Tag: TAC Cup

Player of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 4

MURRAY Bushrangers key forward Hudson Garoni’s huge bag of eight goals on Saturday was enough to earn him the title of AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Week, for Round 4. 

The AFL Academy tall was influential throughout the contest, especially when the Bushrangers got on top of the Dragons, booting 13 goals in a row during the middle part of the contest. 

Garoni booted four goals in the second quarter in the space of fifteen minutes, with his burst helping the Bushrangers reverse a Dragons lead of 19 points, and going into the final quarter Garoni had five goals to his name – managing to add a further three to finish with 8.2.

His contested marking was on show during the match, clunking five of his nine marks in the contest, finishing with 20 disposals to go with his eight goals.

Garoni’s big haul takes the 195cm tall forward to equal-first on the TAC Cup goal kicking charts, with the Bushrangers tall one of the main contenders likely to take out the honours as the top goalkicker in 2018. 


AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Week:

Round One: Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Two: Max King (Sandringham Dragons) 


Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 3

GIPPSLAND Power’s fantastic win over Bendigo Pioneers has seen them top the table for AFL Draft Central Team of the Week nominees, with three players named in our Round 3 side. They were the only side with three nominees, with seven other sides contributed two players, while Calder Cannons, GWV Rebels and Northern Knights all had one nominee.

Sam Flanders was the AFL Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 3 and it was no surprise to see him slot into the forward pocket for his strong effort up front in the Power’s big win. Teammates Matthew McGannon (back pocket) and Rylan Henkel (ruck) were also named in the Team of the Week. Alongside Flanders up front is Bendigo Pioneers goalkicker Will Holt who makes it for the second time this season, he is joined in the 22 by half-back Bailey Henderson.

The Eastern Ranges might not have won against the Western Jets, but they had a couple of good defensive efforts in the clash, with Xavier Fry and Jacob Gilbee making the cut for the Round 3 team. Filling out the running backs, Murray Bushrangers’ defender Lachlan Ash made the team for the second time this season, as did teammate Laitham Vandermeer for his efforts on the weekend. Geelong key defender Cooper Cartledge holds down the fort at full-back, with mid/forward Brayden Ham‘s superb effort on Saturday earning him a place in the team on the half-forward flank.

There is a distinct Oakleigh feel in the midfield with Noah Anderson and James Rowbottom filling two of the midfield positions, along with Mitch Podhajski (Calder Cannons) and Tom McKenzie (Northern Knights) who were their club’s respective sole nominees in the team. The final midfield place went to Dandenong captain Campbell Hustwaite, who is joined in the team by Zac Foot, fresh off a four-goal performance against the GWV Rebels. Speaking of the Rebels, Lochie Dawson‘s tireless work in the heavy defeat saw him earn a place in the side.

Moving to the half-forward line, Zak Butters made the team once again for the Western Jets, this time joined in the 22 by midfield dynamo Connor Thar. Alongside Butters is Sandringham Dragons tall James Rendell, who booted four goals to spur his side on to a big second half against the Calder Cannons. Fellow Dragon, Liam Stocker, rounds out the 22 with a place on the interchange.

As with any side there always bound to be unlucky omissions and in this case, Oakleigh Chargers forward Daniel Scala was the next cab off the rank for a spot in the 22, while taller forward Ben Silvagni was also unlucky. In defence, Ajak Dang and Lachlan Potter both came close for their respective sides in the Murray Bushrangers and Northern Knights, while Dandenong Stingrays ruck/forward Bailey Schmidt was very unlucky to be just beaten to the ruck position by Henkel.


Fantastic Five: Memorable moments from the weekend

FROM a first win to some great individual performances and future talent on show, the weekend’s matches across the TAC Cup, TAC Cup Girls and AFL provided plenty of memorable moments.

Western Jets first win

Just the same as Oakleigh Chargers in round one and Gippsland Power in round two, the Western Jets were the talk of the TAC Cup Girls competition this round, breaking through for their initial win. After a few close losses this season, the Jets kept up the fight and knocked off one of the premiership contenders in the Eastern Ranges after being behind late in the game. The Jets forward Caitlin Greiser booted four goals to make it seven in a fortnight, but this week they sung the song and no doubt have hopes to continue that run with a clash against the winless Dandenong Stingrays in a fortnight.

Bottom-age talent stands out

With the AFL Academy players out of their respective sides due to the Academy’s clash with North Melbourne VFL, TAC Cup spectators got a glimpse of the top 2019 prospects on the weekend. Oakleigh’s Noah Anderson, Gippsland Power’s quartet of Sam Flanders, Caleb Serong, Riley Baldi and Brock Smith, Dandenong Stingrays’ Hayden Young, and Northern Knights’ trio Ryan Gardner, Lachlan Potter and Josh D’Intinosante were among the best for their respective sides on the weekend. Along with next year’s top talent, the depth in 2018 was also highlighted with plenty of great individual performances.

TAC Cup Girls talent growing

Most TAC Cup Girls sides had to cope with the loss of their top stars ahead of their clash with the Geelong VFLW side tonight (Tuesday). But those who attended the games saw a mix of top-age and bottom-age talent on show, and plenty of names that they might become more familiar with over the next one to three years. With a bye next weekend, it will be interesting to see how those who starred on the weekend carry on their form with the returning AFLW Academy members in a fortnight.

Figured out contenders, think again!

Just when as a spectator you think the AFL is becoming a little predictable, results show you know very little as to what could happen on a football field. Many expected Port Adelaide to wipe the floor with Brisbane, but the Lions gave the Power a huge scare, falling one straight kick short of victory in Adelaide. Meanwhile the Western Bulldogs have been battered from pillar to post during the week by the media, but came out and got the job done against Essendon, who now seem to be copping heat for the 21-point defeat. Geelong also fell to West Coast in the west, which might not have been a huge shock to most as the Eagles are still a big question mark in this year’s competition, but they showed what they were capable of on the weekend. Collingwood’s win against Carlton may not have stopped the critics, but with 16.4 (100) scoreline, Pies fans will no doubt be pleased they kicked straight. Then there’s Melbourne who knocked off North Melbourne for the first time in more than a decade.

Jon Patton’s form

GIANTS key forward Jon Patton has had more than his fair share of injuries and there is nothing better than seeing a talented star fight back from adversity to standout in a big game. While the GIANTS went down to Sydney, Patton was dominant, picking up 19 disposals, five marks, 14 hitouts and kicked a goal playing in the ruck. But what was just as impressive was the fact he laid 10 tackles and had a huge seven clearances and six inside 50s, as well as two goal assists – talk about an all-round game!

TAC Cup previews: Round 3

AFTER some sensational round two clashes, the TAC Cup sides are set to lose some of their biggest names to the AFL Academy match tomorrow, and spectators will see which team’s depth will stand up in the face of these omissions.


Round 3 – Saturday, April 7, 10am Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the opening game of the round, Bendigo Pioneers take on Gippsland Power in a game which could well be decided by who wins the clearances. Against Murray in round two, Bendigo Pioneers dominated the clearances (39-23) over Murray with 18 players registering at least one clearance. Of those in the centre circle, Noah Wheeler (three), Daniel Keating (two) and Jye Caldwell (two) were the big movers, however the latter will miss this game due to the AFL Academy match. A player who could step up is Zane Keighran who has averaged 3.5 clearances and done well in the back half, with eight rebounds. Another Pioneer who could hold the key to success is Bailey Henderson, who had had 10 inside 50s and seven rebounds, covering the ground well. Similarly, Gippsland have broken even in the clearances against Murray and Dandenong, with the Power’s ability to get the ball inside 50 the key. they dominated the Bushrangers in round one with 16 more inside 50s, culminating in a 44-point victory. But in round two it was a different story,  conceding 59 inside 50s, while registering 31 themselves. If the Power can get plenty of delivery to their forwards, it will be a crucial step towards victory. Captain Xavier Duursma and bottom-age midfielder Sam Flanders combined for nine inside 50s against Dandenong – almost one third of the team’s total. In round one, it was a shared effort with just three players not registering an inside 50 against the Bushrangers. An area the Pioneers must try and match the Power on is tackling, with Gippsland’s 83 tackles a key reason why they stuck with the Stingrays so long in their clash despite conceding almost 60 inside 50s. The Pioneers broke even with Murray in tackles, but had 18 less – just 43 – against the Rebels in round one. For Gippsland, the biggest focal point is their kicking, with their effectiveness by foot at a high 68 per cent in round one against Murray, but that dropped to 54 per cent in their loss to Dandenong. The pressure placed upon the Gippsland defenders in round two was evident, with the Power’s top ball user from round one – Matthew McGannon – dropping efficiency from 81 per cent to 60 per cent. Bendigo’s ball use was at just 52 per cent against Murray on the weekend, an area for improvement for the Power. If Bendigo can bring the heat to Gippsland, then the Pioneers could be a huge chance, but if Gippsland have time and space, they will cut up most teams with their pace and good ball use. Equally as important, Gippsland must match it with the Pioneers at the stoppages, and continue to bring the fierce tackling pressure they have shown in the opening two rounds.


Round 3 – Saturday, April 7, 12.30pm Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the second game at Queen Elizabeth Oval, the unbeaten Dandenong Stingrays take on GWV Rebels. The Stingrays have been hard to fault so far with a 53-point belting of Geelong Falcons, before getting past a hard working Gippsland Power by four goals. The Stingrays have kicked multiple goals in seven of the eight quarters played this season, but key outs in Bailey Williams and Riley Bowman, as well as the injured Aaron Darling will cause Dandenong to move some magnets around on the weekend. The trio have kicked nine of the team’s 26 goals this season, with Jai Nanscawen (six goals) dominant on the weekend. But the biggest dominance the Stingrays have had is in their inside 50 count, with a whopping 109-59 so far this season – 50 more inside 50s compared to their opponents. In the same time, the Rebels have conceded 81, while sitting narrowly ahead of their opponents on 84. What the Rebels have done well might not reflect on a score sheet, with their fast ball movement and ability to score from streaming down the field a clear indicator of their success against Geelong Falcons on the weekend. Dandenong has had the lowest number of rebounds in the competition with just 55 rebounds, given its opponents have gone inside 50 a combined 59 times. The likes of Charlie Wilson (eight inside 50s in round one), Lochie Dawson (seven inside 50s total), Josh Chatfield (seven) and Jed Henderson (seven) can all pump the ball long inside 50. For Dandenong, Hayden Young has had a whopping nine rebounds in his two games – 16 per cent of his team’s total – and will be crucial in defence. In terms of ball use, the Stingrays have used the ball at just 55 and 51 per cent respectively in their two games. This is largely to the highly contested game they play (+53), while the Rebels are just plus one in contested ball, they went at an impressive 65 per cent by foot against the Falcons – an improvement of eight per cent from their loss to Bendigo. Forward Mitch Martin could be the key to ball use forward of centre, having 12 kicks against the Falcons, nine of which were effective, to go with his six marks, three clearances, three tackles and three goals. In round one, he kicked at just 33 per cent, and booted 1.4 instead of 3.1 meaning he could be the key to the Rebels’ success. For Dandenong to win, they must use their contested game to turn the match into a hard fought contest. They just will the ball forward and get countless inside 50s. James Hickey (10), Mitch Riordan (nine), Finlay Bayne (nine), Campbell Hustwaite (eight) and Lachlan McDonnell (eight) are among the top players getting the ball forward. For the Rebels, they have the pace and foot skills on their day to hurt the Stingrays, but will need to be on their game to face the bigger bodied Stingrays inside.


Round 3 – Saturday, April 7, 2.00pm Williamstown Football Ground

In the televised game, Western Jets are hosting Eastern Ranges at Williamstown. The Jets had a round one win against Calder Cannons, before going down in a close one to Northern Knights. Eastern has not had an ideal start to the season, dropping its opening two matches to Oakleigh Chargers and Calder respectively. The most noticeable aspect about the two teams is neither is a high possession team. They have had just one player pick up more than 23 disposals – Adrian Kalcovski (28) – and neither has cracked 300 disposals as of yet. In the torrential rain, Eastern managed just 200 disposals and 12 marks, improving that to 298 and 48 respectively against Calder. For the Jets, they have had 282 and 266 disposals in their two games, 50 less than their opponents. A strength for Eastern is certainly its rebounding, with the likes of Ben Cardamone (10) and James Blanck (nine) leading the way. Along with its rebounding, Eastern leads the way in tackles, with a whopping 181 tackles in its two games. Lachlan Stapleton is a competition leader with 23 tackles – five more than the next highest player. Jonte Duffy (16), Cody Hirst (13) and Kye Quirk (12) are also high up on the tackle count leaderboard. For Western, they have managed 53 tackles, but have been much better by foot with 62 and 59 per cent in their respective games. Both sides have done well in the clearances, so it could well be a battle of which side can control the inside of the contest as to who gets the points in the contest. Western has had no trouble getting the ball inside 50 so far this season, with a plus 18 in that stat, while Eastern sits at minus 18. This is the area in which Western could take advantage if it can make the most of it’s inside 50s. Captain Xavier O’Halloran is five clear of the next highest player in terms of inside 50s, racking up 16 in his opening two games, ahead of Daly Andrews (nine) and Steven Kyriazis (eight). O’Halloran has been huge in the opening could of rounds, but was restricted more outside ball against Northern, however he still had an influence in close. Based on the opening two games, it will come down to the Jets’ end of the ground with Western strong going forward, and Eastern strong rebounders of the football. Neither side is a high possession team, but they are willing to crack in and win contested football. They have not always capitalised on their inside 50s, but if Eastern can move the ball freely and pinpoint teammates on the rebound, it will be important, while the Jets need to hit-up targets and capitalise on the large number of inside 50s they have been getting, particularly with such good rebounders in the opposition.


Round 3 – Saturday, April 7, 3.00pm Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo

In the final game of the Bendigo Triple Header, Murray Bushrangers take on Geelong Falcons. The Falcons find themselves in an unfamiliar position on the bottom of the ladder after two losses to Dandenong Stingrays and GWV Rebels. For Murray, they bounced back from a loss to Gippsland Power in round one, to register a win in round two. Unfortunately the AFL Academy match means the teams will be without some of their classiest ball users. Geelong will miss the drive and influence of Sam Walsh and Ed McHenry, while the Bushrangers will miss the injured Zane Barzen, as well as Matthew Walker and talented key position player, Hudson Garoni. Walsh and McHenry have had 26 clearances from their 109 disposals in the opening two rounds, so Geelong will need to find a way to cover their losses. The match against GWV Rebels despite the scoreline, showed the Falcons were heading in the right direction, winning the inside 50s and clearances, after losing both in the opening round.  The likes of Charlie Sprague has been vital up forward, booting four goals, but also having 38 disposals. Bailey Scott came into the tam in round two and was one of the most effective ball users, while Connor Idun‘s switch up forward worked wonders with two majors. The Bushrangers have proven to be strong rebounders so far this season, with the likes of Lachlan Ash (11), Thomas Boyd (nine) and Kyle Clarke (eight) among the top rebounders in the league. The two games the Bushrangers have played so far have been largely uncontested, breaking even in the contested ball but losing out slightly in the uncontested game. Geelong have no troubles when it comes to finding space and working the ball to the outside and this might be an aim for the Falcons, particularly with the loss of their two best extractors. For Murray, they will want to continue to play the tough brand of football expected of them, and follow on from a sensational second half last week when they booted eight goals to one against the Pioneers, including six in the final term. The win is vital for Geelong to get its season off and running, with the likes of Ethan Floyd, Oscar Brownless and Baxter Mensch expected to step up in the absence of Walsh and McHenry. For Murray, their strength is in their rebounding and clearances, something they could take advantage of to get the ball forward and apply some early scoreboard pressure to the Falcons.


Round 3 – Sunday, April 8, 10.45am Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

In the early game on Sunday, Sandringham Dragons will be looking to make it three from three after two victories in the opening two rounds against Northern Knights and Oakleigh Chargers. They will be without the likes of Max King, Ben King and the injured Bailey Smith, but their key position omissions will be offset by Calder losing its midfield as Rhylee West, Curtis Taylor and Jack Bytel‘s absence is sure to cause a few headaches in the Cannons coaching box. No doubt Max King was the difference for Sandringham last week, with 8.5 from 19 disposals and nine marks (six contested) in a show of strength up forward. Ben King has been ultra consistent in defence, while West was best on ground in his team’s victory over Eastern Ranges last week, following the Cannons’ narrow loss to the Western Jets in round one. Sandringham has not done too much wrong, with their dominant performance over Northern meaning they are ahead in nearly every statistic except rebounds, and tackles, with Oakleigh registering 15 more than the Dragons. Sandringham have shown they are very strong in contested ball despite being able to play a smart passing game around the ground, and it makes them just as damaging on the inside as they are on the outside. Without their star trio, the Dragons will look to the likes of Angus Hanrahan, who on debut had 29 disposals, nine marks and four rebounds coming out of defence, while Alastair Richards was sensational with 26 disposals, 11 marks and seven inside 50s. Both players create run and carry, while Liam Stocker (10 clearances) and Dawit McNeish (seven) are the ones leading the way at the stoppages. For Calder, the match will no doubt be a challenge without their midfield stars, with the Cannons welcoming back Dylan Landt as an over-ager to join co-captain Mitch Podhajski as crucial big bodies at the stoppages. Tye Browning and Nathan Croft can also float through midfield, and were impressive in the Cannons’ win last weekend. Calder notched up 54 inside 50s for 28 scoring shots, but an accuracy of 39 per cent hurt them. They will need to be more efficient against the Dragons in round three, with Sam Forbes (eight rebounds) and Harry Houlahan (six) likely to create some headaches for the visitors. Calder are a high possession and kick-mark team, where they look to hit targets by foot, taking 176 marks in their opening two rounds, a whopping 34 more than their opponents. Sandringham (117) were equally as dominant in this area however. Looking at both sides, foot skills could well make or break the game, with Sandringham operating at 67 per cent efficiency in round two, compared to Calder’s 56 per cent. The teams traded efficiency by foot, but the difference was Sandringham played in the pouring rain. A factor not spoken about is the difference between playing under lights and during the day, with Calder to play its first day game for the season. The Dragons will head in strong favourites due to their depth, but the Cannons could be more unpredictable without its stars in there. NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 

Round 3 – Sunday, April 8, 2.00pm Preston City Oval, Preston

In the final game of round three, Northern Knights will be looking to make it two consecutive wins, while the Oakleigh Chargers hope to bounce back from their loss to Sandringham Dragons to make it two wins from three games. Undoubtedly Oakleigh’s superior depth – not just in this match but in the competition – will test Northern, who were impressive in their defeat of the Western Jets last round. Tom McKenzie and Braedyn Gillard are two midfielders the Knights rely upon to win the football, combining for 87 disposals and 24 clearances in the opening two rounds. The pair will need to be at their best when they face a deep Oakleigh midfield who have had nine players already collect at least 20 disposals in a match this season. Northern have conceded too many inside 50s this season, with opponents going inside their forward line 102 times to the Knights’ 63. To Northern’s credit, they had 23 scoring shots from 39 entries in round two, an efficiency rate of 59 per cent. They have been dominant rebounding it out of the back half, a key reason why their opposition’s inside 50s have not hurt them as much as they could have. Ryan Gardner has already notched up 14 rebounds, while Lachlan Potter has also been an important player in defence. Up forward, bottom-ager Josh D’Intinosante has been a revelation, booting three goals on the weekend from 19 disposals, six marks, eight tackles and five inside 50s. If he can create some havoc through the midfield and up forward, he could hurt the Chargers. For Oakleigh it is hard to know where to begin, with a well-balanced game across most statistical areas. They have been strong in the clearances, and on the outside, while also using the ball at 62 per cent on the weekend, the same amount as Northern did in its victory. Xavier O’Neill has been a pillar of consistency for the Chargers, already amassing 45 disposals and laying nine tackles. Bottom-agers Trent Bianco, Dylan Williams, Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson look every bit as experienced as top-agers out there and will form a dangerous core group over the next 18 months. The loss of Isaac Quaynor to the AFL Academy match will hurt the Chargers, but they have plenty of players willing to step in to his shoes in defence. The loss against Sandringham is unlikely to have lost any admirers for Oakleigh, with the Chargers beaten by a couple of top five picks who had outstanding performances. The Chargers will be keen to make amends here, and if they can keep up their foot skills and win the clearances, capitalising on their inside 50s, they will be hard to stop. Northern needs to be at its best, with smart rebounds and using their kick-mark game style to keep it out of Oakleigh’s clutches.

Player of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 2

SANDRINGHAM Dragons top draft prospect Max King put in one of the best individual performances that we have seen in the 2018 TAC Cup season, earning AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Week, for Round 2.

The likely top-five draftee was outstanding for the Dragons, clunking nine marks (including six contested) in what was a damaging game up forward. The Haileybury College student could have hit double figures if he had packed his kicking boots, where he finished the day with eight goals and five behinds, plus one shot missing altogether.

The potent 201cm tall was no match for any of his Oakleigh Chargers opponents and produced an outstanding performance in his first game for the season. King missed the first round of the season due to a toe injury, but will miss the Dragons clash with the Calder Cannons this Sunday – with AFL Academy duties taking place on Saturday at the MCG.

King’s stellar efforts on Saturday make it back-to-back ‘Player of the Week’s’ for the Dragons, who have begun the season with two wins from two games.  King was also the 2017 TAC Cup Round 1 ‘Player of the Week’ after kicking four goals on TAC Cup debut as a bottom-ager at Ikon Park.


AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Week:

Round One: Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Two: Max King (Sandringham Dragons) 

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.

TAC Cup preview: Round 2

TEAMS have welcomed back some big guns for their round two TAC Cup matches, while others have lost some stars due to injury. Among those omitted from their sides are top prospects Zane Barzen (Murray Bushrangers) and Tom Berry (GWV Rebels), while Max King (Sandringham Dragons) and Jye Caldwell (Bendigo Pioneers) are back after missing the opening round due to injury and cricket respectively.


Round 2 – Thursday, March 29, 7.30pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Both Calder Cannons and Eastern Ranges will fight it out under lights at RAMS Arena tonight in search of their first win. Calder went down to Western Jets in last Friday’s season opener by just four points in a thrilling clash, while Eastern were outplayed by Oakleigh Chargers in the wet at Frankston. Calder will look to use its home ground advantage to get on top of Eastern, while the Ranges will be hoping to showcase their skills in weather other than torrential rain.

There was a lot to like about Calder’s performance in round one despite the loss, breaking even with the Jets in clearances, with co-captains Mitch Podhajski (six) and Jack Bytel (five) leading the way on the inside. Clearances were also a strength for Eastern, amassing 39 in the wet – just one short of Oakleigh which was remarkable considering the 50-point deficit by the final siren. But the most noticeable different between the games was the fact that Eastern won four out of six centre clearances, while Calder went down 14-9 – 17 more in that game compared to the Saturday morning contest.

In the back half, Ben Cardamone will be looking to lead the Ranges out of defence and back up his seven rebounds, but could also have his work cut out for him should he line-up on AFL Academy member Curtis Taylor. The Cannons’ forward was damaging inside 50 last week, booting three goals from 12 disposals and three marks. Cannons’ full-forward Jeremy O’Sullivan finished the game with three majors and four marks (two contested). Eastern’s James Ross could be given the job on O’Sullivan – laying six tackles and picking up eight disposals of his own on the weekend. Fellow key position defender James Blanck made the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week in round one, taking four of Eastern’s 12 marks in round one, and took one of only two contested marks for the game. He also had 11 disposals and six rebounds.

On the weekend Eastern had 200 disposals, 118 less than their opponents, while Calder had 324 – 42 more than their opponents. But the Ranges also brought the heat, laying a whopping 106 tackles, plus 17 on Oakleigh, while Calder laid 41, 11 less than Western. Based on those statistics, the Cannons will look to possess the ball and think their way through each possession, while Eastern will look to pressure the ball carrier and force turnovers. It is almost impossible to compare the games from round one given the conditions Eastern played in, but they will look to bring the same intensity while increasing their offensive output. Kye Quirk and Cody Hirst are other names who performed in round one, while Lachlan Sholl and Jack Evans were strong in the midfield and defence respectively.

Calder Cannons

B: 4. K. Baker, 26. M. Fletcher, 33. J. Evans
HB: 3. I. Moussa , 36. P. Mahoney, 48. S. Ramsay
C: 35. S.  Graham, 30. M.  Podhajski, 8. L.  Sholl
HF: 27. T. Browning, 38. B. Newman, 1. D. Mott
F: 23. D. Hanna, 12. J. O’Sullivan, 5. C. Taylor
R: 60. D. Pretty, 42. N. Croft, 20. R. West
Int: 16. J. Bytel, 43. L. Cavallaro, 11. J. Firebrace, 45. C. Kosmas, 10. H. Minton-Connell, 49. J. Westphal

Eastern Ranges

B: 20. B. Cardamone, 21. J. Ross, 26. C. Norris
HB: 23. X. Fry, 31. J. Blanck, 24. K. Quirk
C: 3. H.  Chinn, 8. J.  Burleigh, 11. M.  Mellis
HF: 9. J. Duffy, 45. M. Zalac, 27. J. Jaworski
F: 5. R. Einsporn, 18. B. McCormack, 17. C. Hirst
R: 42. T. Lockman, 7. L. Stapleton, 2. A. Kalcovski
Int: 4. R. Clausen, 41. J. Corless, 39. C. Daraio, 14. L. Gawel, 12. J. Gilbee, 32. F. Smith

Round 2 – Friday, March 30, 11.30am
Deakin Reserve, Shepparton

Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers head into their round two encounter with different form lines. The Bushrangers were surprised by Gippsland in round one, while the Pioneers stormed home to run over the top of the GWV Rebels courtesy of a four goals to one final term. Murray lost slick star Zane Barzen to injury in the first quarter last week, while the Pioneers regain gun midfielder/forward Jye Caldwell following the conclusion of his cricket commitments. Both sides have extended benches, with a host of top talent coming in for their first games of the season.

Looking at the home side in round one, the Bushrangers had a few high possession getters, as debutant Lachlan Ash racked up 28 disposals (at 82 per cent efficiency) off half-back to accompany seven marks and eight rebounds in a quarter-back type role. The Bushrangers won the rebounds battle with 38-30 against Gippsland, but struggled to put scores on the board with the same number of inside 50s, while Gippsland had a whopping 54. Laitham Vandermeer went inside 50 six times, while Hudson Garoni (five), Jake Bradshaw (four) and Kyle Clarke (four) were other ball movers on the day. The Bushrangers still had 317 disposals, with Ash leading the way from Ely Smith (24), Clarke (23) and Vandermeer (20).

For Bendigo, they made the most of their opportunities considering they too had just 38 inside 50s, seven less than their opponents in round one. Will Holt was the difference up forward with five goals to lead all-comers in the TAC Cup. Expect versatile tall Tom Boyd or inclusion Nick Murray to get the job on Holt. Bailey Henderson was an important figure with eight inside 50s from 29 disposals, providing plenty of dash on the outside, while Zane Keighran (28 disposals, 10 marks, four clearances and six inside 50s) was arguably the Pioneers best, along with Noah Wheeler (24 disposals, four marks, four clearances, five inside 50s and five tackles). In the final quarter onslaught it was Henderson and Liam Marciano (both nine disposals) who stood up for the Pioneers in round one.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 22. A. Dang, 16. N. Murray, 15. R. Quinn
HB: 12. L. Ash, 34. T. Boyd, 28. K. Clarke
C: 26. R.  Bice, 17. N.  Amery, 13. B.  Frauenfelder
HF: 6. W. Chandler, 18. H. Garoni, 54. F. O’Dwyer
F: 9. M. Walker, 8. J. Koschitzke, 10. P. Warner
R: 23. M. Marriott, 5. E. Smith, 4. L. Vandermeer
Int: 20. J. Bradshaw, 14. J. Chalcraft, 38. D. Clarke, 33. F. Ellis, 3. B. Kelly, 25. B. St John

In: E. Dayman, J. Boyer, N. Murray, F. O’Dwyer, M. Oates
Out: C. Hill,  Z. Barzen

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 16. J. Atley, 24. N. McHugh, 51. B. Waasdorp
HB: 9. Z. Keighran, 8. B. Kemp, 25. F. Perez
C: 18. B.  Henderson, 43. H.  Lawrence, 57. A.  Smith-Ralph
HF: 1. M. Goodwin, 20. J. Schischka, 3. L. Marciano
F: 35. Z. Denahy, 45. W. Holt, 17. R. Ironside
R: 23. D. Keating, 5. N. Wheeler, 4. J. Caldwell
Int: 7. L. Chisholm, 34. R. Clarke, 14. T. Dow, 11. J. Grace, 10. D. Grace, 50. K. Lloyd, 47. J. Sala, 52. K. Walker, 19. T. Walters, 2. J. Williams

In: J. Caldwell, T. Dow, J. Schischka, J. Grace


Round 2 – Friday, March 30, 1.30pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell

In the other game on Friday, two sides that had some impressive wins face-off, with Gippsland Power taking on Dandenong Stingrays. The Power were too strong for Murray Bushrangers, while the Stingrays rolled a highly-touted Falcons outfit in what was predicted to be the game of the round. Now Dandenong heads down the highway to face the Power, who had a massive 54 inside 50s against the Bushrangers last week. The Stingrays had 50 of their own and restricted Geelong to just 28, so the battle through the midfield is expected to be exciting.

Matthew McGannon was a large reason behind Gippsland’s drive in round one, with seven rebound 50s – almost 25 per cent of his team’s total – while Brett Thorson led the way with seven inside 50s. Others that got the ball deep were Xavier Duursma (five), Irving Mosquito (four), Harvey Neocleous (four) and Fraser Phillips (four). Ryan Henkel led the way in the ruck with 17 hitouts in round one, but he is an omission this week, with replacement Levi Munns certainly set to have his work cut out trying to tame the likes of Riley Bowman and Bailey Williams. It was also Gippsland’s bottom-agers such as Sam Flanders and Caleb Serong who drove the Power to victory with a combined 39 disposals between them.

For Dandenong, they controlled the ball going forward and played a slower, more contested game against the Falcons, having just 279 disposals but booting 15.10 – remarkably a score every 11 disposals. The Stingrays tend to be a shared cohort and Campbell Hustwaite led the way with 21 disposals, but had seven clearances, five inside 50s, eight tackles and booted two goals in a very impressive performance. Will Hamill also looked the goods with 19 disposals, three marks and six tackles, while Aaron Darling returned from a season-long injury to boot three goals from six disposals as a damaging small forward. Twins Stephen and Matthew Cumming both played their first competitive games for the Stingrays with Stephen rotating through the ruck.

The Stingrays won a lot of their disposals at ground level, taking just 47 marks, but comfortably beat their opponents in contested possessions, something Gippsland will need to do if they are to knock off the visitors. Meanwhile the Stingrays cannot afford to give the Power time and space on the outside as they have some fantastic users of the football that can hit pinpoint passes.

Gippsland Power

B: 12. B. Smith, 25. K. Reid, 15. R. Sparkes
HB: 8. B. Beck, 23. N. Gown, 18. M. McGannon
C: 29. B.  Motton, 11. A.  Hodge, 2. C.  Serong
HF: 9. I. Mosquito, 33. B. Thorson, 20. H. Neocleous
F: 4. S. Flanders, 16. J. Smith, 19. F. Phillips
R: 27. L. Munns, 5. X. Duursma, 13. N. Lowden
Int: 6. R. Baldi, 26. W. Broadbent, 17. G. Cocksedge, 10. L. Connolly, 14. T. Hourigan, 3. M. McGannon, 7. B. Patterson, 35. J. van der Pligt, 38. J. Wykes

In: L. Munns, B. Patterson, G. Cocksedge, W. Broadbent
Out: R. Henkel

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 32. D. Frampton, 56. M. Cumming, 2. H. Young
HB: 16. J. Frawley, 5. A. Paterson, 58. W. Hamill
C: 3. J.  Plumridge, 23. C.  Hustwaite, 7. J.  Taylor
HF: 17. F. Bayne, 29. B. Williams, 42. J. Nanscawen
F: 15. T. Bedford, 28. B. Schmidt, 14. A. Darling
R: 13. R. Bowman, 18. M. Riordan, 47. J. Hickey
Int: 37. B. Angwin, 31. H. Briggs, 33. J. Carosella, 49. M. Cottrell, 36. S. Cumming, 9. Z. Foot, 12. M. Gahan, 27. L. McDonnell

In: M. Gahan, B. Angwin


Round 2 – Saturday, March 31, 2pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

In a top-of-the-table clash, Sandringham Dragons meet Oakleigh Chargers at RAMS Arena. Last week both sides had impressive victories in the wet over Northern Knights and Eastern Ranges respectively. With both teams among the strongest in the league, it is anticipated to be an exciting clash. Max King will add to an already strong line-up at full-forward, joining his brother Ben who was impressive down back last week with 14 disposals, sneaking forward in the final term to boot two goals.

Bailey Smith was the star of the show for the Dragons against the Knights, as he amassed 37 disposals (22 contested), four marks, seven tackles, 12 clearances and eight inside 50s in a complete performance. Liam Stocker (19 disposals, nine tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s) was also impressive, a prime mover in the midfield, while Will Kennedy moved well for a key forward, laying seven tackles and booting a goal from 14 disposals. Bottom-age ruck Andrew Courtney had 20 hitouts, assisted by James Rendell with eight, as well as six inside 50s. Alastair Richards was another player who worked well across the ground, collecting 18 disposals, three clearances and four inside 50s.

For Oakleigh, it was an even contribution as well, playing keepings-off in the wet, restricting the Ranges to just 200 disposals while notching up 318 of their own. Noah Anderson (25), Xavier O’Neill (23), Riley Collier-Dawkins (22), Matt Rowell (22), Noah Answerth (22) and Jack Ross (22) all found plenty of the ball, while combining for 23 clearances and 23 inside 50s – the latter of which was equal to the entire Eastern side. O’Neill hit the scoreboard with two crucial goals, as did small forward Daniel Scala. Collier-Dawkins had a round-high four score assists showing he has the ability to indirectly hurt the opposition on the scoreboard. The big question will be whether or not Oakleigh can contain Smith and the Dragons from beating them at their own possession game, or whether the Dragons tall timber will stretch the Chargers’ defence.

Sandringham Dragons

B: 19. S. Forbes, 69. C. Watts, 23. A. Hanrahan
HB: 6. H. Houlahan, 29. B. King, 9. R. Macdermid
C: 8. K.  Owens, 7. L.  Stocker, 10. S.  Sofronidis
HF: 17. J. Denborough, 33. W. Kennedy, 18. A. Seaton
F: 27. J. Mahony, 31. M. King, 48. J. Worrell
R: 28. J. Rendell, 5. B. Smith, 2. A. Richards
Int: 20. H. Bede, 36. M. Bergman, 72. D. Chirgwin, 59. A. Courtney, 12. C. Jones, 26. F. Maginness, 21. D. McNeish, 53. H. Ralphsmith, 11. N. Stamatis

In: M. King, A. Hanrahan, H. Bede

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 3. J. Ayton-Delaney, 33. M. Warren, 16. L. Westwood
HB: 23. I. Quaynor, 30. B. Wraith, 22. D. Williams
C: 17. T.  Bianco, 8. N.  Anderson, 11. M.  Rowell
HF: 38. Z. Hart, 4. W. Kelly, 10. C. Whitehead
F: 32. J. Ross, 7. J. Robertson, 25. D. Scala
R: 79. B. Griffiths31, 12. N. Answerth , 5. X. O’Neill
Int: 13. A. Bosenavulagi, 1. R. Collier-Dawkins, 14. K. Dunkley, 35. X. Fry, 65. L. Harry, 34. C. Leon, 9. J. Rowbottom, 18. B. Silvagni, 28. O. Simpson

In: C. Leon, L. Harry, X. Fry


Round 2 – Saturday, March 31, 4.15pm

In the second game of the double header, Northern Knights take on Western Jets. The Knights were soundly beaten by the Sandringham Dragons in the wet at Frankston last week, while Western got up in a thriller against Calder Cannons in the season opener. In round one the Knights’ defensive pressure could not be questioned, laying 94 tackles and having 41 rebounds. Ryan Gardner led the way with double-figure rebounds and 22 disposals, while captain Braedyn Gillard had 22 disposals (16 contested), five tackles and six clearances.

The Knights looked to Gillard and Tom McKenzie in the midfield, with the pair amassing 11 of the team’s 26 clearances in round one. Tom Hallebone performed strongly in the ruck, having 17 hitouts, a performance he would like to repeat against the 199cm, 109kg man mountain that is Darren Walters. Around the ground the Knights had plenty of contributors including defender Lachlan Potter (16 disposals, three marks) and forward Patrik Della Rocca (nine disposals, three marks, four tackles and three inside 50s). Josh D’Intinosante was one of the more impressive debutants on the day, collecting 16 disposals, two marks, two clearances, five inside 50s and laying five tackles.

The Jets only had three more clearances than the Knights in their clash with Calder, but had an impressive 47 inside 50s. Captain Xavier O’Halloran was outstanding with 10 inside 50s to go with his 22 disposals, eight clearances and a goal. Connor Thar had four clearances to go with his 20 disposals, while Stefan Radovanovic was good off half-back with 14 disposals, four marks and five rebounds. Aaron Clarke caused all sorts of issues for Calder last week with his 194cm frame helping him boot three goals to be the leading goal kicker for the Jets. Bottom-ager Darcy Cassar was another impressive player, amassing 19 disposals (at 74 per cent efficiency), and will continue to impress throughout the season.

Northern Knights

B: 25. J. Davies, 28. S. Uzelac, 5. L. Potter
HB: 1. R. Gardner, 33. J. Randall, 9. C. Simonsen
C: 30. J.  McInerney, 3. B.  Gillard, 15. O.  White
HF: 8. A. Carafa, 12. J. Naylor, 20. P. Della Rocca
F: 17. J. D’Intinosante, 21. M. Baker, 40. N. Mayne
R: 16. T. Hallebone, 4. T. McKenzie, 10. B. Bell
Int: 35. K. Agosta, 41. X. Bateman, 24. R. Bowkett, 18. S. Brazier, 34. Z. Hudson, 27. J. Lucente, 43. J. Murphy, 6. X. Naish, 13. S. Philp

In: S. Uzelac, J. Naylor, X. Bateman

Western Jets

B: 28. J. Papachatzakis, 37. H. Murphy, 41. L. Rzanovski
HB: 39. S. Radovanovic, 38. B. Khamis, 6. L. Rocci
C: 17. D.  Andrews , 33. X.  O’Halloran, 18. B.  Colley
HF: 24. J. Honey, 31. E. Jeka, 7. J. Watkins
F: 20. D. Cassar, 45. A. Clarke, 2. T. Rudic
R: 47. D. Walters, 36. J. Rice, 11. Z. Butters
Int: 25. S. Johnson, 10. S. Kyriazis, 22. O. Manton, 30. L. Pettigrove, 12. C. Thar, 35. T. Warner

In: J. Jenkins


Round 2 – Sunday, April 1, 1pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

In the final game of the round, two sides that suffered round one losses were the Geelong Falcons and GWV Rebels. The Falcons were inaccurate against the Dandenong Stingrays, finishing with 6.11, three of which came in the final term. The Rebels, on the other hand, were in control for most of the game but were outlasted by a fast-finishing Bendigo Pioneers outfit. Tom Berry sat out the last term with concussion and has failed to get up this week which will be a huge loss for the Rebels, so they will look to their other midfielders to step up.

Geelong has no shortage of talented talls, with Sam Conway and Sam Christensen replaced by Dane Hollenkamp and Tom Richardson in the side for round two, while Blake Schlensog will look to build on his performance from round one after a solid 12 disposals, 11 hitouts, five inside 50s and a goal. Through the midfield it was the Falcons big guns that shone brightest, with Ed McHenry picking up a whopping 11 clearances to accompany his 26 disposals, two marks, five inside 50s, five tackles and four rebounds. Sam Walsh (26 disposals, four clearances and nine tackles) and Oscar Brownless (19 disposals, five marks and seven tackles) performed strongly, while Charlie Sprague was impressive up forward with three goals from 16 disposals.

The Rebels will hope the likes of Scott Carlin, Lochie Dawson and Charlie Wilson stand up in Berry’s absence this weekend. With Berry missing the last quarter, the Rebels had just 50 disposals to the Pioneers’ 91, and took just three marks for the term – the Pioneers took 22. Carlin was ultra-impressive across four quarters, finishing the game with 30 disposals (15 contested), six clearances, four inside 50s, four tackles and five rebounds, while Wilson booted two goals from 20 touches and eight clearances, and Dawson had seven clearances and four inside 50s to go with his 24 disposals. Key forward Tylar Watts had six disposals and seven hitouts and will look to be a target this weekend, while the dangerous Jed Hill will hope to continue his form after adding two goals to his 11 disposals and five marks.

Geelong Falcons

B: 7. C. Harris, 49. D. Hollenkamp, 25. L. Taylor
HB: 40. J. Clark, 39. C. Idun, 13. E. Floyd
C: 6. D.  Madigan, 22. S.  Walsh, 3. K.  Rayner
HF: 30. O. Brownless, 48. B. Schlensog, 2. S. Torpy
F: 16. B. Scott, 31. C. Cartledge, 36. C. Sprague
R: 45. T. Richardson, 8. E. McHenry, 20. B. Ham
Int: 38. S. Bourke, 1. J. Dahlhaus, 10. B. Mensch, 4. C. Mulgrew, 21. L. Smith, 27. N. Young

In: D. Hollenkamp, T. Richardson, L. Smith, J. Muhor, B. Scott
Out: S. Christensen,  C. Tanis,  S. Conway

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 18. B. Helyar, 43. J. Wright, 34. J. O’Connell
HB: 5. H. Jennings, 8. H. Butler, 31. C. Perks
C: 3. S.  Carlin, 2. M.  Schnerring, 25. T.  Shannon
HF: 11. J. Chatfield, 7. M. Martin, 14. J. Hill
F: 15. K. Councillor, 20. T. Watts, 21. I. Grant
R: 29. P. Glanford, 6. C. Wilson, 9. L. Dawson
Int: 36. M. Bidmade, 12. A. Gove, 19. J. Henderson, 10. J. Lohmann, 47. T. Mahony, 39. J. Mawson

In: J. Mawson, C. Perks, C. Craig-Peters, J. Bibby
Out: B. Annett, T. Berry

Podcast: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 4

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 fourth episode, Julia is joined by AFL Draft Central chief editor Peter Williams to review the third round of TAC Cup action, as well as discuss some of the key issues raised over the weekend.

SoundCloud: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 4

Episode run down:

  • Key issues
  • Round 3 review
  • Quick look at Round 4

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

Player focus: Isaac Quaynor

THE Oakleigh Chargers kick started season 2018 with a huge 50-point thumping of the Eastern Ranges in the wet at Skybus Stadium on Saturday.  

Matt Balmer looks in depth at one of their possible draftees.

Isaac Quaynor is an athletic 180cm rebounding defender who showed great improvement in the latter half of the 2017 TAC Cup season, and was named in Chargers’ best players on seven occasions from his 17 games.

The Chargers player averaged 12 disposals and three marks, kicking at over 75 per cent by foot. His moments of X-factor shone through during the latter half of the season, which was a large reason behind his late inclusion to the NAB AFL Academy’s Level Two intake. Quaynor also showed some of his future potential with 11 disposals, four marks and four rebound 50s in the NAB AFL Under 17 All-Stars contest on Grand Final weekend in 2017. 

Luckily for Collingwood fans, they will have an opportunity to have first crack at Quaynor should he nominate for the draft, under the recently developed NGA (Next Generation Academy) system, where similar to father-son players – the Pies will have to match a bid for Quaynor should they want him. The Collingwood supporter falls into the multicultural academy, with his father hailing from Ghana. 

He is an attacking defender who possesses good speed and a decent leap, skills which have come from previous years hopping between football and basketball commitments, which are noticeable in helping him get two hands on the ball in the air.  He also tackles well and is an offensive defender than needs to be watched carefully by opposition forwards when there is a turnover in defence. 

Quarter by quarter: 

In terrible conditions, with water patches all over the ground and constant rain – like majority of his teammates, Quaynor had a few scrubbing kicks early in the contest, including a smothered kick on the wing. A nice dash across the half back flank allowed him to pick up the ball and find a target long on the wing. Quaynor laid some strong crunching tackles early on his Ranges opponent. 

Quaynor worked into the game in the second quarter and it was probably his best for the contest, where he was able to have two early kicks getting the ball into the attacking half of the ground for the Chargers. On one occasion he elected to spoil when he had the opportunity to mark the ball alone, 25 metres out from the Ranges goal. A nice mark on the wing allowed Quaynor to hit a target on the switch off his right foot. When defending one-on-one, at times he trailed his man but his pressure and tackling presence meant that it didn’t hurt the Chargers in the defensive 50. What was impressive was his second efforts. Late in the quarter when he dropped a mark, he immediately got back up and went to tackle his opponent who had picked up the ball and managed to stop them scoring from the contest. 

After half-time, Quaynor made a nice spoil to start the third quarter and again it was his multiple efforts that were impressive. In the wet despite a few fumbles, he was always attempting to get the ball forward to help out his teammates. A huge kick from half-back to half-forward was one of his longest kicks of the day.

The last quarter saw Quaynor collect seven disposals (his highest quarter for the match), but unfortunately was let down by a dropped mark, that despite the very wet conditions should have been taken. Overall, it was a positive day for the Chargers defender finishing the day with 19 disposals and two marks in the conditions that weren’t ideal for players looking to mark the ball overhead. 

Isaac Quaynor’s disposals plotted out. (KL = Kick Long, KS = Kick Short, MRK = Mark, HB = Handball)

Final stats:

19 disposals (nine contested)
15 kicks
4 handballs
2 marks
6 tackles
3 clearances

Posessing a good upside, Quaynor is a name to keep track of throughout the year – one player who could very well find a home inside the Top 30 come November’s 2018 draft. With his strong attributes and another full year in the football (TAC Cup/Vic Metro) system, there is plenty of development left in the Chargers rebounding defender. 

Player of the Week: TAC Cup Round 1

SANDRINGHAM Dragons captain Bailey Smith started off Round 1 of the 2018 TAC Cup season with a bang, earning AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Round.

The Dragons midfielder racked up 37 disposals (22 contested), 12 clearances, eight inside 50s and seven tackles, in a best-on-ground display in the Dragons’ 45-point win over Northern Knights at Skybus Stadium on Saturday.

Smith is no stranger to performing well at Frankston Oval, having recorded exceptional stats in Round 14 against Western Jets last season of 44 disposals (22 contested) at 72 per cent efficiency, 13 inside 50s, 10 clearances, six marks and four rebound 50s – which earned him the Round 14 nomination for the 2017 TAC Cup Player of the Round. 

The Xavier College student was a late addition to the AFL Academy after missing out on the Level One squad, and has left no stone unturned in an attempt to get drafted.

A transition from half-back into a full-time midfield role has helped Smith and he has certainly pushed his draft credentials in the Dragons’ opening game of the season. 



AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Round:

Round One: Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons)