THREE clubs have dominated the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 9. Almost half of the best 22 from the round have come from the Murray Bushrangers (four), Geelong Falcons (three) and Northern Knights (three). Dandenong Stingrays, Sandringham Dragons and Western Jets all have two nominees in the team, while a record six clubs – Bendigo Pioneers, Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges, Gippsland Power, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Oakleigh Chargers – all having the one nominee in the side.
The forward line firepower is unbelievable for Round 9, with 29 goals kicked between the six starting forwards. Clubhouse leader Izaac Grant booted seven in a losing side for the GWV Rebels, while Jordon Butts booted six in Murray’s big win over Bendigo Pioneers. Fellow Bushrangers tall, Tom Boyd, has made the team at centre half-back, while Ely Smith (rover) and Jye Chalcraft (interchange) have also squeezed into the team.
Northern Knights’ forwards James Lucente and Patrik Della Rocca booted seven majors between them and will work in tandem in our Team of the Week, while defender Stefan Uzelac continues his good form of late with a nomination in the back pocket. Geelong key defender and acting captain Cooper Cartledge has made the side, joined in the team by ball-winning midfielder Baxter Mensch and regular half-forward nominee, Brayden Ham.
Sandringham Dragons’ potential first rounder Liam Stocker made the team after a best on ground against Eastern Ranges on the weekend, he is joined in the side by the classy Alastair Richards. Eastern’s Mitch Mellis was the other player from the standalone game to make the 22, joining fellow sole nominee Xavier O’Neill (Oakleigh Chargers) on the bench. Dandenong Stingrays also had two nominees, with Reid Nanscawen making his debut in the Team of the Week, along with captain Campbell Hustwaite.
To complete the forward set-up, Calder Cannons’ Jake Riccardi was the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Player of the Week for Round 9 after his five goals, with Gippsland bottom-age defender Jake Van Der Pligt the only other player from the drawn game in Morwell. Overage Western Jets ruck Darren Walters makes his debut in Team of the Week, joined in the side by midfielder Connor Thar. Bendigo Pioneers’ Liam Marciano is the other member of the Team of the Week, named on the half-back flank. Teammate and ruckman Daniel Keating, as well as GWV Rebels’ midfielder Elliot Lamb and bottom-age mid/defender Brock Smith were the most unlucky to miss out.