BLOWOUTS, close finishes and wet weather featured in round 17 of the TAC Cup.
In the first game of the round, Calder Cannons held on to defeat a fast finishing Western Jets side.
After trailing at three-quarter time, the Jets levelled the scores twice but Jean-Luc Velissaris‘ last minute goal secured the Cannons’ spot in seventh place.
Ben Ronke was the Cannons’ best, collecting 31 disposals and seven tackles, dominating the clearances for the home side. Tyson Lever also found the footy, with 33 disposals to his name.
For the Jets, bottom-age AFL Academy member Lachlan Fogarty had a whopping 16 tackles to go with his 33 disposals. The Jets laid 96 tackles with Brodie Romensky (12 tackles) also hitting double figures, but it wasn’t enough to get the Jets over the line.
Forward Cameron Rayner backed up his bag of seven from the week before with five goals.
Up in Ballarat, the cold weather suited the home side with North Ballarat Rebels accounting for the Eastern Ranges by 22-points.
Hugh McCluggage continued his sublime form with 29 disposals and two goals, while Willem Drew was a standout in the contested situations with 30 disposals, seven marks and nine tackles for the afternoon.
Dylan Clarke once again found the football for the Ranges with 33 disposals and nine tackles, but his kicking let him down once again going at less than 50%.
At Deakin Reserve, Oakleigh Chargers pulled off a surprise upset over the highly rated Murray Bushrangers.
The Chargers led at all the main breaks to take the four points, winning by 14-points. Jack Higgins continued his good ball winning capabilities with 31 disposals, but it was Louis Cunningham (24 disposals) who shone across half back and was Oakleigh’s best.
Patrick Kerr made his return from a finger injury, but was well held by Ryan Garthwaite who kept him to a single goal.
Will Brodie had 20 disposals but attracted close attention from his opponents at the stoppages. Harry Morrison has shown some good signs since returning from a back injury and finished the afternoon with 17 disposals.
Out at Preston, Gippsland Power were far too strong for Northern Knights winning by 47-points.
Ben Ainsworth showed he is more than just a small forward, collecting 26 disposals and booting three goals. Ainsworth spent most of the first quarter in the middle, before playing the rest of the game forward pinch hitting through the middle.
Nathan Voss was also lively inside 50, finishing with three goals.
For the Knights, Lachlan Murphy racked up 28 disposals spending most of the contest on the inside. Patrick Lipinski was quiet, but still managed to accumulate 23 disposals but it was Lachlan Wilson who finished as the leading ball winner with 35 disposals and six marks.
Sandringham Dragons went into their clash with Bendigo Pioneers, knowing that a victory by about 25 goals was going to be enough to snatch fourth spot off the Bushies.
At half-time, all signs pointed to that result with Dragons leading 87 to six. However, Bendigo hit back in the third term winning the quarter by a point.
The last quarter showed that Sandy can’t become complacent with many players running forward of the ball in an attempt to score with some moments of play that screamed out players being selfish. In the end, the Dragons won by 96-points but not enough to avoid an elimination final.
Andrew McGrath was the standout for Sandringham with 40 disposals and nine clearances, with Tim Taranto also prominent with 33 disposals, nine marks and eight tackles. Will Setterfield played his best game of the season finishing the afternoon with 29 disposals in an effort that would’ve pleased the GWS recruiters who were watching on.
Jack Scrimshaw had 21 disposals, but his ball use at times was poor with multiple clangers affecting his overall kicking efficiency. Hamish Brayshaw spent most of the game up forward, kicking 4.4.
The young Pioneers side didn’t have too many positives, but bottom-ager Lochie O’Brien was their standout with 24 disposals. Laine Fitzgerald (26 disposals and 10 marks) and Darby Henderson (27 disposals) showed the future is bring for the Pioneers.
The final match of the round at Simonds Stadium had everything to play for, with the winner being proclaimed as the TAC Cup minor premiers.
In a match that seesawed for most of the day, Dandenong Stingrays ran out winners by 14-points over Geelong Falcons.
Mason De Wit used his left boot well finishing the afternoon with 22 disposals, while Myles Poholke backed up his good game against Murray with 21 disposals and six marks.
Paddy Dowling (28 disposals), Mitch Diamond (25 disposals) and Sam Simpson (23 disposals) worked hard through the midfield for the Falcons but they were unable to hang on with the Stingrays booting the last three goals of the contest.