Tag: Adam Cerra

Keeping Tabs: Standout players from Round 16

A HOST of first round picks from last year shone in Round 16, as the top Rising Star favourites cement a place in their respective team’s 22s.

Tim Kelly

The mature-aged Geelong midfielder was once again brilliant in his sides win over the Swans at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Having displayed his class, cleanness and smooth movement through traffic already this season, Kelly showcased an ability to impact the scoreboard when inside-50, finishing with two majors. Additionally, the Western Australian collected 21 disposals (nine kicks and 12 handballs), four marks and five tackles. His disposals were well spread out across the ground, however Kelly will be hoping to be a touch more effective with his ball use after ending the night with a disposal efficiency of 57 per cent. Continues to fit into and compliment a ‘stacked’ Geelong midfield.

Lachlan Fogarty

The small utility impressed against the Swans with his defensive pressure particularly crucial. Fogarty spent time up forward, looking to pounce on the crumbs left by the tall forwards but was also utilised in a role as an outside midfielder, which allowed him to find six of his 12 disposals across the wing. The former Western Jets product managed to snag a goal, to go with his seven kicks, five handballs, two marks and five tackles – four of which were recorded inside the Cats forward 50.

Jack Higgins

The energetic excitement-machine has already lit up the AFL with his upbeat post-match interviews, but against the Crows it was his on-field performance that did the talking. Higgins spent large periods of the game on-ball, as opposed to the small forward role he has played so well for the premiers so far. With a renowned ability to have the ball on a string, Higgins collected 25 disposals (10 kicks and 15 handballs), five marks, three clearances, two tackles and five score involvements. Also impressive was his 68 per cent disposal efficiency. Higgins has slotted into a premiership side and is thriving from the winning culture that has been constructed at Punt Road.

Lochie O’Brien

In Carlton’s hefty and utterly disappointing loss to Brisbane, the performance of wingman Lochie O’Brien would have been encouraging to even the most frustrated of Blues fans. O’Brien – selected with pick ten of the most recent national draft – played almost exclusively on the wing and presented himself as an option on a number of occasions. His tally of seven marks perhaps best displays his hard work to get into the right spaces. O’Brien also managed 16 disposals, two tackles, three inside 50s, 282 metres gained and a goal. His disposal efficiency of 56 per cent was uncharacteristically low for a young, future-star with such clean skills.

Ed Richards

In what was a poor second half performance from the Bulldogs, youngster Ed Richards was again flashy and exciting with ball in hand. Filling a role across the half-forward line and wing, the former Oakleigh Charger amassed 15 touches (eight kicks and seven handballs) at a super-impressive 87 per cent disposal efficiency. Richards speed, run and carry combined with his damaging foot skills make him a high impact per possession player. Whenever he’s around the ball, you feel as if he will make an impact. The Doggies youngster has shown some seriously promising signs and has the potential to become a cult-figure at the Whitten Oval.

Adam Cerra 

Despite his Fyfe-deprived side losing to the Demons by 54 points at Darwin’s TIO Stadium, Adam Cerra was one of his sides best performers. Playing in a role across the half-back line, the clean-kicking high draft pick found plenty of the ball and showed some trademark composure and poise when looking transition from defense into attack. Cerra concluded the Northern Territory visit with 23 touches (16 kicks and seven handballs at 65 percent disposal efficiency), 6 intercept possessions, seven marks, 358 metres gained, three clearances and five rebound 50’s. His ability to read the play, calmness and class make Cerra a suitable fit for the backline, however expect him to move into the midfield within a couple of years, where his unique skill set can be put to even more damaging use.

Andrew Bradshaw

Cerra’s teammate and fellow first-round draftee Andrew Brayshaw pieced together a nice game. His ferocious attack on the ball, toughness and tackling strength were particularly noticeable in the clash against his older brother Angus. Brayshaw collected 16 disposals (eight kicks and eight handballs at 69 per cent disposal efficiency), with 82 percent of his disposals coming from the defensive half of TIO Stadium. He also managed three marks, 244 metres gained, eight tackles, three rebound-50s and two clearences in what was a typically well-rounded display from the 18 year-old onballer.

Jaidyn Stephenson

The Rising Star favourite has become a regular fixture in the ‘Keeping Tabs’ articles due to his consistent performances for the Magpies throughout his first season in the system. Playing in the forward line role he has become accustom to over the past 15 weeks, Stephenson collected 15 disposals (ten kicks and five handballs), eight marks (including three grabs inside-50), 287 metres gained, one goal and three inside-50’s. His speed, ability to regularly hit the scoreboard and aerial prowess make him a genuine x-factor up forward for the high-flying Magpies. However Stephenson’s foot skills will be an area of further improvement with his disposal efficiency at a low 83 percent. Perhaps only Crow Tom Doedee is in with a chance of coming close to snatching the rising star award away from the former Eastern Ranger.

Brayden Ainsworth

The fourth gamer went hard at the ball all game, finishing with 14 disposals, five marks, three tackles, five inside 50s and a goal from his role as an outside midfielder. He showed some great traits for a first-year player and looked powerful when on the ball. Ainsworth’s kicking action, however, appears awkward and his disposal efficiency of 71 per cent. Although it may appear sound, it didn’t reflect some of the errors he made by foot. Having said that, it was a good game from the baby-faced, WA-born Ainsworth.

Keeping Tabs: Standout players from Round 13

ROUND 13 came with a surprising amount of top first-year performers, given the bye for six teams. The youngsters from Fremantle stepped up again, and Geelong’s Tim Kelly remained at his usual high standards. 

Ed Richards

Richards starred in his clash against Port Adelaide, kicking a team-high three goals for the game in the second quarter alone. Before the game, Richards had no score to his name, but stood up for the Doggies despite poor kicking accuracy. At the end of the second quarter, he put through a difficult set shot on the boundary from 50 metres out. Typically playing out of the backline, Richards showed us what he can do as an attacking player. With five score involvements and four inside 50s, his offensive was in full flight, and with extra efforts in his 17 pressure acts and three one percenters, Richards presented us a complete footballer in the making. I would recommend the Doggies playing to his strengths to build him up for next season.

Tim Kelly

Kelly kept his elite form in a tough fight against the reigning Premiers at the MCG. Shaping up with all kinds of class alongside Joel Selwood, Gary Ablett and Patrick Dangerfield, the South Australian collected 14 contested possessions, seven uncontested, with a 71 per cent disposal efficiency. He dominated the clearances with four from the centre and three out of stoppages, getting clean hands to the ball first and ripping it cleanly from congestion. He managed to impact Geelong’s scoreboard despite not hitting it himself with four inside 50’s and four score involvements. The pressure he applied to Richmond summarise what he brings to the Geelong midfield. With grit and power, Kelly laid six tackles with 23 pressure acts. He adds necessary elements to Geelong’s classy midfield with his power around congestion.

Hunter Clark

The Rising Star Nominee for Round 13 put on another impressive display in defence. He finished with 18 possessions and an 82 per cent disposal efficiency. His clean footy and immense pressure may have been the difference between a few possible Suns’ goals. It was his five intercept possessions, six tackles and four one percenters that walled off the Suns. He is slowly developing into a hungry, young player, a quality lost on him at the beginning of the season. There have been a few weeks in a row now that Clark has shone in the backline. In the coming years, Clark could become a promising half-back utility for the Saints, showing more of his run and carry that he demonstrated for the Dandenong Stingrays.

Stefan Giro

In only three games, Giro has already began raising standards for first year players. Gaining most of his possessions off the wing and the forward half, Giro finished his game with an 81 per cent disposal efficiency and 17 possessions. Though not impacting the board directly, he had five score involvements, two goal assists and three inside 50s. The most impressive of Giro’s stats comes from his pressure acts, racking up an enormous 32 with five tackles (two inside 50s). The Fremantle first-year players have been immense thus far, so Giro is lucky to grow along side some other promising youths. There’s a chance we could be looking at the AFL’s next super team if they continue to develop as they are.

Lochie O’Brien

Despite suffering Fremantle’s onslaught, O’Brien managed to make an impact. O’Brien was able to still get plenty of the football, collecting 17 possessions with a 71 per cent disposal efficiency. Given Fremantle’s forward pressure, the youngster’s success with the football was impressive. He remained composed and confident, and despite spending 73 per cent in the defensive half, had five score involvements. The well-rounded performer had three rebound s, three inside 50s, two clearances and 18 pressure acts. O’Brien also had an impressive 370 metres gained, second only on his team to Kade Simpson. He was a top performer for Carlton and should not go unnoticed due to a poor outcome.

Andrew Brayshaw

Brayshaw put on a show away at Etihad Stadium, thriving in Fremantle’s rare dominance. Picking up 13 uncontested possessions and seven contested, the number two pick started to show signs of his TAC Cup standards. He kicked one goal starting up on the wing and contributed to eight score involvements. In certain areas, he fell short with eight turnovers and a 65 per cent disposal efficiency. Brayshaw is showing glimpses of a bright future. He rounded off a fair performance with three clearances, four tackles, three inside 50s, three one percenters and 24 pressure acts.

Charlie Ballard

In a nail-biter at Metricon Stadium, Ballard starred out from the backline. Gaining 94 per cent of his 16 possessions in the defensive half, Ballard finished with 63 per cent disposal efficiency. He contributed to the attack with his four score involvements and two rebounds. He carefully picked his spots and read the attack well, taking much of the uncontested ball. For the game he closed out with a brilliant nine interceptions and three one percenters. Ballard impacted the game through great marking ability and nice read on the incoming footy.

Adam Cerra

Cerra’s performance away from home was far from his greatest for the season, but he injects enough class into the game to beef up his stats and earn his spot. He finished with nine uncontested possessions and five contested. His disposal efficiency finished at 64 per cent, but he earned some redemption with three interceptions. While goalless himself, Cerra had six score involvements and two marks inside 50. He gained plenty of his football  in the defensive 50 and along the wing, laying three tackles with two rebound 50s. Cerra played with a different role out of defence, keeping him unusually weak on the goal front, but the No. 5 played a damaging role nonetheless.

Tom McCartin

McCartin topped his game with six inside 50s, assisting the Swans greatly in there dominant offence. Over half of his possessions were contested,  but had less satisfactory disposal efficiency at 69 per cent. Regardless, his efforts were still an improvement from his average nine possessions and a 56 percent disposal efficiency. McCartin’s performance lift came through in all facets. He laid three tackles with four one percenters. McCartin put pressure on defensive plays and demonstrated flexibility in how he affected a linkup. It was disappointing that a forward hadn’t kicked a goal in such an important game, but he managed three score involvements and a direct assist.

Keeping Tabs: Standout players from Round 12

THE 2017 draft crop are playing some impressive football in the middle of the season, as Rising Star favourite Jaidyn Stephenson continues his great form, as does a number of mature-age stars and high draft picks.

Jaidyn Stephenson

In Collingwood’s terrific Queens Birthday victory over the Demons, top 10 draft pick Jaidyn Stephenson again showed extremely impressive signs. Spending the entire day almost isolated in the Magpie forward line (93 percent time in the forward half), the former Eastern Rangers product kicked another bag of goals, this time ending the day with four. His speed off the mark has always been one of Jaidyn’s biggest strengths and it was again on show on the big stage of the Big Freeze match. He took five marks for the game, including four inside 50, gained 271 metres and was involved in nine Collingwood scores. His defensive pressure was also impressive, which saw him lay six tackles (four tackles inside 50) and show great endurance (playing 103 of a possible 122 minutes on-field). Although his kicking will need to be worked on, having recorded a disposal efficiency of 50 percent from his 12 disposals and kicking three behinds. However, Stephenson has endured a super start to his AFL career, with his impact per possession high.

Charlie Spargo

Spargo’s game got off to a slow start against the Pies, as he looked to find his feet, playing in front of easily the biggest crowd of his career. He failed to record a disposal until after quarter time, but a prolific second term saw him finish the game with a major-statistic line which read – 12 disposals (five kicks and seven handballs), four marks, seven tackles (three inside 50) and a behind. Deployed in his natural role as a small forward, Spargo applied a heap of defensive pressure (also finished with 23 pressure acts) and worried the opposition with his speed. Spargo continues to build on his numbers each week, despite playing in a potentially difficult role for a draftee.

Bayley Fritsch

Bayley Fritsch once again proved himself at the home of football, producing a solid performance in a loosing side. Strength overhead is a real feature of Fritsch’s game, along with his tackling intensity. In the air, Fritsch was extremely strong, considering his light frame, tallying nine marks (two inside 50 and one contested). His speed, run and carry was important in linking up play from the wing into the forward 50, gaining 454 metres for the match. The former Casey forward was also typically sound with his skills, registering a disposal efficiency of 84 per cent. 

Stefan Giro

In just his second game in the purple and white of Fremantle, South Australian boy Stefan Giro had a couple of great moments which would have impressed the Dockers coaching staff. Playing across the midfield in an outside-leaning role, Giro’s effectiveness by hand was a prominent feature in his game. He was reasonably clean at ground level and did not miss a target with his handballs. Giro spent only 66 per cent of the game on-ground, but ran hard when he got his chances, expanding out to all areas of Optus Stadium to collect his possessions. Giro concluded the successful outing with 18 disposals (seven kicks and eleven handballs at a superb 89 percent disposal efficiency), two marks and two tackles. As the Dockers continue to blood their youth, expect the long haired Stefan Giro to combine with fellow 2017 draftees Bailey Banfield, Adam Cerra and Andrew Brayshaw in the midfield for the remainder of the season and beyond.

Adam Cerra

In a performance that could potentially see him collect a few Brownlow votes, Adam Cerra proved why he was regarded so highly coming into the 2017 National Draft. In what was no doubt his best showing at AFL level to date in the Docker’s three-point win against the Crows, Cerra was deployed in the midfield and across half-back, where he was able to set up play with his silky foot skills. Last year’s fifth overall pick amassed a career-high 30 disposals (at 70 per cent disposal efficiency), eight intercept possessions, six marks (including two contested), eight inside 50s and four tackles. He showed terrific versatility, vision, composure and class, proving to be instrumental in the Dockers dismantling the Crows at Optus Stadium. Since debuting in round two, Cerra has looked right at home at the level, slotting into a relatively inexperienced Dockers side and immediately providing them with a Rolls Royce type future star.

Tim Kelly

Kelly is fast becoming one of Geelong’s most dependable players, having so far contributed more than what was expected of him as a supporting act to the trio of Dangerfield, Selwood and Ablett. This weekend, in the win over North Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium, Kelly managed 19 disposals (11 of which were contested at an impressive 79 per cent disposal efficiency), five marks, four tackles and a goal in his role as an inside ball winner. Kelly was typically dynamic around the stoppages, finishing with five clearances, proving instrumental in getting the ball moving in Geelong’s direction. Another draft masterstroke by the Geelong recruiting staff, Kelly must surely be considered one of the best mature-aged pickups in recent drafts.

Charlie Ballard

Despite his side getting trounced by the Giants, Gold Coast’s South Australian draftee Charlie Ballard showed some positive signs, playing in a role across the wing which saw him also spend plenty of time in the backlines. Ballard’s nine contested possessions were a highlight, given his slim build and the fact he spent most of his under-age career as an outside type. Perhaps the Suns officials see him as more of a big-bodied, balanced midfielder once he further develops. His 10 intercept possessions were also good to see, with his overhead marking and ability to read the play standing out. Look for Ballard to be played in a wide variety of positions, such is his versatility.

Matt Guelfi

Essendon’s Matt Guelfi continued his solid start to life in the big league with a 17-disposal, two-mark, three-tackle and one-goal showing in the win over Brisbane. Guelfi found 67 per cent of his possessions in the defensive half of the Gabba, contributing to multiple Bomber attacks off the half-back line (three rebound-50’s and two intercept possessions), whilst amassing nine disposals on either wing. Guelfi was effective by foot, finishing with a 71 per cent disposal efficiency – an area of his game which he has clearly spent time working on back at Essendon’s Windy Hill base. The Western Australian’s 22 pressure acts, three tackles, eight contested possessions and six score involvements were also worth noting.

Keeping Tabs: Standout draftees from Round 10

ANOTHER Rising Star nominee and a debutant booting his first goal, there was plenty to like about the first-year draftees in the AFL on the weekend.

Ed Richards

In his side’s loss to Collingwood, Bulldogs defender Ed Richards could certainly hold his head up high. In what was his ninth consecutive senior game for the 2016 premiers, Richards produced what was the best performance of his young career. The speedster collected 23 disposals (including 10 contested at an impressive 74 per cent efficiency), four marks and sent the ball inside 50 on five occasions. The youngster also laid four tackles and had three rebounds in his role across the Western Bulldogs half-back line. In the absence of the retired Matthew Boyd and Robert Murphy, Ed Richards is mounting a strong case to be the club’s next general in defence.

Hunter Clark

The 2017 top ten draft pick Hunter Clark endured a strong final quarter to see out arguably his best game in the red, black and white of St Kilda. Despite the Saints suffering another loss, this time to Richmond, Hunter managed 17 disposals at 71 per cent efficiency, five marks (including one strong contested grab), four inside 50s, four rebounds and gained 373 metres. Finding 65 per cent of his disposals in the defensive half of the ground, St Kilda clearly value his neat foot skills, run and carry as a rebounding defender. After a somewhat slower start to his career in terms of statistics, Hunter Clark is starting to get his hands on the ball more often as his continues to adjust to life in the AFL.

Ryley Stoddart

In his first game of AFL football, Swans half-back flanker Ryley Stoddart ticked off a key box by slotting home his first goal at AFL level last weekend against the Lions. Having re-signed with the club earlier in the month, the smooth-moving Stoddart also managed to tally together nine disposals, two marks and two tackles in Sydney’s 18-point win over the Brisbane Lions at the SCG. Having impressed John Longmire and the Swans coaching staff with his work in the pre-season, look for Stoddart to manage a few more games as the season progresses.

Paddy Dow

Carlton midfielder Paddy Dow was impressive for Carlton, again managing to get his hands on the ball inside the forward 50, creating opportunities at goal. Unfortunately for him, his two shots lead to two minor scores, however his ability to win the contested ball and accelerate out of the stoppages was on show. Dow collected 18 disposals (seven of which were contested), took six marks, laid six tackles, had two clearances and gained 334 metres in a confidence-building display from the second overall pick from the most recent draft. Dow will continue to be deployed in the Blues midfield as Carlton continue to blood the youth. 

Matthew Guelfi

Essendon’s mature-age recruit Matt Guelfi also produced his best showing at the level in the Bombers hard-fought victory on the road against the Giants. The 20-year-old former Claremont midfielder was solid all game, spending some time on-ball but finding 80 per cent of his 21 disposals in the defensive half of the at-times smoke covered Spotless Stadium. Guelfi took four uncontested marks and rebounded the ball five times for the game. He laid an impressive five tackles and had 27 pressure acts, proving his defensive pressure in congestion. Given Essendon’s recent resurgence, expect Guelfi to play a part in getting their season back on track. Matthew will look to work on his kicking in future games, ending with a 38 per cent disposal efficiency. 

Charlie Spargo

In Melbourne’s thrashing of the Adelaide Crows in Alice Springs, Charlie Spargo was polished and clean in his role as a small forward, managing to push up the ground to find eight of his 14 disposals on the wing. Spargo’s work rate was impressive, working tirelessly up and back, ending the game with a career-high nine marks, all of which were uncontested as the former-Murray Bushranger shrugged off and outran his direct opponents. Each of Spargo’s four tackles were laid inside-50, highlighting his strong defensive pressure. He kicked one goal but had eight score involvements and spent 82 per cent time on the ground, providing his endurance.

Adam Cerra

Fremantle’s second first-round pick in 2017, Adam Cerra showed another side of his game, laying nine tackles from his outside midfield role, to compliment his classy foot skills. With all-bar-two of his disposals coming in the midfield/wing zones, Cerra collected a total of 15 disposals at 67 per cent disposal efficiency and had 26 pressure acts. Cerra has hardly missed a beat since making his debut in round two. Now having strung together nine consecutive games, the product from the Eastern Ranges is making a very strong impression in his first year at the club.

Keeping Tabs: Standout draftees from Round 9

We are approaching the bye rounds now as a number of first-year draftees continue to impress on the big stage. Both top-age and mature age recruits are fitting in seamlessly to AFL life and are becoming mainstays in their respective club’s 22s.

Jaidyn Stephenson

Collingwood supporters should revel in the news that they have snagged Jaidyn Stephenson for another two years, after securing the Club’s number six pick. The fan favourite continues to exceed expectations in yet another classy performance against St. Kilda. Booting two goals after half-time, Stephenson assisted greatly in Collingwood’s 28-point victory over St Kilda, and continues to demonstrate a fluency in the forward line. The young Magpie finished with 18 disposals, four contested, 72 per cent disposal efficiency and eight score involvements. Stephenson’s uncanny footy sense has served him well, exhibited both through his careful decisions and ideal timing with ball-in-hand.

Hunter Clark

For the first time in his AFL career, St. Kilda’s number seven pick was made to start on the ground, earning a spot in the Club’s starting 18 against the Pies. Clark rose to the challenge off half-back, showing off some of the less observed aspects of his game. With a strong 21 disposals, seven contested and a 71 per cent disposal efficiency, Clark took on his role well, involving himself in linkups and going hard in the contest. His chase down in front of goals almost prevented a score, but the ball spilled out and the rest was out of his hands. Furthermore, going back with the flight of the ball, Clark copped a heavy hit in a pack mark and reeled in pain. Clark’s commitment to the contest is becoming more obvious and we hope to see this attitude continue in the coming rounds.

Bailey Fritsch

The quality of this year’s debutantes has shone through fittingly in Bayley Fritsch. With yet another impressive performance, the young Demon continues to exceed expectations with his dominance in the forward line. Fritsch finished up with 17 disposals, five contested, two goals, six score involvements, four intercept possessions, four tackles and three inside 50s.  The young Dee displayed great footy sense going forward, picked his spots well and hits his man with great precision. He is developing well under Melbourne’s guide and could bag a neat stack of goals by the end of the season.

Cam Rayner

With his first win in his AFL career, Rayner should be satisfied with the performance he contributed. A powerhouse for his age, the number one draft pick finished the match with 11 disposals, seven contested and an 82 per cent disposal efficiency. The young forward also kicked two goals, had four score involvements, three tackles and three clearances. He has adjusted well to the pace and has polished his work, beating his average disposal efficiency by 10 per cent.

Paddy Dow

On the wrong end of a huge margin, Dow stayed resilient against punishment and fought hard against a dominating Melbourne. Dow’s work on the hard ball was evident in his 10 contested possessions, and while low on his efficiency, still managed to make an impact. In all, Dow closed up with five intercept possessions, four tackles, 25 pressure acts and three score involvements. An impressive stat sheet for a player on a losing side, the young Blue refused to quit despite the odds.

Adam Cerra

With another demonstration of poise and class from Fremantle’s stellar first-year line-up, Cerra led with more trademark efficiency and impact. The No. 5 pick from the Dockers finished with 15 disposals, nine contested, an a 80 per cent disposal efficiency, 19 pressure acts and three clearances in their 69-point loss against the Swans. Cerra left his mark on the game despite a shutout victory by the home side. He’s an adaptable player who thrives in the contest and remains consistent in varying conditions.  

Nick Coffield

Coffield’s football is characterised best through his disposal efficiency. In St Kilda’s hard fought battle against Collingwood, Coffield kept his kicking clean and ball movement effective. He kept his work rate up despite a barrage of goals from his opposition and plenty of forward pressure. At an 88 per cent disposal efficiency for the season, Coffield continued prime form with  a 92 per cent disposal efficiency. The youngster finished the game against the Pies with 12 disposals, three one percenters and two rebound 50s. 

Charlie Spargo

The ferocity of this small forward is immense, complimented well by Melbourne’s fierce attack on Carlton. Spargo played high pressure football, working Carlton’s backman well as they tried to rebound. He laid three big tackles, 19 pressure acts, had four inside 50s and four score involvements. He wasn’t good enough in front of goal, missing two of his shots. However, his contribution to Melbourne’s win is evident in the range of offensive and defensive acts. In total, he racked up 12 disposals, six contested with a 75 per cent disposal efficiency.

Keeping Tabs: Standout draftees from Round 8

IN Round 8, we make an exception from the first-year draftee rule with two debutants from the 2016 draft making an impact – and a third in just his third game – being the match-winner in a crunch game. Here are some of the top draftees from round eight.

Ben Ronke

Third-gamer Ben Ronke kicked off the round in remarkable style, booting no less than seven goals including four in the first quarter and the sealer, to get the Swans over the line against Hawthorn. Having been taken in the 2016 Rookie Draft by the Swans, the former Calder Cannon made the most of his opportunities inside-50. He collected 11 disposals two marks and 10 tackles (including seven inside-50 tackles), spending 88 per cent of the game in the attacking half. He created chances for himself and his teammates through relentless pressure and capitalised when he found time and space. It certainly appears as if the Swans have unearthed yet another gem from the rookie list.

Isaac Cumming

On debut for the Giants, the flashy 2016 first round draftee showed promise off the half back line and along the wings. He amassed 14 disposals, repelled from the back-50 twice, sent the ball inside the attacking-50 three times, and gained 205 metres. Renowned for his speed, run and carry and precise foot skills, it appears difficult for Cumming to keep his spot in the side once some of the Giants big names return from injury. However, he did himself no harm in the loss to West Coast, showing why he was rated so highly. Cumming is another graduate of the GWS Academy.

Brayden Ainsworth

The baby-faced Brayden Ainsworth produced an outstanding second quarter to kick-start his AFL career. The second-round draftee from last year found the majority of his 15 possessions on the outside of the contest, but also showcased his toughness on the inside, laying eight tackles. In what was a very solid debut game, the Western Australian native will look to build on his endurance base and foot skills throughout the remainder of the year, having spent just 67 per cent of time on the ground.

Lochie O’Brien

In Carlton’s first win of the season, Lochie O’Brien provided great run and spread from the contest to worry his Essendon opponents, collecting eight marks as a result. O’Brien came into the year having been regarded as one of the best kicks in the draft pool and his neat skills were on display on Saturday afternoon. Of his 15 disposals, 13 of them were kicks, highlighting the Blues faith in his kicking off half-back and the wing. He gained 380 metres and continued to build on his time on ground.

Ed Phillips

Away to Fremantle is a reasonably tough start to your AFL career, but dashing outside midfielder Ed Phillips was one of the Saints’ best players in his first game at the highest level. He was involved in multiple chains of handballs through the centre of the ground, linking up well with his teammates. Phillips collected an impressive 24 disposals, delivering the ball at 79 per cent efficiency along with wings, while recording just one turnover for the game. The former Oakleigh Charger also tallied five intercept possessions, three marks and five tackles. Of particular promise were his time on ground figures (84 per cent time on ground) which indicates he has the aerobic fitness to run out matches. Given St.Kilda’s current state, Phillips, along with Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield, should be given every chance to play week-in-week-out, providing they maintain their early season output.

Andrew Brayshaw

The second overall draft pick from the most recent national draft, Andrew Brayshaw, continues to front up and show promising signs every week. Playing mostly on the ball in an outside-leaning role, Brayshaw’s balance and well-roundedness was apparent, as he managed 16 disposals (69 per cent efficiency), five marks and six tackles. His ability to find the football, work hard both ways, apply plenty of pressure and use it cleanly on the outside have been impressive so far in 2018. As he builds on his time on ground, Brayshaw will only improve. Fremantle will no-doubt be pleased with his production early in the year.

Adam Cerra

Classy, smooth moving midfielder Adam Cerra once again hit the scoreboard and made the most of his possessions in the win over St.Kilda. The top five draft pick spent much of the game on-ball, where his exciting combination of polish on the outside and contested ball winning on the inside were evident. Cerra tallied 14 disposals (eight of which were contested) at a strong 79 per cent efficiency to go with three tackles and two majors. His scoreboard impact has been terrific for a 18-year-old, having booted six goals in his opening seven matches. The signs suggest it will not be long before Cerra joins the likes of Nat Fyfe, Lachie Neale and potentially Andrew Brayshaw to form an elite midfield combination.

Tom McCartin

In the absence of superstar centre half-forward Lance Franklin, the youngest player in the competition, Tom McCartin, was handed his debut by John Longmire. The third-tall forward, who is known for his extremely high endurance, was seen pushing up the ground and helping out in the backline when he wasn’t providing a target in attack, as a testament to his work rate. Although he didn’t hit the scoreboard, McCartin, the brother of St.Kilda’s Paddy, tallied eight disposals, clunked four marks and laid three tackles. The Swans coaching staff may look to make the most of his strong work rate by using him in a linkup role, not dissimilar to the one Tom Lynch plays for the Crows.

Keeping Tabs: Standout draftees from Round 5

ROUND FIVE was huge for the first year players, with plenty stepping up to earn a spot on this weekly list. Most of the names here have been seen before, but we give credit when it is due. We’re hoping to see some fresh faces in the coming rounds and for the players below to ramp up their game more and more with every passing round. There are still plenty of rounds left so there’s no telling what could come next.

Tim Kelly

Kelly played some outstanding football against the Power over the weekend. In all he picked up 20 disposals, of which half were contested with an 80 per cent efficiency. He displayed 27 pressure acts, laid five tackles, kicked a goal, had four clearances and three score involvements. Kelly is a well-rounded player and has demonstrated countless times that he can do plenty to help his side. He has also kicked at least one goal a game since the start of the season showing his reliability and consistency thus far.

Adam Cerra

Cerra is well on his way to becoming a fan favourite at Optus Stadium. He has shown some incredible promise on game day, with the Bulldogs clash being no different. Cerra snagged himself 15 disposals (four contested) at an 87 percent efficiency. He also went on to kick two goals with eight total score involvements. Cerra is smooth around the football with incredible composure at the elite level. He works hard around the contests, illustrated through his impressive 24 pressure acts and four tackles (two inside 50s). This medium forward is being developed by the right team it seems with impressive first years all throughout the side.

Jaidyn Stephenson

His efficiency could use some work, but he is getting his opportunities and making most of them count. Capping off his game with 15 disposals, four contested and two goals, Stephenson went hard in the ANZAC match. He picks his spots and moments well, and capitalises well off errors. He had 19 disposals and four tackles for the game in all. He is continuing to make his mark as a forward for Collingwood and is doing so with an intense attack on the game.

Mitch Crowden

Fremantle’s first years have been dominating the competition so far. Along with his fellow draftees, Crowden is playing very efficient football. With 17 disposals at an 88 per cent efficiency, Crowden is continuing to perform at a high standard. His presence throughout the ground is clear, laying five tackles, 21 pressure acts and having nine score involvements. Developing alongside the likes of Cerra and Brayshaw, Crowden is likely to become part of the next biggest elite midfield for the AFL.

Nick Coffield

Once again, Coffield showed off his patented smooth, clean football. With excellent composure on and around the ball, Coffield is providing some much-needed efficiency around the midfield. In total, he finished with 18 disposals at an 83 per cent efficiency, with five score involvements. He is working hard to earn his spot within the side and it shows on the field. Hopefully his efforts remain at this level for a long time.

Andrew Brayshaw

A fair game for Brayshaw with 17 disposals, four contested at a 71 percent efficiency. The number two pick in the 2017 National AFL Draft is slowly evolving to suit the elite level. He performed well off and on the ball, laying five tackles, 17 pressure acts with three score involvements. Brayshaw needs to polish up his footy in some areas as shown through his five turnovers. However, if he continues to work, he is well on his way to one day dominating the game.

Lachie Fogarty

Geelong’s new recruits are hard to separate from the rest of their side due to their elite performances. In their match against Port, Fogarty had an excellent run of it. While 17 disposals with nine contested is a decent stat, it’s Fogarty’s ten tackles that really caught my eye, all of which were completed without giving away a free. He also slotted away a goal and had five score involvements. Fogarty is developing well with Geelong and should be watched closely in the coming years.

Matt Guelfi

After a stellar debut in round four, Guelfi managed earn a spot in the side for the Anzac Day match in just his second game. A surprise prospect for Essendon, Guelfi has shown no issue adapting to the elite level. A 15-disposal game at 87 per cent efficiency made him a highlight for a struggling Bombers. He had an impressive four intercept possessions as well as 20 pressure acts. With a better Essendon side, it is likely his performance will only improve.

Paddy Dow

Dow attacked the football hard over the weekend, racking up 15 disposals (11 contested) with an 80 per cent efficiency. He is a highlight for Carlton, and it is good to see his efforts still high despite a slow start to the season. Dow is fierce around the contests, with an impressive seven clearances on the weekend, only second to Patrick Cripps (eight). He laid three tackles and had five score involvements. Dow is a confident footballer who knows how to back himself. Hopefully we continue to see his level of football continue to rise in the coming years.

Lochie O’Brien

O’Brien showed some great promise in his second game in the navy blue. The number 10 draft pick played some efficient football, running at 73 per cent efficiency  from his 15 disposals (six contested). He had a few good midfield clearances, laid three tackles and earned plenty of the ball off Carlton’s flanks. With his athletic background, O’Brien should be fine to earn more of the football in the coming games.

Cam Rayner

Despite his efficiency in goal kicking, the number one pick again showed great attack on the ball in the forward half. Kicking one goal and two behinds, Rayner earned a handful of opportunities to score big, but continues to fail on the execution. He is a standout for the Lions and is slowly developing a unique brand of football. He is hungry around the ball as demonstrated through six contested possessions out of a total of 11. He needs to improve his efficiency further, but it can be explained through his high number of contested possesions.

Keeping Tabs: Standout draftees from Round 3

With now a game or two under their belts, the first-year players are starting to find their groove. Some have certainly been more consistent over the weeks than others, but this week a few new names stood up to earn their spot. This week we looked at the best performing players from last years’ draft and which of your players you should keep an eye on in the coming weeks.

Liam Ryan

The Geelong and West Coast clash was a game for the first-year players as Liam Ryan proved. The young man dominated the West Coast offensive, picking up three goals in only his third game. He also took home 12 disposals – five contested – three tackles and three intercept possessions, all with a 75 per cent efficiency. His smart play allowed him to be tied the leading goal kicker (Mark LeCras) for his team. Provided he keeps up his efforts, Ryan will have a big future with the Eagles.

Tim Kelly

Once again, Kelly performed like a seasoned player for Geelong, picking up 19 disposals and 10 contested possessions. Despite being his lowest game numbers-wise so far, Kelly still exceeded expectations. In his first year, he is already holding his own against some of the AFL’s most elite athletes and is on his way to cementing a spot in the starting 18. He kicked an impressive goal in the fourth quarter to further Geelong’s lead, but unluckily for him, West Coast finished on top. Kelly has a big year ahead of him if he keeps playing at this level.

Mitchell Crowden

Crowden had the difficult matchup in Steven May, but did not let that lessen his performance. Taken with pick 59 in last year’s AFL National Draft, Crowden has so far smashed expectations. With 13 disposals, five contested, a goal and a 92 per cent efficiency against the Suns, the kid from South Australia dominated in his second game. He also boasted seven score involvements and two goal assists. Fremantle have developed their first years well, and it definitely shows in Crowden.

Nick Coffield

St. Kilda showcased their number eight pick from the AFL National Draft, Nick Coffield, against Adelaide in Round 3. Coffield played some impressive football in his first game. He made great decisions with the ball in hand, and did not rush his disposals. By half-time, Coffield had 12 disposals, one contested possession, a goal and an outstanding 100 percent disposal efficiency. He was a highlight for the Saints despite the resulting loss. In the end, Coffield picked up 18 disposals and three contested possessions to close the game, and his efficiency finished on 89 per cent. We saw plenty of smart football from this young man, and an eagerness to prove himself. If he takes the rest of his football this way, we might see some remarkable things from Coffield.

Ed Richards

In his first win for the Bulldogs, Richards had his fair share of the ball. With 17 disposals, two contested possessions, and a 71 per cent efficiency, Richards more than played his part to take home the win. The second gamer showed a lot fight around the football, taking on his man and laying five strong tackles. Richards showed poise and control around the pill, and with a few more games under his belt, could become a powerful defensive presence for the Dogs.

Aaron Naughton

Again, Naughton had the challenging task of playing on an elite opponent. Matched up on Joe Daniher, Naughton easily held his own and kept Essendon’s key forward off his game. He went onto collect 15 disposals, six contested possessions and finished with 87 per cent disposal efficiency. Many of the Bulldogs’ players showed a better read on Essendon’s movement better than they could, and Naughton was no exception, racking up eight intercept possessions.

Cameron Rayner

Brisbane’s number one pick played some efficient football in Saturday’s clash against Port Adelaide. Rayner dramatically picked up his game from last week’s four disposals with a 50 per cent efficiency. He bumped up it all up to take home nine important disposals – four contested – with an 89 per cent efficiency. He took a great contested grab going back with the flight of the ball which also snagged him a goal. He laid four tackles and had three inside 50s. Brisbane has faced some well performing teams thus far which may be forcing Rayner to push his game even further. With a few more matches, Rayner should fulfil his role even more with the Lions.

Lachie Fogarty

If there is one thing Geelong has proved they can do this year, that’s develop young players. Fogarty played some decent football in a tough match against West Coast. His efficiency was not as high as it can be, but he got half the job right. Fogarty will need to work on finishing properly if he’s to become a top tier player. The medium forward picked up 14 disposals, three contested possessions and a goal. He had five goes at scoring but only kicked the one goal. If he sharpens up in the matches to come, those behinds could easily become goals.

Bailey Banfield

There must have been something in the water at the Optus Stadium because Banfield was one of three first year Fremantle players to cap his game off with over a 90 per cent efficiency. Banfield had 11 disposals – six contested – four tackles and a 91 per cent efficiency. He played some dominant football, and his clean plays were a big reason Fremantle came out on top.

Adam Cerra

Cerra played some efficient football in his second game against the Suns. The young man finished his game with an impressive 90 per cent efficiency from 10 disposals. He played smart football and made lots of clever decisions, but was quiet around the contested ball. Cerra is developing into a fine player along with all of Fremantle’s first year players, but will need to show he can get his own ball going forward.

Paddy Dow

The dynamic midfielder got to experience his first rivalry clash against Collingwood in Round 3. He got a decent amount of touches, taking home 15 disposals – six contested – with 67 per cent efficiency. Dow is slowly coming into his own, laying two tackles, three intercept possessions, and four score involvements. He is yet to have his big game yet but his efforts need to be noted nonetheless.

Keeping tabs: Standout draftees from Round 2

ROUND two provided many young draftees with the chance to improve upon their debut games. With nine clubs playing in front of their home crowd for the first time in 2018, fans finally got to see their new players up close. Many of the draftees put in some greatly improved performances this Easter Weekend. 

Luke Davies-Uniacke 

Davies-Uniacke impressed for North Melbourne in their Good Friday victory over St.Kilda. In what was certainly a scrappy game, ‘LDU’ laid five tackles, had 16 disposals and took three marks. His delivery by foot was excellent, recording a disposal efficiency of 75 per cent. Having spent time as an outside and inside midfielder, Davies-Uniacke’s in-and-under stoppage work was a highlight, totalling four clearances whilst also managing nine contested possessions. In what could be a tough year for the Kangaroos, Luke Davies-Uniacke will certainly give fans something to get excited about for the future.

Adam Cerra

Taken with pick five of last year’s national draft, Fremantle’s Adam Cerra made his debut in Optus Stadium’s purple christening. The classy onballer showcased why clubs rated him so highly as he collected nine disposals at 78 pe rcent efficiency and did not record a turnover. Spending most of the night up forward, Cerra kicked two goals and took three marks inside 50, proving his ability in attack. He seemed to make a positive impact with every possession against Essendon and will no-doubt continue to feature for Fremantle in 2018.

Andrew Brayshaw

After a heavy debut loss to Port at the Adelaide Oval, Brayshaw appeared more comfortable in front of the Dockers faithful. Playing on-ball in his 65 percent time on ground, he was not flashy but recorded 16 disposals, had 23 pressure acts (second for the Dockers behind debutant Mitch Crowden), four intercept possessions, five tackles and six inside 50s. As he looks to spend more time on ground in the coming weeks, expect Brayshaw to continue to fit in well at AFL level. 

Darcy Fogarty

Darcy Fogarty also made his home debut this round, in what was one of the biggest games of the season. In trademark fashion, Fogarty crashed plenty of packs, applied serious forward pressure and certainly let the Tigers defenders know of his presence. One particular incident saw ‘Fog’ hit premiership player Josh Caddy, making him earn his mark. As the game progressed, Fogarty was involved in a number of fiery incidents and he certainly did not back down. He calmly slotted two set shots which never looked like missing, demonstrating his terrific foot skills. Only recorded the seven disposals, but Fogarty took five marks and looks set to wreck havoc for opposition defences, building a formidable partnership with skipper Taylor Walker.  

Aaron Naughton

The Bulldogs key defender had his work cut out for him in round one, opposed to Giants forwards Jeremy Cameron for parts of the day. However, with superstar Josh Kennedy out for the Eagles, Naughton’s second game proved to be an easier one. He collected 12 disposals at 67 percent efficiency, six intercept possessions, seven marks (including two contested marks), 10 score involvements and sent the ball inside 50 on three occasions. For a key position player, Naughton has made a good, solid start to his AFL career, There’s little doubt he will continue to improve as he gains further experience. 

Liam Ryan

In just his second game, Liam Ryan starred in what was a fantastic victory for the West Coast Eagles. Ryan, taken from WAFL club Subiaco with pick 26 in the 2017 AFL National Draft, recorded 93 per cent of his 14 disposals in the attacking half, finishing the game with three majors. His aerial prowess was on display with three of his six marks being contested, including one screamer late in the opening quarter. The day could’ve been even more productive, considering he totalled three behinds. After years of being looked over by AFL clubs, Ryan is beginning to repay the Eagles recruiters. He has slotted seamlessly into the Eagles forward line, forming one half of a dangerous, electrifying duo with Willie Rioli, who made his debut on Sunday afternoon.

Tim Kelly

The mature-aged recruit continued his great form from round one with a sensational game against Hawthorn in the Easter Monday blockbuster. Kelly amasssed 27 disposals, six marks, four tackles and booted a goal, to be one of Geelong’s best in a high-pressure game. His 13 contested possessions were telling, also finishing the match with four clearances and seven inside 50s, looking as if he was more a 10-year veteran than a first year player.

TAC Cup preview: Eastern Ranges

EASTERN Ranges may not have had the on-field success last year in terms of wins, but they were clearly the most successful off the field with a staggering 10 players drafted, in the form of Adam Cerra (pick five), Jaidyn Stephenson (six), Sam Hayes (47), Tyler Brown (50), Ryley Stoddart (53), Joel Garner (60), Tom North (65), Dylan Moore (67), Jackson Ross (71) and Trent Mynott (Rookie) all finding new homes.

They took it up to Dandenong in the first final showing once again that they will always be a threat when it comes to finals football, they even did the same the year before, losing narrowly to eventual 2016 premiers Sandringham in one of the better TAC Cup games you will see.

Eastern will not be expecting 10 players to be drafted like last year but there are still plenty of players making a good early impression. Eastern had a number of bottom age players have an impact last year with Adrian Kalcovski and Joel Burleigh (12 games), Xavier Fry and Ben Cardamone (nine) all players to keep an eye on. Eastern have a very even spread of players this time around so it will be hard to find the pick of the bunch, Cody Hirst showed a lot of class last year playing as a small forward and should be getting more time up the ground to showcase his great composure and skill. Blake Tahlambouris is a crafty medium forward who can have an impact both overhead and at ground level, he will be a tough match-up for the opposition this year and does his best work deep forward. Kye Quirk looked very comfortable last year playing in defence he showed a great ability to both attack and defend. He is a smart reader of the play who should be set for more midfield time this year, and is also the grandson of Carlton premiership player Bryan Quirk.

An unexpected arrival as a 19 year-old playing for Eastern this year is none other than Devlin Brereton, son of Hawthorn champion Dermott Brereton. The lively small forward has come over from Sandringham Dragons after narrowly missing out on getting drafted last year; he faces a big year to prove himself. Eastern will be going in with a smaller and younger squad compared to last year so expect to see bottom agers like Jamieson Rossiter, Jonte Duffy, Mitch Mellis, James Ross and Todd Garner (brother of 2017 draftee Joel Garner) all push to make an impact, making them the key to Eastern challenging for a finals spot again in 2018.

2017 Stats:

2017 Summary:

Eastern had an up and down year but managed to finish 6th. School football meant that the bulk of their star players weren’t available for selection and that was made even worse at the National Championships when they would also lose their gun players who didn’t have school commitments like Stephenson and Hayes. In the later part of the year Eastern really started to find their groove with the natural progression of their up and coming bottom agers and the return of their star players from school football culminating in a 5-game run of wins in the lead up to the finals. Although they lost their last 2 rounds to high quality finals teams in Oakleigh and Geelong, they gave Dandenong a massive scare in the first final where they lead by 50 points at half time. Eastern went out fighting which they have done so very often in recent years.

2018 Snapshot:

Eastern start the year with a big game down at Skybus Stadium in Frankston against a strong Oakleigh Chargers team. Eastern only get to play the four games at their fortress in Box Hill and incredibly will play at 11 different grounds not including their home ground which they have to wait until round seven to play on. Once again Eastern will play a night game at RAMS arena in round two on a Thursday night.

2018 Fixture: