ROUND Three of the TAC Cup continued over the weekend and we had scouts at four of the games over the weekend. Read their scouting notes below:
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power (Peter Williams)
#7 Matt Harvey – Was one of the better players early in the game and faded out a little like many of his teammates. Showed great agility inside the contest and can move laterally to weave away from an opponent if required. He laid a fierce, bone crunching tackle in the first term. Harvey earned a goal when he got to the right position in the second quarter.
#10 Brent Daniels – Really got up and going in the second term, booting three of his four goals and helping the Pioneers build that early lead. Has that unique nous around goals and one of those players if you give him an inch, he’ll take a mile. Could have had about six, having hit the post running in at one stage. Took a great one-handed mark inside 50 in the second term and for a 172cm player, he gets enough marks inside 50, including contested, to add a point of difference to the Pioneers forward line. Knows how to get to the right spots which is handy.
#15 Darby Henderson – A strong player in the contest who wins his own ball on the inside and receives on the outside. Really good at winning contests against bigger players and has good hands in close. His second and third efforts are impressive and is constantly on the move. One knock is probably his kicking which at times was hit or miss. Not in the sense of necessarily kicking it to the wrong position, but it looked like he misjudged the weight on his kicking, so for a shorter target it might drop short for example. Overall he’s got a few likeable traits however, and from an inside ball winners point of view there is something there to work on. Will be one to watch their development this season.
#18 Bailey Henderson – Of all those playing on Saturday, Henderson could well be the one to watch from the Pioneers. He is that medium forward who is capable both in the air and at ground level, presents well and has a penetrating kick. Played more as that high half-forward leading up the ground, but took a couple of marks inside 50 and has clean hands when it hits the deck. Contributed to a Matt Harvey goal when he spun out of a tackle and gave off a handball. Did have a number of ineffective kicks throughout the day however.
#2 Nick Hogan – Buzzes around the contest and creates some excitement. Can be hit or miss by foot, but works hard and has good agility. Did try and do a bit too much late in the game in one instant and was pinged for dropping the ball. But he is one who continues to work hard and is always seemingly around the contest.
#7 Will Stephenson – Really like him as a player but the automatic knock will be his height. At 169cm as a player you’re up against it from the word go. In terms of ability however, I think there’s a fair bit to work with. Does not win as much of the ball as other midfielders, but is usually reliable. He has good acceleration and this was highlighted by a great run down tackle in the first quarter. The other knock I would have on him is he looks to occasionally double guess himself and not take the first option. He works hard and if he doesn’t hit a target he kicks it to the right positions. Booted three goals and is incredibly strong above his head for his size. Turned the game on its head and effectively helped drag Gippsland to the win.
#9 Irving Mosquito – Got better as the game went on after a few bloopers in the first half. Has so much X-factor about him with his pace and agility, but just rushes his disposal at times. Needs a bit of a confidence boost by the looks of it, because when he got into space outside of pressure he hit up Sean Masterson for the sealer. I think it is a case of just needing to know he has the pace to burn off opponents and have time to dispose of it. Got obvious skill, but rushing his disposal is what hurts.
#11 Austin Hodge – Really like him as a player. Not as silky as others, but has a build that clubs are looking for at 188cm and 77kg. Had a bit of Dustin Martin in the way he goes about it, fending off opponents and having good balance. He’s god a good, penetrating kick and doesn’t rush under pressure which is really impressive. Needs to find more of the ball and build more consistency to take his game to another level.
#24 Sean Masterson – A defender last season who missed out on being drafted is now up the other end. I personally like him more as a forward because he has that freedom to use what I didn’t realise was such a huge vertical jump. Not the most reliable set shot, missing a couple of relatively straight forward kicks, but he presents a target and does everything you ask of a forward otherwise. I think he has more development to come as a forward and I certainly would like to see him more in the forward line.
#36 Jack Hudson – Buzzed around the forward line and finished with three goals. A medium forward who plays a bit taller than his 180cm, he stepped up through the third term and kicked a great running goal earlier in the match.
Western Jets vs. Sandringham Dragons (Duncan Robertson)
#12 Connor Thar – Played well through the midfield for the Jets and was one of their best in the first half. Finished with 18 disposals and laid some strong tackles in the centre. Could perhaps clean up his kick but won the ball on both the inside and outside.
#16 Nicholas Stuhldreier – Was the Jets best player right throughout the day and might be a player to watch. He finished with 22 disposals (11 contested) and had eight clearances in the middle of the ground. Is a really nice size and distributes the ball well.
#24 Tom Yorgey – Kicked it well off his left foot playing in the defensive half. Cracks in hard – which did result in three frees against, but played a solid game.
#25 Jack Noonan – Another player who impressed me playing through the midfield. He was willing to kick the ball long inside 50 to look for a target – but he led the clanger count for the Jets by foot. Was hard around the packs and at times was dangerous running forward.
#44 Tristan Xerri – Continues to play solid footy in the ruck and up forward. Created a nice dynamic duo up forward with Brock McGregor. If he can hit the scoreboard and show what he did in 2016, he may be a chance come November.
#5 Seb Williams – Looked a class above playing in the attacking half of the ground. Has plenty of speed and took the ball inside 50 on six occasions. Continued to find the ball and was the Dragons’ leading ball winner, his kicking can be hot and cold at times – but he bagged two good goals.
#7 Aaron Trusler – He was very very lively inside 50 and despite his size marks well overhead (seven marks for the day). Reminds me a bit like Ben Ainsworth with his ability overhead despite his height. Kicked an outstanding goal on the run from 50m after taking a few bounces in the centre. Finished with 4.2 and two assists.
#23 Devlin Brereton – The son of Dermott’s best game to date, with plenty of impact up forward. He moves very well and has strong hands – as well as a nice kick on him. Hoping to see more of this throughout the year.
#28 Isaac Morrisby – Bagged four goals early for the Dragons and was a class above in the first half. For me I think he’s more of a third tall at AFL level similar to Jack Darling, but will need to improve his mobility if that will be his role long term.
#32 Ethan Casey – Dominated in the ruck with 30 hitouts until he had to be stretchered off with about 30 seconds remaining in the game. Unfortunately he’s done his ACL, but he can be proud about his efforts on how he played on Saturday.
#33 Howie Persson – Played in defence in more of an attacking role than he has in the past few weeks. Finished with 19 disposals and six tackles. Has plenty of speed to burn.
Murray Bushrangers vs. Geelong Falcons (Peter Williams)
#5 Ben Paton – Like the look of him off half-back and seems to have stood up as that leader for the Bushrangers. An over-age player who missed out on being drafted last season, Paton has a penetrating kick and moves well in transition. Will be one of a number of over-age players to keep an eye on this season.
#10 Dave Smith – Kicked an really good goal in the first term, showcasing his speed and work rate to run into goal and have the composure to finish it off.
#34 Thomas Boyd – Looked very good early one-on-one as a key defender. He’s not necessarily the height of a key defender at 190cm, but playing that similar role to Ryan Garthwaite last season, Boyd could that developing tall. He showed he had good closing speed to spoil an opposition player’s attempt at marking.
#35 Floyd Bollinghaus – Played up forward and made his mark in the second quarter, winning a crucial one-on-one against Hayden Elliot and kicking a goal. Missed another chance shortly after, but was up and about and could be a presence down there.
#7 Harry Benson – Provided a highlight in the opening term when he launched a monster goal from well outside 50. Showed a few good signs as a bottom-ager last year and will likely be an important player in that midfield-forward link-up transition.
#16 David Handley – Really like his attributes as a forward. His smarts were summed up in the first term where he was corralled in on the boundary line about 20m out and while most would tend to have a shot, he pulled the kick and centred it to his teammate rather than blazing away. He will be one to keep an eye on throughout the season.
#30 Oscar Brownless – Geelong fans would not help but get excited about this kid’s prospects. I was surprised to see he’s only the 186cm because he plays taller and is really strong overhead. Just puts power through his set shots and did not stray from the target with a solid set shot routine.
#42 Cassidy Parish – Brother of Darcy and could not be much different in size and features. A big inside bodied midfielder, Parish still has good pace but his best work is at the stoppages. He knows how to use his frame and is another player that aids in the transition from the midfield to the forward line.
Greater Western Victoria Rebels vs. Dandenong Stingrays (Peter Williams)
#2 Cal Wellings – Overage player who was unlucky not to be drafted last season. Reads the taps well and oozes leadership. Had some improvements to make this season and has shown he has no problem winning the ball. Really quick hands in traffic, think more scoreboard impact will be the next box to tick for the captain. Stands tall in the middle and has a high work rate.
#4 Aiden Domic – The top prospect from the Rebels this season. Moves well in and out of a contest, goes forward and has an impact and is clean. Kicked the only goal of the first term for the Rebels and will be the one to watch throughout the year.
#23 Lloyd Meek – Thought I’d highlight the over-age ruck as he is someone who really could benefit from this extra year at TAC Cup level. He has that bigger body and just imposes himself in the ruck to give his midfielders first use. Occasionally gives away a few free kicks, but generally will outmuscle his opponent and he has shown to have an impact inside forward 50.
#29 Lachie Wareham – Good strong hands overheads, leads well just lacks that touch of agility for that medium forward. Given the Rebels lack of height he does have to play that full-forward role, but unsure of his versatility to play up the ground. Certainly good overhead though.
#42 Jai Nanscawen – Finished with four goals from 12 disposals and while he was that forward type, showed he has the potential to be lively and make the most of his possessions.
#46 Mason De Wit – He was one of my favourites last season not to be drafted. Has that bigger body and that sense of a prototype midfielder. Just gets his arms free and is a penetrating kick. Doesn’t need a lot of the footy to make an impact, just needs a bit of luck on the injury front.
#54 Tom Hogan – He’s one I like and at 198cm has plenty of development in him. Leads at the ball, takes a good contested grab and kicks through the football. I want to see more of him this season and what role he will play when the Stingrays are at full strength. Played through the ruck and at full-forward and while there’s still some raw work in there, he’s someone that will build with time.
#55 Ali Zijai – A really balanced player who uses the ball well and works hard defensively to lay tackles. On the weekend he had 20 effective disposals (out of 23) and laid nine tackles to be one of the best on ground.