OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 13.10 (88)
TASMANIA DEVILS 12.10 (82)
OAKLEIGH maintained its undefeated start to the season and moved back into the NAB League top two after a late Tom Bower goal claimed a heartstopping six-point win over Tasmania at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Sunday.
The Devils had levelled the scores three times in a frenetic final term after coming back from 17 points in arrears at half-time and made a last-ditch bid for victory when Colby McKercher drove the ball inside-50, only for Oscar Duncan to take a contested mark and switch the ball down the beach side, with Bower marking 15m out and kicking the winning goal with less than two minutes remaining.
Despite being without Elijah Tsatas, George Wardlaw and Alwyn Davey on APS duties, the Chargers rose to 5-0 and equal with ladder leader Gippsland Power, while the Devils showed themselves to be a genuine threat despite slipping to 4-2 in fifth spot.
Bower finished with a game-high three goals from 12 disposals and four marks, finishing off the good work of Braden Andrews, who produced a season-best 25 touches and 10 marks, while Blake Drury (21, five inside-50s, five tackles), Harvey Thomas (20, six marks, six tackles), young Williamstown ruckman Ben Woodfull (17, eight marks, 12 hitouts, one goal) in his first NAB League game this year following seven VFL appearances for the Seagulls and defenders Alex Noblet (15, fiv marks, eight rebounds) and Duncan (12, six marks, six rebounds).
McKercher was outstanding for the Devils with 27 possessions, five marks, five tackles, five inside-50s and a goal, with Liam Jones (23, six inside-50s) and Seth Campbell (18, six inside-50s, one goal) also impressive, while Bryce Alomes (four marks, three goals) and Will Splann (six marks, two goals) finished off in attack.
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 9.12 (66)
EASTERN RANGES 13.12 (90)
EASTERN took advantage of a weakened Sandringham to defeat the Dragons by 24 points and move into the top eight in the first match of the Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval double header on Sunday.
The Dragons went in without stars Will Ashcroft and Harry Sheezel on AFL Academy representative duties, plus Cam McKenzie, and the Ranges gained control with three goals in four minutes just before quarter-time, maintaining a handy lead for the rest of the day despite Sandringham drawing within a goal midway through the third term.
Key defender Lewis Hayes was almost impassable for Eastern with a wonderful 26 disposals, 11 marks and nine rebound-50s, Tyson Sruk starred in the middle with 21 and seven marks, Tyreece Leiu continued his strong year with 19, five marks and six tackles, Jy Peacock impressed with 17, seven tackles and six inside-50s and Kai Windsor grabbed 17 and kicked two goals.
Nick Watson was also lively for the visitors, looking dangerous every time he went near the ball and deserved better than his two goals from 12 touches, while Zac Greeves took nine marks in attack but managed just 0.3.
Sandringham tried a few different things in the absence of its key midfielders, with Luca Macnab (24, five inside-50s) and Lachie Benton (22, five inside-50s) showing the benefits of a run at VFL level with Gold Coast and GWS respectively, while Hugo Hall-Kahan moved up to the wing and had 20 touches and eight marks.
Charlie Clarke (20, five tackles, seven inside-50s) added speed and class when given a chance on the ball, while Nick Crowe (20, six inside-50s), Max Ramsden (17, 18 hitouts, five inside-50s) and Chris Rousakis (three goals) also impressed, as did Gus McLennan, who took four marks and kicked two goals in his first appearance since Round 2 last year due to shoulder and finger injuries.
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 9.10 (64)
CALDER CANNONS 12.12 (84)
CALDER banked its second victory of the season with a convincing 20-point win over Northern at Genis Steel Oval on Saturday.
The more efficients Cannons were always a narrow step ahead of the Knights, winning the first three quarters by seven, 16 and four points to lead by 27 at the final change and answering every challenge the home team could throw at them.
Northern had 77 more disposals and 12 more marks than Calder with the top five and eight of the top 11 ballwinners on the ground, but the Cannons used the footy better to earn a 50-39 advantage for inside-50s.
Essendon VFL player Paul Pascu (20 disposals, seven tackles, seven inside-50s), Kade Mueller (20, five marks), Matthew Pellegrino (20, five inside-50s), Carlos Egan (18, five marks, six tackles, one goal) Declan Willmore (18, seven marks, one goal), Luke Said (19, one goal) and Jack Brown (three goals from five touches) were critical in Calder’s victory.
James Nadalin (25, eight rebounds) was strong in defence, Owen Mulady (24, five marks, six inside-50s) fired through the middle, Matthew Ryan (20, two goals) was dangerous in attack and 16-year-olds Kristian Lawson (21, six marks, five inside-50s on debut) and Laird Ramshaw (20, five tackles) showed they were up to the level, while Aleksandr D’Arro (23, seven marks), Jason McCormick (22, six tackles, one goal), Ben Ham (20, six tackles, one goal), Jack Rossimel (19, nine marks, five rebounds) and Anthony Caminiti (16, two goals) were all significant contributors for Northern.
ROUND 8: Friday, May 27: Dandenong Stingrays v Sandringham Dragons (Shepley Oval, 7pm). Saturday, May 28: GWV Rebels v Western Jets (Mars Stadium, 11.30am); Tasmania Devils v Eastern Ranges (UTAS Stadium, 12pm); Geelong Falcons v Oakleigh Chargers (Mars Stadium, 2pm, Herald Sun). Sunday, May 29: Bendigo Pioneers v Calder Cannons (Swan Hill, 10.30am); Murray Bushrangers v Gippsland Power (Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta, 1pm). Bye: Northern Knights.
NEXT WEEK: ROUND 9: Saturday, June 4: Oakleigh Chargers v Calder Cannons (Warrawee Park, 10am); Dandenong Stingrays v GWV Rebels (Shepley Oval, 11.30am); Murray Bushrangers v Tasmania Devils (Highgate, 12pm); Sandringham Dragons v Northern Knights (RSEA Park, 1pm); Gippsland Power v Geelong Falcons (Shepley Oval, 2pm). Sunday, June 5: Western Jets v Bendigo Pioneers (Avalon Airport Oval, 1pm). Bye: Eastern Ranges.
THEN: June 11-12: Queen’s Birthday General Bye.
(All games are streamed live on the NAB League app except for the Herald Sun game, which is on that website).