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.
James Coghlan and Reece McKenzie didn’t suit up for their respective sides on the weekend, but Oakleigh Captain Darcy Moore returned to lead his Chargers to victory.
Harrison Kol (Geelong Falcons)
There isn’t much of Harrison Kol, but if I had to describe him, I’d say he reminds me a lot of Nat Fyfe in the way that he moves and his deft touch with the ball in hand. There is just something about him that screams AFL standard, and considering he isn’t eligible until 2015, the development he’s getting in one of the TAC Cup’s better sides in Geelong is going to hold him in good stead for next season. He was one of Geelong’s most impressive under lights, finishing with 18 disposals.
Teia Miles (Geelong Falcons)
Although the Falcons’ co-captain chalked up 20 disposals, his disposal efficiency was well below his best, enduring a dirty night in which 10 of his 16 kicks missed the target. It’s been his one stinker for the season to date for Miles, who has strung together consistent performances week after week. This one, however, might be one he’d rather forget.
Zaine Cordy (Geelong Falcons)
Cordy had the big job on Calder’s Peter Wright and wore him like a glove in the first half, keeping him to under five disposals, zero goals and just the two marks – both of which were well outside 50. Cordy bodied up seriously well, and went toe-to-toe with Wright in the air and at ground level, showing a huge appetite to wrestle for the ball, laying a total of six tackles. Cordy reminds me of a Scott Thompson type at the moment, in that he plays key position but he reads the play well enough to take defensive marks and rebound from 50, taking the game on and play a really offensive role, making his direct opponent accountable. He had just the 10 disposals and three marks, and ultimately was victim of Calder’s elite ball use in the second half.
Aaron Christensen (Geelong Falcons)
The co-captain has had a blistering start to the year, and although he had just nine disposals, he kicked two classy goals, and set up two more with his neat disposal going inside 50. I’ve really rated Christensen’s ability to get higher up the ground this year, and provide a midfield rotation where he doesn’t look rushed or daunted by the extra pressure. He’s staying on the ground for long periods of time, and the 19-year-old continues to benefit from a third year in the system. He’s still quite light and really hasn’t put on any size, but his zip, his defensive pressure and the work he does off the ball are some of his finest attributes.
Charles Curnow (Geelong Falcons)
Big Charles Curnow started the season at full back and looked super comfortable in that role, however with Paddy McCartin and Hugh Goddard on APS duties, Curnow has been swung forward and looks to be relishing the opportunity. He kicked two goals in the first quarter, and finished with four marks but the see-sawing affair between the two heavyweights ultimately outlined the rest of his evening. Curnow’s flexibility could really add an extra string to his bow, and it’ll be interesting to see exactly how he’s utilised post-championships, in the lead up to finals.
Jayden Foster (Calder Cannons)
I keep saying it, but Jayden Foster has developed into a ball-hungry, marking machine and is yet another 19-year-old flourishing as a top-age player after being overlooked last year. The son of Footscray great Peter is father-son eligible to the Bulldogs this year, and Bulldogs fans will get a better look at Foster as he will be called up to the VFL side as a 23rd man, so hot has his form been. Foster continues to thrive at the Cannons, as he is physically developed at 194 centimetres and 94 kilograms, and presents as an athletic type, with great acceleration, marks strongly overhead and is an agile type that loves the physicality of a contest. He finished with just 10 disposals, but kicked two really important goals when the game was in the balance in the first half, took five strong grabs and had a few goal assists.
Tom Wallis (Calder Cannons)
Wallis didn’t have a massive impact on the game, but is tracking nicely with another 12 disposal effort. He had just the three marks and one tackle, but as stated in this column over the past few weeks, he is really just finding his feet in a super Calder midfield outfit.
Brayden Maynard (Sandringham Dragons)
When I first saw Maynard play last year, it was a wet and windy day out at Victoria Park, and Maynard – in amongst top 10 draftees Josh Kelly, Christian Salem and Nathan Freeman – really stood out such was his finesse on the ball, his ability to stand up in a tackle and keep his feet, and his stick hands in the most awful of conditions. He understood how to use the footy with serious wind and rain, and despite the talent on show, it was Maynard who really caught my eye. Now eligible for the draft this year, Maynard is again enjoying a stellar season, albeit a more consistent one. Despite the Dragons going down by a big margin to Oakleigh, Maynard ended up with 22 disposals, four marks and a goal. He’s been largely utilised as a utility this year, showing poise off half back, grunt and poise through the midfield and a threat around goals up forward. It’s a pity the AFL have the 200-game rule for Adelaide, otherwise Brayden, son of former Glenelg player Peter, would be eligible to play for them as a father-son pick.
Harry Dear (Sandringham Dragons)
The big key position forward came off second best in a huge collision between he and Oakleigh captain Darcy Moore on the weekend early on in the game. The sickening head clash was simply both big men making a beeline for the ball, which ultimately saw Dear knocked out, suffering a broken nose and taken straight to hospital. He is unfortunately in doubt to line up for Vic Metro this weekend in the opening game of the National Championships as a result.
Darcy Moore (Oakleigh Charges)
Returning from a slight finger complaint on the weekend, Moore continues to step up and he didn’t disappoint, despite a couple of weeks on the sidelines. Moore again played his traditional swing-man role, playing both ends of the ground, before being swung forward where he took three marks, and kicked three goals straight. Although Moore isn’t a high possession earner, he features highly in pressure acts and spoils, throwing himself at the ball, in which he was lucky to escape injury after a sickening incident with Sandringham’s Harry Dear as written above. Nonetheless, Moore’s courage, leadership and strong hands and sharp shooting continue to be talking points.
Tom Holman (Murray Bushrangers)
Holman had just the nine disposals this week against the NSW/ACT Rams. There’s not a lot to write about on that front.
Nick Mellington (Murray Bushrangers)
The Bushies captain didn’t have a bad game, racking up a game-high 13 tackles in a display of aggression and discipline, leading by example as captain. Mellington finished with 16 disposals, however eight of his 10 kicks were ineffective, which is something he’ll really need to work on in the second half of the season.
Darcy Macpherson (Northern Knights)
Growing before us each and every week, Macpherson continues to prove me right on a weekly basis in this column. Little ‘D-Mac’ again featured in the Knights’ best and with good reason. Macpherson had his highest output to date in the TAC Cup, finishing with 19 disposals, five handball receives, seven tackles and two marks. His tenacity and ferocity to hunt the ball, and put his team to advantage is unparalleled whilst he’s the type of player who prefers a fight than a feed. Over the past two months, we’re finally seeing him breakaway from that ‘small forward’ tag now he’s offering a midfield rotation in a midfield outfit that runs deep at Northern.
Zac Ballard (Northern Knights)
Ballard is really pushing his claims for the draft come November, and as such he’s featured in the Knights’ best in just about every game he’s played in. Ballard again had another 20+ disposal effort, along with a lazy 10 tackles (customary, I might add), seven handball receives and four marks. The big bodied wingman is a great size, and looks to have added to his 77-kilogram frame, which looks at least around the 80 mark.
Tom Lamb (Dandenong Stingrays) –
It wasn’t Lamb’s most influential game for the Stingrays, especially from an efficiency point of a view. Although Lamb gathered 20 disposals, his usual precision was way off, butchering the ball to record a disposal efficiency of 50%, down from his usual quota of 70%. He did however lay six tackles and kick a nice goal, but around the ground he wasn’t as influential as he usually is.
Jack Lonie (Dandenong Stingrays)
Lonie’s disposal efficiency continues to get the better of him, and it was the same case again on the weekend. Of his 18 kicks, 10 were off target, but given Lonie often lets go of the ball after a line-breaking run, it’s his composure than really needs to be worked on. He just doesn’t have one or two steps to just compose himself and hit up a target, instead he often blazes away because he’s running just that fast. Nonetheless, Lonie continues to provide a rotation through the midfield, and with the extra pressure – that composure and calmness will eventually come. He finished with a career-best at TAC Cup level with 22 disposals, six marks and three tackles, and is really making inroads.
Josh Dunkley (Gippsland Power)
The bottom-age man-child, Josh Dunkley has a knack of finding the ball, and finished with another 21-disposal effort against the Queensland state side, losing by just a point on the weekend. Along with his 21 disposals, Dunkley collected five marks, four tackles and a goal and put in another solid effort, named once again in the Power’s best. Dunkley, who stands at 184 centimetres and 84 kilograms could be drafted on size, talent and consistency alone this year.