Tag: Matthew McGannon

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Elimination finals

FINALS football at Ikon Park saw two 100-point beltings, but plenty of impressive individual performances. We noted down the top players from Saturday’s elimination finals, with Sunday’s games notes to come tomorrow.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. GWV Rebels

Dandenong:

By: Ed Pascoe

#9 Zac Foot

Foot showed plenty of glimpses of brilliance often getting to dangerous positions at the 50 arc but could not convert his chances to nail goals with plenty of kicks drifting wide or just falling short. He showcased his impressive marking for his size with a good contested mark in the third quarter on the forward 50 arc then he quickly chipped a nice short pass inside 50, he also took a nice lead up mark in that same quarter. Foot ran hard all day but he just could not capitalise on his opportunities. He finished with only the two behinds to go with his 16 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s.

#13 Riley Bowman

Bowman had his moments throughout the game showing small samples of his talent throughout the day. Bowman had multiple chances to hit the scoreboard but struggled to make the most of his opportunities. In the first quarter he kicked into the man on the mark but he later kicked his only goal for the game with a nice set shot finish. He had another set shot opportunity in the second quarter but he was able to set up a nice goal for his fellow teammate Stephen Cumming taking a nice mark at half-forward and hitting a nice pass lace out for his teammate in the pocket. Bowman finished the game with 13 disposals, six marks and one goal. 

#15 Toby Bedford

Bedford lit up Ikon Park with his agility and excitement around the ball. Bedford was near impossible to tackle throughout the game, he was always on the move ducking and weaving around the opposition. One such play saw him tackled in the second quarter and he somehow managed to slip out and fire off a nice handball. With some lovely movement he kicked a nice goal in the quarter, where he weaved out of trouble and then straightened up for a classy goal. He missed a sitter set shot in the last quarter but he had done enough in the first three quarters to be considered Dandenong’s best player throughout the day. Bedford finished with 18 disposals, eight tackles and one goal. 

 #27 Lachlan McDonnell 

McDonnell certainly caught the eye playing on the wing and proving to be a handful with his ability to cover the ground and get to dangerous spots. McDonnell was all class with ball in hand with a nice pass inside 50 in the last quarter where he lowered his eyes. Despite playing on the wing he managed to hit the scoreboard with a nice running goal in the first quarter, a set shot goal in the third and a nice snap goal in the last. McDonnell did not just work hard forward but he also worked tirelessly to be an outlet for the switch in defence. McDonnell finished with 15 disposals, six marks, four inside 50s and three goals. 

 #29 Bailey Williams

Williams threatened to make an impact early in the game flying over packs and brining the ball down to his small forwards. He kicked a nice set shot goal in the second quarter which would be his only goal. He was later moved into the ruck in the last quarter to once again showcase his incredible leap. It was a quieter game from Williams who would be keen to lift his production for the next final. Williams finished with 13 disposals, six marks and one major. 

#58 Will Hamill

Hamill played his best game of the year with his run and skill in defence a real standout early in the game before moving forward late and proving a handful. A great bit of play from Hamill came in the first quarter where he attacked the ball deep in defence surrounded by a crowd of players and managed to break free. He was clean by hand which would eventually set up a goal for Dandenong down the other end. Hamill was dangerous by foot hitting Williams up with a nice pass inside 50 in the second quarter. Hamill had a chance to hit the scoreboard playing forward late in the game taking a nice lead up mark but just missing the set shot at goal. Hamill finished the game with 16 disposals, five marks, six tackles and four inside.

 #59 Sam Sturt

Draft bolter Sam Sturt was the name most scouts came to see and he proved why, with an exciting first quarter taking plenty of marks and using his long left boot which he showed in a great bit of play with a nice mark at half-forward before quickly swinging around on his left and kicking long to Bowman. Sturt would repeat these types of entries into the second quarter but his day would be cut short with a nagging injury keeping him from playing in the second half. Sturt had shown enough to scouts with his clean hands overhead and at ground level along with his long left boot catching the eye. Sturt finished with eight disposals, three marks, two tackles and two inside 50s from a half of football. 

 

GWV:

By: Scott Dougan

#6 Charlie Wilson

Wilson started in the centre square for the first bounce and was immediately involved, winning the first clearance. He was clean at ground level and his marking overhead was strong. He spent the majority of the match up forward but was unable to have a massive impact due to the limited amount of play in the Rebels forward half. Wilson kicked his first and only major of the day in the final term. He had 12 disposals, four marks and three inside 50s to go with 1.2 on the scoreboard.

#7 Mitch Martin

Martin worked hard all day and did his best work defensively. His third quarter was his most influential, showcasing his tackling ability after being awarded a couple of free kicks after two very strong tackles. He finished with three tackles from 14 disposals and while he was quiet in patches like most of the side, he has his moments.

#14 Jed Hill

Hill played predominately on the outside of the contest but applied as much pressure as he could when in tight. He did his best to create space around the ground and he found it, his ball use was reasonably good. He finished the game with 13 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s, being a link in transition early in the game.

 

Gippsland Power vs. Geelong Falcons

Gippsland:

By: Scott Dougan

#2 Caleb Serong

The highly-rated bottom age prospect did his best to have an impact up forward and through the middle of the ground. He showed off his class and composure in the first term with a few effective kicks moving forward. He demonstrated clean hands in tight and also showed off his aerial prowess with an attempted “speckie” in the third term. Serong set the tone early for the Power in the fourth quarter with a goal in the first minute.

#4 Sam Flanders

Flanders is another promising bottom-age prospect who spent plenty of time around the ball and inside the forward 50. He did not have a huge impact on the contest but his defensive pressure was noticeable, laying six tackles.

#5 Xavier Duursma

The possible first round selection was instrumental throughout the four quarters, showing off his aerial ability, ball-winning potential and clean hands at ground level. Duursma was able to drift forward on multiple occasions, finding plenty of space inside the forward 50. What was most impressive was when he attempted to chase down Sam Walsh in the middle of the ground, even though he was going to struggle to make up the required distance to impact the kick. Duursma finished with 25 disposals, 11 marks, six tackles and one goal.

#9 Irving Mosquito

Irving started the match like a house on fire, with the electric forward booting an impressive goal right on the line. His second quarter was quiet but he responded in the second half by finding more of the ball and applying plenty of defensive pressure. His tackling efforts were first-class and he was rewarded two free-kicks for his efforts. Mosquito had the chance to kick his second goal of the day in the final term but missed. He finished with nine disposals, six tackles and one goal.

#18 Matthew McGannon

McGannon was one of Gippsland’s best players on the day. He accumulated plenty of the ball across the half-back line and used it superbly, rarely turning the ball over. McGannon won most of his possessions on the outside of the contest, with the smooth-moving defender finding plenty of unoccupied space. He demonstrated composure and poise with ball in hand, which is what he does consistently well.

#22 Rylan Henkel

The 200cm big man was beaten in the hit-out department to opposition ruckman Sam Conway, but he made up for it with his terrific work around the ground. He continuously applied defensive pressure around the contest and he was able to win some important clearances for his team. Henkel moved forward on a few occasions and was able to hit the scoreboard, booting two important and very impressive goals. His aggressive approach around the ball also caught the eye. He finished with 11 disposals, 11 hit-outs and two goals, in fine all-around performance.

#23 Noah Gown

Gown was involved from the get-go, with the forward taking several strong contested marks. He should have kicked his first goal of the day in the first term but he was unselfish and passed it off to teammate Leo Connolly, who converted successfully. Gown continued to display his aerial ability, taking more marks as the game went on, finishing with a total of eight. He was well held by Cooper Cartledge on the scoresheet, but he was extremely dominant around the half-forward flank where he won the majority of his possessions. His hard work was rewarded in the final term when he booted his first goal of the day, contributing to Gippsland’s dominant last quarter.

#25 Kyle Reid

Reid was able to rebound effectively out of the back half, with the classy defender finding plenty of space. He had his hands full early, matching up on Geelong Falcon Connor Idun, who booted two goals in the first half. Reid’s ball use and composure with ball in hand are two of his biggest strengths and he always made the right decisions when rebounding out of the defensive 50. He moved up forward in the second half but didn’t have the same impact on the match as he did down back. Deep into the final quarter, Reid was struggling to run at full pace, signifying that he was sore or injured.

 

Geelong:

By: Ed Pascoe

#8 Ed McHenry

McHenry had a shaky game by his standards especially early dropping an easy mark and a few kicks did not quite hit their mark. However, McHenry was still at his best against Gippsland with his pressure and tackling which he did in a four quarter effort, fishing with nine tackles for the game which was an equal-high for the game across both teams. He worked himself into the game with some nice runs and a good bit of play where he showcased his run and carry ability before a short pass to teammate Ham inside 50. McHenry finished with 18 disposals and four inside 50s.  

#22 Sam Walsh 

Walsh again was everywhere for Geelong, mostly lining up on the wing. He got plenty of the ball in transition and when it was his turn to win the contested ball he did not hesitate. He had numerous good passages of play, one in the second quarter where he marked the ball at half back and not long after marking the ball again at half forward showing his work rate and smarts. In the third quarter he kicked a lovely snap goal winning a ground ball under pressure and then turning and snapping an important major. He had a standout bit of play for a different reason taking a run down the wing with Duursma giving a brave chase. Walsh got to run a fair way before just getting a kick away. He finished with 28 disposals, four inside 50s and one goal. 

 #30 Oscar Brownless

Brownless was a workhorse in the midfield for Geelong with a great four quarter effort. He did plenty at the coalface winning a heap of contested ball while also working hard to get involved on the outside. Brownless really stood out in the first quarter with a nice kick inside 50 but a shot at goal going out on the full was uncharacteristic with Brownless usually crafty around goal. He finished the game with 29 disposals, eight marks, nine tackles and four inside 50s which showed off his work rate. Brownless worked tirelessly throughout the match, trying to get his team over the line.

#36 Charlie Sprague

Sprague was dangerous for Geelong despite his low numbers. He had plenty of chances to hit the scoreboard with a nice mark on the lead in the second quarter which was just beyond his range thus kicking out on the full. He also had a snap at goal that resulted in a behind in the last quarter. He would later finally kick a goal in the second quarter, reward for his hard work and pressure in the forward 50 with a nice snap. Sprague provided a good target around the ground with his clean hands overhead and ability to keep his feet at contests always making sure he was involved if the mark was not taken. Sprague had a great tackle in the third quarter showing he could really crunch them despite his lighter frame. Sprague’s clean hands and composure were the clear standout features in his performance.  He finished the game with 10 disposals, four inside 50s and one goal. 

#39 Connor Idun

Idun looked dangerous early playing forward showcasing his clean hands and quick handballs setting up teammates running into goal. He took a nice contested mark in the first quarter converting a nice set shot goal which he would repeat in the second quarter. What really impressed with Idun was that he kept presenting and making a contest but also recovering from contests to fire off quick and clean handballs. Idun was later moved to defence where he was not as influential but still played his role well. Idun finished with 10 disposals and two goals. 

Gippsland powers to first finals win in six years with terrific victory over Geelong

GIPPSLAND Power are through to the preliminary for the first time since 2012, after knocking off the Geelong Falcons by 35 points. The Power had a fight on their hands after kicking the first four goals of the game, and lead by just 16 points at the final break, but powered home in the final term.

The first score of the day came courtesy of a Tye Hourigan error, marking on the goal line but then kicking between the behinds to force a rushed behind. Gippsland captain Xavier Duursma had about five touches in the opening few minutes and his run handed Josh Smith the opening goal of the game. The next clearance inside 50 saw the unbelievable talents of Irving Mosquito get boot to ball with class in the square and Gippsland had two majors on the board.

Geelong were still winning the football but the Gippsland defence was up to the task. Despite a good inside 50, Gippsland rushed it down the other end and big Rylan Henkel kicked a goal off a couple of steps and Gippsland was on fire. Noah Gown‘s aerial prowess was on show with a towering mark, but his decision to play on from the 35m set shot was surprising, however he found Leo Connolly who snapped a goal to make it four on the trot.

Blake Schlensog had clean hands off the deck and kick inside 50 but hit-up a Gippsland opponent. Ben Morton won a crucial one-on-one deep in defence, keeping his feet but did not realise he had time and space to his left, he handballed back in-board to Baxter Mensch who had a shot but it cannoned into the woodwork.

Keidan Rayner was producing some nice moves through midfield, sidestepping his opponents and kicking cleanly inside 50. Connor Idun lead hard from a quick snap on the boundary to mark on the ground. His set shot was perfect off the boot and got Gippsland on the board in the opening term. Mensch took a good mark one-on-one on 50, gave off the handball to Jay Dahlhaus, but the ball was rushed across the line by Hourigan. some great work by Dahlhaus saw him break a few tackles, handball to the free man in Idun and he kicked to Schlensog’s advantage 15m out, delivering the goal. to reduce the margin back to single digits. It did not last long, however with Smith taking a good mark and converting the set shot for his second major.

The second quarter started like the first, with Gippsland getting an early inside 50 and Duursma getting on the end of it with a great set shot goal. Sam Walsh got involved with a quick handpass to Brayden Ham in defence, but the kick was smothered and Bailey Beck pounced. Beck had a nice shot on goal but it bounced to the left and missed. A smothered kick off Riley Baldi‘s boot almost saw Geelong make the Power pay, with Charlie Harris snapping from 15m out, but spraying the attempt.

Charlie Sprague did not make the same mistake, being opportunistic with a fantastic snap to get the Falcons on the board and keep the momentum balanced. Sam Conway was winning some big hitouts through the ruck and Sam Walsh was getting involved everywhere. He won the football at the stoppage and cleared to a wing, then marked at half-forward. His shot on goal dropped short, but was marked in a big pack by Idun, who booted his second goal of the game.

One could sense the tide was turning, with Geelong getting more of the football forward of centre. Sprague had another chance from a good mark, but he went too close to the man on the mark and his set shot went out on the full. Just as it appeared to be that way, Oscar Brownless had a late tackle on Matthew McGannon for a downfield free. Harvey Neocleous made no mistake and kicked the goal. The Power pressure was mounting and it lead to a mistake on the goal line with Cooper Cartledge trying to rush the ball through but was tackled by Harrison Pepper. Lucky for the Geelong defence, Pepper missed the snap. It was not long before Connolly pounced on his second bending it around the body to sail one home from 40m out.

Cartledge’s work in defence was good one-on-one against Gown, beating him on multiple occasions, but unfortunately his kicking was off target with a number of clangers. Duursma had a chance from a set shot early in the piece, but got too close to the mark and tugged it to the left for a behind. Tempers flared a touch when a non-malicious but late all the same, push by Henkel on Keidan Rayner saw the Power ruck go into the umpire’s book. Ham had been quiet in the first half, but made it count with his set shot from outside 50, with a perfectly weighted kick to cut the deficit to 15 points early in the third. Caleb Serong was another who was not up to his usual high production standards in the first half, but had a chance in the third quarter with a snap that just missed.

Schlensog took a big mark at half-forward and had no hesitation in lining up for the set shot, but it drifted to the left and was punched across the line. The big man took another big grab moments later, and then a long bomb into the goal square off the next possession saw Walsh pounce and turn one way and then the other to get boot to ball. The goal umpire extraordinarily signalled it had been touched before changing his mind and calling it a goal after Walsh celebrated with teammates. Kyle Reid signalled he had indeed touched it, but with no goal review, the major stood and the Falcons were up to their ears in the contest. Everything was building towards a huge finish to the game with Gippsland still in front, but Geelong charging home. A great tackle from Sprague on the siren exemplified how much the Falcons had lifted in the term.

The momentum quickly shifted early in the final term with a great one-on-one mark and goal to Serong from the goal square. A few minutes later a Mosquito tackle at half-forward was rewarded and almost resulted in a goal to Beck, but the shot just missed. Nick Lowden also missed a chance running into goal, but Gippsland had the momentum. Lachlan Smith did well to lock up Mosquito inside 50 and clear the ball from danger. The Power fans could sense a preliminary final spot was almost there, and when Pepper ran into goal and nailed it, the crowd went up. A great chase by Duursma on Walsh resulted in a less than effective kick, with the Gippsland leader showing the way. If the nail was not already in the coffin, it certainly was when Beck kicked a running goal midway through the quarter.

Henkel received a free kick and converted the set shot, letting the Falcons defenders know about the score. Gippsland was home and hosed and through to a preliminary final. Gippsland was supremely confident, so much so Smith had a crack from the centre square and made the distance, but the accuracy was just to the right. Matthew McGannon‘s work off half-back throughout the game was consistent throughout, as was Boadie Motton in the midfield. Mosquito missed his chance for a second not long after, just spraying a flying shot on the goal. Sprague had a crack in the dying minutes but also missed. A 50m penalty to Ham saw the exciting forward finish the game with two and be among the best once again. While he did not have the points on Cartledge for the day, Gown kicked a late on for the Power.

Gippsland Power 5.1 | 8.3 | 9.5 | 13.10 (88)
Geelong Falcons 2.3 | 4.7 | 6.9 | 7.11 (53)

Gippsland: Josh Smith 2, Leo Connolly 2, Rylan Henkel 2, Xavier Duursma, Irving Mosquito, Harvey Neocleous, Caleb Serong, Harrison Pepper, Noah Gown.
Geelong: Connor Idun 2, Brayden Ham 2, Charlie Sprague, Blake Schlensog, Sam Walsh.

ADC BEST:

Gippsland: Xavier Duursma, Leo Connolly, Rylan Henkel, Josh Smith, Matthew McGannon, Tye Hourigan
Geelong: Cooper Cartledge, Brayden Ham, Baxter Mensch, Lachlan Smith, Connor Idun, Charlie Sprague

2018 AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year announced

GIPPSLAND Power and Murray Bushrangers make up one third of the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year, with four nominees each in the side. Every side except Eastern Ranges is represented in the team, with minor premiers Dandenong Stingrays (three), Calder Cannons (two), Geelong Falcons (two), Northern Knights (two), Oakleigh Chargers (two) and Western Jets (two) all having multiple nominees. Bendigo Pioneers and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels have one nominee in the starting team each.

Gippsland Power has plenty of talented bottom-agers, but its four National Combine invitees made our Team of the Year in 2018, lead by captain Xavier Duursma, over-ager Matthew McGannon, and bookends Kyle Reid and Noah Gown. Murray also had four nominees with key forward Hudson Garoni, reliable midfielder Ely Smith, the versatile Jordon Butts, and bottom-ager Lachlan Ash, all making the side. Dandenong Stingrays trio, Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman provide the ruck and forward depth, while captain Campbell Hustwaite has had a superb season.

Amongst the sides with dual nominations are Calder Cannons, with co-captain Mitch Podhajski and serial rebounder Lucas Cavallaro making the side after consistent seasons. Geelong Falcons co-captain Sam Walsh is no surprise in the team, captaining the team with teammate, Brayden Ham his vice-captain. GWV Rebels’ forward Charlie Wilson is the sole Rebel in the side, but his eight nominations – equal with Walsh and Ham – have earned him vice-captain with Ham.

Northern Knights duo, Tom McKenzie and Josh D’Intinosante have made the side, with McKenzie being a rare inclusion given he has missed a lot of football due to school commitments. But the football he has played, he has starred and has earned a place in the side. Oakleigh Chargers also have two nominees in the team despite most of their side missing at times, with Jack Ross and Trent Bianco impressing when at TAC Cup level, making the Team of the Year.

The remaining members of the best 24 are Western Jets duo, Xavier O’Halloran and Connor Thar, as well as the sole Bendigo Pioneers nominee, Noah Wheeler, who slots onto a half-back flank. Much like the All-Australian side, the three bottom-agers in Ash, Bianco and D’Intinosante have been named on the bench.

AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week nominations:

8: Brayden Ham, Sam Walsh, Charlie Wilson
7: Campbell Hustwaite, Ely Smith
6: Noah Gown, Mitch Podhajski, Noah Wheeler
5: Lachlan Ash, Xavier Duursma, Jack Ross, Connor Thar, Bailey Williams
4: Trent Bianco, Riley Bowman, Jordon Butts, Lachlan Cavallaro, Josh D’Intinosante, Hudson Garoni, Matthew McGannon, Tom McKenzie, Xavier O’Halloran, Kyle Reid, Liam Stocker

In the Second Team of the Year, Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets all have three nominees each to fill out more than 60 per cent of the team. Dandenong Stingrays, Murray Bushrangers and Sandringham Dragons each have two nominees, while Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power and GWV Rebels have a sole nominee in each in the team. Bendigo Pioneers is the only side without a nominee in the Second Team of the Year.

Eastern Ranges’ Ben Cardamone is the only player with four Team of the Week nominations to miss out on the Team of the Year, so he captains the Second Team of the Year. There are five bottom-agers who have made the side, with Ryan Byrnes, Adam Carafa, Jye Chalcraft, Mitch Mellis and Sam Flanders all earning their places in the Second Team of the Year.

 

AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year 48-man squad announced

WITH the conclusion of the TAC Cup season, AFL Draft Central has released its 48-man squad for the TAC Cup Team of the Year. The AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year takes into account the top performers across the TAC Cup season, not incorporating any performances at school football or National Under 18 Championships, which is why some top-end stars that have missed most of the season through school football such as Bailey SmithNed McHenry and Ben King have not been included. In fact, just three players made the team from school football, with Tom McKenzie the most remarkable, making four Team of the Week nominations from six games, having played the least of any player.

For our TAC Cup Team of the Year, we will construct two 24-player squads with the Team of the Year, and the Second Team of the Year, rewarding all those who have performed strongly across the course of the season. The Team of the Year is worked out first and foremost by our TAC Cup Team of the Week nominations, with all players in the team having at least FOUR Team of the Week nominations. The Second Team of the Year squad is made up of players with between TWO and FOUR nominations.

In terms of club-by-club nominations, Murray Bushrangers has the most, with six players making the squad of 48, while top four sides, Dandenong Stingrays, Gippsland Power and Oakleigh Chargers, all five. The Calder Cannons and Western Jets are also among the sides with five nominees each. Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights had four nominees, while Eastern Ranges and Sandringham Dragons had three each. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels (two) and Bendigo Pioneers (one) round out the remaining sides. The AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Year will be announced on Friday.

ADC TAC CUP TEAM OF THE YEAR FULL SQUAD:

Bendigo [1]: Noah Wheeler

Calder [5]: Lucas Cavallaro, Mitch Podhajski, Jake Riccardi, Lachlan Sholl, Curtis Taylor

Dandenong [5]: Riley Bowman, Zac Foot, Campbell Hustwaite, Lachlan McDonnell, Bailey Williams

Eastern [3]: Ben Cardamone, Mitch Mellis, Kye Quirk

Geelong [4]: Brayden Ham, Baxter Mensch, Blake Schlensog, Sam Walsh

Gippsland [5]: Xavier Duursma, Sam Flanders, Noah Gown, Matthew McGannon, Kyle Reid

GWV [2]: Jed Hill, Charlie Wilson

Murray [6]: Lachlan Ash, Jordon Butts, Jye Chalcraft, Hudson Garoni, Ely Smith, Mathew Walker

Northern [4]: Adam Carafa, Josh D’Intinosante, Tom McKenzie, Stefan Uzelac

Oakleigh [5]: Trent Bianco, Jake Gasper, Xavier O’Neill, Isaac Quaynor, Jack Ross

Sandringham [3]: Ryan Byrnes, James Rendell, Liam Stocker

Western [5]: Buku Khamis, Xavier O’Halloran, Stefan Radovanovic, Connor Thar, Jack Watkins

The run home: Gippsland Power

GIPPSLAND Power have been the surprise packet in 2018, sitting second on the TAC Cup table with two rounds to go. The Power always had a strong core of bottom-age players coming through, but the ability for the top-agers to provide strength and leadership, and the bottom-agers to provide not only depth, but equal talent to the top-agers has helped the Power to the position they are in. Arguably they should be even more distanced in second, with draws against the Northern Knights and Calder Cannons, and a shock loss to Bendigo Pioneers one of only two losses for the season – the other was to Dandenong Stingrays.

Wins: 10
Losses: 2
Draws: 2
Position: 2nd
Points For: 1192 (2nd)
Points Against: 779 (2nd)
Percentage: 153
Points: 44

Fixtures:

R15: vs. Murray Bushrangers – MARS Stadium
R16: vs. Eastern Ranges – Morwell Recreation Reserve

National Combine Invitations: [4] Xavier Duursma, Matthew McGannon, Irving Mosquito, Kyle Reid

State Combine Invitations: [2] Noah Gown, Austin Hodge

Gippsland take on Murray Bushrangers in the opening game of the Triple Header at MARS Stadium on Saturday, before finishing its season with a home game against Eastern Ranges. The Power just need one win to lock up second spot given their percentage is far superior to that of Sandringham Dragons. Even two losses might be enough given Sandringham plays Dandenong Stingrays and Oakleigh Chargers, but regardless, they have their fate in their own hands. With a bye over the Wildcard Round, Gippsland is set to play either the Western Jets, Calder Cannons, Northern Knights or Geelong Falcons depending on results, with a potential preliminary final against Sandringham Dragons. Captain Xavier Duursma has lead from the front this season and firms as a potential first round pick, while Irving Mosquito‘s ceiling ensures Hawthorn will have to pay a pretty penny for him. Matthew McGannon has reignited recruiters interest in him by earning a National Combine invitation, while Kyle Reid and Noah Gown have been consistent bookends this season. The likes of Riley Baldi, Fraser Phillips and Josh Smith have added to the remarkable bottom-age talent at the Power which features Caleb Serong, Sam Flanders and Brock Smith in what quite frankly can only be described as a “scary good” team in 2019.

Top Fives:

Disposals:

1 – Riley Baldi – 255 (17th overall)
2 – Bailey Beck – 251
3 – Boadie Motton – 250
4 – Austin Hodge – 225
5 – Bailey Patterson – 209

Marks:

1 – Noah Gown – 76 (eq. 3rd overall)
2 – Bailey Beck – 68
3 – Matthew McGannon – 65
4 – Kyle Reid – 62
5 – Riley Baldi – 51
5 – Ryan Sparkes – 51

Contested Possessions:

1 – Austin Hodge – 128 (14th overall)
2 – Riley Baldi – 127
3 – Boadie Motton – 119
4 – Xavier Duursma – 102
5 – Irving Mosquito – 85

Tackles:

1 – Bailey Beck – 67 (eq. 14th overall)
2 – Jake Van Der Pligt – 62
3 – Austin Hodge – 55
4 – Boadie Motton – 53
5 – Ryan Sparkes – 50

Hitouts:

1 – Rylan Henkel – 152 (11th overall)
2 – Josh Smith – 97
3 – Marcus Toussaint – 40
4 – Noah Gown – 31
5 – Josh Wykes – 30

Clearances:

1 – Riley Baldi – 57 (eq. 6th overall)
2 – Austin Hodge – 36
3 – Boadie Motton – 33
4 – Irving Mosquito – 28
5 – Xavier Duursma – 26

Inside 50s:

1 – Irving Mosquito – 45 (eq. 14th overall)
2 – Riley Baldi – 43
3 – Xavier Duursma – 41
3 – Noah Gown – 41
5 – Josh Smith – 40
5 – Bailey Beck – 40

Rebounds:

1 – Kyle Reid – 35 (eq. 19th overall)
2 – Ryan Sparkes – 34
3 – Bailey Patterson – 32
4 – Matthew McGannon – 30
4 – Tye Hourigan – 30

Goals:

1 – Noah Gown – 22 (4th overall)
2 – Sam Flanders – 18 (eq. 7th overall)
2 – Josh Smith – 18 (eq. 7th overall)
4 – Austin Hodge – 13
4 – Irving Mosquito – 13

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 14

IN the last school football affected round of TAC Cup action, some top sides managed to overcome challenges from their opponents to get the four points, while others combated the challenges of high winds.

Sandringham Dragons 9.12 (66) defeated Eastern Ranges 8.8 (56)

By: Scott Dougan

On a cold, blustery day in Box Hill, the second-placed Dragons were first to strike against the Eastern Ranges, with Kyle Yorke converting successfully through the big sticks after taking a strong mark inside 50. Chayce Black responded for the Ranges 10 minutes later after the two teams found it hard to score. James Rendell and Ryan Byrnes impressed early, gathering plenty of possessions around the ground. The tight contest continued throughout the first quarter before Rendell was able to put the Dragons nine points clear at the first break.

The Dragons continued their dominance with the first two goals of the second quarter and increased their lead to 23 points only 15 minutes in. The Ranges weren’t going down without a fight, with Adrian Kalcovski steering through his team’s first of the quarter. Jack Kritopoulos was exciting inside the forward half for the Ranges, bagging two very important goals late in the term, cutting the margin to just three points at the main break. 

The third quarter turned out to be a slugfest, with both teams finding it incredibly difficult to score. Corey Watts was rock-solid down back for the Dragons, taking several intercept marks throughout the quarter. Bottom-ager Mitch Mellis continued to find plenty of the pill around the ground for the Ranges.

The Ranges started the final term in terrific fashion, hitting the front within the first five minutes with goals to James Blanck, Kritopoulos and Devlin Brereton. The Ranges were 13 points up before Oscar McMaster goaled and kept the Dragons within striking range. Nicholas Stamatis put the Dragons ahead in the twentieth minute after a blistering five-minute patch that included two goals. Rendell finished his spectacular day off with a brilliant goal that sealed the match for the Dragons in the final minutes of the game.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 8.19 (67) defeated Northern Knights 8.2 (50)

By: Michael Alvaro

A rioting third quarter effort helped ensure Dandenong Stingrays maintained its two-game buffer atop the TAC Cup ladder with a hard-earned win over a gallant Northern Knights outfit at Preston City Oval.

The home side shot out of the blocks kicking against the wind with three straight goals in the opening term, including one to 16 year old prospect Jaden Collins. But the Stingrays kept within reach with a wasteful, but much needed 1.5 to find themselves only seven points down at the first break. Northern managed to get the better of their opponents on the scoreboard once again in the second quarter, albeit against the run of play. Another two majors saw them hold five of the first half’s seven goals, as a late Corey Ellison six-pointer doubled Dandenong’s total of six behinds for the term.

The Stingrays have seldom found themselves behind this season, and the ladder leaders flexed their muscles to pile on six goals in the ever important ‘premiership quarter’, while keeping the Knights scoreless. Forwards Bailey Williams and Finlay Bayne each bagged two goals in the term as the ‘Rays pulled away to a 34-point lead at the final change. With the wind at their backs, Northern kept their opponents goalless and did their best to bridge the gap with two goals from overager Joel Naylor, but it was too little, too late as Dandenong held on for a 17 point victory.

Astonishingly, the Knights won three of the four quarters but were let down by a third term lapse. Bottom-agers Ryan Gardner and Sam Philp were major ball winners for the home side with 27 and 29 respectively, while key defenders Stefan Uzelac (17 disposals, eight marks) and Joel Randall (25 disposals, five marks) were rocks while under enormous pressure.

For the winners, Bayne was prolific forward of centre with 31 disposals, nine marks, eight tackles and 2.2, while Williams chimed in with two majors of his own from 14 disposals and four marks. Midfielders Campbell Hustwaite (26 disposals, 10 tackles) and Sam Fletcher (24 disposals, 14 tackles) were industrious in the clinches, while Lachlan Young was named best afield with his stirring 17 disposals and five contested marks.

 

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

By: Peter Williams

Gippsland Power has locked up a top four spot in this year’s TAC Cup competition with two rounds remaining after defeating Oakleigh Chargers by five points in a thrilling contest at Warrawee Park. The Power jumped the Chargers in blustery conditions early on, booting 3.3 to 1.1 to lead by 14 points in weather that looked like goals would be at a premium. Over the next two quarters, Oakleigh reversed the momentum and seemed to have all the control, with nine scoring shots to one, resulting in five goals on the board for the home team. In fact, Gippsland’s Luke Williams booted the final goal of the third term in the twentieth minute – the first Power score since the opening quarter. The Power came out firing in the final term, booting five goals to two, with the final of those – a Noah Gown set shot from 15m out – handing Gippsland the lead. With the ball down Oakleigh’s end in the dying seconds, Noah Answerth thumped the ball onto the boot and it bounced through from almost 60m out. The only problem? The siren had gone before he had disposed of it, giving Gippsland a vital four points.

Captain Xavier Duursma lead from the front with 29 disposals, seven marks, two clearances, eight inside 50s and four rebounds, while Matthew McGannon collected 21 touches and four marks in a solid contested effort from the overager. Forwards, Noah Gown and Sam Flanders were busy once again, booting two goals each and providing a threat in the air with a combined three contested marks, and 11 all up. Fraser Phillips was one that caught the eye up forward, dominant early and booted a fantastic goal in the opening term, he also had five marks and four inside 50s.

For Oakleigh, bottom-ager Trent Bianco brought his own ball to the footy, racking up 40 disposals, eight marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and seven rebounds, while Matthew Fewings (26 disposals and five marks) and Lucas Westwood (22 disposals, five marks and seven rebounds) were also prominent. Up forward, Daniel Scala booted four goals, while Jake Gasper kicked his regulation two goals while pushing up to the wing throughout the match. Top picks, Riley Collier-Dawkins and Isaac Quaynor had some eye-catching moments, while Sam Harte was also busy.

 

Calder Cannons 14.8 (92) defeated Murray Bushrangers 10.12 (72)

Calder Cannons upset the Murray Bushrangers in Albury, storming home in the final term to record an impressive 20-point victory. In a see-sawing contest, Murray had early chances in the first term but booted six behinds to the Cannons’ one. Calder took control in the second term, piling on 5.5 to 3.1 to head into the main break with an 11-point lead. By the final quarter, the Bushrangers regained the ascendancy and a narrow lead at the break, heading into three quarter time with a three-point advantage. But Calder put the foot down in the final quarter to blitz the home side, with eight goals to four, including three majors to co-captain Mitch Podhajski changing the course of the game.

Podhajski was a clear best on ground with 35 disposals, 10 marks (three contested), seven inside 50s, two rebounds and four goals, leading the Cannons to one of their most impressive victories of the season. Lachlan Sholl (31 disposals, 11 marks and five rebounds) and Brodie Newman (25 disposals, eight marks and six rebounds) were crucial in defence, while Curtis Taylor bounced back from a quiet week last week to post 21 disposals, four marks, five clearances, three rebounds and a goal. Patrick Mahoney (three goals), Daniel Mott (24 disposals, five clearances and six inside 50s) and Ismail Moussa (24 disposals, eight marks, five clearances and four inside 50s) were others who stood out.

For the Bushrangers, midfield dynamo Ely Smith was again among the big ball winners, amassing 32 disposals (17 contested), five clearances and eight inside 50s, while Dylan Clarke had 23 disposals, six clearances and four inside 50s. Monster forward Hudson Garoni worked hard for 23 disposals, 10 marks, four inside 50s and two goals, while Jye Chalcraft was again impressive with 21 touches, three marks, six clearances and four inside 50s. Lachlan Ash (20 disposals, six marks and five rebounds) was good in transition, while Will Chandler was electrifying with 14 disposals (100 per cent efficiency), five marks, four inside 50s and four goals.

 

Geelong Falcons 13.16 (94) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 2.1 (13)

Geelong Falcons might not have had the season they were after, but their demolition of the competitive Bendigo Pioneers showed just what they are capable of at full strength. The Falcons put in one of their finest performances of the year, to boot four goals to zero in the first term, and by the main break, had eight majors on the board to Bendigo’s one. Geelong continued their advantage after half-time, booting three goals from eight scoring shots, then holding the Pioneers scoreless for the second quarter in the match, booting 2.3 themselves to win by 81 points.

Co-captains Sam Walsh and Oscar Brownless lead from the front, recording the most disposals in the match. Walsh was terrific with 33 disposals, six marks, two clearances, four inside 50s and four rebounds, missing two chances on goal. Brownless had 27 disposals, four marks, seven clearances, five inside 50s and five rebounds, while up forward, Brayden Ham continues to put his hand up with another 20 disposals, 12 marks and five goals to be the dominant force up forward. Ben Morton was important around the clearances, racking up five, while Sam Torpy had five inside 50s and booted a goal.

For the Pioneers, Noah Wheeler was the top disposal winner with 20 touches, as well as six marks and six rebounds playing off half-back, while Jacob Atley was also impressive with three rebounds from 15 disposals and three marks. Daniel Clohesy had a team-high four clearances, while Liam Marciano was one of the more prominent Pioneers with 18 disposals, three marks, two clearances and two inside 50s.

 

Western Jets 11.14 (80) defeated Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels 3.6 (24)

By: Ed Pascoe

The Jets and Rebels were unfortunate to get horrid windy conditions for their game at Williamstown where it was not just the players, but the umpires that copped it too. The boundary umpires had the worst of it, often throwing the ball in to have it almost coming back to them which resulted in numerous back-to-back throw ins which frustrated just about everyone and made the contest a real slog for both teams. It all came down to execution going forward and it was the Jets who took the most of their opportunities. Handballs and kicks rarely hit the target throughout the game but some players still stood out with their intent despite the conditions.

The Rebels did not have many winners throughout the day. Goal sneak Charlie Wilson (11 disposals) was not helped with the conditions and tried his absolute best when it did come inside 50. Down back Scott Carlin (21), Jacob Lohmann (19) and James Cleaver (17) all provided good rebound and bottom age midfielders Cooper Craig-Peters (24) and Ethan Harvey (20) worked hard through the midfield.

The Jets captain Xavier O’Halloran (11 disposals) had a quieter game by his standards but he was helped through the midfield with the likes of Daly Andrews (27) running amuck on the wing and the grunt of Stefan Radovanovic (16), Connor Thar (23), Jack Watkins (23) and bottom ager Darcy Cassar (20). AFL Academy member and Under-18 All Australian Buku Khamis (16) was classy at half-back with his ball use while it was forward Daniel Pantalleresco who was all the rage with his 5 goals with most of them kicked extremely well considering the conditions, he did it all at ground level and in the air and he certainly would have gained the attention of recruiters.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 13

IN the Round 13 AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week, some creative liberties must be taken on a team where it was hard to fit so many like-minded players into the side. So many medium forwards and defenders impressed that we opted with a smaller back and front six. Bailey Williams who played up forward goes into the ruck in this hypothetical team in order to squeeze the extra medium forward in, while the bench is filled with quite a few midfielders who stood out as well.

Gippsland Power and Murray Bushrangers had the most nominations for Round 13 with three apiece, whilst the four other winners, as well as Calder Cannons and Western Jets, had two nominees each. Bendigo Pioneers, Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights all had the one player make the Team of the Week this round.

Backing up their efforts last week, key forward Noah Gown and half-back Matthew McGannon return to the side, as does key defender Kyle Reid who has featured in the team on a number of occasions. Their opponents on the day, the Northern Knights, had the one player in the side with bottom-age small forward Josh D’Intinosante squeezing into the forward pocket. Lachlan Potter was considered unlucky not to make the team and would be a hypothetical emergency for the side.

Murray Bushrangers also had three players who all have smart forward craft make the team. Mathew Walker lines up at full-forward after a six-goal haul, while Will Chandler‘s three goals, and Jye Chalcraft‘s work in transition was enough to see them all make the team. Their opponents Western Jets had two players in the side, with midfielder Jack Watkins and defender Stefan Radovanovic both starting in the team. Calder Cannons were the other side that had two nominees despite their loss, with co-captain Mitch Podhajski making the team yet again, as did defender Lucas Cavallaro who steps up to play a key position role in defence.

Dandenong Stingrays had two players make the side from their victory over the Cannons, with Williams starting ruck, and captain Campbell Hustwaite returning to the side after yet another strong performance. Finlay Bayne was one who was a hypothetical emergency, just missing out on the best 22 for this round. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels big win over Eastern Ranges saw the ever-consistent forward Charlie Wilson make the side, as well as half-back Matty Lloyd who picked up 37 disposals. Eastern Ranges’ bottom-age midfielder Mitch Mellis was one of the Ranges top players on the day and made the best 22 for the round again.

Oakleigh Chargers enjoyed a big win over the Geelong Falcons, with Riley Collier-Dawkins among the best, while Jake Gasper‘s outstanding form continued pushing up the ground and still booting three goals. Falcons star and co-captain Sam Walsh was his usual consistent self and made the team again. Sandringham Dragons had two players make the side after their win over Bendigo Pioneers, with Liam Stocker starring through the midfield yet again, and Ryan Byrnes impressive as well. Bendigo defender Jackson Williams makes his debut in the side after standing out in defence with eight rebounds. Dragons key forward James Rendell was the third hypothetical emergency in the team.

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 13

IN an action packed round of TAC Cup football, the top few sides had important wins to extend their lead on the competition, while others gained some much needed points.

Eastern Ranges 5.8 (38) def. by Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels 13.13 (91)

GWV Rebels claimed their fourth win of the season, with a comprehensive four-quarter victory over Eastern Ranges at Box Hill. The Rebels took control early, although could not make the most of their opportunities in the first term, booting 3.6, and then heading into half-time with a score of 6.9 to 2.2. The third quarter was where the Rebels did all the damage, with Charlie Wilson heading into the final break with four majors after two goals in each of the second and third terms. The Ranges rallied in the final term and only conceded one more point than they scored, to go down by 53 points.

Wilson was the star for the Rebels, booting 5.3 from 19 disposals and 12 marks (two contested), as well as six inside 50s. Matty Lloyd racked up a massive 37 disposals, as he roamed the wings, working between the defensive and offensive arcs for six inside 50s, six rebounds and a third quarter goal. Lochie Dawson (28 disposals, six marks, four clearances, two inside 50s and four rebounds) and Matt Schnerring (27 disposals, five marks, two clearances, five inside 50s and an important intercept and goal in the first term) were others who found plenty of the footy.

Mitch Mellis was one of Eastern’s shining lights, racking up 33 disposals, moving between the inside and outside using quick hands on his way to seven clearances, three inside 50s and three rebounds. Cooper Leon found space to boot a goal to go with his 28 touches, five marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and five rebounds. Joel Burleigh and Kye Quirk both had 20 disposals, while Burleigh booted a goal and Quirk had four rebounds. James Blanck was strong in defence before switching to attack with six marks from 18 disposals.

 

Murray Bushrangers 17.7 (109) def. Western Jets 9.8 (62)

It took all four quarters, but Murray Bushrangers finally shook off the Western Jets with an eight goals to two final term at Wangaratta on Saturday. The Jets led at quarter time by six points before the home side booted the only four goals of the second term to lead by 16 points at the main break. The Jets cut the deficit to 11 by the final break, before the Bushrangers stormed home in the final term to run away with the 47-point victory. Mathew Walker booted four goals in the final term to seal the deal.

Walker was the key player for the Bushrangers, nailing six goals from 14 disposals and eight marks (one contested). Along with Walker, Kyle Clarke booted two majors and had 21 disposals, two marks and six inside 50s, while Zane Barzen continued his good form with two majors from 14 disposals and six marks. Jye Chalcraft (17 disposals, four marks, four clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds) and Will Chandler (11 disposals, seven marks and three goals) were also among the Bushrangers’ best in the win.

For the Jets, Jack Watkins was the major ball winner with 27 disposals, eight marks, seven clearances and three inside 50s, while bottom-ager Darcy Cassar continues to rack up the football in transition through the midfield, winning half of his possessions in a contest, finishing with 25 disposals, eight marks (three contested), three clearances, five inside 50s and one goal. Connor Thar was the other busy ball winner with 25 disposals, five marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and a rebound, while Buku Khamis and Stefan Radovanovic had a combined 36 disposals, seven marks and seven rebounds.

 

Northern Knights 10. 8 (68) def. by Gippsland Power 13. 7 (85)

After playing out a draw in their early encounter at Morwell, the Northern Knights and Gippsland Power went to do battle once again, this time at Preston City Oval. While the Knights had the home ground advantage and started strongly with the breeze, they eventually fell to the second placed Power. Northern booted five goals to two in the opening term, before Gippsland responded with five goals to one in the second to hit the front at the main break. The Knights regained the lead with an inaccurate 3.6 to 1.1. in the third term to hold a 10-point advantage over the visitors. But the last quarter belonged to the Power, coming home with a wet sail, Gippsland booted 5.3 to 1.0 to run out 17-point winners.

Despite challenging weather at times, Bailey Beck was clean with the ball, picking up 18 disposals, eight marks and three inside 50s and was named Gippsland’s best, while captain Xavier Duursma again stood tall, racking up 20 disposals, three marks, three clearances and booting two goals, while also being awarded five free kicks for getting in and under. Matthew McGannon backed up his good form from last week with 25 disposals, 11 marks (one contested) and four rebounds, while Austin Hodge had 24 touches, four marks, seven clearances, eight inside 50s and a goal. Key forward Noah Gown made it back-to-back hauls with five majors once again.

For the Knights, bottom-ager Josh D’Intinosante was busy with 21 disposals, two marks, seven clearances and two goals, while Sam Philp found plenty of the pill with 26 disposals (16 contested), eight clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Tom McKenzie had 20 touches, three marks, three inside 50s, four rebounds and a goal, while Ryan Sturgess had five rebounds and two inside 50s to go with his 18 touches and three marks. Harrison Grace was prominent with 15 disposals, two marks and five inside 50s, as was Mitch Wild with 15 disposals, eight marks and five rebounds.

 

Calder Cannons 6.6 (42) def. by Dandenong Stingrays 12.10 (82)

The ladder-leading Dandenong Stingrays survived an almighty scare from Calder Cannons at RAMS Arena in blustery conditions to defeat the likely top eight side by 40 points. Leading by just two at the final break, the Stingrays put the foot down in the final term and did what they have done all year – found a way to win. They booted seven goals to one in the final term to run over the top of the plucky Cannons and maintain their place at the top of the table with an eight-point gap on second placed Gippsland Power.

Captain Campbell Hustwaite was a big performer once again, amassing 27 disposals, three marks, seven clearances and seven inside 50s, getting the job done inside and out. Finlay Bayne played one of his best games for the season upon his return to the side, picking up 25 disposals, five marks, four clearances, eight inside 50s and booted a goal. Teammate Sam Fletcher found plenty of the footy again with 23 touches, five marks, eight clearances, three inside 50s and a goal. Bailey Williams controlled the airways again with eight marks (four contested), 17 disposals, five inside 50s and two goals.

Co-captain Mitch Podhjaski played an equally inspirational game, racking up 33 touches, six marks, seven clearances, two inside 50s and booted a goal to be one of the Cannons’ best, while Lachlan Sholl was strong in defence with Brodie Newman (26 disposals and four rebounds), racking up 27 disposals, five marks and five rebounds. Lucas Cavallaro had a team-high eight rebounds to be a star in the back half, also amassing 25 disposals and seven marks, while Daniel Mott‘s second half of the season resurgence continued with seven inside 50s and five clearances to go with his 24 disposals.

 

Geelong Falcons 2.5 (17) def. by Oakleigh Chargers 7.9 (51)

Oakleigh Chargers won an old-fashioned scrap at Colac, holding Geelong Falcons to just one goal after quarter time while booting seven majors themselves in a 34-point win. The Falcons booted the only goal of the first term to start proceedings, before Oakleigh got back into the rhythm to pile on six consecutive goals to all but end the contest. Oakleigh kept its top four hopes alive with the low-scoring victory and will build confidence from the win.

Jake Gasper continued his great form with another three majors, picking up 18 disposals, one contested mark, four clearances and three inside 50s, while Josh May won plenty of the footy with 24 disposals, three clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds. Isaac Quaynor stood out and was named the winners’ best, racking up 21 disposals, one mark, two clearances, four inside 50s and one rebound playing up the ground. Fellow Collingwood Next Generation Academy member Atu Bosenavulagi was also strong, racking up 17 disposals (11 contested), two marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds.

For Geelong, it was the usual suspects standing out, with Sam Walsh having another 33 disposals, three marks, six tackles, six clearances and six inside 50s, while Brayden Ham‘s consistent form saw him rack up five rebounds from 20 disposals playing off half-back. Cooper Stephens was busy in the midfield with 17 disposals (13 contested) and five clearances, while Oscar Brownless (15 disposals) and Jay Dahlhaus (15 disposals and a massive 17 tackles) were prominent, as was Charlie Harris (19 disposals and 12 tackles).

 

Sandringham Dragons 6.12 (48) def. Bendigo Pioneers 6.4 (40)

It was not a pretty win, but they got the four points to take to the bank and the Dragons will find themselves still in the hunt for a top four spot. Led by Liam Stocker, the Dragons had to fight hard to overcome the dogged Bendigo Pioneers, booting the first three goals of the game before the Pioneers booted three of the next four, Holding a slender lead at the final break after Bendigo came hard at them in the third term, the Dragons managed to hold on in a quarter which saw just three behinds scored and the home side enjoying the eight-point victory.

Stocker was best on ground yet again for the Dragons, picking up 35 disposals, four marks, 12 inside 50s, nine clearances and booting a goal. Ryan Byrnes had his fair share of the footy racking up 26 disposals (17 contested), six clearances, two inside 50s and three rebounds), while big man James Rendell had 18 disposals, seven marks (two contested), 20 hitouts and three clearances in a big effort around the ground. He and Andrew Courtney (33 hitouts) dominated against the smaller Bendigo rucks, while Sam Sofronidis had 26 touches, three marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and three rebounds.

For Bendigo, Noah Wheeler was the top ball winner, amassing 23 disposals, two marks, two clearances, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while Jacob Atley was clean out of defence, having four rebounds to go with his 19 disposals and six marks. Liam Marciano had 17 disposals, three marks, four clearances and five rebounds, while Flynn Perez was busy with 17 disposals, four marks, three clearances and two rounds. James Schischka returned to the team to play a key role with 16 touches, four marks and four inside 50s, while Jackson Williams had five rebounds from 16 disposals out of defence.

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 13

TAC Cup action returns this weekend with all 12 teams back at it. While some are understrength due to school football, the ladder is taking shape as just four rounds remain in the competition ahead of the new addition of a wildcard round after Round 16.

EASTERN RANGES v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

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

The opening game of the round pits two bottom four sides against each other, with the Rebels able to draw within four points of the eighth placed Northern Knights if they can win, while Eastern can draw level with Geelong Falcons and within two points of the Rebels if they can take home the four points. Eastern’s midfield has been relatively settled this year, with Joel Burleigh, Kye Quirk, Adrian Kalcovski and Mitch Mellis all busy through the middle, while Ben Cardamone and Xavier Fry have proved important in the back half. James Blanck‘s return to the side in the past week has settled the defence down, while in attack, the return of Thomas Lockman combining with Billy McCormack should provide some targets up front. For the Rebels, they have beefed up their attack, bringing in Tylar Watts and Josh Chatfield, making for an even more damaging forward line with the likes of Jed Hill, Charlie Wilson and Izaac Grant set to cause headaches for Eastern’s defence. While the half-back line of Scott Carlin and Matty Lloyd provides good rebound. It’s a 50/50 game with Eastern having the home ground advantage.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. WESTERN JETS

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

In arguably the match of the round, Murray Bushrangers hosts Western Jets up in Wangaratta where two of the top inside midfielders will go head-to-head in Ely Smith and Xavier O’Halloran. There are fantastic one-on-ones across the field with the likes of Jacob Koschitzke taking Emerson Jeka, Buku Khamis potentially lining up on Hudson Garoni, and Hamish Murphy going head-to-head with Zane Barzen. Both sides pride themselves on contested ball and speed from half-back, so it is likely to be an entertaining contest of end-to-end football. Jaden Rice is a crucial loss for the Jets on this road trip, but they have plenty of depth through the midfield, and potency up forward with Darcy Cassar, Aaron Clarke and Steven Kyriazis being sources of scoreboard pressure. Murray arguably have the best forward line in the league with Jordon Butts joining Barzen and Garoni, while Jye Chalcraft and Bailey Frauenfelder are always damaging. If the Bushrangers win they will retain third spot, while the Jets could leap frog both Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers with favourable results in other games if they take home the points.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

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

Another important top eight clash tomorrow is that between the Northern Knights and Gippsland Power. The Knights sit eighth with an eight-point buffer, but will be keen to have another win and upset the Power. The Power sit in second spot, but Murray Bushrangers are hot on their heels and with the finals approaching, a top four spot is at a premium. Last time these two sides played it was a draw at Morwell Recreation Reserve after Irving Mosquito kicked a goal in the dying seconds. Mosquito is in the team again to cause some serious headaches, while Tyrone Hayes also returns to provide some speed around the ground. Noah Gown is fresh off a five-goal haul and will be keen to impress once again at full-forward, while Sam Flanders and Austin Hodge know how to hit the scoreboard. For the Knights, they have Josh D’Intinosante and Sunny Brazier who consistently find goals, while Harrison Grace is an important inclusion at half-forward, with he and James Lucente capable of creating opportunities in the front half. Tom McKenzie and Lachlan Potter will provide plenty of run off half-back, while Matthew McGannon will look to continue his strong form from last week to carry over into this important game. Gippsland will head in as favourites, but the Knights have the speed and talent to cause an upset at home.

 

CALDER CANNONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

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

An early Sunday game at RAMS Arena is set to provide a treat with an almost full-strength Dandenong side taking on a Calder team with Curtis Taylor back in the side. Dandenong seem to be the clear benchmark this season and will go in as strong favourites, but Calder have matched it with most sides this year and have caused a number of upsets. Opposing captains Campbell Hustwaite and Mitch Podhajski could go head-to-head in the middle, both capable of running both ways and working hard to help their team gain momentum. The speed of the Stingrays might trouble the Cannons, with Zac Foot and Jai Taylor providing plenty of outside run, while Will Hamill and Sam Fletcher provide the inside hands. Bailey Williams is a monster in the air, and Riley Bowman and the returning Bailey Schmidt will push the Cannons for height. Daniel Hanna could be handed the job on Williams, while Lucas Cavallaro and Lachlan Sholl will look to be the ones rebounding from defence. Taylor is a hard match-up for any opposition up forward, and could go head-to-head with potential number one pick in 2019, Hayden Young. The Stingrays seem almost assured of the minor premiership this season, but the wind at RAMS Arena always throws up a few surprises, while the Cannons can go outright seventh with breathing space if the Power defeat the Knights.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

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

Out in the south west, Geelong Falcons will look to take advantage of mass changes for Oakleigh to snatch a win in the Falcons’ home away from home in Colac. While Ned McHenry is a big loss for the Falcons, the Chargers will have to overcome wholesale changes with players heading back to school football. Sam Walsh, Oscar Brownless and Cooper Stephens will still have a fascinating battle in midfield, with Riley Collier-Dawkins, Xavier O’Neill and Noah Answerth, while Oakleigh’s dominant forward line still has serious threats with bottom-agers Noah Anderson and Dylan Williams down there, as well as over-ager Matthew Day and top-ager Jake Gasper who have both booted bags of goals this season – Gasper last week. The strength in attack means Oakleigh will be a danger if they can control the midfield, while Geelong can control play if they win the contested ball. Connor Idun and Dane Hollenkamp will look to contain the forwards, while Brayden Ham is back at half-back where he will try and provide both offensive and defensive pressure on the opposition. Up forward, Blake Schlensog provides a target, while Baxter Mensch and Jay Dahlhaus are others who can find the ball and keep it moving forward. Despite the changes and the home ground advantage, Oakleigh would be rightfully favourites in this game, but Geelong pushed Sandringham Dragons all the way last round and will be hoping for a repeat effort this week.

 

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 will take on Bendigo Pioneers in what should be a close game on paper. The Dragons will rightfully head in as favourites, but any time a team makes 17 changes is always going to present challenges. The Pioneers have remained relatively stable and welcomed James Schischka back into the side. While the Dragons have plenty of depth and still some serious talent around the field, they will look to their next tier of players to step up in front of a home crowd. Liam Stocker will look to build on his great form of late since returning from injury, while James Rendell is back in the team to provide a tall target up front. Jai Florent and Tyson Milne are small forwards who create opportunities at ground level, while Corey Watts and Ryan Byrnes are others who have shown good signs throughout the season. For the Pioneers, Jacob Atley provides good speed and effort out of defence, and will combine well with Schischka back there. Noah Wheeler, Hunter Lawrence and Liam Marciano are always involved, while Oscar and Flynn Perez provide some excitement up forward and on the outside. A win to Sandringham could see them move past Murray into third spot, while a loss could see them drop back as far as sixth. The Pioneers can get off the bottom of the TAC Cup table with a win here.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 12

DANDENONG Stingrays and Northern Knights make up almost one third of the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 12 after the teams had strong wins over Bendigo Pioneers and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels respectively. On the other end of the scale, a narrow win for the Sandringham Dragons, meant just the one player – Angus Hanrahan – squeezed into the 22, thanks to the strong team effort, although Liam Stocker was one of the hypothetical emergencies. The Dragons’ opponents Geelong Falcons had two, while Gippsland Power, Murray Bushrangers, Oakleigh Chargers and the Western Jets all had two nominations after their round 12 win. Besides from the Falcons, other round 12 losers, Bendigo Pioneers, Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges and GWV Rebels just had the one nominee each.

For the ladder leading Stingrays, there are four players who have made the side after a big win over Bendigo. Three of the five starting midfielders are Stingrays, with Sam Fletcher, Campbell Hustwaite and Zac Foot making the side, as did mid/forward Jake Frawley who booted four first-half goals. At the same end, bottom-age Pioneers defender Braydon Vaz made the side in the back pocket. Northern Knights also had their fair share of players in the side, with Adam Carafa easily securing his spot on a wing with 37 disposals, joined by fellow midfielder Tom McKenzie, and forward Sunny Brazier. Opposition ruck, GWV Rebels’ Patrick Glanford makes his debut in the team after an impressive 38 hitouts in that game.

Geelong Falcons’ Team of the Week regulars, Sam Walsh and Brayden Ham both made the side once again, as did Gippsland Power tall forward Noah Gown and teammate Matthew McGannon (half-back). Joining McGannon at half-back is Murray Bushrangers defenders Lachlan Ash and Jacob Koschitzke. Ash has made the team on multiple occasions and slots into his regular position in defence, while Koschitzke is coming off a fantastic National Under 18 Championships and put in a strong performance for the Bushrangers.

Up the other end, Oakleigh’s damaging forward line is on show in the Team of the Week with AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Week Jake Gasper in at half-forward along with Dylan Williams. Noah Anderson narrowly missed out, although is considered unlucky given a three-goal performance but with so many good forward efforts this week it was hard to pick just six. Likewise Gippsland Power forward Irving Mosquito was also unlucky not to make the team, another hypothetical emergency for the team.

Western Jets might have had a loss, but still had two players in the team with defender Buku Khamis and Team of the Week regular Xavier O’Halloran making the side. For the other losing sides, Daniel Hanna (Calder Cannons) and Lachlan Stapleton (Eastern Ranges) also made it into the final 22 as their sides’ respective best players.