The Sandringham Dragons pulled off an incredible victory against Gippsland at Casey on Saturday afternoon, kicking a flurry of late goals after struggling to score all day. In wet and slippery conditions, the Power appeared to have the low scoring game sewn up when leading by 17 points into time on of the final term. The Dragons had only scored two goals up to that point, so it was unrealistic to believe that the match was anything but over. Although an Alfie Jarnestrom set shot kept his side’s slim hopes alive, before two avoidable free kicks inside Sandy’s forward arc turned the game on its head. Kai Owens firstly flushed a set shot from a deliberate out of bounds call, before Max King kicked the match winner from a kicking in danger free. You really had to see it to believe it.
Here are the most notable players for the day:
WILL WALKER | SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS | MID | 30/03/1999 | 187CM | 80KG
There is absolutely no doubt that Will Walker possesses AFL attributes and his strengths stood out in the greasy conditions. He was exceptionally clean all day, gathering the ball with one touch in various situations. He was one of few who rarely fumbled below his knees on the day and even managed a couple of strong overhead marks in the rain. He was more influential than his 24 disposals gave credit on paper and at 187cm, has the required size and frame to grow into that will create interest.
ALFIE JARNESTROM| SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS | MID | 25/02/1999 | 177CM | 69KG
There isn’t much of Jarnestrom, but he puts his body on the line and was absolutely prolific at the stoppages. There just wasn’t a contest that he wouldn’t throw his 69kg frame into. He more than doubled any other player on the ground for clearances with 11 and adjusted his mindset to the conditions well, ensuring he gained metres with every disposal he won. 16 of his 27 disposals were contested, while his set shot goal in the final minutes kept the pressure on and ultimately became match defining.
MAX KING| SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS | FWD | 07/07/2000 | 203CM | 82KG
The King twins are set to become the talk of the football world next year and Max appears to be the prospect creating the most excitement. He is the slightly taller brother who is currently plying his trade as a key position forward. While conditions didn’t suit any taller targets on the ground, Max still produced moments that justified why he is so highly rated. He is incredibly strong considering his frame and rag dolled the heavier Cody Henness in the second quarter to take an eye catching contested mark. While he only managed 11 disposals, he created panic deep in the forward 50 late in the game to earn a free and kick the match winner.
BEN KING| SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS | DEF | 07/07/2000 | 201CM | 79KG
Ben lined up as Sandringham’s first choice key defender and he was the best performed twin on the day. He collected 17 disposals in the back half and was particularly impressive below his knees considering the greasy surface. He was very efficient for a majority of the match, before making a couple of uncharacteristic errors in the fourth quarter. He was rarely beaten defensively and managed to keep the likes of Kyle Reid and Levi Munns goalless. He too is more than capable forward, so it will be interesting to see where he develops in his top year.
GEORDIE NAGLE| SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS | DEF | 11/11/1999 | 185CM | 79KG
Geordi Nagle was a rock for Sandringham in defence on Saturday and had genuine claims to be the best player on the field. His kicking was a highlight on a low efficiency day, getting penetration on the heavy ball and getting it to the advantage of his teammates. He exited his defensive 50 on nine occasions and made excellent decisions from the kick outs. He positioned himself well to impact Gippsland’s entries and defended admirably when required. One I’m keen to have another close look at.
CALLUM PORTER | GIPPSLAND POWER | MID | 22/02/1999 | 181CM | 73KG
Porter continued his outstanding form with yet another performance of determination in trying conditions. He has fought gallantly in every outing since missing out on selection in the Vic Country squad and appears to have used the disappointment to better his football. He was clean with the wet ball and had an impact when Gippsland was on top. 20 disposals doesn’t look like an enormous game on paper, but his game high 14 tackles gives a greater insight into the consistent effort he provides.
AUSTIN HODGE | GIPPSLAND POWER | MID | 02/04/1999| 188CM | 77KG
Austin Hodge has been one of Gippsland’s hard luck stories over the last 12 months or so, but he is finally beginning to get some continuity after a wretched run of injuries. Hodge has the tools and professional attitude to make it at the next level, he just now needs that break out game to provide the belief. The signs are positive though, as he improves with every game he plays. He collected a team high five clearances for the Power on Saturday (following nine in Round 11) and won some important inside contests. It is only a matter of time before everything clicks.
MATT MCGANNON| GIPPSLAND POWER | MID | 27/12/1999 | 182CM | 70KG
One of the most consistent performers on the Gippsland list, McGannon is underrated for what he provides every week. He has been named in the best in seven of the last eight games and is growing in confidence with every outing. He is an athletic wingman or flanker who is tidy by foot and gets in offensive positions, generally by working hard up and down the ground. He looks taller than his listed 182cm and has plenty of scope, especially considering the late December date of birth. He spent more time at the stoppages on Saturday too, winning four clearances.
BAILEY BECK | GIPPSLAND POWER | MID | 10/01/2000 | 181CM | 69KG
A bottom age player who is looking more comfortable at the level as the year goes on. Finding himself mostly on the wing, Beck is one of those footballers who does all the right things. He gets to positions that aid the team and is courageous. He probably produced his most impressive performance of the year against Sandringham, gathering 20 disposals and pumping the ball inside 50 on an equal game high four occasions.
Other Notable Performances:
Bailey Smith (SD), Kai Owens (SD), Nathan Murphy (SD), Lachie Harris (SD), Joel Amartey (SD), Callan McKeon (GP), Bailey Patterson (GP), Kim Drew (GP), Will Leslie (GP).