NAILBITERS, fast starts and big individual performances featured in round 16 of the TAC Cup.
In the first game of the round, Oakleigh Chargers pulled off a stunning upset over Sandringham Dragons.
The Chargers booted the first eight goals, eventually running out winners by 55-points.
The loss sees the Dragons slip outside the top four, with the Dragons needing results to go their way to gain a double chance.
Chargers 19-year-old Lachlan Walker helped himself to 29 disposals and 10 inside-50s, while bottom-ager Jack Higgins (25 disposals) chipped the ball around and found targets at close range. Small forward Dion Johnstone also booted five goals.
For the Dragons, Andrew McGrath collected 27 disposals, finishing with a strong last quarter while Tim Taranto had 25 disposals and 10 tackles willing his side to turn around the dismal performance after quarter time.
Hybrid defender Jack Scrimshaw found the ball 25 times, but had a handful of clangers by foot in what was a disappointing day for the Dragons.
Up at Eureka Stadium, the North Ballarat Rebels recovered from a slow start to defeat the Northern Knights.
The Rebels led by four-points going into the final term, but kicked away with nine goals to two, running out winners by 50-points.
Hugh McCluggage did his No.1 draft pick chances no harm, with 25 disposals and four goals. Cedric Cox spent more time through the midfield, resulting in his highest disposal number for the season with 24 disposals and six inside-50s.
— Matt Balmer (@MattBalmer7) August 13, 2016
Jarrod Berry is starting to return to the form that everyone had hoped earlier in the season, with 18 disposals and three goals (including two in the final term), whilst Rebels small Jermaine Jones kicked a bag of five goals.
Matthew Signorello (30 disposals) was one of the few strong performers for the Knights, while midfielders Luke Bunker and Lachlan Murphy both found the football with 25 disposals each.
FT: @NBRebels 18.11.119 defeated @NthKnights 10.9.69. Dominant last quarter gets the Rebels into fourth. McCluggage and Signorello the stars
— Peter Williams (@pawil5) August 13, 2016
Out at Morwell, Ben Ainsworth nearly pulled Gippsland Power over the line against Eastern Ranges.
Although the Ranges took home the chocolates by 16-points, the Power came home with a bang outscoring the Ranges but it wasn’t enough.
Ainsworth was best afield for Power, with 34 disposals and three goals in his best performances for the season. Defender Sean Masterson put together one of his better games for the season, with 16 disposals and seven marks.
Collingwood Father/Son hopeful Callum Brown had 32 disposals in the midfield for Eastern, with fellow Vic Metro teammates Dylan Clarke (30 disposals, eight marks and nine tackles) and Jordan Gallucci (21 disposals and seven tackles) also playing their part in the victory.
At RAMS Arena, Geelong Falcons retained top spot with an easy 90-point victory against Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup Radio match of the week.
Bottom-aged midfielders James Worpel (27 disposals and two goals) and Cassidy Parish (26 disposals and nine clearances) were the stars for the Falcons, while Jackson McLachlan booted four first half goals.
Only Ben Ronke (22 disposals and three goals) could break the 20 disposal barrier for the Cannons in what was a disappointing day for them. Noah Balta continued his good form from the Vic Metro trial a week ago, with four goals from four kicks.
No wonder Ben Ronke is coming under the eye of recruiters. He's averaging 19.6 disposals, 3 marks & 4.5 tackles a game with @CalderCannonsFC
— Tim Michell (@tim_michell) August 15, 2016
The final match on Saturday saw a large contingent of recruiters flock to Shepley Oval to see a thriller, which saw Dandenong Stingrays defeat Murray Bushrangers by a solitary point.
The scores seesawed all the way through the final term, but it was Hunter Clark‘s goal that saw them take the lead with a minute remaining.
Stingrays small Dan Allsop was lively around goal, booting two goals while fellow small Sam Fowler had 26 disposals in one of his better games of the season playing across half forward.
Bushranger tall utility Zach Sproule held Josh Battle to a single goal, but Battle appeared to be plagued from a calf injury which he sustained in the opening quarter.
Will Brodie was Murray’s best with 26 disposals and eight tackles, winning a multitude of clearances throughout the day.
Bottom-ager Charlie Spargo collected 20 disposals and kicked two goals in an impressive display for the GWS academy member. Todd Marshall also booted three goals, all of which came from under 20 metres out.
The final match saw Western Jets lead from start to finish defeating Bendigo Pioneers by 32-points.
Isaac Miller was the Pioneers best with 29 disposals, nine marks and six tackles while Kayle Kirby kicked four goals for the home side.
Jets Bottom-ager Lachlan Fogarty collected 29 disposals, but it was Cameron Rayner who stole the show with a seven goal haul.
Rayner dominated inside 50 and looked set to hit double figures with seven goals at three-quarter time, but he could only muster a solitary point in the final term.