The first of the three ‘Futures Rounds’ kicks off in the TAC Cup this week, with some interesting matches to be played out in Round 10. Mitch Wynd previews the round.
With the best young players being selected for representative teams, the next three weeks provides a great opportunity for coaches to pick bottom-aged talent, and see what they have to offer.
A key match this round will be Eastern Ranges vs Western Jets. Currently in 7th place, Eastern Ranges know that while they are currently in place to qualify for finals, they cannot afford to slip up. Gippsland, GWV, and Bendigo are all one game behind them, and will be ready to swoop if Eastern Ranges falter.
Western Jets are on the foot of the ladder, and the Futures Rounds may be a good opportunity to pick up a few wins. However, Eastern Ranges, Dandenong, and Murray will be difficult to beat even with key players on representative duty.
Looking ahead to other matches, Calder Cannons take on Sandringham Dragons at Craigieburn. Calder is above the Jets on percentage, and so are in a similar position of perhaps picking up a few wins in the Futures Rounds.
Sandringham wasted chances in front of goal last round against Eastern Ranges, and it cost them the win by one point. A standout performer for the Dragons was Quintin Montanaro, who gathered 33 disposals, six marks, and seven tackles. The only blemish was 0.2 on the scoreboard.
Calder fought back well against the Northern Knights, after trailing by 17 points at three-quarter time, the Cannons held their opposition to just four behinds while kicking 6.2 themselves, turning a 17-point deficit into a 17-point victory. Bradley Bernacki led the way with 30 disposals, while Jake Riccardi took five marks and kicked 3.1 for the day.
Gippsland Power face off against the GWV Rebels at Casey Fields, in a critical match for both teams. Equal on three wins, with Gippsland ahead on percentage, the winner keeps themselves in the top eight and possibly breaks away from the congested 8th-10th region of the ladder.
Gippsland handed the Geelong Falcons their first defeat of 2017, with a 9.16.70 to 10.5.65 victory in Colac. Looking at the scoreboard, the sheer difference in scoring shots suggests that Gippsland should have won by much more. Kicking 3.5 in the second quarter and 1.5 in the final quarter didn’t help things, and the Power will look to fix this before it costs them a game. Callum Porter was far and away the standout for the Power, gathering 35 disposals, 10 marks, 12 tackles, and 4 goals 1 behind. A simply brilliant effort.
GWV competed with Murray Bushrangers for much of the game, and looked set for a close one with the three-quarter time deficit just eight points. However, they were helpless in the fourth quarter as Murray piled on 6.8 to just the two behinds, and lost by 50 points. Tylar Watts was the only multiple goal scorer for the Rebels with two, and Aiden Domic was prolific with the ball, gathering 34 touches, 8 marks, and 7 tackles. A star performer in a difficult match.
Northern Knights play against Oakleigh Chargers at the Preston City Oval, after a contrasting Round 9 for each team.
The Knights will be disappointed for letting a good three-quarter performance slip by, conceding six goals to their only four behinds in the final quarter. That one quarter that saw them lose to Calder, and they will be out for vengeance against Oakleigh. Nicholas Coffield and Braedyn Gillard each gathered 30 disposals, while Jamison Shea kicked three goals straight.
Oakleigh comfortably accounted for the Western Jets by 63 points. Apart from losing the third quarter by three points, the Chargers had all the answers for what the Jets threw at them. Charlie Thompson had 32 disposals for the day to go with 9 marks and a goal, while Jack Higgins kicked four goals, and likely could have had more – kicking 4.3.
The match between Dandenong and Murray will be one that can shape the season for multiple teams. Murray are two wins clear in third, but if Dandenong can claim a win, the top four will become more open.
It was a comfortable affair for Dandenong last week, accounting for Bendigo by 43 points without too many worries. A positive sign for the Stingrays is three players kicked three goals each (Piper, Dekoning, and D’Arcy), and another six players kicked one each. It indicated a settled and functioning forward line that does not rely on just one or two players to get the job done. Hunter Clark was the leading possession winner for the Stingrays with 30 touches to go with 8 tackles.
Murray Bushrangers earned a great 50-point victory over the GWV Rebels. They battled back and forth with the Rebels through the first three quarters, only leading by eight points at the last change. Then in the final quarter, the Bushrangers shifted into a higher gear, blowing GWV away with 6.8 to just 0.2. Mathew Walker kicked four, followed by three goals each to Daniel Johnston and Zane Barzen.
Finally, 10th placed Bendigo hosts the top-placed Geelong Falcons. Bendigo never really got close against Dandenong last week, losing 9.9.63 to 15.16.106. Darby Henderson battled well for each of his 31 disposals, and Wade Donnan led the way for the goalkickers with 3.2.
Geelong lost their first game of the year after a five-point loss to Gippsland. While they were chasing the opposition’s score for the majority of the game, there were positives to take out of their performance, such as 6 goals 2 behinds from Adam Garner that kept his team with a chance to win it. Other performers for Geelong included Bayley Cockerill with 31 disposals, 7 tackles, and a goal, as well as Samuel Walsh who gathered 30 disposals, 10 marks, and 6 tackles.