IT was a good weekend for a number of the metropolitan NAB League Boys sides who were at it again in Round 13, as Sandringham Dragons, Oakleigh Chargers and Northern Knights lead the representatives for the Rookie Me Central Team of the Week. The Dragons had a league-high four representatives in the 24-player squad, while the Chargers and Knights – despite losing by a point – both had three. Other winners, Bendigo Pioneers, Eastern Ranges, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Tasmania Devils all had two representatives, as did Dandenong Stingrays and Murray Bushrangers. Other Round 13 losers, Geelong Falcons and Gippsland Power had a sole representative, while the Western Jets were the only team without a representative.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
For Round 13, the Player of the Week (and subsequent captain of this team) was Bendigo Pioneers’ Harvey Gallagher who dominated off half-back and pushing down the ground on his way to a league-high 44 disposals. The Pioneers overager also managed five marks, five inside 50s, 12 rebound 50s and booted 1.1 in the victory.
An Eastern Ranges duo hold down the fort in the back six, with full-back Lewis Hayes and medium defender Callum Verrell both starring out of the back half against Dandenong Stingrays. Up the other end of the field, smooth-moving Finn Emile-Brennan was classy and earned a spot on half-back. Also deep in defence is superboot Lachlan Cowan, who was Tasmania’s best in the upset win over Gippsland Power. Rebounding machine Jed Rule holds down the centre half-back spot, with Ben Hempel flanking him.
The midfield has a balance of Victorian representatives, hard nuts and surprise packets across the board. The onball brigade is purely a Victorian line, with Metro and Oakleigh Chargers ruck Hudson O’Keeffe starting there, while likely top five picks, Will Ashcroft and Jhye Clark are back in the side. Ashcroft had a day out with 42 disposals as Clark had 31, but it it was the former’s Sandringham side that got ahold of Clark’s Falcons outfit. Outside ball-winner Tom Bower and consistent hard nut Jonathan Tomasiello earned spots next to Gallagher who was pushed up to a wing.
The front six of the Team of the Week features players from six different NAB League sides, highlighted by five-goal GWV Rebels forward Aaron Cadman who was named at centre half-forward. It was a good day for the ‘Cads’ with Nate Caddy at full-forward. Next to the undersized but natural tall forward is Toby Murray who further showcased his versatility playing forward then stepping up in the ruck to earn his place in the forward pocket. In the other pocket is exciting bottom-ager Zane Duursma, while Sandringham Dragons jet Harry Sheezel and Bendigo Pioneers overager Bode Stevens round out the front six.
On the interchange, the depth of Round 13 was truly on show with some big ball-winners making it in. Murray Bushrangers’ Noah Bradshaw totalled 32 disposals in his side’s narrow loss to Oakleigh Chargers, while Victorian representatives Charlie Clarke and Henry Hustwaite are both on the seven-player bench after impressive performances. Tasmania young gun Colby McKercher, Eastern Ranges talent Cam Nyko and Northern Knights ball-winner Matt Ryan (34 disposals, 10 marks) round out the final seven making the team.
ROOKIE ME CENTRAL ROUND 13 NAB LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK:
B: Callum Verrell (Eastern Ranges) – Lewis Hayes (Eastern Ranges) – Lachlan Cowan (Tasmania Devils)
HB: Ben Hempel (Sandringham Dragons) – Jed Rule (Oakleigh Chargers) – Finn Emile-Brennan (Dandenong Stingrays)
C: Tom Bower (Oakleigh Chargers) – Jonathan Tomasiello (Northern Knights) – Harvey Gallagher (Bendigo Pioneers) (c)
HF: Bode Stevens (Bendigo Pioneers) – Aaron Cadman (GWV Rebels) – Harry Sheezel (Sandringham Dragons)
F: Toby Murray (Murray Bushrangers) – Nate Caddy (Northern Knights) – Zane Duursma (Gippsland Power)
R: Hudson O’Keeffe (Oakleigh Chargers) – Will Ashcroft (Sandringham Dragons) – Jhye Clark (Geelong Falcons)
INT: Noah Bradshaw (Murray Bushrangers) – Charlie Clarke (Sandringham Dragons) – Henry Hustwaite (Dandenong Stingrays) – Colby McKercher (Tasmania Devils) – Cam Nyko (Eastern Ranges) – Matthew Ryan (Northern Knights)
EMG: Hugh Bond (GWV Rebels) – Ted Clohesy (Geelong Falcons) – Cooper Vickery (Gippsland Power)