Take a look at some of the players who have impressed across the opening six rounds of the 2022 NAB League Boys season.
Just one game has been played over the past fortnight to allow players to return to their school and community teams.
The action begins to ramp up this weekend with three games schedule on Sunday, including a double-header at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.
Ahead of the return to action, cast an eye over some players who have made promising starts to the 2022 campaign:
OSKAR FAULKHEAD: Faulkhead has been in dominant form playing as an inside midfielder. The 19-year-old has averaged 21 possessions and six tackles in his opening five games. He put on six kilos of muscle over the pre-season and has taken his game to another level. Faulkhead was impressive in both games for the Colgate Young Guns, collecting 58 disposals across the two matches.
HARVEY GALLAGHER: Had an unfortunate start to the year, going off early with a quad injury in Round 1, before suffering a concussion in Round 2. Gallagher was terrific as a small forward in his comeback game against Gippsland Power in Round 5, where he kicked three goals. He followed it up with an outstanding game for the Colgate Young Guns against Vic Metro, booting 5.3 from 15 disposals at Avalon Airport Oval.
PAUL PASCU: Broke into the Calder Cannons side as a 17-year-old last year and has this year taken the reins as captain. Averaging 21 disposals and four marks in four games and has impressed with his attack on the ball and ability to use the ball cleanly on both sides of the body.
RYE PENNY: Penny has been somewhat of a surprise packet, with his big leap and strong marking becoming a feature of his game. The 18-year-old has taken 33 marks in four games, including 11 in the Cannons’ Round 1 win over the GWS Giants Academy.
TAJ CAMPBELL-FARRELL: Has been a ball magnet throughout his opening five games of the season, racking up 142 disposals at an average of 28 per game – ranked third in the NAB League Boys competition. His most recent outing was a 36-disposal game in the four-point defeat to Geelong Falcons, where he also laid seven tackles.
JAI CULLEY: The 19-year-old made an immediate impact on the 2022 NAB League Boys season, amassing 49 disposals and kicking four goals across the opening two games before being sidelined by a minor shoulder injury. His performance for the Colgate Young Guns against Vic Metro elevated his status even further, racking up 22 disposals and four goals in a dominant display that was sure to catch the eye of recruiters ahead of the AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.
TYREECE LEIU: Was invited to train with Carlton over the pre-season after impressing as a tall intercept defender during the 2021 NAB League Boys season. Lieu stands at 194cm but has also shown the ability to be an inside midfielder. Has only played two games for the Ranges during the 2022 NAB League Boys season, having also played a VFL game for the Blues. Impressed the Colgate Young Guns coaching staff with his performance in the Young Guns Series.
NICHOLAS WATSON: One of nine bottom-agers in the 2022 NAB AFL Academy, Watson made a blistering start to the 2022 NAB League Boys season. The highly-touted 17-year-old booted 4.2 from 14 disposals in the Ranges’ opening round defeat to Dandenong Stingrays, before slotting five goals in a big win over Gold Coast Suns the following week.
OSCAR MURDOCH: Has proven himself to be a surprise packet with his strong start to the season and has greatly impressed the coaching staff at the Falcons in all five appearances. Murdoch was a member of the Vic Country team that took on the Colgate Young Guns on Sunday and finished with 16 disposals and six rebound-50m.
JHYE CLARK: The AFL Academy member and Falcons skipper has only turned out in the NAB League Boys on three occasions this season, with his most recent showing a 29-disposal performance in the four-point come-from-behind win over Dandenong Stingrays in Round 5. Clark had the ball on string for Vic Country against the Colgate Young Guns and finished with 29 touches, six marks, five tackles and five inside-50m entries.
JACOB KONSTANTY: Konstanty has only resumed his football career in the past 15 months after spending time with Melbourne Victory’s junior academy. He has been one to watch early this season with his electrifying agility, forward pressure and goal sense. Now in his top-age year, Konstanty has averaging 15 disposals per game and booted seven goals, including a bag of four against Dandenong Stingrays in Round 4.
BAILEY HUMPHREY: The Power captain has led by example in his first five games of the season. Has spent time through the midfield and up forward, with his contribution equally impressive across both lines. Humphrey has averaged 21 possessions per game and has had plenty of looks at goal, booting 9.8. His strength and power around and away from the contest has been eye-catching. Got his just reward with a start for Vic Country against the Young Guns and racked up 20 disposals and a goal.
AARON CADMAN: Cadman has been in good touch in front of the goals this campaign, booting eight goals in four games for the Rebels. His biggest haul came in the opening game of the year, when he slotted 4.3 in a 31-point win over Bendigo Pioneers. Cadman’s early-season form has been rewarded with elevation into the NAB AFL Academy. He was also selected for Vic Country for the game against the Colgate Young Guns at IKON Park, where he had 16 disposals and kicked two goals.
HUGH BOND: A rower at national level, Bond has made a fantastic start to the 2022 NAB League Boys season. Has averaged 20 disposals and a whopping 10 tackles per game, including 15 tackles in the Round 3 game against Geelong Falcons. Bond’s running capacity was on display for Vic Country against the Colgate Young Guns, enabling him to rack up 14 disposals in the opening half.
NOAH BRADSHAW: The son of former Brisbane Lions and Sydney Swans forward Daniel Bradshaw, Noah played eight games for the Bushrangers in 2021 and has enjoyed a strong start to 2022. He had the football on a string in the four rounds prior to the Bushrangers’ bye, averaging 25 disposals. He’s also worked hard on the defensive side of his game, laying 14 tackles in his past two games.
BRAYDEN GEORGE: George’s power and accurate kicking at goal have been a feature across the opening six rounds of the 2022 season. He started the season with a bag of five goals against Gippsland Power in Round 1. The 18-year-old has continued to find the big sticks, already netting 17 majors in five games – including six against GWV Rebels in his most recent match.
SAM GRANT: The 19-year-old has moved to a key defensive post this year after previously playing forward and in the ruck. Grant has flourished in the role change. Standing 199cm, he has proven to be very tough to beat in one-on-one contests and has been one of the Knights’ most reliable players early in the year.
JASON McCORMICK: The lively small forward has displayed great speed and agility. An exciting prospect around goal, McCormick had nine scoring shots in his first three games. He then produced his most prolific game of the season against Murray Bushrangers in Round 4, where he amassed 21 disposals, 10 marks and six inside-50m.
ELIJAH TSATAS: Tsatas been one of the best performed midfielders in 2022. He has averaged more disposals per game than any player across the opening six rounds of the NAB League Boys campaign. Tsatas has accumulated 131 disposals in his first four matches, which includes a mammoth 42-possession game in a 17-point win over Eastern Ranges in Round 3. The 17-year-old is winning the football in dangerous areas and has amassed 21 inside 50m in his past two matches.
ALWYN DAVEY: The son of former Essendon forward Alwyn Davey, Davey Jnr was one of four players included to the AFL Academy in recent weeks after making a great start to the 2022 season. Has impressed with his ability to take the game on with his blistering speed and has also displayed great pressure when not in possession. Davey has the versatility to play both midfield and forward.
MAX RAMSDEN: 19-year-old Ramsden is a contender to be selected in the AFL Mid-Season Draft. Standing 202cm, Ramsden has the ability to cover the ground well and accumulate possessions. He has averaged 19 hitouts and 15 disposals per game in four NAB League Boys appearances this year. Also put in a good performance for the Colgate Young Guns in the win over Vic Metro at Avalon Airport Oval.
HUGO HALL-KAHAN: Another 19-year-old who has emerged as an AFL Mid-Season Draft contender. Has booted 11 goals in his past three NAB League Boys appearances, which includes hauls of five and four. Was also able to hit the scoreboard in the Colgate Young Guns win over Vic Country on Sunday, finishing with two majors.
SETH CAMPBELL: After averaging 12.1 disposals as a bottom-age player in the 2021 NAB League Boys season, Campbell has been a star performer across the early rounds of this year's campaign. He is averaging 21 disposals and just shy of three goals a game playing a high half forward role. Silky skills and a great running capacity are Campbell’s one-woods, and these were on full display in Round 5 when he had 32 disposals and kicked six goals against Northern Territory Thunder.
LACHIE COWAN: A member of the NAB AFL Academy, the Devils captain has confirmed himself as one of Tasmania’s leading draft prospects come the end of the year. Cowan played a variety of positions in the 2021 edition of the NAB League Boys, but this year has cemented himself as one of the best half back flankers in the country with his regularly exquisite ball use. Cowan is averaging 27 disposals and seven rebound 50s per game across the opening five games of the season.
MASSIMO D’AMBROSIO: D’Ambrosio is generating interest from clubs as a possible AFL Mid-Season Draft selection after an excellent start to the season across half back. A dominant junior for Point Cook, his time in the talent pathway has been riddled with back injuries and other setbacks. However, he has remained incredibly positive, and the recent consistency of form is a result of his resilience and love for the game. D’Ambrosio put his best foot forward during the Colgate Young Gun Series, amassing 24 and 32 disposals in the matches against Vic Metro and Vic Country.
JOVAN PETRIC: Proved to be a match-winner in the Jets’ win over Calder Cannons in Round 4 when he booted 4.3 in a 37-point triumph at Highgate Recreation Reserve. Remarkably, Petric’s move forward was only made at the last-minute, after the Jets were forced into a reshuffle following an injury in the pre-match warm-up. Petric’s numbers may not be huge on paper, but his versatility is a major asset, with the ability to play back up ruck and have an impact up forward. One to watch.