Scouting Notes: Coates Talent League Preliminary Final 1

EASTERN Ranges advanced to this year’s Coates Talent League decider after defeating minor premier, Tasmania by 40 points in Sunday’s first preliminary final. The lower-ranked Metro region kicked away with six goals to one in the final term and will now face Sandringham for the flag at IKON Park.

As expected, both teams were stacked with talent and many of the top prospects afield shone throughout what was a feisty affair in Bendigo. We noted the top performers from either side with a narrow focus on combine invitees, representative squad members, and bottom-agers.

  • Team
  • Tasmania Devils
  • Eastern Ranges

Tasmania Devils 11.2 (68) def. by Eastern Ranges 16.12 (108)

Tasmania Devils:

#3 Jack Callinan
Small Forward | 07/10/2005 | 179cm | 77kg

Stats: 12 disposals, 2 tackles, 3 goals

Starting up forward before also rolling through the centre bounces, Callinan sparked some electric passages around the big sticks. All three of his goals showcased high level forward craft; staying down to crumb packs for two of them, and catching 192cm Eastern defender Cooper Trembath in possession to nab a third. He had a tough role to play in the final quarter with marking outlets like James Leake and Heath Ollington pushed further afield, but gave his all.

#8 James Leake
Utility | 02/10/2005 | 188cm | 74kg

Stats: 21 disposals, 4 marks, 7 tackles, 2 goals

Having played in every third of the ground last week, Leake started as a marking forward before spending plenty of time as a midfielder. In attack, he beat less mobile Eastern defenders on the lead and at ground level to bag two first half goals – one being an incredible snap from the boundary. He showed his continued growth to rack up a good amount of possessions in midfield too, covering plenty of ground and proving urgent with ball in hand. In all, he had claims for being Tasmania’s best on the day and gave the Ranges headaches with his dynamism.

#27 Colby McKercher
Midfielder | 12/04/2005 | 181cm | 73kg

Stats: 20 disposals, 4 marks, 5 tackles, 1 goal

If any player was to successfully return from a month-long injury stint during finals, it was McKercher. The classy midfielder may have been a touch underdone but ran out a full game and hit the ground running by snaring the opening goal. He showed his opponent a clean set of heels in that instance and rotated forward throughout the match, allowing for some recovery time between the cut and thrust of a heated midfield battle. McKercher’s balance at the contest, evasive skills deceptive strength, and pin-point passing were all outstanding in the loss.

#37 Arie Schoenmaker
Defender | 07/01/2005 | 194cm | 89kg

Stats: 25 disposals, 6 marks, 10 rebound 50s, 1 goal

With 23 off his 25 disposals being kicks, recruiters couldn’t help but chuckle when Schoenmaker finally elected to flick out a handball. The Tasmanian superboot reprised his usual role in defence and got serious length on his kicks, breaching the defensive 50 with ease and setting up teammates over the back. His willingness to switch the play also gave the Devils different looks in transition, and Schoenmaker instinctively spread forward on the turnover to overlap and get the final kick forward. He settled under high balls to show continued improvement in his contested and intercept marking, but typically looked most comfortable when generating attacks.

Tasmania’s Arie Schoenmaker gets a kick away | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

Eastern Ranges:

#1 Caleb Windsor
Wing | 09/06/2005 | 184cm | 74kg

Stats: 12 disposals, 3 marks, 1 goal

While his stats hardly leap off the screen, Windsor produced some crucial moments in the context of the match. The first round bolter is most suited to the wing, but did most of his best work in attack with two wonderful goal assists in the second quarter to help Eastern get the ascendancy. He then hit the scoreboard himself in term three with a slick finish on the run, having initially built himself into the game with one-percenters and defensive efforts.

#5 Nick Watson
Small Forward | 24/02/2005 | 170cm | 67kg

Stats: 13 disposals, 6 marks, 1 goal

Watson spent plenty of time camped one-out inside 50 and getting under the skin of just about every Tasmanian defender. The mercurial small showcased great power when leading and leaping at the ball, playing above his size in that sense but also getting creative at ground level. There, he drew free kicks and burnt opponents with his turn of speed before delivering punchy passes by foot. After putting a couple of set shots wide, his lone goal came in the second quarter.

#9 Christian Moraes
Midfielder | 08/11/2006 | 182cm | 74kg

Stats: 28 disposals, 5 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 goals

Having put together an incredibly consistent bottom-age campaign, Moraes arrived on the finals stage with a best afield performance on Sunday. He led all comers and was a constant source of attacking momentum for Eastern, putting speed on the ball and looking lively in the forward half. Moraes registered four scoring shots for two goals and even gave a couple off to prove a team player amid one of his best individual performances – and there have been plenty this year.

Christian Moraes was best afield on Sunday | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

#13 Riley Weatherill
Tall Forward | 21/11/2005 | 195cm | 87kg

Stats: 7 disposals, 3 marks, 4 goals

It was another economic performance from Weatherill, who served up his bread and butter with marks and goals. The 195cm forward was often stationed inside 50 and saw the play well ahead of him, knowing when to push off and lead into the right space. He booted four straight majors with sweetly struck set shot conversions, albeit not offering a whole lot outside of his conventional avenue to goal.

#21 Ry Cantwell
Wing/Forward | 16/08/2005 | 186cm | 78kg

Stats: 14 disposals, 7 inside 50s, 3 goals

Cantwell is a player who only needs a few moments to wow or impact games, and that’s what he did on Sunday. Rotating forward off the wing, he utilised his bullet kicking to not only penetrate Tasmania’s defence, but also find the goals with good power off a few steps. After slotting a set shot in the opening quarter, Cantwell added two more in the last to help his side seal the result.

#59 Cooper Trembath
Tall Defender | 17/10/2005 | 192cm | 90kg

Stats: 9 disposals, 6 marks, 4 rebound 50s

Acting somewhat as the inverse of Weatherill at the other end, Trembath’s game was simple yet effective in defence. The state combine invitee was perhaps found out by more mobile forwards, but settled well under high and long entries to get his intercept marking going. He clunked three in the third quarter to help settle Eastern’s back line, controlling the defensive 50 aerially.

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