Tag: Blake Schlensog

AFL Draft preview: Geelong

AFTER a disappointing campaign that saw the Cats sneak just inside the top eight, fans were keen to see what their side could do come trade period and now, draft time. Having targeted elite midfield talent in the past, they look set to continue down that path with their first pick, while bids for their father-son and Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospects will both come later on. To get the most out of their haul, the Cats will have to get creative and look towards the future with who they select.

List Needs:

  • Best available but looking at:
    • Midfield depth
    • Ruck/Key Forward
    • Key defenders
    • Running defenders

DRAFT SELECTIONS: 12, 50, 51, 70, 87

While there are not any glaring holes in Geelong’s best 22 on paper with the recruits of Luke Dahlhaus and Gary Rohan as pressure forwards, they will look to add depth to many positions with the future firmly in their focus as some of their brightest stars age.

The Cats look destined to select a midfielder with their first pick, and South Australian Jackson Hately looks a good fit at this stage. The 190cm contested ball winner had an outstanding National Championships in the star-studded SA midfield, but also showed he can play his trade on the outside if required. A ready-made prospect, Hately can match it with the bigger bodies having played 12 SANFL League games this year, and could well make it past picks nine and 11 held by the respective Adelaide sides. Tasmanian Chayce Jones and Vic Metro representative Riley Collier-Dawkins are well in the mix for top 10 honours, but would also be suitable picks for the Cats should they slip down the rankings. Both Jones and Collier-Dawkins have high ceilings and have proven they can play forward which could be handy as Geelong’s star midfielders move on in the coming years. Morrish Medallist Liam Stocker is the other pure midfield option at the high end of the draft, and is right in the top 15 mix. A potential draft bolter could be Western Jets’ excitement machine Zak Butters who they might consider at the pick.

The Cats then have a break until Round 3 action, where they hold picks 50 and 51. The pick swap for number 51 with Collingwood allowed the Pies to gain points for their own NGA and father-son nominees, but will provide good insurance for the Cats if a bid comes early for Oscar Brownless. The son of Billy, Oscar has a great tank and tackles well as an outside midfielder who can move forward. Geelong’s remaining Round 3 pick could be used on a fellow Falcons product, with the likes of Brayden Ham and Charlie Sprague adding x-factor and continuing the Cats’ good relationship with their TAC Cup affiliates. Should they look to add defensive depth, the dynamic Connor Idun is another Falcon who represented Vic Country and positions himself well at either end.

On the topic of key defensive depth, TAC Cup graduates Kyle Reid and James Blanck are prospects who had impressive National Championships with Country and Metro respectively. Gippsland’s Reid is more of a traditional defender who does all of the right things in the defensive 50 and rebounds calmly, while Eastern’s Blanck has great closing speed and can dominate in the air. Both could be available up to pick 70, and would be safe bets at that stage. The Cats may also be interested in South Australian Callum Wilkie, who was a prolific junior. The North Adelaide best and fairest was outstanding in his side’s premiership year, averaging 25.5 disposals and 8.6 marks as a third-up defender who can also play forward.

The Cats should then be left with a free shot at NGA prospect Blake Schlensog with pick 87 – another Geelong Falcon. Schlensog plies his trade as a ruck/forward and while he may be slightly undersized in the ruck at the next level, he showed his best form there.

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.

ADC TAC CUP TEAM OF THE YEAR FULL SQUAD:

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

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 15

IMPRESSIVE wins to Calder Cannons, Gippsland Power and Oakleigh Chargers have resulted in each of the three sides contributing three representatives to the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 15. Meanwhile other winners, the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Northern Knights had two each, as did Geelong Falcons and Murray Bushrangers. It was an odd game between the Falcons and Dandenong Stingrays, with the Falcons recording an extra player in Team of the Week despite losing narrowly. The other four losing sides also had just the one player each.

The Cannons had three players who were crucial in each third of the ground, with Lucas Cavallaro and Jake Riccardimaking our Team of the Week once again, while ruck Harrison Jones made it into the 22 for the first time this season. Gippsland also had one in each third of the ground, with defender Brock Smith, midfielder Riley Baldi, and tall forward Noah Gown earning their places in the side, while captain Xavier Duursma came close to making the side as well, but it was a tough midfield to break into this week. Oakleigh had a couple of bottom-agers in the side, with Dylan Williams and Trent Bianco making the team, along with top-age midfielder Jack Ross.

GWV Rebels forwards who spent time in the midfield, Charlie Wilson and Jed Hill made the side again, while Bendigo Pioneer Noah Wheeler found himself in the side again for his tireless work in defence and through the midfield. Geelong Falcons star, Sam Walsh and teammate Blake Schlensog make it into the team, as does opposing midfielder Campbell Hustwaite, in a performance which was incredibly even by the Stingrays, and both Sam Sturt and Bailey Williams can consider themselves unlucky not to be in the team.

Murray might have lost this week, but utility Mat Walker and defender Nick Murray stood out, making the best 22 for the week, while Zane Barzen was another player unlucky not to make it, and would have been named a hypothetical emergency for his three goals. Northern Knights pair, inside midfielder Adam Carafa and forward Joel Naylor both made the side, as did opposing midfielder, Western Jet Connor Thar. Of the remaining places in the 22, Sandringham Dragons’ full-back Corey Watts and Eastern Ranges’ Cooper Leon both made the team.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 15 Country

WE braved the chilly weather at Ballarat to take notes on some of the top performers in the Country Triple Header, while tomorrow we will post those top performers from today’s Metro Triple Header. The players were focused on either have received a state combine invitation, represented Vic Country or played in the Under 17 Futures game.

Gippsland Power vs. Murray Bushrangers

Gippsland:

By: Michael Alvaro

#5 Xavier Duursma

By his own accord, Duursma took time finding his feet in this game, but had a real impact on proceedings in the second half. He started off in typical fashion, on the move at stoppages and looking to push the ball forward quickly with his burst and clearance nous, while finding more ball on the outside in the second term. Some of his best moments came through his sheer presence around the ball, with a good bit of harassment in the third quarter leading to an Austin Hodge goal, and another repeat effort almost gifting Noah Gown one. He was clean in tricky conditions and showed his mix of class and toughness with a Worpel-esque hard ball get, shortly after he had evaded an opponent and dribbled through the sealing goal. A good testament to his character was that he told TAC Cup Radio he had to finish shaking hands with the opposition before giving a post-game interview – the kid is a ripper.

#6 Riley Baldi

Fresh off a great showing in the Under 17 Futures game for Vic Country, Baldi continued his impressive form through the midfield. He’s a master extractor, always busy at the stoppages and ever-present at the centre bounces in his long sleeves. He started off well with good attack on the footy, and his courageous marking attempt in the first term almost led to a Luke Williams goal. Baldi also showed he is a good judge of the ball in flight, with numerous marks taken as the ball came from high over his shoulder – one of which led to his highlight for the game in a clever snap from the boundary. He missed a couple more chances to hit the scoreboard, but his work rate to create those opportunities was fantastic to see, with one coming from an intercepted kick-out. It was a consistent showing throughout the day from the bottom-ager, one to keep an eye on for next year.

#9 Irving Mosquito

The Hawthorn Next Generation Academy product was a little quiet throughout the game, but only needs a few touches to have an impact. He showed his typical flashes of brilliance though, handing off to Fraser Phillips for the first goal of the game, flicking out another to Josh Smith before he missed the shot, and taking the ball at speed in the midfield. He spent a good amount of time at the centre bounces, and was close to bursting away for some highlight reel clearances, but couldn’t quite break away.

#11 Austin Hodge

While Hodge didn’t rack up his usual amount of possessions, he managed to have an impact in a slightly different role. The over-ager started off finding a good amount of the footy between the arcs, but looked most damaging later on in a more advanced position. He kicked a nice goal on the run from just inside the 50 in the third term, but he would be disappointed not to have converted the two or three other chances he had in the second half.

#12 Brock Smith

Smith was part of Gippsland’s solid defensive unit, breaking down Murray’s attack and swiftly moving the ball out of danger. His rebounding was good in the first half as he often chose to kick long down the line, despite coughing the ball back up on occasion. While Smith made him earn it, he struggled during the third term to keep Zane Barzen quiet as Murray made a late push, but overall racked up a good amount of footy and did a good job of mopping up.

#16 Josh Smith

Smith was solid in the ruck with plenty of numbers around the stoppages and hitting his targets with his taps. He also worked well around the ground and found the ball in good areas inside 50, but couldn’t hit the scoreboard with two snaps falling short. He still managed to claim an assist for Riley Baldi’s goal with a long bomb into the pocket.

#19 Fraser Phillips

Another Gippsland product that starred in the Under 17s game, Phillips had an influential first half. Sporting two different coloured boots, Phillips booted the first goal of the game with a nice snap. He was front and centre at a heap of stoppages and pushed up the ground from half-forward to win more of the ball. His twists, turns and handball-fakes confused opponents and gave him time to deliver the ball on his left foot. Phillips had a particularly smooth turn in the second quarter which led to an inside 50, but unfortunately looked to have limped off later on.

#23 Noah Gown

Arguably the in-form key forward of the competition, Gown continued his tremendous second half of the season with another three goals. He looked strong one-on-one with solid contested marks and led up hard at the footy all day. Perhaps the most impressive part of Gown’s game was his work rate and physical presence, with a hard-earned holding the ball tackle in the first term followed by an intercept mark from a kick-out, a shepherd which allowed Harrison Pepper to run into an open goal, and repeat digs at the ball to almost claim an overhead kick goal. The unsurpassable highlight of Gown’s day however was his sensational goal from the boundary from about 40 metres out, with a long hoof somehow bouncing its way through the middle.

#25 Kyle Reid

While Reid didn’t have much to do at times, he led the Gippsland defence well and was solid as ever. He did a good job on the dangerous Hudson Garoni in keeping him goalless, while also calmly rebounding out of defence by foot.

Murray:

By: Scott Dougan

#7 Zane Barzen

Barzen started off quietly but was able to work himself into the match after quarter time. He kicked the Bushrangers first goal of the match in the second quarter after taking a strong mark on the lead, showing off his sticky fingers. His leading patterns were superb all day, along with his ability to mark the ball at the highest point, which made it extremely difficult for the Power defenders to stop. Barzen was unstoppable in the third quarter, booting two impressive goals to keep the Bushrangers within striking distance. He was the most dangerous forward on the ground, along with Gippsland Power’s, Noah Gown. Overall, Barzen was outstanding for the Bushrangers, kicking three goals. His versatility and athleticism is what makes him such an exciting prospect.

#12 Lachlan Ash

Ash was involved in a heavy collision halfway through the first and appeared to be sore for the remainder of the quarter. He started to get more involved in the second term when he was awarded a free kick for a brilliant tackle in the defensive 50 on livewire, Irving Mosquito. Due to windy conditions on the day, his kicking wasn’t at his usual high standards, but he was still able to find plenty of the ball, especially in the second half. Ash’s final quarter was his best for the day. He was able to find plenty of space throughout the middle of the ground, putting his speed and agility to good use. He did his best to provide some effective run and carry, which was important for the Bushrangers moving forward. Ash has spent a lot of time across half-back this season but he was able to play the majority of his minutes as an outside midfielder today. Definitely one to keep a close eye on next year.

#18 Hudson Garoni

It was a difficult day for Garoni, with the powerful forward lining up on the in-form defender, Kyle Reid. The lack of inside 50s for the Bushrangers in the first quarter made it near impossible for Garoni to get involved. He worked himself into the match during the second quarter, setting up the first score of the day for the Bushrangers. Garoni displayed good vision with ball in hand and he was able to lower his eyes on multiple occasions to deliver the ball to his teammates on the lead. Garoni competed hard all day, but in the end, had his coloured lowered by Reid.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Dandenong Stingrays

Geelong:

By: Scott Dougan

#8 Ned McHenry

The fiery midfielder was important for the Falcons with his consistent efforts on the contest and his defensive running. He wasn’t one of the biggest ball-winners on the ground but when he won the ball, he did his best to provide some run and carry for his team. McHenry’s pace and agility proved beneficial when it came to escaping congestion and breaking tackles. He finished with 18 disposals and five tackles.

#20 Brayden Ham

Ham was terrific playing across the half-back line for the Falcons and occasionally contributed through the midfield. He found the ball in all areas of the ground and he was exceptionally clean, especially in the wet conditions. Ham demonstrated that he is capable of playing in any position. This season, he has spent time in the forward line, backline and through the midfield, signifying his versatility. His marking was one of the highlights of his game, along with his clean and quick hands in tight.

#22 Sam Walsh

Walsh did what Walsh does best – accumulate plenty of possessions and run hard. Walsh was consistent throughout four quarters, but I thought he was not extremely damaging with ball in hand. In the first term, Walsh kicked an impressive goal on the run in the first term after impacting a marking contest that resulted in a turnover. He played mainly as an outside midfielder but he was able to win the contested ball when needed. Walsh knows how and where to win the ball, in all areas of the ground, which is what makes him such a damaging player. He was able to boot his second goal of the day in the final term, with an impressive snapshot from 35 metres out, keeping the Falcons within striking distance. The possible number one pick finished two goals and 25 disposals, leading all-comers on the ground.

#30 Oscar Brownless

The father-son midfielder was good but still needs to work on his consistency. He worked hard all day to get from contest to contest and showcased his offensive attributes with an exciting running goal in the second term. His defensive efforts were was also a highlight, laying a match-high 10 tackles.

#39 Connor Idun

It was a tough day at the office for the defender, especially in the difficult conditions. Idun played as a forward and with the strong winds and rain, was unable to get heavily involved. Idun is a natural defender and playing him as a forward had an impact on his output. As he develops, Idun will work on his forward craft and will hopefully become extremely dangerous at both ends of the ground.

#41 Cooper Stephens

The bottom-ager was outstanding in close and he continuously released the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. Stephens was not afraid to put his head over the ball and he worked exceptionally hard to apply as much defensive pressure as possible. His tackling was relentless and effective, laying eight for the match. An exciting prospect to watch next year.

#44 Sam Conway

The weather did not suit the big man but he worked tirelessly in the ruck all match. His first quarter was his best of the day, gathering plenty of possessions in all areas of the ground while providing his midfielders first use around stoppages. As conditions worsened after half-time, Conway’s impact was limited but he showed positive signs early on.

#48 Blake Schlensog

The imposing 198cm forward was fantastic in the first term. He had two shots on goal within 30 seconds, with the second shot converted successfully. Schlensog’s presence on the ground and in the air, was clear, taking plenty of strong marks and winning plenty of the ball in contested situations. He shared ruck duties with Sam Conway throughout the day and handed himself terrifically. His influence was limited in the second half but his inspiring first half did not go unnoticed.

#49 Dane Hollenkamp

Hollenkamp spent plenty of time on the highly-rated Stingray, Bailey Williams. Hollenkamp competed well and tried hard defensively, laying plenty of tackles and spoils when required. The highlight of his game came in the second quarter when he laid an important smother on William’s attempted shot on goal. Hollenkamp is still lacking in strength and size and will need to build on his frame before he can have an impact at a higher level. However, his defensive positioning, spoiling and efforts are encouraging.

 

Dandenong:

By: Michael Alvaro

#2 Hayden Young

The bottom-ager didn’t have his most damaging game, but showed glimpses of why he is already so highly touted for the 2019 draft. Young was clean in the contest and ran hard to make as many as he could, with one particular effort in the second term seeing him follow up to meet a long kick he had put forward. His best quarter was the fourth, where he almost managed to snare a goal from congestion with a snap, while finding the ball more and clearing pressure for his side.

#7 Jai Taylor

The wingman was again one of the more calm and effective users for his side, most often by foot. Taylor’s pressure and tackling was also handy, as he came hard off the line to have an impact on the centre bounces. He had a good passage of play in the second term with repeat efforts ending in a shot on goal which missed, but it was a decent measure of his effort throughout the game.

#9 Zac Foot

Based on the opposite wing to Taylor, Foot struggled at time to get his typical running game going. He had an opportunity in the first quarter to make a good start with a running shot on goal but sprayed it at speed, but made up for it in the third with a major after narrowly missing another snapshot at goal. Still, his bursts of speed out of defence were effective, and he gains so much ground when ending them with long kicks.

#10 Lachlan Young

Young made his presence felt in defence with manic attacks on both the football and his opponents – fairly, of course. He is a real competitor, and showed his hard edge with tackles early to set the tone, while carrying on with courageous marking attempts and efforts at ground level. His aggression almost hit a boiling point with a strong sling tackle in the third term, but it was otherwise a solid defensive display from the over-ager.

#12 Matthew Gahan

Gahan was part of the Dandenong’s robust defensive unit, providing a touch of class bringing the ball out of the danger-zones. He was cool in traffic, bursting through it on one occasion in the opening term, and delivered the ball forward via foot on many occasions. He had a good moment in the third quarter with a handy intercept mark and long kick forward which put his side on the front foot.

#15 Toby Bedford

Bite-sized Bedford was industrious from the midfield with plenty of one-percenters fronting his impact. He is deceptively strong and laid a huge tackle in the second term, while working hard to impact as many contests as he could and buzzing around the stoppages. Bedford provided a great releasing handball to Zac Foot for his goal in the third term, and stood up for his teammates when things got a bit heated – he loves a chat.

#27 Lachlan McDonnell

McDonnell started well forward of centre with a holding the ball tackle in the first term to set the tone for his game. He missed out on hitting the scoreboard after a desperate sliding intercept mark in the second quarter, and was then thrown back into defence. It was in the back half that McDonnell showed clean hands in congestion and mopped up really well at ground level. The best example of that was his one-on-one contest with Brayden Ham near his defensive 50 arc, where he brought the ball to ground and battled to get it over the boundary line.

#28 Bailey Schmidt

Schmidt was again solid in his rucking role, providing a good match-up for Blake Schlensog. He made a heap of contests around the ground, both intercepting and providing a target for Dandenong’s next kick up the line. Schmidt also chipped in with a couple of clearances and attacked it hard at ground level.

#29 Bailey Williams

It was an unusually tough day at the office for Williams, who battled hard all game nonetheless. His leap was outstanding, as would be expected, and he took a nice mark on the lead in the opening quarter. Williams also clunked a good contested mark in the following term, playing on immediately and indulging in a bounce, only to have his shot smothered. His repeat efforts and shows of agility were also typically great, but conversion has been a big thorn in Williams’ side and today was no different as he didn’t manage to trouble to scorers.

#58 William Hamill

Hamill was effective coming out of defence by both hand and foot, but it was his assist to Lachie Williams for Dandenong’s first goal that proved his best contribution early on. He also narrowly missed what would have been a memorable goal on the wrong side for a left footer after snatching an intercept mark deep in the 50. Hamill’s work rate was good and he found the ball in all areas, putting in a solid shift.

#59 Sam Sturt

Sturt provided one of the most impressive second games in recent memory with three important second half goals proving to be the difference between the two sides. He could have had more, hitting the post after intercepting a kick-out directed at Sam Walsh in the first term, and giving an opportunity off to Luca Goonan later on. Two of his goals came in the dying minutes, with his snap breaking free from congestion proving to be the sealer, and his goal from deep immediately after putting the icing on the cake. Certainly one to watch come finals and draft time, also loves a celebration.

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels vs. Bendigo Pioneers

By: Ed Pascoe

GWV Rebels:

#6 Charlie Wilson

Wilson was a ball magnet playing through the midfield in the first quarter (26 disposals total) but it was his work forward of centre that he is known for and he showed his outstanding forward craft on multiple occasions. In the midfield Wilson showed good vision by hand at stoppages and often attacked the contest hard. Wilson played predominantly forward after quarter time and kicked two terrific snap goals on either foot which now has him in the lead for the TAC goal kicking. It wasn’t just his goal kicking but his vision and ability to hit targets by foot inside 50 that impressed, hitting up Mitch Martin with a lovely pass in the third term.  

#7 Mitch Martin

Martin was another solid performer for Vic Country in the Under 17 Futures game and he brought that form against Bendigo providing a dangerous option when forward while also going through the midfield and attacking the contest hard ending the game with 21 disposals. Martin managed to kick three goals when resting forward with two set shot goals in the third quarter and a lovely opposite foot snap goal where he spun out of trouble. Martin along with Wilson was very influential and a major reason for the Rebels running away with the game. 

#14 Jed Hill

Hill was a hard worker throughout the day playing through the midfield and going forward on occasion. Hill finished with 19 disposals and six inside 50s showing his ability to drive he ball forward from the midfield. He attacked the contest hard through the middle and laid some heavy tackles. Hill wasn’t accurate around the goals kicking one goal and three behinds for the match. 

Bendigo:

#8 Brodie Kemp

AFL Academy member and bottom ager Kemp was one of Bendigo’s strongest performers playing as a big bodied midfielder while also going forward on occasion he finished with 26 disposals. Kemp played his role well, often getting his hands dirty at stoppages winning the ball at the coalface and cleanly dishing off on many occasions. Kemp’s hands where important at stoppages but also overhead where he took many intercept marks behind the ball while also taking some marks up forward with his goal in the second quarter coming from a nice contested mark. 

#17 Riley Ironside

Coming off a solid performance in the Under 17 Futures game for Vic Country, Ironside was a hard worker through the midfield going in hard at stoppages while also working hard to win the ball in transition.  He finished with 18 disposals for the match. Despite his good work rate, he was let down because of his poor disposals with a lot of rushed kicks at times. It was nice to see him trying to create play across the ground, and consistently go in hard to win the footy. 

#25 Flynn Perez

Also coming off a very good game for Vic Country in the Under 17 Futures last week, Perez was all class often running through the wings and half forward where he showed his great agility and composure with ball in hand with his skills a real standout on either side. Perez is the sort of player that can be real damaging when his teammates can look for him and give him time and space to work his magic. He is certainly one to watch for the 2019 draft racking up another 18 disposals and four inside 50s for the match. 

Weekend Previews: TAC Cup – Round 15

TAC Cup football is back and with two rounds left, the end of the season is near. For the penultimate round of action there are some big guns back, while others head out to play the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final on the MCG tomorrow.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 15 – Saturday, August 18, 10am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the opening game of the round, two top four sides go head-to-head in a season-defining clash for both teams. Gippsland will lock away second spot with a victory, while Murray will need to win to put itself in the best position for a top four position as Oakleigh Chargers sit just two points adrift of the Bushrangers. The Power has only had the two losses this season, with two draws in season 2018 – against Calder Cannons and Northern Knights. It will be a good opportunity for the Power to grab the four points as the Bushrangers have a number of key outs. The side has lost Kyle Clarke and Jacob Koschitzke to injury, as well as Ely Smith to the VFL. The previous two head-to-head clashes between the teams have also gone the way of the Power, winning both by more than seven goals. Gippsland come into the game in good form coming off a victory against the Chargers. With Noah Gown and Fraser Phillips causing headaches up forward, Xavier Duursma in midfield and Kyle Reid in defence, they will be tough to beat. Their bottom-age brigade of Riley Baldi, Josh Smith and Brock Smith among others form a strong group, but Murray is a side that can topple anyone on its day. Hudson Garoni and Jye Chalcraft are always capable to creating scoring opportunities, while Jordon Butts is a very handy inclusion, patrolling the airways and finding plenty of the football. Jimmy Boyer, Willson Mack and Will Chandler are just a handful of talented bottom-agers for the Bushrangers who could have an impact against the Power. Gippsland head into the game as deserving favourites, but you can never write-off the Bushrangers.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 15 – Saturday, August 18, 12.30pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The midfield battle between Geelong Falcons and Dandenong Stingrays is poised to be a battle within a battle. Sam Walsh, Ned McHenry and Oscar Brownless will go head-to-head against the likes of Campbell Hustwaite, Sam Fletcher and Finlay Bayne, while Baxter Mensch and Cooper Stephens rotate through there, as will the likes of Zac Foot and Jamie Plumridge. Dandenong’s advantage has always been in the ruck, with Bailey Schmidt joining Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams between there and the key forward posts. The Falcons are in great form after a big win last round and will love the challenge of testing themselves against the benchmark in this game. For the Stingrays, they’re not in so much good form as they have never been in anything other than good form this season, dropping just the one game – by a kick no less. Now they travel up to MARS Stadium with top spot locked up, and will look to have a good win against the side that knocked the Stingrays out of the finals series last year. Expect this game to be a cracker and the likes of Dane Hollenkamp, Connor Idun and Blake Schlensog to have their work cut out against quality talls, while Brayden Ham continues to impress by hitting the scoreboard on a regular basis. Up the other end, Toby Bedford is sure to cause a few headaches with his tackling pressure and goal nous.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 15 – Saturday, August 18, 3pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The final game up in Ballarat is a battle between the country rivals in Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Bendigo Pioneers. The teams have played twice, with the head-to-head split one each. The Pioneers won the round one game by a point coming home strongly in the final term, before the Rebels accounted for them in the next clash. With the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final on at the MCG, the GWV Rebels’ depth will be tested, making at least 10 changes to their line-up, losing the likes of Scott Carlin, Matty Lloyd, Lochie Dawson, Josh Chatfield and Izaac Grant among others, while Tom Berry is of course out for the season through injury. For the Pioneers, they have strengthened their line-up massively with the inclusions of bottom-age tall Brodie Kemp, brothers Flynn and Oscar Perez, and the ever-consistent Bailey Henderson. If there was a game the Pioneers would go in as favourites despite being bottom of the ladder, it would be this one. Spectators will get a great indication of the strength of the Rebels’ depth, while also seeing if the Pioneers can utilise their speed and bottom-age talent to get the job done. While Jye Caldwell is still not out on the park, the Pioneers go in with one of their strongest line-ups this season and will back their chances here. GWV Rebels’ forward Charlie Wilson has been named in the middle, with he and Jed Hill the keys to putting scores on the board with so many outs in the team. Mitch Martin showed some great signs in the Under 17 Futures game and has a big opportunity in the midfield here, while Harris Jennings and Ben Annett are others who have shown signs throughout the season this year.

 

WESTERN JETS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 15 – Sunday, August 19, 10am
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

Moving to the Sunday games, two sides in the bottom half of the eight do battle with Western Jets hosting Northern Knights. Captain Xavier O’Halloran will swap Avalon Airport Oval for the MCG when he runs out for St Bernards in the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final. His leadership is a big loss on-field and with Zak Butters out for the year, the Jets will look to their strong inside midfield of Connor Thar, Jack Watkins and Jaden Rice to win the footy at the coal face and distribute to their runners on the outside in Stefan Radovanovic and Daly Andrews. Northern welcomes back its captain Braedyn Gillard after a long-term lay-off due to injury. He is one of a number of crucial inclusions along with Oscar White and Lachlan Potter in defence, and Josh D’Intinosante up forward. Tom Hallebone will be a loss in the ruck, especially against Darren Walters, but the Knights will back themselves in against the Jets’ midfielders with Adam Carafa in good form, and Justin McInerney and Ryan Gardner providing good run on the outside. This is expected to be a great contest and important in the scheme of finals. While the Knights cannot make top four and the Jets need all the luck in the world, positioning in the bottom half of the eight is still important because it determines their opponents in the Wildcard Round. Both sides are well coached, well drilled line-ups so expect a hard fought battle and no-one giving an inch across the four quarters.

 

EASTERN RANGES v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 15 – Sunday, August 19, 12.30pm
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

In the middle game, Eastern Ranges will be hoping to bring its A-game against a Calder Cannons team that keeps getting the job done each week. The Cannons lose a number of players to the St Bernards team in the Herald Sun Shield Grand Final, but welcome back top 30 draft prospect Rhylee West, forward Josh Kemp and Vic Metro representative Jack Evans among others. Eastern also has a number of inclusions, as Lachlan Stapleton and Caleb Quirk strengthen the side in their bid to upset the Cannons in this clash. Calder’s choice of overagers this year has been very clever with Mitch Podhajski patrolling the midfield, Daniel Hanna strengthening the defence and Jake Riccardi providing a reliable target up forward. Curtis Taylor provides the X-factor up forward and Lucas Cavallaro continues to rebound the ball at will, and are two players Eastern has to keep under wraps. For the Ranges, the midfield of Kye Quirk, Mitch Mellis, Adrian Kalcovski and Stapleton is a consistent core, they just need more out of the next tier. Key defender, James Blanck will have an important role in defence for the Ranges, while Billy McCormack will keep a Cannons defender accountable up the other end. In the earlier match between these two teams, Calder got the job done under lights at RAMS Arena in chilly conditions. With the weather hit and miss this weekend, the Cannons will be hoping for a similar result.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 15 – Sunday, August 19, 3pm
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

The last game of the round is arguably the best, with everyone looking forward to practically full-strength Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons outfits going head-to-head in a battle between two genuine premiership contenders. Earlier in the year prior to his knee injury, Max King had a day out with eight majors against the Chargers at RAMS Arena in the Dragons’ come-from-behind win. This time around, it could be twin brother Ben who will hope to repeat the feat, with Will Kelly playing in defence this time around and a likely opponent for King. The Dragons are still missing captain Bailey Smith to injury, but Liam Stocker, Ryan Byrnes and Darcey Chirgwin is a strong core on the inside, while Alastair Richards and Angus Hanrahan provide good run and skill up either end. Draft watchers will get a first look at Harry Reynolds who makes his debut in Dragons colours, similar to Nathan Murphy last season – rewarded for school football form with a TAC Cup debut. Will Kennedy has been named forward with James Rendell in the ruck which should keep the Chargers’ talls busy. Oakleigh has its own top-end talent and depth which will test the Dragons outfit. Isaac Quaynor, Joe Ayton-Delaney and Trent Bianco is a ridiculously good small defensive trio, while Riley Collier-Dawkins, James Rowbottom, Jack Ross, Will Golds and Matt Rowell in the middle is as strong as it has been all season. They do not have the key position forwards Sandringham do at the top-end, but with Will James coming in from APS football and Dylan Williams and Noah Anderson capable of kicking multiple goals, it is likely to result in an absolute classic.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 14

TAC Cup action returns for the final week before a bye, with some huge ladder-defining clashes. Just two rounds remain after this weekend, so teams will be keen to put in strong performances.

EASTERN RANGES v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 14 – Saturday, August 4, 10.45am
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

On paper this looks like a one-sided game based on ladder positions, but an understrength Sandringham travels to Box Hill to take on Eastern in a clash that is crucial to determine a top four place. With their top-end talent returning next round from school football, the Dragons – now minus Liam Stocker who has been best on ground two weeks in a row for Sandringham – could move six points clear of Oakleigh and have a week off during the wildcard round. Eastern will have other ideas here, with a strong midfield that could take it up to the Dragons, but just need to find a way to put scores on the board. They were overpowered by a versatile GWV Rebels outfit last week, and will want to improve a lot here to claim the four points. Both sides lose crucial players with Lachlan Stapleton and Stocker – a potential head-to-head on the inside – both out of the team. Xavier Fry moves into the midfield for Eastern, and is set to face the in-form Ryan Byrnes. Meanwhile the experienced Kai Owens returns after some VFL time and will look to influence the contest for Sandringham, as will James Rendell up forward who could match up against Vic Metro teammate James Blanck.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 14 – Saturday, August 4, 2pm
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

In the match of the round, the fifth placed Oakleigh Chargers host the second placed Gippsland Power. A win to the visitors would see them lock up a top two spot, while Oakleigh need to win to remain in touch with the top four before teams return to full strength next round. The Chargers have plenty of good depth, while having good top-end talent with the likes of Isaac Quaynor and Riley Collier-Dawkins still in the team. Led by their bottom-agers in Dylan Williams and Trent Bianco – Noah Anderson and Matt Rowell return to school football – the Chargers will back themselves in here, but they know the Power are in ripping form. Gippsland have brought in a number of fresh faces, including Riley Baldi who is crucial in the middle and at half-forward, while captain Xavier Duursma and full-forward Noah Gown have been in terrific form themselves, as has full-back Kyle Reid. With strong bookends, and a deep midfield that has been at the top of its game all season, this is expected to be an exhilarating clash. Gippsland will head in favourites for this clash, but it is a genuine 50/50 contest with the challenges playing at Warrawee Park in the Chargers’ favour.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 14 – Saturday, August 4, 2pm
Preston City Oval, Preston

Northern host the benchmark team in the competition when the Knights welcome Dandenong to Preston City Oval on Saturday. The Knights sit eighth and are just four points clear of the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, a match-up that could well occur in the wildcard round. Dandenong need one win in its final three games to secure top spot, and look a class above at times, although they have been pushed within games. With just the one loss for the season – a narrow defeat to Oakleigh Chargers, the Stingrays head into the game as favourites and the Knights will need to be at their best to win. Northern loses Tom McKenzie, Josh D’Intinosante, James Lucente and Oscar White for the clash, but regain ruck Tom Hallebone, Adam Carafa and Justin McInerney. The combination of Hallebone and Nathan Howard will be vital against the talented Stingrays rucks in Riley Bowman, Bailey Schmidt and Bailey Williams. Both teams have speed and the Knights, through the likes of Lachlan Potter and Ryan Gardner will look to provide drive out of the back half. Dandenong likewise have Jai Taylor and Zac Foot, setting up a match that could see some dashing runs and end-to-end football. One would expect Dandenong to continue their run this season, but as the Knights showed against Gippsland at Morwell earlier in the year, they can push the top sides all the way.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 14 – Sunday, August 5, 12pm
Albury Sports Ground, Albury

Murray is one of three teams battling it out for third and fourth spot on the table, and this week it is the plucky Calder Cannons that stand in the Bushrangers’ way. The Cannons keep being that pesky team that might not have consistency week-to-week, but they throw up some surprising results and knock off some quality teams. Despite being massively understrength they defeated Gippsland earlier in the season, and pushed Dandenong for three quarters last weekend. Jordon Butts will get his chance in the Victorian Football League (VFL) with Werribee, so he misses this week, while Ben Kelly and Floyd Bollinghaus swap places in the ruck. The Cannons have also welcomed back an important tall in Jake Riccardi who spent some time in the state league, and he has proven to be a handful at times standing at full-forward. At home, Murray look a tough opposition to beat. The Bushrangers are a consistent outfit who arguably only have a poor game once every couple of months, so if they don’t win, they will push their opponents to line. Expect them to be favourites in this clash, although the Cannons have enough about them to cause some problems, with a potential match-up of Lachlan Ash and Curtis Taylor, while Mitch Podhajski and Ely Smith might go head-to-head at times. Bushrangers in a close one.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 14 – Sunday, August 5, 1pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

On Sunday afternoon, the last placed Bendigo Pioneers have a chance to leapfrog Eastern into eleventh, which might not seem like much, but in the wildcard round, twelfth will likely play a full strength Oakleigh Chargers or Sandringham Dragons. The Pioneers effort has been strong, and while they are not getting the wins on the board, they are not getting blown away like they have at times in the past. They might succumb to a quarter or two, but for the most part, are genuinely in the contest and expect them to believe they win this clash against Geelong at Queen Elizabeth Oval. The Falcons have been up and down this season, and at full strength they have enough about them to challenge most teams, so they will head into the game as favourites. With Ned McHenry and Charlie Sprague still out, the likes of Sam Walsh, Oscar Brownless and Brayden Ham will be looked upon as important players in the side, while Cooper Cartledge and Dane Hollenkamp will hold down the key defensive posts. Connor Idun has been named forward with Blake Schlensog to try and provide a target, with Bendigo’s backline able to provide plenty of drive this season. Braydon Vaz returns to join Jacob Atley and Noah Wheeler who will try and run the Falcons down, while Bailey Henderson is an important inclusion to the side, able to fill in anywhere required. Geelong cannot move from their spot this weekend, but can edge closer to the GWV Rebels, and guarantee they will not finish bottom two, with a win here.

 

WESTERN JETS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 14 – Sunday, August 5, 2pm
Williamstown Football Ground, Williamstown

In the final game of the round, the GWV Rebels, fresh off a big win over Eastern Ranges, travel to Williamstown to face the Western Jets. The Jets form has dipped a bit in the past month, but they will back themselves in here as they head into the home stretch. For a top four finish they need a lot of luck from here, but finishing as high as possible could be vital to progressing, because sixth place will see them face Bendigo or Eastern in the wildcard round, rather than Geelong who at full strength, could give any side headaches. The Jets midfield is one of the most underrated in the league, because clearance wise, Xavier O’Halloran, Connor Thar and Jack Watkins are a formidable trio, while Daly Andrews and Stefan Radovanovic provide the pace. They have plenty of options up forward both tall and small, and match up well against most sides in defence. The Rebels will likely go in with the two-ruck approach to tackle the Jets as Darren Walters is in good form, but Patrick Glanford‘s form this season has been building, and both Tylar Watts and Mathew Clarke have been named in the side. Jayden Wright returns to tackle one of Aaron Clarke or Emerson Jeka, while the Rebels’ forward line is likely to give the Jets the most trouble, with Charlie Wilson in remarkable form, and Jed Hill, Izaac Grant and Josh Chatfield, all capable of having days out in front of goal. Despite recent form lines, you would say the Jets are favourites with the depth they have, but if the Rebels continue their good form of late, they are a huge chance here.

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.

EASTERN RANGES v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

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.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. WESTERN JETS

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.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

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.

 

CALDER CANNONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

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.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

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.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

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.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 12a

THIS weekend saw the first half of Round 12 take place. The Oakleigh Chargers defeated Calder Cannons on Saturday, while Mars Stadium hosted a double header between the GWV Rebels and Northern Knights, and Geelong Falcons and Sandringham Dragons. Here are some of the notes from those three games.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Calder Cannons

Oakleigh Chargers:

By: Ed Pascoe

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins

After a solid run in the championships, Collier-Dawkins was quiet against Calder winning just the 11 disposals. He needed to find a way to get involved in the play on transition, his leading patterns up forward could have improved and he had to impose himself more at the stoppages. However, when he did go in for the ball he looked clean and rarely made a mistake, he made a few nice turns while being tackled giving off good handballs showing what he is capable of as a tall inside midfielder.

#3 Joe Ayton-Delaney

Ayton-Delaney played a solid game down back, winning 16 disposals and keeping his opponents honest with some good spoils and close checking. Despite a few missed kicks, his overall kicking efficiency was good and often looked for his teammates to set up the play from defence. Didn’t do a lot wrong throughout the day in a nice four quarter performance.

#4 Will Kelly

Kelly played down back, carrying on his good form in the championships, rebounding well and amassing 21 disposals while also taking eight marks. He did well in marking contests against the likes of Jake Riccardi but he really impressed with his rebound out of defence often picking good options and running hard to get on the end of some handballs. Despite one errant kick in the first quarter his skills were solid throughout the day as the Collingwood father-son prospect continues to impress.

#9 James Rowbottom

Another solid game from Rowbottom who won plenty of the ball winning 24 disposals. He applied plenty of physical pressure laying 11 tackles, which was the most of any player on the ground. His strength throughout the day was his work at stoppages winning plenty of clearances and winning plenty of contested ball. His kicking let him down a few times kicking a few out on the full and a few kicks inside 50 where he tried to kick it too hard to a leading player, if he cleans this part of his game up then he would have been the clear best on ground.

#32 Jack Ross

Ross was extremely unlucky not to make the Metro squad and he proved that again today with a great performance in the midfield. Ross barely made a mistake all game by hand and foot and he worked hard around the ground to win the ball. Speed and agility are his knocks but he makes the most of what he has got with good running and positioning around the ground. He was vocal in the huddles showing good football smarts and leadership. Ross finished the game with 28 disposals which was the highest of anyone for the game.

 

Calder Cannons:

By: Scott Dougan

#8 Lachlan Sholl

The classy half-back started terrifically, finding plenty of the pill early. Sholl read the play well and was able to rebound out of the defensive 50 effectively. He pushed up the ground at times where he was able to put his sublime kicking skills to good use, hitting multiple targets on both sides of the body. He was exceptionally clean at ground level and rarely fumbled. Sholl can be exposed defensively at times, which was evident in the second term when he hesitated and pulled out of a marking contest, resulting in a goal to the Chargers. His composure with ball in hand and ability to find the ball in multiple areas of the ground makes him an exciting prospect.

#16 Jack Bytel

The inside midfielder was prominent in the first quarter, especially in tight situations. His work around stoppages was evident, constantly releasing the ball by hand to his teammates on the outside. He was involved in an important passage of play in the second term where he was able to break an opposition tackle and release the ball to teammate Will Jury, who kicked accurately through the big sticks. Bytel displayed inconsistency by foot, turning the ball over on multiple occasions, which is an area he will need to improve on as he develops. His game was cut short with injury and was unable to return to the field after half-time. Bytel had 23 disposals in the first half.

#27 Tye Browning

Browning played on the wing and up forward, winning the majority of his disposals on the outside. He made good decisions with the ball in hand and was able to create effective passages of play when moving forward. Browning received a free kick inside 50 in the fourth term, kicking a goal from directly in front after showing courage in a marking contest. While it was not Browning’s best game of the year, he still had a positive impact, gathering 21 possessions and booting one goal.

#35 Sam Graham

Graham had stints through the Cannons midfield but spent the majority of his time in the back half. He took a couple of strong intercept marks and used the ball well when rebounding out of the back 50. His defensive pressure was clear in the second term when he was rewarded a free kick after laying an important tackle on Charger midfielder, Jack Ross. Graham gave in-form forward Jake Gasper too much space at times, with the classy Charger taking full advantage of the situation. In a tough day for the Cannons, Graham put his leadership skills to good use and continued to work hard.

 

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels vs. Northern Knights

By: Cameron Ross

GWV Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin

Carlin kicked a goal in the third term, which is rare for the hard working wingman. He amassed 17 disposals and while his ball use could have been a little better, he was able to impact with some crucial inside 50s.

#14 Jed Hill

Went onball in the second half and proved his dominant midfield display against Dandenong was not a fluke. Hill was instrumental in the third term, racking up a heap of possessions and was important around the clearances working hard to win the footy. Despite being quiet in the final term, Hill was once again one of his sides best performers with his strong tackling pressure.

 

Northern Knights:

#4 Tom McKenzie

Played the loose man in defence for most of the game and controlled the play well for the Knights. McKenzie made good decisions and hit his targets, tailoring his kick to suit the play. Mckenzie displayed his ability to win the contested ball at stoppages in defence which was really important for his side into the wind.

#17 Josh D’Intinosante

The youngster was once again fantastic and looks to be a top prospect for the 2019 draft. His ability to win both the contested and uncontested possession was terrific for someone who is a bottom ager. He impressed with his overhead skills considering his size. D’Intinosante was a tackling machine and led the way for the Knights with his physical pressure.

#30 Justin McInerney

McInerney works hard and is quick which is a great combination in a footballer. He used the ball quite well throughout the day especially into the wind when it was difficult to do so, firing out quite a few crucial handballs to teammates at opportune times.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Sandringham Dragons

By: Cameron Ross

Geelong Falcons:

#8 Ned McHenry

Sam Walsh is the captain, but McHenry is clearly well respected by the playing group, and could be heard directing traffic and encouraging his team mates all game. Proved his leadership abilities with a huge goal with two minutes to go, and nearly dragged his team over the line getting tackled before getting the ball on the boot at the top of the square with 20 seconds to go.

#20 Brayden Ham

Kicked a big goal from 55m out after intercepting the kick-in. Granted, the kick was with the wind, but the penetration he got on the kick was really impressive. Proved his ability at ground level nailing his opponent in a tackle and winning a free kick. Ham also proved he has terrific skills by hand, cleanly hitting targets in tight releasing outside runners. He is also really quick, and seems to have an extra gear that he can hit when he is running with the ball. Really good game overall from Ham today.

#22 Sam Walsh

I watched Walsh at Kardinia Park earlier in the season (Round 4 vs GWV), and while I saw glimpses of the superstar quality, I was not blown away. Today I was. He is a genuine star and is the best player I have watched this year. He has the composure of Pendlebury, reads contests like Cunnington and plays like Selwood. He is a bust-proof no-risk pick that barring injury will play over 200 games of AFL football. The sort of player that Carlton, who has struggled at the draft table recently, should really look at with pick one.

#30 Oscar Brownless

The Cats father-son prospect played onball for the majority of the day and while he was very impressive up forward, failed to fully fire onball. I was excited to see how he would go in there, but he seemed to be 5-10 metres away from the clearance winner at each stoppage or under pressure. This was possibly due to the nature of playing on-ball, but he just lacked a bit of composure at times. The positives were, that when he went forward, he was very dangerous. He is a terrific kick, has a nice simple action, and kicked a key goal in the final term. He is clearly a better forward than midfielder, but due to his size (186cm) he may need to add that string to his bow in the modern game.

#39 Connor Idun

If Idun was a stock in the stock market, you would be buying shares in him. I went out and listened to the three quarter time speech and was blown away by his size. He is a big kid. If this boy is available in the later rounds of a draft, a club up the top end might be willing to take the risk on a player who still has a way to go developmentally, but could hold down a key defender post in 5-10 years time. Idun played in defence to begin with and was quiet statistically, but wore his opponent like a glove. He was moved forward in the final term, and was a big presence. Kicked a goal from the square after crumbing Schlenslog’s contest.

#48 Blake Schlensog

Schlensog not only rucked well, but was a big presence up forward. Despite not hitting the scoreboard, Schlensog’s ability to create a contest was really important for players such as Walsh and Idun who both scored after a Schlensog marking contest.

 

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Alistair Richards

Richards was fantastic today. He has an abundance of pace, and had the best highlight of the day. Richards collected the ball on the back flank, took on two Falcons who were trying to tackle him and burned them off. He then handballed to a teammate and collected the “one-two” before kicking long into the forward line. Rendell finished Richards work with a goal. All of this was into the wind, and against the run of play. On a day where run and carry was pivotal, Richards lead his side well, tucking the ball under the arm like Jack Steven and sprinting away from the opposition at least three times. His disposal can be questionable, but this can be excused in what was very difficult conditions.

#7 Liam Stocker

Really good game today from Stocker who kicked a goal against the run of play in the final term, which proved to be a massive goal for the Dragons and the match. Stocker is a smooth mover and the sort of player that seems to never be under any pressure. Put his body on the line and got cleaned up in a contest, but the Dragons midfielder got straight back up and ran to the next contest.

#19 Samuel Forbes

Played well on the wing and did some nice things in the contest under pressure. Produced an amazing kick that could easily have been missed. He was put under severe pressure from a poor handball from a teammate, but he gathered the ball, danced around the tackler, and hit Charlie Dean with a 40-metre pinpoint kick in between at least four Falcons defenders. Dean capped this bit of play off with a goal.

#23 Angus Hanrahan

His work rate was supreme. An example was when he took possession of the ball on the outer wing, and switched the ball across the ground. He ran hard forward, and collected the next kick up in the forward line taking a strong mark backing back into the pack. Hanrahan got hit hard, but picked himself up and took his kick. Ended up kicking the match winning goal. Hanrahan sold the whole candy store to an opposition player, strolled into 50 and slotted the goal on the run. Arguably the best player for the Dragons on the day, after giving a consistent, hard working, and match winning performance.

#28 James Rendell

Played well up forward and took some nice marks. Was the Dragons key target on a day without King. Kicked two goals and proved that he can take over the reins as the key forward when King is absent.

#61 Fischer McAsey

The Dragons ruckman proved to be solid not only in the ruck, but played well as a “fourth rover” laying big tackles and being a physical presence at stoppages. He is a lovely kick for a big man, and drilled a 40-metre bullet, setting up a teammate for a shot on goal.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 12a

THREE games, three action packed matches of TAC Cup to watch this weekend. With one game at Warrawee Park tomorrow and a double-header at Mars Stadium, there are two venues to pick from as Round 12 gets underway.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 12 – Saturday, July 14, 11am
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

In the opening game of the split round, Oakleigh Chargers welcome back a ridiculous amount of talent into the line-up. Joe Ayton-Delaney, Will Kelly and Noah Answerth will strengthen the defence, while Riley Collier-Dawkins, Matt Rowell and James Rowbottom do the same in midfield, and Noah Anderson and Atu Bosenavulagi in attack. The quality across the board is really strong and if they will be a tough side to beat in this clash. However, Calder have some serious talent returning too, with potential top 30 duo Rhylee West and Jack Bytel to really strengthen the midfield and the battle between the Cannons pair, and Collier-Dawkins and Rowbottom on-ball will be one to watch. The in-form Daniel Mott and the ever-consistent Mitch Podhajski means the midfield is an area where Calder will hold its own against Oakleigh and create some genuine interest in seeing which team can win the contested ball and clearances. Daniel Hanna and Jake Riccardi are bookends that have also been in form for the Cannons, while Jack Ross and Trent Bianco are in strong form for the Chargers. Oakleigh will naturally head into this game as strong favourites given the ins, but Calder would back themselves in if they can nullify the midfield and get first opportunity to their forwards.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 12 – Sunday, July 15, 11:30am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the early game on Sunday, the GWV Rebels host the Northern Knights at Mars Stadium. The Rebels have lost Tom Berry who will be missed through the midfield, while Tylar Watts will miss his first game of the year. It means Patrick Glanford will do the rucking against Vic Metro ruck Tom Hallebone – who returns to the side – and bottom-age talent Nathan Howard. The Knights have also welcomed back clearance gun Tom McKenzie who is a much-needed inclusion to the side, named at half-back where he has been playing for Metro. In the middle, Josh D’Intinosante, Brody Bell and Kye Yodgee have the on-ball spots, while Justin McInerney and Oscar White are those named on the wings. McKenzie, Stefan Uzelac and bottom-ager Lachlan Potter form an imposing half-back line, while James Lucente and Sunny Brazier add different elements to the forward line. For the Rebels, Charlie Wilson, Elliott Lamb and Scott Carlin form a strong midfield that will match it with Northern’s on-ball brigade, while Jed Hill and Izaac Grant know how to find the goals. Ben Dodd has been impressive since coming into the side, and he and Harris Jennings add good depth to the Rebels’ midfield. Northern head in as favourites for this clash, but being at home in freezing Ballarat, expect the Rebels to be in with a real shot, especially after last time where they looked to have the game won, but faded away late.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 12 – Sunday, July 15, 2pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the third and final game of the round, Geelong Falcons host Sandringham Dragons in what should be a fantastic match to watch. Geelong’s triple threat midfield of Sam Walsh, Ned McHenry and Oscar Brownless return to the fold, against a midfield of Liam Stocker, Harry Houlahan and Alastair Richards. The Falcons will also welcome Brayden Ham back to his new-found role at half-back, joining Connor Idun, Dane Hollenkamp and Cooper Cartledge as rocks in the back half. They will compete against the likes of James Rendell, Jack Denborough, Jack Mahony and Angus Hanrahan who provide many elements to the forward 50 for the Dragons. Kai Owens has been named at centre half-back replacing Corey Watts there, and will team up with the in-form Will Kennedy. Anthony Seaton and Nicholas Stamatis are also in defence, and will match up against the likes of McHenry, Jay Dahlhaus and Blake Schlensog, while Cooper Stephens and Baxter Mensch hold up the midfield with Walsh rotating forward. The match is a really hard one to pick, with both teams strengthened by the inclusions. Sandringham have shown this season they have more depth than Geelong, but the top-end talent for the Falcons returning is very impressive. A real 50/50 game here.