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Dinny Navaratnam and Giulio Di Giorgio  June 18, 2017 7:12 PM

VFL 2017 Round 03 - Werribee v Essendon

Lindsay Thomas, pictured earlier this year, made his return from suspension for Werribee on Saturday

State league affiliate: Adelaide (SANFL)
This weekend: Bye 

State league affiliate: Brisbane Lions (NEAFL)
This weekend: Southport v Brisbane Lions - Saturday, June 17, 1.30pm, Fankhauser Reserve  

Young forward Josh Schache booted 5.1 in the Brisbane Lions' 150-point win against Southport at Fankhauser Reserve on Saturday afternoon.

He also collected 17 disposals and took 10 marks.

Meanwhile, Matthew Hammelmann, Corey Lyons, Rohan Bewick and Blake Grewar kicked three apiece. 

Promising draftee Alex Witherden edged closer to a debut with 30 disposals, nine score involvements and eight marks off half-back.

"[Alex] has still got some areas of development that he's been working on the last few weeks but the way that he's been using the ball and setting us up offensively has been fantastic," Lions coach Mitch Hahn told AFL.com.au.

Witherden missed almost all of his draft year with a badly broken right leg and was held back by a hamstring injury earlier this season.

Key defender Sam Skinner had 17 disposals and 10 marks. He was named to line up in his first senior game late last season but suffered his second knee reconstruction in just over a year at training.

"We haven't had any expectations on Sam, it's just about him putting a few games into play. He's certainly shown some really good signs. He's courageous and his attack on the footy's second to none," Hahn said.

The Lions kept the Sharks scoreless in the second and last quarters to run out dominant winners, 27.13 (175) to 4.1 (25).

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State league affiliate: Northern Blues (VFL)
This weekend: Northern Blues v Werribee - Saturday, June 17, 2.10pm, Ikon Park

Journeyman Rhys Palmer picked up 29 disposals in the Northern Blues' 14-point loss to Werribee at Ikon Park on Saturday afternoon. 

Fellow former Giant Kristian Jaksch booted three goals.

Jarrod Pickett had 17 disposals and two goals, including this effort.

Nick Graham (28 disposals) and Sam Kerridge (24 and a goal) also won their fair share of the footy.

The Blues booted seven goals in the opening term but didn't lead at any other break, eventually going down, 18.9 (117) to 15.13 (103).

After the siren: Blues jump the rebuilding queue

State league affiliate: Collingwood (VFL)
This weekend: Bye

State league affiliate: Essendon (VFL)
This weekend: Bye

State league affiliate: Peel Thunder (WAFL)
This weekend: Bye 

State league affiliate: Geelong (VFL)
This weekend: Richmond v Geelong - Saturday, June 17, 4.30pm, Punt Road Oval

Midfielder George Horlin-Smith was named the Cats' best player in their 49-point loss, tallying 38 disposals, seven tackles and a goal.

The 24-year-old finished 10 possessions ahead of the next Cat, defender Jordan Cunico (28 disposals, one goal), who showed a good turn of foot.

The loss was compounded by a shoulder injury to defender Tom Ruggles suffered in a first-quarter tackle and an ankle injury to Irish recruit Mark O'Connor.

Second-year forward Wylie Buzza and defender Jackson Thurlow kicked two goals apiece, with the latter adding 26 possessions.

Fantasy form watch: The Bryce is right

State league affiliate: Gold Coast (NEAFL)
This weekend: Bye 

State league affiliate: GWS Giants (NEAFL)
This weekend: Bye 

State league affiliate: Box Hill Hawks (VFL)
This weekend: Bye

State league affiliate: Casey Demons (VFL)
This weekend: Casey Demons v Footscray - Saturday, June 17, 7pm, Casey Fields

Youngster Jay Kennedy-Harris performed an inside midfield role with aplomb, gathering a game-high 33 disposals and kicking a goal in the Demons' 13-point win.

The 22-year-old, who has featured up forward in his appearances at the top level, has relished playing through the midfield for Casey in recent times.

Kennedy-Harris found the ball well and used his acceleration to hurt Footscray.

Wingman Billy Stretch had a solid outing, while midfielder Jack Trengove (29 disposals) and defender Josh Wagner (27 disposals) were among the Demons' major ball-winners.

Forwards Liam Hulett and Sam Weideman kicked a goal each but were kept relatively quiet, with the latter dropping an easy chest mark in the final quarter. 

State league affiliate: Werribee (VFL)
This weekend: Northern Blues v Werribee - Saturday, June 17, 2.10pm, Ikon Park

Returning from a three-match VFL suspension, small forward Lindsay Thomas could again come under scrutiny for a high hit during the second quarter of Werribee's 14-point win.

The 29-year-old gained possession of the ball and raised his left elbow as he tried to break through a Rhys Palmer tackle, only to collect the Blues' midfielder in the jaw.

Earlier, a frustrated Thomas was penalised for a high shove on Blues midfielder Dylan Buckley in the first quarter, after which the Northern Blues players quickly remonstrated.

Thomas finished the match with 12 disposals and two goals.

Youngster Braydon Preuss was dominant in the ruck, winning 48 hit-outs and finishing with 18 disposals and five marks.

Former captain Andrew Swallow continued his excellent VFL form, controlling the midfield and picking up 28 touches and seven tackles.

Rookie Will Fordham was another to feature highly on the stats sheet with 17 disposals, four marks and a goal. 

Forgotten big man Majak Daw kicked three, while young key defender Sam Durdin was concussed early in the first quarter.

State league affiliate: Port Adelaide (SANFL)
This weekend: Sturt v Port Adelaide - Sunday, June 18, 2.10pm, Peter Motley Oval

Forward Brett Eddy was the standout for the Magpies despite their 32-point loss, bagging six goals from his 13 disposals and eight marks.

After being cut from the squad that defeated the Brisbane Lions on Saturday, defender Jasper Pittard returned to form with an equal team-high 23 touches and seven rebound 50s. 

Fellow backman Logan Austin was another key performer with 21 possessions and nine marks, while omitted duo Jimmy Toumpas and Brendon Ah Chee finished with 22 disposals apiece.

State league affiliate: Richmond (VFL)
This weekend: Richmond v Geelong - Saturday, June 17, 4.30pm, Punt Road Oval

Small defender Steven Morris was in scintillating form, but at the opposite end of the ground, kicking four goals in the Tigers' 49-point win.

The 28-year-old, who suffered an ACL knee injury last year, has played just one game for the Tigers this season (the round six loss to Adelaide).

Ball-winner Anthony Miles was also important with 32 possessions, continuing his good recent run.

Defender Jake Batchelor provided a strong aerial presence, while second-year backman Oleg Markov was solid across half-back.

State league affiliate: Sandringham (VFL)
This weekend: Bye 

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State league affiliate: Sydney (NEAFL)
This weekend: Aspley v Sydney - Saturday, June 17, 12pm, South Pine Sports Complex

A wayward Kurt Tippett kicked 0.3, collected 20 disposals and took six marks in Sydney's 102-point win against Aspley at South Pine Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon. 

Skilled draftee Oliver Florent finished with 25 disposals and four goals while Jordan Dawson had 32 disposals and 3.4. 

Defender Aliir Aliir won 18 disposals and slotted a goal.

Dan Robinson returned from a fractured jaw to notch up 26 disposals and two goals. 

Tippett, 30, was dropped for the senior team's game last week against the Western Bulldogs.

He is contracted with the Swans until the end of 2018. 

Sydney kept the Hornets goalless for the first quarter before going on to record a big win, 22.22 (154) to 8.4 (52).

Six things we learned from round 13

State league affiliate: East Perth (WAFL)
This weekend: Subiaco v East Perth - Saturday, June 17, 2.15pm, Leederville Oval

Midfielder Chris Masten staked his claim for a senior recall by collecting a match-high 28 possessions in East Perth's 32-point loss.

Backman Sharrod Wellingham, who looms as the obvious replacement for the injured Jackson Nelson (hamstring), had 13 touches and lay seven tackles.

Omitted forward Josh Hill (12 disposals, two goals) and youngster Malcolm Karpany (16 disposals, one goal) were lively in attack, while midfielder Jack Redden (26 disposals, nine tackles) was kept busy but was inaccurate by foot on occasions.

In his second game back from shoulder surgery, ruckman Scott Lycett began on the bench before playing between the forward line and ruck.

Lycett finished with 12 disposals and 10 hit-outs as he continues to build match fitness. 

State league affiliate: Footscray (VFL)
This weekend: Casey Demons v Footscray - Saturday, June 17, 7pm, Casey Fields

Axed defender Fletcher Roberts didn't reappear after receiving a head knock during the second quarter of Footscray's 13-point loss.

Injury-prone utility Josh Prudden, who was returning from a hamstring injury he suffered mid-last month, went into the rooms in the second quarter.

Prudden briefly returned but didn't feature in the second half due to a suspected fresh hamstring issue.

In better news, forward Clay Smith made a successful return from a calf strain, finishing with 20 disposals and a team-high two goals.

Second-year defender Kieran Collins stepped up in Roberts' absence to provide stability down back, and midfielder Lukas Webb showed some fight with 24 disposals and a goal.

Omitted veteran Matthew Boyd collected 21 disposals and big man Tom Campbell lifted his intensity in the second half to finish with 22 touches and one goal.

Meanwhile, tall rookie Nathan Mullenger-McHugh (one goal) limped off the ground in the third quarter, but returned after performing run-throughs along the boundary.