AFTER the action-packed second round of TAC Cup action, it is hard to reduce the best players from the round down into a single best 22. But that is what we will be doing each week to create the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week.
Every team is represented in the best 22, with Dandenong Stingrays, Sandringham Dragons and Northern Knights each contributing three players – the most of any side. The Calder Cannons, GWV Rebels, Geelong Falcons and Gippsland Power each have two players, while the remaining five sides have a sole representative each.
The key position posts are dominated by Stingrays and Dragons, with their respective strong starts to the season indicative of the amount of talented talls in their line-ups. Angus Patterson (Dandenong) and Ben King (Sandringham) hold down the key defensive posts, while Max King‘s eight goals made him an easy choice for full-forward, standing alongside pocket rocket Jai Nanscawen, who booted six majors against Gippsland. Ruck/forward Bailey Williams is in the side, as is exciting midfielder Alastair Richards who played his best game in Dragons colours to date.
Northern Knights’ damaging midfield duo of Braedyn Gillard and Tom McKenzie caused all sorts of headaches for Western, earning them a place in the Team of the Week, alongside teammate and exciting bottom-age forward, Josh D’Intinosante.
The Calder Cannons opened the round with a great win under lights at RAMS Arena, with Rhylee West starring through the midfield, and Lucas Cavallaro impressive off half-back and centre. The pair made the side, along with opponent on the night, Ben Cardamone, who made it two from two as Eastern’s only representative in the team.
Despite being a largely one-sided contest for a half, the GWV Rebels and Geelong Falcons both contributed two players to the Team of the Week, with midfielder Lochie Dawson and his respective opponent Sam Walsh both putting in strong performances for their respective teams. Exciting Rebels forward Mitch Martin starred to be named at half-forward, while Charlie Sprague once again provided the Falcons an avenue up forward.
Gippsland captain Xavier Duursma‘s all-round performance earned him a spot in the side, while bottom-age talent Brock Smith stood out across half-back. The other defender named in the side was Western’s Stefan Radovanovic, who provided plenty of run and carry off half-back in the Jets’ loss to Northern on the weekend.
Others that made the side were Bendigo mid/forward Jye Caldwell who stood up on the weekend after missing round one, while Laitham Vandermeer was the best for the Bushrangers as they got the job done in Shepparton. The final member of the best 22 was Xavier O’Neill, who was a four-quarter player for Oakleigh in the Chargers’ loss to Sandringham.
Like every week, some players were very unlucky to miss out, with Bushranger Lachlan Ash, Jet Daly Andrews, Calder father-son prospect Mason Fletcher and mid/forward Curtis Taylor, and Bendigo Pioneers pair Noah Wheeler and Daniel Keating all stiff to miss the final cut. Additionally, the spread of performances by Oakleigh, Murray, Western and Bendigo all made it tough to select players for the team.