FROM feel-good debuts to memorable returns and upset victories, there were plenty of memorable moments on the weekend.
John Roumeliotis returns and goals
Often comeback stories can get lost in bigger narratives, but there was none more special than the return of key forward John Roumeliotis, who after three consecutive season-ending knee injuries, the Calder Cannons big man made his debut on the weekend. While the Cannons lost, Roumeliotis had four touches and more importantly boot a goal which saw every Cannons player run to him, knowing his ability to overcome adversity. He made it through the game and provided a target up forward for the Cannons on a blustery day.
South Australia start Nationals off on right foot
South Australia are one of the serious title contenders for the National Under 18 Championships along with Vic Metro, and the Croweaters got off to the best possible start on the weekend with an 89-point hiding of Western Australia. Gun forward Jack Lukosius already looked like an AFL star rather than a teenager playing amongst his peers, taking 14 marks from 17 disposals and booting four goals. Izak Rankine, Jackson Hately and Luke Valente were all busy for the winners, while Luke Jackson was the Black Swans’ best in the loss.
AFLW Rising Star returns
As the AFL Women’s players return to the VFL Women’s competition round by round, it was fantastic to see the AFLW Rising Star Chloe Molloy make a successful return to the competition she topped the goalkicking in last season. After a season in the big league as a defender, Molloy returned to her regular forward post and was everywhere early, booting 1.3 in the first half and causing all sorts of headaches for Hawthorn. The Magpies got home against the previously undefeated Hawks in a seven-point thriller.
Underdogs perform away in TAC Cup
The Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels finally broke through for their second win of the season on the weekend, toppling an inaccurate Calder Cannons outfit at RAMS Arena. The Rebels made the most of their opportunities, with a number of surprise faces named in the best including Elliot Lamb and Patrick Glanford, along with regulars Harris Jennings, Tom Berry and Matty Lloyd. For the latter, it was his second Rebels game back and he is building some nice form. While they did not have a win, the Bendigo Pioneers took it right up to the in-form Western Jets, drawing level in the dying minutes thanks to a Zane Keighran goal from the boundary. The Jets managed to get home with one of the last kicks of the day, but the Pioneers gave it their all in Williamstown. Eastern Ranges made it back-to-back wins with a great victory over Northern Knights at Preston City Oval.
Brody Mihocek’s eye-opening debut
When key defender turned forward Brody Mihocek snapped truly off in the second term, it was hard not to smile, regardless of your club allegiance. The 25 year-old former Port Melbourne stopper finally cracked through to the AFL after being drafted by Collingwood in last year’s Rookie Draft. It took until Round 11 for Mihocek to make his debut, and as a forward at that. But he made it count, booting four majors – including three in the third term to get the crowd up and about, and no doubt have some fans scratching their heads as to how he could have been missed in the second tier competition for so long.