Tag: Ben Cardamone

2018 AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year announced

GIPPSLAND Power and Murray Bushrangers make up one third of the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year, with four nominees each in the side. Every side except Eastern Ranges is represented in the team, with minor premiers Dandenong Stingrays (three), Calder Cannons (two), Geelong Falcons (two), Northern Knights (two), Oakleigh Chargers (two) and Western Jets (two) all having multiple nominees. Bendigo Pioneers and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels have one nominee in the starting team each.

Gippsland Power has plenty of talented bottom-agers, but its four National Combine invitees made our Team of the Year in 2018, lead by captain Xavier Duursma, over-ager Matthew McGannon, and bookends Kyle Reid and Noah Gown. Murray also had four nominees with key forward Hudson Garoni, reliable midfielder Ely Smith, the versatile Jordon Butts, and bottom-ager Lachlan Ash, all making the side. Dandenong Stingrays trio, Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman provide the ruck and forward depth, while captain Campbell Hustwaite has had a superb season.

Amongst the sides with dual nominations are Calder Cannons, with co-captain Mitch Podhajski and serial rebounder Lucas Cavallaro making the side after consistent seasons. Geelong Falcons co-captain Sam Walsh is no surprise in the team, captaining the team with teammate, Brayden Ham his vice-captain. GWV Rebels’ forward Charlie Wilson is the sole Rebel in the side, but his eight nominations – equal with Walsh and Ham – have earned him vice-captain with Ham.

Northern Knights duo, Tom McKenzie and Josh D’Intinosante have made the side, with McKenzie being a rare inclusion given he has missed a lot of football due to school commitments. But the football he has played, he has starred and has earned a place in the side. Oakleigh Chargers also have two nominees in the team despite most of their side missing at times, with Jack Ross and Trent Bianco impressing when at TAC Cup level, making the Team of the Year.

The remaining members of the best 24 are Western Jets duo, Xavier O’Halloran and Connor Thar, as well as the sole Bendigo Pioneers nominee, Noah Wheeler, who slots onto a half-back flank. Much like the All-Australian side, the three bottom-agers in Ash, Bianco and D’Intinosante have been named on the bench.

AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week nominations:

8: Brayden Ham, Sam Walsh, Charlie Wilson
7: Campbell Hustwaite, Ely Smith
6: Noah Gown, Mitch Podhajski, Noah Wheeler
5: Lachlan Ash, Xavier Duursma, Jack Ross, Connor Thar, Bailey Williams
4: Trent Bianco, Riley Bowman, Jordon Butts, Lachlan Cavallaro, Josh D’Intinosante, Hudson Garoni, Matthew McGannon, Tom McKenzie, Xavier O’Halloran, Kyle Reid, Liam Stocker

In the Second Team of the Year, Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets all have three nominees each to fill out more than 60 per cent of the team. Dandenong Stingrays, Murray Bushrangers and Sandringham Dragons each have two nominees, while Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power and GWV Rebels have a sole nominee in each in the team. Bendigo Pioneers is the only side without a nominee in the Second Team of the Year.

Eastern Ranges’ Ben Cardamone is the only player with four Team of the Week nominations to miss out on the Team of the Year, so he captains the Second Team of the Year. There are five bottom-agers who have made the side, with Ryan Byrnes, Adam Carafa, Jye Chalcraft, Mitch Mellis and Sam Flanders all earning their places in the Second Team of the Year.


AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year 48-man squad announced

WITH the conclusion of the TAC Cup season, AFL Draft Central has released its 48-man squad for the TAC Cup Team of the Year. The AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year takes into account the top performers across the TAC Cup season, not incorporating any performances at school football or National Under 18 Championships, which is why some top-end stars that have missed most of the season through school football such as Bailey SmithNed McHenry and Ben King have not been included. In fact, just three players made the team from school football, with Tom McKenzie the most remarkable, making four Team of the Week nominations from six games, having played the least of any player.

For our TAC Cup Team of the Year, we will construct two 24-player squads with the Team of the Year, and the Second Team of the Year, rewarding all those who have performed strongly across the course of the season. The Team of the Year is worked out first and foremost by our TAC Cup Team of the Week nominations, with all players in the team having at least FOUR Team of the Week nominations. The Second Team of the Year squad is made up of players with between TWO and FOUR nominations.

In terms of club-by-club nominations, Murray Bushrangers has the most, with six players making the squad of 48, while top four sides, Dandenong Stingrays, Gippsland Power and Oakleigh Chargers, all five. The Calder Cannons and Western Jets are also among the sides with five nominees each. Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights had four nominees, while Eastern Ranges and Sandringham Dragons had three each. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels (two) and Bendigo Pioneers (one) round out the remaining sides. The AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year will be announced on Friday.


Bendigo [1]: Noah Wheeler

Calder [5]: Lucas Cavallaro, Mitch Podhajski, Jake Riccardi, Lachlan Sholl, Curtis Taylor

Dandenong [5]: Riley Bowman, Zac Foot, Campbell Hustwaite, Lachlan McDonnell, Bailey Williams

Eastern [3]: Ben Cardamone, Mitch Mellis, Kye Quirk

Geelong [4]: Brayden Ham, Baxter Mensch, Blake Schlensog, Sam Walsh

Gippsland [5]: Xavier Duursma, Sam Flanders, Noah Gown, Matthew McGannon, Kyle Reid

GWV [2]: Jed Hill, Charlie Wilson

Murray [6]: Lachlan Ash, Jordon Butts, Jye Chalcraft, Hudson Garoni, Ely Smith, Mathew Walker

Northern [4]: Adam Carafa, Josh D’Intinosante, Tom McKenzie, Stefan Uzelac

Oakleigh [5]: Trent Bianco, Jake Gasper, Xavier O’Neill, Isaac Quaynor, Jack Ross

Sandringham [3]: Ryan Byrnes, James Rendell, Liam Stocker

Western [5]: Buku Khamis, Xavier O’Halloran, Stefan Radovanovic, Connor Thar, Jack Watkins

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 13

TAC Cup action returns this weekend with all 12 teams back at it. While some are understrength due to school football, the ladder is taking shape as just four rounds remain in the competition ahead of the new addition of a wildcard round after Round 16.


Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 12pm
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

The opening game of the round pits two bottom four sides against each other, with the Rebels able to draw within four points of the eighth placed Northern Knights if they can win, while Eastern can draw level with Geelong Falcons and within two points of the Rebels if they can take home the four points. Eastern’s midfield has been relatively settled this year, with Joel Burleigh, Kye Quirk, Adrian Kalcovski and Mitch Mellis all busy through the middle, while Ben Cardamone and Xavier Fry have proved important in the back half. James Blanck‘s return to the side in the past week has settled the defence down, while in attack, the return of Thomas Lockman combining with Billy McCormack should provide some targets up front. For the Rebels, they have beefed up their attack, bringing in Tylar Watts and Josh Chatfield, making for an even more damaging forward line with the likes of Jed Hill, Charlie Wilson and Izaac Grant set to cause headaches for Eastern’s defence. While the half-back line of Scott Carlin and Matty Lloyd provides good rebound. It’s a 50/50 game with Eastern having the home ground advantage.



Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 1pm
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

In arguably the match of the round, Murray Bushrangers hosts Western Jets up in Wangaratta where two of the top inside midfielders will go head-to-head in Ely Smith and Xavier O’Halloran. There are fantastic one-on-ones across the field with the likes of Jacob Koschitzke taking Emerson Jeka, Buku Khamis potentially lining up on Hudson Garoni, and Hamish Murphy going head-to-head with Zane Barzen. Both sides pride themselves on contested ball and speed from half-back, so it is likely to be an entertaining contest of end-to-end football. Jaden Rice is a crucial loss for the Jets on this road trip, but they have plenty of depth through the midfield, and potency up forward with Darcy Cassar, Aaron Clarke and Steven Kyriazis being sources of scoreboard pressure. Murray arguably have the best forward line in the league with Jordon Butts joining Barzen and Garoni, while Jye Chalcraft and Bailey Frauenfelder are always damaging. If the Bushrangers win they will retain third spot, while the Jets could leap frog both Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers with favourable results in other games if they take home the points.



Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 2pm
Preston City Oval, Preston

Another important top eight clash tomorrow is that between the Northern Knights and Gippsland Power. The Knights sit eighth with an eight-point buffer, but will be keen to have another win and upset the Power. The Power sit in second spot, but Murray Bushrangers are hot on their heels and with the finals approaching, a top four spot is at a premium. Last time these two sides played it was a draw at Morwell Recreation Reserve after Irving Mosquito kicked a goal in the dying seconds. Mosquito is in the team again to cause some serious headaches, while Tyrone Hayes also returns to provide some speed around the ground. Noah Gown is fresh off a five-goal haul and will be keen to impress once again at full-forward, while Sam Flanders and Austin Hodge know how to hit the scoreboard. For the Knights, they have Josh D’Intinosante and Sunny Brazier who consistently find goals, while Harrison Grace is an important inclusion at half-forward, with he and James Lucente capable of creating opportunities in the front half. Tom McKenzie and Lachlan Potter will provide plenty of run off half-back, while Matthew McGannon will look to continue his strong form from last week to carry over into this important game. Gippsland will head in as favourites, but the Knights have the speed and talent to cause an upset at home.



Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 11.30am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

An early Sunday game at RAMS Arena is set to provide a treat with an almost full-strength Dandenong side taking on a Calder team with Curtis Taylor back in the side. Dandenong seem to be the clear benchmark this season and will go in as strong favourites, but Calder have matched it with most sides this year and have caused a number of upsets. Opposing captains Campbell Hustwaite and Mitch Podhajski could go head-to-head in the middle, both capable of running both ways and working hard to help their team gain momentum. The speed of the Stingrays might trouble the Cannons, with Zac Foot and Jai Taylor providing plenty of outside run, while Will Hamill and Sam Fletcher provide the inside hands. Bailey Williams is a monster in the air, and Riley Bowman and the returning Bailey Schmidt will push the Cannons for height. Daniel Hanna could be handed the job on Williams, while Lucas Cavallaro and Lachlan Sholl will look to be the ones rebounding from defence. Taylor is a hard match-up for any opposition up forward, and could go head-to-head with potential number one pick in 2019, Hayden Young. The Stingrays seem almost assured of the minor premiership this season, but the wind at RAMS Arena always throws up a few surprises, while the Cannons can go outright seventh with breathing space if the Power defeat the Knights.



Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 1pm
Central Reserve, Colac

Out in the south west, Geelong Falcons will look to take advantage of mass changes for Oakleigh to snatch a win in the Falcons’ home away from home in Colac. While Ned McHenry is a big loss for the Falcons, the Chargers will have to overcome wholesale changes with players heading back to school football. Sam Walsh, Oscar Brownless and Cooper Stephens will still have a fascinating battle in midfield, with Riley Collier-Dawkins, Xavier O’Neill and Noah Answerth, while Oakleigh’s dominant forward line still has serious threats with bottom-agers Noah Anderson and Dylan Williams down there, as well as over-ager Matthew Day and top-ager Jake Gasper who have both booted bags of goals this season – Gasper last week. The strength in attack means Oakleigh will be a danger if they can control the midfield, while Geelong can control play if they win the contested ball. Connor Idun and Dane Hollenkamp will look to contain the forwards, while Brayden Ham is back at half-back where he will try and provide both offensive and defensive pressure on the opposition. Up forward, Blake Schlensog provides a target, while Baxter Mensch and Jay Dahlhaus are others who can find the ball and keep it moving forward. Despite the changes and the home ground advantage, Oakleigh would be rightfully favourites in this game, but Geelong pushed Sandringham Dragons all the way last round and will be hoping for a repeat effort this week.



Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 2.30pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons will take on Bendigo Pioneers in what should be a close game on paper. The Dragons will rightfully head in as favourites, but any time a team makes 17 changes is always going to present challenges. The Pioneers have remained relatively stable and welcomed James Schischka back into the side. While the Dragons have plenty of depth and still some serious talent around the field, they will look to their next tier of players to step up in front of a home crowd. Liam Stocker will look to build on his great form of late since returning from injury, while James Rendell is back in the team to provide a tall target up front. Jai Florent and Tyson Milne are small forwards who create opportunities at ground level, while Corey Watts and Ryan Byrnes are others who have shown good signs throughout the season. For the Pioneers, Jacob Atley provides good speed and effort out of defence, and will combine well with Schischka back there. Noah Wheeler, Hunter Lawrence and Liam Marciano are always involved, while Oscar and Flynn Perez provide some excitement up forward and on the outside. A win to Sandringham could see them move past Murray into third spot, while a loss could see them drop back as far as sixth. The Pioneers can get off the bottom of the TAC Cup table with a win here.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 11

WITH the Under 18 National Championships done and dusted, some important fixtures in the back end of the TAC Cup season will come to the fore as the race to the finals heats up. Over the coming weeks, a number of Vic Country, Vic Metro and Allies representatives will slot back into their respective sides as they near full strength once again.


Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 10:45am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The first game of the round pits Calder, looking to hold on to its spot in the top eight, against Western Jets, hoping to maintain its position in the top four. Both sides came into the year with a good raft of top end talent to propel their respective teams into finals contention. Having done so, they will each welcome back a Vic Metro representative in the form of Calder’s Lachlan Sholl, and Western’s skipper Stefan Radovanovic with the National Championships wrapped up. There’s an interesting quirk that will play a deciding part in the fixture, as both sides having the exactly same tally in points for (676) and against (674) – with both defences sured up at the selection table, it will be worth seeing which team can kick a winning score in blustery RAMS conditions. The Cannons will be looking to co-captain Mitch Podhajski to add some goal threat from midfield after a stint with Coburg in the VFL, while the Jets should get a good amount of potency from 2019 prospect Darcy Cassar.



Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 11:30am

Trevor Barker Oval, Sandringham

Despite sitting pretty in fifth, the depth of the Sandrignham Dragons squad has been tested at times this season, and the eighth placed Knights will be looking to have that same effect when they meet on Saturday. While the Dragons scraped home against Oakleigh in an important win last time out, Northern suffered a loss that sees them clinging on to their finals spot, and another defeat could see the teams below cut the gap to within four points. To help allay those threats, bottom-aged Vic Metro rep Ryan Gardner comes back into the team alongside mobile over-age tall Joel Naylor, who could pose a goal threat alongside fellow inclusion James Lucente should he be thrown up the ground. Sandringham will look to gain an edge in the midfield, with guns Liam Stocker, Alistair Richards and Harry Houlahan making up a dangerous centre bounce line-up. The likes of Patrik Della Rocca and Josh D’Intinosante have both mixed midfield time with their forward duties, and may have to put their hands up if the Knights are to stand a chance.



Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 2:00pm
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

With both sides coming off tight losses to top eight competition, the Chargers and Ranges will be looking to get back on the winners list. Oakleigh are poised a game clear within the finals spots in sixth, while Eastern have notched just the two wins in 2018 to sit in eleventh place. The Ranges possess a consistent group of midfield performers, and will welcome the likes of Lachlan Stapleton back into that mix to go with skipper Joel Burleigh, Kye Quirk and Mitch Mellis. Half-backs Xavier Fry and Ben Cardamone will have their work cut out for them with the inclusion of bottom-aged Vic Metro star Dylan Williams for Oakleigh, who may even spend some time through the middle alongside fellow ins Lachlan Bugeja and Xavier O’Neill. Oakleigh are one of the more free-scoring teams, while Eastern have struggled in that department this year, so the onus will be on that midfield group to win the ball early and put pressure on the Chargers defence while protecting their own.



Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 2:00pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Ladder leaders Dandenong will be looking to continue their winning ways when they host Geelong in Saturday’s second afternoon game. The Stingrays have some vital breathing space on top of the table, and more importantly, add some serious talent back into the line-up. The team that is rolling on throughout the season adds Riley Bowman, Will Hamill and Toby Bedford after their Vic Country stints, and team that with the Cumming twins – Stephen and Matthew – and Sam De Koning and there’s some impressive talls and great crumbers. Jai Taylor provides the speed, while Campbell Hustwaite and Jamie Plumridge can find the football on the inside. For the Falcons, they also welcome back a few key players after a disastrous game last round where they failed to kick a goal. Connor Idun and Dane Hollenkamp add important strength to the back 50, while Blake Schlensog will be a target up front. With no Sam Walsh or Ned McHenry in this game, the Falcons will need it’s next tier to stand up against a star-studded Stingrays midfield.



Round 11 – Sunday, July 8, 12:00pm
Morwell Football Ground, Morwell

On the early game on Sunday, we have the match of the round with two top four sides going head-to-head. The Power are coming off a draw to Calder Cannons and a shock loss to the Bendigo Pioneers, while the Bushrangers have regained form after a rare loss to Oakleigh Chargers, to smash Geelong Falcons last week. The winner will take second spot on the table, while the loser might slip to fourth if the Western Jets get up. Murray’s forward line is arguably the best in the comp with the leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, crashing packs and causing all sorts headaches for opposition defenders. Jye Chalcraft and Bailey Frauenfelder have been impressive in attack, while Jordon Butts has also kicked a bag of goals in the past month. The most in-form TAC Cup player in Ely Smith returns after a huge game for Vic Country, and he will face off against Caleb Serong, Riley Baldi and Austin Hodge in the midfield. Both sides have promising bottom-agers including Lachlan Ash and Brock Smith who have been in strong form throughout the season, and it is billed as an exciting clash for those who can make it to the game.



Round 11 – Sunday, July 8, 1:00pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the final game of the round, two sides pretty keen for a win face-off with both sides managing the two so far this season. For Bendigo Pioneers, they had a fantastic win over Gippsland Power last week and will want to go back-to-back with victory over the GWV Rebels here. The Rebels will remember the round one loss against the Pioneers where they had control of the game until Tom Berry came off with concussion and the Pioneers swarmed home to win by a point. With Berry and Scott Carlin returning to the side, joining Matty Lloyd as some crucial players in that team, the Rebels will fancy their chances. But Brodie Kemp was impressive for Vic Country, while Bailey Henderson returns, and Noah Wheeler is coming off a season-best game. It spells an even contest and one which will result in a well-deserved victor.

Team Selection: Sandringham Dragons vs. Eastern Ranges

WITH the Vic Metro and school football bye, both the Sandringham Dragons and Eastern Ranges will head into their standalone Round 9 clash with fairly healthy looking sides. Alastair Richards and Xavier Fry return for their respective teams after a stint with Vic Metro and one would assume they are not playing in Wednesday’s final clash against South Australia. Those still missing from the team include Ben King, Bailey Smith, Angus Hanrahan and James Rendell (Sandringham) as well as James Blanck (Eastern) who look to have retained their spots in the Metro side for Wednesday’s clash – deservedly so with some impressive performances at National level.

The Dragons are bolstered with the return of Dawit McNeish, Nicholas Stamatis and Ryan O’Meara who are among eight inclusions, while Kai Owens, Sam Sofronidis and Harry Bede are among six confirmed outs. For the Ranges, they have also made a number of changes, with Fry leading eight inclusions, while six players have been confirmed as outs. Caleb Quirk and Thomas Lockman are among those into the side, while Callum Norris and Jarrod Gilbee were listed among the omissions.

The ladder ramifications from the clash are simple – if Sandringham can win, the Dragons will leapfrog Oakleigh Chargers into fifth. If Eastern Ranges win, they will leapfrog the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels into tenth. A large enough win could also see them overtake Geelong Falcons in ninth. But after a loss last round, the Ranges will just be keen to bounce back and record their third win in four games. The midfield clash should be enticing with Richards, Liam Stocker and Harry Houlahan taking on Kye Quirk, Adrian Kalcovski and Joel Burleigh in the middle with Darcy Chirgwin and Mitch Mellis among the outside runners.

The key position defenders in Will Kennedy and Corey Watts have been in good form of late for the Dragons and will look to contain the Eastern forward line. The Eastern defence has been solid as well with Ben Cardamone regaining his early season form and will look to combine with Fry for some good rebound out of the back half. In a game where Sandringham will rightfully head in as favourites at home, Eastern will hope its midfield can get on top and kick a winning score.



Round 9 – Saturday, June 30, 12pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

Sandringham Dragons

B: 18. A. Seaton, 69. C. Watts, 45. J. Voss
HB: 14. R. O’Meara, 33. W. Kennedy, 11. N. Stamatis
C: 72. D.  Chirgwin, 2. A.  Richards, 19. S.  Forbes
HF: 17. J. Denborough, 48. J. Worrell, 39. J. Florent
F: 13. T. Brimble, 61. F. McAsey, 52. C. Dean
R: 59. A. Courtney, 6. H. Houlahan, 7. L. Stocker
Int: 36. M. Bergman, 51. N. Burke, 66. R. Byrnes, 26. F. Maginness, 21. D. McNeish, 53. H. Ralphsmith, 46. L. Witts
23P: 35. G. Grey

In: R. Byrnes, G. Grey, D. McNeish, A. Richards, N. Stamatis, R. O’Meara, L. Witts, M. Bergman
Out: C. Jones,  L. Butler,  C. Langford,  K. Owens,  S. Sofronidis,  H. Bede

Eastern Ranges

B: 10. C. Black, 47. T. Hallett-Tauali’i, 20. B. Cardamone
HB: 23. X. Fry, 18. B. McCormack, 25. L. Vassis
C: 4. R.  Clausen, 8. J.  Burleigh, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 1. B. Bredin, 42. T. Lockman, 3. H. Chinn
F: 27. J. Jaworski, 36. S. Kapahnke, 28. L. Kruger
R: 58. R. Smith, 24. K. Quirk, 2. A. Kalcovski
Int: 38. M. Briggs, 53. J. Drake, 5. R. Einsporn, 16. T. Garner, J. Kritopoulos, 22. C. Quirk, 33. B. Tahlambouris
23P: 51. D. Reynolds

In: J. Drake, B. Tahlambouris, D. Reynolds, T. Lockman, M. Briggs, J. Kritopoulos, C. Quirk, X. Fry
Out: C. Leon, L. Munro, L. Gawel, C. Norris, K. Crosby, J. Gilbee

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 10

MURRAY Bushrangers’ 97-point thumping of Geelong Falcons has seen them rewarded with another four players in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 10. The Bushrangers have two more players than any other side, with the rest of the 18 players divided up evenly amongst the 11 other TAC Cup teams.

The other five winners – Bendigo Pioneers, Calder Cannons, Dandenong Stingrays, Northern Knights and Sandringham Dragons – have two nominees each, as do Round 10 losers Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets. The remaining four clubs – Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels have the one nominee each.

Murray key forward Hudson Garoni booted six goals to be named in his regular spot at centre half-forward, but it was midfielder Ely Smith who stole the show, amassing 37 disposals and laying 11 tackles to also earn the AFL Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 10. Bottom-age forward Jye Chalcraft was impressive backing up his strong game the week before, making the half-forward flank in the Round 10 team, while Dylan Clarke made it onto the interchange bench. The other player close to earning the Player of the Week honours – Bendigo Pioneers midfielder Noah Wheeler – joins Smith onball, and is in the side with teammate Flynn Perez after the Pioneers’ win over Gippsland Power.

Calder Cannons’ great win saw Daniel Mott make the team in the middle after an eye-catching performance, while forward Josh Kemp achieved the remarkable feat of making the team on debut – booting four goals and earns a place in the starting side. Dandenong Stingrays have plenty of talented talls and on the weekend it was Bailey Schmidt and Stephen Cumming who created plenty of havoc against the GWV Rebels, both booting four goals. Schmidt is named at full-forward, while Cumming – who also spent some time in defence – has been named at centre half-back, but would rotate forward in this team.

Alongside Cumming holding down the fort is Sandringham Dragons’ switchman Will Kennedy, who earns a place at full-back, and is joined in the team by midfielder Liam Stocker, who made a successful return from injury. The other winning side – Western Jets – saw midfielders Connor Thar and Jack Watkins make the team for their big ball-winning performances on the weekend.

Northern Knights’ bottom-ager Nathan Howard earns his place as starting ruck for his strong performance in the absence of Tom Hallebone, joined in the team by returning midfielder Justin McInerney. Oakleigh is the final team with two nominees, as Trent Bianco (half-back flank) and Jack Ross (interchange) slotted into the team. Three of the four single club nominees suited up in the backline with Eastern Ranges’ Ben Cardamone, Geelong Falcons’ Brayden Ham and Gippsland Power’s Tyrone Hayes all making the side. Up forward, Charlie Wilson impressed again with four goals to make the team. Eastern’s Joel Burleigh, Gippsland’s Boadie Motton and GWV’s Jed Hill are the three hypothetical emergencies for the Round 10 team.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 10

AFTER a five-game round last week, the full set is back for Round 10 with all 12 teams taking part in the first of two Futures Rounds. In Futures Rounds, squads are extended to 24, and at least 11 bottom-age players must be in the side. This gives recruiters a chance to get a glimpse of the bottom-age talent coming through the ranks and get an idea about where players sit for 2019.



Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 10.30am
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

It would have been hard to believe a few rounds ago, but Eastern Ranges head into the home clash with Calder Cannons on a hot streak, having picked up two consecutive wins and looking strong. They play yet another game there and come up against a Calder Cannons side that took it right up to the Gippsland Power despite the Cannons missing the majority of their best 22. Calder’s two key forwards are in good form, with Jake Riccardi booting four goals in the final term last round to single-handedly ensure the Cannons snatched two points, while John Roumeliotis is building up some consistency after missing three years through knee injuries. Daniel Hanna is rock solid in defence, while Lucas Cavallaro had another consistent performance out of the back half last week and looks to be a danger man in this clash. For Eastern, the loss of Xavier Fry and James Blanck will hurt, but the midfield that got the job done against Bendigo Pioneers is still intact with Lachlan Stapleton, Joel Burleigh, Kye Quirk and Mitch Mellis forming a good quartet in the centre. Ben Cardamone has been consistent in defence. This is set to be a close contest.  



Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 10.30am
Williamstown Football Ground, Williamstown

The Western Jets will be disappointed their winning streak was broken last week, with their depth tested against an impressive Geelong Falcons outfit. The Northern Knights on the other hand will be pleased they got over the line against GWV Rebels in tough conditions at MARS Stadium following a good final term. Oscar White and Justin McInerney both return to the visitors team in what will be a boost for the Knights in the clash, while a couple of potential father-son prospects are in for the Jets in Oskar Manton and Tyler Kolyniuk. Western’s strength is in its midfield, similar to Northern, and it will be a great contest to watch Connor Thar, Jack Watkins and Jaden Rice go head-to-head with McInerney, White and Ryan Sturgess among others in a deep midfield group. Aaron Clarke and Steven Kyriazis can cause headaches up forward for the Jets, while talented bottom-ager Josh D’Intinosante has been named at half-back after an impressive game on-ball last week. Patrik Della Rocca, Sunny Brazier and Harrison Grace provide three different elements to the Knights’ forward line, while Hamish Murphy and Darcy Cassar are others who have been important players for the home side this season.  



Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 10.30am
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

A mid-season clash between Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons does not always bring about too many top-age talents given the National Championships and school football commitments, but there is plenty to like about both sides when they go head-to-head at Warrawee Park tomorrow. The Dragons will look to address a form slump due to the amount of upheaval to their side, losing four of the past five games. Meanwhile the Chargers have also slipped, albeit defeating the Murray Bushrangers a couple of weeks ago. A win to Oakleigh could see the Chargers back in the top four, while it could also mean the Dragons drop outside the top eight. On the other side of the coin, the Dragons could move to sixth, and sit just four points behind the Chargers in fifth, with a victory. In line with Futures Round, Oakleigh has gone in with a young, but talented side, with Matt Rowell headlining the bottom-agers after returning from Vic Metro duties. He, Trent Bianco and Bailey Wraith will be important inclusions, in a side that looks to have plenty of grunt, speed and class. After a big day out last week, Matt Day will be a loss up forward, while Sam Harte and Lachlan Bugeja have been consistent, however Atu Bosenavulagi is finding some good form, and Jack Ross is a crucial inclusion as well. For the Dragons, their side might look even stronger on paper, with the return of many players from school football. Key position players Fischer McAsey and Will Kennedy return to the fold to provide some quality height, while Kai Owens, Liam Stocker and Harry Houlahan will provide a good core midfield that will challenge the Chargers.  



Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 1pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Dandenong has been the benchmark in the competition this season, and can move eight points clear on top with a victory here and an unlikely loss to Gippsland. For the Rebels, they can leapfrog Geelong into ninth and be just percentage away from Calder in eighth with a win. GWV will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing final term against Northern Knights last weekend. Stephen Cumming is an important inclusion into the team, allowing Bailey Schmidt to go forward more often for the Stingrays, while Finlay Bayne returns to the team due to a bye in school football. Jai Taylor also slots back into the team after representing Vic Country last week, and a midfield of Campbell Hustwaite, Jamie Plumridge and Lachlan McDonnell is always going to be challenging, while Reid Nanscawen was another who stepped up for the Stingrays in Round 9. For the Rebels, they lose Scott Carlin who has been a slick ball user off half-back, but regain Matty Lloyd in the same position, while retaining what on paper could be the most underrated forward line. With Josh Chatfield, Jed Hill, Izaac Grant and Charlie Wilson all rotating through there, the speed and goal sense is high, it will just be putting it all together for four quarters. The Stingrays will head in as strong favourites for the clash, but the Rebels could trouble them with their speed up forward.



Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 2pm
Windy Hill, Essendon

In an afternoon game, Gippsland Power hosts Bendigo Pioneers at Windy Hill in a venue about halfway between both locations. The Power will be disappointed they only took two points away from their clash against Calder Cannons at home, their second draw of the season at the venue. While the Pioneers notched up another defeat, this time to Eastern Ranges leaving them outright bottom of the table with nine straight losses. They will hope to turn it around with a good win here, but will have to do so without a series of important players. Zane Keighran, Liam Marciano, Josh Grace, Phill Moi Moi and Lucas Caccaviello have all been consistent players of late and will be sorely missed, but the return of AFL Academy member Brodie Kemp will be important for the Pioneers. Along with in-form ruck Daniel Keating and the Perez brothers – Oscar and Flynn – tearing it up on the wings, the Pioneers still have plenty of speed around the ground and capable of getting it inside 50. For the Power, they bring back live-wire Irving Mosquito who did not quite come up last week from a hamstring injury, but seems right to go now, and will be keen to play well in the hope of a Vic Country call-up in the final game against South Australia at GMHBA Stadium. The Power midfield is very strong with Brock Smith, Riley Baldi, Bailey Beck, Boadie Motton and Mosquito forming a really consistent base at the feet of Rylan Henkel. Austin Hodge can play forward or through the midfield, and Tyrone Hayes, Ryan Sparkes and Jake Van Der Pligt provide plenty of speed and rebound out of defence. Gippsland head in as very strong favourites, but they were last week, so they will be hoping to learn from the lessons and grab the four points here.



Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 2.15pm
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

In the final game of the round, an understrength young Geelong Falcons side meets an almost full-strength Murray Bushrangers outfit in what will be a great challenge for the Falcons. Vic Country selection has not done the Falcons much favours, losing Dane Hollenkamp and Blake Schlensog in what will be exciting for Geelong to see them on the MCG, but more so for the opposition with key position forward and TAC Cup leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, X-factor Zane Barzen, and talented bottom-ager Lachlan Ash, all returning to the Bushrangers side. Couple that with the fact a virtually untouched midfield of Ely Smith, Dylan Clarke and Kyle Clarke has been performing, and Geelong will need to be at its best to topple the Bushrangers. For Geelong, Brayden Ham continues to put his hand up to recruiters with another four goals last week, named at half-back this week. Baxter Mensch has not slowed down pulling in big numbers and clearances week-in, week-out, while acting captain Cooper Cartledge will be tasked with leading a young defence – while potentially given the job on the in-form Garoni. The match is likely to see what the bottom-agers can do for the Falcons, while the Bushrangers will be supremely confident they can take the four points in this clash.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 8

THERE are just the five games this weekend, with many TAC Cup clubs opting to rest players who had played all or most of the games so far this season to ensure they are fit for the National Championships which start next weekend.


Round 8 – Saturday, June 2, 11:15am Preston City Oval, Preston

Northern will miss their captain and clearance expert Braedyn Gillard for the weekend’s game, with the inside midfielder having notched up 21 more clearances than the next highest Knight. In his place, the likes of Brody Bell and Harrison Grace will lead the midfield, with Bell likely to provide the inside presence, while Grace (66 per cent by foot) will provide the outside class the Knights need to get the job done. Eastern are solid on the inside, with Joel Burleigh, Adrian Kalcovski and Lachlan Stapleton providing a hard edge to the midfield, while their defence holds up well under pressure. The big question mark for Eastern is whether they can put enough scoreboard pressure on the Knights, and Jamieson Rossiter might be the one they look to after a six-goal haul in Eastern’s first win of the year against Bendigo in Round 7. Northern’s defensive duo of Ryan Gardner and Lachlan Potter provide plenty of pace out of defence, while Ben Cardamone and Kye Quirk will provide similar support up the other end with the latter rotating through the midfield.


Round 8 – Saturday, June 2, 2.15pm Williamstown Football Ground, Williamstown

In the second game, two teams with vastly different form-lines face off in Williamstown. The Jets have won their past three games and sit inside the top four, while the Pioneers are still searching for their second win of the season since running over the top of the GWV Rebels in Round 1. Xavier O’Halloran will be a loss for the Jets after a really consistent first couple of months, but Western have a deep midfield that will trouble most teams. Of the top six clearance winners, Western has five, with Jaden Rice, Connor Thar and Zak Butters leading the way, while Noah Wheeler is the top extractor for the Pioneers. It gives the Jets a big advantage in the middle, and will give their forwards first opportunity. Bailey Henderson will be a big loss for the Pioneers, and the likes of James Schischka, Zane Keighran, Liam Marciano, Daniel Keating and Hunter Lawrence will be the ones the young side looks to, as will Jacob Atley who returns to the side this weekend. Stefan Radovanovic returns for the Jets and will likely spend most of his time in the midfield, but he provides speed and strength off half-back if required.


Round 8 – Saturday, June 2, 2.15pm RAMS Arena, Cragieburn

Two sides fairly close to full-strength do battle at RAMS Arena tomorrow afternoon, with the Cannons hosting the Rebels. Co-captain Jack Bytel returns from injury, while Curtis Taylor is coming off a best on ground performance in Round 7. While Rhylee West is still playing school football, the Cannons will back in their side with its versatile midfield who can play forward or back. Bytel and Lochie Dawson are their respective sides’ biggest ball winners this season on pure numbers while Scott Carlin and Lachlan Sholl are the strong users off half-back. Jack Evans has played as a defender most of his Cannons days, but was up the ground in the last match and trialled forward with success for Vic Metro and has been named there this weekend. He could have an entertaining battle with Carlin or Matty Lloyd who the latter will be looking to back up for his second Rebels game this season. Mitch Podhajski is that bigger body in the midfield which gives the Cannons an advantage and the game might come down to whether or not Calder can execute with the opportunities its forwards will receive, because the bigger midfield will likely take control in this contest.


Round 8 – Sunday, June 3, 10.45am Shepley Oval, Dandenong

On Sunday, both Dandenong and Sandringham will look to their depth to get the four points with ladder position meaning little considering the amount of players not on the park this weekend. Many of the Stingrays are resting ahead of the National Championships, while the Dragons are either resting or playing school football. Hayden Young will be a welcome return for the home side, with the bottom-ager one of the brightest prospects for next year. Twin towers Matthew and Stephen Cumming are back in the line-up to counter the loss of talls Bailey Williams and Bailey Schmidt. For the Dragons, the Melbourne Grammar boys are back in the line-up, and they will be hoping to continue their winning ways from last week. Kai Owens was important in leading the midfield, and he will go up against the likes of Jamie Plumridge and Campbell Hustwaite on the ball. Harry Bede and James Rendell are handy talls for the Dragons and in good form, so the Stingrays will need to keep them under wraps if they are to win. For the Dragons, Dawit McNeish, Darcy Chirgwin and Ryan Byrnes are others in that midfield brigade who will need to get their hands on the football to stop Dandenong’s run and carry.


Round 8 – Sunday, June 3, 1.15pm Shepley Oval, Dandenong

In the final game of the round, two sides with wholesale changes face off at Shepley Oval. Both the Power and Falcons have rested the majority of their Vic Country players in a bid to keep them fresh for next weekend. It gives their next tier of players a chance to stand up and become a game winner with talls Rylan Henkel and Noah Gown important as targets around the ground, while Riley Baldi, Bailey Beck and Austin Hodge will look to win the midfield battle and get forward to kick goals. Geelong will be without its starting trio of Sam Walsh, Ned McHenry and Oscar Brownless, which means the likes of Baxter Mensch, bottom-ager Cooper Stephens and over-ager Ethan Floyd will carry the load through the centre. Brayden Ham is an important inclusion for the side, while Cooper Cartledge and Blake Schlensog will be targets at opposite ends of the ground. For the Power, Tyrone Hayes adds that speed through the midfield, while Ryan Sparkes and Jake Van Der Pligt are players who provide run out of the back half.

Mid-Season Team of the Year: TAC Cup

SEVEN rounds down in the TAC Cup and during the week off, we at AFL Draft Central have come up with our TAC Cup Mid-Season Team of the Year, comprised of those players with the most nominations from AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week‘s so far this season.

Looking at the nominations, there were a total of 18 players across the competition who received three or more nominations from the seven rounds, and a further 20 players who received two nominations. In our Mid-Season Team of the Year, we selected the remaining six players from those 20, with the tiebreaker decided by bests in their respective team matches.

The TAC Cup clubs with the most nominations in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Mid-Season Team of the Year are the Dandenong Stingrays, Gippsland Power, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets – no surprise considering they are the top four sides. Leading the way is our Mid-Season Team of the Year captain and Western Jets’ leader Xavier O’Halloran, who is the obvious choice considering he is the only player with four Team of the Week nominations, and he slots in nicely to the centre position. He is joined in the side by teammates Zak Butters up forward and Stefan Radovanovic down back.

Ladder leaders, Dandenong Stingrays, have two talls and a small in the side, with first round prospects and AFL Academy members Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman making the side, joined in the team by speedster Zac Foot who has enjoyed some great form this season. Gippsland Power has covered all thirds of the ground, with full-back Kyle Reid, forward Sam Flanders, and captain and midfielder Xavier Duursma all making the final 24. The Murray Bushrangers’ trio that have made the cut are bottom-ager defender Lachlan Ash, centre-half forward and TAC Cup leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, and inside midfielder Ely Smith.

Of the remaining sides, four teams have two nominees in the team, while the remaining four – Bendigo Pioneers, GWV Rebels, Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons – have the one nominee for varying reasons. Calder Cannons’ co-captain Mitch Podhajski has showed some great form this season to make it onto a wing, joined in the team by Lucas Cavallaro who just got the nod ahead of teammates co-captain Jack BytelJack Evans and Curtis Taylor who were also both on two nominations. Eastern Ranges defenders Ben Cardamone and Jarrod Gilbee make the side with the former receiving back-to-back Team of he Week nominations to open the season, and having three at the midway point, whilst Gilbee’s consistency over seven rounds saw him just make it ahead of Geelong Falcons’ full-back Dane Hollenkamp and Sandringham Dragons’ Ben King (the latter of whom starred in his games for two nominations, but has been playing APS football since).

Speaking of Geelong Falcons, co-captain Sam Walsh and half-forward Brayden Ham both make the side after strong starts to the season. It is no surprise to see the top five pick Walsh there, however Ham has been a revelation early in the season with three Team of the Week nominations. Meanwhile the Northern Knights midfield duo of Braedyn Gillard and Tom McKenzie make the side – the latter of which received three nominations from his three games, a remarkable feat.

Of the sides with one nomination, Bendigo Pioneers’ ruck Daniel Keating, GWV Rebels’ half-forward Charlie Wilson, Oakleigh Chargers’ AFL Academy member Isaac Quaynor, and Sandringham Dragons’ forward Harry Bede made the final 24. Both the Pioneers and Rebels are in the bottom four sides this season, but for Oakleigh and Sandringham, it was a case of personnel changes through APS football that meant the nominations have been shared around this season. Bede made it into the team given his past month, getting the accolade ahead of star teammates Ben King and Bailey Smith who also received two nominations but have not played since. For Oakleigh, it was more bizarre with Quaynor the only player receiving multiple nominations. The Chargers’ depth has been on show this season with a massive 10 players receiving Team of the Week nominations, but nine of them received a sole nomination.

Other players with two nominations that were in consideration were Bendigo’s Will Holt, Dandenong’s Campbell Hustwaite, Geelong’s Charlie Sprague, Gippsland’s Matthew McGannon, GWV’s Lochie Dawson, Murray’s Jordon Butts and Laitham Vandermeer, and Northern’s Josh D’Intinosante.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 7

THREE wins on the trot and flying high, the Western Jets are the big winners in this week’s AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 7. The Jets and the Gippsland Power are the only sides with three nominees, as the best 22 is split evenly across the competition. Every other winning side, as well as Calder Cannons and Murray Bushrangers have two nominees, while the Bendigo Pioneers, Geelong Falcons, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Oakleigh Chargers have a sole nominee in the team.

It is undoubtedly the tallest Team of the Week so far, and one we would probably not take into a wet weather game, but such was the results on the weekend with a number of key position players earning their spots with impressive performances. Up forward, the front six have combined for a massive 30 goals to show some serious firepower, with just the one genuine crumbing player, as well as a mix of key position and lead-up players.

The Jets’ three nominees are defender Buku Khamis – who was best on ground in the Jets’ win over Oakleigh Chargers – as well as midfielders Xavier O’Halloran and Zak Butters. O’Halloran has been a regular in the Team of the Week this season, with fellow captain Xavier Duursma another who has had his fair share of nominations. The Gippsland leaders makes the team on the wing, along with Sam Flanders who booted another four goals on the weekend, and Kyle Reid who was monumental in defence. In the centre, Braedyn Gillard slots in once again, joined by teammate Adam Carafa for the first time. The other midfield spot is taken by overager Kai Owens who stood up in Sandringham’s victory over Geelong Falcons on Sunday. Owens is joined in the Team of the Week by forward Harry Bede who also booted four goals.

The three-pronged tall attack of Murray Bushrangers’ Hudson Garoni, Dandenong Stingrays’ Corey Ellison and Eastern Ranges’ Jamieson Rossiter piled on a massive 19 goals between them and were walk-up starts in this week’s team. They are not the only talls from their teams with Bailey Williams (Dandenong) and Jordon Butts (Murray) making the side, while Ben Cardamone‘s work from defence earned him another place in the back pocket after a good start in the opening few rounds. Alongside him at centre half-back is Calder Cannons switchman Daniel Hanna, who is one of two Cannons in the team – Curtis Taylor makes the side as well.

Up forward, GWV half-forward Charlie Wilson – who finished with three majors in the Rebels’ loss to Gippsland Power – also made the team once again. The final spots in the team were taken up by the three sole members for their respective teams, half-back Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers), full-back Dane Hollenkamp (Geelong Falcons) and ruck Daniel Keating (Bendigo Pioneers). Others considered for the team but just missed out due to the strength in their relative positions were Eastern’s Mitch Mellis, Murray’s Ben Kelly, GWV’s Matt Schnerring, Gippsland’s Bailey Beck and Geelong’s Oscar Brownless.