EASTERN RANGES 10.10 (70)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 11.21 (87)
OAKLEIGH continued its penchant for blowing opposition teams out of the water early on its way to a convincing 17-point NAB League win over Eastern Ranges at Box Hill City Oval on Saturday.
The Chargers kicked 4.4 to 0.3 against Sandringham in Round 1 and have followed it up with 7.4 to 0.1 against Northern in Round 2 and 6.5 to 0.2 against the Ranges, giving them a 17.13 to 0.6 advantage across their three first quarters this season.
It has given them the perfect launchpad and allowed them wriggle room when Eastern fought back in the second half, kicking 4.4 to 1.2 in the third and 4.1 to 2.7 in the last to put respectability on the scoreboard without ever looking like winning.
This win was built on another remarkable display from likely early draft pick Elijah Tsatas, who put together a brilliant 42-disposal performance that included 12 marks and 11 inside-50s to give him season averages of 35, 8.3 and 7.0 in the first three weeks.
His dominance was franked by the fact Oakleigh’s second-best disposal winners were the 19 earned by Essendon father-son prospect Alwyn Davey Jnr (five inside-50s, one goal) and Braden Andrews (six marks, eight inside-50s), while Jed Rule (16 possessions, 11 marks) and Hamish Heine (seven marks, eight rebound-50s) were also impressive.
Josh Bennetts (21 disposals, one goal) was Eastern’s best, still recording only half of Tsatas’ astronomical numbers, while Carlton VFL-listed and one-VFL game Kangaroos player Tyreece Leiu (18, six marks, two goals), Connor Smith (19, one goal), Callum Verrell (17, six marks, seven rebounds) and Zac Greeves (16, seven marks, two goals) also played well.
BENDIGO PIONEERS 10.13 (73)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 13.12 (90)
DANDENONG held firm for longer to outlast Bendigo by 17 points in a tight contest at Queen Elizabeth Oval on Sunday.
The Stingrays trailed at quarter- and three quarter-time and were level at the main break but kicked the last four goals to remain undefeated and leave the Pioneers ruing a first quarter in which they kicked 4.7 to 2.1.
Another potential top-five NAB AFL Draft pick in Mitch Szybkowski starred for Dandenong with 32 possessions, eight tackles, six inside-50s and a goal, while Jaxon Binns (27, 10 marks, nine inside-50s, one goal) also had claims to best-on-ground and Henry Hustwaite (27, five marks) shone in the middle, Finn Emile-Brennan (22, five marks, seven rebounds) led the defence.
Michael Kiraly (27, eight marks, five inside-50s) and Jason Gillbee (26, nine marks) stood out for Bendigo but kicked five behinds between them, while Oskar Faulkhead (23, five inside-50s), Bode Stevens (21, seven marks) and Charlie Barnett (19, 10 marks, one goal) were also important in the comeback.
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 11.17 (83)
GWS GIANTS ACADEMY 11.10 (76)
GWS Academy came within a kick of springing an upset for the third week in a row as Sandringham held on by seven points in an entertaining contest at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Good Friday.
The Giants, who have now lost their three games by four, seven and seven points to be easily the best of the Northern Academy teams, led at half-time and were still within five points turning for home against a powerful Dragons line-up.
But the brilliance of Will Ashcroft, who had 36 disposals, five marks, eight inside-50s and two goals including the sealer finally saw the home team do enough to get over the line, with Harry Sheezel (18, five marks, four goals) riding shotgun, Cam McKenzie (23, five marks, five inside-50s) and Luca McNab (23, six inside-50s) proving important and Ben Andrews impressing in defence.
Nicholas Newton was wonderful down back for GWS with 25 disposals and 10 rebounds, with plenty of help coming from Patrick Ryan (22, eight marks), Luke Lawrence (22, eight inside-50s, one goal), Luke Fellows (22, six marks) and Ethan Grace (three goals), while Nick Madden had 15 disposals, 29 hitouts and a goal in an enthralling contest with Dragon Max Ramsden (20 hitouts).
CALDER CANNONS 6.12 (48)
WESTERN JETS 12.13 (85)
WESTERN Jets kept in touch with the competition’s undefeated teams after outclassing Calder by 37 points at Highgate Reserve on Saturday.
Coming off a narrow loss to Gippsland, the Jets hit back hard with four unanswered goals in the second quarter to turn a six-point lead into 37 by the main break before holding off a Cannons third-quarter rally to win comfortably with Jack Petric kicking four goals.
Massimo D’Ambrossio was on song again for the Jets, picking up 31 disposals, laying five tackles and clearing six rebound-50s, with Jake Whybrow (21, eight tackles, seven inside-50s) and Jaelen Pavlidis (20, five marks, six inside-50s) having fine days, Ethan Di Battista (19, five marks) and Adam Azzopardi (21) also doing well and Nathan Dowdy having 26 hitouts.
Joey Dimasi (25 possessions, eight marks, one goal) and Jack Newitt (23, seven marks, one goal) were clearly Calder’s best, with Paul Pascu (20), Michael Ktona (20) and last week’s Coburg debutant Harry Andronaco (18) trying hard, but the Cannons would be disappointed to go down convincingly while also losing the tackle count 62-39.
GWV REBELS 7.8 (50)
GEELONG FALCONS 15.7 (97)
GEELONG took control in the middle two quarters on its way to accounting for GWV by 47 points at Wendouree’s CE Brown Reserve on Thursday night.
The Falcons eked out a nine-point advantage at the first break and kicked eight goals to two in the next two periods to lock the points away on the back of another excellent display from ruckman Olivier Northam (16 disposals, 39 hitouts, two goals).
Tadhg Evans (four) and last week’s hero Euriah Hollard (three, plus 18 disposals) kicked seven goals between them for Geelong, with Cooper Hayes (21 disposals, six rebounds) and Jet Kneebone (22) winning plenty of the ball.
Charlie Molan returned to the Rebels after playing the first three Smithy’s VFL matches for Williamstown and stood out with 22 possessions, 11 tackles and six inside-50s, while Footscray-listed Jamieson Ballantyne (20, 12 tackles, five rebounds) drew similar attention and Hugh Bond (17 and a fierce 15 tackles), Tristan Maple (18, six marks, six tackles), Hamish Sinnot (19, seven marks) and Flynn Loader (three goals) were also prominent.
TASMANIA DEVILS 15.10 (100)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 8.11 (59)
TASMANIA overcame a slow start to move to 2-0 with a 41-point win over Northern Knights at Penguin’s Dial Park on Good Friday.
The match was delayed by 30 minutes due to the Knights being held up on their way to the ground, but it didn’t seem to affect them early as they kicked the only two goals of the opening term to lead by nine points.
But the Devils levelled the scores by half-time and put the foot down after the break with 11 goals to four on the back of four goals from Will Splann and a dominant display at centre half-back from Tom McCallum, while Lachie Cowan, Heath Ollington and Jack Callinan also shone.
GIPPSLAND POWER 18.14 (122)
SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY 10.11 (71)
GIPPSLAND held onto top spot after running away from Sydney Swans Academy in the last quarter to win by 51 points at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Good Friday.
The Swans stuck with their opponents early, but the Power kicked five goals to one either side of the first break to establish some breathing space, which they held through to three quarter-time before adding six to two in the last to turn a 24-point lead into a big win.
Bailey Humphrey was best-on-ground for Gippsland with 20 disposals, six marks, seven inside-50s and four goals, while defender Rhys Galvin (17, eight marks, eight rebounds) wasn’t far behind and Coby Burgiel (23, one goal), Max Walton (21, six marks, one goal), Jonti Schuback (23) and Archer Reid (five marks, three goals) were important.
Caiden Cleary led all comers with 24 disposals, plus six inside-50s and five tackles), Angus Anderson returned from VFL duty with 19, tackles and six inside-50s) and Luke Giacometti (21, five rebounds), Thomas Unger (15, seven marks, two goals) and Billy King (21 hitouts, five inside-50s) worked tirelessly.
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 21.21 (147)
NT THUNDER ACADEMY 4.7 (31)
KEY forward Fletcher Hart had a day out as Murray Bushrangers ambushed an undermanned NT Thunder Academy by 116 points at Highgate Reserve on Saturday.
The Thunder were missing several key players for various reasons in their first game of the year and were no match as the Bushrangers kicked 6.9 to 0.0 in the first term and didn’t look back, also piling on eight to one in the third.
The 200cm Hart cashed in with 10 marks and six goals, while Noah Bradshaw (25, seven marks, six inside-50s, one goal), Zander Nash (21, 13 marks, one goal) and Ryan Eyers (22, 10 marks) did as they pleased and Thomas Cappellari (22, seven marks), while Tyler Norton (23) and Nicholas Quigg (22) were also among a list of 10 Bushrangers to pick up at least 20 disposals.
Lloyd Johnston (19 disposals, five marks, six rebounds) battled hard against a flood of attacks for the Thunder and Riley Stone (16, six tackles) and Petros Politis (16, five inside-50s) tried hard.
ROUND 4: Friday, April 22: Murray Bushrangers v Northern Knights (Deakin Reserve Shepparton, 5pm); Saturday, April 23: Sandringham Dragons v Tasmania Devils (RSEA Park, 12pm); Gippsland Power v Dandenong Stingrays (Morwell, 1pm); Calder Cannons v Oakleigh Chargers (Highgate, 2.30pm). Sunday, April 24: NT Thunder v Geelong Falcons (TIO Stadium, 11.30am); Bendigo Pioneers v GWS Giants Academy (Highgate, 11.45am); Brisbane Lions Academy v Eastern Ranges (South Pine, 11.45am); GWV Rebels v Sydney Swans Academy (Highgate, 2.15pm); Gold Coast Suns Academy v Western Jets (South Pine, 2.15pm, Herald Sun).
NEXT WEEK: ROUND 5: Sunday, May 1: Bendigo Pioneers v Gippsland Power (Queen Elizabeth Oval, 9.45am); Murray Bushrangers v GWV Rebels (Queen Elizabeth Oval, 12.15pm); Tasmania Devils v Northern Territory Thunder (Highgate, 1pm); Geelong Falcons v Dandenong Stingrays (Queen Elizabeth Oval, 2.45pm). Bye: Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers, Sandringham Dragons, Western Jets.
THEN: May 7-8: General bye.
(All games are streamed live on the NAB League app except for the Herald Sun game, which is on that website).