Scouting Notes: 2022 NAB League – Round 11

IT was time to step up for many solid NAB League operators in Round 11, as representative stars were away on National Championships duty. With usual suspects stepping into bigger roles and fresh faces continuing to come through, there were a bunch of players to highlight in the latest edition of Scouting Notes.

All notes are the opinion of the author.

  • Team
  • Oakleigh Chargers
  • Dandenong Stingrays

By: Peter Williams

Oakleigh Chargers:

#11 Tom Ferguson

Making his debut, Ferguson was one who had his chances and certainly caught his eye through the middle, often mopping up at half-back then driving the ball forward on his way to 15 disposals. He took a number of marks around the ground, and was neat with his disposal, with a couple of nice plays and his movement through traffic particularly eye-catching. Ferguson might be a top-age prospect, but he stood up in the absence of key talent, and had a couple of chances on goal himself that with a bit more experience and composure could slot.

#13 Will Sexton

Continuing his impressive performance the week before, the over-age Sexton had another big day out, running hard from half-back and pushing up the ground. For a 184cm player he is strong above his head and takes the game on, looking to hit-up those short sharp passes when getting to half-forward by lowering his eyes. When in the back half, he looks to clear the danger and kick long down the ground, and he was able to have a couple of shots on goal, but could not convert, finishing with two behinds.

#18 Jed Rule

The over-age tall was a rebounding machine for the Chargers, and a clear standout from half-back. He was pulling down everything that came his way, and it was almost a case of rinse and repeat each time the Stingrays went forward. Anything that he was able to mark he did, and he was also used as a short option when defenders looked to switch, with Rule bombing it long to clear the congestion. Finishing with a game-high 28 disposals and 13 marks, as well as an equal game-high nine rebound 50s, it is fair to say Rule was prolific.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#5 Harrison Jones

The 187cm forward had a breakout game after only kicking one goal in his first five matches. Upon returning to the side for Round 11, Jones slammed home 5.2 – which could easily have been seven majors, to be the real difference inside 50. The Oakleigh defence had no answers for him on the lead, and he always looked dangerous, setting up a goal and nailing two set shots from marks in the pocket in the first term. He converted a long-range opportunity in the second, and a fourth goal from a tight angle in the third term, with his fifth being the easiest set shot in the goalsquare but it came after a good clunk.

#7 Taj Campbell-Farrell

The inside midfielder had another red-hot crack to try and get his side up and about, accumulating the ball with ease from the opening bounce. His execution was hit and miss, but he kept putting his body on the line and winning the contested ball. His spread in the match was also noticeable, and after missing a flying shot on goal from the forward pocket, he ran to the same spot a bit later and nailed a major. It was another 25-disposal performance from the tough midfielder.

#37 Kade De La Rue

An exciting performance from the bottom-age youngster who backed up his 21-disposal and two-goal performance last week with an even better 26-disposal effort this round. Though not kicking a major against the Chargers, De La Rue had a day out across the ground and was a real standout for the Stingrays, looking dangerous in the air and evasive around the ground. He was able to hit targets off both sides, even spinning onto his non-preferred left, which turned into a feature of his game, albeit trying to get onto his right. The one blemish was a set shot missed in the final term, and he was a high flyer early in the game, just unable to hold it at half-back.

  • Team
  • Gippsland Power
  • Sandringham Dragons

By: Michael Alvaro

Gippsland Power:

#6 Mitchell Moschetti

Arguably best afield with 36 disposals, six inside 50s and the game-sealing goal, Moschetti hardly missed a beat in his first outing since Round 5. The over-age midfielder was Gippsland’s go-to at stoppages and looked a level above with his polished ball use, particularly when breaking away from stoppages and delivering inside 50. Though he accumulated plenty of possessions, he endeavoured to make each of them count and capped off a top outing with the Power’s final major.

#13 Joel Scholtes

One of three Power players to tick up to 30 disposals, Scholtes provided a good deal of drive out of the back half. He timed his runs well from behind the ball to latch onto handball receives, but also mopped up inside defensive 50 and sough to feed the ball out on the rebound. Scholtes may have come unstuck under pressure a few times, but made an impact through his sheer volume of possessions.

#37 Max Walton

The third Gippsland player to notch 30 disposals, Walton proved finding the ball was no issue in the couple of roles he was utilised in. Stationed on both sides of midfield, the over-ager worked up and back to penetrate both arcs and get involved in play around the ground, playing the basics relatively well. He looked best when he could break forward in space and carry the outside ball, which suited his shift to the wing.

Sandringham Dragons:

#5 Lachlan Benton

Bringing his usual competitiveness to the contest, it was an indifferent kind of day for Benton who found plenty of the ball with a team-high 33 touches, but was not as efficient as he could have been. He spent much of the first half sweeping back in defence and accumulating on the last line, with Gippsland’s frontal pressure rushing the Dragons’ ball carriers. His midfield output lifted after half time, and you certainly couldn’t fault Benton for effort.

#46 Ben Andrews

Andrews is a tall whose versatility has come in handy throughout 2022, and he was made to lean on it once again in a ruck-forward role on Saturday. At 198cm, his reach and range were evident in the ruck duels, where Andrews also got busy with some scrubber clearances out of the packs. A 50-metre penalty helped him hit the scoreboard in term three, proving reward for effort in the latter stages of a well-rounded outing.

#49 Christopher Rousakis

It was absolutely an ‘almost’ kind of day for Rousakis, who ended up with one goal from six scoring shots, and many more attempts at the big sticks. The top-age forward was one of Sandringham’s more lively targets once he got going, playing a touch above his 187cm listing to clunk seven marks and earn those shots on goal. He had to wait until the final quarter for his major, a snap finish from closer range than his previous attempts over the mark.

  • Team
  • Calder Cannons
  • Eastern Ranges

By: Peter Williams

Calder Cannons:

#4 Matthew Foley

One of the hardest workers going around with his ground coverage and second efforts very noticeable. He would find the ball inside and spread to the outside, then get back and help the defence as well. Utilising a thumping kick down the ground, when he was able to have time and space he could hit-up targets leading up at him, and even though he copped a late knock in the final term, still hit the target to set up a goal. Foley was often involved in one-two passages of play, but more so with kicking, as he would get to the next possession well. He generally did well with his disposal and was one of the Cannons’ most prolific ball-winners.

#12 Luca Alessio

Steady as a rock in the back half, Alessio just kept intercepting and driving the ball back down the other end. The Essendon father-son prospect was a reliable defender in the match, and each time it looked like the Ranges had found a target, Alessio got in the way. He finished with 18 disposals, seven marks and seven rebound 50s to stifle the opposition attacking flow as much as possible.

#15 Kade Mueller

Not quite as prolific as his recent form, Mueller still had some nice moments. Despite standing at just 172cm, Mueller competed well against bigger opponents, and covered the ground with ease. He kept putting his body on the line at half-back, and when he had time and space used the ball well. He won it a fair chunk on the outside be it half-back or the wing, and whilst mostly under pressure, still contributed to the team cause.

#16 Jack Brown

Finished the game with 29 disposals, of which a lot of them came in the final term. He had an early chance on goal that bounced towards home but hit the post, though most of his disposals came running back to assist the defence. He was often found mopping up at half-back, with one-twos or handballing through traffic, with his release by hand quite good. In the final term in particular, Brown took the game on a couple of times trying to will his side back into the contest.

#20 Tom O’Sullivan

Calder’s best on ground, O’Sullivan was fantastic by both hand or foot, and was able to intercept mark, get to the outside and provide an option, and then drive the ball forward in a four-quarter performance. O’Sullivan took the game on, was clean with his disposal and his decision making was also good, taking a couple of bounces at one stage in the third term before kicking to the wing effectively. He was a good link-up option on the wing throughout the match, then usually pinpointing short passes to teammates by lowering his eyes. Though his team did not get the ‘W’ on the day, he did all he could to try and get them over the line.

Eastern Ranges:

#2 Lachlan Reidy

Best on ground in my eyes, purely for his ability to take grass and set up scoring opportunities, whilst kicking on himself. Reidy’s goal came in the fourth term after winning a contested ball inside 50, breaking through a pack, steadying himself over the next 10m then nailing the set shot perfectly. He had a couple of other chances and was also setting up chances for his teammates, but his best work was his line-breaking. He often took bounces here or there, dashing from the wing to half-forward and kicking inside 50, but he also covered the ground well to help out in defence and run off there too. In the third term, Reidy had an eye-catching passage of play, running off half-back, producing a one-two and receiving the ball back, then kicking inside towards goal with it just spoiled in the goalsquare. Overall, a really impressive outing for the top-ager.

#11 Connor Smith

One of Eastern’s best across four quarters, Smith was involved in a number of players, and ended up kicking two goals right on the death of half and three quarter time sirens. His first was a brilliant snap around his body with great goal sense inside 50, whilst his second was from a free kick that also earned a 50m penalty to send him to the goalsquare. He remained in dangerous spots around the ground, spreading from the stoppage and going forward, showing clean hands on the wing and moving it inside 50. He had enough burst to create some separation, with a few bombing kicks going inside 50 to put pressure on the opposition defence.

#12 Hayden Smith

Both Smith’s had impressive days out, with Hayden also collecting 26 disposals and hitting the scoreboard. He was prolific particularly in the second half, taking a good intercept mark later in the final term and converting his set shot from inside 50. He had a couple of one-two touches around the ground and went in hard when required, showing quick and clean hands when under pressure to be another prolific Eastern midfielder on the day

#28 Riley Weatherill

Played a true full-forward’s game with four goals from four kicks and three marks, but it was his goals that were worth mentioning. His first two game in the space of as many minutes, with a fantastic goal off a step 16 minutes into the second term, and a minute later, took a great clean mark and converted the set shot from 35m out on a slight angle. His 45m goal in the third term was a great long-range effort, and then his fourth was from a tight angle, and the best of the lot, right on the boundary line 35m out but making not mistake in the final term.

#32 Cody Anderson

In just his second game at NAB League level, Anderson had a big performance, kicking a goal from a free kick in the first term. He continued to get involved between the wing and half-forward, and was a good outside mover in traffic. Quite often first to the ball, Anderson did win a few free kicks for putting his head over it, and even generated a set shot from doing just that. His 40m attempt made the distance but went to the right, then set up Weatherill’s first goal later in the second term. Though quieter in the last term, his first three quarters were certainly busy.

  • Team
  • Northern Knights
  • GWV Rebels

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights:

#5 Jarred Seiter

The busy small forward proved exactly that on Saturday, injecting a bit of energy to the Knights’ attacking 50. He racked up 23 disposals in his flashy fluorescent boots, but most importantly, also hit the scoreboard – twice. Both majors came in the second quarter, with Seiter’s first finished nicely with steadying steps on the move, while his second was earned via a free kick and 45-metre conversion.

#11 Jonathan Tomasiello

Tomasiello was solid as they come on Saturday, doing his bit in the engine room as a key cog among the Knights’ midfield mix. The top-ager beat his best disposal haul for the year with 26, seen earning them at the coalface and driving forward. While he handed off a goal to Ben Ham in the final term, Tomasiello nearly hit the scoreboard himself but put his two scoring attempts wide for minors.

#23 Anthony Caminiti

Though not a massive day in terms of output, Caminiti continues to produce nice moments as a tall and mobile forward. The over-ager presented up the field and showed some improvement in his overhead marking, but was most impressive when moving with the ball and bringing others into the play. His sole goal for the game was a ripper too, grabbing the ball straight from a forward 50 ruck contest, slipping a tackle and snapping home.

#38 Matthew Ryan

Northern’s most prolific ball winner for the day, Ryan ended up with an impressive 29 disposals and eight inside 50s. The powerful midfielder showcased his burst of speed coming away the contest, able to break to the outside and drive his legs to get Northern on the front foot. Ryan also reeled in a couple of nice marks around the ground, including a one-hander in term one, and has overall built nicely over the last few weeks.

GWV Rebels:

#3 Hamish Sinnott

In a best afield performance which earned him Player of the Week honours, Sinnott was just about unstoppable. He put in a mountain of work through midfield, notching a game-high 34 disposals which included nine marks and nine inside 50s. He was productive with the ball too, often picking out the most damaging kicks going inside 50 and popping up behind the ball to take intercept marks. He would have had more score involvements than anyone else afield, but also did his part defensively with much-improved tackling efforts. Arguably his best NAB League outing to date.

#24 Declan McGuigan

One of two Rebels to boot four goals on Saturday, McGuigan’s eight-minute purple patch during the second term helped the Rebels get on top and stay there. Having not registered a goal in his three previous games this season, the top-ager came to life with three in eight minutes, finding space inside 50 and finishing with aplomb. He snared two snaps in a row, then tapped to himself for a dribbled effort to cap off a fine first half.

#30 William White

White was the other Rebels to snare four majors, getting involved with six overall scoring shots from 18 disposals and seven marks. The top-ager was lively when breaking out the back and took full advantage of terrific delivery from further afield, not breaking stride en route to converting two of his goals. The left-footer also slotted two set shots and could well have had a bigger bag with more of the same accuracy.

#34 Beau Tedcastle

Dipping into his bag of tricks on Saturday, Tedcastle was a livewire up forward for the Rebels. He snared 2.4 from 12 touches, scoring with half of his contributions and helping GWV kick clear in the second half. While he was caught a couple of times early on, Tedcastle’s creativity paid off in the end and he got reward for effort with two great finishes. His first goal came from a free kick on the boundary line, and his second saw him wheel around at the top of 50 to start term four with a bang.

  • Team
  • Geelong Falcons
  • Murray Bushrangers

By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong Falcons:

#11 Cooper Hayes

It was a productive day for the Geelong Falcons wingman, who racked up 20 disposals and seven marks on the outside. He provided his usual dash and got into space well, using it to drive the Falcons forward. He managed to get on the scoreboard in the dying seconds of the first half, floating across for a mark inside 50 and proving unfazed by the blaring siren as he put the set shot through.

#37 Will Baker

One of the many crafty smalls at Geelong’s disposals, Baker was another who proved productive with season-high numbers of 20 disposals, seven tackles and six inside 50s. The top-ager was lively throughout the contest, working up the ground and eventually earning a couple of shots on goal, albeit only managing two behinds.

#47 Euriah Hollard

Having lit up Round 10 with six goals, Hollard was tasked with much more responsibility this time out with a shift in midfield. The over-ager had little trouble getting his hands on the ball, finishing with 22 touches, but often found himself rushed in the heat of the contest. He still brought a good amount of energy, sweeping back and accumulating possessions before getting on the board with two goals in as many minutes during the fourth quarter.

Murray Bushrangers:

#1 Fletcher Hart

One of two dominant tall forwards afield for Murray, Hart produced more scoring shots than anyone else (six), with three of them being goals. He found his radar in the second half, proving too big and strong inside 50 as he presented on the lead and snaffled up the Bushrangers’ quick attacking entries. Though from relatively straightforward positions, he did well to convert his chances and should really have ended up with a bigger bag of goals.

#3 Toby Murray

Having missed the last two weeks, Murray returned to the fold in Bushrangers colours and got back into the swing of things as a ruck-forward. Though not prolific in the way of hitouts, he showed some of what he can do up inside 50 with five marks and two goals. The over-ager snared both majors at one end of the ground, with his set shot in the third quarter earned via a terrific mark while sandwiched between two defenders.

#10 Jedd Longmire

A strong accumulator of possessions, Longmire quickly got back into the swing of things in what was his first NAB League outing since Round 4. He matched his disposal tally from that day (27), as one of Murray’s prime movers. Clean and composed on the ball, Longmire distributed the ball well from the contest, opting mostly to go by hand and bring others into the play. He also went inside 50 five times, and missed a shot on goal in the third quarter.

#11 Nicholas Quigg

In the absence of Noah Bradshaw, Quigg maintained his high disposal output with a second consecutive effort of 31 touches, leading all comers. Though clean by hand, his greatest impact came when kicking inside 50 and he hit a few terrific passes going forward. One was an assist for Joeve Cooper in term two, when Quigg really started to get going. He snared a goal himself in the same quarter, on the end of a 50-metre penalty.

#14 Joeve Cooper

The exciting bottom-age goalsneak was at it again on Sunday, snaring a game-high four goals and showing off plenty of tricks. He got on the board early with a classy snap in the first quarter, before adding two more in the second term and another in the last. Finishing with snaps, set shots, and efforts off the deck, Cooper found many avenues to goal for the Bushrangers.

  • Team
  • Bendigo Pioneers
  • Tasmania Devils

By: Peter Williams

Bendigo Pioneers:

#31 Charlie Hillier

Hillier tried hard all day and was one of the few four-quarter performers in what was otherwise a disappointing day for the Pioneers. He took a good mark inside 50 but sprayed the set shot far wide, though he continued to work hard between the arcs and get back to help the defence. Showing a bit of pace and clean and quick hands around the ground, Hillier would finish with 18 disposals, and three of each of marks, tackles, inside 50s and rebound 50s, showing his willingness to work across the entire ground.

#32 Malik Gordan

The defender was Bendigo’s best in defence, really giving it a red hot crack from the first bounce to the final siren. He put his body on the line in each marking contest, and not only was defensively accountable, but provided some run out of defence for the Pioneers too. He always looked to kick long down the line and keep it safe, but when called upon to do so, produced big tackles and defensive efforts. He managed the 18 disposals, three marks, seven tackles and eight rebound 50s, also often tasked with the kickout duties for the “home” side.

Tasmania Devils:

#1 Brandon Leary

The dangerous small forward was at it again, converting three goals from 14 disposals and looking like he could break open the game. Though he had a couple of early chances going inside 50 and around the goals, he was able to nail one later on from a set shot straight in front from 40m, then would convert two more throughout the match. His vision and decision making were generally good and he was one of the better Devils on the day.

#4 Heath Ollington

A standout midfielder who brought his own football to Highgate Recreation Reserve, Ollington was a four-quarter performer with his work through the middle. He produced a great run-down tackle inside 50 in the fourth minute and nailed the goal, before delivering a lovely low dart inside 50. He continued to accumulate the ball around the ground and was often looking for the short, sharp passes, but did have a couple of chances on goal late, with one from 20m in the final term going wide and another set shot from 50m going the same way. He would finish with 1.3 to his name, but also a game-high 34 disposals, and was not afraid to get his hands dirty, laying seven tackles too.

#21 Arie Schoenmaker

Best on ground in my eyes, with his kicking absolutely sublime. With Lachlan Cowan up at Allies duties, Schoenmaker has blossomed in the Tasmanian defence, with another fantastic outing. Each time he touched the ball it turned to gold, looking to cut open the opposition zones, and he was able to hit up targets long down the ground with accurate and penetrative kicks. A high kick-to-handball ratio, it is easy to see why, with Schoenmaker both intercepting and providing an option for his teammates out of defence down the line and as a switch option. Holding a high line at half-back or dropping to the deepest point in the backline, Schoemaker was simply superb all day.

#36 Thomas Beaumont

Another busy Tasmanian midfielder, Beaumont had some impressive moments, which included quick hands in the middle and some great defensive pressure around the ground. In the second term he had a huge fend-off at half-forward in the last five minutes, and then was able to have the composure to steady off the left and put it to a dangerous spot. He had a set shot from 40m on the boundary later on, but tugged it to the right for a behind. Overall he was noticeable with his hard work around the ground, particularly in getting the ball forward from midfield.

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