Eastern Ranges might have replaced its team song with Drake’s ‘Started From The Bottom’ following its surprise 48-point Round 1 win over reigning premiers the Oakleigh Chargers.
Eastern claimed the wooden spoon in 2012 and its squad this year didn’t seem to inspire a whole lot of confidence in fans before its first game. However, there is plenty of hope for Eastern fans as some potential stars have been unearthed.
Centre half-forward Christian Petracca took the game by storm as he presented as a strong lead-up target. Petracca dominated the forward 50 with his marking and silky delivery to other forwards.
Potential number one pick Tom Boyd was held quite well by Chargers fullback Hugh Beasley. Whilst Boyd kicked four goals, including two impressive set shots in the last quarter, Beasley essentially nullified Boyd. It took a cheap cherry pick in the goal square for Boyd to get on the board, even though most of the delivery to the forward line was aimed at him.
Andreas Roth was the most impressive player on the field, kicking four goals which included two sealers in the fourth term. It seemed Roth was everywhere as he setup play across the half-forward line and dominated his opponent for all four quarters.
Short-but-mighty midfielder Ben Cavarra gathered 26 possessions in the middle and his silky disposal made his game eye catching. He may be one who wasn’t on the draft radar initially but recruiters may pay closer attention to him throughout the year.
Fellow midfielder Nick Evans gathered 25 possessions and linked particularly well with Jordan Walker to produce a tandem that had 49 possessions between them.
Samuel Gibson also played extremely well, providing a presence in all four quarters across the half forward line. Gibson topped off his game by hitting the scoreboard.
The highly-touted Chargers put up a weak fight with Jack Billings and Aiden Franetic being the only two players to contribute in every quarter. Co-captain Jay Kennedy-Harris was fantastic early but shut down well by the Eastern midfield after half time.
Ranges certainly proved to be the biggest surprise packet of the opening round of the TAC Cup but it will have to continue to produce its best football as it takes on the dominant Sandringham Dragons in Round 2.
Whilst Boyd is still the main man at Eastern Ranges, it seems there are plenty more names to keep an eye on throughout the year as Ranges try to avoid being wooden spooners for two consecutive years.