The sons, brothers, nephews, cousins and relatives of yesterdays and today’s heroes are the players who make up AFL Bloodlines. Collectively, after each round of TAC Cup football, I’ll be providing statistical updates and game notes on each individual player so that you can track their process this season. If you missed the overviews of eligible AFL Bloodlines players, click here.
With plenty of stars missing due to injury and school football commitments, there was still plenty to take out of a gruelling round of TAC Cup football, that saw a few AFL Bloodlines players given their first game of the season.
Tom Wallis (Calder Cannons)
With a few players missing for Calder and school football returning for the season, Tom Wallis got his first opportunity of the season to run out a full game and didn’t look out of touch. His 14 disposals, three marks and one tackle in the Cannons’ ANZAC Day clash against North Ballarat mean that the son of Essendon great, Dean Wallis will be putting his hand up for extended game time in the coming weeks.
Jake Lovett (Dandenong Stingrays)
Melbourne fans eyes would’ve lit up the moment Jake Lovett was named to play his first game of the year. As a bottom-aged player in a very strong Dandenong outfit, Lovett got the opportunity through a combination of teammates absent on school football commitments and some strong performances in the development side which he made sure he didn’t disappoint. The smooth moving livewire was a ball magnet, running through the midfield and pushing forward at will. His line-breaking runs were of serious note, as he collected 21 disposals to match his three marks and five tackles. Oozing class, Lovett finished with a tidy disposal efficiency of 76 per cent and was named in Dandenong’s best despite a three-point loss to the Western Jets.
Bailey Rice (Dandenong Stingrays)
Another player whose opportunity came thanks to School Football commitments, young Bailey Rice was given limited game time but was able to do some nice things when the whips were cracking. He had just the seven disposals and three marks and wasn’t afraid to take the game on.
Zac Ballard (Northern Knights)
The younger brother of Fremantle rookie, and former Northern Knight – Jacob, Zac Ballard continues to go from strength to strength after an interrupted pre-season, finishing with a whopping 34 disposals, including 12 handball receives, nine marks and nine tackles to run out his best game of the season to date. If he can lift his disposal efficiency, he’ll be one to watch at this year’s draft. He ran at just 55 per cent on Saturday, however given the conditions it’s easily forgiven.
Darcy Macpherson (Northern Knights)
An exciting player, “D-Mac” gets busy when the ball is in his area. He’s hard to miss because of his mop of blonde hair, but generally speaking – he gives a bit of spark and adds some unpredictability to the Knights’ forward line. His defensive pressure as a small forward is impressive, finishing with four tackles inside 50 along with his nine disposals and two marks. His improvement each week has been exciting to watch.
James Coughlan (Bendigo Pioneers)
Coughlan was quiet on Saturday and with conditions aside – he didn’t have the impact hoped for. He’s quite skinny, yet nimble and was forced to play more of a defensive role which was a shame, because he started at the centre bounce. His nine disposals came largely under pressure, and to his credit he was clean in trying conditions. He finished with four tackles which showed great character and a willingness to work when he didn’t have the ball.
Josh Dunkley (Gippsland Power)
Josh Dunkley just continues to go about his business without fan fair, and had another one goal, 17 disposal game against the highly fancied Dragons. Dunkley does it all. He is prolific in the air, he is strong through his hips, a weapon with the ball in hand and loves the hardness of the game. His 11 tackles on the weekend was a career-high and despite the Power losing at home, he continues to tick off every box.
Angus Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons)
Despite a two-week stint in Europe for the AFL-AIS Squad, Gus Brayshaw hasn’t missed a beat on his return, notching 29 disposals for the Dragons along with three goals, seven marks and seven tackles. There isn’t a thing Brayshaw cannot do, however if I were to be really picky, he can sometimes have a tendency to rush his disposal slightly, which was reflected with a disposal efficiency of just 51 per cent. Three goals quite of easily couldn’t been five, but the clearance specialist with an appetite to hunt and run the ball will be pushing for Top 10 selection in this years draft.
Harry Dear (Sandringham Dragons)
Spending time between centre half forward and the ruck makes Harry Dear a tough player to match up on, because his impact on the game over four quarters is his biggest strength. He had 12 hitouts as a relief ruckman, and displayed sheer aggression with four tackles, all coming during his time in the ruck. Up forward, Dear took four marks and kicked two goals, whilst also collecting 11 disposals. He’ll be spending time in the same type of positions when he lines up for Vic Metro in the coming weeks.
Tyler Roos (Sandringham Dragons)
Tyler Roos seems to really be getting a feel for the tempo of TAC Cup football, however his disposal efficiency can sometimes let him down. He went at just 50 per cent off his 14 disposals but offered plenty with three tackles and eight handball receives. Roos has a tendency to do some really nice things. He’s quick, nimble, and has great composure and vision that are all attributes of his.
Darcy Moore (Oakleigh Chargers)
On return from a finger injury, Moore was again tossed between centre half forward and back, and continues to offer a huge presence at either end of the ground. He started the game up forward, and as is the hallmark of his game, Moore continues to display why he is the best contested mark in the competition, finishing with a total of eight marks, six of which were contested. His 10 disposals were classy, using the ball at 80% disposal efficiency. But perhaps the most pleasing aspect of his game this week, was his influence in the ruck against one of the better rucks in the competition. Moore finished with 11 hitouts, but his body work and his vocal direction were real positives moving forward for the Chargers.
Aaron Christensen (Geelong Falcons)
The best small forward in the league had somewhat of an indifferent afternoon, finishing with just the 11 disposals, two marks, one tackle and was held goalless in the top of the table clash.
Harrison Kol (Geelong Falcons)
Another player who looked to enjoy greater game time opportunity with a number of team mates missing, Harrison Kol found plenty of the football against ladder leaders Oakleigh, finishing with 18 disposals and tracking at 72 per cent disposal efficiency. He also finished with three marks and two tackles, while he spread very well finishing with seven handball receives.
Teia Miles (Geelong Falcons)
Always a busy player, Teia Miles put up another 17 disposals against the Chargers, whilst also collecting six marks and four tackles. Around the ground, Miles is creative and is a real play maker. He’s one of the key pillars of Geelong’s midfield and continues to develop after a solid 2013 season as a bottom-aged player.
Nick Mellington (Murray Bushrangers)
A captains game from the Bushrangers’ gun, finishing with 18 disposals, three marks and two tackles. Mellinton had been well held over his past two matches, but found a bit more freedom against the Eastern Ranges who have a tendency to go head-to-head rather than tag out an opposition player.
Sam Weideman (Eastern Ranges)
The bottom-aged key forward continues to take the competition by storm, and it comes as no surprise that he has hit serious form now that he finds himself as the go-to target inside 50 with Christian Petracca currently out of the side. Weideman had just the seven disposals, but he doesn’t need a whole lot of possessions to make his impression on the game, taking three marks and kicking two goals. Weideman also offered himself as a relief ruckman up forward, finishing with five hitouts, which all happened to be to advantage.