AFTER a five-game round last week, the full set is back for Round 10 with all 12 teams taking part in the first of two Futures Rounds. In Futures Rounds, squads are extended to 24, and at least 11 bottom-age players must be in the side. This gives recruiters a chance to get a glimpse of the bottom-age talent coming through the ranks and get an idea about where players sit for 2019.
EASTERN RANGES v. CALDER CANNONS
Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 10.30am
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill
It would have been hard to believe a few rounds ago, but Eastern Ranges head into the home clash with Calder Cannons on a hot streak, having picked up two consecutive wins and looking strong. They play yet another game there and come up against a Calder Cannons side that took it right up to the Gippsland Power despite the Cannons missing the majority of their best 22. Calder’s two key forwards are in good form, with Jake Riccardi booting four goals in the final term last round to single-handedly ensure the Cannons snatched two points, while John Roumeliotis is building up some consistency after missing three years through knee injuries. Daniel Hanna is rock solid in defence, while Lucas Cavallaro had another consistent performance out of the back half last week and looks to be a danger man in this clash. For Eastern, the loss of Xavier Fry and James Blanck will hurt, but the midfield that got the job done against Bendigo Pioneers is still intact with Lachlan Stapleton, Joel Burleigh, Kye Quirk and Mitch Mellis forming a good quartet in the centre. Ben Cardamone has been consistent in defence. This is set to be a close contest.
WESTERN JETS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 10.30am
Williamstown Football Ground, Williamstown
The Western Jets will be disappointed their winning streak was broken last week, with their depth tested against an impressive Geelong Falcons outfit. The Northern Knights on the other hand will be pleased they got over the line against GWV Rebels in tough conditions at MARS Stadium following a good final term. Oscar White and Justin McInerney both return to the visitors team in what will be a boost for the Knights in the clash, while a couple of potential father-son prospects are in for the Jets in Oskar Manton and Tyler Kolyniuk. Western’s strength is in its midfield, similar to Northern, and it will be a great contest to watch Connor Thar, Jack Watkins and Jaden Rice go head-to-head with McInerney, White and Ryan Sturgess among others in a deep midfield group. Aaron Clarke and Steven Kyriazis can cause headaches up forward for the Jets, while talented bottom-ager Josh D’Intinosante has been named at half-back after an impressive game on-ball last week. Patrik Della Rocca, Sunny Brazier and Harrison Grace provide three different elements to the Knights’ forward line, while Hamish Murphy and Darcy Cassar are others who have been important players for the home side this season.
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 10.30am
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh
A mid-season clash between Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons does not always bring about too many top-age talents given the National Championships and school football commitments, but there is plenty to like about both sides when they go head-to-head at Warrawee Park tomorrow. The Dragons will look to address a form slump due to the amount of upheaval to their side, losing four of the past five games. Meanwhile the Chargers have also slipped, albeit defeating the Murray Bushrangers a couple of weeks ago. A win to Oakleigh could see the Chargers back in the top four, while it could also mean the Dragons drop outside the top eight. On the other side of the coin, the Dragons could move to sixth, and sit just four points behind the Chargers in fifth, with a victory. In line with Futures Round, Oakleigh has gone in with a young, but talented side, with Matt Rowell headlining the bottom-agers after returning from Vic Metro duties. He, Trent Bianco and Bailey Wraith will be important inclusions, in a side that looks to have plenty of grunt, speed and class. After a big day out last week, Matt Day will be a loss up forward, while Sam Harte and Lachlan Bugeja have been consistent, however Atu Bosenavulagi is finding some good form, and Jack Ross is a crucial inclusion as well. For the Dragons, their side might look even stronger on paper, with the return of many players from school football. Key position players Fischer McAsey and Will Kennedy return to the fold to provide some quality height, while Kai Owens, Liam Stocker and Harry Houlahan will provide a good core midfield that will challenge the Chargers.
DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS
Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 1pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong
Dandenong has been the benchmark in the competition this season, and can move eight points clear on top with a victory here and an unlikely loss to Gippsland. For the Rebels, they can leapfrog Geelong into ninth and be just percentage away from Calder in eighth with a win. GWV will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing final term against Northern Knights last weekend. Stephen Cumming is an important inclusion into the team, allowing Bailey Schmidt to go forward more often for the Stingrays, while Finlay Bayne returns to the team due to a bye in school football. Jai Taylor also slots back into the team after representing Vic Country last week, and a midfield of Campbell Hustwaite, Jamie Plumridge and Lachlan McDonnell is always going to be challenging, while Reid Nanscawen was another who stepped up for the Stingrays in Round 9. For the Rebels, they lose Scott Carlin who has been a slick ball user off half-back, but regain Matty Lloyd in the same position, while retaining what on paper could be the most underrated forward line. With Josh Chatfield, Jed Hill, Izaac Grant and Charlie Wilson all rotating through there, the speed and goal sense is high, it will just be putting it all together for four quarters. The Stingrays will head in as strong favourites for the clash, but the Rebels could trouble them with their speed up forward.
GIPPSLAND POWER v. BENDIGO PIONEERS
Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 2pm
Windy Hill, Essendon
In an afternoon game, Gippsland Power hosts Bendigo Pioneers at Windy Hill in a venue about halfway between both locations. The Power will be disappointed they only took two points away from their clash against Calder Cannons at home, their second draw of the season at the venue. While the Pioneers notched up another defeat, this time to Eastern Ranges leaving them outright bottom of the table with nine straight losses. They will hope to turn it around with a good win here, but will have to do so without a series of important players. Zane Keighran, Liam Marciano, Josh Grace, Phill Moi Moi and Lucas Caccaviello have all been consistent players of late and will be sorely missed, but the return of AFL Academy member Brodie Kemp will be important for the Pioneers. Along with in-form ruck Daniel Keating and the Perez brothers – Oscar and Flynn – tearing it up on the wings, the Pioneers still have plenty of speed around the ground and capable of getting it inside 50. For the Power, they bring back live-wire Irving Mosquito who did not quite come up last week from a hamstring injury, but seems right to go now, and will be keen to play well in the hope of a Vic Country call-up in the final game against South Australia at GMHBA Stadium. The Power midfield is very strong with Brock Smith, Riley Baldi, Bailey Beck, Boadie Motton and Mosquito forming a really consistent base at the feet of Rylan Henkel. Austin Hodge can play forward or through the midfield, and Tyrone Hayes, Ryan Sparkes and Jake Van Der Pligt provide plenty of speed and rebound out of defence. Gippsland head in as very strong favourites, but they were last week, so they will be hoping to learn from the lessons and grab the four points here.
GEELONG FALCONS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Round 10 – Saturday, June 23, 2.15pm
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee
In the final game of the round, an understrength young Geelong Falcons side meets an almost full-strength Murray Bushrangers outfit in what will be a great challenge for the Falcons. Vic Country selection has not done the Falcons much favours, losing Dane Hollenkamp and Blake Schlensog in what will be exciting for Geelong to see them on the MCG, but more so for the opposition with key position forward and TAC Cup leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, X-factor Zane Barzen, and talented bottom-ager Lachlan Ash, all returning to the Bushrangers side. Couple that with the fact a virtually untouched midfield of Ely Smith, Dylan Clarke and Kyle Clarke has been performing, and Geelong will need to be at its best to topple the Bushrangers. For Geelong, Brayden Ham continues to put his hand up to recruiters with another four goals last week, named at half-back this week. Baxter Mensch has not slowed down pulling in big numbers and clearances week-in, week-out, while acting captain Cooper Cartledge will be tasked with leading a young defence – while potentially given the job on the in-form Garoni. The match is likely to see what the bottom-agers can do for the Falcons, while the Bushrangers will be supremely confident they can take the four points in this clash.