THIS weekend saw the first half of Round 12 take place. The Oakleigh Chargers defeated Calder Cannons on Saturday, while Mars Stadium hosted a double header between the GWV Rebels and Northern Knights, and Geelong Falcons and Sandringham Dragons. Here are some of the notes from those three games.
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Calder Cannons
By: Ed Pascoe
#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins
After a solid run in the championships, Collier-Dawkins was quiet against Calder winning just the 11 disposals. He needed to find a way to get involved in the play on transition, his leading patterns up forward could have improved and he had to impose himself more at the stoppages. However, when he did go in for the ball he looked clean and rarely made a mistake, he made a few nice turns while being tackled giving off good handballs showing what he is capable of as a tall inside midfielder.
#3 Joe Ayton-Delaney
Ayton-Delaney played a solid game down back, winning 16 disposals and keeping his opponents honest with some good spoils and close checking. Despite a few missed kicks, his overall kicking efficiency was good and often looked for his teammates to set up the play from defence. Didn’t do a lot wrong throughout the day in a nice four quarter performance.
#4 Will Kelly
Kelly played down back, carrying on his good form in the championships, rebounding well and amassing 21 disposals while also taking eight marks. He did well in marking contests against the likes of Jake Riccardi but he really impressed with his rebound out of defence often picking good options and running hard to get on the end of some handballs. Despite one errant kick in the first quarter his skills were solid throughout the day as the Collingwood father-son prospect continues to impress.
#9 James Rowbottom
Another solid game from Rowbottom who won plenty of the ball winning 24 disposals. He applied plenty of physical pressure laying 11 tackles, which was the most of any player on the ground. His strength throughout the day was his work at stoppages winning plenty of clearances and winning plenty of contested ball. His kicking let him down a few times kicking a few out on the full and a few kicks inside 50 where he tried to kick it too hard to a leading player, if he cleans this part of his game up then he would have been the clear best on ground.
#32 Jack Ross
Ross was extremely unlucky not to make the Metro squad and he proved that again today with a great performance in the midfield. Ross barely made a mistake all game by hand and foot and he worked hard around the ground to win the ball. Speed and agility are his knocks but he makes the most of what he has got with good running and positioning around the ground. He was vocal in the huddles showing good football smarts and leadership. Ross finished the game with 28 disposals which was the highest of anyone for the game.
By: Scott Dougan
#8 Lachlan Sholl
The classy half-back started terrifically, finding plenty of the pill early. Sholl read the play well and was able to rebound out of the defensive 50 effectively. He pushed up the ground at times where he was able to put his sublime kicking skills to good use, hitting multiple targets on both sides of the body. He was exceptionally clean at ground level and rarely fumbled. Sholl can be exposed defensively at times, which was evident in the second term when he hesitated and pulled out of a marking contest, resulting in a goal to the Chargers. His composure with ball in hand and ability to find the ball in multiple areas of the ground makes him an exciting prospect.
#16 Jack Bytel
The inside midfielder was prominent in the first quarter, especially in tight situations. His work around stoppages was evident, constantly releasing the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. He was involved in an important passage of play in the second term where he was able to break an opposition tackle and release the ball to teammate Will Jury, who kicked accurately through the big sticks. Bytel displayed inconsistency by foot, turning the ball over on multiple occasions, which is an area he will need to improve on as he develops. His game was cut short with injury and was unable to return to the field after half-time. Bytel had 23 disposals in the first half.
#27 Tye Browning
Browning played on the wing and up forward, winning the majority of his disposals on the outside. He made good decisions with the ball in hand and was able to create effective passages of play when moving forward. Browning received a free kick inside 50 in the fourth term, kicking a goal from directly in front after showing courage in a marking contest. While it was not Browning’s best game of the year, he still had a positive impact, gathering 21 possessions and booting one goal.
#35 Sam Graham
Graham had stints through the Cannons midfield but spent the majority of his time in the back half. He took a couple of strong intercept marks and used the ball well when rebounding out of the back 50. His defensive pressure was clear in the second term when he was rewarded a free kick after laying an important tackle on Charger midfielder, Jack Ross. Graham gave in-form forward Jake Gasper too much space at times, with the classy Charger taking full advantage of the situation. In a tough day for the Cannons, Graham put his leadership skills to good use and continued to work hard.
Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels vs. Northern Knights
By: Cameron Ross
#3 Scott Carlin
Carlin kicked a goal in the third term, which is rare for the hard working wingman. He amassed 17 disposals and while his ball use could have been a little better, he was able to impact with some crucial inside 50s.
#14 Jed Hill
Went onball in the second half and proved his dominant midfield display against Dandenong was not a fluke. Hill was instrumental in the third term, racking up a heap of possessions and was important around the clearances working hard to win the footy. Despite being quiet in the final term, Hill was once again one of his sides best performers with his strong tackling pressure.
#4 Tom McKenzie
Played the loose man in defence for most of the game and controlled the play well for the Knights. McKenzie made good decisions and hit his targets, tailoring his kick to suit the play. Mckenzie displayed his ability to win the contested ball at stoppages in defence which was really important for his side into the wind.
#17 Josh D’Intinosante
The youngster was once again fantastic and looks to be a top prospect for the 2019 draft. His ability to win both the contested and uncontested possession was terrific for someone who is a bottom ager. He impressed with his overhead skills considering his size. D’Intinosante was a tackling machine and led the way for the Knights with his physical pressure.
#30 Justin McInerney
McInerney works hard and is quick which is a great combination in a footballer. He used the ball quite well throughout the day especially into the wind when it was difficult to do so, firing out quite a few crucial handballs to teammates at opportune times.
Geelong Falcons vs. Sandringham Dragons
By: Cameron Ross
#8 Ned McHenry
Sam Walsh is the captain, but McHenry is clearly well respected by the playing group, and could be heard directing traffic and encouraging his team mates all game. Proved his leadership abilities with a huge goal with two minutes to go, and nearly dragged his team over the line getting tackled before getting the ball on the boot at the top of the square with 20 seconds to go.
#20 Brayden Ham
Kicked a big goal from 55m out after intercepting the kick-in. Granted, the kick was with the wind, but the penetration he got on the kick was really impressive. Proved his ability at ground level nailing his opponent in a tackle and winning a free kick. Ham also proved he has terrific skills by hand, cleanly hitting targets in tight releasing outside runners. He is also really quick, and seems to have an extra gear that he can hit when he is running with the ball. Really good game overall from Ham today.
#22 Sam Walsh
I watched Walsh at Kardinia Park earlier in the season (Round 4 vs GWV), and while I saw glimpses of the superstar quality, I was not blown away. Today I was. He is a genuine star and is the best player I have watched this year. He has the composure of Pendlebury, reads contests like Cunnington and plays like Selwood. He is a bust-proof no-risk pick that barring injury will play over 200 games of AFL football. The sort of player that Carlton, who has struggled at the draft table recently, should really look at with pick one.
#30 Oscar Brownless
The Cats father-son prospect played onball for the majority of the day and while he was very impressive up forward, failed to fully fire onball. I was excited to see how he would go in there, but he seemed to be 5-10 metres away from the clearance winner at each stoppage or under pressure. This was possibly due to the nature of playing on-ball, but he just lacked a bit of composure at times. The positives were, that when he went forward, he was very dangerous. He is a terrific kick, has a nice simple action, and kicked a key goal in the final term. He is clearly a better forward than midfielder, but due to his size (186cm) he may need to add that string to his bow in the modern game.
#39 Connor Idun
If Idun was a stock in the stock market, you would be buying shares in him. I went out and listened to the three quarter time speech and was blown away by his size. He is a big kid. If this boy is available in the later rounds of a draft, a club up the top end might be willing to take the risk on a player who still has a way to go developmentally, but could hold down a key defender post in 5-10 years time. Idun played in defence to begin with and was quiet statistically, but wore his opponent like a glove. He was moved forward in the final term, and was a big presence. Kicked a goal from the square after crumbing Schlenslog’s contest.
#48 Blake Schlensog
Schlensog not only rucked well, but was a big presence up forward. Despite not hitting the scoreboard, Schlensog’s ability to create a contest was really important for players such as Walsh and Idun who both scored after a Schlensog marking contest.
#2 Alistair Richards
Richards was fantastic today. He has an abundance of pace, and had the best highlight of the day. Richards collected the ball on the back flank, took on two Falcons who were trying to tackle him and burned them off. He then handballed to a teammate and collected the “one-two” before kicking long into the forward line. Rendell finished Richards work with a goal. All of this was into the wind, and against the run of play. On a day where run and carry was pivotal, Richards lead his side well, tucking the ball under the arm like Jack Steven and sprinting away from the opposition at least three times. His disposal can be questionable, but this can be excused in what was very difficult conditions.
#7 Liam Stocker
Really good game today from Stocker who kicked a goal against the run of play in the final term, which proved to be a massive goal for the Dragons and the match. Stocker is a smooth mover and the sort of player that seems to never be under any pressure. Put his body on the line and got cleaned up in a contest, but the Dragons midfielder got straight back up and ran to the next contest.
#19 Samuel Forbes
Played well on the wing and did some nice things in the contest under pressure. Produced an amazing kick that could easily have been missed. He was put under severe pressure from a poor handball from a teammate, but he gathered the ball, danced around the tackler, and hit Charlie Dean with a 40-metre pinpoint kick in between at least four Falcons defenders. Dean capped this bit of play off with a goal.
#23 Angus Hanrahan
His work rate was supreme. An example was when he took possession of the ball on the outer wing, and switched the ball across the ground. He ran hard forward, and collected the next kick up in the forward line taking a strong mark backing back into the pack. Hanrahan got hit hard, but picked himself up and took his kick. Ended up kicking the match winning goal. Hanrahan sold the whole candy store to an opposition player, strolled into 50 and slotted the goal on the run. Arguably the best player for the Dragons on the day, after giving a consistent, hard working, and match winning performance.
#28 James Rendell
Played well up forward and took some nice marks. Was the Dragons key target on a day without King. Kicked two goals and proved that he can take over the reins as the key forward when King is absent.
#61 Fischer McAsey
The Dragons ruckman proved to be solid not only in the ruck, but played well as a “fourth rover” laying big tackles and being a physical presence at stoppages. He is a lovely kick for a big man, and drilled a 40-metre bullet, setting up a teammate for a shot on goal.