IT was a wet and wild weekend of footy, and we watched three games – Western Jets vs. Northern Knights, Dandenong Stingrays vs. GWV Rebels and Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power. Here are some of the notes taken from the day on players in the extended Vic Metro/Vic Country squads as well as some promising bottom-age performances.
Western Jets vs. Northern Knights
By: Brandon Hutchinson
#20 Darcy Cassar
Though quiet in the first half, Cassar lifted for his team in the second to help carry the Jets to a comfortable win. His powerful tackles, high marks and inside 50s kept the play swinging in their favour. He helped trap the ball in their attacking half through link-ups and intercept marks. The loose ball had his name all over it, displaying clean hands when scooping it up. In the third quarter, he almost kicked a Goal of the Year contender on the boundary line. If he had not been under pressure, he might have kicked it. The second efforts from Cassar were pivotal in lifting his side and the pressure he applied across the ground was evident throughout a well fought second half.
#37 Hamish Murphy
Once again Murphy was strong coming out of full-back. He impressed with his ability to lock down his opponents and bring the football to ground in the marking contest. He showed great composure under pressure and proved to be effective by foot. He was strong in the air and was quick to shut down his man, the Northern forwards had their work cut out for them when facing Murphy. He moved up the ground to provide a strong marking option and showed off his long drilling kick through the midfield. Murphy may not have seen a lot of the football on the day, but his work in closing off his competition and decreasing the shots on goal was immense.
#17 Josh D’Intinosante
D’Intinosante’s work in the backline during the first quarter was immense. He ejected the ball plenty while under pressure and was often first to the loose ball. He took a pack mark along the wing against Kyriazsis and Clarke, despite his size and dominance overhead. Too hard to hold down, D’Intinosante’s silk in breaking through congestion, and speed getting to the loose ball, assisted in link ups. He earned free kicks while keeping his eyes on the footy and his work in clearing was outmatched. He displayed good composure under pressure and was good overhead given his size.
#19 Nathan Howard
Howard’s work in the ruck was invaluable. The tall flew high in the ruck, often getting first hands to the ball. He helped his midfielders winning plenty of clearances and demonstrated great confidence when the ball went up. He was a strong option overhead around the ground and he was huge in keeping the Knights within grasp of the win. It would be great to see the tall get more involved off the bounce, as his size and jump could have been utilised more than it was. However, he did not go without having a significant impact, winning the ruck with his perfect timing and accuracy.
#30 Justin McInerney
After his performance against the Jets on Saturday, McInerney is on his way. Strong in everything he threw himself in, McInerney won his contests and displayed perfect marking overhead. His delivery by hand and foot caused many link-ups, inside 50s, and rebounds. Pressure did not seem to faze him despite the onslaught of forward attack when ejecting the ball. A strong utility around the ground, McInerney was often used to kick through the passage and cut off the Jets attempt at rebounding. Knocking the ball, tapping it down, smothering and shepherding; the stat sheet for McInerney’s one percenters would be impressive. McInerney stood tall for his team and was a dominant force around the ground.
Dandenong vs. GWV Rebels
#7 Jai Taylor
Impressed early with his ability to break the lines and use his pace and acceleration to worry opponents. He also applied a good amount of defensive pressure, also chopping off a pass for an intercept mark at half-back, but his subsequent shot on goal was spoiled on the line. Later on he kicked deep inside 50 which led to a goal after accelerating away from his opponent.
#17 Finlay Bayne
One of the best Stingrays for his work on the inside. Started in attack then when into the middle and had a huge impact. He booted a goal in the first half and handed off a second. He had an early set shot in the first term after running down Lochie Dawson but his shot hit the post. He kicked a remarkable goal running into the square, juggling it between his hands and just getting it to his boot. He looked good on the inside, able to stand up in a tackle, and at ground level, was able to choose the right exit for a handball. Good vision and strong overhead.
#23 Campbell Hustwaite
Worked hard throughout the four quarters and had a couple of good clearances and rebounded off half-back, dropping into defence to help his side and managing to hit targets up the ground.
#28 Bailey Schmidt
A dominant performance rotating between ruck and forward, booting four goals in the first half, along with a tonne of hitouts, to be the clear standout in the first half. His athleticism was on show with a great vertical leap, and he was nailing his set shots from everywhere. Not as influential in the second half, but had a good centring kick to Finlay Bayne at centre-half-forward in the third term, then missed a set shot from 20m out straight in front.
#36 Stephen Cumming
Played all over the ground, but predominantly ruck and forward in the first half. He showed a good vertical leap and a really strong pair of hands taking a number of strong marks out in front in wet conditions. He booted one goal in the first term and three in the second term all from set shots, including one from an intercept mark 30m out. He went into defence in patches and took a good intercept mark at full-back in the final quarter.
#5 Harris Jennings
Showed good patches, and is quite strong in the air. Took a number of contested grabs in defence and had a nice left foot kick. Able to dispose of it well and showed quick hands, teaming up with Jed Hill in defence late in the game.
#9 Lochie Dawson
Worked really hard in the wet conditions, often playing off half-back and being a steadying force back there with a number of marks and just kicking to gain territory. He showcased his footy smarts with his ability to switch play when required and try and open up space.
#11 Josh Chatfield
An eye-catcher when on, he has a nice vertical leap, strong in the air and can play anywhere on the ground. Started up forward and went to defence. Did not win a heap of it, but has a few tricks.
#14 Jed Hill
Easily one of the Rebels best, starting forward then going into the midfield in the second quarter and looking ultra impressive. He won the first two clearances of the second term and was able to read the ball well from the taps and at ground level. When in space he has a lovely kick and looks for the one- two when going down the ground. He does have a tendency to rush the kick under pressure, or miss a handball when on his non-dominant side such as in the second term, but overall it was a strong performance. He is very vocal out there and a clear leader in the playing group. Also strong in the air and a hard worker, he has good smarts both through the midfield and up forward.
#20 Tylar Watts
Playing against Bailey Schmidt and Stephen Cumming, it was always going to be tough in the air, but I did notice that on occasion he would use his body to trap the ball and stop his opponent winning it which was smart. He protected the ball area, enabling him to handball or kick the ball away from the stoppage. When up forward he led up a number of times and laid a good tackle in the third term.
#24 Matty Lloyd
Returned from Vic Country and played his usual role in defence. He creates run through give and go’s and working hard up the field, often running on the outside for the handball to kick long. He showed off his trademark play-on from a kick-out to use his booming kick to clear the 50m mark. On a couple of occasions he tried to do a bit too much, such as in the opening term when he fended off an opponent but did not see a second opponent coming from behind and was pinged for holding the ball. Is a better long kick than short kick because he kicks through it more.
Gippsland Power vs. Bendigo Pioneers
By: Taylah Melki
#9 Irving Mosquito
After missing a few weeks with injury, the small forward applied plenty of pressure and looked ominous in the forward line and through the midfield. Though he was not able to hit the scoreboard, Mosquito showed some good patches of play pick-pocketing the footy out of his opponents hands multiple times. His cleanliness around the stoppages and clever ball use was important to provide that spark in their attacking 50 as shown with a clever pick up in the first quarter and quick kick into the forward line to create a forward thrust for his team. He was never far from the footy constantly lurking around the pack ready to break through and run with the ball. His clever taps allowed his teammates run onto the footy while his agility allowed him to open up space and hit targets.
#12 Brock Smith
Slotted a goal in the opening term of the game after winning a free kick for holding the ball. He tackled hard throughout the match and applied good pressure around the stoppages to try and stop the run of the Pioneers midfielders. He was really clean around the contest and his quick hands allowed him to release his teammates.
#22 Ryan Henkel
Henkel used his long booming kick to create options up forward and help to provide a contest for his teammates. Showcased his footy smarts to keep the ball in along the boundary line in the third quarter and used his body well to protect the footy and dish off the ball to a teammate.
#23 Noah Gown
Gown was at his damaging best being named best afield for his strong performance. He attacked the footy and did not take a backwards step throughout the whole game. He worked tirelessly around the stoppages going in hard to win the footy and scrapping for the ball on the deck. Gown applied plenty of physical pressure and took a strong contested mark in the second quarter about 25m out from goal but was unable to convert. He used his long booming kick to Gippsland’s advantage and pushed hard up into the midfield to create an option for his teammates to hit up. Gown competed hard all game, covering the ground well and consistently tackling hard making him really influential for the Power.
# 29 Boadie Motton
He played a huge role for the Power winning plenty of the footy. Motton worked tirelessly all game and was a real beast in the midfield and down back getting in hard to extract the ball. He was clean in and around the contest and his quick hands were invaluable for Gippsland. Motton showcased his ability to hit targets while under pressure and demonstrated good composure with ball in hand.
#8 Brodie Kemp
Kemp positioned himself well and worked hard all game. He slotted two huge last quarter goals to help seal the deal for the Pioneers. His ability to find the footy in the last term and use it effectively and efficiently was impressive. Kemp showed great composure while under pressure and expressed a high level of footy smarts to be able to hit targets and kick with precision. Another key part of his game was his ability to take strong contested marks.
#16 Jacob Atley
Really quiet first quarter by his standards but picked up his intensity and hunt for the footy in the second quarter. His follow up efforts around the ground were important and worked himself into the match. Used his running ability to create scoring opportunities up forward. Had the ball on a string in the last quarter, and was instrumental in wrestling the momentum back for the Pioneers. Atley popped up everywhere and was peppering the footy inside 50.
#20 James Schischka
Was solid once again and took a good intercept mark in the first quarter to stop the forward momentum of the Power. He showcased his aerial ability and strong hands taking good overhead marks. Schischka used the footy well and hit his targets. Started to get more involved in the game in the third term after having a relatively quiet first half.