TAC Cup preview: Sandringham Dragons

SANDRINGHAM Dragons were only a kick away from winning back-to-back TAC Cup titles last year, and with plenty of top talent in 2018 – they will be looking to make it three consecutive Grand Final berths. The Dragons produced seven draftees last year, headlined by Andrew Brayshaw – who was drafted by Fremantle with the second pick overall. 2018 will see the Dragons put out a taller team than previous seasons and hold two of the best key position players in the entire 2018 draft pool in the King twins.

The Haileybury College students Max & Ben both tower over 200cm and the AFL Academy members will be right in the mix as top five selections for the 2018 draft. Bailey Smith’s superb season across half-back and in the midfield, pushed him into the AFL Academy squad and the Dragons’ 2018 captain will be looking to progress into a full-time midfielder during the season. Smith’s bottom-age year was headlined by his 44 disposal, 13 inside 50s and 10 clearances game against Western Jets in Round 14 of the 2017 TAC Cup.

Another player that will feature heavily in the Dragons’ pursuit for success will be North Melbourne father-son prospect Joel Crocker (son of Darren). The rangy hybrid midfielder impressed last year at school football for Brighton Grammar playing in defence and is a good ball user by foot. The agile Crocker missed the latter parts of the Dragons 2017 campaign due to an ankle injury, but expect him to feature prominently this season.

Nineteen year-old 200cm tall Joe Griffiths might be one to keep an eye on, coming to the TAC Cup club for the first time after the boarder performed well in the ruck for Geelong Grammar at school football, earning him a State Combine invite. Ethan Casey will also return from an ACL injury and will battle it out in the ruck alongside vice-captain James Rendell (son of Fitzroy and Brisbane ruckman Matt). There’s no doubting opposition teams will need to have plenty of tall timber to combat the Dragons team.

Tom Long, Alastair Richards, Liam Stocker, Harry Houlahan and Ryan Macdermid are a handful of players who had experience as bottom-agers and they will be looking to progress their football in 2018. Angus Hanrahan (brother of Hawthorn’s Ollie) is another player who performed well at school football for St Kevin’s College in 2017, and might be a player to track during the year. Alongside Hanrahan, Rendell and Crocker – there are some other familiar last names down at the Dragons with Finn Maginness (son of Hawthorn premiership player Scott), Jai Florent (brother of Sydney’s Ollie), Jeremy Goddard (brother of St Kilda’s Hugh), Jackson Voss (son of former Saint Brett) and Tyson Milne (son of former St Kilda goalsneak Steven).

2017 Stats:

2017 Summary:

The Dragons were not far off back-to-back premierships in a see-sawing TAC Cup Grand Final that saw them come from 20 points down at three-quarter time to nearly storm home and get the win, after Geelong Falcons small forward Gryan Miers booted seven goals. They begun the season with a bang at Ikon Park, with bottom-age forward Max King bagging six marks and booting four goals. Hamish Brayshaw returned in the second half of the season after VFL commitments for Sandringham Zebras and used his power in the middle of the ground to push the Dragons side deep into the finals, eventually helping the 19 year-old find himself on an AFL list by the end of the year. Although they lost some games throughout the season that they ultimately should’ve won, the ‘next man up’ attitude at the Dragons saw them able to cover their losses during the season when the APS and AGSV school football commitments popped up.

2018 Snapshot:

The Dragons begin the season at Skybus Stadium in Frankston against Northern Knights, before playing the Oakleigh Chargers and Calder Cannons before school football season kicks-off. If the Dragons can win all three winnable games, it should set them up for the season that will see them juggle plenty of squad members as best as they can. With the Dragons’ strong squad, if they can avoid having to play off during the ‘Wildcard’ round in the lead up to finals, they should be able to progress deep into September for yet another year.

2018 Fixture:

Sandringham Dragons 2018

2018-03-24 13:30:54March 24, 2018 Northern Knights vs Sandringham Dragons27 - 72Frankston OvalRecap
2018-03-31 13:30:16March 31, 2018 Sandringham Dragons vs Oakleigh Chargers89 - 66Rams ArenaRecap
2018-04-08 10:45:57April 8, 2018 Sandringham Dragons vs Calder Cannons100 - 77Trevor Barker OvalRecap
2018-04-21 14:30:07April 21, 2018 Murray Bushrangers vs Sandringham Dragons138 - 73Norm Minns OvalRecap
2018-04-28 10:30:59April 28, 2018 Sandringham Dragons vs Western Jets57 - 89Trevor Barker OvalRecap
2018-05-13 13:00:57May 13, 2018 Gippsland Power vs Sandringham Dragons138 - 29Morwell Recreational ReserveRecap
2018-05-20 14:00:25May 20, 2018 Sandringham Dragons vs Geelong Falcons60 - 42Trevor Barker OvalRecap
2018-06-03 10:45:15June 3, 2018 Dandenong Stingrays vs Sandringham Dragons105 - 28Shepley OvalRecap
2018-06-23 10:30:51June 23, 2018 Oakleigh Chargers vs Sandringham Dragons58 - 61Warrawee ParkRecap
2018-06-30 12:00:14June 30, 2018 Sandringham Dragons vs Eastern Ranges54 - 32Trevor Barker OvalRecap
2018-07-07 14:00:19July 7, 2018 Sandringham Dragons vs Northern Knights66 - 39Trevor Barker OvalRecap
2018-07-15 14:00:06July 15, 2018 Geelong Falcons vs Sandringham Dragons69 - 71MARS StadiumRecap
2018-07-29 14:30:37July 29, 2018 Sandringham Dragons vs Bendigo Pioneers48 - 40Trevor Barker OvalRecap
2018-08-04 10:45:48August 4, 2018 Eastern Ranges vs Sandringham Dragons56 - 66Box Hill City OvalRecap
2018-08-19 15:00:52August 19, 2018 Oakleigh Chargers vs Sandringham Dragons88 - 32Avalon Airport OvalRecap
2018-08-25 10:30:50August 25, 2018 Dandenong Stingrays vs Sandringham Dragons 10:30:5010:30 amTrevor Barker OvalPreview

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