Tag: weekend preview

Weekend previews: TAC Cup Girls – Round 9

ROUND nine marks the last game of the home and away season, making the fight for a spot in the top two hotly contested. With the Geelong Falcons securing their spot in the grand final, it is left to the Northern Knights and Sandringham Dragons to fight for second spot on the ladder. Down the other end of the table, the Jets, Cannons and Pioneers will be wanting to claim their second win of the year and end the season on a high.


Round 9 – Saturday 12 May, 11.15am

RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The Knights suffered their first loss of the year and will be looking to get back into the winning books with a dominant display against the out-of-form Bushrangers. Northern will be desperate to secure their spot in the grand final and will be relying on the likes of their star players such as Maddy Brancatisano, Gabby Newton and goal-kicking machine, Alyssa Bannan to get them over the line on Saturday.  

After only managing to score a point for the whole match in their round eight clash, the Murray Bushrangers will be looking to bounce back and put on an impressive performance against the Knights. Though both teams are filled with plenty of firepower in the midfield, Murray will be boosted with the return of AFLW Academy player, Rebecca Webster, who provides plenty of run and carry through the midfield. Claudia McKimmie and Olivia Barber will also make their way back into the Bushrangers side in hope of winning their fourth game for the year.



 Round 9- Saturday 12 May, 11.15am

RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels have won their past four games and will be hoping to bring their hot form into Saturday’s clash with the Chargers at Craigieburn. Sophie Van De Heuvel has been a machine up forward for the Rebels while the likes of Chloe Leonard have also been important across the ground for GWV.

The Oakleigh Chargers have had an up and down season but will be looking to end the year on a high note by claiming their fourth win. The Chargers have been bolstered by the inclusion of Laura Mayne and Emily Hastie, and will be relying on Daisy Bateman, who was deadly in front of goal last week.



Round 9 – Saturday 12 May, 1.00pm

RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The Gippsland Power are coming off a loss last week and will be wanting to end the season with a win. They have brought in some big-name players such as Charlize Bird and Julia Redmond in hopes to try and end Sandringham’s winning spree. The Power will be hoping that the likes of Tyla Hanks, Emily Hauesler and Jazz Ferguson continue their impressive form to help them claim the club’s fourth win of the year.

For the Sandringham Dragons, all eyes will be on the Northern Knights clash, if the Knights lose the Dragons can sneak into the top two by winning against the Power. The Dragons have been in red hot form and bring in the likes of superstars Molly Denahy MaloneyLaura Amelung and Winnie Laing to further boost their line-up, making for a hotly contested match.



Round 9 – Saturday 12 May, 1.00pm

RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The Western Jets will be hoping to cause a big upset and ruffle the feathers of the Falcons in what is set to be their last game of the 2018 season. The Jets will be looking to the likes of Caitlin Gashi, Elisabeth Georgostathis and Caitlin Greiser who starred last week to help them claim a major scalp against the undefeated Falcons.

After eight rounds the Geelong Falcons are yet to drop a game and will be looking to put out another strong performance against the eleventh-placed Jets. Geelong have been strong around the contest thanks to players like Denby Taylor down in defence along with Olivia Purcell and Nina Morrison who are not afraid to go in and win the footy. To help further strengthen their line-up going into the grand final, defender, Sarah Hungerford has been named in the 22.



Round 9 – Saturday 12 May, 2.45pm

RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The Calder Cannons are coming off a narrow loss to the Stingrays but will throw everything at the Ranges to secure their second win of the season. The Cannons have plenty of firepower across the ground with the likes of captain Madison Prespakis, Laura Cocomello and Molly Warburton consistently starring for them.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Ranges have come home hard, bagging a 46-point victory over Murray in last week’s clash. The Ranges will fall just short of making it to the grand final but have proved that they have plenty of talent with the likes of Olivia Meagher, Ashleigh Allsopp and Jess Provan standing tall for Eastern, making for an interesting clash between the two sides.



Round 9 – Saturday 12 May, 2.45pm

RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Late in the season the Stingrays have found some hot form, claiming three wins on the trot, and will be hoping to add to their total. Dandenong have made a host of changes for their clash against the Pioneers with the likes of Eloise Allen-Burns and Alice O’Sullivan being named in the 22. A win against Bendigo could push the Stingrays as high as sixth place on the ladder.

On the other hand, the Pioneers would love to get a win against the Stingrays to end their year on a high and propel them up the table. They will be pleased to see the return of Jemma Finning and Maeve Tupper, while they will be hoping that Megan Williamson continues her impressive form.

TAC Cup Girls previews: Round 7

WITH only three weeks left before the the grand final, there are plenty of new faces coming in for round seven along with some big time players that are also back in the mix. The Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights will be looking to keep their undefeated record in tact while the Eastern Ranges will be hoping to secure their spot in the top four.  With Oakleigh notching up their second win of the season last week they will be hoping to bring that form into their round seven clashes.


Round 7 – Saturday 28 April, 12.00pm
Warawee Park, Oakleigh

Both teams are coming off big round six wins, making for a hotly contested match between the two sides. The Oakleigh Chargers will be looking to make the most of their home ground advantage against the Stingrays. Unfortunately, they lose the likes of midfield duo, Alana Porter and Katie Lynch along with defender Nicola Xenos, who is a general down back for the Chargers. With two wins under their belt the Chargers will be looking to storm home and claim their third win of the season.

The Stingrays claimed a 54-point win in last weeks’ match with the likes of Courtney Jones dominating up forward and slotting two majors while captain, Jordyn Allen imposed herself in and around the contest. But Dandenong will be missing the class of AFLW Academy forward, Brooke Struylaart who has gone down with an injury, making for an interesting clash on Saturday.


Round 7 – Saturday 28 April, 12.00pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

With three wins each, both the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Murray Bushrangers will be looking to notch up their fourth win of the season, making for a good contest across the ground. The Rebels will be pleased to see the likes of forward, Renee Saulitis and talented midfielder Stephanie Glover – who has predominantly played in defence – both take the field for their clash against Murray. But the Rebels have some key outs for the match with Ella Wood joining a number of talented players on the boundary.

The Murray Bushrangers will be looking to bounce back after a loss last week. They will be bolstered by the return of key players, Eloise Ashley-Cooper and Chelsea Knight who provide good composure with ball in hand. Unfortunately, Murray will be without some of its most consistent players such as Sophie Damon and Julia Harvey for the trip to Craigieburn. The Bushrangers will be hoping to secure another win for the season and look to climb back into a spot in the top four.



Round 7 – Saturday 28 April, 1.00pm
Healesville Sporting Complex, Healesville

After two losses in a row, the Eastern Ranges will be hoping to peg one back against the Gippsland Power who are hot on their heels on the ladder. Eastern will look to the return of Georgia Macpherson and Paige Buruma in the absence of key defender, Abbey Tognazzini and gun forward, Olivia Meagher. A win on Saturday will keep them in the hunt for a top four finish with the end of the season near.

The Gippsland Power will be looking to bounce back after a tight battle against the undefeated Northern Knights. Unfortunately, they will be without potent forward, Nikia Webber, who will be hard to replace with her accuracy in front of goal. Gippsland have brought in forward, Sophie Walker to apply some scoreboard pressure, while the Power will continue to look to the likes of star midfielder, Tyla Hanks to provide a spark for them across the ground against the Ranges.



Round 7 – Saturday 28 April, 1.00pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

The Sandringham Dragons secured their fourth win of the season in round six against the Murray Bushrangers, moving themselves into the top four. The Dragons will be hoping to bring that type of intensity and pressure this week against the Jets, bringing in forward, Taylah Grasso and defender, Grace Bridges to continue their winning streak.

For the Jets, their leading goal-kicker, Caitlin Greiser will be absent from their clash against the Dragons on Saturday. The Jets have notched up one win for the season and will be looking to secure their second against Sandringham.



Round 7 – Sunday 29 April, 12.45pm
Preston City Oval, Preston

After six rounds of footy the Northern Knights are still undefeated and will be looking to bring that pressure against the Bendigo Pioneers. Playing at home the Knights will want to make the most of their home ground advantage and play an impressive four quarters of footy. The Knights have named scoring machine, Alyssa Bannan and the versatile Abigail Bennett as emergencies, but have brought in the likes of Jessica Fitzgerald and Neve O’Connor to help balance out the team.

The Pioneers have won just one game for the season and would love to cause a big upset against the undefeated Knights. Though they will be missing a few major players such as Olivia Taverna and Bree Heiden, they have brought in the likes of defender Sharmaine Reilly for the clash at Preston.



Round 7 – Sunday 29 April, 2.00pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The Geelong Falcons are yet to lose a game and will be hoping to continue their hot form against the Calder Cannons. The Falcons have been strong up forward with the likes of Sachi DeGiacomi dominating in front of goal. Though the Falcons may be without one AFLW Academy player Denby Taylor, Geelong have brought in the likes of another AFLW Academy member in Eliza Shannon, which is testament to their depth of players. The Falcons will have to contend with not just Calder Cannons gun midfielder, Madison Prespakis but so too her sister, Georgie Prespakis, which will make for an interesting match up.

The Calder Cannons have notched up only one win for the season and would love to claim a huge scalp in the undefeated Falcons. The Cannons will have their hands full trying to contain Geelong but with the return of Makeisha Muller and Laura Cocomello, the Cannons could put up a good fight and create a strong contest.

TAC Cup preview: Round 2

TEAMS have welcomed back some big guns for their round two TAC Cup matches, while others have lost some stars due to injury. Among those omitted from their sides are top prospects Zane Barzen (Murray Bushrangers) and Tom Berry (GWV Rebels), while Max King (Sandringham Dragons) and Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers) are back after missing the opening round due to injury and cricket respectively.


Round 2 – Thursday, March 29, 7.30pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Both Calder Cannons and Eastern Ranges will fight it out under lights at RAMS Arena tonight in search of their first win. Calder went down to Western Jets in last Friday’s season opener by just four points in a thrilling clash, while Eastern were outplayed by Oakleigh Chargers in the wet at Frankston. Calder will look to use its home ground advantage to get on top of Eastern, while the Ranges will be hoping to showcase their skills in weather other than torrential rain.

There was a lot to like about Calder’s performance in round one despite the loss, breaking even with the Jets in clearances, with co-captains Mitch Podhajski (six) and Jack Bytel (five) leading the way on the inside. Clearances were also a strength for Eastern, amassing 39 in the wet – just one short of Oakleigh which was remarkable considering the 50-point deficit by the final siren. But the most noticeable different between the games was the fact that Eastern won four out of six centre clearances, while Calder went down 14-9 – 17 more in that game compared to the Saturday morning contest.

In the back half, Ben Cardamone will be looking to lead the Ranges out of defence and back up his seven rebounds, but could also have his work cut out for him should he line-up on AFL Academy member Curtis Taylor. The Cannons’ forward was damaging inside 50 last week, booting three goals from 12 disposals and three marks. Cannons’ full-forward Jeremy O’Sullivan finished the game with three majors and four marks (two contested). Eastern’s James Ross could be given the job on O’Sullivan – laying six tackles and picking up eight disposals of his own on the weekend. Fellow key position defender James Blanck made the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week in round one, taking four of Eastern’s 12 marks in round one, and took one of only two contested marks for the game. He also had 11 disposals and six rebounds.

On the weekend Eastern had 200 disposals, 118 less than their opponents, while Calder had 324 – 42 more than their opponents. But the Ranges also brought the heat, laying a whopping 106 tackles, plus 17 on Oakleigh, while Calder laid 41, 11 less than Western. Based on those statistics, the Cannons will look to possess the ball and think their way through each possession, while Eastern will look to pressure the ball carrier and force turnovers. It is almost impossible to compare the games from round one given the conditions Eastern played in, but they will look to bring the same intensity while increasing their offensive output. Kye Quirk and Cody Hirst are other names who performed in round one, while Lachlan Sholl and Jack Evans were strong in the midfield and defence respectively.

Calder Cannons

B: 4. K. Baker, 26. M. Fletcher, 33. J. Evans
HB: 3. I. Moussa , 36. P. Mahoney, 48. S. Ramsay
C: 35. S.  Graham, 30. M.  Podhajski, 8. L.  Sholl
HF: 27. T. Browning, 38. B. Newman, 1. D. Mott
F: 23. D. Hanna, 12. J. O’Sullivan, 5. C. Taylor
R: 60. D. Pretty, 42. N. Croft, 20. R. West
Int: 16. J. Bytel, 43. L. Cavallaro, 11. J. Firebrace, 45. C. Kosmas, 10. H. Minton-Connell, 49. J. Westphal

Eastern Ranges

B: 20. B. Cardamone, 21. J. Ross, 26. C. Norris
HB: 23. X. Fry, 31. J. Blanck, 24. K. Quirk
C: 3. H.  Chinn, 8. J.  Burleigh, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 9. J. Duffy, 45. M. Zalac, 27. J. Jaworski
F: 5. R. Einsporn, 18. B. McCormack, 17. C. Hirst
R: 42. T. Lockman, 7. L. Stapleton, 2. A. Kalcovski
Int: 4. R. Clausen, 41. J. Corless, 39. C. Daraio, 14. L. Gawel, 12. J. Gilbee, 32. F. Smith

Round 2 – Friday, March 30, 11.30am
Deakin Reserve, Shepparton

Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers head into their round two encounter with different form lines. The Bushrangers were surprised by Gippsland in round one, while the Pioneers stormed home to run over the top of the GWV Rebels courtesy of a four goals to one final term. Murray lost slick star Zane Barzen to injury in the first quarter last week, while the Pioneers regain gun midfielder/forward Jye Caldwell following the conclusion of his cricket commitments. Both sides have extended benches, with a host of top talent coming in for their first games of the season.

Looking at the home side in round one, the Bushrangers had a few high possession getters, as debutant Lachlan Ash racked up 28 disposals (at 82 per cent efficiency) off half-back to accompany seven marks and eight rebounds in a quarter-back type role. The Bushrangers won the rebounds battle with 38-30 against Gippsland, but struggled to put scores on the board with the same number of inside 50s, while Gippsland had a whopping 54. Laitham Vandermeer went inside 50 six times, while Hudson Garoni (five), Jake Bradshaw (four) and Kyle Clarke (four) were other ball movers on the day. The Bushrangers still had 317 disposals, with Ash leading the way from Ely Smith (24), Clarke (23) and Vandermeer (20).

For Bendigo, they made the most of their opportunities considering they too had just 38 inside 50s, seven less than their opponents in round one. Will Holt was the difference up forward with five goals to lead all-comers in the TAC Cup. Expect versatile tall Tom Boyd or inclusion Nick Murray to get the job on Holt. Bailey Henderson was an important figure with eight inside 50s from 29 disposals, providing plenty of dash on the outside, while Zane Keighran (28 disposals, 10 marks, four clearances and six inside 50s) was arguably the Pioneers best, along with Noah Wheeler (24 disposals, four marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and five tackles). In the final quarter onslaught it was Henderson and Liam Marciano (both nine disposals) who stood up for the Pioneers in round one.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 22. A. Dang, 16. N. Murray, 15. R. Quinn
HB: 12. L. Ash, 34. T. Boyd, 28. K. Clarke
C: 26. R.  Bice, 17. N.  Amery, 13. B.  Frauenfelder
HF: 6. W. Chandler, 18. H. Garoni, 54. F. O’Dwyer
F: 9. M. Walker, 8. J. Koschitzke, 10. P. Warner
R: 23. M. Marriott, 5. E. Smith, 4. L. Vandermeer
Int: 20. J. Bradshaw, 14. J. Chalcraft, 38. D. Clarke, 33. F. Ellis, 3. B. Kelly, 25. B. St John

In: E. Dayman, J. Boyer, N. Murray, F. O’Dwyer, M. Oates
Out: C. Hill,  Z. Barzen

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 16. J. Atley, 24. N. McHugh, 51. B. Waasdorp
HB: 9. Z. Keighran, 8. B. Kemp, 25. F. Perez
C: 18. B.  Henderson, 43. H.  Lawrence, 57. A.  Smith-Ralph
HF: 1. M. Goodwin, 20. J. Schischka, 3. L. Marciano
F: 35. Z. Denahy, 45. W. Holt, 17. R. Ironside
R: 23. D. Keating, 5. N. Wheeler, 4. J. Caldwell
Int: 7. L. Chisholm, 34. R. Clarke, 14. T. Dow, 11. J. Grace, 10. D. Grace, 50. K. Lloyd, 47. J. Sala, 52. K. Walker, 19. T. Walters, 2. J. Williams

In: J. Caldwell, T. Dow, J. Schischka, J. Grace


Round 2 – Friday, March 30, 1.30pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell

In the other game on Friday, two sides that had some impressive wins face-off, with Gippsland Power taking on Dandenong Stingrays. The Power were too strong for Murray Bushrangers, while the Stingrays rolled a highly-touted Falcons outfit in what was predicted to be the game of the round. Now Dandenong heads down the highway to face the Power, who had a massive 54 inside 50s against the Bushrangers last week. The Stingrays had 50 of their own and restricted Geelong to just 28, so the battle through the midfield is expected to be exciting.

Matthew McGannon was a large reason behind Gippsland’s drive in round one, with seven rebound 50s – almost 25 per cent of his team’s total – while Brett Thorson led the way with seven inside 50s. Others that got the ball deep were Xavier Duursma (five), Irving Mosquito (four), Harvey Neocleous (four) and Fraser Phillips (four). Ryan Henkel led the way in the ruck with 17 hitouts in round one, but he is an omission this week, with replacement Levi Munns certainly set to have his work cut out trying to tame the likes of Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams. It was also Gippsland’s bottom-agers such as Sam Flanders and Caleb Serong who drove the Power to victory with a combined 39 disposals between them.

For Dandenong, they controlled the ball going forward and played a slower, more contested game against the Falcons, having just 279 disposals but booting 15.10 – remarkably a score every 11 disposals. The Stingrays tend to be a shared cohort and Campbell Hustwaite led the way with 21 disposals, but had seven clearances, five inside 50s, eight tackles and booted two goals in a very impressive performance. Will Hamill also looked the goods with 19 disposals, three marks and six tackles, while Aaron Darling returned from a season-long injury to boot three goals from six disposals as a damaging small forward. Twins Stephen and Matthew Cumming both played their first competitive games for the Stingrays with Stephen rotating through the ruck.

The Stingrays won a lot of their disposals at ground level, taking just 47 marks, but comfortably beat their opponents in contested possessions, something Gippsland will need to do if they are to knock off the visitors. Meanwhile the Stingrays cannot afford to give the Power time and space on the outside as they have some fantastic users of the football that can hit pinpoint passes.

Gippsland Power

B: 12. B. Smith, 25. K. Reid, 15. R. Sparkes
HB: 8. B. Beck, 23. N. Gown, 18. M. McGannon
C: 29. B.  Motton, 11. A.  Hodge, 2. C.  Serong
HF: 9. I. Mosquito, 33. B. Thorson, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 4. S. Flanders, 16. J. Smith, 19. F. Phillips
R: 27. L. Munns, 5. X. Duursma, 13. N. Lowden
Int: 6. R. Baldi, 26. W. Broadbent, 17. G. Cocksedge, 10. L. Connolly, 14. T. Hourigan, 3. M. McGannon, 7. B. Patterson, 35. J. van der Pligt, 38. J. Wykes

In: L. Munns, B. Patterson, G. Cocksedge, W. Broadbent
Out: R. Henkel

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 32. D. Frampton, 56. M. Cumming, 2. H. Young
HB: 16. J. Frawley, 5. A. Paterson, 58. W. Hamill
C: 3. J.  Plumridge, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 7. J.  Taylor
HF: 17. F. Bayne, 29. B. Williams, 42. J. Nanscawen
F: 15. T. Bedford, 28. B. Schmidt, 14. A. Darling
R: 13. R. Bowman, 18. M. Riordan, 47. J. Hickey
Int: 37. B. Angwin, 31. H. Briggs, 33. J. Carosella, 49. M. Cottrell, 36. S. Cumming, 9. Z. Foot, 12. M. Gahan, 27. L. McDonnell

In: M. Gahan, B. Angwin


Round 2 – Saturday, March 31, 2pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

In a top-of-the-table clash, Sandringham Dragons meet Oakleigh Chargers at RAMS Arena. Last week both sides had impressive victories in the wet over Northern Knights and Eastern Ranges respectively. With both teams among the strongest in the league, it is anticipated to be an exciting clash. Max King will add to an already strong line-up at full-forward, joining his brother Ben who was impressive down back last week with 14 disposals, sneaking forward in the final term to boot two goals.

Bailey Smith was the star of the show for the Dragons against the Knights, as he amassed 37 disposals (22 contested), four marks, seven tackles, 12 clearances and eight inside 50s in a complete performance. Liam Stocker (19 disposals, nine tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s) was also impressive, a prime mover in the midfield, while Will Kennedy moved well for a key forward, laying seven tackles and booting a goal from 14 disposals. Bottom-age ruck Andrew Courtney had 20 hitouts, assisted by James Rendell with eight, as well as six inside 50s. Alastair Richards was another player who worked well across the ground, collecting 18 disposals, three clearances and four inside 50s.

For Oakleigh, it was an even contribution as well, playing keepings-off in the wet, restricting the Ranges to just 200 disposals while notching up 318 of their own. Noah Anderson (25), Xavier O’Neill (23), Riley Collier-Dawkins (22), Matt Rowell (22), Noah Answerth (22) and Jack Ross (22) all found plenty of the ball, while combining for 23 clearances and 23 inside 50s – the latter of which was equal to the entire Eastern side. O’Neill hit the scoreboard with two crucial goals, as did small forward Daniel Scala. Collier-Dawkins had a round-high four score assists showing he has the ability to indirectly hurt the opposition on the scoreboard. The big question will be whether or not Oakleigh can contain Smith and the Dragons from beating them at their own possession game, or whether the Dragons tall timber will stretch the Chargers’ defence.

Sandringham Dragons

B: 19. S. Forbes, 69. C. Watts, 23. A. Hanrahan
HB: 6. H. Houlahan, 29. B. King, 9. R. Macdermid
C: 8. K.  Owens, 7. L.  Stocker, 10. S.  Sofronidis
HF: 17. J. Denborough, 33. W. Kennedy, 18. A. Seaton
F: 27. J. Mahony, 31. M. King, 48. J. Worrell
R: 28. J. Rendell, 5. B. Smith, 2. A. Richards
Int: 20. H. Bede, 36. M. Bergman, 72. D. Chirgwin, 59. A. Courtney, 12. C. Jones, 26. F. Maginness, 21. D. McNeish, 53. H. Ralphsmith, 11. N. Stamatis

In: M. King, A. Hanrahan, H. Bede

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 3. J. Ayton-Delaney, 33. M. Warren, 16. L. Westwood
HB: 23. I. Quaynor, 30. B. Wraith, 22. D. Williams
C: 17. T.  Bianco, 8. N.  Anderson, 11. M.  Rowell
HF: 38. Z. Hart, 4. W. Kelly, 10. C. Whitehead
F: 32. J. Ross, 7. J. Robertson, 25. D. Scala
R: 79. B. Griffiths31, 12. N. Answerth , 5. X. O’Neill
Int: 13. A. Bosenavulagi, 1. R. Collier-Dawkins, 14. K. Dunkley, 35. X. Fry, 65. L. Harry, 34. C. Leon, 9. J. Rowbottom, 18. B. Silvagni, 28. O. Simpson

In: C. Leon, L. Harry, X. Fry


Round 2 – Saturday, March 31, 4.15pm

In the second game of the double header, Northern Knights take on Western Jets. The Knights were soundly beaten by the Sandringham Dragons in the wet at Frankston last week, while Western got up in a thriller against Calder Cannons in the season opener. In round one the Knights’ defensive pressure could not be questioned, laying 94 tackles and having 41 rebounds. Ryan Gardner led the way with double-figure rebounds and 22 disposals, while captain Braedyn Gillard had 22 disposals (16 contested), five tackles and six clearances.

The Knights looked to Gillard and Tom McKenzie in the midfield, with the pair amassing 11 of the team’s 26 clearances in round one. Tom Hallebone performed strongly in the ruck, having 17 hitouts, a performance he would like to repeat against the 199cm, 109kg man mountain that is Darren Walters. Around the ground the Knights had plenty of contributors including defender Lachlan Potter (16 disposals, three marks) and forward Patrik Della Rocca (nine disposals, three marks, four tackles and three inside 50s). Josh D’Intinosante was one of the more impressive debutants on the day, collecting 16 disposals, two marks, two clearances, five inside 50s and laying five tackles.

The Jets only had three more clearances than the Knights in their clash with Calder, but had an impressive 47 inside 50s. Captain Xavier O’Halloran was outstanding with 10 inside 50s to go with his 22 disposals, eight clearances and a goal. Connor Thar had four clearances to go with his 20 disposals, while Stefan Radovanovic was good off half-back with 14 disposals, four marks and five rebounds. Aaron Clarke caused all sorts of issues for Calder last week with his 194cm frame helping him boot three goals to be the leading goal kicker for the Jets. Bottom-ager Darcy Cassar was another impressive player, amassing 19 disposals (at 74 per cent efficiency), and will continue to impress throughout the season.

Northern Knights

B: 25. J. Davies, 28. S. Uzelac, 5. L. Potter
HB: 1. R. Gardner, 33. J. Randall, 9. C. Simonsen
C: 30. J.  McInerney, 3. B.  Gillard, 15. O.  White
HF: 8. A. Carafa, 12. J. Naylor, 20. P. Della Rocca
F: 17. J. D’Intinosante, 21. M. Baker, 40. N. Mayne
R: 16. T. Hallebone, 4. T. McKenzie, 10. B. Bell
Int: 35. K. Agosta, 41. X. Bateman, 24. R. Bowkett, 18. S. Brazier, 34. Z. Hudson, 27. J. Lucente, 43. J. Murphy, 6. X. Naish, 13. S. Philp

In: S. Uzelac, J. Naylor, X. Bateman

Western Jets

B: 28. J. Papachatzakis, 37. H. Murphy, 41. L. Rzanovski
HB: 39. S. Radovanovic, 38. B. Khamis, 6. L. Rocci
C: 17. D.  Andrews , 33. X.  O’Halloran, 18. B.  Colley
HF: 24. J. Honey, 31. E. Jeka, 7. J. Watkins
F: 20. D. Cassar, 45. A. Clarke, 2. T. Rudic
R: 47. D. Walters, 36. J. Rice, 11. Z. Butters
Int: 25. S. Johnson, 10. S. Kyriazis, 22. O. Manton, 30. L. Pettigrove, 12. C. Thar, 35. T. Warner

In: J. Jenkins


Round 2 – Sunday, April 1, 1pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

In the final game of the round, two sides that suffered round one losses were the Geelong Falcons and GWV Rebels. The Falcons were inaccurate against the Dandenong Stingrays, finishing with 6.11, three of which came in the final term. The Rebels, on the other hand, were in control for most of the game but were outlasted by a fast-finishing Bendigo Pioneers outfit. Tom Berry sat out the last term with concussion and has failed to get up this week which will be a huge loss for the Rebels, so they will look to their other midfielders to step up.

Geelong has no shortage of talented talls, with Sam Conway and Sam Christensen replaced by Dane Hollenkamp and Tom Richardson in the side for round two, while Blake Schlensog will look to build on his performance from round one after a solid 12 disposals, 11 hitouts, five inside 50s and a goal. Through the midfield it was the Falcons big guns that shone brightest, with Ed McHenry picking up a whopping 11 clearances to accompany his 26 disposals, two marks, five inside 50s, five tackles and four rebounds. Sam Walsh (26 disposals, four clearances and nine tackles) and Oscar Brownless (19 disposals, five marks and seven tackles) performed strongly, while Charlie Sprague was impressive up forward with three goals from 16 disposals.

The Rebels will hope the likes of Scott Carlin, Lochie Dawson and Charlie Wilson stand up in Berry’s absence this weekend. With Berry missing the last quarter, the Rebels had just 50 disposals to the Pioneers’ 91, and took just three marks for the term – the Pioneers took 22. Carlin was ultra-impressive across four quarters, finishing the game with 30 disposals (15 contested), six clearances, four inside 50s, four tackles and five rebounds, while Wilson booted two goals from 20 touches and eight clearances, and Dawson had seven clearances and four inside 50s to go with his 24 disposals. Key forward Tylar Watts had six disposals and seven hitouts and will look to be a target this weekend, while the dangerous Jed Hill will hope to continue his form after adding two goals to his 11 disposals and five marks.

Geelong Falcons

B: 7. C. Harris, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 25. L. Taylor
HB: 40. J. Clark, 39. C. Idun, 13. E. Floyd
C: 6. D.  Madigan, 22. S.  Walsh, 3. K.  Rayner
HF: 30. O. Brownless, 48. B. Schlensog, 2. S. Torpy
F: 16. B. Scott, 31. C. Cartledge, 36. C. Sprague
R: 45. T. Richardson, 8. E. McHenry, 20. B. Ham
Int: 38. S. Bourke, 1. J. Dahlhaus, 10. B. Mensch, 4. C. Mulgrew, 21. L. Smith, 27. N. Young

In: D. Hollenkamp, T. Richardson, L. Smith, J. Muhor, B. Scott
Out: S. Christensen,  C. Tanis,  S. Conway

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 18. B. Helyar, 43. J. Wright, 34. J. O’Connell
HB: 5. H. Jennings, 8. H. Butler, 31. C. Perks
C: 3. S.  Carlin, 2. M.  Schnerring, 25. T.  Shannon
HF: 11. J. Chatfield, 7. M. Martin, 14. J. Hill
F: 15. K. Councillor, 20. T. Watts, 21. I. Grant
R: 29. P. Glanford, 6. C. Wilson, 9. L. Dawson
Int: 36. M. Bidmade, 12. A. Gove, 19. J. Henderson, 10. J. Lohmann, 47. T. Mahony, 39. J. Mawson

In: J. Mawson, C. Perks, C. Craig-Peters, J. Bibby
Out: B. Annett, T. Berry

Pioneers rely on Knights in last gasp finals hope

Round 3 of the TAC Cup begins Friday night under lights at Bayswater.

THE top eight of the TAC Cup is not yet sealed, but the lid is quickly closing.

After Bendigo Pioneers’ upset of Oakleigh Chargers last weekend, the Pioneers and to a lesser extent the Western Jets, still have a chance of making the eight.

But for the Pioneers, their finals hopes lie with the Northern Knights in the hope that the twelfth placed Knights can upset the Chargers this weekend.

If, and it’s a big if, that the Knights can get the job done and Bendigo can upset the North Ballarat Rebels, then all of a sudden, the door is ajar for the competition’s underdog.

Next round, the Pioneers take on the Jets with a real chance to win, while the Chargers meet a full-strength Sandringham Dragons and Murray Bushrangers in the last two rounds.

In other words, if the Pioneers can win the next two matches and Oakleigh lose, the door is ajar.

But they will need a repeat performance like they did against the Chargers to get the job done.

In other matches, Dandenong Stingrays will be highly fancied to potentially steal top spot with victory over the Western Jets.

The Stingrays are seven per cent behind Geelong Falcons, but if last week’s form is anything to go by, the Stingrays will be highly fancied.

For the Jets, much like the Pioneers, they will need to win against the Stingrays and then defeat Bendigo to steal eighth spot.

They could also win their last two matches, but would need to rely on other results up until that point.

In the match of the round, fourth placed Sandringham Dragons takes on Murray Bushrangers.

With the top four seemingly locked away a couple of weeks ago, it is now very much up for grabs.

Both sides will also be hoping the Pioneers can cause an upset against the Rebels, who are coming hard and fast at the top four.

Just six points adrift of both the Bushrangers and Dragons, a win against Bendigo would see them get within two points of one of the sides.

Or maybe even four points of both of the sides should they draw, and while most might think that is a slim possibility, many will remember the tough fought draw between the teams in Wangaratta earlier in the year.

The winner gets a top four spot, the loser will have to win the remaining games to guarantee itself a place in the top four.

Meanwhile we have talked about the consequences for Oakleigh if they lose to the Knights, but for Northern, they have an opportunity to jump to tenth with a win against the Chargers.

If they can do that, then they will be pleased with their second half form and will only finish a couple of wins outside the eight.

In one match that probably has less bearing than the others is the Calder Cannons vs. Gippsland Power clash.

Calder’s loss to North Ballarat has ruled it out of a top five spot, meaning it will likely face Eastern Ranges in the elimination final.

Whether the Cannons are the sixth of seventh placed team is yet to be seen, but unless Oakleigh causes a few upsets or Calder completely falls off the bandwagon, that is the one final which is locked in.

The final match of the round will create some intrigue around the make-up of the top four.

Geelong takes on Eastern Ranges in what is quite simply a must win game.

The Falcons might not be likely to drop out of the top four, but drop this match and North Ballarat might give them a run for their money.

Geelong are a consistent top four side, but have not had as much success in finals as other teams with travelling catching up with them and the metropolitan teams going back to full strength.

The Falcons have good depth, but will want to put themselves in the best possible position heading into finals.

For Eastern, a victory will just assure them of that top seven spot, and the Ranges can book a date with Calder in the elimination final.

With three rounds remaining, the weekend preview will provide a predicted ladder and first week of finals based on what I expect to happen in the remaining rounds.

Peter Williams’ Predicted ladder:

1 – Murray Bushrangers (54)

2 – Dandenong Stingrays (52)

3 – Sandringham Dragons (50)

4 – Geelong Falcons (48)

5 – North Ballarat Rebels (48)

6 – Calder Cannons (36)

7 – Eastern Ranges (32)

8 – Oakleigh Chargers (24)

9 – Bendigo Pioneers (20)

10 – Northern Knights (16)

11 – Western Jets (16)

12 – Gippsland Power (12)

Week 1 predicted finals:

QF1: Murray Bushrangers vs. Geelong Falcons

QF2: Dandenong Stingrays vs. Sandringham Dragons

EF1: North Ballarat Rebels vs. Oakleigh Chargers

EF2: Calder Cannons vs. Eastern Ranges

Make or break round for TAC Cup

 Will Stephenson tackled against the Bendigo Pioneers. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Will Stephenson tackled against the Bendigo Pioneers. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images)

ROUND 12 in the TAC Cup provides a number of must-win clashes that could make or break seasons.

In the first game of the round, Eastern Ranges host the Dandenong Stingrays in what could have ramifications for both sides.

For the Ranges, a loss could see them sensationally drop out of the top eight after being considered a premiership contender at the start of the season.

The Stingrays went down to Calder last week and will desperately want to regain form, but remain understrength for the clash.

Eastern is likely to go in favourites with Josh Begley and Tom Jacotine among the ones to watch for the Ranges.

In the next game of the round, it is hard to see the Murray Bushrangers having any problems against the Northern Knights.

The Knights are coming off a good performance against the Pioneers, with the Bushrangers in form despite missing key players, they should easily see off the metro side.

Trent McMullan and Lachlan Tiziani booted nine goals between them last week and will look to impact again, while Harry Morrison returns from a back injury.

For the Knights, Mason Blakey is their top prospect, while Carlton father/son Jake Bradley is a player Blues fans might keep an eye on.

Both Gippsland Power and Oakleigh Chargers played impressive matches last week, but the Chargers fell short of victory, while the Power got home for their second win of the season.

With no school football on this week, the Chargers welcome back a near-full strength squad with the exception of Vic Metro players, including Jack Higgins.

Higgins looks a likely first round draft pick next year, while Toby Wooller is another one to keep in the memory bank for 2017.

Another bottom-ager Tyrone Hayes is one Power player fans should keep an eye-on after some eye-catching performances for Vic Country.

Down in Werribee, Geelong Falcons host Sandringham Dragons in a top four clash.

With the Dragons understrength given their top prospects played with Vic Metro on Wednesday, Geelong is expected to extend its lead at the top of the table.

Brett Blair is an over-ager that continues to kick goals – figuratively and literally – while for the Dragons, Goy Lok is an over-ager to watch.

Bendigo Pioneers and Calder Cannons make the trip to Swan Hill in what will be a close game.

A Pioneers loss will all but rule them out of finals, while handing Calder an almost guaranteed top eight spot.

If the Pioneers get up, the finals race is well and truly opened.

Kayle Kirby (Bendigo) and Karl Brown (Calder) are big goal kickers on their day and will be looking to put in good performances to continue to stake their claim this year.

In the final match of the round, North Ballarat Rebels will take on the Western Jets at Stawell.

A few weeks ago this looked like a no brainer with the Rebels getting up, but it appears to be closer than first thought given the Rebels remain understrength.

Back-to-back losses at home have the Rebels treading lightly in fifth and they will want to gain some vital breathing space on the pack below, while keeping in the hunt for top four.

The Jets need to win to remain in the finals hunt, with Oliver Junker (Western) and Cedric Cox (North Ballarat) among the ones to watch.