ROUND Four of the TAC Cup continued over the weekend and we had scouts watching four of the games over the weekend. Read their scouting notes below:
Eastern Ranges vs. Greater Western Victoria Rebels (Peter Williams)
#2 Thomas North – Worked hard all day around the ground, found plenty of the football and showed good agility. Notched up the clearances and was a key reason Eastern was in the game early. Has a trademark turn where he spins around to change direction.
#7 Jordan Lynch – Really strong performance from the over-ager. He is tough as nails, but clean at ground level. Showed quick hands at the stoppage to handball under pressure. Was reliable with the ball and took a few marks backing into the contest and has a penetrating kick which he used to kick inside 50. Wasn’t afraid to aggravate the opposition with a hilarious trash talk to Jordan Johnston saying “That’s the worst head I’ve ever seen”.
#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – Kicked an early goal but then was largely unsighted in a quiet game for the AFL Academy member. Ended up playing full-back on Dale Cox in the final term and actually picked up the ball cleanly and bombed out of defensive 50 in a rare highlight. Not a game to remember for the talented utility who is one of many contesting for a top five pick.
#17 Cody Hirst – Good pace and showed it off with a clever snap for a goal on the run in the second half.
#19 Josiah Duncan – Finished the game with four goals and was clearly the Ranges’ most dangerous forward. Seemed to be good in the air, strong above his head and quick on the lead. A good size at 187cm and stood up when many others were quiet.
#26 Harrison Nolan – Was one of Eastern’s best in the first half rebounding many of the Rebels’ attacks. Then moved to the midfield in a surprise move in the third quarter and the Rebels dominated. Returned to defence and held it up, but was too late and showed what a crucial cog he is back there. Played a Ben Reid role with intercept marks and using his long, accurate kick to clear the danger in defensive 50.
#1 Dale Cox – Still got a lot of improvement to be in consideration, but built a bit in the second half. Provides good pressure on the ball carrier and is super clean with his pickups – just grabbed a ball off the wet deck with one hand – just needs to do more for longer.
#2 Cal Wellings – A typical Wellings performance. Just good across the ground, booted four goals and lifted his team. One of the unluckiest players not to be drafted last season and he would be leading many of the over-agers this year. His kicking seems to have improved a bit and showed a bit of penetration throughout the game. Copped a few knocks and just kept getting up. A lionheart performer.
#3 Scott Carlin – A clean player who runs off half-back. Doesn’t panic and can change his kick midway through his action. Didn’t see too much penetration on his kicking, but uses it well enough even if his disposals are mostly short.
#4 Aiden Domic – Not one of his better games. Seemed a bit off and was not that clean at ground level. Still found a fair bit of the ball and got into space, but wasn’t as classy as usual. Not sure if he was under the weather but that was what it looked like. Will no doubt learn from the game and be better for the run.
#8 Aaron Shepherd – I don’t get excited about players off a game, but boy did this kid excite me. Reminded me of Josh Begley last season the way he led at the ball, had Velcro mits and clunked a series of marks. Was able to kick a goal from outside 50 off a couple of steps and constantly provide an option. He’s earned his way onto my watch list this season.
#10 Jordan Johnston – It seemed like today was the day that “JJ” finally came of age. I thought he had potential last season and would show it in bursts, but Saturday’s game it came to the fore. Six goals and just a dominant performance in the air and at ground level. His opponents were constantly wary of him and he nailed all his set shots. Just a great run-up, he is one I hope builds on this and goes on with it because he’s been threatening to break out for some time. Think Jamie Elliot, that’s the excitement he provides.
#13 Thomas Berry – This kid is a serious talent. Just gives the don’t argues and the fend-offs like players and specky bags. He wins plenty of his own ball, both inside and out, and has a penetrating kick. Brother of Jarrod, I think he could be even better and was one of the Rebels’ best with Wellings in the midfield. Had a lot of intercept possessions too and owned a wing on the day.
#15 Trent Reed – Another workman like performance from Reed. Continually pushes to each contest, gets knocked down and gets up again, always presenting and has quick hands. Had a chance to kick a goal but it fell short and that’s the area I’d like to see him improve on, become a more damaging player forward of centre and impact the scoreboard like a Cal Wellings.
#23 Lloyd Meek – A genuine chance to be drafted as an over-ager. Meek is strong in the ruck and presents an option up forward. He works hard and constantly provides second and third efforts. His biggest plus is his awareness around the stoppage where he seems to find his midfielders and one example was grabbing the ball out of the ruck, turning around and handballing to a running Jed Hill who sped off, which showed his awareness and vision.
#24 Matty Lloyd – Clean defender who is tasked with the kick-in duties. Always loves a good play on to get the ball out of the defensive 50 – and picking up a kick in the process – but has the license to do so as he does have penetration on his kicking and will hit his target more often than not. The next step for me is to see how he goes in contested situations as there were a couple where he might have rushed his disposal a little bit. But in terms of courage and ability to position himself in an area where he can find the footy from a quick kick forward by the opposition, Lloyd gets a tick from me.
#25 Charlie Wilson – Bottom-ager who has that class around goals. Kicked a couple of snap goals and a set shot goal and did his job. One to watch over the next 18 months and while he didn’t find it as much as others, was mostly forward and just clean in that forward 50.
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Geelong Falcons (Peter Williams)
#5 Callum Searle – Racked up the football across half-back and through the midfield, mostly uncontested but was a key player behind the ball rebounding for the Chargets along with Louis Cunningham. Had one bad passage where he turned it over straight to the Falcons from deep inside defensive 50 which resulted in a goal. Was largely tasked with kick out duties.
#8 Toby Wooller – Really good movement for a bigger bloke and presents up that high half-forward. Didn’t get as much as his 22-possession game, but will be a prospect watched over the course of the season. It was impressive to see him work hard at the stoppages, winning a few clearances rather than as a deep forward at times.
#13 Daniel Stanford – A key target for the Chargers and that medium size 189cm who plays taller. He missed a couple of set shots but kicked a third in a busy opening term. Stanford showed impressive positioning and use of the body, bringing the ball down in front if he didn’t mark it.
#19 Jordan Troani – Busy as a bee around goals. Showed versatility in his ability to lead and mark or snap, with a couple of impressive goals throughout the day, including a first quarter highlight tight against the boundary line with only a split second to kick.
#35 Jack Higgins – Found plenty of the football but did have a tendancy to get on his right foot. Had plenty of attention from opposition players and to his credit got back up each time. Always busy darting from contest to contest, looking for the quick handball to a teammate out the back to clear the stoppage.
#39 Atu Bosemvulagi – A bottom-age player who showed plenty of signs to say he might be one to watch over the next 18 months, with good body use one-on-one and movement, as well as a strong pack mark. It was hard to believe he measures in at 178cm.
#42 Louis Cunningham – Thought he was unlucky not to get drafted last season and he looks to still have the attributes this season with a piecing left foot kick that can travel the distance. He also has good agility and vision, positioning himself well behind the ball and is one who could be used to break down zones at AFL level.
#57 Riley Collier-Dawkins – A player who I hadn’t seen before the game, but was super in the middle. Started the day standing next to Cassidy Parish and won the ball in the centre of the ground. His first quarter was very good and I’m looking to see the bottom ager as the season progresses.
#1 Lachlan Noble – Plays a small forward’s role to a tee with his defensive pressure, courage and able to kick goals.
#7 Harry Benson – A really fierce tackler with a long boot. Kicked a good goal after winning a holding-the-ball free kick, showed strength with a fend-off tackle and was busy between the arcs.
#13 Ethan Floyd – Showed some precise kicking skills with confidence in the defensive half and was sensible with his ball use under pressure. Is an attack first, defend second defender, showing plenty of dash.
#38 James Worpel – Worked into the game and is usually found right at the coal face shovelling the ball out to teammates by hand. Worpel showed good lateral movement.
#40 Hayden Elliot – Appeared to be more involved than in his top-age year and gets around the ground. Played in defence and took some good marks.
#42 Cassidy Parish – Another impressive game by the big bodied inside midfielder. Just has the ball on a string, strong around the contest and gets his arms free from the tackler to handball. His kicking is one area that is always pointed out as an improvement, but he has good athleticism and a quick closing speed when going to tackle.
#44 Jordon Reid – Liked his game where he played in the forward 50 continually presenting as a target. Reid crashed packs and brought the ball to ground even if he didn’t mark them all the time.
#46 Adam Garner – Imposing forward at 194cm/93kg and took some great grabs. Finished off his hard work in front of the big sticks and will be one to watch throughout the season.
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Calder Cannons (Brandon Hutchinson)
#2 Hunter Clark – The hands on this boy would make you think he’s a magician; managing to get to a contest seemingly out of nowhere. He played a quieter game than what we are used to but a solid one nonetheless. The Cannons drew him deep in the first half and he was often isolated away from the play. Clark took plenty of strong grabs in the second half, helping to keep the Cannons back after they began to show a bit of fight. The youngster ejected the footy with ease, creating strong runs along the flanks for plenty scoring opportunities.
#3 Jamie Plumridge – This kid had no trouble at all ending his first quarter with a goal. His handling of the ball and the way he moves through his opposition is astounding. He effectively moved the ball through the middle, presenting no problem and zig-zagging his opponents. This young man was one of the best on ground, helping to keep the Dandenong’s midfield a well-oiled machine.
#42 Jai Nanscawen – Coming out strong in the first quarter, Nanscawen proved to be someone to hit up in the Dandenong forward line. He presented plenty of strong leads, ending up with two goals by the end of the match.
#50 Riley D’Arcy – This big fella had an excellent first half, cracking in the first few goals, ending the second quarter with four under his belt. His presence in the forward line demanded the ball, muscling out his opponents with ease. His kicking remained sharp up until the beginning of the third where D’Arcy punted through three consecutive behinds. The Cannons’ pressure kept his disposals thin for a while, but he managed to play a more supporting role as he pushed up the field.
#2 Dylan Landt – He played a pivotal role in the second half, slowing the Stingray’s run down. Landt’s movement and speed through the backline remained consistent throughout the match. His command of the backline drove momentum in their direction, managing to set up a few goals himself. His intelligence on the field is easily recognised in his keen ability to break through pressure and set his midfield up for a smooth counterattack.
#33 Jack Evans – Much like the rest of the boys, Evans came out slow in the first half. Though as soon as that siren sounded for the third quarter, he was off like a rocket. Making his presence known immediately as he slotted away two to put up a fight against the Home team. Hungry for more, he later went onto kick another in the fourth as well popping up a beautiful screamer in the closing moments of the match. Finished the day with three goals.
#39 Jesse Firebrace – It was impossible to keep your eyes off him today. His intelligent placing off the ball set the Cannons up for numerous goal scoring opportunities, kicking the first for his team in the second half. Throughout the match Firebrace laid several strong tackles which implied intense pressure on the Stingrays’ backline, and impressively shrugged off two men attempting to apply their own. If there’s one thing he showed today, it’s that we should keep a close eye on him these coming weeks.
Sandringham Dragons vs. Gippsland Power (Matt Balmer)
#2 Geordie Nagle – A rock in defence in the first half, with multiple marks in the second quarter. Fought hard and was one of the better Dragons players before half time.
#7 Aaron Trusler – Kicked a good goal early thanks to an “off-break” bounce. His second goal was superb, running through the middle and finishing from 45m He also spent a fair bit more of the game in the midfield with the ‘weakened’ Dragons team.
#8 Will Walker – Took a smart intercept mark about 80 metres from goal, before a long kick to hit a Dragons teammate. Spent majority of the game on the inside and played a solid game throughout the day. He also kicked a great goal on the run in the first quarter.
#22 Quintin Montanaro – Played on the wing and was judged the Dragons best player. Took a while to get into the game but was always the player in the defensive half of the ground that the Dragons looked to use whenever they switched or went to attack. The Power’s pressure was superb throughout the day and at times Montanaro missed some of his handballs under pressure.
#30 Hayden McLean – Took two marks in the opening two minutes of the game but disappointingly opted to pass them off in kickable positions for goal. Was influential due to his size and the Power not having anyone with strength to match him in the air. Kicked his only goal for the day in the second quarter and rucked for periods.
#2 Nick Hogan – Missed a kickable shot in the first quarter, but unfortunately his day ended early not reappearing after half time with an injury.
#5 Xavier Duursma – One of the more exciting Power players. Kicked a huge goal in the context of the game on the verge of half time, laying plenty of tackles in an attempt to win the ball back. Appeared to hurt his groin in the third quarter – but continued to fight hard playing inside 50 in the last quarter.
#6 Aidan Quigley – One of the best games I’ve seen Quigley play. He laid tackles in the middle and through the forward 50. But it was a moment in the final term which summed up his day – The ball came inside 50 with Quigley laying two tackles to pressure two different Dragon players helping the Power get the ball back and slot the goal. Two great games in two weeks is a positive sign for Quigley.
#7 Will Stephenson – Again gets the job done and people are beginning to take note. While his size is always going to count against him, he fought hard and got into the right positions inside 50. He bagged four goals for the day, including a few nice snaps close to goal.
#9 Irving Mosquito – With a big group of Power parents in the stands, Mosquito provided plenty of entertainment up forward. He was millimetres away from clunking the TAC Cup mark of the year in the second quarter. At times he just bombs it forward when he’s outside 50, but close to goal is where he does his best work. Kicked a fantastic goal in the last quarter where he kept his feet unlike the Dragons defenders to bag his second goal for the afternoon.