The Oakleigh Chargers have announced itself as the team to beat after claiming top spot on the ladder as the TAC Cup home and away season came to a close on the weekend. The Chargers were far too good for an Eastern Ranges side full of draftable prospects, running away to a comfortable 45 point victory at Mars Stadium in Ballarat. The win earns Oakleigh a final against the eighth ranked Northern Knights at Victoria Park on Saturday, while Eastern will face Dandenong in the following game.
Here are the most notable players for the day:
JACK ROUGHSEDGE | OAKLEIGH CHARGERS | MID | 04/08/1998 | 186CM | 88KG
In his third game back from an awfully long stint on the sidelines due to injury, the big-bodied Roughsedge again won plenty of ball to be back on the recruiters radar. After leg surgery in the off-season, there were fears he may never play again. Although the former Chargers captain was determined to get back this year and has played three brilliant games on return. He was a bull at the stoppages on Saturday, winning seven clearances and having a physical presence. His 27 disposals deservedly earned him the three umpire’s votes on the day. He was a popular winner of the Personal Growth Award at the Morrish Medal presentation on Sunday night.
JACK HIGGINS | OAKLEIGH CHARGERS | FWD/MID | 19/03/1999 | 178CM | 76KG
Jack Higgins’ brilliant TAC Cup season was fully justified on Sunday night when he took home the Morrish Medal from just 13 games and was again at his dangerous best at Ballarat the day before. His high footy IQ made life extremely difficult for the likes of Joel Garner and Ryley Stoddart deep inside 50. He truly rattled Garner in particular and could have had a far greater scoreboard impact in the first half. He was too good one on one, but also won a lot of ball on the lead by reading the play so quickly. He would gather an impressive 26 disposals, despite spending a large percentage of his day in the forward arc.
MATT ROWELL | OAKLEIGH CHARGERS | MID | 01/07/2001 | 177CM | 71KG
It was a big week for Rowell who earned a Level One AFL Academy position and continued his outstanding season on the field at Mars Stadium. Playing as the 23rd man and having limited game minutes, Rowell made the most of his time on the field. The sixteen year old is an all-round midfield prospect, possessing both inside and outside traits. His decision making and skills are elite, as justified by a disposal efficiency percentage of 100% on Saturday, while he also loves to run and carry the ball. It is a name you must remember for the 2019 draft.
ED RICHARDS | OAKLEIGH CHARGERS | MID/DEF | 03/07/1999 | 184CM | 77KG
Another impressive outing by the left footer, who proved he has flexibility to play multiple positions against Eastern. He started the day in defence, where he took the kick outs and intercepted with confidence, highlighted by a strong contested mark in the first quarter. In the second half he moved up the ground to the stoppages, where his sharp hands and desperate attitude to win the ball gave Oakleigh an advantage. A run through the middle and pin point pass to Day inside 50 showed his worth offensively, but he balances it well with defensive positioning. His 22 disposals were influential.
TOBY WOOLLER | OAKLEIGH CHARGERS | FWD/MID | 16/03/1999 | 193CM | 90KG
Wooller would have to be the most unluckiest of the player to miss Team of the Year selection, after a home and away season that has conjured 40 goals from 15 ultra consistent games. The workhorse was at it again on Saturday, collecting 24 disposals, seven marks and three goals in a dominant display. He worked high up the flanks as always, competed in the air and helped out his teammates whenever he could. There were small stints through the midfield as we have seen throughout the season and he has shown promising signs at the stoppages, but he just seems to be sliding under the radar. It will be interesting to see where he falls on draft day.
JAIDYN STEPHENSON | EASTERN RANGES | MID/FWD | 15/01/1999 | 189CM | 76KG
Stephenson continued his outstanding form on Saturday, gathering 34 disposals to be one of the few shining lights for the Ranges. He again spent plenty of time around the stoppages, but was especially dangerous on the outside where his electrifying pace stood out. Whether it was providing a target on the lead or creating space from a stoppage, no one could go with him. Kicking again proved to be an area of scope as he hit a few floaters, but the howling wind made it tough work for most players. He is finishing the season with a bullet and will be looking to have an impact on the finals stage again.
RYLEY STODDART | EASTERN RANGES | DEF | 15/10/1999 | 183CM | 73KG
A player that screams AFL attributes whenever you watch him play. Stoddart is a class act behind the ball, whose excellent skills and calm decisions with ball in hand are helping generate plenty of interest in club land. Offense is his most threatening asset, but he is more than capable of defensively holding his own when required. After 15 disposals in the first half, he was assigned the tough job on Jack Higgins after the main break which curtailed his ball winning influence. While he was easily pushed off the ball on occasions, he fought hard and certainly made the Morrish medallist work harder.
SAM HAYES | EASTERN RANGES | RUCK/FWD | 09/06/1999 | 203CM | 93KG
There is no greater certainty come draft day than the fact that Sam Hayes will be the first ruckman called out. His tap work is elite for the TAC Cup standard, but there is more to his game than that. He won seven clearances and 11 contested possessions against Oakleigh to finish with 15 disposals, of which only one was ineffective. We know he is more than capable forward with his contested marking ability too and is sure to attract attention in the top ten.
DYLAN MOORE | EASTERN RANGES | MID | 04/08/1999 | 175CM | 66KG
Does Dylan Moore ever play a bad game? The pocket dynamo just continues to rack up big numbers and Saturday was no exception. He collected 31 disposals to be one of only three Ranges players to win over 20 disposals. He doesn’t seem to have an obvious weakness, possessing good skills, speed, footy smarts and a competitive attitude. There are always going to be question marks about his size, but recruiters have been far more willing to select players of his height if they are good enough recently. He is a gun little player and is a near certainty to end up on an AFL list based on talent alone.
OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCES:
Matt Warren (OC), Matt King (OC), Luke Stacker (OC), Riley Jones (OC), MacKenzie Doreian (ER), Tyler Brown (ER), Harry Nolan (ER).