The Calder Cannons have managed to register the club’s first points of the 2017 season, ending an uncharacteristic six-game losing streak with a comfortable victory at Morwell on Saturday. It was the Cannons best opportunity to get off the duck, coming up against an injury-depleted Gippsland side that was missing up to 10 best XXII footballers in its squad. In a free-flowing encounter, Calder held control for a majority of the afternoon and constantly answered any Power challenges. The final 32 point margin gave a fair indication of the difference between the teams on the day, but Gippsland will look forward to a host of key players returning in the near future.
Here are the most notable players for the day:
MITCH PODHAJSKI | CALDER CANNONS
DEF/FWD | 04/01/1999 | 190CM | 82KG
Mitch Podhajski produced his most eye-catching performance of the season, kicking six goals of which four came in the first quarter. The most impressive thing is that he did so despite playing large portions of the game in defence. He managed to push forward on numerous occasions, creating awkward matchups by putting pressure on an already stretched Gippsland defence. When behind the ball, he read the play and intercepted nicely. His overhead marking was a feature at both ends, taking four contested marks to be the most influential player on the ground.
DANIEL HANNA| CALDER CANNONS
FWD/RUCK | 24/11/1999 | 200CM | 79KG
For a 200cm prospect, Daniel Hanna has some tricks up his sleeve. He played forward and rotated through the ruck, but it is inside 50 that he looks most at home. He moves superbly for a player his height, showing agility and a turn of speed. He is clean below his knees too, proving he is capable of picking the ball up at ground level with one touch and being calm in traffic. While he can have hard hands in the air at times, it is an attribute that is improving as justified by three impressive contested marks on the weekend. His 18 disposals mostly lead to Calder opportunities, kicking two goals, two behinds and setting up three scoring assists on top. Hanna has genuine scope and would consider himself unlucky to be cut from the Metro squad.
NOAH BALTA | CALDER CANNONS
RUCK/FWD | 23/10/1999 | 194CM | 92KG
Balta produced a few moments to justify why he is considered Calder’s highest rated draft prospect, gathering 13 disposals, a couple of contested marks and 15 hit outs. He is strong overhead, possesses a thumping right foot and is difficult to move off the ball. He played a high percentage of the match in the ruck, a position he isn’t likely to fulfil at 194cm in the AFL system. He spent time forward with effect though and does possess attributes that suggest he could be used as a defender. I look forward to seeing him settle into a KPP position for Vic Metro at the championships.
JACK BYTEL | CALDER CANNONS
MID | 14/03/2000 | 188CM | 79KG
With every match that passes, it appears that Jack Bytel has what it takes to be one of the highly sought after midfielders in the 2018 draft. He was prolific on Saturday, gathering 34 disposals to rival Podhajski for best on ground honours. He is a great size at 188cm and has a frame that will develop at the next level. He dominated the stoppages with 10 clearances, constantly getting clean first hands and distributing with sharp decisions. He appears capable overhead too, taking an impressive contested mark one on one during the third term. There is much to like here.
MOHAMMED MOUSTAFA | CALDER CANNONS
MID/FWD | 14/03/1999 | 176CM | 72KG
Moustafa is one of those natural footballers who just understands where to find the footy and get in dangerous areas. Up the ground he is strong in contested situations, using a combination of body work and positioning to win possession. He is difficult to move off the ball, which also creates an advantage inside 50 as a small forward one on one. He kicked two goals, but really should have ended with five or six due to some disappointing misses in front of the sticks. While the five behinds were a frustrating result, it proves he has plenty to offer with his smarts inside 50.
AIDAN QUIGLEY | GIPPSLAND POWER
MID/FWD | 07/05/1999 | 185CM | 72KG
The highly rated Quigley is just beginning to hit some impressive form both forward and through the middle of the ground. He gathered 20 disposals and kicked three goals to be Gippsland’s major highlight on a disappointing day. He is creating more space from the contests in recent weeks, giving his side attacking entries inside 50 with impressive run and carry. When forward, he gets to scoring areas and reads the ball drop off packs first. His defensive pressure inside the forward arc also deserves recognition, setting the required standards as captain during a testing time for the club.
CALLUM PORTER | GIPPSLAND POWER
MID | 22/02/1999 | 181CM | 73KG
You just know what you are going to get from Callum Porter every week. He fights for each disposal and never bats an eyelid when it is his turn to go. He led the Power for contested possessions (11), clearances (6) and tackles (6) to again set the heavy and hard examples. His defensive efforts and pressure are elite at the level, but it was obvious he requires more support which will come. That won’t stop him from putting his head over the footy for the rest of the season.
KIM DREW | GIPPSLAND POWER
MID/FWD | 12/12/1999| 175CM | 72KG
Drew has been one of the biggest improvers in the Gippsland system during 2017 and produced another solid performance against Calder. He collected a team-high 25 possessions, 11 of which were contested. He is a competitive footballer who thrives on getting under the opposition’s skin, whether it is physically or with the occasional word. He backs up the talk with actions though, hitting opposition bodies hard and tackling with intent. He’d find himself high in the Power best and fairest at this early stage.
Other Notable Performances:
Ben Huggard (Calder Cannons), Ben Caluzzi (Calder Cannons), Lachlan Sholl (Calder Cannons), Jean-Luc Velissaris (Calder Cannons), Travis Bindley (Gippsland Power), Mitch McGannon (Gippsland Power), Will Stephenson (Gippsland Power).