Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 1

THE 2018 TAC Cup season kicked-off with a bang with wet weather playing havoc with Saturday’s double header at Skybus Stadium. We had four scouts watching games over the weekend, read their notes below.

Calder Cannons vs. Western Jets (Liam Connop & Josh Calvitto)

Calder Cannons:

#2 Rhylee West – West started at the centre bounces and reads the play well. He accumulated the footy well, so expect him to really build on his opening game of the season and improve as the year progresses. 

#8 Lachlan Sholl – Sholl had an excellent first game, positioning himself well around the group. He accumulated plenty of the ball and capped off a great game by hitting the scoreboard.

#16 Jack Bytel – The other co-captain of the Cannons, Bytel is a medium-size midfielder with a strong build who showed his class at times despite not accumulating big numbers. Bytel is another who is hard at the contest, often being first to the football. He played generally as an inside midfielder, but also showed his ability when in space to hit targets, and appears not to waste too many of his kicks. Bytel is a very classy player who is primed for a very good season for the Cannons.

#27 Tye Browning – Was in everything in the first half, playing in the centre. Browning has great attacking instincts and goes hard at the football, using his quick hands on the inside to release teammates into space. He showed poise with ball in hand, often summing up the situation well before making a decision. Whilst he wasn’t as proficient in the second half, he was certainly one of the Cannons better players, spending stints up forward and demonstrating his attacking instincts.

#30 Mitchell Podhajski – Podhajski was able to accumulate the ball consistently over four quarters. The co-captiain started in the centre and was often able to read the play well by getting into the right position and generally made smart decisions with ball in hand. He used his strong frame brilliantly in the third quarter, winning the contested ball before evading a tackle and finishing on his left foot from 30 metres out. Podhjaski has clean hands with the footy and appears to be a smart player.

#33 Jack Evans – Evans was impressive playing off half-back, and was able to intercept a number of the Jets’ inside 50 entries. In particular, Evans took a great contested intercept mark in the second quarter, showing his overhead capabilities. Another strength of Evans is his pace; his run and carry was a feature throughout the game. A couple of times running at full speed, he did turn the ball over – so that may be a small area for improvement, as despite a couple of errors – he showed plenty as an attacking half- back. 

#35 Sam Graham – Playing off half-back, Graham has a great turn off foot, using his dash to break away from contests and his ball use was impressive by foot. Another aspect of Graham’s game was his competitiveness, throwing himself at the ball and giving maximum effort. Graham is frequently looked to at half-back as the link-up man, with one instance in the second quarter where he showed his natural speed and hit the target at high speed. One to watch this season.

#36 Patrick Mahoney – Mahoney is a classy left-footer who played off half-back; has clean hands and played in front of his opponent well, showing his defensive skills.

Western Jets:

#11 Zak Butters – Butters showed early in the match his superb marking ability with an early mark in the forward 50. Up forward he looked ominous with great pressure and fantastic closing speed resulting in multiple scoring attempts and a goal. When the game needed to be won the coaching staff put him onto the on-ball and he lead from the front winning the footy and making the correct decisions down the stretch.

#20 Darcy Cassar – Played predominantly forward the whole game, where he had plenty of energy causing turnovers and kicking a couple of opportunistic goals. The quick forward set the standard in the first quarter with his pressure in partnership with Butters.

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – Played most of the game in the middle, O’Halloran worked hard in the contest and was the hardest defensive working midfielder, enduring up on a lot of rebound 50s thanks to this work ethic. He was in the middle when the game got tough deep in the last quarter, and his skills, decision making and work ethic made him an easy choice for best on ground.

#39 Stefan Radovanovic – Radovanovic positioned himself well and rebounded the footy at great speed and great skill. He was always in the correct position and hardly lost a 50/50 all game. When Calder really came hard in the last quarter, he stood up and was instrumental in the rebound footy that won the Jets the game.

#45 Aaron Clarke – On debut for the Western Jets, the big athletic full-forward from Melton South hit the contest well & looked to hit up at speed all the time. Kicking three goals and contributing to the spill from a contest for the small forwards to crumb and kick goals. Clarke stood out as a forward who could kick a lot of goals this season in the TAC Cup.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Eastern Ranges (Ed Pascoe)

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Riley Collier-Dawkins – Collier-Dawkins showed some promising signs last year especially as a midfielder but in the off-season he has gone from less than 190cm to 194cm and he is now a genuine tall big bodied midfielder and played his role perfectly against Eastern. Collier-Dawkins was always on the move at stoppages and in the wet weather he was impressive at picking the ball off the deck and getting his arms free to release his teammates on the outside. Despite his size he also has good pace which he showed in the first quarter laying a great spoil with his closing speed and then followed up with a fantastic long handball. As a tall midfielder with maybe more growing left in him, he is one to certainly watch this season.  

#5 Xavier O’Neill – O’Neill was arguably the most dangerous player on the ground, kicking two goals in a game where goals were a premium and they mostly came from his hard running to get into dangerous positions. O’Neill played a complete performance he attacked the ball hard in the middle but was also clean with his hands with most of his handballs and kicks in the wet conditions hitting their mark. He was part of a fantastic passage of play in the third quarter where he kicked on his opposite foot under pressure to the favoured side of his running teammate going towards the forward 50.

#12 Noah Answerth – An unlucky injury ruined Answerth’s season last year and before that injury he was one of Oakleigh’s most promising draft prospects. Coming back as a 19 year-old, he has been named captain and he played a quality captains game playing to the conditions and leading from the front. His hands in the wet weather where superb with some of his handballs very slick in traffic, his ability to pick the ball up on the wet deck at speed was a real highlight. He kicked an excellent set shot goal late in the game and was reward for his efforts at the stoppages with his hard and clean attack and blocks for his fellow midfielders

#23 Isaac Quaynor – Last year Quaynor grew in confidence and finished his underage year superbly and has continued his upwards improvement with a solid game down back. Quaynor set the tone early with his attack on the ball and willingness to create from half back, his composure under pressure and clean hands in the wet conditions was impressive but more so was his work rate and ability to just find himself in nearly every contest that went into defence. It was the perfect defenders game able to both attack and defend to a high quality and with his added fitness and confidence he looks to be a quality prospect this year.

#32 Jack Ross – Ross stood out in a stacked Oakleigh midfield, despite his strong size (186cm, 85kg), what really impressed was his class and composure in traffic. Ross was incredibly clean in wet conditions he rarely fumbled and his hands and kicking where almost faultless, his smarts and skill where pivotal in the middle and in multiple scoring chains. His hard attack and tackling to go with his skill and class will make him a pivotal part of Oakleigh’s already stacked and impressive midfield.

Eastern Ranges:

#2 Adrian Kalcovski – Kalcovski like most of his teammates in the middle had their work cut out for them, he put his body over the ball all day and you could not question his attack on the footy and willingness to tackle. Kalcovski was Eastern’s biggest midfielder at 183cm and did his best against the much stronger and taller Oakleigh midfield. With a bit more support he should be able to flourish as the year goes on and from the days game you couldn’t question his ability to put his body on the line.

#9 Jonte Duffy – Duffy was the pick of his team’s midfielders on the day, the 2019 draft prospect work hard all day laying plenty of tackles and putting his head over the ball. Duffy was his teams sole goal scorer and that came from a typical bit of play where he attacked the ball hard and was rewarded with a free kick. Despite easily being the smallest player in the midfield he wasn’t afraid to lay hard tackles and borrow under packs to win the ball. Already a young leader who would have impressed his teammates from the days game.

#17 Cody Hirst – It wasn’t the greatest conditions for a player like Hirst who is a small and silky player but class stands out in the wet and he was one of the cleanest players out there by hand. Was a tough day for wingman and flankers so he didn’t get many opportunities to show his class but his class was apparent when he was involved. The one thing that impressed me was how well he tackled despite his size, when he tackles they stick and that could be a point of difference for his draft chances.

#20 Ben Cardamone – The clear standout for Eastern on the day he was a rock in defence and he couldn’t have done anymore to help his team. Cardamone played the conditions perfectly he threw himself into any contest he could get to and didn’t muck around with the ball. Cardamone took countless intercept marks which showed of his great reading of the play, the amount of possessions he got down back was a credit to his work rate and ability to provide multiple efforts around the ball.

#31 James Blanck – In a tough day for Eastern defenders Blanck could hold his head up high, he took some impressive intercept marks and in terrible conditions he played them very well with his big punches and follow up work after a contest. Blanck moves pretty well for his size, standing at 195cm his marking and defensive efforts at ground level will make him a very valuable defender for Eastern this year. Blanck was the standout key position player on the day for the Ranges. 

GWV Rebels vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Cameron Ross)

GWV Rebels:

#6 Charlie Wilson – One of the Rebels’ most consistent players all match. His ability to put pressure on the Pioneers defenders and midfielders caused consecutive turnovers. He kicked a terrific goal and immediately after set-up a scoring opportunity for his team with a fantastic piece of individual play to get the ball inside 50. Kicked another goal in the third term to round off a terrific day.

#7 Mitch Martin – Took one of the best marks you will see at this level. After a strong mark, Jed Hill turned and kicked long into the forward line. Martin got the sit, and managed to hold on and take the mark. To top it off, went back and kicked the goal from 30m out. Another consistent performer, who worked hard for his side all day.

#13 Thomas Berry – Dominant first half, where he was clearly the best player on the ground. Opposition had no answer as he continually racked up the possessions. He also kicked a terrific goal in traffic in the first quarter. Berry dropped the contested mark, but his second effort to crumb and snap the goal was the highlight of the quarter. Moved forward in the third quarter, and had a huge collision with the point post in the which drew “oooohs” from the Mars Stadium crowd. After being put on ice at three quarter time, his absence was sorely missed in the final term, as the Pioneers started to consistently win the footy at stoppages.

#14 Jed Hill – Medium sized forward who showed signs of a player in the making. Kicked a lovely goal in the first quarter from a tight angle, but his second quarter was outstanding. After the Pioneers kicked four goals straight, Hill set up two consecutive goals within minutes. He had piece of individual brilliance in the third quarter after spinning out of a tackle, and giving a clean handball to a teammate for a scoring opportunity. Also in the third quarter, he chased down his opponent in the pocket, knocking the ball out in the process resulting in Berry’s second goal of the day. Super impressive player.

#21 Izaac Grant – Took a nice mark in the second quarter, giving him a set shot that he unfortunately missed. Had a tremendous piece of play at an important time in the final quarter manning the mark, Grant smothered the ball, causing a turnover, and set up his team mate for a scoring opportunity.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#5 Noah Wheeler – The big-bodied midfielder from Echuca was superb. Wheeler was winning clearances all day, and his presence was felt at stoppages, bursting out of tackles and kicking it long. Wheeler’s leadership was also impressive. He was extremely vocal and set up his teammates at stoppages and kick ins. Set up a goal for his side with a terrific decision to switch the ball.

#23 Daniel Keating – Undersized ruckman, yet was absolutely dominant. Barely lost a tap all day and gave his onballers first use. Agile, and terrific below his knees. Whenever the ball went to ground at a stoppage, Keating would put his head over it to win the ball for his side. Also took a really nice intercept mark in the third quarter showing his versatility and his ability around the ground. Consistent performer who was the Pioneers best player all day.

#45 Will Holt – The key forward was sensational all day, and was not only the best forward all day, but possibly the best player. Holt’s goal kicking was poetry in motion, and most of his five goals came from the set shot. Aggressive, competitive player, who attempted to get under the skin of the opposition all day.

#47 James Sala – Sala has it all. Pace, skill and intangibles. A really good combination for any footballer. Had a terrific bit of play in the second quarter which could have gone unnoticed. Sala could have elected to go long to a contest but stopped, dodged his opponent and used the corridor, opening up the Rebels defence. Also chased down his opponent from behind and laid a team lifting tackle.

#50 Kobe Lloyd – Had a magnificent last quarter when his side needed him. He forced a turnover with a superb chase and tackle which resulted in a scoring opportunity. Although the shot was missed, Lloyd followed this up by reading the kick-in, cutting it off and kicking the goal. Arguably the best player in the fourth quarter, which is a big wrap, as the Pioneers overran the Rebels late.

#51 Bailey Waasdorp – Waasdorp’s gut running was impressive during the contest. As the others tired, he seemed to continually get better and better. One to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.

Northern Knights vs. Sandringham Dragons (Ed Pascoe)

Northern Knights:

#3 Braedyn Gillard – The new Knights captain lead from the front all day, he burrowed under the packs and just forced the ball forward at stoppages. The wet conditions suited his “in and under” style, at stoppages his hands where very clean with some of his pickups at ground level being first class. Gillard is a natural midfielder and that was plain to see with some impressive roves and positioning at stoppages. He was the most consistent Knights player with a solid four quarter effort.

#4 Tom McKenzie – Easily the cleanest player of the day for the Knights with his slick hands and decision making. McKenzie played mostly as a defender last year and he spent all day in the midfield being a good foil to Gillard’s in and under work with his quick hands and class on show at the stoppages. Not to be outdone by Gillard, he attacked the ball hard in one bit of play in the last quarter and followed that up with some good contested efforts.

#5 Lachlan Potter – Potter is not eligible to be drafted until 2019 but has already started to make a name for himself, you couldn’t help but notice his dazzling speed and movement in traffic. In wet conditions he picked up the ball at pace with ease and his willingness to take the game on was really good to watch. One bit of play saw him go up against a much taller opponent and he forced the spoil and went straight back onto the ball, forcing it forward. The signs are there that he has the ability to be a real game changer with his speed and dare.

#17 Josh D’Intinosante – Another player not eligible until 2019 and much like Potter his speed and eagerness to get involved really added a good dimension to the team. Playing mostly forward he both attacked the ball at speed and also tackled hard and harassed. As great as his speed and dare was, his best moment came late in the game when he hit up McKenzie with a beautiful pass inside 50, the vision he showed in that bit of play really caught the eye and the kick was sublime.

#20 Patrik Della Rocca – In a dirty day for forwards he could hold his head up high. Not only did he look like a threat around the ground but he also did the team things and put on defensive pressure. Della Rocca kicked the Knights first goal of the game with a classy snap goal, he didn’t add any other goals but still did plenty around the ground. He used good bodywork in a lot of marking contests and his pressure and second efforts for a big forward where also impressive.

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Alastair Richards – Despite a slow start, Richards finished the game on a massive high having a huge impact in the last quarter and really making a difference once he got more time in the midfield. In a bad day for kicking, he really stood out with his precise and long kicking. Coupled with his great speed, his long kicking makes him a real weapon and one of his kicks late in the game where he lowered his eyes to hit up Ben King was very impressive. To see him work into the game was very encouraging and he was one of the hardest runners late in the game and his line breaking ability was telling.

#5 Bailey Smith – In his first game as captain Bailey Smith was the clear best on ground putting on a clinic in the midfield. Smith had it on a string and his clean hands and composure made his touches all the more damaging it was very rare to see him waste a possession and his kicking inside 50 was first class. Smith’s work in traffic was outstanding he knew when to give off a quick handball and knew when to spread out of trouble and kick long. Smith had a complete midfielders performance with his contested and uncontested game both equally top notch. His tackling was sound and still managed to take plenty of marks just being in the right spot and he looks like a very worthy captain for the Dragons.

#7 Liam Stocker – Stocker was a real workhouse around the stoppages, he is not afraid to put his head over the ball and he was clean around the ground with his marking and picking up the ground ball in wet conditions. He had a few very decent kicks and he managed to have an impact when resting forward with his lead up work and decision making helping set up many scoring opportunities. Did a lot of unrewarded work around stoppages whether with blocking or using his voice to assist team mates.

#29 Ben King – One of the much talked about King twins Ben played down back for three quarters before being shifted forward in the last quarter where he kicked two goals. Despite hitting the scoreboard, King did his best work down back, where he patrolled the CHB line taking plenty of intercept marks and using the ball well out of defence. His best bit of play happened 10 minutes into the second quarter when he flew for a high mark, he did not complete the mark but he got right back up and laid an impressive tackle highlighting his great athleticism for someone 201cm tall.

#33 Will Kennedy – Kennedy played a fantastic game considering the conditions, the tall forward worked hard all day presenting up the ground to be an option. The most impressive part of his game was his defensive pressure for a 198cm forward, he laid plenty of tackles and gave second and third efforts multiple times during the day. Not to go unrewarded he kicked a classy running goal in the second quarter at an important time of the game. Kennedy showed incredible skill at ground level for his size and he could really do a number on defenders in better conditions where he can also be a threat overhead.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Player of the Week: TAC Cup Round 1 – AFL Draft Central
6 years ago


Player of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 2 – AFL Draft Central
6 years ago

[…] 1 ‘Player of the Week’ after kicking four goals on TAC Cup debut as a bottom-ager at Ikon Park. TAC CUP SCOUTING NOTES: ROUND 2 AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Player of the Week: Round One: Bailey Smith (Sandringham Dragons) […]