Author: Matt Balmer

Twitter: @MattBalmer7

Draft Central Power Rankings: May 2018

IN one of the most recognisable draft crops in some time, the 2018 AFL National Draft is heating up to be one of the most talked about in the lead-up with so many tall and small prospects who are already looking like genuine AFL stars. As with last year, on the first Monday of the month, we take a look at the top 20 prospects and where we see them throughout the season. Some will rise and drop depending on performances, while others will remain steady throughout. Keep in mind that the Power Rankings are an opinion-based ranking system, without taking into account AFL club finishing positions or needs – ie. not a Phantom Draft. It is purely measuring players on our opinion of their ability. Without further ado, here are our current top 20:

#1 Jack Lukosius
Key Position Forward/Defender (WWT Eagles/South Australia)
09/08/2000 | 196cm | 84kg

Lukosius starts the season as the consensus number one in the eyes of many – but as we have seen time and time again, the player number one on recruiters boards in May, is not necessary the number one pick come November – but at this stage Lukosius is well ahead of some of the others in this draft pool. He jumped on the scene as a 17-year-old for WWT Eagles in the SANFL Preliminary Final, booting four goals and clunking eight marks on his League debut. He has continued his form into this season, booting seven goals from five matches, including an 18-disposal, 11-mark and three-goal game against Glenelg. He also showed his versatility collecting 25 disposals, 14 marks and six inside 50s from centre-half back in a South Australia Under 18 trial match at the beginning of the year. For the AFL Academy he was utilised at both ends, looking most at home as a forward, finishing the match with 12 disposals and two goals. The thing that separates Lukosius from other talls is his foot skills, where you could argue he is one of the best kicks in the entire draft pool, hitting targets at ease off his right foot around the ground. 

#2 Max King
Key Position Forward (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
07/07/2000 | 201cm | 86kg

The tall forward is one of the best tall prospects we have seen in recent years and is most certainly in the mix as a top five pick, despite the fact that King will not play another game this season. After booting a few goals in the opening quarter for Haileybury College at school football, King’s knee buckled from underneath him in the second quarter and he was stretchered off, with scans later confirming that the talented forward suffered a torn ACL. Nevertheless, King is a superb prospect who is outstanding in the air (thanks to a big wingspan) and a goalkicking option, having booted 8.5 against Oakleigh Chargers earlier in the TAC Cup last month. A real strength of King’s is his ability to collect the ball when it hits the ground, with a strong recovery helping the 201cm tall. While some say he could slip down the order due to injury, he won’t be falling outside the top 10, likely even the top five as such his ability. 

#3 Sam Walsh
Outside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
02/07/2000 | 183cm | 74kg

The best midfielder in the 2018 AFL Draft pool has started the season exceptionally well at TAC Cup level, averaging 34 disposals and six tackles in four games. Walsh’s smarts help him around the ground and it is very hard to keep him quiet out of a game. Against the North Melbourne VFL team, Walsh had 22 disposals, nine marks and four clearances, working through the midfield and booting the opening goal of the game. His spread on the outside is good and he has shown his can win the footy in both contested and uncontested situations. Leads from the front and is probably the safest player in this draft pool for a club to draft. 

#4 Ben King
Key Position Defender/Forward (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
07/07/2000 | 201cm | 85kg

The twin brother of Max King has started the season very well, used at both ends at all levels. While Ben is a natural key defender, he has shown at school level that he can be a valuable forward, booting 18 goals in the first two school games. Like brother Max, he is very mobile and has an outstanding leap. He recovers very well when the ball hits the ground and when he flies to mark or spoil the ball and it falls to the ground. Is the best tall defender in it and Ben competes exceptionally well. Reckon we might see him more as a forward as the season goes, could become a genuine ‘swingman’ if he isn’t already. After a good AFL Academy game, Ben King won the Melbourne Cricket Club’s President’s Medal as the best player. 

#5 Izak Rankine
Small Forward/Balanced Midfielder (West Adelaide/South Australia)
23/04/2000 | 180cm | 76kg

Probably the most exciting prospect in the 2018 AFL Draft pool, Rankine can do some special things that majority of others cannot. He is a lively forward who can push into the midfield and win his own footy, with his agility a key trait. Rankine was so good in last year’s NAB AFL Under 17 All Stars match that they made him switch teams at half-time! He missed the opening few weeks through suspension, but has since returned back to SANFL League footy with West Adelaide, booting four goals from 12 disposals. At this stage he is more of a forward/midfielder than a pure midfielder – and it will be interesting to see how he goes throughout the year, working on his craft with more midfield time for the South Australian side in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. 

#6 Nick Blakey
Key Position Forward (Sydney Swans Academy/Allies)
27/02/2000 | 195cm | 80kg

Up until this time last week, Blakey had multiple options as the son of former North Melbourne and Brisbane player John. Blakey also fell into the Sydney Swans Academy, while he could have opted for the open draft. However – Blakey has made a decision to stick with the Sydney Swans Academy and the Swans are going to get a ‘goodie’. Blakey is a natural forward, with a good goal sense and marks well overhead. He glides around the ground and can play in defence if required, while there is midfield potential should some of his coaches see fit. Blakey has dominated in the AFL Under 18 Academy Series against some average opposition, but he booted an exceptional goal off a few steps in the AFL Academy match against North Melbourne’s VFL side. While injuries kept him out of a lot of football last year, expect Blakey to warrant an early bid inside the top 10 at this stage. 

#7 Ian Hill
Small Forward (Perth/Western Australia)
09/02/2000 | 175cm | 76kg

Ian “Bobby” Hill is an exciting small forward is similar to Rankine in the way that he can make recruiters and fans go “wow” at certain moments. While at this stage, he’s far from the finished product – he has produced plenty of glimpses that suggest he’ll be a strong player for the future. He has superb speed and agility, while his goal sense is very good. So far in the WAFL Colts for Perth he has been very good, standing out averaging 21 disposals and booting six goals – but suffered delayed concussion from the last contest and will likely miss a few weeks of games. Hill is Western Australia’s best draft prospect and the second cousin of Fremantle pair Brad and Stephen Hill. 

#8 Tarryn Thomas
Outside Midfielder (Tasmania/North Melbourne Academy/Allies)
25/03/2000 | 189cm | 73kg

Thomas is a really exciting player whose glimpses over the last few years suggest he is going to be a special player in the future. The Tasmanian falls into North Melbourne’s Next-Generation Academy and therefore the Kangaroos will have first dibs on Thomas who will likely command a first round bid. Thomas is an outside midfielder who has a good burst of speed and agility, using it well off his right foot. He can also push forward and hit the scoreboard, and has been one of the clear standouts in the Under 18 Academy Series so far this season. 

#9 Jackson Hately
Inside Midfielder (Central District/South Australia)
21/10/2000 | 192cm | 80kg

Jackson Hately is one of the few pure inside midfielders in the top half of the rankings list. While he still has some size to put on, the 192cm midfielder is strong in the contest, where he can win the contested ball, tackle hard and win clearances. Hately can also hit the scoreboard when required. The Central District product has had a taste of SANFL League footy, recorded 21 disposals and seven tackles against Glenelg a few weeks ago. Hately was one of the big standouts for the AFL Academy in their match against the North Melbourne VFL side, where he had 17 disposals, eight tackles and kicked two goals. 

#10 Bailey Williams
Key Position Forward/Ruckman (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
17/04/2000 | 198cm | 95kg

The red-haired Williams burst onto the scene last year with some eyecatching displays for the Dandenong Stingrays, while he was also able to represent the Vic Country Under 18 team as a bottom-ager, where he mostly played in the ruck. While Williams is a strong ruck, he is probably a better forward at the moment – in the mould of Gold Coast’s 2014 draftee Peter Wright. Williams has an outstanding leap and marks well overhead. He is a capable set shot for goal and booted a stunning bag of seven against the Western Jets in Round 4 of the 2018 TAC Cup. 

#11 Bailey Smith
Inside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
07/12/2000 | 184cm | 79kg

Bailey Smith had a great finish to the 2017 season which saw him elevated to the NAB AFL Academy Level Two group. Smith played mostly across half back last year, but did show his ball winning capabilities on the inside for Xavier College at school football and for the Dragons on occasions, including a huge 44 disposals (22 contested) at 72 per cent efficiency, 13 inside 50s, 10 clearances, six marks and four rebound 50s match against Western. The Dragons 2018 captain is a strong leader and has really transitioned into an inside ball winning midfielder, having collected 37 disposals (22 contested) in the opening match of the season this year. In his most recent outing for the Dragons against the Jets, Smith had 28 disposals, 11 clearances and booted two goals, where he used his quick and clean hands to effectiveness on the inside. The right footer is a capable target around the ground and runs very well. 

#12 Connor Rozee
Outside Midfielder (North Adelaide/South Australia)
22/01/2000 | 184cm | 72kg

Rozee is another of South Australia’s top draft prospects and in recent weeks has pushed into the SANFL League side for North Adelaide. The midfield has smarts around the ground, getting to the right positions and has shown his capabilities as a good runner. He rarely wastes a disposal and moves well in and around the stoppages. While he has spent some time playing as a half forward in recent times, he will likely end up as a pure midfield with his strong skill set. Rozee has made his SANFL League debut, booting two goals in both appearances in the last fortnight. Rozee played all four games as a bottom-ager for South Australia in the 2017 Under 18 Championships, averaging 14 disposals and seven tackles. 

#13 Curtis Taylor
Medium Forward/Inside Midfielder (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
06/04/2000 | 186cm | 79kg

While at #12, Taylor might be earlier than many others have him – it is based on the potential that the Calder Cannons product has. Taylor has plenty of X-Factor, which he showed in past years at school football for PEGS, playing alongside top draftees Cameron Rayner and Daniel Venables. Taylor at this stage is far more comfortable across half forward than as an inside midfielder, but has plenty of opportunities across the year to improve his midfield calibre. He has a good skill set and can mark well overhead. So far this season, Taylor is averaging just under 20 disposals at about a 50 per cent contested possession rate, having kicked nine goals in four outings. 

#14 Ned McHenry
Balanced Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
13/07/2000 | 176cm | 71kg

McHenry’s super 2017 season saw him elevated to the National AFL Under 18 Academy Level Two squad and is a player that gives his all in every game. Despite his light frame, McHenry starts at the centre bounces and can win the contested football. The Falcons midfielder is a great character and you really need to check out his work on the Geelong Falcons Facebook page and watch the ‘Ned’s Falcons files’ videos. McHenry impressed in the National AFL Under 18 Championships for Vic Country last year as a bottom-ager, averaging 18 disposals at 75 per cent efficiency and laying 5.5 tackles. 

#15 Riley Bowman
Ruckman/Key Position Forward (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
25/02/2000 | 198cm | 82kg

There is a little bit of Tim English in the way Riley Bowman moves around the ground. The athletic ruckman has a decent leap on him, he is also a good user of the footy by foot. While Bowman is very raw and will need developing by any club that takes him, he has shown enough this year to suggest he needs to be tracked closely during the season. He worked hard in the ruck for the AFL Academy against the bigger North Melbourne opponents, at times going up against big Brayden Preuss. Bowman is averaging 16 hitouts in the TAC Cup this season. 

#16 Mitch Riordan
Inside Midfielder (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
25/01/2000 | 186cm | 79kg

Riordan is a player who flies under the radar a little bit, but continues to improve. While his numbers aren’t as big as some of the other Stingrays players, their game plan very rarely sees any player get above 25 disposals, with a team input seeing an even performance across the board. Riordan is strong in the contest and is a decent ball user off his right foot. He wins the contested ball and is a good tackler, working hard to win the ball back. Riordan is averaging 16 disposals and three tackles in the TAC Cup this season, but he will spend the month leading up to the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships at school level for reigning APS Premiers Haileybury College. 

#17 Liam Stocker
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
23/01/2000 | 183cm | 83kg

Stocker is a player who could definitely find himself as a first round prospect by November. Stocker is a strong midfielder who wins the football on the inside and spreads well from the stoppages. His clearance work is very good, while he can play on the outside where he can use the ball very well off either his right or left foot. Stocker will have the entire season at TAC Cup level, having finished school at Haileybury College in 2017. So far in this TAC Cup season, Stocker is averaging 18 disposals (more than 50 per cent contested), six tackles and four clearances per game. 

#18 Jye Caldwell
Balanced Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
28/09/2000 | 184cm | 78kg

Bendigo Pioneers and Geelong Grammar product Jye Caldwell is a good midfielder who has some strong tricks. Injury forced him off the ground early in the AFL Academy match against the North Melbourne VFL team, but he has returned to football and is one who showed some tricks in the Under 18 Championships last year for Vic Country, averaging 18 disposals. Caldwell tackles well and can win the both the contested and uncontested ball. 

#19 Riley Collier-Dawkins
Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
03/02/2000 | 193cm | 88kg

Based on potential – Collier-Dawkins could well be a first round prospect come later in the season. He does still have some work to go to reach this, but the signs early in the season are very good. Collier-Dawkins was very good in the #57 last year as a bottom-ager for the Oakleigh Chargers winning the ball as a hybrid midfield, and ‘RCD’ has had a big growth spurt over recent years, seeing him jump to 193cm (and growing!). Collier-Dawkins looks most at home as an inside midfielder – using his clean and quick hands to effectiveness, but has played on the outside at times this year, including the Vic Metro trial game where he recored 13 disposals and four marks. One to watch for his improvement throughout the National AFL Under 18 Championships. 

#20 Joseph Ayton-Delaney 
Outside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
25/03/2000 | 179cm | 68kg

Ayton-Delaney is a bit of a smokey for the top 30 in the draft and is definitely a name to watch out for throughout the year. In his flashy red boots, Ayton-Delaney rebounds the ball well at speed from half back and has shown he can play further up the ground on the wing or through the inside. He links up well and breaks the lines, using it well by foot – against the Stingrays in Round five he had 25 disposals, hardly missing a target. He is a player with plenty of potential and it will be interesting to see where he ends up at the pointy end of the season. 

If you have any questions, tweet us at @AFLDraftCentral or leave us a comment on our Facebook page. 

Player of the Week: TAC Cup Girls – Round 8

ANOTHER week, another big bag of goals and this time it was Sandringham Dragons’ forward Holly Bate on the end of scoring chain. The in-form forward booted five goals the previous week against the Western Jets, and went two better on the weekend, slamming home seven majors. Her performance was a clear standout from the weekend and earns her the title of AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls Player of the Week for round eight.

The performance has seen Bate race into favouritism for the Leading Goalkicker Award, booting 17 goals for the season – 12 of which have come in the past two weeks. She leads Oakleigh Chargers’ forward Daisy Bateman by three goals.

Notes vs. Bendigo Pioneers:

Bate was a standout up forward for the Dragons, booting seven of their ten goals, in their big 71-point win over the Bendigo Pioneers at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Saturday.  Bate was a dangerous target inside 50, booting goals from set shots and on the run. She had five goals to half time, after a set-shot after the half-time siren went through the big sticks and all the signs pointed to double-figures, as the Pioneers struggled to curb her influence.  In the last quarter, Bate went for 10 – resulting in a few behinds from her shots on goal, but very rarely did she waste a possession close to goal. Bate won a free kick right on the final siren, having a chance to shoot for a record-breaking eight TAC Cup Girls goals – but on a very tough angle, her drop punt missed all together. 

Possible father-son Bailey Scott stars in week three of the Under 18 Academy Series

TASMANIA Mariners were the big winners in the third round of the 2018 Under 18 Academy Series, while the Sydney Swans and Gold Coast Suns Academy teams both collected the points. 


A FAST start from the Sydney Swans Academy have ensured they would run out 29-point winners over the Northern Territory team in Alice Springs on Saturday.  The Swans kept NT to just a sole goal going into half time, with eight to their name and never looked back claiming their third win of the tournament. 

Despite likely top 10 draft pick Nick Blakey missing, Rory Barkley continued his good form of the carnival, bagging three goals, while Lachlan Swaney and Joey Reinhard both kicked two goals.  The 190cm Reinhard was named the Swans best for the match, with overager Sam Wicks and midfielder Cooper Kilpatrick also in the best. Reinhard played at centre half-forward, using his size to his advantage – taking multiple strong marks around the ground. He also pinched hit in the ruck at times and pulled off a stunning specky in the third quarter, as a contender for the best mark of the series. 

For the home side, Dandenong Stingrays twins Matthew and Stephen Cumming were again in the best. Speedy forward Matthew booted three goals, while Stephen also kicked a goal. AFL Academy member Michael Mummery had his best game of the carnival, named the NT’s best player for the match – using the ball effectively by foot in the midfield. 

NORTHERN TERRITORY       1.4       1.7       5.10     8.13 (61)
SYDNEY SWANS                    6.1       8.4       11.5     14.6 (90)

M.Cumming 3, S.Cumming, Wyatt, Forbes, Mummery, Ferreira
SYDNEY SWANS: Barkley 3, Swaney 2, Reinhard 2, Thorne, Stein, Maguire, Wicks, Van Huisstede, Carroll, Barling 

Mummery, M.Cumming, Simon, Green, S.Cumming, Hutt
SYDNEY SWANS: Reinhard, Parkes, Stern, Kilpatrick, Wicks, Brewer


POSSIBLE father-son and academy prospect Bailey Scott shone in the sun at Broadbeach on Saturday helping the Suns to a win over the GIANTS. Scott collected a team-high 22 disposals, four clearances and booted a goal in another strong showing in his third game of the Under 18 Academy Series. He is eligible to be drafted by three clubs (as well as having the option of entering the open draft), as the son of former Cat (132 games) and Kangaroos (111 games) player Robert Scott is eligible for father-son both clubs, as well as being part of the Gold Coast Suns academy.

Medium 187cm defender Ryan Gilmore (19 disposals and eight marks) intercepted well in the air, playing his best match of the carnival, while Kirk Koenen (14 disposals and six marks) continued his strong form. Having only recently returned from the AFL Academy Level One trip to New Zealand, Hewago Paul-Oea put in an eye-catching performance, while small forward Timakoi Bowie booted a match-high three goals. Defender turned forward Caleb Graham also kicked two goals for the match for the Suns. 

The GIANTS went goalless in the opening term, but Ed Perryman (brother of GWS’ Harry) booted two goals, as did highly touted AFL Academy Level One member Liam Delahunty – who dominated in the Under 16 championships last year.  After performing well at centre half-forward last week, Kieren Briggs played a bigger role in the ruck, recorded 28 hitouts – while his pressure around the ground was important, where he laid nine tackles. Xavier College student Jeremy Lucas had a match-high 29 disposals in the midfield, performing exceptionally well in the contest for the Giants. 

GOLD COAST SUNS    3.3     7.4       8.4       11.8 (74)
GWS GIANTS               0.5     2.8       5.10     7.12 (54)  

GOLD COAST SUNS:  Bowie 3, Buckland 2, Graham 2, Greenwool 2, Scott, Gore
GWS GIANTS: Perryman 2, Delahunty 2, Lucas, Driscoll, Corbett 

Gilmore, Bowie, Scott, Koenen, Budarick, Greenwool
GWS GIANTS: Briggs, Peatling, Richardson, Lucas


SMALL Forward Blair Rubock was the star as the Tassie Mariners smashed the Brisbane Lions Academy by 106-points on Saturday. The 179cm forward was helped by the sheer number of the Mariners’ inside 50 count and got the travelling team off to a flyer, booting three of their first four goals. Outside Midfielder Fraser Turner again found more than 15 disposals, while small Mitch Anderton was again in the best players for Tasmania. Tarryn Thomas (18 disposals and two goals), Matthew McGuiness (18 disposals and three goals) were also important in the win, while Ryan Banks-Smith had 19 disposals. 

For Brisbane, tall forward Kobe Tozer played his first match of the Under 18 Academy Series, booting one of the Lions’ two goals. Darcy Marsh again featured in the best, but it was a day to forget for the Lions who face GIANTS next weekend. 

BRISBANE LIONS       1.0       1.0       2.1       2.2 (14)
TASMANIA                    4.2       8.6       13.7     17.8 (110)

TASMANIA: Rubock 6, McGuinness 3, Thomas 2, Mundy 2, Banks-Smith 2, Jackson, Chaplin 

BRISBANE LIONS: Marango, Currie, Cowan, McFadyen, Marsh
TASMANIA: Anderton, O’Neill, Mansell, Rubock, McGuinness, Norton

Victorian Young Guns Series squads announced

THE best young talent in the Victorian Football League (VFL) will take part in a revamped AFL Victoria Young Gun Series, which kicks off next month at Avalon Airport Oval.

After previously being an annual match played in September, with potential ‘draft smokies’ going head-to-head, this year the three match series will give recruiters the chance to watch over the best emerging talent in the competition.

The initial squads – announced on the VFL website – have potential for talented community footballers to be added to the list for future games throughout the year, with VFL coaching games record holder Gerard FitzGerald overseeing the program in 2018.

Priority in the Young Guns series will be given to players who are yet to play regular senior VFL football, ahead of members of the squad already earning regular VFL selection. FitzGerald will not only support the players in the program, but play a role in assisting the coaching groups that have been established.

Dandenong Stingrays Josh Bourke and Port Melbourne’s Trent McMicking have been named as respective coaches, with Scott McDougall (Gippsland Power), Darryl Wilson – (Former Bendigo Bombers/Strathfieldsaye Football Club Coach), Ross Gemmill (Frankston), Peter Mongta (Gippsland Power), Tom Curran (Coburg), Mark Wheatley (Casey Demons) and Luke Daffy (Geelong Falcons) in support.

For more information on the series, keep an eye out on the VFL website. or the VFL Facebook or Twitter pages. All three matches will be played as curtain raisers to VFL games.

  • Saturday, May 5 at 2.00PM, Avalon Airport Oval (prior to Werribee versus Collingwood, 5pm)
  • Saturday, May 26 at 11.00AM, North Port Oval (prior to Port Melbourne versus Casey Demons, 2pm)
  • Saturday, June 30 at 11.00AM, North Port Oval (prior to Port Melbourne versus Sandringham, 2pm)

The players named for the series are as follows:

First NameSurnameClub
NathanBoucherBox Hill Hawks Football Club
NedReevesBox Hill Hawks Football Club
GeordieNagleBox Hill Hawks Football Club
TomFreemanCasey Demons Football Club
KieranByersCasey Demons Football Club
AidenQuigleyCasey Demons Football Club
MykeltiLefauCasey Demons Football Club
JulianPattersonCasey Demons Football Club
JacksonMcDonaldCoburg Football Club
DamonCramerCoburg Football Club
MaxMitchell-RussellCoburg Football Club
HarrisonNolanCoburg Football Club
LachlanMitchellCoburg Football Club
JakePageCoburg Football Club
NickDodgeCoburg Football Club
CallanWellingsCollingwood Football Club
JackRoughsedgeCollingwood Football Club
DanielStanfordCollingwood Football Club
SamRalphCollingwood Football Club
KalanHuntlyEssendon Football Club
JamesPetersEssendon Football Club
JoelOttaviEssendon Football Club
EdynSibbaldEssendon Football Club
CodyHennessFootscray Football Club
CoreyRichFrankston Football Club
JackMcHaleFrankston Football Club
MitchMcCarthyFrankston Football Club
AidenDomicGeelong Football Club
LochlanDhurrkayGeelong Football Club
DavidHandleyGeelong Football Club
LouisCunninghamNorth Melbourne Football Club
FraserCameronNorth Melbourne Football Club
LiamWheelanNorth Melbourne Football Club
NickHoganNorth Melbourne Football Club
QuintinMontanaroNorth Melbourne Football Club
BrendanRyanNorth Melbourne Football Club
EthanPenrithNorthern Blues Football Club
JordanJohnstonNorthern Blues Football Club
AlexFedericoNorthern Blues Football Club
SamFisherNorthern Blues Football Club
MatthewHarmanNorthern Blues Football Club
CampbellWalkerPort Melbourne Football Club
EthanPhillipsPort Melbourne Football Club
MatthewKingPort Melbourne Football Club
CharlieThompsonRichmond Football Club
HaydenMcLeanSandringham Football Club
JacksonHilleSandringham Football Club
CassidyParishWerribee Football Club
KeeganGrayWerribee Football Club
CooperStephensWilliamstown Football Club
TomSchnerringWilliamstown Football Club

Player of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 4

MURRAY Bushrangers key forward Hudson Garoni’s huge bag of eight goals on Saturday was enough to earn him the title of AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Week, for Round 4. 

The AFL Academy tall was influential throughout the contest, especially when the Bushrangers got on top of the Dragons, booting 13 goals in a row during the middle part of the contest. 

Garoni booted four goals in the second quarter in the space of fifteen minutes, with his burst helping the Bushrangers reverse a Dragons lead of 19 points, and going into the final quarter Garoni had five goals to his name – managing to add a further three to finish with 8.2.

His contested marking was on show during the match, clunking five of his nine marks in the contest, finishing with 20 disposals to go with his eight goals.

Garoni’s big haul takes the 195cm tall forward to equal-first on the TAC Cup goal kicking charts, with the Bushrangers tall one of the main contenders likely to take out the honours as the top goalkicker in 2018. 


AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Week:

Round One: Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Two: Max King (Sandringham Dragons) 


Nick Blakey and Tarryn Thomas star in week two of the Under 18 Academy Series

POSSIBLE Top 10 draft talents Nick Blakey and Tarryn Thomas have stood out in the second weekend of the Under 18 Academy Series (Formerly Division Two), with the Sydney Swans, Brisbane Lions and Tassie Mariners the winners in this weekend’s games.


Nick Blakey stamped his authority as the best father-son/academy prospect in the 2018 draft pool, with a big bag of seven goals as the Sydney Swans Academy ran out 22-point winners over the GWS Academy on Saturday. With the match being played on the smaller Blacktown Oval No.2, it made for a contest match – but Blakey was able to find space in the attacking half of the ground, with the 195cm player standing out as the clear best on the ground.

The Swans got out to an early lead with three Blakey goals in five minutes, but the GIANTS came out hard after quarter time. However inaccuracy cost them, booting 3.5 for the quarter. The third quarter was a more even contest though GWS took the upper hand at one stage were within three points with a shot on goal that pushed wide. However, Blakey put the foot down in the final quarter, bagging another set of three goals in a superb burst of five minutes, taking the wind out of the GIANTS.

Blakey has the option of joining North Melbourne or Brisbane Lions as a father-son pick, after father John played 135 games with Fitzroy, before moving to North Melbourne, where he played 224 games. Blakey is also part of the Sydney Swans Academy and is eligible to join them as an Academy selection. Overager Sam Wicks (18 disposals), and Josh Stern (18 disposals) were also in the Swans’ best players, making it back-to-back wins for the red and white.

For GWS, Matthew Walker suffered an unfortunate arm incident during the contest, resulting in him being on ice for the second half. Edward Perryman (the brother of GWS’ Harry) played a very good role as a small forward, booting three goals from his 15 disposals. Perryman’s speed and agility were outstanding, while he was duly supported by 200cm tall forward Kieren Briggs who booted two goals, taking some strong pack marks during the day.

SYDNEY SWANS                                 6.4     8.6     9.8     12.13 (85)
GWS GIANTS                                       1.4     4.9     7.11     8.15 (63) 

SYDNEY: Blakey 7, Barkley 2, Stern, Bartholomaeus
GWS GIANTS: Perryman 3, Briggs 2, Budd, Corbett, Kelly 

SYDNEY: Blakey, Stern, Wicks, McKellar, Reinhard
Perryman, Green, Beaumont, Rowston, Kelly


THE BRISBANE Lions’ outstanding opening quarter led them to their first win of the Under 18 Academy Series for 2018, defeating the Gold Coast Suns Academy by 12 points. A seven goals to nil opening quarter really set the tone at South Pine on Sunday, with the Lions midfield brigade winning the crucial one-one-one battles during the day. However, despite the poor opening quarter, the Suns hit back with the wind in the second quarter and worked hard in the final quarter to outscore the Lions, but their slow start meant that the mountain was too high to climb.

Small midfielder Jesse Quint was outstanding on the outside, kicking the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions and hitting the scoreboard. Quint collected 20 disposals, eight marks, seven inside 50s and booted a goal, while inside midfielder Caleb Franks had a match-high 37 disposals, nine clearances, eight tackles and booted two goals. Franks is eligible for the 2018 AFL Draft and has put in two impressive showings in the opening two games, pushing his case for Allies selection. Thomas Griffiths (25 disposals) rebounded the ball well across half-back.

For the Suns, Bailey Scott again was in the best players, collecting 19 disposals, eight marks and booted two goals. Scott is eligible to be drafted by three clubs (as well as having the option of entering the open draft), as the son of former Cat (132 games) and Kangaroos (111 games) player Robert Scott is eligible for father-son both clubs, as well as being part of the Gold Coast Suns academy. Labrador midfielder Cooper Portelli had a team-high 25 disposals and eight marks, while Matthew Smith kicked three goals up forward.

BRISBANE LIONS           7.1       9.5       10.10   12.11 (83)
GOLD COAST SUNS        0.0       5.3       7.4       11.5 (71)

BRISBANE: Franks, McFadyen, Tomkinson 2, Pettigrove, Quint, Matthews, Jeffrey, Smith, Ansell
GOLD COAST: Smith 3, Scott 2, Portelli, Katsiris, Haua, Wingrove, Burke, Miles

BRISBANE: Quint, Tomkinson, Franks, Stackelberg, Matthews, Pettigrove
GOLD COAST: Portelli, Smith, Scott, Gore, Stone


NORTH Melbourne Next Generation Academy member Tarryn Thomas inspired his Tasmanian team to a thrilling 15-point victory over Northern Territory at Shepley Oval on Sunday. Thomas booted two goals late in the contest when the match was in the balance, finishing the day with three goals after starting the midfield. Thomas’ clean hands were impressive at the stoppages and he booted a classy banana goal right on the boundary which would’ve caught the recruiters eyes out at Dandenong.

Small defender Mitchell Anderton defended well, spoiling well on multiple occasions and competed hard when the ball was on the ground. AFL Academy member Chayce Jones tackled well and had multiple effective kicks in the attacking half of the ground for the Mariners.

The Northern Territory were led by two players who were out on their home deck, with Victorian duo Matt and Stephen Cumming lining up for the NT side. The pair were among the best players, with Stephen rucking well throughout the match.  Stephen was clean and sharp by hand, spreading well to take some good marks during the match. He found a good amount of possessions, showing good second efforts when he lost possession of the ball. Twin brother Matt played at centre half back, taking some nice marks overhead, including a strong passage of play in the second quarter where he executed some slick handballs alongside brother Stephen.

Michael Mummery roved the ball well in the midfield, while Rodney Baird was good in defensive 50.

TASMANIA                             2.4       5.7       6.9       9.13 (67)
NORTHERN TERRITORY      0.3       2.4       5.7       7.10 (52)

TASMANIA: Thomas 3, Mundy 2, Rubock, Turner, Auton, Lane
NORTHERN TERRITORY: Stevens, Ferreira 2, Schwarze, Mummery, S Cumming

TASMANIA: Thomas, Anderton, Baker, Wright, Norton, Mansell
NORTHERN TERRITORY: S Cumming, M Cumming, Baird, Simon

Scouting notes from the games will be available during the week 

Scouting notes: Victorian trials

WET weather and blustery conditions played havoc at Ikon Park for the two Vic Country and Vic Metro Under 18 trial matches on Sunday.

With the Level 2 AFL Academy players rested from the games, alongside some injured prospects, it gave some other boys a chance to put their hand up to make the final squads for the AFL National Under 18 Championships. Vic Country won both games, but the results of the 15 minute quarter matches were irrelevant.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:

GAME 1: 

#3 Mitchell Riordan (Vic Country) – Played in the attacking half of the ground, winning ball in the midfield and pushing forward well. He booted a goal in the second quarter, soccering the ball through the big sticks.

#5 Kye Quirk (Vic Metro) – Played mostly across half-back and found a bit of the football. Provided some run out of defensive 50 and used the ball reasonably well. Marked well overhead when required.

#6 Justin McInerny (Vic Metro) – Started in the midfield and did some impressive things early in the game. Had a nice passage across half-back, marking and getting the ball moving quickly with a short handball. His kicking was just okay in what was tough conditions for outside players.

#6 Matthew McGannon (Vic Country) – The overager was rocking a flashy pair of bright orange boots and had most of his impact in the opening half. He linked up well on the outside, willing to kick on either foot – making it hard to work out which is his preferred. He hit a lot of targets on the outside.

#8 Xavier O’Halloran (Vic Metro) – Started in the midfield, but basically did a straight swap with Alastair Richards after half-time. In an unfamiliar role in the backline, O’Halloran did some good things – taking a few kick outs and rebounding it well. Showed his strength in one contest, putting his head over the ball and winning a one-on-one.

#9 Irving Mosquito (Vic Country) – Did some nice things when he flashed in the contest. He didn’t boot a goal, but made his possessions count. He had a few runs towards goal, including one where he took a few bounces across half forward. He has plenty of tricks and his hands in close are very good.

#15 Zak Butters (Vic Metro) – One player who stood out during the day. He is a flashy player that makes you take notice of him, with good bursts through the midfield. Butters won the ball and was reasonably effective by foot, an area that I have thought in the past had plenty of room for improvement.

#17 Finlay Bayne (Vic Country) – One player who I had not seen a lot of coming into the game, but he won a lot of possessions during the game. The 177cm Stingray was good in both uncontested and contested situations, and finished the match well with a mark inside 50 – before booting home the goal.

#18 Alastair Richards (Vic Metro) – Was one of the few players who you could say that you left the ground thinking about how well they played. Was clearly the best player on the ground in the first game (and arguably the whole day). Richards started the day deep in defence as a small defender, but pushed into the midfield in the second half and dominated. He booted two goals for the game, using it well off his right foot and used his hands well in close. A very agile player who has had a superb start to season 2018.

#18 Hudson Garoni (Vic Country) – Started the game with two goals in the opening quarter. He provided a marking target during the match, with a nice lead up mark in the third quarter one of his few better touches. Another highlight was a right foot “na na” from a set shot that Brian Taylor would have enjoyed.

GAME 2: 

#5 Angus Hanrahan (Vic Metro) – Played right around the ground in the Vic Metro team, snapping a nice goal in the second quarter. In the opening quarter, he took a very good intercept mark in defence and in another passage of play saw him kick the ball into a damaging position into the corridor to find a Metro teammate.

#7 Sam Flanders (Vic Country) – Arguably one of the best players in Game 2, coming off a big 20 disposal and four goal game. He had an outstanding run down tackle in the 2nd quarter. He then picked up the ball and hit Charlie Sprague inside 50 who slotted the goal. He booted the only goal of the first quarter from the goal square, putting the ball out of Ikon Park.

#9 Zane Keighran (Vic Country) – Had a few good touches through the midfield, but occasionally did not elect to use the first option he had. He did take a good mark inside 50 in the 2nd quarter and showed enough to suggest he is a player to keep an eye on.

#10 Zac Foot (Vic Country) – Played a very good game last week and had a good opening half. He won the football through the midfield and provided some good burst out of the stoppages.

#11 Liam Stocker (Vic Metro) – Has been putting together a really strong first month for the Sandringham Dragons and continued to do some good things today. He has some speed that helps him at stoppages burst away from opponents, but what is impressive is his second efforts where he hunts the ball carrier. His hands in close were very good.

#13 Lachlan Sholl (Vic Metro) – Has a bit of X-Factor with the way he plays, flashing on the outside. He has a good kick on either side of his body and he had a few nice touches early in the contest.

#16 James Rowbottom (Vic Metro) – His pressure was good around the ground, where he mostly played in the attacking half of the ground. A clear highlight was the outnumbered Rowbottom winning a two-on-one contest, bringing the ball to ground before he smartly knocked it out of bounce to force a stoppage.

#21 Charlie Sprague (Vic Country) – Sprague in his blue boots booted a goal and won footy in the midfield. He set up Flanders in the goal square in the 1st quarter and Flanders returned serve, when he set up Sprague’s goal. His work in the midfield and across half-forward was good.

Swans, Giants and Mariners take the points in Under 18 Academy Series opening weekend

THE UNDER 18 Academy Series kicked off at Blacktown International Sports Park on Saturday, with Tasmania, Sydney Swans Academy and GWS Giants Academy teams collecting victories. 



LIKELY Tasmanian draftee Chayce Jones has starred in the opening game of the NAB AFL Under 18 Academy Series at Blacktown International Sports Park on Saturday. After trailing at quarter-time, Tasmania booted eight goals to one in the second quarter, to move to an uncatchable lead over the Gold Coast Suns Academy side, eventually running out 45-points winners. 

Last weekend, 18-year-old Jones impressed in front of recruiters at the MCG against the North Melbourne VFL side, continuing his strong form in the attacking half of the ground, booting four goals to help the Mariners to a big win.  A serious injury curtailed majority of the Mariners captains bottom-age season, with a serious ankle injury requiring surgery – doctors had to insert a plate into the side of his leg near his ankle, which was screwed together. 

Outside Midfielder Fraser Turner collected a match-high 34 disposals, 10 marks and seven inside 50s, aided by ruckman Tim Auckland who used his frame well around the ground and was the Mariners best player on the day. North Melbourne Next-Generation Academy prospect Tarryn Thomas (23 disposals) did some good things throughout the mornings, continuing to put his hand up for a possible Top 10 bid.  Mariners overager Thomas Mundy and Blair Rubock both booted three goals each. 

For the Suns, tall defender Caleb Graham showed some good signs overhead, claiming five marks for the game – repelling multiple Mariners attacks from defensive 50.  Midfielder Bailey Scott used his speed through the midfield, gathering 23 disposals, five clearances and a goal. Scott is eligible to be drafted by three clubs (as well as having the option of entering the open draft), as the son of former Cat (132 games) and Kangaroos (111 games) player Robert Scott is eligible for father-son both clubs, as well as being part of the Gold Coast Suns academy. Tall defender Dirk Koenen (194cm) was the Suns’ best player for the contest, taking eight marks for the match.

Tasmania face Northern Territory in Melbourne next week, while Gold Coast will play Brisbane Lions Academy at South Pine. 

TASMANIA                  1.1      9.3      10.6         15.9 (99)      
GOLD COAST             2.1      3.2        5.5           8.6 (54)                  

TASMANIA: Jones 4, Rubock 3, Mundy 3, Dakin 2, Banks-Smith 2, O’Neill
GOLD COAST: Smith 2, Burke, Conroy, Graham, Greenwool, Lowah, Scott

Auckland, Turner, Jones, House, McGuinness, Gadomski 
Koenen, Smith, McDonald, Scott, Graham



A STRONG all-round team effort has helped the Greater Western Sydney Academy side to a 48-point victory over the Northern Territory at Blacktown International Sports Park on Saturday. After a tight opening term, the Giants kicked away in the second quarter and never looked back with midfielder Tom Green racking up 31 disposals and 10 clearances in a best-on-ground display.

Murray Bushrangers pair Jacob Koschitzke and Matthew Walker also impressed through the contest, playing back and forward respectively. Koschitzke was a rock at Full Back, providing great run and carry out of defensive 50, while Walker had a very good battle with NT defender Rodney Baird, with Walker leading up the ground well taking multiple marks.  Nicholas Murray, the brother of Collingwood defender Sam, also was in the best with 21 disposals and five rebound 50s, while Ben Kelly rucked with authority during the entire match. 

For Northern Territory, Liam Holt-Fitz showed great speed on the outside, laying strong tackles. 173cm Holt-Fitz is a name to watch out for during the remaining of the Under 18 Academy Series, having been watched by recruiters closely over the last few years.  AFL Academy member Matt Green rebounded well out of defensive 50, finishing the day with 19 disposals and three rebound 50s while Michael Mummery showed some good signs and will continue to get better with each game he plays this season.  Dandenong Stingrays talls Stephen and Matthew Cumming did a good job, having only recently joined their teammates for the Under 18 Academy Series. Stephen was named as the NTs best player, battling with GWS’ Ben Kelly during the match. 

GWS Giants return to Blacktown next week for a cross-city clash against the Sydney Swans, while Northern Territory will travel to Melbourne to face Tasmania. 

GWS GIANTS                                  2.3       6.4       9.4       13.5 (83)
NORTHERN TERRITORY                2.1       2.4       4.5        5.5 (35)

GWS GIANTS: Chandler 3, Corbett 2, Edwards 2, Budd, Driscoll, Peatling, Powell, Rowston, Walker
NORTHERN TERRITORY: Schwarze 2, Brown, Rosas, Scrutton 

GWS GIANTS: Green, Koschitzke, Murray, Beaumont, Kelly, Briggs
NORTHERN TERRITORY: S Cumming, Rosas, Grant, Baird, Green, Holt-Fitz



POSSIBLE Top-10 Nick Blakey has booted five goals to lead the Sydney Swans U18 Academy team to victory over the Brisbane Lions Academy at Blacktown on Saturday.  The Swans led from start to finish in the second game of the NAB AFL Under 18 Academy Series, running out 49-point winners infront of a sea of AFL club recruiters watching on.

Blakey has the option of joining North Melbourne or Brisbane Lions as a father-son pick, after father John played 135 games with Fitzroy, before moving to North Melbourne, where he played 224 games. Blakey is also part of the Sydney Swans Academy and is eligible to join them as an Academy selection. The 195cm forward was too good for his Lions opponent, finishing the day with 19 disposals, seven marks and five goals. Blakey’s ball use off his left foot was impressive, where he also had four inside 50s for the match.  Small forward Cooper Kilpatrick had some really good flashes of play, kicking three goals for the contest.

For the Lions, zippy midfielder Darcy Marsh collected 23 disposals, eight inside 50s and booted two goals. Tall Toara Marango (191cm) was the Lions’ best, working tirelessly in defense right throughout the entire contest. 

The Sydney Swans won’t have to travel far, facing GWS Giants at Blacktown next Saturday, while the Brisbane Lions play Gold Coast at Southpine on Sunday. 

SYDNEY SWANS                  3.2      8.2      13.5         16.6 (102)      
BRISBANE LIONS                 1.2      3.2        5.4            8.5 (53)                  

SYDNEY: Blakey 5, Kilpatrick 3, McKellar, Reinhard, Barkley, Barling, Stern, Carroll, Wicks, Parker
BRISBANE: Marsh 2, Reville, Franks, McFadyen, Stackelberg, Jeffrey, Ansell

Cameron, Blakey, McKeller, Kilpatrick, Reinhard, Rayner, Parker
Marango, Marsh, Griffiths, Franks, Stackelberg

Victorian initial U18 Squads announced

THE INITIAL Under 18 squads for Victoria’s two Under 18 teams have been announced.

Both Vic Metro and Vic Country have released strong preliminary squads, with the final lists to be confirmed closer to the Championships at the conclusion of trial matches.

Both squads will meet this Sunday at Ikon Park, with two trial games to be played at 10.30am and 12.30pm. 

Vic Country once again kick-off their 2018 NAB AFL Under 18 Championships in Sydney against the Allies, while Vic Metro will travel to Western Australia in the opening round. 

Vic Metro’s Oakleigh Chargers (19) and Vic Country’s Dandenong Stingrays (16) lead the way for most representatives in the initial squads. 

VIC METRO U18     
CurtisTaylor6/04/200018679Calder Cannons
MasonFletcher8/04/200019977Calder Cannons
TyeBrowning28/01/200018181Calder Cannons
SamGraham24/06/200018576Calder Cannons
LachlanSholl7/03/200018577Calder Cannons
JackEvans21/03/200018683Calder Cannons
RhyleeWest12/07/200018080Calder Cannons
JackBytel14/03/200018781Calder Cannons
CodyHirst19/01/200018065Eastern Ranges
KyeQuirk30/05/200018674Eastern Ranges
JamiesonRossiter17/11/200118977Eastern Ranges
JamesBlanck20/11/200019580Eastern Ranges
XavierFry8/08/200018368Eastern Ranges
ThomasLockman5/03/200019780Eastern Ranges
TomMcKenzie23/06/200018476Northern Knights
ThomasHallebone19/07/200020183Northern Knights
BraedynGillard14/11/200018377Northern Knights
HarrisonGrace19/01/200019374Northern Knights
JustinMcInerny18/08/200018772Northern Knights
OscarWhite2/10/200018071Northern Knights
JospehAyton-Delaney25/03/200018068Oakleigh Chargers
MatthewRowell1/07/200118073Oakleigh Chargers
IsaacQuaynor15/01/200018282Oakleigh Chargers
DylanWilliams1/07/200118882Oakleigh Chargers
NoahAnderson17/02/200119083Oakleigh Chargers
MatthewWarren22/06/200019085Oakleigh Chargers
BaileyGriffiths1/10/1999202100Oakleigh Chargers
NoahAnswerth6/08/199918282Oakleigh Chargers
AtuBosenavualagi17/09/200017979Oakleigh Chargers
RileyCollier-Dawkins3/02/200019388Oakleigh Chargers
WillGolds6/05/200018168Oakleigh Chargers
WillKelly16/08/200019383Oakleigh Chargers
XavierO’Neill3/08/200018378Oakleigh Chargers
JayRobertson29/09/200018779Oakleigh Chargers
JackRoss3/09/200018685Oakleigh Chargers
BenSilvagni7/05/200019484Oakleigh Chargers
BaileyWraith29/04/200019184Oakleigh Chargers
JamesRowbottom19/09/200018578Oakleigh Chargers
JackMahony12/11/200117668Sandringham Dragons
BaileySmith7/12/200018582Sandringham Dragons
JoelCrocker14/04/200018970Sandringham Dragons
FischerMcAsey8/03/200119586Sandringham Dragons
EthanCasey13/04/1999202102Sandringham Dragons
BenKing7/07/200020285Sandringham Dragons
MaxKing7/07/200020386Sandringham Dragons
JoeGriffiths28/05/199920390Sandringham Dragons
SamuelForbes13/01/200018673Sandringham Dragons
AngusHanrahan9/08/200018268Sandringham Dragons
HarryHoulahan9/01/200018774Sandringham Dragons
WillKennedy18/06/200019886Sandringham Dragons
JamesRendell9/05/200019890Sandringham Dragons
AlastairRichards9/05/200018778Sandringham Dragons
LiamStocker23/01/200018383Sandringham Dragons
BukuKhamis24/03/200019081Western Jets
DalyAndrews22/02/200018376Western Jets
AaronClarke2/05/200019483Western Jets
HamishMurphy17/10/200018886Western Jets
ZakButters8/09/200018170Western Jets
XavierO’Halloran11/07/200018783Western Jets
StefanRadovanovic7/09/200019285Western Jets
EmersonJeka18/09/200119888Western Jets


JacobAtley04/07/0019174Bendigo Pioneers
JyeCaldwell28/09/0018478Bendigo Pioneers
BrodieKemp01/05/0119376Bendigo Pioneers
JamesSchischka24/02/0119079Bendigo Pioneers
ZaneKeighran19/10/0018279Bendigo Pioneers
RileyBowman25/02/0019882Dandenong Stingrays
BaileyWilliams17/04/0019895Dandenong Stingrays
SamFletcher27/01/0018779Dandenong Stingrays
JaiNanscawen31/03/0018473Dandenong Stingrays
BaileySchmidt07/03/0019997Dandenong Stingrays
SamDe Koning26/02/0119478Dandenong Stingrays
JaiTaylor03/02/0018771Dandenong Stingrays
JakeFrawley03/08/9918781Dandenong Stingrays
MitchellRiordan25/01/0018679Dandenong Stingrays
HaydenYoung11/04/0118679Dandenong Stingrays
WilliamHamill17/11/0018570Dandenong Stingrays
CampbellHustwaite28/09/0018474Dandenong Stingrays
JamiePlumridge12/01/0018375Dandenong Stingrays
ZacFoot24/12/0018071Dandenong Stingrays
FinlayBayne06/09/0017768Dandenong Stingrays
TobyBedford27/05/0017665Dandenong Stingrays
SamuelWalsh02/07/0018374Geelong Falcons
EdwardMcHenry13/07/0017671Geelong Falcons
SamConway17/05/9920289Geelong Falcons
DaneHollenkamp22/10/9920083Geelong Falcons
BlakeSchlensog25/09/0019890Geelong Falcons
ConnorIdun29/07/0019089Geelong Falcons
CharlieSprague08/05/0018779Geelong Falcons
CooperStephens17/01/0118770Geelong Falcons
OscarBrownless16/02/0018676Geelong Falcons
BraydenHam25/04/9918169Geelong Falcons
RylanHenkel08/02/0020096Gippsland Power
NoahGown01/02/0019391Gippsland Power
KyleReid12/08/0019385Gippsland Power
BrockSmith13/03/0118878Gippsland Power
XavierDuursma07/07/0018571Gippsland Power
SamFlanders24/07/0118381Gippsland Power
CalebSerong09/02/0117882Gippsland Power
BoadieMotton20/04/0017873Gippsland Power
IrvingMosquito24/08/0017569Gippsland Power
MatthewMcGannon27/12/9918473Gippsland Power
MattyLloyd02/11/0018577GWV Rebels
TylarWatts14/04/0019883GWV Rebels
JoshChatfield02/08/0018684GWV Rebels
HarrisJennings07/02/0018678GWV Rebels
ThomasBerry01/05/0018576GWV Rebels
JedHill06/07/0017968GWV Rebels
ScottCarlin17/01/0018578GWV Rebels
LochieDawson27/05/0018281GWV Rebels
ZaneBarzen29/10/0019377Murray Bushrangers
MarkMarriott14/01/0020289Murray Bushrangers
HudsonGaroni25/08/0019591Murray Bushrangers
FinbarO’Dwyer24/07/0018872Murray Bushrangers
LachlanAsh21/06/0118677Murray Bushrangers
LaithamVandermeer03/02/9918076Murray Bushrangers
KyleClarke31/01/0017472Murray Bushrangers
KyleDunkley20/06/0018481Oakleigh Chargers

Player focus: Xavier O’Halloran

A fast finishing Western Jets line-up collected their second win of the season, defeating the Eastern Ranges by 32-points on Saturday

Matt Balmer looks in depth at one of their important midfield cogs.

Xavier O’Halloran is one of a handful of players on the 2018 Western Jets list that is well and truly capable of finding himself an AFL home at the end of the season. As a bottom-ager for the Jets last season, O’Halloran averaged 18.8 disposals (53% contested possession percentage), 3.8 clearances and 3.5 tackles. 

Having been named captain of the Jets for season 2018, O’Halloran has begun his season with some strong patches of form, including the opening game of the season at RAMS Arena – where he collected 22 disposals, 10 inside 50s and had eight clearances. The strong bodied inside midfielder stands at 186cm and isn’t afraid to get down and dirty, winning the contested ball and tackling hard to win it back.  Alongside fellow midfielders Connor Thar and Zak Butters – the damaging trio have the potential to break a game open and are very tough opponents for any TAC Cup opposition midfields. 

Quarter by quarter:

Despite starting at every centre bounce in the opening half of the game, it was a quiet start from O’Halloran. There was plenty of attention from opposition players at stoppages, who had no doubt been instructed to watch out for the dangerous #33 and attempt to curb his influence around the ground. He did show his strength, winning a contested ball, taking a bounce but was never able to dispose of the ball effectively inside 50 in the second quarter. 

After half-time, O’Halloran really lifted – with eight disposals for the quarter. He immediately was in the action with a quick short sharp handball out of the centre bounce. He used his long kicks to effectiveness, with a superb mark on the wing – which saw him quickly play on and spot a target at centre half forward. 

A very strong contested mark 40 metres from goal was one of his standout involvements of the game, unfortunately missing the set shot on goal. The powerful inside midfielder, worked hard and won the ball around the ground, getting it inside 50 on multiple occasions – even if they were often just thrown on the boot to gain distance. 

Despite coming off the bench in the sixth minute of the final quarter, O’Halloran had an immediate impact with another mark 40m out and his shot on goal was a repeat to the third quarter, missing the shot. A snapping kick on goal resulted in a mark right on the goal line by Aaron Clarke. The Western Jets skipper showed a calm head, when he collected a handball receive, steadied himself and took a shot on goal from a few steps with sailed through the big sticks. 

Centre bounce attendances:
Quarter 1: three
Quarter 2: two
Quarter 3: two
Quarter 4: four

With just two goals apiece to three-quarter time, O’Halloran attended every centre bounce leading into the final quarter. It was a surprise to see him not start in at the centre bounce with the game on the line in the final term, but after coming off the interchange bench after six minutes, O’Halloran attended four out of the next five centre bounces for the contest. His clearance work is very good, especially around the ground – where he had 11 clearances all up in the opening two games of the 2018 TAC Cup season. As a bottom-ager for the Jets, O’Halloran averaged just under four clearances per game. 

Xavier O’Halloran’s disposals plotted out. (KL = Kick Long, KS = Kick Short, MRK = Mark, HB = Handball, PT = Point, GL = Goal)


Final stats:

20 disposals (10 contested)
13 kicks
7 handballs
7 handball receives
3 tackles
6 clearances
4 inside 50s
1 goal

Where Xavier fits in in draft calculations remains a mystery, this early in the season – but if he can continue to show off his contested ball winning abilities for Western Jets and then through to the Division One National Under 18 Championships for Vic Metro – he is certainly a name who could hear his name called out later in the season.