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The VFL Report: Round 1

VFL R1: McRae post-match VFL and Development Coach, Craig McRae speaks to Roar Vision after the Round 1 win over Port Melbourne.

Richmond’s VFL coach Craig McRae provides a summary of how the Tigers’ players performed in last Saturday’s opening round win against Port Melbourne at the Swinburne Centre’s Punt Road Oval. 

Anthony Miles (34 disposals, 18 contested possessions, 12 clearances, six inside-50s, eight handball- receives, five tackles, two goals)

“Was a stand-out performer. Dominated around the clearances and hit the scoreboard as well,  finishing the game with two goals. Is a star at this level.”

Corey Ellis (34 disposals, 16 contested possessions, 10 inside-50s, nine clearances, nine tackles, eight handball-receives)

“Made a pleasing return from AFL football. Kicked the first goal of the game and provided us with a significant spark in the first quarter. Won plenty of ball, was the team’s equal-leading tackler, and played AFL-standard footy at VFL level.”

Noah Balta (23 disposals, six marks, eight rebound-50s, three inside-50s, seven handball-receives)

“Produced an outstanding performance. Intercept marking was a feature of his game. We’ve had him playing back the past couple of weeks and he looks like he’s really flourishing in that role. Used the ball extremely well off the half-back line and was one of our main rebounders throughout the match.” 

Liam Baker (24 disposals, six inside-50s, six handball-receives, four tackles)

“Continued to show impressive growth in his role as a small forward pinch-hitting through the midfield. His contested-possession numbers, inside-50s and handball receives were high, which shows he’s getting to contests.” 

Tyson Stengle (20 disposals, 11 contested possessions, five marks, three goals)

“Had a superb game, highlighted by his contest work. Some of his one-on-one, contested marking and contest wins was exceptional. His highlight reel is pretty exciting. Is a serious player at VFL level.”

Jacob Ballard (17 disposals, nine contested possessions, four clearances, four inside-50s, six handball-receives, two goals)

“Continued to show great leadership in his role. Really loving how he’s standing up for his teammates at the moment. Is a quality player.”

Shai Bolton (17 disposals, five marks, six handball-receives, three goals)

“Another young player returning from AFL footy. Hadn’t played a VFL game for us this year, including practice games, so it was pleasing to see his development. Kicked three goals in the first quarter and really set us alight. His tackle pressure and the fact he played to his strengths really stood out.”

Patrick Naish (18 disposals, three inside-50s, three rebound-50s, six handball receives)

“Played his first official VFL match. Looked like a very capable player. Pleasing to see him put his body on the line a couple of times and stand under the ball. His ball use, in particular his kicking, was a feature of his game.” 

Callum Moore (16 disposals, six marks, four tackles, two goals)

“Another young player who is displaying impressive development. Finished the game with two goals (2.3) and three score assists, as well as taking two strong contested marks. Wouldn’t be far off an AFL opportunity.”

Oleg Markov (13 disposals, six handball-receives)

“Continues to play off half-back and a bit of wing for us. His speed is a stand-out attribute, as is his ability to cover the ground and cover for teammates.” 

Connor Menadue (11 disposals, four handball-receives)

“Was the carry-over player for the AFL game, so he had restricted match time. Had a major impact while he was on the ground. Set up several opportunities for teammates rebounding out of defence in his half-back role, which was pleasing to see.”

Jake Aarts (13 disposals, five tackles, two goals)

“A real terrier and terrific role player for the VFL program. Had the second most tackles for the team and his overall pressure around the contest was first class. Also finished with two classy goals.”

Nathan Drummond (12 disposals, six contested possessions, six tackles)

“Played his second game back from 12 months out with a knee reconstruction. Had much more impact this week. Played a bit more on the wing and his tackle pressure was a highlight."

Nathan Broad (14 disposals, four marks, three rebound-50s)

“Maintained his unbelievable work-rate behind the ball and supporting our defence. Hard to see him playing much more VFL football.”

Blake Grewar (seven disposals, five contested possessions, five clearances, nine tackles)

“Played his first official VFL game for us after being on Brisbane’s rookie list. Stood out with his work around the stoppages and defensive pressure. An inside player that complements our team nicely.”

Ivan Soldo (12 disposals, six contested possessions, four marks, seven tackles, 33 hit-outs)

“Yet another young player making strong progress. Three weeks in-a-row where he’s really dominated the ruck and set our midfielders up with great hit-outs to advantage. Kicked a nice goal as well.”

Steven Morris (11 disposals, five marks, six inside-50s)

“Leads from the front as the team’s captain with his contest work and also his voice on the field. Is such a valuable contributor off half-back for us and an inspiration for teammates to follow.”

Ben Miller (nine disposals, four rebound-50s, four handball-receives)

“Played as a key defender and fitted in well back there with ‘Garthy’ (Ryan Garthwaite) and Noah Balta. Had low disposals, but still managed to impact the contest throughout.”

Ryan Garthwaite (seven disposals, five marks, four rebound-50s)

“Again intercepted the ball well for us. Has a strong defensive starting position and he can build his game from that. His marking throughout the match was a highlight.”

Mabior Chol (seven disposals, four marks, three tackles, three goals)

“Most improved player so far this year on the back of a strong pre-season. Finished with three goals and could have kicked another one late. His ability to bring the ball to the front from contest is something that he’s really improved.”

Shaun Hampson (nine disposals, six contested possessions, 17 hit-outs)

“Second game back after being out with his back injury. Much improved showing, particularly around the contest. Applied impressive tackling pressure.”

Reuben Hayward (10 disposals, five contested possessions)

“Made his VFL football debut as the team’s 23rd player. Good role player. Really looks settled at the level. Teammates love playing with him, particularly when he puts his body on the line, like he did on the weekend.”