Tag: matthew cottrell

Comprehensive 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final Preview

IT is the equivalent of Christmas Day for the TAC Cup competition, with the two best teams for the year facing off in a decider. We have the clear benchmark all season, in the Dandenong Stingrays, taking on the red-hot Oakleigh Chargers, who have been in sensational form since all their school kids returned to the team. We take a look at the big game from multiple angles in our Ultimate Preview of the 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final.

 

2018 SEASON REVIEW

1. Dandenong Stingrays – 15 wins, 1 loss, 211%, 60 points
3. Oakleigh Chargers – 10 wins, 5 losses, 1 draw, 151%, 42 points

HEAD TO HEAD

R5: Oakleigh Chargers 11.6 (72) defeated Dandenong Stingrays 9.12 (66) at Warrawee Park
R9: Dandenong Stingrays 13.17 (95) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 6.4 (40) at Shepley Oval

CHANGES SINCE ROUND 5 THRILLER*

*Including extended benches

Dandenong:
IN: Sam Fletcher, Hayden Young, Toby Bedford, Finlay Bayne, Mitch Riordan, Daniel Frampton, Stephen Cumming, Luca Goonan, Matthew Cumming, Sam Sturt
OUT: Jake Carosella, James Hickey, Jarrod Smith, William Geurts, Sam De Koning, Bailey Angwin

Oakleigh:
IN: Will Kelly, Noah Anderson, James Rowbottom, Matthew Rowell, Kyle Dunkley, Lucas Westwood, Trent Bianco, Bailey Wraith, Will Golds, Jack Ross, Matt Warren, James Jordan
OUT: Sam Harte, Lachlan Bugeja, Xavier Fry, Matthew Fewings, Ben Silvagni, Kyle Viccars, Josh May, Daniel Scala, Lachlan Harry, Sam Elliot

 

WHO HAS COMBINE INVITES?

National:

Dandenong Stingrays [6]: Toby Bedford, Riley Bowman, Zac Foot, Will Hamill, Sam Sturt, Bailey Williams
Oakleigh Chargers [7]: Noah Answerth, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Will Golds, Will Kelly, Xavier O’Neill, Isaac Quaynor, James Rowbottom

State/Rookie Me:

Dandenong Stingrays [10]: Stephen Cumming, Sam Fletcher, Jake Frawley, Matthew Gahan, Lachlan McDonnell, Jamie Plumridge, Mitch Riordan, Bailey Schmidt, Jai Taylor, Lachlan Young
Oakleigh Chargers [6]: Joe Ayton Delaney, Atu Bosenavulagi, Kyle Dunkley, Jake Gasper, James Jordon, Jack Ross

Note: Ben Silvagni (Oakleigh) and Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong) have combine invitations but are unavailable due to injury.

PLAYERS

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS:

#1 Sam FLETCHER

Just keeps winning the football every week and puts in a consistent effort. He will join Hustwaite on the inside and look to fire out a number of handballs to teammates in space, and will often look to win that one-on-one duel when given the chance. Does not get to the outside as much as other midfielders, but does all the damage at the coal face, expect him to be prominent in there again.

#2 Hayden YOUNG

The potential number one pick next year looked sore throughout the preliminary final last week and got moved from the back pocket to the extended interchange, so it appeared to be a waiting game on whether he would play. Unbelievable talent with and a hardness at the ball, can play anywhere on the field, but he has been used off half-back with that smooth running and deadly foot skills a highlight.

#3 Jamie PLUMRIDGE

Tipped by TAC Cup Radio’s Matthew Cocks for the Best on Ground, Plumridge has been a consistent performer this year. Plumridge is an outside midfielder who often wins it on the wing and pumps it inside 50 to the tall targets.

#7 Jai TAYLOR

An electrifying speedster, Taylor is one of the fastest players in the competition, and with Toby Bedford, has the capability of breaking the lines and causing disruption amongst the opposition zone. While he does not always do it, he can tuck the ball under the arm and take the game on.

#9 Zac FOOT

Burst onto the scene early in the season to make Vic Country after never having made a previous Stingrays’ squad. He played throughout the National Under 18 Championships, and while he did not star, he still had some impressive moments. Adds a different element to the team because he can win it inside or out, play back, forward or through the midfield and has a high impact per possession when he is on.

#10 Lachlan YOUNG

A defender who loves to rebound and use the ball well, he does not find a lot of it – averaging just 12.5 disposals per game. But almost 25 per cent of his possessions are rebounds, with Young ensuring the ball can clear the defensive zone.

#11 Ned CAHILL

Named as the 23rd player, Cahill showed in last week’s preliminary final just how damaging he could be booting two goals and passed off another couple. Still a bottom-age player, Cahill has emerged as a genuine goal sneak at 177cm. Has to be respected because he just gets to the right positions.

#12 Matthew GAHAN

Has enjoyed a really solid season off half-back earning himself a State Combine invitation. Gahan is a strong ball user and a player who his teammates like getting the ball into the hands of. With Oakleigh’s strong forward line, Gahan will need to be used both offensively and defensively in order to still create drive while restricting one of the many dangerous Chargers’ defenders.

#13 Riley BOWMAN

Is suited to the number one ruck role, but can play forward which is where he is expected to play. Often the Stingrays rotate Bowman, Stephen Cumming and Bailey Williams through the ruck such is their luxury. Bowman’s pure ruckwork is arguably the best of the lot, because he gets his hands to most throw-ins or ball-ups and can palm down to his midfielders. Big men seem to be out of fashion lately, so a big game would be huge to determine where he slots in.

#15 Toby BEDFORD

One of the most in-form Stingrays of late, Bedford has a great mix of offensive and defensive skills, providing line-breaking ability as well as tackling pressure in the forward half. He can kick multiple goals in a game, and pinch-hit in the midfield to break up the game. He offers a different element to the Dandenong midfield, and the Melbourne Next Generation Academy player is one who Demons fans will enjoy watching over the years, with the assumption they match the bid that comes in.

#16 Jake FRAWLEY

A strong midfielder who can play out of full-forward such is his strength one-on-one or in the air. Booted six goals against against Bendigo Pioneers at Shepley Oval playing almost exclusively as a forward. He adds some depth to the midfield and his versatility is important when the big day rolls around.

#17 Finlay BAYNE

Another dangerous small forward who can play through the midfield. Due to the depth in the Stingrays onball brigade, Bayne has found a nice spot in the forward 50 and is good for a couple of goals a game. He is a good mover with good goal sense.

#18 Mitch RIORDAN

Highly rated at the start of the season, Riordan had injury concerns and missed the bulk of the National Under 18 Championships, and has only recently returned in the past month. He can use the ball well, and while he does not win much of it, he can often be found coming out of a stoppage and kicking forward. Athletically he is very good, testing well in the 20m sprint, agility test and yo-yo test, so it is just getting game time into him.

#23 Campbell HUSTWAITE

The Stingrays captain is another player who has been in fine form the past couple of months and seems made for the big stage. He has lead from the front in the TAC Cup finals series and does everything expected of him. Against a strong Oakleigh midfield, his desire and competitiveness will be called upon to match it with the likes of Jack Ross and James Rowbottom. Hustwaite could be a best on ground chance given you know exactly what you will get from him each week.

#27 Lachlan MCDONNELL

Played at half-forward for the start of the season and has progressed onto the wing. Of all the Dandenong midfielders, McDonnell is one of the Stingrays’ most damaging kicks in transition. He is predominantly outside compared to the others, but he finds space and pumps it long inside 50.

#28 Bailey SCHMIDT

The big man has been unlucky not to play more games because he is a damaging presence up forward with great athleticism. He has just landed at a club in a year with ridiculous amounts of talent in the ruck/forward position. Still earned a State Combine invite, and while he has been named on the extended bench, is still one who has been able to show his wares throughout the 2018 season.

#29 Bailey WILLIAMS

The big key forward/ruck looms as the player Oakleigh must stop if the Chargers are to win their fifth TAC Cup premiership. Williams is an athletic monster forward who has a massive vertical leap and can cause plenty of headaches for any opposition defender. His goal kicking has been an issue for two thirds of the season, so he will need to be on target in the game. Expect him to have a bearing on the game, and if he can get an early major and build confidence – watch out.

#32 Daniel FRAMPTON

Has held down centre half-back at times despite standing at just 188cm. Can intercept the ball and averages 3.5 marks per game. The smaller Oakleigh forward line will suit Frampton as it means he does not have to battle against a 200cm monster.

#36 Stephen CUMMING

Starting in the ruck and even though he came off a little sore early last week, Cumming still played out the game and looks set to start in the centre square tomorrow. The big man will rotate with Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams in the ruck and no doubt try and wear down the undersized Bailey Wraith.

#41 Lachlan STENNING

The defender is likely to take a defensive approach on a forward whether it be Dylan Williams, Jake Gasper or Atu Bosenavulagi and try and limit their influence on the game. He is a low-possession player but one who can play above his height of 178cm.

#45 Luca GOONAN

Still a bottom-ager, Goonan was added to the side for the Grand Final on an extended bench. It is hard to push out the strong top-age presence, but he has had some impressive signs this season. He is readymade at 83kg already, and one to keep an eye on for next year.

#49 Matthew COTTRELL

A genuine honest midfielder who you know what you are going to get. Suited to the inside, but has played outside, he just attacks the ball and tries to clear it forward. Has had some impressive games this season and will likely need to beat his opponent this weekend against a strong Chargers’ midfield.

#52 Corey ELLISON

At 191cm and 88kg, Ellison is that medium size who can play tall or small up forward, and actually averages 2.7 goals per game from seven matches. Has been in and out of the team at times because of the strength up forward, if given the chance he knows how to hit the scoreboard.

#56 Matthew CUMMING

Cumming has played predominantly key position defence this season and just tried to beat his opponent one-on-one. Like his brother, he moves well for a 198cm player, but not sure what match-up he has in this match. With Oakleigh adopting a smaller forward line, he will likely play on a player close to 10cm smaller than him, so he must prepare for that.

#57 Reid NANSCAWEN

Named as the sole emergency for the side, he looks to be the one to come in if injury strikes. He has played a bit of everywhere, and held up the midfield during the National Under 18 Championships when Dandenong had absences galore. Is the type that can come in and play his role and will no doubt be waiting in the wings if the opportunity arises.

#58 Will HAMILL

An underrated player in the Stingrays defensive half. Hamill can play through the midfield, but his class and composure off half-back has been a standout of his game. He glides around the field, and while he is not a huge accumulator, he can hurt opposition with nice delivery forward. Will be held accountable with one of many dangerous Chargers small forwards who just find the goals on a regular basis.

#59 Sam STURT

The late developer has burst onto the scene of late after some impressive performances for Peninsula Grammar. He was boosted from a State Combine invitation to a National Combine invitation, and has already showed why he is in hot demand since playing for the Stingrays. He has electric skills, great smarts and knows where the goals are – so damaging.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS:

#1 Riley COLLIER-DAWKINS

A potential first round prospect, Collier-Dawkins has that blistering first few steps that can burn off an opponent out of a stoppage. He has been trialled up forward, but he is his most dominant on the inside, as he showed last week in the preliminary final. If he can use his strength, acceleration and penetrating kick to effect, then the Chargers will have plenty of hurt factor roaming through the midfield in transition.

#3 Joe AYTON-DELANEY

The running defender was unlucky not to get a National Draft Combine invitation after some impressive performances early in the season. He is one that will be in high demand with a good Grand Final and just finds the ball. Uses it well coming out of the backline and has shiny red boots that stand out. A player Oakleigh looks to get the ball in the hands of, along with Isaac Quaynor, in the backline.

#4 Will KELLY

He will have his work cut out for him, regardless if he takes Bailey Williams or Riley Bowman. He often enjoys running off an opponent and providing rebound, but he will need to be tight with the athletic talls. He can also go forward and provide a target if Oakleigh wants to throw a spanner in the works midway through the game. A Collingwood father-son prospect who will be watched closely by any Collingwood contingent that make the trip to Ikon Park.

#5 Xavier O’NEILL

Did not make the final Vic Metro squad, but showed enough throughout the 2018 TAC Cup season to suggest to recruiters he was in their top 50, earning a National Draft Combine invitation. He just does his job each week and is a really solid contributor. He covers the ground well and wins the ball in all thirds of the ground.

#6 Matthew DAY

The former basketballer was unlucky not be thrown a lifeline late last year, and has continued on as a really solid forward prospect as an overager for the Chargers this season. Keeps kicking goals and is strong overhead. A good size for development and one that the Stingrays cannot afford to let off the chain.

#7 Jay ROBERTSON

Did not make the cut at Eastern Ranges hailing from South Belgrave, came across and has been a valuable contributor up forward for Oakleigh. He is a medium tall who just keeps hitting the scoreboard and can fly under the radar with so much talent up that end.

#8 Noah ANDERSON

Another potential number one pick, Anderson is that prototype size for a midfielder, who due to the amazing depth of the Oakleigh midfield, has had the ability to almost play exclusively up forward. He pumps the ball long, can win it inside or out, and knows how to hit the scoreboard – as he did for Vic Metro against Western Australia.

#9 James ROWBOTTOM

The most pure of the inside midfielders, he gives his team a four quarter effort and wins a truckload of the ball on the inside. He is a clearance machine and just finds the ball anywhere on the ground. Dandenong are known for their hardness at the contest, and Rowbottom will be a key contributor for Oakleigh in trying to nullify some of the opposition midfielders.

#10 Charlie WHITEHEAD

A fierce small forward who loves to pressure opponents and just gets to the right positions. He has the capability of kicking multiple goals if given space and has a great goal sense. A pure small forward in every sense, he can push up the ground if the Chargers isolate another forward.

#11 Matthew ROWELL

Another Vic Metro representative in his bottom-age year, Rowell leads by example on the field. He has an uncompromising attack on the ball and is crucial around stoppages, but has had the luxury of playing on the outside, predominantly off a wing. He can play forward and kick goals, as he has the past two finals – kicking the first goal in both games.

#12 Noah ANSWERTH

The over-age captain does not do a lot wrong and can play anywhere on the field. His brother, Kade was best on ground in the TAC Cup Grand Final during Oakleigh Chargers’ last premiership over Eastern Ranges, and Answerth will be keen to put in an equally impressive performance. He made the Vic Metro squad and performed strongly and will leave no stone unturned in getting the most out of himself.

#13 Atu BOSENAVULAGI

Has bolted up into draft consideration after a quieter start to the season. His second half of the TAC Cup competition has been superb, and he is starting to regularly hit the scoreboard, while still applying the defensive pressure he was known for. Has made opposition clubs consider a National Draft bid, with Collingwood able to match if they like him.

#14 Kyle DUNKLEY

Has been on the fringe of getting into the team after spending time with Sydney Swans’ Reserves. With Oakleigh winning its past three games by an average of 101 points, it is a hard team to break into, but the forward will be ready if he gets his chance.

#16 Lucas WESTWOOD

A really reliable defender. With most of the other Oakleigh defenders being offensive players, Westwood adds that defensive hardness and ability to shut down a key opposition forward. He could well be given any number of smalls from the Stingrays who can kick multiple majors.

#17 Trent BIANCO

A skilful player who provides plenty of run and carry off half-back and through the midfield. Expect him to play more on-ball next season, but he has high-end talent and adds to what is a very strong bottom-age core at the Chargers.

#22 Dylan WILLIAMS

The bottom-age small forward is in ripping form, and just keeps kicking goals week-in, week-out. He shared them last week after six snags against Western Jets in the elimination final. He does very little wrong, and after spending time in defence early in the season, Williams’ strength overhead and great goal sense has him as a key player inside 50 for the Chargers. One Dandenong defender will have their work cut out for them.

#23 Isaac QUAYNOR

The running defender takes the game on and has some eye-catching moments. He might have to use his one-on-one ability more than he has had to in the past weeks, because Dandenong’s forward line will make sure he is made accountable. If he can get out and break the lines, using his speed and skill to create run-and-carry, then it will go a long way to Oakleigh winning the match. A Collingwood Next Generation Academy member to watch.

#26 Jake GASPER

The TAC Cup Leading Goalkicker and taking into account post-season goals he is the standalone leader, Gasper has been the most consistent forward in the competition. He has booted goals in every game he has played and his set shot routine is perfect. The Dandenong defence will focus on not letting him get too much air time because he is so smart in that forward 50.

#30 Bailey WRAITH

You have to applaud Wraith, who started as a key defender, but has stood up as an undersized ruck. He is measured at 191cm (though many believe he might be a few centimetres taller), and he has matched up against much taller opponents in the ruck. He will have to play his best game of the season against the Dandenong brigade however, with practically three 200cm rucks with big vertical leaps awaiting him.

#31 Will GOLDS

The most pure outside midfielder for the Chargers, Golds will be the one spreading to the outside and carrying the ball forward when given time and space. He could well match up against Lachlan McDonnell and the pair goes their separate ways, or they run alongside each other. Likes to set up plays forward of centre and has had a really solid finals series.

#32 Jack ROSS

The underrated midfielder from the Chargers has been building consistency very nicely over the past month since returning from school football. He loves the appetite of the contest, but can also spread to the outside and provide long kicks forward. He knows how to find a goal from a stoppage inside 50, and is one of many Oakleigh midfielders who looms as a key player on the weekend and one the Stingrays will put work into.

#33 Matt WARREN

Started the year as a key defender and can play up either end. Had the tough job of manning Max King in the top five pick’s only TAC Cup game and King booted eight goals in that game. At 189cm he has had to play on much taller opponents at times, but continues to battle above his height and weight range. A versatile option if a tall drops out of the Grand Final after being added to the interchange bench.

#36 Charlie BEASLEY

Rated really highly internally, Beasley will have to play taller than his 192cm against Bailey Williams or Riley Bowman. The coach, Leigh Clarke backs him in and he rarely lets him down. Regardless of opponent, Beasley is the type of defender who will stick to the task for four quarters.

#38 Zac HART

Oakleigh’s forward line is harder to break into than Fort Knox, so for the potential Adelaide father-son it has not been easy to find a spot. Hart has been added to the side on the extended interchange bench, and he is a smart forward with good goal sense, but with Oakleigh’s firepower on show the last month, it will probably take an injury for Hart to squeeze in.

#44 Will PHILLIPS

The Under 16s Vic Metro representative has managed to retain his place in the Oakleigh line-up despite it being as strong as it is, playing as the 23rd player. Great skills, good spread and does not seem phased against the bigger bodies, Phillips looks a player for the 2020 National Draft.

#64 James JORDON

Played a couple of games earlier in the season and returned after school football, Jordon has provided good run and carry on the outside. Like Golds, Jordon predominantly is used as a ball carrier with slick skills to take the game on and delivery well inside 50.

 

FATHER/SON AND ACADEMY PROSPECTS

Toby Bedford (Dandenong Stingrays) – Melbourne Next Generation Academy

Atu Bosenavulagi, Isaac Quaynor, Bailey Wraith (Oakleigh Chargers) – Collingwood Next Generation Academy

Will Kelly (Oakleigh Chargers) – Collingwood father/son

Kyle Dunkley* (Oakleigh Chargers) – Sydney father/son

Zac Hart* (Oakleigh Chargers) – Adelaide father/son

*Extended interchange

 

STATISTICS

Dandenong defence vs. Oakleigh attack

The key in this third of the ground, is whether or not Dandenong’s slick foot skills out of defence and springboard rebound can be used against the massive forward pressure of the Chargers. Atu Bosenavulagi (4.5 tackles), Jake Gasper (4.1) and Charlie Whitehead (3.2) provide the tackling heat, while Dylan Williams (62.8 per cent kicking efficiency), Jay Robertson (60.4 per cent) and Noah Anderson (56.6 per cent) provide the skills going inside 50. Gasper has been the dominant goal kicker this season, sharing the overall competition tally and post-finals has the most goals of any player in the league.

For Dandenong, they have some very nice ball users in the back half, lead by Will Hamill and Lachlan Stenning, while five of their six defenders average more than two marks a game. Lachlan Young (3.1 rebounds), Matthew Gahan (2.9) and Daniel Frampton (2.3) are that wall at half-back, while Matthew Cumming is the athletic key position defender who can share ruck duties. The big question mark will be match-ups as Oakleigh have a small forward line, while Cumming will no doubt be matched up on a smaller player.

Dandenong midfield vs. Oakleigh midfield

Two highly talented midfields will go head-to-head with so many crucial head-to-heads. Dandenong generally loves a contested brand of football, whereas Oakleigh love using their outside foot skills to advantage. In saying that, both sides can still play the other’s game. Stingrays captain, Campbell Hustwaite, Sam Fletcher and Mitch Riordan will provide the inside support, whereas Matthew Cottrell can play inside or out. Lachlan McDonnell is the most outside because he has the best skills of the five onballers, and has provided a crucial link between midfield and half-forward.

Will Golds provides just that for Oakleigh, whereas both Matthew Rowell and Jack Ross are equally as impressive inside as they are outside, and can get forward and kick goals as well. Noah Answerth can also play off half-back or half-forward and hit the scoreboard for the Chargers, while Bailey Wraith has been getting the job done in the ruck despite being undersized. If he can get forward and kick a goal, it adds an extra challenge for the Stingrays. He will have his work cut out for him against the best ruck division in the league.

Dandenong attack vs. Oakleigh defence

Dandenong’s attack is likely to cause a lot more headaches for Oakleigh’s defence than other sides have in past weeks. With Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman both athletic talls, it means Charlie Beasley and Will Kelly will have to be prepared to jump as both Dandenong keys are highly athletic – particularly Williams who is second to none with vertical leap. Jai Taylor and Toby Bedford are two of the quickest players going around, while Sam Sturt and Zac Foot consistently hit the scoreboard.

The great strength with Oakleigh’s defence is its ball use out of the back 50, with Isaac Quaynor, Joe Ayton-Delaney and Trent Bianco all wonderful kicks of the football. Often teams can have at least one liability back in their defence, but there is no player in the back 50 who the Chargers would not feel comfortable with kicking the ball out of the back 50. The challenge for the Chargers defence is they have to expect Dandenong to bring the heat. Forward pressure from the Stingrays is a must, and Oakleigh must be up for that challenge.

Extended interchange of both sides:

The depth on both these benches, particularly Oakleigh’s, is madness. Riley Collier Dawkins could be a first round pick but he sits on the pine, while James Jordon and Xavier O’Neill are crucial cogs in Oakleigh’s midfield. Matthew Day has been a really valuable forward for the Chargers this season, while Vic Metro Under 16s talent, Will Phillips has been very slick with his ball use on the outside and shapes as an impressive talent for the 2020 AFL National Draft. With father-son prospects and sneaky small forwards Kyle Dunkley and Zac Hart waiting in the wings, and the versatile Matt Warren also brought in to the extended team, Oakleigh has plenty of options to head into game day.

For Dandenong, Finlay Bayne and Ned Cahill both provide depth in the forward line and showed they can kick multiple goals, as they did against Sandringham Dragons last week. Corey Ellison has been unlucky this season given the strength of talls for the Stingrays, while Hayden Young could be pick one next season, but came off sore last week and whether he makes the final team is yet to be seen. Bailey Schmidt is another athletic tall who could come in to really stretch the Oakleigh defence, while Jake Frawley kicked a bag of six earlier in the season. Jamie Plumridge has been good on  the outside for Dandenong this season, while Luca Goonan is a prospect to watch for next year. Reid Nanscawen has been named as the only emergency in the team.

WHY WILL THEY WIN?

Dandenong Stingrays: They have been the best team all year and attack the footy with numbers. A fierce intent on the ball carrier, any opposition know that the heat will come and it will depend on how they deal with it. The Stingrays are not a high possession team, and opt for sharing the ball around, but still using the ball long and effective. They have the tall timber up forward to put in the air and allow them to mark it, because no-one is spoiling Bailey Williams if he gets a run at it.

Oakleigh Chargers: They are the most skilful team in the competition who are happy to use short possessions rather than take risks with long kicks, but know when to flick the switch. Often they will use a series of short kicks until a player breaks free and then they use run-and-carry to run down the wings and pick a target out inside 50. Without the height in there, the Oakleigh midfielder put low balls out in front of their teammates to run onto with their speed off the mark, key.

 

WHAT DO THEY NEED TO STOP?

Dandenong Stingrays: They absolutely must bring the heat on the weekend. Oakleigh dominate games when they are allowed to over-possess the ball and just wait until options free up. Dandenong need to ensure that firstly, Oakleigh cannot have free numbers wandering into open space, and secondly, that there is a defensive midfielder who is happy to drop back and fill the hole in front of the Oakleigh forwards. Unlike Dandenong where a 200cm athlete will crash into your back, Oakleigh’s passes inside 50 will be low darts, so the Stingrays need to restrict the free space inside 50 and force them wide.

Oakleigh Chargers: They have to be wary of positioning themselves well inside the defensive 50. They will be playing against much taller opponents who can fly high, and some of their usually offensively-minded defenders might have to do more one-on-one defending. Isaac Quaynor is arguably the best small defender in the league one-on-one and he might be the man to go to Sam Sturt, as Quaynor can play taller and is equally as smart. Bailey Wraith will also have his work cut out for him in the ruck, and while he has been fantastic, when you’re going up against high flying rucks that are towering over you, the goal is to nullify as much as possible.

 

GRAND FINAL HISTORY

The two teams have never met in a TAC Cup Grand Final before, but have been involved in 10 between them. Dandenong has heartbreakingly lost all five of their encounters, two of which exceeded 80 points. For Oakleigh, they have won four out of a possible five attempts, including a goal point to Jack Macrae in 2012 getting them over the line against Gippsland Power.

Dandenong Stingrays:

1997: lost to North Ballarat Rebels by 35 points
2005: lost to Gippsland Power by 15 points
2008: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 81 points
2009: lost to Calder Cannons by 14 points
2013: lost to Eastern Ranges by 112 points

Oakleigh Chargers:

2006: defeated Calder Cannons by 27 points
2011: lost to Sandringham Dragons by eight points
2012: defeated Gippsland Power by one point
2014: defeated Calder Cannons by 47 points
2015: defeated Eastern Ranges by 12 points

 

AFL Draft Central tips

 

Peter Williams

Dandenong Stingrays
BOG: Toby Bedford

Michael Alvaro

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Dylan Williams

Craig Byrnes

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Jack Ross

Scott Dougan

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Jake Gasper

Ed Pascoe

Oakleigh Chargers
BOG: Dylan Williams

Cameron Ross

Dandenong Stingrays
BOG: Toby Bedford

 

Total Tips:

Dandenong Stingrays 2
Oakleigh Chargers 4

Best on Ground:

Toby Bedford 2
Dylan Williams 2
Jack Ross 1
Jake Gasper 1

Dandenong books Grand Final spot with strong win over Sandringham

DANDENONG Stingrays have booked their place in the 2018 TAC Cup Grand Final after enjoying a solid 42-point win over Sandringham Dragons at Ikon Park today in swirling conditions. The Stingrays did not have it all their own way throughout the contest, but won every quarter with a five goals to one third term giving them a buffer at the final break and run away with the contest in the final term.

Both teams started by feeling each other out, with the ball predominantly in the Stingrays half, but it was Jack Mahony, getting on the end of an Alastair Richards kick inside 50. The ball bounced up perfectly for Mahony who kicked it from the goal square for the games’ first. A long range shot from Jamie Plumridge resulted in one behind for the Stingrays as the rain poured down. Then a quick snap from Ned Cahill in the goal square put Dandenong in front. Cahill then set up teammate, Bailey Williams with a chip over the top and the big forward made no mistake from the set shot.

Sam Fletcher had started strongly for the Stingrays, racking up 10 touches in the opening 15 minutes as he worked tirelessly on the inside. Meanwhile it was James Rendell who lined up for a set shot, with the wind pulling it to the side and it was punched across for a behind. The Dragons trailed by a goal with less than 10 minutes remaining in the quarter. Louis Butler almost had the goal of the day with a terrific snap, just hitting the goal post.

With the remainder of the term being an arm-wrestle, Fletcher finished the quarter with 10 disposals, three more than any other player, leading Plumridge (seven) and Jai Taylor (six). For the Dragons, Charlie Dean had seven disposals, while Rendell was their best with six touches and four marks, while Ben King lead out to take four marks.

It took 30 seconds for Sandringham to almost conquer something out of nothing with the Dragons two stars combining. A beautiful pick-up off the deck from King and quick hands to Morrish Medallist, Liam Stocker saw the latter have a flying shot on the goal but just missed. Riley Bowman had an equally great pick-up, but just missed the outside snap. Then the Stingrays got on the board with Zac Foot winning a couple of touches working hard with Toby Bedford to get on the end of it to kick a goal. Less than a minute later Sandringham responded through Mahony with his second of the game.

King played the role of rover in he goal square, pouncing on a loose ball after getting free at the back and dribbling a goal home to put the Dragons in front. Moments later Darcey Chirgwin extended the lead to seven points with a big mark and set shot goal. Cahill then laid a strong tackle and earned a free kick for his troubles, kicking the goal, his second of the match and being Dandenong’s most dominant forward.

A couple of pieces of Sam Sturt magic saw him set up Bedford with a pin-point perfect pass, then a quick handball over the top. While Bedford missed the set shot, the next running shot on goal the small forward made no mistake, putting the Stingrays back in front. Bedford’s impact on the game was profound as he snapped an unbelievable goal, making it two in a few minutes. Chirgwin answered Bedford’s double with his second on the term with a dribble goal in the square. At half-time, Fletcher and Callum Jones lead all-comers with 13 touches.

The first meaningful shot on goal was a quick snap off the deck from Williams who just missed. The wind was playing havoc on the game with a swirly breeze blowing to one side and forcing a number of balls out on the full or towards the boundary line. Williams had his second behind of the term with another quick snap that got caught in the breeze, but all the attack was in Dandenong’s front half. With everyone fumbling and missing stock-standard passes, it was Bedford who stood tall among all others and just summed up the situation with a handball receive from Williams, put it on the boot and bent it around the body for his third of the game.

Dandenong was doing all the attacking and Finlay Bayne was the beneficiary with a perfectly timed run and goal to put Dandenong out to their largest lead of the game, at 20 points. Just as it looked like the Stingrays were running away with the contest, 23rd player, George Grey bobbed up at the right time and snapped on the run to cut the deficit and give the Dragons some hope. That hope was soon erased when an attempted rebound was smothered by Matthew Cottrell and the ball bounced around and landed in the hands of Taylor who run into goal and punished Sandringham’s error.

A second error, this time a miscommunication by two Dragons defenders when they were three-on-one against Williams saw Will Kennedy and Corey Watts crash into each other, Williams scoop it up, handball to the running Taylor who got boot to ball with centimetres remaining and put through another. Williams took a good mark against a smaller opponent but could not quite convert, but seconds later he heard the voice of Sturt, left it for the exciting medium-tall who pounced and made no mistake to put the Dragons 34 points up at the final break.

The important first goal of the final term when to Finn Maginness who earned a 50m penalty and made no mistake from the goal square. But with all the hope that brought, it took just two minutes for the Stingrays to answer through Williams who took a great one-on-one mark and kicked the goal from 25m out. Sandringham had not given up, pushing hard with a few good inside 50s but Dandenong’s defence was holding up superbly kicking long down the wing and making sure there were repeat stoppages, or space for their smalls to run. If there was any doubt about the winner, then in the tenth minute, Williams swooped on a loose ball and went bang inside the square and the margin was 40 points and the Stingrays were heading to the TAC Cup Grand Final.

To put some great icing on a terrific cake, Sturt judged the ball in flight well and judged the ball drop to mark amongst a crowd of players and nailed the set shot to celebration. He almost had his third a few minutes later, but it swung right to left and missed. Up the other end, King answered with a good mark and set shot goal, his second of the match to hand the Dragons a consolation goal in what was ultimately a disappointing day.

Bedford was best on ground with 12 touches, six tackles and three goals in an impactful performance, while Sturt was equally busy up forward with two goals from 12 disposals, five marks and six tackles, and skipper Campbell Hustwaite stood strong throughout the four quarters with a game-high 27 disposals, nine clearances, five inside 50s and four tackles. For the Dragons, Rendell was the best with 17 disposals – all kicks – and 23 hitouts, and laid five tackles as well. Clearly hampered by his shoulder, Stocker was huge to play out the game and amass 17 disposals, four marks, 10 tackles, four inside 50s and two rebounds.

DANDENONG 2.1 | 6.3 | 11.7 | 14.11 (95)
SANDRINGHAM 1.2 | 5.3 | 6.3 | 8.5 (53)

GOALS:

Dandenong: Bailey Williams 3, Toby Bedford 3, Ned Cahill 2, Jai Taylor 2, Sam Sturt 2, Zac Foot, Finlay Bayne.
Sandringham: Jack Mahony 2, Darcey Chirgwin 2, Ben King 2, George Grey, Finn Maginness.

ADC BEST:

Dandenong: Toby Bedford, Ned Cahill, Sam Sturt, Bailey Williams, Campbell Hustwaite.
Sandringham: James Rendell, Liam Stocker, Jack Mahony, Harry Reynolds.

Weekend Previews: TAC Cup – Preliminary finals

WE are down to the final four TAC Cup sides for season 2018, with Dandenong Stingrays taking on Sandringham Dragons, and Gippsland Power facing Oakleigh Chargers to determine the two, 2018 Grand Finalists.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Preliminary Finals  – Saturday, September 15, 11.30am
Ikon Park, Carlton North

Last week:

In the first of two preliminary finals, we take a look at the minor premiers, Dandenong Stingrays, taking on the fourth placed Sandringham Dragons. Last weekend, the Stingrays were on another level compared to the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, thumping them by 110 points, while the Dragons proved too good for the Murray Bushrangers in a 43-point win.

Last time:

Sandringham Dragons 6.10 (46) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 14.9 (93)

In the final round of the TAC Cup season, Dandenong Stingrays ensured the Dragons had a nervous wait across the weekend, with a top four spot on the line. Sandringham luckily witnessed Northern Knights upsetting Murray Bushrangers to earn a weekend off. On the day, Sam Sturt and Finlay Bayne both booted three goals, while Matthew Cottrell claimed best on ground for the Stingrays. For the Dragons, Angus Hanrahan was the only multiple goal kicker with two majors, while James Rendell and Liam Stocker were impressive – Stocker picking up the three votes in the match despite the 47-point loss.

 

THE KEY – INSIDE MIDFIELD

The big key in the game is which side can win the ball at the coal face and get the ball down to their key forwards and crumbers. Both sides have good firepower inside 50, and the clearances will be an area to watch with the teams having strong contested ball winners. Looking at the starting midfields, there is not much to split them with clearances and contested possessions practically even. Dandenong’s starting three midfielders lay more tackles, with Toby Bedford also spending time up forward and adding pressure up there.

Sandringham:

Liam Stocker 12.5 contested possessions, 5.6 clearances, 4.5 tackles
Harry Reynolds 10.0 contested possessions, 3.3 clearances, 2.3 tackles
Kai Owens 8.7 contested possessions, 3.8 clearances, 6.2 tackles

= 31.2 contested possessions, 12.7 clearances, 13 tackles

vs.

Dandenong:

Sam Fletcher 13.4 contested possessions, 5.2 clearances, 7.7 tackles
Campbell Hustwaite 11.0 contested possessions, 5.0 clearances, 6.1 tackles
Toby Bedford 8.0 contested possessions, 2.3 clearances, 5.7 tackles

= 32.4 contested possessions, 12.5 clearances, 19.5 tackles

 

WHY THE TEAMS WILL WIN?

Dandenong: The best team all year, depth that is envious of any other side and equal to that of fellow challenger, Oakleigh. They seem to have winners across all thirds of the ground and just made the Rebels look silly last week. A last round win against the Dragons will have the Stingrays’ confidence high to repeat the effort again. The Stingrays love a scrap and will be keen to beat the Dragons at the contest and use their bigger bodies to extract the ball and pump it long.

Sandringham: Any side with Ben King inside 50 is a threat, and the Stingrays will not only look to nullify him, but just cut off the delivery to him, full stop. But if the Dragons midfielders can get on top on the inside, then the Stingrays defence could be under siege. They also possess the ball really well and will look to play the ball on their terms with slick, short ball use.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Preliminary Finals  – Saturday, September 15, 2pm
Ikon Park, Carlton North

Last week:

Gippsland Power managed to get over the highly dangerous Geelong Falcons with a 35-point victory at Ikon Park. They took four quarters to do it – leading by just eight points at the final break before a five-goal final term saw the second placed Power storm away with the game. The Chargers had a much easier game against Western Jets, shaking off an early challenge by the Jets to post a massive 120-point victory to earn a place in the preliminary final.

Last time:

Oakleigh Chargers 8.7 (55) defeated by Gippsland Power 9.6 (60)

Not much can be read into it given Oakleigh was missing the majority of its best 22, but Gippsland got the job done in a thriller at Warrawee Park with a Noah Gown goal in the dying seconds sealing a great comeback win. Noah Answerth bombed through a goal on the siren, but not release the ball until a second too late. The result left Oakleigh’s top four hopes in the lurch, but an impressive win over Sandringham Dragons and a 15-goal rout of the GWV Rebels put any threat of missing the week off to bed pretty soon. Daniel Scala booted four goals for the Chargers, while Trent Bianco and Sam Harte were named Oakleigh’s best in the loss. For Gippsland, Gown, Harrison Pepper and Sam Flanders all booted two goals, while Gown and Boadie Motton were named in the Power’s best.

 

THE KEY – FIREPOWER FORWARDS

Both Gippsland and Oakleigh head into the clash as sides that have dynamic forward lines. Gippsland has more structure to it, with two traditional talls in Gown and Josh Smith, while Oakleigh relies on a number of medium-talls and smalls rather than a key position monster. Last week, Dylan Williams booted six goals, while Atu Bosenavulagi, Jake Gasper, Charlie Whitehead and Jay Robertson all contributed multiple goals, while Gippsland had 10 individual goal kickers, with their club leading scorer Gown, contributing just the one.

As you will see from the below total, the top six goal kickers playing in the match provide plenty of options for midfielders to kick to, with some of the forwards spending time through the middle. Oakleigh’s six will largely form the six-man forward line against the Power, while Gippsland’s will see a number of their players begin in the midfield and rest forward.

Gippsland firepower:

Noah Gown – 30.18
Josh Smith – 20.7
Sam Flanders – 19.18
Austin Hodge – 14.13
Irving Mosquito – 14.4
Xavier Duursma – 13.5

Top 6: 110.65 (725)

Oakleigh firepower:

Jake Gasper – 38.15
Matthew Day – 20.10
Dylan Williams – 18.12
Jay Robertson – 15.8
Charlie Whitehead – 14.10
Atu Bosenavulagi – 13.9

Top 6: 118.64 (772)

 

WHY THE TEAMS WILL WIN?

Gippsland: The Power play an exciting brand of football that blends both speed and pressure which is really eye-catching, and will look to match Oakleigh at its own game of doing the same. The Power must simply bring the heat to the contest, because letting Oakleigh have too much time and space results in undesirable results for the team doing so.

Oakleigh: You cannot read into the season of the Chargers despite still finishing third. They are right up there with Dandenong in terms of premiership favourites and have stamped their authority with 90 and 120-point wins in their past two outings. They have ridiculous amounts of midfield depth and big bodies to control the inside while using their runners on the outside.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 16

IN the final round of the TAC Cup season it was incredibly hard to narrow down the best 22 to create the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 16. In the end, with impressive wins to Dandenong Stingrays, Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets each team had three players named in the side, while losers Eastern Ranges and Murray Bushrangers had two representatives with the other winners. Equally, Northern Knights had just the one representative indicating the team effort to get the job done against Murray, along with the remaining losers of Round 16.

Dandenong’s big win over Sandringham Dragons resulted in defender Matthew Gahan, forward Sam Sturt, and inside midfielder, Matthew Cottrell earn their places in the Team of the Week. Fellow top four side, Oakleigh had a huge win over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, and also had three players make the best 22 for the week with Bailey Wraith‘s ruck performance, James Rowbottom‘s midfield work and Atu Bosenavulagi‘s forward craft among the deserving nominees. Oakleigh had plenty of others who could have made the side as well, including Charlie Whitehead and Noah Anderson.

Western Jets also had three players in the Team of the Week, with consistent midfielder, Connor Thar, and speedster Daly Andrews making the team, as did key forward Aaron Clarke. Captain Xavier O’Halloran came close to making the side yet again but just missed out. Geelong Falcons duo Sam Walsh and Brayden Ham have been regulars in the Team of the Week this year and Round 16 was no different, as Ham was named on the half-back flank having played at both ends. Their opponents, Calder Cannons had just the one nominee in Rhylee West who stood tall up forward, but Daniel Mott was considered unlucky and was the 23rd player in the team.

Gippsland Power and Eastern Ranges both had two players make the Team of the Week from their clash, as key forward, Noah Gown and captain, Xavier Duursma made the team once again backing up their impressive recent form. For Eastern, Xavier Fry and Kye Quirk slotted into the best 22. Murray Bushrangers also had two talls make the side despite the loss, with Nick Murray and Jordon Butts slotting into the key defensive posts. While Butts did not play the role on the weekend, he has the versatility to play anywhere and deserved to make it into the 22 after a strong performance.

Of the remaining players in the 22, those who made the Team of the Week as individual nominees were the hardworking Noah Wheeler (Bendigo Pioneers), GWV Rebels forward Jed Hill, Northern Knights midfielder Justin McInerney and Sandringham Dragons star Liam Stocker. Stocker’s teammate, James Rendell was unlucky not to make the team, as was McInerney’s bottom-age teammate, Adam Carafa who could both be hypothetical emergencies in the Team of the Week.

 

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 16

THE final round of the TAC Cup threw up some surprising results, and some standout individual performances. Here is how Round 16 went down.

 

Sandringham Dragons 6.10 (46) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 14.9 (93)

Dandenong Stingrays capped off a near-perfect home and away season, defeating top four side, Sandringham Dragons by 49 points at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on the weekend. The Stingrays finished the season with a 15-1 record and that loss was a six-point defeat at the hands of Oakleigh Chargers. The Stingrays burst out of the blocks booting six goals to one in the opening half, and by the final break had 10 goals on the board to the Dragons’ two. The final term was a goal fest with eight of the 20 goals kicked, as both teams shared in the feast booting four goals apiece. 

Sam Fletcher won plenty of the ball once again with 30 disposals, three marks, two clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds, joined on the inside by captain Campbell Hustwaite (28 disposals, four clearances and a goal) who had a combined 34 contested possessions between them. Matthew Cottrell was voted the Stingrays best for his 28 disposals, four clearances, eight inside 50s, two rebounds and a goal, while Sam Sturt continued to impress at TAC Cup level, booting 3.2 from 18 disposals and five marks. Toby Bedford (18 disposals, three clearances and four inside 50s) and Matthew Gahan (16 disposals, four marks and five rebounds) were others who impressed for the winners.

For the Dragons, Liam Stocker had another day out, amassing 32 disposals, one mark, nine clearances, eight inside 50s and three rebounds, winning two thirds of his possessions at the coal face. Alastair Richards was equally effective on the outside, collecting 25 disposals, three marks, two clearances and four rebounds to give the Dragons some important run. James Rendell (14 disposals, two contested marks, 29 hitouts and a goal) and Corey Watts (20 disposals and eight marks) were others who stood tall for the losing side.

 

Geelong Falcons 11.12 (84) defeated Calder Cannons 10.9 (69)

Geelong Falcons gained a vital mental advantage over the Calder Cannons, claiming bragging rights  ahead of the pair’s duel in the Wild Card Round next weekend. The Falcons had to fight from eight points down at quarter time to put pressure on their opponents and had 11 scoring shots to two in the second quarter, heading in with a 16-point advantage. They built on that lead in the third term, before the Cannons finished stronger, but it was just too little, too late in the game, as the Falcons celebrated by 15 points.

Co-captain Sam Walsh was sensational with 37 disposals, 10 marks (one contested), five clearances, eight inside 50s, six rebounds and three behinds, while fellow co-captain Oscar Brownless got the Falcons moving early, finishing the game with 19 disposals, six marks, four inside 50s and a powerful long-range goal. Brayden Ham‘s consistent season continued with 20 disposals, nine marks and eight inside 50s, albeit with an inaccurate 1.4. Ned McHenry (27 disposals, seven marks, three clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal), Cooper Stephens (21 disposals, seven marks, six clearances and three inside 50s) and Connor Idun (16 disposals, seven marks and three inside 50s and a goal) were others who stood out for the winners.

Calder had a number of strong contributors with Daniel Mott having a team-high 29 disposals, three marks, nine clearances, six inside 50s and three rebounds. Rhylee West was strong up forward, booting three goals while resting up there to go with his 20 touches, four marks (two contested), six clearances and four inside 50s. Lachlan Sholl (20 disposals, 11 marks and five rebounds) and Mitch Podhajski (21 disposals, eight marks, two clearances, four inside 50s and two goals) were others who stood out for the Cannons.

 

GWV Rebels 5.3 (33) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 18.15 (123)

In a match that started positively for the Rebels, it ended in disaster as Oakleigh Chargers stormed home with a 90-point win at MARS Stadium. The Rebels, although down at the first break, had been matching the Chargers around the ground, and faced a 13-point deficit at the first break. A five goals to two second term put the Rebels to the sword, but it was the nine goals to one second half that saw Oakleigh waltz away with the huge win, peppering the goals in the second half, having a whopping 20 scoring shots to two, in a game which the deficit could have been even greater.

Jack Ross had the most disposals, with 26 touches, five marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and a goal, ably assisted on the inside by James Rowbottom (24 disposals and eight clearances) and Riley Collier-Dawkins (16 disposals and seven clearances). Trent Bianco had another impressive game highlighted by a strong second half, picking up 15 disposals and having 24 overall, to go with his five marks and six rebounds, while Zac Hart buzzed around to collect 23 disposals, six marks, six inside 50s and three rebounds. Atu Bosenavulagi and Jake Gasper caused headaches up forward, while Noah Anderson and Jay Robertson also booted three goals.

For the Rebels, Matty Lloyd was the sole player with more than 20 disposals, having 24 touches, five marks and eight rebounds, while forward, Jed Hill was the clear standout player, having 12 disposals, three marks (one contested), two clearances and three goals – all in the first half. Jayden Wright played well in defence with five rebounds from 19 disposals and three marks, while Charlie Wilson had four clearances and four inside 50s from 14 disposals.

 

Gippsland Power 11.11 (77) defeated Eastern Ranges 10.8 (68)

Gippsland Power finished their season off with a hard-fought nine-point win over Eastern Ranges. The Power had to work for it against the bottom two side, booting the first four goals of the game, but being reeled in over the next two quarters to trail at the final break by three points. Luckily for Gippsland, they booted four goals to two in the final term and ensured their regular season ended on a high.

Captain Xavier Duursma was consistent once again with 21 touches, two marks, five clearances, three inside 50s and two goals, while bottom-age forward, Sam Flanders also had 21 disposals, two marks, eight inside 50s and booted an inaccurate 1.4. Noah Gown continued his strong form up forward with another four goals from 20 disposals and eight marks (two contested), while Leo Connolly (20 disposals, three marks, five inside 50s and a goal) and Riley Baldi (18 disposals, three marks, four clearances and three inside 50s) were other prominent ball winners.

For Eastern, Kye Quirk had a massive game-high 34 disposals, five marks, two clearances, eight inside 50s and two rebounds, while Xavier Fry was prominent in defence with seven rebounds from 24 disposals and five marks. Joel Burleigh had 23 disposals, four marks, four clearances, six inside 50s, four rebounds and two goals, while Lachlan Stapleton was busy at the stoppages, recording eight clearances and 21 disposals. Adrian Kalcovski booted three goals from 22 disposals and seven marks, while Mitch Mellis had 19 touches and three marks.

 

Murray Bushrangers 8.7 (55) defeated by Northern Knights 9.10 (64)

Northern Knights spoiled the party for Murray Bushrangers, who were looking to cement a top four spot with a win. The Knights could not move out of eighth spot, and the home side got on top early, booting six goals to three in the first half. Northern clawed back into the contest in the third quarter, to cut the deficit to nine points at the final change, but came over the top of the Bushrangers, booting four goals to one in the nine-point victory.

Justin McInerney was busy around the ground for the Knights, picking up 24 disposals, 12 marks (one contested), two inside 50s, three rebounds and a goal. Adam Carafa also found 24 touches and had five marks, four clearances, three rebounds and a goal. Cameron Wild was busy with 22 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and a goal, while Josh D’Intinosante had 18 touches, five marks, seven inside 50s and a goal. Teammate Oscar White also covered the ground well with six inside 50s and five rebounds from 17 disposals and five marks (one contested).

Jimmy Boyer was the top ball winner for the Bushrangers, racking up 25 touches, seven marks, seven clearances and three inside 50s, while Edward Adams had 22 disposals, seven marks (one contested) and four rebounds. Jordon Butts was productive through the midfield, sending the ball inside 50 on six occasions from 21 disposals and seven marks, while Nick Murray had five rebounds from 21 disposals and seven marks. Bottom-ager Lachlan Ash (17 disposals, five marks and five rebounds) and Ely Smith (18 disposals, two marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and a goal) were others who impressed for the losing side.

 

Bendigo Pioneers 8.9 (57) defeated by Western Jets 15.8 (98)

A six goals to two first term effectively ended the contest before it began, as the finals-bound Western Jets got the job done against the Bendigo Pioneers. After quarter time it was much closer as the Pioneers booted six goals to the Jets’ nine, but could not quite capitalise and the Jets enjoyed the 41-point lead heading into the Wild Card Round next weekend.

Connor Thar had a super game with 32 disposals, five marks, three contested, five inside 50s, two rebounds and two goals to be named the AFL Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 16, while Daly Andrews (26 disposals, nine marks, six inside 50s, four rebounds and one goal) was busy around the ground. Captain Xavier O’Halloran was deadly going inside 50, having 10 entries along with 25 touches, six marks, four clearances and a goal. Jack Watkins was also instrumental with 25 disposals, four marks, five clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal. Aaron Clarke was the key forward with four majors while Steven Kyriazis booted three.

For the Pioneers, Noah Wheeler was again the top performer for the home side, picking up 19 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s, six rebounds and a goal, while Bailey Henderson had six rebounds from 22 disposals and seven marks. Talented bottom-ager Brodie Kemp had 21 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while Jye Caldwell had 19 disposals, four marks and four clearances in his first TAC Cup game since early in the year.

Walsh favourite in open field for Morrish Medal

GEELONG Falcons dynamo Sam Walsh is predicted to be the front runner in Sunday’s Morrish Medal count, despite playing just the 10 games in the TAC Cup competition if the AFL Draft Central predictions are anything to go by. The number one pick contender is likely to poll votes in as many as eight games, including his last five since returning from the National Under 18 Championships. He is not alone in the stakes for the medal, with AFL Draft Central predicting a number of other contenders hot on his heels, with nine of the top 10 placegetters in our count from different TAC Cup clubs.

Sam Walsh (Geelong Falcons)

The Falcons midfielder has enjoyed a terrific season in 2018, firing on all cylinders since returning from the championships, and expect him to power home like Hugh McCluggage did in 2016 with a huge run home. It is almost hard to ignore him in most games, and we have him polling in eight of a possible 10 matches, and usually with the three or two votes. Some heavy losses to Geelong at times will not help, but he missed quite a few of the mid-year games where the Falcons had trouble.

Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power)

The biggest challenger to Walsh is fellow captain, Gippsland Power midfielder, Xavier Duursma. He also missed games due to National Under 18 Championships, and also missed a game due to injury, but when he has played, he has been ultra-consistent. He will have plenty of teammates threatening to take votes off him such as Noah Gown, Kyle Reid or Riley Baldi among others, but if the umpires saw him as the key in many of the Power’s wins, Duursma is in with a huge chance of causing an upset.

Liam Stocker (Sandringham Dragons)

Prior to returning in Round 9 following injury, we predicted Liam Stocker to be sitting on just four votes. Over four of the next five games we predicted Stocker would pick up 10 votes, before collecting another three on the weekend for a big weekend in the umpires eyes. He is one who could poll even better if the umpires vote him ahead of the Kings or Bailey Smith, but when they played they dominated.

Charlie Wilson (GWV Rebels)

The GWV Rebels forward is a bit of an unknown come Morrish Medal night because he is one who could poll regularly, or be the one that gets left behind being a forward instead of a midfielder. But his consistency through the mid-season and on the back straight is not to be underestimated, having at least three best on grounds in the run home.

Brayden Ham (Geelong Falcons)

You get the feeling he could be pushing Walsh if Geelong had won more games, but expect Ham and Walsh to combine for the top two votegetters on a few occasions. He has that eye-catching ability that is likely to poll him quite a few votes, but like Wilson, it just depends if they opt for that powerful forward who can play up the ground – and in defence at times – or if they opt for pure midfielders with the votes.

Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets)

The Jets captain is likely to run out to an early lead in the count with a strong season pre-Under 18 Championships. Aside from a couple of quiet games in the first month, we predict O’Halloran to be on 11 votes after seven rounds. From there though others have stood out more with the votes shared around late in the season, but is sure to poll well early. It will be interesting to see how the votes are divided up between himself and Connor Thar, in particular.

Mitch Podhajski (Calder Cannons)

It is a bit hard to read how the Cannons co-captain will poll because he spent time in the Victorian Football League (VFL) throughout the season, and will have to fight the likes of Rhylee West and Jack Bytel for votes at either end of the season. His purple patch from Rounds 12 to 14 could see him rack up quite a few votes with at least two best on grounds, and be another top 10 certainty one would think.

Ely Smith (Murray Bushrangers)

A slow start to the season, but once he got going, he really got going. Had the luxury of playing the majority of games, and had no trouble finding the ball. The fact he caught the eye of Vic Country coaches to be a late-call up, one would think he would catch the eye of the umpires as well.

Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong Stingrays)

Dandenong is the toughest team to read how votes will go. They won 15 of a possible 16 votes which means the most votes of any side. The problem? The votes are likely to be split by as many as 12 players who could float in and out as the top vote getters. Captain Campbell Hustwaite is likely to poll the most for the Stingrays, but we also have Bailey Williams, Riley Bowman, Sam Fletcher, Corey Ellison, Matthew Cottrell and Zac Foot all polling in multiple games.

Jake Gasper (Oakleigh Chargers)

In the same boat as Wilson and Ham, comes Oakleigh Chargers’ Jake Gasper. Like Dandenong, Oakleigh is hard to predict where votes will go given the high volume of top performances. Jack Ross, Trent Bianco, James Rowbottom, Isaac Quaynor and Noah Anderson are among those who we have predicted will poll solidly.

 

In terms of club leading vote getters of the three remaining clubs, Bendigo’s Noah Wheeler seems the clear choice for the Pioneers and will likely attract votes in the games where Bendigo got close, or won. Eastern Ranges’ bottom-ager Mitch Mellis is one of a number of players who could poll the most from the other bottom two side, while Northern has a number of contenders fighting over votes, but we have thought Josh D’Intinosante might be the top pick of the bunch. Others just outside the top 10 elsewhere are Stingrays duo Williams and Bowman, Murray trio Lachlan Ash, Hudson Garoni and Laitham Vandermeer, and Oakleigh trio Ross, Bianco and Rowbottom.

 

AFL Draft Central Predicted Leaderboard:

Sam Walsh (Geelong) 21 votes
Xavier Duursma (Gippsland) 20
Liam Stocker (Sandringham) 17
Charlie Wilson (GWV) 15
Brayden Ham (Geelong) 14
Xavier O’Halloran (Western) 14
Ely Smith (Murray) 14
Mitch Podhajski (Calder) 13
Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong) 12
Jake Gasper (Oakleigh) 12

Top by club not mentioned above:

Bendigo: Noah Wheeler (8)
Eastern: Mitch Mellis (7)
Northern: Josh D’Intinosante (10)

Votes by Club:

Dandenong Stingrays (75)
Gippsland Power (68)
Oakleigh Chargers (67)
Murray Bushrangers (58)
Sandringham Dragons (52)
Calder Cannons (47)
Geelong Falcons (46)
Western Jets (45)
Northern Knights (41)
GWV Rebels (36)
Eastern Ranges (24)
Bendigo Pioneers (17)

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 10

ROUND 10 saw a couple of upsets, a record low, and some tight contests, making for an entertaining round of TAC Cup football.

 

Oakleigh Chargers 8.10 (58) defeated by Sandringham Dragons 8.13 (61)

Sandringham Dragons have recorded a vital win over Oakleigh with a Finn Maginness goal in the last term sealing the deal for the visitors at Warrawee Park on Saturday morning. Trailing by three points at half-time and five points at the final break, the Dragons booted three of the first four goals of the final term to open up a 10-point lead. A late goal to Matt Rowell saw the Chargers draw within three, but it was not enough.

Harry Houlahan had 21 disposals (13 contested), six clearances and three inside 50s, while key defenders Will Kennedy and Corey Watts were named among the Dragons’ best for their efforts in the defensive half. They combined for 36 disposals and nine marks, while working in tandem with Jackson Voss (18 disposals and four rebounds). Liam Stocker was judged the Dragons best, racking up six clearances and five inside 50s from 20 disposals, while also slotting a goal.

For the Chargers, Jack Ross was the highest disposal winner with 22 touches, as well as four marks, seven clearances and three inside 50s. Trent Bianco was impressive with 19 disposals, three marks and four rebounds, while Rowell finished with 18 touches, seven clearances, three inside 50s and that late goal in the dying minutes. Oliver Simpson returned to the team for 15 disposals and two clearances, while Jake Gasper booted four goals.

 

Western Jets 10.13 (73) defeated Northern Knights 6.8 (44)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

It was a beautiful day for football down at Williamstown as the Western Jets took on the Northern Knights in their return home. From the first bounce both teams went hard, applying intense pressure on either end of the ground. Though the Jets were up by a significant margin in the first, the Knights brought it back to five points by the main break. Though it wasn’t enough to stop the Jets after they took off in the third to hold a comfortable win over the Knights.

The forward pressure from Steven Kyriazis and Josh Klaromenos was immense, kicking three goals apiece. Going hard at the ball, and impacting the contest, Jaden Rice, Jack Watkins and Josh Jenkins forced many turnovers and created repeat inside 50s. Daniel Pantalleresco, Spencer Johnson and Aaron Britten stood out for their team, having a significant impact on the play, with Connor Thar stepping up to captain his side to a victory.

The efforts in the first from Josh D’Intinosante and Justin McInerney out of the backline were immense, later moving up the ground to assist in link up play and earning the hard ball. Patrik Della Rocca worked hard alongside Harrison Grace to apply necessary pressure, and Nathan Howard stepped up to dominate the ruck with his superior leaping ability. Jack Boyd kicked two important goals to keep his team in grasp, but in the end, the whole line-up was unlucky.

 

Eastern Ranges 8.7 (55) defeated by Calder Cannons 11.8 (74)

Calder Cannons have run away with the win against the Eastern Ranges, courtesy of a seven goals to five second half at Box Hill on Saturday. Calder led by seven points at the main break and 13 points at the final change before booting four goals to three in a high-scoring final term to win by 19 points. It gave the Cannons some breathing space inside the top eight.

Daniel Mott was the Cannons’ best, racking up 25 disposals, 11 clearances, three inside 50s and four rebounds, while Will Jury had eight clearances to go with his 23 disposals, five inside 50s and a goal. Tye Browning was busy again with 22 disposals, 12 marks and five inside 50s, while Sam Graham also had 20 touches, two marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds. On debut, Josh Kemp was sensational up forward, clunking eight marks – three of which were contested – as well as four goals from 10 kicks.

Mitch Mellis was the top disposal winner for Eastern, collecting 27 touches, six marks, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while Adrian Kalcovski (26 disposals, three clearances and four inside 50s) and Joel Burleigh (25 disposals, five marks, six clearances and six inside 50s) were also strong through the middle. Ben Cardamone was judged Eastern’s best for his work in defence with 21 disposals, four rebounds and a goal. Kye Quirk (21 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s) and Chayce Black (20 disposals four marks and three inside 50s) were others who stood out.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 15.16 (106) defeated GWV Rebels 7.5 (47)

Dandenong Stingrays dominant start to the season continued on the weekend with another big win, this time over GWV Rebels by 59 points. The game was over at half-time when the Stingrays had piled on 12 goals to three to lead by 59 points. The Rebels made a better fist of it in the second half, booting four goals to three, including the only two goals of the final term to break even in the second half.

Bailey Schmidt and Stephen Cumming did all the damage in the first half, booting four goals apiece and looking like they were going to tear the game to shreds. In typical Stingrays fashion, Ned Cahill was the only player to notch up more than 20 touches, with 22 disposals, three marks, six clearances and five inside 50s. Matthew Cottrell (19 disposals, five clearances and six inside 50s) and Finlay Bayne (18 disposals, two clearances and four inside 50s) were other midfielders who stood out on the day for the winners. Schmidt finished with 32 hitouts and five marks (three contested), while Cumming took six marks (two contested) from 10 disposals and 16 hitouts.

For the Rebels, Charlie Wilson was sensational up forward, slotting four goals from 16 disposals and eight marks (three contested), while Jed Hill looked impressive playing as an inside midfielder for three quarters, racking up 24 disposals (19 contested), nine clearances, four inside 50s and three rebounds. Elliot Lamb was good again with 21 disposals, five inside 50s and five clearances, while Ben Dodd was impressive on debut with 16 disposals, two marks, four clearances and five inside 50s.

 

Gippsland Power 7.8 (50) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 10.10 (70)

Bendigo Pioneers have caused one of the upsets of the season, with the cellar dwellers toppling top four side Gippsland Power at Windy Hill. The Power looked good early, booting five of the first six goals of the game and looking in control. But the Pioneers fought back, booting seven of the next eight goals to storm to a 15-point lead in the final term, Josh Smith kicked truly to cut the deficit to nine points midway through the final term, but AFL Academy member Brodie Kemp put the game to bed with two goals in as many minutes to help Bendigo to a 20-point win.

Noah Wheeler was sensational for the winners, racking up 29 disposals, four marks, nine clearances, two rebounds and booting a goal, while Flynn Perez was impressive on the outside with 21 disposals, eight marks, eight inside 50s and three rebounds. Jeremy Rodi had 23 touches, three marks and two clearances, while Jackson Williams was solid with 19 disposals and five rebounds. Kemp returned to the side with good effect, racking up 17 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s as well as the two crucial goals, while Jacob Atley had 17 touches, two marks and four inside 50s.

For Gippsland, Tyrone Hayes had his best game of his TAC Cup career, with the overager racking up a team-high 28 disposals, six marks, two clearances, four inside 50s and six rebounds. Bailey Beck (24 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s) and Bailey Patterson (24 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s) were good in transition, while Boadie Motton (23 disposals, five marks, four clearances and four rebounds) was good in defence. Riley Baldi and Noah Gown were also strong around the ground.

 

Geelong Falcons 0.10 (10) defeated by Murray Bushrangers 15.17 (107)

Murray Bushrangers have defensively cut the Geelong Falcons to shreds during a 97-point demolition job at Avalon Airport Oval. The Bushrangers remarkably held the Falcons goalless in the game, with the home side booting 10 behinds to the Bushrangers’ 32 scoring shots, which included 15 goals. A six-goal second term was the most prolific for the visitors, but they also finished strongly, capping off the performance with a four-goal final term.

Ely Smith was huge for the Bushrangers in a clear best on ground performance. Smith collected 37 disposals (75 per cent efficiency), seven marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and booted a goal, being one of the key midfielders on the ground. Down forward, Hudson Garoni was a man mountain once again, slotting six goals from 12 marks and a remarkable five contested grabs and 19 disposals. Jye Chalcraft (19 disposals and five clearances) and Dylan Clarke (25 disposals and five inside 50s), Jimmy Boyer (29 disposals and four marks) and Riley Bice (26 disposals and 10 marks) were others who stood out.

For Geelong, Brayden Ham was the best on a disappointing day for the Falcons. Ham collected 25 disposals, six marks, two inside 50s and seven rebounds. Baxter Mensch had another high-disposal game with 26 disposals, six marks, two inside 50s and four rebounds, while Finlay Parish took seven marks (three contested) from 15 disposals.

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 7

IT was a weekend of big goal hauls and impressive close wins, as Dandenong Stingrays moved to outright top spot, and the Western Jets leapt into the top four.

Calder Cannons vs. Northern Knights

Northern Knights continued their good form of late with a strong 21-point away victory over Calder Cannons at RAMS Arena. The Knights burst out of the blocks to kick the only four goals of the first term, before Calder booted the next three to head into the half-time break with just nine points separating the sides. The second half was an even battle, but it was Northern who came away for the better with four goals to two to win and remain inside the top eight.

Braedyn Gillard was strong in the midfield once again with 24 disposals, six marks, four clearances and two goals, while Adam Carafa was strong defensively, laying seven tackles from his 19 disposals and also booting a goal. Others who stood out for the Knights were Sunny Brazier who was a little wayward in front of goal with three behinds, but still collected 23 disposals, four marks and five clearances moving well up the ground, as well as Kye Yodgee (23 disposals, seven clearances) and Lachlan Potter (19 disposals, six rebounds).

For the Cannons, Daniel Hanna showed off his versatility with 22 disposals, nine marks, two rebounds and a goal playing off centre half-back, while Curtis Taylor was named Calder’s best with 19 disposals, three marks, seven clearances and two goals playing an important role through the midfield and up forward. Tye Browning (19 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s) and Mitch Podhajski (18 disposals, nine tackles and a goal) were again among Calder’s top players on the day.

 

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Murray Bushrangers

By: Brandon Hutchinson

The second game in the Triple header, the Stingrays took home the win despite an intense fight back from the Bushrangers. At the main break the Stingrays had 17 scoring shots compared to 5 for the Bushrangers. It was the Stingray’s poor accuracy and their opponent’s perfect scoring efficiency that held the margin at a reasonable 22 points. By the final term, the Bushrangers had kicked 14.3 (87) compared to the Stingray’s 16.13 (109), chalking their win up to greater success in the midfield allowing for more opportunities.

Bailey Williams’ forward presence and pressure, coupled with his work in the ruck and midfield, should highlight the dominance of the Stingrays in both of these areas. Corey Ellison picked up six goals and Jamie Plumridge and Matthew Cottrell (six clearances) dominated the midfield with a fierce attack on the ball.

It was the Bushrangers scoring efficiency that kept them trailing close, and it was the individual work from Hudson Garoni, kicking seven goals, which assisted in this becoming a reality. The ball movement from Laitham Vandermeer broke lines and disrupted the Stingrays’ defence, and the classy work from Kyle Clarke, Nicholas Murray, James Boyer and Jacob Koschitzke contributed immensely to their fight back following the main break.

 

GWV Rebels vs. Gippsland Power

By: Brandon Hutchinson

The final game in RAMS Arena triple header saw the Power coming out 26 points on top over the Rebels. From what was a scrappy affair, much of the game was played in the midfield with either side struggling to break off into transition. The first term concluded with a 4-point margin on the back of too many missed opportunities from Gippsland.  From a goal difference at the main break to 13 points at the third, the Power kept a firm grip on their lead, dominating the game through backline transition.

Despite the Rebel’s efforts, the game was clearly on the Power’s terms from the beginning. The work put in by Kyle Reid (24 disposals, nine marks, seven rebounds) kept scoring off the cards for his opposition. The sleek midfield plays from bottom-agers, Bailey Beck (19 disposals, eight marks) and Boadie Motton (16 disposals, three inside 50s), along with Xavier Duursma (21 disposals, five marks, 12 tackles and two goals) were pivotal in transition. Down forward Sam Flanders and Austin Hodge bagged five goals between them and assisted plenty in converting for others.

For the Rebels, Jed Hill (12 disposals and five inside 50s) provided great link up and pressure on the congested wing, along with Lochie Dawson (31 disposals, four marks, seven tackles and six clearances) who cleaned up plenty of the mess, while Matt Schnerring (23 disposals, four marks and six clearances)and Charlie Wilson (15 disposals, three marks and three goals) put forward good cases fo clubs to keep an eye on them this year.

 

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets

The first game on Sunday saw Western Jets jump into the top four with a strong victory over Oakleigh Chargers at Warrawee Park. The Jets got away early with an inaccurate 3.6 to 1.0 first term before the home side reeled them in with a four goals to three term of their own. Leading by just 10 points at the main break, Western put the result to bed with a five goals to two third quarter and eventually ran out 19-point winners to move into fourth on the table.

Buku Khamis was a sponge off half-back, rebounding everything that came his way with 22 disposals and 12 marks in a best on ground performance. Zak Butters (24 disposals, five clearances, seven inside 50s and five tackles) and captain Xavier O’Halloran (20 disposals, six marks, five tackles, six clearances and seven inside 50s) were once again great through midfield, while Emerson Jeka, Josh Honey and Aaron Clarke got on the scoresheet with two goals each.

Oakleigh had a number of prominent ball winners with Trent Bianco and Noah Answeth again notching up 26 disposals and three clearances each, while Bianco also had seven rebounds and booted two goals. Xavier O’Neill and Riley Collier-Dawkins were again busy through the midfield, while Isaac Quaynor had 13 disposals and six rebounds. 

 

Eastern Ranges vs. Bendigo Pioneers

The previously winless Eastern Ranges finally got to celebrate with a round seven victory over the Bendigo Pioneers at Box Hill yesterday. After an even first term, the Ranges blew the game open with a six goals to two second quarter to lead by 25 points at the main break. Another even quarter saw the game still in the balance at three quarter time before a four goals to two final term resulted in the Ranges running away with the game by 39 points.

Jamieson Rossiter booted six goals from 14 disposals and seven marks to be the dominant key forward on the ground, while Kye Quirk (28 disposals, five clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds) was prominent all over the field. Mitch Mellis was classy on the outside with 22 touches, four clearances and five tackles, while Ben Cardamone (19 disposals, seven rebounds) and Joel Burleigh (18 disposals, 15 clearances) were also impressive in the win.

For the losers, Daniel Keating continued his strong form in the ruck with 22 hitouts from 10 disposals, four marks and four inside 50s, while Zane Keighran (16 diposals, two goals) was prominent in the midfield. Hunter Lawrence also got on the scoresheet with two goals, while Noah Wheeler laid a team-high nine tackles.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Geelong Falcons

The Sandringham Dragons managed to snap their three-game losing streak with a three-goal win over Geelong Falcons at Trevor Barker Beach Oval yesterday. The Dragons found themselves down at quarter time, trailing the Falcons by 23 points, before booting eight of the next 10 goals to run out 18-point victors in what would have been a relief for the players in front of a home crowd after a few tough weeks.

Kai Owens led the way for the Dragons, notching up 27 disposals, nine clearances and nine inside 50s, marking a successful return to the team this week. Harry Bede booted four goals up forward to continue his good form, while Nicholas Stamatis (22 disposals, four marks, five tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds) and Thomas Deane-Jones (23 disposals, six clearances and six inside 50s) were also impressive. St Kilda father-son prospect Tyson Milne laid a team-high 10 tackles on debut, just ahead of Ryan Byrnes (nine).

For the Falcons, Baxter Mensch had the ball on a string once again with 32 disposals, eight clearances, six tackles and four inside 50s, while Sam Torpy had his best game of the season with 25 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three rebounds and a goal. Captain Oscar Brownless stood up in the absence of co-captain Sam Walsh‘s absence, notching up 20 disposals, six clearances and laying a game-high 12 tackles, while Blake Schlensog was the only multiple goal kicker with two majors.

Early look: Country sides’ top ball winners

AFTER taking a look at the top performers across each statistical category from the Metro sides, AFL Draft Central now turns its attention to the six country teams. The clear number on ball winner is Gippsland over-ager Matthew McGannon, who has collected a competition-high 84 disposals in three rounds. He leads GWV Rebels pair Lochie Dawson and Scott Carlin as the three country players above 70 disposals.

McGannon also leads all-comers in the marks, taking 30 grabs, 10 clear of teammate Kyle Reid and Dandenong Stingrays overager Angus Patterson with 20. In the tackle stat, Oscar Brownless is the clear leader with 24 tackles – an average of eight per game – five clear of Gippsland’s Bailey Beck. Remarkably, Brownless’ teammate Ed McHenry is the equal leader in the clearances with 19 so far this season despite playing just two gams. McHenry is equal with Gippsland’s Riley Baldi in the statistical area.

Bendigo forward Will Holt‘s hauls of five and three goals in rounds one and three has him equal competition leader in the goal kicking stakes. He is one ahead of Dandenong pocket rocket Jai Nanscawen, whose six goals against Gippsland in round two was the second most of any player for the season.

Murray’s Kyle Clarke has the most effective kick of any country player with 25 or more kicks so far this season, running at 79.5 per cent efficiency, about three per cent ahead of Gippsland’s Ryan Sparkes. GWV Rebels’ Jacob Lohmann is the most contested player so far with 40 or more disposals, notching up 59 per cent of his possessions in a contest. He comes in just ahead of Bendigo’s Zane Keighran and McHenry.

Other players who have managed to make it onto multiple statistical categories include Dandenong captain Campbell Hustwaite, Murray defender Lachlan Ash and overager Laitham Vandermeer, and GWV Rebels’ mid/forward Charlie Wilson.

Disposals:

1 Matthew McGannon (Gippsland) 84
2 Lochie Dawson (GWV) 78
3 Scott Carlin (GWV) 71
4 Zane Keighran (Bendigo) 69
5 Bailey Henderson (Bendigo) 68
5 Lachlan Ash (Murray) 68
7 Xavier Duursma (Gippsland) 65
8 Austin Hodge (Gippsland) 63
8 Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong) 63
8 Caleb Serong (Gippsland) 63

Marks:

1 Matthew McGannon (Gippsland) 30
2 Kyle Reid (Gippsland) 20
2 Angus Patterson (Dandenong) 20
4 Lachlan Ash (Murray) 18
4 Brayden Ham (Geelong) 18
6 Sam Flanders (Gippsland) 17
6 Nick Murray (Murray) 17
8 Laitham Vandermeer (Murray) 16
8 Ryan Sparkes (Gippsland) 16
10 Alex Smith-Ralph (Bendigo) 15

Tackles:

1 Oscar Brownless (Geelong) 24
2 Bailey Beck (Gippsland) 19
3 Jye Chalcraft (Murray) 18
4 Charlie Wilson (GWV) 17
4 Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong) 17
6 Brayden Ham (Geelong) 16
7 Irving Mosquito (Gippsland) 15
7 Josh Chatfield (GWV) 15
7 Toby Bedford (Dandenong) 15
10 Hunter Lawrence (Bendigo) 14
10 Austin Hodge (Gippsland) 14

Clearances:

1 Riley Baldi (Gippsland) 19
1 Ed McHenry (Geelong) 19
3 Lochie Dawson (GWV) 18
4 Campbell Hustwaite (Dandenong) 14
5 Austin Hodge (Gippsland) 12
5 Scott Carlin (GWV) 12
7 Noah Wheeler (Bendigo) 11
8 Ely Smith (Murray) 10
8 Zane Keighran (Bendigo) 10

Goals:

1 Will Holt (Bendigo) 8
2 Jai Nanscawen (Dandenong) 7
3 Sam Flanders (Gippsland) 6
3 Patrick Warner (Murray) 6
3 Josh Smith (Gippsland) 6
6 Irving Mosquito (Gippsland) 5
6 Bailey Frauenfelder (Murray) 5
6 Jed Hill (GWV) 5

Kicking Efficiency (at least 25 kicks):

1 Kyle Clarke (Murray) 79.5%
2 Ryan Sparkes (Gippsland) 76.9%
3 Matthew McGannon (Gippsland) 75.4%
4 Sam Torpy (Geelong) 75%
5 Laitham Vandermeer (Murray) 73.5%
6 Hunter Lawrence (Bendigo) 71.4%
7 Lachlan Ash (Murray) 70.5%
8 Charlie Wilson (GWV) 70%
9 Jai Taylor (Dandenong) 69.2%
10 Bailey Beck (Goppsland) 69%

Contested Percentage (at least 40 disposals):

1 Jacob Lohmann (GWV) 59%
2 Zane Keighran (Bendigo) 57.6%
3 Ed McHenry (Geelong) 56.6%
4 Hayden Young (Dandenong) 54.5%
5 Irving Mosquito (Gippsland) 52.3%
6 Noah Wheeler (Bendigo) 52.1%
7 Matthew Cottrell (Dandenong) 50%
8 Austin Hodge (Gippsland) 49.2%
9 Lachlan McDonnell (Dandenong) 49.1%
10 Baxter Mensch (Geelong) 48.9%