AFTER releasing our team notes on the Allies and South Australian match last night, we had a number of writers take a look at the Vic Country and Western Australia match. Scott Dougan, James Goller and Callum Thomson watched the Vic Country side closely, while Peter Williams and Lenny Fogliani took notes on the West Australian team.
Vic Country vs. Western Australia
#1 Will Hamill
Hamill spent the majority of the game in the back half but was given the opportunity to play through the middle in the last quarter. He laid some strong tackles and used his accurate left foot to hit up his teammates. Hamill’s best passage of play came in the second quarter when he went back with the flight and took an eye-catching contested intercept mark.
#2 Sam Walsh
Walsh was at his usual best, gathering plenty of disposals in all areas of the ground. He won a fair share of the ball on the outside of the contest but he demonstrated yet again that he can play inside when necessary. Walsh is a very consistent footballer who rarely plays a poor quarter of footy. His awareness, composure and decision making was a real highlight for Vic Country, especially when they needed someone to step up. The reason Walsh is able to accumulate so much of the ball is because of his extreme work rate. He is an elite runner and works tirelessly to make as many contests as possible. He was involved in many passages of play in the second quarter that all resulted in goals. Walsh also kicked an impressive snap from the boundary line that kept Vic Country within striking distance. Was one of Vic Country’s best.
#3 Toby Bedford
The Dandenong Stingray was given the opportunity to impress throughout Country’s midfield and that is exactly what he did. Bedford showed that he can win the ball on the inside and outside. He was aggressive around the contest and constantly put his head over the ball to win possession. His speed and agility were also evident and undoubtedly helped him escape congestion on numerous occasions. He was exceptionally clean at ground level and displayed composure with ball in hand. One of my favourite passages of play came in the last quarter when he turned the ball over by foot, but redeemed himself by sprinting 50 metres forward to win possession back. Impressive game.
#5 Xavier Duursma
Duursma was a little quieter compared to his past two performances. He found a bit of the ball but was unable to have a huge influence on the game. His match-time was shared between the midfield and backline, signifying just how versatile he can be. His competitiveness, ball use and ability to release his hands to handball was still on display throughout the match.
#6 Laitham Vandermeer
The over-ager from the Murray Bushrangers started the match well before he was involved in a crunching tackle by Ian Hill, only five minutes into the first quarter. He was concussed and had his collarbone broken in the contest. He played no further part.
#8 Ned McHenry
The number one pressure player in the National Championships was again fierce around the contest. His defensive pressure and tackling was brilliant but probably did not have as much impact on the game as he would like. He collected the majority of his disposals in the third quarter where he was involved in several passages of play. What impressed me the most with McHenry was his effort and high intensity when he didn’t have the ball. He is always trying to apply pressure and he never drops his head if things don’t go his way.
#10 Zac Foot
Foot played on the wing but also played inside at times. He was very clean at ground level and provided some much needed outside run. His work rate and elite endurance became clear in the third quarter when he sprinted hard defensively to spoil a marking contest.
#11 Zane Keighran
The Bendigo Pioneer was part of the midfield rotation for Country but played the majority of the match in back half. Keighran seemed to work hard but was unable to have much impact on the game, finishing with eight disposals and two clearances.
#13 Thomas Berry
Berry demonstrated his versatility yet again, playing predominately in the back half, but also provided some outside run when required. His competitiveness, attack on the ball and defensive spoiling was top notch but he was constantly let down by his ball use. He rebounded well when exiting the defensive 50 but missed targets multiple times. He had three turnovers in the space of two minutes, with one resulting in a goal for Western Australia. Berry moved forward in the last quarter to try and give Country some much-needed spark but could not have the same effect as he did down back.
#14 Sam Flanders
One to definitely look out for in the 2019 draft. Was really impressive. Playing mostly forward he had stints in the midfield . The Gippsland product, was very dangerous up forward kicking 1.1. He has kicked a goal in every one of his games this carnival, showing a consistent impact on the scoreboard. A real highlight for Flanders is the pressure he puts on his opponents. He laid five tackles, but it was not just his tackles that was impressive he was able to put on all sorts and types of pressure on his opponents.
#20 Cooper Stephens
Stephens had 14 disposals against Western Australia. He showed that he has good hands within congestion. He dropped a simple chest mark which was not great. However he showed some speed and was able to have three inside 50s and thre rebounds. He also took a nice mark and spoiled strongly in a few marking contests.
#21 Ely Smith
The Murray Bushranger is one to definitely keep a eye on. With fantastic TAC Cup form, Smith was selected to play his first game of the carnival and he did not disappoint. Smith had 30 possessions with 23 of them handballs. He really impressed on the inside with his contested work having nine clearances to his name. He also spread from stoppages well, with having three inside 50s and three rebounds. Definitely a draft prospect to pencil down. Really interested to see how his second half of the season goes after being Country’s best in the match.
#23 Mark Marriott
The Vic Country ruckman, had a solid game, collecting seven possessions. He had 32 hitouts, beating his opposing ruckman Jack Buller. A highlight of his game was his fierce tackling – finishing the match with five to his name. He showed some good ground work and had five kicks and two handballs, which was interesting because generally ruckman handball more then kick.
#24 Matty Lloyd
Lloyd had 18 disposals for the game and was fairly good by foot. The defender looked strong in the contest and was very good one on one. Through the game he seemed to read the play well and made some good decisions with ball in hand. He not only was good defensively but he was able to counter attack a number of times. With five marks and three rebounds to his name, he was solid for Vic Country.
#27 Zane Barzen
Barzen did not have a lot of the ball recording only eight possessions however, he had impact. Barzen was on the receiving end of a handball in the goal square, but also earned it after hard running. He took a fantastic contested mark, arguably mark of the carnival to date. He showed good hand skills when in congestion and made the right decisions.
29 Bailey Williams
Williams played in the forward line for the majority of the game. He took a number of strong marks and was able to find opportunities in front of goal. He showed great athleticism to put pressure on opponents and to create space when in possession of the ball. Williams finished with two goals and was Vic Country’s most dangerous threat up forward.
#30 Oscar Brownless
Brownless started on the wing in the first quarter and rotated between there and half forward for the rest of the game. He took a mark inside 50 in the second quarter off the back of some good running on a fast break and was composed lining up for goal, kicking his only goal for the game. Brownless displayed clean hands and when up forward provided good pressure. The Geelong father-son prospect finished with 17 disposals and was one of Vic Country’s best.
#31 Brock Smith
Smith played in the backline and at times had to match up on Cameron where he gave away a couple of free kicks. The Gippsland Power member did not get a lot of the pill but he was polished when in possession and always hard at the contest, making his presence known.
#32 Brodie Kemp
Kemp played mostly off the half-back line where he was able to intercept and find a bit of the ball. When in possession he was confident and looked composed. He was efficient with his disposal and displayed good footy smarts. Playing his first game of the championships, Kemp did not look out of place and was one of Country’s better players.
#34 Scott Carlin
Carlin who had a quiet outing, was able to make the most of his limited disposals. He displayed clean hands and was able to link up with his teammates to get out of trouble multiple times. He found himself playing on Cameron at times and struggled to match up against his pace and agility.
#35 Hudson Garoni
Garoni took a nice mark just inside 50 late in the first term but failed to convert the tough shot. He was well held all day and really struggled to get involved in the game, getting no help from the poor delivery by his teammates. The TAC Cup leading goal kicker provided a target for Vic Country and despite not getting much of the ball he was able to provide a contest and bring the ball to ground most of the time.
#36 Riley Bowman
Bowman played as Vic Country’s number one ruckman and battled hard all day. When resting up forward, Bowman had an opportunity at goal but badly hooked the kick. His disposal use was good at the contest and in congestion, especially his hands. He was the best ruckman on the ground and always provided second efforts.
#39 Connor Idun
Idun tried hard in defence and used the ball quickly by hand. Idun impressed with his ability to read the play and his footy smarts. He was able to effect the contest either by spoiling or taking the intercept mark. He often kicked the ball down the line instead of either switching the play or finding the short option, however.
#1 Ian Hill
Played a solid game on the outside, predominantly running along the wing and causing some headaches for the opposition. His best game of the carnival, but one that should hold him in good stead for the final game on Wednesday given his obvious talent. A great vertical leap and strong tackler, his tackle unfortunately caused Laitham Vandermeer to come off on a stretcher in the first term, but such was his class, went over and checked on him before they took him off. It was clear his leadership is fantastic around the ground, getting to players and keeping them focused. With the ball, he is classy both through his disposal and ability to force teammates to move in certain ways. He has great vision and ahows clean hands under pressure.
#2 Jarrod Cameron
Most people outside of Western Australia would not have heard of the livewire forward who is a member of the West Coast Next Generation Academy, but by the end of the match, the brother of Brisbane’s Charlie, had everyone talking. He booted five goals and just caused a nuisance of himself down forward, showing a swagger with five majors, and could have had a couple more. He has a great vertical leap and great acceleration, burning off Zac Foot and Tom Berry – both of whom are lightning quick themselves.
#4 Graydon Wilson
Had a promising game in defence, using the ball well by foot, while also putting pressure on the ball carrier. He positions himself well when inside defensive 50 and showed good hands in the third term to give it to Sydney Stack on the wing who set up a goal with the next kick. He reads it well in traffic and puts it to his teammates advantage.
#9 Tyron Smallwood
Started the game like a house on fire, and while he tired out towards the end, he showed glimpses of what he was capable of. He laid some strong tackles early, and gathered it cleanly at ground level. He snapped a great goal in the first term. Went for a massive ride on the wing in the fourth term, but could not bring the ball down.
#10 Rylie Morgan
I was impressed with the Under 16s state captain and his work through the middle. He always went in hard and showed good hands to give-and-go with hard running. He laid a great run-down tackle on Tom Berry and Sam Walsh, and made good decisions in traffic. He reads the flight path of the ball so well, intercepting a handball in tight and then showed off his hard running by winning the ball on the wing, delivering a short pass forward then was on the receiving end inside 50 two possessions later. His set shot fell short, however.
#11 Luke English
Just finds the football and works really hard between the inside and outside midfield, laying strong tackles and burying himself under packs. Booted the one goal, had another chance when running inside 50 but just missed. Is more of the ball-winning work-hard-in-transition type more than anything, and he covers ground as well as anyone. Looks like he has a huge tank for the amount of running he does between the arcs.
#12 Jeremy Sharp
Another promising performance from a player who was clear in defence and used good speed to evade opponents. He showed a good turning circle to step around Oscar Brownless and laid a great run-down tackle on Toby Bedford, albeit Bedford got his handpass away (see pic). Hurt himself from going in hard to spoil a ball on the wing, but showed good courage in doing so.
#13 Jason Carter
The Fremantle Next Generation Academy member is an eye-catching type who shows lightning quick hands in traffic and tries to take the game on whenever he can. Did not win a heap of the football – just the 10 touches – but he does have the Jets to hurt opposition sides.
#14 Sydney Stack
One of the more impressive West Australians on the night, Stack continued to be involved throughout the four quarters. He provides great run-and-carry, and often draws opponents to him before firing off a handball to a running teammate. Stack showed good vision and skills on the night, and set up his forwards well with good kicks to their advantage. He produced a great kick to Jason Carter later in the night at top speed, and was strong to stand up in a tackle and tap the ball along the ground to his teammates advantage. Just needed to capitalise on the odd decision making error better, but overall a strong performance.
#15 Jordan Clark
A super impressive defender who certainly threw up his name given his willingness to take the game on and remain composed in the back half. He won plenty of it in the first half in particular, and just mops up from the half-back line. He had six rebounds and four inside 50s from 23 disposals, pushing up the ground and rarely wasting a touch. One to watch going forward.
#17 Thomas Baldwin
Had an okay match, doing his best work on the defensive end, laying six tackles to nullify contests on the inside. He is a long kick of the football and was able to hit up Mitchell Georgiades inside 50 in the opening term. Landed awkwardly after going up in a marking contest and was limping for a bit. Had a third quarter shot on goal but missed to the left.
#18 Deven Robertson
A midfield bull, Robertson is putting his name forward as an exciting prospect for the 2019 National Draft. His attack on the ball and man is frightening.
#20 Luke Foley
The Subiaco midfielder was explosive in the midfield, kicking the opening goal of the game (a set shot from 50 metres), and setting up other multiple attempts. His clearance work was sublime.
#21 Tyson Powell
Was originally meant to start forward for the Black Swans, but was shifted to defence after Greaves suffered an arm injury. In defence he was an intercept king and mopped up everything.
#22 Damon Greaves
The East Perth product went off early with what appeared to be an elbow injury in the first quarter.
#23 Louis Miller
The Busselton product was outstanding in defence for Western Australia. His second third defensive efforts were to be marvelled at, especially in the second quarter when he spoiled a ball and then smothered an attempted kick on goal.
#24 Regan Spooner
The 2015 All-Australian representative was outstanding in defence, racking up possessions and distributing with aplomb. What’s even more exciting about Spooner is his ability to also push into the midfield.
#26 Jake Pasini
Opposed to Sam Flanders (who only kicked one goal), the 17-year-old was outstanding. He was solid in the air and on ground level, and his positioning was outstanding for someone his age.
#27 Tom Medhat
In his first game of the Championships, Medhat displayed promise as a key forward prospect. His leading patterns and marking ability were solid and his skills were on full display.
#29 Dillon O’Reilly
The imposing key forward was instrumental, always providing a presence inside 50. He also pinch-hit in the ruck and at times played as a big-bodied midfielder. The sky is the limit for O’Reilly.
#34 Brad Oldfield
The nuggety midfield was his busy self in the middle, winning the hard ball before dishing it to his outside runners. His thirst for contact was evident and his awareness was brilliant, as he got others into the game.
#35 Mitch Georgiades
Despite only gathering nine possessions, Georgiades displayed promising signs as possible draftee next year. He also took five marks, and almost secured “Mark of the Championships” when he flew high above a pack in the first quarter.
#36 Jack Buller
With Luke Jackson out of the team, a heap of responsibility was placed onto Buller and he did not disappoint. The AFL Academy member always competed strongly in the ruck contest and was very mobile around the ground.