St Kilda Development Coach and Sandringham Senior Coach Jake Batchelor runs through each AFL-listed player's performance following the Zebras’ 30-point win over the Northern Bullants on Saturday.
On the game
It was a pretty scrappy game to be honest. Proper Trevor Barker Oval conditions – it was windy, and it was a little bit wet. The game started fairly hot, contested possessions were through the roof. As you can imagine, it was a bit of a ground-ball game, there were plenty of re-entries inside 50 for both sides, so the wind definitely played its part.
I think we just made the most of our skilled players. There are definitely things to improve on from our end, but my old coach had a saying that good teams win ugly. So a win is a win, it’s a good analogy to work with – keep banking the four-points and keep improving each week, which will be crucial for us if we want to be a serious team in this competition.
31 disposals, eight marks
Lieno was impressive, he worked well down back with Gears, Tommy and young Oscar Adams.
He took dangerous space well for us, and he always makes good decisions by foot. He had a couple of times where he had to make decisions to push forward or pull back, and he’d probably like to have his time again, but all-in-all, he is a good leader, his attitude is awesome and he’ll be ready to go should he be selected against the Cats.
29 disposals, nine marks, four tackles
Tommy was good once again, as I said, he worked nicely with the other backs and with Oscar in particular. We put him with Oscar in a sort of buddy-system and they were good together. They communicated well and Tommy helped him out where he needed to.
We had a bit of focus of getting a bit of depth from our forward-50 stoppages, and Tom organised that well for us. He was similar to Lieno in taking dangerous space but just a couple of little things, such as whether to go forward or stay back, so things like that we can tidy up. But in terms of the whole game, good effort from him and he keeps progressing.
22 disposals, 36 hit-outs, eight clearances
TC was solid for us, he had a strong game. I’m not massive on stats, but those numbers are pretty impressive. There were a couple of times late where he was challenged and had a couple of contested marks taken on him, but his influence around the ground when the game was on the line was huge. He’s a great connector, and I love coaching him.
30 disposals, four inside-50s, one goal
JB played a mixture of roles for us on Sunday, and he played them well. He went forward, played a bit of wing and then went into the stoppages when the footy was in our 50. He’s getting touch back into his hands, and it helps when he’s slamming goals from 55 out.
Small things like his running across the ground – he can probably help us out going forward versus lateral at times but he had a good performance and will be putting his hand up for selection this week.
28 disposals, 17 kicks
It was the first game back for Hunter since his injury. He played a mix of half-back and half-midfield, and like all blokes coming back from injury, we wanted him to perform both physically and mentally – which he did. The shoulder pulled up well and he looked good across the ground.
He coughed the ball up a couple of times and missed some targets so just lost his touch a little bit, but he worked his way back into the game whenever he did so. Now he’s got that first game out of the way, he’ll continue to improve.
32 disposals, 18 contested possessions, 10 clearances, eight inside-50s
He’s a powerful lad, Mitchito. He’s strong in the stoppages as usual and had a focus to drive his legs forward which he did well. We popped him up forward a few times but he didn’t have the same impact as the last couple of weeks.
He was mainly midfield for us though, and he’s starting to find a good mix between winning contested and uncontested footy. Mitch generally is making good decisions with ball in hand which is pleasing too. It was another step forward for him.
25 disposals, seven clearances, eight inside-50s, four tackles
Jack was similar to Mitch, it was a step forward for him this week. He had a purpose, he was aggressive and looked confident, which is what you want from your inside midfielders. He’s still working through the challenges of when to head forward and when to stay behind the ball, but he’s covering the ground well and is getting better at that, which is important for us.
19 disposals, nine marks
Gears had an impressive game. He played half-back for us and he’s just got that presence of a leader. When we made a mistake defensively, Gears was there. If we made an error on attack, he was there. You look up and he’s already there, ready to mop up. They were smart decisions too, he’s not just coming off his man for no reason. He makes calculated decisions.
Watching back the vision, anytime we take a mark inside 50, he’s already communicating to his backs to get set up. He’s such a great leader and it’s one of the reasons why I love coaching him.
17 disposals, two goals, seven marks, four contested marks
Cooper looked great, he had a strong game. He needed to start launching at the ball a bit more, and he did that. He had a well-rounded game and was a good connector between the arcs for us. When the ball is on his head, he goes for it which we love to see. It was a good step forward for him and another progression.
18 disposals, six marks
It was a bit an in-between game for Leo. He was a touch inconsistent with his contest work and tackle work, but his actual work-rate is always there, which is fantastic. We just need to tidy up a couple things around when the ball is in the area where you need to make an impact, either in the air or on the ground. The big thing is Leo’s running is awesome, and it is getting better each week, so there are things to work on, but he’s still progressing.
Nine disposals, four tackles, two goals
Kenty had a solid game, he didn’t have a huge amount of the ball but he had four tackles inside-50 and booted two goals. He was playing as a small forward, but his role changed a bit with some soreness in his knee. He was important for us though, and his attitude is always outstanding.
12 disposals, three marks
Oscar had another step forward this week. As I said, we had a bit of a buddy-system with Tom Highmore and I think he benefited from that. He’s a young kid, and like most youngsters, his concentration can waver here and there, so it was good to have Tommy there to help him was good for him. He pulled down some impressive intercept marks and made some good contest decisions on whether to come forward or stay back and spoil or mark. He’s improving each week and if we can keep getting games into him, I think he’ll become a pretty good player.
11 disposals, four inside-50s, three tackles
Jack played on the wing for us this week, his run stood out as a winger heading into our forward-50, but also getting back and helping out on the defensive end of things. He’s got wheels, clearly, so it will be a position that we will definitely look at going forward. He’s a real tough bugger too, laid a couple of good tackles. It was a good progression holistically, for his footy career.
Five disposals, three inside-50s
Josiah had a bit more of a down day, but his continual efforts to chase and harass is fantastic, and it will keep him engaged going forward, even if he isn’t have a huge impact on the stats sheet. He had a couple of decisions which he can work on, in terms of helping us defensively on slow play but how we can get the most out of him going inside 50 will be the hallmark of his game.
Eight disposals, three marks
Matty played on the wing alongside Jack. Once again, he is progressing and learning. It wasn’t an amazing day to be a winger, it was scrappy so often you’re out on the island by yourself. The stuff that may go unnoticed by onlookers, Matty does well. He had a couple of shots on goal and ran well. He did some strong team-first things, and as a winger you can have those type of days, but he controlled what he could.
Onto next week – The bye
We’ll have the bye this week and look to have a good training session on Friday to simulate about half a game of footy. It’ll be a good chance for the boys to go hard on Friday, but to also have a bit of a refresher, have a week off from game-day and come back next week ready to fire against Carlton.