Scouting Notes: 2023 Coates Talent League Grand Final

SANDRINGHAM Dragons secured their second consecutive Coates Talent League premiership on Sunday after downing Eastern Ranges by 43 points at IKON Park. With exciting prospects taking to the field in droves, we noted some of the top performers from either side.

>> Match Report: Sandringham storms to second straight flag

  • Team
  • Sandringham Dragons
  • Eastern Ranges

Sandringham Dragons 17.10 (112) def. Eastern Ranges 10.9 (69)

Sandringham Dragons:

#3 Levi Ashcroft
Midfielder/Forward | 179cm | 18/12/2006

Stats: 19 disposals, 4 clearances, 1 goal

It didn’t take long for Ashcroft to make his mark on the game, with the bottom-ager snapping a goal off only a few steps in the opening quarter. It was yet another moment in his big-game highlight reel this finals series, fitting of a two-time premiership player. He went on to spend a good amount of time up forward but also contributed his usual value around the ball with clean clearance play.

#4 Will Brown
Forward/Midfielder | 194cm | 16/06/2005

Stats: 18 disposals, 4 inside 50s, 3 goals

Having reprised a role up forward he occupied in Dragons’ 2022 premiership side, Brown was named best afield there on Sunday. Sandringham’s skipper rose to the occasion and was one of the players who helped spur his side to an unassailable lead at the final break. He proved a presence inside 50 and hit the scoreboard at crucial moments to stretch the margin in each term.

#9 Archie Roberts
Defender | 182cm | 18/11/2006

Stats: 16 disposals, 5 rebound 50s, 1 goal

Roberts was always going to be a key to Sandringham’s success with his style of play, and while not overly prolific, he had a few nice moments stretched across the day. The rebounding half-back built into the contest and looked to generate transitional run as it opened up, culminating in his final quarter goal on the fly when party time had well and truly begun for the Dragons.

#11 Calsher Dear
Key Forward/Ruck | 194cm | 04/08/2005

Stats: 13 disposals, 14 hitouts, 2 goals

Hawthorn fans will be endeared to how their potential father-son prospect has fared in recent times, and he did his draft stocks no harm in a competitive Grand Final performance. The raw, mobile 194cm talent booted the opening goal of the game and was strong aerially, owning the forward 50 arc in the first half before rotating through the ruck.

#15 Ryley Sanders
Midfielder | 186cm | 21/01/2005

Stats: 25 disposals, 6 tackles, 4 clearances

Sanders was strong as ever through midfield, cashing in on the ideal conditions to cover good ground and be among Sandringham’s top ball winners. The Tasmanian didn’t just rely on his stoppage craft to rack up the numbers, accumulating around the ground and finding ways to help set up attacks or bring others into the play.

#16 Luke Lloyd
Forward | 193cm | 08/08/2005

Stats: 13 disposals, 4 marks, 2 goals

Lloyd was among the tall Sandringham forwards who gave Eastern trouble on Sunday, with each of them popping up at different stages. The 193cm draft bolter split the big sticks with goals in terms two and three, helping maintain the Dragons’ scoreboard pressure before they kicked away late in the game. His presence as a mobile marking outlet up the ground was also useful.

#17 Tarkyn O’Leary
Wing | 179cm | 01/07/2005

Stats: 14 disposals, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebound 50s

It was another relatively low-possession game from O’Leary, though he made a strong start and created key moments with his 14 disposals. The wingman put speed on the ball and used his pace once released on the outside, looking dangerous in attacking phases. His darting runs and spearing left-foot kicks hurt the Ranges early on.

Will Brown was named best afield | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

#23 Charlie Harrop
Forward | 187cm | 13/07/2005

Stats: 16 disposals, 4 marks, 1 goal

Having only returned from injury last week, Harrop repaid the faith of Sandringham’s selection panel with an influential Grand Final performance. The hard-working forward had a hand in several scores, booting a lone goal himself and assisting many others by hand and foot. He may not necessarily ever be the star of the show, but has proven his ability to impact as part of a system.

#28 Charlie Edwards
Midfielder/Forward | 190cm | 18/05/2005

Stats: 13 disposals, 3 clearances, 1 goal

The bolter of this year’s draft, Edwards was down on his recent numbers but produced a couple of passages indicative of his talent. His best play was a running foray through the centre square, where the 190cm talent set off at speed and backed himself to take multiple bounces. He capped off a decent day by joining the Dragons’ fourth quarter procession with a goal.

#29 Harvey Johnston
Midfielder/Forward | 184cm | 18/08/2005

Stats: 16 disposals, 3 inside 50s, 1 goal

A rotational piece in the midfield and up forward, Johnston was a key link man into attack for the Dragons. He hit up hard at half-forward and was clever with quick touches, while also using his speed and foot skills through the centre. Johnston’s one goal for the game came in term three as Sandringham began to pull away heading into the final break.

#32 Vigo Visentini
Ruck | 203cm | 05/09/2005

Stats: 10 disposals, 4 marks, 26 hitouts

Visentini was tasked with placing the cherry atop his side’s sweet victory and answered the call, cooly slotting a set shot after the siren before celebrations ensued. In the 100 minutes before then, he competed strongly down the line and worked around the ground to provide an aerial influence, particularly when both teams rushed clearing kicks in the early stages.

#40 Cooper Lord
Midfielder | 185cm | 20/03/2005

Stats: 31 disposals, 5 clearances, 7 inside 50s

It was the Lord’s day on Sunday, as Cooper racked up a team-high 31 disposals – albeit not always effective. The midfielder, who is often unheralded among Sandringham’s slew of stars, simply turned up from contest to contest and could not stop getting his hands on the ball. It proved reward for effort at the end of a consistent season for the top-ager.

#58 Murphy Reid
Forward | 181cm | 30/07/2006

Stats: 19 disposals, 6 clearances, 2 goals

Reid was the man to seal the game for Sandringham in term four, booting two goals in as many minutes to quickly snuff out Eastern’s shortlived final surge. The classy bottom-ager got involved up the ground from his primary post up forward, joining in at stoppage per usual and stepping up to the plate when his moment arrived.

Sandringham celebrates its Grand Final victory | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

Eastern Ranges:

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

Stats: 14 disposals, 4 marks, 4 tackles

Much like opposing wingman O’Leary, Windsor wasn’t as prolific as others afield but made an impact with his fewer touches. The speedy prospect was dangerous as usual on the attack, breaking forward with weaving runs and daring dash on the outside. His best moments included an assist for the game’s first goal, and his own major to bring Eastern back within a kick in term two.

#5 Nick Watson
Forward/Midfielder | 170cm | 24/02/2005

Stats: 20 disposals, 7 clearances, 5 inside 50s

This finals series may have been a telling one for Watson, though he tried everything in his power to provide Eastern with a spark on Sunday. He started with close attention up forward before being pushed up the ground where his creativity and turn of speed proved troublesome. Unfortunately, some of the moments he forced lacked a finishing touch, but again, not for a want of trying.

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

Stats: 24 disposals, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal

Moraes rounded out his stellar bottom-aged campaign with another strong performance in Eastern’s midfield – against stiff opposition, no less. He didn’t manage to prize any clearances but did a lot of work by hand and was quite polished in the clinches, as well as being dangerous when carrying the ball forward. Moraes also nabbed a goal to give Eastern the lead at quarter time.

#13 Riley Weatherill
Key Forward | 195cm | 21/11/2005

Stats: 8 disposals, 4 marks, 2 goals

Eastern showed it was there to compete early on, and Weatherill translated that to the scoreboard with two goals in the opening 10 minutes. He had a couple of tough matchups, but made his moments count with clever movement inside 50 and good reactions as the play unfolded. Opportunities deserted him thereafter, though he gave one off to Windsor in term two.

#23 Tyson Sruk
Midfielder/Defender | 180cm | 24/08/2005

Stats: 37 disposals, 8 clearances, 9 inside 50s

Sruk is a player whose season perhaps hasn’t yielded the accolades of others, but he once again put up a monster stat line to lead all comers in Eastern’s losing Grand Final. A solid operator on the inside with good power and work ethic, the top-ager was scrappy at times but found the ball in all areas and kicked what looked like being a crucial goal in the final quarter – to no avail.

#44 Seth MacDonald
Wing/Forward | 197cm | 14/09/2006

Stats: 15 disposals, 4 marks, 2 goals

An interesting prospect for next year, MacDonald showed out on the big stage with a couple of fantastic goals. The 197cm wingman is quite tidy and nimble for his size, and proved as much when finding a way to work the ball home, cutting the margin in the first and third quarters with those glimpses of potential. He had only previously kicked one other goal for the year.

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