The Northern Knights may have conceded an early lead and trailed by over three goals for much of the first half, but their contest with the Sandringham Dragons was much more even than what the scoreboard may have suggested. They evened the score up and even took the narrowest of leads into final change, but in the end, the Sandringham talent ran too deep and they skipped away 25 point winners at IKON Park on Sunday.
Here’s who caught the eye:
HAMISH BRAYSHAW | Sandringham Dragons
Mid/Fwd | 09/02/1998 | 187cm | 88kg
The brother of Angus was a huge reason why the Dragons were too good in the end. The 19-year-old was arguably the most dominant player on the ground. He looked a class above in the midfield, stepping around opponents like they were witches’ hats. Had so much of the ball and linked up with the other Sandy mids countless times. More than impressive inside-outside balance.
ALEX FEDERICO | Northern Knights
MID | 26/09/1999 | 184cm | 77kg
The Sherrin wouldn’t leave Federico alone through the midfield all day. Did most of his work in a phone box at the stoppages and made room where there wasn’t any. He’s not a bulldozer inside the contest, but he consistently won contested ball and released other players with lightning handballs. Although most of his work was done inside, he also made good decisions and kicked the ball well – especially when going inside 50.
LUCAS BARRETT | Sandringham Dragons
DEF | 04/09/1999 | 178cm | 73kg
Lucas Barrett may have a future in darts with the worm burners he was spearing through half back and the middle of the ground. A classy player whose running power earns him huge numbers. Barrett’s not just a stats king though, on Sunday he was seriously influential in one-on-ones, congested situations, and especially when the ball was on the fly. Perhaps behind only Hamish Brayshaw as Sandy’s best.
MAX DREHER | Northern Knights
DEF/MID | 12/04/1999 | 183cm | 75kg
Dreher gets better every time I watch him, backing up his performance against Western. This week he was released into the midfield almost full time and he took to the role like a duck to water. Willed himself to probably more contests than anyone else on the ground with his elite tank and was always going to rack up big numbers simply by the law of averages if for nothing else, let alone his pure ball winning ability and clean hands. Telling Max Dreher to give half an effort would be like telling grass not to grow. Strongly in the argument for the Knights’ best player on Sunday.
ANGUS STYLES | Sandringham Dragons
Mid | 03/05/1999 | 185cm | 76kg
Styles didn’t tear the game to shreds or do anything outrageously spectacular, but time just slows down a second when he gets his hands on the leather. Knew where to run and what to do before he even knew he had to do it. He just makes the game look simple, and there’s not much to it when you have as much time as he does. Important cog in Sandy’s midfield all day.
MARCUS LENTINI | Northern Knights
MID |05/06/1999 | 183cm | 74kg
Just as the Earth revolves around the Sun, the ball revolves around Lentini’s hands. It’s borderline worth checking if he actually has a magnet taped to his chest because Lentini just knows how to find the football time and time again. Racked up big numbers on Sunday as per usual and though not always perfect by foot, he had a knack of hitting a clever kick that others may not have seen. Important contributor for the Knights on Sunday, especially in the third quarter when they really threatened to skip ahead with a lead. Is there any danger of someone actually manning him up?
Other notable performances: Jamison Shea (NK), Ethan Penrith (NK), Ari Sakeson (SD), Andrew Brayshaw (SD), Patrick Naish (NK), Ethan Casey (SD).