Mid-year reviews: Eastern Ranges, Northern Knights, Calder Cannons – Friday

Eastern Ranges
Ladder position: 3rd
Win-Loss ratio: 9-4

Season so far:
Four weeks ago the Ranges did what no team had been able to do before them. They defeated the ladder leaders and best team in the TAC Cup, the Geelong Falcons. But they didn’t just beat them; they thumped them to the tune of 108 points without two of their best players in Tom Boyd and Ben Cavarra. Since that infamous victory the Ranges have struggled. They just pipped middle of the road Dandenong Stingrays by ten points and copped a 105 point hiding from the Western Jets. Eastern Ranges has been a side that have impressed this season but since Tom Boyd’s injury and loss of players to Vic Metro duties, they have struggled against similar strength sides. While they have maintained a top four position, they have been vulnerable at times. With Boyd coming back over the next fortnight, Eastern Ranges should expect to finish top two and secure a home final and double chance

Top prospect: Tom Boyd
Tom Boyd has been the dominant key forward this season and has kicked 23 goals from only five games. Boyd is incredibly mobile for a 199cm key forward and is a terrific striker of the footy when kicking for goal. He is a strong mark on the lead who has amassed an impressive 41 marks at an average of just over eight a game this season. He kicked six goals in game one of the Under 18 Champs for Vic Metro. Boyd is likely to go number one in the draft this year, and won’t slide past pick three at the latest.

Dark horse: Mitchell Honeychurch
After being selected in the Vic Metro side Honeychurch has taken his game to another level. He averages only around 15 disposals in the TAC Cup but collected 33 disposals against West Australia, 23 disposals against Vic Country and was among Vic Metro’s best against Queensland. He is a hard running midfielder who kicks goals and would suit any AFL club needing  a Dale Thomas type player.

Prediction for the rest of the season:
The Ranges need to find that form the saw them dismantle the Falcons without their best players, to stay in the top four. Crunch matches against currently second placed Gippsland Power and the third placed Murray Bushrangers soon follow which will give a good indication as to where the Ranges are at.

Ladder prediction: 4th

 

Northern Knights
Ladder position: 6th
Win-Loss ratio: 6-6-1

Season so far:
The Knights have been competitive each week apart from a smashing at the hand of the Falcons, a scenario most teams are familiar with. They currently sit in eighth position on the ladder and that’s a fair reflection on their season which has seen them win the matches they have been expected to.  Their six and a half wins recorded this season is already a considerable improvement on their paltry three wins last season.

Top prospect: Ben Lennon
Since collecting 20 touches and kicking two goals in his one game with the Knights, Lennon has gone from strength to strength. The versatile Lennon kicked four goals in Vic Metro’s win over WA and presented and marked well in Metro’s other games. A safe bet for any side that drafts him.

Dark horse: Jake Kalanj
Kalanj has been solid for the Knights and has averaged a good number of possessions throughout the season. Although it’s his tackling and marking abilities that will likely attract the interest of AFL clubs. BFGN Reporter Jourdan Canil likened Kalanj playing style to Jimmy Bartel‘s in his profile on him. Thus Kalanj will likely develop into a team and fan favourite.

Prediction for the rest of the season:
The Knights may play finals but very few teams above them would be fearful of playing them until they take a significant scalp.  The Knights have a tough upcoming month which sees them play three of the current top four sides in the Falcons, Power and Bushrangers. Beat one of those sides and teams may have to start taking notice of the Knights.

Ladder predictions: 9th

 

Calder Cannons
Ladder position: 9th
Win-Loss ratio: 6-7

Season so far:
The Cannons sit ninth on the ladder and don’t look to have improved much from last year. They sit two games outside the top four and their season hasn’t hit any great heights; as they haven’t defeated any of the top teams; nor has it hit any particular lows as they haven’t been heavily beaten thus far. Their greatest losing margin this season is only 51 points which is noteworthy as many teams, even good teams, have suffered three figure loses.

Top prospect: Matthew Merlo
18 year old Matthew Merlo has averaged 26 possessions in his seven games this season. The hard working midfielder averages just fewer than five marks a game. Though he was overlooked for the Under 18 Championships his possession numbers can’t be ignored.

Dark horse: Aaron Christensen
Although Christensen averages fewer than 14 touches a game he can still do some damage and turn a game. This was evident In the Cannon’s win last week against the Chargers where he kicked two goals and helped the Cannons control the game. He has good tackle numbers for the season but needs to find more of the ball if he wants to find an AFL club.

Prediction for the rest of the season:
This week the Cannons play the fourth placed Bushrangers in a must win game if they want to stay in the eight and feature in the finals. A win could see them jump to fifth if results fall their way and with the fourth best precentage in the competition a top four finish isn’t out of the question. Although they have a tough second half of season with matches against the current top  sides the Bushies, Jets, Power, Falcons and Ranges and Dragons who are all top eight teams at this stage.

Ladder prediction: 8th

 

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