Mason Fletcher a standout in Calder Cannons’ opening round TAC Cup loss to Eastern Ranges
Tim Michell, Moonee Valley Leader
March 27, 2017 11:07am
THE son of Essendon’s games record holder provided Bombers fans with a glimpse of the future in Calder Cannons’ TAC Cup opener on Friday night.
Dustin Fletcher’s son Mason, who turns 17 next month, was a shining light in defence during the Cannons’ 15.16 (106) to 7.10 (52) loss against Eastern Ranges at Highgate Reserve.
Fletcher, who plays junior football for Aberfeldie, was a strong presence in the air against an Eastern Ranges forward line led by potential No.1 draft pick Jaidyn Stephenson.
Western Bulldogs champion Scott West was also an interested onlooker as his son Rhylee made his maiden TAC Cup appearance for Calder.
“Our backs were under pressure, but I think it is in the blood with Fletch that he knows where to go and how to read the play,” Cannons coach Andrew Johnston said.
“When to go, when to stay, when to help. All those sorts of things.
“Sometimes you can’t teach that, it’s just natural. It was really pleasing that he was able to show that.”
“If we could have had two or three Curtises up forward it would have been great and probably another one of Fletcher down back it would have been really good as well.”
Stephenson was electric in the opening term, bagging four goals as Eastern established a 25-point quarter-time lead.
The visitors controlled the game from that point, withstanding a second-quarter surge from Calder to triumph by 54 points.
Johnston said the Cannons, who fielded 13 debutants, had been given an indication of the level they needed to reach to match the competition’s best sides.
Fletcher, who stands at 197cm, was named one of Calder’s best two players alongside another debutant — Keilor senior premiership player Curtis Taylor.
Taylor booted three goals and was a constant concern for the Ranges’ defence.
“They were great, really good,” Johnston said.
“We knew coming into the game that they’re probably the team to beat in 2017,” he said.
“They have got some very special, skilful players and we have got to be honest, an inexperienced lot.
“(They) are going to be good in time, we showed in that second quarter that our best is probably good enough.”
Calder is at home again in Round 2, facing Western Jets from 10am on Saturday.