Scouting notes: TAC Cup – Round 5

IT was another big weekend of TAC Cup footy with some stunning last quarter fight-backs. As with last week, we narrowed our focused to those players named in the initial Vic Metro and Vic Country squads. We had scouts watching all six games this weekend and here are some of the notes below.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Western Jets (Matt Balmer)

Sandringham Dragons:

#5 Bailey Smith – Was defensively monitored from the Jets midfielders, especially at the stoppages, and at times got frustrated with the extra attention. The late out of Stocker didn’t help Smith’s cause either, but impressively he produced some good numbers from the game, fighting very hard all day. While some might have left the ground thinking it was an underwhelming performance, his work in close at the stoppages was outstanding. He was quick and clean with his first give, getting the handballs out from the stoppages to clear the ball, winning multiple contested possessions during the contest. Smith booted the opening match of the game, eventually finishing with two goals from his 28 disposals and 11 clearances. The Dragons were impressed with Smith’s game, naming him as their best player

Western Jets:

#33 Xavier O’Halloran – For me was the best player on the ground, having an excellent game as an inside midfielder. He started the match strongly and his contested work was outstanding and like Bailey Smith, his handball and ball use on the inside was super. His clearance work was very good (especially at the centre bounces), as was his tackling in attempts to win the ball back. If I was to nit pick, his kicking inside 50 could have been a little more cleaner, but overall he had an excellent day in the Western Jets midfield. 

#38 Buku Khamis – The Western Bulldogs Next Generation Academy member played as a tall defender, often matched up on Dragons forward James Rendell. Khamis marked well overhead, clunking seven marks for the match and was able to intercept at crucial times, when the Dragons bombed the ball deep (especially in the second and third quarters). He was involved in the play early in the match, with some real positive signs that haven’t consistently been there all season. 

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Dandenong Stingrays (Matt Balmer)

Oakleigh Chargers:

#3 Joe Ayton-Delaney – With Xavier College having the APS school footy bye, Ayton-Delaney returned to Warrawee Park and performed well in the Chargers’ tight win. He started very well in the first quarter and showed his ability to break the lines. Crucially he won a one-on-one defending at half-back in the third term, remaining composed to ensure the Chargers won the contest. He finished the day with 25 disposals and hardly missed a target during the match. 

#5 Xavier O’Neill – In his trademark red boots, O’Neill played well during the match, using his good speed and agility to effectiveness on the inside. Like Ayton-Delaney, he can break lines – but impressively has the ability to use the ball on either foot, but it can at times bring a downfall to his kicking efficiency. Nearly kicked an outstanding goal in the first quarter, but it narrowly just missed. 

#23 Isaac Quaynor – Played his trademark game in defence, running the ball out of defence and defending well one-on-one. His tackling pressure and follow up is good, and he is willing to back himself in a contest and to beat opposition forwards when rebounding the ball at speed, taking the ball under his arm and taking a bounce. At times he was manned up on the bigger and taller Bailey Williams, who was able to out mark him. Quaynor won a crucial one-on-one in the last quarter at half back, before getting the one-two handball and then finding a target off his right foot. 

Dandenong Stingrays:

#13 Riley Bowman – The athletic tall played in the ruck for the majority of the day. His battle was an intriguing one, up against the bigger and stronger Lachlan Harry. He is a very agile mover, but I’d be interesting to see his sprint times – as it does appear at times he is stuck in the same gear when around the ball. He does however, remind me somewhat of Tim English and he has a massive upside for a player with plenty of developing left to do. His follow up work at the stoppages was also impressive, whether he had won or lost the hitout, he was able to pick the ball off the ground and handball it off to a teammate. 

#29 Bailey Williams – Played almost completely as a tall forward, returning 0.4 in front of goal. He did win a few frees inside 50, which allowed him to get set shots on goal – but he was unable to slot a goal through the big sticks. He did slot a superb goal on the snap in the 2nd quarter, but it was said to have been touched. He is quite agile for a 198 cm+ tall and his mobility at ground level is pretty good. His solid leap did cause some trouble for the Chargers defenders at times.  

#61 Jamie Plumridge – Had a jumper swap during the match – possibly due to his hot start in the contest, and he was the Stingrays leading disposal winner on the day. His kicking was pretty good, where he was able to win the ball out of the stoppages and link up well on the outside. He did snag a goal in the second term, and impressively was able to get the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions. 

GWV Rebels vs. Murray Bushrangers (Peter Williams)

GWV Rebels:

#3 Scott Carlin – A polished performance from the half-back/winger with Carlin showing off his strong skills in the opening term. His first touch was with a handball to a teammate who unfortunately slipped, but Carlin was clean enough to mop up and kick to the wing. He has a powerful kick and drove the ball inside 50 on multiple occasions in the first half. His first term and third quarter were prominent, although he made a few blues including a clanger straight to the opposition in the third term. But clearly disappointed with his effort, his next kick was a pearler, perfectly piercing through a couple of opponents to hit-up a teammate in the middle.

#5 Harris Jennings – A prominent figure early on, Jennings spreads well and covers the ground. He played across all thirds at times and has a powerful boot on him. He spoiled an opponent in a marking contest and recovered from that to kick to Conor Giddings and set him up for a goal. Continually got involved in the play and laid a really strong tackle early in the third term. Drifted back more in the second half and won a bit in the defensive half, often creating a contest in front of the opposition forwards, including a crucial spoil on Hudson Garoni in the final term.

#13 Tom Berry – I was interested to see how Berry played in his second game back from injury and he certainly impressed me. He could have had three first term goals had it not been for a couple of set shot misses – one which fell short and was rushed through – that he would be a little disappointed with. His goal off a step with a great snap was fantastic play and he has that penetrating kick that has opposition defences worried every time he is within range. He has a unique ability to bring his teammates into the game and looks for the quick handball to release a teammate, and if there is no running option, he kicks long and deep. Won some crucial one-on-one contests and seemed like he took another step forward from even the week before. Started the third term in the goal square, so rotated between midfield and forward, resting in the latter.

#14 Jed Hill – Liked his first half where he won a free for a clear push in the back in the first quarter. Missed the set shot and then missed his second one after great running to take a good vertical leap. A real talent that pushed up the ground and took some good marks. Continued to create an option and while he was quieter through the middle part of the game then came off with an ankle injury, Hill just has that touch of class and skill that you feel one day he will break a game open with a fantastic individual effort. Does the defensive work too with a couple of good tackles, including one at half-forward on Laitham Vandermeer who is no slouch, so he showed great closing speed.

Murray Bushrangers:

#4 Laitham Vandermeer – A good four-quarter performance from the overager who just never stops running. He takes the game on and the second he wins the ball, he’s off. He kicked out from full-back at times and won a free kick for being held on the wing. He hit-up Zane Barzen inside 50 on the lead for a goal assist, and covered so much ground from defence to attack. Would love to see his GPS numbers because each week they would have to be pretty high.

#7 Zane Barzen – First game back after injuring himself in the first term of the first game of the year. Showed glimpses of his natural talent at times, and as they say, will be better for the run. Took a strong overhead mark on the wing in the opening quarter and hit-up Hudson Garoni leading forward. Marked in the second term just inside 50 and his set shot never looked like missing. Barzen almost took a huge pack grab in the third quarter but couldn’t bring it down and hit the ground a bit awkwardly. All in all, it was just good to see the talented forward-cum-midfielder back in action.

#12 Lachlan Ash – Like him as a half-back. Each time he wins the football he just looks composed and takes the game on. But he has that good balance between running and holding it up. He can run in a straight line or switch play, a real general down back for a bottom-age player. He moves up the ground too so can get some inside 50s to his name, and is just so consistent. A composed user who prefers to kick but can also release others with 1-2 handball plays. One to keep an eye on over the next 18 months.

#18 Hudson Garoni – Garoni continued on from his AFL Draft Central Player of the Week performance last round, with a five-goal haul against the GWV Rebels. He did play against two undersized opponents and was just too big and strong for the defence. Garoni continually presented to his midfielders and lead strong, sometimes leading out to the wing showing off his running capacity. He booted two goals in the second term and looked to have found his range, then kicked the final one on the final siren. At ground level he uses his frame well, in one case protecting the ball by holding off an opponent until a teammate came, and he handballed it off.

#28 Kyle Clarke – For a smaller player, Clarke is really strong overhead. He took a number of really good marks and converted a set shot from 20m out in the third term and let everyone know how much he enjoyed it. He racked up quite a few clearances but the one knock for me is he can throw it on the boot at times and just aim for space. He is best when running in space because he lowers the eyes and hits up target going forward. Has good speed on the outside, Clarke attacks the footy hard and wins his own ball at the same time. A highlight was a great grab in front of the goals going back with the flight which led to his set shot goal.

Eastern Ranges vs. Gippsland Power (Taylah Melki)

Eastern Ranges:

#24 Kye Quirk – He worked really hard in and around the stoppages to try and impose himself on the contest and win the footy at ground level. Quirk was never far from the contest and applied pressure around the ground to try and create something for his team. Quirk provided a few strong leads across the ground particularly in the forward 50. He showcased his ability to take some big strong marks and through his clever ball use opened up space for his teammates. Overall he was relatively well held by Gippsland but had some good moments during the game.

#42 Thomas Lockman – Had a relatively quiet game but showed some good signs when competing in the ruck with his strong leaping ability. Lochman displayed some really clever and good tap downs to advantage allowing his midfielders to run onto the footy. He also showcased his footy smarts and ability to read the play throughout the game.

Gippsland Power:

#4 Sam Flanders – He had some really good moments throughout the game showcasing his ability to lead up at the footy. Flanders used his break-away speed going for a run through the middle of the ground to help propel his team forward.  He applied plenty of physical pressure across the ground laying a couple of really strong tackles. He also went on to slot a goal, contributing to the Power’s overall tally.

#5 Xavier Duursma – He was a key player for the Power throughout the game imposing himself on the contest and competing hard to win the footy. Duursma used his good long kick to help propel his team into their forward 50 and create plenty of scoring opportunities. He also showcased his impressive evasive skills and ability to hit targets while under plenty of pressure. Through his ability to break lines he opened up plenty of space and created a good spread across the ground. Duursma also impressed with his clean pick-ups and ability to read the play not to mention slotting a good goal in the third quarter to cap off an already dominant display.

#9 Irving Mosquito – Looked lively throughout the match with his impressive speed and ability to break away from the contest. The Power benefited from his consistent run and carry with the footy helping to move the ball forward with his long piercing kick and putting it into dangerous positions. Mosquito showcased his evasive skills breaking tackles and covering the ground well. He was also instrumental up forward competing hard to win the footy whenever it came to ground and at stoppages.

#23 Noah Gown – He was dangerous all game, providing a good target up forward for his teammates and more importantly bagging four goals for the match. Gown applied plenty of good physical pressure and consistently imposed himself on the contest with his strong leap. He had strong body positioning throughout the game to protect the drop of the ball and take plenty of strong contested marks in the forward 50. He bagged an impressive goal in the second quarter from a tight angle and was even more lively in the third slotting two consecutive goals. He showcased his ability to read the play of the game and get into damaging scoring positions. Gown also provided plenty of strong leads up at the footy and out-bodied his opponent on a number of times.

#25 Kyle Reid – Was strong down in defence taking a heap of good intercept marks and positioned well for the Power.  Reid put in a consistent four quarter effort and applied plenty of physical pressure on his opponents. He looked to keep the ball moving with his good long penetrating kick and was involved in a series of good link up handballs through the middle of the ground to open-up space. His ability to read the play and slot into the holes in the backline was important for Gippsland.  

#29 Boadie Motton – Applied plenty of physical pressure on the ball carrier laying multiple crunching tackles and competing hard at ground level to win the footy for his team. He frequently imposed himself on the contest and his clean hands around the stoppages were invaluable. Motton showcased his good evasive skills and used his long kick to help propel his team forward and out of trouble. He was solid across the ground and took a big contested mark in defence in the fourth quarter.

Calder Cannons vs. Geelong Falcons (Julia Montesano)

Calder Cannons:

#5 Curtis Taylor – Taylor lead up well to the footy and had a long, booming kick. Often laid good pressure on his opponent and was a key cog in the midfield. Laid a nice smother to create a defensive 50 stoppage. Worked well with his teammates throughout the day. A team player with a high work ethic.

#16 Jack Bytel – Jack Bytel’s game reminded me a little of the way Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell plays. He gives off plenty of handballs but each of them make an impact. He’s also a really strong tackler and laid plenty of them, stopping opponents in their tracks. The thing that really stands out about Bytel is that he can take what he gives, as he was able to stand up or get a quick-fire handball away on his knees while being tackled. Bytel is an aggressive midfielder and clearly knows the game really well. This was shown when he was instructing a teammate to shepherd his opponent while Bytel chased the ball down. Bytel is a great on-field leader and a ball magnet. He got plenty of the footy, especially in the depths of the contest. Displayed a great passage of play where he fended off two players and fired off a quick handball, which was the catalyst in setting up a forward entry for the Cannons.

#23 Daniel Hanna – Had one of the cleanest sets of hands on the ground. Hanna is an agile mover with the ball in hand and loves to run. He marked everything that came his way, whether it was in a huge pack or uncontested in space. Had a great passage of play when he cleverly picked the ball up off the deck when it was in a danger zone for the Cannons. Hanna is really great with the ball in hand and knows how to move it forward.

#33 Jack Evans – Evans was sensational in the Calder backline. Worked tirelessly all day and often came out on top, thanks to his impressive endurance. He displayed good composure while a Geelong forward was hot on his heels. Evans worked really well with his teammates to get the ball out of defensive 50 and was able to create stoppages to halt the Geelong momentum. In one instance, Evans and Lucas Cavallaro were both going for the ball and Evans saw that Cavallaro wanted to attack the footy hard, so he shepherded his opponent to allow his teammate to do so. Evans was really vocal on the field, whether he was rallying his teammates at the end of a quarter or being a pest on the mark when his opponent was kicking for goal. Has really nice hands and can mark anything, often courageously going back with the flight of the footy. Evans’ physique is deceiving as he has a huge muscle mass but also has a huge tank.

Geelong Falcons:

#20 Brayden Ham – Ham is a tank and a player that does not stop working. He was extremely damaging up forward, kicking three majors for the day. He not only has precise kicking but also has super quick hands out of the stoppage. His agility is second to none. Lead up to the footy brilliantly all day and demonstrated great footy IQ with a couple of clever sidesteps throughout the day to get around his opponent. Ham is a beautiful user of the footy and his goal-kicking is marvellous. He kicked it extremely straight through the goals despite being on a tough angle. Ham displayed excellent footwork throughout the day, which complemented his great all-round game.

#22 Sam Walsh – Has one of the most precise kicks I have seen. Was able to consistently turn his opponent inside out in tight spaces to find an option. A really unselfish player who always looked for the pass to a teammate. Walsh exemplified this when he used a free kick inside 50 from an out-on-the-full kick to find a teammate in a better position, rather than just banging it to the square in hope. Kicked a magnificent and well-deserved goal in the second quarter with a quick pick-up and wonderful snap around the body that soared through the goals. Gets plenty of penetration on his kicks and knows how to hit a target. He created so many forward entries and was so important around the ground. Great gut running all game, running from the forward line to the back line in a matter of seconds, and getting tackles at one end of the ground then intercepting at the other end. Such an impressive player who deserves to be highly rated.

#30 Oscar Brownless – Brownless has a huge work rate and was a key cog in the forward line for the Falcons. While his three goals were all brilliant, the one that impressed me most was his amazing goal on the run because it demonstrated to me that he’s a traditional forward with an X-factor, which is an extremely exciting prospect. Brownless is really agile for a tall player and was a huge presence up forward throughout the day. Continues to be a consistent performer for Geelong.

#48 Blake Schlensog – Schlensog finished with two majors for the day but his impact wasn’t just felt up forward. He was excellent in the ruck at times with clever taps that were crafted to his midfielders, instead of tapping it down and letting them do all the work. Had clean hands which were useful to find a teammate and create a forward entry. Another quick pick-up allowed him to snap through a goal that got momentum going early on. He’s a tall player but has gentle hands and footwork, exemplified through a nice light kick to just drop it onto the chest of a teammate. Schlensog was able to read the footy well and work his opponent under the ball, often resulting in strong marks.

#49 Dane Hollenkamp – Possesses really good agility for a tall player. Had an innate ability to lower his eyes and find a good option, exemplified through precise chip kicks rather than long ones down the line. Has really strong hands and is a brilliant kicker of the footy. Really strong in the contest and was able to shrug off one or two opponents to get the ball forward. Worked really well with the midfielders throughout the game. He’s a really versatile player who showed some good signs as an over-age player against the Cannons.

Northern Knights vs. Bendigo Pioneers (Michael Alvaro)

Northern Knights:

#3 Braedyn Gillard – The skipper was one of the Knights’ best throughout the day as he gathered plenty of the ball and provided some solid midfield grunt. Having attended the majority of centre bounces, Gillard was able to put his clearance work on show, but it was his work rate and spread that allowed him to have the biggest impact on the game as he won the ball in all areas of the ground. He spent some time up on the forward flank during the second quarter, perhaps as a ploy to keep Bendigo’s Jacob Atley accountable. While he couldn’t manage to impact the scoreboard directly, he chimed in with a handy assist to ruckman Tom Hallebone and showcased his ability to find targets with clever short kicks. 

#7 Harrison Grace – Even on a quieter day by his standards, Grace managed to play his role for the team and chip in with two handy goals. He has been the provider of grunt and pressure for the Knights since his bottom age year, and today was no different as he was prepared to get stuck in and niggle his opponents. Having spent some time through the midfield, Grace was able to put his booming kick to good use with some penetrating inside 50s and a set shot goal from just on the arc in the first term. A solid game from a solid player overall. 

#16 Tom Hallebone – While ‘T-Bone’ competed for the most part in the ruck, he was rotated forward for large portions of the game where he provided a target. There’s not much of the rangy tall, but his bodywork in the ruck was noticeably better this week, and was backed up by some solid second efforts. He displayed a good work rate and tried his best to impact the game around the ground, but still has a lot of room for improvement below his knees. While forward in the final term, he marked well overhead and was unlucky not to add to his first quarter goal.  

Bendigo Pioneers:

#9 Zane Keighran – Keighran provided some good dash across half-back for the Pioneers in a defence that was under the pump for most of the game. Entrusted with kick-in duties, he did his best to penetrate the Knights’ wall and took the game on when he could. He had a couple of highlights with two runs in particular catching the eye, but both were finished off with short, sideward handballs. He’s a pretty silky outside player at his best, but fumbled the ball numerous times while trying to collect it with one hand in oncoming traffic, which might just be a habit he can fix.

#16 Jacob Atley – It was a bit of a mixed bag for Atley as he had some nice moments, but couldn’t quite do it consistently. An organiser in defence, Atley looked to intercept when he could and rebound up the wing with his trademark dash. He has a quick step and can manoeuvre his way around opponents with ease, but was caught in possession a couple of times when trying to break the lines. With the game all but wrapped up, he was thrown forward in the last quarter and found the ball in dangerous positions, but couldn’t quite capitalise as he sprayed his two shots on the run. While forward, he also worked hard and put in a couple of good chases, hoping to lead by example.

#20 James Schischka – Schischka was utilised in a few positions throughout the day but seemed to look most comfortable up forward. He still spent a wealth of time in the midfield and attended a good amount of centre bounces, but it was is work between stoppages that was most effective. He recovered well after limping off in the second term to find a fair bit of the ball and provide some important second efforts. His highlight for the day came in the fourth quarter where he slipped an opponent and snapped a nice goal to round out his game. 

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments