St Kilda Development Coach and Sandringham Senior Coach Jake Batchelor runs through each AFL-listed player's performance following Sandringham's four-point win against Carlton in the VFL last Sunday.

On the game

It was a great win for the club. We had a nice balance of both AFL and VFL listed players who connected well and gelled together. We had a few times throughout the game that we needed to either slow down or speed up, and the boys played the roles superbly. We adapted to the situations and changed up our strategy when we had to, it was pleasing to see.

Hunter Clark

31 disposals, seven clearances, three inside-50s

Hunter Clark looked his classy self on Sunday. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

Hunter was super impressive, we used him 50% in the midfield and 50% in defence and he adapted to both roles nicely. He’s one of those players that just has an extra second with ball in hand, he’s composed, and he played a tough, physical game. Our midfield ball-movement was better for having him in the side and he’ll be putting his hand up for selection in the AFL this week.

Dan Butler

14 disposals, six inside-50s, five tackles, one goal 

Dan Butler returned to action through the VFL. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

Buts came back with a real focus on running and engaging the opposition defenders, as well as his pressure. He ended up with five tackles as a small forward, he covered the ground well and was back to his best in that sense. He kicked 1.3 so he can tidy that up a bit but he’s putting in the work throughout the week so that will hold him in good stead when he returns to the AFL.

Ryan Byrnes

30 disposals, eight marks, five tackles

Ryan Byrnes had a strong outing against Carlton. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

Byrnesy was another who had a big impact throughout the game. He was one of our players who jumped off the plane from Adelaide early Sunday morning and then came straight to the ground. His attitude was outstanding, and he ended the game with some strong numbers. Our running power from contest to contest was a focus for us as a team, and he was one of the standouts in executing that.

Jack Bytel

26 disposals, 17 contested possessions, eight tackles, five clearances

Jack Bytel had another impressive performance for the Zebras. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

Jack was the same as Ronnie, he had a real purpose and with 17 contested plus eight tackles – it was the most bullish game I’ve seen him have this year. He played with confidence, like he was too good for the VFL level, and he knew it. When he’s playing with that confidence, you can just see how good he is. His running was great from contest-to-contest, and that allows him to either win the ball or put on pressure. He keeps making steps forward.

Tom Highmore

26 disposals, 17 marks, five tackles, four rebound-50s

Tom Highmore was his reliable-self down back. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

Tommy had a good game, he played your stock-standard mid-tier defender role and looked impressive in it. He had a couple of times where he can improve his decision making with ball in hand, as well as without, such as when to fly versus when to stay grounded and that will be a good growth for him in his progression as a footballer. He reads the play so well, he’s one of our best at understanding team defence and dangerous space. He puts himself in good spots to impact and he’s a good leader. It was good to see him and Darragh back together down back, they work well together. It was another step forward, he’s similar to Ronnie, they just need to keep putting good games together and it will come.

Jarrod Lienert

24 disposals, 23 kicks, seven marks, five rebound-50s, five inside-50s 

Back from Adelaide, Jarrod Lienert looked the goods against the Blues. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

Like Byrnesy, Lieno got off the flight from Adelaide at 7:30 and his attitude was excellent. He played half on the wing and half down back and looked strong when he had the ball in hands. He generally makes good decisions, there were a couple of times where he could wait on a touch instead of coming forward to the contest, but it is a good, simple growth area for him. It was awesome to have him in the side, and he gives us a good flexibility with his game.

Mitch Owens

24 disposals, 14 contested possessions, two goals 

Bull-like. It is a description used week-in, week-out by Batchelor to describe the young Mitch Owens. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

Bull. I say it every week, Mitch is just a bull. He played probably 70% mid, 30% forward – ended up kicking 2.1 and had a period in the third quarter where he basically just became another key forward for us, he’s just that strong. It is such a good sign of growth that he can adapt to a role so quickly, he’s not having to wait five to 10 minutes to get the feel of it. It is the sign of someone who is engaged in the game and is clear on his role. We put him in the middle at the start of the last to set the scene, and he did that right away. I have no doubt the reason that everyone rose was the flow-on effect of that. I love having him in the side, and he will be ready when the opportunity comes for an AFL call-up.

Jarryn Geary

21 disposals, 17 kicks, six marks, five inside-50s 

Jarryn Geary was once again a general down back. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

Gears ended up having a strong game for us. He was generally playing mid-tier backline and the Carlton half-forwards were getting off the chain a bit early on. Quarter time we flipped it up and put him on their highest forward, and because of Gears’ running power, their half-forwards begun getting back into their defensive-50 a lot, so we made sure he got in there with them. He stood up massively in the final quarter for us, which isn’t a surprise given how experienced he is. Right now, he is biding his time in the VFL but when he gets his turn back in AFL colours, he’ll be making the most of it, that’s for sure.

Max Heath

Three goals, eight hit outs, five marks

Max Heath booted three goals in a promising display. Photo: AFL Photos.

Maxy Heath, he’s just a big ol’ target up there for us. He was great, three goals and now is adding the ability to play as a forward essentially, in terms of knowing where the space is and when to lead. The big fella kicked straight, and it was pleasing to see. There was a chase in the last quarter where he had a 10-15 metre chase and it resulted in a turnover and a shot at goal for us. Max is consistently improving, it is awesome to see.

Leo Connolly

18 disposals, 14 kicks, six marks, four rebound-50s 

Leo Connolly in action at Ikon Park. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

Leo had a decent day, he didn’t have a huge impact early, but he started to work his way into the game. He started to find the footy a bit more with his run and drive, which is what we want to see. He still needs to keep making strong decisions about whether he needs to go up and impact the contest or whether we need some stability behind the ball. But at the end of the day, it is a part of the progress of being a young kid. It isn’t always going to click from the start, so sometimes you have to work through it, which is what Leo did. He finished the game strongly and will only get better from having these sort of experiences.  

Matthew Allison

11 disposals, eight marks, two goals 

Matthew Allison had his best game for the season. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

This was Matty’s best game for the season. He had a genuine purpose ahead of the ball and took some strong marks against some physical defence. He just had this touch of arrogance about him where he ran and jumped at the footy, and he’s doing things we may not have seen previously. He’s a confidence player, and it was up yesterday. We’re a good side when he’s running and jumping at the footy, as well as connecting with the midfielders. It is one from one now, so going forward the expectation is there for him to keep doing it.

Darragh Joyce

18 disposals, 15 kicks, nine marks, three rebound-50s

Darragh Joyce against the Blues. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

It was good to see Darragh back out on the park for a decent stint. I think in the previous six weeks, he’d played six quarters of footy. He led well down back, and while he didn’t have a lot of chances to win the ball back, he still battled hard and his ability to block out in the air to let other blokes come across to support is a noticeable strength of his. He had a couple of decisions with ball in hand where we can maybe gain some territory or if we do need to chip it around by foot, but all-in-all, good to have him back in the side.

Tom Campbell

32 hit outs, 17 disposals, 12 contested possessions, six marks, four clearances 

Tom Campbell had a strong battle against Carlton ruck Alex Mirkov. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

Tommy had a good battle with Carlton’s ruck. He didn’t get it all his way during the game, so it was a good contest. He had to mix up what he was doing at times and he got some good stability behind the ball for us, as well as getting down the line defensively. He doesn’t lose contests too often. It was a very Tom Campbell day, and similar to when we play the Power, he will be ready should he be needed. He’s like Darragh, he knows what his job is, he knows what he brings, and he is a great connector for the lads.

Jack Peris

15 disposals, four marks 

Jack Peris' running prowess is a sight to behold. Photo: Mark Woods, Sandringham Zebras.

Jack had a really good game for us. He’s playing on the wing now, and he has this running ability that nobody else has. When we can get him out on the wings and utilise his running both ways, we’re just a better side. He’s still working on his kicking, but he is putting in the effort so that will come. His ability to just turn up to every contest is so good to see, so he should take a heap of confidence out of that game.

Going forward – North Melbourne at Sandringham

North will be a good challenge for us. They’re 2-5 but they are still playing good, hard footy so they’ll be coming out with an aggressive mindset to start the game well. It’ll be on our boys to start the game well, not just wait for it to come. Let’s see how ruthless we can be from the start of the game. I’m looking forward to seeing it and hopefully we can put together a full four-quarter performance.