Scouting Notes: Young Guns vs. Vic Country U18s

IN their second outing for 2022, the Young Guns defeated Vic Country’s by 30 points at Princes Park on Sunday. It was a scrappy affair, but the Under 23 side made it two from two against their makeshift Under 18 opponents, after downing Metro last week. We noted some of the top performers from either side, with the draft eligible Young Guns vying for mid-season draft contention on June 1.

YOUNG GUNS 11.11 (77) def. VIC COUNTRY 6.11 (47)

Young Guns:

#1 Massimo D’Ambrosio (Western Jets)
5/06/2003 | 178cm | Small Defender

The Western Jets skipper was given a tough matchup in game one, and tested himself early in game two with a move up to the wing. It’s somewhat a familiar post for him having played there last year, but he looked much more assertive when shifted back to defence after half time. D’Ambrosio’s laser-like kicking was a feature as the game wore on, unleashed from dangerous positions as he advanced aggressively up the field. He hit up multiple targets inside 50 for scores and with that type of delivery, was a real asset in transition.

#5 Patrick Dozzi (Northern Knights)
27/06/2003 | 185cm | Midfielder

The Northern Knights over-ager has enjoyed taking over as a prime mover in the region, and was his usual self through midfield for the Young Guns. While clean on the inside, Dozzi also found exits and advanced with some outside ball on the break from stoppages. His hands were reliable assets, and he capped off his work with sound kicking as well. Dozzi hit the scoreboard in term four to get reward for effort, sinking a nice running goal while he surged inside 50.

#7 Oskar Faulkhead (Bendigo Pioneers)
11/02/2003 | 179cm | Midfielder

Faulkhead had been in terrific touch during the lead-in to his Young Guns venture, and continued that on Sunday in game two. The classy Pioneers midfielder had no trouble finding the ball, using his step and smarts to shift to the outer and put his side on the front foot. He hit the scoreboard with a lovely strike from 50 before the half-time siren, and fed a well-timed handball to Dozzi in term four to claim an eye-catching assist. His quality has shone through in 2022.

#10 Jamieson Ballantyne (GWV Rebels)
16/04/2003 | 183cm | Wing

Having spent some time on the inside during his NAB League duties with GWV, Ballantyne started back out in his arguably more effective wing position and produced some of his best form for the year. The over-ager started off a little shakily with his foot skills, but had no trouble finding the ball as he worked hard up and down the line. He snared goals in the second, third and fourth quarters, producing plenty of chances as he shifted to attack in the second half. That was much more like the Ballantyne we saw in 2021.

#11 Charlie Molan (GWV Rebels)
23/01/2003 | 187cm | Medium Utility

A versatile role player, Molan lined up in the Young Guns defence and put in a shift indicative of his usual effort. He had the ball on a string at times in the first half, accumulating in the back half and even sneaking forward for a set shot in the first quarter. He was seen hobbling at half-time, but shook off the knock to take on kick-in duties once again. While a prominent disposal getter, Molan missed a few targets by foot but tended to put it in the right areas for teammates to latch onto.

#13 Lachlan Carrigan (Richmond VFL)
9/12/2002 | 191cm | Defender/Wing

Perhaps somewhat of a forgotten man, Carrigan earned a draft combine invite off only a preseason in his top-age year (2020), before being robbed of an over-age campaign through injury. Now with a clean bill of health, the Richmond VFL-listed defender showcased his class among the Young Guns backline. He was clean when gathering the ball at speed off hands, and looked as technically sound as any player afield with his kicking. The 19-year-old drilled some great passes forward, including one on the fly to Jed Rule which ended up in a goal.

#14 Hugo Hall-Kahan (Sandringham Dragons)
22/09/2003 | 188cm | Forward

One of the most talked about mid-season draft fancies, Hall-Kahan did his chances little harm with a two-goal showing on Sunday. The Sandringham Dragons forward earned an exemption to nominate for the upcoming intake, indicating strong interest from clubs. Hall-Kahan started off with the first goal of the game, an absolute wobbler punt which somehow sailed through the big sticks. He was a touch more convincing with his second major in the following term, and looked dynamic in his ability to provide a marking option inside 50, at 188cm.

#15 Jed Rule (Oakleigh Chargers)
10/06/2003 | 191cm | Defender

Rule has backed up a promising top-age season with strong form for Oakleigh this year, and displayed some of his best qualities at both ends of the ground on Sunday. The over-ager boasts terrific kicking skills at 191cm, able to hit targets when either stationary or on the move. He showed that with a lovely kick to hit a leading forward in term one, luring his teammate into the space with well-weighted delivery. In the fourth quarter, he got on the end of a similar pass and struck the ball with purity from a 50-metre set shot, snaring his sole goal of the game after swinging forward.

Vic Country:

#5 Jhye Clark (Geelong Falcons)
23/07/2004 | 180cm | Midfielder

Captain for the day, Clark looked a class above at times and has such a wide array of desirable traits. The Geelong Falcons midfielder had no trouble winning a mountain of possessions, leaning on his work rate to find the ball in all parts of the ground, adding to his contested contributions. His composure and decision making looked sound, as was his strength and balance when tested by slightly elder competition. Overall, a performance expected of arguably the top Country talent.

#7 Hugh Bond (GWV Rebels)
25/09/2004 | 184cm | Midfielder

One of Country’s top performers in the opening half, Bond racked up plenty of possessions and got busy from the outset. The GWV Rebels midfielder had a couple of particularly memorable moments in the second quarter; showcasing some of his moves on the run, and hitting a nice inboard kick to Olivier Northam inside 50. Usually consistent in his output, Bond again leant on his running capacity to have an impact.

#8 Oliver Hollands (Murray Bushrangers)
16/01/2004 | 183cm | Midfielder

Having started in midfield, Hollands showed some nice signs as he moved to defence, gaining confidence with some time behind the ball. He can sometimes tend to bomb away from the contest, but was able to showcase the skill and sound decision making he’s capable of with more time in possession. A strong tackle on Tyreece Leiu got him going in term two, and he made more of an impact with the ball after that. Hollands lowered his eyes when moving forward and chained some possessions on the attack, proving productive as Country looked to transition.

#9 Zane Duursma (Gippsland Power)
28/08/2005 | 188cm | Forward

Working higher up the ground from his usual forward post, Duursma had a strong game in terms of output, but struggled to convert his chances after six-goal NAB League haul where he couldn’t miss. The bottom-aged AFL Academy member still showed promise, getting dangerous with overhead marks and smooth movement inside 50. He finally snared a major in the final term after about a handful of misses from within 30 metres, getting some reward for effort on a day where most players had trouble competing with the wind.

#11 Jason Gillbee (Bendigo Pioneers)
15/05/2004 | 192cm | Utility

A true utility who can play in every third, Gillbee found his place in defence on Sunday. The New South Welshman will turn out for the Allies in this year’s National Championships, but linked with Country to get some more run in his legs amid the NAB League recess. He was impressive in terms of his running capacity, sparking chains of possession on the rebound and continually chasing up his disposals to get repeat touches down the field. At 192cm, he can play tall and having looked good up forward last time out, proved his value at the other end.

#12 Bailey Humphrey (Gippsland Power)
11/09/2004 | 184cm | Midfielder/Forward

Humphrey was another who started in Country’s midfield before shifting out, as he rotated forward to good effect. The Gippsland Power skipper is a powerful unit at 184cm and offers high effort, seen laying big tackles and clunking strong marks. His kicking is an area of improvement in a composure sense, but Humphrey hit some nice targets throughout the day and used his penetrative boot to lot a 40-metre set shot goal in the third quarter.

#14 Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers)
17/04/2005 | 185cm | Forward/Midfielder

The second of Country’s bottom-aged AFL Academy members, Reid gave a few glimpses into his talent as one to watch for next year. He started out up forward before getting his chance in midfield after half time, getting involved at the contest with his slick hands and ability to stand up in tackles. His decision making was sound too, especially in one instance when he waited for the right lead inside 50 and hit up Aaron Cadman by foot. Reid missed his chance to hit the scoreboard in the following term, seen streaming inside 50 on the break but putting his 40-metre shot wide.

#25 Aaron Cadman (GWV Rebels)
3/03/2004 | 194cm | Tall Forward

It has been a positive couple of weeks for Cadman, who earned a call up to the AFL Academy squad and made an early appearance for Vic Country on Sunday. He has been a real spearhead for GWV this NAB League season, and translated that to his representative duties as Country’s centre half-forward. Presenting up the ground, he was a strong marking target and owned his space, before kicking goals in the first and fourth quarters. Cadman put a couple of chances wide and wasn’t afraid to give off to teammates, so could have compounded his scoreboard impact even further.

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