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Sandringham Dragons fly to TAC Cup title

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 25: Jack Scrimshaw of the Dragons celebrates a goal with Tom Maloney of the Dragons (R) during the TAC CUP Grand Final match between the Murray Bushrangers and Sandringham Dragons at Etihad Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Michael Dodge/AFL Media)
Jack Scrimshaw celebrates a goal for the Dragons

ANDREW McGrath has further enhanced his stocks as the possible No.1 pick at this year's NAB AFL Draft with a best-on-ground display in the Sandringham Dragons' TAC Cup premiership win.

McGrath gathered 38 disposals and eight clearances in his team's 17-point win over the Murray Bushrangers at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, in what was the club's first flag since 2011.  

The damaging half-back and midfielder steered the Dragons to the 12.13 (85) to 9.14 (68) win and boosted his chances of being the first played picked in November with another brilliant showing to be named the TAC medallist for best afield.

McGrath brings great pace, energy and drive from the backline and has also shown he can carry those traits into the midfield with a consistent season.

He is one of a handful of prospects, including Hugh McCluggage, who is vying to be the No.1 choice.

The 18-year-old was among a host of likely early draft picks to perform strongly for the Dragons in their win, including Jack Scrimshaw, whose vision and deft left-foot kicking was pivotal.

Scrimshaw played across half-back and gathered 24 disposals and also kicked an important goal in the last term to help the Dragons over the line.

Tim Taranto's excellent finals series continued with 30 disposals and 11 tackles, while Corey Lyons, the younger brother of Adelaide's Jarryd, picked up 24 touches and speedy midfielder Oliver Florent displayed his class with 23 touches and a goal.

The Bushrangers tried valiantly but were ultimately outclassed by the star-studded Sandringham line-up.

Their own No.1 pick contender, Will Brodie, finished with 21 disposals and six clearances, but could have had more of an impact if not for inaccuracy near goal.

Charlie Spargo, who is not eligible for the draft until next year, was excellent with 24 disposals, while Ryan Garthwaite had plenty of the ball in defence.

Andrew McGrath won best afield honours in the TAC Cup grand final. Picture: AFL Photos

Key forward Todd Marshall again gave glimpses of his talents – including a terrific gather and snap goal in the second half – but managed just two kicks for the game, both of which were goals.

Despite the skill level being down, particularly in the first half, the sides produced a close contest throughout the match.

Sandringham's four-goal second quarter gave them a 12-point buffer at the main change before Murray cut it to 10 points by three-quarter time.

The last term was tight until Scrimshaw's goal broke the deadlock and the Dragons kicked two late majors to seal the premiership.   

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS    1.4    4.6    7.10    9.14 (68)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS    2.2    6.6    9.8    12.13 (85)

Murray Bushrangers:
Richards 2, Marshall 2, McMullan 2, Pinnuck, Tiziani, Sproule
Sandringham Dragons: H.Brayshaw 2, Krakauer 2, Maloney 2, Lyons, Scrimshaw, Florent, Lok, McLean, Trew

Murray Bushrangers:
Spargo, Brodie, Cousins, Richards, Garthwaite, Page
Sandringham Dragons: McGrath, Scrimshaw, Taranto, Lyons, Florent, Burt