Tag: matthew cumming

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

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Round 14

WITH three rounds left, and just one round with teams depleted due to school football, the race for top four is heating up with some interesting clashes this weekend, and plenty of changes at the selection table.

EASTERN RANGES v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 14 – Saturday, August 4, 10.45am
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

In the first game of the round, Sandringham Dragons travel to Box Hill for a must-win game for their top four hopes and a week off before finals. The Dragons have only made two confirmed changes with star midfielder, Liam Stocker out of the side, as is Jackson Hannah. Kai Owens, Harry Houlahan and Charlie Dean are among five inclusions named in an extended team. Eastern has made a lot more changes with Jarrod Gilbee, Lachlan Stapleton and Cooper Leon among nine confirmed outs, while the likes of Harvey Chinn, Brent Bredin and Jordan Jaworski return to the side for the game.

Eastern Ranges

B: 1. B. Bredin, 47. T. Hallett-Tauali’i, 37. J. Weichard
HB: 8. J. Burleigh, 31. J. Blanck, 24. K. Quirk
C: 54. J.  Sullivan, 23. X.  Fry, 46. B.  White
HF: 2. A. Kalcovski, 45. M. Zalac, 40. D. Brereton
F: 10. C. Black, 18. B. McCormack, 9. J. Duffy
R: 58. R. Smith, 19. J. Kritopoulos, 11. M. Mellis
Int: 3. H. Chinn, 4. R. Clausen, 53. J. Drake, 27. J. Jaworski, 59. J. Nathan, 26. C. Norris, 33. B. Tahlambouris
23P: 55. B. Willis

In: J. Sullivan, H. Chinn, B. Willis, J. Drake, R. Clausen, B. Tahlambouris, J. Duffy, J. Weichard, J. Jaworski, J. Kritopoulos, B. Bredin
Out: L. Vassis,  F. Smith,  R. Einsporn,  C. Leon,  L. Stapleton,  T. Edwards,  M. Briggs,  J. Gilbee,  Z. Pretty

Sandringham Dragons

B: 14. R. O’Meara, 69. C. Watts, 16. J. Paul
HB: 55. J. Cowden, 52. C. Dean, 50. T. Deane-Johns
C: 36. M.  Bergman, 66. R.  Byrnes, 25. O.  McMaster
HF: 3. T. Fogarty, 10. S. Sofronidis, 11. N. Stamatis
F: 1. T. Long, 28. J. Rendell, 58. K. Yorke
R: 59. A. Courtney, 6. H. Houlahan, 8. K. Owens
Int: 67. J. Brazionis, 13. T. Brimble, 24. H. Ferdinand, 39. J. Florent, 65. L. Lamble, 22. C. Millar, 40. M. Scott
23P: 35. G. Grey

In: L. Lamble, M. Scott, K. Owens, C. Dean, H. Houlahan
Out: J. Hannah, L. Stocker

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 14 – Saturday, August 4, 2pm
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

In a clash with serious top four ramifications, Oakleigh Chargers host Gippsland Power at Warrawee Park. With school football having its final round, the likes of Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson are among six changes out of the side, while Trent Bianco and Matt Warren return with nine inclusions in an extended side. Gippsland on the other hand, have made just the two confirmed changes, with Harold Hood and Tyrone Hayes out of the side, while Riley Baldi and Harrison Pepper are among five inclusions to the Power side which can lock up a top four spot with a win here.

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 24. S. Harte, 66. N. Dempsey, 16. L. Westwood
HB: 17. T. Bianco, 76. H. Leonard, 27. J. May
C: 20. F.  Elliot, 23. I.  Quaynor, 35. X.  Fry
HF: 26. J. Gasper, 33. M. Warren, 5. X. O’Neill
F: 13. A. Bosenavulagi, 22. D. Williams, 25. D. Scala
R: 65. L. Harry, 1. R. Collier-Dawkins, 12. N. Answerth
Int: 48. M. Bowman, 2. L. Bugeja, 39. S. Fernandez, 56. M. Fewings, 71. T. Hogan, 55. J. Sticca, 42. K. Viccars
23P: 21. H. Shugg

In: L. Westwood, H. Shugg, M. Fewings, S. Fernandez, T. Hogan, T. Bianco, M. Warren, M. Bowman, J. Sticca
Out: T. Graham,  J. Robertson,  N. Anderson,  B. Jepson,  M. Day,  M. Rowell

Gippsland Power

B: 4. S. Flanders, 14. T. Hourigan, 12. B. Smith
HB: 8. B. Beck, 25. K. Reid, 7. B. Patterson
C: 18. M.  McGannon, 35. J.  van der Pligt, 29. B.  Motton
HF: 36. M. Bentvelzen , 16. J. Smith, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 11. A. Hodge, 23. N. Gown, 9. I. Mosquito
R: 22. R. Henkel, 6. R. Baldi, 5. X. Duursma
Int: 10. L. Connolly, 37. H. Pepper, 19. F. Phillips, 43. Z. Skinner, 15. R. Sparkes, 33. B. Thorson, 32. L. Williams
23P: 34. J. Hume

In: H. Pepper, F. Phillips, R. Baldi, Z. Skinner, L. Connolly
Out: H. Hood, T. Hayes

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 14 – Saturday, August 4, 2pm
Preston City Oval, Preston

In the other Saturday game, it is Northern Knights’ turn to face the juggernaut that is the Dandenong Stingrays. The Stingrays have secured a top two place and need one more win to lock up the minor premiership. In this game, they have recalled Corey Ellison, Matthew Cumming and Jeremy Burton among six inclusions to an extended bench, while Angus Paterson, Lachlan Stenning and Jaxon Stuart are the three confirmed outs. For the home side, some young talent comes into the side including Under 16s Vic Metro captain Ewen Macpherson, as well as top-age prospects Tom Hallebone and Justin McInerney, and bottom-age talents Nathan Howard and Adam Carafa. Oscar White, Tom McKenzie and Josh D’Intinosante are among some big losses for the Knights from this game.

Northern Knights

B: 1. R. Gardner, 33. J. Randall, 11. R. Sturgess
HB: 5. L. Potter, 9. C. Simonsen, 28. S. Uzelac
C: 25. J.  Davies, 13. S.  Philp, 30. J.  McInerney
HF: 22. M. Wild, 12. J. Naylor, 44. C. Wild
F: 24. R. Bowkett, 51. J. Collins, 18. S. Brazier
R: 16. T. Hallebone, 8. A. Carafa, 7. H. Grace
Int: 35. K. Agosta, 31. N. Barro, 10. B. Bell, 58. N. Cox, 19. N. Howard, TBC E. Macpherson, 36. K. Yodgee
23P: 60. B. Major

In: K. Yodgee, A. Carafa, K. Agosta, N. Cox, E. Macpherson, T. Hallebone, B. Major, N. Howard, J. McInerney
Out: T. McKenzie,  J. Lucente,  O. White,  I. Rossi,  J. Trudgeon,  J. D’Intinosante

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 32. D. Frampton, 56. M. Cumming, 12. M. Gahan
HB: 58. W. Hamill, 36. S. Cumming, 10. L. Young
C: 27. L.  McDonnell, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 3. J.  Plumridge
HF: 9. Z. Foot, 29. B. Williams, 7. J. Taylor
F: 17. F. Bayne, 13. R. Bowman, 52. C. Ellison
R: 28. B. Schmidt, 1. S. Fletcher, 2. H. Young
Int: 6. J. Barker, 49. M. Cottrell, 16. J. Frawley, 57. R. Nanscawen, 8. J. Smith, 61. S. Sturt, 50. L. Williams
23P: 19. J. Burton

In: J. Smith, S. Sturt, J. Burton, C. Ellison, M. Cumming, L. Williams
Out: A. Paterson, L. Stenning, J. Stuart

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 14 – Sunday, August 5, 12pm
Albury Sports Ground, Albury

In the annual Albury game, Murray Bushrangers host the Calder Cannons with both sides making a handful of changes. Talls, Jordon Butts and Floyd Bollinghaus are among the outs, while Noah Amery and Ben Kelly return to the side. For Calder, Shane Skidmore, Jake Riccardi and bottom-age Western Bulldogs father-son prospect Oliver Liberatore are all into the side, while Nathan Croft, Ned Gentile and Anthony Righele are among the outs for the match.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 34. T. Boyd, 59. L. Fiore, 19. J. Boyer
HB: 12. L. Ash, 8. J. Koschitzke, 16. N. Murray
C: 13. B.  Frauenfelder, 5. E.  Smith, 53. C.  Wilson
HF: 26. R. Bice, 18. H. Garoni, 6. W. Chandler
F: 14. J. Chalcraft, 7. Z. Barzen, 9. M. Walker
R: 23. M. Marriott, 38. D. Clarke, 28. K. Clarke
Int: 17. N. Amery, 3. B. Kelly, 55. R. Paradzayi, 42. J. Smart
23P: 31. W. Mack

In: N. Amery, B. Kelly, J. Smart, W. Mack
Out: F. Bollinghaus,  T. Matthes,  J. Butts,  P. Warner

Calder Cannons

B: 9. C. Barton, 38. B. Newman, 43. L. Cavallaro
HB: 48. S. Ramsay, 23. D. Hanna, 8. L. Sholl
C: 27. T.  Browning, 51. W.  Jury, 3. I.  Moussa
HF: 7. S. Skidmore, 12. J. O’Sullivan, 14. J. Taylor
F: 19. B. Rigoni, 29. J. Riccardi, 5. C. Taylor
R: 59. J. Middleton, 1. D. Mott, 30. M. Podhajski
Int: 15. O. Liberatore, 36. P. Mahoney, 52. B. Reddick, 32. M. Simpson
Emg: 53. M. Abou-Eid, 46. S. Callander, 39. L. Sultana
23P: 18. S. Shorten

In: S. Skidmore, P. Mahoney, J. Taylor, O. Liberatore, J. Riccardi
Out: N. Gentile, A. Righele, D. Torcia, N. Croft

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 14 – Sunday, August 5, 1pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

Further south west in Bendigo, the Pioneers host the Geelong Falcons, with the home side making at least five changes to the side. The Perez brothers are out of the side for the game, while Bailey Henderson and Braydon Vaz are among eight inclusions to an extended team. They will hopefully provide some added spark and composure against the Falcons. For Geelong, Logan Taylor and Ben Miller are out of the Round 14 side, while Bailey Scott and Lachlan Peck (23rd player) are two of four players added to the side.

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 41. B. Vaz, 32. W. Wallace, 2. J. Williams
HB: 16. J. Atley, 24. N. McHugh, 5. N. Wheeler
C: 17. R.  Ironside, 43. H.  Lawrence, 51. B.  Waasdorp
HF: 26. C. O’Shea, 52. A. Mertz, 20. J. Schischka
F: 15. L. Caccaviello, 22. M. Johnson, 3. L. Marciano
R: 54. M. Christensen, 33. J. McHale, 39. D. Clohesy
Int: 53. W. Allen, 30. L. Davis, 36. A. Gundry, 18. B. Henderson, 27. M. Lias, 21. D. Loveridge, 37. C. McCarty
23P: 47. S. Conforti

In: D. Loveridge, A. Mertz, L. Davis, B. Henderson, B. Vaz, S. Conforti, A. Gundry, M. Johnson
Out: L. Tenace,  N. Kay,  R. Clarke,  F. Perez,  O. Perez

Geelong Falcons

B: 3. K. Rayner, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 42. H. Spiller
HB: 20. B. Ham, 31. C. Cartledge, 21. L. Smith
C: 7. C.  Harris, 22. S.  Walsh, 6. D.  Madigan
HF: 1. J. Dahlhaus, 39. C. Idun, 16. B. Scott
F: 2. S. Torpy, 48. B. Schlensog, 13. H. Whyte
R: 44. S. Conway, 30. O. Brownless, 41. C. Stephens
Int: 40. J. Clark, 24. D. Fenton, 10. B. Mensch, 9. B. Morton
23P: 47. L. Peck

In: D. Fenton, L. Peck, B. Scott, H. Whyte
Out: B. Miller, L. Taylor

 

WESTERN JETS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 14 – Sunday, August 5, 2pm
Williamstown Football Ground, Williamstown

In the final game of the round, the Western Jets host the GWV Rebels at Williamstown. Both teams have made minimal changes, with Noah Shaw and Aaron Britten the two confirmed outs for the Rebels. Meanwhile, Josh Kellett, Oskar Manton and Jack Papachatzakis are three of five inclusions to the Jets team. The Rebels have also only made a few changes with Isaac Thomas and Toby Mahony among the outs while Angus Gove, Mathew Clarke and Ben Annett back into the side on an extended bench.

Western Jets

B: 15. M. Hearne, 37. H. Murphy, 22. O. Manton
HB: 25. S. Johnson, 38. B. Khamis, 39. S. Radovanovic
C: 17. D.  Andrews , 7. J.  Watkins, 24. J.  Honey
HF: 20. D. Cassar, 31. E. Jeka, 2. T. Rudic
F: 49. D. Pantalleresco, 45. A. Clarke, 26. W. Smyth
R: 47. D. Walters, 12. C. Thar, 33. X. O’Halloran
Int: 18. B. Colley, 1. J. Hazik, 27. J. Klaromenos, 10. S. Kyriazis, 28. J. Papachatzakis, 6. L. Rocci, 41. L. Rzanovski
23P: 8. J. Kellett

In: J. Papachatzakis, O. Manton, J. Klaromenos, J. Kellett, W. Smyth
Out: N. Shaw,  A. Britten

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 48. J. Cleaver, 43. J. Wright, 10. J. Lohmann
HB: 3. S. Carlin, 18. B. Helyar, 5. H. Jennings
C: 24. M.  Lloyd, 27. E.  Lamb, 30. I.  Wareham
HF: 21. I. Grant, 11. J. Chatfield, 6. C. Wilson
F: 14. J. Hill, 7. M. Martin, 2. M. Schnerring
R: 29. P. Glanford, 16. E. Harvey, 1. C. Craig-Peters
Int: 4. B. Annett, 23. M. Clarke, 9. L. Dawson, 12. A. Gove, 44. R. Polkinghorne, 25. T. Shannon, 20. T. Watts
23P: 26. R. Ranieri

In: T. Shannon, J. Wright, R. Ranieri, A. Gove, M. Clarke, B. Annett
Out: E. Ajang, I. Thomas, T. Mahony

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Round 13

ALL twelve teams return to TAC Cup action this round after a split round 12 saw teams divided up over two weekends.

EASTERN RANGES v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 12pm
Box Hill City Oval, Box Hill

In the first game of the round, the Eastern Ranges host Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels with both sides having named extended benches. Mihaele Zalac, Thomas Lockman, Xavier Fry and Harvey Chinn are among eight inclusions, while ruck Steven Kapahnke, Chayce Black and Lachlan Kruger are named among the five omissions. GWV have made just two confirmed changes with Connor Giddings and Ben Dodd out, while five players have come in, including forwards Tylar Watts and Josh Chatfield to provide height up front.

Eastern Ranges

B: 38. M. Briggs, 47. T. Hallett-Tauali’i, 20. B. Cardamone
HB: 23. X. Fry, 31. J. Blanck, 57. C. Leon
C: 8. J.  Burleigh, 7. L.  Stapleton, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 25. L. Vassis, 45. M. Zalac, 46. B. White
F: 59. J. Nathan, 18. B. McCormack, 32. F. Smith
R: 58. R. Smith, 24. K. Quirk, 26. C. Norris
Int: 3. H. Chinn, 30. T. Edwards, 5. R. Einsporn, 12. J. Gilbee, 2. A. Kalcovski, 42. T. Lockman, 22. C. Quirk
23P: 64. Z. Pretty

In: M. Zalac, J. Nathan, H. Chinn, F. Smith, C. Leon, T. Lockman, X. Fry, Z. Pretty
Out: C. Tilyard,  L. Munro,  S. Kapahnke,  L. Kruger,  C. Black

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 10. J. Lohmann, 48. J. Cleaver, 44. R. Polkinghorne
HB: 3. S. Carlin, 18. B. Helyar, 24. M. Lloyd
C: 5. H.  Jennings, 27. E.  Lamb, 30. I.  Wareham
HF: 21. I. Grant, 11. J. Chatfield, 6. C. Wilson
F: 14. J. Hill, 20. T. Watts, 2. M. Schnerring
R: 29. P. Glanford, 9. L. Dawson, 1. C. Craig-Peters
Int: 4. B. Annett, 12. A. Gove, 16. E. Harvey, 47. T. Mahony, 7. M. Martin, 26. R. Ranieri, 40. I. Thomas
23P: 42. E. Ajang

In: T. Watts, J. Chatfield, R. Ranieri, A. Gove, B. Annett
Out: C. Giddings, B. Dodd

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 1pm
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

Up the highway, Murray Bushrangers take on Western Jets in the match of the day. The Bushrangers have brought in creative forward, Mathew Walker, as well as midfielder, Dylan Clarke, but Jake Bradshaw and James Butts are among four outs in the team. For the Jets, Jaden Rice and Malwal Maguang are the only two confirmed outs, while David Pantalleresco and Tristan Rudic are two of five ins to an extended bench.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 34. T. Boyd, 59. L. Fiore, 19. J. Boyer
HB: 12. L. Ash, 8. J. Koschitzke, 16. N. Murray
C: 26. R.  Bice, 5. E.  Smith, 13. B.  Frauenfelder
HF: 2. J. Butts, 18. H. Garoni, 10. P. Warner
F: 14. J. Chalcraft, 7. Z. Barzen, 9. M. Walker
R: 35. F. Bollinghaus, 28. K. Clarke, 38. D. Clarke
Int: 6. W. Chandler, 23. M. Marriott, 55. R. Paradzayi, 53. C. Wilson
23P: 51. T. Matthes

In: R. Paradzayi, T. Matthes, M. Walker, D. Clarke
Out: J. Butts,  J. Bradshaw,  L. Whyte,  J. Sanford

Western Jets

B: 48. A. Britten, 37. H. Murphy, 15. M. Hearne
HB: 25. S. Johnson, 38. B. Khamis, 39. S. Radovanovic
C: 17. D.  Andrews , 7. J.  Watkins, 24. J.  Honey
HF: 20. D. Cassar, 31. E. Jeka, 2. T. Rudic
F: 1. J. Hazik, 45. A. Clarke, 49. D. Pantalleresco
R: 47. D. Walters, 12. C. Thar, 33. X. O’Halloran
Int: 18. B. Colley, 8. J. Kellett, 10. S. Kyriazis, 22. O. Manton, 6. L. Rocci, 41. L. Rzanovski, 26. W. Smyth
23P: 44. N. Shaw

In: B. Colley, N. Shaw, D. Pantalleresco, T. Rudic, W. Smyth
Out: M. Maguang, J. Rice

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 13 – Saturday, July 28, 2pm
Preston City Oval, Preston

Both Northern Knights and Gippsland Power have welcomed back some important players for their clash at Preston City Oval. The Knights have lost a number of players to school football, with the outs made up of Vic Metro ruck Tom Hallebone, as well as Justin McInerney, Patrik Della Rocca, Adam Carafa and Kye Yodgee. Ryan Sturgess, Harrison Grace, Ryan Gardner and Joel Naylor are among eight inclusions on an extended bench. For the Power, ruck Ryan Henkel comes into the team, as does Tyrone Hayes, while Marcus Toussaint is the only confirmed out at this stage.

Northern Knights

B: 11. R. Sturgess, 33. J. Randall, 22. M. Wild
HB: 4. T. McKenzie, 28. S. Uzelac, 5. L. Potter
C: 25. J.  Davies, 10. B.  Bell, 1. R.  Gardner
HF: 7. H. Grace, 18. S. Brazier, 40. N. Mayne
F: 24. R. Bowkett, 9. C. Simonsen, 27. J. Lucente
R: 19. N. Howard, 13. S. Philp, 17. J. D’Intinosante
Int: 35. K. Agosta, 37. K. Brandt, 51. J. Collins, 12. J. Naylor, 32. I. Rossi, 15. O. White, 44. C. Wild
23P: 52. J. Trudgeon

In: R. Sturgess, H. Grace, R. Gardner, N. Mayne, K. Agosta, J. Collins, J. Naylor, K. Brandt
Out: K. Yodgee,  T. Hallebone,  P. Della Rocca,  J. McInerney,  A. Carafa

Gippsland Power

B: 7. B. Patterson, 25. K. Reid, 15. R. Sparkes
HB: 1. T. Hayes, 14. T. Hourigan, 12. B. Smith
C: 18. M.  McGannon, 28. H.  Hood, 29. B.  Motton
HF: 36. M. Bentvelzen , 33. B. Thorson, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 8. B. Beck, 23. N. Gown, 9. I. Mosquito
R: 16. J. Smith, 11. A. Hodge, 5. X. Duursma
Int: 4. S. Flanders, 22. R. Henkel, 40. Z. Hurley, 19. F. Phillips, 35. J. van der Pligt, 32. L. Williams, 45. A. Young
23P: 34. J. Hume

In: R. Henkel, T. Hayes, F. Phillips, J. Hume
Out: M. Toussaint

 

CALDER CANNONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 11.30am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Moving onto the Sunday games, both Calder Cannons and Dandenong Stingrays have named extended benches for their clash. Calder has brought in AFL Academy member, Curtis Taylor and the likes of Ben Rigoni, Anthony Righele and Mohammed Abou-Eid among 12 inclusions. Fellow AFL Academy member Jack Bytel is out with injury, with forward Josh Kemp, Sam Graham and Harrison Minton-Connell among nine outs. For the ladder-leading Stingrays, Bailey Schmidt and Daniel Frampton replace Matthew Cumming and Corey Ellison up either end in the side, while Finlay Bayne and Hayden Young are big inclusions for the visitors.

Calder Cannons

B: 9. C. Barton, 38. B. Newman, 43. L. Cavallaro
HB: 48. S. Ramsay, 23. D. Hanna, 8. L. Sholl
C: 27. T.  Browning, 30. M.  Podhajski, 3. I.  Moussa
HF: 44. N. Gentile, 12. J. O’Sullivan, 19. B. Rigoni
F: 42. N. Croft, 5. C. Taylor, 32. M. Simpson
R: 59. J. Middleton, 1. D. Mott, 53. M. Abou-Eid
Int: 51. W. Jury, 52. B. Reddick, 29. J. Riccardi, 55. A. Righele, 39. L. Sultana, 37. D. Torcia, 13. N. Walsh
23P: 18. S. Shorten

In: M. Simpson, D. Torcia, J. Middleton, B. Reddick, S. Shorten, M. Abou-Eid, N. Walsh, N. Gentile, L. Sultana, C. Taylor, B. Rigoni, A. Righele
Out: P. Mahoney,  J. Taylor,  H. Jones,  H. Minton-Connell,  L. Johnson,  J. Bytel,  J. Martin,  J. Kemp,  S. Graham

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 12. M. Gahan, 32. D. Frampton, 41. L. Stenning
HB: 2. H. Young, 5. A. Paterson, 10. L. Young
C: 9. Z.  Foot, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 7. J.  Taylor
HF: 49. M. Cottrell, 29. B. Williams, 3. J. Plumridge
F: 17. F. Bayne, 28. B. Schmidt, 16. J. Frawley
R: 13. R. Bowman, 1. S. Fletcher, 58. W. Hamill
Int: 6. J. Barker, 36. S. Cumming, 45. L. Goonan, 27. L. McDonnell, 57. R. Nanscawen, 25. J. Triep
23P: 48. J. Stuart

In: L. Goonan, B. Schmidt, H. Young, D. Frampton, L. Young, J. Stuart, F. Bayne
Out: E. Cahill, B. Angwin, M. Cumming, L. Williams, C. Ellison

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 1pm
Central Reserve, Colac

Geelong Falcons return to Colac this weekend and are hosting Oakleigh Chargers, with both sides taking a very different approach to team selection. AFL Academy member, Ed McHenry is the only out for the Falcons, while Jack Grigsby and Keidan Rayner are the two confirmed ins. Oakleigh have unsurprisingly been hit hard by the return of school football with Vic Metro players James Rowbottom, Will Kelly and Joe Ayton-Delaney among a whopping 11 confirmed outs. There is some good news for the Chargers, with AFL Academy defender, Isaac Quaynor returning to the team and has been named on a wing. The likes of Bailey Wraith and Daniel Scala are also among the 14 inclusions.

Geelong Falcons

B: 31. C. Cartledge, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 21. L. Smith
HB: 40. J. Clark, 39. C. Idun, 20. B. Ham
C: 7. C.  Harris, 6. D.  Madigan, 2. S.  Torpy
HF: 10. B. Mensch, 42. H. Spiller, 22. S. Walsh
F: 1. J. Dahlhaus, 48. B. Schlensog, 13. H. Whyte
R: 44. S. Conway, 30. O. Brownless, 41. C. Stephens
Int: 9. B. Morton, 32. F. Parish, 3. K. Rayner, 25. L. Taylor
23P: 29. B. Miller

In: J. Grigsby, K. Rayner
Out: E. McHenry

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 56. M. Fewings, 30. B. Wraith, 76. H. Leonard
HB: 35. X. Fry, 80. T. Graham, 27. J. May
C: 23. I.  Quaynor, 1. R.  Collier-Dawkins, 11. M.  Rowell
HF: 13. A. Bosenavulagi, 7. J. Robertson, 26. J. Gasper
F: 8. N. Anderson, 22. D. Williams, 6 . M. Day
R: 65. L. Harry, 5. X. O’Neill, 12. N. Answerth
Int: 43. P. Bohan, 2. L. Bugeja, 66. N. Dempsey, 20. F. Elliot, 25. D. Scala, 28. O. Simpson, 42. K. Viccars
23P: 40. B. Jepson

In: T. Graham, N. Dempsey, L. Harry, I. Quaynor, P. Bohan, B. Wraith, M. Day, M. Fewings, D. Scala, B. Jepson, H. Leonard, J. May, K. Viccars, F. Elliot
Out: J. Rowbottom, N. Bryan, K. Dunkley, W. Golds, T. Bianco, W. Kelly, C. Whitehead, J. Ross, H. Mastras, C. Beasley, J. Ayton-Delaney

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 13 – Sunday, July 29, 2.30pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons have just made the casual 17 changes for the Dragons’ clash with Bendigo Pioneers. A massive 20 players have been included in a side which is almost a completely different side to the one that fronted up against Geelong Falcons in Round 12. With school football returning, the likes of Alastair Richards, Angus Hanrahan, Will Kennedy, Joe Griffiths, Harry Houlahan and Anthony Seaton will be missing from the side. In their place, George Grey, Ryan O’Meara, Andrew Courtney, Jai Florent, Tyson Milne and Corey Watts are among the long list of inclusions. For the Pioneers, James Schischka headlines five inclusions, while Braydon Vaz and Jeremy Rodi are among four confirmed outs for the Pioneers.

Sandringham Dragons

B: 14. R. O’Meara, 56. J. Hannah, 16. J. Paul
HB: 55. J. Cowden, 22. C. Millar, 69. C. Watts
C: 50. T.  Deane-Johns, 10. S. Sofronidis, 25. O. McMaster
HF: 3. T. Fogarty, 58. K. Yorke, 11. N. Stamatis
F: 39. J. Florent, 28. J. Rendell, 1. T. Long
R: 59. A. Courtney, 7. L. Stocker, 13. T. Brimble
Int: 36. M. Bergman, 67. J. Brazionis, 66. R. Byrnes, 24. H. Ferdinand, 47. T. Milne, 42. T. Murray, 40. M. Scott
23P: 35. G. Grey

In: M. Scott, T. Long, J. Cowden, H. Ferdinand, G. Grey, J. Paul, R. O’Meara, C. Millar, J. Hannah, A. Courtney, J. Florent, T. Milne, T. Deane-Johns, O. McMaster, M. Bergman, T. Murray, J. Brazionis, K. Yorke, C. Watts, T. Fogarty
Out: H. Ralphsmith,  F. McAsey,  J. Griffiths,  J. Mahony,  W. Kennedy,  L. Witts,  J. Bell,  A. Seaton,  A. Richards,  J. Denborough,  S. Forbes,  N. Burke,  J. Worrell,  C. Dean,  H. Houlahan,  A. Hanrahan,  J. Le Grice 

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 26. C. O’Shea, 24. N. McHugh, 2. J. Williams
HB: 16. J. Atley, 32. W. Wallace, 20. J. Schischka
C: 3. L.  Marciano, 43. H.  Lawrence, 51. B.  Waasdorp
HF: 17. R. Ironside, 46. L. Tenace, 49. O. Perez
F: 15. L. Caccaviello, 34. R. Clarke, 27. M. Lias
R: 54. M. Christensen, 5. N. Wheeler, 25. F. Perez
Int: 53. W. Allen, 39. D. Clohesy, 37. C. McCarty, 33. J. McHale, 28. C. Vick
23P: 50. N. Kay

In: D. Clohesy, C. McCarty, N. Kay, W. Wallace, J. Schischka
Out: E. Roberts, K. Brown, J. Rodi, B. Vaz

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 11

DANDENONG Stingrays’ big win over Geelong Falcons has seen them record a massive four players in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 11. The Stingrays were the only side to record more than two players, with the other winners, as well as Murray Bushrangers and Northern Knights recording two nominees, while the four remaining losers had the sole nomination each.

Dandenong’s key position players Riley Bowman and Matthew Cumming have made the team with Bowman named in the ruck and Cumming named at centre half-back. Sam Fletcher and Toby Bedford also made the team after some strong performances in the impressive victory. Geelong’s only nomination was Dane Hollenkamp who returned to the team and was named the Falcons best, and slots into the full-back position.

Also named in defence is bottom-ager from Murray Bushrangers, Lachlan Ash, named in the team once again along with onballer, Ely SmithElliot Lamb is at half-back and makes the team once again, as does regular forward, Charlie Wilson. Also in attack are a couple of Northern Knights in Sunny Brazier and Josh D’Intinosante who both hit the scoreboard again.

Harry Houlahan slots into our Team of the Week at half-forward, with the Sandringham Dragons midfielder joined in the side by Jack Denborough who was classy around the goals. On the other flank is Jack Ross who was named Oakleigh’s best, in the side along with fellow Chargers midfielder, and bottom-ager Trent Bianco. Calder Cannons’ Daniel Mott makes the team in consecutive weeks, joined in the 22 by forward Jack Riccardi.

The other team with two nominees is the Gippsland Power, with bottom-age midfielder Caleb Serong starring in the Power’s win, while debutant Harold Hood was so impressive he also squeezes into our Team of the Week. The remaining players of sole nominees are Hunter Lawrence (Bendigo Pioneers), Xavier Fry (Eastern Ranges) and Jack Watkins(Western Jets) who all slotted in the side.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 11

WITH the Under 18 National Championships done and dusted, some important fixtures in the back end of the TAC Cup season will come to the fore as the race to the finals heats up. Over the coming weeks, a number of Vic Country, Vic Metro and Allies representatives will slot back into their respective sides as they near full strength once again.

CALDER CANNONS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 10:45am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The first game of the round pits Calder, looking to hold on to its spot in the top eight, against Western Jets, hoping to maintain its position in the top four. Both sides came into the year with a good raft of top end talent to propel their respective teams into finals contention. Having done so, they will each welcome back a Vic Metro representative in the form of Calder’s Lachlan Sholl, and Western’s skipper Stefan Radovanovic with the National Championships wrapped up. There’s an interesting quirk that will play a deciding part in the fixture, as both sides having the exactly same tally in points for (676) and against (674) – with both defences sured up at the selection table, it will be worth seeing which team can kick a winning score in blustery RAMS conditions. The Cannons will be looking to co-captain Mitch Podhajski to add some goal threat from midfield after a stint with Coburg in the VFL, while the Jets should get a good amount of potency from 2019 prospect Darcy Cassar.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 11:30am

Trevor Barker Oval, Sandringham

Despite sitting pretty in fifth, the depth of the Sandrignham Dragons squad has been tested at times this season, and the eighth placed Knights will be looking to have that same effect when they meet on Saturday. While the Dragons scraped home against Oakleigh in an important win last time out, Northern suffered a loss that sees them clinging on to their finals spot, and another defeat could see the teams below cut the gap to within four points. To help allay those threats, bottom-aged Vic Metro rep Ryan Gardner comes back into the team alongside mobile over-age tall Joel Naylor, who could pose a goal threat alongside fellow inclusion James Lucente should he be thrown up the ground. Sandringham will look to gain an edge in the midfield, with guns Liam Stocker, Alistair Richards and Harry Houlahan making up a dangerous centre bounce line-up. The likes of Patrik Della Rocca and Josh D’Intinosante have both mixed midfield time with their forward duties, and may have to put their hands up if the Knights are to stand a chance.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 2:00pm
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

With both sides coming off tight losses to top eight competition, the Chargers and Ranges will be looking to get back on the winners list. Oakleigh are poised a game clear within the finals spots in sixth, while Eastern have notched just the two wins in 2018 to sit in eleventh place. The Ranges possess a consistent group of midfield performers, and will welcome the likes of Lachlan Stapleton back into that mix to go with skipper Joel Burleigh, Kye Quirk and Mitch Mellis. Half-backs Xavier Fry and Ben Cardamone will have their work cut out for them with the inclusion of bottom-aged Vic Metro star Dylan Williams for Oakleigh, who may even spend some time through the middle alongside fellow ins Lachlan Bugeja and Xavier O’Neill. Oakleigh are one of the more free-scoring teams, while Eastern have struggled in that department this year, so the onus will be on that midfield group to win the ball early and put pressure on the Chargers defence while protecting their own.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 2:00pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Ladder leaders Dandenong will be looking to continue their winning ways when they host Geelong in Saturday’s second afternoon game. The Stingrays have some vital breathing space on top of the table, and more importantly, add some serious talent back into the line-up. The team that is rolling on throughout the season adds Riley Bowman, Will Hamill and Toby Bedford after their Vic Country stints, and team that with the Cumming twins – Stephen and Matthew – and Sam De Koning and there’s some impressive talls and great crumbers. Jai Taylor provides the speed, while Campbell Hustwaite and Jamie Plumridge can find the football on the inside. For the Falcons, they also welcome back a few key players after a disastrous game last round where they failed to kick a goal. Connor Idun and Dane Hollenkamp add important strength to the back 50, while Blake Schlensog will be a target up front. With no Sam Walsh or Ned McHenry in this game, the Falcons will need it’s next tier to stand up against a star-studded Stingrays midfield.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 11 – Sunday, July 8, 12:00pm
Morwell Football Ground, Morwell

On the early game on Sunday, we have the match of the round with two top four sides going head-to-head. The Power are coming off a draw to Calder Cannons and a shock loss to the Bendigo Pioneers, while the Bushrangers have regained form after a rare loss to Oakleigh Chargers, to smash Geelong Falcons last week. The winner will take second spot on the table, while the loser might slip to fourth if the Western Jets get up. Murray’s forward line is arguably the best in the comp with the leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, crashing packs and causing all sorts headaches for opposition defenders. Jye Chalcraft and Bailey Frauenfelder have been impressive in attack, while Jordon Butts has also kicked a bag of goals in the past month. The most in-form TAC Cup player in Ely Smith returns after a huge game for Vic Country, and he will face off against Caleb Serong, Riley Baldi and Austin Hodge in the midfield. Both sides have promising bottom-agers including Lachlan Ash and Brock Smith who have been in strong form throughout the season, and it is billed as an exciting clash for those who can make it to the game.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 11 – Sunday, July 8, 1:00pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the final game of the round, two sides pretty keen for a win face-off with both sides managing the two so far this season. For Bendigo Pioneers, they had a fantastic win over Gippsland Power last week and will want to go back-to-back with victory over the GWV Rebels here. The Rebels will remember the round one loss against the Pioneers where they had control of the game until Tom Berry came off with concussion and the Pioneers swarmed home to win by a point. With Berry and Scott Carlin returning to the side, joining Matty Lloyd as some crucial players in that team, the Rebels will fancy their chances. But Brodie Kemp was impressive for Vic Country, while Bailey Henderson returns, and Noah Wheeler is coming off a season-best game. It spells an even contest and one which will result in a well-deserved victor.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 9

THERE are five games this weekend in the TAC Cup, with Sandringham Dragons and Eastern Ranges having a weekend off ahead of their standalone clash on June 30 – during the school holidays. The five games throw up some interesting possibilities given ladder positions as we pass the halfway mark of the 2018 TAC Cup season.

GEELONG FALCONS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 9 – Saturday, June 16, 11am Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

Both sides head into this Round 9 clash relatively understrength with all of Western’s Vic Metro representatives out of the side, while Geelong just has the returning Dane Hollenkamp, and Blake Schlensog (who has been named as a Vic Country emergency) in the team. A win for the Jets is crucial given a loss could mean they drop outside the top four, while victory would potentially see them move to second on the TAC Cup table with a Gippsland loss. For Geelong, a big win could see them jag eighth spot off the Cannons, but a loss could see them slip one spot to eleventh on the table. Western has a relatively stable clearance midfield with Jaden Rice, Connor Thar and Jack Watkins all able to extract the ball from a stoppage. They will likely take advantage of a Geelong side without its first choice midfield, however Baxter Mensch has been a big ball winner and clearance player this season, while Charlie Harris on the wing and Brayden Ham at half-forward can also win the footy and impact up the ground. It is great to see Titit Nyak back in the team after a long absence through injury, with Geelong’s defence remaining relatively untouched given the 1-2 combination of Hollenkamp and Cooper Cartledge has been solid for the Falcons. Without Emerson Jeka, the Jets will look to Aaron Clarke and the 190cm Tom Warner to provide the tall timber. Steven Kyriazis and last week’s best on ground Darcy Cassar are set to do the ground level work. Given the outs it is hard to predict a winner in this one, with the Jets likely to prevail in the midfield battle, but Geelong has had a lot of continuity this season with its top-end talent at either school football or out for AFL Academy duties.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 9 – Saturday, June 16, 2.15pm Shepley Oval, Dandenong

If we are talking about top-end talent missing, then you need not go further than this game with the most representatives from both of the Victorian sides – Dandenong for Country and Oakleigh for Metro – having a big impact on the team selection. Both teams will be relying on their bottom-agers and non-school football players, in a game that resulted in Oakleigh getting up in Round 5. This time around the Chargers are digging deep into their list, and it will take a mighty challenge to up-end the in-form Stingrays, who welcome back potential number one pick next year Hayden Young, as well as Will Hamill and Bailey Schmidt – the latter having played for Vic Country last week. For Oakleigh, Bailey Griffiths will hope to take advantage in the ruck in what will be a fantastic battle with Schmidt, as the Chargers have Xavier O’Neill, Lachlan Bugeja and Sam Harte among others through the midfield who can win plenty of the football. They will go up against Dandenong skipper Campbell Hustwaite, Hamill, and Lachlan McDonnell who has been in good form. Angus Patterson will line-up at full-forward as Matthew Cumming and Sam De Koning hold down the key defensive posts. The likes of Matthew Gahan and Jamie Plumridge will look to create some run out of the back half. For the Chargers, they have a number of defensive forwards who can kick goals including Atu Bosenavulagi and Daniel Scala, while over-ager Tom Hogan has the unique opportunity to face his teammates from last year, crossing from the Stingrays in the off-season after missing out on being drafted last year.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 9 – Sunday, June 17, 12pm Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

The TAC Cup Radio team head up to Bendigo for the clash between the Pioneers and Murray Bushrangers. The Pioneers had a really competitive effort last week against the Western Jets, levelling with just a few minutes left on the clock, before going down by seven points. The Bushrangers had a disappointing loss to a strengthened Oakleigh side, feeling the brunt of missing many players for Vic Country and Allies duty. It does not get any easier for the Bushrangers, losing one of last week’s best in Mathew Walker to Allies duty, and a couple of consistent defenders in Nick Murray and Ajak Dang to injury. Mark Marriott was impressive in his first game back from injury and will look to press for Vic Country claims with a good performance here, taking on another in-form ruck in Daniel Keating. With Ben Kelly and Jordon Butts lining up in the forward line, the Bushrangers will look to stretch the Pioneers defence, especially given Bendigo has lost full-back Josh Grace for this match. The 191cm William Wallace will have his hands full with the 202cm Kelly and 197cm Butts, and given the strength in the Bushrangers midfield, Bendigo defence will need to be on its game. Arguably the most important players for the Pioneers are Noah Wheeler, Zane Keighran and Hunter Lawrence, who will rotate through that midfield and just simply have to win the clearances. The Perez brothers – Oscar, an overager and Flynn, a bottom-ager – were impressive last week and will hope to continue that form. James Schischka is a Vic Country player who will be keen to impress for a call-up, while Liam Marciano has been consistent out of defence. For the Bushrangers, Ely Smith continues to tick boxes week-in, week-out, Dylan and Kyle Clarke are always busy, and the forward line that contains Bailey Frauenfelder and Jye Chalcraft is always going to be dangerous. The Bushrangers will be looking to bounce back after a big loss last week, but at home in Bendigo, and after a really promising performance last week, you cannot rule out the Pioneers, either.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 9 – Sunday, June 17, 1pm Morwell Football Ground, Morwell

Over in Morwell, the Gippsland Power take on the Calder Cannons. Gippsland were missing most of its top-end talent through resting for Vic Country representation last round, but it mattered little as they stormed past the Geelong Falcons, and now welcome back hard nosed defender/midfielder Brock Smith and livewire forward Irving Mosquito – the latter of whom has returned from injury. While the likes of Xavier Duursma, Sam Flanders, Caleb Serong, Matt McGannon and Kyle Reid will be in Adelaide for Vic Country’s clash with South Australia, the Power are in a very good position. They sit second and could well be top-of-the-table by round’s end if Oakleigh can upset first placed Dandenong on Saturday. For Calder, they are eighth, but have the GWV Rebels, Geelong Falcons and Eastern Ranges chomping at their heels. They also lose a truckload of top-end talent for this game, with AFL Academy members Jack Bytel and Curtis Taylor, co-captain Mitch Podhajski, and Vic Metro representatives Lachlan Sholl and Jack Evans all out. Consistent key position player Daniel Hanna returns, as do a number of solid bottom-agers, but there is no doubting Calder will be looking for something special from its next tier of players to come away with the win. John Roumeliotis made a successful return from injury, and he and Jake Riccardi might pose some problems for the Gippsland defence with their strength, while Tye Browning and Sam Graham are always players that can get their hands on the ball. For Gippsland though, they have a relatively stable team despite some of the big outs. They will be looking to capitalise with Rylan Henkel rucking to Smith along with Mosquito and Riley Baldi looking like an ominous prospect, as is the forward line with Noah Gown and Josh Smith who have been known to hit the scoreboard. Couple that with the fact Jake Van der Pligt and Ryan Sparkes have been in good form rebounding out of defence, and Gippsland look to be clear favourites in this one. The Cannons changes do bring an air of unpredictability about them however, with backs against the wall, anything can happen.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 9 – Sunday, June 17, 1pm MARS Stadium, Ballarat

In the final game of the round, the GWV Rebels host the Northern Knights. The Rebels are coming off a great away win over Calder Cannons and will be keen to make it two on the trot and three for the season. The Knights on the other hand, will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing loss at home to the Eastern Ranges, and get a win in what is expected to be a typical Ballarat day – wild and windy. The Rebels lose Tom Berry and Matty Lloyd to Vic Country duties which will hurt given their influence on the contest. But Scott Carlin remains in the side despite being named as an emergency for Vic Country, and one would expect he might be an omission from the next round for the All-Victorian battle at the MCG. Carlin and Harris Jennings will look to provide run out of defence, while the returns of Josh Chatfield and Izaac Grant will give the home side another dimension. Given Charlie Wilson rotates forward, a forward combination with Chatfield, Grant, Wilson, Jed Hill and Tylar Watts suddenly looks a lot more dangerous and capable of kicking a winning score. It does not help with Northern losing its two in-form rebounding defenders, bottom-agers Ryan Gardner and Lachlan Potter for the match, however Stefan Uzelac was best on for the Knights last week, while Mitch and Cameron Wild will be keen to stand up in the absence of their teammates. Northern also have a damaging forward line, with Sunny Brazier continuing to kick goals, Josh D’Intinosante ever-dangerous and Harrison Grace the smooth mover from midfield through to half-forward. Ryan Sturgess and Kobe Brandt are others who have shown signs throughout the season what they are capable of, and will test themselves against Matt Schnerring, Ben Annett and the in-form Elliot Lamb. While both sides are more than capable of a win here, I am leaning towards the Rebels at home, with some key forward inclusions and some big losses for the Knights in defence. But it honestly is a fairly 50/50 contest.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 8

THERE are just the five games this weekend, with many TAC Cup clubs opting to rest players who had played all or most of the games so far this season to ensure they are fit for the National Championships which start next weekend.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 8 – Saturday, June 2, 11:15am Preston City Oval, Preston

Northern will miss their captain and clearance expert Braedyn Gillard for the weekend’s game, with the inside midfielder having notched up 21 more clearances than the next highest Knight. In his place, the likes of Brody Bell and Harrison Grace will lead the midfield, with Bell likely to provide the inside presence, while Grace (66 per cent by foot) will provide the outside class the Knights need to get the job done. Eastern are solid on the inside, with Joel Burleigh, Adrian Kalcovski and Lachlan Stapleton providing a hard edge to the midfield, while their defence holds up well under pressure. The big question mark for Eastern is whether they can put enough scoreboard pressure on the Knights, and Jamieson Rossiter might be the one they look to after a six-goal haul in Eastern’s first win of the year against Bendigo in Round 7. Northern’s defensive duo of Ryan Gardner and Lachlan Potter provide plenty of pace out of defence, while Ben Cardamone and Kye Quirk will provide similar support up the other end with the latter rotating through the midfield.

WESTERN JETS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 8 – Saturday, June 2, 2.15pm Williamstown Football Ground, Williamstown

In the second game, two teams with vastly different form-lines face off in Williamstown. The Jets have won their past three games and sit inside the top four, while the Pioneers are still searching for their second win of the season since running over the top of the GWV Rebels in Round 1. Xavier O’Halloran will be a loss for the Jets after a really consistent first couple of months, but Western have a deep midfield that will trouble most teams. Of the top six clearance winners, Western has five, with Jaden Rice, Connor Thar and Zak Butters leading the way, while Noah Wheeler is the top extractor for the Pioneers. It gives the Jets a big advantage in the middle, and will give their forwards first opportunity. Bailey Henderson will be a big loss for the Pioneers, and the likes of James Schischka, Zane Keighran, Liam Marciano, Daniel Keating and Hunter Lawrence will be the ones the young side looks to, as will Jacob Atley who returns to the side this weekend. Stefan Radovanovic returns for the Jets and will likely spend most of his time in the midfield, but he provides speed and strength off half-back if required.

CALDER CANNONS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 8 – Saturday, June 2, 2.15pm RAMS Arena, Cragieburn

Two sides fairly close to full-strength do battle at RAMS Arena tomorrow afternoon, with the Cannons hosting the Rebels. Co-captain Jack Bytel returns from injury, while Curtis Taylor is coming off a best on ground performance in Round 7. While Rhylee West is still playing school football, the Cannons will back in their side with its versatile midfield who can play forward or back. Bytel and Lochie Dawson are their respective sides’ biggest ball winners this season on pure numbers while Scott Carlin and Lachlan Sholl are the strong users off half-back. Jack Evans has played as a defender most of his Cannons days, but was up the ground in the last match and trialled forward with success for Vic Metro and has been named there this weekend. He could have an entertaining battle with Carlin or Matty Lloyd who the latter will be looking to back up for his second Rebels game this season. Mitch Podhajski is that bigger body in the midfield which gives the Cannons an advantage and the game might come down to whether or not Calder can execute with the opportunities its forwards will receive, because the bigger midfield will likely take control in this contest.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 8 – Sunday, June 3, 10.45am Shepley Oval, Dandenong

On Sunday, both Dandenong and Sandringham will look to their depth to get the four points with ladder position meaning little considering the amount of players not on the park this weekend. Many of the Stingrays are resting ahead of the National Championships, while the Dragons are either resting or playing school football. Hayden Young will be a welcome return for the home side, with the bottom-ager one of the brightest prospects for next year. Twin towers Matthew and Stephen Cumming are back in the line-up to counter the loss of talls Bailey Williams and Bailey Schmidt. For the Dragons, the Melbourne Grammar boys are back in the line-up, and they will be hoping to continue their winning ways from last week. Kai Owens was important in leading the midfield, and he will go up against the likes of Jamie Plumridge and Campbell Hustwaite on the ball. Harry Bede and James Rendell are handy talls for the Dragons and in good form, so the Stingrays will need to keep them under wraps if they are to win. For the Dragons, Dawit McNeish, Darcy Chirgwin and Ryan Byrnes are others in that midfield brigade who will need to get their hands on the football to stop Dandenong’s run and carry.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 8 – Sunday, June 3, 1.15pm Shepley Oval, Dandenong

In the final game of the round, two sides with wholesale changes face off at Shepley Oval. Both the Power and Falcons have rested the majority of their Vic Country players in a bid to keep them fresh for next weekend. It gives their next tier of players a chance to stand up and become a game winner with talls Rylan Henkel and Noah Gown important as targets around the ground, while Riley Baldi, Bailey Beck and Austin Hodge will look to win the midfield battle and get forward to kick goals. Geelong will be without its starting trio of Sam Walsh, Ned McHenry and Oscar Brownless, which means the likes of Baxter Mensch, bottom-ager Cooper Stephens and over-ager Ethan Floyd will carry the load through the centre. Brayden Ham is an important inclusion for the side, while Cooper Cartledge and Blake Schlensog will be targets at opposite ends of the ground. For the Power, Tyrone Hayes adds that speed through the midfield, while Ryan Sparkes and Jake Van Der Pligt are players who provide run out of the back half.

Team Selection: TAC Cup – Round 8

ALL ten TAC Cup clubs have thrown the magnets around at the selection table with a number of top prospects rested ahead of the National Under 18 Championships. For Murray Bushrangers and Oakleigh Chargers, they have to wait an extra week to play in a standalone game, but there are still five games for the interested onlooker to sink their teeth into across the weekend.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 8 – Saturday, June 2, 11:15am
Preston City Oval, Preston

Both Northern and Eastern have named extended benches with Mark Baker returning to the side and has been named at full-forward, while Kobe Brandt and Evan Tsitsis are others who have been named on the field for the Knights. They will miss captain Braedyn Gillard who has been a consistent ball-winning midfielder this season, while Kye Yodgee and Adam Carafa are others who have been confirmed outs for the game. For Eastern, Cody Hirst and Jonte Duffy are out, however there is good new for the Ranges with James Blanck and Xavier Fry back into the lineup, named among four inclusions in the extended squad.

Northern Knights

B: 25. J. Davies, 11. R. Sturgess, 22. M. Wild
HB: 1. R. Gardner, 33. J. Randall, 5. L. Potter
C: 37. K.  Brandt, 10. B.  Bell, 40. N.  Mayne
HF: 24. R. Bowkett, 18. S. Brazier, 14. E. Tsitsis
F: 7. H. Grace, 21. M. Baker, 27. J. Lucente
R: 16. T. Hallebone, 12. J. Naylor, 17. J. D’Intinosante
Int: 35. K. Agosta, 31. N. Barro, 20. P. Della Rocca, 23. J. Hart, 34. Z. Hudson, 50. M. Sindrivanis, 28. S. Uzelac
23P: 39. N. Kitchell

In: E. Tsitsis, N. Kitchell, M. Baker, J. Hart, K. Agosta, M. Sindrivanis, Z. Hudson, K. Brandt
Out: K. Yodgee,  B. Gillard,  A. Carafa,  X. Bateman,  A. Castagna

Eastern Ranges

B: 20. B. Cardamone, 31. J. Blanck, 47. T. Hallett-Tauali’i
HB: 23. X. Fry, 18. B. McCormack, 25. L. Vassis
C: 4. R.  Clausen, 7. L.  Stapleton, 30. T.  Edwards
HF: 2. A. Kalcovski, 53. J. Drake, 11. M. Mellis
F: 14. L. Gawel, 13. J. Rossiter, 28. L. Kruger
R: 58. R. Smith, 8. J. Burleigh, 24. K. Quirk
Int: 3. H. Chinn, 5. R. Einsporn, 12. J. Gilbee, 27. J. Jaworski, 36. S. Kapahnke, 22. C. Quirk, 54. J. Sullivan
23P: 43. K. Crosby

In: S. Kapahnke, L. Gawel, J. Jaworski, J. Blanck, X. Fry
Out: J. Duffy, C. Hirst

WESTERN JETS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 8 – Saturday, June 2, 2.15pm
Williamstown Football Ground, Williamstown

In the second game of the day, the Western Jets will hope to continue their strong form against the Bendigo Pioneers who are on a six-game losing streak. The Jets lose captain Xavier O’Halloran who has earned a break ahead of the National Championships, but regain Stefan Radovanovic and man mountain Darren Walters who is among six inclusions for the extended squad. The Pioneers will be without the likes of Bailey Henderson for the clash with at least seven players departing the side from last round, while Jacob Atley is back in to provide good support in midfield.

Western Jets

B: 25. S. Johnson, 41. L. Rzanovski, 37. H. Murphy
HB: 10. S. Kyriazis, 38. B. Khamis, 6. L. Rocci
C: 17. D.  Andrews , 36. J.  Rice, 23. M.  Maguang
HF: 20. D. Cassar, 24. J. Honey, 2. T. Rudic
F: 11. Z. Butters, 31. E. Jeka, 45. A. Clarke
R: 47. D. Walters, 12. C. Thar, 39. S. Radovanovic
Int: 5. M. Chak, 21. J. Crawford, 29. D. Fruscalzo, 4. J. Jenkins, 28. J. Papachatzakis, 35. T. Warner, 7. J. Watkins
23P: 16. C. White

In: D. Walters, C. White, J. Crawford, M. Maguang, S. Radovanovic, T. Rudic
Out: X. O’Halloran,  N. Ellis,  W. Smyth

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 3. L. Marciano, 11. J. Grace, 41. B. Vaz
HB: 24. N. McHugh, 32. W. Wallace, 2. J. Williams
C: 25. F.  Perez, 43. H.  Lawrence, 49. O.  Perez
HF: 29. E. Roberts, 46. L. Tenace, 20. J. Schischka
F: 6. J. Rodi, 54. M. Christensen, 5. N. Wheeler
R: 23. D. Keating, 9. Z. Keighran, 15. Caccaviello
Int: 16. J. Atley, 33. J. McHale, 48. P. Moi Moi, 28. C. Vick, 51. B. Waasdorp
23P: 13. K. Brown

In: J. Atley, L. Tenace, C. Vick, K. Brown, J. Rodi, O. Perez, B. Vaz
Out: L. Caccaviello, Z. Denahy, T. Walters, C. McCarty, M. Lias, D. Loveridge, B. Henderson

CALDER CANNONS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 8 – Saturday, June 2, 2.15pm
RAMS Arena, Cragieburn

Up at RAMS Arena, Calder Cannons have bolstered their line-up with the return of co-captain Jack Bytel from injury, while the classy Kyle Baker and tall Jake Riccardi join a number of inclusions in the team. Switchman Daniel Hanna was good last week but is among the outs, as is Dylan Landt and Jeremy O’Sullivan. For the GWV Rebels, Tom Berry will be a welcome return, while Terang Mortlake junior Isaac Wareham makes his debut as the 23rd player. Harrison Butler and Ethan Harvey are the two confirmed outs for the Rebels.

Calder Cannons

B: 9. C. Barton, 38. B. Newman, 17. N. Doyle
HB: 3. I. Moussa , 43. L. Cavallaro, 8. L. Sholl
C: 44. N.  Gentile, 5. C.  Taylor, 1. D.  Mott
HF: 4. K. Baker, 27. T. Browning, 11. J. Firebrace
F: 33. J. Evans, 41. J. Roumeliotis, 48. S. Ramsay
R: 29. J. Riccardi, 42. N. Croft, 30. M. Podhajski
Int: 16. J. Bytel, 46. S. Callander, 6. J. Horo, 52. B. Reddick
Emg: 51. W. Jury, 19. B. Rigoni, 39. L. Sultana
23P: 53. M. Abou-Eid

In: W. Jury, K. Baker, L. Sultana, D. Mott, J. Bytel, B. Rigoni, J. Roumeliotis, J. Riccardi
Out: J. O’Sullivan,  D. Hanna,  C. Lamb,  A. Righele,  D. Landt

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 48. J. Cleaver, 43. J. Wright, 1. C. Craig-Peters
HB: 3. S. Carlin, 35. C. Hinkley, 24. M. Lloyd
C: 32. M.  Burgess, 2. M.  Schnerring, 5. H.  Jennings
HF: 14. J. Hill, 20. T. Watts, 6. C. Wilson
F: 7. M. Martin, 28. C. Giddings, 39. J. Mawson
R: 29. P. Glanford, 13. T. Berry, 9. L. Dawson
Int: 4. B. Annett, 12. A. Gove, 27. E. Lamb, 33. J. Ross
Emg: 17. T. Clark, 21. I. Grant, 40. I. Thomas
23P: 30. I. Wareham

In: J. Mawson, I. Wareham, I. Grant, I. Thomas, T. Berry
Out: H. Butler, E. Harvey

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 8 – Sunday, June 3, 10.45am
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Dandenong has put most of its Vic Country stars on ice for this round, with Bailey Williams, Zac Foot, Sam Fletcher and Bailey Schmidt all out, while Stephen and Matthew Cumming return, as does AFL Academy member Hayden Young. For the Dragons, they have the four confirmed outs with Josh Paul and Jackson Hannah departing he side, while the break from school footy sees the likes of Darcy Chirgwin, Jacquin Mifsud, Jeremy Goddard and Charlie Langford returning with the Melbourne Grammar bye this weekend.

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 12. M. Gahan, 20. S. De Koning, 41. L. Stenning
HB: 7. J. Taylor, 56. M. Cumming, 2. H. Young
C: 37. B.  Angwin, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 3. J.  Plumridge
HF: 49. M. Cottrell, 36. S. Cumming, 27. L. McDonnell
F: 11. E. Cahill, 5. A. Paterson, 57. R. Nanscawen
R: 13. R. Bowman, 16. J. Frawley, 47. J. Hickey
Int: 6. J. Barker, 33. J. Carosella, 38. J. Harmes, 55. J. Ocaa, 35. F. Stellato, 50. L. Williams
23P: 45. L. Goonan

In: L. Goonan, H. Young, J. Barker, F. Stellato, J. Ocaa, S. Cumming, J. Harmes, M. Cumming
Out: B. Schmidt,  L. Young,  Z. Foot,  S. Fletcher,  C. Ellison,  B. Williams

Sandringham Dragons

B: 44. J. Mifsud, 43. C. Langford, 45. J. Voss
HB: 14. R. O’Meara, 69. C. Watts, 11. N. Stamatis
C: 72. D.  Chirgwin, 8. K.  Owens, 50. T.  Deane-Johns
HF: 47. T. Milne, 20. H. Bede, 76. X. Verdnik
F: 13. T. Brimble, 28. J. Rendell, 58. K. Yorke
R: 32. J. Griffiths, 66. R. Byrnes, 21. D. McNeish
Int: 37. N. Bufalo, 63. M. Butera, 59. A. Courtney, 24. H. Ferdinand, 3. T. Fogarty, 41. J. Goddard, 25. O. McMaster
23P: 55. J. Cowden

In: T. Brimble, J. Mifsud, J. Goddard, D. Chirgwin, J. Cowden, C. Langford, H. Ferdinand
Out: J. Paul, L. Lamble, J. Hannah, B. Krongold

GIPPSLAND POWER v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 8 – Sunday, June 3, 1.15pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Both Gippsland and Geelong have rested a multitude of stars in the final game of the round ahead of the National Championships. Gippsland will go in with its youngest side of the year with captain Xavier Duursma, over-ager Matthew McGannon, key defender Kyle Reid and bottom-agers Brock Smith and Sam Flanders all out of the side. Nick Lowden, Will Broadbent and Mason McGannon are among at least five inclusions for the game. For Geelong, they will miss their full-back Dane Hollenkamp, as well as switchman Connor Idun and co-captain Oscar Brownless who joins fellow captain Sam Walsh on the sidelines.

Gippsland Power

B: 7. B. Patterson, 40. Z. Hurley, 15. R. Sparkes
HB: 36. M. Bentvelzen , 14. T. Hourigan, 10. L. Connolly
C: 8. B.  Beck, 1. T.  Hayes, 19. F.  Phillips
HF: 20. H. Neocleous, 23. N. Gown, 45. A. Young
F: 6. R. Baldi, 16. J. Smith, 26. W. Broadbent
R: 22. R. Henkel, 13. N. Lowden, 11. A. Hodge
Int: 17. G. Cocksedge, 3. M. McGannon, 21. M. McGarrity, 29. B. Motton, 37. H. Pepper, 43. Z. Skinner, 35. J. van der Pligt
23P: 31. B. Macfarlane

In: N. Lowden, Z. Hurley, F. Phillips, A. Young, M. McGarrity, B. Macfarlane, W. Broadbent, M. McGannon
Out: K. Reid,  B. Smith,  S. Flanders,  X. Duursma,  M. McGannon

Geelong Falcons

B: 40. J. Clark, 37. B. Campi, 33. Z. Knights
HB: 3. K. Rayner, 31. C. Cartledge, 21. L. Smith
C: 6. D.  Madigan, 41. C.  Stephens, 2. S.  Torpy
HF: 32. F. Parish, 20. B. Ham, 16. B. Scott
F: 14. R. Hayden, 42. H. Spiller, 48. B. Schlensog
R: 50. J. Grigsby, 13. E. Floyd, 10. B. Mensch
Int: 9. B. Morton, 35. C. Tanis, 25. L. Taylor, 26. F. Wilson
Emg: 15. L. Handley, 28. C. O’Connor, 45. T. Richardson
23P: 19. B. Ritchie

In: C. O’Connor, T. Richardson, Z. Knights, B. Ham, J. Clark, B. Campi, E. Floyd, B. Ritchie, H. Spiller
Out: C. Harris, S. Stokes, D. Hollenkamp, C. Idun, C. Karpala, O. Brownless

Tasmania officially claims title in Under 18 Academy Series

WHILE it was assured heading into the final round of Under 18 Academy Series matches, Tasmania put an exclamation mark on a perfect series by completing their unbeaten run across the five-game tournament. Led by state and competition Most Valuable Player (MVP) Tarryn Thomas, the Mariners were simply superb, achieving a feat which will no doubt see number of their local talent making the Allies squad.

Tasmania                                            2.2       6.5       9.6       14.10 (94)
Greater Western Sydney Academy   3.4       4.5       5.9       7.10 (52)

GOALS
Tasmania: Thomas 5, Rubock 3, Dakin, McGuinness, Mundy, Jackson, O’Neill, Peppin
Greater Western Sydney Academy: Peatling 3, Delahunty 2, Corbett, Driscoll

BEST
Tasmania: Thomas, Auckland, Jackson, Anderton, Jones, Dakin
Greater Western Sydney Academy: Briggs, Richardson, Peatling, Foley, Walker, Evans

Ultimately in the game that was just going to be icing on the cake, a five-goal performance to Tarryn Thomas helped Tasmania to a seven-goal victory over GWS GIANTS Academy. The Mariners found themselves trailing by eight points at quarter time, but lifted a gear after that, booting 12 goals to four in the final three quarters to run away with the 42-point win. Along with Thomas’ five majors, small forward Blair Rubock kicked three of his own, while potential top 30 pick Chayce Jones was again good for the Mariners. Tim Auckland and Ethan Jackson were others who impressed for the winners. While for the GIANTS, Kieren Briggs was named their best, also taking out the carnival MVP Award for the GIANTS Academy. Forward James Peatling booted three goals and was named among the best in a losing side, as was Ainslie product Guy Richardson, and Murray Bushrangers talent Mathew Walker.

#

Sydney Academy                    2.1       5.2       6.3       8.8 (56)
Gold Coast Academy              3.1       4.3       6.3       8.6 (54)

GOALS
Sydney Academy: Blakey 3, Reinhard, Ellem, Stern, Loone, Barling
Gold Coast Academy: Scott 2, Lowah 2, Crossley, Gore, Portelli, Graham

BEST
Sydney Academy: Wicks, Blakey, Stern, Kilpatrick
Gold Coast Academy: Scott, Greenwool, Portelli, Bowie

Sydney Swans Academy bounced back from its only loss of the carnival to record a narrow two-point victory over Gold Coast Academy. Top 10 prospect Nick Blakey was again sensational, booting three goals for the Swans and ultimately being the difference between the sides in the end as the only multiple goal kicker. But through the midfield it was Sam Wicks who was crucial in extracting the ball into space, while Josh Stern and Cooper Kilpatrick were other impressive players for the Swans. For the Suns, Bailey Scott again led the way with two majors and did all he could in a game where both sides were neck and neck throughout and exchanging leads. Others who impressed were Fitzroy Greenwool, Cooper Portelli and Timakoi Bowie.

#

Northern Territory             4.1       7.2       10.3    14.5 (89)
Brisbane Academy           0.5       4.5       8.7       11.9 (75) 

GOALS
Northern Territory: M.Cumming 3, Ferreira, Mummery, Wyatt 2, Box, Brown, Jungfer, Kossack, O’Connell
Brisbane Academy: McFadyen 5, Ansell 2, Jeffrey, Wratten, Franks, Stackelberg 

BEST
Northern Territory: Jungfer, Baird, Mummery, Schwarze, Ferreira, M.Cumming
Brisbane Academy: McFadyen, Coleman, Cowan, Reville

In the final game of the Academy Series, Northern Territory Thunder recorded their first win of the competition with a 14-point victory over Brisbane Lions Academy. Dandenong Stingrays’ tall Matthew Cumming booted three goals in the win, while bottom-age prospect Ben Jungfer was named the Thunder’s best. Others who impressed were Michael Mummery (two goals) and overager Rodney Baird. For the Lions’ Academy, Connor McFadyen booted five goals in a standout performance up forward, while Tom Ansell used his strength to nail two majors. Keidean Coleman and Jack Cowan were also named among the best for the losers.

Watch this space: Names to keep an eye on

AFTER the release of the first edition of our Power Rankings for the year on Monday, we have had a look at a handful of names of players that could make their way up the order by season’s end. For some, injury has halted their progression so far this season, while for others, they have come into the season as roughies and are having strong early form that suggests there could be more to see from that particular prospect. Here are just some more players to watch from all of the Under 18 National Championships states.

Zane Barzen
Tall Forward/Inside Midfielder | Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country
29/10/2000 | 193cm | 77kg

One of the classier players out there and a good size at 193cm, the half-forward has plenty of scope and plays predominantly half-forward but pushing into the midfield. Unfortunately an early season injury in the first quarter of the season had him miss a few games, but the talented forward is back and one of those players you enjoy watching play with pinpoint passes and smooth moving through congestion.

Tom Berry
Inside Midfielder | GWV Rebels/Vic Country
01/05/2000 | 185cm | 76kg

The rugged inside midfielder spent the back-end of last year on ice after injury curtailed his year. He started the 2018 season on fire in the first three quarters, before running into a post and missing the next couple of games. In his two games back, Berry has played between the midfield and forward, booting five goals for the season and working his way back into the midfield, winning 37.8 per cent of his possessions in a contest, which is expected to be closer to 50 per cent when fully fit.

Jack Bytel
Inside Midfielder | Calder Cannons/Vic Metro
14/03/2000 | 188cm | 82kg

The big ball winner for Calder has been in hot form early in the season, having the ball on a string throughout his early games. The co-captain has a knack for winning the contested ball and firing out handballs, and is ranked in the top five of the TAC Cup competition for average clearances, notching up 22 for the season thus far.

Matthew Cumming
Key Position Utility | Dandenong Stingrays/Northern Territory
22/07/2000 | 198cm | 99kg

Matthew Cumming has been one of the better performers for Northern Territory in what would be considered a disappointing Under 18 Academy Series for the Thunder. Cumming predominantly plays full-back, but both he and his brother Stephen have the versatility to play in multiple roles. Due to the Academy Series, Cumming has not played many games at TAC Cup level, but has assisted in the ruck as well as playing in defence.

Stephen Cumming
Ruck | Dandenong Stingrays/Northern Territory
22/07/2000 | 199cm | 104kg

Stephen has performed strongly in the ruck, and with both he and Matthew coming from basketball backgrounds, they move well for taller players. He has averaged about 10 hitouts and 10 disposals a game across his three TAC Cup games. Still developing, like his brother the pair are versatile athletic talls and therefore are always ones to watch, particularly at the upcoming National Under 18 Championships.

Xavier Duursma
Balanced Midfielder | Gippsland Power/Vic Country
07/07/2000 | 185cm | 71kg

The lightly framed midfielder is predominantly inside, but can impact on the outside and is a strong leader at Gippsland Power. He has played off a wing a fair chunk this season, but wins his own ball with 44 per cent of his possessions coming in a contest. His best work is done in transition, often winning the ball and side-stepping an opponent and kicking inside 50 to a leading target. Despite missing a game, Duursma is ranked equal fourth for total inside 50s in the TAC Cup competition.

Jarrad Fazioli
Small Forward | Peel Thunder/Western Australia
14/05/2000 | 174cm | 72kg

Impressed at last year’s National Under 18 Championships as a bottom-ager, booting four goals against Vic Country in Western Australia’s victory last year. With small forward’s back in fashion and his ability to also play higher up the ground – he has averaged 18 disposals in the past three weeks – it will be interesting to see how he goes in this year’s championships as a top-ager. Certainly one of the better small forwards in the 2018 draft crop.

Luke Foley
Balanced Midfielder | Subiaco/Western Australia
08/10/1999 | 189cm | 75kg

Western Australia has had its fair share of overagers drafted over the years, not to mention mature agers in last year’s draft. Foley is one player who has stood out in the WAFL Colts this season for Subiaco, racking up at least 28 disposals in three of his four games. Against Claremont in round four, Foley had the ball on a string with 36 disposals, six marks, 13 tackles and two goals in a strong all-round performance. One noticeable fact is that his average disposals has risen from 16.9 in 19 games last season to 27.5 in four games this year.

Caleb Graham
Key Position Forward/Defender | Palm Beach Currumbin/Gold Coast Academy
12/09/2000 | 194cm | 84kg

A bit of a roughie coming into the Under 18 Academy Series, Graham has been one of the better performing Queenslanders throughout the series. He can play at either end, and booted six goals on the weekend to continue his wonderful form as a centre-half back who has become renowned for his intercept marking. At 194cm he is a genuine key position player, and not a beanpole like many at this level, therefore he could be a “one to watch” from the development perspective, particularly for Gold Coast fans.

Brayden Ham
Balanced Midfielder/Forward | Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
25/04/1999 | 181cm | 69kg

Probably the surprise packet of the season has been the overager from the Falcons, having a ripping start to the TAC Cup competition. He has booted nine goals in the past three weeks, and is equal second in score involvements for the year. Of the top 10 players for score involvements, Ham has laid seven more tackles than any of the others.

Chayce Jones
Balanced Midfielder | Launceston/Tasmania
14/01/2000 | 180cm | 74kg

Often overshadowed by Tarryn Thomas’ outstanding performances – and who wouldn’t be? – Jones has been a player to watch throughout the Under 18 Academy Series and is quietly winning plaudits for his consistency through the midfield. While Thomas has done the damage inside the forward 50 arc, Jones has been impressive at winning clearances and moving well through the centre. Expect him to continue to improve throughout the season and will be another to watch for the Allies at the upcoming National Under 18 Championships.

Rylie Morgan
Balanced Midfielder | Claremont/Western Australia
29/03/2000 | 182cm | 81kg

Morgan captained the Western Australian side at the Under 16 National Championships in 2016, and has strung together five consistent games in the WAFL Colts so far this season. Morgan has not registered less than 22 disposals in a match so far this season, and is averaging more than six tackles a game to go with his one goal per game. Given the medium midfielder can win the ball on the inside or out, he is one to track at the upcoming National Under 18 Championships.

Xavier O’Halloran
Inside Midfielder | Western Jets/Vic Metro
11/07/2000 | 186cm | 82kg

Another club captain who makes the list is Western Jets’ Xavier O’Halloran. Big win or heavy loss, O’Halloran has been a ray of consistency this season and has been a huge contributor on the inside. Ranked number one for total inside 50s and total clearances, O’Halloran has won more than have of his possessions in a contest. He is also ranked in the top 20 for score involvements, the highest of any pure midfielder.

Kai Pudney
Outside Midfielder | WWT/South Australia
09/01/2000 | 186cm | 78kg

Started the year on fire in the Under 18s, so progressed into the SANFL Reserves for the past few weeks. The outside midfielder had an elite disposal efficiency of 81 per cent in the opening two rounds of the season, but has not been afforded the same time and space since moving up in grades. However he has played a more contested role, notching up six clearances on debut in the Reserves, and has had disposal counts of 27, 18 and 17 in his matches for the Eagles thus far. Returning to the under 18s last weekend, Pudney had a day out with 34 disposals, eight marks and five rebounds.

James Rowbottom
Inside Midfielder | Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
19/09/2000 | 185cm | 78kg

The big-bodied inside midfielder has been a huge winner for the Oakleigh Chargers in the early part of the TAC Cup season, and has the highest kicking efficiency of the top five clearance winners – at 56.4 per cent. He wins 56 per cent of his possessions in a clearance and is one who will be a player to watch during the APS season and at the National Under 18 Championships.

Matthew Walker
Balanced Midfielder/Forward | Murray Bushrangers/GWS GIANTS Academy
14/02/2000 | 187cm | 76kg

An AFL Academy member who has a good combination of skill and power, Walker is a talented forward who spent time through the midfield in the Under 18 Academy Series for the GWS GIANTS Academy. In his two TAC Cup games earlier in the season, Walker averaged 14.5 disposals, 5.5 tackles and booted two goals in each match. He provides defensive pressure and good goal sense and is another from the Bushrangers to keep an eye on this season.

Luke Valente
Balanced Midfielder | Norwood/South Australia
08/05/2000 | 186cm | 80kg

Played his first game for Norwood Reserves this season a fortnight ago, looking at home with 22 disposals, seven marks and three clearances.  It was always clear he was destined to play against the bigger bodies after monstering his opponents in the opening round of the Under 18s season with 39 disposals, 11 clearances, five inside 50s and a goal. After 20 clearances in two games in the Under 18s, Valente showed off his versatility by drifting back to defence and picking up 17 disposals and four rebounds. One to watch for the National Under 18 Championships.

Rhylee West
Inside Midfielder | Calder Cannons/Vic Metro
12/07/2000 | 180cm | 81kg

You will not see much of the Western Bulldogs father-son prospect at TAC Cup level this season given the St Kevin’s footballer will have APS commitments. His school had the bye in the opening round of the APS season, so with school and Vic Metro commitments, the AFL Academy member will have a busy year ahead of him. He is an inside midfielder who has a few tricks such as strong contested marking ability and loves to lay fierce tackles.