Blake Watson of Sandringham runs with the ball during the 2024 Smithy's VFL Round 8 match between Sandringham and Richmond at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. Picture: Josh Chadwick/AFL Photos

A review of all the action from Round 8 of the 2024 Smithy’s VFL season.


FRANKSTON                5.3        8.5        9.9        9.11 (65)
SYDNEY SWANS       4.4        4.5        4.6        7.8 (50)

A BUMP from Sydney superstar Luke Parker on Frankston defender Josh Smith overshadowed another fantastic victory from the Dolphins as they beat the Swans by 15 points to consolidate their spot in the Smithy’s VFL top 10 at Kinetic Stadium on Friday night.

Parker’s hip and shoulder late in the second quarter was the major talking point out of the game, but that isn’t fair on the Dolphins, who won a first-term shootout to take an early lead and then held the Swans goalless through the middle two quarters to hold a match-winning 33-point advantage at the final change.

Harry Morrison and Jacob Konstanty kicked goals within the opening three minutes of the last quarter to give Sydney hope but Frankston was able to stem the momentum and only concede one more goal despite not hitting the target itself after Josh Butland’s second major halfway through the third.

Frankston simply out-tackled a team known for its pressure, laying a stunning 105 of them to the Swans’ still impressive 83, with third-gamer Taj Campbell-Farrell at the forefront, sticking a 20 of them to go with 23 disposals, 10 clearances and five inside-50s.

Tom Murphy (27 disposals, five clearances, eight tackles, five entries) continued his remarkable return from local football to be best-afield, while Lachie Reidy (21 disposals, five clearances, nine tackles), Trent Mynott (21 disposals, seven tackles, six entries) and George Grey (20 disposals, six rebounds) won plenty of the footy and Matt Johnson capped off the good work with three goals.

Parker found plenty of the ball for the Swans for 25 disposals, nine clearances and 10 tackles, with Gus Sheldrick (30 disposals, nine clearances, six tackles, six entries) and Caleb Mitchell (27 disposals, seven marks) also prominent.

Young ruckman Will Green (19 disposals, six marks, 35 hitouts, five clearances) showing his first-round draftee quality and Konstanty lively in attack with 17 touches, five tackles and two goals.



CASEY DEMONS       6.3        7.5        8.8        8.9 (57)
BRISBANE LIONS      2.1        4.4        7.9        8.16 (64)

THE Brisbane Lions proved stronger for longer as they overcame a rollicking start from the Casey Demons to win their survival-of-the-fittest contest by seven points at Casey Fields.

In a game where both teams were well down on troops due to injuries and interstate travellers, the Demons flew the gates with Ollie Sestan booting the first goal within 10 seconds before adding another two as the home team racked up six majors to two with the aid of the notorious Casey breeze.

But the Lions weren’t perturbed and gradually pulled the game back as their possession game proved too much to handle. The visitors refused to kick to a contest and carved the Demons up around the ground with an eye-watering 146 marks for the day (to 71).

Casey struggled to lay a glove on the visitors, landing just 39 tackles as the Lions kicked three goals to one against the wind in the third term to get back within five points before taking the lead for the first time since the opening 10 minutes when Deven Robertson nailed one 39 seconds into the last.

That proved to be the last goal of the game, but not through trying from the Lions, who booted seven consecutive behinds to almost kick themselves out of it – it was only their frugal defence (0.1) that ensured the wastefulness wouldn’t bite.

James Tunstill (28 disposals, nine marks, six clearances, eight entries), Jarryd Lyons (34 disposals, seven clearances, eight entries) and Robertson (25 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) were everywhere through the middle for the Lions.

Darragh Joyce (21 disposals, 15 marks, five rebounds), Tahj Abberley (21 disposals, nine marks, five tackles), Reece Torrent (18 disposals, eight marks) and Kyle Dunkley (18 disposals, 12 marks, seven clearances, six entries) kept the ball well away from the Demons.

AFL assistant coach Daniel Lloyd showed he still has it up forward, grabbing 17 touches and six marks and booting three goals in a crucial contribution, while Joel Budarick bounced back from the early touch-up by Sestan to lay a game-saving tackle late in the game.

Sestan finished with 16 touches, five marks and four goals as Riley Greene made it harder for him after quarter-time. Andy Moniz-Wakefield (29 disposals, six entries, 11 rebounds) and Roan Steele (26 disposals, five entries, eight rebounds) ran tirelessly and Kynan Brown (23 disposals, five clearances), Mitch White (24 disposals, six marks, six entries) and Bailey Laurie (25 disposals, , five clearances, five tackles, seven entries) didn’t stop trying all day, but a second-quarter injury to Ned Moodie represented another blow to their chances.



COLLINGWOOD        2.2        3.4        4.6        6.12 (48)
WERRIBEE                   4.3        9.9        13.9     15.10 (100)

WERRIBEE climbed to fifth spot on the ladder and held Collingwood to its lowest head-to-head score on its way to a comprehensive 52-point win over Collingwood at Victoria Park on Saturday.

The Tigers kicked the first three goals of the match and never looked back, turning a 13-point quarter-time lead into 41 by the main break after five goals to one in the second quarter, adding another four to one in the third before cruising home in the last as the Magpies put some respectability on the board.

Werribee won disposals 366-286, marks 103-69, hitouts 61-35 and clearances 46-33 as it continually launched attacks out of its back half and refused any forward freedom to a Collingwood team that managed six goals from 44 inside-50s.

Angus Hicks continued his terrific run of form for his new club, being best afield with 22 disposals, five marks and two goals,  while Dom Brew (28 disposals, 13 clearances, six tackles) and Jack Henderson (21 disposals, five marks, 10 tackles) again did a power of work at the stoppages.

Jack Riding (23 disposals, eight marks, six entries, one goal) continued his breakout season, Bior Malual (22 disposals, six marks) and Kye Declase (25 disposals, five clearances, five entries) had too much pace for their opponents and Jay Dahlhaus capped it all off with four goals.

Ned Long was tireless for Collingwood as he went head-to-head with Brew and earned 20 disposals, five clearances, 11 tackles and seven entries, with Ryan Sparkes (22 disposals, six tackles, five entries) the only Magpie in the top seven ball-winners and Charlie Dean (21 disposals, eight marks, 10 rebounds) doing everything in his power to hold Werribee at bay.



GWS GIANTS                             1.3        3.7        7.9        9.10 (64)
FOOTSCRAY BULLDOGS     5.3        6.5        10.8     16.13 (109)

FOOTSCRAY was forced to pull out all stops to get over GWS in Round 1, but there were no such issues this time as the Bulldogs stretched their unbeaten start to seven with a 45-point victory at Blacktown International Sports Park.

That’s not to say the Bulldogs’ 19th win from their past 20 matches was easy as the Giants desperately tried to bounce back from last week’s home loss to Frankston.

But there were two crucial patches that made all the difference. The brilliant first quarter from Lachie McNeil and Jordan Croft, who kicked five goals between them to set up a 24-point lead, and then the game-breaking run of domination from the 20th minute of the third to the 22nd minute of the last when they piled on nine goals to two – including five in nine minutes – to blow the game wide open.

While McNeil (three) and Croft (two) didn’t add to their first-quarter tallies, Dom Bedendo joined the party, slamming on four goals to put the contest to bed – a contest dominated in the middle by Caleb Poulter (30 disposals, eight marks, five clearances, two goals) and Anthony Scott (23 disposals, six clearances, two goals) and by top 10 draft pick Jedd Busslinger (26 disposals, 10 marks, seven rebounds) in defence.

James Peatling put up a strong case for an immediate recall for the Giants in a brilliant 25-disposal, 10-clearance and three-goal display and Toby McMullin (22 disposals, five marks) enjoyed a move up the ground, with forward-turned-defender Wade Derksen doing a good job to hold Croft and Rory Lobb to three goals between them.



NORTHERN BULLANTS         1.1        4.1        6.7        10.9 (69)
SOUTHPORT SHARKS           5.3        9.9        12.11   18.17 (125)

SOUTHPORT climbed into the top six with a clean and classy display to account for Northern Bullants by 56 points at Genis Steel Oval.

Led by Alex Auricchio medallist Max Spencer – who took a number of intercept marks among his 12 grabs, 24 disposals and six rebounds – the Sharks took control with five goals to one in the first quarter and never let go despite the Bullants throwing everything at them.

He found plenty of support from a quality midfield led by ruckman Brayden Crossley, who kicked two early goals and gave another away on his way to 19 disposals, seven marks, 49 hitouts and 2.2.

He gave an armchair ride to a midfield that bats extremely deep, with Jacob Dawson (33 disposals, 10 clearances), Jackson Edwards (24 disposals, seven marks, one goal), Mike Manteit (22 disposals, 10 marks, two goals), Brock Aston (21 disposals, five entries, two goals), Boyd Woodcock (22 disposals, five clearances, one goal), Jesse Joyce (22 disposals, eight marks, six entries) and Jacob Heron (21 disposals, five marks, six tackles, six entries) all contributed strongly.

Former Bullant Will Sexton also starred in his first game against his old team with four goals from 14 touches, five marks and six tackles, while Hugh Dixon had 20 touches, 11 marks and three late goals after spraying them early.

The Bullants, who lost John Roumeliotis to injury in the warm-up, struggled with turnovers in the defensive 50, but Jean-Luc Velissaris (32 disposals, five clearances, seven inside-50s and a goal of the year contender) again stood out alongside Caleb Franks (26 disposals, five clearances, two goals), Patrick Fairlie (29 disposals, eight marks, six tackles), returning skipper Liam Mackie (22 disposals, seven marks, five entries, seven rebounds), Saad El-Hawli (24 disposals, five tackles, five rebounds) and the improving Wal Wuol (17 disposals, six marks, one goal).



COBURG                       3.3        7.4        9.6        10.6 (66)
GEELONG CATS         4.2        8.4        11.8     13.10 (88)

GEELONG withstood a desperate battle from Coburg to record a hard-fought 22-point win at Piranha Park to climb into third spot on the ladder.

While the Cats won every quarter, they were never able to truly relax as the Lions nipped at their heels from start to finish, holding the deficit to five, six and 14 at each change.

Coburg started the better with the first two goals coming from the unlikely sources of regular defenders Charlie Beasley and Ingo Dammersmith, but Geelong responded through Phoenix Foster, Jhye Clark and Mitch Knevitt before the game settled into an almost goal-for-goal rhythm.

The Cats booted the first two goals of the third term to get some breathing space but Coburg kept coming, drawing within nine when Josh D’Intinosante broke a 20-minute stalemate entering time-on of the last term, only for the visitors to steady through impressive debutant ruckman Joe Pike (11 disposals, 30 hitouts, two goals) and star runner Shaun Mannagh to seal the deal.

Geelong’s pace proved to be a key factor as Mitch Hardie (28 disposals, five clearances, six tackles, two goals), Lawson Humphries (23 disposals, eight marks, five rebounds, one goal), Mannagh (19 disposals, three goals) and Clark (27 disposals, seven clearances, seven tackles, six entries, two goals) proved too fleet of foot and George Stevens (27 disposals, seven tackles, five entries) also got involved.

Coburg’s developing midfield had plenty of opportunities though, headed by Joel Trudgeon (31 disposals, six clearances, seven tackles, one goal), Donovan Toohey (30 disposals, seven marks), Flynn Gentile (32 disposals, eight clearances, five entries) and Hugo Bromell (27) underneath ruckman Sam Grant (15 disposals, 37 hitouts).

Lachlan Walker (23 disposals, five tackles, seven rebounds), Tom McKenzie (23 disposals, five clearances) and Max Kennedy (23 disposals, six marks) also impressed for the Lions, with D’Intinosante (17 disposals, 10 marks, two goals) creating headaches in attack.



WILLIAMSTOWN       6.1        8.4        11.8     13.10 (88)
                      3.1        4.4        6.7        12.11 (83)

TOM Downie steered through a goal after the siren as Williamstown escaped a blistering comeback from Carlton to win by five points and protect its top-two spot at DSV Stadium.

In scenes eerily reminiscent of the Good Friday escape against Coburg, the Seagulls looked in total control when they led by 31 points at the 10-minute mark of the last quarter before a goal from Irishman Rob Monahan opened the floodgates for the Blues.

Kicking with the Hobsons Bay howler, Carlton piled on goals to Monahan (11th minute, Liam McMahon (13th and 15th), Ashton Moir (18th) and Heath Ramshaw (24th and 29th) to grab a seven-point advantage deep in the last term, with two of the goals coming from 50m penalties as frustration got the better of the home team.

But a centre clearance resulted in a mark and goal to Jovan Petric and the next clearance meant the ball was camped inside the Seagulls’ 50 for multiple stoppages as the Blues desperately tried to hang on.

Downie received a ruck infringement four seconds before the siren, and he squeezed it inside the left goalpost at the grandstand end to complete another pulsating VFL finish.

Earlier, Williamstown looked set for an easy win when it kicked six goals to three in the opening term with Riley Collier-Dawkins (20 disposals, six clearances, seven tackles) and Will Fordham (30) setting the scene, Petric kicking two and debutant Dane Harvey providing the early Carlton highlight with a goal on debut.

The home team won the second term as well as Luke Parks (24 disposals, 10 marks, eight rebounds) and captain Cam Polson (21 disposals, five marks) produced a defensive masterclass to keep the Blues at bay, while Petric and Brodie McLaughlin (three goals each) finished off the work up forward for another win with Fin O’Dwyer, Mitch Cox and Ryley Stoddart close to returning.

The second-bottom Blues couldn’t have done much more to pinch it though, with defenders Lachlan Cowan (21 disposals, seven marks, eight tackles) stamped himself as a sure-handed player of the future and Lewis Young (22 disposals, eight marks, six rebounds) and Lachlan Young (19 disposals, five marks, eight rebounds) were also influential.

Jaxon Binns (28 disposals, six clearances, five tackles, eight entries) racked it up again on the ball and McMahon booted four goals, although Ned Cahill will rue his wasteful return of 1.5.



SANDRINGHAM         3.3        8.7        13.9     20.14 (134)
RICHMOND                 1.3        3.4        3.6        3.6 (24)

EVERY club has an injury tipping point, and Richmond found it in devastating fashion as luckless big man Sam Naismith joined the casualty ward with his fourth ACL injury as Sandringham dealt a devastating 110-point hiding to the ravaged Tigers at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Sunday.

In what was a tight battle early, the Zebras kicked two late goals for a 12-point lead at quarter-time before gradually pulling clear in the second term as Naismith’s injury rocked the Tigers to the core.

Richmond managed just two behinds after Jacob Koschitzke kicked his second goal 21 minutes into the second term and didn’t score after he added a behind at the 15-minute mark of the third as Sandringham piled on the pain with 14.9 in that time for its highest score, biggest win and Richmond’s lowest score in the 15th meeting between the teams.

The Zebras, who donned purple stripes in support of the Pat Cronin Foundation and its bid to end the coward punch, finished up +144 in disposals, +52 in marks, +23 in hitouts, +10 in clearances and even won the tackle count 67-66 as they piled up 41 more inside-50s in a ruthless display headed by five goals from Matt Allison and three to Hugo Hall-Kahan.

Max Heath (24 disposals, seven marks, 10 hitouts, six clearances, two goals) and Jack Hayes (18 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, six clearances, two goals) also dominated, while Brad Crouch was unstoppable in his return from a knee injury with 38 touches and five clearances.

Hunter Clark (25 disposals, six clearances, six tackles, two goals) and Hugo Garcia (29 disposals, eight clearances, 11 tackles, 10 entries, one goal) did as they pleased and Angus Hastie (21 disposals, eight marks five rounds) also impressed.

Kaleb Smith (23 disposals, five tackles, 11 rebounds) and Chad Harris (21 disposals, five rebounds) tried to hold back the tide for Richmond as youngsters Tom McCarthy (20 disposals, seven clearances) and Lachlan Wilson (15 disposals, five clearances, seven tackles) and the experienced Joel Garner (20 disposals, seven marks, five tackles) battled manfully.



ESSENDON                                 4.4        8.3        12.7     15.9 (99)
NORTH MELBOURNE            0.5        2.8        2.11     6.12 (48)

JORDAN Ridley enjoyed a dominant return to action as Essendon claimed its second win of the year and left North Melbourne’s promising start to the season a distant memory.

Gun defender Ridley gathered 19 touches, three marks and five rebounds in a half to put some valuable miles in the legs and help his team climb out of the bottom four by crushing the disappointing Kangaroos by 51 points in wet conditions at Windy Hill.

The Bombers recorded their 300th VFL/VFA victory while the Roos have now lost five games in a row after winning their first three to slide into the bottom half of the table, and they were never in this one.

The Bombers jumped out of the blocks with four unanswered goals in the opening term and held the visitors to only 2.11 by three quarter-time before they won the last term to save a little face.

Bomber ruckman Nick Bryan put on a masterclass in unsuitable conditions, winning 25 disposals, 40 hitouts, 15 clearances and seven inside-50s as well as helping himself to two goals to certainly have a plethora of clubs knocking on his manager’s door if he can’t break into the AFL team.

Star recruits Xavier O’Neill (28 disposals, six clearances, five tackles), Jackson Hately (28 disposals, five tackles, eight entries, two goals) and Jack Peris (25 disposals, five clearances, 12 tackles, five entries) all ran roughshod over their rivals, while draftees Archie Roberts (24 disposals, five marks) and Nate Caddy (seven marks, two goals) also made their presence felt.

Louis Butler was North’s best with 20 disposals, five inside-50s and two goals, with solid performances coming from Cooper Lord (22 disposals), Will Phillips (24 disposals, six clearances) and Jack Watkins (20 disposals, eight clearances, six tackles).