Mid-Season Review: 2018 APS season

AT the mid-point in the Associated Public Schools (APS) Australian Rules competition, we take a look at how each of the schools are going and some of the names who have stood out, both TAC Cup-listed players and non TAC Cup-listed players. For those schools in the Associated Grammar Schools (AGS), we will review them next week.

Brighton Grammar (BGS)

R1: lost to Scotch by 11 points
R2: defeated Caulfield by 16 points
R3: defeated Geelong College by 10 points
R4: lost to Carey by nine points
R5: lost to Haileybury by 23 points
R6: lost to St Kevin’s by 55 points

Summary:

Brighton have won two games this season and will be hoping to turn their form around in the second half of the season. A narrow defeat to Scotch College in the opening round was followed by two wins over Caulfield Grammar and Geelong College, but Brighton has since lost its past three games, albeit two by narrow margins, including the undefeated Haileybury by under four goals. Brighton Grammar lost their key defender Oscar Lewis, in the opening quarter in their hard fought win against Caulfield Grammar. North Melbourne father-son prospect Joel Crocker is also out for the season, after an ankle injury at school training required surgery. Captain Harry Reynolds could be a name to pencil in, with a few clubs tracking the utility. Sandringham Dragons bottom-ager Louis Butler has been their standout, with multiple BOG performances. 

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Carey Grammar (CY)

R1: lost to Melbourne Grammar by 32 points
R2: defeated Geelong Grammar by 38 points
R3: lost to St Kevin’s by 48 points
R4: defeated Brighton by nine points
R5: defeated Wesley by six points
R6: defeated Xavier by one point

Summary:

A strong Carey team is sitting third on the APS ladder and this is largely due to its midfield strength. Bottom-agers Matthew Rowell and Noah Anderson already project as top 10 prospects for next year’s AFL National Draft, with the duo combining as Carey’s best on ground on multiple occasions this year. Despite his size, Rowell competes with the stronger inside midfielders in the draft pool with his quick hands on the inside a key trait – while Anderson is a big ball winner and can hurt you with his disposal. Young Nick Daicos is a while away from his draft year, but has booted some goals throughout the year. Midfielder Oliver Simpson and school captain Bailey Wraith have also had some good moments throughout the season. A one-point win over the previously undefeated Xavier was a massive result, with losses to Melbourne Grammar and St Kevin’s earlier in the season the only two defeats.

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Caulfield Grammar (CAUL)

R1: defeated Wesley by 48 points
R2: lost to Brighton by 16 points
R3: lost to Melbourne by 43 points
R4: lost to Xavier by 81 points
R5: defeated Geelong College by seven points
R6: Bye

Summary:

Caulfield Grammar has managed to have two wins this season, either side of three losses. An ugly 81-point loss to Xavier College was the worst of the bunch, but Caulfield has shown it is more than capable of performing when required, defeating Wesley by eight goals, and getting past Geelong College in a thriller. Sandringham Dragons’ 198cm prospect Will Kennedy is an interesting one – he has been playing all around the ground this season up forward and through the midfield. Oakleigh Chargers midfielder Jack Ross has provided a hard edge to the Caulfield on-ball brigade showcasing his clean his hands in congestion. He is a player that puts on a lot of tackling pressure through out games. Ryan Pietsch is a defender who got the better of Ben Silvagni when the Carlton father-son prospect had plenty of opportunities in Xavier’s 81-point win. Pietsch is strong one-on-one and also has the ability to play forward.

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Geelong College (GC)

R1: lost to Xavier by 64 points
R2: defeated Wesley by 12 points
R3: lost to Brighton by 10 points
R4: Bye 
R5: lost to Caulfield by seven points
R6: defeated Scotch by 18

Summary:

Geelong College has won two games from its five games thus far this season which is a good result. Aside from a forgettable 10-goal loss to Xavier in Round 1, Geelong College has been competitive in every match, losing its other two games by a combined 17 points, while winning its two games by a combined 30 points. Geelong College’s best player is first round prospect Ned McHenry. The inside midfielder won the contested ball and knows where the goals are, and almost single handedly got Geelong College over the line against Brighton Grammar back in Round 3. Forward Charlie Sprague is another who has been named among the best and looms as an underrated prospect in the 2018 draft crop after a good year as a bottom-ager last season. Looking to the future, 16 year-old Charlie Lazarro has been named among the best on several occasions including in the victory against Wesley and the loss to Xavier.

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Geelong Grammar (GGS)

R1: lost to Haileybury by 156 points
R2: lost to Carey by 38 points
R3: lost to Scotch by 45 points
R4: lost to St Kevin’s by 53 points
R5: Bye
R6: defeated Melbourne by 18 points

Summary:

Geelong Grammar started their season with four straight losses, including the horrific 156-point demolition at the hands of Hailebury. But after a tough month which saw them face a number of the top sides, they broke through for their first win, defeating Melbourne Grammar by three goals. The school has remarkable top-end talent with three AFL Academy members including Bendigo Pioneers’ Jye Caldwell and Brodie Kemp. Caldwell has played mostly on the outside, but has shown he can win the football at school football level when required. Kemp has been solid as a tall, working hard in the Grammar side despite the losses mounting. Gippsland Power’s Caleb Serong is a lively prospect for next year’s draft and will be doing plenty of travelling – to go from Geelong Grammar back home to Gippsland throughout the year. Serong has smarts around goal and is also a useful inside midfielder and has been named in the best on multiple occasions. Another name to keep an eye on is Thomson Dow who is the bottom-aged brother of Carlton’s Paddy and has been okay throughout the season. Tanner Bruhn turned 16 last weekend and has been another youngster who has put in some promising performances.

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Haileybury (HY)

R1: defeated Geelong Grammar by 156 points
R2: defeated St Kevin’s by 33 points
R3: Bye
R4: defeated Melbourne by 24 points
R5: defeated Brighton by 23 points
R6: defeated Wesley by 68 points

Summary:

Haileybury are sitting on top of the ladder undefeated and are looking good for the premiership. With a number of AFL Academy members it is no surprise that Hailebury are the benchmark in the competition to date. They destroyed Geelong Grammar in the opening round when Ben King piled on 10 goals, and has since taken his tally to 29 in five games. His ability to play at either end is remarkable and it would be hard not to see him amongst the top few picks in the 2018 AFL National Draft. His brother Max is unfortunately out for the season after injuring his knee in the opening round. Heath Briggs has also been one of Haileybury’s best, while Cody Weightman impresses every week as a small forward. Mitch Riordan is another top talent who could be a first round prospect.

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Melbourne Grammar (MGS)

R1: defeated Carey by 32 points
R2: defeated Scotch by 26 points
R3: defeated Caulfield by 43 points
R4: lost to Haileybury by 24 points
R5: lost to St Kevin’s by 72 points
R6: lost to Geelong Grammar by 18 points

Summary:

Melbourne Grammar is sitting three and three this season, starting the year on fire with three victories, before losing its next three games, including a 12-goal defeat at the hands of St Kevin’s and a three-goal loss to the previously winless Geelong Grammar. Melbourne Grammar vice-captain Toby Bedford has been exciting, with the Dandenong Stingrays mid/forward using his game-breaking speed to disrupt the opposition and he shows clean hands in congestion, putting a lot of tackle pressure on his opponents. Darcy Chirgwin has also been impressive, with his solid work rate throughout games and hitting contest after contest with 110 percent. Sam Connock has been playing forward and competes and reads the play well, taking a number of good marks this season. Oakleigh Chargers’ Sydney Swans father-son prospect Kyle Dunkley has been named among the best, with the Sale product one to watch.

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Scotch College (SC)

R1: defeated Brighton by 11 points
R2: lost to Carey by 38 points
R3: defeated Geelong Grammar by 45 points
R4: lost to Wesley by one point
R5: lost to Xavier by 13 points
R6: lost to Geelong College by 18 points

Summary:

Scotch College started the year well with a win over Brighton Grammar, but have won just one game in the past four outings, albeit with some unlucky losses along the way. New recruit – Maurice Rioli Jnr will turn some heads throughout the year. While the Northern Territory Under 16 prospect is still very raw, he has shown a tenacious tackling ability and booted a freak goal against Xavier a few weeks ago. Finn Maginness has played well in the midfield, while Collingwood father-son prospect Will Kelly had been utilised up forward and is a very strong mark. Defenders Reef McInness and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan mark outstandingly well in the defensive 50 – with Ugle-Hagan definitely a name to keep an eye on for years to come.

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St Kevin’s College (SKC)

R1: Bye
R2: lost to Haileybury by 33 points
R3: defeated Carey by 48 points
R4: defeated Geelong Grammar by 53 points
R5: defeated Melbourne by 72 points
R6: defeated Brighton by 55 points

Summary

This season St Kevin’s have a strong team with four boys making the Vic Metro squad. Having lost their first game to Haileybury, the team has been able to bounce back, not losing a game since and winning every game in excess of eight goals. Western Bulldogs father-son prospect Rhylee West is an inside beast who has been playing up forward a lot more and has been hitting the scoreboard every week. It has given his game another layer. Alastair Richards is having a terrific start to the season, often arching his back and taking the game on, as well as hitting the scoreboard for St Kevin’s. James Rowbottom is a big ball winning midfielder who adds plenty of defensive pressure and importantly hits the scoreboard. His hands in close have been great and he also has some breakaway speed from the stoppages. Angus Hanrahan is an interesting prospect who has shown he can play up forward. He is a natural footballer with elite use of the footy on his left and right foot and plenty of X-factor. Others that have impressed include bottom-age prospect Jack Mahony, as well as non TAC Cup-listed players defender Matthew Presutto and forward Will James.

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Wesley College (WC)

R1: lost to Caulfield by 48 points
R2: lost to Geelong College by 12 points
R3: lost to Xavier by 59 points
R4: defeated Scotch by one point
R5: lost to Carey by six points
R6: lost to Haileybury by 68 points

Summary:

Wesley College has managed one win this season, defeating Scotch by the narrowest of margins. Aside from close defeats to Carey Grammar (six points) and Geelong College (12 points), Wesley has suffered three defeats by more than eight goals, granted two of them came against the premiership favourites. Wesley College do not have a standout draft prospect, but have shown they can match is with some of the stronger schools, with a consistent spread of players across the board. Oscar Jackson and Charlie Dean have been prominent players for the Lions, booting goals on multiple occasions including combining for seven majors in Wesley’s only victory of the season. Nick Sund is another player who has been named among the best on a number of occasions.

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Xavier College (XC)

R1: defeated Geelong College by 64 points
R2: Bye
R3: defeated Wesley by 69 points
R4: defeated Caulfield by 81 points
R5: defeated Scotch by 13 points
R6: lost to Carey by one point

Summary:

One of the strongest Xavier College teams in recent memory, the side lost its first game of the season in round six to Carey by one point. The team is a really well coached and structured and is led by potential top 10 draft pick and captain Bailey Smith who has been playing predominantly in the midfield. Smith leads from the front using the ball exceptionally well. He has the ability to win the footy on the inside and outside and uses his pace to break away from stoppages and take the game on. Potential Carlton father-son Ben Silvagni is yet to tear a game apart, but does have impact within games. He uses his body well in marking contests and also reads the play well. Joe Ayton-Delaney has been impressive, using his foot-skills to great effect, while Oakleigh teammate Charlie Whitehead has been good in congestion and shows great decision making skills and composure. What is really impressive is his endeavour to put pressure on his opponents. Teammate and small forward Zac Hart is quick and able to use the ball well and kicks goals. Others who have also impressed include Zak Evans, Charles Holmes, Harrison Bell and Sam Stynes.

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