The first round of the TAC Cup saw all the city teams compete to show off their new talent to their fans. Northern Knights defeated Calder in a tight one despite six goals from pocket rocket Josh Cauchi. Eastern Ranges then provided one of the biggest upsets in TAC Cup history, with last year’s wooden spooners smashing reigning premiers Oakleigh by 48 points. Sandringham closed out the day with a hard-fought win against the Western Jets.
TAC Cup Round 1 (Metro Round)
Northern Knights: 15.7.97
Calder Cannons: 11.9.75
Knights goals: Curnow (4), Haynes (2), Porter (2), Bromley (2), Lennon (2), Bontempelli, Langford, Gilbert
Cannons goals: Cauchi (6), Walker, Jensen, Christensen, Schraven, Morrison
Knights best: Bowkett, Lennon, Tardio, Hunt, Soccio, Curnow
Cannons best: Owen, Lever, Cauchi, Miller, Christensen
The Northern Knights celebrated a win in their first encounter with a 22-point victory over the Calder Cannons. Despite Calder having won 22 games of a possible 30 against the Knights, it was Northern who took full advantage of a weakened Cannons side that provided seven players in last year’s drafts to AFL clubs.
Despite trailing for most of the first half, nine Knights goals to four in the second half saw the tide turn. Marcus Bontempelli, Matthew Haynes and Ben Lennon dominated the midfield, using pinpoint passes to find Hugh Curnow and Chaz Bromley up forward, booting six goals between them in the win. Speedy forward Josh Cauchi was impressive booting six goals including the first two for the Cannons. In defence it was Jake Lever who was solid, intercepting marks and spoiling at will against the constant Knight attacks.
The Knights will go into their match against the Western Jets brimming with confidence whilst Calder face the tough prospect of Oakleigh.
BFGN Rising Stars Medal
5 – Hugh Curnow (Northern Knights)
4 – Josh Cauchi (Calder Cannons)
3 – Ben Lennon (Northern Knights)
2 – Jay Lever (Calder Cannons)
1 – Marcus Bontempelli (Northern Knights)
Oakleigh Chargers: 9.16.70
Eastern Ranges: 17.16.118
Chargers goals: Franetic (3), Edwards (3), Billings (2), Urban
Eastern Ranges goals: Boyd (4), Roth (4), Petracca (2), Honeychurch, Keedle, O’Sullivan, McStay, Riley, Cavarra, Gibson
Chargers best: Beasley, Franetic, Billings, Kelly, Pittonet, Toohey
Eastern Ranges best: Petracca, Evans, Cavarra, Roth, Walker, O’Sullivan
Eastern Ranges caused an early upset with last year’s wooden spooners smashing the reigning premiers in the Oakleigh Chargers by 48 points. After being close early, it was Eastern which made the most of its opportunities, booting 10 of 12 goals after half time before Oakleigh booted the last two in consolation.
Despite the big win, Eastern’s Tom Boyd wasn’t dominant, finishing with four goals of which two came very late in the match. Andreas Roth was the main star up forward, also booting four goals to help Ranges kick away in the second half and secure the win. Whilst Oakleigh’s star midfield was largely overrun by a determined Ranges outfit, Jack Billings and Aidan Franetic both had good games.
Eastern faces off against Sandringham next week in what should be a fantastic contest whilst Oakleigh meets Calder in the mid-afternoon game.
BFGN Rising Stars Medal
5 – Andreas Roth (Eastern Ranges)
4 – Christian Petracca (Eastern Ranges)
3 – Jack Billings (Oakleigh Chargers)
2 – Ben Cavarra (Eastern Ranges)
1 – Samuel Gibson (Eastern Ranges)
Sandringham Dragons: 16.9.105
Western Jets: 12.10.82
Dragons goals: Hayes (4), Spencer (3), Amon (3), Salem (2), Marchetti, McLaren, Kelly, Cathcart
Jets goals: King (3), Manivong (2), Norton (2), Abou-Zeid, Burton, Orr, Ferrari, Greiser
Dragons best: Amon, Whitehead, Merrett, Hayes, Neiward, Salem
Jets best: O’Leary, Norton, King, Greiser, Iaccarino, Bewley
The Sandringham Dragons weathered the literal and metaphorical storm, accounting for the Western Jets by 23 points. With several bouts of rain threatening to turn the match into a hard-fought slog, the likes of Christian Salem and Karl Amon ensured quality football was maintained.
Despite working hard through the midfield, the Jets couldn’t match the pace and skill of the Dragons who showed why they are a serious challenger this season. Harrison King booted three goals for the Jets whilst Brett Bewley and David Iaccarino were solid throughout the match but the likes of Salem, Amon and Hayes were too strong. Max Hayes combined with Alex Spencer up forward to boot seven goals between them and send a message to opposition teams.
Sandringham will face Eastern Ranges in the next round in what shapes up to be a great contest whilst the Western Jets will take on the Northern Knights in the early Sunday game.
BFGN Rising Stars Medal
5 – Max Hayes (Sandringham Dragons)
4 – Karl Amon (Sandringham Dragons)
3 – Christian Salem (Sandringham Dragons)
2 – Harrison King (Western Jets)
1 – William Hayes (Sandringham Dragons)
TAC Cup Round 2 fixture
Bendigo Pioneers vs. North Ballarat Rebels (11:30am, Saturday March 30 at Highgate Recreation Reserve)
Gippsland Power vs. Dandenong Stingrays (1:00pm, Saturday 30 March at Morwell Football Ground)
Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers (2:00pm, Saturday March 30 at Highgate Recreation Reserve)
Western Jets vs. Northern Knights (10:00am, Sunday March 31 at Visy Park)
Eastern Ranges vs. Sandringham Dragons (12:30pm, Sunday March 31 at Visy Park)
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Calder Cannons (3:30pm, Sunday March 31 at Highgate Recreation Reserve)