2022 NAB League Boys Team of the Week: Round 7
AFTER claiming the biggest win of a three-game weekend, the Calder Cannons boast a high of five representatives in our NAB League Team of the Week for Round 7. Four of the six regions in action contributed four players apiece, while Tasmania accounts for three members after a tight loss to Oakleigh. Check out who made the full 24-man squad, and three emergency spots below.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
It was hard to look past the efforts of Eastern Ranges defender Lewis Hayes as this week’s top performer, after he helped his side notch an impressive win over Sandringham. The 197cm key position prospect took 11 marks and registered nine rebound 50s, combating the Dragons’ greater weight of attacking 50 entries (48-45) with composure and class. He slots into centre half-back as captain of the Round 7 squad.
With Hayes the centrepiece of this week’s back six, there is plenty of flexibility among the hypothetical group. Oakleigh Chargers interceptor Max Gruzewski was terrific aerially in his side’s win, and is joined by teammate Jed Rule on the last line, after the latter’s distributive feats. Northern bigman Samuel Grant comes in at full back, continuing his resurgence as a defender this season.
Flanking Hayes at half-back are a couple of rebounders in Sandringham’s James Creighton and Calder’s Reuben Rode. Creighton notched a team-high seven rebound 50s as his side went down, while Rode was productive for his five and also snuck forward for a goal among his 17 disposals. Not only can this back six defend in the air, but sparking transitions looks to be no problem either.
With an even spread of contributors across the six regions, narrowing down the midfield bunch was difficult. Arguably the pick of the lot was Tasmanian bottom-ager Colby McKercher, whose turn of speed again caught the eye despite his side’s loss. In the same game, over-ager Braden Andrews was Oakleigh’s top ball winner and proved important throughout.
Joining Andrews at the centre bounces are Charlie Clarke – Sandringham’s most potent midfielder this week – and Jarred Seiter, who was one of Northern’s best players in a loss to Calder. There is a strong Sandringham feel through the centreline, with mid-season draft fancy Max Ramsden earning the starting ruck spot, while fellow over-ager Hugo Hall-Kahan features on the wing having showed his versatility in a fine outing.
A few fresh faces found their way into the forwardline, including two players who turned out in their first games for the year. Bottom-aged Oakleigh debutant Kynan Brown was lively enough to slot in at half-forward, while Northern’s Anthony Caminiti looked mobile in what was a promising second half for the 19th-year tall talent.
Calder’s Declan Willmore crashed plenty of packs and could well have ended up with a bag of goals in a breakout performance, which was enough to earn him a starting spot alongside teammate Luke Said, who looks to be in Vic Metro contention.
Rounding out the six are a couple of creative Eastern Ranges products. 2005-born livewire Nick Watson did his best to inspire his side and get under Sandringham’s skin with a couple of goals, linking well with Kai Windsor who also troubled the scorers with much more time in attack this week.
Given how many players made strong contributions, and the amount of rotation between each region, selecting a bench of six players was arduous. Tasmania has a couple of representatives in Bryce Alomes and Seth Campbell, though the likes of Cameron Owen and Beau Nash could also have squeezed in.
There are also a couple of Calder players among the bench rotation, in Paul Pascu and Mahmoud Taha, with explosive Northern top-ager Matthew Ryan another to have impressed in that game. His efforts were enough to earn selection ahead of teammates Nate Caddy and Jason McCormick, who are two unlucky emergencies.
Eastern forward Zachary Greeves takes up the final interchange place despite not quite converting his form to the scoreboard. Teammates who did, Mason Helleran and Riley Weatherill can count themselves unlucky to miss along with Oakleigh’s Tom Bower, who kicked the winning goal on debut.
ROOKIE ME CENTRAL ROUND 5 NAB LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK:
B: Max Gruzewski (OC) – Sam Grant (NK) – Jed Rule (OC)
HB: James Creighton (SD) – Lewis Hayes (ER, c) – Reuben Rode (CC)
C: Hugo Hall-Kahan (SD) – Braden Andrews (OC) – Colby McKercher (TD)
HF: Kynan Brown (OC) – Declan Willmore (CC) – Luke Said (CC)
FF: Kai Windsor (ER) – Anthony Caminiti (NK) – Nick Watson (ER)
FOL: Max Ramsden (SD) – Charlie Clarke (SD) – Jarred Seiter (NK)
INT: Bryce Alomes (TD), Seth Campbell (TD), Zac Greeves (ER), Paul Pascu (CC), Matthew Ryan (NK), Mahmoud Taha (CC)
EMG: Tom Bower (OC), Nate Caddy (NK), Jason McCormick (NK)