Tag: tye browning

Final Siren Podcast: Episode 9

IN a huge episode of Final Siren Podcast, host Matthew Cocks and Draft Central’s Peter Williams and Sophie Taylor chat all things NAB League. This week’s podcast has been split into two; you can listen to the podcasts on the links below or on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Overcast, PocketCasts or RadioPublic.

NAB League Girls:

* Round 8 review and Round 9 preview
* Interviews with Geelong Falcons’ Elise Vella, Mia Skinner and Lucy McEvoy

NAB League Boys:

* Calder Cannons’ Tye Browning and Josh Kemp interviews
* Analysis of Dandenong Stingrays’ win over Oakleigh Chargers
* Round 5 review and Round 6 preview

NAB League Boys Round 4 preview: Changes galore as NAB League goes national

ROUND 4 of the NAB League Boys sees established Victorian Metropolitan sides both play host and traveler as five clubs steel themselves for clashes against the Northern Academies, while the Country clubs each have a bye. A Saturday double-header sees both Sydney academies hit Sandringham, while the Queensland academies are set to host a game each at Southport on Sunday, and Calder becomes the first side for the year to cross Bass Strait and battle Tasmania.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GWS GIANTS ACADEMY
Saturday April 13, 10:45am
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

Northern Knights and GWS GIANTS Academy open Round 4 as sides still searching for their first win in season 2019. This bout acts as the Giants’ first experience in playing against established NAB League Boys opposition after losses to the Sydney and Brisbane academies in Rounds 2 and 3. For Northern, while the chance to showcase talent that would otherwise miss out during the year will be the number one priority, wins are at a premium and a 0-4 start would not be ideal. With the core ripped out of their side due to Vic Metro trial game commitments, the Knights have plenty of players who will be looking to consolidate a spot in the underperforming starting lineup. 19-year old Northern Blues listed Sunny Brazier is one of them, and should form a handy midfield trio alongside Sam Philp and Lucas Perry. Speaking of, the Giants have a few in-form ball winners of their own – with star Tom Green leading the way from Jeromy Lucas and Matt McGrory. An inexperienced and largely bottom-aged Knights defence will also have its hands full with dynamic Liam Delahunty, who has been in good goal-scoring form. With one side depleted and the other looking to prove themselves, this should prove to be a close encounter.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY
Saturday April 13, 1:15pm
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

Sandringham will be looking to maintain its perfect start to season 2019 as it hosts the Sydney Swans academy to close out Saturday’s proceedings. Like many of the metro sides, the Dragons have a raft of key outs as trial games roll into town, with at least 14 changes from last week’s side that beat Oakleigh. With their typical midfield core out, the likes of Jackson Voss and Angus Hanrahan will get the opportunity to run through the middle, while Riley Bowman is sure to take up more rucking responsibility. AFL family connections Jai Florent and Jeremy Goddard also slot in at either end as noticeable ins, but Sydney has arguably the most important inclusion of the round. Errol Gulden is set to suit up for his second game of the year, looking to have the likes of Braeden Campbell and Jackson Barling bounce off the electricity he brings. A change of structure looks imminent with Josh Rayner named at half-back, while the promising Ky McGrath will slot in as 23rd man. With the Dragons’ depth set to be tested on this rare occasion, look for the Swans to come out firing, with some serious talent running around on each line.

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Sunday April 14, 10:45am
Southport Oval

Best placed Academy side Gold Coast SUNS welcome NAB League Boys premiership fancies Oakleigh Chargers to the Sunshine State, looking to maintain its winning record. While the Suns downed NT and Brisbane in their first two games, Oakleigh suffered its first loss for the year against Sandringham last time out and will hope to rectify it this week. With perfect conditions forecasted, it is as good a chance as any for the Chargers to showcase their brand of football. The Suns have proven their worth though, and the likes of top-end midfield duo Connor Budarick and Ashton Crossley will have a big say on proceedings. The clinical Josh Gore is also in good form, and is sure to cause headaches for the Oakleigh depth alongside Hewago Paul Oea. Chargers over-ager Joe Ayton Delaney is one who remains amid the 11 changes, and should have a good battle with Budarick as another zippy midfield type. While many of the big names are missing, Oakleigh’s second-string is arguably as strong as some sides’ starting line-up, so they will stand every chance of jumping on the plane home with a win.

TASMANIA DEVILS v. CALDER CANNONS
Sunday April 14, 11:30am
Penguin Oval – Tasmania

Tasmania is set to play on home turf for the first time this season, hosting Calder Cannons at Penguin Oval. The Devils are the best placed side with one win, sitting pretty in ninth after toppling NT in Round 3, while Calder also got on the board last week with a win over Western. While six changes is nothing to scoff at for the Cannons, they will remain relatively steady coming into this game, travel aside, with a solid bunch of 19-year olds looking to contribute. Josh Kemp leads the pack alongside Mason Fletcher, with Tye Browning showing glimpses of why he was picked to return thus far, and top-ager Harrison Minton-Connell another likely type in midfield. The hosts will feel they have answers on each line though, with Jackson Callow one who may well keep Fletcher busy, while Matt McGuinness and Sam Collins have been good across half-back, Jye Menzie and Will Harper likewise up the other end, and Mitch O’Neill leading all-comers in midfield. With the whole state behind them, Tasmania will look to take full advantage of a good hand and streak to a second-straight win, but it will not be easy against the Cannons.

BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY v. EASTERN RANGES
Sunday April 14, 1:15pm
Southport Oval

Eastern Ranges will be hoping to make it three-straight NAB League Boys wins as it travels north to face the Brisbane Lions Academy in the second game of Sunday’s double-header. The Lions went down in last week’s Q-Clash, but hold a Round 2 win over their GWS counterparts, while Eastern has soundly beaten Western and Northern to shape as one of the surprise packets so far. With nine outs named, the Ranges will be stretched thin in combating their weekend travel, but will have solid contributors across the park. 19-year old James Blanck comes in to stake his claim, with forward pocket duo Chayce Black and Joshua Tilly showing good form thus far. The Lions have some eye-catchers, with Bruce Reville a clear standout last week, while Will Martyn will look to lift and join Tom Griffiths in finding a wealth of possessions. Good conditions should greet the sides, which should make for decent viewing on stream for those watching at home. A couple should really catch the eye, so look for those smooth movers in the hosts’ lineup.

WESTERN JETS v. NORTHERN TERRITORY
Sunday April 14, 2:30pm
Downer Oval – Williamstown

A clash between Western Jets and Northern Territory Thunder is set to close the round out, with the travelling Thunder still looking to get on the board in their NAB League Boys stint. After Western snatched a win in Round 1 over Northern, both sides have lost over the last two weeks with a crushing defeat handed to them each. The Jets remain the most steady of the Victorian sides coming into this weekend with only four outs, but they are all key players at that. Still, the likes of Aaron Clarke and Archi Manton have found the goals well, and over-ager Daly Andrews should catch the eye through midfield. For NT, Stephen Cumming looks to be coming along nicely after teasing for Dandenong last year, while the likes of Joel Jeffrey and Maurice Rioli Jr have provided moments of magic. Joel Budarick and Ben Jungfer are ball-winners also sure to catch the eye, though the conditions at Downer Oval may prove difficult for all. A good opportunity rises for the Thunder, but the Jets proved in Round 1 that they will not go down without a fight.

Weekend preview: NAB League Boys – Round 2

AN HISTORIC weekend of NAB League football will see Northern Academies thrown in the mixer for the first of five rounds, while the Tasmania Devils get their first crack in the competition after an opening round bye. With a massive nine games across two days, we are set for a true feast of football.

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY v. TASMANIA DEVILS

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
9:30AM
Blacktown Olympic Park

One of the more anticipated aspects of the exciting new NAB League era is the inclusion of Tasmania and interstate academies, giving the competition a truely national feel. On Saturday, onlookers will get their first look at both an academy side and the Apple Isle talent as Sydney Swans Academy and Tasmania open Round 2 proceedings in Blacktown. The Swans are set to showcase the wealth of talent available to them over the next two draft years, led by dynamic forward Josh Rayner. Named at full forward, Rayner is also capable of using his big frame in the midfield. Skipper Sam Thorne is named at the heart of an exciting midfield alongside Jackson Barling, with bottom-aged stars Braedon Campbell and Errol Gulden set to start on either wing. The likes of Mitch O’Neill, Ollie Davis and Nic Baker will put their hands up to match the Swans’ midfield class, with Sam Collins also one to watch across half back. The neat Tassie ball users will all be looking to hit up imposing spearhead, Jackson Callow, although he could well be sent down back to cover the dangerous Rayner. An exciting match should provide a fitting opening to the new phase of Under 18 football, with both sides looking to make a memorable entrance.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY v. BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
11:55am
Blacktown International Sports Park

The second game of the round features the first all-academy NAB League clash, as the GWS Giants and Brisbane Lions academies do battle as part of the Blacktown triple-header. Liam Delahunty headlines the Giants’ talent, with the versatile tall set to provide some highlights from centre-half-forward. Tom Green is also one to keep a keen eye on, set to anchor the midfield alongside Matt McGrory. The Lions have some promising types, too, with an impressive centre line jumping off the page. Bottom ager Saxon Crozier holds down a wing, with Bruce Reville on the other and Will Martyn holding post in the middle. Smalls Tahj Abberley and Tom Wischnat will also provide good run and goal sense respectively, with the Lions side full of impressive forward movers. With games against fellow state academies to come in Round 3, this game will be a good opportunity to blow out the cobwebs and polish up before the all-important state derbies.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
1:00pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve

Gippsland hosts the first hit-out between established NAB League teams for Round 2, with an all-country clash against Murray set to hit Morwell. Both sides are coming off wins by under a goal in the opening round, but it is a strong Gippsland outfit that will come into the bout as favourite. The Power will be further strengthened by the inclusion of Caleb Serong, named in the forward line but sure to join the dynamic Sam Flanders through midfield. With Brock Smith and Josh Smith holding down key positions at either end of the ground, expect a complete team display from the hosts. The reigning premiers have some serious talent of their own, with potential No. 1 pick Hayden Young looking to build on a steady Round 1 performance. Versatile talls Sam De Koning and Bigoa Nyuon should hold down either end, with Nyuon looking to solidify a promising forward partnership with goalsneak, Ned Cahill. The over-age trio of Jai Nanscawen, Bailey Schmidt and Mitch Riordan will also provide some much-needed experience and grunt. While the Power’s top-end talent runs a little deeper, count the Stingrays out at your own peril.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
2:00pm
Deakin Reserve – Shepparton

Bendigo travels to Shepparton in Saturday’s second all-country clash, set to do battle with narrow Round 1 losers, Murray. The Pioneers hit the ground running last week, storming out of the blocks against Geelong with a six goal to nil opening term setting up a memorable win. Murray had a tighter tussle at home to Gippsland, being edged out early in the final term to go down by three points. Despite the result, there is plenty of promise coming into this round for Murray, with Lachlan Ash leading a talented bunch. With Jye Chalcraft named in the midfield and bottom-ager Elijah Hollands at half-forward, the Bushrangers look a dynamic unit with a good deal of versatility. While they are a good chance to bounce back this week, their opponents, Bendigo are up and about. The midfield duo of Thomson Dow and Brodie Kemp will be key again in providing drive from midfield. The mopping up of James Schischka and James Conforti in defence will also be important if Bendigo are to back up their impressive performance.

GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY v. NORTHERN TERRITORY

Round 2 – 30/03/2019
2:20pm
Blacktown International Sports Park

The final interstate feature game in Blacktown sees the Gold Coast Suns Academy face off against Northern Territory in a clash that should produce some fireworks. The SUNS are set to unleash all five of their AFL Academy members, with Connor Budarick the clear standout of the group. Fellow member Ashton Crossley will join him in midfield, with Hewago Paul-Oea another to watch across half-forward opposite Josh Gore. The Thunder has its own formidable forward threat, with Wanderers gun Joel Jeffrey named at the heart of their attack, and 2020 Richmond father-son hopeful Maurice Rioli Jr set to light up the field. They will be without arguably their best player in Malcolm Rosas Jr, but boast the returning tall timber of Matthew and Stephen Cumming. With excitement machines on either forward line and a couple of classy mids to boot, expect this one to be easy on the eye as the game opens up. With a tough draw to come for both sides, this may well prove to be their greatest opportunity to snatch a win.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 2 – 31/03/2019
10:00am
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

Sandringham will be looking to make it two wins on the trot as it faces a Northern side still looking four its first set of four points. The Dragons were formidable last week, trouncing Calder in an awesome display from the midfield and forward. Northern will hope to contain Sandringham’s tall attacking trio of Riley Bowman, Charlie Dean, and Jack Bell – which combined for 10 goals in the 109-point Round 1 win. A combination of bottom-age defenders Regan Uwandu, Jaden Collins, and Nicholas Cox look set to cover two of the three, while Ryan Sturgess‘ intercept game will surely be tested as well. The Knights’ fleet of runners, including Lachlan Potter and Ryan Gardner, will be key in getting the visitors out of trouble quickly, while ball-winners Sam Philp and Adam Carafa will battle hard against the in-form trio of Ryan Byrnes, Jack Mahony, and Finn Maginness. The first game in a Trevor Barker Beach Oval double-header, this one will feature a host of draftable talent and will be important for the Dragons as they remain at full strength during the early season.

WESTERN JETS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 2 – 31/03/2019
12:30pm
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham

A second consecutive win to open the season is up for grabs for the Western Jets as they play Eastern Ranges on neutral ground to close out a Sunday double-header. While the Jets soared home to an impressive comeback win over the Knights last round, the Ranges went down to a stacked Oakleigh side – but it was not without a fight. With the Jets surely looking to not leave their charge so late, Eastern will have to start strongly once again and maintain the standard they set in Round 1 if they are to be competitive once again. Cody Hirst and Lachlan Stapleton will prop up the midfield as usual, with Jets stars Darcy Cassar and Josh Honey the ‘hosts’ key ball-winners. Western’s tall forward duo of Emerson Jeka and Aaron Clarke could well prove to be the difference, with the former looking dangerous last week and the latter booting three crucial goals. East vs. West – it promises to be a good one.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 2 – 31/03/2019
1:00pm
Mars Stadium – Ballarat

An opportunity to get on the board for season 2019 looms for both the Greater Western Victoria Rebels and Geelong Falcons when they clash in Ballarat. The Rebels looked the better of the two sides last week, going down by just six points to the reigning premiers despite a spirited final term. On the other hand, the Falcons looked unlikely of pulling back the six-goal opening term deficit they conceded against Bendigo, and had their score doubled in the upset loss at home. Travelling this time around, Geelong will hope the form of co-captains Cooper Stephens and Jesse Clark remains good, with 19-year old Charlie Sprague another who stood up and will be important. Another over-ager, Matty Lloyd, was crucial to the Rebels’ effort last week, and will hope to again excel with delivery from Cooper Craig-Peters and Mitch Martin. With goalsneak Izaac Grant in the side and Jed Hill also able to play forward, GWV will look to have Geelong’s defence overwhelmed for the second week running. With players set to leave for school football commitments during the middle of the year, this is a crucial chance for Geelong to claim an early win, but GWV never give it up easily.

CALDER CANNONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 2 – 31/03/2019
3:40pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

Calder Cannons faces a tough task in bettering the Round 1 thumping it suffered, with a talented Oakleigh Chargers side posing as its next challenger. The Cannons went down by 109 points to Sandringham, a side equally fancied to Oakleigh, in their season opener. Despite the heavy loss, the likes of Daniel Mott and over-ager Tye Browning stood up in the drubbing and the home side is set to be boosted by the inclusions of Mason Fletcher down back and Campbell Edwardes into the midfield. There is not much that needs to be said about the Chargers’ talent, with Noah Anderson looking to back up his Draft Central player of the week heroics – without the aid of Trent Bianco, who will miss with concussion. While it looks a stiff ask on paper, Calder will be breathing fire after a poor display and will hope to really bring it to Oakleigh on home turf.

Weekend Wash-up: NAB League Boys – Round 1

THE first round of the NAB League Boys saw a number of impressive performances both individual and team across the weekend, with Sandringham Dragons storming to a triple-figure win, while Bendigo Pioneers got off to a great start with a win over Geelong Falcons. Other winners included reigning grand finalists, Dandenong Stingrays and Oakleigh Chargers, Western Jets and Gippsland Power.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 1.4 | 2.8 | 6.9 | 11.14 (80)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 5.2 | 7.6 | 10.8 | 13.8 (86)

By: Cameron Ross

GOALS:

GWV: M. Lloyd 3, J. Wright 2, M. Jorgensen 2, I. Thomas, M. Martin, T. Mahony, C. Craig-Peters
Dandenong: E. Cahill 2, B. Nyuon 2, C. Gay 2, H. Sullivan, L. Goonan, J. Toner, K. George, H. Berenger, C. Weightman, J. Nanscawen

BEST:

GWV: C. Craig-Peters, M. Martin, L. Herbert, J. Hill, M. Lloyd, R. Polkinghorne
Dandenong: L. Williams, J. Toner, C. Gay, J. Nanscawen, D. Popa, B. Schmidt

The Dandenong Stingrays held off a spirited GWV Rebels comeback to hold on by six points at MARS Stadium on Saturday. The Rebels could not handle the immense pressure from the Stingrays in the first quarter. Every time a Rebel got a metre of space they were closed down and hit hard by a Stingray. This gave the Dandenong boys a huge lift, and they shot out of the blocks. Jai Nanscawen and Bigoa Nyoun had huge starts to the game kicking early goals. Mitch Martin, playing unusually as a midfielder, and Cooper Craig-Peters were good for the Rebels but were unable to stop the Stingrays taking a four-goal lead into the first break. In the second quarter, the Rebels had plenty of opportunities to get themselves back into the game but simply could not convert. Dandenong kicked clear, and looked to be extremely comfortable and good for their lead at half time. However, in the third quarter, Matty Lloyd sparked the Rebels’ revival. He had an outstanding second half, winning a lot of the ball and converting opportunities. The second half saw Jed Hill also come into the game after a move into the midfield. The Stingray’s steadied the ship with a few late third quarter goals, but you got the sense that this was a different GWV Rebels. In 2018, the Rebels were notorious for their poor second halves. It was obvious in the final term, that this was ancient history. The Rebels continued to claw their way back into the game, and before you knew it, they were only a goal down. Hill had a huge opportunity to bring the Rebels back within a point with under a minute remaining, but the talented forward/midfielder pushed his kick and the Stingrays clung on for a six-point victory. Nanscawen was the best player on the field, he racked up 15 possessions and 1.3. Nyuon and Ned Cahill also played well for the Stingrays. Craig-Peters was terrific onball for the Rebels, and had a complete four-quarter game. Lloyd, as stated earlier, was also terrific in the second half and played an important role in his side’s comeback. The Rebels are at home again this week, taking on the Falcons at Mars, while the Stingrays play the Gippsland Power in Morwell.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 5.4 | 8.7 | 13.10 | 19.13 (127)
CALDER CANNONS 0.1 | 0.4 | 1.8 | 1.12 (18)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Sandringham: C. Dean 5, R. Bowman 3, J. Mifsud 2, J. Bell 2, R. Byrnes, A. Hanrahan, F. Maginness, J. Mahony, N. Burke, A. Courtney, B. O’Leary.
Calder: S. Ramsay.

BEST:

Sandringham: R. Byrnes, R. Bowman, C. Dean, O. Lewis, F. Maginness, C. Watts
Calder: B. Newman, C. Brown, T. Browning, S. Callander, N. Gentile, S. Ramsay

In the first commentary streamed game of the new NAB League Boys competition, Sandringham Dragons stormed past Calder Cannons at RSEA Park. The Dragons never looked like losing in the 19.13 (127) to 1.12 (18) victory, booting five goals to zero in the first term, and by half-time had 55 points on the board. It only got worse after half-time for the Cannons, and while Sam Ramsay managed to kick a classy goal from the boundary line, Sandringham piled on another 11 goals to run away with the match by 109 points and stamp their authority on the competition. The Dragons had 32 scoring shots to 13, with the Cannons managing just one major for the contest. Charlie Dean booted five majors, while former Stingray, Riley Bowman added three goals. Jacquin Mifsud and Jack Bell booted two goals apiece, with Bowman and Dean named among the best with Dragons captain, Ryan Byrnes. For the Cannons, Calder captain Brodie Newman tried his best to stem the flow across half-back, while Curtis Brown and Tye Browning were also among the best in the heavy defeat.

 

EASTERN RANGES 3.0 | 4.1 | 5.3 | 7.5 (47)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.3 | 6.9 | 10.13 | 12.16 (88)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Eastern: L. Gawel 2, J. Tilly, J. Rossiter, T. Garner, L. Stapleton, B. McCormack.
Oakleigh: N. Anderson 4, T. Graham, J. May, C. Oglethorpe, H. Mundy, N. Dempsey, D. Williams, M. Rowell, S. Tucker

BEST:

Eastern: L. Stapleton, C. Hirst, Z. Pretty, C. Downie, J. Gilbee, M. Zalac
Oakleigh: N. Anderson, N. Guiney, W. Phillips, N. Bryan, T. Bianco, K. Schreiber

In the second game of the double header at RAMS Arena, Eastern Ranges put up a fight before eventually going down to one of the premiership favourites in Oakleigh Chargers. The Ranges booted three goals in the opening term to lead by three points at the first break, before the Chargers hit back in the second term with four goals to one, albeit with inaccuracy plaguing them. They booted 6.9 in the first half, and then 6.7 in the second half, finishing the game strongly and holding the Ranges to just three goals in the last half. Noah Anderson was the clear best on ground with four goals from 26 disposals, while Lachlan Gawel booted two goals for the Ranges. Nick Guiney, Will Phillips and Nick Bryan were named among the best for the Chargers, while Lachlan Stapleton and Cody Hirst were impressive for the Ranges. While the loss would be disappointing, the fact Eastern was able to match it with one of the top teams will give them plenty of confidence going forward.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.4 | 6.6 | 9.9 | 9.12 (66)
GIPPSLAND POWER 2.1 | 6.3 | 9.4 | 10.9 (69)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Murray: C. Wilson 3, W. Christie 2, K. Chalcraft, C. Byrne, J. Hillary, E. Hollands.
Gippsland: K. Dunkley 3, H. Pepper 2, J. Smith 2, M. McGannon, F. Phillips, S. Berry.

BEST:

Murray: C. Wilson, B. Kelly, D. Clarke, L. Ash, S. Durham, E. Hollands
Gippsland: K. Dunkley, S. Berry, R. Sparkes, B. Maslen, S. Flanders, T. Hourigan

Gippsland Power survived a scare from a plucky Murray Bushrangers in a thrilling contest at RAMS Arena on Sunday. The Bushrangers led at every break but never looked entirely comfortable, with the largest margin at the break standing at just five points. Digging deep in the final term with a blustery gale behind them, the Power found a way through to boot the winning goal amidst five behinds, while the Bushrangers could only manage three behinds for the term. The game was an exciting first round game, as Bushrangers’ co-captain Cam Wilson and former Oakleigh Charger and Sydney Swans father-son prospect, Kyle Dunkley both booting three goals for their respective sides. Wilson was named the best for the Bushrangers, while Ben Kelly and Lachlan Ash‘s work in defence was superb. For the Power, Sam Berry stood up throughout the contest, while Ryan Sparkes was crucial in the back half, as was Sam Flanders in the front half. Josh Smith and Harrison Pepper benefited with two goals each inside 50, while Will Christie managed two up the other end. Both sides had plenty to take out of the contest ahead of Round 2 clashes this weekend.

 

GEELONG FALCONS 0.1 | 4.2 | 6.4 | 6.7 (43)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 6.1 | 9.5 | 11.5 | 13.8 (86)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:

Geelong: H. Stubbings 2, C. Sprague, M. Annandale, C. Page, N. Gribble
Bendigo: C. Vick 2, M. Johnson 2, T. Dow 2, W. Shaw, J. Dick-O”Flaherty, R. Ironside, R. Wilson, J. Rodi, C. Fisher, E. Roberts

BEST:

Geelong: J. Clark, C. Lazzaro, J. Dahlhaus, S. Christensen, S. Bourke
Bendigo: R. Wilson, J. Schischka, W. Wallace, T. Dow, J. Rodi, B. Kemp

Bendigo Pioneers made a perfect start to its NAB League season, toppling the Geelong Falcons by 43 points in Colac on Sunday. Signs were ominous early as the travelling side were nothing short of clinical in front of goal, piling on six majors while keeping a shell-shocked Falcons goalless. The home side duly responded after the first break with four goals to bridge the gap, but it was almost all undone as Bendigo again clicked into gear with three of their own. As the third term marked a deadlock with two goals apiece, the Pioneers finished off the job with two goals to nil in the final stanza to double their opponent’s total. Thomson Dow was outstanding for the winners with 28 disposals and two goals, forming a formidable midfield duo with Brodie Kemp (22 disposals, five clearances). Cooper Vick and Max Johnson each joined Dow as multiple goal kickers, while Harry Stubbings was Geelong’s only player to do so. Co-captains Cooper Stephens (22 disposals, four clearances) and Jesse Clark (24 disposals, seven marks) were the best Falcons, with 19-year-old Charlie Sprague also showing signs of his talent with 20 touches and a goal. Both sided face another all-country clash next round, with Bendigo travelling to face Murray, and Geelong heading to Ballarat to face Greater Western Victoria.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 1.2 | 5.3 | 9.5 | 11.7 (73)
WESTERN JETS 3.3 | 5.3 | 6.5 | 12.8 (80)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Northern: R. Sturgess 2, J. D’Intinosante 2, L. Mcmahon 2, S. Brazier, S. Philp, Z. Costello, B. Nikolovski, A. Carafa
Western: A. Manton 3, A. Clarke 2, L. Failli 2, E. Jeka, K. Borg, J. Honey, S. El-Hawli, E. Ford

BEST:

Northern: R. Sturgess, N. Cox, B. Nikolovski, J. Davies, S. Philp, R. Gardner
Western: J. Kellett, A. Manton, E. Acevski, B. Ryan, J. Honey, K. Borg

In what was a close encounter it was the Western Jets that came away with a seven-point victory against the Northern Knights. The Jets skipped out to a handy lead in the first half of the game but the Knights fought back to take control in the second but were unable to finish it off, falling narrowly in the dying minutes of the game. Ryan Sturgess led the way for the Knights with his two goals and impact in and around the stoppages, while his Western Jets counterpart Josh Kellett accumulated plenty of touches. Archie Manton made his presence felt on the scoreboard with his three majors for the Jets, leading up at the footy and clunking some big marks. Josh D’Intinsonate played his part for the Knights chipping in with his two goals, while Adam Carafa was handy around the contest and slotted a major to keep the Knights in the game.

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.