PREVIEW | 2024 Coates Talent League: Oakleigh Chargers

AFTER a whirlwind preseason in 2023, Oakleigh Chargers are heading into season 2024 a much more settled side. As always, a slew of top-end prospects are emerging and new head coach Ash Close chatted to Rookie Me Central about what to expect from each of them this year.


“It’s been terrific. Obviously it’s a pretty solid group and the boys are really tipping in. It’s been a lot of fun so far and we can’t wait to get the games going.”


Tom Gross
Midfielder/Forward | 181cm | 15/09/2006

“‘Grossy’ is a ripper. He’s been super competitive this preseason. Some of the stuff that we’ve been doing at training with him and Jagga (Smith) has just been terrific – it’s almost AFL standard. He’s pretty much got through 90 per cent of pre season, which is what we were aiming for.”

Finn O’Sullivan
Midfielder | 182cm | 30/05/2006

“He’s been really impressive… he got on top of a hip injury that he was managing and now he’s into full training. His competitiveness is outstanding. He can play forward, mid or back if he wanted to. Pretty complete player and he’s been very impressive in terms of his work rate and leadership.”

Charlie Richardson
Forward | 191cm | 20/02/2006

“‘Richo’ has done really well. He’s got through the whole preseason pretty uninterrupted so he’s setting himself for a big year as well. He’s got a great footy IQ and a footy brain. He’ll be playing that connecting role between D50 and forward 50. He’s a beautiful kick and I look forward to seeing what he can bring.”

Jagga Smith
Midfielder/Forward | 181cm | 28/01/2006

“We’re actually going to look at doing something a little bit different with Jagga for the first four rounds. We want to play him in what we perceive as his secondary role, which would be more forward. So we’d probably look at playing 70 per cent forward, 30 per cent mid.

“We understand that’s his secondary role, but we think he can develop a fair bit in that and build the picture of a more complete player if he can play forward and mid. But once again, he’s been ultra impressive and competitive and his leadership’s been outstanding.”

Louis Emmett
Ruck | 198cm | 23/03/2007

“He’s terrific. Obviously he has some rowing commitments that he’s juggling at the moment… he ran a 6:10 2km as a 200cm ruck. He can do a lot of things and he’s a pretty exciting prospect. Has the attitude and appetite to work really hard. So he’s been really good and we’re expecting a big year for him as well.”

>> PROFILED: 2024 Vic Metro talent hub


Patrick Retschko is probably one of the more impressive players on our list in terms of preseason. I think it probably hurt him a little bit not making the Metro summer squad, but that’s probably been the best thing for him, it’s driven him to another level.

“He ran a 5:52 2km which was his (personal best) and it was pretty exciting to see. Then he comes out and kicks four goals in match sim from the midfield. He’s going to get a variety of different roles throughout the year, but I think that’s a credit to his versatility.”

Zane Cochrane, I think he might have played two games last year. He’s another one who’s really extended himself. He’s still learning about the transition side of the game, but what he can do on the little circle in the contest and the way he kicks the ball and uses it, he’ll get plenty of opportunities with us.

“Another one’s Lucas Tovey. A 200cm back who can really move and is quite handy on the ground ball as well. We’re expecting him to get a fair bit of footy. He just had a little hiccup in the last practice game, rolling his ankle but hopefully we’ll see him pretty early in the year.”


“The squad health is pretty good. Other than a few little niggles here and there. We’re pretty much going in (only with) a couple of long term injuries. I’m just excited… I think the boys are ready for a bit of competition and I’m just keen to see what they can do, excited to get into the coaching.”

vs. Eastern Ranges @ Trevor Barker Beach Oval
Sunday March 24, 11:00am

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