TAC Cup wrap: Round two

round 2 tac cup

In Round 2 of the TAC Cup season, we saw the first glimpses of what the country teams had to offer with a huge win for Murray over Bendigo, a solid defeat by Gippsland on Dandenong and a tight tussle won by Geelong against North Ballarat. In other games, Calder and Oakleigh extended their unbeaten streak, while Sandringham overcame Western.

Calder Cannons 12.11 (83)
Northern Knights 11.11 (77)

Calder goals: Brown (8), Kerbatieh, Peters, Tarczon, Lewis.
Northern goals: Jordan (3), Reinbold (3), Ercolano (3), Thomas, Adams.
Calder best: Peters, Brown, James, O’Kearney, Laguda, Conn
Northern best: Gresham, Mattingly, Leonardis, Fiorini, Reinbold, Adams

An inspirational eight goal bag from forward Karl Brown, including the crucial goal in the final minutes of the game, has seen the Calder Cannons record their second straight win of the TAC Cup 2015 season against the Northern Knights at Highgate on Saturday afternoon.

The Cannons led comfortably at every change throughout the match but a spirited five goal final term from the Knights saw them level the scores before Brown slotted a sealer in the dying minutes to see the home side take out the game by 6 points, 12.11. (83) to 11.11. (77).

The teams were graced with some vintage, frosty football conditions to kick start round 2 of the TAC Cup in Craigieburn with the Cannons skipping out to an early 12 point lead in the first quarter.

After a solid start, the home side continued to build on their lead and made the most of their opportunities in the second term.

In a clear change of game plan to 2014, where the Cannons would look to kick long into power forward Peter Wright, the Cannons continually lowered their eyes and attempted to hit up targets on the lead inside the 50 metre arc.

This played to Brown’s strengths, who was strong on the lead at full-forward and slotted a quality check side goal from the boundary to kick start proceedings.

The game for the most part however was played mostly between the arcs with plenty of pressure being applied at the half forward lines.

Only when players got the ball clear and moved with quick precision on the outside were they hitting the scoreboard and the Cannons were winning that tussle more often than not.

The Knights were also a victim of their own errors, with Kyle Thomas noticeably shirking a key contest up forward, resulting in a swift Calder transition to extend their lead through Brown to 30 points.

But redeeming himself and keeping his team in touch, Thomas applied a ripping tackle soon after and slotted a goal to reduce the margin to 24 points at the half time break.

Both teams traded blows early on in the third quarter as Dylan Tarczon hit the scoreboard within the first 20 seconds, only for Danyon Reinbold to respond just moments later for Northern.

There were signs of the game beginning to open up, as Zak Wunhym utilised his speed and play making ability to create opportunities for Calder and James Peters found plenty of the ball as well.

But the Knights began to win some contests of their own as Nicholas O’Kearney’s impact was reduced and Jade Gresham began to show his class in the midfield.

When Bailey Jordan slotted a 50 metre goal on a tight angle to conclude the third term, the Knights had done enough to keep themselves in the contest for a last quarter rally.

And rally they did – scoring three goals in three minutes midway through the final term, the game looked like it was in the balance for the very first time.

Gresham was sensational through the middle, dominating the centre clearances and leading the way for the Knights’ comeback.

He linked up with Jordan on multiple occasions, who was a pillar up forward for the visitors and provided a headache for the Cannons defenders as he clunked some impressive marks and slotted his third goal for the match.

The crowd came to life as the game went into another gear and Calder begun scrambling for answers.

Jordan was in the thick of it again moments later in an outnumbered two on one contest where he brought the ball to ground, followed the ball toward the goal line and sensationally flicked the ball back in play to allow Michael Ercolano to soccer a goal through to reduce the deficit to six points.

As the intensity in the game lifted to fever pitch, Calder attempted to milk the clock in defence, only for Ercolano to intercept and nail a goal from 45 metres out to level the scores.

But all hope was doused for an against the odds comeback for the Knights when Brown slotted his eighth goal with a quality turn on the run and snap to see the Cannons home.

Calder will travel to Bayswater Oval to take on the Eastern Ranges in round three, while Northern take on Sandringham Dragons at home at Preston City Oval.

BGFN Rising Stars Medal:

5 – Karl Brown (Calder Cannons)
4 – Jade Gresham (Northern Knights)
3 – Bailey Jordan (Northern Knights)
2 – Zak Wunhym (Calder Cannons)
1 – James Peters (Calder Cannons)

Gippsland Power 14.10 (94)
Dandenong Stingrays 5.9 (39)

Gippsland goals: Ainsworth (5), McKay (4), Argento (2), Ambler, Park, Costigan.
Dandenong goals: Battle (2), Williams (2), Poholke.
Gippsland best: Marsh, Costigan, Ainsworth, McKay, Buykx-Smith, Riseley
Dandenong best: Prior, Battle, White, Williams, Myatt, Mutimer

Gippsland Power have kicked off their 2015 campaign in a convincing fashion, defeating the Dandenong Stingrays 10.14.94 to 5.9.39 in Morwell on Saturday.

Lead by debutant forwards Ben Ainsworth and Harry McKay, who booted five and four goals respectively, the Power kicked 11 goals to 3 after quarter time to run away with an impressive win in their first game for the season.

Tate Marsh was an ever-present player in the midfield, gathering plenty of possessions while also piling up the clearances and was a huge reason Gippsland were able to go forward throughout the game in a best on ground performance.

Nash Holmes, one of the Power’s more experienced TAC Cup players was also a key in the victory, using his strength to bust through packs, as well as laying plenty of crunching tackles that stopped Dandenong in their tracks.

Ben Ainsworth looked right at home in his first outing for the Power as a small forward, getting on the end of many inside 50s, as well as crumbing ground balls and converting them to help the Power kick away from the Stingrays.

In the forward line with Ainsworth, the 200cm Harry McKay provided a big target up forward for Gippsland, who went to him numerous times when streaming towards goal. McKay joins 197cm AIS Academy player Sam Skinner in the forward line, and that combination could be tough for opposition teams to handle in the coming weeks.

For Dandenong, Jacob Weitering was the main player the Stingrays tried to build through from the backline. In one of the rare highlight plays for Dandenong, Weitering gathered 5 possessions in a row, linking up with teammates going from fullback to forward of the wing. They went to him to try and create the play on numerous occasions, but Gippsland’s pressure and skill was too good on the day.

Next week Gippsland will take on the Murray Bushrangers back at home on Good Friday, while Dandenong look for a much-improved performance against the Geelong Falcons at Shepley Oval on Saturday.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:
5 – Tate Marsh (Gippsland Power)
4 – Ben Ainsworth (Gippsland Power)
3 – Nash Holmes (Gippsland Power)
2 – Harry McKay (Gippsland Power)
1 – Jacob Weitering (Dandenong Stingrays)

Murray Bushrangers 24.13 (157)
Bendigo Pioneers 7.8 (50)

Murray goals:  Schache (7), Canfield (4), Simpkin (3), Oliver (2), Marshall (2), Battista, Sharp, Minogue, Smith, Trotter, Waite.
Bendigo goals: Free (2), Johnson (2), Tardrew, Firebrace, Simmons.
Murray best: Schache, Mennen, Simpkin, Smith, McDonald, Tanner, Marshall
Bendigo best: Hore, Tardrew,  Simmons, Atley, Burke, Blake

Murray Bushrangers’ season got off to a hot start as they smashed Bendigo by 107 points. The Bushrangers’ talls caused huge problems for Bendigo as highly touted key forward Josh Schache kicked seven goals while Max Canfield added four. Murray employed a simple but effective game plan of kicking it long to their talls who did the rest, as Canfield and Schache took seven marks each, a handful of those being contested.

Bendigo didn’t manage to kick a goal until the second quarter and were being smashed in the middle by Murray’s midfielders, led by Dylan McDonald and David Mennen.

Murray’s half back line provided plenty of run all day. Harrison Tanner and Lachie Tiziani hit targets with ease as the Bushies ran in waves from half back.

For Bendigo, defender Matt Hore was super and never gave up while Lachie Tardrew found plenty of the ball.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5- Josh Schache (Murray Bushrangers)
4- Jye Simpkin (Murray Bushrangers)
3- Jake Marshall (Murray Bushrangers)
2- David Mennen (Murray Bushrangers)
1-Harrison Tanner (Murray Bushrangers)

Oakleigh Chargers 11.16 (82)
Eastern Ranges 6.3 (39)

Oakleigh goals: Houston (2), Larkey, Cuningham, Silvagni, Lane, Corboy, F. Pearce, B. Crocker, T. Phillips, L. Sullivan.
Eastern goals: Gallucci, Weideman, R. Clarke, Crocker, Parsons, Hardwick.
Oakleigh best: Hooper, Beddison, Phillips, Answerth, Crocker, Pearce
Eastern best: Gallucci, Crocker, Fenton, Mitchener, Lane, Sheridan-Ferrie

Oakleigh Chargers have defeated Eastern Rangers by 43 points at RAMS Arena 11.16 82 to 6.3 39 in a quality match of football.

The Chargers who led at every break shot out to an early lead, but there inaccuracy in front of goal kept the Rangers in the game.

The Chargers forward line was looking dangerous every time the ball entered the forward 50, with Daniel Housten and Jack Silvagni taking a number of marks on the lead.

As the game wore on the big-bodied, tough midfielders from the Chargers continued to win the contested ball and overran the Rangers.

Ben Crocker a solidly built midfielder led the Chargers brilliantly all day and for the Rangers Jordan Gallucci a silky left-footer also played a very good game.

Next week Oakleigh Chargers will travel to Burbank Oval to face the Western Jets, while Eastern Ranges will host the undefeated Calder Cannons at Bayswater Oval.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5 – Ben Crocker (Oakleigh)
4 – Kade Answerth (Oakleigh)
3 – Jordan Gallucci (Eastern)
2 – Daniel Housten  (Oakleigh)
1 – Darcy Crocker (Eastern)

Western Jets 5.8 (38)
Sandringham Dragons 9.11 (65)

Western goals: Coletta, Vujanic, Knezevic, Murdoch, Palma.
Sandringham goals: Rich (4), Matera (3), Thompson, Lok.
Western best: Palma, Knight, Volpato, Hobbs, Venables, Carter
Sandringham best: Pavlou, Tashevski-Beckwith, Thompson, Matera, Rich, Cameron

Sandringham Dragons have defeated the Western Jets by 27 points at RAMS Arena 9.11 65 to 5.8 38.

The Dragons who were the dominate team from the beginning, started the game off very strongly. There midfield were dominate all day as the team ended up with 41 inside 50’s.

Their intensity around the ball was a level above the Jets but kicked a wasteful 3.9 in the first quarter. Corey Rich and Jordan Matera were the two who did the damage for the Dragons kicking 4 and 3 goals respectively.

The Dragons intensity dropped off dramatically in the second half allowing the Western Jets to get back into the game and they ended up outscoring the Dragons in the second half but to no avail.

Theophilos Thompson was the Dragons best all day his run off half-back was huge and his courage and inside ball winning ability really shone. For the Jets Mitch Palma found plenty of the ball along with Jackson Volpato.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5 – Theophilos Thompson (Sandringham Dragons)
4 – Jordan Matera (Sandringham Dragons)
3 – Mitch Palma (Western Jets)
2 – Corey Rich (Sandringham Dragons)
1 – Jackson Volpato (Western Jets)

Geelong Falcons 13.5 (83)
North Ballarat Rebels 12.9 (81)

Geelong goals: Patten (3), Curnow (3), Holroyd (2), Presani (2), Bennett, Farrell, McLachlan.
North Ballarat goals: J. Hopper (4), T. Schnerring (2), D. Tucker (2), E. Frank (2), S. Beks , Y. Eades.
Geelong best: D. Parish, T. Doedee, L. McCartney, W. Sexton, M. Patten, N. Connors
North Ballarat best: J. Hopper, D. Tucker, T. Taurau, J. Webster, M. Johnston, N. Hausler

Geelong Falcons kicked off their season with an important two point win despite a spirited effort from the North Ballarat Rebels. With arguably the best 1-2 hit combo in the midfield, the Rebels always seemed in the game despite trailing for more than three quarters.

GWS academy player Jacob Hopper was sensational, as was Darcy Tucker, both who could very well command top five picks on an open market. Darcy Parish was just as good for the Falcons, with all three likely to form a strong Vic Country midfield in 2015.

It was undoubtedly the game of the year thus far, with the Rebels continuously fighting back and just falling short despite being two men down late in the game. After the top three, you could raffle the next two votes, but Mitch Patten really turned the game with a couple of quick goals and was constantly busy up forward, while Thomas Taurau, despite not having a heap of the footy, showed a few things with his dash and flexibility.

Geelong got the four points, but we saw enough of both sides to suggest they’ll be contenders this year. Next week, Geelong travel to Shepley Oval to face Dandenong, while North Ballarat head to Bendigo to play the Pioneers.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal votes:

5 – Jacob Hopper (North Ballarat Rebels)
4 – Darcy Tucker (North Ballarat Rebels)
3 – Darcy Parish (Geelong Falcons)
2 – Mitch Patten (Geelong Falcons)
1 – Thomas Taurau (North Ballarat Rebels)

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