Tag: Ben Paton

Keeping Tabs: Standout players from Round 23

For some, it’s the last game of footy they’ll play until 2019. For others, they’ll be playing the most important games of footy they’ve ever faced. In our last Keeping Tabs, we look back on a few familiar faces, where they sit for the season, and pay our usual respects to this round’s top performers.

Tim Kelly

Though ineligible to win the NAB Rising Star Award, Kelly without a doubt was 2018’s best first year player. Averaging 23.1 disposals, four clearances, three tackles and three inside 50s across 22 games, Geelong’s newest recruit tallied up 23 goals, placing as the Cat’s fourth highest goal kicker for the season (one behind Patrick Dangerfield). In Round 23, Kelly maintained his class. His power showed out of stoppages, as he collected three clearances and an exciting goal around the body. He finished with two more goals (100 per cent efficiency) and nine score involvements for the afternoon, plus 23 possessions (seven contested) at a disposal efficiency of 74 per cent. Kelly was able to beat his stat sheet on the weekend, taking eight marks (two inside 50s), boasted 24 pressure acts and four inside 50s. Give him one more season, and Kelly could be named in the 40-man All-Australian squad. Though you could argue he was stiff not to get a nod this season, if the Cats claw their way to the end of September, a Norm Smith conversation might not be off the cards either.

Zac Bailey

Bailey injected real class into the Brisbane Lions’ line-up this year, Bailey put on another show for onlookers against the Eagles. Clean with ball in hand, Bailey finished with 20 possessions (six contested) and a list-high 85 per cent disposal efficiency. His first quarter started well, kicking a goal on the run from 30 metres out, and later adding his second in the third quarter (six score involvements). He was able to showcase his strong marking ability, with four marks on the weekend. Bailey topped off an already impressive performance with two tackles, three inside 50s, 364 metres gained, and earned three free kicks. The Lions know what they’re doing with their crop. With Cam Rayner, Hugh McCluggage, Eric Hipwood, Alex Witherden and Bailey, the future’s looking strong for Brisbane.

Aaron Naughton

Though having a few stints up forward this season, it seems Naughton’s continued reliability in the backline was again too much to pass up. Earning himself the final NAB Rising Star nomination for the year, the dependable defender played his role well in minimising Richmond’s forward onslaught. He collected 18 disposals (12 contested) at a 78 per cent disposal efficiency. Naughton took nine marks (five contested) and 12 intercept possessions with only one turnover. He sits atop the Bulldogs list for intercept possessions at 112, but only 54th in the competition. If the Bulldogs remained more consistent with Naughton’s role, perhaps he would have placed higher and received the Rising Star nomination earlier. Nevertheless, his impact is unmistakable, sustaining good football across 23 rounds.

Liam Ryan

Ryan’s game has much to be admired. He’s proven himself as a talented goal kicker (17 goals in 10 games), a slick mover with the ball, and generally just adds a lot of flavour to the plays he produces. Unsurprisingly, this game was no different. The 21-year-old kicked three goals for the game (six score involvements) and collected nine of his 12 possessions out of a contest. His disposal efficiency was a little poor at 58 per cent, but his goal sense and one-on-one work put him above, taking four marks (two contested) and laying four tackles. West Coast are going into the finals with a confident and talented forward line, with Ryan and Willie Rioli adding unfathomable amounts of finesse and agility. Their inclusion this season has made the Eagles a much more dynamic side than the one we saw in 2017.

James Worpel

Taking up the role of Hawthorn’s resident hothead in James Sicily’s absence, Worpel continued to play his footy with great intensity. His work through the midfield proved damaging, collecting 23 possessions (nine contested) at a solid 78 per cent disposal efficiency. He kicked an easy goal from a dropped mark off a Sydney kick-in, had seven score involvements and one goal assist. He worked well going forward with three clearances, four inside 50s and two marks in front of goal. He also had two tackles, 13 pressure acts, five intercept possessions, and two rebound 50s. His work rate was up for four quarters, positioning and using his body well in the contest. 

Jack Higgins

It seems Richmond’s wins at the MCG are getting slimmer with each round heading into September. Higgins expressed his frustrations early on, but found his head and maintained a strong presence in assisting Richmond’s win. The personable youngster collected 18 possessions (nine contested) at 61 per cent disposal efficiency, as well as seven score involvements and two goal assists. His clever tap-down to Jason Castagna inside 50 created an important goal in the third, making up part of his five one per centers for the game. Richmond envisioned a small-forward/midfield role in 2017 for this prospect and showed great interest in his game-average five tackles. This year, the Tigers were able to get what they wanted as Higgins topped his game with 28 pressure acts, and five tackles (three inside 50). With his speed, instincts, pressure and goal sense, Higgins should be well on his way to stardom.

Ben Paton

Paton gave St Kilda something to look at come selection next season with a stellar third-game performance. He gathered 16 disposals (seven contested) and peaked his kicking efficiency at 88.9 per cent with nine kicks. He earned himself a goal (five score involvements and one goal assist), took three marks, laid two tackles and had 19 pressure acts. In such a chaotic game of football, it’s impressive to see a young player hold their nerve and keep their efficiency at such an elevated level. 

Lochie O’Brien

This weekend O’Brien got himself to a lot of the footy even with Carlton’s inability to do much with it. Collecting 22 disposals (four contested) at 58 per cent disposal efficiency, the young Blue maintained a strong presence around the ground, finishing third behind Marc Murphy and Patrick Cripps in possessions. The No.10 pick finished with four marks, three clearances, six inside 50s and four rebound 50s. It probably wasn’t the most ideal way to close out an already poor season, but O’Brien may take solace in now having 18 games under his belt come 2019. If the Blues can strengthen their list, they’ll have a better chance of strengthening their draft crop.

Murray Bushrangers 2017 review

With the off-season now officially here for TAC Cup clubs, AFL Draft Central will go back and review what 2017 was like for each of the 12 clubs. We kick off the series with Bendigo Pioneers and will end with the Western Jets.

Murray Bushrangers

Finished: 5th
Wins: 10
Losses: 9
Draws: 0
Percentage:
 110
Points: 40 (eliminated in elimination final)

Players Drafted: (4)

  • Charlie Spargo (Melbourne)
  • Ben Paton (St Kilda)
  • Harrison Jones (Hawthorn)
  • Doulton Langlands (St Kilda)

2017 Review:

Much like the GWV Rebels, Murray Bushrangers had a huge 2016 draft with double figure players drafted to clubs. In 2017 that number dropped to four, which is still quite a solid effort. Charlie Spargo‘s injury did not wreck his draft hopes, picked up by Melbourne, while Ben Paton was selected by St Kilda, later joined by fellow Bushranger Doulton Langlands. In back-to-back Bushranger picks, Harrison Jones landed at Hawthorn as a rookie just prior to Langlands’ selection.

Among those unlucky not to be drafted are key position player Jordon Butts, Laitham Vandermeer, Angus Hicks, Jy Lane, Alex Paech, Isaac Wallace, Thomas Boyd and Nick Richards all of whom showed some promising signs throughout the year.

On the field, the Bushrangers started strongly, but faded away closer to finals as TAC Cup clubs gained full-strength line-ups. The Bushrangers won the majority of their games early and locked in a finals spot, before just being outplayed in the run home. They never disgraced themselves, always up for a fight, showing what they were capable of in the first quarter of the elimination final against Sandringham Dragons.

Next year the Bushrangers will have another handful of good prospects who could make the AFL grade, led by Zane Barzen who is a great combination of strength and skill. The Bushrangers sides are always well drilled and never far from finals action so expect them to be thereabouts when the whips are cracking next year.

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2018 Preview:

Murray Bushrangers have a few top prospects who have stood out in their bottom-age year. Zane Barzen is a fantastic big-bodied midfielder who played predominantly forward in 2017, while switch-man Hudson Garoni and beanpole Mark Marriott are others that impressed this year.

Zane Barzen (Murray Bushrangers) 191cm | 76kg | Outside Midfielder/Tall Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (13) 13.9 disposals | 5.1 marks | 1.9 tackles | 2.9 inside 50s | 1.5 goals | 64% KE | 68% DE | 37% CP

One of the top prospects in the 2018 draft crop, Barzen is silky and rarely makes a mistake. His vision and decision making is top notch and playing predominantly forward he influenced games, averaging 1.5 goals per match. In 2017 expect him to play more midfield, and we will see his statistics rise. He is already strong in the air and a classy mover, so expect his name to be one that is constantly brought up.

Hudson Garoni (Murray Bushrangers) 193cm | 92kg | Key Position Utility
2017 TAC Cup: (14) 13.8 disposals | 4.3 marks | 2.4 tackles | 1.9 inside 50s | 1.1 rebounds | 1.1 goals | 46% KE | 55% DE | 42% CP

Another Bushranger who has good versatility is Hudson Garoni. He actually has a readymade frame at 193cm and 92kg which was pre-season last year so expect it to have increased since then. He can play back or forward and wins a decent amount of ball for a key position player. He has the potential to play through the middle or higher up the ground, indicated by averaging almost two inside 50s per game.

Mark Marriott (Murray Bushrangers) 200cm | 86kg | Ruckman
2017 TAC Cup: (12) 10 disposals | 2 marks | 3.8 tackles | 22.9 hitouts | 1.3 clearances | 1.2 inside 50s | 39% KE | 59% DE | 54% CP

Marriott is a beanpole ruck who has built his strength as the season went on this year. He played the 12 games and averaged 22.9 hitouts which is no mean feat for a bottom-age ruck. While there are areas of his game to work on, given his size and influence in the ruck contests, he will be one that clubs keep a close eye on in 2018.

Others to keep an eye on:

Kyle Clarke (Murray Bushrangers) 174cm | 70kg | Balanced Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (18) 13.5 disposals | 3.4 marks | 3.8 tackles | 1.7 clearances | 57% KE | 62% DE | 42% CP

Ben Kelly (Murray Bushrangers) 199cm | 88kg | Ruckman
2017 TAC Cup: (8) 7.9 disposals | 0.9 marks | 1.3 tackles | 15.9 hitouts | 1.9 clearances | 70% KE | 78% DE | 58% CP

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Summary:

Murray Bushrangers are the side that traditionally you know what you are going to get – a competitive effort and when they are firing, they look as good as any side in the competition. With a number of top talls and the likes of Barzen and Clarke running through the midfield, the Bushrangers will be favoured to reach finals again and they have the cattle and the tenacity to go far.

2017 AFL Draft Combine: Day 3 results

AGILE tall Aiden Bonar and exciting West Australian Kyron Hayden were among the top performers on day three of the 2017 National AFL Draft Combine.

Players were subjected to a busy day of testing, with the jumps, sprints and agility events held in the morning. The inaugural Yo-Yo test was run in the afternoon, before players meet with AFL club recruiters after dinner.

Bonar equalled the record for standing vertical jump with a leap of 89cm, matching that of Adelaide’s Jordan Gallucci 12 months earlier, while Hayden leaped into the record books with a massive 105cm jump in the running vertical leap. Hayden finished seven centimetres behind Bonar in the standing vertical jump.

In the 20m sprint, raging favourite Jack Petruccelle raced home in 2.87 seconds, marginally ahead of Bonar and Bendigo Pioneer Kane Farrell who both recorded times of 2.90 seconds. Ruck/forward Ben Miller raised eyebrows with a huge 2.91 seconds, equal with Northern Knights captain Nick Coffield.

Miller went even better in the agility test, equalling Farrell with a time of 8.10 seconds. Farrell’s teammate Brent Daniels finished just one hundredth of a second behind, while Eastern Ranges’ Trent Mynott finished in 8.20 seconds. Irish star Stefan Okunbar also recorded a few highlights with a top 10 finish in the 20m sprint and agility test.

Endurance beast Andrew Brayshaw took out the new yo-yo test with a score of 22.4 ahead of Vic Metro teammate Dylan Moore and speedster Matthew Ling. South Australian Alex Martini, tall defender Aaron Naughton and the exciting Jaidyn Stephenson were the next highest scorers. Geelong Falcons’ Ethan Floyd, Tom McCartin and Gryan Miers joined Ling in the high scorers showing off the top endurance at the club.

Friday is the final day of the 2017 National Combine, with the 2km time trial to take place in the morning.

RESULTS:

20-metre sprint
Jack Petruccelle (Vic Metro) 2.87 seconds
Kane Farrell (Vic Country) 2.90
Aiden Bonar (Vic Country) 2.90
Ben Miller (Western Australia) 2.91
Nick Coffield (Vic Metro) 2.91
Ben Paton (Vic Country) 2.95
Brent Daniels (Vic Country) 2.95
Stefan Okunbar (Ireland) 2.95
Jaidyn Stephenson (Vic Metro) 2.95
Nicholas Shipley (Allies) 2.95

Agility test
Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers) 8.10 seconds
Ben Miller (Western Australia) 8.10
Brent Daniels (Vic Country) 8.11
Trent Mynott (Vic Metro) 8.20
Nathan Kreuger (South Australia) 8.21
Aaron Naughton (Western Australia) 8.22
Mitchell Podhajski (Vic Metro) 8.26
Oscar Allen (Western Australia) 8.27
Stefan Okunbar (Ireland) 8.29
Matthew Ling (Vic Country) 8.30
Callan England (Western Australia) 8.30
Aiden Bonar (Vic Country) 8.30
Andrew Brayshaw (Vic Metro) 8.30

Standing vertical jump
Aiden Bonar (Vic Country) 89cm
Kyron Hayden (Western Australia) 82cm
Ben Paton (Vic Country) 80cm
Harrison Jones (Vic Country) 79cm
Jordan Houlahan (South Australia) 77cm
Jordan Johnston (Vic Country) 75cm
Jack Petruccelle (Vic Metro) 74cm
Noah Balta (Vic Metro) 74cm
Adam Sambono (Allies) 73cm
Hayden McLean (Vic Metro) 73cm

Running vertical jump
Kyron Hayden (Western Australia) 103cm – NEW RECORD
Kane Farrell (Vic Country) 95cm
Jordan Houlahan (South Australia) 95cm
Hayden McLean (Vic Metro) 92cm
Noah Balta (Vic Metro) 89cm
Harrison Jones (Vic Country) 88cm
Oscar Allen (Western Ausralia) 88cm
Tom McCartin (Vic Country) 88cm
Matthew Day (Vic Metro) 87cm
Nathan Kreuger (South Australia) 87cm

Yo-Yo test:
Andrew Brayshaw (Vic Metro) 22.4 level
Dylan Moore (Vic Metro) 22.3
Matthew Ling (Vic Country) 21.8
Alex Martini (South Australia) 21.8
Aaron Naughton (Western Australia) 21.8
Jaidyn Stephenson (Vic Metro) 21.8
Callan England (Western Australia) 21.6
Nick Shipley (Allies) 21.6
Brent Daniels (Vic Country) 21.5
Ethan Floyd (Vic Country) 21.5
Tom McCartin (Vic Country) 21.5
Cillian McDaid (Ireland) 21.5
Gryan Miers (Vic Country) 21.5

2017 NAB AFL All-Star squads revealed

THE COUNTRY’S top teenage talent will again be on display in the two NAB AFL All Stars games in AFL Grand Final weeks.

Over 50 of the brightest prospects have been split into two evenly matched teams, with the AFL today releasing the squads for the Under 18 and Under 17 All Stars games.

Unlike last year, there has been a change with the Under 18 clash set to be played at the MCG as a curtain-raiser to the 2017 Grand Final on September 30. It will start at 10am, while the Under 17 clash will be played on Grand Final Eve at Simonds Stadium from 1.30pm.

The teams will be played under the banner of ‘Team Enright’ (after former Geelong defender Corey) and ‘Team Harvey’ (after North Melbourne great Brent), with AFL Academy assistant coach Brad Johnson to coach the Corey Enright teams and West Australian under 18 coach Peter Sumich to lead the Brent Harvey sides.

Possible No.1 draft contenders Paddy Dow and Adam Cerra will miss the NAB AFL Under 18 All-Stars game with shoulder injuries.

Full Squads:

NAB AFL Under 18 All Stars:
Grand Final Day, Saturday 30th September
MCG 10am

Team Enright 
1 Dylan Moore – Eastern Ranges
2 Lachlan Fogarty – Western Jets
3 Gryan Miers – Geelong Falcons (emergency)
4 Patrick Naish – Northern Knights
5 Matthew Ling – Geelong Falcons
6 Matthew McGannon – Gippsland Power
7 Brayden Ainsworth – Subiaco
8 Andrew Brayshaw – Sandringham Dragons
9 Jack Petruccelle – Northern Knights
10 Joel Garner – Eastern Ranges
21 Jordan Houlahan – Sturt
22 Hunter Clark – Dandenong Stingrays
23 Nicholas Shipley – St George
24 James Worpel – Geelong Falcons
26 Nicholas Coffield – Northern Knights
27 Oscar Allen – West Perth
28 Mitchell Podhajski – Calder Cannons
29 Jordon Butts – Murray Bushrangers
30 Noah Balta – Calder Cannons
31 Harrison Petty – Norwood
32 Sam Hayes – Eastern Ranges
33 Sam Taylor – Swan District
34 Lloyd Meek – GWV Rebels
35 Ned Reeves – Oakleigh Chargers

Team Harvey 
1 Brent Daniels – Bendigo Pioneers
3 Ben Paton – Murray Bushrangers
4 Alex Martini – Glenelg
5 Zac Bailey – Southern District
6 Ryley Stoddart – Eastern Ranges
7 David Handley – Geelong Falcons
8 Ed Richards – Oakleigh Chargers (emergency)
9 Lochie O’Brien – Bendigo Pioneers
10 Luke Davis-Uniacke – Dandenong Stingrays
11 Bailey Hendersnon – Bendigo Pioneers
21 Matthew Day – Oakleigh Chargers
22 Brandon Starcevich – East Perth
23 Jaidyn Stephenson – Eastern Ranges
24 Jackson Ross – Eastern Ranges
25 Jack Payne – Noosa (Emergency)
26 Nathan Murphy – Sandringham Dragons
27 Aiden Bonar – Dandenong Stingrays
28 Oscar Clavarino – Sandenong Stingrays
29 Jarrod Brander – Bendigo Pioneers
30 Hayden McLean – Sandringham Dragons
31 Charlie Ballard – Sturt
32 Hugh Dixon – Kingborough Tigers
33 Ben Miller – Subiaco
34 Brayden Crossley – Labrador Tigers
35 Connor Ballenden – Wests Juniors

NAB AFL Under 17 All Stars:
Grand Final Eve, Friday 29th September
Simonds Stadium 1.30pm

Team Enright 
1 Zac Butters – Western Jets
2 Tom Lewis – Sturt
3 Izak Rankine – West Adelaide
4 Will Hamill – Dandenong Stingrays
5 James Peatling – Pennant Hills
6 Isaac Quaynor – Oakleigh Chargers
7 Tom McKenzie – Northern Knights
8 Connor Rozee – North Adelaide
9 Bailey Smith – Sandringham Dragons
10 Luke Valente – Norwood
11 Joseph Ayrton-Delaney – Oakleigh Chargers
21 Michael Mummery – Southern Districts
22 Lachlan Gadomski – Kingborough Tigers
24 Stefan Radovanovic – Western Jets
25 Jackson Hately – Cantral Districts
26 Riley Bowman – Dandenong Stingrays
27 Bailey Schmidt – Dandenong Stingrays
28 Mark Marriott – Murray Bushrangers
29 Ben King – Sandringham Dragons
30 Max King – Sandringham Dragons
31 Zane Barzen – Murray Bushrangers
32 Matthew Green – Sporties Spitfires
33 Caleb Graham – Cairns Saints
34 Hugo Munn – Sturt

Team Harvey 
1 Ed McHenry – Geelong Falcons
2 Mitch Anderton – Lauderdale
3 Irving Mosquito – Gippsland Power
4 Tom Matthews – Coorparoo
5 Joseph Hiner – Swan Districts
6 Jye Caldwell – Bendigo Pioneers
7 Jarrod Cameron – Swan Districts
8 Bailey Scott – Broadbeach
9 Xavier Duursma – Gippsland Power
10 Xavier O’Neill – Oakleigh Chargers
11 Curtis Taylor – Calder Cannons
12 Mitch Riordan – Dandenong Stingrays
21 Oscar Brownless – Geelong Falcons
22 Matt Walker – Murray Bushrangers
23 Jack Bytel – Calder Cannons
24 Buku Khamis – Western Jets
25 Tarryn Thomas – North Launceston
26 Mason Fletcher – Calder Cannons
27 Jack Lukosius – Woodville West-Torrens
28 Xavier Peacock – Subiaco
29 Ben Kelly – Murray Bushrangers
30 Bailey Williams – Dandenong Stingrays
31 Jacob Atley – Bendigo Pioneers
32 Hudson Garoni – Murray Bushrangers
33 Dillon O’Reilly – East Fremantle

2017 TAC Cup Scouting notes: Finals week 1

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

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

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

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Northern Knights 

Oakleigh Chargers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Northern Knights:

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

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

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

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

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

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Eastern Ranges 

Dandenong Stingrays:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eastern Ranges:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Geelong Falcons vs. Gippsland Power 

Geelong Falcons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gippsland Power:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sandringham Dragons vs. Murray Bushrangers 

Sandringham Dragons:

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

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

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

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

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

Murray Bushrangers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAC Cup finals preview: Sandringham Dragons vs. Murray Bushrangers

IT is that time of year again where the best sides take to the field and determine which TAC Cup clubs are contenders and which are pretenders. In the past years, the junior competition has seen the finals series take on the identical look to that of the AFL, but in 2017, the finals will be three weeks of pure knockout. The last two games to kick off the round are second taking on seventh and fourth playing fifth. So without further adue, we take a look at the fourth match of the finals series.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Murray Bushrangers

Sandringham: 4th, 11-7, 1360 points for, 1104 points against, 123%
Murray: 5th, 10-8, 1574 points for, 1380 points against, 114%

Not much has separated Sandringham and Murray all season, but based off the scores alone it is clear Sandringham play a patient, possession game and restrict their opponents defensively and are not afraid of a dog fight. Murray on the other hand have the most points for of any TAC Cup side, but have also conceded 176 points more than any of the top four sides.

Sandringham come into the match with some indifferent form, having won just one match of their past four – a 45-point win over Northern last week after losses to fellow finalists Dandenong, Oakleigh and Eastern, albeit all by a combined 24 points. But Murray’s formline heading into the finals series is one of the worst of all teams, with just an 82-point thrashing of Bendigo Pioneers amongst five losses, including defeats to bottom four sides Calder Cannons and GWV Rebels, as well as seventh and eighth placed sides Gippsland Power and Northern Knights.

Back on May 13, Murray got the better of Sandringham in a 23-point win at Norm Minns Oval. On that day, Ben Paton had 26 disposals and four inside 50s, while Will Donaghey and Angus Hicks had a combined 40 disposals and 10 inside 50s. Meanwhile Hamish Brayshaw had a typical performance with a lazy 32 disposals (16 contested), eight clearances, eight tackles, five inside 50s, two rebounds and two goals, while Max Lohan (20 disposals, 10 rebounds), Quintin Montanaro (22 disposals, four clearances) and Aaron Trusler (18 disposals, two goals) were also solid in defeat.

Key players:

Charlie Constable (Sandringham Dragons) 23.1 disposals, 6.1 marks, 2.7 tackles, 1.0 goals

The potential top 10 pick has been ultra-consistent this season, but I am looking forward to seeing if he can really take control in the finals series and being this year’s Tim Taranto. He has a big frame and is so well balanced and he is a player that can do some serious damage to opposition teams. I called for a lift from Luke Davies-Uniacke in yesterday’s game and he duly delivered, so now Charlie it is over to you for a best on ground performance.

Ben Paton (Murray Bushrangers) 23.5 disposals, 5.0 marks, 3.5 tackles, 0.2 goals

The rebounding over-age defender will be crucial in Murray’s quest for a win here given Jordon Butts is out with injury. While Butts’ loss is offset by the injury to Hayden McLean, top 10 pick next year Max King returns and slots straight into a key forward post. Despite being ill in recent weeks, Paton will need to provide plenty of intercept marks and rebound if his side is to win.

The Final Word:

Looking at pure form and potential it is hard to go past Sandringham in this match. The reigning premiers have a ridiculous amount of players who have been nominated for the national and state draft combines and their depth is crazy good. The Bushrangers produced their best earlier in the season, but will need to rekindle that form if they are to be a chance in this game as the return of the star players from the National Under 18s Championships have dropped Murray down a peg or two.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 16

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


Northern Knights vs. Western Jets (Michael Alvaro)

Northern Knights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western Jets:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Sandringham Dragons (Matt Balmer)

Oakleigh Chargers:

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

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

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

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

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

Sandringham Dragons:

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

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

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

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

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

Eastern Ranges vs. Calder Cannons 

Eastern Ranges:

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

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

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

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

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

Calder Cannons:

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

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

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers (Peter Williams)

Geelong Falcons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Murray Bushrangers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gippsland Power vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Peter Williams)

Gippsland Power:

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

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

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

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

Bendigo Pioneers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greater Western Victoria Rebels:

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

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

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

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

Dandenong Stingrays:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Victorian cricketer headlines 2017 AFL Draft Combine invites

VICTORIAN Under 19 cricketer Nathan Murphy headlines the 83 players invited to take part in the 2017 AFL Draft Combine.

Murphy has recently turned his focus to football, with the Brighton Grammar student booting 19 goals in the Victorian APS school boy competition as one of the more impressive medium talls in the competition. Murphy was a late addition to the Sandringham Dragons squad, averaging over 22 disposals in his three games, including a three-goal haul against Bendigo Pioneers and the invite to the testing will give clubs an idea regarding his athletic ability after cricket has largely been the focus of the talented teenager.

The AFL Draft Combine is the first sign that their AFL dreams are a step closer to fruition. An invitation to the AFL Draft Combine means that at least four AFL clubs have expressed interest in the player. The AFL Draft Combine is a way for clubs to determine the players’ physical strengths as well as getting one-on-one time through combine interviews.

Vic Metro lead the other Under 18 sides with 29 players selected to take part in October’s National Combine.

Metro won back-to-back titles in the Under 18 Championships, as the clear standout across the carnival.

At the Combine, draftees take on each other in a series of tests that challenge their speed, endurance, reflexes and skills to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Combine results are taken into account by clubs when deciding between players and whether they believe they can take the next step into the AFL.

Possible number one candidates Adam Cerra, Nicholas Coffield, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Paddy Dow and Cameron Rayner will be keen to show off their athletic traits and will be a few players expected to have an important batch of interviews at the Combine.

Larke Medalist Oscar Allen is one of a number of Western Australia players invited.

In sweeping changes to the 2017 format, the Beep test and 3km time trial have been scrapped. The Beep Test has been replaced by the Yo-Yo run, with the AFL and combine sub-committee believing the beep test wasn’t the most accurate measure to predict fitness levels for team sports. The 3km time trial has been cut back to 2km, falling in line with the majority of AFL clubs who use the 2km run in their programs.

The clean hands test and the 30m repeat sprints test have been removed, with more time allocated to club interviews and medical screenings this year.

Possible Collingwood father-son Tyler Brown is one of 10 Eastern Ranges players selected. Brown was overlooked for Vic Metro selection, but has impressed for Marcellin College in AGSV School Football and for the Ranges in the TAC Cup.

Ed Richards is another with Collingwood links, as the son of Kane Richards, whose late father Ron played 143 games for the Pies. Ron Richards’ brother was Collingwood legend Lou.

Richmond father-son prospect Patrick Naish has also been invited, with Naish averaging 21 disposals throughout the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Hugh Dixon is the sole representative from Tasmania, with 11 players selected from the Allies squad.

Adam Sambono (Northern Territory) and Tim Kelly (Western Australia) are the only two mature-agers selected for the combine, with the pair both impressing at NEAFL and WAFL level respectively.

Clubs will now again nominate players for the state combine, which is for players that have at least two clubs that are interested in them. Similar tests are conducted at the state combine.

The National Combine will begin on Tuesday, October 3 and go through to Friday, October 6 and will again be held at Etihad Stadium.

Invites:

Vic Metro

Noah Balta (Calder Cannons)
Andrew Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons)
Tyler Brown (Eastern Ranges)
Adam Cerra (Eastern Ranges)
Nick Coffield (Northern Knights)
Charlie Constable (Sandringham Dragons)
Matthew Day (Oakleigh Chargers)
Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets)
Joel Garner (Eastern Ranges)
Sam Hayes (Eastern Ranges)
Jack Higgins (Oakleigh Chargers)
Hayden McLean (Sandringham Dragons)
Dylan Moore (Eastern Ranges)
Nathan Murphy (Sandringham Dragons)
Trent Mynott (Eastern Ranges)
Patrick Naish (Northern Knights)
Tom North (Eastern Ranges)
Ethan Penrith (Northern Knights)
Jack Petruccelle (Northern Knights)
Mitchell Podhajski (Calder Cannons)
Cameron Rayner (Western Jets)
Ned Reeves (Oakleigh Chargers)
Ed Richards (Oakleigh Chargers)
Jackson Ross (Eastern Ranges)
Jaidyn Stephenson (Eastern Ranges)
Ryley Stoddart (Eastern Ranges)
Angus Styles (Sandringham Dragons)
Will Walker (Sandringham Dragons)
Toby Wooller (Oakleigh Chargers)

Vic Country

Aiden Bonar (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jordon Butts (Murray Bushrangers)
Hunter Clark (Dandenong Stingrays)
Oscar Clavarino (Dandenong Stingrays)
Brent Daniels (Benigo Pioneers)
Luke Davies-Uniacke (Dandenong Stingrays)
Tom De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays)
Aiden Domic (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)
Paddy Dow (Bendigo Pioneers)
Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers)
Ethan Floyd (Geelong Falcons)
David Handley (Geelong Falcons)
Bailey Henderson (Bendigo Pioneers)
Changkouth Jiath (Gippsland Power)
Jordan Johnston (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)
Harrison Jones (Murray Bushrangers)
Matthew Ling (Geelong Falcons)
Tom McCartin (Geelong Falcons)
Matthew McGannon (Gippsland Power)
Lloyd Meek (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)
Gryan Miers (Geelong Falcons)
Lochie O’Brien (Bendigo Pioneers)
Ben Paton (Murray Bushrangers)
Angus Schumacher (Bendigo Pioneers)
James Worpel (Geelong Falcons)

Western Australia

Brayden Ainsworth (Subiaco)
Oscar Allen (West Perth)
Callan England (Claremont)
Kyron Hayden (Subiaco)
Tim Kelly (South Fremantle)
Ben Miller (Subiaco)
Aaron Naughton (Peel Thunder)
Jake Patmore (Claremont)
Brandon Starcevich (East Perth)
Sam Taylor (Swan Districts)

South Australia

Charlie Ballard (Sturt)
Callum Coleman-Jones (Sturt)
Darcy Fogarty (Glenelg)
Jordan Houlahan (Sturt)
Nathan Kreuger (South Adelaide)
Alex Martini (Glenelg)
Andrew McPherson (Woodville-West Torrens)
Harrison Petty (Norwood)

NSW-ACT

Jarrod Brander (Bendigo Pioneers)
Brendan Myers (Wagga Tigers/GWS academy)
Jack Powell (Ainsli/GWS academy)
Nicholas Shipley (St George/GWS academy)
Charlie Spargo (Murray Bushrangers)

Queensland

Connor Ballenden (Wests Juniors/Brisbane Lions academy)
Brayden Crossley (Labrador/Gold Coast Suns academy)
Jack Payne (Noosa/Brisbane Lions academy)

Northern Territory

Zac Bailey (Southern Districts/Norwood)
Adam Sambono (NT Thunder)

Tasmania

Hugh Dixon (Kingborough Tigers)

2017 Under 18 All-Australia team announced

THE Under 18 Championships have come and gone, with Vic Metro claiming back-to-back titles after winning three of their four games.

In no surprise, Metro dominate the 23-man squad, headlined by possible no.1 pick Cameron Rayner who is one of nine Metro players included.

West Australia key forward Oscar Allen, the winner of the Larke Medal for the best player in Division 1, was named up forward.

Sydney Swans academy member Nick Blakey won the Hunter Harrison Medal for the best player in the Under 18 Academy Series (Formerly Division 2), but didn’t feature in the 23-man squad.

Vic Metro coach Martin Allison was named as the All-Australia coach, with Western Australia coach Peter Sumich named as his assistant.

DEFENDERS:

Ben Paton
Back pocket (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
19/10/1998 | 185cm | 78kg

Averaged 18 disposals, four marks and four rebound 50s per game playing as a small defender. Uses the ball well by foot and was often tasked with the kick out duties.

Oscar Clavarino
Full back (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
22/05/1999 | 190cm | 83kg

Has a solid carnival in defence for Vic Country averaging 11 disposals and six marks. Clavarino took the opposition best forward in most games and has had two good seasons in the Under 18 Championships.

Sam Taylor
Back pocket (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
05/05/1999 | 196cm | 85kg

The AFL Academy member played as a lock-down defender who was an unsung hero for WA. Averaged just 11 disposals, but had three rebounds per game pushing his name into draft contention.

Charlie Constable
Half back flank (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
18/05/1999 | 190cm | 83kg

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

Aaron Naughton
Centre half back (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
30/11/1999 | 194cm | 84kg

Rebounding tall defender who was a good user on his left foot. Naughton took 21 marks for the carnival and was the rock in defence alongside Sam Taylor. Was WAs co-captain alongside Oscar Allen.

Nicholas Coffield
Half back flank (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 190cm | 83kg

A player who has pushed into top 10 calculations after a strong carnival. Coffield averaged 22 disposals and four marks, rarely looking rushed with ball in hand in the defensive half. One of the better users in the draft by hand and foot.

MIDFIELDERS:

Brayden Crossley
Ruckman (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Allies)
16/08/1999 | 198cm | 105kg

The big Gold Coast Suns Academy ruckman was the MVP for the Allies, averaging 16 disposals and 27 hitouts from his three games. Crossley’s strength in the ruck is obvious and he hasn’t looked out of place in the NEAFL team for the Suns.

Cameron Rayner
Ruck rover (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
21/10/1999 | 187cm | 88kg

One of the players who were stiff not to win the Larke Medal. Rayner averaged 18 disposals (11 contested), four clearances and booted 12 goals in an impressive carnival. Rayner wasn’t afraid to throw out a ‘don’t argue’ to his opponents and had some impressive moments during the carnival.

Paddy Dow
Rover (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
16/10/1999 | 184cm | 78kg

Showed off his elite speed bursting from the stoppages on multiple occasions, averaging 19 disposals (12 contested) and five clearances in an impressive showing in the midfield. Did his top 10 chances no harm.

Patrick Naish
Wing (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 180cm | 69kg

The Richmond father-son averaged 21 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s for the carnival and provided run & dash out of defence on multiple occasions for Metro. One of the better players in the ‘Vic derby’ with 24 disposals, nine marks and two goals at Punt Road.

Brayden Ainsworth
Centre (Subiaco/Western Australia)
27/11/1998 | 183cm | 75kg

The inside midfielder won 49% of his possessions in contested situations, averaging 24 disposals and six clearances throughout the carnival. Started the carnival off with a bang, collecting 26 disposals and eight clearances against South Australia in their golden-point victory.

Izak Rankine
Wing (West Adelaide/South Australia)
23/04/2000 | 178cm | 74kg

The small forward caught the eye of the recruiters using his speed and elite side-step to good use. Rankine averaged 19 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s – kicking six goals for the carnival. The bottom-ager is one to watch for the 2018 draft.

FORWARDS:

Zac Bailey
Half forward flank (Southern Districts/Allies)
23/09/1999 | 180cm | 68kg

Bailey has a great burst of speed and the Northern Territory midfielder averaged 17 disposals, four tackles and three clearances per game. Bailey’s burst from the centre bounce to win the final clearance in the last few minutes against Vic Metro was a key reason for their unexpected victory.

Jarrod Brander
Centre half forward (Bendigo Pioneers/Allies)
11/02/1999 | 195cm | 90kg

Spent time at either end throughout the carnival but finished with a breakout 16 disposal, nine marks and three goals game up forward against title winning Vic Metro.

Jack Higgins
Half forward flank (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
19/03/1999 | 178cm | 76kg

Higgins was the only player to break the 100 disposal barrier, finishing with 109 disposals (53 contested) in the carnival. Higgins was a deserving MVP for Vic Metro, going close to the Larke Medal. Higgins also averaged six tackles, five clearances and booted six goals for the tournament showing his skill as a player likely to be taken in the backend of the first round.

Callum Coleman-Jones
Forward pocket (Sturt/South Australia)
13/06/1999 | 201cm | 98kg

Coleman-Jones averaged 19 hitouts per game, with a breakout 28 disposal, 15 hitouts and five marks game against the Allies in Round 2. Coleman-Jones is one of the stronger marks in the draft pool.

Oscar Allen
Full forward (West Perth/Western Australia)
19/03/1999 | 191cm | 83kg

The key forward looms as the likely first West Australian prospect drafted. Allen won the Larke Medal as the best player in Division One, booting 11 goals for the carnival. Allen also averaged 15 disposals and six marks, as an overall deserving Larke Medalist.

Dylan Moore
Forward pocket (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/08/1999 | 175cm | 66kg

The small midfielder cracked in hard, winning plenty of contested ball, rolling through the Vic Metro centre bounces. Moore had 92 disposals (45 contested) for the carnival and booted three goals.

INTERCHANGE:

Sam Hayes
Interchange (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
09/06/1999 | 203cm | 93kg

The Vic Metro ruckman becomes a dual U18 All-Australian. Hayes averaged 17 hitouts per game and booted four goals up forward. Also took 14 marks for the carnival and showed his versatility up forward.

Lachlan Fogarty
Interchange (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
01/04/1999 | 179cm | 75kg

The half forward/midfielder missed the opening game of the carnival recovering from a groin injury. Fogarty averaged 19 disposals and a goal throughout the championships, using his smarts around the ground.

Harrison Petty
Interchange (Norwood/South Australia)
12/11/1999 | 194cm | 81kg

One of the more impressive players in the carnival, winning the South Australian MVP. Petty averaged 12 disposals and four marks, with his best performance coming against Vic Metro lining up on Will Sutherland with Petty having 18 disposals, seven marks and six inside 50s.

James Worpel
Interchange (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
24/01/1999 | 185cm | 84kg

Was the Vic Country MVP averaging 20 disposals (10 contested), four clearances and four inside 50s for the carnival. Was the leading tackler for the carnival with 33 tackles in his four games.

Joel Garner
Interchange (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
21/05/1999 | 183cm | 81kg

The Vic Metro captain had a superb carnival despite battling an ankle injury in their third game. Garner averaged 16 disposals with 48 per cent of these in contested situations. Garner controlled the play in the defensive half, with a standout performance in the ‘Vic derby’ with 24 disposals, nine marks and six rebound 50s.

Davies-Uniacke dominates in Vic Country opening win

POSSIBLE number one draft selection Luke Davies-Uniacke stamped his authority as one of the best players in the 2017 draft pool, starring in Vic Country’s 12-point win over the Allies at Blacktown on Sunday.

In what was a high quality game and had a seesawing second half, 187cm and 85kg midfielder Davies-Uniacke used his strong frame in the contest to gather a game-high 34 disposals, 10 marks, five inside 50s and four clearances.

The AFL Academy member was a standout in their loss to the Northern Blues back in April and has continue to show his ball winning abilities at school football level for Haileybury College.

Fellow AFL Academy midfielders Paddy Dow (21 disposals, six clearances and one goal) and Hunter Clark (21 disposals) were also among Country’s best players in the second game of the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Dow showed his burst from the stoppages, with his goal just before half time vital in giving Country the lead going into the main break. James Worpel had a game-high 11 tackles working hard on the inside.

Bendigo Pioneer Kane Farrell returned to form with 21 disposals after a quiet few weeks at TAC Cup level, while Murray Bushranger Ben Paton rebounded the ball well out of defence finishing with 22 disposals.

Geelong Falcons bottom-agers Ed McHenry (23 disposals and eight tackles) and Sam Walsh (22 disposals) were impressive through the midfield and up forward.

Tasmanian Hugh Dixon booted three third-quarter goals to kick start the Allies’ third term, seeing them boot four goals to one, to take the lead at three quarter time. But it was all Vic Country in the final quarter, where they booted four goals to none.

Likely top five selection Jarrod Brander shone at centre half back relishing in the new role compiling 20 disposals, rebounding it well out of defensive 50 on nine occasions.

GWS Academy midfielder Nicholas Shipley was the Allies highest disposal winner with 21 disposals, impacting the game through the midfield.

Tasmanian bottom ager and North Melbourne Next Generation Academy member Tarryn Thomas showed his class with 18 disposals and looms as an early pick in 2018.

Small midfielder Charlie Spargo finished the day with 18 disposals and six tackles, while small forward Jack Hardman was impressive early booting a goal in the first quarter for the Allies.

Sydney Swans Academy member Luke Robertson suffered a nasty broken leg in the opening quarter, with the game being halted while he was carried from the field.

The Allies will travel to play South Australia next Saturday in a televised match on Fox Footy at 10.10am, while Vic Country have the bye.

ALLIES                        2.2      4.3      8.5         8.8 (56)      
VIC COUNTRY           2.2       5.3     6.5       10.8 (68)                  

GOALS
ALLIES: Dixon 3, Simington 2, Hardman, Powell, Blakey
VIC COUNTRY: Barzen 2Handley, Meek, McHenry, Dow, Daniels, Butts, Ling, De Koning

BEST
ALLIES: 
Shipley, Brander, Thomas, Dixon, Spargo, Hardman
VIC COUNTRY: 
Davies-Uniacke, Dow, Walsh, McHenry, Clark, Paton