Scouting Notes: Coates Talent League Preliminary Final 2
SANDRINGHAM Dragons’ scary depth has helped the top-ranked Metro region reach this year’s Coates Talent League decider, after downing a plucky Geelong Falcons side by 34 points on Sunday. Much of the difference was made in a four-goal to one final quarter, as the victors’ quality shone through.
In the day’s other game, Eastern Ranges downed Tasmania to also advance to this week’s Grand Final at IKON Park alongside Sandringham. We noted the top performers from the Dragons and Falcons with a narrow focus on combine invitees, representative squad members, and bottom-agers.
Sandringham Dragons 15.11 (101) def. Geelong Falcons 10.7 (67)
#3 Levi Ashcroft
Midfielder | 18/12/2006 | 179cm | 75kg
Stats: 24 disposals, 5 inside 50s, 3 goals
After his brother captained Sandringham to the flag last year, Levi seems to have picked up where Will left off as the Dragons continue to forge a similar path to that of 2022. The bottom-aged star was typically polished and prolific but made his biggest mark on the scoreboard with three terrific goals. He took on the big moments and won them with class, rising to the occasion when his side needed him and only further stamping his credentials as one of next year’s top prospects.
#9 Archie Roberts
Defender | 18/11/2005 | 184cm | 77kg
Stats: 25 disposals, 5 marks, 7 rebound 50s
Roberts has settled back into his favoured role and was a creative force for Sandringham when turning defence into attack. The relentless rebounder showcased his speed-endurance mix with repeat sprint efforts to carry the ball in transition and generate momentum on the overlap, helping his side move coast-to-coast in quick time. Roberts’ run was complemented by searing kicks and he looked dangerous when playing to both of those strengths – as per usual.
#15 Ryley Sanders
Midfielder | 21/01/2005 | 186cm | 85kg
Stats: 27 disposals, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal
Perhaps Sanders’ power comes from his pulled-up socks, as he looked a bit flat at times with them rolled down on Sunday. Although, the star midfielder had little trouble getting his hands on the ball to lead all comers, consistently gaining possession multiple times within single passages. He lifted in the second half with some strong work around the ball and leant on his work rate to stay involved in the contest, helping steer Sandringham over the line.
#17 Tarkyn O’Leary
Wing | 01/07/2005 | 178cm | 70kg
Stats: 10 disposals, 2 tackles, 2 goals
It was a low-possession game from O’Leary as a heap of contested ball winners dictated play, but the flying wingman provided a spark with each touch. His energy with ball in hand was noticeable, showing his opponent a clean set of heels in short bursts to drive the Dragons forward. His agility served him well when manufacturing the space to send two shots on goal, both of which he converted with the inside and outside of his favoured left foot.
#28 Charlie Edwards
Midfielder | 18/05/2005 | 190cm | 82kg
Stats: 21 disposals, 6 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal
Edwards continues to rise up draft boards after another fine outing among the stacked Sandringham midfield. He was strong over the ball with clean and quick hands like any good inside midfielder, but also burst away with speed like a lively outside type, no less at 190cm. His best bit of play was a fantastic running goal in the third quarter, which showed the kind of upside which has the state combine invitee in top 30 calculations.
#29 Harvey Johnston
Midfielder/Forward | 18/08/2005 | 184cm | 76kg
Stats: 16 disposals, 4 tackles, 1 goal
Johnston’s flair came to the fore in a productive second half where he again proved most effective as a forward. The fleet of foot top-ager looked to dazzle his opponents with darting steps as he came to life with ball in hand, working his way out of many a tight spot. He created scoring chances in the second half and found the goals himself after bravely marking a high ball inside 50.
#32 Vigo Visentini
Ruck | 05/09/2005 | 203cm | 97kg
Stats: 20 disposals, 7 marks, 25 hitouts
With a mean-figured Geelong ruck to compete against, Visentini was arguably outdone in the early stages but hit back to produce his best performance of the year. He began to get on top in the ruck duels and won a game-high 25 hitouts, while also working around the ground to clunk marks with tidy positioning behind the ball. His handling was clean all day, even in short stints up forward.
#54 Ollie Murphy
Key Defender | 16/09/2005 | 200cm | 85kg
Stats: 18 disposals, 7 marks, 3 rebound 50s
Murphy matched up on a variety of Geelong forwards and while some tested him for strength in the first half, he built into the game nicely. The Vic Metro MVP got his intercept game going having initially struggled to impact third-up, proving class is permanent even within the confines of four quarters. With ball in hand, Murphy was composed as always and hardly flustered in the finals heat.
#58 Murphy Reid
Midfielder/Forward | 30/07/2006 | 181cm
Stats: 18 disposals, 10 tackles, 1 goal
While his primary role in Sandringham’s current side has been up forward, Murphy is a natural midfielder and used his nous as an extra man at the contest on Sunday. He eventually got a run at the centre bounces and was unflappable in the face of frontal pressure, absorbing contact when necessary and proving good enough to fire off effective disposals. His polish also translated to a classy snap goal in the second quarter.
Stats: 7 disposals, 3 tackles, 2 goals
It looked like being a big day out for Anastasopoulos after booting consecutive goals in the first quarter, though he was relatively well contained thereafter. The livewire small forward finished with aplomb on both occasions, with one being a clever checkside and the other a set shot conversion. He only had seven touches, but looked to accelerate each time he got the ball and cause a few headaches for Sandringham’s attack-minded defence.
#13 Xavier Ivisic
Midfielder/Forward | 01/06/2006 | 180cm | 69kg
Stats: 16 disposals, 4 inside 50s, 1 goal
Rotating through midfield from the forward line, Ivisic continued his knack for getting involved in scoring chains with sharp work in attacking phases. He helped the Falcons connect into attack and while some of his quick possessions may go under the radar, the bottom-ager’s second quarter goal to give Geelong a momentary buffer certainly did not.
#19 Angus Hastie
Defender | 19/09/2005 | 189cm | 77kg
Stats: 20 disposals, 5 marks, 8 rebound 50s
One play in the third term encapsulated what Hastie offered all day, with the rebound defender speeding through the centre square in an end-to-end passage which ended in the Falcons scoring. He was typically smooth with each possession, launching attacks by taking metres and driving kicks into dangerous areas. You’d be excused for thinking parts of Hastie’s highlight reel were on repeat, such was his prolific and constant attacks on the corridor.
#25 Michael Rudd
Tall Forward | 14/05/2005 | 192cm | 91kg
Stats: 15 disposals, 6 marks, 1 goal
As was the case last week, Rudd had a productive first half where he displayed his ability to work up the ground and pluck overhead marks. His aerial range at 192cm – just below key position height – is quite good, and made him a tough matchup once he snuck back inside 50. The Falcons skipper snared a single goal for the match in term two and has a booming left-foot kick which he often wheels around onto quickly.
#29 Joe Pike
Ruck | 17/05/2005 | 203cm | 103kg
Stats: 10 disposals, 20 hitouts, 1 goal
Despite coming up against stiff opposition, Pike had his moments and bookended his game with strong first and final quarters. The Falcons’ primary ruck also spent plenty of time up forward where he booted a sensational goal in the third term, chasing up a loose ball which looked destined for the boundary and staying with the play to snap home while being tackled. That kind of strength, bodywork and clean handling are among Pike’s assets.