Giacomo Thomas in action during the 2024 Smithy's VFL Round 13 match between Coburg and the Northern Bullants at Piranha Park. Picture: Rob Lawson/AFL Photos

A review of all the action from Round 13 of the 2024 Smithy’s VFL season.


BRISBANE LIONS      5.1        9.7        14.8     18.8 (116)
FRANKSTON                3.4        6.5        8.8        9.12 (66)

BRISBANE Lions jumped into the top six as their premiership campaign gains momentum, easing away from Frankston in the second half to win by 50 points at Brighton Homes Arena on Saturday.

The Lions took a while to shake off the plucky Dolphins despite winning every quarter, holding a 20-point lead at the main break before kicking nine goals to three in the second half for a convincing victory that dropped the visitors to 14th on the congested table – but only a game behind ninth.

The home side won it at the contest, dealing out a 52-14 belting in the clearances as the big bodies of Deven Robertson (33 disposals, 10 clearances) and James Tunstill (27 disposals, 10 clearances) proved too much for Frankston to counter.

Henry Smith (23 disposals, six marks, 36 hitouts) dominated the ruck, allowing Harry Sharp (22 disposals, six marks, three goals) and Tahj Abberley (2 disposals 0, two goals) to get their skates on and Brandon Ryan (six marks, four goals) plenty of chances in attack.

Meanwhile, draftees Will McLachlan (two goals) and Darcy Craven (one goal) were always dangerous and Jake Lohmann pulled in 10 marks and kicked a goal.

Tom Murphy’s stocks continue to rise as he stood up to the challenge for Frankston with 26 disposals and six marks, Tyson Milne (24 disposals) worked up and down the ground, Blake O’Leary (23 disposals, nine marks, one goal) also impressed and Jack Newnes bounced back to form with 11 marks and two goals.



GOLD COAST SUNS 3.2        6.5        11.9     16.15 (111)
ESSENDON                  2.1        5.3        9.4        14.9 (93)

GUN young forward Ethan Read proved the difference with a match-winning five-goal haul as Gold Coast saw off a concerted challenge from Essendon at People First Stadium, winning by 18 points to jump back into the Smithy’s VFL top 10.

Read was the difference as the Bombers threatened to repeat their monumental upset of the Suns from last year, talking nine clunks and booting 5.1 as fellow prodigy Jed Walter (six marks, 2.4) also threatened to tear the game apart.

The Bombers led by a goal entering time-on of the second quarter, but two late strikes from Brayden Fiorini and Walter turned that around and the Suns weren’t headed again, pushing out as far as 30 points in the last term before a late rally closed the gap.

Rory Atkins (33 disposals, 10 marks, nine rebounds) mopped up well at the back for Gold Coast, with AFL omissions Brayden Fiorini (33 disposals, one goal) and Nick Holman (30 disposals) also picking up plenty of the pill and young Academy star Leo Lombard (22 disposals, one goal) impressing in his first VFL game since the Grand Final.

Ned Moyle (16 disposals, 37 hitouts, one goal) outpointed Nick Bryan (11 disposals, 30 hitouts) in a battle of two of the best young big men, while Suns debutant Zeke Uwland produced a remarkable bomb for a goal from the centre square.

A suite of former top 10 picks led the way for Essendon, headed by Dylan Shiel (26 disposals, one goal), Will Setterfield (23 disposals) and Elijah Tsatas (23 disposals), while father-son Tex Wanganeen (22 disposals) also did well.

Vice-captain Jackson Hately, however, topped them all with four goals and Suns premiership player Jared Eckersley stood up against his old mob with three.



GWS GIANTS               3.5        8.13     9.18     12.18 (90)
SYDNEY SWANS       4.3        5.4        10.6     11.10 (76)

RETURNING veteran Adam Kennedy and No.17 pick James Leake came through their returns from long-term injuries with flying colours as the GWS Giants sunk Sydney by 14 points in their Sydney Derby at Blacktown International Sports Park.

Playing reduced game-time, Kennedy had 16 disposals in his first game for 427 days, while Leake picked up 13 to help the Giants avenge their loss to the Swans only a few weeks ago in wet and slippery conditions.

The Swans jumped the gates as they did against Footscray last week, booting the first four goals before the Giants got their feet under the desk.

But Aaron Cadman’s 21st minute major got the home team going and they piled on eight of the next nine to charge to turn a 23-point deficit into a 27-point lead by half-time.

Sydney hit back with the first five goals of the third quarter to regain the lead as inaccuracy again threatened to bring GWS undone, but Lachie Keeffe’s second took it back and the Giants answered every challenge in the final term.

Fellow injury returnee Darcy Jones was a livewire for the Giants but finished with a wayward 2.5 and Cadman took six marks and kicked 2.3, while Academy ruckman Logan Smith impressed with 19 touches and 28 hitouts and Marc Sheather starred against his old club with 25 touches and seven clearances.

Corey Warner was unstoppable for the Swans, picking up 25 touches, nine clearances and three goals as Matt Roberts enjoyed a full game for 24 disposals and six marks, Ben Edwards (22 disposals, one goal) lifted his draft stocks and Robbie Fox (18 disposals, six clearances, one goal) made a solid return from injury.



CARLTON                                    5.5        7.6        8.8        10.11 (71)
SOUTHPORT SHARKS           2.1        4.6        8.11     11.17 (83)

IT HAD been 60 games since Southport had last played Carlton – the first match of the Sharks’ VFL journey in 2021 – yet the long-awaited sequel followed a similar script as the Sharks came from behind for a 12-point victory at IKON Park.

The Sharks climbed to second, but it didn’t always look that way as the cellar-dwelling Blues jumped them with four of the five goals.

Carlton got out by 27 points when Zavier Maher kicked truly early in the second quarter and it was still 24 when Liam McMahon struck 25 seconds into the third with Shark Wylie Buzza off with an arm injury, but Southport gradually started to wrest back the momentum.

The visitors kicked four goals to lead by three quarter-time and wore the Blues down before Byron Finch and Jay Lockhart broke them in time-on.

The Sharks had 408 disposals and 143 marks against Carlton’s pressure, with Jesse Joyce (25 disposals, seven marks, one goal) eventually picking his way through, while Jacob Dawson (32 disposals, eight clearances) led all comers.

Ben Jepson (28 disposals, 11 marks), Keegan Gray (26 disposals, eight marks) and 50th club gamers Max Spencer (25 disposals, 12 marks) and Boyd Woodcock (26 disposals, nine marks) were also prolific.

Lockhart (six marks, three goals) and Zac Foot (20 disposals, seven marks, 2.4) stood up in the absence of Buzza.

Caleb Marchbank (19 disposals, eight marks) was terrific down back for Carlton, Marc Pittonet (24 disposals, 21 hitouts, one goal) took the points off Brayden Crossley in his return from a hand injury, Maher had 27 possessions to go with his goal, Jaxon Binns and Jack Carroll also did well, Jesse Motlop (two goals) showed promising signs and Sam Durdin had 14 touches in his 100th State league game.



WERRIBEE                    2.2        4.6        6.9        12.11 (83)
WILLIAMSTOWN       3.1        6.3        8.7        9.9 (63)

WERRIBEE climbed to the top spot after wearing Williamstown down by 20 points to regain the John Pyne Cup in a cracking Western Derby at Avalon Airport Oval.

The Seagulls played a man down after James Cousins failed a fitness test on his rolled ankle and Mitch Cox suffered hamstring tightness late in the warm-up and only one emergency – Blake Coleman – on hand.

Still, the visitors were strong for two and a half quarters of an absorbing clash between two genuine premiership contenders as Coleman answered the challenge put on him by the selectors to kick three wonderful goals to set up an 18-point lead midway through the third quarter.

But the loss of Ryley Stoddart (ribs) was the tipping point and with the Tigers’ backline – the VFL’s best even without injured skipper Nick Coughlan – proved impossible to crack.

Jesse Clark was best afield with 26 disposals and 14 marks while holding Corey Ellison to only the first goal of the game, Nathan Cooper wasn’t far behind with 17 touches and 13 marks in keeping Frosty Miller medallist Brodie McLaughlin goalless and Louis Pinnuck pulled in 10 marks and bombed a long goal in the second term.

Goals to Flynn Young and Aiden Johnson cut the margin to single digits before Cam Polson booted an inspirational running major to make it 10 points at the final change, but the Tigers found another gear in the final term, slamming on six in a row to seal victory.

Jack Riding continued his breakout season for Werribee with 26 possessions and two goals, Dom Brew (27 disposals, 11 clearances) was again underneath every pack and Sam Conway had an absorbing battle with Tom Downie, going with the experienced big man physically as demanded by his coaches.

Cooper Whyte shared an absorbing lookalike battle with Noah Gadsby on the wing and Jack Henderson had 10 tackles to have an impact despite being held to 13 touches and a goal, bouncing back from a big bump that saw Joel Fitzgerald offered a one-game ban with an early plea.

Polson continually burst from stoppages and drove the ball forward on his way to 24 touches, nine clearances and the goal as the Seagulls’ best, while Toby Triffett and Will Fordham provided strong support.

Luke Parks (17 disposals, 13 marks) starred down back in the absence of Fin O’Dwyer, Downie’s 53 hitouts and nine tackles were important and Coleman finished with 3.1 in a lively display.



COBURG         4.2        5.5        9.9        10.12 (72)
PRESTON        2.3        3.7        4.8        8.11 (59)

COBURG won the Battle of Bell Street for the first time in nine years after holding off a fast-finishing Preston by 13 points in a tough and physical contest at Piranha Park on Sunday.

Not since June 8, 2015, had the Lions sung the song against the Northern Bullants/Blues, and they had early work to do after the visitors kicked the first two goals against the wind, with Jean-Luc Velissaris turning in a remarkable quarter with 19 disposals and John Jorgensen marking everything that went near him.

But Jorgenson’s kicking was just slightly off as he kicked five consecutive behinds (three posters) before finally nailing the last goal of the game.

His man Deacon Kalpakis gained form and confidence from those early let offs and was a dominant force in defence for Coburg with 25 disposals and 15 marks (many of them intercepts) to win the Harold Martin Medal just ahead of Jesse Corigliano (33 disposals, 10 marks), Ryan Sturgess (19 disposals, five marks) and Lachlan Walker (30 disposals, eight marks).

Coburg kicked four goals in eight minutes to grab an 11-point lead at quarter-time and only allowed Preston to cut the margin by one point with the breeze before blowing out to 31 points at the final change, allowing it to hold off the Ants’ late charge.

Flynn Gentile (25 disposals, two goals) was electric for the Lions, late inclusion Liam Podhajski (23 disposals, six clearances, 32 hitouts) was a powerhouse in the middle, Josh D’Intinosante (16 disposals, 12 marks, two goals) made every touch count and the Maxes on the wings – Thompson (26 disposals, seven marks) and Kennedy (23 disposals, seven marks) were also impressive.

Velissaris was quelled by Josh Watson after quarter-time but still finished with 38 disposals, 13 clearances, five tackles and seven entries, while co-captains Matthew King (25 disposals, seven marks, one goal) and Liam Mackie (21 disposals, 14 rebounds) starred and Max Johnson, Jorgensen, Caleb Franks and Sam Donegan all had their moments.



CASEY DEMONS                     2.5        5.8        8.8        11.11 (77)
NORTH MELBOURNE            3.5        8.6        10.10   12.11 (83)

NORTH Melbourne moved within percentage of the top 10 after holding off the Casey Demons by six points in a thriller at Casey Fields – the first time the Kangaroos have beaten the Demons in their history.

The Kangaroos’ third-straight victory was set up by a four-goal burst just before half-time that took them from nine points down to 16 up at the main break, and the first major on resumption to Geordie Payne gave them a game-high 22-point lead.

The Demons clawed their way back within two points early in the last before Robert Hansen banged on his third and fourth goals to re-establish the breathing space.

Eddie King’s 18th minute goal brought Casey back within a kick, but that proved to be the last score and Hansen was seconds away from booting his fifth when the siren sounded.

Colby McKercher’s return from a foot injury for a VFL debut proved he is unlikely to ever reach double figures in games at this level as he reeled off 31 disposals and eight marks, while Griffin Logue made a strong comeback from a knee reconstruction to have 14 touches and seven marks.

Hansen’s match-winning four goals came from 18 touches and five marks, while Charlie Lazzaro (31 disposals, six marks) continues to bang down the AFL door and Finnbar Maley, Dylan Stephens, Jaidyn Stephenson and Riley Hardeman also made strong impacts.

Andy Moniz-Wakefield (35 disposals, five entries, nine rebounds) is getting harder to leave out of the Melbourne team, with skipper Mitch White (27 disposals, seven clearances, nine tackles, one goal) again starring and Matt Jefferson bouncing back to form with eight marks and four goals.



PORT MELBOURNE  6.1        8.4        11.6     13.10 (88)
GEELONG CATS         2.5        4.8        7.10     12.14 (86)

PORT Melbourne claimed its second top-four scalp at ETU Stadium in a month, ending Geelong’s eight-match winning streak with a thrilling two-point victory over the fast-finishing Cats.

The Borough’s talented squad is starting to look dangerous as they try to stay in finals contention, and as they did against Williamstown three weeks ago they made the running early, piling on five goals in the second half of the first quarter to jump out to a 20-point lead.

It was a margin they held until midway through the third, when the Cats’ talls broke away – goals to Phoenix Foster, Shannon Neale and Rhys Stanley closed them to within a point before Port responded with three of their own to re-establish the gap turning for home.

Geelong came again, cutting it back to a point once before, but the visitors were never able to regain the lead, with Jimmy Miller providing breathing space before Foster’s second gave the Cats about 30 seconds to pinch it.

But as red and blue fans bit their fingernails down to the quick, their team held firm to secure their fourth win of the year.

Tom Hird was outstanding playing further up the ground for the Borough with 22 disposals and a crucial goal, while skipper Harvey Hooper produced one of the goals of the year on his way to 19 possessions and two majors.

Lachie Rankin, Tom Highmore and the returning Fraser Rosman were superb down back, Matt Signorello is relishing the freedom up the field and Billy Gowers kicked two goals to keep his lead in the Frosty Miller Medal.

Toby Conway was the dominant big man on the ground for Geelong with 20 touches and 38 hitouts, providing first use to star midfielders Mitch Knevitt (24 disposals, 10 tackles), Mitch Hardie (23 disposals) and the fast-improving Marcus Herbert (22 disposals), Neale took eight grabs and kicked 3.3 and Jed Bews did well in the backline.