IT was a weekend of big goal hauls and impressive close wins, as Dandenong Stingrays moved to outright top spot, and the Western Jets leapt into the top four.
Calder Cannons vs. Northern Knights
Northern Knights continued their good form of late with a strong 21-point away victory over Calder Cannons at RAMS Arena. The Knights burst out of the blocks to kick the only four goals of the first term, before Calder booted the next three to head into the half-time break with just nine points separating the sides. The second half was an even battle, but it was Northern who came away for the better with four goals to two to win and remain inside the top eight.
Braedyn Gillard was strong in the midfield once again with 24 disposals, six marks, four clearances and two goals, while Adam Carafa was strong defensively, laying seven tackles from his 19 disposals and also booting a goal. Others who stood out for the Knights were Sunny Brazier who was a little wayward in front of goal with three behinds, but still collected 23 disposals, four marks and five clearances moving well up the ground, as well as Kye Yodgee (23 disposals, seven clearances) and Lachlan Potter (19 disposals, six rebounds).
For the Cannons, Daniel Hanna showed off his versatility with 22 disposals, nine marks, two rebounds and a goal playing off centre half-back, while Curtis Taylor was named Calder’s best with 19 disposals, three marks, seven clearances and two goals playing an important role through the midfield and up forward. Tye Browning (19 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s) and Mitch Podhajski (18 disposals, nine tackles and a goal) were again among Calder’s top players on the day.
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Murray Bushrangers
By: Brandon Hutchinson
The second game in the Triple header, the Stingrays took home the win despite an intense fight back from the Bushrangers. At the main break the Stingrays had 17 scoring shots compared to 5 for the Bushrangers. It was the Stingray’s poor accuracy and their opponent’s perfect scoring efficiency that held the margin at a reasonable 22 points. By the final term, the Bushrangers had kicked 14.3 (87) compared to the Stingray’s 16.13 (109), chalking their win up to greater success in the midfield allowing for more opportunities.
Bailey Williams’ forward presence and pressure, coupled with his work in the ruck and midfield, should highlight the dominance of the Stingrays in both of these areas. Corey Ellison picked up six goals and Jamie Plumridge and Matthew Cottrell (six clearances) dominated the midfield with a fierce attack on the ball.
It was the Bushrangers scoring efficiency that kept them trailing close, and it was the individual work from Hudson Garoni, kicking seven goals, which assisted in this becoming a reality. The ball movement from Laitham Vandermeer broke lines and disrupted the Stingrays’ defence, and the classy work from Kyle Clarke, Nicholas Murray, James Boyer and Jacob Koschitzke contributed immensely to their fight back following the main break.
GWV Rebels vs. Gippsland Power
By: Brandon Hutchinson
The final game in RAMS Arena triple header saw the Power coming out 26 points on top over the Rebels. From what was a scrappy affair, much of the game was played in the midfield with either side struggling to break off into transition. The first term concluded with a 4-point margin on the back of too many missed opportunities from Gippsland. From a goal difference at the main break to 13 points at the third, the Power kept a firm grip on their lead, dominating the game through backline transition.
Despite the Rebel’s efforts, the game was clearly on the Power’s terms from the beginning. The work put in by Kyle Reid (24 disposals, nine marks, seven rebounds) kept scoring off the cards for his opposition. The sleek midfield plays from bottom-agers, Bailey Beck (19 disposals, eight marks) and Boadie Motton (16 disposals, three inside 50s), along with Xavier Duursma (21 disposals, five marks, 12 tackles and two goals) were pivotal in transition. Down forward Sam Flanders and Austin Hodge bagged five goals between them and assisted plenty in converting for others.
For the Rebels, Jed Hill (12 disposals and five inside 50s) provided great link up and pressure on the congested wing, along with Lochie Dawson (31 disposals, four marks, seven tackles and six clearances) who cleaned up plenty of the mess, while Matt Schnerring (23 disposals, four marks and six clearances)and Charlie Wilson (15 disposals, three marks and three goals) put forward good cases fo clubs to keep an eye on them this year.
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets
The first game on Sunday saw Western Jets jump into the top four with a strong victory over Oakleigh Chargers at Warrawee Park. The Jets got away early with an inaccurate 3.6 to 1.0 first term before the home side reeled them in with a four goals to three term of their own. Leading by just 10 points at the main break, Western put the result to bed with a five goals to two third quarter and eventually ran out 19-point winners to move into fourth on the table.
Buku Khamis was a sponge off half-back, rebounding everything that came his way with 22 disposals and 12 marks in a best on ground performance. Zak Butters (24 disposals, five clearances, seven inside 50s and five tackles) and captain Xavier O’Halloran (20 disposals, six marks, five tackles, six clearances and seven inside 50s) were once again great through midfield, while Emerson Jeka, Josh Honey and Aaron Clarke got on the scoresheet with two goals each.
Oakleigh had a number of prominent ball winners with Trent Bianco and Noah Answeth again notching up 26 disposals and three clearances each, while Bianco also had seven rebounds and booted two goals. Xavier O’Neill and Riley Collier-Dawkins were again busy through the midfield, while Isaac Quaynor had 13 disposals and six rebounds.
Eastern Ranges vs. Bendigo Pioneers
The previously winless Eastern Ranges finally got to celebrate with a round seven victory over the Bendigo Pioneers at Box Hill yesterday. After an even first term, the Ranges blew the game open with a six goals to two second quarter to lead by 25 points at the main break. Another even quarter saw the game still in the balance at three quarter time before a four goals to two final term resulted in the Ranges running away with the game by 39 points.
Jamieson Rossiter booted six goals from 14 disposals and seven marks to be the dominant key forward on the ground, while Kye Quirk (28 disposals, five clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds) was prominent all over the field. Mitch Mellis was classy on the outside with 22 touches, four clearances and five tackles, while Ben Cardamone (19 disposals, seven rebounds) and Joel Burleigh (18 disposals, 15 clearances) were also impressive in the win.
For the losers, Daniel Keating continued his strong form in the ruck with 22 hitouts from 10 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s, while Zane Keighran (16 diposals, two goals) was prominent in the midfield. Hunter Lawrence also got on the scoresheet with two goals, while Noah Wheeler laid a team-high nine tackles.
Sandringham Dragons vs. Geelong Falcons
The Sandringham Dragons managed to snap their three-game losing streak with a three-goal win over Geelong Falcons at Trevor Barker Beach Oval yesterday. The Dragons found themselves down at quarter time, trailing the Falcons by 23 points, before booting eight of the next 10 goals to run out 18-point victors in what would have been a relief for the players in front of a home crowd after a few tough weeks.
Kai Owens led the way for the Dragons, notching up 27 disposals, nine clearances and nine inside 50s, marking a successful return to the team this week. Harry Bede booted four goals up forward to continue his good form, while Nicholas Stamatis (22 disposals, four marks, five tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds) and Thomas Deane-Jones (23 disposals, six clearances and six inside 50s) were also impressive. St Kilda father-son prospect Tyson Milne laid a team-high 10 tackles on debut, just ahead of Ryan Byrnes (nine).
For the Falcons, Baxter Mensch had the ball on a string once again with 32 disposals, eight clearances, six tackles and four inside 50s, while Sam Torpy had his best game of the season with 25 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three rebounds and a goal. Captain Oscar Brownless stood up in the absence of co-captain Sam Walsh‘s absence, notching up 20 disposals, six clearances and laying a game-high 12 tackles, while Blake Schlensog was the only multiple goal kicker with two majors.