Adelaide, Brisbane, Collingwood, Essendon, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Richmond, StKilda & Sydney had their last intra-club hitouts on Friday before the NAB Challenge gets underway next week. To keep you informed on your favorite SC players, we edited a few articles from various sources (which have been included). Something to ponder over a morning coffee 😉
ADELAIDE (direct from the Crows website)
The Adelaide squad was split into two even teams for match simulation at training on Friday. A number of young players impressed during the hit-out in warm conditions at AAMI Stadium.
Second-year forward Mitch McGovern finished with four goals to be the leading scorer. Captain Taylor Walker and his lookalike Keenan Ramsey each kicked two goals on opposing teams, while midfielders Richard Douglas and Rory Atkins also slotted two goals apiece. Rookie Jono Beech presented strongly in the attacking half, while Kyle Cheney and Jake Lever were strong in defence. Midfielders Scott Thompson, Brad Crouch, Matt Crouch and Cam Ellis-Yolmen won some nice clearances, working at the feet of Sam Jacobs, Reilly O’Brien, Luke Lowden and also rookie Paul Hunter.
Recruits Paul Seedsman and Troy Menzel, and untried left-footer Harrison Wigg also showed off their neat kicking skills. Crows Head of Football David Noble said the coaching staff were happy with the session. “It was good for the boys to have another solid hit-out before the start of the NAB Challenge next week,” Noble said. The Crows will kick off their NAB Challenge campaign against West Coast at Unley Oval on Sunday, February 21.
BRISBANE (originally appeared on foxsports.com.au)
Brisbane showed there will be more to their attack than Josh Schache in 2016 after a host of maroon-grown tall forwards cashed–in at Friday’s intra-club match.
Schache – the boom key forward taken at No.2 in last year’s draft – took several strong marks but went goalless in the blustery conditions at Burpengary. He had one shot for goal smothered and went wide with his other shot and was relatively quiet compared to his previous intra-club efforts.
But Queenslanders Matt Hammelmann (three goals), Eric Hipwood (two goals) and Jono Freeman (two goals) hit the scoreboard while mature-age recruit Josh Walker chimed in for two majors in the scrappy contest. “All the key forwards were pretty good, it’s nice to have a few to pick from,’’ Lions coach Justin Leppitsch said. “They gave a target and that’s important.’’
New recruits Tom Bell and Ryan Bastinac were ball magnets during Brisbane’s final intra-club hit-out while Dayne Zorko, Ryan Lester, Pearce Hanley and Stef Martin were also good. Defender Harris Andrews copped a knock to the hip in the first half and sat out the second half. He had his hip iced after the game and Leppitsch said it was only a minor cork.
The teams for the first two quarters were virtually split into seniors against reserves and it was one-way traffic with the star-studded “maroon’’ team booting 12 goals to zero. It was difficult to gauge who was truly flying given the gulf in class between the two teams. With captain Tom Rockliff, Daniel Rich, Allen Christensen, Mitch Robinson, Hanley, Bell, Bastinac, Zorko, Martin and Lester on the one side, the ball was camped in one half of the field for most of the first and second quarters.
Despite Leppitsch saying the intra-club matches had presented more questions than answers, the way the sides were split gave an indication of who is in favour ahead of the season-proper. Tom Cutler and Ryan Harwood played well across half-back in the senior side while Rohan Bewick was on a wing for the star-studded team. Lester’s appearance in the top side ahead of Jarrad Jansen was also telling.
Brisbane will take on Gold Coast in their first NAB Challenge clash at Burpengary on February 21 and the Lions are likely to rest a number of their more senior players.
COLLINGWOOD (originally appeared on the Herald Sun website)
Recruit Adam Treloar was one of the Magpies’ new faces who impressed during match simulation at Olympic Park. Small forward Jamie Elliott did not take part, restricted to to run-throughs as he recovers from back soreness. Tyson Goldsack and Jeremy Howe were also onlookers.
ESSENDON (originally appeared on the Herald Sun website)
Essendon playmaker David Zaharakis was one of the standouts of the Bombers’ intra-club match, helping lead a new-look midfield group including Ryan Crowley, James Kelly and the club’s top draft pick Darcy Parish. Zaharakis, who won the club’s best and fairest in 2011, was prolific around the stoppages, while top-up players Ryan Crowley and James Kelly were also prominent.
Crowley, who will enjoy more freedom through the midfield this season and could be a weapon forward, took an impressive overhead contested mark and goaled from directly in front early in a 75-minute scratch match divided into thirds. Triple premiership Geelong utility Kelly impressed with his defensive pressure and coolly slotted a 35m goal from the boundary line late in the contest.
Former Cat James Kelly was used across half-back, and his composure in tight contests will be a boost for a club missing a dozen players because of an anti-doping suspension. Draftee Darcy Parish, considered the best midfielder by the Bombers in last year’s national draft, was strong in the contest, while David Zaharakis found plenty of the ball.
NORTH MELBOURNE (originally appeared on the Herald Sun website)
THE much-anticipated return of Daniel Wells has gathered speed after the midfielder tore North Melbourne’s intra-club match apart. Wells, facing a make-or-break season after injuries restricted him to 12 games in two years, was the eye-catching presence in a game featuring several fiery clashes. The veteran kicked four goals in the first half and gathered a swath of game-breaking possessions in a display that will warm the hearts of Kangaroos fans. While Wells glided across the Arden St turf, North Melbourne vice-captain Jack Ziebell was getting through his first match practice of the year.
Ziebell, who underwent shoulder surgery last year, played a half in warm conditions. “The boys have been doing match simulation for the past month or so and I’ve been sitting there watching that, which has been quite frustrating, so it’s nice to be involved again,” Ziebell told the Herald Sun.
Onlookers were stunned at the intensity of the practice match, with the Roos’ over-25s and under-25s locked in a grudge match just a week out from the club’s NAB opener against St Kilda. Lachie Hansen was poleaxed by Ben Brown in the opening 30 seconds, setting the tone for a four-quarter match that featured several big hits and plenty of niggle.
Jarrad Waite and Drew Petrie threw their weight around, Ben Cunnington and Sam Wright got involved and rookie Will Fordham didn’t hold back. The over-25s had the last laugh, though, winning 29 points courtesy of a potent forward line and classy midfield. Wells and Brent Harvey proved a lethal combination, while an over-25s attack containing Petrie, Waite, Lindsay Thomas and Robin Nahas proved too strong.
For the under-25s, recruit Jed Anderson showed some exciting signs. The former Hawk took a terrific contested mark at half-forward before sprinting inside 50m to finish accurately. Ziebell said the competition for spots was fierce, but rejected any suggestion it was all-or-nothing for North Melbourne in 2016. “People say we’ve got an old list but … guys like Jamie Macmillan, Ben Cunnington, Jed Anderson, Shaun Atley, you just keep naming them — they’re going to be outstanding players for us,” Ziebell said. “It’s an exciting time for our club.”
PORT POWER (direct from the Power website)
Football is back and for the 5,000 or so Port Adelaide supporters at Alberton for the club’s annual family day the chance to see their favourite players in action was roundly enjoyed. But if they were expecting a close game, they were disappointed, with the superior midfield of Port Adelaide’s ‘Black’ side surging forward and winning the ball forward from centre stoppages all afternoon.
The usual suspects – Wingard (three goals) and Boak, Ebert and Hartlett starred for the Black team – while Jared Polec was best for the ‘Teal’ side in his return hit out from a near season-long foot injury. Dougal Howard was the standout of those Port players yet to make an AFL debut – trading his dedicated forward role as a ruckman for the Black team and playing strongly around the ground, and at ground level. He kicked two goals for the game and was particularly impressive in the opening half. Last year’s Power debutant Karl Amon also won plenty of ball around the ground, while Darcy Byrne-Jones had an impact as well.
Plenty of Port Adelaide’s SANFL-listed and Academy players touched the ball, but it was Jack Cooper with two late goals for the Black team that was most noteworthy. Port Adelaide now resets for next week’s opening NAB Challenge hit out against the Sydney Swans at Blacktown International Sportspark. The Power are expected to take a less experienced side to Blacktown for the game, with a view to playing strong line-ups against Melbourne at Elizabeth and Richmond at Etihad Stadium later in the series.
INTERNAL TRIAL SCOREBOARD
Port Adelaide Black 6.2 9.7 10.16 14.17 (101)
Port Adelaide Teal 1.4 2.7 4.10 4.16 (40)
Black: Wingard, Hartlett, Ebert, Boak, Howard, Amon, Pittard
Teal: Polec, R. Gray, Broadbent, White, Carlile
Black: Wingard 3, Howard, Butcher, Cooper 2, Amon, Clurey, Ebert, Boak, Ah Chee
Teal: Johnson 2, R. Gray, Lobbe
RICHMOND (originally appeared on the Herald Sun website)
The kids scored an upset win in Richmond’s intra-club game that featured a pair of scuffles and a head knock to Dustin Martin. First key tall Liam McBean and Anthony Miles went at each other in the centre square before Jack Riewoldt ragdolled on-baller Kamdyn McIntosh as he repeatedly shook his jumper. Martin finally shrugged off a controversy-plagued pre-season with a typically polished display before a head clash with ruckman Ivan Soldo saw him leave the ground. The black team including Miles, Ben Lennon, Nick Vlaustin and Ben Griffiths held on to win by three goals as both teams escaped injury at Punt Road.
Richmond capped off a strong pre-season with an intense intraclub match on Friday – although recruit Chris Yarran was restricted to bike work. Having attracted headlines over the pre-season, Dustin Martin was a stand-out at Punt Road, whether that be with his ball use or strength while logging time in four of the six 15-minute periods at half-forward. He left the field after a knock to the head for precautionary reasons but is expected to line up in Friday’s NAB Challenge opener against Fremantle in Mandurah.
Yarran, the former Blue, has had his training restricted because of a calf problem, and is likely to be eased through the pre-season competition. Brett Deledio, arguably the Tigers’ most important player, joined Yarran on the bike, with the Tigers easing the veteran half-forward through another campaign.
Anthony Miles and Liam McBean also impressed, Troy Chaplin, typically a defender, was sent forward, while Jack Riewoldt and Kamdyn McIntosh were involved in a scuffle, highlighting the intensity in which the match was played.
All-Australian defender Alex Rance and Reece Conca, the latter restricted to three senior matches last season, were also in fine form, while draftee Daniel Rioli found his groove as the game unfolded.
ST.KILDA (originally appeared on foxsports.com.au)
THE 1000 or so loyal Saints fans that made their way to Trevor Barker Oval in Sandringham on Friday evening will be buoyed by a number of players’ efforts, but none more so than Jack Billings. The polished left footer shook off any lingering injury concerns to dominate St Kilda’s intra-club, frankly looking like a Rolls-Royce in a carpark full of Toyotas.
Starting on the wing, Billings seemingly had his own football for the first of four terms — with a two-minute break halfway through each quarter effectively splitting the match into eight 10-minute periods. He booted two goals and, not unlike Scott Pendlebury, appeared to be playing the game in slow motion regardless of the surrounding traffic. Shin stress fractures cruelled the former No. 3 draft pick’s 2015 season and it was a visibly leaner Billings that took the field on Friday evening.
“I think it’s important for those young guys to spend some time up the field,” St Kilda assistant coach Rohan Welsh said of Billings and teammate Blake Acres. “Jack spent some time on the wing, forward and through the midfield as well. They have done a fair bit of work over the pre-season so for him to go on the wing and in the midfield is good.”
Acres, whose great versatility is a strength and in some respects a weakness, relished the extra midfield time. At 190cm, he fits the modern day prototype midfield mould and was as impressive on the outside as he was in the clinches. At one stage, Acres was joined by Sam Gilbert (194cm) and Seb Ross (187cm) in the centre square — a physically imposing on-ball brigade indeed. There are hopes all three players could provide much-needed depth and cover for David Armitage and Jack Steven in 2016.
Perhaps the only hiccup for the afternoon was an ankle injury to wingman Dylan Roberton in the dying minutes. Up until he trod on an opponent’s foot, the 84-gamer was clean and composed alternating between loose man in defence and the wing. Roberton left the ground on crutches but it is expected to be available for Round 1. “Dylan only rolled his ankle,” Welsh said. “It is looking pleasing. He should be right by NAB 2 or something like that.” Up forward, Jack Lonie bobbed up for three goals, while Paddy McCartin kicked two majors in a performance Welsh described as “solid.”
Skipper Nick Riewoldt watched on alongside leadership group members Jarryn Geary, David Armitage and Jack Steven, while Luke Dunstan and Billy Longer were also managed. Nathan Freeman also sat the game out as he continues his long and deliberate rehabilitation from two years of hamstring troubles. Veterans Sam Fisher, Sean Dempster and Leigh Montagna all put in notable performances, with Fisher leaving the field before the final siren with blood streaming from the side of his head. The club’s oldest player, although initially shaken, was all smiles following the doctor’s assessment.
The ruck contest, as Welsh noted post-game, was intriguing. With Billy Longer all but recovered from shoulder surgery in late August but rested on Friday, it was left to Tom Hickey, Jason Holmes and the uncapped Lewis Pierce to fight it out.
Midfielder Jack Newnes and Josh Bruce both improved as the contest wore on, while Cameron Shenton spent the match in the forward-line after playing the vast majority of his senior football in defence last season. St Kilda opens its NAB Challenge campaign against North Melbourne in Wangarratta on February 20.
SYDNEY (originally appeared on foxsports.com.au)
He’s back. Lance Franklin completed the first step in his return to football with a solid hitout in Sydney’s first intra-club practice match of the season. The superstar hasn’t played since Round 23 last year after dramatically pulling out of the finals to deal with mental health issues. Franklin lined up at centre half forward on Aliir Aliir but roamed far and wide across Henson Park in Marrickville, even going in for occasional centre bounce. He had no trouble finding the football, showed plenty of fitness and looked full of running as he worked up the ground, regularly helping out in defence.
There were flashes of brilliance peppered throughout his display — a first quarter dash off half-back finished off by a raking pass to Sam Reid was followed by a signature mark and goal on the run from 40m. In the second quarter Franklin spent most of his time up the ground as he continued to pick up touches.
There was a scare for fans early in the third quarter when their $10 million man collided heavily in a marking contest with Kurt Tippett. To their relief, and coach John Longmire’s, they both walked away unscathed.
Luke Parker was another who looked good in his first game after a spell on the sidelines, dominating the midfield and going forward to kick two goals. Of the recruits, Callum Sinclair was the pick of the big men sharing the ruck duties with Tippett and working well around the ground and Michael Talia was solid in defence.
With the Swans’ first NAB Challenge match on Saturday against Port Adelaide at Blacktown the line-up is likely to include only Dan Hannebery from those that didn’t play at Marrickville. Hannebery missed the match as he attended a funeral in Melbourne.
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