Tag: jones

2014 Draft Profile: Tim Jones

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Tim Jones (Tasmania)

Height: 181 cm
Weight: 78 kg
Position: Midfielder
Strengths: Contested ball winning, clearance work, leadership
Weaknesses: Disposal efficiency
Player comparison: Brad Sewell

Tim Jones isn’t a name too many were familiar with before this year’s championships, but a stellar tournament from the hard-nosed midfielder has seen him rocket into draft contention.

With a new format coming into play for the National Championships this year, Division Two sides played each other once, as well as a few games throughout the year against TAC Cup opposition. Tasmania finished third with a 1-2 record in the Championships, beating Northern Territory on the final day for their only win. It was their only game televised on Fox Footy, but for Jones, it could be the turning point.

Jones led his side with 34 disposals, 13 contested possessions, six clearances, five inside 50’s and four tackles. 31 of his 34 touches came inside the first three quarters, of which he played 55 minutes. That’s better then a touch every two minutes, a feat in which AFL players rarely achieve through a half of footy, let alone three quarters.

It’s Jones’ sheer ability to find the football that is his greatest asset. If you combine his three championship games with the three games he’s played against TAC Cup sides Dandenong, Northern and Murray, he averages 33.5 disposals a game, eclipsing the 30 mark all but once, managing a somewhat sub-par 26 in the game against New South Wales.

Jones never shies away from the contest either so you’re likely to see him at the bottom of the pack trying to fish the ball out to team mates more often then not. The big knock on his game at the moment is his efficiency levels, as the midfielder ran at only 60 per cent throughout the Championships. Being as inside as he is though, efficiency isn’t as important as that of an outside midfielder or a player running off half back.

Another important quality Jones possesses is his leadership ability. Named as the vice-captain for the state team this year, Jones has not only lead through his actions but also through his words, often marshalling the troops at stoppages. Most of Jones’ disposals come in a pack situation, with the midfielder following the ball all over the ground for most of the game. He doesn’t tend to rest up forward or down back, but does rotate through the bench often to keep himself fresh, as he spends most of the game hunting the footy.

In a game against Northern back in June, Jones was a stand out and clearly the best player on the ground, despite Tasmania going down by 38 points. Jones had 35 touches and 10 tackles, and if the TAC Cup website recorded player clearances, would have had more then 10 of those too. It may not have been a good day for the team as a whole, but it was the beginning of a brilliant couple of months of football for Tim Jones.

Despite being only 78  kg, Jones is quite strong in the upper body and can hold his own against bigger midfielders, so if he finds himself onto an AFL list in the upcoming draft, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him play a few games in his debut year.

2013 Draft Profile: Jesse Tardio

Jesse Tardio (Northern Knights)

Height: 179 cm
Weight: 72 kg
Position: Midfielder
Player comparison: Nathan Jones
Strengths: Ball getting, stoppages, positioning
Weaknesses: Outside game

Jesse Tardio is not often a player that is thrown into the mix when discussing the Northern Knights. The likes of Marcus Bontempelli, Ben Lennon or the injured Cameron Conlon get suggested well before Tardio does. Tardio in many ways is very similar to Geelong’s James Tsitas with more ability to go forward, but less influence on the match.

Tardio is your typical hard nut contested inside midfielder who racks up disposals with ease and is also very dangerous around the stoppages. He positions himself well in order to give himself and his team best chance of clearing the ball from a contested situation and loves to get under the packs and scoop it out to teammates. While he is predominantly inside, he can drift forward and find space to impact the scoreboard. In the game against Sandringham earlier in the year he had two chances to win the match but unfortunately missed both and the game ended in a draw. Nonetheless he has that ability to kick goals at times during matches.

While Tardio doesn’t have the best disposal around, he isn’t a complete ball butcher and uses it well by hand and knows how to offensively hurt teams. He isn’t overly quick but isn’t slow either so he moves reasonably well around the ground without much trouble. He’s a highly underrated midfielder at the Northern Knights and while many may not expect him to do much damage, he’s the crucial inside player that helps clear the ball and get it to the likes of Bontempelli and Lennon.

Unfortunately for Tardio he is a little like Brad Sewell in the sense that he can often go unnoticed due to winning all the inside ball. One might think he’s barely touched it when in reality he’s had 25-30 touches. He would be considered the ultimate team player given that at times his game style sacrifices his own game for that of the team. He is a determined young man who loves hunting the football and while he might not be on the top of anyone’s list, his season suggests he has done enough to at least warrant a late pick or rookie selection this year.

In the Bound For Glory News Phantom Draft, Jesse Tardio was selected by North Melbourne with pick 80. Tardio might not start as that inside midfielder and instead by trialed either up forward or as a defensive player who can play a run-with role on an opposition midfielder. In some ways, Tardio might be similar to Daniel Cross and go head-to-head with midfielders or play a more defensive stance on a key opposition midfielder who is strong but not overly quick, perhaps a Josh P. Kennedy or Jobe Watson for example.

While some might argue that clubs will prefer to go for quicker, more skilful players, Tardio does have a skill set that is of use in the AFL. He’s not a ball butchering tortoise so in the end he could be best compared with Melbourne’s Nathan Jones. Jones is solid across all areas without being considered “elite” and he busts a gut every match regardless of the score. If Tardio can continue to develop and mould into Nathan Jones than no doubt there would be a number of clubs keen to secure his services.

2013 Draft Profile: Zac Jones

Zac Jones (Dandenong Stingrays)

Height: 181 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Position: Small Defender
Player comparison: Alan Toovey (Better foot skills), Michael Hibberd (quicker)
Strengths: Hardness, Speed, Overhead strength
Weaknesses: Endurance (should he eventually move to midfield)

Zac Jones is a neat little package who really stood up during the Under 18s Championships winning the Most Valuable Player award for Vic Country. He hails from the Dandenong Stingrays and plays that half back role in a number of ways. He has shown across the course of the season he is able to play both offensively by running off half back, as well as defensively, by locking down an opponent and niggling him into frustration.

Jones is the brother of Melbourne’s Nathan and has an appetite for the contest that is almost identical. He revels in the hard stuff, loves a contest and isn’t afraid to let his opponent know how to improve his performance. Against Tasmania at Visy Park, Jones was enjoying his footy niggling into a few forwards after they made mistakes, getting into their heads. He lets his performance speak for itself however, impressing across the carnival as that half back.

Like at the Stingrays, Jones played a multitude of half back roles from being an offensive running half back to a defensive lock-down defender. He has the pace to play that offensive running game and the mental toughness and love for the contest and hard ball to also excel at the lock-down game. For sides looking for a lock-down defender, Jones is clearly the stand out in this area. In many ways he is similar to Alan Toovey in the way he uses his speed to burn off opponents but remain accountable at shutting him out of the game. Offensively, he is not to dissimilar to Michael Hibberd because of his ability to run both ways and use the ball well.

In the final game of the Under 18s Championships against Vic Metro, Jones was able to use his offensive running game and weave around a couple of defenders and pin point a pass to a leading forward from the half back line. His kicking has reasonable penetration and with his pinpoint accuracy, he is able to be relied upon as someone to use regularly. He may not be the tallest of players, but he makes up for it in willingness and not holding back in a contest.

For a small defender, Jones has a pretty good all-round game which will see him make AFL and become a really good player. The only main improvement that he could make is to build his tank a bit further to potentially play a similar role in the midfield to his brother. In saying that, he’s got a solid tank to work with but no doubt with the bollocking work required in the middle, he’ll aim to improve that further. If Jones could move up and play as that inside extractor, he could well become one of the competition’s better midfielders. Especially given his toughness and burst speed away from the contest. This could lead him to playing both inside and out as a valuable contributor.

In the Bound For Glory News Rising Stars Phantom Draft, Jones was taken with Pick 46 by Carlton who have been cycling through their small defenders with many not keeping a regular spot in the team. With coach Mick Malthouse saying that a clean out at year’s end is inevitable, it means there will be room for plenty of fresh talent to come in. Zac Jones could fill the void and seems like the type Malthouse would really like given his flexibility and hardness at the contest.

Zac Jones is one of the few all-round players for his position and believe he’s very underrated in this draft. Whichever club selects him will be very excited about the prospect of having this tough, uncompromising defender in the team.

Hartung returns to help Stingrays defeat Pioneers

The Dandenong Stingrays got across the line against the Bendigo Pioneers last weekend thanks to the return of top draft prospect Billy Hartung. Dandenong were unconvincing and inaccurate, posting a score of 10.16, but it was enough to see off the gallant Pioneers by 17 points. Hartung, returning for his first game since having surgery in January was fanastic in the narrow win amassing 33 disposals and booting three goals.

It was an ugly game with both teams quite scrappy with the ball in their forward fifties throughout most of the game and struggled to hit targets going forward. Dandenong missed several goal scoring opportunities in the first quarter, with the ball rebounding in and out of their attacking fifty regularly. Isaiah Miller and Jacob Chisari for the Pioneers were influential in pushing the ball out of the defensive fifty with their run off half back. Hartung was providing plenty of run and carry for the Stingrays, but they weren’t able to punish the home team on the scoreboard.

It appeared both teams were happy to settle into a defensive mode with play seemingly to be between the arcs. Bendigo and Dandenong struggled to meet targets up forward which summarised most of the match given only 19 goals in total were kicked for the day. Dandenong battled to get the ball out of their defensive half while Bendigo appeared to have no one presenting forward. Stingrays defender Sam Crawford was particularly good in running the ball out of the back line and creating space in the midfield much like Chisari and Miller for Bendigo.

Hartung continued to make an impression with effective midfield work and on several occasions, backing up his contribution with second efforts. His efforts were influential in creating flow throughout the midfield and his ability to kick his three goals from a combination of both feet showed his flexibility when inside the forward fifty.

Chrisari again showed poise and confidence in the third term with his ability to steer the Pioneers out of defense and into the midfield, where Miller created space and fed the ball forward. Danny Jones for the Pioneers was also good in defense, taking a couple of solid marks and relieving the Dandenong pressure. Brady Egan from the Stingrays slotted a beautiful goal in the third term, 45 meters out on the boundary line to give Dandenong some momentum, while Hartung continued his high work rate to ensure Dandenong had first hands on it at clearances around the ground.

The final quarter saw the Pioneers kick a couple of goals to get themselves back into the game and put pressure on Dandenong. But it was a case of deja vue with Hartung was contributing around the ground and Jack Soroczynski’s run making an impact as both teams started to look tired. The Dandenong boys lost communication a few times in the quarter which resulted in a few turnovers and scrappy football.

The Stingrays 17 point win over the Pioneers showcased a few key players from each side such as Hartung, Crawford, Soroczynski and Rennie from Dandenong and particularly Chisari and Miller from Bendigo. The match overall was scrappy and at times lacked target-hitting and communication, but Dandenong came out on top with Billy Hartung amazing in his first game back from injury. Hartung and seven on his team mates including Egan and goal sneak Clayton McCartney can now look forward to competing in the Under 18 Championships for Vic Country which start next weekend up in Darwin.

Bendigo Pioneers eye off TAC Cup finals

After a disappointing 2012, the Bendigo Pioneers have their eyes set on TAC Cup finals in 2013. The Pioneers registered just three wins and finished 11th last season, just above Eastern Ranges. Despite the results, the Pioneers had two players selected in the top ten of the AFL National Draft in Ollie Wines (#4 – Port Adelaide) and Jake Stringer (#6 – Western Bulldogs). A great result for a club that has the highest average career games per player out of any TAC Cup club.

This year the Pioneers have more of a rounded team with plenty of hard nut midfielders, a couple of running defenders and a few solid talls who provide options in the ruck or down forward. Coach David Newett is happy with the way his team is shaping up. “We’re a bit slight compared to last year’s side, but we have talented midfielders who can get the job done. Once we’ve gained some of our injured top-agers back, we’ll be a better side.”

One of the players with experience is top-age midfielder Harry O’Meara whose season by his own admission had been a mixed bag. “The first game was probably the best game of my career. Getting scoreboard pressure, kicking a couple goals and getting 20 odd possessions. The game against the Power not so much, I couldn’t really get into the game.”

O’Meara made the Vic Country squad last year and was going to state screening before a hamstring injury cruelled his drafting chances. “I wasn’t really expecting to be picked up but with the injury, I was like ‘nup that’s it’.”

Much like O’Meara’s season, the Pioneers have dealt with mixed results in 2013. The first match saw them comfortably outrun the North Ballarat Rebels to cruise to a convincing victory at Highgate Recreation Reserve. However the last two matches have been far from convincing, booting a total of nine goals in two weeks to lose by a combined margin of 145 points.

Newett said that they were convincingly beaten in the midfield which led to the large deficits including the massively disappointing 105 point loss to the Gippsland Power. ““The things that are in our control weren’t good enough. The fundamentals and pressure. We didn’t do that well enough.”

Ten Pioneers have made the Vic Country Intra-Squad clash this weekend with the likes of Blake Poyser, Trent Bacon and Jordan Mangan joining O’Meara in the squad. With Jacob Chisari and Jaden McGrath late withdrawals against the Power, Newett is excited about the pair, along with top-ager Sam Heavyside returning to the team in the near future. “If we put our best players on the park, it makes the players around them better. We still have plenty of improvement left in this side.”

As the year goes on, many names throughout the TAC Cup competition will be touted as potential draftees at AFL clubs. For the Pioneers, defender Isaiah Miller is the lone AIS member, but the like of Chisari, Mangan, O’Meara and Jake Maher are also going to cause some lengthy discussion amongst AFL recruiters. Newett said there were quite a few who could make the transition into AFL. “Jordy Mangan, Liam Byrne, Sammy Heavyside, Harry O’Meara, Isaiah Miller and Jacob Chisari are all guys who have the potential to go to the next level.”

Despite the two disappointing losses, the spirit is not lost amongst the Pioneers players with O’Meara confident they’ll play finals. “I see us top eight. Sure we had a big loss today, but we’re missing a couple of players so I hope it will be a good finish to the season.”

Bendigo currently sit 10th on the TAC Cup ladder with one win from three matches.  The Pioneers next match is against the Northern Knights at Preston City Oval on Saturday 27 April at noon.  For those wanting to see their favourite Pioneers in action against the states’ best, the Vic Country Intra Trial match is on Sunday with Harry O’Meara, Blake Poyser, Trent Bacon, Jake Maher, Danny Jones and Jordan Mangan representing Bendigo.

While Bendigo’s season hasn’t had the greatest of starts, Bendigo has a number of stronger bodies to return to the line-up. If the Pioneers consolidate on the glimpses of brilliance they have shown in the opening few rounds they will be a dangerous threat come finals time.