Tag: Victorian Football League

Young Guns: 2021 VFL Round 13

A BUNCH of the nation’s most promising Under 19 prospects continues to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL), including a raft of top-ups and academy talents. Many have already made their state league debuts, with more to come and a handful sighted this past weekend. We take a look at how the prominent 19th-year players performed as they hit the senior football grade.

>> RESULTS: State leagues wrap

2001-born Sandringham Dragons tall Felix Flockart ran out for his club debut with Port Melbourne on Friday night, notching 10 disposals and 11 hitouts as the Borough went down handily to Frankston. Fellow Dragons product Darby Hipwell continues to turn out for Sandringham Zebras, booting multiple goals for the first time in his VFL career as his side thumped Essendon. Bendigo Pioneers midfielder Jack Hickman was afield for the Bombers, managing four touches.

AFL-aligned clubs from NSW and Queensland again blooded top-up players, with a combined four NAB Leaguers lining up for Gold Coast and Sydney in their respective losses. Tall Dandenong utility Bryce Milford (four disposals) and Geelong Falcons top-ager Lachlan Kidd (five) both lined up for the Suns, while Sam Clohesy (eight disposals, four tackles) and Logan Young (14 disposals, four marks) were drafted into the Swans’ side.

Greater Western Sydney, who downed the Suns, also fielded a handful of academy talents while Sydney gave opportunities to two in its loss to Footscray. Josh Green (16 disposals, six marks), Maximus Monaghan (14 disposals, six tackles) and Harrison Grintell (nine disposals, three inside 50s) were among the Giants’ best youngsters, as Angus Anderson found the goals for the Swans and Pierce Roseby finished with 10 touches.

Bulldogs father-son prospect Ewan Macpherson played his third-straight game in red, white and blue, while Gippsland Power midfielder Chance Doultree also got another run at state league level – his second for the season.

Elsewhere, Brisbane Lions also found room for their academy products, with a quartet of young guns continuing to find their feet. Toby Triffett (14 disposals, five tackles) was solid as his side went down to Southport, while Saxon Crozier and Tahj Abberley each had it 11 times, and Will Tasker contributed five touches.

Western Jets midfielder Harrison White debuted for Werribee in the Tigers’ loss to Casey, while Tasmanian Sam Collins earned a berth with Collingwood and Gippsland Power defender Jess McGrath had his maiden outing for Richmond. Collins’ Oakleigh teammate Lochlan Jennkins reunited with some premiership Chargers in black and white, joined by Eastern Ranges skipper Josh Clarke in the side. Collins was the pick of the bunch, collecting 15 disposals and three marks as the Pies got up by five points against Richmond.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

Young Guns: 2021 VFL Round 12

A BUNCH of the nation’s most promising Under 19 prospects continues to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL), including a raft of top-ups and academy talents. Many have already made their state league debuts, with more to come and a handful sighted this past weekend. We take a look at how the prominent 19th-year players performed as they hit the senior football grade.

Bendigo Pioneers pair Sam Conforti and Jack Hickman returned the Essendon VFL setup, as the Bombers found the going tough against a rampant Geelong side. The nippy small midfielders both got their hands on the ball, with Conforti ticking up to 18 disposals in his sixth outing to bring his season average up to 17.3. Hickman found it 12 times, making for a solid fourth outing at the level.

A strong bunch of top-up players ran out for Gold Coast in the Suns’ loss to Box Hill, taken from four different NAB League regions. Geelong supplied top-agers Lachlan Kidd (16 disposals, seven marks), Blake Reid (nine disposals, four marks), and Noah Gadsby (nine disposals), who fared well given the Hawks’ dominance. Oakleigh Chargers midfielder Giorgio Varagiannis booted a major from his 10 touches, as Dandenong Stingrays utility Bryce Milford also found the goals. Talls Felix Flockart and Henry Walsh also got a run, combining for 11 hit-outs. Walsh is the 203cm brother of Carlton midfielder, Sam and has been playing local football at St Joseph’s.

Sydney was another reserves side to send out plenty of top-ups, with eight NAB Leaguers from six separate regions taking the field in their loss to Frankston. West Australian Logan Young was the pick of the bunch with 21 disposals, five marks and a goal, while Calder Cannons top-ager Sam Clohesy (18 disposals, six marks, five tackles) was also productive on debut. Clohesy was recently signed by Coburg, but got clearance to fill in for this clash.

Geelong Falcons products Sam Witherden, Gennaro Bove, and Kyle Skene each got a run in their second outings, while fellow country talents Cobi Maxted (Bendigo) and Fraser Marris (Greater Western Victoria) were also called up. Eastern Ranges skipper Josh Clarke ramped up his return from injury with the Swans, making the step up to senior football after two consecutive NAB League outings.

Greater Western Sydney brought in a few of its academy hopefuls to take on, and beat, Casey Demons by a single point. All half-dozen of them had 10 disposals or less, topped by midfielder Maximus Monaghan. Fraser Kelly was productive with two goals from his eight touches, while Harrison Grintell also found the big sticks. AFL Academy member Josh Fahey returned to the fold steadily with seven disposals, as defender Sam Frost got his hands dirty with an equal number of tackles, and Luke Fellows rounded out the cohort.

A couple of powerhouse aligned clubs called upon top-aged guns, with Carlton retaining Joel Trudgeon (eight disposals, four tackles) and Richmond giving a late call-up to Will Bravo (eight disposals, three tackles) as both sides suffered losses. Sandringham co-captain Darby Hipwell also turned out in the VFL once more, snaring a goal from his 12 disposals against Collingwood.

Ewan Macpherson was another to enjoy his extended run at the level, upping his output to gather 17 disposals and four marks for the Western Bulldogs. Fellow club-tied prospect Cody Raak also donned the red, white and blue for a third time. Gippsland Power ball winner Chance Doultree was also busy with 15 touches and six marks on debut, while North Melbourne was serviced well by its own debutant in Western Jets product Sam Clifford (11 disposals, seven marks).

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

Stat Leaders: 2021 VFL – Round 11

THE 2021 Victorian Football League (VFL) season rolled on into its 11th round over the weekend, with 10 fixtures spread from Friday morning to Sunday evening. There were a number of outstanding individual performances among the Round 11 action, as AFL-listed talent and state league guns alike topped a range of key categories. We take a look at this week’s stat leaders, as well as the season tallies to this point.

>> RESULTS | State leagues wrap

Geelong Cats midfielder Charlie Constable set an ominous tone in the round’s opening game, racking up 44 disposals in his side’s thumping win over Brisbane. The competition’s ball magnets followed suit, with Aspley’s Matthew Payne (32 kicks) and Coburg’s Marcus Lentini (26 handballs) topping the charts in respective categories despite both playing in losses.

Senior-listed Richmond ball winner Jack Ross also worked hard to notch 15 marks as his Tigers went down to Sandringham, and Sydney’s Ryan Clarke dominated the stoppage situations with 12 clearances as the Swans took out Sunday’s Sydney derby. In the same game, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) youngster Xavier O’Halloran managed a high of 11 inside 50s as his side was beaten by 38 points.

North Melbourne had a couple of players feature on this week’s leaderboard, starting with Kade Answerth for his monster 16-tackle effort. Bigman Tom Campbell also returned a big performance in the ruck with 49 hitouts, while fellow AFL-listed tall Ben Brown bagged five majors for Casey Demons to top the Round 11 goalkicking charts, continuing his press for a call-up.

Southport may have had its bout with Gold Coast cancelled, but Jacob Dawson still leads the league for disposals and handballs, while Payne has the most kicks at an average of 20.9 and teammate Matthew Hammelmann is head and shoulders above the rest with 39 goals. Werribee pair Dom Brew (tackles) and Matthew Lobbe (hitouts) also feature on the leaderboards, as Brisbane tall Connor Ballenden is the sole AFL-listed player to lead a category, having clunked the most marks thus far.

Find the full list of Round 11, and 2021 season stat leaders below.

ROUND 11 STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Charlie Constable* (Geelong) – 44

Kicks:
Matthew Payne (Aspley) – 32

Handballs:
Marcus Lentini (Coburg) – 26

Marks:
Jack Ross* (Richmond) – 15

Tackles:
Kade Answerth (North Melbourne) – 16

Clearances:
Ryan Clarke* (Sydney) – 12

Inside 50s:
Xavier O’Halloran* (GWS) – 11

Hitouts:
Tom Campbell* (North Melbourne) – 49

Goals:
Ben Brown* (Casey Demons) – 5

* – denotes AFL-listed

2021 SEASON STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 282 total / 35.3 average

Kicks:
Matthew Payne (Aspley) – 198 / 22.0

Handballs:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 167 / 20.9

Marks:
Connor Ballenden* (Brisbane) – 72 / 9.0

Tackles:
Dom Brew (Werribee) – 71 / 10.1

Hitouts:
Matthew Lobbe (Werribee) – 225 / 32.1

Goals:
Matthew Hammelmann (Aspley) – 39 / 4.3

* – denotes AFL-listed

Image Credit: Jonathan Di Maggio/AFL Photos

Young Guns: 2021 VFL Round 11

WHILE a bunch of draft eligible prospects earned representative honours on the weekend, some of Victoria’s most promising Under 19 talent continues to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL). A raft of top-age talents have already made their state league debuts, with more to come, while members of all four Northern Academies also get some run in their legs. We take a look at how the prominent 19th-year players performed as they hit the senior football grade.

>> Scouting Notes: Victorian U19 trials

A pair of Northern Knights prospects unlucky to miss out on Vic Metro honours made good of the weekend with promising VFL stints, proving they can adjust to the senior level. Knights co-captain Joel Trudgeon managed 13 disposals, 10 tackles, and two clearances on debut for Carlton, while fellow top-ager Ewan Macpherson returned to the Footscray side and booted two goals from his 11 touches and five marks. The latter is quite used to donning the red, white and blue by now, as another Bulldogs father-son hopeful.

Sandringham Dragons co-captain Darby Hipwell also slotted back into the state league system with the Zebras, after spending his bye week back in the NAB League. The midfielder finished with 12 disposals, two tackles, four clearances, and two inside 50s in his side’s terrific upset win over Richmond.

Most of the NAB League and Academy prospects to get a VFL gig were sighted in Sunday’s Sydney derby, with Greater Western Sydney (GWS) and the Sydney Swans fielding a whopping 16 top-up players between them. The Giants had five, all of whom had their moments in the 38-point win.

Geelong Falcons product Lachlan Kidd notched 16 disposals and three inside 50s, while Murray Bushrangers trio Kade Chalcraft (14 disposals, three clearances, five inside 50s), Thomas Panuccio (13 disposals, three marks), and Cameron McLeod (seven disposals) all productive. Academy talent and Allies squad member Harrison Grintell also got a run, kicking a goal from his nine touches.

Sydney blooded 11 top-up players from four different NAB League regions, with nine of them making their debuts. Cooper Smith (10 disposals, four marks, three tackles) and Logan Young (six disposals, four tackles) had previously turned out for North Melbourne, but swapped their colours for this clash. Smith was reunited with Bendigo Pioneers teammates Finn Ellis-Castle (seven disposals, three marks, 0.2), Ryan O’Keefe (six disposals) and Cobi Maxted (one goal), who all lined up against former Pio, Will Shaw.

There were four Geelong Falcons afield, in Kyle Skene (10 disposals, five tackles), Gennaro Bove (nine disposals, three marks), Sam Witherden (eight disposals, three tackles) and Will Kilpatrick (four disposals, two tackles). Bove is a leader among the Falcons group, while Witherden is the brother of West Coast’s Alex and Kilpatrick is a Geelong Cats father-son hopeful (son of Glenn).

Rounding out the selection was a pair of Greater Western Victoria (GWV) talents, with top-ager Fraser Marris crossing from the Geelong VFL program to snare a goal from eight touches, while 17-year-old Isaac Lovison had it nine times and laid three tackles in his first taste of state league football.

Image Credit: Mike Owen/AFL Photos

Stat Leaders: 2021 VFL – Round 10

THE 2021 Victorian Football League (VFL) season rolled on into its 10th round over the weekend, with eight fixtures spread from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, as Victorian sides returned to the fold. There were a number of outstanding individual performances among the Round 10 action, as AFL-listed talent and state league guns alike topped a range of key categories. We take a look at this week’s stat leaders, as well as the season tallies to this point.

>> RESULTS | State leagues wrap

Port Melbourne midfielder Eli Templeton dominated proceedings in Round 10, collecting round highs of 49 disposals and 31 kicks in the Borough’s loss to Carlton on Saturday afternoon. On the winning side, another former AFL-listed on-baller, Tom North notched up 14 marks as the Blues took home a full set of premiership points away from home. Western Bulldogs-listed key forward Josh Schache also clunked 14 marks, in his six-goal outing against Geelong.

Southport’s 107-point thumping of Brisbane saw a number of Sharks lurk on the stats sheet, led by Billy Gowers‘ eight goals. Jordan Dawson, who leads the competition for disposals and handballs, distributed the most of anyone by hand with 25 handballs. In the other Queensland-based game, Darcy Macpherson got his hands dirty for Gold Coast by laying a high of 14 tackles.

The league’s bigmen also proved prominent in Round 10, led by substantial efforts from Jack Berry (Frankston) and Matthew Lobbe (Werribee) in the ruck. Both men won 42 hitouts as their sides earned victories. Lobbe is yet another former-AFL product to be racking up big numbers, and he currently leads the competition for hitouts after another strong showing. Teammate Dom Brew remains top for tackles with an average of 10.2, with Queenslanders making up the remaining stat leaders overall.

Find the full list of Round 10, and 2021 season stat leaders below.

ROUND 10 STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Eli Templeton (Port Melbourne) – 49

Kicks:
Eli Templeton (Port Melbourne) – 31

Handballs:
Jordan Dawson (Southport) – 25

Marks:
Tom North (Carlton) – 14
Josh Schache (Footscray) – 14

Tackles:
Darcy Macpherson (Gold Coast) – 14

Goals:
Billy Gowers (Southport) – 8

Hitouts:
Jack Berry (Frankston) – 42
Matthew Lobbe (Werribee) – 42

2021 SEASON STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 282 total / 35.3 average

Kicks:
Matthew Payne (Aspley) – 166 / 20.8

Handballs:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 167 / 20.9

Marks:
Connor Ballenden (Brisbane Lions) – 65 / 9.3

Tackles:
Dom Brew (Werribee) – 61 / 10.2

Goals:
Matthew Hammelmann (Aspley) – 37 / 4.6

Hitouts:
Matthew Lobbe (Werribee) – 198 / 33.0

Image Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

Stat Leaders: 2021 VFL – Round 6

THE 2021 Victorian Football League (VFL) season rolled on into its sixth round over the weekend, with 10 fixtures spread from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon, as two sides enjoyed byes. There were a number of outstanding individual performances among the Round 6 action, as AFL-listed talent and state league guns alike topped a range of key categories. We take a look at this week’s stat leaders, as well as the season tallies to this point.

>> RESULTS: State League wrap

Southport’s Jacob Dawson shot back to the top of the season’s handball charts, after notching 29 among his round-high 43 disposals in the Sharks’ Coast Clash win over Gold Coast. GWS youngster James Peatling was another to find plenty of the ball, but instead opted to distribute by foot. He impressed with 29 of his 33 disposals in the Giants victory kicks, seeing him top said category this week. Teammate Kieren Briggs responded well upon returning to VFL level, winning a monster 45 hitouts in the same game.

Another AFL-listed bigman in Josh Jenkins was another to come out on top in Round 6, booting six goals to become the competition’s leading goalkicker with a total tally of 22. Meanwhile, Oscar Baker (Casey), Emerson Jeka (Box Hill), and Matthew Kennedy (Carlton) all topped the round for marks with 13 apiece as three more senior players who staked their claims for call-ups. Werribee midfielder Dominic Brew was the weekend’s other stat leader, with his 16 tackles putting him second in the overall count.

Speaking of the overall count, Frankston midfielder and mid-season draft hopeful Nathan Freeman remains the leader for disposals and kicks despite not playing in Round 6. Brisbane Lions tall Connor Ballenden remains top for marks with an average of 9.6 per game, while Coburg’s Luke Bunker narrowly heads the tackle count with 52, and North Melbourne ruck Tristan Xerri joins Southport’s Fraser Thurlow atop the hitout charts after enjoying a day out against Essendon on Saturday.

Find the full list of Round 6, and 2021 season stat leaders below.

ROUND 6 STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 43

Kicks:
James Peatling (GWS) – 29

Handballs:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 29

Goals:
Josh Jenkins* (Geelong) – 6

Marks:
Oscar Baker* (Casey) – 13
Emerson Jeka* (Box Hill) – 13
Matthew Kennedy* (Carlton) – 13

Tackles:
Dominic Brew (Werribee) – 16

Hitouts:
Kieren Briggs* (GWS) – 45

* – denotes AFL-listed.

2021 SEASON STAT LEADERS:

Disposals:
Nathan Freeman (Frankston) – 205 total / 41.0 average

Kicks:
Nathan Freeman (Frankston) – 128 / 25.6

Handballs:
Jacob Dawson (Southport) – 120 / 20.0

Goals:
Josh Jenkins* (Geelong) – 22 / 4.4

Marks:
Connor Ballenden* (Brisbane) – 48 / 9.6

Tackles:
Luke Bunker (Coburg) – 52 / 10.4

Hitouts:
Fraser Thurlow (Southport) – 157 / 31.4
Tristan Xerri* (North Melbourne) – 157 / 26.2

* – denotes AFL-listed

Image Credit: AFL Photos

Young Guns: 2021 VFL Round 5

WITH the NAB League in the midst of a month-long break after three full rounds of action, some of Victoria’s most promising Under 19 talent has begun filtering into the Victorian Football League (VFL). A raft of top-age draft prospects have already made their state league debuts, with more to come, while members of all four Northern Academies also get some run in their legs. We take a look at how the prominent 19th-year players performed as they hit the senior football grade.

>> PLAYER FOCUS: Ned Moyle (Collingwood VFL)

A Thursday night Q-Clash opened the Round 5 proceedings, as Brisbane easily accounted for its local rival to the tune of 60 points at Metricon Stadium. A pair of 2002-born Lions Academy graduates stole the show, with Will Tasker (21 disposals, five goals) and Toby Triffett (25 disposals, 10 tackles and three goals) enjoying nights out. Tahj Abberley, Charlie Bowes, and Saxon Crozier also found a good amount of ball in Brisbane’s win, as they continue to gain senior experience.

For the Suns, Bailey Reeves‘ consistent run rolled on as he notched another 24 touches and seven tackles, while enigmatic prospect Max Pescud also ticked over 20 disposals and found the goals. Jack Johnston was another 19th-year talent in the side, with the tall taking three marks among his eight touches overall.

Richmond was another side to win big on the weekend, trouncing GWS by 97 points at Punt Road Oval. Big bodied midfielder Fraser Elliot made his debut in yellow and black, ticking up to 23 disposals, as Eastern Ranges product Jake Soligo (17 disposals) also enjoyed his maiden outing. Sam Durham, who featured in the Young Guns game, took six marks among his 19 touches for the Tigers.

In charcoal and orange, star Academy rebounder Josh Fahey racked up 24 touches and six marks in a busy display, while potential mid-season draft prospect Josh Green turned out again and had it 19 times. Another talent garnering similar attention is Patrick Parnell, who made his debut alongside versatile bigman Jack Driscoll for the Giants.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Will Papley earned a berth with Port Melbourne as the Borough went down to Coburg, Marcus Herbert donned the hoops of Geelong once more as Casey beat the Cats in a thriller, and Darby Hipwell had 10 touches in Sandringham’s win over Williamstown. On the same night, Collingwood Next Generation Academy (NGA) talent Youseph Dib was a touch quieter in his latest state league appearance, as highly fancied ruck Ned Moyle managed a game-high 23 hitouts against AFL-listed opposition.

North Melbourne fielded a bunch of debutants in its heavy loss to Box Hill on Sunday, sampling talent from three different NAB League regions. Tall Sandringham Dragons midfielder Logan Young finished with 14 disposals and five tackles, while Eastern’s Tyreece Leiu (eight disposals, one goal) and Marc Massarotti (five disposals) got their chance, and Western midfielder Liam Conway (six disposals) also earned a call-up for the Roos.

Essendon rounded out the weekend’s action with a solid win over Frankston, which also saw the Bombers field some fresh faces. Calder Cannons teammates Zac Taylor and Josh Goater got their chance to don the sash, with the latter snaring a goal on debut. Bendigo Pioneers top-ager Sam Conforti impressed once again with 22 touches, as fellow Pio’ Jack Hickman had a crack and Western standout Billy Cootee found it 17 times.

With the NAB League set to return this week, involving cameos from each of the Northern Academies, 18th-year players who hit the VFL will likely return to pathway commitments, while 19th-year prospects will stay involved with the state league program or head back to local football, depending on their preferences.

Image Credit: Morgan Hancock / AFL Photos

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 11

A HEAP of young prospects continue to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. As the NAB League season has now drawn to an end, Round 11 saw plenty more young talent scattered across each state league side. We take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently compete in or have recently graduated from the NAB League, performed.

>> Results: VFLW Round 11

Geelong’s winning run towards the postseason continued on Saturday, as the Cats found a way to edge past the Southern Saints on enemy territory. Usual suspects Tamara Smith (17 disposals, seven tackles) and Paige Sheppard (15 disposals, five marks) were among the winners’ best players, as Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels gun Chloe Leonard landed her VFLW debut in the hoops.

Meanwhile, Leonard’s Vic Country teammate and Dandenong Stingrays product Abbey Jordan marked her maiden game for the Saints with a goal, while Gabby De Angelis also found the big sticks in red, white and black.

Northern Knights standout Maeve Chaplin was another to debut in Round 11, turning out for Carlton in the Blues’ epic win over Casey. She managed six touches, as teammate and former Oakleigh Charger, Amber Micallef booted a goal. Talls Bridie Winbanks (eight tackles, 12 hitouts) and Grace Matser (six disposals, six hitouts) suited up once again for Casey, as did Emma Horne (nine disposals).

Collingwood moved another step closer to an undefeated regular season after accounting for Port Melbourne on the road, though it was the Borough who fielded more NAB League graduates. Dandenong pair Jaide Anthony (10 disposals, four marks) and Ash Richards (seven disposals) again impressed in their second outings, as the only current NAB Leaguers afield.

The likes of Bridie Kennedy, Sophie Locke, and Cleo Saxon-Jones also turned out for the Borough, while tall Neve O’Connor continues her extended run in the black and white.

Standalone sides Williamstown and Darebin played off in the season’s first draw, kicking to 16 points apiece at Downer Oval. Both teams fielded debutants and were served well by each. Sydney Academy skipper and Allies representative Jessica Doyle (15 disposals) suited up for the Seagulls and was one of their best alongside Ruby Tripodi (18 disposals, 11 tackles, one goal), while Northern Knights’ Trinity Mills booted a goal and laid eight tackles in her first outing for Darebin.

A host of past and present NAB Leaguers were scattered across the Essendon and Western Bulldogs lineups on Saturday, as the Bulldogs won out by 18 points. GWV products Nyakoat Dojiok (15 disposals, three marks), Ella Friend (two goals), and Tahlia Meier (10 tackles) were all productive on debut for the Dogs, as the likes of Nikita Wright and Brooke Hards also got on the park once more.

Essendon debuted Calder Cannons prospects Emelia Yassir and Neve Crowley, who joined teammates Kasey Lennox and Zali Friswell at state league level. Graduates Eloise Ashley-Cooper and Alana Barba were among the Bombers’ best, while Tamsin Crook again got a run in red and black.

Sunday’s sole fixture saw North Melbourne topple Hawthorn, with a host of Eastern Ranges and Tasmanian talents getting a chance for either team. Hawthorn fielded four current Ranges, with Bridget Deed the latest to debut. Teammates El Chaston, Tilly Hardy, and Keeley Sherar all returned, running out with graduates Chloe O’Malley and Jenna Richardson, while Gippsland’s Grace McRae earned plaudits for her efforts in brown and gold.

North Melbourne gave debuts to a trio of Tasmanians, in Amy Bissett, Jemma Blair, and Ella Maurer, with more still to come. Jayde Hamilton, another Allies representative, also turned out for the Roos in their win.

Image Credit: Kelly Defina / AFL Photos

2021 VFL Player Focus: Ned Moyle (Oakleigh Chargers/Collingwood VFL)

MID-SEASON draft fancy Ned Moyle has taken to senior football with aplomb in 2021, rising steeply to become one of the premium rucks available. The 19-year-old ruck is now three games deep into his Victorian Football League (VFL) career with Collingwood, having managed the same amount of NAB League outings with Oakleigh Chargers. He also turned out for the AFL Academy last month as an additional squad member, making him one of just two 2002-born prospects to earn those representative honours this year.

With the mid-season intake approaching, Moyle has already gotten a taste of what the top level may be like having competed against a bunch of AFL-listed rucks – with no less than three in his latest outing against Sydney. His 205cm frame, work rate and developing craft are traits which stand out, as many top flight clubs scramble to top up on viable rucks for the future. Moyle is the prospect under our VFL Player Focus microscope this week; we run you through his game quarter-by-quarter, and bring you the key stats out of his Round 5 showing.

Ned Moyle
Oakleigh Chargers/Collingwood VFL

DOB: February 15, 2002
Height/Weight: 205cm/87kg
Position: Ruck

2021 Averages:

NAB League: 3 games | 9.0 disposals | 3.0 kicks | 6.0 handballs | 1.7 marks | 4.3 tackles | 27.7 hitouts | 0.3 goals (1)
VFL: 3 games | 11.3 disposals | 3.0 kicks | 8.3 handballs | 3.7 marks | 0.7 tackles | 17.7 hitouts | 0 goals

2021 VFL, Round 5 | Sydney Swans 12.14 (86) def. Collingwood 8.5 (53)

#65 Ned Moyle (Collingwood)

Stats: 8 disposals | 3 kicks | 5 handballs | 2 marks | 1 tackle | 1 rebound 50 | 23 hitouts | 2 behinds

Quarter-by-quarter:

Q1:

As Collingwood’s primary ruck for the evening, Moyle might have been pinching himself as he stared down senior-listed bigman Callum Sinclair at the opening centre bounce. But the youngster started as he sought to go on, not afraid of the physicality such experienced players bring and willing to jump through each ruck contest. While he looks a lumbering type at times, Moyle reacted well to when the ball moved either way by fulfilling his duties on the spread and ensuring the Sydney rucks would not be able to sneak forward or drop back to mark easily.

He showed he was keen to compete, but that nervous energy was perhaps misplaced in some of the early ruck duels as Sinclair was able to use Moyle’s momentum against him and gain a better read of the ball in flight as they wrestled for position. Still, Moyle showcased some of his reliable ground level work by mopping up when called upon. He was clean by hand and played the percentages, putting his big frame over the ball before keeping it simple to dish out of congestion to his midfielders and essentially bring them into the play.

Around the ground, Moyle’s work rate held up to AFL standards as he got to each contest without fuss, while also doing the one-percenters like competing on the goalline when Sydney was about to have a long-range set shot. He could be caught out in transition with quicker ball movement as speed is not a strong suit, but against similarly athletic talls he is able to keep up and ensure they don’t become easy options. At the contest, he was outdone for upper body strength and that developing mobility meant he looked a touch more comfortable when operating in straight lines, or under the high ball – where his reach could be used to advantage.

Q2:

Starting in the ruck once again, Moyle’s next challenge would be against the athletic Joel Amartey, another AFL-listed tall. He made a good decision early to spread hard as Collingwood won a free kick at the centre bounce, becoming an option in the corridor and being duly rewarded. From the uncontested mark, he again took the team option to hand off to a runner as the Magpies continued their forward break.

He also became an option for long kicks down the line, positioning between the arcs with the ball coming away from either arc and doing his best to compete aerially. Speaking of, the highlight of Moyle’s game was a nice clunk inside forward 50 as he sat under a high ball and rose to take the mark under oncoming heat. While the 35-metre set shot from just about directly in front drifted off to the left, Moyle’s previous act showed a nice area of development in his game.

The Oakleigh Chargers product continued to show no issue in his desire to compete despite the stiff opposition, splitting a bunch of ruck duels and even laying an aggressive lock-up tackle on the wing. Though his more experienced adversaries began to get on top with class, Moyle showed good appetite towards the hard task of taking on (essentially) the sole ruck duties, with Mason Cox giving him a chop-out. The half time break proved a well earned one, with the second term arguably Moyle’s best for the evening.

Q3:

The fatigue of playing a lone hand against stronger and more mature talls perhaps began to set in after the main break, as Moyle’s ability to leap through or into his opponents at the centre bounces became less of a factor. He still managed to notch a few nice taps to advantage, competing well in wrestles to protect the drop zone and hit to viable options at the stoppage.

With the game played at a relatively high intensity and bringing forward a lot of end-to-end action, Moyle really had his work cut out for him in terms of ground coverage. He got a sizeable rotation in after about 13 minutes and came back on with just over five left to continue his work in at least halving a good amount of ruck battles. His confidence showed as he won his lone disposal for the quarter by grabbing from the ruck duel and dishing off by hand – albeit to a teammate under pressure.

Q4:

Moyle did his best to run out the game strongly, continuing to try some new things in the ruck and essentially refusing to be soundly beaten. His bodywork was solid and allowed him to win taps on the right side of the stoppage, though he found himself out-jumped by Sam Naismith at a few centre bounces – lacking the same kind of spring after three hard quarters.

His two disposals for the quarter came by foot. The first was via a free kick for holding inside defensive 50, which he used to bomb long to a contest on the wing. Some nice work to nudge Sinclair under the ball and prize a snap away on goal was the second kick, and also resulted in Moyle’s second behind for the game. Overall, he rose to the occasion of competing against solid AFL rucks and while they outclassed him at times, his competitive spirit kept him in the contest.

Closing thoughts…

With many AFL clubs in need of rucks who can provide decent foil for primary options, Moyle has put his hand up through some solid VFL form. Though his numbers are not always high, he competes well both in the ruck duels and at ground level to impact at that sense at the least, and his 205cm frame is continually building to be able to keep up with the rigours of senior football. Mobility, explosiveness, and building the strength to mark around the ground are all areas of growth, which can be worked on with a few more preseasons. The 19-year-old has shown good development already, so will rightly get attention in June’s mid-season draft.

Image Credit: Michael Klein/Herald Sun

Young Guns: 2021 VFL Round 4 – Debutants raise eyebrows

WITH the NAB League in the midst of a month-long break after three full rounds of action, some of Victoria’s most promising Under 19 talent has begun filtering into the Victorian Football League (VFL). A raft of top-age draft prospects have already made their state league debuts, with more to come, while members of all four Northern Academies also got some run in their legs. We take a look at how the prominent 19th-year players performed as they hit the senior football levels. Note, some prospects missed VFL action this week due to the Under 23 Young Guns showcase.

>> SCOUT NOTES: 2021 Victorian Under 23 Young Guns

Geelong kicked off the round in style on Thursday night, with a 45-point win over the Northern Bullants at Marvel Stadium. The Cats unveiled Greater Western Victoria (GWV) midfielder Marcus Herbert on the night, and he fared well in his official debut with 14 disposals, six inside 50s and a goal. The smooth mover also turned out for the Cats against the AFL Academy last month. In the same game, developing ruck-forward Liam Podhajski showed plenty for the Bullants, booting his first state league goal to go with eight touches and 12 hitouts against stiff opposition.

Podhajski, and Collingwood ruck Ned Moyle were due to play in Saturday’s Young Guns showcase before earning VFL selection, with both firming as viable mid-season draft options on June 2. Moyle suited up for his second game in black and white, almost doubling the output from his debut outing. The Oakleigh Chargers product notched 17 disposals, four marks and 19 hitouts, while NAB League teammate and Next Generation Academy prospect Youseph Dib slotted another two goals for the Magpies. Dib’s disposal tally of 12 was also a new personal best across his three VFL performances thus far.

With little to cheer about in the top flight, plenty of North Melbourne fans would have been eager to see how father-son talent Jackson Archer, the son of club great Glenn, fared in his VFL debut. The 18-year-old managed eight touches (seven kicks) and six marks from defence as the Roos went down heavily to Southport, with Archer among four North debutants out of the NAB League. Most of them got among the goals too, with Tasmanian Jye Menzie and Bendigo’s Nathan Kay snaring majors along with second-gamer Oliver Sanders, who also had 16 disposals and four marks. Cooper Smith, another Pioneers product was a standout with 20 touches and nine marks, but could not quite find the big sticks as he registered two behinds.

Elsewhere, the state league debut of top five prospect Tyler Sonsie raised plenty of eyebrows. His class came to the fore despite Box Hill’s loss to Werribee, as the youngster finished with 24 disposals and a couple of very nice goals. Sonsie’s second was the highlight of his game, coming on the run from 50 metres out during the third term as Box Hill mounted a charge. Potential Bulldogs father-son Ewan Macpherson was also a late call-up for Footscray, managing 11 touches and five tackles in his maiden outing – a win against Carlton.

Around the nation, there were a few more debuts and standout performances. Top 10 prospect Matthew Roberts broke through for his first League outing in South Adelaide colours, joining top pick contender Jason Horne in the Panthers side which beat Woodville-West Torrens. Roberts warmed to the occasion nicely with 14 disposals and a goal, while Horne’s consistent start to the 2021 season continued with 17 touches, five clearances and a goal.

Port Adelaide father-son talent Jase Burgoyne was called up for a SANFL League showdown on Saturday, building steadily for 14 touches as the Magpies won out by 14 points. Elsewhere at League level, Tasmanian key forward Jackson Callow returned his best outing for Norwood, booting three goals from eight marks (seven contested) in the Redlegs’ win over Central District. Nasiah Wanganeen and Blayne O’Loughlin also turned out for their respective sides at Reserves level, continuing their promising runs of form.

Over in Western Australia, Matthew Johnson managed six disposals and three marks as Subiaco beat Claremont in his second League appearance. Star key forward Jacob Van Rooyen continues to be rested by Claremont having been diagnosed with glandular fever.

Image Credit: Mike Owen/AFL Photos