Tag: Matt Harvey

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.

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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

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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.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 12

ROUND Twelve of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend, with TAC Cup ‘Futures Rounds’ continuing. We had scouts watching two of the games – read their notes below.

GWV Rebels vs. Eastern Ranges (Jack Carter)

GWV Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin – Played a solid game on the wing for the Rebels. He wasn’t afraid to go in hard and win the contested ball.

#4 Aiden Domic – Was one of the Rebels players who held his own throughout the contest. He laid multiple strong tackles and tried hard all day to get his team going.

#9 Flynn Appleby – Was yet again solid in defence for the Rebels. With multiple entries from the Ranges midfielders, he was able to apply himself well using it efficiently by foot.

Eastern Ranges:

#4 Riley Clausen – Provided very good run and kicked it well. He tackled hard right throughout the day and had a strong presence in the midfield. His running patterns were very good and he knew where to move

#22 Jackson Ross – Has a great set shot kick and booted five goals straight. Once he adds some size he will have the perfect body size for an AFL football. Spent time in the midfield as well as up forward, knowing where to go at the stoppages and was hard at the ball. Was one of the best players on the ground.

#34 Adrian Kalcovski – Took advantage of some poor kicks in the entries inside 50 from the GWV Rebels midfielders allowing him to drop off and win the ball. Was able to create run for the Ranges and possesses a strong mark.

#61 Mackenzie Dorelan – Ran hard all day and his decision making & kicking at full tilt was outstanding. Is a strong player for a player of his size and he controlled the play from half back for the Ranges.

Northern Knights vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Michael Alvaro)

Northern Knights:

#2 Mitchell Andrews – Found the ball in all parts of the ground, playing mainly out of defence. Has worked on his kicking and defensive work rate, lending a good hand to the likes of Dreher and Lentini in bringing moving Knights forward.

#4 Max Dreher – Fresh from a couple of weeks off after his Vic Metro stint, Dreher looked to be getting back to the form that had him held in high esteem early in the year. Was important for the Knights in the second half as the game came down to the wire, and shouldered most of the kick-in duties. Looks to have improved his contested ball-winning ability, and threw himself at the ball on numerous occasions.

#5 Marcus Lentini – Was utilised through the midfield with Dreher back in defence to sure things up. Played on the wing when he didn’t attend centre bounces, but wasn’t able to have his usual impact. He looked to be conscious of not blazing away, opting for a lot of short, sideways, and backwards kicks which took away the forward penetration he usually brings. Still delivered in terms of effort and accumulating possessions.

#19 Christian Farchione – Was punishing in bursts throughout the game, but was just short of really taking the game by the scruff of its neck. Gave a timely reminder of his devastating left foot with some great passes going forward and inside-50 entries, and has matched that up now with better decision making. He’s a natural footballer, but still very raw and slight in frame. Booted an incredible goal from the pocket.

#30 Oliver Wilson – By no means is a high-possession getter but stands out with his defensive pressure and effort. Does all the hard stuff and dug in well for the Knights after half time, setting a good example with his physicality. Hit Laine Fitzgerald with a huge bump at the start of the third term to set the tone.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#7 Matt Harvey – The 19-year old was effective all day, streaming seamlessly between the midfield & forward line and putting in a few noticeable efforts in the third term with the game on the line. Racked up the possessions and was a key contributor.

#9 Laine Fitzgerald – He didn’t have his best game, but the GWS Academy product showed his class today and sent repeatedly sent his side into attack. Looked to be frustrated after being cleaned up early in the third term and gave away an unnecessary free kick for his troubles. Has a hard edge to him and it shows in his contested ball winning, but he also spreads well and found himself involved in some good handball chains.

#15 Darby Henderson – Sets up really well of half back and has a knack for finding space, which is odd since his yellow boots stand out so much. Lifted his side in the second and third quarters, breaking the lines and looking dangerous with ball in hand. He doesn’t tend to kick the ball as much as he could, though, which would make him even more threatening going forward. Has a good mix of outside and inside traits, which he showed with his combined pace, pressure, and a clever snap goal.

#16 Jacob Atley – A really rangy outside player, Atley didn’t find much of the ball but made an impact when he did. His highlight for the day was a two-bounce dash down the Mary St wing which eventually sent the ball deep inside the Pioneers 50. One to watch for 2018 purely for his pace and the x-factor it brings.

#19 Mitchell Kemp – There’s not much of him, but Kemp isn’t afraid to throw himself at the ball in the air. He’s not particularly quick, but has a decent leap and finds himself in the right places to intercept opposition balls into the 50. Controlled the back half today and provided some good rebound

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 11

ROUND Eleven of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend, with TAC Cup ‘Futures Rounds’ continuing. We had scouts watching three of the games – read their notes below.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Geelong Falcons (Matt Balmer)

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Geordie Nagle – Won plenty of football in the defensive half of the ground, playing more up the ground at stages in the contest than rather as a pure back pocket. Did make a few errors by foot, but was able to mark and get to the right spots when having to defend.

#5 Seb Williams – Had the ball on a string early across half forward and through the midfield. Often opted for shorter passes by foot – but was smart at times by hand, drawing a player before whipping the ball into the corridor by hand and get the Dragons moving.

#8 Will Walker – Another who found plenty of the ball in the first half. At times was sloppy by foot skewing a few targets up the ground. Quieter after half time but still found a good amount of the footy.

#10 Angus Styles – The Dragons’ best in their strong win. Rebounded the ball well across half back and was good through the contest. Kicking can be hot and cold – but was solid in what was a windy day at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

#37 Bailey Smith – One that has impressed at school footy for Xavier and shown glimpses in his appearances for the Dragons and Vic Metro U17 Futures. Provides good run & carry getting the ball going forward, with a dash of speed. One to keep an eye on for next year’s draft.

#74 Nathan Murphy – The Victorian cricketer was a late addition to the Dragons squad and had a solid debut in defense after turning heads in the APS school boy competition up forward for Brighton Grammar. Possesses a long kick but at times did overuse the ball by hand coming out of defence. Voice was good in the defensive 50 barking instructions to his teammates despite being a new learner to the Dragons structures.

Geelong Falcons: 

#7 Harry Benson – Played through the midfield and was solid for the Falcons, often acting as a sweeper at the contest. Found the ball and was able to dispose of it well on his right foot – bar one clanger right near their Falcons’ defensive 50.

#9 Frazer O’Gorman – The left footer played through the midfield and despite his small frame competed well at the contest. He did however have multiple ineffective kicks off his left foot – but was one of the Falcons’ best.

#13 Ethan Floyd – Arguably the Falcons’ best – not wearing his usual red boots but was sporting a fresh lime green pair. Uses it well off his left foot on the outside and a strong player on the wing for the Falcons. Hoping he comes back in for Vic Country this week.

#17 Cooper Stephens – Another who impressive in what was a poor game for the Falcons. Kicked the ball well around the ground, hitting plenty of targets. Thought he was the Falcons’ best behind Floyd.


Oakleigh Chargers vs. Gippsland Power (Brandon Hutchinson)

Oakleigh Chargers: 

#4 Ned Reeves – Although the Power tried – the ruck work from Reeves proved hard to match with the Power rotating their ruckman to no avail. He was a tough one to beat in the air, being a popular target through the midfield and demonstrated a keen eye for passing & smothering.

#6 Matthew Day – Day was a nightmare for the Gippsland midfield this weekend, booming through any chance he got. He racked up three goals for himself and was pivotal in setting up a few more for his team. His sharp kicking was key to the Charger’s efficient four quarters and his movement with the footy makes for some exciting plays.

#7 Charlie Thompson – Launching through the first goal of the game, Thompson set a pace for the game his opposition would struggle to keep up with. His movement through the midfield aided many of his teammates’ scoring. He has a keen awareness of his surrounding shown through his ability to run and carry, shrug off his opponents and lay heavy tackles. The work rate of this youngster would not be easy to match.

#8 Toby Wooller – Wooller came out hot in the second half, ending his game with five goals under his belt. The ball always managed to find his strong hands, and whenever it was thrown to his boot, it hit the best option he could find. A powerhouse for the Chargers, Wooller destroyed the Power defence, slotting through plenty of goals and assisting in many others. The youngster also had no issue stepping up as ruck and showed off a beautiful smother in the final minutes off the game.

#37 Ed Michelmore – The work ethic from this young man helped keep Power goalless in the second half. A smart footballer, this young man excelled in the midfield. His movement was quick, sharp and calculated, displaying an outstanding sense for delivering that footy. He shrugged off two tackles running through the midfield, tossing his opponents into the pitch. Michelmore was exciting and dangerous for the Chargers.

#57 Riley Collier-Dawkins – Dawkins’ two goals were an impressive feat, but the work to be noted is his presence in the midfield. Having no problem getting his own ball, he was present during most of the major transitions through the Charger’s midfield. Athletic and intelligent, Dawkins showed us this weekend why he is the perfect football. His run and carry through the midfield is powerful, and his passing sharp and clever. This man deserves some attention for his efforts shown today and is one to keep an eye on for the 2018 AFL Draft.

Gippsland Power: 

#4 Changkuoth Jiath – Jiath has an athletic and adaptable future with his efforts today helping to reinforce these beliefs. CJ stepped up to the ruck at the beginning of the third, and despite being much shorter than his opponent, leapt to a height that made him Reeves best opponent for the day. A quick and agile footballer, Jiath was often the first to the ball and was up higher than the rest when it came to pack marks. His smart passing saw the footy reach his forward half, and his intercept in the second half was a sight to behold.

#19 Callum Porter – Despite being on the losing team, Porter was without a doubt one of the best on ground. Even with victory seeming more and more impossible, the young gun refused to give up the fight. His defensive pressure kept the Chargers out of his neck of the woods early on, and his work through the midfield comes with plenty of class and finish. Making the most of what he has, this youngster made the game appear a lot better than the end result may suggest.

#29 Boadie Motton – Working to the bone for his team, Boadie’s defensive pressure and placement of the ball made galloping off a bit harder for the Chargers in the opening half. His first quarter really showed off his talents with his clever movement in the midfield. He hits up his target, runs with excellent carry and refused to break under the pressure of a more adept side.


Calder Cannons vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Billy Friend)

Calder Cannons:

#1 Brad Bernacki – Like salt and pepper, Brad Bernacki was everywhere for the Cannons today. The tough inside midfielder led his team from the front and continues to prove himself despite not being selected by Vic Metro. Today was a classic Bernacki performance; contested possessions, strong tackling and two crucial goals from midfield.

#5 Curtis Taylor – Demonstrated plenty of X-Factor today in the forward half by kicking three goals and setting up a couple more. His craft and agility allowed him to bring his teammates into the game and the forward won several one-on-one contests.

#19 Ben Caluzzi – Caluzzi really impressed today via his run and carry off half back. The defender accumulated disposals as the Cannons’ main delivery man and was prominent throughout the whole match. He kicked an incredibly skilful goal from the boundary line from outside fifty which also caught the eye. If there was one criticism of his performances, he did occasionally turn the ball over, but more than made up for this with a terrific performance.

#26 Mason Fletcher – Fletcher acted as the rock in defence again today. The bottom-ager reads the flight of the ball better than his opponents and even snuck forward to kick a cheeky goal in the last quarter. Somehow I don’t think we will be seeing him kicking too many more goals in the competition because of his value in the defensive half.

#30 Mitchell Podhajski – Podhajski mimicked Noah Balta’s role (against the Knights) for the Cannons today and was one of the best players on the ground today. The swingman kicked a terrific goal and took several strong contested marks, including multiple intercept possessions in defence. He displayed a long penetrating kick and composure when he had the ball.

#48 Liam Middleton – Middleton showed himself to be a tidy footballer in today’s performance. He didn’t amass a huge amount of ball but was clean and impactful when he got it.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#7 Matt Harvey – Harvey was one of the Pioneers best today in what was a commanding four quarter performance. He was the first player for his team at the bottom of the pack and showed an outstanding thirst for contested ball. His kicking was effective and fought bravely in the midfield all day.

#15 Darby Henderson – Henderson was also in the best few for his team as he collected lots of possessions by pushing up the ground. His performance was highlighted by his kicking inside fifty as he was able to hit targets and didn’t waste any of his possessions.

#16 Jacob Atley – Atley’s first five metres off the mark is explosive and he provided run & dash out of the backline.

#18 Bailey Henderson – Started the match off slowly but eased into the contest and found a lot of ball on a wing. His uncontested game set up the Pioneers forays forward and like his namesake delivered the well inside fifty.

#19 Mitchell Kemp – Kemp fought bravely in a tough day for the Bendigo defenders and was probably the pick of his back six. He displayed an ability to read the ball and take intercept marks and spoiled well in one on one duels.

#31 Caleb Sheahan – Made the most of his return to the team by demonstrating aerial prowess for a midfielder and physicality around the ball. He didn’t collect the numbers of Bernacki or Harvey but impressed none the less.

#35 Jobee Warde – Won the majority of hitouts today and allowed his midfielders to get first use via many hit outs to advantage.

#69 Austin Mertz – His speed on the lead was impressive and worked hard to present as the Pioneers’ main tall forward. Mertz displayed athleticism and strong hands and was the only multiple goal kicker for his team.

#70 Angus Byrne – Byrne was the surprise packet of the day. His intensity and tackling around the ball for a tall player was outstanding and he coupled this with strong overhead marking. The big man possesses a piercing left foot kick and always presented for his teammates. He kicked one goal but imposed himself with his big frame around the ground.

Sharp kickers shape up early

AS the saying goes, good kicking is good football. But exactly what is a good kick? Generally it is one that hits the target, but that can just be an effective kick. A damaging kick will influence a contest. As a general rule of thumb, the better kicks in the competition are usually outside players or defenders and the more contests they attack, generally the lower the kicking efficiency. To put it in a nutshell, the more pressure placed upon the kicker, the more difficult it is to hit a target.

While contested possessions are not divided up into kicks and handballs, today we look at which TAC Cup players excel with the ball, while also winning their fair share of contested possessions. For this analysis, we have placed the parameter as AT LEAST 40 effective kicks in the TAC Cup. We considered adding SANFL and WAFL players; however it is much fairer to compare players against others within the same competition. So for this we look at purely TAC Cup players and reveal the 32 players that have had at least 45 effective kicks this season.

Of the 32 players, nine of them have recorded a kicking efficiency of above 70 per cent. Then of those nine, five have also won more than 30 per cent of their possessions in a contest. These five players are: Ben Paton (Murray Bushrangers), Nicholas Coffield (Northern Knights), Callum Searle (Oakleigh Chargers), Riley Jones (Oakleigh Chargers) and Ari Sakeson (Sandringham Dragons). We have also included the percentage at which they have chosen to kick long effectively, which is deemed as a kick 40m or longer to a 50/50 contest or greater odds of winning the contest.

Of these five players we then compare the raw numbers to rank them on their performance by foot statistically. Please note: It is purely based on the statistics rather than opinion.

Nicholas Coffield (Northern Knights)

Games: 6
Effective kicks: 70
Kicking efficiency: 82.69%
Contested rate: 33.7%
Long kick rate: 50.8%

Ben Paton (Murray Bushrangers)

Games: 6
Effective kicks: 70
Kicking efficiency: 77.9%
Contested rate: 30.7%
Long kick rate: 54.3%

Riley Jones (Oakleigh Chargers)

Games: 6
Effective kicks: 51
Kicking efficiency: 78.3%
Contested rate: 44.7%
Long kick rate: 52.4%

Callum Searle (Oakleigh Chargers)

Games: 6
Effective kicks: 57
Kicking efficiency: 76.2%
Contested rate: 37.4%
Long kick rate: 51.3%

Ari Sakeson (Sandringham Dragons)

Games: 6
Effective kicks: 42
Kicking efficiency: 73.2%
Contested rate: 29%
Long kick rate: 22.2%

Top five players per stat:

Effective kicks:
1. Nicholas Coffield (Northern Knights) 70
1. Ben Paton (Murray Bushrangers) 70
3. Matty Lloyd (GWV Rebels) 68
4. Judah Dundon (Western Jets) 63
5. Jamison Shea (Northern Knights) 59

Kicking efficiency:
1. Nicholas Coffield (Northern Knights) 82.69%
2. Riley Jones (Oakleigh Chargers) 78.3%
3. Ben Paton (Murray Bushrangers) 77.9%
4. Callum Searle (Oakleigh Chargers) 76.2%
5. Jamison Shea (Northern Knights) 74.7%

Contested possession rate:
1. Callan Wellings (GWV Rebels) 55.2%
2. Cassidy Parish (Geelong Falcons) 50.2%
3. Callum Porter (Gippsland Power) 48.8%
4. Louis Cunningham (Oakleigh Chargers) 45.4%
5. Riley Jones (Oakleigh Chargers) 44.7%

Long kick rate:
1. Ethan Floyd (Geelong Falcons) 66.7%
2. Kane Farrell (Bendigo Pioneers) 62.3%
3. Callan Wellings (GWV Rebels) 59%
4. Will Stephenson (Gippsland Power) 55.8%
4. Nicholas Stuhldreier (Western Jets) 55.8%

The other players which were not listed in any of the top five statistics but still recorded 45 effective long kicks to this point in the TAC Cup season are as follows: Matt Harvey and Darby Henderson (Bendigo Pioneers), Jean-Luc Velissaris, Ben Caluzzi and Mitchell Podhajski (Calder Cannons), Josh Bateman, Mason De Wit and Ali Zijai (Dandenong Stingrays), Gryan Miers (Geelong Falcons), Aiden Domic (GWV Rebels), Angus Hicks (Murray Bushrangers), Toby Wooller and Jack Higgins (Oakleigh Chargers), and Quintin Montanaro and Max Lohan (Sandringham Dragons).

Weekend That Was – Round 6

A STERLING victory by Bendigo Pioneers over Sandringham Dragons has helped the Pioneers move within percentage of a top eight spot.

Bendigo led throughout the game, but it was a six goals to three third term which saw the Pioneers move 19 points clear, before holding on in a dour final term to win 11.13 (79) to 8.10 (58).

Darby Henderson led all comers with 35 disposals, eight marks, five clearances, six rebounds and three inside 50s, while Angus Schumacher (28 disposals, eight marks, four clearances, four inside 50s and five rebounds) and Matt Harvey (23 disposals, seven marks, five inside 50s and two goals) were also impressive.

For the Dragons, Hamish Brayshaw had another big day across the ground with 32 disposals, four marks, five tackles, eight clearances, seven inside 50s and four rebounds. Fellow over-ager Ari Sakeson also racked up 30 disposals and 11 marks, while Quintin Montanaro had 25 disposals, nine marks, five inside 50s and kicked a goal.

TAC Cup scouting notes: Round Six

A strong third term by Oakleigh Chargers put their result beyond doubt against Greater Western Victoria Rebels. The Chargers booted six goals to zero in the premiership quarter to lead by 45 points at the final break, before holding up the Rebels with the breeze in the final term, to win 12.10 (82) to 6.6 (42).

Jack Higgins collected 28 disposals, four marks, four clearances and booted a goal, while Louis Cunningham continued his good form with 24 disposals (16 contested), 10 clearances, 10 tackles, five inside 50s and a goal playing further up the ground than his typical defensive role. Sam Harte had 27 disposals, four clearances and four inside 50s, while Jordan Troiani laid seven tackles to go with his 21 disposals, seven inside 50s and two goals.

For the Rebels, Callan Wellings laid nine tackles from 19 disposals in defeat, while Jordan Johnston (16 disposals, five marks and five clearances) and Matty Lloyd (16 disposals, eight tackles and nine rebounds) were also in the Rebels’ best.

Murray Bushrangers held off a determined Calder Cannons outfit during the Bushrangers’ 19-point win over the cellar dwellers. Leading by five goals at half-time, the Bushrangers had their work cut out for them in the third term as the Cannons booted six goals to two, clawing their way back to within 10 points. The Bushrangers steadied in the final term, booting 3.4 to 2.1 to win 10.17 (77) to 9.4 (58).

Harry Jones was busy once again with 26 disposals, four clearances, eight inside 50s and seven tackles, while Nick Richards (25 disposals, four marks and five tackles) and Ben Paton (19 disposals, four marks and five rebounds) were also important for the winners.

Mitch Podhajski (24 disposals, nine marks and seven rebounds) and Ben Caluzzi (22 disposals, six marks and seven rebounds) were prominent behind the ball, while Aidan Tilley took 12 marks (three contested) from 18 disposals playing in the defensive half. Top prospect Noah Balta had 13 disposals, 19 hitouts, three clearances and six inside 50s.

Eastern Ranges held on against a fast finishing Gippsland Power to record their second win over the season. Leading by 17 points at half-time, the Ranges had to battle tooth and nail in the second half as Gippsland booted six goals to four to come within two points at the final siren.

Sam Hayes’ draft stocks continued to rise with six goals and 18 hitouts for the Ranges with a best on ground performance by the big man. Others to impress were returning midfielders Dylan Moore and Trent Mynott who combined for a whopping 65 disposals, 19 clearances, 20 tackles, 10 inside 50s and two goals, while Thomas North and Jordan Lynch were also promising again.

For Gippsland, Will Stephenson continues to put his hand up into draft calculations with 25 disposals, seven clearances, six inside 50s, 12 tackles and two goals. Callum Porter was just as impressive with 25 disposals, three marks, seven clearances, eight inside 50s and 13 tackles, while Aiden Quigley had 21 disposals, three marks, three clearances, four tackles and a goal.

In another tight encounter, Northern Knights got up over Dandenong Stingrays by three points after an impressive final term. The Knights trailed by 15 points at the final break, but added 4.6 to Dandenong’s 2.0 to run over the top of the Stingrays 10.9 (69) to 9.12 (66).

Mitch Andrews had 33 disposals, 12 marks, seven rebounds and five tackles, while Jamison Shea (25 disposals, six marks, four inside 50s, four goals and 10 tackles) and Jack Petruccelle (20 disposals, four marks, six tackles, five clearances, four inside 50s and a goal) were the Knights’ best. Nicholas Coffield booted the winning goal of the day, one of two from the Knights’ skipper, who also racked up 22 disposals and six marks.

PLAYER FOCUS: Nicholas Coffield

For Dandenong, Hunter Clark had a day out with 34 disposals (20 contested), four marks, 11 clearances, seven tackles, 10 inside 50s, five rebounds and a goal – but his efficiency by foot was poor. Over-ager Tom Murphy racked up 29 disposals, six clearances and seven inside 50s, while Tom De Koning booted three goals from 17 disposals.

In the other remaining game, top-of-the-table Geelong Falcons got the job done against Western Jets in a four-goal victory. They did not have it all their own way and only led by six points by the final break before kicking away with the only three goals of the last quarter to win 15.9 (99) to 11.9 (75).

Sam Walsh had 34 disposals (18 contested), eight clearances, eight inside 50s and six tackles, while James Worpel had his best game of the year with 32 disposals, five marks, 11 clearances, eight inside 50s, nine tackles and two goals. Bayley Cockerill also had 11 clearances and seven inside 50s from 30 disposals, while Gryan Miers booted four goals from 17 disposals.

For the Jets, Nicholas Stuhldreier continues to stand up with another 34 disposals (17 contested), six marks, seven clearances, seven tackles and four inside 50s. Jaden Rice had 27 disposals, eight clearances and 12 tackles, while Matthew Volkanovski had a dominant 40 hitouts from 11 disposals in the middle.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 3

ROUND Three of the TAC Cup continued over the weekend and we had scouts at four of the games over the weekend. Read their scouting notes below:

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power (Peter Williams)

Bendigo Pioneers:

#7 Matt Harvey – Was one of the better players early in the game and faded out a little like many of his teammates. Showed great agility inside the contest and can move laterally to weave away from an opponent if required. He laid a fierce, bone crunching tackle in the first term. Harvey earned a goal when he got to the right position in the second quarter.

#10 Brent Daniels – Really got up and going in the second term, booting three of his four goals and helping the Pioneers build that early lead. Has that unique nous around goals and one of those players if you give him an inch, he’ll take a mile. Could have had about six, having hit the post running in at one stage. Took a great one-handed mark inside 50 in the second term and for a 172cm player, he gets enough marks inside 50, including contested, to add a point of difference to the Pioneers forward line. Knows how to get to the right spots which is handy.

#15 Darby Henderson – A strong player in the contest who wins his own ball on the inside and receives on the outside. Really good at winning contests against bigger players and has good hands in close. His second and third efforts are impressive and is constantly on the move. One knock is probably his kicking which at times was hit or miss. Not in the sense of necessarily kicking it to the wrong position, but it looked like he misjudged the weight on his kicking, so for a shorter target it might drop short for example. Overall he’s got a few likeable traits however, and from an inside ball winners point of view there is something there to work on. Will be one to watch their development this season.

#18 Bailey Henderson – Of all those playing on Saturday, Henderson could well be the one to watch from the Pioneers. He is that medium forward who is capable both in the air and at ground level, presents well and has a penetrating kick. Played more as that high half-forward leading up the ground, but took a couple of marks inside 50 and has clean hands when it hits the deck. Contributed to a Matt Harvey goal when he spun out of a tackle and gave off a handball. Did have a number of ineffective kicks throughout the day however.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Nick Hogan – Buzzes around the contest and creates some excitement. Can be hit or miss by foot, but works hard and has good agility. Did try and do a bit too much late in the game in one instant and was pinged for dropping the ball. But he is one who continues to work hard and is always seemingly around the contest.

#7 Will Stephenson – Really like him as a player but the automatic knock will be his height. At 169cm as a player you’re up against it from the word go. In terms of ability however, I think there’s a fair bit to work with. Does not win as much of the ball as other midfielders, but is usually reliable. He has good acceleration and this was highlighted by a great run down tackle in the first quarter. The other knock I would have on him is he looks to occasionally double guess himself and not take the first option. He works hard and if he doesn’t hit a target he kicks it to the right positions. Booted three goals and is incredibly strong above his head for his size. Turned the game on its head and effectively helped drag Gippsland to the win.

#9 Irving Mosquito – Got better as the game went on after a few bloopers in the first half. Has so much X-factor about him with his pace and agility, but just rushes his disposal at times. Needs a bit of a confidence boost by the looks of it, because when he got into space outside of pressure he hit up Sean Masterson for the sealer. I think it is a case of just needing to know he has the pace to burn off opponents and have time to dispose of it. Got obvious skill, but rushing his disposal is what hurts.

#11 Austin Hodge – Really like him as a player. Not as silky as others, but has a build that clubs are looking for at 188cm and 77kg. Had a bit of Dustin Martin in the way he goes about it, fending off opponents and having good balance. He’s god a good, penetrating kick and doesn’t rush under pressure which is really impressive. Needs to find more of the ball and build more consistency to take his game to another level.

#24 Sean Masterson – A defender last season who missed out on being drafted is now up the other end. I personally like him more as a forward because he has that freedom to use what I didn’t realise was such a huge vertical jump. Not the most reliable set shot, missing a couple of relatively straight forward kicks, but he presents a target and does everything you ask of a forward otherwise. I think he has more development to come as a forward and I certainly would like to see him more in the forward line.

#36 Jack Hudson – Buzzed around the forward line and finished with three goals. A medium forward who plays a bit taller than his 180cm, he stepped up through the third term and kicked a great running goal earlier in the match.


Western Jets vs. Sandringham Dragons (Duncan Robertson)

Western Jets:

#12 Connor Thar – Played well through the midfield for the Jets and was one of their best in the first half. Finished with 18 disposals and laid some strong tackles in the centre. Could perhaps clean up his kick but won the ball on both the inside and outside.

#16 Nicholas Stuhldreier – Was the Jets best player right throughout the day and might be a player to watch. He finished with 22 disposals (11 contested) and had eight clearances in the middle of the ground. Is a really nice size and distributes the ball well.

#24 Tom Yorgey – Kicked it well off his left foot playing in the defensive half. Cracks in hard – which did result in three frees against, but played a solid game.

#25 Jack Noonan – Another player who impressed me playing through the midfield. He was willing to kick the ball long inside 50 to look for a target – but he led the clanger count for the Jets by foot. Was hard around the packs and at times was dangerous running forward.

#44 Tristan Xerri – Continues to play solid footy in the ruck and up forward. Created a nice dynamic duo up forward with Brock McGregor. If he can hit the scoreboard and show what he did in 2016, he may be a chance come November.

Sandringham Dragons:

#5 Seb Williams – Looked a class above playing in the attacking half of the ground. Has plenty of speed and took the ball inside 50 on six occasions. Continued to find the ball and was the Dragons’ leading ball winner, his kicking can be hot and cold at times – but he bagged two good goals.

#7 Aaron Trusler – He was very very lively inside 50 and despite his size marks well overhead (seven marks for the day). Reminds me a bit like Ben Ainsworth with his ability overhead despite his height. Kicked an outstanding goal on the run from 50m after taking a few bounces in the centre. Finished with 4.2 and two assists.

#23 Devlin Brereton – The son of Dermott’s best game to date, with plenty of impact up forward. He moves very well and has strong hands – as well as a nice kick on him. Hoping to see more of this throughout the year.

#28 Isaac Morrisby – Bagged four goals early for the Dragons and was a class above in the first half. For me I think he’s more of a third tall at AFL level similar to Jack Darling, but will need to improve his mobility if that will be his role long term.

#32 Ethan Casey – Dominated in the ruck with 30 hitouts until he had to be stretchered off with about 30 seconds remaining in the game. Unfortunately he’s done his ACL, but he can be proud about his efforts on how he played on Saturday.

#33 Howie Persson – Played in defence in more of an attacking role than he has in the past few weeks. Finished with 19 disposals and six tackles. Has plenty of speed to burn.


Murray Bushrangers vs. Geelong Falcons (Peter Williams)

Murray Bushrangers:

#5 Ben Paton – Like the look of him off half-back and seems to have stood up as that leader for the Bushrangers. An over-age player who missed out on being drafted last season, Paton has a penetrating kick and moves well in transition. Will be one of a number of over-age players to keep an eye on this season.

#10 Dave Smith – Kicked an really good goal in the first term, showcasing his speed and work rate to run into goal and have the composure to finish it off.

#34 Thomas Boyd – Looked very good early one-on-one as a key defender. He’s not necessarily the height of a key defender at 190cm, but playing that similar role to Ryan Garthwaite last season, Boyd could that developing tall. He showed he had good closing speed to spoil an opposition player’s attempt at marking.

#35 Floyd Bollinghaus – Played up forward and made his mark in the second quarter, winning a crucial one-on-one against Hayden Elliot and kicking a goal. Missed another chance shortly after, but was up and about and could be a presence down there.

Geelong Falcons:

#7 Harry Benson – Provided a highlight in the opening term when he launched a monster goal from well outside 50. Showed a few good signs as a bottom-ager last year and will likely be an important player in that midfield-forward link-up transition.

#16 David Handley – Really like his attributes as a forward. His smarts were summed up in the first term where he was corralled in on the boundary line about 20m out and while most would tend to have a shot, he pulled the kick and centred it to his teammate rather than blazing away. He will be one to keep an eye on throughout the season.

#30 Oscar Brownless – Geelong fans would not help but get excited about this kid’s prospects. I was surprised to see he’s only the 186cm because he plays taller and is really strong overhead. Just puts power through his set shots and did not stray from the target with a solid set shot routine.

#42 Cassidy Parish – Brother of Darcy and could not be much different in size and features. A big inside bodied midfielder, Parish still has good pace but his best work is at the stoppages. He knows how to use his frame and is another player that aids in the transition from the midfield to the forward line.


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

GWV Rebels:

#2 Cal Wellings – Overage player who was unlucky not to be drafted last season. Reads the taps well and oozes leadership. Had some improvements to make this season and has shown he has no problem winning the ball. Really quick hands in traffic, think more scoreboard impact will be the next box to tick for the captain. Stands tall in the middle and has a high work rate.

#4 Aiden Domic – The top prospect from the Rebels this season. Moves well in and out of a contest, goes forward and has an impact and is clean. Kicked the only goal of the first term for the Rebels and will be the one to watch throughout the year.

#23 Lloyd Meek – Thought I’d highlight the over-age ruck as he is someone who really could benefit from this extra year at TAC Cup level. He has that bigger body and just imposes himself in the ruck to give his midfielders first use. Occasionally gives away a few free kicks, but generally will outmuscle his opponent and he has shown to have an impact inside forward 50.

#29 Lachie Wareham – Good strong hands overheads, leads well just lacks that touch of agility for that medium forward. Given the Rebels lack of height he does have to play that full-forward role, but unsure of his versatility to play up the ground. Certainly good overhead though.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#42 Jai Nanscawen – Finished with four goals from 12 disposals and while he was that forward type, showed he has the potential to be lively and make the most of his possessions.

#46 Mason De Wit – He was one of my favourites last season not to be drafted. Has that bigger body and that sense of a prototype midfielder. Just gets his arms free and is a penetrating kick. Doesn’t need a lot of the footy to make an impact, just needs a bit of luck on the injury front.

#54 Tom Hogan – He’s one I like and at 198cm has plenty of development in him. Leads at the ball, takes a good contested grab and kicks through the football. I want to see more of him this season and what role he will play when the Stingrays are at full strength. Played through the ruck and at full-forward and while there’s still some raw work in there, he’s someone that will build with time.

#55 Ali Zijai – A really balanced player who uses the ball well and works hard defensively to lay tackles. On the weekend he had 20 effective disposals (out of 23) and laid nine tackles to be one of the best on ground.