Tag: Tom Rockliff

State Leagues Wrap: Weekend of thrillers

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

Victoria:

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

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

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

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

South Australia:

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

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

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

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

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

Western Australia:

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

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

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

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

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

Queensland:

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

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

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

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

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

Tasmania:

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

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

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

State Leagues Wrap: Teams rising after three rounds of action

THE 2021 season resumed around the national leagues on the weekend with plenty of blowouts and close contests. With three rounds of football in the bank, the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pretenders.

South Australia

In the SANFL, North Adelaide claimed the biggest winning margin of the round as they defeated Norwood 16.15 (111) to 2.7 (19). North Adelaide forward Lewis Hender led the way for his side with six majors from 14 disposals and seven marks, constantly getting the better of his opponents, and tripling the number of goals scored by the opposition side. Teammate Mitchell Harvey chimed in with three goals of his own, while Lee Minervini added a couple of goals to the tally as well. Nick Pedro and Declan Hamilton fought hard for Norwood despite the disappointing deficit.

An inaccurate Sturt side was able to secure its first win of the year, taking down West Adelaide 12.21 (93) to 6.7 (43) on Saturday afternoon. With 20 more scoring shots than their opponents, the margin could have been a lot bigger had Sturt converted more of its shots on goal. Casey Voss (32 disposals, 11 marks and a goal) and James Battersby (33 disposals and eight clearances) found plenty of the ball for the winners while Joshua Patullo kicked a game-high three goals. Tom Lewis could have had a day out, but much like his side, his inaccuracy prevented this. He finished with 20 touches, 10 tackles and 0.5 on the scoreboard. For West Adelaide, Kaine Stevens fought his way to 25 disposals while Isaac Johnson kicked a couple of goals.

Glenelg did not let wayward goalkicking hinder its performance too much, defeating Central District 10.16 (76) to 5.12 (42). Forward Lachie Hosie kicked 3.3 in a typically dangerous performance while ruckman Jack Hannath performed strongly on his way to 16 disposals, six marks and 31 hitouts. For Central District, Ethan East and Justin Hoskin kicked two goals apiece while Harry Grant (25 touches and seven marks) performed admirably through the midfield.

South Adelaide’s strong final quarter helped them get over the line to remain undefeated after three rounds. The 12.9 (81) to 10.12 (72) win over Port Adelaide keeps them at the top of the ladder while Port slip to 1-2 for the season. Former AFL duo Bryce Gibbs (25 disposals and a goal) and Matthew Broadbent (28 disposals) led by example, hurting the opposition with their ability to consistently find the footy, while Liam Fitt and Sam Skinner both kicked three goals for the winning side. Port Adelaide skipper Cam Sutcliffe was as inspirational as ever with 29 disposals and three goals, while Tom Rockliff had 41 touches.

Woodville-West Torrens bounced back from last week’s loss in perfect fashion as they belted Adelaide 24.11 (155) to 11.6 (72). It was a clinical performance from a side that had no passengers. Tyson Stengle and Zane Williams each booted four goals, while ruckman Jack Hayes (33 disposals, ten marks and three goals) and Riley Knight (34 disposals, two goals and 10 clearances) were strong through the midfield. Adelaide ruckman Kieran Strachan had 51 hitouts and was a standout in a disappointing side.

Tasmania

In the TSL, Glenorchy broke away from a brave Lauderdale side in the second half, as they ran away with the win 10.7 (67) to 5.11 (41) at KGV Oval. Glenorchy forward Callen Daly kicked four crucial goals for the victors while midfielder John Geard delivered a best on ground performance in the win. For Lauderdale, full-back Oscar Shaw was influential, keeping his opponent to one goal, while Billy Rolfe kicked two goals from the midfield.

Blundstone Arena hosted its first match since 2019, as home side Clarence held off a comeback from North Launceston to walk away winners 12.1 (73) to 9.8 (62). Clarence kicked remarkably straight as they thrived being back on their home deck for the first time in nearly two years. Oliver Preshaw backed up last week’s three goals with four this week in an impressive display. Baxter Norton and Jack Preshaw were influential through the midfield for all four quarters. For North Launceston, Jack Rushton was excellent in a losing side while Bradley Cox-Goodyer had another three-goal performance.

In the final game of the round, reigning premiers Launceston put the Tigers to the sword in a convincing win of 17.9 (111) to 5.12 (42). Jake Hinds had a best on ground performance through the midfield, kicking three goals while winning plenty of clearances, while Jay Blackberry also kicked three goal while finding a lot of the ball. Up forward Dylan Riley kicked four goals, while Alec Wright was excellent down back. For the Tigers, Micah Reynolds impressed in the backline while Tom Wright kicked two goals.

Queensland

Up in the north of the country, the grounds saw plenty of football action. Palm Beach Currumbin got the job done against Noosa, winning 14.11 (95) to 10.8 (68). Palm Beach defender Matthew Gahan was his side’s best on the day, while Mitchell Johnson kicked four goals for the winners. At the time of publication, Noosa’s stats had not been released.

In a high scoring affair, Labrador did enough to get the win against Redland-Victoria Point, defeating their opponents 16.12 (108) to 12.15 (87). Kicking 6.6 in the first quarter, Labrador set up their win early and never gave the opposition a sniff. Matthew Warren backed up last week’s strong performance with a best on ground effort this week for Labrador. For the visitors, Blair Rubock kicked four goals while ruckman Andy Hollis was his team’s best again this week.

An impressive final quarter from Maroochydore saw them take down Mt Gravatt at home 11.19 (85) to 9.10 (64) as they remain on top of the ladder after the third round of action. Just a four-point game at three quarter time, the home side kicked the final two goals of the game to seal the win. Daniel Fleming and Benjamin Sloan were strong for the victors while Jake Warren was influential up forward, kicking two goals. For Mt Gravatt, Jonah Licht’s four goal haul kept his side in the game and backman Gavin Grose marshalled the troops in defence all day.

Broadbeach were simply too good for Morningside as they turned a two-goal deficit at quarter time into a 13.8 (86) to 4.9 (33) win. The next three quarters saw Broadbeach kick 13 goals to two in what ended up being a one sided affair. Broadbeach wingman Bradley Lowe kicked four goals in a best afield performance while Liam Nelson had another strong performance. For Morningside, ruckman Bradley Hodge battled hard all game.

A clinical performance from Surfers Paradise resulted in a nice percentage boost as they defeated Sherwood Districts 19.14 (128) to 5.10 (40). On top from the opening quarter, Surfers Paradise were unable to be stopped as they kicked their way to the top four. For the winners, Nicholas Hay was once again one of his side’s best performers from centre half back, while up forward Daniel Van De Werken was strong with four goals. For Sherwood Districts, Jack Austin put his all into bringing his side back into the contest.

Western Australia

Over in the west, round three of the 2021 season saw plenty of great football action around the state, starting at New Choice Homes Park, where East Fremantle got the handy win over East Perth 13.10 (88) to 9.9 (63). East Fremantle kicked eight goals in the third term to essentially put the game to bed, and a late East Perth fightback couldn’t get them over the line. Hugh Dixon kicked two for the winning side and was named his team’s best performer. He had plenty of help in teammate Milan Murdock who had 27 disposals and eight marks. Matthew Young fought admirably in a losing side.

Moving to Revo Fitness Stadium, Claremont hosted Perth, and used the home ground to their advantage as they snagged the 16.14 (110) to 12.6 (78) win. Six goals to two in the third term separated the two sides as Claremont’s victory ended up more comfortable than first thought. Jye Bolton’s 33 disposals and eight marks were impressive for the victors, while teammate Harrison Mccracken kicked four goals up forward. For Perth, Brady Grey (31 disposals and seven tackles) can hold his head high despite the result on the scoreboard.

Peel Thunder fell short of a miraculous comeback, defeated by an impressive South Fremantle 11.11 (77) to 14.11 (95). A six goal to two final quarter gave Peel Thunder some hope, but time ultimately beat them. South Fremantle’s Haiden Schloithe was a clear best on ground, kicking three goals to go with his 33 disposals in a dominant display. Playing for Peel Thunder, Connor Blakely will be close to an AFL recall for Fremantle after a 25-disposal performance on Saturday.

Swan Districts proved too good for West Coast, who simply couldn’t get their hands on the ball with 74 less disposals. The Districts dominated play and ran out winners 13.16 (94) to 8.7 (55). Swan Districts’ Matt Riggio was a force with 32 disposals, 15 marks, nine inside 50’s and a goal to clearly find himself best on. Jesse Palmer kicked 4.4 and was looking dangerously close to a day out. For West Coast, AFL listed Brayden Ainsworth’s 32 disposals should keep him in contention for selection at the next level.

The final game of the round delivered an absolute thriller, with Subiaco dragging themselves over the line against West Perth to win 14.10 (94) to 14.7 (91). In the closest game this weekend, West Perth kicked five final quarter goals, but just couldn’t make the last step to snatch the win. Subiaco’s Gregory Clark was immense with 37 disposals, eight tackles and a goal to lead his side to the narrowest of victories. Ben Sokol and Jordan Faraone each walked away with a bag of four. For West Perth, Tyler Keitel’s four goals nearly proved to be the match winner.

State Leagues Preview: Action continues as Round 3 kicks off

WITH football season in full flight as teams hit the deck for Round 3, competitions across Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia prepare for a big weekend of action. Meanwhile, the revamped Victorian Football League (VFL) begins.

South Australia

The round will kick off on Friday night, as Norwood attempt to keep their undefeated streak going against a North Adelaide side searching for its first win. Fresh off a convincing 19-point win against Sturt, Norwood will only find themselves boosted by the return of star Richard Douglas, who missed the Round 2 clash for personal reasons. Keep an eye on experienced midfielder Matthew Nunn as he will look to continue his blistering start to the year, averaging 31 disposals and nine tackles over his first two games. North Adelaide have flagged a potential debutant, naming Kaine Mercovich on the extended bench. The former Port Fairy midfielder has been highly touted since making the move to the Roosters, and with an injury to Frank Szekely, crisis creates opportunity.

Another undefeated side in South Adelaide will be clashing with Port Adelaide at Flinders University Stadium on Saturday. After smashing the Crows in Round 1 and taking care of North Adelaide last week, the Panthers are looking hard to stop, but the Power have proved themselves capable. Ex-Richmond Tiger Fraser Turner has once again been named on the extended bench for a debut. The 20-year-old Tasmanian utility was named in the same position last week but couldn’t crack into the side. A team with hot form, don’t be surprised if the Panthers go in unchanged. Port will regain midfield duo Sam Powell-Pepper and Tom Rockliff, who returns from concussion. Talented ruck Sam Hayes will be one to watch, as he continues to press for selection at higher level.

With both sides looking for their first win of the year, expect a tense clash between Sturt and West Adelaide on Saturday afternoon. Tasmanian talent Jared Dakin and highly touted ruckman Hamish Allan have been named as possible debutants for Sturt. The 205cm Allan has been named in the ruck which is a promising sign for the 20-year-old, while Dakin is found on the interchange. West Adelaide’s chances will be boosted by the return of star midfielder Kaine Stevens, who returns from injury to play his first game of the season. Young gun Bailey Chamberlain has also been named as a potential inclusion.

Central District will attempt to prevent Glenelg from starting the season 3-0 in this round’s clash. Central could unleash a number of debutants, with local talent Rhys Cannizzaro and mature ager Billy Iles both named on the extended bench. Last week’s inclusions Brett Kennedy and Ben Nason were named in the reserves. For Glenelg, a young trio of Will Chandler (19-years-old), Brady Searle (19) and Brodie Newman (20) have been named on the extended bench, but expect Glenelg to go in unchanged.

With both teams sitting on 1-1 after two rounds, the Woodville-West Torrens Eagles and the Adelaide Crows will both be desperate to get a win and move up the ladder. A former Tiger and Crow at AFL level, goalsneak Tyson Stengle has been named for the Eagles for the first time since he was drafted. He will replace Troy Menzel who misses with concussion. Pick 25 in last year’s AFL draft, Brayden Cook will debut for Adelaide in this week’s match against the Eagles. The medium forward/wingman has overcome his shoulder issues and should put on a show in his SANFL debut.

 

Tasmania

Glenorchy will be looking to bounce back after a defeat at the hands of Clarence, and Lauderdale will be the perfect target. Lauderdale were taken down by the Tigers last weekend and will be looking to recover with a win as well, so some good footy is on the cards. Glenorchy welcome back Daniel Joseph into the lineup, as the backman replaces Bayley Bester. Fresh off a five goal haul, expect Ben Kamaric to receive some close attention from the opposition. Lauderdale will be without star recruit Allen Christensen who tore his hamstring in last week’s match. Lincoln Arnold has been named to replace him, fresh off a best afield performance in the development league last week.

Clarence return to Blundstone Arena for the first time since 2019 to take on last year’s runners up North Launceston. The ground had shut its doors for the entirety of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Roos forced to host their games at Richmond. Clarence have made two changes, with defender James Holmes and Jason Bailey replacing Keegan Wylie and the injured Colin Garland. Dangerous forward Oliver Preshaw should again cause opposition defenders headaches. North Launceston will be without utility Thomas Donnelly who has been selected to play in North Melbourne’s VFL side this weekend but expect a close game regardless with both teams stacked with talent.

The best match of the round might be saved until last, as last year’s premiers Launceston host the currently undefeated Tigers at Windsor Park. Launceston will be refreshed after having the bye in Round 2, while the Tigers will be eager to ride their momentum forward and take home a third consecutive win. Both sides will head into the clash undefeated, with coaches satisfied with their talent all over the ground. Jake Hinds and Miller Hodge helped the Blues gain midfield dominance in the first round, while Dylan Riley is expected to hurt the opposition once again on the scoreboard. But can the Blues stop Tigers gun Elijah Reardon? Named on the half back flank, Reardon has started the season in blistering form and will be hard to contain.

 

Western Australia

The Easts go to war as East Fremantle and East Perth clash at New Choice Homes Park for Round 3. East Fremantle fell to the in-form Subiaco last weekend, and East Perth were embarrassed, losing to Peel Thunder by 105 points. Both teams are desperate for a bounce-back of some sort and it will come for one side on Saturday afternoon. East Fremantle could go in unchanged, with all four ins named on the extended interchange. Keep an eye on Luke Strnadica, the Sharks ruckman had an unbelievable match last week, finishing with 23 disposals and 48 hitouts despite the loss. East Perth have also named their inclusions on the extended bench, but with six ins to replace two outs, expect at least two changes. Jackson Ramsey will miss this week’s matchup after gathering 28 disposals last week, as will Corey Watts.

Claremont are sitting pretty in second place at 2-0 and will host Perth this weekend as they continue the hunt for top of the ladder. Perth’s Round 1 win was soon forgotten as they were smashed by Swan Districts the following week, and they face a tough task against Claremont on Saturday. Following 27 disposals in the reserves last weekend, teenager Anthony Davis slots straight into the lineup at centre half-forward for Claremont, replacing Oliver Eastland. Anton Hamp is the only other out for Claremont, as the remaining ins are yet to be determined. Ruckman Christian Eyres returns for Perth, as the magnets are moved following the disappointing loss.

South Fremantle and Peel Thunder will do battle, with only one side able to emerge with their second win of the year. Inaccuracy cost South Fremantle last round, as they were defeated by Claremont, while Peel Thunder are on a high following their 105-point demolition of East Perth. Ruckman Hamish Free is the only confirmed change for East Fremantle, replacing the massive gap left by Brock Higgins, who has been confirmed to miss. Jason Maskos will join him on the sidelines. Key forward Mason Shaw will look to back up his five-goal effort last weekend. At the time of publication, Peel Thunder had not listed its side.

West Coast have started the season 0-2 and will be desperate to improve that record against a Swan Districts side fresh off a 50-point victory against Perth. West Coast have a huge seven confirmed ins to try and achieve this goal. AFL regulars Mark Hutchings and Brendon Ah Chee are sure to contribute, but they lose plenty of talent too – the two biggest being Zac Langdon and Alex Witherden, who have earned an AFL recall. Swan Districts’ high profile recruit Lewis Jetta will miss this weekend’s clash, as will Jesse Turner, who had 27 disposals last round. Sam Fisher had 41 disposals last weekend and is sure to find plenty of the ball again.

West Perth have arguably the toughest task in the competition this week, as they find themselves tasked with slowing down the Subiaco juggernaut that is currently smashing through teams. Subiaco sit on top of the ladder with a massive 28 per cent leg up on second place. West Perth could be the team to bring them back down to earth, riding the momentum of last week’s 78-point win against West Coast. They may enter this weekend’s huge clash with no changes, as none have been confirmed yet. Tyler Keitel’s six goal game last weekend has seen him named at full forward, while Aaron Black has been named on the wing, fresh off a 43-disposal outing. For Subiaco, Jordan Lockyer returns to line up at centre half back, having missed last week’s game. Apart from that, expect a relatively unchanged Subiaco side.

 

Queensland

Noosa will resume their season following the bye last weekend, while Palm Beach Currumbin will be keen to improve on last week’s disappointing loss to Morningside. Named his side’s best in last week’s loss, the Lions’ Corey Joyce has been once again named on ball and will be one to watch this week. The same can be said for Ben Mcinneny, who performed admirably last week. For Noosa, forward Aaron Wilson will be hoping to replicate his bag of four goals in Round 1, while Cory Lobb, who was named best afield for Noosa in their first match, will be looking to marshal his fellow backmen.

Redland-Victoria Point began their season in style with a 58-point win, while Labrador could not keep up with Broadbeach, and were eventually defeated by 32 points. Labrador have plenty of talent such as Andy Hollis and Thomas Reeves, so don’t count them out yet. Redland-Victoria Point are in form though, and with stars such as ruckman Matthew Waters and Joshua Brown, it will be a hard task to slow them down.

Maroochydore’s 100-point win over Wilston Grange has found them on top of the ladder heading into this round. It was a clinical display, dominating their opponents all over the ground. This round, they take on Mt Gravatt, who were able to do just enough to take down Sherwood Districts and record their first win of the year. Will they be able to contain Mitchell Scholard, who kicked an astonishing 11 goals last round? Mt Gravatt ruckman Craig Malone will be looking to produce another best afield performance like his previous outing.

Broadbeach were able to take care of business in last round’s action, defeating Labrador by 32 points to grab their first win. Their opponents for this week, Morningside, stormed home against Palm Beach Currumbin to win by 43 points. Both sides will be eager to prove themselves and start the season 2-0. Nick Colenso will bring the scoreboard presence for Broadbeach after a five-goal game last round, while Sam Godfrey will be hoping for plenty of space out on the wing to run and carry. For Mornington, Jordan Moncrieff kicked five goals in last week’s win and will be looking to do something similar against Broadbeach.

Surfers Paradise fell to a rampant Redland-Victoria Point last round, despite putting up 96 points themselves. They will host Sherwood Districts this Saturday, who will also be looking to bounce back after failing to withstand a Mt Gravatt second half surge. Sherwood will be well led in the midfield by Luca Winton, who was everywhere last weekend, and will have plenty of options up forward in Kobe Tozer and Alexander Mitchell. Surfers Paradise won’t be short of talent themselves, with Jack Prestegar providing the dash off half back and Jack Yelland fighting for the ball in the middle.

 

Victoria

The revamped Victorian Football League (VFL) kicks off on the weekend, with plenty on the line as players put their best foot forward and vie for a senior list position. With the league now encompassing all clubs across the east coast of Australia, 22 teams will ply their trade this season across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Friday sees Richmond host Sandringham in the season opener as two standalone clubs in Frankston and Coburg go head-to-head in the evening, with six matches played on Saturday including the first few cross-border encounters with Footscray and Gold Coast Suns, Aspley and Port Melbourne, and Brisbane Lions and Essendon taking the field. Three matches complete the opening round on Sunday, with a couple of Melbourne bigmen looking to prove they’ve shaken off injury concerns and are capable of stepping up to AFL duties.

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: East Fremantle vs. Murray Bushrangers

OUR next All-Star Team battle makes for an intriguing semi final clash, set to play out between a West Australian talent factory, and a powerhouse Victorian region in East Fremantle and the Murray Bushrangers respectively. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were West Coast Eagles champion Ben Cousins (East Fremantle) and current Collingwood star, Steele Sidebottom (Murray).

These clubs are seeded first (East Fremantle) and fourth (Murray) respectively, as the seed gap between each side closes with each passing fixture. The proposed Bushrangers squad outvoted Sturt, the Oakleigh Chargers and Northern Knights, while East Fremantle’s path to this stage came through the Calder Cannons and Sandringham Dragons after a first round bye. The winner will qualify for the Grand Final, set to face either the Port Adelaide Magpies or Geelong Falcons.

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TALKING POINTS

THE MIDFIELD BATTLE:

This one should be fairly straightforward, as East Fremantle arguably boasts the strongest starting midfield group in the draw. With Brownlow medalists and AFL premiership players, Cousins and Simon Black joined by current Carlton co-captain Patrick Cripps at the centre bounces, it’s hard to see any side beating that kind of balance through the engine room. Cripps provides the inside grunt, while Black is the silk, and Cousins the gut-running accumulator. Fremantle champion Paul Hasleby has even been pushed out to a wing, partnering the late Chris Mainwaring.

That’s not to say that Murray lags in the midfield department, with David Mundy, Clayton Oliver, and Tom Rockliff no slouches by any stretch. Add the running power of Sidebottom and dynamism of Brett Deledio on the outer, and you have a seriously talented group. While we would still take the Sharks’ starting centre bounce trio, what really sets them apart in this matchup is their depth. Not only have Elliot Yeo (half-back) and Andrew Swallow (half-forward) been squeezed out to the flanks, but the likes of Daniel Kerr, Shane Woewodin, Dom Cassisi, and Shaun McManus also remain on the interchange. Murray would be able to rotate Jack Ziebell and Steve Johnson through from the forwardline, but that kind of firepower is near-impossible to match.

You could hardly build a better midfield core if you tried than what East Fremantle lays claim to, so the Sharks clearly get the points in this midfield battle. With a balance of class, grunt, endurance, and depth, it’s everything you could ask for.

THE KEY POSITION STOCKS:

As has been the case with many of Murray’s matchups, its starting key position spine is arguably weaker than the opposition offering, but depth seems to give the Bushies a deal of versatility which cannot be matched. East Fremantle lays claim to Luke McPharlin and Harry Taylor down back, with Paddy Ryder accompanying Josh J. Kennedy up forward, and Aaron Sandilands taking on the ruck duties. Bigman Darren Bennett also features in the forward pocket, potentially able to fill Ryder’s spot once the Port player gives Sandilands a chop-out on the ball. With McPharlin and Taylor also know to swing forward at times, the Sharks have a pretty handy rotation, with Cale Hooker also in the mix.

But Murray’s may well be better through a sheer weight of options. Where East Fremantle may struggle for numbers, the Bushrangers thrive, able to fit a bunch of pieces to its key position puzzle. Ben Reid and Alipate Carlile make up the defensive pairing, while Barry Hall and Jarrad Waite are a solid forward combination. Add Fraser Gehrig and ruckman Steven King to the mix, and the spine is quite good. The difference makers come from the bench though, with Ben McEvoy and Justin Koschitzke both able to plug gaps through the ruck or up either end, while Sam Reid could also prove a handy swingman – much like his brother.

By way of its diversity and superior range of options, Murray takes out the key position battle overall, even if East Fremantle’s starters arguably hold a slight edge.

SUMMARY:

To cut a long story short, we’re backing our first seed to qualify for the Grand Final. As one of the most prolific producers of high-level West Australian talent, East Fremantle simply boasts too much class for many sides to handle. Murray matches up well, and may even get ahead in some areas, but would not be able to match the Sharks where it matters most, in midfield. They’re strong everywhere else too, and will be difficult to top in the decider.

Which All-Star Team are you picking?
East Fremantle Sharks
Murray Bushrangers
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Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Murray Bushrangers vs. Northern Knights

OUR next All-Star Team battle makes for another intriguing quarter final clash, set to play out between Victorian regions, in the Murray Bushrangers and Northern Knights. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were current Collingwood star, Steele Sidebottom (Murray) and the AFL’s games record holder, Brent Harvey (Northern).

These clubs are seeded fourth (Murray) and fifth (Northern) respectively, as the gap closes to its narrowest margin yet in our overall draw. The proposed Bushrangers squad outvoted Sturt and the Oakleigh Chargers, while Northern’s path to this stage came through Norwood and Swan Districts. The winner will qualify for the semi finals, set to face either East Fremantle or the Sandringham Dragons.

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TALKING POINTS

THE REBOUNDERS:

Both defences are stacked, as one would come to expect at this stage of the draw, with rebounding quality a clear strength across either back six. The Stingrays are well stocked in the running department, as flankers Jack Crisp and Jarrod Harbrow are supported by Joel Smith and Zac Williams on the last line. While Harbrow and Williams possess pure pace to break the lines, Smith and Crisp are reliable users by foot who can create in transition. Add the endurance of Sidebottom and power of Brett Deledio up on either wing, and there threatens to be some serious force behind Murray’s attacking play.

But the Knights are also well stocked, with the Shaw brothers – Rhyce and Heath – both sure to generate some forward momentum out of defensive 50. Fellow former Magpie Ben Johnson has a weaponous left peg, while Chris Johnson provides a good balance to the back six alongside Dylan Grimes, and Nick Vlaustin off the bench. Further afield, the likes of Leigh Montagna, David Zaharakis, and Brent Stanton will run all day between the arcs, with Paul Licuria another who accumulates with ease.

Ultimately, it’s clear both sides have serious run in their legs, particularly in defence. But given Northern’s elite runners further afield allow for a greater balance in the defensive setup, we give the Knights a big tick in that third of the ground.

THE KEY POSITION STOCKS:

Northern’s spine has an ominous look about it, propped up by four formidable key position starters. Collingwood fans would get a good hit of nostalgia seeing Simon Prestigiacomo and Anthony Rocca line up at opposite ends, accompanied by Michael Hurley and Lance Whitnall respectively. In terms of starting stocks, particularly in defence, the Knights arguably have Murray covered. Jarrad Waite and Barry Hall stack up well inside forward 50, with Ben Reid and Alipate Carlile up the other end for the Bushrangers.

However, the country region seems to gain an edge in terms of depth, laying claim to some high level bench depth. Ben McEvoy and Justin Koschitzke, who can both rotate through the ruck or at either end of the ground, make for sound back-up, along with Fraser Gehrig hidden in the forward pocket. The ruck duel between Murray’s Steven King and Northern’s Matthew Kreuzer is difficult to split, so it seems Murray has the greater weight of options in the tall department.

THE DEEP MIDFIELDS:

As is the case with almost every side seeded in the top 10, the midfields run deep. Northern’s centre bounce starters jump off the page, with Adam Simpson at the core alongside Trent Cotchin and Marcus Bontempelli. Murray’s selection of David Mundy, Clayton Oliver, and Tom Rockliff is solid in its own right, but doesn’t quite compare to what the Knights have to offer. On the outer, Sidebottom and Deledio ensure Northern’s Montagna and Licuria will be in for a tough day at the office, while the options of Jack Ziebell and Steve Johnson linger up forward. Northern also has options, with Harvey and Josh Caddy among those able to add a spark when required. This is a tough one given Murray’s range of options once again, compared to the weight of elite talent on Northern’s side.

SUMMARY:

As the rankings would suggest, there is hardly anything to split these two sides. Northern was a prolific talent region throughout the 90s and early-2000s, hence why so many of their All-Stars are already household names. Murray has long been a hotbed of talent as far as regional areas go, and it clearly shows in its well-balanced, well-stocked side. In a flip of the coin, and given the areas touched on above, I am taking Northern.

Which All-Star Team are you picking?
Murray Bushrangers
Northern Knights
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Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Murray Bushrangers vs. Oakleigh Chargers

OUR next All-Star Team battle is between two Victorian clubs, in the Murray Bushrangers and Oakleigh Chargers. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Collingwood midfielder, Steele Sidebottom (Murray Bushrangers) and West Coast counterpart, Luke Shuey (Oakleigh Chargers).

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded fourth (Murray) and 13th (Oakleigh) respectively, forming another Round of 16 clash in our draw. The winner will qualify for the quarter finals, set to face the winner of Northern Knights and Swan Districts.

STRENGTHS:

Where do you start with the Bushrangers? The balance they have across the field is ridiculously good. They have a nice balance of midfielders, plenty of depth at key positions, and a plethora of hard and skilful midfielders. That is before you get to a forward line containing Fraser Gehrig, Barry Hall and Jarrad Waite who provide a three-prong attack to die for. The midfield of Sidebottom, Clayton Oliver, David Mundy, Tom Rockliff and Brett Deledio is just perfect for matching up on any other midfield.

The Chargers have an elite midfield that bats really deep, from the inside talents of Jack Macrae and Dan Hannebery with Marc Murphy, to the outside run of Shuey and Andrew Gaff. The forward line is damaging with the likes of Robbie Gray, Toby Greene, Jordan De Goey and Jack Billings joining Luke Power. With Darcy Moore as centre half-back and Josh Gibson coming across as the third tall, the defence should have great intercepting ability, whilst Todd Goldstein will control the ruck.

The battle of the midfields would be unbelievable, though the Bushrangers would back their defence in against a dynamic Chargers’ forward line.

WEAKNESSES:

There really is not one on paper for the Bushrangers. Genuinely their depth goes beyond the squad of 24, with the initial team featuring Josh Fraser who could also come in and replace one of the rucks going around. The only question mark might be the durability of some players with the Reid brothers – Ben and Sam – as well as Jamie Elliott and Justin Koschitzke all having their injury troubles over the years.

The Chargers lack a little in defence, with Bret Thornton the second best key position player, and the depth for small defenders being a little weaker than other sides. Their forward line is undersized, though still provides X-factor, but would need to use the ball well with a lack of height in there.

SUMMARY:

In this match-up you would expect the Bushrangers to stretch the Chargers’ backline, but at the same time, the speed of the Chargers forward line would trouble the taller defenders there, meaning there is every chance one of the Bushrangers’ key position stocks would drop out and a small come in.

Which team would you pick?
Murray Bushrangers
Oakleigh Chargers
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Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Murray Bushrangers vs. Sturt Double Blues

OUR next All-Star Team battle is one between a Victorian club and a South Australian club, in the Murray Bushrangers and Sturt. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Steele Sidebottom (Murray Bushrangers) and Brodie Grundy (Sturt).

TEAMS:

Murray Bushrangers enter the All-Star Team of the AFL Draft Era series knockout tournament as fourth seeds and one of the teams to beat. They have a really well-balanced side, and while Sidebottom was voted captain, there are so many options in the side to have earned that nod. For Sturt, the Double Blues have some elite players, but not quite the same depth as the Bushrangers, coming in seeded at 29th.

STRENGTHS:

Much like Port Adelaide Magpies yesterday, where do you start with the Bushrangers? The balance they have across the field is ridiculously good. They have a nice balance of midfielders, plenty of depth at key positions, and a plethora of hard and skilful midfielders. That’s before you get to a forward line containing Fraser Gehrig, Barry Hall and Jarrad Waite who provide a three-prong attack to die for. The midfield of Sidebottom, Clayton Oliver, David Mundy, Tom Rockliff and Brett Deledio is just perfect for matching up on any other midfield.

The Blues have a couple of A-grade quality players led by Grundy who at his best is the top ruckman in the competition. He acts a fourth midfielder, and alongside Todd Viney and Scott Russell, would do well around the stoppages. They have a bit of X-factor in the side with Chad Wingard and Angus Monfries, while Brenton Sanderson and Martin Mattner provide some run off half-back.

WEAKNESSES:

There really is not one on paper for the Bushrangers. Genuinely their depth goes beyond the squad of 24, with the initial team featuring Josh Fraser who could also come in and replace one of the rucks going around. The only question mark might be the durability of some players with the Reid brothers – Ben and Sam – as well as Jamie Elliott and Justin Koschitzke all having their injury troubles over the years.

Depth is definitely a concern for Sturt, with the team just lacking the quality around the ground. Many of the players were solid contributors to their respective teams, but in one-on-one matchups with their Bushrangers opponents, there are not too many you would mark down as a win.

SUMMARY

Murray Bushrangers would be the dark horse to take out the overall competition, with such a well-balanced team, and it is expected that they move through here.

Which All-Star Team would you vote for?
Murray Bushrangers
Sturt Double Blues
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Draft Central All-Star Team: Murray Bushrangers

THE Murray Bushrangers could be the most balanced All-Star side of the entire exercise. There are quite literally no weaknesses in the side, and plenty of depth, with an almost perfectly balanced 24-player squad. If anything there might be a touch too much height, but that height has flexibility, and with a balance of hardness, class and midfielders who can slide back or forward, this team would be incredibly hard to beat.

THE TEAM:

Looking across the 24-player squad and it is madness in terms of the balance. A number of talls are capable of playing up either end, they have a couple of 200-game rucks, and then a nice combination of inside and outside midfielders who rotate forward or back. A key forward trio that could worry nearly any opposition side and then some more talls and smalls coming off the bench to impact, it is a coach’s dream.

DEFENCE:

Starting with the defence, picking two key position defenders was difficult. In the end, the best of Ben Reid locks down the centre half-back position given his dominance prior to injury, and then teaming up with Alipate Carlile who will make his opponent accountable, is a good combination. If the opposition is taller, they could throw Jarrad Waite down there, or even Sam Reid or Justin Koschitzke who start on the bench but can play across all three lines.

While Reid, Carlile and the others are not overly quick, they don’t need to be, because you just have to look at the mediums and smalls surrounding them. Joel Smith is the reliable back pocket who is often underrated but won two All-Australian awards and a best and fairest, standing as the only past player of the four small-medium types. Alongside him is Gold Coast’s Jarrod Harbrow, Collingwood’s Jack Crisp and GWS GIANTS’ Zac Williams.

They might not have the accolades between them that others have – just Harbrow’s one best and fairest – but everyone can picture the elite ball use coming off half-back as well as the speed going down the field. If the opposition has a dangerous small forward, then Ben Matthews can come on playing as a defender or midfielder off the bench.

MIDFIELD:

Picking a starting five group of onballers is not an easy task in this side, and even changed right up to the point of publishing. The ones who simply have to be there are Steele Sidebottom – who was voted the Best Player of the AFL Draft Era by you, the public, on our Instagram channel – and Brett Deledio on the wings – with three All-Australians and four best and fairests between them – as well as David Mundy onball as the Bushrangers’ games record holder at AFL level with 316. He also has an All-Australian and best and fairest to his name, and has broken Richmond hearts twice in the last 30 seconds of the game – including once after the siren.

The final two midfield spots were given to Brisbane-turned-Port Adelaide midfielder Tom Rockliff who has put in a body of work over the years and earned two best and fairests and an All-Australian. Joining him for the final spot is Clayton Oliver who is yet to reach 100 games, but has two best and fairests and an All-Australian to his name. Daniel Cross was one who initially was battling with Oliver for the spot, but the upside of Oliver is phenomenal and he earns a place in the side. Even the ruck spot has depth with Steven King the standout thanks to an All-Australian and two best and fairests in 240 games, ahead of Josh Fraser who played more than 200 matches after being a number one pick.

Also able to rotate through midfield is Jack Ziebell and Adem Yze who find their way into the team off half-forward flanks, whilst Crisp and Williams can float through there too. Many of those midfielders – particularly Sidebottom and Deledio can also spend time forward and hit the scoreboard.

FORWARD:

If you thought the talent slowed by the forward six, you would be wrong. The talls of Barry Hall, Fraser Gehrig and Waite might look too top-heavy, but they are countered by the mediums and smalls of Ziebell, Yze and Steve Johnson. The latter might even have a case for the best medium forward of the modern era, winning three All-Australians, a Norm Smith and booting 516 goals in 293 games. But this forward line is so strong he only comes in as the third highest goal kicker.

The top honour belongs to Hall with 746 goals in 289 games, ahead of Gehrig with 549 from 260. Between them they have six All-Australians, two Colemans and a best and fairest. Add in Waite with a casual 377 goals and imagine the former Blue and Roo taking the third best defender each week. Whilst Ziebell and Yze could push into the midfield, both can play deep or high as forwards, making them unique goal scoring options.

Throw to the bench, and aside from Fraser and Koschitzke who could roll down there, Sam Reid and Jamie Elliott provide another tall and small option inside 50. Elliott in particular provides some dynamic play in the air or at ground level as that small forward with great pace and hurt factor. Ben Reid is one who can be thrown forward – as shown in recent years – to further stretch the defence.

DEPTH:

The most unlucky one is Ben McEvoy who could squeeze onto the bench in exchange for Fraser. One might have already been impressed by the depth, but there were a number of solid role players who have carved out 100-game careers such as Shaun Atley (197 games), Sam Wright (136), Taylor Duryea (132) and Shannon Byrnes (131). If any of King or Fraser go down, the Bushrangers have some great depth in the ruck position that would make any other side in this All-Stars series envious thanks to Hamish McIntosh and Robbie Campbell. The remaining 100-gamers to miss out include Jarman Impey, Kayne Pettifer and Sam Rowe, with Impey a chance to force his way in if he continues his consistent work now with the Hawks.

South Australian weekly wrap: SANFL – Round 11

IT took two weekends to complete, but the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Round 11 results are in the books with plenty of standout performances across the board. While many of the top-end talented Under 18s were representing South Australia at the AFL Under 18 National Championships, there was still both under-age and mature-age talent on show, including some serious numbers from AFL-listed players.

Round 11 – League:

NORWOOD 13.9 (87) defeated by WWT EAGLES 22.9 (141)
GLENELG 19.9 (123) defeated CENTRAL DISTRICT 7.12 (54)
STURT 3.5 (23) defeated by ADELAIDE 6.8 (44)
NORTH ADELAIDE 6.6 (42) defeated by PORT ADELAIDE 13.6 (84)
WEST ADELAIDE 5.10 (40) defeated SOUTH ADELAIDE 9.14 (68)

Adelaide and Glenelg moved further at the top of the SANFL League table over the split Round 11, defeating Sturt and Central District respectively. Port Adelaide jumped into fourth spot with a win over North Adelaide to replace the Redlegs in the position, after Norwood suffered a shock heavy loss to Woodville-West Torrens Eagles at home. Angus Poole caused all sorts of headaches for the Redlegs, booting 4.1 from his 22 disposals, five marks and three tackles, while Christopher Hall had a day out with 29 disposals, four clearances and two goals. Bradley McKenzie did all he could for Norwood in the disappointing match, racking up a game-high 31 touches to go with his 11 marks and four tackles. In Glenelg’s big win over lowly Central District, former AFL forwards, Jesse White and Liam McBean combined with White having a day out up the field with 21 disposals, four marks, six clearances and a goal, while McBean booted 6.1 from 14 touches, five marks and four tackles. Marlon Motlop showed his class with a dominant 35-disposals, eight-clearance, six-mark and two-goal game to be best afield. Jarrod Schiller was the best for the Bulldogs, amassing 26 disposals, five clearances and laying nine tackles. Patrick Wilson continued his great season with the hope of a call-up to Adelaide’s senior side, laying a whopping 22 tackles to go with his 23 touches, eight marks and four clearances, while former AFL forward Matthew Wright recorded 23 touches, seven tackles, five clearances and a goal. For Sturt, Sam Colquhoun (25 disposals, 10 clearances and 11 tackles) and James Battersby (20 disposals, five clearances and 13 tackles) tried hard throughout. If we’re talking AFL recalls, then none put their hand up more than a trio of Port Adelaide players. Tom Rockliff had a lazy 57 disposals – not a typo – as well as 14 clearances, 12 tackles and seven marks, while Justin Westhoff picked up an impressive in his own right, 37 disposals, nine marks, six tackles, four clearances and three goals, as Sam Powell-Pepper also impressed with 33 disposals, four marks, five tackles and three clearances. Aidan Tropiano was the best for the last placed Roosters, recording 29 disposals, six marks, seven tackles and seven clearances in the loss. In West Adelaide’s home loss to South Adelaide, Dallas Willsmore produced an impressive performance with 29 touches, 10 marks and three tackles, but it was the consistency of the Panthers midfield, including Mark Noble (24 disposals, six marks, six tackles, three clearances and a goal) and Malcolm Karpany (22 disposals, seven marks, six tackles, two clearances and a goal) that saw them home.

As it stands heading into Round 12, there are seven teams left in the hunt for the top five spots, with Sturt and Eagles just outside the five by a win, as Adelaide and Glenelg have gained some breathing space over South Adelaide, Port Adelaide and Norwood who are only separated by percentage from third to fifth. Central District, West Adelaide and North Adelaide hold the bottom three spots.

Round 11 – Reserves:

NORWOOD 13.12 (90) defeated WWT EAGLES 13.7 (85)
GLENELG 12.11 (83) defeated CENTRAL DISTRICT 11.7 (73)
STURT 8.5 (53) defeated NORTH ADELAIDE 7.6 (48)
WEST ADELAIDE 13.13 (91) defeated SOUTH ADELAIDE 6.7 (43)

It was a good weekend for the fans as all four home sides triumphed, with Norwood leapfrogging Woodville West Torrens thanks to a victory over the Eagles, as did Sturt who knocked off North Adelaide. West Adelaide moved into top spot with a win over South Adelaide, after Central District slipped up against bottom two side Glenelg. Lachlan Pascoe impressed for the Redlegs with 28 disposals, six marks, eight clearances and five tackles, but he was far from alone with Sam Buckham picking up 29 touches, six marks, seven tackles and six clearances. For the Eagles, Harrison Morgan dominated up forward with seven straight goals from his 16 touches and five marks, but it was to no avail in the five-point defeat. Declan Carmody impressed for Glenelg in its win over the Bulldogs, standing up with 17 disposals, eight marks and two goals after coming back from South Australian state duty, while Nicholas Leck slotted four goals from 17 touches, eight marks and six tackles. For the visitors, Kyle Presbury (33 disposals, three marks, nine clearances, 12 tackles and two goals) and Darcy Pisani (34 disposals, three marks, eight clearances and nine tackles) were the two standouts. In Sturt’s narrow five-point triumph over Norwood, Casey Voss kept Brisbane Lions fans interested with 24 touches, four marks, five clearances and five tackles, while South Australian representatives, Oliver Grivell (18 touches, four marks and four tackles) and Anzac Lochowiak (14 disposals, one mark, 11 tackles, three clearances and one goal) were also impressive. For Norwood, Max Lower was best on ground by some way, racking up 34 disposals, 14 clearances, three marks and eight tackles, while former Port Adelaide goalsneak Jake Neade laid 14 tackles to go with his 23 touches and four clearances. In the final game, West Adelaide’s Sam May impressed with 24 touches, three marks, seven clearances, six tackles and a goal, while Tom Morrish (13 disposals, seven marks and three goals) and Connor Fairlie (25 touches, four marks, six tackles and four clearances) also stood out. Sam Whitbread was solid for the Panthers, amassing 22 touches, eight marks, seven tackles and six clearances, while Bailey Snelling had 18 disposals, 10 marks, three tackles and a clearance.

With first placed West Adelaide taking on third placed Norwood this weekend, it is sure to create some ladder movement, as Central District looks to take advantage of one of its rivals losing with a game against bottom two side, North Adelaide. Sturt and the Eagles are just a win off the top three sides, while Glenelg sits two games outside the top five, with South Adelaide last with three wins from 11 encounters.

Round 11 – Under 18s:

NORWOOD 8.11 (59) defeated by WWT EAGLES 10.7 (67)
GLENELG 15.7 (97) defeated CENTRAL DISTRICT 10.12 (72)
SOUTH ADELAIDE 3.7 (25) defeated by WEST ADELAIDE 5.6 (36)
NORTH ADELAIDE 9.7 (61) defeated STURT 8.9 (57)

In the Under 18s, the top four sides recorded wins over their bottom four opponents to extend the gap between finalist and non-finalist positions to four points (two games). The Eagles juggernaut rolled out but were challenged on the road against Norwood, while Glenelg knocked off Central District, West Adelaide had to scrap to get the points against their South counterparts, while North Adelaide maintained second spot with a nail-biting four-point win over Sturt. In the Eagles’ win over Norwood, Luke Barnett racked up a massive game of 28 touches, 13 clearances and 10 tackles, while Lachlan Jones (33 touches, five tackles and a goal) was also impressive. Stefan Lanzoni had a day out for the Redlegs with 28 disposals, nine marks, six tackles, 11 clearances and 2.2, while Daniel Fairbrother was also strong in defeat with 23 disposals, six marks, eight tackles and two clearances. In the Tigers’ win over the Bulldogs, Kye Dean racked up 30 touches, six marks, five clearances and two tackles, while Angus Weir worked hard for 23 disposals, three marks, seven tackles and three clearances. For the losers, Rhys Cannizzaro was Central District’s best, notching up 26 disposals, six marks, nine clearances and nine tackles, while Jakob Thomson (23 disposals, 12 marks, two clearances and a goal) and Sam Falland (27 disposals, 10 marks, five clearances, two tackles and a goal) were also impressive. Despite losing to West Adelaide, South’s bottom-age talent of Zac Dumesny showed his skill in a 30-disposals, five-tackle, eight-mark game to be one of the best afield, while teammate, Nicholas Kraemer (22 disposals, eight marks, seven tackles and three clearances) stood tall. For the winners, Jason Westley (22 disposals, 12 clearances and 12 tackles) was impressive, as was Joel Groom (19 touches, eight clearances and a massive 20 tackles. Macenzie Nield (18 disposals, six clearances, 13 tackles and a goal) and Bailey Chamberlain (17 disposals, eight clearances and 17 tackles) were others who stood out for the Bloods. In the final game of the round, North Adelaide had an even contribution across the board from players with Matthew Borg (28 disposals, four marks, five tackles, four clearances and two goals) the best, while Tyler McKenzie (19 disposals, 12 tackles and three clearances), Lachlan Borg (20 disposals, four marks, six tackles, five clearances and six tackles) and Jamison Murphy (21 disposals, 10 clearances and nine tackles) racked up big numbers, and Josh Hart was strong in the ruck. For Sturt, Tulley Kennett (33 disposals, four marks, 18 tackles, seven clearances and a goal) and Mani Liddy (33 disposals, six tackles, five clearances and a goal) were the two standout Double Blues on the day.

Heading into Round 12, the Eagles sit comfortably on top as the raging favourites with 10 wins from 11 games, three wins clear of North Adelaide and Glenelg with West Adelaide a game behind the Roosters and Tigers. South Adelaide and Norwood need to make up some ground if they are to make finals being two wins behind, while Sturt and Central District sit in the bottom two spots, but are just three wins outside the top five.

Team Building 101: From Tiger Turmoil to Tiger Time

REIGNING premier Richmond has historically been poor at team-building and drafting. From the mid-2000s until the mid-2010s, Richmond’s record of drafting players was horrific. Richmond supporters who are “twenty-something” or older, will remember the constant “trolling” by opposition supporters through this period.

The most infamous draft decision, being the selection of Richard Tambling at pick three, in front of the future Hall of Famer Lance Franklin. The forward from Western Australia, turned into the greatest athlete the game has seen, and was selected pick four by Hawthorn, one selection after the now-delisted Tambling. This however, was one of many errors that Richmond made at the time. They simply could not get anything right at the list management level. But now that has changed.

A NEW ERA OF DRAFTING

As soon as the cup is held aloft on the podium of the Grand Final, all other football departments immediately turn their attention to the winning clubs’ list. These football departments run the microscope over the winning clubs’ list to see what lessons they can learn, so that they can be on that stage as soon as possible. 

But this was Richmond. The club who are terrible at drafting! Or were they?

The fact is that Richmond’s football department absolutely nailed every draftee and trade over the past three seasons. Richmond had their fair share of first round draft selections, however this premiership was won on the back of being aggressive at the trade table and finding talent outside the first round of the draft. 

Here is a breakdown of Richmond’s premiership winning side, using the draft pick cost in selecting them or trading for them as the key.

FIRST ROUND PICKS.

Jack Riewoldt (Pick 13 – 2006), Trent Cotchin (Pick 2 – 2007), Alex Rance (Pick 18 – 2007), Dustin Martin (Pick 3 – 2009), Brandon Ellis (Pick 15 – 2011), Nick Vlasutin (Pick 9 – 2012), Daniel Rioli (Pick 15, 2015), Dion Prestia (2016 – Traded In for Pick 6).

Richmond drafted their “Big 4”, Riewoldt/Cotchin/Rance/Martin, across three drafts (2006, 2007 and 2009). The “Big 4” were undeniably crucial in the Premiership winning side. Dustin Martin, the Norm Smith Medallist and Brownlow Medallist in 2017 was selected at pick three, and the Demons who had picks one and two in the draft (Tom Scully and Jack Trengove) would be heartbroken as neither of their draftees are still at the club. Richmond’s ability to draft well in the first round in the past 10 years set up the spine for their Premiership, and for success in the years to come.

SECOND ROUND PICKS.

Shane Edwards (2006 – Pick 26), Kamdyn McIntosh (2012 – Pick 31), Josh Caddy (2016 – Traded In for Pick 20).

Only three of Richmond’s premiership players cost Richmond a second round draft pick. Shane Edwards, a 200-gamer and one of the games best handballers, has had a terrific career. A fan favourite and widely loved by his teammates, Edwards is one of the games most underrated footballers. He is a terrific decision maker, and although he is not a prolific ball winner, he is a beautiful kick of the ball. Caddy, a first round draft pick in 2007, was traded to Richmond after never finding his feet at Geelong. Caddy was traded in the same year his best mate, Dion Prestia was traded to the Tigers for their first round pick. 

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH (Rounds 3 onwards or Rookie selections).

David Astbury (2009 – Pick 35), Dylan Grimes (2009 – Rookie Draft), Bachar Houli (2010 – Rookie Draft), Kane Lambert (2014 – Rookie Draft), Dan Butler (2014 – Pick 67), Nathan Broad (2015 – Pick 67), Jacob Townsend (2015 – Traded In for Pick 70), Toby Nankervis (2016 – Traded In for Pick 46), Jack Graham (2016 – Pick 53)

Nine of Richmond’s 22 premiership players cost the Tigers a third round draft pick or less. That’s an incredible 41 per cent of their Grand Final side. The players listed above were not just making up the numbers either. Astbury and Grimes form the pillars of Richmond’s defence that allow Rance to play off his opponent. Houli and Lambert both had huge final series, with the former unlucky not to win the Norm Smith Medal. Nankervis had an incredible year that placed him in the top five ruckman in the league, while Graham and Townsend had remarkable rises to stardom in a short period of time. Graham kicked three goals in the AFL Grand Final while Townsend kicked 11 goals in two weeks at the end of the Home and Away season before taking that form into the finals where he kicked another five goals over three matches. 

STRONG AND BOLD

Richmond’s list managers nailed the 2015 and 2016 drafts. They selected Broad in the fourth round, and traded their fifth pick to GWS for Townsend who had a remarkable end to the year. However, it was their bold moves in 2016  that was the difference between winning the Grand Final and being stuck in relative mediocrity. 

At the end of the season, Richmond had picks 6, 42, 60, 78 to work with. The media believed that Richmond were going backwards and that they needed to trade their star players out for more picks to start a rebuild. Deledio, Rance and Riewoldt all would apparently not be a part of Richmond’s next premiership, and that Richmond should trade them while they had value. Richmond had other ideas. They traded Deledio, whose body had been wrecked by injury, for future draft picks, and lost Restricted Free Agent (RFA) Tyrone Vickery, for which they received a pick at the end of the first round.

Richmond had in essence lost Deledio and Vickery and had gained Dion Prestia, Shai Bolton, Josh Caddy, Toby Nankervis and Jack Graham. Remarkably, four of those five were premiership players within 12 months time. 

MODEL OF SUCCESS

Richmond have proven that huge rebuilds are not required if you have elite top end talent. It is crucial however, that elite talent must be there. As good as Richmond’s drafting and trading was over the past two years, they knew they had four elite players under the age of 30, that they could build their team around. Other clubs at the conclusion of 2016 who had elite talent but poor depth, such as Essendon, Port Adelaide and Melbourne, have copied Richmond’s aggressive trading model and are primed for their shot at the premiership in the coming seasons.

Melbourne looked to free agency to solidify their defence poaching promising defender, Jake Lever, from the Crows. However, I worry that Melbourne’s elite talent isn’t quite at the level of other clubs. Melbourne do have a terrific young midfield and one of the games best young forwards in Jesse Hogan and will rely heavily on them performing if they are to contend this season. 

Essendon used their selections to bring in pace and a bit of “X-Factor” in Adam Saad, Devon Smith and Jake Stringer while holding onto their early draft selections. Essendon now are extremely damaging on the counter attack, and have a terrific mix of young talent and experienced leaders. Essendon’s forward line of Joe Daniher, Stringer and Smith will put opposition defences under pressure and set them up for a big season.

Port Adelaide rolled the dice, losing some of their experienced depth players to bring in three mercurial players in Steven Motlop, Tom Rockliff and Jack Watts. Port Adelaide’s best 22 on paper is terrific, but must remain healthy. Their depth is now poor, but as Richmond showed last year, that depth can stand up if there is competition for places and the chance at a premiership.

On the other hand, sides like Carlton are in a different phase of the premiership rebuild. They lost their best midfielder in Bryce Gibbs but went to the draft with three picks inside the top 30 to add to their current bank of young stars in Patrick Cripps and Charlie Curnow. Carlton are in the process of building that platform of elite blue-chip players like Richmond were in the late 2000’s. Although a “ten year plan” would sound like a nightmare for many Blues fans, Cripps has the potential to be as damaging as Dustin Martin, but not for another five years. As good as Cripps is, it takes a long time for players to reach their full potential. Carlton has a rich history of success and could be tempted to sell the farm prematurely to have a shot at the premiership. However, I think Carlton have learned valuable lessons from their mistakes over the last decade and are committed to a proper rebuild this time. Carlton fans should be excited but patient and trust the job that Stephen Silvagni is doing.  A premiership is surely worth it.

B:

5 Brandon Ellis

2011 – Round 1

Pick 15

18 Alex Rance

2007 – Round 1

Pick 18

2 Dylan Grimes

2009 – PRESEASON

Rookie Draftee

HB:

14 Bachar Houli

PRESEASON 

Rookie Draftee (Essendon)

12 David Astbury

2009 – Round 3

Pick 35

1 Nick Vlastuin

2012 – Round 1

Pick 9

C:

33 Kamdyn McIntosh

2012 – Round 2

Pick 31

9 Trent Cotchin

2007 – Round 1

Pick 2

21 Jacob Townsend

2015 – TRADE 

Pick 70

HF:

23 Kane Lambert

2014 – PRESEASON

Rookie Draftee

4 Dustin Martin

2009 – Round 1

Pick 3

22 Josh Caddy

2016 – TRADE

Pick 20

F:

40 Dan Butler

2014 – Round 4

Pick 67

8 Jack Riewoldt

2006 – Round 1

Pick 13

17 Daniel Rioli

2015 – Round 1

Pick 15

Foll:

25 Toby Nankervis

2016 – TRADE

Pick 46

3 Dion Prestia

2016 – TRADE

Pick 6

6 Shaun Grigg

2010 – TRADE

Andrew Collins 

Int:

10 Shane Edwards

2006 – Round 2

Pick 26

34 Jack Graham

2016 – Round 3

Pick 53

35 Nathan Broad

2015 – Round 5

Pick 67

 

46 Jason Castagna

2014 – PRESEASON

Rookie Draftee

 

Key:

GOLD – Round 1

GREY – Round 2

BLUE – Round 3,4,5 or PS