On a windy but sunny morning and afternoon, the Western Jets hosted the Sandringham Dragons at Williamstown’s Burbank Oval. Both teams entered the game with key exclusions due to representative duties and injury, but it gave the perfect opportunity for the next tier of players to announce themselves in their absence. The Jets fought hard in the first quarter with the wind to stay in the game, but the Dragons took control of the contest in the second quarter and proved to possess the greater depth on the day. Sandringham would kick 11 goals to two in the final three quarters and run away to a comfortable 64 point win.
Here are the most notable players for the day:
ANDREW BRAYSHAW | SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
MID | 08/11/1999 | 183CM | 80KG
The younger brother of Angus and Hamish was arguably the best player on the ground and got better as the day went on. While he is smaller than his brothers, he appears quicker and is potentially a better user by foot. He was influential at the stoppages both offensively and defensively, gathering 10 clearances and laying 11 strong tackles. His 26 disposals weren’t all on the inside either, as he broke forward into space on numerous occasions.
KAI OWENS | SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
UTILITY | 05/10/1999 | 192CM | 81KG
Kai Owens looks to be an interesting prospect with his obvious AFL attributes shining on Saturday. He played a majority of the day on the wing, but constantly pushed forward and back to get in dangerous positions. He has impressive running traits for a 192cm kid, often burning off on opponents much smaller than him. Owens likes to take the game on, but also made some excellent decisions when entering the forward arc. He is one to keep an eye on throughout the year.
ISAAC MORRISBY | SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
FWD | 11/01/1999 | 192CM | 95KG
The bustling Dragons full forward started the game on fire with three first quarter goals to help set up his side’s victory. He possesses an enormous frame for an 18 year old and uses it to advantage against often smaller opponents. He presents like a steam train on the lead and would send fear through any intercepting defender sitting in the hole. While he didn’t add to his four goals after half time, he displayed some courageous moments in the second half by running full tilt with the flight of the ball into oncoming traffic. He’ll finish with a big bag of goals at some stage throughout the season.
ARI SAKESON | SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
UTILITY | 30/07/1998 | 193CM | 85KG
Sakeson played an interesting game on the weekend after producing some eye catching performances as a defender during the 2016 finals campaign. He started the match forward and worked tirelessly up the ground as a lead up target in the first half. The second half saw him move into the middle and play as a tall inside midfielder, where he won a couple of nice clearances. He looks to have grown over the offseason and looks super fit. He was unlucky not to land on a rookie list last year and is now adding further strings to an already attractive bow.
AARON TRUSLER | SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
FWD | 31/12/1999 | 170CM | 67KG
Trusler was one of the surprise packets of the day, kicking four goals in an electric display up forward. He has some quality traits as a goal sneak that could potentially be transferred to the next level. He is quick, clean at ground level and leads to dangerous areas inside 50, which saw him finish with seven marks. He also provides the required defensive pressure when without the ball and managed to hold the ball inside the arc with four tackles. While he is very small at 170cm and 67kg, he a very young top ager with a date of birth on the final day of the year and is likely to be still growing.
CHARLIE CONSTABLE | SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
MID/DEF | 18/05/1999 | 190CM | 83KG
Constable was one of the biggest attractions coming into the match, but could only manage two quarters of football before limping to the bench on the half time siren. He still managed to produce some quality football during that time to create further intrigue leading into the Vic Metro trial games. He started the game at half back and took control early, intercepting and accumulating his way to nine disposals in the first quarter. He then went into the midfield in the second term and had an inside influence, before injury struck. Let’s hope it isn’t anything too serious.
NICK STUHLDREIER | WESTERN JETS
MID | 28/10/1999 | 184CM | 79KG
The Western Jet’s skipper was one of his side’s only highlights of the day, manfully battling until the final siren with tenacity and fight. He is a no thrills inside midfielder who thrives on body contact and putting his head over the ball. While he was occasionally rushed with ball in hand, his contested and physical output more than made up for the odd messy disposal. He finished with 22 disposals of which 50% were contested and an impressive eight clearances to easily be the Jets best player.
JACK NOONAN | WESTERN JETS
MID/FWD | 23/06/1999 | 182CM | 79KG
The small/medium forward lacked opportunities throughout the day, but always made the most of his chances when the ball entered his area. He read the play brilliantly inside 50 and found himself in dangerous positions to finish with two goals. He is capable overhead and had some brilliant one on one wins both in the air and on the ground. A low centre of gravity means he can escape tackles and hold position to mark or dispose of the ball in contested situations.
Other Notable Performances:
Seb Williams (Sandringham), Quinton Montanaro (Sandringham), Devlin Brereton (Sandringham), Jackson Hille (Sandringham *before injury in the 2nd quarter), Connor Thar (Western Jets), Xavier O’Halloran (Western Jets).