Tag: 2017 TAC Cup

2017 TAC Cup Scouting notes: Finals week 1

THE FIRST week of TAC Cup Finals have been run and won, with Oakleigh, Dandenong, Geelong and Sandringham progressing to next Sunday’s Preliminary Finals at Simonds Stadium.

You can re-watch all four TAC Cup Finals games here.

Read Matt Balmer and Peter Williams’ scouting notes from all four finals below, focusing on some of the better players on the weekend, with an emphasis on the 2017 draft eligible players.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Northern Knights 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Jack Roughsedge – Booted the first goal of the game for the Chargers and played as an inside midfielder during the game. Coming out the stoppages and in tight, Roughsedge preferred to use his right foot kick rather than his hands to get the ball out of the contest. Spreads well out of the stoppages.

#7 Charlie Thompson – Has had a great second half of the year and is pushing himself in draft calculations. When up forward, he keeps his feet and is able to get the ball out to a teammate by hand. His clearance work in the midfield is very good and he was willing to tackle hard – putting pressure on his opponents. While he does lack a touch of speed, he knows his limitations and is able to get the ball moving forward on his right foot. Kicked a nice left foot snap goal.

#8 Toby Wooller – Was one of the Chargers’ best players but hopped off in the last quarter and scans post game confirmed he had broken his ankle. His marking was on show early, including a spectacular clunk on the wing in the first quarter. He did have two chances late in the first term to capitalise on goal – but missed them both. He did boot two goals in the third quarter and really showed his strengths in the air and at ground level. One of his better games in a while.

#14 Ed Richards – Didn’t win a stack of the ball, but his moments were very good and he was able to link up and create drive off half back. He did take a while to get going, but a nice intercept mark in the second quarter really got him going and he booted a goal in the second quarter. Late in the game he was shown into the midfield and won a centre clearance late, booting the ball inside 50 on his long left foot.

#22 Hugh Longbottom – It was surprising to see him begin the game in the ruck as an undersized tall at 191cm – but immediately he used his trademark leap to crack in hard, in what was a very good contest with Matthew Harman. He was very mobile around the ground and was able to get the ball around the ground and mark when required.

#50 Matt King – Worked tirelessly all day in the back half and reads the play well. Does not find as much of it as some of his teammates, but I felt he put in a lot of work moving the ball out of defence and propelling it forward in transition.

#71 Dylan Williams – The 16 year-old might not be available for draft selection until 2019, but his game on the weekend was first class. He marked well above his head, showed good athleticism and was able to pinpoint passes in traffic with ease. It is worth remembering this name next year as he is likely to take the competition by storm as a bottom-ager.

Northern Knights:

#4 Max Dreher – Started as an inside midfielder but was also able to go across to the half back flank when he rotated out. He accumulates the ball well and is willing to tackle hard around the ground. He is usually clean across half back and in tight at the stoppages, he’s able to use his quick hands to effectiveness.

#6 Patrick Naish – Played as a utility, but again looked his best in the second quarter playing up forward, where he was able to bag one of Northern’s four goals. While his finishing could’ve been better around the ground – his tackling pressure was very good. Is springy on his feet and can jump up high above some of the other midfielders when trying to win the ball in the air.

#7 Jack Petruccelle – Started off slowly but got going and showed his ability to win the ball in the contested situations. Went deep up forward at times in the second quarter, including an outstanding mark in the second quarter where he converted the chance. At the moment, he is far from the finished product and has plenty of traits that will appeal to clubs with his eye-catching speed and leap outstanding.

#8 Nick Coffield – Won the footy on the inside and once again was very good in traffic. Is so composed in the content and for one of the first times of the season – he was caught holding the ball at one stage during the match. A spin early in the contest was very impressive, while another good trait was his long handballing ability. An elite kick inside 50 in the third term was simply outstanding and while St Kilda coach Alan Richardson was looking on – it wouldn’t be a shock to see him drafted before their first pick inside the top 10.

#9 Alex Federico – Was willing to kick out of the stoppages on either his left or right foot – and while his numbers weren’t as big as previous games, he did some good things in their tough loss. At times he did just bang the ball forward, but his clearance work was important in meaning the Knights could get the ball going inside 50. His vision in the final quarter to find a target on his left foot directly to his right was outstanding.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Eastern Ranges 

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hunter Clark – Dandenong’s game plan involves getting the ball inside 50 as many times as possible – and Hunter Clark is a playing that completes that task. Whilst early in the contest, not all of his kicks hit the target, he was damaging in the second half of the contest and gave the Stingrays forwards the ball inside 50. His tackling and multiple efforts were hugely important in helping the Rays lift after half time. He had two pinpoint passes inside 50 in the third quarter, and his good hands in tight were impressive in the last quarter.

#6 Aiden Bonar – Played it patches, showing off his good burst and his strength in the contest. A nice contested mark, saw him run into an open goal in the first term, while he flied high for a mark in the second quarter. His tackling and general pressure around the ball was good, but did cop a knock late – but should be fine for next week.

#9 Luke Davies-Uniacke – ‘LDU’ was back to his pre-champs best, dominating throughout the contest – in particular in the final half of the game when the Stingrays took control. His hands and his pick ups from ground level were outstanding, while he showed his tenacious attack on the ball in the contested. A good passage in the second quarter saw him take a few bounces running down the middle, while another goal assist in the third term was equally impressive. He looked ‘stuffed’ in the last quarter after pushing himself – but he found another gear after he Stingrays needed someone to keep it going in the midfield and there’s no doubt he was the best player on the ground. Wow.

#15 Toby Bedford – Really liked his game out of the midfield. Managed to burst away from his opponents a couple of times and kick inside 50. He did not always hit his targets going forward but was able to get deep entries inside 50 which was a plus, especially in a game where Dandenong had tall targets such as Riley D’Arcy and Bailey Williams rotating forward.

#25 Oscar Clavarino – Took a couple of marks in defence, but he didn’t have as many as the previous week. He was able to be an option on the switch and at times was able to win crucial one-on-one contests. He is a rock in defence at times and reads the play well and hits the contest as a third man so well.

#26 Tom Murphy – Continued to win the ball on the inside and spread well from the contest. His clearance work was good and he was able to win it on the outside as well. His ball winning is very good and his stoppage work is appealing. Had a good third term. An underrated midfielder in the Stingrays’ line-up.

Eastern Ranges:

#6 Ryley Stoddart – Continued to work his backside off throughout the whole game coming out of defensive 50. He was able to mark around the ground with ease early in the game, but at times looked to rush things and elected to use his agility to try and get around players rather than just looking for a simple option, often seeing him tackled trying to do too much. His kicking was uncharacteristically off – but a few recruiters made it verbally known that it was obvious he was giving his all despite his teammates basically stopping late in the game.

#10 Dylan Moore – Used his smarts and agility to good use in the midfield, but was just out powered in the second half by the bigger bodies Davies-Uniacke and Clark. Moore’s follow up work was good and he was able to sneak forward and his goal in the last quarter did give the Ranges some brief hope that they might be able to snatch back the win.

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – Stephenson started the game up forward and was more impactful there than through the midfield. When he was playing well and providing some spark the Ranges were up and about, but after half time Stephenson was unable to get his hands on the ball and the Ranges begun to struggle. Stephenson snapped a nice goal in the opening term and had a good passage of play in the second term marking the ball – but unfortunately didn’t convert the chance. I still think his best position is inside 50.

#17 Cody Hirst – The exciting forward has pace to burn. He might not be the highest rated player, but the defensive pressure he offers and continual bursts of acceleration make him a danger inside 50. Pressured the Stingrays’ defenders throughout the day.

#21 Joel Garner – Played up forward after spending most of the second half of the year playing across half back. Garner showed his smarts and was able to hit the scoreboard in the second quarter. He used his left foot well and his kick to Trent Mynott in the third term was executed perfectly. He was able to provide a target and had more impact than he has in recent weeks.

#22 Jackson Ross – Again showed bursts to suggest the high level junior tennis player is worth a selection in the draft. He was willing to power the ball long inside 50 on either foot and covers the ground well. Booted two goals for the day and some of his overhead marks were very good.

Geelong Falcons vs. Gippsland Power 

Geelong Falcons:

#1 Lachlan Noble – A small forward who plays the role perfectly. While he does not win a lot of the ball he just pressures opposition defenders and then when his team wins the ball he darts forward and often wins the ball over the top. Kicked two goals in the second term from pure running and being the first to the ball deep inside 50.

#4 Gryan Miers – Was everywhere in the opening quarter, getting space in the attacking half of the ground. Won multiple frees inside 50 and was able to convert his chances in front of goal on his right foot. Finished the day with three goals and was able to impact the game up forward.

#11 Mitchell Chafer – The forward was pretty good early taking a great mark one-on-one and showed off his aerial strength. Adds an extra dimension to the forward line and with the opposition’s top defenders on the likes of Miers, Handley and Noble, Chafer can often be the beneficiary and has good goal sense.

#13 Ethan Floyd – Was best-on-ground using his great running ability on the outside. He used the ball reasonably well off his left foot and broke the lines, often using his burst of speed or agility to get around the players around him. Had multiple rebound 50s and inside 50s throughout the contest, and his follow up work was very good. One of his best games of the year.

#19 Matt Ling – Again had a disposal figure in the teens – but he was able to be damaging breaking the lines and hitting targets on his left foot. Had a very nice kick to Hollenkamp in the opening quarter, while an exceptional passage in the second quarter saw him use his quick hands deep inside defensive 50 – then following up to receive the ball across half back and have a run to get the ball moving onto the wing. He was composed with ball in hand and showed he was willing to defend – laying a few shepards and spoiling when required.

#22 Sam Walsh – Unbelievable once again. This bottom-age kid is something special and he will be one to watch next season. He has such poise and composure with ball in hand and just moves so well through the stoppages. He also has an impact up forward and consistently finds the ball.

#38 James Worpel – The inside midfielders was able to win the ball in the contest and get it moving forward. His long kick inside 50 that found Mitch Chafter was super in the opening half of the game, as was his goal from outside 50m off his right boot. He did appear the cramp later in the game, but he was able to keep pushing and a centre clearance in the final quarter that found O’Gorman was great.

#42 Cassidy Parish – Tag-teamed with Worpel in the midfield for the Falcons, he often looking to handball rather than kicking coming out of the stoppages. At times he was ‘casual’ in his approach kicking around the ground, but his ball winning ability was good. He cramped in his calf late in the game, but played it out still in the midfield for most of the last quarter.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Nick Hogan – Was very good early and his attack on the ball was notable. Starting across half back, he was able to set them up early in the opening quarter when the Power were in the game. He showed his speed and had a good smother on Cassidy Parish early in the game.

#4 Changkuoth Jiath – CJ was again exciting with some great eye-catching marks. His burst in close about 70 metres from goal in the second quarter showed promise and while the Hawthorn next-generation academy member is far from the finished product – his kicking was better than it has been in previous weeks. One of his best kicks was when he marked inside 50 and then was able to hit another player on the lead with pinpoint accuracy.

#6 Aiden Quigley – Spent time at either end, but got more involved as the game went on. He had a really good kick to Will Leslie in the third term and showed off some speed. He was willing to use it off either foot and was a deserving winner of a holding-the-ball after laying a nice tackle close to goal.

#7 Will Stephenson – Really busy early but faded as the game went on. He just runs hard at the ball and shows desperation with every attack on the ball. Might be small in stature but he is smart and just gets forward well, finds space and kicks the ball cleverly. Does not win a heap of the ball, but generally uses it pretty well. Good overhead for his height

#15 Cody Henness – One of Gippsland’s best today. Adam Garner had been a thorn in the Power’s side this season but Henness was superb one-on-one. He continually outmuscled him and was composed with ball in hand. He has shown this season he can play at either end and I gave him a big tick for his defensive efforts against the big Falcons forward, especially with the amount of inside 50s Geelong had.

#18 Matthew McGannon – Returning from injury, McGannon took some time to get into the contest, but got going after quarter time. Playing as an outside midfielder, he was able to spread well and kicked it long off his right foot. While at times his attack on the ball could’ve been better, he showed his desire to win the ball with a very good tackle in the third quarter.

#19 Callum Porter – Went head-to-head with Cassidy Parish early in the game and while he probably didn’t have a huge impact early – he worked his backside off to get the Power back into the contest. Showed his agility in the second and third quarters, with some good runs on the broadcast wings in front of the fans. Porter is normally good overhead for his player of his size and again showed that – with a good contested mark in the third quarter. Was tightly guarded by the Falcons through the second term and worked into the game after half-time.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Murray Bushrangers 

Sandringham Dragons:

#5 Seb Williams – Williams must like MARS Stadium – as his recent performances there have been very good. Williams again showed his run and zip on the outside, spreading well and backing himself to use his speed to get the ball up the field and inside 50. Williams booted a goal in the last quarter and did his draft chances no harm with another good game.

#6 Charlie Constable – Again continued to plug along and show why he is highly touted. He won the ball in the contested and dished it out to his teammates by hand – hitting most of his targets. He is a difficult match up inside 50 and he is able to take a good mark down low or in the air up forward. Had a nice handball goal assist to Morrisby early in the contest. Constable just gets his hands on the footy and gets to the right positions.

#8 Will Walker – Walker bobbed up and booted four goals, showing his run and carry ability getting the ball inside 50. He mixed his time between inside midfielder and up forward and it’ll be interesting to see at the next level where he fits in. Possesses good agility and has improved throughout the year.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Stood out again through the midfield, just getting to the right spots and was able to win it in the contested situations. His clearance work again was good and he was able to spread and win the ball around the ground. His third quarter was huge in ensuring that the Bushrangers weren’t a sniff at making a comeback. Linked up with his brother well (especially early) and had an outstanding passage, kicking the ball to Jarnestrom in tight on the boundary line.

#11 Hamish Brayshaw – Was a damaging player in the midfielder, winning the ball and using his strong frame. Was able to hit the scoreboard, but his smarts in the contest were notable. Has been injury free this season and there’s no doubt his VFL form has helped him come back into the TAC Cup as a better player.

Murray Bushrangers:

#4 Laitham Vandermeer – Was one of the clear Bushies best players and at every opportunity went to run off his opponent with ball in hand. His agility and run across half back was vital in the opening quarter, keeping them in the lead. He used it reasonably well on his right foot and was willing to take on his opponents (and kept doing it even late in the last quarter). Has a good burst and was one of the better players for Xavier College this year in Victorian APS school football.

#5 Ben Paton – Despite being sick in recent weeks, Paton was able to win the ball around the contest and across either arcs. He did rest forward at times, but his run was important throughout the day and did take some good marks late in the contest. One of the better Bushrangers, particularly early when they put the pressure on the Dragons.

#7 Zane Barzen – All class and was strong early. He booted a couple of goals and just showed great vision on the run to hit-up a teammate by centring the ball while under pressure. It was not the easiest of kicks but he made it look simple. A bottom-ager that might remind some Bushrangers’ fans of a Steele Sidebottom who turned out to be a pretty handy AFL player.

#10 Dave Smith – Smith again used his key traits to effectiveness, showing off his speed and flair on the outside. He was clean picking the ball up from ground level and he looked to pressure his opponents whenever he could.

#19 Will Donaghey – Booted a long goal during the contest and rebounded the ball well across half back. Possesses good agility and his marking was impressive (especially overhead) where he took an intercept mark in the third term. He was willing to hold onto the ball and look laterally for a switch at every opportunity he had.

#30 Alex Paech – Played as a key position forward and was often used in the ruck. When he collected the ball, he looked to dispose of it by hand balling to a teammate. Kicks the ball on his left foot and is able to kick it 50 metres.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 17

ROUND 17 of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend, with the top eight sides breaking away from the rest. We had scouts watching three of the games, read their notes below.


Sandringham Dragons vs. Dandenong Stingrays (Matt Balmer)

Sandringham Dragons:

#5 Seb Williams – Williams was able to find the ball in the attacking half of the ground, with multiple of inside 50s. While not all of his kicks were effective, he had a very good right foot pass inside 50 to hit a teammate at the south end of the ground. Has zip about him whenever he plays and is useful finding the ball through the midfield and get it moving forward.

#6 Charlie Constable – Went head-to-head with Luke Davies-Uniacke when they were matched up in the centre and had a good battle. Whilst he didn’t have the impact that he did in their loss against Oakleigh last week, he found the ball around the ground and was able to get forward and provide a target – with one very good mark low to the ground in the third quarter. Used his voice well around the ground to encourage his teammates.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Is a very good clearance player and probably hasn’t got the kudos he deserves since returning from his APS school commitments with Haileybury College. His work at the stoppages was very good and he is able to win the ball around the ground and push inside 50.

#73 Ed Newman – Started the game on fire, roving a tap from the ruckman – with a long centre clearance kick inside 50. Has a very nice left foot kick and played the game as a pure inside midfielder. Was good in the third quarter when he went head-to-head with Dandenong’s Hunter Clark. Has smarts at the stoppages.

#74 Nathan Murphy – The medium tall continued to show his versatility. Murphy played majority of the game in defence, but was swung forward at times and looked dangerous. He has long arms and plays much taller than his 188cm height suggests. He is clean at ground level and has a long right foot kick. Also made a few good spoils in defence.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hunter Clark – The clear best-on-ground for me. Won the ball in the contested situations playing as a full-time midfielder. He was able to win the ball and was dangerous propelling it long inside 50 on multiple occasions. Pushed forward and also booted two goals. Has been a different player since he started playing as a full-time midfielder post the Under 18 Championships.

#6 Aiden Bonar – Showed glimpses of what has been hoped after a long period without playing footy. Bonar played mostly as a tall up forward, but did push into the midfield and attend a few centre bounces. Early in the game he hit a nice handball to set up their first goal and clunked multiple overhead marks. He laid some strong tackles and despite appearing a bit sore in the final quarter, he pushes through and impressed all day.

#9 Luke Davies-Uniacke – Nearly kicked a goal of the season contender in the second term where he showed his class marking the ball across half forward, playing on – taking a bounce and kicking from 45 metres out. Spent a lot of time on the inside going head-to-head with Charlie Constable and having a very good battle. Was able to show off a good bit of speed coming out of the contest with a good burst and he spreads well. He was also trialled up forward for periods of time especially after half-time. Has shown he can mark overhead inside 50.

#25 Oscar Clavarino – Had a couple of intercept marks throughout the game playing as a key post in defence. He looked to drop off whenever he could, and was helped when the Dragons often opted for a smaller forward line. Uncharacteristically dropped a few marks, but still played a solid role in the defensive half of the ground setting the Stingrays up going forward.

#46 Mason De Wit – Played one of his better games of the season, using the ball well off his left foot on the outside. The 19-year-old is a nice size and was able to get to the right positions.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Matt Balmer)

Oakleigh Chargers:

#6 Matthew Day – Started the game on fire with a few possessions in the opening minute. Worked well on the inside, winning the clearances and showed off his quick hands in the contest. Can burst away at the stoppages and did show he could push forward and take a contested mark. Is composed with ball in hand.

#7 Charlie Thompson – Won plenty of the ball and pushed forward to kick five goals. Often marked unopposed 30 metres out from goal and was able to convert his chances. Hardly broke a sweat and he continues to play good footy, winning the ball in the contested situations finishing with over 30 possessions.

#8 Toby Wooller – Finished the day with four goals up forward and marked at ease inside 50. Did go off the ground for a long period in the first half, but returned and showed no sign of injury. Took some nice pack marks and his first goal was an impressive snap.

#35 Jack Higgins – Played almost 100 per cent of the game up forward and finished with seven goals in a best-on-ground performance. Higgins showed his smarts and tricks inside 50 as a goalsneak, often getting out the back and slotting the goal. But he also showed he could take contested marks inside 50 and did it with ease. Could’ve ended with double figures in the goal column if shoulder soreness didn’t end his day early in the final term.

#79 Bailey Griffiths – The Marcellin College ruckman had to play a bigger role than the Chargers would’ve expected after No.1 ruckman Ned Reeves went down with injury. Griffiths’ showed he wasn’t a one trick pony, winning the ball around the ground with very good follow up. While he did lose some of the centre bounces to a small opponent, his strength around the ground saw him win most of his hitouts for the day. Is build well below the waist and does have strength that other rucks don’t who come from basketball.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Kane Farrell – Was one of the Pioneers best in what was a poor day. Took a very good mark in the second term and was able to show that he can use the ball off either foot. Won the footy on the outside and was arguably a class above some of his other teammates.

#8 Lochie O’Brien – Took most of the kickouts for the Pioneers but was largely left across half back. Has good hands in tight and it would’ve been good to see him thrown around the ball a bit more. Had a great kick to Brander early in the contest inside 50. Has speed and rebounds it well.

#10 Brent Daniels – Really got into the game in the second half using his speed. Took a nice intercept mark in defense and was able to really work into the contest after that. Showed off his very good agility and laid a good tackle, which saw him rewarded with a free kick for holding the ball. Had a good centre clearance late in the contest and also booted a goal from a tight angle in the final quarter.

#13 Jarrod Brander – Played the whole game up forward taking a few marks especially in the opening quarter. It was surprising to see him not thrown back at stages as the ball didn’t venture into the Pioneers forward line too often. Moves well and reads the flight of the ball well to get to the front position. Had a nice kick to Byrne inside 50.

#59 Angus Byrne – Finished the game with four goals in the final quarter. The overager showed some signs in the Pioneers game down at Trevor Barker Oval against Sandringham and the left footer is a very good kick at goal. He marks well overhead.

Geelong Falcons vs. Eastern Ranges (Matt Dowling)

Geelong Falcons:

#4 Gryan Miers – Whilst a little quieter than in previous weeks, Miers was still able to find the ball and found himself pushing higher up the ground at times. He was strong around the contested situations, especially at ground level and has good vision and skills when sending the ball inside attacking 50. He once again influenced the scoreboard adding two more goals to his season tally.

#19 Matt Ling – Ling was less impactful than he has been at times this season however, after changing boots at half time, was able to find the ball in space and generate run into his game. He used the ball well when composed and showcased his quality kicking at times in the wet. 

#38 James Worpel – Played a strong, contested game and worked hard around the ground running both ways. He worked hard at ground level and won the ball when it was in dispute and was able to kick start the Falcons ball movement going forward. Worpel displayed his tenacity with a strong tackling presence applying pressure to the Ranges. At times when in possession he rushed a few of his kicks banging them forward, however this was understandable in the very wet conditions and the need to get the ball moving forward.

#41 Tom McCartin – Was a successful game down forward. Competed well in the air and followed up at ground level. Fumbled a few marks that he might usually have taken but was able to compete hard to win the ball back at ground level. Plucked a strong one-on-one mark deep inside 50 in the last quarter.

#42 Cassidy Parish – Was the Falcons best player for the match highlighting his strong presence around the ground and his improvements in ball possession and disposal efficiency in congestion and at stoppages. He was able to shoot the ball out quickly at stoppages despite the slippery conditions and this allowed the Falcons to ball to move forward quickly in attack. Parish’s composure was also evident with some classy kicks inside 50 assisting in scoring opportunities.

Eastern Ranges:

#10 Dylan Moore – Moore displayed his natural speed and running capabilities with the ball in hand. On multiple occasions, he found the ball on the wing and was able to accelerate out of trouble to launch the ball inside 50. Whilst occasionally being ineffective at times going forward, Moore showed he has the potential to use the ball cleanly and effectively in contested situations. Also booted a goal as one of the Ranges’ best.  

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – Started the game very well. He was a lively character out on the field and was able to gather the ball cleanly in the wettest parts of the game. He displayed good awareness in traffic and used the ball cleanly at stoppages. His two way running was also an asset that allowed to Ranges to get the ball moving in the way they wanted.

#18 Sam Hayes – Was a quiet game for the Vic Metro ruckman. Whilst competing strongly in the ruck contests and displaying good body positioning, at times he was matched by the Falcons ruck duo and it halted the impact of his hitouts to advantage. He also rolled forward to try to get some goals on the board, but was unsuccessful having his impact limited around the ground with the Ranges outplayed by the Falcons.

#21 Joel Garner – Played a strong game, leading from the front. Was the general in the backline and held up the defence when under pressure from the Falcons. He intercepted the ball well and was able to rebound the ball quickly in traffic.

#33 Tyler Brown – Was one of the Ranges better players. Pushed up and down the ground over the course of the match and was able to set up the Ranges going forward with clean skills and quick ball movement by hand. Brown had good vision and composure when in pressured situations and was a lively presence in the forward line.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 16

ROUND 16 of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend – with all teams at full strength following the conclusion of school football. We had scouts watching all six games, read their notes below.


Northern Knights vs. Western Jets (Michael Alvaro)

Northern Knights:

#2 Mitchell Andrews – Put on the long sleeves in the second half and didn’t look back, racking up the ball with ease from half back to the wing. Played a settling role for the Knights throughout the game and did well to break the lines in bringing his side forward. Showed good poise and even chimed in with a goal on the back of a 50-meter penalty

#5 Marcus Lentini – Played the role he’s been so consistent at all year for the Knights – mopping up between midfield and half back and setting up attacks with penetrating kicks. Showed good improvement in his decision making and short kicking accuracy too, while doing all the hard stuff that coaches love. Has the valuable quality of being able to play well in both wet and dry conditions

#8 Nick Coffield – The skipper produced another decent outing, acting as sergeant of the Knight’s back half. He was able to again show off his poise and class in-close, while also displaying his quick step and good turn of pace on the outside. Was prolific by foot as usual and tried his best to use his skill to settle the fast-paced game. Unfortunately, he gave away two uncharacteristic and costly free kicks in the final quarter that ended up handing Western the game – one was a very stiff deliberate rushed behind call, and the other a holding the ball decision. That shouldn’t take anything away from his solid game and overall credentials and is firmly in the top 10 mix.

#9 Alex Federico – Started off like a house on fire with 10 disposals and a handful of tackles in the first quarter. He continued that form and was probably the best for the Knights throughout the day, cracking in and winning the ball relentlessly. Attended most of the centre bounces and willed himself at the ball at each one, while making sure to follow up and not give his opponents an inch. Showed signs of the good outside traits he’s always had, too, and found targets with ease.

#11 Ethan Penrith – Was another who started the game well with half-a-dozen touches and a set shot goal in the first term. While he often drifts in and out of games, his pressure allows him to make his presence be felt on the field. You’d think opposition coaches would tell their players to take on anyone but Penrith, but he continues to wrap up players in great tackles to win the ball back. While he excels in that area, he just lacks a bit of polish in his disposal and decision making.

#18 Jamo Shea – Was very quiet for most of the game playing as a key forward, but dragged the Knights back into the game with his three second-half goals. Took his opportunities when they came but otherwise struggled to get going, along with the likes of Patrick Naish and Matt Harman.

Western Jets:

#11 Zak Butters – A member of the strong Western bottom-age contingent, Butters was reliable in the moments that counted. Most notably, he brought down Knights skipper Nick Coffiled late in the last quarter, allowing Cam Rayner to take the advantage and kick the sealing goal. Provided a wealth of drive for the Jets between the wing and half forward with his speed on the outside and grunt on the inside – despite his size. And while his name suggests otherwise, he showed a clean pair of hands in trying conditions.

#12 Connor Thar – Another bottom-ager, Thar backed up his performance for the Under 17 Vic Metro side with a solid outing here. Switching characteristically between defence and attack, the classy small provided plenty of run for the Jets on the outside. He isn’t afraid to take on an opponent (or three) and he regularly put his step to good use, buying himself time and space with ease.

#14 Lachlan Fogarty  Was arguably best afield in the first half as he won plenty of the ball and hit the scoreboard with two majors. Demonstrated a good work rate to find space in the forward 50 where not many can, and then put on a show of overhead marking to get full reward for his efforts. He’s another one who showed good desire in the contest while it was up for grabs, but sometimes got ahead of himself and gave away an undisciplined 50-meter penalty in the second half.

#19 Cameron Rayner – Rayner did his chances of snaring top spot in this year’s draft no harm with an impressive best-on-ground performance. He was slow to get going and the second quarter rain halted his ability to mark overhead momentarily, but he came to life after that. Chimed in with a couple of clutch goals to will his side over the line and continued to show signs of an improved work rate with some big efforts around the ground. He managed to do all of that and even throw in a typical fend off with a fractured thumb – freakish.

#26 Darcy Cassar – One who came from left-field, Cassar was as composed and assured as you’ll ever see a 16-year old be. With four first-half goals and an eye-catching set of locks, Cassar proved a real handful for the Knights defence all day and really took control of the half-forward line. He’s very clean with ball in hand and quite smart in the way he moves – certainly one to keep an eye on.

#38 Buku Khamis – Khamis is a late-comer to footy, but he looked like a natural out there today. Took some impressive grabs in defence, intercepting a lot of the long balls that went in and then setting up his side on the rebound. Uses the ball well by foot and is a promising, versatile talent for 2018’s draft.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Sandringham Dragons (Matt Balmer)

Oakleigh Chargers:

#6 Matthew Day – Had a very quiet first quarter, but impacted in the second quarter with multiple clearances on the inside. Has a burst of speed that can help him to burst away when he collects the ball. Took a nice mark in the fourth quarter, judging it better than his opponents.

#7 Charlie Thompson – Played as a strong bodied inside midfielder. Is willing to use it off either foot when going forward and is follow up is superb. Has good clean hands in close and kicked a good goal in the second quarter after his 2nd efforts saw him able to intercept the ball.

#8 Toby Wooller – Made a very good tackle on Andrew Brayshaw and should’ve been rewarded with a holding the ball call in the opening quarter. Took some marks throughout the contest – including a very nice sliding mark in four quarter with his shot missing on goal. Also intercepted a kick from Charlie Constable close to full time deep inside 50.

#14 Ed Richards – Took majority of the kickouts for the Chargers and used his pinpoint left foot to find a target short. On some occasions he played on and used his zip to gain 25 metres and bang it long. Had a nice early run down the broadcast wing in the first quarter and used his clean hands to find targets in the contest. Had a good contested knock-on to Jack Higgins that set up a goal in the last quarter. Also spent time playing as an inside midfielder, mostly in the final term.

#35 Jack Higgins – Spent a lot of time as a small forward and finished with three goals for the match. Laid some strong tackles and his defensive smothers were very good – including two in quick succession showing his desperation. Showed off his contested marking ability inside 50 as the game progressed. Won a free for ‘ducking’ close to goal and did his trademark ‘Stevie J’ run around snap to slot the goal with ease.

Sandringham Dragons:

#1 Lachlan Harris – Has played as an inside midfielder for Caulfield Grammar but returned playing as a small forward for the Dragons. Marked early in the game from 20 metres out and slotted the goal. He was willing to block to help his teammates and showed off some speed at times. Roved a nice tap in the third quarter but didn’t have time to get a shot on target. Finished with two goals for the day.

#6 Charlie Constable – Won a stack of the ball and used it well by hand and foot. Had a few chances on goal from 55 metres but just fell a few metres short into the wind. Had a nice rebound 50 in the second term that got the Dragons running down the far wing at RAMS Arena. His contested mark right on half time allowed him to go back and slot the chance giving them some momentum into the main break. Had another very good centre clearance in the last quarter and did his top 10 chances no harm.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Like Constable, would’ve won a lot of the football. What is noticeable is his contested ball winning and he weaves very well in tight spaces. His vision is good and he hits targets with ease. He worked hard defensively and was able to win the ball in multiple positions around the ground. Has a bit of zip in the midfield and could well push into the Top 10 come draft night.

#12 Jackson Hille – Played as a defender for the Dragons and possesses good hands in close. Was able to break free and rundown the wing in the opening quarter and his offensive work is good. At times he can get caught out with his defensive positioning and that is one area that he will improve as he spends more time in defence. Has a long right foot kick.

#24 Sam Cameron – Showed some speed across half back and has very good agility. Switched the ball well early in the contest and was composed with ball in hand. Is willing to use it off either foot.

Eastern Ranges vs. Calder Cannons 

Eastern Ranges:

#2 Thomas North – Played through the midfield and was able to find the ball at ease. He used it well on his left foot and had hurt factor with his disposals.

#6 Ryley Stoddart – The Vic Metro defender is in stellar form at the moment, after being one of the Ranges’ best against Sandringham Dragons. He started back against Calder, but worked himself up the ground – finishing up forward with two goals. He impacted the play throughout the day and was again in the best players.

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – Again spent time in the midfield after being the best player on the ground against Sandringham Dragons. Won the footy in contested situations and was able to find targets ahead of him.

#18 Sam Hayes – Was the clear best ruckman throughout the day winning a lot of taps. For the second game in a row had a more of an athletic ruckman (Balta) that attempted to jump over him at times, but he was able to compete strongly using his strength around the ground. Also pushed forward to boot two goals.

#22 Jackson Ross – Ross booted 29 goals for Haileybury in the APS competition and left no doubts to recruiters on Saturday, that he has the ability to dominate at not just school level. Ross booted five goals in a best-on-ground display, covering the ground well and finding the football. A very athletic type, he is a player to keep an eye on.

Calder Cannons:

#12 Noah Balta – Has been trialled in different positions for the Cannons this season, but played in the attacking half of the ground. Balta booted two goals up forward and completed well in the ruck against Sam Hayes, in what was a good battle when they went against each other. Showed his athletic traits off throughout the contest.

#20 Rhylee West – Found the ball easily through the midfield and was able to get the ball moving forward. Has a strong build below his waist and is able to stay standing when he is tackles.

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers (Peter Williams)

Geelong Falcons:

#4 Gryan Miers – Miers played predominantly forward in the game, pushing up the ground and then creating space for himself in the forward 50 when his team had possession. Took a couple of strong diving marks, although the second of which looked like it hit the ground. Had a couple of set shots but missed opportunities to have a big impact on the scoreboard. Miers kicked a goal on the siren at the end of the third term to give the Falcons a two-goal lead when the Bushrangers had the momentum.

#7 Harry Benson – Benson was strong defensively but did not spend as much time in the midfield as he had in past games. Played a bit off half-back, Benson laid a few desperate tackles and showed good vision when moving the ball from half-back. Had a clanger in the second term when he hooked a kick inside 50 to a defender, but showed some super clean hands at ground level under pressure to dish off to a teammate earlier in the game.

#16 David Handley – Handley was impressive in the first term and got his fair share of the football throughout. He provided some good link-up through the middle and when one-on-one, protected the ball drop well. Handley kicked a couple of goals, both of which game in the first half, but he spread his ground cover to include the defensive half, having a rebound outside defensive 50. His kick was a bit rushed and went to an opponent, but overall his decision making was reasonable. He showed a good sidestep when taking on Daniel Johnston in the second term.

#17 Cooper Stephens – Stephens continues to have his moments of brilliance. He is a nice, penetrating kick of the football coming out of defence, it is just a case of working on his shorter kicks where he tends to not kick through the football and therefore drops short of loops his kicks. Stephens was a presence in the air and took a good contested grab in the third quarter.

#19 Matt Ling – Ling was another who showed a few highlights, but ultimately was well held through the game. Had a couple of eye-catching dashes on the wing, but was constantly under pressure. He has good vision when coming off half-back. Ling’s best quarter was his last as he managed to win a bit more of the football and used his delicate kicking skills to influence the contest coming out of defence and into attack.

#38 James Worpel – Worpel played his typically consistent game, winning the ball and just grinding out a strong effort. His kicking still leaves a bit to be desired, but his quick hands under pressure is really good. When in close, his decision making also appears to be good and kicked a goal in the opening minute of the third term which gave his side a boost.

#42 Cassidy Parish – Parish was busy around the ground, winning plenty of the football and spreading well. He is good at getting his arms free in a tackle and handballing to a teammate running into space. Had a nice moment where he arched his back and kicked inside 50 to hit up David Handley, but his kicking still needs much work. Overall one of the better Falcons and tried his heart out for four quarters.

#43 Josh Jaska – Jaska is a developing key position defender who has a nice mix of speed and strength. He took a few strong grabs and provided some rebound off half-back. Jaska laid a strong tackle against a midfielder on the wing to kill a contest and help his side reset.

Murray Bushrangers:

#1 Daniel Johnston – Johnston had a quieter game against the Falcons after big bags in recent weeks. He leads at the football strongly, but needs to work on his second and third efforts. He noticeably lifted his intensity after quarter time, but has some areas to work on in regards to athleticism. Johnston found a bit more of it in the ruck but gave away a free kick which looked to be in frustration. Kept trying, but just wasn’t his day.

#2 Jordon Butts – Butts played in defence and was impressively offensively. He took a chest mark going back with the flight when he should have stuck the mitts up, but he protected the ball drop which was important. Butts is a reliable kick over any distance and showed good athleticism to be involved in a chain of handballs on the wing. He also did well to corral the speedster Matt Ling, and has a good tackling technique.

#4 Laitham Vandermeer – Vandermeer battled hard for four quarters and won a bit of inside ball but is not the big ball winner compared to some of his teammates and opposition on the day. He has quick hands under pressure and often looks to clear the area quickly by hand. He can tend to loop his handballs a bit which can put teammates under pressure at times.

#5 Ben Paton – Lined up on Miers early on and throughout the game at times and did a fairly good job. He has a penetrating kick coming out of defence and a good sidestep which he showed on multiple occasions. Paton took a fantastic contested mark sliding in from the side of a pack and then took an intercept grab in a rare stint pushing forward, cutting the deficit to just six points late in the third term.

#11 Jy Lane – Quiet game offensively for Lane who was tasked to oppose Ling early on. Kept his opponent quiet and did his job, but did not win a heap of the football himself. Provided a great run down tackle on Ling in the opening term, but was not sighted as much since.

#21 Doulton Langlands – Langlands was definitely one of the better Bushrangers, starting off half-back then moving through the midfield and finishing up forward. He created some line-breaking speed in the opening half, and while his decision making at times was questionable, he starred up forward late. Langlands finished the game with three majors and along with Joe Richards (four goals), was the major goal kicker for the Bushrangers.

#30 Alex Paech – Paech showed off his athleticism against the Falcons with some good closing speed and defensive pressure. He smothered Gryan Miers who has having a shot on goal, but then caught him high in frustration after Miers was paid what seemed to be a questionable mark. He was moved onto Garner who had two majors in the first term and kept the big forward quiet. He applied plenty of team pressure across the ground with shepherds and bumps.

#34 Tom Boyd – Boyd played forward and was quiet early, but worked into the game as he moved further up the ground. Laid a great tackle in the third term at half-forward and was more involved in the play through the middle of the ground. Boyd kicked inside 50 for a goal assist in the third quarter and took a good lead-up mark through the middle of Mars Stadium.

Gippsland Power vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Peter Williams)

Gippsland Power:

#2 Nick Hogan – Hogan was one of the Power’s top performers across four quarters, winning plenty of the football and buzzing around the stoppages. He had a number of inside 50s pushing forward hard, and showed great vision throughout the game. Hogan’s hard running was rewarded when he got on the end of a handball chain in the third term and booted a goal. One of his better kicks came when going inside 50 to hit-up Irving Mosquito who took a great grab.

#6 Aidan Quigley – Quigley has an imposing figure around the stoppages and has an influence on the contest when he’s “on”. Made a statement early with a goal from just inside 50 after receiving the handball from Cal Porter, then had a goal assist with a lovely clearance to Kyle Reid. At times he can rush his kick when under pressure, but has a booming rake when he gets onto it.

#11 Austin Hodge – Hodge’s trademark is his penetrating kick which he used to effect early. He would win the ball in the midfield and then pump the footy long to a contest which advantaged his forwards. A couple of times his kick would be a little predictable and was chopped off, but he showed his versatility, sneaking inside 50 to grab a mark.

#19 Callum Porter – Porter continues to stand out for the Power, working hard around the stoppages and having that unique combination of strength and acceleration. He can burst away from a stoppage, but also get his hands dirty and fire out a handball to a teammate on the outside. Porter is a really strong contested mark, especially for his size and he has a decent vertical leap as well. He rarely loses a one-on-one.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#1 Paddy Dow – Dow is an A grade player and it is clear to see why he would come into consideration for the first pick in the National AFL Draft. He can win the ball inside or out, but does most of his damage when in space. He has super quick hands, a great kick when he has time and space, and he is a goal kicker as well. Dow booted a goal from outside 50 and then set up another later on in the game when he won the ball, kicked short, got to the contest to win the ball again and then weaved through three players to hit Angus Byrne lace out inside 50. Dow had another chance later in the third term but his shot drifted to the right. A last quarter goal after a contested grab again saw the Pioneers claw to within six points midway through the term.

#2 Kane Farrell – Farrell played a tough, inside role throughout the match and had clean hands in tight. He won a number of crucial one-on-ones and showed a good penetrating kick when going inside 50. Farrell booted a goal in the final term when the momentum was against the Pioneers and continued to battle hard. He just does all the defensive things right.

#10 Brent Daniels – A nuggety midfielder/forward, Daniels is the prototype defensive forward who can also punish opponents on the scoreboard. Daniels works hard to push forward and looks to play on at all costs. He is solid by foot and is able to kick laterally at full speed while fending off an opponent. Daniels booted a goal after being on the end of a chain of handballs, rewarding him for his hard work.

#13 Jarrod Brander – The likely top 10 pick looked a dominant force all game and began to influence the game on the scoreboard with a couple of goals and a narrow miss in the third term. Brander took a ton of contested marks, and was impressive at ground level for a bigger player. He has a penetrating kick for goal and looked every bit a marquee tall forward. He earned a few free kicks as well with his opponents wary of his ability.

#18 Bailey Henderson – Henderson started at half-back and moved through the midfield, particularly spending time on a wing. He knows how to find the football and is a good size with good accelerations. A couple of times he stood up in a tackle and used his body to win the ball and move it on to a teammate’s advantage.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels vs. Dandenong Stingrays (Peter Williams)

Greater Western Victoria Rebels:

#2 Callan Wellings – The GWV Rebels’ captain continued to try throughout the four quarters, constantly pushing to contest after contest. Wellings used his quick hands to get it to teammates to run down the ground and worked hard with Aiden Domic in the third term when everyone else seemed to be down. He really started to rack up the ball, particularly off half-back and could hold his head high for his efforts. Narrowly missed a shot on goal from outside 50 after taking a grab on a long lead.

#4 Aiden Domic – After a quiet start, Domic began to exert his influence on the game in the second term. While he had a couple of forgettable kicks, more often than not he managed to kick it to his teammates’ advantage and showed clean hands throughout the match. A highlight was his clean pick up at ground level, spin out of traffic and snap on goal, but it was unfortunately punched through by Oscar Clavarino after the ball bounced the wrong way on the goal line. Domic continued to win the ball throughout the third term, being used well in transition from half-back to half-forward.

#10 Jordan Johnston – A quieter game for the exciting talent. Johnston started in the midfield to show what he could do on the inside and he did not disappoint, earning a few free kicks after burying himself under packs and winning the ball first. He showed good vision across half-back under pressure, hitting up a teammate with a lateral pass while under pressure. Johnston also continued to apply defensive pressure despite not winning much of the ball, laying a few tackles and providing shepherds for his teammates. Johnston had a highlight earlier in the last term with a clever spin but then ruined it with a kick that landed in an opposition player’s lap. Johnston had a rare shot at goal late in the final term but his shot drifted away for a behind.

#23 Lloyd Meek – One of GWV Rebels’ best with the way he presented himself across the ground. He went when he had to go and provided a target up forward when he was not rucking. He took a few good contested marks and was equally as impressive at ground level. Meek knows how to use his body, shows good positioning and his tap work was also impressive. For a taller player, he is surprisingly good at ground level, and he is able to stand his ground well when one-on-one. Meek continued presenting throughout the four quarters.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hunter Clark – Clark put in another impressive performance with a good mixture of speed and strength. His kicking was once again questionable with a few rushed kicks off the boot, including one that was smothered. Nonetheless, Clark was one of the better Stingrays, bursting out of a stoppage and kicking long to the forwards. His repeat efforts during the game were also impressive, while his one-on-one work was really good. Clark has good vision coming out of a stoppage and has a greater influence when he handballs to the advantage of a teammate rather than throwing it on the boot. Clark won a 50m penalty in the last quarter and kicked truly to put a goal on the board for his team.

#6 Aiden Bonar – After a quiet first quarter at half-back, Bonar was moved to half-forward with instant results. He took a great grab and missed a chance at capitalising, but then snagged a great goal off a forward 50 stoppage when he read the tap to perfection. Despite having a few errors by foot, Bonar on the whole was reasonably effective by foot and his class without the ball shone through. He took a huge grab in the third term and kicked truly from the set shot to put the Stingrays 39-points up. Bonar won a bit of the football early in the last term and continued to push hard.

#9 Luke Davies-Uniacke – The potential number one draft pick actually had an anti-climactic start without impacting the contest a great deal. Once he got going however, he really got going and began to collect the ball across the ground. While he would not have won as much of the football as Hunter Clark, most of his kicks were long, penetrating kicks deep inside 50 to his teammates’ advantage. Davies-Uniacke had a snap in the final term but just missed. His work in close was good as was his ability to cover the ground, from mopping up in to defence to having score assists inside 50. A highlight was a pinpoint penetrating kick to Riley D’Arcy on the lead inside 50 in the third quarter.

#25 Oscar Clavarino – Clavarino is Mr Consistency and a complete rock in defence. He won a truckload of intercept possessions, going back, taking good contested grabs and rebounding off half-back. The most noticeable aspect about his game is his ability to seem composed at all times and is a good decision maker by hand or foot. Clavarino propelled a number of Rebels’ attacks throughout the match.

#26 Tom Murphy – Murphy had a few fleeting moments, but overall was quieter than other games. He had a booming shot at goal early from outside 50, but kicked it out on the full. Later on in the third term he did a good job clearing the ball out of defence with his penetrating boot to clear the defensive arc.

#35 Tom Freeman – Freeman did not have a huge game, but he was good in the contest. He continually put his body on the line and battled hard and lightened the load of Luke Davies-Uniacke and Hunter Clark on the inside. In one instance he got his hands free in a tackle when he looked well and truly wrapped up.

#50 Riley D’Arcy – D’Arcy had a huge first quarter but was relatively quiet after that. While he did not put a goal on the board, he took a number of contested grabs, and shepherded through a goal on the siren to allow Bailey Williams to goal. His kick to the top of the goal square moments earlier allowed Jai Nanscawen to pounce and snap a goal. D’Arcy showed good aggressiveness when tackling and had clean hands around the ground. Flynn Appleby locked down on him well after quarter time, with a rare mark in the third term and shot on goal just missing to the left.

TAC Cup Player of the Round: Bailey Smith

BOTTOM-AGER Bailey Smith had one of the best individual games of the 2017 TAC Cup season, earning him AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Round.

The Sandringham Dragons midfielder racked up a round-high 44 disposals in a best-on-ground display in the Dragons’ 30-point win over Western Jets on Saturday.

With Smith’s private school Xavier College having the bye in the APS school football competition, he was able to turn his attention to the contest in blustery conditions at Frankston Oval, winning the ball at ease throughout the midfield.

Smith finished with 44 disposals (22 contested) at 72 per cent efficiency, 13 inside 50s, 10 clearances, six marks and four rebound 50s.

His work in the contest was super and he recorded a game high five centre clearances, able to get the ball moving forward for the Dragons.

The bottom-ager has played six games this season, averaging 27 disposals and is putting his hand up to be one of the handful of additions to the NAB AFL Academy when it is announced in the coming months.

TAC CUP SCOUTING NOTES: ROUND 14

He becomes the fourth Sandringham Dragons player to win the award, making it back-to-back Dragons after Charlie Constable claimed the award for his strong performance against Bendigo Pioneers in Round 13.

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

Round One: Max King (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Two: Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets)

Round Three: Will Stephenson (Gippsland Power)

Round Four: Aaron Trusler (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Five: Jordan Johnston (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)

Round Six: Sam Hayes (Eastern Ranges)

Round Seven: Thomas North (Eastern Ranges)

Round Eight: Harry Benson (Geelong Falcons)

Round Nine: Callum Porter (Gippsland Power)

Round Ten: Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets)

Round Eleven: Toby Wooller (Oakleigh Chargers)

Round Twelve: Jackson Ross (Eastern Ranges)

Round Thirteen: Charlie Constable (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Fourteen: Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons) 

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 14

ROUND Fourteen of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend and with school football returning after the July school holidays, some teams were missing players from their best 22. We had scouts watching two of the games – read their notes below.

Western Jets vs. Sandringham Dragons (Brandon Hutchinson)

Western Jets:

#11 Zak Butters – Despite the end result, Saturday was an outstanding day for Butters. He was swift and fierce through the midfield, and made excellent use of his smaller frame – dodging and weaving where he saw fit. Butters took his fair share of interceptions and displayed brilliant consistency throughout the game. He dummied his opposition as well as finding creative ways to break the Dragons zone. No matter the task, Butters didn’t hesitate to throw his head into the play.

#20 Joshua Mould –  Opened up the first quarter with a strong, two-on-one defensive tackle in the backline. This prevented what would have been an inevitable goal for the Dragons. Mould later moved up through the midfield where he managed to snatch up the ball and get it down field. While it didn’t always hit the target, he showed spectators that he knows how to read the play. He shined brightest in his first half, slowing down in the second half as the Dragons began their gallop home.

#38 Buku Khamis – His goal late in the first term kept his team trailing close behind a tough Sandringham team. Khamis’ fine tuned contested marking showed spectators how dangerous he is in the air. He wasn’t lost when he was moved to the backline late in the second, dominating the contests there as well. Khamis applied some excellent pressure in the first half of the game, but may need to work a little on reading the ball along the ground.

Sandringham Dragons:

#7 Aaron Trusler – Trusler had a really quiet first quarter but came booming out the gate in the second, putting away three for his team and winning the ball in the first half. A clever small forward, Trusler read the ball well, scooping it up and putting it through whenever his opponent lost hold of him. A great player to have in the forward line, he just needs to show he can do it every quarter.

#8 Will Walker – Walker got plenty of ball along the wing throughout the first, powering hard & fast away from a congested midfield. He did plenty to get the ball to his forwards, opting for a big punt rather than the closer targets. While they won the game, looking short might be the better option going forward. Walker kept his head over the play, earning himself a few frees from the guys he sucked in. While in the final quarter he took on an attacking role of his own, kicking three goals.

#30 Hayden McLean – Consistent throughout the entire match, McLean did plenty when he came near the ball, whether it was loose or not. Applied amazing pressure in the third and fourth quarter, stepping up to keep his team ahead. McLean wrapped up plenty of the Jets’ boys when they crossed into his turf. He earned himself a free in the fourth and put away a goal to seal the game for the Dragons. A fine work rate from this young man contributed to Sandringham’s successful pressure all throughout the match.

#37 Bailey Smith – Smith read the ball well in the backline, and was quick in his decision making to get his team out of trouble. Clever switching kept the Jets stepping over each other to keep up and a few smart runs up the wing found the ball in the Dragons’ forward 50. Smith, like many others on the day, struggled to hit his man and depended on bombing the ball down field. This worked well while he was in the backline but as he pushed up the ground, it got a little less effective.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Gippsland Power (Brandon Hutchinson)

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hunter Clark –  All eyes were on this young man down at Frankston Oval this weekend. Clark positioned himself well throughout the ground and demonstrated effective inboard passing. He was well utilised through the midfield, plucking the ball cleanly from the air and finding a break in the zone through his clever passing. Clark also managed to slot two goals for himself. To take that extra step, Clark should try carrying the ball a little more as his speed and agility gives him an advantage over some of the other players in the TAC Cup.

#20 Tom De Koning – At the end of the second quarter you may have thought De Koning was injured after his leap too high in the ruck. Though it didn’t take long for him to regain his feet, where he continued to play some exceptional footy. De Koning dominated the ruck work, but didn’t always manage to hit his man. He easily out bodies his opponents, doing well in all contests. A successful smother and subsequent tackle helped to demonstrate what De Koning can do. While he fights hard throughout four quarters, this young man needs to do a little more to get his head over the ball.

#50 Riley D’Arcy – D’Arcy had much quieter game from what we’re used to. He struggled to slot away the ball in the first quarter, not getting the ball where he usually wants it. In the second he came out with two goals and used his size to help fend off others from his team. It’s difficult to out muscle him in the air as he plucks the ball where and wherever he likes. Though along the ground, D’Arcy is rarely ever seen. He currently sits third in overall goals, so his ground level work very rarely comes into question, but as soon as the ball drops low, this man is less of a danger. Once the ball comes towards D’Arcy in the air, very few players in the TAC Cup can pull him down. He finished with three goals – but it wasn’t one of his best games of the season.

Gippsland Power:

#3 Callan McKeon – One of the smaller men on ground, Mckeon used his speed and agility to beat his opponent. He broke up the play, dodging & weaving out of congestion. His passing was sharp and reflexes even sharper. Many times he found himself going for a run, moving the ball in the right direction. He showed some quick and careful decision making which should not go unnoticed.

#11 Austin Hodge – When the Stingrays began their run towards victory, Hodge shut the door in their face. Dandenong dominated the fourth quarter, bringing the game back within two points. It was Hodge’s two crucial goals in the final quarter which kept the game in their hands. Finishing up the game with three goals, he also demonstrated quick and clean passing around a congested forward line, helping to put more than his own through the sticks.

#41 Samuel Flanders – A lot of the Power goals were due to clever leading and passing throughout the forward line from Flanders. He finished the game with a nice bag of three goals. He had a pretty quiet game in the opening half but went on to kick back-to-back goals in the third quarter, and later closed it up with another. He disappeared a bit in the fourth but his efforts helped to get his team over the line. In the future he may need to apply a bit more consistency, but the Under 16 has a few years in the TAC Cup and has shown great ability in what has been a very good year for Flanders at all levels.

#42 Caleb Serong – Serong dominated the pack marks for the Power, flying higher than you’d think he was capable. He finished with three crucial goals and assisted in a few other set shots. Serong took a huge mark in the third quarter and slotted two of the goals which gave the Power the lead. An effective forward, the Vic Country Under 16 representative is a name to keep an eye on over the next few years.

TAC Cup Player of the Round: Charlie Constable

Midfielder Charlie Constable was one of the clear standouts for the Sandringham Dragons in their win over the Bendigo Pioneers on Saturday, earning him AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Round.

Constable had an equal match-high 29 disposals spending most of the game in the midfield, dominating from the first ball-up.

The 190cm midfielder was everywhere in the opening 10 minutes, with multiple clearances in quick succession in the contest with 12 of his disposals coming in the first quarter.

He registered a game-high 11 clearances, equalling Oakleigh Chargers midfielder Jack Higgins for the round, who also had 11 in their big win over GWV Rebels. Constable also took seven marks and 14 of his possessions were in contested situations.

Constable booted three goals for the day, including slotting a set shot in the final quarter to put their result beyond doubt. Whilst he wasn’t as clean as he showed in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships for Vic Metro, he was the star on the ground and has had a great year at all levels.

‘I WANT TO BE A MIDFIELDER’ – CHARLIE CONSTABLE

The All-Australian half back was one of Vic Metro’s best in the carnival and despite missing out on selection in their first game, managed to average 26 disposals, five marks and three tackles. Constable announced himself as a genuine top 10 draftee with 31 disposals, six marks and six inside 50s in the ‘Vic derby’ playing in the midfield and across half forward.

TAC CUP SCOUTING NOTES: ROUND 13

He becomes the third Sandringham Dragons player to win the award.

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

Round One: Max King (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Two: Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets)

Round Three: Will Stephenson (Gippsland Power)

Round Four: Aaron Trusler (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Five: Jordan Johnston (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)

Round Six: Sam Hayes (Eastern Ranges)

Round Seven: Thomas North (Eastern Ranges)

Round Eight: Harry Benson (Geelong Falcons)

Round Nine: Callum Porter (Gippsland Power)

Round Ten: Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets)

Round Eleven: Toby Wooller (Oakleigh Chargers)

Round Twelve: Jackson Ross (Eastern Ranges)

Round Thirteen: Charlie Constable (Sandringham Dragons)

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 13

ROUND Thirteen of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend, with teams at full strength after Vic Metro and Vic Country players returned from Under 18 Championships commitments. We had scouts watching four of the games – read their notes below.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Northern Knights (Brandon Hutchinson)

Dandenong Stingrays:

#9 Luke Davies-Uniacke – Coming through with two goals for the game, Davies-Uniacke ended the game being one of the best on ground. His high work ethic and movement around the ground showed spectators how smart and calculating of a midfielder he really is. He is ahead of the curb defensively and offensively. His ability to read the play made for clever midfield movement and he showed no issue with putting himself on the line for his team. An all-rounder and a playmaker, who won the contested ball.

#18 Mitch Riordan – Another star for the weekend, Riordan showed off a consistent and strong work ethic. Where many others players had many ups and downs throughout the match, this man came out the gate galloping and kept up his efforts until the closing siren. A brilliant midfielder who knows how to move throughout the ground and open up pathways for his teammates, and that’s exactly what Riordan demonstrated and why he remained relevant during the whole game. While the midfielder displayed more stopping and starting than a rugby game, the bottom-ager managed to break the cycle and deliver that ball to his forwards or by snatching it from his opposition.

#25 Oscar Clavarino – A strong backline can make all the difference in a football match, so it should come at no surprise that Clavarino played a major part in his team’s victory. Possibly taking more marks than inside the Knight’s forward line than the Knights forwards combined. Clavarino read the play well and his most impressive feat was the initiation of the quick run from the backline to their forward line which ended in a goal.

#50 Riley D’Arcy – It should be no surprise to anyone that D’Arcy came through as one of the best Stingrays on the weekend. This young man’s talents in the forward line has for countless weeks put his team yards ahead of their opposition. While he seemed to be up against a tougher opponent than he may have been used to, D’Arcy fought through the challenge, showing both sides why he is a danger when the ball is in the air. His contested marking is unparalleled, muscling out anyone who tries to snatch his football away. This young man also showed his teammates that what makes a good forward by hitting them up to increase the chances at goal. A nice four goal game, along with his assistive efforts help guide his team to victory and his around the body snap from 50 out was nothing but a sight to behold.

Northern Knights:

#6 Patrick Naish – Naish played a solid game booting two goals and setting up a few others. He spent more time up forward than he has in the past few weeks and his potential did shine through. He did miss a few of his targets but he showed some good signs that should help him spring into a great second half of the season.

#30 Oliver Wilson – A strong defensive player, Wilson smashed through his competitors, laying plenty of tackles and putting on pressure. Wilson set himself apart from the rest of his game, putting in the extra effort and doing the team thing . Doing it all, he even ended the game with a goal under his belt and assisted in setting up a few others. Wilson worked well with the pressure, using it to fuel himself and step up for his team.

#39 Patrik Della Rocca – A tough match for the Dandenong defence, Della Rocca put up a firm fight against the ferocious Stingrays. Kicking two goals, and battling hard in the contest, this kid ended as one of the better players for the day. The game had plenty of interceptions, many players failing to find their targets, but often than not Della Rocca managed to find his target and pluck the ball right out of the air. On top of all that he took a wobbly but beautiful mark toward the end of game stunning spectators.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Matt Balmer)

Sandringham Dragons:

#6 Charlie Constable – Dominated the contest and was the star in the opening 10 minutes of the game. He won the ball on the inside and dished it off with ease to teammates to clear it from the contest. He also pushed forward and booted three goals and did his top five chances no harm. Was on track at quarter time for 40 disposals, but the Pioneers were able to do a reasonable job shutting him down.

#8 Will Walker – Found a lot of the ball but often turned it over by foot or just thumped it long. Walker opted to bang the ball long and high rather than slowing down and looking for the shorter targets. He did manage to bring the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions helping the Dragons hit the scoreboard.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Won the ball in the midfield and does a lot right, getting to the right positions and using it well off his right foot. He covers the ground well and is willing to defend, tackling hard throughout the game. His contested work is very good and perhaps underrated by some.

#29 Joel Amartey – Leaped well around the ground in the ruck and just when recruiters were beginning to pack their bags he clunked a fantastic contested mark and slotted the goal from 35m out in the last quarter. The raw ruckman is getting better with each game he plays.

#74 Nathan Murphy – Was the Dragons’ best player, moving up forward after playing his last two games in defence. His clean pick up from ground level was exceptionally and he marked well overhead, showing off a decent leap. He booted three goals, including a smart snap roving the pack in the first quarter. He snapped his third goal around the corner but it would’ve been touched if not for poor defending from the Pioneers.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Kane Farrell – Spent times at both end of the ground but lifted his output when he went into the attacking half of the ground. Used it well on his left foot hitting all his targets. Had a very good passage on the wing in front of recruiters showing off his speed and agility getting around a handful of Dragons opponents with ease.

#7 Matthew Harvey – Linked up well in the midfield finding the ball around the ground. Booted a goal for the Pioneers and was one of their biggest ball winners.

#20 Angus Schumacher – The left footer used it well by foot and was able to find the ball through the midfield. His tackling was very good and he was willing to get involved in the contest. Possesses quick hands and was able to get the ball out to his teammates effectively.

#31 Caleb Sheehan – Didn’t win a lot of the ball but showed some good signs across half forward and in the midfield. Booted a goal and used the ball effectively by hand in close. Positioning at the stoppages was pretty good and he was able to win multiple clearances.

#59 Angus Byrne – The over-ager did some good things inside 50 booting two goals and provided some chop out in the ruck. Had a chance to convert an easy goal in the third term – but missed the chance. Marked well at ground level and the left footer was solid throughout the contest.

GWV Rebels vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Matt Balmer)

GWV Rebels:

#4 Aiden Domic – Found the ball floating across half back and through the midfield. Did have the odd bomb out of a stoppage, but his kicking was pretty neat on his right foot. Moves well and hit a nice spear pass inside 50 early in the game. Was smart enough to boot the ball long 50+ metres with the breeze and had a goal assist in the final quarter.

#9 Flynn Appleby – I thought Appleby was the Rebels’ best playing in defence. Appleby marked exceptionally well and used his good vision to spot a player with ease when he had ball in hand. He fought hard all day often matched up on the taller Toby Wooller and rebounded the ball well. Laid a superb tackle on Scala in the final quarter earning him a free kick.

#10 Jordan Johnston – Led well inside 50 and showed off his eye catching leap on a few occasions – including multiple contested grabs. He rushed a few of his kicks and it wasn’t a great day for him efficiency wise. When he picked the ball up off the ground he was able to dish it off to a teammate using quick hands on a few occasions.

#13 Thomas Berry – The bottom-ager was impressive laying multiple crunching tackles – including one on Riley Jones right on the three quarter time siren. He also nearly took a ‘screamer’ in the second term flying high for a mark. He got to the right spots to win the footy on the inside and possesses very good agile. Booted a simple goal in the final quarter claiming an intercept mark 15 metres out from goal.

#23 Lloyd Meek – Won the hitouts with ease in the ruck using his stronger frame which allowed him to out muscle Ned Reeves on most occasions. Had his quad strapped but it didn’t appear to effect him covering the ground well. Took a good grab in the last quarter but was one of a number of players whose kicking efficiency was affected by the wind.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#4 Ned Reeves – Was able to get up and over his Rebels opponents in the ruck at the ball ups – but was out muscled by Meek when they went head-to-head. Had a great centre clearance in the second quarter and was a damaging target inside 50 in the season half, with his extra height making him an impossible task for the smaller Rebels’ key position players. He marked and goaled twice in the third term.

#7 Charlie Thompson – Didn’t find as much of the ball early but worked his way into the contest, using his clean quick hands in close at the stoppages. Had a few shots on goal that were affected by the wind (resulting in 2.3 on the scoreboard). He was willing to go in and get the ball, but did rush a few kicks around the ground. Snagged a nice snap goal in the third term.

#8 Toby Wooller – Started the game well with a nice lead up mark in the opening quarter but it was just an ok game from Wooller. He played up forward as well as spending time at the stoppages, and had an outstanding centre clearance in the second quarter. The Chargers skipper reads the ball well at the stoppages and his defensive efforts were decent.

#14 Ed Richards – Has been super for Carey Grammar this season and continued his form into the game playing in defence. He was tasked with the kick outs and was able to find a free target with most of his kicks on his left foot. His hands in traffic are very good and he was willing to show off his elite speed and agility, taking on the Rebels players at times. Controlled the play and set the Chargers up well going forward.

#35 Jack Higgins – A quiet game by Higgins’ high standard. He still found 30 disposals, but it wasn’t as impactful as some of his other games this season. He worked his way into the game in the second half with 14 disposals alone in the third term, after earlier booting a trademark snap around the corner (Stevie J style) in the first quarter. He gave away a few innocuous free kicks throughout the day, but his quick hands were on show and the trait is one of the skills that seperate him from others at the stoppages. Kicked goal of the day on his left foot (non-preferred) deep in the pocket. Was willing to get in and tackle hard around the ground and his clearance work was very good.

Geelong Falcons vs. Western Jets (Peter Williams)

Geelong Falcons:

#1 Lachlan Noble – He was influential after quarter time, particularly in the third quarter. Booted two goals early in that quarter to help the Falcons hit the front and they never looked back from there. Noble finished the game with four majors and read the ball drop well, combining with his good goal sense to play a perfect crumbing forward’s game on a day where smalls were prominent.

#4 Gryan Miers – One of the best on ground for sure. Booted five goals and just looked dangerous every time he went near it. Strong in the air and at ground level, Miers particularly stands out with his ability to protect the ball drop and use his body well against his opponent to take the grab. He could have finished with about eight by the end of the day if he had not missed a few through the middle stages, but showed his class with a banana from the boundary line to go with a number of set shot and snaps.

#5 Jack Henderson – A reliable defender who did not do too much wrong in the backline. Along with Cooper Stephens, Henderson was tasked with switching the ball and trying to transition it out of defence. He hit his targets more often than not and seemed a composed user with ball in hand.

#7 Harry Benson – While he might not have accumulated the numbers he has in past weeks, he showed his super quick hands at the stoppages and is one of the many Falcons runners who are used in transition to move the ball cleanly from half-back to half-forward. He played on the ball and spent time on Lachie Fogarty, Benson laid a number of strong tackles on opponents.

#8 Ned McHenry – An underrated member of the Falcons midfield in my opinion. A lot is spoken about many of the others, but the bottom-ager goes about his business quietly achieving. A good user of the ball and particularly effective forward of centre, McHenry is most used as part of the chain of possessions moving in transition.

#16 David Handley – Kicked the first goal for the Falcons and the first goal of the second half, but otherwise was quiet. Like a traditional small forward, he pops up for an effective handball or pounces on an opportunity. The highlight was a bouncing ball in the square which saw Handley beat his opponent and volley it home to keep the Falcons’ momentum going after the half-time break.

#19 Matthew Ling – The speedy midfielder has that touch of class and it is no wonder there are plenty rating him in the first round. Does not win as much of it as some of his teammates, but he certainly knows how to do damage by foot. In saying that, he had a couple of uncharacteristic errors going inside 50 on the weekend and he berated himself for it, indicating the high standard he expects from himself. Ling’s top efforts were highlighted in a couple of footraces along the boundary line, beating his opponent and quickly disposing of the ball quickly by hand.

#22 Sam Walsh – Not named among the best for the Falcons which surprised me a little as I thought his run and carry was really good. Sometimes at full speed he would miss his his targets, but when time was on his side he weighs his kicks perfectly. One of a number of Falcons who impressed moving from half-back and through the midfield.

#38 James Worpel – Played more outside as he has recently, and won plenty of the ball on the wing and half-forward. Had a number of kicks going inside 50 but just needs to work on his disposal further. On Sunday his biggest problem just seemed to be that his execution let him down with his decision making still good, such as a few kicks dropping short of their intended targets. Laid quite a number of tackles, but also gave away a few free kicks. Worpel found space really well and covers the ground with ease.

#39 Connor Idun – Played on Cam Rayner when he was forward and I would have given the points to Idun. Did not always go with him in the midfield, but wore him like a glove in the defensive 50. While he does not win a heap of it, his defensive pressure and work rate is very good. Idun has good vision and can often handball to a teammate on the outside of a contest when he is in a congested situation.

#42 Cassidy Parish – I liked his game more than previous ones because he was opting to kick long rather than using a sideways handball. His ability in close is undoubtedly up there with the best, but it is his outside game, particularly his kicking which has brought the most critics. On the weekend I thought he kicked a lot better than previously. If he did not hit the target, he was clearing 40m passes and using long kicks to just get the ball deep inside 50. For me he played a clever game in the windy conditions – going for meterage and getting deep forward entries.

#46 Blake Schlensog – I was quite impressed with Schlensog’s movement around the ground. He seemed to be in sync with his midfielders when he was in a stoppage or contest and if he did not take the grab he would bring it front and centre. Schlensog had good vision for a taller player and managed to get his arms free in tackles.

Western Jets:

#12 Connor Thar – Really like Thar as a prospect because he rarely panics under pressure. He wins the ball and thinks his way through his disposal of it, showing good decision making and composure. Likewise his disposal by foot under pressure was also impressive and often found himself kicking to a target inside 50. As a bottom-age prospect, he will no doubt look to add size to his frame to work on the defensive attributes further, but overall he showed some promising signs.

#14 Lachlan Fogarty – A classy user when in possession, it was great to see Fogarty back at TAC Cup level with school football having the bye and his Vic Metro commitments over. Fogarty was really busy early and popped in from time to time but still needs to build his endurance further, having had a setback with a groin injury recently. When in space he uses it really well and puts it to the advantage of his teammates, but sometimes when in tight he can throw it on the boot. One instance was at a stoppage where he read the tap won the football and threw it on the boot. His opponent James Worpel had moved towards the contest and Fogarty had the open space to run inside 50 had he held it for a few more seconds to look. But given the pressure within the game he certainly could be forgiven for that, and I expect he will be a first round pick in this year’s draft with his skill set. The Jets’ best on the weekend.

#19 Cameron Rayner – Plenty of eyes would have been on the powerfully built forward. He looked strong early, fending off a few opponents to lead to a goal assist to Tristan Xerri, but over the four quarters was well contained. His opponents wore him like a glove such was their awareness of what he was capable of, and every contest he went to, he always had company by his side. A few glimpses, but overall a quieter game from the potential number one pick.

#20 Josh Mould – A risk-taking defender who I liked offensively. Penetrated past the defensive 50m arc kicking out on a number of occassions and would more often than not hit a target. Apart from a blue in the last quarter which led to a goal after attempting to kick short, Mould was quite good coming out of the back half. In the second quarter he ran about 40m to break through the Falcons zone. Does need to work on his defensive attributes as he was beaten one-on-one against Gryan Miers.

#25 Jack Noonan – Playing forward he did his job booting three goals. In the third term when the Jets looked down and out facing an eight-goal deficit coming up to half-time, Noonan had two set shots from difficult angles inside 50 and nailed them both. With the windy conditions, his set shot routine was quite good and he got a tick from me.

#37 Hamish Murphy – A typical lockdown defender who, despite not winning much of the ball, impressed me quite a bit. Early on he took a couple of intercept marks and really shut down the strong Adam Garner. Garner finished the game with one goal and could have had two, beating Murphy on the lead, but one-on-one, Murphy held his own through pure positioning and ability to read the ball in flight.

#38 Buku Khamis – Another Jets’ defender whose game I thought was quite impressive. Did not win much of it, but his role in shutting down the dangerous Tom McCartin could not be understated. He only had seven disposals, but kept McCartin goalless which was no easy feat. Khamis was good one-on-one and had a good game sense. For mine, his timing needs some work because he sometimes jumped too early to spoil.

#44 Tristan Xerri – The key forward/ruck is a hard one to read. I really like his work as a key forward, but there is still development needed around the ground. I think his leading patterns and ability to mark at the highest point, as well as a decent vertical leap make him a really solid prospect as a forward. The next step for me is that I find that he is a bit raw and needs to work further on his game sense. One instance was where the ball was about to roll out and Xerri was in hot pursuit with an opponent right behind him. Rather than let it roll out and reset, he dragged the ball back in but chose to take possession where he was immediately tackled and naturally called for holding the ball. I think he has plenty of development left in him and his field kicking seemed to be quite good, it is just his game sense which needed improvement in my opinion.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 12

ROUND Twelve of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend, with TAC Cup ‘Futures Rounds’ continuing. We had scouts watching two of the games – read their notes below.

GWV Rebels vs. Eastern Ranges (Jack Carter)

GWV Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin – Played a solid game on the wing for the Rebels. He wasn’t afraid to go in hard and win the contested ball.

#4 Aiden Domic – Was one of the Rebels players who held his own throughout the contest. He laid multiple strong tackles and tried hard all day to get his team going.

#9 Flynn Appleby – Was yet again solid in defence for the Rebels. With multiple entries from the Ranges midfielders, he was able to apply himself well using it efficiently by foot.

Eastern Ranges:

#4 Riley Clausen – Provided very good run and kicked it well. He tackled hard right throughout the day and had a strong presence in the midfield. His running patterns were very good and he knew where to move

#22 Jackson Ross – Has a great set shot kick and booted five goals straight. Once he adds some size he will have the perfect body size for an AFL football. Spent time in the midfield as well as up forward, knowing where to go at the stoppages and was hard at the ball. Was one of the best players on the ground.

#34 Adrian Kalcovski – Took advantage of some poor kicks in the entries inside 50 from the GWV Rebels midfielders allowing him to drop off and win the ball. Was able to create run for the Ranges and possesses a strong mark.

#61 Mackenzie Dorelan – Ran hard all day and his decision making & kicking at full tilt was outstanding. Is a strong player for a player of his size and he controlled the play from half back for the Ranges.

Northern Knights vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Michael Alvaro)

Northern Knights:

#2 Mitchell Andrews – Found the ball in all parts of the ground, playing mainly out of defence. Has worked on his kicking and defensive work rate, lending a good hand to the likes of Dreher and Lentini in bringing moving Knights forward.

#4 Max Dreher – Fresh from a couple of weeks off after his Vic Metro stint, Dreher looked to be getting back to the form that had him held in high esteem early in the year. Was important for the Knights in the second half as the game came down to the wire, and shouldered most of the kick-in duties. Looks to have improved his contested ball-winning ability, and threw himself at the ball on numerous occasions.

#5 Marcus Lentini – Was utilised through the midfield with Dreher back in defence to sure things up. Played on the wing when he didn’t attend centre bounces, but wasn’t able to have his usual impact. He looked to be conscious of not blazing away, opting for a lot of short, sideways, and backwards kicks which took away the forward penetration he usually brings. Still delivered in terms of effort and accumulating possessions.

#19 Christian Farchione – Was punishing in bursts throughout the game, but was just short of really taking the game by the scruff of its neck. Gave a timely reminder of his devastating left foot with some great passes going forward and inside-50 entries, and has matched that up now with better decision making. He’s a natural footballer, but still very raw and slight in frame. Booted an incredible goal from the pocket.

#30 Oliver Wilson – By no means is a high-possession getter but stands out with his defensive pressure and effort. Does all the hard stuff and dug in well for the Knights after half time, setting a good example with his physicality. Hit Laine Fitzgerald with a huge bump at the start of the third term to set the tone.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#7 Matt Harvey – The 19-year old was effective all day, streaming seamlessly between the midfield & forward line and putting in a few noticeable efforts in the third term with the game on the line. Racked up the possessions and was a key contributor.

#9 Laine Fitzgerald – He didn’t have his best game, but the GWS Academy product showed his class today and sent repeatedly sent his side into attack. Looked to be frustrated after being cleaned up early in the third term and gave away an unnecessary free kick for his troubles. Has a hard edge to him and it shows in his contested ball winning, but he also spreads well and found himself involved in some good handball chains.

#15 Darby Henderson – Sets up really well of half back and has a knack for finding space, which is odd since his yellow boots stand out so much. Lifted his side in the second and third quarters, breaking the lines and looking dangerous with ball in hand. He doesn’t tend to kick the ball as much as he could, though, which would make him even more threatening going forward. Has a good mix of outside and inside traits, which he showed with his combined pace, pressure, and a clever snap goal.

#16 Jacob Atley – A really rangy outside player, Atley didn’t find much of the ball but made an impact when he did. His highlight for the day was a two-bounce dash down the Mary St wing which eventually sent the ball deep inside the Pioneers 50. One to watch for 2018 purely for his pace and the x-factor it brings.

#19 Mitchell Kemp – There’s not much of him, but Kemp isn’t afraid to throw himself at the ball in the air. He’s not particularly quick, but has a decent leap and finds himself in the right places to intercept opposition balls into the 50. Controlled the back half today and provided some good rebound

TAC Cup Player of the Round: Jackson Ross

OUTSIDE midfielder Jackson Ross was best-on-ground for the Eastern Ranges in their win over GWV Rebels, earning him AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Round.

Ross collected an equal match-high 23 disposals (74 per cent efficiency), took seven marks and booted five goals.

Ross was an unlucky exclusion from the Vic Metro squad in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships, but has been one of Haileybury College’s best players in the APS school boy competition, where the ‘Bloods’ are undefeated and in the box seat to claim the APS premiership.

Ross spent time up forward but also played through the middle, where he laid six tackles, collected five clearances and brought the ball inside 50 on five occasions.

His opening quarter was important in ensuring the Ranges would get out to a fast start – after their previous game saw them start slow.

Ross started with 11 disposals and six marks in the opening quarter, helping Eastern out to a 11-point lead.

Coming into this game, Ross was averaging 20 disposals and five inside 50s in the TAC Cup this season.

He becomes the third Eastern Ranges player to win the award.

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

Round One: Max King (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Two: Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets)

Round Three: Will Stephenson (Gippsland Power)

Round Four: Aaron Trusler (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Five: Jordan Johnston (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)

Round Six: Sam Hayes (Eastern Ranges)

Round Seven: Thomas North (Eastern Ranges)

Round Eight: Harry Benson (Geelong Falcons)

Round Nine: Callum Porter (Gippsland Power)

Round Ten: Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets)

Round Eleven: Toby Wooller (Oakleigh Chargers)

Round Twelve: Jackson Ross (Eastern Ranges) 

Seb Williams hoping to follow in Dashing Don’s footsteps

RED and blue has coursed through Seb Williams’ veins since the day he was born. He never met his grandfather Don, who passed away in 1995; but the former Melbourne Football Club Team of the Century member has left a lasting impression on Williams and his family.

Seb Williams has fine pedigree, with Don playing 250 games of VFL and WAFL combined – playing for the Demons in a golden era under Norm Smith, winning five premierships in the 1950s and 60s. Don also represented Victoria on four occasions as a hardnosed athletic half-back flanker.

‘Dashing Don’ as he was known was a brilliant half-back and athlete, promoted to the seniors a year after winning the Thirds Best and Fairest & finishing second in the Morrish Medal.

“Having a grandfather that’s in the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame, Melbourne Hall of Fame and the Team of the Century, I was a Melbourne supporter from the beginning,” Williams said with a chuckle. “I was told from a very young age by family and former Melbourne greats how good he was, and Dad (Brett) use to show me photos of some of his speckies. “Listening to people telling me all this sort of stuff made me want to be like him and it was a shame I never got to meet him.”

The colours red and blue never rubbed off in the Williams household, with Seb schooling at Brighton Grammar School (BGS) – whose traditional colours mirror those of the Demons.

Rewind to Round 10 2016, Williams lined up in the midfield for Brighton alongside future number one draft pick Andrew McGrath, in the pouring rain and torturous conditions out at Haileybury College. Haileybury themselves boasted some of the most talented school boy footballers including 2016 draftees Jack Scrimshaw (Gold Coast – Pick 7), Josh Battle (St Kilda – Pick 39) and with Cameron Polson (Carlton – Pick 59) out injured. Not to mention the highly touted 2017 draftees Luke Davies-Uniacke, Andrew Brayshaw, Charlie Constable and many more – as well as possible top five 2018 draftees in tall twins Max and Ben King, making for a tough slog for the visiting team on one of Melbourne’s worst days in memory.

It was fitting that the title would come down to that day at Keysborough with multiple AFL club recruiters watching to two schools slog out a hard fought five goal to four goal win to Brighton Grammar in the pouring rain and puddles forming around the ground – giving Brighton their third APS premiership in as many years.

As a Year 10 in 2015, Williams the 179cm midfielder had been there before – part of the Vic Metro Under 16 side and involved in Robert Shaw’s second premiership tilt in their undefeated season.

In a dull day in 2016 that saw McGrath push forward and boot two clutch goals, Williams played a major role in rolling up his sleeves and fighting hard to win the vital battle of the midfield, as one of Brighton’s better players on the day.

Williams’ steller 2016 APS season saw him earn a spot in the hounored 2016 APS team for their annual clash against the AGSV – where rarely students who are not in Year 12 are selection and has seen names such as Brighton’s Jayden Hunt, Marcellin’s Brayden Sier and St Kevins’ Oliver Hanrahan push themselves into recruiters thoughts and eventually drafted.

The back half of Williams season was hampered by severe cramping – eventually diagnosed as compartment syndrome putting him out of action for four months in the lead up to TAC Cup finals, frustrating Williams as he watched his teammates at the Sandringham Dragons win the TAC Cup Premiership.

“I felt like I had more to give each game and being physically unable to keep playing made playing very difficult,” Williams explained. “What made it frustrating was that I knew going into each game that I had two and a half to three quarters in me before playing through the pain before being unable to run.”

Seb Williams picks up the ball against Oakleigh Chargers in Round 1.

Williams’ pedigree not only stems from grandfather Don, with mum Barbora representing the Czechoslovakia across Europe in the 1980s, qualifying for World Championships and was the National Champion in the 3000m, 10,000m and cross country events – while father Brett is a Victorian scout for Melbourne Football Club. Remarkably at just 182cm, Don was a junior high, long and triple jump champion of Victoria.

Seb himself represented team Victoria at Nationals in the 800m and 3000m Cross Country events, but due to injury missed his first athletics season that he can remember.

“I grew up doing a lot of athletics (with mum an influence) and went to nationals a couple of times and school boy Cross Country before football became my focus,” Williams said. “Having a background in athletics has helped with football and I’ve found it gives me a bit of an advantage over some of my opponents.”

Intensive surgery was undertook in late 2016 on both calfs, with Williams starting preseason later than some of his teammates at the Dragons and with his school.

“It was difficult starting a couple of months later than everyone else and trying to get up to speed with my skills and also physically,” Williams said.

Williams’ short pre-season did not manage to get in his way when completing his TAC Cup testing, with personal bests for the 20m sprint (2.94s); agility of 8.294s and a standing vertical jump of 75cm – elite numbers by today’s AFL player standards.

Brighton coach Robert Shaw and his peer group appointed Seb as captain of the First XVIII for this season, a school in which many BGS champions have managed to go onto play AFL. No.1 Pick Jack Watts, No.1 Pick Andrew McGrath, No.2 Josh Kelly, No.9 Christian Salem, No.57 Jayden Hunt and Brisbane Lions father-son Josh Clayton all shared a similar story growing up and playing South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) at local clubs. For Williams and Salem, Hampton Rovers is the club where they fell in love with the sport tasting in multiple premierships along the way.

At TAC Cup level, Williams has had a strong season for the Sandringham Dragons when not playing school football. Playing as a high half forward, he has averaged 25 disposals (11 contested) and kicked six goals in his four games. At school level is where he has relished in a full time midfield role, leading Shaw’s young team.

In another crunch game against Haileybury College, Williams was one of the best players on the ground in the first half with 14 disposals and a goal – before being concussed in the second term. His game against Geelong Grammar, who boast a quality midfield with likely draftees Paddy Dow, Lochie O’Brien and Brent Daniels – Plus Jye Caldwell in 2018 – Williams had 44 disposals with coach Shaw quipping it was one of the better performances he had seen in his time as coach of the First XVIII. Williams also recorded 40 plus disposals in their thrashing of Wesley and will be looking to finish the remaining three games off well for the season before hopefully another appearance in the APS Rep team to face the AGSV – before aiming to play a part in the Dragons’ back-to-back flag aspirations.

Williams’ injury free season without pain has been one of success and like many aspiring to play at the next level, a focus on enjoying his final year is paramount.

“It was such a shock at first, I couldn’t remember the last time I had been able to run out a game,” Williams declared. “I’m really enjoying my footy so far this season, just trying to focus on having fun.”

If he turns out to be half as good as Old ‘Dashing Don’, he will be a worthy investment.