Tag: Charlie Whitehead

Scouting notes: 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final

WE witnessed one of the all-time great Grand Finals on the weekend, with Dandenong Stingrays holding on by a goal against the Oakleigh Chargers at Ikon Park.

Dandenong Stingrays:

By: Peter Bonadio and Peter Williams

#1 Sam Fletcher

Ball magnet during the grand final always finds a way to get the footy in his hands. Pretty good by foot in his sides win, having a massive 11 disposals in the opening term, and 18 by half-time. Won more than half of his touches on the inside, and just worked hard all day long. Finished the day with a sore shoulder and blood down his face and jumper – his second jumper of the day, having to change from the number one, to the number 61 in the second half.

#2 Hayden Young

Solid defender who reads the play well when the ball comes into defence. Great vision to sense where his teammates are and has the ability by foot to get the footy to them. Has distance by foot to switch play effectively as well. Used the ball very well and won the majority of the ball in close, can play inside or outside and will be a top pick next year. All class.

#3 Jamie Plumridge

Good hands to get the ball out of congestion and find open teammates on the outside. He showed good composure and did well when under pressure. Plumridge finished the game with 17 touches four marks, three inside 50s and three tackles.

#7 Jai Taylor

A quieter game for Taylor, but he did try and break the game open at times. Has that electrifying speed when he gets going though and had a couple of eye-catching moments. Finished with the 10 disposals and two inside 50s.

#9 Zac Foot

Two goals in a grand final, Foot has a great goal sense. He was very lively when up forward and applies a lot of pressure on his opponents. Not only was he good overhead in contests, but something good always seems to happen when he is involved in the passage of play. His best finals game with 15 disposals, three marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and the two majors.

#13 Riley Bowman

One of, if not his best game for the season. Bowman was terrific across four quarters and made the most of his height advantage over the smaller Oakleigh ruckmen. He was dominant at the stoppages and got first hands to it on most occasions, but also did the defensive things right, laying tackles, and putting pressure on the ball carrier. He kicked the opening goal of the game and got the crowd up and about early. He did occasionally rush a few kicks to go for distance rather than accuracy, but overall it was a strong game, and he made his presence felt with some good contested marks.

#15 Toby Bedford

He set the tone early with a great tackle inside 50 and just seemed to find space around the ground winning the ball. At times he danced around opponents and tried to set up plays, and while he was not as effective as his past two finals, still had a few eye-catching moments. He kicked an important goal in the second term to keep Dandenong’s momentum high, he just did not have the four quarter consistency on the day, picking up nine of his 10 touches in the middle two quarters.

#16 Jake Frawley

If there is one image that will stick with Dandenong Stingrays fans from the 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final, it is Frawley charging off the interchange bench to crunch Will Phillips in a bone-crunching tackle that exemplified Dandenong’s intent on the day. Unfortunately he had a mis-kick with the free he won, and his kicking was a bit hit and miss at times, but his defensive pressure and hands in close was good.

#18 Mitch Riordan

He has built some really solid form since returning from injury, and did a few nice things when the heat was on in the game. Early on he took a good intercept mark at half-back, and just used the ball really cleanly both on the inside and out. He does not win a heap of it, but he gets involved around the stoppages and provided good support along with his other midfielders.

#27 Lachlan McDonnell

The stats sheet does not do McDonnell justice for the game he played. While he was quiet early, his long kick off half-back set up a scoring chain to lead to Bailey Williams’ first goal early in the second term. With the game on the line, McDonnell’s second and third terms were very good, creating run and carry, trying to drive the ball forward. His kicking was a treat to watch, and it was his running goal from 50m in the final term that sealed the game – or so everyone thought at the time. Really strong out of defence and would have high metres gained.

#29 Bailey Williams

Had a quiet first term and was beaten on-on-one by Will Kelly, but then started to get going after that. His one kick in the first term set up a goal with a good, deep inside 50. Williams had a chance in the second term and it looked a bit of a mongrel off the boot but it floated through for his first to get the team up and about. He kicked another important goal in the third term, and missed another chance, when Oakleigh were coming at them. He did not have a massive contribution compared to some weeks, but he did kick two goals at important stages.

#58 Will Hamill

Played a really important role in the back half. He took a crucial intercept mark in the dying minutes when he read the play perfectly, floated in front of an Oakleigh forward, snatched the ball from them and kept running to kick it out of the danger zone. His decision to come off his opponent and chop off the inboard kick could have saved a goal, and potentially the match. He won a number of crucial one-on-ones throughout the match, and even coach, Craig Black praised him post-match for his consistency back there under siege. He just has that touch of class, and is a kick-first type player.

#59 Sam Sturt

The draft bolter looked lively early, and actually beat Isaac Quaynor a couple of times on the lead, forcing Oakleigh to switch Quaynor with Charlie Beasley. Sturt not only provided a presence on the lead, but his effectiveness when kicking inside 50 was a treat. He set up a goal for Zac Foot in the first term when he handballed off the deck to the waiting Foot. In the second half he hit the scoreboard, booting two goals, while finding plenty of the football for a leading forward, taking six marks and firing the ball inside 50 on five occasions.

 

Oakleigh Chargers:

By: Craig Byrnes

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins

The tall midfielder was enjoyable to watch, producing an influential first half in particular that garnered 13 disposals. He was strong and clean in congestion, often getting his arms high to release or accelerating with eye catching flair into the forward half. He kicked a great goal in the first term, turning into the arc to finish brilliantly from 45 metres out. He is good overhead too, which is a pretty handy trait for a mid at 193cm, taking two strong marks from opposition kicks. He even spent some time in the ruck late, winning a couple of hit outs to advantage to the surprise of many. The first round prospect fought hard all day for his 19 disposals.

#3 Joe Ayton-Delaney

The exciting half back won his fair share of the ball, rebounding from the defensive arc with flair and vigour as we have become accustomed to. While he is encouraged to take the game on, he uncharacteristically got caught with the ball on occasions. He lost his feet and fumbled at crucial times in dangerous positions, but a lot of that can be applauded to Dandenong’s brilliant defensive pressure. He still had a good offensive outing though, giving his team drive and carry with the occasional evasive trick during the Charger’s final term comeback to end with 18 disposals.

#4 Will Kelly

Started the game in defence as one of Oakleigh’s KPDs, manning the dangerous and athletic Bailey Williams and began in fine fashion. He killed a couple of difficult entrances to the favour of Williams in the first term and consistently read the flight of the ball well. He won plenty of leather in the first half too with 13 disposals, but this is where he sometimes let himself down. Despite possessing a technically correct and attractive kicking action for his size, he often over hit his kicks which led to turnovers, including one that directly became a Dandenong goal. Spent more time up the ground in the second half, including stints in the ruck where he won eight hit outs. He finished with 19 disposals and is a great looking prospect for Collingwood as a father-son selection.

#5 Xavier O’Neill

The smart midfielder had his moments throughout the afternoon, spending time at the stoppages and finding the ball on the offensive side of the contests. He generally used the ball well, but had times when he could have made better decisions going forward. He did create some fast links though, including a long handball through the corridor in the third quarter and a brilliantly won ground clearance in the final term when Oakleigh were fighting back into contention. He finished with 17 disposals and five tackles in what was a solid outing for the Chargers.

#9 James Rowbottom

The usually prolific midfielder was in and around the ball, but struggled to have his usual influence at the stoppages. While he often finds a way to make time slow down in congestion, that relaxed manner saw him holding the ball for too long against the Stingray’s ferocious pressure in the first term and he was chased down. His intensity lifted after that, as he started accumulating ball and taking the first option to create faster link ups for his side. He released some really creative handballs during the final term in particular, nearly all of which ended as Oakleigh scores. Certainly did not disgrace himself, winning 18 disposals in a consistent performance.

#11 Matt Rowell

If you did not know much about the Charger’s bottom-aged star, you should be all over him now as he again proved to be a high priority selection for clubs at the 2019 Draft by being a rare best on ground recipient in a losing team. He is an elite decision maker with ball in hand, a player that creates comfort for his teammates and coaches. While his 31 possessions provided many excellent moments, his clear highlight was a brilliant kick to Dylan Williams inside 50 under extreme pressure. He took the game on in the corridor to get his side back in the game and while that led to some uncharacteristic errors, he was hugely influential in getting Oakleigh close. This kid is a genuine star and a worthy medallist.

#12 Noah Answerth

I really enjoyed the game of the Charger’s skipper, a competitor that was never going to let Dandenong have anything easy in any circumstance. He started at the first centre bounce and often went back to help his defence by sitting in the hole or directing traffic. He produced a big moment in the second term, chasing down the dangerous Toby Bedford deep in defence who looked like snapping a simple goal. He was effective at the stoppages too, using his body to advantage, spinning out of trouble and quickly releasing at one point in the second quarter. He was not far off Rowell and Collier-Dawkins as Oakleigh’s best, collecting 26 disposals, four clearances and six rebound 50s.

#13 Atu Bosenavualagi

The Collingwood Next Generation Academy prospect is giving clubs plenty to think about. He is one of the big improvers in the competition and his AFL attributes are becoming more obvious by the week. He set the early pressure intensity for Oakleigh, making himself known without the ball and being physical towards his opponents. Although it is his attacking play that has really come on in recent weeks. A subtle side step out of traffic to create a goal for Williams gave Oakleigh an early lead late in the first term, while he took a clever mark from behind his opponent later in the first half. In the third term he burned off an opponent to give his side a genuine spark by kicking a bounce and carry goal. He is lively and if he wins 17 disposals like he did on Saturday, he will more than likely have an impact.

#22 Dylan Williams

Another bottom-aged star that had a relevant influence on the close result. Williams continued his outstanding purple patch of goal kicking form to finish with four goals from full-forward. While he only had nine disposals in an underrated one on one battle with Daniel Frampton, he created problems for the Dandenong defender whenever the ball entered his zone. Three of his goals came from left foot snaps or “J-curve” set shots, a skill he already appears to have mastered. His best came from a freakish, almost half-volley pick up from which he swung onto his left again with absolute class. He also smartly went around the corner to set up a goal for Robertson in the opening term and took an excellent contested mark against three opponents in the goal square for his first goal. This latest haul means he has kicked a total of 14 goals for the finals series, a very early indication that this kid has the tools to be a big game player at the top level.

#23 Isaac Quaynor

Probably one of the higher rated players that Oakleigh would have liked to get more out of. Quaynor started the game on Dandenong’s dangerous hybrid forward Sam Sturt, who exposed the Collingwood Next Generation Academy prospect on the lead early. It led to Quaynor being moved off him before the end of the first quarter and he immediately looked more comfortable as the extra defender. With ball in hand he was calm and made good decisions behind the ball, before being moved to the midfield later in the game. He did not get a great opportunity to settle, but we already know what he offers and the Pies will be more than happy to match a bid come November.

#31 Will Golds

The predominantly outside midfielder or wingman consistently found himself with ball in hand, winning it 25 times in a very productive outing. He is a player who loves to be on the move when in possession, whether it is darting through traffic or running to space to create a link up option. He is smart and releases it quickly, often with the next play up the field in mind. He gets in good positions and knows where to find a handball receive, while his kicking was creative despite a missed short pass in the middle that became a turnover during the third term. He did present Collier-Dawkins with a lovely long weighted pass inside 50 in the first quarter that helped earn his teammate a free kick and regularly hit up targets on the run.

#32 Jack Ross

The thick set inside midfielder has been generating a bit of interest in recent times and again produced some good moments in the Grand Final. He impressed when he went back with the flight and then laid an aggressive tackle, gathered the loose ball cleanly and quickly released to start the chain for an important Dylan Williams goal in the first term. He also won an excellent ground ball in the third term that set up Atu’s memorable running goal, again at a vital period to keep Oakleigh within reach. He then got on the end of one to kick a goal that got his side within two goals in the final term. He is a good player and most importantly rose when his team needed it most in an underrated outing to finish with 19 disposals.

#64 James Jordan

The draft bolter of Oakleigh’s midfield started the game on fire, winning 10 first quarter possessions to be one of the best players on the ground early in the contest. He won two extremely clean ground balls during that period, releasing both to the advantage of his teammates. He was having a genuine influence, but certainly quietened as the match went on. He earned a free kick in the final term after putting his head over the ball, but was rarely sighted otherwise after the first break. He ended the game with a respectable 17 disposals and it will be interesting to see where clubs rate him, as there is certainly some talent.

 

Non-Combine invitees who stood out:

#23 Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong) – 19 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s, three rebounds and four clearances – huge contributor in the midfield by the co-captain.

#41 Lachlan Stenning (Dandenong) – 21 disposals, two marks, four clearances, four inside 50s, six rebounds – clean out of defence and stood out throughout with some important rebounds.

#10 Charlie Whitehead (Oakleigh) – 17 disposals, four marks, three tackles, three inside 50s – put pressure in that forward 50 as he always does and could hold his head high.

Comprehensive 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final Preview

IT is the equivalent of Christmas Day for the TAC Cup competition, with the two best teams for the year facing off in a decider. We have the clear benchmark all season, in the Dandenong Stingrays, taking on the red-hot Oakleigh Chargers, who have been in sensational form since all their school kids returned to the team. We take a look at the big game from multiple angles in our Ultimate Preview of the 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final.

 

2018 SEASON REVIEW

1. Dandenong Stingrays – 15 wins, 1 loss, 211%, 60 points
3. Oakleigh Chargers – 10 wins, 5 losses, 1 draw, 151%, 42 points

HEAD TO HEAD

R5: Oakleigh Chargers 11.6 (72) defeated Dandenong Stingrays 9.12 (66) at Warrawee Park
R9: Dandenong Stingrays 13.17 (95) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 6.4 (40) at Shepley Oval

CHANGES SINCE ROUND 5 THRILLER*

*Including extended benches

Dandenong:
IN: Sam Fletcher, Hayden Young, Toby Bedford, Finlay Bayne, Mitch Riordan, Daniel Frampton, Stephen Cumming, Luca Goonan, Matthew Cumming, Sam Sturt
OUT: Jake Carosella, James Hickey, Jarrod Smith, William Geurts, Sam De Koning, Bailey Angwin

Oakleigh:
IN: Will Kelly, Noah Anderson, James Rowbottom, Matthew Rowell, Kyle Dunkley, Lucas Westwood, Trent Bianco, Bailey Wraith, Will Golds, Jack Ross, Matt Warren, James Jordan
OUT: Sam Harte, Lachlan Bugeja, Xavier Fry, Matthew Fewings, Ben Silvagni, Kyle Viccars, Josh May, Daniel Scala, Lachlan Harry, Sam Elliot

 

WHO HAS COMBINE INVITES?

National:

Dandenong Stingrays [6]: Toby Bedford, Riley Bowman, Zac Foot, Will Hamill, Sam Sturt, Bailey Williams
Oakleigh Chargers [7]: Noah Answerth, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Will Golds, Will Kelly, Xavier O’Neill, Isaac Quaynor, James Rowbottom

State/Rookie Me:

Dandenong Stingrays [10]: Stephen Cumming, Sam Fletcher, Jake Frawley, Matthew Gahan, Lachlan McDonnell, Jamie Plumridge, Mitch Riordan, Bailey Schmidt, Jai Taylor, Lachlan Young
Oakleigh Chargers [6]: Joe Ayton Delaney, Atu Bosenavulagi, Kyle Dunkley, Jake Gasper, James Jordon, Jack Ross

Note: Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh) and Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong) have combine invitations but are unavailable due to injury.

PLAYERS

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS:

#1 Sam FLETCHER

Just keeps winning the football every week and puts in a consistent effort. He will join Hustwaite on the inside and look to fire out a number of handballs to teammates in space, and will often look to win that one-on-one duel when given the chance. Does not get to the outside as much as other midfielders, but does all the damage at the coal face, expect him to be prominent in there again.

#2 Hayden YOUNG

The potential number one pick next year looked sore throughout the preliminary final last week and got moved from the back pocket to the extended interchange, so it appeared to be a waiting game on whether he would play. Unbelievable talent with and a hardness at the ball, can play anywhere on the field, but he has been used off half-back with that smooth running and deadly foot skills a highlight.

#3 Jamie PLUMRIDGE

Tipped by TAC Cup Radio’s Matthew Cocks for the Best on Ground, Plumridge has been a consistent performer this year. Plumridge is an outside midfielder who often wins it on the wing and pumps it inside 50 to the tall targets.

#7 Jai TAYLOR

An electrifying speedster, Taylor is one of the fastest players in the competition, and with Toby Bedford, has the capability of breaking the lines and causing disruption amongst the opposition zone. While he does not always do it, he can tuck the ball under the arm and take the game on.

#9 Zac FOOT

Burst onto the scene early in the season to make Vic Country after never having made a previous Stingrays’ squad. He played throughout the National Under 18 Championships, and while he did not star, he still had some impressive moments. Adds a different element to the team because he can win it inside or out, play back, forward or through the midfield and has a high impact per possession when he is on.

#10 Lachlan YOUNG

A defender who loves to rebound and use the ball well, he does not find a lot of it – averaging just 12.5 disposals per game. But almost 25 per cent of his possessions are rebounds, with Young ensuring the ball can clear the defensive zone.

#11 Ned CAHILL

Named as the 23rd player, Cahill showed in last week’s preliminary final just how damaging he could be booting two goals and passed off another couple. Still a bottom-age player, Cahill has emerged as a genuine goal sneak at 177cm. Has to be respected because he just gets to the right positions.

#12 Matthew GAHAN

Has enjoyed a really solid season off half-back earning himself a State Combine invitation. Gahan is a strong ball user and a player who his teammates like getting the ball into the hands of. With Oakleigh’s strong forward line, Gahan will need to be used both offensively and defensively in order to still create drive while restricting one of the many dangerous Chargers’ defenders.

#13 Riley BOWMAN

Is suited to the number one ruck role, but can play forward which is where he is expected to play. Often the Stingrays rotate Bowman, Stephen Cumming and Bailey Williams through the ruck such is their luxury. Bowman’s pure ruckwork is arguably the best of the lot, because he gets his hands to most throw-ins or ball-ups and can palm down to his midfielders. Big men seem to be out of fashion lately, so a big game would be huge to determine where he slots in.

#15 Toby BEDFORD

One of the most in-form Stingrays of late, Bedford has a great mix of offensive and defensive skills, providing line-breaking ability as well as tackling pressure in the forward half. He can kick multiple goals in a game, and pinch-hit in the midfield to break up the game. He offers a different element to the Dandenong midfield, and the Melbourne Next Generation Academy player is one who Demons fans will enjoy watching over the years, with the assumption they match the bid that comes in.

#16 Jake FRAWLEY

A strong midfielder who can play out of full-forward such is his strength one-on-one or in the air. Booted six goals against against Bendigo Pioneers at Shepley Oval playing almost exclusively as a forward. He adds some depth to the midfield and his versatility is important when the big day rolls around.

#17 Finlay BAYNE

Another dangerous small forward who can play through the midfield. Due to the depth in the Stingrays onball brigade, Bayne has found a nice spot in the forward 50 and is good for a couple of goals a game. He is a good mover with good goal sense.

#18 Mitch RIORDAN

Highly rated at the start of the season, Riordan had injury concerns and missed the bulk of the National Under 18 Championships, and has only recently returned in the past month. He can use the ball well, and while he does not win much of it, he can often be found coming out of a stoppage and kicking forward. Athletically he is very good, testing well in the 20m sprint, agility test and yo-yo test, so it is just getting game time into him.

#23 Campbell HUSTWAITE

The Stingrays captain is another player who has been in fine form the past couple of months and seems made for the big stage. He has lead from the front in the TAC Cup finals series and does everything expected of him. Against a strong Oakleigh midfield, his desire and competitiveness will be called upon to match it with the likes of Jack Ross and James Rowbottom. Hustwaite could be a best on ground chance given you know exactly what you will get from him each week.

#27 Lachlan MCDONNELL

Played at half-forward for the start of the season and has progressed onto the wing. Of all the Dandenong midfielders, McDonnell is one of the Stingrays’ most damaging kicks in transition. He is predominantly outside compared to the others, but he finds space and pumps it long inside 50.

#28 Bailey SCHMIDT

The big man has been unlucky not to play more games because he is a damaging presence up forward with great athleticism. He has just landed at a club in a year with ridiculous amounts of talent in the ruck/forward position. Still earned a State Combine invite, and while he has been named on the extended bench, is still one who has been able to show his wares throughout the 2018 season.

#29 Bailey WILLIAMS

The big key forward/ruck looms as the player Oakleigh must stop if the Chargers are to win their fifth TAC Cup premiership. Williams is an athletic monster forward who has a massive vertical leap and can cause plenty of headaches for any opposition defender. His goal kicking has been an issue for two thirds of the season, so he will need to be on target in the game. Expect him to have a bearing on the game, and if he can get an early major and build confidence – watch out.

#32 Daniel FRAMPTON

Has held down centre half-back at times despite standing at just 188cm. Can intercept the ball and averages 3.5 marks per game. The smaller Oakleigh forward line will suit Frampton as it means he does not have to battle against a 200cm monster.

#36 Stephen CUMMING

Starting in the ruck and even though he came off a little sore early last week, Cumming still played out the game and looks set to start in the centre square tomorrow. The big man will rotate with Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams in the ruck and no doubt try and wear down the undersized Bailey Wraith.

#41 Lachlan STENNING

The defender is likely to take a defensive approach on a forward whether it be Dylan Williams, Jake Gasper or Atu Bosenavulagi and try and limit their influence on the game. He is a low-possession player but one who can play above his height of 178cm.

#45 Luca GOONAN

Still a bottom-ager, Goonan was added to the side for the Grand Final on an extended bench. It is hard to push out the strong top-age presence, but he has had some impressive signs this season. He is readymade at 83kg already, and one to keep an eye on for next year.

#49 Matthew COTTRELL

A genuine honest midfielder who you know what you are going to get. Suited to the inside, but has played outside, he just attacks the ball and tries to clear it forward. Has had some impressive games this season and will likely need to beat his opponent this weekend against a strong Chargers’ midfield.

#52 Corey ELLISON

At 191cm and 88kg, Ellison is that medium size who can play tall or small up forward, and actually averages 2.7 goals per game from seven matches. Has been in and out of the team at times because of the strength up forward, if given the chance he knows how to hit the scoreboard.

#56 Matthew CUMMING

Cumming has played predominantly key position defence this season and just tried to beat his opponent one-on-one. Like his brother, he moves well for a 198cm player, but not sure what match-up he has in this match. With Oakleigh adopting a smaller forward line, he will likely play on a player close to 10cm smaller than him, so he must prepare for that.

#57 Reid NANSCAWEN

Named as the sole emergency for the side, he looks to be the one to come in if injury strikes. He has played a bit of everywhere, and held up the midfield during the National Under 18 Championships when Dandenong had absences galore. Is the type that can come in and play his role and will no doubt be waiting in the wings if the opportunity arises.

#58 Will HAMILL

An underrated player in the Stingrays defensive half. Hamill can play through the midfield, but his class and composure off half-back has been a standout of his game. He glides around the field, and while he is not a huge accumulator, he can hurt opposition with nice delivery forward. Will be held accountable with one of many dangerous Chargers small forwards who just find the goals on a regular basis.

#59 Sam STURT

The late developer has burst onto the scene of late after some impressive performances for Peninsula Grammar. He was boosted from a State Combine invitation to a National Combine invitation, and has already showed why he is in hot demand since playing for the Stingrays. He has electric skills, great smarts and knows where the goals are – so damaging.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS:

#1 Riley COLLIER-DAWKINS

A potential first round prospect, Collier-Dawkins has that blistering first few steps that can burn off an opponent out of a stoppage. He has been trialled up forward, but he is his most dominant on the inside, as he showed last week in the preliminary final. If he can use his strength, acceleration and penetrating kick to effect, then the Chargers will have plenty of hurt factor roaming through the midfield in transition.

#3 Joe AYTON-DELANEY

The running defender was unlucky not to get a National Draft Combine invitation after some impressive performances early in the season. He is one that will be in high demand with a good Grand Final and just finds the ball. Uses it well coming out of the backline and has shiny red boots that stand out. A player Oakleigh looks to get the ball in the hands of, along with Isaac Quaynor, in the backline.

#4 Will KELLY

He will have his work cut out for him, regardless if he takes Bailey Williams or Riley Bowman. He often enjoys running off an opponent and providing rebound, but he will need to be tight with the athletic talls. He can also go forward and provide a target if Oakleigh wants to throw a spanner in the works midway through the game. A Collingwood father-son prospect who will be watched closely by any Collingwood contingent that make the trip to Ikon Park.

#5 Xavier O’NEILL

Did not make the final Vic Metro squad, but showed enough throughout the 2018 TAC Cup season to suggest to recruiters he was in their top 50, earning a National Draft Combine invitation. He just does his job each week and is a really solid contributor. He covers the ground well and wins the ball in all thirds of the ground.

#6 Matthew DAY

The former basketballer was unlucky not be thrown a lifeline late last year, and has continued on as a really solid forward prospect as an overager for the Chargers this season. Keeps kicking goals and is strong overhead. A good size for development and one that the Stingrays cannot afford to let off the chain.

#7 Jay ROBERTSON

Did not make the cut at Eastern Ranges hailing from South Belgrave, came across and has been a valuable contributor up forward for Oakleigh. He is a medium tall who just keeps hitting the scoreboard and can fly under the radar with so much talent up that end.

#8 Noah ANDERSON

Another potential number one pick, Anderson is that prototype size for a midfielder, who due to the amazing depth of the Oakleigh midfield, has had the ability to almost play exclusively up forward. He pumps the ball long, can win it inside or out, and knows how to hit the scoreboard – as he did for Vic Metro against Western Australia.

#9 James ROWBOTTOM

The most pure of the inside midfielders, he gives his team a four quarter effort and wins a truckload of the ball on the inside. He is a clearance machine and just finds the ball anywhere on the ground. Dandenong are known for their hardness at the contest, and Rowbottom will be a key contributor for Oakleigh in trying to nullify some of the opposition midfielders.

#10 Charlie WHITEHEAD

A fierce small forward who loves to pressure opponents and just gets to the right positions. He has the capability of kicking multiple goals if given space and has a great goal sense. A pure small forward in every sense, he can push up the ground if the Chargers isolate another forward.

#11 Matthew ROWELL

Another Vic Metro representative in his bottom-age year, Rowell leads by example on the field. He has an uncompromising attack on the ball and is crucial around stoppages, but has had the luxury of playing on the outside, predominantly off a wing. He can play forward and kick goals, as he has the past two finals – kicking the first goal in both games.

#12 Noah ANSWERTH

The over-age captain does not do a lot wrong and can play anywhere on the field. His brother, Kade was best on ground in the TAC Cup Grand Final during Oakleigh Chargers’ last premiership over Eastern Ranges, and Answerth will be keen to put in an equally impressive performance. He made the Vic Metro squad and performed strongly and will leave no stone unturned in getting the most out of himself.

#13 Atu BOSENAVULAGI

Has bolted up into draft consideration after a quieter start to the season. His second half of the TAC Cup competition has been superb, and he is starting to regularly hit the scoreboard, while still applying the defensive pressure he was known for. Has made opposition clubs consider a National Draft bid, with Collingwood able to match if they like him.

#14 Kyle DUNKLEY

Has been on the fringe of getting into the team after spending time with Sydney Swans’ Reserves. With Oakleigh winning its past three games by an average of 101 points, it is a hard team to break into, but the forward will be ready if he gets his chance.

#16 Lucas WESTWOOD

A really reliable defender. With most of the other Oakleigh defenders being offensive players, Westwood adds that defensive hardness and ability to shut down a key opposition forward. He could well be given any number of smalls from the Stingrays who can kick multiple majors.

#17 Trent BIANCO

A skilful player who provides plenty of run and carry off half-back and through the midfield. Expect him to play more on-ball next season, but he has high-end talent and adds to what is a very strong bottom-age core at the Chargers.

#22 Dylan WILLIAMS

The bottom-age small forward is in ripping form, and just keeps kicking goals week-in, week-out. He shared them last week after six snags against Western Jets in the elimination final. He does very little wrong, and after spending time in defence early in the season, Williams’ strength overhead and great goal sense has him as a key player inside 50 for the Chargers. One Dandenong defender will have their work cut out for them.

#23 Isaac QUAYNOR

The running defender takes the game on and has some eye-catching moments. He might have to use his one-on-one ability more than he has had to in the past weeks, because Dandenong’s forward line will make sure he is made accountable. If he can get out and break the lines, using his speed and skill to create run-and-carry, then it will go a long way to Oakleigh winning the match. A Collingwood Next Generation Academy member to watch.

#26 Jake GASPER

The TAC Cup Leading Goalkicker and taking into account post-season goals he is the standalone leader, Gasper has been the most consistent forward in the competition. He has booted goals in every game he has played and his set shot routine is perfect. The Dandenong defence will focus on not letting him get too much air time because he is so smart in that forward 50.

#30 Bailey WRAITH

You have to applaud Wraith, who started as a key defender, but has stood up as an undersized ruck. He is measured at 191cm (though many believe he might be a few centimetres taller), and he has matched up against much taller opponents in the ruck. He will have to play his best game of the season against the Dandenong brigade however, with practically three 200cm rucks with big vertical leaps awaiting him.

#31 Will GOLDS

The most pure outside midfielder for the Chargers, Golds will be the one spreading to the outside and carrying the ball forward when given time and space. He could well match up against Lachlan McDonnell and the pair goes their separate ways, or they run alongside each other. Likes to set up plays forward of centre and has had a really solid finals series.

#32 Jack ROSS

The underrated midfielder from the Chargers has been building consistency very nicely over the past month since returning from school football. He loves the appetite of the contest, but can also spread to the outside and provide long kicks forward. He knows how to find a goal from a stoppage inside 50, and is one of many Oakleigh midfielders who looms as a key player on the weekend and one the Stingrays will put work into.

#33 Matt WARREN

Started the year as a key defender and can play up either end. Had the tough job of manning Max King in the top five pick’s only TAC Cup game and King booted eight goals in that game. At 189cm he has had to play on much taller opponents at times, but continues to battle above his height and weight range. A versatile option if a tall drops out of the Grand Final after being added to the interchange bench.

#36 Charlie BEASLEY

Rated really highly internally, Beasley will have to play taller than his 192cm against Bailey Williams or Riley Bowman. The coach, Leigh Clarke backs him in and he rarely lets him down. Regardless of opponent, Beasley is the type of defender who will stick to the task for four quarters.

#38 Zac HART

Oakleigh’s forward line is harder to break into than Fort Knox, so for the potential Adelaide father-son it has not been easy to find a spot. Hart has been added to the side on the extended interchange bench, and he is a smart forward with good goal sense, but with Oakleigh’s firepower on show the last month, it will probably take an injury for Hart to squeeze in.

#44 Will PHILLIPS

The Under 16s Vic Metro representative has managed to retain his place in the Oakleigh line-up despite it being as strong as it is, playing as the 23rd player. Great skills, good spread and does not seem phased against the bigger bodies, Phillips looks a player for the 2020 National Draft.

#64 James JORDON

Played a couple of games earlier in the season and returned after school football, Jordon has provided good run and carry on the outside. Like Golds, Jordon predominantly is used as a ball carrier with slick skills to take the game on and delivery well inside 50.

 

FATHER/SON AND ACADEMY PROSPECTS

Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays) – Melbourne Next Generation Academy

Atu Bosenavulagi, Isaac Quaynor, Bailey Wraith (Oakleigh Chargers) – Collingwood Next Generation Academy

Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers) – Collingwood father/son

Kyle Dunkley* (Oakleigh Chargers) – Sydney father/son

Zac Hart* (Oakleigh Chargers) – Adelaide father/son

*Extended interchange

 

STATISTICS

Dandenong defence vs. Oakleigh attack

The key in this third of the ground, is whether or not Dandenong’s slick foot skills out of defence and springboard rebound can be used against the massive forward pressure of the Chargers. Atu Bosenavulagi (4.5 tackles), Jake Gasper (4.1) and Charlie Whitehead (3.2) provide the tackling heat, while Dylan Williams (62.8 per cent kicking efficiency), Jay Robertson (60.4 per cent) and Noah Anderson (56.6 per cent) provide the skills going inside 50. Gasper has been the dominant goal kicker this season, sharing the overall competition tally and post-finals has the most goals of any player in the league.

For Dandenong, they have some very nice ball users in the back half, lead by Will Hamill and Lachlan Stenning, while five of their six defenders average more than two marks a game. Lachlan Young (3.1 rebounds), Matthew Gahan (2.9) and Daniel Frampton (2.3) are that wall at half-back, while Matthew Cumming is the athletic key position defender who can share ruck duties. The big question mark will be match-ups as Oakleigh have a small forward line, while Cumming will no doubt be matched up on a smaller player.

Dandenong midfield vs. Oakleigh midfield

Two highly talented midfields will go head-to-head with so many crucial head-to-heads. Dandenong generally loves a contested brand of football, whereas Oakleigh love using their outside foot skills to advantage. In saying that, both sides can still play the other’s game. Stingrays captain, Campbell Hustwaite, Sam Fletcher and Mitch Riordan will provide the inside support, whereas Matthew Cottrell can play inside or out. Lachlan McDonnell is the most outside because he has the best skills of the five onballers, and has provided a crucial link between midfield and half-forward.

Will Golds provides just that for Oakleigh, whereas both Matthew Rowell and Jack Ross are equally as impressive inside as they are outside, and can get forward and kick goals as well. Noah Answerth can also play off half-back or half-forward and hit the scoreboard for the Chargers, while Bailey Wraith has been getting the job done in the ruck despite being undersized. If he can get forward and kick a goal, it adds an extra challenge for the Stingrays. He will have his work cut out for him against the best ruck division in the league.

Dandenong attack vs. Oakleigh defence

Dandenong’s attack is likely to cause a lot more headaches for Oakleigh’s defence than other sides have in past weeks. With Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman both athletic talls, it means Charlie Beasley and Will Kelly will have to be prepared to jump as both Dandenong keys are highly athletic – particularly Williams who is second to none with vertical leap. Jai Taylor and Toby Bedford are two of the quickest players going around, while Sam Sturt and Zac Foot consistently hit the scoreboard.

The great strength with Oakleigh’s defence is its ball use out of the back 50, with Isaac Quaynor, Joe Ayton-Delaney and Trent Bianco all wonderful kicks of the football. Often teams can have at least one liability back in their defence, but there is no player in the back 50 who the Chargers would not feel comfortable with kicking the ball out of the back 50. The challenge for the Chargers defence is they have to expect Dandenong to bring the heat. Forward pressure from the Stingrays is a must, and Oakleigh must be up for that challenge.

Extended interchange of both sides:

The depth on both these benches, particularly Oakleigh’s, is madness. Riley Collier Dawkins could be a first round pick but he sits on the pine, while James Jordon and Xavier O’Neill are crucial cogs in Oakleigh’s midfield. Matthew Day has been a really valuable forward for the Chargers this season, while Vic Metro Under 16s talent, Will Phillips has been very slick with his ball use on the outside and shapes as an impressive talent for the 2020 AFL National Draft. With father-son prospects and sneaky small forwards Kyle Dunkley and Zac Hart waiting in the wings, and the versatile Matt Warren also brought in to the extended team, Oakleigh has plenty of options to head into game day.

For Dandenong, Finlay Bayne and Ned Cahill both provide depth in the forward line and showed they can kick multiple goals, as they did against Sandringham Dragons last week. Corey Ellison has been unlucky this season given the strength of talls for the Stingrays, while Hayden Young could be pick one next season, but came off sore last week and whether he makes the final team is yet to be seen. Bailey Schmidt is another athletic tall who could come in to really stretch the Oakleigh defence, while Jake Frawley kicked a bag of six earlier in the season. Jamie Plumridge has been good on  the outside for Dandenong this season, while Luca Goonan is a prospect to watch for next year. Reid Nanscawen has been named as the only emergency in the team.

WHY WILL THEY WIN?

Dandenong Stingrays: They have been the best team all year and attack the footy with numbers. A fierce intent on the ball carrier, any opposition know that the heat will come and it will depend on how they deal with it. The Stingrays are not a high possession team, and opt for sharing the ball around, but still using the ball long and effective. They have the tall timber up forward to put in the air and allow them to mark it, because no-one is spoiling Bailey Williams if he gets a run at it.

Oakleigh Chargers: They are the most skilful team in the competition who are happy to use short possessions rather than take risks with long kicks, but know when to flick the switch. Often they will use a series of short kicks until a player breaks free and then they use run-and-carry to run down the wings and pick a target out inside 50. Without the height in there, the Oakleigh midfielder put low balls out in front of their teammates to run onto with their speed off the mark, key.

 

WHAT DO THEY NEED TO STOP?

Dandenong Stingrays: They absolutely must bring the heat on the weekend. Oakleigh dominate games when they are allowed to over-possess the ball and just wait until options free up. Dandenong need to ensure that firstly, Oakleigh cannot have free numbers wandering into open space, and secondly, that there is a defensive midfielder who is happy to drop back and fill the hole in front of the Oakleigh forwards. Unlike Dandenong where a 200cm athlete will crash into your back, Oakleigh’s passes inside 50 will be low darts, so the Stingrays need to restrict the free space inside 50 and force them wide.

Oakleigh Chargers: They have to be wary of positioning themselves well inside the defensive 50. They will be playing against much taller opponents who can fly high, and some of their usually offensively-minded defenders might have to do more one-on-one defending. Isaac Quaynor is arguably the best small defender in the league one-on-one and he might be the man to go to Sam Sturt, as Quaynor can play taller and is equally as smart. Bailey Wraith will also have his work cut out for him in the ruck, and while he has been fantastic, when you’re going up against high flying rucks that are towering over you, the goal is to nullify as much as possible.

 

GRAND FINAL HISTORY

The two teams have never met in a TAC Cup Grand Final before, but have been involved in 10 between them. Dandenong has heartbreakingly lost all five of their encounters, two of which exceeded 80 points. For Oakleigh, they have won four out of a possible five attempts, including a goal point to Jack Macrae in 2012 getting them over the line against Gippsland Power.

Dandenong Stingrays:

1997: lost to North Ballarat Rebels by 35 points
2005: lost to Gippsland Power by 15 points
2008: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 81 points
2009: lost to Calder Cannons by 14 points
2013: lost to Eastern Ranges by 112 points

Oakleigh Chargers:

2006: defeated Calder Cannons by 27 points
2011: lost to Sandringham Dragons by eight points
2012: defeated Gippsland Power by one point
2014: defeated Calder Cannons by 47 points
2015: defeated Eastern Ranges by 12 points

 

AFL Draft Central tips

 

Peter Williams

Dandenong Stingrays
BOG: Toby Bedford

Michael Alvaro

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Dylan Williams

Craig Byrnes

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Jack Ross

Scott Dougan

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Jake Gasper

Ed Pascoe

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Dylan Williams

Cameron Ross

Dandenong Stingrays
BOG: Toby Bedford

 

Total Tips:

Dandenong Stingrays 2
Oakleigh Chargers 4

Best on Ground:

Toby Bedford 2
Dylan Williams 2
Jack Ross 1
Jake Gasper 1

Oakleigh charges into Grand Final with 93-point victory over Gippsland

OAKLEIGH Chargers have won their third consecutive game by 15 goals or more with a 93-point thrashing of second-placed Gippsland Power. The Chargers were all over the Power from start to finish and never realistically looked like losing. Their ball use in the wet was superb

It was a sense of deja vu for the crowd from the week before, as Oakleigh’s Matt Rowell put the ball through the big sticks and got the first major on the board with a running shot – slightly different to his set shot against Western the week before, but nonetheless, he was the first key scorer. Gippsland was sanding strong with a couple of important inside 50s, with a couple of opportunities but could not convert, and it was six-goal hero from last week, Dylan Williams who made it two for the Chargers with a great goal off a couple of steps.

A piece of class from Atu Bosenavulagi saw him centre into the middle to hit-up Noah Answerth on the 50m line. The subsequent 60m roost from Answerth sailed through and got the Chargers up and about. Then when Jake Gasper kicked one through the middle, the danger signs were there for the Power, as Oakleigh moved 25 points up. The third member of Oakleigh’s version of the Holy Trinity – Noah Anderson – used some terrific soccer skills to boot the ball off the ground in the wet to sail one home for the Chargers’ fifth.

Rowell almost had a second goal on the run but it just missed to the left. Oakleigh’s passing in horrible conditions was a treat, with a superb pass from Trent Bianco off half-back to Gasper in midfield one of the top kicks of the day. The play from end-to-end lead to a shot on goal to Charlie Whitehead after a strong tackle, but his set shot also drifted to the left.

Gippsland came out with a better intensity early, with Austin Hodge having a set shot but just missing early. Noah Gown took a huge one-on-one mark on the lead against Will Kelly, clunking a big grab despite Kelly’s pressure. His shot just missed to the left, with Gippsland ruing a few missed opportunities. Sam Flanders laid a big tackle at half-back to earn a free in a second term derived of highlights. Gippsland had stemmed the flow, but neither side could hit the scoreboard.

Then, just as it looked like they were struggling to find a way to press on, Williams went bang, bang and booted two majors in the space of a minute. First he got goal side of his opponent and ran into an easy major, then outmarked his opponent and snapped it round to give the Chargers two quick replies and extend the margin out to 45. Williams piled on some more pain as Oakleigh ran the length of the ground from half-back and the small forward made it four with three consecutive goals, receiving the handball on the line, turning around and kicked it from point blank to push it past 50. A minute later, Gasper conquered up an amazing snap from the pocket bouncing its way through and making it a whopping 57 points.

While a few positional changes from the Power hoped to bring on some better news in the second half, it was a perfect kick from Will Golds to the leading Matthew Day, adding his name to the goal kickers chart. If there was a goal to beat Gasper’s second term effort for goal of the day, it belonged to Oakleigh midfielder, Jack Ross who snapped around his body and it sailed through, showing great smarts. Ross was one of the best on the ground, winning a truckload of the ball and really having an influence on the game.

Gippsland had a nice passage of play from half-back leading to a strong mark inside 50 to Flanders, who had been one of the Power’s top players. He went back and had a shot from a tight angle, but it drifted to the right in the wind and just missed. Gasper’s prowess in front of the big sticks continued with the goal sneak nailed another set shot from just inside 50 and the game was well and truly done. Caleb Serong, Boadie Motton and Gown were trying hard along with Duursma and Flanders, but the overwhelming Oakleigh numbers were proving too much for the Power players.

Riley Collier-Dawkins showed off his strength and acceleration in two instances, first breaking the tackle of Irving Mosquito and kicking long, then moving forward, receiving the handball and bursting away to snap a great goal. A couple of minutes later, James Rowbottom snapped around his body courtesy of a Gasper handball and put it through and all of a sudden it was 90 points the margin and much like the weather, Gippsland’s day went from bad to worse.

It took until the first minute of the final term for Gippsland to break through for their first goal, but a quick dribbler from Caleb Serong put them on the board to ensure they did not go goalless for the match. Then Serong had another chance running into goal but sprayed it to the left. He was pushed in the back and awarded a free, but in a weird decision, the behind counted and Serong took the free kick from 15m out, putting it through for two in as many minutes.

Oakleigh missed a chance through Gasper, and the game had lost its intensity. Gown kicked a dribbler to add his name on the board and make it three consecutive goals for the Power. The frustration of the result for the Power was boiling over as Josh Smith was reported for a clash with Charlie Beasley. Oakleigh moved the ball into attack where Charlie Whitehead had a crack on goal but it was touched en-route to goal and registered just one behind.

Collier-Dawkin  (26 disposals, four marks, five clearances and five inside 50s) was arguably Oakleigh’s best player in the win, while he missed a late chance, scoring a behind from a set shot, he was strong throughout the match. While the game was over, Atu Bosenavulagi and Matthew Day both kicked late goals to put the Chargers beyond 100. Then Bailey Wraith put one through to ensure Oakleigh won all four quarters in a thumping 93-point win.

Others who stood out for Oakleigh were Ross (29 disposals, six marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and one goal), Joe Ayton Delaney (32 disposals, five inside 50s and three rebounds), and Answerth (23 touches, three marks, five tackles, five clearances and one goal) were others who found plenty of the football. Duursma (18 disposals, seven tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s) stood tall for his team, while Serong had a big last term, finishing the game with 13 disposals, two inside 50s and two goals).

GIPPSLAND 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.3 | 3.4 (22)
OAKLEIGH 5.4 | 9.5 | 14.10 | 17.13 (115)

GOALS:

Gippsland: Caleb Serong 2, Noah Gown
Oakleigh: Dylan Williams 4, Jake Gasper 3, Matthew Day 2, Matt Rowell, Noah Answerth, Noah Anderson, Jack Ross, Riley Collier-Dawkins, James Rowbottom, Atu Bosenavulagi, Bailey Wraith.

BEST:

Gippsland: Xavier Duursma, Caleb Serong, Sam Flanders, Boadie Motton, Ryan Sparkes.
Oakleigh: Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Ross, Jake Gasper, Dylan Williams, Noah Answerth, Joe Ayton-Delaney, Will Golds.

Weekend Previews: TAC Cup – Preliminary finals

WE are down to the final four TAC Cup sides for season 2018, with Dandenong Stingrays taking on Sandringham Dragons, and Gippsland Power facing Oakleigh Chargers to determine the two, 2018 Grand Finalists.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Preliminary Finals  – Saturday, September 15, 11.30am
Ikon Park, Carlton North

Last week:

In the first of two preliminary finals, we take a look at the minor premiers, Dandenong Stingrays, taking on the fourth placed Sandringham Dragons. Last weekend, the Stingrays were on another level compared to the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, thumping them by 110 points, while the Dragons proved too good for the Murray Bushrangers in a 43-point win.

Last time:

Sandringham Dragons 6.10 (46) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 14.9 (93)

In the final round of the TAC Cup season, Dandenong Stingrays ensured the Dragons had a nervous wait across the weekend, with a top four spot on the line. Sandringham luckily witnessed Northern Knights upsetting Murray Bushrangers to earn a weekend off. On the day, Sam Sturt and Finlay Bayne both booted three goals, while Matthew Cottrell claimed best on ground for the Stingrays. For the Dragons, Angus Hanrahan was the only multiple goal kicker with two majors, while James Rendell and Liam Stocker were impressive – Stocker picking up the three votes in the match despite the 47-point loss.

 

THE KEY – INSIDE MIDFIELD

The big key in the game is which side can win the ball at the coal face and get the ball down to their key forwards and crumbers. Both sides have good firepower inside 50, and the clearances will be an area to watch with the teams having strong contested ball winners. Looking at the starting midfields, there is not much to split them with clearances and contested possessions practically even. Dandenong’s starting three midfielders lay more tackles, with Toby Bedford also spending time up forward and adding pressure up there.

Sandringham:

Liam Stocker 12.5 contested possessions, 5.6 clearances, 4.5 tackles
Harry Reynolds 10.0 contested possessions, 3.3 clearances, 2.3 tackles
Kai Owens 8.7 contested possessions, 3.8 clearances, 6.2 tackles

= 31.2 contested possessions, 12.7 clearances, 13 tackles

vs.

Dandenong:

Sam Fletcher 13.4 contested possessions, 5.2 clearances, 7.7 tackles
Campbell Hustwaite 11.0 contested possessions, 5.0 clearances, 6.1 tackles
Toby Bedford 8.0 contested possessions, 2.3 clearances, 5.7 tackles

= 32.4 contested possessions, 12.5 clearances, 19.5 tackles

 

WHY THE TEAMS WILL WIN?

Dandenong: The best team all year, depth that is envious of any other side and equal to that of fellow challenger, Oakleigh. They seem to have winners across all thirds of the ground and just made the Rebels look silly last week. A last round win against the Dragons will have the Stingrays’ confidence high to repeat the effort again. The Stingrays love a scrap and will be keen to beat the Dragons at the contest and use their bigger bodies to extract the ball and pump it long.

Sandringham: Any side with Ben King inside 50 is a threat, and the Stingrays will not only look to nullify him, but just cut off the delivery to him, full stop. But if the Dragons midfielders can get on top on the inside, then the Stingrays defence could be under siege. They also possess the ball really well and will look to play the ball on their terms with slick, short ball use.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Preliminary Finals  – Saturday, September 15, 2pm
Ikon Park, Carlton North

Last week:

Gippsland Power managed to get over the highly dangerous Geelong Falcons with a 35-point victory at Ikon Park. They took four quarters to do it – leading by just eight points at the final break before a five-goal final term saw the second placed Power storm away with the game. The Chargers had a much easier game against Western Jets, shaking off an early challenge by the Jets to post a massive 120-point victory to earn a place in the preliminary final.

Last time:

Oakleigh Chargers 8.7 (55) defeated by Gippsland Power 9.6 (60)

Not much can be read into it given Oakleigh was missing the majority of its best 22, but Gippsland got the job done in a thriller at Warrawee Park with a Noah Gown goal in the dying seconds sealing a great comeback win. Noah Answerth bombed through a goal on the siren, but not release the ball until a second too late. The result left Oakleigh’s top four hopes in the lurch, but an impressive win over Sandringham Dragons and a 15-goal rout of the GWV Rebels put any threat of missing the week off to bed pretty soon. Daniel Scala booted four goals for the Chargers, while Trent Bianco and Sam Harte were named Oakleigh’s best in the loss. For Gippsland, Gown, Harrison Pepper and Sam Flanders all booted two goals, while Gown and Boadie Motton were named in the Power’s best.

 

THE KEY – FIREPOWER FORWARDS

Both Gippsland and Oakleigh head into the clash as sides that have dynamic forward lines. Gippsland has more structure to it, with two traditional talls in Gown and Josh Smith, while Oakleigh relies on a number of medium-talls and smalls rather than a key position monster. Last week, Dylan Williams booted six goals, while Atu Bosenavulagi, Jake Gasper, Charlie Whitehead and Jay Robertson all contributed multiple goals, while Gippsland had 10 individual goal kickers, with their club leading scorer Gown, contributing just the one.

As you will see from the below total, the top six goal kickers playing in the match provide plenty of options for midfielders to kick to, with some of the forwards spending time through the middle. Oakleigh’s six will largely form the six-man forward line against the Power, while Gippsland’s will see a number of their players begin in the midfield and rest forward.

Gippsland firepower:

Noah Gown – 30.18
Josh Smith – 20.7
Sam Flanders – 19.18
Austin Hodge – 14.13
Irving Mosquito – 14.4
Xavier Duursma – 13.5

Top 6: 110.65 (725)

Oakleigh firepower:

Jake Gasper – 38.15
Matthew Day – 20.10
Dylan Williams – 18.12
Jay Robertson – 15.8
Charlie Whitehead – 14.10
Atu Bosenavulagi – 13.9

Top 6: 118.64 (772)

 

WHY THE TEAMS WILL WIN?

Gippsland: The Power play an exciting brand of football that blends both speed and pressure which is really eye-catching, and will look to match Oakleigh at its own game of doing the same. The Power must simply bring the heat to the contest, because letting Oakleigh have too much time and space results in undesirable results for the team doing so.

Oakleigh: You cannot read into the season of the Chargers despite still finishing third. They are right up there with Dandenong in terms of premiership favourites and have stamped their authority with 90 and 120-point wins in their past two outings. They have ridiculous amounts of midfield depth and big bodies to control the inside while using their runners on the outside.

Oakleigh makes statement with commanding win

OAKLEIGH Chargers have made one almighty statement with a huge 120-point win over the Western Jets at Ikon Park yesterday. In a half of football the Chargers booted 14 goals to five and looked every bit a premiership threat, never taking the foot off the pedal. The second half was just as impressive piling on 11 goals to one, to storm to a 20-goal victory in what seemed like a challenge back at Dandenong Stingrays.

Just 24 hours earlier, Dandenong put the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels to the sword with a 110-point thumping, and in what was a reminder of what they were equally capable of, the Chargers showed off their versatility up forward with a mammoth 25.13 (163) to 6.7 (43) victory. Much like the Stingrays, the Chargers had no shortage of winners on the day, with nearly every player contributing to the cause. So much so, the lowest disposal winner – and only player under 10 touches – was defender Charlie Beasley, who still had seven, and two rebounds. On the other end of the scale, 10 players had 20 or more disposals, as the Chargers monopolised the ball, not only winning a whopping 187 more disposals, but taking 46 more marks and had 21 more inside 50s.

It was the Chargers’ highest score of the season, and the second highest winning margin of the year, but it did not look like being a blowout early. A pinpoint perfect pass from Trent Bianco to Matthew Rowell inside 50 saw the bottom-ager convert the set shot and get the Chargers on the board, but then back-to-back goals to the Western Jets through Daly Andrews and Jack Watkins proved the sixth placed side was up for the fight. Xavier O’Neill and Matthew Day got to the right positions and gave Oakleigh back the lead, before potential Carlton father-son prospect, Oskar Manton delivered a timely blow with a perfect set shot from long range.

Jake Gasper pounced as he so often has before, on a loose ball inside 50 and converted, while Charlie Whitehead looked equally as dangerous around goals and got his first for the afternoon. When Daniel Pantalleresco found space close to goal and got one back for the Jets, the margin was just eight points with four minutes remaining in the first term. Unfortunately for the Jets, two late goals to Riley Collier-Dawkins (an impressive 50m bomb no less) and bottom-ager Dylan Williams pushed the margin out to 20 at the first change. Remarkably despite the impressive seven-goal quarter, Oakleigh talent manager Craig Notman told TAC Cup Radio they were not happy with the clearances, forward entries and work around the ground.

By half-time it would be hard not to be impressed with the Chargers’ work as they effectively ended the game with 25 minutes of unbelievable football. Jay Robertson got the ball rolling early in the term, and Williams booted another two majors either side of a Steven Kyriazis set shot. It would be the only Jets goal for the term, as Whitehead headed into the rooms with three goals to his name like Williams, while Gasper had two by the main break, and even Bailey Wraith – who was dominating in the ruck – went forward and kicked a strong set shot goal. In the blink of an eye, the margin was 59 points, and as Western Jets coach Torin Baker told TAC Cup Radio at the final break, the coaching staff knew the result from half-time, but still wanted to get something out of the second half.

Admitting so few winners across the board, the Jets skipper, Xavier O’Halloran was terrific in fighting against the tide, marking on the 50m arc and rather than passing off, took the responsibility upon himself, launching a massive set shot from 55m out and not making the umpire do any work, putting it straight through the middle. It was a little too late for the Jets however, as Atu Bosenavulagi kicked the first of his three majors, while Matthew Day joined the multiple goal kickers list with a second. Williams looked unstoppable up forward, booting another two majors to take his total to five by the final break, while Bosenavulagi and Gasper added to their goal tallies for the day with Oakleigh pushing the margin out to 91 points by the final break. The scary thing is, Oakleigh missed a number of gettable chances that could have pushed the margin beyond three figures.

It took just 75 seconds for that to happen, as Bosenavulagi converted one of the quickest goals from the first bounce with just 22 seconds passing, before less than a minute later, Williams had his sixth. Bosenavulagi kicked his fourth in the ninth minute to put the margin at 114 points, and a score of 154. With the record score for the season at 167 and record margin of 126 points – Dandenong Stingrays against Western Jets at Shepley Oval – on the line, they pushed right until the end, with the crowd wondering just how far they could go.

The last 15 minutes was a combination of missed opportunities for the Chargers, and some great defensive efforts from the Jets, who as a proud group would not have been pleased with the result. If there was anything to take out of the result, it was restricting Oakleigh to just 1.3 in that final 15-minute period. Day had a chance to break the season highest score with a shot after the siren, but pulled his set shot, meaning the Chargers had to settle for the 120-point win, and the 25 goals in the bank.

Picking the best for both sides was a difficult task with Oakleigh genuinely having 15 or more players who could force their way into the bests, while for Western, there were only a handful who stood up in disappointing day which saw one of the premiership contenders put in an eye-opening performance. By the final siren, Williams was the best on ground with six goals from 15 touches and eight marks (two contested), while fellow bottom-agers Noah Anderson (23 disposals, five marks and six inside 50s) and Rowell (22 disposals and seven marks) just kept winning the football.

Joe Ayton-Delaney was superb in defence with 24 disposals, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while James Jordon played an underrated role through the midfield that is not represented on the stats sheet with 20 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s. Bosenavulagi’s four goals from 17 disposals and four marks was the best performance of his season, and any Collingwood fans hoping to snare him cheaply would be cursing under their breath with a terrific performance, including a dazzling run through midfield putting on the jets to burn off Buku Khamis. Collier-Dawkins stepped up as well, with 20 disposals, four marks, three clearances and three inside 50s, while Jack Ross had a team-high seven clearances from 24 disposals. Wraith’s ruckwork to beat opposing man mountain Darren Walters despite giving away massive centimetres and kilograms was superb, having 35 hitouts from 11 touches. Whitehead and Gasper’s three goals each were other highlights, but the list could go on in what was arguably the performance of the season.

For the Jets, O’Halloran never stopped trying and constantly put his body on the line for 17 disposals, two marks, six clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal in what was a clear best on for the Jets. Khamis could also hold his head high in defence with four rebounds from 15 disposals and six marks (one contested), while Watkins (21 disposals, three marks, four clearances, four inside 50s and a goal), Connor Thar (18 disposals, five marks, five clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds) and Manton (11 disposals, two marks and one goal) also kept trying. But with only four players amassing more than 12 touches and half the side not reaching double figures, it was a day to forget in a season which had plenty of highlights.

With Oakleigh to meet Gippsland Power next weekend, there is little doubt that Power coach, Leigh Brown will have plenty of work to do in the lead-up to the big clash.

OAKLEIGH 7.2 | 14.6 | 20.10 | 25.13 (163)
WESTERN 4.0 | 5.1 | 6.3 | 6.7 (43)

GOALS:

Oakleigh: Dylan Williams 6, Atu Bosenavulagi 4, Jake Gasper 3, Charlie Whitehead 3, Jay Robertson 2, Matthew Rowell, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Xavier O’Neill, Bailey Wraith.
Western: Jack Watkins, Xavier O’Halloran, Daly Andrews, Oskar Manton, Steven Kyriazis, Daniel Pantalleresco.

ADC BEST:

Oakleigh: Dylan Williams, Atu Bosenavulagi, James Jordon, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Joe Ayton-Delaney, Noah Anderson.
Western: Xavier O’Halloran, Buku Khamis, Jack Watkins, Connor Thar, Oskar Manton, Jack Papachatzakis.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 16

IN the final round of the TAC Cup season it was incredibly hard to narrow down the best 22 to create the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 16. In the end, with impressive wins to Dandenong Stingrays, Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets each team had three players named in the side, while losers Eastern Ranges and Murray Bushrangers had two representatives with the other winners. Equally, Northern Knights had just the one representative indicating the team effort to get the job done against Murray, along with the remaining losers of Round 16.

Dandenong’s big win over Sandringham Dragons resulted in defender Matthew Gahan, forward Sam Sturt, and inside midfielder, Matthew Cottrell earn their places in the Team of the Week. Fellow top four side, Oakleigh had a huge win over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, and also had three players make the best 22 for the week with Bailey Wraith‘s ruck performance, James Rowbottom‘s midfield work and Atu Bosenavulagi‘s forward craft among the deserving nominees. Oakleigh had plenty of others who could have made the side as well, including Charlie Whitehead and Noah Anderson.

Western Jets also had three players in the Team of the Week, with consistent midfielder, Connor Thar, and speedster Daly Andrews making the team, as did key forward Aaron Clarke. Captain Xavier O’Halloran came close to making the side yet again but just missed out. Geelong Falcons duo Sam Walsh and Brayden Ham have been regulars in the Team of the Week this year and Round 16 was no different, as Ham was named on the half-back flank having played at both ends. Their opponents, Calder Cannons had just the one nominee in Rhylee West who stood tall up forward, but Daniel Mott was considered unlucky and was the 23rd player in the team.

Gippsland Power and Eastern Ranges both had two players make the Team of the Week from their clash, as key forward, Noah Gown and captain, Xavier Duursma made the team once again backing up their impressive recent form. For Eastern, Xavier Fry and Kye Quirk slotted into the best 22. Murray Bushrangers also had two talls make the side despite the loss, with Nick Murray and Jordon Butts slotting into the key defensive posts. While Butts did not play the role on the weekend, he has the versatility to play anywhere and deserved to make it into the 22 after a strong performance.

Of the remaining players in the 22, those who made the Team of the Week as individual nominees were the hardworking Noah Wheeler (Bendigo Pioneers), GWV Rebels forward Jed Hill, Northern Knights midfielder Justin McInerney and Sandringham Dragons star Liam Stocker. Stocker’s teammate, James Rendell was unlucky not to make the team, as was McInerney’s bottom-age teammate, Adam Carafa who could both be hypothetical emergencies in the Team of the Week.

 

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 11

IN the first full round of TAC Cup action for a few rounds – Rounds 9 and 10 were split over two weeks – the Dandenong Stingrays picked up where they left off, while a number of other top eight teams pushed forward their premiership credentials with strong performances.

Calder Cannons 10.18 (78) defeated Western Jets 3.4 (22)

In typical RAMS Arena conditions, Calder acclimatised best to run out winners with a dominant second half display. With only four goals between the teams and a six-point advantage for the Cannons to half time, the home side poured it on with 8.10 to just 1.3 to run out the game. It was a contested armwrestle in the early stages, with the likes of Mitch Podhajski and Stefan Radovanovic crashing in for their respective sides.

With the game opening up, Dylan Mott found plenty of the ball to drive his side forward in an important role, with Jake Riccardi providing strong presence up forward but only managing four behinds for the match despite his dominance. Meanwhile, it was Tye Browning and Lachlan Sholl who provided the class with the former contributing two classy goals, and the latter intercepting everything off half back. For the Jets, Radovanovic led from the front despite a quiet second half, and Connor Thar accumulated at his usual rate to run out a consistent game.

The result had little effect on either side’s standing, with Western still hanging on to their top four spot and Calder over a game safe in the top eight.

 

Oakleigh Chargers 13.14 (92) defeated Eastern Ranges 5.3 (33)

Oakleigh Chargers kept within striking distance of the top four with a domiant win over Eastern Ranges. With the conditions seeming to favour one end of the ground, the home side charged out to a 40-point lead at the first change, keeping their opponents scoreless.

The Ranges fought back to win the second term, but normal proceedings resumed in the third as Oakleigh again kept the Ranges scoreless while adding another five goals to their tally. Not to be discouraged, Eastern went on to win the last quarter, too, with three goals to one bringing the final margin to 59 points.

For Oakleigh, Dylan Williams and Jake Gasper bagged three goals each, while Charlie Whitehead and Matthew Warren slotted two apiece to be named in the best. Trent Bianco was also solid with 25 disposals, five marks and six tackles. Meanwhile for Ranges, Xavier Fry found it 27 times and Cooper Leon used his 26 disposals well.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 17.13 (115) defeated Geelong Falcons 5.7 (37)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Conditions were set to be much worse at Shepley Oval on Saturday, so the boys should count themselves lucky they were not swimming through mud. The day brought a chill and a bit of wind, but nothing that’d keep Dandenong from dominating the game as they’re so used to doing this season. By the main break, the Falcons were only down by 15 points, but after the final siren, that margin lifted to 78.

The Dandenong boys were playing at their usual best with a good spread of them having an impact. Toby Bedforddominated atop the hard ball and showed great, composed footy alongside Will Hamill and Finlay Bayne coming up the guts of the ground. Sam De Koning threw himself on a lot of the loose ball out of the back half, with Riley Bowman (four goals) dominating on the goal front on the opposing end.

The Falcons had their work cut out for them against an aggressive Stingrays side. Connor Idun remained composed and dominant despite the game getting away from them. Nicholas Conway worked hard in the ruck all day, winning many of the taps, and Blake Schlensog lifted well in the final quarter. Though it was Dane Hollenkamp who rose above at full-back, locking down his opponent and delivering another solid performance.

 

Sandringham Dragons 8.18 (66) defeated Northern Knights 5.9 (39)

Sandringham kept a fighting Northern Knights outfit at bay with a 27-point win at Trevor Barker Oval. The visitors started well to hold a slender lead at the first break, but were kept scoreless in the second quarter. Despite being wasteful in front of goal, Sandringham’s 2.7 was enough to have them hold a two-goal lead at the main break.

The Dragons were most productive in the third term with a further three goals to the Knights’ one, and ended up coming home strongly to comfortably win by over four goals. Both sides had two players kick two goals each, with Hugo Ralphsmith and Josh D’Intinosante named in the best for their respective sides out of them.

Harry Houlahan was arguably best afield through the middle with 25 disposals, five marks, seven tackles and a goal, and was accompanied by Vic Metro representative Alastair Richards, who amassed 22 disposals, 18 handball receives and four tackles. Liam Stocker rounded out the midfield magic with 24 disposals, four marks and five tackles as he continues his bolt towards the first round.

For the Knights, Adam Carafa was again instrumental in the middle with 24 disposals and six tackles, while Sunny Brazier continued his goal scoring form with two from 17 disposals and six marks. Others to contribute were Justin McInerney (14 disposals, five marks, four tackles) and Oscar White (nine disposals, three marks, seven tackles).

 

Gippsland Power 9.16 (70) defeated Murray Bushrangers 3.7 (25)

By: Craig Byrnes

In wet, windy, cold and mostly miserable conditions at Morwell, a dominant Gippsland Power overcame fellow top four hopeful the Murray Bushrangers to climb to second position on the ladder.

Kicking with the aid of a breeze favouring the right hand pocket at the northern end, Power jumped to a 28-point lead at quarter time and never looked threatened throughout the encounter. As Gippsland dominated forward territory with a  plus29 inside 50 differential for the day, Murray couldn’t register a goal until the three minute mark of the third term as the home side ran away to a 45 point victory.

With a rare opportunity to represent Gippsland before returning to Geelong Grammar, Caleb Serong made the most of it collecting 23 disposals, five clearances and two brilliant goals. He was well supported in an even team performance by Austin Hodge and Riley Baldi who won 20 disposals each, while Irving Mosquito created an early spark with two first quarter goals and Harold Hood caught the eye on debut with 16 touches.

The Bushrangers didn’t have too many four quarter performers, but a 26 disposal outing from bottom age prospect Lachlan Ash was the clear standout in defence. Ely Smith continued his purple patch of form with 30 disposals and eight clearances, Kyle Clarke fought all day to win the ball 21 times, while Jimmy Boyer showed glimpses throughout to gather 26 disposals on a difficult day.

 

Bendigo Pioneers 9.4 (58) defeated by Greater Western Victoria Rebels 12.11 (83)

Charlie Wilson starred with six goals to help Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels to a 25-point victory over Bendigo. The Pioneers shot out of the blocks, taking advantage of the scoring end with four straight goals to GWV’s 2.2 to hold a 10-point lead at quarter time. The Rebels soon clicked into gear though, with Wilson slamming home four of their five second term goals to see them in to the main break with a 16-point buffer – a four goal turnaround. With another four goals conceded, the Pios were all but shut out in the third term and their slight advantage in the final quarter was too little, too late.

With Wilson taking best-on honours, Elliot Lamb was the next best with his 30 disposals, four marks and three tackles. Vic Country gun Thomas Berry had it 25 times, while laying five tackles, and Matty Lloyd provided a good foil with 25 touches and seven marks across half back.

The hosts were led well by Jacob Atley, who had 19 disposals, nine marks and three tackles alongside Hunter Lawrence’s 22 disposal, five mark and three goal effort.

Mid-Season Review: 2018 APS season

AT the mid-point in the Associated Public Schools (APS) Australian Rules competition, we take a look at how each of the schools are going and some of the names who have stood out, both TAC Cup-listed players and non TAC Cup-listed players. For those schools in the Associated Grammar Schools (AGS), we will review them next week.

Brighton Grammar (BGS)

R1: lost to Scotch by 11 points
R2: defeated Caulfield by 16 points
R3: defeated Geelong College by 10 points
R4: lost to Carey by nine points
R5: lost to Haileybury by 23 points
R6: lost to St Kevin’s by 55 points

Summary:

Brighton have won two games this season and will be hoping to turn their form around in the second half of the season. A narrow defeat to Scotch College in the opening round was followed by two wins over Caulfield Grammar and Geelong College, but Brighton has since lost its past three games, albeit two by narrow margins, including the undefeated Haileybury by under four goals. Brighton Grammar lost their key defender Oscar Lewis, in the opening quarter in their hard fought win against Caulfield Grammar. North Melbourne father-son prospect Joel Crocker is also out for the season, after an ankle injury at school training required surgery. Captain Harry Reynolds could be a name to pencil in, with a few clubs tracking the utility. Sandringham Dragons bottom-ager Louis Butler has been their standout, with multiple BOG performances. 

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Carey Grammar (CY)

R1: lost to Melbourne Grammar by 32 points
R2: defeated Geelong Grammar by 38 points
R3: lost to St Kevin’s by 48 points
R4: defeated Brighton by nine points
R5: defeated Wesley by six points
R6: defeated Xavier by one point

Summary:

A strong Carey team is sitting third on the APS ladder and this is largely due to its midfield strength. Bottom-agers Matthew Rowell and Noah Anderson already project as top 10 prospects for next year’s AFL National Draft, with the duo combining as Carey’s best on ground on multiple occasions this year. Despite his size, Rowell competes with the stronger inside midfielders in the draft pool with his quick hands on the inside a key trait – while Anderson is a big ball winner and can hurt you with his disposal. Young Nick Daicos is a while away from his draft year, but has booted some goals throughout the year. Midfielder Oliver Simpson and school captain Bailey Wraith have also had some good moments throughout the season. A one-point win over the previously undefeated Xavier was a massive result, with losses to Melbourne Grammar and St Kevin’s earlier in the season the only two defeats.

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Caulfield Grammar (CAUL)

R1: defeated Wesley by 48 points
R2: lost to Brighton by 16 points
R3: lost to Melbourne by 43 points
R4: lost to Xavier by 81 points
R5: defeated Geelong College by seven points
R6: Bye

Summary:

Caulfield Grammar has managed to have two wins this season, either side of three losses. An ugly 81-point loss to Xavier College was the worst of the bunch, but Caulfield has shown it is more than capable of performing when required, defeating Wesley by eight goals, and getting past Geelong College in a thriller. Sandringham Dragons’ 198cm prospect Will Kennedy is an interesting one – he has been playing all around the ground this season up forward and through the midfield. Oakleigh Chargers midfielder Jack Ross has provided a hard edge to the Caulfield on-ball brigade showcasing his clean his hands in congestion. He is a player that puts on a lot of tackling pressure through out games. Ryan Pietsch is a defender who got the better of Ben Silvagni when the Carlton father-son prospect had plenty of opportunities in Xavier’s 81-point win. Pietsch is strong one-on-one and also has the ability to play forward.

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Geelong College (GC)

R1: lost to Xavier by 64 points
R2: defeated Wesley by 12 points
R3: lost to Brighton by 10 points
R4: Bye 
R5: lost to Caulfield by seven points
R6: defeated Scotch by 18

Summary:

Geelong College has won two games from its five games thus far this season which is a good result. Aside from a forgettable 10-goal loss to Xavier in Round 1, Geelong College has been competitive in every match, losing its other two games by a combined 17 points, while winning its two games by a combined 30 points. Geelong College’s best player is first round prospect Ned McHenry. The inside midfielder won the contested ball and knows where the goals are, and almost single handedly got Geelong College over the line against Brighton Grammar back in Round 3. Forward Charlie Sprague is another who has been named among the best and looms as an underrated prospect in the 2018 draft crop after a good year as a bottom-ager last season. Looking to the future, 16 year-old Charlie Lazarro has been named among the best on several occasions including in the victory against Wesley and the loss to Xavier.

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Geelong Grammar (GGS)

R1: lost to Haileybury by 156 points
R2: lost to Carey by 38 points
R3: lost to Scotch by 45 points
R4: lost to St Kevin’s by 53 points
R5: Bye
R6: defeated Melbourne by 18 points

Summary:

Geelong Grammar started their season with four straight losses, including the horrific 156-point demolition at the hands of Hailebury. But after a tough month which saw them face a number of the top sides, they broke through for their first win, defeating Melbourne Grammar by three goals. The school has remarkable top-end talent with three AFL Academy members including Bendigo Pioneers’ Jye Caldwell and Brodie Kemp. Caldwell has played mostly on the outside, but has shown he can win the football at school football level when required. Kemp has been solid as a tall, working hard in the Grammar side despite the losses mounting. Gippsland Power’s Caleb Serong is a lively prospect for next year’s draft and will be doing plenty of travelling – to go from Geelong Grammar back home to Gippsland throughout the year. Serong has smarts around goal and is also a useful inside midfielder and has been named in the best on multiple occasions. Another name to keep an eye on is Thomson Dow who is the bottom-aged brother of Carlton’s Paddy and has been okay throughout the season. Tanner Bruhn turned 16 last weekend and has been another youngster who has put in some promising performances.

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Haileybury (HY)

R1: defeated Geelong Grammar by 156 points
R2: defeated St Kevin’s by 33 points
R3: Bye
R4: defeated Melbourne by 24 points
R5: defeated Brighton by 23 points
R6: defeated Wesley by 68 points

Summary:

Haileybury are sitting on top of the ladder undefeated and are looking good for the premiership. With a number of AFL Academy members it is no surprise that Hailebury are the benchmark in the competition to date. They destroyed Geelong Grammar in the opening round when Ben King piled on 10 goals, and has since taken his tally to 29 in five games. His ability to play at either end is remarkable and it would be hard not to see him amongst the top few picks in the 2018 AFL National Draft. His brother Max is unfortunately out for the season after injuring his knee in the opening round. Heath Briggs has also been one of Haileybury’s best, while Cody Weightman impresses every week as a small forward. Mitch Riordan is another top talent who could be a first round prospect.

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Melbourne Grammar (MGS)

R1: defeated Carey by 32 points
R2: defeated Scotch by 26 points
R3: defeated Caulfield by 43 points
R4: lost to Haileybury by 24 points
R5: lost to St Kevin’s by 72 points
R6: lost to Geelong Grammar by 18 points

Summary:

Melbourne Grammar is sitting three and three this season, starting the year on fire with three victories, before losing its next three games, including a 12-goal defeat at the hands of St Kevin’s and a three-goal loss to the previously winless Geelong Grammar. Melbourne Grammar vice-captain Toby Bedford has been exciting, with the Dandenong Stingrays mid/forward using his game-breaking speed to disrupt the opposition and he shows clean hands in congestion, putting a lot of tackle pressure on his opponents. Darcy Chirgwin has also been impressive, with his solid work rate throughout games and hitting contest after contest with 110 percent. Sam Connock has been playing forward and competes and reads the play well, taking a number of good marks this season. Oakleigh Chargers’ Sydney Swans father-son prospect Kyle Dunkley has been named among the best, with the Sale product one to watch.

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Scotch College (SC)

R1: defeated Brighton by 11 points
R2: lost to Carey by 38 points
R3: defeated Geelong Grammar by 45 points
R4: lost to Wesley by one point
R5: lost to Xavier by 13 points
R6: lost to Geelong College by 18 points

Summary:

Scotch College started the year well with a win over Brighton Grammar, but have won just one game in the past four outings, albeit with some unlucky losses along the way. New recruit – Maurice Rioli Jnr will turn some heads throughout the year. While the Northern Territory Under 16 prospect is still very raw, he has shown a tenacious tackling ability and booted a freak goal against Xavier a few weeks ago. Finn Maginness has played well in the midfield, while Collingwood father-son prospect Will Kelly had been utilised up forward and is a very strong mark. Defenders Reef McInness and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan mark outstandingly well in the defensive 50 – with Ugle-Hagan definitely a name to keep an eye on for years to come.

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St Kevin’s College (SKC)

R1: Bye
R2: lost to Haileybury by 33 points
R3: defeated Carey by 48 points
R4: defeated Geelong Grammar by 53 points
R5: defeated Melbourne by 72 points
R6: defeated Brighton by 55 points

Summary

This season St Kevin’s have a strong team with four boys making the Vic Metro squad. Having lost their first game to Haileybury, the team has been able to bounce back, not losing a game since and winning every game in excess of eight goals. Western Bulldogs father-son prospect Rhylee West is an inside beast who has been playing up forward a lot more and has been hitting the scoreboard every week. It has given his game another layer. Alastair Richards is having a terrific start to the season, often arching his back and taking the game on, as well as hitting the scoreboard for St Kevin’s. James Rowbottom is a big ball winning midfielder who adds plenty of defensive pressure and importantly hits the scoreboard. His hands in close have been great and he also has some breakaway speed from the stoppages. Angus Hanrahan is an interesting prospect who has shown he can play up forward. He is a natural footballer with elite use of the footy on his left and right foot and plenty of X-factor. Others that have impressed include bottom-age prospect Jack Mahony, as well as non TAC Cup-listed players defender Matthew Presutto and forward Will James.

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Wesley College (WC)

R1: lost to Caulfield by 48 points
R2: lost to Geelong College by 12 points
R3: lost to Xavier by 59 points
R4: defeated Scotch by one point
R5: lost to Carey by six points
R6: lost to Haileybury by 68 points

Summary:

Wesley College has managed one win this season, defeating Scotch by the narrowest of margins. Aside from close defeats to Carey Grammar (six points) and Geelong College (12 points), Wesley has suffered three defeats by more than eight goals, granted two of them came against the premiership favourites. Wesley College do not have a standout draft prospect, but have shown they can match is with some of the stronger schools, with a consistent spread of players across the board. Oscar Jackson and Charlie Dean have been prominent players for the Lions, booting goals on multiple occasions including combining for seven majors in Wesley’s only victory of the season. Nick Sund is another player who has been named among the best on a number of occasions.

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Xavier College (XC)

R1: defeated Geelong College by 64 points
R2: Bye
R3: defeated Wesley by 69 points
R4: defeated Caulfield by 81 points
R5: defeated Scotch by 13 points
R6: lost to Carey by one point

Summary:

One of the strongest Xavier College teams in recent memory, the side lost its first game of the season in round six to Carey by one point. The team is a really well coached and structured and is led by potential top 10 draft pick and captain Bailey Smith who has been playing predominantly in the midfield. Smith leads from the front using the ball exceptionally well. He has the ability to win the footy on the inside and outside and uses his pace to break away from stoppages and take the game on. Potential Carlton father-son Ben Silvagni is yet to tear a game apart, but does have impact within games. He uses his body well in marking contests and also reads the play well. Joe Ayton-Delaney has been impressive, using his foot-skills to great effect, while Oakleigh teammate Charlie Whitehead has been good in congestion and shows great decision making skills and composure. What is really impressive is his endeavour to put pressure on his opponents. Teammate and small forward Zac Hart is quick and able to use the ball well and kicks goals. Others who have also impressed include Zak Evans, Charles Holmes, Harrison Bell and Sam Stynes.

TAC Cup previews: Round 4

SO many changes at the selection table and ahead of round four we investigate which players will need to stand out, and those who will need to continue their form in order to get their team across the line in round four of the TAC Cup competition.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 

Round 4 – Friday, April 20, 7pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

Bendigo Pioneers host Oakleigh Chargers under lights tonight at Queen Elizabeth Oval and it becomes a game which is almost impossible to predict how it is going to go. Bendigo has made at least six changes, something that pales in comparison with Oakleigh’s team selection as 13 players return to school football or other commitments. Noah Anderson will be a key out, second overall in clearances for the Chargers, but Bendigo will still need to watch James Rowbottom, who has notched up 17 clearances (eight centre clearances) and is influential at the stoppages.

Bendigo’s 1-2 counter punch at the stoppages are Noah Wheeler and Zane Keighran with the latter named at half-back for the match. They have 21 clearances between them in season 2018, but Wheeler has also been crucial for 12 inside 50s. Bailey Henderson has been named up forward after being Mr Consistent at half-back, and he will line-up alongside Will Holt who is leading the goal kicking in the competition with Max King. The injury to Daniel Keating will be felt, with the in-form ruck having played some great football to date, and the Pioneers will look to Matt Hird in his first game this year to provide the midfielders with the first possession.

For Oakleigh, they will need their depth to step up in the absence of Anderson, Trent Bianco, Matt Rowell, Jack Ross and Charlie Whitehead in the middle, while Ben Silvagni has been the most influential forward in terms of scoreboard influence this year. In his place comes Sam Elliott who moves to full-forward with Daniel Scala the key small down there. With Anderson, Silvagni, Whitehead and Zac Hart gone, the Chargers lose four of their top five players involved in scoring chains this year. Instead of having eight of the top 10 in this match-up, it is more even 6-4 split. Oakleigh still has the depth to win the game, but Bendigo will be hoping to take advantage of the mass changes and its strong inside brigade make the most of its experience at the stoppages.

GEELONG FALCONS v. EASTERN RANGES 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.15am
Avalon Airport Oval, Werribee

In a game where both sides are still looking for their first win, last year’s reigning premiers and the team with the most players drafted in 2017, find themselves in a vastly different situation six months on. Geelong will welcome back Sam Walsh who is a crucial cog in the Falcons midfield, especially against an Eastern Ranges outfit which will be without the likes of Xavier Fry and Cody Hirst who both rotate through there.

Geelong will miss Charlie Sprague who has been arguably the most consistent Falcons player who has played all three games, as Sprague heads back to play school football, as will Cooper Stephens and a host of others among seven changes for Geelong. Eastern have also made six changes, with Hirst’s a forced one through injury. One area in which Eastern can try and take control is in the midfield with a strong inside brigade. With no Ed McHenry, the Ranges have four of the top five clearance players in the game, with Joel Burleigh, Jonte Duffy, Adrian Kalcovski and Lachlan Stapleton all providing good extraction from the stoppages. Oscar Brownless, Baxter Mensch, Brayden Ham and of course Walsh will look to go head-to-head with the Eastern onballers in what could decide the match.

The big question for these teams is scoring, with the Falcons missing Sprague (who would have the highest scoreboard impact in this match-up) and relying on Blake Schlensog who has had nine score involvements, three more than any other player on the field this season. Based on the season so far, both teams will look to share the load in terms of scoring, with Billy McCormack and Thomas Lockman named as the key position posts for Eastern, while Finlay Parish comes in for his first game and will line-up at centre-half forward in between Ham and Walsh. Throwing Connor Idun forward continues to offer a different look for the Falcons, and with a marked improvement in round three compared to the prior two rounds, the Falcons will be confident going into this one.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 11.30am
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

In the other early game on Saturday, Murray Bushrangers will look to win their third consecutive match, while Sandringham Dragons head into the game unbeaten. With the start of the APS and AGVS seasons, the Dragons are hit harder than any other team and lose almost all of their best 22 – they made 16 changes. It will be a great test to see if they can overcome the Bushrangers with their next tier of players, and see some stand up in the absence of others.

Players who have been in form for the Dragons include Alastair Richards, Liam Stocker and Kai Owen, the three highest extractors for the Dragons this season who have been named in the line-up. Without Dawit McNeish and Bailey Smith, the Dragons will need to win the clearances against a Bushrangers midfield which includes Ely Smith and Dylan Clarke, with Mark Marriott dominant in the ruck more often than not. Losing the King twins always hurts, but the Dragons got the job done against Calder without them, and they will look to James Rendell to continue his good form – booting four goals in the second half against the Cannons – to have an impact on the contest. Up the other end, the Bushrangers have no shortage of contributors, with Patrick Warner (six goals), Bailey Frauenfelder (five), Riley Bice (four) and Jacob Koschitkze (three) all having an impact. Sandringham will be vastly unknown quantity up forward, with Liam Stocker (two) the highest season goal kicker behind Rendell, with Angus Hanrahan thrown forward for this match.

Last year the Dragons knocked off Dandenong Stingrays at Frankston Oval after making 17 changes to its side at the start of the APS season. It was a remarkable win, and they will be looking to do the same here. The trick will be trying to limit the influence of Murray’s midfield and working as a team to ensure they don’t concede too many early goals as they try and gel which is always difficult with wholesale changes. Murray does not rely on one goal kicker to kick a high score, something Sandringham will look for this round as the teams aim to share the goals around and provide a great contest in Wangaratta.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS 

Round 4 – Saturday, April 21, 12.45pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell

In what is shaping to be a great contest, Gippsland Power takes on Northern Knights at Morwell, a ground where the Power pushed Dandenong Stingrays all the way a few weeks back. The Knights have also improved since a round one capitulation against the Sandringham Dragons, and are starting to find their groove – so naturally both sides have been scattered with the start of the school football system with Gippsland’s four omissions among their four most important players – Xavier Duursma, Sam Flanders, Austin Hodge and Caleb Serong. Northern has also lost their most consistent ball winner in Tom McKenzie, as well as the likes of Justin McInerney, Oscar White and Joel Naylor among at least seven changes.

Gippsland will look to rely on Matthew McGannon for plenty of drive out of the back half, with the overager leading the competition in disposals (84) and marks (30). Through the midfield, Riley Baldi’s role as a clearance gem will become more important given the loss of partner in crime Hodge, and the fact the Knights will be without the only player with more clearances than Baldi this season in McKenzie. Gippsland will look to the likes of Nick Lowden, Brett Thorson and Boadie Motton to stand up through the middle and around the ground who have been that next tier of players behind the four omissions. Brock Smith is a talented bottom-ager who provides great drive, while Ryan Sparkes is another one who has impressed so far this season. Gippsland’s forward line is vastly untouched outside of Flanders, with Irving Mosquito and Josh Smith – two of the three highest Power goal kickers – both in the side.

For Northern, Josh D’Intinosante and Braedyn Gillard shape as the two most important players. D’Intinosante is a bottom-ager who has a good all-round game providing forward pressure and scoreboard impact. He also gets up the ground and sets up his teammates, as does Gillard through the middle with his work at stoppages. Without McKenzie, Gillard will look to Harrison Grace and Ryan Gardner among others to try and win the midfield battle – an area which is weakened for the Power by their omissions. Lachlan Potter provides a good link down back, while Patrik Della Rocca and Mark Baker will be a couple of targets who can hit the scoreboard if given the opportunity. The battle between Rylan Henkel and Thomas Hallebone in the ruck will be fascinating with both players selected in the extended Vic Country and Vic Metro squads respectively.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. WESTERN JETS 

Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 12.30pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Dandenong Stingrays face Western Jets in the first game on Sunday, with the Stingrays losing a number of key players to school football and Under 18 Academy Series commitments. The Stingrays are yet to lose in season 2018, but their depth will be put to the test with the likes of Stephen and Matthew Cumming, Hayden Young, Mitch Riordan, Toby Bedford, Jai Nanscawen and Heath Briggs out of the side. Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams return from the AFL Academy game among a host of fresh faces including familiar Stingrays name Sam De Koning who lines up at centre-half back. For the Jets, Emerson Jeka is a big loss down forward, while Lucas Rocci is another out; but the return of AFL Academy member Buku Khamis will buoy the Jets coaching staff.

Western might have the upper hand if they can control Williams and Bowman in their defensive 50, with Aaron Clarke, Steven Kyriazis and Zak Butters three of the most damaging forwards in the game, all adding a different element inside 50 for the Jets. Bailey Schmidt, captain Campbell Hustwaite, and Finlay Bayne have the three highest score involvements of the remaining Dragons, although expect both Williams and Bowman to have a say in the team’s fortune down forward. Zac Foot booted four goals in the last outing against the GWV Rebels, so is another who could be damaging, but the Jets also have a strong defence to rely upon.

The likes of Khamis and Hamish Murphy hold down the key defensive posts, while Stefan Radovanovic and Jack Papachatzakis provide good run and defensive pressure. Xavier O’Halloran has been Mr Consistent through midfield, while Connor Thar provides a strong presence at the stoppages and is a known ball winner. Daly Andrews and Darcy Cassar are others who have shown some good signs throughout the season. For Dandenong, Jamie Plumridge and Will Hamill provide a good trio with Hustwaite, while Angus Paterson has been a rock in defence.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. CALDER CANNONS 

Round 4 – Sunday, April 22, 1.30pm
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The final game of the round sees GWV Rebels return to MARS Stadium where they take on the Calder Cannons with both sides at a crucial junction in the early part of the season, sitting 1-2 after three rounds. The Rebels will look to turnaround from the heavy defeat at the hands of Dandenong Stingrays up in Bendigo, while Calder will look to build on the performance against Sandringham Dragons without their AFL Academy members, and bring the same level of intensity into this clash. Unlike many other teams, both sides have got stronger at the top end, with the Rebels welcoming back midfielder Tom Berry, while the Cannons have their AFL Academy trio in, of Jack Bytel, Curtis Taylor and Rhylee West. They do lose Mitch Podhajski and Mason Fletcher who have been consistent all season, but will be bolstered by the important returns.

Without a second thought, the clearances are going to be an entertaining battle with Lochie Dawson and Scott Carlin leading the way in this game, while Taylor, Bytel and Curtis will add some serious grunt in the middle. Neither side has a dominant key forward, and instead looks to share the goals around between talls and smalls, with Jed Hill (five), Mitch Martin (four) and Josh Chatfield (three) the top Rebels goal kickers; and Taylor (four) and Jack O’Sullivan (three) the top Cannons in the absence of Podhajski. Tylar Watts returns to the ruck against Devereux Pretty who is back into the side this week, with the ruck battle a crucial one-on-one in the overall scheme of things.

Calder has a consistent defence with Jack Evans, Lucas Cavallaro and Lachlan Sholl back there, while Kyle Baker adds composure and speed. Dylan Landt and Tye Browning are other consistent mid/forwards, while the Rebels have a mosquito fleet in attack. Matt Schnerring and Toby Mahony joining Hill, Chatfield and Martin as dangerous forwards, while Jed Henderson will look to provide a target as well. Harris Jennings and Charlie Wilson are other players to watch, while Angus Gove links well between midfield and attack.

Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 3

IT was a huge weekend of football with the country sides clashing at Bendigo and the metro teams searching to either continue or find form in the third round of the TAC Cup competition. We recap all the matches in our Weekend Wash-up.

Western Jets 7.15 (57) defeated Eastern Ranges 3.7 (25)

Windy conditions played havoc at Williamstown Football Ground, with the Western Jets running out 32-point winners over the Eastern Ranges. With only two goals a-piece to three quarter-time, the four points were up for grabs – but the Jets put the foot down to storm home with a five-goal-to-one last quarter.

Jets midfielder Connor Thar (29 disposals, four clearances) and Zak Butters (27 disposals, eight clearances and eight inside 50s) were dominant right throughout the contest, winning the contested ball and getting inside 50 for the forwards to hit the scoreboard. Xavier O’Halloran worked hard strongly after half time, to finish the game with 20 disposals and six clearances. Stefan Radovanovic (19 disposals, five inside 50s and four rebound 50s) worked hard up and down the ground and was another player in the Jets best. Tall forward Aaron Clarke have four shots on goal, while Steven Kyriazis was a dangerous utility for the team when pushing forward.

In what was a disappointing day for the Ranges, Xavier Fry (27 disposals, 13 rebound 50s) found plenty of the ball, kicking long from deep in defence after the Jets kicked an abundance of behinds. Adrian Kalcovski (24 disposals) and Kye Quirk (23 disposals, eight rebound 50s, five inside 50s) were two other of the better players for the Ranges. With the Jets peppering the goals, defender Jarrod Gilbee was a player who showed some strong efforts.

 

Bendigo Pioneers 8.5 (53) defeated by Gippsland Power 17.14 (116)

A seven goals to two second term has helped Gippsland Power to a dominant 63-point victory over Bendigo Pioneers. Both sides could not be split at quarter time, but a one-sided second term and rush of goals saw the Power head into the main break with a 34-point lead. Bendigo managed to restrict the Power in the third term to cut the deficit to 31 by the final break, but it was all the Power once again in the final term, booting six goals to one, running away with the huge win.

Sam Flanders led the way with four goals and could have been more had he had his kicking boots on, in a show that included two behinds and three out on the fulls from shots at goal. Along with Flanders, Riley Baldi and Caleb Serong found plenty of the footy and booted two goals each, as did Mason McGannon. Matthew McGannon had a game-high 29 disposals off half-back, while Baldi was dominant at stoppages, registering 10 clearances, just ahead of overager Austin Hodge‘s seven.

For the Pioneers, Bailey Henderson was impressive at half-back and through the midfield, collecting 23 disposals, four marks and four clearances, while teammate Zane Keighran registered the most touches of any Bendigo player, with 25. Liam Marciano (16 disposals and four inside 50s), Bailey Kemp (15 disposals and a goal) and Noah Wheeler (11 disposals and two goals) were others who influenced the contest forward of centre.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 20.13 (133) defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels 5.5 (35)

In a very one-sided contest, Dandenong Stingrays were simply too good for Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. In reflecting on the match, the Rebels socials summed it up best by saying “it just wasn’t our day”, as the strong Stingrays ran out one of the most impressive four quarter performances in some time. They had booted 12 goals to half-time and never let up, passing the 100-point margin late in the final quarter before the last goal of the day to the Rebels put the final deficit within double figures.

Jamie Plumridge had a game-high 29 disposals for the Stingrays, while it was the first half of Mitch Riordan (18 disposals, four marks, six clearances, six inside 50s) and Zac Foot (17 disposals and four goals) who did most of the damage. The Stingrays won the clearances 47-24 and inside 50s 69-17 and it was hard to fault anything they did all day. Campbell Hustwaite had four inside 50s and six clearances to go with his 25 disposals, while Jai Taylor had five clearances and five inside 50s with 21 disposals. Bottom-age talent Hayden Young booted two goals drifting forward and collected 17 disposals and four marks.

For the Rebels, Lochie Dawson had 26 disposals and four marks along with eight clearances and five rebounds in a top effort. He was ably assisted by Scott Carlin (23 disposals, four marks, six rebounds) and Matt Schnerring (21 disposals and six tackles). The Rebels mosquito fleet of mid/forwards in Charlie Wilson, Jed Hill and Josh Chatfield all showed signs at different points during the match, but the overwhelming pressure by Dandenong meant life was difficult for the GWV forwards.

 

Murray Bushrangers 10.17 (77) defeated Geelong Falcons 8.13 (61)

In what was a contested affair for most of the day, Murray Bushrangers got up against Geelong Falcons in what turned out to be a thrilling last quarter. The game opened up after the final break and there was plenty of end-to-end football and scores flowing through. Nine of the 18 goals for the game came in the last term, with Murray marginally ahead with a five goals to four term, after the Bushrangers led by 10 points at the final break. The Falcons lead at quarter time and half-time, but the Bushrangers’ second half got them home.

Laitham Vandermeer was solid throughout, notching up 24 disposals, eight marks, four rebounds and three inside 50s to cover the ground well, while Lachlan Ash was strong in defence with 21 disposals and seven marks. Nicholas Murray had 20 disposals and 10 marks in defence, while Kyle Clarke was busy around the football with 18 disposals, five marks, four clearances and six tackles. Bailey Frauenfelder peppered the goals, finishing with 3.4 from 13 disposals, three marks and three clearances.

For the Falcons, Baxter Mensch had the most touches with 23, to go with four marks, four clearances and five inside 50s, while Oscar Brownless had a big second half to finish with 21 disposals, six tackles, five clearances, five inside 50s and four rebounds. Brayden Ham was everywhere on the day and the bet for his side, with 20 disposals and 10 marks, as well as six inside 50s and three goals. Bailey Scott (16 disposals, seven marks, two goals) and Cooper Stephens (15 disposals) were also impressive for the Falcons.

 

Sandringham Dragons 14.16 (100) defeated Calder Cannons 11.11 (77)

The Sandringham Dragons continued their undefeated start to the season, defeating the Calder Cannons by 23-points in breezy conditions at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. The Cannons managed to hit the lead in the final quarter, thanks to Mitch Podhajski’s second goal for the afternoon, but the Dragons breathed fire and booted the next five goals to ensure they would take home the four points.

Dragons captain James Rendell played his best game for the season, booting four second-half goals, including two to start the third term. Fellow tall forward Will Kennedy booted three goals, from his 20 disposals. The tall Dragons outfit were buoyed by the return of overaged ruckman Ethan Casey (24 hitouts), who suffered a terrible ACL injury early in 2017. Midfielder Alastair Richards (27 disposals, seven inside 50s) once again was superb for the Dragons and has certainly played three very strong games to start the season, while Liam Stocker (21 disposals, five inside 50s, two goals) was another impressive player for the home side. Another overager Kai Owens found 20 disposals (10 contested) and four clearances, in a role through the midfield.

Overager Mitch Podhajski was the Cannons’ best, with 28 disposals (17 contested), seven marks, four rebound 50s, three clearances and two goals. Podhajski moved well through the midfield throughout the contest, linking up well with the Cannons’ outside runners. Jake Riccardi (seven marks) marked well overhead in the attacking half of the ground, while it was Lachlan Johnson (two goals) who was most impressive in the opening quarter of the game, where the Cannons got out to a 10-point lead at quarter-time.

 

Northern Knights 12.3 (75) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 13.22 (100)

TAC Cup football returned to Preston City Oval for the first time this season, but it was the away team, the Oakleigh Chargers who came out as winners in front of a good crowd on a fine sunny Sunday afternoon. The Knights took a nine-point lead at quarter-time, but it was all Chargers after that – with the Chargers booting eight goals to four in the following two quarters of the contest, eventually running out 25-point winners.

Braedyn Gillard and Tom McKenzie continued to put their hand up as two of the better Knights players. Playing through the midfield, McKenzie collected 26 disposals (13 contested), 10 clearances and six inside 50s – hitting targets throughout the day and he worked hard throughout the entire contest. Gillard (21 disposals, four rebound 50s) played well on the outside, helping the Knights get the ball forward. Up forward Patrik Della Rocca bagged four goals and Josh D’Intinosante booted three goals, while bottom-ager Lachlan Potter (22 disposals) also impressed.

Bottom-ager Noah Anderson was the standout for the Chargers, with 32 disposals, 10 inside 50s and two goals. His explosive running through the middle of the ground was mighty impressive. Fellow midfielder James Rowbottom (22 disposals, 10 clearances and eight inside 50s) was a dominant figure against the Knights midfielders, making for some really good battles in the centre of the ground. Possible Carlton father-son prospect Ben Silvagni booted 2.4 and clunked 10 marks, while small forward Daniel Scala kicked 3.4 from 17 disposals. Running defender Joseph Ayton-Delaney (16 disposals) and Charlie Whitehead (20 disposals) were also good in patches.