Tag: TAC Cup

Weekend previews: TAC Cup – Round 11

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


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

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



Round 11 – Saturday, July 7, 11:30am

Trevor Barker Oval, Sandringham

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 10

MURRAY Bushrangers’ 97-point thumping of Geelong Falcons has seen them rewarded with another four players in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 10. The Bushrangers have two more players than any other side, with the rest of the 18 players divided up evenly amongst the 11 other TAC Cup teams.

The other five winners – Bendigo Pioneers, Calder Cannons, Dandenong Stingrays, Northern Knights and Sandringham Dragons – have two nominees each, as do Round 10 losers Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets. The remaining four clubs – Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels have the one nominee each.

Murray key forward Hudson Garoni booted six goals to be named in his regular spot at centre half-forward, but it was midfielder Ely Smith who stole the show, amassing 37 disposals and laying 11 tackles to also earn the AFL Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 10. Bottom-age forward Jye Chalcraft was impressive backing up his strong game the week before, making the half-forward flank in the Round 10 team, while Dylan Clarke made it onto the interchange bench. The other player close to earning the Player of the Week honours – Bendigo Pioneers midfielder Noah Wheeler – joins Smith onball, and is in the side with teammate Flynn Perez after the Pioneers’ win over Gippsland Power.

Calder Cannons’ great win saw Daniel Mott make the team in the middle after an eye-catching performance, while forward Josh Kemp achieved the remarkable feat of making the team on debut – booting four goals and earns a place in the starting side. Dandenong Stingrays have plenty of talented talls and on the weekend it was Bailey Schmidt and Stephen Cumming who created plenty of havoc against the GWV Rebels, both booting four goals. Schmidt is named at full-forward, while Cumming – who also spent some time in defence – has been named at centre half-back, but would rotate forward in this team.

Alongside Cumming holding down the fort is Sandringham Dragons’ switchman Will Kennedy, who earns a place at full-back, and is joined in the team by midfielder Liam Stocker, who made a successful return from injury. The other winning side – Western Jets – saw midfielders Connor Thar and Jack Watkins make the team for their big ball-winning performances on the weekend.

Northern Knights’ bottom-ager Nathan Howard earns his place as starting ruck for his strong performance in the absence of Tom Hallebone, joined in the team by returning midfielder Justin McInerney. Oakleigh is the final team with two nominees, as Trent Bianco (half-back flank) and Jack Ross (interchange) slotted into the team. Three of the four single club nominees suited up in the backline with Eastern Ranges’ Ben Cardamone, Geelong Falcons’ Brayden Ham and Gippsland Power’s Tyrone Hayes all making the side. Up forward, Charlie Wilson impressed again with four goals to make the team. Eastern’s Joel Burleigh, Gippsland’s Boadie Motton and GWV’s Jed Hill are the three hypothetical emergencies for the Round 10 team.

Sturgess hitting the mark with top efficiency

NORTHERN Knights’ Ryan Sturgess is hitting the mark as a bottom-ager in the TAC Cup competition. The 187cm young defender is the most efficient kick from all players with 50 or more kicks thus far this season. Sturgess has played the six games, averaging 19.3 disposals and four rebounds. Of his 70 kicks, 57 were deemed as effective, with just six ineffective and seven clangers.

Following Sturgess is Western Jets’ defender and AFL Academy member Buku Khamis, who has had 57 kicks with a kicking efficiency of 80.7 per cent. Oakleigh Chargers’ midfielder Lachlan Bugeja only just reached the 50-kick minimum with his fifth game on the weekend, and is the only other player to reach the mark and hit four of his five targets by foot.

It is no surprise to see defenders dominate the list, with many clubs putting their better kickers behind the ball to rebound out of the back half. Overagers Matthew McGannon and Laitham Vandermeer feature on the list, as does bottom-ager Ryan Sparkes. Calder Cannons’ defender Lucas Cavallaro is also on the list and at 74.3 per cent kicking efficiency, has the highest efficiency of any player with at least 40 per cent contested possession rate.

Gippsland Power’s Boadie Motton is the next highest, with 68.4 per cent of his kicks hitting the target, while winning 41.5 per cent of his possessions at the coal face. Vic Country representative Jake Frawley has won an impressive 49.1 per cent of his possessions in a contest, yet maintains a 67.7 per cent kicking efficiency. The list also features key forward and leading goal kicker Hudson Garoni, over-ager Cannons co-captain Mitch Podhajski, AFL Academy defender Isaac Quaynor, and GWV Rebels’ pair Matt Schnerring and Jed Hill. It is also worth noting that Sandringham Dragons’ Liam Stocker – 10th for kicking efficiency with 63.2 per cent – has the highest contested possession rate on the list with 53.4 per cent of his possessions won in a contest.

Cavallaro and Vandermeer also lead all-comers when it comes to having at least 20 effective long kicks this season. They are ahead of Dandenong midfielder Jamie Plumridge, talented Oakleigh Chargers bottom-ager Dylan Williams, and Frawley. Others who made that particular list are Geelong Falcons Sam Torpy and Charlie Harris, Dandenong’s Lachlan McDonnell and Northern’s Ryan Gardner – who leads the league with the most long kicks, 37 in total.

Top 10 highest kicking efficiencies: (Minimum 50 kicks)

1 | Ryan Sturgess (NK) 81.4%
2 | Buku Khamis (WJ) 80.7%
3 | Lachlan Bugeja (OC) 80.0%
4 | Matthew McGannon (GP) 75%
4 | Ryan Sparkes (GP) 75%
6 | Lucas Cavallaro (CC) 74.3%
7 | Laitham Vandermeer (MB) 73.5%
8 | Joel Randall (NK) 72.5%
9 | Jamie Plumridge (DS) 72.2%
10 | Ismail Moussa (CC) 72.1%

Top 10 highest kicking efficiencies: (Contested possession 40% minimum)

1 | Lucas Cavallaro (CC) 74.3%
2 | Boadie Motton (GP) 68.4%
3 | Jake Frawley (DS) 67.7%
4 | Lachlan McDonnell (DS) 65.9%
5 | Hudson Garoni (MB) 65.6%
6 | Mitch Podhajski (CC) 65%
7 | Isaac Quaynor (OC) 64.2%
8 | Matt Schnerring (GWV) 63.4%
9 | Jed Hill (GWV) 63.3%
10 | Liam Stocker (SD) 63.2%

Top 10 Kicking Efficiencies: (Minimum 20 effective long kicks)

1 | Lucas Cavallaro (CC) 74.3%
2 | Laitham Vandermeer (MB) 73.5%
3 | Jamie Plumridge (DS) 72.2%
4 | Dylan Williams (OC) 71%
5 | Jake Frawley (DS) 67.7%
6 | Sam Torpy (GF) 66.7%
7 | Lachlan McDonnell (DS) 65.9%
8 | Charlie Harris (GF) 65.5%
9 | Ryan Gardner (NK) 65.3%
10 | Isaac Quaynor (OC) 64.2%

Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup – Round 8

IT was a weekend of upsets, with two of the bottom three sides claiming victory, and the other levelling the scores in the dying minutes only to lose the lead again with a match-winning goal. Oakleigh Chargers grabbed a top four spot with victory against Murray Bushrangers on Saturday in the standalone day.

Northern Knights 7.7 (49) defeated by Eastern Ranges 10.8 (68)

By: Michael Alvaro

In perfect conditions at Preston City Oval, the Knights and Ranges could only manage three first half goals between them in what was an end-to-end contest. The travelling side broke the game open in the third quarter with five goals to two, as well as the opening two goals of the final term to set up an unassailable lead. The Knights fought to trim the margin back late, with forward Sunny Brazier booting two of the last three goals to have the final deficit sit at 19 points. 

Eastern were on top in the midfield battle thanks largely to midfielder Kye Quirk, who collected 39 disposals, 11 clearances, nine tackles and three marks. He was aided well by Adrian Kalcovski (24 disposals, six tackles) and skipper Joel Burleigh (18 disposals, 14 tackles), while their forward line clicked with three multiple goal kickers.

Stefan Uzelac (17 disposals, five marks, three tackles) stood up under pressure in defence for the Knights, setting them up well with 88% disposal efficiency to be named their best. Patrik Della Rocca provided a big body in the midfield, collecting 20 disposals, five marks, four tackles and a goal alongside bottom ager Josh D’Intinosante, who also had it 20 times to go with six marks and eight tackles. Brazier (13 disposals, six tackles, four marks, three goals) was their only real bright spot up forward, popping up in the right place when given the opportunity. 

The Ranges now climb off equal-last on the ladder with their second win for the year, while the Knights hold on to seventh place for another round.

Calder Cannons 7.19 (61) defeated by GWV Rebels 10.11 (71)

By: Liam Connop

In perfect footy conditions at RAMS Arena, the Cannons’ inaccuracy in front of goal cost them a golden opportunity to win the their fourth game of the season. Kicking with the breeze in the opening term, Calder dominated proceedings but could not put it on the scoreboard, kicking 2.8 (20) to quarter-time. This would come back to haunt them, as the Rebels kicked five goals to one in the second quarter to take the ascendency at half-time. The second half was an arm wrestle, with a couple of late goals giving the Rebels a 10-point win and their second win of the season.

Thomas Berry (16 possessions, six marks) was the X-factor in the game, showing off his pace and taking a mark that Warwick Capper would have been proud of. Elliott Lamb (24 possessions, eight marks) had an excellent game in the midfield, rarely wasting a possession. In what was an even performance from the Rebels, Matty Lloyd (23 possessions, seven marks) had a strong game in the midfield and across half-back, while Charlie Wilson and Mitchell Martin (three goals each) did the damage up forward.

For the Cannons, ball-magnet Mitchell Podhajski (30 possessions, 12 tackles, two goals) continued his outstanding season, while Curtis Taylor (29 possessions, 10 marks) backed up his best-on-ground performance last week, despite being wasteful in front of goals, booting five behinds. Lachlan Sholl (32 possessions, 18 handball receives) was also very impressive rebounding off half-back.

Western Jets 9.11 (65) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 8.10 (58)

Western Jets played their get out of jail card in the dying moments of their narrow win against Bendigo Pioneers. It was a close game throughout, until the Jets looked like they had broken free in the third term with three consecutive goals to open up a healthy 22-point margin. Bendigo refused to give in, booting the last two goals of the quarter to draw within eight points at the final break. When Hamish Murphy ran into an open goal in the final term it looked beyond the Pioneers, before Phill Moi Moi and Zane Keighran slammed home goals to tie the game with less than three minutes remaining. The Jets managed to get it forward and Malwal Maguang received a free kick, converting from a tight angle which ended up being the winning goal.

For the Jets, Buku Khamis (22 disposals, nine marks and four rebounds) was superb off half-back, controlling the airways and rebounding anything that came his way. Darcy Cassar was busy through midfield, linking up to a high half-forward, with a game-high 25 disposals and six inside 50s. Connor Thar (24 disposals, four clearances), Jack Watkins (22 disposals, 11 tackles) and Jaden Rice (21 disposals, seven clearances) were also among the key on-ballers, while Zak Butters (21 disposals, six marks) and Stefan Radovanovic (20 disposals, seven marks, six rebounds, four inside 50s and a goal) were instrumental from defence through to attack.

For the Pioneers, Keighran had 19 disposals, four marks and kicked that crucial goal, while Noah Wheeler was enormous in the middle with eight clearances and nine inside 50s to go with his 24 disposals – a key reason the Pioneers turned the momentum in the third quarter. Hunter Lawrence was busy with 23 disposals and six inside 50s, while Liam Marciano (22 disposals, seven rebounds) and Daniel Keating (14 disposals, seven marks, 19 hitouts and three rebounds) were top players once again.

Dandenong Stingrays 15.15 (105) defeated Sandringham Dragons 4.4 (28)

By: Ed Pascoe

Despite missing nine players from the Vic Country squad, top of the ladder Dandenong easily defeated a young Sandringham Dragons team. Dandenong played a great team defence with their defenders setting up well behind the ball and their forwards putting on good pressure to cause many mistakes for the inexperienced Sandringham defenders. Sandringham did not lack in effort, they where just beaten by a red hot team looking to impress on their home turf.

Ruckman Riley Bowman was a standout with two goals (15 disposals, five marks), moving well around the ground and often following up his ruck work to providing a good target when forward. Matthew Gahan had a field day in defence with his intercept marking and drive (19 disposals, seven marks) and young leaders Campbell Hustwaite (24 disposals) and Jamie Plumridge (23 disposals) controlled the midfield, Hustwaite was busy at stoppages while Plumridge owned the Wing with both players looking both strong and composed around the ball.

It was not all doom and gloom for Sandringham with young key defender Corey Watts (15 disposals, nine marks) a standout in defence with some good contested and intercept marks, while his long kicking was also an asset. Darcy Chirgwin (21 disposals, six tackles) showed class on the wing and was willing to work hard deep in defence, even managing a goal. Jeremy Goddard (14 disposals, 11 tackles) competed hard in the midfield – despite his small frame, he wasn’t afraid to go in and have a crack against the bigger Dandenong bodies.

Gippsland Power 10.5 (65) defeated Geelong Falcons 3.13 (31)

By: Ed Pascoe

As they say, ‘bad kicking is bad football’ and that rang true for Geelong who struggled to turn opportunities into goals, scoring 11 behinds before Samuel Torpy kicked a classy goal from the boundary late in the 3rd quarter. With the scorecard reading 3.13 Geelong will be ruing what could have been. Credit has to go to Gippsland however since they took their opportunities and their entries inside 50 made the difference. Gippsland still looked the better team on the day and deserved the win.

Gippsland had an even spread of contributors – Bailey Beck was influential on the wing using the ball well, taking some fantastic marks under pressure (seven marks, two contested) he also finished with 20 disposals and a goal in a classy display. The backline was well controlled with the likes of Tye Hourigan (15 disposals), Ryan Sparkes (24 disposals) and Bailey Patterson (19 disposals) all providing run and drive from the backline with the ball coming out of the defensive 50 very quickly. The midfield had a good mix with the grunt coming from overager Austin Hodge (18 disposals) and the class coming from fellow overager Tyrone Hayes (18 disposals).

Vic Country representative Blake Schlensog was the standout tall player on the ground competing hard and following up his ruck work (21 disposals) while also helping out the defence staying strong taking some quality intercept marks to finish with eight overall. Geelong’s other Vic Country representative and bottom ager Cooper Stephens was the standout midfielder for the day winning the contested ball at stoppages and also working hard to get on the outside. He had the ball on a string in the first three minutes to finish with 20 disposals. Sam Torpy kicked Geelong’s first goal late in the third quarter and finished the game with two of his team’s three goals, working hard to also collect 17 disposals.

Murray Bushrangers 7.10 (52) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 17.10 (112)

A blistering first quarter set up Oakleigh’s huge 10-goal win over Murray Bushrangers in the standalone game on Saturday. The Chargers booted seven goals to two in a massive opening quarter, then maintained the rage with a 38-point lead at half-time courtesy of a four goals to three second term. After a low-scoring third quarter which saw the home side boot the only goal of the quarter, Oakleigh stormed home with six of the last seven goals to run away with the massive 60-point win and jump into the top four.

Matthew Day was a star with seven goals from 19 disposals and six marks, acting as the key forward in the absence of a number of players due to Vic Metro duties. Despite both sides missing a huge chunk of their top-end talent, a number of bottom-agers stood out. Trent Bianco racked up 19 disposals, four marks, three inside 50s, two rebounds and two clearances, while Dylan Williams had four inside 50s from nine disposals. Jack Ross was a standout in midfield with 19 disposals, five marks, six clearances, six inside 50s and four tackles, while Lucas Westwood had six rebounds from 17 disposals.

For the Bushrangers, Ely Smith was the highest disposal winner with 21 touches, three clearances, three inside 50s and six tackles, while Kyle Clarke had four clearances from his 18 disposals. Potential Brisbane father-son prospect Jake Bradshaw was busy with 18 disposals, four marks, three inside 50s and three rebounds. The classy Mathew Walker booted two important goals from his 15 touches, nine marks, seven tackles and five inside 50s to be a clear standout of the losing side. Mark Marriott and Ben Kelly were strong in the ruck, notching up 21 and 20 hitouts respectively.

Player of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 6

AFTER an inspiring victory in the wet, Calder Cannons’ co-captain Mitch Podhajski has been named as the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Player of the Week for Round 6. Returning to the side for the Cannons’ crucial clash with Bendigo Pioneers at a rain-soaked RAMS Arena, Podhajski was a clear best on ground across the four quarters, standing up in the first term when very few were able to stay composed in the slippery conditions.

Podhajski had seven disposals, three inside 50s, seven tackles, and was the first goal kicker of the match – slotting a goal in the second minute to get the Cannons up and about in a half which produced just three majors. He put what would arguably be the final nail in the coffin just before three quarter time with his second goal, and by then he had notched up 20 disposals. Fittingly, Podhajski scored the first goal of the last term too, to make it a great all-round performance.


Mitch Podhajski’s statistics:

27 disposals (67 per cent efficiency and 44 per cent contested), seven marks, 15 tackles, three clearances, three inside 50s, one rebound, three goals.


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

Round One: Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Two: Max King (Sandringham Dragons) 

Round Five: Joel Burleigh (Eastern Ranges)
Round Six: Mitch Podhajski (Calder Cannons)

Fantastic Five: Memorable moments from the weekend

In a weekend of big bags, late inclusions and fantastic matches, there was plenty to look back on, and forward to, with these five memorable moments from the weekend.

Flynn’s moment

It is hard to believe that Flynn Appleby‘s story has not been told more frequently. The Collingwood rookie made his debut in front of a huge crowd at the MCG against reigning premiers Richmond after a late call-up. The former GWV Rebels defender missed out on Vic Country selection and was even forgotten about to the point of not receiving a National or State Combine invitation. Luckily a late call-up (fitting considering his debut) to the Rookie Me Combine saw Appleby star across multiple athletic areas, adding to the strong form he had shown all season, including quelling some of the most dangerous forwards in Jarrod Brander and Gryan Miers, as well as the Pies’ own Kayle Kirby in Appleby’s sole VFL game. He more than held his own on the weekend providing some crucial defensive plays, and is a poster boy for never giving up despite missing state selection.

Britney Gutknecht’s bag of goals

Reported at different times as both six and seven goals, it is understandable to lose track when a player kicks that many goals in an hour-long match. Northern Knights’ Britney Gutknecht is in ripping form this season, particularly the past fortnight. She has been piling on the goals in the TAC Cup Girls competition, finishing the game with at least half a dozen majors in the Knights’ big win over Bendigo Pioneers. No doubt she will be closely watched by the Geelong defence this week, but the midfielder/forward has been damaging in front of the big sticks.

Even TAC Cup competition

Everyone loves to see a close competition, and with Oakleigh’s six-point win over Dandenong on the weekend, every side has suffered at least one defeat in the first five rounds of the TAC Cup. It leaves Oakleigh, Dandenong and Murray with just one loss thus far this season, while Gippsland are just two points behind in fourth. With other sides such as the Northern Knights and Geelong Falcons rising up after slow starts to the season, the competition is looking even across the board.

Unbeaten sides to clash

Okay, so this one is not something that happened on the weekend, but is happening next weekend. However, the events of the weekend and each other round, has set up this event. Of course the event is the Geelong Falcons taking on the Northern Knights in the TAC Cup Girls competition – both sides are undefeated and it is a case of best attack (Northern) facing the best defence (Geelong) in what should be an unbelievable clash. Ultimately the result will likely be for bragging rights, with both sides well clear of their nearest rivals and the loser needing to suffer an astonishing defeat in the final round to have any chance of dropping out of the top two, thus setting up a grand final preview.

VFLW ready to rumble

With all the practice matches done and dusted, it is exciting to see the new looking VFLW ready to kick-off next weekend. Many AFLW fans will head to suburban grounds as their AFL-aligned sides take on their first opponents for 2018. With many AFLW aligned players also spreading out across the likes of Darebin Falcons and Williamstown, expect the competition to still remain even, with the AFL sides not necessarily getting an easy leg-up on the competition.

Player of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 5

EASTERN Ranges might not have recorded a win this season, but midfielder Joel Burleigh had a massive day out on Saturday, producing one of the best midfield performances of the season in the Ranges’ loss to Gippsland Power to earn him the title of AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Player of the Week for Round 5.

Burleigh had a mind-boggling 40 disposals, seven marks, six clearances, three inside 50s, four rebounds and booted three goals to be the clear best on ground throughout the day. Defensively he laid a game-high 12 tackles, taking over the mantle as the most fierce tackler in the team in the absence of Lachlan Stapleton. He won almost half of his possessions in a contest, yet ran at an elite 85 per cent disposal efficiency. For those into fantasy football, his performance would have netted you 190 Dream Team points.

The performance was by far the best of Burleigh’s TAC Cup career, with the Eastern midfielder coming into the game averaging just 16 disposals from four matches so far in 2018. Eastern will be hoping the game is the start of something special, with the Ranges searching to kick-start their season and build some momentum.


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

Round One: Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons)

Round Two: Max King (Sandringham Dragons) 

Round Five: Joel Burleigh (Eastern Ranges)

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!