Tag: tye browning

Weekend preview: NAB League Boys – Round 1

TOMORROW marks the start of a new era in Victorian Under 18 Boys football, with the brand new NAB League Boys competition kicking off. A standalone game at MARS Stadium begins the first round, before a spread of matches across Victoria on Sunday will provide plenty of highlights for the 2019 draft crop.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 1 – 23/03/2019
3:00pm
Mars Stadium – Ballarat

The standalone game on Saturday afternoon pits the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels against reigning premiers, Dandenong Stingrays. The game marks the second consecutive match the Rebels have played against the Stingrays, having been on the receiving end of a belting in last year’s elimination final. The Stingrays have made some changes with a new coach and talent manager coming into the fold, while also losing a fair chunk of their premiership side. They will now rely on a lot of bottom-agers as well as some talented top-agers who featured in parts throughout the 2018 season. Led by top prospect, Hayden Young, the Stingrays have a solid team across the board with last year’s co-catain Mitch Riordan slotting into the centre for this match, and the likes of overager Jai Nanscawen and Luca Goonan also named there, while Sam Merrick – who tested well at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day on a wing. It will largely be a new-look side both on an off the field for the Stingrays, while for the Rebels, they have a large among of players who tasted plenty of football last year. The midfield contains overager, Matty Lloyd who is looking at a new inside role, as well as some silky top-agers in Mitch Martin and Isaac Wareham, the inside ability of Cooper Craig-Peters and bottom-age talent, Nick Stevens. Fellow overagers, James Cleaver and Jed Hill provide some good run up either end, while the ruck duel between Patrick Glanford and Bailey Schmidt will be one to watch. The Stingrays deserve to be favourites, having the wood over the Rebels the past few years, but with so much change, it is as good a time as any for the home team to grab much needed points in the opening round.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
10:00am
RSEA Park – Moorabbin

The next day at RSEA Park, Sandringham Dragons face Calder Cannons in the first of a Metro double header at the ground. The Dragons are stacked with talent across the board and will be one of the teams to beat this season. The Dragons’ spine of Corey Watts, Fischer McAsey, Jack Mahony, Charlie Dean and Riley Bowman looks ominous, while a midfield containing Ryan Byrnes, Finn Magginness and Josh Worrell will match it with the best. For the Cannons, captain Brodie Newman holds down half-back with overager Tye Browning, while the athletic Thomas Cartwright has been named at full-back. The Cannons midfield is a strength with Daniel Mott, Sam Graham and Harrison Minton-Connell named in the middle. Josh Kemp is an exciting prospect who while overage, is still only in his second year in the system. There is no doubt the Cannons have a massive challenge on their hands here against a full-strength Dragons outfit. Winning the midfield battle is crucial and backing themselves to match Sandringham’s run is the challenge, while the Dragons will be keen to win in the first game at their new home in Moorabbin.

 

EASTERN RANGES v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
12:30pm
RSEA Park – Moorabbin

In the second match of the double header, Eastern Ranges take on a full-strength Oakleigh Chargers which is a huge challenge for the Ranges. A year more experienced with the likes of Mitch Mellis, Lachlan Stapleton and Chayce Black in the middle, captain James Ross, Todd Garner and Jarrod Gilbee in defence, and Billy McCormack and Jamieson Rossiter in attack, Eastern has a solid side on paper. Overagers, Cody Hirst and James Blanck will play key roles in the side, but they will all need to be at their best to topple the might of the Chargers. Nick Bryan heads up the ruck and will look to get first hands to Noah Anderson, Matt Rowell and Joe Ayton-Delaney who moves into a more contested role this year. Dylan Williams and former Rebel, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan provide excitement up forward, while Trent Bianco and Will Phillips use the ball well coming down the ground. The top-end talent and depth is clearly there for the Chargers and is a key reason why they are arguably the team to beat this season along with Sandringham and Gippsland, of whom all three are well represented in the AFL Academy.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
1:00pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

The second all-country clash of the weekend occurs at RAMS Arena in Craigieburn where Murray Bushrangers meet Gippsland Power. The Power are one of the contenders this season and look to be the top country team for season 2019. Coming off a preliminary final, albeit with a disappointing exit in the end, the large proportion of bottom-agers who steered the team to such a successful season are now top-agers and have the extra year of experience. For the Bushrangers, they also have their fair share of talented bottom-agers and should be the country side most likely to give Gippsland a run for its money. For Muray, its dynamic forward line will cause headaches, which in the past has been dominated by talls, but is more likely to be the hybrid-medium-smalls who create some issues for opposition defenders. Jye ChalcraftCam Wilson and Elijah Hollands can be damaging at ground level while Will Chandler provides some height up forward, and the match-ups with Jake van der Pligt, Brock Smith, Ryan Sparkes and Tye Hourigan will be the ones to watch. Leo Connolly, Fraser Phillips and Sam Flanders going head-to-head with the likes of Jimmy Boyer, Dylan Clarke and Cam Wild will be another interesting battle, while Josh Smith and Ben Kelly could go head-to-head in the Power forwad line. While Gippsland are missing key midfielder Caleb Serong, expect them to get the job done in what could be a thrilling contest to open the season.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
2:00pm
Colac Football Ground – Colac

A couple of teams with unknowns about them face-off in Colac, as Geelong Falcons host Bendigo Pioneers. The Falcons have a lot of new players in their side, while the Pioneers are always a young team. With many of the names getting games last year, the Pioneers should feel some line-up consistency for round 1. High-flyers, Braydon Vaz and Will Wallace hold down the key defensive posts for the Pioneers, while Brodie Kemp, Thomson Dow and Riley Ironside all fill out the midfield. They will have to battle top talent, Cooper Stephens, as well as overage forward-turned-midfielder, Charlie Sprague and Charlie Harris. Jesse Clark will look to provide some run and carry out of a new-look defence in 2019, while the likes of Jay Dahlhaus and Charlie Lazzaro are ever-dangerous inside 50. The Falcons given their record and form late last year, including from some of their bottom-agers in 2018, will have them heading in as favourites, but Bendigo could well take home the points given the majority of their line-up – minus Flynn Perez who is out with an ACL and a couple of others like Matt Hird – is able to play.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 1 – 24/03/2019
3:40pm
Ikon Park – Carlton

The final game of the round heads to Ikon Park where the Knights and Jets go head-to-head in what could be a battle of the two most improved sides heading into this year. Last year the Jets made the finals but were bundled out in the elimination final, while the Knights had a disapponting loss to GWV Rebels the week before in the Wild Card round. Both teams are capable of creating scoring opportunities, as Josh D’Intinosante and Darcy Cassar were a couple of the more dangerous half-forwards last season. Emerson Jeka will start at centre half-forward and no doubt be the main target inside 50, while Eddie Ford and Josh Honey know where the goals are. Daly Andrews is a handy overager to return to the side, while Spencer Johnson and Josh Kellett will come out of defence. The Knights’ bottom-agers were among the top players last season, and Nathan Howard will take up the ruck duties, while Adam Crafa, Sam Philp and Sunny Brazier will use their bigger bodies to try and outmuscle the Jets midfield. Ryan Gardner, Lachlan Potter and Ryan Sturgess will move the ball in transition, while former Sandringham Dragon, Will Kennedy and Aaron Clarke are two Jets who will look to stretch the Knights when forward.

NAB League season preview: Calder Cannons

THERE was plenty to like about last season for the Calder Cannons. They showed glimpses of brilliance throughout the year, however struggled with consistency at times. They finished the 2018 season in ninth position after falling to the Geelong Falcons in the Wild Card round. Overall the club would be pleased with some of the talent they produced with the likes of Rhylee West, Jack Bytel, Lachlan Sholl and Curtis Taylor all being drafted.

Looking ahead to season 2019 new Talent Manager and former Geelong defender, Tom Lonergan has faith in his side and is excited about what the Cannons could bring to the competition if they hit the ground running.

“We think we have got some good talls that we are going to be able to use both in defence and attack. We are really excited about the year to come,” he said.

The Cannons have been boosted with the return of a few overagers coming into the 2019 season which provides the relatively inexperienced side with some added composure.

“We are really happy with our 19 year olds, we’ve got four on our list,” Lonergan said. “We’ve got Mason (Fletcher), Kempy (Josh Kemp), Browny (Tye Browning) and Sammy Graham all those guys have really good leadership which is filtering down to our younger team members.”

Tye Browning was a mainstay for the Cannons in 2018. Lonergan credited Browning’s ability to work up the wing and forward line, and will be hoping Browning brings that form into the current season with Calder. Teammate, Sam Graham was also a key cog in the Cannons outfit and is set to return in 2019 providing some good dash and defensive pressure off half-back.

“Browning he’s been on the list for a little while, he’s a player that we think has potential,” Lonergan said. “Sammy Graham who would probably be our captain if he was an 18-year-old, he’s been tremendous for our group and we’ve got high aspirations for him this year.”

While there is plenty of excitement surrounding the return of the 19 year olds Lonergan is equally impressed by some of the up-and-coming talent with new players set to take the field some time throughout the year.

“We’ve brought in a guy that wasn’t involved in the program last year, Jake Sutton who’s played some pretty good footy in the practice matches, sort of hybrid forward, smart around goals, kicked four in both practice matches so he’s been really dangerous,” Lonergan said. “We think Curtis Brown’s got a lot to offer, got a beautiful left foot kick off half-back.”

Lonergan is hoping to build on the form from last year and hopefully progress up the ladder. However, he is more concerned on developing the players and creating an environment that players can learn in rather than focusing on wins.

“We basically want the guys to improve as a whole,” Lonergan said. “We will work with them closely on an individual basis as to their strengths and what they need to improve on. You know and hopefully if that all comes together then the ladder position will look after itself.”

With the season set to kick off for the Calder Cannons on Sunday, March 24 against the Sandringham Dragons, the Cannons will hope to bring plenty of intensity and attack the ball to ensure that they are recognised as a tough opposition in the NAB League.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 16

IN the final round of the TAC Cup season, we glanced over three games live and took notes on some of the combine invitees, bottom-agers who represented Victoria at the National Under 18 Championships, or those who played in the Under 17 Futures game.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Dandenong Stingrays:

By: James Goller

Sandringham:

#2 Alistair Richards

Worked hard all day on the outside, taking the game on and breaking the lines. Built on his performance from the week before and looked like he has hit form at the right time of the year. Could be one to watch in the finals series, giving run to Sandringham’s quality inside brigade.

#17 Liam Stocker

Stocker tried all day in the midfield with another impressive performance. He was in and under the packs all day and was explosive around the stoppages. He is really hard to tackle and is one of those players that puts their body on the line for the team. He kicked the ball well throughout the game and showcased his accuracy in one passage of play on the wing, hitting Ben King on the chest.

#28 James Rendell

Rendell has played all over the ground this season showing his versatility up forward and down back. He also showed that he could handle playing ruck as well and was faced with a big task against Bailey Williams and Bailey Schmidt. He had some really good passages of play kicking a solid goal and took a great contested mark. He also showed some defensive attributes to his game laying a goal saving smother to cap off his solid performance.

#29 Ben King

Was kept fairly quiet by Matt Cumming only managing the one goal for the match. However it was really hard to be a forward for Sandringham with the ball stuck up the other end for the majority of the game. He showed great agility and was better in the second half, having more impact around the ground and taking a couple of good strong marks.

 

Dandenong:

#12 Matthew Gahan

Played down back and is a real honest player. He is really solid one-on-one and took a couple of strong marks throughout the game. He is a tough player and rebounded strongly using his run and carry to move the ball forward. He had a few turnovers but showed that he is definitely one to watch in the finals.

#15 Toby Bedford

Bedford was another strong contributor for the Stingrays and showcased his speed across the ground breaking away from stoppages and bursting forward. He imposed himself on the contest and put a solid amount of pressure on his opponents.

#28 Bailey Schmidt

Split the ruck load 60-40 between Bailey Williams. What was really good about his game was his attack in the contest. He laid a couple of strong tackles and as soon as the ball hit the ground he wanted to apply pressure and win the footy back for his side showing great desperation.

#29 Bailey Williams

Played really well and found himself at centre-half forward and in the ruck. He showed great agility when the ball hit the ground and was really strong in the contest. Williams took a couple of really strong marks and proved that he is hard to beat in a one-on-one up forward. He kicked two goals for the day and when he was in the ruck he was dominant.

#59 Sam Sturt

Sturt really impressed up forward, kicking three good goals. But it was his agility and explosive speed that was really eye catching helping to create play across the ground. He had really good hands in the contest and was able to find space when there was none. He also laid a couple of strong tackles. Looking forward to his finals series.

 

Geelong vs. Calder

By: Peter Williams

Geelong:

#8 Ned McHenry

Had a typical performance on the day, winning a truckload of the ball and laying tackle after tackle. He used his agility to sidestep opponents and his smarts to avoid tackles, while also laying his own defensive pressure on bigger bodies. He had a shot on goal in the second term from the pocket that just missed, then McHenry set up Ben Morton with an easy goal via a handball. He set up another goal with an elite penetrating kick to Baxter Mensch on the 50m line. McHenry had a shot on goal in the third term but was pulled down as he kicked it and went out on the full. A great run-down tackle in defence and then subsequent rebound, lead to an end-to-end goal.

#20 Brayden Ham

Played up both ends, and managed to impress in both roles. He pushed up the ground when coming off half-back and gave some great kicks inside 50, including to the leading Connor Idun early on. He has that real exhilarating first few steps that can burn off an opponent, and can do it all day long credit to his stamina. He had a couple of shots on the run that were a little rushed, but his set shots were consistent, nailing one goal and being that high impact player up forward. One of the Falcons’ best once again. Worked hard all game and showed some good game smarts and positioning in the marking contest.

#22 Sam Walsh

Just another ‘wow’ performance from the potential number one pick. He covered the ground everywhere, had the ball on a string and was the clear best on ground in my opinion. Some of his highlights include a perfect kick under pressure to run laterally away from an opponent and kick across his body to the leading Connor Idun; changing his kicking motion when going inside 50 to pull the kick and put it best to his teammates’ advantage; and providing a low dart inside 50 to a sliding teammate. Buzzed around all day, copped several knocks and kept getting back up. A 10/10 performance.

#30 Oscar Brownless

Really busy start, got involved in everything and had some really nice moments throughout the game. In the third term he lowered the eyes and put in a dart to the leading Brayden Ham to set him up with a goal. He then got on the scoreboard himself with a long bomb from the 50m line.

#36 Charlie Sprague

First game back from injury and the medium tall forward stood up with three goals. Sprague could have had as many as five had it not been for a couple of misses, but got on the board early with an important snap. His next set shot he hit the behind post, and had a quiet second term before booting two goals, one behind, from set shots in the third quarter.

#39 Connor Idun

Idun booted the one goal, but presented out on long leads, providing options for his midfielders. It was one of his better forward games, because even though he missed opportunities with set shots, he created opportunities and space to open up through his leading. Idun had a strong set of hands and in the first term was able to cleanly take a loose ball in the air and handball inboard to Cooper Stephens, and also had great vision to kick across the forward 50 to Ned McHenry in the second term, who set up Ben Morton for a goal with a handball. After a number of attempts, Idun got on the board with a major in the final term with a set shot goal.

#41 Cooper Stephens

Stephens is developing into a really nice prospect for next year, with clean footskills and super composure with ball-in hand. He is able to move smoothly in close and his vision and ability to turn on a dime, such as he did in the second term before giving off the handball to a teammate, was fantastic. He did have a chance to capitalise with a goal from outside 50, but his shot went wide to the left. One of the best Falcons on the day.

 

Calder:

#1 Daniel Mott

Played along the wing and showed some nice acceleration out of stoppages. He had a shot on goal in the final term, but it hit the post. The bottom-ager showed some nice highlights throughout. One of Calder’s best on the day, and combined well with West working hard on the outside.

#5 Curtis Taylor

A quieter game for Taylor, but he had a real purple patch in the final term, booting two last quarter goals and had a highlight-reel mark over Ned McHenry, intercepting a kick-in. Can float in and out at times, but has that natural talent that make people take notice.

#8 Lachlan Sholl

Contributed strongly across the four quarters, teaming up well with Rhylee West twice in the first quarter to hand him a goal and then unfortunately a behind, with pinpoint passes. He also delivered a nice pass in the second term to Josh Kemp running hard, but the shot on goal missed. Was composed coming out of defence.

#10 Harrison Minton-Connell

Kicked two goals on the day and had an impact as that half-forward player. Does not win a heap of the football, but made the most of his opportunities when they came around.

#20 Rhylee West

Calder’s best player for mine, was dominant up forward, booting two goals in the opening term and finishing with three majors. He has a really solid set shot technique, kicking through the ball. His second goal was very impressive, reading the stoppage well, his teammates blocked his opponent and he cleanly grabbed the ball and snapped truly. Worked hard on the inside winning plenty of it, but did his most damaging work up forward. Took a great grab in the final term to kick his third goal, going up for the mark then having to move in mid air to the left and clunk the grab.

#27 Tye Browning

Started opposed to Sam Walsh and won a couple of early touches, laying a terrific run-down tackle on Ned McHenry. He was not as busy after that big opening term, but still was involved, winning some quick handballs around the ground and kicked long when given the opportunity.

#30 Mitch Podhajski

A really consistent four-quarter effort. Did not dominate, but always buzzed around and covered the ground well. He has that huge penetrating kick that can clear zones and worry opposition defenders when kicking inside 50. He stands tall in marking contests, is composed under pressure and is smart up forward. He kicked a goal with a perfectly read ball drop from a marking contest to snap round his body. He also showed good vision and hands in traffic and is the master of that 20m handball to the outside running teammate. Podhajski kicked a second goal late in the final term.

#57 Josh Kemp

Presented throughout the game, but did not end up getting on the board for a goal. Had a few chances, most noticeably in the second term when he took a mark, and his set shot went to the right. Continually pushed up the ground and presented as an option, and can weigh his kicks well.

 

GWV Rebels vs. Oakleigh Chargers

By: Peter Williams

GWV:

#6 Charlie Wilson

Wilson was productive early, winning his fair share of contested ball and getting his hands on the pill at stoppages. He laid a great tackle on Matt Warren inside forward 50 to lock the ball in and did so again in the second term at half-back on another opponent. Did not end up kicking a goal, but was playing forward when the Rebels forwards were starved for opportunities in the second half.

#14 Jed Hill

Easily the Rebels best plyer on the day, he showed off his electrifying vertical leap, taking some great grabs and earning some attention from Oakleigh defenders. He booted the only two Rebels goals of the first term – one from a courageous mark and then set shot, and a second from a forward stoppage snap off the deck. Had a third chance not long after from a set shot after finding space, but missed that. He took a big mark early in the second term and nailed the set goal, then produced a fantastic run-down tackle at half-forward to force his opponent to kick out on the full. Played further up the ground in the second half, and did come off at one stage after copping a knock in a tackle, but went back onto the field, and even into the middle.

#24 Matty Lloyd

The highest possession winner for the Rebels again, Lloyd constantly spread to the outside looking to create some run from half-back. He would often roost long to the wing, or play on and try and get distance on his kick to break the Oakleigh zone. Had an ambitious shot in the final term from the boundary line near 50m out but could not convert the opportunity.

Oakleigh:

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins

Did all his best work on the inside, working hard for his possessions and getting some quick fire handballs out to his running teammates. Showed strength when being tackled, getting his arms free and handballing to teammates. Finished with seven clearances, four of which were centre bounce clearances.

#4 Will Kelly

Played a multitude of roles on smalls and talls, back and forward. He took on Jed Hill and Josh Chatfield early, then moved onto the taller Tylar Watts. In the second half, he moved forward and found space to take an easy mark and convert, and then take a strong contested grab in the goal square and make it two from two. Was composed when at half-back and set them up well.

#8 Noah Anderson

Remarkable that Oakleigh can play Anderson as a pure forward – such is their midfield strength, but he just gets the job done each week, booting three goals and constantly looking damaging. He has great smarts around goal and up the field and is composed by hand or foot.

#9 James Rowbottom

One of Oakleigh’s best, Rowbottom played a typical inside game, working really hard and using his strength to outmuscle his smaller Rebels opponents. Along with Jack Ross and Riley Collier-Dawkins, the trio had their way in the middle, dominating the clearances and he was working well with Bailey Wraith, and kicking long out of stoppages.

#11 Matt Rowell

The bottom-age midfielder was one of the more impressive players across the four quarters, having a big third term and was one of the reasons Oakleigh kicked away in the premiership quarter. He had a standing shot on goal in the quarter but it hit the post. Rowell was strong standing up in a mark in the same term, was spoiled but held his balance to regain the ball and kick long. He has a perfect tackling technique, earning himself a free by locking the arm of an opponent.

#13 Atu Bosenavulagi

One of his best games for the season and was ever present up forward. He missed a couple of gettable chances, but nailed three goals and was good in the air, taking some clean grabs. He is really strong one-on-one and worked hard up the ground.

#17 Trent Bianco

Opposed to Jed Hill early at times, Bianco went more into the midfield in the second half and found the ball with ease, racking up 15 of his 24 touches in the second half. He has a nice penetrating kick and great vision, using the ball well and working in transition to get the ball up the ground.

#22 Dylan Williams

One of the key architects early in the game when it was hot. Set up a number of scoring opportunities, and booted a goal himself. Was quiet in the second half, but was best on in the first term and the reason why Oakleigh held an early lead.

#23 Isaac Quaynor

Got amongst it early in the game when the Chargers defence was under pressure at times, used his composure and smarts to take his chances and try and springboard off half-back. He peeled off his opponent and would become a spoiler in the back half, laying a number of good tackles. In the second half, in particular the last quarter, Quaynor did not see much of the action, camped in the defensive 50.

#26 Jake Gasper

A quiet first half with just a couple of shots on goal. The first fell short and Bailey Wraith capitalised, with the second also just missing. The second half, Gasper came alive as Oakleigh controlled the game, taking a number of marks inside 50, and was one of the more influential players. His usual dead-eye goal kicking was not on target on the day, pushing a couple of shots to the left, but set up a goal for Atu Bosenavulagi with an inboard kick and did finish with one major.

#32 Jack Ross

A workman-like performance from Ross who still found plenty of the ball, often looking for the quick handball to a running teammate. He was prominent at the stoppages and just played his role throughout the four quarters. In the second term he kicked a long-range goal from a set shot when he marked after drifting inside 50 all by himself.

#64 James Jordan

The winger showed good hands under pressure and a willingness to take the game on. It did not always work out perfectly, but more often than not he used the ball well, and would opt for the one-two play, or the handball receive and kick inside 50. He was the player that teammates looked for to pinpoint a pass inside 50.

 

Around the Grounds:

Gippsland Power vs. Eastern Ranges

Gippsland:

#4 Sam Flanders – Had 21 disposals, eight inside 50s, six tackles, but missed some opportunities with 1.4.

#5 Xavier Duursma – Had another consistent game with 21 disposals (71 per cent efficiency), five clearances, three inside 50s and two goals to wrap up a really solid top-age season.

#23 Noah Gown – In remarkable form and booted another four goals from 20 disposals and eight marks, just keeps on impressing in the second half of the season.

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton – Recorded a team-high eight clearances from 21 disposals and an impressive eight tackles. The bottom-ager has been strong all year with his defensive pressure and that continued on the weekend.

#23 Xavier Fry – Knows how to break the lines and rebound out of the back half and that is what he did, finishing with seven rebounds to go with his 24 disposals and five marks.

#31 James Blanck – The Ranges big man provided the second most rebounds for his side, finishing with five, as well as 13 disposals and two marks.

 

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Western Jets

Bendigo:

#4 Jye Caldwell – All eyes were on Caldwell as he made his return in Bendigo colours since early in the year, and he did not disappoint with 19 disposals (84 per cent efficiency), four marks and four clearances in a solid performance.

#8 Brodie Kemp – The bottom-age tall put in a promising performance with 21 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds.

Western:

#17 Daly Andrews – Continued his good form of late, named in Western’s best for his 26 disposals, nine marks, six inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal, covering the ground well.

#18 Buku Khamis – Solid as a rock in defence, having seven rebounds to go with his 18 disposals and six marks, one player who will be pivotal in determining how deep the Jets go in finals.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – After missing last week due to his school football commitments, the skipper hit back with a big performance, racking up 25 disposals, six marks, five tackles, four clearances, 10 inside 50s and a goal.

 

Murray Bushrangers vs. Northern Knights

Murray:

#2 Jordon Butts – The Rookie Me Combine invitee was one of the best on the ground, picking up 21 disposals (66 per cent efficiency), seven marks and six inside 50s, roaming around the ground showing off his athleticism and versatility.

#5 Ely Smith – The ever-consistent midfielder returned from the Victorian Football League (VFL) and had another strong performance, winning 18 disposals, four clearances and five inside 50s, while also capping off the game with a goal. Performs strongly at any level.

#12 Lachlan Ash – The bottom-age rebounder just continues to excite, having five rebounds from 17 disposals and five marks. While all of his possessions were uncontested, he finds space and takes the game on with some eye-catching runs. Kicked a goal too.

Northern:

#4 Tom McKenzie – A solid game for the National Combine invitee, picking up 15 disposals, four marks (two contested), two clearances, three inside 50s and three rebounds, covering the ground well.

#17 Josh D’Intinosante – The exciting forward has added the midfield string to his bow in the second half of the season and just knows how to hurt opposing teams when going inside 50. He had another seven inside-50 entries to go with 18 disposals, five marks and 1.1.

#30 Justin McInerney – Named the Knights’ best on the day, McInerney had arguably his best performance of the year, racking up 24 disposals (83 per cent efficiency), two inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal.

 

The run home: Calder Cannons

IF there was a sleeping giant in the pack of the potential finalists, it is the Calder Cannons. A side which has benefited from a number of top-agers missing during the AFL National Under 18 Championships, it is now ready to make a serious play at the pointy end of the season. They will likely be tested against the best of the best, but have shown throughout the season that they can match it with the best. Understrength the Cannons rallied against Gippsland Power to secure a huge uplifting win, showing the depth they have, and putting opposition sides on notice. 

Wins: 6
Losses: 7
Draws: 1
Position: 7th
Points For: 958 (5th)
Points Against: 944 (5th)
Percentage: 102
Points: 26

Fixtures:

R15: vs. Eastern Ranges – Avalon Airport Oval
R16: vs. Geelong Falcons – MARS Stadium

National Combine Invitations: [4] Jack Bytel, Lachlan Sholl, Curtis Taylor, Rhylee West

State Combine Invitations: [4] Mason Fletcher, Sam Graham, Josh Kemp, Mitchell Podhajski

Rookie Me Combine Invitations: [2] Tye Browning, Daniel Hanna

Calder Cannons face two bottom four sides in the last two rounds, and while they cannot make top four, can position themselves as best as possible ahead of the Wildcard Round. They take on Eastern Ranges in Werribee this weekend, before meeting Geelong Falcons in Ballarat for what should be a fantastic clash between two sides that are so much fire power when at full-strength. Realistically they will face one of GWV Rebels, Geelong Falcons or Eastern Ranges in the Wildcard Round. Led by Mitchell Podhajski and Jack Bytel, with the top-end talent of Curtis Taylor and Rhylee West, Calder has a number of talented players who have shown they can stand up when required such as Lachlan ShollTye Browning and latecomer Josh Kemp. The likes of Brodie Newman and Daniel Mott have also impressed as bottom-agers in the 2018 season.

Top Fives:

Disposals:

1 – Lachlan Sholl – 294 (7th overall)
2 – Tye Browning – 261
3 – Mitchell Podhajski – 251
4 – Daniel Mott – 233
5 – Lucas Cavallaro – 218

Marks:

1 – Lachlan Sholl – 81 (1st overall)
2 – Tye Browning – 78 (2nd overall)
3 – Mitchell Podhajski – 63
3 – Brodie Newman – 63
3 – Jake Riccardi – 63

Contested Possessions:

1 – Mitchell Podhajski – 109 (eq. 21st overall)
2 – Daniel Mott – 97
3 – Nathan Croft – 85
4 – Lucas Cavallaro – 83
5 – Tye Browning – 81

Tackles:

1 – Mitchell Podhajski – 74 (7th overall)
2 – Nathan Croft – 72
3 – Ismail Moussa – 46
4 – Daniel Mott – 42
5 – Jack Bytel – 37

Hitouts:

1 – Jeremy O’Sullivan – 108 (18th overall)
2 – Harrison Jones – 55
3 – Cooper Lamb – 44
4 – Daniel Hanna – 37
5 – Jack Middleton – 35

Clearances:

1 – Daniel Mott – 44 (15th overall)
2 – Mitchell Podhajski – 33
3 – Will Jury – 32
3 – Curtis Taylor – 32
5 – Jack Bytel – 27

Inside 50s:

1 – Daniel Mott – 43 (eq. 22nd overall)
2 – Tye Browning – 42
3 – Nathan Croft – 37
4 – Mitchell Podhajski – 35
4 – Will Jury – 35

Rebounds:

1 – Lucas Cavallaro – 73 (1st overall)
2 – Brodie Newman – 36
3 – Lachlan Sholl – 33
4 – Tye Browning – 30
5 – Ismail Moussa – 26

Goals:

1 – Mitchell Podhajski – 19 (eq. 5th overall)
2 – Jake Riccardi – 11
3 – Curtis Taylor – 10
4 – Tye Browning – 6
4 – Sam Ramsay – 6
4 – Josh Kemp – 6

Draft dream not over for 2018 state combine nominees

MORE than one hundred draft hopefuls will test themselves under the watchful eye of AFL club recruiters at the various State Combine’s around the country. After the list of National Combine invitations was released last week – indicating those players with the most draft interest – last night the full list of State Combine, and Rookie Me Combine lists were released.

EIGHTY INVITED TO NATIONAL DRAFT COMBINE

A total of 126 players were nominated for the combines, with Vic Country having 26 players nominated, ahead of South Australia with 24, and Western Australia and Vic Metro with 21 each. It has also proved a bumper year for the Victorian Football League (VFL) with 13 players nominated to test, behind the four Division One states. New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) has eight players nominated, the highest of the Division Two states, while Queensland has seven, and Northern Territory three and Tasmania three.

In terms of individual clubs, Dandenong Stingrays trumps all others, having 12 nominees, making it 17 players heading to testing in 2018. Murray Bushrangers is next with seven, followed by Calder Cannons and Oakleigh Chargers (six), as well as South Australian club Norwood. Fellow South Australian club South Adelaide, West Australian clubs Peel Thunder and Swan Districts, and Sandringham Dragons, all have four nominees. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Sturt, South Fremantle and Claremont have three apiece. In terms of Academies, the GWS Academy had six players nominated, Gold Coast and Brisbane Lions Academies both had three, and Sydney Swans Academy had one.

 

Full list of State Combine nominations:

NSW/ACT: [6]

Riley Bice (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)
Jeromy Lucas (GWS Giants Academy)
Nick Murray (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)
James Peatling (GWS Giants Academy)
Guy Richardson (GWS Giants Academy)
Mathew Walker (Murray Bushrangers/GWS Academy)

Northern Territory: [2]

Michael Mummery (NT Thunder)
Izaak Wyatt (Southern Districts)

Queensland: [4]

Caleb Graham (GC Suns Academy) 
Darcy Marsh (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Tom Matthews (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Lachlan McDonald (GC Suns Academy)

South Australia: [24]

Finn Betterman (Glenelg)
Connor Bristow (Norwood)
Chris Burgess (West Adelaide)
Declan Carmody (Glenelg)
Kade Chandler (Norwood)
Oscar Chapman (North Adelaide)
Tate Coleman (South Adelaide)
Jacob Collins (Norwood)
Job Colwell (South Adelaide)
Tobin Cox (Glenelg)
Darcy Fort (Central District)
Martin Frederick (Woodville-West Torrens)
Nathan Kreuger (South Adelaide)
Tom Lewis (Sturt)
Mihail Lochowiak (Sturt)
Tyler Martin (Norwood)
Aaron Nietschke (Central District)
Matthew Nunn (Norwood)
Kai Pudney (Woodville West Torrens)
Isaac Saywell (Norwood)
Jake Tarca (South Adelaide)
Casey Voss (Sturt)
Callum Wilkie (North Adelaide)
Boyd Woodcock (North Adelaide)

Tasmania: [1]

Rhyan Mansell (North Launceston)

VFL: [8]

Jake Aarts (Richmond VFL)
Brett Bewley (Williamstown)
Sam Collins (Werribee)
Will Hayes (Footscray VFL)
Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
Ethan Phillips (Port Melbourne)
Corey Rich (Frankston)

Vic Country: [21]

Jacob Atley (Bendigo Pioneers)
Stephen Cumming (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Fletcher (Dandenong Stingrays)
Matthew Gahan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Hudson Garoni (Murray Bushrangers)
Noah Gown (Gippsland Power)
Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons)
Jed Hill (GWV Rebels)
Austin Hodge (Gippsland Power)
Zane Keighran (Bendigo Pioneers)
Matty Lloyd (GWV Rebels)
Lachlan McDonnell (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong Stingrays)
Finbar O’Dwyer (Murray Bushrangers)
Jamie Plumridge (Dandenong Stingrays)
Mitch Riordan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Bailey Schmidt (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Sturt (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jai Taylor (Dandenong Stingrays)
Charlie Wilson (GWV Rebels)
Lachlan Young (Dandenong Stingrays)

Vic Metro: [18]

Frank Anderson (South Croydon)
Joseph Ayton-Delaney (Oakleigh Chargers)
Atu Bosenavulagi (Oakleigh Chargers)
Kyle Dunkley (Oakleigh Chargers)
Mason Fletcher (Calder Cannons)
Xavier Fry (Eastern Ranges)
Jake Gaspar (Oakleigh Chargers)
Sam Graham (Calder Cannons)
Harry Houlahan (Sandringham Dragons)
James Jordan (Oakleigh Chargers)
Josh Kemp (Calder Cannons)
Justin McInerney (Northern Knights)
Mitchell Podhajski (Calder Cannons)
Stefan Radovanovic (Western Jets)
James Rendell (Sandringham Dragons)
Harry Reynolds (Sandringham Dragons)
Alistair Richards (Sandringham Dragons)
Jack Ross (Oakleigh Chargers)

Western Australia: [21]

Jason Carter (Peel Thunder)
Dylan Curley (East Fremantle)
Oliver Eastland (Claremont)
Kody Eaton (East Fremantle) 
Harry Edwards (Swan Districts) 
Patrick Farrant (Swan Districts) 
Ethan Hansen (Perth) 
Wil Hickmott (Subiaco) 
Corey Hitchcock (Claremont)
Jack Mayo (Subiaco) 
Tom Medhat (West Perth)
Louis Miller (East Perth) 
Luke Moore (South Fremantle) 
Rylie Morgan (Claremont)
Matthew Parker (South Fremantle) 
Jarvis Pina (Peel Thunder)
Tyson Powell (Peel Thunder)
Regan Spooner (South Fremantle)
James Sturrock (Peel Thunder)
Tobe Watson (Swan Districts)
Graydon Wilson (Swan Districts)

Rookie Me Combine: [21]

Ryan Hebron (Sydney University)
Joey Reinhard (Sydney Swans Academy)
Adam Tipungwuti (Western Magpies)
Matthew Green (NT Thunder)
Ryan Gilmore (GC Suns Academy)
Jack Tomkinson (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Lachlan Gadomski (Kingborough Tigers) 
Matthew McGuinness (Lauderdale)
Ben Cavarra (Williamstown) 
Jay Lockhart (Casey Scorpions) 
Hayden McLean (Sandringham VFL) 
Kieran Strachan (Port Melbourne) 
Charlie Thompson (Richmond VFL)
Jordon Butts (Murray Bushrangers)
Kyle Clarke (Murray Bushrangers)
Sam Conway (Geelong Falcons)
Jake Frawley (Dandenong Stingrays)
Matt Neagle (Wodonga Raiders)
Tye Browning (Calder Cannons)
Daniel Hanna (Calder Cannons)
Cody Hirst (Eastern Ranges)

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 12a

THIS weekend saw the first half of Round 12 take place. The Oakleigh Chargers defeated Calder Cannons on Saturday, while Mars Stadium hosted a double header between the GWV Rebels and Northern Knights, and Geelong Falcons and Sandringham Dragons. Here are some of the notes from those three games.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Calder Cannons

Oakleigh Chargers:

By: Ed Pascoe

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins

After a solid run in the championships, Collier-Dawkins was quiet against Calder winning just the 11 disposals. He needed to find a way to get involved in the play on transition, his leading patterns up forward could have improved and he had to impose himself more at the stoppages. However, when he did go in for the ball he looked clean and rarely made a mistake, he made a few nice turns while being tackled giving off good handballs showing what he is capable of as a tall inside midfielder.

#3 Joe Ayton-Delaney

Ayton-Delaney played a solid game down back, winning 16 disposals and keeping his opponents honest with some good spoils and close checking. Despite a few missed kicks, his overall kicking efficiency was good and often looked for his teammates to set up the play from defence. Didn’t do a lot wrong throughout the day in a nice four quarter performance.

#4 Will Kelly

Kelly played down back, carrying on his good form in the championships, rebounding well and amassing 21 disposals while also taking eight marks. He did well in marking contests against the likes of Jake Riccardi but he really impressed with his rebound out of defence often picking good options and running hard to get on the end of some handballs. Despite one errant kick in the first quarter his skills were solid throughout the day as the Collingwood father-son prospect continues to impress.

#9 James Rowbottom

Another solid game from Rowbottom who won plenty of the ball winning 24 disposals. He applied plenty of physical pressure laying 11 tackles, which was the most of any player on the ground. His strength throughout the day was his work at stoppages winning plenty of clearances and winning plenty of contested ball. His kicking let him down a few times kicking a few out on the full and a few kicks inside 50 where he tried to kick it too hard to a leading player, if he cleans this part of his game up then he would have been the clear best on ground.

#32 Jack Ross

Ross was extremely unlucky not to make the Metro squad and he proved that again today with a great performance in the midfield. Ross barely made a mistake all game by hand and foot and he worked hard around the ground to win the ball. Speed and agility are his knocks but he makes the most of what he has got with good running and positioning around the ground. He was vocal in the huddles showing good football smarts and leadership. Ross finished the game with 28 disposals which was the highest of anyone for the game.

 

Calder Cannons:

By: Scott Dougan

#8 Lachlan Sholl

The classy half-back started terrifically, finding plenty of the pill early. Sholl read the play well and was able to rebound out of the defensive 50 effectively. He pushed up the ground at times where he was able to put his sublime kicking skills to good use, hitting multiple targets on both sides of the body. He was exceptionally clean at ground level and rarely fumbled. Sholl can be exposed defensively at times, which was evident in the second term when he hesitated and pulled out of a marking contest, resulting in a goal to the Chargers. His composure with ball in hand and ability to find the ball in multiple areas of the ground makes him an exciting prospect.

#16 Jack Bytel

The inside midfielder was prominent in the first quarter, especially in tight situations. His work around stoppages was evident, constantly releasing the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. He was involved in an important passage of play in the second term where he was able to break an opposition tackle and release the ball to teammate Will Jury, who kicked accurately through the big sticks. Bytel displayed inconsistency by foot, turning the ball over on multiple occasions, which is an area he will need to improve on as he develops. His game was cut short with injury and was unable to return to the field after half-time. Bytel had 23 disposals in the first half.

#27 Tye Browning

Browning played on the wing and up forward, winning the majority of his disposals on the outside. He made good decisions with the ball in hand and was able to create effective passages of play when moving forward. Browning received a free kick inside 50 in the fourth term, kicking a goal from directly in front after showing courage in a marking contest. While it was not Browning’s best game of the year, he still had a positive impact, gathering 21 possessions and booting one goal.

#35 Sam Graham

Graham had stints through the Cannons midfield but spent the majority of his time in the back half. He took a couple of strong intercept marks and used the ball well when rebounding out of the back 50. His defensive pressure was clear in the second term when he was rewarded a free kick after laying an important tackle on Charger midfielder, Jack Ross. Graham gave in-form forward Jake Gasper too much space at times, with the classy Charger taking full advantage of the situation. In a tough day for the Cannons, Graham put his leadership skills to good use and continued to work hard.

 

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels vs. Northern Knights

By: Cameron Ross

GWV Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin

Carlin kicked a goal in the third term, which is rare for the hard working wingman. He amassed 17 disposals and while his ball use could have been a little better, he was able to impact with some crucial inside 50s.

#14 Jed Hill

Went onball in the second half and proved his dominant midfield display against Dandenong was not a fluke. Hill was instrumental in the third term, racking up a heap of possessions and was important around the clearances working hard to win the footy. Despite being quiet in the final term, Hill was once again one of his sides best performers with his strong tackling pressure.

 

Northern Knights:

#4 Tom McKenzie

Played the loose man in defence for most of the game and controlled the play well for the Knights. McKenzie made good decisions and hit his targets, tailoring his kick to suit the play. Mckenzie displayed his ability to win the contested ball at stoppages in defence which was really important for his side into the wind.

#17 Josh D’Intinosante

The youngster was once again fantastic and looks to be a top prospect for the 2019 draft. His ability to win both the contested and uncontested possession was terrific for someone who is a bottom ager. He impressed with his overhead skills considering his size. D’Intinosante was a tackling machine and led the way for the Knights with his physical pressure.

#30 Justin McInerney

McInerney works hard and is quick which is a great combination in a footballer. He used the ball quite well throughout the day especially into the wind when it was difficult to do so, firing out quite a few crucial handballs to teammates at opportune times.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Sandringham Dragons

By: Cameron Ross

Geelong Falcons:

#8 Ned McHenry

Sam Walsh is the captain, but McHenry is clearly well respected by the playing group, and could be heard directing traffic and encouraging his team mates all game. Proved his leadership abilities with a huge goal with two minutes to go, and nearly dragged his team over the line getting tackled before getting the ball on the boot at the top of the square with 20 seconds to go.

#20 Brayden Ham

Kicked a big goal from 55m out after intercepting the kick-in. Granted, the kick was with the wind, but the penetration he got on the kick was really impressive. Proved his ability at ground level nailing his opponent in a tackle and winning a free kick. Ham also proved he has terrific skills by hand, cleanly hitting targets in tight releasing outside runners. He is also really quick, and seems to have an extra gear that he can hit when he is running with the ball. Really good game overall from Ham today.

#22 Sam Walsh

I watched Walsh at Kardinia Park earlier in the season (Round 4 vs GWV), and while I saw glimpses of the superstar quality, I was not blown away. Today I was. He is a genuine star and is the best player I have watched this year. He has the composure of Pendlebury, reads contests like Cunnington and plays like Selwood. He is a bust-proof no-risk pick that barring injury will play over 200 games of AFL football. The sort of player that Carlton, who has struggled at the draft table recently, should really look at with pick one.

#30 Oscar Brownless

The Cats father-son prospect played onball for the majority of the day and while he was very impressive up forward, failed to fully fire onball. I was excited to see how he would go in there, but he seemed to be 5-10 metres away from the clearance winner at each stoppage or under pressure. This was possibly due to the nature of playing on-ball, but he just lacked a bit of composure at times. The positives were, that when he went forward, he was very dangerous. He is a terrific kick, has a nice simple action, and kicked a key goal in the final term. He is clearly a better forward than midfielder, but due to his size (186cm) he may need to add that string to his bow in the modern game.

#39 Connor Idun

If Idun was a stock in the stock market, you would be buying shares in him. I went out and listened to the three quarter time speech and was blown away by his size. He is a big kid. If this boy is available in the later rounds of a draft, a club up the top end might be willing to take the risk on a player who still has a way to go developmentally, but could hold down a key defender post in 5-10 years time. Idun played in defence to begin with and was quiet statistically, but wore his opponent like a glove. He was moved forward in the final term, and was a big presence. Kicked a goal from the square after crumbing Schlenslog’s contest.

#48 Blake Schlensog

Schlensog not only rucked well, but was a big presence up forward. Despite not hitting the scoreboard, Schlensog’s ability to create a contest was really important for players such as Walsh and Idun who both scored after a Schlensog marking contest.

 

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Alistair Richards

Richards was fantastic today. He has an abundance of pace, and had the best highlight of the day. Richards collected the ball on the back flank, took on two Falcons who were trying to tackle him and burned them off. He then handballed to a teammate and collected the “one-two” before kicking long into the forward line. Rendell finished Richards work with a goal. All of this was into the wind, and against the run of play. On a day where run and carry was pivotal, Richards lead his side well, tucking the ball under the arm like Jack Steven and sprinting away from the opposition at least three times. His disposal can be questionable, but this can be excused in what was very difficult conditions.

#7 Liam Stocker

Really good game today from Stocker who kicked a goal against the run of play in the final term, which proved to be a massive goal for the Dragons and the match. Stocker is a smooth mover and the sort of player that seems to never be under any pressure. Put his body on the line and got cleaned up in a contest, but the Dragons midfielder got straight back up and ran to the next contest.

#19 Samuel Forbes

Played well on the wing and did some nice things in the contest under pressure. Produced an amazing kick that could easily have been missed. He was put under severe pressure from a poor handball from a teammate, but he gathered the ball, danced around the tackler, and hit Charlie Dean with a 40-metre pinpoint kick in between at least four Falcons defenders. Dean capped this bit of play off with a goal.

#23 Angus Hanrahan

His work rate was supreme. An example was when he took possession of the ball on the outer wing, and switched the ball across the ground. He ran hard forward, and collected the next kick up in the forward line taking a strong mark backing back into the pack. Hanrahan got hit hard, but picked himself up and took his kick. Ended up kicking the match winning goal. Hanrahan sold the whole candy store to an opposition player, strolled into 50 and slotted the goal on the run. Arguably the best player for the Dragons on the day, after giving a consistent, hard working, and match winning performance.

#28 James Rendell

Played well up forward and took some nice marks. Was the Dragons key target on a day without King. Kicked two goals and proved that he can take over the reins as the key forward when King is absent.

#61 Fischer McAsey

The Dragons ruckman proved to be solid not only in the ruck, but played well as a “fourth rover” laying big tackles and being a physical presence at stoppages. He is a lovely kick for a big man, and drilled a 40-metre bullet, setting up a teammate for a shot on goal.

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 11

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

By: Brandon Hutchinson

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

By: Craig Byrnes

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 12

THERE were some low-scoring contests in Round 12, as well as some big final scores for some teams in a weekend littered with heavy rain, and we took down notes at the four Saturday games. The Gippsland Power/Murray Bushrangers notes will come tomorrow.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Northern Knights

By Owen Leonard and Scott Dougan

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Alastair Richards 

In cold, windy conditions at the Trevor Barker Oval by Port Phillip Bay, Richards’ skills stood out early. The outside midfielder was always looking to take the game on and has serious speed. Used his pace to link up on numerous occasions, dishing off and receiving handballs. Richards did not stop running all day and applied strong pressure when the opposition were in possession. The type of player whose presence makes the opposition nervous.

#6 Harry Houlahan

With the Dragons’ Vic Metro representatives out of the side, Houlahan was able to play as a pure midfielder, a promotion from his usual defensive role – and he relished the opportunity. The Mentone Grammar school football captain had no issues finding the leather, while his gut-running was on display, gaining possession all over the ground. Put the icing on an impressive performance by kicking truly after a 50-metre penalty in the third quarter, which effectively brought the margin to an unassailable 25 points in horrible conditions. It was the type of game that could have Houlahan firmly placed into draft calculations.

#7 Liam Stocker

After missing the Vic Metro campaign at the Under 18 National Championships with a broken jaw, Stocker’s Dragons return was nothing short of sensational. The clearance king dominated around stoppages and displayed the scarce ability to not only win the ball on the inside, but find the Sherrin on the outside, too. A genuine midfield bull, Stocker’s road to the draft could be similar to that of Clayton Oliver’s, who also missed the national championships, but dominated the back end of the TAC Cup season to eventually be drafted with pick four. Stocker shrugged off tackles with ease and consistently sent the ball to the hotspot. Menacing when resting up forward, when the ball is in Stocker’s territory, something is going to happen. Plays similarly to Dustin Martin – one to watch closely as the season starts to enter its twilight.

#19 Sam Forbes

Playing a traditional winger role, Forbes was an important outside player in trying conditions. While the St Kevin’s College student isn’t a mass accumulator, he often made possessions count, and on a day where disposal efficiency was understandably down, Forbes’ above-average skills stood out. In addition, he was a consistent outside option, constantly hovering around stoppages.

#33 Will Kennedy

Coming off a strong game against Oakleigh, Kennedy played a centre half-back role against the Knights. An important piece of the Dragons defensive puzzle which were able to rebound any Northern Knights threat on multiple occasions and kept the opposition to a paltry five goals.

#61 Fischer McAsey

The bottom-age ruckman was a strong presence for the majority of the day. More than competitive in ruck contests, McAsey gave the Dragons midfielders regular opportunity. Notably, McAsey’s big frame was well-used to block the defensive 50 exits of the opposition, even despite not intercept marking, creating a strong contest where Dragons ‘crumbers were often beneficiaries.

Northern Knights:

#1 Ryan Gardner

Gardner won plenty of the ball early in the first quarter, on the inside and outside of the contest. He provided plenty of run for the Knights going forward and his ball use was clean, especially on an extremely windy day. Gardner was involved in a crunching tackle from an opposition player half-way through the first term and was unable to take any further part in the game.

#7 Harrison Grace

Grace was involved in the Knights first scoring play of the day, delivering the ball inside 50 to the leading Ryan Bowkett. During the second quarter, Grace spent plenty of time on the bench with what appeared to be a sore back. He was unable to return to the field, leaving the Knights two men short for the remainder of the game.

#15 Oscar White

In only his fifth match of the season, White impressed playing predominately on the wing. He was efficient around stoppages, demonstrating his clean hands in tight situations. During the first quarter, White took a diving mark in the middle of the ground and was able to kick the ball forward, resulting in an important goal for the Knights.

#17 Josh D’Intinosante

The classy forward was instrumental up forward, booting two goals. D’Intinosante has impressive goal sense and always finds a way to hit the scoreboard. His ball use was exceptionally clean in blustery conditions and his decision making was evident. He showcased his defensive pressure with some impressive chase down tackles, proving that he can influence the contest both offensively and defensively.

#30 Justin McInerney

McInerney was significant for the Knights, playing across half-back and on the wing. His speed on the outside was clear and he worked hard to present himself as a strong option for his teammates around the ground. His ball use was good for the majority of the day and he even took some of his teams’ defensive kick-outs.

 

Oakleigh Chargers vs Eastern Ranges

By James Goller and Scott Dougan

Oakleigh Chargers:

#31 Will Golds
 
I’ve watched him play a couple of times by today he really stood out. Playing on the wing. Golds had 26 possessions for the day. Golds showed he has really good foot skills on both his left and right. He was the best kick out there. He showed also some speed breaking away from stoppages. What was impressive was the defensive part to his game. Laying four tackles. He was also running hard defensively. Not only that he works himself out of traffic fairly well. Definitely one to keep a eye on.
 
#5 Xavier O’ Neill
 
He had really good hands in close. He had a little bit of class about him took the game on at times that paid off. His kicking was solid.
 
#32 Jack Ross
 
Ross is a inside mid. He kicked the ball ok and I thought he was composed and made some good decisions with It. Kicked a great clearance goal from about 50 out. With a little bit of wind helping. The big thing for Ross is his defensive pressure. You know what your going to get. He laid seven tackles.
 
#17 Trent Bianco
 
The bottom-ager had a really strong game for the chargers collecting 25 possessions for the day. He is a good kick and used that asset of his game well. Bianco is real class and definitely one to keep a eye on for the 2019 draft. His defensive parts to his game were on show having six tackles.
 

Eastern Ranges:

#11 Mitch Mellis

Mellis started the match on the wing, having a positive effect around stoppages and as an outside runner. He won some early contested possessions and was able to put his speed to good use, bursting away from congestion in tight situations. He found plenty of space on the outside and worked hard to have an influence on the match, but due to the Chargers dominance on the day, his impact was limited.

#23 Xavier Fry

In difficult conditions, Fry’s skills were important for the Ranges when rebounding out of the defensive 50. He spent most of the game across the half-back line but also drifted through the midfield at times. Fry accumulated plenty of possessions and made smart decisions with the ball in hand, rarely turning the ball over. He spreads well from the contest and his work-rate gives him the ability to get involved in many passages of play. Fry was one of the Ranges most dominant players on the day.

#24 Kye Quirk

After amassing 30 disposals for the Ranges last week, Quirk found it difficult to have the same impact against the Chargers. He started the match across half-forward but saw little of the ball, with the Charges booting six goals to the zero in the first quarter. Quirk was at his best in tight, gathering the majority of his possessions in contested situations. He showcased his clean skills throughout the match, especially at ground level. He drifted forward in the fourth quarter and was able to hit the scoreboard, kicking an impressive goal from 40 metres out.

 

Dandenong Stingrays vs Geelong Falcons

By Brandon Hutchinson

Dandenong Stingrays

#13 Riley Bowman

Bowman put a lot of space between his best efforts this Saturday, kicking one goal in the first term and an additional three in the fourth. It was evident in the final quarter that he knew how to work the forward line. Bowman created space leading up the guts and read the ball best in the marking contest, all while positioning himself for the best kick at goal. He was one of Dandenong’s best for the day with his final efforts reminding the competition why the Stingrays are placed at the top. Though in the future, we would prefer to see more consistency across the game. It seems Bowman punished a withering Falcons, sensing weakness in the game’s last moments.

#15 Toby Bedford

When Bedford grips the football, it is not likely a player will bring him to ground. His countless efforts on the contested ball had him take it with ease, showing great agility and control as he passed the ball off to the best option. Despite players hanging off him, he stood his ground and cleaned up the congestion. His ball work was clean, deliberate and effective, often centring the ball and assisting successful link ups through the passage. An instinctive footballer, Bedford showed no trouble beating his opponent on the loose ball and seemed oblivious to pressure. He brought quick hands to everything and remained agile and evasive when it meant feeding off the football. With repeat inside 50s, Bedford had a hand in most goals, directly assisting a couple as well. It’s obvious Dandenong’s midfield would be very different without him gaining the hard ball.

#17 Finlay Bayne

Consistent and effective, Bayne kept himself in form and involved for all four terms. He was great off hands, with line breaking passes and his involvement in a good deal of link ups. He worked his man well around the stoppages and picking up a handful of clearances. He lost the ball on the wing in the Dandenong’s forward half but with a tackle and follow up pressure, he managed to force a turn over. A composed footballer with great vision.

#20 Sam De Koning

De Koning’s regard for his own safety is quite minimal as evident on the pitch. Charging head on into the contest, De Koning will put his body over the everything. If he was late to the hard ball, he made his opponent earn that possession. He laid strong tackles to help switch momentum and promoted a counter attack which aided in their victory. The aggressive backman provided an offensive brand of defence to the Stingrays backline, keeping his opponents off balance and under pressure as they approach goals. Though wild off the football, De Koning shows great focus with it in hand, switching well and picking the right pass to clear the backline.

#58 William Hamill

Hamill’s efforts off the ball proved just as effective as his ability with it in hands. His defensive work was on display throughout the midfield, as he forced the turnovers and stopped ball carriers in their tracks. Possessions were made to be worked for when Hamill was close by, keeping his man under pressure until the ball released. He opened the game up with his smothering, tackling and general presence around a contest.  In the first quarter, he prevented a definite goal by bringing his opponent to ground. He showed good composure and focus when he set his sights downfield, picking up repeat inside 50s and a beautiful goal on the run from the pocket. It was his presence through midfield that helped trap the ball forward and crushed rising momentum as the Falcon’s propelled forward.

 

Geelong Falcons

#39 Connor Idun

Showed off his power around stoppages, and lengthy kicks when clearing danger. Idun knows how to use his body to dominate his opponents, powering through congestion and holding his form despite being tackled. He was strong overhead, gaining a few intercepts and winning the contested mark. Idun made no mistake in desperate times, bringing clean hands to the low ball and clearing kicks out from their defensive half. A built unit who offers a lot in the midfield and possibly one of the safest options to hit up in a link.

#44 Sam Conway

Conway dominated the ruck contest despite having his opponent switched on him quite regularly. He proved very adaptable in switching up his approach to different opponents, using a superior leap to get first hands to the ball. He was pivotal to the Falcon’s clearance work out of the midfield, but did not utilise himself well enough out of the ruck work. It would be good to see him collect a few disposals and make an impact in ways outside the bounce.

#48 Blake Schlensog

Though quiet for much of the game, Schlensog had a decent final quarter. The big man led up the ground well and ran hard at the loose ball. He showed no problems getting low to the ground, laying strong tackles and scooping up the football. He is clean off hands and quick for his size. He showed great strength in bringing down Matthew Cumming in front of goal, but was unlucky not to be awarded a free. It was unfortunate that we only saw glimpses of Schlensog’s greatness on Saturday, but the young man was pivotal nonetheless.

#49 Dane Hollenkamp

Hollenkamp marked more of Dandenong’s ball than their forwards, racking up a tonne of intercept marks for the day. Playing out of full back, Hollenkamp often found himself in one on one contests in the square, winning a lot more than he lost. His ability to read the ball and his strong hands overhead, made him near impossible to beat even with added pressure. He positioned himself well and lunged at the footy at the best moment. On the loose ball, he used his body better against his man, taking him out of the contest and rushing it to safety. He was unfortunate a couple times when outnumbered in crucial moments, so had a couple goals kicked on him. Though given that’s the life of a backman, a couple isn’t so bad. Hollenkamp played some elite level defence this weekend and despite being the smaller man, worked his opponent to perfection, rebounding the football countless times.

 

Calder Cannons vs Western Jets

By Michael Alvaro

Calder Cannons:

#8 Lachlan Sholl

In his first TAC Cup outing since returning from Vic Metro duties, Sholl looked a class above. Typically effective by foot, the clever half-back often played a kick behind the ball and intercepted a number of Western’s rushed forays forward with some strong overhead marks. When the ball hit the deck, Sholl showed both a clean pair of hands and heels to set Calder on the attack in a very direct manner. His trap gather at speed in the third quarter was a particular highlight, and had the TAC Cup Radio team fawning over him.

#27 Tye Browning

Browning was another Cannon who looked a step above, despite requiring some time to warm into the contest. His first of two goals came in the opening term with the Cannons only managing to snare five behinds to that stage – it was a tidy snap from about 35 out in blustery RAMS conditions. His hands were strong as we’ve come to expect, with some trademark one-hand gathers catching the eye. Mixing time between the wing and half-forward, Browning made most of his impact during the second half as he found more of the ball in forward positions and ended up with another goal and assist to round out his day.

#30 Mitch Podhajski

Fresh off a successful stint with Coburg in the VFL, Podhajski was near best-on in a hard-working display. Starting in the midfield, the overager worked Jets star Stefan Radovanovic over at the stoppages with some solid contested ball gets as he willed the pill forward. As if he were his side’s barometer, Podhajski came to life in the third quarter with a blistering run from centre half back to assist Will Jury’s goal, while also setting one up for Mohammed Abou-Eid later in the term. Having spent more time forward in the second half, Calder’s co-captain also managed to hit the scoreboard with what was one of two highlight reel moments. His goal came after a desperate run down tackle on Daly Andrews, running on to slot the six-pointer from 50 and displaying his enormous work rate. The second highlight was a contested mark floating in from the side of a pack, but he failed to convert the set shot.

 

Western Jets:

#17 Daly Andrews

Andrews took guard on the wing and did not stray far from it throughout the match. While the way the game was played didn’t exactly suit his brand of football, Andrews was still able to show off his agility and speed in short bursts. The wingman has a good tendency of keeping his hands free while being tackled, and it proved valuable as it allowed the Jets to keep the ball rolling. Andrews found himself on the outer at most of the stoppages, dipping in at the right moments and dishing out when he managed to snare the ball. He likes to take the game on and went on a big run through the middle of the ground in the third quarter to remind spectators of his presence.

#20 Darcy Cassar

The bottom-ager was hard to miss with his dreadlocks and long sleever, calmly going about his business throughout the day. While he started forward, Cassar pushed hard up the ground and made it to a wealth of contests, often accompanying Lachie Sholl at the stoppages early on. A clever user of the ball by hand, Cassar looked unfazed under pressure and is a natural footballer. He copped a heavy knock in the second half from a marking contest which looked to have taken him out of the game.

#37 Hamish Murphy

Murphy had the tough job of accompanying an in-form Jake Riccardi in the early stages of the game, and did relatively well to keep the mobile forward goaless despite his dominance. Riccardi almost caught him out with a fumbled mark, while also catching him holding the ball, but Murphy kept at it and was more composed leading into the main break. The key back looked at his best when the ball hit the deck where he gathered well, ran his measure and delivered the ball effectively. Unfortunately, there was not much he could do in the face of the Cannons second half onslaught.

#39 Stefan Radovanovic

Another star returning from Vic Metro duties, Radovanovic put in a solid shift for his side. Plying his trade further up the ground in the midfield, Radovanovic was a presence at the stoppages and tried hard to get his trademark run going. While he was caught holding the ball early, the Jet was confident enough to stand in tackles and take them on with good aggression. The highlight of his game was a lunging tackle on Tye Browning in the second quarter which prevented a near-certain major. He was solid defensively, but turned the ball over a few times with rushed kicks out of congestion as Western struggled to find their way forward in the second half.

 

Gippsland Power vs. Murray Bushrangers

By Craig Byrnes

Gippsland Power:

#2 Caleb Serong

Coming off an impressive Vic Country campaign across half forward, the talented bottom ager was given the opportunity to spend long minutes through the midfield and was arguably the most influential player on the ground. He started Gippsland’s dominance with an intercept and two class inside 50s before producing the highlight of the day, an instinctive torpedo from the arc that sailed through the goals with minimal effort. He was brilliantly clean in the slippery conditions and just as effectively defensively, laying eight tackles and doing so with physical intent. A second goal came in the third with a brilliant left foot snap, before eventually ending a quality outing with 23 disposals and five clearances.

#9 Irving Mosquito

The Hawthorn Next Generation Academy prospect provided the spark for Gippsland’s fast start, kicking two vital first quarter goals that were worth much more in the horrendous conditions. The first came from a clever crumb, before finding space inside 50 and rolling onto his trusty left boot in characteristic fashion. He was in and out of the game from there on, but the damage was already done in a low scoring contest. He went to the midfield and won some vital clearances, finishing the day with nine disposals and four tackles.

#12 Brock Smith

The reliable bottom age defender didn’t have a whole lot to do as Gippsland dominated possession in the forward half, but did his job well when called upon. He reads the play well and is often found in the prime position against his opponent when the ball arrives. He is a fighter and would have been frustrated to have given away an unlucky free kick inside 50 to Barzen in the final term.

#16 Josh Smith

With Rylan Henkel a late withdrawal due to illness, Smith was forced to take on the ruck load with fellow 17 year-old Marcus Toussaint against Vic Country ruckman Mark Marriott. Giving seven centimetres to his opponent and having to attend many stoppages due to the heavy conditions, Smith exceeded expectations to be one of Gippsland’s best. He competed all day to win 16 hitouts, but made his physical presence known at ground level to lay seven tackles and even cleanly gain possession on occasions. Consecutive intercept marks on the far wing topped off an admirable performance.

#23 Noah Gown

The talented basketballer has been making plenty of noise up forward in recent weeks, but was required to start in defence on Hudson Garoni in the absence of Kyle Reid. While the ball hardly entered Murray’s forward arc, Gown’s close checking literally restricted his highly regarded opponent to zero impact. Garoni did not look himself and came off at half-time, which freed Gown up to go forward. He once again looked dangerous, creating anxiety for his opponent with smart leads and presence. A brilliant one-on-one strength win against Nick Murray in the third term saw him gather possession, turn and calmly kick a goal. Potential bolter.

#29 Boadie Motton

I have been a bit of Boadie Motton advocate for some time now and he continues to provide those AFL attributes that can be easily missed on first glance. He is such a clean and efficient, one touch footballer. After getting an awkwardly spinning wet ball to ground in the first term, he followed up brilliantly to gather and deliver inside 50 to Mosquito for a goal assist. His sharp releases often get teammates into offensive positions that are difficult to defend once executed. He is defensively relevant too, laying nine tackles including a vital holding the ball in the corridor early in the game. If there is one area of improvement, it is turning more of those 15-20 disposal games into 25-30 versions.

Murray Bushrangers:

#5 Ely Smith

Coming off a typically prolific Vic Country debut the week before, the big bodied Smith continued his outstanding form in weather made for his style of play. He is a true stoppage specialist, using his strength to protect his position and powerfully breakaway or push through congestion. His use of the ball was good considering the heavy ball and the contested nature of his possessions, even though an occasional handball missed the intended target. He finished brilliantly on the run with a banana goal in the fourth term to end a solid outing with 30 disposals, eight clearances and six tackles.

#7 Zane Barzen

The extremely talented Barzen started in defence and provided moments throughout the day, as he has done all year without reaching his full potential. He provided a couple of strong defensive one on one efforts deep in the back half, read the play well and rebounded attractively with ball in hand. He moved forward in the second half and looked dangerous on occasions despite the lack of supply, highlighted by a diving lead and nice set shot late. But he has so much more to give and hopefully the talented Shepparton product can get close to his high ceiling by the end of the season.

#12 Lachlan Ash

Another bottom-aged player who was a clear standout for their team, Ash singlehandedly ended numerous potentially dangerous Gippsland chains throughout the day. He was one of the few Bushrangers who found time under pressure, calmly moving through traffic with elite lateral movement on occasions and getting the ball forward. He read the play superbly and put his body on the line, courageously running back with the flight to intercept or acrobatically spoiling to advantage as he did in the second and third terms. A prolific third quarter in particular saved Murray more scoreboard misery and he would end the day with 26 disposals to rival Serong for best on ground honours.

#14 Jye Chalcraft

Playing mostly as a small forward option, Chalcraft made the most of the limited opportunities inside 50 to have an impact. He took a brilliantly clean mark on the lead in the second term which unfortunately wouldn’t be paid due to a free further up the ground, but it showcased his elite hands in the slop. He provided another clean moment later in the quarter to gather a ground ball and smartly draw the high free kick inside 50. He missed the set shot, but didn’t waste his next chance in the third term when finding space in the pocket and snapping the set shot to finally bring up the Bushrangers first goal.

#16 Nick Murray

The Bushranger’s number one key defender had plenty to do as Gippsland bombarded its forward arc with entrances throughout the day. He rotated through many opponents including Gown in the second half, throwing his fist at any aerial ball to ensure the contest was killed. He looked hell bent on breaking spoil records Harris Andrews style at times and was rarely, if at all beaten in the air. His only blemish was losing a battle of strength against Gown in the third term that resulted in a goal. You could not question his effort though.

#23 Mark Marriott

The 201cm ruckman was dominant at the stoppages in the absence of Henkel with 31 hitouts, but couldn’t replicate the impact of his opponents at ground level, especially defensively. He gave Ely Smith some silver service at times and possesses good peripheral vision, but it would have been nice to see some greater physical intent and to see him take control as the most experienced ruckman on the ground.

#28 Kyle Clarke

The small midfielder come forward was one of Murray’s better contributors for the day, fighting offensively and defensively to collect 21 disposals, four clearances and eight tackles. He arguably provided the greatest intent on a poor day for his side, highlighted by a multiple effort play defensively in the second term that set up a rare score. While his kicking was a bit messy overall, he hit a diving Chalcraft lace out with a bullet in the centre of the ground during the third term, after taking an impressive mark from the kick out.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 9

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

GEELONG FALCONS v. WESTERN JETS

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

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

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

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

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

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

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

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

GIPPSLAND POWER v. CALDER CANNONS

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

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

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

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

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

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 8

TAC Cup action returned on the weekend, and while Murray Bushrangers and Oakleigh Chargers had the week off, we were at all five games and took notes on those from the extended Vic Metro and Vic Country squads, with a number of players trialled in various positions ahead of the National Under 18 Championships.

Northern Knights vs. Eastern Ranges

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern:

#1 Ryan Gardner –

Assuming his usual role on the wing for much of the game, Gardner found it hard at times to generate his usual run and carry. With his best asset somewhat quelled, the underager was thrown into the centre bounces in the final term – a tactic that the Knights have long tried with their running outside players. His presense around the contest was good and he tackled hard all day, with his first being a rag-dolling effort on Eastern’s Xavier Fry. With Vic Metro duties potentially inbound, Gardner will be looking to continue his consistent form and take the game on.

#7 Harrison Grace

With the ball locked in Eastern’s attacking half for long periods in the opening two quarters, Grace struggled at times to find his way into the game playing as a half forward. Much like Gardner, he was thrust into the middle of the ground in the third term in an attempt to impose a stronger impact around the contest. Running alongside Eastern’s skipper Joel Burleigh, Grace had an immediate impact with a couple of centre clearances and some impressive work one-on-one. His ability to bring the ball over the back in overhead marking contests proved dangerous, and he looked better when given the chance to run through the midfield.

Eastern:

#23 Xavier Fry –

Fry provided some rare run and carry in what was a hotly contested game played mostly between the 50 arcs. ‘X’, as he is known on the field, spent most of his minutes behind the ball and produced a couple of highlight reel runs – most notably his three-bounce effort in the first term which he ended with an inside 50 and was followed up well. His outside dash is an obvious asset, but Fry could look to improve his field kicking on the run, with a couple of efforts in the third quarter being sprayed badly.

#24 Kye Quirk –

Quirk played most of the game through the middle and looked right at home, reading the ball best off the hands out of all of the midfielders out there. His exceptional roving ability was complemented well by his clean hands and ability to pick the ball up easily below his knees, setting him apart from most other players on the day. Quirk had a few notable moments, not all of which would make the highlight reel. The first was his consecutive one percenters in the second quarter as he laid a tackle, forced the turnover and stepped in with a shepherd; and the second was his decision to kick long out of the congestion with the Ranges struggling to edge forward, and his booming effort created a goal from almost nothing.

#31 James Blanck –

Playing as a key defender, Blanck had the sort of game where if you didn’t notice him, it meant that he was doing his job well. With much of the play being fought out well up the ground, Blanck was able to keep the Knights forwards quiet for most of the match – helping his defence to keep Northern to just one first-half goal. He was efficient for the most part with ball in hand and displayed some decent follow up work when the ball spilled to ground.

 

Western Jets vs. Bendigo Pioneers

Western

#11 Zak Butters

Butters was lively throughout the match, running all day and was damaging between the arcs. He started forward then moved into the midfield, often drifting wide then releasing a quick handball or a weighted kick inside 50. He had a leap in the first term but couldn’t bring it down and laid a great run-down tackle late in the quarter. He showed fierce intent when attacking the ball and was able to pick it up cleanly at full pace. Butters showed good vision in traffic and even took a good intercept mark at half-back floating in from the side. He has the patience to wait and release a handball under pressure. He had a huge collision with Kobe Brown in the last quarter and neither player took a backwards step.

#17 Daly Andrews

Andrews was busy early and had a few neat passages of play throughout the game. He was always on the move and was not afraid to take on opponents. He has good agility and quick hands and is another who hits he contest at full speed. He holds onto the footy in a stoppage to wait for a clean exit. He played predominantly off half-back and didn’t win a heap of it, but tried to run and carry when it came his way.

#31 Emerson Jeka

Spent the first half in attack and the second half in defence. He was involved in a number of transition plays which is often rare for a player of his size. He is a great athlete and attacked the contest when going for a mark and provided good leads up the ground. He won the ball through the middle as well and looked to the outside to release a running teammate. He covers the ground well and took a vital intercept mark deep in defence late in the third term when the Pioneers were attacking.

#37 Hamish Murphy

Started in defence and swung forward in the second half to switch with Jeka. He was good one-on-one deep in the first term to spoil a ball across the line and stop a certain goal in the first term. Murphy also showed good closing speed on the lead to effect a number of spoils on his opponents. Sometimes he tended to rush his short kicks as a couple came off as drubbers, but he was better over long distance. Had a great pick-up off he deck and kicked a running goal from 45m in the third term, then got on the end of an end-to-end play by the Jets to kick the easiest of goals. Took the last mark of the match uncontested inside 50 and managed to get the behind which locked away the victory.

#38 Buku Khamis

Unbelievable game at half-back. He just patrolled the airways and took a heap of intercept marks. His kicking action is among the best there is and he rarely made a mistake by foot. He has the knack of raising his arms up to dispose of the ball when being tackled and can often shrug off an opponent this way because of his skinny frame. Khamis tends to float through the air similar to Jeremy Howe in a gliding sense and looks so sure with his timing and ability to clutch marks. He also has a good first few steps to burn off some opponents and is composed under pressure. Best-on for mine.

#39 Stefan Radovanovic

Started in the midfield and would drift out wide to win a lot of possessions on the wing and in space. He attacks the contest with vigour, is strong in the air and is constantly used in transition from half-back to half-forward. He kicked a goal from a 25m set shot after an intercept mark at half-forward and a 50m penalty. Radovanovic always puts good pressure on the ball carrier, constantly harassing and chasing them to try and force a turnover. He had a great moment in the final term running to half-forward, fooled the opposition with a look-away behind the back quick handball to Josh Honey who ran on and kicked a great goal from the boundary. A solid performance.

#45 Aaron Clarke

Clarke was busy early but had a quieter second half. He took a few good grabs working hard and running up to the wing. Covers the ground really well and stays involved. Had a couple of shots on goal, one in the first term from a set shot and one from a quick snap after a clean pick-up in the second term.

Bendigo:

#9 Zane Keighran

One of Bendigo’s hardest workers on the day, running until the final siren. He took it upon himself in the final minutes to slot a goal running inside 50 with a fantastic snap to level the game. Throughout the match Keighran continued to battle on the inside, putting his body on the line and firing out handballs to teammates in order to release them. Though he was strong for the majority of the game he tended to rush his short kicks and kicks out of a clearance just throwing it on the boot instead of thinking his way through.  When kicking long with time and space in front of him he put it into dangerous areas, and he was most effective when releasing the handball in traffic to the outside. He took a huge grab in the air against Emerson Jeka after positioning himself well, but his set shot just dropped short. Not much more he could have done on the day and tried his heart out.

#16 Jacob Atley

Atley played on the wing and up forward and used quick-fire handballs to try and get run happening between the arcs. He is strong in the air and took a few strong grabs, and would find space and link-up with teammates. Often he would win the ball and handball into space for a teammate to run onto. One strength is his ability to cleanly pick up the footy, swooping down and grabbing it with one hand and taking it full stride.

#20 James Schischka

Played in defence and seemed composed with ball-in-hand. He fired out quick handballs to teammates to clear the area and took a good intercept mark at half-back in the second term. Did not win a heap of it, but did not fumble a great deal when a lot of others were.

 

Calder Cannons v. Greater Western Victoria Rebels

By: Liam Connop 

Calder:

#5 Curtis Taylor

On the back of a best afield performance last week, Taylor played in the midfield once again and found plenty of the footy, with a good ability to find space. Taylor used his clean hands to dish the ball out to teammates, which was on full-display with a brilliant half-volley gather before hand-balling to Bytel who kicked the goal. Taylor covers the ground well and also showed he has a penetrating kick. Good player who does not do a lot wrong.

#8 Lachlan Sholl 

Sholl was a prolific ball-winner, particularly in the first half, playing at half-back and setting up many of the Cannons attacks. Sholl tends to play a kick behind the play and has excellent skills off both feet. Unflustered under pressure, Sholl also showed a nice turn of foot, and looks to be a typical break the lines off half-back type player. He noticeably also plays with confidence, demanding the ball from teammates to set-up the play.

#16 Jack Bytel  

On return from injury, Bytel sat out the first half. He then played full-forward for the third quarter with the Cannons having the wind that quarter, winning a one-on-one contest at ground level before snapping a goal, shortly before setting up another thanks to his clean hands. Bytel then had a run around on the ball in the last quarter while looking to regain his fitness going forward.

#27 Tye Browning

Browning started on the wing and played there for a large duration, with some stints up forward in the second half. Browning is a very swift mover who looks like a natural athlete. He produced many examples of great clean hands, as well as possessing a lovely kicking style. Was involved in many of the Cannons attacks and looks to be a skilful, versatile player.

#33 Jack Evans

Evans spent his day in the forward line, and had a pretty quiet game with the occasional glimpse of skill. With a three or four goal breeze, Evans was not as prolific as he can be through the middle or down back, especially in the second and fourth quarters when the Rebels had the majority of the play. Nonetheless, Evans showed composure when he got the ball, setting up a shot on goal with a nice left foot in the second term. He finished the game with three behinds.

 

GWV:

#3 Scott Carlin

Carlin played through the midfield as well as across half-back, showing versatility to play in multiple positions. In the first quarter Carlin’s vision resulted in a nice switch of play to hit up a teammate, resulting in a forward 50 entry. Carlin moves nicely and was entrusted with the kick-out from full back on a number of occasions, demonstrating a nice kicking style and an ability to lower his eyes to find a teammate.

#5 Harris Jennings 

Jennings started the game in the centre, and is a nicely sized midfielder. He moves well and was able to link up well with teammates often against the run of play, propelling the Rebels into attack. Jennings spent a lot of time on the wing as the game progressed, winning plenty of the footy and was a key factor in the Rebels hitting the lead in the last quarter.

#9 Lochie Dawson

Dawson started in the centre and spent the majority of game in the midfield. Dawson has a solid build for a midfielder, and showed his ability to make great decisions throughout the game, with good disposals by both hand and foot. He showed a good understanding with teammate Scott Carlin, as they linked up by hand often to get the ball forward for scoring opportunities for the Rebels. Despite copping a heavy knock in the second quarter and starting the third quarter on the interchange, he recovered well to have a strong impact on the game.

#13 Thomas Berry

Berry switched his time on-ball and attack. He demonstrated an ability to use the ball well with clean hands. In the second quarter, Berry showed a willingness to get involved in the contest, with a Dusty style fend-off impressing the fans, and showed a nous for where the goals are. Berry is also a strong tackler, and produced the highlight of the day with what was possibly the mark of the season with a huge hanger in the third term, before unselfishly trying to centre the ball.

#14 Jed Hill

Hill was starved of opportunities for the game, not finding a lot of the footy on the half-back flank. Despite this, Hill kicked a sublime goal in the last quarter to give the Rebels the momentum and looked at home in his regular position up forward.

#20 Tylar Watts

Watts started the game at centre half-forward. The Rebels have a very strong ruck combination with his ability to interchange with Patrick Glanford, often giving the midfielders first use of the footy. Watts showed a nice ability to leap at the footy, and although not taking a heap of marks, he brought the ball to ground. Watts was not afraid to impose himself, using his strength in the contests through strong bumps and tackles.

#24 Matty Lloyd

Lloyd started the game across half-back, rotating between there and the wing throughout the game. Lloyd started reasonably quietly, but showed a willingness to contest well and really came into play in the third quarter. Perhaps frustrated at times by what appeared to be an ankle injury in the third term, and one or two defensive lapses, Lloyd started to win the footy and covered a lot of ground in the back half, showing great defensive skills.

 

Dandenong vs Sandringham

By: Ed Pascoe

Dandenong

#3 Jamie Plumridge

Plumridge was a clean and tough performer throughout the day for Dandenong mostly playing on the wing providing good linkup and defensive running. Early in the game Plumridge’s class was shown through some clean handballs and a creative kick inboard deep in defence. In the second quarter he got down and dirty laying some terrific tackles especially for his size, one passage of play he attacked the contest hard had a run and then executed a nice long handball. He continued his hard running and attack on the footy in the second half and he was rewarded with a goal in the third quarter taking a nice mark and going back to kick a set shot goal.

#7 Jai Taylor

Taylor took a while to have some impact in the game but he was a driving force in the second half with his run and dare leading to some eye catching plays. He missed a running shot at goal but his attack on the football and run that lead up to it was fantastic, he also had a nice kick inside 50 that lead to a goal on three quarter time. Taylor did not let up his running in the last quarter taking the game on at every opportunity, he even took some nice intercept marks showing he wasn’t just all run and flair.

#13 Riley Bowman

Bowman hit the ground running winning the opening tap of the game, he continued this trend for most of the first quarter while also following up his taps and using the ball well be hand. He decided to do it all late in the quarter roving his own taps and kicking a snap goal. His second goal came from some good positioning out the back and running into an open goal in the third quarter. Bowman did it all, taking some nice marks overhead while also using the ball well by hand and foot and using his impressive agility for a ruckman and avoiding much smaller players in the heat of the contest.

#23 Campbell Hustwaite

Hustwaite played a complete performance through the midfield winning plenty of the ball in the contest while also getting on the outside and having an impact. Hustwaite was very clean with ball in hand and was hardly flustered. He showed his composure on several occasions in the third quarter with one passage of play involving him running along the boundary with the opposition looking to take him out he just stayed composed and managed to get around his opponent and kick inside 50. He was rewarded for his efforts in the midfield in the last quarter kicking a goal when allowed to rest up forward.

 

Sandringham

#28 James Rendell

Rendell had a tough day at the office with not a lot going his way throughout the day, he managed to take some nice marks around the ground and although he got a few touches they were not as clean as he would like. His best bit of play came in the third quarter where he attacked the contest on the lead, picking up a ground ball and turning on a dime to kick to the hotspot. He will be hoping to win a spot in the Vic Metro side next week.

#32 Bailey Griffiths

Griffiths competed well in the ruck all day but what stood out most was his clean hands at ground level. Despite some fumbles he managed to kick a goal in the first quarter but that would be his only goal for the day. Like Rendell, he will be pushing for a spot in the ruck for Vic Metro.

 

Gippsland vs Geelong

By: Ed Pascoe

Gippsland

#22 Rylan Henkel

Henkel had a good battle with Schlensog throughout the day in the ruck, Henkel competed hard at the stoppages and he was also able to get on the outside and take some nice marks. He did his best to move the ball quickly after taking marks, he made some good choices by foot as well. The ruckman kicked a goal from a free kick in the second quarter.

#23 Noah Gown

Gown provided a good leading target for Gippsland all day taking some nice lead up marks and worked hard to give an outlet for his running defenders. Gown kicked two goals for the day, one from a free kick and the other from a mark inside 50 which he converted with ease. It was not a huge day but he played his role well.

 

Geelong

#31 Cooper Stephens

Stephens was a workhorse in the midfield he started like a house on fire winning plenty of the ball in the contest and also on the outside. Stephens showed good composure with ball in hand throughout the day and his attack and clean hands where an asset at the stoppages. Stephens is not eligible to be drafted until 2019 but his selection in the Vic Country squad shows his quality and he would be a big chance to get a few games for Vic Country this year based of this performance.

#48 Blake Schlensog

Schlensog was the dominant big man on the ground doing everything you could ask from a big, strong ruckman. He was surprisingly clean at ground level for his size and his attack on the ball after a tap was very good. Schlensog took several intercept marks in defence showing his ability to work behind the ball to help his defenders, his kicking after a mark was also good with some low penetrating passes hitting their mark. He should also be judged for his rucking which on many occasions was effective, he had one tap behind in the first quarter which was noticeably impressive. Schlensog did his chances of a Vic Country spot no harm with his game, you could see how much he wanted the responsibility with the ball.