Tag: Doulton Langlands

Murray Bushrangers 2017 review

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

Murray Bushrangers

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

Players Drafted: (4)

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

2017 Review:

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

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

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

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

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2018 Preview:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Others to keep an eye on:

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

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

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Summary:

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

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 18

THE final round of the TAC Cup season was completed on the weekend – with the all important finals series kicking off at Victoria Park this Saturday. We had our scouts watching all six games in Round 18, read their notes below.

GWV Rebels vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Peter Williams)

GWV Rebels:

#1 Dale Cox – Arguably the best game I have seen him play live. Took a couple of fantastic grabs one-on-one and kicked two goals, one from a snap and a second from a set shot. He continued to look dangerous throughout the contest, applying good pressure inside forward 50, and a touch of class when on the outside. While he did not receive a state combine invite, he could be one that falls under the Western Bulldogs Category B rookie if they choose to nominate him.

#2 Callan Wellings – The Rebels’ captain put in another strong performance on the weekend. Wellings is one of the most consistent performers in the TAC Cup and he just has a no-fuss approach to his football. He showed a high work rate and great vision in close while also finding space around the ground. He was rewarded with a goal when he snuck into space inside 50. He took a few intercept marks across half-back in the final term to snuff out any hope of a Bendigo comeback and was involved in a possession chain where he won the ball in the defensive half and then ran forward to take a mark at half-forward in the same possession chain.

#4 Aiden Domic – Domic has been a big improver in the second half of the season and was best on ground against the Pioneers on the weekend. He is a really smart footballer who does not waste time with his disposal. While his inside numbers have improved in the second half of the season, he played predominantly on the wing as Jordan Johnston took an inside role. He snapped a terrific goal in the third term with five minutes remaining to put the Rebels 39 points up. Domic has an impact up forward and great goal sense and is one of the best endurance runners in the competition.

#9 Flynn Appleby – Appleby’s draft stocks would have to be rising after yet another big performance down back, this time on top 10 hope Jarrod Brander. Appleby gave up nine centimetres and six kilograms to the big forward but held his own. He was really composed with the football and apart from a couple of minutes in the second term when Brander got hold of him, he stood up well, positioning himself well in the one-on-ones, protecting the ball drop and also peeling off Brander to assist teammates. Appleby was unlucky not to receive a state combine invitation, but his last month has been nothing short of sensational.

#10 Jordan Johnston – The exciting forward has put together a good month of football as an uncomprimising inside midfielder. He holds his own in close and played on fellow forward-cum-midfielder Brent Daniels at the stoppages. Johnston won more of the football but was exposed for leg speed against Daniels crusing out of a pack. Johnston as a whole had more of an influence, turning it on in the third term setting up a goal assist after a free kick in the middle, and then had a second clearance from the next centre bounce, finishing with a goal moments later. A highlight was in the second quarter when Johnston smothered the ball and managed to grab the footy in one motion.

#23 Lloyd Meek – The over-age ruckman continued his good form in season 2017 with another influential display across the ruck and up forward. He has developed his body this year to really use his strength and frame to outmuscle opponents and was too strong for the in-form Jobee Warde. While Warde had the athleticism, Meek was really impressive in holding his ground and ensuring Warde could not get an easy jump at the ruck stoppages. Up forward, Meek presented well, crashing packs and taking a few good marks, although his goal kicking still needs some work, missing the lot from the forward pocket, albeit on a very tight angle.

#40 Tylar Watts – I was really only focusing on top-agers, but Watts caught my eye with a pretty good performance working in tandem with Meek. While his possession numbers are not high, Watts produced arguably the biggest highlight of the game with a towering mark in the final term when the Pioneers were threatening to chase down the deficit. He stood tall, kicked the goal and iced the game, giving Rebels fans a bit of excitement about what he could be capable of in 2018.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Kane Farrell – I really liked Farrell’s game on the weekend. He is not a huge accumulator of the football but he looks balanced and has good vision through traffic and great hands in close. There were a couple of times where he sidestepped an opponent and delivered it well inside 50 to a leading target. He also showed his versatility to have an impact up forward, kicking a crucial goal late in the third term. The one knock from the weekend was there was an instance or two where he tried to do too much and was caught before he could effectively dispose of it or finish cleanly.

#6 Cooper Jones – Like his side, Jones was fairly influential early on, rebounding what he could for the Pioneers playing across half-back. He went in hard along the wing and laid a bone-crunching tackle winning a free kick. Last year he played up forward but I like him as a defender, was quieter in the second half, but still had a few nice touches across half-back and on the wing. He could potentially develop into a taller midfielder.

#8 Lochie O’Brien – It was not one of O’Brien’s better games despite picking up a vote in the Morrish Medal. He won more of the football than usual, but his kicking efficiency was well down on his usual standards, which was later reflected with just 50 per cent by foot. I regard O’Brien as a deadly left foot kick, but the Rebels captain Cal Wellings and his teammates gave O’Brien little time and space to use his strong attributes. Despite not having the influence he has had in other games, O’Brien still kicked a goal thanks to an old fashioned sausage roll from 50m in the last term.

#10 Brent Daniels – The nuggety forward played more inside midfield against the Rebels and flashed in and out with some brilliant patches. He almost created the highlight of the day, streaming down the middle of the ground taking a couple of bounces and got to about 60m from goal before taking a third bounce and fluffing it and getting caught by his chasing opponent. As a whole I felt he was composed with the football when under pressure and was good in tight by hand.

#13 Jarrod Brander – The possible top 10 draft pick continued to work throughout the four quarters but became Flynn Appleby’s latest victim. Brander was good on the lead and kicked a fantastic goal outside 50 in the second term and took a couple of marks in a two minute purple patch when he looked to break the game open, but otherwise was well held by his opponent. A combination of the swirly conditions and teammate’s inefficiency going inside 50 did not help his cause. Cannot fault his endeavour however and he continued to present up at the football, and when marking was a clean grab.

#15 Darby Henderson – The Pioneers ball magnet continued to win the pill throughout the game showing pretty good hands in close and doing everything right defensively. His kicking is still iffy at times and that’s the main knock on him, but he laid eight tackles and won the football all over the ground, clearing the ball out of the defensive 50 on a number of occasions.

#18 Bailey Henderson – The wingman continued a really solid season with a pretty solid game. He has great vision looking forward, but I questioned his peripheral vision when he had plenty of time but was run down from the side by an opponent. When in space he used a piercing kick and was able to win the ball at half-back and move forward in transition. He tends to have a slower kicking action which also saw opponents bump or tackle him when he was in possession, forcing him to make a few errors.

#20 Angus Schumacher – Like many of his teammates, Schumacher has had better games but he worked into the match in the second half. He took a good intercept mark early in the third but immediately coughed up the football with a short 20m pass. Schumacher sometimes does not kick through the ball over short distances and therefore makes errors by foot, but when kicking long he has a nice action and more often than not can hit-up a teammate 40-50m down the ground. Schumacher also showed good agility and closing speed on the lead.

Calder Cannons vs. Western Jets (Matt Balmer)

Calder Cannons:

#1 Brad Bernacki – Continued his good ball winning abilities in the midfield and was a deserving runner-up in the Morrish Medal. Was able to spread well from the contest and you couldn’t fault his endeavours in wanting to win the ball back when the Jets were in possession.

#5 Curtis Taylor – The standout Cannon for the day for me. Playing in the attacking half of the ground, he showed off his X-Factor and agility in the stoppages. Taylor provided a dangerous option when he was up forward and he was able to get the ball inside 50 effectively when he was playing through the midfield. Also marks well overhead.

#12 Noah Balta – Begun the game up forward and mixed his time between ruck/forward. Was the clear best tall in at the centre bounces, using his elite leap to effectiveness. Up forward with the wind, Balta showed on multiple occasions he could bang the ball long 60 metres at goal – and he kicked a fine set shot goal in the opening quarter from outside 50. Contested marking was impressive right around the ground.

#29 Jake Riccardi – Played as a centre half back for the majority of the game and was able to drop off his opponent and win the ball in the defensive half of the ground. Is one I think that is better suited up forward, but has shown he is more than capable at either end in recent weeks. Was also very efficient by hand and foot, hardly missing a target all day.

#30 Mitch Podhajski – Battled hard playing as a key position player and was able to win the ball and rebound it out of defensive 50. Is a handy mark and can take them in contested situations. Gave away a few unnecessary free kicks during the game, but worked hard all day.

Western Jets:

#11 Zak Butters – Kicked a great banana goal in the opening quarter and his ball use was very good right throughout the game. He was able to win the ball in the contest and was also willing to tackle back to win the ball. Looking forward to tracking him closely next season.

#14 Lachlan Fogarty – One of the stiffest players to even not collect a vote in the Morrish Medal after his best-on-ground display. Fogarty hunted the ball back with immense pressure and his tackling was phenomenal. His clearance work was good and it lead to multiple inside 50s coming from his boot. Is agile enough to get around his opponents at the stoppages and he pushed forward to boot three goals.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – Once again showed his contested ball winning abilities, working hard at every stoppage he attended. Also pushed forward and took a good mark inside 50 in the third quarter. Spent a bit more time forward than usual and didn’t win too many clearances – but was another important player in the midfield for the Jets.

#38 Buku Khamis – Played as a key defender and showed some smarts when teammates had the ball inside defensive 50, where he was often able to spread and get to the right position for the switch. Took some strong contested grabs and with the ball in hand his decision making was good.

#44 Tristan Xerri – Easily the best game I’ve seen Xerri play where he was not only able to dominate in the ruck, but win the ball around the ground. He linked up well by hand and his follow up work was very good. Booted two goals up forward, but it was his work in the contest that was super impressive for the tall.

Eastern Ranges vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Peter Williams)

Eastern Ranges:

#2 Tom North – The inside midfielder was best on ground in the first quarter, seemingly bringing his own football with him. He was noticeaby missing after quarter time given Oakleigh took more control of the midfield. North hurt his ankle and did not play a further part after a nine disposal, two clearance start to the game. He is one who has shown enough this season to be considerd around the middle of the draft.

#6 Ryley Stoddart – One of the best Ranges on the weekend, Stoddart showed off some impressive, penetrating kicks coming out of defensive 50. He was assigned to Higgins at times and while he was beaten in the air by the Morrish Medallist, he was smart in peeling off and assisting teammates in other contests. Stoddart reads the play well and times his spoils to perfection, while he also has good vision to spot up teammates in space. A player who really applies good pressure when he is around the football I noticed he tends to rush his kick under pressure at times and can lean back to get more distance but sometimes it puts him off balance.

#10 Dylan Moore – Played his part for the Ranges on the weekend as one of the best and has an equal balance of offensive and defensive pressure. He leads at the football when it is his time to go, and he pressures opponents when he does not have the football to try and keep the ball locked into the forward 50. Kicked a good goal from a set shot and when he went into the midfield he really began accumulating the football. While he has been likened to that smaller forward role, Moore showed he can more than hold his own in the midfield with a number of clearances and winning it on the inside or out.

#14 Trent Mynott – The midfielder was quiet early but pressured his opponents and got to the right positions. He won a bit more of the football in the second half, and laid a huge bone-crunching tackle that even had the crowd going “oooh”. Mynott has a fierce attack on the football and while he was not a huge accumulator on the weekend, he always does the defensive aspects right.

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – The midfielder/forward is just an excitement machine. At times his kicking can be iffy, but he wins the ball all over the ground, is good in the air or at ground level and just oozes excitement. As a spectator you cannot help but be drawn to see what he will do with the ball and what move he will pull next. He snapped a great goal under pressure in the second term and streamed through the middle of the ground showing off some great acceleration to kick inside 50. He had a couple of snaps early in the final term but could not find the radar, but was one of the few Ranges who could hold their head high for four quarters. It was one of his more consistent performances and caps off a great month.

#18 Sam Hayes – The most impressive thing about Hayes as a ruck is, despite not being overly mobile compared to other rucks, he does win a fair few clearances to go with his hitouts. A combination of grabbing it out of the ruck and putting it on the boot as well as picking it off the deck and booting it forward, Hayes put in another solid performance. He also wins a fair few free kicks because his opponents are wary of what he is capable of. He can take some good contested grabs and is a clear first round prospect and the first ruckman taken this year.

#21 Joel Garner – Had a good first quarter intercepting a number of possessions going inside 50, timing his leads and reading the ball well playing opposed to Higgins at times. But a late hit on an opponent after he kicked – nothing malicious just very late – saw him reported and set off late in the second term. Oakleigh took advantage of Garner being off the ground to boot a few late goals. Garner was not as influential after he returned in the second half, understandably.

#22 Jackson Ross – Not a big ball winner but produced a few highlights on the weekend. He had a fantastic intercept mark reading the play well on the wing, not breaking stride, but then was tackled and coughed up possession after he did not see a tackler coming hard from the side. He booted a nice goal from outside 50 in the opening minute of the final term, but otherwise was quiet.

#26 Harrison Nolan – The key position defender always applies pressure inside defensive 50 and the game against Oakleigh was no different. He lays some strong tackles and assists his teammates, also providing some rebound out of defence. Not a big ball winner, but he wins a fair chunk of his one-on-ones and therefore is good in contested situations.

#33 Tyler Brown – The son of Gavin and brother of Callum on the weekend was okay, but realtively quiet. He played at half-forward predominantly and lead up at the football on a number of occasions. He had a handball predominant game, winning most of his possessions in close, but was effective in getting it to a teammate.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#6 Matthew Day – Played inside forward 50 and had a quiet game. He took a fanastic sliding mark in the third term and kicked the goal from the set shot, while also spending stints in the midfield, but did not accumulate big numbers.

#7 Charlie Thompson – Played more of a forward role compared to his huge game the week before and was good in the way he continued to dig in and offer an option for his midfielders. He hits the contest hard and was rarely beaten overhead. He has great skills for a predominantly contested player and is a reliable set shot so I would not be surprised to see him rocket up the draft boards if he continues his good form.

#8 Toby Wooller – One of the best Oakleigh players in the win despite his kicking letting him down at times. He has developed into a hard running midfielder who is good overhead and can clear the area with some long kicks. He took a huge contested mark on the wing and while his kicking efficiency would have been average, his ability to win plenty of the football in midfield then go forward and kick three goals shows he has what it takes to make it at the next level, arguably as an athletic midfielder.

#35 Jack Higgins – The deserving Morrish Medallist again worked hard through four quarters but it probably was not his best game due to missed opportunities. His disposal by foot at times was rushed and he finished the game with 2.4 including a poster from a set shot. The wind caused much havoc and the pressure was high at times, but Higgins was a fanastic contested mark and can set up the play really well. His leading patterns are top notch and his work rate is huge. His kicking efficiency of 38 per cent and inaccuracy in front of goal stopped it from being a dominant performance once again.

Northern Knights vs. Sandringham Dragons (Peter Williams)

Northern Knights:

#4 Max Dreher – Worked hard in close and while he did not win a heap of the football, produced a lot of one percenters to help his teammates. He fought throughout the four quarters and was rewarded for his hard running with a great goal from outside 50.

#6 Patrick Naish – The Richmond father/son nominee was effective across half-back early, looking calm and composed. He was more influential in the first half than in the second, like many of his teammates. He had a flying shot at goal from outside 50 but it went well out on the full, before adding a major to his name late in the last quarter with a good goal inside 50. Not one of his better games, but was serviceable considering his team as a whole did not perform the way they would have liked.

#7 Jack Petruccelle – Did not accumulate a heap of it, but I felt he was one of the best Knights. He won the ball in close and on the outside and while he could rush his kick on occasions when disposing of it over short distances, he had an impressive purple patch in the quarter. He won the ball at half-back and spurred a dart inside 50 to a teammate and then moments later had a running shot at goal and it sailed home. Petruccelle had a good clearance out of the centre to open the final term..

#9 Alex Federico – Known for his ball winning ability and he was one of the bigger accumulators on the weekend. His work rate is really high and he is important in the Knights’ transition from half back to half-forward. Federico was really cleaver around the stoppages in extracting the ball and getting it forward, winning the bulk of his disposals in tight.

#11 Ethan Penrith – The usual defender played up forward and had a good pressuring role. Unfortunately his stats will not reflect the game he had without the football, just a couple of touches and a goal, but he laid a few tackles and did add an extra element inside 50 when the ball went down there. Didn’t see him have a touch in the second half though.

#12 Joel Naylor – The tall forward was indicative of the Knights’ performance in the sense he was super impressive when handed opportunties in the first half, but faded away in the second half. Took a few good marks and slotted a goal in the first term, but was barely sighted after half-time such was the lack of entries inside the Knights’ forward 50.

#34 Matthew Harman – Harman did his bit in the ruck, sharing the duties with Joel Grace and being serviceable across the ground. He had an ingenious moment in the second term when he kicked the ball along the ground to the advantage of his teammates when he knew he did not have time to take possesion. Did not accumulate much of the pill, but held his own in the ruck contests. 

Sandringham Dragons:

#1 Lachie Harris – Due to injury and school football I have not had the chance to see Harris live since the Dragons’ round one match and while he is not a huge accumulator, he is that small forward who adds pressure to the forward 50. He probably needs to do a bit more offensively, but defensively he was solid and kicked an important goal in the third term to put his side 24 points up with 10 minutes remaining.

#2 Geordie Nagle – Nagle is another “handball-first” player, but he is ultra-quick with his thought process and disposal. He has clean hands and won plenty of the ball in the middle of the ground, always on the move and shovelling it out to a teammate in space. Nagle earned a lot of his disposals running on the outside and also mopped up in defence on a number of occasions.

#5 Seb Williams – The Brighton Grammar midfielder was strong in the contest but his disposal let him down. His decision making at times was also questionable, such as handballing to a stationary target under pressure. However, his pros from the weekend really impressed me with his overhead strength and neat sidestep. He finds space inside 50 and kicked a great goal. He spread from the contest well and continued to present as an option coming off half-back and along the win. If he can tinker with his kicking and improve his decision making, he could be a late pick-up this year.

#6 Charlie Constable – The inside beast has had bigger games disposal wise, but when he wins the football he is really noticeable. His strength and balance in the contest is huge and in one instant he swivelled his hips to shake off a tackler and pump it long to Isaac Morrisby on the lead. Took a contested mark on the wing despite pressure coming from both sides of his body and he also defended well, adding composure to the back six. He finds space really well and looks to execute a pass inside to the corridor at every opportunity.

#8 Will Walker – Walker strikes me as a really hard runner. He is very outside in the way he goes about it, but he just gets to contest after contest. He often wins a lot of possessions through handball receives, but what impressed me on the weekend was his ability to work hard defensively and lay a number of good tackles. The knock was his influence around the ground because he won a bit through the middle of the ground, but was not as influential as others elsewhere.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Along with his brother, Brayshaw continued to win plenty of the football. He was more prominent in the first half, winning the ball in close and then spreading to the outside, delivering some nicely waited passes inside 50. He also set up a number of scoring opportunities when going forward and while there were a few rushed kicks, Brayshaw kicked an important goal early in the final term to snuff out Northern’s chances of a comeback.

#10 Angus Styles – One of the smarter players in terms of vision and footy nous in close. One example I saw which I liked was his ability to not rush his handball into space, but instead hold onto the footy for an extra second to enable his teammate Will Walker to run into the space required to receive the handball. He took a good intercept mark inside 50 for the Dragons by standing his ground, but missed the set shot and finished the day with two behinds. Styles was a really balanced player in the marking contest and he protects the ball drop. Not a huge accumulator, I thought Styles contributed to the Dragons’ win well.

#11 Hamish Brayshaw – The star of the show with five goals and was just influential throughout the contest. He was known for his ability to accumulate on the inside last season and on the weekend he played forward and just dominated. Then he went into the midfield and dominated there, laying some great tackles and influencing the contest in tight. Most importantly it was one of the best games I have seen him play in terms of disposal and hurt factor with some really impressive, penetrating kicks inside 50, setting up a couple of goals for teammates. An over-age player, Brayshaw would have to be in consideration at some clubs for his pure ball winning ability and his strength to make an impact when forward.

#29 Joel Amartey – An impressive game rotating through the ruck and up forward, needing to play more minutes in the midfield after Hayden McLean was concussed and taken from the ground. He started forward and took a great diving mark with his set shot from 35m out going straight through the middle. He then influenced the contest around the ground, showing off his athleticism to win a heap of hitouts and became the link-up man in transition from the midfield to the forwards. One of the best games I have seen him play.

#30 Hayden McLean – He took a huge contested grab and hurt himself doing so, with his kick on goal powerful, but missing. He presented up forward, but was not as influential as in other games, then came off concussed in the third term and did not play any further part.

#74 Nathan Murphy – The weekend’s game was the first time I have seen Murphy play live and I am sold. He was really strong in the opening moments with some deadly darts inside 50 and looked really slick along the wing. He went back later in the game and was good one-on-one and took some great marks. I thought his ground coverage was great, and he is not afraid to back himself in the contest. The one knock I would have is that he is still raw and learning aspects of the game having come from a cricketing background. With the ball he is fine, but without it there were a couple of moments where he looked uncertain of whether to shepherd a teammate or go for the ball himself. But I expect that will come with time and certainly with ball in hand, Murphy was ultra impressive.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Geelong Falcons (Matt Balmer)

Dandenong Stingrays:

#6 Aiden Bonar – Was impressive throughout the contest and spent more time in the midfield as the game went on. His pressure was very high and he laid some very strong tackles. Has presence around the contest and showed that he has a decent burst when he needs to use it. Took a strong contested mark in the third quarter and was able to find the ball around the ground. Bonar was willing to provide multiple efforts, including a great passage of play in front of recruiters on the wing – where he was able to make multiple efforts and attempt to win back the ball by applying pressure on the Geelong defenders.

#25 Oscar Clavarino – Played one of the best games I’ve seen him play, marking with ease in the defensive 50. Was also pushed forward late, but his intercept work was one of the reason that the Falcons struggled to kick goals. His usage was good on his right foot and provided a few rebound 50s.

#26 Tom Murphy – Continued his strong form showing his ball winning abilities through the midfield. Covered the ground well and his defensive efforts were good – not only dropping back to help out in defensive 50, but tackling hard through the midfield. Hitting form at a good time.

#35 Tom Freeman – Played as a third tall rebounding defender for the Stingrays and whilst most of his possessions were in uncontested situations – he reads the play well and his positioning was good. Has some burst of speed too.

Geelong Falcons:

#4 Gryan Miers – Had a quieter game than usual, not winning as much ball as he has done in some games this season. Spent most the day inside 50, and his follow up and pressure work was good. Laid some strong tackles in the wet and his hands in close were effective.

#13 Ethan Floyd – Had a superb run down tackle in the first quarter and was able to get off the chain on the outside as one of the Falcons’ best. Showed off his agility on the wing and was willing to take on opponents with his speed. Booted a great left foot goal from outside 50 and pumped the ball long on multiple occasions.

#16 David Handley – Had five scoring shots on goal – but unfortunately only managed to convert one – which was an absolute beauty booted from mid air 10 metres out. Showed off his long right foot kick at times and his leading was good – able to get space between himself and his opponent to mark the ball unopposed.

#19 Matt Ling – Started the game exceptionally well, but was quieter after quarter time. Used his good agility to effectiveness, as well as his pinpoint left foot pass. Took multiple kick outs for the Falcons and had a few good spoils when he needed to defend in one-on-one situations.

#38 James Worpel – Didn’t have as much impact than he has in other games – but his contested game was again on show. His tackling and pressure in the contest was very good and he was often found at the bottom of the packs throughout the game. In the wet, he was able to clear the ball and bang it long inside 50 to one of the Falcons’ tall targets.

#41 Tom McCartin – Leapt at a few balls throughout the day and you can tell he’s the brother of St Kilda’s Patrick. Had some good defensive efforts and was involved in a few score assists, getting the ball to teammates. Unfortunately, his day ended early suffering concussion.

#42 Cassidy Parish – Was strong on the inside and had plenty of early possessions in the opening half. Had good vision at times to find a target by hand in close and was another player that was willing to boot the ball out of the pack and get it going inside 50.

#46 Adam Garner – Pulled off a great contested mark in the opening quarter, as well as winning a free kick after being held – which he converted the shot on goal. However, once the rain came after half time, it was hard going for the Falcons tall.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Gippsland Power (Michael Alvaro)

Murray Bushrangers:

#4 Laitham Vandermeer – Amassed 25 disposals and seven clearances as one of Murray’s more consistent performers. Had a good mix of inside and outside possession, but his run and carry was what made him stand out on the day. Would like to see him finish off his bursts of speed with more kicks though, he opted to hand the ball off on the back of his runs and broke down the momentum of his move.

#7 Zane Barzen – Was a key link in the chain forward of centre for Murray with eight marks, one of which was a decent hanger on the wing in the third term. He chimed in with a couple of clever goals to cap off what was a solid shift overall. Needs to work on his defensive efforts though, as he didn’t clock a tackle despite having a strong presence up forward.

#11 Jy Lane – Lane was consistently the man moving the ball in and out of either 50 as he worked hard to take the game on and break the lines constantly. He worked well in that aspect alongside Langlands, while also quelling the influence of Jiath after quarter time on the wing.

#19 Will Donaghey – Lead all-comers in terms of disposals with 31 and was a key part in Murray’s moves out of defence. He collected a wealth of those possessions on the outside and often used his teammates to gather quick 1-2’s breaking away from stoppages. With 24 of his disposals counting as uncontested, it’s fair to say Donaghey’s strength lies on the outside, and he showed off his high footy IQ with some clever and opportunistic plays.

#21 Doulton Langlands – Langlands doesn’t often stand out in any particular areas, but this was one of his better games as he made his mark with some great run and carry. He’s a regular across half-back for Murray and he played that quarterback-type role perfectly as he gathered a wealth of uncontested ball and running bounces. He also impacted the scoreboard with his sole major and three score assists from some sharp inside 50 entries.

#30 Alex Paech – Paech was constantly a solid option up forward for the Bushies, but he struggled to reel in anything that came his way. While his hands aren’t the strongest, he does some good work at ground level and moves well for a key position player. He bagged two majors and was extremely vocal throughout the day, screaming ‘get around him’ from the bench whenever he could. Unfortunately copped a knock and limped off later on.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Nick Hogan – Part of the talented Gippsland midfield mosquito fleet, Hogan excited with some strong bursts from the stoppages and showed good clearance nous. Attended most of the centre bounces and helped his side to get on top with 8 clearances in a game-high 30 disposals. Played his part moving up the ground with 11 inside 50’s and some nice handball chains through the midfield.

#4 Changkouth Jiath – Was instrumental in the first quarter with 10 disposals, it seemed like Jiath was everywhere. Used his athleticism well to mark overhead and then break away along the wing, but just lacked a finish product. Needs to improve on his kicking if he wants to take full advantage of his damaging traits, which are outstanding. Also had a good battle with Jy Lane on the wing, rotating with Irving Mosquito throughout the game.

#5 Xavier Duursma – Duursma is as unfazed in combat as you’ll see any bottom-ager. Played his typical role in defensive-50, snuffing out opposition attacks both aerially and on the ground, while also providing plenty of rebound. He’s usually a composed kick but lost his head a couple of times today, turning it over in dangerous areas. Was still trusted with kick-in duties and put in a good shift overall down back.

#7 Will Stephenson – Was reasonably quiet in his loud green boots early on, but came to life after half time with more minutes in the midfield. He worked well at the centre bounces with Hogan, Porter and Quigley to get Gippsland on the front foot with a barrage of long inside-50 entries. Chimed in with three important goals and showed how clever he is around the big sticks, finding opportunities where not many would.

#19 Callum Porter – Arguably the best afield across the whole game, Porter capped off his consistent home and away season with a big performance. He was able to show off his inside and outside traits as a midfielder with some hard work in-tight followed up by streaming runs through the corridor. Continually popped up at the back of the centre bounces, either pumping the ball long or trying to break free of his opponents. Was an overall complete midfielder’s game today from the Gippsland star.

#41 Sam Flanders – Flanders was an absolute menace up forward and didn’t allow his opponents a moment of rest. Combined with fellow AFL Academy member Caleb Serong to amass four third-quarter goals which played a vital part in Gippsland’s second half breakaway. He lead the way in the defensive pressure stakes with some bruising tackles, but also showed some good finesse around goals despite kicking five behinds. Looks like a very promising type, and reminds me a bit of former Gippsland forward Tom Papley – who also wears the #41.

#42 Caleb Serong – The 16 year old hasn’t looked out of place at TAC Cup level and this game was no exception. Worked well in tandem with Sam Flanders inside forward 50 and chimed in with two crucial goals during the third term after moving from the wing early on. Can take a good overhead grab and does some smart work around goals, he’s another to watch in the coming years.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 16

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


Northern Knights vs. Western Jets (Michael Alvaro)

Northern Knights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western Jets:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Sandringham Dragons (Matt Balmer)

Oakleigh Chargers:

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

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

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

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

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

Sandringham Dragons:

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

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

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

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

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

Eastern Ranges vs. Calder Cannons 

Eastern Ranges:

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

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

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

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

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

Calder Cannons:

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

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

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers (Peter Williams)

Geelong Falcons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Murray Bushrangers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gippsland Power vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Peter Williams)

Gippsland Power:

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

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

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

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

Bendigo Pioneers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greater Western Victoria Rebels:

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

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

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

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

Dandenong Stingrays:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 10

ROUND Ten of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend and we had scouts watching four of the games. Round 10 is the start of the three week TAC Cup ‘Futures Rounds’ which will see teams play a minimum of 11 bottom-aged players. Read their scouting notes below:

Eastern Ranges vs. Western Jets (Matt Balmer)

Eastern Ranges:

#2 Thomas North – One of the unlucky players to miss out on Vic Metro selection for the opening game, but North did all he could do to bang down the door for a spot in their round three team. North’s hands in close were super and he worked the ball out of the stoppage with ease. His usage on his left foot was good and he hit most of his targets. Would’ve been one of the leading disposal winners on the ground, often looking to play on at all costs.

#7 Jordan Lynch – Stop the game at quarter time and the over-ager would’ve been clear best on ground. Lynch controlled the centre of the ground for most of the day and while he faded out a bit as the game went on with some extra attention from the Jets – he was a great player for them. His strong body at the stoppages helped him win the clearances and he used his agility and burst to move the ball forward at speed. Has presence.

#17 Cody Hirst – Laid an outstanding rundown tackle on O’Halloran in the opening quarter on the 50m arch. Took a nice mark on the lead in the second quarter and used the ball well on his left foot throughout the game. Had a kickable shot on goal in the third quarter 20m out on the run, but was impressive on the outside.

#20 Ben Cardamone – First time I’d noticed Cardamone and he wasn’t a player I had jotted down to watch coming into the clash – but I was impressed by the bottom-ager. Spent time at either end and was lively around the ball – willing to crack in hard and lay tackles. Reckon he’s a player to track over the next 18 months.

#24 Kye Quirk – Played in defensive 50 and the bottom ager was solid without starring. Has a long kick and has good vision with ball in hand. Took a nice mark at ground level in the opening quarter. Was winded in a Buku Khamis tackle in the third quarter nursing a sore head, but played out the game without too much discomfort.

Western Jets:

#1 Jake Hazik – Has an enormous supply of energy and the bottom-ager is as lively as they come. Possess great speed & agility and is fast footed. Booted a nice goal on his left foot close to goal in the opening quarter but his best goal was around the corner in the second quarter of the game over his shoulder. Did miss a kickable shot on the run in the first quarter but he’s someone who certainly will catch the eye.

#11 Zak Butters – Was a big ball winner in the U17 Futures game for Vic Metro last week and provides plenty of run and carry for the Jets team. Is a zippy midfield and while his kicking can be hot and cold, he was pretty good on Saturday. Picks the ball up cleanly from ground level and loves to tackle.

#12 Connor Thar – Roved his first goal from the ruck contest 15m out and was solid right throughout the game. Ball use was good on his right foot and took a nice mark in the last quarter.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – Was a slow starter but his work in the centre of the ground was outstanding. Is a clearance machine and possesses a long kick. When tackled he lifts his arms up and is able to get them free to dish off a handball. Laid some crunching tackles and was superb in the second quarter.

#38 Buku Khamis – Haven’t seen a lot of Khamis up forward but he bagged two goals on his long left foot from outside 50 which were outstanding. He keeps his feet at the contest and has a very good leap. At times he misjudged the flight of the ball and didn’t take as many marks as he could’ve – but I thought it was one of the better games I’ve seen him play. Not a huge ball winner, but his last quarter was special despite missing an easy shot on goal from 15m out.

Gippsland Power vs. Greater Western Victoria Rebels (Peter Williams)

Gippsland Power:

#5 Xavier Duursma – Played a solid role on the outside, moving the ball really well in transition and his ability to get his hands free when tackled is a big plus. Did not win as much of it as others, but seemed to get better as the game went on and kicked a really good goal from a standing start. Almost had a second courtesy of a high leap but just missed.

#7 Will Stephenson – The acting captain for the Power just relishes the big moments. With the game on the line and the Rebels starting to get hold of the match, Stephenson booted three second half goals to turn the game back in Gippsland’s favour. He was in the votes for mine, just behind teammate Cal Porter with the pair booting six majors between them and proving a handful for the opposition.

#15 Cody Henness – A steady hand in defence. He would chop off opposition passes and just hold up the play to regain momentum for Gippsland. He would then size up his options and pass laterally or go long, playing percentage football. A rock back there for Gippsland.

#18 Matthew McGannon – The Power player switched between midfield and defence at times and seemed to judge his kick really well. He had a good pass in the second term where he used his peripheral vision to kick laterally, hit-up a target and allow the Power to run clear of the defensive 50. One of the better Power players on the day and was solid throughout the four quarters.

#19 Callum Porter – Another best on ground performance for mine. Just so strong in the air, wins clearances and kicks goals. His reading of the tap in the last quarter, bursting away, taking a couple of bounces and slotted it from outside 50. Finished with two goals, a large number of contested possessions, contested marks and clearances, he just continues to get the job done and another all-round performance for the inside midfielder.

#20 Kim Drew – Another underrated midfielder at the Power who caught my eye a number of times. He sometimes was let down by his execution, but his decision making was very good. In otherwords, he would kick it to the right areas, and he has that penetrating kick, but it wouldn’t always hit the target lace out. He also had good vision on the outside and was a key mover on the wing.

#24 Sean Masterson – Can play at either end but settled in defence. Started on Jordan Johnston but moved around a fair bit. Took a couple of really neat hangers to show off his aerial ability. Got a bit of the ball and is athletic for his size, so another promising performance for the over-ager.

#25 Kyle Reid – Finished the match with four goals and for mine that’s a good day in any key forward’s book. Proved too strong for his opponents at times, he leads at the football and makes the most of his opportunities. Might have had one or two more but he had a few shots from tight angles. One goal he kicked tight up on the boundary line was his best. A prominent target inside 50.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin – The player to go to in the defensive half, Carlin isn’t rushed with his disposal and will hit up targets over short and medium ranges. Tasked with the kick-in duties, he did not let his side down and often would look for the 1-2 pass coming out of defence. Definetely a defensive playmarker and will be good to watch him develop into a midfielder over the next 18 months given his accurate passing.

#4 Aiden Domic – A very impressive performance from the Rebels midfielder. I’ve always thought he had the talent, but on the weekend he added the hard running to the max and got a tick from me. In one instant he had the ball at half-back, kicked long to a teammate and ran hard enough to receive the pass from that teammate inside 50. Kicked a goal against the flow late and used his pinpoint passing to effect throughout the game. Was very pleased with what he produced.

#9 Flynn Appleby – I took notice of both his offensive and defensive traits from the game. He laid a really good smother early in the third term, and also has that ability to break zones with his long kicking. He showed good hands under pressure and just kept bobbing up throughout the game and could hold his head high from that performance.

#10 Jordan Johnston – Looked to be going for the marks record early on, was hauling them in from everywhere including a high flying grab in the goal square for the first goal of the game. Finished with just the two majors, but played further up the ground as the game went on and hit up targets inside 50 on numerous occassions. A fine performance from the Vic Country squad member.

#15 Trent Reed – Had a truck load of the ball, but his kicking let him down at times. Seemed to rush his disposal a little bit but continually worked hard throughout the match. Copped a knock early and played it out and despite some of the missed kicks would have been one of the Rebels’ best. He covers the ground really well and just continually puts his body on the line and does the team thing with no regard for his own safety.

#23 Lloyd Meek – The standout ruck in the game, he’s just so strong and manhandled his opponents. In the past he’s had the ruckwork ability but this season he’s come in leaps and bounds in terms of using his body to ragdoll opponents. Took several contested marks including a few in defence and just played everywhere on the ground. A presence in the air and so clever around the stoppages.

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Michael Alvaro) 

Northern Knights:

#5 Marcus Lentini – Has returned from a wrist injury well over the last few weeks, settling the Knights across half-back and earning high numbers in disposals. Uncharacteristically shirked a contest in the third term, but worked hard afterwards to rectify it and really dug in for his side going forward. While he was great at setting his side up, his efforts going the other way weren’t as prominent, and he’ll need to work on that as he gains more time in the midfield. That, and blazing away under pressure are probably the things keeping him out of the final Vic Metro squad.

#10 Brody Bell –Utilised on the wing for most of the game, the bottom-ager stood out with his one-on-one prowess and hunger for the contest. Isn’t a high accumulator, but tackles well and already has a decent build, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him thrown into the centre bounces in the future. The Knights have a good history of doing that and it certainly wouldn’t hurt his development.

#13 Ollie Stapleton – Looks much-improved this year and provided some needed dash for the Knights with starts Jack Petruccelle and Patrick Naish on Vic Metro representative duty this weekend. Prone to a clanger or two, but has a lot of upside with his gut-running and knack around goals.

#18 Jamison Shea – The Old-Paradian has enjoyed a decent few weeks as 23rd man for Footscray in the VFL and as a star-man for the Knights. Was played through the middle to capitalise on his improved ball-winning ability, and floated around the ground nicely to win the ball in important areas at both ends. Has really excelled this year with the Knights having more key position outlets, allowing him to play a role more suited to his slight 190cm frame.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#4 Ned Reeves – The Knights tried three different rucks but couldn’t get the better of Oakleigh’s man mountain. Dominated the centre bounces, giving his classy midfielders first use and even chimed in with a goal late in the game.

#6 Matthew Day – Big bodied midfielder with a ton of class. Has terrific hands which he often uses to release teammates on the run, and compliments it well with a booming left foot. Provided a couple of decent highlights throughout the day with a huge run-down tackle and a neat side-step which lead to his first of two goals. Was also rested forward in the second half after hurting his ankle in that tackle and looked dangerous.

#10 Riley Jones – Has an exciting mix of athleticism and courage – showcasing his outstanding leap and strong hands with either a ridiculous mark or attempt in each term. Backed it up with three goals and was menacing throughout the game, latching onto high balls into the 50 that would often go to ground.

#13 Daniel Stanford – The 19-year-old excelled up forward, dominating his side’s 50 for the whole contest. Proved a handful with his work rate and ability to find space, teaming up well with Riley Jones to provide reliable targets. Finished with deserved return of four goals.

#16 Lachlan Bugeja – There isn’t much of this bottom-ager, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the way he wins his contested ball. Provided a combination of grunt and class in the second and third terms which set the sides apart and saw Oakleigh gain an unassailable lead. Attended most of the centre bounces and used the ball well out of them.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Murray Bushrangers (Brandon Hutchinson)

Dandenong Stingrays: 

#29 Bailey Williams – Showed consistent success in his centre hitouts throughout this weekend’s match. The leap and timing of him was not easy to match from the Bushrangers. While not every hitout was correctly capitalised on, his midfield presence in the centre made him a strong target for his team. With an excellence composure, this young man remained a pillar for his team throughout a tough four quarters of football.

#38 Mitch Cotter – The ferocity shown by Cotter is powerful and unmatched. Has no problem throwing his head over the ball. Always in the right place at the right time, and he works hard to eject the football toward his 50 and has no issue playing both offensively and defensively. He is excellent along the ground, snatching up the football whenever he’s near it. This kid is someone to keep an eye on.

#50 Riley D’Arcy – His physical presence did not go unnoticed in the Stingray’s forward 50. In the air he is unparalleled, with firm marking and sharp kicking that launched his team out of the gate in the second quarter. D’Arcy had a strong first half, kicking four assuming an assisting role in the later half of the game. His movement of the ball helped cease midfield scramble, creating smooth movement through the passage toward goal. When he is hit up in front of goal, more often than not is he going to mark and put a score on the board. D’Arcy ended the game with five goals.

#55 Ali Zijai – Has excellent midfield presence and hits the scoreboard. Zijai’s slick running along the wing is a sight to behold. In a game with plenty of stoppages and fumbling, this young fella held the ball tight and put it where it needed to be. On the ground and in the air, Zijai holds his composure under insurmountable opposition pressure. Sharp kicking and excellent run & carry saw this young man set up plenty of goals out of the midfield, as well as kicking three of his own.

Murray Bushrangers: 

#1 Daniel Johnston – Had a realatively quiet game but launched out of the gate as soon as the Bushies got a whiff of victory. He kicked Murray’s first goal for the game and their final goal to put them within two points. His fight came through hard in the final quarter, kicking two to give the Bushrangers a chance. His willingness to attack the ball was quite prevalent in the nail biter, and the hanger he took in the closing minutes was nothing short of incredible.

#18 Hudson Garoni – Was a man on a mission. He opened up Murray’s game launching through two important goals in the first quarter. Was their leading goal kicker for the day, showing no issue dropping them in from any angle. As a smaller forward, this kid has a future and showed it without doubt against the Stingrays.

#21 Doulton Langlands – This man’s work in the backline was a huge reason behind the close finish. His decision-making and running was a key factor behind his teams movement along the wing. When this kid grabbed the ball he was off. It could be easily argued that he was the biggest problem for Stingray’s forward line, being way too quick for any of their players. Langlands has a lot of potential, showing he can do at all if he’s needed to. If you ask me, he definitely has a future in this game.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 9

ROUND Nine of the TAC Cup continued over the weekend and we had scouts watching five of the games. Read their scouting notes below:


Sandringham Dragons vs. Eastern Ranges

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Geordie Nagle – Arguably the Dragons’ best in the hard fought loss. Nagle played a good role in the back pocket and used the ball well. Is trusted with the kick outs and has been one of the Dragons’ best when they’ve been understrength with players at school football.

#22 Quintin Montanaro – Bounced back after a few disappointing games in a row carrying a toe injury. Clean ball user on either foot and can run hard all day. Handballing in close was better than previous weeks.

Eastern Ranges:

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – Took a while to get into the game mixing between forward and playing through the midfield. Finished strongly and was one of the Ranges best booting a vital goal early into the last quarter.

#18 Sam Hayes – Was a class above in the ruck. Won multiple hit outs and looked dangerous throughout the day. Had stints up forward and booted what turned out to be the match-winning goal with not long remaining in the contest.


Geelong Falcons vs. Gippsland Power (Peter Williams)

Geelong Falcons:

#7 Harry Benson – I was most impressed with his performance. Each time I’ve seen him live he seems to get a little bit more damaging. He’s worked on his inside game further as well as his defensive pressure which will undoubtedly show in his tackle statistics and key performance indicators at club level. Benson got his hands dirty on the weekend and played more inside shovelling out handballs, while still providing the run on the outside. The next key for him is working on his kicking under pressure because when having time and space, he is a damaging kick, but under pressure he tends to rush his disposal more than he needs to. One of, if not the best in my eyes for the Falcons.

#12 Bayley Cockerill – Seemed to get better as the game wore on. Played mostly behind the ball, he showed courage going back with the flight, and provided a running option at half-back. Was not afraid to keep the ball moving and kick long to contests. After a quieter start, he provided a real highlight later in the game with a snap from the pocket under pressure. His work rate and ability to just keep pushing throughout four quarters was good.

#17 Cooper Stephens – Played on Irving Mosquito at half-back and had his work cut out for him defensively. But despite Mosquito providing a few highlights, Stephens provided good run and drive out of the back half. He was often used as the designated kick out of defence, or the link-up handball between the back 50 and the midfield. Often combined with Harry Benson or Bayley Cockerill to get the ball moving.

#22 Sam Walsh – A player who just does not panic. Walsh showed plenty of composure in another impressive performance returning to the the Falcons’ line-up from injury. At times he does have that ability to make time stop and assess his options, almost doing a 360 degree spin to work out what to do next. He was often the player that would mark in the middle of the ground and switch play to either wing. Used in a chain of handballs or to penetrate inside forward 50, he got a tick from me for his game. Walsh is still a bottom-ager so I look forward to seeing him over the next 18 months.

#41 Tom McCartin – Aside from his strong marking, the one thing that stood out for me was his ground level work. His clean hands and ability to pick up a ball off the deck, particularly at full speed like he was in one instance in the first quarter was impressive. Despite playing key forward and not kicking a goal, I thought McCartin was one of the Falcons’ best using his work rate and ability to provide a contest to help his side. I think his work at ground level and ability to pick the ball off the deck with clean hands adds a point of difference to other key forwards in the draft.

#46 Adam Garner – Simply too big and too strong for his opponents. Played on a few different Power players, but the result was the same, his contested marking is a treat, sticking up the big gloves and if he didn’t mark it, he always brought it to ground. A straight line forward, for me the next step is his ground level work and decision making as at times he seemed to be a tad slow with disposing of the ball in play. With six goals and a plethora of big marks, Garner could be pleased with his performance in almost hauling the Falcons over the line.

Gippsland Power:

#5 Xavier Duursma – The Power midfielder certainly caught the attention of opposition players with his booming kick and fierce tackling. Moved well across the ground and was one of Gippsland’s better players through the middle. Had a couple of shots on goal, kicking one and narrowly missing another. Has a forward presence with good marking ability and reading of the play. There was an instance in the first term where it looked like he might have panicked a little under pressure and rushed his disposal, but I did not see it again so it could have been a once-off. A solid overall game from Duursma.

#6 Aiden Quigley – The AFL Academy member has a presence around the ground with his tackling and repeat efforts. He showed good decision making throughout the four quarters, but his execution let him down at times. His tackling technique is one that many players could learn as he pins the arm away and forces the umpire to award him a free kick. Seemed to drift out of the game late, but he was far from alone as Geelong took control in the last quarter. Overall he showed good signs defensively, just needs to work on his kicking.

#7 Will Stephenson – This kid just lives for the big moments. Seemed to be quiet in the first half, but in the second half when Geelong was hitting back, he won a couple of cruical one-on-one contests, including one of the last centre clearances. Matched on Cassidy Parish who is arguably the best or one of the best TAC Cup clearance players in the game, Stephenson read the flight of the tap perfectly and kicked inside 50 to hit-up a target with the Falcons pushing hard. They were able to chew vital seconds off the clock and his influence late was a key reason why they held on. Stephenson has plenty of courage and is not afraid to match it with bigger players and go back with the flight.

#9 Irving Mosquito – Everyone has told me how exciting this kid is and after an indifferent start seeing him live at QEO earlier in the season, I was sold by his highlights against the Falcons. A huge vertical leap dangerous around goals, Mosquito kicked a fantastic goal off a step from a tight angle and almost had two with a dribble shot from the boundary just missing. Just oozes X-factor and has great decision making. My knock on him earlier in the season was his ability to rush his disposal at times not realising how much time and space he has, but he did not have that problem on the weekend. Was injured in the last quarter after a late knock following a kick, so hopefully his injury is not too serious.

#19 Callum Porter – A perfect game in terms of offensive and defensive impact from the tough, inside midfielder. Had four tackles within the first minute of play and would drift back to half-back and take the intercept mark, then somehow drift forward and kick four goals. He would have racked up 20 plus disposals, 10 plus tackles, eight to 10 marks and of course four goals, to really put a stap on the game. His ability to mark in a contest against bigger bodies was really telling and he just never took a backwards step. Stood up when Gippsland needed a hero and he provided the forward presence when the Power’s forwards were being well held. Clearly best on ground and a game he is unlikely to forget anytime soon.

#24 Sean Masterson – A quiet game, but stood up at crucial times similar to Stephenson. Nearly every involvement he had was important, whether it was a towering mark at centre half forward or a spoil and intercept at centre half back, Masterson really showed his versatility on the weekend. Played up both ends and while he might not have the strength of his opponents, he has a good leap and is a solid field kicker. He also took a huge mark late in the game and iced the clock, showing his maturity.


Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets (Duncan Robertson)

Oakleigh Chargers:

#8 Toby Wooller – Far too strong and mobile for his Jets opponent. Played a solid game booting two goals in a game where he mostly played inside 50.

#24 Sam Harte – The bottom ager is a classy small midfielder who used his speed on multiple occasions to burst away from the stoppages.

#35 Jack Higgins – Was wasteful in front of goal and could’ve well kicked seven if he had’ve kicked straight. His quality is obvious and the Jets had no answer to his crafty ability through the midfield and up forward as a small forward. Finished with four goals.

Western Jets:

#19 Cameron Rayner – One of the standouts for the Jets, in a solid game by his high standards. Powerful, classy and quick. His ‘speccy’ was play of the day and he booted three goals. The Jets suffered wherever he was moved from, winning the contested ball when he played in the midfield and looking dangerous inside 50 with his contested marking when he went forward. Was unable to settle into one particular role as was switching between forward and midfield constantly throughout the day.

#35 Blake Graham – Worked hard as a lead up target inside 50, making multiple leads but didn’t get much supply.

#37 Hamish Murphy -Tried hard all day in defence with multiple inside 50s for Oakleigh. His intercept work was good and he possesses a very strong left foot which helps him rebound the ball effectively.

#38 Buku Khamis – Played an excellent game as a midsized forward. Was classy and elusive when he had ball in hand. Is a strong body at the contests and has good hands to dispose of the ball.


Calder Cannons vs. Northern Knights (Billy Friend)

Calder Cannons:

#1 Brad Bernacki – An inspiring best on ground performance from the Calder captain today, as he willed his team to their first home victory this season. Bernacki collected 39 touches in the midfield whilst applying constant pressure around the ball. The tough inside midfielder found pockets of space around the ground but his most influential work was done at the clearances.

#2 Dylan Landt – Accumulated in the midfield with expertise and kicked the game sealing goal with a left foot snap. He displayed his endurance and work rate throughout the contest. His football smarts are very good and he was often able to get to the right place at the right time.

#4 Mohammed Moustafa – Didn’t collect a lot of the ball, but his strength in the contest really stood out. Moustafa shook off tackles and was clean when the ball was in dispute.

#8 Lachlan Sholl – Played an outside role to perfection as he pushed back to take marks in the hole and found space to accumulate possessions all around the ground. Was efficient by foot.

#11 Jake Firebrace – Made up for a number of first half errors and fumbles with a solid second half performance. His sidestep and ferocious pressure was important for Calder heading inside forward fifty

#12 Noah Balta – Appeared to be a level above his opponents for most of the day. His athletic leap was a standout as he took three spectacular overhead marks both in defence and in the forward line. He kicked two crucial goals in the last quarter to ice the game after playing the first half at centre half back and was second best to Bernacki on the day.

#26 Mason Fletcher – Was commanding in defence and held the Northern key forwards at bay. Took some strong intercept marks and made critical spoils. Disposed of the ball well coming out of defensive 50.

#29 Jake Riccardi – Played well as the focal point of the Cannons’ attack for most of the day and finished with three goals. His hands were strong as he took contested marks, but also lead hard to present an option for teammates.

#33 Jack Evans – Played an almost identical role to Mason Fletcher. Evans was commanding in defence and held the Northern key forwards at bay. Took some strong intercept marks and made critical spoils. Disposed of the ball well coming out of defensive 50.

#39 Jesse Firebrace – Excited in the first quarter as Calder’s live wire in the forward half, kicking two early goals. His small frame didn’t stop him from imposing himself around contests and his speed & agility was a real weapon for the Cannons.

Northern Knights:

#5 Marcus Lentini – Was the delivery man in the back half and his run & dash was important. He rebounded the ball well and took a couple of intercept marks.

#7 Jack Petruccelle – A fairly quiet performance by his lofty standards, but he did show glimpses where he went forward and took two strong contested marks and kicked a goal. His impact in the midfield was subdued.

#10 Brody Bell – Played well as a loose player behind the stoppage and was clean with his disposal. Didn’t have a huge impact but had his moments.

#11 Ethan Penrith – His speed and agility was lethal deep forward and he kicked an outstanding goal beating three opponents in the third quarter. He tried hard all day and was one of Northern’s best with his tackling pressure and pinpoint field kicking.

#15 Anthony Fable – Probably kicked the goal of the day as he showed off his lightning speed and long kick. His tackling pressure was a level above most of his teammates and his service into the forward line was lethal.

#32 Patrick Howe – Kicked two goals in the first quarter and continued to be dangerous as a third tall as the game went on.

#34 Matthew Harman – Fought hard in the ruck without much help and won most of the hitouts today. His hitout to advantage rate was not high as the Cannons midfield got on top especially in the second half.


Greater Western Victoria Rebels vs. Murray Bushrangers (Billy Friend)

Greater Western Victoria Rebels:

#1 Dale Cox – Showed agility across half back and pressurised the Murray forwards constantly. He needs to improve his kicking but showed impressive signs.

#4 Aiden Domic – His hard running was a highlight and he kicked a superb midfield goal where he impacted the contest on the wing and ended up with the ball in the forward line seconds later. Was one of the leading ball winners on the ground.

#6 Keegan Gray – Found plenty of space on the wing and probably gained the most metres of all his teammates. Showed impressive endurance to cover the ground and collect possessions at ease.

#9 Flynn Appleby – Displayed overhead marking prowess. He was swung forward and took strong marks, kicking two goals.

#16 Joe Dodd – Kicked a goal and did a lot of good work up the ground.

#19 Jackson Taurau – Was outmuscled by Johnston on several occasions but fought back with impressive spoils in the second half. At 188cm was undersized against the Murray key forwards.

#22 Naish McRoberts – Stood out in the Rebels midfield as his clean hands resulted in many clearances. He kicked a booming goal from fifty metres out and was a shining light.

#24 Matty Lloyd – His disposals were classy and impactful as Lloyd once again caught the eye. He was best on ground in the first half but his impact was limited as the Rebels were overwhelmed in the second half. Kicked a nice goal too.

#40 Tylar Watts – Busted his guts all day and presented as a strong option up forward. He kicked three goals and won most of his one-on-one duals with the Bushranger defenders. When asked to pinch hit in the ruck he made some nice contributions shovelling the ball out by hand to outside runners.

Murray Bushrangers: 

#1 Daniel Johnston – Was a man mountain at full forward and got the better of Taurau and co. He kicked three goals in the second quarter and was too big and too strong. Johnston also provided an imposing physical presence when he pinch hit in the ruck through laying tackles and even clearing the ball on a couple of occasions.

#3 Benjamin Kelly – Monstered his direct opponent in the ruck and easily won the share of the hitouts. He showed off quick hands to dish the ball off to his midfielders but mainly impressed with his physicality.

#7 Zane Barzen – Showed off his impressive vertical leap by taking mark of the day in the first half. Brazen kicked three goals in a minute, (yes, you read that correctly) and shined today as one of Murray’s most dangerous forwards.

#8 Jacob Koschitzke – Read the fight of the ball excellently in defence, saving the day on a few occasions by repelling the Rebels’ entries forward.

#18 Hudson Garoni – Did not find much of the ball but did show potential taking two strong overhead marks.

#19 Will Donaghey – Showed off his flexibility today rotating between defence and midfield, and he accumulated the ball with ease.

#21 Doulton Langlands – Showed poise coming off half back and was one of Murray’s best. He took a number of intercept marks in the defensive 50 and was a partner in crime with Samuel Beasley.

#27 Harrison Jones – Started off slow in the first half but was monumental in the third and fourth quarters to orchestrate the second half smashing. Jones showed a combination of toughness and class around stoppages, and appeared to be a real leader for Murray. Kicked a great goal from 40m out too.

#42 Samuel Beasley – Was terrific rebounding the ball out of defence. Demanded the ball and didn’t let anyone down as he showed his proficiency by foot. Beasley also showed a gritty determination with one percenters and spoils in the backline.

Looking Ahead TAC Cup Round 4

Bendigo Pioneers (10th, 1-2) vs. Oakleigh Chargers (4th, 2-1)

Both Bendigo and Oakleigh contain some of their top-end talent despite the likes of Lochie O’Brien, Paddy Dow and Jarrod Brander missing due to school football for the Pioneers. The Pioneers’ strength in my opinion lies across the half-back line with all those players – Kane Farrell, Keelin Betson and Darby Henderson pushing up into the midfield as well. Their midfield holds up well, but their medium talls often have to play key position roles, with the likes of Bailey Henderson and Daine Grace both showing signs despite some inconsistencies at times this season.

I think the Pioneers might struggle with height as they have so far this season with Toby Wooller the one to watch up forward for the Chargers. Jack Higgins and Louis Cunningham will provide run through the middle and the likes of Callum Searle and Riley Jones holding up the defensive end. Oakleigh rebounded from a loss to Sandringham in the first round to post two victories and I think they will record one here.

The Chargers win more of the football, dominate the contested possession and lead the Pioneers across most statistical categories. Bendigo’s rebounding has been fairly good this season, as has their disposal by hand, not so much by foot. Bendigo is not the Bendigo of past years and will put up a real fight and at full strength I think the Pioneers would have them. But looking at the teams on paper, Oakleigh is my tip for this game.

Players to watch:

Bendigo: Darby Henderson: 27 disposals (11 contested), four marks, five clearances, three inside 50s, 91 DT points

Oakleigh: Jack Higgins: 30 disposals (14 contested), eight marks, five tackles, three clearances 127 DT points


Dandenong Stingrays (6th, 2-1) vs. Sandringham Dragons (2nd, 3-0)

Since the start of the season I have tipped Dandenong Stingrays for the flag and am not one to jump off the bandwagon. The return of Hunter Clark and Tom De Koning will aid the Stingrays at Frankston Oval, with Sandringham literally unrecognisable from the previous week with a whopping 15 changes – welcome back school football.

Dandenong’s top-end talent and ability to rebound will be too much for Sandringham and hand the Dragons their first loss. Mason De Wit and Bailey Morrish are two of the unlucky ones not to be drafted this season and both Clark and De Koning will be important in the Stingrays’ push going forward. I think they will miss Ali Zijai who has been one of the Stingrays’ best this season, however I’ll look forward to seeing bottom-ager Tom Hogan strut his stuff again after impressing in glimpses. Whether he will fit in the forward line with De Koning and Riley D’Arcy is yet to be seen, but he may end up sharing the ruck duties with Bailey Williams and Tom Roberts.

For the Dragons, Hamish Brayshaw and Quintin Montanaro are a couple of midfielders that will try and maintain continuity in the side, while Hayden McLean will be a tough ask to shut down for the opposition defence, with Will Walker and Max Lohan another couple to keep an eye on in this match.

The Dragons have used the ball well on the outside and have subsequently had low contested ball numbers. They play a high-skilled outside brand of football and the Stingrays would be aiming to try and force them to play more inside in order to counteract their possession play. I think the Stingrays will be too strong and the Dragons will need a few weeks to get used to their mass changes.

Players to watch:

Dandenong: Mason De Wit: 18 disposals, five marks, six rebounds, 77 per cent kicking efficiency, 63 DT points

Sandringham: Quintin Montanaro: 19 disposals, seven marks, six handball receives, 73 per cent kicking efficiency, 71 DT points


Eastern Ranges (7th, 1-2) vs. Geelong Falcons (1st, 3-0)

This match will be the match of the round in my opinion with a number of top-end talents returning to the teams. It will be the spectators’ loss that Adam Cerra will not take the field, but with Sam Hayes and Jaidyn Stephenson running around, there will still be plenty of excitement for the Ranges. Harrison Nolan is a key defender who will no doubt be on AFL clubs radars, while Eastern’s midfield is as good as anyone’s, but I think Geelong have them covered in this game.

James Worpel returns, he joins Cassidy Parish on the inside and that is the best 1-2 inside combination in the league, while Harry Benson, Oscar Brownless and Matthew Ling provide the Falcons with an embarrassment of riches. David Handley will be looking to continue his strong early season form while Tom McCartin is moving forward to follow in brother Paddy’s footsteps. Throw in Ethan Floyd, Gryan Miers and Hayden Elliot and it’s no wonder why this side is undefeated at the top of the table.

I think Geelong will remain at the top of the table after overcoming Eastern in this game. They lead them in most categories except hitouts – which they know they will lose due to height – and then clearances and contested possessions – both of which will change given Worpel is back in and Cerra is out for the Ranges. With the Falcons having a superior kicking efficiency as well, I think the will get the job done here.

Players to watch:

Eastern: Jaidyn Stephenson: 15 disposals (10 contested), six marks (two contested), four inside 50s, eight goals, 96 DT points

Geelong: James Worpel: 19 disposals (nine contested), six tackles, six clearances, seven inside 50s, 72 DT points


Western Jets (9th, 1-2) vs. Gippsland Power (8th, 1-2)

It is fair to say these sides have not had the start they would have liked, but after seeing Gippsland live last week, I feel they are better than their results are showing. Aidan Quigley returns this week which is a boost, and the Power has a good balance of talls and smalls around the ground. Will Stephenson just steps up when needed, while Nick Hogan, Callum Porter and Austin Hodge always provide effort over four quarters. Sean Masterson was good at full-forward last week but has been named at full-back to tackle Tristan Xerri this week. I do like him more as a forward, but we will see how that pans out.

For the Jets, they seemed lost without their two stars in Cam Rayner and Lachlan Fogarty. Those two jets – pardon the pun – are the lynchpin of the side and allow others to run on the outside. Xerri is raw but marks the ball at the highest point, while Judah Dundon and Nicholas Stuhldreier will always work hard. Both sides are pretty even across the board, but with Gippsland ahead on both the inside and outside they will have the slight advantage. However their footskills let them down while the Jets have been comparatively good by hand or foot and with good clearance ability, the Jets will always give their forwards first use.

The ability to put out a consistent team each week works in Gippsland’s favour and based on seeing these teams last week, I will be putting my tip the way of the Power who surprised me and I think they will continue this week.

Players to watch:

Western: Nicholas Stuhldreier: 19 disposals (seven contested), four marks, four tackles, four inside 50s, 79 DT points

Gippsland: Nick Hogan: 21 disposals (12 contested), five clearances, five inside 50s, three tackles, 75 DT points


Northern Knights (5th, 2-1) vs. Murray Bushrangers (3rd, 2-1)

In the first of the Sunday games at RAMS Arena, Northern Knights and Murray Bushrangers will be fighting for a top four spot. The Knights have a really strong midfield led by Nick Coffield, Patrick Naish, Marcus Lentini and Jack Petruccelle. The emergence of Max Dreher further this season has allowed Naish to play further up the ground, with Dreher and Ethan Penrith also able to drift through that midfield. Joel Grace booted six goals in their last match so no doubt he will be tightly watched by the Bushrangers defence.

For Murray, they always put out a really competitive team and with a half-back line of Doulton Langlands, Alex Paech and Ben Paton, expect there to be no shortage of drive and rebounding out of the Bushrangers defence. Both teams’ half-back lines are strong and Murray have a number of players that have shown signs including Isaac Wallace, Will Donaghey and Angus Hicks, while Nick Richards will be keen to bounce back from a quieter round three match following two strong performances in the first fortnight.

The Bushrangers’ strengths lie in their foot skills compared to the Knights and their ability to control possession. They do struggle a little on the inside compared to past years, but provide plenty of pressure to the opposition. The Knights have been good around the stoppages and equally frenetic without the ball and I think they will get the job done here. Northern is my tip.

Players to watch:

Northern: Max Dreher: 24 disposals (12 contested), five marks, five tackles, five clearances, three rebounds, 91 DT points

Murray: Ben Paton: 25 disposals, six marks, six rebounds, three tackles, 98 DT points


Calder Cannons (12th 0-3) vs. GWV Rebels (11th, 0-3)

Two of the smallest teams in the TAC Cup will do battle in the final game of the round with avoiding going winless after four rounds the carrot dangled in front of them. What makes this game more interesting than an 11th versus 12th clash is the fact that both have similar strengths and weaknesses. Both midfields are really solid, with Calder’s Jean-Luc Velissaris, Brad Bernacki and Ben Caluzzi facing Aiden Domic, Cal Wellings and Thomas Berry. I think the Rebels’ midfield bats a little deeper, but Calder does have the better talls. Keep an eye out for Scott Carlin who is skilful by foot and will be one to watch for next season, while Cannons excitement machine Jesse Firebrace is small but packs a punch.

Noah Balta is the star of the show and will be a high draft pick, but he has his work cut out for him against Lloyd Meek who has been one of the in-form ruckmen of the competition. Mitch Podhajski will look to use his “height” of 190cm to lead the Calder defence, while the Rebels will hope that their speed will counteract the Cannons’ height up the other end. It is almost scary to think 200cm Daniel Hanna could line-up on 188cm Jackson Taurau.

I think this match will come down to match conditions. I think in patches the Rebels have shown some signs, but so has Calder. The problem with both these teams is they tend to drift off for a quarter and the opposition boots a bag of goals and it hurts. Given I am very much on the fence I will turn to the stats where the Rebels have been superior by foot, in the hit-outs, clearances and inside 50s. Calder has been much better rebounding, but with the Rebels ahead in more areas, I will select them without a great deal of confidence either way.

Players to watch:

Calder: Jean-Luc Velissaris: 17 disposals (eight contested), four marks, six inside 50s, five tackles, 84 DT points

GWV: Callan Wellings: 28 disposals (15 contested), seven marks, eight clearances, eight tackles, five rebounds, 123 DT points

Division Two Round 3 Wrap

The newly formatted Under 18 Academy Series continued over the weekend, despite the AFL Academy game going ahead meaning some teams were under strength. The series will take a break over the next two weekends, returning back on April 29th. (The postponed match between Brisbane Lions and Tasmania will be played on April 22nd)

Despite being undermanned, the GWS Giants Academy prevailed over Tasmania by 11 points at North Hobart Oval on Saturday.

Nicholas Shipley continued his stellar form in the academy series, collecting 17 disposals and laying 11 tackles as a strong player at the contest. Tom Highmore was also a prominent figure through the midfield with 18 disposals and seven marks.

It was however, Laine Fitzgerald (24 disposals, six clearances) and Doulton Langlands (18 disposals, seven marks) who were the difference in the contest, both racking up the ball through the midfield.

Both players are eligible to the open draft pool after GWS were stripped of part of their zone last month.

Tasmania’s captain Lachlan Clifford was the Mariners clear standout with 23 disposals, seven tackles, seven clearances and three goals – an effort which will do his possibilities of an Allies squad call up no harm.

TASMANIA                3.1    5.6    8.3    12.5 (77)
GWS ACADEMY         2.1    6.2    10.3 14.4 (88)        

GOALS
TASMANIA: Clifford 3, Buechner 3, Dixon 2, Pearce, Auckland, Brenner, B McGuinness
GWS ACADEMY: Paech 3, Lane 2, Stevens 2, Pollock, Walker, Highmore, Palombi, Briggs, Cuthbert, Koschitzche 

BEST
TASMANIA: Clifford, Buechner, Pearce, Dixon, Brenner
GWS ACADEMY: Highmore, Shipley, Langlands, Gaynor, Owen-Auburn, Fitzgerald


Sydney Swans bottom-age academy prospect Nick Blakey continued to turn heads, with a four goal effort helping the Swans to a 66-point victory over the Gold Coast Suns Academy.

Blakey finished the game with 18 disposals and booted all four of his goals in the second quarter to take the game away from the Suns.

Half-forward Luke Skrivanic showed speed and agility, booting three goals from 14 disposals. Overager Jake Brown collected 26 disposals, five clearances and booted two goals in one of his best games in the academy series so far.

For the Suns, Bailey Scott had 16 disposals, five inside 50s and kicked a goal from the midfield. Scott is eligible for North Melbourne, Geelong and Gold Coast at a discount.

Connor Nutting was the Suns’ best and moved well around the ground, while Sam Davidson had 18 disposals, nine marks and six inside 50s.

SYDNEY ACADEMY              4.3       8.5       10.9    15.11 (101)
GOLD COAST ACADEMY     3.2       3.3       4.5       5.5 (35) 

GOALS
Sydney Academy: Blakey 4, Skrivanic 3, Carroll 2, Brown 2, Wicks, Rankin, Carr, Stewart
Gold Coast Academy: Arnold, Foster, Watson, Scott, Beaman

BEST
Sydney Academy: 
Carroll, Skrivanic, Wicks, Stewart, Osborne, Rogers
Gold Coast Academy: Nutting, Heron, Foster, Smith, Arnold, Davidson


Brisbane Lions Academy defender Jack Payne continued to standout in the Under 18 Academy Series, aiding the Lions to a 50-point with over Northern Territory at TIO Stadium in Darwin on Saturday.

Payne’s strong one-on-one work was outstanding and he used the ball well coming out of defensive 50.

193cm key forward Billy Drake bagged three goals, as did smart half-forward Billy Johnson who worked hard all day.

Northern Territory themselves were undermanned with Zac Bailey missing through school football commitments in South Australia.

Bottom age 176cm forward Beau Schwarze booted four goals and was a hard match up for the Lions.

Tall Marcus Valastro played in multiple positions for NT and continued to compete hard all day, finishing as his side’s best player.

NORTHERN TERRITORY               1.1      3.2         6.4          8.6 (54)
BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY       6.1      8.5       11.7        16.8 (104) 

GOALS
Northern Territory: Schwarze 4, Mu, Hutt, Bricknell, Althouse-Cooper
Brisbane Lions Academy: Drake 3, Johnson 3, Fletcher 2, Kristelly, Aston, Stackelberg, Coleman, Lambert, Fleming, Franks, Warren

BEST
Northern Territory: Valastro, Schwarze, Holt-Fitz, Green, Bull, Hutt
Brisbane Lions Academy: Matthews, Franks, Johnson, Payne, Tomkinson

Weekend That Was – Round 9

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WET, COLD and MUDDY were three words that summed up Round 9 of the TAC Cup.

With the weather struggling to hit the teens and constant rain, it made it the first weekend where no team hit 100 points.

In the opening game of the ground, an undermanned Sandringham Dragons accounted for the Eastern Ranges by 43-points.

The Dragons put the foot down in the second quarter with seven goals to two, ensuring they’d collect their sixth win of the season.

Corey Lyons was one of the Dragons’ best players, with 18 disposals and three goals in one of his best performances to date. In the wet, Thomas North threw his body around for the Ranges laying 11 tackles and collecting 27 disposals. Josh Begley too continued his good form with 24 disposals spending more time in the midfield for the second week in a row.

In what turned out to be the match of the round, Calder Cannons came from behind to knock over the Oakleigh Chargers, thanks to a superb individual effort from Muhammad Saad.

After quarter time, Calder’s intensity and pressure lifted and was better than their opponents in the wet with the Cannons outscoring Chargers by four goals to one after half time.

Saad’s incredible afternoon finished with seven goals, taking some nice marks overhead despite the weather. Zach Guthrie continued his strong month of football with 28 disposals, using the ball well off half back.

At North Port Oval, North Ballarat Rebels took the four points with a 37-point victory over the Gippsland Power. 

Left out of the Vic Country side, Willem Drew proved the selectors wrong with a 21 disposal display but it was Rebel James Gow who claimed best-on-ground claims with 29 disposals and three goals.

The 174cm midfielder is one of the better kicks in the draft pool and performances like Saturday’s will continue to push his name come November.

Jacob Wheelahan was the other multiple goal kicker for the Rebels, kicking three goals from his 21 disposals.

Despite the loss, Power small Will Stephenson had 37 disposals and laid an incredible 17 tackles in his best game for Gippsland.

At Burbank Oval, Northern Knights pulled off an upset against the Western Jets by 33-points.

A low scoring first quarter saw just two goals kicked- but an eight goal to three second half by the Knights gave them their second win of the year lifting them off the bottom.

Knights player Patrick Lipinski had his best game for the season with 30 disposals and seven tackles, while James Hewson kicked a bag of five goals.

Connor Griffiths (27 disposals) and Brodie Romensky (25 disposals) were two of the Jets who dug deep all day.

In Saturday’s other game, Geelong Falcons and Murray Bushrangers had plenty to play for with the winner claiming top spot on the ladder.

The Bushies led all the way up to three quarter time, leading by a point, before Geelong kicked three goals to one, to finish victorious by 14-points. 

Doulton Langlands had 28 disposals in the midfield for the Bushies, while forward Esava Ratugolea kicked four goals in the absence of Zach Sproule & Todd Marshall who were representing the Allies.

With Xavier College having the bye, Falcons ruckman Sean Darcy was dominent all day in the ruck with 40 hit-outs, allowing for Geelong to have first hands on the ball.

Cassidy Parish (younger brother of Essendon’s Darcy) had 21 disposals and kicked two goals.

In the final game of the round, Dandenong Stingrays collected a win, with an unconvincing performance over the Bendigo Pioneers. 

The Stingrays kicked 9.23 and rest assured they’ll be working on their goal kicking practice at training over the next two weeks!

 

 

Charlie Martello and Dan Allsop kicked three goals for the visitors who sit in second place, trailing the Falcons by four points.

Two of Bendigo’s 19-year-olds Jack Exell (34 disposals) and Jamieson Sheahan (29 disposals) fought hard for the Pioneers, but they were unable to notch their fourth win of the year.

This weekend, the TAC Cup have a development weekend meaning no games will be played. However, the best Victorians will be battling it out on Queens Birthday Monday at Simonds Stadium, with Vic Country U18s playing Vic Metro U18s