Hard game to get much out of, especially when you leave in disgust at a non-contest half way through the third. Oakleigh were just far too good. Bendigo were 100 points down at 3/4 time, and seem to have gotten a few cheapies late while the Chargers missed some opportunities in the last, or this would have been a 20 goal game.
Chargers were just too organised, too clean, too well drilled, and capitalised on opportunities in difficult conditions. Bendigo were thoroughly rattled after finding themselves 9 goals down at qtr time, and after that they all started trying to win it off their own boots, and any semblance of team play went down the tubes. Yeah, it was ugly.
Thompson my pick for BoG - the TAC record named him as 3rd best on ground, which is a pretty harsh call on a bloke who had a game-high 43 touches (38 effective), 5 tackles, and 5 goals 1 out of the middle. Dynamic, physical, hard-working 183cm inside/outside mid. Didn’t see him really sink the slipper - his kicking was mostly aimed at mid-range targets - but his disposal by foot was nonetheless effective in a changeable wind.
Higgins was lethal in the Chargers fwd line. I hoped to see him in the middle for a bit, but he played permanent fwd. Got on the end of a few kinda cheap ones running into space early, but as the game wore on he asserted himself as a leading target with powerful marking ability even with a spoiler riding him all the way in. Deadly shot on goal, judged the wind perfectly. Ended up with 7.
Rowley was one who caught my eye, bit of a mystery this bloke, he isn’t listed in the record at all (I only know who he was from the ‘selected teams’ page on the website) and his stats aren’t up for some reason. but I thought he had a good game. Taller mid, a bit more outside than in possibly, and not a line breaker, but i liked his vision and ability to spot up targets under pressure.
Roughsedge got a lot of it, bigger bodied inside guy, overager. Not sure whether he’s got all the weapons to make the step up though - he was sort of a coalface clearance guy and relied on his size/strength a lot, but he was a dominant clearance force in the context of the game.
Wooller is an interesting prospect. 193cm lead-mark forward with a decent sidestep and a few tricks when the ball hits the ground. Bit inaccurate, but rolled an ankle in the second and spent a lot of time off getting it seen to, so that might have affected him. Kicked 4.4. Not sure he’s for us, but someone will likely look at him.
Bugeja will be worth a look next year if he grows a bit, nippy agressive bloke with a little bit of breakaway pace and a knack for getting into good positions around the contest. Backup ruckman Griffiths impressed me with his poise and mobility even though looking at the stats he didn’t get much of it. First ruck Reeves (who i saw a bit of last year - see upthread for assessment of him) did himself what looked like a really nasty shoulder. Fingers crossed he’s ok.
For the Pioneers, cupboard pretty bare. Paddy Dow was a late withdrawal, I think he needs shoulder surgery. Annoying, I was looking forward to seeing this guy, he’s one of my sneaky bolter tips this year. brander was a non-factor, needed to be thrown down back to get him into the game though that might not have helped - Bendigo were getting it into their forward line reasonably regularly, they were just getting picked off every tinme they did. I thought O’Brien and Farrell both looked like mids with a bit of raw talent, but the Bendigo midfield unit was do dysfunctional it was hard to really evaluate them. Warde did a power of work and rucked nearly all day while giving up 8cm to both his opponents, I thought he was noteworthy for effort even though his impact probably didn’t quite reflect his tap stats…