The Geelong Falcons find themselves on top of the TAC Cup ladder yet again, after running away to a comprehensive 64 point win against Gippsland Power at Morwell. There really wasn’t a time when the Falcons didn’t look on top after flexing its muscle early with a six goal to zero opening term. Geelong just couldn’t be slowed on the outside, going on to finish with a +94 uncontested possession differential to almost double Gippsland’s total of 107. Power battled hard on the inside, but couldn’t stem the flow once the Falcons found space. The big names starred and had a large say on the final margin, which provided a vital percentage boost to overtake Oakleigh by almost one percent.
Here are the most notable players for the day:
SAM WALSH | GEELONG FALCONS | MID | 02/07/2000 | 182CM | 68KG
There is little wonder as to why Sam Walsh is considered one of the very best prospects of the 2018 crop. He tore the game to shreds, collecting 37 disposals of which 19 were contested with 10 clearances to boot. He is a genuinely all-round midfielder, possessing equally impressive traits on the inside and out. In traffic he has poise and can produce a stylish turn to get into space, but on the outside he just knows where to run and makes great decisions with ball in hand. His best highlight came in the second half when he faked a direction change, before calmly sidestepping the other way to set up a teammate running into goal. The Falcons have an elite one on their hands here.
GRYAN MIERS | GEELONG FALCONS | FWD/MID | 30/03/1999 | 177CM | 73KG
It is hard to miss Miers with his long hair flapping in all directions, but he continuously lets his football do the loudest talking. He is just so dangerous inside 50, whether it be in a one on one contest or when the ball hits the ground. He is so fast at reading the ball in the air and getting in position first, which sees him take a lot of contested marks for his size. He finished with huge numbers on Saturday, kicking six goals and collecting 25 disposals. While he possesses a strange almost sideways kicking action, it is effective as justified by his 35 goals for the Falcons in 2017.
DAVID HANDLEY | GEELONG FALCONS | FWD/MID | 01/09/1999 | 181CM | 76KG
Handley is a player who is really sliding under the radar for the draft, but clubs are taking note of his consistent performances for Vic Country and Geelong. He is clean, calm and makes very good decisions, rarely giving the ball back to the opposition. He knows where to find the ball in his team’s offensive half and is an especially difficult match up inside 50. He played plenty of inside minutes on Saturday, winning 11 contested possessions and four clearances. He still had an impact when forward though, kicking two goals including a brilliantly persistent effort which he calmly dribbled through. He has true forward and midfield rotation AFL traits.
TOM McCARTIN | GEELONG FALCONS | FWD | 30/12/1999 | 192CM | 86KG
Saturday was the most impressive performance I’d seen live from Tom McCartin and has made me reconsider where I originally ranked him. Starting on the inform Sean Masterson, the brother of Pat was influential early, kicking the first goal and taking five marks in the first term. He had a real presence about him, leading high up the ground and taking the ball at its highest point. Six of his ten marks were on the lead, while he had some credible contested moments too. It would be great to see him hit the scoreboard more often having kicked just eight goals from nine games. Although the attributes are there and with a very late December date of birth, there is a lot of development to come.
MATT LING | GEELONG FALCONS | DEF | 21/04/1999 | 182CM | 74KG
The dashing defender is the modern offensive weapon that all clubs are looking for to help instigate that fast slingshot forward at AFL level. He is an ultra aggressive half back with electrifying pace and a nice left boot who is encouraged to take the game on no matter what. He had some exciting line breaking moments as usual to finish with 21 disposals, but certainly could have done a lot more without the ball having not laid a tackle. That will come at the next level though and just for the time being, I think everyone is happy to see him embracing those natural instincts.
ADAM GARNER | GEELONG FALCONS | FWD | 12/01/1999 | 194CM | 93KG
The big bodied key position forward had a day out against Gippsland the last time the two teams met with six goals and seven contested marks, although not as dominant, was very good again on Saturday. While he is great at using his large frame to advantage, he has more aerial tricks than brute force. He has really soft hands which sees the ball sink nicely into the palms, which was perfectly highlighted by a fantastic, dukey one handed mark in the third term. He ended the game with three goals, 11 marks and 19 disposals by starting forward and rotating through the ruck. His kicking needs work though and it could be the difference between getting on a list or not.
XAVIER DUURSMA | GIPPSLAND POWER | MID | 07/07/2000 | 184CM | 70KG
I have been craving a breakout four quarter effort from the incredibly talented Xavier Duursma all year and he was well on his way on Saturday, before getting a nasty hit in the kidneys. It, unfortunately, ended his day in the third term and thankfully from all reports he is ok, but he’d already impressed enough by then. All his AFL attributes were on show with classy blind turns, run and carry, brilliant releases from heavy contested situations and courageous aerial contests. A clever tap and right foot snap finally got Gippsland on the board in the second quarter which was fitting, as there was daylight between him and the next best player in red, white and blue at that point in time.
NICK HOGAN | GIPPSLAND POWER | MID | 02/07/1999 | 175CM | 78KG
More promising signs for the nuggetty midfielder from Sale, who collected a team high 24 disposals on Saturday. He was again busy inside, winning seven clearances and 12 contested possessions. He buzzed around the stoppages with intent and fought hard to keep Gippsland competitive in tight. He would have liked to have been a little tidier by foot and less rushed, but he has looked more comfortable with every game that has passed since injury. Don’t be surprised to see his numbers soar in coming weeks.
CALEB SERONG | GIPPSLAND POWER | FWD/MID | 09/02/2001 | 176CM | 69KG
After a brilliant debut the week before, Serong backed up well in his second game to again feature in Gippsland’s best players. While lacking opportunities forward and not hitting the scoreboard, the 16 year old found other ways to get into the game. He moved higher up the ground and again proved his aerial ability, taking the first of two impressive contested marks on the day, which set up Power’s first goal. His clean hands and one touch moment’s standout, whether it is overhead or below the knees. He was ferocious at the opposition too, especially defensively inside 50, where his second efforts and seven tackles set standards for elder teammates.
Other Notable Performances:
Harry Benson (GF), Josh Jaska (GF), Frazer O’Gorman (GF), James Worpel (GF), Boadie Motton (GP), Nick Lowden (GP), Callum Porter (GP), Will Stephenson (GP).