Dandenong continued its outstanding start to the season to keep top position and hold its mighty percentage. For Eastern it was another poor day, falling to a sixth consecutive loss to be the only team in the competition without a victory. While it wasn’t a game you’d strive to watch again, the Stingray’s 52 point victory produced some performances of note.
Here are the most notable players on the day:
BAILEY WILLIAMS | DANDENONG STINGRAYS | FWD/RUCK | 17/04/2000 | 198CM | 95KG
The top ten prospect again displayed his AFL attributes by splitting his time between the ruck and forward. He is so aerially dominant at this level, whether it is at the stoppages or providing a target. He is almost impossible to spoil at full stretch with his leap and reach, but there are some in the industry who would like to see a slightly more physical presence and less reliance on those athletic traits. While his set shots were off in kicking 1.3, he is quite capable by foot. I feel he has the tools in any KPP position.
MATTHEW COTTRELL | DANDENONG STINGRAYS | FWD | 29/02/2000 | 181CM | 72KG
Not one who was originally on my radar, but he just kept producing moments that caught the eye. He was very lively, kicking a couple of goals and showing an impressive turn of pace on numerous occasions. In this age of defensive pressure, he provided plenty in laying seven tackles and making his presence known without the ball in the forward half of the ground. There is a bit of x-factor in Cottrell and I’m keen for another look.
SAM FLETCHER | DANDENONG STINGRAYS | MID | 27/01/2000 | 187CM | 79KG
Sam Fletcher had a successful return to the Stingrays on Saturday after an ankle injury in a practice match derailed the start to his season. He started on the bench and looked a little rusty once on the ground, appearing to get caught with the ball faster than he expected. But after getting a couple of efficient handballs away in the third term, he sprung to life and began having a genuine influence on the game. 21 of his 24 disposals were handballs, but it was a promising display after a long layoff and with greater game time, he’ll get to more dangerous positions on the outside.
JAKE FRAWLEY | DANDENONG STINGRAYS | MID | 03/08/1999 | 187CM | 81KG
An overage midfielder who has been generating some discussion. He has a presence around the stoppages both offensively and defensively, but isn’t a huge ball winner. He produces noticeable moments though, as displayed by a brilliant goal snapped over his head in the first term. Although Frawley does seem to go missing at times and will be looking to be involved for longer periods to conjure more 20+ disposal tallies. He has been in the Vic Country mix by participating in the trials and is worth keeping an eye on.
HAYDEN YOUNG | DANDENONG STINGRAYS | DEF | 11/04/2001 | 186CM | 79KG
A seriously elite footballer is developing here. The scary thing is that there is still plenty of improvement in his game, but Young is already having such an influence. Dual sided, superb technique and his intercepting traits are coming along nicely. For the recruiters that stuck around to the end of the game, they were rewarded by two class moments by the bottom ager. Moved up the ground late, he kicked a lovely goal around his body before winning a two on one in the middle of the ground and hitting a target lace out inside 50. Gun.
BILLY MCCORMACK | EASTERN RANGES | KPP/RUCK | 15/01/2001 | 196CM | 78KG
On a poor day for the Ranges, Billy McCormack was a clear positive in multiple positions. He started forward and spent time in the ruck, showing impressive agility for his size and skills below his knees. He made a statement in the air too, taking a strong contested grab on the wing in the second quarter and getting his hand on the ball against the Stingray’s abundance of talls at the stoppages. In the final term he went back to man Bailey Williams and looked more than comfortable, often reading the play before his highly touted opponent. You don’t often see a bottom aged KPP collect 19 disposals against quality opposition.
BEN CARDAMONE | EASTERN RANGES | DEF | 01/07/2000 | 185CM | 85KG
Cardamore is a real heart and soul player for the Ranges and someone you’d love to have in your side. He is determined, competitive and doesn’t back out of any contest. Playing behind the play, he attacks the ball at every opportunity, but keeps a close check on his direct opponent. His defensive efforts on Saturday in particular were manic, laying 12 tackles to set the standard for his side. He takes the kick outs and is more than useful on his preferred left foot.
KYE QUIRK | EASTERN RANGES | MID/DEF | 30/05/2000 | 186CM | 74KG
Kye Quirk has been on my watch list since early last year and he has been winning plenty of the ball in 2018. He played behind the ball on Saturday and had to consistently deal with dangerous entrances and tall targets in defensive 50. He defended manfully and while he won 20 disposals, he wasn’t hugely influential with the ball. Despite operating at 80% by foot, he did cough up some opportunities by hand. I’d love to see his output in a stronger side as there is some talent here.
THOMAS LOCKMAN | EASTERN RANGES | KPD | 05/03/2000 | 197CM | 80KG
Lockman is an interesting type and held his own aerially in defence. He is definitely more in your Simon Prestigiacomo mould as opposed to a Michael Hurley type, as he isn’t overly committed to winning the ball just yet. Although he gets in decent positions and with his size and reach, kills many contests with a defiant fist. Spent some time in the ruck late, but clubs won’t be truly interested until an average of 5.5 possessions lifts as the year goes on.
Other Notable Performances:
Riley Bowman (Dandenong), Bailey Schmidt (Dandenong), Sam De Koning (Dandenong), Mitch Mellis (Eastern), Riley Clausen (Eastern), Tyler Edwards (Eastern Ranges).