Scouting Notes: 2022 NAB League Boys – Round 5

AN all-Country triple header made up most of the NAB League’s weekend offering in Round 5, while Tasmania took on the Northern Territory in the latter’s final appearance for the season. 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
  • Bendigo Pioneers
  • Gippsland Power

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Harvey Gallagher

Gallagher was one who really started to recapture some of his best form on Sunday, playing his usual midfield-forward role. The over-ager was able to showcase his turn of speed, breaking forward in eye-catching bursts and backing himself to part the seas en route to goal. He found reward in the form of goals; steading on the run for his first in the opening term, before converting set shots in the second and fourth quarters to cap a promising day.

#4 Harley Reid

The bottom-ager is already proving to be a real problem for opposition coaches and players. He was nearly impossible to tackle on Sunday, seen bursting out of congestion with his explosive speed and nearly always finding a way to dispose of the ball in tight spots. His finish product, particularly early on, was lacking a touch but improved as the game wore on. He did everything with force through midfield, but could not quite find the big sticks this time out.

#9 Jason Gillbee

Gillbee is somewhat of a coach’s dream and proved as much on Sunday with the roles he played. The top-ager started up forward in his longsleever and looked good there, working his opponents over and presenting strongly on the lead. He snared two goals in the opening term before searching higher up the ground, and eventually being swung to defence to do a job on fellow number nine, Zane Duursma. His competitiveness won him a few contests there, as he also took on the kick-in duties.

#17 Oskar Faulkhead

One who has been in terrific touch this season, Faulkhead produced arguably his best performance to date on Sunday. He lead all comers with 29 disposals and looked classy along the way, using his step to burst onto the outer and generate some dash away from the contest. His composure and special awareness made each decision a winner, and Faulkhead also did it going the other way with nine tackles – including a rundown effort on Jonti Schuback in the final quarter.

Gippsland Power:

#5 Bailey Humphrey

The Gippsland skipper lead from the front with 25 touches, topping his side’s disposal count and adding a bit of grunt to the on-ball group. Humphrey was super clean off the deck and had no trouble getting his hands on the ball, but the next step of possession – disposal – is something which let him down a touch. His urgency saw him bomb the ball long inside 50 several times, gaining good meterage without always finding a target. He also notched up three behinds, having booted multiple goals in three other outings this season.

#7 Jacob Konstanty

Konstanty had his most prolific outing for the year in a ball winning sense, finishing with 23 disposals which included multiple attempts on goal. The crafty small started up forward and constantly looked to twist and turn into scoring range, with his lone goal for the match coming from a set shot in the third quarter. A couple of snaps went offline, but Konstanty was clean when sharking the ball at speed and tried to get creative when on-ball.

#9 Zane Duursma

Having booted multiple goals in every game this season, there is no questioning Duursma’s ability to find the big sticks. He put on a clinic in Round 5, showcasing his incredible finishing skills with six goals kicked in a variety of ways. Whether it was slotting home on the run from range, dribbling off the deck, snapping from the pocket or converting set shots, Duursma did it all. The bottom-aged AFL Academy member even garnered opposition attention after half time, but was simply on fire and could not miss with his quickfire shots. All class.

#10 Jonti Schuback

Schuback has had bigger games, but still managed to display his best traits on Sunday. The dashing defender showed a nice balance in his game, timing his runs typically well to receive on the run and drive forward, but also cracking in for a few marking and ground-level efforts atypical of the flashy style he brings off half-back. He made a solid contribution overall, registering 18 disposals and breaching either arc a combined seven times.

  • Team
  • Murray Bushrangers
  • GWV Rebels

Murray Bushrangers:

#2 Brayden George

On a good day for goalkickers, George put on his own show with a bag of six for Murray. The mercurial forward was a menace inside 50 all day, able to get on the board mostly as a leading target. His conversion from a variety of positions was sound, having no trouble making the distance from outside 50, and proving a sure thing from anywhere closer. When allowed a run and jump at the ball, George was unstoppable, and brings that kind of threat on top of his crafty ground level game.

#3 Toby Murray

Murray has been in strong form for the Bushrangers and continued to his work as a ruck-forward. His size (199/92) at the Under 18 level is difficult to combat, and allowed the over-ager to impose himself aerially in plenty of contests. He clunked four marks and won 27 hitouts, but was unable to hit the scoreboard this time out after snagging five goals in his previous two outings.

#7 Tyler Norton

Norton’s last couple of weeks have been exceptional, with the over-aged defender finding his groove in the Bushies’ backline. He again took on the kick-in duties and used them to advance high up the field, backing his speed with eye-catching carries while working one-two chains on the rebound. His appetite to repeat run and get the ball back after his initial disposal went a long way towards his total of 27 touches, with much of that sparked from the last line.

#16 Max Clohesy

Jetting across half-back for the Bushrangers, Clohesy was able to drive his legs and create some useful running rebound throughout the game. Whether it was via a handball receive or when powering out with a loose ball get, Clohesy provided his usual drive when breaking into transition. He finished most of his forays with kicks, notching up another solid 15-disposal display.

#28 Noah Bradshaw

Bradshaw has looked a much improved player across the last few weeks, returning consistent numbers and adding weapons he didn’t appear to have last season. The over-ager is apt at the contest with his strong frame, but found a good amount of outside possession this time out. He made a couple of gut-running efforts where, albeit unrewarded, he was able to get involved in Murray’s transitional play. Bradshaw’s kicking was again punchy, and he hit a couple of really nice passes going inside 50 with penetration through the air.

GWV Rebels:

#5 Aaron Cadman

Snaffling up just about everything which came his way on Sunday, Cadman’s vice-like hands were the feature of his game. The strongly built 194cm forward was near unstoppable on the lead, presenting with presence and clunking marks under opposition heat. The only thing missing was a finishing touch. Cadman snared a goal in the third term, but put a variety of shots wide both over the mark and on the run in what was an otherwise imposing performance.

#6 Tristan Maple

A real accumulator on the day, Maple was a feature in midfield for Greater Western Victoria and had no trouble getting his hands on the ball. The 178cm ball winner had his most prolific outing of the year, notching 27 disposals and using a good amount of them to clear long out of stoppages. On what was a tough day for the Rebels, the likes of Maple and Hugh Bond were important figures in keeping the match competitive at the source.

#16 Luamon Lual

The bottom-ager has slotted in nicely to the Rebels’ lineup this season and had some good moments in his fourth outing for the season. A smooth mover, Lual proved capable when both attacking and defending in the backline, able to compete in the air and at ground level. One of his best moments was a tackle on the elusive Darcy Wilson inside defensive 50 during term two, en route to 15 disposals, four marks and four rebound 50s.

  • Team
  • Tasmania Devils
  • Northern Territory Academy

Tasmania Devils:

#1 Brandon Leary

Storming home with a wet sail, Leary booted a bunch of goals in the final term to end up with six overall – an equal game-high effort. The over-age forward started steadily but was difficult to stop once he built up a head of steam, doing his best work close to goal and converting well. Leary’s hops and willingness to compete overhead earned him a few of those scores, though his ball use outside 50 is an area for improvement.

#13 Seth Campbell

It was nothing short of a day out for Campbell, who worked over each opponent from half-forward and caught them over the back to boot six goals from 32 touches. He searched high up the ground to help Tasmania link in transition, but won his most damaging possessions up on the attacking arc where he could jet towards goal and finish with aplomb. He had three majors on the board in no time and added more after quarter time, also bringing others into the game with his delivery at pace. He had no trouble burning opponents in possession and was nothing short of a menace throughout the four quarters.

#15 Lachlan Cowan

The Tassie skipper steered his side’s ship from defence, providing constant forward motion and showing off his wicked kicking skills. Cowan’s distribution was eye-catching, with one particular kick unleashed from centre half-back to hit Seth Campbell running inside attacking 50. Racking up a game-high 33 disposals for the day, Cowan was aggressive with his positioning and worked hard to chain possessions through the corridor with damaging results.

#27 Colby McKercher

Tasmania’s speed demon was up to his old tricks again, showcasing ridiculous acceleration to burn many an opponent from midfield. The bottom-ager was audacious, if not frankly rude in the confidence he showed to lose opponents who were right on his hammer, but proved successful each time as he broke into attack. One of his best moments was a foray through the corridor, where he dished out a mean fend-off and continued running en route to his side’s attacking 50. He also snuck forward for a goal in term three to cap an exciting game.

#37 Tom McCallum

Speaking of speed, McCallum’s ability to take the game on from defence was game-breaking, and he did it time and time again. His highlights reel would look like a series of replays at times, as the top-ager set off and weaved his way forward, looking difficult to stop in full flight at 192cm. He also showcased his intercept marking ability and while inconsistent at times by foot, hit some nice passes with attacking intent. His second term was particularly massive, but McCallum was one of his side’s best players throughout.

Northern Territory:

#22 Lloyd Johnston

Tasked with one of the toughest gigs of the weekend, Johnston stood up in a Northern Territory defence which leaked 20 goals. He took on the kick-in duties and was usually reliable by foot, but displayed his best form aerially. With good hops and sound reading of the play, Johnston rose in many more contests than his three marks would suggest, and showed a bit of fight en route to amassing a whopping 15 rebound 50s.

#27 Riley Stone

Stone has been one of the Thunder’s more consistent players over the course of their NAB League stint, and finished his campaign strongly on Sunday. With 17 disposals and 10 tackles from midfield, he swept back to provide coverage behind the ball and even got forward to register a set shot in the second term. It was tough for the NT to gain any sort of fluency in possession, but Stone was one who worked hard to create a bit of drive whenever he could.

  • Team
  • Geelong Falcons
  • Dandenong Stingrays

Geelong Falcons:

#5 Jhye Clark

Clark has such a wide array of skills and put them all on show in his latest outing. The Falcons captain was arguably best afield in a side which only looked like winning in the final term, as he collected a team-high 29 touches to lead from the front. Happy to put his body on the line both in the air and at ground level, Clark’s work rate saw him win the ball in a variety of ways all around the ground, and he looked typically potent when delivering the ball inside 50. His game awareness in the closing stages to slow play down, but also lift when it mattered showed marks of a strong leader.

#47 Euriah Hollard

A busy type of operator, Hollard produced his most prolific outing for the season with 22 disposals as he got on his bike up forward. The over-ager also earned a midfield stint in the fourth quarter as Geelong looked to turn the game, with his work rate and smarts proving useful traits there. Hollard also found the goals as he has done in each game, booting 1.1 and having a 40-metre set shot fall short.

#53 Olivier Northam

There can be no questioning Northam’s intent, and the physically enforcing bigman made his presence felt from the first centre bounce. His willingness to engage in a bit of niggle almost cost Geelong the match with a late free kick going against him, but it was generally done with team-lifting intention. Northam spent a good amount of time up forward and kicked a goal in the second quarter, but could have done with a touch more composure when dumping the ball out under pressure.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#6 Taj Campbell-Farrell

With a couple of key cogs coming out of Dandenong’s lineup, Campbell-Farrell stepped up in a big way to become his side’s primary ball winner. The top-ager finished with a game-high 36 disposals and laid seven tackles, working hard at stoppage and showing a clean set of hands to distribute from the contest. He looked to lift his output when the Stingrays needed it, but ultimately saw his side fall short having lead for most of the match.

#8 Sam Frangalas

Despite being bottom-aged, Frangalas brings a real sense of swagger to his forward post and had his say with a goal from 21 touches. It was his first time breaching the 20-mark this season, and he did so having again rotated through the engine room. Frangalas’ power was notable from the outset, and he gave it everything in the final term when his side needed a spark, looking to chain possessions and sending barrels forward in an inspired effort.

#13 Finn Emile-Brennan

Emile-Brennan has been a massive addition for the Stingrays and with Henry Hustwaite spending time in midfield, he took it upon himself to become the defensive general. Accumulating plenty of ball across the back half, the top-ager hit some great long passes with typical surety by foot – racking up 11 rebound 50s from 25 disposals and 19 kicks. He also displayed good game awareness with a late kick-in up the middle, although it didn’t quite come off.

#16 Henry Hustwaite

On what was a frustrating day at times, Hustwaite looked as clean and composed as anyone afield with plenty more midfield minutes. The usual defender has such a cool head and his strengths lie in the fundamentals, highlighted by his efficient disposal, sound decision making and no-fuss style. Hustwaite perhaps could have looked to be a touch more damaging with his disposal, but did the basics well and allowed others to provide the outside running power Dandenong was after.

#18 Lachlan Robinson

Robinson put in a real shift for the Stingrays, proving his value as a versatile 194cm winger. The over-ager rolled forward well and hit the scoreboard with two goals, with both proving to be steady finishes on the run. With his sheer size, Robinson was important as the game became more of a scrap, and he got his side moving in the right direction with nine inside 50s from 22 touches.

#19 Nicholas Collier

Offering an important point of difference in Dandenong’s midfield, Collier brings the breakaway speed and class which again saw him catch the eye on Sunday. The 176cm top-ager has now notched 22 disposals in three of his five games, and did so with a bit of style against the Falcons as he shifted play to the outer. While others are away, he could be one to step up in a greater NAB League role.

#21 Justin Davies

In what was somewhat of a breakthrough game for the over-ager this year, Davies booted five goals as the dominant forward afield. The left-footed forward started the game on fire with three goals in the opening term, before enjoying another purple patch in the third. During those periods, Davies’ overhead marking and presentation on the lead were strong, and he took full toll with the delivery which came his way. He had the opportunity to clinch victory with a set shot in the final term, but put it wide as Dandenong had the four points snatched from its grasp.

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