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.
Two of AFL Bloodlines’ most talked about players, Darcy Moore (finger) and Reece McKenzie (foot) didn’t line up for their respective sides on the weekend, but there was still a truck load of form to take out of round six of the TAC Cup season.
Sam Weideman (Eastern)
The conditions weren’t really suited to the big guys, but Sam Weideman structurally set up really well. He kept bringing the ball to ground for his smaller team-mates. It spoke a lot about his character and his willingness to continuously present at the ball, despite the fact he had a dirty day. Weideman only finished with the five disposals and three marks, but the bottom-age sensation will take out a lot from that game as he continues his development.
James Coghlan (Bendigo)
I’m yet to see James Coghlan really assert himself on game so far this seasons. He’s been trialled in a number of different positions, but he just can’t break away from that ‘bit-player’ tag which is frustrating, because he looks a prospect. He isn’t a high possession getter, nor does he have an asset that really makes him stand out. He’s rated high internally, but it hasn’t yet reflected on the football field, and he’s yet to feature in any of the Pioneers’ best. He is a bottom-aged player, so keep mindful of that. He finished with just the three kicks, all of which all found targets, and six handballs. He also demonstrated a willingness to run and spread, collecting five handball receives.
Tom Lamb (Dandenong)
The glittering Dandenong prospects had another stellar game, and made an impact against the NSW/ACT Rams. When the game was there to be won, it was Lamb who fired the Stingrays up, as he finished with one goal, but collected 33 disposals, eight handball receives, eight marks and three tackles. You can mark him down as a certain first round selection this November.
Jack Lonie (Dandenong)
With Lonie now starting to take a step up and move through the midfield, he continues to pick up solid numbers. reflected in his 22-disposal effort against the Rams. But again, his disposal efficiency is stopping him from really going to another level. Of his 17 kicks, 12 were ineffective. He’s just got to tidy that efficiency up to really present himself as a draftable option come November, but nonetheless his improvement and his development has been extraordinary to watch.
Bailey Rice (Dandenong)
Rice is really starting to work his way into the Stingrays line up, and had another solid game against NSW/ACT. Rice collected just the 13 disposals, but he is still trying to find his feet amongst the midfield.
Josh Dunkley (Gippsland)
Continues to have big influences in each game he has played this year, and his 24-disposal effort against the Jets continued that trend. Dunkley had 10 handball receives, along with five marks and four tackles and is tracking nicely. He’s a big brute of a lad, and his physically developed with a big tank. He’s really become the leader of the Power midfield, which is a credit to him given the depth of Gippsland’s engine room.
Aaron Christensen (Geelong)
Aaron Christensen is the best small forward in the TAC Cup as this column has mentioned each week. Christensen gathered 18 disposals and kicked three goals, but it was his six marks were of serious note. Christensen loves to lead at the ball, he demands it. He likes to play high, but is quick enough to push back when the ball is propelled into the forward 50, and either tackle and harass when not in possession or scoop the ball up and kick truly. Along with his high disposal game, Christensen laid two tackles and is relishing an injury-free season, and looks to be absolutely enjoying his football.
Teia Miles (Geelong)
Teia Miles is a super prospect to watch for November. He was a solid contributor in his bottom-age season last year and was a player who stood out during the Falcons’ finals campaign. His 20 disposals were classy, but more so were his 15 effective kicks. Miles has serious hurt factor, and in a day an age where kicking efficiency is king, Miles is the type of player you’d like the ball in the hands of. Although he is all class on the outside, Miles is aggressive and his tackling game is elite, enjoying another seven tackles against the Knights. He also had five marks and eight handball receives and is one of the better balanced midfielders in the competition, with a good mix of inside and out.
Zac Ballard (Northern)
Zac Ballard is a lot like Nick Bourke from the Falcons, who went on to be drafted by the Cats in the rookie draft. Ballard is physically developed and a marking and tackling machine. He is constantly running in straight lines and always showing strength and aggression in a contest. Ballard had another 19 disposals on the weekend, but he’d be dirty on his kick rating, of which 10 of his 13 kicks missed targets. However, Ballard still managed a lazy eight tackles and continues to lead the Knights in that statistic.
Darcy Macpherson (Northern)
The fiery small forward constantly cracks as if to be 10 kilograms above his playing rate. He’s not afraid to put his head over the ball, and displayed that against Geelong who are a hard, contested side. Macpherson had 15 disposals against the Falcons, and is really starting to grow in confidence and therefore is starting to find more of the ball, of which his seven handball receives demonstrated. He also collected four marks and three tackles and should be praised for his defensive work inside 50.
Tom Wallis (Calder)
Wallis is really starting to get a handle on what’s required of him at the prodigious Calder Cannons, and he found himself inside the Cannons’ best against Murray. He collected 16 tidy disposals with seven handball receives and is really starting to stamp himself in the midfield.
Jayden Foster (Calder)
The athletic forward has come back into the side, and if he can get some continuity into his game, he’s going to have a big say alongside Peter Wright in terms of how the season pans out. TAC Cup fans would remember Foster’s performance throughout the finals last year and it was a splendid sight to see Foster dominate up forward, kicking four goals straight. Foster worked really well in tandem with potential number one pick Wright, collecting 11 disposals and taking six solid marks, of which three were contested. Foster leads well, he understand his running patterns and isn’t afraid to push high up the ground. His kicking technique in front of goal is clean and faultless, and looks to be benefitting from another year in the system.
Nick Mellington (Murray Bushrangers)
A captain’s game from Mellington, which often is the case. The midfielder/forward enjoyed himself to 18 disposals despite a 50-point drubbing at the hands of Calder. His seven marks and two tackles were class, but his willingness to spread and create run through the midfield and send the ball inside 50 is one of his best assets.
Tom Holman (Murray Bushrangers)
Holman had just the 11 disposals on the weekend, but he continues to improve each week. Although he struggled to have a say in how the game played out, he was ferocious when hunting down the opposition, enjoying six tackles.
Harry Dear (Sandringham)
There is absolutely no stopping Harry Dear, this kid is a beauty. Aggressive in the air, clean at ground level, an appetite to ruck and throw himself at the football – he is a coach pleaser and a fan favourite. He kicked another three goals on the weekend and helped himself to five marks, of which two were contested. There is an aura about Dear, he just competes and demands the ball and when he hasn’t got it. he just wants it. He was again named in the best for Sandringham against the Queensland state side.
Angus Brayshaw (Sandringham)
Funnily enough, Brayshaw didn’t have one of his trademark 28+ disposal games, but what he did do is lead from the front and was physical and uncompromising in his approach. Brayshaw had 21 disposals, but it was his work when not in possession that stood out the most. He laid a whopping 12 tackles, took seven marks and directed play for most of the afternoon. Never mind calling him a first round selection, he’ll push for the top 10 with ease.
Tyler Roos (Sandringham)
Tyler Roos is also starting to find his feet at TAC Cup level and had 19 disposals against the Queensland side. Roos is gifted with speed and a tidy side step, and has a touch of class with a dash of mongrel which makes him a pleasure to watch. Against the Scorpions, he had five marks and three tackles along with seven handball receives.