Tag: Kane Farrell

Keeping Tabs: Standout players from Round 20

A NUMBER of new faces were among the first-year players who impressed in their games on the weekend, continuing the season trend of readymade draftees from last year’s AFL National Draft.

Hunter Clark

Hunter Clark was typically calm and composed across the St.Kilda half-back line in their defeat to the Western Bulldogs. The 19 year-old collected 20 disposals and recorded three rebounds but crucially, managed a disposal efficiency of 90 per cent, hitting 18 out of 20 targets by hand and foot and helping his side maintain possession of the Sherrin. The long-haired Hunter, who is versatile but looks perhaps best suited to a role in defence, has performed well enough this season to suggest he will live up to the hype as a future star of the competition.

Will Walker

Second-gamer Will Walker bagged the first two goals of his young career at the Gabba on Saturday afternoon. Viewed by some as a surprise selection when he was taken as early as pick 23 by the ‘Roos last year, Walker collected the majority of his possessions across the half-forward and wing areas, where his long leg and speed make him an exciting prospect for North. In addition to his two smart goals, Walker collected 11 disposals (seven kicks and four handballs at 64 per cent disposal efficiency), two clearances, one tackle and five score involvements. With the likes of Shaun Higgins and Ben Jacobs looking to make their returns to the side, Walker will have his work cut-out to keep his position. However he will undoubtedly have learned greatly from exposure in his first year.

Kane Farrell

In what was his second game and first Showdown, Kane Farrell was impressive, netting three goals. Opposed to Crows 199-game veteran David Mackay for much of the contest, Farrell was damaging out the back of the contests, hitting the scoreboard to help Port crawl back into the game after Adelaide got off to a flyer. Despite his side enduring a heartbreaking loss, the Victorian fitted in nicely, gaining 384 metres, moving the ball inside-50 five times and taking two strong contested marks. He looks to have made the small forward role his own, for the time being at-least.

Cameron Rayner

It was a performance which he will remember for crucially missed a chance to snatch the game late, however the number one draft pick was strong across the board. Rayner presented well up the spine of the ground as a medium forward, collecting six of his 14 disposals in the true centre-half-forward region. In addition to his six marks and two goals, also impressive was Cam’s time on-ground percentage which, at 82 per cent, suggests the has really worked hard to improve his endurance over the course of the year, given this was arguably the Western Jet’s lone flaw as a draftee. Rayner’s field kicking was terrific, ending with a disposal efficiency of 86 per cent however he will rue his final kick of the match.

Jack Higgins

In the absence of Premiership on-baller Dion Prestia, first-year small Jack Higgins stepped up the the plate, relishing his chance of added midfield minutes. A high draft pick from 2017, Higgins tallied 18 disposals (11 kicks and seven handballs), took two marks, laid a couple of tackles and kicked 1.2 in-front of goal. The former Oakleigh Charger showed off his stoppage smarts with four clearances and was an important piece in getting the ball moving for the Tigers. Although his role saw Higgins focus on winning and extracting the contested ball from inside, his disposal efficiency of 44 per cent will be an area for improvement moving forward.

Bayley Fritsch

In the Demons rout of the struggling Gold Coast, Bayley Fritsch once again more-than justified his second-round selection in the 2017 National Draft. His ability to cover the ground, pushing up across the wings and into the defensive half is becoming a trademark, as is his aerial prowess which saw him take another nine marks (including five intercept possessions). Recruited from the Dees’ VFL affiliate side Casey, notched up 21 touches (15 kicks and six handballs at 67 per cent efficiency) to go with 332 metres gained, three inside-50’s and two rebound-50’s. Fritsch is now not only an established best-22 player, but fast becoming an important link-up player for the Demons as they head into a draught-breaking finals series.

Tim Kelly

The incredible story of Tim Kelly rolls on, this time with the Western Australian collecting 36 touches (19 kicks, 17 handballs), three tackles, three marks, four clearances, 669 metres gained and one goal in the nail-biting loss at the hands of Richmond. Kelly was typically cool and composed under pressure in a game where many players struggled to get clean possessions away, highlighting his immense talent. I feel as if Kelly’s disposal efficiency (53 per cent) does not quite justify how good he was. Whenever the smooth-mover was in possession of the ball, you feel as if something good will come from the disposal. Kelly continues to star in just his first year in the competition, ignoring the media attention regarding his future at Kardinia Park to perfection.

TAC Cup preview: Bendigo Pioneers

BENDIGO Pioneers are coming off another year of potential, but falling short during the season, taking out the 2017 wooden spoon. They had plenty of moments throughout the year that showed recruiters and fans that there was plenty of talent, which was highlighted on draft night with an equal club-record seven draftees selected – six in the AFL National Draft, and two in the top 10. While that did not equate to wins on the field, the Pioneers were rarely at full-strength given their star players had school and state commitments throughout the season.

Paddy Dow and Lochie O’Brien will now be able to show off their class for Carlton on the biggest stage, drafted along with Angus Schumacher. Jarrod Brander (West Coast), Kane Farrell (Port Adelaide) and Brent Daniels (GWS) were all drafted interstate, while Derek Smith Jnr was picked up by Richmond under the Next Generation Academy program.

In 2018, the Pioneers might not have the ridiculous top-end class they did last year, but there are still a number of highly rated prospects. At the top of most recruiters lists will be Jye Caldwell – a player who burst onto the scene at the National Under 16 Championships – and Jacob Atley, who will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his brother’s Shaun and Joe. In terms of depth, Daine Grace showed signs at times he could be an imposing tall with good agility, while Liam Marciano and Phill Moimoi are other players who stood out in their bottom-age years.

One overager we are excited to see back is Bailey Henderson who had a good mix of skill and poise, and was unlucky not to be drafted last year. He will be a real figurehead in the midfield and expect him to be working more on his inside game to add another string to his bow. Overall in 2018, the Pioneers will have just two players – Henderson and Atley – who played double figure games last season. Grace played seven games and Marciano six, the only four players with more than five games to their name.

2017 Stats:

2017 Summary:

There is no hiding the fact that the Bendigo Pioneers did not have a good season on paper last year, especially considering the high hopes that a squad with the talent the Pioneers had. In saying that, they did knock off grand finalists Sandringham Dragons in round six, as well as GWV Rebels (round two) and Western Jets (round eight). After holding a win-loss record of 3-5 after eight rounds, there was hope in the team making its first finals series in some time, but unfortunately for the Pioneers, they lost the last 10 games of the season to finish 3-15.

They did take it up to Calder Cannons, Northern Knights and Gippsland Power in the second half of the season however, so there were some positives to take out of it. While the results were not ideal, the number one goal of the competition is development and the Pioneers nailed it in 2017. They had seven drafted and a couple of those already look like making an impact at AFL level. It was a credit to the hard work the Pioneers staff put in, with many travelling long distances and spending many hours getting the players up and about for the weekend games.

2018 Snapshot:

Bendigo Pioneers are renowned travellers and they start their season on the road this Saturday at Mars Stadium against the GWV Rebels. They then travel to Shepparton in round two to face the Murray Bushrangers, before back-to-back games at Queen Elizabeth Oval against Gippsland Power and Oakleigh Chargers. The Pioneers play just six games at Queen Elizabeth Oval in 2018, and none at Epsom Huntly Reserve, meaning road trips are inevitable. They will hope to get off to a good start this weekend and try and notch up more wins this season. In a fixture anomaly, the Pioneers face the Rebels three times in the season – twice in Ballarat and once in Bendigo.

2018 Fixture:

Bendigo Pioneers

DateEventTime/ResultsVenueArticle
2018-03-24 14:00:39March 24, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Bendigo Pioneers67 - 68MARS StadiumRecap
2018-03-30 15:00:32March 30, 2018 Murray Bushrangers vs Bendigo Pioneers99 - 42Deakin ReserveRecap
2018-04-07 10:00:02April 7, 2018 Bendigo Pioneers vs Gippsland Power53 - 116Queen Elizabeth OvalRecap
2018-04-20 19:00:39April 20, 2018 Bendigo Pioneers vs Oakleigh Chargers30 - 100Queen Elizabeth OvalRecap
2018-04-29 14:30:01April 29, 2018 Northern Knights vs Bendigo Pioneers76 - 45Preston City OvalRecap
2018-05-12 16:30:07May 12, 2018 Calder Cannons vs Bendigo Pioneers68 - 29Rams ArenaRecap
2018-05-20 14:00:37May 20, 2018 Eastern Ranges vs Bendigo Pioneers90 - 52Box Hill City OvalRecap
2018-06-02 14:15:52June 2, 2018 Western Jets vs Bendigo Pioneers65 - 58Burbank OvalRecap
2018-06-17 12:00:02June 17, 2018 Bendigo Pioneers vs Murray Bushrangers45 - 85Queen Elizabeth OvalRecap
2018-06-23 14:00:43June 23, 2018 Gippsland Power vs Bendigo Pioneers50 - 70Windy HillRecap
2018-07-08 13:00:10July 8, 2018 Bendigo Pioneers vs GWV Rebels58 - 83Queen Elizabeth OvalRecap
2018-07-21 13:00:15July 21, 2018 Dandenong Stingrays vs Bendigo Pioneers111 - 45Shepley OvalRecap
2018-07-29 14:30:37July 29, 2018 Sandringham Dragons vs Bendigo Pioneers48 - 40Trevor Barker OvalRecap
2018-08-05 13:00:27August 5, 2018 Bendigo Pioneers vs Geelong Falcons13 - 94Queen Elizabeth OvalRecap
2018-08-18 15:00:44August 18, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Bendigo Pioneers75 - 39MARS StadiumRecap
2018-08-26 13:00:17August 26, 2018 Bendigo Pioneers vs Western Jets57 - 98Queen Elizabeth OvalRecap
2018-09-02 13:30:05September 2, 2018 Murray Bushrangers vs Bendigo Pioneers 13:30:051:30 pmIkon ParkRecap

Draftees named for AFLX

TWENTY-one draftees from the 2017 National Draft will get an early taste of senior football in the AFL’s newest competition – AFLX. Among them are three former Sandringham Dragons, two Bendigo Pioneers and two Eastern Ranges, while Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets), Gryan Miers (Geelong Falcons) and Jack Petruccelle (Northeren Knights) are the sole players named from their TAC Cup sides.

The tournament begins on Thursday night with six sides – Adelaide, Collingwood, Fremantle, Geelong, Port Adelaide and West Coast – playing shortened 20-minute matches in a round robin format in two pools from which the winner of each pool advances to the grand final at the end of the night. Two further AFLX round robins will be played on Friday and Saturday night respectively.

Played at Hindmarsh Stadium in South Australia, former Sturt players Patrick Wilson (Adelaide) and Mitchell Crowden (Fremantle) have been named, as have Jackson Edwards (Glenelg now Adelaide), Stefan Giro (Norwood now Fremantle), Dom Barry (Glenelg now Port Adelaide) and Lachlan Murphy (Adelaide SANFL now Adelaide). Mature-ager Tim Kelly (South Fremantle now Geelong), Bailey Banfield (Claremont now Fremantle), Brayden Ainsworth (Subiaco now West Coast), Jake Patmore (Claremont now Port Adelaide) and Ryan Burrows (South Fremantle now West Coast) are the West Australians involved.

Along with the thrill that comes with representing an AFL club, there is the potential for a number of former teammates to face off on the elite stage. Former Sandringham Dragons Nathan Murphy and Hamish Brayshaw could go head to head when the Magpies face the Eagles, while Brayshaw could also face off against his brother Andrew if both West Coast and Fremantle make the grand final. Glenelg pair Jackson Edwards and Dom Barry could go head-to-head if the South Australian sides make the grand final, as could Eastern Ranges’ exports Jaidyn Stephenson and his former captain Joel Garner if the Magpies meet the Power in the decider. Other former teammates that could face off include Patrick Wilson and Mitchell Crowden (Sturt), Tim Kelly and Ryan Burrows (South Fremantle), and Kane Farrell and Jarrod Brander (Bendigo Pioneers).

The AFLX competition is played on a ground with dimensions of between 100-120m in length and 60-70m in width, with four posts at each end and two 40m arcs. Each team will consist of 10 players per game – seven on the field and three on the bench – and there are no restrictions on rotations. No marks will be paid on backwards kicks (except in the forward 40m area) and the last touch out of bounds is a free kick. Kick-ins will occur after each score – even goals – while at least two players from each team must start each quarter inside each 40m arc and any deliberate rushed behinds will result in a free shot to the opposition team from the forward 40m arc resulting in a potential 10-point goal.

The full list of draftees named for the first night for the AFLX competition is:

Adelaide: Patrick Wilson (Sturt), Lachlan Murphy (Adelaide SANFL), Jackson Edwards (Glenelg)

Collingwood: Jaidyn Stephenson (Eastern Ranges), Nathan Murphy (Sandringham Dragons)

Fremantle: Andrew Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons), Mitchell Crowden (Sturt), Bailey Banfield (Claremont), Stefan Giro (Norwood)

Geelong: Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets), Tim Kelly (South Fremantle), Gryan Miers (Geelong Falcons)

Port Adelaide: Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers), Jake Patmore (Claremont), Joel Garner (Eastern Ranges), Dom Barry (Glenelg)

West Coast: Jarrod Brander (Bendigo Pioneers), Brayden Ainsworth (Subiaco), Jack Petruccelle (Northern Knights), Hamish Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons), Ryan Burrows (South Fremantle)

FIXTURES:

6.10pm – Port Adelaide v Geelong
6.38pm – Adelaide v Collingwood
7.06pm – Geelong v Fremantle
7.34pm – West Coast v Adelaide
8.02pm – Fremantle v Port Adelaide
8.30pm – Collingwood v West Coast
9.03pm – Grand Final

Bendigo Pioneers 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.

Bendigo Pioneers

Finished: 12th
Wins: 3
Losses: 15
Percentage: 68
Points: 12

Players Drafted: (7)

  • Paddy Dow (Carlton)
  • Lochie O’Brien (Carlton)
  • Jarrod Brander (West Coast)
  • Brent Daniels (GWS Giants)
  • Kane Farrell (Port Adelaide)
  • Angus Schumacher (Carlton)
  • Derek Smith Jnr (Richmond)

2017 Review:

While the on-field results were once again not what the Bendigo Pioneers had hoped, draft night was a raging success with a massive six players drafted from the club – and Derek Smith Jnr added as a Category B rookie at Richmond – its best ever result. Many believed this year was the year the Pioneers could finally break the finals hoodoo of the past decade, and while it was not to be, their development – as with those at Geelong Grammar where a number of the draftees boarded – should be praised for their work.

Carlton was the biggest benefiary, taking two Pioneers in the top 10 in Paddy Dow and Lochie O’Brien, while also picking up a third Bendigo boy in Angus Schumacher late in the draft. Jarrod Brander was touted as a top five pick early in the season but drifted as far as West Coast before the Eagles decided enough was enough, while pint sized speed machine Brent Daniels headed to the Giants and Kane Farrell found a home at Port Adelaide.

It was a great result for the club with outside midfielder Bailey Henderson considered the unluckiest to miss out, but given his future scope all is not lost. Darby Henderson topped all statistical charts for the season taking out the Pioneers best and fairest and it will be interesting to see where his future lies whether it be in the state leagues or back as an over-ager. Meanwhile the likes of Jobee Warde, Matt Harvey, Laine Fitzgerald and Lewin Davis were also impressive at times throughout the season.

###

2018 Preview:

Looking ahead to 2018, the Pioneers might not have the bucketload of talent they had in 2017, but there are still a couple of top-end prospects from which are likely to go high on draft night. Leading the way are Jye Caldwell and Jacob Atley who the former has been touted as a top picks since the under 16s, while Atley has been consistent over the past couple of seasons.

Jacob Atley (Bendigo Pioneers) 189cm | 75kg | General Defender
2017 TAC Cup: (14) 16.8 disposals | 5.9 marks | 2.4 tackles | 3.5 rebounds | 59% KE | 62% DE | 41% CP

Atley is a clean mover who knows how to find the football and was one of the better rebounders in the TAC Cup last season. Expect him to spend time through the midfield in his top-age year and he has a good balance between offensive and defensive traits, providing plenty of drive for the Pioneers.

Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers) 181cm | 78kg | Inside Midfielder/Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (2) 17.7 disposals | 2.7 marks | 5.3 tackles | 3.3 clearances | 76% KE | 81% DE | 47% CP

Caldwell is a special talent and could well go top 10 on draft night with a consistent season. A lovely kick of the football and a high contested possession rate at the same time, Caldwell mostly played forward when representing Vic Country at the National Under 18 Championships, but is expected to be more of an inside midfielder next season. He tackles hard, wins the clearances and is so balanced inside or out so it is not hard to see why he is a promising prospect.

Others to keep an eye on:

Daine Grace (Bendigo Pioneers) 195cm | 79kg | Key Position Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (7) 4 disposals | 2.1 marks | 1.6 hitouts } 0.6 goals | 50% KE | 71% DE | 61% CP

Liam Marciano (Bendigo Pioneers) 173cm | 62kg | Outside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (6) 19 disposals | 4.3 marks | 2.7 tackles | 2.5 inside 50s | 55% KE | 68% DE | 28% CP

Phill Moimoi (Bendigo Pioneers) 181cm | 83kg | Outside Midfielder/Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (6) 9.8 disposals | 3.8 marks | 1.8 tackles | 1.5 inside 50s | 46% KE | 54% DE | 38% CP

###

Summary:

Bendigo Pioneers will look back at 2017 fondly with a record number of players drafted and some great talent heading to AFL clubs. While 2018 might be different, the Pioneers will be looking to see the load shared between its players who have seen what is possible with hard work. It will be interesting to see what the squad looks like in 2018 with a few key position players and smaller pocket rockets a chance to impress in front of recruiters.

2017 AFL Draft Combine: Day 3 results

AGILE tall Aiden Bonar and exciting West Australian Kyron Hayden were among the top performers on day three of the 2017 National AFL Draft Combine.

Players were subjected to a busy day of testing, with the jumps, sprints and agility events held in the morning. The inaugural Yo-Yo test was run in the afternoon, before players meet with AFL club recruiters after dinner.

Bonar equalled the record for standing vertical jump with a leap of 89cm, matching that of Adelaide’s Jordan Gallucci 12 months earlier, while Hayden leaped into the record books with a massive 105cm jump in the running vertical leap. Hayden finished seven centimetres behind Bonar in the standing vertical jump.

In the 20m sprint, raging favourite Jack Petruccelle raced home in 2.87 seconds, marginally ahead of Bonar and Bendigo Pioneer Kane Farrell who both recorded times of 2.90 seconds. Ruck/forward Ben Miller raised eyebrows with a huge 2.91 seconds, equal with Northern Knights captain Nick Coffield.

Miller went even better in the agility test, equalling Farrell with a time of 8.10 seconds. Farrell’s teammate Brent Daniels finished just one hundredth of a second behind, while Eastern Ranges’ Trent Mynott finished in 8.20 seconds. Irish star Stefan Okunbar also recorded a few highlights with a top 10 finish in the 20m sprint and agility test.

Endurance beast Andrew Brayshaw took out the new yo-yo test with a score of 22.4 ahead of Vic Metro teammate Dylan Moore and speedster Matthew Ling. South Australian Alex Martini, tall defender Aaron Naughton and the exciting Jaidyn Stephenson were the next highest scorers. Geelong Falcons’ Ethan Floyd, Tom McCartin and Gryan Miers joined Ling in the high scorers showing off the top endurance at the club.

Friday is the final day of the 2017 National Combine, with the 2km time trial to take place in the morning.

RESULTS:

20-metre sprint
Jack Petruccelle (Vic Metro) 2.87 seconds
Kane Farrell (Vic Country) 2.90
Aiden Bonar (Vic Country) 2.90
Ben Miller (Western Australia) 2.91
Nick Coffield (Vic Metro) 2.91
Ben Paton (Vic Country) 2.95
Brent Daniels (Vic Country) 2.95
Stefan Okunbar (Ireland) 2.95
Jaidyn Stephenson (Vic Metro) 2.95
Nicholas Shipley (Allies) 2.95

Agility test
Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers) 8.10 seconds
Ben Miller (Western Australia) 8.10
Brent Daniels (Vic Country) 8.11
Trent Mynott (Vic Metro) 8.20
Nathan Kreuger (South Australia) 8.21
Aaron Naughton (Western Australia) 8.22
Mitchell Podhajski (Vic Metro) 8.26
Oscar Allen (Western Australia) 8.27
Stefan Okunbar (Ireland) 8.29
Matthew Ling (Vic Country) 8.30
Callan England (Western Australia) 8.30
Aiden Bonar (Vic Country) 8.30
Andrew Brayshaw (Vic Metro) 8.30

Standing vertical jump
Aiden Bonar (Vic Country) 89cm
Kyron Hayden (Western Australia) 82cm
Ben Paton (Vic Country) 80cm
Harrison Jones (Vic Country) 79cm
Jordan Houlahan (South Australia) 77cm
Jordan Johnston (Vic Country) 75cm
Jack Petruccelle (Vic Metro) 74cm
Noah Balta (Vic Metro) 74cm
Adam Sambono (Allies) 73cm
Hayden McLean (Vic Metro) 73cm

Running vertical jump
Kyron Hayden (Western Australia) 103cm – NEW RECORD
Kane Farrell (Vic Country) 95cm
Jordan Houlahan (South Australia) 95cm
Hayden McLean (Vic Metro) 92cm
Noah Balta (Vic Metro) 89cm
Harrison Jones (Vic Country) 88cm
Oscar Allen (Western Ausralia) 88cm
Tom McCartin (Vic Country) 88cm
Matthew Day (Vic Metro) 87cm
Nathan Kreuger (South Australia) 87cm

Yo-Yo test:
Andrew Brayshaw (Vic Metro) 22.4 level
Dylan Moore (Vic Metro) 22.3
Matthew Ling (Vic Country) 21.8
Alex Martini (South Australia) 21.8
Aaron Naughton (Western Australia) 21.8
Jaidyn Stephenson (Vic Metro) 21.8
Callan England (Western Australia) 21.6
Nick Shipley (Allies) 21.6
Brent Daniels (Vic Country) 21.5
Ethan Floyd (Vic Country) 21.5
Tom McCartin (Vic Country) 21.5
Cillian McDaid (Ireland) 21.5
Gryan Miers (Vic Country) 21.5

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 18

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

GWV Rebels vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Peter Williams)

GWV Rebels:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bendigo Pioneers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calder Cannons vs. Western Jets (Matt Balmer)

Calder Cannons:

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

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

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

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

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

Western Jets:

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

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

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

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

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

Eastern Ranges vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Peter Williams)

Eastern Ranges:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oakleigh Chargers:

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

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

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

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

Northern Knights vs. Sandringham Dragons (Peter Williams)

Northern Knights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sandringham Dragons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Geelong Falcons (Matt Balmer)

Dandenong Stingrays:

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

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

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

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

Geelong Falcons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Murray Bushrangers vs. Gippsland Power (Michael Alvaro)

Murray Bushrangers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gippsland Power:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 16

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


Northern Knights vs. Western Jets (Michael Alvaro)

Northern Knights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western Jets:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Sandringham Dragons (Matt Balmer)

Oakleigh Chargers:

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

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

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

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

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

Sandringham Dragons:

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

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

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

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

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

Eastern Ranges vs. Calder Cannons 

Eastern Ranges:

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

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

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

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

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

Calder Cannons:

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

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

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers (Peter Williams)

Geelong Falcons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Murray Bushrangers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gippsland Power vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Peter Williams)

Gippsland Power:

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

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

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

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

Bendigo Pioneers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greater Western Victoria Rebels:

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

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

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

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

Dandenong Stingrays:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 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.

Victorian cricketer headlines 2017 AFL Draft Combine invites

VICTORIAN Under 19 cricketer Nathan Murphy headlines the 83 players invited to take part in the 2017 AFL Draft Combine.

Murphy has recently turned his focus to football, with the Brighton Grammar student booting 19 goals in the Victorian APS school boy competition as one of the more impressive medium talls in the competition. Murphy was a late addition to the Sandringham Dragons squad, averaging over 22 disposals in his three games, including a three-goal haul against Bendigo Pioneers and the invite to the testing will give clubs an idea regarding his athletic ability after cricket has largely been the focus of the talented teenager.

The AFL Draft Combine is the first sign that their AFL dreams are a step closer to fruition. An invitation to the AFL Draft Combine means that at least four AFL clubs have expressed interest in the player. The AFL Draft Combine is a way for clubs to determine the players’ physical strengths as well as getting one-on-one time through combine interviews.

Vic Metro lead the other Under 18 sides with 29 players selected to take part in October’s National Combine.

Metro won back-to-back titles in the Under 18 Championships, as the clear standout across the carnival.

At the Combine, draftees take on each other in a series of tests that challenge their speed, endurance, reflexes and skills to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Combine results are taken into account by clubs when deciding between players and whether they believe they can take the next step into the AFL.

Possible number one candidates Adam Cerra, Nicholas Coffield, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Paddy Dow and Cameron Rayner will be keen to show off their athletic traits and will be a few players expected to have an important batch of interviews at the Combine.

Larke Medalist Oscar Allen is one of a number of Western Australia players invited.

In sweeping changes to the 2017 format, the Beep test and 3km time trial have been scrapped. The Beep Test has been replaced by the Yo-Yo run, with the AFL and combine sub-committee believing the beep test wasn’t the most accurate measure to predict fitness levels for team sports. The 3km time trial has been cut back to 2km, falling in line with the majority of AFL clubs who use the 2km run in their programs.

The clean hands test and the 30m repeat sprints test have been removed, with more time allocated to club interviews and medical screenings this year.

Possible Collingwood father-son Tyler Brown is one of 10 Eastern Ranges players selected. Brown was overlooked for Vic Metro selection, but has impressed for Marcellin College in AGSV School Football and for the Ranges in the TAC Cup.

Ed Richards is another with Collingwood links, as the son of Kane Richards, whose late father Ron played 143 games for the Pies. Ron Richards’ brother was Collingwood legend Lou.

Richmond father-son prospect Patrick Naish has also been invited, with Naish averaging 21 disposals throughout the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

Hugh Dixon is the sole representative from Tasmania, with 11 players selected from the Allies squad.

Adam Sambono (Northern Territory) and Tim Kelly (Western Australia) are the only two mature-agers selected for the combine, with the pair both impressing at NEAFL and WAFL level respectively.

Clubs will now again nominate players for the state combine, which is for players that have at least two clubs that are interested in them. Similar tests are conducted at the state combine.

The National Combine will begin on Tuesday, October 3 and go through to Friday, October 6 and will again be held at Etihad Stadium.

Invites:

Vic Metro

Noah Balta (Calder Cannons)
Andrew Brayshaw (Sandringham Dragons)
Tyler Brown (Eastern Ranges)
Adam Cerra (Eastern Ranges)
Nick Coffield (Northern Knights)
Charlie Constable (Sandringham Dragons)
Matthew Day (Oakleigh Chargers)
Lachlan Fogarty (Western Jets)
Joel Garner (Eastern Ranges)
Sam Hayes (Eastern Ranges)
Jack Higgins (Oakleigh Chargers)
Hayden McLean (Sandringham Dragons)
Dylan Moore (Eastern Ranges)
Nathan Murphy (Sandringham Dragons)
Trent Mynott (Eastern Ranges)
Patrick Naish (Northern Knights)
Tom North (Eastern Ranges)
Ethan Penrith (Northern Knights)
Jack Petruccelle (Northern Knights)
Mitchell Podhajski (Calder Cannons)
Cameron Rayner (Western Jets)
Ned Reeves (Oakleigh Chargers)
Ed Richards (Oakleigh Chargers)
Jackson Ross (Eastern Ranges)
Jaidyn Stephenson (Eastern Ranges)
Ryley Stoddart (Eastern Ranges)
Angus Styles (Sandringham Dragons)
Will Walker (Sandringham Dragons)
Toby Wooller (Oakleigh Chargers)

Vic Country

Aiden Bonar (Dandenong Stingrays)
Jordon Butts (Murray Bushrangers)
Hunter Clark (Dandenong Stingrays)
Oscar Clavarino (Dandenong Stingrays)
Brent Daniels (Benigo Pioneers)
Luke Davies-Uniacke (Dandenong Stingrays)
Tom De Koning (Dandenong Stingrays)
Aiden Domic (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)
Paddy Dow (Bendigo Pioneers)
Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers)
Ethan Floyd (Geelong Falcons)
David Handley (Geelong Falcons)
Bailey Henderson (Bendigo Pioneers)
Changkouth Jiath (Gippsland Power)
Jordan Johnston (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)
Harrison Jones (Murray Bushrangers)
Matthew Ling (Geelong Falcons)
Tom McCartin (Geelong Falcons)
Matthew McGannon (Gippsland Power)
Lloyd Meek (Greater Western Victoria Rebels)
Gryan Miers (Geelong Falcons)
Lochie O’Brien (Bendigo Pioneers)
Ben Paton (Murray Bushrangers)
Angus Schumacher (Bendigo Pioneers)
James Worpel (Geelong Falcons)

Western Australia

Brayden Ainsworth (Subiaco)
Oscar Allen (West Perth)
Callan England (Claremont)
Kyron Hayden (Subiaco)
Tim Kelly (South Fremantle)
Ben Miller (Subiaco)
Aaron Naughton (Peel Thunder)
Jake Patmore (Claremont)
Brandon Starcevich (East Perth)
Sam Taylor (Swan Districts)

South Australia

Charlie Ballard (Sturt)
Callum Coleman-Jones (Sturt)
Darcy Fogarty (Glenelg)
Jordan Houlahan (Sturt)
Nathan Kreuger (South Adelaide)
Alex Martini (Glenelg)
Andrew McPherson (Woodville-West Torrens)
Harrison Petty (Norwood)

NSW-ACT

Jarrod Brander (Bendigo Pioneers)
Brendan Myers (Wagga Tigers/GWS academy)
Jack Powell (Ainsli/GWS academy)
Nicholas Shipley (St George/GWS academy)
Charlie Spargo (Murray Bushrangers)

Queensland

Connor Ballenden (Wests Juniors/Brisbane Lions academy)
Brayden Crossley (Labrador/Gold Coast Suns academy)
Jack Payne (Noosa/Brisbane Lions academy)

Northern Territory

Zac Bailey (Southern Districts/Norwood)
Adam Sambono (NT Thunder)

Tasmania

Hugh Dixon (Kingborough Tigers)

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 13

ROUND Thirteen of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend, with teams at full strength after Vic Metro and Vic Country players returned from Under 18 Championships commitments. We had scouts watching four of the games – read their notes below.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Northern Knights (Brandon Hutchinson)

Dandenong Stingrays:

#9 Luke Davies-Uniacke – Coming through with two goals for the game, Davies-Uniacke ended the game being one of the best on ground. His high work ethic and movement around the ground showed spectators how smart and calculating of a midfielder he really is. He is ahead of the curb defensively and offensively. His ability to read the play made for clever midfield movement and he showed no issue with putting himself on the line for his team. An all-rounder and a playmaker, who won the contested ball.

#18 Mitch Riordan – Another star for the weekend, Riordan showed off a consistent and strong work ethic. Where many others players had many ups and downs throughout the match, this man came out the gate galloping and kept up his efforts until the closing siren. A brilliant midfielder who knows how to move throughout the ground and open up pathways for his teammates, and that’s exactly what Riordan demonstrated and why he remained relevant during the whole game. While the midfielder displayed more stopping and starting than a rugby game, the bottom-ager managed to break the cycle and deliver that ball to his forwards or by snatching it from his opposition.

#25 Oscar Clavarino – A strong backline can make all the difference in a football match, so it should come at no surprise that Clavarino played a major part in his team’s victory. Possibly taking more marks than inside the Knight’s forward line than the Knights forwards combined. Clavarino read the play well and his most impressive feat was the initiation of the quick run from the backline to their forward line which ended in a goal.

#50 Riley D’Arcy – It should be no surprise to anyone that D’Arcy came through as one of the best Stingrays on the weekend. This young man’s talents in the forward line has for countless weeks put his team yards ahead of their opposition. While he seemed to be up against a tougher opponent than he may have been used to, D’Arcy fought through the challenge, showing both sides why he is a danger when the ball is in the air. His contested marking is unparalleled, muscling out anyone who tries to snatch his football away. This young man also showed his teammates that what makes a good forward by hitting them up to increase the chances at goal. A nice four goal game, along with his assistive efforts help guide his team to victory and his around the body snap from 50 out was nothing but a sight to behold.

Northern Knights:

#6 Patrick Naish – Naish played a solid game booting two goals and setting up a few others. He spent more time up forward than he has in the past few weeks and his potential did shine through. He did miss a few of his targets but he showed some good signs that should help him spring into a great second half of the season.

#30 Oliver Wilson – A strong defensive player, Wilson smashed through his competitors, laying plenty of tackles and putting on pressure. Wilson set himself apart from the rest of his game, putting in the extra effort and doing the team thing . Doing it all, he even ended the game with a goal under his belt and assisted in setting up a few others. Wilson worked well with the pressure, using it to fuel himself and step up for his team.

#39 Patrik Della Rocca – A tough match for the Dandenong defence, Della Rocca put up a firm fight against the ferocious Stingrays. Kicking two goals, and battling hard in the contest, this kid ended as one of the better players for the day. The game had plenty of interceptions, many players failing to find their targets, but often than not Della Rocca managed to find his target and pluck the ball right out of the air. On top of all that he took a wobbly but beautiful mark toward the end of game stunning spectators.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Matt Balmer)

Sandringham Dragons:

#6 Charlie Constable – Dominated the contest and was the star in the opening 10 minutes of the game. He won the ball on the inside and dished it off with ease to teammates to clear it from the contest. He also pushed forward and booted three goals and did his top five chances no harm. Was on track at quarter time for 40 disposals, but the Pioneers were able to do a reasonable job shutting him down.

#8 Will Walker – Found a lot of the ball but often turned it over by foot or just thumped it long. Walker opted to bang the ball long and high rather than slowing down and looking for the shorter targets. He did manage to bring the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions helping the Dragons hit the scoreboard.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Won the ball in the midfield and does a lot right, getting to the right positions and using it well off his right foot. He covers the ground well and is willing to defend, tackling hard throughout the game. His contested work is very good and perhaps underrated by some.

#29 Joel Amartey – Leaped well around the ground in the ruck and just when recruiters were beginning to pack their bags he clunked a fantastic contested mark and slotted the goal from 35m out in the last quarter. The raw ruckman is getting better with each game he plays.

#74 Nathan Murphy – Was the Dragons’ best player, moving up forward after playing his last two games in defence. His clean pick up from ground level was exceptionally and he marked well overhead, showing off a decent leap. He booted three goals, including a smart snap roving the pack in the first quarter. He snapped his third goal around the corner but it would’ve been touched if not for poor defending from the Pioneers.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Kane Farrell – Spent times at both end of the ground but lifted his output when he went into the attacking half of the ground. Used it well on his left foot hitting all his targets. Had a very good passage on the wing in front of recruiters showing off his speed and agility getting around a handful of Dragons opponents with ease.

#7 Matthew Harvey – Linked up well in the midfield finding the ball around the ground. Booted a goal for the Pioneers and was one of their biggest ball winners.

#20 Angus Schumacher – The left footer used it well by foot and was able to find the ball through the midfield. His tackling was very good and he was willing to get involved in the contest. Possesses quick hands and was able to get the ball out to his teammates effectively.

#31 Caleb Sheehan – Didn’t win a lot of the ball but showed some good signs across half forward and in the midfield. Booted a goal and used the ball effectively by hand in close. Positioning at the stoppages was pretty good and he was able to win multiple clearances.

#59 Angus Byrne – The over-ager did some good things inside 50 booting two goals and provided some chop out in the ruck. Had a chance to convert an easy goal in the third term – but missed the chance. Marked well at ground level and the left footer was solid throughout the contest.

GWV Rebels vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Matt Balmer)

GWV Rebels:

#4 Aiden Domic – Found the ball floating across half back and through the midfield. Did have the odd bomb out of a stoppage, but his kicking was pretty neat on his right foot. Moves well and hit a nice spear pass inside 50 early in the game. Was smart enough to boot the ball long 50+ metres with the breeze and had a goal assist in the final quarter.

#9 Flynn Appleby – I thought Appleby was the Rebels’ best playing in defence. Appleby marked exceptionally well and used his good vision to spot a player with ease when he had ball in hand. He fought hard all day often matched up on the taller Toby Wooller and rebounded the ball well. Laid a superb tackle on Scala in the final quarter earning him a free kick.

#10 Jordan Johnston – Led well inside 50 and showed off his eye catching leap on a few occasions – including multiple contested grabs. He rushed a few of his kicks and it wasn’t a great day for him efficiency wise. When he picked the ball up off the ground he was able to dish it off to a teammate using quick hands on a few occasions.

#13 Thomas Berry – The bottom-ager was impressive laying multiple crunching tackles – including one on Riley Jones right on the three quarter time siren. He also nearly took a ‘screamer’ in the second term flying high for a mark. He got to the right spots to win the footy on the inside and possesses very good agile. Booted a simple goal in the final quarter claiming an intercept mark 15 metres out from goal.

#23 Lloyd Meek – Won the hitouts with ease in the ruck using his stronger frame which allowed him to out muscle Ned Reeves on most occasions. Had his quad strapped but it didn’t appear to effect him covering the ground well. Took a good grab in the last quarter but was one of a number of players whose kicking efficiency was affected by the wind.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#4 Ned Reeves – Was able to get up and over his Rebels opponents in the ruck at the ball ups – but was out muscled by Meek when they went head-to-head. Had a great centre clearance in the second quarter and was a damaging target inside 50 in the season half, with his extra height making him an impossible task for the smaller Rebels’ key position players. He marked and goaled twice in the third term.

#7 Charlie Thompson – Didn’t find as much of the ball early but worked his way into the contest, using his clean quick hands in close at the stoppages. Had a few shots on goal that were affected by the wind (resulting in 2.3 on the scoreboard). He was willing to go in and get the ball, but did rush a few kicks around the ground. Snagged a nice snap goal in the third term.

#8 Toby Wooller – Started the game well with a nice lead up mark in the opening quarter but it was just an ok game from Wooller. He played up forward as well as spending time at the stoppages, and had an outstanding centre clearance in the second quarter. The Chargers skipper reads the ball well at the stoppages and his defensive efforts were decent.

#14 Ed Richards – Has been super for Carey Grammar this season and continued his form into the game playing in defence. He was tasked with the kick outs and was able to find a free target with most of his kicks on his left foot. His hands in traffic are very good and he was willing to show off his elite speed and agility, taking on the Rebels players at times. Controlled the play and set the Chargers up well going forward.

#35 Jack Higgins – A quiet game by Higgins’ high standard. He still found 30 disposals, but it wasn’t as impactful as some of his other games this season. He worked his way into the game in the second half with 14 disposals alone in the third term, after earlier booting a trademark snap around the corner (Stevie J style) in the first quarter. He gave away a few innocuous free kicks throughout the day, but his quick hands were on show and the trait is one of the skills that seperate him from others at the stoppages. Kicked goal of the day on his left foot (non-preferred) deep in the pocket. Was willing to get in and tackle hard around the ground and his clearance work was very good.

Geelong Falcons vs. Western Jets (Peter Williams)

Geelong Falcons:

#1 Lachlan Noble – He was influential after quarter time, particularly in the third quarter. Booted two goals early in that quarter to help the Falcons hit the front and they never looked back from there. Noble finished the game with four majors and read the ball drop well, combining with his good goal sense to play a perfect crumbing forward’s game on a day where smalls were prominent.

#4 Gryan Miers – One of the best on ground for sure. Booted five goals and just looked dangerous every time he went near it. Strong in the air and at ground level, Miers particularly stands out with his ability to protect the ball drop and use his body well against his opponent to take the grab. He could have finished with about eight by the end of the day if he had not missed a few through the middle stages, but showed his class with a banana from the boundary line to go with a number of set shot and snaps.

#5 Jack Henderson – A reliable defender who did not do too much wrong in the backline. Along with Cooper Stephens, Henderson was tasked with switching the ball and trying to transition it out of defence. He hit his targets more often than not and seemed a composed user with ball in hand.

#7 Harry Benson – While he might not have accumulated the numbers he has in past weeks, he showed his super quick hands at the stoppages and is one of the many Falcons runners who are used in transition to move the ball cleanly from half-back to half-forward. He played on the ball and spent time on Lachie Fogarty, Benson laid a number of strong tackles on opponents.

#8 Ned McHenry – An underrated member of the Falcons midfield in my opinion. A lot is spoken about many of the others, but the bottom-ager goes about his business quietly achieving. A good user of the ball and particularly effective forward of centre, McHenry is most used as part of the chain of possessions moving in transition.

#16 David Handley – Kicked the first goal for the Falcons and the first goal of the second half, but otherwise was quiet. Like a traditional small forward, he pops up for an effective handball or pounces on an opportunity. The highlight was a bouncing ball in the square which saw Handley beat his opponent and volley it home to keep the Falcons’ momentum going after the half-time break.

#19 Matthew Ling – The speedy midfielder has that touch of class and it is no wonder there are plenty rating him in the first round. Does not win as much of it as some of his teammates, but he certainly knows how to do damage by foot. In saying that, he had a couple of uncharacteristic errors going inside 50 on the weekend and he berated himself for it, indicating the high standard he expects from himself. Ling’s top efforts were highlighted in a couple of footraces along the boundary line, beating his opponent and quickly disposing of the ball quickly by hand.

#22 Sam Walsh – Not named among the best for the Falcons which surprised me a little as I thought his run and carry was really good. Sometimes at full speed he would miss his his targets, but when time was on his side he weighs his kicks perfectly. One of a number of Falcons who impressed moving from half-back and through the midfield.

#38 James Worpel – Played more outside as he has recently, and won plenty of the ball on the wing and half-forward. Had a number of kicks going inside 50 but just needs to work on his disposal further. On Sunday his biggest problem just seemed to be that his execution let him down with his decision making still good, such as a few kicks dropping short of their intended targets. Laid quite a number of tackles, but also gave away a few free kicks. Worpel found space really well and covers the ground with ease.

#39 Connor Idun – Played on Cam Rayner when he was forward and I would have given the points to Idun. Did not always go with him in the midfield, but wore him like a glove in the defensive 50. While he does not win a heap of it, his defensive pressure and work rate is very good. Idun has good vision and can often handball to a teammate on the outside of a contest when he is in a congested situation.

#42 Cassidy Parish – I liked his game more than previous ones because he was opting to kick long rather than using a sideways handball. His ability in close is undoubtedly up there with the best, but it is his outside game, particularly his kicking which has brought the most critics. On the weekend I thought he kicked a lot better than previously. If he did not hit the target, he was clearing 40m passes and using long kicks to just get the ball deep inside 50. For me he played a clever game in the windy conditions – going for meterage and getting deep forward entries.

#46 Blake Schlensog – I was quite impressed with Schlensog’s movement around the ground. He seemed to be in sync with his midfielders when he was in a stoppage or contest and if he did not take the grab he would bring it front and centre. Schlensog had good vision for a taller player and managed to get his arms free in tackles.

Western Jets:

#12 Connor Thar – Really like Thar as a prospect because he rarely panics under pressure. He wins the ball and thinks his way through his disposal of it, showing good decision making and composure. Likewise his disposal by foot under pressure was also impressive and often found himself kicking to a target inside 50. As a bottom-age prospect, he will no doubt look to add size to his frame to work on the defensive attributes further, but overall he showed some promising signs.

#14 Lachlan Fogarty – A classy user when in possession, it was great to see Fogarty back at TAC Cup level with school football having the bye and his Vic Metro commitments over. Fogarty was really busy early and popped in from time to time but still needs to build his endurance further, having had a setback with a groin injury recently. When in space he uses it really well and puts it to the advantage of his teammates, but sometimes when in tight he can throw it on the boot. One instance was at a stoppage where he read the tap won the football and threw it on the boot. His opponent James Worpel had moved towards the contest and Fogarty had the open space to run inside 50 had he held it for a few more seconds to look. But given the pressure within the game he certainly could be forgiven for that, and I expect he will be a first round pick in this year’s draft with his skill set. The Jets’ best on the weekend.

#19 Cameron Rayner – Plenty of eyes would have been on the powerfully built forward. He looked strong early, fending off a few opponents to lead to a goal assist to Tristan Xerri, but over the four quarters was well contained. His opponents wore him like a glove such was their awareness of what he was capable of, and every contest he went to, he always had company by his side. A few glimpses, but overall a quieter game from the potential number one pick.

#20 Josh Mould – A risk-taking defender who I liked offensively. Penetrated past the defensive 50m arc kicking out on a number of occassions and would more often than not hit a target. Apart from a blue in the last quarter which led to a goal after attempting to kick short, Mould was quite good coming out of the back half. In the second quarter he ran about 40m to break through the Falcons zone. Does need to work on his defensive attributes as he was beaten one-on-one against Gryan Miers.

#25 Jack Noonan – Playing forward he did his job booting three goals. In the third term when the Jets looked down and out facing an eight-goal deficit coming up to half-time, Noonan had two set shots from difficult angles inside 50 and nailed them both. With the windy conditions, his set shot routine was quite good and he got a tick from me.

#37 Hamish Murphy – A typical lockdown defender who, despite not winning much of the ball, impressed me quite a bit. Early on he took a couple of intercept marks and really shut down the strong Adam Garner. Garner finished the game with one goal and could have had two, beating Murphy on the lead, but one-on-one, Murphy held his own through pure positioning and ability to read the ball in flight.

#38 Buku Khamis – Another Jets’ defender whose game I thought was quite impressive. Did not win much of it, but his role in shutting down the dangerous Tom McCartin could not be understated. He only had seven disposals, but kept McCartin goalless which was no easy feat. Khamis was good one-on-one and had a good game sense. For mine, his timing needs some work because he sometimes jumped too early to spoil.

#44 Tristan Xerri – The key forward/ruck is a hard one to read. I really like his work as a key forward, but there is still development needed around the ground. I think his leading patterns and ability to mark at the highest point, as well as a decent vertical leap make him a really solid prospect as a forward. The next step for me is that I find that he is a bit raw and needs to work further on his game sense. One instance was where the ball was about to roll out and Xerri was in hot pursuit with an opponent right behind him. Rather than let it roll out and reset, he dragged the ball back in but chose to take possession where he was immediately tackled and naturally called for holding the ball. I think he has plenty of development left in him and his field kicking seemed to be quite good, it is just his game sense which needed improvement in my opinion.