Scouting Notes: 2022 NAB League Boys – Round 2

THE 2022 NAB League season rolled on into Round 2 on the weekend, with eight more games to feast on as many of the nation’s brightest prospects again showed their wares. With teams from four states represented, there was something for everyone. We highlight some of the top performers from each side in the latest edition of Scouting Notes.

Note: All comments are opinion of the individual author.

  • Team
  • Murray Bushrangers
  • GIANTS Academy

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers:

#1 Fletcher Hart

Perhaps having a greater say than his stats would suggest, Hart was a key piece up forward for the Bushrangers. He presented and competed in the forward half, helping his side link into attacking 50 as its primary target. Hart had a few shots on goal, with a 50-metre set shot not quite making the journey, and a snap on his favoured left side going wide. One of his acts resulted in a major though, as Hart won a holding-the-ball free kick and saw teammate Thomas Cappellari take the advantage to score.

#2 Brayden George

It was an indifferent night for the promising forward after his five-goal outing in Round 1, this time only managing one major but arguably being robbed of a goal of the year contender. Hemmed in on the boundary, George turned his opponent in a flash and snapped through a miraculous kick, only for the play to be called back for a throw-in. The top-ager looked lively early on, snaring Murray’s first two scores – a goal and behind – from set shots in the first quarter. His smarts to win free kicks inside 50 were evident, as were his speed and pure goal sense.

#4 Darcy Wilson

Perhaps a bit of a find to keep in mind for next year’s crop, Wilson was the most prolific pure forward afield with three goals from seven scoring shots. The bottom-ager looked lively with his turn of speed and got busy at the fall of the ball. He snapped scores from both pockets and converted set shots from close and long range, making for a well-rounded performance in attack. He could be one to take a scoring load off the likes of George in 2022.

#10 Jedd Longmire

Having already proven his capabilities on the inside, Longmire again did so in the early stages of this hitout but went on to accumulate more ball around the ground. In particular, he swept back behind the ball to help Murray exit its defensive half by foot, putting together a productive third term. In said period, he also worked to half-forward and snuck a wobbly kick to Wilson under pressure, assisting one of the bottom-ager’s three goals.

#16 Max Clohesy

Clohesy impressed with his work through midfield last week, but reverted back to a role in the defensive half this time out. The top-ager did not quite find as much of the ball, but popped up with some nice moments, including a couple of intercept marks in the first half. He showcased his ability to hit targets going forward, and knack of bursting through traffic in different glimpses, compiling another solid game overall.

GIANTS Academy:

#16 Harry Rowston

Rowston was one of a few Giants midfielders who was almost exclusively used on-ball, bringing a sense of competitiveness to the ball winning battle. He continued on from a strong Round 1 outing, bringing his presence to the contest and helping extract some key possessions from the inside. He also hit the scoreboard in term three, converting a set shot from close range.

#18 Luke Lawrence

The leading ball winner on the night, Lawrence had no trouble getting comfortable in the engine room and managed to win possession in all parts of the ground. He was generally clean with his distribution by foot and did not just look to chip over the top, but changed angles whenever he could to help GWS spread the field. He, too found the big sticks with a goal in the final term as the Giants pushed to snatch a win in the final 10 minutes.

#24 Mackinley Miller

A utility of sorts at 190cm, Miller had his biggest say on the game during the final term as he booted two goals in three minutes to help his side edge towards parity. The over-ager first floated a major home against the run of play, and then capitalised on a free kick from the centre bounce to keep the Giants’ run going. The win wasn’t to be, but Miller answered when opportunity came calling.

  • Team
  • Geelong Falcons
  • Bendigo Pioneers

By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong Falcons:

#5 Jhye Clark

The Falcons skipper put his side on his back in the final term, leading by example with an inspired effort which helped salvage a draw. At the first bounce of the final term, Clark willed himself to the ball and won it with a stylish spin to send Geelong forward. Later, he won a free kick in a marking contest and hit Euriah Hollard just before the final siren, to secure the levelling goal. Before all that, Clark started like a house on fire with his clean hands and strong tackling both features of his game. His kicking was punchy but not always pinpoint as usual, though all facets were cranked up a notch when it mattered.

#9 Ted Clohesy

Having won plenty of ball with a good amount of midfield minutes in Round 1, Clohesy rotated much more heavily into the forwardline this time out. While not the quickest ball winner, he found a lot of possessions in contested situations and would get first hands to it with ease. He booted consecutive goals within two minutes of each other during term three, albeit from 50-metre penalties, to make his move forward count. Once thrust back into midfield, he had no trouble finding first touch once again.

#41 Osca Riccardi

A Geelong father-son prospect to monitor, Riccardi has slotted seamlessly into the Geelong side so far. Operating very much on the outside, the lightly-built runner works hard to find the ball in either half and shows a handy turn of speed when required. Riccardi was also quite clean on Saturday, and helped get the ball rolling with two important second-half goals – one from a set shot, and the other with a quick snap.

#53 Olivier Northam

The ultra competitive bigman again took on Geelong’s primary ruck duties, and ended up with more than double the hitouts of anyone else afield. His sizeable leap at 195cm was evident in centre bounce duels, and Northam managed to clunk a handful of well-judged marks with his usually sound timing. Arguably more impressively, he produced a great double effort in term two, and earned a shot on goal in term four with a clever double-back lead when shifted forward.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#3 Max Dow

While a little different in stature to his two elder brothers, Dow shares some similar traits as a midfielder-forward. He showcased them on Saturday as one of the Pioneers’ best afield, bringing positive energy and urgency to the contest. His clean hands were initially a feature up forward, where he produced three shots on goal and an assist for Jason Gillbee. Low to the ground, Dow also displayed a handy step through traffic and lifted when his side needed it.

#4 Harley Reid

It is no secret that Reid is an unbelievable talent, and after a slightly scratchy start in Round 1 he turned it on for Bendigo on Saturday. He was just about impossible to tackle throughout the game, with his core strength at 185cm extremely useful when creating openings inside 50 and around the ground. Reid’s hands were wickedly clean, especially when marking overhead, and his power caused constant headaches for Geelong. The bottom-ager slotted a confidence boosting set shot in the first term, and made it two with a snap shortly after. He was also thrown into midfield to provide a spark in the final quarter, and attempted to impose himself on the contest whenever possible.

#8 Hugh Hamilton

The Carlton VFL-listed over-ager made his NAB League return on Saturday, settling into Bendigo’s midfield rotation. He was not as consistently prolific as others, but looked to impact with each of his 18 touches, as seven of them sent inside 50, and two resulted in (minor) scores. His two behinds came in the second term, first with a set shot and then with a snap where he had followed up his own forward 50 entry to impact the play once more.

#9 Jason Gillbee

Gillbee was again a big figure in the Pioneers’ engine room rotation, proving quieter than in his Round 1 outing but still popping up in some key moments. His highlight of the day came in the opening term, as he received at the top of attacking 50 before wheeling around and bombing the ball home for a goal. He missed a couple more chances in the third quarter but earned them with his work rate and competitiveness. When utilised on the inside, he can work on keeping a touch more composure and finding exits.

#17 Oscar Faulkhead

It was Faulkhead’s cleanliness and class which again stood out on Saturday, with the over-ager consistently looking to find a way out of tight spots. He managed to find those exits with concerted effort as the game wore on, having a real crack in the second half as he was given more midfield minutes. He also hit the scoreboard in term two, slotting a goal on the end of one of Bendigo’s better passages of play.

  • Team
  • Calder Cannons
  • Sandringham Dragons

By: Declan Reeve

Calder Cannons:

#8 Rye Penny

One of the standout pre-season testing performers, Penny showed he has well developed football nous to go with his outstanding athleticism. Penny flew for everything that came his way, finishing the game with nine marks that probably don’t do his presence justice. Penny positioned well behind the ball to become a key intercept player, at times jumping up in packs of multiple opponents and holding the mark. Penny worked hard to be a marking option around the ground for his teammates, possessing an extra gear of speed that no one else could match to really burn opponents on the lead, or when running out of reach of a tackle. Whilst Penny’s ball use is generally safe and reliable under pressure, there were times where a lack of penetration put his teammates under pressure, however these were never in overly dangerous areas.

#18 Jack Newitt

Newitt was arguably Calder’s most impactful through the game as he continues to impress with his move to an inside role in his over-age year. Newitt’s hands in close were impressive, keeping the ball free from opponents to get a clear shot to dispose of the ball to runners. Late in the piece Newitt worked hard to get forward and took a mark on the boundary line, converting the set shot well as a reward for his efforts.

#27 Paul Pascu

Pascu’s work rate around the ground stood out amongst the crowd, as he ran well both ways to assist in defensive 50 as well as push up the ground to get involved in link up chains, or work his way around a contest to be in the right spot to get a releasing handball. Pascu applied himself well to contests and balanced his approach well, knowing when he needed to crack in and win a hardball, or when to hold out and provide an option on the outside. Where Pascu excelled was his use by hand, despite using it more by foot it felt Pascu had more impact with ability to spot handballs through traffic or ahead of himself, doing well to get it to teammates in space that could drive forward with run and carry

#29 Josh Misiti

The over-age Essendon father-son prospect was once again impressive in the defensive 50, especially early on where he took intercept marks at will with his read of the ball and strong body work in one-on-one contests. Misiti was trusted with majority of the Calder kick ins and used it safely, often taking a shorter option into the pocket for some easy movement up ground. When in open play, Misiti was sound by foot and worked hard to be a switching option in the defensive half of the ground.

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Charlie Clarke

Clarke managed to standout despite some higher possession counts around him with his sheer tenacity at the contest and intent to tackle around the ground, never giving up on a chase even if he didn’t always manage to stick the tackle, applying plenty of pressure on opponents and forcing them to rush disposals. Clarke’s hands in close were impressive as they traditionally are for inside midfielders, but Clarke’s follow up work from his handballs stood out as he ran hard to get the ball back from teammates he gave it off to. Ended the day with two final term goals, one of which was an impressive shot on the run from along the boundary line

#3 Will Ashcroft

In what ended up being a comprehensive performance, Ashcroft was comfortably best on ground with his clean use of the ball and pure accumulation around the ground. The AFL Academy member ended the day with 38 disposals and wouldn’t have wasted many, if any, as he managed to hurt the opposition going forward via foot and released runners superbly by hand. Ashcroft’s stoppage work was impressive all game, with his positioning and balance around the contest, when he won it he moved it on quickly with precision, at times making it looks like everyone around him was moving in slow motion as he burst away or evaded opponents to get into space. Ashcroft worked hard moving forward through the contest, regularly looking to be part of the same handball chains multiple times or kicking forward and running hard to get the handball back and move it forward quickly. Whilst all of what Ashcroft did with the ball was impressive, his constant show of leadership was outstanding as well and saw his teammates brought into the game a bit better at times, telling teammates where to stand at stoppages and making sure structures were set up.

#8 Hugo Hall-Kahan

Finishing the game as the leading goalscorer, registering 5 from 7 scoring shots, it would probably surprise to hear that Hall-Kahan could’ve ended with more. Hall-Kahan lead well all game and showed off his athleticism throughout, evading opponents by turning on the spot and even getting two of his goals after out pacing opponents to loose balls that had spilt over the top of packs, he brought that strong leading up the ground at times to open up the forward 50 for his teammates. Hall-Kahan looks at his best when kicking for goal on the run, where that pace is his biggest weapon, able to burst away from opponents to get more time to compose himself. As a 2003 birth, Hall-Kahan is certainly one to watch for the mid-season draft.

#9 Archie Roberts

The bottom-aged defender was once again influential across four quarters, even pushing up and taking his aggressive run and ball use onto the wing in the second half. Despite being a smaller frame than most of his opposition, Roberts showed of an impressive aerial presence, with some smart body work and good read of the play he held a couple of contested marks in the defensive half. Roberts work in transition is arguably where he’s at his best, with his precise disposal and will to follow up on his own work, he was a major contributor to many of Sandringham’s most promising offensive plays.

#14 Cam Mackenzie

The St Kilda NGA prospect played more midfield time than in the previous week, looking good in spurts with his burst speed and ability to evade opponents through traffic. Mackenzie applied himself to the inside game well, not afraid to crack in and win a hardball, then burst away and hand off to a teammate in close. When Mackenzie managed to find space his use by foot was good, putting it in front of teammates well and proving a danger going forward. 

#15 Ben Hempel

Hempel felt like he had more impact than his 13 disposals would suggest, with the penetration and placement of his kicks damaging as he looked to move it into the corridor from the flanks and wings, or kick long forward for his teammates to run onto. Whilst Hempel didn’t hold all the marks he flew for, he competed in the air well and generally beat his opponents in the follow up contest at ground level, using it well by hand the few times he was forced to.

#16 Harry Sheezel

Sheezel didn’t find it easy to get involved in the game early on, unable to find his groove up forward it was a switch into the midfield that saw him impact the most early on, winning first possession from a few stoppages and really impressing with his quick hands under pressure, sometimes finding ways to handball from the ground rather than stand up with the ball. As Sandringham started to get the ball forward more, Sheezel began to show his forward craft and flair that saw him earn AFL Academy selection. He ended the game with three marks, but should’ve had more with the quality of his leads, managing to get separation well inside 50 and leading to dangerous spots to earn two goals from set shots by game’s end.

#48 Mitchell Rowe

Spending much of the day on the inside, Rowe was outstanding with his balance around the contest and work rate to tackle opponents who won clearances. Despite winning so much of the ball in close, Rowe’s ball use was outstanding both by hand and foot, able to power away from congestion well and deliver it in front of leading forwards. Whilst Rowe was often aggressive with his ball use, he made the right decisions more often than not with some switch kicks or quick short kicks out of stoppages.

  • Team
  • Northern Knights
  • Oakleigh Chargers

By: Max Hughes

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Elijah Tsatas

Best afield by a significant margin, Tsatas showed exactly why he is touted as one of the top prospects in this year’s class. The skilful midfielder played a complete game, winning plenty of the ball at stoppages and spreading magnificently on the outside. The quality of his disposal was impeccable, specifically his deft touch, observable in almost all his 20 to 30 metre passes. His creativity was also on display, often pulling longer passes into pockets of space and drawing teammates in with the kick. Tsatas moves effortlessly, gliding across the ground and plucking balls off his toes before working to receive a follow-up handball. The most exciting aspect of his performance is that he had 36 touches, a mammoth stat that highlights he can win huge amounts of the football in addition to his already brilliant skillset. Clearly has the potential to vie for the number one slot in this year’s draft and more games like this will only strengthen those claims.

#2 Blake Drury

Playing across half-forward and in the midfield, Drury was a clear influence, particularly when the game was still competitive. At 178cm he isn’t the biggest player out there, but he is adept at getting in dangerous spots and demanding the ball. There were multiple times where Drury timed his runs to provide an option for under-pressure teammates, holding his space well before pushing into the open pockets at the opportune moment. Seems to be a smart, compact footballer who has the required nous to succeed at AFL level. He didn’t have the eight shots on goal he manufactured last week, but he did nail a lovely set shot from distance to open the game up, before remaining one of Oakleigh’s better players throughout.

#4 Matthew Jefferson

An intriguing prospect, Jefferson had multiple nice moments despite only finding the ball eight times. Playing as a deep forward for most of the game, he stood out in the air, where he took some athletic grabs that showed great judgement. He also managed to kick a couple of goals, but Oakleigh would be looking for ways to get him involved more, considering the raw talent he possesses. Only lightly framed, Jefferson’s current level of performance can’t simply be taken at face value, as he is one that projects to develop significantly. Future prospects aside, he showed why recruiters should be interested on Sunday, with a great blend of athletic gifts and intangible football ability that could feasibly translate to league football.

#7 Angus Curry

Struck a long-range set shot perfectly in the early stages and continued to be a presence as the game wore on. Curry accumulated 20 disposals and an additional goal following his first quarter pearler, playing the kind of polished football that drove Oakleigh’s dominance during the contest. Whilst it was undeniably the Tsatas show for most proceedings, Curry was strong in the contests, laying eight tackles to provide the inside grunt required. His contested work may have gone under the radar; however, it was critical to how Oakleigh were able to overwhelm the lacklustre Knights midfield.

#21 Max Gruzewski

Gruzewski was one of the best athletes on the field and given this was a game where Oakleigh’s defence was rarely threatened, his influence was only more impressive. Realistically a third tall at 193cm, his leap and pace makes him a realistic proposition at the higher level, as he has the capacity to both intercept and rebound in the mould of Melbourne’s Jake Lever. He showed strong aerial prowess at times, despite only finishing with three marks, and his breakaway speed was eye-catching. His kicking was neat and reliable, an absolute necessity for his position. Guzewski drove most of Oakleigh’s rebounding game, which was a key driver in their ascendancy, given the Knight’s continual failure to capitalise on inside 50’s. Considering the score line though, his opportunities to showcase his ability were somewhat limited, so to finish with 17 disposals and exert significant influence on the contest was encouraging.

#33 Alwyn Davey Jnr

The Essendon father-son prospect had a variety of brilliant moments amongst his 14 disposals, showing that he doesn’t need much to have an impact. The fastest player on the ground, and least over short distances, Davey broke away numerous times, sidestepping his way through traffic and showing elite poise under duress. His kicking was a little wayward at times, with a few standout passages unfortunately culminating in wobbling drop punts, but the issue looks fixable. His short passes were far better, as Davey has excellent vision, by both hand and foot, that he utilises creatively, in ways most others can’t. This likely means his long kicking will eventually follow suit, given a few technical tweaks he will no doubt implement. If he can perform at this level consistently, his playing future at Essendon appears all but certain.

Northern Knights:

#1 Darcy Edmends

Edmends looks to be a player who doesn’t require bulk possessions to influence a game, largely due to his silky foot skills and clean hands. Played in a midfield that was soundly beaten but showed his wares from his 16 disposals. What stands out about Edmends is his one-touch ability, as he attacks the ball at full pace and almost always takes it with him. Whilst others fumble or slow down to collect the football, Edmends often accelerates, swooping through packs or on loose balls and extracting it cleanly. His kicking is also sublime, and he sat behind only Tsatas in terms of his impact by foot. Whilst it was a day to forget for the Knights, Edmunds was noticeable and impressive again after a strong start to the year last week.

#2 Nate Caddy

Alongside Cooper Harvey, Caddy was probably the Knight’s best. Even though straighter kicking would have turned a good game into a great one, he fought hard throughout, and really emerged as a force in the second half. Built powerfully, Caddy launched at the ball relentlessly, clunking some great marks in and around forward 50. He kicked the Knight’s first goal late in the second quarter and had several other shots. His hands are sure, and his athleticism is AFL quality. As a bottom-ager, Caddy’s influence in back-to-back weeks is all the more exciting, boding well for his draft year in 2023. Aside from his evident natural talent, his effort was something that stood out in a game that could easily have turned into a procession. Caddy was one of the main Knights responsible for leading the turnaround, as his side fought to a respectable final score, and it speaks volumes of his character and application. Even though he kicked three in a win last week, his performance on Sunday was equally encouraging.

#8 Patrick Dozzi

On the other end of the age spectrum to Caddy, top-ager Dozzi once again led the Knights midfield. He accumulated 23 touches, moving with poise on the outside and setting up his teammates well. Dozzi is very composed, possessing the sought-after ability to slow down traffic around him and make great decisions. This wasn’t his best game, as his contemporary in Tstatas dominated, but Dozzi put together an admirable performance. Will be good to see a response next week after Oakleigh did as they pleased in the first half, as he is a clear leader of their engine room.

#14 Cooper Harvey

Arguably the Knights best four-quarter performer, Harvey willed his way into the contest with his gut running. A classy, compact and reliable footballer, the son of North Melbourne legend Brett Harvey worked tirelessly all day and was a catalyst in the Knights semi-resurgence in the second half. His handballing was an impressive feature, as not only did he hit his targets, but he led teammates into space and didn’t make them break stride. Harvey’s 25 disposals were a result of his courageous running, as he pushed hard to make himself an option even if he didn’t receive the ball. This sort of effort always results in reward, and he deservedly found himself consistently involved in the Knights improved ball movement. A proud response from a player who no doubt felt some responsibility for Oakleigh’s first half midfield domination, and a really impressive all-round game.

  • Team
  • Swans Academy
  • Tasmania Devils

By: Michael Alvaro

Swans Academy:

#8 Jordan Endemann

Leading all-comers on the day alongside Caiden Cleary, Endemann took full advantage of his role as an experienced member of the Swans midfield. The over-ager seemed to grow in confidence as the game wore on, utilising his shifting step and baulks to greater effect. His smarts also came to the fore, with a couple of plays in the third term displaying good decision making. One was a well-sighted kick across forward 50, and the other was a bounce handball when backed into a tight spot. Over two-thirds of his disposals were dished out by hand too, bringing others into the play.

#9 Luke Giacometti

It was business as usual for Giacometti as he made it consecutive 27-disposal games in this year’s NAB League. Having cut his teeth in defence last year, the over-ager used his size and ball winning skill to have a say on this outing. While not as flashy as others afield, he was generally clean and composed, and booted a very handy left-foot goal on the move during term three.

#32 Caiden Cleary

Generating a bit of breakaway speed from the contest, Cleary may be one for Swans fans to monitor as one of the rare bottom-age pieces in midfield. He produced some exciting plays, sharking the ball off hands at stoppage and bursting away with straight-line speed, backing his pace to get Sydney going. He was a little awkward with the end product, but has some handy tools to work with already at 180cm.

Tasmania Devils:

#13 Seth Campbell

A clever midfielder-forward with dancing feet, Campbell proved crafty with much of his work on Sunday. The top-ager confidently stepped through traffic and took on opponents, but was also creative with his one-two handball chains and speedy forays moving into attack. He spent more time forward in the second half and snared consecutive goals in term three, highlighting his production value in a scoring sense.

#15 Lachlan Cowan

Best afield for the winners, Cowan played the classic attacking role off half-back and lead his side with aplomb. His accumulation factor in the back half was impressive, as Cowan competed to turn the ball over and set off on the rebound with his penetrative kicking. The top-ager also flew for marks and showed good balance, adding a bit of flair to each passage he impacted. Cowan also kicked a nice goal in term two, getting a hand-off and unleashing from 50 metres out. Get used to seeing that this year.

#37 Tom McCallum

With Tasmania relatively rich with marking options up forward, McCallum now has the opportunity to showcase his versatility in a relatively new defensive role. The dynamic top-ager is rangy and raw at 192cm, but exciting in the way he takes the game on. He was not afraid to break the lines with run and carry on Sunday, attacking off half-back through the corridor and playing like a defender 10cm smaller. His skill execution remains workable, but there are some terrific athletic traits which already make up impressive parts of his game.

  • Team
  • Dandenong Stingrays
  • Lions Academy

By: Michael Alvaro

Dandenong Stingrays:

#2 Mitch Szybkowski

The AFL Academy member was super impressive on Sunday, dominating the opening half and setting the tone for Dandenong’s early dominance. His clean hands and ball winning prowess on the inside worked extremely well with the Stingrays’ stoppage style, working in combination with his fellow mids to exit congestion in a wave. Szybkowski’s work rate on the spread was also evident, as he found plenty of ball around the ground and made repeat running efforts to impact as Dandenong surged forward.

#4 Jaxon Binns

Having had a somewhat quiet first half amid Dandenong’s mad rush, Binns came to life with three second-half goals – including two in a row during term three. Starting forward, he worked high up the ground as usual and also shifted up onto the wing before his big burst of scoring. Binns found the big sticks thrice with set shots, finishing nicely with most opportunities inside 50, but also notching two behinds.

#8 Sam Frangalas

An exciting bottom-ager in Dandenong’s ranks, Frangalas was difficult to contain in the early stages. He started his day up forward and booted consecutive goals at the end of the first quarter, showcasing sharp finishing with conversions on tight angles. Frangalas’ springy leap was also on show, as he powered up vertically to compete on the lead and make a menace of himself inside 50. He eventually spent some time in midfield during term four.

#13 Finn Emile-Brennan

While not as prolific as in his Round 1 outing, Emile-Brennan was still able to display his class off half-back. The Melbourne NGA prospect took the kick-in duties and showed off his hops with some defensive acts on the last line, closing quickly and reaching high to spoil at several contests. He also flew for his marks and produced some high-level kicks, shifting the angles as Dandenong moved in transition and taking up more attacking positions as the game wore on. He can do serious damage when given the time and space.

#16 Henry Hustwaite

Hustwaite is as solid and reliable as they come in defence, proving exactly that once more on Sunday. Though he had little to do early on, the top-ager hardly put a foot wrong and was composed each time the ball entered his area. Able to compete aerially but also use his assuredness in possession, Hustwaite was thrown into the centre bounces during term four and managed to get his hands on the ball cleanly.

#41 Sam Latreille

Somewhat of a surprise packet on the day, Latreille provided plenty of spark inside Dandenong’s attacking 50. His pace put energy on the ball and ensured the Brisbane defenders would have to work overtime to contain him. The top-ager positioned nicely front and centre to snare his first goal, before adding another on the lead in term two. He faded a touch, but certainly showcased his potential in an exciting first half display.

#44 Jai Culley

One of the leading over-age prospects in the competition, Culley started off strongly in midfield. He was super clean and neat with each possession, both in midfield and when able to shift forward. Culley hit the scoreboard early, converting the first goal of the game after three minutes and looking polished with his use by foot. His day ended slightly early, as he was seen with ice on his right shoulder.

Lions Academy:

#10 Zac Young

With kicking long seeming to be a directive from the Lions, Young was one of the few players who actively looked to take the game on with run and carry, and move the ball forward with purpose. The over-ager shot wide for consecutive behinds in the opening term, but broke through with a major in the third quarter to continue his side’s mid-game resurgence. He ran himself into trouble on a few occasions, but generally made things happen and had a greater impact than his 14 disposals would suggest – nine inside 50s backs that up.

#18 Jaspa Fletcher

The classy Brisbane father-son prospect showed off his usually slick movement in the early stages, but began to look a little rushed in possession when Dandenong lifted the pressure gauge. He was shifted to the wing, where he worked both ways and found a good amount of ball on the outer, getting back to his classy ways. His 19-disposals effort was a team-best, and Fletcher sunk a trademark long goal in term three to draw the Lions back within a kick.

#34 Mitchell Howson

The most prolific goalkicker on the day, Howson booted all four of his majors at one end of the ground, snaring two in the second and fourth quarters. He converted his side’s first major after plucking a nice mark inside 50, but went on to show good variety in his play at 193cm with equal amounts of follow-up work. Howson capped his day in style with a couple of snap goals in term four, making for a productive outing inside 50.

  • Team
  • Gippsland Power
  • Western Jets

By: Charlie McCormack

Gippsland Power:

#3 Paddy Cross

The Power midfielder was workmanlike across the four quarters, running hard from contest to contest and applying plenty of physical pressure. At times his tackling was a touch overzealous and his kicking was untidy, but his grunt work in the midfield was highly valuable and complimented the way several of his smooth moving teammates like to play.

#7 Jacob Konstanty

Konstanty combined well with the likes of Coby Burgiel, Mitchell Moschetti and Bailey Humphrey to help give Gippsland a dominant advantage in the midfield in the first quarter, as he found plenty of the ball at ground level. The top-aged product faded out of the game slightly after a strong start but remerged late in the game to be a prominent player and swing the game back into Gippsland’s favour. He made a desperate, lunging tackle to win a holding the ball decision in the final quarter, before hitting a target inside 50 to set up a goal that would seal the victory for his side.

#15 Coby Burgiel

The dynamic midfielder backed up his 25-disposal game in Round 1 with another strong display to be one of the better players on the ground. Like many of his teammates, he was particularly influential in the first quarter, winning a number of clearances and getting proactive at stoppages, often getting on the move early and breaking free from congestion. The 18-year old also tackled strongly and had a presence when he drifted into the forward line.

#16 Josh Hamilton

The smooth moving wingman had an efficient game for Gippsland, using his polished skills to make good decisions with ball in hand. Hamilton was clean below his feet and held his width well at stoppages, often being put into space by one of his teammates as a result of his good positioning.

#43 Harvey Howe

The 201cm ruckman was a towering presence in the midfield for Gippsland, and was the catalyst for his team’s first quarter dominance, as he gave his midfielders first use and contributed well around the ground. The big man’s influence was curtailed after quarter-time, as opposing ruckman Nathan Dowdy began to impose himself on the match, but he still managed to compete well in the ruck and remain an important player for his side. Around the ground, Howe looked to utilise his strength to extract the ball from the ruck to win the clearance himself.

Western Jets:

#6 Matthew Payne

After a relatively quiet first half, Payne was injected onto the ball after the main break and had an immediate impact. His lightning speed, agility and creativity with ball in hand gave his side a point of difference in the centre as he looked to be the player who could break the game open for the Jets in the final quarter. Finished with a consolation goal late in the last quarter to cap off another promising display, showing he can have an influence in the midfield as well as in the forward line.

#8 Diesel Moloney

The bottom-aged defender showed encouraging signs in his second career NAB League game, running hard to create rebound from defence. He kicked a nice running goal in the first quarter against the run of play and continued to stick to his strengths throughout the game. Whilst his ball-use was not always exemplary, Moloney’s propensity to take the game on and use overlap run was eye-catching.

#27 Jhett Gaskett

The rangy forward played a solid all-round game for the Jets, working high up the ground to provide an option for his teammates while also working back to goal to pose a threat inside 50. The 17-year old took several marks on the lead, but also showed terrific forward craft in the third term, opting to not contest a high ball to stay down and rove the pack to snap an excellent crumbing goal

#28 Massimo D’Ambrosio

The Western Jets skipper wasn’t at his absolute best but showed his class and used the ball well to be one of his side’s stronger contributors. The top-aged product was particularly damaging through the second term when kicking the ball inside 50, lacing out a leading forward for a shot on goal on multiple occasions from his left boot. His kicking was not as crisp the longer the game on, but you couldn’t question D’Ambrosio’s willingness to attempt an aggressive kick and pull the trigger.

  • Team
  • Eastern Ranges
  • SUNS Academy

By: Michael Alvaro

Eastern Ranges:

#1 Kai Windsor

The only player to tick up over 30 disposals on Sunday, Windsor displayed great class and smarts along the way. He made good decisions all day and looked a level above most others in that aspect, releasing clean handballs in midfield and picking out productive targets by foot. He rolled with the punches when rotated forward, showcasing some handy repeat run and getting up each time he was crunched. From three scoring shots, Windsor converted a sole major in term three as the Ranges stormed to a big lead. He cramped up immediately after the shot.

#5 Nick Watson

You’d be hard pressed to find a more electric prospect than Watson, who absolutely turned it on in the second half. Four of his five goals were kicked after half time and he converted in a variety of ridiculous ways. At 169cm, his leap and ability to provide a leading option is almost unfair, especially when coupled with his knack for converting via snaps and ground level play. Watson was also astute via set shots, with distance and accuracy no problem from just within the arc. He even got a late run in midfield and brought others into the game, including with a beautiful pass across the 50 in term three which required rare levels of vision and skill.

#18 Lewis Hayes

Along with Watson, Hayes is another player who defies his size – only in a much different sense at 197cm. The top-ager worked high up the ground from his defensive post, helping Eastern set up a formidable wall when attacking and being trusted to use the ball well in all areas. He was a useful intercept piece throughout the day and while he can certainly add some size to better compete in contested marking tussles, Hayes offers dynamism as a key defender.

SUNS Academy:

#15 Jared Eckersley

A rangy type at 192cm, Eckersley has transitioned well into a midfield role so far this year, while also rotating forward. He had little trouble getting his hands on the ball at stoppage, often using first possession to pump the ball forward by foot. The top-ager also distributed well by hand when required but most of his stoppage exits were those big kicks out of packs en route to 18 disposals and six inside 50s.

#29 Jed Foggo

The Suns’ leading possession getter for the second week running, Foggo was particularly prominent in the early stages but proved a consistent figure throughout. He showed noted signs of improved decision making, lowering his eyes and choosing much shorter options by foot after his blazing efforts last week. He managed to penetrate both arcs from midfield and took on some of the kick-in duties, while also shifting forward in the second half.

#32 Jed Walter

The AFL Academy member was one who seemed to give his all until the end, earning great reward for effort with two final quarter goals. Walter presented on the lead all day both up the ground and inside 50, sliding for marks and flying to compete overhead. The bottom-ager looks most likely when allowed a clean run and jump at the ball, but seems to be quickly growing in maturity having not been deterred by a lack of reward in the first half. Top effort.

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