Tag: william wallace

Midfield maestros go to work as Knights down Pioneers

A MIDFIELD masterclass from Northern Knights duo Sam Philp and Adam Carafa has lead the Knights into the finals series after missing out last year, defeating the Bendigo Pioneers by 42 points at Preston City Oval today. The pair had a combined 52 touches in the win, as they took control of the inside midfield and let the forwards go to work with Northern booting nine of the last 10 goals to see off the Pioneers. Bendigo was in the game for the majority of the contest, and the seven-goal final deficit did not reflect the tightness of the game.

Bendigo had the favourable end in the opening term and made the most of it, capitalising with three goals to one. It was an arm-wrestle for the most part as both sides had chances to put scoreboard pressure on the opposition. Jack Boyd had a chance with a great contested mark but his shot missed, and then Sam Conforti made Northern pay with a great goal on the run to give the visitors the opening major. The sling-shot approach from defence to attack by the Pioneers in the conditions was working a treat, and Josh Treacy took advantage with a strong mark and converting the set shot for goal number two. James Lucente almost got the Knights on the board with a snap on goal but it bounced into the post. Liam McMahon managed to find the luck with a 50-metre penalty bringing him to the goalsquare to send through Northern’s first goal of the day. He had a chance for a second moments later with a great lead-out mark from the next clearance but the shot fell short and was kept in.

Bendigo rushed it down the other end but Jack Ginnivan also missed after winning a free kick for a high tackle. They peppered the goals with Jeremy Rodi having a chance after a great tackle and free kick, but missed, as did another shot which was just touched by Knights captain Jackson Davies on the line, albeit with an unwanted interaction with the goal post at the same time. Philp was doing his best in close, fending off a couple of players and getting it free forward, but the Bendigo defence, lead by William Wallace and Brady Rowles was sending it down the other end at rapid pace. Their quick ball movement soon paid off as Treacy received a 50-metre penalty and converted to put the Pioneers up by a couple of goals. At quarter time, Philp and Carafa shared in 15 disposals between them, while Ginnivan and Aaron Gundry had six apiece.

Northern took full advantage with the breeze in the second term, booting four goals to one, including the three last goals of the term, to take a narrow four-point lead into the break as the weather deteriorated and spectators began to check weather radars. Much like the first term, Boyd had an early chance, but unlike his first quarter effort, this time he made good on his set shot to cut the deficit to a goal, though the running Ginnivan made sure this was only temporary as he was involved in a number of handballs before putting one through along the ground. The Bendigo defensive pressure continued throughout the term to give the Pioneers chances, but it was the defensive aerial ability of the Pioneers back six that was causing grief for the Knights. Northern continually attacked but each forward 50 entry was picked off by the Pioneers defenders. McMahon broke back with his second goal with a terrific snap from the pocket, negotiating the breeze, then back-to-back set shots after perfect kicks inside 50 handed the Knights the lead. Lucente and McMahon both capitalised on goals and while Ben Worme had a chance to steal the lead back late, missed and the margin was four points at the main break. At half-time it was Philp who led all-comers with 13 touches, while Carafa (11), Gundry and Thomson Dow were not far behind with 11 each. But it was Rowles and Wallace’s impact off half-back and McMahon and Boyd’s work inside 50 that were standing out in the low-scoring contest.

Philp’s work through the midfield was absolutely superb, getting the ball forward early in the premiership quarter, hitting the scoreboard as Northern piled on five goals to three against the breeze. A snap from Lucente was touched as he kicked it for the first score of the game. Wallace and Rowles were combining once again, with Rowles racing it out of defensive 50, taking the game on and getting it long, only for a shot on goal from Ethan Roberts to be touched in the square. Wallace intercepted an end-to-end play from Northern off the behind and established an end-to-end play for the Pioneers as Dow ran onto the ball on the wing and through a series of handballs set up Jack Evans to put it through the middle and give his side the lead. Not to be denied, Philp got on the end of one running inside 50 to put it through and hand his side back the lead, only for Ginnivan to steal it back with a nicely timed goal to stand up as he did in the last term.

But the next 10 minutes of the term belonged to Northern as the Knights booted four goals and blew the margin out to 19 points thanks to majors from Jackson Bowne, Boyd, Koby Davies and Thomas McMahon, all of whom had booted their goals from just about identical spots 30m out from goal off a loose ball get. It rubbed salt into the wounds for the Pioneers, who had been peppering the goals but not quite putting through majors, kicking 2.4 up to that point. The pressure valve was soon given some relief with Gundry marking inside 50 and converting a goal for the visitors just to give them hope heading into the final term, trailing by 13 points. Philp and Carafa were bordering on unstoppable in the midfield, combining for 42 touches, seven more than anyone else on the ground.

The game felt like it was about to break open heading into the last if Northern continued its momentum from the third term, and when Koby Davies snapped truly in the opening few minutes, the home crowd got exactly what it wanted. It opened up the game for Josh D’Intinosante to hit the scoreboard with a set shot to push the margin beyond 20 points, and soon Liam Kolar joined the party with his first goal in Knights colours. The Knights’ lead was 32 points and although the Pioneers never gave in – continuing to get it down the ground with dare and determination, their finishing was letting them down as they kicked two more behinds from genuine chances, to sit at 7.13 to their opponents’ 13.7 with 10 minutes to go really showing the difference in goal efficiency. Ryan Sturgess enjoyed the flow-on effect of the Knights knowing they had the game in the bag, booting two late goals to add to his solid performance across the four quarters. The Knights had run out easy 42-point winners on the back of a five goals to zero final term, but it was not reflective of the Pioneers work for the majority of the game.

While Bendigo was brave for the majority of the match, the Knights’ finishing capabilities in front of goal, the defensive work of Jackson Davies (17 disposals, three marks and eight rebounds) among others in the back 50, and most importantly, the work of Carafa (29 disposals, three marks, five inside 50s, four rebounds and five tackles) and Philp (23 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s, three tackles and a goal) in the midfield separated the sides. Lucente (18 disposals, 10 marks and one goal) was important, particularly in the first half, while Liam McMahon’s three first half goals set the Knights up. The likes of Dow (19 disposals, two marks, five inside 50s) and Riley Wilson (17 disposals, six marks) in the midfield did all they could, while Gundry (20 disposals, two marks, 16 hitouts and a goal) was a standout in the ruck and providing a target down forward. Rowles (16 disposals, three marks) and Wallace (11 disposals, six marks and four rebounds) in defence constantly stood up in the barrage of attacks, while Ginnivan (15 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s) was classy despite kicking 2.3 for the day.
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 1.3 | 5.5 | 10.6 | 15.7 (97)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 3.3 | 4.7 | 7.11 | 7.13 (55)

GOALS:

Northern: L. McMahon 3, J. Boyd 2, K. Davies 2, R. Sturgess 2, J. Lucente, S. Philp, J. Bowne, T. McMahon, J. D’Intinosante, L. Kolar.
Bendigo: J. Treacy 2, J. Ginnivan 2, S. Conforti, J. Evans, A. Gundry.

ADC BEST:

Northern: S. Philp, A. Carafa, J. Davies, L. McMahon, J. Lucente, J. Boyd.
Bendigo: J. Ginnivan, A. Gundry, B. Rowles, T. Dow, W. Wallace, R. Wilson.

NAB League Boys weekend preview: Wildcard Round

IT is a big round of NAB League boys action this weekend, with the Wildcard Round getting underway at Preston, Craigieburn and Box Hill across two big days. There is no turning back for the losers, so for five teams, it is curtains on season 2019, while five others live to fight another day.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS vs. GEELONG FALCONS
Saturday August 24, 11.45am
Preston City Oval

There was always going to be one of the highly-rated top four sides drop out of the automatic finals qualification places and in this case it was Sandringham who finished fifth and face a Wildcard Round elimination final. They meet 2019 Wooden Spooners, Geelong Falcons in the repeat of the 2017 TAC Cup Grand Final. Geelong has had its most disappointing year for some time on wins alone, but outside the win-loss ratio, the Falcons are a much better side than meets the eye. Their last quarter fadeouts have cost them on a number of occasions and the majority of their developing talent are bottom-agers. Not to dissimilar to Eastern Ranges this year, the core of the Geelong midfield will still have a year to go in the system and should be better heading into next year. Coupled with the bottom-agers is overager Charlie Sprague who has been on a goal-scoring spree over the past five rounds, piling on 18 goals in that time – including six last round against Dandenong Stingrays. He comes up against an in-form Corey Watts who, along with the likes of Jackson Voss and forward-turned-defender Charlie Dean will not make it easy for Sprague. Oliver Henry and Charlie Lazzaro provide strong support for Sprague inside 50, with Lazzaro rotating with Tanner Bruhn and Noah Gribble through the midfield. Sandringham’s midfield is star-studded and will take full advantage of their greater experience, with Darcy Chirgwin, Finn Maginness and Ryan Byrnes in the top three midfields of the competition. If the midfield gets on top, then the forwards of Fischer McAsey and Kyle Yorke could have a field day, especially with Miles Bergman, Hugo Ralphsmith and Jake Bowey named in the forward line and who are all capable of picking up midfield minutes. Jesse Clark looms as Geelong’s most important player to try and halt the Sandringham attack, while Cameron Fleeton returns to provide the Falcons with some more stability back there. It is hard to see Sandringham losing this clash, but Geelong played its best game of the season last week, so if they can build on that and start strongly, anything is possible.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS vs. BENDIGO PIONEERS
Saturday August 24, 2.15pm
Preston City Oval

In the second game of a double-header at Preston City Oval, the Knights host the Pioneers. The Knights are coming off an impressive win over Western Jets in the final round after starting slowly, while the Pioneers started strongly, and had their chances but just went down to Gippsland Power by 10 points on Sunday. The Knights midfield has the upperhand in this game with Northern trio Adam Carafa, Sam Philp and Josh Watson all in good form, while Josh D’Intinosante looms as a key for Northern up forward with 26 goals to his name this season – second over all on the goalkicking charts. James Schischka might be the man to try and stop him, while William Wallace and Riley Ironside have played good defensive roles in the back 50 of late. Brady Rowles was impressive last week and will provide good rebound, while Sam Conforti, Thomson Dow and Riley Wilson can win the pill and hit the scoreboard. Josh Treacy is strong enough to worry opposition key defenders, with Ryan Sturgess and Jackson Davies the two who will likely play a big role in the defence for the home side. Aaron Gundry has been in good form this season, as has Jack Ginnivan and Ben Worme with the former able to kick multiple goals in a game, while Worme can push up the ground and rotate through the middle. Nikolas Cox and Ryan Gardner are another couple of players that must be contained or Bendigo risk conceding a big score, but they will be relieved that Lachlan Potter will miss the season as his run and carry can break games open. Northern go in as favourites at home, but Bendigo beat the Knights at this venue earlier in the season so will be confident they can repeat the dose here.

CALDER CANNONS vs. TASMANIA DEVILS
Sunday, August 25, 11am
RAMS Arena

In the standalone game at RAMS Arena, Calder host a somewhat depleted Tasmania side in what on paper should favour the fifth placed home side. With Mitch O’Neill already out and the likes of Sam Collins and Oliver Davis missing it means three of their top players will be unavailable for the knockout clash. Jared Dakin has returned to provide some vital leadership, while Matt McGuinness, Patrick Walker and Liam Viney provide good rebound off the back 50. With Harrison Jones, Jake Sutton and Jackson Cardillo inside the forward arc, the Cannons front six will be hard to contain, but the Devils’ forward line is capable of providing impressive contested marking with Jackson Callow and Jake Steele named in the key position spots. Steele can also play in defence if the Devils start to get overwhelmed on the scoreboard, while Sam Banks and Will Peppin are future prospects who have shown great signs. The Calder midfield of Daniel Mott, Sam Ramsay and Ned Gentile should take control of the game given their experience, and if they get first use to their forwards nice and quickly, then the Cannons could put up a big score. Tasmania must remain composed and use the ball well to take advantage of their contested marking talls in the forward line if they are to cause an upset in this game.

WESTERN JETS vs. GWV REBELS
Sunday August 25, 11.45am
Box Hill City Oval

Down the Eastern Freeway, Western Jets cross the West Gate to play the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels at Box Hill. Western’s defence has won it games in the past, with Lucas Rocci, Darcy Cassar, Cody Raak and Josh Kellett a formidable combination, while Emerson Jeka can play there as well. Jeka has been named in attack, no doubt to stretch the Rebels’ defence with the tall utility likely to cause headaches for undersized defenders. Also in attack is competition leading goalscorer Archi Manton, but the Jets have struggled to kick big scorers on a consistent basis, so quick ball movement forward is key, as the likes of Josh Honey and Eddie Ford can run and hit the scoreboard. The Rebels are more than comfortable in a shootout situation, but showed last week they can win in a slog as well, which will be great preparation for this match. Jay Rantall, Mitch Martin and Cooper Craig-Peters is an underrated midfield and capable of producing quick clearances, while Josh Rentsch is already showing signs as a top-end key forward despite being two years away from being drafted. Riley Polkinghonre and Jack Tillig have been consistent players up either end this season, while Toby Mahony adds a touch of class, and Ben Hobbs is a 2021 draft prospect with a high ceiling. The Jets have overage experience in Aaron Clarke and Daly Andrews on their side, while Will Kennedy has been phenomenal in the ruck. He meets Patrick Glanford who averages the second most hitouts behind Kennedy, while James Cleaver and Matty Lloyd have also remained in the team this season as overagers, playing roles up opposite ends of the ground.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS vs. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Sunday August 25, 2.15pm
Box Hill City Oval

In what could be the match of the round, eighth placed Dandenong Stingrays take on ninth placed Murray Bushrangers in the second game at Box Hill. The Stingrays head into the game on an eight-game losing streak after sitting at a remarkable six wins and a draw from seven games. They have improved the past month, but were overwhelmed by the last placed Falcons in the wet at Bendigo last weekend. With elimination on the line for the reigning premiers, they must pick up if they are to overcome Murray in this match. The Bushrangers were starting to get back to their best before slipping and sliding – literally and figuratively – to a hungry GWV Rebels side in the previous round. The Stingrays still have plenty of match winners with Hayden Young, Ned Cahill and Cody Weightman in the side, and after spending time in the midfield, have been named back in their most dominant positions of half-back and the latter two, half-forward. Lachlan Williams has consistency to build, but as he showed from his three-goal last quarter in Round 17, can pop up and turn a game if it is tight. Murray is usually a strong defensive side, with Liam Fiore and Ethan Baxter able to nullify their direct opponents, as Charlie Byrne and Zavier Maher provide the run and carry out of defence. Sam Durham, Jye Chalcraft, Cam Wild and Dylan Clarke provide a hard edge to the midfield, while Lachlan Ash is all class and can play anywhere on the ground. Jimmy Boyer and Clayton Gay can play up both ends for their respective sides, while Ben Kelly will try and work over Bigoa Nyuon in the ruck, who will have the athletic advantage in the air. Will Lewis played his first game for the year last week and looked impressive, while Josh Rachele is a Under 16s forward who looms as a top pick in the 2021 draft already.

Team of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 8

GIPPSLAND Power and Western Jets’ big wins over their opponents have resulted in making up almost one third of the Draft Central NAB League Boys Team of the Week for Round 8. Seven other teams recorded two players each, while Round 8 losing sides, Geelong Falcons, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Tasmania Devils each had one.

Fraser Phillips, Brock Smith, Josh Smith and Riley Baldi all impressed in the Power’s win over the GWV Rebels to make the team, while Jay Rantall continued his good form this season to be the standout Rebel in the loss. For the Jets, a couple of reborn defenders make the side with Darcy Cassar the Draft Central Player of the Week clearly in the team, as is captain Lucas Rocci and overager Daly Andrews. Their opponent, Geelong Falcons had Keidan Rayner make the team.

In the half-back line with the two Jets is Calder captain, Brodie Newman, making the team once again and joined in the side by Ned Gentile who was also nominated for the Draft Central Player of the Week. Ryan Sturgess holds down the other key defensive position, making the team with contested bull, Sam Philp. Rounding out the defence is Bendigo Pioneers’ William Wallace, who along with forward Josh Treacy, makes the Team of the Week again.

Through the midfield is Sandringham Dragons’ captain Ryan Byrnes, included in the side with teammate Miles Bergman. Dylan Williams kicked the winning goal for Oakleigh Chargers in the final term against Northern and made the team with teammate, Lochlan Jenkins. Tasmania Devils’ Oliver Davis was a standout in the middle and slots straight into the centre. Providing the ruck power is overager Bailey Schmidt who had a dominant game against Tasmania, while Lachlan Williams relished a role in the back half. Lining up at centre half-forward to be his third different position this season in our Team of the Week is Ben Kelly, with the Murray overager continuing to stake his claim this season, joined in the side by co-captain Cam Wilson who booted three goals.

Team of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 7

IN the most evenly spread Draft Central Team of the Week thus far, every match provided four players from the NAB League Boys Round 7 competition. With Gippsland powering to a big win over Calder, the Power had three players to the Cannons’ one, however every other game the teams were split evenly with two apiece. There were plenty of goals kicked by medium sized players, while a number of defenders had big numbers and some strong performances from inside midfielders also saw them make the cut.

Gippsland’s trio that made the side were captain Brock Smith off half-back, Sam Flanders in midfield and Riley Baldi on the bench who was also influential around the stoppages. Calder’s Jacob Martin also found plenty of the ball despite the defeat and slotted into the midfield. Bendigo Pioneers’ Sam Conforti won our Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 7 and is named in the centre alongside fellow nominee for the award, Jay Rantall from the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. Their teammates in the side are defender William Wallace (Bendigo) and mid-forward Toby Mahony (GWV).

On the other wing is Eastern Ranges overager Cody Hirst, joined in the side by Zakery Pretty who is enjoying a big year in midfield. Their opposition was Sandringham Dragons, as Miles Bergman and Ryan Byrnes made the 24-player squad as well. Tasmania also provided two players with match winner Jye Menzie and teammate Sam Collins represented in the team up either end. Holding down the other key defensive post is Geelong Falcons’ Jesse Clark, in the side with bottom-age forward Oliver Henry. Their opponents on the weekend were Murray Bushrangers, which provided full-forward Hudson Kaak (five goals) and Cam Wild who was impressive through the midfield.

In the other games, Dandenong Stingrays’ regular Hayden Young made the side again, as did Ned Cahill up forward, while their opponents Western Jets had ruck Will Kennedy and forward Eddie Ford in the team. The remaining players in the side come from the Northern Knights who were victorious over GWV Rebels, as Lachlan Potter‘s form continued, in the team with Team of the Week regular, Josh D’Intinosante.

NAB League Boys wash-up: Round 7 – Ranges prove their top four credentials

A BUMPER weekend of NAB League action saw the Eastern Ranges stamp their authority in a top-four clash, while Dandenong continues to lead all-comers and Gippsland powered into third. With thrillers and blow-outs making up a mixed bag of results, here is the Round 7 wash-up.

GEELONG FALCONS 3.3 | 5.7 | 8.7 | 10.11 (71)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 3.1 | 6.3 | 11.4 | 14.8 (92)

GOALS:
Geelong: O. Henry 3, C. Karpala 2, T. Richardson 2, C. Seymour, K. Rayner, C. Brauer.
Murray: H. Kaak 5, Z. Barzen 2, D. Clarke 2, C. Wild, E. Baxter, K. Chalcraft, L. Ash, W. Chandler.

BEST:
Geelong:
C. Brauer, J. Clark, S. Ham, O. Henry, K. Rayner, L. Smith
Murray: C. Wild, J. Chalcraft, H. Kaak, K. Chalcraft, B. Kelly, T. Matthes

By: Peter Williams

Red-time goals in the first three terms helped the Murray Bushrangers record their second win of the season, overcoming a determined Geelong Falcons outfit by 21 points at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Falcons looked on top early in each of the terms, taking leads, before Murray struck late, particularly in the second and third terms, where they booted the last seven goals of the second and third quarters (three last in quarter two and four last in quarter three) to remarkably head into the breaks in front. Trailing by 16 points with three and a half minutes remaining in the second term, it looked like Murray would head into the change rooms pondering how to step up their game. But three goals in as many minutes left the visiting crowd stunned and excited at the same time as they took a two-point lead into half-time. In the third term, Geelong came out firing booting three of the first four goals, and when Oliver Henry split the big sticks, Geelong had a nine-point advantage. Murray piled on four goals in the last seven and a half minutes to not only hit the front, but head into the last break with a 15-point lead. A three goals to two final term saw the Bushrangers secure the win, 14.8 (92) to 10.11 (71). Cam Wild was again the top disposal winner with 27, using his hard running to work his way along the wings, also booting a goal after running from half-back winning a touch and finishing off nicely. Jye Chalcraft relished his inside role with 26 disposals and eight clearances, while Dylan Clarke had 23 disposals, six clearances and five inside 50s. Up forward, Hudson Kaak had a day out leading from the square, booting five majors from 15 disposals and seven marks. For Geelong, Charlie Harris worked hard for 21 touches, five marks, three clearances and five tackles, while Chas Karpala laid a game-high 11 tackles to go with his 20 disposals and two goals. Henry was also prolific up forward, snagging three goals from 16 disposals and seven marks working up the ground, while Sheldon Ham had 17 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s and six tackles in the loss.

 

WESTERN JETS 2.4 | 4.5 | 5.10 | 6.10 (46)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 4.4 | 7.9 | 9.10 | 16.13 (109)

GOALS:
Western: E. Ford 2, A. Clarke, J. Horo, D. Andrews , A. Manton
Dandenong: E. Cahill 4, L. Williams 2, D. Popa 2, J. Neal, C. Ellison, K. George, M. Gregory, C. Gay, M. Haywood, S. De Koning, J. Toner

BEST:
Western:
D. Andrews , W. Kennedy, E. Ford, J. Horo, N. Reynolds, D. Cassar
Dandenong: R. Orchard, E. Cahill, H. Young, B. Schmidt, M. Riordan, S. De Koning

By: Michael Alvaro

Dandenong Stingrays sit atop the NAB League ladder for a second-consecutive week, stamping their authority with a 63-point win over the Western Jets. Despite leading from the twelfth minute-mark and having the better of general play, the reigning premiers were kept within striking distance by a combative Jets unit, holding an 11-point lead at the main break. With the margin stretched slowly to an even four goals at three-quarter time, it was all Dandenong in the last as they piled on seven majors to cruise home to victory. The Stingrays had stars on each line, with Ned Cahill (19 disposals, six marks, 4.2) electric up forward, Hayden Young (26 disposals, seven rebound 50s) making the play down back, and midfielder Mitch Riordan (25 disposals, five clearances) dominant at the stoppages to put his hand up for mid-season draft selection. With Reece Orchard (13 disposals, nine tackles) named best for the ‘Rays, Daly Andrews (17 disposals, seven tackles, six clearances) earned the same honour for Western and showcased an improved inside game. Darcy Cassar was again the Jets’ leading ball-winner with a game-high 29 disposals, while dynamic bottom-ager Eddie Ford was dangerous in the forward half with 20 disposals, 10 marks and 2.1. While the Jets sit inside the top eight at 3-3, Dandenong’s undefeated record remains in tact on the back of their fourth-consecutive victory. Both sides are set to travel next round, with Western away to Geelong, and Dandenong travelling down to Tasmania in an historic fixture.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS 0.1 | 3.4 | 6.6 | 11.8 (74)
TASMANIA DEVILS 3.5 | 4.5 | 7.9 | 11.10 (76)

GOALS:
Bendigo: J. Ginnivan 2, J. Schischka 2, S. Conforti 2, J. Dick-O’Flaherty 2, J. Hickman, B. Vaz, R. Clarke
Tasmania: J. Menzie 4, R. Mansell 2, B. Gordon, O. Davis, C. Stephenson, I. Chugg

BEST:
Bendigo:
S. Conforti, W. Wallace, S. O’Farrell, J. Treacy, J. Hickman, J. Ginnivan
Tasmania: J. Steele, J. Menzie, R. Mansell, L. Viney, E. Jackson, B. Gordon

By: Michael Alvaro

Tasmania Devils got up in a thriller in Sunday’s first fixture, edging the Bendigo Pioneers by two points at Queen Elizabeth Oval. While the scoreboard tells a story of the travelling side leading at every break on the way to their win, the Devils relinquished a game-long lead at the 15-minute mark of the final term on the back of three-straight Bendigo goals, only to snatch it back twice – with Jye Menzie kicking truly after the siren to enact the final and telling lead change. A fast start from Tasmania proved the difference, and some, with the Pioneers playing catch-up after giving up a 22-point quarter time deficit. Sam Conforti earned a Draft Central player of the week nomination and was named Bendigo’s best for his game-high 30 disposals and two goals, with William Wallace (16 disposals, seven marks, five rebound 50s) good from defence and Jack Ginnivan (27 disposals, two goals) also productive. Menzie was clinical in front of goal with 4.0 from 12 disposals, but Jake Steele (13 disposals, 17 hitouts) was named best for the Devils. Ben Simpson (22 disposals) was their leading ball-winner, while Ethan Jackson was not far behind with 21. Both sides are set to host next week, with Tasmania clashing with Dandenong in the Apple Isle, while Bendigo faces Sandringham in Echuca.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 3.2 | 3.5 | 10.7 | 12.12 (84)
CALDER CANNONS 0.4 | 1.6 | 2.8 | 4.9 (33)

GOALS:
Gippsland: F. Phillips 4, T. Baldi 2, J. Smith 2, H. Pepper, S. Flanders, B. Smith, M. McGannon.
Calder: J. Cardillo, C. Brown, J. Hotchkin, J. Kemp.

BEST:
Gippsland:
S. Flanders, B. Smith, R. Baldi, F. Phillips, J. Smith, T. Baldi
Calder: J. Martin, D. Mott, N. Gentile, F. O”Neill, J. Hotchkin, C. Brown

By: Peter Williams

An impressive seven goals to one third term set Gippsland Power up for a big 51-point win over Calder Cannons at Morwell Recreation Reserve on Sunday. In overcast conditions with a strong wind, Gippsland played to the home ground advantage perfectly, booting the first three goals of the game, before a Curtis Brown long bomb in the second term finally broke the Cannons’ drought. Having not conjured up a goal in the second quarter and leading by just 11 points at the main break, Gippsland decided to up the ante, piling on seven goals in the term, with only a 50m penalty and subsequent goal from the square to Josh Kemp being the Cannons’ only saving grace in the quarter. The last quarter was similar to the first two in the sense it was mostly defensive and inaccurate as the Power booted 2.5 to 2.1, as Fraser Phillips booted a couple of late goals to help Gippsland to a 12.12 (84) to 4.9 (33) victory. Phillips was impressive up forward with four goals from 12 touches and four marks, but captain Brock Smith was superb with 28 disposals, seven marks, two tackles, six rebounds and a team-lifting goal from outside 50 in the third term. Sam Flanders was just as good around the ground, having 24 touches, four marks, five clearances, five inside 50s, five tackles and booting a goal, while Riley Baldi continued his great form with 26 disposals, six marks, five clearances and three inside 50s. He also booted two behinds, not as accurate as his brother who made his two scoring shots count, booting two majors as well as 12 disposals, four marks and six tackles. For the Cannons, Jacob Martin had another big day out with 33 disposals, 10 clearances, seven marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while Daniel Mott picked up 25 disposals, six clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds. Ned Gentile (16 disposals, six marks and three tackles), Fergus O’Neill (15 disposals, five marks and four tackles) and Josh Hotchkin (29 hitouts and a goal from six touches) were all named among the best for Calder in the loss.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 3.3 | 6.4 | 7.7 | 9.8 (62)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.3 | 5.4 | 9.8 | 14.10 (94)

GOALS:
GWV: T. Mahony 3, I. Grant 2, M. Martin 2, I. Thomas, J. Rantall
Northern: S. Brazier 3, S. Philp 2, B. Nikolovski 2, L. Potter, B. Major, Z. Costello, C. Barbera, J. D’Intinosante, L. Mcmahon, K. Davies

BEST:
GWV:
J. Rantall, J. Wright, T. Mahony, M. Martin, J. Cleaver, J. Tillig
Northern: L. Potter, S. Philp, J. D’Intinosante, N. Howard, C. Barbera, C. Simonsen

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights turned a six-point half time deficit into a 32-point away win over the Greater Western Victoria Rebels to extend its victorious streak to three. While the Rebels got the better of the opening stages, the winners managed to stay within reach and struck after half time with over-ager Sunny Brazier central to the comeback with 2.1 in the third term. A five-goal final quarter sealed the win and a comfortable margin, with the Knights finding some form after a down opening month. Lachie Potter was again best-afield for the Knights with a damaging 16 disposals, while Ryan Sturgess sured up both ends with his team-high 26. Josh D’Intinosante also found the goals and plenty of the ball, with Sam Philp (19 disposals, two goals) returning to the side to good effect. Jay Rantall played a blinder for GWV, racking up 36 touches (seven clearances, six inside 50s) to be his side’s best. Toby Mahony and Jack Tillig had 20 touches each to be thereabouts, with the former also contributing three goals in a solid display. Mitch Martin was another ball-winner to hit the scoreboard with his two goals from 18 disposals, but the Knights midfielders were often given first use on the back of Nathan Howard‘s 28 hitouts. Both sides are set to play on neutral territory next week, with Northern playing Oakleigh and the Rebels facing Gippsland.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 4.2 | 4.7 | 6.9 | 6.10 (46)
EASTERN RANGES 3.2 | 4.4 | 6.5 | 8.7 (55)

GOALS:
Sandringham: K. Yorke 2, J. Cowden, M. Bergman, J. Bell, A. Hanrahan
Eastern: J. Tilly 2, L. Stapleton, B. McCormack, M. Brown, B. White, C. Downie, M. Zalac

BEST:
Sandringham:
M. Bergman, R. Byrnes, C. Watts, J. Bowey, J. Bell, T. Milne
Eastern: C. Hirst, L. Stapleton, J. Ross, J. Hourihan, J. Nathan, J. Rossiter

By: Joe Lee

Onlookers were treated to an enthralling contest down at RSEA Park, with finals aspirants Eastern Ranges grinding out a nine-point win against a gallant Sandringham Dragons. In a tough and uncompromising affair where polish and poise lacked, grit and determination made up for. With the margin at each break never being more than a goal, both teams fought out to the death, with the Ranges breaking away in the final minutes to record a clutch win. Sandringham led at every break and won the inside 50 count 53 to 44, but failed to capitalise on ample opportunities, often bombing the ball in long where it was intercepted by Jack Ross, who was outstanding for the Ranges. Whilst the Dragons midfield, led by Ryan Byrnes and Miles Bergman, seemingly won the clearance count, it was the Ranges outside midfielders Cody Hirst and Connor Downie who delivered the ball to the Ranges forwards with class. Eastern proved the stronger team for longer, willing themselves over the line with some classy use and heroic defensive acts, placing them in the upper echelon of the ladder, with Sandringham rueing missing some straight-forward opportunities that were missed.

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Boys – Round 5

A NEW ladder-leader has emerged in the NAB League as one academy side suffered its first loss, and Geelong Falcons and Northern Territory remain the only ones without a win. With eyes on each of the nine games, here is the Round 5 wash-up.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.1 | 6.1 | 7.2 | 7.7 (49)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 3.2 | 6.3 | 8.6 (54)

GOALS:

Bendigo: K. Brown 2, K. Attwell, J. Ginnivan, R. Ironside, C. Fisher, J. Rodi.
Northern: J. Bowne 2, S. Brazier 2, J. D’Intinosante, C. Barbera, Z. Costello, J. Lucente.

BEST:

Bendigo: R. Wilson, W. Wallace, J. Ginnivan, J. Schischka, B. Worme, R. Ironside.
Northern: E. Macpherson, J. D’Intinosante, S. Philp, S. Brazier, Z. Costello, L. Potter.

It took five rounds but Northern Knights finally came away with some premiership points, downing the impressive Bendigo Pioneers by less than a kick under lights at Queen Elizabeth Oval on Friday night. Bendigo lost its second consecutive game after starting the season 2-0, despite having chances to win in both matches. In this clash, the Pioneers led throughout the night, including by 17 points at the main break. A more determined Knights outfit came out in the second half, making the most of their run and carry, booting five goals to one in the second half to secure the five-point victory. Ewan Macpherson was named best on ground for Northern, while Josh D’Intinosante was consistent across the four quarters, as were fellow inside midfielders, Sam Philp and Sunny Brazier. Lachie Potter showed dash off half-back and between the run from defence to the inside ball winning capabilities, the Knights were better across the four quarters. For the Pioneers, Riley Wilson was terrific across the four quarters, while James Schischka was ever-reliable in defence with William Wallace, while Ben Worme and Riley Ironside were others who performed on the night for the Pioneers.

SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 5.2 | 9.3 | 11.5 | 13.10 (88)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 0.3 | 2.9 | 7.9 | 9.10 (64)

GOALS:

Sydney: H. Ellem 3, T. Drum 2, H. Maguire 2, M. Sheather, A. Watling, J. Barling, K. McGrath, P. Roseby, M. Rossmann.
Murray: C. Wilson 3, H. Kaak 2, C. Wild, K. Chalcraft, J. Chalcraft, J. O’Dwyer.

BEST:

Sydney: L. Swaney, C. Nash, A. Watling, M. Geddes, J. Dol, S. Thorne
Murray: C. Wild, J. Chalcraft, S. Durham, K. Chalcraft, C. Wilson, W. Christie

Sydney Swans Academy extended its unbeaten NAB League run on Saturday, kicking off the Blacktown double-header with an impressive 24-point win over the Murray Bushrangers. The loss is the only result for Murray that has been decided by over seven points after going 1-2 across the first three rounds, with the Bushrangers unlucky to be languishing in the bottom half of the table. They were beaten out of the blocks by the home side, which broke out to a 29-point lead at the first break, while building on it well to find themselves an seven six goals up at half time. The Bushrangers fought back after the main break, taking their chances well to boot 5.0 to 2.2 in the third term, but the gap proved too far to bridge in a rather stalemate final stanza as the Swans cruised to victory. An impressive nine individual Swans goal kickers were led by Hamish Ellem‘s three majors from 22 disposals, while Harry Maguire and Thomas Drum snared two each in low possession games. While Kyle Martin led their possession count, Lachlan Swaney was named best for the Swans for his 18-disposal performance, while Sam Thorne, Max Geddes and Jacob Dol each had over 20 touches to also be thereabouts. Cam Wild continues to be a standout for Murray, named their best in this outing on the back of 28 disposals, seven inside 50s and a goal, while both Kade and Jye Chalcraft hit the scoreboard to be named in the best alongside leading goal-getter Cameron Wilson, who bagged three. Murray goes on to face other Sydney academy, GWS in Round 6, while the Swans face Geelong Falcons in their final NAB League hit-out.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 2.2 | 10.4 | 12.8 | 19.10 (124)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 | 8.6 (54)

GOALS:

Dandenong: E. Cahill 3, L. Williams 3, J. Neal 2, W. Bravo 2, B. Kuipers 2, J. Nanscawen 2, B. Nyuon, B. Welsh, B. Milford, A. Bradtke, L. Goonan.
Oakleigh: L. Stelling 2, T. Graham, T. Lovell, R. Valentine, H. Mundy, B. Rogers, F. Elliot.

BEST:

Dandenong: E. Cahill, J. Toner, J. Nanscawen, L. Williams, S. De Koning, C. Gay
Oakleigh: J. Woodfull, S. Seach, R. Valentine, L. Jenkins, F. Elliot, L. Stelling

In their first three clashes, the Dandenong Stingrays have enjoyed absolute nail-biters, winning by a goal twice, and the drawing with Geelong Falcons in Round 3. While the opening term scores suggested this one would head down the same path, the action told a different story with the Stingrays on top, but not putt ing the scores on the board. That happened in the second term when they took full control of the game from Oakleigh Chargers, piling on eight goals to one with the breeze in a windy day at Shepley Oval. In front of a home crowd, the Stingrays put an understrength Oakleigh to the sword, extending the lead to 52 points by the final break, before running away with it in the last term as both sides managed to break through for goals. Eleven majors were kicked as Dandenong won that quarter seven goals to four, and enjoyed a massive 70-point win. In the absence of Hayden Young, Ned Cahill stood tall to be the standout player on the ground, while Luke Williams also contributed with his long-range goals a highlight. Jack Toner and Clayton Gay were solid throughout, as was Sam De Koning who took a multitude of intercept marks at centre half-back. For Oakleigh, Jacob Woodfull is hard to miss, rocking a mullet, but the ruck was sensational throughout the match, while Sam Seach and Ryan Valentine were also named among the best. AFL Academy members and co-captains Trent Bianco and Dylan Williams showed signs across the ground, but the Stingrays controlled the play for the most part in the impressive win.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 8.3 | 13.9 | 17.13 | 19.18 (132)
BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 0.1 | 1.1 | 3.3 | 5.5 (35)

GOALS:

Sandringham: B. O’Leary 3, J. Bell 2, K. Yorke 2, A. Courtney 2, A. Hanrahan 2, R. Byrnes, T. Murray, J. Voss, J. Le Grice , T. Deane-Johns, G. Grey, D. Hipwell, A. Perkins.
Brisbane: T. Wischnat, T. Abberley, C. Bowes, M. McDonald, T. Matthews.

BEST:

Sandringham: J. Bell, J. Voss, H. Loughnan, R. Byrnes, L. Butler, R. Bowman
Brisbane: W. Martyn, T. Griffiths, B. Reville, T. Jeffrey

New NAB League table-toppers Sandringham Dragons roared to a thumping 97-point win over the Brisbane Lions academy, keeping its perfect record in tact. A 13-goal to one blitz in the first half set up the final margin of victory for the home side, with a whopping 13 Dragons getting on the scoresheet and five of them scoring multiple goals – led by Blake O’Leary‘s three. The tall timber of Jack Bell and Andrew Courtney proved a handful for the Lions defence, with over-ager Angus Hanrahan chiming in well early and bottom-ager Archie Perkins also impressive forward of centre. Midfield maestro Ryan Byrnes (26 disposals, seven inside 50s, one goal) was the key catalyst for the first-half onslaught though, winning a wealth of ball through the middle and setting Sandringham forward with bursting runs and inside 50 entries on both sides. The likes of Louis Butler (31 disposals) and Harry Loughnan (25, nine marks) also covered the ground well, with Riley Bowman showing his versatility in all key-position posts. Though they were soundly beaten overall, the Lions showed good heart in the second half to keep Sandringham to six goals while scoring four of their own, with key players finding their way into the game. One who was combative all day was Will Martyn (33 disposals, 10 marks, six tackles), leading his side well from midfield and leading all-comers in disposals. Tom Griffiths was named in the best for his role in an under-siege defence, while the smooth-moving Bruce Reville lifted in the second half to also be thereabouts, and bottom-ager Tahj Abberley also showed good signs. In its final NAB League outing, Brisbane hosts Dandenong in the Sunshine State, while Sandringham can enjoy a bye.

GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 1.1 | 5.1 | 9.4 | 9.7 (61)
GIPPSLAND POWER 3.2 | 8.5 | 9.5 | 10.10 (70)

GOALS:

GWS: L. Conlan 2, L. Delahunty 2, H. Grant 2, R. Mooney, J. Peatling, T. Organ.
Gippsland: R. Baldi 2, H. Pepper, Z. Skinner, M. McGarrity, J. van der Pligt, B. Maslen, W. Papley, F. Phillips, K. Dunkley.

BEST:

GWS: H. Grant, N. Murray, L. Squire, J. Lucas, S. Driscoll, J. Peatling
Gippsland: J. Smith, H. Pepper, R. Baldi, R. Sparkes, B. Smith, T. Hourigan

Gippsland Power was made to work for its third win of the NAB League season, downing a spirited GWS Giants Academy side by nine points in Blacktown. The travel did not seem to faze the Victorian side, looking fresh coming off a bye round to set up an early lead. The Power’s 13-point quarter-time lead proved the difference in their second-consecutive win, as the home side poured on eight goals during the second and third terms to get within a single point heading into the final break. With the game on the line, Gippsland’s depth proved too strong, seeing the Power home in a tense and low-scoring final term. Riley Baldi sent a timely reminder of his talent with 22 disposals, eight inside 50s and two goals on his return, with big-man Josh Smith named Gippsland’s best. Harrison Pepper (26 disposals) and Josh Dunkley (18) found a good amount of ball on top of hitting the scoreboard, while Brock Smith (24 disposals, seven rebound 50s) and Ryan Sparkes (18 disposals) continued their solid partnership across half-back. Harry Grant had a monster day out as GWS’ best with 31 disposals and two goals, while Liam Delahunty and Lucas Conlan were the other multiple goal kickers. Ball winners Lachlan Squire (26 disposals, Jeromy Lucas (24), and Nicholas Murray (21) also proved important for the Giants in the narrow loss. GWS’ last NAB League fixture comes against Murray in Victoria, with Gippsland returning to home turf in Round 6 to face the in-form Eastern in a top eight clash.

EASTERN RANGES 1.3 | 2.5 | 9.7 | 11.11 (77)
GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 0.2 | 1.3 | 1.5 | 2.6 (18)

GOALS:

Eastern: B. White 4, J. Rossiter 3, B. Hickleton 2, Z. Pretty, C. Hirst.
Gold Coast: R. Buckland, E. Dawson.

BEST:

Eastern: R. Smith, Z. Pretty, J. Nathan, J. Clarke, L. Stapleton, B. White
Gold Coast: C. Joyce, C. Budarick, M. Pescud , D. Koenen, R. Gilmore, P. Murtagh

Eastern Ranges made it a double demolition of the Northern Academies at Trevor Barker Beach Oval, downing the Gold Coast Suns academy by 59 points to climb into the competition’s top two. After a first-half arm-wrestle ensued, the Ranges broke the game open with a seven-goal to nil third term to set up their fourth-straight win. Three players did the bulk of Eastern’s scoring, with Bailey White claiming an opportunistic bag of four goals in his first game for the year, while Jamieson Rossiter booted 3.3 in a solid marking display and Ben Hickleton chimed in with 2.4. Another player to find the goals, Zak Pretty, amassed a whopping 37 disposals at 70 per cent efficiency to earn the Draft Central player of the week nod, but was beaten out by dominant ruckman Riley Smith (19 disposals, 37 hit-outs) for best-afield honours. Lachlan Stapleton (27 disposals) and Mitch Mellis continued their good form through the middle, with bottom-age prospect Joshua Clarke impressing off half-back with plenty of dash. Ryan Buckland and Ethan Dawson were the Suns’ only goal kickers for the day, with many of their best players employed further afield. Connor Budarick (27 disposals, 16 tackles) continues to shine on the back of hard work, while Corey Joyce and Dirk Koenen were also named in the best for their roles in defence. The Suns head back home next week to face GWV and see out their NAB League cameo, while Eastern faces a tough task in keeping its win-streak alive against Gippsland in Morwell.

CALDER CANNONS 0.1 | 4.6 | 5.10 | 8.11 (59)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.1 | 2.1 | 6.3 | 8.4 (52)

GOALS:

Calder: N. Gentile 3, J. Martin 2, O. Sasalu, M. Simpson, J. Keeping.
Geelong: C. Sprague 2, L. Lloyd 2, C. Seymour, L. Smith, K. Rayner, W. Batson.

BEST:

Calder: B. Newman, D. Mott, N. Gentile, O. Sasalu, S. Ramsay, S. Graham
Geelong: H. Stubbings, S. Christensen, C. Karpala, C. Sprague, S. Bourke, W. Batson

The Calder Cannons were made to earn their second win of the year, leaving Geelong Falcons winless after five rounds with a seven-point victory at RAMS Arena. With the wind favouring one end, the game was ultimately decided by Calder’s dominant second quarter, where the Cannons scored 4.5 while keeping Geelong scoreless to open up a 17-point lead. Despite bridging the gap to a single point heading into the final break, the Falcons were outlasted by the home side, which converted well in the clutch moments in an otherwise hit-and-miss display in front of goal. Ned Gentile (21 disposals, three goals) converted in each of the last three quarters to provide a key hand, while other multiple goal kicker Jacob Martin kicked the deciding goal with seven minutes to play. The game was dominated by Cannons key defender Brodie Newman, who recorded 36 disposals and an incredible 17 marks, while Daniel Mott (29 disposals) continued to build his form and Sam Ramsay (27) was also good. Not all is lost for the Falcons despite being the only full-time NAB League side without a win, with some of their depth players standing up. Over-ager Harry Stubbings was named best for his 20 disposals and nine tackles, with Will Batson (20 disposals, one goal) and Chas Karpala (19 disposals) also amongst it, while Charlie Sprague returned an impressive 18 disposals, six marks, and two goals. Geelong’s search for a win continues on neutral territory in Round 6 against an unbeaten Sydney Academy side, with Calder hosting at RAMS Arena once again against Bendigo.

TASMANIA DEVILS 1.4 | 1.6 | 2.7 | 3.8 (26)
WESTERN JETS 2.0 | 4.3 | 7.8 | 10.13 (73)

GOALS:

Tasmania: T. Penwright, L. Gadomski, I. Chugg.
Western: A. Manton 3, J. Honey 2, E. Ford 2, A. Clarke, C. White, J. Horo.

BEST:

Tasmania: O. Burrows-Cheng, P. Walker, M. McGuinness, B. Gordon, L. Viney, O. Shaw
Western: D. Cassar, K. Borg, J. Kellett, J. Horo, W. Kennedy, L. Rocci

A second-consecutive win sees Western Jets fly into the NAB League top eight, accounting for Tasmania Devils by 47 points on the Apple Isle. With the two sides coming in on eight points apiece, it was the Jets who got the better of an early stalemate – snatching a two-point lead at the first break and never looking back. The travelling side gradually widened the margin as the game went on, kicking no more than three goals in each quarter to build their eventual winning score. While goals were hard to come by for the Devils, they proved competitive up the field but were beaten by a combination of Western’s strength and classy ball winners. Darcy Cassar led the way in the latter department, collecting a game-high 31 disposals (27 kicks, 13 marks) from half-back, while Josh Honey was back to his best with 25 disposals and two goals, and Josh Kellett (18 disposals) also proved effective. Over-ager Will Kennedy (19 disposals, 33 hit-outs) continues to dominate in the ruck, while fellow big-man Aaron Clarke clunked nine marks and Archi Manton converted three goals up forward. For the home side, Oscar Burrows-Cheng was named best for his combative 22 disposals, with Patrick Walker and Bailey Gordon the leading disposal getters (both 25) and debutant Isaac Chugg showing some promising signs. The Devils remain in Tasmania for a clash against Oakleigh at North Hobart Oval next week, while Western has a bye in Round 6.

GWV REBELS 3.3 | 10.6 | 13.9 | 17.10 (112)
NT THUNDER 1.2 | 1.5 | 6.8 | 8.9 (57)

GOALS:

GWV: N. Caris 4, R. Polkinghorne 2, I. Grant 2, M. Lloyd 2, J. Rantall 2, T. Mahony 2, C. Craig-Peters, J. Hill, M. Martin.
NT: T. Woods 3, M. Cumming 2, B. O’Connell 2, J. Lynch.

BEST:

GWV: P. Glanford, C. Craig-Peters, R. Polkinghorne, M. Burgess, J. Rantall, M. Lloyd
NT: B. Jungfer, B. O’Connell, L. Ferreira, S. Cumming, M. Cumming, J. Jeffrey

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels have come away with an easy Round 5 victory, downing Northern Territory Thunder by 55 points at Windy Hill. The venue was aptly named for the conditions as a strong breeze blowing a gale caused for some inaccuracy at times, although both teams seemed well equipped by half-time to deal with the conditions. The Rebels never looked like losing the game, piling on 10 goals to one by half-time and essentially having put a nail in the Thunders’ coffin as they headed into the main break. The Northern Territory coaches told the players that their efforts “now” (in the second half) was what mattered and was within their control, and the visitors answered with three of the first four goals, and five foals to three in the term, to cut the deficit to 43 points by the final break. Any slight hint of a comeback was soon snuffed out within eight and a half minutes as the Rebels piled on four consecutive goals – including two to Izaac Grant – to race away to a 67-point advantage. Two late goals to Beau O’Connell and Matthew Cumming restored the final margin to 55. Patrick Glanford was named the Rebels’ best in the ruck, competing against the bigger-bodied Stephen Cumming, while Cooper Craig-Peters and Riley Polkinghorne were among nine individual goalkickers. Nick Caris led the way with four majors, while Polkinghorne, Grant, Jay Rantall, Toby Mahony and Matty Lloyd all booted two apiece. For the Thunder, Tyson Woods kicked three goals all within 15 metres, while Matthew Cumming managed two majors, as did O’Connell. The small mid-forward was a standout for the Thunder, working hard on the outside with Ben Jungfer doing the heavy lifting on the inside. Down back, Joel Jeffrey had some highlight reel moments with high leaps and terrific intercept marks.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 9

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

GEELONG FALCONS v. WESTERN JETS

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

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

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

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

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

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

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

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

GIPPSLAND POWER v. CALDER CANNONS

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

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

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

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

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