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VFL: White and Rice outstanding

Young defenders Brandon White and Bailey Rice were influential for the Zebras. Bailey Rice finished with 30 disposals and Brandon White racked up 21 touches in Sandringham's Round 6 loss to Essendon. Saints Emerging Stars thanks to H&M Tracey
We saw some really good development and growth, particularly from the backs, which is what we’re after.
Aaron Hamill

Two young Saints stood out in Sandringham’s 21-point loss to Essendon on Sunday afternoon.

The Zebras’ back six were put under enormous pressure on the back of some sloppy ball use further afield, and they sustained a bombardment of over 60 entries inside 50.

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Brandon White and Bailey Rice were both exceptional in defence, competing strongly in the air and using the ball well coming out of the back half.

Logan Austin and Oscar Clavarino also showed promising signs in defence, and the pair stood up well against wave after wave of pressure from the circling Bombers.

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After an explosive start, Aaron Hamill’s Zebras slowed in the second quarter and only managed to stay in touch for the remainder of the afternoon.

“Sunday was disappointing as a whole, but we saw some really good development and growth, particularly from the backs, which is what we’re after,” Hamill told

“Our contest and clearance work was very good, there were just some mistakes on the outside and our ball use made us really vulnerable from a ‘team defence’ point of view.”

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Hamill praised his side’s intent at the contest, but the ex-Saint was left rueing a missed opportunity to get back on the winner’s list.

“It was disappointing in that we were 14 points down with around 5 minutes to go and had opportunities that we didn’t convert.”

The Zebras face a tough task in the top-of-the-table Tigers at 2pm Saturday 19 May at Holm Park, Beaconsfield.

Sandringham      4.3 (27)                4.4 (28)                6.9 (45)                7.11 (53)
Essendon            4.4 (28)                7.10 (52)              8.13 (61)              10.14 (74)

GOALS  N. Smith 2, J. Battle 2, J. Matera, H. Mclean, R. Connellan
BEST     B. Rice, J. Lonie, B. White, B. Seccull, D. McKenzie, H. Mclean

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Brandon White 21 disposals, 17 kicks, 4 handballs, three marks

White defended strongly. He held the fort really well all afternoon, defended when he had to and was good with ball in hand.

Bailey Rice 30 disposals, 17 kicks, 13 handballs, three marks, one tackle

Rice has found some good, consistent form, collecting over 25 possessions for the second week in a row. His defensive nouse was excellent – when to support his teammates and when to defend his man – but it was his ball use and decision-making that stood out.

Logan Austin 14 disposals, nine kicks, five handballs, six marks, one tackle

Austin competed strongly, playing on the AFL-listed Mitch Brown and keeping him to just 10 possessions. He didn’t look out of his depth, was aggressive on Brown to keep him scoreless, and supported his teammates when the opportunity presented.

Oscar Clavarino 11 disposals, three kicks, eight handballs, two tackles

Clavarino is developing nicely at Sandringham. His starting point, as well as his ability to come off and provide air support or influence the contest, is one of his real strengths, and can be a real weapon for the side.

Nathan Freeman 28 disposals, 11 kicks, 17 handballs, two tackles

Freeman saw a lot of the ball and performed well, but he needs to get some more mileage into his legs to run games out strongly.

Josh Battle (2.4) 15 disposals, 10 kicks, five handballs, three marks, one tackle

Battle booted two in the first quarter, but he was well-held from then and his influence was diminished.

Ben Paton 22 disposals, 13 kicks, nine handballs, four marks, five tackles

Jack Lonie (0.1) 20 disposals, 15 kicks, five handballs, three marks, six tackles

Daniel McKenzie 14 disposals, 10 kicks, four handballs, two marks, four tackles

Darragh Joyce 
13 disposals, seven kicks, six handballs, two marks, three tackles

Hugh Goddard Six disposals, four kicks, two handballs, two marks, five tackles

Barclay Miller 
Six disposals, three kicks, three handballs, one mark, two tackles

Billy Longer Five disposals, one kick, four handballs, one mark, five tackles

Ray Connellan (1.0) Four disposals, three kicks, one handball, one mark, three tackles