Healesville set a dark and soggy scene on Sunday as constant showers made conditions difficult, but the afternoon was soon lit up by an epic underage encounter between the Eastern Ranges and Gippsland Power. Early on it looked like the game could be a one sided affair as Eastern kicked four goals in the first term, all off the boot of highly rated tall Sam Hayes. He would add another two in the second quarter to have an extraordinary six majors to half time, but Gippsland had kept within reach to be only trailing by 17 points at the major break. The game lifted to another level in the third quarter as the Power began to gain control in the slippery conditions. An Irving Mosquito goal late in the fourth quarter finally gave Gippsland the lead, creating a frenetic final few minutes. The commitment and desperation of all the players in the closing moments couldn’t be questioned, as Eastern cleared the ball forward again. As he had done all day, Trent Mynott put his head over the ball in the goal square to earn a free kick and ultimately kicked the match winner to the thrill of his teammates. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Power after such an exhaustive effort to get back in the contest.
Here are the most notable players for the day:
SAM HAYES | EASTERN RANGES
KPF/RUCK | 09/06/1999 | 203CM | 93KG
After earning All-Australian selection as a bottom aged player last year during the National Championships, we all knew Sam Hayes could play. He lifted himself to a new level in the first half, kicking a remarkable six goals and singlehandedly was the difference between the two sides. 203cm forwards aren’t supposed to be as effective in slippery conditions, but he was a formidable target in the air and amazingly just as dangerous at ground level with some brilliantly clean pickups. His scoring obviously dried up in the second half, but he still managed to have an impact late in the fourth quarter by going into the ruck and giving his midfielders first use instantly.
TRENT MYNOTT| EASTERN RANGES
MID | 04/10/1999 | 185CM | 73KG
Mynott was dominant at the stoppages throughout the entire day, collecting a game high 12 clearances and 17 contested possessions. He is a nice size and possesses a frame that has the potential to fill out in an AFL environment. He was also influential on the outside with a tidy right foot in difficult conditions and pushed forward into dangerous scoring positions. His two goals were vital to the result, as he kicked the match winner after putting his body on the line in the goal square. One to watch.
KYE QUIRK | EASTERN RANGES
DEF | 30/05/2000 | 185CM | 72KG
The 16 year old defender was instrumental in the second half for his team, rebounding and intercepting numerous attacks forward by Gippsland. He would collect 17 possessions and seven marks after the main break. He sat in the hole or a kick behind the contest, reading the play superbly and courageously getting in the space of the forwards. Quirk was particularly impressive overhead in the wet conditions when others were struggling to grip the ball.
DYLAN MOORE | EASTERN RANGES
MID | 04/08/1999 | 175CM | 66KG
There isn’t much of Dylan Moore to throw around at 66kgs, but he constantly found himself doing the hard and heavy work inside the packs. He was genuinely prolific, collecting 35 disposals of which 22 were contested. He was just as vital defensively, laying 13 tackles on a day where holding the ball in was on some occasions just as important as winning it. He is a smart little footballer who knows where to position himself in most situations.
JAIDYN STEPHENSON | EASTERN RANGES
FWD | 15/01/1999 | 189CM | 76KG
The potential No.1 draft pick didn’t have his busiest day on the field and was held goalless, but still managed to show some of those athletic attributes that has many recruiters excited. He has electrifying pace and a brilliant leap that was perfectly showcased with a high flying mark late in the game. He played large portions of the match in the forward half and it would have been great to see him given more midfield minutes, especially with Masterson and McGannon playing tight, disciplined roles. I’m looking forward to what he has to offer in the coming weeks and National Championships.
CALLUM PORTER | GIPPSLAND POWER
MID | 22/02/1999 | 181CM | 73KG
Porter played a solid first half of football while Sam Hayes was tearing the game apart, but came out after half time like a man possessed. A couple of chase down tackles and holding the ball rewards set the tone, as his actions and leadership began to lift the side toward an unlikely comeback. He threw his body at every contest with absolutely no consideration for health, highlighted by a frightful hit as he ran back with the flight of the ball at half back. Internally he is greatly respected for the professional standards he sets and his 18 contested possessions, 13 tackles and seven clearances gave the external world a great insight of what he can produce. It was a gutsy, desperate and inspiring performance.
AIDAN QUIGLEY | GIPPSLAND POWER
MID/FWD | 07/05/1999 | 185CM | 72KG
Aidan Quigley produced one of his better performances of the year on Sunday, playing mainly through the midfield and rotating forward. In a highly contested game due to the slippery conditions, he was arguably the cleanest player on the ground. 14 of his 21 disposals were contested and he was able to get to offensive positions at a stoppage. He is a very good kick, but can occasionally attempt to bite off more than he can chew. With the Championships approaching, he is hitting top form at the right time of the year.
CODY HENNESS | GIPPSLAND POWER
FWD/RUCK | 07/02/1999 | 193CM | 88KG
Cody Henness hasn’t quite managed to have the impact forward everyone would have expected in the early rounds, but a long run in the ruck on Sunday afternoon could create the confidence boost he requires. While giving up plenty of centimetres to the likes of Rouget, Kroger and Hayes, Henness was competitive, physical and influential in the middle of the ground. He won a respectable 17 hit outs, but was outstanding at ground level in collecting a season high 20 disposals. It will be interesting to see if he continues the role against Calder next week.
SEAN MASTERSON | GIPPSLAND POWER
DEF | 23/09/1998| 192CM | 78KG
It isn’t often that a player in the TAC Cup has to man two of the highest rated draft prospects on the same day, but Sean Masterson proved his defensive flexibility by successfully negating two completely different types. He started on Stephenson, a player with elite athletic attributes and speed before being moved to the white hot and 11cm taller Hayes. He again did the job for Leigh Brown and was able to keep Hayes goalless from that moment on the back of smarter body positioning. Masterson only won five disposals and gave away a desperately unlucky free kick to see Mynott kick the match winner, but deserves praise for his defensive efforts.
Other Notable Performances:
Jordan Lynch (Eastern Ranges), Tom North (Eastern Ranges), Sam Milner (Eastern Ranges), Jasper Rouget (Eastern Ranges), Will Stephenson (Gippsland Power), Bailey Beck (Gippsland Power), Nick Lowden (Gippsland Power), Xavier Duursma (Gippsland Power), Kim Drew (Gippsland Power).