The second placed Oakleigh Chargers had one of their better home and away seasons in recent years, thanks to having many of their stars play most games. The Chargers began the year with five wins on the trot, before North Ballarat defeated them by three points in round six.
Oakleigh continued their domination, winning the next seven games, including blowouts against the Pioneers, the Rams and the Dragons. Ladder leaders Calder had a six goal win over the Chargers in round 15, which sunk the Chargers minor premiership hopes. Oakleigh ended up losing three of their last four games, although defeats to Geelong (one point) and North Ballarat (two points) would still give coach Justin Wenke some confidence heading into the finals.
Coach: Justin Wenke
Talent Manager: Mark Smart
Captain: Darcy Moore
Leading Goalkicker: Toby McLean (27 goals)
Final Place: Second
Win / Loss: 13/4
Best Win: 13 goal win over the Sandringham Dragons in round 7
Poorest Loss: Six goal defeat at the hands of Calder in round 15
Finals Threat: North Ballarat beat the Chargers twice by a combined total of five points
The Gun – Alex Urban
Your classic professional inside ball winner who just gets 35 possessions no matter who is tagging him. Urban is a slick mover in and around the packs, and his usage is above average for an inside midfielder. Urban is a leader with his game style, and he will lead the Chargers into battle alongside Moore. Urban played all 17 games for the Chargers, and was named in the bests on twelve occasions. Despite not getting a Draft Combine invitation, Urban has still enjoyed a great year, making the Vic Metro squad.
The Smokey – Hugh Beasley
The 19 year old looked to be the best key defender of the draft last year, but his 190cm frame put some doubt in recruiters’ minds. Beasley hit back this year, showing he was capable of playing through the midfield and the forward line. In his 15 games, Beasley managed 10 goals and came in the bests 11 times. Beasley kicked two bags of four goals this year, but also showed that his contested marking was up there with the best of them. He managed to average just over three contested marks a game from the 13th of April to the 10th of May, which was impressive considering he averaged six marks per game in total during that stretch.
Mr. Consistent – Kade Answerth
Answerth is tremendously under rated. When you think about your prototypical gun midfielder, you consider someone like Jimmy Bartel, who wins his own ball, uses it well on the outside and can kick multiple goals on any occasion. Answerth does all that, as he regularly gathers 25+ disposals and kicks multiple goals. Alongside Urban and McLean, Oakleigh will have a midfield who will dominate no matter who they’re up against. In Answerth’s 10 games this year, he kicked 10 goals and averaged 23.2 disposals at a near elite 68 per cent disposal efficiency. His outside running was outstanding, with an average of 8.9 handball receives per game. His best game arguably for the season was against Gippsland, where he gathered 27 possessions, 12 tackles, a goal, 10 handball receives and eight marks.
The X – Factor – Jordan De Goey
De Goey was one of the draft bolters of the year. Despite not being a big ball winner, or a guy with excellent skill, De Goey possesses traits that separate him from most other midfielder that make him stand out. At 187cm and 84kg, De Goey is an absolute bull, with a frame that allows him to bullock around packs. He has a real thirst for the inside ball, but his outside skills can be clean. DeGoey is an excellent goal kicker, having kicked nine goals from six games. He kicked two bags of three against the Jets and the Knights and only went goalless against the Falcons. DeGoey has a bit of Josh Caddy about him in his strength and skill around the ball, and also in the way he can change the game. The highlight of DeGoey’s year was his excellent form for Vic Metro.
Under The Radar – Marc Pittonet
Pittonet is one of the most dominating ruckman in the competition, as his 200 cm 100 kg frame allows him to bully less developed talls. His average of 26.3 hitouts for the year is impressive, considering he shared ruck duties with fellow Vic Metro ruckman Lachlan Waddell. For lumbering ruckman, Pittonet has a great midfield game, as highlighted by his three tackles per game and 12 disposals. The Metro Ruckman’s best game came against Gippsland, where he had 39 hitouts, 18 disposals and nine tackles.
The Match Winner – Toby McLean
McLean gained popularity with his giant screamer against the Knights earlier in the year. Yet McLean is a match winner in every way possible. He takes great contested marks every week, despite being 179 cm. McLean is capable of kicking three goals and getting 30 possessions every few weeks, and he just bobs up for crucial goals. He lead the club with 27 goals this year, which was good for sixth in the TAC Cup Goal kicking leaderboard. He kicked multiple goals in 10 of his 17 matches and was named in the bests 11 times. McLean averaged 21.5 disposals and played every game this year. When the tag goes to Urban, you know McLean will take the pressure and put the team on his shoulders.
The Finals Specialist – Darcy Moore
The Captain and lifeblood of the Chargers line up. Moore can win games off his own boot when up forward and floats down back to take game saving marks. Moore can be inconsistent at times, but you can’t deny that he steps up in important situations. Against Vic Country earlier in the year, Moore gave Hugh Goddard a lesson in football, so you know he is up to the challenge. Statistically, Moore doesn’t seem dominant until you look closely. His 25 contested marks in 10 games was excellent, and he averaged 5.5 marks in total throughout the year. Moore’s best game for the year was his first, in which he kicked 3.1, had 14 disposals and had eight marks (three contested). Another highlight was his six contested marks against the Geelong Falcons, who boast Patrick McCartin and Hugh Goddard at either end.
Finals Prediction: Preliminary Finals
Toby McLean had 30 disposals at 87 per cent, 3.2, eight marks and five tackles, and yet he was named as Oakleigh’s fourth best player against Gippsland Power, a game they won by 22 points. Kade Answerth was ranked first with 27 disposals and twelve tackles, with Alex Urban second with 40 disposals. Marc Pittonett had 39 hitouts, 18 disposals and nine tackles and did not get in the votes at all.