Preview | 2022 NAB League Grand Final: Dandenong Stingrays vs. Sandringham Dragons
THE 2022 NAB League Grand Final is set to go down on Friday evening, as local rivals Dandenong Stingrays and Sandringham Dragons lock horns at Ikon Park. Having advanced past last week’s preliminary finals, the two sides meet in a matchup between the third and eighth-ranked regions.
A bunch of AFL Draft prospects are set to take the field for either side, with Dandenong calling upon the likes of Mitch Szybkowski (Covid), Henry Hustwaite (ankle), and Morrish Medallist Taj Campbell-Farrell (compartment syndrome) in a big boost to the Rays’ midfield stocks.
The trio will face stiff opposition in the form of a Sandringham on-ball brigade featuring skipper Will Ashcroft, Cameron Mackenzie, and Olli Hotton, along with a crafty forward line lead by Harry Sheezel and Charlie Clarke.
We take you through everything you need to know ahead of the first bounce; from key numbers, players to watch, and the final squads.
>> Hear from the Stingrays
>> Hear from the Dragons
NEED TO KNOW:
When: Friday September 16, 5:10pm
Where: Princes Park, Carlton North
How to watch: AFL website & NAB League app
Dandenong – 10-3 (3rd overall), 114.6% | 2-0 finals/wildcard
Sandringham – 7-6 (8th overall), 112.4% | 3-0 finals/wildcard
Dandenong – W, W, W, W, L
Sandringham – W, W, W, L, L
Round 8 – Dandenong Stingrays 14.10 (94) def. Sandringham Dragons 9.19 (73)
Dandenong – Taj Campbell-Farrell 40 disposals, Finn Emile-Brennan 28, Henry Hustwaite 22
Sandringham – Lachlan Benton 34 disposals, Will Ashcroft 27, Charlie Clarke 25
WHERE IT’S WON:
The midfield. It might be somewhat of a footballing cliché, but this game is true to it considering the strength of either side’s on-ball combination. Sandringham boasts the core trio of Ashcroft, Hotton, and Mackenzie, with the potential to throw in Levi Ashcroft, Charlie Clarke, and Harry Sheezel as wildcards.
Dandenong will be buoyed by the inclusions of Szybkowski, Hustwaite, and Campbell-Farrell, but they only add to the dynamism of the Stingrays’ mid-forward rotation. Bottom-agers Sam Frangalas, Cooper Simpson, and Kade De La Rue all hold their own at centre bounces, while Nicholas Collier is a similar type who has been tasked with the job this season. They aren’t short of options.
STARS OF THE SHOW:
Dandenong – Mitch Szybkowski
It won’t be easy for Szybkowski, who has not only battled Covid recently, but is also set to lead his fellow midfielders against arguably the best centre bounce trio in the competition. A competitive beast whose style suits finals football, Szybkowski thrives at stoppages where his distribution and strong frame come to the fore. He’ll be key to helping Dandenong get on top at the source.
Sandringham – Will Ashcroft
This was a relatively easy one, though Sandringham has plenty of star power to call upon. Ashcroft is widely regarded as the nation’s top draft prospect, and much like Matt Rowell in 2019, is the player whose consistency is impossible to deny. He has proven his big game mettle at National Championships level, and is simply dominant against his NAB League peers.
STATE U18 REPRESENTATIVES:
Dandenong (Country) – Jaxon Binns, Finn Emile-Brennan, Henry Hustwaite, Mitch Szybkowski
Sandringham (Metro) – Will Ashcroft, Jakob Anderson, Charlie Clarke, Ben Hempel, Olli Hotton, Cameron Mackenzie, Harry Sheezel, Ryley Sanders (Allies)
B: 47. K. Shipp – 52. H. Collopy – 48. M. Nelson
HB: 9. N. Moodie – 36. T. Kirkwood – 13. F. Emile-Brennan
C: 4. J. Binns – 2. M. Szybkowski – 18. L. Robinson
HF: 50. H. Nosiara – 5. H. Jones – 37. K. De La Rue
F: 3. C. Simpson – 1. Z. Toledo – 8. S. Frangalas
FOL: 30. J. McManus – 16. H. Hustwaite – 19. N. Collier
INT: 6. T. Campbell-Farrell, 21. J. Davies, 35. L. Bailey, 54. B. Wilson
EMG: #23 Zane Snowden, #34 Jesse Davidson-Lopo, #57 Flynn Wood
B: 65. D. Gilbert – 10. A. McLennan – 57. M. Ryan
HB: 15. B. Hempel – 50. N. Scollo – 9. A. Roberts
C: 38. T. McMullin – 3. W. Ashcroft – 5. L. Benton
HF: 2. C. Clarke – 4. W. Brown – 6. J. Creighton
F: 40. J. Hope – 16. H. Sheezel – 75. L. Ashcroft
FOL: 32. V. Visentini – 14. C. Mackenzie – 21. O. Hotton
INT: 49. C. Rousakis, 46. B. Andrews, 28. R. Sanders, 1. M. Clarkson, 48. M. Rowe
EMG: 25. M. Allen, 41. C. Harrop, 56. L. Lloyd
Tip/Margin | Best Afield | Most Goals
Michael Alvaro – Sandringham by 5 | Will Ashcroft (SD) | Harry Sheezel (SD)
Peter Williams – Dandenong by 1 | Cooper Simpson (DS) | Charlie Clarke (SD)
Declan Reeve – Sandringham by 18 | Will Ashcroft (SD) | Charlie Clarke (SD)
Ed Pascoe – Sandringham by 6 | Will Ashcroft (SD) | Harry Sheezel (SD)