Tag: peter williams

Podcast: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 11

A NEW year marks all-new content and in 2018, AFL Draft Central will be producing a weekly podcast through the TAC Cup Girls season. Hosted by women’s football editor, Julia Montesano, the podcast will be posted each Wednesday night and will review the previous round’s games and look ahead to the following weekend. For the eleventh episode, Julia is joined by AFL Draft Central chief editor Peter Williams to review the 2018 TAC Cup Girls Grand Final!

Episode 11 now embedded here:

  Episode run down:

  • Grand Final recap
  • Review each teams’ season
  • Nominate chances for club Best and Fairests

Podcast: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 10

A NEW year marks all-new content and in 2018, AFL Draft Central will be producing a weekly podcast through the TAC Cup Girls season. Hosted by women’s football editor, Julia Montesano, the podcast will be posted each Wednesday night and will review the previous round’s games and look ahead to the following weekend. For the tenth episode, Julia is joined by AFL Draft Central chief editor Peter Williams to review the final round of TAC Cup action, as well as discuss some of the key issues raised over the weekend and preview the 2018 TAC Cup Girls Grand Final!

Episode 10 now embedded here:



Episode run down:

  • Key issues
    • Northern Knights join Geelong Falcons in Grand Final
    • Calder Cannons finish on a high
    • Reviewing the longer season
  • Round 9 review
  • Grand Final preview

Keep an eye out each Friday for the next podcast, with Julia and Peter back next week for all things TAC Cup Girls.

Podcast: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 9

A NEW year marks all-new content and in 2018, AFL Draft Central will be producing a weekly podcast through the TAC Cup Girls season. Hosted by women’s football editor, Julia Montesano, the podcast will be posted each Wednesday night and will review the previous round’s games and look ahead to the following weekend. For the ninth episode, Julia is joined by AFL Draft Central chief editor Peter Williams to review the eighth round of TAC Cup action, as well as discuss some of the key issues raised over the weekend.

Episode 8 now embedded here:


Episode run down:

  • Key issues
    • Geelong Falcons book grand final berth
    • Holly Bate‘s seven goals against Bendigo Pioneers
    • The battle for second – Grand Final possibilities
  • Round 8 review
  • Quick look at Round 9

Keep an eye out each Friday for the next podcast, with Julia and Peter back next week for all things TAC Cup Girls.

Podcast: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 8

A NEW year marks all-new content and in 2018, AFL Draft Central will be producing a weekly podcast through the TAC Cup Girls season. Hosted by women’s football editor, Julia Montesano, the podcast will be posted each Wednesday night and will review the previous round’s games and look ahead to the following weekend. For the eighth episode, Julia is joined by AFL Draft Central chief editor Peter Williams to review the seventh round of TAC Cup action, as well as discuss some of the key issues raised over the weekend.

Episode 8 now embedded here:


Episode run down:

  • Key issues
    • Dandenong Stingrays’ second win in the TAC Cup Girls competition
    • Britney Gutknecht‘s six goals against Bendigo Pioneers
    • VFLW set to kick off this weekend
  • Round 7 review
  • Quick look at Round 8

Keep an eye out each Wednesday for the next podcast, with Julia and Peter back next week for all things TAC Cup Girls.

Podcast: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 7

A NEW year marks all-new content and in 2018, AFL Draft Central will be producing a weekly podcast through the TAC Cup Girls season. Hosted by women’s football editor, Julia Montesano, the podcast will be posted each Wednesday night and will review the previous round’s games and look ahead to the following weekend. For the seventh episode, Julia is joined by AFL Draft Central chief editor Peter Williams to review the sixth round of TAC Cup action, as well as discuss some of the key issues raised over the weekend.


Episode 7 now embedded here:



Episode run down:

  • Key issues
    • Dandenong Stingrays’ first win in the TAC Cup Girls competition
    • Geelong and Northern all but secure in the grand final
    • Murray and Eastern look to bounce back after consecutive losses
  • Round 6 review
  • Quick look at Round 7

Keep an eye out each Wednesday for the next podcast, with Julia and Peter back next week for all things TAC Cup Girls.




Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 4

AFTER a one-week hiatus due to the TAC Cup’s first development weekend of the season, the TAC Cup returned with some big individual bags of goals from the key forwards and a nail-biting draw between Gippsland Power and Northern Knights. 

We had scouts watching four of the games this weekend, with a narrowed focus on the players selected in the initial Victorian representative squads for the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. 

Geelong Falcons vs. Eastern Ranges (Matt Balmer)

Geelong Falcons:

#20 Brayden Ham – The lively left footer booted three goals for the contest and certainly stood out. He has a great burst of speed and mixed with his agility around the forward 50, makes him a very tough opponent for any defender. His hands in close are pretty strong and he has the vision to be able to switch the ball when needed. He has an outstanding piece of play, with a pinpoint pass to Sam Conway inside 50 in the second quarter. A clean pick up, bounce and then goal in the opening quarter was one of his many highlights, which included a little left foot ‘na na’ that would have impressed Brian Taylor.

#22 Sam Walsh – Walsh is an absolute machine and there’s no doubt at this stage that he is by far the best midfielder in the TAC Cup. Despite not spending a lot of time in at the centre bounces, he floated around the outside collecting 39 disposals. His tackling was important during the day, including a strong tackle in the opening minute of the match. He spreads well and has a decent burst of speed when he needs to use it. Snapped a good goal in the third term and simply was everywhere throughout the match. If I had to nitpick – the right footer had a few occasions where he should’ve gone onto his left foot, but at this stage he prefers to use his more comfortable right boot. 

#30 Oscar Brownless – The possible Geelong father-son selection had a good game in the midfield, mostly starting in as an inside midfielder. His hands in close are quick and effective and he was able to begin the chain of handballs that got the Falcons moving forward. He worked hard both ways, but his best passage of play during the match came in the second quarter when he ran towards goal and nailed the shot at speed from 55m out. 

#39 Connor Idun – The Falcons mobile tall played predominantly up forward, booting two goals. His tackling was good, as was his pressure when he was around the ball. He has strong hands overhead and he showed this at one stage in the second quarter, before going back and nailing the set shot goal. Unlike some other talls, he is clean at ground level and picked the ball up on multiple times off the ‘half-volley’ with ease. 

Eastern Ranges:

#24 Kye Quirk – Was undoubtably in the Ranges’ best playing all over the ground. He found 25 disposals during the contest and had some good kicks inside 50. He still has a lot of filling out to do body size wise, but his agility and clearance work around the ground were impressive. He was willing to run hard and create a target up forward, but equally did the hard yards running back when required. He marked a ball inside 50 and then booted an impressive goal right up against the fence from 45m out.  

#31 James Blanck – The agile tall did not have a lot of the football, but his first quarter was mighty impressive and hopefully is a sign of what is to come throughout the season. He took multiple overhead marks, intercepting in front of the Geelong forwards – while he hit the targets off his right foot. He is good below the knees and his offensive work was really good in the opening quarter. 

Gippsland Power vs. Northern Knights (Peter Williams)

Gippsland Power:

#9 Irving Mosquito – Looked dangerous throughout the first half, winning an early touch and dishing off to a teammate running by with a quick handball. Took a good mark early and centred the kick to the danger zone and was rewarded late in the term with a free kick and goal from set shot. Quieter in the second term, but had a crowd follow him when he accelerated away in the forward pocket to chase after the ball and handball to a teammate. One of the most exciting players out there, he got even better in the second half, kicking a couple of goals including one in the last 10 seconds. Just always looked dangerous and unpredictable. Great first few steps out of the contest.

#12 Brock Smith – Played good aggressive football off half-back, playing in front of his opponent and frustrating them. Laid a great tackle late in the first term on Patrik Della Rocca, continually harassing him before winning a free kick. In the second term he jumped high, won the possession in mid-air and handpassed it on to keep the ball moving. Good spread throughout. His second half was even better, playing midfield and laying some strong tackles and just busting into packs. He copped a fierce knock and handed one out to Braedyn Gillard in a tackle, then laid a fierce tackle on the wing on Gillard to get the ball across the line. Just annoyed the opposition players all game.

#18 Matthew McGannon – Was put under careful guard very early in the peace but started to get away from the mid-way point of the first term. Very good clean touch and rarely wastes a disposal. Went in hard on a couple of occasions and pushed up the ground but was typically the quarterback in defence. He had a piecing kick late in the first term when he managed to hit-up a teammate inside the centre square between a couple of Knights players. Worked hard to spread down the wing and often kicked long down the middle. Good defensive work with tough tackles. Moved into the midfield in the second half and immediately had an impact. Won a free kick up forward and kicked truly from a tight angle. His one blemish was a kick off the side of the boot to Nicholas Mayne which almost cost a goal. Other than that, he was reliable by foot and showed a willingness to take the game on with a dash last in the match and kicked forward. Did not rack up as much touches as he has over the past few weeks, but does not waste too much.

#22 Rylan Henkel – Showed good aggression in the ruck, even though it did cost him a couple of free kicks. Positions himself well and works his opponents under the ball. He also spread well for a ruck, winning some touches on the wing and laid some fierce tackles. Went forward in the third term and then back into the ruck and wasn’t as influential, but still solid around the ground.

#25 Kyle Reid – Very consistent in defence, always looking to keep the ball moving and switching play. Reid showed good defensive pressure when his opponent had the ball in his hand and harassed opponents at ground level. He took a good mark going back with the flight in the second term and is a good kick at full speed. Just a consistent four quarter effort, read the play well and provided good offensive drive and defensive pressure. A composed performance from the defender.

Northern Knights:

#3 Braedyn Gillard – A typical consistent game from the reliable inside midfielder. Kicking lets him down at times but he just barrels into every contest and wins plenty of one-on-ones. Earned himself some free kicks and also gave some away, but could never question his work ethic. Likewise his ability to cover the ground is a highlight, winning the ball in each third of the ground, which at times was crucial to be able to drop back and help the Knights defenders. Kicked a goal in the first term after picking the ball off the deck and snapping truly. Just stands up when needed and shovels out handballs to teammates in space. Won an important clearance in the final term but was hurt in a Brock Smith tackle and had to come off two minutes in. Returned to the field and went in hard and continued to spread well. Probably the Knights’ best player on the day.

#7 Harrison Grace – A classy mover through traffic, he is lightly built and does not win a tonne of it, but uses it well. He has quick hands under pressure and is often used in transition across the ground. He won the first clearance of the second term and bombed long, and showed good pace and agility out of the congestion, thinking his way through his disposals. He is impressive with ball-in-hand moving around the midfield. Seems to have that trademark handball and sprint forward to receive it back. Had a good piece of play in the third term where he wore a bump knowing it was coming, holding onto the ball long enough to successfully draw an opponent and handball to a teammate. He won the ball and had a long kick out of a stoppage to the advantage of a teammate and provided good pressure to a marking contest in the fourth quarter to stop a Gippsland mark on the forward 50 for the Power late.

#16 Thomas Hallebone – Was outmuscled by Henkel through the first half, but also spent time at full-forward. When against undersized rucks he used his good vertical leap to advantage and had a few solid passages of play at the stoppages around the ground. His second half was much better as he won the ruck battle against Josh Smith and produced several taps to advantage. He was spreading well to the wing and took a strong mark with a good vertical leap in the third quarter. He seemed fiercer at stoppages and got more involved and even won some crucial taps once Henkel returned back to the ruck.

Dandenong Stingrays vs, Western Jets (Ed Pascoe)

Dandenong Stingrays:

#9 Zac Foot – Foot showed some real skill throughout the day taking the game on with his blistering speed and follow up running which lead to one his three goals. It came right before half-time when he won the ball on the wing, had a run and passed it off and eventually won the ball again in the forward 50 and kicked a quality running goal. Foot was very clean at ground level and overhead, while his skills by hand and foot could not be faulted.

#13 Riley Bowman – Bowman started the game extremely well with an excellent tap, follow-up and then a crunching tackle. He looked switched on very early and continued to impress as the game went on. Bowman finished the game with three goals, including two bananas and one snap which came from a bit of composure and great movement especially of a player his size. Bowman took some great marks around the ground and his ball use was exceptional for someone of his stature. Bowman is an AFL Academy member and his improvement this year holds him in good stead in the lead up to the National Under 18 Championships.

#29 Bailey Williams – Williams was the most dominant player on the ground proving to be a handful up forward, he finished with seven goals and could have been even more with a few missed shots on goal. Williams was unstoppable one-on-one with his strength, height and leap too much for any of the Jets defenders. Williams did not just do great work in the air, although he did take a lovely hangar in the third quarter, his hands at ground level were very clean which was apparent in the last quarter when he went up for a marking contest – the ball then went over the contest and he quickly recovered, picking the ball up at speed and ran into goal. Williams dominated in the ruck last year and has added another string to his bow up forward.

#58 William Hamill – Hamill was all class at half-back with his ball use first rate and his decision making better still. Hamill was clean with his pickups and by hand and foot, he did not miss many targets and even if he did they where mostly to the advantage of his teammates. His link-up run was important for Dandenong and his good run and precise left foot cut the Jets up. It was impossible to fault his game and he will hopefully keep building form in the lead up to the National Under 18 Championships.

Western Jets:

#11 Zak Butters – Butters had a tough day at the office much like all his teammates, he got battered and bruised and was made to earn every one of his possessions. Butters attacked every contest hard and at pace but it did come at a cost a few times with his smaller frame running into some of the bigger bodies of the Dandenong players. He did not get a great deal of the ball but he made all his possessions count and didn’t fumble at all during the game, Butters will always have more impact when he can be released on the outside where he can use his speed and good skills.

#17 Daly Andrews – Andrews worked hard on the wing all day and he continued to run and take the game on even late in the game when the Jets where getting bombarded by a stellar Dandenong team. Andrews again tried to do too much at times but every time he gets caught he shows his trademark agility and speed and you can’t help but see his talent. Despite his light size, he took some great marks with one contested mark in the first quarter catching the eye. Andrews showed plenty of attack and was clean with his hands and despite not being able to show his trademark dash as often as normal, he still had a crack in the contest which showed he was not a one-dimensional wingman.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – O’Halloran was the clear standout for the Jets with his attack on the ball in the contest and his willingness to keep on pushing forward obvious despite the one-sided game. O’Halloran played his normal game with his trademark roves from clearances on the run with his best of those coming in the third quarter when he attacked the clearance, got the ball, had a run and kicking a long running goal. His kicking early was shaky at best but as the game went on his kicking was not only better, but it was long and penetrating with one long switch kick in the last quarter a real highlight showing if he has time his kicking can be sensational. O’Halloran has so many likeable traits which he showed again today with his attack, speed and tackling but if he can start making kicks like the one he did in the last quarter it will go along way to him finding his way onto an AFL list at the end of the year.

#38 Buku Khamis – It was an interesting game for Khamis. He started on Williams early and was obviously worried about the height and size difference, but once Khamis was released to intercept he looked a lot more comfortable. He took some nice marks during the game and his kicking was long and accurate. Khamis was moved forward late to give a good lead-up option for the Jets which he did so pretty well taking some nice marks on the lead. He missed a shot at goal which was a shame since I thought he deserved reward for his lead up work.

GWV Rebels vs. Calder Cannons (Cameron Ross)

GWV Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin – Carlin is a star and racks up possessions comfortably. Played in all three thirds of the field today, however was most damaging in the middle third. Carlin’s ability to make the correct decision quickly sets him apart from others. If he has three men to give the ball to, he will make the right choice within a split second.

#13 Thomas Berry – Another solid game from Berry, who seems to be still working himself back from that horrific collision with the point post against Bendigo. Berry was the Rebels best midfielder at stoppages today, winning clearances around the ground and in the middle. Berry was also good when he went forward today, showing his versatility with a knowledge of forward craft and leading patterns. Kicked back-to-back goals in the third quarter and could have had three goals in the third quarter, hitting the post after a set shot.

#14 Jed Hill – For Hill, it is not how much of it he gets, but what he does with it. He was outstanding today. He kicked 3.4, which could have been 6.1 if not for marginally pulling a couple of set shots. A key part of being a forward is the ability to “halve” a contest and bring the ball to ground and if Hill was not marking it, he was halving the contest. Had 3-4 opponents, mainly Sholl, and none of them could stop him. If he is not in the argument for the top five most-skilled forwards in the TAC Cup, I would like to have a word. 

#20 Tylar Watts – Starting ruck today and was back to his best after a couple of quiet games. Had a big first quarter, but as he was splitting time with Glanford in the ruck, was not as dominant in the other three quarters. Would love to see him given the opportunity to ruck out the majority of the game as he is a very good tap ruckman and has fantastic ability for his size to win the ball below his knees.

Calder Cannons: 

#5 Curtis Taylor – Split time between midfield and forward and was damaging in both. Kicked two goals including the sealer finishing off a superb piece of link up play from West and Bytel, with a drop punt on the run from 40 out. Hurt the Rebels with an ability to extricate the ball in traffic and set up his team mates for numerous scoring opportunities.

#8 Lachlan Sholl – Many would say his game was quiet for his standards, but I think he played quite well, especially when matched up on Hill. Was asked the question by his coach at three-quarter time, and responded, intercepting a kick-in and nailing a big goal. However, I really liked him as a defender and I believe he has buckets of potential.

#16 Jack Bytel – Was outstanding in the middle and was pivotal in his sides huge last quarter. Not only a ball magnet but extremely damaging player who was able to kick the ball long inside 50 and put the Rebels defence under extreme pressure. Looked a class above the rest in the middle and I understand the plaudits coming from those who believe he will be a high draft pick.

Podcast: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 6

A NEW year marks all-new content and in 2018, AFL Draft Central will be producing a weekly podcast through the TAC Cup Girls season. Hosted by women’s football editor, Julia Montesano, the podcast will be posted each Wednesday night and will review the previous round’s games and look ahead to the following weekend. For the sixth episode, Julia is joined by AFL Draft Central chief editor Peter Williams to review the fifth round of TAC Cup action, as well as discuss some of the key issues raised over the weekend.

SoundCloud: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 6

Episode run down:

  • Key issues
    • Western Jets’ first win in the TAC Cup Girls competition
    • Two unbeaten teams remain after losses to Eastern and Murray on the weekend
    • Geelong Falcons’ last few minutes against Murray
    • AFLW Academy Practice Match against Geelong
  • Round 5 review
  • Quick look at Round 6

Keep an eye out each Wednesday for the next podcast, with Julia and Peter back next week for all things TAC Cup Girls.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 3

IT was another big weekend of TAC Cup football, with the Dandenong Stingrays and Sandringham Dragons continuing their undefeated streaks. 

With some teams missing their best players due to the AFL Academy’s clash against North Melbourne VFL, it allowed for others to step up and make an impact in their absence.

MATCH REPORT: AFL Academy vs. North Melbourne VFL
SCOUTING NOTES: AFL Academy vs. North Melbourne VFL

Read our scouting notes from ALL six games.

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power (Peter Williams)

Bendigo Pioneers:

#3 Liam Marciano – One of the Bendigo players who covered a lot of ground during the day, winning the ball in each of the thirds – defence, midfield and attack. He showed good vision and applied plenty of pressure on the ball carrier, forcing a number of stoppages or throw ins from his pressure. He kicked a great running goal after getting on the end of a series of passes, and then almost made it two, but hit the post in the third term.

#5 Noah Wheeler – Tended to be most damaging up forward, providing good pressure on the opposition defence and then roaming out of the attacking 50 to win his fair share of ball up the ground. He kicked a great inside-out snap goal from 20m while on the run and then kicked a goal after pouncing on a long Bailey Henderson bomb in the third term. Has a good share of contested and uncontested possessions.

#8 Brodie Kemp – Provided good pressure in defence, and then had an impact up forward when he kicked a set shot foal from 40m out following a 50m penalty. Later on he assisted a Will Holt goal with a powerful kick from the middle of the ground hitting up Holt perfectly. He backed himself in defence, taking a couple of good strong marks, including a good intercept grab in the final term, having really become more noticeable in the second half.

#9 Zane Keighran – I thought he was probably the Pioneers best player across four quarters because he consistently did everything right. Early on he dropped into a hole up forward and took a good grab, before moving up the ground and working hard in transition to run and carry the football forward. In the third term he really stepped it up, winning a heap of football across half-back and through the midfield. A highlight was a one-on-one marking contest where he was out of position, but he forced his way to the front and marked strongly. His win helped start a chain of possessions forward that led to a goal.

#18 Bailey Henderson – Played an important role down back before moving into the inside midfield in the second half. He mopped up everything in defence early, and used his powerful, long kick to penetrate the opposition’s defence going forward. He spent some time behind the ball, playing loose, before the opposition managed to ensure a man was beside him at all times. He took a couple of great intercept marks, and showed off his speed on the lead for good spoils. In the third term he moved inside and won a solid amount of contested possessions, then drifted back again, producing a highlight reel worthy run, to stream off half-back, fend off an opponent and kick long in front of Noah Wheeler, who capitalised.

#45 Will Holt – He was a leading target for the Pioneers up forward. He is so quick on the lead, and just leads to the right positions. He might have that old-school forward feel about him in the way that he starts in the square, leads, marks, goals, but he does have that athletic ability to also roam further up the field and showed that as the game went on which is important. Finished with three goals and probably could have had five with a couple of behinds in there too. Overall a promising performance.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Caleb Serong – A very classy performance from the talented bottom-ager. Among the Power’s better players again, he works hard on the inside with some clever handballs through traffic to outside runners. He kicked a good goal, seizing on a free kick to Sam Flanders to put it through. He is composed with the football and is a deadly kick. In the last term he put a dagger of a pass into the forward 50, slicing through a few Pioneers to hit-up Mason McGannon.

#4 Sam Flanders – Flanders booted four goals for the game, but realistically could have finished with a much larger bag. He was just everywhere in the first half, kicking 3.3 and a couple out on the fulls from his shots, just dominating his opponent in the air and at ground level. He was strong and powerful, moving well to have a real impact early in the game. He gave off a few passes to assist in scores, and his highlight was a dribble goal from the boundary 30m out. He took a huge contested mark in the third term to kick his fourth. Overall Flanders was a star on the day.

#6 Riley Baldi – Was one of the better players around the stoppages, and particularly damaging up forward. The exciting player booted two goals, and many of his disposals were impactful on the game. His ability to clear the ball out of the area and hurt the opposition in attack was a highlight. He also laid a number of good tackles to show he also applies plenty of defensive pressure as well.

#5 Xavier Duursma – The Gippsland Power captain played another consistent four quarter game and never stopped running. He played off a wing, but won his fair share of contested ball, and covers the ground so well. At times it looked like there was multiple Xavier Duursma’s out there because he seemed to win the ball at half-back and then would be on the end of a pass on a wing shortly after. He had a couple of top highlights, including a fantastic clearance to start the second term where he sidestepped an opponent and delivered a perfect pass to the 50m arc to Irving Mosquito leading out; and was on the end of a chain of passes, receiving the handball from Sam Flanders at top speed and kicking a great running goal.

#9 Irving Mosquito – Liked his enthusiasm throughout, particularly early. He was dangerous up forward and just looked damaging each time he went near the footy. Mozzie has that high vertical leap and strong hands for a smaller player, as well as a clean first touch to rarely waste a possession. He kicked a great goal on the run in the second term, scooping it off the ground cleanly and kicking truly. He was quite good around the forward stoppages and also won a bit of ball up the wing, sending it long inside 50.

#11 Austin Hodge – A fierce competitor who was dominant on the inside. He just bullied his way around the stoppages and won a truckload of contested possessions and clearances. He has a penetrating kick and can do some serious damage when in form, and he certainly played a well balanced game with more midfield time than I saw from him last season. An overager with a few nice tricks.

#12 Brock Smith – Provided some good speed out of defence and was a solid user of the football. Did not win as much of it as past weeks, but won a few one-on-ones and most importantly kept the ball moving forward. Continues to hold down that half-back to back pocket role well, and expect him to eventually move towards the midfield with more minutes in time.

#18 Matthew McGannon – A typical Matt McGannon performance off half-back, being a general in the back half. Just led his team superbly and took the game on when required. He was clean in defence, made spoils when called upon to do so and took a few really good intercept marks. Predominantly outside, this week he won a few more contested possessions, and opted for more lateral kicks to open the game up on the other side of the ground rather than blazing away. He was one of the better Power players on the day.

#22 Rylan Henkel – Played his best game for the season in the ruck and won a number of clearances as well as hitouts, rucking against Daine Grace for most of the game after Daniel Keating went down. Henkel was able to release midfielders with quick hands and cleared a number of stoppages with smart play.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. GWV Rebels (Peter Williams)

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hayden Young – He was busy at the start (when the game was hot) and the end (when he went forward). He kicked a couple of goals and created some good drive out of defence when required early. Most of his touches were further up the field because that is where the game was being played. Kicked a goal in the final term to bring up the 100-point margin.

#5 Angus Paterson – Aside from a short stint in the forward line, Paterson played in defence and was really steady back there. He took a few important intercept marks and was smart with his ball use, making good decisions by hand or foot. He won a few hitouts when in defence, and took a couple of contested grabs as well.

#9 Zac Foot – Felt he was the best Stingray on the day, kicking four goals and looking dangerous every time he went near it. A clear strength of Foot’s is his forward pressure he is able to apply on the ball carrier when the opponent is trying to move out of defence. Foot has that unique goal sense where he kicked goals on the run, from a quick snap, and from a mark on a lead. He also found the ball further up the ground late in the match when he moved back.

#15 Toby Bedford – Had a sensational opening quarter where he really looked like turning the game on its head. Still did a few nice things throughout the game, providing pressure on opponents, and creating good run through the middle of the ground. He executed a nice pass into the pocket later in the game hitting up a teammate well.

#18 Mitch Riordan – Huge opening half of football when the game was hot, he was the clear standout through the middle. He racked up the clearances, won the footy on the inside and then progressed to the outside where he used his powerful kick to penetrate the opposition’s defence. Only had a handful of touches after the main break, but it was his effort in the first half that helped Dandenong race away to the huge half-time lead. Gave Foot a nice goal assist in the second term.

#23 Campbell Hustwaite – Along with Riordan, Hustwaite was a prime mover in the second quarter onslaught which saw the Stingrays boot seven goals to zero. He went a little quiet after half-time before having a huge last term where he seemed to have the ball on a string. Won a number of important clearances in the final term and laid some tough tackles. A hard worker on the inside.

#28 Bailey Schmidt – Played up forward and provided a contest. He took some really good marks and executed a neat pass in the third term to Jake Carosella. Schmidt could have had a handful of goals but finished with the two. His marking presence and work at the stoppages up forward was important, rotating through the ruck with the Cumming twins.

GWV Rebels:

#2 Matt Schnerring – Tried hard all match and had some impact early. Went quiet in patches, but applied some good defensive pressure throughout the game and laid some important tackles. Showed off some hard running through the first term in particular to receive the ball on the wing and on the half-back flank.

#3 Scott Carlin – One of the Rebels’ best on the day, Carlin was a consistent performer in the opening few quarters. Made a couple of errors late in the game, but could hold his head high as one of the Rebels who kept a cool head under the swam of Stingrays going forward. Won some crucial one-on-ones in the midfield and drifted into defence at times to help the defenders back there, collecting a number of rebounds.

#6 Charlie Wilson – Had an impressive first quarter and provided some serious dash. He looks to provide the run through using teammates for one-two movements and open up the game from the back half. He was hurt in the second term and had to come off, which impacted the Rebels with his loss of speed. When he returned he showed some good signs, sending a penetrating kick long into the forward 50, and laid an strong tackle to win a free late in the game.

#9 Lochie Dawson – Really important player and the Rebels’ best in my opinion. Just worked hard for four quarters and often sat back at half-back and repelled whatever he could as the ball continued to fly into defence. Of the midfielders he was the standout on the inside, notching up a number of important clearances, and working within his means through smart short kicks and settling down the team in defence. Won his own ball too which was important.

#11 Josh Chatfield – He is not a huge accumulator but has those “special” moments. He adds a touch of class to the side, and whenever the ball is in his area, he looks dangerous. Continued to present throughout the game and when he was not involved up forward, he moved down back and won a few possessions that way. Looked at home at half-back and along the wing in the final term.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Geelong Falcons (Peter Williams)

Murray Bushrangers:

#4 Laitham Vandermeer – He got my vote as best on ground for his ability to move the ball in transition. He won a heap of it in the first term, would have been close to double figure possessions, while also covering the ground well. He is always on the move and tucks the ball under his arm, powering forward through opposition forwards. Played off half-back but did move up the field at times, always looking forward.

#5 Ely Smith – Hard working inside effort from Smith who popped up regularly with a strong mark, bump or tackle to either open up the game for his teammates, or lock down a ball at a stoppage. In one instant in the second term, Smith went in hard, won the ball off an opponent, fended off another opponent and then managed to stay balanced to handball out to a teammate in space. A couple of overhead marks and some powerful kicking, Smith was a solid contributor.

#12 Lachlan Ash – Another player along with Vandermeer who I liked. Really calm and composed in defence, he rarely makes mistakes with ball in hand. Not only does he look to think his way through situations, but he creates run off half-back and side steps opponents using his good agility. Ash also has quick hands and is able to dish off quickly to teammates. A promising performance from the bottom-ager who has been consistent thus far this season.

#13 Bailey Frauenfelder – The forward booted three goals and was constantly a headache for the opposition. He snapped a goal from the boundary line in the second term after missing one from a standing start. Kicked his second not long after following a free kick for holding, nailing the set shot from 35m out on a 45 degree angle. His third goal was arguably the most important, winning a free kick for holding in the goal square, he kicked truly to put them 13 points up and snuff out a Falcons comeback.

#22 Ajak Dang – Ultra-impressed with his performance down back and I had him third best behind Vandermeer and Ash. He had so many intercept possessions throughout the game and is quite athletic when he leaps at the ball. Along with this offensive drive out of defence, Dang also provided good pressure on the Falcons forwards and laid a few fierce tackles. He stood up in defence in the final term taking some crucial marks, although did kick one out on the full when trying to switch play.

#54 Finbar O’Dwyer – One of those lively forwards who just continued to present and cause some headaches for opposition defenders. Won a couple of free kicks, but just kicked the one goal, in the second term. He missed a couple of shots to give him a few majors, but still put in a solid performance. I thought he was promising in attack and also showed quick hands under pressure to hand off the ball to teammates to create scoring opportunities.

Geelong Falcons:

#2 Sam Torpy – Lively in the first half and just zipped around the wing picking up quite a few important touches. Looked to break the game open with a few quick-fire handballs or short dagger kicks going forward, also intercepting at half-back. Had a precise pass inside 50 to Brayden Ham to set up a goal.

#10 Baxter Mensch – Performed at his best in the first half, just winning a fair chunk of the footy along the wing and through the middle. He won a free going in hard with a huge tackle in the first term, and had a shot on goal a bit later off a standing start but missed. Really started to get busy in the second term and stood up when Murray was attacking.

#16 Bailey Scott – Absolute huge final term. He was good in patches throughout the game, but his final term was sensational. Kicked two crucial goals, assisted Ham on a third, and almost had a second goal assist to Ham except the latter missed his snap. Just ran his opponents off their feet and seemed to be treating the last quarter like it was the first term the way he kept running.

#20 Brayden Ham – Best on ground in my eyes despite being in a losing side. He was so effective on the outside, using his run in transition to hurt Murray going forward. Got forward and finished the game with three goals, missed a couple more but was always involved in the play. He almost put the Falcons within a goal late in the final term for the second time – he had done just that a little earlier – but his snap just missed. Overall he was huge in the first term and last term, and just consistent across all quarters. The best performance I have seen him play.

#30 Oscar Brownless – Without his partners in crime in Sam Walsh and Ned McHenry I hoped for a big game for Brownless. He was okay in the first half, before really turning it on in the second half. In particular the last quarter he turned on a clinic, and despite not having a heap of touches, gained metres and impacted with each touch, causing serious problems for the opposition with his long kicking and ability to set up his teammates. Gave Bailey Scott a handball to run onto and kick a goal in the last term. He had a great running shot on goal late but just missed. He went from an okay game to a very good game with that second half when the heat was turned up.

#41 Cooper Stephens – He might have the same name and same junior club as last year’s captain, but he plays a different role and stood out early. On the field he was quite impressive early, running on the outside in the opening term, just keeping the ball moving. He has a powerful kick and was a bit fortuitous in the first quarter, snapping in the area and somehow found Sprague inside 50. He leads up the ground and took some marks on the wing, and always looks to play on.

#48 Blake Schlensog – Not a bad game from the tall forward who covers some serious ground. He took a few nice marks, including one in the first term where he did not even break stride before slotting it home. He roamed up the ground a bit and took a mark at half-back late in the game, the drifted forward again, had a snap in the third term but just missed. His field kicking had its ups and downs, but he certainly looked lively inside 50.

Western Jets vs. Eastern Ranges (Brandon Hutchinson) 

Western Jets:

#2 Tristan Rudic – Demonstrated some good footy out of congestion, with great pace and agility. Rudic was slick throughout the ground and had no problem getting his own football. He displayed a great take off speed and some clever decisions getting the ball forward. He fought hard around the stoppages and lifted his form for his team in the second half. Rudic is sharp, quick and precise as a midfielder and played quite unique football. He picked his man well, and passed well to get the ball running down field.

#10 Steven Kyriazis – In a sloppy affair from both sides, Kyriazis stood his ground. Kyriazis showed great form in the Jets’ forward line, and was the man to hit in the air. He picked his spots well and did not shy away from crashing the packs. He took some strong grabs and was a dangerous utility for his team going into attack. In the end, Kyriazis booted two goals, finessing them through with some smooth, classy football. The first term seemed off for most of the Western players, with consistency across four quarters the next step for the talented forward.

#11 Zak Butters – Butters showed some impressive work throughout ground on Saturday. He kicked sharp, attacked the ball well and made good decisions getting the ball forward. He picked his spots well and was unselfish in his passes, also going hard at his opponent, laying some important tackles, and moving well out of a congested midfield. He got his own ball and showed great poise in drawing in his man, at one stage taking on two players and still getting off an important pass. He is composed but aggressive, and the mix proved well throughout the game.

#12 Connor Thar – Thar had a good eye for taking the ball up forward and moved well with it in hand. He showed sharp skills around the middle, and made great choices in moving the ball up field. He lifted his game in the fourth and bagged himself a goal. His presence was obvious in the Jets’ win over the Ranges, and he showed it with some smooth and thoughtful football.

#36 Jaden Rice – Rice dominated players in the contest with his supreme size. He shrugged players off comfortably and showed great poise with the ball in hand. Rice applied great pressure around the contested ball, and laid a few crucial tackles – looking right at home with the ball in hand, taking clean kicks without worry. He is strong and played some impressive football. Rice was difficult to beat and even harder to bring down. Plenty of positives from his performance. 

Eastern Ranges:

#12 Jarrod Gilbee – A tough defender who doesn’t shy away from a knock. Gilbee’s work rate around the backline was astounding over the weekend, and he showed it with some earnest efforts. He demonstrated a strong attack on the ground and had no problem earning his own ball. He had a few good runs out of the backline which helped propel the ball forward into attack. Like a bull, Gilbee demonstrated plenty of acceleration and pace around plays, as well a few good choices to get the ball moving. He may not be as smooth as some of the others on this list, but his fight for the ball and work rate earn him his spot.

#17 Cody Hirst – Hirst’s game was unfortunately cut short following a heavy collision with an opposing player during the second. He was seen back on the oval for a bit as half-time closed in, but did not appear again for the rest of the game. Despite this, Hirst played some classy football. He goes hard at that the ball and does not struggle breaking free from congestion. He had a few great runs across the wing, helping launch the ball forward into attack. His contribution through the midfield had Eastern looking like the more composed team in the first half and his clean ball work most always found his man. Hirst had a couple good tackles in the first and assisted an important goal. He’s got good pace and a clean read of the ball, and if he played the second half, we could have seen a much tighter match.

#20 Ben Cardamone – Cardamone laid some crucial tackles in his backline as the Jets approached goal. He worked well around the contest and did well to keep the persistent attack at bay. He was a strong presence throughout the backline and helped to keep many players scoreless. His tackles were perfect and his pressure consistent. Cardamone demonstrated some good footy smarts and could see himself develop well as a fullback in his future.

#23 Xavier Fry – Fry was a crucial factor in keeping the Jets at bay when they went forward. He demonstrated great acceleration out of the backline and his second efforts over the ball often kept the Jets from taking off. Fry picked his spots well, appearing to play as a loose man throughout congestion. His skills were sharp and he showed great composure when possession was critical. His positioning often saw him intercept possessions throughout the mid, and he did well to move the ball out of danger. What he does, he does well, but he may also need to look at getting his own ball if he is to improve his work around the ground.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Calder Cannons (Billy Friend & Owen Leonard) 

Sandringham Dragons:

#7 Liam Stocker – A Dustin Martin style game from Stocker against the Cannons, who led the Dragons to a strong 23-point triumph at Trevor Barker Oval. While he was dominant through the midfield, Stocker was extremely dangerous while resting forward, particularly shown in the second term with a strong mark at the top of the goal square, resulting in his second goal. Stocker’s on-ground leadership was also notable, his calls for teammates to “find a man” clearly heard from the grandstand. A complete performance with Stocker finding over 20 disposals and booting two goals.

#19 Samuel Forbes – While he wasn’t a major ball-winner, Forbes impressed with precision left-foot kicking out of defence. He hit seven out of his eight targets and could be a playmaker to watch throughout the Dragons’ campaign, when he returns from school football later in the season.

#21 Dawit McNeish – Playing as an inside midfielder for the majority of the game, McNeish had a strong first half, displaying insistent grunt at stoppages. An impressive set-shot conversion from 45m out on a 45 degree angle after a free kick in the second quarter was super. Rested deep in the forward line late in the game, with a goal assist putting the Dragons 14-points clear.

#27 Jack Mahony – Backing up a strong performance last week, Mahony applied relentless forward pressure and was a constant ground level option. Playing a small forward role for most of the day, Mahony also worked hard with short stints in the midfield, kicking the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions.

#28 James Rendell – After a quiet first half, the key forward came to life in the third quarter, kicking the first two goals of the term. Played a big role in the Dragons’ victory, with a monumental second half, in which all four of his goals came. Took a strong mark at the start of the fourth quarter, and showcased his pinch-hitting ability with forward 50 ruck work. The Dragons’ tall was everywhere in the second half, and will be one to watch closely in season 2018.

#30 Ethan Casey – The big man seemed to move well in his first game back from an ACL injury, often providing his teammates first use through his power at ruck contests. He won majority of the hitouts for the contest and it was good to see him get through the contest unscathed. 

#69 Corey Watts – Played a traditional full-back role with the socks up. Provided strong drive from defence, and seems to have a rare balance between defending and attacking. Knew when to run off his man, and regularly setup play with his booming right foot.

Calder Cannons:

#11 Jake Firebrace – Firebrace had a quiet first half in the windy conditions but showed his quality in a brilliant third quarter. He is extremely clean below his knees and provided great run and carry out of defence. His agility & speed are elite and he showed flashes of his talent today.

#26 Mason Fletcher – Fletcher once again showed an ability to spoil at the last minute with his long levers, but was beaten by Rendell who kicked four goals on him in the second half. Like his old man (Dustin), Fletcher is very lightly built so can be overpowered at this stage of his career. He has plenty of filling out to do, so is far from the finished project. 

#29 Jake Riccardi – Riccardi struggled to impact the scoreboard today as much as we know he can, but he made up for that with hard work. Playing in the ruck for long stints of the game he acted as an extra midfielder for the Cannons. He showed good running ability for a tall forward getting to many contests.

#30 Mitchell Podhajski – Podhajski’s big body in the midfield really stood out today thanks to his clearance work in the trenches. He was able to break tackles, fire out quick handballs and lay tackles himself. He also impressed resting forward, taking two strong contested marks and providing a dangerous target for the Cannons in the mid-fwd role.

#33 Jack Evans – Was one of Calder’s best players today rebounding out of defence. His penetrating kicking was the highlight of his game, which included a running goal from 55m out in the third quarter. Evans has the ability to defend one-on-one as well as being an offensive weapon for the Cannons.

#40 Lachlan Johnson – Kicked the first two goals of the game and looked lively up forward. As a small forward, Johnson showed terrific forward pressure and impact for the amount of disposals he gathered.

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Peter Bonadio) 

Northern Knights:

#4 Tom McKenzie – One of those players who influences a team. When he had the ball things seemed to happen a lot smoother for the Knights. Excellent vision to find teammates by foot. Contestant ball winner who works well inside the centre square.

#5 Lachlan Potter -The defender was best on ground for the Knights today. A very consistent player, who read the play off half back very well, being in the right spot at the right time. An agile player who has a great turn off feet. Potter isn’t afraid to back himself and use his pace to break away from congestion and find targets further forward.

#17 Josh D’Intinosante – Improved as the game went on. Played better when he moved up forward. Applies good forward pressure and can take a strong mark overhead. He has a natural goal sense finding the goals on two occasions.

#20 Patrik Della Rocca – Consistent all day and finished with four goals. Works well up the ground and can lay a strong tackle. Leads well towards the ball and can take a strong contestant mark.

#21 Mark Baker – Good key forward who can move into the ruck. His ruck work was very good as to was his follow up work. He can also move around the ground well and is quite efficient by foot and has the ability to hit targets inside the forward 50. 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#3 Joseph Ayton-Delaney – Good in patches. Has a very efficient kick and spots teammates across the ground very well. Quick turn of foot and his extra bit of pace helps him burn off opponents and break through packs.

#8 Noah Anderson – Best-on-ground for the Chargers today, had plenty of the footy and used it well. Has the ability to go up forward and kick a few goals. Anderson was explosive running through the middle allows him to rack up the inside 50’s. 

#10 Charlie Whitehead – Uses his pace well around the ground and can take a contestant grab every now and then. Has good footy knowledge and reads the play well. 

#18 Ben Silvagni – Needs to work on his set shot conversions but managed to slot home three goals including a skilful dribble goal from the boundary. Helped in assisting in a few goals also with his quick hands inside the Chargers forward 50.

Podcast: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 5

A NEW year marks all-new content and in 2018, AFL Draft Central will be producing a weekly podcast through the TAC Cup Girls season. Hosted by women’s football editor, Julia Montesano, the podcast will be posted each Wednesday night and will review the previous round’s games and look ahead to the following weekend. For the fifth episode, Julia is joined by AFL Draft Central chief editor Peter Williams to review the fourth round of TAC Cup action, as well as discuss some of the key issues raised over the weekend.

SoundCloud: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 5

Episode run down:

  • Key issues
  • Round 4 review
  • Quick look at Round 5

Keep an eye out each Wednesday for the next podcast, with Julia and Peter back next week for all things TAC Cup Girls.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 2

THERE were plenty of big individual performances over the weekend, including a big bag of eight goals from possible top-five draftee Max King. We had scouts watching five games over the weekend, read their notes below.

Calder Cannons vs. Eastern Ranges (Peter Williams)

Calder Cannons:

#4 Kyle Baker – I enjoyed watching the dashing defender coming out of the back half early on, he had that air of composure about him. The most noted trait was his ability to still kick cleanly despite being at full-speed, and he was willing to back himself and take the game on. You can tell he is the type of player teammates like to give it to so he can utilise his dash and kicking skills.

#5 Curtis Taylor – He is a very noticeable player when playing through the midfield and damaging up forward. Unfortunately his kicking did let him down at times and he finished the game with 1.3. You can tell he is a player that has a presence around the stoppages and one that opposition players look to quell when getting forward. When in the middle he was a clearance machine, and also won a number of free kicks because of opposition holding on. He has good acceleration out of the stoppage too.

#11 Jake Firebrace – An exciting player who you never know what he will do with the ball. At times he did throw it on the boot inside 50 when there could have been better options, but he won a lot of his possessions in close and was constantly under pressure. Finished with one goal from a 50m penalty and almost kicked another moments later but missed.

#16 Jack Bytel – A powerful midfielder who has a lot of exciting qualities. One of my favourite moments was when he was surrounded by opponents and he seemed to remain calm and just danced around them as if he was in a telephone box, getting the handball into space to a teammate. His powerful burst out of a stoppage reminded me a bit of Luke Davies-Uniacke last year in the way that he was not overly quick across long distances, but had that first few steps that could burn off opponents. Bytel is strong one-on-one and produced one of the best passes of the night in the fourth term. Hit-up a teammate inside 50 with an absolute dart of a pass – which he initially received off a half-volley on the deck, and had to spin around blindly with a split second to weigh up his options. Really impressed with his game.

#20 Rhylee West – The potential Western Bulldogs father-son stepped up from his round one performance to put in an impressive round two game. He racked up around 30 disposals and burrowed in hard, while also being that player on the outside ready for the handball receive. He won his fair share of clearances, and was used in transition with his powerful kick going deep inside 50 on multiple occasions. At times he would give the look-away handballs that teammates were not ready for, but the penetration he gets on his kicks – particularly over long distances – was impressive. He does have that balance where he can weigh his kicks and change the power on his disposal which is a handy trait to have. West often executed the one-two give-and-goes and would burst away from the stoppage arching his back, not too dissimilar to Adam Treloar. He booted a powerful goal from outside 50 and had the highlight of the night, with a towering pack mark.

#26 Mason Fletcher – Any Essendon fans at RAMS Arena would have to have been impressed with what they saw from Dusty’s son. He brought back plenty of memories with his ability to mark or spoil the ball, peel off his man when required and just settle down the defence. He has great closing speed and is a strong spoiler, and just rarely rushes his kicks. He would have to have one of the highest kicking efficiencies of any player on the night, because I hardly saw a poor disposal from him. Really impressive performance.

#27 Tye Browning – Browning played through the middle and often dropped back into defence at times, used as the option across half-back to switch play. On multiple occasions he would receive the handball and automatically look to the “fat side” where he would clear the ball to a teammate on the opposite flank. He also drifted forward in the second term to kick the goal of the day from a tight angle in the pocket which was simply sensational. A real leader when the heat is turned up.

#30 Mitch Podhajski – A workman-like performance from the co-captain who was impressive in the first half. He booted two goals and could have had a third, while also covering the ground well and settling down the team. Most noticeable is his ability to do the one percenters and provide blocks, shepherds or lay tackles, because he was consistently stopping opponents in their tracks. The 19-year-old is one of the most versatile players out there, lining up in the middle, deep in defence, or providing a target up forward. One of his highlights in the first half was a good goal on the run in the second term.

#43 Lucas Cavallaro – Really impressed with Cavallaro’s performance on Thursday night. Just flies under the radar and gets the job done and he was one of Calder’s best in my opinion. He has a powerful kick that he can use to put into dangerous areas when going forward, or clear the danger zone in defence. He is very good defensively one-on-one in the air, and was winning a lot of ball early when Calder was rebounding. He is a composed kick of the football, usually given the job of kicking out of a defence and is always hovering around the stoppages to hunt the ball.

Eastern Ranges:

#2 Adrian Kalcovski – Won a heap of the football on the night and was one of Eastern’s most prolific midfielders. He covered much of the ground, winning the ball in defence, midfield and attack, and just used it neatly across the ground. He was the player that teammates opted to give it to to keep the run going, and never stopped trying to clear the ball out of stoppages. Capped off the night with a well-deserving goal as one of the players that stood up to the strong Calder midfield.

#11 Mitch Mellis – An exciting player who is unpredictable and can hurt opponents with his game sense and general football IQ. He is a predominantly outside player, but he has the pace to burn, and was creating some serious run for the Ranges out of their backline. He almost kicked a one-in-a-million goal, running backwards hugged against the boundary line, but his banana kick missed. He seemed to find the ball wherever he went both down back, through the middle or up forward, and has that touch of class when he steadies himself and has time to execute.

#12 Jacob Gilbee – Was a strong performer defensively. Did not win a heap of the ball, but he laid some crucial tackles, including one where he bumped an opponent off the ball as he was kicking in the goal square which forced the ball to go into the post. One of those unsung defenders who just did his job on the night when the opposition was pumping the ball deep inside 50.

#20 Ben Cardamone – Another impressive game from the defender who was his team’s best player again. He has a knack for being able to read the play, intercept and turn his opponent inside-out before kicking. Cardamone seems like one of those players that is more damaging over long distances as he kicks through the ball more and when he does, it hurts the opposition because it can clear zones. Cardamone also pushes up the ground and wins the ball as that kick behind play, penetrating opposition defences to kick it to the danger zone inside 50.

#23 Xavier Fry – Good user of the football who took a great diving intercept mark on the wing in the final quarter. Kicked out a lot of the time and had a penetrating kick that cleared the 50m arc. One of his team’s top rebounders, Fry gave the Ranges plenty of drive off half-back and while he’s not a huge possession winner, most of his possessions hurt the opposition or provide a fair amount of metres gained.

#24 Kye Quirk – Had a super last quarter after starting the game quietly. Played through the midfield before going back and I feel defence is where he is suited as he reads the play so well and rebounds accordingly. He is strong in the air and thinks his way through moving the ball out of the back half, while presenting as an option up the field too.

Gippsland Power vs. Dandenong Stingrays (Ed Pascoe)

Gippsland Power:

#5 Xavier Duursma – Duursma played a complete midfielders game winning plenty of his own ball and working hard outside the contest to run and create. Duursma showed great composure and skill in a game filled with rushed disposals and turnovers. His work rate around the ground was top notch and his leadership around the ground was fantastic always supporting his teammates and giving out instruction. Duursma is an excellent overhead mark for his size and he took a very strong mark, which resulted in him pulling up sore – but showed great courage and he played out the game well despite multiple hard knocks.

#8 Bailey Beck – Beck tried his heart out down back. He laid plenty of goal saving tackles and spoils and his one-on-one defending was very solid. Not only did Beck do all the defensive things well he also provided a lot of run out of defence. In a disappointing loss for Gippsland, he could hold his head up high as a player that gave it his all for the day.

#9 Irving Mosquito – Mosquito proved once again that he is one of the most exciting forwards in the TAC Cup. Mosquito kicked two sensational snap goals but it wasn’t just his goal sense that impressed it was his pressure and chase down tackling that really caught the eye. Mosquito had a great passage of play early in the game when he took off, had great composure and hit a creative kick proving that he might just be the most complete small forward in the TAC Cup.

#12 Brock Smith – Bottom-ager Smith is highly rated down at Gippsland and it’s not hard to see why, already in the leadership group as a bottom-ager he showed great leadership down back and also showed his tremendous talent. Smith did just about everything that makes a defender great, he took intercept marks, laid big tackles, took the game on with run and carry, showed courage and spoiled well. Smith showed signs that he will be a player to watch this year.

#25 Kyle Reid – Reid was solid in defence taking a number of contested and intercept marks. He also showed plenty of composure with ball in hand and was a major reason that Gippsland were not further behind at quarter time when Dandenong had a staggering amount of inside 50s. Reid has trimmed down over the summer and it has showed in his improved movement and ability to get to more contests down back.

Dandenong Stingrays: 

#5 Angus Paterson – Paterson was a rock in defence taking countless intercept marks and with many players missing targets by foot he was part of a select few who hit their targets and they weren’t just easy kicks to hit either. The overager Paterson was one of the main reasons for Dandenong’s victory with plenty of goal saving marks and spoils.

#18 Mitch Riordan – Riordan started the game slowly but he got better as the game went on. Gippsland had plenty of midfielders putting their head over the ball and attacked the contest hard and Riordan was the player in the middle for Dandenong to lift in that area. His attack on the ball set up plenty especially with how clean he was and his ability to get his arms up and release with a good handball. One of the main contributors in the last quarter where Dandenong pulled away.

#29 Bailey Williams – Like many of his teammates early on in the game, Williams missed a few targets but he just got better and better as the game wore on. Playing mostly as a ruckman last year, he spent most of his team playing up forward against the Power, where he provided a great target with his leap. Williams kicked a lovely snap goal and his second came from a solid mark on the full-time siren.

#42 Jai Nanscawen – Nanscawen was clearly the standout forward on the day kicking six goals and he kicked them from everywhere inside 50. Plenty were quick snap kicks, on one occasion he had a great run and kicked a long running goal and another in the last quarter working together with teammate Bailey Williams kicking an incredible running banana goal. Nanscawen proved to be one of the most dangerous forwards in the TAC Cup with his goal sense and speed a real weapon.

#58 Will Hamill – Although not is best game, Hamill still showed his standout speed and agility of half-back. Hamill’s speed stood out getting to contests he had no right to get to and taking the ball cleanly at speed. What stood out was some of the team things he would do, laying a block or two showed he wasn’t just all flash. He had a nice bit of play in the last quarter was when he took a trademark dash but his change in direction to hit the handball in the middle really opened up the play.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Matt Balmer)

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Alastair Richards – Played one of his better games in Dragons colours, winning plenty of the ball through the midfield. Richards played mostly as an ‘inside midfielder’, starting at a lot of the centre bounces and was able to win the ball and get it inside 50. One of his most impressive kicks inside 50 hit Max King lace out. His hands in close are good and he was able to spread around the ground to mark the ball. In the second quarter, his eye-catching run down the broadcast side of RAMS Arena saw him take four bounces but unfortunately his kick inside 50 was a clanger.

#6 Harry Houlahan – Is a really nice size for a rebounding defender and impressed with his good footskills. His second efforts were impressive around the ground and his best passage of play was a pinpoint pass in the third quarter close to goal. One to jot down and keep an eye on throughout the season.

#7 Liam Stocker – Stocker did not win as much of the ball as some of the other Dragons midfielders, but his clearance work was impressive. He used the ball effectively and won the contested ball as an ‘inside midfielder’. A piercing kick ‘down the guts’ was impressive in the third quarter and he showed his agility during the game. Is a very clean kick on either foot and he is happy to turn onto either his left or right foot when he takes possession.

#19 Sam Forbes – The Dragons left footed defender rebounded the ball well during the contest and hardly missed a target all day. When the Dragons got the ball into his hands in defensive 50, he was a steady head able to show off some speed at times, as well as looking short or long for a free target.

#29 Ben King – The defender impressed in the air throughout the contest, marking at ease in the defensive half of the ground. He isn’t afraid to back into the packs and mark the ball but it wasn’t just his one-on-one defending that was impressive, it was his offensive work. King at one point, took two bounces down the wing and kicked long to twin brother Max (who won a free-kick) and there were multiple occasions when he kicked the ball inside 50. He also moved forward in the last quarter, where he spent majority of his 2017 school football season for APS Premiers Haileybury, not looking out of place, finishing the day with a goal.

#31 Max King – Max King produced one of the better individual TAC Cup games in recent memory. He finished the day with eight goals and plenty of marks, starring up forward. King was no match for his Chargers opponents, with King outmarking on the lead and in the air. He had five goals to half-time and had he brought his kicking boots – there’s no doubt he would’ve hit double figures, finishing with five behinds and one out on the full. A run down tackle in the opening quarter inside 50 was impressive, while a snap on the run at the northern end of the ground was a real highlight. A truly special performance from a likely top-five draftee.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins – The tall midfielder had some good moments, but was largely utilised on the outside rather than the inside contested moments that he has shown in the past. He is a clean handballer in close and he rarely fumbled when he received the ball on the run. Had a very nice pick-up in the second quarter and majority of his kicks hit the target throughout the day.

#5 Xavier O’Neill – The flashy right footer worked hard throughout the entire game, winning plenty of the ball. What was impressive was his defensive work, where he laid plenty of tackles in an attempt to win the football back. The zippy Chargers midfielder stood out in his bright red boots and worked hard into defensive 50, whilst helping get the ball inside 50. Probably one of his better games for the Chargers.

#9 James Rowbottom – Had a nice run across half forward in the opening quarter with a shot on goal resulting in a point, but he largely won a lot of football in the midfield for the Chargers. Rowbottom’s kicking was ok – but he was a pivotal player winning the ball at the coal face in the clearances. Spreads well out of a contest.

#10 Charlie Whitehead – Booted a goal over the top in the second quarter just before half-time. Took a very strong mark in the opening quarter across half forward and had some good moments throughout the day. Got the ball inside 50 with speed, giving the Chargers talls a chance to get their hands on the football before the Dragons defenders had time to drop off their opponents.

#12 Noah Answerth – Played more forward of the ball than he has in past matches, hitting the scoreboard with a few behinds. He marked well overhead inside 50, and if he can convert his shots on goal – it might be a position worth pursuing. Nearly booted an incredible goal from 65m out.

#17 Trent Bianco – The Chargers bottom-ager was one of the better players on the ground, finishing the match strongly. His uncontested work was very good, but at times he did rush a few of his kicks. He worked hard in defensive 50 and then run hard forward when the Chargers won possession.

Northern Knights vs. Western Jets (Ed Pascoe)

Northern Knights:

#3 Braedyn Gillard – Gillard was huge for Northern helping them get the win. His work at the stoppages was enormous, winning countless clearances and working hard all over the ground to make as many contests as he could. Gillard tackled hard and attacked the football harder than anyone. Gillard also kicked a sensational snap goal which was a reward for his hard work in the midfield. Two weeks in a row Gillard has shown why he was named captain for the Northern Knights.

#4 Tom McKenzie – McKenzie had the ball on a string, where he was everywhere both inside and outside the contest. McKenzie showcased his great skill with ball in hand with plenty of good long kicks and slick handballs in traffic. McKenzie covered plenty of ground working hard to push the ball forward and deciding to play behind the ball late to give his team some composure and a cool head under pressure.  This game showcased McKenzie’s class, composure and work rate.

#7 Harrison Grace – Grace missed the first game of the year but he made a successful return to the Knights lineup kicking two goals, one coming with a fantastic front and square snap goal and the other coming from a good contested mark and set shot goal. Grace has outstanding athleticism for his size, which he showcased no better than in the last quarter, despite dropping an easy mark he recovered and then stepped around his opponent with ease.

#12 Joel Naylor – Naylor missed out on getting drafted last year, as he suffered an unfortunate injury that ruined his season but he returned this week playing as a forward and to great success. Naylor took plenty of impressive contested marks and he wasn’t afraid to go in hard and get physical with the opposition. Naylor in the third quarter had a great chase down tackle which showed he could do more than just take marks as a medium forward.

#17 Josh D’Intinosante – The talented bottom-ager once again had an impressive performance kicking three goals, the first two goals coming from pure goal awareness and last coming in the final quarter which in terms of difficulty and importance was the best of them all, kicking a long set shot goal from the boundary. D’Intinosante showed great speed and agility but what’s just as impressive is his composure and kicking inside 50.

Western Jets: 

#11 Zak Butters – The highly rated Butters had a slow start to the game but really came to light in the second half with his impressive zip and eagerness to take the game on. Butters is impressive overhead for his size which he showed on plenty of occasions taking some very nice marks, but he didn’t just admire his work he played on straight away as he did for most of the game. Butters kicked an impressive snap goal on the boundary in the third quarter showing his class.

#17 Daly Andrews – Andrews showcased his impressive speed and agility on the wing. He is a hard player to predict for the opposition because he is always moving and trying to create, although he got caught a few times it didn’t stop him from taking the game on. Andrews kicked one of the goals of the day taking a long run down the boundary taking on his opponent and then snapping truly for what was a classy and timely goal.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – O’Halloran tried his heart out all day throwing himself into every contest and often running away with the ball in hand and driving it forward. O’Halloran was not just the driving force at winning stoppages he also put on good blocks for teammates and tackled hard. On the outside he took plenty of intercept marks showing his ability to read the play. O’Halloran was a driving force in the last quarter attacking the contest and kicking an impressive running goal.

#38 Buku Khamis – Khamis started the game well down back, he was clean in everything he did and was not afraid to take the game on. Khamis used the ball well by hand and foot, and his mindset was always to create and get the ball moving. Khamis was quieter as the game went on but he still did plenty to catch the eye.

#39 Stefan Radovanovic – Radovanovic was seriously impressive with his trademark run and dash. He is a 70m player often taking a long run and kicking long. He was instrumental in getting the ball forward throughout the contest. He was near impossible to stop when he got running with his strength and size along with his power making him a difficult target to bring down. Whenever he got the ball you just had to take notice because he was gone in a flash.

Geelong Falcons vs. GWV Rebels (Cameron Ross)

Geelong Falcons:

#2 Sam Torpey – Had a really good first quarter, doing all of the one percenters and working hard in the face of constant pressure. Earned a lot of his footy through a high work rate and ability to get to every contest possible. Put the Rebels under pressure laying tackle after tackle all day. Used terrific vision to set up Sprague for a shot on goal. Did not win a heap of the ball, but what he did for his team when they were under pressure in the first half was really important.

#22 Sam Walsh – Despite earning a lot of the ball, didn’t have a huge impact in the first half. Walsh worked extremely hard in the second half to bring his side back into the game and was one of the big reasons the Falcons fought back. He class was vital in setting the example for his teammates, who struggled to move the ball effectively all day. Walsh started a handball chain on the wing, kept running and received it after three or four more handballs to slot a terrific goal in the last quarter. Could have been an ugly score line if he wasn’t on the field.

#36 Charlie Sprague – Beautiful kick of the ball who was able to put the Rebels defence under pressure with his long kicking into the forward line. Kicked the Falcons’ first after roving the stoppage and kicking on his right boot. Looked most dangerous as a high-half forward. Terrific performance in a forward line that was starved for opportunity all day.

#39 Connor Idun – Huge unit, who was outstanding after he was moved from defence up forward. Big kick of the footy, and kicked a massive goal from 50m with ease. He showed plenty in only a half up forward and he it would definitely be worth seeing him line up again there in the future.

GWV Rebels:

#2 Matt Schnerring – Hardnosed and somewhat unassuming, Schnerring’s first quarter was huge. His impact at stoppages was impressive and his ability to position himself to be in the best position for the tap is remarkable due to his size. Worked tirelessly all day, winning contested possessions and being an outside option at times. Set up Hill’s goal with a terrific handball in traffic. Consistent four quarter performer.

#3 Scott Carlin – After a 50 metre penalty went back and kicked a lovely set shot. After kicking the goal, pumped up his teammates with a huge celebration. Had a couple of terrific clearances. He is a beautiful field kick and set shot kick of the ball. Showed courage to back into the pack and take a big mark in defence. Had a nice all-round game, and worked hard all over the ground.

#5 Harris Jennings – One-two work with Carlin off half-back generated important run. Nailed a big tackle that won him a free kick. Is a really good “runner”, and his work ethic to receive the ball from Lochie Dawson and set up Kayne Councillor for an opportunity to kick his third in the final quarter (he unfortunately missed).

#7 Mitch Martin – Kicked a lovely set shot goal from 50m out on a tight angle in first quarter and also made the Falcons pay after they turned the ball over in his vicinity. Not only a great forward, but showed his ability at stoppages also. Dynamic player who is unstoppable when he gets going. Works really well with Hill in the forward line, and seem to compliment each other really well.

#9 Lochie Dawson – Best-on-ground performance. So strong, that the Falcons couldn’t bring him to ground. Such calm player, who seems to make really good decisions. Absolutely “beasted” the Falcons in the first half, and made it look like he was a man playing amongst boys. Topped off an outstanding day, with a goal through earned though hard gut running. Disposal lets him down at times, however if he can clean this up, he will be a star of the future. Dawson really needed to stand up for his side this week in the absence of Tom Berry and he did that and more.

#10 Jake Lohmann – Perfect tackler and won “holding the ball” decisions twice in the first quarter and again in the second. Tough player who is not afraid to put his head over the ball and win the hard ones. Had one of the best bits of play in the contest that could have gone unnoticed – under severe pressure on his own back flank, he took his time and didn’t lose his cool. Lohmann nailed a clean handball and worked into space, and got the handball back. Instead of turning the ball back over, Lohmann’s piece of play in not panicking was impressive. He stood up in defence in the final quarter, when it was required and took some key intercept marks and used the ball well.

#11 Josh Chatfield – Had a great game up forward. Kicked a nice goal on run from 40m, but his terrific strong hands before he kicked his second drew applause from the crowd. Nailed his opponent with a big tackle in the third and had another huge chase down tackle on back flank which locked the ball in the Rebels forward line.

#14 Jed Hill – Massive three quarters of footy, but starved for opportunity in the last quarter. Huge work rate in the first half. Would love to see his GPS figures. Earned a free kick and kicked an fantastic goal from the boundary in the first quarter. Kicked a lovely goal on the run after receiving a handball from Matt Schnerring. Displayed another piece of brilliance, scooping the ball up with one hand, and had the vision to snap the ball into space for his teammate. This creative piece of play almost paid off with a goal for his side if it were not for terrific piece of defence from Falcons. Extremely quiet last quarter, with little supply from his midfielders, that hurt his overall performance.