Went along to Pricefixer Park today for the double-header, always a bit tricky this time of year getting to know all the new blokes, new numbers and so on (made worse by the fact I got there too late to snag a Record, and the TAC Cup site STILL isn't updated with the squad lists - get your shit together, AFLVic!) So not a huge review today. Arrived part way through the second to Nothern-Eastern, and while the margin was only 7 points, the Knights had already had double the scoring shots and it was only a matter of time. Rusty sort of game, footskills weren't quite there yet, and Northern were missing a couple of their better kids to AIS duty. In a scrap like this, body size eventually told, and Eastern were pretty much overpowered in the second half - the margin blew out to almost 10 goals as Eastern were outnumbered and outsized at almost every contest by better-drilled and more organised opponents. Cameron Conlon the story of the day for me. Skinny pale strawberry redhead, but he stands 196cm as an underager, and his hand-eye coordination, marking, and ground work are all just freakish. He actually deliberately juggled some marks to keep them away from spoilers. As an underager at TAC level, that's some serious composure. I've heard about Jack Martin but never seen him play, but from what I saw today he's got some serious competition for best player in next year's draft pool. Kicked about 5, should have gotten more but sprayed a couple of very gettable shots and spent about a third of the game wasted in the ruck. He's a born kpf though, don't be fooled. I liked Bonaddio's work in the forward/half-forward line. Quick and always dangerous, worked really hard to apply defensive pressure, got a lot of the ball and used it well. Size a real problem for his draftability, but he was very good. Jake Kalanj another underager who was good. Nice-sized midfielder, hard as nails, won clearances and had the calmness to choose good options when there was a whole lot of bombing going on. Has his rough edges, but one to keep an eye on. Luka Celebicanin a very big strong boy, tank kpf type who ran all day and got a lot of ball around the ground and closer to goals when Conlon was rucking. Generally played smart and reliable, not sure how athletic he is though, just looked big. Things not so great for Eastern, they looked outclassed against a depleted opposition, though it wouldn't have helped them to lose a player to injury early on. Honeychurch buzzed around and made himself annoying, quick without being the sort of express pace you'd hope for someone of his height, physical and fearless but that often just meant he got cleaned up a lot. Nice little player though, another underager. Boyd was pretty much the Ranges' one avenue to goal. Big, old-fashioned ff with very strong hands but lacking a bit in the speed, agility and leap departments. Timed his leads very well and was near-impossible to spoil, ended up with quite a bag. For the Dons fans, f/s prospect Jordan Williams was quiet. Played on the wing mostly, but generally found the ball on the other wing to where he was. Did a couple of ok things (unfortunately in his most memorable passage of play he followed up a nice gather, handy baulk and brilliant blind turn with a sprayed shot on goal oof in the pocket) but didn't really impact the game. Second game panned out rather similar, but was a more open, flowing affair that gave the kids more of a chance to show off what they could do (and was more entertaining to us in the stands too). Western jumped the Chargers early, but couldn't quite put their dominance on the scoreboard due to some inaccurate kicking and the lack of a forward target. Oakleigh got a couple of late goals to head into qtr time just in front, made a few changes, kicked out to a quick 6 goal lead, and then proceeded over the remaining two and a half qtrs to fairly comprehensively grind the Jets into the dirt. Jets simply couldn't find their structure, and far too many of their forward 50 entries were high looping snaps round the corner, not a great percentage option when the opposition is dominating you in the air. Jets fws line dysfunctional all game - Ashlin Brown was getting sucked too far up the ground, Orr lacking a bit of athleticism, and Spencer White, despite a couple of eye-catching runs, just couldn't present consistently enough. And the continual rainmaker f50 entries did 160cm-odd Castellano no favours at all. Macrae the standout for Oakleigh in my book, 188cm utility/3rd fwd type who pushed more into the midfield as the game went on. Kickstarted the Chargers in the second qtr with a long goal from a mark in the tricky pocket, followed it up within moments with a brilliant left-foot snap from the boundary, and moved onwards and upwards from there. Very strong overhead mark, reads the ball very well, and his footskills were a feature. Ended up with 3 or 4 I think, with a couple of assists. Not lightning fast by all appearances, but wasn't afraid to run & take them on, and didn't get caught as a rule. Daniel Hachem looks a bit slight but played a good, all-round midfield game both inside and outside. Nice one-touch work. Chris Prowse should be one of the better ruckman in the TAC this year. His tapwork wasn't always to advantage, and he still had his gangly-kid moments, but he got a lot of the ball, was very mobile, presented as a forward target, filled thehole down back exceptionally, and wasn't disgraced with the ball on the ground. Good game. Luke McDonald an f/s next year for the Roos, they'd be very happy indeed with him. Good-sized midfielder who is mostly a clearance-winner but used the ball accurately and intelligently outside. Kristian Jaksch played off half-back in a distributor role, pretty slick type. Generally very good by foot, and has certainly got some range (dobbed one from probably 60). Very much doubt he's 194cm as listed in the Record though. Dolan ran well though the midfield all game, consistent, hard-working, found space and used the ball reliably. For Western, too much left to too few. I liked Jake McKenzie's game, never gave up, never stopped running, gave them a bit of movement late when everyone else had stopped. Josh Bench was in everything all game, quick little guy. Keenan O'Shea started like a bomb across half-back, taking intercept marks all over the place. Faded significantly after quarter time though. Nastasi another one that the Chargers shut down after a big start. Hard-running and desperate little bloke with a nice turn of pace, got a mountain of ball early but footskill errors meant he didn't get value for them. Lachlan Hunter (Dogs f/s) looked classy and composed on the hff early, but just didn't get enough of the ball to impose himself as the game went on.