Will Martyn in action during the 2024 VFL Round 11 match between the Footscray Bulldogs and the Brisbane Lions at Mission Whitten Oval. Picture: Rob Lawson/AFL Photos

A review of all the action from Round 11 of the 2024 Smithy’s VFL season.


FOOTSCRAY BULLDOGS     2.5        4.8        8.10     14.11  95
BRISBANE LIONS                      6.4        9.5        12.10  17.11  113

BRISBANE Lions entered the season as premiership favourites and they delivered a reminder of just why they held that status in ending Footscray’s undefeated start to the year with a convincing 18-point victory at Mission Whitten Oval on Friday.

With Liston medallist Jarryd Lyons putting on another masterclass to again have VFL watchers wondering why he is not playing at the highest level, the Lions piled on the first five goals and never let the Bulldogs get closer than 17 points in what was an even contest for the rest of the day.

Lyons was a class above, gathering 32 disposals (19 contested), nine clearances and 10 inside-50s while laying five tackles, and his three goals – including the sealer – provided a highlights package to behold.

But he had plenty of mates, and right at the top of the list was mid-season draftee Luke Beecken, who made an assured VFL debut off half-back – no surprise given the quality of his 54 SANFL appearances. His 22 disposals, six marks and five inside-50s showed himself ready to go immediately should Chris Fagan make the call.

Fellow mid-season arrivals Will McLachlan (two goals) and Darcy Craven, who did some very nice things and booted a goal as well, both showed they will be valuable additions to the AFL list as well.

Jaxon Prior (28 disposals, 10 marks, 11 rebounds) starred in defence, Deven Robertson and 50-gamer Kyle Dunkley impressed through the middle and Henry Smith and Brandon Ryan were behemoths up forward with 16 marks and six goals between them.

Oskar Baker was Footscray’s best, roaming the wing in a classy performance to have 28 touches, six marks, seven entries and a goal. Jedd Busslinger must be closing in on an AFL debut with 27 touches, 10 marks and eight rebounds and Cooper Craig-Peters’ impact increased as the game progressed and he eventually racked up another big number with 35 touches, 15 clearances, seven tackles and seven entries.

Anthony Scott and Ethan Hunt also performed well for Footscray, while Phoenix Spicer had easily his best game as a Bulldog with 17 touches and two goals in what was a brave fight given they lost Luke Cleary (concussion) and debutant Chan Hargraves (groin) before quarter-time.



PORT MELBOURNE  0.4        1.9        1.11     4.15 (39)
RICHMOND                   2.3        6.6        11.7     13.10 (88)

RICHMOND continues to impress against the odds, consolidating its spot in the top 10 and bringing Port Melbourne back to earth with a 49-point thrashing of a wasteful Borough at ETU Stadium on Friday night.

A dour contest exploded in the latter part of the second quarter as the Tigers piled on four goals in seven minutes, before slamming on another five in the third and blowing out beyond a 10-goal lead when the impressive Sam Davidson kicked his third goal a minute into the last quarter.

By that time Port had a sprayed a woeful 1.11 and although Archi Manton finally broke the drought shortly after, his goal and the last two of the game only served to save it from their lowest score in the VFL era – it still ranked third at ETU Stadium in that time and lowest since kicking 3.7 (25) against Sandringham in 1998.

Sam Banks was the catalyst for Richmond in his return from injury, lighting up brighter than the ETU lights with 37 disposals (34 kicks), nine marks, 10 inside-50s, 12 rebound-50s and a goal.

Joel Garner, Lachlan Wilson and Kaleb Smith also performed strongly for the Tigers and Davidson ended with four goals from 17 possessions in a terrific display for a first-year player.

Lachlan Rankin impressed off half-back for the Borough with 22 touches, five marks, five tackles and six entries, while captain Harvey Hooper continues to star approaching his 100th game with 28 disposals, eight clearances, 10 tackles and five entries.

Josh Green (27 disposals, eight clearances, six entries) was strong in the middle and Tom Hird (24 disposals, eight rebounds did well down back.



SOUTHPORT SHARKS            3.5        7.8        10.11  13.13 (91)
WILLIAMSTOWN                        2.0        5.1        6.3        7.4 (46)

SOUTHPORT climbed into the top four and celebrated a couple of major milestones, easing away from Williamstown in the second half for a convincing 45-point victory  at Fankhauser Reserve on Saturday in coach Steve Daniel’s 100th game.

Daniel took over at the helm in 2018 – winning the NEAFL premiership in his first year – and the league’s longest-serving continuous coach recorded his 67th victory in that impressive century – a milestone shared by one of his most reliable soldiers in Mackenzie Willis who did well in his 100th NEAFL/VFL game.

The Sharks amassed a monumental 78-36 inside-50 dominance that eventually wore the Seagulls down, with Boyd Woodcock, Jacob Heron, Keegan Gray and Jacob Dawson all gathering at least 27 disposals and Jack Sexton, Jesse Joyce and Brayden Crossley also making an impact, while Jay Lockhart kicked three goals.

Williamstown was forced to fight back the tide all day as the Sharks circled, with Aiden Bonar (21 disposals, six marks) and fellow defenders Jake Greiser, Luke Parks and Finn O’Dwyer preventing a bigger defeat with help from Mitch Cox and Will Fordham dropping back.



NORTH MELBOURNE              2.4        5.7        9.11     9.12 (66)
COBURG                                          3.0        3.2        6.2        9.6 (60)

NORTH Melbourne overcame the loss of two players to injury in the first half to hold off a strong finish from Coburg and break a six-match losing streak with a six-point victory at Arden Street Oval.

The Roos’ hopes of winning for the first time since Round 3 took a hit when Blake Drury (suspected MCL) and Bigoa Nyuon (hip pointer) hobbled off in the second quarter, but their backline took full advantage of the Lions bombing the ball in, with Jarrod Leinert having the word Sherrin imprinted on his fist by full-time.

But the match was won in the middle, where Hugh Greenwood used all his experience, class and bulk to run roughshod over the Coburg midfield on his way to a best-afield 29 disposals, 13 clearances and eight tackles.

Will Phillips tagged Flynn Gentile out of the game, holding the young Lion star to 17 disposals while finishing with 18 and a goal, Riley Hardeman (23 disposals, 10 marks) impressed off half back, Charlie Lazzaro racked up 36 touches on the overlap and Tyler Sellers kicked three goals.

Coburg didn’t find the dare it showed last week until the final quarter and looked likely to run over the top of the Kangaroos when it did, kicking 3.4 to 0.1 for the term.

Donovan Toohey (33 disposals, eight marks, six rebounds, one goal), Jesse Corigliano (22 disposals, 10 marks) and Lachlan Walker (28 disposals, 10 marks, five rebounds) starred in defence, Joel Trudgeon was strong on the ball and Max Kennedy and Max Thompson impressed on the wings.



SANDRINGHAM         3.1        5.6        7.8        12.10 (82)
GOLD COAST SUNS 2.6        4.9        8.14     11.16 (82)

SANDRINGHAM came from 25 points down at the 14-minute mark of the final quarter to stun Gold Coast in a thrilling draw at RSEA Park – the Suns’ second stalemate of the year.

In a see-sawing contest for most of the day, the Zebras missed a chance to build a lead when they kicked four consecutive behinds early in the second term and looked likely to pay full price when the Suns kicked the last two goals of the third quarter and the first two of the last.

When Mal Rosas answered Tom Blamires’ drought-breaker to extend the visitors lead to 25 points, it looked all over.

But goals to Hugo Garcia (16th and 21st) and Cooper Sharman (20th and 30th) saw the Zebras hit back hard, with Sharman’s brilliant running the goal on the end of a coast-to-coast play making him a hero for the second week in a row after he booted the winner against Frankston in Round 10.

The Suns’ defence can also take a lot of credit for holding on, with Caleb Graham making two key spoils and his teammates effecting three smothers inside defensive 50 as the clock ran out.

Gold Coast will, however, wonder how it got away given they were +106 in disposals and +49 in marks, with the Zebras simply taking their opportunities better when they got them.

James Tsitas and Rory Atkins had a stunning 41 disposals apiece, plus 26 marks, 10 inside-50s and a goal to Tsitas between them.

Levi Casboult dominated with five goals and Jy Farrar three, Graham had 21 touches and took 14 grabs and Brandon Ellis, Darcy Macpherson and Connor Budarick all won plenty of the ball.

Gun veteran ruckman Tom Campbell was outstanding for Sandringham with 29 disposals, six marks, 31 hitouts, 12 clearances, six tackles and six inside-50s, although young Sun Ethan Read also put up a strong effort with 23 disposals, 18 hitouts and a goal.

Ryan Byrnes, Ben Paton, Zak Jones and Brad Crouch were all important got Sandringham with more than 20 possessions each, with Sharman (18 disposals, seven marks, six entries, three goals) and Garcia (three goals) causing headaches inside-50.



WERRIBEE      4.2        6.4        10.6     13.9 (87)
FRANKSTON 2.1        3.6        4.8        8.11 (59)

WERRIBEE celebrated the 100th game of heart-and-soul midfielder Dom Brew and the club’s 1100th VFA/VFL match in style, downing Frankston by 28 points at Avalon Airport OvaL.

The Tigers hit the scoreboard early through Jay Dahlhaus and Nick Hayes and were never headed, despite the Dolphins sticking around gamely for the entire match as their poor kicking for goal again proved fatal to their hopes of putting serious scoreboard pressure on the home team.

There was plenty of around-the-ground heat, though, as Frankston won the inside-50 count 56-46 despite having a whopping 128 less disposals, forcing Werribee to chip the ball around all day – the Tigers recorded an unbelievable 166 marks.

Fourteen players for Werribee took more grabs than the Dolphins’ best, which was Ryan Jacobs with five.

That list was headed by best-afield Louis Pinnuck (29 disposals, 16 marks, six rebounds), Jesse Clark (21 disposals, 14 marks, five rebounds), Riley Bice (27 disposals, 11 marks), Wardell Lual (17 disposals, 10 marks) and Nathan Cooper (14 disposals, 10 marks), while Jaelen Pavlidis played up the ground and impressed with 21 touches and nine clunks.

Brew was magnificent in his milestone match, winning 36 touches, five marks, seven clearances and eight tackles, Kobe Annand won 43 hitouts and laid nine tackles, Hudson Garoni took nine marks and kicked four goals and Dahlhaus finished with three majors/

But it wasn’t all good news for Werribee, with Stefan Radovanovic finishing the game on the bench in a moonboot.

Tyson Milne, Taine Barlow and Jackson Voss were terrific in defence off half-back for the Dolphins and Trent Mynott worked up and down the ground and Tomo Owens, Nick Burke and Seb Quirk kept the pressure on.



SYDNEY SWANS        1.4        3.5        6.9        10.14 (74)
GEELONG CATS          3.3        5.7        10.7     12.11 (83)

GEELONG continues to climb up the list of premiership contenders, consolidating second spot with a hard-fought nine-point win over Sydney at the SCG on Sunday.

The Cats’ eighth-consecutive victory always looked likely despite the Swans sticking around all day, but they made the decisive break with the last three goals of the third term for a 22-point lead.

Sydney roared home with four of the first five goals of the last quarter to close within three points deep into time-on, but impressive first-year player Lawson Humphries made himself a hero.

Having fisted through a rushed behind to stop the Swans hitting the lead at one end, he then sharked a misguided handball and slammed home the sealer from 50m in the space of 60 seconds to cap a wonderful final term.

Humphries finished with 28 disposals, eight marks, seven inside-50s and a goal to vie for best-afield honours with Mitch Knevitt (27 disposals, 11 marks, six clearances, six entries, one goal), while George Stevens (25 disposals), Brandan Parfitt (26 disposals) and Tanner Lovell (24) disposals also doing well.

Joel Hamling continued his amazing rebirth as a forward for Sydney, taking eight marks and kicking 5.3 to have 15 goals since making the switch five weeks ago.

Claremont recruit Ben Edwards (31 disposals, nine clearances) led all comers in the middle, Pete Ladhams (23 disposals, 20 hitouts, eight clearances) won the ruck and Aaron Francis did well in his return to the VFL with 20 touches and 11 rebounds.



ESSENDON    2.2        6.4        13.5     16.8 (104)
CARLTON        7.2        12.3     15.5     16.5 (101)

ESSENDON roared back from 41 points down early in the second quarter to claim its third win of the year and leave Carlton glued to the bottom of the ladder, with a late bomb from Tex Wanganeen giving them an epic three-point triumph at Windy Hill.

After the Bombers kicked two goals in the first five minutes, the Blues played like a top team rather than a bottom one as they slammed on seven majors in the next 17 minutes and then three of the first four of the second term.

Trailing by 35 at the half, Essendon sprung to life, blasting six goals in 12 minutes and hitting the front when the brilliant Saad El-Hawli snagged his third and the game turned into a fierce arm-wrestle.

Carlton led by 12 when Frosty Miller Medal leader McMahon kicked his fifth major nine minutes into the last term, but that was their last goal, with Bailey Scott halving the deficit before Wanganeen nailed a running shot just before time-on to complete the recovery.

Mid-season draftee El-Hawli would have been hard to ignore for an immediate AFL debut after a blistering 27 disposals, eight marks, six entries and four goals, but suffered a knee injury late in the game that hopefully will prove not to be serious.

Xavier O’Neill (33 disposals, five clearances, six entries) produced a captain’s game, Scott had 26 disposals and a goal, Nick Bryan again dominated the ruck with 22 disposals, 39 hitouts and eight clearances and Nate Caddy took six marks and kicked three goals.

McMahon pulled in seven grabs for his 5.1 to be Carlton’s best, with fellow VFL-listers Kristian Ferronato (23 disposals), Will White (two goals) and Ned Cahill (two goals) performing well.



BOX HILL HAWKS     5.3        11.5     13.6     20.8 (128)
GWS GIANTS                0.5        2.7        5.10     8.12 (60)

BOX Hill Hawks flew the gates for the second week in a row, putting an undermanned GWS Giants to bed before the mid-point of the second term on their way to a 68-point victory at Box Hill City Oval.

The Hawks kicked the first two goals and withstood an “orange patch” from the Giants that only yielded five consecutive behinds, piling on the next six to lead by 46 points on Nick Watson’s second goal six minutes after the break.

GWS fought hard after that and didn’t let Box Hill stretch much further ahead before four goals in time-on of the last term blew the final margin out.

Watson was electric in his second VFL game, finishing with 18 disposals, eight marks and 4.2 and Max Ramsden took full advantage of Nick Madden’s absence to have 26 hitouts, five marks and three goals, respectively capping off and setting up the outstanding performance of Harry Morrison (31 disposals, 13 marks).

Finn Maginness (29 disposals, five marks, six tackles, nine entries) and Jai Serong (27 disposals, 10 marks, 10 rebounds) were others to perform strongly.

Ryan Hebron led from the front for GWS with 22 disposals, eight marks and five rebounds, Toby McMullin (21 disposals) did well in attack and debutant ruckman Nathan Richards could be happy with his contributing stepping out of Riverina league club Griffith, winning 29 hitouts against an AFL-listed big man.



CASEY DEMONS        3.4        8.8        12.11  18.14 (122)
COLLINGWOOD         1.1        4.1        6.2        11.4 (70)

CASEY Demons hit back from a disappointing loss last week to breathe some oxygen into their fading finals hopes with a convincing 52-point victory over Collingwood at Casey Fields.

In their now traditional King’s Birthday Eve clash, the Demons had the Magpies on the back foot from the outset, kicking six of the first eight goals and never being seriously challenged by an inexperienced opponent.

Four goals to kick off the second half put Casey 58 points to the good and sniffing a massive win, but Collingwood fought the game out with five last-quarter goals – only to concede six.

Mitch White continued his purple patch of form, winning 29 disposals, seven clearances, six entries and a long goal to compete for best-afield honours with Koltyn Tholstrup (29 disposals, five marks, nine clearances, five tackles, five entries, one goal) also impressive.

Adam Tomlinson (23 disposals, nine marks) and Shane McAdam (eight marks, four goals) put their best foot forward after being omitted from Melbourne’s AFL team, while Tom Fullarton (24 disposals, six marks, 15 hitouts, six clearances, seven entries) also had a good day and mid-season draftee Luker Kentfield landed a goal with his first kick and finished with two.

Collingwood possibly could have lost by much more if it wasn’t for the performances of Sam Glover (30 disposals, 10 marks, 17 rebounds) at full-back and skipper Campbell Lane (30 disposals, six marks, two goals), with Ryan Sparkes (23 disposals, seven marks, eight clearances, eight tackles, five entries) also able to hold his head high.

Harry Demattia worked into the game and finished with 23 touches, while their own new arrival, Iliro Smit, came on at quarter-time and competed hard in the ruck for eight touches, 22 hitouts and six tackles.