Josh Hamilton in action for the Northern Bullants during the 2024 Smithy's VFL season. Picture: Rob Lawson/AFL Photos

A review of all the action from Round 7 of the 2024 Smithy’s VFL season.


CARLTON                        4.3        6.6        7.11     9.12 (66)
CASEY DEMONS        1.3        6.7        8.9        9.15 (69)

THE small margins of footy were clear to all as Casey Demons kept themselves in touch with the Smithy’s VFL top 10 and left Carlton’s season in tatters by overcoming a Jaxon Binns masterclass to secure a three-point victory in wet conditions at IKON Park on Friday night.

Binns was that much better than any other player on the ground that he arguably deserves all six votes on Liston Medal night as he roamed the wing, pushed into defence, drove the Blues into attack and even ventured onto the ball in a single-handed effort to lift the Blues over the line.

While stats sometimes don’t tell the full picture, his return of 43 disposals, 11 marks, six clearances, five tackles, seven inside-50s and six rebound-50s was exactly as dominant as you would think, whether you saw it first-hand or not.

Casey Demons duo Adam Tomlinson and Lachie Hunter (24) were the equal second most prolific players on the ground, although their impact was lower than those numbers indicate, although Hunter did some important things at crucial times.

Carlton made the early running, kicking four unanswered goals after Matt Jefferson got the first for Casey. However, the Demons hit back with five second-term goals to grab a one-point lead at half-time.

The teams traded blows throughout the second half, with the Demons leading by four at three quarter-time, only for Jack Carroll and Harry Lemmey to steal the momentum for the home side.

However, an impressive but wayward Ben Brown finally hit the target in the eighth minute for what turned out to be the last goal of the game. From there, the visitors scored five behinds to one.

Premiership skipper Mitch White lifted Casey on his back and carried them over the line with 21 disposals, seven clearances, five entries and a goal in a typically ferocious display, with Bailey Laurie, Kynan Brown, Roan Steele also getting their hands dirty and Koltyn Tholstrup bobbing up for two goals as he showed his class.

Ben Brown was outstanding in almost every way – given his preferred role leading out of the goal square, he attacked every contest, taking six marks and earning eight set shots at goal, but cost himself a place in best afield discussions with a dose of the yips seeing him finish with 2.6.

Carroll (23 disposals, one goal) was Carlton’s second best, Orazio Fantasia had 23 touches and debutant Oliver Poole stepped up from the Bendigo Pioneers and looked extremely comfortable on debut with 18 disposals, nine marks and five inside-50s on the wing.



PORT MELBOURNE  2.4        7.6        9.7        14.10 (94)
COBURG                          2.2        2.3        7.6        9.8 (62)

PORT Melbourne banked its second win in a row, overwhelming Coburg by 32 points at ETU Stadium on Friday night to keep its season alive.

The Borough put itself in the box seat by winning the first quarter against the wind on the back of a late goal to Harry Maguire and took full control with five goals to none in the second term to grab a 33-point lead at the main break.

The Lions booted five of their own to pull back within 13 turning for home, but the damage had been done and Port was able to steady and run away with the win.

The Borough did so on the back of a dominant midfield led by skipper Harvey Hooper (34 disposals, seven clearances, one goal) and Robbie McComb (33 disposals, eight clearances) and a forward line that saw Maguire (three goals) lead a group of five multiple goal kickers.

Sam Grant was outstanding in the ruck for Coburg, winning 46 hitouts and having 15 disposals in a one-on-two battle with Felix Flockart (10 disposals, 31 hitouts) and Jimmy Miller (14 disposals, 14 hitouts, two goals).

Donovan Toohey continued his fine year with another 26 touches, five entries and eight rebounds for Coburg, with Flynn Gentile (22 disposals, seven clearances, nine tackles, one goal), Joel Trudgeon (21 disposals, nine tackles, five entries) and Hugo Bromell (20 disposals , eight tackles, five entries) all playing well in the middle and Josh D’Intinosante (14 disposals, 11 tackles, two goals) putting in a great display in attack.



GWS GIANTS 0.1        1.6        2.13     5.17 (47)
FRANKSTON 2.4        4.9        4.13     7.19 (61)

FRANKSTON recorded its first interstate victory in 16 years when it stunned GWS Giants by 14 points in pouring rain at Blacktown International Sports Park on Saturday.

The Dolphins took control early and led from start to finish, breaking through to win their first game outside Victoria since defeating Tasmania at UTAS Stadium in the Devils’ last season back in 2008.

It was also just the ninth win interstate by a standalone club from 39 matches since the arrival of the five teams from the former NEAFL in 2021, with Werribee (4-4) making up almost half of the victories. The result took Frankston to 1-5 outside Victoria in the past three years and lifted the Dolphins back into the top 10.

Frankston booted the first four goals of the game and didn’t concede until Jacob Wehr kicked the Giants’ first in the 19th minute of the second term and it suited the visitors just fine as GWS peppered the goals in the third for a return of 1.7.

Leading by just 12 at the final change, Dolphin fans would have been worried about being overrun, but their team quickly put that to bed with Matt Johnson slamming on back-to-back majors and ex-Giant Seb Quirk adding another to seal a famous victory.

Quirk relished the conditions against his old team, getting down and dirty to win 24 disposals, five clearances and six tackles, while mid-season draft contender George Grey (24 disposals, eight rebounds) and Tyson Milne (19 disposals, seven marks, six rebounds) were magnificent in defence.

Tomo Owens (22 disposals, seven marks), Tom Murphy (22 disposals, five clearances) and Blake O’Leary (20 disposals) controlled the midfield and Johnson booted a match-winning 4.1 on a day where the other 45 players collectively scored 8.35.

Josh Fahey’s performance across half-back in a losing cause was one to behold for the Giants as he picked up 36 disposals, five marks and an unbelievable 20 rebound-50s. Xavier O’Halloran (31 disposals, 11 clearances, 11 tackles, 10 inside-50s, one goal was even better with a stunning quadruple double and Toby McMullin (26 disposals, seven clearances, six entries), Harry Rowston (23 disposals, 10 tackles, six entries) and Wehr (20 disposals, five marks, one goal) also put up impressive performances.



NORTH MELBOURNE              1.3        4.6        9.7        12.8 (80)
SYDNEY SWANS                        4.2        6.5        9.8        12.14 (86)

LUKE Parker nailed a stunning 70m torpedo punt with four minutes remaining to hand Sydney a thrilling six-point victory over North Melbourne in a classic contest at Arden Street Oval.

The Swans’ superstar wasn’t quite as prolific as in his previous two VFL games as he tries to win his AFL spot back but was still the difference maker with the stunning launch that nobody who has seen his 283 games at the highest level thought possible.

Sydney led for most of the day and looked like running away with it when new-found forward Joel Hamling booted his fourth goal and Indhi Kirk hit the target to extend the different to 15 points at the 11-minute mark of the last term.

But North hit back through young ruck Taylor Goad, No. 3 draft pick Zane Duursma and gun goal kicker Sam Lowson to hit the front in time-on.

The Swans missed two chances to regain the lead before Parker loaded up to take it back for the final time as the visitors held on to re-enter the top 10.

AFL omission Braeden Campbell (27 disposals, nine marks, five clearances, nine tackles, seven entries) was a class above for Sydney, with highly-touted Academy graduate Caiden Cleary (29 disposals, 10 marks, five tackles), Parker (24 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) and Ben Edwards (24 disposals, seven entries) impressing underneath in-form big man Peter Ladhams (25 disposals, eight clearances, 20 hitouts).

Will Edwards, Patrick Snell, Jaiden Magor and Max Geddes performed well in defence and Hamling (four) and Phill Moi Moi (three) booted seven goals between them up forward.

Duursma only won nine possessions but made full use of them to kick four goals, including two in the last-term comeback, while skipper Jack Watkins (29 disposals, five clearances) did the hard work, Jarrod Lienert (23 disposals, six marks, 10 rebounds) performed well most of the day, Lowson (20 disposals, five clearances, five entries, one goal) impressed further up the ground and Eddie Ford and Miller Bergman provided strong drive.



NORTHERN BULLANTS         0.2        2.6        2.7        7.13 (55)
COLLINGWOOD                         2.4        4.5        5.12     6.12 (48)

IT WAS a day they will talk about at Genis Steel Oval for a long time.

Just a few hours after Darebin snapped a 28-match losing streak by beating Carlton in the rebel VFLW, the Northern Bullants ended their own long wait for a victory when they overran Collingwood in the last quarter for an emotional seven-point win on Saturday.

In the Ants’ case it was 16 losses and 364 days as they broke the drought on the same weekend as their previous win – the Battle of Bell Street against Coburg on May 13 last year.

But for three quarters it looked like being another gallant loss for the home team as they fought hard defensively but struggled to score themselves as the Magpies started to take control in the third quarter only to spray 1.7 to 0.1, taking a 23-point lead that became 28 when Ryan Sparkes kicked the first goal of the last quarter in the sixth minute.

Nobody could predict what happened next.

Paddy Fairlie (9th), second-gamer Corey Barbaro (11th), Will Elliott (13th) and Rohan McKenzie (17th) piled on four goals in eight minutes to cut the margin inside a goal and when star midfielder Jean-Luc Velissaris snapped truly from 40m out in the 21st minute, the Bullants were in front and the fans were threatening to lift the roof off the old grandstand.

They had three unsuccessful shots at sealing the win, but there was no rally from the Magpies as the home team claimed a famous victory and Collingwood earned a slice of history as being the team to break two massive losing streaks after also going down to Coburg last month.

The Bullants’ big four – Velissaris (34 disposals, 12 marks, five tackles, five entries, one goal) and Fairlie (31, 12 marks, seven clearances, nine tackles, one goal) in the middle and Saad El-Hawli (26, seven marks, seven rebounds) and Matt King (25, 12 marks, six rebounds) were again terrific, but this time they lifted as one in the last quarter, with Will Elliott (18, seven marks, seven clearances, one goal) and John Jorgensen (16, seven marks, one goal) leading what was an even performance.

Charlie Dean was Collingwood’s best player in a defensive unit that conceded two goals in three quarters, winning 27 disposals, taking 14 marks and delivering seven rebounds, Ryan Sparkes (23, five marks, six entries, one goal) picked a good time to produce his best game two weeks before the mid-season draft and Ash Johnson was the game’s only multiple goalkicker with three.



WILLIAMSTOWN        1.3        5.6        7.8        13.12 (90)
ESSENDON                    4.4        7.7        10.11  11.13 (79)

DARBY Henderson was the hero at the death as Williamstown produced its second blistering finish in two weeks to swamp Essendon by 11 points at DSV Stadium to consolidate second spot on the ladder.

The Bombers controlled an intriguing contest for three quarters as Zach Reid produced a classy return from a hamstring injury in defence alongside Lewis Hayes, while small forwards Jayden Davey (three goals), Jye Menzie and Jack Peris were causing headaches for a much-vaunted Seagulls’ defence who already had their hands full with Nate Caddy (six marks, two goals) and Campbell Gray (three goals) in the air.

Nick Bryan also got the better of Seagulls star Tom Downie in the ruck, although Williamstown midfielders Will Fordham and Riley Collier-Dawkins caught onto that quickly and read the young Bomber’s taps to push the ball forward. Essendon bossed the hitouts 53-27 but Williamstown won the clearances 40-34.

The Bombers looked set to claim a major scalp when they led by 21 points at three quarter-time on a day where the wind was blowing but neither team had had an issue scoring against it. However, the Seagulls had other ideas, banging on the first four goals of the last quarter to take the lead.

Essendon hit back through Jared Eckersley to regain the advantage at the 24-minute mark before Henderson got on the end of consecutive centre clearances from Toby Triffett to regain the lead and seal the win in the space of 60 seconds.

Fordham (33 disposals, eight clearances, six entries, one goal) and Collier-Dawkins (32 disposals, 11 clearances, seven entries) vied for best on ground in the middle for the Seagulls, but Jack Toner (25 disposals, five tackles, two goals) in a mid-half-forward role, Luke Parks (20 disposals, 12 marks, five rebounds) and Jake Greiser (25 disposals, five marks, 10 rebounds) were brilliant again in defence and Nick Ebinger (18 disposals, seven entries, three goals), Brodie McLaughlin and Corey Ellison (two goals) all made an impact in attack.

Reid all-but demanded a quick return to the Essendon AFL team with 26 disposals and 10 marks in the last line of defence alongside Hayes (22 disposals, eight marks, eight rebounds), Elijah Tsatas (31 disposals, 11 clearances, six tackles), Jackson Hately (27 disposals, five clearances, seven entries) and Dylan Shiel (24 disposals, six tackles, five entries) again fired in the middle underneath Bryan (15, disposals, 45 hitouts, six marks).



GOLD COAST SUNS                0.2        1.5        4.5        8.10 (58)
SOUTHPORT SHARKS            6.1        9.4        13.5     16.9 (105)

SOUTHPORT reclaimed the Doc Mackenzie Cup in devastating fashion, thumping reigning premier the Gold Coast Suns by 47 points at People First Stadium on Sunday.

The Suns had smacked Brisbane Lions by 86 points last week, eight days after the Lions had sunk the Sharks, but the Queensland merry-go-round was completed when Southport destroyed their Coast Clash neighbours from the opening bounce.

The Sharks blasted six unanswered goals in the first quarter before blowing the margin out to 47 by the main break and 54 turning for home. Although Gold Coast won the last quarter, it was all semantics in a stunning exhibit to not write off the Sharks’ premiership hopes.

The Suns did make a host of changes from the team that whacked the Lions and lost another star when Ned Moyle was a late withdrawal, but the Sharks still had to cash in and they did in style as key recruit and 2023 Coburg best and fairest Ben Jepson put up a career-best 40 disposals, adding 11 marks and seven inside-50s.

He was able to outshine champion fellow mids Jacob Dawson (38 disposals, 11 clearances, six entries) and Boyd Woodcock (30 disposals, nine clearances, five tackles, six entries, five rebounds, one goal).

Zac Foot, Jesse Joyce, Matt McGuinness and Jackson Edwards all had too much size and experience for a younger Suns outfit, regular defender Max Spencer went forward to kick three goals, a tally matched by Hugh Dixon. Meanwhile, Brayden Crossley gave young prodigy Ethan Read a valuable education with 17 disposals, five marks, 53 hitouts, six clearances, seven tackles.

Connor Budarick (34 disposals, eight marks, six tackles), Rory Atkins, Will Graham, James Tsitas and Brandon Ellis did their best to keep the Suns from being blown away completely.



RICHMOND                                   4.3        7.4        11.6     13.7 (85)
FOOTSCRAY BULLDOGS     2.4        8.7        12.8     17.14 (116)

IN A remarkable round of feelgood stories, it’s a bitter pill to swallow to see another devastating blow befall the injury-riddled Richmond, with skipper Lachie Street suffering an ACL injury in the Tigers’ brave 31-point loss to undefeated ladder-leader Footscray.

Street, who was in outstanding form again approaching the mid-season draft, landed awkwardly late in the second quarter and was helped off the Swinburne Centre.

After the home side made a fast start, the Bulldogs went on to kick six unanswered goals to turn a 17-point deficit early in the second term into a 22-point lead approaching half-time.

But the Tigers continued to fight. They booted the last two of the first  half and although Footscray cancelled those out early in the third, the home team kicked the next four to hit the lead in time-on of the third.

But that proved to be the final salvo as the flag favourites slammed on seven of the last nine goals to run away from a tiring opponent.

Richmond’s efforts to stay close were even more impressive given the Bulldogs were +122 in disposals, +29 in marks, +23 in clearances and +25 in inside 50 entries/

Rory Lobb (21 disposals, nine marks, five clearances, 28, hitouts, four goals), Ryley Sanders (42 disposals, 12 clearances, eight tackles, one goal), Caleb Daniel (26 disposals, 10 clearances,14 tackles, seven entries) Buku Khamis (four goals) and Charlie Clarke (17 disposals, five tackles, three goals) kept the pressure on the AFL selectors alongside young tall Lachlan Smith (12 disposals, six marks, 25 hitouts, two goals).

Kamdyn McIntosh was voted Richmond’s best in his first VFL appearance for five years, winning 21 disposals, eight clearances. Young gun Kane McAuliffe (25 disposals, seven clearances, 10 tackles, two goals) was also terrific and VFL-listed pair Tom McCarthy (20 disposals, five tackles) and Lachlan Wilson (16 disposals, six tackles) performed well, with Liam George snagging three goals.



BOX HILL HAWKS     6.2        10.4     11.6     13.9 (87)
SANDRINGHAM         1.6        3.11     6.16     11.16 (82)

STUART Horner had never so much as even scored a single behind in 49 previous VFL matches for the Box Hill Hawks.

And for most of his 50th – against Sandringham at Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve – it appeared that record would continue as the Zebras took an unlikely lead having fought back from 43 points down 18 minutes into the second quarter.

Then the milestone man took a mark between the centre circle and the defensive side of the square and was immediately held up by youngster Lance Collard. Unfortunately, Collard held on a fraction too long and was correctly pinged for a 50m penalty, with Horner splitting the middle from 49m to put Box Hill one point ahead.

The siren sounded seconds after the restart and the Hawks came from everywhere to mob one of their most popular teammates as if they’d won the flag – something that could easily happen later this year if they can string together more of the footy they played in the first 45 minutes.

Box Hill was irresistible early. They smashed the Zebras all over the park, winning an unbelievable 54 more disposals in the first quarter alone as it piled on six goals to one kicking against a three-to-four-goal wind, three of which came to modern-day great Ben Cavarra in just his second game back from a knee reconstruction.

He had four by the 13-minute mark of the second term as Changkuoth Jiath lit up the Powerhouse in his first game of the season after a hamstring injury, Callum Brown did as he pleased off half back and Max Ramsden looked dangerous in the air,

By half-time, Sandringham had slowly started to stem the flow, trailing by 35, but there was no sign of what was to come. But then the Zebras found their pride and unconditional effort, and they fought bac.

Anthony Caminiti and Cooper Sharman provided great targets and ended up kicking 5.8 between them, Zak Jones started hitting targets, Paddy Dow, Mattaes Phillipou and Hunter Clark got their skates on and Zaine Cordy shored up the backline as the Zebras crept back within 20 turning for home.

They then straightened a previously deplorable 6.16 in front of goal to kick 5.0 and take the lead when Caminiti nailed a set shot in the 26th minute only to be beaten by Horner’s late winner.

Despite the Hawks still finishing +84 in disposals, Sandringham won inside-50s by two and had 26 scores to 22, scoring 60 per cent of the time it went into attack to show it is capable of putting up a tally.

Callum Brown (35 disposals, eight marks, 10 rebounds) again knocked up winning the footy, Josh Ward (29 disposals, seven marks, seven clearances, six entries) worked his way into it, Cal Porter (20 disposals, six clearances, 12 tackles) was tireless in the middle and Bodie Ryan (20 disposals) and Bailey Macdonald (17 disposals) provided some wonderful drive from defence.