TAC Cup wrap: Round 14 review

Eastern Ranges vs. Geelong Falcons
Photo credit: Ashleigh Wong

North Ballarat Rebels 13.15 (93)
Queensland 6.11 (47)

North Ballarat goals: D. Rioli 3, J. Korewha 2, H. McCluggage 2, J. Webster, R. Thompson, J. Hopper, L. Meek, C. Byrne, M. Johnston.
Queensland goals: W. Buzza 2, J. Rolls, R. William, C. Filewood, E. Hipwood.
North Ballarat best: J. Berry, A. Cleary, D. Rioli, D. Tucker, B. Simpson, M. Johnston
Queensland best: R. William, W. Buzza, D. Watson, E. Hipwood, J. Rolls, M. Spencer

North Ballarat Rebels continued their impressive run towards finals, easily dispatching of Queensland after a strong first half. They were wayward early, kicking 3.6, but did not allow the northern state to score. By half time, that lead was 36 points and, in windy conditions, the game was effectively over.

Queensland hit back a little in the second half, but could still only manage five goals to the Rebels’ seven. Running defender Jarrod Berry was impressive with 20 disposals, six marks and seven tackles, while for the visitors, Reuben William was the star with 30 disposals, seven marks, eight tackles and a goal.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5 – Jarrod Berry (North Ballarat Rebels)
4 – Reuben William (Queensland)
3 – Daniel Rioli (North Ballarat Rebels)
2 – Matthew Johnston (North Ballarat Rebels)
1 – Darcy Tucker (North Ballarat Rebels)

Sandringham Dragons 9.10 64
NSW/ACT Rams 10.16 76

Sandringham goals: H.Balic (2), K.Lopo (2), L.Marshall, J.Matera, K.Nissenbaum, J.Wallace, L.Filipovic
NSW/ACT goals: B.Kilpatrick (2), J.Cornell (2), L.Hupfeld, C.McFadden, H.Himmelberg, B.Hodgson, N.Cooper, D.Sanderson
Sandringham best: J.Wallace, H.Balic, C.Lyons, K.Lopo, J.Matera, R.Iudica
NSW/ACT best: H.Macreadie, C.McFadden, B.Hodgson, M.Flynn, L.Maze, J.Cornell

A fine and sunny morning greeted NSW/ACT at Trevor Barker Beach Oval in their final TAC Cup game for 2015.

Sandringham kicked the first goal through great work from Jordan Matera who knocked the ball on from a contest to find Harley Balic alone in the goal square. Sandringham kept the Rams goalless by quarter time, finding themselves up by 15 points after kicking with the wind. However NSW hit back with the wind to take the lead, with the Dragons unable to kick a goal for the quarter.

With a 14-point lead at half time, NSW/ACT found themselves kicking against the wind, which again resulted in the Dragons kicking five goals to two to lead by six points at three-quarter time.

The final quarter saw the lead seesaw and when Kurt Lopo put the Dragons in front, it looked like the game was over. However, Lyndon Hupfeld hit back for the Rams, levelling the scores with only a few minutes remaining. Nathan Cooper then goaled for the Rams, before Callum McFadden kicked the sealer to see NSW/ACT run out winners by 12 points.

NSW/ACT finished their TAC Cup games with a 5-2 record, a true indication of how well they have played this year at the TAC Cup level.

The loss sees the Dragons remain in ninth position: with four games to go and trailing Calder by four points (and percentage), it will likely keep them outside the top eight thus missing the finals for the first time since 2013.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5 – Harrison Macreadie (NSW/ACT Rams)
4 – Callum McFadden (NSW/ACT Rams)
3 – Brydan Hodgson (NSW/ACT Rams)
2 – Jack Wallace (Sandringham Dragons)
1 – Matthew Flynn (NSW/ACT Rams)

Murray Bushrangers 9.6 (60)
Gippsland Power 6.14 (50)

Murray goals: J. Schache 5, E. Boxall 2, J. Simpkin, J. Marshall.
Gippsland goals: M. De Bruin 2, W. Leslie, J. McMahon, B. McKay, B. Ainsworth.
Murray best: J. Schache, J. Simpkin, R. Garthwaite, M. King, N. Coughlan, H. Morrison
Gippsland best: J. Patullo, A. Ferreira, C. Buykx-Smith, B. Dessent, M. De Bruin, J. Rout

Murray Bushrangers came away with a big win in a vital battle against Gippsland Power by 10 points thanks to five goals from number one pick hopeful Josh Schache. Gippsland were inaccurate in the clash, kicking 6.14 to Murray’s 9.6, giving them some hope should they face them again in the finals series.

The game was tight for the entire match, with Murray leading at quarter time and half time before Gippsland took the lead at three quarter time by four points. Murray, however, ran away with the match to boot four goals to one in the last term, despite the away side having more scoring shots.

Nicholas Coughlan was a rock in defense, while both rucks – Josh Patullo (Gippsland) and Max King (Murray) – were influential for their sides.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5 – Josh Schache (Murray Bushrangers)
4 – Nicholas Couglan (Murray Bushrangers)
3 – Josh Patullo (Gippsland Power)
2 – Max King (Murray Bushrangers)
1 – Jake Marshall (Murray Bushrangers)

Eastern Ranges 12.10 (82)
Geelong Falcons 12.10 (82)

Eastern goals: B. Hardwick 3, J. Gilbert 2, J. Cyster 2, J. Parsons 2, D. Crocker, B. Mitchener, A. Fenton.
Geelong goals: B. Blair 3, R. Mathieson 3, L. Wagener 2, C. Farrell 2, H. Kol, B. Remmos
Eastern best: B. Batty, B. Mitchener, A. Fenton, J. Parsons, J. Collins, J. Cyster
Geelong best: R. Mathieson, B. Remmos, J. Blood, D. Parish, Z. Zdybel, P. Dowling

In what was one of the most exciting contests of the season, Eastern Ranges drew with Geelong Falcons at Box Hill City Oval. For those at the ground, it seemed like Eastern Ranges always had the Falcons at an arms length. At one stage, the Ranges led by 32 points late in the third quarter, before two late goals to Geelong brought the margin back to 21 points by half-time. With Geelong kicking with the breeze in the last term, it was set up to be a beauty, but almost looked like a fizzer when Eastern kicked the first goal of the last quarter to go more than four goals up.

From there, however, it was all Geelong as they relentlessly attacked in a bid to get the four points. After a lacklustre performance in the first three quarters, the Falcons started playing proper wet weather football, just booting it forward and goals were starting to appear. Eastern’s players were playing in front, but the ball was sailing over the back for Falcons to run into an open goal.

The last quarter also saw prospective first round draft pick Rhys Mathieson put in the goal square, where – after kicking a couple out of bounds in a bid to kick the last goal – he finally outmarked his opponent one-on-one and kicked truly from 15 metres out. It was his third goal for the game and tied the scores. Shortly after the restart, the siren sounded with scores level.

Mathieson was easily best on ground: he was impressive when the chips were down, but even better when his side needed him to stand up and be the man forward. He finished with 32 disposals, three marks and 3.2. Despite not having the same high numbers as the Falcons, Beau Mitchener was the Ranges’ best having played his role perfectly, while James Parsons’ 14 disposals and eight marks made him look a class above: his superior read of the tap, pirouette and goal was a highlight.

James Cyster and Blake Hardwick were also important up forward in windy conditions, while Baden Remmos was prolific through the middle and Will Sexton produced some run off half-back. Another player worth mentioning is Kane Keppel, who took two crucial contested marks inside defensive 50 inside the last two minutes to singlehandedly stop Geelong stealing all four points.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:

5 – Rhys Mathieson (Geelong Falcons)
4 – Beau Mitchener (Eastern Ranges)
3 – James Parsons (Eastern Ranges)
2 – Jayden Cyster (Eastern Ranges)
1 – Baden Remmos (Geelong Falcons)

Bendigo Pioneers 6.9 (45)
Western Jets 5.10 (40)

Bendigo goals: R. Free , J. Muscatello, D. Henderson, J. Burke, B. Blake, J. Atley.
Western goals: M. Norton 3, J. Cotter, M. Knezevic
Bendigo best: I. Miller, J. Atley, B. Daniels, B. Blake, L. Tardrew, B. Monk
Western best: M. Norton, L. Knight, L. Carter, D. Foley, J. Hickey, J. Dundon

In the battle of the TAC Cup cellar dwellers, Bendigo Pioneers got their revenge on Western Jets from earlier in the year, defeating them by five points in a low-scoring affair. To emphasise the disappointment of both teams’ seasons, the Pioneers’ win moved them to fourteenth on the TAC Cup ladder, leapfrogging Northern Territory – who has played two games. Western Jets sit firmly on the bottom with the one win, that being over the Pioneers earlier in the season.

Mitch Norton was almost the difference, booting three of the Jets’ five goals, while Lachlan Knight was also impressive around the ground. Bendigo played a strong team game and Joseph Atley was impressive, while Lachie Tardrew picked up his usual 37 disposals, six marks and five tackles.

BFGN Rising Stars:

5 – Mitch Norton (Western Jets)
4 – Lachlan Knight (Western Jets)
3 – Joseph Atley (Bendigo Pioneers)
2 – Lachlan Tardrew (Bendigo Pioneers)
1 – Brayden Monk (Western Jets)

Oakleigh Chargers 7.7 (49)
Calder Cannons 10.9 (69)

Calder goals: K. Brown 3, L. Bramble 2, T. Condon 2, J. Flower 2, H. Kerbatieh
Oakleigh goals: T. Phillips 2, J. Guerin 2, J. Ridley, J. Corboy, T. Anderson
Calder best: L. Bramble, T. Condon, H. Blythe, C. Moore, M. Kovacevic, N O’Kearney
Oakleigh best: L. Byrne-Jones, C. Young, T. Phillips, M. Jackson, P. Stathopoulos, T. Duman

Saturday’s game at windy Warrawee Park was a game closely contested the whole way through. Oakleigh was always going to struggle with the lack of star power without Jack Silvagni, Ben Croker and Sam McLarty, while Calder on the other hand had their star players in Nick O’Kearney, Callum Moore, Mark Kovacevic and Hisham Kerbatieh.

Tom Philips impressed kicking two goals and acquiring 44 disposals, while Matthew Jackson and Lachlan Byrne-Jones were also really impressive for Oakleigh in gathering 20 and 16 disposals respectively. For Calder, it was Mark Kovacevic who is proving why he is one of the better ruckman in the draft. He gave his midfielders first use, thus contributing to the win. Jack Reaper also impressed, although as a bottom-ager will have to wait until next year to be drafted. In the end, Calder had more talent in the team going forward and couldn’t be stopped.

BFGN Rising Stars:

5 – Tom Phillips (Oakleigh Chargers)
4 – Matthew Jackson (Oakleigh Chargers)
3 – Mark Kovacevic (Calder Cannons)
2 – Jack Reaper (Calder Cannons)
1 – Lachlan Byrne-Jones (Oakleigh Chargers)

Northern Knights 8.9 (57)
Dandenong Stingrays 11.9 (75)

Northern goals: S. Fitzgerald 2, M. Tilmouth-Turner 2, B. Fiorini, M. Perry, S. Peet, M. Ercolano.
Dandenong goals: J. Freeman 3, T. Young 3, S. Gladman 2, L. Williams, J. Lovett, T. Glen.
Northern best: M. Ercolano, J. Gresham, T. Leonardis, K. Malone, M. Perry, B. Fiorini
Dandenong best: J. Lovett, K. Mutimer, G. Nyuon, L. Williams, D. Capiron, J. Freeman

The Dandenong Stingrays remain clear in second place with a closer than expected win over the Northern Knights at Preston City Oval.

The ‘Rays were without combine invitees Kieran Collins, Thomas Jok, Bailey Rice and Jacob Weitering, but still managed to wrestle themselves to a handy two goal lead to quarter time.

In a scrappy, wind-effected end-to-end contest where neither side seemed like hitting a target, it was Dandenong who was the more effective of the two sides, with James Freeman looking lively up forward. Their consistent four quarter effort was enough to hold off a surging Knights side, particularly in the third quarter where their lead was cut to under a goal.

In typical fashion, a heavy burst of rain came Preston City Oval, but as the rain cleared the Knights fired up. Michael Ercolano was in the middle of a heated three-quarter-time scrap, where he had to be pulled away as players from both sides rushed to their teammates’ defence. That only seemed to put a sting in the Rays’ tail, who managed to kick three goals to one in the final term to come away with a handy three goal win.

There may be some injury concerns for both sides, as Darcy Macpherson did not play any part of the second half, while Mitchell Cox seemed to hobble off the field in the third term. Nonetheless, the Stingrays will be happy to have come away with the win, while the Knights will take positives out of having stayed close to one of the competition’s better sides.

BFGN Rising Stars Medal:
5 – Jake Lovett (Dandenong Stingrays)
4 – Kurt Mutimer (Dandenong Stingrays)
3 – Michael Ercolano (Northern Knights)
2 – Tyrone Leonardis (Northern Knights)
1 – James Freeman (Dandenong Stingrays)

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