Good Friday football saw the Dandenong Stingrays travel east to Morwell to take on a Gippsland Power side chock full of bottom age talent. The Rays started strongly and could have taken full control of the game in the first term, but poor kicking saw only a 12 point advantage at quarter time. A cross wind played havoc with kicking efficiency and the overall quality of the match, but the Power adapted to the conditions better and won the next two quarters to lead by a point at three quarter time. Dandenong flicked the switch in the final term though to kick six goals to two and run away to a hard fought 24 point victory.
Here are the most notable players on the day:
BAILEY WILLIAMS | DANDENONG STINGRAYS | FWD/RUCK | 17/04/2000 | 198CM | 95KG
With all the talk of Jack Lukosius and the King brothers in the opening weeks of the season, Bailey Williams is another key position player who deserves to be mentioned in the same breath. Playing less time in the ruck as a forward target, Williams is an awfully difficult match up due to his height and outrageous vertical leap. He was brilliant aerially taking four contested marks, but his athleticism means he can compete on the ground against smaller types and have an impact. Two goals and 12 disposals didn’t justify a very good outing.
JAI NANSCAWEN | DANDENONG STINGRAYS | FWD | 31/03/2000 | 184CM | 73KG
A player I was very keen to see after writing many notes on him as an underage prospect and he didn’t disappointed. Nanscawen broke the game open with six goals and was a threat inside 50 all day. While some would say that he was on the end of some cheap scores, he is opportunistic, smart and just knows where to position himself. He is taller than he looks at 184cm and possesses sticky hands on the lead. There is x-factor here and if he can add some greater defensive pressure to his game, clubs will be eyeing him off.
ANGUS PATERSON | DANDENONG STINGRAYS | KPD | 03/09/1999 | 198CM | 89KG
Paterson is a key position defender who returns to the Stingray’s fold as a 19 year old after an up and down 2017 season. His physical attributes are there for all to see with a modern athletic 198cm frame, but his positioning often left him vulnerable last year as displayed in a game where his opponent Toby Wooller had a field day. But the signs on Good Friday were positive, especially offensively by taking 12 marks, many of which were intercepts and four contested. He held his ground in the back half and I’m interested to see how he develops with another year in the U18 system.
MITCH RIORDAN | DANDENONG STINGRAYS | MID | 25/01/2000 | 186CM | 79KG
The Stingray’s co-captain went about his business as he usually does through the midfield, collecting 20 disposals with minimal fuss and impacting the stoppages with his offensive and defensive nous. He isn’t the most graceful mover on the field, but is clever inside the contest and determined to do his role. He sets standards with his professionalism and is a really nice midfield size. He ticks plenty of boxes for recruiters.
HAYDEN YOUNG | DANDENONG STINGRAYS | DEF | 11/04/2001 | 186CM | 79KG
A bottom aged kid with all the talent in the world who is already expected to feature in the top few selections of the 2019 draft. His foot skills on either side of his body are just so sublime that you often question yourself as to whether he is a left footer or not. He had a couple of uncharacteristic turnovers on Friday, but it was as if he was challenging himself to hit a difficult although high reward pass. He is clean, reads the play fast and can cut through congestion with style. He is currently playing a behind the ball role, but I’m hoping we get to see his skills further up the ground as the year goes on.
XAVIER DUURSMA | GIPPSLAND POWER | MID | 07/07/2000 | 185CM | 71KG
The Gippsland Power skipper has started the season in outstanding form and is beginning to turn some heads and gain greater attention. He has generally been starting at the stoppages, but looks at his most potent when getting on the offensive side of congestion and creating space. He has that contested dynamic as well, often throwing his light frame into physical situations and getting the desired result. He is so courageous in the air too, as proven in the third term when plucking a contested intercept mark with no fear. The only minor negative was some misguided kicks, but he has proven in the past that he is more than capable by foot.
MATTHEW MCGANNON | GIPPSLAND POWER | DEF | 27/12/1999 | 184CM | 73KG
Was there a footballer in the TAC Cup who was unluckier to not to end up on an AFL list last year? Perhaps Ethan Floyd from the Falcons? While the disappointment of not getting drafted is tough to overcome, McGannon is in a unique position where he can treat the new season like his top age year. He has huge scope and is only four days off a 2000 date of birth. Most importantly he has started the season on fire, collecting another 27 disposals on Friday to go with an impressive 28 disposal display the week before. He is controlling Gippsland’s defensive 50 with poise and style and I doubt that there is any other player on the list that Leigh Brown would rather have exiting the back half with ball in hand.
BOADIE MOTTON | GIPPSLAND POWER | MID | 20/04/2000 | 178CM | 73KG
Underrated player alert. Boadie Motton is a player I’ve been keen on since about the half way mark of last year and his qualities continue to garner my attention. He is one of those rare types who is one touch and almost always gets his teammate in a better position. Sometimes you can completely miss his fast hands as your attention is quickly drawn to the ball all of a sudden being in an offensive position. He is especially creative by hand and it was no surprise to see 20 of his 25 disposals were handballs against Dandenong, but he is a great exponent by foot too. One to keep an eye on.
IRVING MOSQUITO | GIPPSLAND POWER | FWD | 24/08/2000 | 175CM | 69KG
There are sometimes long periods of play when Mozzie isn’t getting his hands on the ball, but you are just waiting and knowing he’ll stamp his mark on the game eventually. He only had eight touches for the day, but he had a far greater impact than those numbers suggest. Two brilliant goals on his natural left, a couple of calm kicks to set up scores and some manic chase downs absolutely lit the ground up. He has skill sets very relevant to today’s game and being tied to Hawthorn through the Next Generation Academy, it will be fascinating to see how his game developments under the potential guidance of Cyril Rioli in years to come.
Other Notable Performances:
Riley Bowman (Dandenong), Zac Foot (Dandenong), Will Hamill (Dandenong), Brock Smith (Gippsland), Austin Hodge (Gippsland), Caleb Serong (Gippsland).