Tag: Joel Amartey

Sandringham Dragons 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.

Sandringham Dragons

Finished: 2nd
Wins: 13
Losses: 8
Draws: 0
Percentage:
 123
Points: 44 (eliminated in grand final)

Players Drafted: (7)

  • Andrew Brayshaw (Fremantle)
  • Will Walker (North Melbourne)
  • Charlie Constable (Geelong)
  • Nathan Murphy (Collingwood)
  • Hamish Brayshaw (West Coast)
  • Angus Styles (Sydney)
  • Joel Amartey (Sydney)

2017 Review:

In 2016, Sandringham Dragons were the talk of the AFL Draft world with an abundance of draftees in the first round to complement their premiership. In 2017, they had an impressive seven players drafted, including the Brayshaw brothers – Andrew and Hamish – heading to Perth, Will Walker picked by North Melbourne, Charlie Constable heading down the highway to the Cattery and Nathan Murphy donning the black and white stripes for season 2018. Meanwhile in the rookie draft, Angus Styles and Joel Amartey were reunited within a round of each other as the pair was selected by Sydney.

On the field in 2017, Sandringham had another impressive season, finishing top four and then making its way to the grand final after defeating Oakleigh Chargers in the preliminary final. At half-time in the grand final against the Geelong Falcons it looked like the Dragons would win back-to-back flags, but a dismal third quarter turned the game on its head. In a remarkable turnaround, the Dragons stormed home and almost stole the flag back with Amartey marking just before the siren, but his kick missed and the Falcons breathed a sigh of relief. Nonetheless, the Dragons had yet another strong season.

In 2018, the Dragons are the envy of the competition with the best 1-2 tall combo in twins Max and Ben King. Along with them, there are quite a few talented players who will divide their TAC Cup time with their school football. Another big year is predicted for Sandringham.

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2018 Preview:

Sandringham Dragons have the much talked about twin-towers in Max and Ben King who can play either end or through the ruck. In 2017, Max played up forward and pinch hit in the ruck, while Ben primarily stayed down back, occasionally reliving the ruckman when in the defensive 50. Bailey Smith is another player who could push into the top 10 come draft night, with the outside midfielder spending the majority of his time in defence this season and showing he has no issues finding the ball.

Max King (Sandringham Dragons) 201cm | 81kg | Key Position Forward/Ruck
2017 TAC Cup: (7) 7.7 disposals | 3.4 marks | 7.7 hitouts | 1.4 goals | 57% KE | 65% DE | 63% CP

Max primarily played the ruck/forward role at TAC Cup level and was impressive in the air and in front of goal. He covered the ground well and showed off his versatility having had an ultra-impressive year for Haileybury in the APS competition. He is one of a number of players likely to command a top five pick in next year’s draft.

Ben King (Sandringham Dragons) 201cm | 79kg | Key Position Defender/Ruck
2017 TAC Cup: (9) 13.7 disposals | 4.8 marks | 0.8 tackles | 2.2 rebounds | 69% KE | 77% DE | 42% CP

Ben played down back for the Dragons and was strong overhead and used also as a rebounding defender. He has a long effective kick and also played forward during the school season with Haileybury teammate Oscar Clavarino holding down the fort in defence. He reads the play well and could well go top five with his brother.

Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons) 183cm | 74kg | Medium Defender/Outside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (12) 24.3 disposals | 4.1 marks | 2.3 clearances | 2.5 inside 50s | 3.9 rebounds | 73% KE | 77% DE | 38% CP

A huge ball winner in the TAC Cup last season, Smith showed he was capable of playing midfield mid-season when his teammates were unavailable during the National Under 18s Championships, then was dominant in defence often tasked with the kick-out duties. He is a deadly kick of the football and averaged almost four rebounds per game, so expect him to settle into the midfield and see what he is capable of with a full-time role in there.

Others to keep an eye on:

Joel Crocker (Sandringham Dragons) 188cm | 69kg | Outside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (5) 16.4 disposals | 4.4 marks | 1.4 tackles | 2.6 inside 50s | 56% KE | 65% DE | 28% CP

Nicholas Stamatis (Sandringham Dragons) 175cm | 70kg | Small Utility
2017 TAC Cup: (10) 13.5 disposals | 2.2 marks | 4.4 tackles | 2.1 inside 50s | 65% KE | 76% DE | 32% CP

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Summary:

Sandringham Dragons have been the most successful team of the past two years and with their twin towers and multiple other talents already emerging, it is clear 2018 is another year likely to keep smiles on the faces of the Dragons faithful. They had the seven players drafted in 2017, following on from a remarkable 2016 draft period. They will be up there with the best at the end of the 2018 season so do not be surprised to see them playing deep into September.

Draft prospects stand out at Victorian state combine

THERE were plenty of draft hopefuls putting their hand up for draft selection in November’s National AFL Draft at the Victorian and Rookie Me state combine last Friday with impressive performances across a number of athletic tests.

While the state combine did not feature additional tests such as the kicking, goal kicking or 2km time trial like the national combine, participants took part in the 20m sprint, agility test, vertical jump (both standing and running) as well as the brand new yo-yo test. Among the top performers were Essendon VFL pair Nick Hind and Alex Boyse, Calder Cannons’ Dylan Landt, Murray Bushrangers’ Jy Lane, Sandringham Dragons’ Seb Williams, Glenorchy’s Harrison Gunther and Gold Coast Suns Academy member Connor Nutting.

Hind and Boyse showed off their lighting pace with the top two places in the 20m sprint, with Hind blitzing the field in an eye-catching run of 2.92 seconds. Aspley’s Oskar Baker finished equal second with 2.98 seconds, while Landt was the highest TAC Cup performer, finishing in 2.99 seconds, just ahead of Geelong Falcons’ ruck Dane Hollenkamp and Williams.

Gippsland Power’s Callum Porter squeezed in between Gunther and Nutting in the agility test, with Gunther getting home in 8.22 seconds, just three hundredths of a second quicker than Porter who marginally recorded a time better than Nutting. Hind, Landt and Boyse all finished in the top 10, with other notable performers including Oakleigh Chargers’ Noah Answerth and Gippsland Power’s Nick Hogan.

Lane had no peer in the vertical jump, smashing both the standing (83cm) and the running (100cm) to be the clear top prospect. Boyse was the other standout in the standing vertical jump, recording 79cm, while Sandringham Dragons’ pair Kai Owens and Joel Amartey recorded 93 and 90cm respectively in the running vertical jump.

Finally, in the yo-yo test, Williamstown’s Brett Bewley showed off his endurance with an impressive 22.1 in the final event. The 22 year-old midfielder lasted the longest in the test to win ahead of Williams, Geelong Falcons’ Cooper Stephens and Northern Knights’ Max Dreher who have all known to have big endurance bases.

The draft prospects will now continue training in the lead-up to November’s draft where they hope they will be selected, and if not the National Draft, then hopefully thrown a lifeline in the rookie draft. See the full results below:

20m sprint:

Nick Hind (Essendon VFL) 2.92 seconds
Alex Boyse (Essendon VFL) 2.98
Oskar Baker (Aspley) 2.98
Dylan Landt (Calder Cannons) 2.99
Dane Hollenkamp (Geelong Falcons) 3.01
Seb Williams (Sandringham Dragons) 3.01
Doulton Langlands (Murray Bushrangers) 3.02
Joel Amartey (Sandringham Dragons) 3.03
Connor Nutting (Gold Coast Academy) 3.04
Harrison Gunther (Glenorchy) 3.04
Mark Baker (Northern Knights) 3.04

Agility test:

Harrison Gunther (Glenorchy) 8.22 seconds
Callum Porter (Gippsland Power) 8.25
Connor Nutting (Gold Coast Academy) 8.29
Nick Hind (Essendon VFL) 8.36
Dylan Landt (Calder Cannons) 8.37
Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers) 8.38
Nick Hogan (Gippsland Power) 8.48
Alex Boyse (Essendon VFL) 8.52
Mark Baker (Northern Knights) 8.56

Standing vertical jump:

Jy Lane (Murray Bushrangers) 83cm
Alex Boyse (Essendon VFL) 79
Oskar Baker (Aspley) 73
Tom Boyd (Murray Bushrangers) 73
Joel Amartey (Sandringham Dragons) 72
Connor Nutting (Gold Coast Academy) 71
Seb Williams (Sandringham Dragons) 70
Dylan Landt (Calder Cannons) 68
Nick Hogan (Gippsland Power) 68

Running vertical jump:

Jy Lane (Murray Bushrangers) 100cm
Kai Owens (Sandringham Dragons) 93
Joel Amartey (Sandringham Dragons) 90
Connor Nutting (Gold Coast Academy) 88
Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons) 87
Dylan Landt (Calder Cannons) 86
Aaron Darling (Dandenong Stingrays) 85
Alex Boyse (Essendon VFL) 84
Nick Hogan (Gippsland Power) 84
Nick Hind (Essendon VFL) 84
Seb Williams (Sandringham Dragons) 84

Yo-Yo test:

Brett Bewley (Williamstown) 22.1 level
Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons) 21.4
Seb Williams (Sandringham Dragons) 21.4
Max Dreher (Northern Knights) 21.4
Tom Murphy (Dandenong Stingrays) 21.2
Lewin Davis (Bendigo Pioneers) 21.2
Bayley Fritsch (Casey Demons) 21.2
Callum Porter (Gippsland Power) 21.1
Harrison Gunther (Glenorchy) 21.1

Scouting notes: 2017 TAC Cup Grand Final

GRYAN Miers starred in the Geelong Falcons’ 2017 TAC Cup Grand Final win, after the Sandringham Dragons had a chance to kick a goal after the siren for the win. Read the full match report here.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:

Geelong Falcons:

#4 Gryan Miers – Seven goals – ’nuff said. I tweeted after he’d kicked his first two goals that he was a second rounder and I think he consolidated that thought, finishing with 7.2 from 16 disposals. While his kicking technique does need some work, it is effective. His first goal of the game was mighty impressive on his left foot and one that may find himself drafted in the early second round.

#8 Ed McHenry – The bottom-ager was again impressive and put his hand up for AFL Academy honours. His hands in close are very good and he was able to fire the ball out to the link players effectively. He is an effective kick going forward and found 21 disposals for the game.

#11 Mitch Chafer – When the Falcons were up and firing in the third term, Chafer really got going after a quiet start. He is willing to work hard both ways and tackle his opponents. Had eight of his 14 disposals in the “premiership quarter.”

#22 Sam Walsh – The bottom-ager is arguably the best midfielder in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft. Walsh led the stats sheet with 30 disposals, seven inside 50s and won five clearances. Walsh linked up well on the outside and worked very hard at the stoppages. Whilst not all his kicks inside 50 were effective, his ball winning ability is outstanding.

#44 Sam Conway – The Geelong College student has a few suitors at AFL level and may wind up a draft selection – as a real riser in the second half of the year. Conway is a very raw ruckman who is often made to handball the ball to his midfielders, but he can mark well around the ground and has plenty of traits that’ll appeal to a club looking for a ruckman.

#49 Dane Hollenkamp – Like Conway, Hollenkamp’s improvement this year has been exceptional. In the ruck, he has shown improvement and at times backs himself to take it out of the ruck and handball it out to a teammate. At ground level, he is clean and can win the ground balls and get it out to a teammate. Hollenkamp finished with 10 disposals and 12 hitouts and like Conway – may find himself in draft calculations.

Sandringham Dragons

#6 Charlie Constable – There was plenty of doubt on Constable coming into the game with a groin injury, but Constable showed his class in the opening half of the match – turning the game in the second quarter with the first two goals of the quarter. Constable is able to play up forward and mark the football. His clearance work was good, and off limited game time he was able to get 23 disposals and four clearances.

#8 Will Walker – Walker’s clearance work around the ground was impressive and he was able to get the ball on his boot and bang it forward. While at times his kicking can be hit and miss, most of his kicks went long and were effective. He wins the contested ball and Walker was able to push forward and boot two goals – and may himself drafted inside the top 30.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Brayshaw just gets to the right positions and is a clean ball user by hand and foot. The Falcons sat Harry Benson on him and at times he was under enormous pressure and resulted in him handballing out of the stoppages in more occasions than not. His contested numbers were slightly down, but he was able to bring the ball inside 50 throughout the game. Laid a match-high 11 tackles and pushed hard in the final term.

#20 Kai Owens – In the first 15 minutes of the final quarter, Owens had five disposals, four marks and booted three goals. When the game was looking for a player to stand up, Owens was the man who got the Dragons back into the game – using his leap and his agility up forward.

#29 Joel Amartey – A lot has been said about his after the siren miss, but the Dragons ruckman has been a big improver since Round 1. Was the clear best ruckman on the day with 27 hitouts, but his pressure and tackling around the ground was an important facet of the game. I think he might find a home in the back half of the draft.

#30 Hayden McLean – Thought it was Hayden McLean’s best game for the season. His first half in particular saw McLean show some signs of what had been hoped from the AFL Academy member this year. McLean took four marks in the opening quarter, as well as booting a goal. Finished the day with 12 disposals and seven marks. Boosted himself up a touch with a good Grand Final game.

TAC Cup Grand Final preview: Geelong Falcons vs. Sandringham Dragons

AFTER 18 rounds and two weeks of finals, the two top TAC Cup sides have emerged with reigning premier Sandringham Dragons taking on top four regular Geelong Falcons. The Dragons finished fourth overall and defeated Murray Bushrangers in the elimination final before toppling Oakleigh Chargers in the preliminary final. Geelong defeated Gippsland Power in the elimination final before an impressive victory over Dandenong Stingrays last week.

The Falcons head into the grand final with few injuries, at close to full-strength as possible. The Dragons on the other hand, have a number of question marks, with Ed Newman (suspended) out, and both Nathan Murphy (ankle) and Charlie Constable (tightness) under injury clouds.

This game sees the best outside midfield taking on the best inside midfield, with the Dragons content on using their slick skills and short passing to frustrate opponents, while the Falcons often win the contest through sheer strength, winning the ball at the coal face and booting it inside 50. The winner will be the one that can play the game on their own terms.

Check out the player stat comparisons for the starting 18 here.

KEY PLAYERS:

Andrew Brayshaw – The Geelong Falcons strong inside midfield will have an advantage at the stoppages and it will be up to the Brayshaw brothers, Andrew and Hamish, to turn the game in the Dragons’ favour. The potential first round draftee wins the ball inside and out, as well as 5.4 clearances per game.

Gryan Miers – The dangerous small forward has booted 37 goals in the TAC Cup this season and looms as the key to a Falcons’ victory. He rarely lacks opportunities and if he can have his kicking boots on, he has been prone to booting bags, including a six-goal haul earlier this season.

FIVE KEY FACTORS:

1 Coal face battle – The midfield of James Worpel, Cassidy Parish and Sam Walsh average 16.5 clearances between them, while Andrew Brayshaw, Hamish Brayshaw and Will Walker average 15.5, not too far behind. Add in the fact Walker spends time down forward and it is evenly balanced. Parish and Hamish Brayshaw are the two best extractors in the TAC Cup so going head-to-head will be enthralling.

2 Oh Miers – I briefly mentioned above, but Gryan Miers is one of a number of talented goal sneaks who can really hurt the opposition given the chance. I expect Nathan Murphy – if fit – to take Miers as he is equally strong in the air, or perhaps Bailey Smith or Howie Persson are others potentially seen as match-ups for Miers.

3 Goal sneak battleLachie Noble and Aaron Trusler love to pounce on opportunistic goals and whilst they will be up opposite ends of the ground, the one who impacts the match more could be the difference in what is expected to be a tight game.

4 Key KingsMax King and Ben King are top 10 prospects next year and have already shown impressive glimpses in their bottom-age year. Max has been playing forward, while Ben has taken up a key position post in defence and they will be expected to play a big role in the Dragons’ success this year and next. Ben will likely line-up on Falcons’ key forward Adam Garner, while Max will likely see Josh Jaska stand beside him at the first bounce.

5 Top-end talent – Sandringham had a host of first round draft picks last year and they look set to have a new bunch this year including Charlie Constable, Andrew Brayshaw and Nathan Murphy, leading a huge 19 National and State Combine invitations. For the Falcons, Matt Ling looks set to be the first Falcon taken this year, with James Worpel, Ethan Floyd, Cassidy Parish, David Handley and Gryan Miers among the others that will no doubt be on a number of recruiters lists.

LAST TIME THEY MET:

Sandringham Dragons 9.12 (66) defeated Geelong Falcons 2.5 (17)

Sandringham goals: Lachlan Harris (2), Isaac Morrisby (2), Will Walker, Kai Owens, Anthony Seaton, William Kennedy.
Geelong goals: Hayden Elliot, Bayley Cockerill.
Sandringham disposals: Geordie Nagle (38), Bailey Smith (34), Angus Styles (33), Seb Williams (32), Will Walker (28), Nathan Murphy (28)
Geelong disposals: Harry Benson (25), Jack Henderson (22), Brayden Ham (20), Cooper Stephens (19), Bayley Cockerill (17), Ethan Floyd (17)

CHANGES FOR GRAND FINAL:

Geelong ins: Josh Jaska, Jarrod Walters, Oscar Brownless, Matt Ling, James Worpel, Sam Walsh, Ed McHenry, Gryan Miers, Tom McCartin, Dane Hollenkamp, Cassidy Parish, David Handley, Mitch Chafer, Sam Conway
Sandringham ins: Charlie Constable, Ben King, Alfie Jarnestrom, Hayden McLean, Max King, Andrew Brayshaw, Hamish Brayshaw, Lucas Barrett*, Sam Cameron*, Josh Gorman*, Aaron Trusler*, Alastair Richards

TEAMS:

Geelong Falcons:
B: 17. Cooper Stephens – 43. Josh Jaska – 26. Jarrod Walters
HB: 30. Oscar Brownless – 39. Connor Idun – 19. Matt Ling
C: 13. Ethan Floyd – 38. James Worpel – 22. Sam Walsh
HF: 7. Harry Benson – 46. Adam Garner – 8. Ed McHenry
F: 4. Gryan Miers – 41. Tom McCartin – 1. Lachie Noble
R: 49. Dane Hollenkamp – 42. Cassidy Parish – 16. David Handley
INT: 11. Mitch Chafer – 44. Sam Conway – 40. Hayden Elliot – 5. Jack Henderson
23rd: 36. Charlie Sprague

Sandringham Dragons:
B: 2. Geordie Nagle – 33. Howie Persson – 37. Bailey Smith
HB: 6. Charlie Constable – 70. Ben King – 74. Nathan Murphy
C: 22. Quintin Montanaro – 8. Will Walker – 10. Angus Styles
HF: 15. Alfie Jarnestrom – 30. Hayden McLean – 5. Seb Williams
F: 1. Lachie Harris – 61. Max King – 20. Kai Owens
R: 29. Joel Amartey – 9. Andrew Brayshaw – 11. Hamish Brayshaw
INT: 3. Lucas Barrett – 24. Sam Cameron – 13. Josh Gorman – 12. Jackson Hille – 25. Max Lohan – 28. Isaac Morrisby – 7. Aaron Trusler (Three to be omitted)
23rd: 58. Alastair Richards

TIP:

On form, fitness and consistency throughout the year, it is hard to look past the Geelong Falcons. Sandringham Dragons leave their best until last and it would not surprise me whatsoever if they got up in this game, but with the Falcons in top-form, cruising along nicely and no injury question marks, I will tip the Falcons by 25 points. I tip Gryan Miers to be named best on ground.

Player focus: Ed Richards

AFTER an injury led to him missing out on Vic Metro selection, the grandson of Collingwood great Ron Richards (whose brother was premiership skipper Lou), has impressed in the last month with his eye-catching runs and his impressive disposal – pushing his name into first round calculations. On the weekend, Peter Williams analysed the lightning red head and watched how he moved and what he did to get a better understanding of the type of player he was, when his side the Oakleigh Chargers went down to Sandringham Dragons on Sunday in the preliminary final.

First quarter:

Ed Richards started on Alfie Jarnestrom at half-back but with Oakleigh looking strong early, Richards was pushed up to the wing. With no much to report in the opening few minutes, Richards hung back from a stoppage in the Chargers’ forward 50 region. His opponent went into the contest and Richards cleverly stayed out, receiving the handball and then arching his back before piercing an effective kick inside 50 to Jack Higgins who marked and goaled.

It would be Richards’ only kick of the quarter, but his burst and effectiveness to hit a target on the run was really impressive. At the next piece of play, Richards was kicking out after a Chargers’ behind and he managed to find his target in Luke Stacker in the back pocket. Richards ran past but looked a bit surprised to receive the ball back and under pressure he had to handball to Riley Jones before the pressure from the Dragons forced the ball out for a throw-in.

The next moment Richards came into contact with the play was in the ninth minute where he pressured Aaron Trusler, forcing him to not take possession cleanly, before Richards was benched for the first time in the game at about the eleventh minute mark. He returned at the 15.30 minute mark and went to half-back to play on Josh Gorman. As he had at the start of the quarter, he pushed up but once he got to the half-forward flank, word came from the bench loud and clear “Ed, stay out” and he moved back in line with three other Chargers’ to zone across the middle of the ground.

At the 17-minute mark, Sandringham kicked inside 50 to Jarnestrom who set sail for home unbeknown that Richards was closing down and the speedster managed to get a hand to him and knock him off balance forcing Jarnestrom’s shot on goal to fall short. He continued to oppose Jarnestrom at half-back for the next few minutes, holding a strong line. At the 19.30 mark, he won a one-on-one contest with Jarnestrom deep in defence and manage to spoil it to a teammate who cleared the football.

At the 20-minute mark, Richards picked up Trusler again but Sandringham had spotted a hole in the Oakleigh defence with Will Walker slipping free. Richards realised at the last moment, darted back to cover Walker but the small midfielder/forward took the mark. Luckily for the Chargers’ defence, their loss in focus only cost them a behind as Walker’s shot hit the inside of the post.

Richards then assumed a role on Walker at the next play and managed to nullify a Dragons’ ball that went deep, and for his last piece of play for the quarter, Richards produced a long, bullet pass outside 50, perfectly hitting his target with rare precision.

Quarter 1 stats: 2 Disposals (1 Kick, 1 Handball), 1 Inside 50

Second Quarter:

Ed Richards again started the quarter at half-back assigned to Jarnestrom although within the first 90 seconds he had pushed up into the stoppage with his opponent. In the third minute, Richards received a handball on the wing, handballed back to Stacker before his teammate was dispossessed and Sandringham kicked the ball forward. A shot on goal from the Dragons resulted in a behind, with Richards taking the kick-out. He kicked long to about the 55m metre mark to hit-up big ruckman Ned Reeves, but he was well spoiled by Joel Amartey.

Sandringham mopped up and kicked long inside 50 where Walker led at the ball, but Richards was up to the task producing a strong spoil and the Chargers cleared the ball from danger. A few minutes later Ed Richards was opposed to Andrew Brayshaw, spoiling his attempted mark and following him into the middle. While on Brayshaw, Jarnestrom had snuck free of Richards close checking and enjoyed the freedom by taking an uncontested mark inside 50 and kicking the goal.

Richards returned to the defensive 50 after the goal to match up on Trusler, and it was not long before a long ball headed in their direction with Richards once again showing his closing speed and strength one-on-one, spoiling Trusler on the lead. As he pushed up to the wing with the press, Richards won the ball under pressure and tried to kick inside 50 but his kick was a scrubber and ineffective.

In the eighth minute, Jarnestrom won the first one-on-one contest anyone had against Richards that day, with very little the speedster could do. The ball was a pinpoint low pass for Jarnestrom to take on his chest and left Richards little chance to spoil. A minute later he took a good mark just outside defensive 50 with a good leap in front of Jarnestrom and produced an effective short kick into the corridor to Lachlan Bugeja.

With the ball up the other end for the next few minutes, Richards was not involved in the play until another one-on-one with Trusler, which Richards won, but he could not quite gather it cleanly and it was forced into a stoppage. He moved into the middle to face Lucas Barrett and moments later Sandringham kicked inside 50 and goaled. At the fifteenth minute mark, Richards was sent to the bench for the second time in the game.

He returned four minutes later to stand beside Andrew Brayshaw at half-back, and Brayshaw marked in front of the defender when Richards was zoning off. A couple of minutes later, Richards received a handball on the wing, then tucked the ball under his arm, took a bounce and kicked inside 50, but unfortunately it landed straight in the arms of Ben King. He returned to the defence where he picked up Walker inside 50 and then moved into the midfield in the last minute of the quarter, standing Geordie Nagle. Sandringham won the clearance with Trusler marking and subsequently goaling just on the siren.

Quarter 2 stats: 5 Disposals (4 Kicks, 1 Handball), 1 Mark, 1 Inside 50, 1 Rebound
Total stats: 7 Disposals (5 Kicks, 2 Handballs), 1 Mark, 2 Inside 50s, 1 Rebound

Third Quarter:

Ed Richards returned from the half-time break and started inside at the centre bounce. He opposed Jarnestrom there and won the first clearance of the second half, albeit a shorter one to the 60m mark. A minute later the most damning piece of play occured for Richards which might not have been noticed for anyone not directly watching him.

There was a throw-in on the wing and Richards was shoulder-to-shoulder with Walker (1:12:18 on the livestream). After Sandringham won possession, Walker darted forward at full speed while Richards jogged behind. The ball was bombed long to the square by Amartey where Walker had continued running and took an uncontested mark about 15m clear of Richards and did not break stride as he ran into an open goal. The piece of play indicated to me that Richards looked to have been caught ball-watching and Walker had taken the opportunity to run forward backing his teammates to win the football and kick it to the dangerous area.

After that, Richards stood in space about 60m out from his defensive 50, helping zone for the Chargers, before resuming his contest with Jarnestrom. He pushed up to help the press inside 50 and was lucky not to be pinged for holding the ball on the wing at the five minute mark when he dove on it and could not get it out. A minute and a half later, Richards pushed forward and took a good mark overhead. He chipped to Charlie Thompson but the pair was not on the same wave length, with the chip designed for Thompson to run onto, but instead Richards’ teammate had stopped running and the ball went past him and Sandringham cleared the defence.

In the eighth minute, Richards went in hard and received a free kick for his efforts, about 25m out on a 45 degree angle. His set shot was weighted to pop through and he registered a goal to his name (1:19:30 on the livestream). A minute later he punched the ball from a stoppage knowing he did not have time to take possession and instead got it clear to the running Sam Harte, before Richards was called to the bench for a break at the nine and a half minute mark.

He returned two and a half minutes later and went back to the half-back flank opposed to Josh Gorman. Immediately he had a clean, one-hand pickup but his kick was rushed. It proved effective however and started the chain of possessions that led to an Oakleigh goal as the Chargers hit the Dragons hard in the third term. Richards was only on the ground a few minutes before being benched again in the fifteenth minute as he had in the second quarter.

Richards returned to the field at the 17-minute mark and opposed Andrew Brayshaw inside defensive 50. He produced a couple of statless pressure acts there without winning a possession and spent another five minutes on the ground before another stint on the bench at the 22 and a half minute mark. His interchange time was about 90 seconds before heading to half-back where he won the football and effectively handballed to Isaac Quaynor. In the dying moments he was at half-forward on Gorman before filling a hole in defensive 50 before the final break. Richards’ third quarter was by far his most productive, making the most of his increased midfield minutes which was reflected in his stats.

Quarter 3 stats: 7 Disposals (5 Kicks, 2 Handballs), 1 Mark, 2 Clearances, 1 Inside 50, 1 Goal
Total stats: 12 Disposals (9 Kicks, 3 Handballs), 2 Marks, 2 Clearances, 3 Inside 50s, 1 Rebound, 1 Goal

Fourth Quarter:

The fourth quarter was a bit of a let-down for Richards, being mostly in the middle but not greatly impacting the contest. He started inside opposed to Andrew Brayshaw and drifted back to be loose on the defensive 50 line. At the two and a half minute mark, he produced a fantastic chase down tackles on Quintin Montanaro on the wing (1:50:27 on the livestream), indicating Richards’ closing speed. A minute later Richards was benched.

He had a long stint on the interchange, spending about five minutes resting before returning in the eighth minute. He burst onto the scene, winning the football and took advantage of a free kick with a quick handball and it lead to a kick inside 50. He returned to the inside against Brayshaw at the tenth minute and and stood his ground well in a marking contest against Brayshaw with his opponent slipping over. Richards took possession cleanly, handballed it off, received it back was tackled but managed to produce an effective handball nonetheless.

He returned to the centre square opposing Brayshaw, but was there for another minute before he was called to the bench once again, this time spending seven minutes on the pine which was a little surprising. Of the first 20 minutes in the last quarter, Richards spent about 12 minutes on the bench which probably points to endurance and the fact he has had little match practice this season due to injury.

Richards returned at the 20-minute mark and went forward for a few minutes but Sandringham was mostly controlling the play at that stage. A couple of minutes later he moved into the midfield to oppose Nagle again, and then Brayshaw at a half-forward throw-in, but without registering another disposal. The siren sounded and Richards had produced a few highlights, he had eventually tired in the final term and unfortunately his team had been eliminated as Sandringham celebrated a terrific win.

Quarter 4 stats: 4 Disposals (0 Kicks, 4 Handballs), 2 Tackles
Total stats: 16 Disposals (9 Kicks, 7 Handballs), 2 Marks, 2 Tackles, 2 Clearances, 3 Inside 50s, 1 Rebound, 1 Goal

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.

Victorian school football update August edition

WE ARE at the end of the season in the APS and AGSV Victorian school boy football competition and Matt Balmer delves deeper into which prospects have stood out in the last few rounds after the school holidays.

The annual APS v AGSV game was held on Saturday, with the APS running out 38-point winners. You can find the stats from the game at the bottom of this page.

SCOUTING NOTES: APS v AGSV rep game

The old saying that “If you’re good enough, recruiters will find you, no matter where you play” rings true in the Victoria school football competition where players such as Jayden Hunt (Melbourne) and Oliver Hanrahan (Hawthorn) have been plucked out of the school boy competition without playing TAC Cup. As Hunt’s 39-game career has shown, it is not the be all and end all if players aren’t selected in the pathways as we once knew it.

VICTORIA SCHOOL FOOTBALL UPDATE MAY EDITION

VICTORIA SCHOOL FOOTBALL UPDATE JUNE EDITION

APS:

Haileybury College completed a perfect season as the clear best team in the APS, with a record of 10-0. Coming back from two ACL injuries, Aiden Bonar returned through the seconds at Haileybury but made an impact in his first game back against St Kevin’s. In their final clash at Geelong Grammar, Charlie Constable (46 disposals) and Andrew Brayshaw (42 disposals) were the two stars dominating through the midfield, using the ball well. Unfortunately after representing Dandenong Stingrays through the holidays, Jack McHale suffered a serious knee injury against St Kevin’s. Jackson Ross continued his fine form throughout the season booting six goals in their big win over Geelong Grammar, taking his tally to 29 goals for the season. Both bottom age twins Max and Ben King were far too good for the opposition defenders up forward.

Carey Grammar finished as runners-up, winning nine games for the season. Ed Richards was yet again impressive against St Kevin’s at the Snakepit, rebounding the ball well and using his clean quick hands in close. Richards was also a dominant player in the APS v AGS game on Saturday, finding 33 disposals. Under 16 Vic Metro guns Matthew Rowell and Noah Anderson used their smarts in the midfield and despite being younger than many of their opponents, continued to crack in and win the contested ball. Charlie Thompson won plenty of the ball and showed his skills going forward and booting six goals against Geelong Grammar. Carey bottom-ager Sam Elliott (son of Australian cricketer Matthew) has a good leap on him, playing in the ruck and up forward and will be a name to keep an eye on for next year.

Caulfield Grammar were well led by Vic Metro midfielder Dylan Moore who has been one of the premium midfielders in the APS competition. Moore booted six goals (five in the second half) against Melbourne Grammar in shocking conditions at Todd Rd. Moore found the ball at ease and was damaging going forward. Against Brighton, Moore was well held for most of the game but a damaging patch in the third quarter saw him collect a dozen possessions and boot three goals. His last quarter was pivotal in their come from behind win over Wesley in Round 11. Trent Mynott was another strong player against Melbourne, but suffered an ankle injury against Brighton in Round 10. Jackson Hille’s pinch hitting in the ruck was important and he showed some good signs in the second half of the season and was able to push himself onto the State Combine list. On the inside, Brisbane Lions father-son prospect and Caulfield captain Lachlan Harris continued to find plenty of the ball in the contest. Angus Styles’ ball winning was important against Wesley in the final game of the season.

One of Xavier College’s possible draft prospects CJ (Changkuoth Jiath) missed the last few games through injury, but there was plenty of other Xavier players to step up. Zak “Cherry” Evans has shown his strength up forward, booting four goals against Geelong College. Laitham Vandermeer however, might be their best draft hopeful with the rebounding defender using his pinpoint kick to effectiveness throughout the season. Jack Hewitt was their clear best against Wesley College, booting three goals and finding the ball through the midfield.

Brighton Grammar finished the year with a 6-4 record and have been able to unearth another AFL draft prospect in Nathan Murphy. The medium forward has been their prime target up forward and brought his goal kicking boots to Caulfield Grammar, where he kicked 6.0 setting up their win. The talented cricketer has plenty of suitors and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him move up into the first round, after showing his clean skills at ground level. Alfie Jarnestrom made it back-to-back best and fairest wins, after tieing with Andrew McGrath last year. Jarnestrom has moved to more of a role across half back and has used his tidy left foot to effectiveness, still finding the ball when playing through the midfield. Seb Williams was consistent throughout the year, finding 40 disposals as Brighton’s best against Geelong College in Round nine. Williams has speed and a good endurance base, and the midfielder has been invited to test at the State Combine. Year 11 Ruckman Nick Phillips has improved dramatically and his selection in the APS rep team showed how far he has come after a quiet 1st XVIII season as a Yr 10 last season. North Melbourne 2018 father-son prospect Joel Crocker was Brighton’s most improved, looking at home as a hybrid defender, rebounding the ball well, showing good signs for next season.

St Kevin’s College had a solid year, with Lachlan Fogarty performing well in the midfield. Down in defence Ethan Phillips held his own as one of the better key backs in the competition. Cam Hodges was impressive throughout the season, thoroughly deserving his APS rep team spot collecting 17 disposals vs the AGSV. Angus Hanrahan (brother of Hawthorn’s Oliver) was another that put together a good string of form throughout the season. Rhylee West booted three goals in their loss to Haileybury, while Year 10 Jack Mahony continues to find the football and impress.

Melbourne Grammar had their best draft hope Charlie Spargo ruled out with a shoulder injury, but players such as Sam Cameron and Oscar Dowd were able to step up and impress. Cameron moves well around the ground and has some speed that has interested clubs enough to see him collect a State Combine invite. Dowd won Melbourne’s best and fairest where he was able to hit the scoreboard and find plenty of the ball. Another name to watch is bottom-ager Toby Bedford who had some eye catching performances in the second half of the year, impressing in their Cordner-Egglestone Cup loss to Scotch.

Scotch College finished with three wins for the season, but it was displays up forward by Will Sutherland that was important. Scotch isolated Sutherland at times and against Melbourne Grammar he was far too big and strong for his opponent, booting four goals. His game against Geelong Grammar where he kicked five goals was also impressive. Bottom-age ruckman Will Clark’s work in the ruck hasn’t been missed, showing signs that he could push himself into draft calculations for 2018. Clark’s battle with Brighton’s Nick Phillips was impressive in the final game for the season, and Clark’s main strengths are that he can use the ball well and find it around the ground unlike other ruckman in the competition. Vic Metro captain Joel Garner controlled the play across half back and was able to use his long left foot to effectiveness. Noah Croes was another who caught the eye, finding the ball and using it well on his right foot breaking lines. Sam Townsend marked well overhead and provided to be another good tall in defence.

Geelong Grammar had a disappointing season results wise, despite boasting a handful of draftable prospects. AFL clubs uncovered Joe Griffiths, who has since received a State Combine invite. The 204cm ruckman is boarding at Grammar and has a good leap. Griffiths’ marking was impressive in the APS v SATIS game on the weekend, clunking three contested marks in the opening quarter. It’s no surprise that midfielder Paddy Dow is in contention for the number one selection, with his clean hands and clearance work impressive. Dow was Geelong’s best against the star-studded Haileybury College team in the final round and has shown speed coming out of the stoppages. Jarrod Brander played as a true swingman in the last few games, playing at the end where the wind was going. Brander controlled the play in defence against Carey, intercepting well. Against Haileybury he was able to push forward and clunked a nice mark over Vic Country tall defender Oscar Clavarino. The classy outside midfielder Lochie O’Brien’s ball usage has been outstanding and his breakaway speed is a trademark and he is someone who should have a fine AFL career. O’Brien has been the large focal point for opposition school taggers – and it’s no surprise such his class – but he has been able to break away from the extra attention and was in Geelong’s best players in all of the last three games. Brent Daniels showed his speed and smarts around goal, booting four against Scotch and pushed into Geelong’s VFL team on the weekend.

Geelong College compiled a very nice win against Wesley College in Round 10, with bottom-age Geelong Falcons players Ned McHenry and Oscar Brownless impressing. McHenry continued his strong Vic Country form into the APS, displaying his tricks and talent in the midfield as he gathered 30 disposals against Brighton, and 31 disposals, seven tackles and three goals against Wesley. Geelong 2018 father-son prospect Oscar Brownless has got better as the season went on, with an impressive 33 disposal game against Brighton. He laid 10 tackles in their loss against Xavier, while his ball winning was on show with 28 disposals in their win against Wesley. In the midfielder Jack Henderson was College’s best, winning their best and fairest. Henderson was well held against Brighton, but was unable to be stopped by Wesley, collecting 32 disposals and five tackles in a best-on-ground performance. He was similarly impressive against Xavier, with 32 disposals, nine tackles and eight marks. Charlie Sprague has been a revelation, finding himself as a late addition to the Vic Country U17 team. His work rate around the ground has been good and has been a reliable target up forward. In the final two games he had six contested marks and is one to keep an eye on for next year.  Sam Conway’s tall presence around the ground and in the ruck has allowed the first use to the midfielders at stoppages. Tom Page has also been a pivotal part of the College’s midfield settling into tagging roles during the year whilst also finding plenty of the ball when in attack. James Edmonds continued to be lively around the forward line booting (5 goals) against Wesley.

Wesley College lost their best player Adam Cerra to shoulder surgery late in the season, but their off-field efforts with the ‘spit’ going in the final round was a recruiters delight. They led for majority of the game against Caulfield, but were overrun in the final quarter. Vic Metro Under 16 tall Charlie Dean was good up forward, booting two goals and providing a good target inside 50 against the ‘Fields. Oscar Bennett was a consistent performer, while Adam Collinson had some eye catching runs in his bright red boots through the midfield.

AGSV: 

Marcellin College completed an undefeated season, making it three premierships in a row – defeating Ivanhoe in the Grand Final. Up forward, Matthew Cecchin was a dead eye not missing many shots and creating chances inside 50. Alex Federico controlled the play through the midfield and was able to set up multiple chances. In the ruck, high level Basketballer Bailey Griffiths has thrown himself into AFL Draft calcuations with strong form throughout the finals. Griffiths has great pedigree with mum Michelle having played for the Opals, as well as being the nephew of 193-gamer Dean Brogan. Possible Collingwood father-son player Tyler Brown showed his smarts across half forward and has been a big improver in 2017. Ben Wiggins was the eye-catcher in finals, intercepting exceptionally well in defensive 50. He has a good leap and was comfortable kicking the ball on either foot.

SCOUTING NOTES: AGSV Grand Final 

Ivanhoe Grammar played some strong football under the guidance of the ever passionate Roger Gill throughout the season. Richmond father-son Patrick Naish booted three goals in the Grand Final and despite copping plenty of the huge Marcellin crowd, was able to push his team throughout the contest. Bottom-ager Tom McKenzie was impressive, showing good signs for next year with some good intercept marks. Max Dreher started on fire against Marcellin in the Grand Final, playing through the midfield and across half back, using his strong hands to his advantage.

Mentone Grammar had a good season, with midfielder Ed Newman finding plenty of the ball and using it effectively on his pinpoint left foot in his long white and blue sleeves. Lewis Diggins used his big frame to play a role winning the contested ball, but they were helped with one of the best ruckman in the state Joel Amartey, feeding the ball down to the midfielders, with his eye catching leap on display. On the outside, Kai Owens found the ball and has been another who has improved throughout the year despite battling a few injury niggles in the post holiday’s period. Tom Yorgey’s aggression across half back was notable, while Dev Brereton showed his smarts inside 50 at times.

PEGS were outclassed by Marcellin in the final, but boast one of the best players in the country in Cameron Rayner. Rayner flew for some eye catching marks in the opening quarter in the semi final at Marcellin – clunking a very good one close to goal. While he didn’t have as big of an impact as he has in some games, he has carried a few injury niggles – now including a thumb injury, but he will play out the remainder of the season at this stage with a cast. Son of Dustin, Mason Fletcher played in multiple positions, lining up in the ruck in the Semi-Final at times. Curtis Taylor has also been important, marking well inside 50 and showing his agility & X-Factor through the midfield. Taylor was one of PEGS’ best in their semi-final loss to Marcellin.

Peninsula finished in fifth position, narrowly missing out on finals. Medium tall Tom Freeman has earned a spot at the State Combine and marks well overhead. His tackling and defensive efforts were noticeable for the AGSV on the weekend. Dandenong Stingrays bottom-ager Jai Taylor performed well all season and was in the best for Vic Country Under 17s on Saturday. Taylor collected 18 disposals, three inside 50s and three rebound 50s in a strong performance on the outside and the 186cm midfielder can play in multiple roles and is one to watch.

Ryley Stoddart has been a classy performer for Yarra Valley Grammar and had a role moving the magnets for the AGSV on Saturday. Stoddart missed their final game against Mentone with an injury niggle, but his form against Eastern Ranges against Sandringham Dragons a fortnight ago was super impressive. Mackenzie Doreian showed some craft as a small forward and isn’t a bad little player. Doreian collected 18 disposals and laid seven tackles in the APS v AGSV game on Saturday.

Trinity Grammar were represented by Charlie Beasley and Bailey Evans in the APS v AGSV rep game. Evans’ ball winning skills through the midfield was very good, while Beasley was able to mark the ball and rebound it out of defensive 50.

Liam Middleton was a good performer for Assumption College Kilmore and he did some good things in the APS v AGSV rep game on Saturday, finding 16 disposals and three inside 50s. Outside midfielder Ned Lanyon was another who performed well for Assumption.

David McColl is a name to keep an eye on out of Camberwell Grammar, with the Year 11 boy finishing second in their best and fairest last year as a Year 10. In their clash against PEGS earlier in the season, McColl had a very good one-on-one battle with Cameron Rayner throughout the game. McColl has some speed and was named as an emergency in the AGSV team.

APS v AGSV Stats: 

KHDMCPUPTHOCI50R50GB
AGSV2021633659213623360263037351210
APS21321542810714529151403453251812
APSKHDMCPUPTHOCI50R50GB
14Ed RICHARDS171633482356
18Andrew BRAYSHAW14173151219864111
12Charlie THOMPSON1119308141812511
2Lachlan HARRIS121729682232111
4Jack HENDERSON1414282141465411
6Alfie JARNESTROM15122781019232
11Laitham VANDERMEER12152767201132
7Angus STYLES1312256619132
5Seb WILLIAMS168244619128141
1Jack ALEXANDER6131948121341
10Cameron HODGES9817589235
15Oscar BROWNLESS89177413411
26Max KING1151610881552
3Noah CROES1051564131221
9Oliver DICKSON8715321311111
24Nick PHILLIPS6915561012412
27Nathan MURPHY7613376282221
28Ben KING103134851131
23Ethan PHILLIPS21012411141
8Tom JEPSON8311529211
25Hugh LONGBOTTOM471122935121
20Bailey WRAITH13
AGSKHDMCPUPTHOCI50R50GB
1Matthew CECCHIN151429791932422
13Bailey EVANS1412267818121
12Ed NEWMAN151025662041271
4Lachlan WILSON1592431114626121
30Lewis DIGGINS14102466172211
24Alex FEDERICO1762351212352411
9Curtis TAYLOR14923510122121
2Mackenzie DOREIAN10818610973312
7Liam MIDDLETON8816479331
32Luke MINAHAN3131619711
28Tom YORGEY12315431211
15Christian FARCHIONE78154213221
8Max DREHER6915469121
37Tom FREEMAN781551057221
23Ned LANYON59143135121
10Charlie BEASLEY6713631013
27Stefan NADALIN651163824
3Harrison FRY73104282121
31Mason FLETCHER731032813
42Oscar McINTYRE358145311211
14Joel AMARTEY617243213211
34Patrik DELLA ROCCA52726122122

Scouting notes: APS v AGSV schoolboy match

The APS made it seven-in-a-row with 38-point victory over the AGSV out at Carey Grammar on Saturday.

The annual Victorian school boys representative game has seen players such as Jayden Hunt (2013), Brayden Sier (2015) and Oliver Hanrahan (2016) push their names into consideration to be drafted – with Hunt and Hanrahan bypassing the Under 18 TAC Cup competition in their draft year.

The APS’ second team also took on Sports Association of Tasmanian Independent Schools (SATIS) rep football team, winning 106 to 50.

Matt Balmer’s scouting notes:

APS:

#3 Noah Croes – The rebounding half back flanker has been a solid performer for Scotch over the last few years in the APS competition. Whilst he didn’t find a lot of the ball, his usage on his right foot was reasonable and he did provide some dash & booted a long goal in the opening quarter.

#5 Seb Williams – Was arguably the best player on the ground. The Brighton Grammar & Sandringham Dragons midfielder played well on the outside booting four goals for the game. While he missed a few of his kicks early, he did get better as the game went on and found plenty of the ball going forward. One of his better performances.

#7 Angus Styles – Was a strong performer in Caulfield’s come from behind victory last week against Wesley and he continued his ball winning ability at Carey, finding plenty of the ball. He played mostly on the wing, but was able to win the ball in the contest. When he possess the ball, he was willing to stop and look for the best target.

#14 Ed Richards – Rebounded the ball out of defence with speed and his usage on his left foot was very good. Took most of the kick outs throughout the contest and his quick hands are elite.

#26 Max King – Was a class above in the forward half with four first-half goals. He was able to get space between him and his opponent, leaping high and plucking the ball out from the clouds. Finished the day with five goals as the most dominating tall for the day, alongside twin brother Ben who played in defence. Would be Pick 1 in this year’s draft if he was eligible.

#27 Nathan Murphy – Booted two goals up forward – but most of the APS inside 50s were targeted towards the taller Max King. Murphy kept his feet and was very clean from ground level. Was challenged in the final quarter with the APS coach throwing him into the ruck, competing reasonably well and showing a decent leap.

AGSV:

#4 Lachlan Wilson – The Marcellin midfielder is a very good school footballer and booted two goals from the midfield. Has smarts at the stoppages and wins the ball around the ground.

#9 Curtis Taylor – Showed enough to suggest he’ll be a high pick in 2018 after playing a decent game for the AGSV. Took a superb mark in the final quarter and booted the goal. Has smarts around goal and is a smooth mover.

#12 Ed Newman – The AGSV captain hardly missed a target on his left foot throughout the day. Starting at the centre bounce and winning the opening clearance, Newman also played across half back and found the football with ease. Was agile enough to move past his opponents and was one of the AGSV’s best players.

#14 Joel Amartey – Leaped well in the ruck winning plenty of hitouts throughout the day. Had a very good battle with Nick Phillips – another player who has grown up playing basketball. Up forward, his positioning could’ve been better but he shows promise with each game he plays.

#15 Christian Farchione – Another nice left footer in the AGSV team and despite his size, he is willing to crack in at the contest. Very rarely misses a short target by foot.

#37 Tom Freeman – The Dandenong Stingrays medium tall is off to the State Combine and he did show a few glimpses during the day. In bright yellow boots, Freeman moved well around the ground and had a few nice passages using the ball on his right foot. Had a very good effective switch where he used his vision to find a long target.

APS v SATIS (Tasmania) 

APS:

#7 Rhylee West – The son of Scott (and 2018 Western Bulldogs father-son prospect) was one of the leading disposal winners throughout the game. He covered the ground well and had a very good pinpoint pass off his right foot in the opening few minutes of the game.

#13 Jackson Hille – Was willing to mark the ball and look to get the ball moving as quickly as possible. On one occasion he marked 80m from goal, turned and immediately found an easy target alone inside 50 without hesitating. Possesses a good leap and has some nice athletic traits.

#14 Sam Cameron – The Sandringham Dragons squad member possesses good hands in close and his recent form has seen him score a State Combine invite. Played in a few positions throughout the contest and did some nice things.

#26 Joe Griffiths – Was one of the more exciting players on the ground clunking three contested marks in the opening quarter alone. His leap in the ruck was good and despite being ‘under the weather’ he was the shining light in the game. His agility & step was very good, including one step 25m out from goal which saw him bang home his second goal. Finished with six marks for the day. One to keep an eye on as the Geelong Grammar boarder has a State Combine invite.

#28 Will Clark – Has been an impressive player in every game I’ve seen Scotch play this season. Clark’s ruck work was good yet again, but he separates himself from others with his work around the ground and his decent kick off his right foot. Kicked a goal in the first quarter and it was a good battle in the ruck against Tim Auckland.

SATIS:

#4 Elijah Reardon – Agile half forward flanker who had a few flashes. Used it reasonably well on his right foot going inside 50.

#11 Connor Dixon – The Tasmanian Under 20 Mens basketballer is a nice medium size and has a frame that could translate to AFL if he adds some size. Possessed great agility and had a clean right foot kick. Also went in as an inside midfielder and had a nice clearance in the final quarter.

#12 Oliver Burrows-Cheng – The half forward flanker has blistering speed & agility and had some smarts inside 50. Kicked a nice goal from outside 40m in the opening quarter.

#15 Declan Waddington – SATIS were well drilled in defensive 50 and Waddington controlled the play nicely, rebounding the ball well off his right foot.

#22 Tim Auckland – The Tasmanian Under 18 ruckman had a very good battle in the ruck against Clark and Griffiths. Clunked a very good contested mark in the second term. Didn’t find a whole lot of the ball around the ground, but his strength at the ruck contests was notable.

Draft dream not over for 2017 state combine nominees

THE draft dream is not over to the 2017 state combine nominees after the AFL today released the list of 96 players from around the country nominated by AFL clubs to attend the 2017 State Combine.

83 PLAYERS INVITED TO THE 2017 NATIONAL AFL DRAFT COMBINE

Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia will each run individual tests, with clubs sent the data to analyse before November’s draft. Recruiters will also get a chance to cast their eyes over a further 23 footballers at the ‘Rookie Me Combine,’ created due to number restrictions at Etihad Stadium. The Victorian State Combine will be held on Friday October 6th at Etihad Stadium, with the ‘Rookie Me Combine’ to run on Sunday October 8th at a venue yet to be decided.

Similar to the process for the national combine, each club nominated up to fifty players to nominate that they wanted to see test. To receive an invite to the AFL State Combine, players must receive at least three expressions of interest from AFL clubs, with players receiving 1-2 taking part in the Rookie Me Combine.

Possible Adelaide father-son Jackson Edwards headlines the list of nominees. The South Australia midfielder averaged 24 disposals and four marks throughout the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships and is one of 21 South Australian’s that will test in the state based combine.

Victorian Under 19 cricketer Ed Newman was Australia’s 13th man at the MCG on Boxing Day is one of the 11 Sandringham Dragons on the list. Newman has been a standout for Mentone Grammar in the AGSV School Football competition and made his Dragons debut on Sunday.

Former Melbourne player Dom Barry is on the verge of another AFL berth, scoring an invite to South Australia’s State Combine after being a strong performer for Glenelg this year.

The state leagues around the country have been well represented with a number of players invited to test out. The VFL has 10 players nominated to attend with Essendon VFL’s Alex Boyse looming as their best prospect. Boyse has booted 26 goals this season and the 191cm forward is one of four players nominated from Essendon’s VFL team.

Invites:

Victorian State Combine (55):

Joel Amartey (Sandringham Dragons)
Noah Answerth (Oakleigh Chargers)
Mark Baker (Northern Knights)
Oskar Baker (Aspley)
Harry Benson (Geelong Falcons)
Brett Bewley (Williamstown VFL)
James Bell (Sydney Swans Academy)
Tom Boyd (Murray Bushrangers)
Alex Boyse (Essendon VFL)

Sam Cameron (Sandringham Dragons)
Riley D’Arcy (Dandenong Stingrays)
Aaron Darling (Dandenong Stingrays)
Sam Davidson (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Palm Beach)
Lewin Davis (Bendigo Pioneers)
Max Dreher (Northern Knights)
Alex Federico (Northern Knights)
Bayley Fritsch (Casey Scorpions VFL)
Bailey Griffiths (Marcellin College)
Harrison Gunther (Glenorchy)
Jackson Hille (Sandringham Dragons)
Nick Hind (Essendon VFL)
Jake Hinds (Tasmania)
Austin Hodge (Gippsland Power)
Dane Hollenkamp (Geelong Falcons)
Nick Hogan (Gippsland Power)
Josh Jaska (Geelong Falcons)
Daniel Johnston (Murray Bushrangers)
Riley Jones (Oakleigh Chargers)
Matthew King (Oakleigh Chargers)
Dylan Landt (Calder Cannons)
Jy Lane (GWS Giants Academy/Murray Bushrangers)
Doulton Langlands (GWS Giants Academy/Murray Bushrangers)

Quintin Montanaro (Sandringham Dragons)
Thomas Mundy (Burnie)
Tom Murphy (Dandenong Stingrays)
Geordie Nagle (Sandringham Dragons)
Joel Naylor (Northern Knights)
Ed Newman (Sandringham Dragons)
Harrison Nolan (Eastern Ranges)
Connor Nutting (Gold Coast Suns Academy)

Kai Owens (Sandringham Dragons)
Alex Paech (GWS Giants Academy/Murray Bushrangers)
Cassidy Parish (Geelong Falcons)
Ethan Phillips (Oakleigh Chargers)
Callum Porter (Gippsland Power)
Aiden Quigley (Gippsland Power)
Nathan Richards (GWS Giants Academy)
Harry Simmington (Gold Coast Suns Academy/Labrador)
Derrick Smith (Richmond VFL)
Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons)
Aidan Tilley (Calder Cannons)
Laitham Vandeermeer (Murray Bushrangers)
Callan Wellings (GWV Rebels)
Seb Williams (Sandringham Dragons)

Tristan Xerri (Western Jets)

South Australian State Combine (21): 

Cameron Ball (Norwood)
Dom Barry (Glenelg)
Brodie Carroll (Norwood)
Oscar Chapman (North Adelaide)
Lochie Charlton (Norwood)
Tobin Cox (Glenelg)
Mitch Crowden (Sturt)
Sam Davis (Glenelg)
Bryce Denham (North Adelaide)
Liam Denton (Glenelg)
Jackson Edwards (Glenelg)
Stefan Giro (Norwood)
Isaac Hewson (Norwood)
Curtis McCarthy (Glenelg)
Thomas Schmusch (Woodville-West Torrens)
Josh Smithson (West Adelaide)
Jordan Sweet (North Adelaide)
Jake Weidemann (Woodville-West Torrens)
Jordan West (Woodville-West Torrens)

Patrick Wilson (Sturt)
Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (Sturt)

West Australian State Combine (20):

Christian Ameduri (East Perth)
Liam Baker (Subiaco)
Jordan Boullineau (Peel Thunder)
Ryan Burrows (South Fremantle)
Damon Cramer (Peel Thunder)
Patrick Farrant  (Swan Districts)
Jonathon Frampton (South Fremantle)
Scott Jones (East Perth)
Zac Langdon (Claremont)
Tyrese Miller (West Perth)
Lachlan Mitchell (Peel Thunder)
Gordon Narrier (Perth)
Cody Nineytte (Perth)
Will Powell (Claremont)

Aaron Redhead (East Perth)
Zareth Roe (Perth)
Liam Ryan (Subiaco)
Haiden Schloithe (Subiaco)
Chris Scott (East Fremantle)
Taryce Stewart (Swan Districts) 

Rookie Me Combine (23):

Kwaby Boakye (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
Hamish Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons)
Damien Burke (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
Jack Clayton (Brisbane Lions Academy)
James Ferry (Essendon VFL)
Tom Freeman (Dandenong Stingrays)
Joel Griffiths (Geelong Grammar)
Jack Hardman (Sydney Swans Academy)
Matthew Harman (Northern Knights)
Lachlan Harris (Sandringham Dragons)
Marty Hore (Collingwood VFL)
Cooper Jones (Bendigo Pioneers)
Daniel Joseph (Aspley)
Francis Kinthari (NT Thunder)
Jordan Lynch (Eastern Ranges)
Josh Newman (Williamstown VFL)
Tony Olango (NT Thunder)
Kieren Parnell (NT Thunder)
Julian Patterson (Gippsland Power)
Kieran Strachan (Essendon VFL)
Sam Switkowski (Box Hill VFL)
Charlie Thompson (Oakleigh Chargers)
Aaron Trusler (Sandringham Dragons)

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 15

ROUND 15 of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend and there were a number of close contests. We had scouts watching three of the games – read their notes below.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Brandon Hutchinson)

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hunter Clark – It should not be a surprise to anyone to again see Clark on this list. The running midfielder played an excellent four quarters, proving dangerous on the inside and outside. His trademark composure was demonstrated brilliantly through his movement around the Bendigo boys, and their difficulties in landing a tackle was due to his sharp and agile style of football. Clark’s clever positioning and ball placement was key in breaking congestion in the midfield during a wild second half. The youngster opted for more of a stationery role on the weekend, displaying a keen awareness of how to create a play through his passes. With plenty of free men scattered about the ground this proved an effective approach. Clark hit-up his forwards a few times for goal, kicking low and hard to their leads. He also left the game with two of his own; one through careful running and the other a beautiful snap along the ground. Whether aggressive or conservative, Clark knows how to play his opponents, adapting his style and role to help carry his team to victory.

#3 Jamie Plumridge – The goals were shared all amongst the Dandenong boys on Saturday with Plumridge booting two of his own. In the first, a big snap from about 50 metres gave him one, and another clean kick around the body in the third gave him his second. Plumridge was present throughout the ground, showing some smart and resolute running. He ran from the back to the forward, directing traffic and guiding the ball forward through careful passing and pace. Though he was closed down in the forward, the ball still covered huge ground which he was responsible for. As the game picked up in intensity in the second half, Plumridge kept up a consistent bravery and work rate. He pushed through incoming traffic to move the ball up through a bit of congestion.

#7 Jai Taylor – Taylor made it his business in the second half to snatch up any stray ball that found its way in his zone. Smart placement set him apart from the other players on ground, plucking the ball out of the air from failed Bendigo ejections. Taylor’s strong midfield presence always kept him as an option and was dangerous in moving the ball through traffic. Talented, Taylor needs to prove that he’s able to perform at the level earlier on in the game. However, his strong presence late in the game could be indicative of his ability to rise with game’s intensity. Overall, smart placement and hard running helped this set man apart from the rest of the game.

#17 Finlay Bayne – Finlay Bayne kicked three goals in a strong performance. His presence remained consistent, assisting in more ways than one in getting the ball between the sticks. A creative player, Bayne dominated the forward line with his quick and clever thinking. Coming seemingly out of nowhere to steal the ball, Bayne snatched the ball on the chest in the third to put away his second. He went on to kick another in the fourth with a beautiful boot around the body. Bayne also gave D’Arcy his fourth with a nice pass, showing onlookers what a well-oiled machine the Dandenong forward line has become.

#19 Josh Bateman – Bateman was one of the best performers on the day. A strong burst along the pocket and up the wing in the first term saw Bateman help his team to breathing space after an early, close scrape. The skipper played some firm football. His quick decision-making was pivotal as he and his boys proved a bit too sharp at times for the Bendigo boys.

#29 Bailey Williams – Williams came out with the opening goal, setting up Dandenong’s first quarter stampede over Bendigo. He was a consistent winner in the ruck, keeping all his rovers well fed. The big man was pivotal in moving the midfield and getting the play moving off that centre bounce. When he was not rucking, he also proved important in the forward, soaring high over the pack in the fourth. Williams booted just the one goal however. He played some good footy, but he is capable of more as he displayed throughout certain parts of the game. To step up his performance Williams needs to make himself more of an option because he is more than tall enough to snatch away a few marks.

#50 Riley D’Arcy –  If you count all of D’Arcy’s clever goal assists, he would have walked away with a lot more than four majors on Saturday. The big man showed his audience that he understands how to play forward line, even if he’s not the one punting through the goals. With two clever handpasses to Frankie Mitropoulos, both of which ended in goals, D’Arcy proved being tightly watched by the Bendigo boys is not stopping him from putting scores on the board. He was on the same wave length with his entire team, leading strong to his midfield and returning the favour through his quick improvisation in the forward line. He had no problem marking the ball with the extra eyes on him, taking a firm grab alone against two Bendigo boys, and a beautiful diving mark in the fourth. However, given Dandenong’s score it was expected that D’Arcy went home with a few more than four, but the Stingrays would not be disappointed with his output. He remained present throughout most forward plays during the game, keeping his forwards on the ball when he couldn’t be.

#46 Mason De Wit – De Wit’s high pressure defensive play kept a wild Bendigo forward line from snatching up more goals than they worked for. Laying plenty of tackles and taking important marks down back, the young man made small work of the loose kicks coming into his backline. Brilliantly closing down a runner early in the second, de Wit kept his opposition back when they began to fight harder in the second and third. He trailed off a bit in the fourth as the ball spent more time in Dandenong’s forward line, but his pressure in defence was too much for the Bendigo boys.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Kane Farrell – Farrell played some resilient football given his team’s performance. He did not let that stop him from playing to his fullest, being one of the few players able to make moving through the Dandenong midfield like child’s play. He laid a tough tackle toward the second quarter and earned a free. He later copped a big knock and lost the ball, but quickly recovered, regained the ball and kicked a monster of a goal. Farrell often ran the ball along the wing, covering the same great ground. He displayed excellent technical ability and composure during some football. When he could assist the play, he did so with focused running and kicking downfield. Farrell stepped up for his team when it seemed like nobody would. Farrell finished the game with six majors, and best on ground for his team.

#20 Angus Schumacher –  After a poor first quarter for the Pioneers, Schumacher put through the first goal for his team in the second. He later saved his team from another goal with a defensive rebound down the field. The versatile mover was one of the better performers for his team, getting his fair share of the ball. Though after the second quarter, Schumacher was not seen having much of the ball. If he’s going to take his football career any further, he will need to find some consistency or at least make himself more of an option.

#25 Lewin Davis – Davis had a few decent runs along the wing and put away a goal late in the second quarter. He knows how to remain poised and throw his head over the ball when it calls for it. He took a great mark late in the third which always saw him lost his head. Davis was willing to put himself on the line for the ball more than once for his team. He laid a tough tackle in the fourth and dived on the ball when it went loose which saw it moved up the wing. In the future, Davis may need to work more on his placement and map out his passes a bit more if he is to keep up with an intense game like the one on Saturday.

#65 Evan Dorrington – The Dandenong forward line proved more than a little difficult for much of the Bendigo defenders, but Dorrington stepped up more than a few times against the adversity. He saved a potential goal in the first quarter and out wrestled his way to the ball on a number of occasions. He took a spectacular mark in the third and was later moved into the forward line where he put one away from himself. Often the Dandenong players proved a bit much for him, so in the future he will need to continue his good work across four quarters.

Northern Knights vs. Calder Cannons (Peter Bonadio)

Northern Knights:

#8 Nicholas Coffield – Coffield showed good composure around the footy. A natural born leader who makes smart decisions out of the backline, he showed some excellent kicking ability moving the ball forward.

#11 Ethan Penrith – The talented mover played well in patches across the match. Penrith is a great tackler and put a lot of pressure on his opponent causing them to make mistakes. He showed a great turn of pace with and without ball in hand and is a smart user with the footy showing good vision to hit-up his teammates.

#18 Jamison Shea – VFL Experience has helped Shea who looked more comfortable on the field. Shea is a great mover inside forward 50 as he leads to the right spots. He is a good set shot for goal and consistent a goal scorer, finishing the day with three majors.

Calder Cannons:

#1 Brad Bernacki – The Cannons captain continues to find the footy and is impressive around the contest. One area for improvement is his kicking efficiency but has shown a deep desire to improve and has already come on in leaps and bounds since the start of the season. One to watch in the final month of the TAC Cup season.

#12 Noah Balta – Very Soild player. Natural talent who is very athletic and quick. Great by foot and finding teammate even over longer distances. Great tackler. Versatile player who look comfortable anywhere he plays. Side note, for 194cm player can play well in the ruck. Booted a superb 70+ metre goal out of the centre bounce.

#39 Jesse Firebrace – He showed some great work ethic and has great closing speed. Defensively, Firebrace is a very solid tackler and with the ball in hand showed good vision to spot his teammates. The classy user was very effective by foot in the Cannons’ win, sealing the win with a goal in the last play..

Eastern Ranges vs. Sandringham Dragons (Billy Friend)

Eastern Ranges:

#6 Ryley Stoddart – The agile and smooth moving defender was extremely impressive for all four quarters in his side’s victory. Stoddart burts past players and linked up for one-twos regularly and seemed to love having the ball in his hands. His left leg is penetrating and efficient and he even snuck forward to kick a goal in the third term to round off a complete game.

#7 Jordan Lynch – Lynch was extremely dangerous up forward and impactful when he was playing around the stoppages. His pressure around the ball was relentless and he made the most of his touches.

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – Stephenson gathered the most disposals and was the clear best on ground. The number 16 bought his own football in the first half and after a more subdued third term the midfielder played a terrific last quarter to help seal the game. His hard running allowed him to find space and he linked up with teammates in scoring chains more than anyone else. His performance was sealed by a terrific overhead mark and goal.

#18 Sam Hayes – Hayes looms as one of the best monster power forwards/ruckman in the TAC Cup and showed why today. He dominated the hit-outs and the Dragons had no match for him when he went forward. Hayes kicked two goals to set the tone in the first term and played out the rest of the match strongly.

#26 Harrison Nolan – Nolan was the rock in defence for the Ranges and displayed a ‘you shall not pass’ attitude all game. His spoiling and intercept marking was a highlight and he generally looked bigger and stronger than his opposition.

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Geordie Nagle – Nagle played the role of delivery man extremely well all day and was important exiting the back half for the Dragons. He makes up for his lack of size with swift movement and football smarts and is one to watch.

#7 Aaron Trusler – The small forward was instrumental in Sandy’s last quarter comeback and was in the best couple for his team today. He kicked two goals and applied strong tackling pressure in the Sandy forward line.

#8 Will Walker – Walker has footy nous and always seems to find a lot of the ball around stoppages as well as on the spread. His clearance work is the strength of his game and he impressed again today with his in and under approach.

#22 Quintin Montanaro – Despite not accumulating heaps of possessions, Montanaro showed some Pendlebury qualities through his ability to hold onto the ball with poise and find the best option possible. He was difficult to tackle and rarely wasted the ball.

#27 Jak Nardino – The defender was extremely influential in the first half via his run and carry and precision kicking. He could not mirror his output in the second half however when the game was on the line.

#29 Joel Amartey – The big man is an unbelievable athlete and took mark of the day thanks to his big leap. He is rough around the edges at times but went forward today and took strong contested marks and kicked a goal. Amartey fought hard against a dominant Sam Hayes in the ruck.

#50 Callum Jones – Jones demonstrated tremendous defensive qualities through spoils and smothers but his kicking let him down.

#73 Ed Newman – Newman showed flashes of brilliance today but struggled to get his hands on the ball outside of the contest. The Victorian Under 19 cricketer was brilliant at times with his head over the ball but had a quiet outing today on Dragons debut. One to keep an eye on for the remainder of the year.