson also looked strong in the tackle, and laid some hard ones of his own throughout. Made a couple of nice intercepts in the second term off the centre bounces, but looked to have drifted out of the game a touch afterwards.


GWV Rebels vs. Western Jets

By: Joe Lee

Western:

#4 Lucas Rocci

The Jets defensive playmaker was it his offensive best once again, showcasing this via his 24 disposals and 9 rebound 50s. combined with Kellett for 18 rebounds, Rocci was precise with his kicking and dangerous behind the ball, often setting up as a loose man one kick behind the player. His penetrating left boot enables him to generate good purchase on his kick outs and when he combines this with his intercept marking, he’s a complete package. Had one instance in the first quarter where he picked off 3 Rebels forward 50 entries, marking uncontested and moving the ball quickly into the corridor. Did however get easily beaten one on one in the 1st, being out-bodied and out-manoeuvred which is something he can work on

#7 Daly Andrews

The over-age midfielder was one of the Jets’ best, finishing with 27 disposals for the day. Worked hard and spreads well from the contest – Daly racks up big handball numbers, putting his teammates in better positions to make decisions up the ground. Underscored his outstanding breakaway speed from the stoppage late in the third, breaking free and driving the ball in long on his non-preferred. Was very serviceable for the Jets in their winning midfield.

#8 Josh Kellett

The rebounding defender had his best game of the season, capping off his display with 25 disposals and nine rebound 50s. Worked in tandem with Rocci to prevent the Rebels’ forward forays ever eventuating into scores and was a key pillar in the Jets’ back six. Uses the ball well on both feet, often hitting targets down the ground lace out on the lead. Set up a shot on goal with an outstanding contested mark for his size in the fourth, breaking a run of Rebels scores.

#47 Will Kennedy

The over-age ruckman was a dominant force on the ground, racking up 21 disposals, seven marks, 29 hit-outs. Uses his body well and his agility stands out, where in the first quarter he danced around two Rebels opponents and had a shot on goal only for it to fade to the left. Gets back and helps the defenders out, often intercepting bombs into the Rebels 50. Took a fantastic contested mark in the second, only to not carry the distance 40m out. Sprayed another shot on goal from 45m out on the full, highlighting that set shot goalkicking is an area that needs to improve in his game.

GWV:

#7 Mitch Martin

The Vic Country representative responded to his omission with a classy 20 disposals and a goal. Also finished with eight tackles and five inside 50s, highlighting his defensive pressure and offensive nous. Brings a real physical factor to his game, often hitting Jets players hard and making them earn their possessions. Almost set up a Rebels goal in the third with an exquisite handball over his head, showcasing his natural footy smarts.

#14 Liam Herbert

The tough inside midfielder put in a dominant display, showcasing his all-round midfield class with 28 disposals, eight marks, eight tackles and a goal. Was as tough inside the contest as he was out, Herbert’s tackling pressure was omnipotent in tough and scrappy conditions. Won a free kick for holding the ball early in the second but didn’t back himself to kick 50m, giving it off which resulted in minor score. Nailed a set shot 40m out in the 3rd term to breath life into the Rebels. Was a real leader all day and was close to best on ground.


Dandenong Stingrays vs. Murray Bushrangers

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Dandenong:

#20 Sam De Koning

His vertical leap impressed, getting over top in the ruck and marking contests. Proved pivotal through the centre, providing passage with an excellent overhead ability. For the day, he amassed 11 disposals, five marks and eight hit-outs. He only kicked the one behind in his return but is continuing to show great promise as a forward marking option.

#32 Blake Kuipers

Utilised down back, Kuipers displayed strong decision-making and urgency in moving the football. Along with many, the game was one of his weaker for the season. He managed six disposals, two marks, two tackles and three hit-outs, but regardless of his numbers, Kuipers displayed great versatility in the loss.

#50 Lachlan Williams

Damaging overhead. Williams brings a great vertical and read to every marking contest, delivered well on the inside and used well by foot under pressure. Both poised and well-positioned, Williams intercepted defensive exits and countered effectively for a lot of the game. He also nearly took mark of the year over a pack in the third quarter but could not hold it.

Murray:

#5 Cameron Wild

Made his return from Vic Country for the bye and absolutely dominated. Wild recorded a game-high 29 disposals, six marks, six tackles, four inside 50s and four rebounds in his return home. A contested beast, Wild brought solid hands off the deck, absorbed contact, kept his feet and broke through opponents to release by hand. A reliable user by foot, Wild hit his targets well on the run, picks his passes well, and moved down back for the last quarter to aid exiting the ball. A bull on the football, Wild’s return was immense in their victory.

#6 Will Chandler

A classy user and mover, Chandler saw a lot of the footy and affected well by foot. His use going forward was feature, amassing eight inside 50s, making his work look easy under pressure. He positioned well, getting first hands to it and moving well between contests. He showed great contested ability, keeping his feet with strong hands off the deck. He was unlucky in front, kicking three behinds, but impacted the scoreboard well with his entries.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

A hard runner, Chalcraft worked hard between contests and never gave up on the contest. Had an excellent pick-up in the second quarter, taking the ball the second it hit the deck before surging it forward. Reads the play better in close, intercepting, out-positioning and losing his opponents tackles with great acceleration. He finished second to Wild in disposals on 27, alongside three marks, seven tackles and six inside 50s. His pressure work around the centre was first-rate, as was his delivering going forward.


Gippsland Power vs. Oakleigh Chargers

By: Craig Byrnes

Gippsland:

#7 Sam Berry

The in and under bottom ager was one of many relevant players returning to the Gippsland fold and he continued on from where he left off earlier in the season. He is a competitor who does the heavy work on the inside with determination, often getting first hands on the footy cleanly and extracts to advantage. Berry has a physical presence defensively and ensures his opponent doesn’t get an easy touch. I loved his overhead work on Saturday too, taking a great contested mark in the corridor under pressure and backing that up with a leaping effort at half back in the last. One of the better players on the ground finishing with 26 disposals and 5 tackles.

#10 Leo Connolly

Connolly has been building into some good form over the last couple of weeks and Saturday was his best performance at the level. Starting at the first centre bounce, he got his hands on the ball early and his confidence appeared to grow with every quality disposal. He possesses genuine class, highlighted by a superbly executed kick around the corner in the first term that set up a shot on goal. There are times when you can accuse him of trying to take on too much with his brilliant skills, but his decision making was elite and instinctive on Saturday. He finished with 32 touches and it’s great to see him making loud noises again.

#12 Brock Smith

Back on the field after nasty bruising from the first Vic Country fixture saw him miss the Allies clash in Tasmania, Smith returned to his usual defensive post and was at his influential best. While admittedly starting a little rusty by uncharacteristically losing an early one on one and kicking a floater, he quickly took control behind the ball and rarely got passed. A big tackle in the second term earned a free kick which began a chain resulting in a goal, while his composure whether kicking out, intercepting or rebounding from the defensive arc gave his teammates up the ground trust that the ball was coming back to their advantage. Smith finished with 26 disposals, 10 marks and I suspect he’ll be back in the white Vic Country jumper on Friday.

#13 Tom Fitzpatrick

The exciting bottom-age prospect has played numerous positions this season, but started forward on Saturday and produced his best NAB League performance to date. He is explosive, powerful and possesses extreme speed having recorded a 2.86 second 20 metre time earlier in the year. Fitzpatrick looked particular dangerous on the lead early, presenting to the ball and creating separation from his opponent with ease on the flanks. His two goals came behind the contest, the second showcasing that elite pace as he ran into an open goal with no Charger having a chance to catch him. He is really hard to tackle too and has a brutal “don’t argue” fend in his armoury. He is one to keep an eye on.

#15 Ryan Sparkes

This fellow just knows where to find the footy in any position. Starting on the wing, he was composed and had time whenever the ball got in his hands, which was a lot. A little play that took the eye showcased his smarts, winning the ball in a mud patch that had developed in the middle of Morwell Rec Reserve, he calmly side stepped onto solid ground to ensure he had balance and hit a target lace out at half forward. Many would just tumble that forward, but Sparkes considered the situation and executed like it was a training run. He is underrated overhead too, taking a flying intercept mark in the final term, before hitting a laser pass inside 50 that was almost perfect to a difficult target. Another 26 disposals for the Vic Country representative.

#17 Charlie Comben

After a best on ground performance against Vic Metro on the MCG a couple of weeks ago, it is little wonder to see Comben beaming with confidence at the moment. He is looking more capable in the air with every game, whether taking the ball out of the ruck and releasing or attacking the ball in a pack. He took a great contested mark inside 50 in the first term with extreme heat on his back, while his second efforts offensively and defensively are outstanding. He ended the game on the bench with a few other Vic Country players and would be satisfied with another solid outing.

#19 Fraser Phillips

Wow, what a performance by the Warragul junior. He had already provided influential moments up to half time, kicking a set shot goal and producing one of the highlights of the first quarter in weaving through traffic stylishly on the wing and following up to lay a tackle inside 50. But he exploded in the third quarter, being involved in almost every score and kicking three himself. A sharply read intercept and opportunistic left foot snap got things going, before creating space from an I50 stoppage and handballing to a running Harrision Pepper on the outside for a goal assist. Then came the highlight of the game, a superbly executed dribble kick from the boundary that will have recruiters checking the tapes. Another great finish on the run produced his third goal for the quarter and it should have been more had he converted two very gettable late behinds. He earned a down the ground free kick in the final term for a well deserved fifth goal. Huge impact from his 20 disposals, I am looking forward to seeing what he provides for the televised Championships games.

#37 Harrison Pepper

Pepper was another Vic Country player who provided quality output on return. The Hawthorn NGA prospect started behind the footy, winning 20 disposals and beginning many dangerous forward chargers. He often found himself on his non-preferred left side, but rarely wasted a disposal when in that position. Pepper released pressure from the defensive arc with long hits up the ground and stuck some strong tackles when Oakleigh threatened. He won an excellent ground one on one contest in the second term with impressive body use, before getting a smart one metre kick to the advantage of a teammate. He kicked a great goal on the run in the third term, again on his left foot.

Oakleigh:

#27 Josh May

The 195cm midfielder had some nice moments around the stoppages on Saturday, combining sharp hands and a stylish left foot to help keep Oakleigh competitive in the first half. He executed a smart underground handball in the first term and hit an excellent target inside 50 shortly after. He read the hit outs well and uses his height to release, getting his arms high on one occasion in the final term to impressively free up a teammate. On a day where Oakleigh had limited winners, May was solid in his 18 disposal outing.

#30 Sam Tucker

The tall bottom ager doesn’t win huge amounts of the ball in defence, but when he does, something good generally comes of it. He won a brilliantly clean ground ball in congestion during the third term, released and it resulted in a set shot on goal. Tucker also provided a composed kick from deep in the defence arc when Power were hot during that third term, providing a rare moment of relief. Had a tough job matched up on the electrifying Fitzpatrick at times, but held his own.

#73 Cooper Sharman

An overage player making his NAB League debut after producing some excellent performances under Rodney Eade at Balwyn, including a recent three goal best on ground effort against Noble Park. He is a rangy athletic type, standing 190cm and looks to have some flexibility. Sharman started forward and got in dangerous positions at times, before having stints on the ball. He read the stoppages well, often receiving the ball on the outside of the contest to finish with 20 disposals. He looks an interesting type.


Bendigo Pioneers vs. Geelong Falcons

By: Scott Dougan

Bendigo:

#1 Sam Conforti

Conforti laid a terrific smother early on in the first term which ended up resulting in a Geelong turnover and goal for his team. He was efficient by foot and constantly hit targets on both sides of the body. His brilliant opposite foot kick inside 50 to the leading Josh Treacy was one of his top moments on the day. Conforti played throughout the Pioneers’ forward line and midfield, finishing with 13 disposals and five tackles.

#19 Ben Worme

Worme was noticeable from the get first bounce, taking two defensive intercept marks in the space of 30 seconds. He was very reliable by foot and he consistently made the right decisions. Worme was able to hit targets with ease from 40mtrs away and it wasn’t hard to see why the Pioneers wanted the ball in his hand when rebounding out of the back half. Worme was hugely influential, racking up an imposing 26 disposals and seven marks.

#20 James Schischka

Schischka played across half-back and read the play exceptionally well. He was extremely busy in the first term, gathering plenty of disposals along with taking some intercept marks. One of his best passages of play came in the third term when he was able to take a contested mark deep inside defensive 50. He was rock-solid down back and ended being one of the best players on the ground, finishing with 20 disposals and seven marks.

#38 Brady Rowles

Rowles played on the outside of the contest where he would win plenty of uncontested possessions. In the first term, he a took a one-on-one contested mark on the wing and then would use his speed to break away from his opponent before steadying and distributing the ball effectively to a teammate. His composure with ball in hand and ability to take his time before making a final decision impressed. Rowles had a damaging game by foot and had plenty of passages of play that resulted in score involvements for Bendigo. He finished with 15 disposals and seven marks.

Geelong:

#37 Oliver Henry

Henry was terrific in the first term and presented strongly up forward. He took an impressive mark on the lead against Bendigo defender Ben Worme that caught the eye. He would then deliver the ball to a teammate in the forward park who would convert a set-shot attempt. Henry stayed dangerous through the first term but was unable to hit the scoreboard himself. His next three quarters were quiet, but the athletic forward definitely had many positive moments throughout the match.

#46 Henry Walsh

Even though Walsh didn’t win a huge amount of the ball around the ground (finishing with just five disposals), he was able to compete strongly in the ruck. Walsh may still be very light, but his athleticism was definitely on show. He won many convincing hit-outs to the advantage of his teammates and showcased some impressive athletic traits, like a good leap. Walsh finished with 43 hit-outs.


Eastern Ranges vs. Sandringham Dragons

By: Josh Ward

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

Again such a handy player to replace Mitch Mellis. Another strong performance in midfield, gathering a few clearances to go with his 22 touches. Also had 10 tackles and six inside 50s. Yet another strong performance from a man who has performed pretty well this year.

#18 Billy McCormack

In the end, only just won a big battle between him and Jack Bell. Played a massive role up forward, with his marking and disposal use proving crucial as well. Had 23 hitouts to go with two goals in the first half, 19 touches, along with four inside 50’s, four marks and five tackles as well. Looks set for a big second half to the year

#23 Zak Pretty

Another absolutely brilliant performance from him. Continuing on his hot form from the last few weeks, although this game was remarkably the least disposals he collected since Round 2. Only the 24, but still had eight tackles, couple of clearances as well, with 19 of those touches handballs. Continues to increase his stocks.

Sandringham:

#2 Darcy Chirgwin

Was really one of the only shining lights for the Dragons. In his first game back from injury, was absolutely a star in midfield. Collected 32 touches, with 20 handballs as well, five clearances, and 16 tackles, so not a bad return. Look out for him in the second half of the year.

#7 Jackson Voss

Had a pretty decent game out on the wing, helping create a few nice chances during the game as well with his efficiency. In the end though, only got the three inside 50s and two rebounds, but did have six tackles, three marks to go with his 21 touches. Continues a pretty solid season.

#32 Jack Bell

Only just lost what was a pretty big matchup between him and Billy McCormack, but still was pretty good. He did collect 13 touches to go with his 21 hitouts, but only had 1.1, three tackles, two inside 50’s and sometimes was a touch sloppy with his ball use. Will look to bounce back next week, so look out Oakleigh.

NAB League Boys Round 11 wash-up: Ranges go clear first, Jets rocket into top four

ROUND 11 delivered on a top four shake up as Western soared into the placings and Eastern went four points clear atop of the NAB League standings with victory over second-place Sandringham. Meanwhile, Dandenong was upset by a rising Murray side, Northern won on the road, a replenished Gippsland held firm against Oakleigh, and Bendigo got the better of a bottom-three clash. All that, and more in this week’s wash-up.

TASMANIA DEVILS 2.1 | 2.4 | 3.5 | 7.7 (49)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.2 | 3.4 | 6.6 | 8.10 (58)

GOALS:
Tasmania: J. Lane 3, B. Ryan, T. Reeves, P. Walker, J. Callow.
Northern: L. Waldron 2, Z. Costello 2, C. Barbera, S. Philp, H. Ramshaw, N. Kitchell.

BEST:
Tasmania: O. Davis, J. Callow, O. Burrows-Cheng, H. Ireland, P. Walker, O. Shaw
Northern: J. Davies, S. Philp, A. Taylor, E. Macpherson, H. Ramshaw, J. D’Intinosante

Northern Knights broke into the top eight with a nine-point win on the road against the Tasmania Devils, booting their weekend opponents from the traditional finals spot in the process. It was a typical low-scoring slog on the Apple Isle, with the conditions and depleted teams making scoring tough. It showed early on, but after an arm-wrestle of a first half which saw just five goals scored between the sides, Northern kicked clear to a game-defining 19-point lead after the main break with three goals to one. A late Devils surge did little to damage the Knights’ winning position, despite them more than doubling their previous total and outscoring Northern by 10 points to see out the game. Sam Philp and Josh D’Intinosante were again superb with a game-high 30 disposals each, with the former adding a goal and the latter going 0.3 in front of the big sticks. Skipper Jackson Davies was named best for the Knights on the back of his 27 disposals and 10 marks, continuing his partnership down back with bottom-ager Ewan Macpherson (16 disposals, five rebounds). Lorne Waldron and Zane Costello each booted two goals for the visitors, but were beaten out by Tasmania’s Jordan Lane in that regard as he claimed three. Oliver Davis responded well to his Allies omission to collect a team-high 28 disposals, with fellow representative squad member Jackson Callow (16 disposals, 10 marks, 1.2) also prominent. Oscar Burrows-Cheng joined in on Davis’ dirty work with 26 touches of his own, while Patrick Walker was also productive with 25 disposals, nine rebound 50s and a goal. The Devils again host a Metro team at home in Round 12 as they welcome table-toppers Eastern, while Northern is set for a week off with the bye.

 

GWV REBELS 1.3 | 1.7 | 4.7 | 7.9 (51)
WESTERN JETS 3.1 | 4.2 | 6.3 | 9.4 (58)

GOALS:
GWV: C. Giddings, L. O’Brien, C. Nagorcka, L. Herbert, F. Marris, M. Martin, N. Caris.
Western: A. Manton 2, E. Ford, M. Cousins, K. Borg, J. Honey, H. Schumann, N. Reynolds, L. Vidovic.

BEST:
GWV: L. Herbert, M. Martin, R. Polkinghorne, M. Burgess, M. Herbert, N. Stevens
Western: C. Raak, L. Rocci, J. Kellett, L. Phillips, E. Ford, M. Cousins

Western Jets climbed into a top four spot with a narrow win over the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels in the first of two Saturday fixtures at Mars Stadium. The Jets simply continue to put wins on the board, thriving in a typically tough period for sides as stars of the competition complete representative action. They broke out to an early lead on the back of 3.1 to GWV’s 1.3, making the most of their chances with a touch more class than their opponents. The first half continued to prove difficult for the home side as their woes in front of goal wore on with four behinds, but it did not matter for much as they also managed to hold Western to just the one goal. The Rebels found their kicking boots after the main break, but unfortunately still lacked the firepower to run over the top of a firm Western side, going down by just over a goal. Liam Herbert was their best with a game-high 28 disposals to go with eight marks, eight tackles and a goal, with returning Country representative Mitch Martin (20 disposals, one goal) also handy. Riley Polkinghorne was another to rack up the ball with another 26 disposals, as some of the more recognised Rebels ball-winners were a touch quieter. For the winners, Daly Andrews won the most ball (27 disposals), but it was Lucas Rocci (24, nine rebound 50s) and Josh Kellett (25, nine rebound 50s) who proved most effective in possession from the back half. Josh Honey and Eddie Ford each found the goals to also be influential, while Archi Manton was the game’s only multiple goal kicker with two. The Jets will look to hold onto their ladder position against Calder in Round 12, while GWV faces a tough ask next time out against an albeit, down Dandenong Stingrays.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.1 | 5.2 | 7.4 | 10.4 (64)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 3.5 | 6.12 | 8.17 | 13.20 (98)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

GOALS:
Dandenong: J. Neal 2, M. Gregory 2, J. Roysmith, S. Merrick, A. Williamson, B. Welsh, B. Cliffe, J. Stuart.
Murray: R. Bouker 3, D. Bedendo 3, K. Brown 2, C. Wilson, D. Everett, H. Kaak, B. Kelly, J. Cooper.

BEST:
Dandenong: M. Gregory, B. Milford, P. Gerdan, W. Bravo, L. Williams, S. De Koning
Murray: J. Chalcraft, K. Chalcraft, J. Hillary, W. Chandler, C. Wild, D. Bedendo

After suffering a rare loss in Round 10 against the Northern Knights, the Dandenong Stingrays again suffered another loss at home, going down to the Murray Bushrangers by 34 points. After previously going the whole season undefeated, the Stingrays have now suffered consecutive losses. On the other hand, the win bodes well for the rest of Murray’s season – knocking on the door for finals. Despite doubling their scoring attempts in the first, Murray only led by four-points come quarter-time. Their finishing on goal only worsened in the second, adding three goals and seven more behinds. Dandenong boasted a much better conversion rate, but continually proved outgunned in transition. Following the main break, Murray again struggled in conversion, adding five behinds and two goals. Dandenong kept close with two goals, though despite the one goal difference, Murray’s behinds kept them 19 points ahead. In the fourth, Murray fixed their finish. They put away five in the fourth quarter, while Dandenong added three of their own. Despite Dandenong’s efforts, they were simply outclassed through the centre. Bottom-ager, Max Gregory had his best game for Dandenong this season, amassing two goals, 19 disposals, three marks, five tackles and six rebounds, alongside tall, Bryce Milford, who starred down back with 13 disposals and six rebounds. Sam De Koning (11 disposals, five marks and eight hit-outs) and Lachlan Williams (11 disposals, six marks and four inside 50s) also impressed in their return. For Murray, Cameron Wild (29 disposals, six marks, six tackles, four inside 50s and five rebounds) and Jye Chalcraft (27 disposals, three marks, seven tackles and six inside 50s) were immense through the midfield. Jay Hilary starred down back in the win with 16 disposals, eight marks and seven rebounds, while Will Chandler dominated on the opposite end with 15 disposals, three marks and eight inside 50s. In Round 12, Dandenong come up against the Rebels at home in what they will hope to be a more straightforward victory. Murray find themselves in a similar spot, versing second from bottom, Bendigo, in what could be back-to-back wins on the road.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 4.4 | 5.6 | 10.10 | 13.13 (91)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.2 | 4.7 | 4.7 | 6.9 (45)

GOALS:
Gippsland: F. Phillips 5, T. Fitzpatrick 2, H. Pepper, N. Prowd, L. Connolly, M. McGarrity, J. van der Pligt, H. Neocleous.
Oakleigh: A. Tassell, C. Sharman, R. Walsh, T. Lovell, C. Stone, N. Stathopoulos.

BEST:
Gippsland: F. Phillips, B. Smith, L. Connolly, R. Sparkes, H. Pepper, S. Berry
Oakleigh: V. Zagari, F. Maguire, C. Stone, L. Jenkins, T. Lovell, N. Stathopoulos

A Vic Country bye boded well for the Gippsland Power as they climbed into third with a strong win over the dangerous Oakleigh Chargers. After kicking out to a 20-point quarter time buffer, Oakleigh hit back to find themselves just five points down at the main break with 3.5 in the second term. The see-sawing continued though, as the Chargers were held goalless in the next stanza, and could only answer back with 2.2 in the final period to the home side’s powerful eight-goal second half. Four of Gippsland’s best half-dozen were Country representatives, with Fraser Phillips (20 disposals, 5.3) enjoying a day out to lead the lot and earn a Draft Central Player of the Week nomination. Leo Connolly narrowly missed out on that gig with his game-high 32 touches and lone goal, while skipper Brock Smith, Ryan Sparkes, and bottom-ager Sam Berry each had 26 disposals as Gippsland dominated possession. The likes of Tom Fitzpatrick (17 disposals, 2.1), Harrison Pepper (20 disposals, one goal) and Mason McGarrity (18 disposals, 1.4) were others on the verge of having big days. For Oakleigh, whose winning run has snapped, Vincent Zugari was named best for his team-high 22-disposals effort, with Lochlan Jenkins (18 disposals, 10 tackles) and Josh May (18 disposals) working hard in a weakened midfield. Over-aged debutant Cooper Sharman was one who impressed among the raft of Oakleigh changes, collecting 20 disposals and booting a goal. The Chargers will look to get back on the winners list as they clash with Sandringham next time out, while Gippsland faces a Geelong team desperate for form.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS 4.2 | 10.5 | 13.5 | 13.5 (83)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.2 | 3.4 | 5.9 | 7.12 (54)

GOALS:
Bendigo: J. Treacy 4, Z. Murley 2, R. Clarke, S. Mitchell, F. Ellis Castle, A. Cole, J. Dick-O’Flaherty, R. Ironside, R. Wilson.
Geelong: H. Stubbings 2, J. Mullen 2, C. Karpala, M. Annandale, C. Brauer.

BEST:
Bendigo: W. Wallace, B. Worme, J. Treacy, J. Schischka, R. Wilson, N. Walsh
Geelong: H. Walsh, K. Rayner, C. Page, J. Mullen, L. Smith, H. Stubbings

The Geelong Falcons struggled once again against a determined Bendigo Pioneers, going down by 29 points to Bendigo Pioneers in Saturday’s final fixture. The win sees Bendigo do the double over Geelong for the year, with both sides remaining in the bottom three on the back of tough years to date. Fielding a stronger squad compared to recent weeks, Bendigo got on top in the second term with six goals to one, and held on for victory despite going scoreless in the fourth quarter. Vic Country squad members Ben Worme (26 disposals, seven marks, nine rebounds), James Schischka (20 disposals), and Brady Rowles (15 disposals, seven marks) showed their class in the win, with Riley Wilson (20 disposals, one goal) another solid ball-winner, while Josh Treacybooted four goals as the leading forward on the ground. Zavier Murley was the only other Pioneer to find multiple majors across an impressive nine Bendigo goalkickers, while Harry Stubbings and Jack Mullen did the same for Geelong with two each. Henry Walsh enjoyed his best NAB League outing thus far with a monster 43 hitouts to provide the likes of Keidan Rayner (26 disposals, eight inside 50s) with silver service, while Cameron Fleeton (21 disposals) and Lachlan Smith (17) others to again impress. The Falcons face a tough ask in their search for form next week as they face Gippsland, while Bendigo is set to host Murray as both look to climb out of the bottom four.

 

EASTERN RANGES 2.2 | 4.4 | 7.6 | 8.8 (56)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.2 | 3.5 | 5.6 | 5.8 (38)

GOALS:
Eastern: B. Hickleton 3, B. McCormack 2, F. Kroeger, B. White, M. Silvaggi.
Sandringham: J. Bell, J. Goddard, J. Miller, E. Soylemez, J. Mifsud.

BEST:
Eastern: L. Stapleton, B. McCormack, B. Hickleton, T. Edwards, M. Zalac, J. Ross
Sandringham: D. Chirgwin, T. Sheezel, G. Grey, J. Lloyd, J. Mifsud, J. Voss

Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash between Eastern and Sandringham saw little change in terms of ladder position, as the Ranges only strengthened their hold on top spot with an even three-goal win to go four points clear of their weekend opponents. With Eastern holding six and five-point buffers at the first two breaks, the Dragons always looked a chance to come back into the game, but hey were held off well as the Ranges slowly built their lead and kept the dangerous travelling side to just two points in the final term. A difference in firepower ended up being a telling factor, with Ben Hickleton (10 disposals, three goals) and Billy McCormack (19 disposals, 23 hitouts, two goals) stepping up in the absence of Jamieson Rossiter. Jack Bell was the best answer to their efforts for Sandringham up the other end, returning 13 disposals, 21 hitouts and a goal to put his hand up for Metro selection. In the ball-winning stakes, returning Sandringham star Darcy Chrigwin was phenomenal around the ball with a game-high 32 disposals and 16 tackles, with fellow returnee Ryan Byrnes having a steady 21 disposals and Jackson Voss matching his haul in a return to the outside. For Eastern, Jacob Gilbee, Zak Pretty, and Lachlan Stapleton led the possessions but were not named in the best – beaten out by the likes of Tyler Edwards (20 disposals, four inside 50s), Mihaele Zalac (19 disposals, six tackles), and James Ross (15 disposals, five rebound 50s). The Ranges will look to stay top with another win next week against Tasmania on the road, while Sandringham faces Oakleigh in what should be a cracker.