AFL Bloodlines: Round eight

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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.

Teia Miles (Geelong Falcons)

The Geelong Falcons co-captain responded with a strong individual performance despite his side’s shock loss on the weekend to the Ranges. Of his 22 disposals, 17 found targets, but more importantly 11 of them were kicks which again just underlines how damaging he is by foot. He also managed to slot two majors to go with his six marks and two tackles, and still looms as a serious talent that would have a few clubs looking at him.

Aaron Christensen (Geelong Falcons)

The other co-captain of the Falcons, Aaron Christensen, is starting to cop a lot of attention as a damaging small forward, and collected 16 disposals and a goal against the Ranges.

Sam Weideman (Eastern Ranges)

Weideman didn’t finish with a statistic, and that’s because he was knocked out in the opening minutes of the game. After a bye, then being rested, Weideman would be absolutely itching to get back onto the park after such a fantastic purple patch.

Nick Mellington (Murray Bushrangers)

Classy Vic Country midfielder Nick Mellington had a solid day without being a huge stand out, finishing with 21 disposals. The Bushrangers captain continues to offer drive and swift ball movement, underlined by his 10 handball receives and his endurance to constantly spread and demand the ball.

Tyler Roos (Sandringham Dragons)

It was quite easily Tyler Roos’ best game for the club, finishing with a whopping 33 disposals, five marks and seven tackles. Eligible as a father-son to the Lions, Roos had a day out against the Bushrangers in a narrow loss, but it spoke volumes of his character.

Jayden Foster (Calder Cannons)

Two goals off eight disposals and two marks is a solid output for Foster, who continues to offer quality despite the lack of disposals. Structurally speaking, he crashes packs and brings the ball down to his smaller forwards, but is also pretty handy at ground level where he’s shown immense mobility and agility.

Tom Wallis (Calder Cannons)

Wallis has really started to assert himself at this level now, stringing a number of good games together for the Cannons. Wallis finished with 17 disposals and four marks, and continues to show promise that he’s capable at the next level.

James Coghlan (Bendigo Pioneers)

James Coghlan showed some really positive signs, having his best game of the year, and really showing the traits that have made him so highly regarded internally at the Pioneers. He finished with 15 disposals, but again it was his defensive pressure that really stacked up. His eight tackles were punishing as he battled wilfully all afternoon.

 Josh Dunkley (Gippsland Power)

The ever reliable Josh Dunkley again continues to churn out solid numbers, and his 27-disposal, five-tackle effort is just another reason why this under-age star is taking all before him. Selected in the Vic Country final squad, Dunkley has an appetite for hard work in which his clearance rate and zest for tackling and applying pressure are the main traits of his game. Operating at a flush 82% disposal efficiency, Dunkley could’ve finished with three goals, but managed just the one in a terrific display against North Ballarat.

 Jack Lonie (Dandenong Stingrays)

The little pocket rocket has gone from strength to strength, and he is now really starting to dominate games. The high possession small forward finished with 17 disposals, two goals and four tackles, showing off his ability to play at a high intensity, especially in a contest. Lonie’s game has really evolved this year, and he’s become more dynamic and versatile in his role for the Stingrays. His speed and agility make him a really busy player, and he tends to make things happen when the ball is nearby. He showed his polish with a classy goal from hard up on the boundary line, which was a highlight of the match.

Jake Lovett (Dandenong Stingrays)

Jake Lovett had just 12 disposals and one goal, but he managed to do some classy things with the football against the Tasmanian state side. Although his game was largely different to that of his star performance against the Western Jets, Lovett showed dash and poise with the ball, but was mostly patchy in areas of his game and wasn’t nearly as consistent over four quarters as what he showed earlier in the season. Nonetheless, Lovett is a real excitement machine who offers x-factor and unpredictability. He’s still developing in areas of his game, but he’s someone to keep an eye on.

Bailey Rice (Dandenong Stingrays)

Bailey Rice recorded a game high 18 disposals and six marks, and is really starting to find his feet at this level. More importantly, he is finding a bit more space around the ground and is showing that he can use the ball well. Rice understands his running patterns, and his six handball receives gave the Stingrays drive when he was in possession. Of his 18 disposals, 15 were kicks and of those 15 kicks, he found a target by foot on 10 occasions, giving him a tidy disposal efficiency overall of an elite 72%.

Jake Wild (Northern Knights)

I’m a big wrap for Jake Wild’s game, and it was great to see him back in the Knights’ line up against the Jets. Wild is a really intriguing player, as he floats through stoppages, and is so athletic and agile when he takes possession the ball. He has great touch on the football and has a knack of spinning his way out of congestion. Given his size, he’s odd to match up on given he can play a range of roles, and as a result is a bit of a wildcard for the Knights (pardon the pun).

Zac Ballard (Northern Knights)

Another lazy 26 disposals, 12 handball receives, seven marks and five tackles for Northern’s most consistent and influential player. Ballard was not initially named to take on the Jets, but he was a late inclusion as he continues to nurse a minor knee niggle. Despite not running at 100% fitness, Ballard continues to churn out big numbers, and offers a big body in close and a marking option around the ground. I’ve got nothing but praise for Ballard whose defensive pressure is first class. He tackles, corrals, chases and doubles back into defence rather than pushing forward for a cheap possession. Ballard remained in the game across all four quarters, and finished the day with a tidy 76% disposal efficiency. Keep a look out for him as he made Vic Metro’s final squad.

Darcy Macpherson (Northern Knights)

Darcy Macpherson started off playing in defence, which would have been a great learning curve for him, having played largely as a small forward-cum-midfielder. He had a role on small forward Jackson Volpato, who had the better of him kicking four goals and enjoying 13 disposals. Macpherson, to his credit, showed a fantastic appetite to play a close checking role and displayed the maturity to back himself in to take defensive marks, but also provide rebound, pushing up the ground and demanding Volpato’s accountability. Macpherson was thrown forward in the second half and he kicked a nice goal in a clutch moment of the game, showing his poise under pressure to go back and convert the goal. He finished with a tidy 17 disposals, six marks, one goal and four tackles.

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