Photo: Bendigo’s Jordan Mangan flies for a mark against the Northern Knights (BFGN Head Photographer Christian Hartung)
The Victorian squads for the Under 18’s championships are beginning to firm as over 120 players from the twelve competing TAC Cup teams took part in an Intra Club match for their respective club. For those players from the Oakleigh Chargers, Sandringham Dragons, Calder Cannons, Northern Knights, Eastern Ranges and Western Jets, they qualify to play for Vic Metro. Those who play for the Bendigo Pioneers, North Ballarat Rebels, Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power, Dandenong Stingrays and the Victorian players from Murray Bushrangers all qualify for Vic Country. Our insiders Stephen Marson and James Tzaferis looked at which players impressed for their respective sides.
Jay Kennedy-Harris (Oakleigh Chargers)
Kennedy-Harris was probably the best player on the ground over the four quarters. He made great decisions when disposing of the ball and set up his team on the attack many times throughout the match. Working on the half back flank with James Sicily of the Western Jets, he set up another of scoring opportunities for his side. He also used his speed well to give him that little bit of space between himself and the defender to give himself time to make the right decision with the ball in his hand. He wasn’t a factor in the last quarter emphasising that he needs to work on his endurance.
Nathan Freeman (Sandringham Dragons)
Freeman was easily the best player on the light blue team. He was always around the ball and seemed to get plenty of it. He picked up a lot of clearances and also managed to kick two second quarter goals. He was also effective when he was moved behind the ball as he broke the lines and ran the ball out of the defensive 50 numerous times. He also made good decisions with the ball and seemed to be the on-field leader for his team. While he was caught holding the ball a few times, his willingness to try and take the game on was a highlight.
Ben Cavarra (Eastern Ranges)
Cavarra was everywhere in the first half as he broke the lines and constantly got effective contested possessions that set up attacks for his team. Cavarra used it well with great efficiency across the ground. He also showed his strength throughout the first half as he was able to stand up in a few tackles and get the ball out to team mates on the run. Faded during the second half and didn’t get too much of the ball.
Christian Petracca (Eastern Ranges)
Had a good game but it was his second quarter that stood out. Playing forward of the ball, Petracca kicked a goal and set up two others with his outstanding forward pressure. Ran down a couple of players on separate occasions and forced numerous turnovers throughout the match. While Petracca isn’t eligible to be drafted this year, watch out for next year’s draft for this talented player. Interestingly, Petracca is also leading the BFGN Rising Stars medal with Mitch Norton from the Western Jets.
Hugh Beasley (Oakleigh Chargers)
Beasley was the best defender on the ground. He was rarely beaten in contested situations against his opponent, and at times also spoiled to the advantage of his team mates. Comfortably holding Western Jets utility Mark Orr at bay, Beasley was also able to take a couple of strong intercept pack marks. His skill by foot is something that he needs to improve on but his defensive qualities can’t be knocked.
Max Hayes (Sandringham Dragons)
Hayes was the key forward for his team and he didn’t let them down. He’s a strong mark of the ball and took a few tough contested marks. Hayes also kicked a couple of goals in the first half. He didn’t have an impact in the second half as his team couldn’t really get the ball to him. Hayes is currently equal second in the BFGN Rising Stars Medal with Christian Petracca from the Eastern Ranges and Josh Scott from the Gippsland Power.
Jesse Tardio (Northern Knights)
Tardio played his best football in the second half of the match. He was sitting behind the ball and almost played the quarterback role, as he set up his team with his run and accurate disposing of the ball. He stood out in the final quarter which is an indication of his high fitness level. Tardio will be one of those fantasy players who everyone loves – racks up a lot of touches and positions himself well.
Clayton McCartney (Dandenong Stingrays)
McCartney today was the definition of a goal sneak. He kicked four goals in the game and looked dangerous throughout. McCartney was front and centre at most contests inside the forward 50 and also set up goals for his team mates with a couple of good handballs. He was also quite good when he was rotated through the midfield. McCartney is the premier small forward in the competition this year and is most dangerous when the ball was on the deck.
Angus Scott (Dandenong Stingrays)
Scott racked up the most touches on the ground today. He was very good in the first quarter in getting clearances and disposing of the ball effectively which set the tone for the rest of the match. Scott’s delivery by foot into the forward line was great as he constantly gave his forwards the best chance of marking the ball. His season has been impressive thus far, but his performance elevated him up to another level amongst the better players of the TAC Cup competition.
Fraser Fort (Geelong Falcons)
Fort was impressive up forward as he took plenty of strong, contested marks. He was too tall and too big and just outmuscled his opponent on numerous occasions. Fort was moved into the backline for the third quarter and took a couple of intercept marks to help out his team. He had a few chances at goal today but needs to work on his kicking accuracy to be able to take his game to the next level.
Louis Herbert (North Ballarat Rebels)
Herbert was the best defender on the ground today. Was very good in the air and at ground level and stopped opposition attacks constantly throughout the match with his intercept marking ability. He also gave his team some run of half back as he used the ball quite well coming out of the defensive 50. Herbert has been one of the valiant Rebels players despite heavy losses so far this season. He has played in multiple positions across the field and will be keen on cementing a spot in the Vic Country side.
Jake Thomas (Gippsland Power)
Thomas was the standout player on the losing side in today’s game. Thomas was dangerous in the forward line as he used his strong hands and height to take good contested marks. He was also very good in the second half when he was moved into the backline as he spoiled well and kept his opponent quiet. While he hadn’t had a huge season to date, this performance was super impressive from the ruck/forward.
Next Development weekend:
Vic Country vs. Vic Metro trial (Sunday May 12, 10:00am and 1:00pm at Visy Park)