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Bennell shines in All Star romp over Tigers

Jennifer Phelan  February 8, 2013 11:58 PM

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The Tigers were eclipsed by the All Stars in Friday night's pre-season showpiece

GOLD COAST midfielder Harley Bennell and Western Bulldogs forward Liam Jones led the Indigenous All Stars to a commanding 50-point win over Richmond in Friday night's pre-season showpiece in Alice Springs.

Bennell, 20, was awarded the Polly Farmer medal for best on ground after an impressive display through the midfield in the 14.6 (90) to 6.4 (40).

Jones kicked two goals and marked strongly on the lead and in packs before showing more signs in the ruck and across half-back.
Adelaide's Graham Johncock also impressed with three goals after starting the game in defence.

Carlton's Eddie Betts nailed two; one after an impressive effort in the pocket where he bounced up from a marking contest with David Astbury and wheeled around to slot the goal.

All Stars coach Michael O'Loughlin said his players would gain plenty from starting their seasons with a strong result in a game that means so much to them.

"A lot of them were injured last year, so it's going to be great for their confidence," O'Loughlin said.

"'Goodesy' [Adam Goodes] rocked up yesterday and the first thing that came out of his mouth was, 'I really want you guys to succeed, it's your time to really take us to another level and if anybody wants to ring me, here's my number.

"The personal details in terms of the phone numbers and emails have gone out, and I have no doubt they'll have the confidence to call up."

It was an undermanned Tigers' outfit with many of their blue-chip players missing, although their absences gave some young cubs a chance to stand out.

Without the likes of captain Trent Cotchin, forward Jack Riewoldt, ruckman Ivan Maric, defender Alex Rance and midfielder Brett Deledio, the Tigers fielded a young side with eight players in yellow and black for the first time.

From the recent draftees, Nick Vlastuin - who was drafted with selection no.9 overall last year - was the most noticeable with a handful of solid possessions.

The Tigers' second draftee, Kamdyn McIntosh, impressed Richmond coach Damien Hardwick by showing what he could do at centre half-back.

Second year forward Todd Elton impressed with some solid marks but struggled with his kicking at times, while Dustin Martin won plenty of the ball across half-back but was let down by his disposal.  

Orren Stephenson, in his first game for the Tigers, got better against Paddy Ryder as the night progressed, and kicked a goal in the second quarter after Brett Goodes gave away a 50m penalty and another in the final quarter.

Luke McGuane played forward and kicked two goals

The Tigers were captained by indigenous midfielder Shane Edwards, who had an impressive game in black and yellow after spending the lead-up with the All Stars.

Hardwick said the game was all about experimenting with the young line-up.

"We always knew it was an exhibition-type game, we were always going to try things. At various stages we put a few blokes behind the ball and then we tried it the other way," Hardwick said.

"We had a relatively young squad out there just to get them in tune with what we're trying to do going forward."

Other standouts for the All Stars included Hawthorn's Amos Frank, who was involved throughout the game across half-forward, and while his kicking lacks penetration, he took a handful of marks and laid a strong tackle on Martin in the third quarter.

Both Davey brothers were busy; Aaron setting up Jones for the first goal of the game in the opening 30 seconds and Alwyn with a collection of classy touches.

The match was played with the temperature hovering around the 30-degree mark, with gusts of wind featuring in the first half.

The game started with the All Stars War Cry, which was led by Aaron Davey.
                      
All Stars                    5.0  8.1  12.4  14.6 (90)
Richmond                 1.1  2.1  3.1    6.4 (40)                          

GOALS
All Stars:
Johncock 3, Jones 2, Betts 2, Leroy Jetta, Ryder, Ugle, Thomas, Anderson, Bennell, Newman
Richmond: McGuane 2, Stephenson 2, McDonough, Edwards

BEST
All Stars:
Bennell, Jones, Alwyn Davey, Johncock, Betts, Thomas
Richmond: Martin, Edwards, Conca, Grigg, Elton

INJURIES
All Stars:
Nil
Richmond: Nil

Official crowd: 8350 at Traeger Park, Alice Springs

Liam Jones is a forward in NAB AFL Fantasy. He averaged 44 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy Hub .

Jennifer Phelan is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow her on Twitter @AFL_JenPhelan.