Tag: Toby Wooller

TAC Cup preview: Oakleigh Chargers

OAKLEIGH Chargers will head into season 2018 optimistic about their chances this year. After a preliminary final exit at the hands of Sandringham Dragons last season, the Chargers could consider themselves unlucky not to go all the way. They earned the minor premiership and were the best side with Geelong throughout the home and away season, but became the walking wounded when two of their best players – Toby Wooller and Jack Higgins – missed a final each, with Wooller’s absence in that preliminary final, telling. Higgins was also on one leg in his return from injury, having a role to play up forward, but was clearly not at his dominant best.

Along with Wooller and Higgins, Ed Richards was also drafted into the AFL, selected by the Western Bulldogs and thus changing his family’s rich heritage of donning the black and white stripes. In 2018, the depth is spread out across the Oakleigh line-up with Isaac Quaynor, a member of Collingwood’s Next Generation Academy, leading the charge. The running defender is sure to be in the draft conversation, as might midfielders Xavier O’Neill and Charlie Whitehead.

The Chargers have a mosquito fleet of mid/forwards including Lachlan Bugeja, Sam Harte and Daniel Scala who all impacted last season with plenty of game time. Joseph Ayton-Delaney impressed down back last season averaging almost three marks, three tackles and more than two rebounds for the year. Riley Collier-Dawkins has reportedly grown to 194cm and is a genuine key position player size despite playing through the midfield.

Unsurprisingly, Oakleigh also has a raft of talented bottom-agers led by Matt Rowell and Dylan Williams, both of whom are tracking as potential top 10 picks in 2019. With more sure to rise up this season, the Chargers will be quietly confident that they can enjoy a few years of success in the development area, if not the on-field area as well.

2017 Stats:

2017 Summary:

After an opening round loss against Sandringham Dragons, Oakleigh Chargers had three straight wins over Eastern Ranges, Calder Cannons and Bendigo Pioneers. It would be the start of a fantastic season, dropping just one game between round two and round 15 – in round five to the Geelong Falcons – as they went on a nine-game winning streak.

Their streak was eventually broken by a desperate Western Jets outfit clinging onto a finals hope later in the season, but the result hardly fazed the Chargers. They bounced back the next week with a low-scoring eight-point victory over Sandringham, before thumping Bendigo and Eastern to end the season. A whopping 70-point hiding of Northern came at a cost with captain Toby Wooller injured and Jack Higgins still sore from the previous week. It resulted in a narrow 10-point loss to Sandringham in the preliminary final and the minor premiers missed out on making the grand final.

2018 Snapshot:

Oakleigh Chargers open their season against Eastern Ranges on Saturday as part of a football triple header with two TAC Cup games and a VFL game at the venue. The Chargers then meet rivals Sandringham Dragons, before a date with the Northern Knights in round three. The Chargers’ first country road trip occurs in round four when they take on the Bendigo Pioneers, before back-to-back home games at Warrawee Park. The Chargers play four more games at their home ground, all consecutive matches between rounds 10-13.

The Chargers will be keen to be up near the top when the whips are cracking and I expect they are set for another top four finish. It should be a very competitive year in 2018, but the Chargers have some fantastic depth and it would be a surprise not to see them there at the business end of the season. If they do, they will hope to go all the way this time after having no shortage of success in the past decade.

2018 Fixture:

Oakleigh Chargers 2018

2018-03-24 11:00:49March 24, 2018 Oakleigh Chargers vs Eastern Ranges61 - 11Frankston OvalRecap
2018-03-31 13:30:16March 31, 2018 Sandringham Dragons vs Oakleigh Chargers89 - 66Rams ArenaRecap
2018-04-08 14:00:50April 8, 2018 Northern Knights vs Oakleigh Chargers75 - 100Preston City OvalRecap
2018-04-20 19:00:39April 20, 2018 Bendigo Pioneers vs Oakleigh Chargers30 - 100Queen Elizabeth OvalRecap
2018-04-28 13:45:51April 28, 2018 Oakleigh Chargers vs Dandenong Stingrays72 - 66Warrawee ParkRecap
2018-05-13 13:00:20May 13, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Oakleigh Chargers64 - 64MARS StadiumRecap
2018-05-20 10:45:35May 20, 2018 Oakleigh Chargers vs Western Jets61 - 80Warrawee ParkRecap
2018-06-09 13:00:59June 9, 2018 Murray Bushrangers vs Oakleigh Chargers52 - 106Norm Minns OvalRecap
2018-06-16 14:15:42June 16, 2018 Dandenong Stingrays vs Oakleigh Chargers95 - 40Shepley OvalRecap
2018-06-23 10:30:51June 23, 2018 Oakleigh Chargers vs Sandringham Dragons58 - 61Warrawee ParkRecap
2018-07-07 10:45:02July 7, 2018 Oakleigh Chargers vs Eastern Ranges91 - 33Warrawee ParkRecap
2018-07-14 11:00:24July 14, 2018 Oakleigh Chargers vs Calder Cannons94 - 76Warrawee ParkRecap
2018-07-29 13:00:53July 29, 2018 Geelong Falcons vs Oakleigh Chargers17 - 51Central Reserve (Colac)Recap
2018-08-04 14:00:41August 4, 2018 Oakleigh Chargers vs Gippsland Power55 - 60Warrawee ParkRecap
2018-08-19 15:00:52August 19, 2018 Oakleigh Chargers vs Sandringham Dragons88 - 32Avalon Airport OvalRecap
2018-08-25 14:00:54August 25, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Oakleigh Chargers 14:00:542:00 pmMARS StadiumPreview

NSW/ACT weekly wrap: Community forums; school girls’ grand final

A CROSS-state ride to raise awareness for mental health issues, the conclusion of an inaugural school girls’ competition, and the NEAFL pre-season kicking off, were the key news items for NSW/ACT this week.

Independent Girls Schools Grand Final

After a successful inaugural competition, the Sydney Independent Girls Schools held its grand final day over the weekend following four weeks of round robin matches. Pymble Ladies’ College won each age group’s trophy in an impressive overall performance in the 13-team competition.

GWS Giants star Nicola Barr helped coach some of the school girls this season, with Pymble Ladies College competing against Barr’s Ravenswood high school, as well as Abbotsleigh, Brigidine College St Ives, Mont Sant’ Angelo Mercy College and St Catherine’s School Waverley.

Puka Up community forums

Five former-AFL players will pedal 1433km from Sydney to Etihad Stadium in Melbourne in a bid to put mental health issues on the national agenda. Wayne Schwass, Danny Frawley, Paul Licuria, Scott Cummings and Justin Koschitzke will pedal 500 metres for every Australian lost to suicide over the eight-day event.

A total of 30 cyclists will take part in the ride, with the goal to break down the stigma on mental health issues. Across the ride, community forums will be held in regional areas, with Wollongong (March 16), Goulburn (March 17), Wagga Wagga (March 19) and Albury (March 20) the New South Wales based community forums.

The term ‘Puka’ is a Hindi word meaning authentic and genuine, to learn more head to the Puka Up website. For more information on the community forums, head to the AFL NSW/ACT Facebook page.

Contact Lifeline for 24/7 crisis help on 13 11 14 or at lifeline.org.au.

NEAFL Practice Matches

North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) clubs had their first hit-outs on the weebekend, with plenty of young stars standing out for their respective clubs. Brisbane’s reserves had a commanding 78-point victory over Aspley, with Tom Cutler booting four goals and new recruit, Toby Wooller, booting two. Fellow draftees Connor Ballenden (one goal) and Zac Bailey also impressed, while the Lions had eight academy players take part in the match.

The Gold Coast Suns reserves had an even more imposing victory, smashing Broadbeach by 170 points. Brayden Crossley booted four goals for the Suns, while Tom Nicholls finished with three. It was a huge win considering the opposition with Broadbeach making the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) preliminary final last year.

Redland got the job done against Southport in an eight-point win at Scottsdale Park. The scores were level at half-time in the wet, but it was the Bombers’ new recruit Matt Hammelman who handed his team the 9.5 (59) to 7.9 (51) victory. Canberra Demons also had an impressive 122-point victory over Albury Tigers, the dominant Ovens and Murray side.

Oakleigh Chargers 2017 review

With the off-season now officially here for TAC Cup clubs, AFL Draft Central will go back and review what 2017 was like for each of the 12 clubs. We kick off the series with Bendigo Pioneers and will end with the Western Jets.

Oakleigh Chargers

Finished: 3rd
Wins: 16
Losses: 4
Draws: 0
Points: 64 (eliminated in preliminary final)

Players Drafted: (3)

  • Ed Richards (Western Bulldogs)
  • Jack Higgins (Richmond)
  • Toby Wooller (Brisbane)

2017 Review:

Oakleigh Chargers’ three top standouts throughout the season made their way onto AFL lists, with Ed Richards the first name to be called out. The grandson of Magpie legend Ron Richards headed to the Western Bulldogs, while teammate and Morrish Medal winner Jack Higgins headed to the Tigers a pick later. Oakleigh captain Toby Wooller headed north to join the Brisbane Lions, also changing allegiances ala Richards, after his grandfather Fred Wooller was a Geelong premiership player.

Among those players unlucky to miss out were state combine invitees Noah Answerth, Bailey Griffiths, Riley Jones, Matthew King, Ethan Phillips and Charlie Thompson, while the two with the most interest having received a National Draft Combine invitation – Matthew Day and Ned Reeves – were also incredibly unlucky to not be drafted by an AFL club.


2018 Preview:

Oakleigh Chargers will have a talented mosquito-fleet next season with a number of draftable players below 180cm. Xavier O’Neill and Charlie Whitehead are among the taller prospects that have shone in their bottom-age year for the Chargers at 183cm, while running defender Isaac Quaynor is attached to Collingwood’s Next Generation Academy.

Xavier O’Neill (Oakleigh Chargers) 183cm | 75kg | Outside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (18) 17.7 disposals | 3.8 marks | 5.9 tackles | 2.3 clearances | 3.3 inside 50s | 60% KE | 69% DE | 36% CP

O’Neill is a well-balanced outside midfielder who spreads well and tackles hard. He had a promising bottom-age year showing off his composure and ability to get the ball moving forward, averaging 2.3 clearances and 3.3 inside 50s. With more midfield time expected in 2018, expect his disposal numbers to increase as well.

Isaac Quaynor (Oakleigh Chargers) 180cm | 77kg | Small Defender
2017 TAC Cup: (17) 11.7 disposals | 3.1 marks | 2.6 tackles | 2.4 rebounds | 78% KE | 76% DE | 38% CP

Tied to Collingwood’s Next Generation Academy, Quaynor is quick and loves to tuck the ball under his arm. He plays taller than his 180cm suggests and has played as a lockdown defender in the back half. He could play further up the ground in 2018, but he has great skills and agility.

Charlie Whitehead (Oakleigh Chargers) 183cm | 75kg | Outside Midfielder/Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (11) 13.2 disposals | 3.9 marks | 2.9 tackles | 1.9 inside 50s | 1.3 goals | 48% KE | 59% DE | 39% CP

Whitehead is not a huge ball winner or have an overly impressive stat sheet, but he is already a solid size and can play through the midfield or up forward in 2017, he averaged 1.3 goals per game from his 11 matches and like many of the other Chargers who have shown signs for next year, is expected to spend more time in the middle in 2018.

Others to keep an eye on:

Joseph Ayton-Delaney (Oakleigh Chargers) 181cm | 67kg | Small Defender
2017 TAC Cup: (10) 16.9 disposals | 2.7 marks | 2.8 tackles | 2.1 rebounds | 59% KE | 67% DE | 34% CP

Lachlan Bugeja (Oakleigh Chargers) 174cm | 72kg | Balanced Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (17) 16.6 disposals | 2.6 marks | 6.1 tackles | 2.5 clearances | 61% KE | 70% DE | 44% CP

Sam Harte (Oakleigh Chargers) 172cm | 66kg | Outside Midfielder
2017 TAC Cup: (19) 19.6 disposals | 4.1 marks | 4.6 tackles | 1.3 clearances | 4.2 inside 50s | 61% KE | 69% DE | 30% CP

Daniel Scala (Oakleigh Chargers) 174cm | 69kg | Small Forward
2017 TAC Cup: (11) 8.5 disposals | 1.2 marks | 2.6 tackles | 1.2 clearances | 2 goals | 66% KE | 71% DE | 59% CP



Oakleigh Chargers are prone to success and while they might be disappointed they fell in the penultimate match of the season, they were a dominant force throughout 2017. They once again look to be strong and will be thereabouts at the business end of the season. While many of their emerging top players are on the small side, they typically have a few talls hidden away playing school football that appear as the season goes on. Expect them to be dangerous at ground level in the new year.

Matt Balmer’s 2017 Final AFL Draft Power Rankings Part 1

EVERY month since May, Matt Balmer has ranked his players from the 2017 AFL Draft pool. With less than three weeks until the November 24 National AFL Draft, he counts down the players ranked 50-1 over the next two weeks. Today will be 50-26, before next Monday’s final rankings from 25-1.

Having seen just under 90 games throughout the season, it is always hard to come to a final order and I have ranked the players how I would if I was an AFL club going into the draft come November, ticking names off the list as they are called out.

Please note this is NOT a Phantom Draft – purely just how I rate the players. For this exercise, no mature agers have been considered.

#50 Jackson EDWARDS
Outside Midfielder (Glenelg/South Australia)
11/10/1999 | 184.5cm | 75.0kg

Scouting notes: The son of Tyson is eligible for father-son to Adelaide at the end of the season. Possesses a nice clean left foot on the outside where he plays his best across half back or on the wing. At times he could be a bit more damaging with his disposals, rather than finding the safe target short.

Strengths: Agility, accumulation, kicking
Improvements:  Hurt factor, contested ball

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.18 | Agility (secs) 8.39 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1

Under 18s Championships

2016South Australia00000000000000000000
2017South Australia49479618306513011770412.311.824.

Career Total


Key Position Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
22/05/1999 | 195.6cm | 85.2kg

Scouting notes: Key Position defender who should fill out in an AFL environment. His best can be very good and has held down the key post for Vic Country in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships over the last two years.  His intercept work is getting better and has become more sure of himself when dropping off his man. Kicking can be shaky under pressure – but is another element to his game that has improved throughout the season.

Strengths: Intercept marking, endurance, rebounding
Improvements:  Confidence, strength

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.13 | Agility (secs) 8.63 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.2




Trial matches


Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Country14132790050000034.
2017Vic Country22234523212380025045.55.811.

Career Total


#48 Jake PATMORE
Outside Midfielder (Claremont/Western Australia)
29/01/1999 | 181.1cm | 71.75kg

Scouting notes: Speedy outside midfielder who can play as a rebounding defender. Wins plenty of the ball and has slimmed down during the season. Patmore has plenty of scope for development. AFL Academy member.

Strengths: Agility, accumulation, speed
Improvements:  Inside game, endurance

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.02 | Agility (secs) 8.43 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1

Under 18s Championships

2016Western Australia24164040030000046.
2017Western Australia50419118226717059100412.510.322.

WAFL Colts


WAFL Reserves


Career Total


#47 Matthew DAY
Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers)
01/04/1999 | 189.2cm | 79.4kg

Scouting notes: The Chargers midfielder missed out on Vic Metro selection but uses his nous in the contest to get the ball moving forward. Was a high level basketballer, before recently making the full-time switch to football. Wins the contested ball and is willing to tackle hard to win it back.

Strengths: Inside work, kicking, speed, future scope
Improvements:  Accumulation, raw, endurance

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.00 | Agility (secs) 8.64 | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A




Career Total


#46 Brent DANIELS
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
09/03/1999 | 170.5cm | 70.4kg

Scouting notes: The inside midfielder was superb in the Vic Country Under 18 trial match in 2016, but showed his skills across half forward for Vic Country in the National Under 18 Championships in 2017. Daniels possesses elite speed and can play as an inside midfielder, but possesses a good goal sense and can pressure opposition defenders up forward.

Strengths: Skill, speed, goal sense, agility
Improvements:  Hands in close, overuse of the footy

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.95 | Agility (secs) 8.11 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.5




Trial matches


Career Total


#45 Sam TAYLOR
Key Position Defender (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
05/05/1999 | 196.1cm | 87.3kg

Scouting notes: A Key Position Defender who has flown a bit under the radar. Taylor was prominent in the AFL Academy game against Northern Blues at the start of the year, and is a good one-on-one defender. Taylor rebounds the ball ok by foot and is willing to take intercept marks.

Strengths: Marking, rebounding, positioning, athleticism
Improvements:  Kicking, endurance

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.05 | Agility (secs) 8.51 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.8

Under 18s Championships

2016Western Australia691570000000023.
2017Western Australia202444142124411013045.

WAFL League

2016Swan Districts00000000000000000000
2017Swan Districts4052923200190000070000000

WAFL Colts

2016Swan Districts70441144200142000080000000
2017Swan Districts78721505800309000280000000

WAFL Reserves

2016Swan Districts00000000000000000000
2017Swan Districts741140090000010000000

Career Total


#44 Tom McCARTIN
Key Position Forward (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
30/12/1999 | 192.6cm | 84.0kg

Scouting notes: One of the late bloomers of the 2017 AFL Draft pool. The brother of St Kilda’s Patrick has a late December and is still in Year 11 – meaning he will need to finish school in 2018. Clubs won’t be put off by this however and the talented forward showed in the first quarter of the TAC Cup Elimination Final that he can be a damaging player. McCartin marks well overhead and is an agile footballer. He has plenty of scope for development.

Strengths: Contested marking, endurance, cleanness at ground level, agility
Improvements:  Goal kicking, consistency

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.12 | Agility (secs) 8.36 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.5




Under 18s Championships

2017Vic Country712191061441030032.

Career Total


#43 Ethan FLOYD
Outside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
15/07/1999 | 180.0cm | 70.7kg

Scouting notes: Outside midfielder who possesses a pinpoint left foot pass. Can run hard all day on the wing and has a good mix of speed and endurance – standing out in his bright boot. He has the ability to play across half back and provides good rebound and can get the ball inside 50 and find a target.

Strengths: Kicking penetration, speed, endurance, ground coverage
Improvements:  Inside game, foot skills under pressure, tackling numbers

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.98 | Agility (secs) 8.46 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.5




Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Country00000000000000000000
2017Vic Country211132952770035037.03.710.

Career Total


#42 Brandon STARCEVICH
Balanced Midfielder (East Perth/Western Australia)
24/07/1999 | 186.6cm | 84.4kg

Scouting notes: A strong riser in the second half of the year where he can attack a stoppage at speed and clear the ball out reasonably effective by foot. Finished the season on a high with 18 disposals and four inside 50s in the Under 18 All Stars game at the MCG on Grand Final day. Possesses elite speed and agility, with his inside game are area that has improved. Not a big ball winner.

Strengths: Versatile, speed, agility
Improvements:  Inside game, consistency, ball winning

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.87 | Agility (secs) 8.08 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1

Under 18s Championships

2016Western Australia1531830080000135.
2017Western Australia321850924261215102448.04.512.

WAFL Colts

2016East Perth813811927001820002100000000
2017East Perth935014329003910005100000000

Career Total


#41 Trent MYNOTT
Inside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/10/1999 | 184.8cm | 75.1kg

Scouting notes: Inside midfielder who has plenty of scope for development. Mynott can win the contested ball and clear it effectively out to an outside runner by hand. Is willing to do the defensive work and tackles hard to get the ball back. Kicking has room for improvement.

Strengths: Clearances, acceleration, agility
Improvements:  Speed, kicking

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.22 | Agility (secs) 8.20 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.2



Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Metro00000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro263157111344150164038.710.319.

Career Total


#40 Will WALKER
Outside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons)
30/03/1999 | 186.5cm | 78.2kg

Scouting notes: Zippy half forward flanker who has improved his contested ball abilities in the second half of the year. Wins the ball in the midfielder and spreads well from a stoppage. At times he can just bang the ball on his boot – but he has the power to kick the ball over 50 metres and his clearance work is very good. Comes from a former soccer background.

Strengths: Speed, agility, clearance work, rawness
Improvements:  Kicking, contested ball winning

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.05 | Agility (secs) 8.74 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1




Career Total


#39 Toby WOOLLER
Key Position Forward (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
16/03/1999 | 192.7cm | 89.9kg

Scouting notes: Key Position Forward who has played as a hybrid midfielder at times for the Oakleigh Chargers. While still likely to end up a second or third tall at the next level, Wooller is a good mark and knows where the goals are. Is mobile enough to get up and down the ground on multiple leads. Is the grandson of Geelong’s Fred Wooller.

Strengths: Contested marking, scoreboard impact, work ethic, strength, leadership
Improvements:  Speed, kicking

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.12 | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.8




Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Metro00000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro13619791031080126.

Career Total


#38 Nathan KREUGER
Tall Utility (South Adelaide/South Australia)
25/06/1999 | 195.7cm | 88.9kg

Scouting notes: A raw talent who has had some incredible moments over the last 12 months. His work in the South Australian trials were good last year and early this year. Can play as a tall at either end, but most excitingly moves well athletically enough to play as a flanker. Uses the ball well off his left foot and there are some moments that get you really excited about this kid. Can play through the midfield but showed his strength up forward for South Australia in the National  Under 18 Championships.

Strengths: Agility, strength, marking, versatile
Improvements:  Raw, skills, consistency

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.03 | Agility (secs) 8.21 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.4

SANFL Reserves

2017South Adelaide109195121051021133.

SANFL Under 18s

2017South Adelaide10940149497583392224331513119.93.613.

Under 18s Championships

2016South Australia00000000000000000000
2017South Australia11718810731260125.

Career Total


#37 James WORPEL
Inside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
24/01/1999 | 185.1cm | 85.5kg

Scouting notes: Cracks in hard winning the ball in the contest and is one of the best clearance players in the 2017 draft pool. Question marks are on his kicking, where at times he will just bomb it out of the packs but he did show in the National Under 18 Championships that he was able to stop and find a target without rushing. Tackles well but has areas to address to be a top 30 selection.

Strengths: Inside game, tackling, leadership, scoreboard impact
Improvements:  Kicking, agility

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.08 | Agility (secs) 8.89 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.8




Trial matches


Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Country3017473001700002310.05.715.
2017Vic Country453479163842330161662411.38.519.

Career Total


#36 Jackson ROSS
Outside Midfielder/Medium Forward (Haileybury College/Eastern Ranges)
22/06/1999 | 192.5cm | 74.5kg

Scouting notes: Booted 29 goals playing as a centre half forward and on the wing for Haileybury College in the APS school competition. Comes from an elite tennis background and is still quite raw in football terms. Has a long kick and is able to use it on either side of his body. Very athletic and is a player with plenty of development left.

Strengths: Upside, mobility/versatile, kicking, scoreboard impact
Improvements:  Consistency, tackling, reading the game

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.09 | Agility (secs) 8.46 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.8




Career Total


#35 Gryan MIERS
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
30/03/1999 | 177.6cm | 77.4kg

Scouting notes: Small forward who shot to frame after booting seven goals in the TAC Cup Grand Final. Whilst he doesn’t possess elite speed, he has smarts around goal and is willing to kick the ball off either foot. Has played some time on the inside, but is destined to be a small forward at the next level.

Strengths: Footy IQ, endurance, goal sense, X-Factor
Improvements:  Speed, vertical leap

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.19 | Agility (secs) 8.39 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.5




Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Country00000000000000000000
2017Vic Country41297018175215071112410.37.317.

Career Total


#34 Harrison PETTY
Key Position Defender (Norwood/South Australia)
12/11/1999 | 195.3cm | 81.9kg

Scouting notes: Key positioned player who reads the play well and positions himself well behind the ball. Is composed with ball in hand and is usually clean to dispose of the ball off his right foot. Petty is also confident with when to intercept the ball overhead. Won South Australia’s MVP after a superb National AFL Under 18 Championships.

Strengths: Positioning, composure, kicking, intercepting
Improvements:  Speed, strength

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.17 | Agility (secs) 8.29 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.2

SANFL Reserves


SANFL Under 18s


Under 18s Championships

2017South Australia252449172624821213046.

Career Total


#33 Charlie SPARGO
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Murray Bushrangers/Allies)
25/11/1999 | 171.6cm | 70.2kg

Scouting notes: Small bite-sized midfielder who cracks in hard. Despite his size he wins the ball in the contest and tackles hard. Is one of the few midfielders who has a good goal sense and is a hard match-up when deep inside 50. Was originally zoned to GWS but it is now ineligible for GWS to select him under changes to their Academy zone. Had shoulder surgery which ruled him out for the season.

Strengths: Goal sense, speed, agility, endurance, tackling
Improvements:  Marking

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

Division 2




Under 18s Championships


Career Total


#32 Andrew McPHERSON
Medium Defender (Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia)
20/06/1999 | 185.7cm | 79.4kg

Scouting notes: A good ball user across half back where McPherson just gets the job done. He showed promise in the National AFL Under 18 Championships last year, but missed the carnival in 2017 due to injury. McPherson rebounds it well and can play across the wing. Reads the play well and has a good mix of attack & defence. The AFL Academy member dealt with a quad injury throughout the first half of the 2017 season.

Strengths: Endurance, kicking, footy smarts, rebounding
Improvements:  Inside game, athleticism

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A

SANFL Reserves

2017Woodville-West Torrens3835731821511085120312.711.724.

SANFL Under 18s

2017Woodville-West Torrens35804410112013.

Under 18s Championships

2016South Australia282149140080000039.
2017South Australia00000000000000000000

Career Total


Inside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
12/04/1999 | 185.1cm | 77.7kg

Scouting notes: The fastest player in the TAC Cup with a 20m sprint time of 2.82 seconds recorded earlier in the season. He is willing to take opposition players on and burn them off along the wing. Also possesses a very good leap. His kicking on the run is a work-in-progress and needs work, but his eye catching displays are continuing to get better and more consistent. He comes from an elite basketball background. His contested ball numbers are very good.

Strengths: Speed, agility, inside game
Improvements:  Kicking, endurance, accumulation

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.87 | Agility (secs) 8.64 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.7



Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Metro00000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro1513287131490135135.

Career Total


#30 Dylan MOORE
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
04/08/1999 | 175.8cm | 65.9kg

Scouting notes: Small midfielder who isn’t afraid of winning the contested ball. His ground ball numbers are very good and is a big ball winning midfielder. Moore can also push forward and hit the scoreboard. Has a decent jump for a small midfielder which he can show off up forward. He also a very good endurance base but is one of the few players sub 180cm who do not possess elite speed. Is a smart footballer and just gets to the right position to win the ball. Clearance work is super.

Strengths: Endurance, kicking, contested ball winning, scoreboard impact, clearance work
Improvements:  Speed, marking

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.14 | Agility (secs) 8.48 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 22.3



Under 18s Championships

2016Vic Metro00000000000000000000
2017Vic Metro35579210455013012133348.814.323.

Career Total


#29 Jordan HOULAHAN
Medium Forward (Sturt/South Australia)
19/02/1999 | 185.7cm | 75.9kg

Scouting notes: Medium forward who possess a very good leap and is a straight kick in front of goal. The AFL Academy member will likely adjust to AFL life in a similar role to Sydney Swans 2016 draftee Will Hayward. Has come back from a shoulder reconstruction and was a solid performance up forward in the National Under 18 Championships. Also played a few games as a midfielder at SANFL level. Was a dual premiership player for the Double Blues in the SANFL Under 18s and SANFL Reserves.

Strengths: Contested marking, kicking skills, leap, versatility
Improvements:  Consistency, leading patterns, endurance

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.05 | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1


SANFL Reserves


SANFL Under 18s


Under 18s Championships

2017South Australia2514391224131414131746.

Career Total


#28 Zac BAILEY
Inside Midfielder (Southern Districts/Allies)
23/09/1999 | 181.0cm | 81.1kg

Scouting notes: Has a great burst of speed and he isn’t afraid to collect the ball and burst out of a stoppage getting distance on himself from his opponents. The right footer is usually a clean kick but can have the odd poor game by foot. Bailey wins the contested ball and tackles well.

Strengths: Contested ball winning, speed, kicking, tackling
Improvements:  Marking, endurance, hitting the scoreboard

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 2.98 | Agility (secs) 8.69 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 20.6


Division 2

2017Northern Territory00000000000000000000

SANFL Under 18s


Under 18s Championships


Career Total


#27 Ryley STODDART
Medium Defender/Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
15/10/1999 | 184.6cm | 73.7kg

Scouting notes: Rebounding defender who is what you want in a half back flank. Kicks it well on his left foot, makes very good decisions and will get to the right positions. His defending one-on-one is okay and is not a big disposal winner, but is a player who will make his 15-20 touches hurt the opposition when he drops off. Dubbed as a Kade Simpson clone by SEN 1116 Draft Analyst Brett Anderson. Finished the year with some impressive performances and showed he can push further up the ground and hit the scoreboard.

Strengths: Agility, kicking, composure under pressure
Improvements:  Tackling, one-on-one defending

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) N/A | Agility (secs) N/A | Yo-Yo Test (level) N/A




Under 18s Championships

2017Vic Metro1830486182640138044.57.512.

Career Total


#26 Joel GARNER
Balanced Midfielder/General Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
21/05/1999 | 184.2cm | 82.6kg

Scouting notes: Balanced Midfielder who has struggled to find his feet at times thrown around in multiple positions around the ground at school, TAC Cup and Vic Metro level. He uses the ball well off his left foot, hitting targets on the run or standing still. His handballing in close is another strength and he is able to clear the ball from a stoppage with ease. Screams X-Factor at times and may have found his best position across half back. Is an outstanding leader.

Strengths: Leadership, kicking, quick hands, inside game
Improvements:  Endurance, consistency

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.18 | Agility (secs) 8.85 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.1



Under 18s Championships

2017Vic Metro1830486182640138044.57.512.

Career Total


So that’s my players ranked 50-26, if you want to know more: Send me a Tweet @MattBalmer7 before my final 25-1 is released next Monday night.

Matt Balmer’s 2017 early Phantom Draft

IT IS just over a month until AFL clubs will meet at Sydney Showgrounds for the 2017 NAB AFL Draft.

At the conclusion of trade week, Matt Balmer predicts who will go where inside the first round, in his 2017 early Phantom Draft.

Pick 1: Brisbane – Luke Davies-Uniacke
Inside Midfielder (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
08/06/1999 | 187.2cm | 85.2kg

Scouting notes: A strong bodied inside midfielder who tackles hard and wins the clearances. Has had a fair share of injuries over the last few seasons but appears to be over them. Is one of the players most ready to go and could walk into AFL from day one with ease. Is powerful in the contested situations and is able to stand up when getting tackled, using his strength to dispose of the ball. Has shown at school football that he can beat the tag. Had a bit of a lull in the second half of the year, but pulled out his best form when it mattered in September.

In the mix: While some may see Cameron Rayner as the best player in the 2017 draft pool, I think the Lions will look for a full-time inside midfielder. Paddy Dow’s name is another who the Lions will consider – but at the moment the gut feel is ‘LDU’ is ahead of Dow.

Pick 2: Fremantle – Paddy Dow
Inside Midfielder (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)
16/10/1999 | 185.4cm | 78.2kg

Scouting notes: Speedy inside midfielder who can push forward and hit the scoreboard. Right footed midfielder who was superb for the AFL Academy in their game against the Northern Blues – not looking out of place at the centre bounces early in the year. Runs a sub three second 20m sprint and has very good agility. Not afraid to take on opposition midfielders in the contest, attempting to speed out of the stoppages.

In the mix: Fremantle only acquired Pick 2 today, in a trade from the Gold Coast giving up Lachie Weller. They’ll need to take a Victorian midfielder at Pick 2 – with Cerra, Rayner, Davies-Uniacke others who could also feature. Fremantle have a lot of players similar to Rayner – but it’d be hard to let him go – as a player who can do things that many others can’t in this draft pool.

Pick 3: Carlton – Cameron Rayner
General Forward/Inside Midfielder (Western Jets/Vic Metro)
21/10/1999 | 186.5cm | 87.2kg

Scouting notes: Powerful and explosive midfielder who makes you excited when you watch him. A similar mould to Robbie Gray combined with Christian Petracca and when up forward his contested marking overhead is one of his strengths. For the moment he is a forward first, midfielder second with his endurance being a work in progress – running an 11.10 beep test at TAC Cup preseason testing. Not afraid to throw out a ‘don’t argue’ to his opponents. Can do things that others in the 2017 draft pool cannot.

In the mix: Fremantle are the great unknown and it’d be very hard to see the Blues let Rayner slip past them if he gets through to Pick 3. Haileybury College midfielders Andrew Brayshaw, Charlie Constable and Davies-Uniacke will be in the mix. Paddy Dow might land in their lap if things fall another way.

Pick 4: North Melbourne – Jaidyn Stephenson
Outside Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
15/01/1999 | 188.5cm | 75.4kg

Scouting notes: Started the season as a medium tall marking target inside 50 but has improved his running capacity and turned himself into an outside midfield in the final few months of 2017.  Up forward, he has a big wingspan which sees him pluck the ball from above his opponents reach. He converts his set-shot chances more than not, after bursting onto the scene with a terrific finals series for Eastern Ranges as an Under 16 back in 2015. Stephenson has pushed up onto the wing at times, where he moved well – holding a great endurance base to go with a really good burst of speed. One area that could be cleaned up is his field kicking around the ground.

In the mix: Most of the talk is that the top three selections will be Rayner, Davies-Uniacke & Dow – with the order unknown. Stephenson had a great second half of the year and adds some X-Factor for the Roos. Adam Cerra, Nick Coffield and Andrew Brayshaw are three other names that no doubt they’ll be monitoring.

Pick 5: Fremantle – Aaron Naughton
Key Position Defender (Peel/Western Australia)
30/11/19999 | 194.0cm | 85.0kg

Scouting notes: Played as a bottom-ager in two of Western Australia’s NAB AFL Under 18 Championship games in 2016, and was named as a co-captain for the 2017 carnival where he impressed in defence. He marks well overhead and is a good reader of the play. Has an awkward ball drop which can affect his left foot kicking efficiency at times, but mostly it gets where it needs to go. Made his League debut in the WAFL and didn’t looked out of place.

In the mix: Take a midfielder at Pick 2 and at Pick 5? Another big question – but Fremantle hold the keys to shaping the top 10 of the 2017 NAB AFL Draft. They’ve watched a fair bit of the Sandringham Dragons and Andrew Brayshaw could be a player selected here. Adam Cerra and Nick Coffield are two other Vic Metro players who they’ll have on the list – but it might be hard to turn down the best West Australian and tall in the draft pool.

Pick 6: Collingwood – Nick Coffield
General Defender/Outside Midfielder (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
23/10/1999 | 190.8cm | 82.5kg

Scouting notes: Composed midfielder who is very good under pressure. Reminds me of Hugh McCluggage where he has plenty of time with ball in hand in the contest. Clean user on his right foot and his defensive efforts are strong where he floats around and wins the ball at ease. Has a burst of speed which he often will utilise in defensive 50 when playing the role of a general defender. Some think he will end up as an inside midfielder at the next level.

In the mix: Few whispers of the Pies meeting with Aaron Naughton on the weekend and they may pick him if he is available here. Coffield is the best player available and should be able to transition into an inside midfielder in the future.

Pick 7: St Kilda – Andrew Brayshaw
Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
08/11/1999 | 183.9cm | 81.7kg

Scouting notes: The brother of Melbourne’s Angus started the year on fire for the Sandringham Dragons. He finds the football with a good contested possession percentage. Brayshaw is more of a handball first, kick second player in the contest but just gets the job done without standing out and flies under the radar. He makes his disposals count and is effective, with good defensive efforts. Always one of the top ranked players on the stats sheets.

In the mix: I’m told St Kilda have been big fans of Brayshaw throughout 2017 – meeting with him on multiple occasions and it would be hard to see them turn him down if he’s available. Alan Richardson watched the TAC Cup elimination final where Nick Coffield dominated and he is another option if still on the board. It would be a tough call to let Adam Cerra go too.

Pick 8: St Kilda – Aiden Bonar
Inside Midfielder/General Forward (Haileybury College/Dandenong Stingrays)
08/03/1999 | 188.6cm | 86.5kg

Scouting notes: Build like a brick sh!thouse. After recovering from two knee surgeries after his first ACL graft didn’t take, Bonar has presence about him around the ground, mostly playing up forward as a third tall – but has pushed into the midfield for longer periods with each game he plays. His pressure is very good and he can lay bone crunching tackles. Has a good burst of speed and is strong overhead. Suggestion is he’ll end up a full time midfielder. Possesses a big upside.

In the mix: The biggest unknown in the 2017 draft pool is Aiden Bonar and he is a name that St Kilda could take – to address bringing in a big bodied midfielder. His testing at the NAB AFL Draft Combine was outstanding and there’s no doubt with the security of having two picks inside top 10 – the Saints could make the move on the Dandenong Stingray.

Pick 9: Western Bulldogs – Adam Cerra
Balanced Midfielder (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
07/10/1999 | 186.3cm | 80.3kg

Scouting notes: The forgotten man of the 2017 draft pool after missing 2016 with a meniscus injury to his knee. The AFL Academy missed out on pick one and pick two in 2016 – and Cerra could be another to join that list of high draft picks. He wins the ball on the inside and possesses a clean kick on his right foot. He contested work and clearance winning are superb and he covers the ground well. Was one of the standouts in the Vic Metro trials in April and continued his form in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.

In the mix: If the Saints don’t take Bonar, he’s a player I’d expect the Bulldogs to snap up. With Stringer leaving the kennel, South Australia’s best draft prospect Darcy Fogarty could fill a similar role as a forward. They have also shown some interest in Nathan Murphy – but they may hope that he gets to their next selection.

Pick 10: Carlton – Charlie Constable
General Defender/Inside Midfielder (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
18/05/1999 | 191.0cm | 86.1kg

Scouting notes: Tall midfielder who can play on the inside and across either arches. He begun the year for the Dragons in the midfield, but moved to half back with the return of Hamish Brayshaw. Missed a large chunk of 2016 with an injury, but is over those concerns. A good team player who gets to the right positions around the ground. Not super quick, but has a ‘footy brain’ and makes good decisions by foot rebounding out of defence. Likely to end up as a Patrick Cripps type of midfielder.

In the mix: SOS has some good relationships among the APS school boy football competition and if one of Bonar or Constable reach their Pick 10 – It would be seriously hard to see him let them go past. Either can play as an inside midfielder and support Patrick Cripps.

Pick 11: GWS – Jack Higgins
Small Forward/Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
19/03/1999 | 177.8cm | 76.9kg

Scouting notes: Small midfielder who wins a lot of the ball and has now moved into a small forward role post the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships. His defensive efforts are getting better and the midfielder has the ability to push forward and hit the scoreboard. His clearance work is great and he has goal smarts as a small forward, but he does lack a touch of speed compared to other small forwards. Very good contested mark for a player sub 180cm. Should be ready to go in 2018, but his full on focus on AFL in 2017, might mean he has a limited upside compared with other first rounders.

In the mix: The Giants have long wanted a small forward and the retirement of Stevie J might see them select Jack Higgins, who would fit in well playing a role alongside Tim Taranto and Toby Greene. They have shown in the past that they aren’t afraid to grab players with dual sport abilities (Pat McKenna), so Nathan Murphy could be another considered.

Pick 12: Adelaide – Darcy Fogarty
General Forward (Glenelg/South Australia)
05/09/1999 | 191.9cm | 94.5kg

Scouting notes: Strongly built forward that can push into the midfield. Played up forward for South Australia in last year’s Under 18 Championships booting seven goals. Fogarty played a strong game in the midfield for Glenelg in their finals last year and has been tried as a third tall defender at stages throughout 2017. Has the ability to kick off either foot and can lay bone-crunching tackles. He is more of a third tall than an inside midfielder at this stage. Ruled out for the season with a meniscus tear in his knee.

In the mix: The obvious option is for the Crows to take home grown talent in Darcy Fogarty, but if he’s off the board – they may look to Vic Country inside midfielder Hunter Clark who has had a superb finish to the season.

Pick 13: West Coast – Hunter Clark
Inside Midfielder/Medium Defender (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
26/03/1999 | 186.1cm | 79.9kg

Scouting notes: Has transitioned from a rebounding outside defender to a contested ball winning midfielder over the last 12 months. Coming out of defence his decision making and kicking could be better – and if he cleans this up it will help his draft stocks. Ball winning capabilities are improving on the inside and he is able to pump the ball inside 50 to a teammate. Possesses quick hands – a trait that can separate him from others in this draft pool.

In the mix: Another club that will look to bolster their inside midfielders stock. If Hunter Clark is on the board it is a no-brainer, while if they feel they want to take the best homegrown player – it is not too far out of Under 18 Larke Medalist Oscar Allen’s range.

Pick 14: Sydney – Nathan Murphy
Medium Utility (Brighton Grammar/Sandringham Dragons)
15/12/1999 | 188.3cm | 79.9kg

Scouting notes: The Victorian Under 19 cricketer has been one of the better forwards in the APS Victorian school football season. Murphy has over 20 goals after moving forward post a concussion suffered against Haileybury College in Round 2. Was a late addition to the Sandringham Dragons program for 2017 and was strong as a third tall in defence on debut. The tall utility can play at either end and has a big booming right foot kick. Goalkicking accuracy is one area which can be cleaned up but Murphy’s focus has largely been cricket over the last few years. Often has a tendency to mark the ball behind his head and Murphy has a very large wingspan.

In the mix: In what was a quiet trade week for Kinnear Beatson and the Swans, they will hit the draft with their first round pick. Nathan Murphy is a player they could consider, with a chance he moves into the midfield. If they are looking for some outside class – players such as Lochie O’Brien, Matt Ling, Ed Richards and Ryley Stoddart could be considered, but all are probably likely to fall into the second round.

Pick 15: Brisbane – Joel Garner
Balanced Midfielder/General Defender (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
21/05/1999 | 184.2cm | 82.6kg

Scouting notes: Balanced Midfielder who has struggled to find his feet at times thrown around in multiple positions around the ground at school, TAC Cup and Vic Metro level. He uses the ball well off his left foot, hitting targets on the run or standing still. His handballing in close is another strength and he is able to clear the ball from a stoppage with ease. Screams X-Factor at times and may have found his best position across half back. Is an outstanding leader.

In the mix: Pick 15 places the Lions a bit in no-man’s land – if the draft falls as I have it, they may miss out on probably the best crop of midfielders. No doubt they’d be keen to link up Dandenong Stingrays pair Aiden Bonar and Hunter Clark with Davies-Uniacke if they were available. Despite having Oscar McInerney developing well, they might look at Sam Hayes to boost their ruck stocks or develop as a key forward – but they do have Connor Ballenden who should get a bid after their next pick somewhere in the 20s. Could they bid on Patrick Naish?

Pick 16: Western Bulldogs – Ed Richards
Medium Defender/
Inside Midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
03/07/1999 | 184.7cm | 78.1kg

Scouting notes: Speedy running defender who dominated in the APS school football competition for Carey. Is trusted with taking the kick outs and is a clean and effective kick on his left foot. Can play as an inside midfielder, where he uses his quick & clean hands to effectiveness.

In the mix: The Tigers will be hoping that father-son prospect Patrick Naish doesn’t get a bid here – with the Bulldogs showing plenty of interest this season. If they’re looking to add some speed on the outside, Ed Richards has had a great season and might be one they look to recruit. Norwood small midfielder Zac Bailey was superb throughout the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships for the Allies and could be another they consider.

Pick 17: Richmond – Jarrod Brander
Key Position Forward/Defender (Bendigo Pioneers/Allies)
11/02/1999 | 194.6cm | 92.3kg

Scouting notes: Key Position tall that can play at either end where he reads the flight of the ball well. Is mobile up forward which allows him to make multiple leads. Missed most of 2016 through knee injury, but jumped on the scene booting over 20 goals for Geelong Grammar in the 1st XVIII competition as a Year 10 in 2015. Doesn’t look out of place in defence after playing there for the AFL Academy – as well as collecting 26 disposals in defence in the APS v AGSV school boy game last year. Was originally zoned to GWS but it is now ineligible for GWS to select him under changes to their Academy zone. Best swingman in the draft – with healthy debate which end he best plays his football.

In the mix: The Tigers went into finals with a small side – but may look to bring in some more talls to help with their depth. Most people in the know feel Jarrod Brander will get outside the top 10 and the Tigers would have to snatch him up at Pick 17. Sam Hayes is another tall they will consider – but the Tigers will be hoping he gets through to Pick 20. If the Bulldogs or Lions bid on Naish – this pick will be removed from the order.

What about the rest?

Pick 19: Gold Coast – Nathan Murphy would be a likely suitor should he get through to Pick 19. Medium forward Jordan Houlahan from Sturt would be another name that fits the bill as a similar player to Murphy. Larke Medalist Oscar Allen and Vic Metro tall Noah Balta are still on the board and might fit the best available selection, while the loss of Adam Saad might allow them to look for a similar prospect in Matt Ling.

Pick 22: Geelong – Similar to the Suns – medium forwards Murphy and Houlahan would appeal to add to the Cats’ forward line. Lachlan Fogarty might be another good fit, with high pressure and tackling numbers sure to fit the bill of AFL teams after a success with Richmond this season. Could the Wooller name return to Simonds Stadium?

Pick 29: Melbourne – A small forward or classy outside ball user would likely appear to the Dees. Ryley Stoddart, Matt Ling and Lochie O’Brien are three such classy outside midfielders/half back flanks. If they’re looking for a small forward, Dylan Moore and Charlie Spargo are two second round prospects that they could consider. The Demons also have Pick 31 and 36.

Pick 43: Hawthorn – Once again the Hawks will enter the draft without a first round pick – but it is at least closer than their 2016 first selection. Next Generation Academy member Changkuoth Jiath is tied to the Hawks – but will likely be a late selection or rookie pick. While it’s probably unlikely Andrew McPherson would be a good fit across half back and through the midfield, after an injury interrupted 2017. Two other midfielders that might be considered from the Hawks are Brayden Ainsworth and Matthew Day. Could James Worpel still be there at Pick 43?

Pick 46: Port Adelaide – The Power are one of a number of clubs to show interest in Eastern Ranges & Haileybury College outside midfielder/general forward Jackson Ross. Ross is very athletic and has plenty of scope for development. If the two West Australian teams haven’t grabbed Liam Ryan – the Power might consider it here.

Pick 48: Essendon – If the Bombers can find an inside midfielder at Pick 48 – it would cap off a very impressive draft & trade period. The Bombers would’ve taken Constable with Pick 11 had they held onto it, but if James Worpel gets to Pick 48 – It’d be hard to see them let him go. There’s been a lot of talk about them being keen on Dylan Moore – but he’s likely to end up inside the top 30.

GOT a question for Matt? Or want to know more? Send him a Tweet @MattBalmer7 or leave a comment on our Facebook page.


TAC Cup finals preview: Oakleigh Chargers vs. Sandringham Dragons

AFTER a round of less than underwhelming finals – with the Eastern/Dandenong clash the exception – the top four teams remain in contention for the 2017 TAC Cup premiership. There is one thing for certain – a metropolitan team will face a country team in the grand final for the second consecutive year. In the second match of the day, Oakleigh Chargers take on Sandringham Dragons in the preliminary final at Simonds Stadium with the winner to run out on Etihad in a week’s time.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Sandringham Dragons

Oakleigh: 1st, 15-3, 1653 points for, 993 points against
Sandringham: 4th,11-7, 1360 points for, 1104 points against

Last week Oakleigh produced a blow-out win over Northern Knights, defeating their opponents 15.14 (104) to 4.10 (34) in a game not likely to be remembered fondly by anyone out at Preston. Chargers’ spiritual leader and 2016 captain Jack Roughsedge was instrumental through the middle with 28 disposals (16 contested), 10 clearances, three inside 50s and a goal. Toby Wooller was unstoppable leading out of the forward 50 with 22 disposals, 10 marks, four inside 50s and 3.3 as well as two score assists. Others that impressed included Luke Stacker (26 disposals, six marks and foru clearances), Matthew King (24 disposals, six rebounds) and Charlie Thompson (22 disposals, five inside 50s, 2.2 and an impressive five score assists.

Sandringham on the other hand did not have the most ideal start, trailing Murray Bushrangers at quarter time and then conceding three of the next four goals before putting the foot down with a performance everyone expected of them. They piled on 16 of the next 21 goals to run away with the game in a huge 19.11 (125) to 11.8 (74) victory. There were plenty of standouts in that match including Will Walker who played a large portion forward, booting four goals to go with his 25 disposals, four marks and five clearances, while Hamish Brayshaw was huge again with 25 disposals, six marks, five clearances, eight inside 50s, six tackles and three goals. Others that impressed included Seb Williams (23 disposals, four inside 50s), Charlie Constable (23 disposals, six clearances and four score assists) and Alfie Jarnestrom (21 disposals, five marks, three clearances and three score assists).

The changes:

Unfortunately for Oakleigh, there is a huge out in the form of Toby Wooller. His omission will be felt quite considerably as he was one of the best last week and just leads by example with huge marks and telling goals. The inclusion of Jack Higgins after he missed with a shoulder injury will bring a sigh of relief from the coaches, but it is hard to replace Wooller. Given they lined up without a ruckman last week and Hugh Longbottom shouldered the bulk of the load, the 191cm versatile player will line-up at half-forward with giant Ned Reeves returning, along with Ed Michelmore and Bailey Griffiths.

For Sandringham, Joel Crocker is out after an injury late in the game, as is defender Nathan Murphy with the cricketer-turned-footballer named in the side to face the Chargers but was a late withdrawal. Tall forward/ruck Hayden McLean returns to the gold, as does Sam Cameron and Alastair Richards with three to be omitted from their team named on Thursday night.

The tip:

This game is incredibly hard to tip (like it should be) given Oakleigh has done nothing wrong all year, but Sandringham just know how to peak at the right time. The Chargers are one of only a handful of teams that produce four quarter performances game in, game out, but without Toby Wooller it leaves a massive hole up forward. The Dragons have gone very tall in their line-up, hoping to control the airways over the smaller Chargers, while Oakleigh will hope they use their speed to advantage. In saying that, Sandringham has some serious pace in its line-up and given it is closer to full-strength and coming off a dominant second half, I will pick the Dragons to head into the grand final. However, start like they did against Murray last week and the Dragons could be in serious trouble as the Chargers do not muck around or waste opportunities. It is set to be a cracker.

2017 TAC Cup Scouting notes: Finals week 1

THE FIRST week of TAC Cup Finals have been run and won, with Oakleigh, Dandenong, Geelong and Sandringham progressing to next Sunday’s Preliminary Finals at Simonds Stadium.

You can re-watch all four TAC Cup Finals games here.

Read Matt Balmer and Peter Williams’ scouting notes from all four finals below, focusing on some of the better players on the weekend, with an emphasis on the 2017 draft eligible players.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Northern Knights 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Jack Roughsedge – Booted the first goal of the game for the Chargers and played as an inside midfielder during the game. Coming out the stoppages and in tight, Roughsedge preferred to use his right foot kick rather than his hands to get the ball out of the contest. Spreads well out of the stoppages.

#7 Charlie Thompson – Has had a great second half of the year and is pushing himself in draft calculations. When up forward, he keeps his feet and is able to get the ball out to a teammate by hand. His clearance work in the midfield is very good and he was willing to tackle hard – putting pressure on his opponents. While he does lack a touch of speed, he knows his limitations and is able to get the ball moving forward on his right foot. Kicked a nice left foot snap goal.

#8 Toby Wooller – Was one of the Chargers’ best players but hopped off in the last quarter and scans post game confirmed he had broken his ankle. His marking was on show early, including a spectacular clunk on the wing in the first quarter. He did have two chances late in the first term to capitalise on goal – but missed them both. He did boot two goals in the third quarter and really showed his strengths in the air and at ground level. One of his better games in a while.

#14 Ed Richards – Didn’t win a stack of the ball, but his moments were very good and he was able to link up and create drive off half back. He did take a while to get going, but a nice intercept mark in the second quarter really got him going and he booted a goal in the second quarter. Late in the game he was shown into the midfield and won a centre clearance late, booting the ball inside 50 on his long left foot.

#22 Hugh Longbottom – It was surprising to see him begin the game in the ruck as an undersized tall at 191cm – but immediately he used his trademark leap to crack in hard, in what was a very good contest with Matthew Harman. He was very mobile around the ground and was able to get the ball around the ground and mark when required.

#50 Matt King – Worked tirelessly all day in the back half and reads the play well. Does not find as much of it as some of his teammates, but I felt he put in a lot of work moving the ball out of defence and propelling it forward in transition.

#71 Dylan Williams – The 16 year-old might not be available for draft selection until 2019, but his game on the weekend was first class. He marked well above his head, showed good athleticism and was able to pinpoint passes in traffic with ease. It is worth remembering this name next year as he is likely to take the competition by storm as a bottom-ager.

Northern Knights:

#4 Max Dreher – Started as an inside midfielder but was also able to go across to the half back flank when he rotated out. He accumulates the ball well and is willing to tackle hard around the ground. He is usually clean across half back and in tight at the stoppages, he’s able to use his quick hands to effectiveness.

#6 Patrick Naish – Played as a utility, but again looked his best in the second quarter playing up forward, where he was able to bag one of Northern’s four goals. While his finishing could’ve been better around the ground – his tackling pressure was very good. Is springy on his feet and can jump up high above some of the other midfielders when trying to win the ball in the air.

#7 Jack Petruccelle – Started off slowly but got going and showed his ability to win the ball in the contested situations. Went deep up forward at times in the second quarter, including an outstanding mark in the second quarter where he converted the chance. At the moment, he is far from the finished product and has plenty of traits that will appeal to clubs with his eye-catching speed and leap outstanding.

#8 Nick Coffield – Won the footy on the inside and once again was very good in traffic. Is so composed in the content and for one of the first times of the season – he was caught holding the ball at one stage during the match. A spin early in the contest was very impressive, while another good trait was his long handballing ability. An elite kick inside 50 in the third term was simply outstanding and while St Kilda coach Alan Richardson was looking on – it wouldn’t be a shock to see him drafted before their first pick inside the top 10.

#9 Alex Federico – Was willing to kick out of the stoppages on either his left or right foot – and while his numbers weren’t as big as previous games, he did some good things in their tough loss. At times he did just bang the ball forward, but his clearance work was important in meaning the Knights could get the ball going inside 50. His vision in the final quarter to find a target on his left foot directly to his right was outstanding.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Eastern Ranges 

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hunter Clark – Dandenong’s game plan involves getting the ball inside 50 as many times as possible – and Hunter Clark is a playing that completes that task. Whilst early in the contest, not all of his kicks hit the target, he was damaging in the second half of the contest and gave the Stingrays forwards the ball inside 50. His tackling and multiple efforts were hugely important in helping the Rays lift after half time. He had two pinpoint passes inside 50 in the third quarter, and his good hands in tight were impressive in the last quarter.

#6 Aiden Bonar – Played it patches, showing off his good burst and his strength in the contest. A nice contested mark, saw him run into an open goal in the first term, while he flied high for a mark in the second quarter. His tackling and general pressure around the ball was good, but did cop a knock late – but should be fine for next week.

#9 Luke Davies-Uniacke – ‘LDU’ was back to his pre-champs best, dominating throughout the contest – in particular in the final half of the game when the Stingrays took control. His hands and his pick ups from ground level were outstanding, while he showed his tenacious attack on the ball in the contested. A good passage in the second quarter saw him take a few bounces running down the middle, while another goal assist in the third term was equally impressive. He looked ‘stuffed’ in the last quarter after pushing himself – but he found another gear after he Stingrays needed someone to keep it going in the midfield and there’s no doubt he was the best player on the ground. Wow.

#15 Toby Bedford – Really liked his game out of the midfield. Managed to burst away from his opponents a couple of times and kick inside 50. He did not always hit his targets going forward but was able to get deep entries inside 50 which was a plus, especially in a game where Dandenong had tall targets such as Riley D’Arcy and Bailey Williams rotating forward.

#25 Oscar Clavarino – Took a couple of marks in defence, but he didn’t have as many as the previous week. He was able to be an option on the switch and at times was able to win crucial one-on-one contests. He is a rock in defence at times and reads the play well and hits the contest as a third man so well.

#26 Tom Murphy – Continued to win the ball on the inside and spread well from the contest. His clearance work was good and he was able to win it on the outside as well. His ball winning is very good and his stoppage work is appealing. Had a good third term. An underrated midfielder in the Stingrays’ line-up.

Eastern Ranges:

#6 Ryley Stoddart – Continued to work his backside off throughout the whole game coming out of defensive 50. He was able to mark around the ground with ease early in the game, but at times looked to rush things and elected to use his agility to try and get around players rather than just looking for a simple option, often seeing him tackled trying to do too much. His kicking was uncharacteristically off – but a few recruiters made it verbally known that it was obvious he was giving his all despite his teammates basically stopping late in the game.

#10 Dylan Moore – Used his smarts and agility to good use in the midfield, but was just out powered in the second half by the bigger bodies Davies-Uniacke and Clark. Moore’s follow up work was good and he was able to sneak forward and his goal in the last quarter did give the Ranges some brief hope that they might be able to snatch back the win.

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – Stephenson started the game up forward and was more impactful there than through the midfield. When he was playing well and providing some spark the Ranges were up and about, but after half time Stephenson was unable to get his hands on the ball and the Ranges begun to struggle. Stephenson snapped a nice goal in the opening term and had a good passage of play in the second term marking the ball – but unfortunately didn’t convert the chance. I still think his best position is inside 50.

#17 Cody Hirst – The exciting forward has pace to burn. He might not be the highest rated player, but the defensive pressure he offers and continual bursts of acceleration make him a danger inside 50. Pressured the Stingrays’ defenders throughout the day.

#21 Joel Garner – Played up forward after spending most of the second half of the year playing across half back. Garner showed his smarts and was able to hit the scoreboard in the second quarter. He used his left foot well and his kick to Trent Mynott in the third term was executed perfectly. He was able to provide a target and had more impact than he has in recent weeks.

#22 Jackson Ross – Again showed bursts to suggest the high level junior tennis player is worth a selection in the draft. He was willing to power the ball long inside 50 on either foot and covers the ground well. Booted two goals for the day and some of his overhead marks were very good.

Geelong Falcons vs. Gippsland Power 

Geelong Falcons:

#1 Lachlan Noble – A small forward who plays the role perfectly. While he does not win a lot of the ball he just pressures opposition defenders and then when his team wins the ball he darts forward and often wins the ball over the top. Kicked two goals in the second term from pure running and being the first to the ball deep inside 50.

#4 Gryan Miers – Was everywhere in the opening quarter, getting space in the attacking half of the ground. Won multiple frees inside 50 and was able to convert his chances in front of goal on his right foot. Finished the day with three goals and was able to impact the game up forward.

#11 Mitchell Chafer – The forward was pretty good early taking a great mark one-on-one and showed off his aerial strength. Adds an extra dimension to the forward line and with the opposition’s top defenders on the likes of Miers, Handley and Noble, Chafer can often be the beneficiary and has good goal sense.

#13 Ethan Floyd – Was best-on-ground using his great running ability on the outside. He used the ball reasonably well off his left foot and broke the lines, often using his burst of speed or agility to get around the players around him. Had multiple rebound 50s and inside 50s throughout the contest, and his follow up work was very good. One of his best games of the year.

#19 Matt Ling – Again had a disposal figure in the teens – but he was able to be damaging breaking the lines and hitting targets on his left foot. Had a very nice kick to Hollenkamp in the opening quarter, while an exceptional passage in the second quarter saw him use his quick hands deep inside defensive 50 – then following up to receive the ball across half back and have a run to get the ball moving onto the wing. He was composed with ball in hand and showed he was willing to defend – laying a few shepards and spoiling when required.

#22 Sam Walsh – Unbelievable once again. This bottom-age kid is something special and he will be one to watch next season. He has such poise and composure with ball in hand and just moves so well through the stoppages. He also has an impact up forward and consistently finds the ball.

#38 James Worpel – The inside midfielders was able to win the ball in the contest and get it moving forward. His long kick inside 50 that found Mitch Chafter was super in the opening half of the game, as was his goal from outside 50m off his right boot. He did appear the cramp later in the game, but he was able to keep pushing and a centre clearance in the final quarter that found O’Gorman was great.

#42 Cassidy Parish – Tag-teamed with Worpel in the midfield for the Falcons, he often looking to handball rather than kicking coming out of the stoppages. At times he was ‘casual’ in his approach kicking around the ground, but his ball winning ability was good. He cramped in his calf late in the game, but played it out still in the midfield for most of the last quarter.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Nick Hogan – Was very good early and his attack on the ball was notable. Starting across half back, he was able to set them up early in the opening quarter when the Power were in the game. He showed his speed and had a good smother on Cassidy Parish early in the game.

#4 Changkuoth Jiath – CJ was again exciting with some great eye-catching marks. His burst in close about 70 metres from goal in the second quarter showed promise and while the Hawthorn next-generation academy member is far from the finished product – his kicking was better than it has been in previous weeks. One of his best kicks was when he marked inside 50 and then was able to hit another player on the lead with pinpoint accuracy.

#6 Aiden Quigley – Spent time at either end, but got more involved as the game went on. He had a really good kick to Will Leslie in the third term and showed off some speed. He was willing to use it off either foot and was a deserving winner of a holding-the-ball after laying a nice tackle close to goal.

#7 Will Stephenson – Really busy early but faded as the game went on. He just runs hard at the ball and shows desperation with every attack on the ball. Might be small in stature but he is smart and just gets forward well, finds space and kicks the ball cleverly. Does not win a heap of the ball, but generally uses it pretty well. Good overhead for his height

#15 Cody Henness – One of Gippsland’s best today. Adam Garner had been a thorn in the Power’s side this season but Henness was superb one-on-one. He continually outmuscled him and was composed with ball in hand. He has shown this season he can play at either end and I gave him a big tick for his defensive efforts against the big Falcons forward, especially with the amount of inside 50s Geelong had.

#18 Matthew McGannon – Returning from injury, McGannon took some time to get into the contest, but got going after quarter time. Playing as an outside midfielder, he was able to spread well and kicked it long off his right foot. While at times his attack on the ball could’ve been better, he showed his desire to win the ball with a very good tackle in the third quarter.

#19 Callum Porter – Went head-to-head with Cassidy Parish early in the game and while he probably didn’t have a huge impact early – he worked his backside off to get the Power back into the contest. Showed his agility in the second and third quarters, with some good runs on the broadcast wings in front of the fans. Porter is normally good overhead for his player of his size and again showed that – with a good contested mark in the third quarter. Was tightly guarded by the Falcons through the second term and worked into the game after half-time.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Murray Bushrangers 

Sandringham Dragons:

#5 Seb Williams – Williams must like MARS Stadium – as his recent performances there have been very good. Williams again showed his run and zip on the outside, spreading well and backing himself to use his speed to get the ball up the field and inside 50. Williams booted a goal in the last quarter and did his draft chances no harm with another good game.

#6 Charlie Constable – Again continued to plug along and show why he is highly touted. He won the ball in the contested and dished it out to his teammates by hand – hitting most of his targets. He is a difficult match up inside 50 and he is able to take a good mark down low or in the air up forward. Had a nice handball goal assist to Morrisby early in the contest. Constable just gets his hands on the footy and gets to the right positions.

#8 Will Walker – Walker bobbed up and booted four goals, showing his run and carry ability getting the ball inside 50. He mixed his time between inside midfielder and up forward and it’ll be interesting to see at the next level where he fits in. Possesses good agility and has improved throughout the year.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Stood out again through the midfield, just getting to the right spots and was able to win it in the contested situations. His clearance work again was good and he was able to spread and win the ball around the ground. His third quarter was huge in ensuring that the Bushrangers weren’t a sniff at making a comeback. Linked up with his brother well (especially early) and had an outstanding passage, kicking the ball to Jarnestrom in tight on the boundary line.

#11 Hamish Brayshaw – Was a damaging player in the midfielder, winning the ball and using his strong frame. Was able to hit the scoreboard, but his smarts in the contest were notable. Has been injury free this season and there’s no doubt his VFL form has helped him come back into the TAC Cup as a better player.

Murray Bushrangers:

#4 Laitham Vandermeer – Was one of the clear Bushies best players and at every opportunity went to run off his opponent with ball in hand. His agility and run across half back was vital in the opening quarter, keeping them in the lead. He used it reasonably well on his right foot and was willing to take on his opponents (and kept doing it even late in the last quarter). Has a good burst and was one of the better players for Xavier College this year in Victorian APS school football.

#5 Ben Paton – Despite being sick in recent weeks, Paton was able to win the ball around the contest and across either arcs. He did rest forward at times, but his run was important throughout the day and did take some good marks late in the contest. One of the better Bushrangers, particularly early when they put the pressure on the Dragons.

#7 Zane Barzen – All class and was strong early. He booted a couple of goals and just showed great vision on the run to hit-up a teammate by centring the ball while under pressure. It was not the easiest of kicks but he made it look simple. A bottom-ager that might remind some Bushrangers’ fans of a Steele Sidebottom who turned out to be a pretty handy AFL player.

#10 Dave Smith – Smith again used his key traits to effectiveness, showing off his speed and flair on the outside. He was clean picking the ball up from ground level and he looked to pressure his opponents whenever he could.

#19 Will Donaghey – Booted a long goal during the contest and rebounded the ball well across half back. Possesses good agility and his marking was impressive (especially overhead) where he took an intercept mark in the third term. He was willing to hold onto the ball and look laterally for a switch at every opportunity he had.

#30 Alex Paech – Played as a key position forward and was often used in the ruck. When he collected the ball, he looked to dispose of it by hand balling to a teammate. Kicks the ball on his left foot and is able to kick it 50 metres.

TAC Cup finals preview: Oakleigh Chargers vs. Northern Knights

IT is that time of year again where the best sides take to the field and determine which TAC Cup clubs are contenders and which are pretenders. In the past years, the junior competition has seen the finals series take on the identical look to that of the AFL, but in 2017, the finals will be three weeks of pure knockout. The first two games to kick off the round are first taking on eighth and third taking on sixth. So without further adue, we take a look at the first match of the finals series.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Northern Knights

Oakleigh: 1st, 15-3, 1653 points for, 993 points against, 166%
Northern: 8th, 7-10-1, 1164 points for, 1383 points against, 84%

On face value alone it is clear to see why the Chargers will head into this clash as strong favourites. They have amassed double the amount of points compared to Northern in the home and away season over 18 rounds and come in with a three-game winning streak, including two beltings over Bendigo Pioneers and Eastern Ranges. The Chargers’ three losses came against Western Jets, Geelong Falcons and Sandringham Dragons, with the Jets’ loss the only one since the end of April for the Chargers.

On the other hand, the Knights did not have the run home they would have liked. A huge 39-point win over finalists Murray Bushrangers in round 17 disguised a formline that would worry the Knights coaching staff, with five losses from their last six games. The last time these two sides met, Oakleigh triumphed 16.14 (110) to Northern’s 4.2 (26) in a pretty comprensive victory, holding the Knights to just two goals in each half, while running away with it in the second half.

What was most impressive about that win was the fact the Chargers were missing star and Morrish Medallist Jack Higgins – who has been withdrawn from today’s match with a shoulder injury – as well as Toby Wooller, the clubs’ two leading goal kickers. But the likes of Matthew Day (24 disposals, eight tackles, two goals), Lachlan Bugeja (24 disposals – 18 contested, seven clearances, five inside 50s) and Daniel Stanford (16 disposals, nine marks and four goals) all stood up, while Matthew King was a rock in defence with seven rebounds, and Jordan Troani played further up the field with 12 marks and four inside 50s from 21 disposals.

For the Knights, they too were missing a host of stars including top 10 draft pick Nick Coffield, speedsters Jack Petruccelle and Ethan Penrith, and the exciting Patrick Naish to name a few. Marcus Lentini had 34 disposals and six marks to lead the way, while Mitchell Andrews racked up 30 disposals, seven marks and six rebounds in the game. Oliver Stapleton (26 disposals, seven rebounds) and Jamison Shea (23 disposals and eight marks were others that stood up in the heavy defeat to the Knights.

Key Players today:

Toby Wooller (Oakleigh Chargers) – 17.7 disposals, 5.5 marks, 2.1 hitouts, 4.6 tackles, 2.7 goals per game

Without Higgins, Wooller will be the man the Chargers turn to for their goals and he will also play an important role leading up onto the wing. He has been in fantastic form all season, booting 40 goals, and still winning plenty of the football and most importantly laying some strong tackles.

Patrick Naish (Northern Knights) 18.7 disposals, 4.1 marks, 2.7 tackles, 1.7 goals per game

There were a number of players I could have highlighted here, but Naish is the one I feel could hold the key for the Knights. He has started in defence recently, but has the capability of going forward and kicking goals, which I think he will need to if they are to kick a winning score.

Last word:

For Northern to win, they need to play smart football and get goals out of their midfielders because that is how Oakleigh has been so successful this season. For the Chargers, Higgins will be a big loss, but the structures and ability of others to stand up has been on show all season, and that is why Oakleigh is my tip in today’s game.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 18

THE final round of the TAC Cup season was completed on the weekend – with the all important finals series kicking off at Victoria Park this Saturday. We had our scouts watching all six games in Round 18, read their notes below.

GWV Rebels vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Peter Williams)

GWV Rebels:

#1 Dale Cox – Arguably the best game I have seen him play live. Took a couple of fantastic grabs one-on-one and kicked two goals, one from a snap and a second from a set shot. He continued to look dangerous throughout the contest, applying good pressure inside forward 50, and a touch of class when on the outside. While he did not receive a state combine invite, he could be one that falls under the Western Bulldogs Category B rookie if they choose to nominate him.

#2 Callan Wellings – The Rebels’ captain put in another strong performance on the weekend. Wellings is one of the most consistent performers in the TAC Cup and he just has a no-fuss approach to his football. He showed a high work rate and great vision in close while also finding space around the ground. He was rewarded with a goal when he snuck into space inside 50. He took a few intercept marks across half-back in the final term to snuff out any hope of a Bendigo comeback and was involved in a possession chain where he won the ball in the defensive half and then ran forward to take a mark at half-forward in the same possession chain.

#4 Aiden Domic – Domic has been a big improver in the second half of the season and was best on ground against the Pioneers on the weekend. He is a really smart footballer who does not waste time with his disposal. While his inside numbers have improved in the second half of the season, he played predominantly on the wing as Jordan Johnston took an inside role. He snapped a terrific goal in the third term with five minutes remaining to put the Rebels 39 points up. Domic has an impact up forward and great goal sense and is one of the best endurance runners in the competition.

#9 Flynn Appleby – Appleby’s draft stocks would have to be rising after yet another big performance down back, this time on top 10 hope Jarrod Brander. Appleby gave up nine centimetres and six kilograms to the big forward but held his own. He was really composed with the football and apart from a couple of minutes in the second term when Brander got hold of him, he stood up well, positioning himself well in the one-on-ones, protecting the ball drop and also peeling off Brander to assist teammates. Appleby was unlucky not to receive a state combine invitation, but his last month has been nothing short of sensational.

#10 Jordan Johnston – The exciting forward has put together a good month of football as an uncomprimising inside midfielder. He holds his own in close and played on fellow forward-cum-midfielder Brent Daniels at the stoppages. Johnston won more of the football but was exposed for leg speed against Daniels crusing out of a pack. Johnston as a whole had more of an influence, turning it on in the third term setting up a goal assist after a free kick in the middle, and then had a second clearance from the next centre bounce, finishing with a goal moments later. A highlight was in the second quarter when Johnston smothered the ball and managed to grab the footy in one motion.

#23 Lloyd Meek – The over-age ruckman continued his good form in season 2017 with another influential display across the ruck and up forward. He has developed his body this year to really use his strength and frame to outmuscle opponents and was too strong for the in-form Jobee Warde. While Warde had the athleticism, Meek was really impressive in holding his ground and ensuring Warde could not get an easy jump at the ruck stoppages. Up forward, Meek presented well, crashing packs and taking a few good marks, although his goal kicking still needs some work, missing the lot from the forward pocket, albeit on a very tight angle.

#40 Tylar Watts – I was really only focusing on top-agers, but Watts caught my eye with a pretty good performance working in tandem with Meek. While his possession numbers are not high, Watts produced arguably the biggest highlight of the game with a towering mark in the final term when the Pioneers were threatening to chase down the deficit. He stood tall, kicked the goal and iced the game, giving Rebels fans a bit of excitement about what he could be capable of in 2018.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Kane Farrell – I really liked Farrell’s game on the weekend. He is not a huge accumulator of the football but he looks balanced and has good vision through traffic and great hands in close. There were a couple of times where he sidestepped an opponent and delivered it well inside 50 to a leading target. He also showed his versatility to have an impact up forward, kicking a crucial goal late in the third term. The one knock from the weekend was there was an instance or two where he tried to do too much and was caught before he could effectively dispose of it or finish cleanly.

#6 Cooper Jones – Like his side, Jones was fairly influential early on, rebounding what he could for the Pioneers playing across half-back. He went in hard along the wing and laid a bone-crunching tackle winning a free kick. Last year he played up forward but I like him as a defender, was quieter in the second half, but still had a few nice touches across half-back and on the wing. He could potentially develop into a taller midfielder.

#8 Lochie O’Brien – It was not one of O’Brien’s better games despite picking up a vote in the Morrish Medal. He won more of the football than usual, but his kicking efficiency was well down on his usual standards, which was later reflected with just 50 per cent by foot. I regard O’Brien as a deadly left foot kick, but the Rebels captain Cal Wellings and his teammates gave O’Brien little time and space to use his strong attributes. Despite not having the influence he has had in other games, O’Brien still kicked a goal thanks to an old fashioned sausage roll from 50m in the last term.

#10 Brent Daniels – The nuggety forward played more inside midfield against the Rebels and flashed in and out with some brilliant patches. He almost created the highlight of the day, streaming down the middle of the ground taking a couple of bounces and got to about 60m from goal before taking a third bounce and fluffing it and getting caught by his chasing opponent. As a whole I felt he was composed with the football when under pressure and was good in tight by hand.

#13 Jarrod Brander – The possible top 10 draft pick continued to work throughout the four quarters but became Flynn Appleby’s latest victim. Brander was good on the lead and kicked a fantastic goal outside 50 in the second term and took a couple of marks in a two minute purple patch when he looked to break the game open, but otherwise was well held by his opponent. A combination of the swirly conditions and teammate’s inefficiency going inside 50 did not help his cause. Cannot fault his endeavour however and he continued to present up at the football, and when marking was a clean grab.

#15 Darby Henderson – The Pioneers ball magnet continued to win the pill throughout the game showing pretty good hands in close and doing everything right defensively. His kicking is still iffy at times and that’s the main knock on him, but he laid eight tackles and won the football all over the ground, clearing the ball out of the defensive 50 on a number of occasions.

#18 Bailey Henderson – The wingman continued a really solid season with a pretty solid game. He has great vision looking forward, but I questioned his peripheral vision when he had plenty of time but was run down from the side by an opponent. When in space he used a piercing kick and was able to win the ball at half-back and move forward in transition. He tends to have a slower kicking action which also saw opponents bump or tackle him when he was in possession, forcing him to make a few errors.

#20 Angus Schumacher – Like many of his teammates, Schumacher has had better games but he worked into the match in the second half. He took a good intercept mark early in the third but immediately coughed up the football with a short 20m pass. Schumacher sometimes does not kick through the ball over short distances and therefore makes errors by foot, but when kicking long he has a nice action and more often than not can hit-up a teammate 40-50m down the ground. Schumacher also showed good agility and closing speed on the lead.

Calder Cannons vs. Western Jets (Matt Balmer)

Calder Cannons:

#1 Brad Bernacki – Continued his good ball winning abilities in the midfield and was a deserving runner-up in the Morrish Medal. Was able to spread well from the contest and you couldn’t fault his endeavours in wanting to win the ball back when the Jets were in possession.

#5 Curtis Taylor – The standout Cannon for the day for me. Playing in the attacking half of the ground, he showed off his X-Factor and agility in the stoppages. Taylor provided a dangerous option when he was up forward and he was able to get the ball inside 50 effectively when he was playing through the midfield. Also marks well overhead.

#12 Noah Balta – Begun the game up forward and mixed his time between ruck/forward. Was the clear best tall in at the centre bounces, using his elite leap to effectiveness. Up forward with the wind, Balta showed on multiple occasions he could bang the ball long 60 metres at goal – and he kicked a fine set shot goal in the opening quarter from outside 50. Contested marking was impressive right around the ground.

#29 Jake Riccardi – Played as a centre half back for the majority of the game and was able to drop off his opponent and win the ball in the defensive half of the ground. Is one I think that is better suited up forward, but has shown he is more than capable at either end in recent weeks. Was also very efficient by hand and foot, hardly missing a target all day.

#30 Mitch Podhajski – Battled hard playing as a key position player and was able to win the ball and rebound it out of defensive 50. Is a handy mark and can take them in contested situations. Gave away a few unnecessary free kicks during the game, but worked hard all day.

Western Jets:

#11 Zak Butters – Kicked a great banana goal in the opening quarter and his ball use was very good right throughout the game. He was able to win the ball in the contest and was also willing to tackle back to win the ball. Looking forward to tracking him closely next season.

#14 Lachlan Fogarty – One of the stiffest players to even not collect a vote in the Morrish Medal after his best-on-ground display. Fogarty hunted the ball back with immense pressure and his tackling was phenomenal. His clearance work was good and it lead to multiple inside 50s coming from his boot. Is agile enough to get around his opponents at the stoppages and he pushed forward to boot three goals.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – Once again showed his contested ball winning abilities, working hard at every stoppage he attended. Also pushed forward and took a good mark inside 50 in the third quarter. Spent a bit more time forward than usual and didn’t win too many clearances – but was another important player in the midfield for the Jets.

#38 Buku Khamis – Played as a key defender and showed some smarts when teammates had the ball inside defensive 50, where he was often able to spread and get to the right position for the switch. Took some strong contested grabs and with the ball in hand his decision making was good.

#44 Tristan Xerri – Easily the best game I’ve seen Xerri play where he was not only able to dominate in the ruck, but win the ball around the ground. He linked up well by hand and his follow up work was very good. Booted two goals up forward, but it was his work in the contest that was super impressive for the tall.

Eastern Ranges vs. Oakleigh Chargers (Peter Williams)

Eastern Ranges:

#2 Tom North – The inside midfielder was best on ground in the first quarter, seemingly bringing his own football with him. He was noticeaby missing after quarter time given Oakleigh took more control of the midfield. North hurt his ankle and did not play a further part after a nine disposal, two clearance start to the game. He is one who has shown enough this season to be considerd around the middle of the draft.

#6 Ryley Stoddart – One of the best Ranges on the weekend, Stoddart showed off some impressive, penetrating kicks coming out of defensive 50. He was assigned to Higgins at times and while he was beaten in the air by the Morrish Medallist, he was smart in peeling off and assisting teammates in other contests. Stoddart reads the play well and times his spoils to perfection, while he also has good vision to spot up teammates in space. A player who really applies good pressure when he is around the football I noticed he tends to rush his kick under pressure at times and can lean back to get more distance but sometimes it puts him off balance.

#10 Dylan Moore – Played his part for the Ranges on the weekend as one of the best and has an equal balance of offensive and defensive pressure. He leads at the football when it is his time to go, and he pressures opponents when he does not have the football to try and keep the ball locked into the forward 50. Kicked a good goal from a set shot and when he went into the midfield he really began accumulating the football. While he has been likened to that smaller forward role, Moore showed he can more than hold his own in the midfield with a number of clearances and winning it on the inside or out.

#14 Trent Mynott – The midfielder was quiet early but pressured his opponents and got to the right positions. He won a bit more of the football in the second half, and laid a huge bone-crunching tackle that even had the crowd going “oooh”. Mynott has a fierce attack on the football and while he was not a huge accumulator on the weekend, he always does the defensive aspects right.

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – The midfielder/forward is just an excitement machine. At times his kicking can be iffy, but he wins the ball all over the ground, is good in the air or at ground level and just oozes excitement. As a spectator you cannot help but be drawn to see what he will do with the ball and what move he will pull next. He snapped a great goal under pressure in the second term and streamed through the middle of the ground showing off some great acceleration to kick inside 50. He had a couple of snaps early in the final term but could not find the radar, but was one of the few Ranges who could hold their head high for four quarters. It was one of his more consistent performances and caps off a great month.

#18 Sam Hayes – The most impressive thing about Hayes as a ruck is, despite not being overly mobile compared to other rucks, he does win a fair few clearances to go with his hitouts. A combination of grabbing it out of the ruck and putting it on the boot as well as picking it off the deck and booting it forward, Hayes put in another solid performance. He also wins a fair few free kicks because his opponents are wary of what he is capable of. He can take some good contested grabs and is a clear first round prospect and the first ruckman taken this year.

#21 Joel Garner – Had a good first quarter intercepting a number of possessions going inside 50, timing his leads and reading the ball well playing opposed to Higgins at times. But a late hit on an opponent after he kicked – nothing malicious just very late – saw him reported and set off late in the second term. Oakleigh took advantage of Garner being off the ground to boot a few late goals. Garner was not as influential after he returned in the second half, understandably.

#22 Jackson Ross – Not a big ball winner but produced a few highlights on the weekend. He had a fantastic intercept mark reading the play well on the wing, not breaking stride, but then was tackled and coughed up possession after he did not see a tackler coming hard from the side. He booted a nice goal from outside 50 in the opening minute of the final term, but otherwise was quiet.

#26 Harrison Nolan – The key position defender always applies pressure inside defensive 50 and the game against Oakleigh was no different. He lays some strong tackles and assists his teammates, also providing some rebound out of defence. Not a big ball winner, but he wins a fair chunk of his one-on-ones and therefore is good in contested situations.

#33 Tyler Brown – The son of Gavin and brother of Callum on the weekend was okay, but realtively quiet. He played at half-forward predominantly and lead up at the football on a number of occasions. He had a handball predominant game, winning most of his possessions in close, but was effective in getting it to a teammate.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#6 Matthew Day – Played inside forward 50 and had a quiet game. He took a fanastic sliding mark in the third term and kicked the goal from the set shot, while also spending stints in the midfield, but did not accumulate big numbers.

#7 Charlie Thompson – Played more of a forward role compared to his huge game the week before and was good in the way he continued to dig in and offer an option for his midfielders. He hits the contest hard and was rarely beaten overhead. He has great skills for a predominantly contested player and is a reliable set shot so I would not be surprised to see him rocket up the draft boards if he continues his good form.

#8 Toby Wooller – One of the best Oakleigh players in the win despite his kicking letting him down at times. He has developed into a hard running midfielder who is good overhead and can clear the area with some long kicks. He took a huge contested mark on the wing and while his kicking efficiency would have been average, his ability to win plenty of the football in midfield then go forward and kick three goals shows he has what it takes to make it at the next level, arguably as an athletic midfielder.

#35 Jack Higgins – The deserving Morrish Medallist again worked hard through four quarters but it probably was not his best game due to missed opportunities. His disposal by foot at times was rushed and he finished the game with 2.4 including a poster from a set shot. The wind caused much havoc and the pressure was high at times, but Higgins was a fanastic contested mark and can set up the play really well. His leading patterns are top notch and his work rate is huge. His kicking efficiency of 38 per cent and inaccuracy in front of goal stopped it from being a dominant performance once again.

Northern Knights vs. Sandringham Dragons (Peter Williams)

Northern Knights:

#4 Max Dreher – Worked hard in close and while he did not win a heap of the football, produced a lot of one percenters to help his teammates. He fought throughout the four quarters and was rewarded for his hard running with a great goal from outside 50.

#6 Patrick Naish – The Richmond father/son nominee was effective across half-back early, looking calm and composed. He was more influential in the first half than in the second, like many of his teammates. He had a flying shot at goal from outside 50 but it went well out on the full, before adding a major to his name late in the last quarter with a good goal inside 50. Not one of his better games, but was serviceable considering his team as a whole did not perform the way they would have liked.

#7 Jack Petruccelle – Did not accumulate a heap of it, but I felt he was one of the best Knights. He won the ball in close and on the outside and while he could rush his kick on occasions when disposing of it over short distances, he had an impressive purple patch in the quarter. He won the ball at half-back and spurred a dart inside 50 to a teammate and then moments later had a running shot at goal and it sailed home. Petruccelle had a good clearance out of the centre to open the final term..

#9 Alex Federico – Known for his ball winning ability and he was one of the bigger accumulators on the weekend. His work rate is really high and he is important in the Knights’ transition from half back to half-forward. Federico was really cleaver around the stoppages in extracting the ball and getting it forward, winning the bulk of his disposals in tight.

#11 Ethan Penrith – The usual defender played up forward and had a good pressuring role. Unfortunately his stats will not reflect the game he had without the football, just a couple of touches and a goal, but he laid a few tackles and did add an extra element inside 50 when the ball went down there. Didn’t see him have a touch in the second half though.

#12 Joel Naylor – The tall forward was indicative of the Knights’ performance in the sense he was super impressive when handed opportunties in the first half, but faded away in the second half. Took a few good marks and slotted a goal in the first term, but was barely sighted after half-time such was the lack of entries inside the Knights’ forward 50.

#34 Matthew Harman – Harman did his bit in the ruck, sharing the duties with Joel Grace and being serviceable across the ground. He had an ingenious moment in the second term when he kicked the ball along the ground to the advantage of his teammates when he knew he did not have time to take possesion. Did not accumulate much of the pill, but held his own in the ruck contests. 

Sandringham Dragons:

#1 Lachie Harris – Due to injury and school football I have not had the chance to see Harris live since the Dragons’ round one match and while he is not a huge accumulator, he is that small forward who adds pressure to the forward 50. He probably needs to do a bit more offensively, but defensively he was solid and kicked an important goal in the third term to put his side 24 points up with 10 minutes remaining.

#2 Geordie Nagle – Nagle is another “handball-first” player, but he is ultra-quick with his thought process and disposal. He has clean hands and won plenty of the ball in the middle of the ground, always on the move and shovelling it out to a teammate in space. Nagle earned a lot of his disposals running on the outside and also mopped up in defence on a number of occasions.

#5 Seb Williams – The Brighton Grammar midfielder was strong in the contest but his disposal let him down. His decision making at times was also questionable, such as handballing to a stationary target under pressure. However, his pros from the weekend really impressed me with his overhead strength and neat sidestep. He finds space inside 50 and kicked a great goal. He spread from the contest well and continued to present as an option coming off half-back and along the win. If he can tinker with his kicking and improve his decision making, he could be a late pick-up this year.

#6 Charlie Constable – The inside beast has had bigger games disposal wise, but when he wins the football he is really noticeable. His strength and balance in the contest is huge and in one instant he swivelled his hips to shake off a tackler and pump it long to Isaac Morrisby on the lead. Took a contested mark on the wing despite pressure coming from both sides of his body and he also defended well, adding composure to the back six. He finds space really well and looks to execute a pass inside to the corridor at every opportunity.

#8 Will Walker – Walker strikes me as a really hard runner. He is very outside in the way he goes about it, but he just gets to contest after contest. He often wins a lot of possessions through handball receives, but what impressed me on the weekend was his ability to work hard defensively and lay a number of good tackles. The knock was his influence around the ground because he won a bit through the middle of the ground, but was not as influential as others elsewhere.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Along with his brother, Brayshaw continued to win plenty of the football. He was more prominent in the first half, winning the ball in close and then spreading to the outside, delivering some nicely waited passes inside 50. He also set up a number of scoring opportunities when going forward and while there were a few rushed kicks, Brayshaw kicked an important goal early in the final term to snuff out Northern’s chances of a comeback.

#10 Angus Styles – One of the smarter players in terms of vision and footy nous in close. One example I saw which I liked was his ability to not rush his handball into space, but instead hold onto the footy for an extra second to enable his teammate Will Walker to run into the space required to receive the handball. He took a good intercept mark inside 50 for the Dragons by standing his ground, but missed the set shot and finished the day with two behinds. Styles was a really balanced player in the marking contest and he protects the ball drop. Not a huge accumulator, I thought Styles contributed to the Dragons’ win well.

#11 Hamish Brayshaw – The star of the show with five goals and was just influential throughout the contest. He was known for his ability to accumulate on the inside last season and on the weekend he played forward and just dominated. Then he went into the midfield and dominated there, laying some great tackles and influencing the contest in tight. Most importantly it was one of the best games I have seen him play in terms of disposal and hurt factor with some really impressive, penetrating kicks inside 50, setting up a couple of goals for teammates. An over-age player, Brayshaw would have to be in consideration at some clubs for his pure ball winning ability and his strength to make an impact when forward.

#29 Joel Amartey – An impressive game rotating through the ruck and up forward, needing to play more minutes in the midfield after Hayden McLean was concussed and taken from the ground. He started forward and took a great diving mark with his set shot from 35m out going straight through the middle. He then influenced the contest around the ground, showing off his athleticism to win a heap of hitouts and became the link-up man in transition from the midfield to the forwards. One of the best games I have seen him play.

#30 Hayden McLean – He took a huge contested grab and hurt himself doing so, with his kick on goal powerful, but missing. He presented up forward, but was not as influential as in other games, then came off concussed in the third term and did not play any further part.

#74 Nathan Murphy – The weekend’s game was the first time I have seen Murphy play live and I am sold. He was really strong in the opening moments with some deadly darts inside 50 and looked really slick along the wing. He went back later in the game and was good one-on-one and took some great marks. I thought his ground coverage was great, and he is not afraid to back himself in the contest. The one knock I would have is that he is still raw and learning aspects of the game having come from a cricketing background. With the ball he is fine, but without it there were a couple of moments where he looked uncertain of whether to shepherd a teammate or go for the ball himself. But I expect that will come with time and certainly with ball in hand, Murphy was ultra impressive.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Geelong Falcons (Matt Balmer)

Dandenong Stingrays:

#6 Aiden Bonar – Was impressive throughout the contest and spent more time in the midfield as the game went on. His pressure was very high and he laid some very strong tackles. Has presence around the contest and showed that he has a decent burst when he needs to use it. Took a strong contested mark in the third quarter and was able to find the ball around the ground. Bonar was willing to provide multiple efforts, including a great passage of play in front of recruiters on the wing – where he was able to make multiple efforts and attempt to win back the ball by applying pressure on the Geelong defenders.

#25 Oscar Clavarino – Played one of the best games I’ve seen him play, marking with ease in the defensive 50. Was also pushed forward late, but his intercept work was one of the reason that the Falcons struggled to kick goals. His usage was good on his right foot and provided a few rebound 50s.

#26 Tom Murphy – Continued his strong form showing his ball winning abilities through the midfield. Covered the ground well and his defensive efforts were good – not only dropping back to help out in defensive 50, but tackling hard through the midfield. Hitting form at a good time.

#35 Tom Freeman – Played as a third tall rebounding defender for the Stingrays and whilst most of his possessions were in uncontested situations – he reads the play well and his positioning was good. Has some burst of speed too.

Geelong Falcons:

#4 Gryan Miers – Had a quieter game than usual, not winning as much ball as he has done in some games this season. Spent most the day inside 50, and his follow up and pressure work was good. Laid some strong tackles in the wet and his hands in close were effective.

#13 Ethan Floyd – Had a superb run down tackle in the first quarter and was able to get off the chain on the outside as one of the Falcons’ best. Showed off his agility on the wing and was willing to take on opponents with his speed. Booted a great left foot goal from outside 50 and pumped the ball long on multiple occasions.

#16 David Handley – Had five scoring shots on goal – but unfortunately only managed to convert one – which was an absolute beauty booted from mid air 10 metres out. Showed off his long right foot kick at times and his leading was good – able to get space between himself and his opponent to mark the ball unopposed.

#19 Matt Ling – Started the game exceptionally well, but was quieter after quarter time. Used his good agility to effectiveness, as well as his pinpoint left foot pass. Took multiple kick outs for the Falcons and had a few good spoils when he needed to defend in one-on-one situations.

#38 James Worpel – Didn’t have as much impact than he has in other games – but his contested game was again on show. His tackling and pressure in the contest was very good and he was often found at the bottom of the packs throughout the game. In the wet, he was able to clear the ball and bang it long inside 50 to one of the Falcons’ tall targets.

#41 Tom McCartin – Leapt at a few balls throughout the day and you can tell he’s the brother of St Kilda’s Patrick. Had some good defensive efforts and was involved in a few score assists, getting the ball to teammates. Unfortunately, his day ended early suffering concussion.

#42 Cassidy Parish – Was strong on the inside and had plenty of early possessions in the opening half. Had good vision at times to find a target by hand in close and was another player that was willing to boot the ball out of the pack and get it going inside 50.

#46 Adam Garner – Pulled off a great contested mark in the opening quarter, as well as winning a free kick after being held – which he converted the shot on goal. However, once the rain came after half time, it was hard going for the Falcons tall.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Gippsland Power (Michael Alvaro)

Murray Bushrangers:

#4 Laitham Vandermeer – Amassed 25 disposals and seven clearances as one of Murray’s more consistent performers. Had a good mix of inside and outside possession, but his run and carry was what made him stand out on the day. Would like to see him finish off his bursts of speed with more kicks though, he opted to hand the ball off on the back of his runs and broke down the momentum of his move.

#7 Zane Barzen – Was a key link in the chain forward of centre for Murray with eight marks, one of which was a decent hanger on the wing in the third term. He chimed in with a couple of clever goals to cap off what was a solid shift overall. Needs to work on his defensive efforts though, as he didn’t clock a tackle despite having a strong presence up forward.

#11 Jy Lane – Lane was consistently the man moving the ball in and out of either 50 as he worked hard to take the game on and break the lines constantly. He worked well in that aspect alongside Langlands, while also quelling the influence of Jiath after quarter time on the wing.

#19 Will Donaghey – Lead all-comers in terms of disposals with 31 and was a key part in Murray’s moves out of defence. He collected a wealth of those possessions on the outside and often used his teammates to gather quick 1-2’s breaking away from stoppages. With 24 of his disposals counting as uncontested, it’s fair to say Donaghey’s strength lies on the outside, and he showed off his high footy IQ with some clever and opportunistic plays.

#21 Doulton Langlands – Langlands doesn’t often stand out in any particular areas, but this was one of his better games as he made his mark with some great run and carry. He’s a regular across half-back for Murray and he played that quarterback-type role perfectly as he gathered a wealth of uncontested ball and running bounces. He also impacted the scoreboard with his sole major and three score assists from some sharp inside 50 entries.

#30 Alex Paech – Paech was constantly a solid option up forward for the Bushies, but he struggled to reel in anything that came his way. While his hands aren’t the strongest, he does some good work at ground level and moves well for a key position player. He bagged two majors and was extremely vocal throughout the day, screaming ‘get around him’ from the bench whenever he could. Unfortunately copped a knock and limped off later on.

Gippsland Power:

#2 Nick Hogan – Part of the talented Gippsland midfield mosquito fleet, Hogan excited with some strong bursts from the stoppages and showed good clearance nous. Attended most of the centre bounces and helped his side to get on top with 8 clearances in a game-high 30 disposals. Played his part moving up the ground with 11 inside 50’s and some nice handball chains through the midfield.

#4 Changkouth Jiath – Was instrumental in the first quarter with 10 disposals, it seemed like Jiath was everywhere. Used his athleticism well to mark overhead and then break away along the wing, but just lacked a finish product. Needs to improve on his kicking if he wants to take full advantage of his damaging traits, which are outstanding. Also had a good battle with Jy Lane on the wing, rotating with Irving Mosquito throughout the game.

#5 Xavier Duursma – Duursma is as unfazed in combat as you’ll see any bottom-ager. Played his typical role in defensive-50, snuffing out opposition attacks both aerially and on the ground, while also providing plenty of rebound. He’s usually a composed kick but lost his head a couple of times today, turning it over in dangerous areas. Was still trusted with kick-in duties and put in a good shift overall down back.

#7 Will Stephenson – Was reasonably quiet in his loud green boots early on, but came to life after half time with more minutes in the midfield. He worked well at the centre bounces with Hogan, Porter and Quigley to get Gippsland on the front foot with a barrage of long inside-50 entries. Chimed in with three important goals and showed how clever he is around the big sticks, finding opportunities where not many would.

#19 Callum Porter – Arguably the best afield across the whole game, Porter capped off his consistent home and away season with a big performance. He was able to show off his inside and outside traits as a midfielder with some hard work in-tight followed up by streaming runs through the corridor. Continually popped up at the back of the centre bounces, either pumping the ball long or trying to break free of his opponents. Was an overall complete midfielder’s game today from the Gippsland star.

#41 Sam Flanders – Flanders was an absolute menace up forward and didn’t allow his opponents a moment of rest. Combined with fellow AFL Academy member Caleb Serong to amass four third-quarter goals which played a vital part in Gippsland’s second half breakaway. He lead the way in the defensive pressure stakes with some bruising tackles, but also showed some good finesse around goals despite kicking five behinds. Looks like a very promising type, and reminds me a bit of former Gippsland forward Tom Papley – who also wears the #41.

#42 Caleb Serong – The 16 year old hasn’t looked out of place at TAC Cup level and this game was no exception. Worked well in tandem with Sam Flanders inside forward 50 and chimed in with two crucial goals during the third term after moving from the wing early on. Can take a good overhead grab and does some smart work around goals, he’s another to watch in the coming years.

TAC Cup Scouting notes: Round 17

ROUND 17 of the TAC Cup was completed over the weekend, with the top eight sides breaking away from the rest. We had scouts watching three of the games, read their notes below.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Dandenong Stingrays (Matt Balmer)

Sandringham Dragons:

#5 Seb Williams – Williams was able to find the ball in the attacking half of the ground, with multiple of inside 50s. While not all of his kicks were effective, he had a very good right foot pass inside 50 to hit a teammate at the south end of the ground. Has zip about him whenever he plays and is useful finding the ball through the midfield and get it moving forward.

#6 Charlie Constable – Went head-to-head with Luke Davies-Uniacke when they were matched up in the centre and had a good battle. Whilst he didn’t have the impact that he did in their loss against Oakleigh last week, he found the ball around the ground and was able to get forward and provide a target – with one very good mark low to the ground in the third quarter. Used his voice well around the ground to encourage his teammates.

#9 Andrew Brayshaw – Is a very good clearance player and probably hasn’t got the kudos he deserves since returning from his APS school commitments with Haileybury College. His work at the stoppages was very good and he is able to win the ball around the ground and push inside 50.

#73 Ed Newman – Started the game on fire, roving a tap from the ruckman – with a long centre clearance kick inside 50. Has a very nice left foot kick and played the game as a pure inside midfielder. Was good in the third quarter when he went head-to-head with Dandenong’s Hunter Clark. Has smarts at the stoppages.

#74 Nathan Murphy – The medium tall continued to show his versatility. Murphy played majority of the game in defence, but was swung forward at times and looked dangerous. He has long arms and plays much taller than his 188cm height suggests. He is clean at ground level and has a long right foot kick. Also made a few good spoils in defence.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Hunter Clark – The clear best-on-ground for me. Won the ball in the contested situations playing as a full-time midfielder. He was able to win the ball and was dangerous propelling it long inside 50 on multiple occasions. Pushed forward and also booted two goals. Has been a different player since he started playing as a full-time midfielder post the Under 18 Championships.

#6 Aiden Bonar – Showed glimpses of what has been hoped after a long period without playing footy. Bonar played mostly as a tall up forward, but did push into the midfield and attend a few centre bounces. Early in the game he hit a nice handball to set up their first goal and clunked multiple overhead marks. He laid some strong tackles and despite appearing a bit sore in the final quarter, he pushes through and impressed all day.

#9 Luke Davies-Uniacke – Nearly kicked a goal of the season contender in the second term where he showed his class marking the ball across half forward, playing on – taking a bounce and kicking from 45 metres out. Spent a lot of time on the inside going head-to-head with Charlie Constable and having a very good battle. Was able to show off a good bit of speed coming out of the contest with a good burst and he spreads well. He was also trialled up forward for periods of time especially after half-time. Has shown he can mark overhead inside 50.

#25 Oscar Clavarino – Had a couple of intercept marks throughout the game playing as a key post in defence. He looked to drop off whenever he could, and was helped when the Dragons often opted for a smaller forward line. Uncharacteristically dropped a few marks, but still played a solid role in the defensive half of the ground setting the Stingrays up going forward.

#46 Mason De Wit – Played one of his better games of the season, using the ball well off his left foot on the outside. The 19-year-old is a nice size and was able to get to the right positions.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Matt Balmer)

Oakleigh Chargers:

#6 Matthew Day – Started the game on fire with a few possessions in the opening minute. Worked well on the inside, winning the clearances and showed off his quick hands in the contest. Can burst away at the stoppages and did show he could push forward and take a contested mark. Is composed with ball in hand.

#7 Charlie Thompson – Won plenty of the ball and pushed forward to kick five goals. Often marked unopposed 30 metres out from goal and was able to convert his chances. Hardly broke a sweat and he continues to play good footy, winning the ball in the contested situations finishing with over 30 possessions.

#8 Toby Wooller – Finished the day with four goals up forward and marked at ease inside 50. Did go off the ground for a long period in the first half, but returned and showed no sign of injury. Took some nice pack marks and his first goal was an impressive snap.

#35 Jack Higgins – Played almost 100 per cent of the game up forward and finished with seven goals in a best-on-ground performance. Higgins showed his smarts and tricks inside 50 as a goalsneak, often getting out the back and slotting the goal. But he also showed he could take contested marks inside 50 and did it with ease. Could’ve ended with double figures in the goal column if shoulder soreness didn’t end his day early in the final term.

#79 Bailey Griffiths – The Marcellin College ruckman had to play a bigger role than the Chargers would’ve expected after No.1 ruckman Ned Reeves went down with injury. Griffiths’ showed he wasn’t a one trick pony, winning the ball around the ground with very good follow up. While he did lose some of the centre bounces to a small opponent, his strength around the ground saw him win most of his hitouts for the day. Is build well below the waist and does have strength that other rucks don’t who come from basketball.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Kane Farrell – Was one of the Pioneers best in what was a poor day. Took a very good mark in the second term and was able to show that he can use the ball off either foot. Won the footy on the outside and was arguably a class above some of his other teammates.

#8 Lochie O’Brien – Took most of the kickouts for the Pioneers but was largely left across half back. Has good hands in tight and it would’ve been good to see him thrown around the ball a bit more. Had a great kick to Brander early in the contest inside 50. Has speed and rebounds it well.

#10 Brent Daniels – Really got into the game in the second half using his speed. Took a nice intercept mark in defense and was able to really work into the contest after that. Showed off his very good agility and laid a good tackle, which saw him rewarded with a free kick for holding the ball. Had a good centre clearance late in the contest and also booted a goal from a tight angle in the final quarter.

#13 Jarrod Brander – Played the whole game up forward taking a few marks especially in the opening quarter. It was surprising to see him not thrown back at stages as the ball didn’t venture into the Pioneers forward line too often. Moves well and reads the flight of the ball well to get to the front position. Had a nice kick to Byrne inside 50.

#59 Angus Byrne – Finished the game with four goals in the final quarter. The overager showed some signs in the Pioneers game down at Trevor Barker Oval against Sandringham and the left footer is a very good kick at goal. He marks well overhead.

Geelong Falcons vs. Eastern Ranges (Matt Dowling)

Geelong Falcons:

#4 Gryan Miers – Whilst a little quieter than in previous weeks, Miers was still able to find the ball and found himself pushing higher up the ground at times. He was strong around the contested situations, especially at ground level and has good vision and skills when sending the ball inside attacking 50. He once again influenced the scoreboard adding two more goals to his season tally.

#19 Matt Ling – Ling was less impactful than he has been at times this season however, after changing boots at half time, was able to find the ball in space and generate run into his game. He used the ball well when composed and showcased his quality kicking at times in the wet. 

#38 James Worpel – Played a strong, contested game and worked hard around the ground running both ways. He worked hard at ground level and won the ball when it was in dispute and was able to kick start the Falcons ball movement going forward. Worpel displayed his tenacity with a strong tackling presence applying pressure to the Ranges. At times when in possession he rushed a few of his kicks banging them forward, however this was understandable in the very wet conditions and the need to get the ball moving forward.

#41 Tom McCartin – Was a successful game down forward. Competed well in the air and followed up at ground level. Fumbled a few marks that he might usually have taken but was able to compete hard to win the ball back at ground level. Plucked a strong one-on-one mark deep inside 50 in the last quarter.

#42 Cassidy Parish – Was the Falcons best player for the match highlighting his strong presence around the ground and his improvements in ball possession and disposal efficiency in congestion and at stoppages. He was able to shoot the ball out quickly at stoppages despite the slippery conditions and this allowed the Falcons to ball to move forward quickly in attack. Parish’s composure was also evident with some classy kicks inside 50 assisting in scoring opportunities.

Eastern Ranges:

#10 Dylan Moore – Moore displayed his natural speed and running capabilities with the ball in hand. On multiple occasions, he found the ball on the wing and was able to accelerate out of trouble to launch the ball inside 50. Whilst occasionally being ineffective at times going forward, Moore showed he has the potential to use the ball cleanly and effectively in contested situations. Also booted a goal as one of the Ranges’ best.  

#16 Jaidyn Stephenson – Started the game very well. He was a lively character out on the field and was able to gather the ball cleanly in the wettest parts of the game. He displayed good awareness in traffic and used the ball cleanly at stoppages. His two way running was also an asset that allowed to Ranges to get the ball moving in the way they wanted.

#18 Sam Hayes – Was a quiet game for the Vic Metro ruckman. Whilst competing strongly in the ruck contests and displaying good body positioning, at times he was matched by the Falcons ruck duo and it halted the impact of his hitouts to advantage. He also rolled forward to try to get some goals on the board, but was unsuccessful having his impact limited around the ground with the Ranges outplayed by the Falcons.

#21 Joel Garner – Played a strong game, leading from the front. Was the general in the backline and held up the defence when under pressure from the Falcons. He intercepted the ball well and was able to rebound the ball quickly in traffic.

#33 Tyler Brown – Was one of the Ranges better players. Pushed up and down the ground over the course of the match and was able to set up the Ranges going forward with clean skills and quick ball movement by hand. Brown had good vision and composure when in pressured situations and was a lively presence in the forward line.