2018 VFL + VFLW Season - 4 players named in Teams of the Year

VFL season preview
AFL Victoria March 19, 2018 3:05 PM

The staff writers at AFL Victoria have delved into Essendon’s VFL side in a comprehensive preview of the season to come.

We talk to new Essendon VFL senior coach Dan Jordan about the team’s upcoming Peter Jackson VFL season.

2017 FINISH: 7th (10-9)

2017 BEST AND FAIREST: 1. Heath Hocking / 2. Kobe Mutch / 3. Nick O’Brien

2017 TEAM OF THE YEAR: Alex Boyse


Selected from club in 2013: Patrick Ambrose* (Essendon)
2015: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti* (Essendon)
2016: Ben McNiece* (Essendon)

2018 SEASON START: vs Frankston (Saturday April 7) / vs Williamstown (Saturday April 14) / vs Collingwood (Saturday April 21)


Nick O’Brien (59 VFL games for club in 2013-15 and 2017): “Nick was our captain last year and he had a good influence on our group. He was proven at VFL level and players of his calibre are hard to replace. He’s decided to ply his trade with a bit of assistant coaching at local level with Strathmore."


Heath Hocking (from Essendon AFL): “We targeted Heath as the sort of character we wanted to stay around the club and help develop our VFL group. He’ll bring a wealth of experience and knowledge and he can play a number of roles on the field. Ideally we’d like to run him through the midfield and a little bit forward.”

Nick Dixon (Old Collegians): “Nick played VFL footy with Geelong and Port Melbourne when he was a teenager and then had a year of senior footy in the VAFA. He’s really impressed everyone at the club. He’s a bit light in stature but very tenacious around the ball and pretty clean in traffic.”

Jamieson Sheahan (Strathfieldsaye): “Jamieson was probably stiff not to get drafted a couple of years ago (from Bendigo Pioneers) and he played really well in a Bendigo FL premiership win last year. He’s finding his way back into it after a few injury issues around Christmas.”

Joe Harrison (Monash Blues): “Joe won Monash’s best-and-fairest in the VAFA as a 19-year-old last year. He’s a big-bodied midfielder who can play forward as well. He’s had a really good pre-season.”


“Guys like Danny Younan, Nick Hind and Sam Hooper are really driving the standards and getting themselves into great physical condition, and they’ve also been great teachers for our new guys in terms of what’s expected and the preparation you need to put in. I’m looking at them to take the next step towards being good consistent players at VFL level.”


“Heath Hocking will be our captain with our vice-captain to be Aaron Heppell, who has four years of experience in our system. Two second-year guys at our club, Danny Younan and Nick Hind, will be deputy vice-captains and James Ferry and Sam Hooper round out our leaders.”


“Heath Hocking is our best and fairest from last year and you’d imagine he’d be up there again while Alex Boyse made last year’s VFL Team of the Year as a goalkicking forward. Aaron Heppell was in the Team of the Year in 2016 and then had a knee injury for half of last year; he’s had a strong pre-season and we’d love to see him return to his best form. James Ferryand Nick Hind should also be up there."


Kieran Strachan: “Kieran played two games last year as a ruckman and got a bit of attention from AFL recruiters. He could be one of the top VFL ruckmen if we can give him more opportunities on the field.”

Joel Ottavi: “Joel continues to develop as a key forward and he’s starting to really fill out and provide a presence on the field. He only played three VFL games in his first year on the list in 2017 and will certainly be pushing for more.”


“In terms of our VFL group, we’ve probably gone for a little bit more speed this year. We think that’s where the game’s going – moving the ball a bit quicker on the outside. We’re also working hard to be more skilful and fix up our ball use, which we think were probably areas where we were a bit off last year.”


Backs assistant coach: Wayne Schultz (retained from 2017)

Midfield assistant coach: Ben Patrick (from Werribee VFL)

Forwards assistant coach: Nick Daffy (from North Ballarat VFL)

This is confusing…


2018 VFL Fixture

Date Round Opponent Venue Time
Saturday, 5th of May 1 Hawthorn Windy Hill 12:00pm
Saturday, 12th of May 2 Melbourne Uni Windy Hill 12:00pm
Saturday, 19th of May 3 NT Thunders TIO Stadium 4:00pm
Sunday, 27th of May 4 Southern Saints Trevor Baker Beach Oval 12:00pm
Saturday, 2nd of June 5 Richmond Swinburne Centre 4:00pm
Saturday, 9th of June NA ROUND BYE
Saturday, 17th of June 6 BYE
Saturday, 24th of June 7 Hawthorn Box Hill City Oval 11.45am
Saturday, 30th of June 8 Casey Demons RAMS Arena 3:00pm
Sunday, 8th of July 9 Richmond Windy Hill 11.30am
Sunday, 15th of July 10 Western Bulldogs Henry Turner Memorial Reserve 2.00pm
Saturday, 21st of July 11 Darebin Bill Lawry Oval 12:00pm
Sunday, 29th of July 12 BYE
Sunday, 5th of August 13 Collingwood RAMS Arena 1:00pm
Sunday, 11th of August 14 Geelong Cats GMHBA Stadium 4.30pm
Saturday, 18th of August 15 Williamstown Windy Hill 3:00pm
Saturday, 25th of August 16 Carlton Windy Hill 3:00pm

Ummmmm… that’s the 2017 schedule. Yes, maybe the club should update “their” site.

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lol, didnt even look.

Yep, club or AFL or whoever is responsible needs to lift their game.

Will replace once 2018 is updated.

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Fixture from VFL site.

The fixture on the EFC site is wrong, I extracted our games from the fixture found above, as at 28/3/2018


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“Channel 7 will return to broadcast Peter Jackson VFL matches in 2018, with Collingwood and Essendon the opening game for broadcast in Round 3, after the Commonwealth games.”


I do love a televised EFC VFL game!

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Hope to keep up the annual tradition of destroying Collingwood on ANZAC round.

Good news. The club won’t tell us who is in the VFL squad or what their numbers are, but the VFL will:


50 - James Ferry - 23 years old - 191cm, 90kg
51 - Alex Boyse - 24 years old - 190cm, 85kg
52 - Joel Grace - 18 years old - 199cm, 92kg
53 - Sam Hooper - 22 years old - 193cm, 88kg
54 - Kalan Huntly - 20 years old - 185cm, 88kg
55 - Daniel Younan - 25 years old - 177cm, 80kg
56 - James Peters - 20 years old - 180cm, 77kg
57 - Nick Hind - 23 years old - 180cm, 75kg
59 - Aaron Heppell - 22 years old - 183cm, 82kg
60 - Ben Fennell - 25 years old - 181cm, 80kg
61 - Wilson Berry - 19 years old - 193cm, 80kg
62 - Nino Lazzaro - 18 years old - 190cm, 83kg
63 - Matt Darby - 24 years old - 194cm, 93kg
64 - Joe Harrison - 19 years old - 187cm, 87kg
65 - Edyn Sibbald - 21 years old - 200cm, 90kg
66 - Kieran Strachan - 22 years old - 204cm, 95kg
68 - Nick Dixon - 21 years old - 183cm, 76kg
69 - Alex Marklew - 21 years old - 190cm, 84kg
70 - Jamieson Sheahan - 20 years old - 182cm, 86kg
72 - Joel Ottavi - 21 years old - 198cm, 92kg
75 - Trent Crosbie - 20 years old - 180cm, 84kg
76 - Luke Collins - 23 years old - 182cm, 74kg
77 - Heath Hocking © - 30 years old - 185cm, 88kg
79 - Jake McQueen - 19 years old - 181cm, 71kg

(The ages above are approximate, rounded down, couldn’t be bothered untangling their data format. Only one guy over 25 years old.)


I thought younan was a lot older than 25.

He’s 26

Yeah, I didn’t fix the ages for anyone who’s had their birthday already this year.

So no VFL listed players will run around in numbers below 50 any more. That helps.

Since when is it ok to do a fixture with 18 games, 8 home and 10 away?

Table taken from the EFC SITE, which seems to be correct.

Date Round Opponent Venue  Time 
Saturday, 7th of April 1 Frankston Skybus Stadium - Frankston 2:00pm 
Saturday, 14th of April 2 Williamstown Williamstown Football Ground 2:00pm 
Saturday, 21st of April 3 Collingwood Victoria Park 2:10pm
Saturday, 28th of April 4 BYE  
Saturday, 5th of May 5 North Melbourne Windy Hill 12:00pm
Sunday, 13th of May 6 Sandringham Trevor Barker Beach Oval 2:00pm
Saturday, 19th of May 7 Geelong Windy Hill 12:00pm
Saturday, 26th of May 8 Northern Blues Ikon Park 1:00pm
Saturday, 2nd of June 9 Footscray VU Whitten Oval 7:00pm
Sunday, 10th of June 10 Coburg Windy Hill 12.00am
Saturday, 16th of June 11 BYE
Sunday, 24th of June 12 Box Hill Hawks Box Hill City Oval 2:10pm
Saturday, 30th of June 13 Casey Demons Craigieburn 2.10pm
Sunday, 8th of July 14 Richmond Windy Hill 2:00pm
Saturday, 14th of July 15 Werribee Avalon Airport Oval 3:00pm
Saturday, 21st of July 16 Collingwood Windy Hill 11:00am
Saturday, 28th of July     17 BYE
Saturday, 4th of August 18       Port Melbourne    North Port Oval                      2:00pm  
Saturday, 11th of August 19 Geelong GMHBA Stadium 7:00pm
Saturday, 18th of August 20      Footscray             Windy Hill                              12:00pm 
Saturday, 25th of August 21 Northern Blues Windy Hill 12:00pm

Updated 30th June Casey Demons @ Craigieburn new time for TV coverage 2.10


With a big “Sync to Calendar’ button above it… which doesn’t offer the option of syncing either of the VFL calendars!

Danny Younan?

Best is ahead for VFL Dons
Callum O’Connor April 27, 2018 9:37 AM


Danny Younan shares the lead in the VFL goal-kicking table.

Forward Danny Younan says the best is ahead of the young Bombers as his side heads into its bye round with a 1-2 record.

After a commanding round one win over Frankston, Essendon has recorded back-to-back losses on the road against Williamstown and Collingwood.

The Bombers were not blown away in either match and with five debutants already blooded this season, Younan believes Essendon’s growing depth and experience will make his side more competitive performance by performance.

“There’s lots of kids coming through,” Younan said.

“And we saw how well guys like (round three debutant) Jake McQueen played last week. The gelling will come.

“There’s a lot of confidence within the team, knowing our roles. We know that once we get on a roll, we can score heavily.”

Certainly, Younan himself is proof of that. Following his four-goal haul against the Magpies, he is tied with Port Melbourne’s Jordan Lisle atop the VFL goal-kicking table with 10 majors.

The sight of the 25-year old streaking back towards goal to get on the end of a coast-to-coast transition is an exciting sign that things are going well on the field, yet Younan prides himself more on the close-quarters operations at stoppages.

“One of my strengths is being able to read the play…to get in position, but then to get that pressure inside 50 – that’s important,” he said.

Younan is one of two deputy vice-captains in 2018 alongside midfielder Nick Hind and has embraced the position.

At the beginning of the week or the start, before, during or after the game, win or lose, Younan will always think of his responsibilities to the side.

“Always, I always think about being a leader when I play,” he said seriously.

Essendon will play at home for the first time this season in round five when it takes on North Melbourne on Saturday, May 5 from 2pm.


VFL: Essendon searches country Victoria with success to bolster playing list
Tim Michell, Moonee Valley Leader, May 9, 2018 7:00am

JOEL Ottavi was making life difficult for defenders in the Central Highlands league when Dan Jordan was first made aware of his talents.

The tall forward, who attracted attention when he booted 46 goals from 20 games for Buninyong in 2016, is one of eight players on Essendon’s VFL list aligned with clubs in country Victoria — a growing trend which Jordan has been at the forefront of.

The Bombers mentor was a playing coach in the Ballarat league with East Point for three years and is acutely aware of the depth of talent in country football.

Jordan played with Essendon’s deputy vice-captain Nick Hind when the speedy midfielder was taking his first steps as a senior footballer at East Point.

Ottavi has also joined the Roos as a VFL-aligned player this year, while East Point forward Jake McQueen is another country gem who has been listed by the Bombers.

“Most of the guys on our list are guys that I have known about or kept an eye on at country level,” Jordan said.

“I have got a few from Ballarat, Bendigo way which are probably the competitions I know the most about in terms of the personnel and the good young players coming through there.

“We have also got a few (from the) ammos. I used to play a bit of ammos at St Bernard’s so have got a fair few contacts through there.”

James Ferry and Trent Crosbie (Gisborne), Kalan Huntly (Castlemaine), Jamieson Sheahan (Strathfieldsaye), Alex Marklew (Wangaratta) and Kieran Strachan (South Bendigo) are the other Bombers aligned with country sides in 2018.

“We went for guys this year that have got a bit of pace and could use the ball reasonably well,” Jordan said.

“You have also got to take into account the level of footy that they have played.

“I played with Nick Hind when he was 17, 18 back at East Point and I really liked how he went about it. I got him down last year.

“Joel Ottavi … was just playing Central Highlands footy which is well below any of the major leagues.

“I thought he might have just had something and be a two or three-year project player and turn into a key-position player.”

With limited spots on VFL lists, Jordan said clubs had to be “quite selective” about whether they chose players with an eye on development or listed those who could make an immediate impact.

“We are also looking for experienced guys that have played senior footy for a number of years that can come in and make an immediate impact as well,” he said. “As well as the guys that you think with some development could turn into good VFL players.”

Essendon is in a fortunate position where it has talent spotters trawling the TAC Cup, VFL and other state leagues for the best talent to complement its list.

But the Bombers do not neglect community or country football, as their VFL signings in recent years suggest.

“It’s a bit of a balancing act,” Jordan said.

“You are obviously always concentrating on your team and what you need to do.

“But you have always got one eye on the future and potential talent you think might be able to come in.”

Just in case you didn’t notice him:

Dylan Van Unen (set to play his 100th game – Port Melbourne/ex-Box Hill Hawks, Frankston and Essendon AFL)


just an FYI