Calder remain winless after Round 3 of the TAC Cup following a 43-point loss to Oakleigh in monsoonal conditions at RAMS arena on Sunday.
The Chargers were never truly challenged despite the absence of likely first-round draft pick Jack Higgins and now move into fourth spot on the ladder with a 2-1 record.
Here are the players who handled the heavy conditions best.
CHARLIE THOMPSON | OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
MID | 15/3/99 | 183cm | 80kg
Thompson would have been one of the happiest players to arrive at the ground given the conditions. He relished the ball spending most of the game on the deck, where his strong body and tenacious attitude proved to be a handful for the Cannons midfield. There weren’t too many instances where he didn’t arrive at a pack and leave with the football, or at least tackle the player who did have it. His tireless work around the ball for Oakleigh went a long way to cover the loss of Higgins and come away with the points.
CALLUM SEARLE | OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
DEF | 12/10/98 | 185cm | 81kg
The top-aged defender had a complete game for a small defender. Searle’s experience was evident in his positioning behind the ball for the Chargers, often as the loose man. He helped his teammates out with timely spoils and win intercept possessions to repel Calder attacks. His kicking from defence also stood out in a game where skill execution was made very difficult.
CHARLIE WHITEHEAD | OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
FWD| 26/3/00 | 183cm | 76kg
Whitehead announced himself as a player to watch in the next two years with an excellent performance up forward for Oakleigh. He appeared to be handling a different footy at times with his clean hands at ground level. He was a step ahead of his opponents in anticipating the drop of the ball in the Charger’s forward line. Whitehead’s finishing was also a feature on a day where majors were at a premium, helping himself to four goals.
JEAN-LUC VELISSARIS | CALDER CANNONS
MID | 27/8/98 |178cm | 76kg
Velissaris is an over-aged player who used his strong frame to his advantage for the Cannons. He performed a similar game to Thompson of Oakleigh, but received less help from those around him. Velissaris was persistent at stoppages, especially with his tackle pressure. He also managed to kick a classy goal on the run in the second term when Calder was still in with a shout.
XAVIER O’NEILL | OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
MID | 3/8/00 | 183cm | 75kg
Bottom-ager O’Neill was given an opportunity to shine with Higgins out and Matthew Day spending more of the game up forward and he didn’t disappoint. O’Neill was clean below his knees and usually made good decisions under pressure once he did have the ball. He followed on from a strong performance the previous week against Eastern and looks as though he will feature prominently at this level for the next two years.
Other notable performances: Jesse Firebrace (CAL), Louis Cunningham (OAK), Mitchell Podhajski (CAL), Sam Harte (OAK), Tye Browning (CAL)